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Neva Gross
New Hudson Town Historian

In the book Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase occurs this passage: "The traveler who passes over the road from Rushford to Cuba will have his attention arrested soon after he strikes the headwaters of Oil Creek by a cluster of neat farm buildings in the center of a highly cultivated farm, the whole nestling in rural quiet amid the surrounding hills. It is where the venerable pioneer first broke in to the wilderness and where he still (1850) lives to enjoy the rewards of his early toils and privations."

In 1808 Solomon Rawson with his brother William and their wives, emigrated from the southern part of Pennsylvania located on lots four and five, range three on Town Line Road and commenced to prepare the way for the tide of civilization that was in a few years to transform the boundless wilderness into cultivated fields. These brothers cut a road through from Cuba as they came, and a short time afterward, to Rushford. Here they built their humble log cabin. In August of the next year was born Natilla, a daughter of Solomon and Betsey Rawson. The Rawsons were joined the next year by the Markhams, three brothers; Simon, David, and Seth, who with their father and families emigrated from Connecticut. The first marriage was that of William Markham and Rachel Phillips. on March 1, 1815.

Solomon Rawson was a prosperous man. He became a church deacon, accumulated money and indulged in a silver table service, which was eventually stolen from him.

These families, the Rawsons and the Markhams, lived here for several years before anyone settled near them. Their houses became stopping places for emigrants passing through to the west. In 1820, Spencer Lyon came with his family from Waterbury, Vermont by place of Syracuse, where he bought a barrel of salt. The night before reaching the place of their new home in the town of New Hudson, they stayed in a tavern on the County Line Road and had to leave the salt in payment of his bill.

The first tavern was kept by William Rawson between 1820 and 1830. Elkamy Bates, then continued the hotel until about 1850.

In the summer of 1815, Miss Sally Osborne taught the first school.

George Davidson kept store at Rawson from 1886-1893. He was born in 1843 in Lyndon, became a soldier in 1862, and was taken prisoner at Gettysburg. In 1892, and was taken prisoner at Gettysburg. In 1892, he became president of the Rawson Farmers Alliance. Albert Fargo also managed the store there for about 25 years. Milton Scott bought the store from him, but it burned two years later.

Jim Neal operated a blacksmith and wagon repair shop for 27 years, which was torn down when horses gave way to automobiles.

Postal records show that the Rawson Post Office was established in Cattaraugus County on August 12, 1851, with Josiah A. Perry appointed as the first postmaster. He was succeeded by Silas S. Seely on May 14, 1852, Herman Knickerbocker on August 1, 1854, and Mrs. Charlotte Nettleton on January 13, 1875. The post office was located in Allegany County on October 10, 1896 with Elmer A. Gere as postmaster. He was succeeded by Charles Morse on March 15, 1898. The office was discontinued on May 15, 1902, and the mail delivered from Cuba.

A daily stage (Sunday excepted) operated between Cuba and Rushford from about 162. It left Rushford for Cuba at 5:30 a.m. arrived in Cuba for the 8:34 a.m. express west. It left Cuba on arrival of the mail train at 3:24 p.m., reached Rushford at 6:45 p.m. This stage coach apparently delivered the mail from the Rawson Post Office. Lyndon residents received their mail from the Rawson Post Office. At one time each resident took their turn carrying the mail from Rawson to the Lyndon Post Office. Sometime it was carried on horseback.

In the 1880s , the narrow gauge Tonawanda Valley Railroad operated between Cuba and Rushford. Troubles were encountered in laying tracks in a swampy area between Hardys Corners and Rawson. On July 4, 1882, an excursion train ran from Rushford to Cuba. In May 1884, a night freight train was put on and that was about the peck of the old T.V. On January 19, 1885, the mail train was taken off. The passenger and freight service dwindled until the end in October of 1886.

In 1810 the Rev. Robert Hubbard, a Presbyterian minister, passed through this section on a missionary tour, and held the first religious meeting at the house of Seth Markham. When the Freewill Baptist Church was organized in 1816, Solomon Rawson became the first deacon. The church edifice was built in 1839. It was called "The White Meeting House". The land for the church site and cemetery was given by Arden Frary.

Thomas Pratt was the first pastor of the church. He was ordained November 18, 1834. He served the church for many years. He died in 1873 at the age of 79. A.C. Andrews was mentioned as preaching at the church, also Elder B. McVroon.

Monthly meetings were held on the second Saturday of each month to conduct church business. The neighboring churches most frequently mentioned as attending the quarterly meetings were Rushford, Cuba, Hum, Freedom, Pike, New Hudson, Elton, Sugartown, West Valley, Ashford, and Little Valley.

On February 4, 1837 a meeting was held at Brother T.L. Pratt’s home. The church in Rushford requested to join the Rawson Church. There were 40 members in 1837.

On January 25, 1845 a meeting was held by the Freewill Baptist Church on Swift Hill. This branch of the Rawson Church was ordained and acknowledged by the brethren. In May of 1864, the members of the church were received back into the Rawson Church in full fellowship.

On January 10, 1880, a Sabbath School was organized. The number of teachers were 7, number of scholars were 56.

Years ago, Rawson had a little community of its own, but now due to better roads and faster transportation, all that is left is the church.

New Hudson

Allegany County, New York Table of Contents

Last updated on July 16, 2006
© 1998 by Neva Gross, all rights reserved; used by permission
© copyright 1999, by Vivian Karen Bush
This page is part of the Allegany County, New York GenWeb Site and is not affiliated with any other society or organization.