Verses of Village History – Vol. 1

“Verses of Village History” will be a regular feature on the Village of Williamsville’s website. Our goal is to provide the community with relevant passages regarding Williamsville’s history. In the first installment, “Verses of Village History” reflects on the Hershey family and its roots to our historic municipality. 

As Oct. 30, is commonly referred to as “Beggars Night” and Oct. 31 is Halloween, children will soon be shouting the words “trick or treat” at the front doors of their neighbors in hopes of receiving handfuls of candy.

One brand of candy that children might receive while trick-or-treating has ties to the Village of Williamsville.

According to “A History of the Town of Amherst,” authored by Sue Miller Young, the Hershey family – descendants of which founded the Hershey candy company in the late 1800s – played a prominent role in the history of the village.

Village facts regarding the Hersheys include:

  • In 1805, Peter Hershey bought one of the first parcels in the community. The parcel, referred to as Lot No. 6, extended from Mill Street to Reist Street.
  • Christian Hershey was said to be a notable landholder in Amherst in the early 1800s.
  • According to “Glancing Back: A Pictorial History of Amherst, New York,” by Joseph A. Grande, Benjamin Hershey owned the Williamsville mills at the Glen from 1831 to 1844.
  • Jacob Hershey was a partner in one of the earliest stores in Amherst.

So, as you visit your neighbors in the next couple of nights and you are greeted with a candy made by Hershey’s, think of how the village’s past has a connection to the chocolate industry.