The Town of South Valley was formed from Randolph and Coldspring in 1847, with an
additional portion annexed from Coldspring in 1848. In 1890, South Valley was
divided resulting in the formation of the existing Town of South Valley and the
Town of Elko, which no longer exists. The Town is comprised of a portion of
Allegany Indian Reservation and Allegany State Park lands.
The Philadelphia Society of Quakers, (also known as The Society of Friends of
Philadelphia) established the first settlement (1798) of the Town. This was
not only the first settlement in the Town but also the first settlement in the
Quaker Run, (also known as Indian hamlet of Old Town) was so called due to the
fact that members of the Philadelphia Society of Quakers settled here. Quaker
Run, located on the banks of the Allegheny River and on the Reservation, was
established by 3 Quakers, Joel Swayne, Halliday Jackson and Henry Simmons, who
began an Indian mission school here. The Quaker Mission Farm (also known as The
Mission of the Friends) was placed on a 464 acres parcel, with a saw and grist
mill being opened in 1805. The Farm consisted of a school house and boarding
hall (known as Friends' Boarding School for Indian Children - 1848), solely
financed by the Friends of The Indians, which accommodated 30 pupils for training
Indian children in the customs of the whites (the 3 R's, sewing, gardening,
religion, etc.). However, the Indians, fearing the Friends would lay claim to
their lands, would not accept the efforts of the missionaries. In
1818, The Quaker Mission Farm was sold to the Holland Land Company. The Friends
sought land outside the Reservation. The first white settler following the
Holland Land Company purchase on Quaker Run, came in 1831, followed by the building
of several sawmills.
Once densely covered with abundant forest, and with the Town's many waterways
(i . e . Allegheny River, Hotchkiss Run, Pierce Run, Bone Run, Wolf Run, Quaker Run,
Sawmill Run) providing affordable transporting, South Valley saw several sawmills
and shingle mills, such as Quinn & Murphy, Wheeler & Aldrich, and Bemis &
Ostrander, spring up, and lumbering was the chief occupation of the resident.
The Allegany River was crossed by ferry at the Quaker Mill (Run) settlement. The
Society of Friends began a ferry service to cross the Allegany River at a point
known as Quaker Mill (Run), and later gave it to the Indians as a source of
income for them. The ferry was later replaced by a bridge constructed in 1867,
which led to the building of a sawmill, grist mill, and a tannery by the Quakers.
Quaker Bridge (Tunesassa post office - 1883) was a small hamlet and railroad
station in the northern part of the Town on the Reservation. This small hamlet
once contained a post office, express and telegraph office, 2 lumber yards, a
store, several shops, and a Western New York & Pennsylvania railroad station
Wolf Run, (former Town of Elko post office - 1887) in the southern part of the
Town, derives its name for an early day incident. A Holland Land Company
surveyor's dog ran a wolf into a hollow log. Upon chopping the log open, they
found the mother and 4 or 5 cubs. First sawmill on Wolf Run was built in 1859.
In addition, the settlement of Elko saw several sawmills (the first in 1805), a
tannery ,several shingle mills (1831), and schools, both white and Indian.
There also existed a blacksmith shop, a store, a post office, a telegraph office
and a railroad station.
Onoville, (formerly known as "Jugville" because every lumberman carried a jug of
spirits into the woods), was the center of the lumber trade and a depot for
supplies. Because there was another South Valley in the State, citizens had to
come up with a name for this hamlet. The citizens could not agree on a name.
William Webber said "Well, call it Oh no ville" which was adopted as Onoville.
In the 1870's, Onoville contained a church, several stores, a post office (1859),
a variety of shops, a tavern (1848 ), a pubic house, and about 20 dwellings.
Source: Cattaraugus County Book 1808-1995/96