Town History ~
Leon is the third from the north of the towns in the western tier of
Cattaraugus County. It was erected from Conewango Township on
April 4, 1832. It received its name from the ancient kingdom of
Leon, in Spain. James Waterhous suggested this name at this time.
Leon is comprised of 23,023 acres. Much of the land has moderate
hills. It is subject to overflow from the creek along the western
border. Clay, sandy, or gravel soil prevails.
The first to settle here were James Franklin and his son James.
They came from Monroe County in 1818 and settled on Lot 50, where they
built a log house. Abner Wise and his son Abner came from Ostego
County in the same season and settled on 16 acres on Lot 49. Mrs.
Wise, Sr. was the first white woman here.
Many people settled here in 1833. By 1875, the population of the
township was approximately 2000. At various times, Leon has had
many businesses. During the 1800s and early 1900s, Leon has been
home to many sawmills, dairy farms, cheese factories, a milk condensery,
grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations, and taverns. Now
many of the businesses have moved or closed. Leon currently has an
auto repair shop, one tavern (which was once a stage-coach stop), and a
retail cheese store. The population today is about 1200.
Farming is still a large part of the township's business. There
are many craft shops scattered throughout the township, with
hand-quilting and hand-made furniture being two of the specialty items
offered. Tourists come to visit the shops, fish in the local trout
stream, and hunt turkeys and deer in season.