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