Road Poems Project by Sue Parson

 

The Roads of Cattaraugus County

Cattaraugus County is the place to be.
The names of its roads tell its story to thee.
Two hundred years ago the settlers came
Through the woods on the Old Chautauqua Road.
Soon settlers built more roads and gave them names.
Some settlers gave the roads their family names:

Ahrens, Bailey, Benson, Bentley and Bigelow,
Abbott, Blakeslee, Boberg, Bobseine, and Burlingame,
Campbell, Carroll, Casell, Conley, Clark and Chapman,
Davis, Dempsey, Dewey, Dooley and Dunkleman,
Eddy, Eldredge, Faulkner, Harris and Hagerdon,
Haskell, Hayden, Healy, Hinman and Isaman,
Krager, Laidlaw, Lindberg, Martin and McKinstry,
Mosher, Nichols, Oldro, Osman and Phillippi,
Phillips, Raecher, Redding, Reynolds and Robinson,
Sherlock, Simmons, Slocum, Turock and Underwood,
Weller, Whitmer, Wickham, Wilson and Woodmancy.

Some left reminders of the lands they'd left:

Holland Road, Ireland Road, Scotch Road, and Cadiz. 
Dutch Hill, Irish Brook, Irish Hill and Irish Hollow.

Some honored the land by noting its hills,
Its beautiful hills, rising and drifting,
Joining the hills and their names in naming the roads:

Archer Hill, Baker Hill, Bailey Hill, Bixby Hill,
Bozard Hill, Brennan Hill, Bryant Hill, Buehlow Hill,
Chapel Hill, Cooper Hill, Corbett Hill, Fancher Hill,
Felton Hill, Foster Hill, Gibson Hill, Glover Hill,
Hammond Hill, Hebner Hill, Hooker Hill, Hoxie Hill,
Jackman Hill, Kyler Hill, Kyson Hill, Manley Hill,
Mason Hill, Meyer Hill, Miller Hill, Parker Hill,
Peck Hill, Pepperdine Hill, Prill Hill, Roszyk Hill,
Ruckh Hill, Sample Hill, Smith Hill, Stephenhagen Hill,
Swanson Hill, Synder Hill, Wenrick Hill and Wheeler Hill.

And they loved the hill’s lovely green trees,
And so they named some roads to honor them:

Beech Tree, Birch Run, Cherry Valley, Cherry Creek Hill,
Maple Grove, Maple Hill, Maple Valley,
Oakland Lane, Oaks Road, Pine Hill, Shady Lane,
South Grove, Sylvan Glen, Thornwood and Willow.

As they named the roads to honor the trees,
They chopped the trees to make the roads,
And then the huts and then the homes and then
A livelihood, hard work, cutting the trees
And dragging them down the hills into the hollows.
And as they had when naming the hill roads,
They used their names to honor the hollows:

Carey Hollow, Fay Hollow, Geiger Hollow,
Gile Hollow, Gleason Hollow, Godfrey Hollow,
Haines Hollow, Heddon Hollow, Hotchkiss Hollow, 
Johnson Hollow, Kinney Hollow, Lippert Hollow,
McClure Hollow, Morgan Hollow, Munger Hollow,
Potter Hollow, Skinner Hollow, Slocum Hollow,
Sullivan Hollow, Thorpe Hollow and Waite Hollow.

And they named some roads to honor the runs:

Barker Run, Birch Run, Brown Run, Bucktooth Run,
Drake Run, Leonard Run, Nichols Run, Pierce Run,
Ridge Run, Bone Run, Wolf Run and Little Bone Run.

And to honor the meadows and valleys:

Beaver Meadows, High Meadows, Meadow View, Claire Valley,
Pleasant Valley, Steam Valley, Sommerville Valley,
Union Valley,  Zoar Valley and Valentine Flats.

And they named the roads to honor the creeks
And to honor the brooks as they floated
The trees down them to the lumber mills:

Creek Road, Creekridge, Elm Creek, Indian Creek,
Cherry Creek Hill, Mud Creek, Plum Brook, Plum Creek,
Versailles Silver Creek, Phillips Brook, Snow Brook,
East River, River Road and Flood.

They honored other water sources as well,
Giving roads their names:

Coldspring, Lime Lake and Linkyco Lake,
Marble Springs, Rock Springs and Swamp.

And they named the roads for the creatures
with whom they shared the land:

Bear Creek, Bear Hollow, Bird Road, Bucktooth Run,
Chipmonk, Coon, Crane, Deer, Eagle, and Eagles Nest,
Fish Hill, Frog Valley, Fox Valley, Killbuck,
Pigeon Hill, Pigeon Valley, Robin Hill,
Snake Run, Sunfish Run, Toad Hollow and Wolf Run.

And they named the roads to record the tales
Of their hard labor, logging and farming and mining:

Baxton Mills, Christmill, Mill Valley, Sawmill Run,
Farm to Market, Chicken, Hencoop Hollow,
Gooseneck, Guernsey Hill and Jersey Hollow,
Mutton Hollow and Pumpkin Hollow,
Merchant Hill, Poverty Hill, Coal Shutes,
Dredge, Dugway, Flat Iron, Limestone Run,
Potter Hollow, Stone Quarry, Tough Row Hill,
Hardy Corners, Plank Road, Hardscrabble Road,
Snow Hill, Hungry Hollow, Lonely Hollow.

But they noted hope and happiness as well:

Christian Hollow, Fancy Track, Freedom Road,
Golden Hill, Holiday Valley, Jolly Town,
Lovers Lane, Pleasant Valley, Promise Land,
Pudding Lane, Sugar Town, Skyline Drive,
Sunset Hill and Sunset Lane,
And…….the Billion Dollar Highway!

Expressing not only their hope but their humor.

Note from Author, Sue Parsons:
"Regarding the Catalog of Cattaraugus County Roads Poem Project:  Cattaraugus County is beautiful.  Its roads, meandering over the hills and through the hollows, display its beauty.  Drive the back roads and note their names which, I think, tell a bit of the history of the county as well as the love its settlers felt for it as they looked across the meadows on their way to the barn to milk the cows. The names of the settlers are sprinkled all over the county’s road map as well as their thoughts and feelings. 
At least that is what I think.  But then I’m a newcomer.  My ancestors homesteaded on the flat fields of northern Indiana, growing corn.  So the catalog poem I have written – this is very much a first draft – is a challenge to those of you whose ancestors settled here, naming the roads.  Email me if I wrongly thought a road was named after a family or if I failed to include your ancestors’ road name.  A few of you did email me in response to this request in the last issue.  Thus I learned that Chapel Hill is named for settlers, not for the churches there. Thank you!
Besides whether the road names represent settlers, there are many other road name puzzles.  Why were roads named Cadiz and Persia and Lebanon?  What about Witch Hollow and Monk Hill?  What are their stories?
I am hoping to see those interested in this project – that is, identifying the history of the road names – at the Ellicottville Historical Society meetings.  Let’s gather the history of the settlers who gave the roads their names. Help with this project by bringing your information to a meeting.  See you there!  Sue Parsons at pars8msn.com"

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