Bicentennial Biographies is a not-for-profit radio project designed to raise awareness and increase interest in local history. It is brought to you as a public service by the Chautauqua County Historical Society throughout 2011 to celebrate the county’s 200th birthday. To learn more, visit www.mcclurgmuseum.org or contact your local historical society.
[Editors Note (May 17, 2011): Since the initial publishing of this biography, Hanover, N.Y. Historian Vincent Martonis has brought to our attention an article he wrote and published in December, 2003 entitled “When Amos First Saw heaven.” It was published in The Hanover Historical (Volume 18: No. 4). In the article, Martonis provides proof that Sottle permanently settled in the area by October, 1796. This refutes past claims that Sottle spent too much time out of the area to be considered Chautauqua County’s First Settler. Copies of the article are available upon request by calling (716) 934-3376. -J. Sample]
Amos Sottle was the first white man to permanently claim Chautauqua County as his home, arriving in June, 1796 on land that would eventually become the Town of Hanover, near the present community of Irving. He cleared the land to build a cabin and raise crops and he traded with the local Native Americans. He lived here at the time he worked for the Holland Land Company helping to survey the town and county lines. Historians know this because he is listed several times on the payroll during the years Joseph Ellicott completed the “Great Survey” from March 1798 to October 1800.
Sottle and his wife Chloe had four sons. Chloe may have been the daughter of Joseph Hodge, a black trader who settled on what is now the reservation side of Cattaraugus Creek. Hodge was married to an Indian and early writers stated that Chloe had Indian features, or that she was “decidedly black.” In addition to four sons, it’s believed Amos and Chloe also had one daughter who ran away and Amos had advertised for her in one of the early newspapers in Fredonia.
For a time, [For ten week during the summer and fall of 1796], Amos was sent to Ohio to work for the Land Company, but Chloe stayed in Chautauqua County. [He returned in October, 1796] and spent the remainder of his life here, dying in 1848.
Ref: Vince Martonis, Hanover Historian; Jack Ericson, Chautauqua County Historical Society; Young’s History of Chautauqua County