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The following was researched & submitted by Richard Palmer
Bolivar Breeze, Aug. 26, 1909

Cuba in Canal Days

By John S. Minard, Cuba Patriot

As the time lengthens since the old canal days it, like "distance lends enchantment" and the incidents and events of the period when Cuba was a canal village, are invested with a sort of charm.

Of late for reasons quite obvious to myself I have been wanting to learn who ran the first boat into Cuba.

N.C. McElheny  of Black Creek, comes to my relief and tells me that in October, 1856, the first boat came up from and passed over the summit level; that Whit Gould was the captain and that he boarded the boat and rode to Cuba, footing it back. From what he said there was quite a crowd on board, and they were quite hilarious. Whiskey was free, each one helping himself, and not waiting for the spigot to deliver the fluid, the barrel head was knocked in, all for convenience.

As Cuba was neared they were met by a hand of music, which led the procession, and as best they could, marched to the Cuba House, which stood where Lawrence & Merritt's drug store is, where Major Reynolds dispensed free liquor to all.

It was indeed a gala day for Cuba and only equaled the opening excursion of the Erie railroad in May, 1851.

Mr. Charles Sykes, a former resident, now of Cleveland, O., here on a visit, informs the writer that he ran the last boat from Olean to Cuba, in the fall of 1878. The name of the boat was "The Cuba Lighter" and it was owned by S.K. Cutter and Gabriel Bishop. It was loaded with lumber for them, and the canal authorities waited for the boat to get to the wharf, about opposite the Cuba Cheese and Cold Storage, when a signal was given the man at the waste weir by raising a table cloth on a pole. Then the gates were opened and the famous twelve mile summit level of the Genesee Valley Canal was drawn off, leaving the boat with its cargo flat on the bottom, and the canal days for Cuba were ended. Sic transit Gloria mundi.

All of which reminds the scribe that there are still many people found along the line of the abandoned old canal, who stoutly insist that the canal was of more real practical benefit to the people of this country through which it passed, than the present Pennsylvania Railroad which has succeeded it.

The boats could stop and tie up anywhere, and a market at their own door was afforded the farmer for hay, oats, potatoes, pork, butter, anything almost he might have to spare, and there were the lock tenders and those engaged on the superintendent's  office and State scows in making repairs, etc.

Some force in the argument, perhaps, but if put to a vote today, the whistle of the locomotive would be beat with a big majority the echo of the boat horn. Sure thing.

Referring to these matters reminds us of another historic fact recently ascertained and that is, that the threshing machine was introduce to this town about 1832 to 1834 by Samuel Story and Harry Streator, fathers respectively of four venerable townsmen, James A. Story and Harry Streator.

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