HISTORY of COLDEN, 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 COLDEN.

The town of Colden was formed from Holland on April 2, 1827, with its present boundaries. It lies southeast of the center of the county, comprises township 8, range 6, of the Holland Purchase, and contains thirty-six square miles. The surface is comparatively level upland, excepting the narrow valley of Cazenove Creek; which flows a little west of north along the western border of the town. In this valley the soil is gravelly loam, while on the hills the gravel has a large clay element.

Settlement in the territory of Colden began in 1810, when Richard Buffurn, from Rhode Island, located with his family on the site of Colden village. He had at that time eleven children, and was accompanied also by James Sweet, John Brown, Jesse Southwick, Stephen Southwick, Thomas Pope and Nathaniel Bowen. Mr. Buffum built a large log house and a saw mill during his first season, and in that year James Sweet married Charlotte Buffum; this was the first wedding in the town. John D. Gould settled in that vicinity in 1810, and in 1811 Richard Sweet came in and married Maria Buffum. Richard Buffum took up 2,000 acres of land and soon after his arrival transferred 100. acres to each of the settlers before named who came in with him.

In 1813 Silas Lewis settled on the hill in the northeastpart, and soon afterward Erastus Bingham and Leander J. Roberts located in that section. The first school in the town was taught in 1814 by Mary Eddy, of Hamburg.

Richard Buffum and James Bloomfield built a grist mill in 1814 near the saw mill, and the place became known as Buffum’s Mills. About 1822 Wheeler, James and Joseph Buffurn, Sons of Richard, settled in the northwest part of the town. Other prominent pioneers were Samuel B. Love, Joel Gillett, Benjamin Crump, Amos W. Gould and William Lewis, a Methodist preacher.

The growth of the town was slow, owing chiefly to the forbidding character of the soil. W. H. Hayes settled in Hayes Hollow in 1828, and a little later Daniel Deeter opened a store there. The first postoffice was not established until 1830, three years after the town was formed; it was named Colden, but was located at the extreme northern part of the town, in the house of Leander J. Roberts, the first postmaster. Three years later it was renwved to Buffum’s Mills, which settlement soon took the name of Colden, and there it has remained ever since.

The early settlements were made mostly along the valley and in the northern part of the town, and as late as 1835 much of the central, eastern and southern parts were still unsold. About that time Samuel B. Love and Benjamin Maitby, of Colden, and Stephen Osborn, of Newstead, formed a partnership and purchased 15,000 acres of the Holland Company, covering the site of Glenwood and extending eastward. Mr. Maltby, as agent of the firm, built a saw mill at Glenwood in 1838. It required twenty years more to dispose of all those lands. For many years the principal business of the town was sawing lumber, many mills being located along Cazenove Creek. The original Buffum mill long ago disappeared and was succeeded by two or three others at Colden village, Glenwood and elsewhere.

Colden Village took its name when the post-office was moved there in 1833. Richard Buffum was the first postmaster there. His successors have been Albert G. Buffum, Benjamin Maitby, Richard Shelley, John W. Butts, D. Henshaw, Amos W. Gould, Leroy D. Warren, John W. Sutts, Michael H. Snyder, Thomas J. Buffum, William B. Currier.

The Buffum and Bloomfield grist mill passed through several hands and was burned in 1868. C. J. Shuttleworth built the existing mill in 1879, and soon sold it to Amos W. Gould. Mr. Buffum built the first tavern in 1828 and conducted it; it was closed in 1860 and is now a residence. John Hedges built the present hotel in 1850. E. P. Hatch opened the first store in 1831. Henry Smith and Albert G. Buffum began trade in 1837, and in 1858 Richard Shelley built and occupied the brick store. His brother, William W. Shelley, succeeded him, and he was followed by Smith Gould, who soon removed the goods to Glenwood. Other past merchants have been John Churchill, Amos W. Gould, Warren & French, John M. Wiley, L. S. Bailey, Currier & Bolender, Whitney Bros., John Lang, Albert Price and others. There are now in the village three general stores, one hardware store, a saw mill, a large bottling establishment, a planing mill, a box factory and a cheese factory, a wagon shop, two blacksmith shops and an undertaking establishment.

A tavern was built in 1833 by Arnold Holt, who was succeeded by George Balding in 1845. It was rebuilt by him in 1873 and passed to John J. Strauss, and again was rebuilt in 1896. Joslyn M. Corbin built a shingle mill in 1857 which was changed to a cheese box factory in 1861; it was burned and rebuilt, the last time in 1869.

Dr. Philo P. Barker, after living two years in Glenwood, settled in Colden about 1838 as the first physician. He practiced there about twenty years. Other transient physicians were Dr. Charles P. Baker and Dr. S. N. Poole. Dr. Orvel C. Strong has been in practice since 1868. C. J. Colburn is the only lawyer in the town.

The small hamlet that gathered around the saw mill of Benjamin Maltby, built in 1838, took the name of Glenwood. In 1840 S. B. Love and Jonas Briggs built a tannery there, and in 1849 a store was opened by Mr. Maitby, which he conducted about fifteen years. The postoffice was opened about the same time and Mr. Maltby was the first postmaster. Charles Crocker built a store in 1868, and Allen W. Blakely carried on a grocery business, which he purchased from George Maitby in 1875. A cheese factory was built here in 1867 by Reynolds & Caidwell, but the business was soon abandoned. A box factory was built in 1874 by John R. Hedges; it was burned in 1876 and rebuilt, afterwards passing through several hands. There are now in the hamlet a store, a shingle mill, a saw mill and barrel factory.

In recent years the farmers of this town have followed the prevailing tide of change and engaged quite extensively in dairying. There are at the present time five cheese factories in the town, and fruit and garden products are also grown to a considerable extent. The acreage of the town is 22,704.

The Methodist church at Colden village was formed in 1849, and George Balding was the first class leader. The legal organization took place in 1858 with George Balding, Alfred Morse and William Kincaid, trustees. In 1859 a frame church was built; this is the only church in the village. There is a Free Methodist church at Colden Center, organized in 1871.

The Presbyterian church at Glenwood was formed as a Congregational society in 1829, before the hamlet came into existence. Services were first held in a log school house on the Concord town line. The first house of worship at Glenwood was built in 1847, was burned in 1859, and a new one built the next summer. The Presbyterian faith was adopted in 1878.

Colden village has a graded school, conducted in a two-story frame building erected about 1885.

The early town records of Colden are lost, but the following is a list of the supervisors as far as they can be obtained: Silas Lewis, 1828—29; William Lewis, 1830; Erastus Bingbam, 1831—32; Leander J. Roberts, 1833—35; William Lewis, 1836—87; Leander J. Roberts, 1838—40; Philo P. Barber, 1841—43; Samuel B. Love, 1844; Benjamin Maltby, 1845—46; Cyrus Cornell, 1847—48; Charles H. Baker, 1849—50; William A. Calkins, 1851—52; Oliver P. Buffum, 1853—54; Benjamin Maltby, 1855; Albert C. Buffum, 1856; Benjamin Maitby, 1857—58; Moses Calkins, 1859; Nathan C. Francis, 1860—63; Richard E. Bowen, 1864—65; George W. Nichols, 1866—69; Stephen Churchill, 1870; George W. Nichols, 1871—72; Charles Day, 1873; Daniel T. Francis, 1874—75; R. B. Bowen, 1876; George W. Nichols. 1877—85; William B. Currier. 1886—89; Robert G. Crump, 1890—91; Orlin J. Colburn, 1892—94; John P. Underhill, 1895—97.


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