Olean was formed March 11, 1808, and at first included the whole territory of Cattaraugus County. "Ischua", now Franklinville was taken off in 1812, a part of Perrysburgh in 1814, Great Valley in 1818, Hinsdale in 1820, and Portville, in 1837. It lies upon the south line of the county, near the southeast corner. The surface is a hilly upland, separated into 2 distinct parts by the valley of the Allegheny. The highest points are 500-600 feet above the valley. Lumbering is the major occupation.
Olean is on the Allegheny, at the mouth of Olean Creek, and was incorporated in 1854. It contained in 1863, 6 churches, the Olean Academy, a newspaper office, a flouring mill, foundery, tannery, and 3 sawmills. Its population was 994.
It was a station on the New York and Erie Railroad, and an important commercial point upon the river; and it was for some years the southern terminus of the Genesee Valley Canal.
The first settlement was made in 1805. In that year, Robert Hoops, agent of Adam Hoops, and David Heusten were residents near the river on small improvements, and must have settled as early as 1804. Other early settlers included John Brooks, James Green, Cornelius Brooks, William Shepard and Willis Thrall located in 1806. James G Johnson was the first settler in the village, in 1808.
The first birth in town was that of Olean, daughter of William Shepard, May 22, 1807 and the first death was that of William B Shepard, Sept. 21, 1809.
Sylvanus Russell kept the first inn in 1808 at Olean Point. Levi Gregory kept the first store, in 1811 at Olean Village. The first sawmill was erected in 1807 by William Shepard and Willis Thrall, on Olean Creek.
Adam Hoops erected the first gristmill on the mouth of the creek in 1809. Mr. Hoops was a proprietor of lands, and a pioneer settler. He had served with distinction in the Continental Army, and was at one time an aide to General George Washington.
A Historical Gazetteer and Biographical Memorial of Cattaraugus County by Adams (pub. 1893) contains more information about some early settlers in Olean - Read More