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Welcome to the Leon Historical Society

Subtitle

This is the starting of the third series about the town of Leon.

EARLY SCHOOLS IN LEON
     Soon after the Leon Township was established in 1832, it became necessary to plan for the education of its children.
      At one time, there were thirteen school districts in Leon.
school houses were built as needed to accommodate the children in the vicinity.

        Districts were as follows:
No. 1    North Rega Road
No.2     Flat Iron Road
No.3      Leon Mills
No.4      Town Hill Road
No.5       Leon Center
No.6       North Leon Road
No.7        East Leon
No.8        Kysor Hill Road
No. 9       Wells Hill Road
No. 10      Mosher Valley
No. 11       Peace vale
No. 12       Town Hill Road and Fancher Road
No. 13       Wells Hill and Slew Road
               Children started school at the age seven or eight years and had to walk from one half mile to two miles each way.  These roads were dirt roads----muddy in the fall and spring: frozen mud and very deep snow in the winter.
                Each child carried his lunch in a tin pail which consisted of bread and butter or cold pancakes, some kind of meat or hard-boiled egg, or cake but no beverage. 
                 Teachers received, in the early days, $1.50 to $2.50 per week and board around the districts.  However, their salaries increased to $10.00 per week and they obtained a permanent boarding place at an average cost of $2.50 per week.
                 Teachers had many duties.  A teacher arrived at schoolhouse by 7:45 or 8:00 A.M. in the winter since a fire had to be built in a box stove with a hearth on the front. Of course, this was a wood fire.  Preparations had to be made for the day's work unless they had been done after 4:00 P.M. the previous day.  the teacher also had to do the sweeping and regular janitorial work.  Children sometime cleaned the blackboards.
           At 9:00 A.M. the teacher rang the bell, and the children knew that school was called.  Boys hung their coats and caps in one place, girls in another. All placed their dinner pails on a nearby shelf.
            Each school had an average attendance of twenty to thirty-five pupils in grades from the first through the eighth Reading, writing, arithmetic, language,
physiology, geography, history, and spelling were taught.  this was all the education a pupil acquired.  However, those who wanted more education, came to Leon center School to try regents.  A passing mark gave them entrance to Hight School either in Cherry Creek, or South Dayton.   They either worked for their board and room or rented rooms and boarded themselves.  Here, let us remember that we produced many worthwhile citizens from rural communities.
           Many old schoolhouses have been converted into homes or used for other purposes.  One of the very first schoolhouse in Leon was attended by the writer's grandfather.  It is still standing and must be at least 125 years old.  It was originally built and stood at the left-hand side of the road going up cherry Creek Hill.  It was moved to be used as a horse shed behind the Free Methodist church when that church was still active.  this church is now used as a Town Barn, but the old schoolhouse is still being used for storage purposes.
            It is interesting to note that the writer of the old hymn, "when the mists have rolled away" Anne Hubbart, also attended this old school
            School meeting were held in the spring each year to elect a trustee, tax collector, clerk and plan for the school year.  The trustee hired the teacher.  A truant Officer was also appointed.
             Let us here remember that water, lights and toilet facilities were very different in those days.  Water was brought by two children, usually boys, from a farmhouse in a large pail.  It set on a shelf and a dipper was left in it from which each child drank.  A wash basin was nearby which a child could wash his hands in.  Sometimes a child was allowed to pass the water.  It was considered an honor.
               when lights were needed, oil side lamps, attached to the wall, were used.
  there was a fifteen-minute recess in the morning and again in the afternoon for exercise, refreshment, or a visit to a very small building outside, one for the girls and one for the boys.  Flush toilets were not in use then.
               During the noon hour and recess period, they played "Duck on a rock, "Ring around the rosy," "Pom Pom Pull away," "London Bridge, "Drop the Hanky" and in the winter, "Fox and  Greese" was played.
                 Of course, some parents didn't force their children to attend school, so it became necessary for the appointment of a truant officer.  Even then, there were some who grew up and could neither read nor write.  
                Teachers were permitted more discipline measures; even a spanking or a slapped face was permitted.  However, standing in the corner, face to the wall usually accomplish the best results since the child felt ashamed. 
               Many boys and girls attended these schools after they were sixteen years of age.
               Yes, our school system was much different then.  Tax rates were much lower.  In Leon, with a two-room school in the 1920s through 1950's our tax rate was about $7.00 per thousand dollars valuation.  Now, it is about $65.00 per thousand, since we are now a part of the Pine Valley central School system.

December 1965               written by Gladys Morgan H Luce, Historian, Town of Leon

Information; from experience, old records of school, and other teachers' information.


                                              Peaceville School House

The peaceville schoolhouse is one of the oldest buildings in the community.

Its many years over a hundred yrs.  It was situated on the top of the dugway hill woods all around it.  Was agreed upon of being in the middle of the district.  Many years ago, the Oaks family lived on the Oaks Corner.  What is now the Adams farm, was the oaks farm. Over 100 yrs. on the corner lives an Oaks family, and the Fancher farm, the Champlin family, Crowley family. 
 
Mable taught school upon here in the Bailey hill District.  She rode horse back to school.  When I was just big enough to look out the window, and she went to school here.

The Fancher farm is now known as the Eganski farm.  At the time they had a creamery there and made cheese.  They took their product to Conewango Valley where there was the railroad.   After that the Samuelson family lived and Andy was next to the youngest, many more lots older than him. he went to school there; he is 84 or 86 now many more lots older than him.  A little more about John Harrison the teacher at the Dugway school taken from John Ackley's book.

He attended Chamberlain Institute at Randolph New York.  John had taught in every District in the town of Leon for a long time, except one.   Was principal of the school at Leon.  He might have been called the Dean of Peacevale (which was known till was changed to Peaceville)

He lived in the midst of many of the old civil war soldiers, and new them well.  John was one of the justices of the peace for 18 yrs.

In Peacevale a sawmill was built by Lewis Kysor at the head waters of Butternut creek.   It was passed into the hands of John C. Green. He operated the sawmill located where Arthur Merchants lives.


There was a cheese factory build in Peacevale near the home of Adelbert Merchant used for many years.  Then a factory was built nearly across where John Harrison home was of short life, because of the large creamery built in Leon.  there also was a post Office until they had Rural Route delivery.

Then there was Fred Luce family here on the corner of the Leon Rd.  they lived there a long time.  Their children went here to school.  Twins Ina + Nina, older ones in their Ninety's now then Ralph, Mark Glady and Grace.
Nina married Howard Cooper
Ina married Ed Damon
Ralph married?
Mark married?
Gladys married Bert Dorsey
Grace married Ray Marsh
they all lived in Leon. 

John Harrison taught in the school for many years, but before this the teachers boarded around district from family to family, that was allowed on their taxes back in the year 1800.  They took them to school if too far to walk.  The teacher would build the fire in the schoolhouse. Wages about$13.00 a week. There was the 8th grades. anywhere from 15 to 30 pupils.  the children brought the water from the neighbors farm each day.  

In 1912 + 1915 the wages raised $15.00 to $25.00 a week.  The district was complaining terrible.
 Mr. Harrison started me to school there 73 years ago. I was 5 years old. But the law was then to start school was 8 years old he was a very good teacher.

Then about the year of '38 they moved the schoolhouse down in Peaceville, with tractor on skids down through the pasture, now all growed up to trees.  had school a few years, then was consolidated to the Leon school.  Now the schoolhouse has been built on to and made into a very nice dwelling, nice lawn, a pleasant place.  So, the old schoolhouse will last for many years more.


                                                                                Thank God
                                         Written By:                Elizabeth Merchant Aldrich

                               




 This is the starting of the second series about the town of Leon N.Y. established in 1832.  A few people started arriving in 1818.  The picture is the 4 corners of Leon.  There's more to come updating so keep checking back!!
 
                                                  
                                     

 The picture on the left is the Eldredge Store in Leon was owned by William and Millie Eldredge.  William was the son of A.J. Eldredge and Clementina Greeley.  The store burnt in the year 1904. 
   William and Millie were parents of Florence, Robert and Evelyn.  Florence was 4 years old when the store burned.  The family moved to a house 4 houses down from store.  They moved to Little Valley N.Y. (Wm was in the legislature.)

Florence married Ivan Day and 1939 they build a cement store   where the Eldredge store was.  When they dug the foundation, they found some coins that had melted from the store that burnt.  Ivan and Florence had a grocery store (In about 1944 the Leon Post Office was in the store).  Until about 1955 when they had an addition put on the north side of the store to house the Post Office.  
   Ivan had a small store behind the hotel before they opened the new store.
    Ivan & Florence had 3 daughter's, Althea, Nancy and Diane.  When Althea was about 14, they build on living quarters to back of the store.
    Ivan was the son of John and Maude (Wolf) Day of Leon.

 

I found an update on the Leon Post Office Cattaraugus County, New York
Mrs. Viola R Stankey-Office in Charge -10/10/1975
Mrs. Viola R. Stankey Postmaster -11/22/1975
Judith A. Snyder -Officer in charge 3/27/1982
Judith A. Snyder -Postmaster 5/15/1982
Janet Green -Officer in Charge -6/21/2002
Marge Kurek Officer in Charge   - 2004
Denise l Schimek Postmaster-2/05/2005
Kathy L Sargent -Officer in Charge 2/06/2007
Karen M. Freidenberg Postmaster-4/14/2007
Ginger Ellis Neel-Postmaster-9/17/2007 to 
7/8/2009
Closing of Post Office-open to the publis was 7/7 2009. On 7/8 2009 cleared the office mof any postal, property.

"A Man In Leon"

You ought to know this man
I'll talk about
He is everybody's friend
He is really Leon's unsung hero
I am proud to say he is good friend.
He is like a midwife in a small community 
Where there is no doctor around
He helps everyone either sick or well
I'll tell you of his kindness of which everybody knows.
He had a grocery store in Leon
He was postmaster too
You couldn't find a better guy
I am telling you.
He would trust you for some groceries 
When you ran a little short
or lend you a little money
And sometimes quite a lot
Most times they would pay him back
And some just would not.
He would deliver you some groceries 
or help you with a telephone call in the middle of the night
He was always pleasant
And he would greet you with a smile
It wasn't just put on- it was genuine.
He always helped the firemen
Or anything else going in town
Anytime someone needed help
He was always around.
A better man you couldn't find
People have "cussed" him out 
For things he didn't know or do
If they knew him as well as me.
They would have a different view.
If you didn't havee transportation
He would take you in his car
When you go out with him to dinner
He more than paid the way
He was never stingy as you can see I know.
If you want to meet a real American guy
Have someone introduce you to this man
His name is IVAN DAY.
     
                 Floyd Rowland

We are going to go back in time!  The Leon Tavern built in 1834 by Thomas Noyes. Other owners between then and into the 1900's were: Samuel B Hanford, John Lang, Ellery Stone, S.C. Horton, John Carpenter, Nathaniel Kierstead, Thomas Snyder, P.A. Snyder, (1869) A.Thomas, O.C. Chase, A.L. Roberts, Russel Barlow, Zelotes Blanchard, B B. Mosher, W.F. Ross.   owners from the 1940's to the present 2008:  1947 Myron Day, 1954 Paul Louise Hoff, 1958 Garrett & Jane Kolstee,  1962 Ed. & Elva Cashmeir, 1968 Fred & Kay Gross, 1971 Earl & Dorothy Lincoln, 1972 Rod & Evie Griewisch, 1982 to present Kathy, Christopher & John Krzanowicz.


 The picture below is in 1953.  The owner at the time was Myron (Mike) Day, a WWII veteran which he bought 8 years from Donald Kidd from Jamestown.

The estimated loss included many antique pieces.   In the garage adjacent to the hotel, where it is believed that the fire originated was a 1907 Ford and 1952 Buick stored in the garage.

In 1953 Myron (Mike) Day had a two -story cement block garage and dwelling erected.  Garage and Gas station: other operators were Claude Hallett, Elton Merchant, Carl Towles.  Frank & Mike Riley purchased the garage in the 70's , After Frank passed fall of 1978 Mike and Danny ran it for 3 years.  Their garage was called 'Riley's Shell had food machine, pop foosball and pool table'. pumped gas. Danny and Cathy wed in 1978 and lived above the garage until they moved into their trailer at the bottom of slew rd. Danny pumped gas and Mike worked for the town days, and repaired cars at night.  Sister Pat remembers when gas was .37 a gallon.  
The garage was leased to Wally & Donna Cox they called 'Wally's service" and operated by Robert Cox.  He also did NYS Vehicle inspection and pumped gas for 5 years: 1978 or 1979.  Jerry & Cherie Colburn leased it, they left and purchased their own place North of Leon.  In 1997 Mike removed the tanks at garage to sell it to Joel and Sheila Fiebelkorns, it was then a small engine and snowmobile garage.
 In 2021 "Quick Can and Bottle Redemption" started business owed by Troy Stockman with the help of his family Courtney, Lily, Tiller, Cora and Lottie.
there hours are Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm
He has added may product/Service to the community.  He also added "Little Library in the story its "free" you Take a book & share a book.  Made by the Pine Valley school Shop.   
He supports the Shriner's, and fire company and Historical Society many customers bring bottle and donate to the org. 


This is a now picture as of August 2022!     The bottom picture is a newspaper article I found of another person who leased garage!
                                                    This is the end of the Second series !

This is the first in a series about the town of Leon, N.Y.  established in 1832. A few people started arriving in about 1818. James Waterhouse named the town for the Ancient Kingdom of Leon in Spain.  It in Township 4 in the ninth range of the Holland Land Company.

   In the fourth coming articles, we will introduce some of the families and business that made Leon a thieving community.

    The first family we will hear about is the Day family.

     Anthony Day-B. 1762 in Ticonderoga, N.Y.  He married Hannah Vine-B. 1762 in Whitehall, N.Y. married in Ticonderoga, N.Y.   They eventually made their way to Leon.  But not before they arrived in New Hampshire, where Alvin was born in 1793, their 3rd. Child.  Anthony & Hannah had 11 children. 

    Alvin married a women named Mary-B-1801 in N.Y.  Their son Almon Leroy Day B. 1822 in Ticonderoga N.Y.  D. 1909

    In the 1850 Leon census Alvin & Mary are listed there living alone –ages 56 for Avin + 49 for Mary.  So far haven’t been able to find much information on them.

    Almon married Emily Kellogg, 5 Nov. 1848- in Leon, perhaps at our little white church on the Hill!

     Emily was born in Brookfield N.Y.  B-9 March 1826 D. 1889 –Age 87

     Emily Parents are:

     Ashbel Loomis Kellogg Jr.  B. 1791, D. 1862

     Nancy Saunders Kellogg B. 1793, D. 1862

Most likely Kellogg Hill in Leon was named for them.

     Amon & Emily had four boys

            Theron- B. 1851 D. 1924 in Leon

             Willian Henry- B. 1855 D. 1931 in Leon

            John Charles-   B. 1859 D.?         in Leon

            Myron Leroy B.1871 D.1952  in Leon

As far as I can tell they were all born and died and are buried in Leon N.Y.

William H Day married: 1 Oct. 1855 Leon N.Y.   Clara D. Bachelder B. 1858 D.

    Son of William & Clara

        John L Day B. 1889-D. 1961 in Leon

John Married Maude Wolfe 7 Nov. 1901.  B. 1892-Red House, N.Y.  D. 1977-Leon

     John & Maude’s Children:

Ivan Earl Day B. -1911 D. 1989 in Leon

Myron (Mike) Day: B.-7 April 1919 D.- 1 Sept. 1977 in Pima, AZ.

              Ivan Married:

                 Florance Eldrege B: -9 June 1934- Cattaraugus N.Y.  D: 1982 

              They had 3 girls

                                         Althea B 1937

                                         Nancy   B.1947

                                         Diane   B.-1957

               Myron (Mike) Married:

                     Harriet J. Meyers B.- 1 Oct. 1919 D.- 2017

              They had 2 children

                                       LeRoy

                                       Lucy

There are many colorful characters in the Day family.  One was Anthony Day.  He was born in England 1616 of an ancient English family in Ippswitch , about 68 miles north of London.  We believe he is the first Day to come to the British Bay Colonies, there were however 9 Distinct Day families in New England in colonial days. Here is an excerpt about one of them-Anthony Day from Wales.  At age 19 Anthony was a passenger on the ship “Paule” with Leonard Betts as it's Master.  They sailed 16 July 1635 bound for Virginia.  The first port of call was Mass. not Virginia.  Mr. Betts had been instructed to lay in a cargo of salted fish to be sold in Virginia or the West Indies.  But things didn’t go as planned-they sailed to Virginia not Mass. as they should have. 

Anthony was tiring of the long journey, as it took about 6 wks. to reach the colonies. He decided to make Mass. home.  He had obtained a certificate of conformity to the church of England, issued by the Minister of Gravesend.  It is unknown where he spent the first ten years in America.  In 1642 families from Plymouth colonies led by Rev. Richard Blymann, settled in Glouster Mass.   Anthony was an early settler there as well as a landowner. He was a proprietor of a store before 1645 and sold it at age 80. He purchased land and another store 1657.

   It is said in the history of Glouster that he vindicated the good name of Susanna Matchett, in court in Salem 1649.  She was the bond servant of William Vinson, who had made disparaging remarks about Susanne, who Anthony had entered into a marriage contract with.  He took Mr. Vinson to court, in which Pastor Blymann interceded and confronted Anthony.  He took the warrant, tore it up and tossed it in the fire!  So again, a new warrant was issued.  The court wouldn't have it! Anthony took Pastor Blymann to court as well.  Another warrant was issued to Vinson.  Later that year, in 1649, they went back to court.  The court records read. “Wm Vinson of Glouster, being accessed by Anthony Day of reproaching his servant Susanna Matchett, to whom he was contracted, saying she was not virtuous. Vinson confessed and the case was discharged.” Anthony and Susanna were married after 11 Sept. 1649.  They were the parent’s of nine children.  Anthony was an industrious man.  He worked in the mills and transported lumber, bought and sold land, owned stores and homes to care for his large family.  This wasn’t his last trip to the courts in his lifetime.  No doubt some of which were to help others in doing the right thing!  Anthony is credited to be one of the first settlers of Glouster, Province, now Maine, Phippsburg, Leeds and likely others.  He later went into partnership with his sons on business deals.

    In later years he would deed his last property to his youngest son Joseph, in return for caring for him and his wife in their aged years. This deed was signed in 1705. Anthony passed in 1707 and Susanna in 1717.  He was 91 and she was 94.

These people were found in the Family Seach Genealogy site, and information also from Day Family and friends.

         “I hope you enjoyed this article. Stay tuned for the next article in the series!”

LK McElmurray

member of the

Leon Historical Society, “May 2022”

 

Wanted to share the 19th Amish Relief Auction !
                           Saturday ,May 28, 2022  Starting at 9:30 AM (daylight saving time)

Click here to edit text

                       The Leon Historical Society    2022 Events
                       Presentation and Programs!

MEMORIAL  DAY CELEBRATION
9AM May 30th
Leon begin the celebration with a parade
 to the Treat Cemetery where inspiring words 
are spoken accompanied by a gun salute. Concluding 
reading of the Leon veterans honor roll on the front 
lawn of the 1836 Church.

Saturday June 4th  2PM
LEON'S 1836  CHURCH
Living History Presentation
MARY JEMISON
WHITE WOMEN OF THE GENESEE

MUSIC IN THE CHURCH
SUNDAY 2-4PM
BEGINNING MAY 8TH AND 15TH
GOSPEL AND COUNTRY WESTERBN MUSIC BY
"ART & DON"

A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS SERCICE
SUNDAY DECEMBER 11TH -2PM

OUR MUSEUM AND THE CHURCH WILL BE 
OPENING THE FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY AND RUNING UNTIL OCTOBER FROM 11AM-3PM 
WE ALSO DO GUIDED TOUR'S 
CONTACT PAT 716 296 5709 OR FRED 
716 358 3236

LEON HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
MEETING THE LAST MONDAY OF
EACH MONTH    6PM

LEON'S    1836 CHURCH
THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OWNS AND 
MAINTAINS THIS ICONIC CHURCH
IN THE CENTER OF TOWN.THIS CHARMING
CHURCH IS AVAILABE FOR YOUR EVENT.
 CONTACT TINA SCHERMAN 716-296-5268

Recent Photos

Hello Hello!
We have a plan!  Covid-19 really threw us a curve ball.  I guess everyone got that curve ball!  Anyway…
We have decided to try something completely new and different.  Lawn (or parking lot) quilting…outside!
We can easily maintain our ‘Social Distance’ and enjoy a day of quilting.  The plan is to meet at the Leon Fire Hall and enjoy our donuts and coffee, then quilt outside.  This way we have beautiful new bathroom facilities at the Fire Hall and we can properly maintain distance, especially being outside.  Checkin will involve the usual drill as anywhere else during these times and masks will be required if and when we are 6’ or less from others. 

The order of projects has changed as Sunflowers just sounded good to start us off during this crazy time.  And it is already sunflower time!
Please give us a call and come join us on this adventure.
Pat Bromley 296-5709  and  Myra Johnston 257-5272
Hope to see you soon!

BOOKS THAT ARE AVAILABLE!

Leon: A Century of Progress: $15 Each  LIMITED  ADDITION

Penny Royal Racetrack Books $15 each there are two different volumes.

The Civil War Letters of Edward W. Clark    or    The Love Letters of a Union Soldier
 $8.00 each or both for $15.00




Private Tours Available!

   
Take a trip back in time with a visit through the Older Amish Community. The live without all the modern conveniences such as electricity, telephones, and cars. Their lifestyle separates them from the modern world. The emphasize on humility, faith, and family, honest and hard work. They recognized by their plain dresses and travel by horse and buggy.

Amish produce a variety of goods that include Quilts, Rugs, Bake Goods, Candy, Toys, Wood and Iron Crafts, Furniture, Eggs, Fruits and Vegetables. They sell their products from their homes, they have signs in their yards letting people know what they are selling. Amish have a unique way of life which we respect, while on the tour we request that you are thoughtful and courteous of their ways.

Come join a tour where one of our guides will join you in your vehicle and give you a two(2) hour tour around the back roads and show you the great shops around the area. We will make several stops along the way where you can shop and we will share stories of the fascinating history of the area.


Tours are by reservation only. 
Tours Start: 
Call to reserve your time and Date.... Tours are available year round.

Contact:
       
 Pat Bromley (716)296-5709 (Leon Town Historian)
                                    Or   
 Fred Milliman (716)358-3236 (Curator)

             For a private tour or genealogy information
 

Cost: $50.00 per vehicle up to six (6) people with an additional $5.00 per person. 

Please remember that Amish shops are closed on Sundays, holidays and also for weddings and funerals. Amish accept Cash or Checks, NO CREDIT CARDS! It is against their beliefs to be photographed; we ask that you respect their wishes.
 

Saturday, Feb 11 at 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday, Feb 18 at 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday, Feb 25 at 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday, Feb 26 at 6:00 PM - Tuesday, Feb 28 8:00 PM