A Word of Explanation
In 1854 the Philadelphia publisher Collins G. Keeny, marketed a wall map of Chautauqua County .The map measured 54\” by 52.\” Each Town was given a color, all roads and villages were shown as well as names of residents. Other information on the map included such things as population. education, produce and manufactured articles, and lists of subscribers who contributed to the cost of the map in exchange for having their name or a picture of their home or business included. Most copies of the map have suffered severely over the years, with tears and worn spots -one can usually tell where the map has been located by the dark or worn spot, touched by many fingers. An excellent copy of the map is on the wall in the Court Room of the Pomfret Town Hall in Fredonia. Excellent copies are also found at McClurg Museum in Westfield, and Fenton Museum in Jamestown.
The map is much like an extra census of the county, showing in addition to heads of households, places of business, school houses, grave yards -all of which is of interest to the genealogist. I felt it would be of value to those seeking ancestors in Chautauqua to extract all the names into an alphabetized data base. Further, it would help to know where the names were located on the map. What was originally assumed to be a relatively simple procedure to scan each Town. add a bit of color and print, turned out to be a series of major problems. The map used for the project is the one owned by the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society, and as these maps go, it is quite a good copy, but on the close scrutiny of a scanner, faults not noticed by the eye soon became apparent. At sometime early on in the map\’s history, someone decided that each Town should have an extra quarter-inch colored border, and so a red, green or yellow one was painted around each Town. Where red or green ink was used. the scanner saw them as black. A few of the Towns were colored green with a green border, making the scanning even more difficult. Then. too, after many years of existence, the Society\’s map is soiled, and the colors have darkened. Unfortunately, no feasible computer approach could be found to completely eliminate the black borders. However, in most cases, if a name appears within the black border, a little study can usually determine the Dame. Frequently, if a person resided near the outer border of a Town, the scribe would place part, or all of the Dame in an adjacent Town. For that reason, an additional quarter of an inch surround has been included with each Town map.
On the map are seven village plans, a few small inset tables, pictures of homes and places of business. and imported farm animals owned by Chautauqua residents. Here again, the scanner had its difficulties in recognizing many names which were in very small script, equivalent to 4 point size. There is also a picture of an Indian smoking a pipe under which is a scale comparing miles to perches (a perch is equal to five and one half yards). The desire was to incorporate all information, maps and pictures contained on the wallmap, and to print the entire work in CD format.
Two indexes were made, one to give all the naJt1es on the maps. along with the Lot number and the Town in which the name is found. The Town maps are arranged in alphabetical order. The second index is made up of all the names which appear on pictures, village plans, and subscriber lists. The second index gives page numbers.
The original survey of Chautauqua County laid out a grid of squares, six miles by six miles. Each square was called a Township. The vertical lines of the grid formed what were called Ranges. The numbering of the Ranges started in the east and moved westward. Chautauqua County has five Ranges (numbered by Roman Numeral) from X to XV. The horizontal lines of the grid started at the Pennsylvania border and moved northward. Chautauqua County had six Townships from the Pennsylvania border north to Lake Erie. As settlers moved in and civil boundaries were shifted about. the term Township disappeared and was replaced by Town. Several of the Towns in Chautauqua County have maintained the old Township border, i.e., Arkwright, Villenova, etc., but several have changed, where parts of adjacent Towns were attached, such as Hanover, Stockton, etc. In the changes, however, the old numbering layout of Lots remained constant. Therefore, in a few Towns, there may be duplicate Lot numbers. In the Town of Chautauqua. for instance it is possible to find four Lots with the same number. Thus, if one finds a family name in the index and then looks for it on a Town map, it may be in one of those Towns where there are duplicate Lot numbers.
The Town of Chautauque is so large it could not possibly fit on one page, ergo, an arbitrary vertical line was drawn through the middle, dividing it into two parts. An overlap of one Lot was included on the map of each half. The maps are designated as Chautauque Left and Chautauque Right. Spellings vary considerably -since it is not possible to ascertain if the scribe misspelled a word or name, all are given as they appear on the map, including the old spelling of..Chautauque\” and ..Villanova.\”
Richard F .Sheil
July, 2005 Fredonia, New York
For the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society