HISTORY of EDEN, 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 EDEN.

Eden is an interior town of Erie county, lying southwest of the center of the county, with Hamburg on the north, Boston on the east, North Collins on the south, and Evans on the west. The town was formed March 20, 1812, from Willink and then included the present towns of Boston (set off in 1817) and Evans (set off in 1821). It comprises township 8, range 8 of the Holland Company’s survey, with the western tier of lots in township 8, range 7, and contains about forty square miles of territory, or 25,265 acres. The surface is generally a level upland, which is traversed by the deep and narrow valley of the west branch of Eighteen-mile Creek, which flows from the southeast corner of the town to its junction with the west branch, a little west of the center of the northern boundary. The soil is a gravelly loam, intermixed with clay. The principal products are garden truck for Buffalo markets, dairying, and small fruits, especially grapes. There are two limburger cheese factories in the town.

Settlement began in Eden territory with the arrival in 1808 of Deacon Samuel Tubbs, his two sons, and James Welch, a nephew, on the site of Eden Valley, which was long known as Tubbs’s Hollow. Elisha and John M. Welch, brothers of James, came on in 1810. John M. was father of Hon. Nelson Welch, who still resides in the town. Dr. John March and Silas Estee located near the Tubbs family in 1810. Elisha Welch built the first saw mill in 1811 and the first grist mill in the next year. John Hill settled at the site of Eden Center in 1811. Other settlers of 1811 were Levi Bunting, Joseph Thorn, Calvin Thompson, James Paxson and Josiah Gail. In 1813 Daniel, Samuel, William and Edward Webster settled near Tubbs’s Hollow, coming from what is now the town of Boston. In the spring of 1814 Dr. William Hill settled near his son, John Hill; he was a Revolutionary army surgeon, but being too old for much active practice he opened a tavern at Eden Center on the site of the later Caskey house. The first school was opened in 1814.

After the close of the war settlers came into the town rapidly. Simeon Clark built or set up a lathe near East Eden and made spinning wheels, etc. Other settlers soon after the war were John Dayton, Joseph H. Beardsley, John Kerr, Hiram Hinman, Nathan Grover and Joseph Blye. The first merchant was a Mr. Harris, who brought in his goods in 1813; about 1816, when his trade had increased, he built a small store on the site of J. H. Caskey’s store at Eden Center. In 1816 Col. Asa Warren moved in from Willink and settled two miles east of Eden Center, where he built saw and grist mills. Other pioneers of that period were Obed Warren, Orrin Babcock, Elias Babcock,
and David Wood. Many of the early settlers were members of the society of Friends.

About 1818 a Mr. Ensign built a small grist mill near East Eden, on a stream then called Hampton Brook. Before 1821 there was a post-office called Eden, but it was in that part of the town finally set off to form Evans. In 1822 a post-office was established at Eden Valley, with J. T. Welch postmaster, and named Evans. The names of these two offices were subsequently transposed, so that their names conformed with the names of the two towns.

Other early settlers and prominent residents of the town were:
Benjamin Tolls, who came in early, Samuel Beardsley, Hazard Beardsley, David S. Beardsley, Elias D. Babcock, son of Elias and born in the town; Porter Belknap and his son John; Linus Dole and his son Franklin; James Green, settled in 1816, father of James W; Abraham Paxson, came in 1811; John Hill and his sons John and Roswell; Nelson Welch, son of John; Charles S. Rathbun (1826; Davis Webster (born in the town in 1829, son of Daniel); Daniel B. Thompson and his son Amos F.; David Ide and his son Charles H.; Simon Smith, Jr.; Martin Arlen, Sr.; Jacob Bley, George Brindley, Milo Canfield, jr., Henry B. Case, Joshua Norton, Christian Giliman.

Eden Center.— This is a pleasant village centrally situated in the town and a station on the Buffalo and Southwestern division of the Erie Railroad. It was called Hill’s Corners down to 1822, in which year Col. Asa Warren built a large frame tavern. In about 1825 Fillmore & Johnson opened a store. Lyman Pratt subsequently began mercantile business and continued more than forty years; he was followed by his son-in-law, Harrison Parker, still in trade. William Paxson and Joseph D. Caskey opened general stores and A. S. Pytz a grocery. Eric Blomquist engaged in furniture business and others contributed to the early activity of the place. Godfrey Metz was the first German resident of the village and built the Eden hotel; he sold to William Pemberton and he to George P. Roeller. A cooperage that was established in 1840 passed through possession of various persons to Frank S. Webster. The Eden Center Preserving Company was formed in 1882 with capital of $18,000; C. F. Rathbun, president, and Harrison Parker, secretary and treasurer. In 1891 it was purchased by the Hamburg Canning Company, and is very successful. A steam shingle mill, established long ago by. Abram Lang, was converted into a steam cider mill. A planing mill was built and is operated by George M. Dubois. Solon J. Ryther was a former blacksmith. Among other merchants in the village were John S. Peek, William D. and Albert C. Anthony, Caskey & Smith, Philander Smith, Trippett & Curtis, J. B. Sweet, a Mr. Sykes and Milton W. Chapin. Among former postmasters were Lyman Pratt, Harrison Parker, Warren K. Barrows, Joseph D. Caskey and Harrison Parker, incumbent.

Succeeding Dr. William Hill, before mentioned, Dr. William H. Pratt practiced at the village nearly forty years. Dr. George H. Lithrop studied with Dr. Pratt and practiced to near his death. Dr. Horton Morris and Dr. Caryl, and Dr. Mahion B. Shaw followed in later years, and Dr. James Cherry.

There are now in the village 4 general stores, 1 drug store, 2 hotels, 1 canning factory, 1 cooperage, 1 hardware store, 1 washing machine factory, 1 wagon shop, 3 blacksmiths, 1 furniture store, a Union school and 4 churches. The Union school was long kept as a graded school with two teachers,, later with three and still later with four. The Union school was organized in 1895 with four teachers and four departments, and was placed under the Regents in 1896. In 1897 the school house was rebuilt. Louis E. Boutwell, principal since 1895.

East Eden, a small hamlet in the east part of the town, where German settlers were numerous. Small business interests came into existence there, among them George M. Keller’s store, and another by William Mumbach, who is the present postmaster. There are also a few shops, and two churches, noticed further on.

Eden Valley, a mere hamlet and station on the railroad in the north part of the town. The original mill here, built by Elisha Welch, passed to A. R. Welch, then to A. E. Richardson and to Richardson Brothers, who also operated a box factory. John G. Youngs was a former merchant and later Joseph Webster. Austin J. Horton opened a store in 1880; he is the present postmaster. There are at present two stores in the place, a cigar factory, the mills and the usual shops.

Clarksburg, a hamlet in the southeast part of the town on a branch of Eighteen-mile Creek. The first settler here was Nathan Grover; Simeon Clark settled in the Hollow, as it was formerly called, about 1820; he built the grist mill now owned by Heman A. and Herman Wrightman; he also built a saw mill and a shop for making spinning wheels. Jacob Henry Hyer was formerly a merchant and tanner there. The post-office with the present name was opened in 1842. Daniel Wrightman established a box factory and planing mill, which were burned in 1881.

The so-called Kroner Mills are situated about two miles east of Eden; they were erected in 1848 by Alexander Kroner; he died in 1882, and the property passed to his sons. Daniel Swigert carried on a brewery several years about three miles northeast of Eden Center.

The Baptists in this town organized the “Baptist Church of Christ in Eden” in 1816; and at once entered upon a period of growth. The society received half of the gospel lot from the Holland Land Company, the other half going to the Congregationalists. In 1821 a house of worship was begun at Eden Valley, but it was not finished. In 1848 the old church property was sold and the academy at Eden Center was purchased and rebuilt for a church. This was finally sold to S. J. Ryther, who converted it into a dwelling, and the society erected the present church in 1895.

The Congregational church was organized in January, 1817, with eight members; ten years later there was a membership of sixty-three. A house of worship was erected in 1828 at Eden Center; this was converted into a town hall in 1889, largely through the liberality of Michael Hutchinson, and the society disbanded.

The Methodists of the vicinity met in February, 1830, and took steps towards building their church. They had long held religious services, and a society was organized in the month above named. The edifice was erected the same year. In 1855 it was demolished and a brick building erected; this was remodeled in April, 1894.

The Eden Evangelical Association was formed in 1865, and in the next year they erected a church. The Evangelical Lutheran church was organized in 1866, and the house of worship was erected the same year.

A Roman Catholic church was established at East Eden soon after the place was thickly settled. A number of Germans in that region organized also St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran church; these organizations united in 1838 in building a house of worship. Dissension subsequently arose, a dissolution followed and separate churches were erected.

The first town meeting in Eden was held in 1813, and the following officers elected:
John C. Twining, supervisor; John March, town clerk; Amos Smith, David Corbin and John Hill, assessors; Charles Johnson, Calvin Doolittle and Richard Berry, jr., commissioners of highways; Lemuel Parmely, collector; John Conant and Silas Estee, constables; John Welch and Asa Cary, poormasters.

Quite a number of these officials resided outside of the present town.

The following is a list of the supervisors of the town of Eden from its organization to the present time with their years of service:
John C. Twining, 1813; Lemuel Parmely, 1814—16; Silas Estee, 1817; John March, 1818—19; James Aldrich, 1820; James Green, 1821—23; Asa Warren, 1824; James Green, 1825; Asa Warren, 1826; Levi Bunting, 1827—31; James Green, 1832; Harvey Caryl, 1833—34: Daniel Webster, 1835; Harvey Caryl, 1886—37; Levi Bunting. 1838— 40; William H. Pratt, 1841; James Tefft, 1842; Harvey Caryl, 1843; William H. Pratt, 1844—46; Pardon Tefft, 1847; Daniel Webster, 1848; Pardon Tefft, 1849; Nelson Welch, 1850—52; Pardon Tefft, 1858—54; J. Redfield, 1855; Nelson Welch, 1856—58; Lyman Pratt, 1859; Azel Austin, 1860; Lyman Pratt, 1861—62; Azel Austin, 1863; Nelson Welch, 1864—67; James Schweckhart, 1868; C. S. Rathhurn, 1869—70; Frederick Keller, 1871; Nelson Welch, 1872; L. D. Wood, 1873; James H. Lord, 1874—78; Franklin Dole, 1879—80; James H. Lord, 1881—83; J. W. Carter, 1884—85; Merrill C. Redfield, 1886; J. W. Carter, 1887—92; Orrin A. Trevallee, 1893—94; Albert H. Gressman, 1895—97.

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