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The limestone is extensively quarried in the neighborhood of Niagara river and the Lake. It is not, however, generally susceptible of a high polish, but makes a fine building material, when hammer-dressed. Water limestone is found on Grand Island. Petroleum springs rise a few miles southeast of Cayuga creek. Iron pyrites, copper ores in small quantities, and water limestone are the principal minerals. There is a sulphur spring about four miles from Buffalo, and one on Grand Island, containing free sulphuric acid in a very diluted state. The bituminous shale, in which the petroleum springs rise, is so thoroughly impregnated with bitumen that it burns freely whe ignited. Geodes, or masses of impure limestone, exhibiting fantastic and singular forms, occur in this as well as in some of the other counties.
SOIL AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTIONS. The soil is generally good, consisting of warm, sandy, gravelly loam, occasionally mingled with clay, and well adapted to wheat; in the southern part it is more clayey, and is very productive of grass.
The timber is large and abundant in the southern part, consisting of oak, bei ch, maple, linden, elm, ash, poplar, hemlock, white pine, butternut, black walnut, wild cherry, &c. In the north it is principally diminutive oaks and underwood. The peach and other fruits attain extraordinary size and perfection.
PURSUITS. Agriculture is the pursuit of a majority of the inhabitants. The culture of grain and of grass occupy nearly equal attention.
Manufactures also form the occupation of a large number of the inhabitants. Flour, lumber, cloths, iron, leather, malt liquors, distilled liquors and potash, are the principal articles manufactured. The flour mills produced, in 1845, four to the value of more than a million of dollars. The entire value of the manufactures of the county, during the same year, was over $2,300,000.
The commerce of Erie county is very extensive. Buffalo and Black Rock, the principal lake ports, carry on a large trade with all the states situated upon the upper lakes, and with Canada. The shipping of these ports amounted, in 1845, to 25,000 tons. In addition to this, the immense quantities of produce, manufactures and furniture transported on the Erie canal and its branches, are here transhipped.
STAPLE PRODUCTIONS. Butter, cheese, oats, wheat, corn, wool, beef and pork.
Schools. There are in the county 291 school districts. In 1846, the schools were taught on an average eight months. The same year, 24,523 children received instruction at an expense of $30,539. The district school libraries contained 31,032 volumes.
There were fifty-seven private schools, with 1304 pupils ; and three academies; with 244 students. The school system of Buffalo has been already described, (see page 125.)
Religious DENOMINATIONS. Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Roman Catholics, Friends, Episcopalians, Universalists, Dutch Reformed, Unitarians and Lutherans. There are in the county ninety-four churches, and one hundred and twenty-five clergymen, of all denominations.
HISTORY. The whole county, except a strip a mile wide, on the Niagara river, is within the limits of the Holland Land Company's purchase.
Its settlement dates since the commencement of the present century. Buffalo, the first town in the present limits of the county, was laid out in 1801, but its increase was very slow until 1812, when it became a military post. In December, 1813, the British made a descent upon this county, and burned Buffalo and Black Rock. These villages were soon rebuilt.
In 1816-17, a number of persons from Canada and the United States took possession of Grand Island, in Niagara river, now forming a portion of the town of Tonawanda, and dividing the land between themselves, gave out that they were an independent community, and amenable to neither government. After the question of the boundary was settled, they were expelled by force, under the authority of a law of the state; their houses being destroyed by the sheriff and posse of Erie county.
In 1925, ajor Noah, of New York, a learned Jew, and editor of a newspaper in that city, formed the design of building a city of refuge, upon that island, colonizing it with Jews, and making it a resting place for that dispersed people. He erected a monument, which is still in existence, upon the island. But the European Rabbins did not sanction the scheme, and it failed of completion.
Red Jacket, Sagoyouwatha, or Keeper Awake, as his name signifies, the most eloquent and intelligent of his nation, was one of the chiefs of the Senecas, and resided on the Buffalo reservation. He was warmly attached to his tribe, and opposed the whites with the utmost daring, until he saw that resistance was vain. He died in 1832.
Mary Jemison, the Seneca white woman, was buried in this reservation.
The completion of the Erie canal, in 1825, brought a vast tide of emigration into this county, and it has now become the fourth county in the state in population.
CITIES AND VILLAGES. BUFFALO city, the county seat of Erie county, as has been already stated, is a city of modern growth, laid out at the commencement of the present century, and contained in 1817, but one hundred houses. It owes its growth to its advantageous commercial position on the lake, rendering it the depot of the immense quantities of produce, which find their way through that channel, from the boundless prairies of the west, to tide water, and to the great western railroad which connects with Boston.
In 1845, the amount of produce coming from other states by way of Buffalo, was 233,135 tons, of which 118,614 tons were flour. Probably about one half this amount of goods, furniture, &c. was shipped at Buffalo, for other states. The tolls received at Buffalo, in 1845, amounted to $482,000.
The harbor of Buffalo is spacious and convenient for vessels of light draught: it is obstructed by the ice in the spring, till a later period than the ports on the Canada side. It has been proposed to construct a ship canal across the isthmus, from the lake to Buffalo creek, which would in a measure obviate this difficulty.
The United States government have expended nearly $100,000 in the improvement of this harbor, the construction of a mole, pier, &c. and the erection of a light house. Considerable sums have also been expended, for the same purpose, by the citizens. Buffalo is largely engaged in manufactures of various descriptions. The present population of the city is somewhat over 30,000. It was chartered as a city in 1832.
Black Rock, a village in the town of the same name, is about three miles north of Buffalo, on the Niagara river. The harbor is formed by an immense stone pier, or mole, more than a mile in length. By means of this the Erie canal is supplied with water for nearly half its length. This work was erected by the state of New York, at an expense of $300,000. It also furnishes a fine water power, which is employed for flouring mills, sawmills, &c. Black Rock is extensively engaged in manufactures. The lower or northern terminus of the Erie canal is here: the town increases rapidly in population, and now numbers about 5000 inhabitants. It was burned by the British in December, 1813.
Auroraville, in the town of Aurora, possesses fine water power on the Cazenove creek, as yet, however, not fully improved. The Aurora seminary is a flourishing institution. Population, 1000.
Williamsville, in the town of Amherst, is a thriving village. Large quantities of water lime, (hydraulic cement,) are manufactured here. Population, about 1000.
Springville is a flourishing manufacturing village, in the town of Concord. It has a number of factories, and an incorporated academy. Population, 1200.
Tunawanda is a new town, comprising Grand Island and a portion of the main land, as well as some other small islands. The island was purchased some years since by a company called the East Boston Company, who erected here extensive sawmille, for the purpose of preparing ship timber, but in the general depression of business in 1836-7, they were forced to suspend operations. The village of Whitehaven was built mainly by this company.
LI. LIVINGSTON COUNTY. Square miles, about 563.
Population, 37,345. Organized, 1821.
Valuation, 1845, $8,572,869.
TOWNS. 1. Avon, 1789.
9. Groveland, 1812. 2. Geneseo, 1789.
10. Springwater, 1816. 3. Lima, 1789.
11. Mount Morris, 1818. 4. Sparta, 1789.
12. Conesus, 1819. 5. Caledonia, 1802.
13. York, 1819. 6. Leicester, 1802.
14. Portage, 1827. 7. Livonia, 1808.
15. North Dansville, 1846. 8. Nunda, 1803.
16. West Sparta, 1846. Rivers. N. Genesee. a. Cashaqua. b. Conesus Outlet.
c, Outlet of Hemlock Lake. d. Honeoye Creek. r. Canascraga. Lakes. f. Conesus. g. Hemlock, Battle Fields. Beardstown. Villages. Gene EO. Mount Morris. Dansville. Avon Springs.
Portageville. Nunda. Moscow. Lima
BOUNDARIES. North by Monroe; East by Ontario ; South by Allegany and Steuben; and West by Wyoming and Genesee counties.
SURFACE. This county is situated on the northern slope of the great dividing ridge which separates the tributaries of the Susquehanna and Ohio, from the waters flowing into the lake.
The southern portion of the county is about 800 feet above Lake Ontario, and the descent toward the lake, though for the most part gradual, is divided into two terraces, the one, nearly on a line with the Portage falls, in Wyoming county; the other, a continuation of the mountain ridge of Ontario. This inclined plane is, however, intersected by the valley of the Genesee river, which, with a width o' from two to four miles, has a depth, in the southern part of the county, of not less than 400 feet. A ridge of still greater elevation, traverses the section between the Conesus and Hemlock lakes, bearing northeast.
RIVERS. The Genesee river is the great stream of this county, and receives all the waters which rise in, or flow through it. Its principal tributaries are the Canascraga and Cashaqua creeks, and the outlets of the Conesus and Hemlock lakes.
The Honeoye outlet forms a portion of the eastern boundary of the county.
LAKES. Conesus and Hemlock are the only lakes of importance in the county. The former is nine miles long and nearly a mile broad. It is well stocked with fish, and is said to be more than 300 feet deep.
Hemlock lake is six miles long and one mile wide. It lies partly in Ontario county.
CLIMATE. The climate is mild and temperate; more uniform than in some other sections of the state. It is regarded as very healthful.