The Pioneer History of
 Orleans County, NY
Biographies, Part VII

By Arad Thomas

Online Edition by Holice & Deb



Lorenzo Burrows was born in Groton, Conn., March 15th, 1805. In his boyhood he attended the Academy at Plainfield, Conn., and Westerly, Rhode Island. In Nov. 1824, he came to Albion, N. Y., to assist his brother, Roswell S. Burrows, as his clerk. He continued to act in that capacity until in 1826, after he attained his majority, he went in company with his brother in business under the firm name of R. S. & L. burrows.

He assisted his brother in establishing the Bank of Albion in 1839, and after it went into operation he was appointed Cashier and devoted himself mainly tot he business of the bank and tot he duties of Receiver of the Farmer's Bank of Orleans, until in November, 1848, he was elected a Member of the House of representatives in Congress, for the District which comprised Niagara and Orleans counties. He was re-elected to Congress in Nov., 1850, and served in that office, in all, four years.

Since his election to Congress he has done no business as an officer of this bank.

He was elected Comptroller of the State of New York in Nov. 1855, which office he held for one term of two years.

In Feb., 1858, he was chosen a Regent of the University of the State of New York, an office he has held ever since.

He was County Treasurer of Orleans County in the year 1840,m and supervisor of the town of Barre for the year 1845. He was Assignee in Bankruptcy for the county of Orleans, under the law of 1841. In the 1862 he was appointed one of the Commissioners of Mount Albion Cemetery--an office to which no salary or pecuniary compensation is attached, but which is attended with considerable labor. To this labor he has devoted all the time necessary, discharging the principal part of the duties of the Commission, with what success let the beautiful terraces, trees, paths, walks, avenues, roads, and improvements which adorn this "city of the dead," and which remain the creations of his taste and skill, bear witness.

Since leaving Congress Mr. Burrows has employed himself principally in discharging the duties of the offices above mentioned in taking care of considerable real estate he owns in connection with his brother, and in his own right, in, or near Albion, and elsewhere; and in the enjoyment of such leisure as an ample fortune which he has secured in earlier life affords, in social intercourse wit his family and friends.


"I was born in Greenfield, Saratoga County, N. Y. My father's name was Abiathar Mix. In May, 1817, when I was less then one year old, my father removed with his family to what is now Barre, Orleans County, N. Y. There I had my bringing up and have ever since resided. My Genesee cradle was a saptrough. Genesee school rooms were log houses, log barns and other like accommodations.

I stayed at home and worked on the farm summers, and went to school winters when I could, until I was eighteen years of age. My father then gave me my time, saying he had nothing else he could give me then, but that I could make his house my home.

After that I worked by the day and month summers, and attended school winters--went several terms to an Academy.

At the age of twenty-three I commenced teaching district school and taught five winters in succession. During those five years I traveled considerably in the western and southern States, and became quite a radical reformer in sentiment.

I was nominated County Clerk by the Liberty Party but was not elected.

I married Miss Ellen De Bow, of Batavia, N. Y., in 1852.

I have always made a living, and got it honestly I think, and have laid by a little every year for myself and others I have to care for. I never sued a person and never was sued. I never lost a debt of any great amount, for if a person who owed me could not pay it, I forgave the debt.

I made a public profession of religion when I was eleven years old, and several years afterwards united with the Free Congregational Church in Gaines, and remained a member of that Church as long as it was in being.

I never held any civil office of profit. My political principles were not formerly popular with the majority of the people.

I held military office in the 214th Regiment N. Y. State militia, from 1837 to 1844, and served as ensign, lieutenant and captain.

I have lived to see slavery abolished in this country. The landless can now have land if they will. Now let us drive liquor and tobacco from the country.

Barre, February, 1869



"I can remember the dark and heavy forest that once covered this land, with only now and then a little 'clearing' that made a little hole to let in the sunshine; the large creeks that seemed to flow and flood the whole country during a freshet; the large swamps and marshes, in almost every valley; the wild deer that roamed the woods almost undisturbed by men; the bear that plodded his way through the swamps and the wolf that made night hideous with his howling.

I remember when the roads ran crooking around on the high grounds, and when roads on the low lands were mostly causeways of logs. When almost all the houses were made of logs, and almost all the chimneys were made of sticks and mid, and the fireplaces were of Dutch pattern.

But the sound of the ax men was heard at his toil through the forest, hurling the old trees headlong. The woods and the heavens were lit up with the lurid glare of fire by night, and the heavy forest soon melted away. Those little holes in the old woods, soon became enlarged to broad fields of waving grain, that glistened in the sun light.

The foaming creeks soon became rivulets, or dried up. The swamps disappeared and nothing remains to show where many of the great marshes of the old time were. The deer, bear, and wolf have departed. The crooked roads have been straightened, and the log causeways have been buried out of sight. The log houses, stick chimneys, and Dutch fireplaces, are reckoned among the things that were and are not now.

I can remember when my mother spun flax on a little wheel and carded wood and tow by hand and spun them on a great wheel; when she colored her yard with the bark and leaves of trees and had a loom, and wove cloth and made it up into clothing for her family.

I can remember when my father plowed with a wooden plow with an iron share and reaped his grain with a sickle and threshed it with a flail; when he mowed his grass with a scythe and raked it with a hand rake. I remember when no fruit grew here but wild fruit, but we soon had peaches in profusion, bushels of them rotting under the trees.

At the first settlement of this county, fruits, such as grapes, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and mandrakes, were to be found growing wild. We had nuts from the trees, such as butternuts, chestnuts, beachnuts and walnuts.

Pumpkins, squashes, and melons were largely raised and of great value to the people. Pumpkins were cut in strips and dried on poles in the log cabins and kept for use the year round. Maple trees furnished us nearly all our sugar. At out fall parties and our husking and logging bees we had pumpkin pies. At out winter parties we had nuts and popped corn and in the summer, berries and cream.

I can remember when the common vehicle for traveling about was an ox sled with wooden shoes and the only wheel carriages were lumber wagons and they were few, when the Ridge Road was the main thoroughfare by which to reach the old settlements and stage coaches were the fastest means of conveyance.

It was considered an impossibility to make the Erie Canal. People said probably water might be made to run up hill, but canal boats, never.

Some said they would be willing to die, having lived long enough when boats in a canal should float through their farms; but after wards when they saw the boats passing by, they wanted to live more than ever to see what would be done next.

Next after the canal came the railroad. I hears the cars were running at Batavia and went out there to see the great wonder of the age, and saw them.

We were next told of the telegraph. Knowing ones said that was a humbug, sure. I remember even some members of Congress ridiculed Professor Morse and his telegraph as delusion. But in spite of ridicule, and doubt, and incredulity, the telegraph became a success, and by it�s the ends of the earth have been brought together. These things I have seen and remembered while living here in Orleans County.



"I was born in Brantford, Connecticut, in 1783. At the age of eighteen I married Abiathar Mix and removed to Dutchess County, N. Y., where my husband owned a farm, on which we lived, working it chiefly by hired men, my husband being a mason by trade, labored at that business in the summer and winters he made nails and buttons.

We resided there until May, 1817, when we sold our farm and removed to Barre, Orleans Co., and located on lot 32, township 14, range 2. Very little land was then cleared in that neighborhood, and even that was covered with stumps of trees. Mr. Mix had been here the year before and engaged a man to build a log house for him. When we came on we found our house with wall sup and roof on. My husband split some basswood logs and hewed them to plank, with which he laid a floor, and we began housekeeping in our new house.

My husband had tenor fifteen hundred dollars in money, when he moved here. He took an article for a large tract of land and went to making potash and selling good and merchandise, in company with his brother, Ebenezer Mix, who was then a clerk in the land office of the Holland Company, at Batavia.

The settlers, building their houses of logs and their chimneys of sticks and mud, my husband found nothing to do at his trade, until they began making bricks and making their chimneys of stone, with brick ovens.

He then closed out his mercantile business and went to work at his trade and being something of a lawyer, he used to do that kind of business considerably for the settlers.

We had plenty hard times occasionally, but managed to get along with what we had and raised our seven children to be men and women.

My husband died in 1856. Three of my children have died. I shall be 86 years old in a few days, if I live.

Barre, February, 1869.


Joseph Hart was born in Berlin, Hartford Co., Conn., in Nov. 1775, and died in Barre, Orleans Co., N. Y., July, 1855.

Mr. Hart moved to Seneca, Ontario County, N. Y., in the year 1806. In the fall of 1881, he came to Barre and took an article from the Holland Land Co., of lot 34, township 15, range 1, containing 360 acres, the principal part of which is still owned by his sons, William and Joseph.

In April, 1812, in company with Elijah Darrow, Frederick Holsenburgh and Silas Benton, then young unmarried men, he returned and built a log hose on his lot and move his family into it in October following.

Elijah Darrow took an article of part of lot 1 township 15, range 2, held the land and worked on it about two years, then sold it to Mr. hart, who sold it to Ebenezer Rogers, about the year 1816.

Silas Benton took an article of part of a lot lying next north of Darrow's land, which was for many years afterwards owned by Samuel Fitch. Benton made a clearing on his land, built a log house on it, In which he lived several years and in which his wife, Mrs. Silas Benton, taught a school, probably the first school in the town of Barre, boarded several men and did her house work at the same time, all in one room. A log school house was afterwards built on Benton's land, to which Mrs. Benton moved her school, which was said to have been the first schoolhouse built in town.

Frederick Holsenburgh took an article of part of the lot lying next north of Benton's, in the village of Albion, on the west side of the Oak Orchard Road.--the Depot of the N. Y. Central Railroad stands on the Holsenburgh tract.

Joseph hart married Lucy Kirtland, who was born in Saybrook, Conn., and who died at Adrian, Mich., January, 1868, aged 89 years.

He was here during the war of 1812, and was several times called out to do military service in that war. He was prominent and active man in all matters pertaining to the organization of society in the new country. He assisted informing the Presbyterian Church, in Albion, in which he was a ruling elder while he lived, and from his office in that church he was always known as Dea. Hart.

He almost always held some t own office, and for many of his later years he was overseer of the poor of the town of Barre, a position the kindness of his nature well qualified him to fill. His fortunate location near the thriving village of Albion, which has been extended over a part of his farm, made him a wealthy man. Through a long life, he maintained a high character for probity and good judgment, and died respected by all who knew him.


Was born in Sudbury, Vermont, July 20, 1791, married Sarah Hall, of Brandon, Vt., Jan. 23, 1817; came to Barre in the winter of 1817 and settled on lot 36, township 14, range 1, half a mile south of Barre Center. He cleared up his farm and resided on it until his death, Feb. 18, 1838. Mr. Foster was an active business man, a leading man among the early settlers, and for some years a Justice of the Peace.


Alexis Ward was born in the town of Addison, Vermont, May 18, 1802. His parents removed to Cayuga County, New York, when he was quite a lad. He studied law with Judge Wilson of Auburn, and was admitted to the bar in 1823. In 1824 he removed to Albion, where he was soon appointed a Justice of the Peace.

On the retirement of Judge Foot, who was the first Judge of Orleans county, Mr. Ward was appointed First Judge in his place Feb. 10, 1830, an office he held by re-appointment until January 27, 1840.

In 1834-5 he was mainly instrumental in procuring the charter incorporating the Bank of Orleans, which was the first bank incorporated in Orleans county, and in 1836 was elected its President and held that office until his death.

He was one of the movers in founding the Phipps Union Seminary and the Albion Academy, and was always liberal in sustaining our public schools.

It was mainly owing to his exertions that the Rochester, Lockport, and Niagara Falls Railroad was built, and if it has proved a benefit the thanks for its construction are chiefly due to Judge Ward.

The suspension Bridge across Niagara Falls River made a part of his original plan in connection with this rail road, and his arguments and exertions were mainly effectual in inducing American capitalists to take stock in this Bridge.

He projected plank roads from the Ridge road through Albion to Barre Center and took a large pecuniary interest in them.

He, with Roswell and Freeman Clarke, built the large stone flouring mill in Albion. He also built several dwelling houses.

He was a large hearted, public spirited man, always ready to do anything he thought might benefit Albion.

In all his business relations, he was just, honorable and upright, every man received his due; his purse was always open to the calls of charity. A man of untiring energy and perseverance,--to start a project was with him a certainly of its completion.

In his intercourse with those about him he was kind, affable, and generous. His reserve might be construed by those who did not know him well, as haughtiness, but few men were freer from this than he.

As a Christian, he was an exemplary member of the Presbyterian Church of Albion, with which he connected himself in 1831. He always gave greater pecuniary contributions to sustain that church and its ministers than any other man. He did much by his prayers, counsel, charities and example to sustain the cause of religion generally.

In November, 1854, he was elected Member of Assembly for Orleans county, but his death prevented his taking his seat in the Legislature.

He married Miss Laura Goodrich of Auburn in 1826. He died November 28th, 1854.


Judge John Lee, the ancestor of this family and the man after whom the lee Settlement in Barre was named, was born in Barre, Massachusetts, June 25, 1763. In an early day he emigrated to Madison County, New York, where he resided fourteen years, and came to Barre, Orleans County, in 1816, and took up a tract of land. He returned home, but his sons, Charles and Ora, then young men, came on and cleared up several acres of their fathers purchase, and built a log house into which Mr. John lee and his family moved in February, 1817.

Mr. Lee was an intelligent, energetic man, benevolent and patriotic in his character, always among the first to engage in any work tending to premote the good of his neighbors or the prosperity of the country. With the hospitality common to all the pioneers, he kept open house to all comers or waiting till their log houses could be put up, would be quartered with him though his own family was large.

He was always conspicuous in aiding to lay out and open roads, build school houses and induce settlers to come in and stay. He was appointed a Judge of the Court of Common Please of Genesee County and his opinions and counsel in all matters of local interest were much sought by his neighbors. He died in October, 1823.

His children were Dencey, wife of Benj. Godard, who died in Barre in 1831; Submit, wife of Judge Eldridge Farwell, who is still living; Charles, Ora and Asa; Sally, wife of Andrew Stevens, she taught the first school kept in the settlement in a log school house in which the family of a Mr. Pierce then resided, in 1818-19. She died at Knowlesville, in 1828; Esther, wife of Gen. Wm. C. Tanner, died in 1828; John B. who died in September 1860; Clarissa, wife of John proctor, who died in 1832; Cynthia, married William Mudgett, of Yates, in 1837, she is now living the widow of John Proctor. Charles has always resided on a part of the land originally taken up by his father. He has always been a prominent man in public affairs in town and county, and was for a number of years a Justice of the Peace.

Ora Lee also has resided on a part of the land so taken up by his father. It is said he cut the first tree that was felled between the village of Millville in Shelby and the Oak Orchard Road in Barre. Gen. John B. Lee removed to Albion about the year 1832, and engaged in warehousing and forwarding on the canal. Shortly after this he purchased of the Holland Company a large number of outstanding contracts made by the Company with settlers on the sale of their lands in the north part of this county. He conveyed these lands to the purchasers as they were paid for.

A few years afterwards he engaged in selling dry good in Albion. In a short time he left this and devoted himself mainly to buying and selling flour and grain, and in manufacturing flour during the remainder of his life. He took delight in military affairs, held various offices in the State militia, rising gradually to the rank of Brigadier-General.


Abraham Cantine was born in Marbletown, Ulster County. He volunteered as a soldier in the United States Army in the war with Great Britain, in 1812, and served as a Captain in the stirring scene of that way on the Canadian frontier. He was wounded in the sortie at the battle of Fort Erie.

After the war he was discharged from the army and returned to Ulster County, of which he was appointed sheriff by the old Council of Appointment, in Feb. 1819. Soon after the expiration of his office as Sheriff, he removed to the town of Murray, in Orleans County. He was employed about the year 1829, to re-survey that portion of the 100,000 acre tract lying mainly in the town of Murray, which belonged to the Pultney estate, part of township number three, a labor he carefully and faithfully performed.

He represented the county of Orleans in the State Legislature in 1827. He served five years as an Associate Judge of the Court of Common Please of Orleans County. He was collector of Tolls on the Erie Canal at Albion in 1835.

Several years before his death, he removed to Albion to reside, and died there about Aug. 1, 1840, aged fifty years.

Judge Cantine was a clear headed man, of sound judgment, well informed and always sustained a high reputation for ability wherever he was known. He was a warm personal and political friend of President Van Buren.


Daughter of Mr. Joseph Phipps, was born in Rome, New York. She was one in a numerous family of daughters, whose early education was superintended by her father with more than ordinary care at home, though she had the advantages of the best private schools and of the district schools in the vicinity.--While she was quite young her father settled in Barre, and at an early age she was permitted to gratify the ambition she then manifested and which has been a ruling passion of her life, to become a teacher, by taking a small district school at a salary of one dollar per week, 'and board around,' as was then customary in such schools. The salary, however, was no object to her, she wished to teach a school, not to make money. After teaching this school two or three terms, she attended the Gaines Academy, then in the zenith of its prosperity. Having spent sometime there she was sent to a 'finishing' Ladies School kept by Mrs. and Miss Nicholas, in Whitesboro, N. Y.

On leaving Whitesboro she determined to engage in teaching permanently and accepted a situation to instruct as assistant, in a classical school which had been opened by two ladies in Albion.

Finally an arrangement was made between the two principals and their assistant, under which they transferred their lease of premises, and all their interest in the school to Miss Phipps.

She now associated with an elder sister and the two commenced their labors as teacher on their own account, in a building then standing on the site of the present Phipps Union Seminary, in April, 1833.

Acting on a favorite theory wit her, that it is better to teach boys and girls in separate school, she divided her scholars accordingly, and after a time she declined to receive boys as pupils and devoted all her energies to her school for your ladies.

This proved a success. So many pupils had come in that in august of her first year, she had been joined by another and younger sister as teacher, besides a teacher in music and all found themselves fully employed.

She thus became convinced a Female Seminary could be supported in Albion, and that she was capable of superintending it, and encouraged by the counsel and influence of some of the best citizens of the village, she issued a circular to the public, announcing the founding of such an institution of learning here.

After near a year's trial the new Seminary was proved to require additional buildings, to accommodate the large school. Miss Phipps invited some of the most wealthy and influential men of Albion, to meet and hear her proposition to erect a new Seminary Building, which was in substance, that they should loan to her four thousand dollars, with which, and funds she could otherwise procure, she would erect a building and repay the loan to the subscribers in installments, and thus established permanently the Seminary she proposed.

Such proceedings were had upon this proposal that a paper was circulated and the required sum subscribed, with a condition added that the avails of this loan be repaid by Miss Phipps, should be used to found an Academy for boys in Albion. This plan was eventually carried into effect, and the brick edifice still used as a Seminary, built in the year 1836, and Phipps Seminary duly incorporated in 1840.

Miss Phipps was thus instrumental in founding two incorporated schools in Albion, which have proved of great public benefit.

Miss Phipps was married to Col. H. L. Achilles, of Rochester, N. Y., in February, 1839, and soon after resigning the care of the Seminary to her young sister, she removed to Boston, Mass., where she resided the succeeding ten years. During this time this younger sister married, when the Seminary was transferred to others, less competent to manage its affairs, in whose hands, it lost the large patronage I had received, and was well nigh ruined.

This compelled Mr. and Mrs. Achilles to return to Albion, in 1849, and resume charge of the Seminary, or lose a large pecuniary interest they had invested there.

The tact and energy of Mrs. Achilles, well sustained by her husband, gave new vigor to the institution, and soon brought the Seminary back to the high standing it had under her former administration.

Tired and worn down by the harassing cares, anxieties and labor of superintending so large an establishment and school, so many years, in 1866 Mrs. Achilles reluctantly consented to transfer her dearly cherished Seminary again to strangers.

After three years' trial by these parties, however, it was thought best that Mrs. Achilles should again take charge of Phipps Union Seminary, which she did, bringing wit her to her duties the skill, experience and practical ability which have given her such eminent success as a teacher.

Mrs. Achilles has devoted the best years of her life to the cause of female education. she has labored in her chosen vocation, with the zeal and enthusiasm of genius, and may enjoy her reward in the good she knows she has done, and in the success with which she sees her work has been crowned.

The Pioneer History of Orleans County, NY, By Arad Thomas


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