The First Settlers of Conesus, Livingston Co., NY
History of the Town of Conesus
Livingston Co., N.Y.
From its First Settlement in 1793, to 1887
William P. Boyd
Conesus, N.Y., 1887
Chapter VI, p. 51-58


Nearly fourteen long years rolled away after Sullivan's campaign against the Seneca Indians before the whiteman first made a forest home in the wilderness of Conesus. This was in the year 1793. There are evidences that plainly show that there may have been one person who came here at an earlier date, - and is given my Mrs. Lucy PATTERSON, who came here in the year 1806 - as thus:

"When I came here, my father would take his horses from the northern part of Conesus, where we lived, over on Turkey Hill, to a small piece of ground that had been cleared several years before, to pasture. This place was known to the earlier settlers, and the "Olcott clearings". This piece of ground consisted of about five acres, which had been cleared and a log fence built around the same, and was at this time covered with grass. In the center there had been built a Log cabin, in which the settler had lived, which with the fence, had nearly rotted dow; showing that they had been built some years before."

Having no deffinite account of the person or who settled here, we will therefore have to give the honor of the event, to James HENDERSON, who came here from Pennsylvania, and made a permanent settlement at the head of the Conesus lake, upon lands now owned by B.F. & R.F. McMILLEN, in 1793. Here he built him a log house, and soon after brought his family, (consisting of a wife and several children,) to mingle their fortunes with him, in an unknown wilderness. The old log house, it is now said to be still standing, having passed through many storms, and housed many families since.

The next settler, is supposed to have been Hector McKAY, who it is said to have come (some of the old settlers differ in date) in 1795. He located upon lot No. 108, about three-fourths of a mile north of the village of Scottsburgh, where he built him a log house, and in the construction of the same, obtained the assistance of the friendly Indians of Squakie Hill to raise it.

The next early settlers, was Jacob DURHAM, in 1795, and Jessie and Jacob COLLAR, in 1796. After the entrence of these four pioneers the town began to become rapidly settled; and the sound of the woods-man ax, was heard from north to south, and east to west, and to day we can see what the sturdy hands of the Pioneer's have done for us.

We will now turn our attention to the first settlements upon the different lots in the town as given by the early settlers; which we will give who the original owners were, the number of acres was in the lot, the settlers name, and the year he built the first house upon the same. The name of the original owners, and the number of acres in each lot, was copied from an Old Map, drawn by John SCOTT, February 5th, 1821; and now is in the possession of Jotham CLARK, Sen., of this town.



Settlement of Lots



[Note: The area of Conesus was part of a huge tract of New York land originally purchased by the Hon. Nathaniel GORMAN & Oliver PHELPS, Esq. for 300,000 in 1788. It was subsequently sold to Robert MORRIS of Philadelphia, and then in 1792 to Charles WILLIAMSON, an agent of Sir. William PULTENEY, an Englishman. WILLIAMSON held the land up until 1801 [until 1798, by law, Sir PULTENEY, who was classified as an "alien" could not hold or sell land in New York.] A few years after the transfer of title to Sir PULTENEY, he sold part of what was to become the town of Conesus to William BOWERS, retaining 63 lots. When BOWERS died, his 70 lots, were divided among his children: John BOWERS, Mary [BOWERS] CAMPBELL, Rebecca [BOWERS] SCOTT, Mary Ann [BOWERS] Duane, & Harriet [BOWERS] MUMFORD.]

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