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History of Niagara county, N. Y., with illustrations descriptive of its scenery, private residences, public buildings, fine blocks, and important manufactories, and portraits of old pioneers and prominent residents online

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Online LibraryNew York Sanford & CompanyHistory of Niagara county, N. Y., with illustrations descriptive of its scenery, private residences, public buildings, fine blocks, and important manufactories, and portraits of old pioneers and prominent residents → online text (page 92 of 96)
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ance of the general manufacturing law, in 1872, with a
paid-up capital of $400,000. The first purchase of real
estate was of 165 acres from M. Bush. The buildings
were erected in 1873, and manufacturing operations com-
menced the same year. The engine house stands in a
prominent position, and by one not knowing its design
might be taken for an elegant mansion or villa; the build-
ing is 68 by 74 feet, with a proportionate elevation, and
finished in tasteful style. The boiler house, judiciously
separately located, 45 feet by 70, contains ten ponder-
ous boilers, four feet in diameter and sixty feet long;
an octagon chimney eighty feet high rises in front. The
blast furnace was constructed to run out fifty tons of
pig iron per day, and is 60 by 200 feet and two stories
high; a tower rising above one hundred feet contains
the machinery for elevating ore and brick by steam
power. The oven is 30 by 41 feet, with iron-bound ex-
terior. The buildings named are massive and substantial
brick erections, upon stone foundations. The stock
house is a frame building, 72 by 500 feet and two stories

The dock fronting on the river is 500 feet in length,
reaching ten feet depth of water. Located upon the
dock is an engine for raising freight from the vessels.

Two branch tracks of the Central railroad pass over the
docks and into the stock house, to deposit and remove
material. The buildings cover an area of four acres.

The trustees are P. P. Pratt, president; Josiah Jewett,
vice-president; S. S. Jewett, H. H. Gleney, George B.
Hays, F. L. Danforth and B. F. Felton. During the
present general depression in business the works are not
operated; but as they are controlled by men of permanent
wealth, willing to use it and able to hold their own until
the day dawns upon brighter prospects, the advantages
of this great concern will yet be felt by the community
that has clustered about it in anticipation. The premises
and machinery are kept in the most perfect order and
neatness under the care of Alexander Reid.

The Tonawanda Engine and Machine Company's ex-
tensive machine shops are located in the rear of the Erie
railway depot on Olive street, occupying a square of 150
feet. They manufacture steam engines and boilers, and
furnish castings for all discriptions of agricultural im-
plements. The firm consists of James Armitage, Allen
Herschell, George C. Hersch;ll and George A. Gillis.

The Pickard & Simpson Manufacturing Company, in
connection with the above mentioned, organized for the
manufacture of Pickard's patent vehicle axle boxes. The
following gentlemen are connected with the firm: R. F.
Pickard, John Simpson, E. B. Simpson, A. H. Pickard,
E. H. Hewitt and H. H. Pickard.



Lewis S. Payne was born in the town of Bergen, Gene-
see county, N. Y., in 1819. His parents being poor he
had no advantages of education, except the imperfect
common schools which then existed, and the academies
of Monroe and Genesee counties.

When sixteen years of age, he left his home and found
employment at Tonawanda, N. Y., as clerk in a store.
At the age of twenty-one he succeeded his employers in
the mercantile business, and afterward became engaged
in the lumber business, and in 1847 built the first steam
saw-mill in Tonawanda. In 1855 Mr. Payne engaged in
the forwarding, shipping and commission business, with
the extensive elevator and docks at Tonawanda, and in
1858 turned his attention to farming, which is his present

In 1841 he changed his place of residence, from the
Erie county to the Niagara county side of the Tonawanda
creek, in the village of North Tonawanda, town of Wheat
field, where he still resides. In 1844 he was elected
supervisor of his town, and for many years afterward
represented the town in that capacity.

In 1849 he was appointed collector of canal tolls at
Tonawanda, his being the first appointment made at that
place; and in 1850 was re-appointed to the same position.

In the fall of 1850 he was elected clerk of Niagara
county, and in 1854, at the end of his term, retired with
the approbation of the citizens of the county universally,
for the courteous manner in which he had discharged the
duties of the office.

In politics Mr. Payne was formerly a national Whig;
but on the dissolution of that party he became a Douglas
Democrat, and in 1859 was nominated by that party for
the office of State Senator for the 2gth district.

In the fall of 1861 he raised, at his own expense, a com-
pany of volunteers, and formed, a part of the one hun-
dredth regiment, which was recruited from western New
York at Buffalo. 'In April, 1862, with his regiment he
landed at Newport News, and formed a part of Casey's
division of McClellan's army in his famous campaign on
the Peninsula. With his regiment he was second to cross
the Chickahominy and the first to take up position at
White Oak Station. Colonel Payne was in the battles of
Williamsburg and Seven Pines, and afterward was in the



seven days' retreat. He participated in the battles of
White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill; and in August
returned to Gloucester Point, after a severe campaign of
less than four months, in which he lost forty-two out of
his company of one hundred and four men. In the winter
following he was in North Carolina, in General Foster's
army corps. Early in the spring of 1863 he was sent to
Hilton Head; thence to St. Helena Island, in General
Hunter's department; thence up to Cole's Island, with
his regiment as a corps of observation in the vicinity of
Charleston. It was from this point that he was ordered
out, and made his many bold and daring expeditions and
scouts with his company, and learned the nature and
character of the whole country, the positions, situations
and strength of the enemy in their various localities and
stations. Some of his adventures during these expedi-
tions are related in an article by John S. C. Abbott, enti-
tled " Heroic Deeds of Heroic Men," published in
Harper's Magazine in April, 1867.

On the nights of the 5th and 6th of April, 1863, he led
the advance up Folly Island, under General Seymour, to
support the attack of Admiral Dupont on Fort Sumter,
made with his iron monitors on the 7th of April, 1863.
On the 10th of May he led the advance, piloted and
conducted up Folly river, and across Light-house Inlet,
our forces, 4,500 men, all in small boats, to the point of
attack on Morris Island, and was the first to land and
first in the engagement. The party carried and took
possession, under heavy fire, of the south end of Morris
Island; and soon Colonel Payne with his company suc-
ceeded in reaching and burning the steamer Marrigault in
Charleston harbor, which was engaged in supplying the
enemy's forces at Forts Sumter, Moultrie, Johnson, Bat-
tery Wagner and Cummings Point.

On the night of the third of August, 1863, while en-
gaged in intercepting communications of the enemy with
Fort Sumter and other points, he was attacked by a supe-
rior force, and after a most desperate engagement was
wounded and taken prisoner, conveyed to Charleston and
r confined in the Queen-street Hospital until sufficiently
recovered from his wounds to be removed, when he was
taken to Columbia, S. C, and there kept in close confine-
ment until the 14th of February, 1865, when with otbers
he was moved north for exchange.

On the fifth of March, 1865, he was exchanged at Wil-
mington, N. C, and reached home on the first of April,
after an absence of three years and three months.

In the fall following (1865) he was again nominated and
elected county clerk, though in a county giving several
hundred Republican majority.

He served his term of three years, and in the fall fol-
lowing (1869) was elected member of Assembly from his
district, and in the Assembly was made chairman of the
committee on claims, and was also a member of the com-
mittees on canals and military affairs.

In November, 1877, he was again nominated for senator
for the 29th district, and was elected over his opponent,
the Republican nominee, being the first Democrat ever
elected in the 29th senatorial district.

William L. Allen, M. D., was born at Ovid, N. Y., Feb-
ruary 6th, 1847, and was educated at the New York State
Normal School, Ovid Academy and Buffalo Medical
College. He came to Tonawanda April loth, 1876.

Heman A. Barnum was born March 27th, 1831, in the
town of Wheatfield. Mr. Barnum is a farmer. His post-
office address is Sanborn. 1
Theodore Bennett was born in Newstead, Erie county,
December 17 th, 1845. Residence, North Tonawanda.
Business, school-teacher and fire-insurance agent.

James A. Betts, son of William C. Betts, was born in
Upper Canada, October 19th, 1828, and came to Niagara
county in 1835. He was married August 21st, 1867, to
Mrs. B. G. Sturges, of Wheatfield. Mr. Betts enlisted in
thenineteenth Illinois volunteers in May, 1861, and served
three years, after which he re-enlisted, was transferred to
the navy and served till the close of the war.

James Carney was born March 23rd, 1800, at Black
Creek, Upper Canada, and was married to Sally Martin,
of the town of Niagara, March 17th, 1825. Mr. Carney,
who is now a retired farmer, has been supervisor and
justice of the peace in Tonawanda, Erie county, and
supervisor of the town of Wheatfield.

Wilhelm Dornfeld was born September nth, 1826, in
Prussia, and came to Martinsville, Niagara county, in
1843. Mr. Dornfeld is a farmer and merchant, and one
of the firm of KruU Brothers & Dornfeld, proprietors of
the lumber yard, planing-mill, and sash and door factory
at Martinsville. He was postmaster from 1852 to 1865.

Albert Dornfeld was born January 5th, 1831, in Prus-
sia, and came to Niagara county in 1843. Mr. Dornfeld,
who is a teacher, has been justice of the peace for eight
years, and was formerly proprietor of the dry dock saw-
mill at Martinsville.

C. F. Goers, whose post-office is Bergholz, has always
lived in Wheatfield, having been born in the town Janu-
ary 2nd, 1850. He is a farmer and school-teacher, and
has been a notary public over four years.

Charles Hagen, hotel-keeper and town clerk at North
Tonawanda, was born in the Kingdom of Hanover, Ger-
many, February 28th, 1839, and came to Niagara county
on the 4th day of August, 1861. Mr. Hagen has been
clerk of the town of Wheatfield six terms, and he served
as clerk of Payne's Company D., looth N. Y. regiment,
and as clerk of the 3rd brigade, 1st division, loth army
corps, before Richmond, during the late war.

Garwood L. Judd was born at Augusta Centre, Oneida
county, N. Y., July 4th, 1823. He studied law and was
admitted to the bar, after having received a good educa-
tion. Shortly after his admission, he was- admitted to
practice in the Supreme Court of the United States as a
proctor and advocate in admiralty. He was married to
Maria A. Pryne, eldest daughter of Francis P. Pryne. He
practiced at Frankfort, Herkimer county, till 1853, and
then removed to North Tonawanda, where he has since
resided. He has been a justice of the peace in Wheat-
field twenty-four years in succession.

Christian George KruU was born January isth, 1846
at Bergholz. He was married September 17th, i869,_td





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Ernstine Bettac, from Fahrenwalde, Prussia. In Novem-
ber he removed to Martinsville, where he now lives, engaged
in farming and holding a partnership in the Centennial
Planing-mill. He has been nine years a school trustee
in the town, and was a commissioner of highways in 1872,
1873 and 1874.

Edward A. Milliman was born April i6th, 1832, in
Wheatfield, and was married November 14th, 1854, to
Susan E. Teal, of Lewiston. He removed to the town
of Wheatfield September 21st, 1868. He is engaged in
farming and in contracting and jobbing. Post-office,
Tonawanda, N. Y. Mr. Milliman has been extensively
engaged in railroad contracting, having constructed por-
tions of many leading railroads throughout the United
States, and he has held a number of official positions,
among them those of commissioner of highways, deputy
collector of customs, and supervisor.

Seth F. Roberts was born in Bloomfield, Ontario
county, N. Y', December sth, 1809, and came to Wheat-
field in 1822, from Henrietta, Monroe county, N. Y. Mr.
Roberts has been variously engaged during a long and
busy life, having chopped, logged, taught district school
seven winters, and served as supervisor, town clerk,
school commissioner and justice of the peace for fifteen
or twenty years. He holds the office of justice of the
peace at the present time.

One of the thrifty farmers of Wheatfield is Herman F.
Stieg, residing at St. Johnsburgh. He was born February
23rd, 1839, in Prussia, and came to this county with the
German colony in 1843. He has served twelve years as
assessor and four years as highway commissioner in his

George M. Warren was born in the town of Wheatfield,
January 24th, 1847, and has been a, hfe-long resident of

Tonawanda, where, as a member of the firm of Warren &
Clapham, he is engaged in editing and publishing the
Tonawanda Herald. Mr. Warren was elected on the
Democratic ticket in 1875 one of the school commission-
ers of Niagara county for a term of three years.

Nelson Zimmerman was born November 4th, 1831, at
Tonawanda. Mr. Zimmerman, who is a prominent
farmer of the town of Wheatfield, held the office of as-
sessor in 1875, 1876 and 1877.

Others of the principal inhabitants of the town, with
their post-offices, are: O. C. Thompson and B. F, Felton,
of Tonawanda; Hon. J. D. Loveland, farmer. Beech
Ridge; Harvey Miller, farmer, Shawnee; L. C. Koover,
farmer, Sanborn; Daniel Sy, town assessor, farmer, Berg-
holz; William Clark, town and village assessor, carpenter
and joiner, Tonawanda; G. W. Bush,lumber dealer and man -
ufacturer, Tonawanda; Martin Reisterer, farmer and
merchant, Tonawanda; H. O. Nightingale, village and
school trustee, Tonawanda; Calvin Jacobs, farmer and
boat-builder, Tonawanda; John Poinds, farmer,Tonawan-
da; Wilhelm KruU.farmer and lumber manufacturer, Mar-
tinsville; J. S. Tompkins, farmer, La Salle; W. H. Nash,
farmer, Sanborn; S. D. Compton, farmer, Shawnee;
Sebastian May,farmer, Tonawanda; Lyman Bruce,farmer,
Tonawanda; B. C. Shuman, farmer, Tonawanda; J. F.
Hoover, Tonawanda; Rev. John W. Weinback, clergy-
man. New Bergholz; John Simson, farmer and lumber
dealer, Tonawanda; Dr. C. Backer, proprietor of the
Backer Hotel, Tonawanda; Thomas Collins, fanner, La
Salle; Daniel Treichler, farmer, Sanborn; F. D. Habecker
and Peneuel Schmeck, farmers, Sanborn; A. B. Williams,
saw and planing-mill, Tonawanda; Dr. Clinton A. Sage,
Pekin; Emil Schmitze, restaurant and hotel keeper, Ton-
awanda; Jacob Nagel, carriage-maker, Tonawanda.





'N April loth, 1818, by special act of the Legis-
lature, the town of Porter was divided, north
and south, near its center, and a new town
constituted from the eastern part, and named
Wilson, in honor of Reuben Wilson, one of
the first and most prominent pioneers of that
seel ion. This town was sub-divided in March,
to furnish a portion of Newfane. Its organization
was fully completed by the election of its first officers at
a town meeting held at the house of David Porter, April
6th, 1819. They were: Reuben Wilson, supervisor; Daniel
Holmes, town clerk; David Burgess, John Carter, and
Henry Lockwood, assessors; Oramel Hartwell, collector;
Abner Grossman and Burgoyne Kemp, overseers of the
poor; James McKinney, Joshua Williams and John Car-
ter, commissioners of highways; Oramel Hartwell and
Joshua D. CoUer, constables; Alexander Douglas, Reu-
ben Wilson and Joshua Williams, excise commissioners;
Jeremiah Whipple, Hul Bixby and Burgoyne Kemp,
fence-viewers; Elisha Stevens, pound-master; and twelve
overseers of highways. Reuben Wilson was the presid-
ing justice at this election.

The town also voted a tax of $250 for the support of
of bridges, and $25 for the benefit of the poor for the en-
suing year, and a bounty of five dollars was pledged for
every wolf killed in the town. The first school commis-
sioners and inspectors were not elected until the spring
of 182 1. They were : Reuben Wilson, David Bixby and
Alexander Butterfield, commissioners ; and Andrew
Brown, John U. Pease and Gideon B. Roys, inspectors.
In May following the town was divided into five school
districts by the above commissioners, and in July of the
same year district No. i was subdivided. School chil-
dren at that time could not have been very numerous, for
the entire population of the town — which then included
the western portion of Newfane — was but 680, and the
entire vote cast for governor at the election held in
April of that year was 32, of which DeWitt Clinton had
24 and Daniel D. Tompkins 8.

The town now contains one union and thirteen other
school districts, with seventeen school-houses and 1088
scholars between the ages of five and twenty-one. The
amount of public school money raised in 1878 was $2,484.


The following is a complete list of supervisors since
the organization of the town :

In 1819-29, Reuben Wilson; 1830-32, John Car-

ter ; 1833-42, Luther Wilson; 1843-45, Robert L.
McChesney; 1846, 1847, Samuel R. Merwin; 1848,
Alexander Pettit; 1849, Russell Robinson; 1850, R.
L. McChesney; 1851, Reuben F. Wilson; 1852, Curtis
Pettit; 1853, Alexander Pettit; 1854, Orsemus Ferris;
1855, 1856, Luther Wilson; 1857, Orsemus Ferris; 1858,
Henry N. Johnson; 1859-61, Ralph Stockwell; 1862,
1863, Tunis Outwater; 1864, David O. Jeffery; 1865,
Benjamin Farley; 1866, Alexander Pettit; 1867, Richard
C. Holmes; 1868-70, William Hamblin; 1871-74, Benja-
min Dearborn; 1875-77, Ralph Stockwell; 1878, Edward


The town had a voting population in 1875 of 785, and
2,835 inhabitants. Its area is 3,037 acres, three-fourths
of which is in an excellent state of cultivation. It is
bounded on the north by Lake Ontario, east by Newfane,
south by Cambria and west by Porter. Its surface is very
level and elevated about 15 feet above the lake. The
soil is principally a dark, rich loam, mixed with clay on the
west, and is well adapted to the raising of most cereals.
Wheat, corn, oats and beans are the chief grain products.
Fruit is also raised in abundance, apples, pears and
grapes being the staple fruit products. The principal
streams are the east and west branches of the Twelve-
mile creek, so called because its mouth is that distance
from Fort Niagara. At the mouth of this creek there is
a peninsula forming a natural bay. Just inland from the
lake the stream, widens and forms a basin about twenty
rods across. The basin and creek, for a mile or more up
stream are of sufficient depth and width to float any or-
dinary vessel.


The first settlements in the town were made along the
lake shore, principally by Americans who had previously
emigrated to Canada. But very few located to any con-
siderable distance inland until after the close of the war
of 1812. The only road which had been opened in the
town up to this time was along the lake shore from Fort
Niagara, through Wilson to Somerset, and from one side of
the town to the other along this line the inhabitants suf-
fered from the effects of the British raid made from the
fort to Van Horn's mill on December 24th, 1813. But
two or three houses escaped destruction. Some lost all
their provision, stock and household effects, while a few



were allowed to save a portion to prevent immediate

Henry Lockwood was probably the first white man
who located within the present limits of Wilson. He came
from Canada West in 1808, and obtained possession, by
article from the Holland Land Company, of 100 acres of
land on lot No. 77, in the extreme northeast corner of the
town. Near the mouth of the creek which still bears
his name he erected the pioneer house. It was construct-
ed of logs, with split slabs for a floor and bark for a roof.
Around this solitary house he made the first opening in
the forest, which has long ago yielded to the pioneer's
ax throughout the entire town. He remained here until
the breaking out of the war, when he removed to Canada,
and never returned. At the close of the war the title to
this land was transferred to John Cudaback, and it is now
occupied by J. S. Cudaback. Robert Waterhouse, from
Connecticut, settled the same year in the extreme south
part of the town, on lot No. i. The only man to settle in
iSog was Stephen Sheldon. He came from Jefferson
county, N. Y., bringing a large family with him, and
located on the west bank of the east branch of Twelve-
mile creek, about half a mile from its mouth, where he
put up a rude log shanty for the temporary accommoda-
tion of his family. Lots number eight and nine had been
previously " booked " to him by the Holland Company,
giving him possession of 720 acres of land. In the spring
of 1811 he erected a house at the mouth of the creek and
removed thither, where in the fall of 1812 he died. His
family remained here until their house was burned by the
British. They afterward built a house near the locality
of their first one, where they lived many years. In the
summer of 1814 Smith Sheldon, the third son, was taken
prisoner by some British troops. He with four others
was harvesting for a Captain Brown near the Four-mile
creek, when the captain and all his help were surprised
and captured. They were taken to Quebec, where Shel-
don died on a prison ship. The others were afterward
exchanged and returned home.

The year 1810 witnessed quite an influx to this town.
The first to come in that year were Reuben Wilson, John
Eastman and Gilbert Purdy, who left the Canadian shore,
near Toronto, together, in April — the two former with
their families and a few household effects and farming
utensils, and the latter as boatman. In two open batteaux,
one laden with freight and the other with passengers,
saifing and rowing around the head of Lake Ontario, and
camping on its shores at night, they arrived at the mouth
of Twelve-mile creek in the early part of June. A mile
and a half east of this they unloaded their boats, drew
them upon shore, and by setting them bottom upward,
upon stakes, and closing the sides with boughs and bark,
they speedily constructed for themselves summer residen-
ces. Their kitchen was spacious, being all out-doors.
Their cooking was done by a fire over which hung the
dinner pot, suspended from a pole supported by two
crotches. In these airy castles they dwelt for three
months, during which time Wilson and Eastman, assisted
by Purdy, had each erected a substantial log house. John

Eastman was a native of New Hampshire, but for a
few years previous to his emigration to Wilson had re-
sided at Coburg, Canada West. He had in 1809 obtained
an article for 100 acres of land on lot No. 82, now occu-
pied by A. A. Dailey. Here he remained until about
1 818, when he exchanged places with James Cole and re-
moved into the eastern part of Hartland, and subsequently
to Chautauqua county, where he died.

Reuben Wilson was born in Massachusetts, from which
State he emigrated to Otsego county, N. Y., in 1805, and
from thence to Coburg, Canada, in 1807. After his ar-
rival in Wilson he took up 170 acres of land on lot No.
82, at $2.50 per acre, paying nothing down, but promis-
ing to pay five per cent, in a few months. Upon this he
at once commenced improvements. Besides building his
house he cleared ten acres the first year, and the second
year raised a crop of wheat more than sufficient for the
use of his family, which then consisted of seven persons.
His provisions for the first year were obtained in Cana-
da. When he began to raise his own grain, he was obliged
to go across the lake to Port Hope or Hamilton to get
his grinding done. Niagara in those days was the nearest
trading point. In 1816 Mr. Wilson purchased a saw-mill
which had been built the previous year on Twelve-mile
creek, his son Luther taking charge of it. In 1818 he

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