Pitts Pioneer Home

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Corner of Rt 20A and East Lake Road
Richmond, NY
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Inscription

Nearby is the site of pioneer home
Capt. Peter Pitts
First settler in Town of Richmond

Erected

By the State Education Department — 1932

What was there

Retired Captain (of Col. Timothy Walker’s Regiment, Massachusetts) Peter Pitts’ log cabin, first built in 1790 and then rebuilt as a permanent home and farm in subsequent years. The original structure was built by his sons William and Gideon Pitts, who became prominent citizens in the Richmond area. The granddaughter of Gideon Pitts was Helen Pitts Douglass, the second wife of Frederick Douglass.

What is there now

The intersections of Rt 20A, Grandview Drive, and East Lake Rd in the Town of Richmond. The immediate area is residential. The marker is right next to a gas station.

More information

Captain Peter Pitts was born on September 15, 1737 in Dighton, Bristol, Massachusetts. Died December 15, 1812 in Honeoye, Ontario, NY.

Excerpts from “A History of Ontario County, New York and Its People”, by Charles F. Milliken (1911) read:

Richmond and Honeoye have been inhabited for perhaps a thousand years. There is plenty of evidence that there were two occupations of the town previous to that of the Iroquois. It is not at all improbable that the early inhabitants belonged to the Mound Builders. According to State Archaeologist Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian himself, to whom I am indebted for most of this information, the Indian “finds” in Richmond are mostly remains of a people who occupied the territory before the Iroquois or the Algonquins. The implements are crude, rough, and of a very early type.
The first mention in historical records of the territory now called Richmond was in September, 1779, when the army of white men under General Sullivan came over the hill near Blackmer’s corners and looked down on the Indian settlement. This settlement is mentioned by the soldiers many times, who were impressed with the beauty and fertility of the valley. The soldiers spread the news of what they had seen when they returned home and this flayed an important part in the settlement of this part of the country. Negotiations for the purchase of a large tract of land, which included that now comprised in Richmond, were begun as early as 1787, but not till Phelps and Gorham had perfected their title was the purchase completed. In April, 1787, Goodwin and Asa Simmons had left Dighton, Massachusetts, to spy out the region. They examined the land and returning home formed the Dighton Company, whose object was the purchase of a large tract as soon as Judge Phelps could perfect a title. Subsequently, the Dighton Company’s agents purchased 46,080 acres, a part of which extended over the present town of Richmond, then known, however, as number 9, range 5. The survey of this land was made in 1789 by Captain Peter Pitts, William, his son. Deacon Codding, George, his son, Calvin Jacobs, and John Smith. They also surveyed what is now the town of Bristol.

The land was divided by lot, Captain Pitts drawing 3,000 acres, mostly situated near the foot of Honeoye lake, but some near Allen’s Hill and Livonia. The land was first worked by Gideon and William Pitts in 1790. In December of the same year. Captain Pitts and James Codding and their families became permanent residents of the town. They occupied the log house built by Captain Pitts’s sons. Later this log house was replaced by a more commodious framed structure, supposed to have been the famous Long house where Captain Pitts entertained the distinguished Louis Philippe and Duke de Liancourt.

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We would like to thank the following for helping us with this entry:
Matthew Conheady



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