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God in Catt County
A short, religious history
by Jimmy Reynolds
Starting with the Native Americans who first inhabited Western New York and Cattaraugus County, religion has played an important role in shaping the communities that exist in this region.
When humans first migrated to this area about 5,000 years ago, the Great Falls of Niagara became the grandest holy mecca for the Paleo-Indians.  Similar to the Greeks, who created gods for every earthly part of nature, these native Americans practiced what is called 'Animism', and worshipped animals, trees, and other elements of the natural world as being divine.
Later tribes, like the Iroquois, began to acknowledge a Supreme Being over all of nature, developing a more sophisticated worldview to fit their advancing, democratic culture.
French missionaries were the first Europeans to bring the radical message of Jesus Christ to the Native Americans.  In 1640, Roman Catholic Jesuits Brebouf and Beaumont journeyed to the Niagara Frontier and lived among the Neutral Nation, who guarded the Falls until the Iroquois moved them out.
The famous French explorer LaSalle came to the area in 1678.  A Jesuit skilled in many fields, he and his partner, Father Henning, built a stronghold at the Old Fort Niagara site and traveled through Chautauqua County to the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania.
In 1749, Father Joseph Pierre de Bonnecamps adventured down the Allegheny and wrote the first account of white men on the beautiful river.
When Euro-Americans initially came trouncing through the Native American lands, most of the earliest pioneers and settlers were wild and rugged males of war, with few exceptions.  After the American Revolution, lands were given to soldiers for their work in the war, and several of them headed "West" toward the gateway of the Allegheny.
In 1797, the Iroquois were relegated to a number of reservations in New York, so lands were opened up for purchase and exploitation.  The Holland Land Company paved the way.
Religious groups also saw the opportunity to spread their lifestyle, and the Pennsylvania Quakers were the first to arrive in the region.  In 1797, Quaker Francis King settled in Ceres to work the land and spread the peaceful philosophy that William Penn popularized from Philadelphia.
The first white settlement in Cattaraugus County was made by three Quaker missionaries named Joel Swayne, Halliday Jackson, and Henry Simmons from Chester Co., Pa.  Sent by The Philadelphia Friends Society, they lived with and ministered to the Senecas at Tunesassa, near Old Town in South Valley.
During the decade that followed Olean's founding (1803), the tough pioneers had little time for religion, and a common saying arose...that "the Sabbath day did not extend westward beyond the Genesee River".
Lumber was king in these early days, and the wilderness attracted only the most free-spirited adventurers who sought new opportunities, any way they could.  But the land was also ripe for men and women of the cloth who "aimed to civilize and tame the savage atmosphere created by the hard-drinkin' and hard-livin' lumbermen".
One of the first preachers to pass through Catt County was the Presbyterian Robert Hubbard, who traveled from Angelica to Lyndon in 1810.  In 1813, Congregationalist John Spencer came to the county with the Word.  This was the time of the Second Great Awakening, when Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian circuit riders on horseback, engulged the edges of the expanding nation with a Bible and a gun at their side.
Fiery tent meetings and revivals exploded everywhere, developing into an era of dynamic religious reformation that lasted for several more decades.  In the North, the huge revival helped fuel the anti-slavery movement, and many locals offered their homes as havens along the Underground Railroad.
The county's first regular church building was a log cabin erected in Napoli in 1823.  Christians also built the first framed building there in 1831.  Methodists constituted the majority of Christians in the very early days, before the Erie Canal opened in 1825.
Baptist Christians migrated to the area in 1817, while folks of the Episcopalian denomination arrived in Ellicottville in 1827.  Members of the Universalist Church came to the county in 1835, the same year that Dutch Reformed believers settled here.
Regional Roman Catholicism was initiated by Bishop Timon from Buffalo around 1845.  Nicholas Devereaux (from Utica) was also instrumental in bringing the Catholic faith to the county.
Devereaux purchased 40,000 acres of land along the Allegheny River from the Holland Land Company.  His vision was to develop a Catholic city with the help of the Franciscans.  He accompanied Bishop Timon on a trip to Rome, where they persuaded Vatican officials to send help.  In 1855, Father Pamphilus da Magliano and two other priests arrived in Ellicottville.
In 1856, their new group laid the cornerstone for a monastery that would become the St. Bonaventure College and Seminary.  The school opened in 1859 with 15 students.
Houghton College became the vision of William J. Houghton, who started a Sunday school class in the town.  After witnessing many conversions to his Christian convictions, he started the Wesleyan Methodist Seminary in 1883.
Many of the small towns in Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties were largely built by devout religious people who translated their faith and morality into civic, business, educational, and family-oriented endeavors.
A great majority of Portville's founding fathers and mothers were dedicated Christians who were deeply involved in the Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Adventist, and Presbyterian Churches.  Famous names like Rice, Parish, Percival, Wheeler, Mersereau, Dusenbury, Anderson, Peterson, and others can be found on plaques throughout all of Portville's oldest church facilities.
Similar religious heritage can be found in all of the area's towns, even though some of them experienced extraordinary challenges...challenges that Portville escaped.
For example, in 1880, Richburg was a tiny, peaceful community inhabited by a decent, God-fearing, family-loving folk.
On April 27, 1881, the first oil gusher blasted from the ground one mile west of the little village.  Within one week, the population soared from 200 to 8,000, and the town was infested with a frenzied multitude of entrepeneurs, crazy cowboys, wicked oilmen, prostitutes, criminals, rich Easterners, railroad rowdies, and etc. 
For one year, Richburg became the biggest boom town in the United States, and the money flowed...as did the whiskey, gunfire, stabbings, murders, gonorrhea, and everything else imaginable.
Local towns that experienced similar "blessings" in some fashion or another saw their churches react differently to the shock.  A few churches thrived in the adversity, some just survived, some died, and others moved out.
In the past few decades, towns like Portville have greatly diversified in the realm of church options.  In addition to the old-line denominations, Baptists, Pentecostals, and non-denominational churches have set up centers of worship.

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1978 Football Videos

Class of PCS 1979
The largest in Portville history:

149 Classmates
136 Graduates
64   BOCES
49   Jocks
45   Partiers
39   Brains
31   Artists
31   Heads
30   Hunters

29   Musicians
25   Motorheads
25   Villagers
18   Actors
15   Jesus Freaks
13   Politicians
12   Farmers

100 MMike Connell10.6166TOP 10 ALL-TIME
200 MMike Connell21.566
400 MBrian Miller50.893 1600 MetersTimeYear
800 MMatt Burlingame2:00.58061Kirk Greene4:31.7098
1600 MKirk Greene4:31.7982Brad Shaw4:31.8093
3200 MAndrew Elliott9:59.9033Andrew Elliott4:37.0003
Long JumpGene Bingman21' 11.5664Mike Cannon4:39.0089
Triple JumpJimmy Reynolds43' 11.75795Eric Blask4:40.3098
High JumpBrian Decker6' 9926John Gordnier4:43.8000
Pole VaultJeff Dean13' 3927Randy Bretzin4:45.0079
Shot PutJon Jones56' 10108Rob Pockalny4:45.5080
DiscusJon Jones149' 9109Chris Gundlah4:46.0084
110 HHBrian Miller14.769310Brian Broughton4:47.0075
400 IHBrian Blask55.880111Gunnar Van Curen4:47.6911
SteepleBrad Shaw10:2593
PentathlonBrian Miller3,34692 3200 MetersTimeYear
400 RelayL Hellwig-C Hellwig44.66091Andrew Elliott09:59.9003
 A LaBorde-K Richards  2Gunnar Van Curen10:01.0013
800 RelayR Sprague-B Reynolds1:34.35663Brad Shaw10:02.0093
 B Zech-M Connell  4Mike Cannon10:11.0089
1600 RelayB Miller-M Babb3:31925Rob Pockalny10:15.0080
 J Dean-B Decker  6Mark Brown10:19.0077
3200 RelayE Blask-D Armijo8:15.3987Dave Campbell10:20.0076
 B Blask-K Greene  8Tyler Shaw10:35.0004
9Eric Blask10:40.0098
 100 MetersTimeYear10Will Caya10:41.4411
1Mike Connell10.6166
2Jack Ensell10.9452 110 High HurdlesTimeYear
 Dale Childs10.94631Brian Miller14.7693
 Adam Hellwig10.94022Kris Lickfeld15.197
5Gene Bingman11.04663Mike Washburn15.387
 John Sprague11.04794Mike Sargent15.4197
 Tom Sprague11.04805Addy Scutt15.4495
8Lance Jobe11.16786Mike Sherwin15.679
9Tim Emley11.20837John Milne15.784
 Alex Woodhead11.20048John Sprague15.879
11Joe Peace11.23119Brian Blask15.901
10Corey Wesley16.201
 200 MetersTimeYear
1Mike Connell21.5066 400 Intermediate HurdlesTimeYear
2Adam Hellwig22.69021Brian Blask55.8801
3Jerry Scutt22.70692Kris Lickfeld57.1097
4Dale Childs22.80633Addy Scutt57.5794
5Joe Peace22.85114Brian Miller58.8093
6Bill Zech22.90655Mike Sargent59.5097
 Gene Bingman22.90666JD Van Sickle59.7095
8Brian Blask23.20017Dan Bailey59.9087
9Brian Decker23.50928Jeff Dean60.1092
10Tim Emley23.60839Barry Shaw60.3090
 Chris Hardgrove23.600310Corey Wesley60.9001
11Don DeAngelo61.0081
 400 MetersTimeYear12Keith Mott62.1002
1Brian Miller50.89313Zach Blask62.7011
2Zack Shaw51.909
3Jazz Peterson52.032 PentathlonPointsYear
4Fred Knight52.1941Brian Miller3,34692
 Adam Hellwig52.1022Brian Decker3,16892
 Scott Forrest52.1043Steve Clark2,92688
7Bob Bretzin52.2814Kris Lickfeld2,81397
8Nathan Warters52.6975Addy Scutt2,65693
9Troy Feffers52.8906Chris Gagliardo2,48999
10Jason Long53.2967Dan Bailey2,44888
 Chris Hardgrove53.2038Mike Sargent2,30995
 800 MetersTimeYear SteeplechaseTimeYear
1Matt Burlingame2:00.58061Brad Shaw10:2593
2Kirk Greene2:01.22982Andrew Elliott10:2703
3Ray Auman2:01.70753Mike Brady10:4592
4Zack Shaw2:01.84094Brad Thomas10:4797
5Mike McGreevey2:02.01935Tyler Shaw10:5703
6Andrew Blask2:02.02036Zach Blask10:57.211
7John Gordnier2:02.33017Eric Blask11:14.998
8Brad Shaw2:02.40948Shannon Knight11:2694
9Keith McDivitt2:02.80759Casey Caya11:2910
10Fred Knight2:03.009510Dave Baracat11:4093
11Gunnar Van Curen2:03.9411
 Long JumpDistanceYear 400 Meter RelayTimeYear
1Gene Bingman21' 11.5661A LaBorde-C Hellwig44.6609
2Xavier Harris21' 609 K Richards-L Hellwig  
3Jimmy Reynolds21' 2792J Mooney-C Hardgrove45.3203
4John Sprague20' 1179 A Woodhead-A Hellwig  
5Brian Miller20' 7923I McGavisk-J Dean45.7092
6Jerry Reynolds20' 684 B Decker-B Miller  
7Troy Jeffers20' 2904A Hellwig-C Hardgrove45.7002
8Scott Forrest20' 104 D Martinez-B Bell  
9Brian Decker20' 0925J Milne-J Pecone45.8083
10Brian Nitsche20' 004 T Emley-T Scalfaro  
6J Sprague-J Reynolds45.8279
 Triple JumpDistanceYear G Swetland-J Wright  
1Jimmy Reynolds43' 11.75"797J Sprague-J Reynolds45.9479
2Brian Nitsche43' 11.25"04 T Sprague-J Wright  
3Jerry Reynolds43' 9848J Mooney-C Hardgrove46.0003
4Lance Chaffee43' 669 R Williams-A Hellwig  
5Roger DeAngelo42' 9809J Mooney-S Forrest46.1004
6Mike Sargent42' 496 B Nitsche-A Woodhead  
7Randy Welch41' 66710DeBarbieri-Williams46.3998
8Jerry Scutt40' 069 DeBarbieri-Cornell  
9Mike Sherwin39' 378
10Chris Payne39' 302 800 RelayTimeYear
1R Sprague-B Zech1:34.3566
 High JumpHeightYear B Reynolds-M Connell  
1Brian Decker6' 9922J Sprague-J Reynolds1:34.579
2Mike Sherwin6' 5.579 T Sprague-J Wright  
3Jerry Scutt6' 4693D Nease-S Everetts1:34.776
4Jeremy Hammond6' 394 R King-T Yanetsko  
5Steve Clark6' 2884McLarney-Monroe1:35.4461
 Brian Miller6' 293 Bonsper-Childs  
7Randy Welch6' 0695J DeBarbieri-M Sargent1:35.997
8Lee Chaffee5' 10.2566 Warters-Lickfeld  
9Chris Gagliardo5' 10996Long-DeBarbieri1:37.696
 Brian Blask5' 1000 Williams-Lickfeld  
10Lance Reynolds5' 9807DeBarbieri-Williams1:37.898
 Pole VaultHeightYear8T Sprague-J Wright1:38.180
1Jeff Dean13' 392 Hazard-Burrows  
2Gary Swetland13' 2799Decker-Dean1:38.491
3Jason DeYoe13' 195 Borer-Miller  
 Jeremy Hammond13' 19410Miller-Keim1:38.593
5Franny Williams12' 685 Seawright-Moses  
 Dan Martinez12' 602
7Chris Gagliardo12' 399 1600 RelayTimeYear
8Tim Ortung12' 0781Miller-Babb3:3192
 Joe DeBarbieri12' 097 Dean-Decker  
 Chris Williams12' 0982Blask-Hardgrove3:31.601
 Andy Laborde12' 009 Gordnier-Ricci  
 Shot PutDistanceYear Sargent-Warters  
1Jon Jones56' 10104Keim-Scutt3:3594
2Jack Holcomb51' 1186 Hammond-Knight  
3Dave Nease47' 10765Lickfeld-Long3:35.796
4Jordan Spehar46' 711 Sargent-Warters  
5Jake Haught46' 1.5026Hellwig-Hardgrove3:36.302
6Alan Dean45' 1169 Ricci-Frost  
7Matt Swetland45' 7907Forrest-Hardgrove3:36.603
8Lee Chaffee44' 1066 A Blask-Hellwig  
9Russ Downey44' 396
10Tony Hammond43' 798 3200 RelayTimeYear
 DiscusDistanceYear1E Blask-Armijo8:15.398
     B Blask-Greene  
1Jon Jones149' 9102Shaw-McGreevey8:2193
2Jake Haught141' 302 Zimmerman-Greene  
3Tony Hammond141' 2993Van Curen-Pierce8:22.5111
4Russ Downey138' 1096 Smith-Blask  
5Lee Chaffee136' 1664Warters-Greene8:2397
6Greg Ralston135' 975 Armijo-Thomas  
7Jordan Spehar135' 5105Shaw-Sponsler8:2594
8Terry Keim134' 693 Knight-Greene  
9Joe Mascorella134' 0696Auman-C Pytcher8:2677
10Andy Keim129' 1195 R Bretzin-Brown  
 Sean Carr129' 11037Van Curen-Smith8:31.4511

The chewing of gum is undesirable and discouraged in school.