The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 232 - 236

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held for the first time in the same blockhouse, in which Mr. Warren had lived at first. The first teacher was Mary Eddy.

At the time of the re-organization of the Holland Purchase in 1808 the Town of Willink received new boundries and was transferred from Genesee County to Niagara County. The 20th of March 1812 the towns Hamburg, Eden and Concord were taken from Willink, and it was reduced to the townships eight and nine in range five, and to the townships of the same number in range six, forming now the towns Holland, Wales, Colden and Aurora. In 1814 the first high-road was built through this township. It ran west of Smith's Mills over the hills to the neighborhood of Osborn's Farm, where a post-office by the name of Willink was opened, and from there east along the centre-line.

On the 15th of April 1818, according to a legislative decision, three new towns were formed out of the territory surrounding the town of Willink; township eight in range five, and the one bearing the same number in range six were formed into the town of Holland; township nine in range five, and the territory bordering on the reservation was made the town of Wales, while the rest of the town Willink - that is township nine, range six - together with a district counted as far as the centre of the Buffalo Creek Reservation was made the town of Aurora.

During the eighteen years after its formation the town of Aurora was booming and prospering. Nearly every settler in town was a farmer, and nearly every farmer had been forced to contract debts in order to secure the money necessary to buy the land, although the price of land (amounting from two to five dollars per acre) could not be called an especially high one. But during the period mentioned numerous immigrants came into the town, and each one of the original settlers, who had not yet paid the whole estate, sold a part of it to the new-comers. Mills, factories and shops sprang up, and general prosperity prevailed throughout the town. In 1830 the Buffalo & Aurora Railroad Company was incorporated, and this company had indeed been organized solely by citizens of the town of Aurora; those were the first settlers of Erie County who founded a railroad company. William Wallace was entrusted with laying out the track, and for several years the best hopes were entertained concerning the building of the road. These hopes, however, were not realized, and vanished entirely like so many others in the financial crisis of the years 1836 and 1837, which was felt more in Aurora than in other rural areas.

Still for a long time the painful consequences of these unfortunate years were felt, until finally the courage for new enterprises returned. In 1840 a pail factory, in 1843 a large tannery, and

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various feed-mills were established. In 1842 the remainder of the Buffalo Creek Reservation was purchased, so that the jurisdiction of Aurora really extended over a territory reaching to the centre of the reservation; the formation of Elba in 1857 reduced the town of Aurora to its present boundries.

East Aurora

The village of East Aurora arose from the combining of two settlements, which had been called for more than fifty years "Upper Village" and "Lower Village". When in 1818 the town was formed these villages were about one mile distant from each other. Both villages grew comparatively very quickly, the common wealth became noticable from the fact that the old block-houses soon disappeared in order to make room for houses of modern construction.

In the spring of 1823 a tall, good looking young fellow of about twenty-three years came to Upper-Village, and settled there as a lawyer. That young man was Millard Fillmore, later President of the United States. In 1833 the Aurora Academy was opened, and in 1835 Almon M. Clapp established a daily newspaper, "Aurora Standard". As the inhabitants of the two villages had understood for a long time that a uniting of both only would be of advantage to them, in 1813 such uniting took place. The village formed in this way was named "East Aurora". The first German Lutheran Church for East Aurora and its neighborhood was built in 1882, after the community had been organized about one year.

Griffin's Mills

We have mentioned before the building of Smith's Mills, the naming of the town after these, and the later change of the name to "Griffin's Mills". At the time of the formation of the town the little village had grown quite a good deal, for besides flour- and feed-mills, we also find a saw-mill, distillery, and tannery. Robert Griffin conducted a restaurant and Adam Paul a flourishing grocery.

West Falls

At about the same time when Aurora became an independent town, Abram Smith built a forage-mill on that place, which later was called West Falls, and Lawrence Read opened a store. It took the little village a long time to extend as far as at present.

Town of Wales

This town is situated in th eastern part of Erie County, and has Aurora for western, Holland for southern, Marilla for northern, and Wyoming County for eastern boundries. In 1803 "Middle Road" or "Big Tree Road" was laid out through township nine, range five and

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from there in an easterly direction to Lake Erie. The first settler in the territory forming now the town of Wales was William Allen, who went there in 1806. In the following year Jacob Turner also settled there, and established his residence near William Allen's. The township was then a part of the Town of Willink in Genesee County. In the month of February, 1808, two brothers, Ebenezer and John M. Holmes, arrived from the East and settled upon a hill almost in the centre of the township. After the Holland-sale had been re-organized in March, 1800, one part of the town went to Niagara County, while another remained in the town of Willink. In 1810 Jacob Turner built the first modern wooden house. In the spring of 1818 the town of Wales was created out of Willink. The first post-office in the town was organized in 1821, being named Wales. The first hotel was opened in 1835. In former years numerous saw-mills had been situated not only at Buffalo Creek, but also at Hunter's Creek and other small waters; but all of these with the exception of two or three ceased during the later years.

Wales Centre

The building of a saw-mill was the beginning of this village. Isaac and Levi Hall were the proprietors. After having been owned by several persons the mill was variously possessed by John Hausauer, Charles F. Hall, Carl Schoell, Bullard & Württemberger, etc. The first shop in Hall's Hollow or Wales was established by A. Hurt in a blockhouse in 1814, while Isaac Hall opened the first hotel in 1816.

Wales Hollow

This little village which variously is called Wood's Hollow, Wales Hollow, or Wales, dated from the year 1817, when Jacob Turner built a mill there. The first shop was opened in 1823; John Winkle ran a well supplied grocery-store since 1818; Jesse Westcott built the first Hotel in 1826.

South Wales

South Wales dates from the year 1816, when Aaron Warner opened a hotel on a property he had bought from John Russell. In the same year he established a grocery. Nathan M. Mann, who lived on a farm south of the village, ran a shop for horse-shoeing, and was made the first postmaster in 1823.

Town Evans

Evans is situated in the southern part of Erie County, having Eden for eastern, Brant for southern, Hamburg for north-eastern, and Lake Erie for western and north-western boundries. The first settler in the territory belonging now to the town of Evans was Joel Harvey, who settled on the western shore of Eighteen-mile Creek. During the next few years several people immigrated there and built block-houses, but

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did not remain long. In 1806 Harvey opened a hotel in his blockhouse. At that time there was much immigration from the East into Ohio, but all those who were travelling there, had to make their way along the shore of the lake, as there were no other roads. These people were the principle customers of the hotel at the Eighteen-mile Creek. When Harvey settled in that district, Evans was a part of the town of Batavia; but already in the next year - 1804 - it became a part of the town of Erie in Genesee County.

After the re-organization mentioned before it belonged to Willink, Niagara County. Not before 1809 did permanent settlers establish themselves in that district. The first was Aaron Salisbury; he soon was followed by others. In March, 1812, the town of Eden was formed from Willink, and it enclosed the present towns of Boston, Eden and Evans as well as one part of Brant. After the war, when a large immigration into the town took place, a remarkable boom followed. Through legislative decision the town of Evans was formed March 16th, 1821. It was named after David E. Evans, an officer of the Holland Territory Company. When in 1839 the town of Brant was formed, a part of the town of Evans was added to it and the present territory of this town was formed. When the Buffalo & State Line Railroad had been opened February 22nd, 1852 - which is now a part of the Lake Shore Railroad - extending through the whole town, it soon became very progressive.

Evans Centre

The first settler of that village was Anderson Taylor, who established himself

Picture at center is of the Manufacturers and Traders Bank Building

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there in 1810. In 1815 Henry Tuttle and William Wright ran a mill. When the village had become somewhat larger it was called "Wright's Mills". It kept this name until the town of Evans was formed, when it got the name Evans Centre, not unjustly, as the little place remained the business centre of the town of Evans for about thirty years.

Angola

As Mr. George Wilcox used to tell, he was the first settler of Angola, for in 1854 he opened a shoe-store there. Only a few families dwelled in his immediate neighborhood. Later a small beer-saloon was opened and in fact on the very place where afterwards the Angola House was built. Boundy [1] & Hard built a little hotel especially for farmers, but soon sold it to Lyman Oatman. The first newspaper edited in town was the "Angola Record", which was published on May 22nd, 1879, by H.J. Penfold for the first time. The Angola Union School was opened in 1871.

East Evans

When, according to Mr. Elisha Stocking's tale, his father Elijah Stocking settled at that place with his family, only four other settlers were there, though many new ones arrived during the following years. As long as the old "State Line" [2] was prospering, East Evans saw good days.

Derby

This is a railroad station about one mile east of East Evans. There a post-office was opened in 1874. The first postmaster was George W. Carr.

North Evans

This pretty and very picturesquely situated village is near the boundries of Hamburg, and north-east of Eden. The oldest settler Aaron Cash came in 1809 into this village; he soon was followed by David Hamlin and two families Ames. North Evans belonged first to Hamburg; when however in 1826 a little road was added to Evans, it was joined to Evans and consequently received the name of North-Evans. Among the German and Irish inhabitants of the village were numerous Catholics. They formed a community in 1850 and soon began to build a church.

Town Eden

The town of Eden, which is situated south of the centre of Erie County, is six miles wide from north to south, and about six and three-fourths of a mile long from east to west. On the north it is bounded by Hamburg, on the east by Boston, on the south by North Collins, on the west by Evans. The first settler in the town of Eden was Samuel Tubbs, who with his wife and his two sons besides a nephew established himself there in 1808. Until 1812 the present


[1] The German text spells the name "Bundy". Return to text

[2] The German text calls the route the "Old Stage Line". Return to text


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Revised April 25, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks