The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 242 - 246


only fifteen hundred inhabitants. Silas Lewis was the first supervisor, the present one is Robert G. Crump; other officers of the town are: John A. Schoenthaler, town-clerk; N.M. Schneider, Charles N. Olin, Charles Hughes, John F. Braun, justices of the peace; William F. Miller, collector; John G. Waltz, commissioner of public roads; Thomas Baker, overseer of the poor.

The Village of Colden

It was called "Buffum's Mills" until 1833, when a postoffice station was established there. First postmaster was Richard Buffum, and it was he who in 1828 built the first hotel in that village. The first great shop was opened by E.P. Hatch in 1831. The first and only drug store of the village was established by L.B. Nichols in 1838. G. Lamm conducted the first hardware store. A tannery was built by Arnold Holt in 1833 and was run until 1845, when it was bought by George Balding. Dr. Philo P. Barden was the first physician who established himself in Colden. About 1870 Martin Miller built a brewery, which he conducted until 1883, when he gave it up; a part of the building was later on used as a hotel by Michael Miller.

At present Colden has about 300 inhabitants. The principal business of the place is milling, tanning and winning of carbon; the village procures its water supply from artesian wells, and natural gas is used for heating and lighting purposes.


In 1838 Benjamin Maltby built the first saw-mill in that little village, and two years later Samuel B. Love and Jones Bridge established a tannery, by means of which the corner-stone was laid for the village. In 1867 Reynolds & Caldwell built a cheese factory, which was, however, closed after two years of operation. A trunk manufactury was established by John B. Hedges. In 1874 it was destroyed by fire, but soon afterwards re-built. After being owned by several men, it was finally purchased by M.L. Miller & Brother. There are also a few shingle factories in the village.

Town of Holland

This town is situated on the eastern boundries of Erie County; on the north it is bounded by the town of Wales, on the west by Colden, on the south by Sardinia and on the east by Wyoming County. Its principal water supply is the Cazenovia Creek. Hunter's Creek, however, flows through a great part of the north-east of the town, while the Buffalo Creek is in the south-west. All these little rivers are surrounded by fertile valleys; the other part of the country is hilly. The first settlement of the town happened in 1807. In that year Arthur Humphrey, Abner Currier and Jared Scott bought some land near


the Cazenovia Valley, about one mile from the northern boundries of the town. Shortly before the war a large immigation into the town took place; among the immigrants were Daniel McKean, Harvey Colby, Samuel Miller, etc. Other settlers established themselves in southern districts on the mountains, even in preference to land in the valley. The top of the hills was adapted for agriculture by clearing the woods, and as the soil looked promising and productive, the work was started immediately. But it was only in the beginning that fertility proved to be true, as it was only the consequence of the decayed foliage fertilizing the soil. Afterwards the soil was not very productive at all.

During the war the building of the first forage-mill in the town of Holland was begun by a man, whose name could not be ascertained.

Caption under picture at right center reads The "Lenox" Apartment House, North Street


In 1814 Colonel (later General) Warren and Ephraim Woodruff of Aurora finished that building. Later on Mr. Warren also built a forage-mill. Leander Cook opened the first shop in the town, in the neighborhood of the forage-mill mentioned before. On April 15th, 1814, the legislature passed a bill, according to which the town of Willink was to be divided into three new towns: Aurora, Wales and Holland. The town named last included the territory of the present towns of Holland and Colden. In 1827 Colden was separated from Holland, by means of which the present town of Holland was formed.

About 1840 many Germans established themselves principally in the neighborhood of Hunter's Creek; the first German settler in that district was Frederick Riefer. Their number increased constantly, so that at present they represent not an unimportant part of the population. A few of these old settlers were Catholics, who went to church in Sheldon; the majority of them, however, were Baptists, who formed a community, held services in the beginning in a little house on Philip Fisher's property, but later on built their own church. When the Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railroad was built the town became very prosperous. The first supervisor for 1819-20 was Arthur Humphrey, the present one is Tom B. Jackson. [1] Other officers of the town are: J.M.C. Borger, village clerk; Orlando Hawks, Hiram Brown, Beverley M. Stanton and Charles Whitney, justices of the peace; Peter J. Komer and Albert Sergel, assessors; Orwin Day, collector; Albert H. Griggs, commissioner of public roads; Fred. Taff, overseer of the poor. The present population of the town of Holland is about 2000.

The Village of Holland

The mills built by Warren & Woodruff formed the basis of the later village of Holland. As told before Leander Cook opened the first shop in 1816, and Joshua Barron the first hotel in 1816. In 1835 the Holland House was built by Jonathan Paul; his successor was David Paul, who conducted it for many years. The large tannery, situated now in the southern part of the village, was started in 1850 by A. Rumsey & Sons of Buffalo, and Horace Selleck built the first planing mill in 1876. In 1822 the first post-office of Holland was established; the first postmaster was Lyman Clark. The German Lutheran community was organized in 1874. In the same year one more church was built. Its trustees were: Joseph Wolff, George Leonhardt and John Brodbeck. At present Holland has 600 inhabitants, it has four large stores for all kinds of goods, a drug store, a hardware store, two saw, two forage and one planing mill, one trunk factory, one cheese-packing establishment [2], one cooper shop, one iron foundry, and one bank. The village is supplied with good water, and has a gas plant. [3]

[1] The German text gives the name as "Wm. B. Jackson". Return to text

[2] The German text states that the Village of Holland has "two cheese-packing plants". Return to text

[3]The German text states "The village has a good water supply and has gas lighting." Return to text


Town of Sardinia

In the south-western corner of Erie County the town of Sardinia is situated. On the north it is bounded by the towns of Holland and Colden, on the west by the town of Concord, on the east by Wyoming County, and on the south by Cattaraugus County. The first settler in the town was George Richmond, who in 1809 arrived there from Virginia. He was accompanied by his two sons, George and Frederick, and settled near Cattaraugus Creek, about one mile and a half from the present western boundries of the town of Sardinia, where he soon afterwards opened a hotel. In the beginning the settlements were scarce, but after the war they increased considerably. In the year 1816 George Clark & Co. established the first shop, but soon thereafter sold the store to Reuben Nichols. In 1820 Dr. Bela H. Colgrove established himself as the first physician of the town in a place, which afterwards got the name of Colgrove's Corners.[1] He became a well known and prominent physician through a great part of Erie, Cattaraugus and Genesee Counties, and in dangerous cases he often was called even into the state of Pennsylvania. For several terms he served the town as supervisor, and in 1822 he was a member of the

Caption under picture at right center reads View of North Street

[1] The German text spells the name "Colegrove". Return to text


assembly. Gradually the town grew and became prosperous, and as early as 1840 the southern and eastern parts were pretty well populated; less satisfactory progress, however, was noticeable in the north-western part, and while in 1850 in those first mentioned parts of the town all the blockhouses had given away to modern houses, in other parts they could be found until 1880 and later. When the territory of Sardinia was first visited by white settlers, it was a part of the town of Willink (Niagara County). On March 20th, 1820, the town of Concord was formed; out of it the town of Sardinia was created on March 16th, 1821.

In 1869 a Roman-Catholic community was formed and in the same year a church was built in the western part by Rev. Ulrich. The first supervisor in the town was Elihu Rice in 1821, the present one is Clark F. Crosby. The other officers of the town are: Milton Pitcher, town-clerk; G.M. Wood, Roller and S. Kingsley, justices of peace; George Berthel [1], George Rogens [2] and Fred Savage, assessors; Luther Hakes, collector; Charles F. Brady, commissioner of public roads and Wilson L. Stone, overseer of the poor. The number of inhabitants of the town is about 2000.

The Village of Sardinia

In 1821 Chauncey Hastings came to that place at a time when only 3 houses existed there; he opened the first shop, and a few years later a second store. Sidney D. Kingsley was the first postmaster.

Today the village of Sardinia has about 350 inhabitants and possesses a saw and planing mill, a manufactury of cheese boxes and butter barrels, as well as various shops. The Sardinia Union School is also in the village.

Colgrove's Corners

is, so to say, a part of the village of Sardinia, although it is three quarters of a mile distant from it. The little village is beautifully situated.

Town of Brant

The town of Brant is situated at the extreme southwestern point of Erie County; on the west is it bounded by Lake Erie, on the north by Evans, on the east by North Collins and on the south by Chautauqua County and that part of the Cattaraugus reservation which belongs to the town of Collins.

The whole territory in the beginning was part of Batavia (Genesee County) and then Willink (Niagara County.) When in 1812 Willink was divided, that part of Brant which comprises the Cattaraugus reservation, came to the town of Concord while the rest became a part of Eden. The first settlers in the territory belonging

[1] The German text gives the name as "Barthel". Return to text

[2]The German text gives the name as "Rogers". Return to text

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Revised May 1, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks