(requires image)


Oil Creek & Oil Creek Reservoir (Today known as Cuba Lake)

Cuba was formed in 1822 from Friendship. It originally included Clarksville and Genesee. Some individuals trace the town’s name to a roman word meaning “Goddess or Protector of the Young.” However, there are others who think that the name is Spanish, like many of the towns nearby. In 1880 Cuba was the place of a great celebration for the fourth of July as 5,000 plus people attended the gathering.
Cuba was second in the state on the list of notable cheese makers. It held the county record for producing the largest amount of milk from one cow in one year. A Holstein-Friesian cow from Holland produced 30,318.5 lbs of milk in one year! Cuba started a Temperance camp in 1882 and a YMCA in 1887. North Cuba was home of Charles Ingalls, the father of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote “Little House on the Prairie.” Cuba Lake, constructed in 1858, is located two miles north of the village. It is a man-made lake 1545 ft. above sea level, the highest reservoir in Allegany County.
The most notable thing about Cuba is that it is the site of Oil Creek Reservation. This reservation was home of some of the Seneca Indians. The name comes from oil springs on the reservation. This oil was described by Joseph De La Roche D’Allion, a Franciscan Missionary in1627. This was the first recorded mention of oil in North America.

Resources: John S. Minard. A Centennial Memorial, History of Allegany County, New York (Alfred, New York: W.A. Fergusson& Co), pp. 813-51, pp. 34-42.

1806 History of Allegany County, New York (New York: F.W. Beers & Co, 1879), pp. 247-71.

Map below shows Oil Creek flowing near the Village of Cuba,NY from the Oil Creek Reservoir.

The map also shows the route of the Genesee Valley Canal across the Town of Cuba from the Town of New Hudson (upper right) to Cattaraugus County (lower left).


Map above is section from "Atlas of Allegany County New York; From actual Surveys & Official Records Compiled & Published by D. G. Beers & Co.; 95 Maiden Lane, New York - 1869" D.G.Beers, J.H. Goodhue, & H. B. Parsell

Interesting Letter of Unhappy Travelers! (1819)

Geneva Gazette, Wed., May 9, 1819


A sense of the duty we owe to the multitude of enterprising EMIGRANTS; to justice, and to ourselves, induces us to make the following exposition of facts in relation to the treatment we received at Oil Creek, 14 miles from Olean Point.

Night overtook us at said place, and we put up at Griffin's tavern. In the course of the evening some persons came in, and offered to sell us Boats, after having learned we were destined down the river. Having made what we considered the necessary enquiry about the safety and expedition with which the Creek might be descended, and having had the strongest assurance of its being attended with no hazard or difficulty, we purchased a Boat, discharging our wagon, and put our baggage, to the amount of five or six cwt. on board.

We received additional assurance from his honor Judge Griffin, whom we afterwards learned was concerned in building Boats at that place. But to our disappointment and chagrin, we found the most tedious as well as, in many places, the most dangerous route imaginable. There are five Mill dams to run over, numerous shoals and other impediments, which makes it peculiarly hazardous.

The design of this publication, as already stated, is to prevent the unsuspecting from being deceived by a set of unprincipled characters.
Olean, May 3, 1819.

Above article submitted by Richard Palmer from The Geneva,NY Gazette)