(From the scrapbook of Eddy C. [1857-1944] & Helen White Gilbert [1855-1929]. Clippings may not be dated and newspaper may be unknown, unless noted. Most dates supplied were handwritten and initialed by the collectors.) In most cases, these clippings were from Rushford Spectator/The Spectator
Transcribed by Yvonne E. Smith
INTERESTING MANUSCRIPT WAS FOUND
After Being Lost of Many Years
And Will Be of Interest to a Number of Rushford People
A part of the paper read by Samuel White at the Rushford Semicentennial [sic] in 1859, was preserved. In after years it was entrusted to me by Mrs. Stellah Blanchard, daughter of Samuel White. It was afterward loaned to one collecting material for the book entitled “Allegany and Its People,” and a part of it was published in the history. Soon after its return, it disappeared, so I did not have access to the original paper while working upon my book, “Rushford and Rushford People.” On New Years Day 1917, the missing paper, after having been lost twenty years, was found by Allan H. Gilbert in an old book, where it had been put for safe keeping. He recognized it at once by the peculiar penmanship.
Extracts from a paper read by Samuel White at the Semicentennial [sic] celebrated in Rushford on January 1, 1859.
“Farmersville was settled as late as 1817, to my certain knowledge, and was distinguished as the 5th township, 3rd range of the Holland Purchase. I would further add in relation to Farmersville that the first time I visited the place, in 1816, there was not an inhabitant there. I found the way to the center of the town by following the marked trees. Judge Ten Broeck, Esquire Peet and Mr. Tozer were, I believe, the first settlers in Farmersville.
They say matches are made in heaven, but a great many have been made in Rushford, and probably will be more before the year 1859 expires. I don’t mean the kind of matches that we use to light candles and kindle fires with. This kind of matches is what Esquire Gary stood in need of when he first came with his family into Rushford and brought fire from Centerville in a dish kettle. This kind of matches never could have been made in heaven, for they smell so strong of brimstone some would naturally conclude they were manufactured in a much lower region. The first match made in Rushford was on the southside of the creek. The parties were Wm. Rawsonand Lurancy Swift; they were married I cannot tell the precise time—probably in 1811. M. P. Cady and Lucy Hardy were the second couple married in Rushford.
The first town meeting ever held in Rushford was at a log tavern, on lot No. 31, kept by Levi Benjamin; this was on the first Tuesday of April 1816. Dr. Dyer Story was chosen supervisor and Pliny Bannister town clerk. The second town meeting and the first one held in or near where our village is located, was held at a public house where Col. Hardy now lives. This last-mentioned town meeting was in April 1817. Cromwell Bennet was chosen supervisor and James Going town clerk. In 1816 DeWitt Clinton was elected governor and received every vote in town save one. The election was held three days, on the first day at L. Benjamin’s, on the second at Young’s and on the third at Swift’s tavern south of the Creek. This was the first election ever held in Rushford.
In 1818 Elder Bannister, a Methodist minister from Vermont, came with his family to Rushford. He was a very good sort of a man, rather eccentrick [sic], full of fun for a preacher and always ready to receive or crack a joke. Dan Orcutt, an odd sort of genius, when talking with the Elder, told him in plain language that there was no devil—he did not believe in the existence of one. “But”, said Dan, “if there is one, I should like to see him.” “Well,” said the old Elder, “it is natural for children to want to see their parents.”
Esquire Gary made considerable sport in the world, as well as Elder Bannister. It is well known by most of you that Mr. Gary kept a public house on East street. He was very much respected by his neighbors.
The washing machines in use at an early day were much superior to those patented. They cost only a dollar a piece, whereas now the cost of one is from five to fifteen dollars. The old ones had the advantage of the new ones, inasmuch as they could walk, and on washing days they could scold, this I know by sad experience.
I have spoken of improvements, but in some things we have actually progressed backwards—I mean in musical instruments. The instruments now played upon by the young ladies are very fine in the place, such as the accordion and piano. The cost of a good piano is from two hundred to three hundred dollars, as sum that in 1825 would have purchased a small farm. We should learn to be a little more careful and instead of contracting debts for pianos and fifty dollar shawls, we should say to our daughters that they can have such costly articles as soon as they can earn the means by their own industry. The musical instruments in use when the country was new were very cheap and nothing would delight me more now than to hear one in every home. My advice is that every young lady stay at home six months every year and learn to play upon the old-fashioned instrument of musick [sic], which is nothing more nor less than a quill wheel.
There is little more economy among the young men than there is among the young women. Some of them are already getting to be old bachelors and will probably go down to their graves as such. Why is this? It is a good time today for you old bachelors to make a selection, considering the number of pretty faces here before you. I hope no one will go away without considering these things. But, Mr. Bachelor, I would advise you not to select a pretty miss that does not know how to play a tune upon the quill-wheel.”
Samuel White states in his paper that on January 1, 1859, there were eighteen men living who settled in Rushford before 1817. He does not give their names but among these were W.L. Gary, James, William and Wilson Gordon, Ely Woods, Abraham J. Lyon, Thomas Pratt, Luther Woodworth, Sr., Amba Alderman, Levi Benjamin, Samuel Persons, David Board and David Kinney. If Mr. White had included the boys who came with their parents to Rushford before 1817 and who in 1859 were living in the town, the list would have been swelled by the names, Samson HardyJr., Luther Woodworth, Jr., Nelson Hammond, Eliab and Almond Benjamin, Emerson Kendall, Alonzo Persons, Winthrop G. Young and Bethuel Freeman.
It was a surprise to find that Samuel White was in Rushford so early as 1816; but he returned to Cavendish, Vermont, was married in 1818, and came again to Rushford in 1821 with his wife and two children, Washington and Henry Kirke. It is not strange that he came here in 1816, for at that time there were living in Rushford, James, Tarbell, William,John and Wilson Gordon and Samson Hardy, all from Cavendish, Vermont.
The name of the first girl to marry in Rushford has never before, to my knowledge, been printed correctly. In French’s “Gazetteer of the State of New York” it is given as Lawrence Swift; in the county history of 1879, it is given, though with some misgivings, the same as in French’s “Gazetteer”, in the county history of 1896, it is given as Luany Swift; and in a historical record received from the Bureau of Pensons [sic], it is written Larany. The name is clearly written Lurancy by Samuel White, and I have receved [sic] confirmation of its correctness from relatives. Lurancy was the daughter of Charles Swift, a Revolutionary soldier who died in Rushford in 1820. She was one of sixteen children and was an aunt of Mrs. Leroy Jackson of Caneadea, a great-aunt of Velorus Swift of Franklinville, and a great-great-aunt of Miss Ione VanDusen of Rushford. The Swifts were among the pioneers of Rushford; they settled on the Cuba road on land now owned by the Ackerlys and by Charles English. I have not been able to locate Wm. Rawson, but Solmon and William Rawson were the first settlers of Lyndon, and at the time of the marriage, they and the Markhams were living at Rawson and were the Swift’s nearest neighbors on the south.
Matthew P. Cady and Lucy Hardy were married in 1812. Matthew P. Cady was the grandfather of Miss Bessie S. Cady; and Lucy Hardy was a sister of Samson Hardy, Jr. familiarly known as Colonel Hardy, and also a great-aunt of Lucian E. Hardy of this village.
Since the log tavern in which the first town meeting was held, was on lot No. 31, it must have been on the crossroad which connects the east road leading north from Rushford village with the Podonque road. Several years ago when the location of the log tavern was discussed, a few thought that it stood on the main road about where Charlie Hall’s house now stands.
In 1859 Colonel Hardy lived where Homer Clark now lives, at the north corner of Buffalo and Llewellen Streets.
Samuel White gives 1816 as the year in which DeWitt Clinton was elected governor, and it is so given in the “American Cyclopedia” and in the Encyclopedia Brittanica,” but it is probably incorrect. The weight of authority is as follows:--Daniel D. Tompkins was nominated for the vice presidency. The election was held in November; in the following February Daniel D. Tompkins was declared elected vice president of the United States, so a few days before the fourth of March, 1817, he resigned the governorship of New York State. According to the constitution then, the lieutenant governor did not fill out the term, so John Taylor became acting governor. A new election was held at which DeWitt Clinton, “Father of the Erie Canal”, was chosen over his competitor by the extraordinary vote of 43,319 to 1,479. He was inaugurated on July 1, 1817. According to the date that I have, Elder Banister was about forty seven when he left New York State and returned to Vermont, yet he is spoken of twice in the paper as the “old Elder”.
When I heard the rhyme that Dan Orcutt composed about Elder Banister’s face, I thought that he was pretty hard on the Elder; but when I read the story in this paper, I concluded that Elder Banister was able to hold his own.
I have omitted interesting portions of the paper that were published in the county history and copied into “Rushford and Rushford People”.
Please cut this article out and save it as a part of the history of Rushford.
Helen White Gilbert,
February 21, 1917
[Note: The last name of the Elder, is spelled sometimes as Bannister and other times as Banister within the article.]