The town of Wales was formed from the territory of Willink on April 15, 1818, comprising township 9, range 5, of the Holland Company survey, with nominal jurisdiction over the Indian lands opposite that township to the center of the Buffalo Creek Reservation. The town has an area of thirty-six square miles, or 22,600 acres. It is situated on the east line of Erie county, with Aurora on the west, Holland on the south and Marilla on the north. The central branch of the Buffalo Creek (commonly called Big Buffalo Creek) flows northwesterly across the town. Hunter's Creek flows northerly nearly across the town and empties into Buffalo Creek. Cazenove Creek flows across the southwest corner. The Big Buffalo Creek is bordered by a broad and fertile valley, while a narrower one extends along Hunter's Creek. The greater part of the remainder of the town is high land with gravelly and clayey soil.

The territory of Wales received its first settlers in 1806 in the persons of William and Ethan Allen, Amos Clark and William Hoyt. In 1807 Jacob Turner, Nathan Moon and Charles and Alexander McKay came in. In 1808 Ebenezer and John Holmes, brothers, settled on Holmes Hill, where their descendants are still found. Silas Hunter also settled in the town in that year. In 1809 Peleg Havens, Welcome Moore and Isaac Reed were among the newcomers. James Wood settled in Wood's Hollow (or Wales Hollow, now Wales village), and Samuel Searls settled where the widow of Thomas Hill now resides.

In 1810 Jacob Turner built the first frame house. Alvin Burt, William A. Burt (his son) and Benjamin Eariwere in the town as early as 1810. Isaac Hall settled in 1811 at Hall's Hollow, and with his brother Eli built mills that year, and in the next year built a tavern. Varnum Kenyon, William Carpenter, Nathan M. Mann, Lyman Blackmar and Eli Weed, jr., came in about the same time, the latter locating on Weed's Hill, where his descendants still live.

Dr. Ira G. Watson settled in 1812 a little north of South Wales and in the same year William Burt opened the first store. John Russell bought a large tract of land in 1813 in the southwest part, on the site of South Wales. In 1815 he sold a part to Aaron Warner; Henry Monroe was another purchaser from him. In 1816 Mr. Warner built the Osborn House, which is still standing but not in use as a public house. In 1815 John Cole settled where Lyman Wood lives, and in 1817 Isaac Wightman became a resident. Ira Hall settled in the town in 1818 and established a tannery and shoe shop near his brother's mills. Stephen Patch and his three sons also settled that year. Jacob Turner built a grist mill before 1818 at Wood's Hollow. Distilleries were numerous in early years, seven being at one time in operation on Buffalo Creek within this town. Other early and prominent settlers were John Cadugan, Frank N. Smith, Thomas Hill, Harry A. Stevens, Chandler Barber, Charles N. Brayton, Orlo Grover, Joseph Charles, James Chalmers, Elias Dimond, Harding W. Hall, Martin J. and George Keem, S. R. Hall, Samuel Gail, J. W. Waters, Welcome Moore, B. D. Norton, Thomas Stokes, Dennis Sullivan and John Weaver.

The first post-office in this town was opened in 1821 with the name Wales; it was in the store of William A. Burt at Hall's Hollow (now Wales Center). A few years later when James Wood was made postmaster, he took the office to Wood's Hollow (now Wales). Another office was established in 1826 at South Wales.

A hotel was built in 1835 a mile west of Hall's Hollow. This has been known as the old Pochel tavern and is still kept open. Mortimer Stevens had a small store near the hotel and in 1843 obtained a postoffice there called Wales Center, in which he was the first postmaster; it was removed to Hall's Hollow in 1850.

Numerous saw mills were built in early years along the streams, but most of them have disappeared with the forest. There is one in operation at South Wales, and one at Wales Center, with a few portable mills. The character of the agricultural products has changed in comparatively recent years. Grain growing has largely given place to cheese and butter making. A cheese factory is in operation at Wales and one at South Wales. There is also a butter factory at Wales Center and the dairy products of the town have an excellent reputation.

Wales Center.- This a small village situated in the northern part of the town. Besides the saw and grist mills here, which are still in existence, a carding mill was built about 1816 and an early distillery, both of which have disappeared. Among the merchants of the past were Jonathan Hall (about 1830), Ethan Allen (1852), Almon Klapp Turner Fuller (about 1844), Stafford Pike, Silas Wright Searls, Elbridge Kent (since 1870), Willard Stevens (1850-60), Benjamin F. Pollard and Eugene Norton.

The hotel of the village was built in 1816 by Isaac Hall and passed through several ownerships to Michael Myers; it was burned in 1882, and rebuit by Mr. Myers; it is now owned by his widow.

The first physician was Dr. Gilbert McBeth, who settled here in 1842; Dr. John MeBeth, his brother, came in 1843, and is still a resident, but retired from practice. Other physicians have been Drs. Asa Warren, William Miller, Bradley Goodyear, Gilbert Bridgeman, Charles Hill, J. G. Rowe, M. B. Searis (now of Aurora). There are now in the place three general stores, a hotel, a creamery, and saw and grist mill.

A Baptist church was organized about sixty years ago, and an M. B. church a little earlier. Services were held in school houses and private dwellings until 1846 when a church was erected in which both denominations worshiped.

Wales Village.- This village, situated in the eastern part of the town, has been known as Wood's Hollow and as Wales Hollow. The early grist mill here was owned by various persons at different periods, and in 1846 was set on fire by Elias Brooks, who was imprisoned for the crime. Oliver Patch built the present mill in 1850; it is not now in operation. Early merchants were Warren & Wood, Stephen and Oliver Patch and John Minkle. There are at present two general stores. Jesse Westcott built the first hotel in 1826; it passed through various hands and is still kept. The first physician was a Dr. Richards, about 1832; he was succeeded by Dr. James Ives.

A Methodist church was organized in 1831 and a house of worship built three years later. A Free Methodist society was organized about 1862.

A Union graded school was inaugurated here in 1896 and a fine twostory frame school house erected that year. It has two departments and two teachers.

South Wales.- This is a small hamlet in the southwest part of the town; it has two general stores. Aaron Warner was the first merchant and kept the first tavern about 1816. There is no hotel in the place at the present time. Past merchants were Clark Warner, Abijah McCall, A. M. Chamberlain, Greenman Smith, Jesse Colby, Lewis L. Butler and William Edwards. Samuel Spooner built a grist mill in 1817-18, and in 1819 Gideon Baker established a tannery; they were on the creek near the Aurora line.

Dr. Ira G. Watson practiced here from 1812 until his death. Other physicians are Dr. Levinus W. Cornwall, A. C. Osborn and his brother, Frank Osborn. A saw mill is in operation here. A Cangregational church was organized in 1841 and a house of worship built soon afterwards.

The first town meeting was held in the spring of 1818 at the house of Daniel Rowley, and the following officers elected:
John Cole, supervisor; William A. Burt, town clerk; Charles Blackmar, Henry Morrow and Jared Scott, commissioners of highways; Ethan Allen, Daniel C. Crane and David Hamilton, assessors; Ebenezer Holmes and Jared Scott, poormasters; William Blackmar, collector; William Blackmar and William Hoyt; constables; Ira G. Watson, Timothy Shaw and Calvin Clifford, commissioners of schools; Nathan M. Mann, Isaac Howe and Jesse Durand, inspectors of schools.

The supervisors of Wales, with their years of service, have been as follows:
John Cole, 1818; Ebenezer Holmes, 1819-26; Niles Cole, 1827-29; Moses McArthur, 1830-31; Nathan M. Mann, 1832-37; Elon Virgil, 1838-40; Ira G. Watson, 1841; Elon Virgil, 1842; Isaac Brayton, 1843-44; David S. Warner, 1845-47; James Wood, 1848- 51; Charles A. Sill, 1852-53; David S. Warner, 1854; Harry A. Stevens, 1855-56; Comfort Parsons, 1857; Jared Tiffany, 1858-59; John McBeth, 1860-61; A. G. White, 1862; Clark Hudson. 1863-64; Alonzo Havens, 1865-69; Turner Fuller, 1870; Edward Leigh, 1871; Charles N. Brayton, 1872-76; Eugene Norton, 1877-80; Frank Osborn, 1881-82; Sylvester R. Hall, 1883: Martin Keem, 1884; Charles N. Brayton, 1885-91; A. G. White, 1892; L. T. Hill, 1893-94; James Allen, 1895-97.

Return to [ NY History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

NY Counties - Albany - Allegany - Broome - Cayuga - Chatauqua - Chenango - Clinton - Columbia - Cortland - Dutchess - Erie - Essex - Franklin - Fulton - Genesee - Herkimer - Jefferson - Lewis - Livingston - Madison - Montgomery - Niagara - Oneida - Onondaga - Ontario - Orange - Orleans - Oswego - Putnam - Queens - Rensselaer - Richmond - Rockland - St. Lawrence - Saratoga - Schenectady - Steuben - Suffolk - Tioga - Tompkins - Tryone - Ulster - Washington - Wayne - Yates

All pages copyright 2003-2012. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy