Chapter 09 - Elma Villate and Vicinity - 1845 to 1856




We left the Lancaster part of the Reservation after Eleazer Bancroft rebuilt the bridge across the Big Buffalo Creek in the spring of 1845 as mentioned on page 95.

The Bancroft sawmill was raised in June of that year, 1845. June 2d, 1845, the Clinton street road was laid out from Bowen road to the Transit, and on September 21, the Bullis road was laid out from Buffalo Creek on the line of lots, west, to Lot 105. August 1st, 1845, Clark W. Hurd, Joseph B. Briggs, Allen and Hiram Clark bought of Fulford and Plummer their interest in Lot 57 (Deed from Joseph Fehows dated October 1st, 1845.) They then bought of Joseph Fellows (Deed dated May 1st, 1856) Lot 52, where was a good place to build a dam across the Creek and on August 5th, 1845, they commenced on the dam. As they lived in the town of Lancaster near the Town Line station on the Attica & Buffalo Railroad, they brought a supply of provisions for a few days and did their cooking by a fire built by the side of a log, and at night had a bed of hemlock boughs with blankets for what covering they needed at that time of the year.

They came by a road through the woods to where Deforest Standart built a house the next year, in 1900 owned by Jacob Young estate; then south to the top of the high bank, then down a dug way which still remains, and then southwest and south to the Creek, then up the creek to the dam. The Indians had patches of cornfields on the flats through which the right of way had to be bought before the millrace could be commenced.

THE AMERICAN- 1845-1846.

A board shanty 14 x 24, with an addition 12 x 24 for kitchen and bedroom, both of which were covered by a board roof, was built the last of August, 1845, for a boarding and lodging house for the men who were to work on the dam, race and sawmill. It was located on the west side of the Bowen Road, and the south bank of the millrace. This building was named "The American," and by that name was known until it was torn down in 1853. That fall, Mrs. Hurd and Mrs. Briggs took turns, one week for each, in coming from their homes at Town Line and keeping The American. When winter set in, the mill company hired Peter Rolon and wife to occupy The American and board the hands. After the dam was completed and while work on the race was being pushed, a 30 x 40-foot barn was built about fifteen rods north from where the sawmill was to stand; later, this was known as Kurd's barn. It was in this town that the Indians held their war dance (See chap. II; page 33) late in the fall. The Indians left the Big Flats during the next spring. The sawmill was framed and raised before winter weather set in; the work on the race being done partly as job and partly by day work was carried into the winter. As the mill was to be a double mill, work was hurried to get the south saw at work before spring; the north saw was ready early in the summer of 1846.

Eron Woodard came in March, 1846 and worked for Mr. Bullis. Mr. Otis A. Hall moved on to the end of Lot 41, March 30th, 1846. Mr. Joseph Peck built the first frame house in what was later to be Elma Village, on the west side of the Bowen road, across the race, from The American. The house was later known as Osman Little's house, and is still standing in 1900. During the summer of 1846, J. B. Briggs and wife occupied The American and boarded the men; and a 30 x 40-foot barn was built on the west side of the Bowen road, later known as Briggs' barn.

Wm. H. Bancroft, in the fall of 1846, moved from Town Line, into a house built on the west side of the road. He built the first blacksmith shop there and carried on that business for several years. The place is now owned by Jerge Brothers.


Lewis M. Bullis, owner of the Estabrook Saw Mill, bought of Joseph Fellows Lot 16, 17, 23, 24, 25 and mill yard lot, in 1845, the deed being dated July 18th, 1846, and recorded in Liber 81, page 84.

In the fall of 1846, Deforest Standart moved on to Lot 51 on the north side of Clinton street road, where Mrs. Jacob Young lives in 1900.

Before the sawmills were in running order, in the summer of 1846, Hurd & Briggs bought the Clarks' interest in lands and mill; and after surveying from Lots 52 and 57^ the land necessary for the mill, yards and race, was retained as company property. They divided the mill, in so far that Hurd was to have the south saw and Briggs the north, each to keep his own mill in repair at his expense and each to have an equal chance in use of the water; but all heavy repairs on dam, race or mill were to be at company's expense.

A division of the balance of the real estate of the two lots was also agreed upon. Hurd was to take the east side of the Bowen road and Briggs to take the west side. This agreement was made in the fall of 1846, but the deeds were not passed until January 25th, 1851, recorded in Liber 113, page 241.

Immediately after the division was made, each made preparations for the erection of dwelling houses, and both houses were raised in the spring of 1847. Hurd moved into his house in June of that year, before it was finished, in fact, as soon as it was enclosed and with loose floors.

The Briggs family occupied the American until their house was completed and moved into it in November, 1848.

The first schoolhouse was a rough board structure, 12 x 16, built in the early summer of 1847 and with board roof and located on ground now occupied by the church. Miss Celina Standart taught school that summer and winter and the next spring in that schoolhouse.


Lewis M. Bullis, owner of the Estabrook Saw Mill, having bought several lots of land of the Ogden Co., in June, 1847, tore down the Estabrook Mill and rebuilt it in that summer, putting in a double mill; and he also built a box factory at the upper, or south end of the sawmill. The box factory building was southeast of the south end of the saw mill, with road way between the buildings.

In the spring of 1847, Peter Schane and Broadbeck moved on Lot 72, and Augustus Bonnell on the west part of Lot 66, now occupied by Benjamin Stetson, and Philip Young moved on the east half of Lot 66, now Beidler's, in the summer of 1847; and Daniel Price on Lot 54, same year.

June 10th, 1847, the Clinton Street Road was laid out from Bowen Road east to the town line. March 18th, 1847, Mr. Jacob Young and Maria Standart were married and on June 12th they moved into a plank house, just enclosed, on the northeast corner of Clinton Street and Bowen Road. They had no cookstove and for three weeks she cooked by a fire built against a large stump. They lived during the next winter in the Alonzo C. Bancroft house that was built in the summer of 1847 on the east side of Bowen Road and on the banks of the Big Buffalo Creek and Pond Brook.

Cyrus Hurd and Hiram Kinney bought Lot 61 on the north side of Clinton Street Road, October 4th, 1847, and on November 25th

Hurd commenced work on a plank house 16 x 26 and 12 feet high, also on a frame barn 16x24, 7 feet high. The buildings, were finished so that on December 25th, 1847 he moved from Town Line, with his mother and sister Sarah, into the new home.

On March 7th, 1848, Cyrus Hurd and Cordelia Hill were married and he brought his wife home that day.

A few other families were coming into the neighborhood whose names cannot now be learned.


In the summer of 1847, Hurd & Briggs put a lathmill into an addition built by Zenas Clark, on the southwest part of the sawmill. At a school meeting held in the fall of 1847, it was voted to build a new schoolhouse and the site selected was on J. B. Briggs' land on the west side of Bowen Road at the top of the high bank, about fifty rods south from Clinton Street.

The building of the schoolhouse, the furnishing of all the materials, the building to be painted red, with white trimmings, was let to Hurd & Briggs and Eleazor Bancroft, for $400; the house to be completed by July 1st, 1848. The contract for the labor was sublet to Peter Spade for $50 and the house was finished on time. Miss Celina Standart moved her school into the new house and there finished her summer term. The lumber of the schoolhouse on the flats was taken to build a woodhouse on the north end of the new schoolhouse.

On September 10th, 1847, a road was laid out on the south side of the Buffalo Creek from the Bowen Road to the Girdled Road, later known as Chair Factory Road.

The Hill Road from the Bullis Road east of the Bullis schoolhouse north to Clinton Street Road was laid out December 6th, 1847, and at the same date, the Woodard Road, from the Girdled Road a little south from the Bullis Road to the Bowen Road, at what is now Elma Center, was laid out. Most of the other roads in the town of Elma were laid out after the town was organized.


Early in the summer of 1848, a Mr. Walker moved into the Bancroft house on the south bank of the Big Buffalo Creek and opened up a small stock of groceries, being the first store in Elma. Bancroft soon put up a building across the road, designed for Walker's store. Walker never moved into the building but bought a lot on the east side of the road and on the north side of the Big Buffalo Creek, built a house there during the summer, and in the fall moved his family into the south part, while he used the north part for the store which he so occupied until he sold the house and lot to Oliver Clark, in the winter of 1850, at which time he moved family and goods to Marilla Village.

In the spring of 1848, George Standart, Sr., sold to his sons George and Washington twenty-eight and one-half acres of land from the south end of Lot 54 including the sawmill, log house and frame barn. George Standart, Sr., then moved into a plank house he had built on Lot 73 on the north side of the Big Buffalo Creek, three-quarters of a mile west of the Bo wen Road. The boys, George ancl Washington, built a plank house at the north side of their millyard. That house was later occupied by William Standart until he built his brick house, when it was sold to Frederick Heineman, and moved to Lot 84 on the north side of the Bullis Road, and is in 1900 owned by Adam Bommer.

Osman Little bought the Joseph Peck, house, on the north bank of the millrace and moved there in the spring of 1848, and lived there several years, running Hurd & Briggs' lathmill, having a share in the enterprise.

Jacob Jerge came in 1848 and commenced work with William H. Bancroft, to learn the blacksmith's trade.

In 1849, the Ebenezer Society commenced their settlement or village which they called Upper Ebenezer, (now Blossom) where they built a sawmill, gristmill, church, schoolhouse, and several houses for families, with store and Upper Ebenezer post office with some large barns.

February 26th, of the same year, the Bullis Road was laid out from Marilla town line, west to the corner of Lots 11, 12, 17, 18. John and George Freiberg, and Conrad Mertz moved on to Lot 46 on the north side of Clinton Street Road in the spring of 1849.


The bridge across the Big Buffalo Creek on the Bowen Road was carried off by the spring freshet of 1849 and Mr. Eleazer Bancroft built another bridge during that summer. This bridge was damaged when the ice went out in the spring of 1851; was then repaired and remained until the iron bridge was built in 1871.

George Standard, Sr. and Oliver Bowen built a sawmill on the north side of the Big Buffalo Creek near the southwest corner of lot 73.

Samantha, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Standard, died July 15th, 1849. The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. George E. Havens, Methodist preacher at Lancaster. This was the first death of a white person and the first sermon preached on the Lancaster part of the reservation. Samantha was buried on lot 73.

Soon after this, Rev. Havens and Rev. L. A. Skinner, the Presbyterian minister at Lancaster, commenced holding meetings in the school house on the hill at Elma Village, at two o'clock on alternate Sunday afternoons.

Rev. C. S. Baker was sent to Lancaster by the M. E. Conference in September, 1849. He came to Elma every other Sunday afternoon, alternating with Rev. L. A. Skinner through that conference year. In October, Rev. Baker organized a class in Elma. The members were: Joseph Briggs, George Standart, Jr., Mrs. J. B. Briggs, Fiorina Briggs and Mrs. William Standart. This was the beginning of the Elma Village Methodist Church and the preaching of Rev. L. A. Skinner was the starting point of the Presbyterian Church of Elma Village. Alonzo C. Bancroft and Jane Sleeper were married September 2d, 1849, and in a few weeks they moved into the house on the east side of the Bowen Road on the south bank of the Big Buffalo Creek.


In October 1849, the box factory building at the Bullis mills was burned, with all the tools, machinery and stock on hand, and the fire extended to the saw-mill which was also burned. Mr. Bullis immediately rebuilt the double sawmill and also put up a box factory building, also a shingle mill for making cut shingles at the lower or north end of the sawmill. The boxes made here were sold to wholesale dealers in Buffalo.

Hurd and Briggs built a shop 30x44 feet, at the southwest corner of their sawmill and west of the lathmill. This shop was to be supplied with power from the wheel of the lathmill.

Mr. Wm. Standart having sold his farm on the main road, two miles east of Lancaster village, in September 1849, moved in with his son Deforest on the north side of Clinton Street road on lot 51. The two families lived together until February 1850, when Wm. Standart, having on January 8th, 1850, bought of George Standart, Jr. and Washington Standart, the twenty-eight and one-half acres of the south end of lot 54, he then moved into the plank house at north side of the mill yard.

In the fall of 1850, Oliver Clark moved into Elma; himself, wife and brother Elon, and their shop hands boarding in J. B. Briggs' family through the winter, and late in the winter he bought of Walker the house on the east side of the Bowen Road and on the north side of the Creek, his brother Elon boarding with him. Together, as 0. & E. Clark, they put into the Hurd & Briggs shop in the fall of 1850, a Daniels planer and machines for matching flooring and making doors, sash and blinds. That fall they had a contract from Rufus L. Howard and Gibson T. Williams of Buffalo, to make the woodwork for 50 of the Ketchum Patent Mowing Machines.

In 1850, Theodore Noyes and sons Charles and Simeon, settled on lot 32, and George Krouse, the same year on lot 37 on the south side of Clinton Street road. Theoron Stowell and brother N. W. settled on lots 3 and 4, on the Bullis road; and Robert Simanton built a sawmill on the south side of the Buffalo Creek and east side of Girdled Road.


The Ebenezer Company having bought lot 45, called their "Pine Lot," built a house on the Woodard Road now occupied by Fred Heitman, for the accommodation of its men when at work cutting logs, and this house was afterwards used as a "prison house, '^ mention of which will be made later.

Allen French and Charles Noyes were in the lumber trade in Elma from 1850 to 1855.

The Methodist Episcopal Conference sent Rev. Gustavus Hines to the Lancaster, Elma and Bowmanville charge, and services were held every Sunday forenoon at Lancaster, and at 2 o'clock P. M., alternating between Elma and Bowmansville. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph F. Clark, a brother of Mrs Clark W. Hurd, came in October 1850; lived with the family of Clark W. Hurd that winter and the next spring and until he built a house, which was commenced May 6th, 1851 on the east side of the Bowen Road and near the north line of lot 59; the house being later owned by Stephen Markham and sold by him to Joseph C. Standart.

In the early part of the summer of 1851, Rev. L. A. Skinner's health failed, so he was obliged to give up the Elma appointment, but as Rev. Nehemiah Cobb, a Presbyterian minister as missionary from some church in Buffalo was preaching in Springbrook, he came and preached every alternate Sunday afternoon in the Elma school house during the summer of 1851, and until Rev. William Waith, the Presbyterian minister of Lancaster took up regular work in the summer of 1852. Mr. Cyrenus Wilbor, Mrs. J. B. Briggs' father, came in the spring and moved into the house on the west side of the Bowen Road, and north side of the Buffalo Creek. He had been elected in the fall of 1837 to the New York State Assembly from the town of Alden. C. W. Hurd and J. B. Briggs each built a horsebarn, and a nice dooryard fence in 1851. A bridge was built across the Buffalo Creek at the Girdled Road and Simanton's mill, but it was carried off by high water in the spring of 1854.

A schoolhouse, 16x20, was built in 1851 on the hill on the east bank of the Big Buffalo Creek and north side of the Bullis Road. This building was used as a schoolhouse until 1880, when it was sold to Philip Stitz for twenty-five dollars, at which time the present schoolhouse was built.

Warren Jackman came on May 5th, 1851, and on June 3d bought lot 55 at the southeast corner of the Bowen and Bullis Roads and on May 10th moved into the log house built in 1843 by George Standart on lot 54.

August 4th, Jackman leased a half interest in Joseph B. Briggs' part of the Hurd and Briggs sawmill for one year and during that year he was busily engaged in converting into lumber the timber from lot 55. Jacob Young was Jackman's sawyer for the year.

Elon Clark and Julia Standart were married May 12th, 1851. Clark built a house and barn on the west side of the Bowen Road across from where the church now stands in Elma Village. He occupied the house that fall.

In August, Oliver and Elon Clark had the contract from Howard & Williams for the woodwork for four hundred mowing machines. The Ketchum patents had been so perfected that it was proven that the meadows could be cut by horse power. The demand for mowing machines was accordingly becoming greater each year and the scythe which had been for so many years the only instrument for cutting grass was being gradually displaced by the mowing machine.


In June, 1851, at the raising of a barn on lot 72 now owned by Max Hornung, the first bent was raised all right; but it was left without any stays, to stand alone until the next bent and girts were in place, in order to fasten all together. While all hands were raising the second bent, a light wind blew the first bent over against the second and as the men saw it coming and realized their danger, a cry was raised to get out of the way, but the cry came too late. Three men were caught. Peter Shane had his head cut off by being caught between the timbers; one other man, name not now known, was so hurt that he died the next morning, and another also name not known, died three months later. Too much whiskey was the real cause of the accident.


Charles A. Button bought the lot next north of William H. Bancroft's and built a house on the west side of the Bowen Road and later, he built a wagonshop on the west end of the lot and on the east bank of the millrace.

Eleazer Bancroft and family, in April, 1852, moved into the house with Alonzo Bancroft on the bank of the Big Buffalo Creek and he made a dam across Pond Brook about twenty rods above his sawmill, and erected a building for shop and for manufactory purposes; using the water as a power for the machinery. This shop was first used as a bedstead factory and later, as a chair factory. Later in the year he began to gather materials for building a brick house on the west side of the Bowen Road at the top of the hill south of the Creek.

A schoolhouse was built in 1852 in what was later known as the Cotton District on the south side of the Clinton Street Road about twenty rods east of the Girdled Road on the north end of Lot 20.

Peter Schultz in October moved on Lot 36 on the north side of the Clinton Street Road.

Rev. E. Reasoner, Methodist minister on Lancaster and Elma charge, preached every other Sunday afternoon alternating with Rev. Wm. Waith from Lancaster.

In July, 1852, Warren Jackman sold Lot 55 to James R. Jackman, and on August 4th he opened a store in the building on the west side of the Bowen road and on the south bank of the Big Buffalo Creek. On October 1st he moved his family into an addition that had been built on the west end of the store.

The place now known as Elma Village was called "Big Flats" by the Indians when they lived there, and after it begun to be settled by the whites, it went by the names of Milford," or ''Hurd or Briggs' Mills," and the place was known all around by all of these names. Letters for persons living there would be directed to Lancaster postoffice with any of these names added and the Lancaster postmaster knew where the letter or paper belonged. All the lumber, wood, and hemlock bark had to be hauled north to the "Main Road," then west through Lancaster Village to Buffalo or to Williamsville, except for a little time in the winter of 1850 and 1851 when a few loads would be hauled on the Clinton Street Road, by "Middle Ebenezer," now Gardenville, but loads could be hauled that way only in the winter. The "Main Road'' was planked from Town Line to Buffalo, and to make the road good from the "Big Flats" to the Main Road, the mill owners and the wood and lumber haulers joined their forces and planked the north and south road from the top of the hill at the schoolhouse thence north over all the bad and very muddy parts so that good loads could generally be hauled. As the people had their mail come to Lancaster postoffice, and in a new country people are generally accommodating, it was the practice for teamsters and others to call at the Lancaster postoffice and take any mail that might be for their neighbors. After Jackman's store was opened, the mail was generally brought or sent to the store and so the people grew in the habit of calling there for their mail.


One evening in the first part of October, 1852, when several persons were in the store, the question was asked, "Why not have a postoffice and have the mail brought regularly?" "Then we would know where our mail could be found." The reply was, ''Why yes," and "Why not?" "But if we have a postoffice, we must have a name," and that brought out several names, none of them being entirely satisfactory until Mr. Joseph W. Bancroft said, ' ' There is a big elm tree at the crossing of the Bowen and Clinton Street Roads; why not add the letter "a" to the elm tree and call the post office "Elma?" The suggestion was accepted and adopted and a committee was there appointed to draft a petition and obtain signatures for the Elma postoffice. Their work was well done; and on the second clay after the evening meeting the petition was on its way to Washington and before October closed the Postoffice Department had sent a favorable reply with Warren Jackman named as Postmaster. As soon as the proper bonds were sent to Washington, supplies for the office were received with authority to contract for carrying the mail between Elma and Lancaster three times a week; the cost not to exceed the receipts of the Elma postoffice. Mr. Wm. H. Bancroft took the contract and so Elma postoffice received mails every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.


Benjamin F. Stetson and Amelia Markham, were married September 21st, 1852, and immediately moved on the west half of Lot 6(3 on the north side of the Clinton Street Road.

In October, Oliver and Elon Clark received an order from Howard & Williams for the woodwork for 1,000 mowing machines and fifty reaping machines. Their shoproom and power was put to a great strain and, as their business was increasing in all departments, they began to look around for more room and power and before the close of the year a co-partnership had been formed by and between Oliver H. Clark, Elon Clark and Joseph B. Briggs. They decided to build a shop with steam power the next summer on land of J. B. Briggs on the west side of the millrace, and north of the Creek; the name of the firm to be Clark, Briggs & Co. During the following winter they gathered material for the building.


Oliver H. Clark died February 14th, 1853 and at a meeting of the neighbors held at the store on that evening, the conversation was as to the best place for a cemetery. The first place suggested was on William Stand art's land on top of the hill east of Pond Brook and on the north side of the Bullis Road. The objections, that below the surface soil was a stratum of quicksand and the land on the east being wet and swampy would fill the graves with water, were considered good and sufficient.

The next place presented was on the top of the hill east of Pond Brook on the south side of the Chair Factory Road. The same objections, of quicksand and wet land, served to reject this place. Then the table-land on the north bank of the Big Buffalo Creek on land owned by J. B. Briggs, was named and after much talk, Mr. Briggs agreed to sell one and one-half acres for a cemetery. Mr. Oliver H. Clark was the first to be buried there on February 16th, 1853. The sermon was preached by Rev. Wm. Waith, a Presbyterian minister, living in Lancaster but then preaching every other Sunday afternoon in the Elma schoolhouse.

James R. Jackman moved here April 1st of this year.

At a meeting held at the store on the evening of April 4th, Mr. James R. Jackman, who was present at the previous meeting, entered into an agreement with Mr. Briggs that he, Jackman, would clear the said cemetery ground of stumps and rubbish, grade the ground and survey the same into ranges and lots, set out trees on the lots and on the west and north lines of the cemetery, and build a good fence; that he would keep account of the expense, and from the sales of the lots, at forty cents per foot of the length of the lot, retain enough to pay the expenses; that Mr. Briggs should execute deeds to the purchasers of lots and after Jackman had received his pay, Briggs was to receive the pay until he had received seventy-five dollars, when he was to deed the balance of the cemetery to the cemetery trustees, after which time they would keep up the fences. Each purchaser of a lot was to pay the forty cents per foot front for the lot, and then take care of his own lot.

Jackman immediately set to work and had the ground cleared of stumps, graded, surveyed and set to trees, and retained charge until the fall of 1862, he having moved to Marilla in October 1859, when the grounds were left in charge of Mr. James Clark.

Mrs. Cyrus Hurd died June 30th, 1853. This was the second burial in the Elma cemetery.

Mr. James R. Jackman who came April 1st, bought of J. B. Briggs the building lot on the west side of the Bowen Road and between what is now the Cemetery Road and the Mill Race, and on which the "American" was then standing. He also bought of Hurd & Briggs, the right and -privilege to erect and to continue a building over the mill race on the west side of the Bowen Road.


Jackman also entered into an agreement with Hurd & Briggs by which the ground now used as a park on the east side of the Bowen Road and south of the millrace which was then used as a lumber yard, should be cleared of lumber and be deeded by them to Jackman in trust, for park purposes; Jackman to fence the ground, set it out to trees, care for the trees and keep up the fence so long as the trees should need protection, when it should be held, and belong to the public for a park. This agreement was faithfully carried out by all the parties, the deed bearing date May 10th, 1853 and recorded in liber 747, page 483, and the Elma people have had, and will continue to have the park through the liberality and public spirit of these parties as their free gift.

James R. Jackman and Warren Jackman, during that same summer built the house on the lot now occupied by Wilbor B. Briggs, took down ''The American," in which was more than 5,000 feet of lumber and built the store over the mill race, lately occupied as a store by Louis P. Reuther. Both house and store were occupied by Jackman in October.

The store has since been occupied by Warren Jackman, Riley Ives, J. B. Briggs & Co., James Clark, Erastus J. Markham and Louis P. Reuther, each having the care of the postoffice most of the time. Rev. Schuyler Parker and Rev. William Waith hold meetings in the schoolhouse at 2 P. M. on alternate Sundays.

The material gathered during the last winter by Eleazer Bancroft, for a house on top of the hill south of the creek was, under the plans of Mr. Joseph W. Bancroft, arranged, put together and made into the brick house in which Mr. Bancroft lived until his death which occurred many years later.


About fifty persons assembled in C.W. Hurd's sugar bush on the east side of the Bowen Road and just east of the present site of the church on July 4th, 1853, for a basket picnic and by that, inaugurated a system of 4th of July picnics that have been continued with but few exceptions to this time.

On August 23d, Mr. Eleazer Bancroft met with a very severe accident. While sawing the shingles for his new house, he had the misfortune to have his right hand come in contact with the saw which so injured that hand that he was to a great extent, deprived of its use.

Mr. William Standart had his brick house on the east side of the Bo wen Road up and enclosed before winter set in.

Clark, Briggs & Co., had their building ready, with a sixty horsepower steam engine in place, and lathes, circular saws and a sawmill with sash saw all ready for work in the early fall. They had an order from Howard & Williams for the wood work for 2,000 mowing machines and 500 reaping machines.

Howard & Williams, by substituting iron for the cutting bar, reduced by so much the wood work, but the success of the mowing machine called for larger orders and the reaping machines were beginning to drive the grain cradles from the fields of grain. The reaping machine cut, and with a reel, gathered the grain on a platform and a strong man was required to watch the platform and when enough grain was gathered for a bundle, to rake it from the platform. Four or five binders followed the machine to bind and set up the grain.

The Methodist Society of Elma Village was organized December 23d, 1853.


There being a Catholic church and a Presbyterian or Union church at Springbrook and the Ebenezer church in upper Ebenezer (now Blossom), the fourth church in what is now the town of Elma, was built on the north side of the Clinton Street Road on lot 46 in the summer of 1854 and was to be a Catholic church or chapel. This was built mostly for John Freiburg's mother, an old lady known among her neighbors as mother Freiburg, who felt very badly on leaving her home in Germany as she feared she would be deprived of her church privileges. While getting her things together preparatory to moving to America, she found a five franc piece for which she could find no owner and she took it to her priest and there told him what were her fears as to America. The priest told her to take the piece of money with her and she could find a good place to use it when she was there.

After the family was settled on lot 46 and mother Freiburg found it difficult and often impossible for her to go to Lancaster to attend church, she made an offering of the five franc piece to the priest in Lancaster and he told her to keep it and use it towards building a chapel near her home in the woods. So with the five francs and the help of her neighbors, the chapel 10x14, side walls 8 feet in height, was built. It was a plank building, sided with clapboards, cornice and painted white on outside, lathed and plastered inside, door in center of south end, with window in centre of each side, and the priest came from Lancaster for several years, twice a year, and held services in Mother Freiburg's church.

The building was sold in 1870 to Gardner Cotton and moved on his lot. No. 20, where it has since been used as a hen house.

Frederick Maurer bought lot 27, corner of Clinton Street and Girdled Roads, and moved on in the summer of 1854.


Early in the spring of 1854, Clark W. Hurd and Joseph F. Clark commenced to build a sawmill on Pond Brook east of Clark's house and near the north line of lot 59. Work was progressing favorably, when Clark was taken sick, and after a few days illness, he died August 22d, 1854.

This was the third burial in the Elma cemetery. Mr Hurd went on with building the sawmill and operated it until he sold the premises to Mr. Stephen Markham in October 1858.

Early in the summer of 1854, Eleazer Bancroft built a large barn in the bank on the south side of Big Buffalo Creek and west of the Bowen road.

The school house hill as left by Bancroft in 1844, was so steep that it required the united efforts of two or three teams to haul up a full load and as nearly every owner of land near the sawmill was doing more or less at lumbering, this extra team help to get up the hill was no inconsiderable disadvantage. Accordingly, a meeting was called and a subscription started to raise money to reduce the incline of the hill. Sixty-five dollars was raised and James R. Jackman agreed to commence at the center of the hill and make a grade from that point so that the deepest part of the cut should be four feet and carry that grade to the high ground for the top of the hill. The dirt from this cut was used in filling a road bed below the center point so as to make as nearly as possible a true grade from the bottom to the top of the hill; and it was specified that the work was to be done so as not to impede travel. Jackman started the work by taking the east half of the cut, the work being mostly done by men using picks, shovels and wheel barrows.

When the cut was made through on the east side, the travel took that cut while the process was being used to take down the west half and when the job was finished, the roadbed was very nearly as is it in 1900.

Howard & Williams, having made great improvements in their reaping machines and their use being so much increased, they gave Clark, Briggs & Co., the contract to make the woodwork for 2,000 mowing machines and 1,500 reaping machines. This required an increase in the number of men to work in the shop and they employed during that winter fifteen to twenty men, working twelve hours each day. A few of the men were paid according to the amount of work which they did, but the greater number were paid by the day. It had been the custom for many years, and was then, for carpenters and all mechanics who worked by the day to work from sunrise to sunset, even in the longest days; and when the days were shorter, to work from daylight to darkness or continue into the evening. Clark, Briggs & Co., required twelve hours for a day's work throughout the whole year; and as the engine was started promptly on time they expected every man to be in his place, ready to work.

NO SALOON - 1855.

The Simanton bridge was carried off by the spring freshet of 1854. George Townsend bought the house and lot on east side of the Bowen Road in Elma Village of C. W. Hurd, later owned by Mrs. Maria Long.

William J. Jackman and Frances Markham were married September 20th, 1854 and in the spring of 1855 moved into their house on Lot 55 on the southeast corner of the Bowen and Bullis Roads.

Early in the spring of 1855, a rumor was circulated that a person who had just moved into the village intended to open a saloon.

As each mill owner, lumberman, or company, engaged in manufacturing, as well as almost every owner of land in the neighborhood employed one or more and often several men as clay laborers, this rumor caused considerable excitement, and a general indignation meeting was held at the store and strong objections were made against having a saloon in the place. Finally, a delegation was sent to have the person who was reported to be making such arrangements, come to the meeting. At first, he refused to come, but finally he consented.

The objections that had been made before he came were repeated to him, but he claimed as he had bought the property, he had the right to use it as he saw fit. The objection, that if a saloon was opened, many of the day laborers would be likely to spend their evenings there and by drinking and keeping late hours, could not properly perform their work the next day, he said, was nothing to him; that he had made up his mind and should open the saloon as he had the wing on his house already built and would be ready to open up in a few days.

These remarks aroused the opponents of the saloon, and in language in which there was no chance of being misunderstood, the saloon man was informed that there would be no saloon opened in the village; that if he made the attempt his belongings would be thrown into the street; and if that would not be enough, they would tear down his house. He said, then they would pay for the house; then they said they would gladly do so or buy him out. Of one thing they were sure, that there would be no saloon opened in the village. The general tone and feeling was such that the saloon was not opened and there has never been intoxicating liquors sold in Elma Village, which fact accounts largely for its prosperity. There has been, however, for several years a saloon at the corner of Bowen and Clinton Street Roads. During this same year, Bradley Moore, built a sawmill on the Little Buffalo Creek on Lot 6 on the South side of the Clinton Street Road.

A bridge was also built across the Big Buffalo Creek on the girdled road at Simanton's sawmill to replace the bridge carried off in the spring freshet of 1854.


The Reservation Central Plank Road Company was organized to plank the Bullis Road; and the road was in 1855 partly planked from Bowen Road to the Aurora plank Road in West Seneca.

J. B. BRIGGS & CO - 1855.

In August, 1855, Warren Jackman sold the goods in his store to Riley Ives, and Ives kept the store.

Jackman then bought Elon Clark's interest in Clark, Briggs & Co. property and business, and the firm name was changed to J. B. Briggs & Co.

The manufacture of broom handles was added, and the company had an order from Howard & Williams for the woodwork of 2,000 mowing machines and 2500 reaping machines which required a working force of twenty to twenty-five men.

The M. E. Conference sent Rev. Gordon to the Lancaster and Elma charge, but on account of poor health, Gordon left in the spring of 1856.

A Frenchman by the name of LaGore who lived on Lot 69 on the north side of the Bullis Road shot himself with a rifle. He was sitting in a chair outside of the house when he placed the muzzle of the rifle to his neck and with his toe pulled the trigger - result: throat torn open causing instant death.

Jacob Jerge bought of Charles A. Dutton his shop on the east bank of the mill race near the steam mill and commenced the business of blacksmith for himself in that shop.

Sawmills were being put up on every stream where a fair supply of water could be had and several steam mills were being started in different parts of the town, the lumber finding a market in Buffalo.


In 1856 a bridge was built across Big Buffalo Creek at Bowen and Standart's sawmill, and a road laid out south to the Bullis Road.

Henry D. Wilbor bought the interest of his sister, Mrs. Oliver H. Clark, in the J. B. Briggs & Co.'s business, but the name of the firm was not changed.

Elon Clark died June 7th, 1856, and was buried in the Elma cemetery. Rev. A. Newton, of Lancaster and Elma charge, preached in the schoolhouse, alternating with Rev. Wm. Waith.

In July, J. B. Briggs & Co. shut down work in the shop for repairs. They put in a Mulley saw, rotary planer, turning lathes, and other machinery and built an addition for a cheese box factory. Mr. R. L. Howard, now sole owner of the Ketchum patents, having made changes in the mowing machines, all the woodwork required for them was the pole, and J. B. Briggs & Co. had the contract for 2000 mowing machine poles and the woodwork for 4000 reaping machines.

Cyrenus Wilbor, father of Mrs. J. B. Briggs, died September 12th. Riley Ives sold the goods in the store at auction, and the latter part of September went to Lancaster.

J. B. Briggs & Co., in October, put into the store a stock of goods in connection with the steam mill business.

On December 4th, 1856 the Board of Supervisors formed a new town from the south part of Lancaster and the north part of Aurora and gave the name of Elma to the new town. The account of the whole proceedings were noted in chapter IV. In some histories of Erie County, it is stated that the town of Elma was formed December 4th, 1857.


It has not been possible to obtain the exact year that many of the early settlers came on to the Lancaster part of the Reservation, and many who were here before the town was organized, December 4th, 1856, have moved away or have since died, so the names of all the residents at that time cannot now be obtained; but among those who were here then, are the following:

George Ard, Joseph B. Briggs, Erasmus Briggs, Lewis M. Bullis, Matthias Baker, Eleazer Bancroft, Wm. H. Bancroft, Alonzo C. Bancroft, Albert Bancroft, Henry Beidler, Hiram Bacon, Hiram Cotton, Gardner Cotton, John Carman, Daniel Christ, Peter Caufield, Charles A. Dutton, Heman Dean, Ziba Dewitt, Allen French, John Frieberg, Michael Greiss, George Gentsch, Christ Garby, Fred Garby, Zenas Hill, Clark W. Hurd, Cyrus Hurd, Otis A. Hall, Frederick Heineman, James R. Jackman, Warren Jackman, Wm. J. Jackman, Jacob Jerge, Casper Jerge, Phileius Johnson, Hiram W. Kinney, Jacob Knaab, George Krouse, Joseph Klein, Carl Keim, Lawrence Krouse, Osman Little, John Luders, John Ludemon, Benj. P. Lougee, Jesse Monroe, Bradley Moore, Fred Maurer, Fred Mann, Charles Mann, Theodore Noyes, Charles Noyes, Amasa Noyes, Eleazer Nouse, John Nouse, Peter Oberly, Lewis Ott, Daniel Price, Joseph Peck, John Pomerink, William Standart, Deforest Standart, Wesley Standart, George Standart, Sr., George Standart, Jr., Washington Standart, Benj. F. Stetson, John Schmaltz, Henry W. Stitz, Philip Stitz, Theoron Stowell, N. W. Stowell, Thomas Summerfield, Harry Stone, George Shufelt, Peter Schultz, Thomas D. Tiffany, Orvil Titus, George Townsend, Wilham Winspear, John Wolf, Henry D. Wilbor, Jacob Young, Adam Young, and the members of Ebenezer Society at Blossom, and some other names not known.

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