History of West Bloomfield, New York
FROM: HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
NEW YORK
EDITD BY: GEORGE S. CONOVER
COMPILED BY LEWIS CASS ALDRIDGE
PUBLISHED BY D. MASON & CO., PUBLISHERS
SARACUSE, N. Y., 1893

CHAPTER XXVIII.
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF WEST BLOOMFIELD.

ON February 11, 1833, that part of township number 10 of range 5, which lay east of Honeoye Outlet, was set off from the old town of Bloomfield and given a separate organization under the name of West Bloomfield. In area this is the smallest, except Geneva, of the towns of Ontario county, but is a town of considerable importance from a commercial and industrial point of view. Township 10, range 5, was purchased from the proprietary in 1789 by General Amos Hall, Robert Taft, Nathan Marvin and Ebenezer Curtis, all of whom were pioneers in the town as early as 1799.

The actual settlement in West Bloomfield began in the spring of 1789, when Peregrine Gardner came and made the first improvement, and was followed in the same year by Ebenezer Curtis and his family. Pioneer Gardner located in the central part of the town, on lot 10, and in the same vicinity he passed the remainder of his life. Lucinda, daughter of Mr. Gardner, was the first white child born in the town, this event taking place in 1791. Amos Hall settled west of Gardner, and was for many years an influential man in the county. In the beginning of the war of 1812 he commanded the Ontario county militia, and performed good service on the frontier; but having no practical knowledge of military affairs, was superseded in command by a trained officer. He also was conspicuous in State politics, and held offices of trust and importance. He was a large landholder in this locality. General Hall died in West Bloomfield December 28, 1827, the father of six children, nearly all of whom likewise attained much prominence.

Other pioneers and early settlers in this locality (the eastern central part of the town) were David Parsons (1796) the carpenter; Clark Peck, 1790; John Wendle, Reuben Lee, Deacon Daniel Handy (1796), Nathaniel Shepard (1805), Martin Minor, Nathaniel Eggleston, Mr. Stewart, Josiah Eggleston (shoemaker), Bayes Baker, Ami Fowler, Phileman Hall, Daniel Curtis, William Lee. This locality also seems to have been the home of a number of early industries, as investigations disclose the fact that about 1816 Gen. Hall built a gristmill on the creek, and on the site a mill was maintained for many years afterward. Samuel Nichols started a distillery in 1818; Jacob Ardle a sawmill in 1825. An ashery was also in operation here at an early day.

The pioneer of the northeast part of the town was Samuel Miller, whose settlement began in 1790, but who made an improvement on lot six in 1789. From this pioneer family the name Miller’s Corners was derived. Other persons in this section were Josephus Fox, Thomas Larkins, Benjamin Burlingame (1795), Charles Smith, Benj. Crowell (1802), Robert Simpson (1796). South and southeast of the center of the town was settled early, and among the pioneers here we may recall the names of Captain Robert Taft, Royal Wheelock, John Lute, James Harvey, Lot Rew, Daniel Riley, Payne Leach, Wm. Carringer, the Algur family, Benj., John, Samuel and Josiah, George Nichols, Aaron Norton, John Miner, William Paul and David McMaster. In the southwest quarter the pioneers were Capt. Otis Thompson, Jesse Taft, Mr. Bent, Job Williams, Jeremiah Simmons, Arnold and Whitley Mann, Mr. Chapman, Daniel Daniels, William Daniels and Watrous Peck.

North of the locality last mentioned the pioneers were Colonel Jasper C. Sears and Ebenezer Curtis, the latter one of the proprietors, and whose settlement was made in 1789. In the same locality, also, the other early settlers were Julius Curtis, Joseph Gilbert, Palmer Peck, Jasper Marvin, Loren Waits, Sylvanus Thayer (who built the first gristmill in the town), Uriah Webster (who had a saw-mill near Thayer’s), Reynolds and Abner Peck. The locality just mentioned contains the hamlet of West Bloomfield, which in the early history of the town, was a place of great importance. In addition to the industries above noted, we may also mention Hutchinson’s distillery, started in 1827, near the grist mill. Daniel Ashley was the head of a firm which started the first cotton-mill in this region, which later became a woolen factory. Elisha Eggleston ran a grist-mill here at an early day.

The pioneers of the north and northeast portions of the town may be chiefly recalled by name, and among them were the Bull, Dixon, Hibbard and Baker families, and also Daniel and Marvin Gates, Reuben and Beebe Parmele, Isaac Hall, Daniel and Titus Canfield, Jared Everts, and the Butlers, Hayeses and Madisons. In this part of the town is situated the busy little manufacturing hamlet of North Bloomfield, of which more will be written later on in this chapter

In West Bloomfield, unlike some other towns of the county, the history of the villages is an essential part of the township itself, and among those which form a part of this chapter the most productive of recollections associated with the town at large is the hamlet bearing the name of the town. Pioneers Ebenezer Curtis and Jasper P. Sears (some authorities say John P. Sears) settled in this locality, the former in 1789 and the latter in 1790. A preceding paragrpah has recorded the names of other early settlers in this vicinity, prominent among whom was Jasper Marvin. In 1810 Erastus Hunt had a general store, but still earlier Hendee & Company were in trade at the village. Ludwick came later, as also did Augustus Hall, whose store was east of the village. John Dickson was the pioneer lawyer, and Doctors Fairchild and Hickox sold drugs and attended the sick. Dr. Lewis Hodge succeeded them. About 1820 Captain Arnold started a tannery, and two brothers Pillsbury opened a smith’s shop. John Cooper made axes and other edged tools, Reuben Pierce was wagon - maker, and Pioneer Baker made chairs. W. D. Pillsbury started a foundry about 1830. Other early business men were Edward Herrick, brass founder, and Josiah Wendell, merchant. However, to recall the names of all the proprietors of business enterprises which have from time to time been established in West Bloomfield village would be difficult to accomplish, and even then could have no special interest. The village is situated something more than a mile south of the railroad, and although a pretty hamlet, does not possess the interests which seventyfive and more years ago made it their seat of operation. Its populalion is about 350, and its present interests are confined to the stores of Leach & Company, and Rigney. The town-house was formerly the property of the Christian Church Society.

The Congregational Church of West Bloomfield is one of the fixed institutions of the village and has a history almost as interesting as that of the town itself. The “Society of Bloomfield,” as it was originally called, had its beginning as early as the year 1796, and is therefore to be numbered among the first religious societies of Western New York. The first meetings were held under the charge of Pioneer Elisha Wade, and on August 16, 1799, an organization was perfected, having these members: Ebenezer Curtis, Samuel and Sarah Handy, Mary Hall, Daniel Canfield, Rachel Gilbert, Elizabeth Miner, Elizabeth Downs, Peregrine Gardner, Griffin Downs, Nathaniel and Sebra Butler, Reuben and Louisa Lee, Hannah Curtis, Rhoda Curtis, Phebe Hall, Comfort Marvin, and Phebe Richmond. The first pastor was James Hotchkin, who came as a supply in October, 1801, and who was installed pastor May 19, 1803. The early services of this church were held in the school-house, to which building the society at first proposed to make an addition to be occupied for purposes of public worship, but objections to this plan being interposed, a church edifice was finally determined upon. This was in 1804, but not until i 8o6 was the work begun, and the building was not fully completed until several years afterward.

In 1828 the church called Silas C. Brown to the pastorate, whose installation was almost immediately followed by a bitter controversy among the members, and the final result was the withdrawal of forty of them, who organized a new society and installed Mr. Brown as their pastor. They also built a house of worship in 1831, which was used until the opposing factions became reunited, and was afterward (1866) sold to the trustees of St. Joseph’s R. C. Society. The reunion mention was effected in 1843, and three years later the congregation had become so large that a new church was necessary. It was accordingly built—a large brick structure, costing about $5,000. This proved sufficient for the requirements of the society for thirty years, but in 1875 a third edifice was begun and was completed within two years. The property of the society consists of church, chapel and parsonage, of a total value of about $18,000.

The pastor and supplies of this church from its organization to the present time have been as follows: James H. Hotchkin, David Fuller, Ebenezer Fitch, Silas C. Brown, William P. Kendrick, Julius Steele, George Clark, George Bassett, C. R. Clark, Timothy Stowe, C. E. Fisher, George C. Overhiser, P. F. Sanborn, John Patchin, 0. D. Crawford, S. B. Sherrill, and Annis F. Eastman, the last named being the present incumbent. The church at this time has a membership of 200, and the Sunday-school has 210 scholars.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at West Bloomfield was organized in 1866, and included within its parish the Roman Catholic families of the town. In the same year the church purchased the frame church formerly erected by the withdrawing element of the Congregational Society. Father William Hughes was for many years pastor of St. Joseph’s. The present pastor is Father Simon Fitzsimons.

The Christian Church of West Bloomfield was organized in October, 1818, and held its early meetings in school-houses. In 1825 a church edifice was built about a mile south of West Bloomfield village, where it stood until 1848, and was then moved to the corner lot in the village. Rev. David Millard w.as the active organizer of this church and society, and he stood in the relation of pastor almost throughout its existence. In 1868 he moved to Michigan, and was succeeded in the pastorate by Revs. Havens, Sibley, and David E. Millard, who labored to maintain the organization of the society, but failing, its was finally dissolved, and the edifice was purchased by the town and used for its meetings.

North Bloomfield is the name of a small hamlet and post-office station south of the line of the Canandaigua and Batavia branch of the Central road. This has been an important manufacturing center for many years, and unlike many other portions of the county, its interests and enterprises here have been maintained and even increased with passing years, and it is a fact that to-day the little hamlet of North Bloomfield is the most important manufacturing center in western Ontario county.

The pioneer of this part of the town was Daniel Gates, who made a settlement in 1790, and was followed in 1794 by Marvin Gates, who was a pioneer in the lumbering business. At this point, about 1795, Samuel Miller and one Crites built a saw-mill on Honeoye outlet, which old mill subsequently passed through various ownerships and stood for many years. John Blake was an early distiller of spirits near the old grist-mill of Squire and Jacob Smith. The Squire built a cloth or fulling-mill for his son Eldrick, the building afterward being made into a grist mu and operated by Amos Gates. Near it Francis Smith established a distillery, for it must be understood that the pioneer grist mill and the distillery of the same period were hand in hand enterprises. James Smith opened a store at an early day. This leads to the remark that the Smiths were people of much consequence in the early history of this locality, and from the number and extent of their interests, the point at one time was known as Smithtown. Other early business men here were Goodrich, succeeded by Joseph Chambers; Horace Chambers, Robert Huntington, hotel-keeper; Isaac Hall, who had a forge and furnace. The industries and business interests of this region extend along the outlet on both sides, and, as a result, a village of importance has grown up, much of which is located on the west or Lima side of the stream.

The present interests which have an abiding place on the North Bloomfield side of the outlet are the general store of Charles S. Chambers & Company, the grist-mill of Amos Lotee, the flouring. mills of Aaron Mather, the saw-mill, stave, heading and barrel factory of A. B. Collins & Company, the factory of C. H. Fairchild, millwright and manufacturer of mill flights; the wagon repair shop of Wallace Buck, and other small industries which are incidental to a manufacturing community. These diversified and somewhat extensive interests require protection, hence “The North Bloomfield Fire Department” was organized, and was incorporated in October, 1886. Its jurisdiction extends to the west side of the outlet, and in fact it is an organization of the vicinity rather than of North Bloomfield alone.

Miller’s Corners, as known for many years, but more recently designated as “Miller Corners,” was named in honor and memory of Samuel Miller, whose first improvement was made in 1789, and whose residence here began in 1790. Pioneer Miller was a blacksmith and established a primitive shop in the town soon after coming here. Thus he founded a settlement, though having no such intention at the time. However, it was not until the completion of the railroad (1853) that this hamlet acquired any prominence, although a post-office was established here in 1849, and to it was given the name "Taylorville," in allusion to the surname of the then president, Gen. Zach. Taylor. The name of Miller’s Corners was adopted in 1869. The business interests of Miller Corners are substantially embraced by the general stores of Johnson and Croft respectively, and the public institutions are the Methodist Church and the school of District No. 3. It may be added, however, that the Old Cemetery and Rural Cemetery have their location within the hamlet proper, and in connection therewith may be mentioned.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of West Bloomfield, as an original organization, belongs to the twon rather than the village of Miller’s Corners The society was formed February 7. 1831, and held its first meetings in West Bloomfield, in the school. house, and occasionally in Mr. Miller’s barn. The church edifice was built in 1832. However, as most of the members resided at the Corners or its vicinity, the society was disbanded, and afterwards reorganized as a society of Miller’s Corners, to which place the meeting-house was removed, and was superseded by a more substantial structure in 1840. Present pastor, Rev. E. W Parks. Although the pastorate is not always supplied by a resident minister, the society is nevertheless large and prosperous.

Schools.— As early as 1796 a school was opened at West Bloomfield, and before 1812 the enterprising inhabitants of the town founded an academy. Prior to 1800 a school was started at Miller’s Corners, and in 1812 a school-house was erected. Other early schools were in district No. 7, also No 8, and elsewhere in the town, all of which tends to show that even during the infancy of the township the educational interests were the subject of care and attention on the part of the people. According to the present arrangement, the territory of the town is divided into nine school districts, only one of which (No. 8) has no school building. In 1892 the number of children of school age was 407, to instruct whom fourteen teachers were employed at an expense during the year of $2,521.50. The amount of moneys received for school purposes was $3,354.53. There are six frame school houses, also one of stone (No. 3).

As has been stated in this chapter, the town of West Bloomfleld was set off February 11, 1833, and was separately organized at the first town meeting held on the first Tuesday in April following, at which time these officers were elected: Reynold Peck, supervisor; H. R Hall, town clerk; Stephen Blake, David Paul and Wheeler Griffin, assessors; Isaac W. Phillips, collector; Stephen Hen dee and Sylvester Kellogg, overseers of the poor; Sidney Huntington, Enoch Hall and Elias D. Wright, justices of the peace.

Succession of Supervisors— Reynold Peck, 1883—39, 1843—44, 1847—48; Bazaleel C. Taft, 1840—42; Jasper C. Peck, 1845; John Dickson, 1846; Solon Peck, 1849—50; Charles Webb, 1851; Melancton Gates, 1852; Daniel S. Baker, 1853—54; Thos. R. Peck, 1855; Elisha F. Leech, 1856—64; Joseph C. Shelton, 1865—66; Hiram T. Parmele, 1867—70; Jasper P. Thompson, 1871; Reynold M. Peck, 1872; Walter J. Dixon, 1873 74; Harvey A. Metcalf, 1875—77; James H. Baker, 1878; Carlton S. Miller, 1879—80; Oscar H. Huntington, 1881; Carlton S. Miller, 1882—83; Edwin E. Bond, 1884—85 ; John P. Eaton, 1886; Reynold M. Peck, 1887—88; Edwin E. Bond, 1889 ; Patrick O’Leary, 1890—91; Newton W. Dibble, 1892; William T. Case, 1893.

Present Town Officers— William T. Case, supervisor; M. H. Shepard, town clerk; C. M. Hendee, H. B. Webb, G. I. Rose, L. A. Taylor, justices of the peace; H. B. Marble, E A. Chapin, John Seymour, assessors; Ira Clemons, commissioner of highways; E. A. Chapin, overseer of the poor; W. H. Welch, collector; A. M. Lyman, William Webb, Wm. H. Welch, constables; Henry P. Hewitt, Sears B. Wood, Henry C. Brown, inspectors of election; James Elton, commissioner of excise.

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