Matthew McNinch Letter, circa 1861, with introduction by Robert McNinch, 1993

From Meredith (McNinch) Chilson, 5680 County Road 2B, Belmont New York 14813

This Biography by Matthew McNinch was written about 1861. Matthew McNinch was born in

Sussex County, New Jersey, on March 3, 1784. He died at Conesus, New York on March 3, 1867.

He states in his letter that he had lived in Conesus fifty seven years at the time he wrote his

statement. He came to Conesus with his family at the age of eighteen. The original of this

statement was hand-written by Matthew. The spelling and phrases are as Matthew wrote them.

The original paper is in my possession.

[introduction by Robert McNinch, New York, 1993] [see Notes 1 to 8]

Matthew McNinch, son of Pattrick McNinch

[Matthew McNinch] “son of Pattrick McNinch [sic, two ‘t’s, Note 9], was born in New Jersey,

in the County of Sussucks [sic, Sussex County] in the year 1784, March 3rd, at the end of the

Revolution war. He moved that same year up to the state of Pennsylvania, in Northumberland

County, in the forks of the Susquehanna. My father’s name was Pattrick McNinch [9], he came

from Ireland, was born there. My mother’s name was Jane Scott, she came from Ireland also; her

father’s name was James Scott. My father and mother were married about the year 1770 or 1771.

They were in Ireland when married and soon after embarked for North America. They first settled

in New Jersey, then after the war, when the Indians got quiet, they moved up to Pennsylvania in

Northumberland County, Torbut Township. We resided there until I was about eighteen years old,

then my Father thought to try and better himself. He had six sons and two daughters, of which

two were younger than myself. We fixed for moving to the Genesee country. We got about ready

to move, my Father got sick, and, it getting late in the fall, he urged the family to start and leave

him at his daughter’s. They started, and the second day after, he died. We went on, when we got

to the wilderness, it came a great rain, raised the water, made bad roads, and we worked our way

through to the headwaters of Tioga, went down that to the mouth, then up Canisteo to the head,

and not a bridge on either stream. We had to ford it, sometimes the water [was] so high it about

swim the horses and waggon [sic]. So, we were over the worst of the waters; we worked our way

on to Dansville [New York], there was one grist mill, David Shutts, one store, one publick house

and a few scattering huts over the plane [sic].

There were but few roads here then, and they were poor and rough. We started from Dansville

for the head of Conesus lake. We came by the way of Darling haven. Mr. Havens, he kept a

publick house. Then we went on up to where Jacob Been now lives. We went on through the

woods down to where Hector McKay was just making a beginning. He put us on an old road or

rather an Indian path down to the inlet bridge, an old log bridge that I expect Colonel Sulivan

built to get his army across. Then we were to the head of Conesus lake, on Henderson flats,

where we resided for three years. There were but three families of us white folks at the head of

the lake. My mother and her family, Mr. Jacob Durham and his family, Mr. [Benjamin] Himes

and his family. Except us three families we had no white neighbors nigher [sic, closer] than three

miles of us, but Indians plenty; they were civil and friendly. This was a great place for fishing &

hunting, wild game plenty; I recollect one time in particular, it was on Sunday evening, there

was about thirty Indians out before the door, some twenty rods from the house, along the creek,

McAninch Family History NL, VIII-4  October 2000  Copyright Frank McAninch   page 2000-30

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