Martin Middaugh
By Nancy Blumenstalk Mingus
Excerpts from
Buffalo: Good Neighbors, Great Architecture
, by Nancy Blumenstalk Mingus. Pub. by
Arcadia Publishing 2003

A Buffalo scene of 1898. Drawing published about 1860, to show Middaugh's house on the peninsula.
Illustration source: "The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo," Frank H. Severance, ed. Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 16, 1912

Although they did develop forts and trading posts, the French explorers did not build permanent residences in the area. Depending on the source you choose to believe, this honor fell to

These individuals may have been here prior to 1790

There is no dispute, however, that by 1795, when La Rochefoucault Liancourt visited Buffalo, there were already at least four houses belonging to Winney, Johnston, Lane, and Middaugh.

According to Joseph Landon, who was a member of a 1796 surveying party, Jesse Skinner and Hodge were also here.

Another source says that Asa Ransom was a resident by 1796, as were John Palmer and Sylvanus Maybee by 1798.


Martin Middaugh

Martin Middaugh was a German cooper who moved to Buffalo after living in Canada near Fort Erie. Although some accounts say Middaugh was Dutch, others claim he was actually from German-Pennsylvanian stock, i.e., Pennsylvania Dutch. He could speak fluently with the local Iroquois and originally settled on the south side of the creek, moving next to Johnston later. Says Joseph Landon:

In 1796 1 was one of the party of surveyors that came on to survey what was then call'd New Connecticut in Ohio. In June we came into the Buffalo Creek with our boats and picked our camp on the bank of the creek just below the mouth of the Little Buffalo. We remained here some 10 or 12 days. At that time there was old Mr. Medaw [Middaugh] with his son-in-law Mr. Lane and his family; they lived in a log house a little north of Exchange Street, near the tannery.

Others have described the building Middaugh and Lane occupied as a "double log house" located a little west of present day Main and north of Exchange. .Middaugh continued to live in Buffalo through its early village years and until his death in 1822 (or 1825).

According to some accounts, Lane lived here until 1848, dying at the age of 102, and they credit his son born in 1786 as being the first child born in Buffalo.

Text Copyright © 2003 Nancy Blumenstalk Mingus

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