General Joseph McCluer was one of the first pioneers in what we know today as Cattaraugus County, New York. Born in May 1775, he was christened on 10 Sep 1775 in Greenwich, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. He was educated as a doctor, but decided to become an agent and surveyor for the Holland Land Company.
Driving along Route 219 will takes you North to South through Cattaraugus County. Nearly splitting the County in half, this is a popular roadway used to travel from Buffalo to Ellicottville or Salamanca. You are sure to see plenty of other vehicles along your way, as well as many prosperous businesses and modern companies. Hidden is a rich history full of the buzz of rising communities and industry when the County was first inhabited.
Follow Route 62 to a trip back in time, without looking very hard. Traveling from just below Gowanda to Conewango, the route displays rural landscapes, small town charm, and our community of Old Order Amish. Once bustling communities and factories lead people to settle in these parts. Now, you will find agricultural businesses and houses dispersed along either side of the road. Before hitting any historical sites, you will venture from Gowanda through a series of sharp curves, lush green treescapes, and alongside Thatcher Brook. This is a tributary of Cattaraugus Creek, famous for its
Old Chautauqua Road will lead you into the history of Cattaraugus County, as you travel from East to West across the County. This road was one of the first developed paths in the County. While the direct road no longer exists, Old Chautauqua Road is the name of the original path taken by the Holland Land Company after being developed to connect the holdings of that company that were to be sold. This guide will take you along a path over many renamed roads, while still trying to follow the original route of Old Chautauqua Road as closely as possible, as it was 200 years ago. Parts of the
Ellicottville has always been a very industrial village. Various industries flourished here in the 1800’s and early 1900’s for several reasons. It was the first settlement in the area with plenty of fast moving streams to support different industries and growing population. Also, it was the first county seat which added greatly to its popularity as a place to settle.
Slavery and the attitude each individual embraced regarding the subject was a very volatile, emotional topic during the 1800s. Right here in Cattaraugus County emotions were strong. This county is an area where few if any slaves could be found at that time, however, that did not temper the reaction of the people. We must remember the strong division of our country during this period in regards to slavery.
A sad part of our American and New York State history includes years of bondage. People were transported to our shores to be sold and used as slaves. It was not just the southern plantations that uitlized slaves in working the farm land. "Early Dutch settlers brought slaves from Angola and Brazil to work their new farms in the Hudson Valley." Slavery continued through the next two centuries in New York State. By the end of the eighteenth century, New York State had the largest number of slaves of any northern state.
The ‘Dredge’ was an idea of the New York State Legislature in 1839 to connect the Erie Canal with the Allegheny River. Several routes were considered one of which came through Conewango.This never came to pass, but the idea did not die.
Early in 1909 at the suggestion of Dr. John H. Pryor of Buffalo, a bill was brought before the New York Legislature. This bill, which was passed March 25, 1909, authorized the city of Buffalo to build equip and run a hospital for the treatment of in-patient tuberculosis (TB). On December 18 1909, after an extensive search for a proper setting, the Buffalo City Council, on the recommendation of Dr. Pryor, chose the hillside location in Perrysburg where J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital is located.
In the 1830's and 1840's, Olean continued to grow as a small commercial and agricultural center for the region. The coming of the Erie Railroad at mid-century, augmented Olean's growth with an emphasis on tanning and lumbering as the main industries. Following the discovery of oil during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Olean developed as one of the largest oil storage and refining centers in Western New York. As a result, residential construction increased significantly in the area north of State Street and west of Union Street.
During the American Revolutionary War, in 1779, General George Washington adopted a strategy of reducing the assets of the British by attacking the American Indian tribe’s villages who sided with them.
In 1907, at the beginning of the fall term at Ten Broeck Academy, twelve young ladies formed an organization called the Polly Prims. The following year, Mr. Royal S. Litchfield of Independence, Kansas, sent a gift of $50 to the group to help them organize a girl’ basketball team. Mr. Litchfield was a former resident of Franklinville and had graduated in the Class of 1889 from Ten Broeck Academy. He had been a cashier at the Union National Bank for several years before moving out West.
This homestead is located on a parcel of land that was originally owned by the Holland Land company. In 1798 Joseph Ellicott and Joseph Mcclure were hired to survey the parcel of land known today as Franklinville. These two men were accompanied by two axmen, Solomon curtis and Ira Pratt.
Strange sights in the skies have added to the mysticism and Enchantedness of Cattaraugus County. Every so often these mysterious flying objects or UFO's (Unidentified Flying Objects) will make the headlines as shown in 1953 and 1978. Thanks to the Allegany State Park Historical Society for these newspaper articles!
Kinzua means “fish on a spear” in the Seneca-Iroquois language. The Cornplanter band of Seneca held great annual fish drives on the Allegheny River. In the summer, men built a V-shaped fence, or weir, across the river. They forced the fish into the weir with a giant rake, which was pulled toward the weir by horses on opposite shores. Waiting fishermen speared the trapped fish, perhaps the reasoning behind the naming of "Kinzua" Lake.