History of Hartland , New York



In carrying out the purposes of placing the histories of these towns in chronological order as to the date of their erection, the town of Hartland comes next in order, although Porter was erected in the same year with Hartland. The latter was formed under legislative act dated June 1, 1812, and then embraced what are now the towns of Royalton, Somerset, and a part of Newfane, or 143,855 acres, as shown in the assessment roll of 1813. At that time there were only 126 taxable inhabitants in that great town. The town remained with this area until Royalton was taken from it in 1817; Somerset in 1823, and a part of Newfane in 1824, leaving the existing area 31,145 acres.

Hartland is the central one of the three eastern border towns of the county. Its surface is level or gently undulating, the principal inequality being in the south part, where the lake ridge crosses. The principal streams are Eighteen-mile and Johnson's Creeks. The former flows in a long and irregular bend into and out of the southern part, and the latter flows northeasterly across the southeastern part of the town. The soil south of the Ridge is a clayey loam, while north of it is a sandy and gravelly loam.

The first town meeting was held April 7, 1812, at the house of Gad Warner, and John Dunn, a justice of the peace, presided. The meeting adjourned after its organization to the barn of Enoch Hitchcock, where the customary votes were taken to form proper regulations for the government of the community. Epl1raim Waldo was elected supervisor; William Smith, town clerk; Samuel Jenks, Harry Ellsworth, and David Weasner,* assessors; John Dunn. 2d, John Bates, and Benjamin Wakeman, commissioners of highways; Amos Brownson, collector; James Lyman and Stephen Wakeman, overseers of the poor; Amos Brownson, constable; Enoch Hitchcock, poundkeeper. A vote declared that no money should be raised that year for support of the poor, and that $150 be raised for highways; also $100 for the destruction of obnoxious animals and birds.

* As spelled in records.

Ephraim Waldo, the first supervisor, died before the close of that year, and at a special election James Lyman was elected to the office. Other primitive regulations were voted at ensuing meetings. It is worthy of note that at a special town meeting January 20, 1818, an attempt was made for the division of Niagara county. Robert Edmunds, Samuel B. Morehouse, Hiram Allen, Titus Penn, Almon H. Millard, and William Smith were appointed a committee to prepare and present to the Legislature a petition for the erection "of a new county embracing the towns of Niagara, Cambria, Hartland, and Porter, in Niagara county, and Ridgeway and Gaines in Genesee county; and firmly to remonstrate against any division of said Niagara county. unless such new county shall contain as great extent of territory as above described." It is probably fortunate that this arrangement was not carried out.

The supervisors of Hartland have been as follows:
1813, Ephraim Waldo and James Lyman; 1813-16, James Lyman; 1817, 1818, Dexter P. Sprague; 1820, 1821, Asahel Johnson; 1822, James Wisner; 1823, Smith Darling; 1824-27, Daniel Van Horn: 1828, 1829, Dexter P. Sprague; 1830-33, Franklin Butterfield; 1834, Christopher H. Skeels; 1835, Daniel Chaplin; 1836, 1837, James C. Lewis; 1838-45, Christopher H. Skeels; 1846, Daniel Seaman; 1847, John Dunigan; 1848, A. H. Jameison: 1849. 1850, Christopher H. Skeels; 1851, G. L. Angevine; 1852, William Wheeler; 18.53, F. A. Wright; 1854, G. Angevine; 1855, 1856, Linus Spalding; 1857. Curtis Root; 1858, William Morgan; 1859, Thomas Brown; 1860-63, William Morgan; 1864, 1865, Linus Spalding; 1866-68, William Morgan; 1869, 1870, Linus Spalding; 1871, William Morgan; 1872. Edward 0. Seaman; 1873, John L. Beardsley; 1874, Edward O. Seaman; 1875, George B. Taylor; 1876-81, John L. Chase; 1882-83, James Allen; 1884-86, Abram Taylor; 1887-91, John H. Matteson; 1892-96, James S. Rowe; 1897-98, Frederick R. Montgomery.

The other town officcrs for 1897 are:
George B. Taylor, jr.. town clerk; George D. Bixler, George Clark, F. R. Montgomery and Seward Mudge, justices of the peace; John Dewhurst, highway commissioner: John Slattery, collector; Albert J. Chase, John Garbut and Frederick Pike, assessors; Jefferson B. Landers and James Hudson, overseers of the poor.

Charles A. Kendall was for twenty years from 1877 town clerk of Hartland succeeding his father, Eber Kendall, and being followed in 1897 by George B. Taylor, jr. Eber Kendall served from 1867 to 1876.

The first settlements in this town were made by John Morrison, David Morrison, Zebulon Barnum, Jedediah Riggs, Isaac Southwell, and Daniel Brown; these all came in 1803 or 1804. In 1805 Abel Barnum came in and Oliver Castle settled about two miles southwest of the site of Johnson's Creek hamlet, and became the first local preacher on the Holland Purchase. John Morrison located on the farm a mile east of Hartland Corners, where R. B. Weaver lived in later years.

Jeptha Dunn came into the town in 1807 and settled two miles east of Johnson's Creek on the Ridge road. Benjamin Cornell settled in 1809 a little west of Johnson's Creek. A Mr. Crane settled on the Ridge road in 1810, and David Van Horn at Johnson's Creek in 1811; in the same year Benjamin H. Benson settled where he passed his long life, two miles south of Hartland Corners. James Shaw settled in 1812 Ofl the Ridge road two miles east of Johnson's Creek. Dexter P. Sprague came to the town in 1809 and was justice of the peace until 1840. In 1814 Col. Richard Weaver, a native of Vermont, came to Hartland and became eventually a leading farmer and breeder of fine stock. He purchased the farm on which Isaac Southwell, the pioneer, first settled. He was prominent in the early militia, and received his title from offices held therein.

Jesse Birdsall was a very early settler and was father of Mary, who married Elisha Brownell. She passed her life on the farm where she was born, on the Quaker road three miles north of Johnson's Creek-. Her father died in 1825.

Jesse Aldrich came with his wife, and Asa Baker and his wife in June, 1815, and were the first settlers in that part of the town which became known as the Quaker Settlement. They were probably the first settlers north of the Ridge road in the present town limits. At the same time, or soon after, Joseph Birdsall, Daniel Baker and Esek Aldrich located near by and aided in opening a road through the forest from the Ridge to Birdsall's land, a distance of about a mile and a half; they also put up a log house. This accomplished, the three last named men returned home, leaving the two families of Aldrich and Asa Baker in the lonely wilderness. In 1816 this immediate locality was further settled by Joseph Baker, Hugh Jackson, Jesse Jackson, William Jackson, Richard Earl, and Christopher H Skeels, with their wives; all except the last two were Quakers, and the Quaker Settlement became a thriving part of the town.

To accommodate travellers, Jeptha Dunn opened his house as an inn in 1809; it was, as before stated, about two miles east of Johnson's Creek on the Ridge road, and was the first tavern in the town. Daniel Brown also kept a very early tavern in his log house a little west of Johnson's Creek on the Ridge road. Samuel B. Morehouse, whose name has been mentioned as one of the committee in the county division matter, and who became a locally famous character, built a hotel at Hartland Corners about 1813, and the place was known in early times as "Morehouse's;" he was postmaster of that little village in 1816.

The first physician to settle in this town was Dr. Asa Crane, who came in 1810; Dr. Moore soon followed, and Dr. Butterfield came in 1812 or 1813 and settled at Johnson's Creek. Drs. Crane and Moore located north of the Ridge near the corner of the Quaker road. Dr. Butterfield passed his life in the town and long had an extensive practice.

Among other prominent residents of the town may be mentioned William Smith, Dexter P. Sprague, Hiram Allen, Daniel Van Horn, Daniel Seaman, Thomas Bills, Truman E Pomeroy, Hiram G. Dean, Cyrus A. Lewis, Eber Kendall, Charles A. Kendall, Levi Hall, John Scovell, Absalom Ladner, James Edmunds, Otis Leland, Jeremiah Turner, Silas Gilbert, Orlando Bates, Chailes Williams, John W. Davis, Otis B. Hayes, John Heland, John Kenyon, Michael J. King, John B. Robeson, C. D. Silby, William Sharpsreen, and Milo D. Pierce.

At Hartland Corners (the name of the post-office now being Hartland) the land was early owned on the east side of the Gasport road by Samuel B. Morehouse, before mentioned; on the northeast of the four corners it was owned by George Reynolds, and on the southwest corner by James C. Lewis. Here Thomas R. Stewart built the first frame house in 1814, and Mr. Morehouse built his tavern in 1815. A Mr. Carrington started a blacksmith shop here in 1816, a store was established in early years and there has always been a small mercantile business here. Michael J. King now has a store and basket manufactory there.

At the point where Johnson's Creek breaks through the Ridge, in the southwest part of the town, a hamlet sprang up in the early years of settlement. The creek took its name from a family who located on its banks in early years. The land including the site of the village was formerly owned on the north side of the Ridge road, which passes through the place, by Henry Taylor, who settled there in 1816. He built a log house and later this was superseded by a frame structure. Mr. Taylor spent his life here and died in May, 1870. The land on the south side of the road and east of the creek was owned by Thomas F. Stewart, John Secor and others, and west of the creek by Mr. Stewart and others. Stewart built the first frame house in the place, just west of the creek, which was used in later years by John L. Chase for a horse barn. John Secor opened a primitive tavern in early years and in 1812 carried on a small grocery. James and Daniel Van Horn opened a general store in 1815 and in the same year George Robson and two others opened blacksmith shops. The Van Horns were succeeded as merchants in i8r8 by George Reynolds; the store building was erected in 1815 by George C. Pease. Marvin Miner early kept a grocery.

In early years the grain that had to be ground for the pioneers was carried usually to Schlosser. About 1820, or a little earlier, some of the enterprising settlers built a grist mill on Johnson's Creek where it crosses the Ridge. In later years another was built at the creek by Ebenezer Seeley. As early as 1820 the first saw mill was built on the creek where it crosses the county line. Mr. Seeley built one at Johnson's Creek as early as this or a little earlier. There was one tannery here which was built as early as 1818, but when the bark disappeared the establishment went to decay.

Among former merchants at Johnson's Creek were Shubal Merritt, Uriah D. Moore, Hiram Hoag, Robert Deuel, Harvey Hoag (who was burned out about 1885), and A. H. Jameson, who built the present brick store. Others still are Parker & Goutermout and Taylor & Goutermout, both of which firms also had an ashery. The latter firm was succeeded by Jay S. Rowe, one of the present merchants. John C. Watts and John S. Chase also have stores there now. Taylor's hotel was originally built as early as 1830 by George Judson; it was enlarged first by Alexander H. Jameson and later by Lewis Goutermont, and is now owned by George B. Taylor, sr.

North Hartland is a post-office and small hamlet in the northwest corner of the town. A small mercantile business and a few shops have been conducted here many years, and the Methodists also have a church in the place.

The first school in this town was taught by Nancy Judson in 1813. In the next year Samuel Colton, James Welch, and Samuel B Morehouse were elected school commissioners, and Daniel Cornell, John Leach, and William Smith were chosen school inspectors. In 1816 the town was divided into six school districts, and the sum of $60 was raised for the support of schools. The Quaker road school house was built about 1818, of logs, and Rachel Pease taught there first in 1819. The number of districts was gradually increased and for many years there were eighteen; the present number is seventeen, with a school house in each.

The Quakers of this town built a meeting house about 1818, of logs, on the Ridge road at the corner of Quaker road. It was occupied until 1835, when it was displaced by a cobble stone structure, about threefourths of a mile east of the old one.

Through the efforts of James Edmunds, Abial Tripp and a few other pioneers, Baptist services were held in this town in early years. In December, 1817, twenty two persons of this faith organized the First Baptist Church of Hartland, under ministration of Rev. Simeon Dutcher, of Gaines. The first regular pastor was Rev. William Harrington, who was settled there in 1820. The society was incorporated in 1822, with James Edmunds, Otis Leland, and Holden Le Valley, trustees. During the first seven years services were held in houses or barns, after which the society raised $100 and added ten feet to the length of a school house at Johnson's Creek, and meetings were held there until 1833 ; in that year the first church edifice was erected. This being the first church organized in the town, it received the appropriation of fifty acres of land, taking the southwest corner lot in the town; this was sold and the proceeds used in building the church. In 1868 the building was remodeled and enlarged ata cost of $6,000, and in 1877 the parsonage property was purchased.

A Methodist church is situated on the Quaker road, about two miles north of the Ridge road, which was organized in 1842, and a wooden church was built in 1843; this was burned in 1872 and on the site a brick church was erected. A prosperous existence has since been maintained.

A Methodist church is located at Hartland Corners and another at North Hartland. The former was built about 1862 and remodeled in 1887.

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic church is situated on the Quaker road near the north line of the town. Services had been held by this denomination for some time prior to 1856 in private houses, and in that year under the ministrations of Rev. T. Sheehan. of Newfane, a frame edifice was erected; it was dedicated by the then bishop of Buffalo in 1857. In 1865 the building was enlarged, and again in 1872, a modern transept, sanctuary and vestry were provided. A rededication took place in July, 1875. Rev. Thomas P. Brougham was the first resident pastor, removing thither from Newfane.

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