CHAPTER VII.

ESTABROOK MILL - LANCASTER PART OF ELMA.



The "Indian Mill," also known as the "Estabrook Mill," and later as the Bullis Mill, with the house and barns for the mill hands and teams, were the first buildings erected by a white person in the town of Elma and as writers of the history of Erie County differ as to the year the mill was built; an effort was made to ascertain the exact date and accordingly, correspondence was carried on with persons most likely to know.

The most authentic data was received from Mr. John Estabrook, lumber dealer in Saginaw, Michigan, who, in response to information desired, replied by letter dated October 18th, 1897, as follows:

"My father, Seth Estabrook, was born in Bath, N. H., in 1785, married in Lebanon, N. H., in 1812, to Hannah Alden Hebard, daughter of Deacon Moses Hebard, whose wife was an Alden, a lineal descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Moline, of May Flower fame. (See Miles Standish's courtship, by Longfellow). In 1810, my father came to that part of the Holland Purchase, then known as the town of Clarence, in Niagara County, to look over the country, and he finally decided to stop in that part of Clarence, now Alden.

In 1816, he brought in a cart load of groceries, etc., with which he opened the first store in the town of Alden in a log house about three-fourths of a mile east from the centre of the present village of Alden. He was engaged as merchant and trader about fifteen years, and was always active in all that pertained to the welfare of the locality, and when a new town was set off from Clarence, March 27, 1823, it was at his suggestion and request named "Alden" in honor and memory of the original John Alden.

MILL BUILT IN 1826.

The northeast corner of the Buffalo Creek Reservation was about half a mile directly south from Alden Village and the Indians who resided near there, with Chiefs from other parts of the Reservation were frequent visitors at his store. Being always friendly with them, in the fall of 1825, by an agreement or contract with Chiefs Green Blanket, George Young, Thomas Jimeson, a descendant of Mary, the White woman. White Seneca, Big Kittle and others, he obtained the privilege to build and run a sawmill on the Big Buffalo Creek, and to cut any timber that he should want within certain limits, for and during a term of ten years; the mill and buildings to revert to the Indians at the end of that term. Under this contract, in the spring and summer of 1826, he built the house of boards for the mill owner and his family, about ten or fifteen rods below where the mill was to stand; the milldam, and the sawmill and several board houses for the men and families who worked in the woods, cutting and hauling logs and for the hands about the mill, with board barns for the teams. After a few years these houses and barns were torn down and better ones built. These were built on a table-land ten rods east from the mill. These buildings were put up and occupied before the Ogden Company made their first purchase and two years before any building was put up by a white person on the Mile Strip in the south part of Elma; and sixteen years before the Ogden Company bought that part of the Reservation where the mill was located, and seventeen years before any building was put up, by a white person, in that part of the town of Elma, not included in the Mile Strip. This saw-mill was for many years known as "The Indian Mill," and "The Estabrook Mill," and later, as the "Bullis Mill."

I, John Estabrook, was born in Alden, Erie County, N. Y., January 22d, 1826, and have always been told by my mother and older brothers that I was born the same year that the Indian Mill was built, and from that, and books and papers of my father that I have often seen, and which were for many years in the possession of my oldest brother. Experience Estabrook, I am certain that the mill was built in 1826.

My father operated the mill during the term of ten years, when in 1836, he made another contract with the Indian Chiefs, to continue for another term. He had delivered large quantities of lumber to Benjamin Rathbun, of Buffalo, whose failure in 1836 greatly embarrassed him, and he sold a share of his interest in the contract, to Lewis M. Bullis of the town of Hamburg. They operated the mill together until my father's death in 1840, after which Mr. Bullis had sole charge, but Bullis had Ballon and Trivett as partners.

Before the contract for this second term expired, the Ogden Company, by treaty with the Seneca Nation of Indians, secured the balance of this Reservation, and by some arrangement this second contract was cancelled." From the foregoing, it seems settled that the mill was built in 1826.

James Sperry surveyed that part of the Reservation east of the Transit Line in July and August, 1840, while the Indians were in possession.

In 1842, the Ogden Company sent agents to appraise the value to the Indians of the Estabrook Mill so they could sell that property.

A contract was made with Bullis, Ballou and Trivett who operated the mill together until the fall of 1845, when Bullis bought out the Ballou and Trivett interest, and then Bullis bought of the Ogden Company the mill and lot on which the mill was located, also several other lots, the deed being from Joseph Fellows to Lewis M. Bullis, dated July 18th, 1846; the bargain and contract having been made some time before. Mr. Bullis retained the property and operated the mill to the time of his death in 1869.

ROADS FROM THE MILL.

The "Indian Mill" being located near the centre of a great pine forest, people came to it from Attica, Cowlesville, Leroy, Batavia, Alexander, Alden, Newstead, and Clarence for their pine lumber which made a good market for the products of the mill while the remainder of the product was sent down the Creek in rafts to Buffalo. Great quantities of pine shingles were made in the woods and sent to these markets. Whichever way the lumber went, there were several miles to go through the woods between the sawmill and good roads on the Holland Purchase; the way being marked and chopped enough to allow teams to go between and around the trees. High and dry ground was selected as far as possible for these roads and where directness of route required the passing over of low places, across brooks and swales or swamps they were covered or bridged by placing logs or poles side by side close together, across the road, thus affording a fairly firm roadway over these low places. This was called cause way or corduroy. These roads through the woods were rough, and in ordinary summer weather would be muddy, and in rainy seasons would be almost impassable. This condition of the roads continued for several years, and until the Ogden Company had made the purchase of the entire Reservation, and the survey into lots had been completed, and the lots sold to actual settlers. During these years most of the lumber taken from the mill to all these places was hauled in the winter.

The road from the mill, by which the lumber was hauled to Buffalo for several years, was to cross the creek 60 or 80 rods below the mill, then by a westerly and south westerly course reach the high ground west of the mill, then by a woods road over nearly the same ground as the present highway, to near the Woodard house on the Bowen Road, then on through the woods to near where the William Rice house is located, then on a general west course to the road or trail from Aurora to Buffalo at Springbrook. After a few years, a bridge was built just below where the present Bullis bridge is located, and a road made up the hill where the road is located in 1900. From the mill to Marilla, the way was south through the mill yard to the foot of the hill at the east end of the present bridge, thence southeast, in a dug way up the bank, and along and near the bank of the creek for nearly a mile, then a general east course to Marilla village, then called Slab City, and Shanty Town, to a point just south of the Methodist Church, then east to the Four Rod Road, then north and east to Colesville. At the top of the high bank south of the mill was a fork in the road, the north road taking a general northeast course, crossed the Little Buffalo Creek about a mile from the Indian Mill, thence on the same general course crossing the Two Rod Road about one and a half miles north from Marilla Village, thence on to the Four Rod Road about a mile south from Bolt's, formerly Peck's, saw mill on the Cayuga Creek, then across the flats and up " Mud Hill," very near where road now is, to the Main Road about two miles west from Alden Village; distance from the mill to Alden village about eight miles.

OGDEN COMPANY MAKES SECOND PURCHASE.

The treaty between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Ogden Company on January 15th, 1838, for the purchase by the Company of all the Indian lands in Western New York, which was signed by forty-five reputed chiefs and certified by the Commissioner from Massachusetts, and the United States Indian Agent, was rejected by the United States Senate on account of serious defects. A strong opposition to the treaty was being manifested by many of the Indians. The United States Commissioner called the Chiefs of the Senecas together August 7th, 1838, at the Buffalo Reservation to have a new and amended treaty signed. At this meeting, only sixteen Chiefs would sign, while sixty-three signed a remonstrance. It was claimed that a large part, at least forty-eight of these had no right to sign. This left the treaty as being favored by sixteen, and opposed by fifteen. There were at this time seventy-five actual Chiefs in the Seneca Nation, and there were ninety-seven who claimed to be Chiefs. Later, twenty-six more of the Indians signed the treaty, thus giving forty-two names; but many of the Indians claimed that only twenty-nine of this number were really Chiefs. This treaty was finally ratified by the United States Senate. The Indians showed such a determined resistance and hostility to the terms of the treaty, it was clear to the Ogden Company, that it would be a long and costly process to gain possession through the courts, so they hesitated; but the prospects of the Company to gain possession of the Buffalo Creek Reservation were so good, that they set James Sperry to survey that part east of the Transit line, the Lancaster and the Aurora parts being surveyed and numbered separately, the old centre line of the Reservation being retained as the line between Lancaster and Aurora. The surveys were made in July and August, 1840.

The survey beginning at the northeast corner of Aurora, and the southeast corner of Lancaster, as the towns then were, the lots, in the east range in the Aurora part, were numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, the south line of Lot 4 being the north line of Lots 2 and 3 of the Lamberton survey of the Mile Strip. The lots in all the ranges were numbered from the north to the south, bringing the last lot, No. 102 in the southwest corner of the Aurora part of this purchase, and joining Lot 35 of the Mile Strip. By this survey, the centre line of the Aurora & Buffalo road was made the division line between the lots in this town.

The same plan was followed in surveying and numbering the lots of the Lancaster part; Lot No. 1 being at the northeast corner of the now town of Elma, the east range along the Marilla town line being 1, 2, 3, 4, reaching to No. 1, of the Aurora part, then back to the north line of the last purchase, always numbering from north to south, brings the last lot, number 106, to the Transit line and southwest corner of the then town of Lancaster, joining Lot 96 of the Aurora part. For survey of the Mile Strip see Chapter 6. So there are in the town of Elma three sets of lots numbered from one to thirty-seven: viz: on the Mile Strip and on the Aurora and Lancaster parts of the town, and two sets numbered from one to one hundred and two; viz., in the Aurora and Lancaster parts, and all deeds refer to the particular lot, as being on the Mile Strip, or the Aurora or Lancaster part of the town of Elma, or as being in Town 10, Range 6, of the Holland Land Company's survey. The Indians retained possession and the Ogden Company made no move to have the Indians leave, so no sales were made under that treaty.

BOWEN ROAD LAID OUT.

The Legislature, by act of May 4th, 1841, authorized the Board of Supervisors of Erie County to appoint three Commissioners to lay out a highway across the Reservation, and under that authority the Supervisors appointed T. S. Hopkins, C. B. Parkinson, Leonard Wasson as such Commissioners, and on October 23d, 1841, they laid out a four rod road, commencing on the north line of Lot 20 of the Mile Strip, at the corner of Lots 51 and 55 of the Reservation; thence north on the line of lots to a point five chains north of corner of lots 54, 55, 59 and 60 on the Lancaster part, just north of the present Bullis road, thence northwesterly where the present road is traveled on lot 59 and 58, and on same course over the high bank to and across the Big Buffalo Creek; thence northeast to where they took the course to the north to where the present road is laid out, being near the centre north and south line on lots 57 and 56, to the south line of the first purchase; and to connect with the south end of a road laid out running south from James Clark's sawmill, now Bockman's mill. Later in 1843, an alteration was made from a point on the top of the hill south of the Big Buffalo Creek, to where the road is now worked down the hill, and across the creek, and to intersect the line of the first survey, at the southeast corner of a lot later sold to William H. Bancroft, now Jerge Brothers, in Elma Village.

To this road was given the name "Bowen Road," which is still retained. The Commissioner of Highways of the town of Aurora "On October 29th, 1841, continued this Bowen Road across the Mile Strip and on south to the Aurora and Buffalo road. This was the first regularly laid out road across the Reservation in the town of Elma, and was to be the mainly traveled road between the villages of Lancaster and Aurora.

GIRDLED ROAD - GEORGE STANDART, SEN.

The "Girdled Road," the second road across the Reservation, was laid out on line of lots, and as now traveled, by the Commissioner of Lancaster, on November 10th, 1841; and by Commissioner of Aurora on June 13th, 1843.

Mr. George Standart, Senior, hired the sawmill at Jackberrytown, now Gardenville, of Chief John Seneca, for a term of four years, to commence at the expiration of the lease held by Leonard Hatch and Robert McKean, which date was October 22d, 1836. Standards four year term would have ended on October 22d, 1840, but, through loss of time required to make repairs, he held possession until the spring of 1841; when he made a bargain with the Chief, to rebuild the mill and have the use of it four years for his rebuilding, dating from the time the mill would be completed, which would take to August or September, 1845. So Standart was running the mill when a council was held May 20, 1842.

At this meeting of the Indians of the Seneca Nation and the representatives of the Ogden Company, and Commissioners to represent the United States, Massachusetts and New York, fifty-three Chiefs, warriors and headmen of the Seneca Nation signed a compromise treaty, which was witnessed by seven representative business men of Buffalo.

By this treaty, dated May 20th, 1842, recorded in Liber 106, Page 194, the Ogden Company secured the balance of the Buffalo Creek Reservation with other lands, but the Indians, by the terms of the treaty, were to have possession of their improvements until April 1st, 1846, and were to be paid a price for these improvements, to be fixed by appraisers to be named by the Secretary of War of the United States. They mostly left in the spring of 1846 to make their homes on the Allegany and Cattaraugus Reservations but a few remained until the spring of 1847.

John Carman came to Elma in May, 1842, and worked for Mr. Bullis eight or nine years.

EBENEZER SOCIETY.

Soon after the Company secured the right to occupy the Reservation, they had a chance to sell a 5,000 acre tract in one body to agents of a society known as Ebenezers; but calling themselves "The Community of True Inspiration." The agents chose their location, and this included Jack-berry-town, and they wanted the sawmill with the land. The Ogden Company were desirous to make the sale, but the lease of the sawmill to Standart was in the way, and to get rid of him, so that they could close the bargain with the Ebenezers, the Company gave to Standart a nice sum in gold and gave him the privilege of having three lots of land anywhere on the Reservation that he should choose, either as a present outright, or at a mere nominal price. Standart, in February of 1843, gave up the sawmill at Jack-berry-town.

EBENEZER'S PURCHASE.

The Secretary of War appointed Thomas Love and Ira Cook as appraisers, and the Ogden Company settled with, and paid the Indians, so they could have possession of the tract they wished to sell to the German company, and by agreement made in February, 1843, and April 11, 1843, the Company sold to the Ebenezers the 5,000 acre track, consideration $50,000; and a little later other lands, in all 7622 acres. The deed is dated August 20th, 1844, recorded in Lib. 77, Page 34. Blossom Village in the town of Elma is on this tract.

Immediately after this sale, the Company had the remaining lands west of the Transit line surveyed; and then advertised that "on and after August 14th, 1844, they would sell certain lots," including nearly all the lots in the town of Elma.

George Standart in the last part of February, 1843, made his selection of lots, viz.: Lots 50, 54, 57 in the Lancaster part and one other not now known. In March of that year, he built a log house on Lot 54, about twenty rods from the south line of the lot, and about fifteen rods from the west line, and near the west bank of Pond Brook. This was the first house built by a white man on his own land in the town of Elma, on that part of the Reservation known as the last purchase. Deed for Lot 54 dated October 19th, 1844, recorded in Liber 78, Page 14.

April 10th, 1843, Standart moved with his family into that log house; just fifteen years to a day after Isaac Williams and Russel Brooks, the first families moved on to the Mile Strip. April 10th ought to be called, known, and remembered, as Settlement Day for the Town of Elma.

STANDART BUILDS BARN AND SAWMILL.

That summer, Standart cleared off the southwest corner of Lot 54 and built a 30x40 foot frame barn near the south line of the lot, a little west from Pond Brook. Elisha Cotton, carpenter, put up the building. The barn is still there in May, 1900, but the log house was burned about forty years ago. During the winter and spring of 1844, Standart built a sawmill on Pond Brook, a few rods below his house. The Estabrook mill on the Big Buffalo Creek, built in the summer of 1826, was the first sawmill in the town of Elma, and this Standart mill was the second sawmill in the Lancaster part of the Reservation, and on the east side of the Bowen Road. Standart had employed a carpenter and millwright by the name of Fulford to build his sawmill, and to pay him for this work, he gave Fulford that part of Lot 57 lying west of the Bowen Road, and to a near relative by the name of Benjamin Plummer, he gave or sold the part of Lot 57, tying east of the Bowen Road.

The Bowen Road, which was laid out October 23d, 1841, was underbushed by Clement Wakeley, the Lancaster Commissioner of Highways, across the Lancaster part of the Reservation in the summer of 1843, and the contract to chop and clear out this part of the road four rods wide, put in the necessary sluices across the road, make causeways through the low and swampy places, and dig down the hill north of the Big Buffalo Creek so that teams could go with light loads, was let by Wakeley to Mr. Eleazer Bancroft, in the summer of 1843, for four hundred dollars, the work to be done in 1843 and 1844.

One piece of causeway road that was built was about forty rods in length, being from near the top of the school house hill, north of Elma Village, to near the Clinton street Road, this being over wet, swampy ground.

Eleazer Bancroft built the first bridge in the summer of 1844 across the Big Buffalo Creek on the Bowen Road, at the place where the present bridge is located, contract price $196. It was carried away by high water and ice the next spring, and was rebuilt by Bancroft in the summer of 1845.

People living in the town of Elma in 1900 can hardly realize that only a little more than fifty years ago, the last purchase made by the Ogden Company, of which this town was part, was a vast wilderness; that a section of country five miles in width extended from Marilla Village on the east to the City of Buffalo and Lake Erie on the west; seventy-eight square miles of forest, with Indians as residents, the only road that could be traveled being the Aurora and Buffalo road across the southwest corner of the town, and George Standart, the only family of white people as resident owner, and the Estabrook, Hatch and Standart sawmills, the only mills on this last purchase in this town.

THE RESERVATION IN 8844.

This was the condition when the Ogden Company advertised that on and after August 14th, 1844, they would offer for sale most of the lands in the town of Elma.

After the treaty of May 20th, 1842, the Ogden Company engaged Zebina Lee, a resident of Oswego County, to come here and go over and examine the different lots as they had been surveyed; and to name the value or price per acre of each lot, and the lots, at first, were offered at the price he named.

Very soon after these lands were in the market, people came from Lancaster, Alden, Wales, Aurora, Colden, Hamburgh, and from places farther away, to secure some of these lands; for reports of the heavy growth and great variety of timber, and the wonderful fertility of the soil had spread everywhere.

The first work of these new comers was to prepare for and erect log houses and sawmills. This called for many men as laborers to build the dams and mills and to supply the logs and to run the mills and also to take the lumber to market. These laborers must have houses for their families and soon the lots were bought near these mills and actual residents built and occupied their houses.

SOURCE:  History of the Town of Elma Erie County, N. Y. 1620 To 1901; Warren Jackman; Buffalo; G. M. Hausauer & Son; 1902

CHAPTER VII.

 

ESTABROOK MILL - LANCASTER PART OF ELMA.

 

The "Indian Mill," also known as the "Estabrook Mill," and later as the Bullis Mill, with the house and barns for the mill hands and teams, were the first buildings erected by a white person in the town of Elma and as writers of the history of Erie County differ as to the year the mill was built; an effort was made to ascertain the exact date and accordingly, correspondence was carried on with persons most likely to know.

 

The most authentic data was received from Mr. John Estabrook, lumber dealer in Saginaw, Michigan, who, in response to information desired, replied by letter dated October 18th, 1897, as follows:

 

"My father, Seth Estabrook, was born in Bath, N. H., in 1785, married in Lebanon, N. H., in 1812, to Hannah Alden Hebard, daughter of Deacon Moses Hebard, whose wife was an Alden, a lineal descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Moline, of May Flower fame. (See Miles Standish's courtship, by Longfellow). In 1810, my father came to that part of the Holland Purchase, then known as the town of Clarence, in Niagara County, to look over the country, and he finally decided to stop in that part of Clarence, now Alden.

 

In 1816, he brought in a cart load of groceries, etc., with which he opened the first store in the town of Alden in a log house about three-fourths of a mile east from the centre of the present village of Alden. He was engaged as merchant and trader about fifteen years, and was always active in all that pertained to the welfare of the locality, and when a new town was set off from Clarence, March 27, 1823, it was at his suggestion and request named "Alden" in honor and memory of the original John Alden.

 

MILL BUILT IN 1826.

 

The northeast corner of the Buffalo Creek Reservation was about half a mile directly south from Alden Village and the Indians who resided near there, with Chiefs from other parts of the Reservation were frequent visitors at his store. Being always friendly with them, in the fall of 1825, by an agreement or contract with Chiefs Green Blanket, George Young, Thomas Jimeson, a descendant of Mary, the White woman. White Seneca, Big Kittle and others, he obtained the privilege to build and run a sawmill on the Big Buffalo Creek, and to cut any timber that he should want within certain limits, for and during a term of ten years; the mill and buildings to revert to the Indians at the end of that term. Under this contract, in the spring and summer of 1826, he built the house of boards for the mill owner and his family, about ten or fifteen rods below where the mill was to stand; the milldam, and the sawmill and several board houses for the men and families who worked in the woods, cutting and hauling logs and for the hands about the mill, with board barns for the teams. After a few years these houses and barns were torn down and better ones built. These were built on a table-land ten rods east from the mill. These buildings were put up and occupied before the Ogden Company made their first purchase and two years before any building was put up by a white person on the Mile Strip in the south part of Elma; and sixteen years before the Ogden Company bought that part of the Reservation where the mill was located, and seventeen years before any building was put up, by a white person, in that part of the town of Elma, not included in the Mile Strip. This saw-mill was for many years known as "The Indian Mill," and "The Estabrook Mill," and later, as the "Bullis Mill."

 

I, John Estabrook, was born in Alden, Erie County, N. Y., January 22d, 1826, and have always been told by my mother and older brothers that I was born the same year that the Indian Mill was built, and from that, and books and papers of my father that I have often seen, and which were for many years in the possession of my oldest brother. Experience Estabrook, I am certain that the mill was built in 1826.

 

My father operated the mill during the term of ten years, when in 1836, he made another contract with the Indian Chiefs, to continue for another term. He had delivered large quantities of lumber to Benjamin Rathbun, of Buffalo, whose failure in 1836 greatly embarrassed him, and he sold a share of his interest in the contract, to Lewis M. Bullis of the town of Hamburg. They operated the mill together until my father's death in 1840, after which Mr. Bullis had sole charge, but Bullis had Ballon and Trivett as partners.

 

Before the contract for this second term expired, the Ogden Company, by treaty with the Seneca Nation of Indians, secured the balance of this Reservation, and by some arrangement this second contract was cancelled." From the foregoing, it seems settled that the mill was built in 1826.

 

James Sperry surveyed that part of the Reservation east of the Transit Line in July and August, 1840, while the Indians were in possession.

 

In 1842, the Ogden Company sent agents to appraise the value to the Indians of the Estabrook Mill so they could sell that property.

 

A contract was made with Bullis, Ballou and Trivett who operated the mill together until the fall of 1845, when Bullis bought out the Ballou and Trivett interest, and then Bullis bought of the Ogden Company the mill and lot on which the mill was located, also several other lots, the deed being from Joseph Fellows to Lewis M. Bullis, dated July 18th, 1846; the bargain and contract having been made some time before. Mr. Bullis retained the property and operated the mill to the time of his death in 1869.

 

ROADS FROM THE MILL.

 

The "Indian Mill" being located near the centre of a great pine forest, people came to it from Attica, Cowlesville, Leroy, Batavia, Alexander, Alden, Newstead, and Clarence for their pine lumber which made a good market for the products of the mill while the remainder of the product was sent down the Creek in rafts to Buffalo. Great quantities of pine shingles were made in the woods and sent to these markets. Whichever way the lumber went, there were several miles to go through the woods between the sawmill and good roads on the Holland Purchase; the way being marked and chopped enough to allow teams to go between and around the trees. High and dry ground was selected as far as possible for these roads and where directness of route required the passing over of low places, across brooks and swales or swamps they were covered or bridged by placing logs or poles side by side close together, across the road, thus affording a fairly firm roadway over these low places. This was called cause way or corduroy. These roads through the woods were rough, and in ordinary summer weather would be muddy, and in rainy seasons would be almost impassable. This condition of the roads continued for several years, and until the Ogden Company had made the purchase of the entire Reservation, and the survey into lots had been completed, and the lots sold to actual settlers. During these years most of the lumber taken from the mill to all these places was hauled in the winter.

 

The road from the mill, by which the lumber was hauled to Buffalo for several years, was to cross the creek 60 or 80 rods below the mill, then by a westerly and south westerly course reach the high ground west of the mill, then by a woods road over nearly the same ground as the present highway, to near the Woodard house on the Bowen Road, then on through the woods to near where the William Rice house is located, then on a general west course to the road or trail from Aurora to Buffalo at Springbrook. After a few years, a bridge was built just below where the present Bullis bridge is located, and a road made up the hill where the road is located in 1900. From the mill to Marilla, the way was south through the mill yard to the foot of the hill at the east end of the present bridge, thence southeast, in a dug way up the bank, and along and near the bank of the creek for nearly a mile, then a general east course to Marilla village, then called Slab City, and Shanty Town, to a point just south of the Methodist Church, then east to the Four Rod Road, then north and east to Colesville. At the top of the high bank south of the mill was a fork in the road, the north road taking a general northeast course, crossed the Little Buffalo Creek about a mile from the Indian Mill, thence on the same general course crossing the Two Rod Road about one and a half miles north from Marilla Village, thence on to the Four Rod Road about a mile south from Bolt's, formerly Peck's, saw mill on the Cayuga Creek, then across the flats and up " Mud Hill," very near where road now is, to the Main Road about two miles west from Alden Village; distance from the mill to Alden village about eight miles.

 

OGDEN COMPANY MAKES SECOND PURCHASE.

 

The treaty between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Ogden Company on January 15th, 1838, for the purchase by the Company of all the Indian lands in Western New York, which was signed by forty-five reputed chiefs and certified by the Commissioner from Massachusetts, and the United States Indian Agent, was rejected by the United States Senate on account of serious defects. A strong opposition to the treaty was being manifested by many of the Indians. The United States Commissioner called the Chiefs of the Senecas together August 7th, 1838, at the Buffalo Reservation to have a new and amended treaty signed. At this meeting, only sixteen Chiefs would sign, while sixty-three signed a remonstrance. It was claimed that a large part, at least forty-eight of these had no right to sign. This left the treaty as being favored by sixteen, and opposed by fifteen. There were at this time seventy-five actual Chiefs in the Seneca Nation, and there were ninety-seven who claimed to be Chiefs. Later, twenty-six more of the Indians signed the treaty, thus giving forty-two names; but many of the Indians claimed that only twenty-nine of this number were really Chiefs. This treaty was finally ratified by the United States Senate. The Indians showed such a determined resistance and hostility to the terms of the treaty, it was clear to the Ogden Company, that it would be a long and costly process to gain possession through the courts, so they hesitated; but the prospects of the Company to gain possession of the Buffalo Creek Reservation were so good, that they set James Sperry to survey that part east of the Transit line, the Lancaster and the Aurora parts being surveyed and numbered separately, the old centre line of the Reservation being retained as the line between Lancaster and Aurora. The surveys were made in July and August, 1840.

 

The survey beginning at the northeast corner of Aurora, and the southeast corner of Lancaster, as the towns then were, the lots, in the east range in the Aurora part, were numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, the south line of Lot 4 being the north line of Lots 2 and 3 of the Lamberton survey of the Mile Strip. The lots in all the ranges were numbered from the north to the south, bringing the last lot, No. 102 in the southwest corner of the Aurora part of this purchase, and joining Lot 35 of the Mile Strip. By this survey, the centre line of the Aurora & Buffalo road was made the division line between the lots in this town.

 

The same plan was followed in surveying and numbering the lots of the Lancaster part; Lot No. 1 being at the northeast corner of the now town of Elma, the east range along the Marilla town line being 1, 2, 3, 4, reaching to No. 1, of the Aurora part, then back to the north line of the last purchase, always numbering from north to south, brings the last lot, number 106, to the Transit line and southwest corner of the then town of Lancaster, joining Lot 96 of the Aurora part. For survey of the Mile Strip see Chapter 6. So there are in the town of Elma three sets of lots numbered from one to thirty-seven: viz: on the Mile Strip and on the Aurora and Lancaster parts of the town, and two sets numbered from one to one hundred and two; viz., in the Aurora and Lancaster parts, and all deeds refer to the particular lot, as being on the Mile Strip, or the Aurora or Lancaster part of the town of Elma, or as being in Town 10, Range 6, of the Holland Land Company's survey. The Indians retained possession and the Ogden Company made no move to have the Indians leave, so no sales were made under that treaty.

 

BOWEN ROAD LAID OUT.

 

The Legislature, by act of May 4th, 1841, authorized the Board of Supervisors of Erie County to appoint three Commissioners to lay out a highway across the Reservation, and under that authority the Supervisors appointed T. S. Hopkins, C. B. Parkinson, Leonard Wasson as such Commissioners, and on October 23d, 1841, they laid out a four rod road, commencing on the north line of Lot 20 of the Mile Strip, at the corner of Lots 51 and 55 of the Reservation; thence north on the line of lots to a point five chains north of corner of lots 54, 55, 59 and 60 on the Lancaster part, just north of the present Bullis road, thence northwesterly where the present road is traveled on lot 59 and 58, and on same course over the high bank to and across the Big Buffalo Creek; thence northeast to where they took the course to the north to where the present road is laid out, being near the centre north and south line on lots 57 and 56, to the south line of the first purchase; and to connect with the south end of a road laid out running south from James Clark's sawmill, now Bockman's mill. Later in 1843, an alteration was made from a point on the top of the hill south of the Big Buffalo Creek, to where the road is now worked down the hill, and across the creek, and to intersect the line of the first survey, at the southeast corner of a lot later sold to William H. Bancroft, now Jerge Brothers, in Elma Village.

 

To this road was given the name "Bowen Road," which is still retained. The Commissioner of Highways of the town of Aurora "On October 29th, 1841, continued this Bowen Road across the Mile Strip and on south to the Aurora and Buffalo road. This was the first regularly laid out road across the Reservation in the town of Elma, and was to be the mainly traveled road between the villages of Lancaster and Aurora.

 

GIRDLED ROAD - GEORGE STANDART, SEN.

 

The "Girdled Road," the second road across the Reservation, was laid out on line of lots, and as now traveled, by the Commissioner of Lancaster, on November 10th, 1841; and by Commissioner of Aurora on June 13th, 1843.

 

Mr. George Standart, Senior, hired the sawmill at Jackberrytown, now Gardenville, of Chief John Seneca, for a term of four years, to commence at the expiration of the lease held by Leonard Hatch and Robert McKean, which date was October 22d, 1836. Standards four year term would have ended on October 22d, 1840, but, through loss of time required to make repairs, he held possession until the spring of 1841; when he made a bargain with the Chief, to rebuild the mill and have the use of it four years for his rebuilding, dating from the time the mill would be completed, which would take to August or September, 1845. So Standart was running the mill when a council was held May 20, 1842.

 

At this meeting of the Indians of the Seneca Nation and the representatives of the Ogden Company, and Commissioners to represent the United States, Massachusetts and New York, fifty-three Chiefs, warriors and headmen of the Seneca Nation signed a compromise treaty, which was witnessed by seven representative business men of Buffalo.

 

By this treaty, dated May 20th, 1842, recorded in Liber 106, Page 194, the Ogden Company secured the balance of the Buffalo Creek Reservation with other lands, but the Indians, by the terms of the treaty, were to have possession of their improvements until April 1st, 1846, and were to be paid a price for these improvements, to be fixed by appraisers to be named by the Secretary of War of the United States. They mostly left in the spring of 1846 to make their homes on the Allegany and Cattaraugus Reservations but a few remained until the spring of 1847.

 

John Carman came to Elma in May, 1842, and worked for Mr. Bullis eight or nine years.

 

EBENEZER SOCIETY.

 

Soon after the Company secured the right to occupy the Reservation, they had a chance to sell a 5,000 acre tract in one body to agents of a society known as Ebenezers; but calling themselves “The Community of True Inspiration." The agents chose their location, and this included Jack-berry-town, and they wanted the sawmill with the land. The Ogden Company were desirous to make the sale, but the lease of the sawmill to Standart was in the way, and to get rid of him, so that they could close the bargain with the Ebenezers, the Company gave to Standart a nice sum in gold and gave him the privilege of having three lots of land anywhere on the Reservation that he should choose, either as a present outright, or at a mere nominal price. Standart, in February of 1843, gave up the sawmill at Jack-berry-town.

 

EBENEZER'S PURCHASE.

 

The Secretary of War appointed Thomas Love and Ira Cook as appraisers, and the Ogden Company settled with, and paid the Indians, so they could have possession of the tract they wished to sell to the German company, and by agreement made in February, 1843, and April 11, 1843, the Company sold to the Ebenezers the 5,000 acre track, consideration $50,000; and a little later other lands, in all 7622 acres. The deed is dated August 20th, 1844, recorded in Lib. 77, Page 34. Blossom Village in the town of Elma is on this tract.

 

Immediately after this sale, the Company had the remaining lands west of the Transit line surveyed; and then advertised that "on and after August 14th, 1844, they would sell certain lots," including nearly all the lots in the town of Elma.

 

George Standart in the last part of February, 1843, made his selection of lots, viz.: Lots 50, 54, 57 in the Lancaster part and one other not now known. In March of that year, he built a log house on Lot 54, about twenty rods from the south line of the lot, and about fifteen rods from the west line, and near the west bank of Pond Brook. This was the first house built by a white man on his own land in the town of Elma, on that part of the Reservation known as the last purchase. Deed for Lot 54 dated October 19th, 1844, recorded in Liber 78, Page 14.

 

April 10th, 1843, Standart moved with his family into that log house; just fifteen years to a day after Isaac Williams and Russel Brooks, the first families moved on to the Mile Strip. April 10th ought to be called, known, and remembered, as Settlement Day for the Town of Elma.

 

STANDART BUILDS BARN AND SAWMILL.

 

That summer, Standart cleared off the southwest corner of Lot 54 and built a 30x40 foot frame barn near the south line of the lot, a little west from Pond Brook. Elisha Cotton, carpenter, put up the building. The barn is still there in May, 1900, but the log house was burned about forty years ago. During the winter and spring of 1844, Standart built a sawmill on Pond Brook, a few rods below his house. The Estabrook mill on the Big Buffalo Creek, built in the summer of 1826, was the first sawmill in the town of Elma, and this Standart mill was the second sawmill in the Lancaster part of the Reservation, and on the east side of the Bowen Road. Standart had employed a carpenter and millwright by the name of Fulford to build his sawmill, and to pay him for this work, he gave Fulford that part of Lot 57 lying west of the Bowen Road, and to a near relative by the name of Benjamin Plummer, he gave or sold the part of Lot 57, tying east of the Bowen Road.

 

The Bowen Road, which was laid out October 23d, 1841, was underbushed by Clement Wakeley, the Lancaster Commissioner of Highways, across the Lancaster part of the Reservation in the summer of 1843, and the contract to chop and clear out this part of the road four rods wide, put in the necessary sluices across the road, make causeways through the low and swampy places, and dig down the hill north of the Big Buffalo Creek so that teams could go with light loads, was let by Wakeley to Mr. Eleazer Bancroft, in the summer of 1843, for four hundred dollars, the work to be done in 1843 and 1844.

 

One piece of causeway road that was built was about forty rods in length, being from near the top of the school house hill, north of Elma Village, to near the Clinton street Road, this being over wet, swampy ground.

 

Eleazer Bancroft built the first bridge in the summer of 1844 across the Big Buffalo Creek on the Bowen Road, at the place where the present bridge is located, contract price $196. It was carried away by high water and ice the next spring, and was rebuilt by Bancroft in the summer of 1845.

 

People living in the town of Elma in 1900 can hardly realize that only a little more than fifty years ago, the last purchase made by the Ogden Company, of which this town was part, was a vast wilderness; that a section of country five miles in width extended from Marilla Village on the east to the City of Buffalo and Lake Erie on the west; seventy-eight square miles of forest, with Indians as residents, the only road that could be traveled being the Aurora and Buffalo road across the southwest corner of the town, and George Standart, the only family of white people as resident owner, and the Estabrook, Hatch and Standart sawmills, the only mills on this last purchase in this town.

 

THE RESERVATION IN 8844.

 

This was the condition when the Ogden Company advertised that on and after August 14th, 1844, they would offer for sale most of the lands in the town of Elma.

 

After the treaty of May 20th, 1842, the Ogden Company engaged Zebina Lee, a resident of Oswego County, to come here and go over and examine the different lots as they had been surveyed; and to name the value or price per acre of each lot, and the lots, at first, were offered at the price he named.

 

Very soon after these lands were in the market, people came from Lancaster, Alden, Wales, Aurora, Colden, Hamburgh, and from places farther away, to secure some of these lands; for reports of the heavy growth and great variety of timber, and the wonderful fertility of the soil had spread everywhere.

 

The first work of these new comers was to prepare for and erect log houses and sawmills. This called for many men as laborers to build the dams and mills and to supply the logs and to run the mills and also to take the lumber to market. These laborers must have houses for their families and soon the lots were bought near these mills and actual residents built and occupied their houses.

 

SOURCE:  History of the Town of Elma Erie County, N. Y. 1620 To 1901; Warren Jackman; Buffalo; G. M. Hausauer & Son; 1902