The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
17 Maple Avenue
Portville, NY 14770
things haven't changed much over the past 175 years.  Portville wasn't actually called Portville until
1837, but there was major activity in this region many years before the split from Olean occurred.  It
was a wilderness back then and the forests were valuable to the lumbermen who came and handful of
them who made such significant contributions to the basic needs of the community, that they left an
indelible mark and their efforts continue to touch our lives today.

This week we recall the biographies of four men who significantly influenced the creation and
sustainability of the Town of Portville:  Henry R. Dusenbury, William F. Wheeler, John G. Mersereau,
and William Wallace Weston.  These men did not just cut trees here and float them down the river.
They succeeded in providing Portville with employment, education, faith, and government, creating
our town's infrastructure and shaping a community that would remain desirable for families to live in
for many hundreds of years.      

New this week:
Legacy of the Lumbermen:  Biographical Sketches of William F. Wheeler, Henry R.
Dusenbury, John G. Mersereau, and William Wallace Weston.  We begin our stories with Wm.
F. Wheeler, whose extensive biography was written by his daughter, Lilla C. Wheeler, and
provides many details about the lives of these lumbermen and their families.  Wheeler and
Dusenbury were business partners who shared many of the same values.  Mersereau and the
Westons were also partners.
"A Trip Down the Allegheny on a Raft" by Fanny Bell, April 28, 1886.  A copy of this essay by
Fanny Bell Parish was given to the Historical Society years ago by her son, Mr. Earl Parish.  
This descriptive article will pique your imagination of what river life was really like.  
Part 3 of  Significant Portville Women of the 20th Century: 2 additional biographies have been
added to include Lilla C. Wheeler, daughter of Wm. F. Wheeler, and Elsie Borst Collins,
daughter of Ezer Borst, another prominent business owner in Westons Mills.
Rare Photographs (see this page, below)

Next time, we will continue with the rest of the story of the families of Dusenbury, Wheeler, Weston and Mersereau.  The list above provides the highlighted link to take you directly to the correct page.  
If you would like to return to our most recent homepages, go to our
This photo was taken in front of William F. Wheeler's home
(photo from Mr. Earl Parish)
Portville, New York

The lovely watercolor in our toolbar (at left) is a depiction of the office at 17 Maple Avenue.  The
artist is Portville's very own talent, Marilyn Reynolds.
Welcome to PHPS
This page was first updated on 03-02-08
This page was last updated on 02-26-13
Mersereau Log Pond, Mill Grove
(photo from Mr. Earl Parish)
The Rain Bow
This drinking establishment was typical in the days of lumbering, but where was it located?  
Maybe Westons, on the Haskell, or Mill Grove.  No doubt, Mr. Dusenbury, Mr. Wheeler, and
Mr. Mersereau, would NOT have approved of this joint!
(photos from souvenir postcard)