The Town of Otto, named in honor of Jacob S . Otto (an agent of the Holland
Land Company), was formed from Perrysburg in 1823 at which time it included the
present Town of Persia. Later that same year, all that land, (Persia) west of
the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek was annexed back to the Town of Perrysburg.
Cattaraugus Creek defines the Town's northern boundary while the South
Branch of the same Creek forms a portion of its western boundary.
Of the 800 to 1,000 acres of the locality known as "Valley of Zoar", 300
acres are located in the Town of Otto. Attracted by its excellence and great
fertility, settlers as early as 1811, following Indian trails, located here.
Within the "Valley" was located "Hills Tavern".
The predominating enterprise was dairy farming and the production of butter
and cheese. By the 1870's there were seven cheese factories within the Town
(i.e. C.A. Ross, Myron Barker, The Tallman, Fred Yerke).
The hamlet of Otto, formerly known as Waverly Village, was first settled in
1822 and was located in the center of the southern part of the Town. In the
1870's the village contained 2 hotels (i.e . Wilber and Waverly House), 2
churches, a school house (1826), a post office, 3 dry goods and grocery stores, 2
groceries (i . e. Wolff ' s), a tobacco and cigar store, a tavern, 2 drug stores, a
jeweler, a hardware store, a merchant tailor, a market, a boot and shoe store, a
harness shop, a cabinet shop, 3 blacksmith shops, 2 carriage shops (i.e . 1838
Ballard), a photograph gallery, a millinery store, a manufacturer of oils, a
layer and 3 physicians. Within this village was also located a tannery (1827),
sawmills (1st 1822) and grist mills (1828), a flouring mill (Otto Mills 1860),
cider mill, iron foundry and machine shop (1877 Dewey), a woolen mill (1829
Knowlton), a cheese factory (American Association Factory), and a bank (1867 Cox,
Elliot & Co). A tornado in 1860 destroyed nearly all of the hamlet.
Isaac Skinner in 1819 settled in what was later known as Skinner Hollow
where he erected a sawmill in 1823 and was postmaster in 1825.
Alvin Plumb, often called "Lord Plumb" in 1824 built a blacksmith shop at
Lower Village. Mr. Plumb also manufactured cow bells for farmers throughout the
In 1821 the Town saw its first sawmill, blacksmith shop (Little 1822),
store (Plumb 1824), grist mill (Parkinson 1826), school (1823), and ashery
Source: Cattaraugus County Book 1808-1995/96