HISTORY of CHEEKTOWAGA, NY
FROM OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A DESCRIPTIVE WORK ON ERIE COUNTY
NEW YORK
EDITED BY: TRUMAN C. WHITE
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 1898


TOWN OF CHEEKTOWAGA.

Cheektowaga was formed from Amherst on the 20th of March, 1829, and on the formation of West Seneca on October 16, 1851, was reduced to its present limits—about thirty-three square miles, or 18,710 acres. It is bounded on the east by Lancaster, on the south by West Seneca, on the west by the city of Buffalo, and on the north by Amherst; and embraces all of township 11, range 7, of the Holland Company’s survey, except the western two tiers of lots, and also includes an irregular strip averaging one and one-half miles in width taken from the Buffalo Creek Reservation. The principal streams are Scajaquada Creek, flowing westerly through the center of the town; Cayuga Creek, in the southern part; and Ellicott or Eleven-mile Creek, in the northeastcorner. The surface is almost perfectly level, broken only by the valleys of these creeks; the soil is largely composed of clay and is fertile. The northeastern and southeastern parts of the town are devoted largely to farming or truck gardening, while the central portion is given up to railroads and allied enterprises. The western part is densely populated and in some respects closely identified with the city. The railroads which traverse the town are the West Shore, the New York Central & Hudson River, the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Lehigh Valley, and the Erie.

The first town meeting was held at the house of Elnathan Bennett on April 16; 1829, and the following officers were elected:

Alexander Hitchcock, supervisor; Jesse Vaughan, town clerk; John A. Dole, Israel N. Ely, and Abraham Hausen, justices of the peace; Elnathan Bennett, John A. Dole, and Apollos Hitchcock, assessors; Christopher Beam, Samuel Jenkins, and Amos Robinson, commissioners of highways; John B. Campbell, John A. Dole, and James N. Green, commissioners of schools; Matthew Campbell and John Hitchcock, overseers of the poor; Nelson Warner, collector; Jesse Vaughan, town sealer; Elnathan Bennett, Caleb Coatsworth, G. Beach, John A. Dole, Henry Deckhart, Michael Escherich, Asa Green, Philip Greiner, Samuel Jenkins, Jacob Kraise, Peter Light, Michael Keeble, John Moyer, Amos Richardson, Joseph Rowley, John Sand, Joseph Small, Jacob Kolo, William Schunerman, Samuel Warner, Matthew Van Dusen, and Jesse Vaughan, pathmasters.

The following is a list of the supervisors of Cheektowaga, with their years of service:
Alexander Hitchcock, 1839—41; Darius Kingley, 1842; Alexander Hitchcock, 1843— 44; James Warner, 1845; Manly Brown, 1846; Alexander Hitchcock, 1847; Manly Brown, 1848—49; E. P. Adams, 1850; Manly Brown, 1851; Israel N. Ely, 1852; Marvin Seamans, 1853—54; Gardner J. Rip, 1855; Frederick Loosen, 1856—57; Eldridge Farwell, 1858—62; Simeon H. Joslyn, 1863; E. Selden Ely, 1864—73; Joseph Duringer, 1874; E. Selden Ely, 1875; Pennock Winspear, 1876: Joseph Duringer, 1877—82; Frederick Stephan, 1883—88; John H. Stock, 1889—97.

Settlement was commenced in Cheektowaga in February, 1808, by Apollos Hitchcock, who bame from Schenectady, N. Y., and located on lot 72. In 1829 he purchased fifty-nine acres at Cheektowaga Station, including a saw mill on Cayuga Creek; he built a woolen factory and in 1844 both establishments were burned. The saw mill was rebuilt and now remains partly dismantled. Among other settlers prior to the war of 1812 were Alexander Hitchcock, Eliphalet Densmore, Jason and Roswell Hatch, Samuel Le Suer, and Major Noble. The first birth of a white child was that of a child of Roswell Hatch in 1810. In the same year Samuel Le Suer built the first mill, which soon passed to Mr. Hitchcock. Jesse Munson opened the first tavern in 1815; in 1816 Elnathan Bennett built and opened another. The first death of a white person was that of Franklin Hitchcock in 1818. A large German immigration began soon after 1830, and it has continued ever since until now the town is largely occupied by people of German birth or parentage.

In the list of the first officers and supervisors of Cheektowaga will be found the names of many early prominent settlers. Among other citizens were:

Israel Ely, father of Calvin, E. Selden, E. Sterling, Israel N. and Judah Ely, Matthew Campbell and son John B., Elisha P. Adams, David C. Bennett. George Boothroy, Frederick Brennison, Solon Bruce, Jerome M. Campbell, Apollos Duringer and son Joseph, Alois Gerber, Blasius Groell, John Hinchy, James H. Hitchcock, Joseph Long, Sr., and son Joseph, Martin Lux and son Peter, Alexander G. Nagel, Philip Pittz, Samuel Rapen, Peter Reisch and son John, Philip Stephan and son Frederick, Joseph Voegele, Joseph Werick and son Henry P., John Willyoung, James Winspear and son Pennock, John Wurst, Grdfrey Zimmerman, John Zurbrick and Philip Zurbrick. The latter built a flouring mill on Cayuga creek in 1874; it was remodeled into a roller mill in 1882, and on his death in 1888 passed to his sons, Albert and Frank Zurbrick.

The proximity of the town to Buffalo, Lancaster and Williamsville, and more recently to Depew, has prevented the growth of any considerable village within its limits. For many years the chief occupation of a large number of the inhabitants has been the raising of vegetables and other produce for the Buffalo market. A post-office was established at an early date with Alexander Hitchcock as postmaster, and in 1868—69 R. H. Haywood made an attempt to build up a village between the Central and Erie railroad tracks; streets and lots were laid out and the erection of an Episcopal church was commenced in 1869, but the enterprise found few supporters and soon proved a complete failure. About 1894 the name of the post-office was changed from Cheektowaga to Forks.

Since about 1887 large tracts of land in the east half of the town have been laid out into building lots, many of which are occupied by residences or business places. In 1890 the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad shops were established in Cheektowaga, just east of the city line, and around them has sprung up a village, which was incorporated under the name of Sloan in the spring of 1896. The first village officers were Edward C. Green, president; William Brennan, Charles Wright and Andrew Killgallon, trustees; Patrick J. Leahy, clerk; George Faber, treasurer. The post-office was established in 1890 with Edward C. Green as postmaster; he was succeeded by L. M. Sadler and he by Alfred W. Ackley. The same year a two-story frame school house was erected, and in 1891 a Congregational church was built, a chapel having been erected several years before. There are but two stores in the village.

In the north part of the town, on the corner of Genesee street and Union road, is the Pilgrimage Chapel of Our Lady Help of Christians (Roman Catholic), which was founded by Joseph Bait, who donated six acres of land for the church and cemetery April 1, 1851. The chapel was built in 1853.

Depew lies partly in this town, and owes its existence to various railroad and other shops established there since 1893. It is sufficiently noticed in the sketch devoted to Lancaster.

Bellevue is a small hamlet of about thirty houses on Cayuga Creek, in the south part of the town. It also contains the power house of the Buffalo, Bellevue and Lancaster Electric Railroad, which was constructed between these points in 1893; a loop was built through Depew soon afterward. A post-office was established at Bellevue in January, 1894.

Near Bellevue is the plant of the International Radiator Company and also the coal trestles of the Lehigh Valley and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Companies, the latter being the largest in the world.

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