History of Poland, 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


Poland - Lying between Carroll and Ellington in the eastern tier of towns and directly east of Ellicott, from which town it was set off, April 9, 1832, Poland comprises township 2, range 10, and was originally covered with great forests of immense pines. It was this magnificent timber which first attracted settlers to Poland and the conversion of these great forests of pine, hemlock, elm, maple, beech, oak and chestnut into lumber was long the sole town industry. Many of the pines measured five and six feet in diameter and "Poland Quality" in lumber was the standard.

Captain Newell Cheney, in the "Centennial History of Chautauqua County" prepared an article on the town of Poland, from which this chapter is largely drawn. He states that Mr. Cheney, of Kiantone, an early surveyor, used a fallen pine 268 feet in length to stretch his chain upon.

Daniel Griswold gives these figures of the product of six hundred acres on lot 21 in Salamanca as an evidence of the enormous yield of these early forests: This tract averaged five trees of white pine to the acre and produced over 6,500,000 feet of lumber, while the hemlock made fully twice that quantity, making the average product per acre over 33,000 feet. E. A. Ross, in his paper on early lumbering, says: "When we come to make an estimate of the amount of lumber made on the Cassadaga and its tributaries, you can form some idea of the vast amount of lumber made on the upper Allegheny. As I make it, about eighteen mills are putting lumber out of the Cassadaga, and allowing two hundred thousand feet for the smaller, and five million feet for the larger mill, would make two hundred seventy-five to three hundred rafts, requiring five hundred fifty or six hundred men to run them to the mouth of the creek and half that number from there to the Allegheny. When all these men were mustered into service and put on their line of march, or drift, it took about all of the resources of the inhabitants along the streams to furnish them with food and lodging."

Capt. Cheney, in his article, thus interestingly describes the geological features of the town:
In the stone quarry at Kennedy is found, sandwiched between the rocks, a wide bed of sea shells several inches thick. Above this strata of shells is more than twenty feet of solid rock. These shells are the earliest evidence of animal life in this region. They belong to the class of sea mollusks called Brachiopods (or branching feet) and their clear imprint in the rocks may properly be called the first foot prints. Here they lived their natural lives for many generations in the bottom of the ancient sea that then covered this region, and were then buried under many feet of mud and sand.

After many thousands of years by some spasm of nature they were lifted up to their present position, thirteen hundred feet above the sea. This record of early life of millions of years ago, so well preserved and so plainly read in the rocks, makes the period covered by human monuments seem brief, indeed. For many other thousands of years following this uplift of the land, the region here was rough and rocky, with high, steep cliffs and deep canyons. The waters of this region found their way to the Allegheny River, which then flowed along a deep channel near the present location of the Conewango, into a river that flowed to the north through Falconer, Cassadaga and Fredonia, and found its way to the sea by way of the St. Lawrence.

Along the narrow valley below the Kennedy stone quarry are many fragments of the local rocks, broken and worn, some showing the imprint of the sea shells. Scattered about near are pieces of granite, some quite large, and all much worn and rounded. These are the granite boulders, and we are confronted with the question-where did these come from, and how did they get here?

This was a question that puzzled geologists for many years till solved by Professor Agassiz. His solution is so clear and so sustained by all the evidence, it is now universally accepted. These stray pieces of granite were broken from the gigantic ledges of Northern Canada and brought here by glaciers that extended from the northern regions all over this part of the continent during many thousands of years of wintry climate. These glaciers, hundreds of feet thick, are set on their under surface with sand and gravel; these same granite boulders we find strewn over the land and through the soil of the whole glaciated area, made the grinding force which cut down the rocky cliffs, filled the deep gorges and covered the whole surface with material for rich and enduring soils. The glaciers stopped the flow of water to the north, blocking the channel at Cassadaga, making a great lake of this region now drained by the Allegheny and its branches until the water cut a channel through the rocky ridge below Irvine and reached the Ohio. The result of all this work of ice and water left this region covered with a rich soil, made from a ground mixture of all the rocks between here and Labrador. The highest lands are mostly covered with a boulder clay, while wide areas of drift lie in terraces, moraines and isolated knolls alongside the alluvial soils of the lower valleys, a most attractive topography for fine landscape effects and for thrifty, industrial communities. Scattered through the gravelly deposits are now found many forms of coral and other fossils of great interest from the Niagara limestone and other rock formations to the north, that were exposed to the carrying force of the glaciers.

Poland has rich farming lands in the wide valleys which border the Conewango and Cassadaga creeks, these winding streams, after traversing the town, uniting near the southern boundary. The Erie railroad crosses the town and maintains a station at Poland Center. The Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh railroad touches the southwestern corner of the town. Kennedy in the northeastern part of the town, is the principal village, although without railroad facilities.

At first Poland's population increased rapidly, numbering 916 in 1835, 1,539 in 1880, 1,608 in 1890, which was the high-water mark.

The clearing of the forests and the natural trend toward the cities seem to have operated against Poland and according to the State census of 1915, the population had fallen to 1,442.

In 1798-99-1800 Joseph Ellicott made survey of the lands of the Holland Land Company into townships, his office being then located in Buffalo. One of his survey parties, under Amzi Atwater, in July, 1798, surveyed the line which now lies between Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, beginning at the Pennsylvania line and running north. This survey party was probably the first to note the extent and value of the pine timber in what is now the towns of Carroll and Poland.

Captain Cheney gives the following account of Dr. Kennedy and his connections with Poland:

On November 17, 1794, Dr. Thomas Ruston Kennedy, a young physician of Philadelphia, whose father, Dr. Samuel Kennedy, had served as surgeon-general in the Revolutionary army, and whose mother was a daughter of Dr. Ruston, an eminent physician of Philadelphia, was appointed surgeon of Captain Drury's command at Fort LeBoeuf. Governor Muffin wrote to Capt. Drury: "I have appointed Dr. Thomas Ruston Kennedy, a young man of excellent character, surgeon of your battalion; you will be pleased to receive him as my friend." In 1795 Dr. Kennedy accompanied the troops ordered to Warren to protect the surveyors who under General William Irvine and Andrew Ellicott were surveying the site of that town.

That same year Dr. Kennedy built a sail boat at Presque Isle, and in the autumn went in it to Philadelphia, having it carried around the Falls of Niagara and over the portage between the Oswego and Mohawk rivers. He removed to Meadville in 1795, and was the first physician in Northwestern Pennsylvania. On the organization of Crawford county in 1800 he was appointed prothonotary of the court, which office he held till 1809. At the time of his appointment, Crawford county included Erie, Venango and Warren. His name appears upon the assessment rolls of 1806-07 as owner of several outlots in Warren. In 1803 Dr. Kennedy married Jane I., daughter of Andrew Ellicott, at that time secretary of the land office of Pennsylvania at Lancaster, which was then the seat of the State government. This marriage placed Dr. Kennedy on most friendly relations with Joseph Ellicott, the agent of the Holland Land Company, as indicated by letters now found in the library of the Buffalo Historical Society. He and his bride visited Joseph Ellicott, at Batavia, in June, 1803, on their way to Meadville, and on this visit discussed the matter of buying a tract of the fine pine timber and other lands of the Holland Land Company which Ellicott had already surveyed into townships and mapped. The most important event in the early history of Poland, and the first important commercial enterprise in Southern Chautauqua, was the building of the sawmill by Dr. Kennedy. Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy returned to Lancaster that same summer. His letter to Joseph Ellicott, dated "Lancaster, Pennsylvania, October 29, 1803," is in part as follows:

Dear Sir: We returned to Meadville in four days, after parting with our friends in Buffalo. Shortly after our return I sent a man to explore the Conewango country, who has returned. His account is such as would induce a number of persons in this country to emigrate thither as soon as a beginning is made. My principal object in sending to that country was to examine for a mill seat. He reports that one may be forced at considerable expense on the Conewango Creek about ten miles from its mouth. He believes the site will be near the northeast corner of township number two, tenth range, (Poland). In consequence of his report I will take one thousand acres at this place if you will make the terms easy. The land is not valuable for cultivation. The timber is the only inducement added to the seat for a sawmill. If your terms are such as will suit, will erect a sawmill there next summer. I will also take two or three hundred acres at the outlet of Chautauqua Lake, and will erect a gristmill with a sufficient lock in the dam or race as soon as one thousand bushels of grain is raised in the neighborhood. I also want six hundred acres near the middle of the lake on the northeast side of township two, range twelve. This piece of land is intended for a farm for an industrious man who will settle there in the spring.

Dr. Kennedy's next letters were from Meadville. He wrote a long letter under date of March 15, 1804, from that place. On May ioth he wrote a letter of recommendation for James Dunn, "a man of some property and extensive connections." Mr. Dunn, who was the first settler of Poland, came from the Susquehanna, at or near Great Island, August 3, 1804. Dr. Kennedy gave another letter of introduction and recommendation for Alexander McIntyre, who was about to leave Meadville to buy land from Mr. Ellicott. Mr. McIntyre is the one who first settled at the head of Chautauqua Lake. Under date September 19, 1804, he wrote that his milldam at the Conewango "would be large and expensive, upwards of twenty rods long and in some parts between nine and ten feet high."

Dr. Kennedy in 1805 began building a mill at Kennedyville to manufacture lumber. This was the first work begun of the settlement of Poland and the southern towns. Dr. Kennedy built a double sawmill at Kennedyville, and subsequently a gristmill, with one run of stone made of common rock.

Under date of November 24, 1805, after mentioning that a mail was established between Amsterdam (Buffalo) and Erie, he says: "It is my intention to say that boats of twentyfive or thirty tons may be navigated from the State of New York by way of Conewango creek, the Allegheny and the Ohio, and then to New Orleans, where I will find a good market for pine boards at twenty-five and thirty dollars per M."

Dr. Kennedy refers in one of his letters to measures contemplated to render the shipping of salt practicable over the Conewango and the outlet of Chautauqua Lake. These are among the earliest suggestions relating to the transportation of salt through the county: "There are two men at this place who are largely engaged in the salt trade. I have mentioned to them the route through the Chautauqua outlet and the east branch of the Conewango. They are anxious to know whether you will aid in clearing the navigation of one or both of these streams. I was at Chautauqua last summer and thought that three hundred fifty or four hundred dollars would make the outlet navigable for boats to carry one hundred fifty to two hundred barrels of salt to Cassadaga; from thence there will be no difficulty." He says further that he has "ordered driftwood to be cut on the Conewango. A short distance above my dam dead water commences and continues for two days' paddle in the canoes, possible up to the Susquehanna road; from thence to the mouth of the Cattaraugus it is said to be but sixteen miles. The price of transportation of a barrel of salt across is two dollars and fifty cents." In a letter dated May 12, 1807, Dr. Kennedy says: "Should you come to my mill I think you would best procure an Indian to conduct you, as you may possible mistake and take the path to Cassadaga Lake. You will be able to reach the mill in less than a day from the mouth of the Cattaraugus Creek." From Meadville he writes, September 29, 1807: "I have completed a handsome bridge at Conewango, one hundred eighty-two feet long, handsomely framed and of the best material, and a barn forty by thirty-two feet. Work has built a good house twenty by thirty feet. Lamberton has been surveying. Mr. Work wishes me to inform you that he wishes to commence his location on the northeast side of the outlet, adjoining Wilson, and on the other side as low down as opposite Culbertson, sixty or one hundred rods from the mouth of the Cassadaga, which will probably join the lot on which Fenton (Governor Fenton's father) lives, and to extend up that side six or eight lots." While the mills were being built, Edward Shillitto and his family resided there and boarded Kennedy's hands. He was the first settler of Poland having a family. The hands were merely transient workmen. Dr. Kennedy was never a resident of the town, but lived at Meadville until his death in 1813.

Edward Work, between whom and Dr. Kennedy there existed a strong friendship and intimate business relations, superintended the running of much of the lumber manufactured at this mill. At Pittsburgh the lumber was placed upon flat-bottomed boats, mostly made at Kennedy's mills, and run to New Orleans. The sale of the boards the first year was made by Mr. Work. who, in 1808, built sawmills on the outlet of Chautauqua Lake near the eastern boundary of Poland. When his mill was completed he "run boards from his mill to New Orleans in the manner he had done from Kennedy's mills. A change, however, had taken place in the navigation of the Mississippi. When his boats arrived at Natchez he added to his lading bales of cotton, to the extent of the capacity of his boat, receiving a dollar per bale for freight to New Orleans for that carried under deck, and seventy-five cents for that on deck. The empty boats were sold at New Orleans for lumber for more than their cost. Work finished boards at his mill for seventyfive cents a hundred feet to finish the log houses of early settlers, and his little gristmill with common rock stones made excellent flour from good grain. When at home he was usually his own miller.

In 1804 Kennedy and Work bought of the Holland Land Company land on both sides of the Cassadaga below Dexterville, also a tract of valuable timber land east of the Cassadaga and Levant along the Kennedy road. In 1808 they opened a road from Kennedy's mills to Work's mills, and building the first bridge across the Cassadaga, about one-fourth of a mile above the present village of Levant. The road extended most of the way north of the present road to Kennedy and over much more hilly ground. All of these improvements were made in Poland before any assault was begun upon the forest of pines that stood tall and dense upon the site of Jamestown. Upon the division of the lands owned by Kennedy and Work after their decease, the heirs of Kennedy took the lands lying east of the Cassadaga. The mill property at Kennedy was sold by them in 1831 to Richard P. Marvin, of Jamestown, and his brother Erastus of Dryden. Erastus came to Kennedy and soon their father followed him. In 1832 Erastus and his father died. R. P. Marvin soon sold the plant to Guy C. Irvine and Robert Falconer, who built a gristmill there. It was subsequently rebuilt by Jones & Stillwell. It next passed into the hands of Seth W. Chandler, who sold it to Daniel Griswold and William T. Falconer, who rebuilt it in 1886, and sold it January 1, 1871, to Wellington H. Griffith. It was burned within a year and a new one was erected on the same site by Mr. Griffith.

Dr. Kennedy's mill on the Conewango stood on the site of the present mill at Kennedy, later owned by Ira C. Nichols, and the dam crossed the creek against the upper side of the mill. Some of the decayed timbers of the original dam are still found in the bank ot the stream. Mr. Nichols cleared the channel of the creek where the dam stood and moved a large log and some spiles which disclosed how the original dam was constructed. This log, about forty feet long, was sunken across the bed of the stream and held in place by stakes. Piles about two inches thick by five to six inches in width and six to seven feet long, were driven at an angle and close together into the bed of the stream so that their upper ends rested against the faced side of this log, which held the stakes in line and in exact position and made a solid and close wall. On top of this bed sill other timbers faced to match were laid and held in place by being framed at their ends into long timbers reaching to the bank on either side. This timber dam was strengthened and made tight by brush and soil and a waste passage constructed in it for the surplus water. A lock for the passage of boats fifty feet long was built against the left side of the stream at the south end of the dam. When Mr. Nichols rebuilt his mill he found the bed sills and other timbers of the original mill, built seventy-five years before, still quite sound. They all bore the ax marks of hewn timber. The mill irons were brought by boat from Pittsburgh. John Simpson, for many years a resident of Poland, said that in 1831 he worked on the mill for Forbes and Runion. The mill was run night and day through the year, except about a month in the spring. The mill then cut about three million feet each year. In their last year the mill cut 3,660,000 feet, which Mr. Simpson helped to measure. There were two upright saws in the mill that did this work with a full set of hands to each saw. This lumber was then estimated to be worth, in the raft at the mill, six dollars per thousand feet.

Dr. Kennedy died at Meadville in 1813. His children and heirs were: Andrew E. Kennedy, a surgeon in the United States Navy, born 1804, died at Batavia, Island of Java, 1833; Sarah Ann, born 1806, married Augustus Colsen in 1825, died 1862; Samuel Ruston, horn 1807, died 1834; Thomas Ryland, born 1808, died 1832; Joseph C. G., born 1813, was appointed superintendent of the census of 1850 by President Taylor, and of the census of 1860 by President Buchanan. In 1853 he was appointed a member of the Statistical Congress at Brussels and subsequently to that of Paris. In 1856 he was secretary of the United States at the World's Fair at London. His son, Joseph M. Kennedy, grandson of Dr. Kennedy, served as captain and major in the Ninth Regiment, New York Cavalry, during the Civil War.

The mills of Kennedy and the lumber business first attracted settlers to Poland. Of the early purchases in 1808, Gideon Gilson bought on lot 51, James Culbertson, 58; in 1809, Stephen Hadley bought on 59, John Owen, 57; in 1810 John Brown, lot 57, Colt and Marlin, 42. These lands were all in the southwest part of Poland. In October, 1813, Nathan Lasall bought near the center of the town, on 37 and 45, Poland Center. In 1814 Aaron Forbes took up land on 57, James Hall, 54, Ebenezer Cheney, 58, James Herriot, 34. The same year Ira Owen, at Clark's Corners, and Ethan Owen near him, on lot 21. In 1816 Elias Tracy took up lands on lot 49 and in 1817 on lot 41, Nicholas Dolloff, 33, and Aaron Taylor, 26. Aaron Forbes settled on lot 57 in the southwest part of the town, where he resided at his death. Ezra Smith also settled on lot 57. He was born in Burlington, Otsego county, in 1832, married Hannah Peck, of Ellicott. Mrs. Smith was born in 1810. Asa and Esther Smith, the parents of Ezra Smith, were born in Haddam, Conn. The former died in 1856; the latter at the age of 102 years and four months. Of Ezra's children were: William, Irwin, Emily (who became the wife of Samuel Halladay, and after her death, her sister Matilda became his second wife); Francis, the wife of T. F. Van Dusen, of Jamestown; and Minerva, Mrs. A. D. Hunt. Among the early settlers in the southwest part were Luther Lydell, from Otsego county, about 1830, on lot 59, where he died. Elias Tracy settled on lot 49. His sons were Wayne, Elias and Hatch. Hannah, one of his daughters, married William H. Fenton, of Dexterville. Joshua Woodward, from Otsego county, came about 1816 with his sons, Reuben, Royal, Lewis, Pierce and Hiram. Pierce Woodward was four years supervisor. Ira Kimball was also an early settler who did good work in developing the town. B. B. Kimball is his son.

Horace Hartson settled in the western part of the town, on lot 60, near Levant. He resided with his son William in Poland until his decease. Other sons were Orsell H. and George. Ephraim L. Nickerson, between Poland Center and Levant, manufactured brick with profit.

In the northwestern part of the town, Amos Fuller settled upon lot 46. Jeremiah Gifford Hotchkiss, about 1830 on lot 55; Elihu Gifford, lot 55; David Tucker, lot 48. He married Miss Montgomery; His daughter, Nancy A., married Isaac Cobb, of Gerry. Mr. Tucker was several years supervisor of Poland. He died in Cattaraugus county in 1894.

In the northern part of the town, Eliab Wheelock, from Oneida county, settled on lot 39. He had sons: William, Orrin E. and Horace F. Norton B. Bill was a native of New England, came from Genesee county about 1830, settled on lot 46, and died there. His daughter Emily married Harvey Forbes, and died in Poland. Malvina married Arad Fuller. Ruth married Darius Wyman. Amos married Artemisia Smith and lived on the homestead of his father. Julia married Emory Woodward, and Mary, Miles Tracy.

In the central part of the town Charles F. Wolcott settled on lot 37; Ebenezer Cheney, about 1830, on lot 37. His son, Nelson E., married Hannah Merrill, of Carroll. Of their children, Emory was a physician. Nelson also was educated as a physician. Newell was a captain in the Ninth Cavalry and served in the Civil War. He has been supervisor of Poland, and in 1886 was a member of Assembly for the Second District of Chautauqua county. Nelson E. Cheney was a resident of Poland Center sixty-two years. He died January 6, 1891, aged 97 years, one month and six days, his mental faculties unimpaired until the end. Addison H. Phillips settled on lot 28.

In the eastern part of the town Amasa Ives, from Madison county, settled on lot 3; Obediah Jenks, from Essex county, lot 20. A sawmill was built at Mud creek, now Clark's Corners, by Isaac Young about 1820, and afterward sold by him to Daniel Wheeler and by him to Henry N. Hunt and by Hunt to Albert Russell and afterward discontinued. Joseph Clark, a well known early settler, for many years kept a tavern near this sawmill on Mud creek. John Miller, about 1831, settled on lot 5. Henry Nelson Hunt was born in Rutland county, Vermont, March 5, 1808, son of Elnathan Hunt and Sybil Lincoln. His father moved to Genesee county when Henry was three years old, and died there at the age of 73. Henry Hunt was twice married and reared a large family. He was engaged extensively in the lumber business for a number of years, but later gave his attention to farming. He served as supervisor of the town two terms, and held the office of justice of the peace for a number of terms.

In the southeastern part of the town, Elihu Barber settled on lot 3. At an early day a sawmill and gristmill was built in the northeastern part of the town of Waterboro. The gristmill was burned and the sawmill went into disuse. Josiah Miles and Daniel Wheeler built a sawmill near Conewango, which was rebuilt and owned by Charles Clark. John Merrill built a sawmill on Mud creek on lot 3. Nicholas Dolloff built a sawmill on the Conewango in the southern part of the town. Dr. Samuel Foote, brother of Judge E. T. Foote, is said to have been the first physician in Poland, and Dr. Nelson Rowe the next. Dr. William Smith came about 1840, and died at Kennedy. His son, Summer A., was druggist and postmaster at Kennedy, and served three years in the Civil War. His son Henry died in the war. Three other sons reside in the town. Later physicians were Drs. James H. Monroe, Ingraham, J. W. Button and Early. Many Swedes have settled in the town in recent years.

The Kennedy Baptist church was organized January 30, 1836, with twenty-two members. Rev. B. Braman was first pastor. A meeting house was built in 1868.

The Methodist Protestants were here early. In May, 1839, Rev. James Covell organized a society at the school house in district No. 4, and the next year Rev. O. C. Payne, from Fredonia, formed one in district 11, For a time they were very flourishing.

Poland Free Church at Kennedy, organized in 1856, built a church the next year.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church at Levant was early organized by Rev. Emory Jones. A church was built in 1872.

Ellington and Kennedy are united as a charge of the Jamestown district of the Erie annual conference of the Methodist Episcopal church. The combined membership is 210.

Little is known of those who worked on the mills previous to about 1840. Edward Shillito with his family lived at the mills and boarded Kennedy's workmen while building the mill and for several years after. He then bought land at what is now Levant, where he afterwards resided. Potatoes and other vegetables were grown at the mills for table use. At the raising of the mill frame in 1805, men came up the Conewango in canoes from as far away as Warren and beyond. Meat, whiskey and other supplies en route by boat being delayed, Shillit0 killed a yearling heifer for the occasion. The whiskey arrived in time for the celebration. No doubt Shillito lived in the house of hewn logs before mentioned and which in later years was known as the mill house. This house disappeared some years since. A well near the house still marks the spot. In 1823, when Seymour Saxton's family moved in and settled on Indian Run, about three miles from Kennedy's mills, a Mr. Penoyer was running the mills for the Kennedy heirs. From 1827 to 1831 Forbes and Runion ran the mills. Abial Elkins moved from Canada to Levant about 1828 and worked on the mills there two years for Alvin Plumb. He, about 1830, moved to Kennedy's mills, where he lived in the mill house and ran the mills until 1842, except two years. In 1837-38 Joseph Clark ran the mills for Guy C. Irvine and lived in the house built by Augustus Colsen.

Augustus Colsen, who married the daughter of Dr. Kennedy, was the son of a Lutheran minister who emigrated from Germany in 1810, and moved with his famliy to Meadville in 1815. Augustus was twelve years old when he came. In the early twenties he engaged in the mercantile business. In 1826, the next year after his marriage, he moved to take charge of the Conewango mills, where he built a frame house of two stories, on the lot where Delos Merritt now resides. About 1876 this house was moved back forty or fifty rods to the north on Langdon street, Mr. Colsen remaining at the mills till the sale of the mills and lands to Richard P. Marvin, in 1832. Dr. Kennedy held his title by contract. The first deed to these lands was given by the Holland Company to Richard P. Marvin. Mr. Marvin's father and mother moved into the house Colsen had built, and his brother Erastus was associated with him in conducting the mills and also a store. The dam built by Dr. Kennedy had made a pond of water covering over one hundred acres. This pond was the cause of much malarial fever which, about this time, became very malignant. Mr. Marvin's parents and brother all died there that summer of 1832. These misfortunes changed the plans of Mr. Marvin, who had planned to buy more timber land and build up a town at his mills. Already there was a considerable population with two hotels, two or three stores, two small tanneries, a blacksmith shop near the front of the present cemetery conducted by a Mr. Sawyer, father of Philetus Sawyer, afterwards United States Senator from Wisconsin, a chair shop conducted by Chester A. Lillie, and other industries. Many laborers were employed on the mills and in cutting and hauling logs, some of whom had families living there. Keel boats came up from Pittsburgh and French Creek with merchandise, including flour, pork, dried fruits, sugar, whiskey, tobacco, cloth, glass, nails, etc., and some of them passing through the lock at the dam ran up the Conewango as far as Cherry creek. Settlers were moving in and clearing farms on adjoining lands. The place had become widely known as Kennedys Mills, with the prospect of growing into a large town.

The township of Poland was formed from Ellicott, April 9, 1832, the same year and month that Mr. Marvin bought the mills, and the first town meeting was appointed to be held at Kennedy's Mills the next March, 1833. In September, 1832, Mr. Marvin sold his mill property and lands to Beardsley and Morse, who sold in 1833 to Guy C. Irvine, Rufus Weatherby and Robert Falconer. These men held the title till about 1850. Many village lots had been laid out on the south side of the Conewango, a cemetery near the present residence of Charles Akins' family, and a town hall built opposite the present residence of Alonzo Bain. Mr. Marvin held the title to a number of these lots after selling his mill property.

The continuance of much sickness made the place unattractive and many thrifty families moved away. The place gained a bad name as the residence and resort of criminals and men of bad reputation. The town meetings were moved to Poland Center, where they were held for twenty-five or thirty years. Among people of surrounding communities, feeling became so intense over the bad sanitary conditions caused by the great mill pond that in 1848 a number of men tore the dam away. In 1851 Laurens A. Langdon and William T. Falconer succeeded to the ownership, Falconer by inheritance from his father and Langdon by purchase from the Weatherby heirs. Mr. Langdon moved with his family from Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania, made the Colsen house his residence and proceeded to build a mill race of over a mile in length, with a head gate which did away with the dam and pond. Since that time the place has greatly improved. Besides the sawmill, a large flouring mill, a feed mill and a planing mill now use the water power. The white pine has almost entirely disappeared, but the sawmill still does a large business in manufacturing lumber, largely from other kinds of timber. It is a safe estimate that this mill has cut one hundred million feet of lumber from the white pine of the town of Poland, near Kennedy, besides a large amount brought from Cattaraugus county, since the mill was built. About 1840 the name of the postoffice was changed to Kennedyville, though many of the early settlers still continued to write and say Kennedy's Mills. In 1852 Harry Abbott sold his farm in Busti and moved into the hotel at Kennedyville, where he kept a temperance house and was made postmaster. The name of the post office was then changed to Falconer in compliment to William T. Falconer, who then owned a half interest in the sawmill and a large tract of land adjoining the village, and to his father, who had been a prominent citizen of Warren, was then living in Sugar Grove and had owned large interests -at Warren, Jamestown and Sugar Grove, as well as in the mill property at Kennedyville. When the railroad was built through in 1859, the railroad station, at the request of William Reynolds of Meadville, was named Kennedy, and the name of the post. office soon followed. In place of canoes and keel boats propelled by hand, two railroads now furnished transportation and excellent passenger service. The village has grown to a population of about six hundred with telephone lines, rural mail delivery routes serving the thrifty farming communities who find here a market for their products and quick communication with the commercial world. The place still, most appropriately, retains the name of Kennedy from the accomplished Dr. Thomas Ruston Kennedy, who built the first mill here and established the first important commercial enterprise in Southern Chautauqua.

Robert Falconer, of Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania, was the owner of a large tract of land in Poland. His son, W. T. Falconer, was a merchant, lumber dealer and one of the most influential citizens of the town. He was born in Sugar Grove, April 1, 1824, and came to Poland about 1850. He married Miss Jenny Daily, of Brocton, in 1867.

Poland was set off as a separate town in April, 1832, and the first town meeting was held at the houses of A. McGleason and S. R. Gleason, March 5, 1833. Nathaniel Fenton was elected supervisor; Nelson Rowe, town clerk; Emory F. Warren, Henry M. Connell, Samuel Hitchcock and Melancthon Smith, justices.

The supervisors have been: Nathaniel Fenton, 1834; Summer Allen, 1834-46-64; W. W. Chandler, 1843-44; Henry N. Hunt, 1845-54-55; David Tucker, 1847-48; Pierce Woodward, 1849-50-57-58; Eliakim Crosby, 1851-52; M. W. Smith, 1853; Galusha M. Wait, 1856; William M. Falconer, 1859-63; Daniel Griswold, 1865-68; Harvey S. Elkins, 1869-72; Josiah H. Monroe, 1873-74-77-82; Amos Bill, 1875-83; Ira C. Nichols, 1884-86-88-90-93; Lyman F. Weeden, 1891; Newel Cheney, 1885-89; E. F. Rowley, 1894-95; John F. Anderson, 1896-1906-09; Charles N. Taylor, 1910-13; Ray G. Crandall, 1914-20.

Of these supervisors the first, Nathaniel Fenton, was born in New England in 1763, came to Poland about 1823. Fanny, one of his daughters, married Gen. Horace Allen. Another Summer Allen, born in Otsego county, February 3, 1804, came to Poland in 1818. He was the son of Phineas Allen and brother of Gen. Horace Allen. Woodley W. Chandler was born in Virginia, February 14, 1800. He resided successively in Tennessee, New Orleans and Cincinnati, and early came to Poland. He married Phebe, daughter of Abraham Winsor; he died April 22, 1854. Eliakim Crosby was born in Oneida county, removed to Poland in 1829 and settled on lot 37, at Poland Center, where he kept a public house; he held nearly every town office. Harvey S. Elkins was born in Poland, November 26, 1835. He was a merchant of Kennedy for five years, superintendent of the poor and supervisor four years. His wife was Maria Nichols. After her death he married Jennie Stratton. Daniel Griswold was born in Wyoming county, February 1, 1830, came to Poland in 1831 or 1832. In 1868 he married Martha, daughter of John Townsend. He was a lumberman, supervisor of Poland, Ellicott and Jamestown, and president of Chautauqua County National Bank.

There are 22,447 acres in Poland, valued at $1,129,918. The assessed valuation of real estate in the town for the year 1918 was $886,500.

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