The Town of Dayton was formed from Perrysburg on February 7, 1835. It is located in the western border of Cattaraugus County, and is the second town from the north. East of it lies the town of Persia and south, the town of Leon. Its surface is a rolling and hilly upland, the highest elevations being 300 feet above the R.R at Dayton Station. Conewango Creek is the major stream. Lumbering was an important industry to the town, with pine, hemlock, maple and beech being the major trees found. As the land was forested and improved, the dairy industry grew to in importance.
Dayton on the N.Y. & E. R. R., in the northeast corner of the town contained 13 dwellings in 1860. West Dayton, in the northwest corner contained a church, 2 sawmills, and 14 dwellings.
Sociality is a hamlet in the southeast part of the town. The first settlement was made by Silas Nash, and Simeon Bunce, from Otsego county, in 1810.
It is generally believed that the Rev Elnathan Finch, a Baptist missionary, held the first religious meeting in town in 1816, at the house of Caleb Webb, at West Dayton. It does not appear that any society was organized in consequence, immediately or in the years following. It seems that the settlements were too sparse to maintain a church organization, and no effort was made in this direction by the Baptists. But in the fall of 1818 a class of four Methodists was formed, and met for worship at the house of Caleb Webb. The members were Webb and his wife; Daniel and Clarinda Brand. The meetings were led by a Mr. Whipple, living at Kents Mills; and occasional preaching was supplied by Revs. Dennis Goddard and Samuel R. Brockway. Soon the class was augmented by members from the Webb, Darbee and Prosser families, and shortly after a log meeting house was built on the lad of Daniel Prosser, in Southwestern Perrysburg, which was used until 1845.
From this class was formed The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Dayton, or what is now known as the Cottage Methodist Episcopal Church. The incorporation was effected Oct 31, 1835, as a meeting over which Daniel Prosser and John H. Blish presided. The trustees elected were Giles Johnson, William Howlet, and John B. Reed. The membership of the church at this time was about sixty, under the pastoral direction of the Revs. W. S. Warallo and T.H. Cummings. They were preachers in charge of a circuit, which embraced appointments in Dayton, Perrysburg, and other towns.
A church edifice was erected the following year, 1846, at West Dayton, which was replaced by the present structure in 1872. It is very attractive place of worship with a capacity to seat 300 persons, and cost to build $2500. A parsonage and two acres of ground were secured for the Dayton circuit about twenty years ago at West Dayton. This property is valued at $1500, and is occupied by the preacher in charge of the circuit, which embraces other appointments in the town of Dayton. Others who have served Dayton circuit have been the Revs. WW Warner, Peter Burroughts, T.G. McCrary, WHH Snowden, W. H. Hover, J. H. Whalon, T. P. Warner and L. A. Chapin. The names of the ministry previously connected with the church can be found in the history of the Methodist Church of Perrysburg.
Early settlers included: Joshua Webb, in 1815, from Madison County, on Lot 56; Lehman H. Pitcher, on Lot 58, in 1816; Ralph Johnson, on Lot 301, from Connecticut; Heman and Anson Merrill, from Onondaga County, in 1815 on Lots 30 and 31; and Timothy Shaw, from Herkimer County in 1818.
The first child, Aras, was born to Silas Nash in 1811; and the first marriage was that of Benjamin Parsell and Mary Redfield, in March, 1818. The first death was that of DeWitt Nash, a son of Silas Nash, in Feb. 1812. In 1827 the first inn was opened by Caleb Webb, in West Dayton; and the first store by William H Leland, in 1833 in Wesley. A sawmill was built by Silas Nash in 1817, in West Dayton.
The Public Schools
In 1835 the Commissioners of Common Schools, James Cadwell, Russell Brown, and W. B. Smith, reported four whole and five fractional districts in town, in which an Aggregate off forty-three months of school had been taught, in terms of from three to seven months in each district. The number of children taught was three hundred and sixty-five, and the money apportioned to the town by the county was $121.15.
There are at present nine school districts, owning buildings and lots valued at $3600. Teachers wages were $2246.35; the apportionment from the county was $1170.68, and the amount raised by taxation $1222.39. The number of children of school age was reported as four hundred eighty five and the average daily attendance a little more than two hundred and seven.
In most districts good schoolhouses have been provided and the reputation of the schools will bear comparison with those of other towns.
District No 2 is the owner of a fine grove near Dayton village, which is locally known as "Educational Grove." It contains about five acres of well-drained ground, covered by a magnificent growth of maple trees. It is a favorite place for picnics and public out door gatherings. It was and is the purpose of the purchasers to have the school buildings erected on these grounds the present year, 1879.
PIONEER SETTLERS OF DAYTON (1819) This page contains a list of the settlers in the town of Dayton in 1819.
The property we know as South Dayton was stagnant for many years. It was sold no less than eight times before two men decided to develop the land into a village. The following lists the history of those land transactions.
- 1816 - The first settlers were Lehman H. and James P. Pitcher, who soon moved on and sold their interest to M.C. Nickerson. no date avalible - Sold to the Farmer's Loan and Trust Co.
- 1838 - sold to William Tweedy
- 1841 - sold to Christopher Smith
- 1845 - sold to Daniel C. Smith (Christophers's brother)
- 1849 - sold to Homer and Joseph Wheelock.
- 1864 - sold to Fredrick C. Phillips
- 1865 - sold to John and Cynthia Wickham.
- 1875 - Mr. Wickam sold part of his share (32 acres) at $150 per acre to Robert F. Ewing. The village was then plotted and laid out into lots, with Mr. Ewing owning one third and Mr. Wickham two-thirds. This was the beginning of South Dayton proper. Actually the name South Dayton wasn't officially used until the late 1890's. In 1855 the place was named Pine Valley by Baron Hubbard.
Mr. Wickham - Founder
Robert Finley Ewing - Founder
Early DevelopmentThe first grocery store was run in 1864 by David Barret. After 1875 another store was erected by N. L. Rowe. Mr. Wickham built a grist mill, hotel and about thirty other buildings. Mr. Ewing also erected a store and a number of buildings. The first mail route was run by the residents, who would take turns carrying the mail from Perrysburg. They would often meet in the school house to hear the war news read. The post office was established in about 1860 with Ehan O. Beach appointed as postmaster and Mrs. John Wickham, deputy.
Listing of Early BusinessmenRanlett & Chase, N. L. Rowe, Ben L. Babb, Ewing & Whipple, Wilson & Fuller, Wilson & Hale, J. M. Frantz, R. L. Shepard, E. F. Beach, P. McCune, W. C. Cardot, G. P. Williams, James Peters, Theodore Buckentine, Babcock & McIntyre, and Wilson & Wade.
Source: History of Dayton, New York by Chas J. Shults ( copyright 1901)
Thanks to: Lonnie Bowers and Artie Nichols for providing this information.
transcribed by our volunteers.
The History of Cattaraugus County published in 1879 by L.H. Everts contains a chapter on Dayton with biographies, history and photos of some of its prominent men and pioneers. That chapter has been transcribed by Linda Albright and available here.
Biographies of Dayton residents from the 1893 HISTORICAL GAZETTEER and BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF CATTARAUGUS COUNTY by WILLIAM ADAMS are available by selecting the town of Dayton from the menu at that page.
History of Dayton by by Charles Schults, published in 1901. This document transcribed by Mary Lee and Laura Greene contains biographies of many residents of Dayton, including those residing there previous to 1901. It also contains an interesting views on some notable Americans from the perspective of a contemporary.
Town Historian/Town Clerk
9100 Rt. 62,
South Dayton, NY 14138
Phone: (Bus) 716 - 532 - 3758
Hills Funeral Chapel
478 Route 83
Phone: (716) 988-5922
Surnames people are researching from Dayton include:
- FULLER by Susan Valis
- SHERMAN, HALL, EDICK by Terry Dean Olson
- HEINTZ by sandra nichols
- HOWARD by sandra nichols
- LOOMER by Doug Loomer
- MINER by George B. Greenwood
- OAKES / OAKS by Mary Carr
- SPRAGUE by Mary Carr
- RAECHER by sandra nichols
- WICKINGS by Al Nugent
Cemeteries NAME LOCATION CONTACT Cottage Cemetery Main St, Cottage unknown Markhams Lutheran Cemetery Markhams Ruth Bennett
Markhams Cemetery Rte 62 unknown Park Lawn Cemetery Wesley unknown St Pauls of the Cross Cemetery Rte 62 in Dayton unknown