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Clymer Town


Clymer Town Hall is located at 595 Freeman Street, Clymer NY 14724; phone: (716) 355-2230

Beginnings [1]

The Town of Chautauqua, a division for the Holland Land Company purchase, was incorporated in 1804, with the Town of Clymer being formed from it on February 9, 1821, by an Act of the New York State Legislature. The town was named for George Clymer, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Pennsylvania. The Town of Clymer, located in the southwestern area of Chautauqua County, was one of the last towns to be inhabited by settlers from Pennsylvania and New England, as well as eastern New York. The area known as Clymer Center, where the schoolhouse is located, was typical in its rural development, growing up around an early crossroads that became a mail route/stagecoach stop between Jamestown, New York and Erie, Pennsylvania.

The Town of Clymer was not permanently settled until John Cleveland and William Rice arrived in 1820 and 1821 respectively. These two settlers, who carved out farms, were soon followed by an influx of people, as indicated by the 1830 census list of 567 people. The primary settlement was in and around the Village of Clymer, where the town's first commercial businesses were built, including the first schoolhouse. The 1830's through the 1840's were unsettling times due to the uncertainty of land ownership caused by the "Genesee Land Tariff" of the Holland Land Company and the failure of the local "Wild-Cat Banks." These factors slowed development and contributed to a decrease in population of the Town of Clymer. The tariff never went into effect, in fact G.W. Patterson, Holland Land Agent, provided inducements to a group of immigrant Hollanders to settle in the Town of Clymer. The coming of the railroad through the town ushered in a new period of prosperity, providing the impetus to the lumbering industry and access to markets for farming/dairy products from the surrounding area. In 1865, the Buffalo and Oil Creek Cross Cut Railroad was built from the oil region of Corry, Pennsylvania to Brocton and later on extended to Buffalo. The railroad built a station/freight house (no longer extant), just west of the crossroads at the former hamlet of Clymer Center. Most of the buildings that once stood in the hamlet burned during a devastating fire ca.1890.

  1. Ross. Claire L., New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Clymer District School No. 5, nomination document, 1994, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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