Simon and Israel Stone
Co-Founders of the town of Northfield
 

Simon Stone was born November 18, 1762 in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. He accompanied his parents to Lunenburg in 1765 and to Deerfield in 1771. Although only 12 years old when the Revolution broke out, he was old enough to fight before the end of the war. On July 30, 1780, he enlisted as a private in Captain Isaac Newton’s company. He was described as 17 years of age, small in stature, light of complexion and with blond hair. He enlisted from the town of Deerfield and was discharged in October 1780.

About 1783, Simon Stone moved from Deerfield to Salem, Washington County, NY in which township his cousin, Israel had previously located. The two Revolutionary War veterans were living in an area of Salem called Northfield, near the Vermont border.

In 1788-89, Simon, Israel, and a man named Seth Dodge formed a partnership. On February 21, 1789 they purchased, from Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, approximately 13,000 acres in "Genesee Country" for about $5,000; which amounted to one shilling and one penny per acre. Dodge soon relinquished his claim to the Stone cousins and Simon and Israel rode on horseback to this Genesee area.

After clearing some of the trees, Israel constructed the first house in Pittsford, a rough log cabin, near The Big Spring, which had been a camping ground for the Native Americans, at the approximate site of what is now 38 State Street in the village of Pittsford. The large ever-flowing spring was later incorporated into the Erie canal and an historic marker near the Erie canal on State Street marks the location of Israel's homestead. Simon erected his cabin a little ways to the south on what is now East Street.

With the homesteading accomplished and a crop of winter wheat planted, the cousins began their journey back to Salem to persuade family and friends to leave their farms and homes in the well-developed eastern NY and venture into this new, unsettled wilderness in western NY. They returned to the Northfield area with their own families and about eight more including other Stone relatives, and families named Nye, Dunn, and Dodge. These new settlers established farms and homes south of what is today Pittsford Village, and that settlement was known as “Stonetown”.

We don't know a lot more about Israel, but he married Lucy Root and they had three children. A son, Ezra was born in 1789 married and settled in Madison County. A second son called Erie was born here in 1794, married, and is buried in Ypsilanti, Michigan. There was also a daughter, Lovinia. None of those children stayed in this area. Israel died at the early age of 35 and there is no record of a burying place. Stone traveled frequently between Northfiield and Salem and it is conjectured that he might have died on one of his trips and been buried along the way.

Simon married Hannah Nye in 1788 while still in Salem. She was the daughter of Silas and Patience Carpenter Nye who, along with their other children, left Salem and moved to western NY to live in the "Stonetown" area. Simon and Hannah, however, went to the cabin Simon had erected on East Street and established their homestead there. At one time Simon sold his neighbors a small plot of land, which was to become a cemetery. It is here that Simon is buried.

By 1791, Simon had built a water-powered gristmill on Irondequoit Creek, near what later became the Great Embankment. His mill ground local grain. There were local distilleries as whiskey was an important product of the frontier. It could be transported to other parts of the region more easily than bulky grain.

In 1797 Simon was commissioned a lieutenant in the Ontario County militia. During 1804, he accepted a commission as a captain. In 1805, then 43 years of age and presumably in ill health, he resigned his commission.

Simon and Hannah had ten children, nine of which were born in Pittsford. They were, Orrin, Alfred, Anathusia, Sophia, Israel, Charlotte, Elias, Adolphus, Hannah and Elin.

Simon's wife, Hannah, died in April 1821 at the age of 52 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. Simon died in October 1832 at the age of 70 and was laid to rest in the East Street Cemetery near Park Road. There is an American Flag and a "Founder of Pittsford" marker near his headstone. The Pittsford Town Historian is taking steps to get more recognition for this founding father through the organization called The Sons of the American Revolution.

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