History of Pendleton , New York



The town of Pendleton was erected April 16, 1827, pervious to which date it constituted a part of Niagara. It is bounded on the south by Tonawanda Creek, and is the central one of the six towns that touch the southern bounds of the county. Much of the surface of the town is level or gently undulating, with the exception of Beech Ridge and Bear Ridge, in the northern part. These two ridges extend about three miles in length and are nearly parallel and three-fourths of a mile wide. They scarcely deserve the name of ridges, and form a part of the best farming land in the town. The soil in that section is gravelly and sandy loam, fertile and well adapted to grains and fruits; in other parts the soil is clayey loam. Roads running northeast and southwest traverse both ridges. Sawyer’s Creek crosses the western part of the town, but neither that nor Tonawanda Creek supplies water power.

Pendleton received its name from the village at the junction of Tonawanda Creek and the Erie Canal, which was in existence long before the town was erected; the village took its name from Sylvester Pendleton Clark, one of the earliest residents.

The first town meeting was held in May, 1827, and the following officers elected:
Supervisor, Lyman E. Thayer; town clerk, Garrett Van Slyke; assessors, Nathaniel Sykes, David Candler and James C. Hawley; collector, Kimball Ferrin; commissioners of highways, Willard Sykes, Lawrence Pickard and John Baker; overseers of the poor, Bailey Curtis and Russell Richards; school commissioners, Henry Keyes, Alanson Sykes and John Schuyler; school inspectors, James Henderson, Abel Rug and Asa Milliken; constable, Horvice Thacher.

This first town meeting adjourned to the house of David Chandler, for the year 1828. The amount of property taxed in the town at that time was $572.51.

There was little settlement on the territory in this town before the war of 1812, and much of it was a wilderness fifteen years later. Martin Van Slyke and Jacob Christman settled on Tonawanda Creek in the western part of the town in 1808. John and Adam Fulmer settled in the southern part in 1812, purchasing 252 acres of land of the Holland Company. A few others had probably located along the creek. After the war settlement pcogressed more rapidly. Hartman Pickard and his son Lawrence came in 1816 and in later years were prominent citizens. The latter married a daughter of Philip Woolever, who had a farm three miles from Tonawanda in i8i6, and another on which he settled a mile west of Pendleton in 1823. Mr. Woolever was contractor on the first improvement of Tonawanda Creek.

Conrad Rickard resided on Tonawanda Creek as early as 1816; he was the father of Henry Rickard. James Van Slyke was an early settler and married Margaret Christman; this was the first marriage in the town. Garrett Van Slyke settled in the west part of the town in 1822, where his son John B. afterwards lived. The father, who died in 1824, had been a captive of the Indians in the Revolutionary war and was adopted by Molly Brant. An uncle afterwards purchased his freedom for a gallon of rum.

Sylvester Pendleton Clark settled early on the site of Pendleton village, and built and opened a log tavern there in 1821. The post-office was established in 1823 and he was appointed postmaster. The completion of the canal and its junction at this point with Tonawanda Creek drew together the nucleus of a village. The first log tavern was superseded by a frame structure in 1822. Jerry S. Jenks came in about that time and brought the first goods for sale; he died soon afterwards. Austin Simons located at the village about 1830, and for thirty five years was prominent as a merchant and buyer of staves, lumber, etc. William B. Lewis settled in the village in 1834 as a merchant, and was postmaster sixteen years and a justice of the peace thirty years.

At about the close of the first quarter of the century Beech and Bear Ridges began to attract attention from the newcomers. One of the first settlers on Beech Ridge was Asa Andrews, who purchased his farm in 1824. Luther Leland settted there in 1827. Thomas Leonard settled on Bear Ridge in 1833 and ten years later moved to the hamlet of Mapleton, in the northwest part of the town. Henry Tripp settled on Beech Ridge in 1824, and Alfred Pool in 1826 on the farm where he died in 1870. Silas Hall settled on the northern limit of Beech Ridge in 1835; at that comparatively late date it was still a wilderness in that section. He cleared a farm of 240 acres. Bears and wolves still roamed about his settlement and dear were killed there ten years later. W. C. Andrus settled in Pendleton in 1824, having then lived one year in Royalton. George E. Andrus settled with his father, Warren Andrus, in 1838, on what was later known as the Wort farm. James H. Andrus settled in Pendleton village in 1837 and later removed to Beech Ridge.

Hon. A. H. Pickard was born on the farm where he long resided; he served six years as supervisor of the town and was also a member of assembly.

Henry Rickard came into the town with his grandfather in 1816; held the office of postmaster at Pendleton Center twenty-five years, and was town clerk.

A large area in the southern and eastern parts of this town is populated by a German element, who represent excellent citizenship and have brought their farms into a high state of cultivation. One of the pioneers in that section, Philip Woock, settled on Tonawanda Creek in 1832, coming from Batavia. John Adam Koepfinger and Joseph Schimp settled about the same time in that locality. Orin Fisk located on the east side of the canal in 1844, his father having been an early settler in Royalton. John Baker, William Woods, and Henry W. Goodian were other early corners.

Among other settlers, past and present, are James Tripp, Henry Tripp, 2d, Lyman Goodridge, Rev. R. C. Foote, A. H. Ellis, Adam and Jacob Art, Jacob Bayer, Philip Bayer, Andrew Beiter, Jacob Blum, sr., Wesley C. Briggs, Benjamin B. Bush, John Bush, James J. Carr, John W. Connan, Frank and Mathias Donner, Joseph and Peter Donner, R. C. Foote, jr., Adam Hoffman, Willis A. Levan, Charles Lureman, Martin Mayer, Patrick McDonald, Anthony Meyer, John Miller, L. A. Pickard, M. L. Pickard, Alvin Van Slyke, David J. Wells, Martin and Mathias Wendel, Martin Woock. Many other families are noted in Part III.

The supervisors of Pendleton have been as follows:
Lyman E. Thayer, 1827—28; Asa Millikin, 1829; John Pratt, 1830—32; Lawrence Pickard, 1833; John Pratt 1834; Nathaniel Sykes, 1835; Anthony Ames, 1836—37; Silas Olmsted, 1838; Lawrence Pickard, 1839—47: Cyrus F. Williams, 1848; Lawrence Pickard, 1849—53; Elisha B. Swift, 1854; George Kelsey, 1855—56; Linus J. Peck, 1S57; Hiram Pomroy, 1858; Lyman Goodridge, 1S59—61; Hartrnan Rickard, 1862; Albert H. Pickard, 1863—65; Morris Wire, 1866; Albert H. Pickard, 1867; Alexander H. Ellis, 1868—70; Frederick S. Parsons, 1871—72; Gilbert C. Richards, 1873—75; Albert H. Pickard, 1876—77; Amos A. Brown, 1878; Herman J. Leland, 1879; Martin Wendel, 1880—82; Lawrence A. Pickard, 1883; Herman J. Leland, 1884; Martin Wendel. 1885; Joseph C. Rickard, 1886—88; Aaron D. Thompson, 1889—90; Alvin Van Slyke, 1801—92; Williarn Babel, 1893—94; Alvin Van Slyke, 1895—96; Mathias L. Rickard, 1897—98.

The other town officers for 1897 are:
Jacob Blum, town clerk: Linus J. P. Richards, R. C. Foote, Jr., Emery W. Wire and Anson Kinne, Justices of the peace: Jacob Bayer. Charles Lureman and Irving W. Stowell, assessors; Adam J. Wehner, highway commissioner; Patrick Collins, collector; Charles Hill overseer of the poor.

Pendleton village has enjoyed considerable business activity in past years. The first merchant was Jerry S. Jenks. William B. Jenks was for some time a leading merchant there, beginning in 1834; he was postmaster sixteen years and a justice of the peace for more than thirty years. Austin Simons was another prominent merchant from 1831 to about 1865 Sylvester Pendleton Clark’s log tavern, built in 1821, was followed by his frame hotel erected in 1822. The Sulphur Springs Hotel was built by Reuben Fuller and Marshall Martin in 1850, and was long kept by Truman Nichols. The present merchants are Martin Woock, Mathias Donner (who is also postmaster), and Jacob Blum. The holtelkeeper is Anthony Roskopf. The post-office was established as early as 1823 with S. P. Clark postmaster.

Pendleton Center is a station and post-office near the center of the town, on the Erie Railroad. Ellis & Graff have a general store there. Near the place is also an M. E. church.

Mapleton is a post-office and milk station on the New York Central Railroad, in the northwest part of the town. Burt N. Thompson is postmaster.

Hodgeville and Hoffman are stations on the Erie Railroad, the former in the northeast and the latter in the southwest part of the town.

Wendelville is a small hamlet on the canal, or Tonawanda Creek, and owes its existence to Martin Wendel, the first merchant. John Wurtenberter has a general store there and is also the postmaster.

Beech Ridge (formerly Hall’s Station) is a postal hamlet on the New York Central Railroad, in the extreme west part of the town. The land on which it stands was owned by Silas Hall, whose name long clung to the place. Philip Miller was formerly a metchant and postmaster there; the office was established in 1853 with William M. Beebe, postmaster. The present merchants are George Rundel and Charles Hill. An M. E. church, a neat frame building, was erected here about 1894.

The first school in Pendleton was opened in the winter of 1816 by a man named Dawson. In 1827 the town was divided into eight school districts.

The first steps taken towards the organization of a Presbyterian church in this town was in 1835 at Beech Ridge. Only four families were then interested in the movement, and their meetings were held in private houses and the school house at Mapleton. Rev. Samuel Leonard was the first pastor In 1844 a church was formed at Shawnee in Wheatfield and the members at Beech Ridge joined in it; it was under charge of Rev. Russell Brooks. A church edifice was erected at Mapleton in 1847—48. The society took the name of The First Presbyterian Church of Pendleton and Wheatfield. The first trustees of the Mapleton society were James Thompson, Silas Hall, and Isaac H. Smith; the number of metnbers was eighteen.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Good Sheperd at Pendleton was organized and the brick church edifice completed in 1854. Among the first officers were Martin Woock, Michael Mayer, John Staebel, John Adam Koepfinger, and Jacob Danna.

St. Paul’s German Lutheran church, situated at Wendelville, was built in 1859.

The Methodist church of Pendleton village was organized in March, 1858, with Rev. John B. Jenkins as pastor, and Morris Wire, Francis King, Miranda Root, William Blowers, and Lewis Abbott as trustees.

The Church of the United Bretheren was organized in March, 1874. Both societies occupy the union church, which was erected in 1860, on a lot donated by Willett Clark for the use of all evangelical denominations.

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