03 - Sketch of First Settlers - Sketches of Village of Albion


The first clearing of land in Albion, and it is believed the first in the town of Barre, was on the top of the hill, about where the Phipps Union Female Seminary now stands, and was made by Mr. William McCollister, about the year 1811. Mr. McCollister took from the Holland Land Company an Article for several hundred acres of land, comprising all of the village lying east of Batavia street. The first building erected in Albion was his log dwelling house, on the Seminary lot. Into this house he moved his family, and here his wife died, about the year 1812. At the time of her death she was the only white woman in the town now Barre. At her funeral there was none of her sex present, nor any one to conduct religious exercises. There were no boards to be obtained to make her coffin; planks were split out and hewed from trees, and pinned together, to make a box, in which the corpse was placed, and she was silently buried by her sorrowing husband and two or three men - who composed almost the entire population of the town, at the time of this, its first, funeral.

Mr. McCollister afterwards sold the whole of his land to William Bradner, who removed here, and cleared off the timber from the front of his land, on Batavia street, from where the Canal now is to Chamberlain street, William Bradner sold 100 acres of the south part of his purchase to his brother, Joel Bradner, who cleared off the rest of the land fronting Batavia street south, and built his log house on the land now owned by Gov. Church, south of the Railroad.

William Bradner afterwards sold 100 acres, including the whole front on Batavia street east side, from a little below Madison street north to the town line, to Nehemiah Ingersoll and others. Mr. Ingersoll soon bought out his partners, and in the year 1821 employed Mr. Orange Risden to survey and draw a plan of village lots and streets on the east side of Batavia street, from where the Canal is south, including Madison street, and east, including Market street; which plan was generally observed in the early sales of lots by Mr. Ingersoll.

In the month of August, 1815, Mr. Jesse Bumpus took from the Holland Land Company an Article of the land lying on the west side of Batavia street, from the town line, on the north, to near the site of the Baptist Church south; extending far enough west, parallel with Batavia street, to include 163 acres of land. This tract was then an unbroken forest. Mr. Bumpus commenced felling the trees, and built a log house on the lot, nearly in front of the present residence of Hon. L. Burrows, into which he removed with his family, in October of that year, Mr. Bumpus cleared off the timber from the whole front of his land on Batavia street, then the Oak Orchard Road.

The first framed dwelling house built in the village of Albion, was erected by Mr. Jesse Bumpus and his son, Philetus, on the lot on which Mr. L. Burrows resides. Mr. Philetus Bumpus still resides in Albion, and is the oldest inhabitant of the place.

Before Mr. Bumpus came, Elijah Barrow had taken an Article from the Holland Company, of what has since been known as the Butts' farm, lying on the south bounds of the village, west side of Batavia street; containing about 100 acres. He sold to Frederick Holsenburgh. Mr. Holsenburgh began to clear his land, and built a log house on Batavia street, near the south line of the village, in which he resided with his family at the time of the Bumpus purchase.

Mr. John Holsenburgh took up from the Land Company all the land west side of Batavia street, between Darrow's and Bumpus' purchases, which was afterwards purchased by Goodrich & Stoudart.

The first settlers of Albion and vicinity used to go to Irondequoit, in Monroe county, to get their grain ground; no mills having then been built at Rochester or nearer.

This portion of country was abundant in game, such as bears, deer, wolves, &c., and the earlier settlers became expert hunters of these animals, which were frequently seen and taken within the limits of the village. Mr. F. Holsenburgh at one time caught a cub near the present site of the Railroad depot, and carried it to his log cabin alive. The next night the old bear tracked its young one to the cabin, and commenced scratching and gnawing at the door to get at the cub. Holsenburgh owning no gun, or means to kill the bear, was obliged to release the cub before he could get rid of his dangerous assailant.

The first tavern house in the village was erected by _____ Churchill, on the ground now occupied by the Orleans House block. The second tavern was the old Albion Hotel, which stood on the west side of Batavia street, between Bank street and the Canal, built by Philetus Bumpus, and kept for several years by Bumpus & Howland. After leaving the Albion Hotel, Mr. Bumpus built the Mansion House, where it now stands, on the north bank of the Canal, on Batavia street, which was kept by him several years as a public house.

Among the first merchants in Albion were Goodrich & Stoudart, John Tucker, O. H. Gardner, R. S. & L. Burrows.

Roswell Burrows, the father of Messrs. R. S. & L. Burrows, purchased the principal part of the Bumpus tract. His sons came here from Connecticut as merchants, and after the death of their father succeeded him as owners of his real estate in the village, which they laid out into streets and lots, and which they have been selling down to the present time. Possessing good business talent and capital, their industry and sagacity and successful speculations have raised them to rank with the wealthiest families in western New York. They were founders of the Bank of Albion in which they have ever owned a controlling interest, and of which they have ever been officers and chief managers. Since the establishment of this Bank, Mr. R. S. Burrows, the elder brother, has devoted himself mainly to conducting the business of the Bank. Mr. L. Burrows has taken a more active part in public affairs, and for four years last past has represented this District in the House of Representatives in Congress, with honor to himself and to the general satisfaction of his constituents.

The first Warehouse built in Albion was by Nehemiah Ingersoll, about fifteen rods east of Batavia street, on the Canal. The next was by Cary & Tilden, on the west side of Batavia street, on the corner owned now by P. Dyer.

The first Mill was a Saw Mill erected by William Bradner, on the Creek in the east part of the village, near where Brown's Saw Mill now stands. Mr. Bradner soon after built a Grist Mill below his Saw Mill, on the same stream. The large stone Flouring Mill, on the same Creek, on the bank of the Canal, was built by Ward & Clark, in the year 1833. Webb's Steam Flouring Mill, on Liberty street, was built in a building that had previously been used for storage and forwarding on the Canal, in the year 1852.

SOURCE:  Sketches of village of Albion : containing incidents of its history and progress, from its first settlement, and a statistical account of its trade, schools, societies, manufactures, &c. (1853); Arad Thomas; Albion, N.Y.