This profile of Wayne County and accompanying engravings was excerpted from "Historical Collections of the State of New York" published in 1841 by S. Tuttle, 194 Chatham Square, New York, Publisher. The authors were the well-known John W. Barber (author of the Connecticut and Massachusetts Historical Collections) and Henry Howe (author of 'The Memoirs of Eminent American Mechanics'). A later, more commonly found, edition of this work was published in 1845.

In their preface Mr. Barber and Mr. Howe credit earlier gazetteers as sources of some information - Spafford's Gazetteers of 1813 and 1824, and Gordon's Gazetteer of 1836. The engravings were "with few exceptions, copied from drawings taken on the spot by the compilers of the work."


From "Historical Collections of the State of New York"

Wayne County

Wayne County was taken from the NW. corner of Ontario, and the N. of Seneca counties in 1823. Greatest length from E. to W. 35 miles; greatest breadth N. and S. 30.

The surface is much diversified; on the N. the ancient beach of Lake Ontario extends with the lake E. and W. from it 4 to 8 miles; forming in its whole course a road through the county, known as the "ridge road." The Erie Canal, for nearly the whole of its devious course of forty-three miles through the county, keeps the valley of Mud creek and the Clyde. The soil is generally highly fertile. The greater portion of the county on the west, including one fourth of the towns of Galen, Rose, and Huron, was in the grant to Massachusetts and in Phelps and Gorham's purchase, passing from those gentlemen to Robert Morris, and from him to Sir William Pulteney, from whom the present possessors derive title. The remnant in the east pertained to the military tract. The county is divided into 15 towns. Pop. 42,068.

ARCADIA, taken from Lyons in 1825; from Albany 186 miles. Newark, 6 miles W., and Lockville 5 miles W. of Lyons, each on the canal, are villages. Fairville is a post-office. Pop. 4,982.

BUTLER, taken from Wolcott in 1826; from Lyons NE. centrally situated 14 miles. Butler and South Butler are post-offices. Pop. 2,287.


GALEN, organized as part of Seneca county, and taken from Junius in 1812; NW. from Albany 172 miles. Pop. 4,245. Clyde, incorporated in 1835, is situated upon the Erie canal, 8 miles E. from Lyons. The above view was taken on the S. side of the Clyde river, and shows the principal portion of the village. The steeple in the centre of the view is that of the Methodist church, the one to the left the Presbyterian, and that to the right the Baptist. The village is a place of much business, and contains about 130 dwellings.

HURON, taken from Wolcott in 1826, by the name of Port Bay; from Albany 193, from Lyons NE. 15 miles. Pop. 2,020.

LYONS was taken from the S. end of Sodus in 1811; area since diminished. The surface of the township is hilly, and the soil of an excellent quality. Pop. 4,300.


Lyons, the shire village, was incorporated in 1831. It is situated at the junction of Mud creek with the Canandaigua outlet, (below which the stream takes the name of Clyde River,) and on the Erie canal, 181 miles from Albany, 34 from Rochester, 15 N. of Geneva, and 16 S. of Sodus Point. The village contains about 250 dwellings, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Lutheran, 1 Methodist, 1 Baptist, and 1 Episcopal church, the county buildings, a bank, 2 newspaper printing offices, a number of mills, &c. The accompanying view was taken at the bridge over the Erie canal, at the eastern entrance into the village, and shows in the distance a number of public buildings. The village was originally laid out by C. Williamson, agent for the Pulteney estate, and is said to have derived its name from the similarity of its situation to the city of that name in France. The first settlement was commenced in June, 1798, by emigrants from New Jersey and Maryland. Mr. Van Wickle, from New Jersey, "moved in, along with 40 persons." Alloway is a small manufacturing village.

"In 1834, a white oak tree was cut in this town, two miles west of Lyons, measuring 4 1/2 feet in diameter. In the body of the tree, about 3 1/2 feet from the ground, was found a large and deep cutting by an axe, severing the heart of the tree, and exhibiting with perfect distinctness the marks of the axe at the present time. The whole cavity thus created by the original cutting was found to be encased by 460 years' growth of the wood, i.e., it was concealed beneath 460 layers of the timber, which had grown over it subsequently to the cutting. Consequently the original cutting must have been in the year 1372, or 118 years before the discovery of America by Columbus. The tree was cut by James P. Bartle of Newark, a forwarding merchant, and the timber used by him in building the boat Newark, now belonging to the Detroit line. The cutting was at least six inches deep."

MACEDON, taken from Palmyra in 1823. Macedon Centre, 22 miles NW., and Macedon on the canal, 20 miles W. of Lyons, are small settlements. Pop. 2,397.

MARION, originally named Winchester, and taken from Williamson in 1825; from Lyons centrally distant NW. 13 miles. Marion Corners is a small settlement. Pop. 2,158.

ONTARIO, originally named Freetown, and taken from Williamson, was organized as part of Ontario county; centrally distant from Lyons NW. 24 miles. Ontario and West Ontario are the post offices. Pop. 1,903.

PALMYRA was organized by the general sessions of Ontario county, pursuant to the act of 27th of Jan. 1789; since modified. It comprised two townships of Phelps and Gorham's purchase, being No. 12, in the 2d and 3d ranges. The surface of the town is gently undulating, and the soil of a superior quality. Pop. 3,550.


The village of Palmyra is situated on Mud creek and the Erie canal, 196 miles distant from Albany by the post route, 11 from Lyons, 13 from Canandaigua, and 22 from Rochester. It is a place of considerable business, containing about 250 dwellings, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist, and 1 Baptist church, a bank, 2 newspaper printing offices, a number of mills, &c. The accompanying engraving shows part of Main-street, looking westward.

ROSE, taken from Wolcott in 1826; from Albany 177 miles. Rose Valley is a small post village, 10 miles NE. from Lyons. Pop. 2,031.

SAVANNAH, taken from Galen in 1824; from Lyons centrally situated E. 13 miles. Pop. 1,707.

SODUS was organized in 1789; bounds since altered; from Albany 180 miles. Sodus, on the Ridge road, 13 miles NW., and Sodus Point, 15 miles from Lyons, are small villages. At Nicholas Point, on Sodus bay, a body of Shakers settled in 1825. They have a church, but are few in number. At Sodus bay, on Lake Ontario, the United States have made a pier for the improvement of the harbor, of about a mile in length. The lake steamers enter the harbor and bay. Pop. 4,393.

The following is extracted from Thompson's History of the late War:

"On the 18th of June, 1813, the British fleet appeared before the town of Sodus, on a bay of that name, which is formed on the American side of Lake Ontario, between Genesee and Oswego rivers. General Burnet, of the New York militia, suspecting that they intended to land their troops, and capture a quantity of provisions, ordered out a regiment from the county of Ontario. The militia collected in great haste, and arrived at Sodus on the following morning. But the enemy, well knowing that his appearance would excite the alarm of the inhabitants, drew off his forces until their apprehensions should be subsided, and re-appeared in the evening of the 19th, a few hours after the militia had been discharged. In contemplation of his return, the inhabitants had removed all the public stores from the buildings on the water's edge, to a small distance in the woods, and on the re-appearance of the hostile squadron, a second alarm was immediately given, and expresses sent after the discharged militia, which overtook and brought them back, with a large reinforcement. Before their return, the enemy had landed, and finding that the provisions had been removed, they set fire to all the valuable buildings in the town, and destroyed most of the private property of every description. They then agreed to stipulate with the inhabitants, to desist from destroying the remaining houses, on condition of their surrendering the flour and provisions, which they knew had been deposited at that place. These articles were then not more than two hundred yards from the village, yet the enemy did not choose to attempt their capture, lest he might be drawn into an ambuscade; but he threatened the entire destruction of every house in the town, if they were not immediately delivered over to him. The appearance of the militia prevented the execution of this threat, and the enemy immediately returned to his shipping, and moved up the lake on the following morning."

WALWORTH, taken from Ontario in 1829; from Albany 208, from Palmyra NW. 6 miles. Walworth Corners is a small village. Pop. 1,734.

WILLIAMSON, taken from Sodus in 1802; area since altered; from Albany 206 miles. Pop. 2,147. Pulteneyville, 21 miles NW. from Lyons, on Lake Ontario, and Williamson Corners, are small post villages.

The following account of the invasion of Pulteneyville, May 15, 1814, by the British, is from the Ontario Messenger, published at that time at Canandaigua:

"General Porter has received a letter from General Smith, communicating the particulars of the late visit of the enemy to that place, of which the following is a summary: 'On Saturday evening, 15th ult., the British squadron was discovered making towards Pulteneyville, and information sent to General Swift, who repaired thither in the course of the succeeding night with 130 volunteers and militia. On Sunday a flag was sent on shore demanding a peaceable surrender of all public property, and threatening an immediate destruction of the village, (which is on the margin of the lake,) in case of refusal. General Swift returned for answer that he should oppose any attempt to land, by all means in his power. Soon after the return of the flag, General Swift was induced, by the pressing solicitations and entreaties of the inhabitants of the town, to permit one of the citizens to go to the enemy with a flag, and offer up the surrender of the property contained in a storehouse at the water's edge, consisting of about 100 barrels of flour, considerably damaged, on condition that the commanding officer would stipulate not to take any other, nor molest the inhabitants. Before the return of the flag, the enemy sent their boats with several hundred men on shore, who took possession of the flour in the store and were proceeding to further depredations. General Swift, whose force was too inferior to justify an open attack, (and which, if attempted, must have exposed his men to the guns of the whole fleet,) commenced a fire upon them from an adjacent wood, which wounded several, and became so harassing as to induce them to re-embark, whence they commenced a cannonade from the fleet upon the town, which was continued for some time, but with no other injury than a few shot-holes through the houses. Three hundred barrels of good flour had been removed back from the storehouse a few days before, leaving the damaged flour, which was the only booty obtained by the enemy. The three hundred barrels of flour were deposited about a mile back of the town, of which the enemy were apprized by some prisoners they took. But they chose to forego the plunder of it, rather than trust themselves in the woods with General Swift and his riflemen.' "

WOLCOTT, taken from Junius, and organized as part of Seneca county in 1807; area since altered; from Albany 184 miles. Wolcott 18 miles NE. from Lyons, is a village of about 60 dwellings. Red Creek is a small settlement, 26 miles from Lyons. Pop. 2,482.

The 1841 gazetteer profile of Wayne County NY was prepared by Judy Breedlove (and she didn't make one typo!). Judy has given tremendous help in assisting with this site, Ontario County GenWeb, and Herkimer/Montgomery Counties GenWeb. Judy's long-time mystery is that her ancestors married far from home, in an area where they seemingly had no relatives. Or did they? Maybe you know if Margaret and Jacob had family in Geneva or the Finger Lakes area.

"I'm searching for information on Jacob V. SHAFT and Margaret Jane PUTNAM/PUTMAN. In 1836, Jacob V. Shaft and Margaret Jane Putnam/Putman married in Geneva, Ontario Co., New York. However, at that time, Margaret was living in Canajoharie, Montgomery Co., New York and Jacob V. was living in Canastota, Madison Co., New York. Pension records of two sons tell us Jacob V. and Margaret's first son (John) was born in Canastota, Madison County, New York in 1837. Next son, Charles, was born in 1840 in Herkimer County, New York. From census and pension records we can estimate Jacob V. Shaft was born in 1809 or 1810 and Margaret Jane Putnam/Putman was born around 1820. Margaret and Jacob V. do not appear on any census until 1850 when they show up in Shiawassee Co., Michigan. We know Margaret died in 1861 in Shiawassee Co., Michigan and Jacob V. moved to north-central Ohio in 1862. Margaret Jane and Jacob V. had nine children: John, Charles, Jane Ann, Jacob, Jr., Mary, George Putnam, Matilda, Eliza and Helen. I have much information on descendants and am willing to share. I would greatly appreciate any information regarding the parents or siblings of Jacob V. Shaft or Margaret Jane Putnam/Putman."

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Created: 9/12/98
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