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Chronology & Place Names

Ontario County

  • Ontario County (including all land west of the Pre-emption Line) was established  January 27, 1789 from Montgomery County (Chapter 11, Laws of 1789).1
  • In the 1790 U.S. Census, Ontario County consisted of four districts: Canandaigua, Erwin, Geneseo, and Jerusalem.2  All of present-day Town of Gorham was part of the Canandaigua district.3
  • By the 1800 U. S. Census, Ontario County consisted of 19 towns.4 At that time, the Town of Easton included most of present-day Town of Gorham (as well as present-day Town of Hopewell).5  Part of the Town of Canandaigua in 1800 is now part of the Town of Gorham (a section on the east side of Canandaigua Lake).5
  • Yates County was formed from Ontario County on February 5, 1823 (Chapter 30, Laws of 1823).6


Town of Gorham

  • Town of East Town was erected November, 17967 meaning Ontario County authorized the town to form its government.8 
  • Town of Easton was organized April 7, 17977 when a meeting was held to elect officers to administer its government.9  The following were elected: James Austin, clerk; Samuel Day, Frederick Follett, Silas Reed, and George Brundage, assessors; John Warren, collector; William Engel, Joseph Brundage, overseers of the poor; Elijah Hurd, Robert Whitterie, and William Wicks, commissioners of highways; John Warren, constable; Elijah Ellis, Joseph Hill, James Wood, and Benjamin Canfield, pathmasters.9
  • Name changed to Town of Lincoln on April 17, 1806 (Chapter 49, Laws of 1806).10
  • Name changed to Town of Gorham on April 6, 1807 (Chapter 166, Laws of 1807).10
  • Town of Hopewell was formed from the northern part of the Town of Gorham on March 29, 1822 (Chapter 140, Laws of 1822).10
  •  Part of the Town of Canandaigua was annexed to the Town of Gorham in 1824.11


Gorham Hamlet

  • The first settler was Thomas Halstead who settled about 1800 and became a tavern keeper.12  He is buried in Gorham’s Pioneer Cemetery.13
  • The Gorham Post Office was established by December 5, 1809 with Alex McClellan as the postmaster.14
  • The hamlet was called Bethel, but the name was changed to Gorham in 1856.15
  •  It would seem that “Gorham” may have been the more official name of the hamlet because of the naming of the post office in 1809 (no reference to a "Bethel" post office has been found).   However, the hamlet was referred to as “Bethel” for many years, possibly that usage died out in the 1850s.


Centre Gorham Hamlet

  • The “Centre Gorham” Post Office was established February 24, 182714 at the northeast corner of present-day Lake-To-Lake Road and Yautzy Road.16 The first postmaster was Malachi Loveland.14
  •  “Centre Gorham” Post Office was discontinued October 23rd of either 183614 or 1846.17
  •  In 1835, John Stowits was an important manufacturer of thrashing machines near Centre Gorham.16


Reed Corners Hamlet

  • James Wood was the first settler, having occupied land in 1789 and Silas Reed followed soon after.18
  • Reed’s Corners Post Office was established May 21, 1841 with Mason Reed as its first postmaster.19
  •  Post Office name was changed to Reed Corners on November 23, 1893 when H. Clark Wood was postmaster.19
  • Reed Corners Post Office was discontinued March 31, 1906.19


Village of Rushville

  • First settler was Elisha Gilbert, who built a home for his family in 1790.20
  • From the earliest days, the village was known as Federal Hollow. That name fell out of favor and in 1819 it was changed to Rushville.21
  • The West River Post Office was established on November 19, 1812 with Michael Pearce as the first postmaster.14
  • The West River Post Office was discontinued on February 15, 1819 when the Rushville Post Office was established on that same day with Chester Loomis as the first postmaster.14
  • The Village of Rushville was incorporated in 1860.22

1Smith, Gilbert Tremain, Creating Local Government in Ontario County, New York 1789-1801, Office of the Ontario County Historian, Canandaigua, NY, 1999, pgs. 3 & 22.
Ibid., pg. 4.
Ibid., Map 1.
4 Wood, Ralph V., Ontario County New York State 1800 Federal Population Census Schedule, Cambridge, MA, 1963, pg. TBD.
5 Smith, Map 2.
6 Wikipedia contributors. "Yates County, New York," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Yates_County,_New_York&oldid=523029137 (accessed November 16, 2012).
Smith, pg. 33.
Ibid., pg. 2.
McIntosh, W. H., Ed., History of Ontario County, New York Everts, Ensign & Everts, Philadelphia, 1876, pg. 154.
10  Ontario County Genealogical Society, Ontario County Genealogical Resources, Canandaigua, NY, 2012, pg. TBD.
11 McIntosh, W. H., pg. 152.
12 Ibid., pg. 155.
13 Town of Gorham Historical Society, Binder 2A Cemeteries - Pioneer, Gorham, NY, pg. 292.
14 Kaiser, Louis W., A Checklist of the Post Offices of New York State to 1850, with the Names of the First Postmasters, Ithaca, New York, 1965, pgs. not numbered.
15 McIntosh, W. H., pg. 155.
16 Moody, Robert Elbridge, America’s First Rushville, Heart of the Lakes Publishing, Interlaken, NY, 1991, pg. 79.
17 Kay, John L. and Chester M. Smith, Jr., New York Postal History: The Post Offices and First Postmasters from 1775 to 1980, American Philatelic Society, State College, PA, 1982, pg. 222.
18 McIntosh, pg. 152.
19 Kay, pg. 225.
20 Moody, pg. 47.
21 Ibid., pgs. 73-76.
22 TBD