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Posts Tagged ‘War of 1812’

porterThe Porter family was very influential in Buffalo/Niagara during its formation and early years of settlement.  There is Porter Ave in Buffalo, Porter Road in Niagara Falls, a Town of Porter in Niagara County and the Porter Quadrangle complex at University of Buffalo.   Porter Avenue is located in the Front Park neighborhood on the West Side of Buffalo and is an Olmsted Parkway.   The street was originally known as Guide Board Road and predates Joseph Ellicott’s time in Buffalo.  It was an Indian Trail used during the Revolutionary War to a ferry which led to Canada.

Guide Board Road sign, on North Street near Franklin Street

Guide Board Road sign, on North Street near Franklin Street

The original street alignment went straight west towards the Niagara River.  When Frederick Law Olmsted designed the City’s parkway system, he decided to turn a portion of York Street into Porter Avenue, in order to connect to Front Park and Fort Porter.  This allowed the connections between parks that completes our parks system.

Castle at Fort Porter Postcard

Castle at Fort Porter Postcard

The former Fort Porter was located on the Lake Erie shoreline just north of Front Park.  Olmsted included the Fort’s grounds into his original plans for Front Park.  The Fort was torn down to build the Peace Bridge.  The Porter Family included Augustus and Peter Porter.  Augustus was prominent in Niagara Falls, living on and owning Goat Island  His brother Peter Porter was prominent in Black Rock/Buffalo.  

Peter Porter

Peter Porter

Peter Buell Porter was  born on August 14, 1773 and was raised in Connecticut.  He attended Yale and Litchfield Law School.  He moved west to Canandaigua for his law practice in 1793.  He served as Clerk of Ontario County from 1797 to 1804 and was elected to the New York State Assembly, representing Ontario and Steuben Counties in 1802.    

While in the Assembly, Peter Porter was influential in working with Joseph Ellicott to promote road construction in Buffalo.  However, shortly thereafter, Peter Porter began to develop a community two miles north of Buffalo called Black Rock.  At Black Rock, there was what was called a “safe and commodious” natural harbor, and the land was owned by New York State, unlike the majority of Western New York which was owned by the Holland Land Company.   Peter purchased land with his brother Augustus and Benjamin Baron to form Porter, Barton and Company.  New York State gave their trading firm a monopoly of the transportation business on the portage around Niagara Falls and it handled much of the trade on the Upper Great Lakes.

Around 1797, Joseph Ellicott tried to convince Porter and his friends to purchase property from the Holland Land Company.  Instead, they bought state lands along the Niagara River.  The laid out a town site, built warehouses and other trading facilities, establishing Black Rock.  This angered Paul Busti and other Holland Land Company agents, who then tried to purchased land from the State for the Holland Land Company in order to sabotage Porter’s plans.   As the town of Black Rock developed, the Holland Land Company tried hard to push Buffalo’s interests by using political influence in Albany.  However, Porter was equally determined to make Black Rock successful and had his own power in Albany.

Peter Porter moved to Black Rock in 1809 and was elected to the US House of Representatives, furthering his influence from Albany down to Washington, D.C.   He was so influential as a congressman that he convinced President Madison to move the customs house from Buffalo to the smaller Black Rock during summer (the more active) months. 

Map of Black Rock prior to the War of 1812

Map of Black Rock prior to the War of 1812

During the War of 1812, General Porter served in the New York State Militia.  In congress, Porter was labelled a War Hawk as he fought for security of the Niagara Frontier as the conflict leading up to the war became heated.  He found strong allies in Henry Clay and John Calhoun and was named  chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee.  Porter was presented a gold medal from Congress on November 3, 1814 for “gallantry and good conduct” during the Battle of Chippewa, Battle of Niagara and Battle of Erie.

Following the War of 1812, Porter was able to assist in getting the War Department to use federal troops to repair and improve roads between Fort Niagara and Black Rock which were damaged during the war.  Porter also brought federal funds to the area to build roads and canals.  Porter and his supporters also wanted the federal government to build roads from the “Buffalo Frontier” to Washington to foster trade between the federal capital, the Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes.  This led to conflicts between Black Rock (which was Peter Porter, because of his vast real estate holdings and commercial enterprises) and Buffalo’s leaders – including Samuel Wilkeson, Albert Tracy, David Day and Oliver Forward.  Buffalo’s leaders were on the side of Dewitt Clinton, Mayor of New York City at the time.  Porter and his friends were on the anti-Clinton political faction.

General Peter served as Secretary of State of New York from 1815 to 1816.   During a special election after the resignation of Governor Tompkins, Tammany Hall printed ballots with Porter’s name on them.  Porter received 1300 votes, despite not running for office.  Governor Dewitt Clinton won that election, despite Tammany Hall’s efforts.

General Porter was appointed to the Canal Commission created to examine possible canal routes.  Governor Clinton opted for a Hudson River to Lake Erie straight across the state.  General Porter preferred two canals, one joining the Hudson River with Lake Ontario and one around Niagara Falls, joining Lake Erie and Ontario.  Buffalo Leaders and Joseph Ellicott preferred Clinton’s ideas, but in 1814, it seemed that the Canal Commission might adopt Porter’s suggestions.   By 1816, Porter had not been reappointed to the Canal Commission as he had accepted the office of boundary commissioner to clarify the disputed sections of the US-Canada Border.  Joseph Ellicott replaced Porter on the Commission, Dewitt Clinton had been elected Governor, and the Erie Canal took the alignment we are familiar with today.

The rivalry then shifted to whether Buffalo or Black Rock would be the western terminus for the Erie Canal.  Black Rock had a large, natural harbor which would be easy to expand and for years it had been the center of east-west trade and was used even by the merchants in Buffalo.  Black Rock also provided an escape from the turbulent winds and swells coming across Lake Erie.  It also would shorten the canal a few miles, lowering construction costs.  Buffalo had advantages too:  it was out of the range of British canons on the Canadian Shore (which was important given the recent War with Great Britain).  Higher water levels meant the canal would feed better in Buffalo.  Samuel Wilkeson led the charge, along with a group of enterprising men, determined to make Buffalo the canal terminus.  A report by engineers stated that the terminus should be located in Buffalo as the Black Rock harbor was too vulnerable to British attack, too exposed to ice damage and too expensive to develop.  While several later reports supported Black Rock, the Canal Commission designated Buffalo as the canal terminus in 1822, on the advice of four out of five of its engineers.  Efforts by Porter and his friends to alter the decision were fruitless, and bills were passed in the legislature for a canal link from Tonawanda to Buffalo, completely bypassing Black Rock.

Porter House facing Niagara Street circa 1880s when Lewis Allen owned the house

General Porter built a house at 1192 Niagara Street (between Breckenridge and Ferry) in 1816.  He Porter married Letitia Breckenridge of the prominent Breckenridge family.   Breckenridge Street, which was originally called Commerce Street, is named after her.     When Grover Cleveland moved here to Buffalo, he lived in the Porter house, with his Aunt and Uncle, the Allens.   Peter and Letitia’s son Peter A. Porter went on to become a Civil War Colonel, killed in the Battle of Cold Harbor in 1864.  

General Porter donated the land for the Union Meeting House Church across the street from his house.  The church is located at 44 Breckenridge and is also known as the Breckenridge Street Church.  

Peter Porter was also President of Jubilee Water Works, the first company to bring water into people’s homes.  The water came from the jubilee spring (located in present day Forest Lawn…Crystal Lake is formed from waters from the spring) and was pumped through wooden pipes.  Some of Buffalo’s wooden water pipes still exist.

porter grave

Peter Porter’s Grave

In 1837, Black Rock was dealt another blow when General Porter sold his interests there and moved to Niagara Falls where he built a new home.  Peter Porter died in 1844, and Fort Porter was named in honor of the businessman-politician-soldier.  Peter and Augustus Porter are both buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls.  Nine years after his death, Porter’s beloved Black Rock was annexed to a thriving, expanding Buffalo.   Black Rock became a neighborhood in the City of Buffalo.

The next time you’re driving down the 190 along the Niagara River or driving through Black Rock, think about Peter Porter and what our region might look like if we lived in the City of Black Rock and the Erie Canal went from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario!

Learn about other streets by checking out the street index.

 

Sources:

  1. Courier Express, July 24 1938, sec 6, p.4.
  2. Grande, Joseph.  Peter B. Porter and the Buffalo Black-Rock Rivalry.  Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Publications.

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Hopkins Street in South Buffalo

Hopkins Street in South Buffalo

Hopkins Street is a north-south thoroughfare in South Buffalo.  The road leads from South Park north towards the Buffalo River.  Historically this area was a mix of commercial and industrial uses, connecting the steel mills to the adjacent South Buffalo neighborhoods.

Hopkins Street is named for Brigadier General Timothy S. Hopkins, a War of 1812 general.    Hopkins Road in Amherst is also named General Hopkins.

The Hopkins family descended from Stephen Hopkins, who came over on the Mayflower.  Oceanus Hopkins was born aboard the Mayflower.  Most history books list Oceanus as a son; however, Hopkins family lore indicates that the family was bad at latin, she was a girl and should have been thus named Oceana.  A second Stephen Hopkins signed the Declaration of Independence and Ichabod Hopkins signed the Constitution in Philadelphia on behalf of Massachusetts    Ichabod Hopkins had a son, Timothy Soveral Hopkins.

Timothy S. Hopkins

Timothy S. Hopkins

Timothy S. Hopkins was born in Massachusetts in 1776.  He arrived in Clarence at the age of 22, arriving by foot.  He then purchased land in 1804 from the Holland Land Company.  Mr. Hopkins is said to have grown the first wheat on the Holland Purchase, on a farm in Clarence Hollow.   When it was ready to be ground, he had to travel to Street’s mill at Chippewa, a village that became a part of the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario.  This was a distance of 40 miles!  The trip took four days and included a ferry ride from Black Rock, where only one family resided – the family of the ferry owner!  Timothy married his wife Nancy Kerr in Williamsville; their marriage was the first recorded marriage in Erie County.  They settled on Main Street on a farm in Snyder, near where Amherst Central High School is currently located.

Burning of Black Rock, December 1813

Burning of Black Rock, December 1813

During the War of 1812, Mr. Hopkins rose through the rank to Brigadier General.   He was an important part of the Battle Of Buffalo (also known as Battle of Black Rock), where he was stationed in Black Rock.  Following the war, he resigned from his post.

In 1819, he became the first Supervisor of the Town of Amherst and later served as Justice of the Peace.  His reputation spread through the area, and he was elected Sheriff of Erie County.  He was later elected to the New York State Assembly.

The Cayuga Street Stone School

The Cayuga Street Stone School

The Cayuga Street stone school-house in Williamsville was built by Timothy S. Hopkins in 1840 and still stands in Williamsville at 72 Cayuga.  He died January 23, 1853.

Nelson Hopkins grave

Nelson Hopkins grave

Nelson Kerr Hopkins, Timothy’s son, owned much of the land which included Hopkins Street.  Nelson subdivided the land into building lots and named the street after his father.  Nelson served as President of the Common Council of Buffalo and was New York State Comptroller from 1872 to 1875.  Nelson also organized the City’s first paid fire department and served as fire commissioner for ten years.  Nelson died in 1904 and is buried in Forest Lawn.

Timothy A. Hopkins

Timothy A. Hopkins

Nelson’s brother, Timothy Augustus Hopkins owned the Eagle Hotel in Williamsville, which is now known as the Eagle House.   He also operated a mill near the Eagle House, served as Justice of the Peace and Erie County Sheriff.  Timothy A. Hopkins is responsible for building a bridge over the Erie Canal in the Tonawanda Creek area, and constructing drainage ditches in the northern part of Amherst to reclaim thousands of acres of land that were often covered by spring floods after a dam was placed near the mouth of Tonawanda Creek for canal purpose.  Timothy A. Hopkins passed away in 1894 and is buried in Williamsville Cemetery.

The Hopkins Street area is currently a part of the City of Buffalo South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA).  This study being done by New York State is working to revitalize the neighborhood by cleaning up vacant industrial sites and marketing properties for redevelopment.  More information about the South Buffalo BOA can be found through Buffalo Urban Development Corporation.

Be sure to check out the Street Index to learn about other streets!

Sources:

  1. “Hopkins Street named for 1812 General” Courier Express.  Oct 30 1939, sec 6 p 4.
  2. Larned, Josephus Nelson.  The Progress of the Empire State:  the History of Buffalo.  Published by The Progress of the Empire State Company, New York:  1913.
  3. Smith, Henry Perry.  History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County, Volume 1:  1620-1884.   D. Mason & Co Publishers, Syracuse NY: 1884.

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Dodge Street

Dodge Street

Dodge Street is a street in the Cold Springs neighborhood on  the East Side of Buffalo.  The street runs for about a mile, from Main Street to Humboldt Parkway and is named for Alvan Leonard Dodge.

Alvan’s father, Alvan Senior was considered courageous when he built a log cabin on Main Street, north of Summer Street in 1811.   At the time, this was well outside the Village limits and well into the primeval forests.  The area was at high risk for attacks from the Native Americans.  However, the Dodge family lucked out when the village was burned in 1813, as their house was well outside the village, and therefore, left standing.  They were one of the few families to be able to return to their home following the fire.  Alvan Senior served as Magistrate of the County of Niagara (at the time, Niagara County included what is now Erie County) and held other official positions in the towns of Black Rock and Buffalo.  Alvan Senior died in 1846 and is buried at Forest Lawn.

Alvan Leonard Dodge witnessed Buffalo’s development from a tiny frontier village into one of the most important cities in the country.  By the end of his life, the Dodge family farm was close to being in the middle of the City that had grown up during Alvan’s lifetime.  Alvan, Junior was born on March 21, 1808 in Lowville, NY and came with his family to settle in Buffalo in 1811.

Ferry Street Schoolhouse source

Ferry Street Schoolhouse
source

He was educated in the school in a schoolhouse on Ferry Street that was known as Buffalo District School #2 at the time.  One term, his teacher was Millard Fillmore, who taught while he was also reading law and serving as postmaster.  At the time, the actual Cold Springs still flowed through the neighborhood.    The waters from this spring became the Jubilee Water Works, one of Buffalo’s first water systems.  The springs feed into the lake in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

As a young man, Alvan, Junior acquired a farm of several hundred acres, bounded by Main, East Ferry, Best and Jefferson.  Mr. Dodge built a house at the corner of Main and Dodge Streets, using lumber cleared from his property to build the house.

He sold part of his land to the City of Buffalo in 1880.   After selling the land to the City, he subdivided the remainder of his property for development and laid out streets on his land.  The area became the place for many prominent German families to live.   Legend has it that there was one field that grew the best corn around, so Mr. Dodge refused to convert it to a building lot.

The City used the property they had purchased to build a reservoir.  At the time, the City relied on reservoirs for water service.  This reservoir was known as Prospect Reservoir, since it replaced the reservoir of the same name which was located on Prospect Hill.  When the Colonel Ward Pumping Station opened in 1915, it rendered most of the reservoirs obsolete.

1988 WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM BUFFALO COLOR edited The reservoir sat unused until the 1930s.  Between 1936 and 1938, Buffalo Civic Stadium was built as a WPA project.  It was originally going to be named Roesch Memorial and then Grover Cleveland Stadium before Buffalo Civic Stadium became its official name.  The stadium was nicknamed “The Rockpile” since it seemed to rise out of the quarried land that had been the reservoir.  The stadium became home of the Buffalo Bills football team in 1946.  The stadium was renamed War Memorial Stadium in 1960.  The Buffalo Bisons baseball team used the stadium after Offerman Stadium at Michigan and East Ferry was demolished.  The Bills left the stadium in 1972 when Rich Stadium was built.  The Bisons left the stadium when Pilot Field opened in 1988.

Once the stadium was empty, many of the nearby residents wanted the stadium demolished.  The stadium hadn’t been maintained well during its final years and was in poor condition..   The Dodge-Jefferson and the Best-Jefferson entrances are all that remain today of War Memorial Stadium, which has been converted into the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Pavilion.   Johnnie B. Willey was a city resident who worked to help young people of the East Side.

Dodge Mill in Williamsville source:  http://www.edyoungs.com/images/dodgemillfront.jpg

Dodge Mill in Williamsville
source

Alvan’s brother, J. Wayne Dodge moved to Williamsville and purchased the flour and grist-mill in 1864 and changed its name to Dodge Roller Mills. The Dodge Mill was across Glenn Falls from the Historic Williamsville Mill that is still standing today.   Dodge Road in Amherst is named after J.Wayne Dodge.  The Dodge Mill burned in 1894, Johnathan Dodge lost is life battling the fire.  The foundations of the mill are still visible near the wall of the creek behind Mill Street.

dodge tombstone

Alvan Dodge married Ruth Bosworth of Clarence.  They had four sons and three daughters.  He died in 1881 at the age of 73 and is buried in Forest Lawn.  The Buffalo Courier said that “his life was quiet and relatively uneventful, yet his life was the history of Buffalo”.

To read about other streets, be sure to check out the Street Index.

Sources:

  1. “Dodge Street Memorial to Pioneer” Courier Express May 21, 1939, sec. 7, p. 5
  2. Steele, O.G. “The Buffalo Common Schools”.  Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society, Volume 1.  Pg. 405.
  3. Smith, H. Perry.  “History of the Town of Amherst, Chapter XXXIX” .  History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County.  D. Mason & Co Publishers:  Syracuse, NY 1884.

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prattPratt Street is located between Genesee Street and William Street on the near East Side.  Pratt Street was the location of the Iroquois Brewery.   Iroquois was the longest operating brewery in Buffalo, starting as the Jacob Roos Brewery and operating from 1830 until 1970.  According to Courier Express – “there have been so many prominent members of the Pratt family, even their descendants aren’t sure which one Pratt Street is named after”.   I am going to go into the lives of six of the Pratts today…but there were many members of the Pratt family that contributed to early Buffalo and beyond!

Buffalo History Museum Pioneer Gallery

Buffalo History Museum Pioneer Gallery

The first Pratt to settle in Buffalo was Captain Samuel Pratt.  Samuel Pratt was born in East Hartford, Connecticut.  His family moved to Vermont while he was a child.  During the Revolutionary War, he joined the 3rd Company, 8th Regiment, Huntington’s brigade.    In 1801, Captain Pratt went to Montreal and led an expedition through the forests from Montreal to Buffalo.  He was convinced that Buffalo had an opportunity for future greatness, went home to New England to bring his family to settle in Buffalo.  Samuel, his wife and eight of their children arrived  via a carriage followed by two wagons.  It was the first carriage ever seen in what would become Erie County.  They arrived in Buffalo in 1804, when there were only a dozen houses here.   To get an idea of what Buffalo looked like when they arrived, you can visit the Pioneer Gallery at the Buffalo History Museum.  The first lodging for the Pratt family was at Crow’s Tavern, a replica of which is set up in the museum’s exhibit.  Samuel Pratt established a store and took a leading role in matters of public improvements   He did a large share of trading between the whites and Native Americans, trading furs for flour, salt and other food.    He first built a log cabin for his family on the Terrace.  His store prospered and he built the first frame dwelling in Buffalo.  He hired a cabinet-maker from Vermont to build furniture for his home out of the black walnut that grew in the forests of Western New York at the time.  The Pratt family had the first carpet in Buffalo, shipped in from Boston.  The house was located at the corner of Main and Exchange Streets.   In addition to his store, Samuel was one of the first to introduce public worship to Buffalo and was a pioneer in the education of Buffalonians.  Captain Pratt died on August 31, 1812 and was survived by nine of his ten children.

Hiram Pratt

Hiram Pratt

Hiram Pratt, the fifth of Captain Pratt’s eight children, was Mayor of Buffalo between 1835-1836 and 1839-1840.   Hiram was born in Vermont in 1800 and came to Buffalo with his family as a child.   Hiram was close with Dr. Cyrenius Chapin, an early citizen of Buffalo due to Dr. Chapin having lost a son at an early age.  During the burning of Buffalo by the British, Hiram aided his neighbors to help flee the fire.  He helped Dr. Chapin’s  daughters to safety at a farm in Hamburg.   He was involved in Dr. Chapin’s general store and a partner in a warehouse business with Asa Meech.    He later founded Bank of Buffalo, which built some of the earliest Great Lakes steamers and contributed to much of the development of Black Rock.

Statue of Columbus in Prospect Park

Statue of Columbus in Prospect Park

Hiram was elected Mayor of Buffalo in 1835, on the Whig party, which was the party of many of the 15,000 Buffalonians in the 1830s.    Hiram owned a large area of land on Porter Avenue, bounded by Seventh and Connecticut Streets and Prospect Avenues.    He gifted the land that to the City of Buffalo.  He built a mansion on the property, but never lived in it.  The land is now Prospect Park.   Hiram and his family lived in the house on the corner of Swan and Center Streets.   Hiram died in 1840 and is buried in Forest Lawn.

Captain Samuel Pratt’s oldest son was Samuel Pratt, Junior.  Samuel Junior was born in Hartford Connecticut and did not accompany his parents to Buffalo at first.  He arrived in Buffalo in August 1807 to help his father’s business.  He quickly found other interests in Buffalo and became Sheriff of Niagara County in 1810.    At the time, Niagara County included the land that would become Erie County.  During the War of 1812, Samuel Junior joined the army.  He bravely defended the Village when Buffalo was attacked in December 1813 by the British.   Samuel Junior died in 1822.  Samuel Junior had four children.

Samuel Fletcher

Samuel Fletcher

Samuel Junior’s oldest sun was Samuel Fletcher Pratt.  Samuel Fletcher was born in Vermont in 1807.  Soon after his birth, he came to Buffalo with his parents.  In 1822, he entered into the hardware business with George and Thaddeus Weed, forming George Weed & Company.  Mr. George Weed died in 1828 and the business became Weed & Pratt.  Samuel Fletcher continued the business for many years, eventually bringing in his brother Pascal, establishing the store as Pratt & Company.  In 1845, Samuel Fletcher and Pascal founded the firm of Pratt & Letchworth with William Letchworth, making saddles and hardware for horses.  In 1848, Samuel Fletcher helped to organize the Buffalo Gas Light Company and served as President until his death.   He was often asked to run for Mayor, but Samuel Fletcher always declined.  In 1851, he was one of the founders of the Buffalo Female Academy.  He was a member of First Presbyterian Church.  Samuel Fletcher died on April 27, 1872.

fitchdrawingSamuel Junior’s second son was Lucius Pratt.  Lucius was born in Buffalo in 1809.  Lucius was a Great Lakes shipping merchant and owned a warehouse on the River at the Pratt Slip.  He was married to Cynthia Weed, who died in 1843.  He then married Susan Beals in 1844.  Lucius and Susan had six children between 1845 and 1854.  Lucius and his family lived at 159 Swan Street.  The house was built around 1835 of land that was originally deeded to Captain Samuel Pratt, Lucius’ grandfather.  At the time, Swan Street was one of the social centers of Buffalo.  The house was purchased by Benjamin Fitch in the 1870s after Lucius’ death.   Fitch then donated the house, following urging from Maria Love, to the Charity Organization Society of Buffalo.  The Fitch Creche was located in the house, opening on New Year’s Day 1880.  The Fitch Creche was dedicated to providing nursery care and education for children of working mothers.  It was the first  kindergarten in the Country!  The program developed at the Fitch Creche was emulated in other cities across the country.  Unfortunately, the building was demolished in 1998.

Pascal Pratt

Pascal Pratt

Samuel Pratt’s youngest son was Pascal Pratt.   Pascal was born in Buffalo in 1819.   He was educated in local schools and went to Hamilton Academy (now Colgate University) and Amherst College.  He learned the business trade at his brother Samuel Fletcher’s store.  He was made a partner in Pratt and Co and eventually in the firm of Pratt and Letchworth.   Pascal founded the Buffalo Iron and Nail Company, the Fletcher Furnace Company and the Tonawanda Furnace Company all in 1857.   Pascal was considered to be progressive and publicly boasted about Buffalo being a good place for manufacture and brought many residents to Buffalo in order to work at his companies.  He encouraged his friends to invest in the young city and was a strong force for the industrial development of the city.

In 1856, Pascal founded Manufacturers and Traders Bank (M&T).  He also was a director of three other banks – Bank of Attica, Bank of Buffalo and Third National Bank.  Pascal was the largest contributor to Buffalo’s original YMCA building and the first president of the Y’s Board of Trustees.  He was vice-president of the Civil Service Commission and of the Buffalo Street Railroad Company   He was involved in other cultural and philanthropic organizations including Buffalo Seminary, State Normal School (Now Buffalo State College), North Presbyterian Church and Buffalo Orphan Asylum.   Pascal  has been called father of the Buffalo Parks System.   He was chosen as a member of the Park Commission of Buffalo in 1869 and served the commission for a decade.   He was one of three commissioners appointed by the Supreme Court  to assess the value of the Niagara Falls property that is now the State Reservation (state park).  He was a charter member of the Buffalo Club and active in the Ellicott Club and Country Club.

prattfamilyplotMany members of the Pratt family are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.  Stop by and visit them sometime to say thanks to this pioneer family that shape Buffalo’s early history.

[Learn about other streets by checking out the Street Index]

Sources:

  1. “Named for Three Pratts”  Courier Express June 11, 1939, sec 6 p2
  2. “Memorial and Family History of Erie County, New York”, Volume 1.  The Genealogical Publishing Company, Buffalo, 1906.
  3. Rizzo, Michael Through the Mayor’s Eyes.  Old House History:  Buffalo NY, 2005.
  4. Conlin, John.  “A last look…159 Swan”.  WNY Heritage Magazine.  Fall 1998.

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Granger Place is a short road in the Elmwood Village, running less than 1/4th of a mile, between Elmwood Avenue and Lincoln Parkway between Forest Avenue and Bird Avenue.  The street was originally known as Elmhurst.   The street is named for Erastus Granger, one of Buffalo’s earliest residents and the Village’s first postmaster.

Erastus Granger was a businessman raised in Connecticut.  He was sent by a group of New England businessmen to look after their investments in Virginia and Kentucky.  While in the south, he met and befriended Thomas Jefferson.  He worked on Jefferson’s campaign for President, and when Jefferson took office, he sent Erastus Granger to Buffalo and appointed him postmaster of the Village in 1803.  When Mr. Granger arrived in Buffalo Creek (which is what Buffalo was called at the time), there were only 16 huts, three blacksmith shops, a taverns, a drugstore and a jail.   He sent up his post office in a desk at Crow’s Tavern on Exchange Street.  You can visit Mr. Granger’s desk and see a replica of Crow’s Tavern in the Pioneer Gallery at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society!

Mr. Granger built a house near where the Main Street entrance of Forest Lawn cemetary is today.  His farm extended north to West Oakwood and west to Elmwood Avenue.   Granger Place is located on a small portion of his 800-acre estate, which he called Flint Hill, due to the rock in the soil.  His estate included all of the lands now containing Forest Lawn, Delaware Park, Buffalo State College and the Richardson Complex!    He built the Buffalo Harbor lighthouse in 1817, which was replaced in 1830s by the current Buffalo lighthouse.

During the War of 1812, Mr. Granger worked with Red Jacket and other indian leaders to get them to sign a treaty of neutrality.  The Native Americans kept the treaty until the Indians from Canada invaded their territory, at which time they joined the Americans.    Mr. Granger opened his property as a safe haven for refugees of Buffalo after the British burned the Village.

During the Winter of 1812-1813, The Army of the Frontier under General Alexander Smythe set up camp at Flint Hill in anticipation of invading Canada.  Nearly three hundred soldiers died there.  The dead were buried in Granger’s meadow, in the present Delaware Park.    A plaque at Main Street and Humboldt Parkway, and a stone in the Delaware Park meadow memorialize the Flint Hill Encampment and the 300 soldiers buried there.

Erastus Granger’s grave is located on land that he once owned in Forest Lawn cemetary.   Red Jacket delivered the Eulogy at his funeral.

Sources:

“Granger Place Honors Memory of First Buffalo Postmaster” Courier Express Sept 18, 1938, sec 6 p 10

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