GAINES, named in honor of General E. P. Gaines, was formed from Ridgeway, February 14, 1816. Barre was taken off
in 1818 and a part of Canton in 1822. It is the central town in the County, and is watered by Otter and Marsh Creeks,
branches of the Oak Orchard, and by the west branch of Sandy Creek, which flows through the south-east corner.
The Lake Ridge extends east and west through the center. The soil is a sandy loam and the surface generally is
Eagle Harbor (p. v.) is situated on the Erie Canal, upon the south border of the town, partly in Barre, and contains
two churches, a hotel, two grist-mills, several stores and mechanic shops and about 50 houses.
Gaines, (p. v.) situated near the center of the town, contains two churches, a hotel, a tannery, and about 50 houses.
East Gaines (p. v.) contains a F. W. Baptist church and about a dozen houses.
Fair Haven, contains a Uiiiversalist church, a hotel, several mechanic shops and about twenty houses.
Gaines Basin is a hamlet on the canal.
The first settlement of Gaines was made previous to 1809, by a Mr. Gilbert, who settled about two miles east of
Gaines village. He was subject to fits and was found dead in the road in 1809, or previous to that time. His wife
and Amy Scott, a niece, the remaining members of the family, remained through the winter, cutting the browse to
keep a yoke of oxen, several cows and young cattle. Mr. Gilbert was buried in Murray, and on the return of the
widow and niece from the funeral, their fire had gone out and all means of rekindling it failed. A man accompanied
them home and promised to send them fire. David Downs, son of Elijah Downs, the nearest neighbor, carried them
fire, a distance of ten miles.
Noah Burgess came from Canada, about 1809; he crossed the Saint Lawrence River below Kingston, and came along
the shore of the lake until he arrived at the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek, which he ascended to the head of still
water, then proceeded to Gaines, where he located, about half a mile west of the village. He soon sold out to William
Bradner and settled about half a mile east of Gaines village, where he remained until his death. Widow Gilbert,
with her ox team, removed Mr. Burgess' goods from Stillwater to Gaines. Mr. B. was sick at the time and Mrs. Burgess
cut logs for a cabin, and Widow Gilbert drew them, and with the aid of men who came along, probably looking for
land, erected a log cabin. Mr. Burgess kept a tavern for several years. Widow Gilbert sold out in 1811 or '12,
and removed to Canandaigua.
Samuel Crippen, Elijah Downs, Elliott. and Sweet came here about the same time. Elliott and Sweet lived in the
same house, about three miles east of Gaines village. Crippen located about a mile east of the village, sold to
J. Proctor in 1811 or 12. Reuben Rowley, Henry Wilcox, Joseph and Anderson Adams, Cotton and Robert Leach, Newbury
Chaffee, Dyer Sprague, Samuel Rozier, William Burlingame and Walter Fairfield, settled in various parts of the
town in. 1810. Wm. Burlingame settled three miles west of Gaines village, and Walter Fairfield on the Oak Orchard
Road, a mile south of the village. Daniel and Macy Pratt located in Gaines in 1810, the former on the Ridge Road,
a mile west of the village, the latter, half a mile north of Eagle Harbor. Wilson Bullard, H. Drake, John Proctor
and James Mather were early settlers.
The first birth was that of Samuel Crippen, Jr., in 1810, and the first marriage that of Cyrus Daniels and Elizabeth
Freeman, July 4, 1812. The first inn was kept by William Sibley in 1811, and the first store by William Perry in
1815, Orin Gleason taught the first school, in the winter of 1813 and '14. The first saw mill was built in 1813
by Henry Drake, and the first grist mill by Jonathan Gates, in 1822. Daniel Pratt was the first Town Clerk.
Walter Fairfield, whose name has already been mentioned as one of the first settlers, came from Pittsford, Vt.,
and located on lot No. 5, in the Second Range, where his son now resides. He paid $2.50 per acre for his land.
From the time of his arrival in 1810 until 1813, he says their provisions were chiefly fish, potatoes and turnips.
The expense of going to mill was so great, the grist would not pay expenses.
The first church organized in the town was of the Baptist denomination, in 1816.
Eleazer McCarty settled about two miles west of Gaines village, in 1810. In 1812 he raised a military company,
and in December, on learning that the British had burned Lewiston, Youngstown and other places, rallied his men
with all possible dispatch and marched to the front. John Proctor was the only man in the neighborhood who had
a horse, and William Burlingame went in the night to get him to go to Murray and notify the people of the anticipated
British raid. McCarty and his company remained on duty about three weeks and returned to their homes.
The population of Gaines in 1865 was 2,355, and its area 21,149 acres.
There are twelve school districts, employing fourteen teachers. The number of the school population is 781; number
enrolled in the schools, 670; the average attendance, 337, and the amount expended for school purposes during the
year ending September 30, 1868, $3,907.58.