Early Days:
George Croghan The Village of Croghan is located in what was once dense forest occupied by members of the Oneyoteaka people - "the people of the standing stone"  (which the European settlers came to know as the Oneida nation) of the League of the Hodenosaunee (called the Iroquois Federation by the Europeans.)  Immigrants from France, Germany and Switzerland were drawn by the lumber resources and the Beaver River.  In 1848 they formed the towns of Croghan and New Bremen.  The former was named after George Croghan, a hero in the War of 1812, who was a nephew of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark team.

The settlers cleared the trees, sending them down the river to the mills that were powered by the river.  After portions of the forests were cleared, the settlers turned to farming. The present mill can be found on an 1876 map, although it may be older than that.  The original water wheel is still in use. 

BasselinOne of the major shapers of the community was Theodore Basselin who was born March 24, 1851 in Grostenchen, a village which was in Germany but is now in France.  His parents moved to the US when he was 3 and settled in Croghan where they operated a General Store.  His father died when Theodore was 10.  Theodore attended the Seminary of our Lady of Angels (later known as Niagara University) for one year, but returned to Croghan where he worked in the family store for 4 years.  In 1873, a friend gave him a parcel  of land from which he prospered in the timber business.  The major key to his success was allowing hemlock logs to rot sufficiently so he could strip the bark for use in tanning.  Later he expanded his interests to include furniture and paper manufacturing, a railroad, banking, and electric power generation.  He was elected the first President of the Village of Croghan. 

He married in 1903, but his wife died three years later.  A millionaire, he died at his home in Croghan on April 21, 1914.  He left $100,000 for the creation of a college in Croghan and a generous endowment at the Catholic University of America.  The Basselin mansion and family cemetery are significant Croghan landmarks.

20th Century:
The Black River Telephone Company began in 1900.  The first sewer was constructed in 1905, the water system was installed in 1910.  Croghan's downtown suffered from major fires in 1902 and 1912, the latter of which destroyed the business district, which was quickly rebuilt.  The centenary of that fire is being celebrated in 2012.  The Croghan National Bank was organized in 1917 with offices in the Basselin Office Building.




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