Demographic Information

The territory now known as the Town of Hartland was settled by a hardy group of pioneers from Vermont during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. The first town meeting, called April 7, 1812, resulted in the election of a supervisor, 3 assessors, 3 commissioners of highways, a tax collector, 3 overseers of the poor, a constable, one poundkeeper, and 6 pathmasters. In 1813 the number of taxable inhabitants of the town was 126. The first budget proposal included line items for highway improvement and for destroying obnoxious domestic animals left at large. By 1814 the town had elected three school commissioners and hired 3 inspectors of schools to see after the needs of the six schools then in operation. The town voted at this time to raise an amount equal to one and one-half times that provided by the state to support the schools. In 1824 the towns expanse had been appreciably reduced as a result of the establishment of the towns of Royalton, Somerset and Newfane. Through the 1800's the area remained a rugged, heavily forested wilderness despite the state's efforts to develop the "ridge road", which wasn't paved until 1914. Known for its churches, taverns, cobblestone houses and roadside farm markets the area still retains the charm and rustic qualities that made it a popular stopping-over point in the days of the stagecoach ride from Rochester to Niagara Falls.History of the Town of Hartland:

Town of Hartland - Our Beginning

Shortly after the Revolutionary War it was discovered that a new, fertile and unsettled area existed in Western New York. Word of this new land spread and in 1803 Zebulon Barnum, Issac Southwell and John Morrison settled on or near the Ridge Road and on June first 1812 the Town of Hartland was organized. At that time, our town consisted of what would later become the Towns of Royalton, Somerset and part of the Town of Newfane. By 1824 these towns were separated and the town as we now know it remained.

Life was hard for our early settlers but opportunities were many. In 1815 there were seven school districts in town and the Ridge Road was laid out with a ninety-nine foot width. In 1822 a mill was established on Johnson's Creek and by 1835, both the Baptists and Quakers had built their churches. Four more churches were added before 1872.
Previous to the building of the Erie Canal in 1825, this was the center of commerce and activity for the region. In 1816 Samual Morehouse built a large hotel at Hartland Corners in the hope that our town would be selected as the next County seat. However, with the completion of the Erie Canal, Lockport became the focal point of the future and The Town of Hartland remained a rural agricultural town.

The Second Hundred Years

Hartland is a rural agricultural area that contains approximately thirty one thousand acres of fertile farmland. Having changed little since its founding, the town, with much of its land still cultivated, has maintained a farming base, and, it has continued to be the goal of the governing board to keep the town rural and agricultural.

Ridge Road or Route 104, a state highway that starts at Niagara Falls and runs for over one hundred and fifty miles eastward, is the main road through town. In the middle of the twentieth century this was known as the "Honeymoon Trail" and many couples traveled this route, staying at the many small motels on their way to Niagara Falls.

The census for the year 2000 shows a population of four thousand, one hundred and sixty five persons. Basically an agricultural area, modern transportation has made it possible for an increased number of residents to live here and commute to nearby cities to work and shop.

There was a time not long ago when all residents of the Town of Hartland used well water for their fresh water needs. This was sufficient for some, but in many cases, bad tasting, or an insufficient water supply was a problem. Beginning in 1969, waterlines were installed to make county water available to many of the town's people. Now virtually all of the town's inhabitants are provided fresh water by this method.

We now take many conveniences for granted. Not long ago in our history we had to depend on kerosene for lights, wood or coal for heat and horse and buggy for travel. We had no fresh produce in the winter, had to go outside to use the outhouse, and God forbid, we even had to make daily trips to the post office for our mail. Comparatively, life has become quite easy. There is enough county water to satisfy our every need, and we have electric power for lighting and entertainment. When we are cold, we simply "turn up" the thermostat, and our propane, natural gas, electric or oil furnace takes care of the problem. When we want fresh produce we drive to the supermarket in our cars. Of course if there is snow on the road, the town snowplows remove it for us. Oh yes, and our mail is delivered to our home.

Hamlets in Hartland

Johnson Creek, located on Ridge Road, and about eleven miles east of Lockport, is the largest of the three hamlets in the town and derives its name from the creek that flows through it. Largely unchanged from what it was in its beginning, it has a population of about four hundred. There once were cooper shops, asherys, blacksmith shops and a cradle shop. There was a large cheese factory, carriage manufacturer, shoemaker and several stores, also a hotel, sawmill and a gristmill. With large stores now in easy reach, most residents travel to the city to shop. The hamlet is now home to The Hartland Bible Church, Chapman's Store, Pizza Hot Café, Poor Boy's Restaurant and the Silverado used car dealership and repair shop.

Hartland Corners is located in the western part of town, at the intersection of Ridge Road and Hartland Road. The hamlet is home to about one hundred and fifty inhabitants. The Hartland Methodist Church, New England Sea Food, Snell's Service Station and Wolfe Lumber Mill now serve the area. C.J. Perry's John Deere dealership was the center of activity here for many years until closing in 2001. In the early days there was a hotel, black smith shop, shoe shop and there were always one or two stores.

North Hartland, located in the northwest part of the town is the third and smallest of our hamlets. Once there was a church, blacksmith shop, store and schoolhouse. Now, all of these are gone and the hamlet remains a cluster of houses in a rural setting.