published 1879, by Everts, edited by FRANKLIN ELLIS
Transcribed by ROBYN DODD, October, 2000
Portrait at end of this chapter: Ira W. Ackley
This is the second from the west of the towns in the northern tier of the county, and was created from Perrysburg, Feb. 7, 1835. It embraces the western part of township 5 and a small part of township 6, in the 8th range of the Holland Company's Survey, and is bounded on the north by Cattaraugus Creek, which separates it from Collins, in Erie County; east by Otto, divided from it by the south branch of Cattaraugus Creek; south by New Albion; and west by Dayton and Perrysburg. Its shape is irregular, and the length is nearly double its width. The area is 13,296 acres of hilly upland, whose general elevation is about 400 feet above Lake Erie, with summits in the east and south several hundred feet higher.
The surface inclines northward, forming a plain in the northwest part of the town. It is well drained by Point Peter Brook, Thatcher Creek, and their affluents, rising in the south and flowing into Cattaraugus Creek. The channel of the former stream is deep and rugged, and at the place of its union with Cattaraugus Creek has almost precipitous banks more than a hundred feet high. For some distance the brook runs parallel with the creek, although in opposite directions, and forms a high narrow neck of land which has been called Point Peter. It is composed of a shaly loam, and is rapidly wasting away under the erosive influence of the weather.
The soil of the town is variable, being a stiff clay in some localities, and a gravelly or sandy loam in others. It is usually fertile, and in the northern part is especially favorable for vegetables and fruit.
THE EARLY LANDOWNERS of the town are shown in the following
list, compiled from the records of Perrysburg for the year 1819:
Fourteen years later the population of the town had been much augmented, as will be seen from the list of lands improved and having buildings in 1833:
In addition, there was reported as improved, but not having buildings, the following list:
TOWN 5, RANGE 8
TOWN 6, RANGE 8
THE FIRST SETTLEMENT OF THE TOWN
was made by Ahaz ALLEN, a native of Vermont. In 1810 he pruchased land on lots 15 and 16, in town 6, which included the mill site at what is now Hidi. The following year he secured the services of John RUSSELL, who came from Vermont and made a small clearing for ALLEN, near where A. GAENSSLEN'S place now is. Here he completed a small log house in the fall of that year and then left for other parts. ALLEN moved some of his goods down the creek from Zoar the following spring, and brought on his family, consisting of a wife and infant son, Norman H., the same season. He engaged very actively in pioneer improvements, building mills, and planted the first orchard in town. Some of the trees are yet in a bearing condition. Mr. ALLEN died in town in 1864, but his son, Norman H., yet lives on lot 8, the oldest resident in town. Other members of the family live in this and the adjoining towns.
Dan ALLEN, a brother of Ahaz, came from Cayuga County in 1813, and engaged with him in carrying on some of the most important pioneer enterprises. He held some important public trusts in the town and county. Of a large family which he reared, Constant B., living in Otto, is a representative.
Thomas FARNSWORTH, from the same section of country, also came in 1814 and settled on lot 26. Here he early made some very substantial improvements, of which a frame house he put up is yet standing in the vicinity. It is now the property of Gilbert W. ALLEN. Farnsworth died in town many years ago, but a sister, Mrs. Shadrach HERRICK, attained the age of ninety-two years, dying a few years ago.
Anice FARNSWORTH was born in the summer of 1817, and is reported as the first birth of a white child in town. She grew to womanhood, and became the wife of Hiram LAWRENCE.
In the western part of the town, on lot 17, John THATCHER and John WATTENPAUGH opened farms about 1816, but did not remain identified with the town many years. The brook in that locality was named after the former.
About the same time, 1816, Turner ALDRICH, a member of the Society of Friends, came from Ontario County and purchased about 700 acres of land on both sides of the Cattaraugus Creek, where is now the village of Gowanda. His home was on the Erie County side, but he gave each of his sons, Turner and Merrill, tracts of land on lots 27 and 28, in Persia. The ALDRICH family moved to Michigan about 1833. On lot 28 lived Daniel WHEELER and Solomon DUNHAM at an early period of the town's history, but both moved to Illinois soon after 1830, where the latter became widely known as an importer of Norman horses.
The southern part of the town was not settled as early as other portions. George SNYDER, Esek D. NASH, Benjamin MILKS, and Samuel AVERILL came about 1820 and made the first substantial improvements. Members of the former families still live in that part of the town, and have passed through all the stages of pioneer life.
Some time about 1825, Peter ACKLEY settled on lot 54, where a son, Henry, now resides. Willard ACKLEY, another son, lives in the same neighborhood. In this section, John W. RAINHART, Stephen POPPLE, Harry HOWARD, and a few others were comparative early settlers, all coming from Central New York.
In 1825, John C. BABCOCK came from Schoharie County and opened a farm on lot 54. One of his children, Dr. Horace BABCOCK, is now a resident of Gowanda.
Oliver C. BABCOCK came from Madison County about 1830, and began making a home on lot 51, which was at first windowless and without a chimney. He has lived in this locality ever since, rearing a family of ten children.
Among the pioneers in the northern part of the town, outside of what was at that time called Lodi [now Gowanda], were Asahel CAMP, Heman WATERMAN, William BLASDELL, and Samuel R. REDFIELD.
The town did not improve fast. In 1835 there were but 2,208 acres under cultivation, and the inhabitants resided chiefly in Lodi. There has been no great increase of population. In 1860 the inhabitants numbered 1,304, and in 1875 but 1,336.
The records of the town from its organization, Feb. 7, 1835 till 1857, were destroyed in the great fire at Gowanda, April 30, 1856. In 1857, the annual meeting was held at M.H. BARKER'S hotel, and the principal officers then elected were: Supervisor, Lemuel S. JENKS; Town Clerk, Jerome S. GRISWOLD; Justices of the Peace, Edwin F. REDFIELD and Augustus SNYDER.
These offices have since been held by the gentlemen named below:
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
THE PUBLIC THOROUGHFARES
of Persia embrace a number of convenient and well-ordered highways, and the lines of the Erie, and the Buffalo and Southwestern Railroads.
One of the oldest public highways is in the western part of the town, along Thatcher Brook, passing into Dayton, near the northeast corner of that town. It is widely known as the Jamestown road, and as it had a good bridge across the Cattaraugus at Gowanda, it early received a large amount of travel. The Buffalo and Southwestern Railroad was constructed through the town, along the general course of the Jamestown road. It was completed in July, 1875. The road-bed is chiefly on the hillside west of the brook, and is characterized by steep grades, the altitude overcome between Dayton and Gowanda - about five miles - being over 500 feet. At Gowanda the company has provided the facilities connected with a well-appointed station, and the people are now afforded easy and rapid communication with the chief cities of the country. The town encouraged the building of this road by voting bonds to the amount of $29,000, the payment of which has been somewhat burdensome but not without its compensating benefits.
The Erie Railroad enters Persia near its southeast corner, and after passing down the south branch of the Cattaraugus several miles turns sharply to the northeast, passing out of the town on lot 60. Near this point the company has a turn-out, which is known as "Allen's Switch."
are small, and were located at different points by the early settlers, more with reference to their convenience at that time than the use which would be made of them in the future. Of this nature are the burial grounds on lots 50 and 54. The one on lot 16 is better preserved, and presents a creditable appearance, being now neatly enclosed and well cared for by the trustees of the "Persia Cemetery Association." This body was formed Nov. 29, 1852, at a meeting called for this purpose in school district No. 2; Dexter WELLS, Norman H. ALLEN, Albert W. EATON, Evan OLMSTEAD, Ahaz J. ALLEN, and Edwin F. REDFIELD were chosen the first trustees. Norman H. ALLEN was chosen secretary, and has since filled that position. Evan OLMSTEAD is the present president of the association. In this cemetery are several fine headstones to mark the resting place of some of the town's respected dead.
The cemetery at Gowanda is on the Erie County side on a beautiful elevation, on which are yet many native pine-trees, from which the place has fitly been named "The Pine Hill Cemetery." It contains about a dozen acres, and is controlled by a society organized in Erie County.
DAIRY AND AGRICULTURAL INTERESTS
The Broadway Cheese-Factory is on lot 7, about a mile from Gowanda. The building, which is large and well arranged, was erected in 1867 by a company of dairymen. At present the factory is operated by JOHNSON & BARTLETT, and has 18 patrons. About 4,000 pounds of milk are consumed daily in the manufacture of full cream-cheese.
W.J. MANLEY'S Factory, No. 1, on lot 50, is well patronized and enjoys an excellent reputation; and JENKS & ROSS' Factory, No. 3, also in the southern part of the town, has a good run of business, producing cheese fully equal to the high standard of the firm which operates it.
Considerable attention has been paid to hop-growing, but we have not been able to obtain the yearly yield. O.A. ACKLEY has a good yard in the central part of the town, and A.F. BENNETT, near Gowanda, cultivates from 6 to 8 acres a year. The latter has a neat and well appointed hop-house in his yard.
To give proper encouragement to the mechanic arts and agriculture, a union society, of a number of towns in Cattaraugus and Erie Counties, was formed about 1855, and annual fairs held at Gowanda for a number of years. The meetings were held in the pine grove at the school-house, and were attended with much interest. This movement led to the formation of
THE GOWANDA AGRICULTURAL, HORTICULTURAL, AND MECHANICAL SOCIETY,
under the general act of April 13, 1855, on the 31st day of August, 1865. The society was composed of 29 stockholders, who selected as a board of directors, Alexander W. POPPLE, Wm. H. STUART, Orlando ACKLEY, Ira W. ROSS, Urban M. YAW, Orlando ALLEN, and L.S. JENKS, President; Albert GAENSSLEN, Vice-President; Frank A. NEWELL, Secretary; Wm. H. SPENCER, Treasurer.
Twenty acres of finely located ground, within the corporate limits of the village, were purchased for the use of the society, the proper fences and buildings erected, and a good half mile track, for the trial of speed, located. Yearly meetings were here successfully maintained until 1875, since which no fairs have been held.
The present officers of the society are L.S. JENKS, President; A.F. CONGER, Vice-President; Wm. H. STUART, Secretary; Reuben ROSS, Treasurer; and Directors, in addition, U.M.YAW, Charles FRINK, Albert GAENSSLEN, Orlando ACKLEY, Orlando ALLEN, and Lyman KNOWLTON.
The first manufacturing interest of any nature in the town was a saw-mill put up by Ahaz ALLEN in 1813, and operated by him the following year. It is remembered that while the men were engaged in digging the race for this mill, they heard the news of the burning of Buffalo, which so much discouraged them that the enterprise came near being abandoned. It stood on the site of the present Hidi grist-mills, and was a small and rude affair, yet served its purpose, and was a great convenience. A better mill took its place and in 1821, Ahaz ALLEN and his brother, Dan got in operation a carding machine, the first of this nature in town. This was subsequently enlarged, and became a woolen-factory, and was operated by Stiles A. TORRANCE until the manufacture of this class of goods became unprofitable. The machinery was removed, and the building converted into a tannery.
In 1823, Ahaz ALLEN got up the first grist-mill in town in the neighborhood of his saw-mill, and supplied it with one run of stones.
A considerable settlement sprung up around the mills, and the place assumed some importance, bidding fair to become a rival of the hamlet at ALDRICH'S mills on the creek a mile below. The name of Lodi was bestowed upon the latter place about this time, and the people of ALLEN'S mills, not to be outdone, called their hamlet Hidi. Stephen TAYLOR erected a large building for business purposes, and made vigorous efforts to found a village but did not succeed in his purpose. The bridge across the creek was carried away rendering useless a saw mill built near by, and other circumstances worked against the industries here carried on so that Lodi retained its vantage-ground.
Among others here interested in manufacturing was Ichabod HARDING, who owned the carding-machines after 1830, which were operated by a family named CAMP.
Ahaz ALLEN sold his interests at Hidi about 1833, and put up a mill on Point Peter Brook soon after, which was allowed to go down in ten or twelve years. In 1835, 1 grist-mill and 3 saw-mills were reported in town.
THE HIDI SAW- AND GRIST- MILLS
Silas VINTON & Son, proprietors, are on the site of the old ALLEN mills, and at a later day of the EATON mill, which was destroyed by fire in 1870. In 1873, the present grist-mill was erected, having been removed from Little Valley, where it was known as the "HOWE mill." It is a three-story structure, 38 by 48 feet long, and has 5 run of stones. The power is furnished by a 12-foot fall, which drives 3 screw- and 2 turbine-wheels, giving the mill great capacity to do custom and merchant work. The saw-mill is driven by turbine-wheels, and can cut 4,000 feet of lumber per day. Employment is given to 8 hands.
GAENSSLEN BROTHERS' TANNERY,
at Hidi was established in 1853, in the old woolen factory, having 12 liquor-vats. It was destroyed by fire Aug. 2, 1862, but the firm immediately built a new tannery, which was put in operation October of that year. The main building is 47 by 135 feet, 2 1/2 stories high, and has 250 vats. Twenty thousand sides sole leather are tanned annually and shipped to Cleveland. Steam is employed from a 40 horse power boiler and water power from a 10 foot-fall.
A short distance above the tannery is a glue factory, belonging to the same firm, which has been operated since 1874. A building 30 by 130 feet long is occupied, and 30,000 pounds of glue are produced annually. The firm employs 30 men.
CHARLES KENGOTT'S GLUE FACTORY,
on the island at Hidi, was gotten in operation in 1869, and was the pioneer of this branch of industry in these parts. About 12,000 pounds of glue are manufactured per year, giving employment to 4 men.
AGLE & SONS' TANNERY,
on Thatcher Brook, in the southwestern part of the village of Gowanda, was established about 1845 by K. WEBSTER. Since 1860, the present proprietors have carried on the tannery, which has been enlarged to contain 40 liquor-vats. Three hundred cords of hemlock bark are used annually in tanning 7,000 side of rough leather, and about one-fourth of the above quantity is here finished, requiring the services of 7 men to conduct the tannery.
Below, on the same stream, is a cheese-box factory and lumber manufacturing establishment, owned and operated by M.T. HILL, which turns off a large quantity of work, and uses improved machinery in the manufacture of cheese-boxes, and in the village is Lester C. FORBUSH'S sash- and blind-factory, operated by him since 1868, and established about 1830 by Elias HALL. In the village, on the Cattaraugus side, are also several good wagon-shops, marble-works, and other mechanic shops usually found in such a place.
The water power of Cattaraugus Creek is here wholly on the Erie County side, and has been well employed since 1820, although never wholly utilized. Amasa L. CHAFFEE had one of the pioneer fulling-mills, and Turner ALDRICH the grist-mill, which was patronized by people living 30 miles around. Here are now saw-, grist-, and planting-mills, an axe-factory, extensive agricultural-implement works, furniture- and pump-factories, and two breweries, giving employment to several hundred men.
Persia post-office, near ALLEN'S Switch, was established in 1863, with Elbridge EDDY postmaster. His successor was E.A. NASH. There is a daily mail by Erie Railroad.
This beautiful village is situated in the northwestern part of the town, on both sides of Cattaraugus Creek, and therefore partly in Erie County. It was settled in 1816, by Turner ALDRICH and other members of the Society of Friends, and, from the improvements the former made, was first known as ALDRICH'S Mills. In 1822, the place was called Lodi, and retained this name until 1848, when Gowanda was bestowed upon it as being more distinctive and appropriate. It is said to be an Indian term, signifying the "beautiful place among the hills."
When the village began its existence as Lodi, it had as residents, besides the ALDRICHES, Amasa L. CHAFFEE, who came in 1820, and built the first chimney of brick attached to a dwelling in that place, Dr. SANDS, N. CRUMB, Alvin BUGBEE, Enoch PALMER, and L.H. PITCHER. In a few years, John W. HANFORD, Daniel WHEELER, Christopher SCOTT, Wm. WICKS, Alfred JOHNSON, John PIERCE, Joseph, and James H. MCMILLAN became citizens of the place on the Cattaraugus side, and the PLUMB family, among others, on the Erie side. James H. MCMILLAN has remained in the place ever since, and is now the oldest settler. Amos L. CHAFFEE remained identified with Gowanda until his death. He built the first cloth-dressing works and was for many years a leading merchant.
Alvin BUGBEE was also a merchant, and was the father of President BUGBEE of the Allegany College at Meadville. About 1825, Phineas SPENCER became a resident of Lodi, and continued one of its most active enterprising citizens until his death, Sept. 30, 1839. Another of the early settlers of Perrysburg, Col. Benjamin WATERMAN, took a prominent part in the affairs of the village before 1830. At this time, Lodi had a most promising future, having good stores, mills, factories, a printing office, which was opened in 1829 by G.N. STARR, and all the adjuncts of a thriving village. Its prosperity was checked by several floods which damaged property along the river, and by two destructive conflagrations. The first of these occurred April 30, 1856. The fire originated in a furnace on the Erie side, burned up a large woolen factory near by, then spread to the Cattaraugus side, burning the bridge across the creek and sixty-four buildings, large and small. Every business house in the place, except the Plumb Block on the Erie side, was destroyed, and the village was truly made desolate. The work of rebuilding commenced at once, and in a few years, the village regained its former position. In October, 1875, another fire destroyed a number of business houses in the heart of the village, on the Cattaraugus side, but did not materially retard its growth, which had been quickened a few months before by the completion of the Buffalo and Southwestern Railroad, which located a station at this point. Several substantial and handsome brick buildings have since been erected, greatly improving the appearance of the village, which now contains about 20 stores, half a dozen hotels, a bank, a newspaper, several churches, a very handsome academy, and about 1,600 inhabitants, of which 900 live on the Cattaraugus County side.
The village was incorporated on a petition to the court of Cattaraugus County, dated April 24, 1848, and signed by Seth FIELD, H.N. HOOKER, A. CAMP, D.N. BROWN, James LOCKE, Alvin BUGBEE, R. PLUMB, S.G. ELLIS, A.L. CHAFFEE, J.C. WHITE, A.R. SELLERS, Chester HOWE, C. BIGELOW, J.H. PLUMB, E.W. HENRY.
The court granted the prayer, and ordered an election to be held Aug. 1, 1848, at which Asahel CAMP, Alvin BUGBEE, and William VAN VLECHTEN were to preside as inspectors. Ninety-six votes were cast, of which seventy-five favored the incorporation of the village, with bounds containing 746 acres, situated on both sides of the creek. On the 23d of September 1848, the first election for village officers was held, with the following result: Trustees, Seth FIELD, Jas.LOCKE, Daniel C. AMSDEN, Francis PEACOCK, Harlow CRANDALL; Assessors, Amasa L. CHAFFEE, Herman PALMER, Samuel AIKEN; Street Commissioners, James H. MCMILLAN, Joseph J. BENTON, George S. HICKOX; Clerk, Samuel C. SPRINGER; Collector, William H. MURPHY; Treasurer, Elias W. HENRY; Constable, Brazilla COON.
James LOCKE was elected president of the board of trustees. The village government was conducted under this charter until 1878, when its provisions were disregarded and no election held. The officers elected March 21, 1877, were: Trustees, John S. SHUGERT; President, Joseph M. CONGDON, John KAMMERER, George VOSBURGH, Jacob GAMMEL; Clerk, Eugene M. SAWYER.
In July, 1878, the village again became incorporated, this time under the general act relating to villages, with bounds extended to embrace the hamlet of Hidi and the territory beyond, making the present limits very much more comprehensive than the old ones. In this corporation, the first election was held Sept. 2, 1878, as follows: President, Silas VINTON; Trustees, J. BROWN, Byron F. KIMBLE, John KAMMERER; Secretary, Wells FULLER; Treasurer, T.F. KINGSLEY.
STORES AND HOTELS
On the Cattaraugus side of Gowanda, Phineas SPENCER opened the first store in a building which occupied the site of HOOKER'S Block. Here he was a successful tradesman until 1837. Other prominent merchants were SKINNER & DAY, Horace MOSES, Titus ROBERTS, Amasa L. CHAFFEE, Jas. LOCKE, Alvin BUGBEE, Samuel C. SPRINGER, FERRIS & VOSBURGH, Stephen J. TUCKER, Leander FORBES, John B. WILBUR, and Zimri WARNER. Porter WELCH was a prominent successful merchant until 1874, and did much to build up the place. His contemporary was H.N. HOOKER, who has been in trade since 1840, and since 1845 on the site now occupied by his handsome block. This was erected in 1876, after the destruction of his old store in October, 1875. It is a three-story brick, 60 by 60, with an iron and plate-glass front. The entire building is used for his business, each story forming a single room. In its design and arrangement it has no equal in the county.
Besides Mr. HOOKER, there are, as merchants, C.M. CHAFFEE, W.H. STUART & Son, KIMBLE & TAYLOR, SCHAACK & Son, John W. POTTER, John KAMMERER, N.B. ALLEN & Co., W.R. SMALLWOOD, W.A. FISH, and others.
The first public-house at Gowanda was that kept by Col. Benjamin WATERMAN on the DAILEY place, after 1818. In 1825, Daniel MCMILLAN, of Buffalo, erected a two-story frame house near the bridge, which was opened as a tavern by John W. HANFORD. Other landlords here were Ira A.TORREY, Zimri HOWE, John G. MCGEE, George W. WHITE, and Michael H. BARKER. From this time one, it was known as the "BARKER House," before, as the "Lodi House." After it was burned, in 1856, it was rebuilt by BARKER, but was again destroyed by fire in 1875.
In the same neighborhood the "MANSION House" was built, about 1836, by Phineas SPENCER, and was first kept by Zebedee A. MACOMBER. Other landlords were BRUCE, WOODBURY, PHINNEY, HARDER, BLACKNEY, etc. This was also burned in 1856, and the Union House erected thereafter. This has been kept by BARKER, VINTON, and WIEGAND.
Since 1873, J.S. BARTLETT & Co. have transacted a general banking business in the village, the office being on Main Street.
The post-office was established about 1820, as ALDRICH'S Mills. In 1822, the name was changed to Lodi, and Benjamin WATERMAN appointed postmaster. In consequence of the confliction with another Lodi in the State, the office was discontinued about 1827, and the place was dependent on the Collins Office, at that time kept near the village.
About 1830 an office was again established on the Cattaraugus County side with the name of West Lodi, and Phineas SPENCER, postmaster. In 1833, it had a larger revenue than any other office in the county. After 1835, the name of the office was Persia, but since 1848, it has been known by the name of the village, -Gowanda. The succession of postmasters since Phineas SPENCER has been as follows: Amasa L. CHAFFEE, John WILBER, Wm. WOODBURY, David N. BROWN, Charles HENRY, O. BISHOP, George W. HANFORD, Wm. H. STUART, and Sarah RICE. It became a postal money order office, July 1, 1879.
The Gowanda Enterprise is at present published here. A history of the press of the village is elsewhere fully given. W.L. FIDLER has in successful operation a book-bindery.
Dr. Sands N. CRUMB located as a practicing physician in town before 1822. T.P.WHIPPLE was one of his students and followed in practice; and about the same time, Dr. MERRITT was here located. Drs. BENJAMIN, Stephen B. GREEN, S.G. ELLIS, and Seth FIELD were also early practitioners, and had among their successors Drs. John H. SHUGERT, yet in practice on the Erie side, Corydon C. RUGG, and George C. DE LAMETER. The present physicians are C.C. JOHNSON, Horace BABCOCK, and J.G. RUGG.
The first attorney was Albert G. BURKE, who came in 1827. He was one of the most brilliant lawyers of Western New York. He died in 1836. Mark W. FLETCHER came next, and Chester HOWE soon after. The latter removed to Randolph. William WOODBURY located here in 1845, and has practiced law at this place ever since. C.C. TORRENCE has also been here many years, and J.M. CONGDON since 1875. In 1873, C.W. BLACKNEY opened an office in the village, and became a rising lawyer. In 1875, he was brutally murdered by one Lewis DARBY, who it is said was jealous of BLACKNEY'S success. Other attorneys have been Judge A.H. HURD, Isaac HULL, F.A. NEWELL, and George B. WOOD.
Phoenix Lodge, No. 262, F. and A.M., was instituted under a dispensation, Dec. 8, 1851, and elected for its first officers, Elias HALL, W.M., Wm. S. HERRICK, S.W.; David D. PARKER, J.W.; James LOCKE, S.D.; Samuel AIKINS, J.D.; and A.L. CHAFFEE, Sec. On the 16th of June 1852, the lodge was duly chartered. It has always flourished, and at present has 114 members, and as principal officers, J.W. DAUBER, W.M.; A.J. PECK, S.W.; J. STRAUB, J.W.; and B.L. KIMBLE, Sec.
Columbia Lodge, No. 345, Harugari - This is a German social and beneficiary order. The lodge was instituted in April, 1874, with 30 charter members. The present number is 42, although the aggregate membership has reached 60. The principal officers are Jacob GAMMEL, Oberbarden, Wm. DAUBER, Unterbarden; Joseph S. HERTIG, Sec., John KAMMERER, Treas.
Gowanda Lodge, No. 46, A.O.U.W., was organized Dec. 22, 1876, with 24 charter members, and Wm. A. FISH, P.M.W.; Thomas JACKSON, M.W.; J.H.SCHAACK, G.F.; James M. CONGDON, O.; N. SCHAACK, F.; J. KAMMERER, Rec.; C.C. JOHNSON, R.
The members at present, October, 1878, number 45, and the lodge meetings are held in the Columbian Hall.
Gowanda Council, No. 109, Royal Templars of Temperance, was organized Oct. 12, 1877, with 9 members. The first officers were: M.J. BROWN, S.C.; J.W. POTTER, V.C.; J. RITZ, P.C.; J.W. SANBORN, Chap.; J.G. RUGG, Treas.; A. BROWNELL, Sec.
The council at present numbers 32 members.
It is believed that Polly REDFIELD, a sister of Samuel R. REDFIELD, taught the first school in town, in the summer of 1817, in a log school-house in the neighborhood of Hidi. Soon after, Enoch FRY taught a winter-school at this place, and later Josiah WHITCOMB was a teacher.
The school at Gowanda was originally in a district which was partly in Collins, Erie Co., but in 1829 the district was divided, and in July of that year district No. 14, in Cattaraugus County, formed, embracing the northeast part of Perrysburg and the northwest part of Persia, as the towns are at present constituted. August 8, Benjamin WATERMAN, Solomon DUNHAM, and Phineas SPENCER were elected Trustees; Amasa L. CHAFFEE, Clerk; and John THATCHER, Treasurer. The district being now organized, it was voted "to secure a site for a school-house within forty rods of Dr. MERRITT'S place."
A lot was purchased of Alvin BUGBEE for $25, on which Asahel CAMP and Stephen B. GREEN, as a committee, built a frame house 22 by 20 feet, for the low figure of $125. Solomon DUNHAM painted this home with Venetian red, trimmed the cornice with white, and made some plain benches. A large Franklin stove in the centre of the room completed the outfit. In the winter of 1829-30, the first school was here taught by Mr. LELAND, -a term of five months at $13 per month, -the scholars numbering fifty-seven. The next term of three months was taught by Chester HOWE at $6 per month.
In 1844, the district again united with Collins, and formed joint district, No. 1, the trustees then elected being Joseph PLUMB, Chester HOWE, and Edwin FARNSWORTH. The "pine lot" on the west side of the creek was purchased of E.W. HENRY for school purposes, and a good frame house erected thereon in 1845. In this A.G. LOVE was the first teacher, and gave the school a reputation it has since enjoyed.
It 1862 the Legislature passed an act "placing the school under the Board of State Regents, and to entitle it to the benefits from such a connection." This relation was maintained until Dec. 6, 1866, when an organization was effected under the general act of May 2, 1864, as "The Gowanda Union Free School and Academy."
The first board of education was composed of David N. BROWN,
Joseph H. PLUMB, Nicholas SCHAACK, F.A. NEWELL, Herman KELLEY, A.W. POPPLE,
W.H. STUART, C.C. TORRANCE, and L.S. JENKS. David N. BROWN was chosen
president, and William H. STUART, secretary. Dr. HOLCOMB was engaged
as the principal, and the academic department was formally opened December,
On the 9th of August, 1874, the school building was destroyed by fire, and for several years the sessions of the school were held in a room in the WELCH Block; but on the 26th of October, 1875, a meeting was held, which was well attended, when it was voted unanimously to erect an appropriate building on the old site, at a cost of $1,500. The contract was awarded to Silas VINTON, who most faithfully performed his part of the work, erecting an edifice which in its general arrangement and perfection of details, is highly creditable to the place, and has no equal in the county. It is an imposing brick structure, two full stories high and basement, with well-proportioned wings and a vestibule surmounted by a very handsome tower. The building is so arranged as to combine safety as well as elegance in its construction, and is furnished with the most approved apparatus and furniture. It was first occupied for school purposes the winter term of 1877,
Gowanda Academy is at present in charge of Fred DICK, A.M., principal, assisted by five teachers of experience. The school has four departments whose aggregate attendance is 250, and whose courses of study compare favorably with those of similar institutions.
The board of education is at present composed of C.C. JOHNSON, President, F.C. VINTON, Secretary; J.W. POTTER, Treasurer; I.A. WELLS, W.R. SMITH, H.F. ALLEN, J. KAMMERER, J.M. CONGDON, L. FORBUSH, M.J. BROWN.
THE LODI LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
was formed as a legal body June 18, 1827, with Trustees Norton DAVISON, Howell M. PARKER, Solon SPENCER, J. HILL, Ira C. TITUS, Constant R. ALLEN, and Solomon DUNHAM. We have been unable to learn what was accomplished by this body, but believe that it never established a library.
The town has 6 school districts, containing 6 school houses, valued with sites, at $18,645; having 190 volumes in library; valued at $220; 9 teachers are employed, to whom is paid $2,804.21. The number of weeks taught is 183; number of children of school age is 363; average daily attendance, 181. Amount of public money received from State, $1,009.04; amount of money received from tax, $5,884.85. These statistics are for the year ending Sept. 30, 1878.
The Free Will Baptists were the first to hold religious meetings in town, in 1816, the services being conducted by Elder Elnathan FINCH. No permanent organization was effected, and the membership was soon absorbed by churches in adjoining towns.
In 1832, the "Seventh-Day Baptists" formed a society in the central part of the town, which had as members Hosea WHITFORD and wife, Oliver BABCOCK and wife, Silas BURDICK and wife, Elbridge EDDY and wife, and Hosea BROWN. The meetings were first held in the school house in District No. 4, but soon after a log meeting house was built near by which was used until the society, owing to removals, was disbanded 8 or 10 years after. Elders Walter B. GILLETT, Nathan HULL, and others are remembered as preachers here.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH AT GOWANDA
was incorporated, according to the laws relating to religious societies, Sept. 28, 1831. The trustees chosen were John GRIFFITH, Francis B. PARKER, Stevenson WOODS, Abram STORMS, Jr., John VOSBURGH, Franklin DAY, Zimri HOWE, Stephen B. GREEN, and Alvin BUGBEE.
The organization of a small class of Methodists ante-dated this period six or eight years, and preaching was held at stated times by Solomon JUDD and others. About 1835 a church edifice was erected, which in a repaired condition is still used by the society. At present it is a neat and comfortable place of worship, with sittings for 300 persons. The society also owns a parsonage in the village, and the total property is reported worth $3,500. The trustees are E. DAILY, S. VINTON, W. WOODBURY, A.A. KELLOGG, L. WATERHOUSE, E. TAYLOR, H.J. BROWN, A. GRANTIER, and J.G. RUGG.
The church has 75 members, under the spiritual care of the Rev. J.W. SANBORN. Other pastors in order to the present time, were Revs. Gustavus HINES, Horatio SEAVER, Alpha WRIGHT, Porter MCKINSTRY, John KENT, Amos WORCESTER, James WITTED, John BOWMAN, James MCCLELLAND, E.E. CHAMBERS, John KENNARD, Daniel FIELDS, Alonzo NEWTON, Charles STRONG, ______ BAKER, ______ MORAN, C.D. BROOKS, Milton RICE, J.J. ROBERTS, W.H. ROGERS, C.D. BURLINGHAM, H. PECK, W.D. BUCK, and E.A. RICE.
A good Sunday school of 80 members, having M.J. BROWN as superintendent, is maintained by the church.
THE GOWANDA FREE METHODIST CHURCH
This body was formed in 1865, of a number of persons who had withdrawn from the Methodist Episcopal Church and others, who held their first meetings in private houses. On the 18th of April a board of trustees was chosen, composed of Titus ROBERTS, Samuel C. SPRINGER, Wm. T. SMALLWOOD, Perry H. WILCOX, and Daniel A. DYE. Under their direction, a plain but substantial frame meeting house, 36 by 65 feet, having 400 sittings, was erected which was dedicated in November, 1865, by the Rev. B.T. ROBERTS, for the use of the church. A parsonage was also provided, and the combined value is estimated at $3,000.
The church has at present 36 members, and has maintained a Sabbath-school since its organization. The first superintendent was S.C. SPRINGER; the present is Perry H. WILCOX, and there are 35 members.
The pastors of the church, in the order of their connection, have been the Revs. REDDY, HUDSON, JACKSON, SINCLAIR, JONES, FREELAND, MOORE, MCALPINE, WHITE, MONROE, HAWKINS, and MATHEWSON.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF GOWANDA
Although this church edifice is on the Erie County side of the village, much of its early history is so intimately blended with the religious interests of Persia that we may appropriately note it here.
Public worship, according to the forms of the Presbyterian Church, was first set up by Joseph PLUMB and a few others in 1827. A Sunday school was started by PLUMB the same year, which has been continued ever since. In April, 1828, the church was organized with 13 male members, and in the fall of that year was received under the care of the Presbytery of Buffalo.
April 8, 1828, "The Presbyterian Society of Lodi" was formed, and Wm. R. PIERSON, Phineas SPENCER, Lewis B. EDWARDS, Albert G. BURKE, and Joseph PLUMB chosen trustees. In 1835, the first meeting-house was erected, which was used until its destruction by fire, Feb. 13, 1842. Another frame house, 40 by 52 feet, was soon after begun on the same foundation, but was not completed until 1846. This is still the place of worship of the society.
The membership increased slowly, numbering but 16 in 1830, but an extensive revival ensued, and, in 1837, 150 members were reported. This season of prosperity was followed by one of abated interest, diminishing the membership, which has not since been so large.
Among the early clergy of the church were, in 1829, the
Rev. Erastus J. GILLETT; 1833, Rev. T.S. HARRIS; 1833-39, Rev. John B.
PRESTON; 1839-42, Rev. Sylvester COWLES; and after that period for a number
of years, the Rev. L.A. SKINNER.
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