History of Kiantone, 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



Kiantone- Kiantone lies upon the south border of the county. It was set off from Carroll, November 16, 1853, and its name perpetuates the memory of the Indians who occupied the village on the creek, called by them, Kyenthono. Its surface is undulating in the east and hilly in the west. The highest summits are about one hundred feet above Chautauqua Lake. Conewango creek and its tributaries, Stiliwater and Kiantone creeks, are its principal bodies of water. The soil is a gravelly loam. Its area is 11,456 acres. Attracted by the beauty of the charming Kiantone region, James Prendergast early articled over twelve hundred acres, lots 50, 58 and 59, township 1, range 10, and part of lot 3, township 1, range 11, Here he developed a magnificent estate and passed his last years, and here his son, Alexander T. Prendergast, conducted a model farm.

Joseph Akin, from Rensselaer county, came with his family in 1807 and located on lands on the Stillwater (later owned by the Russell heirs), near the west line of the town. He was the pioneer settler, and was imbued with the plan of building up a town "Akinsville," but the survey was not completed, and as he could not obtain a clear title, he could not sell, and in 1814 the plan was abandoned. Laban Case, however, had rolled up a log tavern and a blacksmith shop. Mr. Akin built a bridge about 1814 on the Stiliwater creek, and the first town meeting in Ellicott in 1813 was appointed at "Joseph Akin's house at Stillwater." He was an energetic, ambitious man. Several of his relatives located here and the name of Akin is borne by many of Kiantone's worthy citizing.

Robert Russell accompanied his father John, and brothers, John and Thomas, to the lower Conewango in 1800. In 1808 he, with his brother Thomas and John Frew, articled his land at Batavia, which was lot 1, north of the Conewango. He built the first mill on Kiantone creek, above the Indian village from which the town and stream received their name.

In the summer of 1810, Solomon Jones, from Wardsboro, Vermont, located land, felled timber, partly built his loghouse, hired Elijah Akin to complete it, and returned to Vermont for his family. They arrived at Mayville November 1st, where a flatboat was engaged to transport his family and goods down the lake. Mr. Jones and his son Ellick brought their five horses down on the east side of the lake. For two cold dreary days Mrs. Jones and her five daughters under nine years of age were tossed on the waves with cold spray dashing over them, while part of the way the ice had to be broken to allow the passage of the boat to "The Rapids." The ground was covered with snow. After a few days' stay at Joseph Akin's, they moved into their unfinished cabin. They resided in Kiantone for nearly ten years.

John Jones, a son of Abraham, Sr., came from Vermont with his son Levi, and settled on lot 2 in Kiantone in 1814 In 1815, Benjamin, son of John, moved from Vermont and settled on the same lot.

William Sears, a native of Wardsboro, Vermont, came in 1810. In the spring of 1811 he purchased lot 11, on which the village of Kiantone is built; this was at one time called Sears. Mr. Sears erected what was probably the first inn. He subsequently built another tavern on this farm, and here resided until his death. He married Ruby, oldest daughter of Ebenezer Cheney. Ebenezer Cheney was a native of Orange, Mass. He settled on part of lot 12, township 1, range 11, his deed bears date November 12, 1812. He resided for a short time in Jamestown from 1817, but returned to his farm in Kiantone, where he died in 1828, aged 67 years. His children were: Nelson, Ruby, Mary, Abigail, Maria, Anna (the wife of Judge Elial T. Foote), Levi and Seth. Seth, the youngest son, married Cynthia, daughter of Benjamin Jones, who was a man of moral worth and integrity and early and active in the cause of temperance.

Jasper Marsh, a native of Massachusetts, came in i8ii, settled on lot 28, township 1, range 11, near Joseph Akin's, on Stiliwater creek. He was a farmer and mechanic, supplying many of the early settlers with large spinning-wheels, reels, common chairs, hay-racks, fork-handles, and most other wooden articles turned in a lathe. His wares were generally stamped "J. Marsh." He was a Revolutionary soldier, present at the surrender of Burgoyne, and drew a pension for his services.

Ebenezer Davis, accompanied by his brother Emri, came from Wardsboro, Vermont, in 1812, and settled on or near the Stillwater creek in Kiantone. He married Lydia, a daughter of William Hall. He was the first town clerk of Ellicott, which then included Carroll and Kiantone. At the first revival in 1818, commenced under the preaching of Elder Davis, Baptist, Ebenezer Davis was the first person baptized in Stillwater, at Akin's bridge. He died January 9, 1846, aged 66. The land book shows Mr. Davis as an original purchaser by article, only of the south part of lot 37, township 1, range 10, in May, 1814. The assessment roll of Pomfret, however, has the name of Ebenezer Davis on the east part of lot 28, township 1, range 11, now in the west part of Kiantone, a short distance south of Stiliwater creek. Mr. Davis' children are said to have possessed much musical ability.

Elijah Braley, a native of Wardsboro, Vermont, emigrated to Chautauqua county in 1811, and purchased in June, lot 10, township 1, range 2, of about one hundred fifty acres of wild land in Kiantone. Here he cleared and cultivated his land and made a home. His first wife was Lucinda Sears; his second, Electa Strong, of Gerry.

James Hall, son of William and Abigail (Pease) Hall, of Wardsboro, Vermont, came in the spring of 1812. Dr. Hazeltine says: "He took up lands in that part of the town of Ellicott now known as Kiantone, about a mile west from Kiantone village, and there resided until his death in 1846. James Hall served in various town offices of Ellicott until Carroll was set off, then as supervisor of Carroll until he refused to serve longer. In 1833 he was elected member of Assembly. The known Whig majority was about 2,000; nevertheless, James Hall, Democrat, was elected by 1,700. He was a member of the Congregational church. His first wife was Mary, second daughter of Ebenezer Cheney. Their children were: Abigail, Lewis and Elial. Mr. Hall married second, her sister, Abigail Cheney; his third wife was another sister, Maria Cheney. Children: Erie Mary and James. James enlisted in the Civil War and fell at Malvern Hill. The post of Sons of Veterans in Jamestown was named for him. Samuel Hall, oldest brother of James, came in 1814, took up land on the Stillwater, on what is now the dividing line between Busti and Kiantone, here made his home, and here died in 1859. His son, Chapin Hall, was born in Ellicott in 1816, John A. Hall was another son.

Captain William Martin, son of Aaron Martin, of Busti, was born at Claverack, Columbia county, November 7, 1789. He came to Busti with his father in 1811, and with his brother Isaac took up lot 23, township 1, range 11, in Kiantone, where he lived most of his life afterward and where he died. In 1828 he went back to Busti to care for his father's family and remained till about 1847, when he returned to his Kiantone place. He was in the War of 1812, served as ensign in the company of Lieut. William Forbes in 1813. He was taken prisoner on the road from Black Rock to Buffalo on the day of the burning of Buffalo, carried to Montreal and kept until May 14, 1814. He was called out again in the fall, and received a commission as captain in the militia two years later. He was a Universalist, a rigorous temperance man, and would have no whiskey used among his workmen in farm work, even when it was the almost universal custom. He married Roxy Pier, of Busti, in 1815. Their children were Isaac; Abram, born October 12, 1818, married Mary E., daughter of Eliphalet Burnham, of Pomfret, February 4, 1845. The Burnhams were descended from Thomas Burnham, a lawyer, who settled in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1865. Eliphalet Burnham was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, in 1779, and settled in Pomfret on lot 6, township 5, in 1805, on the place later owned and occupied by Lyvenus Ellis. Mr. Burnham in 1834 bought the paper mill at Laona, subsequently sold the mill, went to Pennsylvania, where he died September 27, 1863. He was a publicspirited man, very generous, and his house was the free abiding place of a large number of the early settlers and their families while they were getting their houses ready for use. He was a very earnest member of the Baptist church, first at Fredonia and then at Laona, a Whig in politics and an abolitionist. Mr. Burnham's second wife was a daughter of Elijah Carter, who settled in Charlotte in 1817. She was a very superior woman intellectually, and kept up her interest in everything until her death, August 27, 1882, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mary Martin, in Kiantone, aged near 90. Captain William Martin died September 13, 1875, and his wife in March, 1883.

Abram Martin, son of William, lived always in Kiantone except from about 1828 to 1840, when he was with his father in Busti. He occupied part of the land on lot 23, originally taken by his father. He died November 29, 1893. He was active in the support of the Republican party from its organization until about 1880, when he joined the Prohibition political party. He was at different times trustee of the Universalist societies of Kiantone, Frewsburg and Jamestown, and an advocate of the enfranchisement of women. His daughter, Ellen A. Martin, born January i6, 1847, was the first woman in this county to regularly pursue the study of law. In 1871 she entered Cook & Lockwood's office for the study of law and as a clerk. In 1873 she entered the University of Michigan, and graduated in 1875. This admitted her to practice in Michigan courts. In January, 1876, she was admitted to the bar of Illinois, and has since been in practice in Chicago.

Ezbai Kidder, a native of Webster, Mass., came from Vermont to Ellicott in 1813, and in 1816 cleared land on his purchase in what is now the northeast corner of Kiantone. He was the first supervisor of the town of Kiantone. He was a member of the Congregational church of Jamestown. He died aged 92 years. His wife, Louisa (Shearman) Kidder, died in 1867. Samuel Kidder, their son, occupied the homestead; he married Eleanor Patridge.

The population of Kiantone, as reported by the State census of 1915, is 641, 43 of these being aliens. Kiantone, the only village of the town, is a small settlement in the southern part.

Kiantone, the smallest town of the county, contains 11,456 acres. The assessed valuation of real estate in the town for the year 1918 was $367,792, full value $468,782.

The first town meeting was held at the house of E. Frissell, February 21, 1854. Ezbai Kidder was elected supervisor; Levant B. Brown, clerk; Levant B. Brown, Martin C. Grant, Charles Russell, Aaron J. Phillips, justices of the peace; Francis M. Alford, superintendent of schools; Joel Scudder, Jr., and Nathan A. Alexander, assessors; Simeon C. Davis, Smith Spencer and Stephen C. Rhinehart, commissioners of highways; Stephen Norton, collector; Eddy Weatherly, Joshua Norton, overseers of the poor; Stephen Norton, Joseph Davis, Abram Martin, James Griffin, constables; Milo Van Namee, George A. Dorn, Stephen Norton, inspectors of election (appointed). Alexander T. Prendergast, Benjamin T. Morgan and James B. Slocum, with Albert Scudder as clerk, were designated a board to preside at this meeting.

Supervisors- 1853-54, Ezbai Kidder; 185556, Lucian V. Axtell; 1857, Charles Spencer; 1858, D. G. Morgan; 1859, Russell M. Brown; 1860, George A. Hall; 1861, Russell M. Brown; 1862-65, Wellington Woodward; 1866-67, Aaron J. Phillips; 1868, W. Woodward; 1869-72, Joel Scudder; 1873, Aaron J. Phillips; 1874-75, John H. Russell; 1876, Charles W. Creal; 1877, W. Woodward; 1878, Charles W. Creal; 1879-80, Joel Scudder; 1881, Charles W. Creal; 1882, C. E. Woodworth; 1883-85, George C. Fissell; 1886-87, Samuel Kidder; 1888-89, Izariah Hall; 1890, Samuel Kidder; 1891-97, Allen A. Gould; 1898-01, Andrew B. Carter; 1902-07, Alonzo J. Martin; 1908-09, Parker K Miller; 1910-17, George C. Kidder; 1918-20, Alonzo J. Martin.

The Kiantone Movement was a phase of early spiritualism which yet lingers as a memory of the past-173 acres were purchased by Spiritualists in the town of Kiantone and christened "The Domain." Ten or twelve cottages, square, round and octagon, were built, and "The Domain" attempted on the community of interest plan. Fruit culture was begun and a grove of Osier willows planted for basket weaving, and the community seemed to prosper.

At the camp meeting held there in September, 1858, a mob spirit developed and from that year its popularity declined. The ruins of the round and octagon houses may yet be seen while the tangled mass of willows remain as a prominent feature of the landscape.

The First Congregational Church of Kiantone was organized in 1815, as the First Church of Ellicott, about a year earlier than the Congregational church of Jamestown. After Carroll was formed from Ellicott in 1825, the church was called the Congregational church of Carroll, and since the separation of Kiantone from Carroll in 1853, the church has been known as the Congregational church of Kiantone. It was organized by Rev. John Spencer with these members: Asa Moore, Samuel Garfield, Levi Jones and their wives; John Jones, Anna, wife of Ebenezer Cheney, Mrs. Wheeler, wife of Josiah Wheeler, and William Deland. The first deacon was John Jones. For several years the church had occasional preaching in dwellings and school houses by John Spencer. Early ministers were Amasa West, Samuel Leonard, Isaac Eddy, Simeon Peck, Joseph S. Emory, 0. D. Hibbard, S. W. Edson, T. A. Gale, E. M. Spencer, W. T. Reynolds, N W Barnes, W A Hallock. In 1830 a meeting house was built on a site given the society by Mrs. Ruby (Cheney) Sears.

The first Christian Society of Universalists in Carroll was formed at the present village of Kiantone, Dec. 30, 1853. The constitution and by-laws of the society were subscribed to by about twenty-five persons. A meeting house was built in 1845, and a church was organized November 26, 1853. A constitution, articles of faith and form of church covenant were adopted and were signed by Rev. F. M. Alvord, pastor; N. A. Alexander, Horatio N. Thornton, stewards; Joseph Case, Arthur B. Braley, Oliver G. Chase, Caroline Wheaton, Eunice N. Thornton, Mary S. Thornton, H. N. Thornton was chosen clerk.

Kiantone schools are on the same modern plan as those of the surrounding towns and are well supported.

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