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TOWN OF Dayton
The Town of Dayton was formed from Perrysburg on
February 7, 1835. It is located in the western border of Cattaraugus
County, and is the second town from the north. East of it lies the town
of Persia and south, the town of Leon. Its surface
is a rolling and hilly upland, the highest elevations
being 300 feet above the R.R at Dayton Station. Conewango Creek is the
major stream. Lumbering was an important industry to the town, with
pine, hemlock, maple and beech being the major
trees found. As the land was forested and improved, the
dairy industry grew to in importance.
Dayton on the N.Y. & E. R. R., in the northeast corner of the town contained 13 dwellings in 1860. West Dayton, in the northwest corner contained a church, 2 sawmills, and 14 dwellings.
Sociality is a hamlet in the southeast part of the town. The first settlement was made by Silas Nash, and Simeon Bunce, from Otsego county,
It is generally believed that the Rev Elnathan Finch, a
Baptist missionary, held the first religious meeting in town in 1816, at
the house of Caleb Webb, at West Dayton. It does not appear that any
society was organized in consequence, immediately
or in the years following. It seems that the settlements
were too sparse to maintain a church organization, and no effort was
made in this direction by the Baptists. But in the fall of 1818 a class
of four Methodists was formed, and met
for worship at the house of Caleb Webb. The members were
Webb and his wife; Daniel and Clarinda Brand. The meetings were led by a
Mr. Whipple, living at Kents Mills; and occasional preaching was
supplied by Revs. Dennis Goddard and Samuel
R. Brockway. Soon the class was augmented by members
from the Webb, Darbee and Prosser families, and shortly after a log
meeting house was built on the lad of Daniel Prosser, in Southwestern
Perrysburg, which was used until 1845.
From this class was formed The First Methodist Episcopal
Church of Dayton, or what is now known as the Cottage Methodist
Episcopal Church. The incorporation was effected Oct 31, 1835, as a
meeting over which Daniel Prosser and John H. Blish
presided. The trustees elected were Giles Johnson,
William Howlet, and John B. Reed. The membership of the church at this
time was about sixty, under the pastoral direction of the Revs. W. S.
Warallo and T.H. Cummings. They were preachers
in charge of a circuit, which embraced appointments in
Dayton, Perrysburg, and other towns.
A church edifice was erected the following year, 1846,
at West Dayton, which was replaced by the present structure in 1872. It
is very attractive place of worship with a capacity to seat 300 persons,
and cost to build $2500. A parsonage and
two acres of ground were secured for the Dayton circuit
about twenty years ago at West Dayton. This property is valued at $1500,
and is occupied by the preacher in charge of the circuit, which
embraces other appointments in the town of
Dayton. Others who have served Dayton circuit have been
the Revs. WW Warner, Peter Burroughts, T.G. McCrary, WHH Snowden, W. H.
Hover, J. H. Whalon, T. P. Warner and L. A. Chapin. The names of the
ministry previously connected with the
church can be found in the history of the Methodist
Church of Perrysburg.
Early settlers included: Joshua Webb, in 1815, from Madison County, on Lot 56; Lehman H. Pitcher, on Lot 58, in 1816; Ralph Johnson, on Lot
301, from Connecticut; Heman and Anson Merrill, from Onondaga County,
in 1815 on Lots 30 and 31; and Timothy Shaw, from Herkimer County in 1818.
The first child, Aras, was born to Silas Nash in 1811;
and the first marriage was that of Benjamin Parsell and Mary Redfield,
in March, 1818. The first death was that of DeWitt Nash, a son of Silas
Nash, in Feb. 1812. In 1827 the first inn
was opened by Caleb Webb, in West Dayton; and the first
store by William H Leland, in 1833 in Wesley. A sawmill was built by
Silas Nash in 1817, in West Dayton.
The Public Schools
In 1835 the Commissioners of Common Schools, James
Cadwell, Russell Brown, and W. B. Smith, reported four whole and five
fractional districts in town, in which an Aggregate off forty-three
months of school had been taught, in terms of from
three to seven months in each district. The number of
children taught was three hundred and sixty-five, and the money
apportioned to the town by the county was $121.15.
There are at present nine school districts, owning
buildings and lots valued at $3600. Teachers wages were $2246.35; the
apportionment from the county was $1170.68, and the amount raised by
taxation $1222.39. The number of children of school
age was reported as four hundred eighty five and the
average daily attendance a little more than two hundred and seven.
In most districts good schoolhouses have been provided
and the reputation of the schools will bear comparison with those of
District No 2 is the owner of a fine grove near Dayton
village, which is locally known as "Educational Grove." It contains
about five acres of well-drained ground, covered by a magnificent growth
of maple trees. It is a favorite place for
picnics and public out door gatherings. It was and is
the purpose of the purchasers to have the school buildings erected on
these grounds the present year, 1879.
Pioneer Settlers of Dayton
Land Owners in 1819
Timothy M. Shaw
James H. Shaw
Anson C. Merrill
Frederick A. Redfield
Belah H. Redfield
Samuel K. Strickland
Leman H. Pitcher
James P. Pitcher
Ezra T. Winship
Don S. Downer
The property we know as South Dayton was stagnant
for many years. It was sold no less than eight times before two men
decided to develop the land into a village. The following lists the
history of those land transactions.
1816 - The first settlers were Lehman H. and James
P. Pitcher, who soon moved on and sold their interest to M.C. Nickerson.
no date avalible - Sold to the Farmer's Loan and Trust Co.
1838 - sold to William Tweedy
1841 - sold to Christopher Smith
1845 - sold to Daniel C. Smith (Christophers's brother)
1849 - sold to Homer and Joseph Wheelock.
1864 - sold to Fredrick C. Phillips
1865 - sold to John and Cynthia Wickham.
1875 - Mr. Wickam sold part of his share (32 acres)
at $150 per acre to Robert F. Ewing. The village was then plotted and
laid out into lots, with Mr. Ewing owning one third and Mr. Wickham
two-thirds. This was the beginning of South Dayton
proper. Actually the name South Dayton wasn't
officially used until the late 1890's. In 1855 the place was named Pine
Valley by Baron Hubbard.
The first grocery store was run in 1864
by David Barret. After 1875 another store was erected by N. L. Rowe. Mr.
Wickham built a grist mill, hotel and about thirty other buildings. Mr.
Ewing also erected a store and a number of buildings.
The first mail route was run by the residents, who would
take turns carrying the mail from Perrysburg. They would often meet in
the school house to hear the war news read. The post office was
established in about 1860 with Ehan O. Beach
appointed as postmaster and Mrs. John Wickham, deputy.
Listing of Early Businessmen
Ranlett & Chase, N. L. Rowe, Ben L. Babb, Ewing &
Whipple, Wilson & Fuller, Wilson & Hale, J. M. Frantz, R. L.
Shepard, E. F. Beach, P. McCune, W. C. Cardot, G. P. Williams, James
Peters, Theodore Buckentine, Babcock &
McIntyre, and Wilson & Wade.
Source: History of Dayton, New York by Chas J.
Shults ( copyright 1901)
Thanks to: Lonnie Bowers and Artie Nichols for providing this information.
Transcribed by our volunteers.
The book The History of Cattaraugus County
published in 1879 by L.H. Everts contains a chapter on Dayton with
history and photos of some of its prominent men and
pioneers. That chapter has been transcribed by Linda Albright and
The History of Dayton
by by Charles Schults, published in 1901.
This document transcribed by Mary Lee and Laura Greene
contains biographies of many residents of Dayton, including those
residing there previous to 1901. It also contains an interesting views
on some notable Americans from the perspective
of a contemporary.
Town of Dayton Historyby
Ruth Bennett published in 2007 - Any list of Dayton historical
documents would be incomplete without this excellent work. Includes many
photos of local veterans.