“ The History of Cattaraugus County, NY”, published
1879 by Everts,
edited by Franklin Ellis
Chapter: Town of Ellicottville, pages 248-266
Transcribed by: Linda Albright, Larry Gaskill,
Portraits in this Chapter:
Staley Nichols Clarke
Addison G. Rice
Beals & Lucinda (Thatcher) Litchfield & residence
William Samuel Johnson
Allen D. Scott
Robert H. Shankland
Truman Rowley Colman
This town embraces within its present limits all of township No. 4,
and the southeastern portion of township 5 in the 6th range of the Holland
Company’s survey. Its northern boundary is formed by the towns of
Ashford and East Otto; its eastern by Machias and Franklinville.
Its south border lies against the town of Great Valley, and it is joined
on the west by East Otto and Mansfield. Its southwestern corner is
very nearly the territorial centre of the county.
The topographical features of Ellicottville
are similar to those of the adjoining and neighboring towns. It contains
no mountain range, but its surface is everywhere broken by hills and ridges,
rising to heights varying from 100 to 500 feet above the valleys which
separate them. The broadest and most fertile of these lowlands lie
along the Great Valley Creek, which enters the town across its eastern
boundary from Franklinville, flows thence in a general southwesterly course
to the village of Ellicottville, where it turns rather abruptly towards
the southeast and passes into the town of Great Valley. This stream
and its various tributaries are the only waters within the town, except
some inconsiderable rivulets, which take their rise in the northwest, and
flow in that direction until they find an outlet through Cattaraugus Creek
into Lake Erie.
The pioneer settler within the town of Ellicottville
was Grove Hurlbut, a native of Connecticut, who moved thence to Whitestown,
Oneida Co., when about twenty-five years of age, and there married Hannah
In the year 1814 the family, consisting of
his wife and seven children, started from there with the intention of locating
in what was known as the Western Reserve. On his way he was persuaded
to leave his family in Steuben County, and go out first and look at the
land. He hired a farm in Arkport, and after he sowed his crops, in
the spring of 1815, he went alone to the Reserve, but returned in about
six weeks, not liking the lands in that region. The route on his
return was through this town, where Rickertson Burlingame was at the time
surveying. Upon inquiry as the lands he was informed that he would
have to go to the land-office at Batavia for information. In a few
weeks he went there and saw Mr. Ellicott, who told him the lands were not
yet for sale, but that he would give him six lots to choose from if he
would come in that fall and build a house that travelers could stop at,
and that when the lots were for sale he might have them as cheap as any.
He came in with his oldest son and chose lots 56 and 57, one of 150
and the other 166 acres, which John McMahan now owns. They chopped
a clearing of about seven acres, and built a log house, the first dwelling
erected in the town of Ellicottville. In the work of felling and
rolling logs for this building he was occasionally assisted by travelers
and land-hunters passing this way through the valley. The roof of
his house was covered with shingles of four feet in length, roughly split
from the log. Boards for the floor were obtained from James Green,
who had been running a saw mill at the mouth of Great Valley Creek for
a number of years.
Having made his little clearing and completed
his scasson’s work, in the month of November, Mr Hurlbut left his house
in the charge and occupancy of Orrin Pitcher, while he returned to Steuben
County to make preparations for the removal of his family thence to their
future home in the wilds of Cattaraugus. Kettles for sugar-making,
and all the various articles necessary to a complete pioneer’s outfit having
been procured, he set out on the 1st of January to transport these and
his household goods to their destination upon his new purchase. On
this trip he was not accompanied by his family, but he brought with him
a man by the name of John Maloney, whom he had employed as a chopper, to
assist in the heavy labor of clearing the heavily-timbered lands, and who
boarded in the family of Mr. Pitcher, while Mr. Hurlbut again returned
to his old home in Steuben.
On the 14th of the following month, Reuben
Hurlbut arrived, having in charge a son and daughter of his brother Grove.
These children were John and Sally Hurlbut, the latter being then only
thirteen years of age. She however, became for the first time the
female head of the
Hurlbut family in Ellicottville, consisting of these three persons,
who at once became domiciled in a part of the log house, with the family
of Mr. Pitcher, who, however, remained but a short time, until his own
cabin was ready for occupancy.
About the 15th of March, Mr. Hurlbut returned
with the remainder of his family, and completed his establishment.
He lived on the farm he first cleared, the remainder of his days, and died
Sept. 28, 1852, aged eighty-six years.
His son John married Betsy Niles, settled on lot 57, and in 1836 bought
a farm on Bryant Hill, where Frank Fitch now lives, and in 1865 removed
to Minnesota. Miranda grew up to womanhood, married, and is now living
in Michigan. Sally married William Johnston, and settled on lot 58;
they had several children. John C. is a physician in Michigan, and
two sons are living in the town. Mrs. Johnston now resides in the
village of Ellicottville. Hannah is the wife of the Hon. Chauncey
J. Fox, of Ellicottville.
Daniel Waldo located 75 acres on lot 27, where
Stephen McCoy now lives, and had ground cleared, but never settled upon
Orrin Pitcher lived in Broome County, and
came into this country with a man by the name of Waters. He chopped
two acres of land for the Holland Land Company on the north side of the
road, including lots 45, 46, and 47, on which the Whitney House now stands,
in the village of Ellicottville. The Chautauqua road had been cleared
of underbrush the year before, and they lived (while at work here) in a
hut on the spot now occupied by the Catholic church. In 1813, Pitcher
and Waters distinctly heard the artillery firing at the burning of Buffalo.
In 1814, Mr. Pitcher moved his family from Broome County to Franklinville,
where he rented a log house of a man by the name of Gibbs near Mr. McCure.
From there he shortly moved to what is now Peth, took up a lot, built a
log house, roofing it with bark (as the mill of Mr. Green was not yet completed),
and for floors the smooth side of hemlock bark was laid uppermost, the
edges pinned down with wooden hooks. Mr Hurlbut, of Ellicottville,
came to that place to get assistance in raising his log house. Mr.
Pitcher, Mr. Green, and Mr. Norton came up with him and assisted him.
Mr. Hurlbut, wishing to return to his home in Steuben County, had made
an arrangement with Mr. Pitcher to draw the lumber, and put the floors
in his house, and move in until he came out with his family in the early
spring. Accordingly, on Christmas-day, 1815, Mr. Pitcher moved in
when David (who is still living) was six years old, and lived there until
a part of Mr hurlbut’s family came out, and his own cabin was completed.
He soon after took up two 40-acres lots, which Daniel Huntley afterwards
purchased. He located several lots in the new settlement, and is
said to have sold them advantageously. In 1843, he removed to Minnesota
with his family, except David, who settled on part of lot 7 on the Machias
road, where he still lives. One of his sons is a lawyer at Mankato,
Minn., and has represented his county in the Legislature of that State.
Eunice Carpenter taught the first school in
this town, in the summer of 1817. She was a native of Massachusetts,
and came to Cattaraugus County with and under the protection of her brother
Isaac, who had settled at Ischua, but was at that time employed at his
trade at Ellicottville.
The pupils of Miss Carpenter were the children
of Orrin Pitcher and Grove Hurlbut, and the school-room was the front part
of Orrin Pitcher’s house. Three of the pupils are now living, and
well recollect those early school-days. They are Mrs. Hannah Fox,
Mrs Mary Matterson, and David Pitcher. Miss Carpenter married Levi
Peet, of Farmersville, and died many years ago. Here descendants
are living in that town.
In the year 1817, Daniel Huntley, Baker Leonard,
Rickertson Burlingame, Benjamin Perkins, and John W. Cary came into the
town and built houses.
Daniel Huntley moved from Cincinnatus, Cortland
County, to Franklinville in the spring of 1817, with the intention of going
to Ohio. After reaching Olean, he was persuaded by Levi Gregory to
purchase a property in that town that he had bought of three brothers,
who had become discouraged by the severe frost of 1816. These lots
were of 100 acres each, with quite extensive improvements. After
his purchase he returned to Cincinnatus, and removed to his new home, with
his wife and four children and their goods loaded on two or three wagons.
Upon the establishment of the
county-seat at Ellicottville, he purchased at that place two 40-acres
lots of Orrin Pitcher, and one lot of 150 acres of Grove Hurlbut in 1819.
He rented his farm at Franklinville and moved here in March, 1821, and
built the Whitney House and kept it many years. Daniel Huntley died
July 5, 1846, aged sixty-two years. His children were William, Thomas
S., Daniel I., and Amy. William married Miranda Maybe, and settled
where John Welch now lives; there he lived and died. Thomas
S. married Eliza Fox, and settled where W.S. Johnson now lives, and in
1846 sold the farm and removed to Illinois. Charles, his son, has
been engaged with his cousin, Silas S. Huntley. In mail contracts.
Daniel I. Huntley married Eliza Hawkins. Silas S., his son, was in
the army as a private soldier, and was promoted and made aid to Gen. Berry
at Chancellorsville, and since the war has been engaged in mail contracts
in the West. He resides at Washington, D.C.
In the year 1817 the Holland Land Company
sent out Baker Leonard, from Batavia, to this place to build a tavern,
which he erected on the spot where J. King Skinner now resides. The
new building cost so much when it was completed that the company refused
to accept it; upon which Mr. Leonard opened it as a public-house, and connected
with it a store (the first opened in the village), in which he employed
Henry Saxton as clerk.
Mr. Leonard died on the 17th day of April,
1821, and persons still living in Ellicottville recollect that on the day
of his funeral the ground was so deeply covered with snow that it became
necessary to employ ox-teams to break a road from his house to the burial-ground.
Rickertson Burlingame came into this region
from Oxford, Chenango Co., as a surveyor in the employ of the Holland Land
Company. Traversed the hills and valleys of Cattaraugus and through
the deep-tangled forests by the blaze upon trees made in the original township
surveys. He assisted in the sub-division of the town into lots, surveyed
and mapped the village plat of Ellicottville, and made the map which was
adopted by authority upon the incorporation of the village in 1837.
After he had finished the greater portion of his survey he located lot
No. 62, an irregular tract of land lying on Great Valley Creek and beyond
the regular tier of lots, containing about 300 acres. His first dwelling
was a log structure, erected near the banks of the creek. Upon this
farm he passed the remainder of his life, and was bruied within the ground
which he had cleared and cultivated. These premises are now owned
by Harvey Litchfield.
Mr. Burlingame was one of six men who took
contracts of the Holland Company in the limits of this town, in 1813.
Benjamin Perkins and John W. Cary were brothers-in-law
and came here, in 1817, from Vermont. They selected lot 58, and built
a cabin thereon. Perkin’s occupation was that of tailor, but to this
sometimes he added that of a shoemaker, and upon occasions was professor
of dentistry. They went away in 1821.
In the month of August, 1818, Chauncey J.
Fox, then a young man of twenty-one years of age, in company with a younger
brother, Pliny L., left Tolland, Conn., their native place, and came to
Olean, in this county, for the purpose of establishing themselves in business.
Finding no employment, they purchased a skiff, procured a supply of bread
and cheese, and started on a voyage down the river with a vague intention
of going to Cincinnati, but with no distinct idea of the difficulties they
would have to encounter. They passed a day and a night and part of
the next day on the river without seeing any one. Towards night of
the second day they saw a man crossing the river. They landed and
followed him to his house. He advised them to abandon their voyage
and offered them employment, which they accepted. This man, their
employer, proved to be Philip Tome, whose early history was so well known
in this region. Soon after the commencement of their labors in Mr.
Tome’s employ, Pliny was attacked by typhoid fever and confined for about
eight weeks. Their means were exhausted, and they even sold their
clothes to discharge the liabilities attendant upon this severe sickness.
The village of Ellicottville was the nearest
point at which a physician could be found, and Chauncey traveled to that
place and secured the attendance of Dr. A. Leavenworth.
After Pliny’s recovery from his sickness,
he worked clearing land and farming, near Ellicottville, for three or four
years, then taught school at Yorkshire, and, in 1827, was the first justice
of the peace elected in Ellicottville under the constitutional amendment
which made the office elective.
In 1828 he commenced the study of law in the
office with his brother at Ellicottville, and
was soon admitted to the bar in due course, after which he practiced
in the courts of Cattaraugus for several years. About 1842 he moved
to Illinois. He served in the Union army during the war of the Rebellion,
rose to the rank of major, and upon the expiration of his term of service
returned to Illinois, where he now resides. A more extended biographical
sketch of Chauncey J. Fox is given on another page of this work.
Dr. Alson Leavenworth came to Ellicottville
in September 1818. He located on lot No. 57, and built a log house,
where he resided three or four years; when he built the hotel now known
as the Crawford House. As settlers located rapidly along the valley
and on the hillsides, the demands on the doctor’s time and skill increased,
until his ride extended from Kinzue and Corydon, in Pennsylvania on the
south, to Collins, in Erie County, on the north. He removed to Little
Valley in 1831, and afterwards to New Albion. A more extended notice
of him will be found in the history of that town.
In the year 1820, Clark Robertson, of Cazenovia,
Madison County passed through Ellicottville to visit his uncle in Little
Valley. Returning to this village after his visit he was employed
on the jail and court-house buildings then in process of construction.
Soon after, by the advice of the land agent, Mr. Goodwin, he purchased
the lot where “Irvine Hall” was afterward built, paying for it the sum
of $50. He taught school in Great Valley in 1823, receiving in part
payment shingles and other lumber, which he used in the erection of a dwelling
upon his land. In 1824 he taught at Lodi, and in the following year
married Miss Ursula Maltby, and commenced housekeeping. Miss Maltby
had come to Ellicottville from Paris, Oneida Co., and taught school in
the upper room of Baker Leonard’s house in the summer of 1819. The
school was removed to the upper part of the court-house, upon the completion
of that building. In 1821 she taught school in Connewango, and then
returned to her home in Paris. Mr. Robertson is still living, at
seventy-nine years of age, in the village of Ellicottville, and has four
children living. Albert C. resides at Jamestown. Two daughters
live in Chautauqua County and one in Onondaga County.
John W. Staunton, in the year 1817, left his
home in Hampshire Co., Mass., on horse back for the western country, and
passed through the village of Ellicottville both in going in returning.
At that time there were only three houses where the village now is, and
there being no roads, marked trees were the traveler’s principal guide
There was no office open yet for the sale of lands in this portion of the
Holland Purchase, and a few months later he settled in Nunda, Livingston
Co. There he remained until March, 1820, when with his wife and three
children and all his household goods in a covered wagon, drawn by two pair
of oxen, he removed to this town, and rented a small log house of Dr. Leavenworth
for six months at the rate of $50 per year. He soon after bought
the “chance” of Orrin Pitcher, in lot 56, containing 153 acres, and built
the house which is now a part of the residence of Mr. Welsh, nearly opposite
the house of Mrs. Dr. Staunton.
He was a man of excellent education, strict
integrity, and won the respect and confidence of the people of the county.
In the year 1825 he was elected county clerk, having previously served
three years in that office as deputy. He held the office of clerk
for four consecutive terms, and lacked but 11 votes of being elected the
fifth term, in 1837. He lived in the town until his death, which
occurred on the 13th of December, 1858, at the age of seventy-seven years.
His sons, Dr. Jonathan B. and Elisha, both
lived and died here. Dr. Joseph M. grew to manhood in the village,
and removed to West Virginia in 1860. The fourth son, J. Galusha,
is now living in Ellicottville. The fifth and youngest son resides
Consider Ewell emigrated from Massachusetts
to Ellicottville, settling on lot No. 60, and his daughter Julia taught
school at the house of Nathaniel Bryant in the summer of 1820, she being
at that time but thirteen years of age.
William Vinton, a native of Massachusetts,
came to LeRoy, and soon after to this town, in the year 1820. He
bought village lot No. 44, where Brooks’ store now stands, and erected
tavern long known as the Vinton Stand. The next year his brother
Lothrop came out to this place and went into partnership with William.
He remained here until his death, and was for many years supervisor of
the town. William afterwards removed to Hinsdale.
Roger Coit settled, in 1821, on village lot
No. 23, where Clarke Robertson now lives. He bought also town lot
No. 91. His barn was near where Daniel I. Huntley’s house now stands.
His son Lewis lives on lot No. 55, that his father bought a few years
David Goodwin was an early surveyor, a clerk
in the office of the Holland Land co., and married a niece of Joseph Ellicott.
When the branch office was established at Ellicottville, in June, 1818,
Mr. Goodwin was appointed to take charge of it, and continued to be the
local agent at Ellicottville until 1822, when he was succeeded by Staley
N. Clarke. Upon his retirement from the agency he returned to Batavia.
One of the early settlers of 1818 was James
Reynolds, who had been a merchant at Hamburg, Erie Co., during the war
of 1812; but who, upon the advance of the British marauders on Buffalo
in 1813, had abandoned his business in alarm, temporarily concealing his
merchandise in the woods. A part of these goods he afterwards retailed
in a small way at Ellicottville, and was also engaged in the manufacture
of bricks. He located village lot No. 53, corner of Madison and Washington
Streets, on which he built a house, Chauncey J. Fox assisting in digging
the cellar. He died in 1851, leaving two daughters; Albina C., who
married Aloazo C. Gregory, and Helen, who married Silas Huntley.
Seth L. Burdick came to the village of Ellicottville
in 1818, from Paris, Oneida Co. He purchased lots 17 and 18, where
the residence of Mr. E. Harman now stands, and moved his family to this
place in 1819.
Harvey B. Hayes emigrated from the East, and
settled on village lot No. 50, being on of the six who took contracts in
1813. He was elected constable in 1820. The death of his infant
child, which occurred soon after his arrival, was the first death in the
village of Ellicottville.
Henry Saxton, formerly from Vergennes, Vt.,
emigrated to Batavia in the year 1820, with three brothers. They
separated then, and Henry came to this town in the employ of Baker Leonard,
as clerk in the store. As early as 1821, he commenced business on
his own account. He was a merchant many years, and largely interested
in lumbering on the Allegany River. During this time he was elected
sheriff of the county, in 1828. While at Louisville, Ky., on business,
he was attacked with the cholera, which terminated fatally. He married
Mrs. Baker Leonard, who lived many years after, and died in 1873, leaving
three sons and on daughter: Fredk. A., who is a printer at Jamestown; Albert
H., who was State Senator in California in 1863, and is now connected with
the Custom-House in San Francisco; Ebenezer, who is living at Ellicottville,
and Mrs. J. King Skinner, who resides on the old Leonard homestead.
William Johnston was a carpenter by trade,
emigrated from Montgomery County in the spring of 1820, and was employed
on the county buildings. In 1821 he purchased the house and lot where
Mr. Perkins had settled. The next season he married Miss Sally Hurlbut,
and they commenced housekeeping there. In a year or two they moved
to the village of Ellicottville. Where he opened a cabinet shop, which
he continued many years. He died in 1853, leaving a widow, who is
still living in the village of Ellicottville, and four children.
Two sons, Byron and William, reside in the village. From Mrs. Johnston
much information was obtained of the early history of this town, as she
with David Pitcher are the only two living who came in the winter of 1815-16.
David Gregory came to this village in the
year 1821, and rented the tavern formerly kept by Baker Leonard.
He bought village lot Nos. 79 and 80, on which he erected a tavern, and
occupied it the next year. It was for many years known as the Gregory
Tavern, and was situated on Jefferson Street, in the rear of the union
school building. He was the father of three children.-Alonzo C.,
who had the charge of the tavern, and was sheriff of the county for several
terms after the Dutch Hill war. One of the daughters married a Mr.
Crouch, who became owner of the Fremont House, in the city of Chicago.
The other daughter married a Mr. Harland, who was clerk in the land-office
of W.S. Johnson.
In the year 1820, when the county buildings
were approaching completion, John A. Bryan, who until that time had been
practicing law in Olean, removed to this village and purchased village
lots Nos. 15 and 16, on which he erected a law-office and the dwelling
now occupied by R. H. Shankland Esq. Mr. Bryan’s wife was Eliza Dixon,
a sister of Mrs. Baker Leonard. During the period of his residence
in Cattaraugus County he was one of its foremost lawyers. In August,
1828, he removed West, and settled in Columbus, Ohio, second assistant
postmaster-general of the United States, and minister to Peru.
Asa Hazen, a native of Vermont, and by profession
a lawyer, removed to Olean, and was in partnership with Judge Timothy H.
Porter. After the courts were established in Ellicottville he removed
to that village and opened a law-office in Mr. Huntley’s tavern, and followed
his profession until his death, which occurred May 13, 1866, at the age
of seventy-five years.
Staley N. Clarke came to Batavia in 1819,
and entered the office of the Holland Land Company as a clerk, acting in
that capacity until 1822, when he succeeded David Goodwin in the charge
of the company’s branch office in Ellicottville as agent. Mr. Clarke
soon won the respect and esteem of the settlers by his unvarying kindness
and sympathizing aid. In the year 1824 he was elected county treasurer,
and held the position for seventeen consecutive years. He was elected
to represent the 31st district in the 27th Congress of the United States,
but at the end of his term declined re-election and returned “to the private
walks of life, gladly escaping from the tumoils and strifes of a political
For several years in the latter part of his
life his health was poor, and death was not unexpected, and in 1861, in
the fall of the year, he passed away,
“Calm as the ray of sun of star,
Which storms assail in vain.
Moving unruffled through earth’s war,
The eternal calm to gain.”
He was unostentatious in his manners, great
in his goodness, in his diligence, in good words and works, and in his
love of virtue. He was the father of eleven children, of whom only
one remains a resident of Cattaraugus County, -Capt. William Clark, of
Moses Beecher was a native of Connecticut,
born May 5, 1791. About the year 1814 he removed with his family
to Batavia, where he was engaged, as an accountant in the office of the
Holland Land Company, then under the charge of David E. Evans, and in 1827
he was transferred to the branch office of the company in Ellicottville,
and settled where Eleazer Harmon now resides. In this responsible
position he spent about twenty years of his life. Subsequently he
engaged in manufacturing, which he carried on until a short time previous
to his death. He was an intimate friend of Judge Chamberlain, Hon.
Staley N. Clarke, Dr. Leavenworth, and other leading settlers of the county,
with whom he ranked as a useful and influential citizen. He was a
man of rare culture, moral worth, and sterling integrity. In 1830
he received the appointment of surrogate of the county, which he held for
eight years, and was repeatedly appointed loan commissioner. In 1868,
while on business in Dunkirk, he was attacked by an illness which terminated
in his death. February 14, at the age of seventy-seven years.
His children were seven in number: Sophia, who married Truman Coleman,
now of Dunkirk; Harriet, the widow of Delos E. Sill, resides in Ellicottville;
Emily, married Harlan Coleman; Juliet, married P.V. Skinner and now lives
in homestead of Staley N. Clarke.
William resides in the State of Illinois,
and clerk of the court of Lasalle. Moses is cashier of the Warren
Bank, in Pennsylvania. Charles M. is connected with the Elmira Advertiser,
of the city of Elmira.
Asher Tyler received the appointment
of agent of the Devereux lands in May, 1836, and became a resident of the
village of Ellicottville, where re remained until a year or two after the
division of that estate. During this period he was elected to Congress,
where he commanded the respect of his associates and constituents.
After his retirement from the agency in Ellicottville he soon removed to
Elmira, and became land agent for the Erie Railroad. Mr. Tyler, from
his early intercourse with the surviving Indians of the Revolutionary time,
was thoroughly and widely informed in reference to early Indian history.
“He knew the Indian when as yet the white man’s mastery over the lands
west of Schenectady was only in process of recognition, had their distinct
effect.” He lived in Elmira until 1875, when he passed away at the
age of seventy-seven years, and thus another link that binds the old and
the new was broken.
John C. Devereux. Jr., is the son of Nicholas
Devereux, the leading proprietor of the Devereux Purchase. Upon the
division of their lands in 1843, he came to Ellicottville to take charge
of his fathers interests. He remained a citizen of this place until
November, 1866, when he removed with his family to Utica, where he now
resides, spending a portion of his time at this place, where he still has
large landed interests. Mr. Devereux is a member of the State Board
of Charities from the Fifth Judicial District.
Robert H. Shankland settled in the village
early in 1835. In the spring of that year, soon
after his arrival, he purchased the Ellicottville Republican, which
(with change of name to that of Cattaraugus Republican) continued under
his management for twenty years. Soon after his sale of this journal.
In 1855, he commenced the publication of the American Union, of which,
under the name of the Cattaraugus Union, his is still the editor.
Mr. SHANKLAND is a native of Cooperstown, Otsego County, and a practical
printer. He passed an apprenticeship in the office of the Freeman’s Journal
at Cooperstown, under the proprietorship of Col. John H. PRENTICE
and Col. Wm. H. STONE. Afterwards he was employed in the offices of HARPER
& BROTHERS and of the Courier and Enquirer in New York. During these
and other engagements in the city, he became intimate with many whose names
afterwards became famous; among whom were the four brothers HARPER,-- James,
John, Wesley, and Fletcher, –Maj. M. M. NOAH, James Gordon BENNETT, James
Watson WEBB, and Horace GREELEY. With the last named, he was most intimate.
They stood together as journeymen at the case; and when in the last year
of his life, the great editor had received the nomination for the first
office in the people’s gift, he wrote in this wise to his old friend at
“N.Y. Tribune, N.Y., July 23, 1872.
“My old Friend,– I thank you for yours of the 20th instant at
“If you and I ever come together again, let us stick a few lines
of type, side by side, in memory of Auld Lang Syne.
“I hope my letter of acceptance, which appears tomorrow, will
“Robt. H. Shankland. Esq.,
“Ed. Union, Ellicottville.”
Nathan BRYANT emigrated from Hampshire Co., Mass., to this place
and worked for Mr. Leonard, and in the spring of 1817, took up lots on
what was afterwards known as Bryant Hill, now owned by Eldridge DROWN.
In 1820, he removed to the town line between Ellicottville and Franklinville,
and died in November, 1832. Mr. BRYANT was active in the formation of the
Baptist Church in 1824.
Freeman BRYANT settled near his brother about the same time.
His wife was a sister of John W. STAUNTON. She died in California in June,
1878, aged eighty-one years. In January, 1818, Nathaniel BRYANT, Sr., with
his wife and the remaining children, arrived at the residence of Nathaniel,
his son, after a tedious journey of thirty-one days, having with them two
yoke of oxen, one horse and wagon, and two cows. While on the road and
near Cayuga, they stopped at a house, intending to remain all night. The
men were absent from home. After having been there some time, it was discovered
the house was on fire. Mr. BRYANT clambered on the roof; no water was at
hand, and he called for anything wet, and buttermilk was passed up to him,
and the fire was extinguished after severe exertion. The house was in such
disorder that Mr. BRYANT concluded to go on farther, and they went on several
miles and stayed all night. He settled between the farms of his sons, where
Patrick LYND now owns.
Between the years 1819 and 1821, Justin RUST, Samuel BRYANT,
Ebenezer VINING, John FITCH, and Peter DROWN settled on Bryant Hill. Mr.
VINING settled where Wm. DOOLEY now owns. He was the first settled minister
in town and pastor of the Baptist Church. He died at Rochester in 1843,
at the advanced age of eighty-nine years. Samuel BRYANT located where his
son Hiram now resides.
Peter DROWN emigrated from New Haven. His son, Alphonso R., now
lives on the old homestead.
Orrin and Archelaus BROWN, from Massachusetts, located land and
took a contract in 1813, and in 1816 or 1817, settled on lot 27.
It is related of Mrs. Orrin BROWN that in about 1820 or 1821,
she went on horseback to visit Marsena BROOKS, who was a nephew and living
in Ashford. The route she traveled was the old Shultis road. On her return,
after a visit of a day or two, she started in the afternoon, having sufficient
time to reach home before dark. On getting part way down, she came to a
point where two roads diverged; she took one of them and traveled some
time, finally coming back to the same place she started from. Night was
then fast approaching, and rather than wander aimlessly in the woods, she
tied her horse to a tree and lay down to pass the night. As soon as the
first ray of light appeared in the east, she mounted the old mare, gave
he the reins, and she soon brought her safely home. The road she had followed
was a log road leading out into the woods.
In 1830, Orrin BROWN sold to Ensign LITCHFIELD 78 acres of lot
No. 62. He emigrated from Massachusetts with his wife and eight children.
His son Beals lives on the homestead. Levi lives in the village of Ellicottville.
Polly married Miller VAUGHAN, who settled in Somerville Valley about that
time, where their son, Frederick VAUGHAN, resides.
Gideon NILES emigrated from Oneida County in the spring of 1824,
and settled on the Machias road, about four miles east of Ellicottville.
He was a brother of Mrs. Grove HURLBUT. His widow is still living, and
with her daughter Mrs. GILLIES.
Felix CALKINS came from Oswego with his wife and four children,
and settled on lot No. 16, purchasing 60 acres in 1827, now occupied by
Albert and Jacob F. VEDDER were brothers. They emigrated from
Montgomery County, and settled in the northwest part of the town in 1828,
on and near what is now known as VEDDER’S Corners. Jacob built the first
sawmill in that part of the town. Hon. C.P. VEDDER, who has represented
the county in the Legislature several terms, and is now senator from this
district, is a son of Jacob F. VEDDER. Another son, John A., is now living
on the homestead of his father.
William BOYCE came to this town from Boston, Mass., and settled
on lot No. 10, on Beaver Meadow Creek, where William Hawkins now resides.
He bought the farm in 1830 of Allen GREEN, who had occupied it a year to
two. Mr. GREEN then purchased the farm adjoining where Asa ROWLAND now
In 1832, Jas. LEACH from Chenango County, purchased a farm adjoining
Mr. BOYCE, on lot No. 18, where his sons are living. John DILTZ settled
on the same creek, on lot 19 in the spring of 1834. Byron A. JOHNSTON,
of Ellicottville, married his daughter. The following settlers came in
1828 to 1835:
A Mr. JACKMAN from Middlebury, Genesee County, settled near Plato,
where Mrs. R. OYER now resides in the neighborhood now known as JACKMAN’s
Hill. John VOSBURG, a blacksmith by trade, came from the eastern part of
the State, and located lot No. 45, where E.Y. ARNOLD now resides.
William CLARK settled about the same time, and still resides
The first land contracts issued by the HOLLAND Land Company within
the limits of the town were in 1813, and to Rickertson BURLINGAME, Harvey
B. HAYES, Archelaus and Orrin BROWN, Amos INGALLS, and Grove HURLBUT. Later,
from 1816 to 1818, to Baker LEONARD, Stephen WEBB, Jr., Alson LEAVENWORTH,
James REYNOLDS, Moses CHAMBERLAIN, Abel P. WIGHTMAN, David GOODWIN, Lothrop
VINTON, and John A. BRYAN.
The names and location of the following settlers are ascertained
from the assessment roll of Ellicottville for 1822. The numbers marked
with a star denote lots in the village:
Elihu Alvord, lot 48 Alson Leavenworth, lots 95, 96*, 40*, 41*, 18*,
James Adkins,* lots 1, 27, 48, 26 Leavenworth & Saxton, lot 64
Nathaniel Bryant, lot 5 David C. McClure, lots 77*, 78*
Nathaniel Bryant, Jr., lot 5 David Oyer, lot 66
Truman Bryant, lot 5 Orrin Pitcher, lots 60, 61, 62
Geo. N. Bennett, lot 37 Spencer Pitcher, lot 31
Rickertson Burlingame, lots 62, 21 Jonathan Spencer, lot 14
David Blair, lot 31 Justus Rust, lot 13
Artemas Blair,* lots 1, 67, 68 Quartus Rust, lot 13
John A. Bryan, * lots 15, 16 David C. Rust, lot 21
Archelaus Brown, lot 27 Samuel Ricker, lot 13
James D. Brown, lot 13 Clark Robertson, lot 65*
Roger Coit, lots 91, 23* 24, 25, 49, 55, 13 James Reynolds, lots 28*,
Benjamin Chamberlain, lots 90, 88*, 20 Henry Saxton, lots 51*, 55*,
56*, 57*, 73*, 74*, 75*, 76*, 42, 37
Samuel Davis, lots 32, 63*, 45 John W. Staunton, lots 56, 11
Consider Ewell, lot 60 Israel Searl, lot 37
Edmund Dudley*, lots 87, 48 Isaac Thomas, lot 62
David Goodwin, lots 65*, 89, 11, 12, 13, 14, 37, Wm. Vinton,
lots 32, 64*
35, 34, 33, 13, 32, 10 Lothrop Vinton, lots
32, 44*, 21*
David Gregory, lots 79*, 80, 81, 82 Henry Woodworth, lot 66*
John Hurlbut, lots 59, 58 Stephen Webb, lot 94
Grove Hurlbut, lot 58 William J. Wood, lot 94
Daniel Huntley, lots 57, 92, 93 Jarlie Wilder, lot 22*
Thomas Harnes, lot 32 Chauncey J. Fox, lot 18
Amos Ingalls, lots 32, 26* 49 Isaac Wightman, lot 5*
Wm. Johnson, lots 45*, 46* Seth L. Burdick, lots 17*, 18*
Henry Hatchel, lot 35
All the above lots are in township 4, range 6, excepting the last named,
which is in township 3 (?), range 6.
The jury list of the town for 1823 shows the names of those liable
to jury duty who were residents within the present limits of the town of
Elihu Alvord, joiner Thomas Wams, farmer
Nathaniel Bryant, Jr., farmer John Johnson, farmer
Samuel Bryant, farmer Orrin Pitcher, farmer
Archelaus Brown, shoemaker Spencer Pitcher, farmer
Orrin Brown, farmer Quartus Rust, joiner
David Blair, farmer David C. Rust, joiner
Nicholas Bardine, farmer Clark Robertson, joiner
Seth L. Burdick, joiner John W. Staunton, farmer
David Clark, farmer Avery Smith, farmer
Roger Coit, farmer Chester A. Vibbard, farmer
Samuel Davis, merchant Lothrop Vinton, farmer
Consider Ewell, farmer Wm. Vinton, shoemaker
David Gregory, farmer Lorenzo W. Prentiss, merchant
Grove Hurlbut, farmer David C. McClure, goldsmith
Daniel Huntley, farmer
Rude huts and shanties had been hastily constructed for the use
of surveying parties in this region several years before Grove HURLBUT
and his oldest son made the first clearing in the town, and built the first
log house in the fall of 1815 on lot 57. Orrin PITCHER built the first
log house in the village of Ellicottville on lot 47 (village), where the
tin shop now stands, in the winter and spring of 1815-16.
In the fall of 1816, Grove HURLBUT built the first frame barn,
and set out in that season the first apple trees, bringing them from Franklinville.
Baker LEONARD built the first frame house and kept the first tavern in
1817, and in 1818, the first store on the spot where J. King SKINNER now
lives. The HOLLAND Land Company erected a land office in the winter of
1817. A man by the name of LUCK came out in the fall to keep fires in the
building, and was the first blacksmith. David GOODWIN was the first land
agent of the HOLLAND Land Company. The office was opened in June, 1818.
Eunice CARPENTER was the first school teacher in the summer of 1818, and
taught in the front room of Orrin PITCHER’S house. The first schoolhouse
was built in 1820 on Bryant Hill. The Rev. John SPENCER was the first minister
who preached in this town. The services were held at the house of Orrin
The first regularly organized church was the Baptist Church on
Bryant Hill, August 21, 1824. The Rev. Ebenezer VINING was the first pastor
(settled). The first church edifice was erected in 1836 or 1837, and the
old Spanish bell erected in its tower was the first one in town.
The first burial place was the one now used in the village of
Ellicottville, and the first interment was that of a child of H. B. HAYES.
The first man buried within the grounds was Baker LEONARD, who died April
17, 1821. The next burial was that of Mrs. Mindwell HURLBUT, the mother
of Grover HURLBUT. This was in 1822.
The first birth was in June, 1816, in the family of Orrin PITCHER–a
son, Orlando PITCHER, who grew to manhood in Ellicottville, and removed
to the West. In the year 1818, the 7th of October, occurred the birth of
Miranda, daughter of Grove HURLBUT, and the first female child born in
the town of Ellicottville.
There was no marrying nor giving in marriage in the new settlement
until 1820, when John A. BRYAN became the husband of Eliza DIXON. The ceremony
was performed at the house of Baker LEONARD by the Rev. Mr. FRAZER, a clergyman,
and the occasion being the first of its kind in Ellicottville, was one
of great rejoicing and merriment. Mr. BRYAN settled here as the first lawyer
in the village.
Dr. James TROWBRIDGE came in town in the winter of 1816-17; remained
about six months living in Mr. LEONARD’s house, and moved to Hinsdale where
he practiced until 1844, when he moved. Orrin PITCHER, in 1821, built the
first sawmill on Great Valley Creek on lot 61, about two miles east of
the village. Artemas BLAIR, in 1832 built the first tannery in the village
near Cummings’ block. Ozro THOMAS and Deacon GARDNER built the first grist
mill in 1832, where the depot of the Rochester and State Line Railroad
now stands. Richard HILL, in 1826, started the Western Courier, the first
newspaper in town.
The mail was first carried by ______ MOORE on horseback to Centreville
in 1822, and the first stage route was established by James J. ADKINS in
1826, and Abner STEBBINS was driver, and ran from this place to Centreville
in connection with stages to the East. A post office was opened by John
A. Bryan in 1822 in his law office, which was small building erected on
the lot where is now the residence of R. H. SHANKLAND. The village of Ellicottville
was placed in communications with the outside world by telegraph in 1848,
and by railroad communication May 15, 1878.
ORGANIZATION OF TOWN
Ellicottville, so named in honor of Joseph ELLICOTT, was taken
from Franklinville, April 20, 1820. Ashford was taken off February 16,
1824. A part of East Otto in 1858, reducing it to its present limits. The
first town meeting was held on the second Tuesday in March, 1821, at the
house of Baker LEONARD; David GOODWIN, chairman. The following officers
were elected: James REYNOLDS, Supervisor; John W. STAUNTON, Clerk; John
W. FITCH, Daniel THOMAS and Artemas BLAIR, Commissioners of Common Schools;
David GOODWIN, John W. STAUNTON, and John A. BRYAN, Inspectors of Schools.
The following is a list of supervisors, town clerks, and justices of
the peace to the present time:
1822 John W. Staunton 1850 Alonzo A. Gregory
1823 David Gregory 1851-52 Stephen McCoy
1824-25 John W. Staunton 1853-54 Samuel P. Arnold
1826 Abram Searls 1855 Sylvanus Vedder
1827 Lothrop Vinton 1856 A. G. Rice
1828 Henry Lawton 1857 Theodore Smith
1829-31 Lothrop Vinton 1858-59 A. G. Rice
1832-34 Abram Searls 1860 Daniel T. Dickinson
1835 Artemus Blair 1861 A.G. Rice
1836-38 Lothrop Vinton 1862 Daniel T. Dickinson
1839 John W. Staunton 1863-65 Samuel W. Johnson
1840 Thomas S. Huntley 1866 John C. Devereux
1841-42 Lothrop Vinton 1867 A. G. Rice
1843 Chauncey J. Fox 1868 Benjamin F. Boyce
1844 Jonathan B. Staunton 1868-70 Robert H. Shankland
1845-46 Alonzo A. Gregory 1871-72 Timothy Walsh
1847 Jonathan B. Staunton 1873 Daniel E. Bartlett
1848 George W. Moore 1874-75 William Manly
1849 Jonathan B. Staunton 1876-78 Edwin D. Northrup
1822 David Gregory 1854 Scott J. Anthony
1823 Charles Boss 1855 George W. Bailett
1824 David Gregory 1856-57 William W. Hanes
1825 Samuel Davis 1858 Stephen W. McCoy
1826 James J. Adkins 1859-61 John F. Parker
1827-33 Artemas Blair 1862-63 Silas A. Lamb
1834-36 D. J. Huntley 1864 Timothy Walsh
1837 Marcus H. Johnson 1865 L. A. Rood
1838-39 Harlan Coleman 1866 Timothy Walsh
1840 Joseph Coleman 1867 Stephen A. Harrington
1841-42 Thomas Kibbe 1868 Timothy Walsh
1843-44 Alonzo A. Gregory 1869-70 Alonzo L. Razey
1845-46 Albert W. Kimball 1871 William R. Rider
1847 Archibald McKallon 1872-73 Alonzo L. Razey
1848-49 Horace Arnold 1874 J. R. Pettit
1850 A. H. McKallon 1875 Thomas R. Aldrich
1851-52 Lewis L. Coleman 1876-77 H. L. McCoy
1853 Edwin F. Vinton 1878 William D. Huntley
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
Alson LEAVENWORTH, J. W. STAUNTON, D. GREGORY, Quartus RUST, Benjamin
P. MASON, Thomas L. HUNTLEY, Israel DAY, James REYNOLDS, Israel DAY, Dorastus
JOHNSON, Sylvanus VEDDER, Stephen T. BENTLEY, Israel DAY, George W. GILLETT,
William JOHNSON, John VEDDER, John PALMER, A. GIBBS, Jacob MULHOLLAND,
F. GILLETT, H. COLEMAN, Israel Day, George W. GILLETT, Daniel G. BINGHAM,
Erastus DICKINSON, John MC COY, Constant L. TREVITT, John W. RUST, Milford
RIDER, D. G. BINGHAM, Augustus C. MASON, Joshua N. BARTLETT, Constant S.
TREVITT, Erastus DICKINSON, Thomas MORRIS, Rensselaer LAMB, Eleazer LARRABEE,
Commodore P. VEDDER, Erastus DICKINSON, Stephen A. HARRINGTON, B. F. BOICE,
George H. CAGURN, Augustus C. MASON, Edwin HOPKINS, Andrew STEPHENS, Timothy
WALSH, Stephen A. HARRINGTON, Alanson A. WALKER, Christopher FISHER, L.
H. CRARY, Charles H. SIKES, Edgar W. BROOKS, Stephen A. HARRINGTON.
BAPTIST CHURCH OF ELLICOTTVILLE
What is now known as Bryant Hill seems to have been in the early
settlement of this town, the place where the followers of Roger WILLIAMS
congregated and settled. The first written record of any gathering for
the purpose of organization was June 26, 1824, and is as follows:
CHURCH PROCEEDINGS. Ellicottville, June 26, 1824.– This day, according
to previous appointment, have assembled at the house of Nathaniel BRYANT
a number of Christian brethren to confer on and adopt measures for the
formation of a church, and to regulate and unite themselves into a Christian
body, signalized by the title of the ‘Regular Baptist Order.’ We
therefore, whose names are undersigned, after mature deliberation and consultation,
covenant together to unite, according to the articles and covenant of faith
drawn by Elder Peter P. ROOT, to prepare the way for being constituted
as a church.
“We do further agree to reassemble at the house of Nathaniel
BRYANT, on Saturday, the 10th day of July succeeding, at one o’clock P.M.,
for further conference on the building of the church of Christ.
“GERSHOM R. STAUNTON, Sec.
“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.
“ July 24, 1824.–This day have reassembled a number of Christian
brethren to confer on and adopt measures for the formation of a church.
G. R. STAUNTON was chosen clerk. It was voted to receive Samuel BRYANT
as a candidate for baptism, and to meet again in four weeks.”
August 21, 1824, meeting was held according to appointment. 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 being its constituent members.
In a meeting held September 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.
March 4, 1826, Records W. VINING received a letter of license
to preach the gospel wherever God in his providence should call him.
Meetings had been held at the house of Nathaniel BRYANT until
August 19, 1826, when they met at the schoolhouse. 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.
At a meeting at the schoolhouse, April 23, 1831, it was voted
that a council of churches be called for the purpose of ordaining Records
W. VINING to the work of the gospel ministry. The following churches were
invited to assemble in council on the 26th day of May, 1831 at ten o’clock
in the morning for that purpose. The churches of Sardinia, Rushford, Farmersville,
Franklinville, Little Valley, and Napoli, and Elders POST and MINER.
In accordance with such invitation the council met, and the following
churches were represented by their delegates: Sardinia, Elder Whitman METCALF,
Deacon STUKELY, Hudson RUSHFORD, Elder Eliab GOING, Deacon James TRUMAN;
Franklinville, Deacon Elijah SILL, Levi BENJAMIN, J. M. BOSWORTH, Ira BURLINGAME,
Henry CLAFFIN, Jasper ST. JOHN; Little Valley, Deacon John F. MANLEY, Nathan
GRAY; Napoli, Elder B. BRAMAN, Deacon George WAIT; Boston, Elder Clark
CARR: Friendship, Elder Absalom MINER.
Rev. Eliab GOING was chosen moderator; W. METCALF, clerk. Records
W. VINING was examined and ordained in due form, followed by an address
to the church and congregation, and benediction by Rev. R. W. VINING. June
18, 1831, Andrew TEMPLETON and David VINING were chosen deacons.
December 29, 1832, a meeting was held to take into consideration
the propriety of establishing a branch of the society at the village of
Ellicottville, and it was voted to establish a branch at that place, September
29, 1833. And on Saturday, September 8, 1838, it was voted to remove the
place of worship and church business to the village of Ellicottville. Up
to this time, 58 had been received by baptism, and 45 by letter since its
Services in Ellicottville were held in the courthouse, Elders
FOOTE and RICHMOND acting as pastor until the church was discontinued.
The pastors who succeeded Rev. Ebenezer VINING were Records W. VINING,
Joseph VINING, _____ FOOTE, _____ ROGERS, _____ PIERCE, and Charles RICHMOND.
The society was incorporated December 16, 1829, and Joseph E.
VINING, David PUTNAM, and Freeman BRYANT were chosen trustees.
In 1846, the church numbered 52 male members and 70 females.
May 1, 1856, it was on motion “Resolved, That the society exchange the
gospel lot No. 20, township 4, in the 6th range, that had been deeded to
them October 2, 1830, by the HOLLAND Land Purchase, as the first church
organized in the town, for a house and lot in the Valley owned by D. BARTLETT,”
which was carried. Owing to internal dissensions in the church, the most
of the members joined the churches in Ellicottville and Great Valley, and
the last written record is dated November 26, 1864, and shows 16 members.
No edifice was erected for worship.
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
As early as the year 1818, the Rev. John SPENCER, in the employ
of the Connecticut Missionary Society, held Congregational services for
the few worshipers of the vicinity at the house of Orrin PITCHER, which
stood on the spot where the WHITNEY house now stands. David PITCHER, his
son, who is still living, well remembers being sent out by his father to
summon the neighbors to attend services at this house by Father SPENCER.
But little is known of the incidents connected with these earliest meetings,
or of the names of those who gathered there to enjoy the ministrations
of the good missionary. But we know that in the year 1822, the little band
numbered among its members Josiah HOLLISTER and wife, Ira NORTON, wife,
and daughter, and Roger COIT and wife. On the 10th of September of that
year, they were received under the care of the Presbytery of Buffalo. We
find no record of their numbers until 1826, when 21 were reported,1 but
two years later these had dwindled to 13. At this time, strife and dissension
had entered the church, on account of the differences between Congregational
and Presbyterian (1 See History of Presbyterian Church in Western New York,
by Rev. James H. Hotchkin)
views, “so that,” says the Rev. Sylvester COWLES, “it was in such a
hopeless state that they wished a new organization, so as to leave the
elements of strife outside.”..... “These,” he says, “were the circumstances
which led to the formation of the Presbyterian Church,” which was regularly
organized at the schoolhouse on the public square, December 19, 1829 by
the Rev. N. GOULD and L. H. GRIDLEY. The original members were Josiah HOLLISTER,
Ira NORTON, Orrin BROWN, Archelaus BROWN, Stillwell HUNTLEY, Hiram L. RIPLEY,
David PITCHER, Sally EWELL, Chloe FOX, and Margaret RUST,–ten in
all. On the day of the organization, Josiah HOLLISTER, Ira NORTON, Orrin
BROWN, and Hiram L. RIPLEY were elected the first Board of Elders; the
two latter being also elected deacons. In 1831, Rev. John T. BALDWIN was
chosen as stated supply one-half of the time for two years. The Rev. Sylvester
COWLES commenced his labors as stated supply October 16, 1833, and continued
about four years, spending part of the time with the church at Waverly.
During this time he was assisted in two seasons of special effort by the
Rev. Mr. ORTON, an evangelist. A goodly number were converted and united
with the church, and in 1836, the church numbered 75 members.
The rev. Mead HOLMES was a licentiate of the Buffalo Presbytery,
and was clerk of a session at a meeting held October 8, 1840. He was subsequently
called to the pastoral charge of the congregation, and ordained and installed
by the Presbytery of Buffalo, June 23, 1841. In the year succeeding, a
series of meetings of eighteen days’ duration were held under the conduct
of the Rev. Mr. ORTON, and a hundred persons were supposed to have been
converted; but it was subsequently made to appear that many of these were
of the class indicated in the parable of the sower, who “had no root in
themselves,” and relapsed to their former state. In the year, 1843, 168
members were reported. Mr. HOLMES sustained the relation of pastor until
September 5, 1843, when it was dissolved. The history of his pastorate
shows him to have been a faithful, earnest, and successful laborer. At
the commencement of 1844, the Rev. Mr. COWLES again was employed as a stated
supply, and continued in that capacity for a period of four years. In 1846,
118 members were reported. In the support of all these ministers, the church
had been aided by the American Home Missionary Society.
The Rev. Hiram EDDY was laboring in this field in 1850, and remained
during a period of three years. The church was strengthened under his able
preaching. During the two years that succeeded, services were held by the
Rev. J. J. AIKIN and C. KIDDER.
June 7, 1855, the Rev. Charles JEROME, of the Presbytery of Rochester,
commenced his labors with this people, and in 1856 divided his time between
this church and the Franklinville Church. He remained in this connection
until October 1, 1857, when the church and society, feeling more and more
the necessity of having the gospel preached to them every Sabbath, called
a public meeting and resolved “that they would support preaching each Lord’s
day in future,” from which time he remained with them until the latter
part of 1860.
The Rev. W. V. COUCH began his labors here in the first year
of the war, and resigned in October, 1863, on account of ill health.
By an entry on the records of the church, it appears that on
the 30th of September, 1865, the Rev. L. P. SABIN presided at a meeting
of the session, and remained in this field of labor until the spring of
1868, when his labors ceased.
July 11, 1868, the Rev. I. M. ELY commenced his ministry to the
church, and remained not quite a year. The Rev. Courtney SMITH having relinquished
his charge of the church in Portland, Chautauqua County, at the urgent
solicitation of friends at Little Valley, he came to Ellicottville in September,
1869, and supplied the pulpit, which resulted in an arrangement for his
supplying them three-quarters of the time for the ensuing year.
In September, 1870, he received a call in due form, signed by
the board of elders and trustees, to become the settled pastor of the church
and society, to commence November 1, 1870. By request of the church and
society, the Presbytery of Genesee Valley, participated in the ordination
and installation of the Rev. Courtney SMITH, on the 29th day of December,
1870, since which time he has discharged the duties of the pastorate. The
church has had but two regularly-installed pastors since its organization,–the
Rev. Meade HOLMES and the present incumbent. The church has dwindled to
50 members, and was in a weak and languishing state. The weekly prayer
meetings had been well sustained, and a Sabbath school, under the supervision
of Judge SCOTT, was in a healthy condition. The church and society formed
a connection with the Board of Sustentation in 1872, and the board appropriated
that year $400. The subsequent appropriations were $364 each. Since the
year 1875, the church has been self-sustaining. The religious services
of the church were held for several years in the courthouse, and in 1838
erected a house of worship 30 by 40 feet in size, and one story high, on
the spot where P. J. HAENERFELD’s cabinet shop now stands, the main part
of which is the old church. In 1852, the church edifice they now occupy
was built of brick, on its present site at a cost of $6,000.
The church reported at the last meeting of the Presbytery 1089
members and has a flourishing Sabbath school Lemi CRARY, Superintendent,
with a library of about 200 volumes.
ST. JOHN’S CHURCH (EPISCOPAL)
The first entry on the records of the Episcopal Church is the
following: “At a meeting of the inhabitants of the village of Ellicottville
and its vicinity, held in pursuance to previous notice at the schoolhouse
in said village on the 13th day of September, 1829, for the purpose of
organizing a religious society or church according to the rites and usages
of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New York, the Rev. Rufus
MURRY was called to the chair; Moses BEECHER was chosen secretary; Staley
N. CLARKE and Ezra CANFIELD were nominated and appointed by the said meeting
to certify to its proceedings. The meeting then proceeded to ballot for
two wardens and eight vestrymen, and on counting the votes it was determined
that Ralph R. PHELPS and John FELLOWS were unanimously elected wardens
and Ezra CANFIELD, David WARD, Moses BEECHER, Israel DAY, Nathaniel FISH,
Elihu ALVORD, Henry WOOSTER, and Staley N. CLARKE were unanimously elected
vestrymen of said church. The meeting then passed the following resolutions:
“Resolved, That this church shall hereafter be known by the name
and style of St. John’s Church of Ellicottville.
“Resolved, That the annual elections of wardens and vestrymen
shall hereafter be held on the Monday in the week called Easter week.
“Resolved, That this meeting adjourn sine die.
“I certify that the foregoing record is true,
“Moses BEECHER, Secretary”
The Rev. Reuben H. FREEMAN and the Rev. Alexander FRAZER ministered
to the church between the years of 1829 and 1834. Their names do not appear
as rectors on the minutes of the church, but are on the record of confirmations.
The Rev. Thomas MORRIS was chairman of a meeting March 31, 1834,
and was rector of the church until July 20, 1846. Rev. Nathaniel F. BRUCE
was chosen chairman April 9, 1849.
At a meeting of the wardens and vestrymen, June 23, 1851, it
was “Resolved, the Rev. P. P. KIDDER be invited to take charge of said
church for one year.” He remained as their rector till December 21, 1863,
when his resignation was handed in to the wardens and vestrymen, and after
consultation, it was accepted.
A corresponding committee was appointed with the view of procuring
the services of a successor to Mr. KIDDER as rector of the church.
The Rev. Francis GRANGER was rector over the church in 1867,
and whose services closed soon after, March, 1869. The Rev. William F.
LANE was rector July 26, 1868, as appears by the records, and was employed
for the remainder of the ensuing year, and to divide his time between the
churches of Ellicottville and Salamanca. He remained in this field until
April 10, 1871.
A meeting was called to take measures for the incorporating “St.
John’s Episcopal Church of Ellicottville,” and Anson GIBBS and Charles
MC COY were chosen to sign and acknowledge with the presiding officer,
the certificate of incorporation.
The Rev. M. B. BENTON was rector during the years of 1874-75.
March 12, 1876, a committee were appointed to correspond with
clergymen with a view of securing a rector for St. John’s Church. March
22, 1876, this committee reported in favor of calling the Rev. Aubrey F.
TODRIG, he to have charge also of the church at Salamanca. Rev. C. M. BENTON
returned to the scene of his former labors, and became rector September
1, 1878, and still holds the office.
The first notice of an intention to erect a church edifice is
contained in the following notice from the records of the church, April
At a meeting of the wardens and vestrymen of St. John’s Church
in Ellicottville, called for the purpose of appointing a building committee
for the erection of a church edifice for said church, it was voted unanimously
that Abraham Searl, John Fellows, Elihu, Alvord, Bethuel, McCoy, and Moses
Beecher be said committee.
A church was built and formally consecrated by Bishop B.T. Onderdouk
the 17th day of August, 1838, by the name of St. John’s Church; and at
a meeting of the wardens and vestrymen, held on that day, it was
”Resolved, 1st, That the instrument of donation presented by
the bishop of this diocese be executed by the chairman and secretary of
this meeting and delivered to him.
“Resolved, 2d, That this corporation adopt for their corporate
seal that side of the dime or ten-cent piece that has the impress of the
eagle upon it, and that the same be hereafter used as the seal of said
The church has received the ministrations of Bishop Onderdonk
from 1832 to 1838, Bishop De Lancy from 1839 to 1862, and of Bishop A.C.
Coxe from 1862 to the present time. In the tower of this church is
a Spanish bell of peculiar construction, connected with which is a very
remarkable history. It is a bronze bell, having a circumference at the
top of 4 feet and 2 inches, and 7 feet 2½ inches at the base; height
2 feet and 9 inches, with an average thickness of 3 inches, and weighing
about 1300 pounds. Upon one side of the bell is an ornamented cross,
set in an ornamented triangular base. Above the end of each arm of
the cross is a nail pointing downwards at an angle, and one also on the
right side of the cross, near the bottom, pointing to the foot. Near
the top of the bell, in two lines running round it, in antique characters,
is the inscription:
ABE SOI LABOS DEL ANGEL QVE EN ALTO SVENA MARIA GRACIA PLENA BARGAS
MEFECI MALAGA, 1708
The Rt. Rev. Bishop Coxe says of this inscription, “That it is
corrupt Spanish, as the Malagese are mixed with the moors and speak a barbarous
lingo. They often use b for v, and have changed many other letters; hence,
Abe should be Ave, Labos should be La voz, etc. When corrected into
pure Spanish, then, the inscription would stand thus: ‘Ave (soi la
voz del Angel Qve en alto svena) Maria, plena gracia.’ Translation:
“Hail (I am the voice of the angel who on high sounds forth), Mary! Full
of grace.’ Then the founder adds his name and the place of manufacture,
“bargas, made at Malaga, 1708.’ “
The bell was cast during the reign of Philip V., at Malaga, Spain,
one hundred and seventy years ago. It undoubtedly hung in the tower
of one of the many Spanish convents in the vicinity of that city, and was
used to call the people to morning and evening prayers. About the year
1832, a religious war broke out near the city, and, although its duration
was short, several battles were fought, and a number of monasteries or
convents were sacked and destroyed by fire. It was, with others, collected
at Malaga harbor, laid there some time, and was at length sold to a sea-captain
from New York as ballast for his ship.
They were brought to New York and advertised extensively in the
papers as “a cargo of Spanish bells.” The late Nicholas Devereux purchased
this one, and sold it to the people of this place for $125. A subscription
was taken up, the money raised, and the bell bought. It was sent
to Buffalo on the Erie Canal, and Mr. John Hurlbut drew it here with his
team in the autumn of 1838, and it was the first bell in town. For
several years it was run three times a day, — at six o’clock in the morning,
at noon, and at nine o’clock in the evening.
Its qualities do not seem in the least impaired by age or vicissitudes;
and now, on Sabbath mornings, its tone rings through the valley as clear
and musical as it matin and vesper calls vibrated across the hills far-off
Malaga more than 170 years ago.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
No records can be obtained of the early history of this church,
but services were held soon after 1821, as at that time Ezra Canfield,
who was here at work on the courthouse, was leader of a class. The Rev.
Gleason Fillmore had charge of a church in Buffalo in 1818, and in that
year built the first Methodist church on the Holland Purchase at that place,
and was soon after presiding elder, and met with the few here who were
in sympathy with his views.
. Father May seems to have been the one best remembered by the old
inhabitants here as the first local preacher in 1822. He was succeeded
by Revs. Mr. Nichols, Nevins, Whalen, Colburn, Shaw, Sandord, Anderson,
Burlingame, Pickard, Herrick, Hoyt, John Havens, John C. McCuen. In 1850,
a church edifice was commenced on its present site while the Rev. Sanford
Hunt was in charge, and it was completed under the administration of Rev.
John McCrary, Lorin Packard, and A.W. Luce, and dedicated June 9, 1853,
by the Rev. Schuyler Seager, of Lockport, presiding elder of Buffalo District.
Rev. I.C. Kingsley, P.E., was present and took part in the exercises. The
ministers present were the Rev. Hiram Eddy and the Rev. J.J. Aiken of this
village, Rev. Mr. Parker, of Olean, Rev. C.C.Beard, of Otto, Rev. J. McLelland,
of Springville, Rev. W.S. Tuttle, of Farmersville, and the Rev. Mr. Woodward,
The ministers who officiated in this church from that time are
the Revs. E.M. Buck, E. Ely, Amos Curry, John Wells, Rufus Cooley, Walter
Gordon, A.S. Stevens, — McIntyre, Timothy Potter, John Alexander, Wm. Weber,
P.D. Barnhart, Geo. Cheney, M.D. Jackson, C.D. Rowley, Israel Bowen, and
C.H. Van Vradenburg. The church at present numbers 20 members. It has been
for several years under a charge with the church in Sugartown, in the town
ST. PHILIP NERI’S CHURCH (CATHOLIC)
The first Catholic services held in this town were in the Mansion
House, kept by David Huntley, and were conducted by Father McAvoy. About
six months after, upon the completion of J.C. Devereux’s land-office, services
were held by the same minister. Later, Mr. Nicholas Devereux purchased
a school-house that was unused, and fitted it for a chapel. Fathers Dooran
and McKievers were parish priests residing here, having in charge from
Buffalo east to the Genesee River. Services were held in this chapel for
a year or two. Mr. Devereux agreed to build a church if Fathers Dooran
and McKievers would raise money for a parsonage. The Eric Road was at that
time building, and money was obtained from the laborers. Father Pamfilio
and Milian, of the order of Franciscans, were stationed here, and an organization
was effected Sept. 20, 1848, with 12 members, by Bishop Timon. In
1851, the church edifice was erected at a cost of $4,200, including lot.
Father Fitzsimmons was the first pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. Father
John Beatty, John Twohey, — Le Brittan, —Glennim, — Rogers, J. Brady, and
—Ryan, who is the present pastor.
The number of families in connection with the church is 500.
THE GERMAN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN ST. PETERS’ CHURCH*
(*) “Unaltered Augsburg Confession”
This church was organized Dec. 18, 1867, with 12 members, at Vedder’s
Corners. Their first pastor was the Rev. E. Lemheus, who remained until
the latter part of 1872. Rev. M. Hyer took the pastoral care of the church
in January, 1873, and occupied the field for about two years and a half.
In the fall of 1876, the Rev. Mr. Kanold assumed the labors of the pastorate,
and is still in charge. The church is largely attended by Germans who are
settled in the vicinity, and the services are conducted in the German language.
The first school was taught by Eunice Carpenter, at the house
of Orrin Pitcher, in the summer of 1818. Chauncey J. Fox taught a short
time during the following winter, in a small house now occupied by Charles
Chamberlain near the Catholic church. In the summers of 1819 and 1820,
Ursula Maltby taught in the upper room of Baker Leonard’s house. John W.
Staunton taught in the court-room in the winter of 1820-21, and Nathaniel
Hurlbut in the same place in the winter of 1821-22. The town was first
divided into school districts June 4, 1821, by Artemus Blair, Rickertson
Burlingame, Daniel Thomas, school commissioners.
The report of the school commissioners of the town for 1823 shows
the following facts in reference to the schools for the previous school
District No. 1 — Summer school three months, winter school three
months; number of scholars taught, 55; number of children between the ages
of five and fifteen, 44.
District No. 2 — Summer school three months, winter school three
District no. 3 — Summer school three months, winter school three
months; number of scholars taught, 21’ number of children between the ages
of five and fifteen, 21.
They also report the whole amount of money received for the use
of common schools during the year as $54.69, of which sum $29.69 was received
from the county treasurer, and $25 from the collector, together with $20.24
remaining in the hands of the former commissioners.
The first trustees chosen were Orrin Pitcher, Grove Hurlbut,
and David Goodwin.
The first school-house in the town was on Bryant Hill and was
built in 1820. The first in the village of Ellicottville was erected on
the public square about 1824, and was two stories high, the lower room
being used for a district school, the upper for a select school.
Dissatisfaction arose in the district for some cause, and it
was divided. The school-house was sold to Mr. Devereux. School-houses were
built in the separate districts, — one on the corner of Elizabeth and Adams
Streets, the other near the Catholic church.
THE ELLICOTTVILLE FEMALE SEMINARY
The Ellicottville Female Seminary was opened in the village in
1835, under the charge of Mrs. S. Cowles and Miss Mary Lyman. It
was continued by them for three years, when it passed, in 1838, to the
control of Mrs. Emma R. Newcomb, under whom it remained in successful operation
for several years.
The present school-house in the village of Ellicottville was
erected in 1851.
On October 28, 1865, a meeting was held, pursuant to notice,
for the purpose of deciding whether the district in which the village of
Ellicottville is situated should become a free school district or not.
The meeting having decided in favor of a free school, an election was held
and nine trustees were elected. Elihiu S. Stewart was selected as president,
and J.K. Skinner, clerk.
The present board of education is as follows: William Manley,
President; A. Ward, Secretary; W.G. Laidlaw, H.L. Smith, D.J. Huntley,
G.M. Rider, P.K. Shankland, H.B. Harrington, L.L. Razey; William B. Johnston,
Principal; Miss Harriet McCoy, Intermediate; Miss Kitty Williams, Primary.
The statistics of the schools in the town for 1878 are from statements
kindly furnished by Hon. Neil Gilmour, Superintendent of Public Instruction
of the State. The number of districts are nine, with nine school-houses;
value of school-buildings, with sites, $8,170; volumes in library, 411,
— valued at $246; the number of children of school age, 715; average daily
attendance, 277p; number of weeks taught, 282; number of teachers for 28
weeks or more, 11; amount paid for teachers’ wages, #2,679.42; amount of
public money received from State, $1,524.46; amount of money received from
The first burials in the town of Ellicottville were made in a
ground appropriated for the purpose, lying within the present village corporation,
near its southeastern boundary, on the road leading to Great Valley, now
known as Jefferson Street. Within this ground lie the remains of many of
the first pioneers and some of the most prominent citizens of the village
in the past. It is a spot of some natural beauty, well adapted to
its sacred uses, and is till the principal cemetery of the town.
On Bryant Hill, a ground was set apart soon after the settlement
at that place. Justus, a son of Justin Rust, was the first buried there.
This ground is still in use as a place of interment by the people in the
The “Niles Burying-ground” is situated about a mile west of the
village of Ellicottville, and is used as a family burial-place.
CONSTELLATION LODGE, NO. 435, F. AND A. M.
Constellation Lodge, No. 435, F. and A.M., was organized at Ellicottville,
receiving its charter June 1, 1835. The first officers were Gaius Wheaton,
Master; John Vosburg, Senior Warden; and Jacob Simmons, Junior Warden.
It was chartered by the “County Grand Lodge,” there being from
1823 to 1827 two Grand Lodges in the State. Their meetings were held in
what was known as the Masonic Room in Mr. Huntley’s tavern. The lodge never
made any returns to the Grand Lodge, and the warrant was surrendered in
The Anti-Masonry excitement occurred during its existence, and
but little is known of its history.
ELLICOTTVILLE LODGE, NO. 307
Ellicottville Lodge was chartered June 14, 1858, and on the 18th day
of July, 1853, Past Master Job Bigelow duly constituted such lodge, and
installed its officers, with Rensselaer Lamb as master, Geo. W. Gillett
as Senior Warden, and Clark Robertson as Junior Warden.
Out of the jurisdiction of Ellicottville Lodge have been taken
the Clinton F. Page Lodge, No. 620, of Waverly, and the Franklinville Lodge,
The Past Masters have been as follows: Rensselaer Lamb, J.J.
Aiken, Wm. Howland, Saml. Wm. Johnson, D.H. Bolles, Wm. A. Meloy, J. King
Skinner, E.D., Northrup, Oliver T. Drown, W.R. Pindar, and P.R. Shankland.
The present officers are Palmer K. Shankland, Master; Fred’k Young, Senior
Warden; Riley L. Starr, Junior Warden; E.D. Northrup, Sec.
Their meetings are held in the Masonic Room, in the Brick Block,
on Washington Street. They number at present 78 members.
ELLICOTTVILLE LODGE, NO. 174, A.O.U.W.
Ellicottville Lodge No. 174 was organized Sept. 19 1878, with
14 constituent members, D.J. Woodworth, Dist. Dep. Grand Master Workman;
C.P. Vedder, P.M.W.; A.D. Scott, M.W.; T.A. Hinman, Recorder; L.H. Crary,
They have a present 25 members. Their meetings are held in the
Good Templars’ Room, in the McMahan Block.
THE INDEPENDENT BACHELORS
“At a meeting of the Independent Bachelors of the town of Ellicottville,
held at the house of S.S. Huntley, on Wednesday evening, Feb. 16, 1848,
for the purpose of nominating candidates to be supported at the ensuing
election, J.L. Rice, Esq., was called to the chair, and James H. Metcalfe
was appointed secretary.
“On motion, Resolved, That no candidate be nominated for Supervisor.
Charles C. Hull, Dr. Horace Arnold, and A.H. McKallor were appointed
a committee to report a list of candidates. They reported as follows: For
Town Clerkl, Archibald McKallor; Town Superintendent Common Schools, Charles
P. Washburn; Collector, Charles C. Hull; Justice Milton L. Rice; Assessor,
Horace Rasey; Commissioner of Highways, Horace Arnold; Overseer of Poor,
Samuel S. Huntley; Inspectors of Election, William H. Beecher, Peter V.A
Skinner, James H. Metcalfe; Constables, William Harnes, John A. Vedder,
Napoleon Searle, Amasa Williams, James Johnson.
“Report unanimously adopted.
On motion, R. Harlen, M.L. Rice, and R.L. Carey were chosen a
committee to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting.
They reported the following, which were unanimously adopted:
“Resolved, That we, the unmarried men of Ellicottville, being
unencumbered with wives, and the responsibilities attendant on married
life, deem it our duty to lighten the burdens that have heretofore devolved
upon the married men of this town by taking upon our shoulders the official
duties of said town for the ensuing year.”
“That the candidates presented by this caucus are worthy of the
suffrages of our citizens.”
“That we will elect this ticket in spite of the opposition of
married men and the lamentations of spinsters.”
“That every candidate who shall marry during the term for which
be shall be elected shall give an oyster supper for the benefit of all
the bachelors of said town [hereupon one of the candidates arose and declined
to accept the nomination, when upon motion, it was resolved that no candidate
should be executed unless he shall make affidavit of his intention to marry
within one year, and that the proceedings of this meeting be published
in the papers of this village].”
The Independent Bachelors failed to elect their ticket, and the
“organization” proved short lived.
FORMATION OF AN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY
Very exciting scenes were witnessed in Ellicottville at the formation
of the Cattaraugus County Anti-Slavery Society in 1836. The story of its
formation, and the excitement attending it, is told in the following extracts
from the Ellicottville Republican of that time.
From the issue of April 28, 1836:
His exciting and dangerous topic continued to be the subject
for popular and exciting lectures throughout the country. Notwithstanding
the great mass of the people have pronounced it inexpedient and dangerous,
still we regret there are to be found men willing to embark in any cause,
however corrupt and wicked, even at the expense and hazard of the public
peace and tranquility…..”
“This village, which has been noted for its good order and decorum,
has been, during the past and present week, shaken and convulsed by one
of these disturbers of the peace [Mr. Hunington Lyman], who arrived in
town on Thursday of last week, and appointed a lecture on Abolitionism
for the afternoon of that day. The hour arrived and we are credibly informed
that only nine persons were in attendance, the more respectable portion
of the community attesting their disapprobation by their absence. Not satisfied
with this manifestation of the public will, the disturber appointed the
next day for another lecture; and again found about the same number of
men, and probably an equal number of women, present.”
Those events occurred on the 21st of April. On Saturday, the
23d, another meeting was held at the school-house, amid great excitement,
and at its close, as the audience was retiring, Mr. D.I. Huntley gave out
notice that Mr. Lyman would deliver an abolition lecture the next evening
(Sunday). A large majority of the citizens of the village, — including
all the well-disposed and influential, — considering it a popular political
lecture, were firmly opposed to any such profanation, and accordingly resolved
to resist any such encroachment on the Sabbath. In behalf of those persons
opposed to such lectures, the following letter was addressed to Mr. Lyman:
“April 24, 1836.”
“Mr. H. Lyman. —Sir, — We have understood that a lecture is to
be given by you this evening in the school-house, on the subject of abolition,
and we take the liberty of addressing you on the subject. In the first
place, as we consider it a political subject, we do not deem it a fit subject
for the Sabbath, tending to the profanation of the day set apart for more
serious purposes. We, therefore, as friends of good order in community
and moral example, request that you desist from such a proceeding. We assure
you that we shall not submit tamely to an insult of such magnitude.
“Yours in haste, “Eleazer Harmon,
“Robert H. Shankland”
”No answer was received to the above note, but at the appointed
hour, he appeared, and commenced by reading a chapter in the Bible. After
that having been gone through with, Mr. Harmon interposed, and respectfully
inquired whether the lecture was to be a political or a religious lecture,
stating that it was not his desire to interfere with or disturb a religious
discourse. The agitator utterly refused to give any explanation to the
citizens assembled, and finding they were determined to hear no such lecture,
the friends of the cause repaired to the tavern of the Messrs. Huntley.
In short, the friends of good order were requested to tarry, but upon consultation,
it was resolved to repair also to the tavern, and meet again on Monday
evening at the school-house. All repaired in good order to the tavern,
and obtained admission without any considerable difficulty, and as
they did not undertake to adopt a constitution which they had in readiness,
they were not interrupted.”
A very strong public excitement appears to have resulted from
this attempt to organize an anti-slavery society in Cattaraugus County.
On the following evening (Monday, April 25), a meeting, “for the purpose
of taking into consideration the exciting subject of slavery,” was held
in the school-house in Ellicottville, of which Dr. A. Crary was made chairman,
and Anson Gibbs secretary, and which after its object had been stated,
and a committee appointed to draft resolutions, was adjourned, to reassemble
at the court-house on the following evening.
Upon reassembling at the court-house, pursuant to adjournment,
the committee reported a preamble and resolutions as follows:
“Whereas, An excitement has been produced in our community by
a certain agitator and a chosen few, upon the much-agitated question of
Abolition, and whereas, the Sabbath was violated by an attempt to promulgate
this pestiferous doctrine, in violation of the sacred rule to keep holy
the Sabbath day, and attempts were made to palm off upon the public as
a lecturer on morality, a certain individual whose private character will
not bear examination, but when weighted in his own balances, is found wanting.
We, the committee, to prevent the recurrence of such outrages, do report
the following resolutions:
“Resolved, That it was with no ordinary feeling of indignation
that we witnessed the coming of Mr. Lyman to disturb the universal amity
of social intercourse and moral devotion of the inhabitants of this village,
by introducing his wild and fanatical lectures upon the principles of abolitionism,
and that we consider it an essay by him and his colleagues, to poison the
fountain from which has flowed all our social and domestic happiness; to
demolish the barriers that have heretofore existed between the pure aspirations
of religious devotion and the discordant ebullition of political frenzy……”
“Resolved, That the exhortation of Mr. Lyman to press forward
in the cause of abolition, regardless of the consequences, and if it caused
the dissolution of the Union as preferable to the present state of emissaries
of the monarchial powers to subvert the liberties of our country, and verify
the royal prediction of the ephemeral existence of republics, and it is
the opinion of this committee that the infected author of such treasonous
principles requires the medicinal properties of the tar, and lulling magic
of the feathers, to induce a state of mental convalescence.”
Other resolutions of less importance were adopted by the meeting,
which thereupon adjourned.
“P.S. — Last evening [Wednesday, April 27, 1836] the disturbers
again commenced assembling at the tavern of the Messrs. Huntley, and it
was soon rumored that the purpose was to form a society and adopt a constitution.
A large number of the friends of free discussion and good order immediately
repaired to the tavern, and claimed the right to discuss the principles
of the constitution which they were about adopting without its even being
read. Mr. Harmon insisted upon the right to be heard, but was refused.
The vote, however, was taken, and decided against its adoption. The friends
of abolition were then requested to retire into an adjoining room, — the
friends of free discussion repaired there also; from there they repaired
up-stairs, and the friends of discussion followed; and from up-stairs down-stairs
again, — and then they were respectfully requested to put the adoption
of the constitution to vote again, several persons having come in sine
the rejection who wished to vote; which they utterly refused to do. The
secretary wrote down several names as signers to the constitution; among
the number several little girls and beardless boys. The citizens outnumbered
the agitators three to one, and still were told they should not discuss
freely. The disturbers cannot complain now if they have the chalice returned
to their own lips. The meeting, after rather a desultory discussion, was
declared, by the landlord, adjourned. Next week we shall give the particulars
of last night’s outrage upon the rights of the community, and the successful
manner in which the citizens put down the formation of such a society in
a public manner.” The society, however, was formed at that time; the Rev.
Sylvester Cowles and Pliny L. Fox, Esq., being amount the principal of
THE VILLAGE OF ELLICOTTVILLE*
lies very nearly in the geographical centre of the county, and is located
in an intervale of about half a mile in width, on Great Valley Creek. Hills
rise in varying heights several hundred feet above the valley, and their
sides covered with forest trees majestic in form and rich in foliage. It
was laid out by the Holland Land Company, with special reference to its
position and availability for the future. The county-seat was located at
this place in 1808 by commissioners appointed, and court was held at the
house of Baker Leonard, in 1818. The county buildings were
erected in 1820, and this village remained the county-seat until 1868.
*The Indian name of this village is de-as-hen-da-qua, or “place for
holding courts;” and Great Valley Creek, on which it is situated, was known
as O-da-squa-dos-sa, or around the stone.”
The Holland Land Company opened an office
here in June, 1818, David Godwin, agent.
A notice was published, dated Dec. 21, 1836,
“that an application will be made to the Legislature of the State, at its
next session, for an act to incorporate the village of Ellicottville.”
The application was made and an act passed
April 1, 1837. The village is contained in the following bounds;
“Beginning at a post standing in the centre
of the road leading from Ellicottville to Great Valley, said post being
on a line running south 30 degrees east from the centre of the public square,
and at the distance of 35 chains 35½ links from the centre of said
public square; thence south 60 degrees west, 35 chains 35½links,
to a post; thence north 30 degrees west, 70 chains 71 links, to a post;
thence north 60 degrees east 70 chains 71 links, to a post; thence south
60 degrees west, 35 chains 35½ links, to the place of beginning.”
The area intended† to be inclosed within the village limits is 500 acres.
A notice was published in the Cattaraugus Republican of April 27, 1837,
“The inhabitants residing within the village
of Ellicottville entitled to vote for members of Assembly, are notified
to meet at the court-house of said village the 2d of May next, at one o’clock
in the afternoon of that day, there to elect by ballot five trustees, three
assessors, one treasurer, one collector, one clerk, one constable, who
shall each and every one of these be inhabitants of said village, qualified
to vote for members of Assembly. Israel Day, Justice of the Peace in the
village of Ellicottville. Dated, April 24, 1837.”
Charter election was held, in comformity to
the above call, at the court-house, and the village was organized by the
election of Israel Day, Moses Beecher, Robert H. Shankland, Daniel I. Huntley,
and Samuel S. Clark as Trustees; James Reynolds, Alexander Chambers, and
William Johnston, Assessors; Stanley N. Clark, Treasurer; and Cyrus G.
McKay as Clerk.
† It will be found on examination that these described boundaries inclose
nothing, being only two sides and half of the third side of the square
intended to be inclosed
The following is a list of Presidents and clerks from 1838 to
C. G. McKay.
1842….. Robt. H. Shankland. Nelson P. Wilson
T. S. Bentley
Charles C. Hull.
1847…..Addison G. Rice
A. H. McKaller.
1848…..M. L. Brewster.
1849…..G. W. Senear.
M. Beecher, Jr.
1850…..Wm. P. Angel
1851…..Addison G. Rice
1852…..Wm. Saml. Johnson. David H. Bolles.
1854…..David H. Bolles.
P. H. Jones.
G. W. Baillet.
C. S. Trevitt.
J. King Skinner.
Wm. A. Meloy.
1860…..William B. Huntley Samuel C. Noyes.
1861…..Damid H. Bolles.
1862…..Enos H. Southwick. Manley Crosby.
N. H. Holden.
1865…..A. D. Scott.
E. D. Northrup.
1870…..Robt. H. Shankland. Wm. R. Pindar.
1871…..A. D. Scott.
1872…..R. H. Shankland.
1873…..A. D. Scott
1874…..E. D. Northrup.
1875…..A. D. Scott.
1876…..R. H. Shankland.
1877…..E. D. Northrup.
Officers for 1878: H. B. Herrington,
President; Theodore Lowe, Quintus E. Rust, and F. J. Hinman, Trustees;
Wm. R. Pindar, Clerk.
The population of the village in 1870 was
579, and in 1875, 723,—–an increase of 144.
The village contains 4 churches (Presbyterian,
Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic), 2 hotels, post-office, school-house,
bank, land-office, 4 dry-goods and grocery-stores, 10 groceries, 2 drug-stores,
1 hardware-store, harness-shop, shoe-store, 2 cabinet-shops and furniture-stores,
7 blacksmith-shops, 2 tailor-shops, printing-office, jewelry-store, 3 millinery-stores,
grist-mill, steam saw-, lath-, shingle-, and planing-mill, 3 shoemakers,
foundry, carriage-shop, sign and carriage painter, market, railroad station,
8 lawyers, and 4 physicians.
A fire department was organized in 1874, and
a hand-engine purchased. The present officers are A. J. Layton, President;
T. R. Alcrich, Vice-President; E. G. Herrington, Foreman; Frederick Herrington,
First Assistant Foreman; C. H. Bolles, Second Assistant Foreman; Eb. Saxton,
Captain Hose; J. S. Vallely, Secretary; Frank Redfield, Treasurer; E. S.
ROCHESTER AND STATE LINE RAILROAD.
The track of this road lies along the Great
Valley Creek, passes through the eastern portion of the village, and was
opened for travel May 15, 1878. It will be found more fully mentioned in
the general history of the county.
The town of Ellicottville was bonded for $30,000
in October, 1870, to aid in the construction of the Cattaraugus Railway,
of which $15,000 has been paid, with accrued interest.
The first post-office was opened in the village
of Ellicottville in 1822. John A. Bryan was the first postmaster.
He was succeeded by Henry Saxton, Israel Day, J. King Skinner, Horace Razey,
J. King Skinner, George W. Bailett, Harry Matteson, George Winters, Thomas
R. Aldrich, and George W. Blackman, who is postmaster at present.
The first mail was carried on horseback, by
Moore, from this place to Centerville. Uncle Peter Sampson, as he was
familiarly called, soon after established a route from Buffalo to Olean,
carrying the mail at first on horseback, then carrying on a stage and private
Eleazer Harmon carried on a bank of discount
for two or three years about 1855, in a small brick building in rear of
the court-house. J. King Skinner, Jan. 1, 1858, opened a bank of discount
in the second story of the brick block, and remained there until November
of that year, when he removed to Mr. Devereux’s land-office as clerk, and
continued the bank until 1878. An application was made to the Legislature
of the State of New York in 1863 for a bank, to be called the Cattaraugus
County Bank of Ellicottville, with a capital stock of $200,000. An application
was made also for a bank with capital stock of 55,000 in 1875. Charters
were refused on both applications.
THE BANK OF ELLICOTTVILLE
Was organized as a bank of discount July 15, 1878, and opened for business
August 1, with capital of $20,000. E. S. Stewart, President; C. McCoy,
Vice-President; C. A. Case, Cashier; William H. Bard, Teller.
Copartners individually liable, E. S. Stewart,
C. P. Vedder, Charles McCoy, A. J. Adams, W. A. Fox, Charles A. Case, Ellicottville;
L. H. Smith, Mansfield; T. H. Ferris, Prospect, N. Y.; H. E. Greene, W.
M. Benson, J. D. Case, Thomas Case, N. F. Weed, H. Stillwell, Franklinville.
The bank is located in the building that was
erected and used for the county clerk’s office.
THE CATTARAUGUS COUNTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
was incorporated March 17, 1837. The following officers were elected
for the ensuing year on the 1st of June, 1837: Benjamin Chamberlain,
President; Bethuel McCoy, Vice-President; Adam Charlton, Secretary; Israel
Day, General Agent. The act of incorporation required that application
to the amount of $50,000 be made before policies are issued. The
company remained in business until about 1857. The fire at Gowanda in 1856
caused litigations that lasted several years, and finally culminated in
the dissolution of the company.
The town of Ellicottville contains an area
of 24,407 acres, of which 15,004 are improved. The soil in the valleys
is a gravely loam, and upon the hills is clay loam. It is not dissimilar
to that of the northern part of the county. Considerable attention is given
to fruit culture. Of the cereals, oats are most extensively cultivated.
Potatoes and Indian corn are raised to some extent, but the attention of
the people is mainly directed to stock-raising and dairying. The number
of cows in 1875 was 2058. There was made in families 89,105 pounds of butter;
8800 pounds of cheese; the milk of 1250 cows was sent to the factory, and
9025 gallons of milk were sold in market; 26,418 bushels of potatoes were
raised, and 7103 bushels of apples; and 11,960 pounds of maple-sugar were
made, and 37,590 bushels of oats were harvested.
Mr. Walton Fox manufactured in the year 1877
from eight factories (two of which are in Ellicottville, three in Mansfield,
two in Great Valley, and one in East Otto). 12,201 cheeses, weighing 644,486
pounds, and realizing $70,513.66. Factory No. 2 is near the village where
Mr. Fox resides, and has in connection with it 300 cows: 1500 cheeses were
manufactured in 1877. Factory No. 3 is situated about three miles east
of the village, and uses the milk of about 400 cows: 200 cheeses, averaging
55 pounds each, were made in 1877. Joseph Utrich, of Beaver Meadows, owns
a factory that has in connection 300 cows.
Messrs. Noff & Gamp own a factory near Plato,
using the milk of 300 cows.
On the 22d day of August, 1867, an Agricultural
society was formed, as the “Union Fair Grounds of Ellicottville.”
The members of the association were A. G. Rice, A. A. Walker, H. S. Springer,
Timothy B. Walsh, D. E. Blair, Daniel Darling, A. D. Scott, Geo. W. Seneare,
John McMahon, C. S. Arnold, C. P. Vedder, D. E. Bartlett, Geo. H. Barre.
Addison G. Rice was elected first president, Allen D. Scott secretary,
and A. A. Walker, treasurer. Twenty-six acres of ground were purchased
and fitted up for the purpose, and fairs were held for several years, the
last being held in July, 1872. Soon after that time, Daniel E. Bartlett
purchased the stock of the other members of the association, and the grounds
are now in his possession and used for farm purposes. The town contains
a population of 1902 by the census of 1875.
The agricultural statistics of 1835, with
the manufacturing establishments, number of live-stock, school districts,
teachers’ wages, public maney received, etc.:
Number of acres………………………
Assessed valuation of real estate…….. $77,745
“ personal estate……
Number of cattle……………………… 1,021
“ yards of fulled cloth…….. 661
“ woolen “
“ “ linen………………
County tax……………………………. $472.38
Town “ …………………………….. $552.55
Number of saw-mills………………….
Number of tanneries………………...
Amount of public money expended… $ 92
Teachers’ wages and public money… $ l78
Number of scholars…………………. 305
Comparative statements are given below of the agricultural statistics
of the town for 1855 and 1875, taken from the census of those years;
Number of acres improved…………..
“ meadow land……….
tons of hay cut………….. 1,569
acres of oats sowed……... 1,066
bushels “ harvested….. 25,092
acres of corn planted……. 251
bushels “ harvested…. 8,582
acres of potatoes planted. 176
“ “ apples
“ pounds of maple-sugar
of honey collected 2,183
“ pounds of butter manu-
“ pounds of cheese manu-
“ horses………………….. 251
“ sheep…………………… 2.040
“ pounds of wool clipped… 4,529
Number of acres……………………. 24,407
“ “ improved………….. 15,004 “ “
meadow land……… 4,298 “ tons of hay cut………… 4,622
“ acres of corn planted….. 115 “ bushels
“ harvested.. 3,703
“ acres of oats sowed…… 1,355
“ bushels “ harvested.. 37,590
“ acres of potatoes planted. 191 “ bushels
“ harvested 26,418
“ apple trees…………….. 8,813 “ bushels of apples gathered..
“ pounds of maple-sugar
manufactured…………….. 11,960 “ honey collected…………..
325 “ cows……………………… 2,058 “ “
whose milk is sent to
factory……………………. 1,250 “ pounds of butter
in families………………… 89,105 “ pounds of cheese made
families…………………… 8,800 “ sheep shorn……………….
633 “ pounds of wool clipped….. 2,523 “ “
EDWIN D. NORTHRUP.
This gentleman’s grandfather, John Northrup, was a native of New
London, Conn., and served in the war of 1812; he removed subsequently to
the town of Morris, Otsego Co., N. Y., where his son, Nelson W. (father
of Edwin), was born in the year 1816. Nelson died March 3, 1868, in Greene,
Chenango Co., N. Y., at the age of fifty-three years.
The mother of Nelson W. Northrup, whose maiden name was Mary
Daniels, was a daughter of Nehemiah Daniels, of New London, Conn., who
was present at the burning of that place by the British, being eighteen
years old at the time; and who was one of the few survivors of the memorable
massacre of Fort Griswold. He drew a pension from the Government for that
service until the year 1849, the date of his death, which occurred at Morris,
N. Y. He was of Irish descent, his father and mother being natives of the
“Emerald Isle,” the former being a veteran sailor in the English navy,
who during the war with Spain was captured by the Spaniards, and confined
in the Moro Castle on the Island of Cuba, from which he made a daring escape;
subsequently he left the British service and joined the American navy,
with which he served through the war of the Revolution.
Lorana Fitch, wife of Nelson W. Northrup, and the mother of our
subject, was the daughter of Converse Fitch, son of Jeremiah Fitch and
Abigail Converse. Jeremiah Fitch was a first cousin of John Fitch, the
celebrated steamboat inventor, who trace their lineage back to Joseph Fitch,
a native of Braintree, county of Essex, England, and who was one of the
earliest settlers of Windsor, Conn. Joseph Fitch’s father married Anna
Pew, Aug. 6, 1611, in Bocking, Essex, England.
Edwin D. Northrup was born in Tolland, Conn., the 27th day of
April, 1839. He received a good common-school education, and graduated
at the Connecticut Literary Institution in the year 1862. The following
year he removed to Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., and located in Ellicottville,
which has since been the place of his abode. Mr. Northrup taught the union
school of Ellicottville one winter, and in the following spring (May 18,
1864) entered Johnson’s land-office in the same place, of which he has
had charge ever since. Following the requisite preliminary study,
he was admitted to the bar Nov. 15, 1865, at Buffalo, N. Y., and as an
attorney in the United States Supreme Court, Oct. 14, 1876. He was elected
supervisor of the town of Ellicottville in 1876, which office he still
(1879) holds. Oct. 12, 1870, he married Miss Lucy S. Skinner, of Ellicottville.
The maiden name of his grandmother, Fitch, was Aruma Grant, a native of
Edwin D. Northrup of Ellicottville
CHAUNCEY J. FOX.
Among those who have borne a conspicuous part in the affairs of
this county since its organization, may be named Chauncey J. Fox, one of
the very few survivors of that honorable and brave-hearted band of pioneers
who opened up the wilderness of Cattaraugus County.
Chauncey J. Fox was born in Tolland, Conn., Aug. 21, 1797. A
meagre training in the common schools was the only advantage he enjoyed
for acquiring an education. On attaining his majority (in 1818) he went
to Olean, with a younger brother.*
They hired out to a settler named Tome, and Chauncey subsequently
came to Great Valley, where for several years, in the employ of Benjamin
Chamberlain and Francis Green, he engaged in lumbering. While in their
employ he took up lot 18, containing three hundred and seventy-two acres,
—–clearing a portion of it.
Finding that manual labor was too severe upon his constitution,
he turned his attention to the law and commenced reading in the office
of John A. Bryan, Esq., in Ellicottville, and in January, 1826, was admitted
to practice in the Court of Common Pleas of the county, and in the Supreme
Court in 1833.
In 1832 and 1833 he represented his county in the Assembly, and
in the fall of 1834 he was elected a member of the Senate, in the Eighth
District, in place of John Birdsall, resigned, and was returned for the
full term in 1835. He was instrumental, while in the Assembly and Senate,
in securing the passage of the law taxing the debts of non-residents, and
the act taxing lands of non-residents, for the support of roads and bridges;
also the bill to construct the Genesee Valley Canal. As chairman of the
Railroad Committee he rendered valuable assistance in procuring State aid
to the New York and Erie Railroad. All of which were popular measures in
On the 18th day of February, 1827, he married Hannah, daughter
of Grove Hurlbut, and commenced housekeeping in the building occupied by
J. Pettit’s store on Washington Street (the front part of which was used
by Mr. Fox as his office). They _________________________________________*
Of their attempted voyage down the river, its subsequent abandonment, etc.,
see an account among the pioneer reminiscences in the history of the town
Still reside in Ellicottville, and have seen it rise from a primitive
state to its present highly prosperous condition.
Their children have been five in number,—–Caroline M., who married
George Blackman, the present postmaster; Mary F., married Jackson Adams;
Harriet M., married Arthur H. Howe, the present county clerk; Chauncey
J., Jr., married Caroline Arnold; Charles J., who died in 1833.
As a lawyer he held high rank, especially as an advocate. Although
not an embellished orator, his manner of speaking was impressive, and his
native eloquence always carried conviction in the minds of his auditors.
As a legislator he maintained a high position among the leading statesmen
of the State, who were his associates. As a citizen he is universally respected,
possessing a strong hold upon the affections of the people. He filled many
political and official stations, always discharging the duties of the same
with scrupulous honesty and faithfulness. Colonel Fox having acquired a
handsome competency, is spending his declining years, and enjoying a life
of retirement, in the village of Ellicottville.
Chauncey J. Fox of Ellicottville
DELOS E. SILL
Was born in Cooperstown, Otsego Co., N.Y. His parents removed to Buffalo
when he was about twenty years of age, but prior to that time he went to
Geauga Co., O., where his brother was editor and publisher of the Geauga
Gazette. With him he learned the trade that became the leading business
of his life. He afterwards removed to Buffalo, lived with his parents,
and entered the printing office of David M. Day, at that time editing the
Buffalo Journal. While there he became acquainted with several young men
who afterwards became distinguished in political life, among whom we may
mention ex-President Fillmore and Hon. A. M. Clapp, who were always his
intimate friends. While he was living in Buffalo his father died, and a
short time afterward, upon his mother’s removal to Springville, he entered
the Springville Academy and remained a year. Then he removed to Ellicottville
and established the Ellicottville Republican, in April, 1833. While here
he married Miss Harriet Beecher, daughter of Moses Beecher. In 1835 he
sold the paper to Robert H. Shankland, and removed to West Aurora, where
he started the Aurora Democrat, in October of that year. The paper not
receiving much patronage, was discontinued in February, and in June, following,
he removed to Olean to take charge of the publication of the Olean Advocate,
then edited by the afterwards celebrated Dr. Rufus W. Griswold, continuing
the various changes until it passed into the hands of A. M. Badger.
During the memorable campaign of 1840 he started the Cattaraugus
Whig, at Ellicottville. This paper was recognized as the organ of the Whig
party in Cattaraugus County, and changed in name to that of Cattaraugus
Freeman, about 1854, remained for about twenty-nine years under Mr. Sill’s
management until the attack of an incurable disease compelled him to retire
from active pursuit. From this time health was a stranger to him, but he
lingered for nearly five years longer, and died Feb. 13, 1870, in the fifty-ninth
year of his age.
He was a man of much more than ordinary ability. For a quarter
of a century he was a leader of the Whig and Republican parties of the
county, and was widely and favorably known in the political world. He twice
received the nomination of his party as presidential elector, and in 1848
was appointed messenger of the Electoral College of New York. In 1861 he
received the appointment of Indian agent for the tribes of this State,
and held this position until ill health compelled his resignation.
He was industrious, energetic, and persevering, and these qualities
gained for him their usual reward,—pecuniary success. His acquaintances
awarded to him the character of a kind and sympathizing neighbor, a liberal,
enlightened, and public-spirited citizen, and an upright and honest man.
Delos Sill of Ellicottville
STALEY NICHOLS CLARKE
The real value to society of an individual member consists not so much
in his exhibition of those shining powers of intellect which compel our
admiration, as in the daily manifestations of those more attractive qualities
of heart which win our confidence and love. Great abilities assuredly have
their uses, and when their destiny is properly unfolded, the world is a
gainer by their existence, and a loser by their decay. But the virtues
of charity, largeness of soul, and an ever-actuating sympathy for and with
one's kind, are essential elements in every pleasure. The great die and
are buried. The good are buried but never die, for their souls are so inwrought
into the lives of those around them, that the aggregate existence of the
community is, to some extent, a continuous and permanent embodiment of
their character. Their names may not live upon the lips of men, but the
actual effects of their influence and example descend from generation to
generation, a precious and perpetual inheritance of strenuous, but unobtrusive
The man, therefore, who unites goodness of heart with intellectual ability,
has a claim upon our esteem while living, and upon our affectionate remembrance
when dead, which, for the honor of our race, we should never disregard.
It is a worthy, and should be a pleasurable task, for each to contribute
his share, however slight, towards a proper recognition of the value of
such a character. It is with a feeling akin to this, that the present sketch
of one more thoroughly identified than any other with the history and prosperity
of our county, is undertaken.
Staley Nichols Clarke was born in Prince George's County, in the State
of Maryland, on the 29th day of May, 1794. At the age of twenty-one he
emigrated to Western New York, and began his career in life as a clerk
in the Bank of Niagara, at Buffalo. In 1819, Mr. Clarke removed to Batavia,
where he was employed as a clerk in the office of the Holland Land Company
until January, 1822, when he took charge of the office of the company at
Ellicottville, as their agent.
The county of Cattaraugus was then a comparative wilderness, whose
aboriginal beauty of hill and valley, of heavy forest and unobstructed
water-courses, had suffered but little waste from the hands of men. Olean,
from its situation on the Allegany River, was even then a place of considerable
consequence. The surface of the county was dotted here and there with an
occasional clearing, but in general nature reigned in undisputed sway.
Even Ellicottville was closely environed by forests; it was a mere island
in an ocean of verdure.
The settlers were necessarily poor. Like all who immigrate to unsettled
territory, they came, to a great extent, destitute, either driven by necessity
or impelled by enterprise. With no capital, but stout hearts and hands
willing to toil, it was no light task to grapple at once with the
exigencies of debt and the stern hardships of backwoods life. Separated
by an almost impassable distance from home and birthplace, in the heart
of a wilderness, invulnerable to aught but endless toil; cut off from all
but occasional communication with the friends they had left behind, and
provided with but scanty means to meet an accumulating indebtedness, it
would not have been surprising if even their iron nerves had yielded to
the crushing burden of their lot, and repudiated the ungrateful task of
redeeming an unwilling soil. But they were not the men to repine or succumb.
Their work was before them, and they did it well. To their spirit amidst
discouragements, to their hope amidst reverses, to their fortitude in trial,
to their determined and persistent energy at all times, we, whose comforts
are the fruits of their privations, whose labors are lightened by their
toil, whose possessions are enriched by their exertions, are under an obligation
which we do not appreciate, and cannot discharge.
To these hardy pioneers the advent of Mr. Clarke was an inestimable
blessing.. Their scanty crops, wrung with strenuous and painful effort
from a reluctant soil, barely sufficed to meet their immediate wants, and
afforded but meager encouragement of means for liquidating the claim of
the landlord. In him, however, their embarrassments found a ready appreciation.
Gifted with that true generosity of heart which constitutes the only genuine
nobility, those in need of kindness and indulgence met from him not the
oppression of the task-master, but the sympathy and encouragement of a
friend. His fidelity to those who employed him was scrupulous and unquestioned;
but to lend a willing ear and a helping hand to the appeal made by penury
and distress he ever regarded as a duty paramount to all, and imposed upon
him by the very fact of his manhood. Those who have experienced kindness
at his hands, and their name is legion, will bear testimony to the assertion
that in no case of actual need was an application for lenity or kindness
ever made in vain. Many of these objects of his beneficence are now living,
rich in herds of cattle and acres of cultivated land, but neither age nor
prosperity has dimmed their gratitude for the kindness he has shown them
in their hour of need.
The confidence and affection with which he was regarded
led to his election as County Treasurer in 1824, an office which he continued
to fill through a period of seventeen years. In November, 1840, he was
elected to Congress, where he served his constituents during his term of
office. Since then he has filled no public place. Though deeply interested
in all that concerned the welfare of the country, he had no craving for
the stormy and unsubstantial excitement of political warfare, and readily
yielded his place to more ambitious men.
Mr. Clarke came to Buffalo, in 1815, to take charge, as deputy, of the
clerk's office of Niagara County (then including Erie County), on the invitation
of his brother, the Hon. Archibald S. Clarke, county clerk. The latter
gentleman was a citizen of the highest character, of personal popularity,
and was honored with important public trusts by the people. In 1808-9 he
was, surrogate of Niagara County; in the years 1809-11 he represented Niagara
County in the Assembly; in 1813-16 was State Senator from the Western District,
comprising fifteen counties; in 1816-17 he was representative in Congress
from the Twenty-first District, embracing nine western counties; and in
1815-16, county clerk.
Hon. Staley N. Clarke married Eunice Thayer, at Clarence, Niagara (now
Erie) Co., N. Y., Oct. 27, 1816; she was born in Ontario Co., N. Y., March
5, 1797. Mr. Clarke died in Ellicottville, N. Y., Oct. 14, 1860. Mrs. Clarke
died in Corry, Pa., June 23, 1873. Eleven children - namely:
1. Sarah Eunice, born in Buffalo, Aug.. 9, 1817 : married Theodore
Smith, Aug. 16, 1835. Two children, - Nichols, married, deceased;
Archibald Clarke, married.
2. De La Fayette, born in Buffalo, April 11, 1819; married twice: first,
to Sarah Ketchum, deceased; second, to Mary A. Snyder. Seven children.
3. Mary, born in Batavia, Dec. 7, 1823; married William B. Hull, Nov.
23, 1841 ; he died May 19, 1845. One son, Col. Walter Clarke Hull, was
a private in the 37th New York Volunteers, 1861; promoted to lieutenant
; was aide-de-camp to Major-General Stoneman, commanding cavalry corps;
promoted colonel 2d New York Cavalry; killed in battle of Cedar Creek,
Va., Nov. 12, 1864; a gallant and heroic soldier, he died leading his command,
the youngest colonel in the army.
4. Archibald Smith, born in Ellicottville, March 20, 1823; died Nov.
5. Dryden, born in Ellicottville, May 26, 1825; Married William Gallagher,
July 22, 1846; he died June, 1868. Five children.
6. Staley Nichols, born in Ellicottville, Aug. 21, 1827 died Feb. 20,
7. Abbie Wood, born in Ellicottville, Sept. 29, 1830; married Charles
H. Chapin. Two children.
8.. Theodora, born in Ellicottville, Feb. 11, 1833; married Dr. James
B. Colegrove, Nov. 17, IS58 - she died Dec. 30, 1858.
9. Emma Magruder, born in Ellicottville, Feb. 23,1835; married William
Thompson, Sept. 30, 1863; she died July 16, 1873. Five children.
10. William Thomas, born in Ellicottville, July 29, 1837; married Thankful
Riggs, Jan. 24, 1865. Four children. William T. Clarke was captain in the
37th New York Volunteers; engaged in the battles of Williamsburg to Gettysburg;
serving as a brave and gallant officer in the war of 1861-63.
11. Frances Smith, born in Ellicottville, Oct. 27, 1840; married Manley
Crosby, June 3, 1863. Seven children.
Staley N. Clarke of Ellicottville
THEODORE SMITH of Ellicottville
THEODORE SMITH, the son of Pliny and Sarah Smith, was born at Orwell,
Rutland Co., Vt., June 28, 1809. His father was a gentleman of high social
and public position in the county of Rutland, and was repeatedly elected
to the highest offices in the gift of his people, having been a member
of the General Assembly, State Senator, and was Judge of Probate for many
The subject of our sketch received his education in the local district
and grammar schools, and at the academy in Castleton, residing at his father's
home until he was twentyone, when he was married to Lucy NICHOLS, daughter
of Dr. ASHER NICHOLS, and Lucy, his wife, of Whiting, Vt. A short time
thereafter, in August, 1831, he removed to Springville, Erie Co., N. Y.,
and began life as a merchant, and successfully carried on his
business there until 1838. His wife having died in June, 1834, he was again
married, in August, 1835, at Ellicottville, to Sarah E., daughter of Hon.
Staley N. CLARKE.
In November, 1838, Mr. Clarke tendered him a position in the Land-Office
at Ellicottville, in which Mr. Clarke was then the agent for the " Farmers'
Loan and Trust Company," who had succeeded to the " Holland Land Company"
by the purchase of their estate in Western New York; and Mr. Smith, accepting
the offer, removed with his wife to Ellicottville to reside. He continued
in the Land-Office until the-year 1843, in the mean time pursuing the study
of law, and was admitted to practice as an attorney, but never followed
the profession, as in the latter year be entered into partnership with
Truman R. COLMAN, Esq., in the agency of the lands of several gentlemen
of Albany and New York, who had purchased immense tracts in Cattaraugus,
Allegany, and Wyoming Counties from the Holland Land Company.
This agency they carried on, uniting with it the business of private
banking, under the firm-name of Colman & Smith, until in the year 1847
they became purchasers of the lands owned by several of their principals,
the purchase amounting altogether to some seventy-five thousand acres.
They continued their real estate and banking business in partnership
for a number of years, until finally, about the year 1852, they divided
the remaining property and the partnership ceased; and a year or two later
Mr. Colman removed to Dunkirk. So amicable were their relations in the
division of their property, that Mr. Smith and Mr. Colman made separate
lists, numbered 1 and 2, of all their real and personal estate, dividing
equally in value according to their best judgment. They placed two tickets,
numbered 1 and 2, in a hat; a third party put his hand in the hat, taking
one ticket in his band. Mr. Smith said to Mr. Colman, " It is your choice
!" Mr. Colman accepted the first number drawn corresponding to the list
of the same number. And the division and settlement thus quickly made was
satisfactory to both gentlemen,-a good illustration of the fact that two
honest men, each having entire confidence in the integrity of the other,
neither desired nor required the slightest advantage.
At Mr. Smith' s request, we state that he desires to testify to his
knowledge of the many great qualities of mind and heart possessed by Mr.
Colman. Their business relations of many years were never marred by the
slightest disagreement, and to this day the same kindliness of feeling
and close friendship exists between them that did during all the time before
their partnership was dissolved.
Mr. Clarke while having Mr. Smith in his office became much attached
to him, and their intercourse grew into the most intimate personal friendship
and regard; and when Mr. Clarke died, in his will it was found Mr. Smith
was his executor, and the care and custody of the estate remained in his
charge for some thirteen years before division. This feeling of Mr. Clarke's
has also been shared in by the rest of his family; and Mr. Smith has, from
time to time, been the custodian of other large estates in the family.
Mr. Smith continued to reside in Ellicottville until November, 1863.
In the winter of 1861-62, Mr. Smith went to Washington, remaining some
six weeks. During that time he visited the Union troops frequently in their
camps, forts, and the hospitals, and became thoroughly conversant with
the condition of the army. He studied the character of commanding generals,
and wondered, as thinking men did, why our great army did not move against
the rebel armies. The masterly inactivity of our generals surprised him.
He was a visitor to both houses of Congress,-to the President and the Treasury
Department,-making himself familiar with the finance measures then pending
for the purposes of the war.
In 1862, on President Lincoln's call for five hundred thousand additional
men for the army, he canvassed this county in person, and made many speeches
of great power and eloquence, aiding enlistments, and urging a vigorous
and unrelenting prosecution of the war. In the next year be removed to
New York, where he resided some two years, when be went to Buffalo, and
purchasing an elegant residence in the upper part of the city, has continued
to live there, surrounded by all the comforts and luxuries which large
wealth can command.
Mr. Smith is a man of great mental power, clear, incisive, and logical;
an apt reasoner and forcible in debate or on the platform; a man of large
charities, and one " who, letteth not his right hand know what his left
hand doeth." His business capacity is beyond that of most men, and his
probity unquestioned by even a suspicion. In his domestic relations he
is a kind and indulgent husband and father, and his noble wife has been
spared to cheer and solace his declining years. The sole grief of his later
life has been the death of his only daughter, who died in the bloom and
grace of her young womanhood, and left two homes desolate.
Theodore SMITH was born in Orwell, Vt., June 28, 1809; married Lucy,
daughter of Asher Nichols, at Whiting, Vt., March 2, 1831; one daughter,
Lucy Evelina, died March 6, 1835. He was married to Sarah E., daughter
of Hon. Staley N. CLARKE, at Ellicottville, Aug, 16, 1835 ; two children:
1. Lucy Nichols, born in Ellicottville, June 9, 1842; married James
C. BEECHER, in Buffalo, Jan. 10, 1867; she died in Buffalo, March -19,
1868; One son, Theodore Smith, born in Buffalo, Feb. 22, 1868.
2. Archibald Clarke, born in Ellicottville, March 17, 1848; married
Emma CARVER, at Ellicottville, Sept. 7, 1871; one daughter, Lucy Nichols,
born in Independence, Iowa, July 4, 1872.
Theodore Smith of Ellicottville
GEN. DANIEL I. HUNTLEY
The father of our subject, Daniel Huntley, Sr., was a native of
Connecticut, and married Catharine, daughter of Thomas Stillwell.
Mr. Huntley, in 1816, left Corltand Co., N. Y. for a trip to Ohio, intending
to locate in Columbus or Cincinnati, but when he had got so far on his
way as Olean Point, he was induced to purchase of Levi Gregory three tracts
of land in Franklinville, on which considerable improvements had been made.
He then returned East, and in the following spring removed with his family
to his new home in this county. Having brought with him from the
East thirty cows, he immediately commenced a dairy, - presumably the first
in the county. He shipped the produce of his farms to Olean, then
looming up as a place of prospective importance. He carried on farming
operations quite largely for that early day. When the county-seat
was removed to Ellicottville, he came hither and purchased an eighty-acre
tract of Spencer Pitcher, now occupied by his son, Daniel. I. He
also bought another farm, one hundred and fifty acres, located farther
east, in the same town. These were subsequently increased to nine
hundred acres. In 1920 he built and the following year opened the
“Mansion House” which he kept till the time of his death, July 5, 1846.
The hotel was continued by his family until about seven years since, when
it was sold. Mrs. Catharine S. Huntley died Dec. 7, 1864, at Ellicottville.
Their marital relations were blessed with eight children (of whom six still
survive), namely, William, who died in 1827, and was the first person buried
by the Masonic fraternity in Ellicottville; Thomas S., a farmer in McHenry
Co., Ill, located at Huntley Station, which was named in his honor; Daniel
I, the subject of this notice; Silas, a commission merchant, residing in
Chicago; Samuel, a farmer, and Amy, unmarried, both living in Ellicottville;
Catharine, deceased (in 1827); and Jane M., wife of P. J. McGowen,
a merchant, and residing in the State of Oregon.
Daniel I., son of Daniel and Catharine (Stillwell) Huntley, was
born in the town of Cincinnatus, Cortland Co., NY., Sept 5, 1810.
He married, in 1840, Miss Eliza Hawkins, a native of Massachusetts.
She died in April, 1852. He took as his second wife, Jan 2, 1855,
Miss Cordelia V.Chamberlain, a native of Wooster, Mass.
Mr. Huntley lived with his father, working on the farm and assisting
in the management of the hotel, but since the sale of the latter he has
confined himself solely to agricultural pursuits. During his early
life (from 1827, and for many years) he took a prominent part in the military
affairs of this State, - commencing as second sergeant, and passing
all the grades up to that of brigadier-general, and performing the duties
of all the several offices up to the command of a brigade.
He also held several civil offices; besides some minor positions, he was
supervisor of the town of Mansfield for two years, and held the office
of county treasurer from 1843 to 1846. He is a member of the Episcopal
Church, having been confirmed by Bishop Coxe over forty years ago.
His present wife is a communicant of the same church. His family,
by his first wife, numbered four children, - Silas S., Henry, Charles A.,
and Eliza S. - of whom the first named only survives. Henry was shot
at the battle of Williamsburg, and died of the effects of his wound; Charles
went West, and died in Montana; and Eliza died young. Silas S., the
eldest son, is now, and has been for a number of years, engaged as one
of a company of United States mail contractors, being located at Washington.
He was a soldier during the war of the Rebellion, as a member of the 64th
New York Volunteer Regiment, and sustained an honorable record. He
held the rank of first lieutenant, serving on the staff of Gen. Berry,
as aide to Col. De Lancy, commanding brigade, and also in the office of
the commissary Department of Prisoners, at Washington, D. C.
By his second wife he has had four children, - William D., Sophia
E., Walter H., and Arthur A., - all unmarried and living at home, except
William, who is engaged with Silas S. in the stock business in Montana.
Gen. Huntley has always been a hard-working, enthusiastic farmer.
For the past twenty-five years he has made it his special business to make
his living out of th soil. He does not intend to be placed on the
“retired” list while he has strength left to labor on the farm, having
entered upon it as a life-vocation. He is a self-made man, a good
farmer, a kind neighbor, sympathetic friend, a consistent Christian, in
politics a Republican, and generally esteemed.
HON. ADDISON G. RICE
The Hon. ADDISON G. RICE was born at Richfield Springs, Otsego Co.,
N. Y., Dec. 29, 1821, and removed with his parents to the town of Otto
(now East Otto) in May, 1826, and from that time until the fall of 1867
was a resident of this county.
Facilities for an education in those days in this locality were limited,
but, he availed himself of all that were to be had. He attended the district
school, and then a few terms at the Springville Academy, and was taught
at home by his father, who was then regarded as among the best educated
men in the County.
In 1841 he commenced the study of his profession with the Hon. William
P. Angel, at Ellicottville, and was admitted to the Court of Common Pleas
in June, 1843, and at the October term, in 1846, was admitted to practice
in the Supreme Court. He commenced the practice of his profession at Ellicottville,
where he continued to reside until he left the county.
By his untiring energy and ability he became thoroughly learned in
the law and well skilled in the practice, and almost immediately after
his admission to the bar, he became a leading and successful lawyer, and
took a high position as an advocate and counselor, often meeting in the
courts of his own and adjoining counties in large and important cases as
opposing counsel, such men as Judge Martin Grover, of Allegany County,
Judge Hiram Gray, of Chemung Judge John L. Talcott, of Buffalo,
and others equally learned and celebrated in the profession. No client
of his ever had reason to complain that his case was not well conducted.
During the last ten years of his residence the county, he was emphatically
a leader in the profession, often employed by other attorneys as the leading
counsel in the trial of the most important cases. He now resides in Buffalo,
and stands in the front rank of the lawyers of the State.
In politics, like his father, the Hon. Elijah A. Rice, of East Otto,
he was a Whig, and prominent in the counsels of the leaders of the old
Whig party, and became a Republican with the organization of that party
in 1855. He was a delegate to the first Republican National Convention
in 1856 - was a member of the Assembly in 1862, in which be served as chairman
of the committee on Claims, and a member of the Ways and Means, and of
the committee on the revision of the Rules and Joint Rules of the two houses.
In person be is tall, large, well-proportioned, and of commanding and
dignified presence, and endowed with great physical powers, and his forty
years' life in Cattaraugus in his earlier days not only proved, but developed
in him powers of endurance found only among the pioneer settlers of new
Shortly after he was admitted to the bar, he was married to Miss Ellen
R. McCoy, and they have three children, one son and two daughters.
Mr. Rice is a man of varied learning, of comprehensive views, of great
force of character, of sound judgment, of strict integrity, resolute and
determined, and unyielding in the cause of right as he understands it.
A true friend, large-hearted, and possessed of a genial, kind, and generous
Addison G. Rice of Ellicottville
Standing at the head of the agriculturists of the town of Ellicottville,
this county, is the gentleman named above. Mr. Litchfield is a native
of Hampden, Hampshire Co., Mass., where he was born Dec. 12, 1823.
He was the youngest son and child, in a family of eleven children, of Ensign
and Mary Litchfield, natives of New England, and of English descent. In
the year 1830, his father removed from Massachusetts to Cattaraugus Co.,
N.Y., and settled on a farm of seventy-eight acres, in the town of Ellicottville;
the same farm upon which his son, B.E. Litchfield, now resides, although
its area was subsequently increased to three hundred acres. He received
only a common-school education, but his early life having been spent on
a farm, he gained a practical knowledge of those pursuits that have enabled
him to take rank among the most successful farmers of his section. He has
been a Republican until the fall of 1878, when he acted with the Greenback
party. He married (Oct. 14, 1847) Lucinda, daughter of Israel and Delight
Thatcher, of Hopewell, Ontario Co., N.Y., she being a native of that place,
and born Jan. 28, 1824. They have had four children, none of whom
Beals E. Litchfield of Ellicottville
Lucinda (Thatcher) Litchfield
Residence of Beals E. Litchfield of Ellicottville
WILLIAM SAMUEL JOHNSON
William Samuel JOHNSON, son of Samuel William JOHNSON and his
wife, Susan EDWARDS JOHNSON (daughter of Pierrepont EDWARDS, and granddaughter
of Jonathan EDWARDS, president of Princeton College), was born at Stratford,
Conn., December 13, 1795. His grandfather was William Samuel JOHNSON, a
prominent man in the politics of his time, and a member of the National
Constitutional Convention of 1788.
William S. JOHNSON (the younger) removed to New York City in
1819, and entered as a student in the law office of the Irish Patriot,
Thomas Addis EMMETT. He was admitted to the bar in 1820, and became a partner
with the Hon. Ogden EDWARDS; and was afterwards a partner of Judge William
KENT, son of Chancellor KENT of New York. He was a member of the common
council of New York in 1834-35, and it was largely through his influence
and active exertions, with those of Robert EMMETT, that the city was provided
with its abundance of pure water from the Croton River, in place of its
previous miserable and insufficient supply from the carts of the “Manhattan
Water Works Company.” He also originated and carried through the project
of building the “Tombs” (city prison), on Centre Street, to supersede the
use of the old “Bridewell” prison; and he gave active and efficient aid
in the establishment and erection of the lunatic asylum on Blackwell’s
Island. He was a member of the New York Senate in 1848-49, and introduced
the bills, which became laws, relating to the Seneca nation of Indians.
He worked earnestly for the welfare of this Indian nation, and the passage
of wholesome laws relating to them in their relations to their white neighbors.
On the 20th of April, 1824, he married Laura WOOLSEY (sister
of President WOOLSEY of Yale College), who is still living. The children
born of this marriage are: Gen. Samuel William Johnson of Mamaroneck, N.Y.,
formerly of Ellicottville, late commissary-general of New York; Dr. Woolsey
JOHNSON of New York City; Susan E. J. HUDSON of Stratford, Conn.; and Laura
CARMALT, wife of Dr. CARMALT of New York City.
Having become proprietor of large tracts of land in Cattaraugus
County, Mr. Johnson came here in 1846, and opened his land office at Ellicottville.
The business of this office is still continued in that village under supervision
of his agent, E. D. NORTHRUP, Esq.
In 1851, he removed his family to Ellicottville, where they resided
until 1858, when he removed them back to Stratford, although he remained
at Ellicottville and retained his residence there until 1862, residing
with his son, Gen. S.W. JOHNSON. He is now living, in his serene old age
at Stratford, Conn.
His long life has been an active one in good works. Of the strictest
integrity and widest benevolence, and of an unpretentious manner, he combines
the noblest qualities of man,–seeking always the substantial good of all
who come within the circle of his acquaintance, rather than the advancement
of his own popularity and advantages, or the exercise of the power he commands.
Few men are more generally beloved and respected than William Samuel JOHNSON.
William Samuel Johnson of Ellicottville
A. D. SCOTT
The Hon. Allen D. SCOTT was born at Springville, Erie County,
N.Y., on the 15th day of January, 1831. In his infancy, his father, Justus
SCOTT, Esq., removed with his family to the town of Otto, Cattaraugus County,
where he now resides, an extensive and successful farmer. The boyhood years
of Judge SCOTT were spent upon his father’s farm, and his education was
acquired during the winter months in the neighboring district school,–
a school noted for the success of its scholars, and from which had graduated
ex-Senator J. P. DARLING, ex-Governor Addison C. GIBBS, ex-U. S. Senator
Benjamin F. RICE, Hon. Romanzo BUNN, U. S. District Judge; Hon. Henry VAN
AERNAM, member of Congress, and others not “unknown to fame.” Like those
who had preceded him in the district school, young SCOTT’s education was
finished with a few terms at the old academy at Springville, and a single
year at Lima.
After leaving the academy, he engaged in teaching for a year
or two, and then commenced the study of his profession with Hon. Chester
HOWE, then county judge of Cattaraugus County at Ellicottville, and continued
and completed his clerkship with Hon. Nelson COBB, then the county judge,
in the year 1847, when he was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice
at Ellicottville. His rise at the bar was rapid. The confidence of the
court, the lawyers, and the community in his fidelity and integrity was
unlimited, and his learning and conceded ability secured him a fair share
of professional patronage. In 1861, he became a member of the law firm
of RICE & SCOTT at Ellicottville, long a leading and influential law
firm in the western part of the State. When Mr. RICE removed from the county
in 1867, Judge SCOTT succeeded to the business, and formed the firm of
SCOTT & LAIDLAW which, until Mr. SCOTT was elected judge, was a leading
and influential law firm at Ellicottville, well known and respected throughout
In politics, Judge SCOTT was educated a Whig, and became a member
and supporter of the Republican party on its organization in 1855, and
has since been one of its most trusted, influential, and zealous supporters.
He was twice elected surrogate of the county, and served one year under
appointment of the Governor, when the office was first separated from the
office of county judge; and in the fall of 1860, he was appointed county
judge by Governor MORGAN, to serve out the unexpired term of Judge COBB,
who had removed from the county.
In the fall of 1869, he was nominated as a candidate for the
Senate by the Republican convention of the Thirty-Second District, composed
of the counties of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus, but under circumstances
that clearly indicated that the campaign was to be of unusual interest
and severity. He boldly bid defiance to his opponents, and was rewarded
by a majority of 4,790 over his competitor, Hon. Jonas K. BUTTON, the most
worthy and personally popular man in the Democratic party in the district,
a majority greater than that of General SIGEL, who headed and led the State
ticket. In the Senate, he was a member of the leading and important committee
on finance, and was an able and active worker on the floor of the Senate
chamber. He is now the capable, efficient, and upright judge of Cattaraugus
County, to which office he was elected for the term of six years in the
fall of 1876.
In person and manners, Mr. Scott is stately, commanding, of fine
presence, and gentle and affable demeanor toward all men; an attendant
of the Presbyterian Church; and in conduct without reproach in all the
relations of life.
The county of Cattaraugus is indebted to Judge Scott, more than
to any other one of its citizens, for the successful termination of the
long struggle in carrying to completion the great thoroughfare, so valuable
to the county and to so many of its inhabitants, the Rochester and State
Line Railway Company, which became a great and leading thoroughfare from
its opening. Few do or can know the cares, the anxiety, the responsibility,
and the labor which bear down, oppress, and wear out a man who puts himself
at the head of such an enterprise and can feel, as each day brings its
disappointments and discouragements, that success will be the success of
the community, but defeat or failure will be his alone. Judge SCOTT can
tell, for he has been in that man’s position.
The man who opens the avenues of wealth and prosperity to the
people of a county is worthy the fullest honors the county can bestow.
It was the untiring zeal, the labor, the patience, the unyielding hope
and faith of Judge SCOTT in the final success of the enterprise, that secured
The people of Cattaraugus should not forget the fact, nor the
respect and honor due to him who has served them so faithfully and so successfully.
Allen D. Scott of Ellicottville
ROBERT H. SHANKLAND
One of the oldest living printers and newspaper publishers in
western New York, and possibly in the State, is he whose name heads this
notice. He was an associate of the late Horace GREELEY, of Cornelius WENDELL,
afterwards congressional printer at Washington, of Edwin CROSSWELL, State
printer at Albany, and others well known in the field of literature and
Robert H. SHANKLAND, son of Thomas and Rachel SHANKLAND, was
born at Cooperstown, Otsego County, N.Y., October 1, 1813. His father was
taken prisoner by the Indians at the burning of Cherry Valley, and kept
in captivity for two years, when he was bought by a British officer for
two Indian blankets. Robert received a common-school education, and in
the year 1827, apprenticed himself to the printing business in the office
of the Freeman’s Journal, at Cooperstown, then edited by Col. John H. PRENTISS.
Two years later, he went to New York City, where he clerked in a dry goods
store for a short time, but this being not to his taste, he shipped as
a sailor to the East Indies. After being out nine days, the vessel was
driven back in distress; an experience which ended his career as a seaman.
He next entered the book-printing establishment of J. & J. HARPER,
New York (since and long known as HARPER Bros.), and there finished his
apprenticeship to the “art preservative.” Subsequently, he was employed
as a journeyman printer in the office of the Courier and Inquirer, of which
Jas. Gordon BENNETT was city, and James Watson WEBB managing editor; also
in the Methodist Book Concern and in WEST’s office in Chatham Street, working
side by side with Horace GREELEY, both being engaged as compositors on
a work by Professor BUSH. He left New York City and returned to Cooperstown,
assuming the foremanship of the Journal office, which he retained until
he came to Cattaraugus County in April 1835. He located at Ellicottville,
where he bought the office of the Republican, and issued his first number
May 1, 1835. He continued its publication until 1854 when he sold the establishment
and purchased The Union office, of which he has since been the proprietor,
editing and publishing the Cattaraugus County Union without interregnum,
down to the present time.
Col. SHANKLAND has been honored with many offices of honor and
trust. He has served as supervisor of his town, and was surrogate of the
county for nine years. He was a presidential elector in 1844, being the
youngest member of the electoral college. He held the position of State
agent for the Onondaga Indians in New York, and for two years officiated
as United States Indian agent during the administration of President POLK.
He has always affiliated and acted with the Democratic party of which his
paper is the recognized organ in Cattaraugus County.
Connected as he has been for nearly a half century with the press
of this county, it is eminently fitting that the portrait and life sketch
of this veteran printer, editor, and publisher should have a place in these
pages; and now at the age of sixty-five, he is still to be found at his
post performing as of yore the varied duties connected with his business,
with a constitution hale and hearty, and promising many years of future
Robert H. Shankland of Ellicottville
TRUMAN ROWLEY COLMAN
Truman Rowley COLMAN was born in Coventry, Conn., November 13,
1809. He came from Puritan stock, his ancestors having lived in Coventry
as early as 1713, as appears by the records, and probably much earlier;
and from them doubtless he inherited his Christian character, his intense
love of right and hatred of all wrong, his prudence, his forethought, and
his untiring industry.
With his parents, he moved to Madison County in this State, in
the year 1814, and at the early age of thirteen years, while residing near
Peterboro in that county, he entered the service of Hon. Gerrit SMITH,
and thereafter not only supported himself, but was of material assistance
to his family. After living with Mr. SMITH some two years, his superior
capacity procured for him promotion to a clerkship in the store of Mr.
BACKUS, who was a brother-in-law of Mr. SMITH. In 1826, he went to Utica,
and immediately procured a responsible position with a mercantile firm,
whose business being removed to Rochester in 1828, he was appointed to
its sole charge as manager. In March, 1829, it was determined to transfer
the stock of goods to Ellicottville, in this county and young COLMAN, being
then only little more than nineteen years old, was selected to manage and
conduct the business. He was assisted by Dr. LEAVENWORTH, who had become
part owner by purchase, and with whom he remained until September of the
next year, when the store was purchased by Mr. Henry SAXTON, with whom
Mr. COLMAN remained until September, 1831. It was then purchased by FOX
& HUNTLEY, and Mr. COLMAN continued with them until the first day of
February, 1832, when he formed a partnership with Mr. SAXTON, and purchasing
the store of Elisha JOHNSON, went into business as a merchant on his own
account. This stock consisted of dry goods, groceries, drugs, and medicine,
and a large variety of miscellaneous goods, including, as was common in
those days, a stock of liquor. He signalized his new position by soon discontinuing
wholly the sale of the latter, thus becoming the first merchant in the
county to adopt this reform. He has ever since been a consistent and influential
advocate of the temperance cause.
Mr. COLMAN continued in partnership with Mr. SAXTON until September,
1833, when he went into partnership with Dr. LEAVENWORTH, and in the spring
of 1835, Dr. LEAVENWORTH retiring, he carried on the business alone. Afterwards
he associated with him, his brother, E. Shepard COLMAN, Esq., and in 1843,
he retired from active participation in its affairs, retaining, however,
an interest with his several partners–his brother, Harlan COLMAN, and his
brother-in-law, James W. PHELPS–until the year 1846, when he sold out his
interest and devoted himself solely to his other large business matters.
In the fall of 1843, in succession to Hon. Asher TYLER, Mr. COLMAN
took charge, for the proprietors, of extensive tracts of land in Cattaraugus,
Allegany, and Wyoming Counties, owned by Russell H. NEVINS, Rufus L. LORD,
Thomas LORD, the Ten EYCKS, Rufus H. KING, and others. In the fall of 1844,
Mr. Theodore SMITH, of Ellicottville, became jointly interested in the
management of this property with Mr. COLMAN, and during the year 1847,
the two bought of the parties for whom they had been acting bought about
seventy-five thousand acres of the lands, part of which were then under
contract of sale. Judge CHAMBERLAIN also was interested in a portion of
this purchase for a short time. These lands were managed and sold, or contracted
to be sold in parcels by Mr. COLMAN and Mr. SMITH, who at the same time,
carried on a private banking business at Ellicottville until the year 1852.
In the latter year, the property remaining was divided and the partnerships
A large portion of these lands, it is proper here to state, were
sold by contract in small parcels to a large number of persons for farming
purposes. It is a well known fact, that in new countries under similar
conditions, the relations of buyers and sellers of lands are apt to be
antagonistic in their nature. But among the great number of buyers under
this condition of things which whom Mr. COLMAN came in contact, there was
not one that can be recalled with whom he ever had any disagreement or
trouble,–an evidence not only of his uprightness of character and generous
forbearance, but as well of the confidence and esteem in which he was held
by all who had dealings with him.
Mr. COLMAN remained in Ellicottville until the autumn of 1854,
engaged in settling up his business. In the latter year, he removed to
Dunkirk, N.Y., and established the Lake Shore Bank, of which he was president.
In the year 1866, the bank was changed to the lake Shore Banking Company,
which is still in full tide of successful operation, and of which Mr. COLMAN
still remains president.
During all the years of Mr. COLMAN’s absence from this county,
he has retained the same strong interest in its people which he had while
a resident here, and his friendship for them has remained unabated. He
has continued to hold landed interests of greater or less extent in the
county, and a large portion of his banking business, has been transacted
here; and his home of so many years is as dear to him today as it was when
he lived and moved among its people in the happy and prosperous years of
his young manhood.
Mr. COLMAN has never sought public office, and sometimes has
declined it when offered, not having any taste for the strife and turmoil
of political life. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors treasurer
of Cattaraugus County for the year 1846, and reappointed for the year 1847;
beyond this, he has never held any office of importance in this county.
Mr. COLMAN was married in Ellicottville on the 21st day of April,
1831 to Sophia M. BEECHER, daughter of Moses BEECHER, Esq., an old and
respected resident of this county. Mrs. COLMAN died at Dunkirk on the 30th
day of September, 1867, at the age of fifty-four years.
Their children were Charles Henry, born July 5, 1832; died August
19, 1832. Emily, born July 3, 1833; died December 9, 1833. Albert Emilius,
born February 8, 1835; married first, Emma CHAPMAN, deceased; married second
Eliza RUSSELL. Lydia BEECHER, born June 8, 1837; married Jas. H. VAN BUREN;
died October 8, 1872. Ellen Sophia, born August 26, 1840; married first,
Capt. P. BARRETT, killed in battle; married second, Dr. Asa S. COUCH. Mary
Melissa, born December 31, 1842; married Samuel J. GIFFORD. William Truman,
born February 18, 1845; married Grace KENNEDY.
In conclusion, it is fitting to say, in the words of one who
knows him well and of the regard in which he is held, that “Mr. COLMAN
is a man of large heart and of liberal impulses. Charitable to the poor,
helpful to the suffering, with always encouraging words and material assistance
to those who are worthy and willing to help themselves, he is a true Christian
in all his ways; prompt in judgment, and in action firm, self-reliant,
just, generous, with forethought, prudence, and sagacity, with unsullied
integrity and the trustfulest confidence of all who have met him and dealt
with him, he ranks among the best and ablest businessmen the county has
ever known. He is a public-spirited citizen, and in his home-life genial
and pleasant; a tender and loving husband and an indulgent father; a merciful
man and a compassionate. Perhaps, after all, it is best said of him simply
that he is ‘one who loves his fellowmen.”
Truman Rowley Colman of ELLICOTTVILLE
COLONEL DANIEL G. BINGHAM
At the firing upon Sumter, 12th April, 1861, Col. BINGHAM was quietly
pursuing his profession of law and civil engineering, residing in Ellicottville
village. He had been for several years lieutenant-colonel of the old 64th
Regiment, New York State Militia, and was possessed of military tastes.
He was never married, and being in a condition to do so, went with Companies
H and I to New York City, where they were absorbed in the 37th New York
Volunteers,BAthe Irish Rifles,”Band with them on to Washington as a captain
of engineers. The promises of the unfortunate Col. MC CUNN were flush in
anticipations but fell short in realization. Col. BINGHAM remained, and
assisted the regiment for some weeks at his own cost. Upon the acceptance
of his old command as the 64th Regiment New York Volunteers, he passed
the requisite examination, and was commissioned lieutenant-colonel November
13, 1861. He left Elmira with his regiment for Washington, December 10,
1861. Soon after, the regiment moved on to the sacred soil of Virginia.
In this sketch, it is our purpose to use freely the letters of Col. BINGHAM.
They more graphically describe occurrences than any pen could now; are
more interesting in their narratives than any cold review could possibly
The 64th Regiment left Washington January 7, 1862, marched across Along
Bridge,” down the right bank of the Potomac, through Alexandra to ACamp
California.” It was the first fifteen-mile march of the regiment. Lieut.-Col.
BINGHAM, on the 9th, wrote to a friend:
“We reached Alexandria a little after noon. The men stood it better
than we expected. At Alexandria, Col. PARKER and myself rode ahead to Sumner’s
headquarters; learned he was sick in Washington, having been thrown from
his horse. Were referred to Gen HOWARD; found him in his tent, a common
wall tent living like a soldier. At his invitation took dinner with him;
liked his appearance very much. We were assigned the ground recently occupied
by a regiment taken off to Burnside. The fact is, our regiment was at first
assigned to Burnside, but somehow the regiment stationed here was substituted
for the 64th. It was hard work to get up the tents, the ground was frozen
so solidly. Col. PARKER, Maj. BROOKS, and myself took supper with the field
officers of the 5th New Hampshire. They are a few rods on our right, and
they are fixed up ‘tip-top.’ Gen. HOWARD’s brigade is the farthest advanced
in this region. We are directly under the guns of Fort Worth, in a valley
sheltered from the winds. It rained last night, and this morning my tent
is full of water; my tent is a sample. It is difficult to get passes, and
not having been paid, we are in need of everything almost. We are to go
out on picket duty, and are illy prepared. We wish you would see Maj. BALL,
our paymaster, and hurry him up. [ The regiment had never been paid, nor
was it until February.] We are on the advanced post, destitute of everything
to make camp life comfortable,Bnot money enough in camp for postage stamps,Bbad
off you see. For _____ sake, hurry up Maj. BALL! Perhaps, if he thinks
we have friends in the city, he will work a little more lively; our case
calls for prompt action.”
So began the 64th’s experience in rebel land. We witnessed the grand
pageant as the 64th company front, passed the National Capitol, through
Pennsylvania Avenue, down Maryland Avenue, over the Along bridge,” into
Old Virginia; marching to the inspiring strains of Boss’ regimental band,
followed by the long train of seventy-five four-horse army wagons, the
actual number ordered for this one regiment! The number of wagons is mentioned,
as later on in the war a corps would be fortunate to have that many and
two would suffice for a regiment. But at the beginning, all officers and
most men had camp-chests and trunks; but as the war progressed, nonsense
was dispensed with, and officers, like soldiers, were permitted to carry
nothing except the clothing they wore, blankets, and arbor-tents in campaigns.
Gen. HOWARD immediately commenced brigade drills. The lieutenant-colonel
liked that. AI always thought that would be my best hold.”
The first picket duty in the enemy’s country Lieut.-Col. BINGHAM delineated
in a letter from camp at Springfield Station, Va., March 9, 1862:
“At 10 P.m., March 3, after the whole camp had got to sleep, Gen. HOWARD
sent for me (Col. PARKER was sick in Alexandria), and gave me orders to
have the 64th on the color-line by 7:45 next morning, with three days’
rations, ready to march. The cooks were roused up, and cooked rations all
night. Next morning we were there, marched to the railroad, shipped, and
were taken to Fitzhugh Station, where we encamped in the woods; no tents,
but we built nice bough-houses. We did picket duty by companies till the
morning of the 6th, when Gen. HOWARD ordered me to send out reliefs; half-hour
later, he sent for me in great haste; ordered all the men called in immediately,
as he had been ordered to advance! We were advanced six miles beyond our
former picket lines, and were making the initial of the long-expected advance.
During the day, our cavalry vedettes were driven in twice, about a mile
ahead of us. Once we sounded the signal to get ready, and every man was
in his place in less than five minutes, ready and cool; but the rebels
made no advance on our infantry pickets. Our pickets encountered rebel
scouts, and killed one, who had papers from BEAUREGARD to scout beyond
their lines,Band he had passes from Gens. MONTGOMERY and MANSFIELD, but
under another name, and had been in Alexandria whenever he pleased. He
was heavily armed. We buried him, and sent his arms and papers to headquarters.
The general is well pleased with the 64th this trip. He says they will
out-march any regiment; and halt them anywhere, turn them into the woods,
and they would have good shanties built and supper cooked in half an hour.
He says our men are intelligent, and admirably calculated to take care
of themselves. His aid told me today that he was glad he took out the 64th;
it did less foraging than any before, and destroyed no private property;
all regretted to return. KEARNEY’s Brigade relieved us. Health of the men
In a few days, MC CLELLAN advanced on Manassas, but the rebels had fled,
leaving unoccupied forts with wooden guns piercing the embrasures. The
Union army was disappointed and disgusted, and sullenly marched back to
Alexandria, took transports for Yorktown, and the Peninsular campaign followed.
At Fair Oaks, near the close of the action, June 1, Lieut.-Col. BINGHAM
was severely wounded and carried from the field. In a letter written in
St. Luke’s Hospital, New York City, June 13 to a friend, he gave so graphic
an account of that battle that we copy:
My Dear M_____. You may have heard by this time (but it was long time
in coming out), that the 64th was engaged in the terrific infantry fight
at Fair Oaks, June 1. The truth has just commenced oozing out. This or
that regiment may catch and stuff a reporter, and make a little capital
for a few days (as the ----- Brigade have), but when the official lists
are published, the public will see who bore the brunt of the fight. When
the truth is reached, you will know that RICHARDSON’s Division withstood
the same shock which, on the 31st of May, swept CASEY’s Division like chaff.
We lost no ground all day, but constantly gained. Captured prisoners told
us that we had beaten more than 12,000 Alabama and Mississippi troops brought
up in the night from Richmond. But it was done at a terrible sacrifice.
HOWARD’s Brigade bore the brunt of it, supported by regiments of FRENCH’s
Brigade. The 64th took the place of the 52d N.Y. Dutch (in FRENCH’s Brigade),
who broke on the second valley and came out of the woods like frightened
deer, without hats or guns; their action was like those of sheep when chased
by dogs. I had never before seen men panic-stricken, and never wish to
again. Gen. RICHARDSON rode up and ordered Gen. HOWARD to put in reinforcements;
and said he, >I don’t want the 64th to come out as the 52d did, either.”
We marched down to the railroad, and soon after charged through the swamp
and thicket up to the rebels. We were met by a tremendous storm of bullets.
The 64th remained in battle under a terrific, unabating fire for three
hours. Three times I saw and heard the rebels in front of us bring on fresh
regiments to replace those who had been in action. During the whole time
not a man flinched! I verily believe they would have remained, unless ordered
out, till every man would have been killed or wounded. And this same spirit
pervaded the 61st N.Y. and 5th N. H., and 81st PA (with the 64th, our brigade).
Poor Lieut.-Col. MASSETT, of the 61st N.Y., was shot dead while standing
at my side. I was not wounded till after we had orders to fall back, and
I had just reached the edge of the swamp. I was struck by a minie-ball,
which passed through my left thigh, just escaping the bone, fortunately.
It is very sore and at times painful..... It was not my intention
to write an account of the battle, not being in a condition to do so; as
I am confined to my bed and flat on my back,Cminie-balls, you know, tear
big holes. I am receiving the very best attention, and have, since leaving
Whitehouse Landing. None but wounded soldiers can appreciate the benefits
of the Sanitary Commission.”
Of his conduct in this action, Lieut. Henry V. FULLER wrote as follows
to the same gentleman:
“Lieut.-col. BINGHAM is a perfect hero in a fight. He kept to his place,
right up in the face of a thousand balls a minute, and was steady and cool;
and, I might say, sociable as thought there was nothing serious going on.
He was severely wounded. I see MEAGHER is extolled in the Herald. His brigade
was not sent forward until ours had won the fight,Band he lost only seven
or eight men.”
This was followed by the “Seven Days,” the Pope campaign and Antietam.
Lieut.-Col. BINGHAM was promoted to the colonelcy, on the resignation of
Col. PARKER, July 12, 1862, but was not able, on account of wounds to assume
command until winter. He commanded his regiment at Chancellorsville, and
During the winter of 1863-64, there was, owing to the continued illness
of Col. BINGHAM, much anxiety and sympathy for him in the regiment. Severely
wounded at Gettysburg, he was rendered unfit for duty in the field for
many months, and his constitution had become enfeebled by hard service
and continued exposure. With his now probable retirement from the colonelcy,
the whole regiment, men as well as officers, were much exercised and alarmed
lest a certain officer, who was not only distasteful to all, but considered
entirely incompetent to such a command, should be given the position. Many
letters were written by officers in regard to the subject, and fears were
expressed that the retiring commander would recommend the unpopular officer
as his successor. Col. BINGHAM was written to by a private citizen, and
the fears of the officers fully expressed to him. He promptly replied in
a lengthy letter, showing that the idea that he desired the objectionable
officer’s promotion was erroneous, and at the same time the letter, which
is given, reveals his entire fairness to all:
“Le Roy, N.Y., January 26, 1864.”
“In relation to what you say of B----y, no one, in or out of the regiment,
can have any reason, from anything I have said or done, to think that I
should favor his promotion. I know very well the state of feeling in the
regiment towards B-----y, and knew all the time, without mentioning the
causes for it, that the dislike among officers and men is real, permanent,
and incurable, I think. When commanding the regiment, of course it would
not do for me to notice it; and certainly not to encourage it, for that
would be an end of discipline. B-----y occupied a certain rank, and so
long as he kept within the line of his duty, was entitled to the rights
and observances due to his rank, and it would have been destructive to
discipline if I had permitted any disobedience of his proper commands.
I always endeavored to allow no personal feelings to influence me in the
performance of military duty or in assigning it to others. I have been
out of all manner of patience with an officer or man, but if I saw that
he had done as well as he could, and was in default through an error of
judgment, I said nothing, and no one but myself knew anything of my feelings.
I never considered B-----y the man to command the regiment. He has not
the judgment, coolness, tact, or talent for a military command, or to get
and retain the respect of men. I think the selection of my successor should
be left entirely to the officers of the regiment. I am not disposed to
take part or use my predilections for or against their choice. I feel a
great interest in seeing the regiment in good hands.”
Col. BINGHAM was born in Riga, Monroe Co., N.Y., January 29, 1827, the
son of Thomas BINGHAM, Jr., who died the 25th of January, 1831, leaving
a widow, the son whose sketch is here given, and a daughter Calista. Mrs.
BINGHAM married John THWING of Le Roy, N.Y. in 1837p; they had to children;
one died, and the other married Mr. B. BENTLY. Col. BINGHAM was educated
at the Middlebury Academy, N.Y., Grand River Institute, Ohio, and at Prof.
FOWLER’s Law School, Cherry Valley, N.Y., and was admitted to the Supreme
Court, Albany, N.Y., in 1849. He settled in Ellicottville in 1850.
Col. BINGHAM left a large number of manuscript field notes and maps
of surveys, carefully made by him, of lands in Cattaraugus County, which
are now of great value.
Co. BINGHAM so long as he lived, continued to hold in remembrance the
gallant deeds and honored name of his regiment. His large correspondence
with numerous friends contained mention of its important events, kind reference
to his associate officers, and for the success of his older soldiers. With
anxiety for closing his accounts with the government, he could not execute
any forman affidavit required for the sake of such settlement, if it deviated
in the slightest degree from his own knowledge of fact; he would lose what
was honestly his due rather than equivocate. AI regard an officer’s certificate
as sacred as an oath, and I can only sign such an one as is in strict conformity
with fact. I am sure I do not owe Uncle Sam for ordnance lost on the march
or destroyed in battle, but am the loser by his agents in transportation
to a considerable amount.” In one of his last letters, May 31, 1864, a
short time before his death, his regiment is again referred to:
“Give my kindest regards to any and all of the men and officers whom
you may met, especially if wounded. Whenever I hear of the death of any
of those men, I feel as if I had lost a relative. Had it not been for Capt.
MANLEY and Lieut. ALTON, who assisted me after I was wounded at Gettysburg,
I think I would have been taken prisoner; and, as my health was, could
have lived but a short time. I hope MANLEY will turn up yet.”
The last-named officer was taken prisoner at “The Wilderness,” May 4,
was taken to Charleston, S.C., and was among those officers forced by the
rebels to be placed under fire of the Aswamp-angel;” and is now first lieutenant
20th Infantry United States Army. Col. BINGHAM continued to fail until
July 21, 1864, when he died, having received the constant and tender care
of an endeared sister and a venerated mother. He bore a blameless life;
was finely educated; a lawyer without love for its entangling bickerings.
He was a philosopher; conversant with history; a civil engineer of much
skill, and fond of its practice. Hence he took readily to a military occupation
in its varied departments. He was always personally liked by officers and
men, because he was upright and just to all, with favoritism to none. And
he was esteemed as a gentleman and a good citizen in private life
DANIEL BINGHAM of ELLICOTTVILLE