Official government website for the Town of Yorkshire and Village of Delevan, New York
TOWN ~ PO Box 6 ~ 716.492.1640     VILLAGE ~ PO Box 216 ~ 716.492.1424

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The excerpts from the article entitled
A Brief History of the Town of Yorkshire
 the Village of Delevan,
compiled by Town & Village Historian
Jackie Cornwall

The Town of Yorkshire is nestled in the northern corner of Cattaraugus County.  Through an act of the State Legislature on April 13, 1820, Yorkshire was formed out of Ischua.  The final configuration for Yorkshire today comprises an area of 35.2 square miles.  Cattaraugus Creek defines the northern border with Erie County.  The Town of Freedom and Wyoming County are situated on the east.  Machias defines the southern border and Ashford lies to the west.

It was there, beginning in 1810, in this corner of the county near the banks of Cattaraugus Creek that the first settlers came from various New England states.  They came by oxen drawn carts and began to form three major settlements:  Yorkshire Corners, now known as Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, also known as “The Forks”, and Yorkshire Center, now known as Delevan.  History books tell us that of the several gentlemen that contracted land from the Holland Land Company, it was Benjamin Felch from New Hampshire and Bethuel Bishop from Vermont that actually established homesteads in township no. 6 and range no. 5. 

They were followed in 1810 by others, including Isaac Williams of Vermont, who took up 300 acres of land and established the first settlement on the site of Yorkshire Corners.  In 1814 he built the first grist and saw mill on Cattaraugus Creek.  In 1820 he built the first frame house in Yorkshire Corners and two years later this became a tavern and hotel run by his son, Proctor Williams.  Colonel Arunah Hibbard, who was actively engaged in the War of 1812 and wounded in the battle of Lundy’s Lane, came to the area around 1818 and by 1824 established mills and a distillery. 

Mason Smith, a stone-cutter and millwright from New Hampshire, arrived in the area in December of 1820 and purchased 250 acres that encompassed most of the site of Yorkshire Center.  In 1821 he made the first clearing and built the first framed barn measuring 25 by 26 feet.  Typical of the times, it was ‘”raised” over the course of two days with help of neighboring settlers.  Then in 1822, Mason along with Abel Gordon, built the first log house measuring 16 by 16 feet on the site that eventually became the corner of Church and School Streets in the Village of Delevan.

It was April 13, 1820, when the Town of Yorkshire was formed and the first town meeting was scheduled to “be held at the house of Robert Steele, in said town, on the first Tuesday of March next.”
   At this meeting on March 6, 1821, town officers were elected to the positions of Supervisor, Town Clerk, Assessors, Collector, Commissioners of Highways, Overseers of the Poor,  and Commissioners of Common School.  The first Supervisor elected was Samuel G. Sutton. 

Our ancestors were of hearty stock and they established a thriving community that was centered in agriculture, dairy, mill operations, and more.
  Through the changes over the years some have gone, but many have remained, because this little corner of the county is a lovely place to live.