WEST SENECA - was formed, as "Seneca," from Chicktowaga, Hamburgh and East Hamburgh, and Lancaster, Oct. 16, 1851; its name was changed March 25, 1852. It is situated on the shore of Lake Erie, near the center of the W. border of the co. Its surface is gently undulating in the E. and level in the W. The streams are Big Buffalo, Cazenove, and Smokes(1) Creeks. The soil is generally a sandy loam. The town is mainly settled by a society of German religionists, generally known as Ebenezers, but who style themselves the "Community of True Inspiration."(2) Middle Ebenezer, on Buffalo Creek, contains a church, calico printing factory, woolen factory, sawmill, oil mill, and 67 houses; Lower Ebenezer, on Cazenove Creek, contains a church, sawmill, gristmill, tannery, and 50 houses; and New Ebenezer contains a large manufactory of cotton and woolen goods, an extensive dying works, and 9 dwellings. Reserve, West Seneca Center, and West Seneca are p. offices. The first settlement was made by Reuben Sackett, in 1826.(3) There are 4 churches in town.(4)
(1)Named from an Indian who resided near its mouth and who was an inveterate smoker.
(2)This comunity purchased 7,622 acres belonging to the Buffalo Indian reservation in 1844, and commenced their settlements the same year. They are largely engaged in agriculture and manufactures; and their wares have obtained so excellent a reputation that they find a ready market at Buffalo and elsewhere. They have a community of property, reside in villages, and several families usually occupy the same house. They are governed by a board of trustees; and their business is done through an agent, who appears to have almost unlimited control of matters. They are honest, industrious, and frugal; and in the contented and peaceful tenor of their lives they present a model which might well be copied by some of the restless and ambitious Yankee race.
(3)Among the early settlers were Artemus W. Baker, John G. Wells, Isaac Earlle, and Geo. Hoppr, who located in 1828. The first child born was a daughter of Joel Decker, in Aug. 1828; and the first death, that of Peter Beal, in 1834. Geo. E. Elderkin taught the first school, in 1839; Reuben Sackett kept the first inn, in 1826; the Ebenezer Society, the first store, in 1845; and Ballou & Tubell built the first mill, in 1837.
(4)Lutheran and 2 Community of True Inspiration.
J.H. French, Gazetteer of the State of New York (Syracuse, New York: R. Pearsall Smith, 1860), p. 293.