684 Route 83
South Dayton, NY  14138
Town of Villenova

Historic Architecture along the Omar-Balcom Road

Information from the 1854 wall map, the 1867 Atlas, and the 1881 Atlas

The historic farms between Hamlet (formerly known as Omar) and Balcom’s Corners were shown on the 1881 Atlas of Chautauqua County. Many of them had also been shown on the 1867 Atlas of Chautauqua County, and a few had been shown on the 1854 Wall Map of Chautauqua County. Much of this treasured collection of homes has remained into the twenty-first century.

In 1854, traveling easterly from Hamlet, then known as Omar, one would have found a Warner farm on the south, according to the 1854 Wall Map. There were several Warner farms around Omar, and in the “Personal Notices” for Villenova in the 1881 Atlas, the following Warners were listed: Avery, Judah, Nathaniel, Clarissa, Terrissa, J. Leroy, Elbert, Enos, DeEtte, Helen, Emma, Dolly, George, Obadiah, Harriet, K.G., Flora, Reuben, Roseville, Andrew, Aphrenia, Lura, Bertha, and Maurice.

By 1867, when Hamlet was known by its current name, the large farm in this area was shown in the name of J. Warner, but by 1881, the 83-acre farm at today’s 987 Route 83 was shown in the name of M.D. Scott. According to the personal notices in the 1881 Atlas,Marcus D. Scott, son of Phineas Scott, was born in Concord, Erie county, May 10th, 1827. He owns and operates a grist mill, a foundry and a farm. April 19th, 1849, he married Mary C., daughter of Allen and Mary Drake. They have five children, Sophronia, Harvey W., Emma, George A. and Bertie.”

Just east of the Scott farm in 1881 were two smaller farms, now part of the Scott farm. They were the 65 acres of L. Blackman and the 54 acres of A.M. Town. According to the “Personal Notices” of the 1881 Atlas, “Albert M. Town is a son of Francis Town, an early settler of Arkwright; was born December 3d, 1841. April 25th, 1866, he married Orissa Smith, daughter of Henry B. Smith, of Villenova. He is a farmer and dealer in livestock. They have one son, George L. Smith.” There was no house shown on the A.M. Town acreage on Route 83 in 1881, but the L. Blackman house was shown on the north side of Route 83 on both the 1867 Atlas and the 1881 Atlas. That house no longer exists.

Another house that has disappeared was that of G.T. Judd, whose farm was shown on the 1854 Wall Map, on the 1867 Atlas, and again on the 1881 Atlas. The farm comprised about 65 acres in 1881, and the house was on the north side of today’s Route 83. The next farm, near today’s Aldrich Hill Road, was shown with a cooper shop on the 1854 Wall Map. By 1867, the farm was shown in the name of S. McIntyre on the south side of Route 83, with the S. Wright house on the north side of the road. By 1881, the 105-acre farm was shown in the name of S. Wright. Members of the Wright family mentioned in the 1881 Atlas were Daniel, Daniel, James, Florence, Grace, Judson, James C., Mary, Clara, and D. Meade. The historic houses in his section of Route 83 no longer exist.

Another home that no longer exists was on the north side of Route 83 just past Aldrich Hill Road. It was shown in the name of E. Sanderson on the 1854 Wall Map, and as the home of C. Sanderson on the 1867 Atlas and on the 1881 Atlas. The next house on the north side of the road was shown on the 1881 Atlas in the name of H. Sanderson (684 Route 83). The lovely architecture of this house was a popular, Greek Revival style that characterized much of Villenova from the Victorian era into the twenty-first century. These homes featured large door frames, and they also featured wings, which had often been created from earlier, smaller homes.

The Sandersons were mentioned in the 1881 Atlas. “Horace Sanderson is a son of Eri M. Sanderson, a native of Deerfield county, Mass. He was born October 22nd, 1834, in Sangersfield, N.Y., and came to Villenova in 1838. October 27th, he married Angeline, daughter of Luther Ames, of Cherry Creek, who died July 4th, 1877. February 26th, 1878, he married Roena Rundell. By his first marriage he had two children – Jane and George; by his second marriage one son, Clyde H. He is a miller and dealer in flour and feed, and has served the town as tax collector and highway commissioner.”

Across the street at 691 Route 83 stands a beautifully preserved example of the popular style of architecture previously mentioned. The 121 acres were shown as the M. Wheeler farm in 1881, and had been shown as the O. Ruttenbur farm in 1867 and as the H. Brown farm in 1854. Several members of the Wheeler and Ruttenbur families were mentioned in the “Personal Notices” for Arad Wheeler and for Porter S. Ruttenbur in 1881. A schoolhouse was shown just to the west of this house on the O. Ruttenbur farm in 1867 and on the M. Wheeler farm in 1881.

Continuing easterly along Route 83, the next farm shown on the north (658 Route 83) was that of Jas. Cook in 1854 and as that of J. Cook in both 1867 and 1881. The farm was made up of three smaller farms in 1881. A 31.75-acre farm and a 51.5-acre farm were side-by-side on the north side of the road, and a 20-arcre farm was located on the south.

The next farm to the east (641 Route 83) was shown with a different owner on each successive map. L. Foster was shown in 1854, S. Beach in 1867, and C.A. Judd (105 acres) in 1881. A blacksmith shop was shown in 1867. Continuing easterly, 609 Route 83 was shown as the 18-acre L. Wentworth farm in 1881, which had been in the vicinity of the A. Hewlett house as shown in 1867. Next, at 601 Route 83, was the P. Winslow farm as shown in 1867, and which was shown as the 18-acre W. Fluker farm in 1881. Directly across from the P. Winslow farm was the house lot of Mrs. Kimball in 1867, shown as that of W.O. Palmer in 1881.

At the intersection of Cemetery Road (558 Route 83) was the J. Dye farm in 1854 and 1867, shown as that of E. Dye in 1881. According to the “Personal Notices” of the 1881 Atlas, “Elisha Dye, son of John Dye, was born in Villenova July 20th, 1830, and is a farmer. February 19th, 1865, he married Ann Eliza, daughter of Josiah Barker, of Oswego, N.Y. They have two children, Ernest and Maurice.”

Across the street (527 Route 83) was the 119-acre farm of P. Cushman as shown on the 1854, 1867, and 1881 maps. The Cushman house is another example of the architecture in which the door frame and other architectural features have been preserved. Next door to the E. Dye home in 1881 was the home of Mrs. West (536 Route 83). It had been shown as part of the Dye farm in 1854, and in the name of C. West in 1867. Next on the north side of the road (520 Route 83), is the home shown in the name of C. Morley in 1881 and listed in county records as an 1852 home. Similar in size and shape to many other historic homes between Hamlet and Balcom’s corners, this house helps to document the lovely architecture of this vicinity.

Another example appears at 492 Route 83 in the home shown as that of Mrs. L. Barron in 1881. The home across the street (505 Route 83) was shown as that of R. Gray in 1881, a ten-acre farm. A late Victorian home was built to the east of the R. Gray farm (481 Route 83)  Approaching Balcom’s corners in 1881, one would have found the W.W. Bacon Hotel and “driving park” on the northeast corner of the highway intersection. V. Balcom’s Inn had been across the street in 1854.

A short drive to the northwest in 1881 would have passed Villenova Center, several more Dye and Wright farms, several Crowell farms, and the Markham sawmill on the former Bronson farm. Mark, Benjamin, Sally, Melvin, Paulina, and Adelbert Markham were mentioned in the “Personal Notices.” Members of the Bronson family listed in the 1881 Atlas were F. Smith Bronson, Allen, Rosina, Elbert, Satina, and Mary. Members listed from the Crowell family were Edmund, Mary, Martin, David, Louisa, Dexter, and Sarah.

Many others are listed or shown on all three maps and atlases. For further information, visit the genealogy room of the Darwin R. Barker museum in Fredonia, or contact the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society.


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