Page 2 - LeRoy Historical

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The definitive source of informa-
tion about the political history of
LeRoy was written by Alvin Stripp
in 1981. Alvin revised his research in
1996 and sent copies of his typewrit-
ten notes to the LeRoy Historical So-
ciety, the Genesee County Historian’s
office and the Woodward Library.
The following article is based on Al-
vin’s research.
After the American Revolution,
the desire for land changed the map
of Western New York. Strange as it
may be, the State of Massachusetts
claimed Western New York as an ex-
tension of their western border un-
der land agreements made in the
1600s. New York cited similar agree-
ments. As a result, a convention was
held in Hartford, Connecticut on De-
cember 16, 1786, to settle the matter.
Massachusetts agreed that New York
should have governmental control of
this region and that a line should be
drawn from the Pennsylvania border
to Lake Ontario just west of Geneva.
All the land west of the “Preemption
Line” would be Indian territory and
Massachusetts would retain “pre-
emptive rights” to negotiate with the
Indians for this land.
Two years later, on April 1, 1788,
Massachusetts sold their preemptive
rights to Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel
Gorham for $1 million. Oliver Phelps
met with the Indians three months
later on July 8,at Buffalo Creek.The In-
dians agreed to sell 26,000,000 acres
in exchange for about $5,000, but
they refused to sell any land west of
the Genesee River on the contention
that the Great Spirit had told them
that the River was the natural divid-
ing line between the white man’s
land to the east and the Indian land
to the west. Never the less, Phelps
persisted and convinced them to
give up land on the west side of the
River. In return he promised to build
a flour mill for their use. This tract
of land on the west side of the river,
known as the
Phelps and Gorham
Mill Tract,
consisted of 175,000 acres.
(The eastern part of the Town of Le-
Roy is in the Mill Tract.) Ebenezer “In-
dian”Allen built a grist mill and a saw
mill on the Mill Tract near the site of
present-day Rochester. He also lived
for a while near the site of the con-
fluence of Oatka Creek
and the Genesee River
near Scottsville. For that
reason, the early name of
the Oatka Creek was “Al-
len’s Creek.”
When the Mill Tract
was first surveyed, a mis-
takewasmade – perhaps
on purpose. As a result,
the Mill Tract included
87,000 acres of land that
rightfully belonged to
the Indians. Later, when
the tract was resurveyed,
a triangular “correction”
was made, creating the
Triangle Tract
January 11, 1793, the
Triangle Tract was sold
to Herman LeRoy and
William Bayard. Both
men were wealthy New
York businessmen who
invested their money in land specu-
lation. A large boulder on Summit
Street in LeRoy, marks the apex of
the Triangle Tract.
Phelps and Gorham had finan-
cial difficulties and their rights to
the land west of the Genesee River
were eventually sold to Robert Mor-
ris in 1791. But his financial reversals
forced him to sell almost immediate-
ly. As mentioned, Herman LeRoy and
William Bayard acquired the Triangle
Tract in 1793 from Morris. Between
December 1792 and July 1793, four
large parcels of land were purchased
by Herman LeRoy, John Linklaen,
Gerrit Boon,William Bayard and Mat-
thew Clarkson. These men held the
land in trust for a group of Dutch in-
vestors who were forbidden by law
to own property in New York. When
the state law was repealed, the land
was transferred back to the Dutch
investors, known as the Holland
Land Company. The four land tracts
became known as the
Holland Pur-
and was the largest land tract
west of the Genesee River.
Morris was forced to sell the
rights to another tract of land,
which was situated east of the
Holland Purchase and extended
east to the Genesee River. It was
known as the
Morris Reserve.
On February 18, 1792, 100,000
acres were purchased by James
Watson and Andrew Craigie. Nine
years later, Sir William Pultney and
the State of Connecticut acquired
equal shares of this tract and it
was called the Connecticut Tract
or the Pultney Tract but more of-
ten the
100,000 Acre Tract
. (The
original town of LeRoy in 1812
was situated on the southern part
of the 100,000 Tract.) Morris sold
what was to become known as the
Craigie Tract
to Andrew Craigie
and although it supposedly con-
tained 50,000 acres, it actually was
much smaller. Craigie Street marks
the eastern boundary.
Forty thousand acres was sold to
Jan and Wilhem Willink, and was
identified as
the 40,000 Acre Tract
(Another part of the Town of Le-
Roy.) The Willinks were members of
the Holland Land Company and of-
ten the 40,000-Acre Tract has been
misidentified as being part of the
Holland Purchase. In fact, the Will-
inks purchased the tract for their
own speculation and benefit and
because they were Dutch citizens,
the land had to be held in trust by
Herman LeRoy, William Bayard and
James Mc Evers.
South of the Craigie Tract, Samuel
Ogden purchased 50,000 acres. Ger-
Dividing Up The Land