Chapter 03 - Rights and Jurisdictions of Nations. Individual Rights by Purchase. Abstract of title



IT is a question of first and greatest importance to a person intending to purchase a piece of land to know that the party with whom he negotiates has the right to sell and convey. Can he give a perfect title?

Individuals obtain these rights to lands by gifts, by inheritance and by purchase; and the question of title goes back to first purchaser or owner, and then comes the question, "Of whom did he purchase?" So a thorough search of the records of transfer and a certified statement or abstract showing that the claim of title is perfect, is required. This search often reaches back to state, and even to national rights.

Nations claim rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction over territories by discovery, by conquest and by purchase; and we must know by what means and when, the nation became possessed of the rights as claimed.

It is proposed in this chapter of the history of the town of Elma, to make a search of the records of claims and rights of sovereignty, jurisdiction and ownership, and thus, to make out such an abstract that the question whether there is, in fact, such a town as Elma; and to show how, when and why, and the authority, if any there shall be, by which the town was originated.

For hundreds of years before this country was discovered it had been the rule and practice among the rulers in the old world for one king to make war against a neighboring or weaker king for the purpose of executing punishment for an actual or pretended insult or injury, or to compel the payment of tribute, or for conquest. The right to thus make war was claimed by the conqueror because he had the power to enforce his demand; and it was conceded by the conquered, simply because he had to. It was the old rule: that might makes right.

A new system of extending control over territories was started in 1492, when Columbus upon landing on the western hemisphere, took possession in the name of and for the use of his sovereigns, the King and Queen of Spain.

France, Holland and England each acknowledged, accepted and adopted this new way of acquiring territory.

Spain in this way, by her navigators, took possession of Florida, Mexico and South America, and claimed the territory extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but they never, by settlements, tried to hold on the Atlantic coast north of Georgia.

French explorers by the same rule claimed from Florida to Labrador and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The French soon relinquished the Atlantic coast south of Nova Scotia and occupied the region of the St. Lawrence, extending their forts and trading posts along the lakes and along the Mississippi River, and claiming all the territory drained by the great lakes and the Mississippi and its branches. These branches embraced western, central and northern New York and all west of the Allegany mountains.


Henry Hudson, of the Holland service, sailed along the Atlantic coast in 1609, from Virginia to New York Bay and up the Hudson River as far as Albany, claiming east to the Connecticut River and west and north indefinitely.

England, by John Cabot, navigator, in 1498, claimed from Florida to Nova Scotia and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

All these powers recognized the rights of the resident Indians, and by all grants and charters issued to individuals, companies or corporations, they were compelled to negotiate with the Indians for the privilege to occupy and use the soil.

England tried for many years to establish colonies on her claimed territory and thus to hold possession against the other claimants. To do this, charters were granted to individuals and companies, giving to them the right to settle and occupy the described territory. These charters were given to several colonies along the Atlantic coast, but we shall now generally refer only to those that covered and included western New York, as these grants and charters are a part of the claim of title to our lands. By the foregoing, it will be seen that the Indians, the Dutch, English and French claimed western New York at the same time and we will trace the claim of each.

On September 9th, 1609, Henry Hudson, a Dutch navigator, sailed into New York Bay and thence up the Hudson River as far as Albany and claimed the country for Holland. In 1613 they built a fort on Manhattan Island. In 1621, the Dutch West India Company, having received a charter from the Holland Government, took possession and colonized New Amsterdam, [now New York] and also Fort Orange, [now Albany] and claimed all of what is the State of New York and east to the Connecticut River.

It is here not necessary to enumerate the troubles that sprung up by other settlements being started on this territory that had not received permission from the Dutch Company, nor to mention their system of grants to owners of lands, as these are fully stated in the histories of the United States.

The Dutch continued in possession and occupancy until August 27, 1664, when an English man of war entered New York Bay, which was followed the first and second day after by three more all under command of Col. Richard Nichols.

On August 30, Col. Nichols demanded of Peter Stuyvesant, Gov. of the colony, the surrender of "all forts, towns or places of strength which are now possessed by the Dutch and also the town on the Island of Manhattan, with all the forts thereunto belonging," offering to secure to every man, his estate, life and liberty who shall readily submit to this demand.

On September 5th, 1664, Gov. Stuyvesant made the surrender and the State of New York passed from the Dutch. The treaty of Breda, July 31st, 1667, between England, France and Holland, ceded New York and New Jersey to England, and effectually wiped out the Dutch claim to all of New York:


In 1609, the French entered the State of New York via Lake Ontario and by that act claimed the country. They moved on west even to the Mississippi River and down that river, establishing forts and trading posts; they claimed all the country drained by the Mississippi and its branches and by the Great Lakes which includes western New York. So now we have as claimants here, the French, English and the Indians.

This condition continued for more than one hundred and forty years and war between England and France was declared May 18, 18, 1756. Then followed in this country what is known as the French and Indian war. Result: All the French strongholds, here and in Canada, are captured, and at the treaty of peace at Paris, February 10, 1763, between England, France and Spain; France cedes all her claimed territory east of the Mississippi River to England. This clears western New York of France as a claimant and gives to England all the Atlantic coast north of 31° north latitude and west to the Mississippi River.


England based her claim to territory in North America on the discovery by John Cabot in 1498, and by that, claimed the country from Florida to Nova Scotia and from the Atlantic to the Pacific; and grants were made by the king to individuals and companies. These grants carried with them certain privileges as to the laws that the colonists were permitted to make.

These grants were often made to overlap or interfere with grants previously made, and so, many times troubles arose between the colonies as to certain rights and jurisdictions.

The first charter granted by King James I. that covered the town of Elma was in 1620, to the Plymouth Company, to embrace all the territory between latitude forty degrees and forty-eight degrees, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. At that time. Western New York was claimed by the Dutch and the French, but the Dutch claim was wiped out by the treaty of Breda July 31st, 1667, and the French claim was removed by the treaty at Paris February 10th 1763. Thus, after one hundred and forty- three years of counterclaims, the charter of 1620 is the authority that will remain.

Another charter, covering most of the territory conveyed in the charter of 1620, was granted to the Duke of York by Charles II in March, 1664. The territory covered by this grant at that time, was in the possession of the Dutch, but the surrender by the Dutch, September 5th, 1664, which was confirmed by the treaty of Breda, July 31st, 1667, made it all right for the Duke of York as to the Dutch. So the contest was between this charter and the charter by James I to the Plymouth Company in 1620. England's right as a nation to sovereignty and jurisdiction is now undisputed to territory east of the Mississippi river, only so far as the charters would conflict.

In 1683, the Duke, of York sends Thomas Dungan as Governor of the New York Colony, with instructions to call an assembly which passed the act entitled, ''Charter of Liberties and Privileges granted by his Royal Highness to the inhabitants of New York and its dependencies," by which legislative powers were granted to the colony.

The troubles between the Colonies and England from this time to September 5th, 1774, when fifty-three delegates from the twelve colonies - Georgia not present - met in Philadelphia, as the First Continental Congress, are fully set forth in our histories and need not be repeated here. The Convention adjourned October 20th, agreeing to meet again on May 10th, 1775, if the grievances continued.

The battle of Lexington, April 19th, 1775, was the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, May 10th, 1775, John Hancock, president. The delegates resolved to resist further tyranny. June 15th, they voted to raise an army of 20,000 men and elected George Washington as Commander in Chief of all colonial forces.


June 7th, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution into Congress declaring that "the United Colonies are of right and ought to be free and independent states." June 10th a committee, consisting of Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert Livingston of New York, was chosen to draw up a declaration in harmony with the Lee resolution. The Declaration of Independence was the result and received unanimous support, and on July 4th, 1776, it was signed.

The Revolutionary War followed for nearly eight years and on November 30th, 1782, preliminary articles of peace were signed at Paris by Richard Oswald on the part of Great Britain, and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and Henry Laurons on the part of the United States. April 11th, 1783, Congress proclaimed cessation of hostilities, and on April 15th ratified the preliminary treaty.

On September 23d, 1783, a definite treaty was signed by David Hartley on the part of Great Britain, and Benjamin Franklin John Adams and John Jay on the part of the United States. England conceded the independence of the American States, with boundary north by Canada, west by the Mississippi river, south by thirty- one degrees of latitude. This passed all rights claimed by Great Britain to the United States and leaves the thirteen states with their rights and powers.

May 14th, 1787, the Constitutional Convention assembled at Philadelphia. On September 17th, thirty-nine of the fifty-five delegates signed the new Constitution, and it was sent by Congress to the States for their sanction; in 1787 and 1788, it was adopted by the thirteen states, and became the supreme law of the land.

This Constitution binds the states together and forms and puts before the world a nation with full authority and power of sovereignty and jurisdiction over all its territory.


Having gone through with the claims of England, France and Holland to rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction, until in 1787, these rights are vested in the United States, being the thirteen states which comprised the Federal Union. An abstract showing how and when each colony, state, company and corporation obtained their rights, and to have this abstract continued until 1842, will present a continuous chain of title and show on what right the claim of ownership is now based, and to what transfer of title each person can turn as his authority for present ownership. This, with explanatory notes, will make up that part of the history of Elma known as Abstract of Title.


Claim by discoveries in 1497 and 1498, by John and Sebastian Cabot. The Atlantic coast from Florida to Nova Scotia, and west to the Pacific Ocean.



Claim by discovery in 1504, of New Foundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and later occupancy of all territory drained by the Great Lakes, and Mississippi river, and its branches, including western, central and northern New York.



Claim by discovery 1609, Delaware Bay and Atlantic coast. New York Bay, Hudson River to Albany, east to the Connecticut River, including Long Island, west and north indefinitely.


Holland by State's General to The Dutch West India Co.

Grant in 1621, from straits of Magellan to farthest north, and to take possession of New Netherlands in 1622.


England to The Plymouth Co.

Grant, in 1620, all between 40° and 48° north latitude, and east and west from sea to sea.


The Plymouth Co. To John Endicott et al.

Grant, March 19, 1628. Territory from three miles south of the river Charles, to three miles north from the northern most part of the river Merrimac, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.


England by James I to Endicott Co.

Charter, March 4, 1629, to the Endicott Company as the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay, in New England; above territory and to constitute a body politic with Governor. Deputy and eighteen assistants to be elected by the people annually and a General Assembly of Freemen with legislative powers to meet as often as necessary.


Endicott Co. to Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Assign above August, 1629, to the Colonists, thus forming an independent provincial government, and in October John Winthrop was elected Governor.


England by Charles II. To Massachusetts Bay Company.

Above charter confirmed, February, 1662, giving liberty of conscience.


England by Charles II. To James, Duke of York.

Charter, in March, 1664, territory to include New Jersey, Long Island, east to the Connecticut river, north and west indefinitely.


Dutch W. India Co. To Duke of York by Rich. Nickols Gov.

Surrender, September 5th, 1664, of all forts, towns, and occupancy of all territory claimed by the Company in New York and Connecticut.


Holland To England.

Treaty of Breda, July 31st, 1667, cedes all territory in New York et al.


Duke of York To Colony of N. Y.

In 1683, the Duke of York sent Thomas Dungan as Royal Governor of New York, with instruction to call an assembly, which, on October 17th, 1683, passed the act entitled "Charte of Liberties, granted by his Royal Highness to the inhabitants of New York and its dependencies," by which act, legislative powers were granted to the Colony with a charter of liberties and toleration to all Christians.


France To England.

Treaty of Peace at Paris, February 10th, 1763, between England, France and Spain. France cedes Canada and all claims and, territory east of the Mississippi river and north of 31° of latitude to England. This gives England sovereignty over Canada and the thirteen colonies.


New York General Committee April 20th, 1774, call a Provincial Convention, which asks Massachusetts to issue a call for a Colonial Convention, and name a time and place for the Congress to meet.


Massachusetts, General Court,

May 24th, 1774, resolves that a Colonial Congress is necessary, and suggests that it be held in Philadelphia on September 1st. 1774.

Other Colonies were notified.


First Colonial or Continental Congress of fifty three delegates meets in Philadelphia, September 5th, 1774.

Adopt a Declaration of Colonial rights; claim right of self government; specify the wrongs that England puts upon the colonies; agree to resist what they consider unconstitutional assumption of governmental power by England; and on October 20th adjourn to meet in Philadelphia May 10th, 1775, if a redress of grievances is not made by England.


Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775, begins the Revolutionary war.


Second Constitutional Congress meets in Philadelphia May 10th 1775; the delegates resolve to resist further tyranny. June 15th, vote to raise an army of 20,000 men, and elect George Washington Commander in Chief of all colonial forces.


The Revolutionary War continues.


The State of New York adopts a State Constitution, April 20th, 1777; amended in 1801, 1821, 1846, 1867, 1894.


The United States.

On November 15th, 1777, the Continental Congress adopts articles of Confederation.


State of New York, February 5th, 1778, ratifies the articles of Confederation.


State of Massachusetts, in 1779, adopts a State Constitution.


England to The United States.

Treaty of Paris, September 23d, 1783, England concedes the independence of the thirteen American States, with boundary north by Canada, west by the Mississippi River, south by 31° north latitude, with all rights of sovereignty, jurisdiction and territory.





Note - Massachusetts claimed all of New York north of 42° of latitude, by her charter of 1620 and 1628. New York, by her charter of 1664, claimed all of New York and east to the Connecticut river, including Vermont. This crossing of claims was a continual source of trouble between the states, and with the individual settlers. Soon after the Revolutionary war closed, Massachusetts made several attempts to have the difference settled; and, to have a boundary line established, and to settle her claims to jurisdiction. Committees appointed by both states in 1783 failed to come to an agreement and Massachusetts applied to Congress to have her rights under the charter of 1628 recognized.


New York, also, went to Congress with her claim under the charter of 1664.


Congress December 2d, 1785, appointed Thomas Hutchins of New Jersey, David Ritterhouse of Pennsylvania, and John Ewing to run the line between Massachusetts and New York, which they did. But this did not settle the claim of Massachusetts to the lands west of the line. So Congress appointed James Duane, Robert R. Livingston, Robert Yates, John Haring, Melanchthon Smith and Egbert Benson, Commissioners, on the part of New York; and John Lowell, James Sullivan, Rufus King, and Theophilus Parsons, Commissioners, on the part of Massachusetts, to meet at Hartford, Conn., and settle the controversy.




State of New York to State of Massachusetts and State of Massachusetts to State of New York.

Mutual deed, dated December 16, 1786, recorded in Erie County Clerk 's office, in Liber 26, Page 469. [Note This deed being a settlement of title to all lands in Western New York, the part especially referring to those lands is here given.]

1st. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts doth hereby cede, grant, release and confirm to the State of New York, all the claim, right, and title which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts hath to the government, sovereignty, and jurisdiction of the land and territories so claimed by the State of New York as hereinbefore stated to wit:

Whereas, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, claiming among other things all the territory described as all that part of New England in America which lieth and extendeth between the great river called Merrimac and a certain other called the Charles river, being the bottom of a Bay called Massachusetts Bay, and also all the lands lying within three English miles to the southward of the southernmost part of the said Bay, and extending thence northward in latitude to the northward of every part of the said river Merrimac, and in breadth of latitude aforesaid extending throughout all the main land in longitude westward to the Southern Ocean, as the just and proper right of the said Commonwealth; and as the State of New York has set up a claim to a part of the land above mentioned, to wit: bounded on the north by above line of northwest part of Merrimac, and south by the southmost part of Massachusetts Bay, and on the west by the limits between the United States and the King of Great Britain, and the cession from the State of New York to the United States and east by the line agreed on and established between the late colony of New York and the Massachusetts Bay in the year 1773, and from the northern termination of the said line, then bounded on the east by the west bank of the Connecticut River. 2. That the State of New York doth hereby cede, grant, release and confirm to the said Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to the use of the Commonwealth, their grantees, and the heirs and assigns of such grantees, forever, the right of pre emption of the soil from the Native Indians^ and all other, the estate right, title and property (the right and title of government, sovereignty and jurisdiction excepted), which the state of New York hath of, in and to 230,400 acres to be located by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be situated to the northward of and adjoining to land granted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Daniel Cox and Robert Litten Hooper and their associates and between the Rivers Oswego and Chenango, and also the lands and territories within the following limits and bounds, that is to say: Beginning in the north bounds, the State of Pennsylvania in the parallel of 42° north latitude, at a point distant eighty two miles from the northeast corner of the state of Pennsylvania, on the Delaware River, thence, on a due meridian north, to the boundary line between the United States and the King of Great Britain, thence, westerly and southerly along said boundary line to a meridian which will pass one mile east from the northern terminus of the strait or waters between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, thence east along said meridian to the south shore of Lake Ontario, thence on the eastern side of the said strait, by a line always one mile distant and parallel to the said strait to Lake Erie, thence west to the boundary line between the United States and the King of Great Britain, thence along the said boundary line until it joins with the line of cession from the State of New York to the United States, thence, southerly along the said line of cession to the north west corner of the State of Pennsylvania, thence east along the north boundary line of the State of Pennsylvania to the place of beginning, and which said lands are a part of the territory claimed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 3. The State of Massachusetts doth hereby cede, grant, release and confirm to the state of New York, and to the use of the state of New York, their grantees, and the heir and assigns of such grantees, forever, the right of preemption of the soil from the native Indians, and all and other estate, right, title and property which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts hath in, or to the residue of the lands and territories so claimed by the state of New York herein before stated and particularly specified. [Then follow several sections not necessary to mention here.]

10th. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts may grant the right of pre emption of the whole, or any part of the said lands and territories to any person or persons, who, by virtue of such grant shall have good right to extinguish, by purchase of the claims of the native Indians, by any such grantee or grantees, unless the same shall be in the presence of, and approved by a superintendent to be appointed for such purpose by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and having no interest in such purchase and unless such purchase shall be confirmed by the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Signed by John Lowell, James Sullivan, Theophilus Persons, Rufus King,

Commissioners for and in behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

James Duane, Robert R. Livingston, Robert Yates, John Harring, Melancton Smith, Egbert Benson, For and in behalf of the State of New York. Done at the City of Hartford, Conn., the 16th day of December, 1786.


The State of Massachusetts, February 7th, 1788, ratifies the Constitution of the United States, by a vote of 187 to 168.


The State of New York, July 26th, 1788, ratifies the Constitution of the United States, by a vote of 31 to 29.


State of Massachusetts to Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham

By authority of deed, December 16th, 1786, Sate of York to Massachusetts.

Sold right of soil and preemption from the Indians, of the whole Massachusetts tract of 6,000,000 acres, but Phelps & Gorham failing to make payment; by settlement made November 21st, 1788, they, Phelps & Gorham, retain 2,600,000 acres from the east side of the tract.


Phelps & Gorham to State of Massachusetts. 3,400,000 acres.

November 21st, 1788, the balance of the tract by settlement, reverts back to the State of Massachusetts. The east line of the Phelps & Gorham tract by this settlement begins in the north line of the State of Pennsylvania, 82 miles west from the north east corner of Pennsylvania. The west line of the Phelps & Gorham tract, begins in the north line of Pennsylvania, 126 and 78

100 miles west from the northeast line of Pennsylvania, thence due north to the forks of the Genesee River and Conawango Creek thence west 12 miles, thence north 24° east to Lake Ontario. This line has since been known as the west line of the Phelps & Gorham purchase.

In the fall of 1788, a council of the Seneca Nation was held on Buffalo Creek, at which Mr. Phelps bought of the Indians their right and title to the 2,600,000 acres that Phelps & Gorham had bought of the State of Massachusetts. The price as agreed upon at that council was $5,000 cash in hand and an agreement to pay $500 annually forever. This was about half a cent per acre.


State of Massachusetts to Samuel Ogden.

Agreement, May 11th, 1791, Recorded in Erie County Clerk's Office in Liber 24, Page 408, to convey all of the Massachusetts lands west of Phelps & Gorham 's tract.


Samuel Ogden to State of Massachusetts,

Release May 11th, 1791 Recorded in Liber 24, Page 413, release from above agreement.


State of Massachusetts to Robert Morris.

Deed May 11th, 1791. Liber 24, Page 415, conveys the soil and pre emption right to all the balance of Massachusetts lands in the State of New York, 3,400,000 acres west of Phelps & Gorham 's tract.


Robert Morris to Agents of Holland Land Co. Names of members Wilhem Willink. Jan Willink. Nicholas VanStop horst. Jacob Van Stophorst. Nicholas Hubbard. Peter Van Eeghen. Isaac Ten Gate. Hendrick Vollen hoven. Christina Koster, (widow.) Tan Stadnitski. Rutger J. Schimmelpennick.

July 20th, 1793. Robert Morris reserves from the east side of his purchase from Massachusetts of May nth, 1791, about 17 of the whole tract, so that the west line of his reserve, and east line of Holland Land Company's lands, begin at a point in north line of Pennsylvania, 12 miles west from south west corner of Phelps & Gorham tract and 138 78100 miles west from the north east corner" of the State of Pennsylvania at the Delaware River, thence, due north to near the center of the town of Stafford in Genesee County, thence due west 2.07875 miles being 2 miles, 6 chains and 30 links, thence due north to Lake Ontario. Morris agreed to extinguish the Indian title to all, except the New York Reservation of one mile wide on the east side of Niagara River. Conveys about 2,625,000 acres.


United States to Seneca Nation of Indians.

Treaty, September 1794, at Canandaigua, secures to the Indians, their right in all the lands in the State of New York west of Phelps & Gorham purchase except New York State Reservation.


Seneca Nation of Indians to Robert Morris.

Treaty, September 15th, 1797, at Big Tree, now Geneseo, conveys preemption right to all above lands, except 11 Reservations, containing 338 square miles, conveys 2,625,000 acres. Price paid, $100,000. The Buffalo Creek Reservation is one of the eleven reserved.

These eleven Reservations are as follows:

Big Tree or Little Beard Reservation

In Livingston Co.

4 square miles






Squawky Hill




Gardeau (Mary Jamison)








Oil Springs




















Buffalo Creek







Robert Morris, by Sheriff to Thomas L. Ogden.

Deed, May 12th, 1800. Liber 24, Page 406, conveys all W. of Morris reserve except the New York State Reservation.


Thomas L. Ogden to Wilhem Willink, et. al.

Deed, February 18th, 1801 (in Erie Co. not recorded). Conveys same as Robert Morris to Agents of Holland Land Co., July 20th, 1793, 2,625,000 acres, and carries right of pre-emption to the eleven reservations.


Wilhem Willink et. Al. to David A. Ogden

Deed, September 10th, 1810. Liber 1, Page 68, conveys right of pre-emption to the reservations containing 197,835 acres.

Note. - This carries the title of lands in Western New York, except the New York State Reservation one mile wide, from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, to the Holland Land Co.; also, except to the eleven Indian Reservations of which David A. Ogden has the pre-emption right or right to purchase the Indian title.

The Holland Land Company, soon after its purchase in 1801, surveyed its lands into Ranges six miles wide, numbering from the east line of their purchase toward the west, and then surveyed these Ranges into towns six miles north and south, numbering from the Pennsylvania State line toward the north.

The line between the 4th and 5th Ranges is the present east line of Erie County, and this town of Elma comes in the Holland Survey as Town 10, Range 6, and is also known as a part of the Buffalo Creek Reservation.


David A. Ogden to Robert Troup, Thomas L. Ogden and Benjamin W. Rogers.

Trust deed, February 18th, 1821. Liber 6, Page 396. Forms copartnership with 20 shares, to enable the members to buy of the Indians their title to the eleven reservations.


The Seneca Nation of Indians to Robert Troup, Thomas L. Ogden and Benj. W. Rogers.

Treaty August 31st, 1826, Liber 10, Page 138. As this purchase includes a part of Elma, the treaty is given in full. At a treaty held under the authority of the United States at Buffalo Creek in the County of Erie, State of New York, between the Sachems, Chiefs and Warriors of the Seneca Nation of Indians on behalf of said Nation, and Robert Troup, Thomas L. Ogden and Benjamin W. Rogers of the City of New York, in the presence of Oliver Forward, Esq., Commissioner appointed by the United States for holding said treaty and Nathaniel Gorham Superintendent, in behalf of the State of Massachusetts, know all men by these presents that we, the said Sachems, Chiefs and Warriors, for and in consideration of the sum of $48,216, lawful money of the United States to us in hand paid by the said Robert Troup, Thomas L. Ogden and Benjamin W. Rogers at or immediately before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have granted bargained, sold, aliened, released, quit-claimed and confirmed and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell, alien, release, quit-claim and confirm unto the said Robert Troup, Thomas L. Ogden and Benjamin W. Rogers and their assigns forever, all that tract of land commonly called the Canadea Reservation in Allegany County, containing sixteen square miles, also - then follows other reservations and exceptions - the exceptions making a sale of 80,960 acres of land, being about two-fifths of all the land in the eleven Reservations for $48,216, about 60 cents per acre.


By this sale all the eleven Reservations were sold except:

49,920 acres of the Buffalo Creek Reservation.

12,800 " " Tonawanda

21,760 '' " Cattaraugus

1,920 " '' Tuscarora

30,469 " '' Allegany



(Note- This sale conveys 33,637 acres of the 83,557 of the Buffalo Creek Reservation.) - That part of this sale which is within the bounds of the Town of Elma is a strip one mile in width on the south side of the town, and is known as the Mile Strip; and on this strip, in Elma, the first settlement of white people in the town of Elma was made.. The part of this Reservation not sold by the terms of this treaty was to contain seventy-eight square miles or 49,920 acres, and this reserved part is described as follows:

Beginning on the north line of said Reservation at a point one and one-half miles east of the Cayuga Creek, running thence south one and one-half miles, thence east parallel with the north line so far that a line to be drawn from the termination thereof south, to a point one mile distant from the south line of the said Reservation, and thence west parallel with the said south line to the west line of the Reservation, and thence along the west and north lines of the same to the place of beginning will contain the said quantity of seventy-eight square miles or 49,920 acres.

Note. - This treaty conveys a strip of land one and one-half miles wide on the north side of the Reservation, about three miles wide across the east end, and one mile wide the length of the south side. This takes all of the town of Marilla east of the two rod road, passing north and south through Marilla village. All of the town of Elma is in the reserved part of the sale, except the Mile Strip on the south side of the town.


The treaty was signed as follows:

Young King, Young Chief, Charles O'Neal, Capt. Shingo, Pollare, Barefoot, Tunis Wolfouns, Geo. Red Eye, Little Billy, Capt. Crow, Lohn John, Jimie Thudson, Cornplanter, Jones Cousin, Blue Eyes, Stiff Knee, Strong, Big Kettle, Little Johnson, Red Jacket, Chief Warrior, Jack Snow, Doestada, John Fopp, Seneca White, Joseph Legnany, Green Blanket, John Snow, Little Beard, Wm. Blacksnake, White Boy, Thompson, Tall Chief, Tall Peter, Isaac, James Stevenson, Jr., Capt. Snow, James Robison, Henry Two Guns, John Snow, Twenty Canoes, White Seneca, Stevenson, Silver Heels, Destroy Town, John Pierce; 46 in all.

Robert Troup, by his Attorney John Greig.

Thomas L. Ogden, "

Benj. W. Rogers, ''

Signed and Sealed in the presence of

Jasper Parish, Indian Agent.

Horatio Jones, Interpreter.

Levi Hubbell, "

Jacob Jimson, "

Certificate of Nathaniel Gorham, Sup 't for Massachusetts.

" " Oliver Forward, Com. for United States.

Treaty ratified by United States Senate.

Abram Ogden and Wife, et. al. 1st part, Wm. Short, et. al. 2d part, Robert Troup, et. al. 3d part.

Deed of Partition, January 10th, 1828. Liber 11, Page 56, to divide above premises to individual stockholders as per Trust Deed of February 18th, 1821.


TREATY OF 1838 AND 1842.


The Seneca Nation of Indians to Thomas L. Ogden and Joseph Fellows.

Treaty January 15th, 1838, Lib. 82, Page 1. Sale of all the Indian lands which were excepted from the treaty and sale of August 31st, 1826, conveys 114,869 acres for $202,000, signed by forty-four chiefs and head men of the nation, certified by Mr. Gillett, Commissioner for the United States; certified by Gen. Dearborn, Superintendent for Massachusetts. Treaty amended by United States Senate and sent back. So much dissatisfaction and opposition was made by many of the Chiefs and Indians that another Treaty was made August 7th, 1838, and was signed by forty-two who claimed to be chiefs. This last treaty was ratified by the United States Senate.


Josh. Waddington, Benj. W. rogers, Abraham Ogden, Duncan P. Campbell, Isaac Ogden, Robert Tillotson, Gabriel Shaw (by Attorney) to Thomas L. Ogden and Joseph Fellows, Trustees.

Deed of trust July 16th, 1840, liber 67, page 198 To purchase such of the Indian Reservation as they Can by treaty and then to convey and make partition of Indian lands.


The Seneca Nation to Thomas L. Ogden and Joseph Fellows Trustees

Treaty, May 20th, 1842. Liber 106, Page 194. Treaty confirmatory and amendatory of the treaty of January 15th, 1838, and of August 7 th 1838, conveys several tracts, among them the balance of the Buffalo Creek Reservation as reserved by the treaty of August 31st, 1826, contains 49,920 acres.

Signed by




Thomas L. Ogden.

Joseph Fellows.

Ambrose Spencer, Com. on behalf of U. S.

Samuel Hoar, Supt. on behalf of Mass.

A. Dixon, Com. on behalf of N. Y.

This treaty was not ratified by the U. S. Senate.



Wm. L. Waddington, Jeremiah Van Rensaeler, Executors of Josh. Waddington, Rich H. Ogden, Ex. Of Thos. L. Ogden, Louisa Troup, et al to Gabriel Shaw and Melville Wilson

Deed of Partition December 29th, 1852. Jeremiah' Van Liber 147, Page 279, in which principals et at., were Set off.


Other deeds of Partition, Liber 77, Page 231; Liber 51, Page 279; Liber 118, Page 323.

This brings the chain of title to 1852, and partitions the lots to the various members of the Company, giving to them individually the right to convey.

It will be seen by the foregoing that the town of Elma was wholly included in the Buffalo Creek Reservation; that by the treaty of August 31st, 1826, the Ogden Company bought a strip one mile wide in the south part of Elma, the south line of this Mile Strip being the south line of the town.

That by the treaty of May 20th, 1842, the Ogden Company bought the remainder of the Buffalo Creek Reservation, of which the remaining portion of the town of Elma was a part. The north line of this last purchase forms the north line of the town.

That, by the deeds of partition, the stockholders of the Ogden Company became individual owners of the several lots as surveyed and numbered, and from these individual owners, purchases were made and the settlement of the town was begun, first, on the Mile Strip in 1828 and in 1844, and later throughout the remaining portion of the town.

SOURCE: History of the Town of Elma Erie County, N. Y. 1620 To 1901; Warren Jackman; Buffalo; G. M. Hausauer & Son; 1902