THE TOWN OF ROYALTON
There were two towns set off from Hartland after its erection in 1812; these were Royalton in 1817, and Somerset
in 1823. Royalton was erected on April 5, 1817, and was a little reduced in its area by setting off a portion to
Lockport in 1824; it now contains 38,820 acres. It is the southeastern town of the county, and the most populous,
excepting Lockport and Niagara. which include the two cities. The population as given by the census of 1892 was
4,768. There are at the present time seven post-offices in the town, as follows: Dysinger, Gasport, Middleport,
McNalls (Corners), Orangeport, Royalton (Center), and Wolcottsville. The surface of the town is generally level
or undulating, except the northern part, where the mountain ridge crosses it. The soil is principally a clayey
loam and very productive in most parts. Tonawanda Creek forms the southern boundary, and Eighteen-mile and Johnson's
Creeks, flowing northwardly, and Mud Creek, flowing southwest, have their sources in this town.
The first town meeting was held on the first Tuesday in April (the 7th), 1818, at the house of Almond H. Millard,
a justice of the peace, who presided. The first officers, elected on that day, were
Almond H. Millard, supervisor; William Smith, town clerk; Warren Rosenkrans, Henry Elsworth, and Asher Freeman,
assessors; James Lyman and Nathan Cornstock, overseers of the poor; Allen Williams, Robert H. Henderson, and Benjamin
H. Packard, commissioners of common schools: William Smith, Nathan Comstock, and Noah Brooks. commissioners of
highways: Solomon Richardson and Samuel White, constables and collectors: Almond H. Millard, Burroughs Holmes,
Nathan Comstock, Joel Amsden, and William Green, inspectors; and fifteen fenceviewers and overseers of highways;
1, Phalarius Russell; 2, James Williams, jr. ; 3, Demas Hart; 4, Ezra Harwood; 5, Cyrus Tripp; 6, James Webb; 7,
Solomon Mead: 8. Wil liam Letts; 9. Nathan Comstock; 10, Samuel White; 11, John Griswold: 12, Paul Sawyer; 13,
David C. Culver; 14, Barney Allen; 18, Reuben Hayes.
The supervisors of the town have been:
1818-20. Almond H. Millard; 1821, Nathan Comstock; 1822-23, Daniel Washburn; 1824-27, John Garnsey; 1828-30, Asher
Freeman; 1831, D. S. Fenn: 1832, Asher Freeman; 1833, Ethan Fenn: 1834-37, James Baldwin: 1838-40, David Hurd;
1841, John MeNall: 1842, David Hurd; 1843, Peter P. Murphy; 1844-45, Samuel Z. Ross; 1846, Grandus Davenport; 1847,
William S. Feun; 1848-49, Alfred Colwell; 1S50, Samuel Z. Ross: 1851-52, Alonzo W. Newcomb; 18.53, John Thorn;
1854-55, Oliver R. Brown; 1856-59, Alonzo W. Newcornb: 1860, Alfred Colwell; 1861-62, Rufus W. Briggs; 1862-65,
Robert F. Pierson; 1866-67, Orrin L. Hudnut; 1868, Chauncey Sheldon; 1869-70, Marcus Mabee; 1871-72, Elijah H.
Woodworth; 1873-74, Orrin L. Hudnut; 1875-76, John P. Brown; 1877-79, Francis Hunter; 1880-81, Ruthven Kill; 1882-84,
George B. Holdridge; 1885-87, Racine C. Clark; 1888-90, Francis Hunter; 1891-92, William W. Johnson; 1893-94, Caleb
C. McNair; 1895-96. John L. Sheldon: 1897-98, Arza G. Sherwood.
The other town officers for 1897 are:
William E. Graham, town clerk since 1S85, excepting one year: W. H. Rhinehart, J. A. Good, George F. Thompson,
and George Sayers, justice of the peace; Peter T. Turrell, Edward J. Behe, and Jacob Behe, assessors; Henry Siegier,
highway commissioner; Charles W. Schubel and George H. Baker overseers of the poor; F. S. A. Coon, collector.
The fixst settlement within the limits of this town was the result of an accident, if tradition may be believed.
Joshua Slaton was on his way from Vermont, his native State, to Canada, with his family, when his wagon broke down
about two miles east of the Cold Springs. What he saw of this locality during his necessary delay pleased him and
he took up land in the northwest corner of the town, cleared a part of it, and built a log house; that was in the
year 1800. His land included the site of Orangeport hamlet, and also of Slaton Settlement, about half a mile north
of Orangeport. Thomas Slaton, brother of Joshua, came in with him or very soon after and was instrumental in founding
the settlement. The Erie Canal and the Central Railroad both pass through land formerly owned by these men. Joshua
Slaton was an able and influential man, and generous in his efforts to promote the settlement. He gave land to
Mr. Gaskill, the first blacksmith in town, on which to build a shop ; he donated, also, land on which was built
the first church, and land for the earliest graveyard.
The little settlement was augmented in 1802 by the arrival of Stephen Bugbee and Andrew Brown, and in 1803 by Varney
Gaskill and William Smith. In 1804 Benjamin Hale, Varnurn Treadwell, and Marvin Harwood came in, all from the same
town in Vermont. Stephen Bugbee built the first frame house in! 804 at the settlement, and Marvin Har wood opened
a store there in the same year.
In 1811 Asher Freeman, sr., purchased 500 acres of land about one and a half miles south of the site of Middleport,
paying $3.25 per acre. He cleared a tract, sowed it to wheat in 1813, and in 1815 moved upon it and built a log
house. He built his later brick house in 1824. Stephen Bugbee had already built one a little earlier at Orangeport.
In 1815 there was no house between Mr. Freeman's and the Buffalo road. He was father of Asher Freeman, long a respected
Severus Swift came into the town early and located in the southern part on the farm afterwards owned by his son,
J. C. Swift, half a mile north of the site of Wolcottsville, the old Indian trail crossing the farm. He came about
1818, at which time all south of him to Tonawanda was a wilderness. Other settlers now came in more rapidly, the
clouds of war having passed away. Daniel Benedict settled on Tonawanda Creek soon after Mr. Swift's arrival, and
Chauncey McKie located in 1816 north of the Lewiston or Niagara road on Griswold street. Eliphalet Edmunds and
John Griswold came to that vicinity about the same time. In 1816 Benjamin Barlow was keeping a tavern haifa mile
south of Middleportsite, what was early known by half a dozen names of Corners, but finally settled down to Freeman's
Corners. Carrington Fisk opened a tavern in 1808 at Royalton Center, which was probably the first in the town.
In 1818 John McNall opened a tavern west of Royalton Center, at what is now McNail's Corners, on the old Niagara
road, and a little hamlet grew up there.
The old Indian trail that was used during the Revolution, and probably long before, in approaching or leaving Niagara
from the east, passed through this town, entering near the southeast corner in the Tonawanda Reservation, and running
in a northwesterly direction, passing just north of the site of Wolcottsville. A little farther on the trail divided,
the two branches going on either side of a swamp and coming together again just south of McNall's Corners. A little
farther on it struck what became the Niagara road, and so passed on out of the town and through Lockport town.
One of the earliest roads laid out in Royalton ran thrc ugh Slaton Settlement in the northwest corner of the tuwn.
The most prominent highway in the town, or in this region, in early years, was the well known Military Road, or
the Niagara Road, as it is frequently called.
In 1820 Alexander Lafferty was keeping a tavern southeast of Royalton Center, on the road just mentioned. About
the same time Levi Cole opened a hotel in a log house on the corner of what are now Main and State streets in Middleport.
Soon afterwards a frame house was built on an opposite corner and Mr. Cole moved into it and kept a tavern until
after the beginning of the canal. In 1804 Marvin Harwood opened a small store at Slaton Settlement. He came from
Vermont and found great difficulty in hauling into the wilderness his small store of merchandise. About 1818 stores
were opened at McNall's Corners and Freeman's Corners, and formed trade centers around which small settlements
gathered. James Northam, the first merchant at Middleport, began business in 1822.
In early years saw mills were scattered about several localities in the town, where a little water power existed;
most of them were abandoned long ago. Asher Freeman had an early mill, and there were two on Johnson's Creek at
Middleport. At Mabee's, a little east of Gasport, was located what was probably the first grist mill in town, and
there was also an early saw mill there. It is claimed by some that the first one was on the site of Middleport,
while others claim that the first one was on the farm owned in recent years by J. Richardson. F. B. Lane and James
Northam operated early grist mills. Many of these were started about 1820-25. In 1828 a carding mill was established
at Middleport, and another on the Richardson farm just mentioned. In 1817 Benjamin Barlow built and started a distillery
at Barlow's (Freeman's) Corners; he had also an ashery with which he did a large business. John Mabee also had
a distillery about 1821. Asa Scott was an early settler and a blacksmith with a shop at Freeman's Corners in 1817.
William Smith was the first surveyor in this immediate locality and after settlement became active; he was constantly
employed in his profession. The first resident physician was Dr. Packard, who came about 1817 and settled about
a mile southwest of Middleport. Dr. Chatterton soon followed him. In 1820 Dr. John McLoth settled in the south
part of the town on the Niagara road, and in 1835 Dr. Peter P. Murphy located at Royaiton Center, where he practiced
many years. The first couple married in the town was Henry Ellsworth and Folly Cornish in 1810. The first white
male child born in town was Daniel Vaughn, in 1806.
Among other early settlers prior to 1830 were Speilman Underwood (in 1819), Erastus L. Williams (born in Royalton
in 1814), Joseph H. Otis, Asa Carrington. Alanson Doty, Jeremiah Westgate, John McNail, Elias Safford, William
Depue, Levi Leonard, Simon Bixby, Hiram B. Smith, Timothy Paige, Amos Bronson, James Fisk, Jeremiah Turner, Daniel
W. Crapsey, George R. Benedict, Lemuel Foster, Richard J. McLeland, John Timmerman, Noah Wheeler, John Woodworth,
George Mitchell, Benjamin Hale, George Bugbee, John W. Stone, Ira Weatherby, Jacob Hutchins, Richard Mackey, Thomas
Roberts, Asa Westcott, William Adams.
Other early settlers were Avery S. Delano (miller and lumber manufacturer in Middleport), Henry Dysinger, John
Ernest, William Ewing, John Weyand, Oliver L. Wilcox, Gotlob D. Witterman, and Dr. P. Faling.
At this point mention should be made of present or more recent residents of the town, as follows: Joseph and George
Arnold, O. D. Bates, Andrew J. and Edward J. Behe, R. H. Bennington, Fred C. Berner, George W. Bowen, John Bowers,
Rufus S. Brackett, Nicholas Bowers, B. F. Brownell, Henry H. Bugbee, Arnold Button, Nathan Campbell, William H.
Chase, Chauncey Chiids, Martin J. Dale, William Dewey, Thomas Dobbins, George Dunbar, Aaron W. Dysinger, Henry
Dysinger, Chauncey A. and William Dysinger, George W. Eggleston, Henry Ernest, Isaac N. Ewing, Charles H. Francis,
B. F. Freeman, James and John Freeman, William Fritz, William B. Gardner, George W. Good, Washington Good, George
B. Holdridge, Solomon Hollenbeck, Charles and John J. Jackson, Cornelius and James R. Ketcham, Hon. Ruthven Kill,
John W. La Bar, jr., George W. Lewis, Daniel and Reuben Long, William Luckman, John Mack, John S. Maynard, Jacob
Miller, Uriah H. Mitchell, Robert Pearce, Conrad and Christopher Ramming, William W. Ross, John P. Sawyer, John
L. Sheldon, Joseph Sheldon, Alfred J. and Pitt H. Smith, George D. Swift, Leroy Sybrandt, Cortez Taylor, Frank
Terry, William and Kelsey Todd, William Turrell, Theodore Van Wagoner, Frederick WaIter, J. M. Williams, James
Compton (formerly county clerk).
The villages in this town were mostly brought into existence by the construction of the Erie Canal. Royalton Center
is an exception, where Carrington Fisk opened his tavern in 1808. He owned the land on which the hamlet stands
east of the corners, and a Mr. Dewey on the west. The first post-office in the town was removed from what is now
Reynale's Basin (formerly Royalton) to Royalton Center soon after its establishment, another office being established
at Reynale's Basin at a later date. A small mercantile business and a few shops have since existed here.
An academy was established at Reynale's Basin in 1837, and a building erected with funds raised by subscription.
The first trustees were Dr. Peter P. Murphy, Anson Baldwin, and William Sibley, all leading citizens. Donald G.
Frazer was principal, and an attendance of about ninety pupils was secured. The institution continued about ten
years, when it was given up and the building demolished.
The present business interests of Royalton Center consist of two general stores kept by Norton E. Davison and Chauncey
C. Bixby, the harness shop of William E. Graham, a large frame hotel, and a postoffice with George W. Good, postmaster.
Wolcottsville, also, does not owe its existence to canal influence. It is situated in the southeast corner of the
town, near the Tonawanda Reservation, which extends over the line into Royalton. The land on which Wolcottsville
stands was a part of 2,000 acres bought of the Holland Company by Anson Wolcott. He settled there in 1847-48. Ehrick
Sutherland had "squatted" on a part of this tract at an early date. When Mr. Wolcott was located he built
a steam saw mill, where Charles H. Schad's store stood in recent years. The mill employed a large number of hands
while timber was left to saw. After a few settlers had come in there, Mr. Wolcott, in 1851, deeded his whole tract
to four trustees, viz., Frederick Moil, Christian Moll, Frederick Welland and Carl Martins, who laid it out in
small lots and in 1872-73 seventy-five families from Prussia settled here, drawing their locations by lot. This
gave rise to the name, Prussian Settlement, which has been applied to the immediate section thus settled. After
this transfer was made Mr. Wolcott removed his saw mill across into Erie county.
Joseph Rhodes opened the first hotel in the place in i866, and a considerable trade and shop interest soon came
into existence. In 1875 there were in the place seven hotels of all kinds of pretension, five stores, a cigar factory,
five wagon and blacksmith shops, a saw mill, two churches, and about 1,000 inhabitants. The present merchants are
Albert Retzloff William Luckmann, W. H. Rhinehart (also postmaster), and Mrs. John Hoepsal. Henry Siegler is a
hardware dealer and blacksmith.
Middleport is the largest and only incorporated village in Royalton. It is emphatically a canal village, for previous
to the opening of the great waterway there was no settlement here, the business of the northeastern part of the
town being done at Freeman's Corners, half a mile to the southward. When the canal was opened business interests
rapidly gathered where Middleport stands. The village takes its name from its being about midway between the canal
villages of Lockport and Albion (formerly Freeport). The land on which the village stands was formerly owned by
Arunah Bennett on the west side of Main street, south of the canal; by William Taylor on the east side, south of
the canal; by Gad Mather on the east side of Vernon street, north of the canal; and by F. B. Lane on the west side
of Vernon street, north of the canal.
The opening of Levi Cole's tavern here in a log house soon after 1820 has been noticed. Mr. Cole was imprisoned
for a short time for killing a workman on the canal, who was one of a party in his tavern, and who had insulted
Mrs. Cole. The man was knocked down by Cole, when the whole party attacked him and in the ensuing struggle he struck
one of his assailants with a club and killed him. This was the first homicide in this locality.
James Northam opened the first store in the village in 1822, in a small frame building erected by him about where
Main street crosses the canal and near the canal bank. A. S. Baker was his clerk. At that time the canal was not
cut through and the trees along the canal line had been cut only recently and the brush was still piled along Main
street at that point. Mr. Northam subsequently sold out his business to John Craig and Thomas Dunlap, and they
were succeeded by Lane & Baker. Mr. Craig was the father-in-law of Daniel W. Powers, of Rochester.
G. and E. Mather established a small tannery in 1824 and also carried on a boot and shoe business. Smith &
Calkins were blacksmiths about 1820 and later. John Macker began here as a tailor in 1830, the first in the place.
He was followed by Messrs. Bridgeman, Stone, Snell and Charles Wilcox. In 1840 John Van Brocklin established a
blast furnace, the first and only one ever in the village; it was later operated by his son.
Among other old-time merchants of Middleport were Timothy Bray, grocer; A. G. Taylor, drugs; James P. Compton,
hardware; Alden S. Baker, who was also a justice of the peace; Roswell Kelsey, Albert Day, David Gardner (of Gardner
& House) L. T. Mather, B. P. Barnes (afterward the owner of the flouring mill now operated by John F. Little
& Son), Peirce & McClean, Linus Spalding, Mason & Son, Jonas P. Lane, William S. Fenn, Harvey Francis,
Ferdinand Hinchey, S. N. Spalding, Daniel Van Brocklin, and Davis Brothers (lumber). A. D. Rich has been a hotel
keeper here for about twenty-three years; he built his present brick hotel in 1884 on the site of a frame house,
The present (1897) business interests of Middleport are carried on by M. E. Dobmeyer and F. M. Smith, dry goods;
E. F. Lahey and Max Harpuder, clothing; W. H. Garland and G. A. Wickham, shoes; A. K. Laird, L. H. Spalding, C.
W. Platts, Joseph Lewis and Carey Brothers; Edgar B. French and W. I. Van Brocklin, hardware; Corn pton & Bennett,
furniture; C. R. Dunkin, jewelry; Jerry Tracy, bakery; C B. Taylor, drugs and banking; L. S. Freeman, banking;
William D. Hoyt and W. J. Hinchey, notions; Lee Compton, meats; Robert Pearce, harness.
William J. Sterritt located in Middleport in 1867 and established a cooperage business, which still continues.
In 1878 he purchased a heading mill. In 1884. with Messrs. Eddy and Rowley, he bought the Middleport paper mill
property and in 1886 became sole owner. In 1891 he organized the Hartland Paper Company for the manufacture of
box boards; the capacity is 2,500 tons per annum.
The Royalton Door Company succeeded the Middleport Manufacturing Company in 1896, and does a large business. The
Batavia Preserving Company, of which Charles H. Francis is manager, is another important concern in Middieport.
The Middleport Union School District No. 1 was organized August 11, 1891, with the following Board of Trustees:
H. A. Wilmot, president; George D. Judson, clerk; William J. Sterritt, Linus S. Freeman and George A. Wickham.
The present (1897) board consists of William J. Sterritt, president; George F. Thompson, clerk; Rev. James J. Roche,
George G. Judson, Linus S. Freeman and Dr. John B. Hoyer. The principal is Frederick R. Stevens. The old stone
school house was enlarged by a brick addition in 1893 at a cost of about $6,500.
The Middleport Library Association was formed in 1873, by Rev. James H. Dennis, with the following officers: President,
C. W. Gould; secretary, E. L. Downey; librarian and treasurer, E. A. Phillips. The first collection of books was
donated by citizens of the village; these were added to by funds obtained from several lecture courses. The institution,
after several years of usefulness, finally went down.
The Middleport Mail was issued as a weekly newspaper for several years by S. H. Clark. In September, i888, J. E.
Cooper established the Middleport Herald, which in September, 1885, was sold by him to W. John Hinchey, the present
editor and publisher.
W. John Hinchey, editor and publisher of the Middleport Herald, is a son of Ferdinand and Emeline (Horsfall) Hinchey,
and was born February 8, 1869, in Middleport, N. Y., where his parents settled at the close of the civil war. His
father was a cigar manufacturer, postmaster, and merchant in that village, and died December 23, 1889. Mr. Hinchey
was educated in the Middleport Union school and the Clinton Liberal Institute at Fort Plain, N. Y., graduating
from the latter in 1889. After teaching school for two years he engaged in mercantile business in his native village,
and in September, 1895, became the editor and publisher of the Middleport Herald, which he has made one of the
leading papers of the county.
Middleport has always been an excellent market for produce, not only during the period when it all had to be shipped
by canal, but also since the completion of the branch of the Central Railroad. This was the chief factor in its
rapid growth during the first twenty years of its existence. The population had become so numerous and public affairs
of so much importance, that village incorporation at length seemed desirable. Accordingly a village election to
vote upon the proposition was held February 26, 1859, and a vote favorable to the change was polled. The first
election of village officers was held March 22, 1859, and the following were elected trustees: A J. Baker, B. P.
Barnes, Horace Pierce, Thomas F. Smith, and F. S. Taylor. The first official meeting was held March 28, and Francis
S. Taylor was chosen president of the board. Since that time the successive presidents have been as follows:
1860, Milton Seaman; 1S61, Francis S. Taylor; 1S62-3. Allen H. Pierce; 1864, A. S. Baker; 1865-67, Milton Seaman;
1868, Avery S. Delano; 1869, John Todd; 1870, John N. Dunn; 1871, A. H. Pierce; 1872, Henry McClean, jr., who was
appointed March 28 and served to June 3, 1872, when a new village charter went into force under which the president
was elected by the people and Avery S. Delano was chosen. The number of trustees was also reduced to three. 1873,
C. R. Blakslee; 1874, Henry McClean, jr., 1875, Charles H. Francis; 1876, J. H. Dunn; 1877-78, Charles H. Francis;
1879, C. W. Laskey; 1880, Benjamin F. Freeman; 1881-82, Henry McClean; 1883, Charles H. Francis; 1884-85, Henry
McClean; 1886-88, William J. Sterritt; 1889-90, Charles H. Francis; 1891, Thomas W. Jackson; 1892, Ezra B. De Lano;
1893, George W. Eddy; 1894, Edward J. Tuttle; 1S95, William J. Sterritt; 1896, Edward J. Tuttle; 1897, Michael
The other village officers for 1897 are:
Everett A. Pearce, clerk; Alfred J. Lewis, Romiro B. Hunt, and Michael O'Shaughnessey, trustees; Truman Jennings,
collector; Lewis H. Spalding, treasurer; N. L. Wallace, street commissioner; William D. Aldrich, light commissioner.
The fire department of Middleport was organized in 1884, and consists of the W. J. Sterritt Engine Co., the
L. H. Spalding Hose Co., and the A. D. Rich Hook and Ladder Co. Dr. Eli Clark is chief; James Brath, first assistant;
Clark D. Brewer, second assistant. In 1888 a reservoir was built for fire purposes; later another was added, and
this year (1897) two more are being constructed. In 1895 a new steam engine gave place to an old horse power engine.
Prior to the organization of the present fire department the village was protected from fire by a few hydrants
supplied with water from private sources.
Gasport is a small village the existence of which is largely due to the canal. It is situated about midway between
Lockport and Middleport. It has been stated that Samuel Hitchcock built the first house here about 1824, and kept
the first tavern. He owned a good deal of the land on which the village stands, other portions being formerly owned
by Col. Jonathan Mabee and a Mr. Melick. The village derives its name from the fact that inflammable gas formerly
rose from certain springs that were subsequently destroyed in digging the canal. After some experimenting, the
gas from these springs was confined and sent into pipes which were laid to a store and warehouse in the village,
which were well lighted for a time. The first flouring mill here was built by Col. Jonathan Mabee a little northeast
of the village on Eighteen-mile Creek, and about the same time Andrew and Amos Brown had a saw mill south of the
village. The first store in the place was opened in 1823 by Sextus Shearer. A Mr. Woolworth was an early wagon
maker, and a Mr. Marcy a blacksmith. Dr. Timothy Y. G. Page was the first physician. A. Coiwell was the first postmaster.
The present merchants are Caleb C. McNair and Blakeman & Pease, general stores, Samuel G. Barton, grocer and
postmaster; and Mesler & Pease, hardware. Charles L. Wilson is proprietor of the hotel here.
To promote education in Gasport an academy was founded in 1850, through the organization of a stock company, and
a brick building 25 by 40 feet in size and two stories high was erected. William Crocker was chosen principal and
about seventy pupils attended. The institution received a fair patronage during nearly twenty years, when it was
closed and the building sold to the Congregational church for a parsonage.
After the opening of a store and John McNall's tavern at McNall's Corners, in 1818, on the Niagara road, a little
hamlet grew up about it and for a time small business interests were maintained there. In recent years a post-office
has existed there under the name McNall's. The hamlet is about two miles west of Royalton Center.
The hamlet of Reynale's Basin, is situated on the canal about five miles west of Middleport. It was formerly a
point of considerable importance for shipping produce and the first post office in the town was established here;
it was subsequently removed to Royalton Center, as before stated. When Middleport and Gasport began their rapid
development, business at this place declined and has almost disappeared. The place derives its name from George
Reynale, who located here as soon as the canal was completed and built a frame structure on the north side of the
canal and west of the road crossing there. He opened a grocery and soon began buying staves and heading and other
products of the locality. Cornelius Mock has a general store there. John W. Shafer came here about 1857, from Johnson's
Creek, and engaged in the mercantile business for nine years, when he built his present cold storage plant.
Dysinger, in the central part of the town, is a post-office established in recent years. The place derives its
name from the Dysinger family, who have lived in the neighborhood for many years. There is a Baptist church there,
but no business of account.
Orangeport, a post office and hamlet in the northwest part of the town, on the Erie Canal, was originally settled
by Joshua and Thomas Slaton. The former was the real founder of the place, and gave the sites for the first church,
blacksmith shop, and burying grounds, the latter of which is the oldest in town, the first burial in it being that
of a Mr. Elsworth in 1804. The post-office was established about 1850 with a Mr. Hart as postmaster. There is now
a hotel and the store of Mrs. M. E. Atwood.
South Royalton is a locality in the south part of the town, and be sides a few houses contains a frame M. E. church.
The Mountain Ridge Cemetery Association was organized June 16, 1848, with Alanson T. Odell, president; Philip Freeman,
M. W. Baldwin, Oliver Brown, James' Culver E. Odell, Franklin Knapp, and Stephen Green, trustees. The cemetery
is located four and one half miles southwest of Middleport.
Of the early schools in this town there is not much record. The first one was probably established in or near the
Slaton Settlement, where the first corners located. There was a school house in district No. 23 as early as 1818,
which was at that time the only one south of the Military road. The first teacher there was Margaret Pixley, and
Dr. John McLoth taught in the following winter. April 20, 1818, the commissioners of common schools, Allen Williams,
Robert H. Henderson, and Benjamin H. Packard. met and divided the town into eight school districts; on May 16 of
the same year this number was increased to nine. As the population increased the town was divided and subdivided
into school districts and better school buildings superseded the first ones, which were generally of logs. For
the past forty years or more there have been twenty-four districts, which is the present number, with a school
house in each. With Cambria, Wheatfield, Lockport and Pendleton the town constitutes the first commissioner's district.
The first religious services and the first church organization were instituted at or near the site of Orangeport.
Prayer meetings were held at first until considerable interest was awakened, when the first preacher, Oliver Castle,
came to the neighborhood. In June, 1813, Elders Joel Doubleday and Joel Nathaniel Brown came and baptized a number
of persons. In August, 1817, a memorable revival began, and during that year seventy-three persons were baptized.
In the summer of 1818 a frame church was built, but it was not wholly finished until six years later; it is believed
to have been the first house for public worship on the Holland Purchase. On the 5th of February, 1825, a society
was incorporated with the title, The First Christian Society of Royalton, with William Smith, Benjamin Hale, and
Nathan Stone, trustees. In that year the church building was painted red and it was always known as the "red
meeting house on the hill." In the winter of 1845 it was burned and the new church built on the site. In the
spring of 1861 the society purchased the property adjoining on the south for a parsonage.
The Congregational church of Royalton, situated at Gasport, was organized October 5, 1817, by Rev. Eleazar Fairbanks,
a missionary, with seventeen members. The present church edifice was built in 1848, from which time the church
was without a settled pastor for many years; but the pulpit was supplied with considerable regularity. In 1877
Rev. Edward Harwood was settled with the church. The society purchased the brick academy building in 1870 for a
The Methodist Episcopal church of Royalton was organized through the work of a class formed in April, 1818, by
Daniel Shepherdson and Cyrus Story, circuit preachers; Joel Bixby was the first leader. There were sixteen members
and meetings were held every four weeks at the house of the leader. The first trustees were elected in 1836, and
the original church edifice was erected in 1838; it was rebuilt in 1862, is of brick and originally cost $3,000.
The society has had a flourishing career.
The First Baptist church of Royalton is situated four miles south of Gasport and near Dysinger. The organization
was effected August 20, 1822, by eleven members, and the first meeting was held in the school house of district
No. 13. From 1822 to 1836 Elders Parsons and Waterbury were the pastors, after which to 1847 there were no stated
services, but the church was supplied by surrounding societies. A church was in 1823 erected which was burned and
replaced by another in 1866. The parsonage adjoining the church was purchased at a cost of $2,000.
The Presbyterian church of Middleport was organized June 11, 1833, and was received into the Presbytery of Niagara
in the same month. The society had a fairly prosperous existence, the services being usually held by stated supplies,
until 1875, when the church property was sold to the Roman Catholics. There were at that time about eighty members
and the society was nearly free from debt. The price received for the property was $1,700. In 1888 the present
frame church was erected.
The Catholic mission which purchased this property immediately improved and repaired the edifice and have since
used it for their services. This is known as St. Stephen's Roman Catholic church, and Rev. J. J. Roche is the pastor.
The Middleport Methodist church was organized April 18, 1827, with Francis B. Lane, James Williams, John Bickford,
Arunah Bennett, and Abijah Terry, trustees.. Rev. John Copeland was then preaching and the large wooden church
edifice was built in the same year. The society owns also a comfortable parsonage.
The Universalist church of Middleport was formed as the result of preaching in that faith which was begun by Rev.
Linus S. Everett, whose services were secured by Judge A. S. Baker. Mr. Everett continued to preach in the school
houses for some time, and finally a society was organized and a church building erected of stone and brick in 1841.
The building was extensively improved in 1871.
A Free Will Baptist society was organized in early years and in 1839 a church was built about two miles south of
Middleport. Elder Gilman was the first pastor. In after years the building was occupied by other denominations
Trinity church (German Lutheran) is in Wolcottsville and was organized in 1854. The present brick church was built
in 1867, the brick being made on the lot where the chnrch stands, the work being done by the members. The society
is largely made up of the German residents of that part of the town.
In 1858 the Evangelical Association was organized at Gasport, with about thirty members. For nearly thirty years
meetings were held in the old school house. In 1878 a new wooden church was erected.
The German Lutherans also have a frame church in Wolcottsville that was built more than twenty-five years ago.
St. Mary's Roman Catholic church was organized in 1858, with about fifty members. A frame church was built the
same year in Gasport.
Trinity (Episcopal) church at Middleport, is noted at length in the chapter devoted to Lockport.