Village of Canisteo
(A photo of the Sash, Door and Blind Factory can be viewed below)

Village of Canisteo, Steuben County, NY
Submitted by PHGS member, Pam Davis

In the large open valley where the village is now situated stood anciently a Delaware Indian town, known in colonial history as the "Kanestio Castle." It consisted of about 60 hewed log houses, with stone chimneys in each. This village or castle was the seat of At-weet-se-ra, the "Delaware King," who in 1765, the year after the destruction of the place by Montour and Brant, made a treaty with Sir William Johnson, at Johnson Hall, on the Mohawk. Sir William Johnson had sent an expedition under Capt. Montour, in the summer of 1764, and destroyed the place because its inhabitants refused to give up two murderers who killed two German traders somewhere in the country of the Senecas. The inhabitants of the ancient castle were a mixed set of Indians, of different tribes, chiefly Delawares, fugitive slaves, and deserters from the British army. They had settled in the broad, open valley and built there their strong houses, and, at the time of their destruction, had a considerable number of horses, horned cattle and swine.
When the first white explorers came here, in 1788, they were attracted by this broad, open valley, and, in consequence of its richness and immediate advantages for cultivation, were induced to purchase the large tract of adjoining lands. Col. Arthur Erwin drew lot No. 1, where the village is now situated, but he exchanged lots with Solomon Bennett, who was the first settler in a log house at the Corners, which soon came to be called "Bennettsville." Mr. Bennett built the first mill one-fourth of a mile east on Bennett’s Creek, to which place he afterwards removed. Nicholas Doughty was the first blacksmith on the site of the village. He was a well-educated German and an excellent citizen. Solomon Bennett opened the first store and kept the first hotel at the village. It is worthy of note that this hotel property has ever since, till within a few years been kept in the Bennett family. It grew into the present brick hotel, known as the Canisteo House, which was built by William Bennett about 1827, and has more recently been added to and greatly improved in size and appearance. Solomon Bennett was succeeded in mercantile business by Dr. Mordecai Hale, who carried on the business some four or five years.
The Erie Railway, opened through the Canisteo Valley in 1850, gave this village a station on its through line from New York to Dunkirk, and superseded, for the transportation of its small amount of freight and travel, the old river navigation; but still Canisteo was only a small rural hamlet, and but for the wise and liberal policy of her citizens in introducing and encouraging manufacturing interests, might forever have remained so. The impulse given to the growth of the place dates from the first establishment of manufactures in 1868. In that year the large boot and shoe factory of L. Allison was put in operation. This was followed by the various planing-mills, sash, door, and blind factory, chair factory, and another shoe factory, and bent wood-works, so that the aggregate manufacturing interests now amounts to $1,000,000 a year. The effect of these interests on the growth and population of the place is shown in a striking manner by the fact that, in June, 1868, an actual census showed the population of the village to be only 342 souls; now the number of inhabitants is over 2000. This is probably the greatest growth of any similar village during the last decade.
The manufacturers also brightened up all other interests: large blocks have been erected, a fine banking-house, the hotel raised another story and refitted, the stores supplied with larger stocks of goods, new ones opened, a new school-house built, and two churches remodeled and enlarged to meet the wants of growing congregations. In every way the effect of these various industries are visible, -- in the improved streets and sidewalks, the new buildings, and the general air of thrift and activity which pervades the place.


The village of Canisteo was incorporated under the general law in 1873. The first charter election was held on the 17th day of May, 1873, and resulted in the choice of the following officers: Lucius A. Waldo, President; Mortimer Allison, L. P. Weed, Smith Eason, Trustees; Daniel Upson, Collector; William H. Mead, Treasurer. 
At a meeting of the board of trustees, held May 19, William E. Stephens was appointed Clerk; Hiram J. Colgrove, Police Constable; and Hiram C. Whitwood, Street Commissioner.
The village officers met at the office of Burrell & Soule, May 19, 1873, and took the oath of office, after which the president and trustees organized a board and prceeded to business.
"Resolved, That the treasurer and collector each give a bond in the penalty of $1500, and that the street commissioner and police constable give a bond in the penalty of $500 each."
The bonds being given and approved, a survey of the village was ordered by the trustees, and it was voted to raise $500 by tax for the purpose of purchasing a site and erecting a lock up. At this meeting a set of by-laws and regulations was adopted.
Presidents of the Village—1873, Lucius A. Waldo; 1874, George Davison; 1875, Lucius A. Waldo; 1876, Albert J. Carter; 1877, John E. McCaig; 1878 William J. Bailey.
The village was laid out and a map made of it by John H. Consalus, Esq., at the time of the incorporation. Mr. Consalus settled in the village in 1840, and has been engaged in lumber, hardware, and furnace business.

Canisteo Academy

This institution was chartered March 16, 1868, with the following Board of Trustees: Lewis F. Laine, Henry Hamilton, Commodore P. Chamberlain, Nathaniel C. Taylor, George Riddell, John H. Consalus, Joshua C. Stephens, Edward P. Bartlett, Mortimer Allison, Lucius A. Waldo, John Davis, and Richard Allison.
The acadamy building is of brick, three stories, beautifully situated on an eminence overlooking the village, of tasteful architecture, and commodious in size, and appointments. It is finished and opened in September, 1871, and cost, including furniture, library, and apparatus, $17,500. Two thousand dollars endowment has since been added.
The following have been the principal and teachers: Rev. J. S. Bingham, and Mrs. Bingham, assisted by Miss Huyson; Prof. Ira Sayles, assisted by Miss Lizzie Conderman; Prof. Willington La Monte and Mrs. La Monte; Prof. D. M. Estee, assisted by Miss Ahida Beebe.
Trustees—Rev. L. F. Laine, President; Dr. George Riddell, Vice-President; W. E. Stephens, Secretary; John H. Consalus, Treasurer; A. M. Burrell, J. S. Hall, L. davison, A. Davison, W. H. Mead, Rev. O. O. Lothrop, Wm. H. Ordway, John Carter, smith Eason, M. Allison, L. A. Cook, L. A. Waldo.
Attendance for the year ending June 28, 1878; Males, 38; Females, 73; total, 111.

Canisteo Graded School

This school occupies a new wooden building, which was erected at a cost, including furniture, of $6,000. It employs five teachers, as follows: Principal, J. B. Hargrave; Assitants, Miss Mary A. Forest, Miss Sarah Lothrop, Miss Ida Whiting, Miss Frank M. Brown.
Trustee—William B. Taylor.
The number of children in the district of school age is 434; attendance, 350. Assessed value of school property (assessed at one-third) is $178,000; value of school property (aside from the academy) $8,000; expended during the year for teachers’ wages, $1500.


Of the principal manufacturing interests of the village we give the following summary:
Boot-and Shoe-Factory of L. Allison & Co., established by L. Allison, in the spring of 1868—In 1873, Isaac Allison became a partner in the business. This firm manufacture hand-pegged boots and shoes, employing from 100 to 110 hands. Their sales have sometimes run up to $300,000 a year, but the general average is $250,000. This was the first boot- and shoe-manufactory in Steuben County, and the first of any kind in Canisteo, and by its success has prepared the way for many other prosperous enterprises. The Allisons are natives of Hornellsville, in this county.
This firm has also a factory for the manufacture of ladies’, misses’, and children’s fine shoes, in the upper story of the fine new brick block on the corner of Depot and Main Streets. This business was established in March 1874, by Pevear & La Croix, of Lynn, Mass. In January 1877, it passed into the hands of L. Allison & co., by whom the business is successfully conducted. They employ in this branch, about 60 hands, and do each year a business amounting to $75,000.
  1. B. Vorhis’ Planing-Mill, Sash-, door-, and Blind Factory.---This large interest was established on a small scale, as a planing-mill alone, by Mr. Vorhis, in 1868. The year following he put in machinery for sash, doors, etc., and from a small wooden building, in which he first began, he has increased the capacity of his shops, adding a brick structure of large dimensions,--till he has now the second largest establishment of the kind in the State. The products of this factory are used for the local trade, for the Eastern and Southern, and are quite largely exported to Europe. The shops employ 65 hands, and the sales amount annually to about $125,000.  

Sash, Door, and Blind Factory
Chair-Factory, Taylor Bros., proprietors; Steam Works established in 1874.—the chairs made at these works are exclusively wood-seated, and an average in production from 40,000 to 45,000 chairs per year, giving employment to 40 hands, and amounting in sales, annually, to about $40,000.
Steam Saw-Mill, L. P. Weed, proprietor.—Built in the spring of 1874, by Mr. Weed. The average amount of lumber sawn at this mill is about 500,000 feet per year.
Foundry and Machine-Shops, H. Carter & Sons.—In 1873, Mr. Carter and Kelsy Bergen started in the manufacture of agricultural implements, and built the present shops that year. After a few months, Mr. Carter bought out Mr. Bergen, and changed the establishment to a machine-shop and boiler-works, adding, since, the manufacture of steam-engines. The proprietors themselves work in the shops, employing an additional force of from 10 to 12 hands, and having ready sale for all work they can turn out. Sales amount to about $18,000 a year.

Bank of Canisteo.

President, M. Allison; Vice-President, L. Allison; Cashier, W. W. Ball.

This banking-house was established in 1876. It is located in the fine three-story brick block, known as the Bank Block, on the corner of Main and Depot Streets, which was erected by M. Allison, James S. Hall, and Davison and McCaig, in 1875. The bank occupies a fine suite of offices in the corner of the building, on the first floor, and is furnished in first-class style for banking purposes.

Canisteo Times.

This is a weekly newspaper, started in the village, Jan. 25, 1877, by S. H. Jennings. Mr. Jennings has labored earnestly to make his paper a success, despite the flood of dailies from all the cities. The people of the village and country appreciate the fact that, aside from all these, they need a local organ, and are giving the enterprising editor and publisher an encouraging support. The Times is independent in politics, and devoted to local interests.

Business Houses.

The principal business houses are the following:

DRY GOODS.—J. Roblee & Co., W. W. Bennett & Co., William Riddell.

DRY GOODS AND GROCERIES—Davison & McCaig, Martin O. Van Delender.

CLOTHING—Louis Unger

MERCHANT TAILORS –Schermerhorn & Co., Levi Totten


GROCERIES—E. E. Stewart, D. C. Corbett, T. K. Brownell.

STOVES AND HARDWARE---O. O. Laine, William B. Taylor.



DRUGGISTS AND PHYSICIANS, ---George B. Riddell & Co.

WAGON-SHOPS--- George Sherman, A. A. Monroe.

WAGON-MAKERS AND BLACKSMITHS--- Whitwood Bros., George Cooper.


JEWELERS---Bateman McKeane

HOTELS.---Canisteo House, H. C. Cheney; Commercial Hote, Wilder Rice.




Canisteo is three hundred and thirty miles from New York, thirty-seven from Corning, ninety-three from Buffalo, and five miles from Hornellsville, on the main Erie Railway.
Among the early physicians was Dr. Daniel D. Davis, who was not only eminent in his profession, but a citizen of prominence and distinction. Dr. Whiteney, also an early practitioner, came to Canisteo about 1830. Dr. C. P. Chamberlain, still residing and practicing here, made his advent to the place about 1845. Drs. George and Le Roy Riddell came with their parents in 1837. They have been from early life identified with Canisteo, and, in addition to their professional duties and labors, also hold a prominent position among the business men of the village. The present physicians are C. P. Chamberlain, Benjaimin Pickett, and M. D. Ellison.


Burrell & Hallett, A. H. Burrell, Eli Soule, and William B. Jones.


In 1836 a Presbyterian Church was first formed in this village, and continued for a few years.
On the 2nd of July, 1849, Rev. Horatio Pattengill commenced preaching in Canisteo, and also a part of the time in Arkport. Services were held only occasionally for some time, when the congregations becoming large and the interest general, it was decided, in 1851, to have regular preaching. Rev. Mr. Pattengill from this time held regular services on each Sabbath. A choir was organized, the ladies formed themselves into a sewing society, a fair was held with profitable results, which awakened an interest in the erection of a church building. Among the foremost in this movement was the late N. C. Taylor, one of the leading citizens of the place for many years, who contributed most liberally to the erection of the church and the support of preaching. No church edifice had yet been erected in the village, and the way was open for the Presbyterians to go forward with their enterprise without incurring denominational jealousies.
On the 20th of March, 1852, a society was organized and a board of trustees elected, consisting of the following named persons: B. C. Richey, N. C. Taylor, William B. Jones, Peter Myers, Thomas J. Magee, and William H. Mead. A lot was purchased of the Pulteney estate, $1360 were subscribed, and the society proceeded to erect a church edifice. The corner-stone was laid in May 1852, and the house was finished and dedicated Feb. 15, 1853, the additional sum of $325 being raised at the dedication.
On the 20th of March, 1853, a church organization was formed, with the following members, viz: Stephen P. Sturdevant, Harriet P. Sturdevant, Sarah Waters, Joseph Ashley, Stephen P. Sturdevant, and Peter Myers were chosen elders; Joseph Ashley, clerk of session.
Oct. 19, 1853, a call was extended to Rev. George Spaulding, who accepted, and was installed pastor, Feb. 7, 1854. He was succeeded, October, 1860, by Rev. L. F. Laine. Rev. J. H. Brown, present pastor, assumed charge in February, 1874.
A bell was procured in 1856, and a spire erected in 1868. In 1877-78, the church was remodeled and enlarged at a cost of $4500.
A Sunday-school was organized at the beginning, and has continued prosperous. Present number, 225; church membership 112. Present trustees, H. S. Beebe, M. L. Taylor, John E. McCaig, William Riddell, Henry Carter, L. P. Weed.

Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. John B. Hudson was the pioneer Methodist preacher in Canisteo, about the year 1800. He preached in nearly all the houses in the settlement, but chiefly at the residences of Jeremiah Baker, and Jedediah Stephens. There was a revival under this ministry, and a class was formed, of whom Jedediah Stephens and Abigail, his wife, Mrs. Cory, mother of Mrs. Abigail Stephens, Jeremiah Baker Sr., and Anna, his wife, were members; and later, Daniel Upson and Rachel, his wife, Elijah Stephens and Abigail, his wife.
This class continued in existence till the present organization was formed. Jedediah Stephens and Jeremiah Baker were the earliest class-leaders. The class in those days consisted chiefly of women. Mr. Baker used to go to meet his class to what is now the town of Howard. Jedediah Stephens was ordained deacon in 1808, and minister in 1812. Jeremiah Baker, now living, son of Jeremiah Baker, Sr., was converted in January 1818, and united with the church, and was elected steward, and has held the office ever since—a period of sixty-one years. He was also class-leader twelve years subsequently to joining the church.
About the year 1850, a society was organized and a parsonage built. Trustees, Jeremiah Baker, Stephen Taylor, John H. Consalus, E. L. Gray, C. P. Chamberlain, and William B. Jones.
In 1853 measures were taken to erect a church building, which was finished and dedicated in 1857. Jeremiah Baker, as one of the trustees, had charge of the erection of edifice. At that time Rev. Chandler Wheeler was preacher in charge. The original cost of the church was $4000. In the summer of 1875, it was enlarged at a cost of $3000. Rev. C. e. Millspaugh was minister in charge. 
The ministers who have officiated since the building of the church are the following: Rev. chandler Wheeler, 1856-57; Rev. L. L. Rogers, 1858; Rev. J. M Park, 1859; Rev. J. Turton, 1860; Rev. W. A. Bronson, 1861-62; Rev. A. S. Aldridge, 1863; Rev. Isaac Everetts, 1864-65; Rev. N. N. Beers, 1866; Rev. Wesley Cochran, 1867; rev. F. d. Blakeslee, 1868; Rev. J. H. Blades, 1869-71; Rev. James Landreth, 1872-73; Rev. C. E. Millspaugh, 1874-76; Rev. D. D. Cook, 1877-78; Rev. D. W. Gates, present pastor.
The church at present numbers 150 members. Value of church property, $8,000, attendance at Sunday-school, 150.
Baptist Church.
The first church of this faith and order organized here was a branch of the Baptist Church of Hornellsville.
On the 30th of November, 1876, previous notice having been given, a meeting was held in Riddells’s Hall for the purpose of organizing a Baptist church in Canisteo, Rev. D. Van Alstine presiding. It was resolved that "we whose names are hereunto subscribed do now organize ourselves into a regular Baptist Church to be known as the Baptist Church of Canisteo."
T. K. Brownell, Mrs. A.M. Delaney, Mrs. Lima Covert Serman, Mrs. L. T. Crane, Mrs. Rosetta Comfort, Mrs. Polly M. Cook, Mrs. Alice Jamison, Le Roy Riddell, Mrs. Emeline Pratt Riddell, Mrs. Elmira A. Pratt, Mrs. Clarissa Wood, Miss Diantha Bertrom, Rev. C. K. Bunnell, Mrs. M. J. Bunnell, Mrs. Adeline Cooley.
Rockwell H. Comfort and Dr. Le Roy Riddell were elected deacons, and T. K. Brownell clerk.
Rev. C. K. Bunnell has been pastor of the church since Dec. 1, 1876.
The Sunday-school was organized in December, 1876, William La Croix, Superintendent. The Sunday-school numbers 80 members; church membership 50.
The first trustees were Rockwell H. Comfort, Le Roy Riddell, J. W. Allen, T. K. Brownell, John N. Jeffers, John W. Brown, M. S. Parkhill, Lyman A. Cook, and William La Croix.
The following constitute the present board: R. H. Comfort, Le Roy Riddell, T. K. Brownell, J. N. Jeffers, M. S. Parkhill, Norman Roblee, Elmer Walker, B. McKeen, and J. W. Allen.
J. N. Jeffers, Superintendent of Sunday-school.
Masonic History.
Evening Star Lodge, now No. 44 (of Hornellsville), was organized in Canisteo about 1816. Its first Master was Rev. Andrew Simpson, who used to travel the forest twelve miles from his home, in Jasper, for a period of about four years, to be present at every regular communication of the lodge. The lodge was subsequently removed to Almond, and thence to Hornellsville, where it still remains.
After the removal of the Evening Star Lodge (we are not informed exactly at what date), Morning Star Lodge, No. 421 (which is now No. 65, its number having been changed upon the reorganization of Masonry, abut 1840), was formed at the house of Col. William Stephens, who was chosen the first Master.
The lodges of Canisteo and Hornellsville were the only ones in the county which maintained their charter during the period of the Morgan excitement. The archives of the lodge in Hornellsville were saved by a fortunate conjunction of circumstances by Col. John R. Stephens, who happened to be passing when they were thrown from the window of the lodge-room by some zealous anti-Masons. Col. Stephens picked them up and saved them. He and Maj. Thomas Bennett and Bazey Baker met under Maj. Bennett’s sign-post for several years, and made their returns to the Grand Lodge. In this way they preserved their charter.
Morning Star Lodge, No. 65, F. and a. M..,of Canisteo has at present the following officers: H. C. Green, W. M.; elias Stephens, S. W.; Walter Crandall, J. W.; C. M. Coston, S. D.; Thomas Dawson, J. D.; H. E. Buck, Sec.; L. A. Waldo, Eli Soule, and C. M. Coston, Trustees.
Ancient Order United Workmen.
The following officers of Canisteo Lodge, No. 29, were installed Monday evening, January 7, 1879, for the ensuing year, viz: H. C. Beckwith, P. M. W.; W. M. Crandall, M. W. ; H. W. Johnson, G. F.; Daniel Rice, Overseer; G. J. Kinney, Recorder; r. Whitaker, Financier; Jerry Burnham, Receiver; James Roblee, Guide; Lewis Neely, I. W. ; F. F. Thomas, O. W. ; Harrison Crane, Representative to Grand Lodge; and Smith Eason, Trustee.

*The above information was obtained from the History of Steuben County, New York, Clayton (1879).

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Last Update February 15, 2020