Friday, May 18, 2012

Family History Friday

The history of our families is intrinsically tied to the places we've lived. Generations of my mother's father's family lived along the Allegheny River in western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. I joke with my Mom that half the people in Cattaraugus County, New York are probably related to us.
hopefully this excerpt of the history of my maternal grandfather's family is clear enough for you to read - if not, click on it to see it larger. If that doesn't work, let me know and I'll transcribe it.

(The big picture of where in the state of New York I'm talking about - Cattaraugus County is in red. Thanks to wikipedia for the picture. If you've ever been to Ellicottville to ski, those two resorts are in this county.)

In 1965, the federal government built the Kinzua (kin-zew) Dam that created the Allegheny Reservoir, also known as Kinzua Lake.

The project put many of the towns my ancestors inhabited firmly underwater. For example, Corydon, Pennsylvania; Elko, New York and others. It makes sense that early settlers to the area would live along waterways - but it makes me a little sad that we can't go and visit these tiny towns.
Corydon Township is a township in McKean County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 301 at the 2000 census.
The township was significantly flooded as a result of the construction of the Kinzua Dam in the 1960s, and as such, it is much more sparsely populated than it used to be. (source)
Coldspring is a town in Cattaraugus County, New York, United States. It is located in the southwest part of the county, west of the City of Salamanca.

In 1965, the former "Town of Elko" was dissolved, and its territory was absorbed by Coldspring. Elko had been formed in 1890 from part of the Town of South Valley and is now the south part of Coldspring. Elko had first been settled by Quakers, acting as missionaries to the local natives in 1798. It currently has no permanent population, as virtually all of Elko's territory is now either under the Allegheny Reservoir or within the bounds of Allegany State Park. (source)
On the plus side, I discovered this week that while some of the towns no longer exist, a few might be above water and part of Allegany State Park in New York, including two places I was beginning to think were mythical (Quaker Run and Cain Hollow). It's possible these locations are named in honor of the old towns, but the state park has a historical society (check them out on facebook here) and given that some of the old roads and other features (like apple orchards) still exist, I think the naming is probably accurate geographically. Unfortunately, none of the houses or other buildings are there, but foundations and stone fences litter the park. Again, you can see any of these pictures larger by clicking on them. The first map is an overview of the whole park; the second zooms in on Cain Hollow and the third is just the inset map on the right of the large (first) map.

Alleghany State Park is the largest state park in New York and has been named one of the most beautiful.

To go back a little further on this section of the family tree, we'll have to learn more about Prescott, Ontario (coming soon...).

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