Search billions of records on

Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of New York


J. H. French

This county was formed from Genesee and Ontario, Feb. 23. 1821. A portion of Allegany was annexed in 1846, and another portion in 1856. It occupies a nearly central position in the w. half of the State. It is centrally distant 205 mi. from Albany, and contains 655 sq. mi. Its surface is an upland rolling in the N. and hilly in the S. The hills upon the s. border are 1,000 to 1,200 ft. above the valleys and 2,000 to 2,200 ft. above tide. From their summits the surface declines toward the N. , the extreme N. border being 500 to 800 ft. above tide. The slopes are usually smooth and gradual, except along the banks of the streams; and nearly every acre of land in the co. is arable.
The streams generally flow in deep ravines. They are usually bordered by steep, and sometimes precipitous, hillsides. The principal stream is Genesee River, flowing N.E. through the W. part of the co. In the S. its course is between steep and often precipitous banks, but further N. it is bordered by broad and beautiful intervals. Its tributaries are Conesus Creek, Fall Brook, and Canaseraga Creek, from the E. and Beards, White, and several other small creeks, from the W. Coshaqua Creek is a tributary of the Canaseraga. Hemlock and Honeoye Outlets flow along the E. border, and a few tributaries of the Susquehanna take their rise in the S. part. Conesus Lake, near the center, and Hemlock Lake, along the E. border, occupying long, narrow valleys, are the only considerable bodies of water.
The underlying rocks, commencing upon the N. border, are the waterlime of the Onondaga salt group, the Onondaga and coniferous limestones, Marcellas and Hamilton shales, Genesee slate, and Portage shales and sandstones. The limestones of the N. are extensively quarried for lime and building stone; and the sandstones of Portage group furnish excellent building stone and flagging. The soil, derived from the disintegration of these rocks, in all the elements of fertility has no superior in the State. Until the commencement of the ravages of midge, wheat was the staple production; but it has been principally supersede by the spring grains. Broomcorn is largely cultivated along the Genesee Flats; and considerable attention is paid to cattle and sheep growing and dairy in the S. part.
The county seat is located at the village of Geneseo. The courthouse is beautifully situated upon a fine lot in the N. part of the village. The jail, in the rear of the courthouse, is an old building, without means of ventilation, and it is impossible properly to classify the prisoners. The clerk's office is small fireproof building upon the courthouse lot. The co. poorhouse is located upon a farm of 118 acres about 1 mi. E. of Geneseo. Its average number of inmates is 107, supported at a weekly expense of 75 cts. each. The farm yields a revenue of $2,000. A school is taught 9 or 10 months in the year. The house is well constructed and very well kept.
The Genesee Valley Canal extends along the valley of the Genesee from the N. bounds of the co. To Mt.Morris; thence it turns S.E. to Coshaqua Creek and up the valley of that stream of Nunda, and thence S.W. to the Genesee at Portage, where it cross the river upon a wood aqueduct supported by stone piers. The Dansville Branch Canal extends from Mt.Morris S.E. to Dansville. The Canandaigua & Niagara Bridge Branch of the N.Y. Central R.R. extends through Caledonia. The Buffalo & N.Y. City R.R. extends S.E. through Portage and Nunda. The Buffalo, New York & Erie R.R. extends S.E. through Caledonia, Avon, Livonia, Conesus, and Springwater. The Genesee Valley R.R. extends S. through Avon, Geneseo, and Groveland to Mt.Morris.

Five newspapers---one daily, three weekly, and one monthly--are now published in the co.

Before the advent of whites, this co., was the seat of several of the principal villages of the Seneca Nation. Considerable advances had been made in the arts of civilization, and a large quantity of land had been cleared and was cultivated. Corn, apples, and peaches were extensively produced. The orchards were destroyed, and the whole region was laid to waste, by Gen. Sullivan, in 1779. The co. Was included in the Phelps and Gorham Purchase, and in the Morris Reserve. The latter tract was subdivided into several tracts, generally distinguished as separate patents.
In Sept. 1797, a treaty was held with the Indians at Geneseo, at which they ceded all their lands in this co. to the whites, except several small reservations. The first settlements were made about 1790, previous to the extinguishment of the Indian title. The most prominent of the early settlers were James and William Wadsworth, of Durham, Conn., who located at Geneseo, June 10, 1790. They were large land owners, and by a wise and liberal policy they greatly facilitated the settlement of the surrounding region. The greater part of the early settlers were immigrants from New England. York and Caledonia were settled principally by a colony of Scotch.

Return to Resources page

Monroe County section of Gazetteer


[intervals] The Genesee is a subject to an annual overflow, the water often covering the entire flats which border upon it. This frequently causes destruction of property; but it is a source of constant fertility to the soil. (back)

[village] The first co. Officers were Moses Hayden, First Judge; James Ganson, County Clerk; Gideon T. Jenkins, Sheriff; and James Roseburgh, Surrogate. (back)

[Dansville] The highest level of the Genesee Valley Canal within this co. Is 622 feet above the Erie Canal at Rochester and 1,132 feet above tide. (back)

[newspapers] (back)

    The Moscow Advertiser and Genesee Farmer, the first paper published in the co., was commenced at Moscow in 1817 by Hezekiah Ripley. About 1821 it passed into the hands of James Percival, who removed it to Geneseo and changed the name to

    The Livingston Register. In 1829 Anson M. Weed and Allen Warner became proprietors; an it was successively published by Warner, Percival, Elias Clark, Wm. H. Kelsey, and Richard M. Miel. In 1835 Miel became sole proprietor. He was soon after succeeded by D.S. Curtis. In 1837 its publication was suspended. It was soon after revived, and published for a short time by Hugh Harding. He was succeeded by John Kempshall, who published it until 1840, when it was discontinued.

    The Livingston Journal was commenced a t Geneseo in 1822 by Chauncey Morse. Ashel Harvey was subsequently associated with him. In 1829 Levi Hovey became proprietor; and it was successively published by Benj. Dennison, HF. Evans, Evans & Woodruff, and Wm. J. Ticknor. Its publication was suspended in 1834 or '35. In the fall of 1835 the establishment was purchased by David Mitchell and W. H. Kelsey, who revived the paper under the name of

    The Livingston Democrat. It was continued until 1837, when its publication was suspended. In the fall of that year S.P. Allen became proprietor of the press, and revived the paper under the name

    The Livingston Republican. In Sept. 1846, it passed into the hands of John M. Campbell; and was successively published by Joseph Kershner and Chas. E. Bronson. In 1849 James T. Norton became proprietor, and is its present publisher.

    The Dansville Chronicle was commenced in 1830 by David Mitchell and Benj. Dennison. Dennison soon retired, and its name was changed to

    The Village Record; it was soon after discontinued.

    The Western New Yorker was published at Dansville a short time in 18-- by A. Stevens and Son. It was succeeded by

    The Dansville Wing, published by Geo. W. Stevens. Chas. W. Dibble was publisher about a year, when it again passed into the hands of Stevens, who in 1848 changed the name to

    The Dansville Courier. In 1849 or '50 it was passed into the hands of H. D. Smead, who changed it to

    The Dansville Democrat. It subsequently passed into the hands of Geo. A. Sanders, who removed it to Geneseo and changed the name to

    The Geneseo Democrat. In Oct 1857, it was returned to Dansville and published as

    The Livingston Sentinel by H.C. page, the present publisher(1860).

    The Livingston Courier was commenced at Geneseo in 1831 by C. Dennison. In 1832 it passed into the hands of Henry F. Evans, and was discontinued in 1833 or '34.

    The Livingston Courier was published at Geneseo in 1832 by A. Bennett

    The Mount Morris Spectator was commenced in 1834 by Hugh Harding. In 1848 he united it with the Livingston County Whig and changed its name to

    The Livingston Union, under which title it is still published by Hugh Harding(1860).

    The Dansville Times was published in 1835 by D.C. Mitchell.

    The Nunda Gazette was started in 1841 by Ira G. Wisner. It was continued about 1 year, when it was removed to mount Morris and its name changed to

    The Genesee Valley Recorder. It was discontinued about 1843.

    The Dansville Republican was published in 1842 by David Fairchild.

    The Livingston County Whig was started at Mount Morris in 1843 by Geo. B. Phelps. It subsequently passed into the hands of James T. Norton, and in 1848 was sold to Hugh Harding, who united it with the Mount Morris Spectator.

    The Geneseo Democrat was started at Geneseo in 1843 by Gilbert E. Shankland. It was removed to Nunda in 1847, and in 1848 to Ellicottville, Cattaraugus co.

    The Livingston Express, semi-mo., published at Mount Morris in 1843 by J. G. Wisner.

    The Mount Morris Daily Whig was issued from the office of The Livingston County Whig in June 1846, and discontinued in August following.

    The Cuylerville Telegraph was started at Cuylerville in 1847 by Franklin Cowdery. In 1848 it passed into the hands of Peter Lawrence, who soon after removed it.

    The Dansville Chronicle was soon after started in June 1848, by Richard son & Co., and was discontinued in 1851.

    The Nunda Democrat was started at Nunda in 1848 by Milo D. Chamberlain. It was soon discontinued.

    The Fountain, mo., was started at Dansville in 1849 by J. R. Trembly, and continued 2 years.

    The Dansville Herald was published in 1849 by H.L. & L.H. Rann. In 1857 it was merged in The Livingston Sentinel.

    The Nunda Telegraph was started in 1850 by Chas. Atwood. It was continued abut 1 year.

    The Nunda Times was started in Jan 1852 by N.T. Hackstaff. In July following the office was burned and the paper discontinued.

    The Lima Weekly Visitor was started at Lima in 1853 by A.H. Tilton and M.C. Miller. It was subsequently published by Raymond & Graham and by S. H. Raymond, who changed its name to

    The Genesee Valley Gazette. It was discontinued about 1856.

    The New Era was commenced at Hunts Hollow in 1854 by David B. and Merritt Galley, boys, respectively 15 and 17 years of age. In 1855 it was removed to Nunda ad its name was changed to

    The Young America. It was discontinued in about 1 years.

    The Letter Box, mo. started at Glen Haven, Cayuga co., in 1857, by J. M. Jackson and Miss H. N. Austin, was removed to Dansville in 1858, and is now published, by M. W. Simons.

    The Dansville Daily Times was commenced in May, 1859, by W. J. Larue, publisher. In June of the same years its title was changed to

    The Dansville Daily Register; and it is still published by Larue; H.C. Page, editor.

[Morris Reserve] The W. boundary of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase was a line extending due N. from the Penn. Line to the junction of the Genesee River and Canaseraga Greek, and thence northerly along Genesee River to the N. bounds of the co. (back)

[reservation] The Indian Reservations within the limits of the co. were: Cannawagus, containing 2 sq. Mi. On the W. bank of the Genesee River. W of Avon; Little Beards Town and Big Tree, containing 4 sq mi. On the W. bank of the Genesee, opposite Geneseo, N. of Mt Morris; and the Gardeau Reservation, of 28 sq mi., lying one half in this co. S. of Mt Morris. The Indian titles to these lands have since been extinguished. (back)

Monroe County section of Gazetteer

Return to Livingston County GenWeb Homepage