The History of Cattaraugus
published 1879 by Everts,
edited by Franklin Ellis
Chapter: Town of Great Valley, pages 461-468
Transcribed by Linda Albright January 2004
G R E A T V A L L E Y
This town was formed from Olean, April
Burton (now Allegany) was taken off April 18, 1831, and Carrolton,
March 9, 1842. It is an interior town, lying a little southeast of the
centre of the county, and contains 33,715 acres The surface is a
mountainous and hilly upland, the highest summit, near the southwest
corner, being 1,300 feet above the river.
The Allegany river runs through the southwest corner
of the town, and the Allegany Indian Reservation, lying on both sides
of the river, is here over a mile wide. The name of the town is derived
from the broad valley of the principal stream running through the town
from the north, and uniting with the river at Kill Buck.
The town of Great Valley, by its present limits, is
composed of township 3 and the north half of township 2, in the sixth
range of Joseph Ellicott's survey, and is bounded north by
Ellicottville, east by Humphrey and Allegany, south by Carrolton, and
west by Salamanca and Little Valley.
The soil upon the high upland is a hard clay mixed
with disintegrated slate and shale. In the valleys it is a gravelly
loam. The primitive forest consisted of a heavy growth of beech, maple,
hemlock, and other trees common to this latitude; and last, but not
least, those were largely interspersed with numerous stately pines. The
conversion of this latter choice timber into lumber, for the markets
down the river, constituted the leading occupation of the early
settlers of Great Valley. About a dozen water-power sawmills were built
in town by them to manufacture pine lumber, and almost incalculable
quantities of that commodity wee manufactured by them and run down the
Allegany, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The lumber was used for building
and other purposes in the cities and towns along those rivers, except
portions of it, which were shipped to the West Indies and other foreign
markets, and up the various rivers of the West and Southwest. But that
busy period of lumber-making, which made Great Valley some fifty years
emphatically a lumber region, has now nearly terminated, by reason of
the exhaustion of the supply of pine timber; and the occupation of the
people has greatly changed, from the lumbering business to the less
exciting but more reliable occupation of farming, stock-raising, and
dairying. Although a large portion of the land is still set down by the
assessors as "non-resident," and is yet in a wild state, there are many
good farms under cultivation, mostly, however, in the valleys.
James GREEN is credited with being the first
permanent settler of Great Valley. He came from New Hampshire, and
located first at Olean Point, but removed thence to near the mouth of
Great Valley Creek, in 1812, being the first white inhabitant to locate
on the Allegany below Olean. He afterwards removed down the river, and
died at Golconda on the Ohio River. His brothers, Francis and Richard,
came a little later, and settled near the mouth of Wright's Creek. They
were men of respectability and good judgement, and engaged in
mill-building and lumbering. Ira Norton came to Franklinville in 1807,
and in 1816 located near Peth, on the farm now occupied by his son,
Andrus L. NORTON. Jeremy WOOSTER settled on the place where Orrin
PITCHER had made a beginning in 1815. This was the place now owned and
occupied by E.H. HESS.
Benjamin CHAMBERLAIN came from Little Valley in
1816, and built a mill and resided for some time on Lot 9, about a mile
above the mouth of Great Valley Creek. He moved to Peth a year or two
later and built a house and a store, and bought a grist-and sawmill of
J. And L. WOOSTER, on the west side fo the creek. He either owned, or
had an interest in, several mills and stores, and became the owner of a
large amount of landed property. The father of Judge CHAMBERLAIN and
four or five brothers also settled in town. Their names were john,
David, Simon, and William. The last named is still living on Wright's
Creek. Gen. Calvin T. CHAMBERLAIN of Cuba, was also a brother of the
Judge. He died in 1878. Jeremy, Henry, and Lewis WOOSTER came with the
pioneers of 1816. David GREGORY, John ALEXANDER, Daniel FARRINGTON.
Col. William BAKER was an early settler at the mouth of Great Valley
Creek, where he built a house and kept an inn on the east side of the
creek. A part of the house is still standing, it being now over sixty
years old, and is occupied as a dwelling. It is owned by J.H. MELHUISH.
That tavern was a much-frequented stopping place in pioneer times,
especially for raftsmen. Marcus LEONARD kept an inn on the west side of
the creek, beginning a few years later than Col. Baker. David FARNHAM,
who was an early pioneer, settled near Peth about 1816. He died in 1878
at the age of eighty-five years. Among other early settlers in town
were Arza SEARL, David SIMMONS, John SAWYER, Truman and Erasmus D.
KELSEY, D. MARKHAM, Chas. WARD, F. BRYANT, John ELLIS, Isaac LAWTON, J.
MUDGETT, Elmore SEARS, John ALEXANDER, N. and M. CHASE, J. and R.
CHASE, Benjamin B. BACON, William BARKER, Robert PATTERSON, Parley
CARVER, G.W. DRAKE, N. BONESTEEL, N.L. and M. GIBSON, and Michael
HICKEY. The father of Benjamin CHAMBERLAIN was called Benjamin
CHAMBERS. This was because, as a soldier of the Revolution, he
served under the name of CHAMBERS. He was a pensioner until his death
in 1855, aged ninety-four years. Other early settlers were Nicholas
FLINT, Daniel MC KAY, B. HIBBARD, Moses CHASE, Reuben and Robert CHASE;
and many of those early settlers had sons, who also soon took an active
part in the business affairs of the town.
Among men of distinction, who in their early days
were residents of Great Valley and who are still living, are Hon.
Chauncey J. FOX of Ellicottville; Hon. Alonzo HAWLEY of Hinsdale, whose
first wife was the only child of Judge CHAMBERLAIN; Hon. Nelson I.
NORTON, of Hinsdale, member of Congress; Hon. Wesley FLINT of
Washington, D.C., late consul to China; and Hon. A.A. GREGORY, now of
Michigan, formerly a member of Assembly, and for many years sheriff of
On the early settlement of Great Valley, there
existed an Indian town or settlement in the midst of which was the
wigwam of KILL BUCK, their chief, which stood on the site of the
present store of J.M. BEMIS & Co. The names by which some of the
Indians were known were John LOGAN, John HALFWHITE, David SNOW,
Jonathan TITUS, William HALFTOWN, Daniel HALFTOWN, William JOHNSON,
John HUTCHINSON, Daniel KILL BUCK, and several others.
These Indians subsisted by hunting, fishing, and a
small annual annuity which they received from Government. They, like
most of their tribe, were indolent, fond of whisky, and mostly poor.
Their sons are not much inclined to adopt the agricultural pursuits of
the white people. They derived a considerable income from lands rented
to white people. They have a council house at "Horseshoe Bend", on the
river, about 2 miles above Kill Buck. Here they meet several times in
each year to worship the "Great Spirit" in their Pagan way, and for
dances and other singular ceremonies peculiar to Indians. Jonathan
TITUS is still living, and in good health, at the age of eighty-eight
years, and says he is going to reach one hundred. He certainly bids
fair to become at least a centenarian. The sound of the engine and the
rush of the white men who came to the new town to erect buildings and
carry on business soon induced the Indians to lease their lands to the
newcomers and retire a little farther back.
INITIAL EVENTS AND PIONEER INCIDENTS
The first birth in town was that of Ira GREEN, in
1813. The first death was that of Mrs. HIBBARD the same year. The first
school was taught at the house of James GREEN, by Joel FAIRBANKS, in
the winter of 1817. A school was kept a year or two later in a small
plank house, near the present residence of H.D. DIDCOCK, by Daniel
CHANDLER, who afterwards was a somewhat prominent citizen of Hinsdale.
There were only a few children to attend the school. The first marriage
in town, it is now supposed, was at the Double Mill in 1818, of Matthew
GIBSON to Esther MARKHAM. Among the early marriages in town were Nathan
HOWE, Jr., to Nancy MUDGETT, and John GREEN to Lucy HOWE. The
last-named lady is still living at Kill Buck, a widow, John GREEN
having died March 31, 1874 at the age of seventy-five years. James
GREEN kept the first inn in 1813 near the mouth of Great Valley Creek.
Lewis WOOSTER kept the first store which was located at Peth in 1815.
The first doctor was Dr. TROWBRIDGE, who located at Kill Buck. He was
at first without means, and went on foot to see his patients; but being
a pretty good physician, he succeeded in doing a fair business for
several years. But, for the most part, doctors as well as lawyers, when
needed, were obtained from Ellicottville, or some other adjacent town.
At one of the early meetings, John GREEN attended
and being rather roughly dressed in lumberman style with a blanket
coast, the preacher mistook him for one fo the aborigines, and in his
prayer thanked the Lord that the heathen had turned out to hear the
A story is related of a thievish fellow who came to
Kill Buck in those early days, and learning that John GREEN had
considerable amounts of money and commonly kept it in a trunk, he slyly
crept around and stole trunk and all. But he got only about $30 as John
had just paid out most of his money for land. A lot of men took the
thief in a canoe out on the river at night, and ducked him in the water
several times. The next morning he told Mrs. PATTERSON of his troubles,
and the rough handling he got; and said he, "I was three times in
eternity last night."
It is related that a traveling preacher came along
to Kill Buck, and made inquiry for a deacon or leading professor,
probably with a view of finding an acceptable place to stay overnight.
Some waggish person sent him to Otis HOWE, and he, in turn, told him it
was a mistake in sending him there but told him that he presumed Deacon
PEMBERTON, rather a rough but good pilot, was the man, and directed him
to the place were the deacon was at work. The priest found him and
tried to make known that he was looking for a good brother in the
church, but PEMBERTON was quite deaf and did not get his meaning. Again
the preacher repeated, "This is Deacon PEMBERTON, I suppose?"
PEMBERTON turned and looking earnestly at him, said, "I don't hear you.
Speak a little louder; I'm as deaf as a d--------d adder." The preacher
began to think he had fallen upon a streak of bad luck and rough
deacons; but a little further inquiry convinced him that there were
plenty of hospitable people at Great Valley, with whom any civil person
could find entertainment.
During the period in which the various sawmills on
Great Valley Creek were in active operation, the lumber made at the
mills, as far up as the Lawton mill, was piled on the bank until
rafting time, which was usually about the month of March, when it was
rafted into the creek awaiting the spring flood when the rafts were run
down the creek to the river. The creek rafts consisted of one string of
four to five platforms or lengths. At the river, about four of these
strings were put into a Warren raft. When run to Warren, three of those
fleets were put together to make up a Pittsburgh fleet, being three
abreast and twenty platforms in length. On the Ohio, from Pittsburgh,
the usual raft or fleet was from three to five platforms abreast, and
from twenty to forty platforms in length. On a creek raft, from three
to five hands were employed. On a Warren raft, from seven to ten hands,
including the pilot; and on the Ohio, from a dozen to twenty men.
A creek platform commonly contained from 16,000 to
20,000 feet, and a river platform, 25,000 feet. Large quantities of
shingles were often carried to market on the rafts. Many of the rafts
had cabins or shanties on them, some of which were made quite
comfortable and well furnished, even to nice carpets on the floors. In
early times it was customary for raftsmen to travel home from
Pittsburgh on foot. Oarsmen were paid $4 to $7 per trip to Warren, $20
to $30 to Pittsburgh, and $30 to $40 to Cincinnati. Pilots were paid
twice as much or more. A full size Ohio raft is 80 feet in width, and
640 feet in length, and contains about from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 feet
of lumber. There are, however, seldom as large as that.
EARLY LANDOWNERS AS ASSESSED IN 1821
|T.L. and M. Gibson
|Edward & Lewis Bryant
The mills built by the early settlers on Great
Valley Creek for the manufacture of pine lumber averaged about one for
each mile from the mouth of the creek to the Ellicottville line.
The first, at Kill Buck, near the mouth of the
was built by James GREEN, and afterwards owned and run by Captain HOWE.
This was built about 1812.
The second, the Wooster Mill, built by B.
CHAMBERLAIN near the present residence of H.D. DIDCOCK, in about 1816.
The third was at the bend, two miles from the river
and was built by David GREGORY and SAWYER. There was also a grist mill
built by them, and they owned a store at that point. The mills were
destroyed by fire soon after, and were not rebuilt. This was built
Fourth, the Double Mills, built by Col. BAKER and
Judge CHAMBERLAIN, stood a few rods above the present railroad bridge.
A large amount of lumber was manufactured by them for years.
Fifth, the grist and sawmill at Peth, built by
Jeremy and Lewis WOOSTER in 1815, and sold to Judge CHAMBERLAIN on the
west side of the creek. Later, DUNN and MORTON built a sawmill on the
east side of the stream and used the water from the same dam.
Sixth, the sawmill built by Isaac Lawton, five miles
below Ellicottville, near the Plank Road House, about 1818.
Seventh, a mill about two miles above Lawton's,
built several years later (about 1837), by J.W. STAUNTON and since
known as the Williams Mill.
Eighth, the grist and sawmill built about 1816 by
James GREEN, and afterwards sold to Rev. John ELLIS. They stood about
two miles south of Ellicottvile.
Ninth, a sawmill on the east side of the creek, just
below the town line, built some years later than the Ellis Mill, by
COLBY, CHAMBERLAIN and BROTHERS.
On Wright's Creek, Judge Francis GREEN built a
sawmill about 1836.
About 1820, Richard WRIGHT built a sawmill on the
stream which takes its name from him and after using the same for four
or five years, he sold out to David CHAMBERLAIN, who after residing
there twenty years, sold his establishment to William J. NELSON, who
occupied the same until his death, in 1862.
The Willoughby sawmill, on Lot 11, was built some
years later than the last named, and for some years past there has been
a steam sawmill in operation, about a quarter of a mile below the site
of Willoughby's; but both, like most of the sawmills in town, have
disappeared within the last few years.
There was a sawmill in Sugartown Creek built by D.
HUNTLEY in about 1835, and afterwards owned by W. and R. WRIGHT. It was
rebuilt by Rev. Mr. MC KOON, and is now owned by his son N. C. MC KOON,
and is still used. It is near the line of Humphrey.
Morgan THORP built a sawmill on Windfall Creek,
about a mile north of the river in 1850. It is still in use when the
supply of water is sufficient.
The first steam sawmill on the riverbank at Kill
Buck was built by C. BURNSIDE and Co. in 1850. The building was
36 by 80 feet and two stories high, and gave employment to twenty
hands. They manufactured 20,000 feet of lumber daily. The establishment
was sold to BEMIS & Company in 1863. It was burned in 1878. A new
steam mill has been erected by BEMIS and Company a few rods above the
old site, which is 100 by 50 feet and two stories high. About the same
number of hands are employed as in the old mill. Improved circular saws
and greatly improved machinery are now used, by the help of which the
saw logs are converted into lumber in much less time than was required
by the old process of manufacturing lumber.
At an early period roads were laid out through the
wilderness. The old stage road from Buffalo to Olean passed through the
town. At first, it passed down the Great Valley Creek to Peth, where
the post office was kept; thence up the valley of Wright's Creek to
Chapellsburg. The road was first marked out and the underbrush and logs
cleared away, so that teams (oxen and sleds) could pass, and afterwards
the trees were cut away, the rough places graded, and bridges built. A
large amount of labor was required to make the road passable for the
stages. That road was a great convenience to the early settlers. Judge
Ira NORTON, and his brother-in-law, Samuel L. HOLLISTER, and two other
men, were seven days at work in getting from Franklinville to Great
Valley by the way of Sugartown. The distance is about fifteen miles.
This was in the year 1816. There was a road, at an early day, leading
along the north bank of the river to Great Valley and so down to
Warren, PA., but it was extremely rough, and used mostly by footmen and
lumbermen returning from their trips down the river with rafts. There
was a road built under authority of an act of the Legislature, passed
in 1841, and running on the north side of the river also, through the
Reservation. This was a much-needed improvement. It was cut out through
the woods, three rods wide and graded and bridges built.
On the completion of the Erie Railroad in 1852, a
plank road was constructed from the river to Ellicottville, a distance
of ten miles. This was much used for some years, but was finally
discontinued, ans it scarcely paid the expense of gatetenders and
keeping in repair.
About four miles of the Erie Railroad and nine miles
of the Rochester and State Line Railroad pass through the town of Great
Valley. The Erie station, at the mouth of the creek, is called Great
Valley, and the station on the Rochester and State Line Road, five
miles north, has same name.
No records of the town meetings prior to 1841 are to
be found in the town clerk's office, the old book of town records
having been lost or destroyed. Henry WOOSTER is believed to have been
the first supervisor in 1819, when the town comprised Great Valley,
Carrolton, Allegany, and Humphrey. Other early supervisors were Francis
GREEN, Richard WRIGHT, B. CHAMBERLAIN, Charles WARD, and Seth COLE.
Among those who held the office of justice of the
peace in town previous to 1841 were Daniel FARRINGTON, Richard WRIGHT,
Stephen S. COLE, Ira NORTON, Daniel HOWE, Francis GREEN, B.
CHAMBERLAIN, and John MUDGETT.
Since 1840, the principal officers have been as
||William J. Nelson
||William J. Nelson
||William J. Nelson
||William J. Nelson
||Francis E. Baillett
||Francis E. Baillett
||Andrews L. Norton
||George J. Witherell
||Oscar B. Senear
||Oscar B. Senear
||Andrews L. Nortn
||Andrews L. Norton
||Henry D. Didcock
||Henry D. Didcock
||Myron W. Hicks
||Walter E. Phelps
||Walter E. Phelps
||Myron W. Hicks
||Michael H. Cullinan
||Myron W. Hicks
||Michael H. Cullinan
||Michael H. Cullinan
||Myron W. Hicks
||George J. Witherell
||J. Edward Bemis
||George J. Witherell
||J. Edward Bemis
|| Michael H. Cullinan
||George J. Witherell
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
||William J. Nelson
||George T. Barkley
||Jos. H. Mudgett
|Andrews B. Norton NoerN
|Elias H. Hess
||S. W. McCoy
| Henry Heath
|Horace H. Morgan
||Wilson N. Howe
|Walter H. Gibbs
||William C. Hubbard
||Charles B. Potter
In 1830, Benjamin CHAMBERLAIN was postmaster at
Peth. After him, in 1833, Francis GREEN was postmaster. The accrued
postage amounted to $22.82. The next postmaster was Ira NORTON in 1842,
and for several years, and Andrus L. NORTON was the next postmaster. In
1870, Frederick CRAMER was postmaster, and soon after the post office
was changed from Peth to the Plank Road House, and M.W. HICKS appointed
postmaster. In 1876, measures were taken to re-establish a post office
at Peth. It was to be called Great Valley Centre. George E. HOWLAND was
appointed postmaster, but the project failed to be carried out.
A post office was at Kill Buck about 1836. Marcus
LEONARD was postmaster in 1840 o the west side of the creek. After him,
William CROSS was appointed and held the office several years. About
that time the office was removed to the east side of the creek where it
has continued to be kept. George J. WITHERELL was postmaster, and after
him Walter E. PHELPS held the office for several years. D.H. PATTERSON
is the present postmaster. Charles T. JENKS is deputy and has charge of
From the earliest settlement, the establishment and
maintenance of schools for the instruction of their children has been
an object of foremost importance with the people in every locality in
town. The first school houses built in the wilderness were, of course,
rough and rude, but made as comfortable as possible with the limited
means which they possessed. Men were hired as teachers at from eight to
twelve dollars per month, and women at from six to ten shillings per
week. The teachers usually "boarded around" the districts among the
patrons. There are now good frame school houses in each of the seven
school districts in town. In District No. 1 at Kill Buck, there is a
large two-story school house, well furnished for the use of primary and
more advanced scholars, and usually good teachers have been employed.
There has been for many years a good school maintained in District No.
2 at Peth. In District No. 3 at Great Valley Centre, there is a good
school house. Also in No. 4 on the Sugartown, there is a good and
well-built house. In No. 5 on Wright's Creek, there is another suitable
house. In District No. 6 adjoining Little Valley, the school house,
which is also a good one, is about a mile west from Peth. In District
No. 7 adjoining Ellicottville, a good school house was built at an
early day, and has been rebuilt within a few years. There is an Indian
school house at Horse Shoe Bend on the Reservation for the instruction
of the Indian children, and also those of white people living in the
vicinity, in the rudiments of an English education.
The school statistics of the town for 1878 are
obtained from Sanford B. MC CLURE. The town has 9 school districts,
containing 9 school houses which with sites, are valued at $3,885,
having 425 volumes in library, valued at $288. The number of teachers
employed is 10, to whom was paid $1,921.15. The number of weeks taught
was 264 3/5. The number of children of school age is 619. Average daily
attendance is 1,233 74/1000. Amount of public money received from State
is $1,240.65; amount of money received from taxes is $727.14.
There is a small village at Great Valley Station on
the Erie Railroad, two miles east of Salamanca. It contains a store,
tavern, wagon and blacksmith shop, steam sawmill, grocery, and a
saloon, besides the depot and several dwellings. At the corners, half a
mile north of the depot is another collection of buildings, called Kill
Buck. This place contains a store, hotel, meat market, wagon and
blacksmith shop, Methodist Episcopal church, a post office, and a large
two-story school house and about 20 dwellings. On the opposite side of
the creek and a few rods west from the post office, are several
dwellings, a Catholic church, a brewery, cooper shop and a hotel or
At the Plank Road or Halfway House, as it is
commonly called, there are two stores, a hotel, Great Valley post
office, a steam sawmill, a blacksmith shop, and several dwellings; and
on the west side of the creek opposite is the new railroad station, a
school house, cheese factory, and a few dwelling houses. A depot
building is soon to be erected.
The small village of Peth is situated on the Great
Valley Creek, three miles from the river. It has a tavern, a grocery
store, school house, blacksmith shop, a shingle mill, and several
dwelling houses. The handle factory was burned September, 1878. At an
early period after the first settlement of Great Valley, the village of
Peth was an important point, being the central business place for a
large lumber district for a period of about forty years. Here centered
the business operations of the WOOSTERS, the GREENS, the CHAMBERLAINS,
the GIBSONS, the HOWES, the KELSEYS, the MARKHAMS, and other active
early settlers and their sons. About 1845, a dozen or more Scotch
families settled at Peth and its vicinity. James NELSON owns and
occupies the farm and large dwelling house formerly occupied by Judge
CHAMBERLAIN. With the decline of the lumber business some of the
settlers left, and the population of Peth also declined.
The first store kept at Kill Buck was by
Daniel and Horace HOWE on the west side of the creek in 1834. It was
afterwards kept by Marcus LEONARD, who also kept an inn at that point
for some years. He died of the cholera, at Buffalo in 1850. Hiram
SMITH, from Chautaugua County, was the next proprietor of said store
for a year or two and he was succeeded by CROSS and ELLSWORTH, about
1846. They continued in the business for some years. In 1857, Andrew
MERKT bought the store, including the tavern in the same building, and
carried on the business of brewing lager beer and hotel-keeping for
some years. After his death in 1860, Lewis P. BREWER was proprietor of
the brewery and hotel. There was no store kept on the west side of the
creek after about 1855. The brewery and hotel was burned about 1865. It
was rebuilt by John SPRAKER in 1874, and bought by Lewis TORGE, Jr., in
1875. He makes beer for the wholesale trade and does no retail
business. In 1852, James W. PHELPS built a large two-story store
on the northwest corner of the streets at Kill Buck. He kept a good
stock of merchandise and traded at that stand for about twenty years.
Mr. Phelps still owns the store, which is occupied by George J.
WITHERELL as a general variety store.
Two stores on the east side of the street nearly
opposite the Phelps store, were built about the same time-one by
Jeremiah FRANK, who kept a liquor store, and the other was built by R.
PATTERSON and Son, in which the post office is kept.
In 1856, Oscar SENEAR and Francis GREEN, Jr., built
a store on the river bank opposite the depot on the same spot where
formerly stood the wigwam of Kill Buck, the Indian chief. This store
was afterwards occupied by Charles BURNSIDE for some years, and then
for a few years by Henry S. SHORTER, with a fair stock of goods.
Michael SHEEHAN occupies the store east of the
depot, built by Jos. COLMAN and occupied by H.S. SHORTER and Company,
in 1861. J.H. MELHUISH owns and occupies the Railroad House, next north
of the depot.
At Peth, Lewis WOOSTER was the first storekeeper. He
sold the store to Judge CHAMBERLAIN in 1821. It was kept by the Judge
for many years, with a large stock of merchandise. William J. NELSON
kept store there in 1848, and for several years.
There was a chair factory started in the steam
sawmill of H.S. SHORTER and Brothers in 1869, and carried on by Rev.
John R. ALEXANDER for a year or two. From four to six hands were
employed, and a large quantity of various kinds of chairs were
A large number of the first settlers of Great Valley
came from the New England States, noted for its schools and churches.
Very soon after the first settlers located, religious meetings were
held. They met for worship in private houses, in barns, and sometimes
in the woods, until school houses were built, and then the meetings
were very commonly held on Sundays in those temples of early
instruction. Several persons of the Presbyterian faith residing near
Peth, united in holding meetings at the house of Ira NORTON, until a
school house was built. Of those who thus united for worship, were
Deacon Josiah HOLLISTER and his son, Samuel L. HOLLISTER, Ira NORTON
and Jesse HOTCHKISS and their wives. The Rev. Mr. SPENCER, from
Fredonia, was present at the organization, and he preached occasionally
to the church at Great Valley till about the year 1825. The Rev. Mr.
WILLOUGHBY sometimes preached to the congregation and he was hired for
a year; and several other ministers labored there from time to time
until about 1835 when the Presbyterians united with the Methodists to
hold meetings. For a time, Revs. NEVINS and MAY preached to the
congregation, and the Rev. Sylvester COWLES then residing at
Ellicottville, occasionally. But the small church at Peth has been
weakened by changes, removals, and deaths, until now, 1878, the only
survivor of the little band who united as above mentioned is Mrs. Sybil
HOLLISTER, widow of Samuel L. HOLLISTER, residing at Mansfield in this
On the 4th day of November 1831, a Baptist
Church was organized in Great Valley by a meeting held for the purpose
at the house of Charles WARD. Ira BURLINGAME was moderator and
J.A. BULLARD, clerk. The following-named persons, on presenting their
certificates of good standing, were duly received and organized as
members of said church, viz.: John ELLIS, Charles WARD, Jos. A.
BULLARD, William MARKHAM, Lydia WARD, Rachel MARKHAM, Lucy PERKINS, and
Julia PARMELEE. Elder Samuel BRAYMAN addressed the new church and gave
the right hand of fellowship, and Elder Ebenezer VINING closed by
prayer. Religious services were from that time frequently held at the
school house in District No. 2, and the following additional members
were soon after added, viz.: Ira SMITH, Alvah KEYES, Freeman BRYANT,
Gershom R. STAUNTON, Benjamin LEE, Jane SMITH, Jerusha HENRY, Emily
MARKHAM, Ruby Ann MARKHAM, Rachel Ann PHILLIPS, Lucinda SMITH, Martha
LAWTON, Elizabeth MARKHAM, Rhoda PHILLIPS, Polly CHAMBERLAIN, Amanda
PARMELEE, Mary Ann MC NAUGHTON, and Mary FISH. The pastors of this
church were S. BRAYMAN, E. VINING, E. GOING, J. ELLIS, Daniel PLATT,
and Records VINING.
Of late years, the Baptists have kept up a church
organization in the vicinity of the Plank Road House, and during the
winter of 1877-78, they had a series of revival meetings at the school
house, and there were a considerable number who were converted and
united with the church. The Rev. Mr. PIERCE was the principal preacher.
They have a Sunday school of about 30 children; M.W. HICKS is the
In the neighborhood along Wright's Creek, the United
Brethren first held meetings about ten years ago and they also had
revival meetings at the school house near John Wright'S and gained a
large number of converts. Rev. BRUNERHOFF was the first preacher, and
afterwards Revs. BARBER and GAGE were the pastors. They have a Sunday
school; James HARRIS is the superintendent.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Among others who embraced religion and became
converts to the faith was Judge CHAMBERLAIN, who was converted and
united with the Episcopal Methodists in or about 1845. He afterwards
gave liberally of his ample fortune for the endowment of the Wesleyan
College at Meadville, PA., and also for the establishment of the
Chamberlain Institute, at Randolph, N.Y.
A Methodist society was organized at Kill Buck some
twenty years since, of which Henry S. SHORTER was a leading member for
several years. Rev. J.R. ALEXANDER was the pastor for some time and
left in 1866.
About 1872, a small but neat church edifice was
built by the united efforts of persons who were desirous of having a
suitable house of public worship in town. The Rev. Walter GORDON
devoted considerable time and took a deep interest in the building of
the church. Meetings continue to be held by preachers of various
denominations. A Sunday school organization has been kept up for
several years. E.D. BULLARD is the present superintendent. It now
numbers about 35 scholars and teachers.
ST. JOHN’S CHURCH
There was a Catholic church edifice erected in 1872, on the west side
of the creek at Kill Buck. It will seat 400 persons and cost about
$1,300. The society numbers 200, and is under the charge of the
THE FREE METHODISTS
There are a few of this persuasion in this town, and services are held
by them a part of the time in the Methodist church at Kill Buck.
There are several cemeteries in town. One, near Kill
Buck, has several monuments and marble tombstones, and is enclosed with
a good fence. There is one near Peth, which was a burial place at an
early period. This was near the old school house, and at the junction
of the roads leading to Ellicottville and Chapellsburg. Of late, this
has been superseded by a burial lot near the late Judge Francis GREEN's
resident. It is an elevated and very suitable plat of ground for the
purpose. There is a cemetery near the Plank Road House, on the west
side of the creek, and another on the Sugartown, near the Free Will
Baptist Church. This is near the town line of Humphrey, but the
cemetery is in the town of Great Valley. Another cemetery, which has
long been used as a burial place for the dead is located on Lot 19, in
what is known as the Willoughby neighborhood. The foregoing comprise
the Protestant burial places in town. There is a Catholic Cemetery at
Kill Buck on the west side of the creek, adjacent to the Roman Catholic
church, which was built in 1872.
An association known as the Great Valley Cemetery
Association was formed on September 2, 1871, with the following
trustees, viz.: Alexander KEUHL, Peter M. FOLTS, William CROSS, William
TOMES, Samuel KILBURN, and Robert PATTERSON.
While it may be said of this town that the
soil in the valleys is good,
and mostly well adapted to raising grain and grass, still a large
portion of the rough hill lands are yet covered mostly by the primitive
forest, and are not of good quality for agricultural purposes nor
favorable to dairying. When added to this is the fact that about 2,000
acres, embracing some of the best land in town is comprised in the
Indian Reservation, which is mostly uncultivated, it is no wonder
farming, generally, and the dairying business, in particular, is not as
flourishing in Great Valley, considering its extent of territory,
as in some other towns of the county.
There are now in operation, in town three cheese
factories. The first one was erected in 1858 on Lot 11 near the
Willoughby school house by an association of patrons. The building is
30 by 60 feet, and two stories high, and receives the milk of about 200
cows during the season of making cheese. One, near the Rochester and
State Line Depot, has the milk of 200 to 300 cows, with an average of
about 4,500 pounds of milk per day. It was built, in 1872, by the
patrons and has been run by I.N. SHELDON of Cuba, until 1878 when it
was bought by Mr. FOX of Ashford. For the month beginning August 16,
1878, 200 cheeses, weight 55 pounds each, or 11,000 pounds for the
month, were made. Sold in September 1878 at 83/4 cents. Mr. FOX also
owns the Summerville Hollow Factory, two miles below Ellicottville,
which is of about the same capacity as the one last named. The
buildings are each about 32 by 60 feet and two stories high. The milk
of about 800 cows is consumed by those three factories.
THE BREATHING WELL
There is a remarkable well on the farm of Mr. FLINT,
on Lot 11 which has been called the "breathing well." Some forty years
ago, Mr. FLINT dug a well to the depth of 25 feet but failed to find
water. He, however, stoned it up hoping that water might come.
Afterwards, noticing a current of air proceeding from the well, he
inserted a pump log, and enclosed it leaving the opening in the log
uncovered. A current of air is continually blowing either into or out
of the well, and a whistle placed at the end of the log has been heard
half a mile. The current of air is sometimes steady in one direction
for a whole day, and sometimes it changes every hour. Just before a
storm, it is said to eject air. The well has been visited by many
scientific men but no satisfactory explanation of th phenomenon has yet
About the year 1808, there was a most terrific
hurricane, which passed over the south part of the town of Great
Valley, with awful force and fury, prostrating the heavy forest trees
like grass before the seythe. The course of the terrific storm was from
west to east, and was about half a mile in width and extended probably
from somewhere about Warren County, PA., where it began to the vicinity
of Dutch Hill. It made most horrible havoc, sweeping the trees
into a mass of fallen timber and brush, resembling an old-fashioned
"slashing," only that the roots of the trees were, in many cases,
upturned. From this windfall a small stream which empties into the
river, half a mile below Carrolton Station, is called "Windfall Creek."
(Click On Photo To Enlarge)
ROBERT PATTERSON was born December 3, 1800, in Centre
Township, Butler County, PA. He was the fourth in the family of
eleven children of David G. and Sarah (THOMPSON) PATTERSON, four of
whom are now living beside Robert, namely: Sarah, Joseph, Thomas, and
George W. His father was a native of Cumberland County, PA., and his
grandfather emigrated from Scotland at an early day and settled in
Cumberland County. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and was
killed in the army. David G., the father of the subject of this sketch,
died in 1847 in Butler County, PA. Robert PATTERSON passed his youth on
his father's farm in Pennsylvania and in the common schools of that
county until he was twenty-five years of age. In May, 1827, he removed
to Cattaraugus County and settled in Great Valley, where he engaged in
the lumber business; continuing in this avocation till 1861, when he
went into the hotel business, in connection with farming. In this, he
continued for thirteen years, when he sold his hotel, and has ever
since been engaged in farming in Great Valley. In 1840, October 14th,
he was married to Charlotte, daughter of Nathan and Mary HOWE of Great
Valley. The result of this union was five children, namely: Daniel H.,
William, Mary, John H., and Otis H., of whom two are now living, Daniel
H., and Otis H., the oldest and youngest.
Mr. PATTERSON commenced life empty-handed and is now
considered one of the successful farmers and business men of Great
Valley. Never was an office-seeker, but has held most of the town
offices. Originally a Whig, he cast his first vote for Henry CLAY.
Since the formation of the Republican party, he has been a consistent
member of the same. In religious sentiment, a Presbyterian. Mr.
PATTERSON is a remarkably well-preserved man for his age.
|Lucy Howe Green
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JOHN GREEN was born May 31, 1799 in Lyons, Wayne County, N.Y. He
removed to Cattaraugus County with his father's family and settled in
Olean when he was about ten years of age. His father, James GREEN,
engaged in the lumber business there, erecting the first sawmill in the
town of Olean. After remaining in Olean about five years, he sold out
and removed to Little Valley, and there built the first sawmill.
After remaining there about five years, he sold out and came to Great
Valley and built the first saw and grist mill in that town, where he
lived for fifteen years; he then sold and removed to Illinois, where he
resided till his death, which occurred in 1854. John remained with his
father till the latter moved West. His education was limited to the
common schools of Cattaraugus County.
After his father left, John learned the millwright
and carpenter's trade, and there followed his trade in connection with
the lumbering business until about 1855 when he retired from business.
On September 4, 1828, he was married to Lucy,
daughter of Nathan and Mary HOWE of Great Valley. No children.
Mrs. GREEN was born August 16, 1807 in the town of Phelps, Ontario
Mr. John GREEN was magistrate for four years, and
commissioner of highways for several years, and was postmaster of Great
Valley for nine years. Was always a staunch Democrat.
In religious sentiment, both he and his wife were
Universalists. He died September 4, 1874. His wife still survives