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From: "Daniel B. Cooley" <>
Subject: Holland Land Company Resources
Date: Mon, 01 May 2000 22:40:46 -0700


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List members - I thought I would weigh-in on the current thread
concerning reading material on the history of Niagara County.

I am reasonably certain that my ancestor, Noah Cooley, migrated from
Pittsford, Vermont to western New York in 1815-1816. Therefore, he most
certainly settled upon a Holland Land Company plat, probably Wilson. In
preparation for a genealogy research trip to Niagara Falls in the next
year or two, I have been reading up on the Holland Land Company history.
I've had use of couple of great resources:

o The Holland Land Company/Selected Resources at
http://www.hlc.wny.org/
by John R. Stewart

o and Research Guide No 56 at State University College at Fredonia,
Daniel A. Reed Library
http://www.fredonia.edu/reed/hlcguide.htm
by Franciska Safran

Through inter-library loans I have read the following books:

o "Joseph Ellicott and the Holland Land Company" by William Chazanof
o "Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase" by O. Turner
o "Western New York Land Transactions" by Karen E. Livsey
o "Joseph Ellicott and Stories of the Holland Purchase" by Clara L.T.
Williams
o "Frontier Settlement and Market Revolution" by Charles E. Brooks

I have one general comment about all five books. For a subject as
intensely geographic as the Holland Purchase there is an amazing paucity
of MAPS in these books. For example, in the Turner book, which gives
the best history of the subject, "Twenty four townships were surveyed or
commenced to be surveyed in conformity to [the first plan of the agent
general, Theophilus Cazenove, and implemented by Joseph Ellicott],
although the uniformity of the size and shape of lots was often departed
from, where large streams, such as the Tonawanda running through the
townships, were, for convenience, made boundaries of lots."

While I wouldn't demand a map so detailed as to show individual lots, I
would like to see a map of the area where the survey was started, and
how it proceeded from east to west and how ranges and townships were
laid out. None of these books has but the most general of maps.

With that sweeping criticism, I can say that for those interested the
history of the Niagara County area of the Holland Purchase, the Turner
book is the most comprehensive and thorough. The Brooks book looks at
the Holland Company and its part in the settlement of the western
country. If you are interested in Joseph Ellicott and his role in the
Purchase, Chazanof recreates historical situations (probably from
Ellicott's diary) while Williams book is homey and more personal.

The best of the five, however, is Livsey's book, which is a huge list of
people and their transactions. I found my ancestor (Noah Cooley-1816)
and, to my surprise, two of his older brothers who followed him
(1817-1818). He may have held land for them in anticipation of their
arrival. There are keys to many different types of land transactions
and there are cross-references to modern geographic locations (but,
alas, few maps).

By the way, I was elated to see in the message from Ellen Keyne
Seebacher last Sunday, a reference to 1860 maps by the Niagara County
Genealogical Society
http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyniagar/extras/ncsmaps.htm
I went immediately to the site and, lo and behold, they have maps with
Holland Land Company lots indicated. I've ordered several of them and
can hardly wait for their arrival.
--
Dan Cooley
San Mateo, Calif.
Researching COOLEY and WARREN in Niagara County and Oakland County,
Michigan.
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