The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 252 - 256

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country very unsafe, many new comers arrived as soon as the war was over. In March 1821, the town of Collins including the present towns of Collins and North Collins, was formed by legislative action, and soon afterwards John Lawton was appointed as the first supervisor of the new town. At that time there was no postoffice in Collins. In the following year, however, a highway was laid out south of Hamburg, and in 1823 a postoffice by the name of Collins was opened in that part of the town which is now called North Collins. At that time there was already a hotel and shortly afterwards Chester Rose established a little shop for the sale of dry goods and groceries. That was so to speak the first store in the present North Collins. The little village was then called "Rose's Corner"; when, however, hotel and shop changed hands it received the name of Kerr's Corners. In 1825 the "community of friends" built a wooden house about one mile south of Rose's Corner, which was used as a church and for a long time afterwards was called "the Orthodox Church."

In 1835 or '36 the first Germans, whose names I am sorry to say could not be ascertained, came to the town. Many more followed so that in the course of 10 to 15 years the whole upper part of the present town of North Collins was owned by Germans and the German element to-day forms an important part of the population of the town. On November 24th, 1852, the town of Shirley was separated from Collins with the present boundries of the town of Collins. The first local convention was held the first Tuesday of the month of March in 1823 in the house of Humphrey Smith, but as the majority of the citizens of the new town had been accustomed to the former name of Collins, a petition was made to alter the name, whereupon the name of Shirley was changed to North Collins.

Caption under picture at center reads Post-Office Corner, Washington Street

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The territory at present known as North Collins had a great reputation for its excellent butter and cheese, and really the first great manufactory of cheese in Erie County was built there in 1864.

The present population of the town numbers about 2,600 people. The first supervisor was Edwin Godfrey, the present one is F. Louis Thiel; the other officers are: Frank S. Bantle, Clerk, Thos. B. White, H. Melvin Harkness, A.H. Bangert, justices of peace; George E. Pickens, Eugene A Perkins and Louis Stuhlmüller, assessors, Henry J. Zwipp, collector, Joseph H. Johengen, commissioner of public roads, Benjamin J. Schauss, overseer of the poor.

The Village of North Collins

As mentioned before, the postoffice of Collins was established on the territory belonging to the present village of Collins in 1822 or 1823. At the same time Chester Rose opened a little store and a few years later John and Alexander Kerr followed his example in a larger measure. The first steam saw mill was built by Egbert Foster and John Stancliff [1] in 1873. The first physician of the village was Dr. Morgan; in 1827 he was followed by Dr. Samuel Noyes, and this one soon afterwards by Dr. Fritz.

The principal industry of the village is the manufactory of fruit conserves, a forage mill and a basket manufactory; there is also a bank, the president of which is William Lawton. The North Collins Natural Gas Fuel Co. supplies the village with natural gas for heating and lighting.

Shirley

is a little village of only a few houses, a store, a postoffice and a manufactory of cheese. In 1852 when the town of North Collins was formed it got its name from that village.

Lawton Station

is a still smaller place, though it has a postoffice and is a station on the Buffalo & Southwestern Railroad; it is situated in the southern part of the town; its existence dates from the year 1874 when the railroad was finished and it received its name from John Lawton, the first supervisor of the town of Collins.

Marshfield

is a peculiar place in so far as there are only a few houses, but several churches; the postoffice of Marshfield was opened in 1855.

Langford

is the center of the German settlements. As mentioned before the first Germans settled there in about 1835, and after their number had


[1] The German text gives the name as "Stanclift". Return to text

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considerably increased, Paul Sippel esatblished a hotel and shop; after him the place was called "Sippel's Corner" or simply "Sippel's". When Paul Sippel moved to Dunkirk, his brother George Sippel took possession of the store and he was followed by his sons George and John. The postoffice of Langford was opened somewhere in the sixties; the first postmaster was George Sippel.

The Catholic St. Martin's church, one of the largest and richest churches outside of the city of Buffalo, was founded in 1847.

New Oregon

is also a village inhabited by German settlers and their descendants. It is situated near the Eighteen Mile Creek in the northeastern part of the town. The German Catholic Church was founded in 1860.

Town of Collins

is the most southern town in Erie County and is divided in two parts, one of which is inhabited by white men, the other by Indians. Frequently it has been maintained that the latter part is situated outside of any town, and yet by law it is a part of the town although the Indians living there are not subjected to the jurisdiction of the town officers except in criminal cases. The white men living in that part of the town of Collins in which the Indian Reservation is, are entitled to vote and are in every way subjected to the jurisdiction of the town officers. The part of the town of Collins inhabited by white men is bounded on the north by North Collins, on the east by Concord, on the west by the Indian territoy and on the south by Cattaraugus County; its area comprises a little more than 50 square miles. The other part of the town includes the whole Cattaraugus Reservation in Erie County with the exception of 10 miles belonging to the town of Brant. The whole district is very irregular and is bounded on the north by Brant, on the east by North Collins and the part of the town of Collins describe above, and on the west, south-west and south by Cattaraugus County.

The first white settlers establishing themselves in the present town of Collins, belonged to the "community of friends" and had been selected at the annual convention of the brothers, which had been held in Philadelphia, to civilize the minds of the Indians. All of these delegates were single men and women and called themselves a "family". Their chief was Jacob Taylor who in that part of the town known as Taylor's Hollow and situated close to the reservation bought three hundred acres of land either on own account or by order of the company that had sent him. There the "family" built block houses and began the work assumed by instructing those Indians who were willing to agriculture, while the women taught the squaws needle work, reading,

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writing, etc. In 1809 they built a mill under Taylor's direction, in which was work for Indians as well as for white men. The "family" flourished for many years, and although it cannot be told positively how much good they did or how far they succeeded in cultivating and civilizing the Indians, it is safe to declare that they did good in many respects. The first family, in the ordinary sense of the word, to settle in the present town of Collins was that of Turner Aldrich. In 1820 Aldrich built a house at the Cattaraugus River just at the upper part of the reservation on a place now belonging to Gowanda, by digging in posts and connecting these with raw trunks of trees and bark for walls; the roof also he made of bark. Later of course he used boards for the roof and the lining of the walls, nevertheless the building was only a primitive hut; but altogether he had become a well-to-do owner of land and mills, he lived for 10 years with his people in that house.

Later when more newcomers from other districts had arrived, Stephen Lapham and John Lawton each built a saw mill. Mr. Aldrich, who before had carried on a saw mill at the Cattaraugus river, built a forage mill immediately after the war was over.

When Jacob Taylor and his helpmates had settled in that district, the present town of Collins was a part of the town of Erie (Genesee County) which extended from Pennsylvania to Lake Erie. When the Holland bill of sale was re-organized, it became a part of the town of Willink (Niagara County). In March, 1812, the town of Concord, which includes the present towns of Sardinia, Concord, Collins, North Collins and a part of the Cattaraugus reservation, was cut out of the town of Willink.

In 1813, during the war, the first shop was opened in Taylor's Hollow by John Hanford; he also ran a hotel until at least 1820. In the winter of that year the first school was opened, in which John King officiated as a teacher.

Caption under picture at center reads Buffalo River, Harbor of the City

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After the war there was much immigration. Smith Bartlett built the first tannery in that town and a saw mill was established whereever a somewhat suitable place could be found. Nearly all of the former settlers were Quakers who already in 1817 had built a large double blockhouse for a church.

In 1820 the population had increased to such a degree that it was thought possible to keep up independently a new town. By legislative action on March 16th, 1810, this wish was fulfilled and the town of Collins was separated from Concord. The new town received its name from Turner Aldrich, who as the oldest living settler besides Jacob Taylor was entitled to name it; he chose the name of the family of his wife, who was a Nancy Collins.

At the time the new town was founded no postoffice existed; in 1822, however, one was established in Taylor's Hollow and a post-road was built through Eden and Collins to that point. The postoffice got the name of Angola and Jacob Taylor was appointed as the first postmaster. Until 1824 Taylor's Hollow was the end station; afterwards the post road was prolonged to Aldrich's Mills and a new postoffice was opened which was called West Lodi; later however the name was changed. Four years later the old town of Collins had already four postoffices, namely Collins in Karr's [1] Corner's, now North Collins, Angola in Taylor's Hollow, Collins Centre and Zoar. The last one was at the Cattaraugus Creek in the southeastern part of the town on a place where a bridge, a mill and a few houses were. About 1830 modern wooden houses were built instead of the old block houses. Collins Centre had become a village and Collins prospered as had been forseen on account of its excellent soil and favorable conditions. After Collins had been separated from Amherst by means of the foundation of Cheecktowaga [sic] it had become the largest town in Erie County, for it included nearly a hundred square miles besides the Indian territory.

In November, 1852, the town of Shirley, now North Collins, was formed, and Collins appeared as follows: The first supervisor of the town was John Lawton [2] , the present one is L.L. Hathaway. Other officers of the town are: Ward T. Tarbox, town clerk, E.A. Shaw, Edwin H. Russell and Irving J. King, justices of peace, James Casten, commissioner of public roads, John Loepp, Chauncey Lennox and Michael McGuire, assessors, John Ritz, collector and Luzern Clark, overseer of the poor. The present population of the town numbers about 3,000.

Collins Centre

The first settlements date as mentioned before back to the year of 1810. In 1816 the first hotel was opened by Nathan King. In 1827 the first shop was established and Israel Condon was the first physician.


[1]The German text gives the name as "Kerr's Corners". Return to text

[2]The German text gives the name as "John Larston". Return to text


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Revised May 1, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks