HISTORY OF CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, NEW YORK
Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men
L.H. Everts, 1879, Edited by Franklin Ellis
Transcribed from pages 502-504 by Mary Anne Lee
This town embraces all of township 1, and nearly all of township
2, in the seventh range of the Holland Survey. It is the youngest
town in the county, and was erected from Salamanca, Nov. 23, 1868.
The name was derived from the principal creek of the town, which was so
called before the country was settled, from a house painted red, which
stood, near its mouth, and which was built for the accommodation of raftsmen
on the Allegany. The eddy formerly in that stream at this point was
also called Red House. Who was the proprietor of this house and what
became of him is unknown to the present inhabitants of the town.
The building has long since gone to decay.
The town contains 36,392 acres of land, mostly broken and of
a mountainous nature. The summits rise from 600 to 1000 feet above
the valleys, and usually present a sterile aspect. There is but little
arable land on the uplands, and as the Allegany Reservation embraces nearly
all the valley of the river, but little land is subject to improvement
by the whites. Although the soil in the valleys is fertile and highly
productive, but a small portion is thoroughly cultivated. On the
lowlands the soil is a sandy loam, but becomes more mixed with clay as
you ascend the hills. Lumbering has been and yet remains the controlling
industry. In the southern part of the town are vast forests of deciduous
trees, and a limited quantity of pine and hemlock. Originally the
valleys were covered with the latter timber, and their manufacture into
lumber was an extensive and profitable business.
The streams of the town are Allegany River, flowing through the
northwest corner, and Big and Little Red House Creeks, rising in the southern
part of the town, and flowing north and west into the Allegany. Both
have many tributary brooks. In the southern part of the town are
also the head-waters of Quaker Run, which flow northwest into the town
of South Valley.
In 1827, Darius Frink moved from his native place, Sterling, Conn.,
to the town of Carroll, in Chautauqua County, where he lived a year; then
came to the present town of Red House, settling on the little creek, where
he became the first permanent settler in town. For many years he
was the only white man living in these parts. He had a son named
Nelson, who lived in the town till his death, a few years ago. The
last twenty odd years of his life he lived on lot 18, in town 2, where
one of his children, James Frink, now resides.
James Rosenberry, a native of Butler Co., Pa., was the second
permanent settler, locating on lot 31, in 1837. While but a young
man, in 1815, Rosenberry went to Great Valley, and worked there about a
year; then moved to the present town of Salamanca, where he settled on
the farm now occupied by W.P. Crawford. Mr. Rosenberry is now the
oldest resident in town, and although aged eighty-two years, still works
on his farm, on which he has cleared 100 acres, removing many stumps four
feet in diameter.
On the Big Red House, Lysander Whaley was an early settler, removing
from there to the West. On lot 18 originally lived Caleb Owens, and
removed from there to Steamburg, where he was murdered in 1874. On
this place – lot 18, town 2 – now resides Howard Fuller, who came to Cattaraugus
County in 1820, settling first in the town of Randolph, then removed to
Pennsylvania, coming to Cold Spring in 1839. Thirty years thereafter,
he came to live with his son Howard, who became a resident of Red House
in 1858. The old gentleman has attained the age of eighty-two years,
and has been a pioneer in several towns of the county.
Other early settlers in Red House were Elijah Pease, Squire Payne,
Hubbard Clark, William Coan, Richard Wright, Abner Thomas, Marcus Frisbie,
Richard Burgett, Sylvester Dunbar, Stephen Carr, George Decker, Francis
Strickland, David Kelley, and Ezekiel R. Kelley. In consequence of
the conditions alluded to, settlements were slowly made.
In 1869 land was owned in town by the following persons: C.W.
Bosworth, Abner Brown, Nelson Bean, T.E. Bristol, R. Burgett, Stephen Carr,
Howard Carr, William Clark, S.V. Dunbar, George Decker, James Eighme, Nelson
Frink. E. Flanders, Howard Fuller, T. Grove, Noel Gray, Lyman Jeffords,
D.N. Kelly, E.R. Kelly, Henry Learned, Joseph Mead, Caleb Merritt, Henry
Oaks, H. Ogden, S.F. Pease, Robert Philip, James Rosenberry, A. H. Reynolds,
J.B. Strong, F. Strickland, Giles Stoddart, John Sharp, C.W. Sharp, Abner
Thomas, Allen Tibbitts, E.W. Taylor, S.D. Woodford, Martin White.
The Bay State Company owned nearly 20,000 acres of land in the
southern part of the town.
The population in 1870 was 407, and in 1874, 453, nearly all
of whom were whites.
The first annual meeting of the town of Red House was held Feb.
23, 1869, when the following officers were elected: Supervisor, F. Strickland;
Town Clerk, T.E. Bristol; Justices, John Sharp, D.A. Scoutten, F.F. Deyo,
and S. D. Woodford; Commissioner of Highways, Abner Brown; Assessors, E.R.
Kelly, Nelson Frink and F. Strickland; Inspectors of Elections, F.F. Deyo,
J.R. Eighme, and J. W. Crosby; Collector, Daniel Carr; Overseer of Poor,
J.C. Wright; Constables, Albert Sheffield, Daniel Carr, Wm. Critchell,
S.F. Pease, and Wm. Backus.
Since 1869 the principal officers have been:
Supervisors Town Clerks
1870 Howard Fuller, Jr. George Haynes
1871 Richard Burgett F.J. Eighme
1872 Clark W. Bosworth S.F. Pease
1873 E.R. Kelly Wm. C. Flanders
1874 “ “ S.D. Woodford
1875 S.D. Woodford A.A. Casler
1876 Clark W. Bosworth Thomas Rosenberry
1877 E.C. McIntosh Daniel Carr
1878 L.J. Darling S.M. Wetmore
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
1870 E.W. Taylor
Wm. C. Flanders
1871 D.W. Kelly
1872 John Sharp
1873 Wm. J. Banks
1874 James F. Eighme
Wm. C. Flanders
1875 F. Strickland
1876 John Brinning
1877 S.D. Woodford
1878 Wm. Preston
At the spring session of the town board, in 1869, the following
resolution was passed: “Resolved, that the supervisor of the town of Red
House be authorized to borrow money and issue the bonds of the town for
the same, not to exceed $6000, for the purpose of erecting a bridge across
the Allegany River in said town; the bonds to be payable, one-third yearly
until paid with interest.”
At a special meeting, Oct. 15, 1870, $1000 was appropriated to
build approaches to this bridge; and at another special meeting, December
12, the same year, the supervisor was authorized to send H. Ansley to Albany
to solicit an appropriation from the State to go towards paying the bridge,
“and that the amount to be paid the said Ansley shall not exceed $300.”
Mr. Ansley succeeded in getting an appropriation of $3000 for
This bridge is near Red House station, and is a substantial structure,
more than 500 feet long. It is the second one that occupies this
site, the first one having been erected in 1860. The expense of its
construction was defrayed by a tax of 7 cents an acre on the lands of the
citizens living on the south side of the river.
In 1873 the town appropriated $600 for the support of roads and
bridges; and at subsequent meetings $500 per year was voted for the same
purpose. The town is divided into five road districts; and, considering
the meager population, possesses good roads to the principal points within
The Atlantic & Great Western Railroad passes down the right
bank of the Allegany River, having nearly 3miles of track in Red House.
A station and side-tracks for shipping purposes have been provided
at Red House, nearly 6 miles below Salamanca
The first saw-mill in town was put up on the Little Red House
Creek, about 1849, by Hubbard Clark, Marcus Frisbie, and several others.
It has long since been abandoned.
The Bay State Lumber Company put up the next mill, operated by
steam, about 1853, on lot 64, in town. It has a good capacity, and
when in operation creates a great deal of business in that locality.
The mill has been idle the past few years.
A short time after the above was erected, James Appleby put up
another steam saw-mill on lot 27, which was there operated until the timber
was exhausted, when the machinery was removed to lot 28, and put into a
new mill, which has been operated since 1870 by J.F. Eighme. It is
capable of cutting 20,000 feet per day, and when all the machinery is operated
employs 10 men.
On lot 28, John Sharp has operated a shingle-mill, cutting 5000
per day, since 1870.
In the same year Patterson’s steam saw-mill on lot 6, was put
in operation. Before that period it was a water-power mill.
On lot 8, a steam saw-mill of 10,000 feet per day capacity was
built by William Brown, in 1877, and the same year Elias C. McIntosh commenced
operating a mill on lot 9, which has a capacity of 15,000 feet per day.
On Big Red House Creek, on lot 7, Francis Strickland had a mill
for the manufacture of shingles, twenty years ago, in which, at a later
date, steam-power was employed. In 1872 it was destroyed by fire.
About 1860, A.H. Reynolds had in operation a saw-mill on the
Allegany, half a mile above the bridge, which was in 1872 removed to lot
24, where it is now largely operated, cutting yearly thousands of feet
of hard lumber.
Clark W. Bosworth has in successful operation, on lot 15, a shingle-mill,
and formerly had a steam saw-mill, which was destroyed by fire. A
shingle-mill is also operated by Ellis & France, on lot 21, and another
by William Reynolds, since 1877.
L.J. Darling’s handle-factory, on lot 18, was erected in 1873,
by Darling & Gibbs. Six men are employed in the manufacture of
long handles from the excellent white ash growing in that locality.
These lumber interests have given employment to a large number
of men, and in prosperous times made the business of Red House as active
as that of any other town of like area. At present, trade is somewhat
depressed and limited almost entirely to the Indians.
THE STORES AND TAVERNS
were usually kept at the station or in its vicinity. The Bay State
Company kept the first store in town, at its mills, and goods were sold
there until work was suspended, in 1875. At the station, Theodore
Bristol began business, in 1866, and continued in trade four or five years.
He was followed by Wendell & Merritt and Wetmore Brothers. S.M.
Wetmore transferred the business, in 1878 to the Indian hamlet on the opposite
side of the river. Here, at another stand, the Casler Brothers and
Mrs. Maybee have been in trade.
The Red House post-office was established in 1869, with Theodore
Bristol postmaster. He was succeeded by Caleb Merritt, and he, in
turn, by S.M. Wetmore, the present postmaster. Two mails per day
The only regular public-house in the town was put up at the station,
in 1871, by Richard Burgett, and is still continued by him as a tavern.
There is no hamlet of whites in the town, the cluster of houses
at Red House being the only place that approaches a hamlet, but is prevented
by its being on the Reservation from becoming a more important place.
SCHOOLS AND RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES
In 1878 the town had four school districts, provided with buildings
having an aggregate value of $1885. The total number of weeks of
school taught was 122; the schools were supported at an expense of $913.82,
of which sum $544.17 was raised by taxation in the town. The children
of school age numbered 149, and the average attendance was 45. The
first school-house was built in 1851, on the Little Red House, and there
Caroline Barnes was the first teacher. An Indian School is also taught
on the Reservation.
In school district No. 2 worshiped a class of Methodists, which
disbanded before 1870. Since that period the United Brethren have
maintained regular preaching there, the ministers being the Revs. Reeves,
Hodge, Butterfield, Allen and Robinson. There is a class of 15 members,
under the leadership of William Dunbar.
Missionary services have been held among the Indians of the town
by the Baptists and the Methodists, and on the 2d of December, 1860, the
latter organized a church society, having Dodge Fatty, John Doxtater, Isaac
Jemison, Payson Jemison, Foster Payne, Harvey Payne, and James Rosenberry
as trustees. Nothing further has been done, and services are now
only irregularly held.
The Greenwood Cemetery Association of Red House was formed at
the school-house in district No. 2, Nov. 11, 1870, of eleven persons as
The trustees chosen were Nelson Frink, Robert H. Phillips, Samuel
F. Pease, Samuel D. Woodford, Lyman H. Oakes, Francis Strickland, Sylvester
V. Dunbar, Abner Brown, Giles Stoddard. S.D. Woodford was elected
president and S.F. Pease secretary.
The association has not yet secured grounds for cemetery purposes,
and there is no regular cemetery in the town.