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TOWN & VILLAGE
The Town of New Albion and Village of Cattaraugus have a rich history;
the first "white" settlers in the area arrived as early as 1818. Prior
to this time, the land was settled by the Seneca Nation of Indians. The
Town and Village were originally part of the Town of Little Valley and
were separated from it in February 1830. Until this time, the original
territory of the Town and Village was an unbroken forest.
Horace Snyder, an early resident, made the first clearing of
approximately six acres which now comprises part of the Village limits.
Using the timber he cut, he created the first industry in the community
by manufacturing potash in an ashery he constructed within the clearing.
Saw mills, blacksmith shops, wagon shops, local stores and taverns were
also very important businesses for early settlers in the Town. These
were established as early as 1836.
Early travelers made their way to New Albion by following the Creek or
by way of Champlain's Corner. The first road in Cattaraugus County was
old Chautauqua Road, an east/west corridor, linked Ellicottville, Little
Valley, Champlain's Corners, Guy Corners (at Farm to Market Road),
Axeville and Conewango Valley. The road cut through a dense, virgin
An outstanding figure in the rapid development of the Village of
Cattaraugus was Joseph Plumb, arriving from the Village of Gowanda
sometime prior to 1850. Mr. Plumb purchased a large tract of land and
plotted it for sale to smaller buyers. He made the specific provision
that no intoxicating substances were to be manufactured or sold on any
of his properties. In 1851, Joseph Plumb donated a right-of-way and land
site for a train depot to the newly completed Erie Railroad. When the
railroad opened in May of that year, the real development of the Village
of Cattaraugus began to occur.
The railroad made Cattaraugus the shipping and trading center for the
surrounding country-side. The Cattaraugus station became the shipping
point for great quantities of cheese, butter, apples, and other
commodities to all parts of the country. Several industries also spawned
from the locations of the railroad including furniture factories, saw
mills, a handle factory, and the box factory. Cattaraugus House, the
fires hotel (and first frame building in the Village) was the meeting
place for trading activity in the Village.
As time progressed,
important evolving businesses included a tannery, an axe factory, and a
creamery. Apple orchards furnished the farmers with a marketable
produce, and eventually an evaporator to dry the apples was established.
The maple syrup industry was also an important business for early
settlers in the Village and Town. Other industries that sprung up during
this time include a butter tub factory, carpet weaving shop, pearl ash
shop, cheese box factory, cider mill and grist mill. When Setter Bros.
developed in the early 1900's, the Village became a "company town"; the
majority of residents worked to manufacture rolled paper sticks for
lollipops and veneer wood products.
Churches became an important social and spiritual connection for the
early settlers of the Town and Village. Many of these residents were
Irish and English immigrants with strong religious principals. The
church often became a central location for dinners, parties, and
informal gatherings. Significant early churches included the Methodist
Episcopal, the Free Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist, and the Catholic.