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Rev Ebenezer Vining was a descendant of Robert Vining who was the owner of The White Horse Inn on High Street in Wincanton, Somerset, England in the early 1600's. His immigrant ancestor was John Vining who was born in 1636 in Wincanton, Somerset, England. He was baptized on 17 Apr. 1636 (Bishops' Transcripts, Wincanton, Somerset, England). In the town records of Weymouth, Mass. it says that, "John Vining came from Wincanton, England, in 'Mr. Stratton's Ship' [in 1652]. He was a cooper and about 16 years old. He settled in Weymouth, U.S., and was a 'select man' and held other public offices for many years, and amassed a fortune. He left in his will large property to his wife and eight children. One of the overseers of his will was his kinsman Joseph Dyer."

Ebenezer Vining was the son of Josiah and Abigail (Dawes) Vining and was born on 5 Oct. 1754 in Abington, Plymouth Co., Mass. His parents removed to Norton, Mass. where Ebenezer lived for most of his childhood years. He served during the Revolutionary War. According to the Mass. Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War (1899), he served first from Easton, MA. as a private in Capt. Macey Williams' Company, Col. Timothy Walker's Regiment. He enlisted 2 May 1775 and muster roll was dated 1 Aug. 1775. He served for 3 months and 1 week. This was during the time of the Battle of Bunker Hill (17 June 1775). A company return was dated 6 Oct. 1775. He was next listed: 1.) as a participant at the Camp at Roxbury, Mass. (which is now a part of Boston); 2.) in a company receipt dated at New York and given to Capt. Oliver Soper for ration allowance on a march from Dorchester, Mass. (which is now a part of Boston) to New York; 3.) in a company receipt dated at New York and given to Capt. Soper for wages for Feb. and Mar., 1776; and 4.) in company receipts given to Capt. Soper for wages for May through Aug., 1776 for service in the Continental Army. This last service may have occurred in or from Malden, Mass. since his military gravestone states:

Rev. Ebenezer Vining
1754 - 1843
Mass. Regiment

Ebenezer Vining married on 24 Apr. 1777 in Norton or Leyden, Mass., Abigail Eason. Abigail was the daughter of Richard and Mary Eason of Norton and Bernardston, Mass. and had been born in 1757 or 1758, probably in Norton, Mass. They settled initially in Leyden, Franklin Co., Mass. Ebenezer joined the Baptist Church at Leyden in 1781. They removed to Chesterfield, Hampshire Co., Mass. between Jan., 1788 and Mar., 1789. He was ordained a minister of the Baptist Church on 15 June 1790. He remained and preached in Chesterfield until about 1802 or 1803 when they moved to Bridgewater, Oneida Co., N.Y. Rev. Ebenezer preached there a number of years, then at Newport, Herkimer Co., N.Y. The book, The Vining Family, by Dorothea Vining Barnes, printed by the Beacon Herald Fine Printing Division of Stratford, Ontario, Canada, 1980, states that he served as a chaplain during the War of 1812, although I have been unable to substantiate this in any other way. In about 1817 they went to Sweden, Genesee Co., N.Y. They settled in Clarendon, N.Y. (now in Orleans County) which was then in Sweden Township. The present township of Sweden is smaller than it was in the early 19th century, and it is now located within Monroe County, N.Y. He was the first Baptist minister in Clarendon and he preached at that location for about seven years.

By June, 1824, Rev. Ebenezer and Abigail Vining removed to Ellicottville, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. They settled on Dooley Road on Bryant Hill in that town, where William Dooley later lived in 1879. He was the first settled minister in Ellicottville and pastor of the Baptist Church on Bryant Hill, which was the first regularly organized church in the town. On 26 June 1824, in the home of Nathaniel Bryant on Bryant Hill, an agreement was signed to organize "a Christian body, signalized by the title of the 'Regular Baptist Order.' ... The persons signing this call and agreement were Ebenezer Vining, Nathaniel Bryant, Daniel Huntley, Records W. Vining, Joseph E. Vining, David Putnam, Gershom R. Staunton, Abigail Vining, Lydia Vining, Sally Vining, Mary Putnam, and Annie M. Bryant." The church was officially organized during a meeting held on 21 Aug. 1824. In this meeting, "Elder E. Vining was chosen moderator, and G.R. Staunton clerk. After mature deliberation upon the articles of faith and covenant, the parties whose names were signed to the agreement of the meeting of June 24 received the right hand of fellowship from Elder Ebenezer Vining, as a regularly-organized baptized church of Christ, they gbeing its constituent members. In a meeting held Sept. 18, 1824, Elder E. Vining was invited to be their elder and administrator, and Records W. Vining was appointed to serve as deacon in this church." (History of Cattaraugus Co., New York", Philadelphia: L.H. Everts, 1879).

Meetings had been held at the house of Nathaniel Bryant until Aug. 19, 1826, when they met at the school-house. Meetings were held at various times and places - at the house of David Putnam, of Machias, May 12, 1827, and at the house of M.G. Rogers, of the same town, March 1, 1828. Rev. Ebenezer Vining was succeeded as the pastor on 26 May 1831 by his son, Rev. Records W. Vining. The last written record of the church was dated 26 Nov. 1864 and showed 16 members. The church was discontinued shortly after that date. No edifice was ever erected for worship.

In the 1825 N.Y.S. Census, Rev. Ebenezer and Abigail Vining lived alone on 10 improved acres. They had 2 neat cattle, one horse, 2 hogs. Five years later their son Joseph and his family were living with them. According to the 1830 U.S. Census, improved acreage had increased to 31. He owned 15 cattle, 3 horses, 22 sheep and 5 hogs. Thirty-two yards of fulled cloth and 40 yards not fulled flannel was woven in the home. Thirty yards of linen had been spun from the flax they grew on the land.

Abigail (Eason) Vining died on 9 Sept. 1832 in Ellicottville. Their son Joseph had died in 1831. In about 1832 Rev. Ebenezer removed to Gates, N.Y., which is a western suburb of Rochester, N.Y. today. There he apparently lived with his grandson, Joseph Ashley Vining (son of Joseph Eason Vining, b. 13 Jan. 1814 in Bridgewater, N.Y.; m. Aurelia Williams [b. 1813; d. abt. 12 Nov. 1841 of consumption]). Rev. Ebenezer Vining died of "old age" on 24 Aug. 1843 in Gates, N.Y. He was buried on 25 Aug. 1843 in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester on the Hill of Revolutionary Patriots in the old section of that cemetery.

In this place of military honor were also interred the remains of Lieut. Thomas Boyd and Sgt. Michael Parker. These men were members of the infamous Sullivan Campaign of August and Sept., 1779. During the campaign, while located west of Conesus Lake in what is now the Groveland, N.Y. area, Lt. Thomas Boyd led a force of about 25 men into an ambush. A few escaped, 16 died on the spot, and Lt. Boyd and Sgt. Michael Parker were captured. They were killed the next day after ferocious torture near Cuylerville, N.Y. and were reinterred in Mt. Hope Cemetery many years later.  The Hill of Revolutionary Patriots in Mt. Hope Cemetery eroded to the point that some of the caskets were poking up through the earth. The bodies interred in this spot were eventually all reinterred in a location purchased by the D.A.R. in the new section of Mt. Hope Cemetery.


  1. Hannah, b. 18 Feb. 1778 in Leyden, Mass.; d. 25 Aug. 1825 in Sweden, N.Y.; m. 19 Jan. 1797 in Goshen, Hampshire Co., Mass., Oliver Thayer (son of Jacob and Molly [Pratt] Thayer; b. 15 Feb. 1773 in Bridgewater, Plymouth Co., MA.; d. bet. 1840 and 1850 in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y.). They first settled in Goshen, MA., removed to Brookfield, Madison Co., N.Y. by 1805, and removed in abt. 1817 to Sweden, N.Y. Oliver Thayer removed in abt. 1825 to Farmersville, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y. and was in Ellicottville, N.Y. by 1840.

  2. Josiah, b. 1 May 1781 in Leyden, MA.; d. 14 Sept. 1781.

  3. Lydia, b. 2 July 1782 in Leyden, MA.; d. 1 Nov. 1808 in Brookfield, N.Y.; m. Royal Bryant (int. pub. 4 Oct. 1801).

  4. Ebenezer, Jr., b. 8 July 1784 in Leyden, MA.; d. 25 Jan. 1807 in Bridgewater, N.Y.

  5. Records Wilber, b. 14 May 1786 in Leyden, MA.; d. 1866 in Jasper Co., Indiana; m. Lydia Williams. Received a letter of license to preach the gospel in the Baptist Church on 4 Mar. 1826 while residing in Ellicottville, N.Y. Ordained as pastor of the Baptist Church in Ellicottville on 26 May 1831.

  6. Joseph Eason, b. 29 Jan. 1788 in Leyden, MA.; d. 29 Mar. 1831 in Ellicottville, N.Y.; m. 14 Mar. 1813, Sally Ashley (b. 22 Oct. 1790 in Bennington, VT.; d. 1 Aug. 1854 on Exchange Street in Rochester, N.Y.; dau. of Thomas and Sally Ashley). Joseph was a Baptist minister. He was listed as living in Sweden, Genesee Co., N.Y. in the 1820 U.S. Census but had removed to Ellicottville, N.Y. by 1824.

  7. Jared, b. 21 Mar. 1789 in Chesterfield, MA.; d. 8 Sept. 1858 in West Nissouri township, Middlesex Co., Ontario, Canada; m. 1.) Louise Morgan; m. 2.) Charlotte Bodwell. Removed from Sweden, N.Y. in 1821 to W. Nissouri, Canada. Was a chartered member of W. Nissouri Baptist Church.

  8. Daniel, b. 11 May 1791 in Chesterfield, MA.; d. 1861 or 1871 in Ontario, Canada or Michigan; m. Lydia ______. Listed in 1820 in the U.S. Census as living in Sweden Township, Genesee Co. (Monroe Co.), N.Y. Was chosen as one of two deacons in the Baptist Church of Ellicottville, N.Y. on 18 June 1831. Removed in 1843 with part of his family to West Nissouri township, Middlesex Co., Ontario, Canada.

  9. Mary, b. 16 May 1793 in Chesterfield, MA.; m. Royal Bryant (widower of sister, Lydia). Resided in Winfield, N.Y., Warsaw, N.Y. and Burlington, Iowa.

  10. Mabel, b. 30 Oct. 1795 in Chesterfield, MA.; d. 25 July 1803 in Bridgewater, N.Y.

  11. Salmon, b. 17 Sept. 1797 in Chesterfield, MA.; d. 28 Apr. 1879 in West Nissouri township, Middlesex Co., Ontario, Canada; m. Mariah Bodwell. Removed to Canada in 1821. Were charter members of the West Nissouri Baptist Church, organized in the 1820s. Salmon, ordained "Elder Vining" was its first minister. A church building was erected 1863 on land donated by him, cor conc 5, W. Nissouri and Thorndale sideroad.

  12. Abigail, b. 17 Dec. 1800 in Chesterfield, MA.; d. 13 Dec. 1883 in Mt. Elgin, Oxford Co., Ontario, Canada; m. James Bodwell. They removed to West Nissouri township, Middlesex Co., Ontario, Canada in 1821 and were charter members of W. Nissouri Baptist Church. They removed to Mt.
    Elgin, Ontario in about 1850 and built there the large Bodwell home, "Elgin Hall," still standing almost 150 years later.

  13. Infant daughter, b. 22 Feb. 1807 in Bridgewater, N.Y.; d. same day.

Some of the information in this story was found in a letter written in 1954 by Hazel Spencer Howard and mailed to the Historian of Cattaraugus County, N.Y. Additional information, including details of the children of Rev. Ebenezer Vining were found in the book, The Vining Family, by Dorothea Vining Barnes, printed by the Beacon Herald Fine Printing Division of Stratford, Ontario, Canada, 1980