History of Ellicot, NY
FROM: History of Chautauqua County, New York and its people
John P. Downs - Editor-in-Charge.
Fenwick Y. Hedley Editor-in-Chief.
Published By American Historical Society, Inc. 1921


Ellicot - Ellicott, formed from Pomfret, June 1, 1812, received its name in compliment to Joseph Ellicott, so long connected with the Holland Land Company, comprised townships one and two of ranges ten and eleven, and included Poland, Carroll, Kiantone, and a part of Busti, making the town twelve miles square. April 16, 1823, the west half of township one, range eleven, was taken off to form Busti, and four of these lots were re-annexed to Ellicott May 7, 1845. March 25, 1825, Carroll was formed, and April 9, Poland was set off. Four lots were added from Carroll in 1845. Jamestown was carved out in 1886, leaving the towns surrounding it on the north, east, south and west sides, and containing 19,065 acres. Chadakoin river, the outlet of Chautauqua Lake, flowing northeast, unites with Cassadaga creek, flowing southwest, on the east line of the town, about equal distance from its north and south boundaries. Ellicott is surrounded on the west by Busti and Ellery, north by Gerry, east by Poland and Carroll, south by Kiantone and Busti. The soil is of alluvial formation along the streams, changing to clayey and then sandy loam as it approaches the hills. There are several artesian wells at Ross Mills, and a greater number at Levant, from some of which the water-works of Jamestown are supplied. These are from seventy-five to one hundred thirty feet in depth, and produce an abundance of pure cold water of unvarying temperature. The water is invariably found in coarse sand and gravel, under a layer of clay. The supply is apparently unlimited, and various theories concerning it have been advanced. The water is raised in these wells by its own force fully twenty-five feet above the surface of the ground.

The first election was held April, 1813, at the house of Joseph Akin. John Silsby, the nearest justice, presided, assisted by Laban Case, moderator. The officers elected were: Supervisor, James Prendergast; town clerk, Ebenezer Davis; assessors, Solomon Jones, Benjamin Covell, William Deland; commissioners of highways, William Sears, Michael Frank, Laban Case; overseers of poor, Joseph Akin, Stephen Frank; constable and collector, James Hall; constable, Laban Case; fence viewers, Ebenezer Cheney, Aaron Martin. The second town meeting met at the house of Joseph Akin in 1814, and adjourned to the tavern of Laban Case.

In 1813 the town voted $250 for bridges and roads, and that the supervisor solicit bridge money from the county. These roads were laid out in 1813. "From Joseph Akin's and Laban Case's past the 'Vernam place' to James Akin's; Reuben Woodward's to Culbertson's (afterward Colonel Fenton's); from near Jones Simmons's to near Edward Work's mill; from near Doctor Shaw's to near Simmons's. From the south of Fairbank, past Sloan's to Russell's mill at the public highway from the house of Lawrence Frank to Stillwater; from Simmons & Work's road at a sapling to James Prendergast's mills; from a small beech tree on the bank of the creek a few rods north of William Sears's to Prendergast's mills." In October, 1814, roads were laid out from "Joel Tyler's to Conewango to a black oak; from near William Sears' dwelling house, as formerly laid out by courses and distances, across Esquire Jones' bridge across Stillwater Creek to the bridge across the outlet of Chautauqua Lake, near and below James Prendergast's mills. (This was built by Reuben Landon); from Work's mill to the bridge over Cassadaga, leading to Kennedy's mills; from Fish's to near Garfield's." The $100 bridge money received in 1814 from the county was thus appropriated: Bridge across the outlet at Esquire Prendergast's, $37.67; bridge across Stiliwater creek, near Joseph Akin's, $29; bridge across Kiantone creek at Robert Russell's mill, afterwards A. T. Prendergast's, $33.33. The remainder was raised by the inhabitants. The building of all the bridges in those days was much aided by subscriptions payable in labor and materials.

The first settlers in Ellicott were William Wilson, George W. Fenton and James Culbertson. William Wilson located on the Chadakoin river, probably on lot 5, in a shanty in the spring of 1806; by June he had so far completed a log house as to make it his home, although as the land was not yet surveyed, he could not buy until May, 1808, when he purchased a portion of the west part of lot 5 and of the east part of lot 12; the land was occupied by him until his death in 1850. The same spring George W. Fenton located near Levant, put up a log cabin and made quite a clearing which he sold to John Arthur on removing to Carroll. James Culbertson is said to have located at the same time "north of the outlet," probably west would be better. These three, "except perhaps Edward Shillitto," were the first three settlers in the old "twelve miles square Town of Ellicott." Dr. Hazeltine graphically groups the early settlers of Ellicott thus: Wilson was living below Falconer in 1806, James Culbertson a mile below, George W. Fenton, John Arthur and Robert Russell on the opposite side of the outlet a mile below Work's in 1809. During the following year Thomas Sloan was on the old Indian clearing (the Prendergasts' farm) on the Kiantone; Solomon Jones, and the Akins and others on the Stiliwater. Nathaniel Bird was at the foot of the lake where the late Gideon Shearman lived, and William Deland on the Solomon Butler farm. Previous to the settlement of "The Rapids," the Frews, the Owens, the Myers, James Hall, Ebenezer Cheney, Ebenezer Davis, William Sears, Jasper Marsh and others were settlers on the Conewango and the Stiliwater in that part now Carroll and Kiantone. The first settlement in southern Chautauqua was at Kennedy. Dr. Thomas Kennedy in 1804 built the first sawmill there on the Conewango, and there were a number of settlers, but their names are lost. The Strunks, Zebulon Peterson, Augustus Moon, Benjamin Lee, Jonas Simmons, Amos Furguson, Thomas Walkup, and other early settlers of the north part came in shortly before or soon after the settlement of "The Rapids" had commenced.

August 1, 1807, Dr. Thomas R. Kennedy and Edward Work, who were developing the mill power at Kennedy, purchased a large tract on both sides of the outlet below Dexterville, including the mill sites at Worksburg and Tiffany's, and valuable timberland east of the Cassadaga river and Levant, along the Kennedy road. In the fall of 1807, Work erected a hewed log house north of the outlet. In 1808 he built his sawmills and put them in operation. About this time Kennedy and Work opened a road from Kennedy's mills to Work's mill and built the first bridge across the Cassadaga, about one-fourth of a mile above Levant. In 1809 Work built a gristmill with one run of stones, split out of large rock. The erection of this mill was a condition of the sale of the land. This mill was a great accomnjodatjon to settlers and led to the opening of roads to the settlements about the foot of the lake and to Stillwater creek and Frank's settlement. These mills were built three years before the settlement at Jamestown, when almost all travel was in keelboats and canoes or by Indian trails. Twelve of the boats used in the transportation of salt down the Allegheny were built at Work's mill in 1808. The discovery of the salt springs on the Allegheny, Kanawha and Ohio rivers caused the discontinuance of the salt trade by this route. The keelboats that came for salt brought loads of provisions, whiskey, iron castings, nails, glass, dried fruit and other articles. Edward Work Was a resident of Ellicott from 1807 till his death in 1857. From 1818 he was a prominent member of the Methodist church, and his home an hospitable "Methodist tavern." In 1840 he sold most of his property and retired from business.

Jonas Simmons came in 1809 and made a claim at Fluvanna, and in 1810 brought his wife and thirteen of his fifteen children. John Strunk, his wife's brother, and Benjamin Lee, whose wife was a sister to Mrs. Simmons, and John Strunk, came with him. Four of John Strunk's children were in the company, so a whole school district came in one company. These were the first settlers in the west part of Ellicott. Jacob Strunk, brother of John, settled in 1816 on lot 53, township 2, range 11. Augustus Moon, a soldier of 1812, located on lot 37, township 2, in 1814. His brothers, Gideon, Samuel and Jonathan, soon came. Their settlement gave name to Moon's Creek. In 1815 Nathan Cass made a clearing and built a sawmill at East Jamestown. A year later he sold to John and Darius Dexter, residents of Mayville from 1808. Darius was one of the most prominent citizens of Ellicott. He removed to Dexterville, as the mills were soon called, in 1818, and did extensive business for many years. He sold to Falconer, Jones & Allen. "He is remembered as the first colonel of the old 162nd Regiment, and a charitable man of great popularity."

Benjamin Ross came from Cincinnati in 1815, and in 1816 bought on lot 30, township 2, range 11, "Ross Mills." His nearest neighbor was at Work's Mills, and Mr. Ross and Isaac Young were twenty-one days in cutting a road through the intervening three miles. He built a log house and occupied it with his wife and child in December, 1816. "For a month they endured the cold without doors and windows, substituting blankets for them.

In 1817 Jacob Fenton came from Jamestown, where he had a hotel and pottery from 1814, and established a pottery at Fluvanna which he conducted until 1822, when he died, and his son, William H. Fenton, succeeded him. In 1826 Samuel Whittemore became a partner, which continued nearly twenty years. Mr. Whittemore came from Concord, New Hampshire, in 1826, in 1827 was appointed postmaster of Fluvanna, and continued in that office until near his death in 1875. He was chiefly instrumental in forming one of the earliest local temperance societies. He kept a hotel from very early date until his death, where no liquors were sold, and was much frequented as a summer resort-the first on the lake.

Nathan Meads settled on lot 35, township 2, range 11, in 1812, and purchased over four hundred acres the next year. He built two small log houses near the outlet, and in 1815 commenced a large two-story house of square hewed pine timber, which in 1816 he sold with his land to Solomon Jones and Henry Babcock. Thomas and Joseph Walkup in 1814 purchased lands on lot 48. Elias Tracy settled on lot 49 very early. Phineas Palmiter in 1813, Cyrus Fish, his brother-in-law, in 1814, and Stephen Wilcox in 1814, came with families. Palmiter bought on lot 64, but passed most of his life in Jamestown. Cyrus Fish had many children, and his descendants are among the best families of the county. Cyrus Fish, Jr., built a sawmill on Clove Run, where it is said, he operated the first "shingle machine" of the county.

Jehial Tiffany, brother of Silas Tiffany, was born in Randolph, Vermont, in 1798. He removed with his parents in 1809 to Darien, Genesee county. In 1816 he came to Ellicott and tarried a while, and after a visit to Darien returned to Jamestown in 1818, and was in trade with his brother, and dealt in lumber. In 1829 they built mills on the one thousand acre tract they had purchased on the Chadakoin river between Dexterville and Falconer, long known as "Tiffanyville." Here Mr. Tiffany resided, gave up merchandising and managed the mills and real estate. He died in 1867.

Levant, at the junction of Chadakoin river and the Cassadaga, early promised to be a place of importance. From 1840, when five hundred thousand bricks were made here annually, until the present, brick-making has been conducted. David Rider, a farmer near Levant, was a son of Silas Rider, who resided in Ellington from 1829 to his death in 1840. Stephen Pratt and family located in Gerry in 1819. He died in 1838. Nehemiah Horton settled in Gerry in 1818, and died August 1, 1855. His daughter, Mrs. Rufus Pratt, resided with her son, Merrick B. Asa W. Horton, son of Nehemiah, lived in the south part. Amos Blanchard settled in Ellicott in 1824. His son, Flint, a large farmer and dairyman, was prominent in Democratic politics. The largest body of pine timber of the county occupied the area of the original town of Ellicott. E. A. Ross, in a paper read before the Chautauqua Society of History and Natural Science, gives the pioneer lumbermen and mills of the Cassadaga, and from it we make this summary:

Russell Run, the first stream above the "outlet," empties into, the Cassadaga two miles above. Thomas Russell built the first sawmill on Russell Run one and one-half miles above its mouth in 1816; he operated it some years. It was later owned by E. W. Scowden, who ran it as long as there was timber. (Pine was the only kind then called fit to cut.) Charles and James McConnell built a mill half a mile above Russell's; after some years they sold to Cyrus and Artemas Fish. One mile above this Elisha Hall built a mill which he soon sold. The fourth mill and the lowest on the stream, was built by Gideon Gilson and later sold to Elisha Hall. It was one mile from Cassadaga, near the public highway and the residence of William Clark, one of the earliest settlers. The lumber from these hills was of fine quality and was hauled to Gilson's Landing at the mouth of the stream and there rafted. The next stream was Folson Run, which emptied into the Cassadaga, a short distance below Ross Mills. This had four mills. The lower, built by Elijah Akin, was later owned by Cyrus and Artetnas Fish and later by Anson Chamberlain. The mill next above this was built by Joel Tyler and changed owners often. John Cobb and Joseph Darling, the latter being the last owner and having cut the last timber, were among them. This was a double mill and cut the most lumber of any mill on the small streams. The next mill was between the last two mills, about a mile from each, and probably was built by Nathan Cherry. Adolphus Hooker, who later owned it, built another mill a little above this, and ran both until the timber was exhausted. These mills cut a large amount of timber for mills situated on dry or "thunder shower" creeks. The first mill on the Cassadaga above its mouth was built in 1817 by Benjamin Ross at Ross Mills. It was located in the bed of the natural stream. A dam was later built on its site and a new mill built on a race dug from the pond. The mill irons for the first mill were brought from Pittsburgh in a canoe, the trip occupying two weeks. The mill irons included castings for the gig and bull wheels, big crank and gudgeon for the main water-wheel, beaver tail for the pitman, the dogs and bars for the old-fashioned headblocks, bull-wheel chain and saw. These irons did service in all the old style mills on this site. This second mill was burned in July, 1832, after running only a short time. This was a sad blow to the little community that had come to depend upon the mill for employment, but the neighbors came from miles around to aid in replacing it and in six days another mill frame was raised.

This mill was operated until worn out and replaced with modern improvements with iron or patent waterwheel. This was the fourth and last mill owned by Benjamin Ross. He sold it to M. J. Morton, who sold it to Joel Partridge; he rebuilt it and sold to Wesley Martin. Three miles above the Ross mill John Hines and William Newton in 1819 built a sawmill on the Cassadaga and in 1822 built the first gristmill of that section. Joel and Thomas Walkup owned them later, and they were long known as the Walkup mills. John Cobb operated them later. He and his brother Rolland were then largely interested in lumbering. The last owner was R. M. Miller. Hatch Creek, the next tributary on which mills were built, empties into the Cassadaga half a mile above Walkup mills, and flows through Bucklin's Corners, early called "Vermont." There was only one mill on this stream at any time. Samuel Sinclear was builder and owner of one of the first mills. Tower Run, a small stream heading in Ellery, was the next stream utilized. Henry Shaw built its first mill in 1816. Elisha Tower and Jesse Dexter built a mill in 1827 which was burned after running eighteen months and reported to have been rebuilt and running in six days. Holden Moon built a third mill on this stream about 1840.

Falconer, the prosperous and rapidly growing manufacturing village of Ellicott, is an incorporated village, joining the city of Jamestown on the east. It is located on level ground, with dry gravelly soil, surrounded by a fine farming country, and has an intelligent, progressive population. It has most excellent shipping facilities, two of the lines of the Erie railway system forming a junction with the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh railroad, and the latter road having also a station north of the Chadakoin connecting with the Jamestown Electric street railway. An abundance of excellent water underlies the village at a depth of from fifteen to twenty feet, and is easily obtained through driven wells. Robert Falconer, the first of that family, was a Scotchman who after a prosperous business career in New York, located in Warren, Pennsylvania, and was the first president of the illfated Lumberman's Bank of Warren, Pennsylvania. He was at one time interested with Daniel Hazeltine in his manufacturing in Jamestown, and purchased real estate at Dexterville, Worksburg and at Kennedy. His sons, Patrick and William, became possessed of these valuable interests, and were extensive lumbermen and mill owners. Patrick studied law with Judge Hazeltine, for a time was his partner, and in 1840 bought his father's interests at Dexterville and Worksburg. In 1844, selling the Dexterville property, he became owner of Worksburg (which took his name), and resided there until his death in 1887. William, although a minor, was by special legislation made executor of his father's will. He built the building, now the hotel, at Falconer, and had other interests there. He was later a prominent resident of Kennedy, where he rebuilt the mills and conducted extensive lumbering and merchandising for years. W. T. Falconer and D. E. Merrill formed the W. T. Falconer Manufacturing Company in 1888, to make apiarian supplies, washing machines, advertising novelties, etc. F. T. Merriam established an extensive business here in 1888 for making sash, doors and blinds. In 1892 the Lister Mills, for the manufacture of textile fabrics, were located here and the company organized with a capital of $300,000. Large and substantial brick buildings were erected in 1892. Goodwill & Ashworth erected a large brick building in 1892, for the manufacture of woolen warp. Various other manufactories, with mercantile establishments, churches and a large and beautiful high school building, make up a thriving and active community.

In 1891 the Swedes erected a Union church of brick on a lot sixty by one hundred twenty feet presented to them. The members then consisted of thirty-five Lutherans, thirty Methodists and twenty-five Mission Friends. The Lutherans in 1892 formed an independent society.

In the fall of 1892 Brooklyn Heights Chapel, then a Sunday school mission of Jamestown church, and Falconer "appointment," having preaching "once a fortnight," on Sunday afternoons, with fifty members, connected with Frewsburg, were joined as the Second Methodist Episcopal Church of Jamestown.

The manufacturing concerns of the village as reported by the State census of 1915 are: The American Manufacturing concern; Chautauqua Planing Mill Co.; Chautauqua Worsted Mills Co., wool yarn; Cleveland Worsted Mills Co., wool yarn; Falconer Mirror Co.; Falconer Towel Mills; Gerry Veneer and Lumber Co.; C. W. Herrick Manufacturing Co.; Jamestown Mantel Co.; Lynndon Mirror Co.; Simpson, Jones & Co., yarn; Supreme Furniture Co., and four small factories. These plants maintain an average monthly force of 1,214 hands.

The village is well supplied with mercantile houses of all kinds, wholesale and retail. The First National Bank of Falconer meets all requirements and demands of a financial nature, and the public school system is most excellent, including a high school.

The churches of the village are the First Baptist, First Methodist Episcopal, Swedish Methodist Episcopal, Swedish Evangelical Lutheran, Wesleyan Methodist, Roman Catholic, Our Lady of Loretto.

Falconer Free Library is a well patronized institution, and lodges of the fraternal, benevolent and social orders are well represented. The population of the village according to the State census of 1915 iS 2,342.

Lakewood, another incorporated village of the town of Ellicott, is situated upon the shores of Lake Chautauqua, and according to the authority above quoted had in 1915 a population of 702. Lakewood is a popular lake resort, and three hotels accommodate visitors-The Lakewood Inn, The Sherman House and The Spencer Hotel. The churches are the First Methodist, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic, and the United Brethren. The Chautauqua Traction Company and lake steamers furnish frequent service.

Celoron, also an incorporated village, had in 1915 (State census) a population of 720. The village is charmingly located on Lake Chautauqua at its southern end, and there a beautiful park is maintained by the Celoron Amusement Company. The village is within the one fare trolley zone from Jamestown and the lake steamers also make it a regular landing place.

The full value of real estate in the town of Ellicott (supervisors' report) in 1918 was $3,866,117. The population of the town (State census, 1915) was 4,862 citizens, 354 aliens; total, 5,216.

The schools of these villages are of a high grade, ranging from kindergarten to high. The village form of government has proven adequate and satisfactory. Fire departments and all forms of sanitary methods are maintained. The town is prosperous, farming profitable, Jamestown and the lake resorts furnishing nearby markets for farm and dairy products. Life in. Ellicott, whether on farm or in village, is attended with the best advantages and both contentment and prosperity abounds.

Supervisors of the town as follows: 1813-15, James Prendergast; 1816-22, John Frew; 1823-25, James Hall; 1826, Solomon Jones; 1827, Nathaniel Fenton; 1828-29, Solomon Jones; 1830, Nathaniel Fenton; 1831-40, Samuel Barrett; 1841-42, William Hall; 1843, Horace Allen; 1844, Samuel Barrett; 1845-46, Henry Baker; 1847-48, Augustus F. Allen; 1849-50, Charles Butler; 1851, R. V. Cunningham; 1852, Augustus F. Allen; 1853-54, Henry Baker; 1855, Simeon W. Parks; 1856, Augustus F. Allen; 1857, Francis W. Parmer; 1858-59, Lewis Hall; 1860-68, Augustus F. Allen; 1869-70, Jerome Preston; 1871-72-73-74, Augustus F. Allen; 1875-76, Lewis Hall; 1877, Corydon Hitchcock; 1878-79, John T. Wilson; 1881-82-83, Robert N. Marvin; 1884-85, Daniel Griswold; 1886-87-88, Gustavus A. Bentley 2nd; 1889-96, Alonzo Halliday; 1897, Willis G. Price; 1898-1903, Merrick B. Pratt; 1904-06, Harley N. Crosby; 1907-08, Ransom B. Lydell; 1909, Conrad Anderson; 1910-20, Hermes L. Ames, who in 1914-15 was chairman of the board.

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