First "Town Meeting" in what is now Steuben County,NY



There is considerable interest in the  United States elections in
 November - 2016 .
In 1791, settlers in the Land of Painted Post as it was then called held a election which undoubtedly  was the topic of conversation for quite sometime.. and it's all documented in local histories.




The following is copied from the History of Steuben County, New York and Its People  by Near   1911  Vol.1 page 135


                              "First Legislative Representative

                  On the first Tuesday in April 1791, the first "Town Meeting" in what is now Steuben County was held. It took place at Painted Post, and the organization effected embraced all the settlements in the county organized five years later. In March,1791, the legislature of New York had given to Ontario county the right to elect a member of the assembly .
                 Turner in his valuable "History of Phelps and Gorham Purchase " says of this first election in Ontario county :"Although not entitled by population in 1791, by special act of the legislature, Ontario county was given representation in the Assembly. This was not known to the new settlements of Canandaigua ,Geneva or their neighborhood, but in the smaller settlements that had commenced on the Canisteo in what is now Steuben County, they were in possession of the fact. " How the wide awake dwellers on the Canisteo, Tioga ,Conhocton and Chemung rivers in the old territory of Painted Post, came to get this fact so early, and before the settlers of the upper or northern Ontario is told in a letter to Eleazer Lindsley by Judge Britton Paine, who appears to have been a very wide awake man of affairs. It was written on March 23,1791 , and says: "I have just returned from New York ,where I learned the legislature has granted a member of the legislature for the county of Ontario.  Therefore, it becomes necessary to have a town meeting, in order to elect town officers on the first Tuesday in April, to the end that you may hold an election on the first Tuesday in April to  elect a such a member to the assembly"
       At that time there was but one post office in the State of New York, and that was at the City of New York.  There were then no mail routes, no mail carriers and no means of disseminating intelligence or news except by private enterprise and expense. It may be reasonably concluded, that no means was taken to inform the north country.  The election was held and the result was that  ELEAZER LINDSLEY was chosen as a member of the Assembly for Ontario County, and as such, sat in the fifteenth session of the legislature for the State of New York that met in that metropolis in 1792.  Colonel Lindsley had considerable experience in New Jersey politics, having been a member of the legislature of that state for several terms, which well fitted him for the business at hand.  By reason of this early election and representation, Painted Post was, for a time at least, and to all intents and interests and purposes, the most important of all places in western New York ; in fact the capital town, much to the mortification of the silk-stocking, kid gloved, aristocratic denizens of the up -country."


My notes --Kitty
 In the Steuben County histories by Clayton, Hakes and Roberts, it was reported that in 1792 - Issac I. Chapin was elected to the New York State legislature to replace Colonel  Lindsley by the northern settlements . Lindsley was again elected in 1793  and died June 4, 1794 .
 He is buried in the Lindley Burying Ground  County- Rt.115 in Lindley,NY- a community that he founded in June 1790 with family and friends .
Lindsley Burying Ground
 

Can't you just imagine the up roar this probably caused?  Even without the Media -TV coverage ,polls ,etc. 

Who says history has to be boring???



 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

From Steuben County Historian Files

With Sadness