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Full text of "The progress of the Empire State a work devoted to the historical, financial, industrial, and literary development of New York"

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GRO\ ER CLEVELAND. 

President oi ates; born Caldwell. New 

Jersey, March T3, 1837: received academic education. Re- 
moved to Buffalo, TS55 : admitted to bar, 1859; assistant 
district attorney Erie County, 1863-60; sheriff Erie County, 
1 8 7 -73 ! elected mayor of Buffalo, 1881 ; elected governor 
of New York, 1882; elected President of the United States, 
1884 and 1892. Was one of the trustees of the Equitable 
Life Assurance Society after control was surrendered by 
James H. Hyde. Resided in later life at Princeton, New 
Jersey; died at Princeton, June 24. 1908. 



THE P ; 






THK PROGRESS OF THK 
EMPIRE STATE 

\ WORK D ST U< '.: . A Wv 

INDUSTRIAL, AND U I - NT 

V « YORK 



CHARLES A. CONANT 

. • ... - .--.. 

I-. 



VOLUME II. 

THE HISTORY OF BUFFALO 

BY J. N. LARNED 



.SHED BY 

- SS THE EMPIRE STATE COMPANY 

\ I ■■: YORK 



191-3 



PREFACE 



The charm of the cities of the old world to the artist 
and scholar is the body of historical and romantic associa- 
tions which cluster about their history and monuments. A 
certain amount of age is usually required to throw over 
such memories the halo of romance. In this respect 
America has been until recent times more or less deficient. 
It is beginning to be recognized, however, that there is 
much in the history of American communities as heroic, 
as picturesque and as romantic as in the history of the cities 
of the older world and that already in many cases these 
memories are being sanctified by the halo of time. In this 
field many of the best American scholars have been dili- 
gently pursuing their researches among old archives, docu- 
ments and monuments. 

Mr. Larned, who has written the history of Buffalo in 
the series of volumes on "The Progress of the Empire 
State," has been able to cast more or less of this flavor of 
romance into the background of his account of the modern 
efficiency of organization which has advanced Buffalo, 
Rochester and other cities of the Empire State to leading 
places in the industrial and social development of America. 
His work combines the story of the evolution of Buffalo 
from a little hamlet, on the frontier of a century ago, down 
to the magnificent city of to-day, with its great factories, 
railroad terminals, many-sided institutions of culture, and 
beautiful homes. In this field of practical development 



42X1 2 7 3 



American literature is perhaps even more deficient than in 
the history of the beginnings of the rule of white men on 
this continent. So much a thing of only yesterday and 
to-day has been this evolution that it has hardly been over- 
taken by the average scholar, plodding among written docu- 
ments instead of seeking the photograph of what is in its 
throbbing and living actuality. This photograph of the 
Buffalo living, militant and creative it is the merit of the 
author of this work to have thrown upon the canvas for 
the benefit of those who are active sharers in it. 

On a smaller scale a like work has been done for 
Rochester by the eminent scholar, the Hon. Charles E. 
Fitch, and for Utica by that many-sided man of achieve- 
ment, letters, and public service, — the former historian of 
the State of New York, Member of Congress and Treasurer 
of the United States, Ellis H. Roberts. 

For the portraits which illustrate the life of the three 
cities and for the sketches printed in connection with them 
for identification, the publishers of this work are respon- 
sible, the authors of the articles having been consulted only 
in certain cases. 

The Editor. 

34 Nassau Street, 

New York, August IS, 1911. 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I 



Chapter GENERAL HlSTORY OF BUFFALO 

I. Beginnings .... 

II. In the Era of the Waterways : 1825-1850 

III. In the Era of the Railways : 1851-1908 

The Evolution of the City 

constructive evolution 
I. The Making of a Harbor 
II. Outer Communications . 

III. Inner Communications 

IV. Electric Power from Niagara Falls 
V. Water Supply, Fire-fighting, Lighting 

VI. Sewerage and Sanitation 
VII. Parks and Public Grounds . 

GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 
I. Municipal Constitution and Police Adminis 

tration .... 
II. Courts. — Bench and Bar 

CON4MERCIAL EVOLUTION 
I. Commercial Organization. — The Grain 

Trade, etc. 
II. The Lumber Trade 

III. The Coal Trade 

IV. Cattle Trade and Meat Packing 

FINANCIAL EVOLUTION 
Banking .... 

INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 
I. Tanning and the Leather Trade 
II. The Manufacture of Flour 
III. Production of Iron and Steel 



Page 

3 

39 
62 



112 


• 137 


152 


. 156 


168 


176 


. 185 


199 



209 

221 
233 
245 

248 

26l 
266 

272 



GENERAL HISTORY 



CHAPTER I 

BEGINNINGS 

IF some sagacious European of the 16th century could 
have had the North American continent mapped for 
him, after it became known as a continent, and had 
been asked to mark the points where cities of importance 
were most likely to grow up, when city-building peoples 
were spread over this New World, his pencil would no 
doubt have been prophetic in a few of its markings, but mis- 
taken in many more. He might easily have missed the 
promise of Boston, Washington, Pittsburg, Cincinnati; 
might have seated Philadelphia and Baltimore differently 
on the great inlets from the Atlantic, or found reason for 
expecting but one of the two; might have hesitated in loca- 
ting New Orleans, and predicted for Alton or Cairo what 
St. Louis has realized; but his pencil could not have passed 
over the site of New York, and three markings, at least, 
on the Great Lakes would have been made with a sure 
hand. In the face of its map, nobody could ever have 
doubted that cities must rise at the foot of Lake Erie, at 
the head of Lake Michigan and the head of Lake Superior, 
if cities in America were to be. More than probably the 
prophetic eye of the 16th century would have misplaced 
Chicago by a few miles, and discovered no foretoken of a 
Milwaukee, a Cleveland or a Detroit; but Buffalo and Du- 
luth were geographically inevitable from the day that a 
civilized settlement of America began. 

To civilized and peacefully commercial mankind, such 
seats of collective habitation, where some great waterway 
opens naturally easy intercourse with near and far neigh- 



4 BEGINNINGS 

bors, are attractive; but mankind in the savage state of 
chronic warfare among neighbors has to shun them, for 
the same reason, of their openness to visitation. Naturally, 
therefore, there is nothing to show that the immediate shore 
of Lake Erie, at this point where the Niagara flows out of 
it, was ever chosen for an Indian town. Two successive 
aboriginal nations are known to have been in possession of 
the surrounding region, and with villages in the vicinity, 
but not close to river or lake. 

Prior to the 17th century nothing is known of our pred- 
ecessors on or near these shores. As early in that century 
as 1615, when Champlain visited the Hurons, he learned 
of a large tribe, dwelling between them and the Five Na- 
tions of the Iroquois, who took no part in the implacable 
wars which those two branches of one linguistic family per- 
sisted in till the former were vanquished and dispersed. 
This intervening tribe, kindred in language to both of the 
belligerents and avoiding alliance with either, was known 
as the Attiouandaronk or Neutral Nation. It was visited by 
some of the early French missionaries, and its occupation 
of a wide domain on both sides of the Niagara River, 
reaching eastward to the Genesee and westward, along the 
northern border of Lake Erie, nearly to Lake Huron, is a 
practically settled fact. The ground we now inhabit in 
Buffalo must have been in that domain. So far, the aborigi- 
nal history of this bit of American territory is tolerably 
clear. 

But now slight confusions appear in the record, and they 
arise from confusions of name. According to Iroquois tra- 
dition and French missionary reports, the all-conquering 
Iroquois turned their arms against the Neutrals, soon after 
the Flurons had been overcome, and brought their tribal ex- 
istence to an end ; but early references to this are mixed with 
allusions to further wars and conquests of the Iroquois in 



THE TRAGEDY OF THE KAH-KWAHS 5 

this vicinity, following closely thereupon. The annihila- 
tion of a people called the Kah-Kwahs comes into the story, 
and the scene of it appears to be laid on this ground. Then, 
in dim confusions with that, there are Iroquois memories 
of a victorious end to long struggles with the powerful na- 
tion of the Eries, who held the southern border of the lake 
which took their name, and whose hunting grounds seem 
to have stretched eastward to the Genesee, even as those of 
the Neutrals had done. Who were the Kah-Kwahs? is the 
question. Mr. Schoolcraft decided them to be a remnant 
of the Eries; but Father Charlevoix, who wrote his "His- 
tory of New France" from information gathered in Amer- 
ica between 1720 and 1722, says that the Iroquois finished 
their destruction of the Eries, about 1655, " so completely 
that, but for the great lake which still bears the name of 
that nation, we should not have known that it existed." This 
argues against the Schoolcraft opinion, which has little 
weight. Mr. Parkman thought Kah-Kwahs and Neutrals 
to be only two names for the same people. Our own best 
student of local Indian history, Mr. O. H. Marshall, held 
the same view. Mr. Ketchum, who devoted the greater 
part of his "History of Buffalo" to Iroquois history, thought 
it not improbable that the Kah-Kwahs were a remnant of 
the Neutrals. By one conclusion or the other it seems safe 
to identify the Kah-Kwahs with the Neutrals, and to re- 
gard them as the only Indian occupants of this soil before 
the Senecas, of the Iroquois confederacy, became its lords. 
This enables us to believe, with the late David Gray, that 
the tragic end of these people is recounted in a famous war 
legend of the Iroquois, which Mr. Gray once recited to 
our Buffalo Historical Society in exquisite verse. So much 
of that notable poem, "The Last of the Kah-Kwahs," as 
sings the requiem of the vanished tribe, has a claim to quota- 
tion here: 



6 BEGINNINGS 

It came, at last — the nation's evil day, 

Whose rayless night should never pass away. 

A calm foreran the tempest, and, a space, 

Fate wore the mask of joy upon his face. 

It was a day of revel, feast, and game, 

When, from the far-off Iroquois, there came 

A hundred plumed and painted warriors, sent 

To meet the Kah-Kwah youth in tournament. 

And legend tells how sped the mimic fight; 

And how the festal fire blazed high at night, 

And laugh and shout through all the greenwood rang; 

Till, at the last, a deadly quarrel sprang. 

Whose shadow, as the frowning guests withdrew, 

Deepened, and to a boding war-cloud grew. 

And not for long the sudden storm was stayed; 

It burst in battle, and in many a glade 

Were leaves of green with fearful crimson crossed, 

As if by finger of untimely frost. 

Fighting, they held the stubborn pathway back, 

The foe relentless on their homeward track, 

Till the thinned remnant of the Kah-Kwah braves 

Chose, where their homes had been, to make their graves; 

And rallied for the last and hopeless fight. 

With the blue ripples of the lake in sight. 

Could wand of magic bring that scene, again, 
Back, with its terrors, to the battle-plain, 
Into these silent streets the wind would bear 
Its mingled cry of triumph and despair; 
And all the nameless horror of the strife, 
That only ended with a nation's life, 
Would pass before our startled eyes, and seem 
The feverish fancy of an evil dream. 



THE COMING OF THE SENECAS 7 

For, in the tumult of that fearful rout, 
The watch-light of the Kah-Kwah camp went out; 
And, thenceforth, in the pleasant linden shade, 
Seneca children, only, laughed and played. 
And still the river rolled, in changeless state, 
Eternal, solemn, deep and strong as fate. 

The Iroquois had no disposition to occupy the territory 
they had depopulated by the destruction of the Kah-Kwahs, 
or to put their mastery of the great lake of the Eries to any 
use. For more than a century their westernmost nation, the 
Senecas, stayed at the east of the Genesee, and the whole re- 
gion from that river to the lake was an uninhabited wild. 
The Senecas made no homes in this region till they were 
driven to do so, during the War of American Independence, 
by the Sullivan expedition, which devastated their beautiful 
valley, and compelled them to fly for shelter and subsistence 
to their British allies, on the Niagara, in 1779. One band 
of them, with a few fugitive Cayugas and Onondagas, made 
a settlement on Buffalo Creek, about four miles above its 
mouth, the next spring. These Senecas brought with them 
several white captives, of the Gilbert family, taken from 
their homes on the Pennsylvania border not long before, and 
they were probably the first of white people to be resident 
on this soil. French missionaries, traders and soldiers, and 
British soldiers after the conquest of Canada, may have 
sometimes trodden it, but only in a passing way. It was 
not till about ten years later that a Dutch trader, Cornelius 
Winne, opened a log-built store, for traffic with the neigh- 
boring red-men, at the foot of a low hill which gave its 
name to the strip of public ground that we call "The 
Terrace," though it was levelled long ago. He was the 
pioneer Buffalonian, so far as is known. 

At this time the famous Indian orator known as Red 



8 BEGINNINGS 

Jacket had risen to a leading rank among the Senecas, 
though not distinguished as a warrior and not originally a 
chief. He owed his influence to a natural gift of eloquence, 
which he is said to have cultivated artistically, by study 
as careful as that of Demosthenes. He had opposed sub- 
mission to the treaty of Fort Stanwix (to be explained pres- 
ently) , without avail, and he continued through life to be an 
inflexible champion of radical claims for his people as pri- 
mary possessors of the land; but his disposition was pacific, 
and he was generally in friendly relations with the whites. 
Those who knew him best seem to have respected and ad- 
mired him much. He rejected Christian teaching, but ac- 
cepted the accursed gift of intoxicating drink which the 
white man tempted and betrayed his red-skinned brother 
with, and it brought him sometimes to shame in his later 
years. His own people, in fine compliment to his oratory, 
called him Sagoyewatha, meaning that "he keeps them 
awake," but his white neighbors, with less sentiment and less 
respect, named him from the scarlet jacket which a British 
officer had given him and which it pleased him to wear. 

The principal war chief of the Senecas was Honayewus, 
called Farmer's Brother, because President Washington, 
whom he had visited, described himself, in the course of an 
interview, as a farmer, and spoke of the chief as his brother. 
Farmer's Brother is said to have realized, in person, in bear- 
ing and in character, the ideal war hero of the Iroquois. In 
the wars of the past he had been a savage; in peace he was 
faithfully peaceful, and exercised an influence among his 
people that was strong and wise and good. 

Both Farmer's Brother and Red Jacket lived on the Buf- 
falo Creek Reservation. Cornplanter, another prominent 
Seneca chief of the time — a half-breed, sometimes called 
John O'Bail or Abeel — had his home on the Alleganv. 

The British were still holding Fort Niagara (and other 



THE BUYING OF INDIAN LANDS 9 

garrisoned places on American soil, which they did not 
surrender till 1796), with posts at Lewiston and Schlosser, 
as well as at Fort Erie, on the Canadian side of the river, 
and the Indians of this region were entirely under their con- 
trol. By the treaty of Fort Stanwix, in 1784, between the 
United States and the Six Nations of the Iroquois, the west- 
ern line of lands to be held by those tribes in New York and 
Pennsylvania was defined as running parallel with the Nia- 
gara River, at four miles distance, eastward, throughout the 
length of the river, from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, and 
thence south from the mouth of Buffalo Creek. This put a 
large part of what is now Buffalo outside of the Indian 
lands. But, subject to Indian rights, the title to lands in 
Western New York (excepting a strip of one mile width 
along the eastern shore of Niagara River, which New York 
reserved, and which was long known as the State Mile 
Strip), had become vested in the State of Massachusetts, by 
an agreement between that State and New York in 1786. 
Under the royal charters which created them as English 
colonies, both States could claim unlimited westward exten- 
sions of boundary, the Massachusetts belt cutting through 
that of New York. In compromising their claims, Massa- 
chusetts obtained such proprietary rights over Western New- 
York scil as were deducible from her colonial charter, while 
New York kept sovereignty over that and the rest. What 
Massachusetts obtained, in fact, was the sole right to buy the 
Indian rights of property in that soil, the native owners be- 
ing forbidden to deal with any other buyer. 

In 1788 this Massachusetts right of purchase was sold to 
Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, who succeeded the 
same year, at a notable council with the Indians on Buffalo 
Creek, in buying so much of the tract as lay on the east side 
of the Genesee, together with an important strip on the west 
side of the river, taking in its Rochester falls. This ended 



IO BEGINNINGS 

the dealings of Phelps and Gorham with the Indians. Be- 
ing unable to complete the payments due to Massachusetts 
they were released from their contract, and the State made 
a new engagement with Robert Morris, the Philadelphia 
financier. Morris took the Massachusetts rights in all the 
remaining territory, and, stipulating to extinguish the In- 
dian title, he sold most of the tract to a group of capitalists 
in Holland (it was never a company, though called "the 
Holland Company") , in 1792-3. It was not until 1797, how- 
ever, that he could make his conveyance good. Then, at a 
council at Geneseo, the Senecas sold to him the residue of 
their lands in Western New York, excepting eleven reserva- 
tions for their own settlements, the largest of which was that 
assigned to the Senecas of Buffalo Creek. This reservation 
was to extend eastward from Lake Erie, along both sides of 
the creek, having a width of about seven miles, and to con- 
tain 130 square miles. It took in the future harbor and origi- 
nal nucleus of Buffalo, and there could have been no city 
on this precise ground if the Indians had held fast to their 
rights. Fortunately they did not, as will be told. The town, 
however, was hampered by a large neighborhood of unde- 
veloped country for many years. 

By this time Winne, the trader, had acquired two or three 
neighbors, one of whom, Asa Ransom, brought a wife and 
daughter from Geneva, in 1796, and introduced in the little 
settlement its first example of civilized family life. Mr. 
Ransom was a jeweller, who found employment in making 
silver trinkets for the Indians. A second daughter, added 
to the family the next year, was the first white child born 
in this part of the State. 

By this time, too, the small cluster of log houses had had 
a distinguished visitor, whose pen was preparing to intro- 
duce it into literature and history, as a very little village 
with a very big name. In the summer of 1791;, the first vear 



THE VILLAGE OF LAKE ERIE I I 

of his "Travels through the United States of North Amer- 
ica," the Duke de la Rochefoucault Liancourt, on his way 
to Canada, came to see the Senecas in their "Buffalo Town," 
which he found to contain about forty houses, with as many 
more scattered along the banks of the creek for several 
miles. From the Seneca "Buffalo" he came down to the 
lake, and what he saw and experienced here is described and 
related as follows in his book: 

"At length we reached Lake Erie; that is to say, a small 
settlement of four or five houses, standing about a quarter 
of a mile from the lake. A small creek separated them from 
our road. The creek is so muddy that nobody ventures to 
ford it on horseback. The saddles are therefore taken off; 
the horsemen pass the creek, which is about twenty feet 
wide, in boats, and make the horses swim across. * * 
We had intended * * * [to cross to the other side of 
the Niagara River], but it was too late. We were, there- 
fore, necessitated to content ourselves with a very poor sup- 
per and to lie down on the floor, wrapped up in our cloaks. 
Not the least furniture was to be seen in the houses ; nor was 
there any milk, rum or candles. With considerable trouble 
we got some milk from the neighbors, but they were not 
equally obliging in regard to rum and candles. At length 
we obtained these articles from the other side of the river; 
our appetite was keen; we spent a pleasant evening, and 
slept as well as in the woods. 

"At Lake Erie (this is the name of this cluster of houses) 
everything is much dearer than in any other place through 
which we have hitherto passed in our journey, from want of 
any direct communication with other countries, to facilitate 
the intercourse of trade and commerce. There is scarcely 
one house in this little hamlet without a person indisposed 
with the ague. We found ourselves here surrounded by 
Indians; some of them had caught, with harpoons, several 



12 BEGINNINGS 

large sturgeons on the border of the lake, which they of- 
fered us for two shillings apiece. The banks are crowded, 
nay rendered noisome, with places where the Indians dry 
the fish." 

One of the residents in this village of "Lake Erie" was a 
Captain William Johnston, supposed to have belonged for- 
merly to the notorious Butler's Rangers, who had taken a 
wife from the Senecas, and was so much in their favor that 
they had given him about two square miles of land in the 
heart of our present city. Between this grant to Captain 
Johnston (which antedated the Seneca sale of lands to 
Robert Morris), the Buffalo Creek Reservation, and the 
"Mile Strip" along the eastern shore of the Niagara, re- 
served by the State of New York in its arrangement with 
Massachusetts, the Holland Purchase (as the tract sold by 
Morris has always been known), was likely to come to no 
contact with lake, river or creek, at this point, and include- 
no ground on which a commercial city in this region could 
grow up. 

But Joseph Ellicott, appointed by the American agent of 
the Dutch proprietors to survey their tract, and afterwards 
made local agent and manager of this part of the property, 
had no sooner looked it over, and acquired an understand- 
ing of the situation, than he saw the necessity for establish- 
ing his main settlement here, at the head of the river and 
the outlet of the lake. He was able to acquire the needed 
site by a bargain with Captain Johnston, which exchanged 
other lands for his grant from the Senecas, and engaged him 
to persuade the Senecas to leave a considerable stretch of the 
lower part of Buffalo Creek out of their reservation, which 
he did. Thus Joseph Ellicott won a place among the 
founders of cities, by a sagacious stroke of business, con- 
ceived and executed with distinct foresight of its results. 

It was in Ellicott's plan that his future city should be 



THE NAMING OF BUFFALO 13 

called New Amsterdam; but the name Buffalo (derived 
from the creek), slipped away from the Seneca village, be- 
came attached to the "Lake Erie" settlement as soon as that 
began to grow, and could not be shaken off. When and why 
Buffalo Creek received its bovine name has been the subject 
of much research and much dispute. The substantial out- 
come is a general conclusion that the name, in English 
speech, was taken from its Indian equivalent (tick-e-ack- 
gou) ; that it was given at some quite early time, and given 
probably because there were herds of the American bison 
roaming at that time as far eastward and northward as this; 
that they found salt-licks which drew them to the borders 
of this creek and made it an important hunting ground. 
Mr. Marshall found Buffalo Creek so named on a manu- 
script map in the British Museum, dated in 1764, and that is 
the oldest known use of the name. It was used in the nar- 
rative of the captivity of the Gilbert family, published in 
1784, and officially in the Fort Stanwix treaty of the same 
year. 

The survey of the Holland Purchase, laying out town- 
ships and sub-dividing them into lots, and the opening of a 
passable road from the East, through Batavia to this western 
extremity of the Purchase, occupied Ellicott's attention for 
several years, and it was not until late in 1803 or early in 
1804 that the village of New Amsterdam was mapped and 
lots in it were ready for sale. During these years a fair 
number of settlers had been deposited in neighboring town- 
ships, and a considerable stream of migration from eastern 
parts of the country to the Connecticut "Western Reserve," 
in Ohio, and to western Canada, had been passing through. 
New Amsterdam lost some possible pioneers by the tardi- 
ness of this part of the survey. One gentleman, Dr. Cyre- 
nius Chapin, who became a citizen of great importance, had 
planned, in 1801, to be one of forty substantial men from 



14 BEGINNINGS 

Oneida County who would buy largely on the Buffalo 
Creek site; but his proposals were declined. He came per- 
sonally, however, in 1803, with his family, and finding no 
shelter for them, sought a temporary residence at Fort Erie, 
from which he practiced his profession on both sides of the 
river during the next two years. Fort Erie, and the Cana- 
dian side of the Niagara in general, were far in advance of 
the American side in settlement and cultivation at this time. 
In his plan of New Amsterdam, Mr. Ellicott established 
street lines which gave form and direction to the whole 
after-growth of the town. The hub or nave, so to speak, 
of the plan was a specially large lot — "outer lot 104" — con- 
taining one hundred acres of ground, fronting on the road 
which came in from Batavia, but which entered the village 
on a nearly north and south line. On the eastern side of 
this, the present Main Street of Buffalo, the lot in question 
filled the space between what are now Swan and Eagle 
Streets, extending eastward for a mile. It was reserved by 
Mr. Ellicott for himself, with the intention of building a 
residence upon it, at the center of the city which his imagi- 
nation foresaw. To make it conspicuously the center, he 
gave a sweeping curve to the street in front of it, and radi- 
ated thence, southwestwardly to the lake, the street we know 
as Erie, but which he named Vollenhoven Avenue, and 
northwestwardly, to the Niagara, a street which has sur- 
rendered to our Niagara Street its formidable name of 
Schimmelpennick Avenue. At right angles with the front- 
age of his lot, from the middle point in its curve, he ran an- 
other street westward to the lake and called it Stadnitzki 
Avenue. Tt is the Church Street of to-day. For the main 
thoroughfare from which these centralizing street-lines were 
drawn he intended two names: Willink Avenue in the part 
south of the interrupting curve, and Vanstophorst Avenue 
in the northward part. This, subsequently straightened into 



ELLICOTT'S CITY PLAN 15 

our Main Street, determined the course of one system of 
streets, which paralleled it or crossed it at a right angle, 
while Niagara Street determined in the same way the course 
of another system on its side of the town; the two systems 
connecting at angles which give a singular irregularity to 
our "west-side." Mr. Ellicott began the plotting of the 
Niagara Street system by laying out a Busti Avenue (our 
Genesee Street) at right angles with Niagara, then a Caze- 
nove Avenue (Court Street) at right angles with Main, and 
a Delaware Street parallel with Main, the three to cross 
Niagara at the same point, thus creating the somewhat be- 
wildering maze of Niagara Square. 

Mr. Ellicott's intention to build a stately residence on 
"outer lot 104" is said to have been abandoned because of 
action taken in 1809 by village trustees and highway com- 
missioners, who forced a straightening of the street he had 
curved. Dr. Ellicott Evans, a grandnephew of Mr. Elli- 
cott, states in a paper which he read before the Buffalo His- 
torical Society, that the purpose of the latter had been to 
create a place of beauty in the heart of the future city and 
bequeath it to the public at his death. Had this fine design 
been fulfilled, and if a mile-long Ellicott Park had been 
preserved with fidelity till now, from encroachment by rail- 
roads and manufacturing plants, what a different "East 
Side" of our city we should have! 

If Buffalo can be said to have a definable birth-year, it 
was 1804, when definite settlements on residential property 
were begun. The village was visited that year by the Rev. 
Dr. Timothy Dwight, President of Yale College, who wrote 
in his "Travels in New England and New York" that it 
"is built half a mile from the mouth of the Creek, and con- 
sists of about twenty indifferent houses;" that "the spot is 
unhealthy, though of sufficient elevation, and, so far as I 
have been informed, free from the vicinity of stagnant 



1 6 BEGINNINGS 

waters;" that "the inhabitants are a casual collection of ad- 
venturers, and have the usual character of such adventurers 
thus collected, when remote from regular society, retaining 
but little sense of government or religion;" and that "New 
Amsterdam is at present the thoroughfare for all the com- 
merce and travel interchangeably going on between Eastern 
States (including New York and New Jersey), and the 
countries bordering on the great western lakes." Not a flat- 
tering account of the infant emporium; but the travelling 
scholar, in his brief stay at a frontier tavern, was not likely 
to see the best of the few inhabitants. 

He cannot have seen Mons. Louis Stephen Le Couteulx 
de Caumont, scion of an excellent family in Normandy, who 
had bought ground and built a house in New Amsterdam 
that year of the visit of Dr. Dwight. Coming to the United 
States on a business mission in 1786, M. Le Couteulx had 
stayed in the country, obtaining citizenship and purchasing 
an estate not far from Philadelphia. He had spent two 
years in extensive horseback travels, visiting many Indian 
tribes and keeping a journal of his observations, which, most 
unfortunatelv, was lost. He had also been engaged in busi- 
ness at Albany for a time; and, while going through Canada 
with merchandise to Detroit, in 1800, while England 
and France were at war, had been arrested, as a 
suspicious Frenchman, and imprisoned for nearly nine 
months. His business was broken up and his fortune im- 
paired by this mishap. The fair prospects of the little set- 
tlement on Buffalo Creek drew him then to settle here, and 
Mr. Ellicott appointed him local agent for the sale of lands. 
On the formation in 1807 of the large county of Niagara 
(out of which Erie County was not taken till 1821), he be- 
came its first clerk. After the burning of Buffalo, 1813, he 
removed to Albany, but returned in 1821 and remained till 
his death, in 1839. Mr. Le Couteulx was in every way a 



EARLY SETTLERS 1 7 

most valuable citizen, and his example as a gentleman of 
French culture must have been a refining influence in the 
young community, of no little force. He was the strongest 
of the early supporters of the Roman Catholic Church in 
Buffalo, and gave it extensive lands, on which two of its 
church edifices and several of its humane institutions now 
stand. 

Another important settler of the year 1804 was Captain 
Samuel Pratt, who established one of the families of leading 
influence in the town. Captain Pratt, returning to his home 
in Vermont from a fur-buying trip to Detroit, had passed 
through Buffalo in the fall of 1803 and noted the commer- 
cial advantages of the place. The next year he brought his 
family in a coach, built for the long and difficult journey, 
which was the first vehicle of its description ever seen in 
these parts. Captain Pratt was one of the energetic and 
enterprising pioneers of Buffalo till 1812, when he died, in 
the prime of his life. 

A political commission had brought Mr. Erastus Granger 
to the new settlement in the previous year. He was of the 
family of Gideon Granger, Postmaster-General under Pres- 
ident Jefferson, and he came to be both Postmaster and Su- 
perintendent of Indian Affairs at this point. Subsequently 
he was appointed Collector of Customs, when the Collec- 
tion District of Buffalo Creek was formed, and was thus a 
most emphasized representative of the Federal Government 
and of the Jeffersonian (Democratic Republican) party in 
this end of New York. A majority of the other settlers at 
the time were of the Federal or Hamiltonian party, and Mr. 
Granger's arrival was a politically stimulating event. The 
establishment of a post-office was a notable mark of advance, 
though mails came and went but once a week. 

The slow increase of population in the village and the 
neighboring country is traced, with much personal particu- 



1 8 BEGINNINGS 

larity, in Turner's "History of the Holland Purchase," 
Ketchum's "History of Buffalo," and Crisfield Johnson's 
"Centennial History of Erie County," — all painstaking 
works, full of information, derived largely from original 
records and from the lips or pens of surviving pioneers. 
Not much repetition of that detail would be fitting in this 
sketch. 

Turner lists fourteen owners of property in New Amstcr 
dam in 1804. Five only were added in 1805, one of whom, 
Samuel Tupper, afterward Judge Tupper, gave his name to 
a street at the corner of which, on Main Street, he built his 
house. Six took up lots in 1806, and among the arrivals of 
that year was Ebenezer Walden, the first licensed attorney 
who practiced in this part of the State. He was subse- 
quently a judge, and one of the early mayors of the city. He 
bought extensively of land during his life, and sold none; 
consequently he left a large, well-known estate. A daughter 
of Judge Walden became the wife <>\ Colonel Albert J. 
Myer, who organized the Signal Service ami the Weather 
Bureau of the United States. 

Among eight lot-buyers of 1 808 were the fathers of 
Charles Ensign, Chandler J. Wells and William Wells, all 
prominent in the "dock business" of the Buffalo of the next 
generation. In that year or the previous one came Amos 
Callender, whom everybody learned to call "Deacon t 
lender," and who exercised for many years a notable re- 
ligious and moral influence, sometimes as the teacher of a 
school, and always as an active worker for the betterment 
of character and life in the town. 

The most important new-comers of 1809 were Dr. Ebe- 
nezer Johnson and Mr. Oliver Forward, two men who 
made and left strong marks of themselves. Dr. Johnson 
practiced his profession for a few years only, and then en- 
gaged in business, first mercantile and finally banking, with 



THE FIRST COURT AND ITS JUDGES 1 9 

great success. His picturesque stone mansion on Delaware 
Avenue, known still as "the Johnson Cottage," and its spa- 
cious grounds, of which a remnant is preserved in Johnson 
Park, were the pride of the community, in the days when 
Buffalo had become a chartered city and Dr. Johnson was 
its first mayor, for two terms. Mr. Forward, brother-in- 
law of Mr. Granger, held many offices of trust in his subse- 
quent life, including that of judge, and ranked notably 
among the leading citizens of the place. 

By act of the Legislature, in 1808, Buffalo was made the 
county seat of a large Niagara County, then set off from 
Genesee County, and the first session of court in this place 
was in June of that year, with Augustus Porter as First 
judge. Two of his four associates were Erastus Granger 
and Samuel Tupper, of Buffalo. The court was held at 
Landon's tavern; but the Holland Company began at once 
the building of a court house, near the "Old Court House" 
site of a later day, on which the Buffalo Public Library 
now stands. 

Judge Porter, who held a high place in the early history 
of Western New York, had not been bred to the law, but 
had the practical qualities and the abilities that were called 
upon often, in the pioneer organization of American so- 
ciety, to serve without legal training on the bench. He 
came from Connecticut to the Genesee country as a young 
surveyor, in 1789, and was employed in that profession for 
more than a dozen years, first on the Phelps and Gorham 
lands, then on the Holland Purchase, and finally as chief 
surveyor of the Connecticut Land Company, on the "West- 
ern Reserve," in Ohio, where he laid out the city of Cleve- 
land and gave it its name. 

In 1805, Mr. Augustus Porter and his younger brother, 
Peter B. Porter, joined two other gentlemen, Benjamin 
Barton and Joseph Annin, in purchasing from the State of 



20 BEGINNINGS 

New York a tract of about 400 acres of land within the 
Niagara "Mile Strip," at and above the Falls. At the same 
time they leased the landing places, at Lewiston and Black 
Rock, which had been the termini, for many years, of the 
portage of goods around Niagara Falls and of boating above 
them, for commercial transportation between the two lower 
lakes. This was preparatory to the organization, by the two 
brothers and their partners, of an extensive carrying trade 
between tide-water and the military and trading posts and 
settlements in the West. By this engagement in business 
both of the Porters were drawn from their professions, — 
Augustus from surveying and Peter B. from the law, which 
lie had studied in Connecticut and practiced at Canandaigua 
for a number of years. Augustus Porter removed his family 
from Canandaigua to a residence near .Niagara Falls in 
1806; Peter B. Porter, then representing the district in Con- 
gress, came to reside at Black Rock in 1810. 

The part of Buffalo, stretching along the Niagara River, 
which is still known locally as Black Rock, has been ab- 
sorbed in our city so long, and by so complete an incorpora- 
tion, that its distinctness from and rivalry with the Buffalo 
nt that day is hard to realize now; but the fact was empha- 
sized in the history of a good many years. Both the name 
and the rivalry had their origin in an outcrop of darkly 
colored limestone rock, so shaped and placed by nature as 
to afford a singularly favorable landing place on the Amer- 
ican shore of the Niagara, near its head. As the landing 
of a ferry, to and from Fort Erie, it had been in use from 
some early day. In an interesting paper on "The ( )ld Black 
Rock Ferry," prepared for the Buffalo Historical Society 
in 1863, the late Mr. Charles D. Norton gave the following 
description of the rock: "In 1800 there was a tolerable 
road * to the river margin over a flat or plateau of 

land about two hundred feet in width. Upon the northern 



BLACK ROCK RIVALRY 21 

extremity of this plateau there was a black rock, in shape 
an irregular triangle, projecting into the river; having a 
breadth of about one hundred feet at the north end, and 
extending eastward and along the river for a distance of 
three hundred feet, gradually inclining to the southeast, 
until it was lost in the sand. The rock was four or five feet 
high, and at its southern extremity it was square, so that 
an eddy was formed there, into which the ferry-boat could 
be brought, and where it would be beyond the influence of 
the current. From this rock teams could be driven into 
the boat, over a connecting lip or bridge. The natural har- 
bor thus formed was almost perfect, and could not have 
been made by the appliances of art a more complete dock 
or landing place for a boat." 

Buffalo Creek and the Buffalo village of the Holland 
Purchase had nothing in the nature of a port to compete 
with this small natural harbor and wharf, which belonged 
within the Mile Strip and was foreign to the Hollanders' 
domain. Entrance to the Creek from the open lake was 
unsheltered from storms, and was obstructed so badly, 
moreover, by a sand-bar, that, according to the recollections 
of one old resident, "even canoes were sometimes shut out, 
and footmen walked dry shod across the mouth." Hence 
the systematic carrying trade opened by Porter, Barton & 
Co. gave an importance to the Black Rock which started a 
growth of settlement around it, quite threatening to the 
prosperity of Mr. Ellicott's ambitious town. The character 
of the commerce then developed will be described in a later 
chapter, and something of the story of the commercial 
struggle between the Buffalo Creek and the Black Rock 
villages will be told. 

Before establishing his residence at Black Rock, Con- 
gressman Porter had applied, in 1809, for the removal of 
the customs port of entry from Buffalo Creek to that point. 



22 BEGINNINGS 

The Collector of the district, Mr. Granger, wrote a letter 
of remonstrance to the Secretary of the Treasury, in which 
he claimed for Buffalo a population of forty-three families, 
besides unmarried men, while crediting to Black Rock no 
more than one white and two black families, in addition to 
a temporary ferry-house and tavern "under the bank." But 
that was very early in the infancy of "the Rock." 

Despite the rivalry of the Rock, the Creek village main- 
tained so good a growth that one who came to it for resi- 
dence in 181 i, Charles Townsend, wrote in later life (when 
he was known as Judge Townsend) that he found a popula- 
tion of some four or five hundred, with "less than one 
hundred dwellings," three taverns, a stone jail, an unfinished 
wooden court house, and a small building which served for 
schoolhouse, meeting house, and public purposes of every 
other sort. In partnership with Mr. George Coit, Judge 
Townsend established a mercantile linn that was important 
lor many years, ami both members of which left families of 
note. Another firm founded in 1S11, bv Abel M. Gros- 
venor and Reuben B. Heacock, gave highlj honored names 
to the city. In the same year came Ileman B. Potter, as a 
young, college-bred and well-trained lawyer, from the East. 

Distinction was given to the year 1S1 i by the appearance 
of a small weekly newspaper, the Buffalo Gazette. It was 
the second to be printed further west in the State than Can- 
andaigua, a small sheet having preceded it at Batavia in 
1807. The publishers were two brothers from Canan- 
daigua, Smith H. and Hezekiah A. Salisbury, both of whom 
maintained a connection with journalism at Buffalo and at 
Black Rock for many years. With their printing equip- 
ment the Salisburys brought a small stock of books and sta- 
tionery and opened a little shop which contributed in no 
trifling way to the raising of the standard of life in the place. 

And now we approach the outbreak of war with England, 



THE WAR OF 1812-14 23 

which had such grave consequences for Buffalo as to put 
the town in total eclipse for a time. The Honorable Peter 
B. Porter, who represented the Western New York district 
in Congress, belonged in that body to the vehement group 
of "War Hawks," as they were styled at the time, who fol- 
lowed the lead of Clay and Calhoun in demanding armed 
resistance to the domineering use of British power at sea. 
As chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs 
he prepared the report of December, 181 1, which recom- 
mended war, and he was active in bringing about the 
declaration of hostilities, made formally on the 1 8th of the 
following June. That he satisfied a majority of his con- 
stituents in this course is open to some doubt. For his own 
part, he was ready to bear his share of what came from it. 
He resigned his seat in Congress, was appointed Quarter- 
Master- General of New York, and received command of a 
body of troops, composed in part of Indians from the Six 
Nations, who made common cause with the United States. 

A little of military preparation on the northern frontier 
had preceded the declaration of war, but considerably less 
than the British authorities had made on their side. Since 
1807 there had been an organization of militia in the western 
part of the State, and it was commanded in 18 12 by General 
Timothy S. Hopkins, resident near Buffalo, in one of the 
country towns. Two hundred and forty men from General 
Hopkins's brigade had been ordered out for service, and a 
Colonel Swift, from Ontario County, had arrived at Buf- 
falo on the 17th of May to take command on the Niagara 
frontier. The first detachment of militia, on its march to 
Lewiston, came through the village next day. By the 23d 
of June Colonel Swift, who had fixed his headquarters at 
Black Rock, was reported to have 600 militia under his 
command, and Fort Niagara was garrisoned by a small 
number of regular troops. The British had a larger force, 



24 BEGINNINGS 

of regular soldiery, with a strong equipment of artillery, on 
the opposite shore. 

General Porter arrived at his home on the 27th of June, 
bringing the first news of the declaration of war. The 
British authorities in Canada had received the information 
some hours before, and acted on it so promptly that, before 
the close of the day, they had captured a little schooner 
which lay at anchor near the head of the river, waiting for a 
favorable wind to take her to Black. Rock. At once Gen- 
eral Porter took a vigorous direction of measures for bring- 
ing needed arms and ammunition to the frontier. On the 
30th it was announced in the Buffalo Gazelle that "Major 
Frederick Miller, of this town, has been appointed major 
commandant of the forces at Black Rock;" that "Colonel 
Swift has taken command at Lewiston;" that "several com- 
panies of militia, <>! General Hopkins's brigade, have been 
ordered en masse to Black Rock;" and that "the light infan- 
try company of Captain Wells and militia company of 
Captain Hull are embodied, and rendezvous in this village 
to protect the town." Major Miller had been the pro- 
prietor of the ferry and keeper of the ferry tavern at Black 
Rock till 1810. Since that time he had been the landlord 
of a tavern in Buffalo, out Main Street, at "the Cold 
Spring." The companies of Captain Wells and Captain 
Bull appear to have been formed independently, for home 
defence. 

Evidently there was no lack of spirited response to the 
military calls of the emergency, but the want of military 
knowledge and experience was very great. The history of 
the war as a whole is the storv of a reckless undertaking, 
unprepared for and little understood. This part of the 
Canadian frontier became its principal theatre; but Buffalo 
was not much involved in the operations of the first few 
months. Batteries erected on both sides of the river defied 



ELLIOTT'S EXPLOIT AND SMYTH'S FIASCO 25 

each other by occasional shots, but did not come into active 
use till October, when Lieutenant Elliott, U. S. N., who had 
been sent to assist in fitting out the little armed fleet with 
which Commodore Perry would win, next year, the naval 
command of the lakes, struck an aggressive blow. Two 
armed vessels, one of which had been captured by the British 
at Detroit, were lying near Fort Erie, and Elliott, on a sug- 
gestion, it is said, from Farmer's Brother, the Seneca Chief, 
planned to cut them out. With three boat-loads of men, 
one of them commanded by Dr. Chapin, he surprised them, 
before dawn of the morning of October 9th, and brought 
both vessels and crews away. In running down the river 
the prizes were exposed to a heavy fire, and one of them, 
after being brought to Squaw Island, was pounded to pieces 
by the batteries on both shores; the other was beached at 
Black Rock. Fifty-eight men taken from the enemy, 
twenty-seven American prisoners released from durance on 
the ships, and two twelve-pounder guns, were the gains from 
this brilliant exploit, in which four of the attacking party 
were wounded and one was killed. 

About seven weeks later the animating effect of Elliott's 
success was more than destroyed by a disgraceful fiasco, 
having nearly the same scene. The Americans had suf- 
fered their disastrous repulse at Queenston ; General Van 
Rensselaer had retired from the command on this frontier; 
General Alexander Smyth, from Virginia, had succeeded 
him, and strenuous efforts of preparation had been made for 
another invasion of Canada, to be launched from this point. 
Thirty-five hundred men had been massed at Buffalo and 
Black Rock; General Smyth had addressed a bombastic 
proclamation to them, in the Napoleonic style; and, on the 
27th of November, the embarkation of the whole force, in 
boats provided amply, was ordered for the following morn- 
ing. Two detachments sent over in advance of the main 



26 BEGINNINGS 

body, to take batteries and destroy a bridge, did blundering 
work; yet one of the two accomplished enough to open a 
safe landing for Smyth and his army on the soil he had been 
so eager to invade. But his eagerness was gone; he had 
spent his valor in proclamations and had none left. He 
wasted the day in hesitations, sent over a ridiculous summons 
to the British commander to surrender, and then disem- 
barked his men. By next morning he had composed a new 
proclamation, appointing "to-morrow at eight o'clock" for 
a fresh start, which "neither rain, snow nor frost will pre- 
vent." Then, said he, with thrilling eloquence, "the music 
will play martial airs; Yankee Doodle will be the signal to 
get under way; the landing will he made in spite of cannon. 
Hearts of War! to-morrow will be memorable in the annals 
of the United States." And so it was. Both the yesterday 
and the to-morrow of the performance were memorable days 
of shame. The enemy had made such good use of the time 
wasted by Smyth that a direct landing by daylight was pos- 
sible no longer. General Porter proposed a crossing some 
miles below, to he made the next night, and the command- 
ing general acquiesced. Again the men were embarked; 
again there were hours of hesitation, ending in orders to dis- 
embark, and the whole movement was given up. Every- 
body was sick with disgust and rage. Many of the men in 
the ranks threw down their arms and went home. General 
Porter expressed his opinion of Smyth so plainly in a pub- 
lished card that a duel, on Grand Island, resulted, with no 
harm done, except to the moral law. Dr. Chapin, serving 
as an independent volunteer, but soon to be commissioned 
by Governor Tompkins as Lieutenant-Colonel by brevet, put 
still plainer words into print. General Smyth found it 
expedient to resign the command, and, presently, he was 
dismissed. 

Not long after these occurrences a rough company of 



BRITISH INVASIONS 27 

soldiers from Baltimore gave Buffalo an alarming experi- 
ence of riot. With that exception the town seems to have 
been undisturbed till the summer of 1813 when, on a Sun- 
day morning, the 11th of July, the first invading visit of 
the British was made. Just before daylight they landed, 
about two hundred and fifty in number, at some distance 
below Black Rock, surprised a small navy-yard which had 
been established at Scajaquada Creek, burned several bar- 
rack buildings and a block-house, and came near to captur- 
ing General Porter, who was then at home. The General 
made his escape through the woods to Buffalo and assisted 
in rallying the militia and volunteers, who, with the help of 
thirty Indians, led by Farmer's Brother, met the invaders 
at about the point where Niagara Street makes its turn on 
reaching the river, and drove them back. Their retreat was 
disorderly and they were hotly pursued. They lost no less 
than a hundred men, killed, wounded and missing, while the 
Americans lost five wounded and three killed. 

Five months later the enemy repeated their invasion, and 
then there was no such happy escape for the town. The 
Niagara frontier had nearly been stripped of troops, to 
strengthen an abortive expedition against Montreal. Since 
the previous May the Americans had been in possession of 
Fort George, on the Canadian side of the Niagara at its 
mouth. Early in December the officer commanding there 
found it prudent to evacuate the fort and retire to Fort 
Niagara, on the American side. On doing so he burned the 
adjacent village of Newark, on the site now occupied by the 
pretty town of Niagara-on-the-Lake ; but he failed to burn 
the enemy's barracks and tents. He claimed afterwards to 
have acted on orders from the Secretary of War; but his 
orders had been to destroy the surroundings of the fort, if 
he undertook its defence. The British were now eager to 
retaliate his wanton barbarity, and the weakness of the 



28 BEGINNINGS 

American forces along the whole river gave them oppor- 
tunity to do so with ease. One week after the burning of 
Newark, on the 19th of December, they surprised Fort 
Niagara, killed eighty of its almost unresisting garrison, and 
swept the whole shore of the river from Youngstown to 
Niagara Falls with the besom of (ire. Ten days later their 
second attack on Buffalo was begun. According to an an- 
nouncement made subsequently, in general orders from the 
British military headquarters at Quebec, the attack was 
made by "detachments of the Royal Scots Eighth (or King's 
Forty-first) and the flank companies of the Eighty-ninth and 
One Hundredth regiments — the whole not exceeding one 
thousand men." This mentions no Indians; but it is certain 
that a very considerable body of Indians, — estimated at not 
less than two hundred, were in the affair. James, the 
English historian of the war, mentions "Indian warriors, not 
exceeding one hundred and twenty," and indicates not less 
than fifteen hundred as being in the regimental force. 
American militia and volunteers to the reported number of 
two thousand and eleven had been assembled hastily at Buf- 
falo and Black Rock by General Hall, of Ontario, who was 
in command. The number was ample, but the training, the 
experience of battle, the arms and the ammunition, were all 
insufficient to make a trustworthy force. 

The invaders came in three detachments, one, on the night 
of the 29th, landing below Black Rock, the other two cross- 
ing early the next morning, at and above Black Rock. The 
first column had repulsed an attack and disordered the mil- 
itia which made it before the appearance of the second and 
third. These latter, some of whose boats ran aground near 
shore, were opposed stoutly for a time, and most of the 
British losses were suffered there and then; but their op- 
ponents gave way on the approach of the first column, from 
down river, and most of the American troops were soon in 



BURNING OF THE VILLAGE 29 

scattered flight. A few retired slowly down the Niagara 
Street road, and some ineffective use was made of a couple 
of pieces of artillery, to check the British pursuit; but 
Colonel Chapin stopped the useless firing, and took the re- 
sponsibility of showing a flag of truce. As the result of his 
parley with the enemy it was understood that the town was 
surrendered and that private property should be spared; but 
General Riall, the British commander, repudiated the agree- 
ment when he found that Colonel Chapin was not in 
command. 

Meantime the British-Indian warriors had swarmed 
through the woods from Black Rock to Main Street and 
begun to plunder and burn. Most of the inhabitants had 
fled in haste, some into the forest, others by roads to neigh- 
boring towns. A few were captured, and nine, including 
one woman, were slain, after fighting had ceased. The 
murdered woman, Mrs. Lovejoy, is said to have offered 
some resistance to the savages who were pillaging her house, 
and one of them buried his tomahawk in her brain. Her 
near neighbor, Mrs. Gamaliel St. John, a widow, — a woman 
of strong character, — was the one resident of the village who 
saved her home. Sending her children away, in the care of 
other fugitives, Mrs. St. John remained, and was able to 
secure an Indian guard who protected her house. The 
small dwelling thus spared, the stone jail, a blacksmith shop, 
and the frame of a barn, were the only structures left to 
represent Buffalo, at the end of the work of destruction, 
which went on at intervals for three days. 

In the fighting which preceded massacre the British re- 
ported a loss of 31 killed, 72 wounded, 9 missing; the Amer- 
ican general reported about 30 killed, 40 wounded and 69 
taken prisoner. Dr. Chapin was among the prisoners taken 
away. 

No sooner had the enemy departed than a few fugitives 



30 BEGINNINGS 

returned and began to make what shift they could for tem- 
porary shelter through the winter; but the greater number 
were provisionally quartered at Williamsville, Willink, Ba- 
tavia, and other hospitable places, near and far. The winter 
was one of suffering and of constant fear of fresh savagery, 
along the whole Niagara frontier. Liberal help came from 
public and private sources to relieve the needs of the devas- 
tated region, and supplies from the commissary department 
of the army were furnished for a time. By early spring 
there were encouraging tokens of a resurrection of the 
stricken town. The Salisburys had effected a timely re- 
moval of their type and press to Harris Hill, and the pub- 
lication of the Gazette went on. On the 5th of April, 18 14, 
it was able to announce that Buffalo village "is rising again," 
and to say: "Several buildings are already raised and made 
habitable. Contracts for twenty or thirty more are made, 
and many of them are in considerable forwardness. A 
brick company has been organized by an association of the 
most enterprising and public spirited citizens, with a suf- 
ficient capital, for the purpose of rendering the price of 
brick so reasonable that the principal streets may be built 
up of that article. All that is required to establish Buffalo 
in its former prosperity is ample remuneration from govern- 
ment, and peace." Peace came within the year; the ample 
remuneration from government to indemnify losses in the 
war was much slower in coming; and, during some years of 
the renaissance of the town, there was hard struggling for 
its new footing in life. 

Tbe immediate rebuilding that went on in 1814 was much 
stimulated and helped, no doubt, bv the military operations 
of that year. Buffalo became the center of action in Gen- 
eral Jacob Brown's campaign. Excitements were plenty; 
regiments were coming and going; business of several kinds 
must have thrived. The capture of Fort Erie, the battles 



JUDGE SAMUEL WILKESON 3 I 

of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, the long siege and the 
heroic deliverance of Fort Erie, in which General Porter 
had so brilliant a part, filled the summer with great events, 
enacted under the eye of the people of the town. 

Buffalo was rarely fortunate in one or two accessions to 
its citizenship at this time. As a Chautauqua County mil- 
itiaman, Samuel Wilkeson had been here on the memorable 
30th of December, and had stood and fought manfully in 
defence of the town. The next spring he came again, to 
stay, bringing his family by lake, on a boat which brought 
also the frames and other makings of a house and a store. 
House and store were soon put together and occupied, and 
the quality of the new citizen was recognized so quickly that, 
almost at once, he was asked to serve as a justice of the 
peace. He was the kind of man needed in the office at that 
time, to put restraints on a lot of lawless characters which 
the war had added to its other evil gifts to the place. He 
did what was expected of him, in a way that was never for- 
gotten, and was called Judge Wilkeson thereafter, to the 
end of his days. As one of his sons wrote in after years, "he 
swept Buffalo clean of the lees of the war." 

In Judge Wilkeson's "Recollections," which he put in 
writing for publication in a Cincinnati journal, 1842-3, and 
which are reprinted in the publications of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society, he describes the conditions that he found at 
Buffalo when he came to it, in 1814. "The war which had 
swept over the Niagara frontier," he says, "had impover- 
ished the inhabitants of tbe little place that has since grown 
into the City of the Lakes. Their property had been de- 
stroyed, — they were embarrassed by debts contracted in 
rebuilding their houses which had been burned by the 
enemy; they were without capital to prosecute to advantage 
mechanical or mercantile employments; without a harbor, 
or any means of participating in the lake trade, and were 



32 BEGINNINGS 

suffering, with the country at large, all the evils of a de- 
ranged currency. In the midst of these accumulated em- 
barrassments, the construction of the Erie Canal was begun, 
and promised help." No other man seems to have done so 
much as the writer of these words to lift the little resurrected 
community out of the state they describe. His energetic 
agency in making a harbor for the town, and thereby secur- 
ing to it the commerce that would come with the coming of 
"the Grand Canal," was a contribution to its prosperity 
which exceeded that from any other man. There will be 
much to say of him hereafter on this point. 

The building of the Erie Canal, under discussion since 
1807, became an adopted undertaking in [817, and work on 
it was begun in July of that year. There were eight years 
of waiting for its waters to reach the lake; but the expecta- 
tion of it was stimulating; each lengthening of its navigable 
channel, as the work advanced, increased the commerce be- 
tween East and West, and all business was helped. 

Meantime the re-growth of Buffalo went steadily on. 
New men of importance to its future came to it in 1815. 
Albert II. Tracy, who rose rapidly to a high standing in 
public life and at the bar; Dr. John E. Marshall, whose per- 
sonal value to the town was enhanced hv that of the son 
whom he gave to it; David M Day. who came to found a 
second newspaper, the Niagara Journal, which appeared 
in the spring of that year. In the following July the Ga- 
zette was able to say that nearly as many houses as the 
British had burned were finished already or being built. 
A new court house was begun the following spring. In 
1817 a post-office was established at Black Rock. 

The year 18 18 brought several important events; among 
them the building at Black Rock, by capitalists from New- 
York, of the first steamer put afloat on Lake Erie, or on any 
of the upper lakes. She took her queer but appropriate 



THE FIRST STEAMBOAT 33 

name, of "Walk-in-the-Water," from a Wyandotte or Huron 
chief. The first experience of the little steamer when com- 
pleted, in August, gave a grave intimation that Black Rock 
would not be able to retain its past standing, as the port of 
commerce at the foot of Lake Erie; for the Walk-in-the- 
Water could not stem the swift current of the Niagara, and 
had to be dragged by oxen, as sail vessels were, up to still 
water in the lake. This helped, no doubt, to rouse deter- 
mination in the Buffalonians that their natural deprivation 
of a harbor should be overcome by artificial means. It had 
now become manifest that Black Rock would outgrow their 
town if this were not done; for the coming canal would ter- 
minate there, unless a sheltered port at Buffalo could be 
offered to the shipping of the lakes. The Canal Commis- 
sioners had reported that they found it expedient to connect 
the canal with Lake Erie through Buffalo Creek, rather 
than through the Niagara; but this conclusion hinged upon 
the creation of a "safe harbor, capable, without much ex- 
pense, of sufficient enlargement for the accommodation of 
all boats and vessels that a very extensive trade may hereafter 
require." This gave the start to an undertaking which be- 
came, in the course of the next few years, nothing less than 
heroic and extraordinary on the part of a few men, Judge 
Wilkeson inspiring and leading them all. The story of the 
achievement will have its proper place when the develop- 
ment of the present grand harbor at Buffalo is traced as a 
whole. 

The appearance which Buffalo presented in that year, 
1 8 1 8, has been described by one who visited it, in May. 
The visitor was Millard Fillmore, afterward President of 
the United States. He was a youth of eighteen years, and 
had been teaching a country school during the previous win- 
ter, at the head of Skaneateles Lake. Three years before 
his death Mr. Fillmore, on the request of the Buffalo His- 



34 BEGINNINGS 

torical Society, wrote a sketch of autobiography, coming 
down to 1830, which he deposited with the society, under 
seal, not to be opened during his life. In this sketch he 
says, of the time mentioned above: "After my school 
closed, finding nothing better to turn my hand to, I attended 
a saw-mill for a month or two, and then shouldered my 
knapsack and came out to Buffalo, to visit some relatives 
and see the country. That was in May, 181 8, and Buffalo 
then presented a straggling appearance. It was just rising 
from the ashes, and there were many cellars and chimneys 
without houses, showing that its destruction by the British 
had been complete. My feet had become blistered, and I 
was sore in every joint and muscle; and I suffered intensely. 
I crossed the then Indian reservation to Aurora, and recol- 
lect a long rotten causeway of logs extending across the low 
ground from Seneca Street nearly to the creek, over which 
1 paddled myself in a canoe. I stayed all night at a kind of 
Indian tavern about six miles from Buffalo." 

\mong the relatives in this region whom young Millard 
Fillmore came to visit was an uncle, the Rev. Glezen Fill- 
more, a Methodist minister, who had been preaching in the 
neighboring towns since [809, but who was appointed this 
year to a regular circuit which included Buffalo and Black 
Rock. There was no church building yet in the town; re- 
ligious services were held in the court house and in the small 
house that was used for a school. The Methodists in Buf- 
falo numbered only four; but Mr. Fillmore determined that 
a meeting-house should be built. With help from Joseph 
Ellicott and from New York the needed money was raised, 
and the first of Buffalo churches was dedicated early in 1819. 
In that year the boundary line between Canada and the 
United States, as prescribed by the Treaty of Ghent, was 
run through Niagara River, under commissioners of whom 
General Porter was one, and by surveyors of whom Colonel 



THE FIRST DAILY MAIL 35 

William A. Bird (who became resident at Black Rock) was 
the chief. 

General Porter, in the next year, was wedded to a lady 
of the Breckenridge family in Kentucky, who brought five 
young slaves to her new home. Under the New York law 
of 1 8 1 8, which gradually extinguished slavery in the State, 
they would become free when they reached the age of 
twenty-five. Evidently these were not the first slaves on our 
soil, for the Gazette of January 27, 1818, had advertised 
one for sale, — "a young, healthy black woman and child," 
who "understands all kinds of house-work and cooking, and 
is perfectly honest." 

In 1820 the inhabitants of Buffalo and Black Rock wel- 
comed their first daily mail from the East. In a paper read 
long afterwards to the Buffalo Historical Society, Judge 
Nathan K. Hall, who had been Postmaster-General, it will 
be remembered, in President Fillmore's administration, de- 
scribed the arrangements of the Post-office Department for 
that daily service between Buffalo and New York, as it was 
carried on from 1820 to 1824. Giving the schedule time 
from point to point on the route, he concluded the statement 
by saying: "It will thus be seen that a letter which left 
New York on Monday morning at 9 o'clock would reach 
this city at 6 o'clock the next Sunday evening, and Erie three 
days later, if the mails were not behind time. This fre- 
quently happened in bad weather." 

It was not until 1820 that the second church building in 
Buffalo was erected by the Episcopalian Society of St. Paul. 
In 1 82 1 the county of Erie, as now existent, was set off from 
Niagara County; Joseph Ellicott (long resident at Batavia, 
and taking little part in Buffalo affairs) resigned the agency 
of the Holland Purchase; the Walk-in-the- Water steamboat 
was driven ashore in a storm and wrecked. In 1823 the 
great question of the western terminus of the Erie Canal was 



36 BEGINNINGS 

decided in favor of Buffalo, a sufficient channel for the ship- 
ping of the day having been opened from its creek. 

This brings us to the year of years in the early history of 
the city, — the year of the opening of the great canal through- 
out its length, — the year 1825. "Buffalo in 1825" was the 
subject of a proud description that year, in a historical and 
statistical pamphlet, printed by H. A. Salisbury and written 
and published by S. Ball. Time has made his statistics 
more interesting than the writer could have expected them 
ever to be. I must afford space for a selected few: 

The census of the previous January had found 2,412 in- 
habitants in the village on the Creek, and 1,039 at Black 
Rock. In the former population there were counted 4 
clergymen, 17 attorneys, 9 physicians, 3 printers, giving em- 
ployment to 10 hands, 2 bookbinders, 4 goldsmiths, 51 car- 
penters and joiners, 19 masons and stone cutters, 7 black- 
smiths, etc.. etc.; but the lack of a single shipwright was 
remarked with surprise and regret. Trade was now sup- 
porting 26 dry-goods stores, 36 groceries, 7 dealers in cloth- 
ing, 3 in hats, 6 in shoes, 4 in drugs, 3 in jewelry, 1 in hard- 
ware, n hooks. Manufacturing industry was represented 
by 3 tanneries, 1 rope-walk, 1 brewery. The village could 
now offer "1 1 houses of public entertainment" to the bodily 
man, with a public library, a reading room and a theatre for 
the entertainment of his mind. The Presbyterians had 
added a meeting house to the two mentioned heretofore, and 
two new religious societies, of Baptists and Universalists, 
had been formed. A bank had come into existence; an in- 
surance office had been opened, and the weekly journals (one 
religious) had increased to four. Of shipping that belonged 
to the port 1,050 tons were reported, including 1 steamboat, 
1 brig, 3 schooners, 1 sloop, and 4 "transportation boats," 
averaging 25 tons each ; but, says the reporter, "there are up- 
wards of 60 sail of good, substantial and safe vessels owned 



OPENING OF THE ERIE CANAL 37 

upon this lake, 42 of which entered this port last season." 
"There are also," he adds, "9 regular lines of stages arriving 
and leaving here every day; 3 to the east, 3 to the north, and 
a morning and evening line to Black Rock (meeting and 
transferring their passengers to a stage from the Canada 
shore), and 1 to the west; the carriages are principally post 
coaches." "There is also the steam brig 'Superior,' of 346 
tons burthen, whose accommodations have not been sur- 
passed, making a trip to Detroit, a distance of nearly 300 
miles, every 8 or 9 days." 

Such was the town of Buffalo, and such the measure of 
lake commerce, when the second epoch of their history was 
opened for both by the opening of the Erie Canal. It was 
not a bad showing of growth, under adverse conditions, for 
the town which had been destroyed twelve years before. To 
the writer of this pamphlet of 1825 the future of the town 
was not dazzling in prospect, but full of promise and hope. 
His view was remarkably sane. "That it will, at no very 
remote period," he wrote, "rival the largest inland town in 
America, in point of business and opulence, seems to be a 
point conceded; but that it will mature with the rapidity of 
a mushroom, or rise in magnificence like the enchanted 
palace (as many imagine), I am not credulous enough to 
believe." 

On the 26th of October the Erie Canal was opened to 
Lake Erie with ceremonies as imposing as they could be 
made. Governor De Witt Clinton, with committees of dis- 
tinguished men from other parts of the State, had come to 
Buffalo, to take passage back on the first boat that would 
traverse the full length of the canal. On the morning of the 
26th they were escorted in procession to a handsomely fitted 
packet-boat, the "Seneca Chief," where brief addresses were 
made, by Mr. Jesse Hawley, who had been the first (as early 
as 1807) to advocate the building of a canal the full length 



38 BEGINNINGS 

of the State, and by Judge Forward, who spoke for the town. 
At ten o'clock the "Seneca Chief," drawn by four grey 
horses, slipped from her wharf and, leading three other boats 
in procession, started on her memorable voyage. That mo- 
ment a cannon was fired; an instant later the faint sound of 
another report was heard from far down the canal; and so 
the starting of the Governor's boat was signalled from gun 
to gun, planted at proper distances apart, till the inarticulate 
announcement reached Albany, and a responsive signal came 
hack. The telctonic message (if we may call it so) was 
three hours and twenty minutes in making its circuit of 
sonic seven hundred miles. 

Further speeches in the court house, banquets at the two 
leading taverns and a grand ball in the evening completed 
the celebration of the day at Buffalo; but, some time later, 
a committee which had accompanied the Governor to New 
York brought water from the ocean and it was poured into 
the lake, with a degree of ceremony that expressed the real 
ecstasy of feeling which so pregnant an event might reason- 
ably excite. 



CHAPTER II 

IN THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS: 

1825-1850 

THE effect upon Buffalo of the opening of the Erie 
Canal appears to have been all that people as reason- 
able as the pamphlet-writer, Mr. Ball, could expect. 
It did not flood the port with a sudden great access of com- 
merce; because the western country, to and from which the 
streams of lake and canal trade would flow abundantly in 
due time, had first to be furnished with the people who 
could buy and sell. The primary business of the canal was 
to bring such people forward from the East, and deliver 
them to the shipping of the lakes, for carriage to all the 
shores from which they might spread over the empty North- 
west. How empty the lake-bordering regions of the North- 
west were at this time may be judged from a few statistical 
facts. 

The most populous part of the lake border was between 
Buffalo and Cleveland, on the southern shore of Lake Erie; 
but even there the settlement was still scant. Erie, the 
Presque Isle post of the French in the middle of the 
eighteenth century, had been, thus far, the most important 
port on the lake; but west of it there was nothing that could 
contribute much to trade. Ohio had acquired at this time a 
considerable population, but gathered almost wholly in its 
southern half, brought into the State by the river route; and 
the settlement of Indiana and Illinois was proceeding along 
the same lines, — by the Ohio River to the Mississippi, and 
distributed along the tributaries of those great streams. 
Cleveland had but 600 inhabitants in 1820, and the number 
would not grow to 1,000 till ten years from that time. To- 
ledo and Milwaukee had no existence even in name. Chi- 

39 



40 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

cago was represented by the military post of Fort Dearborn, 
and, as described by Major Long in 1823, by a "few huts, 
inhabited by a miserable race of men, scarcely equal to the 
Indians, from whom they are descended." Detroit, as a 
French settlement, was old, and it had been an actually in- 
corporated city since 1815; but its population in 1820 was 
but 1,442, increasing in the next decade to 2,222. The back 
country of Michigan was so bare of white inhabitants that 
the census of 1820 had counted in the whole territory but 
8,591. By 1830 the count had risen to 31,346; and most of 
the increase must have been in the last half of the decade. 
Judge Cooler, in his volume on Michigan in the series of the 
"American Commonwealths," says of the opening of the 
Erie Canal that it was "the great event of the period, which 
had most to do with giving sudden impetus to the growth of 
Michigan. It was not long after this before steamers were 
abundant on the lakes, no less than seven on Lake Erie in 
1826, and four years thereafter a daily line was running be- 
tween Buffalo and Detroit." Illinois had acquired a popu- 
lation of 157,000 by 1S50, but it was spread, says Ford's 
history of the State, "north from Alton as far as Peoria, 
principally on the rivers and creeks," and "a large wilder- 
ness tract was still to be peopled between Chicago and 
Galena." 

There were not many people, it will be seen, in the lake 
region of the West, to trade with, when the Erie Canal was 
opened; and, excepting furs, they had almost no product to 
spare. They could not yet raise food sufficient for them- 
selves, and were receiving supplies of breadstuff's from east- 
ern points. Before Buffalo could handle much commerce 
between canal and lake it would have to give attention to 
westward emigration, and that was its principal and most 
profitable business for the next few years. The multiplica- 
tion of steamboats between Buffalo and Detroit from one to 



THE TIDE OF WESTERN EMIGRATION 41 

seven, in 1826, shows how quickly the stream began to flow. 
By 1830 the arrival of emigrants at Detroit was put at 15,000 
for the year. By 1836 they were flooding that distributing 
town. In Farmer's History of Detroit it is said of that 
year that "a careful estimate in June by a citizen showed 
that one wagon left the city every five minutes during the 
twelve hours of daylight;" and "there was an average of 
three steamboats a day, with from 200 to 300 passengers 
each." 

Evidently it was the business incident to this movement 
of people from the East to the West, more than anything 
derived from new commercial interchanges, that raised the 
population of Buffalo in 1830 to 8,668, and to 15,661 in 1835. 
No statistics of that passenger movement on the canal are to 
be found; but, as late as 1833, the freight shipments from 
Buffalo by canal, as measured by the collection of tolls, were 
far below those at Rochester and Syracuse. 

In some interesting reminiscences recorded not long be- 
fore his death by Mr. James L. Barton, son of Benjamin 
Barton, of the early transportation firm of Porter, Barton & 
Co., he relates that in the spring of 1827 he came to Buffalo 
from Black Rock and formed a partnership with Judge 
Wilkeson in the forwarding business, which they carried on 
together for two years. The Judge then retired and Mr. 
Barton continued the business for a few years more. 
"While the partnership continued," wrote Mr. Barton, "and 
afterwards when I was alone, we had the agency of a large 
line of boats on the canal and vessels on the lake; yet so 
scarce was the western freight that it was difficult to get a 
full boat-load, although the boats were then of light tonnage. 
A few tons of freight was all that we could furnish each 
boat to carry to Albany. This they would take in and fill 
up at Rochester, which place, situated in the heart of the 
wheat-growing district of Western New York, furnished 



42 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

nearly all the down freight that passed on the canal. Thus 
we lived and struggled on until 1830." 

The commerce of large fields was not yet creatable; but 
local trade must have been having a rapid growth; for the 
neighboring country was fast filling with people. Erie 
County in 1825 had 24,310 inhabitants; in 1830 they num- 
bered 35,710; in 1835 they were increased to 57,594. The 
advance of settlement in the county was promoted greatly in 
1826 by a purchase from the Senecas of large tracts from the 
south and east sides of their Buffalo Creek Reservation, 
amounting to a total of 33,637 acres of land. At the same 
time the Senecas sold considerable parts of their Tonawanda 
and Cattaraugus reservations to the same purchasers, a com- 
bination called the Ogden Company, who marketed the 
land. 

Thus far in its history Buffalo had had no citizen whose 
celebrity in the world equals that of \{c*\ Jacket, the 
Seneca orator, whose cabin, on the edge of the Indian reser- 
vation, was within the present limits of the city. His sad 
intemperance had robbed him of his impressive dignity and 
lowered him in the esteem of his own people, as well as in 
that of the whites; but his death, in 1830, took a notable 
figure from the town. It left no name or personage in the 
place that was or would he of wide fame. But another was 
soon given; for Millard Fillmore came from East Aurora 
to Buffalo that year, to pursue the practice of law. Since 
his visit of twelve years before Mr. Fillmore had struggled 
through a trying period of legal study, supporting himself 
by school teaching and other labors, and had practiced the 
profession at East Aurora since 1823. In Buffalo he entered 
at first into partnership with Joseph Clary; but in 1834 Mr. 
Nathan K. Hall, who had been a student in his office at 
Aurora, became his partner, and, two years later, the famous 
law firm of Fillmore, Hall & Haven was formed. All 



THE CHOLERA OF 1832 43 

three members of the firm were subsequently connected with 
the government of the United States at the same time, Mr. 
Fillmore as President, Mr. Hall as Postmaster-General 
(and eventually as a Justice of the United States District 
Court), and Mr. Solomon G. Haven as the Representative 
of this district in Congress. 

In one of the volumes of the publications of our Histor- 
ical Society, Mr. Ismar S. Ellison has told us that the first 
considerable immigration of Germans into Buffalo began in 
1828, and that the arrivals in that and a few following years 
gave the city a number of its most honored German names. 
It was then that the Urbans, Beyers, Hauensteins, Greiners, 
Mesmers, Goetzes, Haberstros, Feldmans and Dellenbaughs 
made their homes here. Of the political emigration from 
Germany in 1848 Buffalo does not seem to have received 
much; but considerable numbers came during 1839 and a 
little after, in consequence of religious discontents in Prussia, 
as will be told in a future chapter of church history. 

Buffalo became a chartered city in 1832, and its first 
mayor was Dr. Ebenezer Johnson, as mentioned heretofore. 
If the assumption of a new civic dignity afforded pride to 
the community, an overwhelming sorrow and fear came 
with it; for this was the black year of the first visitation of 
Asiatic cholera to the western world. The disease was 
brought into America in May or June by English emigrant 
ships which landed their passengers at Quebec. Thence it 
travelled up the St. Lawrence, through Lake Ontario, and 
so, by the Niagara, to Buffalo, whence it was conveyed to 
the upper lakes. It raged in this city through most of the 
summer weeks, fought with most valiantly, by every method 
that good sense could suggest, at a time when the disease was 
a terrifying mystery, the secret of its nature and propagation 
unknown. Four courageous and able men took on them- 
selves the trying duties of a board of health. Thev were 



44 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

the mayor, Dr. Johnson, acting with Roswell W. Haskins, 
Lewis F. Allen, and Dyre Tillinghast, assisted with equal 
courage and self-devotion by the health-physician of the 
city, Dr. John E. Marshall, and by an undertaker of notable 
intrepidity, Loring Pierce, who seems to have been as help- 
ful with the sick as with the dead. 

The fourth volume of the publications of the Buffalo His- 
torical Societj contains a vivid account of the pestilence of 
1832, from the pen of Mr. Lewis F. Allen, who tells a pa- 
thetic tale in connection with the emergency hospital which 
was established with promptitude by the board of health: 
"Pierce took partial charge," writes Mr. Allen, "so far as 
moving the destitute cholera patients into it and supervising 
arrangements. But corpses were almost daily carried out, 
and, but a few days after its opening, the chief nurse and 
factotum died. That was a calamity, and the board were 
appalled. What was to be done? After casting about for 
one to refill the place, Mr. Pierce found a stout, good-look- 
ing, healthy Irish girl of five and twenty years, or there- 
abouts, who offered her services, and he brought her to the 
meeting of the board. She looked cheerful, spoke hope- 
fully, and appeared the very embodiment of health and good 
spirits. When asked if she had no fears of the disease she 
answered in the negative, and went energetically and faith- 
fully to work. Within the space of four days afterwards 
that cheerful, kind, devoted girl was carried out of the hos- 
pital to her grave. There were sad hearts in the board of 
health that day. Pierce laid her shrouded body tenderly in 
her coffin, and gave her a hurried yet respectful burial in 
the High Street field of graves. All that the board of health 
knew of her history or name, was 'Bridget.' ' 

Mr. Allen gives no statistics of mortality from the cholera 
visitation, but Mr. Crisfield Johnson, in his History of Erie 
County, states the deaths to have been 80 in number and the 
total of cases 184. 



ACTIVITY ON THE LAKES 45 

Without consciousness of the fact, one small part of the 
city was obtaining at this time the most essential safeguards 
against intestinal diseases like cholera, by the distribution to 
it of pure water through pipes, from a spring, avoiding the 
use of wells. Since 1826 the Buffalo and Black. Rock Jubi- 
lee Water Works Co. had been laying wooden pipes from 
the Jubilee Springs, on Delaware Avenue near Cleveland 
Avenue, and in 1832 it had sixteen miles of such pipes laid 
down. 

By 1834 Chicago had become a commercially recog- 
nizable place. The sand bar at the mouth of its river had 
been cut through, a pier had been built, and a schooner, for 
the first time, sailed into the port. The village had acquired 
a newspaper, the Democrat, which announced in June of 
that year that "arrangements have been made by the pro- 
prietors of the steamboats on Lake Erie, whereby Chicago 
is to be visited by a steamboat from Buffalo once a week 
until the 25th of August." 

The flow of emigration to the Northwest was now swell- 
ing to a flood, and ship-building on the lakes was taxed to 
supply the demands it made. In 1837, according to the Buf- 
falo Commercial Advertiser (then in the third year of its 
daily publication) , there were forty-two steamboats in active 
employment on Lake Erie, and six more on the stocks. In- 
dicating the profits of steamboating at the time, it was said: 
"The 'James Madison,' a splendid boat, left here a few days 
ago for Chicago. The Gazette, printed in Erie, where the 
boat is owned, says she will clear this trip $20,000." 

It was soon after this time (in 1839) that Captain Augus- 
tus Walker introduced on the lakes the first steamboat con- 
structed with an upper cabin. It was regarded as a perilous 
and reckless experiment, most people expecting so top-heavy 
a craft to "turn-turtle" in the first Lake Erie storm she had 
to meet. Captain Walker's "Great Western," however, soon 



46 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

silenced her critics, and offered a model of comfort to pas- 
sengers which steamboat builders had to follow thereafter. 

Since 1835 the whole country had been yielding itself to 
the orgy of land speculation which had its ruinous conse- 
quences in the great collapse of 1837- In another work, the 
present writer has given a brief account of that national dis- 
temper and its causes, and cannot explain the experience of 
it in Buffalo better than by some quotation from his former 
writing: "Since recovery from the crisis of 1819 [when all 
business had been stimulated to excess after the three stag- 
nant years of the War of [812-14] the increase in population, 
the spread of western settlement, the rise of new towns and 
growth of older cities, the eager activity of public and pri- 
vate enterprise in every field, had had no precedent in the 
modern history of the world. They had been stimu- 

lated immensely by the completion of the Erie Canal in 
1825, and quite as much, perhaps, by the rapid multiplica- 
tion of steamboats on rivers and lakes. No other country in 
the world had utilized the steamboat so rapidly, or gained so 
much from it; for no other had such waterways opening into 
such expanses of undeveloped land. Railways, with steam 
locomotion, had their beginning in 1 830, and 1,27; miles had 
been built in the United States within the next six years. 
In the rush of this unparalleled progress it is not at all 
strange that even sober-minded people lost their heads, and 
saw no limit to the continued working of the new agencies 
of travel and transportation that were driving it on. It 
seemed possible to mark a thousand spots where new towns 
would spring up in the next few years; and no less possible 
to forecast the growth of existing cities and towns. 

"It was just at the time when this fever of speculation was 
prepared for by the circumstances of the day that a mis- 
chievous stimulant was given to it, by President Jackson's 
removal of government deposits from the Bank of the 



"wild-cat" banking and land speculation 47 

United States to a large number of State banks. For a short 
time, while the change was going on, it gave business a 
check ; but that soon passed and was followed by quite oppo- 
site effects. Naturally there was a scramble for the de- 
posits, and a fresh output of State charters for new banks, 
soon running into a new era of 'wild-cat' banking, worse 
than that which followed the War of 1812. Again there 
was an inflated and depreciated paper currency, an inflated 
credit system, and the speculative spirit was intoxicated still 
more. Then came another measure of government which 
helped the mischief on. The last of the public debt having 
been extinguished in 1836, and a surplus exceeding $42,- 
000,000 having accumulated in the national treasury, an act 
was passed which ordered the distribution of all but 
$5,000,000 of this surplus, as a loan without interest, in four 
quarterly instalments, among the States. The prospect of 
that large addition to funds in the States, for all sorts of 
public improvements and other purposes, gave still another 
impulse to speculation." 

For reasons which have been indicated already, there was 
probably no town in the country where the mania of the time 
raged more extravagantly than in BufTalo. In a fine paper, 
read at a meeting of the Buffalo Historical Society in 1865, 
the Rev. Dr. George W. Hosmer, long pastor of the Uni- 
tarian Church, described the local stimulants of speculation 
in those wild years: "The mania of speculation here," he 
wrote, "was not strange, — there was foundation to stand 
upon. From the opening of the canal, in 1825, there was a 
rush of western emigration through Buffalo; each year it 
grew greater than before; the canal was crowded; hotels all 
full; warehouses groaned under their burdens; vessels and 
steamers could not be built fast enough for the demands of 
business. I was here in the autumn of 1835, and one morn- 
ing I was at the dock, with many other strangers, gazing 



48 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

upon the mighty heaving western tide. There was' a pile of 
goods and furniture all along Joy & Webster's wharf, more 
than thirty feet high, and upon the top of it sat as many as 
a dozen Senecas, men and women, they, too, with the rest of 
us, gazing with astonishment at this sudden flood of life 
sweeping over them, coming they knew not whence, and 
going they knew not whither. It was marvellous! Land 
was wanted ; land to stand upon, land to speculate with ; land 
was gold! And then it seemed that all the opening West 
was to come with its harvest contributions floating right to 
Buffalo. Railroads then were not much thought of for 
carrying freight. To this point came the lake, — from this 
went the canal; and here might be the New York of the 
West; and so it would have been, but for the coming of rail- 
roads to compete with vessels for the carrying trade. It was 
not strange that men here made a great mistake, — got wild 
with hope.'' 

In his large-hearted way, the Reverend Doctor goes on to 
say: "I love to think what those men of Buffalo, in 1835, in 
their great hope, meant to do here. The merchants were to 
have an exchange tilling Clarendon Square,* with a tower- 
ing dome 22; feet above the pavement. Commodore Perry 
was to have a monument of white marble in front of 'the 
churches, 'f one hundred feet high, with graceful carving, 
armorial bearings and emblematic statues. Education was 
to have the University of Western New York, with magnifi- 
cent endowment, and the foremost men of the country in its 
various departments. Xor were the good intents all on 
paper merely; one of the wildest of the hopers did actually 
start a free public school for sixty scholars, children of the 
poor, and kept it open and flourishing for several years." 

Among those who lived through that period of delirium 

* The block between Main. Washington, North and South Divisions Streets. 
t On Main Street, between Niagara and Erie Streets. 



THE CRAZE OF THE SPECULATORS 49 

and took its lessons to heart was Guy H. Salisbury, the de- 
lightfully wise and gentle-natured son of Smith H. Salis- 
bury, the pioneer printer and journalist of these parts. In 
1863, when the greenback, inflation of an irredeemable cur- 
rency was threatening a repetition of the experience of 1837, 
Guy Salisbury wrote a chapter of historical warning, in 
which he gave some particulars of the "craze" he had been 
witness to in those days. "The most singular feature of the 
speculative mania," he tells us, "was the blindness that 
seemed to have come over the common sagacity of men who, 
in the ordinary affairs of life, had sense enough to look to 
their own interests. They purchased land of persons whose 
responsibility was often unknown, without knowledge of 
title or protection against prior incumbrances. Men of 
straw bought blocks on credit, giving mortgages for the pur- 
chase money, and then sold them out in lots with no pro- 
vision for releases from the lien which covered the whole. 
A very curious illustration of the recklessness pro- 
duced by the wonderful success of some of the operators, 
who fancied their luck would turn everything they touched 
to gold, was the buying out of individuals by the lump, with- 
out inventory or estimate, which was gone into in a few in- 
stances. 'I'll give you $150,000 for all your property, ex- 
cept your wife and babies and household furniture,' would 
be the bantering proposition over a bottle of champagne. 
'Done,' says the other, and the bargain was made. The 
buyer took possession of the lands, tenements, mortgages, 
notes, book accounts, choses in action, etc., and paid over the 
small amount of cash agreed on for the down payment, giv- 
ing mortgage security on the property for the balance. * * * 
The sad sequel to the career of that wholesale purchaser, in 
the transaction above referred to, remains to be told. I met 
him day before yesterday on his way to the poor-house, with 
a certificate in his hand from the Overseer of the Poor, en- 



50 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

titling him to the shelter of that last refuge of the unfortu- 
nate! Yet he figured in '36 as worth three-quarters of a 
million ; and so extensive were his transactions that he kept a 
branch office in New York. * * * It should not be for- 
gotten that, in the affluent season of his prosperity, he sup- 
ported for five years a free school for orphan boys and girls, 
of whom twelve from each of the five wards of the city had 
thus the privilege of a good education, ami were furnished 
with books and stationery free of charge." 

The person referred to in this strikingly dramatic case 
was Alanson Palmer, known as Colonel Palmer in the days 
of his glory, when he travelled in a six-horse coach, and as 
"Lance" Palmer in the more familiar speech of later days. 

Mr. James L. Barton, in his Reminiscences, relates an in- 
cident of his own experience which illustrates the intoxica- 
tion of the time. He was the owner of two lots at Black 
Rock which cost him originally $250, but which he thought 
to be worth $3,000 in the fall of [835. Early in 1836 he- 
was absent from the city for a few weeks, and, on the morn- 
ing after his return, he was met, as he walked down Main 
Street, by three men in succession who asked what he would 
take for his lots. To the first one he said $6,000; to the sec- 
ond $7,500; to the third one. "$2O,O0O, ten per cent, down, 
the balance in four annual payments." "Saj six annual 
payments and I will take it," said the latter; and the bargain 
was concluded before they parted, Mr. Barton receiving 
$2,000, with bond and mortgage for the remainder. The 
ultimate of the transaction he does not disclose. 

The king of the speculators was Benjamin Rathbun, a 
man described as Napoleonic in appearance as well as in 
action, who handled large affairs in a powerful way. He 
began his career in Buffalo as landlord of the Eagle Tavern, 
to which he gave great fame. From this success he went on 
to enterprises which had no limit so long as the bubble of 



RATHBUN'S CAREER 51 

inflated expectation and credit went unpricked. Says Mr. 
Welch in his "Recollections:" "He contracted to build 
houses, stores, factories and public buildings, which he ac- 
complished with vigor and skill. He bought lands for 
building purposes. He multiplied his industries and work- 
men. As his work widened out he brought to his aid the 
most competent and skilled assistants, superintendents, fore- 
men and experts. He made large contracts for building 
materials, opened stone quarries, established brick yards, 
machine shops, and several stores for supplying the various 
needs of his workmen, as well as those of the public." He 
owned stage lines, and introduced a grand line of omnibuses 
on Main Street, with conductors in uniform. "It was said 
that at his failure he had 3,000 men in his employ, and no 
partner. This, in a small city of 15,000 to 20,000 popula- 
tion, is an enormous number, relying on one man's uncer- 
tainties." 

Rathbun's breakdown, which came in the summer of 1836, 
was made worse by the discovery that he had been staving 
it off recklessly for some time by extensive and daring for- 
geries of endorsement on paper upon which he negotiated 
loans. He was promptly arrested, but, notwithstanding the 
criminality of his doings and the wide-spread distress that 
his failure produced, the man had so won the friendship of 
his fellow citizens that it seems to have been thought useless 
to bring him to trial in Buffalo. For two years his trial was 
postponed and he lay in jail. Finally, at Batavia, he was 
convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for five years. 
After serving his term he went to New York, engaged there 
in hotel-keeping, and ended his life in a prosperous way. 

One of the achievements of the booming enterprise of the 
time was a railroad from Buffalo to Niagara Falls, opened 
in the fall of 1836, when a locomotive was seen for the first 
time in this part of the world. 



52 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

Rathbun's failure brought speculation in this region to a 
halt in advance of the general collapse, which came in 1837. 
The prostration that ensued was greater nowhere, probably, 
than here. "We tumbled," says Mr. Salisbury, "from the 
zenith to the nadir — and it was a nine-days' fall;" and he 
asks: "Did no good grow out of all this evil?" "There 
were, indeed, stately edifices built, innumerable stores, ware- 
houses and mammoth hotels erected, canals dug, railroads 
projected, ships and steamboats put afloat, under the im- 
pulses of '36, which remained and were of some use after. 
But what was gained by this precocity of growth?" In Mr. 
Salisbury's view, looking at the "pecuniary distress and 
stagnation of business" which followed, there was no gain, 
even remote. For a few years Buffalo must have been at a 
standstill in growth, if it did not recede. The census of 
1840 showed only a population of 18,215, — an increase of a 
little more than 14 per cent, since 1835. 

The depression of business and the distresses of the time 
were not allowed to stagnate life in Buffalo throughout the 
whole year of 1837. Excitements in plenty were stirred up 
before it closed by the rebellion in Canada, most commonly 
spoken of in that day as the Patriot War. The leaders of 
the discontented Canadians, failing in their first revolution- 
ary demonstrations, on Canadian soil, escaped to this side of 
the boundary, and found hosts of Americans ready to lend 
some help and abundant sympathy to new attempts. 

Buffalo became the center of plotting and organizing for 
a serious campaign. William Lyon Mackenzie, the head 
and front of the revolt in Canada West, arrived here on the 
nth of December, 1837, and was received with warmth. 
Mass meetings gave enthusiastic expression to public feeling 
in favor of the cause for which he spoke. Volunteers were 
enrolled, arms and munitions of war were collected, and 
Mackenzie, with a small following, took possession of Navy 



THE PATRIOT WAR 53 

Island, on the Canadian side of the Niagara channel, to 
make it the rendezvous and base of operations for the de- 
liverance of Canada from British misrule. A provisional 
government, headed by Mackenzie, was proclaimed; public 
lands and bounties, to be realized at a future day, were 
offered to volunteers; government bills were issued and be- 
came current to some extent on the American side. Con- 
fidence in the undertaking grew fast, and a patriot force was 
soon assembled on the island, which the loyalists on the 
neighboring shore, at Chippewa, were in no haste to attack. 

On the 29th of December a little steamer named the 
"Caroline" was hired at Buffalo and taken down the river 
for ferry service between Navy Island and Schlosser, on the 
American shore. She made two trips that afternoon, and 
that was the end of her service. In the course of the ensu- 
ing night seven boat-loads of armed men came over from 
Chippewa and made a successful seizure of the little 
steamer, killing one man in the melee, towed her into the 
middle of the stream, set fire to her and sent her blazing 
down the rapids and over the great Falls. 

Generally in the country, and especially on this border, 
there was great excitement over this invasion of American 
soil. Public clamor for angry measures by the government 
was such that a president less sensible and cool-headed than 
Van Buren might easily have been pushed into action that 
would lead to war. As it was, the situation held grave dan- 
ger for a time, and not merely in the first treatment of the 
affair, but three years afterward, when one Alexander Mc- 
Leod, who boasted of having taken part in the seizure of the 
"Caroline," and of having been the slayer of Amos Durfee, 
the single victim of the fight, was caught on the American 
side of the river, imprisoned and tried. 

The American government seems to have acted with 
proper vigor against the undertakings of the rebellious Ca- 



54 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

nadians and their sympathizers within its jurisdiction. 
General Scott was sent to the frontier, and a brigade of New 
York State militia was called out. Further reinforcement 
of the Patriots on Navy Island from this side of the river 
was stopped. No effective rising in Canada invited them 
to the other shore, and they evacuated the island on the 14th 
of January, after holding it a month. Some further at- 
tempts at mere raiding into Canada were made in this region 
during the next few weeks, by small bands, which planned 
to cross the frozen lake where it narrows, near the foot; but 
they were all broken up, and Buffalo soon ceased to be a 
center of interest in the Patriot War. 

Once more, however, in the summer of 1838, a daring 
company went over from Schlosser to Navy Island, and 
thence to Chippewa, from which point they marched a few 
miles into the bowels of the land, burned a tavern and cap- 
tured a detachment of lancers; but this intrepid army was 
composed of but twenty-four Canadians and one American 
youth. The people they wished to deliver would not rally 
to their support, and they were forced to break ranks and fly. 
Most of them suffered capture, and some were condemned 
to long captivity in the penal colony of Van Dieman's Land. 
Some years afterward, one of the latter number, Benjamin 
Wait, published his experience in a little book which was 
classic for a generation in this part of the world. 

During the next three years there were secret filibustering 
societies, called Hunter Lodges, in a number of American 
towns, which occasionally found an opportunity to seize and 
burn a Canadian steamer, to the cry of "Remember the 
Caroline," or to commit some other wanton and useless out- 
rage on the Canadian border. It was not till after the trial 
and acquittal of McLeod, in October, 1841, that such sput- 
terings of the Patriot War were entirely stopped. 

Despite the recent crash of business, the loss of manv for- 



THE TOWN IN THE FORTIES 55 

tunes, and undoubtedly "hard times" in general, there was 
no lack of animation in the social life of these days. It is 
pleasantly pictured in a paper contributed to the eighth vol- 
ume of the publications of the Buffalo Historical Society by 
Mrs. Martha Fitch Poole, who came to Buffalo in 1835. 
She describes Buffalo as she saw it then: "Indians walked 
the street in blankets and moccasins, cows were grazing at 
the roadsides, and pigs roamed at their own sweet will, only 
kept out of beautiful gardens by stout fences, usually of the 
picket variety. Yet Buffalo was a very beautiful city, not- 
withstanding. There was little or nothing to pull down, 
and buildings of the better sort were rapidly filling up the 
open spaces. The elegance with which the city was laid out, 
though the area was limited at that time, was ever admired. 
It was noted for the magnificent trees that bordered every 
street and lane, while the views of river and lake, uninter- 
rupted for miles by the smoke of railroads or business struc- 
tures, were superb. Birds sang from morning till night in 
the most populous sections of the city, and such gardens of 
flowers and nurseries of fruit-trees in this locality as could 
then be seen are things of the past. 

"Buffalo was a bustling business place eight months of 
the year, say from April to December. The other four were 
given up quite generally to social enjoyment. The winter 
of 1 836- 1 837 was the coldest and the longest I have ever ex- 
perienced. Navigation did not open until the end of May, 
and the ice did not entirely disappear from the lake until 
June 10th. We were literally ice-bound that winter, and as 
there were no means of transportation except by stage-coach 
or sleighing, everybody stayed at home, contributing to the 
general pleasure. Buffalo was at this time preeminently a 
social center. The guests were often not a few from Ba- 
tavia, LeRoy, Lewiston, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara 
Falls." 



56 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

The social gayety of the city was much enhanced, late in 
the '30s or early in the '40s, by the military post then estab- 
lished by the government, on the tract of ground between 
Main, Delaware, Allen and North streets, and maintained 
there for several years. 

Hitherto in its municipal existence, the city of Buffalo 
had remained a part of the old Buffalo township or town. 
Now, in the spring of 1839, city and town were made iden- 
tical, and all which the chartered city did not cover became 
the town of Black Rock, the latter enveloping the city by a 
circuit of territory from the river to the lake. 

The Indians seen by Mrs. Poole in the streets of Buffalo, 
in the later '30s, were soon to disappear. From 1838 to 
1842 the combination known as the Ogden Company was 
engaged in strenuous efforts to acquire for white settlement 
the lands still held by them in Western New York. In the 
first named year the company obtained from a council of 
chiefs a doubtful conveyance of all the remaining reserva- 
tions, for the sum of $202,000, and an equally doubtful rati- 
fication of a treaty with the government of the Tnited States, 
which would give to the New York Indians 1,820,000 acres 
of land in Kansas, for their settlement there. Scandalous 
methods of briberv and intoxication were reported to have 
been used in procuring signatures of assent to these docu- 
ments, and the genuineness of the chieftainship of many who 
signed them was brought into dispute. So much public 
feeling was roused in defence of the rights of the Indians, 
and the greater number of them were so determined not to 
be driven out of their old homes, that the Ogden Company 
did not attempt to enforce its claim to the lands. It pressed 
new propositions upon the Indians, however, and succeeded 
at last in securing a cession of the Buffalo Creek and the 
Tonawanda reservations. This was accomplished in the 
spring of 1842, and the Indians departed from those lands 
in the course of the next two or three years, some going to 



RAILWAY DEVELOPMENT 57 

the other reservations in Western New York, and some to 
the West. Buffalo was benefited by the change of country 
neighbors, along the course of Buffalo Creek, which this 
brought about. 

Ten thousand acres of the Creek Reservation, at its west- 
erly end, were bought for a communistic colony from Ger- 
many, having the name of The Ebenezer Society, which 
improved and cultivated its lands most thriftily for nearly 
twenty years. It then sold the whole property in parcels, 
and established a new settlement in Iowa. 

Buffalo was now prosperous again; and it had come to a 
point of beginning in many things, among the agencies, the 
instrumentalities and the attendant conditions of its further 
development, which have worked on their several lines so 
continuously and importantly since that they need to be 
treated with more distinctness than in a general sketch of 
history like this. In future chapters there will be an en- 
deavor to give them such treatment as will exhibit the 
varied lines and processes of evolution, along which and by 
which our city has come to be what it is to-day. Meantime 
such matters will be passed with no more than the occasional 
mention of some primary fact, to thread them with other 
events. 

The event of supreme importance in 1843 occurred in its 
first month, when railway connection of Buffalo with Al- 
bany was completed by the opening of the Buffalo and 
Attica Railroad, which added the last link to a chain of 
connected roads, stretching across the State. Eleven years 
had passed since the first of these roads, running from Al- 
bany to Schenectady, was built. The second, from Schenec- 
tady to Utica, was finished in 1836; the third, from Utica to 
Syracuse, in 1839; the remaining links were added more 
rapidly, within three years. The day of stage coaching 
from Lake Erie to the Hudson was already at an end; travel 



$8 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

by the packet boats of the canal would dwindle and soon 
pass; but the freight traffic of the canal was not yet much 
disturbed; for the State exacted equal tolls for some years 
on all freight transportation, whether by railroad or canal. 

It has been stated sometimes that the chain of railroads 
which reached Buffalo in 1843 was identical with the line 
afterwards consolidated by the New York Central Com- 
pany; but that is not the fact, so far as concerns the western 
extremity of the line. From Batavia to Buffalo the New 
York Central acquired a distinct line of rails. The Buffalo 
and Attica part of the original chain passed into the posses- 
sion of the Buffalo and New York Citj Railroad Company, 
and was extended to Hornellsville, to connect with the New 
York and Erie Railway, then in progress from New York 
to Dunkirk, for straight connection with the lakes. 

The lake and canal carrying trade was now fairly entering 
the period of its greatest growth. Even the Far West of 
the '40s, — the West, that is, of the Upper Lake country, 
was beginning to offer large products to the markets of the 
Fast. The first cargo of grain from any part of Lake Mich- 
igan had come to Buffalo in 1836; the first from Chicago 
in 1839. Prior to 1843 the loading and unloading of grain, 
by handling it in bags, baskets and barrels, and hoisting it 
with ropes and pulleys, was expensive and slow. In that 
year the business was revolutionized by the introduction of 
what has been known since as the grain elevator, which 
scoops the loose grain from the holds of vessels by the opera- 
tion of large cups or buckets on a revolving endless belt, and 
carries it to the top of storage and transfer warehouses for 
easy distribution thence, by gravity, through pipes and 
chutes. The first grain elevator in the world was con- 
structed and brought into use at Buffalo by Mr. Joseph Dart, 
in 1843. 

An indication of the new importance and the new charac- 



PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1 848 59 

ter that business operations were assuming is in the fact that 
a Board of Trade was organized in 1844. The full waken- 
ing of a city spirit in the town was marked, we may say, by 
the introduction of gas-lighting in 1848. 

The presidential election of that year, 1848, was made 
specially interesting to Buffalo by the Whig nomination of 
Millard Fillmore for Vice-President of the United States. 
Mr. Fillmore had been much in public life since 1829, serv- 
ing several terms in the State Assembly and three terms in 
Congress, and he was holding the office of Comptroller of 
the State when called from it to the second place in the 
national government. By the death of President Taylor he 
became President in July, 1850. 

The great national Free Soil Convention of 1848, assem- 
bled in Buffalo on the 9th of August, lent further local in- 
terest to the political campaign of that year. According to 
estimates at the time, there were 40,000 people in the gather- 
ing, from every free State and from three States in the South. 
They included a remarkable number of men who were emi- 
nent already or who became so in the politics of the next 
twenty-five or thirty years. They were seceders from both 
of the old political parties, joined by many abolitionists, in 
the premature inauguration of a movement against further 
extensions of slavery, or, as the cry of the day expressed it, 
for "free soil, free speech, free labor and free men." With 
great enthusiasm they nominated Martin Van Buren for 
President and Charles Francis Adams for Vice-President; 
but in the ensuing election they carried no State, and the 
only immediate consequence of their undertaking was the 
election of Taylor and Fillmore. Nevertheless it had great 
ultimate results. Its defeat gave encouragement to increas- 
ing aggressions in the slaveholding interest, which speedily 
reanimated the defence of free soil, embodied its motive in 
the Republican party, and drew success in i860 from the 
seeming failure of 1848. 



60 THE ERA OF THE WATERWAYS 

A very different memorability was given to the year 1849, 
by the recurrence of cholera, which made its first appearance 
on the 30th of .May, in a single case, occurring on one of the 
screw propellers in the port. At the end of the next week 
five cases had been reported, with one death, and the roll 
lengthened rapidly from that time. By the 12th of July 
there had been 356 cases reported, and the deaths numbered 
103. The board of health began then to publish daily re- 
ports, giving the names and residences of the dead. Its first 
bulletin announced 31 new cases and 13 deaths in the pre- 
vious twenty-four hours. Next day the stricken numbered 
38, and again there were 13 deaths. This time the victims 
included the health physician of the city, Dr. Charles (.'. 
Haddock, whose heavy labors had worn out his strength and 
made him an easy prey to the disease. On the day of his 
death the Commercial Advertiser had said: "The cholera 
prevails to a great extent among that class who are unable 
to procure medical aid, and they are therefore compelled to 
rely upon the city physician," and it called upon the Com- 
mon Council to authorize the appointment of two a<- : stants, 
at the least. In further remarks it estimated that three- 
fourths of the deaths had occurred among foreign residents, 
and located them most extensively in that eastern section of 
the city (surrounding the junction of Swan Street with 
Seneca) known then as "The Hydraulics," where the water 
in a short length of canal, dug for manufacturing uses, had 
been imperfectly drained off and allowed to stagnate. A 
week later, the same paper raised its estimate of the deaths 
among foreign laborers in the city to nine-tenths of the 
whole; and explained that work in progress on the enlarge- 
ment of the Hamburg and Erie canals had brought a large 
number of such laborers to the city, and that many of them 
were living in temporary shanties in the lower parts of the 
town. 



THE CITY IN 1850 61 

The worst day of the deadly epidemic was the 24th of 
July, when the new cases rose in number to 103 and the 
deaths to 32. This followed a heavy shower of rain, after a 
prolonged drouth, which increased, of course, the infecting 
of wells, — the general source at that time of the domestic 
water-supply. This chief agency in the spreading of the 
disease does not seem to have been suspected in the least. 
The main danger was supposed to lurk in foods, and warn- 
ings against the eating of green vegetables were most strenu- 
ously urged. 

Signs of diminution in the spread and virulence of the dis- 
ease began to appear in the latter part of August, and on the 
7th of September the board of health made its last report, 
having no death to announce that day. It had recorded 
in all, from the beginning, 2,535 cases of the cholera and 
877 deaths; but the tale may not have been complete. "It 
has been asserted," said the Commercial Advertiser, in sub- 
sequent comment on the trying experience, "that there were 
between 50 and 60 interments in the course of twenty-four 
hours at the height of the disease, and there were undoubt- 
edly deaths from cholera of which the board had no knowl- 
edge, as many persons had no physician, and were buried by 
their friends without any notice to the authorities." 

The census of 1850 found a population in Buffalo num- 
bering 42,261, against 29,773 m 1 845, being an increase of 
about 42 per cent, in five years, which is rapid growth. In 
that year the enterprise of supplying the city with water 
from the Niagara, to be drawn through a tunnel passing 
under the Erie Canal and Black Rock harbor, was under- 
taken by a company which completed its works within the 
next two years. In 18^3, under a new charter, Buffalo was 
expanded by the annexation to it of the township of Black 
Rock, which gave the city an area of about forty square 
miles. 



CHAPTER III 

IN THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS : 

1851—1908 

WE have come to a time when railroads were begin- 
ning to be of importance in the development of 
travel and trade. For twenty years there had been 
a slow building of railway lines in the Atlantic States, but 
only to the extent of 9,000 miles in the entire country, and 
the West had hardly felt this new quickener of life. Now, 
for a brief period, there was a suddenly vigorous push of 
railway building westward. In [851, by the opening of the 
Hudson River road to Albany, and the finishing of the Xew 
York and Erie to Dunkirk, Xew York City obtained two 
complete connections by rail with our lake. From Buffalo 
a westward extension of rails along the southern shore of the 
lake, as far as the Pennsylvania boundary, was opened bv 
the Buffalo and State Line Railroad Company in February, 
1852. In that year two railways from the western end of 
Lake Erie to Chicago were brought into operation; and the 
needed links between our State Line road and Toledo were 
filled in the next year, completing a railway connection of 
Chicago with Xew York. In [854 the chain was stretched 
from Chicago to the Mississippi, and it was lengthened to 
the Missouri in 1859. Before that time a halt in all business 
enterprise had been called by the financial crash of 1857, 
and the halt was prolonged by the ensuing Civil War. 

Meantime, in 1852, Buffalo had been doubly connected 
with the Xew York and Erie Railway, h\ a line to Corning, 
built by the Buffalo and Xew York City Railway Company, 
and by a second line to Hornellsville (now Hornell), pro- 
duced by an extension of the Buffalo and Attica road, which 
the New York and Erie had leased. In this year, moreover, 

62 



THE PANIC OF 1857 63 

the railway connection of Buffalo with Canada and with the 
West through Canada was undertaken, by the beginning of 
a Buffalo and Brantford road, which, being extended to 
Goderich, in 1858, took the name of the Buffalo and Lake 
Huron Railway. In 1853 tne consolidation of the several 
connecting roads between Buffalo and Albany, in the New 
York Central Railroad, was effected; and, in 1855, the Buf- 
falo and Niagara Falls road was taken into the New York 
Central system. 

Generally in the country a similar activity of railway 
construction prevailed, and all industries were stimulated 
in a corresponding degree. In the nine years which 
ended at the close of 1857, 21,000 miles were added to the 
railroads of the United States, representing an expenditure 
of $700,000,000, largely from abroad. At the same time, 
the great increase of gold production, since the discoveries 
of 1848 in California and of 1 85 1 in Australia, was lowering 
the standard of values, and opening a period of rising prices 
throughout the world. The two causes combined, putting 
strains upon capital, on one hand, and stimulating produc- 
tion and trade on the other, were working, in both Europe 
and America, to bring about the conditions which have 
always resulted in a monetary panic and commercial col- 
lapse. The influences so tending were exaggerated in 
America, as they had been in the period between 1825 and 
1837, by tn e immensity of the allurement to speculative 
ventures in inimitably tempting fields. 

All the preparations for panic were complete in the sum- 
mer of 1857, and it was started with suddenness on the 24th 
of August by a crashing failure at Cincinnati, of the Ohio 
Life Insurance and Trust Company, an important corpora- 
tion, so expanded in its operations as to break many lesser 
ones in its fall. At this signal of alarm the usual scrambling 
of the timid and nervous for self-saving began. Deposits 



64 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

were drawn from banks to be hoarded; money disappeared 
from circulation ; prices dropped. On the third day follow- 
ing the Cincinnati failure the Buffalo Commercial Adver- 
tiser announced "a long row of banks, many of them in the 
land of steady habits," as having "gone down, or been 
thrown out by the brokers;" but it could add: "Thus far 
Buffalo has mostly escaped. Right here in the largest grain 
market in the world, where transactions are more frequent 
and heavier than at any other port on the round globe, our 
produce men have thus far endured the rapid decline in 
the price of breadstuff's without any failure to meet their 
obligations." 

But failures in Buffalo were only postponed. On Mon- 
day the 31st the Commercial Advertiser reported "quite a 
panic this morning, occasioned by the suspension of the 
Reciprocity Hank on Saturday. This was increased by the 
news that the Hollister Bank would not open its doors ;" and, 
"owing to the excitement, a run was commenced on several 
ol the banks as soon as they were opened." Next day (Sep 
tember 1st), the panic was said to have "entirely subsided 
and confidence is restored ;" but the suspension of < diver Lee 
& Co.'s Hank was announced on the 4th, ami the failure of 
two large produce houses was made public on the 5th. On 
the S tli there was casual mention, without explanation, of 
the fact that 800 mechanics had been thrown out of employ- 
ment, and a policy of reticence on such matters was inti- 
mated a few days later in the remark that "we have protested 
against publishing as 'failures 1 the temporary inability of 
sound men to meet their acceptances." 

Late in September fresh waves of panic began to sweep 
over the country and strew it with wrecks. Railroad cor- 
porations went to the wall ; Michigan Central, Illinois Cen- 
tral, New York and Erie among the rest. The panic was 
carried over sea, especially into Great Britain, which was 



THE PANIC OF 1 857 65 

estimated to have $400,000,000 invested in the United States. 
There were serious bank suspensions in Scotland, in October, 
and the Bank of England was only saved by a suspension of 
the operation of the banking act. The Commercial Adver- 
tiser could still say of Buffalo, on the 2nd of October, that 
she "is going along at a slow rate, with the burden of her 
immense commerce upon her. * * * The class of private 
failures which have occurred are not bad. They are in 
most instances rather suspensions than failures. : We 

have no runs, no excitements, and only the general gloom 
and depression indicates the peril of the times." Neverthe- 
less, the 1 2th of October brought announcement of the sus- 
pension of the local Pratt Bank, followed by that of the 
important iron and hardware house of Pratt & Co. 

The published list of broken banks in the country now 
numbered 182. On the 13th of October, by agreement, 
specie payments were suspended by all the banks in New 
York City which had held out against it hitherto, and their 
example was followed the next day by all the banks in the 
State. This relieved the strain of the situation, and all 
business in the country settled down to an experience which 
had no more of excitements in it, but only the grim endur- 
ance of a painfully benumbing half-palsy in the whole social 
frame. "The caulker's hammer," said the Commercial, 
describing Buffalo conditions on the 15th of October, "is not 
heard in the shipyards; the vessels and steamers which 
should be now busily engaged in forwarding the harvest lie 
chafing at the wharves; the foundries which live upon the 
shipping interests are some of them closed and others almost 
idle. So, too, in every department of industry, there is a 
benumbing paralysis." 

From such prostration there was not much emergence of 
industrial and commercial activity in the country during the 
next two years. It was said to be at the worst in 1859. In 



66 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

i860 there were marked beginnings of recovery, notwith- 
standing the distractions of the great political struggle of 
that year, and the menace of national disruption that 
followed. 

No community in the country was interested in the elec- 
tion of i860 more profoundly than this. In the politics of 
the epoch that came then to its close, Buffalo had been, from 
its first days, with little varying, a stronghold of the Fed- 
eralists in their time and of the Whigs in theirs. In the 
latter-day division of the Whig party it had given a large 
following to Fillmore and the Silver Grays, even into the 
American or Know Nothing movement of ]Sq2-6. But 
now a majority of its voters had broken their old political 
affiliations, both Whig and Democratic, and had come into 
the new Republican party, organized to resist the encroach- 
ments of slavery on free soil. In the main, that party 
divided Erie County and Buffalo with the Douglas Democ- 
racy; for not many relics of Mr. Fillmore's former follow- 
ing went with him to the support of the Hell and Everett 
nominations of i860. Abraham Lincoln received a ma- 
jority over Douglas in the local vote. His nomination had 
been .1 grievous hurt to Republican feeling, at first, here as 
in other parts of New York, which desired Mr. Seward ; but 
confidence in him grew with increasing knowledge, and 
there was abounding enthusiasm in the campaign. 

On the journey of the President-elect to Washington, for 
his entrance upon the appalling task to which he had been 
called, he arrived in Buffalo on the afternoon of Saturday, 
February 16, 1861, and had a reception at the railway station 
so tumultuously enthusiastic and ill-controlled that he and 
his party were nearly crushed. From the balcony of the 
American Hotel he made one of the brief and cautious 
speeches of his tour, and that evening he went through the 
ordeal of handshaking with a multitude of visitors. Mrs. 



THE NEWS FROM SUMTER 67 

Lincoln receiving many at the same time. The Presidential 
party spent the Sunday in Buffalo, and Mr. and Mrs. Lin- 
coln accompanied ex-President Fillmore to the Unitarian 
Church, of which the latter was a member. In the evening, 
Mr. Lincoln attended Mrs. Fillmore to a meeting at St. 
James Hall, to hear an address in the interest of some of the 
Indian tribes of the West. 

The city had now a population exceeding 81,000, having 
nearly doubled its numbers in ten years. It could send a 
strong contingent of citizens to the defense of the Union, 
when rebellious slavery opened its wicked attack a few 
weeks later, — and it did so. News of the opening of the 
bombardment of Fort Sumter came to the morning papers 
of the 13th of April, and little more was known till the 
morning of Monday, the 15th, when tidings of the surrender 
of the fort set passion aflame. There were no political 
parties that day. Crowds swarmed to a public meeting in 
the evening, overflowing, first the Court House, then Krem- 
lin Hall, and finally massing itself in the public street. A 
Democrat, the Hon. Eli Cook, presided, and speeches from 
Democrats and Republicans were all in one tone. An en- 
rollment of volunteers for tender of service to the govern- 
ment was begun at once. 

A second public mass meeting, more formally planned, 
was held the next evening at the Metropolitan Theatre, with 
ex-President Fillmore in the chair. Mr. Fillmore spoke 
with no uncertain feeling of the duty of the hour. "We 
have reached," he said, "a crisis in the history of this country 
when no man, however humble his rank or limited his influ- 
ence, has a right to stand neutral. Civil war has been inau- 
gurated, and we must meet it. Our government calls for 
aid, and we must give it." Judge Clinton, Judge Daniels, 
Dr. Brunck, H. K. Viele, A. M. Clapp, and others, spoke 
to the same purpose with warmth, and resolutions of cor- 



68 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

responding spirit, reported from a committee of which 
Joseph Warren, editor of the Democratic organ, the Daily 
Coumr, was chairman, were adopted with acclaim. 

On the 1 8th the organization of enrolled volunteers in 
companies was begun. The three militia regiments of the 
city and county lost no time in recruiting their ranks and 
preparing for any duty to which they might be called. The 
Common Council appropriated $50,000 to provide for 
families of volunteers, and private subscriptions added 
$30,000 more. Prominent elderly citizens formed a com- 
pany, with ex-President Fillmore for their captain, to per- 
form escort duty, paying honor to the soldiery of the field. 
It took the name of the "Union Continentals," and wore the 
uniform of the Continentals of the Revolutionary War. 

On the 3d of May tour companies were sent forward to 
the rendezvous at Elmira, followed on the 1 ith by six more, 
with cheers and tears, and the whole city out to bid them 
God-speed. Many members of the militia regiments, see- 
ing little prospect of active service in them, went into these 
companies of volunteers. The ten companies became an 
organized regiment at once, as the 21st New York State 
Volunteers, Colonel William F. Rogers commanding, and 
were mustered into the service of the United States for two 
years. From Elmira the regiment went forward to Wash- 
ington on the iSth of June. It had no part in the disastrous 
Bull Run battle of the next month, being stationed at Fort 
Runvon, near Alexandria, at the time. In August it was 
assigned to Wadsworth's brigade in McDowell's division, 
and went through months of drill and training, with the rest 
of the Army of the Potomac, till McClellan's movements 
began in the following spring. Being in McDowell's 
Corps, the 21st Regiment escaped the Peninsular campaign, 
but had its share of the suffering and disaster of the succeed- 
ing battles, fought under General Pope. In the second Bull 



THE TWENTY-FIRST N. Y. V. 69 

Run fight, of August 30, 1862, it lost, in killed, two officers 
and fifty-one enlisted men, who died on the field or subse- 
quently from wounds then received. In the next month the 
shattered regiment followed McClellan to Maryland, for 
the driving back of Lee, and fought at both South Mountain 
and Antietam, with further losses of twenty killed and fifty- 
one disabled by curable wounds. Its last severe campaign- 
ing was under Burnside, in the fatal assaults on the entrench- 
ments of the enemy at Fredericksburg, but its losses were 
small. The last few months of its two years' term of service 
were spent in provost-guard duty at Acquia Creek. Late 
in April it was dismissed and received a great ovation on its 
arrival home. 

From first to last of its service the losses of the 21st Regi- 
ment by death were 2 officers and 50 enlisted men who were 
killed in action; 23 enlisted men who died of wounds; 2 
officers and 40 enlisted men who died of disease and other 
causes. The wounded officers who recovered were 7 in 
number, the enlisted men 140. The two officers who met 
death on the field were Captain Jeremiah P. Washburn and 
Lieutenant William L. Whitney, both at the Second Bull 
Run. The two who died of disease were Captain Elisha L. 
Hayward and Surgeon Charles H. Wilcox. Among the 
severely wounded at Bull Run was the young artist, John 
Harrison Mills, who, afterwards, wrote the history of the 
regiment. 

Soon after the 21st Regiment left Buffalo, Captain Daniel 
D. Bidwell, of the 74th Regiment of State Militia, obtained 
authority to enlist another regiment in the city, and the en- 
rollment went rapidly on. Before the ranks of the regiment 
were filled it was ordered to New York (September 16), and 
there it was made up as the 49th New York Volunteers, 
composed of four companies from Buffalo and Erie County, 
four from Chautauqua County, and one each from the 



70 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

counties of Niagara and Westchester. Late in September, 
1 86 1, the 49th, with Daniel D. Bidwell as its Colonel, was 
ordered to the front, and was in camp till the following 
spring, embodied in the Sixth Corps. It then went through 
the Peninsular campaign, suffering slight losses in the battles 
of Lee's Mills, New Bridge, Garnett's Farm and White Oak 
Swamp Bridge. On returning from the Peninsula it fought 
at Antietam, with a loss of 8 killed and 16 wounded, and at 
Fredericksburg, where nine were wounded, one officer of 
whom died. In the following spring it was in battle at 
Marye's Heights and Salem Church, and gave 6 more of 
its number to death and 1 1 to wounds. By a long forced 
march it reached the field of Gettysburg in time to have 
some part in that terrible struggle, but only at the cost of 
2 wounded men. The spring of 1864 found the regiment 
with Grant, in the awful battles of May, from which it came 
a mere wreck. In the Wilderness, at Spottsylvania, at Cold 
Harbor, it left 9 officers and 61 enlisted men dead on the 
field ; while 2 officers and 22 in the ranks died of the wounds 
they received, and 4 officers, with 122 enlisted men, were 
wounded, but lived. In July the Sixth Corps was detached 
from the army besieging Petersburg and sent to the defence 
of Washington, where special distinction was won at fort 
Stevens by the 49th. In that engagement its Lieutenant- 
Colonel, George W. Johnson, received a mortal wound. At 
Cedar Creek, in the succeeding campaign of Sheridan 
against Early, the regiment bore an heroic part; and there 
its former Colonel, Daniel D. Bidwell, lately promoted to 
the rank of Brigadier-General, was killed. Of its officers 
2 were wounded; of its enlisted men 27 were wounded and 
1 1 were killed. The three years' term of most men remain- 
ing in the regiment had expired on the 19th of September, 
one month before the battle of Cedar Creek was fought; but 
all save 89 of the number had accepted re-enlistment and 



THE FORTY-NINTH N. Y. V. 71 

fought on. They were consolidated in five companies, and, 
returning to Petersburg, went through the last scenes of the 
war, even to Appomattox Court House and the surrender of 
Lee. When, on the 20th of June, 1865, their thinned ranks 
and their tattered flag were brought home, under the com- 
mand of Colonel George H. Selkirk, they had the reception 
they deserved. 

In the whole period of its service the regiment had re- 
ceived into its ranks about 1,350 men. Of its officers, 10 
had been killed in battle, 5 had died of wounds, 5 had died 
of disease, 14 had recovered from wounds. Of enlisted men, 
84 had been killed in action, 42 had died of wounds, 147 
had died of disease, 23 had died while prisoners in the 
enemy's hands, 5 from other causes, 230 had recovered from 
wounds. The officers killed in action were Captain Wil- 
liam T. Wiggins and Lieutenants Henry C. Valentine and 
Reuben M. Preston, in the battle of the Wilderness; Cap- 
tains Reuben B. Heacock and Seward H. Terry, Lieuten- 
ants Herman Haas, Mortimer L. V. Tyler, and J. P. Mc- 
Vean, at Spottsylvania; Lieutenant David Lambert, Jr., at 
Washington; Lieutenant Charles A. Sayres, at Winchester. 
The officers who died of wounds were Lieutenant-Colonel 
George W. Johnson, Lieutenant-Colonel Erastus D. Holt, 
Major William Ellis, Captains Charles H. Hickmott and 
John F. E. Plogsted. Those who died of disease were Cap- 
tains Raselas Dickinson and Charles H. Moss, Lieutenants 
William Bullymore, Henry D. Tillinghast, Frederick Van 
Gayle. 

When the 49th Regiment left Buffalo, in the summer of 
1861, recruiting for another regiment was already begun, 
under authority given to General Gustavus A. Scroggs, of 
the State Militia, to raise a full brigade within the State. 
Enlisting for the regiment to be formed in Buffalo was 
begun early in September, and in January it received its 



72 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

designation as the iooth Regiment N. Y. Vols. Its men 
came to a large extent from neighboring counties and towns. 
Chautauqua County furnished its commanding officer, 
Colonel James M. Brown. It went to the field with full 
ranks, in March, reaching Washington on the 12th; was 
assigned to Casey's Division, Fourth Corps, and was pushed 
almost immediately into the trials, hardships and sufferings 
of the Peninsular campaign. Its first experience of battle, 
at Fair Oaks, was as terrible as new soldiers can ever have 
gone through, and it did not flinch. Its brigade was ad- 
vanced to the extreme front of the Union lines, and ordered 
to charge through a tangled slashing of timber, in which the 
men of the iooth were exposed almost helplessly to the 
enemy's guns. Some one had blundered in the ordering of 
the useless charge, and they paid the cost of the blunder in 
39 lives, 77 wounds, and 60 missing men, either prisoners 
or of unknown fate. Colonel Brown was among the miss- 
ing. That he fell is certain; but his body was never found, 
and the circumstances of bis death are not even to be guessed. 
Colonel George B. Dandy, of the regular army, was ap- 
pointed to fill his place. Even before the battle, much 
sickness had thinned the regiment, and at the end of July it 
mustered only 15 officers and 436 men. Unless quickly 
filled up it would lose its identity by consolidation with some 
other, and Buffalo was appealed to, to save it from that fate. 
The Board of Trade of the city took upon itself the under- 
taking to restore the organization to its proper strength. 
Meantime the regiment had a period of comparative rest, 
at Gloucester Point, on the York, which lasted till Christmas 
Day, when it was embarked for transfer to service farther 
south. Its new field proved to be the South Carolina coast, 
where, after six months of varied movements and employ- 
ments, it came to a second experience of the worst horrors 
of war. This was in the desperate assaulting of Fort Wag- 



THE ONE HUNDREDTH N. Y. V. 73 

ner, on Morris Island, at the entrance to the harbor of 
Charleston. There the 100th suffered losses even heavier 
than at Fair Oaks. Four officers and 76 enlisted men came 
to their death in those assaults, either immediately or later, 
from wounds; 6 officers and 106 enlisted men received 
wounds from which they recovered ; while the missing num- 
bered 31. The succeeding seven months on Morris Island 
were uneventful. Then, in April, 1864, the regiment went 
north again, to pass for a time under the command of Gen- 
eral Butler, at Bermuda Hundred, and to be engaged till 
the end of the war in the operations against Petersburg and 
Richmond. Its last fighting was on the 2d of April, 1865, 
in the storming of Fort Grig, at the rear of the Petersburg 
fortifications, the desperate defenders of which had sworn 
never to surrender. From that sanguinary victory it went 
to join in the pursuit of the retreating army of Lee, and saw 
the rebellion come to its end. It was not discharged from 
service, however, till the 28th of August, and was then, for 
some reason, sent to Albany to be mustered out, disappoint- 
ing the wish in Buffalo to see it and honor it as a regiment 
on its home-coming from the war. Colonel Dandy, lately 
commissioned Brigadier-General, had commanded the 
brigade for some time past, and Lieutenant-Colonel Warren 
Granger held the regimental command. Captain George 
H. Stowits, who had resigned the principalship of one of 
the public schools of Buffalo to enter the regiment as a pri- 
vate, and who had been acting assistant adjutant general 
on the brigade staff, had been promoted to be major, in 
May, but resigned at the end of that month, before his com- 
mission was received. He wrote the history of the regiment 
a few years after his return home. 

In its whole service the 100th Regiment had 8 officers and 
115 enlisted men killed in action; 4 officers and 67 enlisted 
men wounded mortally, of whom 2 of the former and 1 1 of 



74 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

the latter died in the enemy's hands. One officer and 186 
men died of disease, 62 of the latter in Confederate prisons; 
15 enlisted men died from causes not stated, of whom 6 were 
prisoners when they died. Of the members of the regiment 
who suffered capture and imprisonment and survived, 11 
were officers and 185 were from the ranks. 

The death-roll (if officers is as follows: Colonel James 
M. Brown, Lieutenant Samuel S. Kellogg. Lieutenant John 
Wilkeson, Jr., killed at Fair Oaks; Lieutenant and Adjutant 
Herbert H. Haddock, Lieutenant fames Kavanagh, Lieu- 
tenant Charles H. Runkle, killed at Fort Wagner; Major 
James H. Dandy, killed at Fort Grig; Lieutenant Azor H. 
Hoyt, killed at Drewry's Bluff; Captain William Richard- 
son, died of wounds received at Deep Bottom, Va.; Lieu- 
tenant Cyrus Brown, died of wounds at Fort Wagner; 
Lieutenant James H. French, died of wounds received at 
Drewry's Bluff; Lieutenants Rodney B. Smith and Charles 
S. Farnum, died of disease. 

Besides the three regiments whose history has been 
sketched, several companies which became attached to other 
organizations were raised wholly or partly in Buffalo during 
the first year of the war. The most important of the num- 
ber was an artillery company of German citizens, formed 
originally in i860, under Captain Michael Wiedrich, and 
connected with the 65th Regiment of State Militia. In 
January, 1861, soon after the secession movement began, its 
services were offered formally to the State, and accepted, 
but it was not called upon till October, when it was organ- 
ized as Battery I, of the 1st New York Artillery. It left 
Buffalo on the 16th of October, and was attached to Blen- 
ker's Division, in Virginia. Few of the twelve batteries 
the regiment were ever together in service, and, in many 
engagements, during the next three years, "Wiedrich's Bat- 
tery" made a well-known name for itself. It began its 



wiedrich's battery 75 

career in Fremont's encounter with Ewell at Cross Keys, 
June 8, 1862, where 3 of its members were killed and 6 
received wounds. It was in six battles of Pope's campaign, 
including the Second Bull Run, where 1 of its officers and 
13 enlisted men received wounds. It was with Hooker at 
Chancellorsville, and suffered 4 deaths there, 14 wounds, 
and lost 2 of its guns. It was with Meade at Gettysburg, 
and 3 killed, 9 wounded, were its losses there. It was with 
Grant at Wauhatchie and Lookout Valley and Missionary 
Ridge. It went with Sherman through his Atlanta cam- 
paign, through his "March to the Sea," and through his 
campaign in the Carolinas, to the end. Captain Wiedrich 
bore the more than well-earned title of Colonel when his 
Battery came home, to a proud reception, on the 23d of 
June, 1865. 

For a regiment of Engineers (the Fiftieth) organized in 
the summer of 1861, under the command of Colonel C. B. 
Stuart, three companies, E, L and M, were enlisted in part 
at Buffalo. Its service was in the Virginia field. 

An Independent Battery, the nth, was raised partly in 
Buffalo by Captain Albert von Putkammer, during the first 
year of war. It served in the Pope campaign, at Freder- 
icksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and in Grant's Vir- 
ginia campaign. 

Company G, of the 33d Regiment N. Y. Vols., was en- 
listed at Buffalo between May and July, 1861, taking the 
name originally of "The Richmond Guards." The service 
of the regiment was in Virginia and Maryland. 

At about the same time, Company D of the 35th and Com- 
pany A of the 36th N. Y. Vols, were partly enlisted in the 
city, and went to two years of service in Virginia. 

Buffalo and Erie County were raising, also, that summer, 
a company for what became the 44th N. Y. Vols. This 
regiment was planned to be a special undertaking of all 



jt> THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

parts of the State, as a memorial of Colonel Ellsworth, the 
young officer whose regiment was the first to enter Virginia, 
at Alexandria, and who was shot when taking down a rebel 
flag. It was called "The People's Ellsworth Regiment." 

Later in the year, some considerable part of one company 
(K) for the 69th Regiment, destined for the Irish, or 
Meagher's, Brigade, was enlisted in Buffalo and went to 
take part in the Virginia campaigns. 

Three companies of the 8th Cavalry and several of the 
10th were also made up, to some extent, in this city, at that 
time, and served, the former in Virginia, the latter in Vir- 
ginia, West Virginia and Maryland. 

Between the fall of 1861 and the spring of 1862 Buffalo 
contributed a company (E) to the 78th N. V. Vols., which 
served subsequently in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia, 
and which suffered heavily at Chancellorsville. 

Between these two years, also, there were parts of three 
companies raised for what was designated as the Eirst Regi- 
ment of Mounted Rides, which had active service in Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina. 

No enlistments were made in Buffalo for the 94th N. Y. 
Vols., but the regiment was raised by Colonel H. R. Viele 
of Buffalo, and went into service under his command. It 
was ordered in the first instance to Alexandria, and Colonel 
Viele was appointed military governor of that city, with 
command of a brigade of the forces stationed there. Ill 
health compelled him to resign at the end of a few months. 
Some time later, Colonel Adrian R. Root, of Buffalo, was 
appointed to the command of the 94th. 

Then, in July, after the failure of the Peninsular cam- 
paign, came the call of the President for 300,000 more vol- 
unteers, and the requisition on Buffalo for a regiment, to be 
organized under the supervision of a committee of citizens 
appointed by the Governor of the State. Major Edward P. 



THE ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEENTH N. Y. V. 77 

Chapin, of the 44th (Ellsworth) Regiment, then invalided 
by a wound received at Hanover Court House and on re- 
cruiting duty at Buffalo, was invited to the colonelcy of the 
proposed regiment, and obtained permission to accept it. 
On his request, Lieutenant John B. Weber, of the 44th, was 
made his Adjutant. Both Major Chapin and Lieutenant 
Weber had entered the Buffalo Company of the 44th. The 
regiment, soon designated as the 116th N. Y. Vols., was 
filled so rapidly that nearly a thousand men were ready for 
the orders which came on the 5th of September to proceed 
to Baltimore, where it went into camp for some weeks. In 
due time it was shipped to New Orleans, became part of 
General Emory's Division of the 19th Army Corps, and 
entered upon the Mississippi and Red River campaigns of 
General Banks. Colonel Chapin was soon called to brigade 
command, and the regiment was headed by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Robert Cottier. Its first experience of battle was 
during the advance on Port Hudson, at Plain Store (May 
21, 1863), where it won distinction by a vigorous charge, 
under the lead of Major George M. Love, which broke the 
enemy and saved the day. On the 27th of the same month 
it took part in the first of two ill-judged assaults on the 
bristling defences of Port Hudson, which sent hundreds of 
men to useless death. Colonel Chapin, commanding the 
brigade, was one of the first to fall, killed instantly by a 
shot through the brain. The losses of the regiment were 18 
enlisted men killed in the action, one officer and 10 enlisted 
men wounded mortally. One officer and 3 enlisted men 
were killed and 2 of the latter wounded mortally in the 
second assault, of June 14th. Three officers and 99 men 
who were disabled in the two assaults recovered from their 
wounds. Lieutenant-Colonel Cottier, prostrated by ma- 
larial fever, died at Baton Rouge, and Major George M. 
Love, suffering from a severe wound, became Colonel of the 



78 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

regiment and commander of the brigade. On the surrender 
of Port Hudson, following that of Vicksburg, the 116th 
went to service in Western Louisiana, against the Confed- 
erate General Dick Taylor, and went afterwards into camp 
at Franklin till the following March. Meantime Adjutant 
John B. Weber had been commissioned to form a colored 
regiment, which became the 89th U. S. Colored Infantry, 
mustered into service ( k tuber 8, 1863. Colonel Weber was 
placed also in command of the brigade to which his regi- 
ment belonged. Subsequently the treatment of the regiment 
by General Banks was deemed so unjust by the officers that 
all resigned, in June, 1864. At that time the 1 16th, called 
to the field again in March, had been through the ill- 
managed Red River Expedition, and was nearing the end 
of its service in the southwest. In July it came north and 
was sent immediately into the Shenandoah Valley to take 
part in Sheridan's brilliant campaign. At Opequon, 
Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek it fought and paid its toll of 
lives. Its last fighting was at Cedar Creek. It remained 
mi duty in the Valley till the next spring, but its duties were 
light. In March, 1865, Colonel Love was commissioned 
Brevet Brigadier-General, and the command of the regi- 
ment devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel John M. Sizer, 
Lieutenant-Colonel John Higgins, who succeeded Cottier, 
having resigned in the previous September. In April the 
1 1 6th went to provost duty in Washington; in June it came 
home, and its reception at Buffalo, on the 13th, was such as 
should be given to a regiment of which Sheridan, in 
officially endorsing a report made by Colonel Love (before 
his promotion), had said: "The regiment of Colonel Love 
enjoys the reputation of being the best in the Nineteenth 
Army Corps." The history of the regiment, written by 
Captain Orton S. Clark, was published in 1868. 

From first to last, the losses of the 1 16th were as follows: 



THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIFTH N. Y. V. 79 

Killed in action, 3 officers, 58 enlisted men; died of wounds, 
2 officers, 36 enlisted men; died of disease, 2 officers, 119 
enlisted men, 4 of the latter while in the enemy's hands; 
wounded, but recovered, 9 officers, 243 men; captured by 
the enemy, 1 officer, 61 enlisted men. 

The officers who died in the service were: Colonel Ed- 
ward P. Chapin (commissioned Brigadier-General after his 
death), Lieutenant Timothy J. Linnahan, killed at Port 
Hudson; Captain David W. Tuttle, killed at Donaldsville; 
Lieutenant Charles Standart, killed at Sabine Cross Roads; 
Captain David Jones, died of wounds received at Port 
Hudson; Lieutenant Charles Borusky, died of wounds re- 
ceived at Plain Store; Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Cottier 
and Captain James Ayer, died of disease. 

During the later years of the war many parts of organiza- 
tions for all branches of the military service of the govern- 
ment were made up in Buffalo. In August, 1862, Colonel 
John E. McMahon received authority to recruit a regiment 
for the Irish Legion, or Corcoran's brigade, with head- 
quarters in this city. On its first organization the regiment 
was designated as the 155th N. Y. Vols.; but a subsequent 
reorganization of the brigade caused some shifting of com- 
panies, and the bulk of what had been the 155th became the 
164th Regiment, with Colonel McMahon in the command. 
Two of its companies, C and D, were enlisted in Buffalo. 
In November the regiment entered service at Newport 
News, Va., where it was mustered in, and it served in Vir- 
ginia throughout the war. During the campaign of 1864, 
under Grant, it was among the frightful sufferers at Cold 
Harbor, from the mistake of the assault made there on im- 
pregnable lines. Four of its officers and 28 others were 
killed in the assault; 3 officers and 27 enlisted men died of 
wounds received; 1 officer and 41 enlisted men recovered 
from wounds received; besides these there were "missing" 



80 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

3 officers and 50 enlisted men. Colonel John E. McMahon 
had died previously of disease, at Buffalo, in March, 1863. 
His successor, Colonel James P. McMahon, fell in this 
deadly assault. The heroic death of the latter is memorial- 
ized in one of the finest of the poems of the late David Gray, 
entitled "How the Young Colonel Died." 

Three companies, D, G and H, of the 132nd N. Y. Vols., 
recruited in 1862 for the Spinola Brigade, were raised partly 
at Buffalo. Their service was in North Carolina during 

1863-4. 

One company, K, for the 151st N. Y. Vols., went partly 
from Buffalo to service in Virginia, West Virginia and 
Maryland. 

Another company, also K, was contributed by this city 
and county to the 160th N. Y. Vols., which had severe 
service at Port Hudson, in the Red River campaign of 
General Banks, and in Sheridan's Shenandoah campaign. 

Of the 1 1 th Regiment of Cavalry, known originally as 
"Scott's Nine Hundred," two companies, L and M, were 
raised partly in Buffalo during 1862. The service of the 
regiment was in Virginia, West Virginia, Louisiana, Mis- 
sissippi and Tennessee. 

In the later months of 1862 the 27th Independent Battery 
of Light Artillery, often described as the Buffalo Light 
Artillery, was recruited and organized in the city by Cap- 
tain John B. Eaton, and mustered into service December 
17th. Its service was in Virginia, where it lost, in the 
operations before Petersburg, 2 men who died of wounds, 
and c; who recovered from their wounds. 

Late in the same year and early in 1863 no less than six 
companies, D, E, H, K, L and M, were enlisted wholly or 
partly in Buffalo for the 12th Cavalry ("Third Ira Harris 
Guard"), which served in North Carolina till the end of 
the war. 



IN THE LAST OF THE WAR YEARS 8 I 

A still larger contribution was made in 1863 from Buffalo 
to the 1 6th N. Y. Cavalry, Colonel Henry M. Lazelle. 
Companies B, C and D were enlisted almost fully in this 
city, and Companies E, G, H and L were recruited here in 
part. The service of the regiment was in Virginia. 

Between July and September, 1863, the 33d Independent 
Battery of Light Artillery was enlisted, principally at Buf- 
falo, and served in Virginia till the war closed. 

One company for the 13th Cavalry and one for the 1 8th 
went partly from the city the same year, both to their first 
service against the rioters of New York. The former went 
afterwards to Virginia, the latter to Louisiana and Texas. 

In the late months of 1863 and early in 1864 parts of five 
companies, C, D, F, K and M, were recruited in Buffalo for 
the 24th N. Y. Cavalry, and had service in Virginia during 
the remainder of the war. 

In the same period, nine of the twelve companies of the 
2d Regiment of Mounted Rifles were recruited in part at 
Buffalo. The regiment left the State in March, 1864, and 
had severely active service in the Virginia operations of the 
last year of the war, losing, in all, by death, 9 officers and 209 
enlisted men. 

The last three-years regiment that was raised in the State, 
the 179th N. Y. Vols., obtained its Company E and parts of 
four other companies by enlistments at Buffalo in 1864. 
It went to the field in time to take part in the operations 
before Petersburg and the final actions of the war. On 
June 17th, soon after its arrival at Petersburg, Captain 
Daniel Blatchford of Company E was killed in a desperate 
charge. 

On the istof September, 1864, Colonel William F. Berens 
received authority to raise a new regiment, the 187th N. Y. 
Vols., with headquarters for the enlistment at Buffalo, and 
six companies, mustered in for one year, were ordered to the 



82 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

field in October, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Daniel Myers. Three companies went later, — the last one 
in May, 1865. The incomplete regiment took, part in en- 
gagements at Hatcher's Run and White Oak. Bridge, Vir- 
ginia. Many of its members were volunteers from the 65th 
Regiment of State Militia. 

The final recruiting in Buffalo was in the winter and 
spring of 1865 for two companies in a regiment, the 194th, 
which did not reach the field. 

Of the naval service rendered from Buffalo there seems to 
be no available source of information. That it was con- 
siderable there can be no doubt. It happened that the first 
of the dead of the war to be brought home to our city, and 
to receive impressive public obsequies (April 6, 1862), was 
a naval officer. Captain Thomas A. Build, killed in the pre- 
ceding month while commanding the U. S. Steamer Pen- 
guin in an engagement at Mosquito Inlet, on the east coast 
of Florida. Captain Budd had been formerl) m the U. S. 
Navy, had commanded the flagship of Commodore Wilkes 
in his Southern Exploring Expedition, and had resigned. 
At the outbreak of the Rebellion he offered himself to the 
government at once. 

The men-folk of the city were far from alone in the pa- 
triotic services of the time. What women could do for the 
national cause, by softening the hardships, soothing the suf- 
fering, cheering the hearts of its defenders in the field, thev 
did, with unsparing labor, unceasing thoughtfulness, over- 
flowing gratitude and love. A great concentration of the 
womanly energies of the city for such service was effected in 
November, 1861, by the organization of the Ladies' General 
Aid Society, under the presidency of Mrs. Horatio Sey- 
mour, and its establishment as a branch of the United States 
Sanitary Commission, conducting the local work of that 
noblest humane agency yet seen, at that day, in the world. 



CENTRAL FAIR AND OLD SETTLERS' FESTIVAL 83 

Later, a Ladies' Christian Commission, locally representing 
the United States Christian Commission, was organized, and 
performed similarly energetic work. It was under the 
auspices of the latter that a grand Central Fair, opened on 
the 22d of February, 1864, was conducted for nine days 
with such success as to realize a net fund of $25,607 for 
undertakings of army relief. 

One of the notable features of the Fair was an Old Set- 
tlers' Festival, at which many survivors of the village period 
of Buffalo, even back to the destruction of it in 1813, joined 
in giving exhibitions and illustrations of life as it was in the 
primitive days. With daily changes of programme, the 
festival was conducted for a week, at American Hall, while 
the bazaar section of the Fair occupied St. James Hall, on 
the Washington Street side of the site of the present Iroquois 
Hotel. The unique fete of the Old Settlers was enjoyed so 
greatly that it was repeated annually for a number of years. 

Everything of helpfulness to the government and the army 
had liberal support from the business men of Buffalo. Gen- 
erally they were prospering throughout the period of the 
war, and generally they gave to the cherished cause with a 
free hand. In all its main departments the business of the 
city appears to have derived more benefit than injury from 
the war. Buffalo had had little dealing with the Southern 
States in the past; lost, therefore, few customers or debts; 
while the closing of southward channels turned a consid- 
erable new movement of western trade into the highway of 
the lakes. This fact was noted in the Buffalo Express of 
May 21, 1861, when it said : "Buffalo sees the commerce of 
the lakes, of which she is mistress, multiplied and increased 
by the disorders of the Southwest and the derangements of 
the border. Trade turned northward from the channels it 
has pursued heretofore takes the course which leads it into 
her hands." Four months later, on the 5th of September, 



84 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

it could still say: "The conditions of business have re- 
mained with us scarcely affected by the turmoil of our civil 
war, and what depression we have experienced has been 
almost wholly due to the moral influence of the nation's 
troubles." And again, on the 23d of September: "The 
business of Buffalo is thus far more stately in its proportions 
than in the brightest years of the peaceful past." 

hi the Civil War period Buffalo grew in population from 
a count of 81,129 in the National census of i860 to 94,2 10 in 
the State census of 1865. The succeeding five years carried 
the enumeration of 1870 up to 117,714. The prosperity 
which these figures suggest came to the city as the opening 
ol a period of broader and more energetic development 
along every line of its advance. The historic incidents of 
progress hereafter can all be arranged best in a classified 
way, on those various lines, and not much outside of them 
remains for mention in this general sketch. 

A brief recurrence of war excitements was produced for 
the city in 1866, In the crazily planned invasion of Canada 
by a few hundreds of Fenians, who chose Buffalo as their 
rendezvous and place of crossing the Niagara River. They 
entered the Dominion in the early morning of June 1, ad- 
vanced a few miles inland, and were encountered the next 
day by Canadian and British forces at Ridgway, where a 
sharp but brief engagement was fought, with some loss on 
both sides. The invaders retired from it, but were taken 
prisoners by the authorities of the United States on their 
recrossing of the river. Fenian reinforcements which 
swarmed to Buffalo for some days came too late. General 
Grant arrived in the city on the 2d, and placed General Wil- 
liam F. Barrv in command on the frontier; Fort Porter 
received an artillery garrison; but the affair was at an end. 
The authorities dealt leniently with the violators of interna- 
tional law, and Fenianism, which had more show than sub- 
stance in it, soon expired. 



THE CRISIS OF 1873 85 

In Buffalo, as elsewhere, prosperity was checked seriously 
by the conditions that produced the financial crisis of 1873; 
and business on most lines showed a heavy decline from 1871 
to 1876. Apparently, however, the disturbance in many 
other commercial centers was considerably greater than 
here. Notwithstanding the general depression of industries, 
an increasing stream of foreign immigration flowed to the 
city in these years, and from other lands than Germany and 
Ireland, which had sent us hitherto nearly all that we had 
in our citizenship that was alien in blood. The first con- 
siderable planting of the great colony of Poles which has 
now taken almost entire possession of a large district of the 
city occurred in this period. Somewhat later the Italians 
began coming in numbers. Between 1870 and 1875 the 
city population advanced from 117,714 to 134,557, and in 
1880 it had risen to 155,134. 

The most serious labor strike that had then troubled Buf- 
falo occurred in 1877, as part of a general demonstration 
among railway employees in many sections of the country 
against a reduction of pay. The rioting and destruction of 
property that attended the strike were more violent in this 
city and in Pittsburg than elsewhere. Mobs of ruffians of 
all sorts improved the opportunity for lawlessness, and were 
practically in possession of the railroad yards for four days, 
from the 22nd to the 25th. Not only were the local regi- 
ments of militia called out, but neighboring companies were 
ordered to the scene. 

There came now a time of remarkable stimulation in 
every department of activity, as will be seen in the exhibits 
of development that are reserved for subsequent pages. 
This led up to the only inflation of real estate values that 
Buffalo has ever given way to since the instructive ex- 
perience of 1836-7. A remarkable conservatism in the 
pricing of city ground had prevailed for fifty years; and it 



86 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

resisted for a long time the infectious fevers of booming 
speculation that were running through the country in the 
eighties. At last, in about 1888, it succumbed, and real 
estate speculation rioted for the next four or five years. 
Buffalo was equipped in that period with street-extensions 
and new streets, generally sewered, paved and gas-lighted in 
advance of settlement on them, which more than twenty 
years passed since have hardly filled; and our city map 
was fringed with a surrounding of projected suburbs, most 
of which exist only in a memory of lost fortunes to-day. 
The losses attending the collapse of the inflation were wide- 
spread, and depressed the whole spirit and capability of the 
city for a number of years. 

A second railroad strike, of more seriousness locally than 
that of 1877, occurred in 1892. It lasted longer, beginning 
on the 15th of August and collapsing on the 25th. The 
situation became so grave that a large part of the State 
Militia, even from the eastern extremity of the State, was 
ordered to Buffalo by the Governor. By refusing to join it 
the organizations of trainmen and firemen brought it to an 
end. 

The project of an All-American exposition of arts and 
industries, to promote trade and social relations between the 
countries and peoples of North, South and Central America, 
and to be held on the Niagara frontier, was conceived and 
urged in 1896 by Captain John M. Brinker, of Buffalo. A 
number of enterprising capitalists and business men became 
interested in the scheme, and a Pan-American Exposition 
Company was incorporated in June, 1 897. In the following 
September the directors of the company selected Cavuga 
Island, at La Salle, about two miles from Niagara Falls, for 
the site of the proposed exposition; but prospects of war 
with Spain and other discouragements brought a halt in the 
undertaking and it went not much farther at the time. The 
idea, however, was kept alive. 



THE PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION 87 

When the war with Spain had come and gone, Mayor 
Conrad Diehl, of Buffalo, was induced to revive the proposi- 
tion, as one which our city should take in hand. He did so 
in a special message to the Common Council, which called 
out an effective response. A new company was incor- 
porated, originally capitalized at $1,000,000, but having that 
amount raised quickly to $2,500,000. The company was 
authorized to issue bonds to the amount of its stock, and both 
stock and bonds were taken, mostly at home. Appropria- 
tions of $500,000 and $300,000 for National and State ex- 
hibits were obtained at Washington and Albany, and 
agencies for wakening interest in the enterprise worked 
actively in other parts of the Union and abroad. Cayuga 
Island was discarded as a practicable site for the exposition, 
because of inadequate railway facilities, and the use of large 
grounds on the northern edge of Delaware Park, with some 
use of the Park and its beautiful lake, was obtained. The 
Spanish style of architecture for buildings was adopted as 
appropriate, in view of the extent to which the Spanish- 
American peoples were expected to participate. 

When all preparations were in working order, the organ- 
ization of chief officials of the Pan-American Exposition 
was as follows: 

President: John G. Milburn. 

Secretary: Edwin Fleming. 

Treasurer: George L. Williams. 

Directors: Frank B. Baird, George K. Birge, Herbert 
P. Bissell, George Bleistein, John M. Brinker, Conrad 
Diehl, W. Caryl Ely, H. M. Gerrans, Charles W. Good- 
year, Harry Hamlin, William Hengerer, Charles R. Hunt- 
ley, John Hughes, William H. Hotchkiss, J. T. Jones, F. 
C. M. Lautz, John G. Milburn, E. G. S. Miller, H. J. 
Pierce, John N. Scatcherd, R. F. Schelling, Carleton 
Sprague, Thomas W. Symons, George Urban, Jr., George 
L. Williams. 



88 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

Executive Committee: John N. Scatcherd, Chairman; 
George K. Birge, Conrad Diehl, Harry Hamlin, Charles 
R. Huntley, J. T. Jones, Robert F. Schelling, Carleton 
Sprague, Thomas W. Symons. 

Director-General: William I. Buchanan. 

Commissioner-General and Auditor: John B. Weber. 

Director of Concessions: Frederick W. Taylor. 

Board of Architects: John M. Carrere, Chairman; 
George F. Shepley, R. S. Peabody, Walter Cook, J. G. 
Howard, George Cary, Edward 15. Green, August C. 
Esenwein. 

Director of Color: C. Y. Turner. 

Director of Sculpture: Karl Bitter. 

Director of Works: Newcomb Carleton. 

Landscape Architect: Rudulf Ulrich. 

Chief of Building Construction: J. H. Murphy. 

Chief Engineer: S. J. Fields. 

Chief of M. and E. Bureau: Henry Rustin. 

Director of Fine Arts: William A. Collin. 

Superintendent of Electric Exhibits: George F. Sever. 

Superintendent of Graphic Arts, Machinery, etc.: 
Thomas M. Moore. 

Superintendent of Liberal Arts: Selim H. Peabody. 

Superintendent of Ethnolog) and Archaeology: A. L. 
Benedict. 

Superintendent of Live Stock, Dairy, etc.: Frank A. 
Converse. 

Superintendent of Horticultural and Food Products: 
F. W. Taylor. 

Superintendent of Mines and Metallurgy: David T. 
Day. 

Superintendent of Manufactures : Alger M. Wheeler. 

As happens generally in such undertakings, the appointed 
day for opening the Exposition, May i, 1901, found much 



THE PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION 89 

incompleteness of preparation for it, but mostly in matters 
which general managers cannot control. Some States and 
some foreign countries had been late in their building 
undertakings, and great numbers of exhibitors were unready 
to make use of the space they had engaged. Something of 
this tardiness was due, without doubt, to the dispiriting 
effects of a wet and cold spring. The opening of the Ex- 
position to the public took place, nevertheless, on the ap- 
pointed day, but the formal ceremonies of its inauguration 
were postponed until the 20th. Exercises held then in the 
Temple of Music included addresses by Vice-President 
Roosevelt, Lieutenant-Governor Timothy L. Woodruff, of 
New York, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, of Massachusetts, 
and Mayor Conrad Diehl ; with noble poems read by Robert 
Cameron Rogers and Frederick Almy. 

The United States Government interested itself most 
heartily in the Exposition, and realized most perfectly in its 
finely organized exhibits the instructive main purpose in 
view. Every department of the government contributed 
something interestingly representative of the functions and 
public services it performs, or of the national resources and 
activities over which it presides. The three buildings of 
the group in which these exhibits of governmental work 
were arranged became the centers of a more substantial 
attraction than any others on the ground. 

Thirteen of the States of our Federal Union were repre- 
sented by handsome buildings under official care. The fine 
permanent building of New York State, in marble, on public 
park grounds, is now the property of the Buffalo Historical 
Society. The New England States were joined in the erec- 
tion of a beautiful building for their common use. The 
other States represented by governmental buildings were 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota 
and Illinois. Porto Rico, alone, of the outlying possessions 



90 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

of the United States, presented exhibits in a building of its 
own. Other American countries which contributed ad- 
mirably, not only to the Pan-American display of resources 
and products, but to the housing of them, were Canada, 
Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras and the Domin- 
ican Republic. 

That Buffalo was benefited by the Exposition will hardly 
be disputed; but in immediate financial results it was not a 
success. A late-coming spring ami a singularlj unfavorable 
state ot weather throughout most of the months following 
were blighting in themselves; but the fatal stroke came in 
the awful tragedy of the assassination of President Mc- 
Kinley, which occurred on the 6th of September. While 
holding a reception in the Temple of Music, on the Exposi- 
tion grounds, the President was shot by a Polish anarchist, 
who approached him in the passing line of people, with a 
pistol hidden by a handkerchief in his hand. Death was not 
immediate ; there were eight days of suffering, heroically en- 
dured, while the country was thrilled with hopes and fears. 
Death came on the 14th, and Vice-President Roosevelt im- 
mediately took the oath of office as President, at the resi- 
dence (if Mr. Ansley Wilcox, who was his host at the time. 

To many thousands of people the Pan-American Exposi- 
tion is a delightful memory; but it was not thronged as it 
needed to be for an immediate repayment of its cost. The 
total admissions were 8,120,048; the total revenue from ad- 
missions $2,406,875.80. The total expenditures upon it 
were $9,447,702.93 ; the total income, including payments on 
capital stock and proceeds from the sale of bonds, was 
$8,869,757.20. The loss to stockholders ($1,643,203. qo in 
amount) was entire. First mortgage bonds were paid, but 
nothing was received by the holders of the second issue, of 
$500,000. Towards the payment of unsettled accounts, 
which amounted to $577,945.73, a Congressional appropria- 
tion of $500,000 was obtained. 




VSSSm 









HOUSE WHERE McKINLEY DIED, 
from it to otl 

This house, which was built early in the development of 

Buffalo, was occupied and owned from 1884 to 1904 by 
John G. Milburn, the leading attorney, and a close friend 
of President McKinley. When the President was shot on 
September 6, 1901, he was taken to this house, where he 
was tenderly cared for until his death on September 14th. 
Mr. Milburn removed to Xew York about 1404, and after- 
ward parted with the house. 

gain 

of the cen 
The 
its raci: e been gre; mer 

predominai uted by the 

immense ac 
in the city is esl 

result 
nducte< 



HE "SOCIAL SURVEY" OF 1909-1910 91 

Since th interesting year of the Pan-American Exposi- 
tion the anals of the city have been eventful in little beyond 
such incidcts of development and growth as will have their 
proper plae in chapters that follow this general sketch. 
In these laest years there have been marked improvements 
of civic caracter appearing. A different public spirit, 
more gencalized and more purposeful, has been making 
itself felt. An effective marshalling of civic forces, — the 
concentra ;n of public effort to well-chosen public ends, — 
has becom more practicable from year to year. 

Falling 1 with a custom then prevalent, Buffalo, in 1907, 
set apart ie first days of September as an "Old Home 
Week," dcing which its sons and daughters who had gone 
from it to ther abodes were invited to a festive reunion with 
their old nighbors and fellow citizens. They came in large 
numbers rom far and near, received abundant entertain- 
ment, bot public and private, and the city enjoyed a happy 
week. 

The cerus of 1900 had found 352,000 inhabitants of Buf- 
falo, agaist 255,664 in 1890, showing an increase of nearly 
38 per eer. The enumeration of 1910, announced late in the 
year, macs the present population 423,715, — an increase 
in the la: decade of but little more than 20 per cent. The 
gain is sdisappointing as to raise doubts of the correctness 
of the cenus. 

The inrease of foreign population has been very great, 
and its rcial lines have been greatly changed. The former 
predomiance of the German stock is being disputed by the 
immense accession of Poles, whose present (1910) number 
in the cir is estimated to be not less than 80,000. This esti- 
mate is ie result of a very careful and thorough "Social 
Survey/ onducted in 1909-1910, under the direction of Mr. 
John Daiels, whose report of his findings and conclusions 
as to th ondition of that part of the city population was 



THE "SOCIAL SURVEY" OF 1909-1910 91 

Since the interesting year of the Pan-American Exposi- 
tion the annals of the city have been eventful in little beyond 
such incidents of development and growth as will have their 
proper place in chapters that follow this general sketch. 
In these latest years there have been marked improvements 
of civic character appearing. A different public spirit, 
more generalized and more purposeful, has been making 
itself felt. An effective marshalling of civic forces, — the 
concentration of public effort to well-chosen public ends, — 
has become more practicable from year to year. 

Falling in with a custom then prevalent, Buffalo, in 1907, 
set apart the first days of September as an "Old Home 
Week," during which its sons and daughters who had gone 
from it to other abodes were invited to a festive reunion with 
their old neighbors and fellow citizens. They came in large 
numbers from far and near, received abundant entertain- 
ment, both public and private, and the city enjoyed a happy 
week. 

The census of 1900 had found 352,000 inhabitants of Buf- 
falo, against 255,664 in 1890, showing an increase of nearly 
38 per cent. The enumeration of 19 10, announced late in the 
year, makes the present population 423,715, — an increase 
in the last decade of but little more than 20 per cent. The 
gain is so disappointing as to raise doubts of the correctness 
of the census. 

The increase of foreign population has been very great, 
and its racial lines have been greatly changed. The former 
predominance of the German stock is being disputed by the 
immense accession of Poles, whose present (1910) number 
in the city is estimated to be not less than 80,000. This esti- 
mate is the result of a very careful and thorough "Social 
Survey," conducted in 1909-1910, under the direction of Mr. 
John Daniels, whose report of his findings and conclusions 
as to the condition of that part of the city population was 



92 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

published June 4, 1910, in the Survey, the weekly "journal 
of constructive philanthropy," issued by the Charity Organi- 
zation Society of the City of New York. The 80,000 were 
found to have come into Buffalo since 1870, the census of 
that year having shown no more than 135 natives of Poland 
within its bounds. Soon after that date the tide of Polish 
immigration began to rise. In 1873 the Polish Catholics 
could build a church for themselves, on ground, at the corner 
of Peckham and Townsend Streets, \\ Inch was given to them 
by an enterprising dealer in real estate, Joseph Bork. This 
Church of St. Stanislaus, — originally a frame building, 
but superseded by a structure of stone in 1884, — received as 
its pastor a young Polish priest, Father Jan Pitass, who has 
been in charge of the parish ever since. "The founding of 
St. Stanislaus," says Mr. Daniels in his report, "marked the 
certain beginning of the rise of Buffalo's Polish colony. 
Father Pitass may be regarded as the godfather of the Poles 
in Buffalo, but Joseph Bork played the part of nurse to the 
colony in its infancy. In partnership with others, he owned 
a large tract of land in that district. Me built little one-story 
wooden dwellings in the St. Stanislaus neighborhood — 400 
of them in three months — which he sold to the Poles on the 
basis of twenty-five or fifty dollars down and the rest payable 
under mortgage. The hard times following the panic of 
1873 struck the colony and put a stay to immigration for 
several years. But by the close of the year 1881 

there were about 10,000 Poles in the city. Few of the immi- 
grants were penniless, but few had more than enough to 
keep them a short time until they could get work. 
The Charity Organization Society, the Catholic Diocese, 
and the city itself were forced to take remedial action. The 
cit) built barracks, which provided shelter for several hun- 
dred of the most needy. * Gradually the immi- 
grants secured work. Joseph Bork had resumed his building 



OUR POLISH COLONY 93 

operations in the open region east of St. Stanislaus, and the 
newcomers were moving thither as fast as he could supply 
them with houses. In due course the barracks were cut up 
into firewood. * * * And so a little Poland has grown 
up in Buffalo, only it is not so very little. It covers an entire 
section of East Buffalo, extending a mile and a half east from 
St. Stanislaus Church and a mile north and south at its mean 
width. This section is now almost solidly Polish. There are 
two small outlying colonies, one to the southeast near the 
city line and the other at Buffalo's northwest corner." 

Mr. Daniel's Survey brought facts to light from which the 
following estimates were derived : That the Poles contribute 
a fifth of the entire labor supply of the city, and fully a third 
of the rough labor in manufacturing. "They are in Buf- 
falo's elemental industries." "Sixty per cent, are common 
laborers; thirty per cent, semi-skilled; nine and five-tenths 
per cent, skilled; three-tenths of one per cent, highly 
skilled." "Sixty-four per cent, receive in wages not over 
$1.75 per day," and their yearly earnings are considerably 
less than is required for proper family subsistence. These 
enter as large factors into the gravest social problems of the 
city. As a people the Poles are emphatically pronounced 
to be "industrious, thrifty, pertinacious, home-building 
family-founding." The more fortunate class among them 
are finding good opportunities for rising in life. They own 
taxable property of the assessed value of $5,505,890, mostly 
in homes; and have deposits in the savings banks to the esti- 
mated amount of $2,500,000. Many important manufactur- 
ing and commercial establishments are owned and conducted 
by Poles, and a Polish physician, Dr. Francis E. Fronczak, 
now fills the important office of Commissioner of Health. 

Necessarily such bodies of foreign population become 
formed into quite distinct organizations of society, and this 
has taken place very markedly among the Poles. They have 



94 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

emphasized their organization especially by what may be 
called a social center, in a large, well-appointed building, 
known as the Dom Polski, erected in 1905, at the corner of 
Broadway and Playter Streets. Here many clubs and 
societies, — literary, musical, benevolent, patriotic and com- 
mercial, — hold their meetings. The Public Library has one 
of its branches in the building, and this is supplemented by a 
distinctly Polish library of 4,000 volumes-- the Czytelnia 
Polski — maintained independently, and in connection with 
which frequent lectures are given. Teaching, too, in cook- 
ing, sewing, and other practical matters, is carried on; and 
the Dom Polski, altogether, is a very busy and useful institu- 
tion, significant of a spirit which makes for good citizenship. 

A stream of immigration less swelling than the Polish, 
but greatly increasing, has poured in from Italy in recent 
years, taking possession of another quarter of the city, on 
its western and southwestern edges, and giving it another 
and different foreign stamp. Out on its southern side, mostly 
beyond its municipal bounds, the great steel works of recent 
creation have been drawing colonies of Hungarian, Croa- 
tian, and other labor-seeking peoples from southeastern 
Europe, to struggle for a footing in the life of the New 
World. The industrial depression that came upon the coun- 
try in the autumn of 1907 caused great hardship and suffer- 
ing among these, considerably beyond the general experi- 
ence of distress. 

Of the total 352,387 inhabitants found in Buffalo by the 
census of 1900, 248,135 were native-born, but only 92,202 
were of native parentage — having both parents, that is, of 
native birth. It appears, then, that scarcely more than one- 
fourth of the population of the city at the opening of the 
twentieth century was of native American stock. Of the 
census of 1910 detailed statistics have not yet been made 
known. 



RECENT MUNICIPAL ACHIEVEMENTS 95 

Within the last two years (1909-1910) of the period cov- 
ered by this historical sketch a number of municipal projects 
long contemplated and discussed have arrived or ap- 
proached closely to their realization. These include two 
important proceedings for recovery of considerable parts 
of the city's lost command of its water fronts. By action in 
one case, through condemnation proceedings, the munici- 
pality is taking possession of the land lying between Georgia 
and Jersey Streets, on the Niagara shore, for excursion 
dockage and other uses that will satisfy a great public need. 
In the other instance, a complicated tangle of claims con- 
cerning the land known as "the sea-wall strip," between 
Buffalo River and the outer harbor, and connected also with 
disputed rights affecting the old turnpike road to Hamburg, 
is at the point of being straightened out. The old sea wall, 
built in 1841 and after, along the stretch of peninsula be- 
tween Buffalo River and the lake, lost usefulness when the 
great outside breakwater was built, but the strip of land 
which held it, and to which the city had acquired title, was 
given an important value by the creation of the outer har- 
bor, and by the development of the steel and iron industries 
of Lackawanna, at the extremity of the long harbor, on the 
southern shore of the lake. By legislation in 1898 the city's 
use of the strip appears to have been limited to "highway 
purposes;" but it was needed very greatly for that use, be- 
cause it offered, by easy connection with the Hamburg turn- 
pike road, the only available direct highway between the 
Lackawanna industrial suburb and the central and western 
parts of the city. Grants of privilege to various railroad 
companies, made carelessly, without forethought, long be- 
fore, and affecting not only the sea wall but the turnpike, 
interposed such obstacles to this opening of a most important 
communication that the city has been barred from it down 
to the present day. By legislation in 1902, amending that 



96 THE ERA OF THE RAILWAYS 

of 1898, negotiations for an adjustment of the disputes in- 
volved were authorized and have been in tedious progress 
throughout most of the eight years since. They may now 
be considered to have attained success. In his message to the 
Common Council on the 3d of January, 191 1, Mayor Fuhr- 
mann announced that agreements with all parties concerned 
had been perfected and would be signed in a few days. 

A third undertaking, pressed on the city by a distress- 
ingly urgent need, but held long in suspense by conflicts of 
interest and opinion, has been brought at last to a promising 
stage, by the adoption of a conclusive plan for the improve- 
ment of the upper stretches (within the city limits) of Buf- 
falo River. By having two objects in contemplation, 
namely, the ending of floods, from which a large section of 
the city suffers frequently, and the enhancing of the com- 
mercial usefulness of this part of the crooked stream, the 
improvement has been hindered for years by struggling 
differences of plan. These seem now to have been effec- 
tually compromised, and the letting of contracts for the 
work has been announced as a consummation to be expected 
early in 191 1. 

Still another important project of long standing is to be 
realized fully in the coming spring, by widening the nar- 
rower part of Elmwood Avenue, between North and Vir- 
ginia Streets, and extending it thence to a junction with 
Morgan Street, at Chippewa Street, thus opening the 
straight downtown communication which the "Elmwood 
District," so called, has needed for many years. The widen- 
ing work was completed in the fall of 19 10, and the exten- 
sion is expected to be finished in the coming spring. 



CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 



CHAPTER I 

THE MAKING OF A HARBOR 

AS shown in the first chapter of this volume, Buffalo, 
during the first quarter of its existence, had no con- 
nection of trade with any part of the world outside 
of a small circle of near neighbors, more Indian than white. 
The community which bore the name then derived no com- 
mercial benefit from its advantageous position at the foot of 
the navigably connected Great Lakes. Those advantages 
went wholly to the profit of the rival village, at two or three 
miles distance, which Buffalo, after years of hard struggle, 
overcame and absorbed. Ultimately, the commerce of 
Black Rock was to be indistinguishable from the commerce 
of Buffalo, but the distinction was a very positive one in 
early days. 

On the surrender, in 1796, of the forts which the British 
had held since the end of the War of Independence, there 
sprang up at once a movement of supplies to the American 
garrisons at those posts in the West, which gave an opening 
to other enterprises in trade. In one of the chapters of 
Judge Samuel Wilkeson's historical writings, to be found 
in the fifth volume of the publications of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society, this first trickling of a little stream of East- 
West traffic into the channel of these lakes, and its quite 
curiously roundabout course, are described. A prominent 
citizen of Pittsburg, General James O'Hara, entered into 
contract with the government to supplv Oswego with pro- 
visions, which "could then be furnished from Pittsburg," 
wrote the Judge, "cheaper than from the settlements on the 

97 



98 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

Mohawk. General O'Hara was a far-sighted calculator; he 
had obtained correct information in relation to the manu- 
facture of salt at Salina, and in his contract for provisioning 
the garrison he had in view the supplying of the western 
country with salt from Onondaga. This was a project which 
few men would have thought of, and fewer undertaken. The 
means of transportation hail to be created on the whole line; 
boats and teams had to be provided to get the salt from the 
works to Oswego; a vessel built to transport it to the land- 
ing below the Falls; wagons procured to carry it to Schlos- 
ser; then boats constructed to carry it to Black Rock; there 
another vessel was required to transport it to Erie. The road 
to the head of French Creek had to be improved and the 
salt carried in wagons across the portage, ami finally boats 
provided to float it to Pittsburg. It required no ordinary 
sagacity and perseverance to give success to this speculation. 
General O'Hara, however, could execute as well as plan. 
He packed his flour and provisions in barrels suitable for 
salt. These were reserved in his contract. Arrangements 
were made with the manufacturers, and the necessary ad- 
vances paid, to secure a supply of salt. Two vessels were 
built, one on Lake Erie and one on Lake Ontario, and the 
means of transportation on all the various sections of the 
line were secured. The plan fully succeeded, and salt of a 
pretty fair quality was delivered at Pittsburg and sold at 
four dollars per bushel; just half the price of the salt ob- 
tained by packing across the mountains. In a 
few years Pittsburg market was supplied with Onondaga 
salt at twelve dollars per barrel of five bushels." 

This salt trade of Syracuse with Pittsburg appears to 
have been the mainstay for a good many years of the river 
and lake shipping business which, for reasons already ex- 
plained, gave importance to Black Rock. It furnished the 
bulk of the freight handled there, after [805, by Porter, 



BLACK ROCK IN 1 8 10 99 

Barton & Co., the creators of Black. Rock as a port of trade. 
Mr. Charles D. Norton, in his paper on "The Old Black 
Rock Ferry," describes the business of "the Rock" as it was 
witnessed by one who came to the place in 1810: "A few 
batteaux were moving sluggishly up the stream, laden with 
salt. These constituted the commercial marine of the river, 
the principal business of which was the transportation of 
this commodity from Porter and Barton's dock, at old Fort 
Schlosser, to their warehouse at Black Rock, or their wharf 
under the lee of Bird Island, to be conveyed thence to Erie, 
then the principal commercial port on our lake. * * * 
Four or five vessels were engaged in this business on the 
river, each carrying from 125 to 150 barrels of salt, owned 
by Porter, Barton & Co. ; their proprietors residing at Black 
Rock and Syracuse. When the wind was blowing down the 
lake, the vessels running from Black Rock to Erie were fre- 
quently wind-bound at the former place for a long time, and 
then there would grow an accumulation of five or six thou- 
sand barrels of salt, which were piled in tiers upon the shore 
of the river, under the bank, and remained stored in this 
way till they could be carried to Erie. 'The Black Rock' 
was a great salt exchange; and the witnesses upon whose 
statements I narrate these facts say that it was not a rare 
occurrence for the Rock to be covered with traders from 
Pittsburg, captains of vessels and boatmen, who met there 
to talk about business and interchange views. The Black 
Rock was a sort of commercial center for the salt merchants 
in those early days, and the old tavern was quite as distin- 
guished along the frontier as the Fifth Avenue and the St. 
Nicholas are in our time." 

Porter, Barton & Co., however, were carriers of other 
freight from the East than salt. In the Reminiscences of 
Mr. James L. Barton, son of one of the members of the firm, 
he tells of their connection with lines of transportation that 



IOO CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

reached to the Hudson, by way of Wood Creek and the 
Mohawk, from Oswego. They received merchandise 
brought by lake from Oswego, at Lewiston, conveying it 
thence to Black Rock, "where they had vessels to carry it 
over the lake." The short passage of vessels from Black 
Rock into the lake, against the swift current of the Niagara, 
could not be made with sails, and the office of the modern 
tug was performed for them by long trains of ox teams, 
eight to fourteen in number, which towed them by hawsers 
attached to the ship's masthead and buoyed to shore by a 
number of boats. 1 1 \\ as a dexterous operation, which Cap- 
tain Sheldon Thompson superintended with great skill. 

The small quantity of freight delivered to lake vessels 
from the village of Buffalo in those days was taken out to 
them on scows, as they lay at anchor in the bay. But until 
1 82 1 Buffalo had next to no part or lot in the handling of 
whatever commerce of the lakes had come to existence at that 
time. The Buffalo Creek (dignified since by much enlarge- 
ment and recognized as a river) offered no harborage, even 
to the smaller shipping of the day, because nothing larger 
than a canoe could cross the bar at its mouth. During those 
first two decades of the village its business loss from this 
cause cannot have been great, but the undertaking of the 
Erie Canal opened a prospect of trade movements into and 
out of Lake Erie which gave seriousness to the situation at 
once. Whether the western terminus of the canal should be 
at Black Rock or at Buffalo was a question of great im- 
portance, for the time being, to the latter town. Ultimately 
it would make no difference; for the final harbor and entre- 
pot, it is plain, would have to be where they are now; but 
the harborage then created and creatable at the Rock might 
have kept traffic-handling there, and drawn the growth of 
our city in that direction for many vears. 

From the beginning it was apparent to intelligent Buffa- 






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SHELDl >.\ II li IMPS" >N. 

Born Derby, < 'onnecticut, July j, 17- first am  

in the country was Anthonv Thompson, who came in 1 1 
and was one of the found* I ,\ I laven. [n 1810; Shel- 

don Thompson came t/q Lewis top, New York. . the 

firm of Townsend, Brons I the earliest 

firms in the forwarding business on the lakes. He man 
Catherine Barton at Lewfetbh 1 , April 1 to 

Black Rock nd (6 RnfVal- Pn 1*40 he v 

elected mayor of Buffalo, being the rirst mayor elected by 
the people. J le was one of the founders of St. Paul's 
Church in 1817, and a member of the In -t w -tr> . .lied at 
Buffalo, March i.j. it 



















y/f f< , / i/t^ -■? <> -. c 



THE MEN WHO WON THE CANAL FOR BUFFALO IOI 

lonians that the State would not extend its canal to their 
creek unless they made the creek serviceable as a port, and 
demonstrated their ability to do the business for which the 
canal was being built. This required an expenditure of 
money which the pockets of the citizens could not supply; 
for those were days when the largest fortunes were exceed- 
ingly small. At a public meeting it was determined that the 
State should be appealed to for a loan. This was done, and 
the Legislature, in April, 1819, responded favorably to the 
appeal, authorizing a loan of $12,000 for twelve years, to be 
secured by bond and mortgage in double the amount. The 
year 1819 was the first of those black years in our financial 
and commercial history to which 1837 and 1857 belong. All 
business was flat and everybody was poor. For months it 
seemed impossible to furnish the necessary security for the 
loan. At length, in the winter of 1820, three public-spirited 
citizens, Judge Samuel Wilkeson, Judge Oliver Forward, 
and Judge Charles Townsend, took upon themselves the 
entire responsibility, becoming sureties to the State for 
$8,000 each. On this the loan was procured, and a man of 
reputed experience in the work required was engaged to 
superintend operations, at a salary of $50 per month. A few 
weeks of his service convinced the three judges who had 
so much staked in the undertaking that their superintendent 
would spend the $12,000 more certainly than he would open 
the port. They discharged him, but found no one to take his 
place. With great reluctance, as a matter of almost desper- 
ate necessity, Judge Wilkeson was induced to take the direc- 
tion of the work. He knew nothing about it; he had never 
even seen a harbor; but he had brains and will and energy 
far beyond common limits, and he was a born leader of men. 
He was engaged, as he states, in "business that required his 
unremitted attention," but he seems to have thrown it prac- 
tically aside during most of the next two years. 



102 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

Then, in the early spring of 1820, this indomitable man 
and his few earnest helpers began a contest with winds, 
waves, currents and shifting sands which might in older 
times have furnished stuff for a hero-myth. 

On the first morning after he took the task in hand the 
Judge had his men out by daylight, "without suitable tools, 
without boats, teams or scows." "Neither the plan of the 
work nor its precise location was settled; but the harbor 
was commenced." It was determined to attempt the making 
ol a pier of hewn timber, filled with stone, and three cribs 
were put down the first day. During that day and the next 
the lake was calm, but in the course of the second night a 
heavy swell arose which undermined the sunken cribs and 
threw them out of line. Accidentally, a part of the work 
was saved from this disturbance by the drifting against it of 
a little tangle of brushwood, which caught and held a pro- 
tecting cover of sand. This hinted a lesson in engineering 
that was seized at once. Thereafter, every crib was sunk 
upon a bed of brush, ami staved quite firmly in its place, 
from daylight to dark, through sunshine and rain alike, 
the superintendent toiled daily with his men, in every part 
oi the work, under water or above, besides conducting all 
details of contract and purchase, without clerk or assistant, 
and without even a carpenter to lay out the framing of the 
cribs during the first two months. 

When autumn storms began the pier had been carried to 
a depth of seven and a half feet of water in the lake, having 
a length of about fifty rods. Work on it was then suspended 
till the following spring, and attention turned to another 
very difficult part of the task. The creek at that time entered 
the lake about a thousand feet north of its present mouth, 
running nearly parallel with the lake shore. A new channel 
for it must be opened, on the line of the present outflow of 
its waters, by cutting through the intervening spit of sand, 



JUDGE WILKESON'S TRIUMPH 103 

which had a width of some twenty rods. The plan was to 
dam the stream at that point, scrape out a beginning of the 
new channel and trust that spring floods would scour it to a 
sufficient depth. In November the attempt was begun, by 
volunteer labor of many citizens, and discouraged very soon 
by the discovery of stones and gravel at a little depth which 
floods seemed unlikely to carry to deep water in the lake. 
So the problem of the new channel went over to the next 
spring. 

On the 20th of May the problem was attacked ; the pier 
meantime having stood the test of winter storms and ice, 
coming out unmoved. The creek was dammed on a line 
with the right bank of the desired channel, raising the water 
in it about three feet, and, by opening one narrow sluice- 
way after another through the bed to be opened, the in- 
genious amateur engineer of the work did succeed in almost 
accomplishing the cut desired. Then nature played one of 
her mischievous tricks, sending, on what had seemed to be a 
calm day, a sudden extraordinary blast of wind across the 
lake, which drove an irresistible wave down upon the 
Judge's dam and reduced it to a total wreck. A northeast 
storm of rain soon followed, with threatenings of a flood 
that might spoil all that had been done if it ran uncon- 
trolled. The whole town was then appealed to for help in 
restoring the dam, and a large number of citizens turned out 
in the downpour of rain. "They were distributed in parties, 
some getting brush, others collecting logs, some placing 
materials in the dam, while others aided in working the pile- 
driver. Their labor was continued during the day, except a 
few minutes' relaxation for dinner, which consisted of bread 
and beer, and was taken standing in the rain." Twelve hours 
of this fine rally of public effort turned the half-disastrous 
storm into a helpful force, which went beyond all that had 
been hoped for in cutting the new channel through, ft ere- 



104 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

ated a flood that swept no less than 20,000 cubic yards of 
gravel from its path, "to remove which," wrote Judge 
\\ ilkeson, "would have required a greater amount of money 
than all the harbor fund." From that day, Buffalo had a 
harbor for vessels of five feet draught. 

This, of course, did not suffice, and much difficult work 
remained to be done. The pier must be extended to deeper 
water, which required additional funds to the amount of 
$1,000 to be raised. With great difficulty the money was col- 
lected, and the pier was lengthened to 1,300 feet, reaching 
water about twelve feet deep. It was now believed that the 
next spring freshet would so deepen and widen the entrance 
that even the Walk-in-the- Water, the solitary steamboat on 
the lakes, could come into the creek. 

But the Walk-in-the-Water was not destined to make a 
trial of the new port. Late that year (1821), on her final 
trip for the season, she was driven ashore, a short distance 
above Buffalo, and was lost. Her New York owners pro- 
ceeded, however, to replace her at once. They contracted 
with a New York firm to build a steamboat at Buffalo, if 
they could turn it out there as cheaply as at Black Rock, 
where the Walk-in-the-Water had been built; but when the 
chief contractor came on to make his arrangements for the 
work he passed through Buffalo to the Rock and entered 
into engagements and agreements which nearly tied his 
hands before anybody in Buffalo knew what was going on. 
He had been told that the Buffalo harbor was a failure, and 
was acting on that belief. Being caught that night by the 
enterprising spirits of the newly opened port, they con- 
tracted with him to furnish timber and lumber for his 
steamboat at prices a quarter less than the Black Rock offers, 
and executed a judgment bond to pay the steamboat com- 
pany $150 for every day's detention of the boat in the creek 
after the 1st of May. This was a daring venture; for they 



JUDGE WILKESON'S SECOND VICTORY 105 

were trusting the spring freshet to make a sufficient channel 
for the new boat. The freshet came in due time and did its 
expected work, but a malicious grounding of ice outside 
caused the washed-out gravel to be dropped, most unfortu- 
nately, just where it created a new bar. 

And now came the crucial test of spirit and power in the 
harbor-makers. The first of May was approaching-rapidly, 
and the new steamboat, the "Superior," was nearing com- 
pletion, in Buffalo Creek. A forfeit of $150 a day, if she 
could not be got out of it when ready, would quickly impov- 
erish them all. They had no dredging apparatus of any 
kind. What could they do? Judge Wilkeson was out of 
town, but he hastened home as soon as he heard of the situa- 
tion. Next morning he had twenty-five men at work, with- 
out waiting to know how expenses were to be paid. He had 
scrapers made of oak plank, with bevelled edges shod with 
iron. These were loaded with iron to sink them, and 
dragged to and fro across the bar, by means of ropes and 
windlasses on the pier and on scows held in place by driven 
piles. The rude device answered well, and all looked prom- 
ising for several days. Then came a storm which drove 
masses of ice in from the lake, destroyed the scows, and so 
nearly wrecked the pile-driver, on which everything de- 
pended, that it was saved only by great risk of life. 

A general meeting of citizens was now summoned by 
Judge Wilkeson, who declined to go further in the under- 
taking unless funds for it were raised at once. A subscrip- 
tion list was opened and $1,361 was pledged, mostly to be 
paid in labor or provisions or other goods. With this pledge 
the invincible superintendent got his scrapers again at work, 
and when the 1st of May came, the pilot of the steamer, 
Captain Miller, who had, says Judge Wilkeson, "made him- 
self acquainted with what channel there was," ran her out 
into the lake. Whereupon the formidable bond was can- 



106 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

celled, and the triumphant Buffalonians could go on with 
easy minds to the finish of their work. 

In the history of Buffalo there has been nothing since that 
first harbor-making that matched it as an exhibit of ener- 
getic public spirit, or as an illustration of what powerful 
leadership in a community can do. Had the same spirit 
lived always in the city, and equal leadership been always in 
readiness for emergencies and opportunities in its career, 
the rank and repute of Buffalo among American cities 
would have been higher than it is. 

The termination of the canal at Buffalo was now secured. 
The canal commissioners, meeting at Buffalo in the summer 
of 1822, after examining the situation and hearing all par- 
ties concerned, announced their decision to that effect. A 
contract for the extension was soon let, and on the 9th of 
August there was a great celebration of the beginning of the 
work. Judge Forward, as chairman of the board of village- 
trustees, threw out the first spadeful of earth, and all the 
principal citizens then started the excavation with shovels 
and plows. 

The harbor of Buffalo, as planned and constructed by its 
citizens, under the lead and superintendence of Judge 
Wilkeson, served the commerce of the lakes for the next five 
years. Then, in 1826, it was taken under the care of the 
Federal Government, which had done nothing for it previ- 
ously except to establish a "primitive light" at the head of 
its pier. General Macomb, the United States Engineer, took 
possession of the pier that year and made it a government 
work. With an initial appropriation of $15,000, the substi- 
tution of massive stone work for the original timber struc- 
ture was begun. From the records of the United States 
Engineer's Office, one of the recent successors of General 
Macomb, Major Thomas W. Symons, has compiled the his- 
tory of the construction and improvement of the harbor 
down to the end of the nineteenth century, and it has an 



HARBOR WORK OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT 107 

appropriate place in the volume of the publications of the 
Buffalo Historical Society, which contains Judge Wilke- 
son's papers. "It took some years and much experience," 
says Major Symons, "to demonstrate that only a structure of 
tremendous strength could withstand the fierce onslaught of 
the lake when lashed into fury by a southwester. To secure 
a structure of adequate strength consumed a great part of 
the government appropriations up to 1839, when the south 
pier was finally reported completed. It was in this interval 
of thirteen years (i826-'39) extended, straightened and 
strengthened. The old timber work gradually gave place 
to stone work of heavy cut stone well cemented." "The pier 
as thus built stood unchanged, except for repairs to the stone 
sea-slope and strengthening in weak places from time to 
time, from 1839 to 1848, in which year the Blackwell (City) 
Ship Canal was constructed by the city, commencing at the 
government land on the south side of Buffalo Creek, and 
running in a general southerly direction to the south side of 
the (proposed) south channel." Meantime the north pier 
was also reconstructed; but, being sheltered by the more im- 
portant south pier, "did not need the care and attention 
given to the latter," and "no records of the work appear to 
exist." 

As for the entrance channel, it had a depth of eight feet 
in 1826. Between 1832 and 1835 it was deepened to ten feet. 
"Soon after this, nature favored lake commerce and its inter- 
ests by bringing on a period of high water level which pre- 
vailed from 1838 to 1848." "By 1850 the entrance channel, 
its piers, and the inner harbor had taken practically the 
shape in which we find them to-day." "The Erie Canal was 
in full operation. The Erie Basin existed as it does to-day 
(the stone breakwater forming this basin was built by the 
State shortly after the completion of the canal) ; the Black- 
well or City Ship Canal was in existence, but afterwards 



108 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

twice extended until it culminated in the Tifft Farm basins, 
in 1884." Nothing of harbor work beyond needed repairs 
was done for the next eighteen years. In 1868 the south pier 
was extended 318 feet, to check a gradual filling of the chan- 
nel "by the littoral drift," and the channel was deepened to 
fourteen or fifteen feet of water at low stage. A little later 
the city took the dredging of the channel in hand, and by 
1890 the depth of water had increased to eighteen feet. 
Then began the extraordinary development of size and 
draught in the lake shipping, requiring deeper water in the 
harbors. In 1900, as Major Symons relates, "the United 
States Government again assumed control of the entrance 
channel, from the outer harbor to its junction with the Buf- 
falo Creek and the City Ship Canal, and dredged the chan- 
nel so as to provide twenty-two feet of water at mean level, 
and about twenty feet at low water. This is the channel 
through which now [1002] annually ten thousand vessels, 
with ten millions of entering and clearing tonnage, pass on 
their way to and from the busy wharves and elevators in the 
inner harbor." 

From this allusion to the harbor of Buffalo Creek as an 
''inner harbor'" readers unacquainted with the port would 
learn that it hail acquired by this time an outer harbor, as 
well. The creation ol that outer harbor by the construction 
of what Major Symons characterizes as "one of the great 
breakwaters of the world," is the most extensive work of its 
kind on the lakes. Tt was begun in 1868, plans for it having 
been under discussion many years. The breakwater was "so 
located and built as to cut off a portion of the lake in which 
ships could find safe anchorage or moorings, and which 
could be reached under any conditions of weather." In the 
beginning it was constructed of timber cribs, filled with 
stone. Between 1868 and 1872 there had been 2,500 feet of 
this construction put in place; the original plan calling for 



THE GREAT OUTER HARBOR 109 

4,000 feet, running southerly on a course generally parallel 
with the shore line. Then a storm occurred which threw 
some 315 feet of incomplete crib-work out of place. On the 
recommendation of a board of engineers a larger plan was 
then adopted, extending the breakwater to a length of 7,600 
feet, leaving at its southern end a "fine-weather opening of 
150 feet," and running "a shore arm," "at an angle of 45 
degrees to the shore line, until it reached the sand-catch 
pier prolonged to meet it." The main structure was com- 
pleted on this plan in 1893, but a storm that year wrecked, 
hopelessly, all that had been done on the proposed shore 
arm. This consequence was due to a soft clay bottom on 
which it was built. The seeming disaster was fortunate, 
since it brought about the creation of a greater harbor, 
more commensurate with the growing needs of the com- 
merce of the lakes. The Government was persuaded 
to extend the great breakwater to Stony Point, and this 
was done on plans recommended by Major Symons, 
then in charge of the work, modifying the plans of a board 
of engineers. They added 10,000 feet to the length of the 
breakwater, bringing it to a "south harbor entrance 600 feet 
wide." Beginning at the south side of this entrance they 
called for a "timber crib breakwater about 2,800 feet long, 
to the shore at Stony Point." The southerly extremity of 
the outer harbor was thus to be fully enclosed, except at the 
entrance opening of 600 feet. Work on these perfected plans 
was begun in May, 1897, and completed in 1903. 

This perfected for Buffalo its great outer harbor on the 
lake front south of the inner harbor entrance, but much of 
the lake front north of that entrance was too exposed for 
any commercial use. The State breakwater, on that side, 
which formed the Erie Basin, protected about 2,400 feet of 
shore line, sufficiently for coal and lumber docks, but be- 
tween the northerly end of that breakwater and what was 



110 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

known as Bird Island Pier, there were 2,300 feet of storm- 
beaten shore. The Bird Island Pier was also an old State 
work, built to extend the protection given by Squaw Island 
to the Black Rock harbor that was created in connection 
with the building of the canal, and to shelter a short section 
of the canal itself. In 1899 Congress authorized the build- 
ing of a North Breakwater at Buffalo, to make the protec- 
tion of its lake front complete, and to improve the Buffalo 
entrance to Erie Basin ami Black Rock Harbor. This was 
done within the next two years. It was followed, in 1902, 
by an act authorizing the deepening to twenty-two and 
twenty-three feet of channels from the Buffalo mam 
entrance channel to Erie Basin and to Black Rock Harbor. 
This work was begun in the spring of 1903, and at the time 
of the present writing is nearly complete. 

In 1905 an appropriation was made by Congress for be- 
ginning a great extension of the above described deepened 
channel, the object being to improve the navigation of 
Niagara River from Lake Erie to Tonawanda, where an 
important commerce has grown up. The proposed channel 
is "to extend westerly and northerly, through Black Rock 
Harbor and the Eric Canal combined, to the present lock, 
where a ship lock of the requisite capacity is being built; the 
channel to extend from the foot of the ship lock through the 
Niagara River to deep water above Tonawanda, 400 feet 
wide and 23 feet deep at mean river level. The estimated 
cost is $4,500,000." 

This work will create a continuous, well-protected river 
harbor, stretching along more than ten miles of shore, quite 
at one side of the swift Niagara current. Added to the spa- 
cious outer harbors on the lake front of Buffalo, and the ex- 
tensive inner harbor of the Buffalo River and its connected 
basins and canals, the new improvement will perfect com- 
mercial facilities that can have no enual on the lakes, and 



FOUR MILES OF BREAKWATER III 

none superior in the United States. Great manufacturing 
plants are rising already along the Niagara shore between 
the city lines of Buffalo and Tonawanda, and not many 
decades are likely to pass before those lines will be obliter- 
ated by the filling of the intervening space, and one munici- 
pality will cover the whole. 

As a whole, the works of defense at Buffalo against the 
storms of the lake give it, according to Major Symons, "a 
greater length of breakwater than any other city in the 
world. From Stony Point to the end of the North break- 
water there are 22,500 feet of breakwater, very nearly dou- 
ble that at Cherbourg, France." The total expenditure of 
the government for the improvement of the harbor, from 
1826 to 1901, was a little in excess of $5,000,000. As stated 
in Bulletin No. 12, of the "Survey of Northern and North- 
western Lakes," the resulting outer harbor contains "about 
605 acres of water with 20 feet and over in depth," and, ad- 
ditionally, about 700 acres between the breakwater and the 
established harbor line which coincides generally with the 
18-foot curve, all good anchorage ground." 

While Buffalo is thus seen to be possessed of the greatest 
area of sheltered waterfront on the lakes, behind works of 
extraordinary construction, the main part of its grand outer 
harbor, lying behind the long breakwater which breasts 
the lake, remains almost undeveloped in commercial use 
at the time of the closing of this record. The unfortunate 
fact is resultant from complications of long dispute over 
questions of ownership and right of use connected with a 
narrow strip of land, between the lake shore and Buffalo 
River, on which, in 1841 and after, a stretch of old sea-wall 
was built. As stated in the closing paragraphs of the pre- 
ceding sketch of general history, these disputes are at the 
point of settlement, and a proper development of dockage 
on the outer harbor front may be expected ere long. 



CHAPTER II 
OUTER COMMUNICATIONS 

AFTER La Salle's little Griffon made her voyage, in 
1679, from the .Niagara River to Green Bay, ami 
was lost in attempting to return, the French, during 
the period o! their ascendancy, launched hut one vessel, 
larger than their batteaux, on the lakes above Niagara Falls. 
The British were more enterprising when thc\ took posses- 
sion of tin- lakes, and soon had a number oi --mall craft 
afloat. Mr. Henry R. How land has traced the record of 
these "First Successors of the Griffon" vcr\ carefully, in an 
interesting paper contributed to the sixth volume of the 
publications of the Buffalo Historical Society. 

The French shipbuilder was Sieur de la Ronde Denis, 
who took command of a post on Lake Superior in 1727. At 
some time prior to [735 he constructed at his own expense 
a barque of 4.0 tons burden, with which he and his eldest son 
explored the coasts and islands of the lake, especiallj search- 
ing for the reported copper mines. His vessel appears to 
have been lost about the time of the British conquest of New 
France. In the year of the completion of that conquest 
(1760), Colonel Henry Bouquet, commanding a British 
force at Presque Isle ( Erie), built there what he described as 
a "tlatt," which is supposed to have been a large scow with 
masts and sails, for the carriage of military stores. In the 
course of the next year, on the recommendation of Colonel 
Bouquet, carpenters and materials were sent to Navy Island, 
in the Niagara, for the building of two vessels, one of which, 
the schooner Huron, was launched in August, that year. 
The other, a sloop, named the Beaver, was not finished till 
late in 1762. The Huron was to carry six guns, the Beaver 
ten. Both vessels bore a valiant part in the defence of the 
British garrison at Detroit, when beleaguered by Pontiac 

112 



EARLY SHIP-BUILDING ON THE LAKES I 13 

in 1763. Both came back to Schlosser for provisions, and 
the Huron returned safely with supplies to the fort; but the 
Beaver, soon after she sailed out of the river into the lake, 
was driven ashore by a storm. Those on board got safely 
to land, and fought off hostile Indians, in an improvised 
camp, behind a slight stockade, until boats and soldiers from 
Niagara came to their aid. Remains of what must have 
been the stockade, with two cannons and other relics, were 
found nearly half a century afterward not far from the 
mouth of Eighteen Mile Creek. 

A busy shipyard was now well established by the British 
military authorities on Navy Island, and it turned out five 
vessels in 1763 and 1764, namely, the schooner Victory, 
carrying six guns, the schooners Gladwin and Boston, carry- 
ing eight guns each, the sloop Royal Charlotte, carrying 
ten, and another sloop of unknown name. The Royal 
Charlotte, says Mr. Howland, was the last of the King's 
ships built on Navy Island. 

Of commercial vessels there were none yet on the lakes. 
In a communication to the Buffalo Morning Express, Janu- 
ary 22nd, 1864, Mr. L. K. Haddock made the statement 
that a schooner Betsey, Captain Friend, was on Lake Erie 
in 1775 ; but his authority was not given. He also made the 
statement that "Com. Grant [at Detroit] controlled all 
vessels on Lake Erie;" which would indicate that they were 
all still connected with the British military service. 

Judge Augustus Porter, who first visited Lake Erie and 
Niagara River in 1795, wrote some reminiscences that are 
quoted by Mr. Ketchum in the tenth chapter of his History 
of Buffalo, bearing on the origin of American commerce 
on the lakes. He remarks that, before the surrender, in 
1796, of forts and military posts held by the British on the 
frontier, "boats had not been permitted to pass Oswego into 
Lake Ontario, and, as no settlements of importance had been 



I 1 4 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

made previous to that time on the American shores of the 
lakes, * no vessels were required." The earliest 

American shipping on the lakes above the Niagara, so far 
as known to Judge Porter, were the schooner General Tracy 
and the brig Adams built at Detroit (the last-named for the 
government) some time between 1796 and 1800; the 
schooner Contractor, built at Black Rock in 1802-3 by ton- 
tractors for supplying the military posts; the small sloop 
Niagara, built at Cayuga Creek in 1803-4 ror tne govern- 
ment; the Good Intent, a small vessel built at Presque Isle 
(Erie) about [800; the schooner Mary, built at Erie in 
1806; the schooner General Wilkinson, built at Detroit in 
iSu ; the sloop Erie, built at Black Rock by Porter, Barton 
& Co. in 1810; the schooners Salina and Eleanor, built 
before the War of [812, at dates which the Judge did not 
know, "ami probably others that I do not recollect." he says; 
but this list represents substantially, no doubt, the marine 
of the lakes prior to the war with England. Some of these 
vessels were bought by Porter. Barton & * or the trans- 
portation they were then carrying on, making trans-ship- 
ments at Black Rock as described heretofore. Several, in- 
cluding the latter, were sold to the United States for naval 
service in the war, most of them returning to commercial 
uses at its close. 

For years following, the story of lake navigation can be 
continued from information given in the papers of Captain 
Augustus Walker, which he deposited with the Buffalo 
Historical Society in 1864, the year before his death. 
Captain Walker came to the lakes in the spring of 1817, 
when a boy of seventeen, eager for a sailor's life. He found 
then five vessels lying in their winter quarters at Black 
Rock; three of them hauled into the mouth of Scajaquada 
Creek. Two of them were owned by Sill, Thompson & 
Co., of Black Rock, one by Townsend and Coit, of Buffalo, 



EARLY IMPROVEMENTS IN SHIP-BUILDING I 1 5 

and one by Jonathan Sidway. Three of them had been 
built at Black Rock in the previous year. Captain Walker 
made his first voyage on Mr. Sidvvay's brig, the Union, 
under Captain James Beard, father of the artist of subse- 
quent fame, William H. Beard. 

According to Captain Walker, there were but nineteen 
merchant vessels on the lakes above the Falls in 1817. 
"Only eight of these vessels were over 50 tons burden. In 
1818 the number had increased to 28, with an aggregate of 
1,586 tons, including the steamboat Walk-in-the-Water, 
which came out that year. The number of seamen then 
employed on board these vessels did not exceed 180, all told. 
The English at that time had a few vessels in commission 
upon the lakes, not to exceed six." 

Captain Walker remarks that "from 18 17 to 1820 sail 
vessels greatly increased in numbers, though not in size. 
These vessels varied from 18 to 65 tons burden, mostly built 
with slip keels, differing somewhat from the present style 
of centerboards. Each creek, river and port along the coast 
had its representative vessels." The Red Jacket, built at 
Black Rock in 1820, was the first merchant vessel built with 
bulwarks on the lakes. In 1823 the first chain cables were 
introduced on the lakes. "About the year 1824 or '25," 
says the Captain, "there was a marked improvement in the 
models and general construction of sail vessels, creating a 
new era in ship-building." In 1830 Captain Walker him- 
self, in building the Great Western, made the first trial of 
an upper cabin structure on the lakes, and with great 
success. 

"In 1832," says this good authority, "the number of our 
vessels had increased to 47, including 9 steamboats, with an 
aggregate of 7,000 tons. The whole number of steamers 
then afloat did not exceed in measurement the tonnage of 
our present [1863] steamer City of Buffalo, all combined 



Il6 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

amounting to 2,026 tons."' "From that period," he adds, 
"ship-building greatly increased, as immigration began to 
pour into the Western States " 

An unnamed writer, quoted in an elaborate "History of 
the Great Lakes," published at Chicago in [899. sa\s: 
"About [850 was the height oi steamboat prosperity on the 
lakes. There was at that time a line of sixteen first class 
steamers from Buffalo to Chicago, leaving each port twice 
a day. The boats were elegantly fitted up, usually carried 
a band of music, and the table was equal to that of most 
American hotels. They usually made the voyage from 
Buffalo to Chicago in three or lour days, and the charge 
was about ten dollars. They went crowded with passen- 
gers, four or five hundred not being an uncommon number, 
and their profits were large. The building of the trunk line- 
railroads from east to west soon took away the passenger 
business, and the propellers could carry freight at lower 
rates than the expensive side-wheel boats, so they gradually 
disappeared. In [860 their number was very small com 
pared with what it was ten years earlier, while the number 
of S< rcw propellers increased steadily." 

Among the largest and finest "floating palaces" of that 
palim decade, — as the grander steamboats were then styled, 

were the Western World, the Plymouth Rock and the 
Mississippi, brought out in iS;^; but, according to the 
above-named history, they plied but three seasons, and were 
brought to Buffalo in 1863 to have their machinery removed 
and to be dismantled otherwise. So quickly hail the rail- 
roads stolen travel from the steamboats; for it was not till 
[853 that the rail connection of Buffalo with Chicago was 
completed, and not till 1 8^4 that the connected railways had 
a uniform gauge. 

The first of Ericsson's screw-propelled steamers to be put 
afloat in the United States, — the Vandalia, built at Oswego 



INCREASING SIZE OF VESSELS I 17 

in 1 84 1, —came through the Welland Canal to Lake Erie 
in the next year, introducing what has now become almost 
the only kind of steamboat on the lakes. First in freighting 
vessels, the screw at the stern superseded paddle-wheels on 
the sides of the lake steamers; then, when the railways had 
skimmed the cream of travel from the lakes and starved 
out the side-wheelers, the freighting propellers began to put 
on upper cabins and offer comfortable but not gaudy accom- 
modations to summer tourists and travellers who preferred 
the water journey. Some thinned streams of lake travel 
were kept coursing in this modest way for a considerable 
period of years. 

Meantime, several causes were working together to bring 
about a great economic revolution in the lake shipping 
business as a whole. The cause of most importance is 
found in works that were begun by the national government 
about 1855 for the improvement of channels connecting the 
upper lakes. The government had previously induced the 
construction of a ship canal around the Sault Ste. Marie 
rapids by a grant of public lands to the company which 
undertook it, and the canal was opened in 1855. It then 
began deepening one of the seven shallow outlets of the 
St. Clair River into the lake of that name, and by 1858 it 
had given eleven feet of water to vessels making that pas- 
sage, instead of six. Eight years later it undertook the 
opening of a straight canal across the St. Clair flats, origi- 
nally designed to be thirteen feet deep, but increased in plan 
from time to time till the final purpose was a depth of 
twenty feet; and this was realized about 1898. At the same 
time, the American government, having acquired possession 
of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal and made its use free, pro- 
ceeded to give it two successive enlargements, completed 
respectively in 1881 and 1896, duplicating in the latter in- 
stance its stupendous lock; while the Canadian government, 



1 1 8 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

to further satisfy the enormous growth of northwestern 
trade through Lake Superior, built another ship canal 
around the rapids on the northern side. 

As these improvements progressed, larger and larger ves- 
sels were brought into use; and the enlargement of the 
shipping was not only stimulated by the introduction of iron, 
first, and then steel, as the main structural material, but the 
architectural development of ship-building was led by the 
use of these materials into new lines. The freight-carrier 
was simplified in form on economical principles, more and 
more, until it became in reality a huge floated bin tor 
grain or coal or ores or lumber. This is the steel barge of 
commercial transportation on the lakes at the present day; 
sometimes dignified with an engine and screw of its own, 
but destined more often for helpless trailing behind the 
superior towing-barge. Introduction of the barge s\stem 
is said to have begun in 1861. "Its result," said President 
Jewett M. Richmond, of the Buffalo Board of Trade, in 
an address to that body some years ago, "has been a won- 
derful reduction in the cost of freightage. It was first used 
in the lumber trade, where it was highly successful, and 
now nearly all the lumber brought to Buffalo and Tona- 
wanda is carried in barges, in lines of four, five and six, 
towed by propellers or steam tugs. Thus a million and a 
half or two million feet are brought in one tow. It was 
not until 1871 that the use of a propeller with one barge 
attached for the carriage of grain on the Great Lakes was 
first introduced. It may be said to have revolutionized the 
business." The "whaleback," which justifies its name by 
its appearance, is a species of round-decked, tube-like barge 
which made its appearance about 1889. 

These changes in freight-ship architecture broke up the 
C( imbination of travel with commercial transportation which 
had been maintained for some vears bv the old-fashioned 



OCEAN-LINERS RIVALLED ON THE LAKES I 19 

propellers, and forced a revival of some separate provision 
for lake travellers, if the latter had numbers enough for an 
effective demand. Apparently there was growth rather 
than decline in the demand. Increase in the size of the 
lake-shipping added greatly to the comfort of voyaging on 
these fresh-water seas, and experiments in putting passenger 
steamers that rivalled ocean-liners in magnitude on routes 
to Lake Superior and between Buffalo, Cleveland and De- 
troit had excellent success. Such of these steamers as the 
Northwest, the Northland and the City of Buffalo are 
superb, in a style very different from that of the "floating 
palaces" of half a century ago. 

Associations of vessel-owners on the lakes were formed at 
as early a time as 1833, when one was organized at Buffalo, 
of which Mr. James L. Barton, its secretarv, gives some 
account. Large incorporated companies, consolidat 114 
numbers of competing interests in lake and canal transporta- 
tion, were considerably later in date. The first to answer 
this description at Buffalo appears to have been the Western 
Transportation Company (named in after years the Western 
Transit Company) which obtained its charter in 18;; and 
was capitalized at ^900,000. It took in a large part of the 
previous lines of boats on the canal, together with many 
of the lake propeller lines. Its first president was P. L. 
Sternberg, with John Allen, Jr., for vice-president, George 
H. Bryant for secretary, and Levi H. Rumrill for treasurer. 
Later Mr. Allen became president and was at the head of 
the company for many years. 

At present there are not only numerous incorporated com- 
panies operating lines of steamers between different lake 
ports, but a number of associations of such lines. 

Early in the years when Black Rock, as a distinct village, 
represented the Niagara River side of what became the city 
of Buffalo, an important share of the lake ship-building of 



120 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

the time was located there, as we have had occasion to see. 
Later, after the maritime development of the creek side of 
Buffalo was begun, by the creation of a harbor, that, too, 
secured and kept for many years its fair proportion of the 
ship-building industry of the lakes. The old ship-yard of 
Bidwell & Banta was a busy and important place for sev- 
eral decades. The first screw-propeller that was built 
on these lake shores went into the water from its ways; and 
it launched some of the grainiest of the passenger steamers 
ot hall a centurj ago. Iron ship-building, too. as stated in 
another place, was introduced from Buffalo to the lake 
region by David Bell. 

But all that is in the past. Buffalo performs a minor 
part in the ship building for the lakes at the present day, 
as shown in the following remarks on the subject, con- 
tributed to this work by Mr. Edward (ia>kin, whose knowl- 
edge is bevond dispute: 

"Compared with the amount of tonnage built at other 
ports on the Great Lakes, the ship-building industry of 
Buffalo is not oi much importance. The plants at Cleve- 
land, Lorain, Detroit, Bay City, Toledo and Ecorse (a 
suburb of Detroit) all do so much more than we that we can 
hardly be considered a factor. This, however, refers only 
to the building of new tonnage. The repairing branch of 
the business assumes very large proportions, and liberal 
sums of money are annually paid here for wages in that line. 
"The industry in this city is carried on principally by the 
Buffalo Dry Dock Company, one of the branches of the 
American Ship-Building Company, which bought out the 
Union Dry Dock Company in 1900. This company does 
some new work, but most of its energy is spent on the repairs 
of the lake fleet. 

"I suppose that many reasons might be given to explain 
why we do so little building; but one of the best that I know 



IMMEDIATE EFFECTS OF THE ERIE CANAL 121 

is the fact that Buffalo has not been a good labor town for 
the ship-building business. All the other plants are able 
to do better in the matter of wages and hours of labor. 
This is a very large item in the cost of building ships. An- 
other reason is the apathy with which the banks of our city 
have regarded the matter, and the difficulty encountered, in 
the early days of the development of the industry, in getting 
the financial men of this section interested in it. 

"Our location was good; but all the timber for building 
the old wooden ships was transported to us from the West, 
and the business went nearer to the source of supply. When 
the day of metal ships dawned, the western builders were 
in good shape, with experienced workmen, established plants 
and money to control the industry. In other words, they 
could undersell us in almost all the markets, and they got 
the business and kept growing." 

The economic effects of the opening of the Erie Canal 
were instantly revolutionary. Cost of transportation be- 
tween the Hudson and Lake Erie was lowered from $100 
per ton to $10, and presently to $3, while the time of the 
movement dropped from an average of twenty days to ten. 
Lines of fast packet-boats soon reduced travel between 
Albany and Buffalo to a journey of ten days. For reasons 
that have been discussed in a former chapter, this latter use 
of the canal, as a highway of travel, concerned Buffalo 
much more than the commercial use, for a number of years. 
The westward movement of emigration in that period was 
far heavier, on the western section of the canal, than the 
movement of trade. 

On the eastern part of the canal, where it traversed and 
was connected with older and more populous settlements, 
commerce was soon freighting it with more than it could 
carry in a satisfactory way. Before the end of the first 
decade of its service, there began to be demands for an en- 



122 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

largement of capacity between Albany and Syracuse. In 
1834 tbe Legislature authorized for that section an imme- 
diate doubling of the locks. The next year it recognized 
the rapid coming of larger needs, and gave authority to the 
canal commissioners to enlarge the whole prism of the canal, 
throughout its length. The original water-channel had 
been four feet deep and forty feet wide. It was now to be 
widened to sevent) feet on the surface and deepened to 
seven feet. That work of enlargement was begun in 1836; 
but it was not finished till [862. It was retarded, in the 
first instance. In the financial embarrassments of [837 and 
the following years. In 1842 it was suspended entirely by 
what was called "the stop law" of that year, the State 
treasury being empty and the authorities unwilling to in- 
crease the public debt. Works of enlargement were not re- 
sumed until 1847, after the constitutional convention of 1846 
had made provision for it, which the people, by the adop- 
tion of the revised constitution, had approved. In 1848 the 
plan of the canal prism was changed, to give a surface width 
of seventy-five feet instead of seventy feet. In 1852 work 
was again stopped, by a decision of the Court of Appeals 
adverse to the constitutionality of an act passed in the pre- 
vious year which authorized a canal loan. In 1854 the 
undertaking was resumed, and in 1862 it was declared 
officially that the enlargement was complete; though much, 
it is said, remained then to be done. 

During the next thirty years, while the canal was often 
improved by lengthening and doubling of locks, and other 
endeavors to make the most of its capacity, its general 
channel was unchanged. Meantime, the cheapening of 
railway transportation, consequent, in the main, upon the 
cheapening of steel, by the Bessemer process of manufacture, 
which brought that durable metal into use for rails, was 
diverting the carriage of even the grosser commodities of 



THE BARGE CANAL I 23 

trade from the canal, more and more. It lost its ability to 
compete with the railroads sufficiently to put any check on 
their rates. There began to be strenuous demands for such 
a new enlargement as might restore the economic usefulness 
of the great waterway of New York. This brought, in 1895, 
proposals of a plan of improvement, estimated to cost 
$9,000,000, and promising to make the canal navigable by 
barges of a thousand tons burden. Legislative action in 
favor of the undertaking was approved by a popular vote 
at the election of that year, and work accordingly was begun 
in 1896. A rapid exhaustion of the nine-million appropria- 
tion soon revealed, either a scandalous deception in the esti- 
mates or extravagance or fraud in the conduct of the work, 
and it was suspended in 1898. Movements in the national 
interest had now led to action in Congress on the subject, 
and a survey to ascertain the expediency of undertaking a 
ship-canal connection of the Hudson River with the Great 
Lakes was ordered to be made, under the direction of Major 
Thomas W. Symons of the U. S. Engineers. The report of 
Major Symons was more favorable to a proper enlargement 
of the existing canals of New York, for navigation by large 
barges, than to the building of ship canals from the Hudson 
to Lake Ontario and from that lake to Lake Erie. No 
action to this end was taken by Congress, but the barge-canal 
project, with a proper conception of the magnitude it should 
have, was again taken up, in a spirit very different from that 
wakened in it before. New plans and estimates were pre- 
pared in 1900, and an act authorizing the expenditure of 
$101,000,000, to reconstruct the Erie, Oswego and Cham- 
plain canals, making them navigable by barges of ten feet 
draft, twenty-five feet width and 150 feet length, was sub- 
mitted to the people at the election of 1903, and approved by 
a majority of about 250,000 votes. That work is now in 
progress. Its completion will add immensely to the indus- 
trial and commercial advantages of Buffalo. 



124 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

Such account as can be given here of the development of 
the railway connections of our city may be introduced fit- 
tingly by a brief mention of the work of William Wallace, 
the veteran engineer, who had something of importance to 
do with the creation of nearly every line of rails that entered 
Buffalo during the first fort) years from their beginning. 
As projector, promoter, engineer, superintendent, or suc- 
cessively in all those capacities, Mr. Wallace was in some 
degree the author of seven out of the nine railroads first 
named in the subjoined chronological list. 

lie set in motion the undertaking of the Buffalo and 
Attica road, surveyed it, engineered it, and was its superin- 
tendent from the opening in 1845 till [848. He was the 
chief engineer of the Buffalo and Stale Line road, and 0! 
the extension of the Buffalo and Attica to Hornellsville, to 
connect with the New York and Erie. He projected, sur- 
veyed and engineered the building of the Buffalo, Brantford 
and Goderich road, known subsequently as die Buffalo and 
Lake Huron, and finally as part of the Grand Trunk. Some 
vears 111 advance of the building of the Canada Southern 
Railway, he recommended and surveyed the line on which, 
with little change, it was built. He surveyed, for Lean 
Richmond, the line of direct road from Buffalo to Batavia 
which became [nut of the Buffalo and Rochester Railroad, 
and went into the New York Central, as consolidated in 
1853. Then Mr. Wallace began his long endeavor to draw- 
Buffalo into an economic connection with the coal fields of 
Pennsylvania. Without any result at the time, he located 
and urged the building of a road on substantially the line 
adopted, years later, for the Buffalo stem of the Buffalo. 
Rochester and Pittsburg road. His last effort had better 
success. He roused and rallied the local enterprise which 
enabled him, as chief engineer, to build what, originally, 
was named the Buffalo and Washington Railway, afterward 



THE RAILWAY CONNECTIONS OF BUFFALO I 25 

the Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia, and now has be- 
come part of the great Pennsylvania Railway system. 
Dying in 1887, Mr. Wallace left many monuments, which 
Buffalo should contemplate with grateful feelings; but how 
little they have served to keep his memory green ! 

In the order of their creation, the steam railroads now 
entering Buffalo date as follows: 

1836. The Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Acquired by 
the New York Central Railroad Company in 1855, and ex- 
tended to Lewiston. 

1843. The Buffalo and Attica, which connected Buffalo 
with a chain of railroads through the State to Albany. The 
erroneous statement has often been made that this western 
link in the chain became part of the New York Central 
Railroad, in the consolidation of 1853. On the contrary, 
the Buffalo and Attica was acquired by the Buffalo and New 
York City Railroad Company and extended to Hornells- 
ville, to connect with the New York and Erie Railway, then 
progressing toward Dunkirk. 

1852. The New York and Erie Railway brought into 
connection with Buffalo, by the completed extension of the 
Buffalo and Attica road to Hornellsville, and also by the 
opening of a second line of connecting rails, from Buffalo 
to Corning. Both of these lines became integral parts of 
the New York, Lake Erie and Western system, as it now 
exists. 

1852. The Buffalo and Rochester Railroad, completed 
to Buffalo by the building of a direct line of rails between 
Buffalo and Batavia. Included the next year in the con- 
solidation of the New York Central line. 

1852. The Buffalo and State Line Railroad, linked with 
the chain of roads then in formation along the southern 
shore of Lake Erie, and thence to Chicago, which, after 
some years, were to be forged into the consolidated Lake 
Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad line. 



126 C0NSTR1 CTIVE EVOLUTION 

1852. The Buffalo and Brantford. Extended a Little 
Liter to Goderich, and name changed to Buffalo ami Lake 
Huron in [858. Leased 111 1S70 to the Grand Trunk. Rail- 
w aj Company ol Canada, ol whose lines it forms the Buffalo 
terminus. Under the auspices ol the Grand Trunk. Com- 
pany the Niagara River was bridged at Buffalo by the 
International Bridge Company, in 1874. 

[853 Organization of the consolidated New York Cen- 
tral Railroad Company . owning and operating a continu >us 
line from Buffalo to Albany. 

[854. Establishment ol a uniform gauge on the con- 
nected roads from Buffalo to Chicago, in the line known 
ultimately as the Lake Shore and M S 

[869. Consolidation of the New York Central and the 
Hudson River railroad companies in the X. Y. C. and 
11. R R Company. 

1869 Consolidation of several connected roads by the 
organization of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern 
Company. Since [898 the New York Central and Hudson 
River Railroad Company has held a majority of its capital 

. k and controlled the management ot the road. 

[870. The Buffalo Creek Railroad. From William 
Street to Leek Slip and other connections on the south side 
ol Buffalo River. Leased to the Erie and the Lehigh 
Valley railroad companies in iSSq. 

[873. The Canada Southern Railway, from Buffalo to 

Amherstburg, on the Detroit River. In 1S78 the ownership 

oi the road underwent a change. Lor many years past t 

has been under lease to the Michigan Central Railroad 

npany and is known by the latter name. 

[873. The Buffalo and Washington Railway. Built 
from Buffalo to Emporium, Pa., opening direct connection 
with the sources of anthracite coal supply, and a shortened 
route to Philadelphia and Washington. A little later the 



THE RAILWAY CONNECTIONS OF BUFF I 27 

name was changed to Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia, 
and that name, in its turn, was extinguished by the absorp- 
tion of the road in the great Pennsylvania Railroad system. 
For several years past it has been operated under contract 
as the Buffalo and Allegheny Valley Division of the Penn- 
sylvania Railroad. 

1875. The Buffalo and Jamestown. Reorganized in 
1877 under a change of name, becoming the Buffalo and 
Southwestern Railroad. Leased to the Erie Railway Com- 
pany in 1 88 1, and now known as the Buffalo and South- 
western Division of the New York, Lake Erie and Western 
Railroad. 

1882. The New York, Chicago and St. Louis (known 
commonly as the Xickel Plate), completed to Chicago. 
Reorganized, after a foreclosure sale, in 1887. Large parts 
of its capital stock owned by the Lake Shore and M. S. Com- 
pany and by the Vanderbilt interest. The road is operated 
in connection with what is known as the Vanderbilt system. 

1882. The New York, Lackawanna and Western. 
Chartered under this name for the extension of the Dela- 
ware, Lackawanna and Western from Binghamton to 
Buffalo. Opened for freight in 1882 and for passengers in 
1885. Leased in 1882 to the Delaware. Lackawanna and 
Western Company and operated under its name. 

1883. The Buffalo, Pittsburg and Western. Built from 
Buffalo to Brocton, connecting there with a road to Oil 
City and Franklin. Constructed in the interest of the 
Buffalo, Xew York and Philadelphia, with which it was 
soon consolidated; passing, finally, with the latter, into the 
Buffalo and Allegheny Valley Division of the Pennsylvania 
Railroad system. 

1883. The Buffalo. Rochester and Pittsburg. Char- 
tered to connect with the Rochester and Pittsburg road at 
Ashford, X. Y. The company consolidated with that of 



128 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

the latter in 1882. Opened to Buffalo in 1883, and acquired 
extensions the same year to Punxutawney, Pa. Acquired, 
also, the franchises of the East Buffalo Terminal Railroad 
Company, hut has not used the rights obtained in William 
and Clinton Streets. From the crossing of Buffalo Creek 
the trains of the company come into the city over the tracks 
ol the New York Central. In 1885 the road was sold on a 
foreclosure, and reorganized under the names of the Buffalo, 
Rochester and Pittsburg in New York, and the Pittsburg 
and State Line in Pennsylvania. The two companies were 
consolidated under the former name in 1887. 

1884. The Lehigh Valley. During some years pre- 
viously the Lehigh Valley Railroad had been delivering 
coal in its own cars at Buffalo l>\ use of the tracks anil 
engines oi the Erie Railway from its junction with the latter. 
In 1884 it arranged to run its own coal trains on the tracks 
oi tin' Erie. It had already, in 1882, acquired in Buffalo a 
right of ua\ from the tracks of the Erie to a terminal of its 
own, at the corner of Scott and Washington Streets. In 
[885 it acquired further rights of way to junctions with the 
Buffalo Creek Railroad and the New York, Chicago and 
St. Louis Railway. In 1890, by a consolidation of several 
subsidiary organizations, a corporation having the name of 
the Lehigh Valley Railway Company, distinct from the 
Lehigh Valley Railroad Company was formed, which 
opened a new line of rails to Buffalo in September, 1892. 
In 1891 the Lehigh Valley Railway Company had leased 
this line to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company for 999 
years. The organizations consolidated in the L. V. Rv. Co. 
were the Geneva and Say re, the Geneva anil Van Ettenville, 
the Buffalo and Geneva, and the Auburn and Ithaca. Long 
before the construction of its own line to Buffalo, while- 
still reaching the city over the tracks of the Erie, the Lehigh 
Valley had begun immense terminal improvements, cover- 



THE RAILWAY CONNECTIONS OF BUFFALO 129 

ing in all about five hundred acres of ground, as is indicated 
elsewhere in what is told of the development of the coal 
trade of Buffalo. 

1884. The West Shore, chartered and built as the New 
York, West Shore and Chicago; its line from New York 
City following the western shore of the Hudson River 
nearly to Albany, and running thence westward across the 
State on a line contiguous to that of the New York Central 
throughout most of its length. Reorganized under the 
name of the West Shore Railroad Company, and leased for 
475 years to the New York Central and Hudson River Rail- 
road Company in 1885. 

1897. The Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo. Organized 
in 1892; opened through in 1897. Successor to Brant, 
Waterloo and Lake Erie Railway. The majority of stock 
owned by the New York Central and Hudson R. R. Co., but 
the road controlled jointly by the N. Y. C. and H. R. R., the 
Michigan Central and the Canadian Pacific railway 
companies. 

1898. The Wabash. Under an operating agreement 
with the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, the Wabash 
Railway Company extended its train service to Buffalo, 
using the tracks of the Grand Trunk from Detroit to Black 
Rock and from Welland Junction, Ontario, to Suspension 
Bridge. 

1907. The Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad, extended 
from Wellsville, N. Y., to Buffalo between 1904 and 1907, 
represents a remarkable development of creative enterprise 
from small beginnings in a Pennsylvania saw mill, dating 
back to about 1872. Some account of the growth of a pri- 
vate business which has arrived at this culmination will be 
given hereafter, in what is told of our lumber trade; but 
a few main facts must be recited here : 

About 1872 Mr. Frank H. Goodyear began business with 



130 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

a small saw mill, cutting hemlock lumber, at West Liberty, 
Mckean County, Pa. The business had such growth in 
his hands that he was able in 1885 to purchase about 13,000 
acres of timber land in Putter County, Pa., and to build a 
large mill, running two circular saws and a gang saw, at 
Austin, now a town of no small size, but represented then 
b\ a single house. In the same year, for the promotion of 
his own business, he began the construction of a railroad 
called the Sinnemahoning Valley R. R. at the time, which 
connected him with the Western New York and Pennsyl- 
vania road at Keating Summit, and was extended in the 
other direction about 13 miles to Costello, Pa., where a 
large sole-leather tannery had been built. This road was 
completed the next year. In 1887 he was joined by his 
brother, and the firm of F. H. and C. W. Goodyear was 
formed. 

In the course of the next few years the firm made large 
additional purchases of timber lands, and extended its rail- 
road connections to utilize them. Between 1891 and 18^4 
the Sinnemahoning Valley R. R. was extended to Ansonia, 
Pa., connecting with the Fall Brook Railway, and sending 
out a branch to Cross Fork. The whole s\stem was then 
consolidated by a new incorporation under the name of the 
Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad Company. Meantime, 
the Goodyear firm bought from Senator Thomas C. Piatt 
what was known as the Addison and Pennsylvania Railroad, 
from Galeton, Pa., to Addison, X. V., 4; miles, connecting 
with the Erie Railway. In 1895-6 the Buffalo and Susque- 
hanna Railroad Company built an extension of its road from 
GaletQn to Wellsville, X. V., 37 miles, and in 1898 the com- 
pany took over the Addison and Pennsylvania road. In 
1901 it built an extension from Wharton to Sinnemahoning, 
connecting with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and this part 
of its line was extended still further, to a point south of 



! 


















i H \.\K II GO< >DYEAR. 



Capitalist and coal operator; born Groton, Tompkins 
unty, \'™ York, March 17. 1X40 Was president Ruf- 
falo & Susquehanna Railway Company; I'.uttalo & Susque- 
hanna Coal 0< ' impan) Buffalo & Susquehanna 
Steamship Company; N I Northern Rail- 
ompan) ar Lumber Company, and Great 
uthern Lumber Company; director in above companies 
and Marine National I'.ank oi Buffalo, 1 'nited States 
Leather Company, etc Member MufTalo. ronntrv, Kllicott. 
and Transportation Clubs of i'.ut'falo: Lawyers' and Man- 
hattan Chilis cf New York: Jekyl Island Club; and many 
othei $ocla4 argp'pjzationS); Republican in ponies; died 
Mas 13, M9Q7- 






THE RAILWAY FACILITIES OF BUFFALO 131 

Du Bois, Pa., in 1903-4. Between 1904 and 1907 the Buf- 
falo and Susquehanna completed its present line, by exten- 
sions from Wellsville to Buffalo, 90 miles, at one extremity, 
and to a point about 50 miles south of Du Bois at the other. 
Financial embarrassments ensued, which culminated in 
1910, when the company went into the hands of a receiver. 

Buffalo, as can be seen, has become the center of an ex- 
traordinary radiation of commercial highways, by water and 
by rail, stretching with directness to every point of the com- 
pass of travel and trade, and furnished to perfection with 
the vehicles that science and economic invention have de- 
vised. By boats on the longest of canals, to all the cities 
that line it, and to the great port which sends its shipping 
to the ends of the earth; by steamers to all harbors on the 
great chain of Great Lakes, bordered by the most productive 
region of the continent; by trains over sixteen distinct lines 
of rail from our own streets to the market places of all the 
towns of North America, — we can have easy dealings with 
whom we will. Production and traffic are supplied with 
facilities that can hardly be equalled in another situation, 
and nowhere surpassed. As stated in the annual report of 
the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce for 1907, "The railroad 
yard facilities are the greatest in the world. Buffalo has, 
within an area of forty-two square miles (including the 
yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, and the 
West Shore Railroads, which adjoin the city limits on the 
east) , 450 miles of railroad tracks, and this will be increased 
upwards of 660 miles when the terminal improvements and 
additions already planned by the various roads are com- 
pleted. The railroad companies own over 3,600 acres of 
land." 

Early in the first decade of the active centralizing of rail- 
way systems in Buffalo, which opened, as shown above, in 



132 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

1852, the dangers to life and the interruptions of city traffic 
caused by the railway crossing of streets at grade began to 
receive attention, and the elevating of Michigan Street over 
the tracks of the New York Central was planned in [856 
In Peter Emslie, then City Engineer. Nothing, however, 
was done with the plan, and nothing came from frequent 
agitations of the subject thereafter, until thirty-one years 
later, in April, 1887. The Common Council then adopted 
a resolution which requested the Board of Railway Commis- 
sioners of the State to inspect the entire s\ stem > ii approaches 
to the railway terminals of the city, "with a view to securing 
their recommendation of acomprehensiveplan lor elevating 
the tracks over the street crossings, or otherwise providing 
suitable remedies." 

Public interest in the matter was now very thoroughly 
aroused, and many business organizations entered actively 
into co-operation with the official representatives of the city, 
in pressing the movement thus begun. Committees of the 
Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, Lumber Exchange, Produce 
Exchange and Business Men's Association met with a com- 
mittee of the Common Council, the City Engineer and the 
Corporation Counsel, to prepare for public bearings to be 
given by the Railway Commissioners, and these were con- 
solidated in a Joint Committee, which conducted the whole 
proceeding thereafter. The Joint Committee was organ- 
ized by the election of Robert B. Adam to be its chairman, 
with Peter J. Ferris as secretary. From that time, for 
sixteen years, Mr. Adam was the quietly indomitable, tire- 
less leader of a campaign which had countless obstacles and 
oppositions to overcome. 

A full and very interesting narrative of the proceedings 
in which he bore a leading part was prepared by Mr. Adam 
in the spring of 1897 for the eighth volume of the Publica- 
tions of the Buffalo Historical Society. It forms an im- 



WORK OF THE GRADE-CROSSINGS COMMISSION 133 

portant chapter of local history, which cannot even be 
sketched in this place. No more will be attempted than an 
exhibit of the results. 

After nearly a year spent in fruitless endeavors to arrive 
at voluntary agreements with the railroads, legislation was 
obtained which created a board of commissioners, armed 
with considerable powers of coercion, "to enter into con- 
tracts on behalf of the City of Buffalo with the railroad 
companies for the relief of the City." The commissioners 
named in the Act, as finally passed and signed by the Gov- 
ernor, May 22, 1888, were Robert B. Adam, John B. Weber, 
Frederick Kendall, George Sandrock, James E. Nunan, 
William J. Morgan, Solomon Scheu, Charles A. Sweet, 
Edward H. Butler. The board was organized by electing 
R. B. Adam chairman and W. J. Morgan secretary. Spen- 
cer Clinton was retained as attorney and George E. Mann 
as engineer. 

The Grade Crossings Commission now entered on a con- 
test with the railroad companies which was prolonged for 
seven years, before actual work on adopted plans for the 
abolition of crossings at grade could be begun. The crucial 
question that had to be fought out was that of shares between 
railroad and city in the cost of the work to be done, and the 
consequential damages to be paid; some of the roads resist- 
ing any payment at all. In October, 1889, a contract with 
the New York Central Company was effected, on the basis 
of payment of one-third of cost by the city and two-thirds 
by the company. But this brought no beginning of work; 
for the reason that in the course of the difficulties and delays 
encountered in dealing with other companies, of which the 
Erie Railway Company was the most obstinately obstructive, 
and the further difficulties with property owners, it became 
necessary to modify plans, and the contract with the New 
York Central was thereby annulled. In renewing it the 



134 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

city assumed half of the consequential damages to be paid. 

In 1890, and again in 1892, it became necessary to procure 
more coercive legislation, by the pressure of which, and 
with help from the courts, the obstructive companies were 
brought finally to terms, in 1895-6, when contracts with all 
were secured, and the work, still in progress, was begun, 
nearly nine years alter the proceedings to secure it were 
begun. 

According to the Grade Crossings Commission's report on 
the 1 st of January, 1908, the total cost of work on this great 
improvement, from the beginning to that time, had been 
$8,037,418, of which the city had expended $2,907,867, and 
the railroads $5,129,551. Of this total cost $3,787,232.22 
had been cost of structures, to which the railroad companies 
had contributed $2,964,833.43, and the city $822,398.79; 
$867,952.68 had been land awards, the city paying 5292,- 
697.82, and the railroads $575,254^6; while $3,382,254.07 
had been consequential damages, of which the city paid 
$1,792,770.94, and the railroads $1,589,463.13. Some- 
awards for consequential damages were made subsequently 
to this report. 

The estimated cost 1 structures necessary t<> complete the 
general plan of the work was reported to he $233,152.36, 
which would call for a further expenditure of 56o,SS^.-9 by 
the city, and 5172,266.;- by the railroad companies; no esti- 
mate of land awards and consequential damages being made. 

The recent membership and organization of the Com- 
mission has been: Augustus F. Scheu, chairman, Ed- 
ward H. Butler, H. D. Kirkover, Andrew Langdon, 
William P. Northrup, Henry Schaefer, John J. McWil- 
liams, Maurice B. Patch, H. M. Gerrans. Colonel John 
B. Weber, who resigned early in 1908, had served from the 
first appointment of the Commission till that time. Attor- 
ih\ of the board, Spencer Clinton; chief engineer, Edward 
B. Guthrie. 



RAILWAY TERMINAL IMPROVEMENTS 135 

The passenger station arrangements of the railroads in 
Buffalo have been most unsatisfactory for many years to 
the city and to the travelling public at large. Repeated 
endeavors have been made to plan a union of all roads in 
one central station that would be acceptable to the many 
interests involved, on the side of the inhabitants of the city 
and on that of the various railroad companies; but no prac- 
ticable compromise of the differences existing has yet been 
found. In the spring of 1908, appeal was addressed to 
the State Public Service Commission, to exercise its 
authority in the matter, by ascertaining a proper solution 
of the problem and requiring it to be taken in hand. The 
result has been practically an abandonment of all thought 
of a union station, and a now promising endeavor to secure 
satisfactory terminal constructions for each road or system 
of roads. Late in 1910 plans came under consideration 
from the New York Central Company and its system for 
terminal improvements on Exchange Street, extending up 
to Main Street, and from the Lackawanna Company for 
terminal structures on the Buffalo River front, east of Main 
Street, to Michigan Street. 

The development of neighborhood lines of electric rail- 
way began early in the last decade of last century, and the 
extension of them has made rapid progress in recent years. 
In 1902, most of the electric lines then existing or f ranchised 
in the region northward and eastward from the city, on both 
sides of the Niagara Frontier, were absorbed or combined 
by the International Railway Company, then organized, 
which acquired the street railway system of Buffalo and 
connected the operation of the whole. The outer lines thus 
combined were the following: the Buffalo and Niagara 
Falls Electric Railway; the Buffalo and Lockport; the 
Buffalo, Bellevue and Lancaster; the Elmwood Avenue and 
Tonawanda; the Buffalo, Tonawanda and Niagara Falls; 



136 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

the Electric City (Niagara Falls) system; the Lockport and 
Olcott; the Niagara Falls and Suspension Bridge; the 
Niagara halls Park and River. The combination includes 
also the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Lewiston Connect- 
ing Bridge and the Queenston Heights Bridge; and it has 
taken in the Frontier Electric Railway Company, incor- 
porated in [906 to build a line from Buffalo to connect with 
a through line to Toronto. 

To connect with the International Railway Company's 
system at Lockport, a line from Rochester to Lockport is 
being built by the Buffalo, Lockport and Rochester Railway 
Company, incorporated in [905. 

Other electric lines running out of Buffalo are the 
following: 

The Buffalo and Williamsville, incorporated in iS<;2; 
affiliated with which is the Buffalo, Batavia and Rochester 
Electric Railway Company, incorporated in 1 0"4 to extend 
the Williamsville line through Batavia to Rochester. 

The Buffalo Southern Railway Company, incorporated 
in \()i 14, which purchased the property and franchises of 
the Buffalo, Hamburg and Aurora and the Buffalo, Garden- 
ville and Ebenezer Railway companies; and which now 
operates lines to Hamburg and, by branch, to ( )rchard Park, 
as well as a line to Lein's Park, and which has a line to 
East Aurora under way. 

The Buffalo and Lake Erie Traction Company, incor- 
porated in 1906 (being a consolidation of several former 
companies) to complete a line from Buffalo to Erie, along 
the lake shore. Its line was opened to Angola earlv in the 
summer of 1908 and has since been completed. It is iden- 
tified in interest with the Buffalo and Lackawanna Traction 
Company, incorporated in 1906 to build and operate five 
miles of track in Buffalo for connection with the above. 



CHAPTER III 

INNER COMMUNICATIONS 

JOSEPH ELLICOTTS planning of the Holland Land 
Company's settlement of New Amsterdam, and the 
features he imparted to the future city that grew up 
on its lines, are described somewhat in the first chapter of 
this book. They were discussed very graphically many years 
ago by the Rev. Dr. George W. Hosmer, the eloquent old- 
time pastor of the Unitarian Church in Buffalo, who ad- 
mired the plan of the city greatly, as many others have done. 
In a paper read to the Buffalo Historical Society in 1864, 
and to which he gave a happy title — "The Physiognomy of 
Buffalo" — Dr. Hosmer imagined a picture of Ellicott, in 
1802, or '03, "standing by his compass in what is now Main 
Street, in front of the churches" — now Shelton Square. "So 
confident is he that commerce must come here and pour out 
her horn of plenty, that he has resolved to lay out a city; so 
delighted is he with the grandeur of the situation, that he 
thinks he will make his home here; he selects for himself a 
noble manor, one hundred acres of land, between Eagle and 
Swan Streets, and from Main nearly to Jefferson Street, al- 
most enough for a principality in Germany, and determines 
to build upon the western front, looking toward the lake. So 
here, upon what is to be the site of his house, he stands by his 
compass, indicating the lines which are now our streets: 
Main Street, running north and south upon the crown of 
land; Church Street, directly front from his door to the 
water; Erie Street, to the mouth of the creek, where com- 
merce must come; Niagara Street to Black Rock Ferry, 
which was a great institution in the early day — and so on, 
to the completion of the plan. 

"Mr. Ellicott, in laying out our city, had large ideas, and 

137 



138 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

worked upon a magnificent scale. There is originality in 
the plan. He did not bring a map of New York or Boston 
or Albany, and lay it down here; he wrought upon the in- 
spiration of a magnificent hope, and we are greatly indebted 
to him for the open, handsome face of our city. 

"It is reported that Mr. Ellicott said, 'God has made Buf- 
falo, and I must try to make Batavia.' God did make the 
place and its surroundings; the wooded ridge gently sloping 
toward the sun, the lake stretching far away to the west, and 
pouring its unceasing Hood along the majestic Niagara, close 
by — the Canada shore, the Chautauqua and Cattaraugus 
It i lis, and the high lands of Evans, Aurora and Wales, all to- 
gether, as seen from the Reservoir on Niagara [no longer 
there, but on the higher ground of Best Street] is a noble 
panorama. I love to take strangers to see it. God made 
these surroundings and background to relieve and set oft our 
city's face, and he gives the contour of the physiognomy; 
but particular features are defined, and expression is given, 
by the streets and squares. Philadelphia, with its checker- 
board arrangement, looks set, precise, demure. Boston Com 
mon and the new ly made parts of that city are very beautiful, 
but the most of its features are painfull y contracted and 
snarled up. The face of New York is much too long for its 
breadth." 

So the Reverend Doctor went on in his criticism of other 
city plans, returning after a little to say: "Our city has no 
neighboring hills, like Albany and Cincinnati, to heighten 
expression, but its plan and streets, for beauty, health and 
convenience, 1 think, are unrivalled. There is enough ir- 
regularity to prevent tiresome monotony, and not enough to 
create confusion. Mr. Ellicott, I suppose, intended Niagara 
Square should be the center of his city; from that point the 
streets run out in all directions, eight broad avenues; and at 
night when these streets are lighted, from that point in the 



THE STREETS OF 1 826 139 

square where they all center, they make a grand show, dou- 
ble lines of light stretching off into the surrounding dark- 
ness. This square did not become the center of the city, be- 
cause the State reserved a mile-strip along the Niagara 
River; and so Buffalo was thrown to the east and south, in 
a measure interrupting the perfection of Mr. Ellicott's plan. 
But as it has turned out, we have received a largess of favor 
from his liberal designing— he gave to the city a good, 
comely face." 

For a little more than a score of years the villagers of 
Buffalo practiced their tongues and their pens on the Dutch 
names that Mynheer Ellicott had given to their streets, and 
custom, it is evident, could not lend smoothness or ease to the 
writing or the speech. In July, 1826, they had tired of the 
effort and gave it up. Their village trustees, at a meeting on 
the 13th of that month, thinking it necessary to designate for- 
mally the then existing public highways of the village, sub- 
ject to care and regulation as such, determined at the same 
time to emancipate themselves from the more jawbreaking 
of the names which good Joseph Ellicott had inflicted upon 
them. Accordingly, after declaring them to be public high- 
ways, they resolved: 'That the streets in the village of Buf- 
falo shall hereafter be known and distinguished by the fol- 
lowing names." And this is the list — to understand some 
part of which it must be remembered that the mile-long resi- 
dence lot which Mr. Ellicott had reserved for himself occu- 
pied the space between East Swan and East Eagle Streets, 
and no streets were then running through that space. Wash- 
ington and Ellicott Streets were cut through soon afterward. 

Willink Avenue and Van Stophurst Avenue to be Main 
Street. 

North and South Oneida Street to be Ellicott Street. 

North and South Onondaga Street to be Washington 
Street. 



140 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

North and South Cayuga Street to be Pearl Street. 

Tuscarora Street to be Franklin Street. 

Delaware Street to be Delaware Street. 

Mississippi Street to be Morgan Street. 

Vollenhoven Avenue to be Erie Street. 

Schimmelpenninck Avenue to be Niagara Street. 

Busti Avenue to be Genesee Street. 

Chippewa Street to be Chippewa Street. 

Huron Street to be Huron Street. 

Mohawk Street to be Mohawk Street. 

Cazenovia Avenue to be Court Street. 

Eagle Street to be Eagle Street. 

Stadnitski Avenue to be Church Street. 

Swan Street to be Swan Street. 

Seneca Street to be Seneca Street. 

Crow Street to be Crow Street (changed subsequently to 
Exchange). 

These, then, were all the streets that had received names 
pnor to that 13th of July, 1826. But the Board of Trustees 
proceeded to give names to several other streets, four of 
which, Canal, Ohio, Dock and Clinton Streets — have kept 
their existence and their names to the present time; while- 
two - Batavia (Broadway and Lafayette, its extension to 
Mam), have survived under changed names, and one, Har- 
bour Street, has lost existence as well as name. 

This action of that July meeting of the Trustees of the 
Village of Buffalo in 1826, is interesting, not only in the old 
and new naming of familiar streets, but because it tells us 
just what there was of Buffalo, a quarter century after its 
beginnings and thirteen years after it had been struck down 
and began existence anew. A line through Ellicott Street, 
Chippewa, Morgan, Niagara (or the Terrace, perhai 
Erie, Buffalo Creek and Ohio Street, marks the boundary 
which these, the streets of the village, define. Some outlving 



THE EARLIEST STREET IMPROVEMENTS 141 

residences there were, to be sure; but, scattered as the dwell- 
ings of the time were, they must have stood with few excep- 
tions inside of these bounds. 

The streets were no more than country roads, with some 
sidewalk construction, but it is not probable that much grad- 
ing had been done. This seems to be indicated by an entry 
of 1825 in the records of the Village Trustees, which states 
that Joseph Clary was "directed to ascertain the true surface 
of the sidewalks in Main Street between Swan and Crow 
(Exchange) Streets." From the same records we learn 
that, in 1829, "Main Street was ordered to be flagged and 
railed at the expense of the owners," from Exchange Street 
to Chippewa on the west side and to Eagle Street on the east 
side, "the flagging to be smooth stone or hard brick." In the 
next year the east side flagging was ordered to be extended 
to Genesee Street. 

After the incorporation, in 1832, of the City of Buffalo, 
divided into five wards and equipped with a Mayor and a 
Common Council, the records give evidence of a more am- 
bitious and active improvement of streets. What relates to 
streets in the Common Council proceedings has been copied 
out in separate manuscript volumes of "Street Records," to 
be seen at the office of the City Clerk; and this makes it com- 
paratively easy to trace the progress of street improvement. 
For some years there is no mention of paving, but "grading 
and gravelling" of the business streets is proceeding at a 
lively rate. In June, 1832, Main Street below Exchange is 
graded, and in September, the property owners on both sides 
of that lower part of the street are ordered to "fill in, gradu- 
ate and gravel their sidewalks to the level of the street." 
But, apparently, it was not until 1835 that the grade of Main 
Street was established between Eagle and Court. 

The Rev. Dr. Hosmer came to the city in 1836, and in his 
paper on "The Physiognomy of Buffalo," already quoted 



142 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

from, he describes conditions of the streets that he had seen 
after that time. "Many of us," he wrote, "can remember 
when the face of Buffalo was rather rough, and parts of the 
year too dirty with mire for washing to do any good. Main 
Street was as broad as Mr. Ellicott laid it out, but its mud 
was said to have no bottom. I have seen teams sloughed on 
Mohawk Street, near Delaware; and one team I remember 
seeing sunk so deep that it seemed to be going through, until 
another team was brought to drag out and rescue the sinkers. 
I saw a young lady one day sloughed in the middle of Pearl 
Street, near Tupper, so that she could not step without leav- 
ing behind her shoes and overshoes, perhaps the whole foot 
apparel, and there she stood with a patience peculiar to those 
days, until I got boards and made a way for her poor feet." 

The first evidence of paving that the present writer has 
found appears in the Street Records for 1836, when assess- 
ment rolls for paving Main Street below Exchange Street 
and from South Division Street to the City Line, and for 
paving Seneca Street from Washington to Michigan, are 
stated to have been confirmed. Three years later, in Novem- 
ber, 1839, there is record of a Common Council resolution, 
"that in order to preserve that part of Main Street which 
has been recently macadamized from injury by teams trav- 
elling constantly in the same ruts before the stone is packed," 
therefore that practice is exhorted against and forbidden. 
Inasmuch as all of Main Street to the City Line except the 
part between Exchange and South Division streets was to be 
paved, apparently, in 1836, this macadamizing must have 
been done in that short part, or else paving and macadamiz- 
ing were not technically distinguishable terms in 1836. It 
would be correct enough to call macadamizing paving, and 
this may have been done in the earlier record. A few years 
later there is mention in the records of an invitation for pro- 
posals to be received "for paving and grading, or part pav- 



THE EARLIEST STREET-PAVING 1 43 

ing and macadamizing Washington Street, from Exchange 
to Swan ;" showing a distinction then in the use of the terms, 
but it may not have been made before. The outcome of these 
proposals was a resolution authorizing the street commis- 
sioner to pave Washington Street from Swan to Exchange 
with cobble stones. 

The annual report of the Department of Public Works for 
1907 gives a list of twenty-four streets on some portions of 
which there were pavements of stone on sand laid down in 
1850, which still remain. This is the oldest date assigned to 
any part of existing pavements in the city. In the report of 
the department for 1889 the following bits of pavement his- 
tory are given: "Prior to 1849 stone pavement was laid on 
sand bed ; an inferior shape of stone was used, in some in- 
stances limestone, but most of it was Medina sandstone. We 
have found, from such records as could be obtained, that up 
to 1849 there had been laid, under 112 contracts, 27.89 
miles." "Since 1892 we have laid little of the common 
blocks in sand." "The first of stone on concrete was laid in 
Eagle Street in 1887." "Wood blocks made their appear- 
ance in 1869, in a private contract, when Ohio Street was 
laid with Nicholson blocks, between Main and Washington 
Streets." Eighteen contracts for different kinds of wood 
pavement were executed in all, the last one in 1876. This 
pavement began to disappear in 1882, and the last was taken 
up in 1886. The first macadam was laid in Delaware 
Avenue, from Bird Avenue to Forest Avenue, in 1877, but 
not much has been introduced outside of the park system. 
Asphalt pavement was laid first in Delaware Avenue, from 
Virginia Street to North, in 1878. The first surfacing of 
asphalt over stone was done on Irving Place in 1893. 

Excluding the park system, the total pavements in the city 
in 1906, according to a table published in the report of the 
Department of Public Works for 1907, was as follows 



144 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

(omitting fractions of miles) : Asphalt on concrete, 209 
miles, asphalt on stone, 21 ; stone on sand, 80; block stone, 
14; hrick, 18; macadam, 12. Total, 355 miles. 

When the first street railways were undertaken in Buffalo 
the city afforded less favorable conditions to the enterprise 
than were found in most others of equal population at the 
time. It has not yet become a compact city, and will be 
happy in its fortune if it never does make its people too 
neighborly for their comfort and health; but fifty years ago 
the diffuseness of its inhabitation was extreme. Its eighty 
thousand residents were spread, certainly, over half, and 
probably more than half, of the ground now occupied by 
four hundred thousand. Practically every family lived in a 
separate house, and most houses were built on roomy lots. 
The hive-life of apartment houses, rooming houses and fam- 
ily hotels, was not yet an imagined or conceivably possible 
life for people in this part of the world. Even blocks of 
residences were few and not in favor. 

In reality, there was much inconvenience in the excess of 
the elbow-room which Buffalonians had given themselves 
in the make-up of their city; but the habits of life which 
they conformed to it were not easily changed. For mod- 
erate distances of city travel they were accustomed to walk- 
ing, and the mere custom would resist street-car invitations 
to ride much longer than thrift or parsimony alone would 
hold out against half-dime expenditures for the saving of 
time and legs. Quite a number of the first years of street 
railway experience in Buffalo were spent in a somewhat 
costly demonstration of these facts. The lines built were 
necessarily long, to gather possibly paying numbers of pas- 
sengers from the loosely strung houses of the best filled 
streets. If they caught the street car habit with readiness 
the numbers might suffice. The success of the first adven- 
turers in this new field of local enterprise depended wholly 



THE FIRST STREET RAILWAYS 1 45 

on that; and it is evident that the sufficiency was not found 
for a considerable number of years. 

Two companies undertook the experiment at the same 
time. One, the Buffalo Street Railroad Company, which 
built a line on Main Street, was organized with a capital of 
$100,000, having Stephen V. R. Watson for its president, 
G. R. Wilson for vice-president, Charles T. Coit, for secre- 
tary, and Andrew J. Rich for treasurer. The other, the Ni- 
agara Street Railroad Company.building on Niagara Street, 
with a capital of $80,000, chose for president Edward S. 
Warren and for secretary and treasurer De Witt C. Weed. 
The Main Street line was opened from "the Dock." as far as 
Edward Street on the nth of June, i860, and through to 
Cold Spring on the 14th of the next month. The Niagara 
Street Company ran their first cars to Black Rock on the 23d 
of June. This company did no more than build and operate 
the one line. The Buffalo Street Railroad built a second 
line on Genesee Street, which it opened in 1864. 

The lines of both companies were operated with loss to the 
stockholders for years. In 1868 the Niagara Street organi- 
zation succumbed to the adversities of the situation, and the 
Buffalo Street Railroad Company acquired its line. This 
company was having, then and long after, a hard struggle 
for life; but its president, Mr. Watson, had inextinguishable 
faith in the future of Buffalo and in the ultimate profitable- 
ness of such a system of street railways as he wished to create. 
That the inspiration of faith and courage which carried his 
company through its trials came mostly from him is the testi- 
mony of all who knew the facts best. 

At a banquet, given on the occasion of the meeting in Buf- 
falo of the American Street Railway Association in 1890, 
the Hon. E. Carlton Sprague spoke on this subject, saying: 
"I do not know how much money was originally invested in 
either of those enterprises [of the two street railroad com- 



146 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

panies], nor am I familiar with the financial operations of 
the Niagara Street Railroad Company, but so far as the 
Buffalo Street Railroad Company is concerned, I know that 
from i860 to 1867 it was constantly laying more tracks than 
it had means to pay for, and borrowing all the money it 
could on bonds and promissory notes. Substantially, the 
entire concerns of the company were in the hands of Mr. 
Watson, and so continued until the year of his death. He 
also gave his personal oversight to every detail of the pur- 
chase, construction and management of the company's 
property. 

"From the start and always he had faith in the growth of 
the city and in the ultimate success of its street railroads. He 
was a man of large ideas, looking far into the future; of a 
sanguine temperament, public spirited, great-hearted, and 
the most indefatigable and industrious man whom I ever 
met. From before sunrise to after sunset he was accustomed 
to give his individual time and labor to the service of the 
company. He was always pushing the Buffalo Street Rail- 
road and its equipments to the utmost, and for that purpose 
was .111 enormous borrower, and was constantly pledging his 
individual credit to sustain the credit of the company. No 
dividends were declared. All the net earnings went into the 
roads. But in those vears Buffalo was a slow city. Its re- 
covery from the panic of 1857 was very gradual. Almost 
everybody but Mr. Watson became discouraged. He never 
did." 

Further on in his remarks Mr. Sprague stated that "not 
long after 1868 Mr. Watson became the owner substantially 
of all the stock of the Buffalo Street Railroad Companv." 
and "in 1870 he procured the incorporation of the Buffalo 
East Side Street Railroad Company." "T remember talking 
often with him about this enterprise," said Mr. Sprague, 
"and asking him how he expected to raise the money to carry 



STEPHEN V. R. WATSON'S WORK 147 

it on. He said that as long as there was a cent on this earth 
which could be borrowed he should borrow it, and that he 
would look to the future for his pay. But the future that 
he spoke of was much farther off than he anticipated. The 
panic of 1873 struck the city, and the shadow was not en- 
tirely dispelled much before 1880, but Mr. Watson never 
quailed. His labors were unceasing, and income increased. 
Ultimately, every past-due cent of the company's debt, as 
well as Mr. Watson's own private debts, with interest in full, 
was paid. No man ever lost a dollar of principal or interest 
by trusting Mr. Watson or the street railroad companies; 
but Mr. Watson, physically broken down by continual toil, 
finally fell a victim to his devotion to the Buffalo street rail- 
road companies. At the annual election on the 7th of June, 
1 880, he was elected president of the Buffalo Street Railroad 
Company for the last time, and on the 17th day of June, 
1880, the board of directors of that company adopted reso- 
lutions lamenting his untimely death, which had occurred 
between those two dates. He never reaped the rewards of his 
labors. He never enjoyed even the sight of the promised 
land, except through the telescope of his imagination." 

On the organization of the East Side Street Railroad 
Company, mentioned above, the late Joseph Churchyard 
was elected president and Mr. Henry M. Watson was made 
secretary and treasurer. Mr. Churchyard resigned and was 
succeeded by Mr. Watson in 1879. On the death of Mr. 
S. V. R. Watson, Mr. Henry M. Watson became president 
of the several companies under which the general system had 
grown up. 

Meantime the Exchange Street line of railway was built, 
in 1873; the William Street line, to East Buffalo, and the 
Michigan Street line from the Docks to Goodell Street, in 
1874, and the latter line was carried through to Main Street 
in 1875. The Main Street line was extended to Delaware 



148 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

Park in 1879. Subsequently lines were laid down in Con- 
necticut, in Allen and in Virginia Streets in 1880; in Jeffer- 
son and Emslie Streets in 1884; in Broadway, in Carlton, 
and in Ferry and Chenango Streets in 1885. In 1886 the 
West Avenue line was opened. In 1888 the Forest Avenue 
Line was opened to the Park, and the Jersey and Baynes 
Streets lines were earned through. 

The first electric service was introduced in 1889, on the 
line to Delaware Park. In 1891 the electrification of the 
entire system was begun and completed rapidly within the 
next few years. 

Under .1 new charter, obtained in 1890, the several com- 
panies which then divided, but little more than nominally, 
the ownership and management of the street railways of the 
city, — namely, the Buffalo Street Railroad Company, the 
Buffalo East Side Street Railroad Company, and the Buf- 
falo West Side Street Railroad Company,- were consoli- 
dated in the organization of the Buffalo Railway Company, 
which existed until 1899. In this period the system of city 
lines was extended widely. 

In the fall of 1897 a rival corporation, the Buffalo Trac- 
tion Company, which hail obtained a railway franchise in 
numerous streets not occupied bv the Buffalo Railway Com- 
pany, including Frie. South Division, Swan, Elm, Best, 
Walden Avenue. Chicago, Perry and Hamburg, opened a 
line from Frie Street to and through Walden Avenue. In 
the next year this company opened a line from Frie Street 
to the Union Iron Works in South Buffalo; but its lines and 
its franchises were bought soon afterwards bv the Buffalo 
Railway Company. 

In its turn, the Buffalo Railway Company underwent ab- 
sorption, in 1902, by the International Railway, which was 
organized and incorporated that year for the acquisition and 
combined operation of an extensive system of urban, inter- 



THE TELEPHONE SERVICE 1 49 

urban and suburban electric lines, on and near the Niagara 
Frontier, in both New York and Canada. The neighboring 
electric lines thus connected in operation with the street lines 
of the city have been specified in the preceding chapter. 
Within the city the street lines have been much extended 
and the service improved in recent years, the extension of 
Elmwood Avenue, in 1 909-1 910, to connect with Morgan 
Street at Chippewa, having opened a specially important 
improvement. 

As forming an important part of the facilities provided 
for movement within the city, mention should be made of 
the Belt Line of track and trains which the New York Cen- 
tral Railroad Company established in 1882, when it obtained 
the right to run through The Terrace (tunneling Washing- 
ton and Main Streets) , and down the Niagara River shore to 
Black Rock, to a connection with its former tracks to 
Niagara Falls. On this nearly complete circuit of the city 
the running of frequent regular trains is of great con- 
venience to much business on its outer rim. 

Buffalo began to enjoy the usefulness of the telephone in 
1879, when the introduction of the great invention of Alex- 
ander Graham Bell was undertaken by the Bell Telephone 
Company of Buffalo, incorporated that year. Mr. Edward 
J. Hall, now vice-president of the American Telephone and 
Telegraph Company — the parent company, as it is called, 
of the Bell system in the United States — was the prime 
mover in this Buffalo undertaking, and the first general 
manager of the operations of the company when begun. Its 
license from the parent company was not for Buffalo, only, 
but covered a large Western New York field, embracing 
Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Monroe, Orleans, Wyoming and 
Livingston counties, taking in, as will be seen, the cities of 
Batavia, Rochester, Lockport, Niagara Falls and Tona- 
wanda, as well as our own. 



150 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

It was over this large district that the Bell Telephone 
Company of Buffalo spread its wires. To reach its 60,000 
telephones in the many city, town and village exchange sys- 
tems it organized, it had stretched no less than 1 17,000 miles 
of wire in 1907, exclusive of the connecting wires of its toll 
plant, so called, which measure up over 18,000 miles more. 

The one exchange station with which the company began 
business in Buffalo was located, with its offices, on the north- 
east corner of Main and Eagle Streets. Its offices and its cen- 
tral station have been, since 1885, in the former bank and 
office buildings on West Seneca Street, near Main, which it 
purchased and fitted for its use. It has now branch stations 
in different parts of the city. The long-distance Bell system 
was extended to Buffalo in 1888, and the affiliated company 
in this city has connection with all its wires. In 1909, by a 
reorganization of Bell Telephone interests in the State, the 
company in Buffalo lost its former distinctiveness of name, 
becoming absorbed in the New York Telephone Company. 

To introduce competition in the telephone service, with a 
view to reductions in rates, a franchise of forty years' dura- 
tion was granted to a second company, named the Frontier, 
incorporated in 1901. A little later the Frontier Telephone 
Company was placed, along with many other independent 
telephone companies in the State, under the control of a 
holding company, named the Consolidated Telephone Com- 
pany of Buffalo. A still later organization gave it the name 
of the Federal Telegraph and Telephone Company, the 
offices of both companies being in this city. 

The construction of the Frontier Company's system, un- 
der the supervision of Mr. Wilbur H. Johnston, engineer in 
charge, was begun in May, 1902, and the first service to sub- 
scribers furnished in March, 1903. At the end of five years, 
in the spring of 1908, the company reported between 16,000 
and 17,000 subscribers in Buffalo, with long distance con- 



THE TELEPHONE SERVICE 151 

nections over the wires of the Inter-ocean Telegraph and 
Telephone Company, as far east as Utica, west as far as De- 
troit, south to Pittsburg, and widely through Western Penn- 
sylvania and Western New York. There is installed in the 
Company's plant "approximately 1,100 miles of open wire 
on pole lines; 11,944 miles of wire in overhead cables; 
40,000 miles of wire in underground cables, and 20 miles of 
wire in submarine cables. 



CHAPTER IV 

ELECTRIC POWER FROM NIAGARA FALLS 

Till', completion, in August, 1895, °f tne fi rst "power 
plant" created at Niagara Falls, for the transforma- 
tion into electric energj of some part of the stupen- 
dous force of gravitation which is spent in the fall of the 
mighty river, was an event of great significance to Buffalo. 
Not yet so important, perhaps, in results, as it promised to 
be, but adding, nevertheless, a splendid gift from nature to 
the many which the city had taken before from her lavish 
hands. We receive some distinction that has value in it from 
even the simple fact, that a servant more famous than any 
other in the world has been brought into our employ, to 
trundle our trolley cars and turn wheels in our factories and 
give us light. 

The lirst to exploit the Falls of Niagara as a source of 
electric power were the scientists, engineers and capitalists 
organized in the Niagara halls Power Company, which 
broke ground for its undertaking on the 4th of October, 
1890, and made its first delivery of power for industrial use 
on the 26th of August, 1 895. Buffalo had little or no partici- 
pation in this initial enterprise; and it was not until the fol- 
lowing year that the transmission of power to the city was 
achieved. It came first to the Buffalo Railway Company 
1,000 horsepower, switched into the company's power houses 
at exactly midnight of November 15-16, [896, with a sig- 
nalling of the event to the city by the firing of cannon, the 
blowing of steam whistles and the ringing of bells. 

That first thousand horsepower ran a good many street 
cars; but the Railway Company now takes 13,000 of horse- 
power from Niagara, while 16,000 are applied to industrial 
uses, and 12,000 go to the production of light. These were 
the maxima of use in the spring of 1908. The total of 41.000 

152 



ELECTRIC POWER— NIAGARA FALLS I 53 

horsepower leaves a margin of 9,000 which can still be sup- 
plied to Buffalo under existing contracts with the com- 
panies from which it comes. The producing companies at 
Niagara deliver it to the Cataract Power and Conduit Com- 
pany, which brings it through cables to the city, and this 
latter company is entitled to 50,000 horsepower, of the 
160,000 now developed by the two Niagara companies with 
which it deals. These two companies are the original 
Niagara Falls Power Company, on the American side of the 
Niagara, and the Canadian Niagara Power Company, on 
the opposite bank. An alliance of interest exists between the 
two. The Niagara power used in Buffalo is drawn from 
both, and the public interests of the city are connected thus 
with them, while the companies are alien to it. 

On the other hand, a third power company at Niagara, on 
the Canadian side, is entirely Buffalonian in every respect, 
of conception, of invested capital and of management. This 
is the Ontario Power Company, which takes water at the 
head of the rapids, above the Horseshoe Fall, carries it in 
conduits laid underground to a power house, just below the 
Falls, under the cliff, and drops it to the turbines there. This 
exactly reverses the method of the two plants referred to 
above. In both of those the water makes its drop to the tur- 
bines in wheel-pits sunk deep at the points where it is taken 
from the river above the Falls, and is discharged thence 
through tunnels into the river below the Falls. The power 
house of the Ontario Company, below the Horseshoe 
Fall, is a dignified structure of unobtrusive design, so har- 
monized in color with the cliff at its back that it cannot al- 
ways be distinguished, through the spray, from the cliff it- 
self. The whole conveyance of the water to it is out of sight, 
under ground, and the other structures connected with the 
plant are not only of pleasing achitecture, but too far re- 
moved to affect the scenic framing of the Falls. 



154 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

The works of the Ontario Power Company are planned 
for an ultimate generation of 200,000 horsepower, and the 
head-works are completed for this amount. Other parts of 
the works are completed for smaller amounts. The genera- 
tors now installed have a capacity of 66,000 horsepower, 
normal rating, with a large overload capacity beyond that. 
Distribution in the United States of power from the On- 
tario Power Company is conducted and controlled by the 
Niagara, Lockport and Ontario Power Company, which has 
brought into operation, since July, 1906, a remarkably ex- 
tensive system of transmission lines, stretching as far east- 
ward as Syracuse. By what seems a narrow view of munici- 
pal policy, it has been prevented from coming into Buffalo, 
but has a line circuiting the city, to West Seneca and the 
Lackawanna Steel Plant, as well as to Lancaster and Depew. 
It reaches thus a great manufacturing district which is a 
part of Buffalo in all connections of interest, and in every- 
thing except the municipal government and name. 

The officers of the Ontario Power Company are John J. 
Albright, president; Prancis V. Greene, vice-president; 
Robert C. Board, secretary and treasurer. The directors 
include, in addition to the above, Edmund Hayes, S. M 
Clement, and W. H. Grarwick. 

In closing a paper on "The Development of the Ontario 
Power Company," which he read at the annual convention 
of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, in 1905, 
Mr. P. X. Xunn, one of the company's engineers, made this 
interesting remark: "More than all else in the establishment 
of this great and daring enterprise stands out the attitude 
maintained toward their engineers by Messrs. J. J. Albright 
and Edmund Hayes, the originators and majority owners, 
who, in strong contrast with the harassing interference bv 
which uninformed investors frequently spoil the best ef- 
forts of engineers, have in this case given, not onlv absolute 
freedom of action, but also steadfast support." 



ikI/1 












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upany are planned 
eration ot rsepower, and the 

stalled have a capacity of 61 power, 

capaci' hat. 

the Un m the < 

conducted and controlled 

D HAN KS. 
Civil 

tmologyi; member Oti tfte 1- mnn \ >">• 

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ELECTRIC POWER — NIAGARA FALLS 155 

Of another power plant at Niagara which represents Buf- 
falo enterprise and capital strictly, namely that of the 
Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Com- 
pany, some account is given in another section of this work, 
relating to the flour-milling interests of the city. 



CHAPTER V 

WATER SUPPLY, FIRE-FIGHTING, GAS AND 
ELECTRIC LIGHTING 

UNTIL [826-9 the villages of Buffalo and Black Rock 
were dependent entirely upon wells for their water 
supply, except as the few who lived near enough to 
those natural sources might draw from the Niagara River 
or Buffalo Creek. That dependence was lessened slightly 
in the years named above, by the undertaking of the Jubilee 
Water Works Company, organized for a distribution of 
water from the Jubilee Springs, which bubble to this day on 
the west side of Delaware Avenue. 

In 1826 the company laid pump-logs from the springs to 
Black Rock; in 1S20 they extended a second line of wooden 
pipes down Main Street to the canal. By 1832, when Buf- 
falo became a chartered city, there were said to be 16 miles 
of these pipes, and some considerable number of people 
must have been drinking the water of the springs. The 
company's charge for it was seven dollars yearly to fami- 
lies and five dollars to offices and stores. 

Twenty years after the laying of the Jubilee pump-logs 
down Main Street, a larger undertaking to supply water to 
the 40,000 people then inhabiting the city was taken in hand. 
The Buffalo City Water Works Company, incorporated in 
1849, with a capital of $200,000, and authority to increase it 
to $500,000, planned to pump water from the Niagara, 
through a tunnel running under the Erie Canal and Black 
Rock Harbor, to the outer side of Bird Island Pier, storing 
and distributing it from a reservoir on Prospect Hill. The 
reservoir, covering the block bounded by Niagara, Connecti- 
cut and Vermont Streets, and Prospect Avenue, and holding 
eleven millions of gallons, was finished in November, 1851 ; 

156 



WATER SUPPLY 157 

the tunnel, three hundred and thirty feet in length, was 
ready in the following month ; pumps, at a station on the 
margin of the canal, were then put into operation, lifting 
four millions of gallons in twenty-four hours, and the public 
service of the works was opened formally on the 2nd of 
January, 1852. 

In 1868, the Water Works Company raised its price to 
the city for public uses of water, whereupon the latter pro- 
cured legislation under which it purchased the company's 
plant, paying $705,000. The water supply has been under 
municipal management since that date. With the growth of 
the city the works, in every part, have undergone immense 
enlargement and much change. 

One of the first new measures was to answer the needs of 
those parts of the city, on its higher ground, to which water 
from the reservoir was not carried with adequate force. 
This was remedied by the introduction of auxiliary pump- 
ing engines, of the "Holly system," so called, which was 
brought into operation in January, 185 1. 

Another early undertaking was to obtain purer water, by 
constructing new tunnels, to tap the river far out, under its 
swift middle current, where an inlet pier was built, of great 
solidity and sheathed with steel plates, to resist the thrust 
and shock of ice in the spring of the year. In 1907 contracts 
were let for another inlet and another tunnel to the foot of 
Porter Avenue, where a second pumping station would be 
installed. In the prosecution, during the next three years, 
of the work then undertaken, the cost ran so heavily beyond 
the original contracts and estimates that investigations were 
undertaken, at the instance of the Chamber of Commerce, in 
1910. The two chambers of the Common Council were 
drawn into separate proceedings of inquiry, with results that 
gave no public satisfaction. The episode was one of many 
which have exhibited the mischiefs of divided authority and 



158 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

responsibility in the city government, and the success with 
which the powerful department of public works can exercise 
its own will. According to a report to the public, by the 
board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Manu- 
facturers Club, January 1, 191 1, "the new tunnel to the Em- 
erald Channel (which the Commissioner of Public Works 
estimated in his letter to the mayor, dated January 1 1, 1905, 
would cost $300,000), has cost to October 17, [910, $1,455,- 
258.20, with about $100,000 yet to pay;" and the expenditure 
of $1,167,041 "for rebuilding and re-equipping the old 
[pumping] station, making it an entirely new station on the 
old site — instead of the >;<>,ooo as proposed - has rendered 
wholly unnecessary the Porter Avenue pumping station," 
which is nevertheless in contemplation at a cost of $900,000. 
Attempts to arrest the building of the new pumping station 
are now under way. 

The equipment of the present pumping station is stated as 
follows in the report above mentioned of the Chamber of 
Commerce : 

"Two new steam pumps each of 30,000,000 gallons daily 
capacity. 

"Three new electric pumps each of 25,000,000 gallons 
daily capacity. 

"Two Lake Erie pumps, installed in 1896 and 1898, re- 
spectively, of 30,000,000 gallons daily capacity. 

"And there are now being installed two additional steam 
pumps each of 30,000,000 gallons daily capacity, construc- 
tion being well under way and contract requiring comple- 
tion by January and June, 191 1. These new pumps are to 
replace two Holly steam pumps each of 20, mo, 000 gallons 
dailv capacity installed in 1889 and 1892. The present daily 
capacity is, therefore, 235,000,000 gallons, and when the new 
pumps above mentioned have been installed it will be 2;;,- 
000,000 gallons ; all modern and efficient machinerv." 



WATER SUPPLY . 159 

The old reservoir was abandoned in 1894 (its site given 
for the new armory of the 74th Regiment, N. Y. S. N. G.), 
and a new one, holding 1 16,000,000 gallons, was constructed 
on the block, that lies between Best, Jefferson, Dodge and 
Masten Streets. Five years — from 1889 to 1894 — were 
spent in the construction of this, and its cost was $554,000, 
exclusive of the cost of the ground. 

The pipes of the distributing system had been extended 
to 516 miles of length in 1907. When the city took the 
works in 1868 the length of water pipes in the streets was 
about 34 miles. In 1868 the average consumption of water 
was 4,000,000 gallons daily; in 1906, it was 132,000,000. In 
the former year the population was about 100,000, against 
400,000, or possibly a little more, at the later date. Four 
times as many people had used about thirty-three times as 
much water, making an eightfold increase of consumption, 
which means enormous waste. The consumption, per capita, 
is far in excess of that of any other city in the country, and 
is due to the lack of a system of charges by which the use 
of meters would be enforced. 

As manufacturing industries, in late years, found desir- 
able locations outside of the corporate limits of Buffalo, but 
within the range of its transportation and electric connec- 
tions, there arose demands among them for a water supply. 
The first response to this demand was made in May, 1900, 
when a company of Buffalo business men organized the 
Depew and Lake Erie Water Company. At Woodlawn 
Beach, the once popular summer resort on Lake Erie, the 
company established a pumping station, connected with an 
intake crib, which was built about a mile from shore, where 
clear water and a clean bottom of level rock were found. 

The company soon found that its authorized bond issue 
was too limited for the field of enterprise it had opened, and 
a new organization, styled the Western New York Water 



1 60 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

Company, was formed early in 1902, to take over the origi- 
nal company and enlarge its plant. The new company, hav- 
ing an authorized bond issue of $10,000,000, has extended its 
operations over a much broadened territory, its mains now 
entering the villages Blasdell, Sloan, Depew, Lancaster, 
Kenmore, Gardenville, Ebenezer, Eggertville and Doyle, 
and reaching towns as far as Hamburg on the south, Tona- 
wanda and Amherst on the north, and Alden at the east. 
Not long since it finished a 10,000,000 gallon reservoir in 
East Hamburg, at a sufficient elevation to supply by gravity 
all territory between Lake Erie and Depew. It has in- 
creased its intake capacity, enlarged its Woodlawn pumping 
station, and installed electrically driven pumps, using 
Niagara power. The officers of the company are William 
B. Cutter, president; Frank S. McGraw, vice-president and 
general manager; Walter P. Cooke, secretary; A. D. Bissell, 
treasurer. Among the directors are Charles \Y. Goodyear, 
Edmund Hayes. W. Caryl Ely. 

In the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Trustees 
oi the Village of Buffalo, -which have been well preserved 
in the office of the City Clerk, from the first meeting held 
after the incorporation of the village, in 1816, down to the 
latest, — nothing else, of the life of that early time, is shown 
so plainly as the danger and dread of fire. When almost 
all houses were of wood, when few of them could be 
near anv other source of water than a well, and when the 
appliances for using water at a fire were primitive, this was 
naturally a subject of most anxious concern; and no other 
subject engaged the attention of the trustees and the citizens 
generally so often as this. 

The board was organized on the 6th of May, 1816, and 
elected village officers, including three Fire Wardens, 
namely: Reuben B. Heacock, John Haddock and Caleb 



FIRE FIGHTING l6l 

Russell. It held its second meeting in August, only for the 
purpose of calling a special meeting of "freeholders and 
inhabitants," to enact by-laws, adopt regulations, and lay 
taxes. It was not until the i ith of the following November 
that such a public meeting was got together; and, when con- 
vened, its principal business, after ordering a general tax 
levy of $1,400, related to precautions against and prepara- 
tions for dealing with fire. It directed the trustees to adopt 
measures for securing a supply of water for fire purposes, 
"by means," said the resolution, "of water courses, aque- 
ducts, reservoirs or otherwise," and to use for this purpose 
any moneys in the village treasury "not otherwise appro- 
priated." What was done in obedience to this resolution 
is not subsequently reported, and one has curiosity to know 
what could have been done with funds "not otherwise 
appropriated" from a total tax levy of $1,400, made six 
months before. 

By other resolutions of the same meeting, the trustees 
were directed to "procure to be made" twenty ladders and 
two fire hooks; every occupant of a house was required to 
provide himself with a good leathern fire bucket, and all 
chimneys were required to be cleaned every two weeks. 

Four months passed before another meeting of trustees 
and inhabitants was held, and at this, on the 7th of March, 
1817, a fire company was organized, its members being duly 
appointed by the meeting. In an "Illustrated Sketch of the 
Fire Department of Buffalo," published in 1890, the origin 
of the department is dated erroneously in 1824. The com- 
pany formed in that later year was the second ; this, of 1 8 1 7, 
was the first. 

Besides organizing its second fire company, in 1824, the 
same village meeting gave authority to the trustees "to bring 
water into the village if the same can be done for $600." 
But again we are left with no subsequent information as to 



1 62 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

what came from this action. Probably the trustees found 
that water could not be brought into the village for $600, 
but we shall never know. At a later meeting, in August, 
1824, a tax of $800 was levied for the purchase of a fire en- 
gine, and the substantial equipment of a fire department be- 
gan in that action. 

The next important provision for emergencies of fire came 
seven years later, in [831, when a tax to raise $3,000 for con- 
structing wells and reservoirs and for buving fire engines 
was levied, and four reservoirs, holding to,O0O gallons each, 
were constructed on Main Street, at the corners of Seneca, 
Swan, Eagle and Court. These reservoirs, with others pro- 
vided later, at the junction of Niagara and Main Streets and 
elsewhere, were in use until quite recent years. 

A third engine company and a hook and ladder companv 
were organized in 1831, and a second hook and ladder com- 
pany in the following year. This brings us to the end of 
the village annals of volunteer fire service, and it is needless 
to trace with detail the growth of the department under the 
municipal government of the then chartered City of Buf- 
falo. That it assumed a new dignity at once appears in the 
fact that the first Chief Engineer, Isaac S. Smith, was ap- 
pointed by the new Common Council in this year, 1832. 

The office of the fire wardens was continued under the 
City Charter, two being appointed in each of the five city 
wards. Among the powers given to the Common Council 
was that of regulating "the construction of chimneys, si 
to admit sweeps." and of compelling the sweeping and clean- 
ing of chimneys. It could also prohibit the employment of 
unlicensed chimney sweeps. In those days of wood fires, 
depositing their combustible soot in the chimney, the sweep 
was a functionary of no small importance. The coming in 
of fire engines had not yet put the old "bucket brigades'' out 
of service; for the Council, in its fire regulations, was au- 



FIRE FIGHTING 1 63 

thorized "to require inhabitants to provide so many fire- 
buckets, in such manner and time, as they shall prescribe." 
Fire alarm bells are said to have been placed in 1837 on 
the two city markets of that time, — one on the Terrace, 
where the Liberty Pole stands, and one at the corner of 
Mohawk and Pearl Streets, where the Y. M. C. A. erected 
its first building in after years. 

According to the "Illustrated Sketch of the Fire Depart- 
ment," edited by Byron R. Newton and F. W. B. Spencer, 
the first hose cart was added to the equipment of the fire 
department and the first hose company (Taylor's) was or- 
ganized in 18150. At this time, if not earlier, the fire com- 
panies were taking on the character of social clubs, and were 
much enjoyed as such by the young men of all circles in the 
city. Some of the companies, especially of the hose com- 
panies, were notably select in their membership, and vied 
with each other in the fitting and furnishing of apartments 
in their houses for social use. The exchange of visits with 
companies in other cities became a frequent occasion of 
much social excitement and entertainment, and contributed 
an important feature to the life of the time. In many ways 
the volunteer fire department was an interesting and in- 
fluential institution, quite aside from its protective service to 
life and property, for two or three of the first decades in the 
last half of the nineteenth century. 

In 1 852 a fire bell-tower was built at the corner of Batavia 
(Broadway) and Ellicott Streets, and a 1,000 pound bell 
hung in it, for alarms. Subsequently the tower and bell 
were removed to Staats Street, near Niagara, — about where 
the headquarters of the Fire Department have been for 
many years past, — and district numbers were struck, to in- 
dicate the location of fires. 

An attempt made by the department chief in 1854 to ob- 
tain a steam fire engine was unsuccessful, and it was not un- 



164 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

til 1859 that the first of those engines came to use in the 
city. "The incoming of this first steamer into the city," say 
the writers of the "Illustrated Sketch, 1 ' "is of importance 
from a historical point of view, in that it marked the be- 
ginning of the long series of reluctant but steady disband- 
ments of the old volunteer companies, that worked their 
final extinction in the spring of 1880." "In May, 1862, the 
volunteer companies had dwindled numerically to a total of 
200 men, and but one hand engine, Hydraulics 9, remained 
to the front. Five years later it was changed to a hose com- 
pany." In 1865 the clamorous alarm bells were beginning 
to be superseded and silenced by tbe introduction of the 
system of telegraphic alarms. 

The paid Fire Department was organized on the 1st of 
July, 1880, under a board of three Fire Commissioners, ap- 
pointed by the Mayor. The first board consisted of George 
R. Potter, John M. Hutchinson, Nelson K. Hopkins. Com- 
missioners Potter and Hutchinson served until their deaths, 
the former in 1S88, the latter in 1886. Thomas B. French, 
who had been at the head of the Volunteer Department for 
many previous terms, was appointed Chief. The force that 
year numbered 187 men, equipped with 14 steam fire engines 
having a hose cart attached to each, 5 chemical engines, 3 
hook and ladder trucks, 81 horses. In the quarter century 
and more that has gone by since, the force and the equipment 
have grown to 601 men, 29 steam fire engines, 3 fire boats in 
the harbor, 10 hook and ladder trucks, 30 hose wagons, 6 
chemical engines, 1 water tower, 246 horses. 

The first fire boat was introduced in 1887, the second in 
1892, the third in 1900. In 1897 the powerful engines of the 
fire boats were brought into use upon uptown fires, within 
a certain range, by laying a pipe in Washington Street, from 
its foot to Huron Street, through which water is driven to 
hose that mav be connected with it at many points on the 



GAS AND ELECTRIC LIGHTING 165 

line. In 1905, a second pipe line was branched from the 
first one, through Exchange Street to Pearl, and up Pearl 
to Huron. In 1906 and 1907, the pipe lines were extended 
through Carroll Street to Michigan and through Ohio 
Street to the Clark and Skinner Canal. The portable water 
tower, to which a special company is attached, was intro- 
duced in 1890. 

Buffalo received the luxury of gas light in 1848, and owed 
it in a large measure to the progressive spirit and energy of 
Oliver G. Steele, who took a leading part in the organization 
of the Buffalo Gas Light Company, and was its secretary 
and general manager till his death. The original company 
had no competitor until 1870, when the Buffalo Mutual Gas 
Light Company was formed and received a franchise from 
the city. This was followed in the next year by a third 
franchise, given to the Buffalo Oxygen and Hydrogen Gas 
Company, which was reorganized in 1873 as the Citizens' 
Gas Company, and, again, as the Buffalo City Gas Com- 
pany, in 1897. 

In 1899 the Buffalo Gas Light Company and the Buffalo 
City Gas Company were consolidated in the organization of 
the Buffalo Gas Company, which has controlled the supply 
of artificial gas to the city since that time, having acquired 
the capital stock of the Buffalo Mutual Gas Light Com- 
pany, and most of the stock of a fourth corporation, the 
People's Gas Light and Coke Company, which had come 
into existence at a later day. The franchises under 
which the consolidated company operates are reported as 
perpetual. 

Under a contract with the company effected by Mayor 
Adam in 1907, the gas-lighting of streets is now entirely by 
means of sixty candle-power incandescent Welsbach lamps, 
at a price per lamp per year of $10.95. 

Natural gas was piped to Buffalo from its Pennsylvania 



1 66 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

sources in 1886, by the Buffalo Natural Gas Fuel Company, 
which holds the only franchise for its distribution. The sup- 
ply from Pennsylvania had been supplemented by another 
from Canadian sources, brought through pipes laid down 
in the bed of the Niagara River, but that tapping of Cana- 
dian resources is no longer permitted. Other gas wells, 
nearer to Buffalo, have contributed a little to the supply, and 
yet it is far less than the citv would use if its whole de- 
mand could be met. It would be the preferred fuel for 
most heating purposes, if everybody could always depend 
upon having it in sufficiency for the coldest turns of winter 
weather, but there has not been that certainty for an un- 
limited use. To a considerable extent the natural gas is 
used, in connection with the Welsbach mantles, for illumina- 
tion as well as for heating. 

Of the power now coming into Buffalo from the electric 
development at Niagara Falls, 1 2,000 horse-power go to the 
production of light. The sale oi this part of it is controlled 
entirely by the Buffalo General Electric Company, incor- 
porated in [892, as a consolidation of some previous electric 
light companies. The authorized capital stock of the com- 
pany is $5,000,000; issued, $2,979,500; bonds, £2, 37;. 000. 
Its franchise is reported as perpetual. In 1907, it had in- 
stalled about 475 miles of mains and 6,754 meters. 

Business use of electric lighting is extensive; the private 
use is more limited than in most other cities, and even less 
than in multitudes of small towns. The fact is ascribed to 
high rates, maintained by the substantial monopoly which 
the company has secured. For large institutions and indus- 
trial establishments there are many private installations of 
electric light plants. 

The chief officers of the company are Charles R. Hunt- 
ley, president; George Urban and Andrew Langdon, vice- 
presidents. It has purchased recently the fine site, on Wash- 






I) 









1 Pennsylvania, in 1677 In 
business. In trie 

ligli 

• t." * V.inpam. nf 

I is \uv- 

x I'ower Sj 

. i.igaxa 

.es.-lont oj 

the ! <tv. M<-- 

& Falo, 

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lH//UWLi,fi 




GAS AND ELECTRIC LIGHTING 167 

ington, Genesee and Huron streets, which had been occu- 
pied for many years by the Gruener Hotel, and is under- 
stood to be preparing to erect there one of the finest business 
buildings of the city. 



CHAPTER VI 

SEWERAGE AND SANITATION 

SINCE Buffalo was incorporated as a city it has always 
been provided, under its charter, with a board of 
health, but its conception of the need and the func- 
tions of such an institution was limited at the beginning and 
has had a slow growth. Its early ordinances, as published 
in 1839, set forth that the board of health "shall exercise the 
authority granted by the laws of the State providing against 
infectious and pestilential diseases within this city, and for 
that purpose shall assemble at such times and places and as 
often as they may deem necessary, for the purpose of inquir- 
ing into the existence of such nuisances and causes of sick- 
ness and iliseases as may be found in said city." Further it 
is ordained that the board shall appoint a health physician, 
"whose duty it shall be to visit every sick person who may be 
reported to the board of health." and to "report with all 
convenient speed his opinion of the sickness." Also to visit 
and inspect, at the request of the president of the board, all 
boats and vessels suspected of having on board any pesti- 
lential or infectious disease, and all stores or buildings which 
are suspected of containing unsound provisions or damaged 
hides, etc. 

Evidently the health board and the health physician were 
provided for emergencies of pestilence, such as that of the 
visitation of cholera in 1832, which called Mayor Johnson, 
Roswell W. Haskins, Lewis F. Allen, Dyre Tillinghast and 
Dr. John E. Marshall into heroic service, as told in a pre- 
vious chapter; and not much continuous work of preventive 
sanitation was expected, or seen to be a serious need. 

We could learn very little of sanitary conditions in the 
early years of the young city if we had nothing to inform us 

168 



SEWERAGE AND SANITATION 1 69 

but the records that have come down. "Drains or sewers" 
are mentioned in the "Street Records" preserved at the City 
Clerk's office, and in the earliest ordinances, but nothing 
there could tell us how much they served for drainage and 
how much for sewerage, and where their sewage went to, if 
they carried any. Fortunately, among the manuscripts in 
the possession of the Buffalo Historical Society, there is a 
paper on "Buffalo City Sewerage and Sanitary Science," 
written in 1866, by Oliver G. Steele, which sketches the 
work that had been done on these lines before that time. 
From a memoir of Mr. Steele, written by the Rev. Dr. 
Hosmer, we know that he was recognized as the leading 
spirit in what had been done toward the instituting of a 
system of sewerage, and the source of information is there- 
fore the best we could have. 

In 1847 Mr. Steele was an alderman of the Common 
Council, and he tells us that previous to that year "the sub- 
ject of underground drainage had attracted little attention." 
He speaks of "sewers or drains as they were called" that had 
been constructed as early as 1834-5, in Ellicott and Oak 
Streets, and describes them as follows: "They were but five 
or six feet deep, constructed of dry brick, with a board bot- 
tom, the bricks laid up projecting inward till they met at the 
top, and held in place as soon as laid by the soil thrown 
upon them." "Even these wretched sewers," he remarks, 
"did good service for many years." 

But in 1847, under the mayoralty of Hon. E. G. Spauld- 
ing, "the progress of local improvement had been such," 
Mr. Steele writes, "that special attention was drawn to the 
subject of sewerage." Then, for the first time, the Board 
of Aldermen appointed a committee on paving, sewers and 
light. The committee consisted of O. G. Steele, Orlando 
Allen and Luman K. Plimpton, — all energetic men, — and 
they found an abundance of work waiting to be taken in 



170 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

hand. "The call for paving was pressing, city lights there 
were none, and sewerage was so little known as to be scarcely 
recognized among city improvements." The little drainage 
of streets that had been provided for was all below Eagle 
Street. Above that line in the city there was none. "All the 
water which fell upon the surface," Mr. Steele tells us, "re- 
mained until taken up by evaporation. No cellar or vault 
could be made available, as the first hard rain would fill 
them with water." 

The first work planned and carried by the new committee 
was a receiving sewer in Michigan Street, from the canal 
to Batavia Street. It was carried against bitter opposition 
from the owners of the property benefited. The $12,500 
which it cost was deemed enormous extravagance, and the 
principle then first propounded, that property on parallel 
and cross streets which must drain into it should be taxed 
for its share of the cost, was hotly contested. But the project 
was driven through; the results from it were instructive; 
and when, in the next year, the committee planned and 
recommended a general system of sewerage, a good deal of 
public opinion appears to have been prepared for its consid- 
eration, with thoughtfulness, at least. It was nut adopted at 
the time, but Mr. Steele could say, eighteen years later, that 
its recommendations had all been carried out. 

The territory sewered by the system then planned ex- 
tended "from Carolina Street on the west to the 'big ravine,' 
as it was termed, in the old Fourth Ward, near Spring and 
Pratt streets, and northerly as far as Goodell and Virginia 
streets, then substantially the limits of population. All the 
receiving sewers named in the report were constructed in a 
few years, including the proposed large sewer in the 'big 
ravine' before referred to, and the sewer through the great 
ravine which cut through the westerly end of what is now 
Johnson Park, passing between Georgia and Carolina 
streets to the canal." 



SEWERAGE AND SANITATION \J\ 

Before the time of Mr. Steele's writing on the subject 
(1866), the system had been extended much beyond the ter- 
ritory for which his committee had planned it in 1848; and 
he makes particular mention of the Emslie Street sewer, 
which had brought "a large and almost deserted territory 
into use." 

For seventeen more years the sewering of Buffalo was ex- 
tended on the lines planned in 1848, and they were, of 
course, the only practicable lines for that period. The sys- 
tem developed was a systematic emptying of the sewage of 
Buffalo into the Hamburg and Erie Canals, to deposit filthy 
sediment in their sluggish waters, or drift through Buffalo 
Creek into the lake and down Niagara River, near shore, 
washing the Bird Island Pier, close to which our water 
works sucked into their tunnel the stream that ran to our 
lips through the city pipes. 

This bad old system was superseded in 1883 by the con- 
struction of a long intercepting sewer, eight feet in diameter 
throughout the greater part of its length, which starts from 
the "mill-race sewer" in Swan Street (at what used to be 
known as "the Hydraulics"), and runs through Swan Street, 
the Terrace, Court Street, and Fourth Street, to Porter 
Avenue; thence along the slope of The Front to the bank of 
the Erie Canal, and along that bank to a point near Albany 
Street, whence it is carried under the canal and Black Rock 
Harbor to an outlet in Niagara River, some distance below 
the inlet of the city water works. We are now drawing near 
the time when some wholly different system of sewage dis- 
posal will have to be adopted, avoiding all discharge of pol- 
luting matter into the river, in justice to the people who take 
water from the Niagara below us, at Tonawanda and the 
Falls. 

It can be said with entire assurance, that no real concep- 
tion of the dependence of health and life in a city on ade- 



172 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

quate sanitary regulations and their rigorous enforcement 
ever began to take form in our public mind, or in many in- 
dividual minds, until after the remodelling of the Health 
Department, under the revised charter of 1891. That char- 
ter created a Board of Health made up of the Mayor, the 
president of the Common Council (this latter giving place 
in a few years to the Commissioner of Public Works), and a 
Health Commissioner, appointed by the Mayor; but the 
Health Commissioner was the executive and responsible 
official of what was now a recognized department of the city 
government. He was to act under the "advice and supervi- 
sion" of the hoard, hut he had considerably independent 
powers, and the then Mayor, Charles F. Bishop, appointed 
to the office a physician who would not minimize its powers 
or let them go to waste. 

Dr. Ernest Wende, the first responsible and effectiveh 
authorized health officer of Buffalo, found a great oppor- 
tunity for showing what sanitary science, backed by resolute 
authority, could do for the protection of health and life in a 
community, and he made the most of it. He had bigoted 
ignorance, bigoted tradition, bigoted habit, and long- 
indulged recklessness of neglect, to contend with. He fought 
in the first years of his service for every measure he carried 
through, and he was one who would not and could not be 
beaten in the fight. He had to win public belief in the 
science he championed, and he did win it, widening the 
circle of belief at a rate which soon made rapid gains, until 
the ciry r at large was quite solidly with him, in hearty appre- 
ciation of his work, before the ten years of his first service 
closed. 

Results were not slow in coming to plain sight. In 1891, 
the last year of the old sanitary conditions, there were 6,001 
deaths in the city, out of a population of 255,000. In 1892, 
the first year of scientific attention to unsanitary conditions 



SEWERAGE AND SANITATION 1 73 

and practices, the deaths fell in number to 5,697, though 
population had increased by 10,000 or 15,000 at the least. 
And the decrease went on, while population as steadily 
grew. In 1894 there were 5,280 deaths; in 1896, 4,452; and 
in 1900, when the decennial census showed 97,000 more 
inhabitants than in 1891, the deaths among them were but 
4,998, against the 6,001 of ten years before. There was no 
gainsaying such evidence as this. A death rate reckoned 
from an estimated population might be questioned, but a 
diminishing total of deaths in a manifestly growing city 
could mean but one thing. And the record of deaths is one 
particular of our municipal statistics that is open to no 
dispute. Other items of record may be questionable, but 
the dead cannot be buried without a permit from the 
Department of Health, and its catalogue of them is neces- 
sarily correct. So the life-saving effect of Dr. Wende's 
sanitary measures had absolute proof. 

One of his first movements was to secure a bacteriological 
laboratory, and he led the health officials of the country in 
contending for that as a municipal need. Two years of 
argument and pleading were spent in the effort before his 
laboratory was equipped, but after the spring of 1893 tnat 
great detective agency was in his hands. How it helped 
him in his vigorous defense of the city against polluted 
water and infected milk can readily be understood. These 
were the deadliest enemies that his department had to fight 
with, and the greater part of the lives saved in its warfare 
were snatched from them. Its systematic inspection, regis- 
tration and record soon made it nearly impossible for an 
infected source in the milk supply to go undetected very 
long. 

The extermination of the long-tubed nursing bottle was 
the achievement which had most to do, perhaps, with the 
remarkable reduction of infant mortality which Dr. Wende 



174 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

brought about. To obtain ordinances for the suppression of 
the sale of these bottles, and then to convince courts that the 
ordinances should be enforced, was no easy task, but the 
health commissioner contrived scientific exhibitions of proof 
against the deadly tubes which silenced all defence of them, 
and they were driven out of use. 

In the crusade against polluted water there occurred a 
dramatic episode, in which the health commissioner played 
somewhat the part of a scientific Sherlock Holmes. A sud- 
den epidemic of typhoid fever appeared in February, 1894, 
the cause of which was not traceable for a time. The com- 
missioner suspected some sewer pollution of the water sup- 
ply, supposed to be pumped through a tunnel from an inlet 
far out in the Niagara River; and finally, with great diffi- 
culty, lie brought to light the fact that, because of troubles 
at the proper inlet, produced by ice, an old inlet, close to the 
Bird Island Pier, had been opened, and this explained the 
typhoid. He demanded an instant closing of the old inlet, 
and he compelled submission to his authority as the guar- 
dian of life and health in the city, though the pinched 
supply of water that ensued brought a grave exposure to 
dangerous fires, and roused fierce denunciations from many 
powerful interests, which had more solicitude for the safety 
of property than for the safety of life. 

Public opinion and law were co-operative in strengthen- 
ing the commissioner's hands. After obtaining effective or- 
dinances from the Common Council, he procured an act of 
the Legislature which required his approval of any change. 
He magnified his office by making its importance seen and 
felt, and established a public appreciation of science and 
rigorous system in the sanitation of a city which no ordinary 
administration of the Health Department would ever have 
done. This was seen when a change of party in the city 
government led to the dropping of Dr. Wende from the 



SEWERAGE AND SANITATION 175 

office, as happened in 1901. The public protest was vehe- 
ment to a remarkable degree. 

Dr. Wende was succeeded, however, by his own assistant, 
Dr. Walter D. Greene, and the department staff underwent 
little change. The system which the former commissioner 
had organized was maintained, and much of the energy he 
had infused into the administration of the department was 
active in the following years. One of the early acts of 
Mayor Adam, when he assumed office on the 1st of January, 
1906, was to announce the appointment of Dr. Wende, as 
Health Commissioner, to take effect on the expiration of Dr. 
Greene's term, in 1908. Dr. Wende re-entered the office, 
accordingly, but was stricken soon afterward by a mortal 
disease, and the city sustained a great loss in his death. His 
place at the head of the Health Department is now filled 
efficiently by Dr. Francis E. Fronczak, who had been Dr. 
Wende's deputy for some time before the latter's death. 



CHAPTER VII 
PARKS AND PUBLIC GROUNDS 

PRIOR to 1870 Buffalo had an abundance of the beauty 
of grass and foliage in its tree-lined streets and well- 
kept private grounds, with no lack of air space, fur- 
nished by unoccupied lots. Two of the three functions of a 
park system, ventilation and adornment, were thus fairly 
performed without it; but would cease to be, as the city 
thickened its population in the course of the coming years. 
As for the third function, of healthful recreation for the 
public, in free fields and groves, it had been neglected alto- 
gether. There was nothing to offer it but a few small bits 
of ground dedicated to public use, such as the fragment of 
old Dr. Johnson's estate, which bears the name of Johnson 
Park; anil these were so neglected as to offer very little in- 
vitation, even to the neighborhood strollers of a summer eve. 
In the summer of [858 William Dorsheimer, afterwards 
Lieutenant-Governor of the State, began to incite a few 
public-spirited gentlemen to act with him in starting a 
movement toward the creation of a proper system of public 
parks, before the further growth of the city should make it 
more difficult and costly to secure desirable lands. The re- 
sult was a meeting held at the residence of Sherman S. 
Jewett, on the 25th of August, that year, and the appoint- 
ment of a committee, consisting of William Dorsheimer, 
Joseph Warren, Pascal P. Pratt, Sherman S. Jewett and 
Richard Flach, to take preliminary steps. At private ex- 
pense, Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted, the architect-in-chief 
of Central Park, New York, was engaged to examine the 
situation and recommend a desirable park scheme. He came 
to Buffalo, and, after carefully surveying the city and its 
suburbs, submitted a report from his firm, of Olmsted, Yaux 



PARKS AND PUBLIC GROUNDS 177 

& Co., suggesting the features of a plan that has been real- 
ized exactly in all that part of our existing park system 
which lies in the northern part of the city, — extending from 
The Front, on the Niagara River, by wide boulevards and 
through the main Delaware Park, to The Parade, on the 
high ground of the northeast. 

This report was transmitted to the Mayor, General Wil- 
liam F. Rogers, on the 16th of November, and by him to 
the Common Council the following week, with the recom- 
mendation that a committee of five members of the Council 
be appointed to co-operate with the citizens' committee, 
in securing legislation to authorize the necessary purchase 
of lands by an issue of the city's bonds. Meantime, in the 
press and otherwise, the project was receiving earnest sup- 
port, and a decisive public opinion in its favor was being 
evoked. The required act of the Legislature was passed in 
April, 1869. It provided for the appointment of a Board 
of Park Commissioners, twelve in number, who should have 
power to select and locate not more than five hundred acres 
of land, which the city, in the exercise of its rights, should 
take, and they should be public places, for use as a public 
park or parks. It authorized an issue of the city's bonds, to 
an amount not exceeding $500,000, for the purchase of such 
lands; and further issues, within prescribed limits, for the 
laying out and improving of the parks; and it provided for 
annual appropriations of money to be expended by the com- 
missioners in the maintenance of the parks, over the "use, 
regulation, protection and government" of which it gave 
them full control. 

The Park Commissioners first appointed were Pascal P. 
Pratt, Sherman S. Jewett, Dexter P. Rumsey, William Dor- 
sheimer, Joseph Warren, Dennis Bowen, Edwin T. Evans, 
James Mooney, Richard Flach, John Greiner, Jr., John 
Cronyn, Lewis P. Dayton, and the Mayor, William F. 



178 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

Rogers, ex officio. It was a remarkably strong board, and 
did remarkably effective work. It was organized on the 
first Monday of .May, 1869, by the election of Mr. Pratt to 
be president and General Rogers to be secretary and treas- 
urer. Olmsted, Vaux & Co. were appointed landscape 
architects, George Kent Radford, engineer in charge, and 
William McMillan, superintendent of planting. The board 
was as fortunate in securing Mr. McMillan for its superin- 
tendent as in having Olmsted and Vaux to direct the whole 
constructive work. Mr. McMillan and Mr. Radford were 
recommended by the responsible architects, and were care- 
fully picked men. In a service of nearly thirty years, Mr. 
McMillan created the remarkable arboreal beauty which 
distinguishes our parks. 

In their fust annual report, made to the Common Council 
in January, [871, the commissioners announced the taking of 
propert) to the value, as awarded, of $247,785, for lands 
(averaging about $600 per acre) , and $46,3X1 for buildings. 
Extensive works of clearing, draining, grading, ploughing, 
and of excavating the marsh which was to undergo transfor- 
mation into one of the most beautiful of lakes, were al reads 
well advanced. The end of the next year found the lake 
nearly finished, about two miles of roadway in the park al- 
ready in considerable use by the public, and some 40,000 
planted trees, shrubs and vines started in their growth. How 
rapidly the work went on, and how soon our new parks be- 
gan to assume a face of beauty, is within the recollection of 
many who enjoy the perfect beauty of them to-day. 

In 1873 Mr. Radford, the special engineer, retired, and 
Mr. McMillan was made general superintendent of all 
work in the park. In the next year lands were taken for the 
opening of Fillmore Avenue from The Parade southerly, to 
Seneca Street. In that year the commissioners were able to 
saw when they made their fourth report: "A practicable 



PARKS AND PUBLIC GROUNDS 1 79 

drive of over six miles, connecting The Front with The 
Parade, through the main Park, has been opened and 
graded," "affording a much greater stretch of pleasure travel 
than the public have ever before enjoyed within the limits of 
the city; which, together with the attractions afforded by 
the pleasure rowboats on the Lake, have largely increased 
the number of visitors during the year." What this opening 
of six miles of a continuous pleasure drive within the city 
meant, can be realized better if we recall some remarks that 
were made a little later by the park architect, Olmsted, in a 
description he wrote of the park system of Buffalo, in its 
relation to the general city plan and topographical situation. 
After showing how unfortunately the views of Lake Erie 
and the Niagara had been shut out of sight, and what "cheer- 
less landscape conditions" prevailed generally in the sur- 
roundings of the town, he said: "It came about, finally, that 
while the city remained notable for public and private 
wealth, its poverty of rural recreation was deplorable. In no 
other town of equal population was so little pleasure to be 
had in a ride or walk to the outskirts." This was much 
truer thirty years ago than now. 

Until 1877 works of improvement on the then planned 
system of three newly created parks, with connecting park- 
ways and broad avenues, and with the incidental features of 
The Circle, Soldiers' Place, etc., were carried on energet- 
ically, with fairly liberal appropriations for it by the Com- 
mon Council. At that date, however, appropriations were 
cut down abruptly to sums which sufficed barely for a de- 
cent maintenance of what had been done in the previous 
seven years; and this parsimonious treatment of the parks 
was pursued until 1884. ^ n tnat interval of eight years the 
total sum which the Park Commission could apply to work 
in the nature of improvement was about $30,000 — an aver- 
age of less than $4,000 per year. With its maintenance fund, 



180 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

however, a little was being done slowly to better the appear- 
ance of the older pieces of public ground, which had come 
under its care, as well as to improve the state of the park 
roads. And trees, shrubs, flowers and grass were growing in 
beauty all the time. 

In 1879 Sherman S. Jewett succeeded Pascal P. Pratt in 
the presidency of the Commission, which he retained until 
his death, in 1897. 

The privilege of using a part of the grounds of the ( T nited 
States military post at Fort Porter for park purposes, in 
connection with the adjoining park grounds, called The 
Front, had been obtained by resolution of Congress in 187(1. 
In 1880 an arrangement for making certain improvements 
in the fort grounds was effected with the War Department, 
and plans to that end were carried out during the next few 
years. 

A very important improvement at The Front was con- 
sented to by the Common Council in 18S4. when proceed- 
ings were begun for taking the lake shore lands, which The 
Front overlooks, between the Frie Canal and the Lake. 
Resisting litigation delayed the acquisition for several years. 
Other proceedings were begun at the same time which re- 
sulted in a prompt addition of twelve acres of fine grove to 
the picnic grounds of Delaware Park, east of Lincoln Park- 
way, on the southerly side of the lake. 

By 1887 there had come to be a considerable growth of 
desire for additions to the park system, in parts of the city 
most remote from the existing pleasure grounds. South 
Buffalo had dire need of some touch of nature-beauty, if 
any could be given to it, and Mr. Olmsted came to see what 
could be done. He worked out a fascinating plan of a park, 
to lie along the lake shore, to be near and accessible to the 
South Buffalo population, and inviting, at the same time, to 
boating excursions, through the outer harbor, from all parts 



PARKS AND PUBLIC GROUNDS l8l 

of the west side. It was tempting in every feature except 
the difficulties and the cost involved. They forbade the 
undertaking decisively, and it was laid gently, with regret- 
ful sighs, on the shelf. 

A small addition to the public recreation grounds of the 
city was made that year by the acquisition of the property, 
on Clinton and Pine Streets, known since as Bennett Place. 

During a part of 1887 and 1888 David Gray served as 
secretary and treasurer of the Board, in succession to Gen- 
eral Rogers, but failing health compelled him to take a leave 
of absence in the spring of 1888, and he died soon after from 
the shock of a railway accident, which he suffered in the 
course of a journey to New York. The office was then filled 
by Colonel George H. Selkirk, who holds it still. 

The South Park question had not been shelved with Mr. 
Olmsted's too costly plan for it, but received careful consid- 
eration and discussion until, finally, in 1890, a site for it was 
selected and the land acquired. At the same time ground 
was chosen and purchased for another park, in the south- 
eastern quarter, on Buffalo Creek, or River, contiguous to 
Seneca Street, and not far from the city line. South Park 
and Cazenovia Park were thus added to the system. 

A few buffalo and elk obtained in 1892 and yarded in The 
Meadow at Delaware Park were the small beginnings of the 
present "Zoo." 

The Botanic Garden at South Park was established in 
1894, with Mr. John F. Cowell as director. In the same 
year about twenty acres from the northerly edge of the 
grounds of the State Hospital for the Insane were acquired, 
for the purpose of opening a Scajaquada Parkway, along the 
south bank of Scajaquada Creek, connecting with Grant 
Street at the west. 

On the 4th of July, 1896, a large boulder monument, in 
the Delaware Park Meadow, was dedicated to the memory 



1 82 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

of soldiers of the War of 1812, who had been buried near 
its site. In that year the name of the park known formerly 
as The Parade was changed to Humboldt Park. 

The next addition to the park system was made in 1897, 
when two pieces of privately opened pleasure grounds, 
called Riverside Park and Union Park, on the Niagara 
River, near the northern city line, were acquired, for the 
making of a free public Riverside Park, covering about 
twenty- two acres of land. 

To the regret of everybody, the long service of Mr. 
McMillan, as general superintendent of everything done 
in the creation and maintenance of the park system, came 
now to an end. He was succeeded by General John C. 
Graves, who served until 1902, when John L. Brothers, 
formerly auditor and paymaster of the Board, was appointed 
superintendent. 

Provision for the introduction of two nobly impressive 
architectural adornments of Delaware Park was made in 
the year 1900, by the ceding of sites for the Albright Art 
Gallery and the Buffalo Historical Society Building, the 
latter of which was to be temporarily the New York State 
Building for the Pan-American Exposition of the follow- 
ing vear. A portion of Delaware Park was granted for use 
during the Exposition, in connection with the contiguous 
Exposition grounds, and considerable changes of arrange- 
ment and feature were made temporarily, for that use. 

By a charter amendment in 1902 the Board of Park Com- 
missioners was reduced to five members, additional to the 
Mayor, ex-officio. 

In the fall of 1903 a bronze copy of Michael Angelo's 
"David," presented to the Park Department by Mr. 
Andrew Langdon, was erected on The Concourse in Dela- 
ware Park. 

On Chapin Place, at the entrance to Chapin Parkway 









/^ 













DEXTER P. RUlvlSEY. 

Manufacturer ami capitalist; born \\ estticld. Chautauqua 
Count) - , Xew York. April 2j, 1827; removed to Buffalo at 
an early age; educated in public schools qi Westfield and 
Huffalo. Wa d in extensive tanning business with 

his father, Aarnn Rumsey, and hier, Bronson C. 

Rumsey, under the firm name of Aaron Rumsey & Com- 
pany. At middle age withdrew from active business and 
became a landowner and capitalist. Was director Erie 
County Savings Bank and other corporations ; Republican 
in politics; member, and for a time, president of Buffalo 
Club; member Country Club of Buffalo, and other civic and 
social institutions; died April g, tqoC 






PARKS AND PUBLIC GROUNDS 1 83 

from Delaware Avenue, a beautiful fountain, with a mas- 
sive basin of granite, was erected in 1904 and presented to 
the Park Commission on the 14th of June by Mrs. Charles 
W. Pardee. Chapin Place was then named Gates Circle, 
in memory of the parents of Mrs. Pardee. 

On a miraculously perfect day of May — the last of the 
month — in 1906, some thousands of people, assembled and 
seated in the open park, on the border of the lake and on 
the marble stairways rising from the lake to the beautiful 
Albright Art Gallery, were participants in as memorably 
impressive and flawlessly satisfying a ceremony as was ever 
performed. It was dedicatory of the Art Gallery, opened 
to the public that day. 

In memory of the late Dexter P. Rumsey, his widow and 
daughter, Mrs. Susan Fiske Rumsey and Mrs. Grace 
Rumsey Wilcox, presented to the city through its Park De- 
partment, in May, 1906, a block of land covered with fine 
old trees, cornering into Delaware Park at its principal 
entrance, which makes a much needed addition to the grove 
at that part. The piece of ground had been known as 
Rumsey Wood, and is to keep that name. 

This completes the tale of public park-lands acquired 
by the city, up to the year 1907. Its whole possession of 
"parks, parkways and minor places," as set forth in the 
thirty-eighth annual report of the Buffalo Park Commis- 
sioners, made July, 1907, is as follows: Delaware Park, 365 
acres (of which 122 are in The Meadow and 46^ in the 
Park Lake or Gala Water); Humboldt Park, 56 acres; 
The Front, 48 acres; South Park, 155 acres; Cazenovia 
Park, 106 acres; Riverside Park, 22 acres; total of main 
parks, 752 acres. Park Approaches, being seven park- 
ways (Humboldt, Lincoln, Bidwell, Chapin, Scajaquada, 
Southside, and Red Jacket) and six avenues (Fillmore, 
Richmond, Porter, Jewett, Front and Massachusetts), 224 



I 84 CONSTRUCTIVE EVOLUTION 

acres. Minor places, including Prospect Place (two 
squares), Bidwell Place, Chapin Place, Soldiers' Place, 
Agassiz Place, The Circle, Niagara Square, The Terrace, 
Johnson Park, Day's Park, Arlington Place, Lafayette 
Square, Masten Place, Bennett Place, and several lesser 
squares and circles, besides twenty-seven "triangles," — 74 
acres. Total. [,052 acres of ground. 



GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 



CHAPTER I 

MUNICIPAL CONSTITUTION AND POLICE 
ADMINISTRATION 

IT was the intention of the Legislature of New York that 
Buffalo should become an incorporated village in the 
year 1813, and it passed an act to that effect, naming 
five village trustees for the first year, whose successors in 
the years following should be elected by the people on the 
first Monday of every May. But the appointed board of 
trustees was not organized, and their successors were not 
chosen at the appointed time. Thereupon the Legislature, 
in 181 5, revised and re-enacted the act of 1813, naming new 
trustees for the first year and providing for subsequent elec- 
tions, as before; but again there was no organization of the 
village; and once more the Legislature was called on to 
give fresh life to its act. 

Of course it was the war disturbances of 1813, and the 
destruction of the village at the end of that year, which 
frustrated the legislative intent; though it is said, in some 
items of historical information prefixed to the Buffalo 
Directory of 1836, that the inhabitants, in 1815, were not 
"informed of the passing of the act of incorporation until 
the time of the first election had elapsed." 

At all events, the village incorporation of Buffalo was 
not actualized until the 6th of May, 18 16, when four of 
the five appointed trustees met "at the house of Gaius 
Kibbe, innkeeper," and organized their board. The four 
in attendance were Samuel Wilkeson, Oliver Forward, 
Charles Townsend and Jonas Harrison. Ebenezer Walden 

185 



1 86 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

was the absentee. The board seems to have done nothing 
at this meeting beyond the election of a clerk, a treasurer, 
a collector, and three fire-wardens. No second meeting 
occurred until the 16th of August, and then only for the 
calling of a special meeting of "freeholders and inhab- 
itants," to lay taxes, enact by-laws and adopt regulations. 
The trustees, it will be seen, were very limited in their 
powers, and a general village meeting was necessary when 
business of any importance was to be done. The first call 
for such meeting brought an insufficient attendance, and 
it was not until the i ith of November that the freeholders 
and inhabitants were assembled and business taken in hand. 
At this meeting a tax of $1,400 was levied for village 
expenditure, and various ordinances or regulations adopted, 
relating mostly to measures of protection from fire. 

The next meeting recorded in the minutes of the Board 
of Trustees, which are preserved in the office of our city 
clerk, was held on the 7th of March, 1817. This was a 
general meeting of inhabitants, and it resolved that "a tax 
of three mills on the dollar (computed to amount to $400) 
be laid and collected on the property of the taxable inhab- 
itants." From the computation thus given we learn that 
the taxable property oi Buffalo in 1817 was valued at about 
$134,000. Hence the tax of 5 1.400 in the previous vear, 
— the first tax levied in Buffalo, — exceeded one per cent. 
of its valuation. 

On the first Monday of May, 1817, the first popular elec- 
tion of village trustees was held. Samuel Wilkeson, 
Ebenezer Walden and Jonas Harrison were returned to 
the board, and with them E. Ransom and John G. Camp. 
There is no record of another meeting till the next annual 
election, of May, 1818. Judge Clinton, who once went 
through the village records for some items of earlv history 
which he contributed to the Buffalo Directory of 1S48, 



THE FIRST CITY CHARTER 1 87 

found this in the minutes of 1818 : "Eli Efner being elected 
treasurer, his predecessor, who had served for two years, 
having a balance of $56.20 on hand, modestly suggested 
that it might be, in the judgment of the trustees, subject to 
a deduction for his services; but the trustees inexorably 
resolved 'that no compensation be allowed to the late treas- 
urer, as his duties were represented to have been attended 
with no unusual trouble or loss of time.' " 

In 1822 a new act of incorporation was procured, and 
this, again, was amended in 1826, somewhat enlarging the 
powers of the trustees. The amendment conveyed to them 
land under such water in Lake Erie as was or should be 
occupied by wharves and piers. This was consequent on 
the entry of the village into a commercial career, after the 
heroic opening of its harbor and the recent completion of 
the Erie Canal. 

In April, 1832, Buffalo passed from the Village to the 
City organization of local government, under a new act 
of incorporation, which divided it into five wards and 
directed the election of two aldermen and an assessor from 
each. These were the only officials of the municipality 
to be chosen by the popular vote. A mayor and other 
functionaries were elected by the representative aldermen, 
who formed the Common Council of the City. The first 
mayor thus elected, as mentioned heretofore, was Dr. Eben- 
ezer Johnson, who had retired from medical practice to 
become a banker of high standing in business and of sub- 
stantial wealth. The mayor's salary was restricted by the 
original charter to $250 per year. The money scale of 
everything in the young municipality was commensurate 
with this. The Common Council was empowered to raise 
not more than $8,000 each year for lighting streets, main- 
taining a night watch, making and repairing roads and 
bridges, and for other expenses of the town. 



1 88 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

Amending the City charter began in the first year of its 
operation, and has proceeded with consistent regularity 
ever since. There have been few years since 1832 in which 
nothing was done at Albany to alter in some way, impor- 
tantly or unimportantly, the State prescription of local gov- 
ernment for Buffalo. By 1835 it was found necessary to 
expand the limit set on municipal expenditures from $8,000 
to $14,000. In 1837 the young city must needs enter on the 
making of a debt, and was empowered by one act to borrow 
$20,000, to be repaid in annual instalments of $5,000, and 
by a second act to borrow $10,000 more; both of which 
loans the State Comptroller was authorized to make to it 
from the Common School Fund. 

This early need of borrowing was consequent, undoubt- 
edly, on the overdoing of municipal enterprise in the Hush 
times of speculation that preceded the financial crash of 
1837. The minutes of the Common Council in the last 
months of 1836 and a considerable part of 1837 give abun- 
dant evidence of the stress that the young municipality was 
going through. The main business of the Common Coun- 
cil at most of its meetings for a long period was to order 
legal proceedings for the sale of property on account of 
unpaid taxes assessed for local improvements. On the 7th 
ol April, 1837, the street committee was directed to report 
a list of local improvements formerly ordered but not yet 
commenced, with "their opinion upon the expediencj oi 
abandoning each of such improvements in the present state 
of the finances and of the money market." A week later 
it was resolved that no local improvement should be begun 
thereafter "until the assessment for the same shall be fully 
collected and paid into the hands of the treasurer." At 
the meeting of the next week an order was directed to be 
drawn for $2,650.59, for ''sums paid out of the loan of 1837 
on judgments and decrees against the city;" and at the fol- 



THE FIRST CHARTER REVISION 1 89 

lowing meeting, April 24, the Mayor was instructed to dis- 
miss all watchmen from the city employ. 

It is easy to see why the city came to borrowing and debt- 
making in the first five years of its existence. It had started 
in its career at too racing a speed, and was halted with a 
shock. 

By the charter amendments of 1837 the city was author- 
ized, in one corrective direction, to appoint a police justice 
and to establish a workhouse; in another and more impor- 
tant one, to appoint a superintendent of schools. At the 
same time it received more adequate power to raise funds 
for building and maintaining schoolhouses and schools. 
Two years later it received permission to make its schools 
free. 

A general revision of the charter by legislative re-enact- 
ment in 1843 took the election of the Mayor and justices 
of the peace from the Common Council and gave it to the 
people at large. The municipal election was appointed 
to be held on the first Tuesday of March in each year, and 
the term of most offices was a single year. The mayor's 
salary was still kept at the modest $250 mark. This 
revised charter authorized an annual expenditure of 
$10,000 for the support of free schools, and of $16,000 for 
all contingent and other expenses of the city. Here we see 
the early spirit that went into the undertaking of public 
education. More than a third of all intended expenditure 
from the public purse was assigned to schools. 

Something of a systematic policing of the city was now 
in contemplation, for which purpose the Common Council 
was empowered to establish one or more watch-houses; to 
maintain a watch by night, with captains of the watch, and 
to appoint a watch-house justice. Stricter safeguarding of 
the city from fires was provided, by authority in the Coun- 
cil to prescribe fire limits, within which wooden buildings 



190 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

might not be erected. To the same end, fire-wardens and 
aldermen were given authority to inspect private premises 
and require dangerous conditions to be changed. 

The next general revision of the charter occurred in 1853, 
when the limits of the incorporated City of Buffalo were 
expanded by the annexation of the Town of Black Rock. 
The enlarged City was then divided into thirteen wards, 
each electing two aldermen to the Common Council. The 
municipal officers to be elected by general ticket were 
increased in number, and were as follows: mayor, recorder, 
comptroller, city attorney, street commissioner, city treas- 
urer, receiver of taxes, cm surveyor, superintendent of 
schools, police justice, chief of police, overseer of the poor, 
three assessors. The term fixed for these offices was now 
two vears, except in the case of the recorder and the police 
justice, each of whom should serve tour years, and that of 
the assessors, who should serve three years. The mayor 
was declared ineligible to election for two consecutive 
terms. The office of recorder was abolished by an act of 
the next Legislature (1854), or superseded, to speak more 
strictly, by the creation of the Superior Court of Buffalo, 
composed of three justices, which remained in existence 
until abolished by the State Constitution of 1894. 

The strange provision in this charter of 1853 which filled 
the office of chief of police by popular election was re- 
scinded in 1857. By the amendment then enacted the 
whole police force, consisting of a chief, four captains, forty 
policemen and ten police constables, was to be selected and 
appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of 
the Common Council. 

The cutting and patching of municipal charters bv polit- 
ical parties in power at Albany, to thwart adverse local 
elections, has been a common vicious practice in American 
politics; but a more vicious example of it can hardlv be 



THE FRONTIER POLICE SCHEME 191 

found than one which came into our local experience in 
1866. The party then dominant in the State, being less 
secure in the possession of power at Buffalo, passed an act 
which deprived our city of the control of its own police. 
This was accomplished by the creation of a Frontier Police 
District, embracing the towns of Tonawanda and Wheat- 
field, with Buffalo, such district to be "constituted and ter- 
ritorially united for purposes of police government and 
police discipline therein." By placing the police of this 
district under a board of commissioners appointed by the 
governor of the State, the party which contrived the scheme 
held the management of police affairs during two years of 
an opposition mayor. 

The Frontier Police District had an existence of five 
years. It was abolished by an act of 1871, which recon- 
stituted Buffalo as "a separate police district" and re-estab- 
lished its police department, under a board of commission- 
ers composed of the Mayor, ex-officio, and two others, ap- 
pointed by himself, with the advice and consent of the Com- 
mon Council. 

Meantime, in 1870, the charter had undergone a fresh 
revision and re-enactment, which produced some changes of 
importance. The superintendent of schools was now enti- 
tled Superintendent of Education, and he was no longer 
described as "the executive of the Common Council" in 
school matters, but as "the head of the School Department." 
He was given more freedom of initiative in that depart- 
ment and made a more responsible functionary. The 
Board of Health, formerly composed of three commission- 
ers appointed by the Common Council, was now made up 
of the comptroller, the city engineer, and the president of 
the Common Council. 

The next legislation that affected the city government 
importantly was in 1880, when the Municipal Court was 



192 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

created and the Police Department was reconstructed anew. 
The Municipal Court, of two judges, was given a civil jur- 
isdiction in suits involving sums of money that range from 
$300 to $600, according to the nature of the claim. The 
Department of Police was reorganized by another act of 
that year, under a board consisting of the Mayor, the super- 
intendent of police, and one commissioner, the latter to be 
appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of 
the Common Council. Inasmuch as the mayor and the 
commissioner were to appoint the superintendent, the ar- 
rangement was a peculiar one, to say the least. It was 
in force for only three years. 

The spring of 1883 brought two rapidly succeeding 
amendments from the Legislature, each abruptly revolu- 
tionizing the police board. The first, which came into 
effect on the 12th of April, gave the Mayor two commis- 
sioners as his colleagues on the board, both appointed by 
himself, but not to be of the same political party. The 
second, signed by the Governor on the 20th of April, 
required the comptroller of the City of Buffalo, within ten 
days after the passage of the act, to appoint three commis- 
sioners of police, for terms of four, five and six years, who 
should at once take the place of those who had previously 
constituted the police board. In the next year these com- 
missioners were legislated out of office by an amendatory 
act, which again made the Mayor a member of the police 
board, ex-officio, with two commissioners appointed by 
himself. 

That year, 1884, brought the beginning of reform in 
appointments to the civil service, which has done more 
than aught else to put an end to partisan political tamper- 
ing with the police of the city, such as appears scandalously 
in the record above. Especially in that effect, but mark- 
edly in the whole character and working of the city gov- 



CIVIL SERVICE REFORM 193 

ernment, the reform started in 1884 has proved to be the 
most important political event in our city life. The move- 
ment of public agitation which led to it was opened in 1881, 
— at about the time of the organization of the National 
Civil Service Reform League, with George W. Curtis at 
its head, — when fifteen citizens came together and organ- 
ized the Civil Service Reform Association of Buffalo, 
which has been in active existence from that year to this. 
Those original members of the Association were the fol- 
lowing: William F. Kip, Henry W. Sprague, Henry A. 
Richmond, Wilson S. Bissell, John G. Milburn, Robert H. 
Worthington, Sheldon T. Viele, William C. Bryant, F. A. 
Crandall, Matthias Rohr, John P. Einsfeld, Hiram Extein, 
Charles A. Sweet, Samuel M. Welch, Jr., J. N. Larned. 
They were soon joined by many earnest and steadfast work- 
ers in the cause, and public opinion was rallied rapidly to its 
support. Legislation which created the New York State 
Civil Service Commission, and which authorized similar 
city commissions, was won in May, 1883. Henry A. Rich- 
mond, of the Buffalo Association, was then appointed on the 
State Commission, with the Hon. John Jay and the Hon. A. 
Schoonmaker for his colleagues. 

Effect was given to the Civil Service Act in Buffalo the 
next year, when the then Mayor, Jonathan Scoville, pre- 
scribed rules for competitive and non-competitive examina- 
tions of applicants for many of the municipal offices and 
employments, and for filling such offices and places in 
accord with the relative merits of the candidates, so 
ascertained. 

In this first instance there was but a limited application 
of the law. All positions in the police, health, fire, educa- 
tion and law departments were excepted from the rules, and 
numerous other exceptions were made. But the system, to 
the extent of its working, proved its practicality and the 



194 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

wholesomeness of its effects; and under steady pressure 
from the Civil Service Reform Association, supported by 
public opinion, it won extensions, step by step, until the 
police and all other departments have come under the rules, 
and next to nothing of the municipal civil service is now in 
the category of political spoils. The late Sherman S. 
Rogers was the efficient president of the local Civil Service 
Reform Association, and his successor, Mr. Ansley Wilcox, 
has kept the watchful spirit of the organization fully alive. 

The last general revision that the charter has received 
thus far (to 1908), and the most radical, was the work of 
a commission of citizens appointed for the purpose, whose 
recommendations were submitted to the Legislature and 
embodied in an entire re-enactment of the charter of the 
City of Buffalo, in 1891. This divided the city into 
twenty-five wards, instead of the historically ancient thir- 
teen, and it radically reconstituted the Common Council, 
making it a bi-cameral body, having twenty-five aldermen, 
elected by wards, in one board, and nine councilmen, 
elected by the city at large, in the other. 

The whole power of initiative in legislation was left in 
the Board of Aldermen, no action of the Common Council 
having force unless it originated in that board and was 
approved by the other; but, by exercising a right to amend 
measures passed up to it from the aldermanic board, and 
return them for reconsideration, the Board of Councilmen 
was given a part of importance to perform. The alder- 
men's term of service was fixed at two years; that of the 
councilmen at three. By amendment in 1895 the term of 
the councilmen was extended to four years; five and four 
of their number to be elected alternately in each odd- 
numbered year. The term for which mayors were to be 
elected was fixed at three years in 1891 and lengthened to 
four in 1895. 






; 



d undt 

LI  WILD »\. 

Law nnmervill ia, Janu 858'; 

I, ,1m Willcocl ; the or«giriail settles 

Miuriuut. n>.v: educated llopkin, 

m! 

•-.Midx-dthe 

-, d rteti "' 

,r jury reform, and 

the death ot President McKinlev. Now mernbei 



tlit- death ot I 

..fWilo.vX Rnll 



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THE CITY CHARTER OF 1 89 1 195 

This charter of 1891 created ten departments in the city 
government, several of them changed materially in their 
structure from what had corresponded to them before. The 
Department of Finance was organized under two officials, 
the Comptroller and the Treasurer, each elected for three 
years; but this term was extended to four years by amend- 
ment in 1895.* For that of Assessment a board of five 
assessors was created, serving five years each. This term, 
also, was extended in 1895, to six years. At the head of 
the Law Department was a Corporation Counsel, elected 
for three years (made four years in 1895), Wltn an attorney 
and an assistant attorney of his appointment. 

The Department of Police and Excise kept its latest form 
of organization, under a board composed of the Mayor, ex- 
officio (to be its president), and two commissioners, of his 
appointment, for terms of six years, one of whom should be 
designated as the Acting Commissioner and president of 
the board in the absence of the Mayor; the two commis- 
sioners to be chosen from the two principal parties in the 
latest election. The excise functions of this department 
were annulled in 1896 by the act known as the Raines 
Liquor-tax Law. 

A responsible Health Commissioner, appointed for five 
years by the Mayor, was provided for the head of the 
Health Department, to act under the "advice and super- 
vision" of a Board of Health, composed of the Mayor, the 
president of the Common Council and himself, but exercis- 
ing large powers. By an amendment in 1900, the commis- 
sioner of public works was substituted for the president of 
the Common Council in the membership of this Board of 
Health. 

The Fire Department was to be presided over, as hith- 

*By an amendatory act in 1902 the treasurer was made ineligible to re-election. 



196 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

erto, by three commissioners, appointed by the Mayor, for 
six years each. 

The important Department of Public Works, now first 
instituted, was placed under three commissioners, one of 
whom should be elected, the other two appointed by the 
Mayor, from different political parties, and each to serve 
for three years. The extensive duties of the department 
were divided between four bureaus, ol Engineering, Water, 
Streets, and Public Buildings. By amendment in 1901 the 
two appointed commissioners were dropped, and the de- 
partment was placed under a single commissioner, elected 
for four years. The heads of bureaus in the department 
received the title of deputy-commissioners. 

In the Department of Public Instruction the most im- 
portant change was the institution of a Board of School 
Examiners, to test and determine the qualifications of all 
applicants for appointment as teachers in the public schools, 
and to prepare "eligible lists" from which the appointees of 
the superintendent must be drawn. The five examiners of 
the board, appointed by the mayor for five years each, were 
charged with the further duty of visiting and inspecting the 
schools. The term for which the Superintendent of Edu- 
cation should be elected was fixed at three years by this 
charter revision, but extended to four by amendment in 
1895. Until 1891 all expenditures for school-grounds and 
buildings were assessed upon the property within the school 
district for which such expenditure was made. The re- 
vised charter, without abolishing the old school-district 
divisions, directed that all expenditures of the school de- 
partment should thereafter be included in and paid out of 
the general fund. 

The Park Department was continued by the revised char- 
ter of 1891 under a board of fifteen commissioners, ap- 
pointed by the Mayor for six years each, but an amendment 
in 1902 reduced the number to five. 



MAYORS OF THE PAST 197 

By amendment in 1895 the term of election fixed at three 
years for the Overseer of the Poor, the Police Justice and 
the Justices of the Peace, was extended to four. 

A most important new feature brought into the revised 
charter of 1891 was the power it gave the mayor to reduce 
or strike out items in the annual estimates of the city comp- 
troller, as they came to him after revision by the Common 
Council. 

An important reform in police court administration, by 
more recent legislation, is the creation of a Juvenile Court, 
with probation officers, and the placing of the probation 
system under the supervision of a State commission, by an 
act passed in 1907. 

Of the thirty-six gentlemen who have presided, as mayors, 
in the administration of the municipal government of Buf- 
falo, within the period of time since it became an incor- 
porated city, a considerable number have been men of the 
highest distinction in its citizenship. Its first mayor, Dr. 
Ebenezer Johnson, who filled the office twice, was a con- 
spicuous figure in the life of his period. Judge Samuel 
Wilkeson, who served as mayor in 1836, was one of the most 
commandingly strong characters that has ever appeared in 
this community to take part in its upbuilding. Judge 
George W. Clinton, who was elected in 1842, has never, in 
some fine and beautiful qualities of genius and temper, had 
his peer among our people. Judge Joseph G. Masten, who 
succeeded him in 1843 and who was elected again in 1845; 
the Hon. Solomon G. Haven, the long-time partner of 
Millard Fillmore in law practice, and afterwards repre- 
sentative of this district in Congress; the Hon. Elbridge G. 
Spaulding, who acted subsequently a part of much impor- 
tance in the congressional and financial history of the Civil 
War; the Hon. H. K. Smith and the Hon. Eli Cook, both 
famously brilliant representatives of the Bar; — these gen- 



198 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

tlemen, who occupied the mayor's seat during a majority 
of the years between 1842 and 1855, were of the best in 
talent and position that the city could choose from. 

William G. Fargo, founder and head of the American 
Express Company and of the Wells, Fargo & Company 
Express, — one of the notably great organizers of business in 
his day, — was our mayor in the four years of war-time, 
1862-5, a,K l gave strength to the patriotic spirit of the city, 
though politically opposed to the national party in power. 
Grover Cleveland, as Mayor of Buffalo in 1882, made the 
showing in that office of character and executive capacity 
which opened his subsequent career. In its recent Mayor, 
James N. Adam, the city chose not merely one of eminence 
among its merchants, the founder of an important business, 
but chose him as an exemplar of good citizenship among 
men of business, manifested in a life-long attentiveness to 
public affairs. 



CHAPTER II 
COURTS —BENCH AND BAR 

IN the first chapter of this book mention has been made 
of the creation, in 1808, of Niagara County, which in- 
cluded what is now Erie County, and the organization 
of its Court of Common Pleas, with Augustus Porter as 
First Judge, and Erastus Granger and Samuel Tupper of 
Buffalo for two of his four Associate Justices. Justice 
Tupper became Firstjudge of the court in 1812, and 
Samuel Wilkeson, of Buffalo, received the seat in 1820. 
In the next year Erie County was set off from Niagara 
County and acquired its own Court of Common Pleas. 
The presiding judges in the remaining years of the ex- 
istence of that court were Ebenezer Walden, 1823-28; 
Thomas C. Love, 1828-29; Philander Bennett, 1829-37; 
James Stryker, 1837-40; Joseph Clary, 1841 ; Nathan K. 
Hall, 1841-45; Frederick P. Stevens, 1845-47. 

The new constitution of 1846 abolished the Court of 
Common Pleas and substituted the County Court, the judges 
of which, elected by the people, have been: Frederick P. 
Stevens, 1847-51; Jesse Walker, 1852; James Sheldon, 
1852-64; Stephen Lockwood, 1865-68; Roswell L. Burrows, 
1869-72; Albert Haight, 1873-76; George W. Cothran, 
1877; William W. Hammond, 1878-90; Joseph V. Seaver, 
1890-95; Edward K. Emery, 1896- 1906; Harry L. Taylor, 
1908- 

Since the reconstitution of the Supreme Court of the 
State, in 1846, the justices elected from Erie County, for 
periods as follows, have been: Seth E. Sill, 1847-51 ; Ben- 
jamin F. Green, 1854-60; James G. Hoyt, 1860-63; Charles 
Daniels, 1863-91 ; Albert Haight, 1874-94; Loran L. Lewis, 
1883-95; Manly C. Green, 1893-1905; Edward W. Hatch, 

199 



200 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

1 896- 1 909; Robert C. Titus, 1896-99; Truman C. White, 
1897-1910; Daniel J. Kenefick, 1899-1913 ; Louis W. Mar- 
cus, 1907-20; Edward K. Emery, 1907-20; Charles B. 
Wheeler, 1908-21. 

On the bench of the Court of Appeals Buffalo has been 
represented by Albert Haight since 1894, ms term expiring 
in 1908, when he was re-elected. 

A Recorder's Court in the City of Buffalo was created in 
1839, and its bench was occupied by Horatio J. Stow, 
1840-44; Henry K. Smith, 1 S44-4H ; Joseph G. Masten, 
1K4S-52; George W, Houghton, 1852-54. The court was 
then merged in the Superior Court of Buffalo, with three 
judges, and those who served in the latter during the forty 
years of its existence were the following: George W. 
Houghton, 1854-55; Isaac A. Verplanck, 1854-73; George 
W. Clinton, 1854-77 ; Joseph G. Masten, 1856-71 ; James M. 
Humphrey, 1871; James Sheldon, 1872-85; James M. 
Smith, 1873-86; Charles Beckwith, 1878-91 ; Robert C. 
Titus, 1886-94; Edward W. Hatch, 1887-94; Truman C. 
White. [892-94. In 1894 the Superior Court was abolished 
by a constitutional amendment and its powers vested in the 
Supreme Court. 

Meantime the Municipal Court of the City of Buffalo 
had been created by legislation in May, 1880, with a bench 
of two judges, filled in the period since by the following 
named persons: George S. Wardwell, 1880-92; George A. 
Lewis, 1880-91; Louis Braunlein, 1892-1903; Charles W. 
Hinson, 1893-99; Otto W. Yolger, 1900-05; Clark H. Ham- 
mond, 1904-, Devoe P. Hodson, 1906-. 

The early Bar of Buffalo and Erie County was charac- 
terized manifestly by an abundance of talent, beyond the 
common proportion; and this was due, of course, to the 
reasons which have always, in the westward widening of 
settlement of the country, drawn young men of brains, 



THE EARLY BAR 201 

energy and ambition to the newer communities as they arose. 
To this day the traditions of eloquence, wit, humor, bril- 
liancy and solidity of mind in the legal profession of our 
Western New York circle are singularly full of early names. 

Many of the old time Nestors and luminaries of the local 
Bar have appeared in former chapters of this history, in 
such leadership of action, organization and government, in 
all directions of progress, as more than suffices to show the 
importance of their part in the development of the rising 
village and city, quite apart from the professional functions 
they performed. Ebenezer Walden, the first regularly 
commissioned attorney who opened practice in this com- 
munity, to which he came in 1806, served it in the Legisla- 
ture and as mayor and judge. Heman B. Potter, who 
seems to have been the next of the trained young lawyers 
to arrive, which he did in 181 1, evaded political office 
(unless that of district attorney, which he held from 18 19 to 
1829, can be called so) ; but his great value as a citizen is 
indicated in Ketchum's History by the remark, that he 
"became early identified with all the interests of Buffalo, 
especially with the moral, religious and educational in- 
terests of society," in respect of which "he was more con- 
sulted than any other man." 

Albert H. Tracy, who came in 181 5 to the new village, 
then rising from the ashes of the destruction of 18 13, has 
probably had few peers among our people in sheer intel- 
lectual power. He ran a brilliant career in public life, as 
state senator and congressman, for a number of years, but 
withdrew from it in 1837, and seemed, unfortunately, in his 
later life to have no ambition beyond the acquisition of 
wealth. Thomas C. Love was a veteran of the Buffalo Bar 
whose memory as lawyer, judge, surrogate and congressman 
was long preserved. Dyre Tillinghast had less distinction 
as a lawyer, perhaps, than as a most excellent citizen, full 



202 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

of kindliness and readiness to serve. Thomas T. Sherwood 
was a man of notability in his day, and much talked of long 
afterwards, on account, to a large extent, of peculiarities 
that cannot have been pleasing. The Rev. Dr. Lord once 
characterized him as "an irrepressible man, who never 
stopped talking;" and Judge Loran L. Lewis, who remem- 
bers him, has reported that he was in ''a constant wrangle 
with the court and not on good terms with the jury." 

George R. Babcock, who came to Buffalo in 1824 and 
was in the front rank of its citizenship until 1876, does not 
seem so remote to the older members of the present genera- 
tion as do most of his early contemporaries. A fine and 
true tribute to the rare dignity of his character was rendered 
in a few words by the late James (). Putnam, when he spoke 
of Mr. Babcock as "a man who might easily be taken for a 
Roman Senator in the last days of Republican Rome, when 
none were for party and all were for the state." 

The quiet way in which the profession of law may be 
practiced with little show to the public, but much useful- 
ness and success, was illustrated in the life of Orsamus H. 
Marshall, the trusted custodian of many estates and the 
adviser of a large clientage. More importantly, he illus- 
trated the flavor that can be given to a life of business by 
scholarly tastes and recreative studies, such as he pursued 
in local history. For his interest in two, at least, of its most 
valued institutions of culture, — its Historical Society and 
its Grosvenor Library, — the city owes a great debt to the 
memory of Mr. Marshall. 

At no period has there been a lack of eloquence in the 
Bar of Buffalo; but it has never had the equal of George 
P. Barker as an orator, if we may judge from the enthusiasm 
of admiration that his speaking evoked and the long-lasting 
impression that it left. He ran a sadly brief career, ad- 
mitted to practice in 1830 and dying in 1848, at the age of 



EMINENT LAW FIRMS 203 

forty-one. Among his contemporaries were two, Henry 
K. Smith and Eli Cook, who had brilliant gifts of speech, 
but not to the remarkable mastery of audiences which 
Barker seems to have wielded. 

With less of those qualities in his speaking which have 
emotional effects, Solomon G. Haven was undoubtedly an 
abler man, a stronger advocate, and much more broadly 
influential as a citizen than either of these. Speaking of 
Mr. Haven in 1876, on the occasion of the opening of the 
City and County Hall, the late E. Carleton Sprague said: 
"He was the prince of jury lawyers, and it is no disparage- 
ment to others to say that in my judgment I have never seen 
his equal in this department of the profession, at this or at 
any other Bar. To him, too, more than to any other man, 
I think, we owe the courtesy and good temper with which 
the contests in our courts have been conducted by the pro- 
fession since I have known it." 

In the same connection, on the same occasion, Mr. 
Sprague spoke of Mr. Haven's distinguished preceptor in 
law and his subsequent senior partner in the famous firm of 
Fillmore, Hall & Haven. Mr. Sprague had entered as a 
young man upon the study of the law in the office of Fill- 
more & Haven, and he wished to bear testimony to Mr. Fill- 
more's "great learning, his profound investigations, his ex- 
cellent sense, and his unwearied industry as a lawyer," "I 
have not known," he said, "his superior, upon the whole, 
as a professional man." In these respects there was much 
resemblance, no doubt, between Mr. Fillmore and the third 
partner of the celebrated firm — Judge Nathan K. Hall. 
Judge Hall was especially notable for the rare power of 
concentration that he exercised in the performance of his 
work. It was a remark of the late Thomas J. Sizer that 
the judge, "if pressed for time, could do more work in an 
hour, and do it well, than most others could do in a day." 



204 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

Between 1836 and 1872 Henry W. Rogers was one of the 
leaders in the profession, and he was the founder of a legal 
firm which has had, we may say, more historical continuity 
of weight and importance in the law business of the city 
than any other that can be named. The original association 
of Mr. Rogers was with Dennis Bowen, who was preemi- 
nently a counsellor, and whose clientage as such was very 
large. Then Sherman S. Rogers, nephew of the senior 
partner, was taken into the lirm, and acquired very rapidly 
an eminent standing in the community, not professionally, 
alone, but as a citizen of high example and leading influ- 
ence. Somewhat later the lirm was reinforced, after a 
careful inspection of quality and force among the younger 
men of the profession, by calling into it the junior member 
who is now its senior, Franklin D. Lock. By another rein- 
forcement, alter both of the original heads of the office had 
passed out of it, John CJ. Milburn came in, to find, in the 
large affairs it handled, his opportunity for winning the 
reputation which has carried him, by a final bound, to the 
very top of his profession, at the larger center of larger 
affairs, in the city of New York. 

Another law office of historical continuity and importance 
was founded by that accomplished and most admirable gen- 
tleman, E. Carleton Sprague, of whom, for the praising of 
the city, it can be said that his eminence among us in the 
finer attributes of character, and the value to us of his 
exemplary refinement of mind ami motive, were appreciated 
more and more in the course of his useful life. In and out 
of his profession, he has the good fortune to be represented 
worthily by his sons, and by the firm of Moot. Sprague, 
Brownell & Marcy, in which a son continues the name. 

Mr. Adelbert Moot came into this strong firm from 
another of old standing, founded by Judge Loran L. Lewis, 
now retired from practice, but succeeded worthily by a son 
of the same name. 






-o'A ,jho'/ v/s'/. 

aril oJ bsttinibB 
.^dbocrg;:* 



■msv 
i i&d 



5li 313llw ,Ol 



ebaaV. le 



okfii xJrrwm ; noiaaalcnq 

Tjdrnarn . nim-J/ \o ^)9Jdo2 

ie.'3 nfiohanr/. 
.nB-;iIdrjq-)M ; noi 



AI.JI.IU..KI M<»« »1 

l-Mver; born Allen, Ulejjanv J \ ork. 

uiida Academy, < .enesee 
Nuniial School, and Albany Law School; admitted to the 
bar in e with < j«.< ji j^c .V dby, 

do, win- re he 
has since resided, active ed in the practici 

profes^i.Mi. member of ! Initial,. 

Society <>t Natural and various gRibs : member 

\meii an I..11 -\>y cuiti'iii and .New York State Bar \ 

he same 




^^Jtx^-A 



NOTABLE MEN OF THE BAR 205 

In their later years there were three men of the same gen- 
eration who were more likely than others to be thought of 
or spoken of as the most eminent citizens of Buffalo, if the 
question of precedence arose. Mr. Sprague was one, Sher- 
man S. Rogers another, and James O. Putnam the third. 
The activity of Mr. Putnam in the life of the city had been 
less than that of Mr. Sprague and Mr. Rogers, because of 
frail health and long absences, but he had won distinction 
earlier and by gifts of more brilliance than their quieter 
powers. He was the man of eloquence, of quick and fertile 
imagination, of sparkling speech, in oratory or conversation, 
whose talk was always a stimulation and delight. Deprived 
as he was by disabilities in health of the career that he must 
otherwise have achieved, at the Bar and in public life, he 
has an honored name, nevertheless, in the diplomatic history 
of the nation, as well as in the legislative annals of his own 
State. 

Of Judge George W. Clinton, son of the great Governor, 
DeWitt Clinton, there have been several occasions for speak- 
ing already, and there will be more, when other relations 
of his life and his influence to the life of the city are touched. 
He was so many-sided in his nature, and it was a nature so 
charming on every side! "He is our universal educator," 
exclaimed Mr. Putnam, speaking of him while he was yet 
in life. "Not to speak of his eminent professional career, 
he has taught us the sweet humanities and that unbought 
grace of life which are the highest and purest social charm." 
In his own profession Judge Clinton has left two sons. 

Another of the men of law whose importance to the city 
was much more than professional, inhering in personal 
qualities and in the force of their influence, was Charles D. 
Norton; and he, too, has left worthy representatives of his 
name. Still another was John Ganson, than whom no one 
of his time had a higher standing at the Bar, and of whom 



206 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

it can be said also that he was, in one view, the most impor- 
tant representative ever sent from this district to the Con- 
gress of the United States. He was elected as a Democrat, 
at the most critical period of the Civil War, and, being one 
of the broadest-minded of his party, least capable of petti- 
ness or malice in partisan opposition, whole-hearted and 
clear-sighted in his patriotism, he rendered more effectual 
support to the government in the prosecution of the war 
than any Republican could have done in his place. 

Judge James M. Smith, the long-time partner of Mr. 
Ganson in the practice of the law, stayed more in the local 
field of public service; but Buffalo has had few citizens 
whose service was sought so often, in the promotion of so 
many interests, and whose judgment was trusted so entirely. 

Buffalo has given no small number of jurists to the Bench 
who were models of qualification, in character, intellect and 
learning, for that highest of all functions of government — 
the interpretation and administration of law. Preeminent 
among them was Charles Daniels, nearly thirty years of 
whose professional life was devoted laboriously to the 
Supreme Court of the State; whose mind was immersed 
almost wholly in the study of the law, ami whose reverence 
for its principles was too great for any possible influence 
to swerve him from the lines of justice and right. 

Xo finer gifts of mind or finer culture of them have ever 
graced a member of the Buffalo Bar than those which were 
brought to it by William Dorsheimer, who attained, in a 
life that was not of due length, two offices of distinction, 
namely, that of a District Attorney of the United States 
and that of a Lieutenant-Governor of the State of New 
York. Nor has Buffalo, in its higher enterprises, re- 
ceived more valuable service from any citizen than was 
given by Mr. Dorsheimer, in connection with the initiative 
of the Fine Arts Academv and the Park Svstem. 



LATER NOTABILITIES 207 

In the years immediately following the Civil War, two 
young citizens were climbing the first steps of a remarkably 
quick rise to eminence at the Bar and in public life, starting 
in the race as close friends, but as rivals, so far as differ- 
ences in politics could make them so. Lyman K. Bass, the 
Republican, and Grover Cleveland, the Democrat, were the 
opposed candidates of their respective parties for the office 
of District Attorney, in 1866, and it was won by Bass, who 
held it for two terms. He was then elected to Congress, 
where he served for four years, passing from that to the 
office of Assistant Secretary of State. That he did not rise 
to higher honors was due plainly to the failure of health 
which brought his life to an early end. 

Meantime Grover Cleveland had entered official life only 
as Sheriff of Erie County for a term; but Bass and Cleve- 
land had become partners in the practice of the law, and had 
subsequently associated with themselves a third friend and 
intellectual mate, Wilson S. Bissell, forming the very nota- 
ble firm of Bass, Cleveland & Bissell. Then came the be- 
ginning of the extraordinary career of Grover Cleveland 
in public life; his election to be Mayor of the City of Buf- 
falo, and the speedy exhibition by him of qualities and 
forces of character which caused the State to demand him 
for its Governor and the Nation to call him to its Presi- 
dency, not once, only, but twice. As President Fillmore 
had called Nathan K. Hall, the able partner of his law 
practice, to be his Postmaster-General, so President Cleve- 
land called Wilson S. Bissell to the same office, and history 
was paralleled curiously in the relations of two notable legal 
firms in Buffalo to the government of the United States. 

A name of prominence in the legal profession of a gen- 
eration ago was that of A. F. Laning, associated first in 
partnership with William F. Miller, and later with a 
number of younger lawyers. As the long-time local seat 



208 GOVERNMENTAL EVOLUTION 

of the legal business of the New York Central and Hudson 
River Railroad Company, the Laning offices have been 
succeeded by those of Messrs. Hoyt & Spratt. 

It is the Buffalo Bar of the past that this sketch is in- 
tended to review; there would be doubtful propriety in 
carrying it farther than into touch with the unfinished and 
the opening careers of the present day. The endeavor in 
it has been to name and simply characterize the men of a 
great profession who have given the most distinction to it 
or borne the most important parts in the general life of the 
city. The selection has been difficult, and the omissions 
from it will be open to criticism, no doubt; but it has not 
been made thoughtlessly, nor with any prejudices of mind. 



mot! bah 

- 




yf 



i 
River Railroad Compan 
succeedc Hoyt & Spratt. 

It is the Buffalo B;. tst that this in- 

tent 1 .Id be doubtfr. 

;to touch with the unfinished and 
the opening c:. i the present day. The endeavor in 

i'een to nam; :rize th 

the m to it 

serai life of the 
ions 
WIl.l.lWl B HOVT! 

Born East Aurora, New York. April 20, 1858; 
educated Aurora Vcademy, Buffalo 1 1 i^h School, and Cor- 
nell uated from Cornell, r88i . admitted to 
bar e in Buffalo, the firm name 
being Humphrey, Lockwood and Hoyt; assistant United 
States District Attorne) for northern district of New York, 
[88 tunsel to United States Interstate Commerce 
Commission for State of New York, with official title of 
istant Attorney-General, being appointed bj \ttorney- 
• neral < >lne\ ; is a 1 temoci 



COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 



CHAPTER I 

COMMERCIAL ORGANIZATION.— THE GRAIN 

TRADE, ETC. 

UNTIL some years beyond the seventh decade of last 
century, the larger business interests of Buffalo were 
so much in transportation and the grain trade that 
all really dignified ideas of "business" were associated, 
habitually, with the line of wharves, on the north side of 
Buffalo Creek, extending about a half-mile in length, which 
were spoken of always as "The Dock." There, in the 
storage and transfer elevators, in the offices of grain mer- 
chants and brokers, lake and canal shippers, and marine in- 
surance agencies, were the principal operations of capital, 
the chief sources of wealth, the most readily recognized 
positions of commercial and financial importance in the 
town. This primacy of The Dock, and of "Central Wharf" 
as the forum — the foyer — the focus of The Dock, was a 
business fact as distinct in the Buffalo of those days as the 
primacy of Wall Street in New York to-day. 

The town had acquired an unfortunate habit of looking 
to The Dock for motive forces and for leading in matters 
of business, and it is plain truth to say that it did not receive 
the impulsion or the direction that it needed to have. The 
energies of The Dock were centered in too narrow a sphere. 
It gave its mind too much to questions of canal tolls and the 
like. It spent effort and thought in fighting off Niagara 
Ship Canal projects, for example, much more than in laying 
hold of the new opportunities and pushing into the new 
openings for enterprise which the growth of the Northwest 
was multiplying so marvellously from year to year. It was 

209 



2IO COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

too well contented with the swelling streams of wheat and 
corn and oats that ran into the holds of its steamers and 
canal boats, and through the bins of its elevators, and too 
heedless of the productive industries which Buffalo had 
every advantage tor adding to its great carrying trade. 

Because the leading-strings of business influence were so 
long in its hands, The Dock is chiefly responsible for the 
many wasted years that ran by without an effective effort to 
cheapen steam-power for manufacturing in Buffalo, by 
direct railroad connection with the bituminous coal-fields 
of Western Pennsylvania; for the supineness that suffered 
Cleveland to forestall Buffalo in an exploitation of the vast 
sources of wealth and industry on and beyond Lake Su- 
perior; for the strange slowness of Buffalo to appreciate 
and improve the many advantages of its position for other 
employments than that of a robust carrier in the work of 
the world. 

Nevertheless there was always a splendid spirit of liber- 
ality in the chief men of The Dock. All needs of monetary 
help ran first to them, and their purses were opened to every 
worthy call. In the years of the war there was no stint to 
their patriotic and sympathetic giving. For all collections, 
all subscriptions, all relief work, the remainder of the city 
was expected, usually, to supplement what had been started 
on The Dock. Sterling character, too, as well as a fine 
generosity of spirit, was in the personnel of The Dock. To 
any memory which reaches back into the 'qos and '60s of 
the late century, a simple catalog of the leading names that 
were familiar in those years on the office signs of Central 
Wharf and Prime Street and thereabouts is compositely 
photographic of the city of that time. There is history in 
a recitation of the roll: 

Dean Richmond (Buffalonian in business, though Bata- 
vian in residence) ; Jewett M. Richmond; Russell H. Hey- 



"THE DOCK" OF HALF-A-CENTURY AGO 211 

wood; John Allen, Jr.; James D. Sawyer; S. H. Fish; 
Cyrus Clarke; David S. Bennett; Carlos Cobb; John G. 
Deshler; M. S. Hawley; George S. Hazard; S. S. Guthrie; 
John B. Griffin; A. L. Griffin; Cutter & Nims; J. R. 
Bentley ; J. C. Evans ; Edwin T. Evans ; Henry Daw & Son ; 
John Bissell; P. L. Sternberg; P. S. Marsh; H. O. Cowing; 
Charles Ensign; J. C. Harrison; Niles & Co.; Seymour & 
Wells; J. V. W. Annan; G. C. Coit & Son; M. R^ Eames; 
Laurens Enos; Wm. M. Gray; Charles J. Mann; J. & R. 
Hollister; John Pease; Jason Parker; George Sandrock; 
S. K. Worthington ; A. Sherwood & Co. ; Captain E. P. 
Dorr; Captain D. P. Dobbins; Jonathan S. Buell; Junius 
S. Smith. 

The weight of the men of The Dock in Buffalo, during 
the middle period of its history, was not due entirely to the 
leading importance of their business, in its closely connected 
lines, but came also, in some degree, from the circumstances 
which drew its operators and operations together, in a dis- 
tinct commercial quarter of the town. Everything else in 
the transactions of business was scattered widely abroad, as 
it is not and could not be at the present time. 

Up-town offices, for the office-work and commercial inter- 
course of manufacturers, contractors, and dealers in com- 
modities which cannot be handled at shopping centers, were 
hardly known. The engine-builder, the foundryman, the 
tanner, the lumber-dealer, had his office where he had his 
plant, and everybody who did business with him must do it 
there. The centralized office buildings of our day, where 
the administrative is separated from the operative working 
— the trading from the producing side — of practically 
everything large and important in the business of a city, and 
brought into a small neighborhood, which becomes the 
veritable heart of the community — the seat of its corporeal 
life — these had no existence yet. The growth of the city, 



212 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

and the consequent wider scattering of industrial establish- 
ments, began to make demands for them in the years of the 
'70s ; but not much satisfaction could be given to the demand, 
here or elsewhere in the world, till the telephone and the 
office-building elevator came into use. 

It is not easy to realize how entirely the business spirit of 
a city, as well as its methods and facilities, has been changed 
by the centralization of offices, made practicable by these 
two inventions, within the last thirty years or less. In no 
other way could an action and reaction of animating influ- 
ences from all sources be brought so forcibly into play; and 
by nothing else could the narrowing domination of a tew 
leading interests be so well overcome. It is doubtful if any 
city has shown more of these effects than our own. 

Naturally, the organizing of business interests began in 
Buffalo with those of The Dock; ami there is nothing to its 
discredit in the fact that the beginning even there was made 
as late as the year 1 S44, for only six cities in the country, 
namely New York, Baltimore. Philadelphia, Boston, New 
Orleans and Cincinnati, had preceded it in the institution 
of chambers of commerce or boards of trade. Chicago was 
later in taking the same step by four years and Pittsburg 
by nine. 

The leader of the movement which created the Buffalo 
Board of Trade, in 1844, Mr. Russell H. Heywood, set 
forth its purpose as being to "cultivate friendship among the 
business men of Buffalo, to unite them in one general policy 
for the general benefit of trade and commerce of Buffalo, 
and to make it a market for western produce.'' He offered 
to erect a building in which a room suitable for meetings 
on " "Change" should be provided and its use for that pur- 
pose given free of charge. His generous proposal was 
accepted and the Board was organized on the 11th of 
March, under the presidency of Mr. Heywood, who was 



THE BOARD OF TRADE 213 

retained at its head for three years. In fulfilment of his 
promise, Mr. Heywood proceeded at once to erect a build- 
ing, quite capacious for its time, at the corner of Hanover 
and Prime streets, which he styled the Merchants' Ex- 
change. Along with other offices and places of business, 
the Board of Trade had its rooms in this building until 
1862, when it removed to a chamber and offices on Central 
Wharf. In 1857 a charter of incorporation was procured 
from the State. During the score of years following the 
removal of the Board to Central Wharf frequent efforts 
were made to put it on a footing that would warrant the 
undertaking of a suitable building for itself; but these had 
no success until 1882, when a site for the desired edifice was 
acquired, on the northwest corner of Seneca and Pearl 
streets, designs adopted and the work of construction begun. 
The building, — a substantial fire-proof structure of cut 
stone, terra cotta, pressed brick and iron, seven stories in 
height above a high basement, with a frontage of 132 feet 
on Seneca Street and 60 feet on Pearl Street,— was com- 
pleted by the end of the following year and occupied, with 
appropriate ceremonies, on the 1st of January, 1884. It 
was occupied, however, by a new organization, the Buffalo 
Merchants' Exchange, which took over all the functions of 
the Board of Trade, except that of a landlord corporation, 
holding and leasing the property to be used by the Mer- 
chants' Exchange. In 1903, by another change of name, the 
Merchants' Exchange became the Buffalo Chamber of Com- 
merce, with a great enlargement of membership, acquiring 
new vigor, as a comprehensive organization of all the busi- 
ness interests of the city. Two years later the erection of 
a more commodious and stately building was begun, front- 
ing on the west side of Main Street, near Seneca, and in 1907 
the Chamber of Commerce entered this better home. 
Among the progressive influences now working in the city 
it is a factor of increasing power. 



2 1 4 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTIOX 

As now organized, the Chamber of Commerce and Manu- 
facturers' Club has three affiliated organizations, — the 
Retail Merchants' Association, the Wholesale Merchants' 
Association (formed in 1909), and the Real Estate Associa- 
tion, — which unite and invigorate three important activities. 
The range of other interests embraced in its regular pro- 
gram of work is indicated bv the list of its standing com- 
mittees: On Arbitration, Banking, Boulevards, Building 
Trades, C'.mal, Civic Improvement, Conventions, Finance, 
(mod Roads, Grain, Harbor, Insurance, Manufacturing In- 
terests, Municipal Affairs. National and State Affairs, New 
Industries, Niagara River Improvement, Postal Service, 
Publicity, Public Health, Railroad Terminals, Transporta- 
tion. Within the past year two bureaus, of Industries and 
of Publicity, have been established, each under a salaried 
Commissioner who devotes Ins entire service to its under- 
takings. The object of the Industrial Bureau, Mr. George 
V. Morgan, Commissioner, is "the securing of ever) worthy 
new industry for the City of Buffalo and the Niagara 
frontier, and the assisting of every manufacturing and busi- 
ness interest of the cm already located here." The work of 
the Publicit) Bureau, under Commissioner William S. 
Crandall, is to diffuse knowledge of the advantages which 
Buffalo offers to industrial enterprise. The Traffic Bureau, 
Mr. William H. Frederick, Manager, is a third important 
agency created of late. For these and other undertakings 
of concentrated and organized effort to advance the interests 
of the city, a ''Development Fund" of $100,000 was raised 
by subscription in the summer of 1910. 

Among effective movements which the Chamber of Com- 
merce and Manufacturers' Club has either initiated or 
strongly supported of late, mention may be made of the 
yearly Buffalo Industrial Exposition, instituted in 1908; an 
illuminating investigation of the affairs of the Department 



THE GRAIN TRADE 21$ 

of Public Works in the city government, especially in con- 
nection with costly works for the enlargement of the water 
supply; efforts to secure a better system of municipal gov- 
ernment; endeavor of the Department of Public Instruction 
to establish an adequate and well equipped technical high 
school. At the same time it is entering more and more into 
the discussion of matters of State and National policy which 
bear on public interests at large. The broadened interests 
and stimulated public spirit that appear in these wise ac- 
tivities are notable indices of the higher civic culture which 
recent years have been giving to the community as a whole. 

The grain trade of Buffalo, which figures so greatly in 
the commercial history of the last half century, had late and 
small beginnings. The first receipt at this port of any kind 
of grain from the west was a little cargo of 2,500 bushels of 
wheat brought from Maumee, in 1828 — three years after 
the opening of the Erie Canal — by the Guerriere, a small 
schooner of forty tons. The captain found no demand for 
it, either for consumption or canal shipment, and had to 
take it to Dunkirk, where he sold it with difficulty in small 
lots at half-a-dollar a bushel. The local supply of wheat 
sufficed then for local needs, and eastern markets were sup- 
plied from the Genesee Valley and Central New York. 
The West, moreover, was not yet producing enough bread- 
stuffs for its own wants. 

The first grain that reached Buffalo from Lake Michigan 
was a small cargo from Grand Haven in 1836. The first 
to come from Chicago was in 1839, and consisted of 39 bags 
of wheat, brought down by the steamer Great Western. 
The first to come in bulk was a little lot of 1,678 bushels of 
wheat brought by the brig Oceola, the same year. There 
was no full cargo from Lake Michigan till 1840, and then 
it amounted to no more than 3,000 bushels. The growth 
of the trade was slow until the opening of the Illinois Canal, 



2l6 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

in 1848, and it did not rise rapidly until 1861, when the 
total receipts of breadstufts (including flour, reduced to its 
equivalent in wheat) went up from 37,000,000 bushels in 
1 860 to 6 1 ,000,000. 

Until 1843 tbe handling of grain in loading and unload- 
ing entered largely into the cost of its transportation, 
especially when transshipments were involved, as from lake 
vessel to canal boat, at Buffalo, and from canal boat to ocean 
vessel at New York. Either the grain must be shipped in 
bags, or, when carried in bulk, it must be shovelled into 
barrels or buckets for hoisting from vessel-holds by block 
and tackle, and handled slowly and laboriously at every 
stage of the process of weighing and transferring from one 
vehicle of transportation to another. 

All this slow hand-labor was dispensed with when a fer- 
tile-minded forwarder at Buffalo, Mr. Joseph Dart, be- 
thought him of using the endless belt with cups or buckets 
attached to it, which Oliver Evans, one of the earliest con- 
trivers of steamboats, had invented in 1780, for conveying 
wheat and tlour in mills. By working such a carrier on the 
inside of a long movable "leg," as it came to be called, which 
could be lowered into a vessel's hold, Mr. Dart was able to 
scoop out a cargo of grain very rapidly, convey it to the top 
of a warehouse, and empty it there into a receptacle from 
which gravitation would carry it through pipes to any de- 
sired deposit. His little elevator, built for that experiment 
at Buffalo in 1843, %y ith a capacity for holding 55,000 
bushels of grain in storage and transferring about r 5,000 
bushels per day, was the first of its kind in the world. Its 
economv of labor, and of time, which was more important 
to vessel-owners, was demonstrated at once. The bucket- 
belt soon came into general use at ports where much hand- 
ling of grain was done, but operated for a time in some 
cases by horse-power instead of steam. The first steam 
elevator in Chicago was not erected till 1848. 



DEVELOPMENT OF GRAIN ELEVATORS 21 7 

The Dart elevator, purchased after some years by Mr. 
David S. Bennett, was burned in 1863, and rebuilt by Mr. 
Bennett on a greatly enlarged scale, having a storage ca- 
pacity of 600,000 bushels. For many years this Bennett 
elevator was representative of about the highest develop- 
ment of elevator construction; but the architectural use of 
steel which began extensively in the '90s brought, in that, as 
in all other building, great structural changes. An illus- 
trated article published in the Buffalo Express, in 1899, gave 
the subjoined description of elevators built in the new style, 
as compared with those which date from the older time: 

"Most of the elevators have wooden bins, and all, or 
nearly all, are covered alike with corrugated iron. The 
newest elevators differ, however, from the old ones much as 
the modern steel frame office buildings differ from the old 
style office buildings. These new elevators are of steel, and 
their bins are great steel cylinders. The Great Northern 
and the Electric elevators in Buffalo are of this new type. 
In the Great Northern the steel bins stand upon pillars; in 
the Electric they rest upon the floor. These bins vary in 
size, but run up to 80,000 bushels in the Great Northern and 
100,000 in the Electric. The ordinary capacity of wooden 
bins is about 5,000. To comprehend the increase in the size 
of elevators compare Joseph Dart's, with its 55,000 bushels, 
and the Great Northern with its 3,000,000 bushels." 

The grain elevators at Buffalo, as stated in 1910 by the 
Bureau of Industries, now number 23, with a storage ca- 
pacity of 21,200,000 bushels; actual working capacity 20,- 
000,000 bushels; daily capacity 5,500,000. 

As an adjunct of the elevators, adding another important 
economy of labor and time in the unloading of vessels, men- 
tion should be made of the steam shovel, for moving grain 
in a vessel-hold to the "leg" where the belt-buckets take it, 
which was patented by George Milsom, Henry Spendelow 
and George V. Wilson, in 1864. 



2l8 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

Until the adoption of the mechanical apparatus of the 
elevators for handling grain in bulk, much the greater part 
of the breadstuff s moved eastward from the West was 
ground before shipment, and came in the form of Hour. In 
the decade 1836-45, the total receipts of flour and grain, 
reckoning Hour at its equivalent in wheat, represented 
41,851,438 bushels of grain; but only 14,308,908 bushels of 
this total, being almost exactly one-third, came as grain, and 
two-thirds in the form of Hour. In the next decade ( 1 846- 
55) the total had risen to 174,714,437 bushels, of which 
113,766,005 bushels, or nearly two-thirds, were grain. 
While the aggregates have swelled enormously since, the 
proportions now are about as they were fifty years ago, 
namely, grain two-thirds, and Hour, reduced to its equivalent 
in wheat, one-third. In the decade 1896- 1905 the total of 
grain receipts was [,442,341,287 bushels, and the grand total, 
including flour representatively, 1 ,964, 439,092 bushels. In 
a nutshell these figures exhibit the present magnitude and 
the growth of the grain trade of Buffalo. 

Until the later years of the '60s, the Erie Canal held its 
ground fairly well against the competition of the railroads, 
in the carriage of all the heavier and bulkier freights, the 
latter taking so little grain or Hour eastward from Buffalo 
that no account of the movement by rail appears in the an- 
nual statistics of commerce published by the Buffalo Board 
of Trade. In 1869, however, attention began to be given 
to a trade current then setting that way too strongly to be 
ignored. Canal tolls had been raised and kept to their 
highest rate since 1862, and this supplied one reason for the 
diversion; but it had other reasons, in the economic improve- 
ment of railroad construction and equipment, which noth- 
ing, as time proved, would resist. In the annual report of 
the Board of Trade for 1869 it was remarked: "Some 
classes of freight have almost altogether left the canals. 



CANAL AND RAILWAY TRANSPORTATION 219 

From Buffalo the movement of flour by canal during five 
years ending with 1869 was more than 71 per cent, less than 
in the five years ending with '64." "Lake ports," it was 
stated also, "ship large quantities of flour by rail." In the 
same report a table of grain shipments by rail from Buffalo 
was given for the year, showing 998,496 bushels of wheat; 
2,320,378 bushels of corn; 967,791 bushels of oats. 

The next report, for 1870 (when canal tolls had been re- 
duced one-half) offered no exact statistics of the rail move- 
ment, but gave as "grain shipments by rail" an "estimated 
amount of grain and flour (say 1,500,000 bbls.) reduced to 
wheat," 13,750,988 bushels. Canal shipments of grain for 
the same year were a little more than double this, being 
29,813,236. In the next year the canal made great gains, 
nearly doubling its movement of grain, and a large part of 
its improved business was maintained for more than a decade 
and a half, within which, in 1883, canal transportation was 
freed entirely from tolls. Despite the lowering of rates 
which this measure made possible, the railroads began in 
1889 to take the larger share of grain shipments from Buf- 
falo. The scale, barely turned in their favor that year, by 
42,032,715, against 41,784,268, was soon tipping heavily to 
the railroad side, and by more and more in later years. The 
maximum of grain shipments by rail was reached in 1899, 
when they rose to 130,102,200 bushels, and the canal re- 
ceived but 21,144,762. Since that year both railroad and 
canal carriers of grain from this receiving port have suf- 
fered from the competition of other routes. In 1907 the 
total of rail shipments of grain was 69,024,950; of canal 
shipments 17,824,087. 

Chicago is no longer, as formerly, the western focal point 
of grain movements eastward. The great northwestern 
region of wheat, oats and barley culture, toward which Lake 
Superior reaches out, pours into Duluth, Fort William and 



220 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

Port Arthur a stream directed to this port which has grown 
to be nearly double that flowing from Chicago, — and four- 
fold in the article of wheat. From Chicago the receipts of 
grain at Buffalo in 1907 were 41,678,317 bushels, of which 
12,084,546 were wheat. From the three Lake Superior 
ports named above there came the same year 76,081,765 
bushels, and 49,629,488 of them were wheat. 

The grand total of grain receipts at Buffalo by lake in 
1907, including flour (9,759,676 barrels) reduced to its 
equivalent in wheat, was 181,237. 178 bushels. 

The jobbing trade in general merchandise has never had 
extensive importance in Buffalo. In the last generation it 
was represented most prominently, in the dry goods field, 
by the houses of Flint & Kent, Sherman, Barnes & Co., 
Barnes & Bancroft, Hamlin & Mendsen, — all but the first 
named of which have disappeared. Barnes & Bancroft be- 
came Barnes, Hengerer <S: Co.; then the William Hengerer 
Co., under which name the business is still carried on. The 
year 1869 brought the opening of the department store of 
Adam, Meldrum & Whiting — now Adam, Meldrum & 
Anderson Company. A little later came J. N. Adam & Co., 
the Hens-Kelly Co., the Sweeney Co., and Clawson, Wilson 
«.\ Co., in succession. 

Jobbing in the grocery trade was practically monopolized 
in early years by the ancient houses of Miller & Greiner and 
Hollister & Laverack. Then arose Philip Becker and the 
Philip Becker Co., C. F. Bishop & Co., Granger & Co., 
Plimpton, Cowan 6c Co. 

In hardware trade the older jobbing houses were 
those of Pratt & Co., Pratt & Letchworth and Weed & Co., 
but the Walbridge & Co. establishment of the present day 
is a growth of many years. 



. 










JA ROFT. 

Born Grafton, Vermont, in t8 ure New England 

ancestry. At the age of twenty-two he went to Charles- 
ton, South Carolina, to begin his long career as a mer- 
i bant. In 1*71 he came to Buffalo to take charge of the 
retail department at llarnes and Bancroft's, ot which firm 
he soon be. r , Urei | ir u ,„ active busi- 

ness in 1885. and .lied in to. 







ir-^^gia^ggjagga&j^ 









tfrz^c^z O/f^ 



CHAPTER II 

THE LUMBER TRADE 

NEXT to Chicago, Buffalo and Tonawanda (near 
neighbors and closely allied in the conduct of the 
business) form, together, the chief lumber market 
of the lakes,— and, indeed, of the country at large. The 
white pine product of the lake region is distributed from 
Chicago through the western and northwestern states and 
territories, and into the more northerly of the southern 
states. From Buffalo and Tonawanda it goes into New 
York, New England, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Vir- 
ginia. Intermediate ports on the lakes, such as Cleveland 
and Detroit, receive supplies for a large local trade, and 
distribute forest products from Lake Superior ports through 
Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. 

Down to about the middle of last century the lumber trade 
of Buffalo went little beyond the supplying of local demands 
from Canada and from neighboring forests on its own side 
of the line. High shipping rates on the lakes kept the 
product of the great forests of Michigan from much eastern 
marketing for many years. In his "History of the Lumber 
Industry of America," Mr. James Elliott Defebaugh, editor 
of the American Lumberman, writes: "From about 1853 
Buffalo was the point where the cargoes of lumber arriving 
from southern Ontario and Michigan were transferred to 
canal boats and forwarded to Albany. Thereafter for some 
years it was chiefly a forwarding market, and those engaged 
in the trade there, except the local dealers, were measurers 
and forwarders of lumber. With the exhaustion of the pine 
timber growth of western New York State and southern 
Ontario, Buffalo became in itself a wholesale assorting and 
distributing market, leaving the forwarding business largely 

221 



222 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

to the Tonawandas, which later took pre-eminence in pine 
wholesaling also. It is not as a white-pine market alone 
that Buffalo has won her distinction. As a hardwood dis- 
tributing center that city is one of the chief of the United 
States. From small beginnings, during the last two decades 
this business has risen to distinction. In 1906 the hardwood 
lumber handled by the yards of the city aggregated more 
than 150,000,000 feet, and in Tonawanda approximately 
50,000,000 feet were handled. However, this docs not rep- 
resent one-half of the actual hardwood interests of Buffalo 
dealers, the majority of whom are concerned, either directly 
or indirectly, in lumber plants in the South or West, a large 
proportion of whose output is shipped direct from the mills 
to the trade, not being handled at all in Buffalo." 

Toward the end of the decade of 1850-59 the need of 
obtaining supplies of pine lumber from Lake Huron at 
some lower cost of transportation became a pressing one in 
the trade. Attempts at rafting the sawed lumber down the 
lakes were made, without encouraging success. Logs in 
large numbers were rafted, to be sawed, not much in Buf- 
falo, but considerably at Tonawanda and elsewhere; but the 
lumber rafting could not be made safe. Then Mr. John S. 
Noyes, one of the pioneers of the lumber trade in Buffalo, 
conceived the plan of barge-towing, which not only gave a 
quick impetus to the lumber movement, but went much 
farther in its effect, nearly the whole lake shipping, for all 
cargoes, having taken on a barge form since Mr. Noyes 
made his experiment in 1 86 r . His first barge was the hulk 
of what had been a "floating palace" in one of the passenger 
lines of steamboats not many years before. Barge trans- 
portation started a profitable movement of lumber from the 
pine regions bordering the upper lakes, stripping the great 
forests of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota in turn, and 
rising steadily in volume through the next thirty years. 



THE LUMBER TRADE 223 

According to the census of i860, the value of the lumber 
product of Michigan that year was $7,303,404; of Wis- 
consin, $4,616,430; of Minnesota, $1,257,603. Thirty years 
later, in 1890, the reported value of lumber produced was: 
Michigan, $83,121,969; Wisconsin, $60,966,444; Minne- 
sota, $25,075,132. The axe and the saw were still busiest 
in Michigan, and the forests of Minnesota were not yet 
heavily attacked. But the story changed in the census 
report of 1900. The forest-wealth of Michigan had then 
been sheared away till it furnished no longer the main lum- 
ber supply, and the heavier drain of the national demand 
passed on to Wisconsin; but advancing prices could no- 
where hold up the market value of what the three states 
produced. That year the statistics of product were : Wis- 
consin, $57,634,516; Michigan, $54,290,520; Minnesota, 
$43,585,161. The exhaustion of the forest region of the 
upper lakes was begun and well-advanced. 

As shown in the annual trade reports of Buffalo, the re- 
ceipts of lumber at this port by lake in i860 (giving the 
even millions of the statistics) were 111,000,000 feet. In 
1870 they rose to 217,000,000. In 1880 there were 214,- 
000,000 feet brought in by water and 87,000,000 "by rail- 
road and teams," — the latter being, of course, from small 
saw-mills in the country round about. The railroads had 
now become strong competitors for the carriage of even 
this bulky freight. In 1885 the receipts by water had ad- 
vanced to 240,000,000 feet, and those by rail to 155,000,000. 
In 1890 the culmination of the trade was reached, and the 
railroads had won the greater part of it. That year the 
lake import of lumber at Buffalo was 287,000,000 feet and 
375,000,000 feet came in by rail. From this height the 
lumber import did not fall greatly in the next five years; 
but a decline which has increased began then. Lake ship- 
ping brought into Buffalo 231,000,000 feet in 1895, l %3r 



224 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

000,000 in 1900, and 141,000,000 in 1907; the railroads 
brought 398,000,00 in 1895, a quantity unreported in 1900, 
and 165,000,000 in 1907. 

Pine lumber comes in mainly by lake; hardwood by rail. 
Of the receipts of 1907 by rail 93,000,000 feet were hard- 
wood, 36,000,000 feet were yellow and white pine, and 
23,000,000 feet were hemlock, — these quantities being esti- 
mated from the number of car-loads received. The hard- 
wood lumber trade has been gaining importance very 
steadily in recent years, while the pine trade has declined. 
Formerly the hardwood received here came mainly from 
Indiana and Ohio; but Arkansas. West Virginia, and prac- 
tically all the southern states of that belt, are the larger 
sources at the present time. Buffalo, however, is the market 
place for much more than the lumber that comes to it. The 
same is true equally of the trade in hemlock lumber, and to 
a less extent of the trade in pine. The fact arises primarily 
from the extent of the control exercised by Buffalo dealers 
over the sources of supply, and secondarily from the tend- 
ency in all trade towards concentration in a market which 
acquires the lead. Lumber that never touches the city, or 
comes near it, is sold here in quantities far greater than those 
which appear in the statistics of shipments and receipts. 

There is a special importance to the city, however, in the 
actual movement of lumber through it; for the reason that 
more manual labor is involved in the lumber traffic than in 
almost any other of the present time. Grain is handled by 
machinery, and so, in the main, are coal and the ores; but 
each board, plank and strip that comes out of or goes into 
a cargo or a car-load of lumber has to be taken up and laid 
down by human hands. The consequence is that a much 
larger proportion of the gross receipts of a lumber business 
goes to laboring men than they receive in any other that 
enters largely into our trade. 



PIONEERS OF THE LUMBER TRADE 225 

Mr. John S. Noyes, who has been mentioned as one of 
the pioneers of the lumber trade in Buffalo, and who is now 
the sole survivor of its early days, remained in connection 
with the business until 1901. After 1879 he had been in 
partnership with Mr. George P. Sawyer, who withdrew 
from the business when the firm was dissolved and Mr. 
Noyes retired. The firm had been among the largest of the 
dealers in pine. 

Of firms now in the lumber trade the two oldest are 
those of Scatcherd & Son and Mixer & Co., each of 
which is conducting a business that has been continuous 
since 1857. Mr. James N. Scatcherd, who founded the 
first named, came to Buffalo in 1855, appearing in the city 
directory of that year as a clerk in the employ of Farmer, 
De Blaquiere & Deedes, lumber dealers, on Elk and Loui- 
siana Streets. In the next year he is named as agent of the 
same firm. In 1857 the directory records him as a lumber 
dealer, doing business on Perry near Hayward Street. In 
1858, according to the same authority, he had entered a 
partnership, of Farmer, Scatcherd & Co., doing business 
on Elk and Louisiana streets. In 1858 he is named as being 
alone in business, at the same location; and so continued 
until 1865, when the firm of Scatcherd & Belton was 
formed. This connection existed until 1879, when the 
association of John N. Scatcherd with his father gave 
the business its final proprietary name of Scatcherd & Son. 
As producers and wholesale dealers in hardwood lumber 
the firm has always ranked high in the trade. 

The business of Mixer & Co. was founded in 1857 by Mr. 
Harrison B. Mixer, whose name in the firm is represented 
by Mr. Knowlton Mixer at the present time. The late 
James R. Smith had been in partnership with Mr. H. B. 
Mixer for about twenty years prior to 1877, when the con- 
nection was dissolved. Mr. Mixer retired from the busi- 



226 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

ness and was succeeded by Mr. Knowlton Mixer in 1891. 
The business of the firm includes production as well as 
wholesale dealing in both hemlock and North Carolina 
pine. 

On the dissolution of the firm of Mixer &. Smith, Mr. 
James R. Smith became associated with Mr. Theodore S. 
Fassett, in the firm of Smith, Fassett & Co., for business at 
Tonawanda, where it established and still operates a very 
extensive plant. 

The present Haines Lumber Company is successor to 
the old firm of Haines <x. Co., which began business in 1S61, 
established on the Erie Basin at the foot of Erie Street, 
where its business is still carried on. The company is also 
connected in business with the firm of Hugh McLean & 
Co., one of the largest of the producers and wholesale deal- 
ers in the hardwood lumber trade. 

The largest hardwood lumber business in Buffalo had 
also an early beginning. It is that of Taylor cv Crate, 
founded in [865 In Frederick W. Taylor, who was joined 
in the next year by James Crate. In 1900 the business was 
passed to a corporation, retaining the old firm name. It 
is conducted at yards on Elk Street and at Black Rock, cov- 
ering about fifteen acres of ground, and the company is said 
to carry in those yards, and at its mills in various regions 
of production, the largest Mock of hardwood lumber held 
by any single concern in the country. 

In pine lumber, the largest business now done is that of 
Graves, Manbert, George & Co., at the foot of Hertel 
Avenue, whose producing plant is at Bvng Inlet, Canada. 

An early wholesale trade in pine lumber, begun by the 
firm of Hurd & Hauenstein, is now represented by A. G. 
Hauenstein, doing business in the lumber district devel- 
oped by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company on the Tifft 
Farm. The name that was formerly associated with Mr. 



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DE : LUMB1 22/ 

Hauenstein's has the me trade by H_:a 

Brothers, at the same place 

In 1 88 1 the firm of G. Elias & Br ther, composed of 
G. and A. J. Elias. beg a small way a bus. r.ich 

has grown to large proportions. rich now incl_ 

the operation of saw mills, planing mills, iry  and 

box facton". along with ex: :saie dea". _ 

hardwood and pine. The large plant is on Elk. Maurice 
Orlando. Babcock *ets and on Bur 

Creek. 

A combination of local manufactu: . 
wholesale production of North 

the extensive b_- .-- I M ntg mery Bi - a: the : t 

of Cou:: Stree: . . . esi 

many years ago. 

The Buffalo Hardwood Lumber Companj Q a 

large wholesale bu- •• i ts Se it. Street yards 

S everal establishme: ts less .of 

Buffalo interests in the lumber trade, but partially so. have 
importance in this market • uld be named. The 

business of the firm of C. M. Betts 5c C ; se ted princi- 
pally in Philadelphia: but one of its members. Mr. C. 
Walter Be::- t in Buffalo, and the manager of an 

extensive trade at : - t in Southern pine. The house 

has heavy investments in the two Carolit - iuding tim- 
ber lands, railroads, saw mills and kilns. The R. Laidlaw 
Lumber Company is representative important 

Toronto firm, and conducts large deai .- Canadian 

pine. The Empire Lumber Company markets the prod- 
ucts of Arkansas mills. 

A large part of the lumber trade sea:- .'"onawanda. 

or at the Tonawandas. has merely been detached from that 
of Buffalo in the location of the handling of it, for reasons 
of convenience and economy. Mr. Defenbaugh. in 



228 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

History of the Lumber Industry, explains the situation 
thus: "About ten miles below the point where Lake Erie 
becomes the Niagara River, there flows into the river from 
the east Tonawanda Creek. At the mouth of this stream, 
on the south side, is Tonawanda [in Erie County], and 
opposite, on the north side, is North Tonawanda [in 
Niagara County]. They are opposite the center of Grand 
Island. In the channel of Niagara River, opposite the 
mouth of Tonawanda Creek, is a small island so located that 
the main current passes it on the west, while on the east, 
between the island and North Tonawanda, a natural and 
quiet harbor is formed. 

"Here, then, at the Tonawandas and on Tonawanda 
Island, was room for a bulky commodity like lumber. 
Land was, and still is, cheap in comparison with that in 
Buffalo, and ample room for lumber yards could be ob- 
tained at a reasonable cost. But this was not all. The 
Tonawandas have the advantage of the tracks of several of 
the most important railroads that enter Buffalo, and, by 
switching arrangements, of all of them. Further- 

more, the sue of the Tonawandas is where the Erie Canal 
strikes the Niagara River. From there it closely follows 
the shore south to Buffalo." 

Soon after the formation of the firm of Smith, Fassett & 
Co., about thirty years ago, as mentioned above, that firm 
bought the Tonawanda Island, and thus secured about 
12,000 feet of water front, besides a large acreage of land. 
Naturallv the business so amply accommodated from its 
beginning has grown big. 

A little later, in 1880, the firm of Gratwick & Co., which 
came from Albany, but which identified itself with Buffalo 
verv soon, acquired an extensive footing and developed a 
business of the first magnitude at Tonawanda. A little 
later the firm became Gratwick, Smith & Fryer, and, by 



W. H. GRATWICK. 

Interested in lumber and lake traffic; born Albany, New 
York, January 25, 1839; educated Boys' Academy, Albany, 
New York; engaged in lumber business and ownership of 
freight vessels on Great Lakes ; director Merchants' Bank 
and Bank of Commerce; trustee Buffalo Orphan Asylum 
and Young Men's Christian Association ; member Buffalo, 
Saturn, and Country Clubs, etc. ; Republican in politics ; died 
August 15, 1899. 



ake 









LUMBER TRADE AT TONAWANDA 229 

another reorganization in 1896 or 1897, was changed to 
White, Gratwick & Mitchell, its present style. It handles 
a variety of woods, both hard and pine. 

In 1888 and 1889 the offices and yards of the Robinson 
Brothers & Co., previously doing business at Detroit, were 
removed to Tonawanda. Mr. John W. Robinson, who was 
left alone in the business by the death of his brother in the 
following year, has identified himself with Buffalo very 
closely. 

White, Frost & White, and Silverthorn & Co., are other 
important representatives of the Buffalo interest in the Ton- 
awanda Lumber Trade. 

The growth and magnitude of the lumber trade con- 
ducted at Tonawanda are indicated by the following statis- 
tics of receipts by lake, at intervals in the past thirty-three 
years: in 1874, 144,000,000 feet; in 1880, 323,000,000 feet; 
in 1885, 498,000,000 feet; in 1890 (at the climax of the 
slaughter of the forests of the Upper Lakes), 717,000,000 
feet by lake, and 36,000,000 by rail; in 1895, 421,000,000 
by lake, and 24,000,000 by rail; in 1900, 338,000,000 by 
lake (no reported statistics of receipts by rail) ; in 1907, 
331,000,000 by lake (rail receipts unreported). 

In the history of the lumber industry, as connected with 
Buffalo, there is one remarkable episode, of such singular 
interest that it stands quite by itself. It is linked with the 
origin and evolution of the Buffalo and Susquehanna Rail- 
road, and has been touched upon in a former chapter of 
this work, where the story of that road, or system of roads, 
is sketched. Some account is given there of the early 
operations of Mr. Frank H. Goodyear, when beginning the 
development of an immense production of hemlock lumber 
from the forests of western Pennsylvania. He went into 
the region about 1872 and started business at West Liberty, 
McKean County, with a small mill. By 1885 he had ac- 



230 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

quired the ability to push into a bigger field, and that year, 
after buying 13,000 acres of land in Potter County, he 
built, at what is now Austin, a large mill, running a gang- 
saw and two circular saws. It was then, in connection 
with this enterprise, that his railway building began, as 
described before. Two years later he was joined by his 
brother, Mr. Charles \Y. Goodyear (previously in the 
practice of the law at Buffalo, as a member of the firm of 
which the Hon. Wilson S. Bissell, Postmaster-General in 
the Cabinet of President Cleveland, was the head), and 

the firm of F. H. & C. \V. G lyear was formed. From 

this time the firm made many successive purchases of 
timber lands, not only in Potter County, but in Tioga, 
Mckean and Elk. 

The sagacious policy pursued in these purchases is thus 
described in Detcbaugh's History of the Lumber Industry 
in America: "He (Frank. H. Goodyear] bought tracts that 
lay miles away from large streams, which were then re- 
garded as the only means of transporting logs to mill, and 
bought tracts that had been passed upon and rejected time 
and again by experienced Pennsylvania operators. At his 
price Mr. Goodyear bought everything in sight; then he 
built saw mills at the very thresholds of the forests. He 
built the best mills that could be constructed, and after they 
were built he arranged facilities for stocking them and 
for electrically lighting them. The result was that when a 
mill was once set to running it ran day and night, from mid- 
night Sunday to midnight the next Saturday, almost with- 
out cessation. Hemlock bark, which has been disposed of 
largely to the United States Leather Company, has been an 
important factor in money-making for the concern. Its 
hardwood holdings, which are interspersed with the hem- 
lock, it has chosen to dispose of to hardwood people. The 
company has done the loading and transporting of logs to 



CHARLES W. GOODYEAR. 

Lawyer; born Cortland, N. V., October 5, 1846; educated 
Wyoming Academy, and afterward studied law. Admitted 
to bar : assistant district attorney, 1875  district attorney, 
1876, Erie County, N. Y.; member law firm of Bissell, 
Sicard & Goodyear, Buffalo; president Buffalo & Susque- 
hanna Coal & Coke Company, Buffalo & Susquehanna Rail- 
way Company, Grcal Southern Lumber Company, Good- 
year Lumber Company, New Orleans Great Northern R. R. 
Company; director Marine National Bank, General Railway 
Signal Company. Western New York Water Company, 
Consolidated Telephone Company. Trustee State Normal 
School, Buffalo Historical Society ; councilor University of 
Buffalo; clubs, Ellicott, Buffalo, Saturn, Country (Buf- 
falo); Lawyers. Railroad 1 X. V. City); died at Buffalo, 
April 16, iyi 1. 




V 



the abi! i a bigger field, am 

built, at wl in, a large mill, running a gang- 

and t\ ular saws. It was then, in 

by his 
brother, Mr. in the 

the firm of 
il in 

re- 

ind 
me 

and . . , 






lock, it li The 



THE GOODYEARS 23 I 

mill, but otherwise has kept out of the hardwood lumber 
business entirely, satisfied with carrying the hemlock end." 

On the 1st of January, 1902, the Goodyear Lumber Com- 
pany was incorporated, with F. H. Goodyear president and 
C. W. Goodyear vice-president. The present productive 
capacity of the Goodyear Lumber Company mills is over 
200,000,000 feet of lumber per year. The business offices 
of the company are at Buffalo. 

In the year of the incorporation of the Goodyear Lumber 
Company, the firm of F. H. & C. W. Goodyear, continu- 
ing its original organization of business, but advancing into 
new fields, acquired some 25,000 acres of timber lands in 
Clearfield and Cameron Counties, Pa., including in the 
purchase a saw mill at Medix Run. Within the same year 
the Messrs. Goodyear, associated with other lumbermen, 
made an initial purchase of 90,000 acres of timber land in 
the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Since then these 
holdings have been largely increased, and the whole taken 
over by a company known as the Great Southern Lumber 
Company, of which Mr. F. H. Goodyear was the first pres- 
ident. The timber owned by this company is mostly long- 
leaf pine, and it covers several hundred thousand acres of 
land. 

In connection with the operations of the Great Southern 
Lumber Company, a railway known as the New Orleans 
Great Northern Railroad is being built from New Orleans 
to Jackson, Mississippi. When completed, this road, with 
its branches, will have a total mileage of 260 miles, about 
170 miles of which are already built. At a place named 
Bogalusa, where the Great Southern Lumber Company is 
building an immense mill, it is also creating an entire town, 
including churches, white and colored schools, stores, 
houses, etc., sufficient for an estimated population of 10,000. 
The great saw mill is of steel construction, the first of its 



232 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

kind, and its capacity is expected to exceed that of any 
other in the world. Its yearly production of lumber will 
probably go beyond 180,000,000 feet of lumber per year. 
Mr. Frank Henry Goodyear, the originator and leading 
spirit in this stupendous development of a productive in- 
dustry, and of the many other great operations that have 
grown out of it, in railroad building, coal mining, and the 
manufacture of iron and steel, died on the 13th of May, 
1907, at the age of fifty-eight years. His brother, Charles 
W. Goodyear, who succeeded him in the presidency of the 
several companies of which he had been the head, died 
early in 191 1. 



CHAPTER III 

THE COAL TRADE 

A CAREFULLY prepared and quite elaborate his- 
torical account of the beginnings and the earlier 
stages of the development of the coal trade at Buf- 
falo was contributed by the late Eric Leonard Hedstrom, 
in 1888, to an extra issue of the Illustrated Buffalo Express, 
published in September of that year, on the occasion of 
the opening of an International Industrial Exhibition, at 
Buffalo. In the following sketch, most of what relates to 
the early years of the business (except so far as concerned 
his own part in it) is derived from Mr. Hedstrom, whose 
knowledge of the trade was hardly equalled by that of any 
other man. 

Prior to 1850, even the local market for either anthra- 
cite or bituminous coal was very small. In the interest of 
the Blossburgh Coal Company of Pennsylvania, which 
mined a semi-bituminous coal, Mr. Guilford R. Wilson 
had come to the city in 1842, to see if something more might 
not be made of the trade at this point. Coal from the 
Blossburgh Basin came at that time to Corning by rail, and 
thence by canal, via Watkins and Geneva. Later it had a 
route via Binghamton and through the Chenango and Erie 
Canals. Mr. Wilson's success was not rapid, but it was 
steady and sure, and finally great. In his second year of 
business he handled only about 2,500 tons. At his death, 
in 1877, n ' s business had grown to a yearly magnitude of 
about 200,000 tons. In 1851 the building of the Delaware, 
Lackawanna and Western Railroad to Great Bend, con- 
necting with the Erie, opened a route for coal to the Erie 
Canal through Cayuga Lake; and in 1854 it began to come 
from Binghamton to Syracuse by rail, and thence by canal. 

233 



234 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

In 1 86 1 Captain George Dakin arrived in Buffalo as the 
agent of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western, and es- 
tablished yards at the foot of Genesee Street. 

After 1859 the tonnage of coal brought to Buffalo by rail 
increased very rapidly, rising from 9,100 tons that year to 
4; ;~H in 1861, out of total receipts of 131,904. Mr. 
Wilson, in 1863, was the first to erect expensive machinery 
.it his shipping dock, on Hatch Slip, south side of Buffalo 
Creek, for transfer from canal to lake bottoms; but the 
rapid increase of coal carriage bv rail put this out of use in 
a few years. Nevertheless, it was not until 1S68 that the 
competition of the railroads with the canal in transporta- 
tion of coal became systematic. In that year the firm of J. 
Langdon & Co., of Elmira, contracted with the New 
York Central and the Northern Central railroads to ship 
all their coal over those roads for ten years, and to dispose 
(i their entire property in canal boats. A little later the 
Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, having established a 
connection with the Erie (then still maintaining its six-feet 
gauge), arranged with the latter to lay a third rail from 
Waverly to Buffalo, enabling cars of the narrower gauge 
to run through. The Delaware and Hudson Company, 
also, had contracts with the Hrie for carrying coal from 
Carbondale to Buffalo: and the New York Central, at about 
this time, obtained new rail connections with the anthracite 
regions at Weedsport and Lvons. 

The strenuous competition in the anthracite trade at this 
period, among the larger interests engaged, had been so 
destructive that the leading competitors were now ar- 
ranging terms of peace. An Anthracite Association was 
formed, which embraced at the outset Mr. J. Langdon, the 
important coal operator of Elmira, the Delaware, Lacka- 
wanna and Western Railway Company, and the Pittston 
and Elmira Coal Company. A little later the Association 



THE ANTHRACITE COAL TRADE 235 

was joined by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Com- 
pany, and, finally, W. L. Scott and Co., of Erie, were taken 
in. It then controlled all the anthracite coal that came in 
quantities to Buffalo. The coal handled by the Association 
was now moved mostly to Syracuse and Ithaca by rail, and 
thence to Buffalo by canal. 

In 1870 Mr. C. M. Underhill came from Rochester to 
Buffalo to represent the Anthracite Association, and had 
charge of its business at this point until the Association was 
dissolved in 1879. He had then become a member of the 
firm of J. Langdon & Co., and continued in Buffalo in con- 
nection with that firm and the Delaware and Hudson Com- 
pany until his retirement from active business, not many 
years ago. The trade he established is carried on by his 
sons, now incorporated under the name of the Underhill 
Coal Company, successors to the C. M. Underhill Co. 

On the dissolution of the Anthracite Association, Mr. J. J. 
McWilliams, who had been in its employ at Buffalo for 
about ten years, became the representative here of the Dela- 
ware, Lackawanna and Western Company, in its coal trade, 
and remained such until a few years ago. He is now at the 
head of the Niagara Lithograph Company, which has es- 
tablished a large plant on Niagara Street, between the 
termini of Prospect and Fargo Avenues. 

The demands of the West, in the middle decades of the 
past century, were inciting more and more of an urgency 
on the part of the anthracite producers for more direct 
transportation of coal to Buffalo and delivery to the fleets 
of the lakes. Mr. Hedstrom had come to this city in 1863 
as an agent of that western demand, representing the firm 
of A. B. Meeker & Co., of Chicago, who were independent 
coal operators and large handlers of pig iron. Within a 
year or so thereafter he was admitted to a partnership in the 
firm. At the outset he received coal from New York by 



236 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

canal and transferred it to sail vessels for lake ports at a 
location on Peck Slip. In 1866 he removed to what is now- 
known as the Salt Dock on the Blackwell Canal, and had 
also a small dock in the Erie Basin. 

The anthracite interests had now developed a business at 
Buffalo which required much improvement and enlarge- 
ment of facilities for the handling of coal, and Mr. Hed- 
stroin was an early leader in the undertakings to that end. 
He took the initiative, about 1 S70, in building the Buffalo 
Creek Railway, of which he was president until the road 
was taken over by the Lehigh Valley and Erie Railway 
companies, about 1876. He was appointed general western 
sales agent for the handling and sale of the Lehigh Valle) 
Coal Company's coal, and, jointly with the Lehigh Valley 
Railway Company, he erected, in 1871, what were then 
known as the Lehigh Docks, on the Buffalo Creek, for the 
transfer of anthracite coal from cars to vessels. The trestle 
at these docks was the first one built in Buffalo for the hand- 
ling ot coal m this manner. At about the same time J. 
Langdon & Co., in connection with the New York Central 
road, were building large trestles in the Erie Basin, and 
others, a little later, were constructed by the Erie Railway 
on the Blackwell or City Ship Canal Meantime, the Del- 
aware and Hudson Company had carried out an extensive 
improvement of propertv for the uses of its coal trade on 
Buffalo Creek. This involved a deepening of the Creek. 
between Ohio and Hamburg streets, at a cost of >i 50,000. 
The work was finished about 1871. 

Mr. Hedstrom severed his connection with the Lehigh 
Vallev interests in 1876, and represented for a short time 
the Erie Railway in handling its anthracite product. In 
1878 he formed an alliance with the Delaware, Lackawanna 
and Western Railroad Company, which he and his suc- 
cessors have continued to this time. The business, still con- 



COAL RAILWAY IMPROVEMENTS 237 

tinned in h:s name, is the only independent one now con- 
ducted here which ships anthracite coal from Buffalo to 
the upper lake ports. The extensive : -.- f the Hedstrom 

firm in South Chicago and other points in the market are 
significant of a large activity in the western anthracite trade. 

In 1879 the Delaware. Lackawanna and Western Rail- 
road Company, to provide for its increasing movement of 

I over the New York Central, from Syracuse, estab- 
I  ■: i trestles- and shipping locks at the foot >f Erie Street, 
on the Creek at its mouth In [882 its own line was ex- 
tended to Buffalo, and brought through the southern part 
of the city to those docks, by an acquisil 1 rights of way 

an i property along Ohio and Water streets, which have 
given it a practical control of the inner-harbor water-fr at 
for about three-quarters of a mile. The my, in fact. 

 a possession of the wharves and streets on and along 
which nearly the whole commerce of Buffalo was c inducted 
a generation ago. To provide further for the nee:- 1 its 
traffic, the D. L. and W. has constructed since, at East Buf- 
falo, a building for the storage of 100.000 tons of anthracite 
coal. 

In [880 the Lehigh Valley road entered upon new ter- 
minal improvements of immense extent, buying for the pur- 
pose the large tract of 320 acres of Ian: jn Bufralc River 
known formerly as the Tifft Farm. By the construe: n 
of a system of slips, connected with the Blackwell or City 
Ship Canal, this Lehigh Valley improvement opened up 
more than two miles of new docks, wharves and contiguous 
storage yards, creating immense facilities, which the lumber 
trade shares with the coal. 

In 1SS1 Mr. Andrew Langdon came to Buffalo to repre- 
sent the coal interests of the Erie Railway, marketing coal, 
at the same time, from mines of his own at Wilkesbarre, 
Scranton and Carbondale. Previously. Mr. Langdon had 



238 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

been in business at Harrisburg, Fa., and had been the first 
(about 1870) to ship coal from the anthracite region to Chi- 
cago, in wholesale quantities, by all rail. He had his own 
docks at Chicago, with agencies at Milwaukee. Mr. Lang- 
don conducted the coal business of the Erie Railway at 
Buffalo for about ten years. All of his coal interests were 
sold in 1895. He has had leisure since for useful work in 
other lines. 

In 1883 the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad secured 
a better outlet to Buffalo, by the completion of the Jersey 
Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo road, which William H. 
Vanderbilt had bought and extended to a connection with 
the New York Central's Fall Brook line from Ansonia. 
For some time previously the Philadelphia and Reading 
had been shipping coal westward by way of New York and 
the Erie Canal, and Mr. T. Guilford Smith had been ap- 
pointed agent at Buffalo of the Philadelphia and Reading 
Coal and [ron Company in 1878. A few years later Mr. 
Smith entered into a double partnership with Mr. J. J. 
Albright, under an arrangement of business with the Read- 
ing Company, in conducting one of which the firm bore 
the name of Albright & Co., and marketed all coal going 
west from Buffalo, while, as Albright & Smith, it handled 
the entire coal sold in Canada and the State of New York. 
It was this engagement in business which made Mr. 
Albright a citizen of Buffalo. Mr. Smith had been resi- 
dent in this city, as secretary of the reorganized Union Iron 
Works Company, since 1873. 

At present the interests connected with the anthracite coal 
trade are represented in Buffalo by a very large number of 
agencies, large and small; but the main channels of the 
trade and the lines on which it is organized remain sub- 
stantially as they were developed some twenty years ago. 
The volume of the movement of coal, both anthracite and 



.HTIM8 



















'UILFbRD SAim,. 
1 '" Philadelphia Wusi - rfl 
Philadelphia Central ll.-hJ V ? 39 '' " lucatei1 ;,t &>e 
^uteatTroy n! York f ' ** '" 

Refiner, ,.x,„ ,/.' ^ rT"^ Phi 'adelphia Sugar 

In,  "WMphu, an ,, k( , (li|ltr roa , and 









THE BITUMINOUS COAL TRADE 239 

bituminous, through this depot of distribution, has increased 
to great proportions, as shown by statistics that will be given 
further on ; and more of the anthracite movement than of 
most others among the streamings of commerce has stayed 
with the carriers of the lakes. 

Important developments of the bituminous coal trade at 
Buffalo came later than those of the trade from the anthra- 
cite fields. Until the Buffalo and Washington Railroad 
(afterwards the Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia, and 
now the Buffalo arm of the Pennsylvania Railroad system) 
was opened, in 1875, coal from the bituminous fields 
reached Buffalo by lake from Erie or by rail via Brocton 
or Hornellsville. For twenty years, at least, the building 
of a direct road to that important region of Pennsylvania 
had been urged, and even attempted by a Buffalo and Pitts- 
burg Railroad Company in 1852, without result. Heavy 
movements of bituminous coal to this market followed the 
opening of the Buffalo and Washington road, and large 
mining interests in Western Pennsylvania were soon estab- 
lished in Buffalo, notably that which was represented by the 
firm of Bell, Lewis & Yates. 

A business founded at this period, in 1874, by Mr. Frank 
Williams, has grown to be one of the largest of the present 
day. At the beginning it involved the handling of about 
7,500 tons of coal in the year. In 1907 it had to do with 
half a million tons; much of which, however, did not come 
to Buffalo, to be included in the statistics of coal received 
at and shipped from this port. A large part of the coal 
mined and marketed by the existing firm of Frank Williams 
& Co. is shipped directly from its mines in Pennsylvania to 
the points of sale. It supplies a good share of the steam 
coal taken on by lake steamers in this port for their own use, 
delivering to them by lighters at all parts of the harbor, and 
its local trade is large. The extensive docks of the firm are 



240 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

on the Blackwell Canal. The founder of the business 
bought an interest in two mines in Jefferson County, Penn- 
sylvania, in 1876. Those mines were exhausted long ago. 
In 1881 he purchased coal property in Oak Ridge, Arm- 
strong County, which is productive still. Other proper- 
ties have been acquired since. The firm is now operating 
mines at Hillville, Clarion County, where it has 2,000 acres 
of coal, and Dent's Run in Elk County, where it holds 
leases of the coal under 10,000 acres. In addition, it buys 
from 100,000 to 200,000 tons yearly from other mines. Mr. 
Frank Williams died in 1884. He had received Mr. 
Horace A. Noble into partnership, and sons of both Mr. 
Williams and Mr. Noble are associated with the latter in 
the present firm. 

A second direct route from the bituminous coal fields of 
Pennsylvania to Buffalo was opened in 1875, by the build- 
ing of the Buffalo and Jamestown Railroad, — named after- 
wards the Buffalo and Southwestern, and now a division of 
the New York, Lake Erie and Western. 

A third connection was formed in 1883, on the bringing 
of the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburg road into Buffalo. 
In close relations with this important road was the business 
of the strong firm of Bell, Lewis & Yates, incorporated sub- 
sequently as the Bell, Lewis & Yates Mining Company, 
which conducted extensive mining operations in Pennsyl- 
vania and coal trade in Buffalo. Mr. George H. Lewis, of 
this company, who died suddenly in October, 1897, was a 
citizen whose loss has been deeply felt. He came to Buf- 
falo in 1875, and the firm in which his brother-in-law, Mr. 
Frederick A. Bell, was one of his partners, was formed in 
1878. Its operations were ended in 1896, when the fran- 
chises of the company were sold and Mr. Lewis's retirement 
from business occurred. Until he died, not many realized 
how rarely good a citizen, in all the relations of his life, he 
had been. 



THE BITUMINOUS COAL TRADE 241 

Another citizen of the high standard had been taken from 
the same walk in life a little earlier, in 1894, when Mr. Hed- 
strom died. The city had been bettered in many ways by 
the example and the service of both these men, and their 
memory should be kept green. 

After the death of Mr. Hedstrom his business was con- 
tinued in his own name by a co-partnership formed of 
Arthur E. Hedstrom, Anna M. Hedstrom, Alice H. Doug- 
las and Eugene C. Roberts. The handling of bituminous 
coal had been begun by Mr. Hedstrom in i88o ; when he 
became the representative of several of the larger Pittsburg 
and Reynoldsville producers. The heavier interests of his 
successors are now in that department of the coal trade. In 
1900 they took over on a perpetual lease the bituminous coal 
interests of the Fairmount Coal and Coke Company, which 
was controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1902 they 
purchased the coal interests of the late John M. Brinker, 
and those are now operated under the name of the Hedstrom 
Coal Mining Company. In the bituminous and the an- 
thracite coal business of Buffalo alike, the firm which bears 
the name of E. L. Hedstrom is one of the leading factors. 

The coal and coke products of the Rochester and Pitts- 
burg Coal and Iron Company are distributed very largely 
from Buffalo, and the retail trade of the city in steam coal 
is supplied by this company to an important extent. Its 
mines are extensive, mostly in the Reynoldsville district. 
Its yards and trestles at this point are at Ganson and Michi- 
gan streets and at Fillmore Avenue and Clinton Street. 
The company's agent in Buffalo is Mr. Harry Yates. 

Another extensive mining corporation which markets its 
product of steam coal largely through Buffalo is that of H. 
K. Wick & Company, whose Pennsylvania mines are in the 
counties of Mercer, Butler and Clarion. 

The fourth and latest of the important rail connections 



242 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

of Buffalo with the bituminous coal fields of Pennsylvania, 
created by the building of the Buffalo and Susquehanna 
Railroad, was completed in 1907. This carried with it 
heavy investments of capital from Buffalo in the bituminous 
coal fields. In 1901, six years before the extension of its 
road to Buffalo, the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad 
Company had bought the property of the Clearfield Coal 
Company, located at Tyler, Pennsylvania, for the holding 
of which property the Buffalo and Susquehanna Coal Com- 
pany was incorporated subsequently. In the following year 
the latter company purchased additional lands, near Dubois, 
Pa., from the Berwind-White Coal Mining Company, and 
other lands, ten miles south of Dubois, from Peale, Peacock 
& Kerr, the whole containing, as estimated, about 30,000,- 
000 tons of coal. The B. and S. Railroad was extended 
from Sinnemahoning, Pa., to Dubois and a point south of 
it. in 1903-4. 

In 1903 and 1904 the lands bought from Peale, Peacock 
& Kerr, and from the Clearfield Coal Company were sold 
by the Buffalo and Susquehanna Coal & Coke Company 
to the Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company, whose ex- 
tensive and remarkably perfect plant at Buffalo was brought 
into operation in 1904. To replace the coal lands thus 
parted with, the B. & S. Coal and Coke Company made 
additional purchases, and its lands and mining rights now 
owned are estimated to contain 120,000,000 tons of coal. It 
operates three modern shaft-mining plants, near Dubois, 
which have a total producing capacity of about one million 
tons per annum. It operates, also, a quite remarkable drift- 
mining plant at Sagamore, Pa., the producing capacity of 
which, when fully developed, will be about two million 
tons of coal per annum. 

In the decade which ended in 1872 onlv 66,000 tons of 
bituminous coal were shipped from Buffalo bv rail, and 



LAKE AND RAILWAY COAL SHIPMENTS 243 

78,889 tons by lake. In the next decade the rail shipments 
had mounted up to 1,089,907 tons, and those by lake had 
shrunk to 8,800. In the latest single year of the trade 
(1907), for which separate statistics have been obtained, 
Buffalo received (necessarily by rail) 5,189,235 tons of bi- 
tuminous coal, and shipped but 2,815 tons of it by lake. 
Exactly how much went out of the city by rail is not shown 
by the statistics, which give bituminous and anthracite to- 
gether, in one total of "shipments by railroads," 6,007,255 
tons. 

The smallness of the shipments of bituminous coal from 
Buffalo by lake is explained by the fact that coal from the 
bituminous fields seeking lake transportation can reach it at 
other ports on Lake Erie from which distances and rates are 
less than from Buffalo. 

The receipts of anthracite in 1907 (wholly by rail) were 
6,304,829 tons, and 3,449,695 tons went westward by lake. 
Hence the larger part of the above total railroad shipment 
of both kinds of coal must have been of the bituminous 
variety. 

The combined receipts of bituminous and anthracite by 
rail were reported by the Bureau of Industries in 1910 as 
having been 9,180,839 tons; shipments by lake 3,052,705 
tons. 

The shipping docks and coal pockets at Buffalo are sum- 
marized in the annual report of the Chamber of Commerce, 
as follows: 

Average ship- Average 

ping capacity capacity 

daily of pockets 

Tons Tons 

Pennsylvania R. R 2,500 3,000 

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western R. R. . . . 3,000 4,000 

Lehigh Docks, Nos. 1 and 2 6,000 12,000 

Erie Docks (Erie R. R.) 3,000 10,000 

Reading Docks 7,000 6,500 

Totals 21,500 35,500 



244 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

Outside the city limits at Cheektowaga is the stocking 
coal trestle of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, with 
a capacity of over 100,000 tons storage. At the same place 
the Lehigh has its trestles and stocking plant of 175,000 tons 
storage capacity, with a shipping capacity of 3,000 tons 
daily; and has a transfer trestle for loading box cars, with 
a capacity of 100 cars daily. At the same point the Erie 
has a stocking plant, with average daily capacity of 1,000 
tons, and storage capacity for 100,000 tons. The Reading 
has at the foot of Georgia Street, in the city, a large trestle 
and pocket for the convenience of the retail trade, and in 
connection with their docks, with a capacity of 2,000 tons. 
The Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg has terminals on 
Ganson and Michigan streets, fronting on the Blackwell 
Canal, with a water frontage of 1,100 feet; also a town 
deliver) yard, with a hoisting plant for loading and coaling 
vessels. 



CHAPTER IV 

CATTLE TRADE AND MEAT PACKING 

IN an article prepared for a historical "extra number" of 
the Buffalo Express, published in 1888, Mr. Horace 
Wilcox, then the commercial editor of that newspaper, 
traced the substantial beginnings of the live stock business 
in Buffalo to the year 1852, when D. M. Joslyn opened 
yards for drovers at the old Jamison tavern, on Seneca 
Street. Nothing but scattering lots of cattle and hogs had 
been handled at this point, without accommodations or 
facilities of any kind. Joslyn's yards were removed after- 
wards to the Thirteenth Ward House, on the same street. 

Within the next few years several cattle and hog yards 
were opened, on the Tifft Farm and elsewhere, in the south- 
eastern part of the city. John Dickey, Leonard Crocker, 
and James H. Metcalfe were men of early prominence in 
the business. About 1855 or 1856 the New York Central 
and the New York and Erie Railroad companies began 
building pens and chutes for loading cattle and hog cars. 
In 1863 the New York Central and Hudson River R. R. 
Co. opened the stock yards at East Buffalo which have cen- 
tralized the trade ever since. For many years the cattle 
and sheep departments were under the superintendence of 
Mr. Leonard Crocker, while Metcalfe and Cushing had 
charge of the department of hogs. 

In the long period that has elapsed since the opening of 
these yards they have been undergoing constant improve- 
ment and enlargement, until there is nothing in the country 
to surpass them in facilities, and only at Chicago is a greater 
business done. In one branch of the trade, — that of sheep 
and lambs, — even Chicago falls behind, and the boast is 
made for these yards that they stand first among the mar- 

245 



246 COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION 

kets of the world. Covering more than a hundred acres of 
ground, the yards offer a provision for handling more than 
100,000 animals at one time. The cattle yards have capa- 
city for 15,000 head; the building for sheep 50,000; the 
building for hogs 35,000. In a published description of 
the stockyards it is said: "Every protection is supplied 
against fire or accident. Broad paved alleys, dry, cool 
sheep and hog houses, lighted by electricity and sanitarily 
clean in every respect. Cattle pens provided with sheds 
for shelter and fitted with the most approved appliances for 
watering and feeding and an abundance of pure water are 
among the features of the yards. Order and cleanliness 
prevail evervwhere." 

Receipts of live stock at Buffalo in 1907 were reported 
by car-loads as follows: Cattle, 8,365 ; Hogs, 11,554; Sheep, 
6,396; Horses, 1,087; ^Hxed cars, 3,736; Total, 31,138 cars. 
Shipments by carloads: Cattle, 5,423; Hogs, 5,972; Sheep, 
6,472; Horses, 917; mixed cars, 610; Total, 19,394. 

The total through shipments of live stock via Buffalo in 
1907 were of 33,360 cars. 

While Buffalo is not one of the great centers of the meat 
packing business, two large and important establishments 
of that business have been established here. That of the 
Christian Klinck Packing Company had small beginnings 
in 1856. It now occupies twenty-four acres of ground and 
25 buildings, adjoining Depot Street, in South Buffalo. In 
1906 the cattle slaughtered at this place numbered 32,000, 
the hogs 340,000. The present company is composed of 
the six sons of the late Christian Klinck, Louis P., W. H., 
Fred. F., Charles C, Albert E., and Edward C. Klinck. 

The business of the Jacob Dold Packing Company was 
begun in a small way of butchering by Jacob Dold, Sr., in 
i860, on the Abbott Road. Two years later a packing es- 
tablishment was opened at the Elk Street Market. The 



CATTLE TRADE AND MEAT PACKING 247 

large plant now operated at East Buffalo was established 
in 1872, when the slaughter of hogs and cattle amounted to 
about 50,000 per year. In 1907 it had increased to 650,000 
head. 



FINANCIAL EVOLUTION 

BANKING 



AS shown by the preceding survey, the business inter- 
ests of Buffalo, until quite recent years, were far 
more in the transportation of the commodities of 
trade than in the production of them. In other words, its 
manufacturing industries were less important than those 
connected with the traffic-handling, the storage and the 
lake and canal carriage of its grain, coal and lumber trade. 
This gave, without doubt, some features of peculiarity to 
its banking business. 

It used to be a common complaint among the manufac- 
turers of the city that the resources of its banks were mon- 
opolized by the grain trade, especially, and that bills of 
lading and warehouse receipts were the only kind of paper 
that found favor at the discounting institutions. Latterly 
such complaints are said to have ceased, partly by reason 
of the increase of banking capital, and partly because the 
grain business has undergone a great change. Most of the 
grain now handled in Buffalo is on through lake and rail 
bills of lading, carried by Chicago and New York banks. 
Buffalo is only a point of transfer in the movement of it. 
The banks here are only called upon to carry such grain as 
local millers and other manufacturers of grain products are 
buying in the fall, when they lay in their stock for winter 
needs. 

Probably the former conditions tended to lessen the num- 
ber of banking institutions in Buffalo, compared with other 
cities of its class. Relatively, the number continues to be 
small, and the volume of the banking business of the city is, 
therefore, not represented by the transactions of the Clear- 

248 



EARLY BANKS IN BUFFALO 249 

ing House, for the reason that much more of the local busi- 
ness is cleared on the books of the banks themselves than 
would be if a greater number divided it. 

Until a few years ago the banks in Buffalo were mainly 
State banks, there being, until that time, only two that were 
organized as national banks. This was due to the fact that 
Buffalo is not one of the twenty-five so-called "reserve 
cities," named in the law creating the national banks, which 
allows those banks to carry a certain percentage of their 
required reserve in designated banks within the cities that 
are named. Within these cities, to which the deposits of 
country banks are drawn, the formation of national banks 
has been stimulated; but banks in Buffalo, operating under 
a State law, the main features of which were incorporated 
in the national bank act, have had no special inducement 
to place themselves under that act. Several, however, have 
found reasons for doing so of late. 

Banking at Buffalo had early beginnings, — as early as 
1816, when the village had no more than half emerged from 
the ashes of its destruction in 1813. Six or eight of its lead- 
ing business men, in association with a number from other 
villages in the western part of the State, including Batavia, 
procured from the Legislature an act incorporating the 
bank of Niagara, and it was organized in July, 1816, with a 
nominal capital of $500,000, to be paid in small instalments 
on the shares. Niagara Falls, Batavia, Clarence, Wil- 
liamsville, Hamburg, and Chautauqua County, as well as 
Buffalo, were represented on the board of directors, and 
Isaac Kibbe, of Hamburg, was elected president, with Isaac 
Q. Leake for cashier. The offices of the bank were estab- 
lished at the corner of Washington and North Division 
streets. It was chartered for sixteen years, and its business 
seems to have been closed with regularity at the end of 
that term. 



250 FINANCIAL EVOLUTION 

The Bank of Niagara had a powerful rival after 183 1, 
when a branch of the national United States Bank was es- 
tablished in the rising town, then aspiring to the status of a 
city. The $200,000 capital of the new bank was so heavily 
over-subscribed that litigation arose over the awarding of 
the shares. It opened business in September, 1831, on the 
northeast corner of South Division Street and Main, and 
continued, under the presidency of William B. Rochester, 
for about three years, when President Jackson's veto of a 
renewed charter for the parent institution brought its exist- 
ence to an end. 

From the directory of the city in 1832 we learn that a 
Bank of Buffalo had then been established, with G. H. 
Goodrich for its president; but it disappears from the di- 
rectory of 1835, to reappear, in name, at least, in that of 

1836, with Hiram Pratt as president, and a new institution, 
the Commercial Bank of Buffalo, Israel T. Hatch presi- 
dent, is named that year. Another addition is made in 

1837, and the list of three, — City Bank, Commercial Bank 
and Bank of Buffalo, — is unchanged for two years. In 
1839 the city becomes suddenly endowed with no less than 
seven banks, adding four to the previous list, as follows: 
I 11 i ted States Bank at Buffalo, P. A. Barker president; 
Merchants Exchange Bank, Sherman Stevens president; 
Mechanics Bank, O. H. Dibble president; Erie County 
Bank, G. N. Kinney, president. 

In 1840 the City Bank has disappeared, and three new 
ones have arisen: the Bank of Commerce, C. H. Allen pres- 
ident; the Bank of America, Henry Roop president, and 
the Phoenix Bank, L. Eaton in its presidency. Then comes 
a great fall. The directory of 1841 names but two in its 
list of banks, the Bank of Buffalo and the Commercial 
Bank; and in 1842 it reports the whole list of 1840 under 
the sinister caption, "Suspended Banks," with names of the 



EARLY BANKS IN BUFFALO 25 1 

receivers who are winding up their affairs. Not a bank in 
the city is recorded outside of that catalogue of the mori- 
bund, either that year or the next. 

But in 1844 a fresh planting of institutions for banking 
is seen to have occurred. The twelve of the old list are 
named as being still in the receivers' hands, but seven new 
ones had been established, one of which had a long career, 
running on till not quite a decade ago; while several 
others of the number came down to times within the mem- 
ory of people who are not patriarchally old. The Bank 
of Attica enters then for the first time into the city direc- 
tory, but is said to have been removed from Attica to Buf- 
falo in 1842. The other six were Oliver Lee & Co.'s Bank, 
White's Bank, George C. White president; the Patchin 
Bank, A. D. Patchin president; the Exchange Bank, of 
Robert Codd; the Merchants', M. Perry president, and the 
Farmers' and Drovers', James N. Earl. 

It is evident that the fresh creations of 1844 mark the 
opening of a period of improved stability in banking at 
Buffalo, though many banks have come and gone since that 
year, and not one of the institutions born then is in exist- 
ence now. Some of the many that are but names in our 
local history have ended business voluntarily, leaving an 
honorable record of success. In some cases a record of 
failure has been honorable, nevertheless; while some have 
gone down in disgraceful as well as disastrous wreck. 

Two of the banks that have disappeared had a long and 
important career, bearing a part in the business history of 
the city which cannot be overlooked. One of these was the 
Bank of Attica, founded by Gaius B. Rich at the village of 
Attica, in 1836; re-established at Buffalo in 1842, and re- 
organized and re-incorporated in 1850, under the banking 
laws of the State. During the sixty years of its useful and 
prosperous existence in Buffalo, "the conservative basis on 



252 FINANCIAL EVOLUTION 

which it was organized originally was never impaired, and 
the principles for its guidance laid down by its founder 
were steadily adhered to," by the son, Andrew J. Rich, 
who succeeded him, and by the grandson, G. Barrett Rich, 
who came to the presidency of the bank in 1895. In 
1890, for business reasons, the name of the institution was 
changed, and it was known thereafter as the Buffalo Com- 
mercial Bank, until 1902, when it was merged in the Marine 
National Bank. 

Another bank of the past which had an early, long and 
important career, was the Farmers' ami Mechanics', organ- 
ized originally at Batavia, about 1840, and removed to 
Buffalo in 1852. On the establishment of the bank in Buf- 
falo the Hon. Elbridge G. Spaulding, previously in the 
practice of the profession of the law, became its president 
and devoted himself to its administration, except as he gave 
large parts of his time and attention to public affairs. Serv- 
ing repeated terms in Congress, first in [849-50, then in 
the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh congresses of the Civil 
War period, he became a notable actor on the national 
stage, and exercised an important influence in the shaping 
of the financial legislation of the war. As chairman of a 
sub-committee of the House Committee of Ways and Means 
he was the recognized author of the Legal Tender Act, and 
was popularly known as the "Father of the Greenbacks" in 
his day. He had hardly less to do with the framing and 
passing of the National Bank Act, in co-operation with 
Secretary Chase. The Bank over which he presided was 
reorganized under that act in 1864, becoming the Farmers' 
and Mechanics' National Bank. In common speech it was 
more often alluded to as "Spaulding's Bank." It con- 
tinued to be a factor of importance in Buffalo business until 
1897, when its business was closed. 

Of the banks of discount that are now doing business in 



 

isbriaT Is^aJ art} 

'eoinei 

I IfinoilcVI 



Kl.l'.kllx.l \LT.DI' 

lianker and publicist ; born Summer I lill. New York, 
February J4. 1 S< x / . < )btaiqed a liberal education, studied 
taw, and began practice in Buffalo. Held several city of- 
fices, including (hat of mayor in 1K47. Was elected to the 
31 st Congret Whig; treasurer of th< if \ew 

York. 1X54-55: elected to the ,?<>tb Congress 1 [861*63) 
a L'niuii candidate and re-elc. ted to the g^h (<>ngre-- 
l'.xjk an active part in tbc training of tbe Legal Tender 
Act, under which the greenbacks were issued during the 
Civil War. Organized in [804 the Fanners' & Mechanics. 
National P. : ,nk,.f IbifTal,, : died May 5. l& 









BANKS AND BANKING 253 

Buffalo the Marine National is the oldest, having been or- 
ganized as a State bank in 1850. Only two of its original 
incorporators, — George Palmer and James M. Ganson, — 
were resident in Buffalo; the remainder were men of capi- 
tal and business weight from other parts of the State. 
George Palmer, one of the broadest and strongest of our 
men of business in the past, was its president for fourteen 
years. In 1881, after an interval in which several changes 
in the presidency occurred, Mr. Stephen M. Clement, pre- 
viously cashier of the bank, since 1869, was elected to the 
presidency, and retained that office till his death, when he 
was succeeded by his son of the same name. The first loca- 
tion of the bank was far down Main Street, immediately 
below its crossing of the Canal. In 1880 it was removed 
to 220 Main Street. In 1896 the adjoining property, at 
the southwest corner of Main and Seneca streets, was ac- 
quired, and the quarters of the bank enlarged. Five years 
later the entire property was remodelled, and, again, in 
1907, an extensive reconstruction occurred, to give the bank 
the large spaces for inner work and outer lobby which its 
growing business required. Until 1902 the Marine Bank 
was a State institution. In that year, shortly before its 
absorption of the Buffalo Commercial Bank, it obtained a 
charter as a National Bank, since which entry into the na- 
tional system its deposits have increased over $5,000,000. 
In 1906 its accumulated surplus, exceeding $2,000,000, was 
partly capitalized, by an enlargement of the capital stock 
from $230,000 to $1,500,000, through the declaration of 
a dividend from the surplus to stockholders of 552 per cent. 
A recent financial statement of the bank to the Comp- 
troller of the Currency showed $17,056,495 deposits, with 
surplus and profits of $1,182,883. 

The next in age of the existing banks of discount, as well 
as the next in magnitude of business, is the Manufacturers' 



254 FINANCIAL EVOLUTION 

and Traders' National, which was organized under the 
State law in 1856, and reorganized as a National Bank 
within quite recent years. Its original capital was $200,- 
000, which has been increased successively to $500,000, to 
$900,000, and, finally, to $1,000,000. Its reported state- 
ment of condition in 1907 showed: deposits, $12,466,989; 
surplus and undivided profits, $1,451,313. The first pres- 
ident of the bank was Henry Martin; the first vice- 
president Pascal P. Pratt, and those offices were unchanged 
for many years. Mr. Martin was succeeded in the presi- 
dency by Mr. Pratt, who held the office until 1900, when 
he retired from business, and Robert L. Fryer came into 
his place. The offices of the bank were opened in 1856 at 
No. 2 East Swan Street; removed the same year to 273 
Main Street, and to 22 West Seneca Street in 1861 ; whence 
it went, in 1880, to the corner of West Seneca and Main. 

The Third National Bank of Buffalo was organized in 
1865, under the National Bank Act of the previous year, 
am) designated soon afterward as a depository of public 
moneys of the United States. Its original capital of $250,- 
000 has been increased since to $500,000. Its surplus and 
undivided profits stated in 1907 were $166,059; deposits 
$2,676,184. Mr. Abel T. Blackmar was the president of 
the bank till 1869, when he was succeeded by Mr. Abraham 
Altman, who occupied the office until 1881, when Mr. 
Charles A. Sweet was elected, and held the presidency till 
failing health compelled him to resign, in 1902. Mr. 
Sweet was succeeded by Mr. Nathaniel Rochester, who had 
been the cashier of the bank for many years. Mr. Roches- 
ter died in 1906, and Mr. Loran L. Lewis has been presi- 
dent of the bank since that time. The Third National has 
occupied its present place of business, at the corner of Main 
and Swan streets, since 1867. 

The existing Bank of Buffalo had two or more prede- 



BANKS AND BANKING 255 

cessors of the same name, but is related to them in no other 
way. It began business in 1873, with a capital of $300,000, 
which was raised to $500,000 in 1903. Its surplus and un- 
divided profits in 1907 were $703,934; its deposits $7,159,- 
434. It is said to have paid dividends every year since 
1874, and to have paid in all, to 1908, $1,113,000. The 
first president of the bank was Sherman S. Jewett, who was 
succeeded by John N. Scatcherd in 1892, and the latter by 
Elliott C. McDougal in 1896. The first location of the 
bank was at 236 Main Street, occupying part of the ground 
on which, in 1895, it erected the substantial building at 
the corner of Main and West Seneca streets in which its 
increasing business is now carried on. 

In the order of time, the next of the existing banks of dis- 
count to appear was the German-American, organized 
under the State law in 1882. Its original paid-up capital 
of $100,000 was increased to $200,000 in 1889. It opened 
business in the basement of the building which it now owns 
and occupies, at the corner of Main and Court streets, but 
which was then the property and the home of the Erie 
County Savings Bank. In 1883 it took quarters at 440 
Main Street; doubled them in 1888 by taking in the adjoin- 
ing premises; and bought, in 1893, tne building which the 
Erie County Savings Bank had outgrown. The deposits 
held by the German-American Bank when reported in 1907 
were $4,083,892; its surplus and undivided profits $203,691. 
The president of the bank at the beginning was Henry 
Hellriegel. The office is now held by Edwin G. S. Miller. 
In 1889 the People's Bank was organized, with a capital 
of $300,000. Its president for a number of years, Daniel 
O'Day, was much engaged in other affairs, and the active 
duties of the office were performed, practically, from the 
first, by the vice-president, Arthur D. Bissell, who succeeded 
to the presidency in 1903. The first location of the bank 



256 FINANCIAL EVOLUTION 

was in the Coal and Iron Exchange building, on Washing- 
ton Street; but the growth of its business required a change, 
which was made in 1905. By an extensive remodelling of 
the building on the southeastern corner of Main and 
Seneca streets it secured admirable quarters, at a most de- 
sirable point. The surplus and undivided profits of the 
bank at the latest reporting were $240,375, and it held 
deposits to the amount of $3,781,086. 

The Citizens' Bank, chartered in 1890, was established in 
an eastern quarter of the city, at the corner of William and 
Sherman streets, where its business is still carried on. The 
president is Joseph Block. The capital of the bank is 
$100,000; its surplus at the time of the report for 1907 was 
$265,820; its deposits $1,967,068. 

The Columbia National Hank, organized in 1892, was 
located on the first floor of the Prudential Building, at the 
corner of Pearl and Church streets, until 1907, when, on 
the opening of the new Chamber of Commerce Building, 
it occupied the first floor there. The president of the 
Columbia National is George F. Rand. Its capital is 
$700,000; its surplus, reported 111 1907, < 1,006,842; and it 
held deposits to the amount of 54,897,756. 

The Market Bank was organized by the stockholders of 
the Bank of Buffalo in 1903 for the accommodation of 
uptown banking needs. Its first location was at 598 and 
600 Main Street, a little above Chippewa, and it was re- 
moved to the corner of Chippewa Street in 1906. The 
capital of the bank is $100,000; its latest report of surplus 
$32,346; its deposits $974,595- 

For the special benefit of the live stock commission mer- 
chants, the butchers, manufacturers and other business men 
of the East Buffalo region, the Union Stock Yards Bank 
was established in 1904, having its well-appointed place of 
business in the Live Stock Exchange building, at the cor- 



BANKS AND BANKING 257 

ner of William and Depot streets. The capital of the bank 
is $150,000; its surplus in 1907 $38,341 ; its deposits $716,- 
000. Its leading organizers were Hiram Waltz, the pres- 
ident, and Irving E. Waters, the cashier. 

The youngest of the banks in the city is the Central 
National, established in 1906, and located in the offices that 
were vacated when the German Bank failed, at the corner 
of Main Street and the Lafayette Park. It has a capital 
of $200,000, and reported a surplus in 1907 of $55,520, with 
deposits to the amount of $1,236,688. 

The first of the Trust Companies to be instituted in Buf- 
falo was the Buffalo Loan, Trust and Safe Deposit Com- 
pany, chartered in 1881, but opening active business in Jan- 
uary, 1883. It was, furthermore, the first safe-deposit insti- 
tution. Its offices and vaults are still where first located, 
at 449 Main Street. The original capital of the company, 
$137,000, paid up, has been increased to $200,000. It 
held deposits, at the time of the latest statement, aggre- 
gating $940,589, and its accumulated surplus was $80,460. 
George Urban is the president of the company. 

In 1892 the Fidelity Trust Company was organized, 
under the presidency of Mr. George V. Forman, who has 
been its chief executive since. While performing the 
functions of a trust company, as executor and administra- 
tor of many estates, and as receiver for the defunct Empire 
State Savings Bank, it has also conducted a general bank- 
ing business. It is founded upon a capital of $500,000; had 
accumulated a surplus of $400,000, as appears in a recent 
published statement, and held deposits to the amount of 
$6,969,421. For more than eight years past "the company 
has paid monthly dividends of 1 per cent, on its capital 
stock." Until 1903 the company occupied the front room 
on the ground floor of the Erie County Savings Bank build- 
ing. It then took possession of the massive building it had 



258 FINANCIAL EVOLUTION 

erected for itself on the northwestern corner of Main Street 
and Swan. 

The latest in birth of the financial institutions which 
combine the trust function with banking is the Common- 
wealth Trust Company, formed in 1903. It occupies the 
room in the Erie County Savings Bank building that was 
vacated by the Fidelity Trust Company that year. .Mr. E. 
O. McNair has been the president of the company from 
the beginning. Its capital is $500,000; its accumulated 
surplus $317,732; ami it held deposits to the amount of 
$5,644,939 when reporting them in 1907. The stock of the 
company is said to have reached a dividend-paying basis 
at the end of the first year. 

Of institutions for savings, the Buffalo Savings Hank, 
founded in 1846, was the earliest to be formed. Among its 
incorporators were such notable citizens of that period as 
Millard Fillmore and Albert H. Tracy. It opened busi- 
ness in the old Spaulding's Exchange, on Main Street im- 
mediately below the Terrace, but was soon removed else- 
where, going through two changes of location in its first 
year. Then, till 1852, it was quartered at the corner of 
Main and Erie streets; whence it was removed to the old 
Bank of Buffalo building, on Main Street, south of Court. 
In 1867 it took possession of the building it had erected for 
itself at the corner of Washington Street and Batavia (now 
Broadway). Toward the close of the century, having 
outgrown the accommodations available there, it built 
again, on a greater scale and in a nobler style, on the con- 
spicuous corner of Main, Huron and Genesee streets, and 
entered this fine new home in March, 1901. Among its 
presidents in the past were Warren Bryant and Edward 
Bennett. In recent years the office has been held by 
Spencer Clinton. John U. Wayland, its long time secre- 
tarv, resigned not many years ago, becoming a resident of 



BANKS AND BANKING 259 

California, and was succeeded by Edward G. Becker. The 
assets of the bank, reported on the 1st of January, 1908, 
were $28,069,784; due depositors, $26,280,619; surplus, 
$1,789,614. Number of open accounts, 49,012. 

The Western Savings Bank is but five years younger than 
the Buffalo, having been organized in 1851. Gaius B. 
Rich was its first president, with Dean Richmond for vice- 
president. It began business on Seneca Street, near Main; 
was removed to the corner of Main and Genesee streets in 
1855; was again removed to Main and Mohawk streets in 
1859; and then, after a few years, built for itself, where its 
business has been conducted since 1872, on the northern 
corner of Main Street and Court. Its president for many 
years past has been Albert J. Wheeler. Its assets on the 
1st of January, 1908, were $7,778,224; amount due deposi- 
tors, $7,151,933; surplus, $626,291. 

Three years later than the Western, in 1854, the Erie 
County Savings Bank was established. Until 1908 it 
had had but four presidents, William A. Bird, James C. 
Harrison, Gibson T. Williams and David R. Morse. On 
Mr. Morse's death, early in 1908, Mr. Robert S. Donaldson, 
secretary and treasurer for many years, became president. 
The successive locations of the bank have been at the south- 
east corner of Main and North Division streets, at the 
corner of Main and Erie, at the southern corner of Main 
and Court, in the brownstone building which it erected, 
and which is now owned and occupied by the German- 
American Bank, and, finally, in its present imposing edifice, 
on the site of the old First Presbyterian Church, bounded 
by Main, Niagara, Pearl and Church streets. The deposits 
of the Erie County bank have grown to the enormous sum 
of $40,416,536; its assets, reported on the 1st of January, 
1908, were $43,235,168; its surplus, $2,818,630; number of 
open accounts, 79,583. 



260 FINANCIAL EVOLUTION 

On the ist of January, 1910, the total deposits in the 
banking institutions of Buffalo were $173,872,560.98; of 
which $80,842,858.96 were savings bank deposits. The 
total clearings of the clearing house banks at the close of 
that year were reported to have been $502,826,696. 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 



CHAPTER I 
TANNING AND THE LEATHER TRADE 

TANNING was the first productive industry in Buf- 
falo that connected itself importantly with more 
than a local trade, and for many years it was the 
principal source of wealth that the town created within 
itself. A quite notable proportion of the older family for- 
tunes were derived from its vats. The business arose nat- 
urally here from the abundance of hemlock in the forests 
of the neighboring country, supplying the needed tan-bark. 
It flourished till the neighboring supply was exhausted, 
and then most of it passed elsewhere. It had great stimu- 
lation in the period of the Civil War, and for some years 
after, before the advantages which Buffalo had enjoyed in 
it began seriously to decline. 

It is possible to trace back the early tanning business of 
Buffalo, if not to its actual beginnings, at least to the begin- 
ning of importance in it as a growing commercial plant. 
The first directory of the village of Buffalo, published in 
1828, "containing names and residences of the heads of 
families and householders on the 1st of January" in that 
year, names one firm and eight individuals who are desig- 
nated as "tanners and curriers." The firm, Bush and 
Chamberlain, was presumably the proprietor of a tannery, 
in which some of the eight other tanners and curriers must 
have been employed. One of the latter, Noah H. Gardner, 
who appears soon afterward as a member of the firm which 
took the leading rank in the business, may have entered it 
independently already, but the fact is not known. N. Ran- 

261 



262 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

dall, who is described in the directory as a shoe dealer and 
tanner, is quite likely to have tanned the leather of the shoes 
in which he dealt. The remaining six names provoke no 
surmise. 

The first really historical record of early undertakings 
in the manufacture of leather at Buffalo is found in a bio- 
graphical memoir of that notable leader of local enterprise 
in his day, George Palmer, who died in September, 1864. 
The memoir was prepared by the Hon. George R. Bab- 
cock, and read at a meeting of the Buffalo Historical Soci- 
ety in the year following Mr. Palmer's death. We learn 
from it that Mr. Palmer, who came to Buffalo in 1828, had 
learned the tanner's trade, and had been in partnership with 
a tanner at Palmyra for a number of years. He came here 
with some capital, not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars, 
says Mr. Babcock; but that was a large capital in those 
days. What he did at the outset is told thus by his 
biographer: 

"The Buffalo Hydraulic Association had completed a 
dam, at the junction of the Seneca and Cayuga branches of 
the Big Buffalo Creek, and a small canal, with a view to 
creating a water power, near the intersection of Swan and 
Seneca streets, then called Clintonville. Of this company 
he purchased a lot of land and water power, sufficient for a 
bark-mill, on the north side of Seneca Street, adjoining the 
Indian Reservation, upon which he erected the tannery now 
[in 1865] occupied by Noah H. Gardner. The ground 
was a swamp, and covered with trees. The road (now 
Seneca Street) was a 'corduroy', cut through the forest, and 
for half the year almost impassable. So soon as his works 
were completed he commenced the manufacture of leather 
upon what was then considered a large scale, having his 
store for sales upon Main Street," a little north of Seneca. 

Further on in his sketch of biography Mr. Babcock 



TANNING AND THE LEATHER TRADE 263 

relates that Mr. Palmer, in 1830, "formed a partnership in 
his tanning business with his brother-in-law, Noah H. 
Gardner, and subsequently, in 1835, another in the purchase 
and sale of hides and leather, with Jabez B. Bull. These 
partnerships continued until Mr. Palmer's death." He 
had made considerable purchases of lands in the city, and 
"he engaged largely in building upon his vacant lots." 
"The large stone tannery, now [1865] and for many years 
past occupied by Rumsey & Sons, on the south side of the 
Main and Hamburg streets Canal, near Alabama Street, 
was erected by him. This was the most complete and ex- 
tensive establishment of the kind in Western New York. 
The walls were erected in 1844, and on the 1 8th of Octo- 
ber of that year the city was visited by the most disastrous 
gale known in our annals. The water of the lake rose to 
a great height, overflowing all the low grounds of the city, 
and causing great destruction of life and property. The 
walls of this building were undermined and prostrated, ren- 
dering it necessary to rebuild them, which was done, and 
the entire manufactory completed and occupied in Novem- 
ber, 1845." 

After the directory of 1828, none appears to have been 
published until 1832. Those which go on from that time 
supply the only further record of early leather-making and 
dealing to be found. In 1832 the firm of Bush and Cham- 
berlain is still in business, and announced as conducting a 
shoe and leather store at 193 Main Street. That the senior 
of this firm was the John Bush who appears in 1835 as the 
proprietor of a "morocco factory," on Crow Street, seems 
probable, from the fact that, in that same year (1835) 
Aaron Rumsey comes into the directory as a "leather manu- 
facturer" doing business at 193 Main Street, — the place 
which Bush & Chamberlain had occupied. The fair infer- 
ence is that the Bush & Chamberlain business had passed 



264 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

to Aaron Rumsey, and that John Bush the morocco manu- 
facturer came out of the dissolved firm. 

The directory of the same year, 1835, introduces for the 
first time the name of George Howard, and describes him 
as a tanner, in Rumsey's employ. He is thus represented 
during 1836 and '37; but in 1838 the firm of Rumsey & 
Howard appears, and the junior partner is George Howard. 
This arrangement of business continues for six years. 
Meantime Myron P. Bush, son of John Bush, has come into 
the record, first as a "morocco dresser"— in his father's 
factory, no doubt — from 1838 till 1842, and then as the pro- 
prietor oi a "leather shop." Two years later, in 1844, the 
Rumsey & Howard firm disappears from the directory and 
that of Bush & Howard arrives, to have prominence in the 
business for the next thirty or forty years. Aaron Rumsey 
continues in the business with no partner until his sons join 
him in the firm of A. Rumsey & Co. 

Jabez B. Bull, presented first in the directory of 1835 as 
a clerk, is named next year as the partner of George Palmer, 
in the mercantile side of the latter's business, and remains 
so till 1842, when the firm of J. B. Bull & Co. is announced. 
Of other names that acquired a well-remembered promi- 
nence in the leather manufacture and trade of later times, 
the next to appear in the directory is that of John M. 
Hutchinson, who came on the scene of business in 1840, as 
a member of the firm of Terry & Hutchinson, continuing 
in that partnership till 1844, when his name stood alone. 
The tannery of Mr. Hutchinson was at Williamsville. 

The name of Nehemiah Case came into the directory in 
1844, as that of a clerk; but in 1847 he had entered business 
for himself in the leather trade, and the firm of X. Case & 
Co. was formed. 

Another name which made its first appearance in the 
directory of 1844 is the only one that remained continuously 



JACOB F. 

niller; born Kirchheim u. Teck, Wurtem- 

ii in Germany. 

president Third National Hank; president Niag- 

[ydraulic Power Manufactt npany and 

lo and 

Power City Bank of Niagara Falls. Was trustee of Buf- 

Hospital; member ! il Society of 

Buffalo and G n; died at 



und the 

:es 



TANNING AND THE LEATHER TRADE 265 

important in the business of tanning, down to the present 
day. It is that of Jacob F. Schoellkopf, who opened then 
a "leather and finding store," and established a sheep-skin 
tannery not many years later. From that time till his death 
the main interest of Mr. Schoellkopf, among the many he 
acquired, was in his tanneries, which his sons are still carry- 
ing on. It had been the business of his father, in Germany, 
and he learned it before coming to America. The sur- 
viving manufacture of both sole leather and sheepskins in 
Buffalo, on an extensive scale, is that which he left, in the 
large sole leather tannery of J. F. Schoellkopf's Sons, at the 
corner of Hudson and Efner streets, and in the immense 
sheep-leather and pulling-wool manufactory of Schoellkopf 
& Co., on Perry, Mississippi and Liberty streets. The 
output of the latter, which was founded in 1862, is now over 
12,000 skins per day, besides a heavy output of pulled wool. 
It produces every variety of leather manufactured from a 
sheepskin; employs 750 men; maintains branches in nine 
of the large cities of the United States, and three purchas- 
ing agencies, in South America, England and France. 

Of firms and individuals that engaged in the leather 
manufacture and trade somewhat later than these hitherto 
named, the more important, perhaps, were Root & Keating, 
Curtis & Deming, Laub & Zeller, and George L. Williams. 

The early tanneries of the Buffalo manufacturers were 
generally within the city. As near-by hemlock forests 
were destroyed, and the supply of bark receded to farther 
and farther distances, the tanneries followed it, southward, 
for the most part, to Salamanca, Olean, and other points. 
At the same time competition from many quarters in- 
creased, and the business had discouragements which 
caused its decline. Yet the Schoellkopfs continue to show 
that it is a profitable industry in Buffalo still. 



CHAPTER II 

THE MANUFACTURE OF FLOUR 

MR. PILLSBURY, of Minneapolis, the magnate of 
flour manufacture, is said to have predicted in 
1888 that Buffalo would become the great milling 
center of the country. That the prediction was well 
grounded, and that the grounds are as substantial to-day as 
they were twenty years ago, is the judgment of men long 
experienced in the local manufacture and trade. Taking 
account of facilities and economies from beginning to end 
of the business, — in the assembling of wheat from the 
Northw r est, in the milling of it and in the delivery of the 
product to the markets of both sides of the Atlantic, they 
maintain that the advantages offered here are beyond those 
of any other point. The past twenty years have carried 
Buffalo well on the way to a full realization of what Mr. 
Pillsbury foresaw. 

While Black Rock and Buffalo were distinct villages, the 
milling industry was drawn to the former, by force of the 
water power which the building of the Erie Canal created. 
Along a considerable stretch of the canal it served as a mill- 
race, drawing water from the high level of the Niagara 
River at its head, and holding it at that level, while the 
closely contiguous river slips rapidly down. In 1826, the 
year following the completion of the canal, Messrs. King- 
man & Durphy led off in the utilization of this water 
power, engaging Stephen W. Howell, a professional mill- 
wright, to erect for them the first mill of considerable capa- 
city in this part of the State. This Erie Mill, as then 
named, was known in later years as the Marine. Soon 
after its completion Mr. Howell built the Niagara Mill, at 
Black Rock, for himself, and a third mill not long after, 
called the Globe. 

266 



EARLY FLOUR MILLS 267 

The Globe Mill was bought in 1845 by Thomas Thorn- 
ton and Thomas Chester, establishing the firm of Thornton 
& Chester, which has been prominent in the milling busi- 
ness ever since. They operated the Globe Mill till it was 
burned, in December, 1878, beginning with a production 
of 50 barrels per day and increasing it by improvements 
from time to time. Within the same period, from 1866 to 
1875, tri ey were connected with Mr. J. F. Schoellkopf in 
the operating of the Frontier and North Buffalo Mills at 
Black Rock, the joint productive capacity being 600 barrels 
per day. In 1868 the firm enlarged its operations by build- 
ing the National Mill, at the foot of Erie Street, in Buffalo, 
starting it with a capacity for the production of 250 barrels 
per day. This location of the mill involved, of course, the 
use of steam power, the first resort to which in the flour 
manufacture of this city is said to have been made by Oliver 
Bugbee ten years before. 

In 1872 the Spaulding Mill at Lockport, having a daily 
capacity of 350 barrels, was added to the business plant of 
Messrs. Thornton & Chester, who worked it for the next ten 
years. In 1880, after the burning of their Globe Mill, at 
Black Rock, they rebuilt it alongside of their National 
Mill, on Erie Street. This added 250 barrels daily to the 
producing capacity of their plants, making a total, at Buf- 
falo and Lockport, of 850 barrels. The Lockport mill was 
burned in 1882, and not rebuilt; but the capacity of the 
mills at the foot of Erie Street has been increased gradually 
since that time, and their maximum daily output is now 
1,200 barrels. In 1899 tn e old partnership was incorpo- 
rated, under the name of the Thornton & Chester Milling 
Company. 

In 1875 the firm of Schoellkopf & Mathews, composed of 
Jacob F. Schoellkopf and George B. Mathews, entered the 
business, by purchasing the Buffalo and the Frontier Mills, 



268 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

at Black Rock. A much larger interest in flour milling 
was opened to this firm a little later, resulting incidentally 
from the first endeavor that was made to exploit the water 
power of Niagara Falls in an extensive and distributive 
way. That undertaking had been conceived as early as 
1846, when surveys were made and plans drawn for the 
excavation of a canal through lands purchased on the Amer- 
ican border of the Niagara, from a point a mile above the 
Falls to a point a mile below. The excavating of the canal 
was not begun, however, until 1853. As then made it was 
thirty-five feet wide and about six feet deep. The water 
power obtainable by this delivery of a considerable stream 
from above the Falls to a stretch of the river cliffs below 
them does not appear to have become useful until 1872, 
when it was applied to a flouring mill, built then on the 
canal, with a capacity for the production of forty barrels 
per day. 

Thus far, the Day Hydraulic Canal, as it had been 
known, was not successful financially, and in 1878 it was 
bought by Mr. Schoellkopf at a public sale. He conveyed 
the property to the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and 
Manufacturing Company, incorporated under the laws of 
the State, in the possession of which company it has re- 
mained. In that same year the firm of Schoellkopf & 
Mathews built its first flouring mill on the canal. In 1883 
this mill became the property of the Central Milling Com- 
pany, organized for the purpose, with Mr. Mathews as its 
president, and the company proceeded to erect a second 
large mill at Niagara Falls. In 1900 the company was 
reorganized and renamed, and, as the Niagara Falls Mill- 
ing Company, now operates these mills. Together they 
have the capacity to produce about 3,000 barrels of flour 
per day. 

Of the two original mills of Messrs. Schoellkopf & 



LATER FLOUR MILLING 269 

Mathews, at Black Rock, one, the Frontier, was operated 
by them till it burned, a number of years ago, the other, the 
North Buffalo Mill, was leased. It has since been burned. 
There are no mills now in operation at Black Rock. 

The mill mentioned above, as having been built in 1872 
on the Day Hydraulic Canal, at Niagara Falls, being the 
first to utilize the water-power from that canal, is now the 
property of the Cataract City Milling Company, of which 
Captain J. T. Jones, of Buffalo, is the president, and Mr. 
George J. Colpoys the general manager. The mill was 
built by Colonel Charles B. Gaskill, with an original capa- 
city for the daily production of about 40 barrels. By suc- 
cessive remodellings, in 1903 and 1906, the capacity was 
raised first to 600 barrels daily, and is now about 1,000. 

In 1879 the firm of Esser, Ogden & Co., composed of 
John Esser, Frederick Ogden and H. C. Zimmerman, 
began operating the Banner Mill, at Black Rock. Three 
years later the manufacture was transferred to a plant estab- 
lished at 378 Ohio Street. Mr. H. F. Shuttleworth was 
then admitted to the firm, and the partnership name was 
changed to Banner Milling Co. In 1887 Mr. Zimmerman 
retired. The productive capacity of the Banner Milling 
Co. has been raised from 250 to 800 barrels. 

In 1881 Mr. George Urban, who had been an extensive 
dealer in flour since 1846, erected a mill at the corner of 
Genesee and Oak streets, which could then produce 300 
barrels of flour a day. This was operated by Mr. Urban 
and his son, George Urban, Jr., who succeeded him, until 
1899, when it was taken up by the combination known as 
the United States Flour Milling Company. In 1901 it 
passed to the ownership of the Standard Milling Company, 
by which it is operated at the present time. The daily pro- 
ducing capacity of the mill is now 1,000 barrels. 



270 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

After disposing of his original mill, Mr. George Urban, 
Jr., proceeded at once to build anew, at the corner of Urban 
Street and the New York Central Belt Line tracks. The 
new mill, which represents everything that is most im- 
proved in the mechanism of flour manufacture, was started 
in 1903. Its producing capacity is 1,300 barrels per day. 
It is operated by the George Urban Milling Company, of 
which George Urban, Jr., is president, and George P. 
Urban is the secretary and treasurer. 

The latest and largest of the flouring mills in Buffalo 
is owned and operated by the Washburn-Crosby Company, 
of Minneapolis. It is one of the many extensive plants of 
that company, established at Minneapolis, Minn., Great 
Falls and Kalispel, Mont., Louisville, Ky., and Buffalo. 
The founder of the great industry which has grown and 
branched to such dimensions was the late Governor Cad- 
wallader C. Washburn, of Wisconsin, — one of the famous 
Washburn brothers, of Maine, who wrote their names so 
large in different chapters of American history. 

Governor Washburn built his first mill at Minneapolis 
in 1866, choosing the location because of the water-power, 
and because of its relation to the spring wheat fields that 
were being developed at that time in the Northwest. He 
is regarded as the pioneer in the milling of the wheat grown 
in that section, known as spring wheat, which was not used 
successfully for making desirable grades of flour till the 
invention of the purifier, in 1871. This removed the dark 
color which had discredited spring wheat flour, and brought 
it so much into favor that, ultimately, it was priced above 
the flour from winter wheat, producing a superior quality 
of bread. 

The first Washburn mills had capacity for producing 
but a few hundred barrels per day, and the growth of the 
industry was not great until the introduction by Governor 



CEREAL PRODUCTS OF BUFFALO 27 1 

Washburn, in 1878, of the first complete roller mill. 
Flour milling in this country was revolutionized then, by 
the change from grinding between stones to the Hungarian 
process, so called, of crushing between steel rolls. 

When Governor Washburn died, in 1882, the mills at 
Minneapolis had grown to a daily producing capacity of 
about 7,000 barrels. Now their capacity is 30,000. The 
first of the Buffalo mills, started in operation at the begin- 
ning of 1904, and located on South Michigan and Ganson 
streets, could produce no less than 6,500 barrels daily, and 
was operated to its full capacity; but it did not satisfy the 
needs of the company's business, and the building of a 
second mill on contiguous ground was undertaken in 1908. 
The new mill doubles the capacity of the plant, bringing it 
up to about 13,000 barrels per day. It is of steel and brick 
construction, costing half a million dollars. Connected 
with it, a concrete storage elevator has been built, costing 
$200,000, and equal to the storage of 850,000 bushels. 

The total production of flour by mills in Buffalo and 
vicinity during 1907 was 3,107,529 barrels, of which 2,625,- 
682 barrels were the product of the city mills. 

Analogous to the Hour-milling interest is that of the man- 
ufacture of various cereal breakfast foods, etc., of which the 
production in Buffalo is quite extensive. The H. O. Com- 
pany, organized by Alexander Hornby in 1893, removed 
its New York mill to this city soon after, and, while it has 
other mills elsewhere, this has been its main plant, and the 
headquarters of its business are here, at 54 Fulton Street. 
The president of the company is Mr. Robert L. Fryer. 
The Quaker Oats Company has a manufacturing plant, 
operated by electric power, located on Elk Street and the 
Abbott Road. The Buffalo Cereal Company and the 
United Cereal Mills, Ltd., have their business headquarters 
in the Dun Building and at 781 William Street, respectively. 



CHAPTER III 
PRODUCTION OF IRON AND STEEL 

A FEW men in Buffalo had early discernment of the 
fact that the position of their city is peculiarly ad- 
vantageous for the manufacture of iron. Ores 
from Northern Michigan, coals and cokes from Pennsyl- 
vania and limestone from our own vicinity, can be brought 
together at the least possible cost, while facilities for the 
distribution of the product east and west are unsurpassed. 
One citizen who saw this very clearly half a century ago 
was Mr. John YVilkeson; another was Mr. Bradford A. 
Manchester; and both of those gentlemen urged attention 
to the subject for a number of years before anything was 
undertaken in the line proposed. In January, 1864, Mr. 
Wilkeson prepared a paper for the Buffalo Historical 
Society on "The Manufacture of Iron in Buffalo," discuss- 
ing the favorable conditions under which it is carried on at 
this point, with a preluding sketch of the small progress of 
the industry to that time. 

From Mr. YVilkeson's record we learn that the black- 
smith was the only iron-worker of the village until 1826, 
when a foundry for making plow-irons and other small cast- 
ings was erected by Edward Root. A second foundry of 
the same character was started soon after by Isaac Skinner; 
while a larger establishment, both foundry and machine- 
shop, turning out large steam engines, was brought into 
operation at about the same time by Messrs. Gibson, John- 
son and Ehle, at Black Rock. The first machine-shop and 
foundry in what was then Buffalo came in 1828, erected at 
the corner of Ohio and Indiana streets by Beals, Mayhew & 
Co. Between that time and the year of Mr. Wilkeson's 
writing the number of foundries and machine-shops had in- 

272 



EARLIEST IRON PRODUCTION 273 

creased to about twenty; and, said Mr. W., "for more than 
twenty years our founders and machinists have been able to 
construct engines of any size required for our lake 
navigation." 

In 1838 Mr. Justin built a forge at Black Rock Dam. In 
1850 Mr. Charles Delaney built the Niagara Forge. The 
first rolling mill erected here was established in 1846 by 
Corns & Co., "an association of operatives from Pittsburg," 
and known as the Buffalo Iron and Nail Works. This 
passed a little later into the hands of Messrs. Pratt & Co., 
the extensive iron and hardware merchants of the city, and 
was enlarged and improved. 

It was not until i860 that the production of iron from the 
ore was undertaken at Buffalo, and then in connection with 
circumstances which Mr. Wilkeson relates as follows: 
"During the winter of 1859-60 our citizens became very 
much interested on the subject of the promotion and exten- 
sion of manufactures. The depressed condition of our lake 
commerce and navigation interests, for some years, had con- 
vinced all that our city could never maintain its standing 
with other cities in the basin of the lakes, and hope for a 
continued increase of population, without providing some 
certain means of employment during the winter as well as 
the summer for our working people. The discovery of nu- 
merous inexhaustible deposits of iron ores in Northern 
Michigan, and their successful use in the blast furnaces of 
Eastern Ohio, and the opening of canal and railroad com- 
munication with the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania, 
led some of our citizens, who were familiar with iron smelt- 
ing, to the conclusion that no place in all the lake basin was 
so favorably situated for the prosecution of that great branch 
of human industry as our city. * * * Several meetings 
were held, where the subject of manufacturing was dis- 
cussed, and much light thrown on iron smelting. The result 



274 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

was a determination on the part of several gentlemen to 
build a furnace. In the meantime Messrs. Palmer and 
Wadsworth concluded to build one, and, shortly after, 
Messrs. Warren and Thompson decided to build another; 
and thus the original project fell through, as it was thought 
sufficient that these gentlemen should test the feasibility of 
iron-smelting here. In the spring of i860 the gentlemen 
named proceeded with the construction of their two blast 
furnaces, and the next year Messrs. Palmer and Wadsworth 
put theirs in operation. Its success was so flattering as to 
convince all that iron-smelting in Buffalo would be profit- 
able. In 1862 the two establishments were consolidated in 
interest, another furnace built, and also a very large and 
complete rolling mill. These works, termed the Union 
Iron Works, are exceeded in capacity by few similar ones 
in the United States." 

A fourth blast furnace, erected by Messrs. Pratt and Co., 
went into operation at Black Rock in 1864. 

Notwithstanding the early success and encouraging pros- 
pects of the Union Works, the affairs of the company be- 
came embarrassed, about 1870 or 1871, and the works went 
into the hands of a receiver. This resulted in the organiza- 
tion of a new Union Iron Company, which acquired the 
property. The president of the new organization was Mr. 
Ario Pardee; the vice-president, Mr. Guilford R. Wilson; 
the secretary and treasurer, Mr. George Beals. In 1873 the 
office of secretary was separated from that of treasurer, and 
taken by Mr. T. Guilford Smith. Mr. Smith had then 
come lately to Buffalo, after graduation from the Rensselaer 
Polytechnic Institute, followed by a period of travel abroad 
in which he had acquainted himself with foreign methods 
and processes in the manufacture of iron. 

The undertaking of the new company at the Union Iron 
Works proved to be timed unfortunately, for it was followed 



SMELTING FURNACES 275 

soon by the financial panic of 1873, which checked every- 
thing of the nature of enterprise in the country at once. 
Fires went out in most smelting furnaces and rolling mills 
were brought to a stop. The Union Company suffered 
paralysis with the rest; and, when reviving conditions re- 
curred, it was embarrassed in a more personal way, by deaths 
among its stockholders, which had tied up large blocks of 
its stock in unsettled estates. 

After the property had been lying unused for a consid- 
erable time, and the furnaces had been dismantled, Mr. 
Frank B. Baird obtained an option on it and began to put 
it in condition to be brought again into use. He had faith 
in the many advantages of the site. In 1892 he rebuilt one 
furnace, which is now known as Furnace A. In 1899 Fur- 
nace B was built by an organization named the Buffalo 
Furnace Company; and Furnace C was erected the next 
year by a company of which Mr. Baird was president. 
Then, in that year, the several interests in the three furnaces 
were consolidated by the organization of the Buffalo Union 
Furnace Company. The whole plant is operated under a 
lease by the firm of M. A. Hanna & Co., of Buffalo and 
Cleveland, producing high grade foundry and malleable 
iron. The lease does not expire until 1918; but M. A. 
Hanna & Co. began preparations in 1908 to build a large 
additional plant on another site, just outside of the limits of 
Buffalo, on the Niagara River shore. They purchased a 
tract of fifty-two acres, known heretofore as the Hotchkiss 
Farm, lying just below the ferry to Grand Island, and pre- 
liminary work on it was begun on the first day of December, 
1908. Two furnaces and two coke ovens were to be in- 
cluded in the plant, which would represent an investment 
of $3,000,000, and employ not less than 700 men. Comple- 
tion of the work was not expected in less than two years. 

The fifth blast furnace to be built in connection with the 



276 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

manufacturing interests of Buffalo was located at Tona- 
wanda, by a company organized about 1875. Its leading 
members were Pascal P. Pratt, Sherman S. Jewett, Francis 
H. Root, Robert Keating and George B. Hayes. The en- 
terprise did not prove satisfactory to the company, and the 
operation of the plant appears to have been carried on for 
not much more than a year, in 1874-5. ll was tnen closed 
and so remained for about fourteen years. An option on the 
property was then obtained by Mr. Frank B. Baird, and he 
sold it to the firm of Rogers, Brown & Co., at their central 
office in Cincinnati. 

The new owners organized, in the spring of 1889, the 
Tonawanda Iron and Steel Company, which has operated 
the plant ever since. After being repaired and worked on 
trial for six months, the single furnace was found to need 
remodelling, while the location of it was proved to be good. 
The remodelling was accomplished in 1890, and it was then 
that Mr. William A. Rogers removed his residence from 
Cincinnati to Buffalo, to manage the Tonawanda Iron and 
Steel Company, and to establish and conduct a Buffalo 
branch of the great house of Rogers, Brown & Co. From 
that time the company has had a prosperous career. 

The producing capacity of the original furnace was 90 
tons of pig iron daily; after being remodelled it made some- 
thing over 200 tons per day. In a few years the company 
decided to double the production, by building an additional 
stack. This was finished during the summer of the Mc- 
Kinley-Bryan campaign (1896), but, owing to the uncer- 
tainty of the business outlook while that important election 
was pending, it was not brought into use till the vote of the 
nation had been cast. An arrangement was made with Mr. 
McKinley that, if elected, he should light the new furnace 
by an electric spark sent over the wires from Canton. This 
was done on the Thursday after election, in the presence of 



SMELTING FURNACES 277 

a large concourse of people, and attracted much attention 
both in this country and abroad. 

The plant can produce about 165,000 tons of foundry pig- 
iron per year, branded as the "Niagara," and having a high 
reputation in the market. This "Niagara" iron has been 
accepted by the United States government as a standard iron, 
and it has gone into machinery installed in a number of our 
battleships. It is shipped widely in this country, even to 
the Pacific coast, largely into Canada, and in smaller quan- 
tities to Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Aus- 
tralia and Japan. 

The blast furnace plant of the Tonawanda Iron and Steel 
Company is one of some twenty-three, in different parts of 
the country, in which the firm of Rogers, Brown & Co. is 
interested, and whose product it sells, along with that of 
many more. The firm has its headquarters in Cincinnati, 
where it originated about twenty-seven years ago, and it 
has branches in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, 
Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis and Birmingham. 
It makes a specialty of the foundry-iron business. It does 
not manufacture or deal in steel. In the line of merchant 
pig-iron it does the largest business of any house in the 
world. 

One of Messrs. Rogers, Brown & Co.'s numerous iron 
manufacturing interests is a plant of two blast furnaces at 
South Chicago, operated under a corporation known as the 
Iroquois Iron Company. Messrs. J. J. Albright, Edmund 
Hayes and S. M. Clement, of Buffalo, who had interests in 
the company, had never seen its property, until Mr. Rogers 
invited them to accompany him on one of his visits to it. 
Mr. Frank H. Goodyear, president of the Buffalo and Sus- 
quehanna Railroad Company, tendered the use of his pri- 
vate car to the party and was invited to join it, which he did. 
What he saw at Chicago gave him ideas of the importance 



278 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

of the furnace plant as a producer of freight for a railroad, 
which led to negotiations with Mr. Rogers, resulting in the 
formation of the Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company, 
and the building of a pair of blast furnaces, in South Buf- 
falo, which are the most modern and the most perfectly 
equipped of any now existing. They were built under the 
direction of Mr. Hugh Kennedy, of Pittsburg, who is the 
company's general manager. 

The two furnaces are each 80 feet high, and of 20 feet 
diameter in the bosh. They are located alongside of a 
canal, 200 feet in width, 23 feet deep, and nearly 3,000 feet 
long, connecting directly with the outer harbor, so that ves- 
sels of the largest size float their cargoes underneath the un- 
loading bridges. The canal was built jointly by the B. & S. 
Iron Company, the B. & S. Railroad Company and the 
Pennsylvania Railroad Company, with each of which roads 
the furnace plant is connected. 

There are five unloading machines, sufficient to unload a 
cargo of 10,000 tons in a few hours, each bucket grasping 
and carrying five tons at a single lift. They are operated 
by skilled men, who touch buttons and pull levers, con- 
trolling electricity and steam, which do the entire work. 
From the time that the ore leaves the mines of Minnesota 
and Michigan, that the coke leaves the ovens of Pennsyl- 
vania and the limestone leaves the near-by quarries, until 
the pig-iron product of the furnaces is delivered in some 
distant customer's yard, not a pound of the material is lifted 
by the hand of man. Each furnace is equipped with four 
stoves for heating air for the blast. These stoves are 102 
feet high and 22 feet in diameter, having a network of fire- 
brick flues within. The product of the furnaces goes west 
and east, from Minnesota to Maine. 

The officers of the Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Com- 
pany are William A. Rogers, president; Hugh Kennedy, 



THE LACKAWANNA STEEL COMPANY 279 

general manager; S. M. Clement and C. W. Goodyear, vice- 
presidents; H. D. Carson, treasurer. 

The greatest of events in the development of iron-making 
and iron-working at Buffalo came, in circumstances that 
were singularly in the nature of a surprise, in 1899. It was 
the outcome of conditions at Scranton, Pa., which made it 
desirable to remove an important steel plant from that place. 
The plant in question had been founded in 1840 by the 
Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company, which rolled iron 
rails until 1875, and then prepared itself for the production 
of Bessemer steel. In 1891, on consolidation with the Scran- 
ton Steel Company, it took the name of the Lackawanna 
Iron and Steel Company, and continued operations at Scran- 
ton until 1899. 

Disadvantages in the location of its plant had then con- 
vinced the company that its business must be removed to 
another seat, and the situation of Buffalo was the most prom- 
ising that it saw. To look over the contemplated ground, 
Mr. Walter Scranton and Mr. Wehrum, of the company, 
came to Buffalo, on the 23d of March in that year, with a 
letter of introduction to Mr. John G. Milburn from the 
attorney of their company. Mr. Milburn knew, no doubt, 
that two enterprising men in Buffalo, Mr. J. J. Albright 
and Mr. William A. Rogers, had been discussing the project 
of a steel plant in this locality for some time past, and he 
invited Mr. Albright into conference with the gentlemen 
from Scranton at once. Mr. Rogers was absent from the 
city at the time, but Mr. Albright called him back from 
Cleveland by telephone, and the great project realized 
within the next few years was planned substantially and 
agreed upon at a conference the next day. 

A site on Niagara River had been in contemplation; but 
after the party had driven to South Buffalo that day, and 
had looked over the ground which the plant of the Lack- 



280 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

awanna Steel Company now covers, their choice of it was 
fixed. Mr. Albright undertook negotiations for the prop- 
erty. A week later the first payment for an option was 
made, and within about a month the whole purchase of land 
was practically an accomplished fact. It comprises about 
1,500 acres, lying along the lake shore, at Stony Point, start- 
ing from the line of the city limits of Buffalo, but lying at 
the extremity of the large outer harbor of Buffalo, created 
by the construction of miles of breakwater, as described in 
a previous chapter of this work. 

Before the end of April, $1,095,430 had been paid for this 
real estate, and the Lackawanna Steel Company had been 
formed, with more than $2,000,000 of its stock subscribed 
for by capitalists in Buffalo. Afterwards the subscriptions 
were increased largely, and powerful interests, both eastern 
and western, were enlisted in the undertaking. General 
Edmund Hayes, who had been at Jekyl Island when the 
project sprang to life, became active in it when he returned 
home. The important legal business involved was in Mr. 
Milburn's hands. Mr. Albright and General Hayes were 
chosen to seats in the board of directors when the organiza- 
tion became complete. 

The authorized capital stock of the company is $60,- 
000,000, of which $20,000,000 was issued, share for share, 
for the stock of the Lackawanna Iron and Steel Company, 
and $14,971,400 has been taken up for cash. 

The systematic arrangement of the company's plant, to 
secure the most perfect economy of labor, in the carrying of 
everything that is handled through all the processes of man- 
ufacture, from the receiving of the raw material to the de- 
livery of the finished product, is greatly admired. Its 
shaping feature is a ship canal, 22 feet deep and 200 feet 
wide, running in from the harbor to a length of 3,295 feet. 
There is room in this canal for the simultaneous unloading 



THE LACKAWANNA STEEL COMPANY 28 1 

of five of the largest vessels on the lakes. Parallel with the 
canal on its outer side, toward the lake shore, is the by- 
product oven plant and the coal-storage ground. Along 
the inner side of the canal stretch, first, the ore dock, with 
its unloading, handling and stocking machinery; then the 
line of blast furnaces, with the auxiliary plant; finally, on 
similar parallel lines of arrangement, the steel-plant, — roll- 
ing mills and shops. Under the canal runs a tunnel for 
passage from one to the other side. 

For all handling of ore, coal, coke, limestone, or any other 
material in use, and for every movement of steel through the 
successive stages of its manufacture, storage and shipment, 
the latest perfection of mechanism is employed, with an ex- 
tensive use of electric power. To a large extent, but not 
wholly, the electric power is generated at the plant, by utiliz- 
ing the blast furnace gas, which went in former days to 
waste. This is one of the features of the Lackawanna plant 
which has been most interesting to the makers of steel. It 
was considerably experimental when adopted, and careful 
studies were made in Europe before the system was in- 
stalled. The result has been a great economic success. In 
addition, however, to the electric power thus generated on 
the spot, Niagara power supplied by the Niagara, Lockport 
and Ontario Power Company, through cables stretched over 
a distance of forty miles, has been drawn upon to a large 
extent. 

On the 7th of January, 1904, The Iron Age gave an elabo- 
rate description of the Lackawanna Steel Company plant, 
as developed at that time, in an incomplete state. Three 
years later, on the 3d of January, 1907, the same journal 
returned to the subject, to describe the perfected works. Its 
former article, it remarked, "represented the results of more 
than four years of construction work on the largest in- 
dividual steel plant in the world. The single finished prod- 



282 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

uct at that time was steel rails in standard sections." Now 
The Iron Age had extensive enlargements of product to 
report: "The mills and open hearth plant added in the 
next two years extended the operations of the company 
greatly, broadening the list of finished materials to include 
plates, structural shapes, light rails and bars. Perhaps no 
other piece of construction work in connection with the iron 
industry had attracted attention so widely, and various 
phases of the enterprise, from the first breaking of ground 
at South Buffalo, have probably been the subject of more 
comment in steel engineering circles than any other under- 
taking in the history of the industry. It is to be said, how- 
ever, that in all essential elements the plans originally made, 
when it was decided to remove from Scranton to Buffalo, 
have been carried out, and the Scranton rail, on which the 
success of the company's Pennsylvania career was based, 
remains at the foundation of its operations, even while other 
lines have been entered upon with like success. To-day, 
with the fuller development of the plans for the Lake Erie 
situs, a capacity of 100,000 tons a month of various forms of 
rolled steel has been reached, — a noteworthy achievement 
in view of all that has been met and overcome. While this 
is the tonnage aimed at in the beginning, it is believed en- 
tirely possible to increase this amount by 25,000 tons a 
month." 

The annual report of the company, on the 31st of De- 
cember, 1907, showed its production for the year to have 
been 852,055 gross tons of Bessemer ingots and 425,789 gross 
tons of Open Hearth ingots, making a total of 1,277,844 
tons of steel ingots. Its total shipments of product within 
the year had been 991,700 tons, of which 1:23,200 had been 
of standard rails, and 141,455 of structural shapes. It had 
received during 1907, from mines which it owns or in which 
it is interested, 1,941,376 gross tons of iron ore, and had pro- 



THE LACKAWANNA STEEL COMPANY 283 

duced a total of 788,784 gross tons of coke and 1,008,588 of 
pig iron and spiegeleisen. 

The cost of the company's properties, real estate, build- 
ings, plant, machinery, etc., as reported at the close of 1907, 
had been $60,615,066.69, exclusive of investments in ore 
companies, etc., to the amount of $5,032,320.93. Its bonded 
debt was $15,000,000, and the bonded debt of its subsidiary 
companies $8,404,000. Of gold-note and purchase money 
obligations it reported $15,000,000, aside from purchase 
money notes of the Ellsworth Collieries Company (organ- 
ized for the purpose of acquiring and operating the prop- 
erties of the Ellsworth Coal Company) to the amount of 
$1,500,000. 

The total net earnings of all the company's properties in 
1907, after deducting all expenses, including repairs and 
maintenance, were $6,431,453.55. Its surplus income for 
the year, $2,443,846.16. 

The general officers of the company in 1908 were: E. A. 
S. Clarke, president; Moses Taylor, vice-president; C. H. 
McCullough, Jr., vice-president and general manager; 
Arthur J. Singer, assistant to president; Fred F. Graham, 
secretary; J. P. Higginson, treasurer; Marshall Lapham, 
comptroller. 

Directors: E. A. S. Clarke, G. R. Fearing, Jr., Edmund 
Hayes, Samuel Mather, D. O. Mills, Moses Taylor Pyne, 
Robert B. Van Cortlandt, J. J. Albright, C. Ledyard Blair, 
Warren Delano, Jr., J. G. McCullough, James Speyer, 
Moses Taylor, Henry Walters, Mark T Cox, B. S. Guin- 
ness, Adrian Iselin, Jr., John J. Mitchell, H. A. C. Taylor, 
H. McK. Twombly, Cornelius Vanderbilt. 

Subsidiary manufactures, making use of the steel product 
of the Lackawanna Steel Company, are springing up in the 
neighborhood of the latter's plant, and their number is cer- 
tain to increase. The most important of the works of this 



284 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

character established in that vicinity thus far are those of 
the Shenandoah Steel Wire Company, the Buffalo Brake 
Beam Company, and the Seneca Iron and Steel Company. 
The latter company, organized in 1906, turns out black ami 
galvanized steel sheets and corrugated sheets. Its officers 
are James S. Paterson, president; Hugh Kennedy, vice- 
president; H. M. Van Horn, secretary; Alexander Pater- 
son, treasurer. 

Before the completion of the Lackawanna Steel Com- 
pany's plant, another important enterprise had been organ- 
ized in the same field, by the New York State Steel 
Company, incorporated in 1905, for the manufacture of iron 
and steel. The site of its undertaking is on Buffalo River, 
contiguous to the crossing of the Abbott Road, where it 
acquired fifty-seven acres of land, and where it has connec- 
tions with the Buffalo Creek, the Buffalo, Rochester and 
Pittsburg and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western 
railroads. The plant designed by the company includes two 
blast furnaces, "two 200-ton basic open hearth Talbot fur- 
naces, with a capacity of 100,000 to 120,000 tons of ingots, 
and a 36-inch blooming mill to produce the equivalent in 
slabs, blooms and billets." Mesaba ore property has been 
secured by lease. 

The original capital stock of the company was :M ,000,000. 
In 1906 it was increased to $2,500,000. The bonded debt 
was reported in 1907 to be $3,000,000, with an authorized 
issue to the amount of $5,000,000. The financial disorders 
of the time caused embarrassments to the companv, in the 
winter or spring of 1908, and its property went into the 
hands of receivers. A reorganization of the company, with 
an addition of $1,000,000 to its capital stock, was accom- 
plished in the early days of January, 1909, and the receivers 
were discharged. 



ORE RECEIPTS AND ORE DOCKS 285 

The Wickwire Steel Company, which has constructed an 
extensive plant on Rattlesnake Island, between the Ameri- 
can shore of the Niagara River and Grand Island, near its 
upper end, is the first large manufacturing organization that 
has taken advantage of the great improvement which the 
government is making in the river channel between Black 
Rock and Tonawanda. This improvement, already de- 
scribed in a previous chapter, is a continuation of the im- 
provement of the Black Rock Harbor, so called, and will 
give deep water and safe harborage along the whole river 
front, half-way, at least, to Niagara Falls. The works of 
the Wickwire Steel Company were brought into operation 
in the fall of 1908 and began turning out their product of 
pig iron, steel billets, rods, wire and wire netting. The com- 
pany is capitalized at $2,500,000. 

The receipts of iron ore at Buffalo and Tonawanda in 
1907 were 5,580,438 gross tons, being 915,000 tons less than 
the receipts at Cleveland, nearly 2,000,000 tons less than 
went to Ashtabula, and slightly less than Conneaut received. 
The pig iron production of the Buffalo district in the same 
year was 1,405,635 gross tons. 

The ore docks at Buffalo and their appliances for unload- 
ing cargoes of ore are set forth in the following, derived 
from a statement in the annual report of the Chamber of 
Commerce for 1907: The Lehigh Valley Railway, on its 
Tifft Farm improvement, has a plant which consists of three 
Brown hoists, and six Thornburg hoists, with ample storage 
facilities. The Buffalo Dock Company (H. K. Wick & 
Co.), on the Blackwell Canal, has six McMyler hoists and 
storage trestles combined. The Minnesota docks (N. Y., 
L. E. & W.) on the river, has five McMyler hoists and 
storage trestles combined. The Coit docks in the Erie 
Basin (N. Y. C. & H. R. R. R.), has two McMyler hoists 



286 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 

and storage trestles combined. The Delaware, Lackawanna 
& Western Railroad has one set of six Thornburg hoists only, 
located in the Erie Basin. The total dock frontage aggre- 
gates 4,000 feet. The Pennsylvania Railroad, located on a 
private canal from the outer harbor, built and owned jointly 
by that road, the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad and the 
Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company, has two Brown 
hoists and one Hulett unloader, with dock frontage of about 
2,300 feet. The Iron Company's dock extends the full 
length of the company's frontage on the canal (about 2,700 
feet), and adjacent to the dock is an iron ore yard of con- 
crete construction, measuring about 200 by 800 feet. The 
ore unloading, storing, and rehandling machinery includes 
five electrically driven, single-span bridge tramways, each 
equipped with a five-ton grab bucket and man trolley, the 
machines being of the Brown Hoisting Machinery Com- 
pany's manufacture. 






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