TIMELINE FOR HISTORIC PITTSFORD
© 2009 DAVID MINOR / EAGLES BYTE
B.C. Dates (approximated)
12,000 The Genesee Valley glacier ice recedes to the Portageville area.
9,000 The first humans, Paleo-Indians, arrive in the Genesee Valley.
1612 Samuel de Champlain, working from notes made by his scout Etienne Brulé, makes the first map of Lake Ontario, showing the Genesee River.
1635 The approximate date French missionaries to Canada begin writing about the Genesee region.
1741 Colonial Lieutenant Governor George Clarke pays the Senecas £100 (about $250) for all lands six miles east of Irondequoit Bay as well as twenty miles west and thirty miles south.
1788 New York delegates, upon learning of Virginia's ratification of the U.S. Constitution, also approve it in a vote of 30 to 27 over the objections of Governor George Clinton; and so becomes the 11th state in the union on July 26.
Land speculators, Phelps and Gorham, sign a treaty with the Seneca Indians at Buffalo Creek and buy 2.6 million acres of lands between Seneca Lake and the Genesee River; including the Mill Lot at the falls of the Genesee River.
1789 Captain Simon Stone and Lieutenant Isreal Stone, cousins and Revolutionary War veterans from Salem, New York, purchase a Phelps and Gorham tract at Big Spring containing 13,296 acres, for $4,786.56. They make a $30 down payment. This large land mass would be named Northfield.
Pioneer John Lusk and his party, from Berkshire, Massachusetts, after traveling by Mohawk River, Oneida Carry, Oswego River and Lake Ontario, cut a road from Irondequoit Bay to Canandaigua. His 15 year-old son Stephen and a hired hand come overland with cattle, supplies and goods for home and business.
1790 In January, Western New York pioneers John Lusk and Orringh Stone settle the Brighton area of the future Monroe County. Lusk buys land from Johnathan Fassett and Caleb Hyde. This summer Lusk returns to Massachusetts to get his wife and bring her back to New York.
The Federal Census shows the state's population has reached 340,120. Northfield, in the area that would eventually become Pittsford, has 28 people in eight families, making it the first permanent settlement in the future Monroe County.
1794 The Town of Northfield, in what will become Monroe County, is created, containing the future towns of Brighton, Henrietta, Irondequoit, Penfield, Perinton, Pittsford, and Webster.
A one-room log schoolhouse, paid for by subscription, is built south of Northfield. John Barrows is the first teacher. It will be the only school in the area for ten years.
1795 Area pioneer Israel Stone dies and is believed to be buried in Washington County, N.Y. though the location is unconfirmed.
Northfield pioneer Thomas Billinghurst, a Baptist minister, arrives in the U.S. from England.
1797 William and Ann Agate arrive in Northfield and build a log cabin on what will later become Thornell Road.
1798 Englishman Thomas Billinghurst, who immigrated in 1795, arrives in Northfield.
1799 A log house is built in Northfield for use as a town hall. The Reverend J. H. Hotchkin preaches there as well.
1800 The Monroe County community of Northfield has 414 residents.
Senator Gouverneur Morris suggests the construction of a canal across New York State, from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.
1801 The state legislature passes a resolution on March 5 to revise and amend the 1795 "act for the encouragement of schools", to permit $50,000 for the further expansion of schools over the next five years.
1803 Gouverneur Morris presents the outline of his 1800 proposal to build a canal across New York State to Surveyor-General Simeon DeWitt, who is quite skeptical.
Monroe County's first library - "The Northfield Library Company" - is established in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Patterson, on Mendon Center Road. Its forty subscribers pay dues of one dollar a year. (This library was dissolved in 1809)
Sections of the land area known as Northfield are partioned off and the area, part of which will one day become Pittsford, is now called Boyle.
1804 State surveyor-general Simeon De Witt discusses Gouverneur Morris's plan for a cross-state canal, which he does not believe practicable, with land surveyor James Geddes, who becomes intrigued with the idea.
1805 The Genesee River floods its banks portending an especially cold winter for Upstate New York.
1806 The settlement of Boyle replaces it's log schoolhouse with a one-room frame building.
1807 The first church in Monroe County is built in Boyle.
Glover Perrin opens an inn on the future State Street, later the site of the Phoenix Building.
1810 The population of the Genesee Valley region reaches 30,000.
The settlement of the part of Boyle that will later become Pittsford, near the Mile Post (from the later village center), begins expanding northward to that area. Boyle's population at this time is 2,860.
1811 The first post office opens in Monroe County. It is run by John Acer and delivery is once a week.
1812 More land area is partioned off from Boyle. (Penfield and Perinton) and the resulting smaller settlement is renamed from Boyle to Smallwood.
1814 The final division of Smallwood occurs and on March 21, in an area located southeast of "Rochesterville", the current boundaries of Pittsford (formerly Northfield, Boyle, Smallwood) are established.
1815 The first newspaper in the Monroe County area is published.
1816 Stephen van Rensselaer, De Witt Clinton, Samuel Young, Joseph Ellicott and Myron Holley are appointed on April 17 as commissioners for an Erie Canal, after Clinton passes legislation for improvement of, and survey for, the state's internal navigation.
"The Year Without a Summer" occurs as killing frosts occur in June and over the next three months wipe out all major crops in the Genesee Valley.
Village Presbyterians, who had been meeting in the Phoenix Building and in a log cabin north of the village, begin meeting in a frame house at the Milepost.
1818 A farmer named Pardee erects a two-story building along the future Erie Canal route in Bushnell's Basin. (Now the Richardson's Canal House restaurant.)
1819 New York's canal commission gives the go-ahead in April to continue the Erie Canal west of Seneca Lake, all the way to Lake Erie.
The approximate year a lawyer's office is built on Monroe Avenue, near Main Street. Eventually the building, known as the Little House, will be moved across the road and, in 1965, will become the headquarters/museum of Historic Pittsford Inc.
1820 The Lion of the West leaves Rochesterville on April 21 and becomes the first canal boat to travel from here to Utica, on the Erie Canal.
The Town of Pittsford has a population of 1,582.
Samuel Hildreth builds a home at 44 North Main Street. (Later known as Pittsford Farms Dairy).
1821 Monroe and Livingston counties are formed from parts of Ontario and Genesee counties.
1825 Governor DeWitt Clinton officially opens the 83-lock, 363 mile long, Erie Canal on October 26 as he departs from Buffalo aboard the Seneca Chief. A series of 32-pounder cannon, some from Perry's victory on Lake Erie, are spaced ear-shot distance apart along the route and fire in relay as Clinton progresses. The salute, running from Buffalo to New York City, lasts three hours and twenty minutes.
In November, the original flotilla returns to Buffalo with jugs of water from the Atlantic Ocean to be dumped ceremoniously into Lake Erie.
(Often known as "Clinton's Ditch" and "Clinton's Folly", the canal dramatically changed rural life in New York State; including Pittsford.)
1826 On September 10, William Morgan is arrested in Batavia to protect him from a Freemason mob accusing him of revealing Masonic secrets. On the 12th, while Morgan is being taken from jail in Canandaigua, he vanishes and is presumed dead.
It is said, the security party stops overnight at Pittsford's Phoenix Hotel, where Morgan has, what is to be, his last dinner.
A brick home is built at 28 Monroe Avenue for Erie Canal contractor Sylvanus Lathrop.
The village's Presbyterians sell their 1816 frame house at the Milepost to the Baptists; then commission a stone church built on Church Street.
1827 The Village of Pittsford is incorporated on April 7.
On July 4, New York State officially abolishes slavery and 10,000 slaves are freed.
1828 The Erie Canal opens for the season on April 1 and the next day, the packet boat Niagara becomes the first boat of the season to pass Syracuse, heading west on the Erie Canal.
1830 On the 12th of July, very heavy rain begins falling in western New York and continues through the next morning. Mid-day, the heavy rains cause a break in the Erie Canal in Bushnell's Basin near Pittsford's Great Embankment. A culvert gives way a mile-and-a-half west of Pittsford and damage is done as far as Fairport.
The population of Pittsford reaches 1,831 which is up from 1,582 recorded in the 1820 census.
1831 The brick Methodist Church is built on land donated by Ebenezer Sutherland on the western block of Lincoln Avenue.
1832 Pittsford pioneer Simon Stone dies at the age of 68.
1835 The state authorizes the enlargement of the Erie Canal on May 11.
The canal has reduced travel time from here to NYC down to 6 days, with freight costs of $5 a ton; instead of the $100 and 20 day trek across the state by wagon.
1836 Reports on July 1st indicate the Erie Canal has now made back its cost of $7 million. Tolls, however, will continue to be charged until 1882.
The Rochester and Auburn railroad opens, passing through Pittsford.
1838 The railroad engine Young Lion is unloaded from a canal boat in Cartersville (between Pittsford and Bushnell's Basin) for use on the new rail line between Rochester and Auburn.
1842 In April, Samuel Lee Crump marries Sarah Cutting in London. They immigrate to the U.S. later in the year and settle in Pittsford, where Samuel builds the cobblestone school on Church Street.
The Pittsford Cemetery Association is formed through the State Legislature.
1843 When plans to extend Lincoln Avenue up the hill to the west fail to materialize, the Methodist Church dismantles its brick building and moves it to South Main Street, across from the future Hicks and McCarthy building.
1844 The Reverend Henry Lockwood convenes the congregation of Christ Church.
1846 Christ Church is officially organized and meets on South Main Street, in the future Hicks and McCarthy building.
1847 The state legislature passes “An Act to provide for the Incorporation of Villages” on December 7.
1853 A house is built at 41 Monroe Avenue for Doctor Hartwell Carver, who is instrumental in the development of the transcontinental railroad.
1855 Extreme cold strikes western New York. On February 6, temperatures in Rochester drop to 26° below zero; the coldest on record.
Pittsford's town-wide population reaches 2,133. Of those, 702 are within the village.
1859 Lawyer Charles Hastings Wiltsie is born on January 13 to James and Emily Hastings Wiltsie, in a Pittsford house on North Main Street. (This structure will later house the Pittsford Library and now the Village Offices).
1863 The enlargement of the Erie Canal is completed.
1868 A. J. Warner's Medina sandstone Christ Episcopal Church is completed.
1869 Jarvis Lord is elected to the State Senate.
The Medina sandstone Christ Church, at South Main and Locust is completed.
1870 Rochester-based contractor Jarvis Lord repairs a break in the Chemung Canal feeder, will be accused of squeezing undue profits from the project, charging $125,000, about ten times the independently estimated cost.
1878 On March 11th, Rochester New York"s Democrat & Chronicle announces that the Bank of Monroe has won a judgment against Jarvis Lord for nearly $13,000.
The Pittsford Union School (later the Cobblestone Academy, and then the Masonic Temple) closes its doors on June 27th.
The Pittsford chapter of the Grange (formerly The Patrons of Husbandry) is founded, with 18 charter members and George Canfield as the first Master.
1879 Severe snowstorms immobilize western New York on January 2nd and finally ends on January 10th, after causing several deaths.
The first of a series of weekly inpromptu temperance meetings is held in Pittsford starting in February. By April, the Pittsford Women"s Christian Temperance Union is organized.
On April 17th, the wooden bridge across the Erie Canal in Pittsford is removed and construction on a new iron bridge begins eight days later. The iron bridge is completed on May 13th
In March, the American Union Telegraph Company opens an office in Pittsford, at the North Main Street home of Gabe Wood, with connections to Fairport, Palmyra, and points east. Wood, blind, serves as telegrapher.
In June, the Pittsford Cemetery Association purchases extra land to add to the north side of its North Main Street cemetery. Its "Potters Field" is then closed and the bodies are transfered to other locations. The site of the Potter's burial ground is no longer known.
The telegraph line at the Auburn Railroad station of the New York Central is made part of Western Union, located locally in blind telegraph operator Gabe Wood"s home.
U. S. mail will be coming to Pittsford twice a day (from two different directions) via the Auburn Line of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad.
In October, John Wood is appointed Pittsford"s first police patrolman.
Village residents are disappointed to learn that the new West Shore Railroad will not pass through Pittsford's village, but will be routed through the northern part of the town.
A memorial service is held at Pittsford"s cemetery to replace flowers and emblems on soldiers" graves. A committee is appointed to make arrangements for a Decoration Day next year. (This is possibly the first "Memorial Day" commemorated in Pittsford.)
A new circulating library, called the "Franklin Square Library" is established. The collection consists of 80 works and has 100 subscribers.
A Buffalo canal boat, named Caroline, passes through Pittsford en route to Newark, New Jersey. It is discovered that one of the drivers aboard has smallpox. He is dropped off for treatment and Pittsford residents cease all unnecessary public gathering.
Pittsford"s Baptist Church has its spire gilded.
Due to unsound wooden timbers, the Main Street Bridge over the Erie Canal is condemned.
Tolls are abolished on the Erie Canal beginning in December.
Railroad activity has spread as far as Stoutenberg Road (Golf Avenue) and Main Street north to the village limits. The new West Shore & Buffalo Railroad purchases eleven acres from the Isaac Sutherland estate, where it will locate its ticket depot and freight house.
Pittsford is connected by telephone to Rochester; a line to Fairport is in the works.
Village trustees meet and decide to open a new street along Sutherland Lane (the future Sutherland Street), crossing the new Morningside Park (later Lincoln Avenue).
The Pittsford Post office sees a rise in business as Italian workers, from the railroad advancement, begin purchasing more stamps and cards.
Workmen from Fairport arrive in Pittsford to build the West Shore Railroad station.
Late in the year, the West Shore bridge over the New York Central lines is nearly completed. A locomotive and construction cars have crossed the bridge, over Main Street, the Auburn line tracks and the Erie Canal.
The roof of Pittsford West Shore rail depot in the north section of the town is covered with a metallic shingle roof, the first of its kind.
A second circulating library in Pittsford is established and is located at the J. Lockwood store.
The new passenger station of the West Shore railroad opens and with the new rail line in place, Pittsford residents can go directly to Fairport – for ten cents - rather than only by way of Rochester. The Stoutenberg Road Lutheran Church congregation, disturbed by the proximity of the new railroad, begins seeking a new location.
Pittsford suffers outbreaks of diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever, and typhoid and rheumatic fevers.
H. H. “Hi” Cronk and J. W. Olney open a coal and lumber business between North Main and State streets. (on Schoen Alley / Place).
In June, a West Shore Railroad freight train is completely wrecked east of Pittsford.
Doctor Paul Carpenter introduces the first lawn tennis court in the village. It is on his property on Monroe Avenue.
Pittsford"s Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) post #288 is founded and named for Mendon volunteer veteran E. J. Tyler.
St. Paul"s Lutheran Church on Lincoln Avenue is built. The old structure on Stoutenberg Road (Golf Avenue) becomes a private residence.
Farmer Harvey E. Light is named Commander of Pittsford"s new E. J. Tyler Post of the Grand Army of the Republic while preacher, apple dryer Arthur Newton (the last living Civil War veteran in Pittsford and next-to-last in Monroe County) is named Chaplain.
Miss Cora Sutherland becomes Pittsford"s first female Postmaster, taking over from her sister who had temporarily held the position for several months.
Pittsford"s cobblestone school opens for the spring term in April, with a large class totaling 165 pupils.
Pittsford resident Sam Stone buys 15 acres north of the Central Railroad from a Mrs. Huntington, planning two new streets (Elm and Line) with building lots.
Temperance speaker D. Thomas of Buffalo gives a week-long series of talks in Pittsford to overflow crowds at the Methodist-Episcopal Church.
As Pittsford"s Boughton tract – already containing 23 houses - is being developed, a culvert is under construction beneath Boughton Avenue.
Shelley G. Crump demolishes his store at the northwest corner of the village"s main intersection, to replace it with a 50-foot tall general store with an opera house on the second floor.
The Women"s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the local chapter of the International Organization of Good Templars (IOGT) are active in the crusade for the passage of the proposed 18th (Prohibition) Amendment.
A new branch of the YMCA, located in Pittsford Village, elects a slate of officers, including Charles H. Wiltsie as President and William J. Crump as Treasurer.
Pittsford"s Grand Army of the Republic"s E. J. Tyler Post elects a new slate of officers, including Commander Marvin French, Senior Vice-Commander J. C. Gillam, Sergeant Dr. Paul D. Carpenter and Chaplain George W. Farnham.
Pittsford"s Crump Opera House opens to an audience of 500 local residents; 100 have to be allowed only a glimpse due to space considerations, and are promised the performances will be repeated the next evening.
Pittsford holds its town elections in the first few days of March. Six Republicans and three Democrats win.
Diphtheria makes its way through Pittsford. Placards are posted on affected houses. All funerals for victims are private. Reverend Gomph closes his church school. Two of Dr. Robert B. Johnstone"s youngest children, ages 2 and 4 years old, die.
Pittsford village school principal Stewart takes some students over to Penfield in mid-June to take their Regents exams.
In July, fire destroys the Crump Opera House (open less than 5 months), the Wiltsie & Crump store and Crump"s home. An inventory, taken for insurance purposes, shows losses near $9,000; excluding the goods saved from the flames.
It is later reported that the fire also destroyed forty shade and fruit trees belonging to Seymour Boughton and Mrs. Gillam. Also Mrs. Gillam"s house next door to the Wiltsie & Crump store.
By mid-August, the basement of Pittsford"s new Wiltsie & Crump building – on the site of the old – is already ready for the start of carpentry work.
Rochester"s Democrat & Chronicle reports on the completion, in approximately 9 months, of Pittsford"s rebuilt Wiltsie & Crump commercial building; grand re-opening held on November 30th.
Mary Elizabeth “Lillie” Hartman becomes licensed as a druggist in late December.. After her father
Dr. William Hartman retires, she will take over his Pittsford pharmacy, where she had been assisting him.
The Rev. Mr. John T. Seeley retires as pastor of Pittsford's Baptist Church.
There was to be an oyster supper for the benefit of the Methodist Church at the home of Mrs. Hanford Stone.
80 people attended an oyster dinner, for the benefit of the Baptist Church, at the home of Mrs. C. Emerson Cleveland.
The Teachers' Institute meets in the Cobblestone School on Church Street to open the Spring semester. Schools will be closed this week and teachers will be paid only if they attend the Institute.
It's announced, in the newspaper, that Ben Eckler's young daughter, and his father David, living in Mendon, have been diagnosed with scarlet fever. They both die.
George Heman Lusk launches a new 32-foot-long yacht with a passenger capacity of fifty. A steam engine will be installed right away, to make the vessel available for Independence Day excursions on the Erie Canal.
During the first week of July, Shelly Crump commemorates the first anniversary of the burning of his 50-foot high Opera House and his own home by breaking ground for his new home on the site.
Heman Lusk uses his canal yacht to transport leading Pittsford citizens to Brockport and back. As they approach Pittsford on the return voyage he blows the steam whistle, signaling their return to the landing at Lock 62 (behind today's Pittsford Plaza, that canal segment closed in 1918).
A bell (in the key of D) and a clock, both built by Meneely of Troy, NY, weighing 3,500 pounds, for the spire of Christ Church, ordered by Susan Hargous and carried on by her children after her recent death, having arrived on the site, are ready to be placed in the tower. A Troy artisan is in charge of the installation. The eight-day clock is a Seth Thomas model, striking the hours and quarter hours. It's inscription reads, "To the Glory of God and in the most tender memory of Susan Hargous, who died March 28 1887".
Ballston Spa-born U.S. Senator, bank president and "Pittsford Farms" owner (todays' Pittsford Farms Dairy on North Main Street) Jarvis Lord dies on July 24 in Pittsford at the age of 71. He will be buried in Pittsford Cemetery.
Due to a blight, Pittsford's quince fruit crop fails in 1887.
The annual weekday subscription rate for the Democrat & Chronicle, local newspaper, is now $6.00 but $7.00 if the Sunday edition is included. The paper has a weekly circulation of 96,976, with an average per day of 13,853.
It's announced in the D & C that rehearsals for the Episcopal Church's presentation of a drama called The Sleeping Car have begun, as well as other features of an upcoming evening.
Young Henry May, grandson of merchant and refiner Colonel Lucius. S. May, is walking by the rear of the family home on Monroe Avenue and sees flames through the basement's pantry window, where lamps are stored. He calls in an alarm then starts dousing the flames with water, saving the family residence.
THe headline in the local newspaper reads "Pittsford Methodist Church to Host Supper" and goes on to report that "conceding the immunities and hoping in the active privileges conferred upon the other sex by the year 1888, the gentlemen of Pittsford Methodist Church have consented to give a leap year oyster supper at the church for the benefit of the Society."
The "Pittsford Manufacturing Company" is formed and will produce adjustable window screens and other home construction products. It will occupy a temporary structure on North Main Street across from the New York Central Station.
George A. Goss won enough votes to become Supervisor for the town by defeating Thomas Spiegel 21 to 14.
The Loyal Legion, junior branch of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, give a pubic concert at the Baptist Church. It will b repeated the next evening for those who missed it.
The Post Office is burglarized. Nothing of great value is missing, a few stamps taken and some envelopes ripped open and bills or receipts from the Wlitsie and Crump store taken.
On the 6th of August, the local paper carried the sad news of the death of one of the great heroes of the Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman.
The newspaper reported that Christ Church was undergoing repairs. The heavy slate roof was tending to spread the church walls so a tin roof was to be installed to replace the old one.
The Democrat & Chronicle presents a profile of Gabe K.Wood, a local blind telegrapher, praising his amazing ability to use the telephone and the telegraph in unison.
In November, a barn warming is held on W. Henry Barker's farm, to launch the barn replacing the one destroyed by fire back in July.
The Daily Evening News reports that members of the Board of Supervisors have given George A. Goss an elegant smoking set as a "end-to-an-excellent-year" gift.
Pittsford's local Literary and Debating Society decide that direct voting for the U.S. President would be preferable to the use of the electoral college.
David J. Sadden installs na iron-reinforced concrete sidewalk in front of his Morningside Park ( now Lincoln Avenue) home - the first use locally of the 1857 patented material.
The chandelier in the Presbyterian Church comes crashing to the ground, probably a result of lightning, which often struck the church.
The Democrat & Chronicle reviews a lecture given by temperance advocate Mrs. Wesley Van Buskirk to school children. She displayed pictures of the stomachs of drunks, revealing the bad effects of alcohol and imploring the students to not drink.
A committee, consisting of new town supervisor George A. Goss, Samuel H. Stone and Charles True meet to discuss a site for a new Town Hall, near the southwest corner of Main Street and Monroe Avenue. It is unanimously approved that it should be permanently located at 11 South Main Street.
The Village Board publishes its financial report for the year 1888 through 1889. Expenses total $1,071.15.
Late in April, it is announced that the $7,000 offered for purchasing the site for a new Town Hall is inadequate. Efforts will continue. (They will eventually become successful, without increasing the amount.)
Architect C. S. Ellis's blueprint plans and specifications for the new brick Town Hall are accepted.
The newly enlarged and updated steamer Jessie will make its first daily run on the canal, stopping in Bushnell's Basin, the first boat of the season passing through Fairport.
A tremendous windstorm strikes the village, tearing 30-year-old willows out of the the ground behind Monroe Avenue's Sutherland House. Downed maple trees block parts of Clover Street. Out in the town windows on the west side of homes are all torn out.
A drought in the area is decaying the potato crop but the paper reported that the apple and pear harvest was bountiful. "Field laborers were often receiving $2.50 per day."
The Democrat & Chronicle newspaper printed the list of the voters in the village election in the fall. There were only 19 men (no women, of course) who voted and almost all of the men were interested in politics and had held one or more political offices.
It is announced that Eugene Satterlee has purchased a large plot of land up on Hayward's Hill, overlooking South Main Street and Sutherland Street. It will become his summer residence, later named Hyllgarth.