HISTORY of BATAVIA, NY
FROM OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A DESCRIPTIVE AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF
GENESEE COUNTY
NEW YORK
EDITED BY SAFFORF E. NORTH
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 1899



Batavia is the largest town in Genesee county, both in point of territory and population. It is located in about the centre of the county, and is bounded on the north by Oakfield and Elba, on the east by Stafford, on the south by Bethany and Alexander, and on the west by Pembroke and Alabama. The surface of the town is undulating, being nearly level in some portions. Tonawanda creek enters the town on the southern border, flows in a northerly direction to the village of Batavia, where it turns and takes a westerly course, passing out of the town at the centre of the western boundary. Its course through the town is exceedingly sluggish for most of the way. Bowen's creek, which has its source in Alexander, flows northwesterly through Batavia until it reaches Tonawanda creek, near the western limits of the town. The soil of this town is a deep, fertile, sandy loam, adapted to many kinds of agricultural pursuits, but especially to fruit raising. Batavia village, the county seat of Genesee county, is situated in the east half of the town.

Several railroads pass through Batavia. The main line of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad extends in a general southwesterly and northeasterly direction through the central part of the town. The Tonawanda branch of the same road extends from east to west through the centre; the Canandaigua branch extends in a southeasterly direction from the village of Batavia; the Batavia and Attica branch extends in a southwesterly direction from Batavia. The Erie Railroad enters the town near the centre of the southern boundary, runs parallel with the Attica branch of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad to Batavia, and there turns and runs eastward.

The first settlements in the town were made by Isaac Sutherland, Colonel William Rumsey and General Worthy L. Churchill. Mr. Sutherland erected a substantial log house on his farm about two miles west of the village. The pioneer homes of Colonel Rumsey and General Churchill stood about three miles east of the village. Others who came into the town, either to reside or to take up land, prior to the founding of the village, were Joseph Ellicott, Benjamin Ellicott, James Brisbane, in 1798; James W. Stevens, John Branan, in 1800; Thomas Ashley, Gideon Dunham, Garrett Davis, Samuel F. Geer, Dr. David McCracken, R. Noble, Stephen Russell, Abel Rowe, Aaron White, in 1801; John Lamberton, Benjamin Morgan. Batavia village was founded by Joseph Ellicott, agent of the Holland Land Company, in 1802. The first building in the village was erected in March, 1801, by Abel Rowe.

The original town of Batavia included practically the entire Holland Purchase. The town was formed by act of the Legislature, March 30, 1802. Alexander, Bergen, Bethany and Pembroke were set off in 1812, and Elba and a part of Stafford in 1820. The first town meeting was held at the tavern of Peter Vandeventer (now Newstead, Erie county) March 1, 1803. On that occasion the following officers were elected:

Supervisor-Peter Vandeventer; town clerk. David Cully: assessors, Enos Kellogg, Asa Ransom, Alexander Rea: commissioners of highways, Alexander Rea, Isaac Sutherland, Suifrenus Maybee; overseers of the poor, David Cully, Benjamin Porter; collector, Abel Rowe; constables, John Mudge, Levi Felton, Rufus Hart, Abel Rowe, Seymour Kellogg, Hugh Howell; overseers of highways, Martin Middaugh, Timothy Hopkins, Orlando Hopkins, Benjamin Morgan, Rufus Hart, Lovell Churchill, Jabez Warren, William Blackman, Samuel Clark, Gideon Dunham, Jonathan Willard, Thomas Layton, Hugh Howell, Benjamin Porter and William Walsworth.

Since the organization of the town the principal officers have been as follows:

Supervisors-

Town Clerks-

Justices of the Peace-

Commissioners of Highways-

Assessors-

Overseers of the Poor.-

School Commissioners -

School Inspectors. -

Superintendents of Schools.-
1844, Branon Young;
1845-1847. Henry F. Campbell;
1848, John E. Tompkins.

Police Justices. -
1875, B. C. Page;
1876-1881, John G. Johnson;
1881, David Lent, vice Johnson, resigned;
1882-1887, David Lent;
1888, Lawrence L. Crosby;
1889, J. B. Crosby;
1890, Joseph H. Robson;
1892, William B. Webster;
1892-1894, Fred Dunham;
1895-1898, Herbert P. Woodward.

Batavia is the principal and only incorporated village. It is located east of the centre of the town, has about ten thousand population, and is the county seat. It is the most important place between Rochester and Buffalo. The village was founded in 1802 by Joseph Ellicott. The first court house was erected in 1803 and the present one in 1841. There are in the village eight churches- Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Freewill Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical Association and United Evangelical; a very high grade union free school system, with a high school; four banks, several hotels, the court house and other county offices, the New York State Institution for the Blind, a finely equipped library building containing a circulating library of about twelve thousand volumes, an opera house and large town hall, and several important manufacturing concerns, some of which are known the world over. Among the latter are the plants of the great Johnston Harvester Company, makers of all kinds of harvesting machinery, harrows, cultivators, etc. ; the Wiard Plow Company, makers of plows, cultivators, harrows, and other farm implements; the Batavia and New York Wood Working Company, one of the greatest industries of its kind in the world; the Baker Gun and Forging Company, manufacturer of many varieties of high grade sporting guns; the Batavia Carriage Wheel Company, having an international reputation; the Batavia Preserving Company, with factories in Batavia, Brockport and Middleport; a shoe factory, a paper box factory, two roller mills, a cold storage warehouse, two breweries and a malt house, three steam laundries and several other industries. Two newspapers, one daily and one weekly, are published in the village. There are also a business college, a Masonic lodge, two Odd Fellows' lodges and other secret societies. The old stone building used for many years as the headquarters of the agents of the Holland Land Company is still standing, on West Main street, and has been converted into a local museum of antiquities. Two railroads, with several branch lines, pass through or centre in the village. There is also an excellent system of waterworks and a fire department

The village of Batavia was incorporated April 23, 1823. The first meeting of the citizens in pursuance of the act of incorporation was held June 3, 1823, at John Ganson's tavern, when the following officers were elected:

Trustees, Daniel H. Chandler, David E. Evans, Nathan Follett, Simeon Cummings, Silas Finch; treasurer, Trumbull Cary; collector, Par ley Paine. June 14 Daniel H. Chandler was elected first president of the village. The first fire company was organized April 20, 1824, with William Seaver, jr., as captain.

The following is a list of the presidents of the village since its incorporation:
1823, Daniel H. Chandler; 1894, William Keyes; 1825, Johnson Goodwill; 1826, Charles C. Church; 1827-1828, Hinman Holden; 1829, Simeon Cummings; 1830-1831, Frederick Follett; 1832, Nathan Follett; 1833, Daniel H. Chandler; 1834, Augustus C. Stevens; 1835, Simeon Cummings; 1836, Nathan Follett; 1837, William Seaver; 1838, Timothy Fitch; 1839, Benjamin Pringle; 1840, Frederick Follett; 1841, Edgar C. Dibble; 1842, Ira Belden; 1843, James D. Merrill; 1844, Lucius A. Smith; 1845, Junius A. Smith; 1846, Nathan Follett; 1847, James D. Merrill; 1848, Joseph Clark; 1849, Hinmau Holden; 1850-1853, records missing; 1854, Moses Taggart; 1855-1859, records do not state; 1860, Rufus Robertson; 1861-1865, Harry Backus; 1866-1873, records do not state; 1874, Daniel W. Tomlinson; 1875, E. S. Dodge (resigned; George Ruprecht elected to succeed him); 1876, Richard 0. Holden; 1877, George Ruprecht; 1878, F. V. Booth; 1879, Daniel W. Tomlinson; 1880, Joseph Hamilton; 1881, Wilber Smith; 1882. Lucian R. Bailey; 1883. Edward G. Richmond: 1884-1885, Daniel W. Tomlinson; 1886, Julian J. Washburn; 1887, Henry 0. Bostwick; 1888-1889, Whiting C. Woolsey; 1890, George Burt; 1891, John M. Seacord; 1892, William W. Lewis; 1893-1898, Willis D. Sanford.

The village records for many of the early years of the corporation are either incomplete or missing entirely. The following list of other officers is as nearly complete as it can be made after an exhaustive search of the original records on file with the village clerk:

Village clerks-
1840, M. W. Hewitt;
1842, Branon Young;
1843, William S. Byram;
1854, William Tyrrell;
1855--1856, George Bowen;
1860-1861, David Seaver;
1862-1863, Smith Frost;
1864-1865, W. Nelson Cross;
1867-1870, Myron H. Peck. jr.;
1871-1874, John G. Johnson:
1875-1878, Myron H. Peck, jr.;
1879-1880, Safford E. North;
1881-1882, Lawrence L. Crosby;
1883 -1884,William E. Webster;
1885-1887, Lawrence L. Crosby;
1888-1889, George B. Perrin;
1890, William D. Smith; 1891- 1898, George B. Perrin.

Village treasnrers-
1840-1841, Alva Smith;
1842, John S. Ganson;
1843, Alva Smith;
1844-1846, James P. Smith;
1849-1851, Branon Young;
1852, Charles R. Ganson;
1853, Gad B. Worthington;
1854-1856, Henry T. Cross;
1863, S. H. Russell;
1867-1868, Augustus N. Cowdin;
1874-1876, Charles R. Gould;
1877-1880, Albert Weber;
1881-1882, Hiland H. Benjamin;
1883, Frank Page;
1884, H. H. Benjamin;
1885, John O'Connor;
1886-1887, George E. Perrin;
1888-1890, George Roth;
1891, H. T. Booth;
1892-1895, Oren C. Steele;
1896, Charles W. Stickle;
1897-1898, Richard L. Cotes.

Collectors-
1874, Richard G. Tompkins;
1875, Nicholas Frank;
1876, Oscar Frost;
1877, John Thomas;
1878, Ellis R. Hay;
1879, Arthur Ferris;
1880, Philip J. Weiss;
1881, Roderick F. Thompson;
1882, John F. Mackey;
1883, John K. Giddings;
1884, William H. McCann;
1885, James Burns;
1886, Patrick Green;
1887, Samuel Cooper;
1888, David S. Mackey;
1889, L. B. Champlain;
1890, John Quirk;
1891, W. Frank Squires;
1892, William Radley;
1893, John F. Gallagher;
1894, William H. Kendall;
1895, D. Burt Benedict;
1896, Robert J. Hutchinson;
1897, A. Elliott;
1898, Ralph A. Griswold.

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