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Carrollton Town

Carrollton Town Hall is located at 640 Main Street, Limestone, NY 14753; phone: 716-925-8842.

Beginnings [1]

Carrollton was first settled around the year 1822, and the Town of Carrollton was formed in 1842 from the Town of Great Valley.

Carrollton, named in honor of Guy Carrollton Irvine one of the original proprietors of that part of the County, was created from Great Valley in 1842. A portion of the Seneca Nation of Indian Reservation (Allegany) extends through portions of the Town. The Allegheny River, its principal stream, crosses in the northern portion of the Town, with tributaries known as Chipmonk (Trout) and Tunegawant (Tuna) Creek.

Early settlers came not to farm but for the fine timber (1814) which was floated down the Allegany to be manufactured. First sawmill, for lumber and shingles, was built in 1828. A number of sawmills (i.e. Nichols & Co.) sprung up along the Tuna in the Limestone area. A handle factory (M. Babcock & Son), constructed in 1874, shipped primarily to European market. A planing mill was built at Vandalia in 1871 (Roy, Stone & Co.). The Vandalia Chemical-Works (a tanning extract company) was built in 1874, was preceded by the Limestone Tannery in 1858.

In early times, the main means of communication was by boat, canoes or scows on the Allegany and Tuna Creek. In 1831 a ferry was built across the Allegany, near the mouth of Tuna, along with a tavern. A bridge built in 1849, near the mouth of Chipmonk, was replaced by a bridge built in 1868 below the mouth of Tuna.

Tuna Creek, the Town's chief area of oil development, was once lined with derricks. Search of oil began in 1864. By the end of 1878, 250 wells had been drilled, with 225 paying producers. Many oil interests (i.e. Harsh & Schreiber, Consolidated Land and Petroleum Company) began putting down successful wells. First settlement in this area was in 1828. Tuna Valley is where the principal settlement took place.

The Erie Railroad, running parallel to and on the north side of the Allegany, had a depot at Vandalia and a station at Carrollton Junction. The Erie, (also known as the Bradford Branch of the Erie), intended for transporting coal, continued south from Carrollton Junction to Bradford on the east side of Tuna, with a depot at Limestone and Irvine Mills. The Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad paralleled the Erie south to Bradford with a depot at Carrollton and Limestone. Transport of oil to the refinery and consumer by rail had been found to be insufficient and unsatisfactory. Transporting by pipeline had been employed. The first pipeline station was established in 1875 by the United Pipeline company, followed by a second at Irvine Mills (1878). The first lumber interests caused Irvine Mills to be the oldest hamlet in the town. It was once the site of 2 lumber mills, handle factory, store, tavern and way station on the Bradford Railroad.

Vandalia, a hamlet within the Seneca nation of Indian Reservation, was a switch location for the Erie Railroad. Several lumber mills, hemlock extract works; several shops, store, tavern and a public house were sited here. The Vandalia post office opened in 1867.

The Hamlet of Carrollton, located on the Reservation, owes its existence to being the junction of the Erie and the Bradford Railroad. However, travel to the oil regions of the Town resulted in the establishment of 3 public houses, large depot, church and a kindling wood factory.

The Hamlet of Fullersburgh was located on the east side of Tuna Creek, while the Hamlet of Limestone was located on the west side of the Creek. Limestone Hamlet contained 2 stores (i.e. Tuna Valley store), and a public house (1855). New Ireland, in the west part of Carrollton, was settled in the 1850's by natives of County Clare, Ireland. Many fled Ireland during the potato famine (1841- 1845) in hope of a better life in America. Following work on the Erie Railroad and Genesee Canal, 12 Irish families settled in Carrollton.

Business interests were diverted to the east side of Tuna Creek with the location of the railroad and a tannery there. The Hamlet of Fullersburgh and the Hamlet of Limestone (west side of Tuna Creek) became Limestone. The Village of Limestone was incorporated in 1877. The Village began to grow, containing 2 stores (i.e. Barry & Shafer), a "lock-up" and public pound (1878), and hardware store (1876), 2 drug stores (i.e. Nichols & Paton), a tavern (1862), several public houses (i.e. Eagle House, Limestone House, Tunegawant House), a bank (1877), 3 doctors, an attorney, 3 schools (i.e. Limestone Union Free School 1871 changed to the Limestone Academy and Union School 1878), 4 churches (one of which was The First Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Carrollton (1877).

Population of Carrollton in 1850 was 515; 1870 was 1142, in 1890 was 1884. The 1990 population of Carrollton was reported at 1555. Along with population changes came changes in land use as demonstrated by the following land use charts.

  1. Town of Carrollton, Cattaraugus County, New York, Comprehensive Master Plan, 2010,, accessed March, 2015.
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