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Painted Hills Genealogy Society
 

CANISTEO

(From the History of Steuben County, New York by Clayton 1879)
Submitted by PHGS member, Pam Davis 

Physical Features

Canisteo was one of the original towns of Steuben County, formed in March, 1796. A part of Troupsburgh was taken off in 1808, Hornellsville in 1820, and parts of Jasper and Greenwood in 1827. A part of the town was annexed to Troupsburgh in 1818. It is an interior town, lying a little southwest of the centre of the county, being bounded north by Howard, east by Cameron, South by Jasper and Greenwood, and west by Hartsville. Its surface is chiefly a hilly upland, broken by the deep valleys of the streams. The Canisteo River runs through the northern part, with a valley half a mile wide, and with hills 450 feet high on each side. The principal creeks running from the south into the Canisteo are Bennett’s and Col. Bill’s Creeks, flowing throught narrow, deep valleys, surrounded by steep hills. The soil is chiefly a clayey and gravelly loam, with rich alluvium in the valleys of the streams; some of the richest lands in the county being the Bennett Flats, at the mouth of Bennett’s Creek.

Early Settlement.

The Canisteo Valley was among the earliest-settled portions of Steuben County. Early in 1788, Solomon Bennett, Capt. John Jamison, Uriah Stephens, and Richard Crosby, from the Wyoming region in Pennsylvania, started on an exploring expedition up the western tributaries of the Susquehanna. They passed up the Chemung and the Conhocton, but finding no land to suit them, crossed over the hills and discovered the beautiful valley of the Canisteo. This valley, about half a mile wide, was bordered by steep hill-sides from 400-500 feet high, inclosing a forest of heavy timber for a considerable distance, but terminating in an open flat of several hundred acres, covered with grass "so high that a horse and his rider could pass through it almost unperceived". The explorers decided to purchase two townships on the river, which included the open flats. In the summer of1789, a company was sent to the flats to cut and stack hay for the cattle which were to be driven on in the fall. The first settlers conveyed their provisions, baggage, and families, from Newtown (Elmira), on a seven-ton boat, while four sons of Mr. Uriah Stephens drove the cattle along the shore. The ascent, of the river was no easy task, as frequently they were obliged to cut away the trunks of trees, and dams of the driftwood to clear a passage for their boat. Sometimes they encountered rapids, when all hands were obliged to go on shore and tow their craft by means of a long rope. Having gained the upper flats, the cattle were turned loose to feast upon the luxuriant grass, while the pioneers proceeded to build a house of logs 26 feet long and 24 feet wide. There was only one room below. Four fireplaces were excavated in the four corners of the room, and with plenty of wood the settlers passed the winter quite comfortably. Two families spent the winter in this log palace, and in the spring two others were admitted, each occupying a corner and arranging their domestic affairs in their own way, with as much good-humor as if their apartments had been separated by brick and mortar.

In the spring of 1790, Solomon Bennett, Uriah Stephens Jr, and Col. John Stephens, with their families, joined the new settlement. They immediately commenced breaking a portion of the open flats. Four yoke of oxen were necessary to force the old-fashioned plow through the thickly-matted roots of this miniature prairie. After sowing their wheat and planting their corn, they constructed an enormus log fence, inclosing about 400 acres of land. From the present site of the village of Canisteo down to the next township, about six miles, they laid out twelve lots across the valley, and assigned them by lot to the several proprietors.* The first house was built on what has since been known as the Bennett or Pompelly farm. The first families who occupied the place were those of Uriah Stephens, Sr., and Richard Crosby; then, as we have said, came Solomon Bennet, Uriah Stephens, Jr, and Col. John Stephens, in the spring of 1790. These were followed the same spring by Jedediah Stephens, John Redford, and Andrew Bennett, making quite an important addition to the settlement. Solomon Bennett was one of the leading spirits. He built the first grist-mill on the Canisteo in 1793. It stood on Bennett’s Creek, about half a mile from its mouth. It was burned in a year or two. Before this mill was built, the settlers carried their grain to Shepard’s Mill, on the Susquehanna, nearlyone hundred miles. After the burning of the mill, Mr. Bennett went to New York to procure machinery for another, but became engaged in other business, and failed to supply the wants of his neighbors. George Hornell, aftwerwards known as Judge Hornell, settled in the upper township, now Hornellsville, in 1793, and was induced to build a mill on the site since known as Hornell’s Mills. The settlers were so impatient for its erection that they turned out and prepared the timber voluntarily. Solomon Bennett kept the first store, and Jedediah Stephens the first tavern, James McBurney, of Ireland first came to Canisteo as a peddler. He bought Great Lot No. 12, in the upper township, of Solomon Bennett, and other lands; went to Ireland, and upon his return settled some of his countrymen upon his lands.

_____________________________________________________________

*The lots in Canisteo and Hornellsville were drawn as follows:

Canisteo - No.

Arthur Erwin - 1

Christian Keiss - 2

Solomon Bennett - 3

Solomon Bennett - 4

Joel Thomas - 5

John Stephens - 6 

John Jamison - 7

Uriah Stephens - 8

Uriah Stephens Jr. - 9

William Wynkoop - 10

James Hadley - 11

Elisha Brown - 12

Hornellsville

James Hadley - 1

John Jamison - 2 

Arthur Erwin - 3

Christian Keiss - 4

Joel Thomas - 5

Uriah Stephens Jr. - 6

John Stephens - 7

William Wynkoop - 8

Uriah Stephens Sr. - 9

Solomon Bennett - 10

Elisha Brown - 11

Solomon Bennett - 12

The first birth was that of Olive Stephens, November 18, 1790. The first marriage was that of Richard Crosby and Hannah Baker, and the first death that of Henry Stephens. 

The early settlers of Canisteo frequently recognized among the Indians, who came to hunt in that vicinity, some of their old antagonists at Wyoming; but old enmities were generally forgotten, and the savages and settlers lived together on the most amicable terms.

Under the old organization of Ontario County, the settlement of Canisteo was in the town of Williamsburgh, which at the time embraced the indefinite amount of territory in what is now Steuben and adjacent counties. Jedediah Stephens was the first supervisor of that town and attended the meetings of the board at Canandaigua in 1794 and 1795. The town-meeting was held at the house of Uriah Stephens, and seven votes were cast. Solomon Bennett is said to have been the captain of the first military company organized in Steuben County.

At the time of the first settlement, the Indians were accustomed to come down from Squakie Hill several times a year to engage in horse and foot racing and other rude sports. At such times the uproar of their festivals made the valley appear like a den of maniacs. The Indians, though "quick as cats" and "limber as snakes," were not a match for their better trained and more experienced antagonists. On these festive occasions the Indians came down with all their households, women, children, dogs and horses, but conducted themselves with great civility, giving their hosts no cause of complaint.

Elias Stephens was a strong, athletic man, and a skillful wrestler. At one time the Indians proposed a wrestling-match between him and a young chief, whom they had selected and trained for the occasion. Mr. Stephens consented, and at the first round hurled the young savage to the ground with a broken thigh. The chief’s backers were angry, and threatened to kill the victor, but the affair was finally made up, and the unfortunate chief was borne from the scene of his defeat on a deer-skin stretched between two poles.

The Indians sometimes made a military display, marching forth upon the flats to the number of three hundred warriors, in full costume, to exhibit the grand war-dance. They made a fire about eight rods long, and paraded around with hideous chants, and a great clattering of little deer-skin drums. Elias Stephens, by his display of strength and resolution, became an object of respect to the Indians, who well knew that he dared to do all he promised. Fourteen men were once at work in Bennett’s mill-yard, when sixteen of the savages came on whooping and brandishing their knives, and drove the men from the yard. Mr. Stephens was immediately informed of this raid, and seizing a club, he hastened to the mill, where the Indians were capering about and brandishing their knives in great glee.

" Put up your knives and be off," said he, "or I will beat all your brains out!" The Indians deeming that discretion was the better part of valor, put their knives in their belts, and quietly walked away.

About 1820 a road was opened up Bennett’s Creek as far as the point known as the Salt Springs. At an early period saline water had been discovered at this place, and several unsuccessful efforts had been made to manufacture salt from the water. The water at the surface was found not sufficiently strong, and afterwards an attempt to find good brines was made by boring, but it was finally given up as fruitless.

At this place there was a log house at the time the road opened, otherwise it was entirely wild from William S. Thomas’ through. There was a man by the name of Charles Moore, who owned a farm near where Purdy Creek unites with Bennett’s Creek. He was among the early settlers, if not one of the pioneers. He was living on this farm as early as 1810, and his family was one well known in the valley of the Canisteo. One of the daughters became the wife of Uriah F. Stephens, Esq., and of the daughters, the latter, one is Mrs. David Woolever of Hornellsville, and another Mrs. William Hendershott. Mr. Moore, also had one or more sons and two daughters, Mrs. Enoch Ordway and Mrs. Atwell Cook, of Canisteo, and some of the descendants are still living in the town. The place was afterwards occupied (perhaps owned) by John Moore, who was a relative, but not of the same family.

There were two John Moores in the town; one kept a public house near Hadley’s Eddy, on the river, and was called "Big John", being a large man; and the one who lived on Bennett’s Creek was called "Little Johnny," by way of distinction, although he was a man of at least medium size and weight, his only peculiarity being his unusually short legs. Little Johnny lived in 1810 on the turnpike, in a little log house. The place has since been known as the Sweet farm. An old acquaintance, who knew Little Johnny at the time of which we are speaking, describes him as "a man in the best sense of the word, intellectual, kind, generous, and good neighbor and a valued citizen." Of Irish descent, he entertained but a small amount of good-will towards the government who’s allegiance he had renounced, and evinced his love and attachment for his adopted country by taking the field in her defense, in the war with Great Britain in 1812. Just before the war he was in Canada, with a friend, and in passing a fortification he observed that some of the pickets were broken off, and he remarked to his friend that "if a person was disposed, he might easily get through them." The remark was overheard by a sentinel, and soon Johnny and his friend found themselves under arrest. They were taken before the commanding officer of the fort, who very sternly inquired of Moore if he had made the remark. Johnny replied very frankly, "I did sir." "And would you try it?" inquired the officer. "I would, indeed, if my country called me," was Johnny’s prompt reply. The officer then offered him large inducements, in British uniform and gold, to enlist in the British service, but Johnny could not be moved from his patriotic loyalty to his adopted country. The next year found him an American soldier in the disastrous battle of Queenstown, where he was wounded and made prisoner.

A pleasant little anecdote is related of Moore, at his surrender in this battle, exhibiting his courage and humor. In the fight which was a hand to hand bayonet encounter, Moore and a few of his companions had got separated a considerable distance from the main body, and were not included in the general surrender. A soldier was sent down to them to order them up to surrender their arms. Moore had posted himself on a barrel of whiskey which they found in that part of the field, and drawn up his half dozen men in order of battle around him, and stoutly refused to surrender unless certain conditions were granted. The soldier returned and reported, whereupon an officer and a sufficient number of men were sent to insure compliance. The officer found Moore still in position on his barrel of whiskey. The officer demanded surrender. Moore replied that he was "ready to capitulate, but must have terms." The officer, pleased with Johnny’s humor, inquired what terms he demanded. Johnny replied that, "his men be permitted to march into camp under shoulder-arms, and that each one be allowed to fill his canteen from the barrel on which he stood." The officer humorously acceded to the terms proposed, and the canteens were filled, and Johnny, at the head of his column, marched into camp and surrendered. He was soon after paroled and sent into the American lines, but he did not for some time after leave the service.

Another adventure used to be told of Moore, illustrating his courage and endurance. Early in the history of the Valley, Moore, and several others made an excursion to Cryder’s Creek, a small stream in Allegany County. On their return, they struck through the woods from somewhere in the neighborhood of Andover to Canisteo. It was in midwinter, the snow was deep, the weather cold and the distance was a good day’s travel with ordinarily good roads. Towards night, and while yet a good way from the end of their journey, our travelers began to feel excessively weary, and especially Moore, who was very short-legged; but all saw the necessity of presevering and even of quickening their pace, as night was fast approaching. At length, Moore gave out and refused to go farther. The others, who were less exhausted, urged and entreated him to continue his efforts, but nothing could move him to go farther and the party, thinking that all must perish if they attempted to spend the night there, finally left him and urged their way through. The sad story was soon told through the neighborhood, and a part early next morning started to find Moore, expecting that he had certainly perished during the night. But after going a few miles, what was their astonishment and joy to met Johnny puffing his way through the snow and making as good headway as his abbreviated appendages would permit. On inquiring of him how he had kept from freezing during the night, he said that after resting awhile, he followed on till he came to a hollow log, into which he crawled as far as he could and soon fell asleep. After sleeping awhile he was awakened by finding something was crawling on his feet. The creature, he said, lay quietly till nearly daylight and then quietly left. He said he lay warm and rested well. In the morning Moore backed out and found by the tracks that his bed-fellow had been a huge bear. His friends were so incredulous that they followed the back track to the log where Moore had slept, and found it even as he had said.

Mr. Moore, though he lived and died in humble life, bequeathed to his posterity a rich inheritance,--"a good name," which we are assured is far better than great riches.

In passing up Bennett’s Creek, the first settler above Johnny Moore was Joshua Stephens, a son of the Rev. Jedediah Stephens. At what time he settled there we are not aware, but he is mentioned by an old citizen as being there in 1819, and the clearing was then a small beginning; a small log house stood on the right hand, and a barn on the left of the road, and only a few acres were cleared. It was, however a very desirable location, embracing a full sweep through the flats, and offering to industry a reward in the future which his worthy sons have made full proof of. Joshua Stephens was a man of kind and amiable disposition, and was highly esteemed as a neighbor and citizen. He married Miss Rhoda Stephens, a daughter of Uriah Stephens, Esq. Two sons, Clinton, and George, still occupy the old homestead where their father lived and died. One of the daughters married Mr. Henry Hamilton, one of the most enterprising farmers in this section of the country. Mr. Stephens was cut down in the very vigor of manhood, and when earthly prospects were most inviting, flattering, and full of hope. With an estimable lady for a companion, a promising little family of beautiful children, a farm, susceptible of being one of the most desirable in the neighborhood, there seemed but little between him and earthly felicity; but in one sad hour the whole was shrouded in gloom. He went out one evening, as he was in the habit of doing, after his cows, but not returning and night coming on, the family became alarmed, and search was instituted. He was found the next morning a mile or more from the house, on the roadside, shot through the body and dead. He had evidently traveled some distance after being shot, and his course was indicated by traces of blood. It was supposed that he thought himself fatally wounded and had made a great effort to reach the road, so that his body might be more readily found. It is supposed that this murder was committed by two Indians, who were encamped nearby. The Indians were soon after arrested and put in jail, and after a time were tried for the murder. They were ably defended through the influence of their old friends—Jones & Clute, of Geneseo. The Indians were found not guilty, although a strong case was made by the people against them. Little doubt remained in the minds of the people that the Indians shot him. The names of the Indians were Sundown and Curly Eye, and were well known to the early settlers. The latter was a professed doctor, and went by the title of Dr. Curly Eye. Decon Mowry Thacher, now living in Hornellsville, seventy-six years of age, and still active and vigorous, knew the Indians well; had an intimate acquaintance with Mr. Stephens, and was familiar with the circumstances of the tragic death and the solemn funeral of the murdered citizen. He said in 1868, "Though some forty years have since elapsed, I have a most vivid recollection of that funeral. When the corpse was about to be removed from the house, his aged and venerable father, trembling under a weight of years, and his heart smitten to the dust under his crushing sorrow, said to the audience, "Stop, friends, a moment; I want to pray before you remove the body." The dear old man fell upon his knees, and the first words of his prayer were, "Oh God! Assuage my grief." Few eyes were dry when he had finished. All hearts sympathized with the aged saint. But he had gained the victory. He arose apparently calm and submissive"*

{*In 1830, Curley Eye was visited on the Genesee by Hon. Jeremiah Baker, and he informed the latter that Sundown’s intention was to have shot Ezra Stephens instead of Joshua, and that he was opposed to the murder and advised Sundown not to shoot.}

The Indians abandoned their hunting-grounds immediately, and very few of them were ever seen in this quarter afterwards.

A short distance above Mr. Stephens lived William S. Thomas, who accumulated a fair competence and lived to an old age. He left but one child.

Soon after the road was opened from Mr. Thomas’ to the Salt Spring (1820), John H. Stephens, son of Col. John, made a beginning in the midst of this nine or ten mile wilderness, with not a neighbor within five miles of him, Mr. Thomas being the nearest. Christian Coby about this time settled on the creek, and Phineas Stephens brother of John H., began an improvement the same or the following year. Batchelder and Woodard made settlements a few years later, and later still, Manning and Ordway. A large proportion of the valley of the creek was covered with a dense forest of white pine. Mills were soon put up all along the creek, which abounded with excellent water-power, and soon a large and profitable business was done in the manufacture of lumber. The timber being now exhausted, the fine farms are opened up the whole length of the creek.

John H. Stephens had quite a large family. Two of his sons, Jerome and Van Buren, are resident and active business men of Hartsville. One of the daughters is Mrs. Costen, of Hornellsville; and another, Mrs. King, of the same village. Two are in Andover, two in Greenwood, one in Hartsville, and one in Portage, Allegany Co. Mr. Stephens himself quit the scenes of his arduous toil many years ago, and is spending the evening of his life in Hornellsville.

Phineas Stephens was located a little farther down the creek, and opened the farm afterwards known as the Stephens farm. He did not live long to enjoy the fruits of his toil, but died in the meridian of manhood, regarded by all who knew him as a good neighbor, and a valuable citizen. His wife was a daughter of Rev. Jedediah Stephens (the late Mrs. Jeremiah Baker). Phineas had four children, --two sons, Edwin and Harvey, and two daughters, Melissa and Rachel. The former married Mr. Hector C. Baker, and the latter, Hon. John Santee, one of the most successful business men and influential citizens of Hornellsville. Daniel McHenry Stephens, another of the sons of Col. John Stephens, settled and still resides on Slate Creek. Daniel had four sons and two daughters. One of the sons, and both of daughters, are in Michigan; the other three sons are still engaged in agriculture near the old home.

Col. John Stephens, of whose children and grandchildren we have just spoken, moved upon the creek in 1822, and built the mills known as the Stephens Mills. The country was still new and the settlers few and far between. The mills in their first construction were adapted to the then present wants of the country rather than to prospective requirements of an increasing population. In 1830 the property passed into the hands of his son, Hon. Alexander H. Stephens. His wife was the daughter of Levi Davis, who settled in that part of the county in 1825, and became the owner of the Salt Springs property. Alexander H. Stephens had one son, Redmond D. Stephens, who was by profession a lawyer, and a young man of fine education and much promise. Soon after completing his education, with the enterprising spirit of the old stock, he went West in search of a field adapted to his energies and ambition. He found it in Marion, Ia., where, mainly by his own energy of character, he was made himself an enviable standing and accumulated a fortune. One of the daughter is now Mrs. Crandall, also a resident of Marion, Ia., another married a Joseph Woodbury, proprietor of the Stephens Mills in Greenwood; and one daughter we believe still resides at the old home.

Col. John Stephens, the old patriarch of the families, had two other children, to whom brief allusion has been made, --Elias Stephens, Esq., of Canisteo, and Mrs. Dr. Olin. The former has two sons and four daughters, all of whom, except one son reside in Canisteo. Mrs. Dr. Olin had two sons and one daughter. Both of the sons, Marcellus, and Marshall, reside in Hornellsville. Vernetta, the daughter married Jedediah Baker, son of Hon. Jeremiah Baker, of Canisteo, and resides in Iowa.

William Jamison, son of John Jamison, one of the original pioneers, is now living on the old farm where his father settled. He has one son, William Jamison, Jr. Residing on the homestead, and one daughter, Mrs. Ira Day, of South Dansville.

Of the large Hallett family, among whom were Dr. Samuel Hallett, Nathan and Thomas Hallett, only one is now living, viz, James E. Hallett, who resides at Adrian in this county.

Col. John Stephens was one of the original pioneers, or famous ten, who were enumerated as heads of families in numbers three and four in the fifth and six ranges of towns in 1790. The other nine were James Hadley, William Baker, Jedediah Stephens, Uriah Stephens, Uriah Stephens, Jr., Richard Crosby, Solomon Bennett, Andrew Bennett, and John Jamison. This included all the heads of families in the Canisteo Valley, from Addison to Arkport, at that date.

Levi Davis was also among the early settlers on Bennett’s Creek; he moved in in 1825. He was a man of active business habits, and early, in addition to his agricultural operations, introduced merchandise on a small scale. It gradually enlarged under his skillful management and that of his sons, until it assumed for many years the proportions and dignity of a large and remunerative business.

The Hon. Redmond Davis, one of the sons of Levi Davis, and merchant at Greenwood, has represented the Third Assembly District of Steuben County in the State Legislature, where he did honor to himself and his constituency as an efficient and faithful member.

"In 1820," says one of our oldest citizens, "I passed up the valley of Bennett’s Creek through a dense forest from William S. Thomas’ to what was then the Salt Springs, at which point there was a little spot cleared and a small log house. Now, upon that site there is a fine, flourishing little village." In the winter of that year the same party, in company with others, passed from the Salt Springs to Independence, a distance of thirteen miles, over a road that had just been opened by Nathaniel Thacher, for the Pulteney estate. There was then not a house nor an acre of land cleared between the Salt Springs and Independence. The party came out at or near Peter Teater’s on what is known as the Forsyth farm. After being refreshed by the kind hospitality of Mr. Peter Teater the party returned the same day to Elder David Smith’s, in Troupsburgh, from whence they had started in the morning.

Organization

The first records of Canisteo which we have been able to find are dated "the first Tuesday in April 1801," and record the election of the following town officers, at a meeting held at the house of Benjamin Crosby, n what is now the town of Hornellsville: Supervisor, Uriah Stephens; Town Clerk, Joseph A. Rathbun; Assessors, Obediah Ayers, Richard Crosby, Nathan Hallett; Collector, Samuel Hallett, Jr.; Overseers of the Poor, James Hadley, Nathan Hallett; Commissioners of Highways, Matthew McHenry, Daniel Upson, Jospeh Purdy; Constables, Samuel Hallett Jr., Samuel Van Campen, Joel Atherton; Overseers of Highways, Christopher Hurlburt, George Hornell, Obediah Ayers, Joseph Coleman, Benjamin Crosby, Samuel Agnew, William Stephens, Benjamin Kenyon, and Samuel Hallett Sr.; Fence-Viewers, George Hornell, Uriah Stephens, and Moses Van Campen.*

{* As Moses Van Campen once held the humble office of fence-viewer in the town of Canisteo, and resided for many years in Dansville, formerly included in this town, the writer cannot forbear making a note here respecting him. 

At the commencement of the Revolutionary War, Moses Van Campen resided in Northumberland, Pa. With most of the young men of that patriotic village, he joined the militia, and being stationed on the frontier, engaged in many perilous enterprises againste the Indians. He was selected during Sullivan’s campaign to take charge of several important and dangerous scouting movements, suffered the greatest fatigues and engaged in the most dangerous services. About one year after the campaign he was taken prisoner by a party of 10 Seneca warriors, who had been sent by the British to make an attack in the Minsink settlements. The father of Maj. Van Campen was thrust through with a spear; and while the red warrior stood with his foot on the breast of his victim, endeavoring to extricate his spear, another savage dashed out the brains of Moses Van Campen’s brother with a tomahawk, and was aiming a blow at his own head. He seized the Indian’s arm and arrested the descending blow. While thus engaged his father’s murder thrust the spear at his side; but he avoided the weapon, being only slightly wounded. At this moment the chief interfered and his life was spared. He was taken as a prisoner to near Tioga Point, and in the night, when the ten warriors were asleep, he and his two companions, Pence and Pike, secured the rifles, and falling upon their captors, slew all but one, and made their escape. An account of this terrible scene, and the marvelous heroism and daring of Van Campen, is found in the "Live of Brant," Vol. 2, p. 59. See Also "Memoirs of Van Campen," by John Niles Hubbard of Dansville, a grandson of Maj. Van Campen.

About two years afterwards Van Campen was again taken prisoner and carried by the Indians to a town on the Allegany, the residence of Cornplanter. Here he was saved by Captain Jones, who had been adopten into the tribe, and who, when they were discussing the question of his life or death, with a single bound leaped over the Indians and stood in the circle. His live was saved, and he was sent with other prisoners to Niagara. After his settlement in this county, Mohawk, the escaped Indian from the slaughter of the ten warriors, often visited him, and the two laughed over that fearful night in the forest. Van Campen is described thus by a writer in 1842: "He is now nearly eighty-five years old, and is still healthy and vigorous. His memory is unusually retentive and his mind remarkably active. Indeed, I have seldom met a man at his age who possessed so much intelligence, actively and uniform urbanity. I have before me two letters written by him during the past week, which show that his hand trembles not, and that his mind has not yet begun to fail." For these letters, see a little volume entitled "Notices of the Sullivan Campaign and other Documents," published in Rochester in 1842.}

The supervisors of the town of Canisteo up to 1822 were as follows: Uriah Stephens, 1801-10; William Hyde, 1811; William Stephens, 1812; Christopher Hurlbut, 1813-15; Uriah Stephens, 1815-19; Thomas Bennett, 1820-22.

In 1801, Christopher Hurlbut and Jedediah Stephens each took "licenses to keep public inns," for which each paid the sum of $5.

May 4, 1802, Christopher Hurlbut, George Hornell, and Jedediah Stephens were each licensed to keep public inns, paying into the treasury of the town $5.00 each. In 1803 the same persons were licensed to "keep public inns," with the addition of two more, viz, James McBurney and John Hunter, making five in all, and here the record for licenses stops. The early settlers now living will, we think, sustain the assertion that the first three years of this county gave Canisteo model men of "innkeepers."

In 1807, George Hornell received 83 votes for member of the Assembly, and George McClure received 19 votes for the same office. At the same election Daniel D. Tompkins (for governor) received 112 votes, and Morgan Lewis 26 votes for the same office.

In 1807, the bounty on wolves; and panthers’ scalps was $3. In 1808 it was raised to $5., and was again reduced to $2, to be paid only to the inhabitants of the town. In 1810 it was raised to $3, "to be given only to the inhabitants of the town," showing pretty plainly that "outsiders" had been practicing a sharp game on Canisteo.

Among the curiosities of the early records of Canisteo we find the following:

"I do hereby certify that I have a black male child born of my slave Milly (names Milo) on the 17th day of November, 1811. Witness my hand this 15th day of April, 1812.

George Hornell"

Also this-----

"I do hereby certify that I have a mulatto male child, born of my slave Lucy (named Rob), on the 19th day of November, 1809. Witness my hand. James McBurney"

And this too---

"I do hereby certify that I have a mulatto male child, born of my slave Lucy, on the 15th day of November, 1811, (named Dick), as witness my hand. James McBurney"

At a special town meeting held at the house of William Mulhollen, in December, 1818, for the purpose of voting on a division of the town, a majority of 6 votes was against the division. In 1819, the same measure was carried by 35 majority, and in pursuance thereof the town of Hornellsville was erected from Canisteo, April 1, 1820.

The above information was obtained from the History of Steuben County, New York, Clayton (1879).
 



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