History of Hanover, 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



Hanover- The town of Hanover, the extreme northeastern town of the county, was formed from Pomfret, June 1, 1812, lost the area comprised in the town of Villenova in 1823 and a part of the town of Sheridan in 1827. It comprises township 6 of the tenth range, and in addition to the territory usually contained in a township six miles square, extends several miles north to Lake Erie and Cattaraugus creek, which form its northern boundary. Its 30,402 acres of well watered gravelly loam lie within Chautauqua's grape belt, these beautiful acres sloping from the lake to a height perhaps 600 feet above lake level in the south part of the town. So gradual is the rise that from most of the farms a view of Lake Erie is had, sometimes a broad view, sometimes but a glimpse. This wonderful tract is largely devoted to vineyards, their output very large. Silver Creek, an incorporated village with a population of 3,200 (New York State census, 1915), is the most important in the town, other settlements being, Forestville, also an incorporated village (population in 1915, 740), Irving, Abbey, Nashville and Smith Falls.

Forestville is the seat of the Hasesot Canneries Co., and of the fruit basket factory owned and operated by W. F. Miller.

Silver Creek's industries are The Columbia Postal Supply Co., manufacturers of canceling machines; Fredonia Preserving Co.; The S. Howes Company, grain cleaners; Huntley Manufacturing Company, grain cleaning and canning factory machinery; Invincible Grain Cleaner Co.; H. J. Montgomery Manufacturing Co., furniture; Silver Creek Parlor Frame Co.; Silver Creek Upholstery Co.; Stewart Underwear Co. The population of the town, according to the State census of 1915, was citizens, 467 aliens; total 6,465.

When the Holland Land Company made their original survey of Hanover, it was an almost unbroken wilderness. Great hemlocks, black walnut, white wood, elm, beech and other timber making up these great forests. The first purchaser of land in Hanover was Charles Avery, who bought lot 3 in Cattaraugus village in 1804. He was in the town in 1803, but it does not seem that he was the first settler, that honor being generally accorded to Amos Sottle, who in 1798 and 1799 assisted in surveying that part of the Holland Purchase, being entered on the books of the surveying company as "Amos Sawtel axeman." He is said to have had a shanty along the creek in which he lived alone for a year or more before entering the company's employ. He was for a time in Ohio with a surveying company, but in 1801 returned to Hanover, built a small log house for the entertainment of travelers and operated a ferry across the creek.

He married a colored woman at Buffalo, and lived with her until her death about 1844. His son John died at Cattaraugus and was buried in the graveyard lake; this was the first cemetery in the town. Sottle, after he built on lot 61, Cattaraugus Village, about 1845, moved John's remains to lot 61, near the house. Many of the remains of the other early inhabitants buried there were moved to Hanover Center Cerhetery, and the Railroad Company has since carried away the sand bank, cemetery and all. Chloe, Sottle's wife, was a good neighbor and kind-hearted. They had about the only orchard in the vicinity in the early days, and seldom a boy went to "Aunt Chloe" for apples in time of apples, but what he got some.

Ezekiel Lane was son-in-law of Middaugh. In 1800 Ezekiel Lane was one of the three who paid taxes at Buffalo, then, in 1803, he took up lands in Tonawanda, but lived on lot 48 in Cattaraugus Village, making his home in a small house belonging to Sottle.

The Cattaraugus settlement was at or near the mouth of the creek and was known as Cattaraugus, and the harbor made there by the government was called Cattaraugus Harbor. Yet the first postoffice there was called "Acasto." It must have kept this name until the formation of the Irving Company in 1836. The first map of what was afterward "Irving Village plot" was called "the map of the Village of Acasto." Dr. H. P. Wilcox's Albany papers came as late as 1850 addressed "Acasto." Some time about 1836 the name must have been changed. The postoffice was located at the lower village, Irving. The upper village, now Irving, was then called La Grange. During President Tyler's administration C. R. Leland was appointed postmaster, and the office moved to La Grange. The name of the office was not changed, but La Grange Village gradually took the postoffice name, Irving. Yet the place was so generally known as Cattaraugus that letters were frequently (especially by sailors) directed to Cattaraugus.

After the survey was made, settlers began to come in more rapidly. In 1804 Charles Avery took lot 3, Cattaraugus Village. He kept a store there and remained as late as 1816, in which year he was pathmaster. Avery, the first person who took up land in Hanover, was on the land at the time of the survey, having evidently located his land and bought as soon as it was in the market. This same year William G. Sidney took up lots 1 and 2, Cattaraugus Village, which he transferred to Captain John Mack. Sidney kept the Cattaraugus House, which he sold to Mack. Sidney came to Cattaraugus in 1801 or 1802, and remained until he died in 1807. Captain John Mack, who bought of Sidney, came in 1806, and kept the hotel and ferry there a long time. His daughter Elizabeth married Judge Richard Smith, at the Cattaraugus House, in January, 1807; this was the first marriage in Hanover. Judge Smith then lived in what is now Erie county, but soon after moved to Hanover, near Forestville and taught school there and at Silver Creek; he was one of the earliest teachers. Rev. Chalon Burgess was one of his scholars at Silver Creek. After Captain Mack's death, his son John kept a tavern until 1840, when he built the farm house near the railroad. Some years later he removed to South Bend, Indiana. Captain John Sydnor as early as 1803 or 1804, came to Cattaraugus and was there a number of years. February 23, 1805, Abel Cleveland and David Dickinson bought lot 74, township 6, range 10. The greater part of Silver Creek is on this lot, and the greater part, all but about thirty acres, was conveyed either by the land company or by Cleveland and Dickinson, to John E. Howard before 1805. Cleveland and Dickinson built a sawmill on the thirty acres-the first in town; to this they attached a mortar and pestle for pounding corn into meal. This was the first gristmill in town. Those mills were sold to John E. Howard in 1805 or 1806. In 1805 Jesse and John Skinner took up lot 73, the southern part of Silver Creek, and John Tyler took up lot 10, near Ashyule. Tyler apparently gave up his contract, for in 1810 the land company sold this lot to Guy Webster. Turner in his history (page 461) says that "in 1806 Aaron Dolph, William Tuttle, Elijah Lane and Henry Johnson took up lands at Irving," but it is very doubtful if they settled there or perfected their titles, as none of the early residents seem to have known them. In 1806, Abner Cooley bought lot 61, north of Forestville. In 1806 John E. Howard was the only resident at Silver Creek and owned lot 74, including the mills built by Cleveland & Dickinson. Artemas Clothier and Norman Spink came into Hanover this year and lived near Silver Creek. In 1806 also. Sottie first bought in town. He bought lots 55 and 59, Cattaraugus Village. In 1807 John Smith and David Scott articled lot 73 (afterwards sold to Artemas Clothier), part of the same lot articled to Jesse and John Skinner in 1805 at Silver Creek. In August, 1807, Samuel Johnson took up lot 68 on the lake adjoining Cattaraugus Village. He sold lot 68 and in 1809 bought lot 51 near Forestville, moved there and remained until his death. This lot was afterwards bought by John Mack. Ezra Puffer bought this same year (1807) lot 58, Cattaraugus Village; he seems never to have located there, but went to that part which became Villenova. He held a number of town offices in Hanover, was the first supervisor of Villenova, and moved to Indiana in 1843. In 1808 Rufus Washburn bought lot 57, near Forestville, and Benjamin Kenyon bought lot 63, Cattaraugus Village, built a house and lived there until his death about 1830. Walter Lull and Martin B. Tubbs bought lot 5o in 1808, near Forestville and the same year Sylvanus Maybe took up lot 7. In 1808 Jehial Moore settled at Forestville. He is said to have built the first house in Forestville, and in 1809 he moved his family in and also built the first sawmill below the Falls, and the first gristmill in 1810. In February, 1814, he moved to Ohio.

In 1809 Amos Ingraham bought lot 5, Cattaraugus Village. Ingraharn was drowned about 1835 in Cattaraugus Creek. This gave the name "The Ingraham Hole" to a deep place in the creek, which it still retains. Daniel Holbrook bought lot 58, Forestville, built and lived there. While Hanover included Villenova and Sheridan, the town-meetings and elections were held at Mr. Holbrook's. This year in September, Guy Webster bought lot 3, Nashville. The little settlement in the southeast part was called "Webster Settlement" until after 1814. Artemas Clothier this year bought part of lot 73, the south part of Silver Creek. He was a farmer and surveyor, and lived near Silver Creek until his death in 1879. Joseph Brownnell in December, 1809, bought lot 11, near Nashville. He wag, by the town records, the first supervisor, and held other offices. The same year Asher Cooley bought lot 33, near Forestville. In 1810 Ephraim Hall came from Lowell, Mass., to LaGrange. He located on lot 44, Cattaraugus Village, where he built and lived a few years. He also bought lot 43, known as the "Island." While living on lot 44, there was an ice-jam in Cattaraugus creek, setting the water back over the flats. Hall was awakened in the night by running water. He jumped out of bed into about a foot of water, got his family upstairs, where they lived three days with no fire or light except one candle. At length some men ran the bow of a boat into the open door and the family were relieved. By this jam Mr. Hall lost about ninety head of young cattle. Hall was justice of the peace of Pomfret and frequently held court at Fredonia. After the experience with high water, Mr. Hall bought part of lot 11, Cattaraugus Village, and built on its high grounds and lived there until about 1832, when he sold and bought part of lot 48, including the sawmill on the creek. In the War of 1812 a British war vessel chased an American schooner into the creek. The schooner ran as far up as it could, and the crew gathered the settlers and Indians to protect the schooner. The British fired a few shots and gave up the chase. Esquire Hall was one of the whites, and Morris Halftown one of the Indians in the company. Mr. Hall did in 1859. Rev. William Hall and his sisters were early teachers at Cattaraugus.

In 1810 Thomas Chapman bought part of lot 13, north of Nashville, James Webb part of lot 10, Uriah Nash number 19 at Nashville, Daniel Farnham lot 51, Joseph Lull lot 50, Thomas White lot 57, James Bennett lot 59, Forestville, and William Jones lot 33, and James Knapp lot 18, both between Forestville and Nashville. In 1811 Job Knight bought lot 63, Hezekiah Fish lot 53.

Dr. Jacob Burgess came into Hanover, settled at Silver Creek in 1811. He was the first physician in town. In 1812 he bought lot 74, south of Silver Creek. He lived at Silver Creek until his death in 1855. He left one son, Rev. Chalon Burgess, and two daughters.

Isaac Smith from Whately, Mass., came to Sheridan in 1810 and to Hanover that year or the next; bought with Erastus Scott lots 45 and 53, west of Smith's Mills. He was in the War of 1812 at Buffalo, contracted fever, and died. Rodney B. Smith, the founder of Smith's Mills, was his son. "When but fifteen, in 1812, he took his brother's place in the army and was in the battles of Chippewa, Black Rock and Williamsville." His son, Major Hiram Smith, of Jamestown, was quartermaster in the Civil War. Major George R. Smith, son of Major Hiram, was a graduate of West Point, and in 1882 was appointed paymaster in the United States Army.

Reuben Edmonds came in 1811, took lots 55 and 77. Lot 55 was near Hanover Center and lot 77 in Silver Creek. In 1812 Nedabiah Angell bought lot 47 at Angell's Settlement (Hanover Center). It is thought that he was acting supervisor in 1813, yet there is no record of his election. There seems to have been no lands taken up in 1813. In 1814 Jonathan L. Bartoo settled at Forestville, bought a farm and resided there a number of years. In 1816 he sold his farm and mill to Nathan Mixer, moved to Erie county, and died in 1852. In 1814 Benjamin Smith bought lot 45 and Otis Tower lot 69, near Angell's Settlement. Otis Tower remained in town until his death. In 1816 David Convis bought lot 54, south of Angell's Settlement; Norman Spink lot 52, near Forestville; he bought afterwards between the creeks, near Silver Creek, and died in Silver Creek; George E. Kirkland, number 5, on the east side of the town, and Walter Libbey, number 12, between Smith's Mills and Nashville. In 1817 Thomas Nevins bought lot 37, west of Smith's Mills; William McManus, lot 32, south part of town; Samuel P. McKee, lot 35, east of Forestville. In 1818 Solomon Gregory bought part of lot 59, Forestville; in 1822 James Beach bought lot 33, between Nashville and Forestville; in 1823 William Patterson bought lot 53, north of Forestville, and Israel Patterson lot number 43, east of Forestville; in 1826 George Love bought number 3, near Nashville; in 1827 William Dinsmore bought lot 32, south line, and Belinus Green bought lot 36, Cattaraugus Village. He built on this lot and resided there until his death in the seventies.

Albert G. Dow, a native of New Hampshire, came here in 1827 and after a residence of nineteen years removed to Randolph.

After 1827, settlers began to come in rapidly. Those who took up lands were not the only residents. There were many who came and remained who do not appear on the company's books, either never bought, or bought of individuals. As early as 1818 Philo Newton, from Massachusetts, came and remained until his death. Nine sons came with him, who settled at La Grange, and many of their descendants live here. Henry J. Newton, of Silver Creek, the last surviving son of Philo, died in the spring of 1894. Rufus L. Bonney, a soldier of 1812, came in soon after the war. Bonney died at Irving in 1886, aged 86. He married a daughter of John Smith, who came about 1807. Nathan Mixer came to Forestville in 1817. He was supervisor ten years, three terms a member of Assembly, and for a time associate judge of the county. He died at Forestville in 1871. George Love in 1820 settled for life near Forestville. Forestville was early known as Walnut Falls. The first postoffice there was called Hanover, and it is said Mr. Love brought the change of name to Forestville. Dr. Jeremiah Ellsworth came in 1828, settled at Silver Creek, practiced until 1846, moved to Ellington, and from there to Cony, Pa. He was supervisor of Hanover three terms. While at Ellington he was twice elected member of Assembly. In 1873 he was elected mayor of Corry. Comfort Birdsey came to Portland from Oneida in 1828 with his mother, a widow with three sons and three daughters. They came to Hanover the same year and settled between Hanover Center and Silver Creek. Mr. Birdsey was a man of good, safe judgment and much respected, holding various offices. He died in 1893.

In 1812, when Hanover was formed, there was a scattering population in various parts. There were four centers, hardly villages: Silver Creek, then Fayette; Irving, then Cattaraugus; Forestville, and Nashville (Webster Settlement). At the first election for member of Assembly, April, 1813, in Hanover, which comprised Sheridan and Villenova, the whole number of votes cast was only 112. James Williams received 67, and Jacob Houghton 45. There is no record showing any town election in 1812 or 1813. The first town meeting of which there is record preserved is thus recorded: "Resolutions and proceedings of the annual town meeting held at the house of Daniel Holbrook for the year 1814, April 5, Bethel Willoughby chosen moderator. Resolved, that Joseph Brownell be and is hereby appointed Supervisor for the year ensuing. Resolved, that Samuel J. Smith be and is hereby appointed Clerk for the year ensuing. Resolved, that Ezra Puffer, Nedabiah Angell and Miles Webster are hereby appointed assessors." The date 1813 given by Mr. Young and Judge Foote as that when Daniel Russell was chosen supervisor, is wrong. The record is some pages later in the record book and says "1815." The error arose from mistaking a five for a three.

In 1830 and after that the lands were taken up more rapidly, and various branches of business began to spring up in different parts of the town. In 1828 Oliver Lee bought of John E. Howard the mill property and other lands on lot 74, at Silver Creek and opened a store. He soon built up a large trade with the Indians and settlers reaching to the south line of the county. When Lee came there were but eight or ten houses in Silver Creek. Oliver Lee died at Buffalo in 1846. C. C. Swift came from Batavia as a clerk for O. Lee, sent by Ellicott in answer to Lee's request for a man who talked Seneca. He remained with Lee as clerk and partner until Lee closed business at Silver Creek. He married Lee's daughter. The early merchants at Silver Creek were Stephen Clark, John E. Howard and Mannng Case. After these came John M. Cummings. The village was west of Walnut Creek before 1828. The post office, then Fayette, was kept in a store on that side when Oliver Lee came. In 1832 William Van Duzer was postmaster, and moved the office to Lee's store, east side of Walnut and between the two creeks. O. Lee and C. C. Swift continued in mercantile business until about 1846. Afterward there were engaged in business there Ammi Merchant and Daniel Rumsey in 1849; Foot & Rumsey; Rumsey & H. N. Farnham. The firm was H. N. Farnham & Co. With Farnham, in the company at different times were Justin Clark and Joseph Wells. Farnham's business was sold to Mack Montgomery and Charles Wells and continued by Charles Wells to 1872. E. R. Ballard and H. H. Hawkins traded in the O. Lee store. Silas Gates, O. Lee Swift and Porter Smith were also traders.

At Cattaraugus, soon after 1830, the United States government commenced building a harbor and expended much money in building piers, etc., to protect and keep the channel open. Thus a village grew up at the mouth of the creek and was known as Cattaraugus. Stores and storehouses were built there. Considerable freighting business was done, and large quantities of lumber shipped, as the harbor gave an outlet to market for lumber, and soon five or six lumber mills were built at La Grange, a mile and a half above the harbor. The Irving Company was formed August 17, 1836, and bought about twenty Cattaraugus Village lots at the mouth of the creek. The title to a large amount of land bought by the company was owned by Rufus Reed, who conveyed it to Augustus C. Stevens in 1835. He conveyed lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Cattaraugus Village. The Irving Village plot included the first twenty-four Cattaraugus Village lots.

John I. Thorn and family and Hiram Sackett and family, from Dutchess county, came to Portland in 1829, and to Hanover in 1830 and located at La Grange. Thorn bought of Squire Ephraim Hall lot 11, Cattaraugus Village, and Sackett, lots 47, 48, Cattaraugus Village, of Holland Land Company, and of C. A. H. McGregor, a nephew, of Ellicott, lots 43, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57 and 58, Cattaraugus Village, and lot 59 of Sottle. Sackett afterward owned the two sawmills on the creek, and carried on lumbering and merchandising there along with his farming. A large part of his lands he sold afterwards to John J. and E. B. Guernsey. He was elected for several terms justice of the peace, and was for a.number of years a judge of the court of common pleas. He died at Irving in 1869, aged 72. He was "affable and courteous in his manner, decided in his convictions, a man of strict integrity and of comprehensive mind, and scrupulously just; evincing in his judicial character those qualities of mind and heart which made him both the able and the just Judge." His children were Jehiel, John J., Joseph T., Marcus, Semantha and Niram, Jr.

Forestville, after the building of the saw mill and grist mill in 1809 and 1810, was the center of much business and early had a large trade in pot and pearl ashes.

The Holland Land Company laid out a road from Fredonia through Forestville and Nashville. This road became the road drovers took in driving their cattle, hogs and sheep to New York and Philadelphia. Taverns were about as frequent there as on the main road along the lake. Forestville received early a number of enterprising men who materially assisted in building it up. Among them were John Hurlbut, Nathan Mixer, Albert H. Camp, Daniel and Harvey Holbrook, William Colville, Jr., Amos Avery, M. D., Adoiphus and Orrin Morrison and later Daniel Sherman, L. J. Pierce, P. O. Tower.

After the Erie and Lake Shore railroads came in 1851-52, the whole character of the town was changed. The road from Fredonia to Nashville ceased to be used by drovers. A similar change took place in the northern part of the town. After the Lake Shore railroad came through in 1852, the long lines of emigrant wagons going to the west were no longer to be seen, and the hotels closed for the want of custom. The main road along the lake shore from the old Mack Tavern to Silver Creek was principally abandoned for a more direct new road from upper Irving to Silver Creek. The business at Irving and Silver Creek was much reduced by the cutting off of the trade with the southern towns. Forestville also lost its part of the southern towns trade. The lower vih lage of Irving was entirely abandoned, except one or two fishing shanties near the lake. From the coming of railroads Forestville and Silver Creek more largely, invested in manufacturing and increased in population and wealth until they are thriving places. Forestville had a disastrous fire in 1870, which burned most of its business places and checked its growth for years. Silver Creek's most enterprising citizens after 1853 built factories, machine shops, etc.

February 10, 1877, a few farmers met at Deacon A. S. Giles' to form a farmers' club, which was organized March 22, 1877, at the house of A. M. Keach, as the "Farmers' Club of Hanover," with J. J. Keyes, president, and A. S. Giles, R. C. Clothier, E. Dennison, A. M. Keach, J. J. Keyes, William Gardner, N. C. Southworth, Comfort Birdsey, D. J. Rider, J. F. Elson, Mr. McEwen and John Mixer, members. It meets two Saturdays in each month.

Hanover Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, was instituted at Forestville, February 5, 1824. Charter members: Luther Thwing, worshipful master; Ezra Puffer, senior warden; Seth Snow, junior warden; Albert H. Camp, secretary; Warren Griswold, treasurer; Ephraim Judson, Richard Smith, William Jones and Elijah Robinson. Discontinued in 1828; it was rechartered in 1849.

Silver Lodge, No. 757, Free and Accepted Masons, was organized November 11, 1874. The charter members were Hiram Washburn, worshipful master; Amos Bowen, senior warden; G. W. Eacker, junior warden; O. Lee Swift, treasurer; C. G. Talcott, secretary; Frank Swift, senior deacon; P. W. Bates, junior deacon, and F. D. Fuller, W. L. Cristy, F. M. Gifford, James Chesbro, Ebenezer Buel, W. W. Huntley, Smith Clark, A. L. Mulkins, A. Montgomery, M. Leland, W. S. Andrus, Squire Keith, G. D. Chesbro, H. Newton, G. W. Smith, G. B. Bishop.

Silver Creek Lodge, No. 682, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was instituted October 31, 1893. Charter members: H. A. Weston, W. W. Cole, C. M. Homan, John Schmill, D. J. Van Viack, H. W. Allen.

The supervisors have been: Joseph Brownell, 1814-19; Daniel Russell, 1815-28-29-30; Nathan Mixer, 1820-27-31-32-36; Seth Snow, 1825; Oliver Lee, 1833-35; William Colville, Jr., 1837-46-50-51; Ebenezer R. Avery, 1838; Adolphus F. Morrison, 1839-48; Ezekiel B. Gurnsey, 1840; Thomas C. Hale, 1841; Jeremiah Ellsworth, 1842-44-45; Orson Stiles, 1843; Henry H. Hawkins, 1847; Charles H. Lee, 1849-52; Hiram Smith, 1853-54; Clark C. Swift, 1855-56; Hiram Smith, 2nd, 1857-59; Chandler Scott, 1860-62-67; Cyrus D. Angell, 1863; William D. Talcott, 1864; Nahum S. Scott, 1865-66; John D. Miller, 1868-69; Norman B. Brown, 1870-71; Smith Clark, 1872-73; LeRoy Andrus, 1874; Carlos Ewell, 1875-76; O. Lee Swift, 1877-78; John G. Record, 1879; Seth M. Tompkins, 1880-81; Jason Knapp, 1882-85; Albert H. Stebbins, 1886-93; John McAdam, 1892; Asa Dye, 1894-99; Frank L. Smith, 1900-01; David T. Smith, 1902-05; Frank A. Rider, 1906-11; James O. Bennett, 1912-13; Loren W. Stebbins, 1914-20. F. J. McCarthy was elected supervisor in 1918 and died during the annual session of board. L. W. Stebbins, the former supervisor, was appointed to fill the vacancy and was elected his successor.

The full value of the town real estate in 1918 was $5,694,070; the equalized assessed value, $4,467,403.

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