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flag  History of Olean, New York, USA

Journey back in time to Olean, New York, USA

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Olean, New York, USA - Olean High School

The area was first settled by Europeans around 1765, called by the Indian name Ischua. Officially, this was illegal, as the British had declared the land in the Allegheny River watershed to be part of the Indian Reserve after conquering the territory in the French and Indian War two years prior... During the American Revolutionary War, the 1779 Sullivan Expedition established the first road to what would become Olean, blazing a trail to what is now Kittanning, Pennsylvania along the path of what is now New York State Route 16.

Originally the entire territory of the county of Cattaraugus was called the Town of Olean, formed March 11, 1808. As population allowed, the county was split in half and the top half was called "Hebe", and was taken off in 1812, a part of Perrysburgh in 1814, then Great Valley in 1818. Hinsdale formed in 1820, and Portville in 1837, leaving the current boundary of Olean that lies upon the south line of the county, near the southeast corner.

There is MUCH more to discover about Olean, New York, USA. Read on!

Olean Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Olean, New York, USA

Olean High School

Olean, New York, USA

Exchange National Bank, Olean, N.Y.

Olean, New York, USA

Higgins Memorial Hospital

Olean, New York, USA

Carnegie Library
postmarked 1910

Olean, New York, USA

No. 3 School
postmarked 1911

Olean, New York, USA

Vacuum Oil Co Refineries and Tank Field, Largest Storage of Crude Oil in the World, Olean, N.Y.

Olean, New York, USA

First Presbyterian Church

Olean, New York, USA

Bird's Eye View
postmarked 1921

Discover Olean: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
  • 1854 - Olean
    Olean, a post-village of Olean township, Cattaraugus co., New York, on the Alleghany river, at the southern terminus of the Genesee canal, and on the New York and Erie railroad, 404 miles from New York city. An extensive trade is carried on at this place with the surrounding country. Great quantities of lumber are sent annually, both over the New York and Erie railroad, and down the Alleghany to the Ohio river. Two unfinished railroads terminate at Olean, viz. the Corning and Olean, and the Alleghany Valley railroads. The earliest settlement made in this region was at Olean. Pop. of the town ship, 899, nearly all of which is in the village.
    A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
  • News  1868 - Water is sold at fifteen cents a barrel to the housekeepers of Olean, N. Y.

    St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    January 18, 1868
  • News  1881 - Wagon Shop Fire
    At a little past 8 o'clock Tuesday morning there was an alarm of fire and a hurrying to and fro, as it was announced that in Conlkin's wagon shop was on fire. The Fountain and Citizens hose companies were prompt to respond, but the H. & L. company had been up all night at the dance and many of them were enjoying repose when the alarm was given. However, there was little cause for anxiety, as the fire, such as there was, was quickly extinguished by those present. The whole excitement was caused by the blowing off of a cap to one of the flues in the boiler at Conklin's shop. The brick work on the top was torn down by the force of the explosion, and the door to the boiler blown open so that the fire escaped and would doubtless have resulted in the burning of the building but for the speedy action of workmen present. The fireman, Peter Robinson, had a narrow escape, as he had only left the engine for a moment at the time of the accident.
    The Democrat
    Olean, New York
    April 21, 1881
  • News  1883 - Fire in Olean
    OLEAN, N. Y., June 8 - The United Pipe Line tank 1,477, with a capacity of 85,000 barrels, was struck by lightning. While the employes were engaged in shooting balls from a cannon into the burning tank, a ball passed through the house of William Foggarty, eighty feet distant.

    Mrs. John Bishop was seriously injured by flying splinters. The ball, after passing through the house, struck another tank, spilling 508 barrels of oil.
    The Atlanta Constitution
    Atlanta, Georgia
    June 9, 1883
  • News  1884 - The city fathers at Olean, N. Y., have instructed the police to compel all boys under the age of fifteen years to vacate the streets after 8:30 o'clock p.m.

    St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    June 14, 1884
  • 1895 - Olean
    Olean, a post-village in Olean township, Cattaraugus co., N.Y., on the Alleghany River, at the mouth of Olean Creek, and on the Genesee Valley Canal and the Erie Rail road where it crosses the Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railroad, 65 miles E.S.E. of Dunkirk, and 69 miles S.S.E. of Buffalo. It contains 6 churches, a national bank, 1 other bank, an academy, a newspaper office, and a graded school. Pop. in 1890, 7358; of the township, 11,507.
    Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
    The Dead:
    NORMAN BROWN, aged 18 years, Olean.
    JOHNNY TOBIN, aged 15 years, Olean.
    JOHN McCREADY, aged 13 years, Olean.
    JOHN McMAHON, aged 19 years, Olean.
    MICHAEL V. DRISCOLL, aged 22 years, North Olean.
    WALTER SWIFT, aged 19 years, Olean.
    JOHN STEMLINGER, aged 17 years, Olean.
    HENRY GODDEN, aged 18, years, Bordmanville.
    RICHARD CONNELL, aged 19 years, North Olean.
    WALTER JACKSON, aged 13 years.
    WALTER ROTH, aged 16 years.
    HERMAN ROLLMAN, aged 15 years.

    Olean, N.Y., March 10. - Fourteen charred and half-cremated bodies lying in the undertaking establishments or in the homes of their families, fourteen people lying badly injured in the hospitals, and a dozen or so more, not so seriously injured, at their homes are the result of the accident on the Erie Railroad last night, in which an oil train was wrecked and several oil cars exploded. Several of the patients in the hospital are seriously burned, one of them, RICHARD McDONALD, aged... Read MORE...

  • 1906
    Olean, a city of Cattaraugus co., N.Y., on the Alleghany River, at the mouth of Olean Creek, and on the Erie and other railroads, 70 miles SE. of Buffalo. It has oil and lumbering interests, glass-works, tanneries, and manufactures of machinery, boilers and engines, etc., and is the seat of a state armory and the Foreman Library. Pop. in 1900, 9462.
    Lippincott's New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns ... in Every Portion of the Globe Publisher J.B. Lippincott Company, 1906

Discover Your Roots: Olean Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Olean, New York, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in Olean.

View Them Now (sorted by year of birth)

female ancestorMaria BRISTOL (15 March 1799, Nassau, New York, USA - 4 April 1864, Olean, New York, USA)
female ancestorEglantine WASHBURN (21 June 1820, Cavendish, Vermont, USA (Proctorsville) - 27 April 1891, Olean, New York, USA)
male ancestorDaniel Michael FITZPATRICK (November 1841, , Ireland - 2 February 1914, Olean, New York, USA)
male ancestorBenjamin F. MOONEY (April 1843, , New Hampshire, USA - 5 April 1901, Olean, New York, USA)
female ancestorMary Ann GOODWIN (September 1846, Corning, New York, USA - 22 January 1912, Olean, New York, USA)
female ancestorLois Viola PARKER (6 August 1848, Olean, New York, USA - 16 December 1911, Central City, Merrick, Nebraska, USA)
male ancestorWilliam STRIKER (STRICKER) (August 1857, Olean, New York, USA - 30 December 1935, Yonkers, New York, USA)
male ancestorFrank SILK (1858, , Pennsylvania, USA - 15 June 1931, Olean, New York, USA)
photo of Frederick John FRASCHFrederick John FRASCH (23 March 1869, Olean, New York, USA - 8 May 1950, Rochester, New York, USA)

Ancestors Who Were Married in Olean, New York, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Olean.

View Them Now

male ancestorClinton Eugene JONES (12 December 1892 - 21 June 1962) and female ancestorEstella E KELLY (13 January 1898 - 19 December 1936) married 12 May 1921
photo of Thomas James Ariza GILLIGAN Thomas James Ariza GILLIGAN (14 May 1910 - 28 September 1992) and photo of Mary Goodwin DODSON Mary Goodwin DODSON (9 November 1912 - 29 April 2014) married 16 June 1939
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Updated: 5/10/2023 12:43:19 PM

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