Program to Focus on Chautauqua Lake’s First White Settler

A historical marker notes the spot on South Erie St., Mayville where Alexander McIntyre built his stockade. (Source: New York State Museum Website)

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County has had its fair share of eccentric and colorful characters throughout its long history. The first of these notable individuals was arguably Dr. Alexander McIntyre, who became Chautauqua Lake’s first white settler in the spring of 1804.

On Wednesday evening, Sept. 19, Chautauqua County Historical Society trustee and historian Jack Ericson will present “The Eccentric Life of Early Pioneer Alexander McIntyre: Fact and Fiction” and outline the details of McIntyre’s colorful biography.

It is said that McIntyre built the first log cabin near the shores of Chautauqua Lake on what is today South Erie St. in Mayville. He erected a stockade around the cabin and called it “Fort Debbie” after his wife. Local lore says he built it to protect his so-called wife from her estranged husband, who lived in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

McIntyre also claimed that he had been captured by and resided with Indians many years, acquiring their habits, and said he learned the healing art from them. After living in the Mayville area, he spent his final years in Westfield where it is said he erected several cabins and bathhouses for people to take advantage of the healing powers of the local water.

The public is invited to learn more about McIntyre’s fascinating and colorful life during Ericson’s presentation, which is taking place inside the Community Building at Lakeside Park in Mayville. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

There is no cost to attend. Because light food and refreshments will be served, RSVPs are appreciated but not required. To RSVP, please call (716) 326-2977.

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