Did you know that we are all historians? Any time we relate a story to our background and personal history we are documenting ourselves as human beings. We are giving information and data on our existence whenever we share our stories, recall an event, and remember a date. Today will be a fact of history when tomorrow's sun comes up.
So it is with the history of our town. Isn't Chili a funny name? Telemarketers can't quite get it right, and visitors are politely curious, not wanting to offend us. But whatever we call our hamlet, it is our home. More later on why we call it Chili.
Will you come along with me as we imagine what our first settlers might have experience when they set foot upon this land, our town. when Joseph Morgan firs set his eyes on his new home territory, he had just crossed over the Genesee River and beheld a wilderness, a heavily forested and forbidding landscape. No place to put up for the night, just sleeping on the ground or in his wagon with his worldly goods, food supply and tools. In the burst of morning sun, he might have breathed a heavy sigh, "Where do I begin?" Or perhaps he was exhilarated, remembering why he was here. You see, in 1793 George Washington was completing his first term in office as the brand new president of this great new country, he was urging the citizens to expand into the frontier, settling with families, establishing communities and creating commerce.
Joseph Morgan heard that call and took his brave steps into an area prolific with bears, wolves, and hostile Indians. But there was also the unfolding of a dream and a chance to make his mark in virgin territory.
His property dug into a hill or slope for his first residence. These dugouts provided meager shelter for the family and his supplies, but the perpetual fire at the opening would discourage the wolves and other creatures. Joseph would fell trees, day after backbreaking day until a clearing developed. Can't you just hear him asking his wife, "Dear, where do you want that dream house?" And as he finally was finishing that log house, the little woman was thinking how great it would be to be able to cook inside and be able to rest on Grandma's rocker by that fireplace. And to have a door to shut out the animals, the wind and the world.
But something else was nagged at them. They wanted neighbors and friends; it was lonely in the wilderness. So they contacted family back in Boston and Germantown and encouraged them to seek our this section of Northhampton (as it was called then). By the time George Washington left office, wagon-loads of people were arriving here in Chili. By 1800 there were hundreds of townspeople settling up shop and eager to begin a new and rugged life. Businesses were springing up all around. Joseph Morgan must have smiled as he surveyed the bustling new community in the New York frontier, we will eventually pursue the unfolding of life in those early days, what businesses were developing, how the children were educated, and what the religious lift was like.