Weekly Feature

2015-11-18 / Local News

Did You Know?

Clarence is the oldest municipality in Erie County, incorporated in 1808. Asa Ransom was the first resident, who built a tavern on Buffalo Road, now Route 5, in 1796. This location would become the Clarence Hollow, the first of five historic hamlets, or unincorporated villages. In 1807, Asa Harris built a tavern a few miles down Buffalo Road. This location would become Harris Hill, the second hamlet. Most of the earliest settlers to follow came from Connecticut and Rhode Island and settled along Buffalo Road. The second major wave of settlers came from Pennsylvania in 1815. As German-speaking Mennonites and pacifists, they fled Pennsylvania to avoid persecution for refusing military service. These settlers settled in our third hamlet, known as Clarence Center. The third wave of settlers came from Prussia in 1839, where they settled the northern part of Clarence, with a concentration settling in the fourth hamlet, known as Wolcottsburg. As the Prussian immigration continued, the fifth hamlet known as Swormville developed, gaining a post office in 1854 and two sawmills by the 1870s.

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