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The town of Leon was formed from Connewango on April 24, 1832. It lies on the west border of Cattaraugus County. Its surface is level and marshy in the west and northwest, and the remainder of the county is moderately hilly. It is drained by the Connewango Creek and its tributaries.

Leon is a postal village near the center of town, nd in 1860 contained 2 churches and 18 dwellings. East Leon is a post office.

Thompsonville is a hamlet, in the southeast part. Settlements began in 1819, on Mud Creek, by Jason Franklin and his James from Riga, Monroe County , Abner Wise and his son Abner W. Wise, Thomas Cheney, and Edward Cheney, all from Otsego County . Other early settlers included Robert Durfee, from Rhode Island , who settled on Lots 50 & 57, in 1819; and John Fairbanks and John Battles, in 1819-1820.

The first birth was that of Edward Dudley on July 26, 1820. The first marriage was between Abner W. Wise and Laura Davison, in 1823. Laura, the daughter of Captain John Fairbanks, was the first person to die, in 1821.

The first school was taught by Richard Outhout, in the winter of 1822-1823. Asa Franklin kept the first inn, in 1823. Johnson Noyes started the first store in 1828, at Olds Corners. The first sawmill was erected by Ebenezer Collar, on Mud Creek, in 1823. Jabez Thompson set up the first gristmill, on Mud Creek in 1832. The first religious meeting was held at the house of Abner Wise, in 1820, by Elder Hadley; and the first (Reformed Methodist) Church, was formed by Rev. Ezra Amadon in 1822.


by Franklin Ellis


(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 Rutledge.

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 County.

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 town.

Elisha Cooper, a brother of Nathaniel settled on lot 53, living there until his death. Andrew W., a son, now occupies the homestead.

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.

Transcribed by Richard Allen, 2003

Town Officials
Town Historian Town Clerk
Patricia L. Bromley
12091 Ruckh Hill Rd.
South Dayton, NY 14138
(716) 296-5709
Sheila Fiebelkorn
Hours: Tues. 4:30-7 PM; Fri. 4-6 PM; 1st, 2nd Sat. 10 AM- Noon
7765 Kellogg Hill Rd.
South Dayton, NY 14138
(716)296-8132 (B)
Information from the Cattaraugus County Directory datad April 1, 2022

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Leon Cemeteries

A number of years ago, volunteers walked the cemeteries and copied the information on the headstones.  This information is not 100% complete.  Information for Franklin Cemetery (Old Leon Cemetery), Kendall Flats Cemetery, Leon Center Cemetery, Treat Memorial Cemetery, the cemetery at Kendall Corners, cemetery on Mosher Farm (East Leon Road).  All information on file at the Cattaraugus County Museum is available to the public for research purposes. 

Contact Sharon Fellows, Cattaraugus County Historian 716-353-8200 ext. 4720 or 4721