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.
The Dexter brothers were among the earliest settlers of Chautauqua County. Darius Dexter was the first to arrive, coming to Mayville, N.Y. in the spring of 1808 from Herkimer County, N.Y. He was hired by the Holland Land Company to cut a mile and a half of road from the lake through Mayville towards the Cross Roads [Westfield]. He returned to Herkimer County and returned in the spring of 1809 with his wife and eight brothers. Both he and his brother William Dexter purchased land on the eastern shore of Chautauqua Lake that November.
At the county’s first meeting in 1811, brother John Dexter was appointed assistant justice. Starting in 1815, he served off and on as county clerk for a total of 11 years. He was also Town of Chautauqua Supervisor in 1817. Darius fought in the War of 1812. At the close of the war, he became a colonel and was the first commanding officer of the 162nd Regiment of NY State Militia.
For several years, the brothers had a store and ashery at Dewittville. In 1818, Darius moved to the area that is now east Jamestown – then known as Slippery Rock – and the locality soon after assumed the name of Dexter’s Mills, and afterwards, Dexterville. They operated a tavern, which still stands today – at the corner of Buffalo and E. 2nd Streets in Jamestown.
– J. Sample