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Franklinville, NY
History of Franklinville

Town Historian
Bruce Fredrickson
P.O. Box 166
Franklinville, N.Y. 14737

The town was first settled around 1806. First settled by Joseph McClure and known then as McClure Settlement. The Town of Franklinville was established in 1824 from the Town of Olean. Franklinville was also called "Hebe" and "Ischua" before adopting its current name. The size of Franklinville was reduced by the formation of new towns in the county: Perrysburg ( 1814), Ellicottville, Freedom and Yorkshire (1820), Farmersville (1821), and Lyndon (1829).

The Village of Franklinville was incorporated in 1874. The central core of the village is on the National Register of Historic Places as the Park Square Historic District. Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the Simeon B. Robbins House.

Simeon B. Robbins House, or The Miner's Cabin, is a three story, Queen Anne style wood frame dwelling built in 1895. The building features three towers. It is currently used as a museum and meeting space by the Ischua Valley Historical Society.

Franklinville Postcard

Franklinville Postcard


In the spring of 1963, Mayor Vernon Wilson proclaimed “Maple Sugar Week,” starting April 5th. Preparations were made at the Elementary School by the Jaycees. A maple syrup products contest was held. A pancake supper with sausage and maple syrup was served. Maple products were sold. Maple products were judged and prizes given. Antiques were shown and sold. Round and square dances were held in the cafeteria and gymnasium. A joint proclamation by town officials proclaims the month of April of each year to hold a Maple Sugar Festival. The public is invited. It proves to be a popular project and is growing in attendance. Article taken from the Ledger of Roy VanHoesen. Submitted by Maggie Fredrickson, Village of Franklinville Historian.


The pupils of the grades took up their work for the first time in the new school building last Monday morning, and a happy lot of youngsters they were. And well they may be for the new building is a most attractive, convenient and comfortable one. It is an 8 room structure with large halls and easy stairs connecting, and in the basement it has lavatories for both boys and girls, and in addition has 2 large playrooms for use on stormy days. There are large cloakrooms on all the floors, with openings at either end which will effectively prevent the blocking of them during the rush at the opening and closing of the sessions. The building is of red brick trimmed with buff, and with its windows attractively arranged in groups, and large sheltered entrances on 3 sides, gives an exterior appearance that is pleasing. The original plans of the architect had to be changed however, when the Board learned that the appropriation would be exceeded by some $5,000 and the plans were returned for pruning. He removed the dormer windows, substituted a lower priced brick for the side walls, removed the porch from the front entrance and with a few other unimportant alterations made the building come nearer the amount of money appropriated by the people for its construction. The lowest bid was for $20,557. This paid for the building with its ventilating and heating plants. About $35 more was paid for placing floor in the attic. The furnishings for the building, besides those taken from the Maple Avenue schoolhouse, cost about $1,500. Submitted by Maggie Fredrickson, Village of Franklinville Historian.


Recently I acquired a letter written by Clarinda Newton on September 24, 1832. She was living in Franklinville and the letter was sent to her sister Mrs. William Riggs in Monroe, Michigan. Clarinda relates a family tragedy with these words: “we have been blessed with three lovely children, the youngest is no more, God has been pleased to take from us our lovely babe. He always had a very delicate constitution and had one fit of sickness after another until last spring. He was taken down with the measles and was very sick a number of days when the inflammation settled on his lungs and he expired the second day of May. Yes dear sister he has gone no more to return to his mother’s fond embrace.” She talks about being afflicted with a liver ailment. She attributes her recovery to the salvation she has found in the Baptist Meeting House. That afternoon she was able to walk forty rods to the Meeting House where they had a protracted meeting that lasted six days. She also says that between 20 and 30 came forward to the anxious seat to be prayed for. She talks about a great revival for all the religious denominations in Franklinville. Clarinda had visited her father who was ailing and she worried about his embrace of the principals of universalism. She is concerned about her sister’s Episcopalian beliefs. She left in the family carriage with her brother-in-law to visit her father. Otis Newton then went on to Vermont. She returned home by stagecoach and was injured when the coach overturned in Geneseo. Her husband Isaac was building a large store this fall and planned to keep it during the winter. The year before she and Isaac had traveled to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Later a Mr. Phelps told them that if her husband could go to Michigan, Mr. Riggs would let his wife return to Franklinville to visit with Clarinda. They discovered this too late and Clarinda felt badly about missing this information because they could have gone up the lake to Michigan. Clarinda is hopeful that her brother-in-law will sell out in Michigan and return to New York so they can be closer. The Newtons have also had fourteen family members visiting them for several weeks and Clarinda is a bit overwhelmed with work. She names her remaining children as William and Annelisa. Both children attended school all summer and her daughter can read in many books and William can do easy reading. She finds that she has to close her letter because she is not supposed to do anything with her right arm. This is probably because of the injuries from the stagecoach accident. The letter led me to investigate some of the clues in the contents to discover more things about life in Franklinville in 1830. Clarinda talks about a revival in all the churches in the area. During this period of time, Western New York was besieged by a cholera epidemic. Cholera is a disease caused by bacteria that settle in the small intestine. Today the disease is treatable. Basically fluids are necessary to prevent dehydration. However, this was not known then and many infected people died within a short period of time. It began in Europe in 1831 and came across the Atlantic Ocean with immigrants. The disease was carried along the canal routes and hundreds of people lost their lives. New York City as well as Buffalo were hit. City residents fled to the countryside sometimes bringing this scourge with them. Cholera brought panic. During times of fear, people often turn to religion for consolation. This might explain the growth of fervor and an increase in church membership. The epidemic in Western New York lasted from July 1832 until December of that year. Then it suddenly disappeared. Ida Gardner checked with Ministers of the Baptist Church and we learned that a protracted meeting is one that lasts over a number of days. It could be a revival or a convention. Clarinda mentions that this was the second protracted meeting so the epidemic might have resulted in an increase in church services. An anxious seat or bench was reserved at a meeting for those troubled by conscience and eager for spiritual help. It was usually located down front. The cemetery records for the South Main Street Burial Ground tell us that the child lost to measles was Norman Newton. His father Isaac died in 1849 and was buried there also. This cemetery was moved to Mount Prospect Cemetery. The Census records give us additional information on the Newton family. Isaac is first found in the 1830 Census in Franklinville. Very little information can be found there. It’s the same for 1840. By the 1850 Census Isaac is gone so we don’t know where he was born. Clarinda is calling herself Clara. Annelisa is called Anne. Clarinda has given birth to two more children – Charles and John. Her son William is listed as a grocer. Perhaps this is Isaac’s original store. By 1860, William has disappeared. Anne is married to John Dyer, an artist from Massachusetts. Clarinda, despite her ill health in her younger years, is still alive and has outlived he husband. By the 1870 Census, all the Dyers and Newtons are gone. They are not in the local cemeteries. There is a possibility that they moved to another area or died and were buried elsewhere. Clarinda says that she walked 40 rods to the Baptist Meeting House. A rod is five and a half yards. Therefore she walked about 660 feet. According to Adams, the First Baptist Church was organized on October 20, 1825 by Eliab Going, its first pastor. Services were held in private homes and schoolhouses until 1832 when a wooden structure was erected. This was the Meeting House attended by Clarinda Newton. It was replaced by another building in 1853. The church burned in 1869 and the following year a new church was built. Many early records of Franklinville have disappeared. Old letters, diaries and newspapers are valuable for giving us insight into life during the 1820’s to 1850’s.


The campaign for President of the United States and the election year 2008 was an historic one for women.  A woman came very close to being the candidate for President on the Democratic ticket while another woman was chosen to represent the Republican Party for Vice-President.
The journey for women winning the right to vote began in New York State with the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention in 1848.  Through the years, supporters of these rights included Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Amelia Bloomer and a score of other women.  Strangely enough there were a suprising number of men who were also willing to back voting for women.  Belva Lockwood, from Niagara County and related to the McNalls of Cattaraugus County, actually ran for President in the 19th century and won a number of votes from men.  However she and her female supporters were unable to cast ballots for her.  It has taken women 160 years to get where they are actually being considered for the highest offices in the country.
Lucy Thayer was born in San Francisco, California.  She came East as a young woman to attend Emma Willard, a finishing school.  She graduated from Ingham University and continued her studies in art in New York City.  But Lucy had higher ambitions and managed to be accepted as a law student at the University of Buffalo, commuting daily by train from Franklinville. She graduated in 1900 and passed the New York State Bar Exam.  She became a junior law partner in the law firm Waring and Waring in Franklinville.  She married William Waring and became the first and only woman lawyer in Cattaraugus County at that time.  Lucy Waring was also the first woman to practice in the Supreme Court in Buffalo.  She was an ardent believer in equal rights for men and women and supported voting for women.  She had a great many women as clients because they knew she was always on their side.

In 1909, after she was denied the right to vote in Franklinville, she filed an application for a writ of mandamus to force the Board of Inspectors to register her name as an elector in the Town of Franklinville.  Judge Emory heard her argument and his opinion upheld her legal right to vote on all questions and appropriations.  The Board of Inspectors was informed that they were to receive her vote when she offered it.  In addition to her career as an attorney she was also the mother of five children.  Lucy Thayer Waring helped to open the curtain of the voting booth for the women of Franklinville and eventually for women throughout the United States.

Originally the right to vote in this country was reserved for male landowners.  Over the past two hundred forty years this privilege was extended to citizens of 18 years and older without regard to race, religion or gender.  People who fought for voters’ rights were often ridiculed, attacked, beaten, jailed and in some instances murdered.

It’s important to remember this and exercise your right to vote in each election.  It doesn’t matter whether you vote Republican, Democrat, or any other lesser known candidates.  You can even make use of a write-in vote to nominate someone of your own choice.  If you do not know how to do a write-in vote, ask the people who are working in the voting site to help you. Please honor the memory of those men and women who earned this privilege for you and vote


Ten Broeck Free Academy

Peter Ten Broeck, without an heir to his fortune, and having passed the meridian of his life, had for a long time contemplated and finally planned to bestow his wealth so that it might do the greatest good to the greatest number, and establish imperishable honor to his name.  As fast as his estate could be turned into ready means, he had decreed that the balance be expended in an endowment and construction of a literary institution known as “Ten Broeck Free Academy.”  In his last will and testament, after providing certain sums of money to relatives and friends, the balance of his estate amounted to $63,000.

The construction of the building was started in 1866 and completed, including equipment, furniture and a library in 1867.  It was incorporated by an Act of Legislature the same year. The cost of the building was $21,000, and was in operation in December of 1867.  He also provided in his will that the privileges of this institution be free to all students residing in the three towns of Franklinville, Farmersville and Machias, as long as funds permitted.  In 1878, there was permanently invested in an endowment fund, the sum of $46,000.  This fund yielded an annual revenue of about $3,300.

In the early years, the school was designated by the state Education Department as a training center for teachers.  In addition to this course, the classical course, which pertained to the study of the standard classics of literature and art, the music and art course and a course for the preparation of college were offered. There was also an English course, German-French course and a Latin-Greek course.  Graduates from any of these courses were required to ha a Regents preliminary certificate and have pursued at least three studies, exclusive of the preliminary branches each term.  The first graduating class in the classical course in 1870 consisted of Alfred Spring, Joel H. Green, James H. Waring, Emily M. Adams, Ida M. Adams, Mary T. B. Button and Adam A. Gibbs.

The income from a fund of $600, given by Caleb G. Hall, annually distributed prizes to successful contestants in competitive examinations on past and current political subjects in competitive examinations on past and current political subjects.  Three trustees were named in the Act of Incorporation representing the three towns respectively and were Jonas K. Button, Herman g. button and John T. Cummings.  Mr. Cummings declined to serve and Andrew C. Adams was appointed in his place.  He also served as vice-president of the Board.  With the resignation of Jonas K. Button in 1884, Herman G. Button succeeded him and Dr. Henry VanAernam was appointed to fill the vacancy.  The school had no treasurer from 1884 until at least 1893.  The first principal was William M. Benson A.M. in 1882, followed by Theodore F. Chapin A.M. until his resignation in 1887 and he was succeeded by Hamilton Terry A.B.

In 1904, Ten Broeck was merged with the public school and was converted into a Union Free School by the State Legislature.  The high school was still called Ten Broeck.  The elementary grades were taught in smaller buildings, which were added as more space was needed.  In 1907 it was voted to build a new elementary school and a brick building costing $2,000 was erected on the Ten Broeck Campus and opened for use in 1909.

In 1914 as the school population increased a proposition was put up to the taxpayers to tear down the old Ten Broeck building and erect a new $16,000 school building on the site.  However, with the sentiment voiced for the old building so overwhelming, it lost by a huge majority.  Later the proposition passed and in 1925 the old building was torn down and a new high school was built.  It is said that the light colored stone along the base of the present high school building was stone used from the original Ten Broeck building.

In the early 1950’s the school population as still increasing and it was voted to erect a new one level elementary school.  Land was procured across route 16 from the high school and it was built.  It opened in 1953 and was named Franklinville Central School.  As the school population increased, new wings were added, providing additional classrooms.  The old elementary school, attached to the high school, was torn down and a new addition replaced it.  Other modifications have been made to the high school over the years, with the last being completed in 2001.  Currently, in 2010 additional construction is under way at the elementary school and high school.

Peter Ten Broeck passed away on August 5, 1863.  He is buried in a family cemetery, which he purchased, named Ten Broeck Cemetery on Route 16 North in the Town of Farmersville.  He would be proud today of what he provided to the Towns of Franklinville, Farmersville and Machias.  Upon the lid of his coffin was inscribed:  “I AM ONLY REMEMBERED BY WHAT I HAVE DONE.”


When a pioneer farmer in the early 1800’s arrived at his recently acquired property, the first thing that he saw was trees.  He would cut the trees to build a cabin, a barn, storage building and fences.  However, there were still countless trees left.  Then he would start to clear land for meadows.  He needed open fields to plant crops and raise his livestock.  So he continued cutting down trees and burning them to ashes.

Many of the early pioneers who settled in Cattaraugus County originally came from New England where hardwood ashes were turned into lye.  Judge Alfred Spring, a native of Franklinville, spoke at a celebration over a hundred years ago and described the process of turning ashes into lye and finally into black salts.

He said:  “As the hardwood timber was cut down, ashes were collected in barrels or boxes and water was poured upon them, and lye was made.  This was boiled down in kettles until crystallized. The carbonaceous matter retained in the mass gave it a black tinge, hence the name.  The black mass was drawn to Buffalo and sold to the ashery men.”

The early Cattaraugus County farmers made black salts by putting cool hardwood ashes into a small barrel.  The barrel had many small holes drilled into it and was placed into a tin pan.  Water was slowly poured into the barrel over the ashes.  The water collected in the pan and was called lye water or caustic soda.  This water was poured into a “five pail” bucket or cauldron.  The iron kettle was placed over a fire.  The mixture was boiled until the water evaporated.  The dry, blackish alkaline mass was broken up into small chunks with an axe.  The black salts or potash were packed into wooden boxes or barrels and transported by wagons to Buffalo.

Later, in the 1840’s the locally made black salts were sent to one of two asheries in Franklinville.  Lorentus Salisbury, a prominent merchant, owned a building or “ashery” where the black salts were reheated again to produce pearlash.  This material was shipped to factories where it was used in the production of soap, leather, pottery, alum, saltpeter, glass, gunpowder and paper.

Farmers could sell a hundred pounds of black salts for $2.00 when a pound of butter cost 28 cents.  Black salts became a very profitable means for a farmer to earn ready cash and to clear his land for planting crops.  In years of poor crop growth the black salts would always sell and provide a means of paying the mortgage and buying essential goods.

Contributed by Bruce D. Fredrickson, Town of Franklinville Historian



Town of Franklinville
11 Park Square
P.O. Box 146
Franklinville, NY 14737
Phone: 716-676-3077

Village of Franklinville
19 Pennsylvania Avenue
Franklinville, NY 14737
Phone: 716-676-3010

Local Links:

- Franklinville Central School
- Cattaraugus County
- Visit Cattaraugus County
- New York State Website
- Southern Tier West
- Cattaraugus Co. Airport
- Blount Library

WNY Maple Festival

Tree City USA since 1985

Franlinville Snowmobile Club
Creekside Round-Up

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