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HISTORICAL GAZETTEER

Steuben County, New York

FIRST PART

Compiled by: Millard F. Roberts

John Single Paper Company, Ltd., Syracuse, N.Y., 1891

This was typed and contributed by Gloria Banks Kirkwood

BATH page 125

"Is the central town of Steuben county. It is situated chiefly in the Townships 3,4,and 5 of Ranges 2,3,and 4, and is bounded on the north by the towns of Avoca, Wheeler and Urbana; on the east by Bradford; on the south by Campbell, Thurston and Cameron; and on the west by Avoca and Howard. It contains, according to the assessor's estimate, 57,100 acres of land. The assessed value of the real and personal estate in 1890 was $3,563,678, and the total tax $31,055. The total population by the last census - (1890), was 7,359, of which one hundred and thirty-eight were colored.

The Conhocton river--the Ga-ha-to of the Senecas, meaning "log in the water"--passes through the town from the northwest to the southeast. Five Mile creek, Smith's Run and Mud creek-- the latter the outlet of Mud lake--are affluents from the north; and several small streams pour down from the hills southwest, among which are Campbell and Stockton creeks. The Conhocton has eroded a deep valley some four hundred feet below the great plateau, which at Mt. Washington is 1,579 feet above tide water. This valley is intersected at Bath village by a broader one, extending from Lake Keuka.

The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western and the Rochester division of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroads run side by side through the Conhocton valley. The Bath and Hammondsport Railroad connects with them at Bath village, and the Kanona and Prattsburgh Railroad, at Kanona. The distance by rail to New York is three hundred miles; to Albany, two hundred and thirty-eight; to Buffalo, one hundred, and to Rochester seventy-five.

The surface of the country is broken and hilly. The rocks belong to the Chemung group. There is a stratum of very tough argillo-calcareous rock, three feet thick, the mass filled with fragments of crinoidal columns, presenting, when polished, surfaces like the finest birds-eye maple. This crops out at Miller's quarry, about a mile north of Bath village, and also upon the farm of Charles Longwell, near the Soldier's Home. At Jenk's quarry, a mile east, is found a rare fossil of the Chemung group, named by Professor Hall, state geologist, Dictyophyton Tuberosum. The soil of the valleys is gravelly, mixed with sand and clay, and favorable to the production of wheat, corn and barley. The uplands are clayey, and better adapted for the production of oats, buckwheat and grasses.

The town was once heavily timbered with pine, hemlock, oak, beech, maple, birch, and hickory. The white pine of Mud creek valley was famous for its size and quality. Now the forests are nearly all cut away except from the steep hill sides.

The town has two incorporated villages, Bath and Savona; four post-offices--Bath, Kanona, Savona and Sonora; a national bank and two banking offices, a public library, four weekly newspapers, fifteen church organizations and churches, and twenty-five school districts. The village of Bath was first incorporated by a legislative act passed April 12, 1816, but no organization was perfected. By a special act passed May 6, 1836, the village was duly organized. The population in 1889 was 3,360, and the assessed valuation in 1889, $1,925,565. Savona was incorporated under the general act, April 30, 1883. The public buildings located in the town are the county court-house, jail, clerk's office, surrogate's office, agricultural society buildings, Pulteney land office, the county poor-house, the New York State Soldiers' and Sailors' Home and the Davenport Female Orphan Asylum."

"ROBERT MORRIS, the great banker of Philadelphia superintendent of public finances during the revolutionary war, and a gentlemen of large wealth, on November 18, 1890, purchased of OLIVER PHELPS and NATHANIEL GORHAM all the lands in what is now Steuben county, with the exception of those in the towns of Corning, Canisteo, Lindley, Erwin, and Campbell, which had previously been sold by Phelps and Gorham. In the year 1791 WILLIAM PULTENEY, a member of parliament and a wealthy citizen of Bath, England, for himself, WILLIAM HORNBY, ex-governor of Bombay, and PATRICK COLQUHOUN, a distinguished advocate of Glasgow, purchased these same lands, besides others. PULTENEY was interested in the purchase nine-twelfths, HORNBY two-twelfths and COLQUHOUN one-twelfth; but as they were British subjects and aliens, the purchase rested in contract. Soon after the purchase, CAPT. CHARLES WILLIAMSON, a Scotchman and a late captain in the British army, then residing in Great Britain, in consideration of a commission on the sales of land and receipt of moneys in lieu of all expenses and charges except for law-writings, deeds and conveyances entered into an agreement with the syndicate to proceed to America as their agent, to settle on their tract, sell the lands and remit the proceeds to London.

Soon after the arrangement CAPTAIN WILLIAMSON sailed for the United States, and landed in Norfolk, VA in December 1791. He proceeded at once to Philadelphia, and on January 9, 1792, he made application to the supreme court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, then in session in the city of Philadelphia, before JASPER YATES, justice, to become a citizen of the US. Having complied with the law he was duly naturalized on the same day. On April 7, 1792, ROBERT MORRIS AND MARY, his wife, in consideration of seventy-five thousand pounds sterling ($333,333.33 US currency), conveyed to CHARLES WILLIAMSON in fee simple all the lands conveyed to said MORRIS by PHELPS AND GORHAM, lying between the pre-emption line and the Genesee River in the state of New York. The whole tract conveyed was stated by WILLIAMSON to be forty-five miles from east to west, and eighty-four miles from north to south and covers Steuben, Yates, Ontario, and Livingston counties and parts of Allegany, Monroe and Wayne counties.

What is now Steuben county was a howling wilderness as dense and dark as the Black Forest, with the exception of a few hamlets on the Chemung, Tioga and Canisteo, whose population by the census of 1790 was only one hundred and seventy-seven. It therefore became necessary for CAPTAIN WILLIAMSON to explore the lands and open roads from the inhabited parts of the country.

The location, in outline, bearing a striking resemblance to the beautiful valley of the Avon, which winds gracefully around the base of a hill, forming a charming plateau upon which the ancient city of Bath- then the seat of the Pulteney family- has stood for centuries, led him to adopt the name for his embryo forest city, as well as in compliment to the chief proprietor of the territory, his patron.

He engaged the services of BENJAMIN PATTERSON, the famous hunter and scout, and his brother, ROBERT, to take charge of a party of thirty stout axe-men and pioneers to open a highway from the mouth of the Lycoming by way of the Tioga and Conhocton rivers to the Genesee at its junction with the Canaseraga. Early in the autumn of 1792, the work commenced and vigorously prosecuted. Early in November, about thirty miles of it had been opened sufficiently wide for wagons, and by the last of December the working party had completed it to Dansville, Livingston county. It was long known as WILLIAMSON'S road and became the great highway for emigrants from the south to western New York. This shortened the distance to Philadelphia by at least one hundred miles.

At the suggestion of ROBERT MORRIS, who acted as mentor to the Captain in his great enterprise, a colony of two hundred Germans, newly arrived at Philadelphia sent over by Mr. COLQUHOUN to make a settlement in the new purchase, were sent forward to aid the road makers and thus cut their way to the Genesee. But they were ill-qualified for the work, proving an incumbrance and source of much trouble; and they were left at Painted Post until the next spring.

CAPT. WILLIAMSON, in March 1793, organized a party of woodsmen, surveyors and settlers to proceed at once to open up and lay the foundations of his new town and settlement. He placed CHARLES CAMERON, his faithful henchman, in charge. CAMERON pushed out with the party in two Durham boats laden with tools, provisions and necessaries from Northumberland and made his way up the North Branch to Tioga Point. These boats carry from five to eight tons and are poled up the stream, and where there is a strong current or rift are cordelled or "warped" up by means of long ropes by the passengers and crew. From the Point, the navigation was more difficult; so MR. CAMERON left there one of the boats with much of the freight in charge of a few men and proceeded with the others up the Chemung and Conhocton, and on April 15, made a safe landing on the banks of the Conhocton at Bath, near the present location of the Delaware and Lackawanna depot. The whole plain was densely covered with forest; not a tree had been cut save such as were in the line of the great highway that had been opened the previous winter. Mr. CHARLES CAMERON, in giving his account of the affair on April 22, 1848, states, among other things, "We suffered from hunger and sickness a great deal. I am now the only survivor of those merry Irish and Scotch boys who used to be so happy together."

The village was laid out by CHARLES CAMERON and plotted by THOMAS REES, JR., in 1793.

CAPT. WILLIAMSON arrived by way of his new road in May. Mr. COLQUHOUN who had the management of the affairs of the syndicate of this name and location, for under date of June 15, 1793, he writes the Captain as follows: "I am glad you are so much pleased with your new town of Bath. I hope it may prove a healthy spot, for on this much depends. It is certainly a position infinitely more convenient than Williamsburgh, and on this account I am glad you mean to fix your residence there." The Captain, out of compliment to his friends and patrons had named the principal street running east and west MORRIS; the public square PULTENEY; the broad street parallel to it, with a similar square ST. PATRICK which was foolishly changed to Washington a few years hence. On July 10th 1973 his wife and family arrived from Northumberland."


  1. Norris Cemetery - (ba1) (5/20)

  2. Chamberlain Cemetery - (ba2) (9/30)

  3. Willis Nealey Cemetery - (ba3) (9/30)

  4. Durnian Cemetery - (ba4) (5/20)

  5. Buck Settlement Cemetery - (ba5) (5/27) - updated 11/23/99

  6. Unionville Cemetery - (ba6) (8/5)

  7. Grant Cemetery - (ba7) (6/9)

  8. Knight Cemetery - (ba8) (6/9)

  9. National Cemetery /Bath Veterans Cemetery - (ba9) (5/2/00)
    For the BEST most complete version of this cemetery w/plot numbers [click here] - off site

  10. Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - (ba10a) (9/30)

  11. Nondaga Cemetery - (ba10b) (2/9/00) updated 8/9/03

  12. Grove Cemetery - (ba10c) (5/2/00)

  13. Pioneer Cemetery - (ba10d) (2/9/00)

  14. Holy Cross Cemetery - (ba10e) typed by Lori Adams (6/14/01)

  15. Steuben Co.  Home Cemetery - (ba11)

  16. Babcock Hollow Cemetery - (ba12) (6/9)

  17. Eagle Valley Cemetery - (ba13) (6/9) 1/6/01

  18. Hunt Cemetery - (ba14) (5/27)

  19. Look Cemetery - (ba15) (5/27)

  20. Sonora Cemetery - (ba16) (5/20) d 1/6/01

  21. Savona Seamans Cemetery - (ba17a)

  22. Old Savona Cemetery - (ba17b) (6/9)

  23. Kanona Cemetery - (ba18) (1/4/2000)

  24. Davenport Cemetery - (ba19) (8/5) updated 10/2/03

  25. Harrisburg Hollow Cemetery - (ba20) (6/9)

  26. Spaulding Cemetery - (ba22) (9/30)

  27. Dudley Farm Cemetery - (ba23) (8/5)

  28. Prescott Cemetery - (ba24) (6/9)

  29. Stewart Farm Cemetery - (ba25) (8/5)

  30. Stout Cemetery - (ba26) (5/20)

  31. Hovey Cemetery - Parulski Farm - (ba27) (6/9)

  32. Romance Farm Cemetery - (bax3) (5/20) (This Cemetery is located in Bradford Township)


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