April 1991

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Class of 1991

Steuben County Hall of Fame

Martin Adsit, Eleazer Lindsley, Reverend Robert Francis McNamara

Martin Adsit

Martin Adsit came to Hornellsville in 1826 when he was only 14 years old to live with his mother's brother, Ira Davenport, and to help out in his uncle's general store. Martin clerked in the store until 1833 when he became the owner. In 1845 he built a new store, and in 1849 started a banking business in an addition built on to his store.

That same year he worked with other businessmen to bring the Erie Railroad through the Canisteo Valley to Hornellsville. When the first excursion train arrived on May 15, 1851, there were about 100 houses in the village. Within two years the population doubled and by 1860 the population of Hornellsville reached 4230. There had been only about 25 houses and 125 people in the settlement when he arrived in 1826.

When the National Bank of Hornellsville opened in 1864, Martin Adsit was the cashier. A year later he succeeded his uncle as president. In 1870 the bank moved into a new brick building. Adsit was president of the bank until 1900. In addition to his banking activities he built a large brick store on the north side of Main Street in 1886.

Martin Adsit was born December 26, 1812, in Spencertown, Columbia County, New York. He married Esther Charles, daughter of Dr. Richard Charles of Angelica on September 8, 1841. They had five children. Mrs. Adsit died in 1898. Mr. Adsit died December 20, 1903, six days short of his 91st birthday.

Eleazer Lindsley

Eleazer Lindsley with his family and a group of forty people travelled 250 miles from Morristown, New Jersey, in the spring of 1790 to the 36-square-mile tract he had purchased along the Tioga River just north of the Pennsylvania border that is now the town of Lindley.

They came on horseback, in wagons, and on flatboats poled up the Susquehanna River and its tributaries. With them they brought 30 - 40 horses and cattle that they drove along Indian trails and the river banks. Lindsley and his group settled along the Tioga River where he soon set up the first sawmill in all of the Genesee Country. Later he added a grist mill.

Lindsley died in 1794 when he was only 57 years old. He was born December 7, 1737, in New Haven, Connecticut, and had lived in Rhode Island before moving to New Jersey. There he was a tanner, farmer and grist mill owner.

Lindsley was active in raising a regiment early in the Revolutionary War. The Continental Congress commissioned him a lieutenant colonel in 1777, and in 1788 he took part in the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey. For a time he carried out special duties on the staff of General Washington, and later was on Lafayette's staff.

In 1793 he was elected to the New York Legislature and rode all the way to New York City, and back, on horseback. The town of Lindley was established in 1837 and honors his name, though the s in Lindsley was somehow omitted.

Reverend Robert Francis McNamara

Reverend Robert Francis McNamara was born in Corning in 1910, the son of Thomas Alexander McNamara and Helen Dwyer. He attended local schools and then Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (1928 - 1932); Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, (1932 - 1933); and the Gregorian University, Rome, (1933 - 1937). He was ordained a priest in 1936.

Reverend McNamara taught at St. Bernard's Seminary in Rochester for many years; he was on the faculty from 1938 until 1981. He was professor of Church History there, and visiting professor and lecturer at the Toronto School of Theology, Nazareth College, and St. Bernard's Institute. He has held a number of Diocesan offices, was chairman of the Committee on Art and Architecture (1971 - 1976), and is presently the Archivist of the Diocese of Rochester.

Among the five books on church history that Reverend McNamara has written is A Century of Grace: The History of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Parish, Corning, New York. He has written many articles and pamphlets on church, Rochester, and Southern Tier history that have appeared in historical publications. A series of 70 articles on Corning area history signed "The Old Chronicler" appeared in the Corning Evening Leader.

He is a member of a number of historical associations, and he was the founder and first president of the Corning-Painted Post Historical Society.

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