Persia, Cattaraugus County, NY


The town of Persia was formed from Perrysburgh, February 7, 1835. It lies on the north line of the county, west of the center. The surface is a hilly upland, with a general inclination towards the north. The highest peaks are about 650 feet above Lake Erie. The principal streams are Cattaraugus Creek, forming the north boundary, and South Branch.

Gowanda , on Cattaraugus Creek, in the northwest corner, was incorporated December 7, 1847. In 1863, it contained 2 churches, a newspaper office, a large flouring mill, 2 sawmills, and various manufacturing establishments. It had a population of 908, of which 520 are in Persia, and 388 are in Collins, in Erie County.

The first settlement was made a little above Gowanda Village, in 1811, by John Russell, from Vermont. Upon the outbreak of the War of 1812, John left with his family, never to return. In 1814, Ahaz Allen, from Vermont, settled on the lot left vacant by Russell. Other early settlers included: Thomas Farnsworth, Merrill Aldrich, and Daniel Wheeler in 1815.

The first child born was Anice Farnsworth, in the summer of 1815. The first school was taught by Polly Redfield, in 1817. Ahaz Allen erected the first sawmill in 1814; the first clothing works in 1821; the first gristmill in 1823 on Cattaraugus Creek. Phineas Spencer kept the first store, around 1823, in Gowanda.

The first religious meetings were held by Elder Elnathan Finch, (FreeWill Baptist) in 1815- 1816. The first church (Presbyterian) was formed in 1826, at Gowanda.

Special Note:  Gowanda is in both Erie and Cattaraugus County.  Vital records for the Gowanda State Hospital are on file at the Town of Collins Clerks office in Erie County.  We have been advised you must specifically request a search of hospital records.  If you submit a general request it is reported they will only search the town records.

Town Officials

Town Historian

Town Clerk

Mary Kristen Schaus
45 Walnut St.
Gowanda, NY 14070
(716) 532-4042 (B)
Information from 2008 Cattaraugus County Directory

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