THE PIONEER SETTLERS
(excerpted from the Town of Leon - pg. 484)
The first to permanently locate were James Franklin
and his son, James. They came from Monroe County, in September, 1818,
and settled on lot 50, where they put up a log house that season, the
first in town. Both died in town ,the
latter about 1843. Many descendants of the Fanklins
live in town.
The same season came Abner Wise and his son, Abner
Wise, from Owego County, and settled on 160 acres of lot 49. The former
was generally called Capt. Wise. His wife was the first white woman in
town. She died at the age of seventy-seven
years. Capt. Wise died about 1838, and his son moved
to Waupan, Wis.
Thomas W. Cheney, at that time but a lad fifteen
years old came with the Wises from Otsego County, and selected 200 acres
on lot 49. He joined Abner W. in building a shanty, in which they lived
part of the winter of 1818-19, and cleared
their lands. When the weather became too severe they
went to some relatives in Chautauqua County, but returned early the
next spring and resumed work. Cheney became a minister of the Reformed
Methodist Church about 1828, and was ordained
a few years later. Subsequently, he became a
Wesleyan, and held the position of presiding elder in that denomination.
He is yet a resident of lot 49, and is the only survivor of those who
came in first A son, T. Apoleon, became a very
learned man, and wrote several books on geology,
which were received with favor in this country and in Europe. The
fellowship of several royal colleges was bestowed on him for his
learning and research. He died at Seneca Lake, in 1878.
In the spring of 1819, Edmund Dudley came from Monroe
County, and selected the west part of lot 41, on which he built a
shanty, and then went back to his old home for his family. Returning in
the fall, he passed through Ellicottville,
and called at the Holland Company's office to
article his land. The agent, on leaning that Dudley had a barrel of
whisky among his effects told him that he might have the land for half
his whisky. To this proposition Dudley assented,
and in this way was the first land in Leon articled.
No other land was articled until 1822, when Nathaniel Cooper and Daniel
Dye articled lot 45. The other settlers coming about that period had
their lands "booked" to them on the simple
promise that they would make certain improvements in
a given time, prior to articling or making a purchase. Dudley sold his
land in 1843, but remained in this part of the country, and died at
Robert Durfee, a native of Rhode Island, moved to
Mayville about 1812. In 1819 he came to Leon and booked part of lots 50
and 57, --100 acres on each lot. In the spring of 1820 he brought on his
family, wife and two children. The younger
of these, Edwin C., at that time six weeks old, is
yet a resident on the homestead, and is the second oldest resident in
town. The elder Durfee died on this place in December, 1859.
Otis L. Durfee, a brother of Robert, came in 1820,
and settled on lot 57. Seven years thereafter he moved to Crawford Co.,
Pa., where he became a Baptist clergyman.
The same year came Asa Franklin, and settled on lot
46, and there, a few years later, opened the first tavern in town. He
moved to Erie County.
Wm. Bartlett also came in 1820, and settled on lot
42. He was a millwright by trade, and helped on some of the first mills
in these parts. He left the town in 1840.
Alexander Outhout, from Riga, came in 1820, and lives
for a time on the Cheney place, and John Bigler settle don lot 50.
After many year. he removed to Chautauqua county.
On lot 45, settled, this year, Harlow Beach, - Holt,
Ireneous Baldwin, Wm. Morrison, and a few others, all of whom removed
before 1930, some of them settling in adjoining towns in Chautaugua
Luman Coe settled on lot 37 the same time as the
above, and lived there until his death in 1875. Mrs. Coe was a sister of
the noted politician, Charles D. Shepard. A son, Henry Coe, now
occupies the place.
Nathanial Cooper, a native of New Hampshire, came
from Monroe County about 1821, and settled on lot 45, the whole of which
he and Daniel Dye articled the following year. Cooper died June 26,
1855, but a son, E. W. Cooper, lives on the
old Wise place and is the third oldest resident in
Elisha Cooper, a brother of Nathaniel settled on lot
53, living there until his death. Andrew W., a son, now occupies the
Daniel Brand, a youth, from the town of Perrysburg
was indentured to the Coopers, and grew to manhood in that family. Since
1831 he has lived on lot 44, on the farm which formerly belonged to
John Cooper,--- also an early settler, --and
is one of the oldest citizens of Leon.
In 1821, Hazeltine Streeter, from Riga, settled on
lot 51, Eber Franklin on lot 52, and Richard Outhout on lot 43. He lived
here many years, teaching the first school in town, and, in 1825, put
np the first frame building, on the farm
now occupied by Leroy Rideout. He moved to
Pennsylvania, A number of settlers came to this locality this year. But
few of them remained any great length of time. Among these may be named
Levi Sikes, A. McDonnell, Stephen Parish, John
Battles, and --- Hill.
In 1822, Ichabod Franklin and his son Whitman settled
on lot 43, Oliver Pool on the same lot, -Philip Bigler on lot 28,
Alpheus Stearn on lot 51.
The same year the Rev. Ezra Amadon, a Reformed
Methodist from Onondaga County, settled on lot 56. In the course of
years he removed to Wisconsin, where he died; but his son Ezra still
resides in town, and is one of the oldest citizens.
John N. Keirstead, a soldier of 1812, came from
Ulster County, in 1822, and settled on lot 28, where he yet lives,-the
fourth oldest resident in town.