The Town Cemetery and the famous old Chicken Tavern of Arkwright have a
common bond. They once belonged to the Town family. In January
1826 Asa Town born 1770, son of Asa and Eunice (Town) Town with his wife
Sally and children Aaron, Francis, Amos, Joel, Lyman and Betsey came to
Chautauqua County and bought of Bethuel Harvey, father-in-law of Aaron,
a portion of lot12 which Bethuel had bought in its entirety from the Holland
Land Co. Aaron had been living in the Genesee County section and
had been married for about ten years to Lucina Harvey daughter of Bethuel
and Clarissa (Claracy) Gerdiner Harvey. They had three sons:
Bethuel Harvey born 1817, Hiram Martin born 1821, and Horace J. born 1822.
Lewis was born in Arkwright that same year, 1826, Silas in 1830, Harriet
in 1831 (the wife of Rev. Arden Spencer), Julia Ann in 1831, (the wife
of William Farrington), Clara, who marred Samuel Morey, and Oliver, the
youngest in 1838.
Aaron’s holdings were mostly on his father’s lot 11 though he did add
some from lot 12 from Bethuel Harvey, but in 1853 he bought from Chauncey
Abbey part of the original Abbey holdings – the south west corner of lot
13 at the junction of the Forestville road with present Route 83 (Laona
to Hamlet). The Abbey family claim that Chicken Tavern was already
there wen David Abbey bought that virgin land and that a Mr. Butterfield
had been running it, but we feel that there is confusion with the 1850
purchase on lot 11 by Horace J. Town from William R. Butterfield which
is now known as Town’s Corners. Aaron Town ran the tavern for many
years and handed it from one son to another so that each might acquire
"a stake" to buy a farm. Oliver was the last owner. He died
in 1901 and his widow lived at the tavern until she died in 1931.
The tavern, deserted, rapidly deteriorated and collapsed about five years
The tavern was the boarding place for the men who worked on the proposed
Erie railroad from Dunkirk to Salamanca. Ground was broken at the
end of the route in Arkwright on Nov. 7, 1835. The project was abandoned
at a later date at an expense of a quarter million dollars and rerouted
through Forestville east to Salamanca. Much of the grading is still
visible in Arkwright in the farming section.
Chicken Tavern was one of the oldest buildings in Arkwright.
It was the scene of many parties, dinners, dances, law suits and town meetings.
There was even a blacksmith shop on the property. The tavern was
a stopover place for the stage route from Lake Erie to points south.
Horses were exchanged here for fresh ones and would change back on the
return trip. Passengers paid a fare of six and a half cents a mile
and were allowed fourteen pounds of baggage free. If their portmanteau
or brass nail-studded hair trunk weighted more they had to pay for it at
the same rate per mile as they paid for themselves. In Summer the
carriages would roll along easily enough, but woe betide the unwary traveler
at other seasons. The male passengers were required to aid in raising
the wheels out of each mud hole into which they sank, often to the axle.
Town Tavern is mentioned in the underground railroad back in 1858 when
slaves were escaping to Canada. John Little, father of a colored
family at Arkwright Summit at that time, was instrumental in helping many
of the negroes. John Little, his wife and several children are buried
on their farm in a little cemetery long since lost. But his sons
William Patrick Little and Riley L. Little served in the Civil War and
are buried in the Town Cemetery in back of Chicken Tavern. William
was the last buried in the cemetery.
The tavern was the scene of many heated law suits. These suits
were often tried by young law students from the law firm of Sherman and
Scott of Forestville. They were assisted by their supervisors.
The story is told of a spirited case being tried where much oratory was
given on both sides. The pleas, charging and decision of the jury
carried the proceedings well into the wee hours of the morning. Some mischievous
wags stationed themselves along the wooded sections of the road to Forestville
and while the magistrates were driving along the narrow dark road the boys
would let out with a cat call of a blood thirsty beast still prevalent
in the woods in those early days. We sympathize with the poor horses
that were made to take the lawyers to Forestville under the whip.
Chicken Tavern was noted for its splendid cooks. In its early
history it had a Dutch oven in the yard to do the vast amount of cooking
for the family and the tourist trade. The inn was famous for its
chicken dinners but there is also another story in its early history.
A party of militia who came through by coach stayed the night at the tavern.
A drinking party turned into a brawl, and the men began to ply each other
with their pillows. In no time the floor was thick with feathers.
Feathers or chicken with dumplings… Chicken Tavern was its name and a grand
old place it was.
To reach the cemetery do not attempt the approach from the tavern.
Instead, go east on Route 83 about a hundred feet and ascend the embankment
where there are no trees. The cemetery is back from the road about
a hundred feet, under the small trees toward the tavern.
About five years ago two of us searched for buried stones and unearthed
many of these given, but the late Clarence Black, who had ancestors buried
here, said that there should be twice the number of stones. Perhaps
some of our readers can help us with names of persons in the cemetery that
TOWN, Asa, died Jan. 11, 1861 age 90-9-17.
TOWN, Sally, wife of Asa, died Feb. 21, 1847 age 75-9-17.
TOWN, Sally Cobb, wife of Francis Town, died March 29, 1877 age 69-9-18.
TOWN, Hiram, died May 19, 1861 age 31-9-17.
TOWN, Joel died Dec. 17 or 21, 1861 ? almost obiliterated.
TOWN, Delia and Hattie children of Amos and Betsey Town, writing eroded.
WHITE, Adaline A., daughter of Joel and Sally White, died May 29, 1851,
There is a field stone beside Adaline.
LOUER, Almira, daughter of Jonathan and Sophia Louer, died Aug. 20,
1842 age ?-8-2, very eroded.
HOWE, Abnah, died April 6, 1861 age 69-11-4.
HOWE, Irene, his wife, died Feb. 1, 1865 age 72-7-10.
HENRY, Nelson G., son of Wm. and Melinda Henry, died July 21, 1857 age
The Henry family early in Cherry Creek moved to Clymer area after 1855.
MARTIN, Isaiah, died Aug. 22, 1834 age 49-6-?. Isaiah was from
Broome Co., NY.
MARTIN, Lydia, his wife, died Jan. 21, 1845 age 57-5-?. She was
Lydia Atwater, born Aug. 4, 1787.
PORTER, Daniel, died Aug. 22, 1875 age 61-11-7.
PORTER, Susan, born Jan. 3, 1816, died Dec. 14, 1887
SESSIONS, Leonard, born Windham, CT, June 26, 1783, died April 15, 1891
SESSIONS, Azubah Martin, first wife of Leonard Sessions died Jan. 9,
1860 age 76.
SESSIONS, Hope Bowen, his second wife, died April 2, 1871 age 76 (It
was her second marriage too, so Bowen may have not been her maiden name.)
SNOW, Daniel, died in Walton, April 3, 1877 age 70.
SNOW, Mary T. wife of C.A. Chase and daughter of S. and W. Snow, died
April 8, 1866 age 20-11-15.
LITTLE, William P. (Patrick), 1841-1898. Co. E. 89th Reg. USC.
LITTLE, Riley L., died March 16, 1891, age 38-8-1. (This last
from town clerk’s records.) He was a barber, son of John and Harriet
Little, was born in Arkwright and died in Forestville. "Buried in
the Town Cemetery." He too was a Civil War verteran.
THOMPSON, Elias, died Feb. 4, 1845.
THOMPSON, Betsey, his wife and daughter of Asa an Sally Town died the
same day Feb. 4, 1845. Only footstones remain.
Their son Clark is known to be buried here too. Clark married
There is also a footstone N.G. or H.G. (whose?).
CLICK HERE FOR MAP OF LOTS
A98 BRUMAGIN: Can anyone give the names of the parents of
Simeon and Ephraim Brumagin who settled near Summerdale about 1820 (near
Mayville)? Simeon died at Lakewood and Ephraim died near Wattsburg,
PA. There may have also been a Peter Brumagin near Westfield.
Was told they came from Wales via Canada and Vermont. Is this true?
A99 WEAVER-COLE: I wish to obtain information on Belle Weaver
Cole, a famous American singer who has been all but forgotten. She
was born in Chautauqua County and also visited Jamestown during a world
tour (musical). Belle Weaver Cole made a few records in England where
she made her home but they are rare. I found one in Australia.
I know of no record in America unless among Jamestown relatives.
There are a few in collectors’ hands in England. Query: Does
anyone have a record? KM Can anyone add to her biography?
Fenton: Claybourne Sampson lists her as daughter of Philander and
Ellen Weaver of Harmony and Jamestown. Philander died April 24, 1900
in Jamestown age 84 but the woman on his lot is not Ellen but Mary who
died 1885 age 65. Also on the lot is Mary E. Toudray, died 1888,
age 37. Can anyone help us out on this Ellen-Mary bit?
A100 BROWN: Trying to locate the graves of Lucian and Clarissa
Emilene Brown. Clarissa died in 1884 and Lucian between 1872 and
A98 BRUMAGIN. We had answers from two people who gave us
names to descendants to contact.
A99 WEAVER-COLE. Was sent an obituary on Belle Weaver Cole,
the singer, which we forwarded to the woman who is writing a book on famous
A100 A phone call to Lake View Cemetery brought forth this information:
Lucian Meiggs Brown, born May 25, 1812 in Yates County died Jan. 19, 1878
in Jamestown, son of Meiggs Brown. Mother unknown. Clarissa
Emilene was born in Otsego Co., no date, died in Jamestown, July 10, 1884
age 75, daughter of Thomas and Clarissa Slayton. He is buried in
a single grave along Lakeview Avenue and she on her won lot on Buffalo
Avenue section. The Fenton Society would be glad to hear from readers.
We were intrigued by the Meiggs name when one of our answers gave a Charles
Meigs Newton. Are they related? Fenton.
SOURCE: Fenton Historical Society Deserted Cemetery Series.
From the Jamestown Journal 25 January 1969, compiled and written by Edna