Books about Yates County History

History and Directory of Yates County by Stafford C. Cleveland, 1873

This book is an excellent resource for people researching early settlers in Yates County. 

Stafford C. Cleveland, editor of one of Penn Yan's weekly newspapers from the 1850s into the 1880s, was not a native of Yates County but saw its history with a clear and interested eye. It is certainly one of the best and most accurate of any of the multitude of histories written at the time, and one of the earliest. He was interested in the Public Universal Friend and her followers, and was able to interview the last few remaining survivors of her fellowship and household; his account of the Society went a long way toward rehabilitating the Universal Friend's reputation, and in the process recorded some fascinating stories of western New York's earliest settlement.

In his Preface to the History and Directory of Yates County, Stafford Canning Cleveland stated that he and his partner, Rodney L. Adams, started work on it in 1869, and he alone finished it four years later. He stated that they limited the family biographies to the early pioneer families who settled in Yates County prior to 1820, yet they do not seem to have adhered strictly to this restriction. Additionally, not every family who settled in Yates County prior to 1820 was profiled in the History. Cleveland states that he was unable to learn anything about a number of early families and was only able to list the names of the heads of those families living briefly in Yates County in the early years.