The Town of Hinsdale was formed from Olean in 1820. The present Town of Ischua,
as Rice, was removed from Hindsale territory in 1846. Hinsdale received its
name from Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Mr . Foote, legislative representative for
this district, was called on to provide a name for the proposed new town. In
honor of the mother's birthplace (Hinsdale , New Hampshire), the name Hinsdale was
inserted for the proposed new town.
The Town's principal waterways are Ischua Creek, Oil Creek and Olean Creek. In
the early days the pioneers engaged in lumbering and rafting. In 1807, with
the first saw mill erected in Cattaraugus County on Olean Creek, these settlers
rafted the first lumber down the Allegany River. Once the lands were exhausted
of the valuable timber, and because the soil in this area is productive , agriculture
became the chief occupation, with cheese making the major source of revenue.
Even though there was evidence that oil existed within the Town, attempts
to produce petroleum were found to be futile.
In 1817 a highway called the State Road (now NYS Rte 446) opened from Olean Point
to Angelica. The Town was served by two railroads: the Erie Railway completed
in 1851, and the Buffalo, New York, & Pennsylvania completed in 1872.
The Genesee Valley Canal, extending from Rochester to Olean, and completed
through the Town in 1856, extended through Hinsdale on the east side of Oil and
Olean Creeks. "W.O. Leland, of Hinsdale, in 1863 made the first and only shipment
of grain from Cattaraugus County by canal, when he shipped two boatloads of
oats from Hinsdale to Albany." From the start the Canal was a non paying investment,
and was abandoned in 1878.
The first settlers to make their home in the Town of Hinsdale arrived in 1806.
At the Town's first board meeting, 1821, the supervisor was instructed to build a
dog pound near the Oil Creek Bridge.
It is interesting to note that rates for postage in the 1870's were recorded as
"under 80 miles, 10 cents, over 80 miles, 18 cents, over 400 miles, 25 cents".
Another interesting fact is that, in this period of time, 40 acres had the assessed
The village of Hinsdale, located at the junction of Oil and Ischua Creeks, was
the station for the Erie Railroad, the Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railroad,
and the Genesee Valley Canal. By the 1870's, the village saw established 2
churches, 2 hotels, 5 general stores, 2 grocery stores, a meat market, a post
office (1825), a school house, a cheese factory, 3 saw mills, a grist mill
(1825), several mechanic shops, 2 newspapers (The Hinsdale Democrat - 1837 and
The People's Gazette (1840), a tavern (1824), a tannery (1833), doctor's office,
and wool-carding and cloth-dressing mill (1829), and an inn (1810).
The hamlet of Scott's Corners, located about a mile north of the village of
Hinsdale, in the 1870's, contained a store (1835), a church, a grist mill, a saw
mill (1814), a school (1818), a church (1844), 2 newspapers (The Freeman and
Messenger - 1843 and The Expositor - 1845), a cheese factory, and 2 mechanic
shops. This hamlet received its name from Hollis Scott, the store owner.
The hamlet of Haskell Flats, in the southeast corner of the Town, was a post
office station which contained a church, a hotel, stores, a school, a black smith
shop, and a large cheese factory .
The fair grounds of the Ischua Valley Agricultural Society, organized in 1857,
were located north of the village of Hinsdale. The purposes of this Society was
the "improvement of the condition of agriculture, horticulture, household and
mechanic arts, by means of essays, addresses, annual fairs, and prizes for meritorious
productions in each department." After ten years the fairs were discontinued
because the grounds were sold.
Source: Cattaraugus County Book 1808-1995/96