HISTORY of NORTH COLLINS, 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 NORTH COLLINS.

North Collins is situated in the southern part of the county a little west of the center, with Eden on the north, Concord on the east, Collins on the south and Brant on the west. It comprises township 7, range 7, of the Holland Company survey, excepting the northernmost lot in each of those tiers; it contains an area of forty-three square miles. The surface is undulating in the west part, rising to a broad, level upland which includes most of the eastern part. The west branch of Eighteen-mile Creek flows across the northeastern part of the town, and Big Sister Creek rises in the northwestern corner. The soil is generally a gravelly loam.

The first settlement in the territory of North Collins was made by Nathaniel Sisson in 1809, who was soon followed by Abram Tucker. In the same year Sylvanus Hussey, Isaac Hathaway and Thomas Bills purchased land in the western part. Settlers of 1810 were Samuel Tucker (brother of Abram), Henry Tucker, Enos Southwick. In that year George Tucker, son of Abram, was born in the town, the first birth of a white child.

In 1811 Benjamin Sisson, father of the pioneer, and two brothers of Nathaniel named William and Stephen, located in the town and were soon followed by Lemuel Sisson, another brother. In that year also. settled George Southwick, father of Enos, George Southwick, jr., Jonathan Southwick and Job Southwick. The Southwicks and Sissons were from Warren county, N. Y., and with the Tuckers were members of the Society of Friends and made quite a Quaker settlement in the town. The first settler not a Quaker was John Stanclift, who located in 1811; he bad four sons who were citizens of the town. In 1811 and 1812 there was considerable immigration, among the settlers being Levi Woodward, Gideon Lapham, Abraham Lapham, Ira Lapham, Benjamin Leggett, Stephen White, Stephen Twining, Noah Tripp, Abraham Gifford, Orrin Brayman, Hugh McMillan and Lilly Stafford. In 1813 the Quakers built a log meeting house.

After the close of the war immigration, which had been almost wholly checked, revived, among the newcomers being Humphrey Smith and John Lawton. The first mill in the town was built in 1818 by Willard Stanclift, north of the site of North Collins village; several other small mills were soon built, but the water power of the town was insufficient for large mills.

Other prominent settlers and residents were Thomas Scoville Hibbard (father of Enos S.), Silas C. Kirby (1829); Joseph Palmer (1827); William Pickens (father of Joshua, 1815); Reuben C. Sherman (born in the town in 1826); William R. Willett (1821); Mordecai E. Smith (1835); and Charles Wood (about 1815).

These pioneers and their successors cleared the lands, built their homes, and made this town an excellent agricultural region. Dairying has been introduced in recent years and there are at the present time five cheese factories in operation; at the same time mixed farming, stock raising and fruit growing claim a share of the energies of the farmers. An unsuccessful attempt was made in the summer of 1897 to find oil or gas at New Oregon, a well having been bored to a depth of 2,500 feet.

In March, 1821, the town of Collins was formed, including the territory of North Collins; at that time there was no post-office in the whole large town, but in the next year a mail route was established from Hamburg south and about 1882 a post-office was opened named Collins at what is now the village of North Collins. A tavern was kept there and soon afterwards Chester Rose opened a small store; the hamlet that gathered around was for a time called Rose’s Corners. When a change in merchants took place the name also changed to Kerr’s Corners. About 1825 the Quakers built a meeting house, which is still known as the "‘orthodox meeting house,” a little more than a mile south of North Collins. In 1828 those who adhered to the Hicksite belief withdrew and built a house of their own.

North ColIins.— The merchants who gave their names to this village after Chester Rose, were Alexander Kerr and John Kerr who were in business many years. In 1829 John Sherman and his brother opened another store; the brothers withdrew in 1833, and later Edwin W. Godfrey became a partner with the senior of the firm. About 1861 the latter withdrew and Mr. Godfrey continued with various partners until 1872, when David Sherman and Herman Blaisdell took the business. Among other former merchants were George H. Smith, Reuben Potter, Shiprnan & Southwick, Southwick & Smith, Sherman & Knight, D. C. Brown (hardware and still in trade), Martin Foose, Partridge & Son, F. L. Southwick, Jacob Bangert. The hotel kept by John G. Haberer was burned and rebuilt in 1895; the other hotel, formerly kept by Michael Hunter, and later by his son Millard, is now conducted by Andrew Smith. John Kopf was a former blacksmith and was succeeded by his son. Herman Miller was a former shoemaker.

In 1873 Egbert Foster and John Stanclift built a steam saw mill and feed mill in the village; after many years of successful business it was abandoned and the mill demolished. In 18S3 George W. Belknap established a handle factory and turning lathe, which subsequently became the basket factory of William P. Sherman. The Western New York Preserving Company established a canning factory here in 1881, in which a large business was carried on until recently. Charles and Henry Colvin built steam planing mill in 1895, which was burned in 1896. Another planing mill was established by Frederick J. Lindow. A flour and feed mill is operated by Joseph Thiel.

The Bank of North Collins was established and began business September 3, 1895, with cash êapital of $25,000. The principal officers are:

W. S. Lawton, president; E. G. Fenton, vice-president; C. A. Twichell, cashier; W. S. Lawton, S. Ballard, E. G. Fenton, N. A. Chaffee, George Lehley, S. D. Vance, Eugene Willett, H. G. Parker, W. M. Ward, directors.

The first resident physician at North Collins was Dr. Morgan, who soon removed West. Dr. Samuel Noyes settled there about 1827; with him were subsequently associated Drs. Fritz and Adams. Dr. John D. Arnold was also in company with him a short time. Dr. S. H. Shaw and Dr. Stewart were later practitioners.

There are now in North Collins village 3 general stores, 1 hardware store, 1 shoe store, 2 groceries, 1 furniture store, 3 hotels, 1 bank, 3 blacksmiths, 2 milliners, 1 merchant tailor, 1 flour mill, 1 planing mill, 1 basket factory, 3 churches and a union school.

Shirley, a small settlement in the western part of the town, where there were formerly a saw mill, operated at one period by Philip Knob; a hotel, now closed, and a store conducted by Fillmore Rogers, Charles E. Sherman, and others. There is no business at the present time.

Lawlon, a hamlet and a station on the railroad in the southwest corner of the town. Its existence began with the opening of the railroad in 1874. It has a steam saw mill built about 1892 by Nicholas Scheu; a store conducted by Henry W. Lawton and his son. E. H. Lawton was merchant and postmaster there many years; his father was John Lawton, a pioneer of 1813, who built the first custom mill in the south part of the county.

Marshfield.— This is a hamlet in the southwest part of the town. There was a cheese factory established there, which was a part of the locally celebrated Marshfield combination, which ultimately failed. No business is carried on there now.

Langford.— Another small hamlet in what has been known as the German neighborhood, where the pioneers of that nationality settled about 1836. G. Paul Sippel opened a store there many years ago and subsequently removed to Dunkirk. His brother George took up the business and was succeeded in that and a hotel by his sons George and and John. George Denhiser began mercantile trade there more than twenty-five years ago and still continues. Jacob Balder formerly had a grocery, and now a cider mill. Joseph Naber, jr., opened a hardware store, which passed to Louis L. Thiel.

New Oregon is a small settlement in the northeast part of the town. Augustus Schmidt opened a store there many, years ago, and his brother Frederick kept a hotel in the same building; another merchant and tavern-keeper was Germain Schneider. At the present time there are two small stores in existence.

A Congregational church was organized at North Collins village in June, 1817, with nine members, all of the name Stanclift. The society has continued in active existence ever since. A Free Methodist church was built there about 1889. The Spiritualists have what is called Forest Temple, in which services in their faith are held several times each year. There is also a Methodist society which has been in existence for many years.

At Langford is situated St. Martin’s Roman Catholic church, which was established in 1847. A parochial school is conducted in connection with the church.

A Baptist church was organized at Marshfield about 1840, which finally declined and was given up. The history of the Methodist church at that place is similar; the society was formed about 1850, and in 1852 built a small church. About 1858 a few members seceded from the Methodist church and organized a Free Methodist society, which is still in existence.

North Collins village has a prosperous Union school, to which reference is made in Chapter XXIX.

The town of North Collins was formed with the name Shirley on November 24, 1852, with its present boundaries. The name of the town was changed in the following year. The first town meeting was held on the first Tuesday in March, 1853.

The supervisors of North Collins, with their years of service, have been as follows:

Edwin W. Godfrey, 1853—55; Lyman Clark, 1856—57; Charles C. Kirby, 1858—60; Wilson Rogers, 1861—62; Giles Gifford, 1863—64; Daniel Allen, 1865; Thomas Russell, 1866; Daniel Allen, 1867—68; Edwin W. Godfrey, 1869—71; Michael Hunter, 1872—74; Charles C. Kirby, 1875; James Matthews, 1876; Charles C. Kirby, 1877; H. M. Blasdell. 1878—80; Charles H. Wood, 1881—82; Jacob Staffen, 1883—84; Job Southwick, 1885; Jacob Staffen, 1886—91; D. A. Dillingham, 1892; H. M. Harkness, 1893—94; Jacob Staffen, 1895—97.

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