History of Sherman, 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


Sherman- It was not until April 7, 1832, that the town of Sherman began its separate existence, having previously been a part of the town of Mina. The town comprises the second township and fourteenth range as described in the Holland Land Company's survey; covers an area of exactly 36 square miles and is bounded on the north by the town of Chautauqua, east by Harmony, south by Clymer and west by Mina. The Pennsylvania railroad crosses the town north and south; Sherman, an incorporated village with a population of about 1,000, being the only settlement of consequence in the town and the only railroad station. The population of the town in 1915 (State census) was: Citizens, 1,695; aliens, 37. French creek, soon after taking its rise in Harmony, enters Sherman and crosses the town in a westerly direction to the village of Sherman, then turns and flowing a southwesterly course passes into the town of Mina on its way to the river. Chautauqua creek rests in the northwestern part of Sherman and soon passes into the town of Chautauqua on its northward way to Lake Erie.

Original Land Purchases.
1823-March, Jona. R. Reynolds, 32; April, David Fuller, 24; June, Joel D. Cornish, 47; October, Otis Skinner, 24.

1824-February, Alanson Weed, 31; April, Lester R. Dewey, 39; May, Ransom Felton, 63; September, Hiram N. Gleason. 24.

1825-January, Joshua LaDue, 34; February, Osmond Hall, 36; April, Hazard Wilcox, 64; May, Loren Park, 59; Cyrus Pitts, 59; Elisha A. Eades, 53; Dearing Dorman, 22; June, Larry Wilcox, 48; James Ottaway, 62; Sampson Vincent, 20; Charles Hawley, 29, 37; Wm. Williams, 29; September, Jedediah and Elliot B. Smith, 37; George Sampson and Phineas Bailey, 60; Major D. Reynolds, i6; November, John C. Wilcox, 56.

1826-September, Barney Bratt, 29; Eliab Skeels, 61; Wm. Buss, 61; October, Lansing Buck, November. Julius Willard, Jr., 13; Wm. Mayborri, 61; Rufus Ransom, 61.

1827-March, Isaac Willard, 10; Josiah Wait, 11; Warren Hannum, 26; Harvey W. Goff, 22; October, James Bates, 5; John Miller, 7; November, Jesse Newell, 25.

1828-March, Gershom Wait, 11; September, Thad. Tibbals, 5; December, Loren Stebbins, -; Josiah Wait, 11.

The Holland Land Company's books contain no records of later sales in this town. The unsold lands passed in 1836 to the new proprietors, W. H. Seward and others.

The settlement of this region, once begun, was rapid. Tradition says that the first settler was Dearing Dorman, with his wife Huldah (Perkins) Dorman, and little son Amosa. In 1823 Mr. Dorman built a log house twelve by sixteen feet, with a roof of elm bark, on the town line road, on land later owned by Theodore Skinner. There, November 28, 1823, the first white child was born, Archibald Dorman. Mr. Dorman, with Elisha Eades, built log houses, Eades' being across the road in the town of Chautauqua. They returned to Batavia, one hundred eighteen miles, by the route they had to travel, and were moved with an ox-team. Mr. Dorman raised the first acre of wheat in the town, thirty bushels to the acre. He planted his corn by cutting into the earth and pressing the soil down upon the kernels, as the Indians did.

Alonzo Weed built the first sawmill, on land owned by Lester R. Dewey. The first marriage was Lester R. Dewey, Sr., and Fanny Patterson, Otis Skinner, the first justice of the town, officiating, March 23, 1825.

There is a question regarding the first death. It is said a Mrs. Arnold was the first to die, and was buried on the farm later owned by James Upton. The general impression is that the first death was that of an Englishman who died at Elliott Smith's. On Smith's lot in the Sherman cemetery is a grave, and on the headstone these words, "John Walling, a native of England, died July, 1832, supposed to be about thirty years of age." The first doctor was Thomas Green.

In the winter of 1828-29 Otis Skinner taught school in his house. There is no record of any school prior to this. About this time Lydia Tanner taught summer school in a log cabin near now Willard street in Sherman village. The first church was the Congregational church (now Presbyterian), June 23, 1827, and was called the First Congregational Church of Mina. Meetings were held at the homes of William Williams, Dennis Hart, Elisha Woodruff, and other convenient places. The church was built on what is known as Presbyterian Hill, on land given by Charles Hawley, Sr., and was dedicated March 7, 1833; sermon by Rev. D. D. Gregory. The first pastor, Justin Marsh, came from Connecticut, and was installed in October, 1828. In the fall of 1845 the church was moved to Sherman Village.

The first Baptist church was formed August 29, 1827, two and one-half miles south of the village, Rev. Orange Spicer officiating. Meetings were held in dwellings and schoolhouses until about 1842, then in the unfinished church in the village, which was completed in 1844. Rev. Orange Spicer was the first pastor.

The Free Baptist Church of Waits Corners, in the southeast part of the town, was organized about 1835. First pastor was Rev. Levi Rexford, first clerk Dexter Stebbins, and first deacon Loren Stebbins.

The Methodists had a class in 1832, and the first sermon was delivered in the home of Otis Miller, by Rev. Darius Williams. The Miller home was their meeting place till 1836, when they occupied a room in Kipp & Miller's carding mill. Their church was built in 1848.

The first Universalist church of Sherman was organized in 1842. The first pastor was Rev. Linus Paine. Selling their church, which was moved away, the members built their present church in 1868.

The first gristmills were Aldrich's and Treat's. Aldrich's was on French creek, two miles below Sherman village. Treat's was on Chautauqua creek, about one-half mile from where Murray Harrington later lived. About 1838 Benjamin H. Kipp, Otis and Elijah Miller built the gristmill later owned by Bates and Hillburg in the village. Josiah R. Keeler had, it is thought, the first store, about three miles south of the village, on his farm, later owned by Susan Hemstreet. James Barker had at an early date a store in a small wooden building where the Hotel Sherman now stands. Jeremiah Fields kept, it is thought, the first tavern, in the house later owned and occupied by James Wood.

The first town meeting was held in 1833. Otis Skinner was the first supervisor, and he held the office during the years 1833-35-38.

Of the early settlers, Dearing Dorman was born in New Haven, Conn., December 20, 1797, came to Batavia in 1804, and to Sherman about 1823; married Huldah Perkins in 1818; had, twelve children. Mrs. Dorman died in 1866, and he married the widow of Addison Elderkin, maiden name Mary Hunter.

Lester R. Dewey, Sr., was born in Herkimer county, July, 1802, married Fanny Patterson, March 23, 1825, settled in Sherman in 1824; had eight children. His wife died and he married again. He was supervisor in 1850. Hiram N. Gleason, born in Farmington, Conn., April 17, 1800, married Sarah Root; settled in Sherman in 1824. His wife died, and he married Abigal Hill, of Mina. Had seven children by first wife, two by second. Richard Buss, born in England, settled in Sherman in 1826, died in 1861; had seven children. Charles Hawley, Sr., born in Connecticut, April 10, 1778; married Clara Allen, October 8, 1812; settled in Sherman in 1825; died December 11, 1844; had three children. Benjamin H. Kip, born in Johnstown, New York, April 27, 1797; married Esther Miller, at Newark, New York, February 23, 1823; settled in Sherman in 1832; four children. William Mayborn, born in England, May 19, 1786; settled in Sherman in 1825. His wife died April 24, 1827, leaving six children. In 1828 he married Harriet Palmer, of New York City. He died in 1874, leaving twelve children. Loren Park, born in Wells, Vermont, 1804; settled in Sherman in 1825. His first wife, Adaline Heath, died, leaving him nine children. His second marriage was to the widow of Benjamin Ross, maiden name Samantha Heath. Ruel Pelton, born in Oneida county, New York; settled in Sherman in May, 1827. Both he and his wife, of the same age, died in 1851. They had fourteen children. Otis Skinner, born in Norwich, New York, October 20, 1799; married Sylance Randall, June 9, 1822; settled in Sherman in 1823. They had ten children. Loren Stebbins, born in Conway, Mass., October 27, 1804; settled in Sherman, 1828; married Eunice Willard, in Livingston county; six children. Joel D. Cornish, born in Otsego county; married Catherine Van Allen; settled in Sherman, January, 1826; seven children.

Samuel T. Hawley, who had a business career of sixty years in Sherman, sold out to Henry Taggart. He survived two fires and was conducting business in the principal block in the village. He was handicapped by deafness. His two boys and two girls were reared and educated, his sons engaging in mercantile business in Kansas. "Uncle Sam," as he was affectionately called by the townspeople, was eighty-one years old when he retired.

The Union Sepulchral Society of Sherman and Chautauqua was organized in 1836. Later in the same year Alanson and Polly Weed deeded to the society ninety-eight square rods of land, being the northeast corner of the present cemetery. A few burials were made there before the purchase. In 1848 Lester R. and Fannie Dewey conveyed 123 6-10 rods to the society, and again in 1860-61 additions were made through conveyance by Mr. Dewey and Joseph Skinner. Additions and improvements have been made since as required.

In August, 1865, a great flood damaged the town. Two dams above and one at the end of the village went out, and nearly every bridge in the town. A more destructive flood, the worst in its history, swept the town in the evening of August 24, 1892, the iron railroad bridge and all the bridges from the head of French creek to the Mina line, except an iron one at Sherman Center. Much damage was done to business and private property.

In May, 1832, Benjamin H. Kip and Otis and Elijah Miller bought the land where Sherman village now stands, built a sawmill, and in 1833 a carding and cloth-dressing mill. Otis Miller built a blacksmith shop and a tannery. These three men were the founders of the village first called Millerville, and afterwards Kipville; later the name was changed to Sherman. The heads of the first twelve families were: Benjamin H. Kip, Elijah Miller, Otis Miller, James Barker, George Vaness, Lucius Cook, George Hart, Kiler Dean, Alanson Patterson, Pitts Simmons, Hiram A. Case and Dr. Thomas Green.

Sherman is a prosperous town, and the village rivals the town in its enterprise and progress. Three-fourths of the land area of the town is under cultivation and perhaps 75 miles of wagon road, traverse the town. There are in Sherman five principal factories and ten small ones. The important industries are C. E. Cobb, lumber; Klein & Co., evaporated apples; the Mohawk Condensed Milk Co.; the Powdered Milk Co., of America, and the Sherman Canning Co. (canned vegetables). The village stores are modern and with those modern utilities, electric lights and telephones, a strong bank, the fraternal orders, social societies and churches, life in Sherman is very pleasant. The village is well built and far above the average in the number and size of its brick blocks.

The first newspaper in the village was the "Western New Yorker," started in 1853. The "Chautauqua News" was established March 22, 1876, by E. W. Hoag, and bought in December, 1879, by C. E. Sheldon, who conducted it until October i6, 1918. At that time "The News" was sold to the Dorman Printing Company (M. L. and L. B. Dorman) and consolidated with the "Sherman Advance." "The Advance" was founded October 6, 1916, by the Dorman Printing Company and successfully published until October i6, 1918, when the two papers were consolidated under the Dorman ownership.

Sherman was incorporated a village, September 8, 1890. The first municipal election was held October 3, 1890, the first officials being J. L. Thayer, Francis A. Ellis, Charles E. Cobb, trustees; Henry F. Young, treasurer; John McKean, collector; Thomas J. Newell was appointed village clerk.

In 1865 a disastrous fire swept away the postoffice, town clerk's office and all town records. In 1869 many business buildings on Main and Miller streets were destroyed, brick blocks then succeeding the wooden ones burned.

The supervisors of Sherman since the erection of the town are: Otis Skinner, 1833; B. H. Kip, 1834; Otis Skinner, 1835; Loren Peck, 1836-37; Otis Skinner, 1838; Platt S. Osborn, 1839; Lucius Cook, 1840-42; George Hart, 1843; Platt S. Osborn, 1844-45; John P. Hall, 184647; B. H. Kip, 1848-49; Lester R. Dewey, 1850; Loren Park, 1851; Lewis Sperry, 1852-53; B. J. Coffin, 1854; Loren Park, 1855; William Green, 1856-57; Miles J. Clark, 1858-59; Henry Bliss, 1960-61; Henry W. Sperry, 1862-65; Sylvamis H. Myrick, 1866; Henry Sheldon, 1867; Henry W. Sperry, 1868; Alfred W. Benson, 1869; John T. Green, 1870-72; Virgil A. Fenner, 1873; John T. Green, 1874; Jerome J. Dean, 1875-76; Enoch Sperry, 1877-78; Albert B. Sheldon, 1879-81; Chas H. Corbett, 1882-83; Enoch Sperry, 1884; Benjamin J. Coffin, 1885-91; Edgar O. Buss, 1892; Morris L. Edmunds, 1893-97; Frank E. Miller, 1898-99; Warren B. Whitney, 1900-01; Albert B. Sheldon, 1902-08; William W. Benjamin, 1909-13; Harry M. Keith, 1914-19; Irving O. Ottaway, 1920.

The leading societies and orders of Sherman are the Masonic lodge and chapter of the Eastern Star; lodge of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, the Maccabees, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Patrons of Husbandry, Grand Army of the Republic, Woman's Relief Corps, Woman's Christian Temperance Union and many church and benevolent organizations.

The assessed valuation of real estate in the town (22,980 acres) for the year 1918 was $938,762; its full value, $1,195,875.

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