History of Stockton, 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



Stockton- The town of - Stockton, formed from Chautauqua, February 9, 1821, was named in honor of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1850 the township was enlarged by the annexation of a tier and a half of lots, twelve in number, from the northern part of Ellery. Stockton includes also one tier of lots taken from township 4, range 13, on its west side, and contains an area of 29,037 acres. Its surface is a rolling upland. The soil is a loam, clay in the upland and sandy in the valleys. The principal part of Cassadaga Lake lies in the northeast corner of Stockton. Bear Lake is partly in Stockton, also, about three miles west of Cassadaga Lake, and both extend north into the town of Pomfret. Their outlets are Cassadaga and'Bear creek, respectively, which come together in the southeastern part of the town, continuing southeasterly across the northeast corner of Ellery, and form, just within the west line of Gerry, a junction with Mill creek. Cassadaga creek, thus augmented, pursues a crooked course through parts of Gerry, Ellicott and Poland, and gives its waters to the Conewango creek in the south of Poland. Thence the stream is known as the Conewango river, which flows southward into Pennsylvania and empties into the Allegheny river.

The scenery at Cassadaga Lake is inexpressibly beautiful and fascinating and in its pure free air a sanitarium has been established. The waters of Bear and Cassadaga lakes are well stocked with fish and a large deposit of shell marl underlies the ancient bed of Cassadaga Lake. The Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh railroad traverses the town with stations at Cassadaga Village and Moons. Other villages are Stockton, formerly Delanti, Denton, Centralia, Burnhams and South Stockton.

Original Purchases in Township 4, Range 12.
1809-Novernber, Hezekiah Vial, 38.
1810-May, Jos. Green, 49; Bela Todd, 33; Benjamin Miller, 39; June, Lawrence Scofield, 50.
1811-April, Eben. and Salmon Tyler, 33; Silas Gates, 24; Hezekiah Vial, 32; Henry Walker, 49; August, Berij. Miller; 31; Octoler, Shadrach Scofield, 50, 58; November, Zattu Cushing, 32.
1812-June, Abel Thompson, 29, 37.
1815-April, Calvin Nelson, 29; Alfred Trow, 29; May, Frederic Sprague, 25; James Haywood, 28, 36; Geo. Porter, Jr., Aaron Jones, 48; Bela Todd, 11; June, Levi C. Miller, 40; August, Jesse Higgins, 37; September, Samuel Crissey, 40; Jos. Sackett, 23; October, Thos. Curtis, 19, 20; Zaheth Higgins, 37.
1816-May, Hiram Lazell, 21; Calvin Hitchcock, 19; Edward Ellis, 21; July, Aaron Smith, 13; Sawyer Phillips, 15; Stephen Williams, 41; September, Gould Crissey, 45; October, Adam McNitt, 13; Jos. Sackett, 14; David Sackett, 11; December, Elijah Nelson, 45; Philip Phillips, 15.
1817-April, Jeduthan Smith, 15; Eben. Smith, Jr., 6; June, Aaron Lyon, Calvin Smith, 20.
1818-March, Alva Lazell, 27; May, Lewis C. Todd, 10.
1819-May, Gilbert Putnam, 33; Aretus Rogers, 43, 44; July, Calvin Warren, 40; Levi C. Miller, Parley Munger, 40.
1821-October, Philip Phillips, 6; Stephen Crane, 44; Jona. Clark, 22, 23; Hiram Jones, 22; Robt. Belding, 22; Nathan Smith, 22, 23; Israel Smith, 22.
1822-May, Wm. A. Glisson, 3; July, Ebenezer Smith, Jr., 5; September, Zeph. Rogers, 43.
1823-February, Stephen Crane, 35; March, Harvey Gibbs, 54. 1824-March, John Russell, 2; April, Thos. Todd, 62; May, Robt. Padden, 62; Bela Todd, 11; June, Daniel Johnson, 61; Franklin Blackmer, 61; Alvin Crissey, 31; September, Stephen Crane, 53; Ely F. Munger, 31 October, Ebenezer Smith, Jr., 14.
1825-May, Elam Todd, 64; September, John Brown, 60.
1826-January, Chauncey Goodrich, 52; October, James Morrill, 51.
1827-February, Thomas Francis, 51; James Francis, 51; June, Wm. Weed, 51; August, Andrew Putnam, 25; Russell Reed, 51; September, Abraham Bennett, 35; October, Thos. Carlisle, 35.
1828-March, Alanson McClary, 43; Nath. Getchell, 51; William Sabin, 43; June, Edwin Francis, 59; July, Wm. B. Brooks, 59; August, James Duncan, 55; George Dye, 35; September, David L. Getchell, 35; Jesse Wells, 43.
1829-January, Eph. Sanford, 43; February, Abel White, 10; March, Wm. Weed, 51; Eliakim Lindsey 39; Bela Tracy, 1, 2; July, Josiah Richardson, 5; August, John Scovel, 10; September, Abraham Eddy, 26; October, Mason Tower, 10; David L. Hills, 64; Joel Rogers, 64; December, Heman Padden, 6o; November, Foster Mitchell, 55.
1830-March, George Cipperly, 4; April, Fordam Pease, 6o; May, Titus Johnson, 60; Eleazer Flagg, Jr., October, Henry H. Haner, 2; James Jones, 27; Elisha B. Rossiter, 64; November, Waterman Ellsworth and others, 42; Adna Lamson, 3; Andrew Putnam and others, 42; Samuel Palmer, 58; David Hills, 64.
1831-January, Abraham Bennett, 44; May, Nathan Brown, 63; Charles Brown, 55.

Township 3, Range 12.
1809-November, John Fish, 32.
1810-March, Timothy Russell, 64.
1811-April, Ebenezer Tyler, 48; Jonathan Bugbee, Jr., 40.
1817-February, Amos Inman, 40; Philander Brunson, 15; July, Newell Putnam, 32.
1822-August, John O. Harris, 10.
1830-September, Justus Jones, 56; November, Samuel Jones, 23; December, Horace Brunson, 23.

Township 4, Range 13.
1811-June, Roswell Ladd, 2; August, Thomas Smith, 4; James Dyer, 1; David Waterbury, 1; Pelig Scofield, 7.
1826-February, Almon and Heman Barber, 5; Samuel S. Jones and Abel J. Parker, 6.

Jonathan Bugbee, a young man, left Madison county in 1809, and alone and on foot made a tour to the wilderness of central Chautauqua. Amos Adkins, a member of a surveying party, gave him advice, and young Bugbee finally selected a claim at what is now known as Centralia, in the southern part of Stockton. He started a clearing and gathered material for a log house, and at Batavia, on his way home, received a writing entitling him to a deed of 205 acres of land at $2.50 an acre, if paid within a specified time. Bugbee returned in the winter of 1811, with his parents and brothers, Wyman and Simeon. The Bugbees cut a road through the woods for three miles to the place where Jonathan had begun a clearing. About 1821 Jonathan opened a hotel.

Previous to the return of the Bugbees, and in 1810, clearings were started by John West, Bela Todd and Joseph Green, of Herkimer county, half a mile west of Bugbees, while two miles west David Waterbury, Shadrach Scofield and Henry Walker from Saratoga county had formed a settlement. In 1814 a log schoolhouse was built. Dexter Barnes built a blacksmith shop, and supplied the settlers with axes and other tools. Henry Walker, who was appointed justice of the peace by- the Governor, conducted himself with great dignity, attired in an official dark mantle and treble capes. In 1814 Bela Todd started a log tavern, Dr. E. P. Steadman administered to the sick, and Lewis Bump opened a small store, receiving supplies by the way of Tinkertown (now Dewittville).

The "State Gazetteer" says that the first settlement was made in 1810, in the south part of the town. The names, however, of as many as ten early purchasers were entered in 1809, the first that of John Silsby on lot 48. Henry Walker's name appears as purchaser of lot 49, in township 4, range 12, May, 1811, and that of Scofleld as a purchaser of lots 50 and 58, October, 1811. Waterbury appears only as purchaser of lot 1, township 4, range 13, now a part of Stockton, but his name was entered on the land company's plat of township 4, range 12, as owner of the west part, and Shadrach Scofleld of the east half of lot 57, though neither appears on the sales book as purchaser of any part of that lot, which is the southeast corner lot of that township.

In Mr. Crissey's historical sketch of Stockton, he says that Ebenezer Tyler and Solomon (Salmon) Tyler, from Greene county, John West, Joseph Green and Bela Todd, from Herkimer county, settled on the town line (south line of township 4, range 12), about March 1, 1810. Their contracts are dated in May that year. West appears as purchaser on the sales book in the town of Chautauqua, lot 29, in November, 1810. The contract of the Tylers, however, bears date April, 1811. In October, 1810, Samuel Woodbury, Shadrach Scofield and Henry Walker, all from Saratoga county, settled in the western part of the town.

The sketch says further that Dexter Barnes and John Aker came from Herkimer county in 1811. In June, that year, Barnes, a blacksmith, built the first blacksmith shop in town, on the south side of the road, east of the residence of Henry Alden. In March, 1814, John Ecker (or Aker) bought a part of lot 41, though this is probably the person who came in 1811. He was the first fiddler in town and his services were appreciated, as many of the settlers were fond of dancing. In 1811 Comfort and Elisha Morgan located about a mile north of Shadrach Scofield, on lot 58, one of two which Mr. Scofield had previously bought, and adjoining that on which he resided. In 1812 the war with Great Britain began, and from the Stockton region went Shadrach Scofield, Dexter Barnes, Bela Todd, Comfort Morgan, Elisha Morgan, Nathan Bugbee and Wyman Bugbee. In 1813 all returned. They had been up to Buffalo, which was burned by the red coats and Indians; Comfort Morgan brought back with him a bullet in his knee, and Wyman Bugbee a bullet hole in his hat. Great fears were entertamed of a visitation by a hostile band of Indians, but it was not long before the enemy was routed in the struggle for the possession of Fort Erie, and, as there was no more trouble with the British and Indians, the pioneers resumed the pursuits of peace.

The first settlement in Bear Creek Valley was by Benjamin Miller, from Oneida county, in 1811, with an ox-team and hired help, and built a shanty of poles and hemlock boughs three-fourths of a mile north of Delanti. After two years he went back to Oneida county, where he remained until the war danger was over, when he returned to his farm, where he resided till his death in 1857.

His children were William O. and Linus W., farmers, and Laura, who married Origen Crissey; Elvira, who became Mrs. John L. Kazer, and Irene, who married Royal L. Carter.

Abel Thompson came from Sangerfield, New York, in June, 1812, and bought 100 acres of land from lot 29 and 178 acres from lot 37, including the farm owned later by Truman Todd, and extending west beyond the creek and north to and including a small part of the village of Delanti, where he was the first settler. His house was a square log pen and the floor was of split logs. In the spring of 1813, while the snow was yet deep and covered with a crust, he brought his family with an ox-team. Thompson unloaded his goods at Mr. Miller's on the snow. It required two days to break a road to Thompson's house, three-quarters of a mile distant. Mr. Thompson died in 1831. He had several sons, including Horace and Newell C. The little settlement where Thompson lived was early known as Bear Creek Corners. Among those who soon followed were Eaton Ford, Samuel Crissey, Gould Crissey, Christopher Smith, John Mitchell, Levi C. Miller, Truman Todd, Hiram Lazell, shoemaker, Carlton Jones, physician, and Mr. Hines, a carpenter. James Haywood opened a store in 1817, and the same year a Baptist church was organized by Revs. Joy Handy and Asa Turner. Early in 1812, Othello Church settled at the outlet of Cassadaga Lake, followed soon after by Ichabod Fisher, Elmer Wood, Nehemiah Woodcock, Nathaniel Smith, Abner Putnam, Philip Phillips and others, all from the eastern counties of New York, except one or two families from New England. A few settled west of Cassadaga creek.

Hiram Lazell, a shoemaker, and Elijah Nelson, were prominent in the early settling and building up of Delanti. They came in 1815 from Massachusetts, and went back for the purpose, it would appear, of getting married, for they returned in November, 1817, and not alone. Hiram Lazell, at the first town meeting in 1821, was made an assessor, collector and constable; so he could assess taxes, go out in another official capacity to collect the tax he had imposed, and finally enforce the collection as constable.

Samuel Shepard, Aaron Lyon and Ira Jenflings came from Massachusetts in 1819. Mr. Shepard was the first justice in the town. Mr. Lyon was an early settler on the west side of Cassadaga Lake, on lot 48, near the town line, where Franklin, his son, afterwards resided, though he appears as an original purchaser of lot 12, in June, 1817. Mary Lyon, founder of the Holyoke Female Seminary, in Massachusetts, was his sister. He had two sons and eight daughters. Five of the girls married ministers, and Lucy and Freelove were the first and second wives of Rev. Mr. Lord, a missionary to China, and missionaries themselves. Mr. Lyon was for a long time a justice in Stockton and supervisor for several terms.

In 1816 Ichabod Fisher kept tavern in Cassadaga, Henry Walker was a storekeeper, Grove Page attended to the physical ailments of the people, and Ammi Richard mended their shoes. James Beebe was the first postmaster. The first religious society was the Baptist church, organized December 1, 1833.

Resolved W. Fenner, a native of Rhode Island, came from Madison county, New York, in November, 1819, and bought land from Abel Brunson, a part of lot 15, township 3, range 12. He was a farmer, and also a cooper. Washington Winsor, a Baptist minister who preached at Stockton and Carroll, and afterwards at Cassadaga, where he died in 1840, was a native of Rhode Island, who came from Otsego county, New York, and settled near Delanti in 1827.

Amos Brunson, born in Connecticut, was said to have been one of a hundred of the first settlers who were able to pay for their lands according to contract. In 1824 he built a frame house and opened a tavern, in 1838 a sawmill, which failed from lack of water. He married Sallie Love in 1809; they had twelve children.

John West, a native of New Hampshire, came in 1810, and with Dexter Barnes helped clear the site of the county poor house. They and Peter Barnhart took a contract from William Peacock, agent of the Holland Land Company, to cut a road from the fourteen mile stake, east of the land office, to the Cattaraugus line, and then seven and one-fourth miles beyond to the old Indian road leading from Cattaraugus to the Allegheny river.

Stephen Messenger, a blacksmith, was an early settler, in whose family an extraordinary number of deaths occurred in a few years. Abel Beebe moved from Buffalo to Stockton in 1809, cutting his way through the woods from Laona. Beebe, Joel Fisher and Othello Church were the only persons who spent the winter of 1809-10 in the neighborhood.

The first white couple married in Stockton were John West and Miss Barnhart, at the home of Samuel Waterbury, December 31, 1812. Jonathan West later opened a log tavern which was succeeded by a frame hotel which he conducted about twenty-five years. The first birth in Stockton is said to have been that of William Walker, August 25, 1811. The first school was taught by Abigail Durfee, in the south part of town, in the summer of 1815. Ichabod Fisher kept the first tavern at Cassadaga in 1811, and Elijah Nelson the first one at Stockton. James Haywood kept the first store at Stockton; McClure & Holbrook, Aaron Waddington and John Z. Saxton, also early merchants, but of a later period. Dr. Carleton Jones settled in Stockton in 1818, later doctors being E. P. Stedman, Waterman Ellsworth, George S. Harrison, Humphrey Sherman and J ustin Thompson. Dr. Thompson was a surgeon in the Union army during the Civil War, and made his escape from a southern prison pen.

Origen Crissey was the first wagon maker. Levi Holmes many years later built a wagon and carriage shop. Hiram Shaw, a cabinet maker, established a shop about 1830. Seth Duncan succeeded him, and carried on a business for some thirty years.

A gristmill and a sawmill were built about 1817 or 1818, where now the village of Stockton is, by John Hines, Hiram Lazell and Elijah Nelson. Obed Taylor, Samuel Shepard and David Sacket subsequently became interested in it; Sacket later built a gristmill, which was sold to Joseph S. Sacket, Truman Todd and Milton Smith. David Sacket and Aaron Lyon built a gristmill and a sawmill about 1821 at Cassadaga Lake, constructing a dam. Bela Todd built a sawmill on the creek, five miles from the lake, about 1829, which he sold to Charles D. Cooper, who also built a carding and cloth dressing establishment. Benjamin Miller built a sawmill about 1826, three-fourths of a mile above the village. Dascom and Newton Taylor built a steam sawmill about 1868, which they sold to Harrison Price and Oren Miles. Later planing and shingle mills were attached. A steam sawmill was begun three or four miles from Stockton, in 1850, and completed by Philip Lazell; it was burned in 1854. On the Bugbee brook, near the site of this mill, a sawmill was built in 1830 and burned in 1835.

R. W. Fenner and his son Christopher built a sawmill on Cassadaga creek in 1824. R. W. Fenner and Forbes Johnson built the first gristmill in that part of the town in 1827. About 1835 these mills were bought by Henry Love. After his death they became the property of Forbes Johnson and John A. Fenner. In 1839 the sawmill was torn down, and a new one built about forty rods east of the first. About 1856 E. J. Spencer, Osmand Johnson and John A. Fenner became owners of the gristmill and put in machinery for planing and matching boards. In 1868 a gristmill with modern improvements was built in place of the old one by Osmand Johnson and E. J. Spencer. In 1869 Spencer sold his interest. Forbes Johnson and his sons, Owen and Edwin, who owned the mill in 1869, exchanged it with James Austin for a dairy farm in Ellery. This mill is said to have turned out 750,000 feet of lumber in a year, besides large quantities of pine and hemlock shingles, lath, etc.

In 1811 the Holland Land Company began opening a highway from Mayville eastward to the Genesee river, through the town of Stockton. The road was soon traveled quite extensively and half a dozen different landlords opened taverns. Ample frame buildings in some cases replaced the log cabins which were first opened as hotels. James Dyer, James Colby, Henry K. Gravit were early innkeepers, besides several in addition to those previously mentioned.

Stockton is a leading dairy town of Chautauqua county and scattered through the town are many butter and cheese factories. The present village of Stockton was formerly known as Delanti, a name adopted at a meeting of citizens held in January, 1833. Amos Crane presided at that meeting, Milton Smith was secretary and Loraine Dantforth, a teacher, selected the name. Dr. Waterman Ellsworth was the first postmaster at Delanti.

The population of the town of Stockton as reported to the New York State census enumerators in 1915 was 1,805 citizens and 25 aliens. The principal manufacturing enterprise of the town is the grape basket factory of Fredericksen & Bussing, located at Cassadaga Lake, where there are two other smaller factories. The Chautauqua Cement Company was organized in 1890 and began manufacturing near Cassadaga.

The Cassadaga Navigation Company incorporated in 1827, with a capital of $20,000 to improve the navigation of the Cassadaga to its junction with the Conewango, and the navigation of the Conewango to the State line. Walter Smith conceived the idea of opening the Cassadaga and Conewango to keelboats. A boat twenty-five feet long was constructed, which brought a load of salt up the Conewango and Cassadaga to Cassadaga Lake, went back with a light cargo and again ascended the streams part way, but the water in the Cassadaga lowered after the channel was cleared, and navigation was found impracticable.

Baptists formed a church in 1808, near Chautauqua Lake. This was divided in two in 1817, one of which in April, 1821, became the Baptist church of Stockton, and in October, 1821, the First Baptist Congregational Society was incorporated and received a grant of fifty acres of land offered by the Holland Land Company to the first two churches. The settlers of Bear Creek Valley organized in 1817 at Delanti the Third Baptist Church of Chautauqua. Cassadaga Baptist Church was organized May 8, 1834. A Congregational church was organized in 1815. The church at Oregon was organized in 1839 or 1840. The Christian Church was formed at Delanti in 1825. The Universalists and United Brethren have had societies since 1850.

The Methodist Episcopal church has been established in the town since 1825 and has a congregation in the village of Stockton of 181 members, including the branch at Centralia. Villages of the town are Stockton and Cassadaga, both with good schools and churches, the latter a popular summer resort. Other villages are Burnhams; Moons, a station on the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pennsylvania railroad; Denton, Centralia and South Stockton.

The Empire State Degree of Honor, an important organization having its home office in Stockton and claiming to furnish life insurance on "the most simple and equitable plan," was incorporated May 26, 1886. Henry W. Seymour was a leader in its founding, and for a number of years its secretary. The design of the association is to meet the wants of a large class of people, both men and women, who desire to carry life insurance at a reasonable expense. The association has 7,894 policies and $6,740,750 insurance in force; has paid out on death claims, $2,131,207.14, and holds as a reserve fund, $382,923.77. Officers, 1920: Amos E. Hall, president; B. O. Taylor, vice-president; C. G. Warren, secretary; M. T. Wakeman, assistant secretary; C. E. Olson, J. W. Henderson, medical examiners; Benjamin S. Dean, attorney. For many years L. W. Lazell was treasurer, holding until his death in 1919, when he was succeeded by C. E. Olson.

Supervisors

1821-22, Calvin Warren; 1823-25, Henry Walker; 1826, Calvin Warren; 1827, W. Ellsworth; 1828, Aaron Lyon; 1829-30, Hiram Lazell; 1831-32, W. Ellsworth; 1833, John Grant; 1834, John Lyon; John Grant; 1836-37, Calvin Smith; 1838-39, Chauncey Warren; 1840-41, Delos Beebe; 1842, Philip Lazell; 1843-44, Thomas Rolph 1845, Chauncey Warren; 1846, Eleazer Flagg, Jr.; 1847, Chauncey Warren; 1848-49-50-53, Milton Smith; 1854, George S. Harrison; 1855, Judge L. Bugbee; 1856, Ebenezer Moon; 1857-58, W. P. Burdick; 1859, Judge L. Bugbee; 1860-61, Philip Lazell; 1862-63, Merrill Crissey; 1864-65, Harlow Crissey; 1866-67, Eliphalet Mitchell; 1868-69, Chauncey Warren; 1870-71, Walker Parkhurst; 1872-73, Joseph E. Batchellor; 1874-79, Lucian C. Warren; 1880-81, Charles W. Chapman; 1882-83, Jay A. Flagg; 1884., Darius G. Pickett; 1885, P. M. Miller; 1886-89, Newton Crissey; 1890, Lucian C. Warren; 1891, Charles D. Payne; 1892-97, C. Frank Chapman; 1898-99, Michael C. Donovan; 1900-03, Lucian C. Warren; 1904-05, Michael C. Donovan; 1906-07, Clayton S. Putnam; 1908-09, Lucien C. Warren; 1910-11, Everett J. White; 1912-20, Charles D. Payne.

The full value of town real estate in 1918 was placed at $1,243,810, the assessed valuation for the same year being $975,857.

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