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


THIS town was organized in 1796, under the act of January 27, 1789, and first called Pitstown, in honor of its pioneer Captain Peter Pitts The name was changed to Honeoye, April 6, 1808, and to Richmond, April 11, 1815. A part of Canadice was annexed April 30, 1836, and parts of Bristol and South Bristol in 1848; but the latter were restored in 1852. The town consists of a nearly square portion of land lying near the foot of Honeoye Lake, and a narrow strip extending along the east shore of that lake and its inlet to the south border of the county. This strip was added to the town in consequence of its position, high ridges separating it from the business centers of both Canadice and South Bristol.

Negotiations for the purchase of a large tract of land in the Genesee country were begun as early as the year 1787, but not until Phelps and Gorham perfected their title were the arrangements completed. A party was sent into this region to examine the lands, and subsequently the Dighton Company was formed, the agents of which purchased 46,080 acres, a part of which extended over the present town of Richmond, then known, however, as number 9 in range 5. The title to the land was taken by Calvin Jacobs and John Smith, who, after its survey and allotment, conveyed to the respective owners. This survey was made in 1789 by Capt. Peter Pitts and his son William; Deacon and George Codding, father and son; and Calvin Jacobs and John Smith. Captain Pitts became the possessor of 3,000 acres of land near the foot of Honeoye Lake, upon which the first improvement was made in 1790 by Gideon and William Pitts. In December of the same year Captain Pitts and John Codding and their families became permanent settlers of the town, occupying during the following winter the log house built by Captain Pitts's sons, Gideon and William. Later on this primitive structure was replaced with a substantial framed dwelling, supposed by many to have been the famed "Long House," in which the redoubtable pioneer entertained those distinguished traitors Louis Philippe and Duke de Liancourt, their host and entertainer being Capt. Peter Pitts.

Referring further to the pioneer and early settlers of this town, there may be recalled the names of others equally worthy of mention. In this connection there may be recalled Elisha Pratt, who lived with Captain Pitts; Eber Sibley, Edward Hazen, Edward Taylor, Silas Whitney, John Pennell, Ebenezer Farrer, Jonathan Rhodes, the date of whose settlement is not accurately preserved. In the center of the town the early residents were Noah Ashley, Joseph and Elias Gilbert, David, William, Sanford and Heman Crooks, Philip Reed and his sons John F., Silas, Wheeler, William and Philip; Whiting Marsh, John and Eleazer Freney, Deacon Harmon, Isaac Bishop, Rhoderick Steele, Cyrus Wells, Isaac and Alden Adams, Daniel H. Goodsell, Orsamus Risden, and possibly others. In the northeast part of the town the early settlers were Lemuel and Cyrus Chipman, Asa Dennison and Levi Blackmer, David Aiken, Thomas Wilson, Mr. Bentley, Wm. Baker, Aaron and John Abbey, Seth Tubbs, David Crawford, Moses, Peter and Nathaniel Allen, James Garlinghouse, Joseph Garlinghouse, Cyrus Wells, Sylvester Curtis, Mr. Boyd, Mr. Jenkins, Hugh Gregg, George Fox, Abram Wiley, Gideon Gates, David Pierpont, Caidwell. Other settlers in the town were Joshua Phillips, Nathan Hicks, Elijah Wheeler, Pierce Chamberlain, Asa Dennison, Levi Blackmer, Roswell Turner, Calvin Ward, Philip Reed, Colonel Lyman Hawes, Geo. McClure, Amos and John Dixon, Oliver Lyon, Wm. Warner, Parley Brown, Parley Drury, Luther Stanley, Mr. Frisbie, James McCrossen, Rufus Bullock, Caleb and Thomas Briggs, James Green, Stephen Frost, Gates Pemberton, Caleb Smith, Nelson Skinner, John Norton, James Parker, Abijah Wright, Wm. Arnold, Amos Jones, Jesse Stephens, A. S. Bushnell, Philip Short, Walter Stephens, Caleb Arnold, Abel Short, Artemas Briggs, John Beecher and Gilbert Kinyon.

The early settlers of that part of the town which extends south to the county line were Hugh Hamilton, George Gordon, William Layne, David Knapp, John Parker, Edmund Downs, Wm. Judevine, Job Wood, Jacob Flanders, Colonel John Green, the Skinner family, the Vinals, James Moore, Daniel Smith, Aaron J. Hunt, Andrew Bray, Jacob Bowers.

The persons above mentioned, many of whom were heads of families, were the pioneers and early settlers of Richmond, but in naming them no effort has been made to fix date of settlement, place of residence in the town, or to recall any events in connection with their family life, or services in the town. However, in another department of this work will be found detailed mention of many of these pioneers and their descendants, many of whom have largely contributed to the prosperity of the town. From the number of names mentioned it will be seen that the early settlement of the town was quite rapid, although prior to i8oo the inhabitants were few and scattered. However, in 1796 it was deemed advisable to complete the town organization, and a meeting thérefor was held on April 5, at which time these officers were chosen; Supervisor, Lemuel Chipman; town clerk, Gideon Pitts; assessors, Philip Reed, Wm. Pitts, Solomon Woodruff; constable and collector, Jonas Belknap; commissioners of highways, Solomon Woodruff, Gideon Pitts, Elijah Parker; fence viewers, Stiles Parker; Roswell Turner; poundmaster, Edward Hazen; pathmasters, Peter Pitts, Cyrus Chipman, Solomon Woodruff, Aaron Hunt, Roswell Turner; overseers of the poor, Peter Pitts, Philip Reed; commissioners of schools, Philip Reed, Cyrus Chiprnan, Jonas Belknap.

In this connection we furnish the names of the supervisors of Richmond who have from time to time represented the town in the county legislature as follows: Lemuel Chipman, 1786-1800, 1806, 1814, 1821; Philip Reed, 1801-4; Gideon Pitts, 1805, 1807-1809, 1818-20; Noah Ashley, 1810, 1813, 1815; James Herendeen, 1811; Peter Allen, 1812; Noah Ashley, 1812, to fill vacancy; Amos Mead, 1816-17; Issacher Frost, 1822-23, 1828; Nathaniel Allen, 1824, 1826; John Dixon, 1825; Philip Short, 1827; Jonathan Mason, 1829; Hiram Pitts, 1830-34; Gilbert Wilson, 1835-38; Wm. F. Reed, 1839-40; Hiram Ashley, 1841-43 ; Robert L. Rose, 1844-45; Zach. Longyor, 1846; David A. Pierpont, 1847-48, 1852, 1855; Thomas Barkley, 1849-50; Lyman Haws, 1851; David L. Hamilton, 1853-54; Zoroaster Paul, 1856; Wm. F. Reed, 1857-58; Willard Doolittle, 1859-60; Evelyn Pierce, 186 r- 68; Spencer D. Short, 1868-72; Chas. E. Reed, 1873-76; Marion P. Worthy, 1887-80; Frederick L.'Ashley, 1881-82; John A. Reed, 1883-86; Edwin W. Gilbert, 1887-88; David A. Pierpont, 1889-91; Charles E. Reed, 1892-93.

The Richmond contribution to the Ontario county troops who served in the War of 18 12-15, so far as can be ascertained, comprised these militiamen: Peter Allen, who commanded a regiment; Captains Elijah Clark, Josiah Morehouse, Joel S. Hart, Caleb Harrington; Salma Stanley, Abraham Dox, John Brown, John Bogart, James Bogart; Paymaster Nathaniel Allen; Major James Henderson; Lieutenant Joshua Phillips, and Tilness Bently, Eli Crooks, Henry Hazen, Paul W. Hazen, Thomas Bentley, Riley Crooks, Robert Crawfor, John Wheeler, Sylvester Wheeler, Benj. Leslie, Benj. Downing, David Knapp, Richard Wright, Pitts Phillips, Wm. Lane, John Flanders, Samuel Bently, Lyman Canda, Vincent Conklin, Darius French, Leonard Pemberton, Elijah Risden, Elijah Sibley, Cyrus Booth

The greatest number of inhabitants ever attained by the town was about the year 1840, there then being a population of 1,927. Ten years before the number was 1,876. In 1850 it decreased to 1,852; in 1860 to 1,650; in 1870 to 1,622; in 1880 it was increased to 1,772, and during the next ten years decreased to 1,511, as shown by the census reports.

The town of Richmond from its early settlement period has possessed a number of small villages, none of which has attained to the character of a corporation The largest and most important of these hamlets is Honeoye, a pretty little village located on the outlet of Honeoye Lake, about half a mile from the main body of the latter. The land in this vicinity to the vast extent of 3,000 acres, was originally owned by pioneer Captain Pitts, though the proprietorship of the village seems to have been credited to Artemas Briggs. The pioneer interests here were the tannery of Moses Risden, succeeded by Danie] Phillips; Gideon Pitts, Mr. Way and Abner Mather were the first blacksmiths; Gideon Pitts also built a saw-mill and grist-mill, the latter being on the site now occupied by the roller process mill of John Quick. In 1815 R. Davids opened a tavern, who was followed in the same occupation by Samuel G. Crooks and Smith Henry. In 1817 John Brown and Linus Giddings put in operation a fulling and cloth mill, which Joseph Blount owned later on. Hiram Pitts and Joseph Savill built the first woolen factory, and in 1822 John Brown started in trade. Erastus Hill, R. Waidron and Hawks & Whipple followed still later. Other, and perhaps later, merchants and business men of the village were as follows: Isaac G. Hazen, dealer; M. M. Gregory, hardware; Lyman Pierce and E. Pierce, ashery; Isaac Seward, tanner and shoemaker; Cornelius Hollenbeck, tanner; Oliver Adams, tanner and shoemaker; Mr. Tubbs, cabinet maker; Artemas Briggs, Ephraim Turner, John Pennell, Gideon Pitts and Erastus Hill, distillers. The present business interests of Honeoye village are the machine shops of Wm. Parks; the planing-mill of Caleb Arnold; the shops of Thos. McKey, Geo. W. Patterson and Frank Hoagland; Baun's photograph gallery; W. H. Bartlett's shoe and wagon shops; T. R. Reed's market; Mrs. Stout's hotel; Julian Tonset's and Geo. McBride's harness shops, and the stores of Frank Watrous, Ira M. Deyo (also postmaster), Rowley Knapp, Edwin W. Gilbert, M. A. Franklin, Litzendorf & Eldredge and Thomas & Plimpton.

The public properties at Honeoye are the school house and the Congregational and St. Mary's Roman Catholic churches. The First Congregational Church at Honeoye was organized in November, 1854, by Rev. Cyrus Pitts, assisted by Rev. Fisher, with less than ten original members, most of whom were formerly connected with the mother Congregational Society of the town. The church was built in 1861, and stands at the corner of Main and North streets. The succession of pastors is as follows: Revs. Cyrus Pitts, R. W. Payne, Milton Buttoft,. Isaac N. Ely and S. Mills Day, the latter being the present pastor.

St. Mary's Catholic Church at Honeoye is of recent organization and is under the pastoral charge of Rev. J. W. Hendrick.

The First Methodist Protestant Church and Society was organized in 1832, and in the same year a church edifice was built. In 1869 the building was destroyed by fire, an accident that so crippled the society that it soon afterward passed out of existence.

Richmond Center is a small hamlet situated near the center of the town, the early occupants of which have been mentioned in this chapter, but the place at this time has no business interests worthy of mention. It is the location, however, of the original Congregational Church of the town, organized November 4. 1802, and including in its membership a number of the prominent pioneer families of the vicinity. In 1804 the society purchased land of David Crooks to be used as a burying ground and also a site for a meeting-house. About 1810 the Presbyterian form of government was adopted, but in 1843 the society returned to Congregationalism. The large edifice was built in 1817-18, and the parsonage in 1835. Among the early supplies and pastors of this church were Revs. Joseph Grover, Jacob Cram, Abijah Warren, Samuel Fuller, Aaron C. Collins, Warren Day, Orange Lyman, H. B. Pierpont, Jacob Burbank, L. W. Billington, Lyman Manly, Milton Buttoff. This society is not now in active existence.

Richmond Mills is a small village situate in the western part of the town, on the outlet of Hemlock Lake. This was originally the locality of the settlement made by pioneer Asa Dennison, who came to the town in 1795, and for whom the cross roads was given the name of Dennison's Corners. The pioneer built a tavern at the Corners, and in connection with it fitted up a large ball-room. He kept public house here sixty years. The present business interests here are the store of A. B. Hosford, who is also postmaster; A. W. Townsend's saw and stave mill, and Caleb Clow's blacksmith shop.

Allen's Hill is located in the northest part of the town in the locality in which Moses Allen and his sons, Peter and Nathaniel, settled in 1796 and 1797. From this family the hamlet receives its name, although as a business or manufacturing center the village has never gained any prominence. Here are located the Protestant Episcopal and Metlodist Episcopal churches, the school of district No. 2, the store of Charles Simmons (who is also postmaster) and the blacksmith shop of Noah T. Lambert.

The Protestant Episcopal Church (St. Paul's) was organized in the town in April, 1813; and during the next two years an edifice was built. The parish organization has always been maintained though the church has experienced many vicissitudes. Its membership is small and there is no resident or regular rector in the parish.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Richmond which is located at Allen's Hill was organized about sixty years ago, and reorganized in January, 1859. The first church edifice was in the eastern part of the town, but after the reorganization a larger and more suitable structurewas built at Allen's Hill, and was dedicated July 6, 1861. The present pastor of this church is Rev. D. C. Nye..

The only church society which has had an active existence in Richmond was the Baptist, organized about 1808, and which built a church house in 1832. The society was dissolved many years ago.

Referring briefly to the educational interests of Richmond, it may be stated that the town has ten school districts, eleven frame schoolhouses, which are maintained at an annual expense of about $4,000. The total value of school buildings and sites in the town is estimated at $i 1,825. The number of children of school age in the town in 1892 was 424.

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