The Indian Trail went from Albany to Buffalo, NY. The Indians possessed an instinct in choosing the easiest and best way to get from one point to another through the wilderness. This route was the one the Indian runners took to alert the different tribes of dangers, and when Sullivan and men were marching.
A group of business men from the area formed a company, December 15, 1850 to build a railroad connecting the Pennsylvania RR at Canandaigua with the New York Central RR at Batavia, a distance of 50 miles. The estimated cost was $2,500,000. The company chose the Indian Trail route, used it, making few changes.
The road was started in the 1850's and finished in 1853, because the first shipment of Peanuts being carried were spilled, the name of the line became "The Peanut Branch".
The railroad station was built in 1851 by the O and N.F. Railroad and company. The railroad company built a siding running south of Millers Corners to carry cars to the gravel pits. The gravel was used for the railroad bed and leveling the tracks. The rails were bought from England.
When the railroad was built through Millers Corners the laborers principally employed were Irishmen; unfortunately they came from two different parts of Ireland and were given to quarrelling. Whiskey made them warlike and many fights ensued. Carlton S. Miller was often called to settle the quarrel and the justice of his discussions made for him to settle the quarrel and the justice of his discussions made for him many friends He had a standing agreement with the police in Canandaigua, NY that especially on Saturdays, should any Irishmen be there under the influence that they would take them to jail until train time, then turn them over to Mr. Miller who would see that they were put on a train and deposited at their stops along the route.
The first train from Canandaigua to Batavia was January 1, 1853. People along the route had a free ride to Batavia. The locomotives were wood burning and there were three fueling stations in this vicinity. One was at the railroad station, another at the Bennett RR crossing, and the third about one mile east.
When the railroad was completed in 1853, Millers Corners became an important shipping center, but it also was the departure point for many folks on excursions. The first excursion train to Niagara Falls was run through Millers Corners during 1853. Many followed during the years . Millers Corners was too small for a circus, but trains with cars of animals slowed up when they got near the stations. Sometimes special trains with VIP's inspected the road stopped here. Across the road from the station to the west the cooper shop was built. The basement was used for storing produce, the first floor was used for making barrels as vegetables, fruit, flour, sugar, etc. were shipped in barrels a that time. There were three scale houses until trains stopped running.
In the 1880's, west of the station were built two siding, south of the tracks. The shorter one went to the stock pens for both cattle and sheep were received and sent out on the railroad. The cars for the sheep had a second deck. The second siding was longer - past the stock pens, past the Parrish coal bins, cabbage storage and packing house, then beyond to the Lay and Dibble's coal bins and their machinery buildings.
In early 1900 asparagus was near to Millers Corners. It takes to to three years before the first spears can be cut, they were graded, but in bunches and held by rubber bands at top and bottom. Packed in market baskets, these were then sent to Buffalo by express.
The cucumbers were brought to the two packing houses where women with white canvas gloves to rub the dust and dirt off, graded in for sizes, packed in bushel baskets, covered, labeled and carried into freight care which held 600 bushels. Three or more cars left Millers Corners each week. When the large refrigerator trucks came that could carry as much as the freight cars and go directly to the cities of destinations a produce arrived in better condition, the railroad lost the big business.
Mr. Henry Lay reported during WWI heavy freights passed through the small hamlet and that many refrigerator trains were picked up at the station to be shipped all over the country and to New York City for export.
In 1857 the line was sold to James M. Brown and others and the name was change to the Niagara Bridge and Canandaigua RR. It was next leased by the New York Central RR who bought it and ran it until it was discontinued.
In 1858 the the road was narrow gauge. The station agents of the broad gauge line were H.J. Spring, Horatio N. Crandall, Carlton S. Miller. The agents after the narrow gauge was installed were John Crossman, William B. Ingalls, Carlton S. Miller who resigned in 1883 after thirty years of service. Elwyn Bailey was the agent from 1883 to 1895, performing the duties of ticket agent, freight agent and telegrapher operator. Maurice Phillips, Lewis Pierce were next - Phillips 1895-98 and Pierce 1898 t the close of the line in 1939. His assistants were Dan Sheehan, Arthur Dewey and also Ada Lay from Honeoye Falls station came to help.
From the records of Dr. Martin Combs, the 1885 train schedule was
#71 west - 7:40 AM #72 east - 8:26 AM
#73 west - 10:35 AM #74 east - 1:15 PM
#75 west - 4:45 PM #76 east - 6:25 PM
In 1900 the number of trains were the same with he times being: west 6:30AM, 10:20AM and 4:18PM and east 8:20AM, 12:15PM and 6:30PM.
There was no school bussing in 1900. High School students from Millers Corners went by train . 8:20AM to Holcomb and walked to the East Bloomfield Academy and returned on the 4:15PM train. Tickets were $3.00 per month.
A dangerous grade crossing over the tracks of the "Peanut Branch" of the New York Central on the road between Ionia and East Bloomfield has been done away with by building the highway under the railroad. The grade crossing was on top of a very steep hill and one of the worst on the line. Though no fatality had ever resulted, there had been several narrow escapes. The work of changing the highway took about three months and cost something over $5,000 which amount was divided between the state, the NYCRR and the town of WEst Bloomfield. The abolition of the grade crossing is cause for great rejoicing.
1869 - Drop letters 2cents per oz. Mail throughout the U.S. (3 cents to Canada)
1888 - "During the Great Snow Storm" - The railroads wer blocked, the post master at Millers Corners, Carlton Miller and son Craig carried the mail to East Bloomfield using a horse and cutter over the snow drifts.
1923 - The railroad was cutting expenses by taking off one freight train through Millers Corners and there were only 2 locals each way
1925 - The railroad station was broken into an a little money was taken.
1925 - August, a gasoline motor train will server the patrons of the New York Central "Peanut Branch" between Batavia and Canandaigua.
1931 - April 25, The last passenger train on the Batavia Branch. A mixed train will run daily from Canandaigua 6:15AM and from Batavia 7AM is the report of the General Passenger Agent H.K Beirslinger.
1933 - June 6, The New York Central has been authorized by the Publich Service Commission to discontinue service of the agent at the Wests Bloomfield station on the "Peanut Branch" between Millers Corners and Honeoye Falls.
1938 - December, Service on the "Peanut Branch" from Holcomb to Batavia will be discontinued.
1939 - January 10, The Last train passed over the "Peanut Branch" between Holcomb and Batavia, after giving valuable service for many years.
The above accounts were complied by Rena B. Parrish, Ionia NY. December 28, 1981
April 24, 2021
Sheret, John G.
Spring Summer 2007.
The Crooked Lake.
Mendon - The Early Years
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