Niagara County

Town of Royalton

Located in the southeast corner of Niagara County and comprised of 38,820 acres, Royalton is one of the largest towns in the state (of NY).

There were a succession of boundry changes from the earliest time, when the French were in control, until 1824 when the present boundries were set. In 1813 all the land east of Transit Road (St. Rte 78) to the Orleans county line, and south from Lake Ontario to Tonawanda Creek was known as the Town of Hartland.

The next division took place April 1817 when Royalton was formed from Hartland townships, #13 and #14, being the southern half of the town.

The last boundary change took place in 1824 when the Town of Lockport was formed and took in the western section Royalton.

Pioneers from (the state of) Vermont who settled Newfane, Hartland and Royalton came from the Green Mountain County of Windsor. At this time we have no known being of people from Royalton, Vermont, but it is thought that the name Royalton was derived from the Vermont village of the same name.

One of the earliest roads was an Indian trail entering at the southeast border and crossing in a northwesterly direction from Batavia to Fort Niagara (NY). Called the Lewiston trail or road, it follows today's St. Rte. 77 from our northern border through Royalton Center, McNalls Corners, Terry's Corners and leaves our western border at the Husky Cemetery on Chestnut Ridge as it continues to the Cold Springs Road (where Cold Springs Cemetery is located) and on to Fort Niagara.

Another of our earliest roads is Slayton Settlement Road running east and west on our northern border and continuing east as Telegraph Road, part of St. Rte. 31.

The Erie, or later Barge Canal, running across the northern section, was responsible for the growth of four canal villages -- Middleport, Reynales Basin, Gasport and Orangeport. With the advent of the railroad in 1852, Middleport and Gasport grew and the other two declined. Middleport is our only incorporated village.

The canal and railroad also caused the decline of two other northern settlements which might have grown lareger -- one, the Mill District on Slayton Settlement Road at Quaker Road where early flour and sawmills flourished and further west, Slayton's Settlement near the present day Slayton Settlement and Hartland Roads.

Carrington's Corners (later Royalton Center), McNalls Corners and Terry's Corners, flourished as the stage coached and settlers poured through. There was even an academy at Royalton Center.

Further to the southern border, at Dysingers Corners, was the little settlement of Locust Tree with a post office and church. Our southernmost settlement is Wolcottsville. Anson Wolcott purchased 2000 acres and located on it in 1847-1848 and started a saw and lumber mill. In 1851 he deeded the whole tract of land to 75 German families from Prussia. Thus, Wolcottsville was formed and it still remains principally a German settlement.

Also in the southern part of the town were two small settlements, one being Block Church on the bend of Akron Road (St. Rte. 93). This settlement had an active church, a townhall which was used as a polling place and the school house which has been converted to a private home--until the early 1990s. (The church/townhall are gone now).

Leslie was the other small settlement located at Burdicks Bridge on the bank of Tonawanda Creek. There were undoubtedly other small hamlets whose names have become lost in the mists of time.

Royalton has been settled by thrifty, hard-working people with many trades and talents. Early years found sawmills, flour mills, lime kilns, quarries, brick yards, cider and vinegar mills, a pickle factory, cheese factories and basket factories.

The canal and railroad brought a means of shipping the many kinds of fruit grown in the area. Every village had its blacksmith and copper shops as well as fruits for processing dry fruit.

Source: Written by Donald Jerge, Royalton Historical Society

Connection to Windsor County, Vermont

I would like to share with you some information that I hope will be of interest to you concerning the connection between Windsor County, VT and Royalton, NY. It is my understanding that Thomas Slayton, who was born on April 4, 1775 in Brookfield, Massachusetts, was taken by his parents to live in Woodstock, Windsor County, Vermont in 1778. Thomas moved to western New York and became the first settler on the "Holland Purchase" in 1803.

According to "Turner's History of the Holland Land Purchase, 1849", "The pioneer in all the region named was Thomas Slayton. He was on his way to Canada, 1803, with his family; broke his wagon down about two miles east of the Cold Springs; stopped in consequence, liked the country, took up land and chopped an acre or two. His horses having strayed away from his log cabin, he went into the woods in pursuit of them, and in his rambles saw the fine soil and black walnut groves below the mountain and soon changed his location, becoming the founder of Slayton Settlement. Those who pass now through that beautiful, highly cultivated region, will conclude that the early pioneer made a good selection when he had a wide field before him."

In 1804, Thomas' younger brother Joshua came from Woodstock to join him in the new settlement, and it was he who named the town "Royalton", after Royalton, Vermont. Joshua had twelve children, from whom most of the Slaytons now living in western New York (and myself) are descended.

Here is a confirmatory excerpt from French's Gazatteer of the State of New York:

ROYALTON was formed from Hartland, April 5, 1817, and a part of Lockport was taken off in 1824. It is the S. E. corner town of the co. The surface is generally level or undulating, except in the N. part, where the mountain ridge crosses the town. Johnsons, Eighteen Mile, and Mud Creeks take their rise in this town, and the Tonawanda forms its s. boundary. The soil is a clayey loam. Middleport7 (p. v.) incorporated in 1858, lies partly in Hartland, but principally in the N.E. part of this town. It is situated upon the Erie Canal, and is a station on the R. & N. F. R. R. It contains 5 churches and has a pop. of 689, (586 in Royalton, 103 in Hartland.) Gasport,8 (p. v.,) situated on the canal near Eighteen Mile Creek, is a station on the R. & N. F. R. R. It contains 1 church and an academy.9 Pop. 273. Orangeport, (p. v.,) on the canal, in the N. W. part of the town, has a pop. of 224; Royalton, (p. v.,) in the central part, of 168; and Reynales Basin, (p. v.,) on the canal, of 132. Locust Tree and South Royalton are p. offices. McNalls Corners is a hamlet in the w. part. The first settlement was made in 1803, by Thos. Slayton and Gad Warner.10 The first religious services were held in 1806; the first religious society (Christian) was organized in 1817, and the first church edifice was built the same year.11 There are 12 churches in town."

Contributed 1997 Jan 14 by Yamila.

DARLING > Windsor County, Vermont

My 2nd G. Grandfather, Constantine John Maguire, married Christina Darling in Niagara County, NY. His mother, Sarah Slater Maguire, is buried in the Orangeport Union Cemetery. Her husband, John Maguire, is buried in Exeter, RI.

Contributed by Arlan Maguire

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