History of Canadice, New York
SARACUSE, N. Y., 1893


UNDER the act of January 27, 1789, a large district of territory in Ontario county was given an organization and named "Pittstown." This organization was perfected in 1796, and in April, 1806, the name was changed to "Honeoye." Another change was made in April, 1815, and the town then became known as "Richmond." Within the boundaries of this town, under its various early names, and down to 1829, was included all that now comprises the town of Canadice.

The town of Canadice was formed under its present name as a distinct civil division of the county on the 15th of April, 1829, although it was not until the next year that the organization was made complete. Its original territory, however, has been reduced by the annexation of a part (lying east of Honeoye Lake) to Richmond, which was done in 1836.

In some material respects this town differs from the others of the county. On its east and west boundaries are lakes of a small size, but of some note in connection with the early history of the region. These are respectively the bodies of water known as Honeoye and Hemlock Lakes, while lying wholly within the town is the smaller, yet hardly less historic, Canadice Lake. From the latter name the town itself is derived, it being an Indian appellation, said to have been rendered Skan-a-dice. Honeoye Lake is the most historic of the three which touch the town, and by reference to an earlier chapter, the reader will learn the interesting events connected with its early history, and also that of the locality.

Canadice occupies a position in the southwestern part of the county, and is more remote and inaccessible from the county seat than any other of the towns. Notwithstanding all this, the town enjoys a certain prominence in Ontario county which is not common to the whole shire, and its people are noted for their hospitality, generosity, thrift, temperate and moral habits. However, on these it does not become us to dwell, but rather we may turn briefly to the pioneers who first settled in this former wilderness region, and then note the growth and development of the town through succeeding years. It is well to state, however, that the early settlement of this town was made when its territory formed a part of the mother town, and known under the various names of Pittstown, Honeoye and Richmond. When Canadice was formed and organized, 1829, pioneership had ceased, and the town then had its greatest population of 1,386 inhabitants, a number neither before nor afterward equaled.

Pioneers and Early Settlers.- The pioneer settlement of Canadice was not different from that of other towns of the county, unless, perhaps, it was not begun so early and did not progress so rapidly. It seems, too, from such meager records as are extant, that the pioneers of this region were at a disadvantage, and at the time their operations began, the lots of the town had not been regularly surveyed and staked. Therefore the first corners settled by guess, but if not on the right location they were not afterward disturbed in their possession, but were permitted to enjoy their lands without molestation. But, we may well ask, what can be said of the pioneers of Canadice, and who were they? If the reader will turn to another portion of this work, there will be found many personal and family sketches of the people, some of them descendants of pioneer stock, who have been and still are residents of this town. In view of this and the further fact that the pioneer history of the town has been so fully written in years past, it does not seem necessary that more than the briefest reference be made here to those who made the first improvements in this special region.

Drawing information from all reliable sources, it is learned that the settlement of Canadice was begun in or about the year 1795, when Aaron Hunt made an improvement, and who was accompanied by Jacob Holdren, the latter afterward gaining much prominence as a builder of mills at an early day.

In 1804 three Yankees from Vermont, Gideon and John Walker and Josiah Jackman, came to the town, built cabins and made improvements, and then returned east for the winter. The next spring they brought their families to the region and became permanent settlers at the foot of Canadice Lake. John is said to have built the first frame house in the town, in 1813. John Wilson and Simeon Stevens were also early settlers, whose coming was induced by that of the Vermonters just mentioned.

Ezekiel and Frederick Wilson and Ebenezer Kimball and their families came to the town in 1807, locating in the neighborhood that has always been called "Canadice Hollow." Kimball was the head of a large family. John Phillips was also an early settler in the same locality. Seth Knowles, David Badgro, Reuben Gilbert, Justus Grout (also a Vermonter), Butler Lewis, John Leggatt, James and Jesse Penfield (the latter a famous fiddler), were also settlers in 1808, or about that year. Later corners, yet all pioneers, were William Gould (also a Vermonter and Revolutionary soldier), Sylvanus Stacey, Abram Stacey, James Button, Ebenezer Ingraham and his sons Abel and. Andrew, John Alger (another early mill builder), John Wilison. Ezra Davis was a pioneer of 1808 a cabinet maker, and also the town undertaker for a time.

In the same pioneer connection we may also mention the names of other heads of families, among them James Anderson, John Richardson (1870), Elmer Chilson (1810), Jesse Ballard, Samuel Bentley, Cornelius Johnson, Hiram and Samuel Hogans (all 1809), Albert Finch and Luther Gould (1810). About this same period, too, there came to Canadice, or the territory afterward so named, Moses Hartwell, Samuel Wilson, Bartlett Clark, Timothy Parker, Nathan Beers, Darius Finch, Tobias Finch, Robert Wilson, John Winch, S. B. Spencer, Wm. Gould, C. Bailey, John Darling, Harry Armstrong, Homer Blake, John Edgett and Harry Jones. Later, and within a few years, others came and made improvements, among whom there can be recalled the names of Wm. Utley, Cornelius Holden, James Hull, Elisha Hewitt, John Wheeler, Preston Thayer (1820), Joseph S. Spencer, James Bowker, Norman and David Butler (1815), Isaac Sergeant, Jehiel Spicer (1812), Reuben Cole, John Cole, David Tibbals (1818), Hezekiah Cole, Wm. Burns, William Sullivan, Deacon Benoni Hogans (1812), James Hyde, Amos Thornton (1813), Shadrach Ward, James Bemis, Henry Armstrong, John Kelley (1813), Daniel Knowles, Peter Welch, Hiram and Samuel Hogans, John Green, Reuben Mann, George and James Adams, Jonathan Chaplin, Elijah Parker, James Adams, Wm. Clare, Jacob Cannon, Thos. Peabody, Asa Bushnell, Abram McKee, Ralph Stanwood, Robert Baldwin, Green Waite.

Following this time, settlement became quite rapid and it was not many years later before the desirable lands of the town were all occupied. In 1814 there was a considerable influx of pioneers, among whom may be mentioned Ebenezer and Samuel Knapp, James Seeley, Jedediah Howland, Eli Darling, Dr. Williams, John Reeves, Jabez Hicks, James Bennett, Charles Hyde, Amos Jones, John Bourn, Rufus Garey, Alden Wheelock, Benjamin Jersey, Andrew Wemett; and in the next year (1815) there came Benjamin, Philip and Peter Snyder, Jonathan Waters and Captain Granby. Still other names of early settlers may be recorded, and we mention Alvin Anderson, John Ray, Elisha Prior, E. Weed, Rev. Silas Reynolds, Abel Eastman, Matthew Standish, Luke Johnson, Abram D. Patterson, Daniel Peabody, Joshua Herrick, Reuben Gilbert, David Phillips, Levi Walling, Robert Callister, John Simmons, Isaac and Robert Smith, Joseph Lobdell, Jesse Stewart, Thomas Johnson, Amos Peck, Jenks Bagley, Enoch Macomber, Orange Potter, Ephraim Tucker, Nathaniel Bearmore, Justus Davis, Andrew Hampton, Jonas Quick, Benjamin Conklin, Daniel Beardsley, Andrew Beckwith, Abiather Phillips, Asa Farrar, James and Henry Hewitt, James Hampton, and others whose nathes are equally worthy of mention, but among the many have undoubtedly been lost.

Notwithstanding the troublous period of the War of 1812-15, settlement in Canadice continued throughout those years almost without interruption, and many of the militia men from the town did duty on the frontier. In a preceding paragraph the fact is stated that in 1830 Canadice contained its maximum population; in proof of which we here note the fluctuations of population from that until the present time. The town was set off from Richmond in 1829, and the census of 7830 showed the number of inhabitants as 1,386; in 1840, 1,341; in 1850, 1,075; 1860, 1,026; 1870, 905; 1880, 895; and 1890, 730. From this it will be seen that Canadice to day has little more than half as many inhabitants as it contained sixty years ago.

Military.- The martial spirit of the people of Canadice was clearly shown during the War of 1812-15, in which the town contributed a full quota of available militia, there being numbered among them David Badgro, Jesse Brown, Albert Finch, Luther Gould, Captain Grandy, J ustus Grout, Laban Howland, Cornelius Johnson, James and John Kelly, Ira Kimball, Joseph King, Morris North, Daniel Norton, Jonas Quick, Silas Reynolds, Amasa and Jonathan Richardson, Robert, Samuel and William Smith, Ora and Ira Spencer, George Struble, David Tibbals, Benjamin and Green Waite, Andrew Ward and Frederick Westbrook.

During the War of 1861-65 the town showed a spirit of patriotism and loyalty fully equal to its old time record, for during that period it furnished a total of nearly ninety men, or about one per cent. of its whole population at that time.

Church History.- Of the many church and religious organizations which have from time to time been formed and found an abiding place in Canadice but one is now in existence. During the early history of the locality the people found time to attend to spiritual as well as temporal matters, and although they had no regular organization their primitive gatherings were none the less sacred or worthy. Rev. Ebenezer Ingraham frequently held meetings as early as 1809 in the log school-house, and three years later Elder Wright conducted a successful revival. Other early ministers held frequent services, and in 7828 the Presbyterian church of Richmond formed a branch society in the south part of the town, which, in 1832, became known as the Canadice Presbyterian Church. Its meetings were held in school-houses and other convenient places, but no church home was ever provided for it. The society was weak and gradually passed out of existence.

The Regular Baptist Church of Canadice, commonly called Close Communion Baptist, was organized in the town about 1835, and numbered among its first members James Hyde, Ezra Smith, Daniel Pursel, Robert Armstrong and their wives, and John and Edmund Pursel, Arnold Green and Elias Welch. The organization was accomplished at the Bush school. house, and while the society prospered for a time, it afterward declined, and, having no place of meeting of its own, gradually passed out of existence.

In March, 1845, a Wesleyan Methodist Society was formed in Canadice, and, like some preceding it, flourished for a time and then ceased to exist. Of the same character and final ending was a Congregational society which once had an organization in Canadice.

The Christian Church of Canadice and Springwater was the outgrowth of early meetings in the towns named, but not until 1830 was any organization effected. Six years later a church edifice was built, and dedicated in December, 1837. In 1871 the building was repaired, but after ten years more the membership and congregation became so much reduced that regular services were abandoned. The early ministers of this church in Canadice were Revs. Munroe, Hendricks, Rutheford, Fancher, Haines, Rice, Stearns, Newell, Chambers, Welton, Morehouse, Lamont and Hebard.

The Methodist Church and society alone has found a permanent foothold in this town, and indeed this may be said to be the mother church of Canadice, as the first religious gatherings were of that denomination. The class was formed in 1817, and the early meetings were held in school-houses and occasionally in barns. The first trustees were elected in 1831, and two years later the church edifice was built and dedicated. Among the early ministers of this denomination were Elder Ingraham and Revs. Bartlett, Clark, Spicer, Reynolds and Walker. The church is located at Canadice Corners, and is now under the pastoral charge of Rev. Walter Dynes.

Town Organization.- Canadice was set off from Richmond in 1829, and the first town meeting was held April 6, 1830, at which time the officers were elected. At that time the town was well populated, and a list of names of the first town officers would only be a repetition of names already mentioned. However, it is appropriate that we here append the succession of supervisors of the town from the year of organization as follows: Reuben Hamilton, 1830-32; John Winch, 1833; Andrew Ward, 1834; John Shank, 1835-36; Hiram Colegrove, 1837-40; Robert Armstrong, 1841; Hiram Colegrove, 1842-43; 1845-46; 1852-54; Mark L. Ray, 1844; Joseph S. Secor, 1847; Maurice Brown, 1848-50; Z. C. Andrus, 1851; Nathaniel G. Austin, 1855; Jonas C. Putnam, 1856; Walling Armstrong, 1857-62; Alanson W. Austin, 1863-65; George Andrus, 1866-69; Amasa T. Winch, 1870-76; Oscar F. Ray, 1877-79; Caleb B. Hyde, 1880-81; Horatio H. Hickok, 1882; D. Willard Beam, 1883; Albert H. Tibbals, 1884-85; B. H. Burch, 1886-87; Thomas Eldridge, 1888-89; Caleb B. Hyde, 1890-91 ; Lorenzo Winch, 1892-93.

Canadice Corners is the only business center in the town, and the business interests here comprise the general store of R. R. Crooks and two or three small shops. In the southeast part of the town is the steam mill of Stiliman Bros., where are made barrels, staves and lumber. The only water-power of the town was that at the foot of Canadice Lake, but quite recently all operations at this point have been suspended, and the property and water franchise and privilege have been purchased by the Rochester Water Works for the purpose of increasing the city water supply.

Schools.- The first school in this town was taught by Betsey Walker, sister to Gideon and John Walker, the pioneers. The first school on Kimball Hill was built in 1812, and the earliest teachers were Belinda Jackson, Eliza Wilds and Almira Hubbard. In the northeast part of the town the first school-house was built in 1812, and Abigail Root was the first teacher. Under the school system now and for many years past employed, the town is now divided into twelve school districts. Of these districts Nos. 4, 10 and 12 are joint with other towns and have no school-house within their limits. The school population is 222, and employment is given to sixteen teachers. The total value of school property in the town is $4,800. During the last current year the total school tax of the town was $857.97, and from all sources there was raised for school purposes the sum of $2,041.91, of which $1,679 was paid to teachers.

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