Early History of Cattaraugus County: A Brief Overview
It was in the decades following the American Revolution, that saw the purchase of land in western New York and settlement beginning to take place.
In 1803 Major John Hoops, a Revolutionary War veteran, purchased about 20 thousand acres of land from the Holland Land Co. He had been influenced to make this purchase because his nephew Adam Hoops, Jr. had been employed as a surveyor for this same company.
Major Hoops, we can speculate, presumed that the land would serve as an important part of the westward movement because of the Allegany River, and the need for transportation from the eastern states westward to the Western Reserve and beyond. Major Hoops named his land, Olean, coming from the two words, Oil Springs and (?).
Within five years a settlement had been established. By 1808 the county of Cattaraugus was formed and the land originally purchased by Major Hoops, the area called Olean was now breaking up into smaller towns and villages.
1812 saw the formation of Ischua, Perry in 1814, Little Valley, Great Valley and Perrysburg in 1818. And so on until 1890 the last division was made, with a total of 32 towns and villages in the county.