Chapter 16 - Town of Elma, 1885 to 1900


TOWN OF ELMA, 1885 TO 1900.

Harvey J. Hurd bought of J. B. Briggs on March 22d, 1885, his interest in the Hurd & Briggs sawmill property in Elma Village. The same year, Harvey J. overhauled and rebuilt the sawmill which was built by Hurd & Briggs in 1845, taking out the north saw.

After years of trying, and after several efforts had been made to have a new schoolhouse at Elma Village, with the same opposition and delay as has been given in the Spring Brook schoolhouse matter; and after the old house had become untenable and the school commissioner had threatened to withhold the public money from the district unless a new house was built, the inhabitants of the district voted to have a new house built and voted to raise $1,600 for building and furnishing the same; and the old house was sold to Baltz Gloss for $25.00, which seems to be the price for all old schoolhouses. The new house was built and ready for use in the fall of 1885.

The following brief statement of efforts made to have a new schoolhouse in Elma Village, is given; but as the district records from the organizing of the district to within the last few years are lost, the date of the several meetings and the exact vote on the several resolutions, for and against the building of a new house cannot be given, but the facts are as follows: At the annual meeting held in 1860, the motion was made and unanimously carried to build a new schoolhouse, and the trustees were directed to raise by tax the money to pay for the building.

The tax was made out, the warrant given to the collector, and several persons paid their tax.

About six weeks after the annual meeting, a special meeting was called at which a resolution was adopted not to build the new schoolhouse and an appeal was started and sent to the State Superintendent for his decision as to the action of the annual meeting; the claim being' made that a majority of the taxpayers of the district did not vote for the resolution to build the new house and that a majority was not present at the annual meeting.

The decision of the State Superintendent was that the action of the annual meeting was legal and correct and the trustees were directed to go on with the building.

On receiving this decision, another special meeting was called at which the opposition said if the building of the new house was put off for five years they would then take hold and help build the house. And the new house was not built.

In 1865, at the end of the five years, another vote was taken at the annual meeting and the resolution to build a new school house was carried but the attendance being small and, thinking that the promise of five years before would be kept, and to give all a chance to vote, the meeting was adjourned for one week.

The attendance at the adjourned meeting was large and the motion to rescind the vote of the annual meeting was carried by a large majority.

A vote to build a vestibule to the old house and to repair the old house were both carried and there was no further move made toward a new house until the school commissioner had ordered a new house, when in the spring of 1885 at a special meeting, the money was voted as before stated.

Mr. Zina A. Hemstreet died August 5th, 1885. He had operated the Indian sawmill after the death of Leonard Hatch in 1842, was a large owner of real estate at East Elma, had been in active business there, a leading citizen in all public matters or of anything that would be a benefit or help to the people of that locality, and had been Supervisor of the town in 1860 and 1861.

Through mismanagement and hard luck he lost all his property.

Henry A. Wright was appointed postmaster of Elma Center postoffice in 1885, and moved the postoffice from Woodard's house to his store, near the railroad.

The summer of 1885 was very wet; twenty-four inches of rain fell in the months of May, June, July and August, making a very bad season for haying and harvesting; so that on August 31st, the greater part of the oat crop was in the fields, many pieces of grain had been spread out to dry, and before dry enough to take to the barn, another rain would come and as this weather continued, much grain was damaged.

William J. Cole was appointed postmaster at Spring Brook in the fall by President Cleveland, and moved the postoffice into Cole & Sweet's store, at the corner of the Plank and Northrup Roads. 362 votes were polled at the election November 3d, 1885. A good crop of fruit, especially apples, this year.


The schoolhouse bell was hung in the belfry of the Elma Village schoolhouse January 14th, 1886.

E. J. Markham built a dwelling house on his lot on the west side of Main Street in Elma Village in the summer and fall of this year.

Frederick Gramm was appointed postmaster at Blossom by President Cleveland in the summer of 1886.

On September 17th, 1886, Mr. C. W. Hurd had arranged for a clambake, to which all his neighbors in Elma Village, and many friends from Buffalo and adjoining towns had been invited. This was to celebrate his eightieth birthday.

The guests arrived early in the forenoon; the tables and seats were placed in the yard and the tables were set with dishes and flowers. The provisions in the pit were being cooked, when about 11 o'clock it began to rain with every appearance of continuing through the day. There was a hustle among all hands to get the tables and fixtures into the house. In due time, dinner was announced and the guests showed their appreciation of the good things that had been provided for the feast. The rain continued all the afternoon, but this did not dampen nor hinder the enjoyment of all persons there. It was a very pleasant birthday party except the rainy part. It was late in the afternoon when the friends began to take their departure, wishing their octogenarian host many more birthdays.

A ''Chautauqua Reading Circle" was organized at the house of J. B. Briggs with fifteen members on the evening of September 22d.

At the election November 2d, 495 votes were polled.

The apple crop was very short this year.


The Jerge Brothers (Phillip and Hermon) bought of George Helfter, the house and lot on the east side of the street nearly opposite the blacksmith shop in Elma Village, also the blacksmith shop and lot on the southeast corner of Bowen and Clinton Street Roads. The deed was dated March 14th, 1887, recorded in Liber 512, page 638.

Clark W. Hurd and wife, Dulcena, celebrated their golden wedding at their home in Elma Village on the evening of April 4th, 1887. About eighty persons were present, among them four other couples whose wedding day was April 4th.

Mr. R. P. Lee and family came from Buffalo April 23d, moving into James T. Hurd's house on the west side of the Bowen Road on Lot 59.

The steam saw and gristmill bought by Briggs & Sweet in October, 1882, in Spring Brook burned in the spring of 1887.

Alonzo C. Bancroft took down the chair factory building on Pond Brook, on the south side of the Chair Factory Road in the summer of 1887.

The Erie County Farmers' Institute held a meeting of the society in the M. E. Church in Elma Village on Saturday, June 25th of this year.

E. J. Markham moved into his new house in Elma Village, July 1st, 1887.

The M. E. Church of Elma Village was re-shingled in the summer of this year, and in the fall was re-painted on the inside and repapered above and below; new cushions for the seats and new carpets for the audience room, gallery, vestibule and stairs were placed.

The Elma Cemetery Association was organized June 11th, 1887. W Myron H. Clark remodeled and put on additions to the A. C. Bancroft house, in the summer of 1887.

Warren Jackman made a map of the town of Elma this year, on which was shown every original lot and every sub-division or piece of land in the town, with the then present owner's name, the number of acres of each piece, with courses and distances of every lot line and every road in the town as surveyed. This map is in the Town Clerk's office.

The building erected by the Lutheran Society on the Woodard Road in 1872 was now too small to accommodate its large and growing congregation, and the society decided to build a new church on the same place. The old church was therefore moved to the east side of its lot to be used for a Sunday School room and a new building, 32 x 56, was built and finished in the summer and fall of 1887.

At the election on November 8th, 428 votes were polled.

The gristmill and sawmill built by the Ebenezer Society in Blossom, owned by Lewis Ott, and the bridge across the Big Buffalo Creek at Blossom, burned on the night of December 28th, 1887.

The crops in the town were generally good, especially good were the hay and apple crops.

Jacob Bodamer's barn on Lot 30 and west side of the Girdled Road burned with contents in September, 1887.


Mrs. Adelpha C. Briggs, in the spring of 1888 bought the Eleazer Bancroft brick house and lot on Lot 58 and 63 on the west side of the Bowen Road and south side of Big Buffalo Creek.

James T. Hurd bought of A. C. Bancroft in the spring of 1888, 28 acres, being that part of Lot 58 on the south side of the Big Buffalo Creek and on the east side of the Bowen Road.

Myron H. Clark during this summer remodeled and added to the barn on his lot in Elma Village.

A new iron bridge was built across the Big Buffalo Creek at Blossom with new stone abutment and breakwater at the east end of the bridge, in the summer of 1888 to take the place of the bridge that burned December 28th, 1887.

William Philips is- the blacksmith at East Elma this year.

Edwin H. Dingman bought of Joseph Wagner on August 9th of this year, a building lot at Jamison, near the northwest corner of Lot 39 between the Williams Road and the railroad and built a store with residence on the second floor in the summer and fall.

The Elma Town Sunday School Association was organized at East Elma September 21st, by Mr. Lewis Haas, the County S. S. Missionary

Wm. Kleinfelder was appointed postmaster at Blossom this year and had the postoffice in his store.

Mrs. Maria Long was appointed postmaster at Elma and moved the office into her house.

On October 14th there was a very bright rainbow low in the north at noon for three-quarters of an hour. It was short and very flat, the centre not more than eight degrees above the horizon.

580 votes were cast at the Presidential Election of November 6th, 1888. The Electoral College gave Benjamin Harrison 233 votes.

At the close of the year 1888, we find the town of Elma so different from what it was forty years ago, that wonder and astonishment comes over us. At that time there were not 200 acres of land in the town, except on the Mile Strip, that had been cleared by a white man. Now, in 1888, the old growth of timber is practically gone and the timber in sight is mostly of second growth.

The sawmills that had then been built, with those built in later years, and which were then and for many years run day and night to work the timber into lumber, have gone into decay, have been taken down, or were burned. So that at the close of the year 1888, there are but two sawmills in the town, viz.: The Northrup mill at Spring Brook on the same ground where Northrup & Baker built their first mill in October, 1844 and now owned by Eli B. Northrup. The other mill now owned by Harvey J. Hurd in Elma Village is the same mill that was built by Hurd & Briggs in the fall of 1845.

Instead of footpaths through the woods and wagon and sled roads among the trees and stumps, we now have good roads, generally on lot lines, nicely graded and worked.

Instead of fording the streams or using a fallen tree as a footbridge, or a cheap frame structure for a bridge over the large streams, we have permanent iron or lattice bridges on stone abutmerits, which furnish a safe and durable means for crossing the streams.

The log house and barn, or the small plank house, with slab stable or small frame barn have been removed or torn down, and in their places are seen nice frame and brick residences with all the modern conveniences for the pleasure and comfort of the occupants, with large and commodious barns, many of them with stables or basements with stone walls, and carriage houses and other out buildings to satisfy the fancy or the needs of the owner of the premises.

The farms in 1888 are generally cleared of stumps, the rail and stump and road fences are almost gone and, where fences are necessary, they are of post and wire or post and board, the wire being generally preferred. Well cultivated fields with orchards and crops that gladden the farmer are everywhere found, where only a few years ago was the unbroken forest. It has taken many years of hard, persistent labor to make this change; but the settlers were equal to the task and it has been well done. Many of the first settlers who, at first, bought 5, 10, or 15, acres, and supported their families from the wood and timber sold from their small place, found, when the timber was gone, that they could not support their families from their small piece and that they needed more land; so they either bought out their neighbor, or sold to him and went west. This explains why there are so many small empty houses scattered through the town. The original owners have moved away and as a result, the population of the town has grown less and less for the last few years.


Samuel Schurr opened a blacksmith shop in March on the South side of Jamison Road and east of the railroad on land owned by Ernest Bleeck.

Peter Grader bought of Eron Woodard, one-half acre on the west side of the Bowen Road and south side of the railroad, for a grocery and saloon which he opened in a board shanty, July 2d, 1889.

The Town Board on April 27th, ordered a safe for the Town Clerk's office, in which to keep the town records.

On May 3d, (Arbor day) the residents of Elma Village set out thirty-one maple trees on the schoolhouse grounds, but many of them died that summer.

Jacob Jerge and wife left Elma in the spring for a visit to their native place in Germany, to be gone one year.

In April, Henry Kihm bought of John G. Fischer, the brick store on the southwest side of the Plank Road in Spring Brook.

A society of "The Farmers' Alliance" was organized in Spring Brook this summer, the reputed object being to enable the members to sell their surplus products for better prices and to make purchases for their families and farms through the agency of the Alliance at wholesale prices, less the actual cost of transportation, rent of building and the necessary clerk hire. In this way they expected to save the profits made by the retail dealer, and the middle man.

George D. Briggs, this summer, rebuilt the Bancroft brick house on the top of the hill on the south bank of the Big Buffalo Creek and changed the large barn near the creek by additions and sheds.

Harrison Tillou was appointed postmaster at Spring Brook in the summer of 1889, and moved the postoffice into Henry Kihm's brick store, becoming a partner in the business.

Jacob Koch's barn in Blossom 47 x 147 feet, which was built by the Ebenezers in 1850, burned this summer; Koch immediately rebuilt.

Bower's barn on Clinton Street Road was burned about the same time.

James T. Hurd built a large house on the east side of the Bowen Road on Lot 58 in the summer of 1889 to be finished during the winter and next spring.

Hard frost with ice one-quarter inch thick on the morning of May 29th.

On June 25th, the Erie County Farmers' Institute held a meeting in the park in Elma Village.

Peter Grader was appointed postmaster of the Elma Center postoffice in July and moved the postoffice from Wright's store to his grocery.

Twelve sheds were built at the church in Elma Village in the summer of 1889. They were raised August 31st.

388 votes were cast at the election of November 7th, 1889.

Within the last few years there had been many alterations in the roads in the town of Elma, and many of these alterations had not been properly recorded in the "Records of. Roads" in the Town Clerk's office, so that the records were in such shape that a description of many of the roads could not be ascertained.

The Board of Supervisors, on the petition of Eli B. Northrup, Supervisor of the Town of Elma, in October, 1889, ordered a resurvey of the roads in the town, and a revision of the "Record of Roads" for the Town of Elma.

The survey of the roads of the town was made under the supervision and direction of Mr. Jacob Heim, Commissioner of Highways of the town, the surveys were recorded and a revision of the Records completed and signed by the Commissioners, February 15th, 1890.

The ''Jamison Road" postoffice was established this year at the crossing of the railroad and Jamison Road, with Ernst Bleeck as postmaster.


On January 13th, 1890, a great and sudden change of weather occurred. It had been warm for the season, with rain on three days, when on the morning of the thirteenth, the mercury commenced going down and fell eighteen degrees in one hour, between nine and ten o'clock a. m. and from 65° at 7 a. m. to 30° at 9 p. m., with high wind.

In the months of May and June of this year we had seventeen and three-quarter inches of rain, and fifty-seven inches in one hundred and twenty-eight days.

Albert Price bought the central part of Lot 71 on the north side of the Clinton Street Road and moved into the house in April of this year.

The Farmers' Alliance of Spring Brook erected a building for a hall, etc., on Esquire Ward's lot on the south side of the Plank Road where they held their meetings and by and through their agent ordered and received such articles as the individual members required.

George D. Briggs this year built two new houses on the west side of the Bowen Road near the south line of Lot 58; also a plank sidewalk on the west side of the road from the south line of Lot 58 to the south end of the bridge across the creek. He built a silo at the west end of his stables near the creek, and moved the building near the bridge, which was formerly used as a store, about fifty feet west to be used as a milkhouse and moved the tenant house from south of the brick house on top of the hill, to the bank of the creek, where the old store formerly stood.

Deed from J. B. Briggs to Elma Cemetery Association June 16th, 1890.

James T. Hurd moved into his new house on Lot 58, June 1st.

An Epworth League Society was organized in the M. E. Church of Elma village on July 6th.

The Erie County Farmers' Institute held a meeting in the park in Elma Village, July 26th.

For population of Elma by United States Census for 18^0, see Chapter XXI.

The Winspear bridge across the Big Buffalo Creek being unsafe and partly fallen, the Town Board on July 28th, directed the Commissioner of Highways to take down the old bridge and then to build a new iron bridge in the same place. The new bridge was finished in the fall.

On August 5th, the Town Board divided the Town of Elma into two election districts; the dividing line to begin on the Marilla town fine, at the corner of Lots 1 and 2, of the Aurora part of the town, thence west on lot lines to the centre of the Bowen Road, thence north in the centre of the road to the old town line at the corner of lots 48, 52, 55 and 60; thence west on lot lines to the Transit; the south part to be District No. 1, and the north part to be District No. 2.

The east abutment of the Bullis bridge was rebuilt this summer, all of solid limestone. Contract price, $475.

A plank sidewalk was built this summer from the Spring Brook railroad station, south to the north side of the plank road in Spring Brook Village, then along the northeast side of the road to the east line of the Thayer Place; total distance about one and three-quarter miles.

Charles H. Sweet and John Conners each built a nice dwelling house in Spring Brook at the west end of the village in the summer of 1890.

348 votes were polled in the town at the election of November 4th.

Harvey J. Hurd bought of C. W. Hurd, November 26th, 1890, the south part of Lot 60 and the northeast part of Lot 52.

In August, 1891, Mr. Charles W. Harrah of Detroit, Michigan, came to Buffalo to look over the country nearby and surrounding Buffalo for the purpose of starting a suburban village on or near some railroad, and so near to the city as to be convenient for laborers and persons doing business in the city.

After a careful examination of the territory, he decided that Spring Brook station, on the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad in the town of Elma was the right place for his village.

On August 28th, 1891, Harrah bought of Catharine Hager twenty five acres, being the northeast part of Lot 95, lying on both sides of the railroad and on the west side of the Pound Road.

On August 29th, he secured forty-nine acres of Mrs. Hannah Winspear, being the south part of Lot 94, on the north side of the Bullis Road, and on the west side of the Winspear Road.

On September 4th, he bought of Thomas Summerfield, land lying west of the Hager land on Lot 95 between the Bullis Road and the railroad, making in all about eighty acres of land.

This land was surveyed in August and September by Mr. Mason L. Brown, Civil Engineer, into blocks, and numbered from one to sixteen, each block being surrounded by a street or avenue; and the blocks were sub-divided into lots, generally of 25x100 feet, except that the lots on both sides of the Bulhs Road were 26 or 27 x 100 feet in size. A public alley, ten feet wide was in the rear of every lot.

The total number of the lots thus surveyed and numbered with marked stakes was 923.

Harrah had the streets and avenues nicely graded and a three foot sidewalk on one or both sides of several of these streets and avenues.

A map of the village was made and filed in the County Clerk's office in Buffalo, under cover numbered 430.

This new village was called Spring Brook on the map, but later, in some way, it got the name of Crystal City.

Harrah was now ready to sell the lots and after making the necessary arrangements with the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad Company, he advertised in the Buffalo papers, and by circulars, and hand-bills, "that on Thursday, September 17th, Saturday, September 19th and Tuesday, September 22d, special free trains would leave Buffalo for Spring Brook each day at 9.00 a. m., 10.30 a. m. and 2.30 p. m., absolutely free going and coming, no tickets required."

One hundred lots were offered at $17.00 each; other lots at $20.00, $25.00, $30.00, $35.00 each, that being the highest price.

Warranty Deeds were to be given when payment was made and to the first fifty persons purchasing one or more lots who would build, finish and occupy a house as a residence within one year from the date of the purchase, the price paid for the lot would be refunded by Harrah.

The free ride on the cars and the low price of the lots caused a great rush of people from Buffalo to visit, if not to purchase lots in the new Spring Brook on the three days above named.

As the lots were not all sold on these three days, free trains were advertised to run on the afternoons of September 28th, October 1st, 17th and 23d, when 808 of the 923 lots had been sold to 286 different persons. Harrah then made a lump sale of the balance of the lots to Cole & Sweet, and Eli B. Northrup of Spring Brook.

The streets and avenues as laid out and named on the map, were as follows:

Streets: Seneca, Vine, North, and South Railroad.

Avenues: Beach, Elm, Laurel, Linden, Magnolia, Oak, Spring Brook and Winspear.

A public alley ten feet wide was at the rear of all the lots.

Cole, Sweet & Northrup sold several lots to different individuals after they bought of Harrah.

Later, Northrop acquired the interest held by Cole & Sweet and also the title from several of the first purchasers of lots.

At the time of the sale of lots, it was thought by many that the low price of the lots and Harrah's offer to return the purchase price of the lots, where houses were built and occupied within the year, together with the cheap fare offered by the railroad company, would induce many persons, especially city laborers, to build houses and change their residences from Buffalo to Spring Brook; but only two families took advantage of Harrah's offer, and the New Spring Brook as a village seems to be a failure.

Some of the owners of lots pay the taxes and thus hold possession; some are offering to convey their lots to anyone who will pay the back taxes and pay for the transfer papers, and a few allow their lots to be sold for taxes, thus giving up all hope of realizing anything in the future.

Harrah, in selling the lots, did not sell or convey any title to the streets and avenues, and on April 16th, 1892, Charles W. Harrah petitioned the commissioner of Highways of the Town of Elma to have the said streets and avenues taken as public highways of the town and to have them so described and recorded in the town Clerk's office, and at the same date, he released to the town of Elma the streets and avenues as surveyed and laid out on the afore mentioned map.

On July 1st, 1892, William J. Cole, E. Lawton, Eh B. Northrup, Charles H. Sweet, George Leger, William Bridgman, A. W. Smedes and Mary E. Hurd, petitioned the Commissioner of Highways of the Town of Elma, to have the streets and avenues as surveyed and laid out, and as described in the petition of Charles W. Harrah, dated April 16th, 1892, duly laid out as public highways of the Town of Elma, and to be duly described and recorded in the office of the Town Clerk of the Town of Elma.

On February 1st, 1895, Henry E. Bancroft, as Commissioner of Highways, ordered that the prayers of the above petitioners be and the same are hereby accepted, and he ordered and declared, that the said streets and avenues be a part of the highways of the said Town of Elma, and that the said streets and avenues on Lot 95, south of the railroad, be joined to and form part of Road District No. 21; and that the streets and avenues on Lots 94 and 95, north of the railroad be joined to and form a part of Road District No. 41 of the Town of Elma.


For the names of officers elected at the town meeting held on March 3d and November 3, see Chapter XXI.

At the March meeting, 264 votes were polled and at the November town meeting 310 votes were polled; at the general election, November 3d, 482 votes were polled.

The Elma Cemetery Road was laid out in July, 1891.

Jacob Jerge, after his return from Europe, remodeled and made extensive alterations in the Button house, (so called) on the west side of Main Street in Elma Village.

Dr. Albert H. Briggs, an Elma boy, but now a resident of Buffalo, celebrated his forty-ninth birthday by giving a "Clam Bake" in the Elma Village Park on September 9th, 1891, where more than 100 of his Elma and Buffalo friends met by invitation to partake of a bountiful feast of good things provided for the inner man; and while seated at the tables, which had been arranged in a hollow square, to enjoy the after dinner speeches and songs were given which reminded one of days that had passed, and which were good and refreshing to the head and heart.

On September 17th, the many friends of Mr. Clark W. Hurd met at his house in Elma Village to extend happy greetings and good wishes to Mr. Hurd, it being his eighty-fifth birthday. A bountiful repast was furnished by the family, and was greatly enjoyed by all present.

The golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Briggs, celebrated at their home October 28th, was the occasion of another gathering in Elma Village, being the third gathering of Elma people within six weeks, to celebrate important events in the individual lives of those whom the people respect, honor and love.

Farm crops in the town were generally good this year; apples especially, a bountiful crop of fine quality.

The trustees of the M. E. Church of Elma Village decided to have a vestibule 10x14 feet built at the front of the church building. Christian Stolle had the contract and the work was commenced December 21st, and was finished in the early part of 1892.

The Young People's Association furnished the money to pay all bills.

We had ten inches of rain on twenty-two days in June and July, and fifty inches on 101 days during the year, and forty-seven inches of snow on fifty days.


Erastus J. Markham on January 1st, gave to his daughter, Mrs. Louis P. Reuther, (nee Nellie Markham) the store and the goods in the store over the millrace in Elma Village as a New Year's present.

Eron Woodard's house and the 30x40 foot barn, north of the house at Elma Center, burned at one o'clock p. m., Sunday, January 31st. As only part of the family were at home when the fire started, and there being nothing at hand with which to fight the fire, in a very short time the whole interior of the house was in a blaze. The winter's supply of coal which had just been put into the wood-house and several hundred bushels of potatoes which were in the cellar went with the house.

Only a few things were saved from the house, and with these and a few things brought by the neighbors, the family moved into the "Armstrong house," so called, about forty rods south of the fire.

The building and contents were well insured.

At the town meeting held March 8th, 1892, the only officer to be elected was a Justice of the Peace. Mr. Harrison Tillou was elected, only 264 votes polled.

Philip Jerge and Herman Jerge, as the firm of Jerge Brothers, on April 2d, 1892, bought of their father, Jacob Jerge, the two village lots formerly known as the William H. Bancroft, and the Charles A. Button lots, on the west side of Main Street in Elma Village with the blacksmith shop, tools and stock then on hand; also other lands on the Chair Factory Road, and Jacob Jerge moved to Lancaster Village; he had been a resident of Elma Village more than forty years, and had built up and carried on the blacksmith and wagon making business more than thirty years.

Mr. R. P. Lee bought the Price place being part of Lots 54 and 59, on the east side of the Bowen Road, and moved into the house May 13th.

Thomas Edwards opened a blacksmith shop in East Elma.in July. Frank Metcalf 's barn was struck by lightning, and with contents burned June 21st, 1892.

Mrs. William Kleinfelder was appointed postmaster of Blossom postoffice in the summer of 1892.

Rev. Louis A. Wright was sent to Elma by the M. E. Conference, commencing his work October 10th.

At the general election held on November 8th, 1892, 529 votes were polled in both districts of the town. Grover Cleveland was elected President.


The Blossom Fire Company put up a building south of the gristmill in which to store its implements and for a meeting place of members of the company.

Charles S. Briggs, on April 1st, 1893, bought of Wilbor B. Briggs, a building lot at the northwest corner of the Bowen and Cemetery Roads in Elma Village, and that summer he built a house and moved in, in the fall.

John Edenhoffer, on March 17th, bought of Jerge Brothers, a building lot on the east side of Main Street and the second lot south of East Street in Elma Village, and that year built a house, moving in the fall.

George W. Hurd rented his farm Lot 85, on the south side of the Bullis Road, for five years and on April 1st, Hurd moved to Buffalo.

Richard Barnett, in April, rented Kihm's store in Spring Brook for four years, buying the goods and opened the store on his own account. Barnett was appointed postmaster at Spring Brook in October; Edwin H. Dingman was appointed postmaster at Jamison Road this summer; Conrad P. Hensel was appointed postmaster at Blossom postoffice in Herline's store; Henry A. Wright was appointed postmaster at Elma Center in July, 1893.

Frank Slade (Schefferstein) on April 11th bought of Eron Woodard a one-sixth acre building lot at Elma Center, adjoining the one half acre lot of Peter Grader on the south.

The World's Fair was held in Chicago this year, and Elma sent many delegates who brought back astonishing reports as to the wonderful "White City, " and of the endless variety, perfectness and beauty of the exhibits.

An Odd Fellows Society was organized in Spring Brook this year. During the summer a company was organized in Spring Brook to put down a gas well. The place selacted was on the southwest side of the Plank Road, nearly opposite the Kyser house, on what has for many years been known as the steam mill lot; then owned by Eli B. Northrup. The drill was put down 1240 feet, and it was thought a good supply of gas was in sight; but after shooting the well and not very much increase of gas resulting, the well was plugged and remained so for some years, when, as per contract, the whole reverted to Mr. Northrup.

A new bridge over the Millrace on the Cemetery Road in Elma Village was raised July 28th, and finished in a few days. Then followed a ''bee," to haul and place stone and gravel for the approaches to both ends of the bridge.

The west abutment to the Bullis bridge as originally built with a timber foundation, for that part which would be under water so long as the dam across the creek caused a pond; now as the dam had gone left the timber foundation exposed and it had become so decayed that a new stone abutment was a necessity; the contract was let to Monen & Koch for $583.72 with some repairs to the bridge to be completed before fall.

Andrew Slade built a coal and grain house on east side of Bowen Road on Lot 48, northeast of the railroad. The M. E. Society of Spring Brook bought the German Evangelical building lot in the fall of 1893.

Mrs. Pauline Gloss, on October 24th, bought of Mrs. George Kelgus, the house and lot south of the hotel on west side of the Bowen Road on Lot 60. 408 votes were polled at the election November 7th, 1893.


The store which was built by George W. Hatch at East Elma on Lot 10, on the northeast corner of the Jamison and Thompson Roads in 1868, and had been since that time successively occupied by several persons as merchants, viz: George W. Hatch, George and Niles Hatch, Isaac Smith, Harvey C. Palmer, Edwin H. Dingman, George and James Hatch, George and Leonard Hatch and George W. Hatch to January 13th, 1894, was then sold by George W. Hatch to Charles Burman, both store and goods, and Burman has since that time and in 1900 is the merchant of the place. Geo. W. Hatch was appointed postmaster at East Elma in 1870, and had been postmaster with the different resident merchants as assistants or deputies, until March 2d, 1894, when Charles Burman was appointed postmaster.

On February 9th, 1894, three men commenced to erect a derrick for the purpose of drilling for gas on James T. Hurd's land, on the south side of the Big Buffalo Creek just east of the mouth of Pond Brook. The drill was started at 9 o'clock p. m. February 22d, and was put down 1400 feet and the well was shot on March 27th. The result was too small a supply of gas to be of any use.

The Elma villagers had for some time talked about a plank sidewalk to the railroad crossing and station. Several meetings had been held, and a sufficient fund having been raised, the lumber was ordered and was delivered about the middle of March.

Charles S. Briggs and Cortland C. Briggs had the contract to lay the plank on the west side of the Bowen Road from the south line of Lot 58, to the railroad crossing.

The residents on the Clinton Street Road furnished the lumber and built the walk from the Clinton Street Road to J. B. Briggs' house, and the villagers completed the walk to the bridge across the Creek.

This made a plank walk from Clinton Street to the railroad, a distance of about two miles, all finished April 1st.

The gas well near the Buffalo Creek in Elma Village proving a failure, "The Municipal Gas Co.," was organized, with Harvey J. Hurd, James T. Hurd, Geo. D. Briggs, R. P. Lee, J. Eddie Briggs, and Myron H. Clark, of Elma Village, and Eli B. Northrup and Charles H. Sweet of Spring Brook, as directors. The company commenced drilling for gas on the east side of the Bowen Road and near the south line of Lot 55, on land owned by Harvey J. Hurd.

The drill was put down about 1800 feet, with some show of gas and the well was shot, which seemed to increase the supply. The company applied to the Town Board for the right and privilege to lay pipe along the streets, highways and alleys of the town of Elma, for the purpose of conducting natural gas through the same. The petition was acted upon by the Town Board April 16th, 1894, and the privileges were granted; R. T. Barnet, supervisor; Henry A. Wright, Town Clerk; James A. Woodard, Harrison Tillou and W. B. Briggs, Justices of the Peace, signing the grant. The company ordered and received 3-inch pipe, which was laid from the well to the west side of the Bowen Road, and along the west side of the road and across the creek and to the house of J. B. Briggs, and connections were made from the main pipe to* gas meters placed in the houses of James T. Hurd, Geo. D. Briggs, Myron H. Clark, Erastus J. Markham, J. B. Briggs and Harvey J. Hurd. The supply of gas did not increase, and gradually the pressure went down, and finally became so small that the pipe was taken up, and no use of natural gas has since been made in Elma Village, except what flows from the mouths of some of the residents; that supply is not limited.

Mr. F. L. A. Cady, of Buffalo, on May 10th, bought of Mrs. J. C. Standart, one and one-half acres, adjoining Mrs. Price, on the east side of the Bowen Road and on Lot 59.

Henry A. Wright, Town Clerk, on August 31st, resigned his office, and the same day the Town Board appointed Warren Jackman to fill the vacancy.

On September 1st, Wright sold the goods in the store at Elma Centre to Mrs. Wilkes and her sister. Miss Smith. Mr. Wilkes was acting as agent for the W. N. Y. & P. R. R. Co., at the Elma station.

Wright moved to Buffalo, where he opened a store on Seneca Street at the city line.

The Leger saloon and barn in Spring Brook having burned, a new barn was immediately built, and used as a saloon, while the new hotel was being built, in the summer of 1894.

The Odd Fellows' Society of Springbrook bought a piece of land west of the Union church lot, and erected and finished a nice, large building for a hall and other purposes, all completed in the summer of 1894.

441 votes were polled at the election, November 6th.

All through the months of January, February and into March we had a continuous succession of snow storms, with very high wind and temperature in February from 2° to 14° below zero. All the roads were badly drifted and were nearly impassable for several days; making the worst continuous storm for many years.

At the town meeting held March 12th, 515 votes were polled; for officers elected see Chapter XXI.

The ice went out of the large streams in the Town of Elma March 25th; no flood to cause damage, only at East Elma, where part of the milldam went out, and Anthony Allen, then owner of the old Hatch-Hemstreet sawmill, decided not to repair the dam, and he soon took down the sawmill. So the "Indian Mill", another old land mark, is gone.

Alexander Sutton, on April 1st, bought of Mrs. Wilkes, the goods in the store at the railroad station at Elma Centre, and on April 5th, 1895, Frank Sutton was appointed postmaster of the Elma Centre postoffice.

The railroad station was on the west side of the tracks, and a driveway separated the station and store, the postoffice being in the store.

Before eleven o'clock of the evening of June 18th, fire was discovered in the shed, at the west side of the store, among some empty boxes which had been piled in the end of the shed next to the store. When the alarm was given, the fire had worked into the store and in a very few minutes the whole inside of the store was a roaring furnace. Only a few letters and the mail bag were saved; nothing saved from the store.

The fire quickly worked its way to Andrew Slades' coal and lumber office on the north end of the store, and to Slades' shingle shed at the north of the office. There was but little, if any, insurance.

The fire soon reached the depot building which was quickly consumed.

The body of an empty freight car was utilized as a station until a board shanty was erected, and this served until the railroad company built the present station on the east side of the tracks, and 200 feet south from the crossing of the Woodward Road.

A carriage road was soon made from the station along the east side of the railroad tracks and east side of Slades' coal and grain building to the Bowen Road, which enabled the Elma Villagers to drive to the station without crossing the tracks.

Alexander Sutton, on June 27th, bought of Eron Woodard a lot on the west side of the Bowen Road, next south of Frank Slades' lot, and put up a building for store and postoffice.

Frank Slade, on July 8th, bought of E. Woodard a lot south of Woodard's house, and that summer built his house and barn.

George D. Briggs remodeled his barn and stables near the Big Buffalo Creek, arranged the old store building' into a milk house, and commenced to bottle and send to Buffalo "Certified Milk."

320 votes were polled at the election, November 5th, 1895.


February of this year gave us forty-two inches of snow with high winds and badly drifted roads.

On March 29th, we had four separate and distinct thunder storms between nine and eleven o'clock a. m.

At the town meeting, March 10th, 373 votes were polled. See Chapter XXI, for officers elected at town meeting.

Robert C. Board of Buffalo, bought the Clark-Baker place, across the street from the church in Elma Village.

George D. Briggs, this year built two more silos at the west end of his cattle stables.

Alexander Sutton in May sold the goods in his store in Elma Centre to Frank Sutton and Charles Sommers and rented the store to them for one year.

Joseph Geyer leased of Alexander Sutton land for a blacksmith shop, between Sutton's store and Slade's coal office, in Elma Centre, and in the summer he built a shop and went to work, thus starting the first blacksmith shop in Elma centre.

Michael Greiss bought the mill property in Blossom, and in the summer rebuilt the gristmill, with cidermill attached.

Irving Schurr, on May 9th, bought of E. H. Dingman and J. Wagner a lot for blacksmith shop and residence at Jamison, between the Williams Road and the railroad, on Lot 39, that summer he built the shop and house.

Louis P. Reuther built a barn on the east side of the Main Street in Elma Village next to the creek.

Edgar L. Murlin, in August, bought the James Clark place in Elma Village, and on the east side of Main Street, across from Jerge Brothers' blacksmith shop.

Dr. Albert H. Briggs of Buffalo, celebrated his fifty-fourth birthday on September 9th, 1896, by giving a "Clam Chowder" dinner to his many friends on the lawn in front of Wilbor B. Briggs' house in Elma Village. The large number (more than 100) of persons present greatly enjoyed the dinner and the sociable part, and all declared that the doctor was a full team as entertainer.

Harvey J. Hurd this summer overhauled and rebuilt the sawmill and gristmill in Elma Village and put in extensive water works machinery to supply his house and barns with water. He put a 400 barrel tank into the barn on the east side of the road, on top of the hill across from the schoolhouse, and connected that tank by pipes to a large force pump which was placed under the gristmill, the pump to be driven by water power, to force the water into "the large tank. Then by other pipes, connections were made with the house, barns, garden and lawn, so they were all supplied with water. The tank being so elevated, he can, with a hose, throw water into and over any of his buildings. He also built a large ice house on the north bank of the millpond near the sawmill.

Jacob Heim built a steam cidermill on his farm east of Jamison Station in the summer of 1896.

The Farmers' Alliance at Spring Brook collapsed this year. We had a large crop of apples this year.

The M. E. Church building in Spring Brook was this year altered and repaired, and was re-dedicated December 29th, 1896.

442 votes were polled at the election No^^ember 3d. Votes of Electoral College for McKinley, 271; for William J. Bryan, 176.


High wind, seventy-six miles per hour at 2 p. m. March 12th.

At the town meeting, March 9th, 528 votes were polled. The law having been changed as to the time Supervisors should commence to hold office, from their election at the March town meeting as heretofore, to January 1st after they were elected. James A. Woodard, although elected March 9th, 1897, could not take the office until January 1st, 1898. Consequently a vacancy existed in the office of Supervisor after March 9th. To fill this vacancy, the Town Board appointed John Luders, ex-Supervisor.

Charles Sommers sold his interest in the goods of Sutton & Sommers store to Alexander and Frank Sutton in May 1897, and June 23d he bought the goods in Peter Grader's store and commenced on his own account in Grader's store.

The Catholic Church in Spring Brook was repainted this summer The building in Spring Brook known as "The Farmers' Alliance. Hall," was sold to Joseph Klass and moved from Esq. Ward's lot, on to the lot across the street from the brick store.

Harrison Tillou was this year appointed postmaster of Spring Brook postoffice, and- moved the office from Barnett's store in October, to his justice's office opposite the Catholic church.

Ernst Bleeck was appointed postmaster of the Jamison Road postoffice and moved the postoffice from Dingman's store to Bleeck 's on the north side of Jamison Road.

Andrew F. Slade on July 14th, bought of Eron Woodard 's heirs a building lot on west side of the Bowen Road at Elma Center and near the so-called Armstrong house, and built a house that summer and moved in the fall.

Louis P. Reuther built a store and house combined on the east side of Main Street in Elma Village, at north end of the bridge across the creek and was that year appointed postmaster of the Elma postoffice.

John McMullen's house in East Elma burned at noon, September 6th, 1897.

Warren Jackman was on September 30th appointed Attendance Officer for the town. Joseph Geyer on December 17th bought of the Woodard heirs a building lot on the west side of the Bowen Road at Elma Centre, south of Sutton's store.

There was a very small crop of apples this year, many of the farmers not having a bushel from their whole orchard.


On January 12th, 1898 there was a heavy thunder storm from 6 to 10 o'clock p. m., when one inch of water fell and was followed with snow and very high wind.

James McGiveron rented the Beck blacksmith shop in Spring Brook and commenced work in April.

Charles Thayer in the summer of this year built a barn on his lot in Spring Brook.

Louis P. Luther in March, moved into his new store at the north end of the bridge in Elma Village.

George W. Hurd moved from Buffalo April 1st, on to his farm, Lot 85, on the south side of Bullis Road.

Joseph Geyer built a house and barn on his lot in Elma Centre, south of Sutton's store.

An English Sunday-school was organized at Elma Centre this summer, the school being held in the schoolhouse at the corner of the Bowen and Rice Roads.

Baker's saloon across the Street from the Union Church in Spring Brook was burned with contents on July 2d, 1898. It was immediately rebuilt.

Peter Burn's barn on the Jamison Road was struck by lightning and burned in July, 1898.

Dr. Albert H. Briggs of Buffalo, on September 9th, celebrated his fifty-sixth birthday by inviting his many friends to a Chowder dinner given on W. B. Briggs' lawn in Elma Village. As usual, it was a gathering which resulted in binding all together in social bonds of friendship.

Jerge Brothers in the fall of 1898 put up a new building in Elma Village, on the north side of their blacksmith shop, for a carriage, storage and paint shop.

The railroad company built a new station on the south side of Jamison Road in the summer of 1898.

There was a very light crop of apples in Elma this year.

James T. Hurd, Harvey J. Hurd and J. E. Briggs, each put up a new silo as an attachment to their cattle barns. The silos were each sixteen feet in diameter and twenty-four feet in height and were enclosed in a frame building, lined, papered and sided, so as to be nearly frost proof.

Warren Jackman was on September 29th appointed by the Town Board, for a second term as Attendance Officer for the whole Town of Elma.

Mrs. Clara E. Gibson bought the north house built by George D. Briggs on the west side of the Bowen Road near the south line of Lot 58, with the building lot, and put in a tile drain from the west side of her house to the bank of Pond Brook, going across the road and through James T. Kurd's orchard and down the bank to the brook.

Burton H. Hurd in October bought the other house and lot next south of Mrs. Gibsons', and put in a tile drain to connect with Mrs. Gibsons' drain.

At the general election November 8th, 460 votes were polled in this town, and Theodore Roosevelt was elected Governor of the State b}' over 21,000 majority.

Alexander Rush sold the hotel property at southwest corner of Bowen and Bullis Roads to Matthias Nosbisch, November 16th, 1898, consideration $2,150.

From December 4th to 12th we had thirty-two inches of snow, with very high wind, changing from southeast to east, to northwest to west, southwest to north and north east, piling and drifting the snow so as to block railroad trains and country roads; and the streets in the southeast part of Buffalo were closed for several days, the street cars not moving.


Snow and blizzard on January 6th and 7th; again on January 21st, and again on January 26th and 27th: at 10 o'clock p. m. January 27th, the wind was a seventy-two mile gale.

March 1st, Mrs. Emilie Ford bought of Alexander and Frank Sutton, the goods in their store in Elma Centre, renting the store for three years.

Total vote at the town meeting March 14th, 559. For officers elected see Chapter XXI.

By the terms of the new law, we, in Erie County are to hold town meetings biennially; on the odd years, and all town officers elected will hold office for two years.

Myron H. Clark in April bought of the heirs of William Standart, deceased, the lands and appurtenances of the William Standart estate, on the east side of the Bowen Road and on the north side of the Bullis Road, being part of Lots 49, 54 and 59, except the east half of the south fifty acres of Lot 49. By the terms of the settlement, William Wesley Standart, one of the said heirs, is to have the said excepted twenty-five acres.

Robert C. Board put a new felt roof on his house across the street from the church in Elma Village.

Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Lee celebrated their silver wedding June 3d.

Mrs. Emilie Ford was appointed postmaster at Elma Centre postoffice July 19th.

The M. E. Church in Elma Village was re-painted in August.

Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo C. Bancroft celebrated their golden wedding September 12th.

Dr. Albert H. Briggs, for fifty-seventh birthday celebration, had a clam chowder party September 9th, on Wilbor B. Briggs' lawn in Elma village; 120 persons present and all had a fine time.

Solon Hines was on September 28th appointed Attendance Officer for the whole town.

The hardest drought ever known in the Town of Elma was during the summer of 1899. Not a drop of water ran from Pond Brook into the Big Buffalo Creek from June 20th to September 26th; except a very little on July 10th, 11th and 12th. The drought was finally broken by a shower on September 18th. The three clays of gentle, steady rain on September 24th, 25th and 26th, when two and one-half inches of water fell, was so gradual, and the ground was so dry, that not a drop of the water drained into the streams; so they showed no signs of rain, only what fell in the bed of the streams, until the morning of September 27th, and then only a little. Many farmers had to haul water from the nearest stream for their farm stock. Plowing for fall and winter grain was greatly delayed as the ground was so dry and hard that it was impossible on most farms to do any plowing.

A new stone abutment for the south end of the bridge across the creek in Elma Village was built in October by Philip Jerge, finished October 29th. Contract price |500.

The vote at the election November 6th, 1st district 213; 2d district 173. Total 386. A mad dog scare just before Christmas in Elma Village resulted in the killing of eight dogs; twenty more could be disposed of.

In November and December, Eli B. Northrup, owner of the gas well in Spring Brook, had pipe laid from the well to his house, with branches and connections to the residence of Joseph Klass, to Richard Barnett's store, the Odd Fellows Hall and to Eli B. Northrup's residence. On December 31st, the gas was turned on and these places were heated and lighted. These were the first gaslights in Spring Brook.


The mad dog scare, mentioned in the last part of 1899, continued through the holiday season and on January 1st, 1900, shows no abatement in Elma Village; the demand that other and more dogs which were reported to have been bitten, should be killed or kept in close confinement, is urged and demanded as security for human and animal life; but some people seem to care more for their worthless curs than they do for the lives and property of their neighbors.

For three days in January, 11th to 14th, all the trees were loaded with ice and snow which was removed by the thaw of 14th and 15th.

The fine sleighing for several days, also the ice and three inches of snow of January 11th was spoiled by the thaw of 17th and 18, which was followed by one and one-half inches of rain on the 20th, all together causing the highest water in the streams in the town for many years, but as there was no ice, but little damage resulted.

On January 15th, Burton H. Hurd had a barn raised on his lot on the west side of the Bowen Road, south from Elma Village; his building lot being on the line between Lots 58 and 59; his house is on Lot 58 and his barn on Lot 59.

At a meeting of the members and congregation of the Catholic society of Spring Brook, held in its church on Sunday, December 31.st, 1899, notice was given that on Sunday, January 7th, 1900, the parsonage building, and the barn (old church building) on the northeast end of its church lot, would be sold to the highest bidder. The sale took place according to the said notice. Mr. Robert Wiley bought the house for $149; and it will be moved on to the lot on the north side of the Plank Road, and next south from the Thayer place (old Mouse Nest).

The barn, which was the first church building in the Town of Elma, and was used by the Catholic society as their church from 1850 to 1874, when it was moved to the east end of their lot and has since been used as a parsonage barn, was sold for |20; was taken down and moved on to land owned by William Fisher, being part of Lot 100, on the east side of the Blossom Road, south of the railroad.

Within the last few years, farmers have been putting up windmills for the purpose of pumping water to supply their farm stock. No mention has been heretofore made, and now on January 1st, 1900, we find among the names of the owners of these mills the following: Peter Heineman, 2, George Beidler, J. Eddy Briggs, Louis P. Reuther, George D. Briggs, James T. Hurd, Mrs. C. E. Gibson, Thomas Schneider, George W. Hurd, Henry E. Stitz, William F. Stitz, Henry W. Stitz, Henry Lexo, Col. E. Persons, Stephen Curtis, Irving Schurr, D. K. Adams, Borden Cole, Herbert Lathrop, William Conley, Henry Kihm, D. L. Wilson, and on the William M. Rice place, James Grace, Caleb Brown, Fred Maurer.

On February 2d, the ''Old Bear" came out, and as it was a bright day she saw her shadow and wisely went back to remain for six weeks. Winter soon set in again with renewed force, so that February and March, 1900 pass into history as record breakers for heavy snow storms, with very high winds, roads made impassable, unpleasant weather.

An epidemic of measles prevailed in the town from January 1st into May, causing several of the schools to close which will account for the small attendance of pupils during the school year.

The mad dog scare, mentioned on January 1st, continued until May, and as a result a goodly number of dogs were put out of the way, but enough remained to make the dog nuisance in the town so great, as at times to severely tax the patience of decent, order loving citizens.

On March 1st, Charles Clough hired Irving Schurr's shop at Jamison Road and commenced work as blacksmith.

In April, the Patrick Cassady place on the Thompson Road at East Elma was sold to Wihard F. Hines.

Sylvester Rush in April bought of Jacob Miller the thirty acre lot on northeast corner of Lot 53, being the southwest corner of the Bowen and Rice Roads.

May 4th, Charles Stetson with his family moved from Buffalo into Mrs. Standart's house, on the east side of the Bowen Road south of Elma Village.

May 14th, the grass has started so that farmers are turning their stock out to pasture. A few gardens are made and some early potatoes are planted.

Henry E. Bancroft was appointed to take the United States census in the town on the west side of the Bowen Road, and George Heim to take the census on the east side of that road. For result see Chapter XXI.

The Republican National Convention met in Philadelphia and on June 20th adopted a platform, of which the main features are: "That American authority is to be maintained in the Philippines, with the largest measure of self-government, consistent with the welfare of the inhabitants; the pledge to give Cuba independence will be kept; increased shipping favored; to reduce war taxes: to build, own and control the Isthmian Canal; and the extension of our foreign trade; pledge to the principles of the gold standard, and opposed to the free and unlimited coinage of silver without the support of the leading commercial countries of the world; favor cooperation of capital to meet new conditions and to extend our foreign trade, but condemn combinations to restrict business, to erect monopolies, or to control prices; and favor legislation to prevent abuses, protect and promote competition and secure the rights of producers, laborers and all who are engaged in industry and commerce.

June 21st, the Convention by unanimous vote, named William McKinley as its candidate for the Presidency by a vote of 929 - one delegate not voting; the Convention then named Theodore Roosevelt, Governor of New York, as candidate for Vice-President.

The Prohibition party held its National Convention in Chicago, June 27th. The platform presents the liquor traffic, as being socially, morally, financially and politically wrong, and the licensed liquor traffic is and ought to be the overwhelming issue in American politics. On June 28th, John G. Woolley of Illinois, was nominated as the candidate for President, and Henry B. Metcalf for Vice President.

The Democratic Party held its National Convention in Kansas City on July 4th. On July 5th, the platform was adopted. It declared against "Imperialism" as the leading issue; against Militarism and Trusts; adopted the Chicago platform of 1896 and declared for free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver on the ratio of 16 to 1, by this government without regard to any other nation. William J. Bryan was the unanimous choice of the convention as its candidate for President; and the next day Adlai Stephenson was chosen as candidate for Vice-President.

The silver Republicans in convention in Kansas City, endorsed Bryan and Stephenson.

The Populist Convention decided to accept of Bryan and Stephenson.

Mr. Bryan in accepting the nomination in Indianapolis, August 3d, said: "If I am elected I shall convene Congress in extraordinary session, as soon as I am inaugurated and recommend an immediate declaration of the nation's purpose on the Philippine question. First, to establish a stable government in the Philippines, just as we are now establishing a stable government in the island of Cuba.

Second, to give independence to the Filipinos just as we have promised to give independence to the Cubans.

Third, to protect the Filipinos from outside interference, while they work out their destiny, just as we have protected the Republics of Central and South America, and are by the Monroe doctrine pledged to protect Cuba.

July 4th, 1900, was observed by the Elma people as has been their custom for many years by a gathering in the park. This was an old-fashioned basket picnic, and about 150 persons joined in the dinner and social part of the program.

John Miller's barn on the Woodard Road was struck by lightning and burned, with all the crops and farm tools, at 5 o'clock p. m. July 10th.

The hay crop is very small, owing to the droughts of last year, and of May and June of this year.

A larger acreage of land is under the plow this year, and more acres put into oats, potatoes and corn, especially fodder corn, than in any previous year.

Myron H. Clark, owner of the property at the northeast corner of the Bullis and Bowen Roads, on August 3d took down the frame of the barn which was built by George Standart in 1843, and as the timber was mostly pine and in a good state of preservation, he used it in building a barn twenty rods north, and near to the brick house which was built by William Standart in 1853.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company, early in the year began to look for a way by which that company could gain an entrance into Buffalo. The W. N. Y. & P. Railroad seemed to be the most desirable and negotiations were commenced and carried on between the two companies until arrangements were completed and on August 1st, 1900, the Pennsylvania Company took possession of the road and of all the rolling stock and property of the W. N. Y. & P. R. R. Company; and from that date it will be known as a branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The schoolhouse in Blossom, (District No. 8), having been condemned by the School Commissioner as not suitable for school purposes, the residents of that school district, at a special meeting held in the schoolhouse in July, voted to build a new house, and after several meetings, the old house, after the seats were taken out, was sold to Alois Dusch for $49, and was by Dusch moved across the. street, and at a later meeting the contract to build the new house, 30x40, with 14 foot posts to have two rooms, was let to Jacob Weil & Co., the contract price being $2,175, to be completed by November 20th, the building to occupy the old site on the south of Main Street in Blossom Village.

Charles H. Sweet's store at the corner of the Northrup and Aurora Roads in the Village of Spring Brook, burned at 6 o'clock p. m., August 23d; building and goods destroyed, only some household furniture in the wing of the building saved, partially insured. This wipes out the first building in Spring Brook built as a store by E. G. Kent in 1850.

Along in July, posters, hand-bills and circulars were put up and circulated throughout this and adjoining towns, announcing that ''on Saturday, July 28th, there would be a grand circus and hippodrome on "Bonny Brook," (Mr. R. Porter Lee's place), with music by the band, a grand parade, wild animals, chariot races, wild west riding and shooting and other attractions that would put the "Traveling Circus" in the shade."

To prepare for this, the Elma boys, with a little outside help, worked and practiced daily and nightly.

July 28th was an ideal circus day - fair weather, gentle breeze, temperature just right and everything was ready on time. At 2 o'clock p. m. people began to gather at the grounds, and at 3 o'clock, the time set for the performance to begin more than 300 persons were there, most of them having visited the side shows. Every part of the program was perfectly rendered - not a slip nor jar; and at the evening performance more than 400 persons enjoyed the entertainment, which by general assent was declared to be better than had been promised.

This effort proved so satisfactory that it was decided to have another "circus "next year.

On Monday, September 17th, a certificate of the incorporation of the "Elma Circus," a club organized for social purposes, was filed with the County Clerk in this County.

The directors are: James T. Hurd, R. Porter Lee, George D. Briggs, Robert C. Board, Myron H. Clark, John R. Lee, Burton H. Hurd, Ernest C. Crane and Charles S. Gibson.

The tornado which struck Galveston, Texas, September 8th, continuing for thirty hours, with wind eighty-four to ninety-six miles per hour, making a wreck of that city, with loss of life, as reported from 11,000 to 14,000, and property loss estimated at $25,000,000, reached this part of the country Tuesday evening, September 11th, the wind increasing until 5 o'clock a. m. September 12th, at times a seventy-eight mile gale; causing throughout the path of the storm great destruction of fruit and buildings.

The Government breakwater at Buffalo was damaged $20,000; the Pan-American buildings damaged $100,000. The Buffalo signal office reported it as the worst September storm on record. The destruction of fruit was about all the damage in the Town of Elma.

Dr. Albert H. Briggs celebrated his fifty-eighth birthday by inviting his many friends to a clam chowder dinner, to be given on the lawn in front of Wilbor B. Briggs' house in Elma Village. Tables were spread for 250, and as the day was pleasant, (September 8th), the friends enjoyed the repast and the occasion, so that a vote of thanks was given with three royal cheers for the doctor, and he was invited to repeat the whole thing at his next birthday.

No water was running from Pond Brook from September 5th to September 29th.

Farmers have through the year had fair to extra prices for their produce; crops have generally turned out very good, except hay, which was a short crop.

Milk is produced for the Buffalo market each year in larger quantities, and this year the farmers are receiving nine, ten and eleven cents per gallon at the railroad stations, which is quite an advance above previous years, but the higher price of grain to be fed to the cows brings the net receipts to the farmer about as in former years.

Silos are coming into favor as a way to secure the fodder crops at less expense and with profit, as reported by those farmers who have them.

In October 1900, the following named persons have silos: On the Mile Strip, D. K. Adams, Bordan Cole, Griggs & Ball; on the Aurora part, Ellsworth G. Persons and Benjamin J. Eldridge; on the Lancaster part, George D. Briggs, 2, J. Eddy Briggs, Harvey J. Hurd, James T. Hurd, 2, Morris Hill and Jacob Seeger.

Michael Greiss in October had his dwelling house raised on the mill lot in Blossom, a few rods south from the gristmill.

October 13th, 1900, at 5:45 o'clock p. m,., as Philip Jerge was crossing Pond Brook bridge in Elma Village, with a load of about forty bushels of potatoes, four boys, viz.: Jacob and Philip Jerge, his sons, Charles Jerge, son of Herman Jerge, and Charles Schroeder, and two hired men, Michael Morath and George Heidenrath, all on the wagon, just as the horses were going off the west end of the bridge, the north end of the needle beam that supported that section of the bridge, being rotten, broke down, letting thirty feet of the length of the bridge to the rock bottom of the stream, seventeen feet below the floor of the bridge, with the wagon, men, boys and horses in the wreck.

The wagon turned bottom up with Morath under the box, with plank and joist on the wagon, and the horses on their backs on top of the whole. Morath was taken out with two broken ribs which had penetrated the lungs, and a dislocated shoulder. George Heidenrath had a bruised hip; Jacob Jerge back and hip bruised, Charles Jerge a sprained ankle. The horses were not injured.

The bridge had been rebuilt in April 1896 with oak needle beams and oak joist. A traction engine had crossed the bridge three times within the last six weeks, and two days before the break-down a much heavier load, wagon and horses, than Jerge 's had crossed, and no one had a thought but the bridge was perfectly safe.

In three days, temporary repairs had been made so that teams could safely cross. The Town Board directed Fred Luders the Commissioner of Highways to have a steel or iron bridge placed there without unnecessary delay.

The Horse Heads Iron Bridge Co. had the contract, and had the bridge with steel joists all ready for the flooring on December 25th, 1900, and that day the Commissioner had the floor laid so teams could cross. Contract price $284.

First killing frost on morning of October 17th - temperature 30° at 7 a. m.

The Philippine war is still carried on by guerrilla bands, the Republicans claiming that Aguinaldo is encouraged by the Democratic platform and their speeches, to hold on until after the Presidential election, with the assurance that if Bryan is elected, he will recognize their independence and withdraw the American army, thus giving to the Tagalogs the control of all the tribes of the Philippine Islands. The Republicans claim that if McKinley is elected the rebellion will soon cease, and peace and prosperity in the islands will be the result.

The Presidential campaign of 1900 has been carried through with great labor and cost by both Republican and Democratic parties. William J. Bryan, the Democratic candidate for President has canvassed most of the Western, and several of the Southern and Middle States, making four to ten speeches each day for several weeks, making Imperialism the paramount issue, with Trusts as a second.

Governor Theodore Roosevelt, the Republican candidate for Vice-President, has in the same time, practically covered the same territory, making the financial condition and the 16 to 1 plank of the Democratic platform the principal ground for his speeches. Mass meetings in cities and towns, with speeches and pole raising, have been largely attended, each party doing their best to out-do their opponents, each trying to interest and secure voters for their party.

Greater interest has been manifested by the leaders of both parties during this campaign than in any other Presidential election since 1860.


The following are the national tickets:

Republican - President, William McKinley of Ohio; Vice-President, Theodore Roosevelt of New York.

Democratic - President, William J. Bryan of Nebraska; Vice President, Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois.

Populist - President, William J. Bryan of Nebraska; Vice-President, Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois.

Silver Republicans - President, William J. Bryan of Nebraska; Vice-President, Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois.

Middle-of-the-Road Populist - President, Wharton Barker of Pennsylvania; Vice-President, Ignatius Donnelly of Minnesota.

Prohibitionist - President, John G. Wolley of Illinois; Vice President, Henry B. Metcalf of Rhode Island.

Union Reform - President, Seth Ellis of Ohio; Vice-President, Samuel T. Nicholson of Pennsylvania.

United Christians - President, Dr. S. C. Swallow of Pennsylvania; Vice-President, John G. Woolley of Illinois.

Social Democrats - President, Eugene V. Debs of Indiana; Vice President, Job Hariman of California.

De Leon Socialists - President, Joseph F. Maloney of Massachusetts; Vice-President, Valentine Remmill of Pennsylvania.

The election held on November 6th resulted in the election of the Republican candidates.






Clough, Charles, Jamison Road;

Jerge Brothers, Elma Village;

Dusch, Alois, Blossom;

Jerge Brothers, Bowen and Clinton Street

Edwards, Thomas, East Elma;;

Geyer, Joseph, Elma Centre;

McGiveron, James, Spring Brook.

Butter Factory.

Cole & Fish, Aurora Plank Road.

Cider Mills.

Greiss, Michael, Blossom;

Hesse, Herman, Chair Factory Road

Heim, Jacob and Sons, Jamison Road;

Reuther, Louis P., Elma Village.

Coal. Bleeck,

Ernst, Jamison Road;

Schifferstein, Andrew, Elma

Dingman, Edwin H., Jamison Centre. Road;


Greiss, Michael, Blossom;

Northrup, Eli B., Spring Brook.

Hurd, Harvey J., Elma Village;


Hesse, Adolf F., Bowen and Bullis Roads;

Sommers, Charles, Elma Centre;

Jasel, Christ, Bowen and Clinton Street

Spencer, Adelbert, Spring Brook,

Lumber and Feed.

Schifferstein, Andrew, Elma Centre.

Meat Markets.

Hesse, Adolf F., Bowen and Bullis Roads;

Klas, Joseph, Spring Brook.

Merchants. Barnett,

Richard T., Spring Brook

Dingman, Edwin H., Jamison Road

Burman, Charles, East Elma;

Ford, Mrs. Asa, Elma Centre;

Bleeck, Ernst, Jamison Road;

Herlan, F. T., Blossom;

Reuther, Louis P., Elma Village.


Bleeck, Ernst, Jamison Road;

Hensel, Conrad P., Blossom;

Burman, Charles, East Elma;

Reuther, Louis P., Elma Village;

Ford, Mrs. Emilie, Elma Centre;

Tillou, Harrison L., Spring Brook.


Harvey J. Hurd, Elma Village;

Northrup, Eli B., Spring Brook.


Baker, W. G., Spring Brook;

Mary, Jacob, Schmaltz and Clinton Street;

Bleeck, Ernst, Jamison Road;

Grader, Peter, Elma Centre;

Nosbisch, Matthias, Bowen and Bullis Roads;

Jasel, Christ, Bowen and Clinton Street Roads;

Sugg, Nicholas, Blossom;

Leger, Louis and William, Spring Brook;

Wilhelm, Alex, Blossom.

Jerge Brothers in connection with their blacksmith shop in Elma Village, have a machine shop with steam power where they manufacture heavy and light wagons of many styles, buggies, carriages, sleighs, farm tools, etc., etc., and joining their factory building they have a large paint shop and store house. They are also agents for all kinds of farm implements and machinery.

Louis P. Reuther is agent for the Page Wire Fence Co., and for farm tools and machinery, with wind mills in addition.

Charles H. Sweet of Spring Brook has a good assortment of farm implements and machinery, fertilizers, etc., etc., to accommodate the farmers of that locality.

Patrick Phelan's barn in Spring Brook, on the lot at the corner of the Davis and Aurora Plank Roads burned Friday morning, November 30th, 1900, nothing saved. Insurance on building $300, contents $204.

Thomas D. Williams died December 1st, 1900, age 73 years, 9 months and 13 days. He has lived since April 10th, 1828, on Lot 15 of Mile Strip, and in the same house that his father, Isaac Williams built just after he moved on that lot. That house had been his only home for more than 72 years.

In the latter part of December 1900, Judge Emery, of the Erie County Court, ordered the toll gate at the City Line, of the Aurora and Buffalo Plank Co. thrown open and no more tolls to be collected; as the plank had become so worn, rotten and broken, that it was impossible to safely go over the road with heavy loads. The other gate one mile southeast from Spring Brook was opened for the same cause. This road was completed in the fall of 1849.

The lattice bridge across the Cazenove Creek at Northrup's mills in Spring Brook, known as the Northrup bridge, which was built in the summer of 1861, was condemned as being unsafe, by Fred Luders, the Commissioner of Highways for the Town of Elma, December 1900.

December 1900 closes with the ground frozen, roads smooth and four inches of snow at midnight, December 31st. Temperature 30°. Buffalo is having a great and noisy celebration. This closes the year 1900, the nineteenth century, and this history of the Town of Elma as written by Warren Jackman, his age at the time being 78 years, 9 months, 11 days.

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