Fredonia, New York
The Village of Fredonia is in the Town of Pomfret south of Lake Erie. The village borders the City of Dunkirk and is the home of the State University of New York Fredonia (in the northwest part of the village).
The area which is now Fredonia was most likely first occupied by early Mound Builders, then the Eries (13th to 17th centuries), then the Iroquois (that is, the Seneca). In 1791, Robert Morris purchased the Fredonia land from Massachusetts and sold it to the Holland Land Company. Parcels were sold to pioneers around 1800, and the first settlers came around 1803 or 1804.
In 1821, William Hart dug the first well specifically to produce natural gas in the United States in the Village of Fredonia on the banks of Canadaway Creek in Chautauqua County, New York. It was 27 feet deep, excavated with shovels by hand, and its gas pipeline was hollowed out logs sealed with tar and rags. It supplied enough natural gas for lights in two stores, two shops and a grist mill (currently the village's Fire Station) by 1825. Expanding on Hart's work, the Fredonia Gas Light Company was eventually formed in 1858, becoming the first American natural gas company. The site of the first gas well is marked by a stone monument in downtown Fredonia.
The Village of Fredonia was incorporated in 1829. The original name for the area was Canadaway (from the Indian word Ganadawao, meaning among the hemlocks). The name "Fredonia" was coined by Samuel Latham Mitchill, coupling the English word "freedom" with a Latin ending. He proposed it as a replacement name for the United States. It failed in that regard, but became the name of many towns and cities (Stewart, pg. 173).