Medina Journal-Register — Since 1894 it’s been known as Morton. But prior to that time it was known as East Kendall. In fact, there are several place names which have changed over the years such as Hulberton which was once known as Scio, Childs which was once known as Fairhaven, Ashwood which was once known as Carlyon, Shelby Center which was once known as Barnegat, Clarendon which was once known as Farwell’s Mills, Point Breeze which was Manilla and Albion which was known as Newport, to mention several.
Now as to Morton. It is located on the County Line Road about two miles south of Lake Ontario. The west side is in the Town of Kendall, Orleans County, and the east side is in the Town of Hamlin, Monroe County. It was here on Morton’s northeast corner that Samuel Bates, the first settler, located in 1812. Shortly after, he was joined by the Randalls, the Balcoms, the Clarks and others who located nearby. The little group of cabins became known as “Clark’s Settlement” or “Clark’s Corners.” Mr. Randall gave the ground from his farm for the first cemetery and the site of the first schoolhouse.
After the Town of Kendall was formed in 1837, the little hamlet became known as East Kendall, and it wasn’t until 1894 that the name was officially changed to Morton in honor of the Hon. Levi P. Morton, then Governor of New York State.
The center of the little hamlet was first grouped around the crossroads. One of the early locations of the post office was on the southwest corner with Andrew Clark as postmaster. On the northwest corner was a blacksmith and wagon shop operated by John Shay. In 1890 it was purchased by Charles Lind and continued in operation by his son until 1942. The building pictured here was the result of the remodeling of an early blacksmith in 1897. Our photo may have been taken around 1910 which shows an early automobile. It is surprising to me that it is painted such a light color rather than the traditional black that we normally think of for this vintage vehicle.
Morton also had several other businesses in the 19th Century which included a couple of general stores, a clothing store, dealers in hardware and agricultural implements, and a lumber yard. There were two churches including the present Baptist Church and a Presbyterian Church. Later the Presbyterian Church building became a garage hall and in 1935 this was sold to the fire company.
In 1894 Morton had 150 inhabitants. It was the railroad which was completed in 1875 that was an important factor in the growth of Morton. Several industries were built near it to ship the fruit and produce grown so abundantly in the area.C.W. Lattin is the Orleans County historian. Bethinking of Olde Orleans appears every Friday in The Journal-Register.