The mill pond was an artificial lake of considerable size and was a favorite place for swimming and fishing for the neighbours. It was quite deep and in the middle of it was a stump of a tree partly above water. It was a feat of note to be able to swim out to this stump and back again. Many of the older boys did so and no one ever drowned in the attempt, but the younger boys rarely tried it.The fishing was good, and I recall one neighbor, a Mr. Trowbridge Nicholas, who used a gun and got many large bass by firing at them from a high bank where the water was deep. The fish seemed to be stunned and came to the surface where he could reach them with a net. It [I] was too young to take part in any of these sports unless to fish with a string and a bent pin, and I do not remember catching any fish. What I do remember was gathering chestnuts from a wide-spread tree near the road and going for great big rosy apples to the orchard of Mr. Knapp who lived a short distance east of our place. I do not think we had to seal them; I have the impression that he always gave them to us. Sometimes our rambles would take us to the banks of the Irondequoit, or we called the Rounderguart Creek.
Our nearest village was Cartersville on the Erie Canal. It was about a mile away, and as one of my brothers was employed in a grocery there, I went there occasionally in the hope of getting a stick of candy, which I often did, and went home happy. In after years my brother was a grocer himself in a different state and has as a clerk the very man for whom he worked as Cartersville. The wheel of fortune had turned half way around.
The only time I remember to have gone any distance from home was once when my father took me with him to Fairport. All I remember of Fairpoint was a number of houses along the canal. As for a church, there was none nearer than Rochester, some ten miles to the west of our home. I think there were two churches there at that time - St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s. These are the two I remember hearing spoken of and I think the latter was sometimes called “The French Church.”
The pastor of St. Patrick’s was the Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, later Bishop of Hartford, Connecticut, and his assistant was Rev. Wm. O’Reilly, his brother. It was he who baptized me (the assistant), and desired a baptismal certificate at the time of my ordination to the subdiaconate, it could not be found in the record of that church. Of course he never thought that such a document might be wanted for such a purpose, and when my father, as I was told he did, asked for
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