BARRE, named from Barre, Mass., was formed from Gaines, March 6, 1818. It is the central town upon the south border
of the County, and embraces the original Townships 14 of Ranges 1 and 2, and parts of Townships 15 of the same
Ranges, being the largest town in the County. Its surface is undulating and its soil a rich loam underlaid by the
Niagara limestone. The Tonawanda Swamp occupies a narrow strip along the south part.
Albion, (p. v.) originally called Newport, is the County Seat and was incorporated April 21, 1828. It is situated
on the Erie Canal, is the principal station on the New York Central Railroad between Rochester and Lockport, and
about midway between these places. It contains six churches, viz., Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian,
Free Methodist and Roman Catholic; the County buildings, Phipps Union Female Seminary, A]bion Academy, two newspaper
offices, two banks, several manufactories and about 5,000 inhabitants. The village is regularly laid out and the
streets are ornamented with beautiful rows of shade trees. There are several large business blocks and many beautiful
private residences in various parts of the village. Considering the beauty of the surrounding scenery, the facilities
for communication with all parts, its literary institutions and the healthfulness of the location, it is one of
the most desirable places for residence in Western New York. The village is lighted with gas.
Phipps Union Female Seminary, incorporated by the Regents, February 11. 1840, is located upon a beautiful site
commanding a view of the village and the surrounding country. The main building is of brick, forty by sixty feet,
and four stories high, including the basement. A large wing, two stories high, has been added since the erection
of the main building. The grounds are ornamented with beautiful shade trees and the whole presents one of the most
attractive objects in the village. The Catalogue of 1868 reports 175 students during the year. The value of the
site and buildings is about $10,000 and the other property about $4,000. Valuable additions have been made during
the year to the apparatus and library of the Institution, to ‘which all students have access free of charge. The
germ of this Institution was a private school, established in 1833, by Miss Caroline Phipps. So great was her success
that at the close of the first year she found her school had increased beyond the capacity of her house. Calling
together a few of the most public spirited of the citizens, she laid before them a plan for founding a permanent
Female Seminary that should supply the wants of her school and afford a place to educate their daughters and at
the same time add largely to the prosperity of the village. She proposed that the citizens should loan to her the
funds necessary to erect a suitable building; that she would erect the building and give her mortgage upon it,
conditioned to repay the loan in a series of years as she could make the money from the school. Some expressed
a preference for an academy for boys, and Miss Phipps suggested that her mortgage could be sold and the proceeds
used to erect in academy for the education of boys, and thus the educational wants of both sexes would be supplied
with schools of a high order. For a time action was delayed, but the ability and energy displayed by Miss Phipps
in conducting her school and. business affairs, convinced the citizens that she would prove equal to the responsibility
which she proposed to assume, and during the summer of 1836 they raised by subscription nearly the sum which she
at first required and placed it in her hands. With this sum, in addition to $3,000 of private credit, she erected
the main building of t.he Seminary. It has from the first been a boarding and day school for young ladies. The
course of instruction embraces all the useful and ornamental branches of an education usually taught in the best
Female Seminaries of the country. It is now under the management of Rev. G. A. Starkweather.
Albion Academy, incorporated by the Legislature, May 1, 1837, and by the Regents, Feb. 27, 1841, is located on
a lot of three acres in the west part of the village. The value of the buildings, apparatus, library, &c.,
is reported to be $9,675. The whole number of pupils in attendance during the past year was 368; the average attendance,
221. The building is of brick, forty feet by sixty, and four stories high, including the basement. It is surmounted
by a cupola furnished with a bell. The funds for the erection of the building were raised by the sale of the mortgage
given by Miss Phipps, for money loaned by the citizens of Albion to build the Female Seminary. Edwin R. Reynolds,
A. M., now a prominent lawyer of Albion, was the first Principal. Oliver Morehouse, A. M., is the present Principal.
Mount Albion Cemetery, though not within the bounds of the corporation, may properly be described in this connection,
as it belongs to the village. It is situated about two miles east of the Court House, on the south side of the
highway leading to Holley. The land, embracing twenty-five acres, was purchased in 1843, for $1,000, and laid out
in paths, avenues and lots, by Marvin Porter. From the highest eminence a fine view of the surrounding country
and of Lake Ontario is obtained. The soil is sand and gravel, and always dry and easy to dig, and yet retains its
place, no difficulty from caving ever being experienced. A public dedication of the Cemetery took place under the
direction of the Trustees, September 7, 1843, when an address was delivered by Daniel R. Cady, Esq. In 1862, by
act of the Legislature, the Trustees were authorized to appoint three Commissioners whose duty it should be to
take charge of the Cemetery. One Commissioner is chosen each year, for the term of three years. The grounds are
laid out so as to conform to the natural beauty and variety of surface; many trees and shrubs have been planted,
and it bids fair to equal any rural cemetery in Western New York. Though originally designed for the village only,
many from other towns have been attracted thither, and so great is the demand for lots that the Commissioners already
have it in contemplation to enlarge the grounds so that all who wish to secure lots for the burial of their friends
may be accommodated. The grounds are kept in a neat and becoming manner and surrounded by a good fence.
The manufacturing of Albion is limited to a fiouring mill, a saw mill, a foundry and manufactory of agricultural
implements, and the usual mechanic shops.
Hon. Noah Davis, Jr., late Judge of the Supreme Court, and now a member of Congress, is a resident of Albion. Governor
Bullock, of Georgia, and U. M. Pullman, of sleeping car notoriety, are natives of Albion.
Barre Center, (p. v.) in the central part of the town, contains a church, a hotel, several mechanic shops and about
South Barre, (p. v.) in the south-east part, contains a church, several mechanic shops of various kinds and about
West Barre, (p. o.) in the south-west part, contains a church, several mechanic shops and about a dozen houses.
The first settlement in the town was commenced by William McAllister in 1811. He located on the site of the Phipps
Union Female Seminary and erected a log house, the first in the village and In the town also. Mrs. McAllister died
soon after, and was at the time the only white woman in the town. There was no female present at her funeral and
no person present to conduct religious services. Her coffin was made of planks, split and hewn from trees, and
pinned together for want of nails. Mr. McAllister took an Article from the Holland Land Company for several hundred.
acres of land, including all of the village east of Main Street. He subsequently sold the whole to William Bradner,
who settled here and cleared his land along Main Street from where the Canal now is to Chamberlain Street. William
Bradner sold one hundred acres of the south part of his purchase to his brother Joel, who cleared off all adjacent
to Main Street, south, and erected a log house on land now owned by lion. Sanford E. Church, south of the Railroad.
Mr. Bradner afterwards sold one hundred acres, including the. whole front on the east side of Main Street, from
a little below Madison Street, north, to the town line, to Nehemiah Ingersoll and others. Mr. Ingersoll soon bought
out his partners, and in 1821 employed Mr. Orange Risden to survey and draw a plan of village lots and streets
on the east side of Main Street, from where the Canal now is, south, including Madison Street, and east, including
Market Street. This plan was generally observed in the early sales of lots by Mr. Ingersoll.
In 1815 Jesse Bumpus took from the Holland Land Company an Article for the land lying on the west side of Main
Street, from the town line on the north, nearly to State Street, and extending far enough west to include 163 acres
of land. The whole tract was an unbroken forest, but Mr. Bumpus erected a log house, moved into it with his family
and cleared the whole front of his land on Main Street. The first framed dwelling was erected by Jesse Buinpus
and his son Philetus, on the lot where Mr. L. Burrows now resides. Mr. Philetus Bumpus still resides in Albion
and is the oldest inhabitant of the place.
Elijah Darrow took an Article for one hundred acres, lying upon the south bounds ot the village, on the west side
of Main Street, but sold to Frederick Holsenburgh, who erected a log house and commenced clearing land previous
to the Bumpus purchase. John Holsenburgh took up land from the Holland Company, on Main Street, between the Bumpus
purchase and that of Darrow, and subsequently sold to Goodrich & Standart.
The nearest grist mill was at Irondequoit, in Monroe County, and thither the first settlers went for their milling.
To show how abundant the wild animals were at this time the following incident is given:
“Mr. F. Holsenburgh at one time caught a cub near the present site of the Railroad depot, and carried it alive
to his log cabin. The next night the old bear tracked its young one to the cabin and commenced scratching and gnawing
at the door to get at the cub. Holsenburgh having no gun or means to kill the bear was obliged to release the cub
before he could, get rid of his dangerous assailant.”
The first tavern erected in the village was by _____ Churchill, on the site occupied by the Orleans House Block.
Among the first merchants of Albion were Goodrich & Stand art, John Tucker, O. H. Gardner, R. S. & L.
Burrows. Roswell Burrows, the father of Messrs. R. S. & L. Burrows, purchased the principal part of the Bumpus
tract. His sons came from Connecticut, as merchants, and after the death of their father succeeded him as owners
of his real estate in the village, which they laid out into streets and lots. Mr. L. Burrows was for several years
a member of Congress from this district.
The first warehouse built in Albion was by Nehemiah Ingersoll, east of Main Street, on the Canal; the next one
by Carey & Tilden, on the west side of the same street. William Bradner erected the first saw mill, on. Sandy
Creek, in the east part of the village, and soon after a grist mill on the same stream. A large stone flouring
mill was built by Ward & Clark, on the bank of the Canal, in 1833.
One of the first settlers of Barre outside of the village was Lansing Bailey. In November, 1811, he started on
foot from Whitestown, with two others, for the Genesee. They carried their provisions with them, and on the fifth
day arrived at Daniel Pratt’s, on the Ridge Road, a little west of Gaines Corners. The best lots upon the Ridge
and upon the Oak Orchard Road were taken up, but south of the Five Corners, in Gaines, were no settlements. Mr.
Bailey and his brother took up 250 acres about a mile west of the present village of Albion, and in a few days
started for home by the way of Batavia. He says they purchased but one meal during the trip, and the entire expense
was $3.50. This sum was expended for “lodging and a little of the creature to wash down our dry meals.” The next
February he fitted up an ox-sled, covered with cloth, and with wife and child and two yoke of oxen, started again
for the wilds of the Holland Purchase, his brother driving a few head of cattle. In nine days they arrived at Pratt’s.
He purchased wheat at Riga and had it ground at Curchville. From the Five Corners to his new home there was no
track, and the snow was three feet deep, with a crust that would bear a man but not an ox. Among the articles brought
with him were a grindstone and a six pail kettle. He proceeded as far as possible, then fell trees across the road
to keep his oxen from returning, ar1d for browse, and then returned to Five Corners. The next morning, with a straw
bed on his back, he started for his destined place of abode, and on reaching it shoveled away the snow and made
a camp of boughs, built a fire and passed a comfortable night, though their feet were covered with snow several
inches deep in consequence of their protruding from the cabin. Here Mr. Bailey and his brother remained until April,
going to the Ridge Saturday night and returning Monday morning. After building a house twelve by fourteen feet,
with split boards for floor and roof, and cutting a road through to Gaines Basin, he removed his wife to her new
home. He planted some apple seeds from which many of the orchards of the County were supplied.—. He cleared fifteen
acres the first year. When the time for sowing wheat arrived he went without bread three days rather than spend
time to go to mill. In the fall he built a good log house without boards, nails or glass. It served as a comfortable
dwelling for several years. The town of Ridgeway was formed in 1812, and included nearly the whole County west
of the Transit Line. The first town meeting was held in April, 1813. Mr. Bailey was elected Assessor for the east
part of the town. At the general election in April, the polls were first opened at Brown’s, on Johnson’s Creek,
and after receiving the votes in that neighborhood, the inspectors of the Election adjourned to Elliott’s, at Barnagat,
then to Ridgeway Corners and the next day to Gaines Corners, where the election closed. The whole journey was performed
on foot, not a horse being in town. Mrs. Bailey presented her husband with two babies about this time, and a cradle
was made of a hollow log of sufficient length for one to lie in each end. No rockers were needed. Mrs. B. died
in August, 1813.
Deacon Ebenezer Rogers settled about a mile south of Alboin, in 1816. In March of the same year, Stephen, Allen
and Samuel Porter, and Joseph Rockwood, came on from Ontario County, with an OX team and five weeks provisions.
They established their headquarters at Deacon Rogers’, and with their team went through the deep snow to what is
now Porter’s Corners, five miles distant. They erected a cabin, ten by twelve feet, covered it with split basswood,
and made a bed of hemlock boughs covered with blankets. They worked through the week and returned to Deacon Rogers’
on Saturday. After cutting five acres they returned to Ontario County, but subsequently settled permanently at
Porter’s Corners. Enos Rice settled in Barre in 1816.
The first church organized in the town was the Presbyterian, at Albion, in 1824. Rev. William Johnson was the first
pastor. The members were J. Phelps, Joseph Hart, Ebenezer Rogers, James Smith, Franklin Cowdrey and their wives,
Artemus Thayer, Fay Clark, Lovina Bassett and Betsey Phelps. Ebenezer Rogers and Joseph Hart were the first deacons
of the church. Their first house of worship was erected in 1830, their present house in 1846. The society was self-sustaining
from its organization, and for many years has been large and prosperous, numbering between 400 and 500 members.
The First Baptist Church was organized in 1830 with twenty-four members. Their first house of worship was erected
in 1830; their present house was dedicated in 1860. It is a substantial brick structure with a clock in the tower.
The value of the church property, including the parsonage, is $30,000. Rev. Edward R. Sawyer is the present pastor.
The First M. E. Church was organized in 1830, with ten members.
The Episcopal Church was organized in 1844.
The Roman Catholic church was organized in 1852. Rev. ____ — Dillon was the first resident priest.
The Free Methodist Uhurch was organized in 1859 or 1860, and their church edifice was erected in the summer of
1860. Rev. L. Stiles was the first pastor.
The population cf Barre in 1865 was 6,845, and its area 48,325 acres.
The number of school districts is twenty-five, employing thirtyone teachers. The number of children of school age
is 2,118; number attending school, 1,396; average attendance, 725, and the amount expended for school purposes
during the year ending September 30, 1868, was $9,936.54.