The Vorce Family of Cayuga County, NY

Harris Vorce

Minerva Johnson Vorce


George Harris Vorce* - Grace Vorce

Roselinda Hadden Vorce - George Eugene Vorce - Fannie May Vorce

Nettie A. Vorce

(George Harris Vorce was known as Harris or Harris Jr. )

The Vorce Homestead,

handwritten by Nettie Vorce

This information was handwritten by Nettie Vorce and found in two of her scrapbooks. There is a slight difference in the endings so I have included both versions.

"The Vorce family was one of the oldest families in this state. We first heard of them living in Duchess Co. The name Vorce was at one time spelled Vource and later Voarce, now it is Vorce.

Daniel Vorce is the first generation we remember hearing about. He was born in 1776. He had at least four brothers, Joseph, William, Abel and Freeman, who was the grandfather of Susie Vorce and one sister, Mary.

Daniel Vorce married Priscilla Thompson, the sister of Anna Thompson and Uncle Jo Thompson and Stephen Burghdoff's mother was a half sister to Priscilla. Daniel Vorce and his wife Priscilla had five children, Mary, Betsy, Maria, Harris and Sheldon. They lived in Duchess Co. In those days the country was all new and mostly woods. It was considered as great an adventure to come to Central New York as it was later to go to the West from here. Daniel Vorce ventured out and came to Cayuga County buying 50 acres of the government or Seth Phelps in the year 1810, giving ten shillings an acre.

He cut logs and made a log house which stood where the dining room, kitchen and wood house now stand. He then brought his family here to live.

The land was all woods. The South hill lot was all sugar bush and a deer trail crossed the North hill and Harris Vorce Jr's flat. The flat owned now by Harris Vorce Jr. was a tag alder swamp and it was a mire place where the deer never went, the deer went around it.

Daniel tapped the trees on the South hill lot and made maple sugar and syrup to last the year around. It was all the sugar they had in those days.

He cleared the land and began working it. When the trees were cut there were so many roots it was impossible to plow so they went along with the ax and chopped holes among the roots and dropped in the seed corn. Later when they began to get the roots out they ploughed the land with a wooden plow and oxen. They cultivated the corn with the plow by going between the rows. The grain was harvested with a scythe and threshed with a flail.

Later Daniel Vorce built a framed house in the place of the log house. Where the dining room and kitchen are now was a large wood house.

There were two fireplaces in the house, one in the parlor and one in the sitting room. They cut large logs, so large they drew them in with the horse and rolled them in the fireplace. They done all their cooking and baking in the fireplace and lit the house with a candle.

The long east porch was built straight north and south so the sun shone just on the east edge of the porch at 12 o'clock. They had no clocks and that was the way they told the time of day. When the sun did not shine they guessed at the time.

He build a wagon house that stood at the foot and north side of the front yard and a barn that stood south of the garden in the south lot. Later Harris Vorce Sr. moved the wagon house to the place where it now stands. He moved the barn east from where it now stands and George Vorce moved it to the place where it now stands. After Daniel Vorce came from the east and was living here, his son, Harris Vorce Sr. walked to and from Duchess Co. three different times.

Daniel Vorce's daughter, Maria, married Nathaniel Taylor. In a short time she died with consumption. So many graves were robbed in those days she was afraid her grave would be, so at her request she was brought back to the old homestead and buried and that was how the little grave yard on the old homestead was started. Later others were buried there also. Now there are about 17 buried there. Later Nathaniel Taylor married Betsy Vorce, a sister to Maria. Maria Taylor left one son, who came to live with his grandfather, Daniel Vorce. He went to visit his Uncle, Harris Sr. and while there went swimming in Duck Lake and was drowned. There was no hearse in those days. They brought him back in a wagon. They hired a coffin made for him and buried him in the little cemetery.  When people died in these days they hired a man to make a coffin. They were wider at the head and tapered down to the feet.

In the early days Spring Lake was called the Hot Grounds. There was a blacksmith shop, a pump shop and a hotel. Later the name was changed to Pineville. Now we know it as Spring Lake. In the early days Nathan Swift preached at Spring Lake every other Sunday. On the other Sunday he preached 12 miles south of Auburn and went with a horse and wagon. He done this for a great many years. He bought a farm and worked the land during the week.

Harris Vorce Sr. married Fannie Spalding in Duchess Co. He bought fifty acres of land known as the Andrews farm near Spring Lake. It was all woods. He built a log house and he and his wife went there to live. He cleared part of the land and worked it. When he came to Port Byron to the mill he came with an ox team. He said some times on his way he had saw as many as 40 ox team all in a row starting at daylight coming to Port Byron on the railroad with logs and bark.

After about 12 years Fannie Spalding died and was buried up in the little cemetery. Then grandma and grandpa Johnson, the father and mother of Minerva Johnson, also the stepfather of Fannie and Amy Spalding, came to live with Harris Vorce Sr. Minerva Johnson and Amy Spalding came also. Later Harris Vorce married Minerva Johnson for his second wife. They had three children, Fannie Eliza, Mary Elizabeth and George Eugene.

Harris Vorce let the farm north of Spring Lake and moved home with Daniel Vorce. Later he moved onto the Harlow place and lived there one year. Then he moved back to Spring Lake and lived there until Daniel Vorce died. When they moved back to Spring Lake the last time George Eugene Vorce was born and he was 3 years old when they came back to the old homestead.

After Daniel Vorce died the old homestead and tools were sold at auction to settle the estate and Harris Vorce Sr. bought it making the second generation to own the old place.

The Forshee school house where all went to school stood across the road from Hills. Later Harris Vorce Sr. and Peter Cole were the head ones in having the school house built where it now stands. They let it on a contract and the man who built it was losing so much money they went around with a paper to get more money.

Mary Ross, a sister to Harris Vorce, had two sons, Daniel and Gager. They lived in Michigan. Their mother died and Daniel came to live with his grandfather and Gager stayed in Michigan with his father. When the Civil War broke out they both enlisted. Daniel was engaged to Ann Owen at the time. He took the yellow fever and died. Daniel came back and Gager died in action.

When Harris Vorce Sr. died George Vorce was about 18 years of age. He stayed with his mother and worked the farm. Aunt Amy lived here also.

Later George Eugene Vorce married Roselinda Hadden on May 23, 1877. Phillip Swift was the minister. They lived on the old Homestead later buying it making the third generation to own the farm. They had four children, Fannie May, George Harris, Grace, Nettie A. They paid for their home, later buying on the Bedford Harlow place which joined it.

George Eugene Vorce lived his entire life on the old homestead with the exception of the first eight years. George Vorce and his wife Roselinda celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and had been married 55 years when Roselinda Hadden Vorce died on January 28,1933. George Vorce died December 14, 1935. Harris Vorce Jr. now owns the old homestead. He being the fourth generation. "

Addendum one, hand written by Nettie Vorce

Adella Vorce Button says the Vorces came from France about 200 years ago and settled down east. The name was then spelled La Vorce. There were two brothers, Sempronus and his brother, started from France. One brother died at sea and was buried in the ocean. Sempronus arrived here safely and settled in Duchess Co. That was long ago. We are the seventh generation.

Addendum two, hand written and found in Nettie Vorce's scrapbook.

Adella Vorce Button says we are French but our father did not say so. He said we are Pennsylvania Dutch.

Adella said two Frenchmen, Sempronus La Vorce and his brother started for America about 200 years ago. The brother died at sea and was buried in the ocean. Sempronus arrived safely and settled in Duchess Co. That was long ago. We are the seventh generation. They then dropped the La from Vorce.





Daniel Vorce

6/28/1776 - 12/28/1851
 75 years, 5 months, 0 days

Priscella Thompson Vorce 

1/6/1783 - 2/17/1859


Harris Vorce 

2/15/1802 - 8/2/1873
71 years, 5 months, 18 days


Fanny Spalding Vorce

died 7/29/1839
35 years, 10 months, 15 days
first wife of Harris Vorce


Minerva Johnson Vorce

11/19/1818 - 2/26/1888
 69 years, 3 months, 7 days
second wife of Harris Vorce


Maria Vorce Taylor

 2/8/1800 - 9/10/1831
first wife of Nathaniel Taylor

Elizabeth Vorce

6/13/1798 - 1/12/1850
second wife of Nathaniel Taylor


Elmina Vorce

died 9/13/1838 
l1 years, 5 months, 13 days
Daughter of Sheldon & Rhoda Vorce
Granddaughter of
Daniel and Priscilla Vorce 

Priscilla Vorce

died 8/14/1841
Daughter of Sheldon & Rhoda Vorce
Granddaughter of
Daniel and Priscilla Vorce 

George Vorce

died 3/19/1847 
2 years, 8 months, 12 days
Son of Sheldon & Rhoda Vorce

Lewis Vorce

died 10/21/1859, 24 years, 11 months
son of Sheldon & Rhoda Baldwin Vorce
Grandson of Daniel and Priscilla Vorce

Frank L Curtis

died 10/14/1865, 3 years old
son of Charles Curtis and Syvilla Vorce Curtis, grandson of Sheldon & Rhoda Vorce, Great grandson of Daniel and Priscilla Vorce

Click on the headstones for a close up view of the harder to read stones, but a lot of the information is no longer readable. 

Nettie Vorce's story mentions "about 17" burials in the little cemetery. There are only 12 headstones but she mentions George Taylor, who died when visiting his uncle in Spring Lake and was buried on the farm, which leaves "about four" unidentified burials. If you visit the cemetery and look carefully in the front row where Lewis's stone is all alone now, you can see at least three more indentations and the corner of a stone is just visible at ground level in one spot. I have some ideas about who the other people are but will not state names until I am as sure as possible. 

(The family name in Dutchess County was Force. They descend from Matthew De La Force in this Country. The family line is believed to come originally from Gascony.)

If you would like additional information on the Vorce family you can e-mail me at

You are our [an error occurred while processing this directive] visitor to this website since June 20, 2003...Thanks for stopping by.