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Rare historical items to help Hanover mark its 200th birthday

The 200th birthday of the Town of Hanover will be celebrated Friday and Saturday with several events.

A display of rare historical items will be shown from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday in the courtroom at Town Hall, 68 Hanover St. Among the items is a hand-carved tug boat from the early 1900s, a stamp-canceling machine made in Silver Creek and a print from the 1841 wreck of the Steamship Erie.

A walking stick that is believed to have belonged to Amos Sottle, the first settler of the town, will also be displayed.

Town Historian Vincent Martonis said the highlight of the display will be the original 1803 Article of Agreement signed by Joseph Ellicott with David Dickinson, contracting for 640 acres.

"In other words, this is the first settler of Silver Creek buying what would eventually become the Village of Silver Creek," Martonis said. "One would be hard-pressed to find a more significant document in all of Chautauqua County history."

This will be the first time this document will be on display to the public.

There will also be representatives from the Silver Creek and Forestville post offices offering the commemorative bicentennial cancellations to the public. The three prints feature the Great Black Walnut Tree of Silver Creek, Walnut Falls in Forestville and the Irving Fishing Industry.

People may bring their own postcards, envelopes and other items to be canceled, or they may purchase items from the post offices.

Copies of the Hanover Historical newsletter also will be available. Also, the Hanover History Center lending library will be showcased. The public may peruse and borrow more than 100 local history, genealogy and other related books for up to 30 days.

Free handouts featuring the Great Black Walnut Tree of Silver Creek, the Famous Hanover Elm and the Amos Sottle Horse Skull Fiddle will be available as souvenirs.

At 2 p.m. Friday, there will be a cake-cutting ceremony with a large cake that includes a map of Hanover. Other refreshments will be available free to the public.

Saturday, a New York State historical marker honoring Everett R. Burmaster of Irving will be unveiled at 1 p.m. on Routes 5 and 20 in front of Stagecoach West. Martonis will present a program on Burmaster at about 2 p.m. at Hanover Town Hall, following the unveiling.

Burmaster is known locally as an archaeologist, historian, paleontologist, and naturalist. The marker is the fourth in a series of five state historical markers. Previous markers honored George Abbott, an American Revolution event and James J. Strang. The fifth marker, planned for this fall, will honor the Lincoln Maple.

All events are free and open to the public.