The town of Yorkshire lies upon the north border of the county, east of the centre. The surface is a rolling and hilly upland. It is watered by the Cattaraugus Creek, which forms the larger portion of the northern boundary, the south branch of the same stream, and the outlet of Lime Lake, which flowing north through the eastern part, forms a junction with the branch just northwest of Yorkshire Centre. Stone Creek, which flows in a northeast course through the western and northern parts, empties into the latter stream near its junction with Cattaraugus Creek. The soil is a clay and gravelly loam, well adapted to grazing, stock-raising and dairying. Here, as in adjacent towns of the county, the agricultural classes are chiefly interested in cheese-making.
The cheese-factories controlled by Messrs. Joseph Demon, S. R. Smith,
and Judson Wiltsie, consisting of five separate establishments, use the
milk of about 2000 cows, and will manufacture 500,000 pounds of cheese
The cheese-box and shingle-manfactory of the Mssrs. Goo Brothers, at Yorkshire Centre, will manufacture 10,000 cheese-boxes and about 200,000 shingles yearly.
In 1809, Sumner Warren, William L. Warren, Ira P. Paine, Ebenezer Warren, and Ezra Nott contracted with the Holland Land Company for lots in township 7, range 5. It has not been ascertained that any one of them settled south of the Cattaraugus Creek.
The following year (1810) Major Evans, Morton Crosby, Bethuel Bishop, John Johnson, Dennis Riley, and Benjamin Felch entered into contracts for land in township 6, range 5. Of these, Benjamin Felch and Bethuel Bishop became actual settlers, and, without doubt, were the first settlers within the present boundaries of Yorkshire. Benjamin Felch came from Francestown, N.H., and settled upon the farm now owned by Erastus Daley, Esq. He was a farmer, a prominent citizen, and at the first town-meeting was elected assessor, commissioner of highways, and commissioner of common schools. H was also the second supervisor of the town, and served in that capacity for a period of five years. In 1840 he removed to the State of Wisconsin. His eldest son, Alson Felch, who was born here in June, 1813, is now a wealthy and highly-respected citizen of Racine, Wis. Bethuel Bishop was from Vermont, and settled in the northwest part of township 6, range 5. He died in 1818. William Felch, a brother of Benjamin, settled here at the same time, or very soon thereafter. The same year (1810), or the year following, Thomas Dow--the first blacksmith--and his son Benjamin, Isaac Williams and his sons, Isaac, Jr., Albert, and Proctor, and John Brown, all from the State of Vermont, settled in the northeast part of lot 1, township 7, range 5.
Williams was the first settle on the site of Yorkshire Corners, and erected here the first frame house in town, in 1820.It was opened as a hotel by his son Proctor in 1822. He also built the first saw- and grist-mill on Cattaraugus Creek in 1814. Solomon Clark, his son Solomon, Jr., David Clark, and Chauncey Clark came from Vermont, and settled in the north part, in 1814. Solomon Clark located where 'Squire Steele now resides. Luther Thompson was at the forks of the creek at the same time. James Boyce, a native of Virginia, came from Greenfield, N. H., in 1815, and was the first settler at West Yorkshire; he afterwards removed with all his family to Pennsylvania. John Pierce, an Englishman, and James Smith, from Herkimer Co., N.Y., also located near Mr. Boyce, in the fall of the same year. In 1816, Ezekiel Smith, from Herkimer County, and Edward Bump, from Mount Holly, Vt., settled in the town. Mr. Bump located where Mrs. Luther Cummings now lives. Abner Bump was never a resident of Yorkshire, but of township 7, range 4, where he located in 1809. Robert Steele, from Londonderry, Rockingham Co., N. H.; Samuel G. Sutton, from Canterbury, Merrimac Co., N. H.; Jacob Cochran and James Haines, also from New Hampshire, settled in the town, in 1817. 'Squire Steele was one of the first justices appointed in the town, and held the office for fifteen years in succession, and says he never had a judgment reversed. He was the first collector, in 1821, and has held the office of supervisor for five years. The first town-meeting was also held at his house in 1821. Mr. Steele still resides here, and at the age of ninety years is able to recount many incidents of pioneer days, and of his experiences at pleading law, etc. Samuel G. Sutton, located near the forks of the creek. He, with Benjamin Felch and Col. Arunah Hibbard, were the prominent men during the early days. Mr. Sutton was the first surveyor, the first supervisor, and the first postmaster in the town. The post-office was established at his house about 1825; previously, their nearest post-office was Sheldon, Wyoming Co., twenty miles distant. David Haynes and his sons, Daniel B. and James A., came from Livingston Co., N. N., in 1818, and settled on Blue Hill. He lived for some time in the house belonging to Robert Steel, who boarded with him at the time of holding the first town-meeting. Col. Hibbard came here about the same time, and was a prominent, active business man; had been actively engaged in the war of 1812, and was wounded through the arm at the battle of Lundy's Lane. He established mills and a distillery at Yorkshire Corners in 1824, and drove an extensive business. His sons were merchants. Samuel Silliman, from Arlington, Vt., settled in the eastern part, 1819; also Daniel W. Cheney, a native of Ashford, Conn. Mr. Cheney took up a farm upon which he lived for a time, when he bought on the opposite side of the road, where he spent the remainder of his days. When he came the country was new and heavily timbered. The frost and cold season of 1816 had cut off and shortened their crops, and much suffering was thereby occasioned. Deer were plenty, and supplied them with nearly all the meat they had. Money was very scarce, it being wellnigh impossible to obtain any. Before coming to Yorkshire he had lived in Machias. On certain occasion, while returning home with a grist upon his back, from Arcade, Wyoming Co., whither he had taken it to be ground, darkness overtook him as he reached the swampy country which surrounds Lime Lake, and he had yet two miles to go. He was startled by the scream of a panther, and still more so when a few minutes later the same ominous sound pierced his ears from a distance of some two rods only. He turned in the direction of the sound, and plainly discovered two eyes, which glared upon him like balls of fire. Nothing more was visible. He commenced walking backwards, still facing the animal, and when he had got off some distance, turned and went forward till he again heard the approach of his expectant foe, when he again turned and faced it. he repeated this maneuvre, until he reached a clearing, when the animal uttered a terrible scream of mingled rage and disappointment, and retreated into the woods. Among other early settlers who were here in 1819 was Joseph Pierce, from Vermont, who established a small distillery and exchanged whisky for rye and corn at the rate of six quarts of whisky for a bushel of grain; also Josiah Hakes, John Moffatt, John Ward, Alvah Wilson, Benjamin Thompson, George Barnes, John C. Marston, Warren Worden, John Haling, Samuel Metcalf, from Vermont, James Marston and Girah Phinney. The last named came from Whitestown, Madison Co., N. Y., and settled first in Erie County, in 1811. Mr. Phinney was accompanied by his sons, Girah, Jr., and Orrin, and located on the farm now owned by Alonzo Evans. Henry and John Smith, brothers, came in from Hillsborough, N. H., in April, 1820. They joined in December of the same year by Mason Smith, the son of John. Mr. Mason Smith relates that the year he came here he had traveled on foot a distance of 1800 miles, in the performance of his work as a stone-cutter and mill-wright, in the States of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and his journey from the former State to Cattaraugus County, which occupied eighteen days. he contracted for the large farm upon which he now resides, in 1821, and the lands upon which the major portion of the village of Yorkshire Centre is built. In 1821 he made the first clearing upon the village site, and the following year, assisted by his uncle (his father had returned to New Hampshire), had raised a crop of five acres of wheat, corn, potatoes, etc. Harvest time came, their grain was ripe, but they had no tools to cut it; those owned by their more fortunate neighbors were in use. The uncle proposed that they should borrow their neighbors' cradles or sickles, and cut the grain at night; but Mason said no, there was too much labor attached to the operation of going four or five miles to borrow, then work through the night, and return the tools in the morning. The independence and self-reliance which have ever been characteristic of the man though life asserted themselves then. He had heard that some merchant in Erie county, sixteen miles distant, had a stock of such tools they needed. Starting out one morning on foot, he found the man, but the sickles and cradles were all sold. He was referred to another merchant, who lived within twelve miles of Buffalo. Young Smith reached there before nightfall, only to be disappointed the second time. He remained with this man through the night, and the next morning early proceeded to Buffalo, where, as he says, he bought two sickles and a cotton handkerchief, arriving at his home in the evening of the second day. Their crops were at last harvested and secured in good condition; but on account of their being no roads or bridges, and the swollen current of the South branch, which then contained a greater volume of water than since the forests were leveled, they could not be taken to the west side, where the Smiths had their cabin, until winter, when a sled could be drawn through the timber, where it would be impossible to take a wagon in the summer. Winter came on, and another difficulty presented itself; the rapid current did not freeze over, and Mr. Smith extemporized a bridge as follows: he selected two large trees standing near the bank, and at a suitable distance from each other, and felled them by the stream; the current forced the tops down against the opposite bank, and made them firm; the then trimmed the branches from the upper surface of the trunks, and filled the space between them with branches, brush, etc. The day being a freezing one he, late in the afternoon spattered water over all the logs and brush. The next morning the whole structure was frozen solidly and firmly together; he then threw on some hemlock-brush, and over this shoveled snow until he had a perfect roadway, and a bridge sufficient for his purpose. Mr. Smith built the first framed barn, in 1821. Its dimensions are 25 by 26 feet, and it is still in use. It occupied two days' time to raise it; the men of that time were unaccustomed to heavy frame-work, and were timid in going aloft. In 1821, Abram Howell, Alfred Howell, Henry I. Paddock, and David Paddock became settlers. Mr. Henry I. Paddock, came from Penfield, Monroe Co., N. Y., and built the first framed house at Yorkshire Centre.
The following year George Graham, from Concord, N. H.; Ezekiel Pingrey, from Mount Holly, Vt.; Abel Gordon, from Hillsborough, N. H.; Stephen S. Langmade, William Campbell, and many others came in. The easy terms offered by the agents of the Holland Land Company to actual settlers, the desirability of the soil and climate, compared with that of the Green and White Mountain States, caused a steady inflow of hardy citizens from those sections during the years prior to 1830. Yorkshire received a large portion of them as well as the adjacent towns in Cattaraugus, Erie, Wyoming, and Allegany Counties.
Mr. Graham located near the centre of the town. He came here before he was married, taught school and surveyed. He taught the first school of which we have any knowledge. It was in a log house covered with bark, situated a little east of West Yorkshire. He returned to New Hampshire in 1824, married and soon returned, bringing with him his wife. They compassed the journey with wagon, sleigh, and upon horseback in the alternate stages, as the weather and conditions of the roads permitted. Mr. Graham served his town as supervisor nine years, town clerk seven years, and justice of the peace twenty-five years.
Ezekiel Pingrey came from Vermont with his father, Jonathan Pingrey, who settled in Sardinia, in 1817. The same year Ezekiel worked for 'Squire Felch in Yorkshire, then Ischua. In 1823, he married, and settled on a farm one and a half miles north of the centre, on the creek, where he resided for forty-two years. He bought his land for $2.50 per acre, and sold it for $40.00 per acre. Mr. Pingrey now resides in the village of Yorkshire Centre.
Abel Gordon built the first house at Yorkshire Centre in 1822. It was of logs, 16 feet square, and stood near the site of the present Baptist church. He and Mason Smith built this house unaided by any others. Previous to 1825, Samuel King, John Harmon, Samuel Davis, Stephen Hollister, Luther Wheeler, Wm. W. Wattles, David Putnam, Elihu Hollister, Israel Thornton, Richard Thornton, James Ray, Asa Willard (who had a small distillery), and Augustus Crary, from Vermont, who built in 1824, the present grist-mill at Yorkshire Corners, were all here; also Benjamin Packard, who built the first brick house in 1824. This house was used as a tavern for many years. Lewis Marsh, from Vermont, settled at the centre in 1825. Solon Pierce, a Methodist preacher, came in from Penfield, Monroe Co., N. Y., in 1826, and settled upon a large farm in the central part, where he died at the expiration of four years. Lewis M. Fisk located at West Yorkshire about the same time, and established the first carding-machine. Weaver G. Fisk, from Ontario County, settled in the northern part, on the highest point in the town, about 1828, and Reuben Smith, originally from Vermont, came in from Wyoming, then Genesee County, and settled on lot 5, in 1829. Henry L. Baker kept the first store in town, in 1822, at Yorkshire Corners. His goods were displayed on one side of Proctor Williams' bar-room.
The very early settlers were attended by Dr. Colgrove, of Sardinia. Dr. Patterson, the first resident physician, was located at Yorkshire Corners. Benj. Felch owned the first horses. Mason Smith and his uncle the second span. They were obliged to take them eight miles for pasturage. A Mr. Goodenough owned the first buggy-wagon, and Mason Smith the first cast-iron plow. The first cheese-factory was established at Yorkshire Corners in 1864. By an act of the Legislature of the State of New York, passed April 13, 1820, the town of Yorkshire was formed from Ischua. The new town then contained a population of 313 inhabitants, and the language of the act in describing the territory of the town thus formed is follows:
"Being all that part of the town of Ischua known and distinguished as townships number five and six, in the fifth range of townships, and all that part of the seventh township, in the fifth range of townships, lying south of the Cattaraugus Creek, be and the same is hereby erected into a separate town, by the name of Yorkshire; and the first town-meeting shall be held at the house of Robert Steele, in said town, on the first Tuesday of March next."
Machias--being the firth township in the fifth range of townships--was taken off April 16, 1827. The wet tier of lots of the town of Freedom was annexed in 1844, and the south tier of lots was set off to Machias in 1847. At the first town-meeting, held at the house of Robert Steele, in the town of Yorkshire, on the 6th day of March, 1821, for the purpose of electing town officers, and to transact such other business as might be deemed necessary, the following-named officers were chosen, viz: Supervisor, Samuel G. Sutton; town Clerk, Joshua Daniels; Assessors, Elijah T. Ashcraft, Jacob Cochran, Benjamin Felch; Collector, Robert Steele; Overseers of the Poor, Edward Bump, Joseph Kinne; constables, Robert Steele, Warren Worden, Joseph Kinne, Jr.; Commissioners of Highways, Elisha Brown, Benjamin Felch, Joseph Pierce; Commissioners of Common Schools, Benjamin Felch, Samuel G. Sutton, Charles H. Biggs; Inspectors of Common Schools, Robert Steele, William Gowen, Samuel Silliman, Poundmasters, Obadiah Vaughan, Jr., Robert Steele, David Clark. At the annual town-meeting of 1825, it was voted: "Aney person Drawing lumber across aney bridge in the Town of Yorkshire, with a chain, without aney Carriage under it shall pay the sum of one dollar for every such offense." Highway Districts in the Town of Yorkshire For the Year 1821
District No. 1, John Farrar, commissioner, beginning on the State road, at the east line of the town, and running northwestwardly on said road to the centre of the Ischua Creek.
District No. 2, Joshua Daniels, commissioner, beginning at the centre of Ischua Creek, near John Farrar's and running northwestwardly on the State road to the first large brook north of Elijah T. Ashcraft's.
District No. 3, Robert Steele, commissioner, beginning at the brook last mentioned, and running on the State road to the west line of the town.
District No. 4, Samuel Metcalf, commissioner, beginning at the forks of the road north of Elijah T. Ashcraft's and running north to the southeast corner of lot 23.
District No. 5, Benjamin Thompson, commissioner, beginning at the southeast corner of lot 29, and running north to the Cattaraugus Creek; also the road from the forks of the Cattaraugus Creek to the east line of Samuel G. Sutton's land; and also the road from the east line of lot 31 to the road near Sallimon Davis'.
District No. 6, Simon Carpenter, commissioner, beginning at the forks of the Cattaraugus Creek, and running west-wardly on the south side of said creek to the town line of Samuel G. Sutton's land, and running up the creek to the town line near William Felch's.
District No. 7, John Haling, commissioner, beginning at the bridge near the house of James Coys and running eastwardly to the town line.
District No. 8, Warren Worden, commissioner, the road from Isaac K. Williams' to the creek near Hall's Mills, to west line of Archibald Randall's land, on lot 8, township 7, range 5.
District No. 9, Isaac Williams, commissioner, beginning at the west line of Archibald Randall's land, and running eastwardly to the east line of the town; also, the road from the northeast corner of Benjamin Felch's land north to the creek road; and also a road from the house of Isaac H. Williams to the creek near Hall's Mills.
District No. 10, Daniel W. Cheney, commissioner, beginning at the northeast corner of township No. 6, and running south to the southeast corner of said township.
District No. 11, John Grover, commissioner, beginning at the southeast corner of township No. 6, and running southwardly to the State road; and also a road from John Grover's west to the State road.
District No. 12, Andrew McBuzzell, commissioner, beginning at the State road, near Joshua Daniel's and running east to the town line.
District No. 13, John Smith, commissioner, beginning at Salmon Clark's, thence southwestwardly to the Sutton road; also the road beginning hear James Phinney's and running southeastwardly, to Lime Lake Road.
At a special town-meeting held at Mr. Steel's house, April 25, 1821, the following additional town legislation was enacted:
"Voted, that fifteen dollars be paid for panthers caught within this town by any persons living in town, one dollar to be paid on wild-cats and seventy-five cents on foxes."
"Voted, that the town of Yorkshire should proceed against the town of Ishua for their rites and privelidges"
"Voted, that any person that shall drive cattle to this town for the purpose of pastureing them on the commons, shall be liable to pay one dollar per head for every such offense."
|1821-22||Samuel G. Sutton||1855-57||Joseph H. Wright|
|1823-25||Benjamin Felch||1858-59||Erastus Daley|
|1826||Howard Peck||1860||George Graham|
|1827||Benjamin Felch||1861||Charles T. Lowden|
|1828-30||Robert Steele||1862-63||Perry Howe|
|1831||Benjamin Felch||1864||Joseph H. Wright|
|1832-33||Robert Steele||1865-66||Edwin M. Pierce|
|1834||Solomon Love||1867-68||Aldis Spring|
|1835||George Graham||1869||Lorenzo D. Cobb|
|1836-40||Lewis Marsh||1870||Dwight J. Woodworth|
|1841-42||George Graham||1871-72||Elliott A. Cobb|
|1843-45||Seth R. Crittenden||1873||Solomon Howe|
|1846||George L. Collins||1874-75||Gershom S. Rowley|
|1847-48||Seth R. Crittenden||1876||Solomon Howe|
|1849-53||George Graham||1877-78||Charles H. Miller|
|1854||Lorenzo D. Cobb|
|1821-25||Joshua Daniels||1852-53||Charles T. Lowden|
|1826||Nathan Follett||1854||Joseph W. Wright|
|1827-33||George Graham||1855-56||Stephen Holmes|
|1834-35||Daniel Rich||1857||Charles T. Lowden|
|1835||Paschal P. Whitney||1858||Nathan T. Thomas|
|1836-37||Benjamin Packard||1859||Joseph T. Wright|
|1838||George W. Thomas||1860-61||George W. Whiting|
|1839||John Willey||1862-63||Joseph H. Wright|
|1840||La Fayette Marsh||1864||Truman Cole|
|1841||Benjamin Packard||1865-66||John B. Foote|
|1842-44||La Fayette Marsh||1867-71||Joseph H. Wright|
|1845||Artemus Spring||1872||H. M. Pomeroy|
|1846||Solomon Love||1873-74||Wm. L. Whitman|
|1847-48||Charles T. Lowden||1875||Walter W. Cheney|
|1849-50||George W. Bailey||1876-78||Chester C. Pingrey|
|1851||Paschal P. Whitney|
|1821||Elijah T. Ashcraft||1854||Wm. W. King|
|1827||George Graham||1855||Samuel Crocker|
|1828||Augustus Crary||1856||Lorenzo D. Cobb|
|1829||Barnard Wood||1857||Joseph H. Wright|
|1830||Arunah Hibbard||1858||Aldis Spring|
|1831||George Graham||1859||Isaac White|
|1832||Barnard Wood||1860||Lorenzo D. Cobb|
|1833||Robert Steele||1861||Buel G. Smith|
|1834||Arunah Hibbard||1862||Aldis Spring|
|1835||George Graham||1863||Isaac White|
|1836||Miles Carter||1864||Lorenzo D. Cobb|
|1837||Ira Bishop||1865||Buel G. Smith|
|1838||Samuel G. Sutton||1866||Aldis Spring|
|1839||George Graham||1867||Stephen Rich|
|1840||Miles Carter||1868||Lorenzo D. Cobb|
|1841||Joseph Metcalf||1869||Buel G. Smith|
|1842||Solomon Love||1870||Wm. W. King|
|Samuel G. Sutton|
|1843||George Graham||1871||William B. Stacey|
|1844||Rufus Crowley||1872||George Williams|
|1845||Henry Stringham||1873||Stephen Rich|
|1846||Samuel G. Sutton||1874||Earl Silliman|
|Henry L. Marsh|
|1847||George Graham||1875||Buel G. Smith|
|Eugene M. Whitney|
|1848||Solomon Lincoln||1876||Hiram G. Blood|
|James R. Barnes||Warren Worden|
|1849||Charles T. Lowden||1877||William C. Smith|
|1850||Aldis Spring||1878||William W. King|
|1853||Charles T. Lowden|
|* Arunah Hibbard was the first
justice elected by the people. Those
holding the office prior to 1830 were appointed by State Authorities,
and there is nothing in the town records to show who they were, or when
they were appointed, other than signatures attached to affidavits, etc.
Yorkshire Centre, situated east of the centre, on the south branch of
the Cattaraugus Creek and the outlet of Lime Lake, both of which afford
good water-ower privileges, is a station on the Buffalo, New York and
Philadelphia Railroad. It contains two church edifices (Baptist
and Union), three religious societies (viz., Baptist, Methodist
Episcopal, and Universalist), one hotel, four stores of general
merchandise, one hardware-store and tin-store, one drug-store,
one furniture-store, one small grocery-store, one jewelry-store, one
cheese-factory, one grist-mill, one saw-mill, one cheese-box and
shingle-factory, one wood-carding establishment, a post-office, one
district school, with two departments, two wagon-, three blacksmith-,
two harness-, and two shoe-shops, a meat market, four millinery and
dress-making shops, one barber-shop, three physicians, three clergymen,
and about 400 inhabitants.
Mason Smith and Lewis Marsh were the original owners of that part of the site which lies upon lot 6. The first clearing was made by Mason Smith, in 1821; Abel Gordon built the first log house, about 1825.
"The undersigned commissioners of common schools for the town of Yorkshire, for the year 1822, having attended to the duty of apportioning the money allowed by law for the support of common schools, find on examination that there is but one school district in said town entitled according to law to any of said money; that the apportionment of money for said town is $12, and that school district No. 4 is entitled to the aforesaid sum of $12."
SAMUEL G. SUTTON,
WIGGIN M. FARRAR,
COMMISSIONERS OF COMMON SCHOOLS
YORKSHIRE, 24TH APRIL, 1822
The number of school districts are 12, with 11 school buildings, valued, with sites, at $7371; volumes in library, 354, valued at $125; number of teachers employed, 13; amount paid for teachers' wages, $2445.43; number of weeks taught, 328 amount of public money received from State, $1374.47; amount of money received from tax, $1068.59.
It is stated that the Methodists formed a society at Yorkshire Corners in 1814, but no records or other evidence can be found to prove it as a fact.
Rev. Judah Babcock, a Free-Will Baptist preacher, held meetings in the house of Benjamin Felch and Isaac Williams in 1817.
The Patchenites also flourished here, to some extent, in the days of their ascendency in this and adjoining towns.
At a council of ministers and delegates of surrounding churches, held June 6, 1855, it was recognized as an independent church, and the right hand of fellowship extended.
Moses S. Durfey and Erastus Wheatley were the first deacons. Their house of worship was erected in 1856, and dedicated December 9 of the same year. It cost $2000, and has sittings for 325 persons. Rev. William J. Kermott, a licentiate, was the first pastor, and has been followed in the pastoral duties of this church as in the order named by Revs. N. F. Langmade, T. T. Horton, J. W. Snyder, Clinton Colegrove, Charles Berry, Darwin Wood, N. F. Langmade, and Jotham S. Johnson, the present pastor. Present membership, 59. Number of pupils in Sabbath-school, 50. Mrs. Myra Stevens, Superintendent.
The Universalist Church of Yorkshire, At Yorkshire Center
This society was organized in the school-house at Yorkshire Centre, by Rev. Gideon S. Gowdy, Jan. 3, 1856, and was composed of 22 members, as follows: Hiram Thornton, Jacob Murphy, Buel G. Smith, John H. Bowers, Mason Smith, Ezekiel Pierce, Alonzo Cobb, Henry Howe, N. T. Harvey, William Quint, Willis Phinney, J. Dwinnell, Jerry Fox, Samuel Eastland, Franklin Poor, Henry Olcott, Nathan Hadley, Nathan H. Ferrin, Lewis G. Bentley, E. J. Strong, Harry Nourse, and S. S. Langmade. The church proper was regularly organized in 1858, with 23 members, but the records of proceedings, etc., are not accessible.
In 1855 this church, in conjunction with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Yorkshire, erected a church edifice, which has sittings for 300 persons, and cost $2500. Rev. G. S. Gowdy was the first pastor. He has been followed by Revs. O. B. Clark, E. Hathaway, B. Hunt, and George Adams.
The congregation numbers 20 families at the present time. No pastor. The union Sabbath-school of the two churches has a membership of 60; J. A. Wiltsie, Superintendent; W. B. Stacey, Assistant Superintendent.
The following-named pensioners for Revolutionary and other military services were residents of Yorkshire in 1840, viz.: Elisha Randall, aged seventy-nine; Jacob Winters, fifty-four; Bishop Coston, eighty-one; William Gould, eighty-eight; Abner Reckard, Seventy-six; and Elisha Plumb, aged fifty-three years. Without a doubt there were other heroes of the Revolution here, who had died prior to the above mentioned date, but such records have not been kept. Of the veterans of 1812, we have learned of none other than Col. Arunah Hibbard and John Brown, one of the earliest settlers.
During the War of the Rebellion the town did her whole duty. She put into the field 158 men, and paid in bounties to those soldiers the sum of $32,900; the county paid in addition, $10,200; making a total of $43,100.
Among the pioneers and prominent citizens of the town of Yorkshire whose life and services entitle them to notice on the pages of local history, few, if any, better deserve to have their memories perpetuated than our subject. Coming to Yorkshire as he did when the now thriving and prosperous town was a wilderness, uncultivated, and barren of agricultural implements, he witnessed much of its growth and prosperity, and was himself an important factor in its development. For more than forty years he filled some office of trust in the town, and his good common sense and more than average intelligence were largely felt in the material and intellectual progress of the community in which he lived so long and so well.
George Graham was born at Concord, N. H., Oct. 5, 1801. He was the son of Asa Graham, an active and influential citizen of Concord. About the year 1820, he accompanied his son George to Yorkshire, but never became an actual settler there.
On the 13th of January, 1835, George Graham returned to Concord, and was there united in marriage with Lucia Thorn, who, immediately after the performance of the interesting ceremony, returned with her husband to their new home in the Western country, as Cattaraugus County as then considered. They commenced housekeeping in the March following their wedding, and where for upwards of forty-five years they passed life's fleeting hours together; and on the 7th of March, 1871, she died full of years, and after the fulfillment of the noblest relations of woman, --those of wife and mother. A little less than two years later, and on the 12th of February, 1873, Mr. Graham followed his exemplary companion to the grave, and sleeping the last long sleep together, we can but wish them a blissful eternity after the resurrection.
This worthy couple had ten children, namely, Joseph G., born Oct. 14, 1825; Flora Taylor, May 12, 1861, deceased; Sarah L., born Sept. 22, 1826, unmarried; Rozilla A., born June 8, 1828, married Jeremiah F. Jackman, Feb. 20, 1851, resides in Erie Co., N. Y.; Rachel M., born Nov. 14, 1830, unmarried; John C., born Jan. 15, 1833, married Teressa Jacobs, Dec. 15, 1861, resides in Iowa; George H., born March 5, 1835, married Ellen M. Morse, March 24, 1861; Lucia E., born March 14, 1837, married Solomon Howe, Oct. 7, 1869; Walter A., born April 30, 1839, married Altie E. Nye, Sept. 29, 1866; Mary J., born Feb. 4, 1842, died Jan. 20, 1845; Mary L., born May 15, 1844, unmarried.In politics, Mr. Graham was first a Whig, and afterwards a Republican which latter he remained until his death.
He held the office of supervisor for about ten years, and was a justice of the peace for twenty-four years. He held also several minor town offices, all of which he filled with fidelity to the trusts imposed in him and with general ability. He resided in the old homestead (now occupied by his unmarried daughters) nearly fifty years, and every one knew him as an honest man and a good citizen.
Solomon Howe was born in Groton, Tompkins Co., N. Y., May 4, 1818. At the age of twelve years his parents removed to the town of Yorkshire, Cattaraugus Co., where he still resides. The facilities for education were limited, and school-houses few and far between, so that he received but a small modicum of learning. The little he did get, however, he was greatly increased by subsequent reading and observation.
Mr. Howe has been twice married: first, to Minerval Gould of New Hudson, Allegany Co., N. Y., in 1845. She died June 27, 1865. His second wife was Lucia E., daughter of George Graham, Esq., a respected pioneer of Yorkshire, Oct. 7, 1869. They have two children,--Ormond, born Nov. 20, 1870, and Minerva, born June 28, 1872. Both are living.
In politics, Mr. Howe is a Democrat of the Jacksonian school. He has been frequently elected to town offices and often honored by his party with nominations to county offices, but owing to the overwhelming Republican majority, although always running ahead of his ticket, it has been impossible to secure an election. In 1873, he was elected a member of the Board of Supervisors, and again to the same position in 1876. He has also held several minor offices in the town government. In 1869 he received the Democratic nomination for Assembly, but was defeated by George N. West. In the fall of 1872, he was nominated by his party for the office of County Superintendent of the Poor. In both instances he received a flattering recognition, running from one hundred to one hundred and fifty votes ahead of his ticket. He made an honest and capable supervisor, and did his duty faithfully, and well in all the offices of trust to which he has been elected.
Mr. Howe is generally considered a man of more than average intelligence, and what is of equal if not of greater importance, of uncompromising honesty. In the various relations of life he strives to do his duty, and that he has succeeded is shown by the popularity he enjoys, both at home, where he is well known, and abroad, where his reputation stands deservedly high.