Kiantone Centennial Town Picnic
August 22, 1907
Kiantone was first settled by Joseph L. Akin, who came from Rennselaer County in Eastern New York, in 1807. The area consisted of about 11,228 acres, or 17.5 square miles. Not long after Akin came to Kiantone, Robert Russell also settled in the area, partnering with John Frew to build the first sawmill on Kiantone Creek, just above the junction where the creek met the Conewango Creek. Russell, PA, was later settled by Russell, his father, and brothers.
Kiantone was a derivative of the Seneca word kyenthone, meaning roughly - - a level place for growing corn. While the Seneca's received exclusive rights to reservation lands in 1794, they did not move at once to the reservations. When Anglo-Saxon settlers arrived in Kiantone, they found the Kyenthono Village still inhabited by the Senecas.
Through the years, Kiantone made its name as a mill town, with settlers either coming up the Allegany River from Pittsburgh or overland from Buffalo.
The first Kiantone town meeting was held on February 21, 1854, with Ezbai Kidder elected Supervisor; Levand Brown elected Town Clerk; Francis Alvord Town School Superintendent; and Stephan Norton as Tax Collector. According to a 2006 book, "Kiantone Chautauqua County's Mystical Valley", by Deborah K. Cronin, construction and improvement of roads was a continuous concern, and one-room schoolhouses were built. A post office took the new town name on April 4, 1855, and would remain the town's only post office until it was discontinued in 1900.
For a time, Kiantone played host to one of Chautauqua County's numerous spiritual communities - - a place called Harmonia. Harmonia had up to 30 people living in it at its peak before dying out in the 1860s.