Part of the Steuben Co., NY GenWeb - Judy Allen Cwiklinski coordinator
|Hist. Steuben by McMasters Table of Contents|
History of the Settlement of Steuben County, New York
by: Guy McMasters 
The settlement of Bath--Serpents-- Narrative of General McClure: Early citizens, the Camerons, Andrew Smith &c.; an auto-biography--Emigration: the wilderness--Bath: Captain Williamson: a canoe-voyage--Building: Speculation; navigation of the Rivers--Business fortunes and misfortunes: Crooked Lake navy: a portly and able bodied gentlemen extinguished--Indian traffic--River navigation--conclusion of the Narrative
Having conducted his Germans, at last, through the wilderness, and deposited them in a Canaan where the cooper-colored Amalekites, and Jebusites, and Hivites, had consented to an extinguishment of title, and were behaving themselves with marked civility, although a few battalions of discomfited Philistians hovered sulkily on the Canadian frontiers and glowered from the bastions of Niagara and Oswego. Captain Williamson prepared to go up to the forest in person and lay the foundation of a new Babylon on the banks of the Conhocton. The enemies of the gallant Captain have intimated that instead of making the illustrious city of the Euphrates his model, he studied to attain the virtues of Sodom and the graces of Gomorrah, which will be shown to be a malicious slander.
Sixteen miles above the mouth of the Conhocton, the valley of the Crooked Lake, uniting nearly at right angles with the river valley, opens in the hills a deep and beautiful basin, which presents, when viewed from an elevation, a rim of ten or fifteen miles in circuit. The British officer, standing on the almost perpendicular, yet densely wooded heights above the river, south of the old church of Bath (handsomely called in an early Gazetteer, a tremendous and dismal hill,) looked down upon a valley covered with a pine forest, except where the alluvial flats, close at the foot of the dark hemlocks of the southern range, supported their noble groves of elm and sycamore, and where a little round lake shone in the sunlight below the eastern heights. A ring of abrupt highlands, unbroken as it seemed, except by a blue gorge in the North--the gateway of the gulf of Crooked Lake--imprisoned the valley, and these surrounding hills, to which several hundred additional feet of altitude were given by the view from the southern wall, rose sometimes to the dignity of mountains. The prospect is wonderfully beautiful at the present day, from that place, where to view his valley the Scottish Captain may have (at any rate, ought to have) lain a bed of moss above the rocks, which just at the summit jut over tops of the huge rough trees that cling to the side of the hill even to the foot of the precipice which surmounts it. But wilder and more beautiful was the picture spread out before the Captains eve. Description would recall the scene but feebly. Let each patriotic citizen, however, imagine as he can how all the ranges and ridges, the knobs and promontories, were covered with the richness of the forest, and consider that pleasant little lake just below the rising sun, how it glittered among the deep-green pines, and the little river also; how it wrangled with the huge sycamores that lay across its channel like drunken giants, and how it was distressed with enormous, frightful roots which clung to its breast with their long claws like nightmares, but came forth, nevertheless, from these tribulations with bright face, and sparkled delightfully among the elms and willows.
In this valley the gallant city-builder determined to found his metropolis. Here should all the caravans of the West meet; here should rise mills and stupendous granaries; here should stand the Tyre of the West, sending forth yearly fleets of arks, more in number than the galleys of the ancient city, to make glad the waters of Chesapeake. Whatever fallacy in his Political Economy may have enticed the Scot hither, there is certainly no place where the Demon for Business,, had he seen fit to build him a den in these regions, could have been more pleasantly situated, if such a consideration were worthy of the notice of his dusty and bustling genius. To the propitiation of this Divinity, the wealth of the Pulteneys and the labors of their minister were devoted for the next two years. Every device that ingenuity could suggest, every force that fortune could employ, every experiment that energy dared attempt, were tried by the bold and efficient Cadmus of the Conhocton to divest the commerce of the West from the Mohawk and the Hudson, and to guide it down the Northwestern Branch of the Susquehanna
Western commerce has unfortunately leaked through another tunnel. The Demon which we worshipped, seemed, for a time, about to yield to our entreaties, and snuffed the incense that smoked on our altar with every appearance of satisfaction. As a wary bear walks seven times around the trap with suspicious eyes, hesitating to bite the tempting bait, yet is sometimes on the point of thrusting his nose, at a venture, within the dangerous jaws of steel, but finally turns away with a growl, so this wary Caliban, after long debating with himself, at last refused to set foot on the pretty trap of Captain Williamson, and dug himself dens in the north where he might wallow in the mire of canals and marshes, and duck his head in the Genesee cataract. The political economist, looking at this day from the Rollway Hills, beholds a melancholy spectacle. Below him is a valley of farms on which a single column of the primitive pines remain like that square of the Old Guard which stood for a moment after the route at Waterloo. A dark and almost unbroken forest covers the hill sides, and he looks down upon the streets and steeples of an idle and shady shire town, surrounded by pastures or meadows and groves, which has nothing to do but to entertain the countys rogues and to supply the citizens with law and merchandise. Neither the whistle of the locomotive nor the horn of the canal pilot is heard there; wolf has hardly deserted its environs--hounds yet follow the deer in the woods around it--logs are yet tumbled down the rollways above it. No warehouses line the river banks--no long ranks of grist-mills grumble that deep harmony so charming to our ears. The gallant Captains city somehow failed to become a city. The wealth that was of right ours took to itself wings and flew to the east. Albany and New York, being stout and remorseless robbers, plundered us by force. Syracuse and Utica, being no older than we, stole our riches secretly thieves that they are--(thieves from infancy and by instinct, for they stole their very names from a couple of decrepit and toothless old cities of the other hemisphere, as some young vagabonds have just conscience enough to pick the pockets of blind beggars in the street)--and to this day those cities stand in the face of all the world bedecked with their ill-got finery. The beautiful air-castle which shone before the eyes of the Baronet, after promising a great many times to become marble, at last bade defiance to chemistry, rolled itself up into a shapeless fog, and returned to the oxygen from which it came. This is no secret, and to have reserved the announcement of it till in the regular course of this history it was due would have been unnecessary. No body for whom the story is told would have been in suspense--no body would have been stunned had the fact been reserved as a kind of perorating thunder-bolt. It is so well known to our citizens generally that their shire town is a very imperfect type of any of those ancient cities heretofore alluded to, and a very modest rival of those overgrown and raw-boned young giants suckled by the Demon, our enemy aforementioned, along the lakes and canals, that one without miraculous ingenuity will despair o f working up its downfall into any kind of historical clap-trap, (pretentious nonsense), to astound or terrify. The plot for the subversion of the city of New York failed--failed so utterly that but comparatively few living men know that it was ever dreamed of. Sixty years after the Scottish Captain looked down with great hopes upon the valley of his choice, a Senator of the United States, addressing the Legislature of this State, guests of the City of New York, in one of the great hotels of the metropolis, told them of a traveler's prediction at the beginning of this century, that the valley of the Conhocton would contain the great commercial city of the west. The announcement was received with laughter by all, and with astonishment by many. The laughter of the Legislature of 1851 was fortunately a thing which seldom occasioned distress to the object of it, and the citizens of Steuben County were not in consequence so benumbed as to make it necessary for them to discontinue for a time their ordinary avocations.
Founders of cities should always look out for omens, and of all ominous creatures they should especially keep a sharp look-out for snakes, which are above all things prized by soothsayers. If it be true that they is more in serpents than is dreamed of in our philosophy, Capt. Williamson was favored with omens to a degree unusual even with founders of cities. The Pine Plains, (as the valley of Bath was afterwards known,) were infected with multitudes of rattlesnakes. Probably there was at that time no district in the Western country where these dragons met with greater toleration. But, in truth, toleration had little to do with the matter. They had taken possession of the valley, and held it by tooth and nail. In length, circumference, ugliness and wisdom, it is safe to say that the rattlesnakes of the Pine Plains challenged competition. There was no one to bruise their heads but the occasional Indian, and their hideous tribes increased and multiplied to a degree truly discouraging to mice and moles. From the little fiery serpent with neer a rattle in his tail, up to the monstrous black and deadly sluggard, coiled under the bush and ringing alarms with his twenty rattles, the whole plain was given up to them. When Patterson, the hunter, first visited this Paradise, he was startled at their multitude. Gliding from bush to bush, slipping under logs, retreating with angry colors before his path,--now coiled up under a tree, when hard pressed, and wagging their heads in defiance, now rattling a tail full of warnings beneath the shrubs, this snakish populace inspired the hunter with dread. Fairly afraid to go farther by land, he took the river and waded three or four miles, till he believed himself fully beyond the boundaries of this habitation of dragons. Tradition says, that when the plot of the village of Bath was surveyed, the number of rattlesnakes killed by the surveyors passed account. Tradition, however, has failed to preserved details, and many rare snake-stories are probably lost for ever. These rattlesnakes have eluded extermination like the Seminoles. Driven from the plains they betook themselves to the mountains, like the illustrious persecuted in all ages. The steep, bold and sandy mountain, from the summit which the rising summer sun first shines, is the last retreat of these once numerous tribes. Here a few wise veterans yet hide in the rocks, and raise infant families under circumstance of great discouragement.
In 1793 Col. Williamson commenced the settlement of his village, called Bath, from Lady Bath of England, a member of the Pulteney family. Before the end of the season, he says, not less than fifteen families were resident in the village. Early in the season a saw-mill had been finished, and previous to setting in of the winter a grist-mill with a saw-mill nearer the town were in great forwardness. The first mentioned saw-mill stood on or near the site of the Glass-mill, on the Kennedyville (now Kanona) Road. The grist-mill stood near the bridge. On New Years Day of 1794, a few months after the settlement, Mr. Harry Mc Elwee, a young man from the north of Ireland, made his entry into the new-made village, and gives his first impression substantially as follows:--I found a few shanties standing in the woods. Williamson had his house where Will Woods has since lived, and the Metcalfes kept a log-tavern above the Presbyterian Church. I went to the tavern and asked for supper and lodging. They said they could give me neither, for their house was full. I could get nothing to eat. An old Dutchman was sitting there, and he said to me: `Young man if you will go with me you shall have some mush and milk for your supper, and a deer-skin to lie on with your feet to the fire, and another to cover yourself with.` I told him that I thanked him kindly, and would go along. We went up through the woods to where St. Patricks square now is and there the Dutchman had a little log-house. There was no floor to it. I made a supper of mush and milk, and laid down with my feet to the fire and slept soundly. The Dutchman was traveling through to the Genesee, but his children were taken sick and he stopped there till they got well. Mr. McElwee, now residing on the Mud Creek, (now Savona) is the sole survivor of the young men who were with Capt. Williamson in the first years of the settlement, now living in the town of Bath. Mr. Thomas Metcalfe, of Ellicotville, and Charles Cameron, Esq., of Greene with perhaps a few others, survive of the stout lads who came up with their Captain in 94.
The trees had, at this time, been cut away only to admit of the erection of cabins for the accommodation of the few citizens, and to open a road through the forest. In the spring of 1794 Mr. McElwee, under the direction of Captain Williamson, made the first clearing, being the Pulteney Square and four acres behind the agents house for a garden, for the cultivation of which he afterward imported a gardener from England. The trees on the square were chopped carefully and close to the ground. A single pine was left standing in front of the agency house for a Liberty Tree. It was trimmed so as to leave a tuft at the top, and stood nodding defiance at despotism for several years, when it was blown down in a storm. The chopper of the Pulteney Square denies the popular tradition, that to get rid of the stumps they were undermined and buried. Many strange expedients were resorted to in those days by persons not trained from their infancy to wood craft, to free the earth from the pitch-pine stumps and the oak stools which seemed to be more enduring than brass and pyramids, but the tradition of the preposterous burial, just alluded to, is without foundation.
For notices of early citizens, and the early operations of Capt. Williamson, we refer to the following narrative:
NARRITIVE, BY GEN. GEORGE MCLURE, LATE OF ELGIN, ILLINOIS.
Some sixty years since Western New York was a howling wilderness, inhabited by Indians and wild beasts. Where the City of Utica now stands was considered in those days the extreme western frontier; all west of that place had been partially explored by civilized man. It was considered imprudent and dangerous to attempt a journey into the wild region. After Oliver Phelps had purchased of Massachusetts the pre-emptive right to a large tract of land in Western New York, he made preparations to visit and explore that wild region; his neighbors called upon him to take a farewell, as they never expected to see his face again.
Much has been written, since those days, of the far famed west. But it may now be asked what has become of it. Has it eloped or absconded like the wandering savage tribes that once possessed that goodly land? Yes, truly, it is gone, and now like the Children of Israel of old, it has reached the promised land, not a land flowing with milk and honey only, but also with gold, silver, and Precious stones. The great Pacific Ocean is it boundary. Here I take my leave of the Far West, and return to old Steuben, to give some account of the hardy and enterprising pioneers who were the first settlers in that wild and uncultivated region.
Rev. James H. Hotchkin is his History of the Presbyterian Church of Western New York, makes some severe strictures on the on the character of Capt. Williamson and his settlers.. He says, They were principally from Europe or the States of Maryland and Virginia, and a sprinkling of Yankees, who came to make money. The state of society he remarks, was very dissolute. The Sabbath was disregarded. Drinking, gambling, carousing, horse-racing, attending the theatre, with other concomitant vices were very general, and numbers of those who moved in the high circle were exceedingly depraved. I do not know from what source such information was obtained; but this I know, that the Sabbath was not desecrated in the village of Bath in the manner that he represents. We had but two public houses in that village for many years. One was kept by the Methcalfe family, and the other by old Mr. Cruger, and after him by Mr. Bull. Neither of these houses suffered gambling and carousing on the Sabbath. Nor did I ever hear of a horse-race on the Sabbath in Bath, nor of theatrical amusement on that day. There were not more then four of five families from Maryland and Virginia that settled in Bath; the other part of our population were at least one half Yankees, and the other half foreigners and Pennsylvanians. Now I would say that instead of a sprinkling of Yankees, we had a heavy shower of them. I do not believe, however, that they were a fair sample of the sons of the Pilgrims, for a good many of them, to say that least, were no better than they should be. I trust that nothing in my remarks will be considered invidious. I do not intimate by any means that Rev. Mr. Hotchkin would knowingly state an untruth, but that he has not been correctly informed in relation to the character of a large proportion of the early settlers. I admit that many were very loose in their morals, lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God. In the year 1807, we employed the Rev. John Niles to preach for us half his time, and the other half in Prattsburgh. I believe he was a good man, but no well qualified to reform so dissolute and heathenish a body of men as composed Capt. Williamsons first settlers (according to the popular account to us).
Among the number of the most respectable Scotch emigrants were Charles Cameron and Dugald, his brother. These two young men were first-rate specimens of the Scotch character for intelligence and integrity, as well as for other amiable qualities. Charles Cameron was a merchant, and the first to open a store in Bath. He was also the first post-master by appointment of Capt. Williamson, who paid all expenses of transporting the mail once a week to and from Northumberland. Some fifteen or twenty years after he obtained the appointment of sub-agent of the Hornby estate from John Greig, Esq., of Canandaigua, the chief agent. He moved to the village of Greene, in Chenango County,, where he still resides. Few men possessed stronger intellectual powers than Dugald Cameron. He was highly respected by all classes of his neighbors and acquaintances. He was a clerk in the Land Office for some time until he and Gen. Haight were appointed sub-agents by Col. Troup. He was a great favorite of the people of Steuben. In 1828 they elected him as their representative in the Legislature of the State, which appointment with some reluctance he accepted. While at Albany attending to the duties of his station, he was seized with a violent complaint, and after a short and painful struggle departed this life, leaving a wife and a numerous family of children, most of whom have since died. His death was lamented by all his relations, friends, and acquaintances.
Andrew Smith, a trustworthy Scotchman, had the charge of the farming operations of Capt. Williamson; such as the clearing of the land for cultivation; and all other kinds of labor were committed to his charge. He had generally from thirty to fifty men, and sometimes more, in his employ, and I had nearly as many in the house-building department. Muckle Andrew (as we called him, being a large man,) and myself were great cronies. We were both single men and kept bachelors hall. We generally met on Saturday evenings, alternately, in each others apartments. We had, in those days, plenty of the joyful, but we seldom carried matters so far as to get decently tipsy. We violated no pledge, for even ministers of the gospel and deacons, in those days, kept on their side-boards a full supply of the best Cognac, wine and old whiskey; and when they got out of those articles, they would make very decent and * * * * But I must return for a moment to my good friend Muckle Andrew, and relate how we used to spend the evenings of our social meetings. The first topic of conversation was the business of the past week, and what progress we had made in our respective vocations. The next business in order was a drink, then a story or a song. Andrew told the stories, and I did the singing. My songs were generally the productions of Burns, such as, Scots wha ha wi Wallace bled, Whall be king but Charles, and Auld Lang Syne. The last verse we always sung standing. My good friend Andrew had one favorite standing toast, which was a follows:
Heres to mysel, co a to my sel,
Wi a my heart heres to me;
Heres to mysel, co a to mysel,
And muckle guid may it do me.
There were a number of respectable young men, natives of Scotland, arrived in Bath in the years 93 and 94m amongst whom was Hector McKenzie, said to be the son of a Scotch Laird, who was employed as a Clerk in the Land Office. Of him I have nothing to say, only that he felt himself a good deal taller than other young men; and although otherwise respectable, I discovered that he did not possess any of the amiable qualities of his countrymen, the Camerons, and not a particle of the courtesy and unassuming manners of his employer, Capt. Williamson.
John Greig, Esq., (now of Canandaigua, and chief agent of the Hornby estate,) arrived about the same time, a young man of fine talents, a lawyer by profession. He did not make Bath his place of permanent residence, but he often paid us a visit, and we were always glad to see him, and never allowed him to depart without having a real jovial old-fashioned thanksgiving.
Also, about this time, arrived Robert Campbell and Daniel McKenzie, both respectable mechanics. They have both lately departed this life. Mr. Campbell, (though one of Williamsons first settlers,) was sober and industrious, and a worthy member of the Presbyterian Church. There was also old Mr. Mullender, with a very interesting family, who settled on a farm of Capt. Williamsons near Bath. They were from Scotland, and removed afterwards to the Old Indian Castle, near Geneva.
I must now take leave of my Scotch friends, while I talk a little about my own dear countrymen, as well as of some of the sons of the pilgrims.
Henry McElwee, and William, his brother, Frank Scott, Charles McClure, Gustavus Gillespie, and Brown, his brother, Samuel and John Metler, with large families of children--those, with many others whose names I do not recollect, were natives of the North of Ireland, whose ancestors were of Scotch descent. They are all dead and gone long, with the exception of Henry McElwee, who is yet alive and resides on his farm at Mud Creek. He was an honest, sober, industrious, hard-working man, and had the confidence and patronage of Capt. Williamson.
William Dunn, a native of Pennsylvania, came to Bath in the spring of 1793, and kept for a short time a house of entertainment. He was appointed High Sheriff of the County after its organization. He was a very gentlemanly man. He entered largely into land speculation without capital, and like many others, his visionary prospect soon vanished, and wound him up. He moved to Newtown, where he shortly after died. Mr. Dunn had two brothers, who came to Bath with him, or shortly after, Robert and Joseph. The former was called Col. Dunn. This military title he obtained on his way from York County, in Pennsylvania, to Bath. He was one of a company of adventurers and speculators, who agreed that they should introduce each other by certain assumed titles. Some Judges, other Generals, Colonels, Majors, but none below the grade of Captain. This Col. Drunn would pass anywhere as a gentlemen of the first rank in Society.
Old Mr. Cruger moved from Newtown to Bath, and kept the house lately occupied by Wm. Dunn, on the southeast corner of the public square. Mr. Cruger, I understood, was a native of Denmark--a very pleasant man, full of anecdote and mother wit. He was the father of Gen. Daniel Cruger. Gen. Cruger was a lawyer, and was highly respected by his fellow-citizens. He represented the people of Steuben County in the State Legislature several years, and also the District in the Congress of the United States. He served with me in Canada, in the campaign of 1813, as a Major of Infantry, and was a faithful and vigilant officer. Some years since he removed to the State of Virginia, and died there.
But I am violating my own rule in spinning out such long yarns. My locomotive being on the high pressure system, I find it difficult to arrest its progress. When I come to speak of the trade and commerce of Mud Creek, and the Conhocton and Canisteo Rivers, which then wormed their way over sand-bars and piles of drift-wood into the Chemung River, I shall have something more to say of the enterprise of Mr. Bartles, and of his son, Jacob, and son-in-law, Mr. Harvey.
The town of Prattsburgh was settled with Yankees. They were truly men of steady habits and correct morals. For further particulars I refer the reader to Rev. James H. Hotchkins book in relation to inhabitants of that town.
I have said nothing of the inhabitants of the town of Wayne, and with a few exceptions, would beg leave to be excused. Dr. Benjamin Wells moved from Kinderhook, N.Y., to that town in 1798, if I am correctly informed. He had a numerous family of children. Dr. Wells was a surgeon in the army of Revolution and part of the time belonged to Gen. Washingtons staff. He died in 1812.
Gen. William Kernan, an Irishman by birth, moved into Steuben, I think about the year 1800, and settled in the town of Tyrone. He is an active politician of the Democratic party, but where he is Hunker or Barnburner I am not able to say. Gen. Kernan has been a popular man in the county, and the people have conferred on him for time to time many important offices.
A brief sketch of my own history (Guy McMaster) will doubtless be expected. From the consideration that I have been one of the principal actors amongst the first settlers in Steuben County, and that I have undertaken to be the biographer of other mens lives, I can see no impropriety in giving a sketch of my own. I approach the subject with all due modesty, divesting myself of anything that might have the appearance of egotism; for it cannot be supposed that I have any ambitious views or propensities to gratify, either politically or otherwise, at my advance time of life.
I was born in Ireland, in the year 1770; my ancestors emigrated from Scotland, and settled not far from the city of Londonderry. They belonged to a religious set called Covenanters, who for conscience sake had to fly from their country to a place of greater safety, and out of the reach of their cruel and bigoted persecutors. I was kept at school from the age of four years to fifteen. The character and qualifications of those Irish pedagogues, to whom the education of youth was then committed, is not generally understood in this country. They were cruel and tyrannical in the mode and manner of chastising their pupils. Their savage mode of punishment, for the least offence, was disgraceful.
After leaving school, I chose to learn the trade of a carpenter, and at the age of twenty I resolved to come to America. I therefore embarked on board the ship Mary of Londonderry, for Baltimore. We made a quick and pleasant voyage of five weeks. I landed in Baltimore the first week in June, in good health and spirits. The whole of my property consisted of three suits of clothing, three dozen linen shirts, and a chest of tools. As soon as I landed, I stepped into a new building, where a number of carpenters were at work, and inquired for the master builder. I asked him if he wished to employ a journeyman. He said that he did, and inquired how much wages I asked. My answer was, that I could not tell; that I knew nothing of the usages of the country, as I had but a few minutes before landed from the ship.
Then, said he, I presume your are an Englishman.
Not exactly, sir, I replied. Although I have been a subject of King George the Third, of England, my place of nativity was Ireland, but I am of Scotch descent.
Ah, well, no matter. Come to-morrow morning and try your hand.
I did so, and worked for him two months, when he paid me $75. Thinks I to myself, this is a good beginning--better than to have remained in Ireland, and worked for two shillings and sixpence per day.
I then determined to see more of the land of liberty; for at this time I had never traveled beyond the bound of the city. I had some relations near Chambersburgh, Pa., and I made preparations to visit them. In those days there were no stages, only from city to city on the sea-board. I was advised to purchase and rig out a pack-horse, but as to do this would use up half my means, I concluded to be my own pack-house, and set out on foot for the far west, leaving the heaviest part of my goods and chattels to be forwarded by the first opportunity. I made good headway the first day, but I had put on too much steam and became foot-sore, I stopped for the night at the house of a wealthy German farmer, who had a large family of children males and females, most of them grown up. Mine host and his good-looking Frau could not speak a work of English. He was very inquisitive, but he might as well have talked Hindoo to me as German, as I could answer them only in their own way be a kind of grunt and shake of the head, which meant, I cant understand. So he called his son Jacob (who had been to an English school, and could talk a little English,) to act as interpreter. He told his son to ask me whence I came, and whether or not I was a forfloughter Irishman (that is, in plain English, a d----d Irishman.) Thinks I this is a poser, and I answered judiciously, and I think correctly, under all the circumstances. I told him I was a Scotchman, as in Ireland all Protestants go by the name of Scotch or English, as the case may be. My Dutch landsman appeared to be satisfied, and we had a very social chat that evening to a late hour. The family were all collected, young and old, to hear of the manners and customs of the Scotch. They seemed to take a great liking to me, and it was well for me that I had become quite a favorite, for my feet were so blistered with traveling that I could not move. I remained several days till I got over my lameness. When I called for my bill I was told that all was free, and was invited to remain a few days longer. I set out on my journey, refreshed and encouraged by the hospitality and kindness of that amiable Dutch family.
In three days thereafter I reached Chambersburgh, which is one hundred miles west of Baltimore. I remained there until the spring following, when I discovered in the newspapers an advertisement, signed by Charles Williamson, offering steady employment and high wages to mechanics and laborers who would agree to go with him to the Genesee Country. Thinks I this is a good chance, and I will embrace it. I set out immediately for Northumberland, the head-quarters of Mr. Williamson. On my arrival there, I was told that Capt. W. had started with a numerous company of pioneers to open a road through the wilderness to his place of destination--140 miles.
I have some relations and other particular friends and acquaintances in that country. An uncle of mine, of the name of Moore, who came with his family from Ireland in the year 1790, had settled near the village of Northumberland. I made Uncle Moores my home until I heard of the arrival of Capt. Williamson at Bath, when I again made my preparations to set out for the land of promise, accompanied by my old Uncle Moore, a man who had never traveled more than twenty miles from his old homestead in all his life, excepting on his voyage to America. I told him that if his object in coming to this country was to purchase land for himself and his sons, he ought, without delay, to go to the Genesee country, where he could purchase first-rate land for one dollar per acre. This was all true, though I was somewhat selfish in making the proposition, as I did not like to travel alone through the wilderness, liable to be devoured by panthers, bears and wolves; so I eventually persuaded the old gentlemen to accompany me. The old lady, Aunt Moore packed up provision enough for at least a four weeks journey. We mounted a pair of good horses and set out. We had only traveled twenty miles when we came to a large rapid stream or creek, which from lately heavy rains was bank full. Uncle Moore concluded to retrace his steps homeward. I told him I could not agree to that. Why, we will be laughed at. Well, said he, they may laugh if they please, and would go no further.
Very Well, said I, If thats your determination, I will remain here until the water falls--but I see a house close by, and a large canoe, (the first I have ever seen,) let us go and inquire whether it would be safe to swim our horses alongside of it.
We were told there was no danger, and two men volunteered to put us over. Uncle Moore proposed that I should pass over first with my horse, and if I made a safe voyage, to send back for him. We landed in safety. I got the old gentleman just where I wanted him. He must now go ahead, as his retreat was now cut off. In the meantime I had learned that there were two other large streams ahead of us. The first, called the Loyal Sock, within twelve miles, and the Lycoming, eight miles beyond. We went on our way rejoicing until we came to the Loyal Sock. There was no inhabitant near. What was to be done. I told Uncle Moore we must do one of two things, either swim our horses across, or encamp on the bank till the river falls, but I thought there was no danger in swimming, as it was a deep stream and not rapid. I proposed to go over first, and if I arrived safe, he might follow if he thought proper. I gave him directions to hold his horse quartering up stream, and seize with his right hand the horses mane, and not look down in the water, but straight across to some object on the other side. I passed over without difficulty. The old gentlemen hesitated for some time. At length he plunged in and crossed with ease. We soon after arrived at the bank of the Lycoming Creek. The stream was high and outrageously rapid. We concluded that it was best to wait until it became fordable. We stopped at the house of one Thompson, remained there several days, overhauled our clothing and provisions, and made another fresh start,, and entered the wilderness on Capt. Williamsons new road.
There were no houses between Lycoming and Painted Post, a distance of 95 miles, except one in the wilderness, kept by a semi-barbarian--or in other words, a half-civilized Frenchman, named Anthony Sun. He did not bear a very good character, but we were obliged to put up with him for the night, or encamp in the woods. The next night we slept soundly on a bed of hemlock, on the bank of the Tioga River. Next day, about 12 oclock, we arrived at Fullers Tavern, Painted Post. We ordered dinner of the very best they could afford, which consisted of fried venison and hominy. After dinner we concluded to spend the afternoon in visiting the few inhabitants of the neighborhood, of whom I have before spoken. First we called upon Judge Knox, who entertained us with a description off the country and his own adventures. We next called upon Benjamin Eaton, who kept a little store of goods, and after an introduction by Judge Knox to the rest of the neighborhood, returned to our hotel and put up for the night. In the morning we started for Bath, a distance of eighteen miles. When we reached the mouth of Mud Creek, we found that a house of entertainment had been erected there, and was kept by one Thomas Corbit, who came from Pennsylvania with Williamsons company. Thomas had been a soldier of the Revolution, and could sing an unaccountable number of patriotic songs--Hail Columbia, among the rest. Some thirty years after he became poor and helpless. I procured for him a pension, through Henry Clay, but he did not live long to enjoy it.
We arrived at Bath and put up at the only house of entertainment in the village (if it could be called a house). Its construction was of pitch-pine longs, in two apartments, one story high, kept by a very kind and obliging English family of the name of Metcalfe. This house was the only one in town except a similar one erected for the temporary abode of Capt. Williamson, which answered the purpose of parlor, dining-room, and land office. There were besides some shanties for mechanics and laborers.
I called on Capt. Williamson and introduced myself to him as a mechanic. I told him that I that I had seen his advertisement, and in pursuance of his invitation, had come to ask employment. Very Well, said he, young man, you shall not be disappointed. He told me I should have the whole of his work if I could procure as many hands as was necessary. We entered into an agreement. He asked me when I should be ready to commence business. I told him that I must return to Northumberland and engage some hands there, and send out tolls and baggage up the North branch of the Susquehanna River to Tioga Point, that being the head of boat navigation.
I introduced Uncle Moore to him--told him that he came all the way to see the country, and that if he liked it, he would purchase a farm and move on it with his family. He made a selection four miles west of Bath on which some of his family now reside.
We returned immediately to Northumberland, hired a few young men carpenters. We shipped our tools and baggage on a boat, sold my horse, and we went on foot to Bath, arriving there in five days. One more trip was necessary before we could commence business, as our baggage would be landed at Tioga Point. There were no roads at that time through the narrows on the Chemung for wagons to pass through with safety; therefore eight of us started on foot for the Point. When we came within four miles of Newtown, we discovered a number of canoes owned by some Dutch settlers. I purchased four of them. One of them was a very large one which I bought of a funny old Dutchman, who said his canoe wash de granny from de whole river up. My companions gave me the title of Commodore, and insisted on my taking command of the large canoe. I selected as a shipmate a young man by the name of Gordon who was well skilled in the management of such a craft. We laid in provision for the voyage and a full supply of the joyful. We pushed our little fleet into the river, and with wind and tide in our favor, arrived at Tioga Point in four hours, a distance of twenty-four miles. We shipped our goods, and set out with paddles and long setting poles against a strong current. Then came the tug of war. Many times we were obliged to land, and with a long rope tow our vessels up falls and strong riffles, and in ascending the Conhocton we had to cut through many piles of driftwood. Our progress was slow. We made the trip from the Point (fifty-six miles) in nine days. It was the hardest voyage that I ever undertook. We were the first navigators of the Conhocton river.
By this time Captain Williamson had erected two saw-mills on the Conhocton river, near Bath, and they were in full operation. Houses were erected as fast as thirty or forty hands could finish them. Captain Williamson called on me and asked me how long it would take me to erect and finish a frame building of forty by sixteen feet, one and a half stories high, all green stuff. He told me that he expected a good deal of company in a few days, and there was no house where so many could be entertained. I told him if all the material were delivered on the spot, I would engage to finish it according to his plan in about three days, or perhaps in less time. Very well, sir, said he, if you finish the house in the time you have stated, you shall be rewarded. I told my hands what I had undertaken to do, and the time I had to do it in was limited to three days: I will pay each of you one dollar a day extra. We shall have to work day and night. What say you boys? Their answer was: We will go it. This was followed up by three hearty cheers for Captain Williamson. Next morning I went at it with thirty hands, and in forty-eight hours the house was finished according to agreement. No lime-stone had yet been discovered in that region, nor even stone suitable for walling cellars, therefore the whole materials for building were from necessity confined to timber and nails. Captain Williamson paid me $400 for my forty-eight hours job, and remarked that he would not have been disappointed for double that sum. He published an account of this little affair in the Albany and New York papers. It had some effect of bringing our little settlement into notice. He also gave orders for the erection of a large building of 80 by 40 feet, for a theatre, and for the clearing of one hundred acres, around which was made a beautiful race-course, and another on Genesee Flats, near Williamsburgh. Such amusement had the effect of bringing an immense number of gentlemen into the county every spring and fall. This was done by Capt. W. in order to promote the interest of his employer. Southern sportsmen came with their fullblooded racers; others, again, with bags of money to bet on the horses, and a large proportion of gamblers and blacklegs. Money was plenty, in those days at least, in and about Bath, and was easily obtained and as easily lost. Some men became immensely rich in twenty-four hours, and perhaps the next day were reduced to beggary.
Such amusements and scenes of dissipation led to another species of gambling called land speculation. Any respectable looking gentleman might purchase on a credit of six years, from one mile square to a township of land. The title that Captain Williamson gave was a bond for a deed at the end of the term, provided payment was fully made; otherwise the contract became null and void. Those bonds were transferable and the speculators sold to each other, and gave their bonds for thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars, which was the ruin of all who embarked in such foolish speculations. They became the victims of a monomania. Captain W. believed that this speculation would hasten the settlement of the county, but its tendency proved to be the reverse. Besides, it was the ruin of many honest, enterprising and industrious men.
Captain W. always advised me to keep clear of land speculation, and I resisted the temptation for more than two years. I was doing well enough, clearing several thousand dollars a year, but like many others, did not let well enough alone. My fathers family had arrived in the United States, and had settled in the county of Northumberland, Pa., and I started in the fall of 1794 to visit them. On my way there, I met with one of those speculating gentlemen with whom I was acquainted. He offered me a great bargain, as I supposed, of half a Township, or 12,000 acres. It was the south half of Township No. 6, now called South Dansville. I agreed to pay him for his right twenty-five cents per acre, and paid him $1,000 in hand--and gave him my note for the payment of the balance in annual payments. I went on to New York city where a few had been lucky enough to make good sales. I employed an auctioneer, and offered my lands for sale to the highest bidder at the Tontine Coffee House. It was knocked off at my own bid. I returned sick enough of land jobbing, but held on to my land until the next races in Bath, When I made a sale to one Mr. John Brown, a very respectable merchant and farmer of Northumberland Co., Pa. He paid me in merchandise $1,000, and gave his bonds for the balance. He shortly after failed in business and I lost the whole of my hard earnings.
The next project that claimed his attention was the improvement of our streams. They were then called creeks, but when they came to be improved, and were made navigable for arks and rafts, their names were changed to those of rivers. The Colonel ordered the Conhocton and Mud Creek to be explored by a competent committee, and a report to be made, and an estimate of the probable expense required to make them navigable for arks and rafts. The report of the committee was favorable. A number of hands were employed to move obstructions and open a passage to Pained Post--which was done, though the channel still remained very imperfect and dangerous. The question was then asked, who shall be the first adventurer? We had not as yet any surplus produce to spare, but lumber was a staple commodity, and was in great demand at Harrisburg, Columbia, and Baltimore. I therefore came to the conclusion to try the experiment next spring. I went to work and built an ark 75 foot long and 16 feet wide, and in course of the winter got out a cargo of pipe and hogshead staves, which I knew would turn to good account should I arrive safely at Baltimore. All things being ready, with cargo on board, and a good pitch of water and a first-rate set of hands, we put out our unwieldy vessel into the stream, and away we went at a rapid rate, and in about half an hour reached Whites Island, five miles below Bath. There we ran against a large tree that lay across the river. We made fast our ark to the shore, cut away the tree, repaired damages, and next morning took a fair start. It is unnecessary to state in detail the many difficulties we encountered before we reached Painted Post, but in about six days we got there. The Chemung River had fallen so low that were obliged to wait for a rise of water. In four or five days we were favored with a good pitch of water. We made a fresh start, and in four days ran 200 miles, to Mohontongo, a place 20 miles from Harrisburgh, were, through the ignorance of the pilot, we ran upon a bar of rocks in the middle of the river, where it was one mile wide. There we lay twenty-four hours, no one coming to our relief or to take us on shore. At last a couple of gentlemen came on board, and told us it was impossible to get the ark off until a rise of water. One of the gentlemen enquired, apparently very carelessly, what it cost to build an ark of that size, and how many thousand staves we had on board. I suspected his object, and answered him in his own careless manner. He asked if I did not wish to sell the ark and cargo. I told him I would prefer going through if there was any chance of a rise of water--that pipe-staves, in Baltimore, were worth $80 per thousand, but if you wish to purchase, and will make me a generous offer, I will think of it. He offered me $600. I told him that was hardly half the price of the cargo at Baltimore, but if he would give me $800 I would close a bargain with him. He said he had a horse, saddle and bridle on shore, worth $200, which he would add to the $600. We all went on shore. I examined the horse, and considered him worth the $200. We closed the bargain, and I started for Bath. I lost nothing by the sale, but I had succeeded in reaching Baltimore, I should have cleared $500.
The same spring, Jacob Bartles, and his brother-in-law Mr. Harvey, made their way down Mud Creek with one ark and some rafts. Bartles Mill Pond and Mud Lake afforded water sufficient at any time, by drawing a gate, to carry arks and rafts out of the creek. Harvey lived on the west branch of the Susquehanna, and understood the management of such crafts.
Thus it was ascertained to a certainty, that, by improving those streams, we could transport our produce to Baltimore--a distance of 300 miles--in the spring of the year, for a mere trifle.
In the year 1795 I went to Albany on horseback. There was no road from Cayuga Lake to Utica better than an Indian trail, and no accommodations that I found better than Indian wigwams. It may save me some trouble if I tell what took me there, and all about my business. I volunteered to give a history of my own life, and I shall redeem my pledge so far my memory will enable me to do so. I have got it into my head to dispose of my chest of tools, and turn merchant. I therefore settled my accounts with Col. Williamson. He gave me a draft on a house in Albany for $1,500, accompanied by letters of recommendation. I laid in a large assortment of merchandise, and shipped them on board a Mohawk boat. Being late in the fall the winter set in, and the boat got frozen up in the river about thirty miles west of Schenectady, at a place called the Cross Widows, otherwise called the Widow Veeders. Here the goods lay for about two months, till a sleigh-road was opened from Utica to Cayuga Lake. About the last of January I started with sleighs after my goods, and in two weeks arrived at Bath.
I have already mentioned that Col. Williamson expended a good deal of money in improving a number of farms, and erecting a number of buildings on them, which gave employment to many hands. These hands were my best customers, and paid up their accounts every three months by orders on Williamson; but orders came from England to stop such improvements, and shortly after Col. W. resigned his agency. Those tenants and laborers got in my debt, at this time, about $4,000, and in one night the whole of them cleared out for Canada. They were a sad set of unprincipled scamps. They were a part of that sprinkling of Yankees that came to make money. There was not one foreigner, nor a Virginian, nor a Marylander amongst them. They were a part of the first settlers in the town of Wayne. I waited some time till they got settled down in Upper Canada, and then started to pay them a visit. At that time there were no white inhabitants between Genesee River and Niagara, a distance of about 90 miles. I lodged one night with the Tonnewanta Indians, and the next day crossed the river to Newark. I found some of my customers at York or Toronto, and some at the Bay of Canty. I employed a lawyer named McDonald, who advised me to get all I could from them in the first place, and he would undertake to collect the balance if they were worth it. They paid me about $200. I heard that some of them had gone up Lake Erie, and were in Detroit. I re-crossed Lake Ontario, went to Fort Erie, and up the lake in the old U. S. brig Adams. She was the only vessel on the lake, except one small schooner. I was nine days on the passage. I found some of my runaways at Detroit, but did not receive one cent of them. I set my face homewards--was taken sick on my passage down the lake, and lay six weeks at Fort Erie. The physicians pronounced my case hopeless, but owing to the kindness and attention of Mrs. Crow, my landlady, and of Col. Warren, the commissary of the garrison, I recovered. I at length reached home, after an absence of three months. My lawyer McDonald was shortly after drowned in the crossing the lake. It was the last I heard of him or of my papers.
My next start in business was attended with a little better success. My brother Charles kept a small store in Bath, and in the year 1800 we entered into partnership. I moved to Dansville, opened a store, and remained there one year. I did a safe business, and took in the winter 4,000 bushels of wheat and 200 barrels of pork--built four arks, at Arkport, on the Canisteo River, and ran them down to Baltimore. There were the first arks that descended the Canisteo. My success in trade that year gave me another fair start. My brother, in the mean time, went to Philadelphia to lay in a fresh supply of goods for both stores; but on his way home he died very suddenly at Tioga Point. He had laid in about $30,000 worth of goods. I returned to Bath with my family--continued my store at Dansville--opened one at Penn Yan, and sent a small assortment to Pittstown, Ontario County.
At this time I purchased the Cold Spring Mill site, half way between Bath and Crooked lake, of one Skinner, a Quaker, with 200 acres of land, and purchased from the Land Office and others about 800 acres, to secure the whole privilege. Here I erected a flouring-mill, saw-mill, fulling-mill, and carding machine. I perceived that wheat would be the principal staple of the farmers, and I also know from experience that there would be great risk in running wheat to Baltimore down a very imperfect and dangerous navigation, and the risk in running flour, well packed, comparatively small. The flouring mill, with two run of stones, I completed in the best manner in three months. I sent handbills into all the adjoining counties, offering a liberal price for wheat delivered at my mills, or at any stores in Dansville, Penn Yan and Pittstown. I received in the course of the winter 20,000 bushels of wheat, two-thirds of which I floured and packed at my mills; built in the winter eight arks at Bath, and four on the Canisteo. In the spring I ran the flour to Baltimore, and the wheat to Columbia. The river was in fine order, and we made a prosperous voyage and a profitable sale. I cleared enough that spring to pay all my expenditures and improvements on the Cold Spring property. After disposing of my cargo, I went to Philadelphia and settled with my merchants, laid in a very extensive assortment of goods, loaded two boats at Columbia, and sent them up river to Painted Post.
My next project was to build a schooner on Crooked Lake, of about thirty tons burden, for the purpose of carrying wheat from Penn Yan to the head of the lake. I advertised the schooner Sally as a regular trader on Crooked Lake. The Embargo to the contrary notwithstanding, (for Jeffersons long embargo had them got into operation.) Some of my worthy democratic brethren in the vicinity of Penn Yan charged me with a want of patriotism for talking so contemptuously of that wholesome retaliatory measure. I received a very saucy and abusive letter from a very large, portly, able-bodied gentlemen of Yates County, whose corporation was much larger then his intellect. This famous epistle raised my dander to a pretty high pitch, and I answered his letter in his own style, and concluded by saying that if Jefferson would not immediately raise his embargo, I should go to work and dig a canal from Crook Lake to the Conhocton River, and the next he would hear of the schooner Sally would be, that she had run in, in distress, to Passamaquaddy or some other Northern harbor. This brought our correspondence to a close.
I erected a store-house at each end of the lake. The vessel and store-house cost me $1,400. The whole, as it turned out, was a total loss, as the lake was frozen over at the time I most wanted to use it. The farmers did not then carry their wheat to market before winter.
I have given notes the previous winter to the farmers for wheat to the amount of about $3,000, payable in June following, but after opening my new goods, I took in money fast enough to meet the payment of my notes when presented, which established my credit with the farmers throughout the West, far and near. There was not at that time any other market for wheat, until the great canal was finished as far as Cayuga. Wheat was brought to my mill from all parts of Seneca and Ontario Counties and the Genesee River. After Col. Troup came into the agency, he authorized me to receive wheat from any of the settlers that wished to make payments in the land-office, and pay in my drafts on the office for the same.
Indians were very numerous at that time. Their Hunting-camps were within short distances of each other all over the county. The Indian trade was then an object. I hired a chief of the name of Kettle-Hoop, from Buffalo, to teach me the Seneca language. He spoke good English. All words that related to the Indian trade or traffic I wrote down in one column, and opposite gave the interpretation in Seneca, and so I enlarged my dictionary from day to day for three or four weeks, until I got a pretty good knowledge of the language. I then set out on a trading expedition amongst the Indian encampments, and took my teacher along, who introduced me to his brethren as Seos cagena, that is, very good man. They laughed very heartily at my pronunciation. I told them I had a great many goods at Tanighnaguanda, that is Bath. I told them to come and see me, an bring all their furs, and peltry, and gammon, (that is hams of deer,) and I would buy them all, and pay them in goods very cheap. They asked me, Tegoye ezeethgath and Negaugh, that is, Have you rum and wine, or fire water. That fall, in the hunting seasons, I took in an immense quantity of furs, peltry and deer hams. Their price for gammon, large or small, was two shillings. I salted and smoked that winter about 3,000 hams, and sold them next spring in Baltimore and Philadelphia for two shillings per pound. At this time there was an old bachelor Irishman in Bath, that kept a little store or groggery, by the name of Jemmy McDonald, who boarded himself, and lived in his pen in about as good style as a certain nameless four-legged animal. He became very jealous of me after I had secured the whole of the Indian trade. The Indians used to complain of Jamie, and say that he was tos cos, that is not good--to much cheat Jimmy. When I had command of the army at Fort George, the Upper Canada, about 600 of these Indians were attached to my command.
The next spring I started down the rivers Conhocton and Canisteo, with a large fleet of arks loaded with flour, wheat, port and other articles. The embargo being in full force, the price of flour and wheat was very low. At Havre de Grace I made fast two or three arks loaded with wheat to the stern of a small schooner which lay anchored in the middle of the stream, about half a mile from shore. Being ebb tide, together with the current of the stream, we could not possibly land the arks. Night setting in, there was not time to be lost in getting them to shore, as there was a strong wind down the bay, and it would be impossible to save them if they should break loose from the schooner. I left the arks in charge of William Edwards, of Bath, whilst I went on shore to procure help to tow the arks to shore. Whilst I was gone the wind increased, and the master of the schooner hallooed to Edwards, who was in one of the arks, that he would cut loose, as there was danger that he would be dragged into the bay and get lost, and he raised his axe to cut the cables. Edward swore if he cut the cables he would shoot him down on the spot, and raising a handspike, took deliberate aim. It being dark, the Captain could not distinguish between a handspike and a rifle. This brought him to terms. He dropped the axe, and told
Edwards that if he would engage that I should pay him for his vessel in case she should be lost, he would not cut loose. Edwards pledged himself that I would be so.
When I got on shore, I went to a man named Smith, who had a fishery, and a large boat with eighteen oars, and about forty Irishman in his employ, and offered to hire his boat and hands. He was drunk and told me with an oath, that I and my arks might go to the d---l. He would neither let the boat nor his hands go. I went into the shanty of the Irishman and putting on an Irish brogue, told them of my distress, The d--l take Smith, we will help our countryman, by my shoul boys, said the leader. They manned the boat, and the arks were brought to the shore in double-quick time. They refused to take pay, and I took them to a tavern and ordered them as much as they chose to drink. My friend, Edwards and those jolly Irishman saved my arks and cargo. Edwards is yet alive, and resides in Bath.
The loss I sustained in flour and wheat this year was great, but I did not feel it be to any serious interruption to my business. On my return, I concluded that I must suspend the purchase of wheat while that ruinous measure, the embargo, was in force, and fall upon some other scheme and project. So I opened a large distillery, which opened a market to the farmers for their rye-corn, and even wheat, which I converted into fire-water, as the Indians very properly call it. Jeffersons embargo did not injure the sale of it, but the contrary, as whiskey was then worth by the barrel from eight to ten shillings per gallon, and all men, women, and children drank of it freely in those days. I converted much of my whiskey into gin, brandy and cordials, in order to suit the palates of some of my tippling customers.
I purchased in the fall droves of cattle and sent them to Philadelphia. I also stall-fed forty head of the best and largest cattle in winter, which I shipped on arks to Columbia, and drove to Philadelphia, where they sold to good advantage. This mode of sending fat cattle to market astonished the natives as we passed down the river. It proved to be a profitable business.
In the year 1814 I sold my Cold Spring Mills to Henry A. Townsend for $14,000. I erected other mills at Bath. In 1816 I ran down to Baltimore about 1,000,000 feet of pine lumber and 100,000 feet of cherry boards and curled maple. I chartered three brigs and shipped my cherry and curled maple and 500 barrels of flour to Boston. I sold my flour at a fair price, but my lumber way a dead weight on my hands. At length, the inventor of a machine for spinning wool by water power, offered to sell me one of his machines for $2,500, and take lumber in payment. I closed a bargain with him, which induced me to embark in woolen manufacture. I obtained a loan from the state, and was doing well until Congress reduced the tariff for the protection of home industry to a mere nominal tax. The country immediately after was flooded with foreign fabrics, but few woolen factories survived the shock.
I will now close my narrative, so far as it relates to my own business concerns, with a single remark, that although I have been unfortunate at the close of my business, yet I flatter myself that all will admit that I have done nothing to retard the growth and prosperity of the village of Bath, or of the inhabitants of Steuben country generally, especially at a time when there were no facilities for the farmer of the county to transport their produce to market other than that which was afforded them by my exertions. An whether the people of Steuben or myself have received the most benefit I leave for them to determine.
It would appear to be of very little consequence for me to state the number of civil offices that I held during my residence in Steuben county. It will only show how far I had the good will of the people. First, I was appointed Justice of the Peace; next, a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and Surrogate of the County. In 1816 I was appointed High Sheriff of the county, which office I held four years. I held the office of Post Master of the village of Bath, about eight years. The good people of Steuben also elected me three years to succession to present them in the Legislature of the State of New York.--For all these favors I felt then, and ever shall feel grateful.
This brief narrative is nothing more than a mere synopsis of some of the principal events of my life during the last sixty years. I find that all labor, whether of the hand or head, have become burdensome, which will be sufficient apology for its insufficiencies.
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