Saturday, May 31, 2014

Palmyra Firsts

Compiled in turn from

Dated Firsts

  • 1790: John Swift, the first pioneer, built the first house, of logs and covered in bark. [EHP, 8]
  • 1790: The wife of John Swift was the first woman to venture residence in the then wilderness. [EHP, 8]
  • June 29th, 1791: The first white child born in town was Mary Wilcox. [EHP, 10] [HPS, 389]
  • 1791: The Long Island company planted the first apple orchard west of Geneva. [EHP, 12]
  • 1792: Dr. Azel Ensworth opened the first public house in the corporation. [PWCNY, 11]
  • before Jan 1796: The first school mistress was Dosha Boughton, wife of Daniel Sawyer, brother-in-law of John Swift. [PWCNY, 9]
  • 1793: The first path through the forest, the Canandaigua road, becomes a highway. [PWCNY, 24]
  • 1793: The first log school house was built in the village on land of John Swift. [PWCNY, 30]
  • 1793: The first log school house was built in East Palmyra, called the Hopkins school. [PWCNY, 30]
  • 1793: The first burying ground was established on the farm of Gideon Durfee [PWCNY, 37] through the burial of James Rogers [EHP, 8 Note].
  • 1793: The first assembly of citizens. [EHP, 19]
  • 1794: The first mills in Farmington were built by Abraham and Jacob Smith on the Ganargwa Creek. [HPS, 381]
  • April 1796: The first town meeting and first officer election was held in Gideon Durfee's house [PWCNY, 10], elecing John Swift the first Moderator, Supervisor and Inspector. [EHP, 18],
  • 1799: Ganargua creek was declared navigable water.
  • before 1800: Robert Town was the first settled physician, [EHP, 14] gives "Reuben" as the first name, as does [HPS, 387]; succeeded by Dr Gain Robinson [PWCNY, 11].
  • 1800: The First Baptist Church of was organized at the home of Lemuel Spear with nineteen members. [PWCNY, 48]. 
  • 1804: The first lawsuit was held in town. [EHP, 19]
  • 1806: Dr. Azel Ensworth was the first postmaster. [PWCNY, 11] [EHP, 8 Note]
  • 1807: The first church building was used, finished in 1810. [PWCNY, 36; 40]
  • 1808: The first Baptist frame meeting house was erected at the intersection of Walworth and Macedon Road. [PWCNY, 48]
  • 1811: The first meeting house was erected by the west end Presbyterians. [PWCNY, 36; 40]
  • 1811: The first Methodist class was formed and connected with the Ontario circuit, Geneva Conference. [PWCNY, 51]
  • 1811: The first temperance action was set when Stephen Durfee raised his house without providing any whiskey to the workers. [EHP, 25]
  • February 13, 1817: The Presbyterians divided the Church of Palmyra into the Presbyterian Church of East Palmyra and the Western Presbyterian Church of Palmyra. [PWCNY, 41] 
  • November 26, 1817: The first Palmyra newspaper, the democratic Palmyra Register, is published by Timothy C. Strong. [PWCNY, 27f]
  • 1822: The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Palmyra built a church near the corner of Vienna and Johnson street, just north of the cemetery. [PWCNY, 51]
  • June 23, 1823: Zion Episcopal Church came into being under the ministry of Rev. Rufus Murray. [PWCNY, 54]
  • February 4th, 1828: First village election held at house of Lovell Hurd. [PWCNY, 10]
  • April 1828: First fire engine ordered. [PWCNY, 11]
  • May 1828: First volunteer fire company organized. [PWCNY, 11]
  • 1830: The first local bank was the Wayne County Bank of Palmyra, president Angus Strong, cashier Joseph S. Fenton. [PWCNY, 22]
  • 1830: The first edition of the Book of Mormon is published. [PWCNY, 28]
  • Summer 1830: First regular Mormon preacher Sidney Rigdon held his first (and only) meeting in the rooms of the Palmyra Young Men's Association, on the east corner of Main and Market. [PWCNY, 30]


  • The first lawyer was John Comstock. [PWCNY, 12] [HPS, 388]
  • The first lawyer that opened an office in Palmyra was Major William Cuyler. [EHP, 9]
  • The first storekeeper was Zebulon Williams [PWCNY, 12], who was also the first to offer cash for wheat and butter. [EHP, 16] 
  • The first emporium was kept by Major Joseph Colt on the west corner of Main and Market [PWCNY, 12].
  • James and Orren White erected the first two story brick building. [PWCNY, 12]
  • The first tanner was William Wilson. [PWCNY, 12]
  • The first saddlery was kept by Salmon Hathaway. [PWCNY, 15]
  • The first carding mill was operated by Calvin Perrine [PWCNY, 15] or by John Swift [HPS, 384].
  • The first clothiery was operated by Calvin Perrine. [PWCNY, 15]
  • The first grist mill and saw mill were operated by Edward Durfee and Jonah Hall [PWCNY, 15] or Jonah Howell's [EHP, 15] [HPS, 389], a mile east of the village, on the Vienna road.
  • The first bell tower was part of the Palmyra Academy, a two story brick building. [PWCNY, 31]
  • The first male born in Palmyra was Asa R. Swift. [EHP, 8] [HPS, 389]
  • The first framed barn was built by Luther Sanford. [EHP, 8 Note] or by Captain Porter [HPS, 381].
  • The first two-story frame house was built by Silas Hart. [EHP, 8 Note]
  • The first child born in what was then called the village was Pomeroy Tucker. [EHP, 8 Note]
  • The first blacksmith was Zechariah Blackman [EHP, 8 Note], also spelled Zackariah Blackman [HPS, 387]. 
  • The first hatter was James Smith. [EHP, 8 Note]
  • The first marriage in town was the one of Ruth Durfee to Captain William Wilcox. [EHP, 10] [HPS, 389]
  • The first marriage in town solemnized by a minister was the wedding of Elias Reeves. [EHP, 16].
  • The first death in town was David White. [EHP, 14]
  • The first lime kiln was burnt by Ebenezer Spear. [HPS, 381]
  • The first corn carried to mill from Palmyra was transported by Noah Porter. [HPS, 381]

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