Fross Bible Records
Submitted by Clark Kidder
Janesville, WI, 2006.
On the 1900 U.S. census, Selden M. Fross, son of Jonathan and Hannah
(Mitchel) Fross, told the census enumerator that his parents were both born
in New York. Jonathan was born in 1782. If he was born in the present
Columbia County, New York, it would have actually been in Albany County in
1782, as Columbia County was formed from Albany County in 1786.
The Jamestown Journal of December 17, 1875 printed an article titled
Historical and Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlers of Ellery: Edward
Hovey, by Judge Lovel Bugbee. Some extracts from that article that concern
Jonathan Fross are as follows:
"In the early part of the year 1810, the Holland Land Company had
established a land office at the head of Chautauque Lake, under the
supervision of William Peacock as their general agent. In order to
facilitate the settlement of the county this land company opened a road
through the wilderness from the Genesee River to the head of Chautauque
Lake. From this point, early in June, 1811, under the contracts of variouis
individuals, most of whom are before mentioned in the sketch of John West,
the highway now known as the Holland Purchase Road, began to be opened from
the land office eastward, completing it that year as far as the residence of
Stephen Jones, now in the town of Gerry. The same year (1811) Isaac Young,
then living near the lake a short distance below Tindertown (Dewittville),
took a contract of William Peacock, to open another road leading northeast
from Tinkertown to Canadaway (Fredonia), striking the Holland Purchase Road
on the line of Lots between 9 and 17 in the 4th township, and 12th Range,
in the present town of Chautauqua passing about a mile north of the head of
Bear Lake, and intersecting the road on the top of the hill, south of
Canadaway, opened up b the people of that place in 1808, but which curved
southward, passing the foot of Bear Lake, and meeting William Bemus, who
with his workmen, at his own expense, had opened the road from his residence
at the narrows (Bemus Point), to this place . . . In the spring of 1810, Asa
Russell, from Herkimer County, came to Chautauqua Lake in company with
Darius Dexter, and settled upon Lot 9 at the intersection of the two roads
just mentioned. The same year, or the year following, Jonathan and Rufus
Fross settled about three miles north of Russell, and for three or four
years these were the only settlers upon the Chautauqua Road to Canadaway.
The road from Tinkertown to Canadaway is still known as the old Chautauqua
Road. There was however, a clearing of three or four acres a little
northeast of Bear Lake known as the "Redfield Place," which had been
deserted by the owner, but which served as a place for emigrants to "bait"
their teams. These new roads were of course of the most primitive kind,
bridges over the largest streams, and underbrush, saplings and fallow trees
removed sufficiently to permit the passage of ox teams with sleds . . . Mr.
Hovey continued to work at his trade (carpenter), mostly in the village of
Mayville, and much of the time in company of Charles P. and Elisha W. Young,
and at other times with Jonathan Fross. These men were the master builders
of the greater part of the early village of Mayville."
Jonathan Fross joined Capt. John Silsbe's Company of Detached
Militia, Lt. Colonel John McMahan's Regiment New York State Militia in the
War of 1812, as a Private. His commencement of service began on December 20,
1813, and his settlement is dated January 24, 1814, at the rate of $8.00 per
month. He and his brother Rufus served together, but later deserted. Family
records state that they took part in the Battle of Erie (Pa), and aided the
Militia at the burning of Buffalo (NY). (Source: Elial Foote Papers, Vol.
7, p. 52, Capt. Silsbur (sic) Company, 20th Div., 1813 to Feb. 3, 1814.
Chatauqua County Historical Society, and National Archives Records, card
nos. 37973319 and 3409).
Per minutes from the First Baptist Church at Stockton, Chautauqua
County, New York, Book I, Feb. 24, 1817 - November 13, 1829, Mary E. Seymour
"In March of 1817, Jonathan Fross represented the First Baptist
Church of Chautauqua Township at a meeting to develop the Baptist Church of
Stockton, Chautauqua County, New York."
Jonathan Fross purchased land in Chautauqua County, New York in
1819, and 1820, according to old deeds on file there.
On December 13, 1819, Jonathan purchased 167 acres of land from the
Holland Land Company (Amsterdam, Holland Investors), for $1.00 down on a
$292.00 price, at $48.68 a year, plus interest, for six years, and
homesteaded in Township 4, Range 13, on Lot #14. His brothers, Rufus and
Curtis, purchased Lots #13 (200 acres - Rufus), #20 (50 acres - Curtis
Fross), and #21 (40 acres - Rufus), which all totaled about 400 acres. These
lots are located at the intersection of Haight Road, and Beech Hill Road, on
the border with the Township of Stockton.
In 1823, Jonathan sold the West part of the land purchased from the
Holland Land Company in Chautauqua County, New York to Stephen Dexter
(4-208). He had sold the East part to Christopher Mitchell (possibly a
brother of Hannah (Mitchel) Fross, Jonathan's wife). The West 20 acres were
"improved by a non-resident." Jonathan's name is found in "Holland Land
Company Delinquent Contracts in Chautauqua County, New York, Lois M. Barris,
Chautauqua County Genealogical Society, p. 48, as follows: Fross, Jonathan
30 Dec 1819, contract, 167 acres, Part of N, Lot #13, Town 4, Range 13,
Stephen Dexter occupant & owner W pt; Christopher Mitchell owner E pt; W 20
acres improved, nonresident; *east descent, beach & maple, good for corn &
grass; will renew if he can (difficult to tell to which owner these comments
applied); 27 Nov. 1829 Hart S. Cobb renewed contract." Jonathan paid off his
farm to Willink and Company, date unknown, (Vol. 7- p. 96).
In a letter dated October 2, 2003, Sally Dodgson of the American
Baptist Historical Society in Rochester, New York writes: "I have reviewed
two small volumes of original handwritten records of the First Baptist
Church of Christ in Chautauqua that are in the archives here. The name of
the church was changed to First Baptist Church in Stockton on April 14,
1821. I found the names of Hannah and Jonathan Fross in a list of church
members 'as of June 1st, 1820. Hannah Fross was listed as having joined the
church by letter on May 25, 1816, and Jonathan Fross by baptism on the same
date. Those were the only references I found related to your family.
Granted, the faded ink writing is difficult to read and, though I spent
considerable time with the volumes, I could have missed something. I am
enclosing two printouts that may be of interest to you. The one tells of the
founding of Chautauque Association (later Harmony Association) and, on the
following page that of the Mayville Church. I found the history of the
Mayville Church in the minutes of the annual association meeting (Harmony
Association) of 1875. You will note that the founders of the church who are
listed include a few from the First Church in Stockton (that would be the
Chautauqua Church), one of whom is a Hanchet Frost. That must be your
Jonathan Fross (Author's note: It is more likely Hannah Fross). These
records would date the founding of the church to February 7, 1820."
Jonathan and his brothers, Rufus and Curtis, appear on the 1825
census for the Town of Chautauqua, Chautauqua County, New York. Ensign Bush
is also listed. He was a brother of Heman Bush, who married Jonathan's
sister, Abigail Fross.
Jonathan's information on the 1825 census, line 5, is as follows:
Number of male persons: 4
Number of female persons: 3
Voting age: 1
Married females under 45: 1
Females unmarried under 16: 3
Number of improved acres: 17
Number of cattle owned: 8
Number of sheep owned: 10
Number of hogs owned: 11
Yards of cloth: 20
Yards of linen: 30
In 1830, Jonathan was renting about 160 acres in rural Stockton,
Chautauqua County, near his brother Rufus.
Jonathan was one of the founding members of the First Baptist church
of Mayville, formed in 1826. On May 23, 1830, at a meeting of the First
Baptist church at Mayville, the following was recorded:
". . . took into consideration the situation of several members who have
manifested a hostile disposition towards it, whereupon it was voted that we
withdraw the hand of fellowship from . . . Jonathan Fross (eight others were
listed.)" Jonathan had joined this church by letter from the First Baptist
church in Stockton, Chautauqua County, New York.
On March 5,1833, Jonathan and Hannah Fross secured a mortgage
(4-307) from New York Life Insurance and Trust Company. This was discharged
on September 20, 1843 (4-250).
In 1837, Jonathan sold land to William Evans (18-416), and to his
sons, Deodatus C. and Joseph Fross (10-280) on November 21st, in the Town of
Chautauqua, for $1000.00, at 7% interest per year. The latter mortgage was
discharged on March 1, 1843 (18-259); cleared in 1837 (23-410).
Jonathan's death notice ran in the Fredonia Censor of March 7, 1838.
It simply read: "Jonathan Frost (sic) died the 22nd ult. in Chautauqua"
An 1843 record shows that Jonathan's wife Hannah, and his daughter
Martha Fross, paid a mortgage (18-259), and in 1843, Deodatus C., Joseph,
and Hannah Fross sold land to Omar Farwell (36-211).
Several sheets from the Jonathan and Hannah (Mitchel) Fross bible
have survived, and were (until her decease) in the hands of Helen (Kidder)
Anderson, of Milton, Wisconsin. Helen's grandmother was Elma Viola (Fross)
Kidder, whose father was William Henry Fross, son of Deodatus Curtis Fross,
who was a son of Jonathan Fross.
One is a
transcript done of the other two original sheets. The transcription was done
by William Henry Fross, son of D. C. (Deodatus Curtis) Fross, and grandson
of Jonathan Fross. The latter two are recorded on the bible sheets. William
Henry Fross was my great-great grandfather. He lived in Milton, WI, and was
a Civil War veteran. The Fross family settled in the Town of Chautauqua in
about 1811-15, having came from Herkimer County.
Transcription - Dec 1, 1893
Births & Deaths
Deodatus and Malissa bought 40 acres of land near Hampshire, Kane county,
Illinois on February 26, 1846. They paid $1.25 an acre. The land was
described as "The South West Quarter of the North East Quarter of Section
Thirty-one, in Township Forty-two of Range six, in the District of Lands
Subject to Sale at Chicago Illinois, Containing Forty Acres." This land was
located in the extreme NW corner of Kane County. They sold the land on
October 9, 1847 to Loyal L. Wilcox It appears that Deodatus died sometime
between then and when the 1850 Federal census was taken. Malissa was a
resident of Waterford, Saratoga County, New York since 1848, according to
her death certificate.
Deodatus would have had to die between October 9, 1847, and the time
the 1850 census was taken in Waterford, Saratoga County, New York. The death
likely occurred in late 1847, or in 1848, as Malissa was a resident of
Waterford since 1848, and I don't believe she would have accompanied her
husband that far east.
Selden Fross was admitted to the First Presbyterian church at Westfield, New
York by "Profession of Faith" in 1837 (See "A Genealogical Index to Early
Records of The Presbyterian Church, Westfield, Chautauqua County, New York,
1818-1888, Compiled in 1982 by Virginia Washburn Barden), and converted at
Westfield, Chautauqua County, New York in 1838, at age fifteen.
On the 1860 census for Dekora, Columbia County, Wisconsin, his
occupation was listed as "tailor." He moved to southern Minnesota in 1866.
Selden was issued Homestead Certificate No. 1975, Application No.
4472, by the U. S. General Land Office in Washington, as recorded at the
Register of the Land Office in Jackson, Minnesota. He purchased the
following property: "East half of the South East quarter of Section thirty,
and the West quarter of section twenty-nine, in Township one hundred adn
four, of Range twenty-six, in the district of lands formerly subject to sale
at Jackson, now Worthington, Minnesota, containing one hundred and sixty
At age 42, Selden enlisted in Company E, 41st Wisconsin Volunteer
Infantry, enrolling at Camp Washburn on May 23, 1864, as a Private. He was
Mustered-in on June 8. He was Mustered-out at Camp Washburn, Milwaukee,
Wisconsin on September 23, 1864, as a Corporal. Selden re-enlisted in
Company G, 49th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, at Madison, Dane County,
Wisconsin on February 17, 1865. He was Mustered-out on November 8, 1865.
According to his pension application file at the National Archives, Selden
stood 5' 3" tall, had a dark complextion, brown hair, and had blue eyes. His
occupation was listed as farmer. His places of previous residence included:
"Faribault Co., Minn., Page Co., Iowa, Norton Co., Kansas and Hamilton Co.,
On the 1880 census for Norton County, Kansas, Selden states that his
parents were both born in New York, as he does in the 1885 census in
Hamilton County Nebraska.
On March 8, 1907, at age 85, Selden applied for a pension for his
service in the Civil War, allowed for in the Act of February 6, 1907. His
residence at the time was Aurora, Hamilton County, Nebraska. His pension
certificate number was 613, 932. Selden received $20.00 per month through
October 4, 1908.
Selden's obituary appeared in the Sherman County Times Independent, October
22, 1908, page 5, col. 4:
"GRANDPA FROSS FALLS ASLEEP.
Grandpa Fross died Monday evening at their home over in Webster
township, at 5:30. He was apparently as well as usual, had been reading the
paper and after carrying in some kindling sat down in a chair and fell
asleep to awaken in heaven. Funeral services were held in the Methodist
church in this city, Wednesday afternoon, conducted by Rev. C. H. Foy, of
the Free methodist church, who resides on the west side of the county,
assisted by Rev. J. O. Hawk of the Methodist church of this city. The
remains were intered in the Moon cemetery in Webster township. to the
bereaved we extend sympathy.
S. M. Fross was born January 4, 1822, in Chautauqua county, N. Y. He
was converted at the age of sixteen at Westfield in the same county. At th
eage of twenty-five he emigrated to Wisconsin. In th eyear 1854 he was
wedded to Phebe Onstine. To this union was born eight children three of them
preceeding their father to the Heavenly ome by several years. One year after
the war was over he moved to southern Minnesota; a few years following to
Giltner, Hamilton county, Nebraska, then in June 1907, coming to Loup City,
settling in a comfortable little home on the farm of his son O. S. Fross
where he and his good wife who survives him, lived happily up to the time of
his death, at the age of 86 years, nine months and 15 days. Surely his
children rise up and call him blessed."
Note: A condensed version of this obituary appeared in the Loup City
Northwestern, Oct. 22, 1908, p. 5, col. 3.
Julia was baptized at the First Baptist Church of Mayville, New York
on October 30, 1831.
Isaac and Julia purchased property in Hillsdale County, Michigan in
1837. They were counted on the 1840 and 1850 census as residents of
Wheatland Township, in Hillsdale County. They were counted on the 1860
census as residents of Burnet County, Texas, and on the 1870 census in Kerr
Julia and Isaac were counted on the 1880 census as residents of
Precinct 1 in Kerr, Texas (page 247A). The birthplaces of Julia's parents,
Jonathan and Hannah Fross, were listed as New York. Julia was listed as
From a 1970 history of Kerr County, Texas we glean the following
information on the Lamb family, page 302-4:
The Lambs, another colorful pioneer family, came to Texas in 1866,
from Hillsdale, Mich. Isaac Lamb, a native of Canada, with his wife, Julia,
and their three daughters were among the earliest settlers. The family
settled on a little creek ten miles southwest of Kerrville. Isaac was the
first settler on this little water-course, which came to be known as Lamb's
Creek. The Lambs built a house of huge cypress logs on the high bank of the
creek. It was considered a fine house for that era, as there was an
"Upstairs" - little more than a loft. Another feature of the house was a
superior fireplace and chimney, well built, of a native stone. Fireplaces
were highly prized in those days.
After the Lambs had been in the frontier settlement about two years,
their son George, who had remained in Michigan, joined the family. He made
the trip by boat and train to Salado, Texas, transportation further west was
by freight wagon trains.
George Lamb stopped off at a Salado hotel while he waited for the
next wagon train, and he met another guest, a Mr. Ferguson, a ginner, who
was the father of the late Governor of Texas, James E. Ferguson.
Ferguson let it be known that he was in a dreadful plight - he was
without a ginner. George Lamb told him, "I've never seen a cotton gin, or
even cotton for that matter, but I'm your man." So it was that the newly
arrived Yankee in Texas, checked over the primitive Ferguson cotton gin and
ginned cotton for two weeks until the next stage came through the town.
George Lamb rode a freight wagon to Burnet, where his married sisters had
moved, and from there to the home of his parents on Lamb's Creek in Kerr
After his marriage to Miss Naomi Bird of Caldwell, Texas,
granddaughter of Capt. John Bird who brought a colony to Texas from
Tennessee during the colonization era. George Lamb built a home n the farm
for himself and family in 1886-87. The home was built of native stone. he
built a fence of stone between the farm land and the public road, working on
it at odd times, and on rainy days when he could do nothing else. This task
required several years to complete, and this fence stood in good state of
preservation until recent years, when George Lamb's son, Milton Lamb, and
his grandson, George A. Lamb, modernized the farm fencing.
The Northern ways and language of the Lambs were unfamiliar to their
Texas neighbors, but they were quickly taken in by their new friends. Deeply
religious, the Lambs went to church in a covered wagon regularly.
A neighbor once told a daughter of George Lamb that her mother was a
widow with a large family, living in the community. On a wintry day the
widow was out of firewood. Members of the family heard wagon wheels rolling
and looking out of a window they saw George Lamb driving up the road with a
load of wood. He threw the wood off and drove away without saying a word.
The honesty and integrity of the Lamb family became proverbial.
The pioneer Lamb family went through an experience culminating in a
mystery that has never been solved. The story has been handed down to
younger generations to become a legend of Kerr County Hills.
"Frank Lamb went up the trail to Kansas with a herd of Schreiner
cattle. The outfit returned without him. Nothing was ever heard about the
fate of Frank Lamb. Whether horse or rider failed to make it across a
swollen stream at flood time or whether he became the victim of the numerous
outlaws of that day remains a mystery." For may years his family would look
down the road, always hoping against hope that they would see him coming
Another son, Hiram, was a Texas Ranger.
Isaac Lamb, the father, served as an early-day county clerk.
Official records show that he was appointed to the office in 1867 to fill a
The Lamb farmhouse, built in 1886-87, has been modernized with
native stone and is the home of Mrs. Milton Lamb and Mr. and Mrs. George A.
Lamb, on the Highway 16 loop of the Old Spanish Trail. It was the home of
Isaac Lambs in 1866; of the family of their son, George Lamb; of their
grandson, Milton Lamb; and of their great-grandson, George A. Lamb. It has
been continually a home of one of the Lambs."
Per an e-mail dated August 17, 2000, from Sandee Farmer, a
descendent of Hiram Lamb:
"The story told to me by my aunt about Franklin Lamb is that he left
on a cattle drive and didn't return with the cowhands. They said that he had
been killed, but they didn't bring the body back with them nor did my aunt
know how he was killed."
Hiram H. Fross enlisted in the Civil War at LaSalle, Illinois,
September 1, 1861. He was a Private in Company K, 11th Illinois Infantry. He
was contracted on September 15, 1862, at Bird's Point, Missouri. Hiram was
discharged on May 25, 1862 at Jackson, Tennessee. The cause of his discharge
was "weak eyes," and "General Disability." According to his pension file, as
well as his file at the National Soldier's Home in Marion, Indiana, Hiram
stood five feet tall, had a light complexion, grey eyes, light hair, could
read and write, was a Protestant, and a Hotel Keeper. His residence
subsequent to discharge was in Reynolds, Indiana. He was admitted to the
Soldier's Home in Danville, Illinois on August 20, 1903, and transferred to
the Soldier's Home in Marion, Indiana on September 2, 1908 (Log book, page
5504), where he apparently died five months later. His wife, Lillian A.
Fross, resided at Reynolds. Hiram was granted an invalid pension
(#321791-Certificate #612972) in November 1879.
No obituary was found on Hiram H. Fross in the February 2-9
Danville, Illinois newspaper.
Martha was baptized at the First Baptist Church of Mayville,
Chautauqua County, New York.
Martha was counted on the 1850 U.S. census for Rockford, Winnebago
County, IL, 26 Dec. 1850, p. 431, 198-214:
Eleazur H. Potter, 44, m, Merchant, 16,000, Ct.
Mary, 44, f, N.Y.
Adeline, 14, f, N.Y.
Andrew M., 7, m, IL
George H., 3, m, IL
Mary E., 7/12, f, IL
Martha Fross, 25, f, N.Y.
Elizabeth Morrell, 51, f, N.Y.
She was also counted on the 1880 U.S. census in Cherry Valley,
Winnebago County, Illinois, page 18D. She was a housekeeper in the household
of Edward A. Dutcher. Her age was listed as 61, and she was single. She
listed both her parents (Jonathan and Hannah Fross) as being born in New
ABIGAIL (FROSS) BUSH
On the 1800 U.S. census, the household of Heman Bush in Litchfield,
Herkimer County, New York, was enumerated as follows:
1 male to age 10 (son, Heman C. Bush)
2 males ages 16-26 (father, Heman Bush and probably Ensign Bush,
1 female age 16-26 (mother, Abigail (Fross) Bush)
1 female age 45+ (Abigail (Curtis) Fross, mother of Abigail Bush?.
The woman could not be Heman's mother, Lucretia Bush, as she resided with
Heman's father in Sheffield, Connecticut until at least 1813. Furthermore,
Lucretia would have had a ten year-old daughter (Sally) to care for.) Ensign
Bush accompanied Heman and Abigail to Chautauqua County, New York in 1812,
so it is very possible that it is him living in their household, at age 20.
Recorded Ear Marks in Herkimer County, New York for 1802:
"Heman Bush Ear Mark a halfpenney of Both sides the Left Ear.
Recorded 13th May 1802."
In the Minutes of the Town Meetings of the Town of Litchfield,
Herkimer County, New York, we find the following:
Mar. 1, 1803, at house of Jason Hemenway.
Moderator - Saml. Merry
Path Masters & Fence Viewers - Ward No. 1 - George Paddock, 2 Ebenezer
Combs, 3 Heman Bush, 4.
From Young's "History of Chautauqua County (New York), pages 229/30:
"In the vicinity of Busti Corners, Heman Bush, from Litchfield, N.
Y., came to Busti in June, 1812, having previously, (1810,) bought a part of
lot 60; April, 1811, lot 61, on which he settled; and in October, 1812, lot
59. He kept a tavern, and conducted a store and an ashery for many years,
and died, May, 1839, aged 62. His widow whose maiden name was Abigail Frost,
died in 1872, aged about 90. His sons were Heman C., Selden F., Hiram,
Solon, Solomon, and Stephen. Heman, Solomon, and Stephen removed to
California; Hiram died in Busti; Selden is in Iowa; and Solon at Busti
Corners. A daughter married John Campbell, who resides on the farm of her
father. They had a son Heman, deceased; and Woodley, a Baptist missionary in
Hindoostan. Aaron Bush settled early on lot 3. He had a large family. Of his
sons, Moses, the only one living, resides in Ellicott."
And on page 232 of the same publication:
"The first saw-mill at the Corners was built by Heman Bush, where a
mill is now owned by Alonzo C. Pickard."
And on page 233 of the same publication:
"The first town meeting was held at the house of Heman Bush,
Tuesday, March 2, 1824, and the following named persons were elected town
officers: Overseers of the Poor - Heman Bush.
Heman Bush was a Mason, and was "1st Worshipful Master of the Mt.
Moriah Lodge #145 F. & A.M.
The home of Heman and Abigail Bush stood "a half mile up the Town
Line Road, towards Lakewood, N.Y., on the Busti side of the old Frank
From "Biographies of the Early Families of the Town of Busti,
Chautauqua County, New York, compiled by Lucy Darrow Peake, Historian of the
Town of Busti, April 1960":
BUSH AND THE HEMON BUSH TAVERN -
"There were fifty-seven men of the name of Bush who served in the
Revolutionary War, all from Massachusetts area. The Bushes were of Welch
Samuel Bush - Ebenezer Bush-
Aaron Bush Born 1725
Moses Bush Born 1756
Hemon Bush 1777-1839, came to Busti from Litchfield, N. Y. in 1810 and
purchased land from the Holland Land Company. He purchased more land in 1811
and 1812 on Lots 60-61 and 59 (400 acres). In June 1812 he sttled in Busti.
He married Abigail Fross 1780--1872, of English descent, born in West
Springfield, Mass. They had eleven children: Their sons were: Hemon C.,
Selden F., Hiram (called "Hi"), Solon, Solomon and Stephen, and among their
daughters was Sally Maria, 1814-1893. Hemon Bush built the first store and
ashery and the first saw-mill in Busti. The saw-mill was located one-quarter
mile south of the village on the bank of Stillwater Creek. He also built a
grist-mill. He planted an orchard with seeds brought from Massachusetts. He
built the first hotel or tavern which served also as their home. The Hemon
Bush Tavern was constructed of eight inch planks and originally had six
fireplaces. The kithcen fireplace was sthe largest and was the favorite of
the Indians who often spent the night in the house. They wrapped themselves
in their blankets and slept in front of the hearth. This tavern has a
remarkable history. In this building the Mt. Moriah Lodge of the Masons,
chartered September 27, 1817, held its first meeting. It is the county's
second oldest lodge, only a year younger than Forest Lodge, in Canadaway
(Fredonia). Hemon Bush was the First Worshipful Master of Mt. Moriah Lodge,
No. 145. In 1921 the lodge honored the memory of its first master by
erecting at his grave in the Busti Cemetery a large monument commemorating
There was a closed attic in the tavern with only a small window
where the Masons my have held some of their meetings. Mrs. Abbie Stoddard
Strickland has a chest of drawers in which they kept their regalia.
In August 1923 in connection with the Busti Centennial, the Lodge,
under special dispensation, held a communication in the room in the Hemon
Bush House at Busti in which the first lodge was instituted in September
1817. The original tin jewels were used and the minutes of the first meeting
In 1949 a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Modern Lodge
in Jamestown was held and also observance of the first charter in 1817,
signed by Gov. DeWitt Clinton, then Grand Master of the State of New York,
when the consecration ceremonies were held in the tavern in Busti with Hemon
Bush as first master. Jamestown was picked for the site of the lodge and the
lodge was known as the Mt. Moriah lodge in the Town of Ellicott. At this
first consecration ceremony, one hundred and thirty two years ago, the tin
jewels, "The Square Compass" of Masonry, were used (silver not being easy to
procure at that time). In 1949 these original "tin jewels" having been
carefully guarded and kept in a bank safety deposit box all these many years
were on display for visiting Masons. In those early days the meetings were
held at 2 o'clock in the afternoon during the winter and at 5 o'clock in the
summer - and never unless absolutely necessary did the session last longer
that 9 o'clock. This was to save lights. The modes of travel were primitive
as the lights. There were no railways or telegraph. Postage was high, the
mails were carried on horseback and news traveled at a snail's pace. Also in
this Hemon Bush Tavern, in what was known as the "Long Room," the first
meeting of the Busti Town Board was held March 2, 1824.
For many years the old building retained the built-in benches along
the walls. The second floor remodeled into bedrooms had the rounded ceiling
of the tavern ballroom. After the death of Hemon Bush in 1839, the tavern
home was purchased by John Campbell 1803-1885 who married Hemon's daughter
Sally Maria. He also purchased between 100 and 200 acres of the land.
John Campbell was a dairy and sheep farmer. In early days he and his
brother Alexander Campbell 1805-1884 would cut lumber in Busti and float the
logs down the Allegheny and Ohio rivers to Cincinnati where they sold the
logs to be cut in saw-mills. On one of these trips Alexander met and married
in West Virginia his second wife, Ellen MacDonald (Scotch Descent). His
first wife had been Martha Bush 1815-1831 . . . "
From a typed manuscript titled "The Bush Ancestry," by Earl Kliest,
circa 1904, transcribed from a genealogy compiled by Elizabeth Jennings:
"In their first home in Busti, Sally Marie was born. They moved into
their Hotel home in October 1817, where their descendants were still living
in 1904 when this genealogy was being compiled. After all their children
were married and settled in their own homes, Dorcas was farthest from her
father's home - Youngsville, Pa., 12 miles from Busti."
Per an unidentified typed manuscript: "Heman's home was 1/2 mile up
the Town Line Road towards Lakewood, N.Y. on the Busti side of the old Frank
One source states:
"A letter of Mrs. Bertha Bush Bolton of Cleveland, O, written to someone in
the family: 'I remember grandmother Bush (Abigail Fross) well and I always
thought her name was Fross. Her brother Rufus Fross married Polly Rose
Candier who died in Busti; Jonathan Fross was another brother. I think Aunt
Candier's chair is still in Busti somewhere and Augusta Campbell Andrews had
Grandma's spinning wheel and gold beads.' - - - 'The house owned by our
great, great grandfather and our great grandfather also lived there, is
still in a good state of preservation in Westfield, Mass. and is now
occupied by Homer Bush, the fifth generation.' "
Abigail (Fross) Bush was living with her daughter Sally Maria Bush,
and Sally's husband, John Campbell, and their six children, when the 1855
U.S. census was taken for Busti, Chautauqua County, New York (p. 12).
Abigail's first name was spelled "Abba," and her birthplace was listed as
Massachusetts. She was age 74, and her occupation was "Weaver." By 1865, she
is living in the same household, age 84, born in Massachusetts (p. 13).
From a booklet titled "Historical Sketch of the Heman Bush Family,
Compiled by Mrs. Elisabeth Jennings, In Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-Nine -
To Be Read At The Bush Family Re-Union At Lakewood (NY), July 22," we find a
poem written by Abigail (Fross) Bush on page five:
GRANDMOTHER FROST'S POETRY,
For almost seventy years ago,
Christ to me did pity show,
He told me all that labor come to Me,
And from your sins you shall be free.
This day I am 88.
I hope with patience I shall wait
Till Christ comes to that place,
When I shall see Him face to face.
Now I have entered 89,
Christ Jesus I can call Him mine,
For as unworthy as I be,
Jesus Christ did die for me.
Now, 89 has passed away,
God suffered me longer here to stay.
But when I am called to quit this shore,
I shall be at peace for ever more.
Now, I am in my 90th year,
I hope to God I shall draw near,
Until I come unto the sight,
Where God's dear people shall unite.
Now, I have entered 91,
I hope all evil ways to shun,
And try to walk that Heavenly road
That leads the people home to God.
Now, I have entered 92,
That blessed news comes to my view,
That if we all do live in peace,
Then righteousness will still increase.
Now, I have entered 93,
My friends and neighbors all may see,
That I have got an anxious sight
To see God's people all unite.
Now, I have entered 94,
Wisdom and Grace, I want the more,
But I'll stay where I find room,
Until my Father calls me home."
Abigail is buried next to her husband, as well as her sister,
Candice Fross. The spelling of her surname is clearly "Fross" on her
Curtis Fross sold property in the Town of Warren, Herkimer County, New
York in 1815 to Joseph Rooker, in the amount of $500.00 (B-533).
Curtis Fross, along with Reuben and Hannah Bills, bought 50 acres of
land in Chautauqua County, New York in December 1818 from Winston Dexter
(1-128), for $248.00 - $1.00 down, and $247.00 at $35.43 for seven years,
plus interest. This property was marked paid in full on June 11, 1825. Could
the Bills' have been Curtis' wife's parents?
Curtis Fross appears on line 237 of the 1825 New York State census
in the Town of Chautauqua, Chautauqua County, NY, as follows:
Males of voting age: 1
Married females under 45: 1
Females unmarried under 16: 1
Number of improved acres: 8
Number of cattle owned: 4
Number of sheep owned: 9
Yards of cloth: 15
Yards of linen: 62
Curtis Fross sold land in Chautauqua County, New York in 1825 to J.
M. Pendergast (5-178). Did he leave Chautauqua County in 1825? If so, where
did he go? We can find no further record of him.
We have wondered if the Catharine Fross that is counted on the 1830
census in Chautauqua, Chautauqua County, New York is perhaps his widow. She
is age 50-60 (born 1770-1780), with a family of two boys, ages 15-20, one
girl, age 5-10, and one black slave. She was listed on the same page (295)
as Rufus Fross, and Rufus' son John Fross, so she was obviously living close
to them. It is worth noting that one Catharine Frost, age 74, is listed in
the household of Henry (age 41) and Phebe Myers (age 44), on p. 82 of the
1850 census for Brunswick, Rennselaer County, New York. In the same
household is Francis Remington, age 33, female; James Boyle, age 29, and
Charles Wonders?, age 23.
Could the elusive James G. Fross have been one of Curtis' sons? He
lived in Chautauqua County, practiced medicine in Jamestown, and later lived
in Rochester, NY. He died in Oakland, California.
The Fross family generally belonged to Baptist churches. There was
one in Warren, Herkimer County, New York, as one record states:
"The Warren Baptist church was organized in 1799, and in the
following year Phineas Holcomb was ordained as first pastor, and labored
with the church seventeen years. For many years the society was especially
prosperous." The records for this church have not yet been located.
Rufus Frost (sic) was counted on the 1810 U.S. census in the Town of
Litchfield, Herkimer County, New York. His household was broken down as
1 white male under 10 years of age (John Fross)
1 white male 26 and under 45 years of age (Rufus Fross)
2 white females under 10 years of age (Rufus' daughters, Lucinda and
1 white female 16 years and under 26 years of age (Polly Fross, wife of
1 white female of 45 years and older (Could this be Abigail (Curtis) Fross?)
Litchfield, Herkimer County, New York was incorporated February 5,
1796 by settlers from Litch- field, Connecticut. It was first settled in
1786, and taken from an area known as German Flats.
Rufus, along with his wife and children, moved from Litchfield in
Herkimer County, to Chautauqua County, New York in 1810.
On December 13, 1819, Jonathan Fross, Rufus' brother, purchased 167
acres of land from a group of Amsterdam, Holland investors (Holland Land
Company) in Chautauqua, Chautauqua County, New York, and homesteaded in
Township 4, Range 13, on Lot #14. His brothers, Rufus and Curtis, purchased
Lots #13 (201 acres - Rufus, December 13, 1819 - Vol. 1, p. 218 - Paid $1.00
down on a price of $188.53 @ $31.43/Yr. for six yrs.), Lot #20 (50 acres -
Curtis Fross), and Lot #21 (40 acres - Rufus), which all totaled about 400
acres. These lots are located at the intersection of Haight Road, and Beech
Hill Road, on the border with the Township of Stockton. Rufus is listed in
"Holland Land Company Delinquent Contracts in Chautauqua County, New York,
Lois M. Barris, Chautauqua County Genealogical Society, p. 48, as follows:
Fross, Rufus - 30 Dec 1819, contract, 201 acres, Part of S, Lot# 13, Town 4,
Range 13, resident & owner, 40 acres improved, frame house & barn, few fruit
trees, *beach, maple & c, moderately uneven medium between high & low; good
looking lot; resident much discouraged. 4 Nov 1829 Rufus Fross renewed
(contract)." Rufus paid off his mortgage on less than 167 acres on November
11, 1835 (Vol. 7, p. 38) to Willink & Co.
Rufus and his wife "Polly" sold land in Herkimer County, New York as
1811 - Rufus Fross and his wife Polly for $360.00 (5-345), sold property to
1811 - Rufus Fross and his wife Polly Fross in Litchfield (5-346), for
$540.00, sold land to
Bush, (brother of Heman Bush, who married Rufus' sister, Abigail
All land purchases by the Fross family were made prior to 1804, when
all records burned in a courthouse fire. Herkimer County was formed from a
part of Montgomery County on February 16, 1791.
He joined Capt. John Silsbe's Company of Detached Militia, Lt. Colonel
John McMahan's Regiment New York State Militia in the War of 1812, as a
Private. His commencement of service began on December 20, 1813, and
his settlement is dated January 24, 1814, at the rate of $8.00 per
month. He and his brother Rufus served together, but later deserted.
Family records state that they took part in the Battle of Erie (Pa),
and aided the Militia at the burning of Buffalo (NY).He joined Capt.
John Silsbe's Company in the War of 1812, (Source: Elial
Foote Papers, Vol. 7, p. 52, Capt. Silsbur Company, 20th Div., 1813 to
Feb. 3, 1814. Chatauqua County Historical Society, and National
Archives Records, Card Nos. 37973320 and 3410). His descendant, Jane
Maria Barrows (Mrs. Marion Pinckney Hatch), joined the National Society
of the U. S. Daughters of 1812 at W. Brattleboro, Windham County,
Vermont on April 8, 1912 (Vol 14, No. 79, Nat'l No. 2686), which
happens to be the same number that the service of Andrew Putnam is
filed under. Therefore, the secretary could not locate the application
paper for Rufus, when asked for a better copy. It was located the first
time, but she did not remember how.
Rufus is counted on the 1825 U.S. census in the Town of Chautauqua,
Chautauqua County, New York, as were his brothers, Jonathan and Curtis
Fross. By 1830, Rufus was farming 200 acres of land in rural Stockton,
Chautauqua County. Rufus had purchased his land from the Holland Land
Company. In 1830, company agent, Mr. Peacock, visited Rufus' farm and
commented that Rufus "had built an improvement, was growing numerous
berries, but was depressed." This reference to depression was probably based
on economic conditions at the time, since the U.S. was in a depressed
period. Records reveal that Rufus, along with many other land owners, were
periodically delinquent on land payments to the Holland Land Company.
In Dilley's Biographical Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York,
July 1891, p. 390, we find the following under the record of Hon. Milton M.
Fenner, a grandson of Rufus Fross:
"Rufus Fross was a native of Kindehook, Columbia County, New York.
From there he went to Litchfield, Herkimer county, New York, and married,
and then came to the town of Chautauqua, this county, in 1810, locating on
the farm where he resideded until his death in 1846. He served in the war of
1812 and was present at the burning of Buffalo."
On the 1880 U.S. census, Rufus' daughter, Lucinda Fross Fenner (b.
1807), told the census enumerator that her parents were both born in New
There is a chance that Rufus Fross married twice. In her book, Anna
Marie (Chesley) Fross states that Rufus was first married to Mary Bush. A
letter from Bertha (Bush) Bolton states that Rufus Fross was married to
Polly Rose Candier. Candier is an extremely rare surname, and is in fact
nearly impossible to find referenced in any material. It is worth noting
that Ensign Bush, a brother to Heman Bush, who married Rufus' sister, was
married to a Sarah Rose.
Rufus' sister, Abigail Fross, married Heman Bush in Litchfield,
Herkimer County, New York in 1799. It is possible that Rufus married a
sister of Heman's for his first wife, but there is no Mary Bush listed as a
sibling of Heman's in the Bush family genealogies consulted. His first wife
(Mary Bush?) may have died giving birth to their first child, a son. This
would have been prior to the birth of Rufus' son John in 1805.
Rufus and his family were enumerated on the 1825 New York State
census, line 235, Town of Chautauqua, Chautauqua County, New York as
Number of male persons: 3
Number of female persons: 8
Married females under 45: 1
Unmarried females 16-45: 2
Females unmarried under 16: 5
Number of improved acres: 50
Number of cattle owned: 12
Number of horses owned: 3
Number of sheep owned: 25
Number of hogs owned: 15
Yards of cloth: 11
Yards of wool: 43
Yards of linen: 142
Rufus was residing in Stockton, Chautauqua County, New York when the
U. S. census was taken in 1840.
Rufus' death notice ran in the April 7, 1846 edition of the Fredonia
Censor. It also ran in the April 2, 1846 edition of the Mayville Sentinel:
"Frost (sic), Rufus - Died: In this town. March 20. 1846. Age 70 yrs."
Rufus and his wife (1793-1863) are buried in the plot of their
daughter Mary's family, Samuel and Mary (Fross) Jones, where their
inscriptions can be found on a single stone. Apparently, the first name of
Rufus' wife is omitted on the stone.