Niagara County

Town of Cambria

It will be remembered that when Niagara County was set off from Genesee County in 1808, the southern boundary was the Cattaraugus Creek. All that part of Niagara County north of the Tonawanda Creek was named CAMBRIA. The name apparently was selected either because of the Cambrian layer of rock under this area or possibly from a community of similar name elsewhere. There are six Cambrias in the United States (as of this 1958 writing), and Cambria is also an old name for whales.

The first town meeting was held at the house of Joseph Hewit who lived on the Portage Road, south of Lewiston, NY. Jonas Harrison of Lewiston, reknown, was elected town clerk. Other officers from various parts of the town were elected to the many offices then constituting the town government.

Charles Wilber, a tavern keeper at Cold Spring (now in the Town of Lockport) was elected one of three road commissioners; Thomsa Slayton of Slayton Settlement was elected one of the overseers of the poor. There were two pounds for stray domestic animals. Thomas Hustler, inn keeper of Lewiston, was elected Pound Master for the western end of the town and Enock Hitchcock for the eastern end.

This eastern pound was located near the junction of the Slayton Settlement Road and the Gasport-Hartland Road ‘in the four corners at or near the school house on the land of Gad Warner, Esq." with $40 to be raised by tax to pay for same. The western pound was located in the public square in Lewiston. Later other pounds were established in the town. There were beside supervisors, town clerk and pound masters other officers such as road and school commissioners from each district, path masters and fence viewers, and "ear markers."

Bounty for killing wolves was $10; for painters, $10; bears $; and black birds 3 cents. A painter by the way is, according to the dictionary, a variety of panter. A substantial part of the animal and proof that it was killed in Cambria had to be presented to the Town Clerk or Justice of the Peace to receive payment.

The descriptions of the surveys for the first roads in Cambria are numerous and quite interesting. Oak trees, beech tree, stumps, posts, stakes, creeks, log cabin are all mentioned as beginning or end of a road, or in some cases the "fifth, sixth, or seventh" o other "meridian lines" (historians today generally call them "range line").

Several surveys ended at Gad Warner's Mill, Slayton and Maybee's Mill, Augustus Porter's Mill, Howder's Mill, etc. Much interesting and useful data is obtainable from these road surveys. Stephen Hopkins, who later resided in Lockport, did much of the early surveying. Later in the 1820s we find Parkhurst Whitney, inn keeper of Niagara Falls, and S. Pendleton Clark, inn keeper of Pendleton, surveying for new roads [leading to areas outside the town].

Source: Excerpts taken from the article Cambria's First Records Reveal Interesting Data written by Clarence O. Lewis, printed in the UNION SUN AND JOURNAL, Lockport, NY, dated 21 August 1958.

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This page was last updated 08/12/2022