Chapter 21 - Census of the Town of Elma



When the State census was taken in 1855 there were but few persons residing in the town of Elma, except those on the Mile Strip; the Indian Reservation being part in the town of Aurora and part in the town of Lancaster. There is no way to ascertain the population at that time, of what was later to be the town of Elma.

The same township conditions were continued at the time the United States Census was taken in 1850, and at the taking of the census by the State in 1855.

The town having been organized December 4, 1856, we have our first knowledge of the population of the town, in the Census as taken by the United States in 1860.








In this statement of the post-offices of the Town of Elma, the date of establishment of the offices, with the names of the persons who have been appointed to the charge of the several offices is herewith given as nearly in the order of their holding the offices, as could be learned from leading residents of the several localities.

The date of the appointments could be accurately learned in but few cases, but the year as given will be found to be correct.


Established with Warren Jackman as postmaster in Oct., 1852.

Joseph Standart was appointed postmaster in 1860.

Warren Jackman was appointed postmaster in 1861.

W. Wesley Standart was appointed postmaster in 1865.

James Clark was appointed postmaster in 1869.

Mrs. Maria Long was appointed postmaster in 1888.

Louis P. Reuther was appointed postmaster in 1897.


Established with Fowler Munger postmaster in 1861. Isaac Gail appointed postmaster in 1862. East Elma Postoffice was discontinued in 1863. East Elma Postoffice was re-established with Geo. W. Hatch postmaster in 1870.

George W. Hatch was postmaster for twenty-four years, but the office was under the care of the following resident merchants, viz.: George W. and Niles Hatch, Isaac Smith, Harvey C. Palmer, Edwin H. Dingman, George W. and James Hatch, George W. and Leonard Hatch, and George W. Hatch, when on January 13th, 1894, Hatch sold the store and goods to Charles Burman. Burman was appointed postmaster March 2, 1894.


Established with Erin Woodward as postmaster in 1878. Henry A. Wright appointed postmaster in 1885. Peter Grader appointed postmaster in July, 1889. Henry A. Wright appointed postmaster in 1893. Frank Sutton appointed postmaster in April 5, 1895. Mrs. Asa Ford appointed postmaster in July 29, 1899.


Established with Lewis Kleberg as postmaster in 1870. Charles Reichert appointed postmaster in 1871.

Conrad P. Hensel appointed postmaster in 1873. Frederick Gramm appointed postmaster in 1886. William Kleinfelder appointed postmaster in 1888. Mrs. Kleinfelder appointed postmaster in 1892. Conrad P. Hensel appointed postmaster in 1893.


Established with Ernst Bleeck as postmaster in 1889. Edwin H. Dingman appointed postmaster in 1893. Ernst Bleeck appointed postmaster in 1897.


Established with David J. Morris as postmaster in 1848. Zenas M. Cobb appointed postmaster in 1849. James H. Ward appointed postmaster in 1850. Asa J. W. Palmer appointed postmaster in 1854. James W. Simons appointed postmaster in 1854. Austin Twitchell appointed postmaster in January, 1861. James H. Ward appointed postmaster in June, 1861. Stephen Northrup appointed postmaster in 1867. John G. Fischer appointed postmaster in 1880. William J. Cole appointed postmaster in 1885. Harrison Tillou appointed postmaster in 1889. Richard T. Barnett appointed postmaster in 1893. Harrison Tillou appointed postmaster in 1897.


The Ebenezer Society built a church for their people who resided at Upper Ebenezer, (now Blossom) as near as can be learned about 1849 or 1850.

When they sold out and left Erie County in 1863 and 1864, the German Evangelical Society of Blossom had the church building. A Lutheran society was organized in Blossom in 1873, and that year they built a church across the street from the German Evangelical Church; that building was burned in 1876, and rebuilt in 1878. All their services are in the German language.

A Lutheran society was organized in 1872, and that year they erected a church building, 20x30 feet, near the south west corner of Lot 40, on the north side of the Woodard Road.

In a few years this house was too small for their congregation. The old church was moved to the east line of their lot, and a new church, 32x56 feet, was built on the same grounds in 1887. The old building has since been used for Sunday-schools. The church services and Sunday-schools are conducted entirely in the German language, though all the children and more than ninety per cent of the adults understand English as well as than they do the German language, or even better.

All the German churches in the town seem to be imbued with the same spirit; they want the children to learn enough of the German language, so that they can be confirmed, and most of the German parents, care for no further education of their children, either in English or German.


In Spring Brook, a building, 20x30 feet, was erected in 1850, on the southeast corner of the Aurora Plank and Rice Roads, on Lot 71. In 1874 the society needed a larger house, so the old house was moved to the east end of their lot, on the south side of the Rice Road, and has since been used as a barn for the parsonage. The new building was erected in the summer of 1874, and has since that time been used for the services of that society.


Rev. Nehemiah Cobb, who had been sent by some Presbyterian Church in Buffalo as a missionary to Spring Brook, held meetings in the schoolhouse in the summer of 1849. As a result of his labors "The First Presbyterian Church" was organized by a committee of the Buffalo Presbytery, on February 6th, 1850. Mr. Cobb, by contributions and subscriptions, gathered materials for a church building, which was erected in 1851 or 1852, on the western part of Lot 75, on land conveyed to the Society by David J. Morris - to revert to said Morris whenever the Society should cease to occupy the premises for church purposes.

The membership of the Society, in 1858, had become so reduced by deaths and removals that regular services were discontinued; most of the few remaining members attending the Presbyterian meetings which were held in the Elma Village schoolhouse, where Rev. William Waith preached every alternate Sunday afternoon. The Spring Brook Society was thus gradually absorbed by the Elma Society. By an order of the Presbytery the Society was disbanded June 5th, 1873. The church property reverted to David J. Morris in 1868.


A Catholic chapel, 10x14 and 8 feet in height, called Mother Freiberg's Church was built on the south end of Lot 46, on the north side of the Clinton Street Road in 1854. The Catholic priest of Lancaster came and held services there twice a year for several years. Mother Freiberg having moved away, the building was later sold to Gardner Cotton.


The Presbyterian Society of Spring Brook having for several years failed to hold meetings in the church built by Rev. Nehemiah Cobb in 1851 or 1852, the property reverted to David J. Morris, in 1868.

In January, 1869, "The Union Church Society of Spring Brook" was organized, and Mr. Morris on January 18th, 1869, conveyed the property to the Union Society. Different denominations held services there but the building was most regularly occupied by the Methodist Society, until 1893 when they bought the German Evangelical Church property. Since 1893 the Union Church building has been unoccupied most of the time.


The German Evangelical Society of Blossom, organized in 1862, occupied the church built by the Ebenezer Society, on the north side of Main street in Blossom Village, until 1880, when they took down that building, and in its place, erected their new church. They have since that time kept up their church services and Sunday-school in the German language.

The German Evangelical Society of Spring Brook, built their church on the north side of the Aurora Plank Road, near the west end of Lot 75 in 1872. They held services there for several years, but in time the membership became so small that they sold their building and lot to the Methodist Society in 1893.

The German Evangelical Society of Rice Road built their church in 1874 on the north end of Lot 53, and on the south side of the Rice Road, where they have since regularly held their services in the German language. For several years they had a German Sunday school, but the attendance kept growing less and less, and the school was given up.

In 1898 an English Sunday-school was started in the church, with the consent of the members of the church, which has proved to be very successful. The children of German parents do not like the German language, and will not study it unless they are compelled to do so.


It could not be learned from residents of Spring Brook the date of the organization of this society, but that they had for many years held regular services in the Union Church building, and for most of these years they have kept up a Sunday-school, generally through the entire year.

In 1893 the society thought best to have a house of their own, over which they could have perfect control, so that year they bought of the German Evangelical Society their building and lot. After making extensive repairs and alterations the building was rededicated December 29th, 1896.

The society have regular services and are, as well as their Sunday school, in a prosperous condition. During most of these years they have had no resident pastor, but have been supplied from Elma and Aurora, most of the time from Aurora. The names of the several pastors cannot now be given.


There has never been a church building in East Elma.

A schoolhouse was built in 1856, and all religious meetings and their Sunday-schools have been held in this schoolhouse.

The people have been supplied most of the time by Methodist preachers from Elma and Marilla or by Baptist preachers from Aurora, or by the United Brethren Society of Williston. Occasionally an evangelist or some side preacher would hold meetings for a few days or nights and pass on.

A very prosperous undenominational Sunday-school has been kept up all the year for several years, and at times this Sunday school constituted the only religious service held in the schoolhouse, or in the place for months together.


In the summer of 1849 Rev. L. A. Skinner, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, commenced preaching in the schoolhouse in Elma Village at 2 o'clock on Sunday afternoons, alternating with Rev. George E. Havens, Methodist minister from Lancaster, and later with Rev. C. S. Baker, who was sent to Lancaster by the Methodist Conference.

Mr. Skinner was obliged to give up the Elma appointment on account of failing health. Rev. Nehemiah Cobb from Spring Brook then took up the work in Elma Village, holding meetings there occasionally until the spring of 1852. In October, 1851, Rev. William Waith became the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Lancaster and he came occasionally to Elma during that winter; in the spring of 1852 he took up regular work, and continued meetings on alternate Sunday afternoons until 1868. In 1858 most of the remaining members of the Presbyterian Church of Spring Brook came to Mr. Waith 's meetings in the Elma Village schoolhouse and in that way the Spring Brook church gradually became a part of the Elma Society. After the Methodist Church was built in Elma Village in 1859, by invitation from that society, the Presbyterians held their services in the church building every alternate Sunday afternoon.

There was never a regularly organized Presbyterian Society of Elma Village, but the Spring Brook members brought their Society with them, and after that time it was generally called the Elma Presbyterian Society.

The Society was disbanded by order of the Presbytery on June 5, 1873, most of the remaining members joining the Lancaster church.


Rev. George E. Havens, who was minister in charge at Lancaster in 1848-1849, was called to Big Flats to preach the funeral sermon of Samantha Standart, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Standart, Senior, who died July 15th, 1849. This was the first death of a white person on the Lancaster part of the Reservation, and the first sermon preached in that part of Elma.

Rev. Havens, after that, preached in the schoolhouse to the close of that Conference year.

The M. E. Conference for 1849 sent Rev. C. S. Baker to Lancaster and to supply Bowmansville and Elma with alternate Sunday afternoon services.

In September, 1849, Rev. C. S. Baker organized a "class," comprised of Joseph Briggs, George Standart, -Jr., Mrs. J. B. Briggs, Fiorina Briggs, and Mrs. Olive Standart. The preachers who were sent by the M. E. Conference to Lancaster came to Elma regularly every alternate Sunday o afternoon for many years, the meetings being held in the schoolhouse until the church was built.

A Sunday-school was organized in the spring of 1851 by Col. Cyrenus Wilbor (father of Mrs. J. B. Briggs). The meetings of the Sunday-school being at 1 o'clock p. m.

The Methodist Episcopal Society of Elma Village was organized at a meeting held in the schoolhouse December 23, 1853, Rev. Schuyler Parker, pastor, present. The following named persons were duly elected as trustees: Cyrenus Wilbor, James R. Jackman, Joseph B. Briggs, Elon Clark, Warren Jackman, Joseph F. Clark, and Deforest Standart.

Cyrenus Wilbor died September 21st, 1856, age 62 years, 7 months, 6 days.

James R. Jackman died November 24th, 1864, age 71 years, 1 month, 17 days.

Joseph B. Briggs died October 30th, 1898, age 86 years.

Elon Clark died June 7th, 1856, age 34 years, 1 month, 20 days.

Joseph F. Clark died August 22d, 1854, aged 31 years.

Deforest Standart died October 10th, 1864, age 41 years.

The Board of Trustees in the year 1900 consists of Warren Jackman, Cyrus Hurd, Simeon Noles, Myron H. Clark, George Beidler, and Charles S. Briggs.

The M. E. Church building on the east side of Main Street, in Elma Village, was commenced on July 7th, 1859, and Rev. Gleason Fillmore preached the dedication sermon February 9th, 1860; since which time preaching services and meetings of the Sunday school have been continuous in the building.

The names of the M. E. preachers who have served with the year of their coming are given below:

Names. Year. Names. Year.

Rev. George E. Havens. 1849 Rev. George M. Harris....1875

Rev. C. S. Baker 1849 Rev. John B. Wright 1878

Rev. Gustavus Hines 1850 Rev. W. H. Henderson 1880

Rev. Nelson Reasoner 1852 Rev. C. S. Baker 1881

Rev. Schyler Parker 1853 Rev. J. F. Brown 1883

Rev. Gordon 1855 Rev. R. L. Robinson 1884

Rev. Alonzo Newton 1856 Rev. Wallace 1885

Rev. Lewis A. Chapin 1858 Rev. C. S. Baker 1885

Rev. Sheldon H. Baker... 1859 Rev. Fred Dark 1888

Rev. James McClelland... 1861 Rev. C. Robson 1889

Rev. W. H. Shaw 1862 Rev. E. W. Shrigiey 1890

Rev. F. W. Conable 1862 Rev. Louis A. Wright 1892

Rev. Hiram May 1864 Rev. Jabez E. Armstrong... 1897

Rev. Geo. W. McPherson 1868 Rev. S. W. Wyman 1899

Rev. P. P. Reese 1874 Rev. Jabez E. Armstrong... 1900


The Town of Elma, by resolution of the Board of Supervisors at the time the town was formed, was joined to and to be a part of the Second School Commissioner District of Erie County.

On July 16th, 1857, Amos Freeman, the Commissioner of the said Second District, altered and re-numbered the school districts in the Town of Elma.

Eleven schoolhouses were in the town at that date, viz.: Three on the Mile Strip, three in the Aurora part of the town, and five in the Lancaster part.

School District No. 1 - Schoolhouse on Clinton Street, known as the Cotton District.

School District No. 2 - Schoolhouse on Bullis Road, known as the Bullis District.

School District No. 3 - Schoolhouse on Jamison Road, known as the East Elma District.

School District No. 4 - Schoolhouse on Billington and Williams roads, known as the Hitchcock District.

School District No. 5 - Schoolhouse on Plank Road, known as North Star District.

School District No. 6 - Schoolhouse on Bowen and Rice roads, known as Woodard District.

School District No. 7 - Schoolhouse on Bowen Road, known as the Elma Village District.

School District No. 8 - Schoolhouse in Blossom Valley, known as the Blossom District.

School District No. 9 - Schoolhouse on Winspear Road, known as the Winspear District.

School District No. 10 - Schoolhouse in Spring Brook, known as the Spring Brook District.

School District No. 11 - Schoolhouse on Northrup and Paxon roads, known as the Davis District.

A Catholic schoolhouse was built in 1864 on the southeast corner of the Clinton Street and Girdled Roads.

The schoolhouses in 1900 are on the same old sites, except that District No. 11 after a few years was discontinued and the territory joined to two school districts in the town of East Hamburgh, and that schoolhouse is gone.

The schoolhouse for District No. 1 is on the south side of the Clinton Street Road, about 20 rods east from the Girdled Road, on the north end of Lot No. 20.

The Catholic Schoolhouse is on the northwest corner of Lot No. 20, and southeast corner of the Clinton Street and Girdled Roads.

District No. 2 - Schoolhouse is on the north side of the Bullis Road, on top of the hill east of the Big Buffalo Creek, and on south line of Lot 16.

District No. 3 - Schoolhouse is on the north side of the Jamison Road and south line of Lot 10, about 60 rods east from the East Elma store.

District No. 4 - Schoolhouse is on the north line of Lot 15 of Mile Strip and on southwest corner of the Williams and Billington Roads.

District No. 5 - Schoolhouse is on the north line of Lot 28 of the Mile Strip, on southwest side of the Plank Road.

District No. 6 - Schoolhouse is on the southeast corner of Lot 52, and on northwest corner of the Bowen and Rice Roads.

District No. 7 - Schoolhouse is on the west side of the Bowen Road, on top of the hill about 50 rods south from the Clinton Street Road.

District No. 8 - Schoolhouse is in Blossom Village on the south side of the Main Street.

District No. 9 - Schoolhouse is on the west line of Lot 89, and on the north side of the Winspear Road, about 108 rods north from the Bullis Road.

District No. 10 - Schoolhouse is in Spring Brook Village, on Lot 75, and on northeast side of the Plank Road.

District No. 11 - Schoolhouse was located near the centre of Lot 36 of Mile Strip, and on the southwest corner of the Northrup and Faxon roads. This district was united with Districts 8 and 11 of the town of East Hamburgh.

The schools in the town are general^ what are known as graded schools.

The number of children in the town, on July 1st, 1898, between five and eighteen years of age, as given by the trustees of the several school districts was 578. Of these, 476 attended school in the town some part of the school year, and 46 attended school out of town, making a total of 522 who were in school; the fifty-six who were not in school were mostly between 14 and 16 years of age, and by the school law, were not obliged to be in school, if they were regularly employed. School expenses for the school session ending July 1st, 1899:

Amount paid for teachers' wages $2,644.20

Amount paid for other expenses 948. 54

Total $3,592. 74

By the returns of the trustees of the school districts there were on July 1st, 1899, 558 children in the town between 5 and 18 years of age, being 20 less than on July 1st, 1898.

Number of children in the town between 8 and 16 years of age: On July 1st, 1898. On July 1st, 1899.

Boys 219 Boys 193

Girls 207 Girls 188

Total 426 Total 381

Making a loss in the year of: Boys 26 Girls 19 Total 45


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