drift, consisting of clay and gravel. The soil of the valleys is generally a gravelly loam and
The principal pursuits in the n. are grain raising, and in the s. stock and wool growing and
dairying. The hilly regions are much better adapted to pasturage than tillage. The people of
Buffalo and Tonawanda are mostly engaged in commerce and manufactures.1
Buffalo is the county seat.2 The courthouse, situated on the corner of Clinton and Ellicott Sts ,
is a substantial brick building, containing the court and jury rooms, the office of the co. clerk,
and most of the other co. offices.3 The jail is a small stone building on the same lot. The Erie Co.
Penitentiary is located on Fifth St., in Buffalo. The buildings are 5 in number,—the male and
female prisons, the Workhouse, the warehouse, and the superintendent's dwelling. Prisoners are
received from Allegany, Chautauque, Cattaraugus, Wyoming, Genesee, Orleans, and Niagara cos.
The average number in confinement is 130.4 The Erie Co. Poorhouse is located on a farm of 153
acres in the n. e. part of Buffalo. There are 2 buildings,—one designed for use as the poorhouse
proper, and the other for the accommodation of the insane. The average number of inmates is 300,
supported at a weekly cost of $1.00 each.5
The principal works of internal improvement are the Erie Canal, the Rochester & Buffalo,
and the Lockport, Niagara Falls and Buffalo branches of the New York Central Rail Road, the
Buffalo, New York & Erie, and the Buffalo & Erie Rail Roads,6 all terminating in the city of Buffalo,
and the Canandaigua & Niagara Falls branch of the N.Y. C. R. R., extending through New-
stead, Clarence, Amherst, and Tonawanda. A railroad from Buffalo to Pittsburgh is now in pro¬
cess of construction. A pier, lighthouse, and breakwater have been built at the mouth of Buf¬
With the exception ©f the Indian Reservation and the Mile Strip, along Niagara River, this co.
was all included within the Holland Purchase.8 The Indian lands, containing 130 sq. mi. and
lying upon both sides of Buffalo Creek, at its mouth, were purchased in parcels, at different times;
and the whole territory is now thickly settled. The first settlements were made at Buffalo, about
1794—95, and in other places within a few years after. The generous outlays made by the Hol¬
land Company in the construction of roads, bridges, mills, &c. led to a rapid occupation of all the
best lands in the co.8 On the morning of the 30th of Dec., 1813, a British force of about 1,000
men crossed over from,Canada and captured Black Rock and Buffalo. The American forces then
stationed at these places were superior to the British in point of numbers; but the officers were
not qualified for command, and a large share of the militia fled upon the commencement of the
action. The village of Buffalo was burned in retaliation of the wanton destruction of Newark,
in Canada, by the Americans under Gen. George McClure, (then of Steuben co.,) a short time
before.9 The finishing of the Erie Canal and of the N. Y. Central R. R. tended greatly to develop
the resources of the co., and to convert Buffalo, its chief city, into the greatest commercial place
on the upper lakes.
The first newspaper in the co. was established in 1811.11
West Seneca, Hamburgh, Evans^ and Brandt. The Buffalo &
Brantford (Canada) R. R. terminates opposite Buffalo.
I See page 284.
8 See page 321.
9 A large share of the later settlers of the CO. have been Ger¬
mans : and this class of people now constitute about one-fifth
of the entire population of the co. The population of several
of the towns in the immediate vicinity of Buffalo is almost
10 The loss at Buffalo was reported at 66 frame, 1 stone, and 2
brick houses, 16 stores and offices, 35 barns, and 15 shops, valued
together at $190,000; at Black Rock, 16 frame and 11 log houses,
8 barns, and 5 outhouses, valued at $19,000; and at other places
20 frame and 67 log houses, 5 stores, 29 barns, 30 shops, &c,, worth
$141,000. Total, 334 buildings, worth $350,000, not including
the buildings of the Messrs. Porter.—Albany Argus, April 22,
U The Buffalo Gazette, the first paper in the county, was com¬
menced Oct. 3, 1811, by S. II. & H. A. Salisbury. It
was removed to Harris Hill in 1813, and back to Bufi
falo in the spring of 1814. In April, 1819, H. A Salis¬
bury became sole proprietor, and changed the name to
The Niagara Patriot. On the erection of Erie co. in 1820 it was
The Buffalo Patriot. It was successively under the editorial
charge of Wm. A. Carpenter, Harvey Newcomb, and
Guy H. Salisbury.
The Daily Commercial Advertiser was issued from the same
office, Jan. 1,1835. Soon after, Dr. T. M. Foote and B,
A. Manchester became associated in the management
of the two papers ; and in Aug. 1838, the Aurora Stand¬
ard was merged in them, and A. M. Clapp, its pub¬
lisher, became one of the proprietors of the joint con-
See pages 285.
s By the act of March 11, 1808, erecting the co. of Niagara,
Buffalo was named the co, seat, on condition that the Holland
Land Company deed to the county not less than half an acre of
land for a site for the public buildings, and erect thereon a
courthouse and jail. The company complied with these con¬
ditions, and erected, in 1810, a wooden courthouse and a stone
jail. In the mean time the courts were held at the house of
Joseph Landon. The courthouse was burned by the British in
1813. Soon after the close of the war, a new one was erected
<m Washington St., fronting La Fayette Park. The first officers
Of Erie co. were Sam’l Wilkeson, First Judge; John G. Camp,
Sheriff; James L. Barton, Co. Clerk; and Boswell Chapin, Sur¬
The present courthouse was built in 1850, at a cost of $18,000.
The commissioners under whose supervision it was erected were
Albert II. Tracy, Ralph Plumb, and Timothy A. Hopkins.
The penitentiary lot contains 5 acres, and is enclosed by a
stone wall 14 ft. in height. The male prison is built of stone,
and the other buildings of brick. Four-fifths of all the convicts
are of foreign birth. They are maintained at an average weekly
expense of 65 cts., and are employed principally in the manu¬
facture of harness findings, upon contract,—the males at 20
cents per day, and the females at 15.
Tho poorhouse was built in 1852, under the supervision of
Silas Kingsley, at a cost of $30,000. It consists of an octagonal
wide; the whole 3 stories high and built of stone. Of the in¬
mates in 1857, 71 were lunatics and 11 idiots.
6 The main lines of the N. Y. Central and the Buffalo, N. Y.
& Erie R. Roads extend through Alden, Lancaster, and Chick-
towaga; the Lockport & N. F. branch of the N. Y. Central,