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Sheridan — Est. 1802

February 5, 2010
Observer Today
In 1802, General Edward Paine had a rough road cleared along the path U.S. Route 20 now takes through present-day Sheridan. Paine’s road became known as Erie Road and served as a main highway to the Northwest Territory. This road was eventually traveled by the settlers of Sheridan, who soon turned the forest surrounding the road into farmland.

Francis Webber, William Webber and Hezadiah Stebbins of Monson, Mass., became the first settlers of the land that was to become Sheridan. More settlers soon began journeying to the region, most from New England and eastern New York.

The first tavern-cum-post office was opened in 1806 by Orsamus Holmes who purchased land a year earlier. In 1807, the Rev. John Spencer held the first religious meeting in Sheridan at Holmes Building. The first schoolhouse, kept by William Griswold, opened in the winter of 1807-08 and was located where Hamlet Farms is now located. Griswold is also credited with being the first school teacher in Chautauqua County. The school system in Sheridan, however, was nearly dissolved by 1960.

Haven Brigham is credited with building the first, and only grist mill in 1811, and he and his younger brother, Winsor, also established the first saw mill.

In the winter of 1827, a commitee made up of Nathaniel Gray, John Griswold and Haven Brigham traveled to Albany in order to seek legal status as a township. The town was officially formed that April. The name Sheridan was suggested by Gray and comes from the 18th century poet and politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The first town meeting was held Tuesday, May 8, 1827.

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