Cattaraugus County was formed on March 11, 1808, but did not have enough voters to organize a county government until 1817. The 1820 census showed about 4,000 residents in the county. It is located in the Southern Tier of New York state, on the Pennsylvania border and is surrounded by the counties of Chautauqua, Allegany, Erie and Wyoming. It contains 1,334 sq. miles including 3 Indian Reservations, which were ceded by the Six Nations to the Holland Land Co. in 1797. They include: The Oil Spring Reservation, the Allegany Reservation, and a small portion of the Cattaraugus Reservation.
The first permanent settlement was made at Olean, by Major Adam Hoops and his brother Robert, from Albany in 1804. In 1808, the following men were appointed commissioner for the task of locating the county seat: Jonas Williams, Isaac Sutherland, and Asa Ransom. They chose a spot in Ellicottville and erected large iron-wood post to indicate the spot. Until 1817, the county government was merged with Niagara. In 1817, the first county court was held in Olean. The first county officials were Timothy Porter,First Judge; James Brooks, Ashbel Freeman, and Francis Green, County Judges; Sands Boughton, County Clerk; Israel Curtiss, Sheriff; and Jeremy Wooster, Surrogate. The first courthouse and jail were erected in Ellicottville in 1817-1818. It burned in 1829, was later rebuilt. Sometime after 1860, the county seat was moved to its present location in Little Valley. (Most of this information was taken from the 1860 Gazeteer of NY State)
Cattaraugus Counties origins are as follows: It was formed from Genesee County in 1808. Genesee County was formed from Ontario County in 1802. Ontario County was formed from Montgomery County in 1789. Montgomery was formed from Albany County in 1772 and was known as Tryon County until 1784. Albany County was one of the original New York State Counties. For more information, you may want to visit the Historic Path of Cattaraugus County website suggested to us by Dawn Westfall, Member of Ellicottville Historical Society.
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