Nancy's Well AKA Waterloo Well

“Waterloo” Historical Landmark Built in 1892

According to the census of 1850, Joseph Stafford was born in Italy in 1795, so he was twenty years old when he lost an eye fighting on the French side at the Battle of Waterloo.

Joe came to the United States and worked as a common laborer, doing odd jobs around the Village of Ellicottville. He married Nancy, an Irish girl five years younger than he.

Joe and Nancy lived in a house on the back road to Sugartown and Great Valley and just north of it’s intersection with the road to Somerville Valley. A little way from their house, on the way to Ellicottville, there was a spring on the hillside.

A wooden trough brought its water down to the roadside. Anyone who passed could drink of the cold spring water. Doubtless Nancy carried water from the spring for household purposes, for it was, for a long time, known as N|”Nancy’s Well.”

In 1892 Henry Somerville was the Supervisor of the Town of Ellicottville. Being a man of public spirit, he had a stone mason erect a springhouse at the roadside to protect the spring water for the use of the public, to commemorate Waterloo, and to preserve the name of Henry Somerville.
So the name of “Nancy’s Well” was almost forgotten and the spring and springhouse became known as “Waterloo.”

The springhouse is of grey stone with a lining of brick. The north and south sides each bear a semi-circle of marble. The one on the south side is inscribed: “J.L. Vallely Builder”. The rectangular marble slab on the west or front side say: “WATERLOO Henry Somerville 1892.’

Now stones and broken bricks lie below the bottom of the opening. There is no sign of water. But the question remains, why did Henry Somerville call it Waterloo? Was it because Nancy’s husband talked so much about Waterloo, or because Henry Somerville was glad that Napolean met his Waterloo, or perhaps, just because he was tired of hearing it called “Nancy’s Well”?

Source: Information from the Ellicottville Historical Museum, Author(s) Unknown

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Sugartown Road
Ellicottville, NY 14731

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