Chili Historical Society

Chili Historical Society Chili Historical Society is located in the 200 year old Streeter's Inn at 4145 Union Street S.Chili N.Y.

Revolutionary War and Beyond
Revolutionary War and Beyond

Revolutionary War and Beyond

On this day in history, July 5, 1776, Congress makes its first land acquisition when it purchases 96 acres of land south of Philadelphia to build a fort for the protection of the young nation's capital city. After the July 4th Declaration of Independence, Congress immediately began to think about its own safety and that of its host city, knowing that it would be a likely British target.

On this day in 1776 ❤️❤️❤️

On this day in 1776 ❤️❤️❤️

At the crossroads of Union Street & Buffalo Road was the ‘Mansion’ of Richard P. Hubbard and his wife Cora.The front of ...

At the crossroads of Union Street & Buffalo Road was the ‘Mansion’ of Richard P. Hubbard and his wife Cora.
The front of the classical Georgian home was graced with Palladian pillars. At the back of the property were several springs, which at one time were considered medicinal in nature. Mr. Hubbard inherited the property from his father Richard P. Hubbard Sr. whom was a well known presence in town & in business. The house was nearing its century mark.
But in April 1940, Mr. Hubbard (now 86) chose to get rid of his spring yard cleanup by setting fire to it. This unfortunate decision had a terrible consequence for in no time at all the flames found an access to the house & set it ablaze.
Firemen, some of who lived nearby, came running. Water was drawn from the back of the property. Raymond McFee grabbed the bereft old man and held him as he struggled to enter the furiously blazing house. In no time the fire claimed the wooden structure. Totally consumed by the inferno was a vast collection of precious antiques. What onlookers witnessed that April day was the devastation of a magnificent home & it’s valuables and the disappearance of a little bit of nineteenth century grandeur.
Cora Hubbard lived only one more year after the fire. Richard survived to his ninetieth birthday in 1944.
During the time that the Hubbard families lived at this spot, cows gazed at buggies and bustling stagecoaches. They saw the emergence of a college in the neighborhood & they enjoyed the large horse farm across the Rd. From their porch they could see bountiful orchards and wheat fields. Across Buffalo Rd. they could view the Olde Stagecoach Inn, then called Campbell’s Inn.
Today where the ‘Mansion’ stood, children play on swings, catch frogs and play baseball. The name of that piece of land, with no visible evidence of that fateful April day, is called Hubbard Park.


In a family plot in North Chili cemetery lies Mary Ellen Wilson who was born in 1865 to Irish Immigrants living in NYC. Her father, shortly after, was killed in the Battle of Cold Harbor during the Civil War. The mother became destitute & was no longer able to care for her child. Her child, MaryEllen, was placed with “foster” parents. Little did anyone know of the horrors that would envelope Mary Ellen’s life until she was 8 years old. Pictures that were taken of her at age 8 showed a severely beaten, slashed, bruised, & woefully undernourished little girl.
The next part of this story starts on Manitou Rd. where Etta Wheeler lived. She became a social worker & went to work in the tenements of NYC. On one of her visits she heard crying. Though some of the people knew about the beatings, they were afraid to get involved, knowing the violent temper of Mary Ellen’s caregivers. Etta’s heart was so touched & her anger aroused that she sought out a friend who had founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They both enlisted the help of a judge. The caregiver was arrested, tried in a sensational trial & sentenced to prison. Etta received permission to take Mary Ellen to North Chili to live with her sister. Here Mary Ellen led a happy life & became the impetus and poster child for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Mary Ellen married & had 2 daughters who became teachers. One was so beloved that a school in Chili was named for her - the Florence Brasser School on Coldwater Rd.
Mary Ellen & her family lie alongside Etta Wheeler and her family in the cemetery. You can read about this story in the book Out of Darkness - The Story of Mary Ellen Wilson which can be found in the Chili Public Library.


David Ballantyne was one of Chili’s first settlers in our area of swamps, floods, wild critters and survival. In due respect our fore-father’s of the town named a road for his pioneering efforts. Also know as Mosquito Point Road for obvious reasons.
During the Civil War era the Ballantyne family left the area & the farm at 201 Ballantyne Rd. was sold to Ammon Curtice whom established an ancestral cornerstone in town history. Ammon’s great ancestor, Zacheus Curtice immigrated from Downton, England in 1635 to settle in Massachusetts. Hence forth the current generations followed with Ammon settling in Chili, circa 1885.


Chili has 10 places of burial. The oldest “recorded” burial in Chili is that of Anderson Gruendike:
Died October 1811
Buried January 1812 at Chili Rural Cemetery #3 on Stryker Rd.
Furthermore, a recognized “Pre-Historic” Indian burial site is on the Indian Hill Dr. area. Throughout all of the Chili cemeteries are prominent & celebrated individuals of Chili ancestral heritage.


1876 ~ Our ancestors recognized a need for State & National organization and promptly formed the “Patrons of Husbandry”. Chili Grange #393 was recognized on April 5, 1876 with a membership of well over 100 members. This increased until 1919 when WWI threw us into global marketing.
Chili farmers, both grain & dairy, remained active until the 1960’s when dairy farms began to diminish. However, behind all the farm hands & local laborers there was always our Chili Grange #393. In later years Gerald & Ester Henderickson, along with Jay Widener, managed to keep #393 active. Furthermore, in 2008, membership dropped to just a few and after 125 years it ended.

Streeters Inn has been Chili Historical Society’s headquarters since 1999. Named after Colonel Elias Streeter whom purch...

Streeters Inn has been Chili Historical Society’s headquarters since 1999. Named after Colonel Elias Streeter whom purchased the land and started building around 1811. The home is a Federal Style center entrance colonial with a south wing that was constructed first & housed the family while the rest of the home was constructed. The simplicity of the home is elegant, from the Rumford fireplaces to an exquisite Adam’s style carved fireplace surround in the south parlor. Over the front & rear entrances are white wrought iron “wall anchors” that hold connecting rods that prevent the brick walls from bowing. The anchors are hand made as are the bricks used to build the house. There are several places in Black Creek Park that are lime deposits & mixed with sand and water makes bricks.


The County of Monroe was named for James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, who served for eight years as Chief Executive of his nation from 1817 to 1825. It was during his Presidency that this country was formed from Ontario & Genesee Counties, Feb. 23, 1821.


Leonard Widener & his sons settled in the area in 1796. Peter Widener, an eighth generation Chili resident (& Town Historian), continues the tradition today. You can find the family name throughout our town, from Widener Park on Chili Scottsville Rd, to the James E. Widener Memorial bridge that runs over Black Creek On Rt. 386.
The Bridge is dedicated to Pete’s late brother & is a reminder of the families numerous wartime sacrifices. James was declared MIA in Vietnam in 1967, and his remains were positively identified 39 years later thanks to his brother who helped locate him. Widener’s have fought in nearly every war since the Revolutionary War.
A Henry Widener-a relative of the Chili clan- was a Minute Man from New Jersey in the American Revolution. Another Henry Widener, who lived in Chili, served in the War of 1812. Ray Widener, Pete’s Grandfather, served in WWI & was injured in France and hidden by the French Underground for a year. Jay Widener, Pete’s father, was a pilot in WWII. Jay’s brother Dick, was killed by a sniper in Guam in WWII. Another Widener, Zimri, died in the Civil War.
The family achieved recognition locally in other ways as well. Howard H. Widener, Pete’s Great Grandfather, was Monroe County District Attorney from 1907 to 1911. Howard’s father, Kinsey, was superintendent of a one room school district in Chili & Henry Widener Jr. built one of the towns first taverns.
At one time, Widener family members owned six large farms in Chili. Pete is the last of the Widener’s still in Chili, enjoying life as a Gentleman Farmer on 40 acres of land in a circa 1850 home, just 3 miles from where the family homestead was built.


Our Mission of the Chili Historical Society is to educate and encourage interest in our regional history, with an emphasis on Chili, NY.
The Society will collect, preserve and exhibit related artifacts and present programs and events.

Joseph Sibley, First Town Supervisor in 1822. Prosperous flour mill & saw mill owner. He employed William Emmons to cons...

Joseph Sibley, First Town Supervisor in 1822. Prosperous flour mill & saw mill owner. He employed William Emmons to construct his home in 1834 with field stones gathered on his property. By 1875 the first of five generations of the Stuart family lived in the home.


1822 ~ Election of first Supervisor for the new town of Chili at its initial meeting (April 2). Joseph Sibley chosen Supervisor, Joshua Howell - first Town Clerk. Meeting was held in West Chili at James Coleman’s House.

{the Coleman House was on the Northwest corner of Union St. & Buffalo Rd.}


1822 ~ Subdividing of the combined Town of Riga into the present Chili and present Riga. (February 22)


1809 ~ Formation of the combined Town of Riga including all of Chili and present Riga. First meeting of new Town held at Henry Widener’s house in South Chili.


1807 ~ Subdividing of Northampton to form East & West Pultney (Chili was in East Pultney)


1800-1810 ~ First miniature villages of settlers formed within Chili. Amounted to about six and within a few years as many as twelve.


1795-1802 ~ Arrival of important “Widener conclaves” in present Chili from New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


1797 ~ Organization of Northampton - first local government to encompass present Chili (Col. Josiah Fish elected first supervisor).


1797 ~ Organization of Northampton - first local government to encompass present Chili (Col. Josiah Fish of Chili elected first supervisor).


1792-1793 ~ First known settler roads built. Scottsville Rd. & Braddocks Bay Rd. (Union St.)


1792 ~ Arrival of first permanent settler - Joseph Morgan.


From Carl Moore in ‘Hidden Strands From the Fabric of Early Chili’ he wrote:
Lone men cut down tree’s. But man, woman & children built “family”. Primitive hovels gave way to durable, & in time, comfortable homes. And just as clearly as the long heavy timbers were required to support the houses of early Hanover, so did “family” require strong “beams” of spirit, courage, character & concern for those to follow. Alone, the man was a wayfarer. Once he became husband & Dad, a certain permanency usually prevailed. To change a hovel into a stately home meant commitment to others. Mutual commitment & mutual effort planted first the concept of “ family” and later “community” & it’s institutions. Without either there could be no Chili. ❤️


As early as 1797 w/ the birth of Northampton, some provision was made for public assistance to the needy. Few records of actual expenditures & their specific purchases have survived. But the official minute books recorded the audit results by the town board as to totals spent.
Here is found the fact that “house rent” for Mrs. Keeler in 1832 was $1.00 a month. Cords of wood provided by the town for her heat that year varied in price from $1.00-1.25 each.
In 1825 & 1826 a years board & keep for a school age William Button cost $50.00. But by 1830 the town spent only $10.00 for his keep. Presumably this difference was caused by the fact that he had grown sufficiently to work off some of his expenses with chores on the farm.
Shoes for the “Lard child” cost .75 in 1838 as did a pair for William Adams in 1844. In the latter year, though, one pair for Williams sister Susan cost $1.25. Two yards of cloth for John Adams clothes cost $2.00 but 12 yards for his sister only cost $1.50 that same year.
Sixteen pounds of flour cost .48 according to one notation in the welfare roll. Moving Mrs. Parker to the poor house in Rochester cost &1.25 in 1834, & the charge for carrying the entire Collins family (numbers not cited) to the same place was $1.50.


Far west toward the Riga boundary near the corner of Chili Avenue & Union St. sat the James Coleman House which hosted some of the later Riga town meetings and the FIRST one for the separate Town of Chili in 1822.


Chili’s Centers “Nichols House”, demolished in the late 1960’s had operated on the Northeast corner of Chili Ave & Coldwater Rd for probably a century or more. It is believed that a second tavern existed in the Center during early Chili also. Israel Chapman, Pierpont Chapman, Oren & Mary Smith, and William Allen are associated with proprietorship of one or more inns on Chili Center prior to Cornelius A. Nichols assumption of that role nearer the turn of the century.
The William Wooden house on Chili Ave adjacent to the Grove Place Cemetery at Marshall Rd (prior to demolition in the late 1960’s) is thought also to have served as an inn early in the century.


On the “river road” to the east, at least 2 major taverns/inns existed. One was owned by William Tone near the intersection of present Brook & Scottsville Rd. It was very successful during the two decades of the Genesee Valley Canal (which was built to pass by it). A passing & stopping basin for that canal had been constructed here when the canal was built.
Peter Tone, an apparent relative, ran an inn about the same time-a few miles north along the River at the Genesee Rapids.
A third “River Rd.” tavern of long existence was run by Benjamin Thorne. It was located on the “up” side of the well used route to & from Rochester, very near Chili’s north boundary line.
Fragmentary references also points out the possibility of a fourth Scottsville Rd. inn existing for an undetermined period of time on “Dumpling Hill”. South of this almost at the Chili-Wheatland boundary, early historians say the first distillery was operated. Run by Stephen Peabody, it was located according to those sources on the farm of Chili’s earliest settler, Joseph Morgan.


West of the Checkered Tavern Corners in the 1820-30’s was called Pixley’s Corners. By 1811 Elias Streeters was building his Inn. It was located at the corners of the present day Union St. (Braddocks Bay Rd.) & Morgan Rd. ( then called Saw Mill Rd.), also hosting several of the early Town Meetings. By the 1820’s Paul Auten is thought to have either purchased Streeters Inn or built one of his own on the opposite corner. References appear in official records of the Auten Inn for a time but neither he nor Streeters are listed as having purchased a liquor license during the 1830’s or later.


Serving the Checkered Tavern for nearly 1/2 a century was the nearby distillery owned at an early date by William Holland & later William Pixley. The site of this distillery is thought to have been located on the east side of the tavern or very near the present Shickler’s place (old Potter’s Apple farm). On the same side of Morgan Rd. but west of Stottle Rd. corner is a small residence, about half of that structure was the original blacksmith shop which also served the tavern along with its nearby stables.


At the Southeast corner of Stottle & Morgan Roads was the location of the towns earliest tavern. Built by Henry Widener, this building was in use as early as 1809 when it hosted the first town meeting for the combined town of Riga (and later of Chili). In the next years it became known as Checkered Tavern. Fragmentary evidence suggest that it was painted in white & black squares and contained a small tower that added to its uniqueness. Many names were associated with its proprietorship, including a Trueman Pennock, Elijah Miller, Alvin Hulbert & it’s last known one Alanson Collins. Long time residents of the area suggest its destruction occurred by fire in the mid 1800’s, but before that the Excise book of Chili officials notes that it was denied a liquor license in 1853. That 3 acre site continued to be taxed purely as acreage rather than an existing business for the next several years after that date.


The term hotel, inn, tavern,”public house”, & store were frequently used names for said buildings. It is unlikely that these “public” places could long exist without being asked to serve all these functions. As the environs developed, however, a “grocery” or “general” store might well evolve as separate from the tavern. Examples of this in the mid 1830’s would have been the Campbell-Henderson house in Chili Center. Asa Tenny’s store in Clifton. And the Fulton store side by side w/ the Hartford house in North Chili.


4145 South Union Street
North Chili, NY


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I'm very excited about joining the Chili historical society today. Looking forward to future events
Can anyone suggest where I may look for any information on my 3rd great grandfather named Benjamin Brown who was born in Chili in 1913 according to later census records. He was living in Cattaraugus County NY by 1834 and I haven’t been able to learn any sibling or parent names or birth records. Were births in Chili recorded somewhere during 1913?
The first modern house in West Chili was built by D.D. Davis' father Fred. You can see it's the only mansion on Chil Avenue. After D.D. died, it was split into apartments. After that was the Rycraft house at 3720 Chili Avenue (currently only 2nd owner). In the late 50's the Creekview Dr, and Indian Hill. Work on the homes got a Stop Work order when the construction companies found several human remains. The county came out and processed the area and determined that it was likely a family or small tribe of Seneca Indians that lived there. The first house on Indian Hill was at the top, the last red one on the corner. It was built by Mr. Strassman board by board. He died a few years ago in a fire in the same home. He had once told someone that he was going to die there. Strange stuff. West Chili was originally called Buckbees Corners and was a thriving little corner for a time.
Do we want or need a copy of the Chili FD's 75th Anniversary book? Might not be relevant now, but thinking towards the future. I am pretty sure they have some left.
Vokes Garage on Chili Avenue, the start of the Chili Fire Department.
At the Genesee Country Museum
Chili-native’s new book on sale tomorrow, Aug. 28, at a bookstore near you (and online). Please share.
Do you like material culture from the past ? Would you like to be featured in a magazine article ? What's in the time capsule in your backyard ? Any house 1900 or earlier had a outhouse or privy that garbage was thrown into. Message me for more details.
Thanks Wheatland Historical Society
Pioneer life was hard in the Genesee Country. Joseph Sibley, the first supervisor of Chili, who came to the area in 1804 & settled in Rush in 1806, stated in his reminiscences that Genesee Fever hit most families at one time or another. The erection of the Mill Dams & the consequent flooding of timbered lands contributed to the spread of the disease. When the mill dams were drawn off, he noted that the sickness subsided. Entire families were often stricken at one time, and deaths frequently occurred without medical or nursing care.