The following article from the Allegany County Democrat was found in an old scrapbook at the Dyke Street Museum and submitted by Jane Pinney. Jane’s research puts the story in the 1840-1845 time frame, based on the people and places mentioned. Jane also notes that research from Hazel Shear states that “some Indians were seen as late as the 1850’s, but there is no single story of their having molested any settler in the entire county”
AS TOLD TO ME – A Lady Tells a ‘Fish’ Story
Allegany County Democrat January 7, 1937
by Mrs. W.H. Church
The evergreen pine forest wooded the ‘pleasant banks of the beautiful valley,” in the early days of Wellsville, and the Genesee river was also a fisherman’s paradise.
A bridge crossed the river and just below the river was a dam. On the right side of the river was a house owned by a man by the name of Tuttle. The day being sultry, doors and windows were open, the women folks busying themselves about their work.
At this time a lad of 14 or 17 years was fishing below the dam [on the west side of the river] and an Indian was fishing not far from him. Each at about the same time pulled out a trout. Both flew from the hooks and landed in the same clump of bushes. The lad picked up the larger fish, the Indian the other. The Indian thought the boy had his fish and motioned him with his hands, saying, “Cooney, cooney, cooney.” The boy mimicked [sic] and ran across the bridge to the home of Tuttle with whom he was staying. The Indian drew his knife and sprang after him.
The boy passed through the house into the bedroom and out the window and ran to Perry’s store – near the Hanks corner. Telling the men there of his plight he ran down the cellar. The Indian followed him into the house, passed up the stairway, but did not find him. In vain did men try to pacify and appease the Indian.
Afterwards for a number of nights hogs were heard grunting in the garden. Morning brought not a trace of hogs, but the tracks of an Indian. Fearing he might be killed, friends took the boy west, for a time.
The lad [sic] was John Barto.