TOWN OF EAST HAMBURG.
This town is situated in the western-central part of the county, with West Seneca
on the north, Aurora on the east, Boston on the south, and Hamburg on the west. It includes all of township 9,
range 7 of the Holland Company’s survey, excepting the two western tiers of lots; it also includes a tract from
the Buffalo Creek Reservation five miles long east and west and averaging about two miles wide. The area of the
town is about forty square miles, the surface is a broken upland, the highest point of which is Chestnut Ridge,
about 500 above Lake Erie. The soil is loam, gravelly in the north part and clayey in the south. The town is drained
by Smokes Creek and its tributaries.
The first settler in the territory of East Hambug was Didymus Kinney, who purchased his land in 1803, on the southwest
corner lot of the town. Deacon Ezekiel Smith purchased land in the Newton neighborhood in the southwest part in
1804; he came in accompanied by his sons, Richard and Daniel, and David Eddy. The latter selected 100 acres including
the site of the present village of Orchard Park. In the same year a colony came on from Vermont comprising five
more sons of Deacon Smith, Amos Colvin and five sons, David Eddy’s brother Aaron, his brother-in law, Nathan Peters
and perhaps a few others. In 1805 Jacob Eddy, father of David, became a settler; Asa Sprague joined the colony
before mentioned, and William Coltrin, Samuel Knapp and Joseph Sheldon settled not far away. In 1805 Daniel Smith
built a large log structure and in it placed some rude gearing and two stones for a mill where he could grind a
few bushels a day. A few years later he moved his mill to Eighteen mile Creek near the site of White’s Corners.
About the same time David Eddy built a saw mill for the Indians near the site of Lower Ebenezer and another on
Smokes Creek on the site of Orchard Park. Many of the early settlers were Quakers and in 1801 they built a meeting
house, having built a log school house in the previous year. Among the early settlers of that persuasion were Elias
Freeman, Samuel and Joseph Webster, James Paxon, Jonas Hambleton, Nathaniel and Jacob Potter and others.
Samuel and Seth Abbott, two brothers, settled southeast of the Eddy neighborhood in 1806—07; Seth moved a few years
later to Wright’s Corners and the settlement there took the name of Abbott’s Corners. Among other prominent settlers
and residents may be mentioned the following:
Ezekiel Cook, Obadiah and Reuben Newton (in 1808); William Austin (1810); Pardon Pierce, Joseph Hawkins, Obadiah
Baker (about 1811); Richard Putnam, (1816); Benjamin Baker (1817); Joshua Potter (1806, father of Gilbert who was
born in the town in 1809); Charles B. Utley (1810); Absalom Chandler (1816); William Hambleton (1809); Ransom Jones
(1808); Col. Chauncey Abbott (son of Samuel. was born here in 1816); Oliver Griffin (1809); Elisha Freeman, Amos
Chilcott, Robert Hoag, Darwin S. Littlefield, Robert Meatyard, John H. Miller, Christopher Hambleton, Miles P.
Briggs, Reuben Moore, Spencer L. Perkins, Samuel S. Reed, Dr. Elisha Smith, Mortimer F. Smith, Chester Sweet, Frank
M. Thorn, Stephen Wheeler, jr., Albert A. White.
In the spring of 1812 Daniel Sumner made the first settlement on Chestnut Ridge. Obadiah Baker built an early grist
mill on Smokes Creek at the place which became known as Potter’s Corners, from the families of that name who settled
there. Near the close of the war of 1812 a mail route was established through the town, from Abbott’s Corners southeastward,
and then east through the Griffin neighborhood. A post-office was opened at John Green’s tavern, the noted hostelry
of early days, with the name Hamburg. Just after the war James Reynolds opened a store near the Friends’ meeting
house and a few years later moved it to Potter’s Corners. William Cromwell was in business there in 1819, where
the store of Anthony & Stone is situated. In 1820 David Eddy built a tavern on the site of Wasson’s hotel,
and it was occupied several years by his sons-in-law, Lewis Arnold and Theodore Hawkins.
The post-office before mentioned was discontinued before 1820 and another opened at Potter’s Corners with the name
East Hamburg. In 1822 this (with two others in the western part of the old town of Hamburg) was discontinued and
a central one opened at Abbott’s Corners; before 1830, however, the East Hamburg office was re-established.
About 1825 a building was erected where the store of Smith & Petz now stands,
in which William T. Smith traded; Allen Potter was a later merchant there. In recent years the name Orchard Park
has been substituted for Potter’s Corners for this village.
Dairying was extensively carried on in this town in former years, but the business has somewhat declined. A share,
at least, of the honor attaching to the production of the once celebrated Hamburg cheese is due to this community.
At the present time there is only one cheese factory in the town. The culture of fruit, berries and grapes receives
much attention from the farmers, and garden products are extensively grown for the Buffalo market. The- construction
in 1882—83 of the Buffalo branch of the Rochester and Pittsburg Railroad, wbich crosses the town diagonally, gave
the inhabitants better facilities for reaching markets and generally benefited people. At about this time the village,
which had already borne several titles, was renamed Orchard Park.
Orchard Park. — This is the largest
village in the town and a station on the railroad. The early settlements and first business enterprises there have
been mentioned. A hotel and store were early opened a mile south of this place and an attempt was made to found
a village at that point. A small hamlet gathered there and was given the name of Deuel’s Corners. A mile north
of Orchard Park another hamlet grew up which took the name of Webster’s Corners. Former merchants of the village
were Ambrose C. Johnson, Levi Potter, John Scott, Horace Stiliwell and Christopher Hambleton, now in trade. There
was an early tannery a mile east of the village, which was operated up to about twenty years ago. Samuel McCormick
established a barrel factory, which, since his death, has been operated by members of the family. The fire department
of the village was organized about 1888, and has a chemical engine and a hook and ladder truck. A canning factory
was established in 1878, in a building which had been a steam saw mill; Job Taylor, James A. Taylor, Frank M. Thorn,
Jasper N. Clark and Eben Scudeer were interested in the business. A stock company was ultimately formed with capital
of $100,000. The establishment was burned in 1889 and not rebuilt. The Erie Preserving Company established a second
factory at the depot in 1890 which was burned in 1895. In the village at the present tim.e are 2 general stores,
2 groceries, 1 drug store, 1 hardware store, 2 hotels and a barrel factory.
At Webster’s Corners there is now one store; a former merchant there was Emmett J. Ayers. At Deuel’s Corners is
the saw mill formerly operated by Thomas Gill. At Ellicott, a hamlet in the southwest part of the town, is a store
and a few shops, with three of the churches of the town. What was formerly Abbott’s Corners, on the Hamburg line,
now bears the name of Armor, as far as the post-office is con-. cerned; the place is noticed in the record for
Hamburg. Windorn is a post-office and station on the railroad and on the town line between this town and Hamburg,
in the northwest part; there is little business done there.
The building of the meeting house of the Friends in 1807 has been mentioned. Soon after the war of 1812 a school
house was built near where Ezekiel Cook settled, which was used for Baptist religious meetings for several years.
The First Presbyterian church at Orchard Park was organized in January, 1817, by Rev. Miles P. Squier and Rev.
John Spencer. A reorganization took place May 11, 1853, and the society is still in prosperous existence.
In 1855 the religiously inclined residents in the Chestnut Ridge region united in building a Union church. The
building was dedicated, however, by Methodists, and differences soon led to the discontinuance of services. The
building is still standing. A Methodist society was formed at Griffin’s Corners about 1850, just over the Aurora
line. The Immanuel Reformed church at Ellicott was organized in August, 1877, and is still active; the edifice
was erected in that year. A Wesleyan Methodist society has been in existence there for some years and an old Methodist
organization also; the Wesleyans built a church in 1894.
The town of East Hamburg was formed October 15, 1850, from Hamburg, and was given the name Ellicott, in honor of
Joseph Ellicott. Some minor changes in boundaries made in 1851 gave the town its present area. The name was changed
February 20, 1852, by an act of the Legislature. The first town meeting was held March 4, 1851, and the following
officers were elected:
Amos Chilcott, supervisor; Chauncey Abbott, town clerk; Hiram Bullis, Thomas Ostrander and Lansing B. Littlefield,
justices of the peace; William Hambleton, assessor; Henry A. Griffin and Harmon Wheelock, commissioners of highways;
Samuel S. Reed and Oliver Hampton, inspectors of election; C. C. Briggs, collector; William Paxson, poormaster;
Milton H. Bull, Horace H. Hinman, Amos Colvin and John W. Ostrander, constables.
Following is a list of the supervisors of East Hamburg and their years of service:
Amos Chilcott, 1851; Isaac Baker, 1852; Jacob Potter, 1853; Lansing B. Littlefield. 1854; John T. Fish, 1855—56;
Lewis M. Bullis, 1857—58; Ivory C. Hawkins, 1859: James H. Deuel, 1860—61; Ambrose C. Johnson, 1862; Levi Potter,
1863—64; Benjamin Baker, 1865—66; Christopher Hambleton, 1867: Allen Potter, 1868; Norman B. Sprague, 1869; Allen
Potter, 1870; Frank M. Thorn, 1871—74; Amos Freeman, 1875; Frank M. Thorn, 1876—80; Cephas L. Potter, 1881; Norman
B. Sprague, 1882; Charles H. Sweet. 1883—86; Amos C. Hambleton, 1887—88; George W. Briggs, 1889; Carleton G. Briggs,
1890; George W. Briggs, 1891—97.