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The History of Tuscarora NY
History of Tuscarora
The Morris Reserve was a portion of the vast purchases of land made in Western New York by Robert Morris of Philadelphia, financier and patriot of the Revolution.
To secure a clear title to these lands, it was necessary that an agreement be made with the Indians who were the real owners and accordingly a treaty was held with the Senecas at Geneseo in 1797. Mr. Morris was represented at this council by his son, Thomas Morris who finally secured a deed of the territory from the Indians. In consideration of which the Senecas reserved certain portions of same and received in payment of lands transferred, $100,000.
The Morris Reserve was afterward divided into tracts and sold. The Tuscarora tract was at a very early date the property of Luke Tiernan of Baltimore. It was late in coming onto market and the rich lands were in the meantime seized by squatters whose only title was that of possession.
In 1806 or 1807, James Scott and two or three other farmers went up the Kashaqua Valley with a view to locating. Noticing that the hazel bushes had hanging on them dead hazelnuts, they concluded that it must be frosty there, so they did not buy any lands. They spent the night in a partly built hut between Brushville and Nunda village. There was then but one occupied house between these two places and that was occupied by a squatter named Kingsly. Brushville is said to have been covered with low bushes, no trees of large size being found there. Hence the name Brushville which was afterward changed to Tuscarora.
The squatter settlers spent their time in hunting, fishing, and trapping and paid but little attention to the development of the town and thereby hindered immigration. To protect his interests, Mr. Tiernan sent an agent, one McSweeny; but not understanding the men he had to deal with, McSweeny was beset with trouble. The squatters were ably defended in all suits for trespass by Joseph Dixon who caused the agent much vexation. On the advent of settlers, the squatters removed to other places.
In 1822 Tiernan appointed Charles H. Carroll, afterward known as Judge Carroll, agent for the sale of these lands. Carroll soon made sales by means of articles. Many however never made second payment but followed the tide of immigration west ward.
One of the first permanent residents was Daniel P. Sedam who in 1823 purchased 75 acres just east of Tuscarora. After making first payment, he had but $60 with which to build a home for himself and wife.
The first deed on record given for land in this place was to David Babcock and others in 1831. Prior to this data however, quite a number of other residents had arrived. A sawmill had been built by Smith and Driscoll. J. P. Dodge has erected a fulling mill in 1826, a carding mill in 1830 and a saw mill a few years later. Mr. J. P. Dodge was one of the most influential citizens, was merchant for 25 years, Justice of the Peace and Supervisor of the Town for 10 or more years in succession. He died in Nunda in 1890, at the age of 90 years.
Another one of the first settlers, was James P. Ammerman, who was a soldier in the war of 1812. He came from Cayuga Co. and located on a farm south of Tuscarora. The same farm on which Marion Conklin now resides (in 1908).
Amos Hungerford settled on a farm a mile north of this village--the present home of George Creveling. One year later his brother Chauncy settled just west of him on the farm now owned by Lafayette VanDorn.
As Asa Northway came in the year 1830 and erected the first frame dwelling in the vicinity. This house which is near the residence of Charles Claus, is still standing. Mr. Northway as well as the Hungerfords, came from Coldbrook, Connecticut, and were known as Yankees. Northway held a number of town offices and died in 1877.
In 1826 Samuel R. and Jacob Bergen located here. Samuel remaining but a few years. The farm where Jacob Bergen located is now the home of Frank Ess.
The home of John Creveling was first owned by Thomas Bodine, who remained only a few years.
The farm where Perry Levey now lives was first bought by Jacob VanOrsdale in 1830. Abram VanOrsdale was also one of the first settlers.
Among others of these first settlers were J. H. Bowers, J. Wheelock, Calvin Damon who kept a carding mill, Jacob Petrie, a blacksmith and his two sons, William and Peter. William was Justice of the Peace, Postmaster, built a warehouse and bought grain. He taught school as early as 1838 and for many years afterward.
The school in Brushville was organized in 1830 and was called District No. 13. The first recorded number of pupils which was in 1835, was 126. The number who were over five and under 16 was 76. The amount paid for keeping school 11 months and 3 days, was $127.42. On account of the large number of pupils the school was divided in 1840, and all that part lying east and south of the creek was assigned to a joint district which, in part, was in the town of Nunda. F. A. NORTHWAY
October 25, 1852, Stephen Birch, William N. Hall, Aaron Conover, William Voles, Isaac VanDeventer, William VanDeventer, William Post and Rev. Thomas S. Dewing met for the purpose of re-incorporating. Rev. Thomas S. Dewing was then pastor, Stephen Birch and William N. Hall were chosen to preside, and James Conklin, William N. Hall and Isaac Van Deventer were elected trustees. The name was then changed to “The Presbyterian Congregation of Tuscarora.”
A Free Methodist Church was organized in August 1875 with about 30 members by Rev. R. M. Snyder who served as pastor for two years. He held meeting in the school house and was succeeded by Rev. William Southworth who remained until 1880. A church building started just south of the school house, was never completed and society for some reason ceased to hold services in this place.
It is not generally known that the first Catholic services in the town of Mt. Morris and vicinity were held at Tuscarora during the building of the canal. Father McGuire of Rochester conducted the services in a rather inexpensive building located on land the use of which was donated by Judge Carroll of Groveland. This location was on what is now J. W. Slaights land at the top of the hill in the north end of the village. When the canal was abandoned services ceased and later the building burned down.
The first physician in Tuscarora was Dr. J. H. Robinson. Others of the earliest doctors were, Galentine, Brown, Jeffers, Wells, Dean, Sharp, Moyer and Rowe. In those early days there were generally two or more physicians here at the same time. Doctor's Jeffers and Sharp were each here many years and probably practiced in Tuscarora longer than any of the others.
In later years after Dr. Sharp moved away, we had Dr. Brown who is now in Nunda. Next came Campbell and then Bowen. Dunnlop was the next one and after him came Carr who is now practicing in Lyons. The present physician F. J. Schnell who came here about 2 years ago.
The first merchant who did business here, of whom any record is found, was Bevier. He kept store during the early twenties in the building now used by W. J. Bevier as a store house. Another man by the name of ??? had a store here in 1837. In the same building, J. P. Dodge commenced business about 1841 and some 10 years later he removed to the building now the residence of Mr. Bevier. Here he continued in business until 1865, except at intervals when his sons A. and A. C. Dodge, and later A. C. Dodge and E. Youngs carried it on. J. P. Dodge sold to Wesley Hand and Jacob Post, the former of whom sold to Tallman VanOrsdale about 1867, and VanOrsdale to Lucius H. Barron about 1871. Post sold to Northway in 1872. Mr. Northway continued in business with Mr. Barron for a short time and was afterward successively associated with R. K. Bergen and C. Whitenack, the latter of whom he bought out in 1879. Mr. Northway was postmaster for several years and continued in business here until he sold to W. J. Bevier and removed to Nunda about 10 years ago.
J. C. Van Deventer's store was built by William Petrie, where he did a general merchandise business from 1839 to 1873. Later during Harrison's administration, the post office was kept here by William Van Sickle. Previous to this Barney Beuerlein of Mt. Morris conducted a clothing store here for a short time. It was not used for a store again until J. C. VanDeventer began business 10 years ago. Mr. VanDeventer has been in the business since that time with the exception of an interval of 2 years when it was carried on by C. A. VanDeventer and son.
The store now occupied by W. J. Bevier was built by John and David LaRue who carried on business here for some years. Others who have since been in the business in this store were, Elias Kinney who was afterward associated with John Sherwood, Henry and Sidney Alden and "Demorest and Sons"
At one time a jewelry store was kept in the basement by F. L. Ripley who has since been in the same business in Dansville.
In 1875 this store was purchased from the La Rue's by E. R. Creveling who was located here for 17 years and was associated in the business one year with his brother Wilson M. Creveling. Mr. E. R. Creveling who was postmaster during the first Cleveland administration, sold out to his brother J. E. Creveling and W. J. Bevics? Mr. J. E. Creveling was postmaster for one term and soon after was sold out his interest to Mr. Bevier who has been engaged here as merchant and postmaster for the last 10 years.
That part of John Petrie’s property which is now used as a storehouse by J. C. Whitenack was originally a carding mill and later was used as a cabinet shop. It was located north of where the cheese factory now stands and was moved to its present position by Aaron Hall who, after remodeling used it as a store and shoe shop. He was for a time associated in the business with Harmon Hall. Robert Conklin bought them out and kept the store for 4 or 5 years, discontinuing in 1878. Both Aaron Hall and Robert Conklin served as postmasters and the post office was kept in this building.
During the construction of the Genesee Valley Canal, a building was located on the present site of the Railroad station. It was used as two stores which were kept respectively by Lucius Bingham and Bailey Galentine. This structure was later moved to the canal near the Nunda road, and used as a warehouse by the La Rue's. It was afterward destroyed by fire.
William Petrie's warehouse was located on the canal bank across the street from Mr. VanDeventer's store. When the canal was abandoned this warehouse was moved to the railroad where it now stands. It was here where Wilson Creveling bought grain for many years. Mr. Creveling moved to Mt. Morris a little over a year ago and the business has since been carried on by Thomas Carbrey.
Tuscarora has another warehouse. This building was originally a cheese factory but has not been used for that purpose for many years. A few years ago, it was remodeled and is now used as a warehouse by J. H. Rowan. Mr. Rowan also runs the grist mill adjoining.
This grist mill propelled by the water of the Kashaqua (Keshequa), was built in 1860 by David LaRue who operated it about 8 years, when he was succeeded by Garrett Barclay and David Miller. Garrett Miller subsequently bought out both of his brothers and assisted by John LaShell, carried on the business until Mr. Rowan came 3 years ago.
It is remembered that the La Rues has a grist mill here many years before. It was located just north of the present mill and was run in connection with a saw mill.
Time was when Charles Fiester kept a tannery just across the creek, nearly opposite the mill.
On the same stream a saw mill was built by Isaac Hall and David LaRue. After Mr. LaRue's death in 1876, Mr. Hall purchased his interests and operated the mill for several years afterward.
The saw mill that had been erected by J. P. Dodge, on the left of the road to Union Corners, did a thriving business for many years. During more recent times, a saw mill was located north of William Narrengan's blacksmith shop but was not run for more than 2 or 3 years.
William Narrengan and J. D. Kuhn are the present blacksmiths. Mr. Narrengan has been in business here for over 30 years. Among the pioneers of the trade may be mentioned; Samuel Powers, who over 70 years ago had a shop in the southwestern part of the valley on the Nunda road; Isaac LaShell, Van West and Frederick Lehman who were located where Mr. Kuhn is at present. Later James Johnson and Joseph Trimble each kept this shop for some time.
The wagon shop just north of this blacksmith shop was for many years kept by James Colburn. He was associated in the business for some time with Harrison Hagadorn. It was near here that a shoe store was kept at one time by E. Youngs.
Squire Rumsey ran a harness shop for several years in Tuscarora.
The first cheese factory which is now the J. H. Rowan warehouse, was built in the summer of 1877. It flourished for a few years receiving as high as 6,000 lbs. of milk per day. Later the price of cheese became so low that the factory was abandoned.
In the north end of the village, at the foot of the hill, in the building now used as a dwelling house, Nicholas Hall kept a hotel over 50 years ago. William Fiester also did a hotel business here some years later.
At one time there were three hotels in Tuscarora. Besides those already mentioned, another was located where Mr. VanDeventer's new store house now stands. This hotel was kept at different times by Benjamin Conrad, Frederick Lehman and others until about 20 years ago when it burned down (circa 1888).
At the time of the building of the railroad, a wholesale liquor store was kept by Hiram Rowell and was located on the west side of the highway between the railroad and Colburn's wagon shop.
History has shown, that during the building and subsequent operation of the Genesee Valley Canal, Tuscarora was quite a large and important business place. The construction of the canal through this region, an expensive and difficult piece of work, provided for the employment of a large force of men. Because of the heavy grade many locks were required. These stone locks each costing the state $10,000. To tend these, people lived along the canal and many families had their homes between Sonyea and this place.
The population was probably greater during this period than it has been at any time since. Tuscarora is said to have at this time equaled if not exceed Mt. Morris in a business way. The town meetings were frequently held here, the last occasion being about 30 years ago.
When the canal was abandoned in 1878, this village was left in bad shape and it was not until the building of the railroad a few years later that business began to revive. In the meantime, the merchants had to have their goods in wagons from Mt. Morris.
The railroad was first called the Rochester and Genesee Valley Canal Railroad and has since become a part of the great Pennsylvania System.
Many who were raised and began business here afterward moved to other towns, they have since been numbered among the leading men of both Nunda and Mt. Morris.
Tuscarora with meat market, 2 ware house shops, cheese factory, grist mill is at present (1908) a lively business. Large quantities of farm produce and live stock is shipped from this point.
Manufacturing concerns would find this a good location for a factory. Hoped that many may locate here and make Tuscarora what she is destined to be one of the cities of the Empire State.
End Notes by Douglas Morgan
(1)According to A History of Livingston County, Doty, Lockwood L., pp 230, 308 & 1236 - "The Tuscaroras appeared with belts of wampum, as an assurance of their desire for peace in their southern homeland in the Carolinas. Three years later the Treaty of Utrecht was signed between France and England, and it was agreed that England should have all authority over the Five Nations of the Iroquois, but that there should be no restraint of trade by either party. This year, 1713, the English were asked to mediate between the warring Carolina Indians and the Tuscaroras, the latter having been badly defeated in their stronghold and eight hundred of them taken prisoners and sold as slaves. The Tuscaroras now began to come into Pennsylvania and creep into New York. p. 230
TUS-CA-RO-RA, as applied to the Tuscarora reservation, comes from an Iroquoian word meaning "shirt wearers." The Tuscarora people came from the Carolinas between 1714 and 1723, though there were other migrations up to about 1854. p. 308
In 1785, the Tuscarora Indians were said to be located between the Unadilla River and the Chenango River. This is in the southcentral region of New York State, in present day Chenango County. (approximately 30 miles north of Binghamton)
The only known and documented Tuscarora Indian village in Livingston County is located by the New York State Historical marker #1110
There was also a settlement of Tuscarora Indians outside of Rush (where Honeoye Creek joins the Genesee River), Monroe County, New York. This is located by an New York State Historical marker #1189
(2)In the last issue of the "Rochester Presbyterian News" there is a picture of this church. It also contains the names of the different pastors and a more or less complete history of the society. (it was located at the Rochester Public Library - History Room in March of 1994)
There is another church referred to as the Second Presbyterian Church of Mount Morris in 1831 and it came under the Presbyter of Ontario on Jan 18th, 1831. In 1830 they had 28 members, and in 1834 they had 32 members. It is not known for certain if these two churches are connected, are one and the same or two different churches and worshipers.
(3)From Rgasero@aol.com (Reformed Church of America) we learn that James G. Brinkerhoff left the RCA (Reformed Church of America) in the 1820s and served Secedder churches (there was a secession in 1822 to form the True Dutch Reformed Church). I (Russell Gasero) suspect that the Tuscarora church was one of their congregations. The True Dutch church did not survive, and many congregations joined the Presbyterian church, the Christian Reformed Church (organized 1857) or disbanded. The Mount Morris (Tuscarora) church is listed as organized in 1839 and dropped in 1847. The only pastor listed is Israel Hammond, 1842-45.
(4)Says Hotchkin: *Hotchkin’s History of Western New York, pp. 582, 582
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