The Town Its Name is Cuba
From: Civic History and Illustrated Progress
of Cuba, Allegany Co., N. Y.
1822-1910
By John Stearns Minard

The Town
Its Name is Cuba

Since 1815 the territory embraced in this town as at present defined, with Clarksville and Genesee, had been a part of Friendship, and from 1808 to 1815 a part of Caneadea.

The “state road” had been opened as early as 1815 to be succeeded by the wonderful “turnpike” from Bath and points further east, to “Olean Pint” which was completed in 1822 and that wonderful tide of humanity which peopled Ohio, Indiana and Illinois had already begun to pour itself with its household goods, horses, cows, sheep, hogs and chickens upon the bosom of the Alleghany, to be floated on rafts and flatboats to the nearest points to their several destinations, and public houses were springing up quite thickly along its way.

To the east, Stephen Cole had in 1814 opened the first inn in town; to the west, and in the immediate neighborhoodof the Howell Condensery, but on the opposite side of the road, Ira Tracy had opened a public house, in a large log structure, while down the creek at the junction of the state and “Allegany road’ was found the Hicks tavern, and a couple of miles northeast from Hick’s, the famous Morgan stand furnished the best of “accommodations for man and beast.”

Calvin T. Chamberlain had for five years been running a sawmill to the west and in the vicinity of. the outlet of Cuba lake. Stephen Cady and Jacob Baldwin had erected a sawmill and gristmill, and started other improvements.

John Griffin in 1820 appeared upon the scene, succeeded to the possession of the land which James Strong had purchased in 1817, had completed a commodious double log structure, and opened it as a public house. One of his sons, Epenetus H., was conducting the business of innkeeping in 1822.

Roads to the east, west and north had been opened, and to the south as far as Clarksville was found a passage through the woods, no better than a good log road, while the Flaskel creek road beyond the summit, was still hid. den in the womb of the future.

Discerning, clear visioned, sagacious men were convinced that the geographical configuration of the country, its streams, valleys and hills, with its wealth of timber of many varieties3 pointed unmistakably to a beautiful and thriving village here in the not far dis tart future. As population increased, lope in the future of the place grew strong.

Quite naturally a feeling of unrest became manifest; they began to feel their importance, and protested against going so far to attend town meetings, and to perform official duties.

Accordingly a movement was started, which resulted in the division of the town of Friendship and the erection of the town of Cuba as appears by the following:

Chapter 12, Laws 1822.
Passed Feb. 4, 1822.
An Act for the Division of the Town of Friendship.

1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of New Ynrk,, represented Senate and Assembly.

That from and after the first Monday of March next, all that part of the town of Friendship, in the County of Allegany, comprising townships number one, two and three, in the second range in the Holland land company’s purchase, shall be erected in a separate town, by the name of Cuba; and that the first town meeting shall be held at the house of Epenetus H. Griffin, in the said town, on the flrst Tuesday of March next.

II. And be it Further Enacted

That all the remaining part of said town of Friendship, shall be and remain a separate town, by the name of Friendship, and that the first town meeting shall be held at the house of Amos Thatcher in said town.

III. And be it Further Enacted

That as soon as may be, after the first Tuesday in April next, the supervisors and overseers of the poor, of the aforesaid town, shall by notice to be given for that purpose by the supervisors ther2of, meet together and apportion the poor maintained by the said town of Friendship, and, the poor money belonging to the same previous to the division thereof, agreeably to the last tax list, and that each town shall forever thereafter support its own poor.

It does not appear from the record, who presented the bill, but in all probability it was Amos Peabody, who, with Grattan H. Wheeler represented the Assembly district composed of Allegany and Steuben counties, as he was the member from this county, and in the following November was elected county clerk.

At whose suggestion the new town was christened Cuba, the writer has never been able to learn. He has asked many people, and many have asked him “Who gave the town its name?” but all to no avail.

In this connection it is a pleasant privilege to appropriate one of the many results of the Rev. Fr. Hartigan’s classical readings-the following disquisition on the name Cuba:

Cuba is a Roman word, and means goddess or protectress of the young. The word frequently appears in the recorded conversations and in the more formal writings of the Roman people during those years when heaven and earth were filled with fanciful divinities.


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