HISTORY OF CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, NEW YORK
Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent
Men and Pioneers.
L.H. Everts, 1879, Edited by Franklin Ellis
Transcribed from pages 153-185
TOWN OF O L E A N
Transcribed by Jeanette Sauntry, Linda Albright, Mary Bryant,
Photographs and BIOGRAPHICAL
included in this chapter: James G. Johnson,
George Van Campen, William Mandeville, George W. Dickinson, Nelson S.
Butler, John L. Eddy, C. V. B. Barse, Residence of C. V. B.
Barse, Olcott Boardman, Lambert Whitney, Jarius BIssell Strong, Ansel Adams, Rueben
Smith, Charles Austin
Woodruff, William Conklin, Dewitt Conklin, James H. Brooks, Colonel Enos C. Brooks
A retrospection extending
over three-quarters of a century carries us back to the time when the
first settlement was made at “Olean Point,” which also constituted the
first permanent settlement effected within the present limits of
Cattaraugus County. Seventy-five years, with their momentous events and
changing vicissitudes, have passed into the silent night of eternity
since the first white settler made his permanent location within the
present corporate limits of the village. Although there are none now
living, within the scope of our work, who remember that time, yet there
are those whose years antedate the first settlement of Olean. Some
there are whose memories extend back to the time when the log cabin
constituted the only habitation of the pioneer, and not a semblance of
the present progress and development existed. To these is left the
recollection of the hardships and privations they and their families
had to endure in order to effect the marvelous change their industry
has wrought. Yet, blended with the remembrance of their early trials
are memories of the broad hospitality, the Christian fortitude, and the
cheerfulness under difficulties that characterized the pioneers.
Indeed, as the poet has happily said,
“There are moments in life that we never
Which brighten and brighten as time steals away;
They give a new charm to the happiest lot,
And they shine in the gloom of the loneliest day.”
The imagination can scarcely
depict the realities of those “days of the past,”―the unbroken
wilderness, which presented a wildness in every object upon which the
eyes rested, except the sky o’erhead. The only marks in all this region
that gave any evidence that the foot of civilized man had trodden the
soil were the blazed trees that denoted so indefinite pathway. Such was
this village and town when the youthful Benjamin VAN CAMPEN came
hither, in the service of Adam HOOPS, to survey the lands at and about
Olean Point. True, a permanent settlement had been made at Almond,
Allegany County, as early as 1796, by half a dozen emigrants from
Luzerne County, PA, two of whom were Moses and Benjamin VAN CAMPEN,
uncle and father of George VAN CAMPEN, Esq., now well known as an
active and prominent citizen of the village. There was also one John
KING, and his family and servants, who settled on Oswayo Creek in 1798;
and still another Quaker settlement established on Tunessassa Creek
(better known as Quaker Run), in South Valley township, this county.
It was in November, 1802, that young VAN CAMPEN,
Esq., was delegated by Adam HOOPS and David HEUSTON top make an
examination of the lands in this vicinity. He made his headquarters at
King’s, on Oswayo Creek, and spent two months in making his
On the favorable report of Mr. VAN CAMPEN, Messrs.
HOOPS and HEUSTON purchased of the HOLLAND Land Company, a tract of
about 20,000 acres, and in the spring of the year Enos KELLOGG was sent
on to locate and survey the tract. In the year 1804, Robert HOOPS, a
brother of Adam, came to the location as agent for the lands. He
erected a double log house, which was the first building erected in the
town. It stood upon the river bank, almost exactly in the rear of the
present MARTIN farm, and in close proximity to an Indian mound. Some of
the trees of the orchard still remain, the venerable landmarks of “ye
olden time.” The old log house is no more. Time and the vandalism of
the age have conspired to remove the only vestige of the past, which
should have been preserved with jealous care, as the sole link between
days long since departed and the present, and as a historic monument of
THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME OF THE VILLAGE
The origin of the name of the
village offers an interesting item of history. It appears that up to
1804, the stream went by the Indian name of Ischue or Ischua. From a
letter written by Adam HOOPS to Joseph ELLICOTT, it appears that the
former gentleman wished to change the name from Ischua to Olean. The
subjoined copy of the letter, furnished by Hon. George VAN CAMPEN, is
the most authentic document bearing upon this subject now in existence:3
Canandaigua, N.Y., April 15, 1804
“To Joseph ELLICOTT, Esq., Batavia, New York.
“Dear Sir,―It was
proposed to me at New York to drop the Indian name of Ischue or Ischua
(it is also spelt other ways). Confusion might arise from the various
spellings, of which to obviate all risk I have concluded so to do as
proposed. The neighborhood of the oil spring suggests a name different
in sound, though perhaps not different in meaning, which I wish to
adopt,―it is “Olean.” You will do me a favor by assisting me to
establish this name. It may easily be done now by your concurrence. The
purpose will be most effectually answered by employing the term, when
occasion requires, without saying anything of an intended change of
name. To begin, you will greatly oblige me by addressing the first
letter you may have occasion to write to me, after I receive the
survey, to the Mouth of Olean. The bearer being properly instructed,
there will be thereafter no difficulty. Your co-operation in the matter
(the effect of which, though not important in itself, may be so on
account of precision) will oblige.
“Your Obed’t servant,
Whether or not Mr. ELLICOTT
acted on the request of Adam HOOPS is not shown, but from careful
research, we find no definite use of the name “Olean” to the village
property until 1823. In his admirable series of articles on the early
history of Olean, James G. JOHNSON, Esq., says:
“When the village was first laid out it was called
‘Hamilton,’ in honor of the great and popular statesman, Alexander
HAMILTON, but the local designation of ‘Olean Point’ was generally
used, and in course of time entirely supplanted the name of Hamilton.
There never was any formal change of names, the substitution of one for
the other being made by common custom and consent. I think the first
semi-official abandonment of Hamilton and adoption of Olean was in the
authorized village map, published in 1823.”
In a communication touching the establishment of the
post office at Olean, Acting Assistant First Postmaster-General James
H. MARR states that the post office was never officially named
Hamilton, but was established as Olean in 1817. 4
The settlement of the village
proper was commenced in 1808, by James G. JOHNSON, father of the
well-known citizen of the same name. Mr. JOHNSON came from Canandaigua.
He died early in 1811, and was the first interment in the present
beautiful village cemetery. Sylvanus RUSSELL and Bibbius FOLLETT came
at the same time Mr. JOHNSON did. He (Russell) came from
Angelica. He kept a tavern on the site of the present residence of
George CHAMBERLAIN. He was the father of the venerable Mrs. Seymour
BOUTON, now residing in the town of Allegany.
Speaking of Adam HOOPS and his settlement here, Hon.
D. H. BOLLES, in his excellent address delivered at the Centennial
Anniversary of American Independence, July 4, 1876, says:
“In 1804, Adam HOOPS, who had acquired some
distinction by his Revolutionary services, and had at one time been a
member of Washington’s staff, in conjunction with Ebenezer F. NORTON,
Birdseye NORTON, and Joel STEELE, purchased from the HOLLAND Land
Company a tract of twenty thousand acres where Olean now is. The
project originated with HOOPS, who believed that his purchase would
derive important and permanent advantages from its location on the
Allegany River. His theory was that the river was navigable at all
seasons, except when closed by ice, and that the locality would become
in time a stirring commercial depot, connecting the State with the west
and Southwest. Although that dream was never realized to the extent of
his anticipations, it was by no means at that time so visionary as it
now would seem. Independently of the fact that at the period of his
purchase, the means of accurate information as to the habits and
capacity of the river were not accessible, it is to be remembered that
in that early day, while the whole watershed tributary to it was
densely covered with forest, the streams were much deeper and more
capacious the year round than they have been since the country has
become cleared. But his immediate enterprise did not prosper. He was
unable to complete his payments for the purchase, the mortgage he had
given was foreclosed, and the greater part of the tract reverted to the
company, a portion of it subsequently passing into the ownership of
Norton (Ebenezer F.), his coadjutor. HOOPS eventually retired, a ruined
and disappointed man, to West Chester County, in the State of
Pennsylvania, where he lived in poverty, subsisting on his
Revolutionary pension, and there died in 1845
“But prior to this catastrophe, he had made
considerable progress with his design. In 1804, he commenced a
settlement here and laid out this village, which he called Hamilton,
after his compatriot in the Revolutionary service, the distinguished
soldier and statesman of that name.”
Robert HOOPS, who came here in the interests of his
brother, Major Adam HOOPS, in 1804, was a widower, and died in the
village in reduced circumstances, about 1816, and his remains are
interred in the village cemetery, the ground comprising which he
donated nine years before. After his death, his housekeeper, a maiden
lady named Nancy FURBELOW, kept house for John FOBES for a few years.
Afterwards, being quite aged and left totally unprovided for, she went
to live with a Mrs. CAMPBELL in Pennsylvania, her board being paid by
the town. She thus became the first pauper in the county.
The most rapid influx of settlers to the village
occurred between the decade commencing in 1810 and ending in 1820, and
the place began to assume a numerical importance that led the
proprietors to form visionary ideas as to its future growth and
ultimate progress. One of the greatest impediments to its permanent
development was the existence of the mortgage held by the Holland Land
Company, which debarred HOOPS or his agent from giving a clear title to
purchasers; hence few, comparatively, could be induced to buy except on
contracts, many of which fortunately, were recognized and honored by
Ebenezer F. NORTON and his co-purchasers of the foreclosed mortgage of
Adam HOOPS, in 1821.
Prominent among those who settled in the village
previous to the year 1820, the following are deserving of mention. It
is impossible to obtain the exact dates of the arrival of these
pioneers in the various interests represented by them severally, but we
subjoin a brief notice of the most important personages among them, as
a part of the history of the community in which they lived and labored.
Judge F. S. MARTIN 5
arrived in 1819, and became
one of the leading men of the place. He was born in Rutland County,
VT., April 25, 1794. In December, 1830, he was appointed postmaster at
Olean. He was appointed judge of Cattaraugus County, by Gov. SEWARD, in
1840. He was elected State Senator in 1847, and remained in the Senate
and House of Representatives until 1850, when he was elected to the
Thirty-Second Congress. He died in Jun, 1865.
Hon. Timothy H. PORTER was the first judge of the
county, appointed in 1817. By profession, he was a lawyer, but
gradually withdrew from the practice of law and finally settled on his
farm, the next north of Judge BROOKS, where he died about the year
1840, leaving an interesting family of six sons and one daughter. At
various times, he was chosen a member of either branch of the State
Legislature, and latterly was a member of Congress from this incipient
and widely-extended district.
Henry BRYAN, one of the earliest lawyers of the
place, and an inveterate practical joker, will be remembered by the few
remaining early settlers, particularly as his memory has been
immortalized in the annals of local history in the series of articles
entitled “Fun, Fact, and Fancy,” from the pen of Col. James G. JOHNSON
In this connection might be mentioned the pioneer “merchant tailor,” H.
L. OSBORN who was the counterpart of BRYAN, and the practical jokes
perpetrated by each upon the other―in which, by the way, Judge PORTER
usually took an active part―forms the most interesting item in the
humorous history of the county. The following is quoted from a local
“Ón a certain occasion BRYAN wanted to have
his hair cut, and as barbers were not as numerous in those days as they
are here now, he was innocently inquiring for someone who could do the
job for him. OSBORN heard his inquiry, and was not long in discovering
a chance for a joke. So he promptly spoke up, ‘I’ll cut your hair, if
you’ll go over to my shop;’ and seeing a look of incredulity on BRYAN’s
face, quickly dissipated it by stating, ‘I used to cut hair a good deal
before I came here, and don’t think I have entirely forgotten how,
yet.’ ‘All right:’ and they forthwith repaired to OSBORN’s shop, where
he was speedily put in a chair and his shoulders enveloped in a dirty
towel. OSBORN got a comb and combed BRYAN’s hair down over his eyes,
and getting his big shears, began clipping away. At the same time, he
kept up a ‘perfect stream of talk,’ telling some ludicrous tale and
snapping his shears to the time of his voluble music. He kept on until
BRYAN began to think he had been working on one side of his head long
enough. As soon as he remarked this it struck him forcibly that the
entire performance of OSBORN was quite unusual, and he quickly clapped
his hand on the side of his head where the tricky tailor had been so
persistently clipping away. To his horror, he found that that side of
his head was cropped close down to the scalp. Without waiting a moment
for explanation, BRYAN leaped down from the chair, and catching OSBORN
by the throat, landed him squarely on his back on the floor, sat upon
him, and began pounding him and pulling his hair and ears, and tumbled
him around generally, until he was complete exhausted. Meanwhile, all
the hands in the shop were convulsed in laughter, and ever poor OSBORN
laughed and screamed with mirth between the blows and pulls of the
irate BRYAN. After fining there was nothing but fun to be pounded in or
out of the tailor, BRYAN left to find some more reliable hand, or at
least equalize the damage as best it could be done.
“Something more than a year afterwards BRYAN
discovered OSBORN coming out of the tavern, bent over sideways, with
his hand up to the side of his face, groaning, apparently as if in
great agony of pain. With a feeling of honest solicitude, BRYAN
inquired what was the occasion of the trouble. OSBORN replied that it
was a terrible toothache, which had kept him awake all night. ‘Why
don’t you have it out?’ inquired BRYAN. ‘I can’t,’ said OSBORN; ‘Dr.
MEAD and Dr. SMITH are both out of town.’ Quick as lightning BRYAN saw
his chance to repay the old haircutting score, but without betraying it
by look or word he said, ‘Come over to my office; I’ve got a pair of
turn-keys’ and will jerk it out for you in a minute;’ and then, with a
malicious repetition of OSBORN’s specious statement, he continued, “I
used to pull teeth a good deal before I came here.’ Over they went to
BRYAN;s office, OSBORN groaning and moaning, and BRYAN chuckling over
his long-desired opportunity for retaliation. Getting into the room,
OSBORN was seated in a chair while BRYAN pretended to be rummaging in
the back room for the turn-keys, and soon managed to slip out of the
rear door, run to Dr. MEAD’s office (which was nearby), and getting in
through a back window, soon got hold of a pair of turn-keys, and
quickly returned. Placing himself before the tailor, and speaking a few
encouraging words, he began winding a handkerchief around the stem of
the instrument, to prevent it hurting the mouth. Having made a roll
sufficiently large to fill OSBORN’s mouth, he carefully hooked on to
the troublesome tooth, and getting all ready he gave it a little twist,
just enough to break the connection but not to remove the tooth, and
then stopped! OSBORN was in a perfect agony of pain, but in consequence
of having his mouth full of handkerchief and turn-key was unable to
utter a word of remonstrance, though his smothered groans could be
heard out in the street. He leaped to his feet and struggled
desperately, but BRYAN, being the strongest, held his head in a fixed
position, the same as one would hold a newly-hooked fish, while, like
the fish’s tail, OSBORN’s legs gyrated in every direction, doubling and
twisting in more grotesque shapes than were ever attributed to the
elongated pedestals wherewith NAST elevated Carl SCHURZ into notoriety.
Holding him securely, BRYAN began to talk to the writhing
cabbage-maker: “You cut hair, don’t you? Dash you, how long did
you cut hair before you came here? You’re a dashed good hand at
cutting hair, aren’t you? You cut it all on one side, don’t you?’ and
so he continued holding him up by the aching tooth, and reminding him
of the hair-cutting exploit. Poor OSBORN wriggled and squirmed like a
worm on a hook, and vainly essayed to beg for mercy and relief from his
torture, but the handkerchief prevented everything but a horrible
muffled groan. BRYAN continued to exercise him thus until, out of sheer
pity and fear of consequences, he gave the keys another turn and
brought out the tooth, while OSBORN dropped into a chair without the
least effort on his part. BRYAN had at least got even with him and the
account was square again.”
OSBORN removed to Peru, ILL., some time in 1830,
where he died about fifteen years later, leaving a wife and several
daughters. Another noted character in the early history of the village
was Sylvanus RUSSELL. As a means of perpetuating the memory of this
pioneer, we mention a personal incident which is typical of the
character of the man. He was prominent among the best men of his day;
prompt, active, decided, and exceedingly resolute, especially in his
adherence to his opinions. The anecdote we refer to is as follows:
Benjamin SEELEY had just come into the country. He
was a large, strong, bony, active laboring young man, and among other
things in which he excelled was the then not uncommon art of chopping
cord wood. He boarded with RUSSELL, and soon engaged with him to chop
some wood at a given price per cord, board included. After breakfast
each morning SEELEY would take his axe and go to the woods. The scene
of his labors covered a part of the public square, and to and beyond
the present site of the Episcopal Church. Returning for dinner, he
would always go into the bar room playing at checkers, as was a
favorite and common practice. After a week or ten days of this kind of
work, RUSSELL became uneasy and surly. He was positive SEELEY was not
fairly earning his board. Accordingly, one afternoon, when SEELEY was
seating himself for his regular pastime, RUSSELL approached him, and
roughly said, “Young man, I think it about time we measured up what
little wood you have cut, and have a settlement.” “All right,” answered
SEELEY, quietly, and out to the woods they went. After they had taken
the dimensions of the various piles, they returned to the tavern and
“figured up” the total. To RUSSELL’s surprise, they ‘figured’
that SEELEY had cut an average of three cords per day. Without
hesitation RUSSELL handed him the balance due, and then said, “Young
man, you can leave now. I’ll be d—d if I’ll have a man around me
who will put up three cords of wood a day, and spend half of the time
playing checkers in the house.” And SEELEY had to leave. Mr. RUSSELL
died about 1840, respected by all who knew him in the years of his
prominence and prosperity. Seven of his children are still living,―five
daughters and two sons. They are,―Jane, widow of Leander KIMBALL of
Jackson County, Mich.; Evert, a farmer, residing in Farmersville;
Catharine, now the wife of Seymour BOUTON, of Allegany; John N., of
Hamilton County, Ohio; Harriett, widow of William SMITH of Westfield,
Chautauqua Co., N.Y.’ Mary, wife of Luke B. LATIN of Great Valley;
Esther C., widow of Wm. HARNS of Ellicottville.
Ebenezer REED, who, with his numerous family,
arrived about 1815, and soon thereafter became proprietor of that
historic hostelry, the ‘Old Boat House.” He had a family of twenty-four
children, of whom more than a score were by his first wife. He resided
here about thirty-five years, and then died, acknowledging a readiness
to “shuffle off the mortal coil.”
Luman RICE was a prominent citizen, coming here in
1818. He was born at Blastenbury, Conn., January 18, 1787, and married
at Homer, Cortland County, N.Y., December 2, 1810. On arriving here, he
kept the old tavern, built partly of logs, with a frame wing at each
end, that occupied the present residence of Hon. D. H. BOLLES, south of
the Moore House. In 1819, he purchased the tavern, then in an
unfinished state, now forming part of the Olean House, and kept a hotel
in it until 1822, when he moved to Portville, and became owner of about
300 acres, including the site of the present village. He there erected
a sawmill, a store, and subsequently, in 1826, a hotel, which was burnt
in 1831. He had seven children, namely: Deila A., married Alfred WRIGHT
of Portville; Marcia P., married O. P. BOARDMAN of Olean; Luman E.,
married Sallie HARRISON, of Cincinnati, Ohio; Ambrew D., married Sarah
S. SMITH, now postmaster at Portville; Harriet L., married a Mr. SMITH
of New Orleans; Susan B., married John D. PARK of Cincinnati; and
Malvene M., married Harvey SCOVIL of Chicago, Ill. Mr. RICE,
notwithstanding the fact that he lost his arm at an early day, while
landing an ark laden with plaster, was quite an energetic and
enterprising man, and one of the most prominent pioneers of Portville.
He died June 18, 1874, at the advanced age of eighty seven years.
David BOCKES was an early merchant and hotelkeeper.
He came in about 1817 from Albany, N.Y. He frequently held various town
offices, which he filled with fidelity and remarkable ability. He
became quite wealthy. He died some twelve years since, and his family
have all moved to the West.
David DAY was a highly-respected citizen for nearly
half a century. He represented his district in the Legislature in 1835.
He held the office of postmaster from 1839 to 1849, and from 1853 to
1857. He died about 1862. His only daughter now lives in Corry, Pa.
Col. James G. JOHNSON came in 1819, and has resided
in the village ever since, with the exception of twelve years which he
spent in the town of Allegany. He has been engaged in mercantile and
lumbering business, and latterly as an oil producer.
Among other early settlers who arrived prior to
1820, might be mentioned Jacob DOWNING, an old hotel man’ Samuel
BRONSON, father of Mrs. Samuel OOSTERHOUDT; James BRONSON, a brother of
Samuel; Judge James ADKINS; Henry MILLER; Milton B. CANFIELD, a
prominent ex-sheriff; Samuel BARROWS, lawyer, who left about 1823; John
BOARDMAN; Henry L. KINSBURY, an early schoolmaster; Master MORRILL, an
eccentric justice of the peace, who kept his docket chalked on the side
of his log house; Allen RICE; John ROBES, father of Milton B. and
George N. FOBES; and others.
The influx of immigration during the decade ending
in 1840 was not very extensive. Among those who arrived within the
period indicated, who subsequently became prominent citizens, were
Lambert WHITNEY, M.D., in 1833, who still resides here, having
practiced medicine for forty-five years; James SENTER, mechanic; Norman
BIRGE, the well-known harness maker; Ansel ADAMS, at one time a
merchant, now a landowner; C. H. THING, a prominent merchant, who died
in 1865. After the passage of the notorious “Stop Law” of 1842, work
was abandoned on the Genesee Valley Canal and the New York and Erie
Railroad, and for about ten years remained unfinished. On the
completion of these enterprises, several persons of means, mentioned
hereafter, came in and permanently located.
The period embraced within the years 1849 and 1865
witnessed the greatest acquisition of capital to the village,
particularly during the decade ending in 1860, which included the
completion of the New York and Erie Railroad, and the Genesee Valley
Canal, which gave an impetus to commercial and manufacturing
enterprises, the beneficial effect of which is one of the most
prominent features of today. During the period above named (1840-1865)
the following capitalists and business men arrived, namely: C. V. B.
BARSE and A. BLAKE, hardware merchants; N. S. BUTLER and R. O. SMITH,
the principals in the general mercantile line; W. H. and D. C. CONKLIN;
the MYRICK Bros.; Jacob COSS; Charles GILLINGHAM and the BRICKELL
Bros., prominent manufacturers; Drs. John L. EDDY, Charles HURLBURT,
and Charles A. WOODRUFF, prominent physicians; H. C. and M. A.
BLAKESLEE; H. S. MORRIS, oil speculator; C. S. CARY and H. Harper
PHELPS, lawyers; George VAN CAMPEN and M. V. MOORE, hotel proprietors;
Hollis W. MORE, carriagemaker; Wm. B. PIERCE, grocer, baker, and
provision merchant; Charles DOTTERWEICH, brewer; George W. DICKINSON,
the present publisher of the Times, succeeded his brother C. F.
DICKINSON, in 1872; H. MC KENZIE became publisher of the Record in
1877; Amos BRONSON, druggist, now retired from business, came to Olean
The first incident of a melancholy nature that
occurred in the town was the death of David HEUSTON, by the falling of
a tree in 1807.
THE MURDER OF A SQUAW
of the chief characteristics of the Indian is superstition, which,
added to his natural ferocity of disposition, combines to constitute a
nature which, from the earliest knowledge of the race, has
distinguished them as savages. The ancient and foolish belief in
witchcraft was a predominant trait in the aborigine. As late as 1807,
and within the present corporate limits of Olean village, was enacted
the execution of an Indian squaw, whom the Indians accused of being a
witch. It appears from various narratives of the circumstances that
during the earlier part of the year 1807, a terrible sickness
prevailed, which in its ravages became epidemic. Indians and whites
alike were attacked. The squaw who was the victim of her people’s
barbarity had been absent in Buffalo, and on her return she visited
some of her friends who were afflicted, and foretold their death,
evidently basing the prediction on the general fatality of the disease.
For this she was denounced as a witch, and was sentenced to death, as
many in so-called civilized communities had been, less than a century
before, the cruelty of the mode of death being the only distinguishing
feature in otherwise parallel cases. The death sentence was carried out
in a manner, the extreme cruelty of which was typical of their savage
rites. She was tortured to death by the thrusting of burning sticks
down her throat, the operation being continued until death ensued and
put an end to her excruciating agonies. It is said that the execution
took place in the presence of several whites, who allowed the sentence
of the Indian tribunal to take its course, that perhaps being the
wisest policy to pursue under then existing circumstances. Mrs. HICKS,
a venerable pioneer of Portville, relates that some time subsequent to
the execution of the squaw, she endeavored to convince an old Indian,
Sam PARKER by name, of the folly of a belief in witchcraft. The only
reply she could elicit from his was, “Squaw bad woman; poison Indians;
ought to die.”
This was followed by the
accidental drowning of four persons in the spring of 1820. Their
names were Dr. BENNETT, Jeremiah OSBORNE, Joseph LOCKWOOD, and a young
emigrant named KIBBEY. How the accident happened was never positively
known, but it was generally supposed that in going down the river (the
accident occurred down near Plum Orchard Bend) their boat became
entangled in an old treetop, was upset, and the whole party
unaccountably drowned. They were on the way to Ellicottville to attend
court. The usual route was down the river to Great Valley, and thence
up the creek to the then county seat. The bodies of Dr. BENNETT,
OSBORNE, and KIBBEY were recovered after long search, but that of
LOCKWOOD was never found. The others were buried, and their remains are
still in the village cemetery. Originally, a wooden slab or board was
set up at the head of each grave, and the name, age, and circumstances
of death was painted thereon. In time, these planks rotted away, were
buried in the earth, and for a long period lay flat, each on the grave
of the man whose name it commemorated. One of them finally disappeared,
but the other was reset, and can be seen today a short distance to the
left of the cemetery entrance. There is nothing left now but a
weather-beaten plank, rounded at the top, having on one side some
ridges and elevations, slightly suggestive of lines and letters. These
are occasioned by the better preservation of the wood where the black
lettering covered the original white ground, the double coating of
paint much better resisting the action of summer’s heat and winter’s
storm. It is nearly sixty years since the accident occurred, yet the
consternation which it created in the little community will rise fresh
in the minds of the few yet left who can recall the period of the
occurrence of the accident.
THE GREAT TORNADO
Those of the old settlers
remaining, who were here in 1834, will remember with feelings of awe,
which forty-five years have failed entirely to efface, the terrible
tornado that passed over this village and town in March of that year.
O. P. BOARDMAN relates vividly the way in which it came near
demolishing their house, and how people being caught in the current of
the wind wave whirled around like feathers in a fitful breeze; and how
their unfinished barn was devastated, the awful force of the tornado
breaking off six-inch joists as though it was done by mechanical skill,
under human agency. A regular opening was made in the forest, which
remained visible for years, and until obliterated by pioneer
development was known as the “fallen timber.” Rollin PRATT also relates
the sad catastrophe that befell Mrs. ORTON, in which, for obvious
reasons, he was incapable of rendering her assistance.
In 1830, a steamboat named
the “Allegany,” came up from Pittsburgh to Olean. Judge James BROOKS
acted as pilot from Warren. It was a difficult undertaking, owing to
the number of mill dams and other obstructions that impeded the
progress of navigation on the Allegany River. The old citizens had
quite an enthusiastic time over this event, looking to the possibility
of making the river permanently navigable.
EARLY MERCANTILE AND BUSINESS INTERESTS
From the time of the
establishment of the first store in Olean to the present time, the
mercantile and business interests of the place have prospered. The
first store was opened by Levi GREGORY in 1811. It was situated on the
lot now occupied by the Baptist church. “For many years,” says one who
knew him well, “he prospered and did a good business. He built and
lived in the house now occupied by Hon. C. V. B. BARSE. His store
building now forms the rear part of the house known as the residence of
Seth WARREN. Some time during the latter part of 1818, GREGORY’s
finances became disturbed and after much unavailing effort, the sheriff
sought him on a civil process; but GREGORY successfully barricaded
himself in his house, and the officer could not get service on him. On
Sunday morning, however, he came boldly out, took a boat, and hired
several men to row him beyond the State line before the day expired.”
Following GREGORY, and contemporarily with him in
some instances, came G. E. WARNER, William DE FOREST, Hoyt WEBB, Joseph
and Odell LOCKWOOD, and Ebenezer LOCKWOOD, David JONES, Henry MILLER,
Samuel MC CLURE, and many others, who flourished in the place in early
As mentioned in the history proper of the town,
Sylvanus RUSSELL kept the first tavern, and among his contemporaries
and followers in that business were Ebenezer REED, Luman RICE, Jacob
DOWNING, Jehiel BOARDMAN, and others. Both RUSSELL and REED were also
engaged in building flat boats for navigation on the river.
Among the first physicians were Drs. EASTMAN, SMITH,
BENNET, MEAD, and FINN, who each practiced their professions here prior
to 1825. In 1833, Dr. WHITNEY arrived.
In the list of early lawyers, we find the names of
John A. and Henry BY\RYAN, Timothy H. PORTER, Squire HAZEN, Roderick
and Justus WHITE, and others.
In “Williams’ Register,” for 1837, is contained the
following notice of Olean:
“The village of Olean is situated at
the point formed by the union of the Olean Creek with the Allegany
River, and contains at present about 70 dwelling houses, 5 stores, and
3 public houses. On the creek at the village are several mills, 1
tannery, and 1 iron foundry. The Allegany is here fifteen rods wide;
the north bank of the river rises gently, and forms a beautiful site
for a town.
“The village was laid out thirty years since, and
before the construction of the Erie Canal, was the deposit for all the
property sent from that part of the country down the Allegany, and the
place of embarkation for the emigrants who annually embarked for the
valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi. The construction of that canal
temporarily changed the line of travel; but of late years, Olean has
again attracted public attention. The population of the town increased
between 1830 and 1835, from 561 to 830, of which about 500 are in the
village. At the junction of the creek with the Allegany is a level
plat, where the village is located, running from 20 to 60 feet above
the level of the river, which affords hydraulic power sufficient to
propel extensive manufacturing establishments.
“The water power of Olean Creek is
owned by a company, to whom belongs the north bank of the Allegany as
far as the mills and dam in the Allegany, four miles above the creek. A
bill is now before the Legislature to authorize that company to
construct a canal and slack water navigation from Olean Creek to the
Pennsylvania line. This canal is to empty into Olean Creek, thus
augmenting the hydraulic power at that spot with the stream of the
Allegany, and also communicating with the bituminous coal mines at
Smethport, PA., 22 miles above Olean.
“When the Rochester and Olean Canal shall be
finished, it will attract a great transportation from these mines for
the supply of Western New York, and furnish a ready means of
transportation of goods to the great West.”
An act was passed by the
Legislature in 1847, empowering any hamlet, not already incorporated by
special law, containing a population of 300, and having an area of one
square mile to become incorporated. Under this law, Olean was
incorporated in 1854. The trustees elected at the first town meeting
were Lambert THITNEY, M. D., C. B. B. BARSE, Charles H. THING, and John
K. COMSTOCK. Enos C. BROOKS was appointed clerk. The village existed
under this municipal arrangement until April 1, 18587
when a special
act was passed by the Legislature, the first two clauses of which read
“The territory within the following
limits in the town of Olean, Cattaraugus County, New York, shall
constitute the village of Olean, to wit: “Beginning
at the north bank of the Allegany River, at the north end of Fifteenth
Street, as described on a map of the village of Olean, made by T. J.
GOSLINE; running thence north on the east line of said street, 75
chains and 11 links, to the north line of township No. 1, in the fourth
range of the ‘Holland Land Company’s Purchase;’ thence east on the said
north line 92 chains and 128 links to the west bank of the Olean Creek;
thence southerly, following the west bank of said creek, to the north
bank of the Allegany River; thence westerly along the said river to the
place of beginning.
“The said village shall be divided
into four wards, each ward to comprise the territory and be numbered as
follows, to wit: “All that part of said village lying
west of the centre of Union Street and south of the centre of State
Street shall be the First Ward; all that part lying east of the centre
of Union Street and south of the centre of State Street shall be the
Second Ward; all that part lying east of the centre of Union Street and
north of the centre of State Street shall be the Third Ward; and all
that part lying west of the centre of Union Street and north of the
centre of State Street shall be the fourth Ward.”
The first corporation meeting
for the election of officers was held in May, 1858; but the records of
the village, including the period from 1858 to 1872, having been
destroyed by fire it is impossible to give the data ordinarily
furnished touching the first meeting, with the presidents for the years
missing. Subjoined is a list of the presidents of the village, from
1872 to 1878, inclusive, together with the present corporation officers:
F. H. MYRICK, 1872; C. V. B. BARSE, 1873-74; C. W.
PHILLIPS, 1875; Dr. John L. EDDY, 1876-78.
The trustees for 1787 are H. W. CHAMBERLAIN, First
Ward; D. C. CONKLIN, Second Ward; A. T. EATON, third Ward; Lyman
LATIMER, Fourth Ward. George E. RAMSEY, Treasurer; E. C. BROOKS, Esq.,
Clerk; and John KING, Police Constable.
PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 8
The earliest and most important public improvement,
enhancing the prosperity of Olean and vicinity was the construction of
GENESEE VALLEY CANAL,
which was commenced in 1836, and completed in
1856. In alluding to this
item of local history, in his Centennial Address, Judge BOLLES
said: “The subject of public improvements
attracted the attention of the people at an early day. The Erie Canal
commenced under great difficulties and against bitter ridicule and
opposition, but completed with vast éclat and enthusiasm,
and crowned with magnificent success, at once gave rise to many
projects of that character, the general drift being then in the
direction of canals as it now is in the direction of railroads. As we
have seen, Major HOOPS selected this locality for settlement, in
consequence of being, as he supposed, at the head of navigation on the
Allegany River, expecting to make it an important port by connecting
the river at this point with the commerce of the State. No sooner was
it seen that the Erie Canal was destined to be completed, and likely to
prove a success, than an effort was put forth to connect that work with
the Allegany by a lateral extension. With that view, petitions were
presented to the Legislature from the people of this county, Allegany
and Genesee, in 1825, and the Senate at once responded by a series of
resolutions, one requesting the canal commissioners to explore the
route, and the other referring it to the joint committee on canals, to
inquire into the expediency of making a survey of the route from the
headwaters of the Allegany to the Genesee River at Scottsville, in the
county of Monroe. The agitation of the project was kept up by a series
of urgent applications to the Legislature from the citizens of the
counties interested, and by the speeches and votes of their
representatives, till on the 6th of May, 1836, an act was passed
providing for the construction of the work as now located, except that
it contemplated the intersection of the work with the Allegany at this
place instead of Portville, the distance being 108½ miles. In
1840, it was opened for navigation from Rochester to Squakie Hill, a
distance of 36 miles, and in 1853, against many discouragements and
drawbacks, it was completed to this point amidst great enthusiasm and
celebration. It was an important feature of the original project to
render the river permanently navigable to Olean by slack water
navigation, and thus connect the canal and river into a continuous
water route; but this was never consummated. Pursuant to an act of the
Legislature passed in 1856, the canal was extended to Millgrove, and
there made to form a junction with the Allegany, its
originally-intended junction with the river here (Olean) being
THE NEW YORK AND ERIE RAILROAD
was completed in 1851. The formal opening of the
road took place May 15, 1851. The train on that occasion contained the
President and his cabinet officers, and was greeted with the booming of
cannon and the rolling and continuous shouts of enthusiastic crowds
along the line. The route as originally intended would have brought the
depot near the present site of ROOT & KEATING’s tannery, but by
some adverse influences, it was located without the corporation limits,
although the necessary conveniences for conveyance to the central
portion of the village are furnished, so that the only annoyance
experienced is a ride of about a mile; perhaps not a very good
grievance, considering the generally prevailing powers of extensive and
THE BUFFALO, NEW YORK, AND PHILADELPHIA RIALROAD
This important improvement
was projected in 1865, and William WALLACE, the veteran civil engineer
of Buffalo, was prominently identified with it. The people of Buffalo
being somewhat tardy in prosecuting the enterprise, Mr. WALLACE
proceeded to Olean, where he quickly sold stock to the amount of
$28,000, of which $8,000 was subscribed by C. V. B. BARSE, J. K.
COMSTOCK, R. O. SMITH, N. S. BUTLER, Frank L. STOWELL, L. WHITNEY, A.
BLAKE, Fred EATON, Bradley E. FAUNCE, and $20,000 by the town of Olean.
The road was opened to Olean, July 3, 1872. Its entire length from
Buffalo to Emporium is 121 miles. The road has been one of the most
beneficial of all the enterprises with which Olean has been identified.
THE OLEAN, BRADFORD AND WARREN RAILROAD
The project for the
construction of a narrow (3 feet) gauge railroad, to open communication
with the Bradford oil district, was first considered in 1877, and
immediately put into execution. The road from Olean to the State line
was completed January 1, 1878, and one month thereafter the extension
from the State line to Bradford was in running order. C. S. CARY, Esq.,
was largely instrumental in the successful issue of the enterprise,
aided by C. V. B. BARSE, H. S. MORRIS, J. G. JOHNSON, J. B. STRONG, R.
W. EVANS, and others, citizens of Olean.
Quite an important item in
the line of public improvements is that of bridges. The greatest
economy is in iron structures. This is, perhaps, a question upon which
differences of opinion exist, yet experience and observation have
taught the people of different localities that the construction of iron
bridges on the most public thoroughfares is the cheapest and best in
the end. There are several very obvious reasons why this is so. Among
the most pertinent of which are,--first, the durability of iron
structures; and second, the fact that the people intending to settle in
a community usually take into consideration whether there will be even
the remotest prospect of burdensome taxation on account of bridges,
particularly where so many are required as in Olean.
It is flattering to the enterprise of the taxpayers
of this town and village that three handsome and substantial iron
bridges have been constructed within a few years, at a cost of nearly
$20,000; and after the current assessment is collected they will be
entirely paid for. One of these bridges spans the Allegany River, at
the foot of Union Street, and the other two are over Olean Creek, one
near the Olean Mills, and the other near the residence of O. P.
The speculations indulged in by the early settlers
of Olean as to the future importance of the village as a manufacturing
centre were not by any means of a visionary character. The excellent
water power and other natural advantages were looked upon by those of
the past as items of very considerable value, and these advantages have
been largely developed by the utilitarian element that has
characterized the citizens of Olean in the various stages of its
Prominent and perhaps chief among the establishments
that have added to the name and fame of Olean as the seat of some
extensive industrial institutions is
THE CONKLIN WAGON WORKS,
owned and conducted by W. H. and D. C. CONKLIN. It is the largest
establishment of the kind in the State of New York, if not in the
Middle and Eastern States, and is about the only concern of its
character that appears not to be affected by the rivalry of the
enormous wagon factories of the Western States. Its reputation holds
good, and perhaps with an increased popularity, in neighborhoods where
the senior partner sold wagons and carriages more than thirty years
ago, and no opposition of interested parties seems to have any effect
in counteracting this popularity. It has always been a principle of the
firm that to succeed well, an article manufactured should be worth the
price asked for it, and by adhering to this principle may be attributed
their marked success. The partners superintend personally every
department of the works, hence are at all times informed of the quality
of the material and the excellency of the workmanship that has won for
their wagons such golden opinions wherever introduced; and the capital
invested has been earned by them by hard and persistent labor in the
business. They keep no traveling agents, believing that an article in
use will always reveal its good and bad qualities, and knowing that
teamsters and farmers are the best advertisers when an article suits.
Their facilities for obtaining good timber are unequaled, and they
always have on hand, ready dressed and seasoned, a sufficient quantity
to last for a year to two. They employ only sober, skilled, and honest
workmen, and their wagons are made to combine lightness, strength,
durability, and easy draft. They have machinery requisite to make, if
necessary, 3,000 wagons a year, all of which is of the newest and most
improved kind. When run to their full capacity, they employ 40 men.
It is unnecessary to add anything of a laudatory
nature concerning their wagons, for they are so extensively used, and
so generally known, that further notice of them would be superfluous.
The Messrs. CONKLIN understand thoroughly every branch of their
business, both having commenced to learn it in early life, each serving
his apprenticeship at home, under their father.
THE OLEAN TANNERY
The Olean tannery was established about 1866, by
JEWETT & KEATING of Buffalo, and conducted by them jointly until
the former retired and a Mr. ROOT, also of Buffalo, purchased his
interest. He, as one of the present proprietors, does not care to have
the establishment noticed in the customary manner. We visited the
tannery for the purpose of obtaining the necessary data for an extended
description, but the requisite information was refused. Appearances
would indicate that the establishment was running, however, although no
more general activity or enterprise was apparent than at the
establishment of Levi BARRETT. There were some men working, perhaps
fifty or more, and the movement of machinery was perceptible.
The Tannery of which Levi BARRETT is the proprietor
was established by KELLEY & LENHAM of Boston, in 1859, and was
conducted by them until 1866, when the present owner purchased it. The
old buildings were burned in 1871, and with characteristic enterprise,
Mr. BARRETT rebuilt them the same year. He employs 12 hands, tans
14,000 sides, and used 9,600 tons of bark per annum.
THE OLEAN MACHINE SHOP AND FOUNDARY
This establishment was originally started by SMITH
& SC CLURE about 1854. It was conducted by them until 1857, when
owing to the general depression in financial matters that prevailed
that year, they were compelled to succumb, and the property passed into
the possession of C. B. V. BARSE, Esq., who disposed of it to EASTMAN
& MYRICK. This partnership was formed in 1857, and dissolved in
1864, by the retirement of Mr. EASTMAN. The present style of the firm
is MYRICK Bros. & Company; the average number of hands employed is
25; nature of business, the manufacture of various kinds of machinery
and agriculture implements. This is one of the solid establishments of
THE CHAMBERLIN MANUFACTURING COMPANY
The Chamberlin Manufacturing Company of which George
CHAMBERLIN & Sons are the proprietors, was first established by the
senior partner of the present concern in 1848, and was at that time
located on the site now occupied by Charles GILLLINGHAM. In 1873, the
establishment was removed to its present location. Their principal
business is the manufacture of stump-pullers and ditching plows. They
employ at the work an average of ten men.
THE OLEAN HANDLE MANUFACTORY
The Olean Handle Manufactory of Jacob COSS &
Sons was established by the late Jacob COSS, in the fall of 1868, and
is now continued by his sons, Charles G. COSS, Frederick COSS, and
Frank COSS, under the style and title of Jacob COSS’ Sons. They
manufacture hoe, fork, rake, and shovel handles, dowels, trunk slats,
hardwood lumber, and dimension stuff, also band and ball wheels, and
oil tank and sucker rods. They employ an average of 40 hands and do an
extensive and profitable business.
THE OLEAN HUB FACTORY
The Olean Hub Factory was established in 1874 by L.
S. WHITNEY. In 1875, R. M. WHITNEY, brother of the original proprietor,
was taken into the concern as a partner, and in July 1878, the latter,
purchasing the interest of the former, became sole proprietor. The
principal articles manufactured are black birch hubs, which have been
quite extensively used by STUDEBACKER Bros., the well-known wagon
manufacturers of South Bend, Ind., and other large wagon manufacturers.
Capacity, 124,000 hubs per annum. Hands employed, 15.
THE OLEAN SASH FACTORY
The Olean Sash Factory was established in March,
1866, by GILLINGHAM & BAGNALL. In January, 1867, it was destroyed
by fire, but the proprietors, with characteristic enterprise, rebuilt
it immediately. In August of the same year, Mr. BAGNALL was
accidentally killed in the factory while working at a circular saw. The
present style of the firm is GILLINGHAM & Co. Besides regular
factory work, they contract for the building of public and private
structures, churches, schools, residences, etc. They usually employ
from 20 to 30 hands, and do a business amounting to from $30,000 to
THE PLANNING MILL
The Planning Mill of BRICKELL Bros. & Co., was
established in the early part of 1878, and after running for a short
time, was burnt by an incendiary, May 15, of the same year. The firm
proceeded at once to erect their present building. They are
largely engaged as contractors, and employ from 20 to 25 hands, doing
quite an extensive business in their line.
THE OLEAN BREWERY
The Olean Brewery, Charles DOTTERWEICH, proprietor,
was established by him in 1856. In 1872, it was destroyed by fire, and
in 1874, the present substantial brick building was erected. The
capacity of the brewery is 3,000 barrels per annum; the number of hands
THE OLEAN POTTERY
The Olean Pottery was established about 1852 by
Isaac H. WANDS, a practical potter and a good business man. He
conducted the business for about twenty years. From 1872 until the
present proprietor, James H. BROOKS, purchased the concern, Oct. 31,
1877, it changed hands several times. Mr. BROOKS succeeded
JOHNSON & KNAPP, and they CRANE, and he MONTELL. The goods
manufactured include all kinds of stoneware, which is made of South
Amboy (New Jersey) clay, the best clay in America for the purpose. The
capacity of the factory is about $10,000 per annum, and employs 10
THE OLEAN FLOURING AND GRIST MILLS
The Olean Flouring and Grist Mills were erected by
Judge F. S. MARTIN in 1851, and were conducted by him until his death
in 1865, when they reverted to his heirs and from them to a. H. MARSH.
In the spring of 1878, the CHESBRO bros. purchased the property and in
the winter of the same year, Mr. John SAX, a man of some means and a
practical miller, entered a copartnership with them under the style of
Frank CHESBRO & Co. The mills have six runs of stones and all the
latest improved machinery. Their capacity is about 75 barrels of
merchant and 200 bushels of custom work per day.
OLEAN OIL DISTRICT
Up to 1874, the oil developments in the Bradford
district were limited. A few wells on both sides of the State line, in
Cattaraugus and McKean Counties, were producing small quantities of
what is known as “slush oil’” the third sand oil, up to that time, had
not been found. The oil that was produced was in close proximity to the
Bradford branch of the Erie Railroad. Some of the oil being of heavier
gravity was sold to various parties for lubricating purposes, the
remaining portion being shipped over the Erie, by parties loading the
car of Mr. PRATT, and consigning the oil to men in New York, and, in
the course of a week or ten days, receiving a remittance for the same.
About this time (September, 1874), J. H. DILKS came here, and after
looking over the ground very carefully, concluded from general
indications, that the Olean district would, at no distance day be
productive of a large quantity of oil. In consequence of these
favorable indications, Mr. DILKS commenced the organization of the
“Olean Petroleum Company (limited),” which was composed entirely of
Eastern capitalists. Rights of way were obtained, and the construction
of a pipeline from a point in Cattaraugus County on the State line was
commenced. Stations were erected and terminal facilities provided on
the Buffalo, New York, and Philadelphia Railroad, at Olean, and on
Thanksgiving Day, 1874, the first oil was pumped through the pipeline a
distance of fourteen and a quarter miles, and over an elevation of 968
feet with one pump of 60 horsepower. Naturally enough, the completion
of such a project was hailed with rejoicings and demonstrations of
pleasure. And as the stations, pipeline, and terminal facilities were
all within the limits of Cattaraugus County, the enterprise was claimed
as a local affair, to which the people of the county gave their hearty
cooperation and support. From a production of a few hundred barrels per
day, the district within three years from the starting of the
operation, was producing 20,000 per day, and from the loading of 7 cars
a day at Olean, it had grown into 150 cars a day. At first, only a
two-inch pipe was used; now the line consists of one three-inch and one
four-inch pipe with ample tanking facilities. In 1875, the Olean
Petroleum Company passed into the hands of the “Empire Transportation
Company,” which also controlled the Empire Pipe line. In 1877, the
Empire Pipe Line was disposed of the Standard Oil Company through the
Pennsylvania Railroad Company. The original pipeline at Olean was
constructed at a cost of about $225,000, which with subsequent
improvements, has at least doubled in value and capacity. The amount of
oil pumped through during the month of November, 1878, exceeded 175,000
OLEAN OIL REFINERY
In the fall of 1876, WING, WILBUR & Co.
commenced the construction of an oil refinery at Olean, and completed
it early in 1877, at a cost of $22,000, and having a capacity for 500
barrels per diem. After operating it one year, they sold out to the
Standard Oil Company, who have trebled its capacity, refining now 1,500
barrels per day. Being situated at the terminus of the pipeline, with
the advantage of three railroads for distribution and competition, it
is considered one of the best locations in the whole country.
The oil developments in the immediate vicinity of
Olean north and east of the ridge separating it from the Bradford
district proper―with the exception of three or four ill-judged
experiments which proved failures, made by some piratical parties who,
like camp followers and parasites of an army, are a kind of pensioners
upon legitimate oil operators―were not commenced until in October,
1875, when J. G. JOHNSON, of Olean, A. MARSH, N. A. DYE, E. C. HOWARD,
and W. H. SMITH of Allegany, and R. W. EVANS, then of Bradford,
organized a company called the “Allegany Oil Company,” with sufficient
capital to make a thorough test of the lands in Olean and Allegany.
Their first effort was on the lands of J. g. and E. M. JOHNSON in
Allegany, where they obtained a good paying well to the perfect
surprise of the whole community, who were waiting for the result, and
ready to apply the old maximum, “fools and their money are soon
parted.” In little more than two years from the successful issue of
their enterprise, more than 150 good, profitable wells are in operation
in the vicinity of the visionary project, so called by the knowing
ones, and 2,000 barrels of oil flow daily from the great underlying
reservoirs, which is to reward the courage and energy of the pioneers
in oil within the Olean district, who in face of discouragements and
difficulties, preserved on to success.
Among those residents of Olean who are extensively
engaged in oil operations are J. G. JOHNSON and his son, Elisha M.
JOHNSON, C. V. B. BARSE and his son Mills W. BARSE, H. C. MORRIS, R. W.
EVANS , J. H. DILKS, Joseph N. PEW, and Capt. THOMPSON.
RESIDENCE OF R. W. EVANS, Union Street, Olean NY
BANKS AND BANKING
The first banking institution
having a nominal
existence at Olean was the “BUTCHERS’ and DOVERS’ Bank,”
established in 1848 by Rufus HATCH, now of New York with headquarters
at Buffalo, and a resident cashier, George W. SMITH, at Olean. This
bank loaned its money and transacted its general business in Buffalo,
but made its bills payable at Olean on account of the difficulty the
redeeming agent of the State had in getting to its so-called
headquarters. To get to Olean at this time required a stage journey of
three days. The institution died gradually, without doing any good and
very little harm.
In 1860, a private banking office was started by
STOWELL CHAMBERLAIN & Co., of which Calvin T. CHAMBERLAIN was
manager and F. L. STOWELL, cashier. It quietly ceased its existence in
THE EXCHANGE NATIONAL BANK OF OLEAN
In 1869, there was a
deep-felt want of a bank in
Olean. At that time, a majority of the business men of the place, and
of the towns adjoining, kept their accounts and did their banking
business at Cuba. Several attempts were made to organize a bank, but
failed to secure the necessary amount of cash capital. About this time,
C. V. B. BARSE had returned from Bay City, Michigan, where he had
disposed of his hardware business, and with his son and partner, took
nine-tenths of the stock of the State Bank, which was organized with a
paid-up cash capital of $100,000, and began business in the summer of
1870. Since that time, the bank has been under the personal care and
supervision of Mr. BARSE, and has been so soundly and conservatively
managed as to secure the unlimited favor and liberal custom of the best
business element of the country.
The first and present officers of the bank were and
are C. V. B. BARSE, President; Henry S. MORRIS, Vice President; Mills
W. BARSE, Cashier. R. O. SMITH and Charles S. CARY, with the above, are
The subjoined is the official statement of the
financial condition of the bank at the close of business, December 21,
|Loans and discounts
|United States bonds to secure
|Due from approved reserve agents
|Due from State banks and bankers
|Real estate, furniture, and fixtures
|Current expenses and taxes paid
|Checks and other cash items
|Fractional currency (including nickels)
|United States legal tender notes
|Bills of other banks
|Capital stock paid in
|National bank notes outstanding
|Demand certificates of deposit
|Due to banks and bankers
THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF OLEAN
The First National Bank of
Olean was organized in
September, 1871, with William F. WHEELER as President; Nelson S.
BUTLER, Vice President; L. f. LAWTON, Cashier; John E. DUSENBURY, E. G.
DUSENBURY, Geo. S. MC INTOSH, Samuel OOSTERHOUDT, James G. JOHNSON, and
Asher W. MINER (and the above officers), Directors. This institution
was established for the purpose of facilitating the banking interests
of the village and vicinity through the medium of a national bank. The
gentlemen connected with the establishment are all capitalists and
first class business men, and most of them men of considerable
financial experience and ability. The First National Bank is a
government depository, and at the close of business, December 21, 1878,
held $14,606.99 to the credit of the United States.
The following is the statement of the financial
condition of the bank, as per the last official statement:
|Loans and discounts
|U. S. bonds to secure circulation
|Other stocks, bonds, and mortgages
|Due from approved reserve agents
|Due from other National banks
|Due from State bank and bankers
|Real estate, furniture, and fixtures
|Current expenses and taxes paid
|Checks and other cash items
|Bills of other banks
|Fractional currency (including nickels)
|Legal tender notes
|Redemption fund with U. S. Treasurer (5 percent of
|Due from U. S. treasurer, other than 5 percent
|Capital stock paid in
|National bank notes outstanding
|Individual deposits to check
|Time certificates of deposit
|Cashier’s checks outstanding
|United States Deposits
|Due to other National banks
|Due to State banks and bankers
|Notes and bills rediscounted
THE WESTERN INSURANCE COMPANY
Among the institutions that have gone out of
existence was the “Western Insurance Company,” which was incorporated
on the 22nd of January, 1853, and did business until December, 1855,
when its affairs passed into the hands of a receiver.
FIRES IN OLEAN
One of the greatest obstacles
to the progress of
Olean has been the frequency and extent of its conflagrations. The most
serious visitation of this kind occurred on Monday, January 15, 1866.
It commenced in and destroyed George JOHN’s store, and spread with
terrible rapidity until all the buildings on that side of the street to
the corner above BARSE’s store, were consumed. The lost to the business
portion of the village was great, aggregating $250,000, upon which the
total insurance was $169,555. In this fire, H. Harper PHELPS lost his
life, endeavoring to save his library.
About two years subsequent to the above, namely,
the 10th of March, 1868, the wooden block from the Olean House to the
Petroleum Hotel, was destroyed by fire, including in its devastation
the Advertiser office. The loss this time was $65,000, and the
insurance $30,000. Notwithstanding these calamities the business
interests of the village have progressed. The burnt districts have been
rebuilt in most instances by substantial brick blocks, which are alike
an ornament to the place and a credit to those erecting them,
THE OLEAN FIRE DEPARTMENT
The first successful attempt
at organizing a fire
department in the village was made on the 17th of September, 1856, when
the old “Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company” was organized with a good
working membership. The first officers of this company were J. A.
PETRIE, Foreman; William B. BARSE, First Assistant Foreman; J. F.
JOHNSON, Second Assistant Foreman; H. Harper PHELPS (who subsequently
lost his life in a fire while endeavoring to save his library),
Secretary; W. P. WILCOX, Treasurer; Nelson S. BUTLER, Steward; M. A.
BLAKESLEE, Axeman; D. T. STRINGHAM, First Assistant Axeman; William
BROWN, Second Assistant Axeman. This company was in existence until
1865, when it was allowed to disband, and the village was without a
hook and ladder department until December 27, 1877, when
PIONEER HOOK AND LADDER COMPANY, NO. 1
was organized at the office of W. H. MANDEVILLE, at which the following
officers were elected: Charles PHILLIPS, First Foreman; H.
PULLMAN, First Assistant Foreman; E. S. ANDREWS, Second Assistant
Foreman; J. K. VAN CAMPEN, Treasurer; R. C. HILL, Secretary. The
present membership is 24.
EAGLE ENGINE COMPANY, NO. 1
was organized in 1857, with a full complement of working members of 40
men. This company has kept up its existence, sometimes a somewhat
feeble one, since its organization. The last election of officers was
held May 8, 1877, at which the following officers were elected, namely:
M. A. BLAKESLEE, Foreman; E. M. JOHNSON, First Assistant Foreman; S. R.
SILL, Second Assistant Foreman; F. W. KRUSE, Secretary; D. C. CONKLIN,
Treasurer; C. W. HAVENS, Steward; John WILLIAMS, Nozzleman.
FOUNTAIN HOSE COMPANY NO. 1
was organized in 1857, and has maintained its organization
uninterruptedly ever since. It has generally been well officered, and
noted for the promptitude with which its members mustered for a fire.
The present officers are Fred. D. MAYER, Foreman; Thomas RANDOLPH,
First Assistant; W. D. HATCH, Secretary; Herman SCHUTZ, Treasurer.
Present membership, 25. The present fire department consists of a Chief
Engineer, W. H. MANDEVILLE, and Assistant Chief Engineer, Chas. H.
EMERSON; a Treasurer, A. H. ABBEY, and three other members, ―Fred. C.
MAYER, C. H. PHILLIPS, and M. A. BLAKESLEE, who each occupy the
position of foreman of the respective companies.
OFFICE AT OLEAN
The official establishment of the Olean post office
was effected November 10, 1817. Prior to this date, a weekly mail was
carried from Olean to Moscow by Calvin ABBOTT. In the latter part of
the decade ending in 1830, Stephen OLNEY carried a mail between this
place and Warren, Pa. Moses HANEY, now of Hinsdale, was another early
mail carrier. The late John MAGEE, of Steuben Bank memory, together
with his brothers, T. J. and Hugh MAGEE, were the first contractors for
carrying the eastern mail between Olean and Bath in stages. In writing
on this subject, Col. James G. Johnson says, “It is undoubtedly best to
state in this connection, that the principal routes of travel from the
east to the west led to Olean, and thence by the river. One of these
routes was from Canadaigua through Geneseo, Moscow, Perry, Pike,
Rushford, Cuba, and Hinsdale. Another was through Dansville, Almond,
Angelica, Friendship, Cuba, and Hinsdale. There was also a turnpike
road beginning at Bath and terminating at Hinsdale, which was a
toll-road, and within my recollection there was a toll-gate on it at
what was then know as the Howe Farm, two and a half miles from Hinsdale”
From a communication received from the
post-office department at
Washington, we are enabled to give the list of the postmasters at
Olean; together with the dates of their appointments respectively. They
are as follows, namely: Horatio Orton, appointed Nov.10, 1817;
Sylvanus Russell, July 20, 1820; Henry Bryan, May 26, 1824;
Darrar Swain, Oct. 26, 1829; Frederick S. Martin, Dec. 25, 1830; David
Day, Nov. 14, 1839; Olcott P. Boardman, July 11, 1849; David Day,
May 23, 1853; Henry W. Fish, Dec. 19, 1857; Rufus L. Page, March 27,
1861; James G. Jahnson, Oct. 25, 1870; George N. Fobes, May 28, 1878.
The religious history of a community
constitutes one of the principal
and most important features of its social civility. Liberty of
conscience in religious matters is one of the chief traits of American
freedom. Nor was it in indifference to religious convictions that this
religious liberty originated, but in the finally well-understood and
well applied principle of the freedom and equality of moral as well as
of political rights. Religious freedom and independence were almost
paramount to all other aims and objects which were had in view by the
primitive emigrants to America; and those of all creeds came here with
the purpose of establishing and enjoying the freedom of religious
convictions. Intolerance and persecution stained, however, even in this
land, the first pages of Puritanic establishment. It was the momentary
victory of the dark spirit of the past overpowering at times the bight
coruscations of truth. Big bigoted ferocity finally yielded before the
light of reason, before the vital and all-absorbing force of
principles. And the justice of religious tolerance had been handed down
from father to son through all the generations succeeding the Pilgrim
fathers. In all communities is found not only the innate love of
religious equality, but also its full enjoyment. The pioneers of this
village, like those of all other localities, were of various religious
beliefs, but sectarian prejudices were abandoned, and for a time at
least, all worshiped together until the followers of each denomination
represented were numerically and financially strong enough to establish
religious societies according to the tenets of their faiths,
respectively. Thus we find, after some years, churches of each
denomination organized, and as soon as circumstances permitted,
edifices were erected, used separately by the different sects, or
alternately by two or morw of them. Finally, the Methodists,
Presbyterians, Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics
severally erected houses of worship in the village, and the members of
each now worship God according to the dictates of their own
consciences, and yet remain devoid of intolerant bigotry and sectarian
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF OLEAN
The first missionary of this
denomination in Western New York was Rev.
John Spencer, for which his worth and years reverently called Father
Spencer. Sent out by the Home Missionary Society of Connecticut in
1809, he received as his field of labor all the tract then know as the
Holland Purchase. He probably preached the first regular sermon in this
The first church organization was formed Aug.
28, 1822, by Rev. William
Stone, missionary, who came on from the East. The organization and
early meetings were held in the chamber of a store, then owned by Hoyt
Webb, which stood upon the present site of the hardware-store of C.V.B.
Barse. The original documents of this organization - “the confession of
faith,” “the covenant,” etc, with names of original members – are still
preserved. The original members were Cornelius Brooks, Ahijah C.
Warren, Anson King, Norman Smith, John Boardman, Bathsheba Warren,
Sophia King, and Abigail Smith. The first church meeting was held the
same day, and Anson King, Norman Smith and Ahijah C. Warren were chosen
elders. Anson King was elected deacon and Norman Smith clerk.
This infant society placed itself under the
care of the
Presbytery of Bath. The Presbytery of Angelica, which was formed in
Angelica, Nov. 25, 1828, has this church enrolled upon the minutes of
its first meeting. Weakened by the removal of several of its members,
this organization in a few years passed out of existence.
A second organization took place in the latter
part of the year 1838,
under the ministerial care of Rev. Reuben A. Willoughby.
Judge Adkins and family came into town some
time before this and held
prayer-meetings in their house, and from this influence the
organization sprang. The building in which the society was formed – the
house of Judge Adkins – is still standing, on the east side of the
Olean Creek. Many of the original members are still living. Among those
who then became members are Henry Dusenbury and wife, Wm. F. Wheeler,
Judge Adkins and his wife and two daughters, Erastus E. Platt, and John
W. Mulford. Others afterwards prominent in the society were James G.
Johnson, Norman Birge, A. S. Wheeler, Celab Smith, and O.P. Boardman.
In the spring of 1839 a lot was purchased, which now
constitutes a part
of the church property, and a wagon-shop upon it was remodeled and
repaired for a house of worship. The cost of the entire property was
On Dec. 9, 1841, there was organized the society in
connection with the
church. This was done to meet the requirements of the revised statutes
of the State. The chosen was most appropriately that one set apart by
Gov. Leonard, as the day of thanksgiving. Deacon Henry Dusenbury
presided over the meeting. On motion of Erastus E. Platt the society
was legally organized. The first trustees chosen were Henry Bryan, Wm.
F. Wheeler, Edwin M. Birge, Olcott P. Boardman, James G. Johnson. Rev.
John J. Aiken was chosen pastor. Among others than those already
prominent in the society, were Samuel Bradley and Caleb Smith.
The present church edifice was built in 1856, under
the supervision of
Mr. Joseph Ditto, Mr. Flemming being contractor, at a cost of $6000,
the Rev. Sylvester Cowles being pastor at this time, and prominent in
effecting the organization of the church. The dedication service was
held March 7, 1857. Prominent among the subscribers were C.V.B. Barse,
N.S. Butler, Jacob Coss, Samuel Bradley, Abraham Merritt. The edifice
was remodeled and repaired in 1865, under the supervision of Jacob Coss
at a cost of $3500, and a parsonage built in 1870 , costing $3300.
The following ministers have been engaged in labor
by this society:
Rev. William Stone, 1882; Rueben Willoughby, 1838; Charles
Hequemberg, 1839; J.J. Aikens 1840-1842; Nathaniel H. Barnes, 1845-47;
Jahn Lane, 1848-50; Sylvester Cowles, D.D., 1850-60; Wm. W. Taylor,
1860-61; A.D. Axtel, 1861-62; J.B. Beaumont, 1862-66; G.R. Alden,
1866-69; M.W. Clute, 1869-74. Present pastor, Henry M. Curtis, came
Dec. 22, 1874.
The church building has lately (1878) been
greatly enlarged, and is one
of the most complete and beautiful church edifices in this part of the
state, the cost of improvement being $5000. The work was completed
under the supervision of Jacob Coss. The main edifice has a seating
capacity of 550. In addition to the audience-room there has been
erected a fine chapel and Sunday- school room, with church parlors,
dining-room, and kitchen adjoining, all completely furnished.
The church membership is 240. The average attendance
Sabbath-school is 165.
The Session of the church at present consists of
F.H. Myrick, Abraham
Merritt, James H. Brooks, L.F. Lawton, Nelson S. Butler, Dr. C. H.
The Board of Trustees is constituted of F. H.
Myrick, Charles G.
Coss, Mills W. Barse, Edwin M. Bailey, William G. Collins
William Wilkinson is Superintendent o the
The church has rapidly grown during the last four
years. One hundred
and four have been added to the membership of the church. The
pew-rentals amount to $2400 annually.
Among those who have died as honored officers of
this church are
Deacons Isaac H. Wands, John P. Olson, Caleb Smith, and Jacob Coss.
THE FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF OLEAN
The history of Methodism in Olean dates back
to 1819, in July of which
year Olean Circuit was formed, and a minister, named Rueben A.
Ailsworth, was appointed to preach the gospel according to the tenets
of the Methodist faith within its limits. The circuit remained as
originally constituted until the summer of 1823, when it was united
with that of Friendship and called Friendship Circuit. In the following
summer it was connected with Rushford Circuit, and was part of the
latter until 1929, when Friendship Circuit was re-formed, and Olean
again became a part of it. They held their first quarterly meeting at
Friendship, July 18, 1829.
At the Genesee Conference, held in October, 1834,
the circuit was
devided, and Olean held its first quarterly meeting at Bolivar, October
26, of that year; the second at Cuba, the third at Hinsdale, and the
forth at Height, now New Hudson. The next year they were again united
with Friendship. There were three preachers who traveled both circuits
that year, with a claim of $827. Their deficiency was $244. The next
year ( The fall of 1836 ), Olean was again set apart as a separate
circuit, and has so continued to the present time. It now has three
appointments, viz., Olean, Hinsdale, and Allegany. Portville was taken
from Olean at the conference held at Lockport, September, 1852.
The class at Olean was formed by A.C. Du Bois,
Sept. 25, 1836, with
twenty-two members, and this is the date of the regular organization of
the Methodist Episcopal Church in the village, and not in 1819, as has
been erroneously stated in previous publications. The first gospel
sermon preached by the Methodist minister in the territory now included
in Olean Curcuit was on the occasion of the funeral of William Shepard,
father of Wm. B. Shepard, Sept. 23, 1809, by Josiah Bullard, a local
preacher, who had once belonged to the traveling connection.
The circuit preachers following Rev. Reuben A.
Ailsworth have been as
follows: Jasper Bennet, Richard Wright, James Hazen, James B. Roach,
John Arnold, J. S. Lent, John Hill, Warren Bannister, Elijah Boardman,
Jacob Sanborn, Sheldon Doolittle, Jonathan Ramson, William Gordon,
Samuel W. Wooster, R. L. Waite, Marshall St. John, John Cozart, E. B.
Hill, William Buck, Alvin T. Waller, William McKinstry, Abram C. Du
Bois, Francis String, Samuel Pitt, Horatio N. Seaver, Orin F. Comfort,
J. D. B. Hoyt, Hugh Ely, Loomis Benjamin, Carlton Fuller, Thomas B.
Hudson, Milo Scott, Joseph W. Thins, John Rennard, Gilbert De Lamater (
now a member of Congress from the West ), Schuyler Parker, B. F.
McNeal, E. M. Buck, C.P. Clark, A. F. Curry, J. W. Ready ( 4 years ),
W. Terry, W.C. Willing, Lambert Newman, M.W. Ripley (4 years ), D.B.
Worthington ( died in Olean Sept. 25, 1865 ), G. G. Lyon ( 4 years ),
S. B. Dickinson, C.B. Burlingham ( 3 years ), L.A. Stevens, E.B.
Williams, present incumbent, appointed 1877.
The first church edifice was erected in the
spring of 1852, and
dedicated by a local preacher, who held some position on the Erie
Railroad, then recently completed at this point, and who had made a
liberal donation towards the new edifice.
The present trustees are Reuben Brooks,
William P. Myrick, George
Baker, George Chamberlain, Charles Gillingham, David P. Godfrey, and
J.W. Hoyt. Stewarts, Charles Gillingham, George Baker, George
Chamberlain, Reuben Brooks, Moses Drake, M.C. Follett, W.C. Myrick (
Recording Steward ), and A. Spreater. The present membership is
probatures, 5; full members, 165; number of teachers in Sabbath-school,
22; number of scholars, 160; Superintendent, Charles Gillingham. The
church and Sabbath-school are both reported in a flourishing condition.
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF OLEAN
Was originally organized as a conference
class about 1830, by Rev.
Eliab Going, who was pastor of the church at Hinsdale, who preached at
Olean every alternate Sunday. It was about 1839 that the Rev. Mr.
Tillinghast, a graduate of Hamilton Theological Seminary, was appointed
the first resident pastor, in which capacity he remained until the
early part of 1841, when the Rev. Benjamin Thomas succeeded him, and
continued in the pastoral relation over the church up to the time of
the disbanding of the society, which occurred in 1843. During his
pastorate the membership numbered about 50. In 1846 the society was
re-organized by Rev. D. W. Titus, now in charge of a Baptist Church in
Detroit, Mich. There were about 20 members included in the
reorganization, a few of whom, notably Deacon S. W. Warren, Dr. Lambert
Whitney, and Ephraim Simmons, were among the constituent members of the
original society. These have continued active and zealous members
through the entire existence of the church at Olean, and are now among
its honored and influential members. Rev. Titus remained in charge
about five years, and was succeeded by Rev. Robert Fisher. There were
three pastors who remained but a year or two each, among them Rev.
William Tilly, in 1856, during whose ministrations the largest revival
in the history of the church occurred. In 1860, Rev. L. S. Stowell was
pastor, and following him the Revs. Farr, A. N. Tower, W. Mudge, L. W.
Olney, and the present incumbent, Rev. D. D. Brown.
In 1848 the first church building was erected.
It was formerly used as
a store, and donated to the Baptist society by Dr. Andrew Mead, one of
its old active members. This building served the requirements of the
congregation until 1860, when the present edifice was erected, during
the pastorate of Rev. L. S. Stowell. An addition of 20 feet has
recently been made to the main building, intended for the organ, the
choir, and church parlors. The building will now seat about 500
persons, and is with the organ and furniture valued at $12,000. A fine
new organ has just been purchased at a cost of $1500, of which amount
Dr. Lambert Whitney subscribed $500 as a memorial to the choir, of
which his daughter, Miss Frances Sarah Whitney (familiarly known to her
acquaintances and friends as Frankie), was a member from her early
girlhood, and for the twelve years preceding her decease its talented
organist. Miss Whitney departed this life in the summer of 1878, to
join the celestial choir, and among its angelic voices to sing her
Saviour's praise, whom she loved on earth and delighted to devote her
peculiar talents to his honor] and glory.
The present officers of the church are S. W. Warren John Gray, and D.
L. Simmons, Deacons, and S. K. Hale Clerk. The Trustees are John
Williams, George E. Ram sey, and John Pratt, and Dr. Lambert Whitney,
Clerk o the Society.
The present membership is 200 ; number of teachers and scholars in the
sunday-school, 200; Superintendent, D. L Smith. The church and
Sunday-school are both prospering
ST. STEPHEN'S PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH
at Olean was organized Feb. 22, 1830.
Rev. William W Bostwick,
missionary at Bath, Steuben County, and adjacent parts, was called to
the chair ; Horatio Orton am Ebenezer Lockwood were elected wardens;
Sylvanus Russell, William W. Penfield, David Day, David Bockes, William
Low, Nathaniel Goodspeed, Henry Stephens, and Horatio L. Osborn, were
chosen vestrymen. At this, the first meeting of the society, it was
decided that Monday in Easter week should be the day for annual
meetings for the election of church officers.
The first rector was Rev. Thomas Morris, who was rector of the church
at Ellicottville from 1836 to 1840. Itis successors to the rectory have
been Revs. Humphrey Hollis, M. E. Wilbour, Charles E. Beardsley, G. W.
Dunbar, Henry H. Loring, John A. Staunton, C. T. Seibt, C. J. Machin,
B. D. Borom, M. B. Benton, and John J. Andrew, the present incumbent.
The church edifice (the first erected in the village) was commenced in
1836, and completed Jan. 21, 1839, at a cost of $3882. It was
consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Wm. H. De Laney, bishop of the diocese of
Western New York, on the 17th of September, of the above year.
The present church officers are Ansel Adams, senior warden ; M. A.
Blakeslee, junior warden ; C. P. Moulton, Judge D. H. Bolles, H. C.
Blakeslee, B. P. Crosby, John Hill, Oscar W. Hamilton, and S. T.
The present communicant membership is about
100 ; the number of
teachers and scholars in the Sunday-school, 125 ; the Superintendent of
Sunday-school, Rev. John J. Andrew, the rector.
The church and Sunday-school are prosperous.
EMANUEL CHURCH (LUTHERAN)
was organized on the 2d of January, 1857, by
Rev. Adam Ernst, the first
pastor. The successors in the pastorate since Rev. Adam Ernst have been
as follows: Revs. F. H. Doermann, C. Engelder, and J. Bernreuther, the
present incumbent. The first church officers were F. G. Lang, president
; J. Seefried, secretary ; C. Gross and H. Stumpf, church wardens.
The church edifice was erected in 1857, at a
cost of $2100 ; its
present value is $3000 ; its seating capacity, 200. The first trustees
were J. H. Kuehl, G. Stinz, and H. Stumpf; present trustees, M.
Scheiterly, P. Mueller, and C. Alles. The acting church officers are J.
Bernreuther, president ; G. J. Rotschky, secretary ; M. Scheiterly and
G. J. Rotschky, church wardens. The present voting membership is 20 ;
communicants, 87 ; number of teachers and scholars in Sunday-school,
35; Superintendent of Sunday-school and secular schoolmaster, Rev. J.
SAINT MARY OF ANGELS' CHURCH (ROMAN CATHOLIC).
The congregation of this church commenced
worshiping in 1851, with
about sixteen members. Father Doran, the first priest, said mass for
these in different shanties about the town, and only six times yearly.
Father McGiver followed the same plan a few years, when Father J.
McKenna bought a lot from Dr. Lambert Whitney, and built upon it a
small structure, which was temporarily used in worship. Bishop Timon
appointed Father Pamphelo, O. S. F., pastor; who built a frame church
40 by 60 feet, in 1857, and at-tended it monthly. As the congregation
increased, services were held semi-monthly, then weekly. From 1857 to
1876 the church was attended regularly by Franciscan Friars, who
resided in Allegany. In 1876, Bishop Ryan appointed Father J. Hamel the
first resident pastor of the congregation, under whose charge the
church has been enlarged and improved. The congregation, which numbered
sixteen families in 1851, now (1878) numbers over two hundred families.
The church as it now stands, 110 long by 40 feet wide. The transept is
64 by 31 feet. Seating capacity, including gallery, 800.
The religious societies of Olean are unusually
well sup-ported. The
pulpits of the various churches are filled by earnest and eloquent
preachers, who very generally receive the hearty and earnest
co-operation of the laity in the prosecution of religious duties. A
prosperity rarely met with is enjoyed by each denomination, which
results in much good to the moral welfare of the village.
EDUCATIONAL AND LITERARY.
Paramount in importance with the pioneers of
Olean was the education of
their youth, hence is found in its earliest annals the establishment of
schools and the maintenance of a regular system of instruction. The
early settlers of this section of country evidently realized the vast
and beneficial results that have characterized the American system of
education, and the fact that in its public common schools is presented
the highest triumph of democracy and self-government. Education had
been domesticated among the people in the Eastern States for years, and
those who for the betterment of their material positions emigrated to
what was then, as it were, the Ultima thule of civilization brought
with them the knowledge of systematic general education ; and no sooner
did they effect a permanent settlement than schools were inaugurated,
and as soon as practicable the excellent common-school polity was
established, and ever after sustained.
Fresh from the eastern schools, young men and women
devoted the first
years of their matured activity to teach in these primitive schools of
the past. They fulfilled their tasks with the unshaken confidence of
youth in its energies, and thus not only exercised their intellectual
functions in a noble calling, but disciplined their own minds for the
rigorous avocations of life in the new country. In the galaxy of the
names of those who honored the position of village school-teachers here
in the early years of its history that the kindly remembrances of past
scholars bring forth from the memories of the "long ago," are Henry L.
Kings-bury, Anna Carpenter, Lewis Seymour, John K. Faulkner, Rollin
Pratt, all save the latter having passed away. Mr. Pratt survives, a
model of old-time chivalry and innate courtesy. He is a man withal, who
rightly prides himself on the purity of his language and the dignity of
his deportment. When he does an act of kindness he characterizes it
with a politeness and suavity that would reflect honor upon
Chesterfield himself; and his every action carries the indelible
impress of the suaviter in modo. As an example, we quote from one who
knows him well the following incident :
A young lady named Sheffield had been out horse-back riding, and
returning, found Mr. Pratt just leaving the place where she was about
to alight. With a polished bow, stepping forward to assist her, he
said, " Miss Sheffield, I hope you do not experience any accession of
fatigue from the protracted length of your equestrian excursion ?"
During the tornado that visited Olean in 1834, an incident occurred
that called forth a grandiloquent display from the worthy dominie,
which, from the same reason that debarred him from rendering
much-needed assistance, we are compelled to omit.
The public schools sufficed for the purposes of education in the
village until 1851, when it was deemed expedient to establish an
academy, which was done in the fall of that year. Prefacing a lengthy
report on the subject, appears the following note to the editor of the
Republican from Rev. S. Cowles, one of the prime movers of the
" SIRS I am directed by a vote of the citizens in
Olean, who feel an
interest in establishing an academy in this place, to forward you for
publication an abstract of the report presented by a committee to a
public meeting on that subject, on the evening of the 30th ultimo.
" Ever yours,
" S. COWLES."
Then follows the report, which contains
several pertinent reasons why
an academy should be established at Olean.
The board of trustees consisted of Messrs. Lambert
Whitney, M.D., Henry
Dusenbury, James H. Brooks, Olcott P. Boardman, Judge Frederick S.
Martin, John Fohes, Abraham Merritt, and Rev. Sylvester Cowles. The
was Prof. J. A. Woodruff. The trustees erected a commodious building,
similar to the present one occupied by the public schools, in which
educational matters flourished until April 1, 1857, when the building
was accidentally burned to the ground. The present structure was
immediately erected, and the institution conducted with varied success
until Oct. 3, 1868, when it was merged into a union public school, with
an academic department, and the building purchased by the school
district in which it is located. It is now under the control of the
village board of education, which consists of Messrs. R. W. Evans,
President ; John L. Eddy, Olcott P. Boardman, H. F. Morris, H. W.
Moore, Fred. Eaton, M. C. Follett, R. M. Whitney, and C. H. Emerson,
The OLEAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
was organized in the spring
of 1871 by about twenty prominent citizens,
subscribing five years, at $1.50 per year, each in advance. Messrs.
Jewett & Keating sub-scribed $100, and several others smaller
amounts. The first officers elected were Miles R. Bull, President ; W.
H. Mandeville, Secretary ; W. F. Burlingham, Librarian. Those occupying
the position of president of the association to the present have been
as follows : M. R. Bull, 1871; W. P. Culver, 1872 ; W. H. Mandeville,
1873 ; C. P. Moulton, 1874 ; W. H. Mandeville, 1875 ; Prof. W. H.
Truesdell, 1876 ; W. H. Mandeville, 1877-78.
The present (1878) officers are W. H. Mandeville, President; Mrs. D. H.
Bolles, Vice-President; Fred. B. Coss, Secretary; Charles Gillingham,
Treasurer; Miss Anna Hazlett, Librarian. The managers are Charles H.
Emerson, M. A. Blakeslee, and Mrs. Dr. Wilcox. The present number of
volumes is 1500. The library is located in the store of J. P. Hastings.
The general rules of the institu-tion are, that books can be kept three
weeks, and on those retained longer than that a fine of ten cents per
week, or fraction thereof, is imposed. The yearly membership-fee is
$1.50, payable in advance.
SECRET AND BENEVOLENT SOCIETIES.
The organization and maintenance of ancient and
honor-able secret and
benevolent societies constitutes quite an important factor in the
history of a community, and one which, despite occasional sectarian
opposition, invariably flourish, equally with religious or business
enterprises. The village of Olean is admirably well supplied with
associations of this character, all of which are in a generally
prosperous condition. The societies here represented are Olean Lodge,
No. 252, F. and A. M. ; Olean Chapter, R. A. M., No. 150 ; St. John's
Commandery, K. T., No. 24; Crescent Lodge, No. 60, A. 0. U. W.; Olean
Lodge, No. 417, I. O. O. F. ; and a lodge of I. O. G. T. Sub-joined we
give a brief historical sketch of each of these organizations, as
forming a portion of the social history of the village.
OLEAN LODGE, NO. 252, F. AND A. M.,
was instituted by dispensation, in March, 1852,
and received its
charter from the Grand Lodge in June of the same year. The first chief
officers were Andrew Mead, W. M. ; David Bockes, S. W. ; Edwin B.
Andrews, J. W. ; Aaron J. Allen, Treas.; David Day, Sec. The present
principal officers of the lodge are M. Southeron, W. M.; John L. Eddy,
S. W. ; L. M. Crake, J. W. ; William B. Pierce, Treas. ; L. F. More,
Sec. The lodge now numbers 90 members, has regular communications every
first and third Tuesday in each month, and is in a generally
OLEAN CHAPTER,. It. A. M., NO. 150,
was organized March 26, 1855, with John Jakin,
H. P. ; Russel Martin,
K.; David Day, S.; Samuel R. Homer, Treas. ; and H. S. Shular, Sec.
Those occupying the chief offices in the chapter at present (1878) are
Milton B. Fobes, H. P. ; L. Durkee, K. ; George Van Campen, Jr., S. ;
William B. Pierce, Treas. ; and L. F. More, Sec. The present membership
numbers 75. Regular convocation every second and fourth Friday in each
ST. JOHN'S COMMANDERY, K. T., NO. 24,
received its dispensation Jan. 5, 1854, and
worked under the same until
Feb. 8, 1856, when it was granted a charter. The first officers were
Hiram Turk, E. C. ; C. S. Farnham, Gen. ; James S. Mott, C. G. ; H. H.
Nye, S. W. ; W. A. Baldwin, J. W.; D. D. Gardner, Treas ; S. P. Swift,
Rec. Present officers, M. B. Fohes, E. C. ; H. O. Wait, Gen. ; M. W.
Barse, C. G.; E. M. Johnson, S. W.; G. W. Dickinson, J. W. ; C. V. B.
Barse, Treas. ; C. S. Stowell, Rec. There are 121 sir knights, and
their regular con-clave is every third Thursday in each month.
There was a Masonic organization in Olean prior
to 1819, but the
records of its existence have been destroyed, hence no reliable
information concerning it can be obtained.
The Odd Fellows had an organization in Olean as early as 1851. We learn
from one of the original members of the old lodge that Caleb Jewett was
its N. G. ; J. K. Com-stock, V. G.; and T. A. E. Lyman, P. G. It had a
good working membership, numbering upwards of 100. The records,
regalia, etc., were destroyed in the great fire, and the lodge was
allowed to suspend until Aug. 14, 1878, when
OLEAN LODGE, NO. 417, I. O. O. F.,
was organized by A. Pringle, D. D. G. M.,
assisted by Brother Norton.
The present chief officers of the lodge are A. I. Cotton, N. G.; W. C.
Winsor, V. G.; W. Smith, Sec. ; George Brickell, Treas. ; Dr. Lambert
Whitney, George Brickell, and George S. McIntosh, Trustees_ The present
membership is about 30. Meeting in the hall over Merritt's store,
corner Union and State Streets, every Wednesday evening.
CRESCENT LODGE, NO. 60, A. O. U. W.,
was organized Feb. 3, 1877. The first principal
officers were William
D. Chamberlain, M. W. ; George E. Rumsey, P. M. W.; Myron A. Dodge, F.;
H. W. Eaton, O.; E. C. Blighton, Rec. The present chief officers are
William D. Chamberlain, M. W.; George E. Rumsey, P. M. W.; D. W.
Godfrey, F.; H. W. Eaton, 0.; A. H. Morris, Rec. Present membership, 40.
PLEASANT RIVER LODGE, NO. 483, I. O. OF G. T.,
was organized with 54 charter members, on the
evening of Oct. 2, 1878.
The officers elected at the first meeting of the lodge were F. W.
Marsh, L. D. W. C. T. ; Rev. E. B. Williams, P. W. C. T.; R. A. Rapp,
W. C. T. ; Mrs. W. J. Wise, W. V. T. ; W. H. Burroughs, W. S. ; L. A.
Washburn, W. F. S. ; Mrs. L. A. Washburn, W. T. ; Rev. D. D. Brown, W.
C. ; William L. Myrick, W. M. ; Mrs. Shumway, W. J. G. ; W. J. Wise, W.
0. G. The present number of members is 65.
In 1807 Robert Hoops donated
three acres of land, the present site of
the Olean Cemetery, for burial purposes, for which it has ever since
been used. The first interment in it was that of James G. Johnson, in
April, 1811. Among the old and prominent settlers whose remains re-pose
within the hallowed precincts of the old grave-yard are Deacon Anson
King and wife, the latter the mother of James G. Johnson, Robert Hoops,
Sylvanus Russell and wife, Cornelius Brooks and wife, Judge Timothy H.
Porter and wife, Judge Frederick S. Martin, Pardon Thrall and wife,
Jehiel Boardman and wife, Zachariah Oosterhoudt and wife, James Brooks
and wife, Dr. Bennett, Jeremiah Osborn, and young Kibbey (the three
recovered bodies of the four persons drowned in 1820), Ebenezer Reed,
David Day, Col. Luke Goodspeed and wife, David Bockes, Dr. Edward Finn
and wife, and others.
The grounds are now inclosed within a neat
white fence, the graves are
tenderly cared for and tastefully decorated with flowers and shrubs,
those emblems of perpetual remembrance and ever-recurring change. Here
and there, dotted amid humbler graves, are handsome monuments, erected
to the memory of dear departed ones as tokens of affectionate regard
and of undying love. But whether lying under marble or only under the
cool green sod, faithful hearts and willing hands bring oft-repeated
offerings from Flora's treasury to deck the mounds or to ornament the
marble shaft. Many whose names we mention left a posterity to mourn
them, and all a record worthy the emulation of those who follow. Then
let us who re-main endeavor so to live that those we love and those who
know us best may in the future deem us also worthy examples for
OLEAN IN THE REBELLION.
Patriotism is an innate and
heaven-born virtue. Next to the love of God
and of family comes the love of country. Indeed, he who is naturally
the champion of family ties is also the fearless opponent of oppression
and the ardent conservator of the national honor. From the inauguration
of American independence to the close of the Civil war, and in all
intermediate struggles, patriotism has shown itself to be the
characteristic trait of the American people. This quality, even in the
dark ages of the past, and in the classic history of medieval times,
has been the most admirable and the most glorious.
The citizens of Olean during the Rebellion
made an excellent record,
and one which will forever remain a bright page in her annals. When the
government called for aid many left the peaceful avocations of industry
and became a part of that citizen soldiery that soon became alike the
wonder and the admiration of the world. And those who, by age or
infirmity, could not enter the ranks generally gave of their means to
preserve the country's credit and to help sustain the good old flag
that their forefathers, many of them, had fought to win.
In the military history of the county data
pertaining to the regiments
in which many of the soldiers who went from Olean to the front will be
It is right and proper that these things should be pre-served ; for in
the future, when the great struggle shall have passed from actual
remembrance, when those who participated in it shall have filled
honored graves, and when even their children shall have quietly
followed them, and only the beautiful offerings of flowers, the lovely
feature of our Decoration Day, shall remain,-then on the pages of
history, written in letters of gold, shall be the honored list of the
gallant ones who gave their best energies, some their blood, and
thousands their lives, to perpetuate the Union, and to immortalize the
well-earned assumption that our country is "The land of the free and
the home of the brave."
It is but a day in the calendar of Time when
the place where Olean now
stands was a dense and unbroken forest,-when the towering monarchs, the
growth of centuries, waved their green tops in the breezes of summer,
and rocked their gigantic arms in the tempests of winter; all was
solitude and silence save the voice of Nature and the plash of the
beautiful Allegany. Then, as though some spirit of power had arisen in
its strength and waved its magic wand o'er this lovely spot of
creation, the forest vanished, and in its place this fair village, with
its streets teeming with commerce and resonant with the hum of a busy
and intelligent population ; its spires glittering in the sunbeams
stands forth in the beauty and splendor of material development and
To whom is due this wondrous change? Where
seek for the untiring energy
and the restless enterprise that has caused this growth and prosperity
? To the pioneer and his posterity primarily, and then to the
capitalist, the merchant, and the mechanic,-to these various elements
belongs the honor of making a city ;" for, ere the future historian
shall be called upon to continue Olean's annals, she will be a city in
both numerical strength and commercial importance.
THE TOWN OF OLEAN.
Around the town of Olean cluster the most
important events in the
history of the settlement of Cattaraugus County. It was within its
limits that the original settlements were made, and upon its territory
the embryo commencement of the principal factors that have led to the
present wealth, happiness, and prosperity of the county originated.
Hither the first pioneers came ; here the first mills were erected ;
the first white child born ; the first tavern opened ; the first road
laid out; and here began the establishment of the elements of culture
and civilization that have since developed so materially and progressed
so rapidly all over the county.
The earliest settlement of which any record
exists was made 75 years
ago, and the redemption of the wilderness from its primitive state to a
fertile and productive agricultural condition was a work of
considerable magnitude, and fraught with a vast amount of toil and
care. But the pioneers of Olean, like those of other new sections of
country, were a hardy and industrious class, and sought to establish
their homes with the greatest possible expedition. The process was
naturally slow and laborious ; but diligence and unremitting labor
triumphed, and we behold to-day the magnificent result of the work of
their hands and the benefits of their intelligence.
Olean is geographically located upon the south
border of the county,
near the southeast corner. As now constituted it is designated on the
map as township 1 and part of town-ship 2, in range 4 of the Holland
Land Company's purchase.* The surface of the town is hilly upland,
separated into two distinct parts by the valley of the Allegany. The
highest elevations are 500 to 600 feet above the valley. The soil in
some parts is adapted to agriculture, in others to grazing. A large
portion of the land is covered with timber, hence lumbering is one of
the principal occupations. The principal streams are the Allegany River
and Olean Creek, the latter of which flows south through the northern
at the village of the town was commenced, in 1804, by Robert Hoops,
brother of Major Adam Hoops, whose agent he was, and David Heuston, who
was accidentally killed, in 1807, while getting out spars, probably to
be used as oars for the pioneer rafts made that year. These made their
locations near the river. Following them, in 1806, came Cornelius
Brooks, a Revolutionary soldier, who was taken prisoner at the battle
of Long Island, who made his location this year, but did not
permanently settle thereon until 1808. He was quite a prominent man in
the history of the town. In 1814-15 he held the office of supervisor,
and subsequently several important positions in the town government.
His son, James Brooks. who accompanied him here, was appointed the
first side judge of the county, and sat at the Court of Common Pleas,
held at the home of William Baker. in the village of Hamilton (Olean).
the first Tuesday in July, 1817, with Timothy H. Porter, first judge,
and Ashbel Freeman, his associate side judge. Several members of the
Brooks family still reside in the village and town, notably Col. Enos
C. Brooks, a justice of the peace of Olean, and Reuben A., a farmer,
who, with the heirs of Amos C. Brooks, resides on the old homestead
farm. John Brooks, a brother of Cornelius, accompanied him hither, in
Judge Brooks was noted for his profuse hospitality, and it is said by
one who knew him well, that for several years prior to his death the
family scarcely ever sat down to a meal without some visitor. The
judge's residence was familiarly known as the " Methodist Tavern and
House of Refuge," from the fact that the itinerancy of the Methodist
Church of Albany always found a cordial welcome there. Judge Brooks was
reverently recognized as the father of Methodism in this section of
country. He was also a firm supporter of the temperance cause, and did
all in his power for its general advancement, believing that much of
the prevailing misery and vice was attributable to intemperance. After
an eminently useful life, Judge Brooks died at the old homestead, April
17, 1854, having lived to within a few months of the allotted space.
Judge Brooks raised a family of ten children, namely, Polly C., married
Jabez C. Percival, resides at Palo, Mich. ; James H., married Harriet
L. Hastings ; residence, Olean, N. Y. ; Reuben A., married Eliza
Hastings, Olean ; Elizabeth A. (deceased), married Rev. Robert Thomas ;
Enos C., married Margaret A. Hill, Olean; Cornelius D., married Harriet
A. Minear, Monroe Co., N. Y. ; Amos C. (deceased), married Mary M.
Miner, Olean ; Rachel E. (deceased) ; Julia A. (deceased) ; Sarah K.,
married Rev. W. H. Kellogg ; resides in Wisconsin.
William Shepard, father of William B. Shepard,
settled on the farm now
occupied by the latter in 1806. Pardon Thrall, father of Willis and
Erastus Thrall, arrived in 1806, and settled on the farm on the
opposite side of the creek to the Boardman place, upon a portion of
which now stands the Olean tannery. James Green moved to and built a
saw-mill on Haskell Creek, in 1809, but soon thereafter sold out, and
moved to Great Valley, and subsequently re-moved to Golconda, on the
Ohio River, where he died. Zachariah Oosterhoudt, father of Samuel
Oosterhoudt, now a prominent merchant of Olean, settled just west of
Reed's tavern and buildings at an early day.
Just outside the present corporate limits of the
village in March,
1814, Jehiel Boardman settled. He was born at Bolton, Conn., Sept. 30,
1761, and died at Olean, in the place where he first settled, July 27,
1834. He had nine children, as follows : Sallie H., married Stephen
Eaton, of Derby, Vt. ; Patty, who died at Olean, Nov. 6, 1876, aged
eighty-five years ; Orville (deceased), married Catharine Freer, of
Albany ; was a prominent citizen of Allegany Co. ; John (deceased),
twice married; Polly, married Calvin H. Carner, Olean ; Worcester, died
in 1822 ; Emma, twice married ; Roxy, died in infancy ; Olcott P.,
married Marcia P. Rice, daughter of the late Luman Rice, of Portville,
now living on the old homestead. Jehiel Boardman was a man well
calculated by disposition and inclination for a pioneer. He was
energetic, industrious, and scrupulously honest, and for the score of
years he lived and labored in the newly-settled town of Olean, his
influence was greatly felt and duly appreciated by his fellow-citizens.
Among other prominent settlers who arrived from 1818 to about 1830, and
located permanently within the present limits of the town, the
following are worthy of mention, namely :
Abijah C. Warren, father of Seth W. Warren,
Samuel Dickinson, David P.
Godfrey, Rollin Pratt, an early surveyor and school-teacher ; Jerome
Rose ; ex-sheriff Richard Welch, Ephraim Simmons, Thomas IT. Oviatt.
Coming several years later than the
above, are Asa Burlinghame, Erastus
Parker, Samuel R. Homer, and others.
The primitive events in the history of a
community have an interest
that forms an important feature, and one which deserves a conspicuous
place in its annals. Hence, we present the annexed information, having
verified its authenticity by the best existing authorities.
The first birth within the present bounds of the town of Olean, was
that of Olean, daughter of William Shepard, May 22, 1807.
The first death was that of William Shepard, who died on the 21st of
September, 1809. His remains now repose on the old homestead occupied
by his son, William B. Shepard.
The first house erected was by Robert
Hoops, and stood on the farm now
known as the Martin homestead, in the summer of 1804.
The first tavern was kept by Sylvanus Russell,
near the " Old
Boat-house," at Olean Point, in 1808. In writing of Mr. Russell, James
G. Johnson, Esq., has the following : " Sylvanus Russell was from
Angelica, and was the first man married in Allegany County. His wife's
maiden name was Esther Van Wickle, and the event occurred in 1805. He
afterwards kept a tavern on the site of the present residence of George
Chamberlain, and was father of the venerable Mrs. Seymour Bouton, now
residing in the town of Allegany."
The first saw-mill was erected by Willis
Thrall and William Shepard, on
Olean Creek, three miles above its mouth, on what is now known as the
Van Dusen farm, in the winter of 1807. The first lumber cut in the
county was at this mill, and the first raft was made up. in the spring
of 1807, and run down the creek and river by Bibbius Follett, Jedediah
Strong, and Dr. Bradley. This mill was of primitive construction, being
a single upright saw, yet for many years it was actively engaged, and
did good duty as late as 1830, and perhaps a few years later.
The first grist-mill was built by Robert Hoops, at the mouth of Olean
Creek, in 1809. It was a small frame building, about 24 by 32 feet, and
two stories high. It had a single run of stones, yet for nearly a score
of years (until about 1828) it did all the grinding for the entire
population, the bolting having to he done by hand.
The first road authoritatively
constructed was by an act of the
Legislature, passed April 5, 1810.* The road was to run " from
Canandaigua by the head of Conesus Lake, by the most eligible route to
the mouth of the Olean River." Messrs. Valentine Brother, of
Canandaigua ; George Hornell (afterwards Judge Hornell, of
Hornellsville), and Moses Van Campen, of Angelica, were appointed Road
Commissioners, and Moses Van Campen, Surveyor. Roads prior to this were
little better than bridle-paths, requiring the most careful driving to
avoid stumps and other obstacles with which they abounded.
The town of Olean was formed at the same time
the county was erected,
namely, March 11, 1808, and at that period included all the territory
now embraced within the present limits of Cattaraugus County. A map of
that part of the town containing Hoops' purchase was made July 16,
1805, and designated as townships 1 and 2, ranges 3 and 4 of the
Holland Land Company's Purchase. Olean remained as originally created
until July 16, 1812, when Ischua, afterwards Franklinville, was
detached ; a part of Perry (now Perrysburg), April 13, 1814; Great
Valley, April 15, 1818 ; Hinsdale, April 20,1820 ; and Portville, April
27, 1837. At its formation in 1808 the town contained an area of
725,760 acres, which has since been judicially (and judiciously)
reduced to 21,846 acres, as at present.
The first town-meeting held in the town
as originally formed was at the
house of Joseph McClure, at Franklinville, then the centre of
population in the newly erected town in April, 1808. The first
town-meeting held in Olean as at present constituted was held in the
house of Sylvanus Russell, many years later. After a careful and
extended search we found the old town record, from 1809 to 1812
inclusive, which consists of a few leaves from the original book; also
in another volume the records from 1813 to 1849; and still in the book
at present in use, those from 1850 to 1878. Prior to our
investigations, it was supposed by all those who take an interest in
the preservation of records and documents relating to events occurring
in the history of the town government, that all such antedating 1850
were destroyed in the great fire of 1866, which would have been the
case had the book not been borrowed by a person who resided without the
burnt district. Subjoined we give a list of the town officers elected
in 1809, together with all the supervisors and town clerks from that
year to 1878, inclusive, and the justices of the peace from the time
the office was made elective by the people (1830) to the present :
Supervisor, James Green ; Town Clerk,
David McClure; Assessors, Ira
Norton, Robert Hoops, John McClure ; Constable and Collector, Thomas
Morris ; Constable, Willis Thrall ; Poor Masters, Henry Conrad, John
Brooks ; Commissioners of Highways, Cornelius Brooks, William Atherton,
Joseph Hunter ; Overseer of Highways, District No. 1, Asahel Atherton;
Overseer of Highways, District No.
*See Session Laws, 1810, chapter cxlv.
2, William Shepard ; Overseer of Highways, District No. 3, Daniel
Cortright ; Overseer of Highways, District No. 4, Ebenezer Reed ;
Overseer of Highways, District No. 5, Robert Hoops ; Overseer of
Highways, District No. 6, Seth Humphrey ; Pound Masters and
Fence-Viewers, William Atherton, Willis Thrall, Josiah Hollister, Jonas
"Fences to be 41 feet high in the first 2 feet from the ground, the
openings not to exceed 4 inches, and the top . openings not to exceed 8
1810.-James Green. Supervisor; John Brooks, Clerk.
The present town officers, other than those above mentioned, are :
Assessors, O. P. Boardman, George S. McIntosh, Manly A. Blakeslee ;
Overseer of the Poor, Jos. M. Bristol ; Collector, John King ; Town
Auditors, Samuel Oosterhoudt, Hollis W. Moore, Joseph R. Jewell ;
Inspectors of Election, William Carter, Charles D. Judd, William D.
Chamberlain; Constables, John King, Joseph Bergher, J. H. Andrews,
James K. Van Campen, Francis E. John-son ; Excise Commissioner, Frank
1811.-Cornelius Brooks, Supervisor: John Brooks, Clerk.
1812.-Cornelius Brooke, supervisors; John Brooks, Clerk.
1813.-Nathan Horton. Supervisor; Cornelius Brooks, Clerk.
1814.-Cornelius Brooks, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk.
1815.-Cornelius Brooks, Supervisor; Silas Knight, Clerk.
1816.-Israel Curtis, Supervisor; Silas Knight, Clerk.
1817.-Israel Curtis, Supervisor; Horatio Orton, Clerk.
1818.-Seymour Bouton, Supervisor.
1819.-Ebenezer Lockwood, Supervisor; Timothy H. Porter, Clerk.
1820.-Israel Curtis, Supervisor; Griswold E. Warner, Clerk.
1821.-Ebenezer Lockwood, Supervisor; Timothy H. Porter, Clerk.
1822.-Ebenezer Lockwood, Supervisor; Griswold E. Warner, Clerk.
1823-24.-David Bockes, Supervisor; Griswold E. Warner, Clerk.
1825.-Allen Rice, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk.
1826.-Samuel Barrows, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk.
1827.-Allen Rice. Supervisor; David Bockes, Clerk.
1828.-Samuel Barrows, Supervisor; David Bockes, Clerk.
1829.-David Bockes, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk.
1830.-Frederick S. Martin, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk;
Jonathan More, Justice of the Peace.
1831.-Frederick S. Martin, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk; Timothy
H. Porter, Justice of the Peace.
1832.-David Day, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk; James Bowers,
Justice of the Peace; Joseph Crandall, Justice of the Peace, to fill
1833.-David Day, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk; John W. Barton,
Justice of the Peace; Andrew Mead, Justice of the Peace, to fill
1834.-David Day, Supervisor; Slyvanus Russell, Clerk; Jonathan More,
Justice of the Peace; George Pinkerton, Justice of the Peace, to fill
1835.-David Day, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk; Timothy H.
Porter, Justice of the Peace; David Day. Justice of the Peace, to fill
1836.-Frederick S. Martin, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk ;
William Wales, Justice of the Peace.
1837.-David Day, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk; Harvey May,
Justice of the Peace.
1838.-Frederick S. Martin, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk; Lambert
Whitney, Justice of the Peace; James Brooks, Justice of the Peace, to
1839.-Elkannah Day, Supervisor; Sylvanus Russell, Clerk; Timothy If.
Porter. Justice of the Peace.
1840.-James G. Johnson, Supervisor: Evert Russell, Clerk; Lambert
Whitney, Justice of the Peace.
1841.-Elkanah Day, Supervisor; William W. Penfield, Clerk; John S.
Birge, Justice of the Peace.
1842. Elkanah Day, Supervisor; William W. Penfield, Clerk; Andrew Mead,
Justice of the Peace; David Day, Justice of the Peace, to fill vacancy.
1843. James G. Johnson, Supervisor; William W. Penfield, Clerk: Timothy
H. Porter, Justice of the Peace.
1844.-James G. Johnson, Supervisor : John N. Russell, Clerk ; William
L. Stork. Justice of the Peace.
1845.-James G. Johnson, Supervisor: Ansel Adams, Clerk; James Brooks,
Justice of the Peace.
1846.-Roderick White, Supervisor ; Homer C. Blakeslee, Clerk ; Caleb
Smith, Justice of the Peace; Christopher Whitney, Justice of the Peace,
to fill vacancy.
1847.-Elkanah Day, Supervisor; Julius R. Smith, Clerk; David Day,
Justice of the Peace; William W. Penfield, Justice of the Peace, to
I848.-David Day, Supervisor; Julius R. Smith, Clerk; William W.
Penfield, Justice of the Peace.
1849.--David Day, Supervisor: Julius R. Smith, Clerk: William W.
Penfield, Justice of the Peace: Christopher Whitney, Justice of the
Peace, to till vacancy.
1850.-Daniel Hickox. Supervisor; Henry Milham. Town Clerk: A. J. Moses,
Justice of the Peace.
1851.-Samuel Oosterhoudt, Supervisor: Hiram G. Cook, Town Clerk: Olcott
P. Boardman, Justice of the Peace : Paul Recd. Justice of the Peace, to
1852.-Hiram G. Cook, Supervisor; David Day, Town Clerk: Lambert
Whitney, Justice of the Peace.
1853.-George F. Stevens. Supervisor: Joseph L. Savage, Town Clerk;
Lambert Whitney (held
over on a tie vote).
1854.-M. A. Blakeslee. Supervisor; Christopher Whitney, Town Clerk;
John Fobes, Justice of the Peace.
1855.-M. A. Blakeslee, Supervisor; Lyman Packard, Town Clerk; Elkanah
Day, Justice of the Peace.
1856.-Justus S. White, Supervisor; John Fobes, Town Clerk: Abram
Merritt, Justice of the Peace.
1857.-Justus S. White, Supervisor; John P. Osborne, Town Clerk.
1858.-George S. McIntosh, Supervisor; James F. Johnson, Town Clerk;
John S. Shaw. Justice of the Peace.
1859.-Frederick Crocker, Supervisor; Fred. Eaton, Town Clerk; Lambert
Whitney, Justice of the Peace.
1860.-George S. McIntosh, Supervisor; H. Harper Phelps, Town Clerk: E.
H. G. Meachem, Justice
1861.-James T. Henry, Supervisor; H. Harper Phelps, Town Clerk; Nathan
P. Wilcox, Justice of the Peace.
1862.-E. H. G. Meachem, Supervisor; Lambert S. Whitney, Town Clerk;
John S. Shaw, Justice of the Peace.
1863.-Frederick Eaton, Supervisor; Wm. A. Comstock, Town Clerk; Henry
Johnson, Justice of the Peace.
1864.-Hollis W. Moore,* Supervisor; James Kelsey, Town Clerk;
E. H. G. Meachem, Justice of the Peace.
1865.-J. T. Henry, Supervisor; Morgan Merritt, Town Clerk; L. H.
Kelsey, Justice of the Peace.
1866.-J. T. Henry, Supervisor; Edward J. Finn, Town Clerk; Jas.
F. Johnson, Justice of the Peace.
1867.-Salmon Shaw, Supervisor; C. S. Cleveland, Town Clerk; Mar-tin
Carr, Justice of the Peace.
1868.-Russel Martin, Supervisor; E. A. Adams, Town Clerk; Wm.
Ellithorpe, Justice of the Peace.
1869.-Russel Martin, Supervisor; Calvin S. Stowell, Town Clerk; Daniel
Collins, Justice of the Peace.
1870.-Frank L. Stowell, Supervisor; Elisha M. Johnson, Clerk; James F.
Johnson, Justice of the Peace.
1871.-Hiram C. Miller, Supervisor : John Smith, Clerk; Lyman Latimer.
Justice of the Peace.
1872.-Levi Barrett, Supervisor; John Smith, Clerk; Martin Carr, Justice
of the Peace.
1873.-C. W. Phillips, Supervisor: John Smith, Clerk; L. II. Kelsey.
Justice of the Peace.
1874.-Calvin S. Stowell, ' Supervisor; John Smith, Clerk; John S. Shaw,
Justice of the Peace.
1875.-Calvin S. Stowell, Supervisor; H. W. Rugg, Clerk: James F.
Johnson, Justice of the Peace.
1876.-Charles W. Phillips, Supervisor; William D. Chamberlain. Clerk;
Martin Carr, Justice of the Peace.
1877.-Samuel H. Bradley, Supervisor; G. H. Phelps, Clerk; M. A. Dodge,
Justice of the Peace.
1878.-Charles W. Phillips, Supervisor; George H. Phelps, Clerk; Enos C.
Brooks, Justice of the
* Tie between Fred. Eaton and J. K. Comstock. and Hollis W. Moore
The town of Olean, in 1845, had a population of 550, including the
village. The number of inhabitants, each lustrum since, has been as
follows : In 1858, 899 ; in 1855, 1611 ; in 1860, 2706 ; in 1865.
27111; in 1870, 2668 ; and in 1875, 3109. The four years from 1875 to
1879 have received the largest augmentation to the population of' any
similar period in the history of the town, most of which has been added
to the village, the population of which is now estimated at about 3600.
From the report of Hon. Neil Gilmour, State Superintendent of Public
Instruction, we glean the following statistics of the public schools of
Olean, for the year ending Sept. 30, 1878:
Number of children of school age, 1332 ; average daily attendance,
482___ ; number of teachers for 28 weeks or more, 14; number of weeks
taught, 191 ; amount of public money received, $2157.37 ; amount of tax
raised for schools, $4091.04; amount paid for teachers, $8406.95 ;
number of districts, 6 ; number of school-houses, 7 ; value of
school-houses and sites, $20,370 ; volumes in school library, 319 ;
value of books, $240.
(Note - Click on images to
view a larger portrait)
JAMES G. JOHNSON.
The subject of this sketch, whose birth was nearly coeval with the
organization of the county, and whose retrospect embraces substantially
the whole subsequent record of events, is, more emphatically than any
other man now living, identified with its history. With mental
faculties of a superior order still unimpaired and vigorous, and
particularly a memory retentive to a remarkable degree of the scenes
and occurrences which have filled up the intervening years, and in many
of which he played an active and honorable part, no occupation delights
him more, in the mellow evening of his life, than to entertain his
friends with reminiscences of incidents long ago transpiring, and of
persons who have passed into the world of shadows. Of his early friends
and contemporaries but few are left, and the number is fast
diminishing. It is well worth while to preserve and perpetuate the
names and memories of the worthies who, with toil and sacrifice, laid
deep and strong the foundation of the prosperity which subsequent
generations have enjoyed.
James G. Johnson was born at Bloomfield,
Ontario Co., on the 13th day
of September, 1811. He was the second son of James G. Johnson, a
gentleman of English descent, and one of the original settlers in the
village of Olean, which, however, at that time and for some years
afterwards was called " Hamilton." His mother, whose maiden name was
Sophia Stone, was of Scotch parentage, and, on her mother's side, a
descendant of the Dudley family. The death of his father, in 1811, led
to the return of his widowed mother to her father's house, where she
remained until 1819, and then went back to her home in Olean, ac
companied in the removal by her infant son. At about the age of eight
years he commenced attending school, and continued his attendance about
two years, from the end of which time until he reached the age of
thirteen his schooling was limited to the winter months, the residue of
the year being devoted to work. And this was the sum of his educational
opportunities and advantages.
Of course the institution he thus attended was
of the roughest and most
primitive description, and yet it is by no means certain but that these
schools in the wilderness, which, compared with our modern ample and
costly facilities, seem scanty, mean. and inefficient, did not supply a
discipline quite as profitable as those of our own day. Certain it is.
that the pupil whose honest poverty compelled him to labor nine months
in the year, to enable him to spend the three winter months in school,
would improve the advantages of instruction with a keener application
and prize them with a higher appreciation than one who was obliged to
put forth no effort and practice no self-denial to obtain them. Indeed,
it may be taken for granted that the stimulus supplied by an ambition
so cheerfully submissive to sacrifice much more than overbalanced the
splendid opportunities that proffer themselves to the modern scholar.
So it is with other things, and the world over. What we gain with toil
we prize, while what we win without exertion possesses but slight
At the age of fourteen, Mr. Johnson left his
mother's roof, to provide
henceforth for himself. In those days of scanty resources and patient
industry young men did not expect to jump into a fortune without an
effort, and he was content to give his time and labor for board and
clothing. For eight months he performed the duties of a clerk in a
little country store at Centerville, in the county of Allegany, at the
end of which time the merchant failed, the store was closed, and the
subject of our memoir was again adrift. But he was much too ambitious
to remain idle, and soon found employment in the store of Ebenezer
Lockwood, then a merchant at Olean, in whose service he remained for
two years, and until the concern was discontinued. After serving a year
in the same capacity with William Bagley, on the same terms of
compensation, to wit: board, clothing, and an occasional trifle of
spending -money, he entered the store of Osburn & Bockes, where,
for the first time, he received a regular stipend, and where he
remained a few months. The following year he was out of employment, but
being of a jovial and sociable disposition, he spent his time in fun,
frolic, and social pleasure, which, while ministering greatly to the
enjoyment of himself and others, produced no harm to any.
Having thus sown his wild oats," which, thanks
to a conscientious
mother and an old-fashioned New England training at her hands. were
still oats with no admixture of tares, and thus prepared himself for
the sober duties and responsibilities of active life, he entered into
an engagement with the late Judge Martin, as clerk in his store, at a
salary of ten dollars a month, besides board and washing. This was in
1831, and he continued the connection with a gradually increasing
compensation for five years, and then entered into partnership with his
employer, under the firm-name of Martin & Johnson during his
clerkship and under the instruction of Mr. Martin, acquired a
complete and efficient mastery of the business in all its aspects and
details. During the period of nine years the partner-ship business
continued with decided success and to the marked advantage of both. The
connection terminated in 1846, when, having purchased a quantity of
timber land and a saw-mill in the adjoining town of Allegany (then
called Burton), he removed to that place with his family, and entered
upon the business of lumbering. In company with Eleazar Harmon, Esq..
of Ellicottville, he laid out the plat where now the village of
Allegany stands, dividing the area into lots, which were advantageously
sold. As was customary at that time, and indeed to some extent still,
he carried on a mercantile business in connection with his lumber
In 1851 he added another to his list of
occupations by uniting with
Gilbert Palen in building and operating the sole-leather tannery which
was afterwards owned by Mr. Strong, and which was the first of the kind
on the line of the Erie Railway west of the county of Delaware, the
pioneer of a countless host of similar establishments waging a war of
extermination upon the apparently interminable hemlock forests, that
seemed to invite and defy the onslaught.
The outburst of war, in 1861, found him still in the
lumber, and for a time effectually wound up the business, prostrating
the markets and practically blockading the Ohio River, one side of
which was in possession of the Confederates. More fortunate, however,
than many other lumbermen, none of his property fell into rebel hands.
In the summer of 1862, without his solicitation or knowledge, he was,
at the instance of Hon. R. E. Fenton, then member of Congress from his
district, and afterwards Governor, commissioned by the President as
captain and assist-ant quartermaster, and assigned to brigade duty in
the Army of the Potomac. He was present at the battles of South
Mountain and Antietam, and was with the army under McClellan and
Burnside in its march to Fredericks-burg. His health becoming greatly
impaired by the hard-ships of army life and the arduous duties of his
post, he was detached from field service and stationed at Aquia Creek
in the memorable winter of 1863, and subsequently at Harrisburg, where
he remained till the close of the war, discharging the duties of his
place, although greatly reduced by diseases contracted in the service,
from which, indeed, he has never fully recovered. For meritorious
service he was promoted to the rank of a colonel of volunteers.
Returning to Olean in 1865, he became engaged for
some years in
mercantile pursuits, and established an active, extensive, and
prosperous business ; but his health would not admit the attention and
activity necessary to its prosecution, and he resigned it to his sons.
He took a prominent and active part in the establishment of the First
National Bank at Olean, of which he still remains a director,
contributing his full share to the sagacity and success that have
distinguished that institution. When the oil development be-came an
established fact in the Bradford district, and long before any
successful experiment had been made north of the Pennsylvania line, Mr.
Johnson persisted in the belief and declaration that petroleum would
yet be found in pay ing quantities in the towns of Allegany and Olean.
He manifested his faith by his works, and the event amply justified his
Associating himself with a few enterprising
neighbors. a company was formed. The first well in either town was sunk
on land leased by him to the company, and the result was the
fulfillment of a project which had been generally regarded as
chimerical. This enterprise was the forerunner of the whole great and
ex-tending development of that vast interest in this locality,-a
development which has clothed an immense area of broken, barren, and
hitherto seemingly worthless territory with enormous value, and is
destined to add millions to the resources of that portion of the State.
Since his successful experiment, Mr. Johnson has devoted his time and
attention to that business, and is reaping the reward of his prescient
sagacity in a steady and handsome revenue from the interests of which
he is the fortunate proprietor.
Although he never has been possessed by any
ambition for office,
preferring greatly the pursuit of a legitimate business and the quiet
enjoyment of domestic life, he has taken, from the outset, a decided
interest in politics. It was impossible that a man of his devotion to
principle and capacity for business should be overlooked by his party.
Entirely against his wishes and his protests, he was nominated by the
Whigs, in 1848, for the Legislature, and although his district was
Democratic by over three hundred as a current majority, he was elected.
It is a singular fact that his brother, Marcus H. Johnson, nominated by
the Democrats the same year for the same office in the Second District
of the same county, was also elected against a standing Whig majority
of about three hundred. In the fall of 1849 he was again nominated by
the Whig party for the office of county clerk, and triumphantly elected
over a popular Democratic competitor. In 1871 he was appointed
.postmaster at Olean, performing the functions of the office most
efficiently and acceptably till in the year 1877, when he voluntarily
resigned. On repeated occasions and in many ways has he been honored by
emphatic evidences of neighborly and popular regard, and it may be said
of him, with perfect truth, that he has deserved and justified them all.
It would be scarcely possible that a life so
long as his, though its
general tenor has been pleasant and successful, should be without its
troubles and its sorrows. His wife, whose maiden name was Clarissa
Gaylord, a most estimable lady, whose companionship and love for nearly
forty years ministered incalculably to his happiness and well being,
left his side a few months ago, and waits a reunion with him in another
and a better world. Of his two sons, the elder, Henry, a spirit bright,
gracious, and universally beloved, preceded his mother to that
inevitable bourne whither we all are tending, and to which in a few
short years she fol lowed him in the same path of faith worn by so many
Christian feet. At still earlier periods of his history death was busy
in his family, taking from his household four of his sons, each bright
and full of promise. Mournful as his later life has been made by this
domestic desolation, and in spite of failing health, he has borne the
heavy burden with the uncomplaining fortitude that forms a conspicuous
trait of his character, and he finds with his surviving son a home
replete with comfort and kindly ministration. Neither age nor feeble
health has quenched his energy or dimmed his interest in the
occurrences of the time. None are better in-formed than he as to
passing events. In every enterprise conducive to the public advantage
he bears an active and influential part. In all the relations that man
sustains to his kind, as an associate, a citizen, a trusted adviser,
and a friend, he stands high in the general regard. The community in
which he lives could better spare many a younger man, and this
imperfect sketch will but echo the universal sentiment in closing with
the expression of a fervent hope that he may long remain among them, a
source of benefit to all around him and an embodiment of the virtue and
intelligence of an earlier time.
GEORGE VAN CAMPEN.
bears an ancient and
distinguished name in the history
of Holland. The name in its early application signified land-men,-men
of the fields, or camp-men. Van, prefixed, was intended as a
designation of distinction or eminence which they, in common with other
Dutch families, were supposed to have merited. The name in its early
spelling was with " K," and was pronounced " Fon-Kompe."
Three centuries ago the Dutch stood pre-eminently in the front rank of
the nations of Western Europe, and among her citizens of note were
Jacob Van Campen, Lord of Randenbrook ; Vice-Admiral Van Campen, of the
East India Naval Squadron ; John Van Campen, commanding one of Admiral
Van Tromp's ships in the war with England ; Lieu-tenant Lambert
Hendrickson Van Campen, in the West India naval service ; John Nicholas
Van Campen, Governor of Curacoa, one of Holland's West India
dependencies ; and among the more recent of Holland's honored names are
Nicholas Godfried Van Campen, the son of a florist, who, by his own
efforts, rose to the Lecturate of the German Language and Literature in
the University of Linden, and afterwards to the Professorship of Dutch
History and Literature in the Amsterdam Athenaeum, a celebrated old
school, enjoying the same rank as the Linden University. He was a great
scholar and a laborious writer, mainly in the domain of history. His
historical works enumerate in all nearly sixty volumes, while he
translated numerous works from both ancient and modern languages,
having a knowledge of seven or eight foreign tongues, and writing
French and German equally with his native language. He was a great
patriot and a warm admirer of America. He died in 1839, and his son is
now an esteemed and influential publisher and bookseller in Amsterdam.
The first of the name in America, John Aerensen Van Campen, farmer,
arrived in New Amsterdam (now New York), June 19, 1658, in the ship "
Brown Fish," Cornelius Maerten, master. In the month of March, 1662,
his wife, Grietje (Grace), and his son, Nicholas, arrived in the ship "
Faith." Soon after, John A. Van Campen and other sturdy Hollanders
formed that wonderfully prosperous settlement on the Delaware River,
above and below the Water Gap, including Minisink. They were followed
by a very important and valuable addition composed of French Huguenots.
They made treaties with the native races, lived in peace and concord
many years, and until disturbed by influences beyond the control of the
little colony. They followed with great success the peaceful pursuits
of agriculture; they cleared lands and built upon them ; they erected
saw-and grist-mills, and operated them ; they opened mines and utilized
their treasures; and they constructed macadamized roads for the
convenience of travel. For more than three-quarters of a century they
lived in peace, and enjoyed the prosperity their industry had wrought,
in happiness and contentment.
By the year 1750, such had been the prosperity of the Van Campens that
they were the owners of large tracts of land on both sides of the
Delaware, in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. In the adjustment,
settlement, and disposition of various vexatious questions arising from
their Indian neighbors ; the proprietaries ; boundaries, both public
and private ; in provisions, both civil and military, the name of Van
Campen stands conspicuous. Colonel Abram Van Campen, of Sussex County,
who was appointed Judge of the Common Pleas by King George II., was one
of the most trusted and honored citizens of New Jersey. His old stone
mansion on the Delaware was the seat of unbounded hospitality. It was
here that the distinguished patriot, John Adams, notes in his diary,
after driving in his coach from home, on his way to Philadelphia, that,
"when he arrived on the Delaware, he always stopped several days to
rest with 'Squire Van Campen."
On the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware were settled several members
of the family,-Jacob, Aaron, John, and Cornelius Van Campen, the latter
the grandfather of the subject of this sketch. In the conflicts which
Pennsylvania encountered with the Connecticut colony on the Susquehanna
all of these brothers were conspicuous, and always as the true, wise,
and trusted adherents of Pennsylvania's finally-successful rights.
Between the years 1769 and 1773, three brothers of the Van Campens,
including Cornelius, were members of the Delaware Company, in
opposition to the Connecticut colony, to settle upon the lands and
maintain the claims of Pennsylvania under the grant of King Charles II.
The fierce strife and often bloodshed between the Pennites" and the
Yankees," as they were called, was continued, and only gave way to the
all-absorbing struggle of 1776, and was followed by that relentless and
barbarous system of warfare adopted by England in employing the savage
Indian as her allies.
In common with others, all the resources, tact, courage, and endurance
of the Van Campens was offered on the common altar of defense and
On the 28th of March, 1780, while Cornelius and his brother were
preparing to rebuild their farm buildings, before burnt by the Indians,
a party of ten of these savages made a stealthy and sudden descent upon
them. First killing Jacob, they secured his young son and Peter Pense,
and then cautiously advancing to the farm of Cornelius, who was aided
by his elder son, Moses, and younger son, Nicholas, suddenly sprang
upon them, running a spear through the father and tomahawking Nicholas.
An Indian made a spring at Moses, who dexterously parried the spear
aimed at him, and was shielded by one of the Indians, who was attracted
by his coolness and skill, his life thereby being
saved. Thus suddenly two families were left fatherless, Cornelius
leaving five sons (besides he who was slain) and four daughters.
Benjamin, the father of he who forms the subject of this biography,
being the youngest. then a little past two years of age. By this
catastrophe a happy and united family was broken up, the remaining
members never afterwards being united in one household. The mother,
with the younger members of the family, returned to the Delaware re,
the home of her childhood and of her venerable and respected father,
Moses De Pew.
J. F. Meginniss, in his "History of the West Branch," published in
1857, after several references to the exploits of the Van Campens,
says, " Nearly all the old people yet living on the West Branch are
familiar with the names of Moses and Jacobus Van Campen. They were
remarkable adventurers as well as noted Indian killers, and
distinguished themselves in many a bard-fought battle. Their services
were very valuable in the protection of the frontiers."
In the moving tide of population in the year 1796 was founded that
heroic settlement on the western verge of the Phelps and Gorham
Purchase, in township No. 4 of the seventh and last range west,
consisting in that and the following year of fifteen families from
Eastern Pennsylvania, in which came Rev. Andrew Gray, a Scotch
Presbyterian, and son-in-law of the lamented Captain Lazarus Stewart,
who fell at the Wyoming massacre, and his brother William, Major Moses
Van Campen, and his brothers Samuel and Benjamin, Captain Henry McHenry
and his brother Matthew, Joseph, Samuel, and Walter Karr, George
Lockhart, together with other excellent material. Next to the felling
of the forest and erecting their own dwellings, they built the
school-house, in which they also worshiped God. In this house the aged
and scholarly widow Van Campen taught school in the summer, and the
Rev. Andrew Gray in the winter, and held stated religious services on
the Sabbath. Of this and another settlement Colonel Charles Williamson,
in a series of letters published by T. & J. Swords, New York, in
"Of these begun in 1796 there were two worthy of notice : that of the
Rev. Andrew Gray, who moved from Pennsylvania, with a respectable
portion of his former parishioners, and a Jersey settlement on the head
of the Canascraga Creek. Both of these exhibit instances of industry
and enterprise rare as uncommon."
It was in the former of the above-referred-to settlements that George
Van Campen was born, Nov. 13, 1817. His father beginning on seventy-six
acres of land in 1796, with his beloved mother as housekeeper in 1797,
with whom she remained until her death. Here he continued to live for
more than fifty years, prospering, and accumulating four hundred and
forty-six acres of land, mostly productive and adapted to agriculture.
The son (George) remembers with pleasure the pride with which his
father told him that he had never sued a man nor been sued on his own
contract or obligation during a business career extending over fifty
His mother, a woman of great energy, industry, and deep piety, was the
daughter of George, and the granddaughter of Hezekiah Saunders, of
Rhode Island, both of whom served faithfully through the Revolutionary
war, and were active in that memorable and closing event that brought
joy to the heart of every struggling colonist,-the battle of Yorktown
and surrender of Lord Cornwallis. Ile remembers his grandfather
relating that so chagrined were the British officers on marching out to
surrender that they tore their hair from their heads, and that George
Washington's colored body-servant felicitously said of Cornwallis to
his master, " Massa, he no more Cornwallis, he Cobwallis."
Here, in the midst of these favorable surroundings, his early years
were spent, commencing school in the sixth and continuing until the
close of his fifteenth year, and by earnest study and close application
laid the foundation for his most cherished purpose, a thorough and
liberal education. In the month of November of that year a sad
bereavement fell on his father's family. His older brother, the
first-born of his mother, aged seventeen, and his sister, next younger,
aged thirteen, died within twelve hours of each other.
These melancholy events made necessary a complete change of his
youthful plans. He was then the oldest son at home; his father, in
addition to his large farm, had, in 1826 to 1828, organized under the
post-office department a system of postal service for the easterly part
of Allegany, parts of Steuben and Livingston Counties, which contracts
he held until 1842. For nearly six years he had charge of this service,
its quarterly collections, its reports and correspondence with the
department at Washington. During these years all his spare time was
devoted to study, mostly under the direction of that celebrated
instructor, Rev. Moses Hunter, founder afterwards of a noted school at
These now much-prized engagements brought him largely in contact with
the leading business and public men of the time. Spending several years
after his majority in a general merchandising establishment, on the
25th day of December, 1843, he made his first engagement in Randolph,
in this county, where he continued in the same business until 1851,
when he exchanged his real estate for timber lands in Allegany, where
he removed and continued his business, adding lumbering and the buying
and selling of real estate, succeeding in the year 1856 to the contract
of purchase made by Rev. John Doran with the late Judge Benjamin
Chamberlain and Hon. E. Harman. of over eleven thousand acres of land,
to which afterwards he devoted his time, giving up his merchandising to
his ever trusted and respected clerk, partner; and friend, Adelbert EI.
On the 1st of March, 1869, he removed to Olean, where he has since
continued to reside, continuing the same pursuits ; owning with his
sons, James K. and George, Jr., the Olean House, managed by his sons.
In the year 1845 he made the acquaintance of Sophia T. King, then a
pupil in the Leroy Seminary, now Ingraham University, to whom he was
married on the 4th of August, 1847. She was the daughter of the late
Anson and Sophia King, who in their early years came with their
respective parents, about the beginning of the century, from the New
England States to Ontario County. Her grandfather, Gideon King, from
Massachusetts, in company with Zadock Granger, purchased twenty
thousand acres of land, which tin sold afterwards successfully. Her
grandfather, Isaac Stone, from Connecticut,-her grandmother Parthenia
Stone being the daughter of David Dudley, of Guilford, and sister of
Mrs. Rev. Timothy Field, mother of the four well-known brothers, Field
; David Dudley Field being the oldest. They have been blessed with
- five daughters and three sons : James King, born in
1851 ; George, Jr., in 1854; Benjamin. in 1866 ; and Josephine Maria,
in 1868. Four daughters dying in infancy and childhood. Mrs. King, by
her first husband, was the mother of Hon. Marcus H. and Colonel James
For more than forty years he has been an active and deeply-interested
participant in the stirring and momentous events of those years. Always
a thorough Democrat in the best sense of that much-abused term,-never a
- always asserting the right and exercising the
freedom to act with that organization which seemed to him at the time
most likely to promote the greatest public-good.
In the struggle of 1860 he took the middle ground, sup-porting the
Douglas ticket, but afterwards, when the country was threatened with
dissolution and disintegration, his whole energy and efforts were at
once and unhesitatingly thrown in favor of any and every sacrifice-to
the last man and dollar-for the maintenance of the supremacy and
integrity of the Union.
He was, in the early part of 1363, offered a special consulate by the
lamented Lincoln, at Liege, Belgium,-a city of over 100,000
inhabitants, manufacturing almost exclusively arms. This he accepted,
and was commissioned under date of Feb. 19, 1863, and was accredited by
Leopold, King of the Belgians, which position he held until there was
no further need of such consular service.
In the spring of 1867 he was elected one of four from the Thirty-second
Senatorial District as a member of the convention to revise and amend
the constitution. The convention met on the first of June, and
continued in session, having two recesses, until the last day of the
The convention took high rank as a learned, laborious, and painstaking
body. Almost all its important provisions have since been adopted,
becoming a part of the fundamental law.
The Van Campens have been for generations Dutch Re-formed or
Presbyterian. Such was the religious denominational conditions
surrounding his early years, to which lie recurs with pride and
Although such have been his highly-prized associations, yet in no
element of his nature is he sectarian, holding firmly to that catholic
declaration, that "in every nation, he that feareth Him and worketh
righteousness is accepted of Him ;" and, as the sum of Christian
philosophy, that "all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to
you, do ye even so to them."
Finally, the inspirations of his nearly fifty years of active life have
not been riches or honor, but those fields offering the greatest
opportunity of usefulness, and the labors and duties the most
difficult, were to him the most attractive.
In the various
business none require more tact and
energy or a closer application than that of which W. H. Mandeville is
pre-eminently the representative in this vicinity. The difficulties in
the way of success in this line of business are manifold, and to many
insurmountable. Among the greatest of these is the competition that
characterizes all branches of insurance, which, by unscrupulous and
financially worthless companies, is carried to such an extent that it
requires the finest sort of executive ability, coupled with shrewdness
and an indomitable will, to accomplish results even bordering on
success. Therefore, when we encounter a man who has achieved not only
more than ordinary success, but also a creditable and extended
reputation, it is nothing less than his due to place him in a prominent
position among the very best business men in the community in which he
lives. Such a position we unhesitatingly assign the subject of this
William H. Mandeville was born at Millport,
Chemung Co., N. Y., Aug. 15,1841. He is the son of John D. Mandeville,
for some years a
prominent merchant, and latterly a well-known insurance agent, who died
in Olean, in 1867. In 1847, Mr. Mandeville removed with his parents to
New York City, and from thence to Belmont, Allegany Co., in 1851. At
the public schools of these two places he obtained what little of
literary education he ever had, except a brief period at an academy.
The requisite general commercial knowledge he has gained by observation
and practical application, and by the same means has also added
materially to his literary attainments. In 1858 he went to Almond, and
entered the mercantile establishment of H. W. Crandall, where he
remained for about one year. Returning to Belmont, he entered the store
of John Thompson, with whom he stayed two years. In June, 1861, he
removed to Hornellsville, and engaged with Martin Adsit, a prominent
merchant of that place. This engagement terminated in 1863, and he
returned to Belmont and became associated with his father in the
insurance business, under the firm-style of J. D. Mandeville & Son.
In 1865 they removed to Olean, where they continued a successful and
growing business jointly until 1866, when-the firm became J. D.
Mandeville & Sons, and so continued till the death of the senior
partner, which, as before stated, occurred in 1867. The business was
afterwards continued under the name of Mandeville Bros. In September,
1869, his brother retired from the firm, since which W. H. Mandeville
has conducted the business alone. He now does the most extensive
insurance business in Western New York. He represents fifteen
companies, the financial solidity of which is above cavil or doubt. Of
this, the promptitude with which they pay their losses is a sufficient
guarantee. Mr. Mandeville has paid out for losses by fire more than
half a million of dollars, and in the thirteen years he has been doing
business in this vicinity he has had but three contested losses, and
they were dishonest ones, as one was proven to be at the time; and
subsequent developments in the other two showed his status in the suits
to have been correct. The Cattaraugus County Board of Underwriters,
recognizing Mr. Mandeville's aptitude for the position, elected him
their president, which office he has since retained. He was also chosen
to the same position in the McKean County (Penna.) Board, and served
with eminent satisfaction. At the organization of the Olean Library
Association, he was elected secretary; in 1873 he was chosen president;
elected to the same office again in 1875, 1877, and 1878, now occupying
the position for the fourth time. In 1876 he was made Chairman of the
Centennial Committee of Arrangements for the Celebration of the One
Hundredth Anniversary of American Independence. In 1877 he was elected
Chief of the Olean Fire Department, and re-elected in 1878.
On the 22d of August, 1872, he married Miss Helen L. Eastman, daughter
of W. W. Eastman, Esq. They have one son, "the image of his father" and
the joy of the household.
Mr. Mandeville is comparatively a young man, who has
much of his life's
history yet to make. We can say of him, however, and that, too, without
undue praise, that he possesses the requisite qualifications for a
successful business man, —tact, energy, industry, and, above all,
unswerving personal integrity. These, joined to a commendable ambition,
never fail of the most flattering ultimate results.
The subject of this
sketch was born
Yates Co., N. Y., Nov. 14, 1847. After receiving the
rudiments of his education at a common school, he entered the Penn Yan
Academy, in his native county, where he remained two years. He
then, in the year 1863, laid aside text-books and engaged as an
apprentice in the office of the Yates' County Chronicle, S. C.
In March, 1864, he entered the office of the
Angelica Reporter, then published at Angelica, Allegany Co., and the
following year became In November, 1870, he became sole editor
and proprietor of the Angelica Reporter, and soon after removed the
office to Belmont, the “hub” of Allegany County, at the same time
changing the name of the paper to The Allegany County Reporter, thereby
enlarging its sphere of usefulness.
Jan. 1,1872, he purchased the office of The Olean
Times. and published The Allegany County Reporter and The Olean Times
in conjunction until 1874, when he disposed of the Reporter
establishment to a stock company, retaining one-half interest, and
filling the station of editor-in-chief.
The same year a consolidation was effected with the
Wellsville Times, and the enlarged and improved Allegany County
Reporter made its first appearance in Wellsville, January 21 of that
year, where it is still published, under the same title.
In 1875 he fitted and furnished the office of the
Northern Tier Reporter, at Port Allegany, now successfully operated by
A. J. Hughes, editor and proprietor.
In July, 1875, he disposed of his interest in The
Allegany County Reporter to Enos W. Barnes, since which time The Olean
Times has received his personal attention, occupying foremost rank in
the field of country journalism.
As a citizen. Mr. Dickinson has an honorable
reputation, and his course as editor and publisher has been such as to
entitle him to the thorough confidence and respect reposed in him
wherever his lot has been cast.
He became a member of the Masonic fraternity at
Belfast, N. Y., in 1869, and has attained the rank of J. W. in St.
John's Comnandery, No. 24, of Knights Templar. He is also a
member in good standing of Crescent Lodge, No. 60, A. O. U.
NELSON S. BUTLER.
The most pleasurable
duty of the
biographer is to narrate the principal
events in the career of a self-made man, to follow step by step the
various interests that, by persistent labor and unremitting energy,
have been brought to a successful issue. As in the life of a nation, so
in that of an individual, the march of progress is slow, but when
founded upon the basis of integrity is sure of ultimate triumph, to the
admiration of the world on the one hand, and to that of a community on
the other. In the salient points in the life and character of Mr.
Butler are presented many features alike worthy of notice and of
Nelson S. Butler comes of New England origin,
and both of his
grandfathers served in the Revolutionary war, both participating in the
battle of Bunker Hill. He was born in the town of Sanford, Broome Co.,
N. Y., Oct. 7, 1829. His preliminary education was received in a select
school kept by a Miss Shipman at Binghamton, whither his parents had
moved when he was about four years of age. He afterwards attended the
public schools, and subsequently completed his studies under Prof.
William Gates, the well-known educator of Maine, Broome Co., this
State, to which place his parents removed about the year 1837. Mr.
Butler left school in the spring of 1845.
Alexander Butler, the father of he of whom we
write, was a tanner by
trade, and later in life became a farmer. He was originally from
Connecticut, but immediately from Otsego Co., N. Y. He was a man of
eminent respectability, and by example and precept inculcated into the
minds of his children the importance and imperative necessity of habits
of industry and morality. His mother came from the good old
Massachusetts family of Tarbell, and was a lady of great force of
character, and admirably aided her husband in the correct training of
their children. Under these influences young Butler developed into a
stead and industrious youth, and the benefits of his early bringing up
have been eminently instrumental in shaping his subsequent career.
It was on the 12th of November, 1845. that N.
S. Butler, then in his
seventeenth year, embarked on the sea of life, his first active
employment being in the mercantile establishment of H. P. Badger, at
Painted Post, Steuben Co., N. Y. In this position he remained until the
spring of 1852. During his clerkship he acquired a great deal of
practical business knowledge, and by economy saved a small amount of
money. When he attained his majority, which was during his engagement
with Mr. Badger, he tendered to his father his savings up to that
period ($150), as was-the custom with dutiful youth in those days, but
his father declined to accept it, telling his son to keep it as a
portion of his first capital.
In 1852, Mr. Butler removed to Olean, and entered
the store of the
Smith Brothers, with whom he remained two years. At this time (1854) he
had accumulated $875, with which, and some credit,—which he could
readily get, for his honesty and steady habits were well known,—he
purchased the stock of goods of C. H. Thing, and entered a
copartnership with F. P. Thing, a brother of the former. This business
connection lasted three years, when it was dissolved by the retirement
of Mr. Thing. In 1857 he entered into copartnership with C. H. Thing,
who also conducted a small banking business. During this year the store
occupied by N. S. Butler & Co. was destroyed by fire, as also was a
large portion of the business part of the village. Nothing daunted by
this calamity, they erected a shanty store on the public square with a
promptitude and dispatch that was creditable to their enterprise. Here
they conducted a thriving trade until I860, the major portion of the
business being transacted by Mr. Butler, his partner's attention being
required in his banking institution. During the winter of 1859-60, Mr.
Butler purchased the old Petrie store, which,. with his characteristic
energy, he set about remodeling and enlarging. It occupied a part of
the site of his present fine store building, erected by him in 1866. At
the termination of the partnership of Butler & Thing (doing
business under the firm-style of N. S. Butler & Co.), a
copartnership consisting of N. S. Butler, Dr. A. Blake, and L. W.
Gifford was formed under the old title. In the spring of 1861, Dr.
Blake sold his interest to C. R. Hawley, one of the clerks of the
concern, and the business was continued under the latter arrangement
two years, when it was dissolved by mutual consent, and the business
was conducted by Mr. Butler alone until August., 1866, when he
associated with him H. C. Miller, one of his former clerks. The style
of the firm was then changed to Butler & Miller, and so continued
until 1872, when Mr. Miller retired and removed to Williamsport, Pa. In
the spring of 1872. Mr. Butler took Messrs. William H. Stenson and F.
C. Burlingham,. two of his clerks, into partnership with him. In the
spring of 1876 Mr. Stenson retired, and the business of the
establishment was continued by the remaining partners until Sept. 4,
1878, when Mr. Burlingham disposed of his interest to Mr. Butler, who
continues the business alone.
In the fall of 1865, in connection with
C. R. Hawley, he established a dry-goods store at Bay City, Michigan,
under the firm-name of C. R. Hawley & Co., and in the winter of
1872 started a branch store at that place, under the style of F. A.
Bancroft & Co., and in the fall of 1878 established a branch store
at Alpena, Mich., under the firm-name of C. R. Hawley & Co.
On the 26th of August, 1857, Mr. Butler
married Miss Elizabeth A.,
daughter of Aaron Wade, of Portland, Chautauqua Co., N. Y. They have an
interesting family of three children.—two sons and one daughter. In
religious affiliation Mr. Butler is a member of the Presbyterian
Church, having united with the church of that denomination at Painted
Post in 1851, and by letter with the First Presbyterian Church of Olean
The first year of his connection with the
church at Olean he was
elected superintendent of the Sabbath-school, which position he filled
faithfully and well for fifteen years. He was re-elected to the same
office in 1873, and elected each year successively until 1877, when he
declined. In the fall of 1869 he was chosen an elder of the church, and
has been elected each term since. In 1874 he received a certificate
from the Normal Department of the Chautauqua Sunday-school Assembly,
which was a fitting recognition of his proficiency as a Sunday-school
Mr. Butler never aspired to any political
distinction, his time and
energy being required in his extensive business operations. The only
office he ever accepted was that of village trustee, which he filled
with fidelity to the best interests and to the satisfaction of the
tax-payers. He was mainly instrumental in the establishment of the Bank
of Olean, now the First National Bank of Olean, of which he has been
vice-president since its organization.
During the war of the Rebellion the patriotism of Mr. Butler naturally
led his sympathies on the side of the Union. In 1861 his partner. L. W.
Gifford. enlisted, and was promoted captain in the Bucktail Regiment of
Northern Pennsylvania, and three of his clerks also enlisted, leaving
it impracticable for him to go to the front. But he gave freely of his
means, and sent a substitute to represent him in the conflict, and his
entire support and assistance was rendered in behalf of the Union
Mr. Butler is now one of the best business men
in the county. His
industry and enterprise are widely known. His success is due to his own
exertions, and the uncompromising spirit of personal integrity that has
actuated every movement in his business career. Possessing sound
judgment, perfect knowledge of commercial transactions, and a
determination to be eclipsed by no competitor, he stands to-day
pre-eminently at the head of the mercantile business of Cattaraugus
County. He has a true sense of moral obligation, and a due and
unswerving faith in providential interposition in the affairs of
mankind; hence his domestic as well as business life is above reproach,
and as such a record of it ought to be preserved to posterity.
JOHN L. EDDY. M.D.
was born in Rutland Co., Vt., Nov. 27, 1829. He is the son of Deacon
John C. Eddy, who was a native of Rutland, Vt. He received his
preliminary education at Ludlow Academy, Vermont, and his medical
studies were first commenced at the Pittsfield (Massachusetts) Medical
College, and subsequently at a similar institution at Castleton, Vt.,
from the latter of which he was graduated, with honors, in June, 1854.
The year prior to his graduation he spent in
the office of the
celebrated surgeon Middleton Goldsmith, M.D., LL.D., of Castleton. In
1854 he entered a medical partnership with J. M. Copp, M.D.,at Machias,
Cattaraugus Co., whither he had removed in August of that year. In 1857
he removed to Allegany, this county, and ten years later to Olean. He
has practiced his profession in this county for nearly a quarter of a
century with marked success, and now enjoys as extensive a practice as
any physician within its limits.
On the 1st of November, 1855, he was united in
marriage with Miss
Elvire L., daughter of William Loomis, a prominent farmer and
politician of Machias. They have had five children, of whom three—two
daughters and one son—survive.
Dr. Eddy entered politics as a Republican, at the
organization of that
party, in 1854, and has since remained an advocate and supporter of its
principles. He has never allowed his name to be put forward for
political preferment, rather choosing to devote his time and attention
to his profession. Like all patriotic men and good citizens, however,
he has taken an interest in local politics, and has evinced an
intelligent consideration for the success of his party. In 1876 he was
elected president of the corporation of Olean, to which office he has
been twice re-elected. Prior to this he was one of the trustees of the
village, and is now a member of its board of education. In these
various positions, Dr. Eddy has striven to faithfully discharge the
duties incumbent upon him, and that he has succeeded is shown by the
general popularity he enjoys with all classes of the people.
At the reorganization of the Cattaraugus County
Medical Society he
became one of its members, which connection he has since maintained. In
religious belief, Dr. Eddy is a Baptist, of which society he is an
active and zealous member. For a number of years he held the office of
trustee in the society, besides other positions in the church
As a physician and surgeon. Dr. Eddy stands at
the head of his
profession in Western New York. He has been a careful student, and has
kept pace with the advancement in medicine and surgery that has marked
the period in which he has practiced. He is rapid and sure in
diagnosis, careful in the application of remedial aid, and being of a
genial and kindly disposition, his conduct in the sick-chamber is
characterized by a gentleness of manner and cheerfulness of mien that
is oftentimes as efficacious as medical skill itself. As a neighbor,
friend, and citizen, Dr. Eddy bears an irreproachable reputation, and
as a Christian he is noted for his charity and benevolence.
HON. C. V. B.
Among the truly representative men of Cattaraugus County, few, if any,
have been more intimately associated with the material development of
the county than has Hon. C. V. B. Barse, and none occupy a more
prominent position in commercial circles, deservedly so, than he. His
life offers a marvelous example of what well-directed energy and
personal integrity can accomplish, and as such is worthy the emulation
C. V. B. Barse was born in Manchester, Ontario
Co., N. Y., Dec. 11,
1817. He received his education at the public schools of his native
town, and at the Penn Yan Academy. His first business occupation was as
a clerk in the hardware-store of Morgan & Smith, of Penn Yan, in
whose employ he remained about three years. He subsequently filled a
similar position in the store of Wood & Seymour, of Geneva, and
continued in the capacity of a clerk until he attained his majority. He
then left Newark, Wayne Co., N. Y., where he was last thus employed,
and came to Franklinville, this county, where he embarked in the
general mercantile business on his own account, remaining in that
business venture uninterruptedly until 1851. As showing the spirit of
enterprise he always possessed, we mention the fact that, while engaged
in the hardware business, he thoroughly mastered the tinner's trade,
and became quite an expert mechanic. In 1848 he established a branch
store at Olean, and on the opening of the New York and Erie Railroad,
in 1851, he came himself to this village, and enlarged and otherwise
extended his business.
During his residence at Franklinville he
became acquainted with, and,
on the 7th of September, 1841, mar- ried, Miss Mary H., daughter of
Aaron Wade, a prominent and respectable farmer of that town. This union
has been blessed with three children, namely : Frances L., born June
20. 1844, married D. C. Lefevre. an extensive leather merchant of
Albany; Mills Wagner, born Dec. 6, 1846; William Claude, born March 11,
1855; the latter of whom is deceased. His son, Mills W. Barse, is now
the cashier and one of the directors of the Exchange National Bank, and
is quite an active business man.
In 1864, Mr. Barse visited Bay City, Mich.,
and while there saw a
favorable opportunity to establish a hardware-store, which be did in
connection with H. S. Morris, now vice-president of the Exchange
National Bank, at Olean. They conducted this business with satisfactory
success for five years, during four of which Mills W. Barse represented
his father's interest in the store.
In 1868 he received the Republican nomination
and was elected to the
State Legislature, and served in that position to his personal credit
and to the general satisfaction of his constituents. We quote the
subjoined touching his political life, from an article written by
Colonel James T. Henry, who was, perhaps, the most impartial and best
informed political writer of the county:
" We never regarded Mr. Barse as a successful politician.
He had all
the requisite ability to become a conspicuous leader, but, whether from
timidity or an aversion to the ways and modes of politicians, we never
clearly understood. We always gave him credit for an obstinate contempt
for the tricks and devious manipulations of the active managers of his
party in dealing out political preferment. His first political
office—that of the Loan Commissioner of the county—was conferred upon
him by Governor John Young, in 1847. He was subsequently re-appointed
by Governor Hamilton Fish, and thus held this important position for
four years. He discharged his duties faithfully, honestly, and well.
Mr. Barse was appointed the first Canal Collector at Olean, in 1857."
"As member of the Assembly, in 1869, he took high rank as
incorruptible legislator, free from every suspicion of jobbery or class
legislation. The two years he was in the Assembly—for he was
re-elected—' The Tweed Ring' reigned supreme. All the measures for
robbing the city of New York were perfected and became laws; but Mr.
Barse opposed them all. While hundreds of thousands of dollars were
prodigally paid to members of the House and Senate for their support
given to these plundering enactments, Mr. Barse voted steadily with the
minority against them. He obtained prominence as a conscientious,
upright law maker, absolutely free from taint of corruption or the
suspicion of it. During his service in the Legislature he was a member
of the committee of ways and means, and notwithstanding the fact that
the House was the second year Democratic, he retained his position on
that committee, a very sure evidence of his fidelity to his duties
thereon. After the close of his second term in the Assembly he retired
to private life. In 1871 he was nominated by an irregularly-constituted
senatorial convention for senator, and declined it; why, we have never
been able to ascertain. Judge Allen D. Scott was nominated by the same
convention, and by the same vote given Mr. Barse, and was elected."
Another important enterprise which owes its
establishment to Mr. Barse
was the organization of the State Bank, in 1870. The bank begun
business in the summer of 1870. with a paid-up cash capital of
$100,000, of which six-tenths was owned by Mr. Barse and his son, Mills
W. Since that time the
bank has been under his personal care and
supervision, and has been so soundly and conservatively managed as to
secure the unlimited favor and liberal patronage of the best business
element of the country. On the 1st of January, 1878, to accommodate its
increasing business, and to conform to the popular desire for a uniform
and national banking system, the capital stock was increased, and the
State Bank merged into the Exchange National Bank, of which Mr. Barse
is the president, and his son. Mills W. Barse, is the cashier and one
of the directors.
The general good fortune that has attended Mr.
Barse in most of his
business transactions, while bearing on their ever-successful issue the
imprint of good luck, was not in any way accidental. It was rather the
necessary consequence of untiring industry, good management of his
interests, and. above all, a firm, uncompromising spirit of personal
honor and integrity. When he began trade, the speculative tendency
which has so conspicuously marked the conduct of mercantile pursuits in
this country of late years was comparatively unknown. Capital was
limited, business principles few and simple, and the standard of
individual rectitude severer than we find them to-day. Hard and
persistent labor, diligence, punctuality in fulfilling engagements,
were the prime—we might almost say the only—factors of success. These
Mr. Barse possesses in a marked degree. From his embarkation in
business to the present his name has continued a synonym for excellent
judgment and fine business qualifications.
DR. ADONIRAM BLAKE
was born in Chittenden County, Vt., July 1,1825.
When about fourteen
years of age, his parents removed to St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., and he
attended the St. Lawrence Academy (now the State Normal School) at
Potsdam, procuring his education with his own earnings. His father,
John B. Blake, was a native of New Hampshire, from whence he emigrated
to Vermont, and from there to St. Lawrence County, in 1839, where he
died in 1840, leaving the duty of taking care of the widow and daughter
incumbent upon his son, which duty the latter faithfully and cheerfully
performed for three years.
After leaving school, young Blake
removed to Orleans Co., N. Y., and
studied dentistry at Allison, where he practiced that profession about
three years. He then moved to Buffalo, and established a route which
included Aurora, Sardinia, and Olean, and traveled that, visiting the
places named, as a dentist for about fifteen years. In 1859 he made his
permanent residence in Olean, where he formed a partnership with Nelson
S. Butler in the dry goods business, and remained in that about two
years. He then purchased the mercantile establishment formerly
conducted by Fred Eaton, in which he remained until 1864. During the
latter year he purchased a hardware stock and commenced in that
business, in which he is still engaged, in connection with a large
furniture business, which he added in 1875.
In I874 he erected “Blakes Opera House,” at a cost of about $20,000. It
is a fine building of brick, and is in every sense an ornament to the
village and an enduring monument to the enterprise of its builder and
owner. Its entire construction was superintended by Dr. Blake, and as a
result of his industrious supervision it was completed and an
entertainment given in it eight months from the time its foundation was
laid. Dr. Blake has been actively engaged in building and real estate
transactions from the time he first settled in 0lean to the present,
and has done much towards the material development of the place.
In the great fire of 1866 Dr Blake lost $18,000, on which he had
insurance of but $7000, of which he owed $3500 for goods, etc. At the
end of thirty days after the calamity he had paid up everything, dollar
for dollar, and had but a small capital with which to commence business
again. Notwithstanding this misfortune, Dr. Blake has succeeded in
establishing himself on a firm basis On the 1st of September 1858 he
married Miss Anna M., daughter of George Bigelow, Esq., of Erie Co., N.
Y. They have had four children, of whom but one --a daughter --survives
The general characteristics of Dr Blake are his enterprise and personal
integrity. He has always been faithful in the discharge of his business
obligations, hence he enjoys an excellent credit and a good reputation
as a successful business man. A fine illustration of the Opera House
can be seen elsewhere in this volume.
OLCOTT P. BOARDMAN
son of Jehiel and Sallie (Hatch) Boardman,
was born at Derby, Oleans Co, Vt., March 28, 1810, and at the age of
four years his parents emigrated to and settled in Olean, N. Y.,
purchasing from Adam Hoops lot 1, section 5, town 2, range 4 of the
Holland Land Company Survey, where his father commenced to clear and
make a home in the dense pine forest that then existed on the north
bank of Olean Creek, where his boyhood was spent. He experienced
all the hardships and privations of a wilderness home, which
experiences had an admirable effect on his after-life and
character. He obtained a limited education by attending the
district school a few months now and then, as opportunity and
circumstances would admit.
At the age of nineteen he engaged for one year as a
clerk in the employ of Hon. F. S. Martin, who then kept the “Olean
House” and was partner in a store of general merchandise.
His next engagement was with G. E. Warren, a lumber
dealer, of Pittsburgh, PA, during which he spent the spring and summer
seasons in Pittsburgh, and the winters in the lumber districts of the
upper Allegany, purchasing lumber. In 1832 he repurchased the old
homestead (hif father having lost title by the failure and bankruptcy
of Hoops) from Frederick A. Norton, who had become land proprietor of
part of the “Hoops’ Purchase” derived from the Holland Land Company.
He was married Oct 3, 1833, by the Rev. Alexander
Frazer, to Marcia P. Rice, second daughter of Luman Rice, of whom
mention is made in the general history of this village. She was
born at Homer, Cortland Co., N. Y. May 8, 1815.
They have one son only, Luman Olcott Boardman, born
at Olean, Dec 16, 1835; married at Ellicottville, Sept 5, 1867, to Miss
Emeline C. Bartlett, born at Olean, Sept 7, 1837, daughter of Joshua N.
Bartlett, Esq. They have had two children: a daughter, Marcia
Rice, born at Olean, Sept 4, 1868, living; a son, Olcott P., born at
St. Clout, Minn., Jan 24, 1871; died ug 1, 1871. In the spring of
1870, Luman O. Boardman moved to Minnesota, where he extensively
engaged in farming.
Having made extensive repairs upon the premises
re-purchased from Norton during the season of 1833, all was destroyed
by the notable tornado of March 20, 1834. With all his timber, of
over two hundred acres, there was scarcely a tree left standing.
The catastrophe left him comparatively penniless;
but being neither daunted or discouraged, he rebuilt and repaired his
premises, his parents, brother-in-law, and others residing upon it
From 1834 to 1849 he was engaged in the lumber
trade, residing a part of the time in the town of Portville, purchasing
lumber and running to the Ohio River markets, - Pittsburgh, Pa,
Cincinnati, O., and Louisville, Ky., being the most important ones -
and entirely supplied from the pineries of the Allegany River and its
Then in 1849 he moved on to his homestead premises,
repairing and making it his home, farming and continuing in active
enterprises as had always been his custom, and filling various public
offices of trust. In 1851 he was elected justice of the peace,
and to other town offices at different times.
From 1849 to 1853 he was postmaster; 1860-62,
collector of tolls on Genesee Valley Canal, at Olean; 1862-66 assistant
assessor of United States Internal Revenue.
In the fall of 1867, with Hon. H. Van Aernam, the
made a partial tour of the “northwest”, purchasing considerable tracts
of agricultural and pine-timbered lands in the State of Minnesota,
situated on the head-waters of the “Red River of the North”.
He was an early advocate of iron bridges, (of which
the town has three). The first one was built over Olean
Creek in 1871, under his supervision as highway commissioner, at a cost
Mr. Boardman has always
maintained and advocated temperance principles; has been a professed
Christian and member of the Presbyterian Church nearly forty years; is
now in his sixty-ninth year, and owing to an industrious and temperate
life, bids fair to exceed the allotted span.
He is now one of the town assessors, and also a
member of the board of education.
In the various stages of life, from his youth up,
Mr. Boardman’s career has been marked by an enterprising spirit of
progress and development; by a desire to promote the best interests of
the town in which nearly all his life has been spent; by a firm and
resolute will; and by an individual rectitude and integrity that leaves
him an untarnished reputation and an exalted position in the estimation
of his fellow-citizens.
was born at St Johnsbury, Vermont, Oct. 10, 1812. After
receiving his preliminary education at the public school of his
native town, he commenced the study of medicine, and chose that as a
profession, which he has successfully practiced for upwards of forty
years. His parents moved to New Hampshire when he was a youth,
and it was there he began the study of the profession he has so long
honored. After an interval of five year in his studies, and in
June, 1833, he removed to Olean and entered the office of Edward Finn,
M. D., and subsequently completed his office studies under Dr. Andrew
Mead, a prominent pioneer physician of this village, in the fall of
1836. He then went to Geneva and attended a course of medical lectures,
and in January, 1837, he received his diploma from the New York State
Medical Society. He immediately thereafter settled in Olean, and
began an active and successful professional career. During the
summer of 1837 Dr. Whitney became aa member of the old Cattaraugus
County Medical Society, and remained such as long as it retained its
organization. He is also an honorary member of the present
In May, 1834, Dr. Whitney united in marriage with
Miss. Sallie Senter. They have had six children, five sons and
one daughter, of whom three of the sons survive. Of these, L. S.
and R. M, were the founders of the Olean Hub Factory, and one,
the younger son, James 0., is now a member of the firm of E. M. Jones
& Co., of San Francisco, a long established and influential fancy
goods and notion house of that city.
In1834, Dr. Whitney received the appointment of
deputy sheriff, and .served in that capacity one term with
satisfaction. In 1838 he was elected a justice of peace and
served in that office in all, twelve years. In 1853 he was
chosen to represent his town on the board of supervisors, and also
occupied the same position the following year, owing to a tie
vote between Warren Mills and J. L. Savage, the opposing
candidates. In 1860 the people of Cattaraugus County, having
confidence in the doctor's integrity, elected him to the office of
county treasurer, which responsible position he filled acceptably and
well for three years. He now holds the offices of coroner of the
county and of health officer of the corporation, the latter a position
of great responsibility and considerable discretionary power,
neither of which Dr. Whitney either neglects or abuses. He
always sustains an independent deportment in the administration of
official duties, and, being actuated by a desire to do the best
possibly to do the best possibly for the taxpayers, they appreciate his
worth, and insist on his retention in office.
In religion, Dr. Whitney is a Baptist, and far
nearly half a century has been an active member of that
denomination. His liberality in religious enterprises and
his public spirited activity in secular concerns are alike commendable,
and through these qualities, and by reason of his general worth as a
citizen, neighbor, physician, and friend, he enjoys a prominent
position in the community, and the esteem and respect of all to whom he
Although the subject of
was not a native
of the county of Cattaraugus, and, indeed, had resided there but a few
years, his pre-eminently sterling and attractive qualities of mind and
heart had endeared him to every person with whom he came in contact,
and his early and sudden decease fell upon every heart with the
crushing effect of a personal bereavement. It is a rare destiny,
reserved to the select few among mankind, to be so endowed with
gracious attributes as during life to win from all a brotherly love and
confidence, and at death to leave a memory which all will cherish with
a brother's tender and lasting sorrow. Mr. Strong was one of the
favored few. Brief as was his career, dying as he did in his early
prime, his life was a continuous benediction, evidenced and emphasized
by the poignant and universal grief that shadowed and enshrined his
Mr. Strong was born at Woodbourne, in the county of
Sullivan (N. Y.), on the 13th day of September, 1834. He was an
offshoot of genuine New England stock, his family being represented in
the ante-colonial annals of Massachusetts by Elder John Strong, who,
driven by religious persecution from his English home at Taunton,
settled near Boston, in 1630. The family, even in the
mother-country, was an ancient one, boasting its coat of arms, which
consisted of a mural crown, with an eagle volant and the legend
underwritten, "Tentanda via est." Like most New England families,
an irrepressible genius of enterprise impelled the young and ardent
spirits of this Puritan household to migrate into more promising fields
of adventure, and as a result of this transplanting process some of
them sought and found a home in the State of New York. Austin
Strong, the father of Jairus, was born at Ashland, in the county of
Greene, in 1799, and his mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth
Bigelow, was a native of the same place. The same spirit of piety
and Christian zeal that prompted the ancestors to sacrifice their
worldly ease and comfort and brave the perils of trans-Atlantic life
actuated these their descendants, and from the earliest dawn of his
intelligence they inculcated into the mind of their son those
sentiments and principles of morality which so eminently distinguished
the entire current of his history. With true New England fidelity
and care they provided him also with a sound and liberal education, and
sought by every means in their power to fit him for the intelligent and
conscientious discharge of the duties and responsibilities incident to
his approaching manhood. With what success their fostering care was
attended, and with what affectionate and appreciative zeal he responded
to it, was evidenced by the whole tenor of his pure and useful life.
His father's feeble health and failing eyesight
compelled this son, at the age of nineteen, to assume the entire
financial charge and oversight of an extensive tannery, and this was
his introduction to a business which he followed through his whole
career, and with conspicuous success. The responsibility thus devolved
upon him at this early age was a heavy one, but he confronted it with
the cheerful courage that formed so prominent a trait of his character,
mastered the theory, practice, and details with singular ease and
efficiency, and evinced a capacity for business that settled the
question of his prosperity at the outset. With no taint of the
rashness or presumption that often detracts from the usefulness of
young men placed in positions of authority and trust, his modesty was
equal to his merit, and from the first he won the affection and
confidence of his men.
In 1858 he was married to Helen G., the only
daughter of Gideon Howard, Esq., then residing at Tanner's Dale, in the
county of Sullivan, a lady greatly admired and beloved, who, after
having for nineteen happy years filled his household with the radiance
of her love, survived to bless their offspring with a mother's tender
care. Three interesting children were the fruit of this auspicious
He remained at Black Lake, where his father's
tannery was located, till 1864, when he removed to the village of
Allegany, in the county of Cattaraugus, and there carried on an
extensive tannery until the time of his death. In the summer of
1877 his business was for a time suspended by the destruction of his
establishment by fire, but with characteristic enterprise, while the
ruins were still smoking, he commenced the work of reconstruction, and
his affairs were again in full and successful operation at the time of
his decease. Nor did he confine his attention to this one enterprise.
The oil development in that vicinity opened attractive opportunities of
investment, of which he availed himself with signal judgment and
Although his principal place of business remained
located at Allegany, he removed his residence to the village of Olean,
in 1875, purchased an elegant mansion and grounds, and gratified his
own taste and that of his neighbors by beautifying and adorning
them. And there, surrounded and made happy by such an aggregate
of blessings as rarely falls to the lot of man, and with the seemingly
auspicious promise of their continuance for many years to come, he was,
on the 18th day of February, 1878, in a moment and with hardly a
moment's warning, without the opportunity of gathering the children
around him for his benediction or commending his spirit to God who gave
it, summoned away from his agonized and awe-struck family and friends
Mr. Strong, though by no means a politician, took nevertheless a warm
and intelligent interest in political and governmental questions, and
was indeed thoroughly conversant with the current of events. He
was naturally and often, without any intrigue or suggestion on his
part, designated for posts of honor and trust. He was several
times elected to the office of supervisor of the town of Allegany
during his residence there, and was in 1875 elected on the Democratic
ticket to the office of county treasurer, although the usual Republican
majority was over fifteen hundred, a position he continued to fill with
singular ability and efficiency to the time of his death. Indeed,
to every trust he was true and faithful; and yet, though never
sacrificing or compromising the slightest requirement of duty or honor,
he so bore himself in all the varied transactions of an active life
that acquaintance with him at once and irresistibly quickened into a
strong and lasting regard. There was indeed in his demeanor
something singularly winning. His frank, fresh, open countenance,
his hearty and contagious laughter, his genial, whole_souled manner,
his quick and generous sympathy, and, in fine, all the emanations of
the man, were combined into a potent but gentle force that captivated
every one who came within the sphere of his influence.
His capacity for disseminating a wholesome hilarity and of calling into
active and competitive play the social forces and proclivities around
him was unrivaled. He breathed an atmosphere of jocund and healthy
merriment. From him there radiated a fervent joyousness that
imparted warmth to the coldest heart and kindled a cheerful smile on
the visage of despondency itself. His life was a perpetual
jubilee, without, however, a taint of cynicism or heartless
levity. But it was in the gracious light of his domestic life, in
his benignant character of husband, son, and father, that all his nobel
and tender qualities put forth their fullest and most delightful
exercise. Upon his family he lavished a boundless wealth of
provident and devoted love, and more precious far than mere earthly
riches was the memory of his rare and splendid nature, --a legacy
that profusion cannot waste and time cannot destroy.
For more than forty
subject of this sketch
has resided in Olean, and in that time has witnessed is transition from
a small hamlet to a prosperous and flourishing village and by his
industry and enterprise has assisted not a little in effecting this
change. A period of business activity extending over more than
half a century, of which four_fifths has been passed in his present
place of residence, entitles him at least to a brief mention on
the pages of the history he in his life and character has helped to
Ansel Adams was horn at Oak Hill, in the town of
Durham, Green Co., N. Y., July 16, 1804. He is the son of Thomas
and Anna (Thorp) Adams, who were old and respected settles of
Mr. Adams was married to Miss Ruth A., daughter of
Benjamin and Laura (Hickox) Nichols, on the 4th of March, 1835, and
three years afterwards, namely, in the spring of 1838, they removed to
Olean, where they have since resided.
In 1839, Mr. Adams was chosen one of the vestrymen,
of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church of Olean, and for the past fourteen
years has been its senior warden. From his arrival here he has
been one of the most active and zealous members of that church.
After an extended mercantile career, Mr. Adams
retired on a well-earned competence, and is now, though past the
allotted “threescore years and ten," enjoying remarkable good health,
which is greatly attributable to a moderate and regular mode of
life. He is generally respected as an upright man and a good
REUBEN O. SMITH
Born in Bath, Steuben
Co., N. Y.,
Feb. 22, 1823,
Reuben O. Smith was the fourth of seven children. His
father, Henry Smith, was a native of Dutchess Co., N. Y., but
attained his majority in Bradford Co., Pa.., where he married Anna
Spaulding, and immediately settled in Bath, where, 'midst privations
known only to the pioneers of that time, this honored father and mother
reared their seven children and hewed a home from the then unbroken
With a firm belief in and willing obedience to the
divine command, "by the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat thy bread,"
their home became, from principle as well as by the necessities of the
time, one of industry and economy from which went forth this family of
sons and daughters thoroughly prepared by precept and example for the
exigencies of responsible life, but with slight inheritance save a
knowledge of useful labor and the rich and wise counsels of a revered
father and saintly mother.
Through the district school of that day, with a few
months at the Athens (Pa..) Academy, Reuben 0., dissatisfied with the
unremunerative a farm labor of that period,with the consent of his
parents, obtained a situation as clerk in a store; at the village of
Avoca, in his native county, and after three years' clerkship at this
and one or two other situations, at progressive salaries of thirty,
sixty, and ninety dollars per annum, he obtained a more satisfactory
situation with Henry Brother at Bath, with whom he remained two years,
and then, at the urgent solicitation of
this Honored and respected merchant, who he remembers with nothing but
pleasure and gratitude, and with him as a partner, he entered upon his
mercantile life at Painted Post, N. Y. This copartnership
continued a successful business for seven years, when it was dissolved
by mutual consent .
Becoming a partner in a large lumbering firm in
1854, he went to Williamsport, Pa., where under his personal
supervision was constructed one of the largest water-mills ever built
in the country.
Retiring from this firm in 1856, he soon after took
up his residence in Olean, where he in 1852 , he and his younger
brother Erastus H., had established the firm of Smith
Brothers. This firm was dissolved in 1859 by the retirement
of Erastus H. on account of failing health since which, as sole
proprietor or with former clerks raised to a partnership, he has
continued in business at Olean.
The advent of this firm caused a revolution in the
then existing methods of business in that village. It was new
departure. Hitherto credit, and that long continued, had been
universal. No one thought of paying for goods
when they were bought. Credit was the idol, the ledger its
temple, the merchant the high_priest, the people the votaries, who at
this shrine paid burdensome tithes. A new era, in
business opened. Goods were offered over the counters of this
young firm at prrices so low as to, as to attract universal attention
and it is safe to say that during the first two years eighty per cent
of all cash paid in this vicinity for merchandise was paid to this
firm. But the old merchants were not disposed to sit quietly by
and see their business, slip from their hands. Intrenched
behind ample capital, and a thorough knowledge of the country, they
accepted the gage of battle, clinging however, to the old
methods. It was no struggle between pigmies. The
strife was prolonged and bitter, and as a consequence prices were
greatly reduced. The public enjoyed the fight and benefited by
its results. One by one the old firms were forced from the field,
and of all who were in the dry_goods trade when Smith Brothers
commenced business in Olean not one, nor the representative of one,
remains at this writing, But this conflict resulted in making Olean a
center of trade, and in giving the village an impetus that has placed
it among the most important in Western New York.
The comparative insignificant wooden structure
in which Smith Brothers commenced business was destroyed by the
disastrous fire of 1866 end its place is now occupied by a commodious,
well_built and well_appointed brick building of three stories, erected
in that year by Mr. Smith all of which is occupied by the present firm,
consisting of himself and two of his former clerks.
Though previously a Democrat, the struggle in the
nation over human slavery from 1848 to1854 disgusted him with the
subserviency of that party to the behests, of the slave-power, and he
assisted in the formation of the Republican party, and gave
liberally of his money, time, and influence to insure it, final
success; and when the rebellion broke out he was thoroughly
aroused and though so far as his business interests were concerned
perhaps sometimes unwisely bitter, he never spared a copperhead, or
allowed those interests to interfere with his denunciation of the
rebels and their Northern allies, while during those four dark and
bloody years he gave of his money with unsparing hand to sustain the
life of the nation.
Though often tempted, he has never entered upon the
treacherous sea of speculation but confining himself to legitimate
business he has guided that business, with a master’s hand, and has
reaped the reward which attends industry and application, and fairly
won an honorable place among the solid and successful men of the land.
Many of his former clerks in addition to a practical
business training have been materially assisted by him, and are now
prosperous merchants elsewhere.
His wife, a daughter of Judge Lyman Balcom, of
Painted Post, is a lady of culture and refinement and the twenty four
years of their married life has bound them more closely in mutual love
and esteem while the lengthening years of her, residence in Olean but
continue to increase the respect and honor in which she is held by a
large and continually widening circle of friends.
This sketch would be incomplete and unsatisfactory
to its subject without further reference re Erastus H., his
brother and former partner, to whose ability and energy he freely
ascribes a large part of the success, which attended their
copartnership in Olean He was gifted with and
exercised a degree of wisdom and fairness not to common among business
men, and the geniality and kindness of his social life in 0lean is
remembered with pleasure by all who knew him. Upon his retirement
from the firm of Smith Brothers he moved to Towanda Pa.,. and at its
organization these brothers both became large stockholders of the First
National Bank of that place. Erastus H. was shortly after its
organization elected president, which post he most acceptably and
honorably filled until his death in 1872 . He died respected and
lamented by all who knew him, and most by those who knew him best.
In conclusion, but with no desire to flatter its
subject, the writer of this sketch must be permitted to commend his
example to young men, knowing him intimately as he does, and that the
habits of strict temperance, industry, and integrity, coupled with a
proper degree of economy, followed by Mr. Smith, laid the foundation of
and insured his ultimate success.
CORNELIUS H. BARTLETT, M. D
Although not a
native of this
county nor one of its
pioneers, yet, owing to the professional reputation Dr. Bartlett has
acquired, no history of the village of Olean would be complete, without
some mention of him. The best years of his life hove been
devoted. with unremitting assiduity, to the study and acquisition of
perhaps the most important of all the learned professions,-_that of
medicine. The marked success that has attended Dr. Bartlett in
his practice is not altogether attributable to his extensive knowledge
of his profession, but to a genuine love for it which he has always
entertained, and which constituted the principal incentive that led him
the choice of medical career.
Cornelius H. Bartlett was born at Pine Plains,
Dutchess Co., N. Y., May 10, 1825. He is the third son of
Nathaniel and Sarah (Waters) Bartlett, the former of whom was a native
of Connecticut, and an influential citizen of the place. He was a
man of an energetic temperament and great force of character, which
qualities are reproduced in his son; of whom we write. He was
engaged in the tanning, business at Pine Plains and other places.
When the subject of this sketch was about two
years of age his parents moved to Groton, Tompkins Co., N. Y.,
and there remained about six years, when they removed to Homer,
Cortland Co., N. Y. He obtained his preliminary education
at the Groton Academy and completed his literary course at the
Cortland Academy. After leaving the latter
institution he entered upon the laudable duties of teaching in
the public schools of Homer, in which vocation he continued three
years. He then directed his attention and energies to the
study of medicine, entering the office of Ashbel Patterson, M.
D., with whom he remained four years, excepting a short period which It
spent in the office of Prof. Caleb Green, M. D. He subsequently
attended a regular course of therapeutical and clinical lectures at
Buffalo, and afterwards entered the medical department of the Geneva
College. He received his diploma in June 1849, and
immediately entered upon the practice of his profession, locating at
Summerhill, Cayuga Co.,N. Y., where he remained about four years.
In May, 1853, he removed to Portville, and soon secured an extensive
and lucrative practice. In June. 1876, he permanently located at
Olean, where he had many patrons. Not only has Dr. Bartlett
a large general practice, but so fully does he enjoy the confidence of
his fellow -practitioners that he is frequently called in consultation
at all points within a radius of thirty miles. The doctor keeps
pace by reading and study, with the scientific advancements that
have been made in medicine of late years. He takes pleasure in
scientific researches, and is always well supplied with the current
Dr. Bartlett has been a member of the Cattaraugus
County Medical society since its reorganization, and has twice been
called to its presidential chair. He now occupies a seat in its
board of censors. He was chosen as a delegate to the State
Medical Association, and was honored with a like position in the
National Association. As a recognition of his general worth in
the profession, he was chosen one of the curators of the Buffalo
Medical College, which office he still retains.
In delicate cases, where there is a difficulty
in establishing a correct diagnosis, and where a malady assumes a
dangerous or obstinate aspect, and in a difficult surgical operations,
Dr. Bartletts’s counsel is frequently sought. In the
constant competition which characterizes professional as well as
business pursuits, the doctor always retains a gentlemanly deportment
and a conscientious courtesy that is one of the most admirable traits
of a scholarly and exalted profession.
While in Summerhill, Dr. Bartlett became acquainted
with Miss Sylphia Bennie, daughter of David Bennie, M. D., whom
he married at Portville, this county, on the 26th of June,
1850. They have three children,-_two daughters and one son,– the
latter now reading medicine with his father, with favorable prospects
of a successful professional career.
AUSTIN WOODRUFF, M. D.
was born at
Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., Feb. 7,
1840. When quite young his parents removed to Rushford, Allegany
Co., N. Y., where he attended the Rushford Academy. He completed
his literary education in 1858, and for the following two or three
years he taught school, with marked success. At the breaking out
of the Rebellion he had just attained his majority and was ardent in
what he believed was right for the cause of liberty, and was the first
in his town to take active measures in getting recruits for the Union
army. He induced some eight or ten other young men to join him,
and they chose him captain. This small party of heroic
young men, sanguine in the buoyancy of youth and the ardor of their
patriotism, proceeded at once to arouse the enthusiasm of the
citizens. They paraded on horses; went to the woods and obtained
a large and beautiful tree, of which they made a liberty_pole; got the
ladies interested, so that they made and presented to the little
company a flag of the old stars and stripes, which have been the pride
of the last century in this “Land of the Free and Home of the
Brave.” They obtained a speaker to make a fitting oration at the
raising of the pole, and amid the booming of cannon and the blaze of
bonfires they ran up the national flag which many of that noble band
afterwards fought gallantly to sustain.
At first young Woodruff did not consider it
to leave home, rather thinking that those older than himself ought to
go; but. many expressing, a desire to accompany him, and on the advice
of some of his friends, he went. assuming the responsibility as a duty
greater even than those of self_interest and love of home. They
were mustered in at Elmira, under Colonel (afterwards General) Slocum,
where they remained some time. Young Woodruff was sent home twice
on a recruiting expedition, and each time took a number back with
him. He participated in many battles, was thrice wounded, once
quite severely at the battle of Bull Run or at that of Malvern
Hill. His letters home during his service created great
excitement, and many collected at the post_office to hear them
read. The descriptions of battles they contained, and the accounts of
army life, had a peculiar interest to those at home, while the
patriotic sentiment expressed in them tended to keep alive the
prevalent enthusiasm of those times.
On leaving the army, which be did on account
wounds, arid a severe lung disease contracted during his service, young
Woodruff commenced the study of medicine under, C. S. Hurlbut, M.
D., of Olean, with whom he remained about three years. In 1866 he
entered the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, from which institution
be was honorably graduated March 1, 1867, receiving a diploma endorsed
by the entire faculty. He also received a certificate of private
instruction in auscultation and percussion from Austin Flint, M. D.,
and a certificate from Alexander B. Mott, M. D., Professor of Surgery
at Bellevue Hospital Medical College, Chemistry and Toxicology ,
and also a certificate from R. Ogden Doremus, M..D.,
Professor of Chemistry and Toxicology of the same institution.
These all show that Dr. Woodruff became proficient in the various
medical sciences indicated. On returning from New York, Dr.
Woodruff purchased the practice of his old preceptor, Dr. Hurlbut, and
entered upon the duties of his profession at Olean, where he remained
actively engaged until within a year of his death, and practiced some
until the March preceding that sad event. He loved his profession
and adorned it. He way eminently successful, both as a physician
and surgeon, and had he been spared he would undoubtedly have acquired
a brilliant reputation.
Dr. Woodruff married Miss E. M. Charles, daughter of
John Charles, and niece of Richard Charles, M. D., of Angelica.
She survives, and is a lady of fine general abilities.
As showing in a slight measure the esteem in which
Dr. Woodruff was held, the quote the subjoined obituary notice of him,
from the Titusville Sunday Morning News.
“His complaint was lung disease, contracted in the
service of the United Stares. He enlisted early in the war, and
was sergeant in Company I, of the Twenty_seventh New York
volunteers. He was wounded in battle by a ball in the left
leg, which could not be extracted with safety, and was carried for
about ten years and buried with his remains. He participated in several
battles and was wounded three times, on account of which he received a
pension, as a partial compensation for his suffering. He enlisted
from Rushford, New York, and about eight years ago he came to
Olean, for the purpose of a medical examination by Dr. Hurlbut then one
of the most skillful physicians who has ever practiced in this part of
the country. The doctor became interested in young Woodruff and
gave him an invitation to remain as a student in his office, which was
accepted. From close application to study he made rapid progress
in mastering the science of medicine, and graduated at Bellevue Medical
College, New York, in the class of 1867, with the highest
honors. He soon because the successor of Dr. Hurlbut in his
extensive practice at Olean. He had a laborious and successful
practice of several years, suffering much in the mean time from his
wounds and injuries in the army. For about a year past his
failing health has prevented his attending to his professional
business. Dr. Woodruff was a member of Olean Lodge, and
Chapter, F. and A. M. He leaves a widow and a large circle
of relatives and sympathizing friends, who mourn his death as that of a
young man of good qualities of heart, fine attainments and promise of
future usefulness and success in life.”
was born Dec. 12, 1811 in Greenfield, Saratoga Co. N. Y., and
lived in that town until he was thirteen years of age. In the
fall of 1824 his father moved into Western New York, and settled in
what is now Wyoming County, in the town of Castile. His father
took up a new farm, but worked also at his trade, -making wagons.
Working with his father he soon learned to make a good wagon, and
be the time tie was sixteen years old had the most of that kind of work
to do. His opportunities for an education were not very
promising, as he only had the privilege of attending district school
about two months each winter until seventeen years. old, but be dint of
application during odd hours anti evenings, he acquired education
sufficient to pass a rigid examination and obtain a certificate to
teach a district school, and commenced teaching the winter he was
nineteen years of age. As a measure of his success as a teacher
it may be remarked that, while the average !
wages for teaching was about fourteen dollars a month, he easily
At the age of twenty-one years he was elected
commissioner for the town of Castile, and assisted in organizing and
arranging the school districts of the town. When the office of
commissioner was abolished, he was elected superintendent of schools
for the town. He held the office of justice of the peace nearly
four terms, until he moved from the place. He also
represented the town on the board of supervisors a number of years, and
served as chairman of the board.
He was married, Jan. 7, 1835 to Miss Elizabeth
Tallman, daughter of Giles Tallman, a farmer and early settler of
the town of Castile, and the prosperity of her husband is owing much to
her good judgement, skill, and economy. They have but two
children living., D. C. Conklin, the efficient and popular junior
partner of the Conklin Wagon-Works, and Mrs. Anna Conklin Ross, wife of
L. P. Ross, Esq., of Rochester, N. Y.
In the fall of 1843 he removed to the village of
Castile, and, in the spring following, bought a little place on which
was a blacksmith-shop, built a small wagon-shop, and commenced business
on a limited scale. He had not much means, but plenty of push and
ambition, and had already quite a reputation for making good work, and
had an intimate acquaintance with most of the best citizens of
the town. He was obliged to enlarge from time to time, until he
had a large establishment under his control. He sold
extensively in and about Olean, becoming well acquainted with the
business men of the place, and at that time marked it as one of the
best points for his business in Western New York. Hon. R. White
was his first agent in Olean, after his death Justus White, afterwards
Cary & White. Mr. Cary is still living, and the firm
acknowledge many kind favors from him personally. He finally
concluded to remove the works to Olean, and came on here in 1860 and
built a shop, and in the fall of that year the machinery and stock were
removed, and manufacturing commenced in Olean, and the business has
gradually increased to its present proportions.
It has been no small task to work this business up
to its present magnitude; both members of the firm have worked
incessantly with-out rest for eighteen years. Mr. Conklin could
most always be found working some one of the machines, when: he
would accomplish as much or more than a journeyman, besides at the same
time attending to all the. details of the factory. He is
still in vigorous health, found at his place of business daily, and
capable of doing a large amount of labor. Mr. Conklin is
rather retiring, not fond of show, not seen much on the street or in
society. He is quick in his judgment and decisions, and decided
in his opinions. He hopes to live long enough to see the works
still doubled or trebled, and in a new building of sufficient
magnitude, and arranged and equipped according to plans that his long
experience has suggested.
DEWITT C. CONKLIN
Dewitt C. Conklin was
horn June 28, 1837, in the
village of Castile, Wyoming Co., N. Y. He is the oldest son
of William Conklin and junior partner of the Conklin Wagon-Works in
He attended the district school in his native
village, and was noted for his quiet demeanor and strict attention to
his studies. From the district school he entered the select
school kept by Davis W. Smith, in the village ,–one of the ablest
educators and teachers in Western New York at that time.
He left this school with a good English education.
The mechanical skill and sound judgement developed at this time gave
promise of more than common manhood. He was early set to
work in his father’s office and became a correct accountant, and was
soon capable of directing the business of a large establishment. He was
taken into partnership when twenty-one years of age, and when it was
decided to remove the works to Olean the closing of the business and
removing the machinery and stock fell to him, while the senior partner
removed to Olean to build and prepare for its reception. His
share of this laborious task was: performed in a very efficient and
He was married, Nov. 5, l859, to Miss Hester Fuller,
a young lady of good education, and daughter of Elijah Fuller, a
prominent farmer near Castile village. They have three
children. He moved with his family to 0lean, late in the fall of
1860. Mr. Conklin is a hard worker. During a number of
years after he came to Olean be acted as engineer, and at same time
would run some one of the machines, doing nearly the labor of two men,
and there are but few men that accomplish as much business daily as
himself. He takes upon himself the book-keeping, shipping work,
ordering and assorting up stock, also the financial matters of the
works, all of which he performs with excellent ability.
He is now in his early prime, affable and courteous,
and lives some-what retiring; not inclined to show off, with a temper
extremely even. Clear from the habits of the use of tobacco or
intoxicating liquors, popular as a man in every respect, the pride of
friends, and idol of his family.
JAMES H. BROOKS
Mary E. was born Sept. 11, 1849. Married Frank
C. Burlingham Sept.1, 1875.
elder son of .Judge James Brooks, was born
on the old homestead in the
town of Olean Nov. 16, 1818. In the days of his youth the
country was comparatively new, so that his opportunities for learning
were meagre. He attended the district schools, however, and there
obtained the rudiments of an education, which one term at
Smethport Academy and subsequent of self-study and observation
largely augmented. He spent most of his life at farming and
lumbering, the latter of which he followed more or less for forty
years, generally with good success.
On the 15 of September, 1846, be married
Harriet L., daughter of Barnabus Hastings, Esq., of Sardinia Erie
Co., N. Y. She was born Sept. 17, 1820. They have
raised an interesting family of four children, of whom the two sons are
deceased.. Their names, with the dates of their birth, are
Willard H.,born Nov. 8, 1847; died Dec 13,
1863. He was a promising youth, and in him was reproduced a spark
of the old patriotism that his great grandfather, Cornelius Brooks the
old revolutionary hero, possessed for on the breaking out of the
Rebellion he, when not more than fifteen years: of age, wanted
very much to accompany his uncle, Colonel Enos C. Brooks, to the front.
Luella K., was born May 21, 1854.
Married Charles S. Hubbard April 2, 1877.
James T., was born Aug. 11, 1866; died Sept 19, 1860.
Mr. Brooks has always been an
strong supporter of the temperance cause, as his respected father was
before him. He is an active and zealous member of the
Presbyterian Church, of which he at present occupies the position of
In politics Mr. Brooks is a Republican, but has
never sought political preferment . In 1859 .he was elected to
the office of coroner, and several terms has served as one of the
assessors of his town; also as an inspector of election.
In 1877, Mr. Brooks became the proprietor of the
Olean Pottery, which he has since conducted with, considerable
success. This is decidedly one of the chief manufacturing
interests of Olean, and is more fully noticed in the history proper, of
Olean, under the head of “Manufacturing Interests”
In public as well as in private life, the chief
characteristics of Mr. Brooks, have been his enterprise, industry
and integrity. No man can successfully impung his
honor, and his name is above reproach. Faithful to every trust
imposed in him, constant in his friendship, and true in his dealings
with his fellow-men, he occupies a prominent place in the estimation of
the people, and an honored position among the best citizens of the
third son of
Judge James and Betsey Brooks, and grandson of the
well_known and prominent pioneer Cornelius Brooks, was born in the town
of Olean, Sept. 4, 1823. He received the principal part of his
education at the public schools finishing his literary studies at the
Lima Seminary, at Lima, Livingston Co., N. Y. Immediately
after leaving the latter institution he turned his attention to the
study of law as a profession. and on Sept. 4, 1850, entered the
law_office of Roderick White, of Olean, and three years thereafter
emerged forth, an applicant for legal recognition. Accordingly,
on September 4, 1853 he passed the necessary examination at the
general term of the Supreme Court, held at Angelica, and was admitted
to practice. He continued actively engaged in his profession
until 1856, in which year his library and office effects were destroyed
fire. He then served one term as deputy sheriff of
June 15, 1853 , he married Miss Margaret A.
Hill, of Olean, by whom he bad three children, namely: Ida J, born
Nov.12, 1855; married, Oct. 30, 1878 to Asa C. Couse, of Maine,
Broome Co., N.. Y. James E., born June 12, 1858, and died
Aug 11. 1865. Maude D. born Jan 10, 1869.
Politically, Colonel Brooks started out in life as a
Democrat, casting his first ballot for James K. Polk. On the
organization of the Republican party he espoused its principles, and
remained a member of it until 1872, when be voted for Horace
Greeley for the Presidency.
At the breaking out of the Rebellion, in 1861,
Colonel Brooks at once took an active part in its suppression, and
continued until the close of the conflict to do all in his power to
sustain the Union that his forefathers fought to inaugurate. We
subjoin a brief sketch of Colonel Brooks’ military history.
In 1853, Colonel Brooks was commissioned major of
the 64th Regiment New York State Militia. On Aug. 17 1861,
his regiment was accepted as a part of the quota of the state, and on
the 28th of November following he was regularly mustered
in. The organization and recognition of that regiment. was due to
the exertions of Colonel Brooks, who through its varied service,
remained with it until wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg, Dec.
Among the engagements in which the colonel
participated might be mentioned those of Seven Pines, May 31,1862; Fair
Oaks, June 1,1862; Malvern Hill July 1, 1862. After this battle
Colonel Brooks had an attack of typhoid fever, and was obliged to ask
for a leave of absence for thirty days. At the expiration of this
he returned, and met his regiment at Arlington Heights, Aug 29, 1862;
then marched through Maryland, and participated in the battle of South
Mountain;then led the advance from South Mountain to Antietam,
commanding the regiment. After the battle of Antietam moved on to
Loudon Heights, near Harper’s Ferry, at which place, his gallant
conduct in prior engagements having been favorably reported, he
received his commission as lieutenant_colonel; after which he continued
with his regiment and went with the Army of the Potomac, under
General Burnside, commander-in-chief. He took an active part in
the battle of Fredericksburg, where be was dangerously wounded by a
ball passing through his left shoulder, Dec. 13, 1862. He
received a leave of absence until April, 1863, and was then assigned to
duty as a provost- marshal of Western New York, under General Diven, at
Elmira, and by him appointed inspector of draft for eleven
Congressional districts. He continued in that position until
January 8, 1864; was afterwards placed on duty as commandant of Barrack
No. 1, at Elmira. On May 4, 1864, reported to Washington, and was
honorably discharged. On December 28 following he was made
Commissioner of Enrollment, and so continued until the close of the war.
In the fall of 1867, Colonel Brooks was elected
county clerk. He is now serving his second term as a justice of
the peace. From February, 1876, to March, 1877, he served
as clerk in the State prison in Clinton Co., N. Y. In these
positions be has exercised sound judgment and a desire to fulfill the
duties incumbent upon him; and that he succeeded is shown by the
general satisfaction evinced by the people at large.
son, George VAN CAMPEN,
now in his possession the compass used by this father to shape his
course through the then almost impassable
|See under head of “Olean Post Office."
|For further information
concerning Judges Martin and
Porter, see under head of “The Bar.”
|See biographic sketch and
portrait of Col.
|Chap. 566, Laws 1868, Sec.
2, amends this section by changing
the west boundary line as follows: “Beginning at the
north bank of the Allegany River at the south end of Seventh Street, as
the general history of the county, and under head of “Internal