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BeeLines

February 28, 2015
Westfield Republican

By Marybelle Beigh

Westfield Historian

These are two questions in the past month. And related to these questions: "Do you know of any piece of stoneware (butter crock, whisky jug, wine jug, medicine jug) with W. on it, besides Davis' Lake Erie Wine Cellars?" "Has there ever been a beer bottled in Westfield besides Lane or Maurer?" The questioner guessed Maurer ran a bar/saloon.

Article Photos

Submitted Photo
1884 Ad for Maurer’s Westfield Bottling Works.

As for beer brewing and bottling, oh yes! The first ones that come to mind are a couple on Chautauqua Creek back in the mid to later 1800s - they are noted on the 1867 Chautauqua County Atlas maps of the Village of Westfield. One was run by Rorig (of Rorig Bridge) along with his grist mill. Ads in the 1874 Westfield Republican for Westfield Steam Mill (At Rorig's Brewery) specify that A. Rorig had recently completed his Gristmill and was ready to do business. The Gazetteer and Business Directory of Chautauqua County NY for 1873-74 has a listing for Rorig, August, Nettle Hill, Westfield, under the heading of Brewers and Malsters. And the 1881 Atlas of Chautauqua County still shows Rorig's Brewery on Chautauqua Creek.

The other brewery was announced in The Westfield Republican of August 22, 1866, page 1 - "Messrs. Hudleston & Johnson are erecting a new Brewery, near the Westfield Mills." Sadly, a longer article in the November 4, 1874, WR, headlined "Disastrous Conflagration," reads, "Between one and two o'clock on Friday morning last, the brewery of Samuel Johnston, on the Chautauqua Creek, near the Westfield Mills, was entirely destroyed by fire, with a great portion of its contents. The south end of the building was occupied by James Johnston and family." The family did get out safely, and Mrs. Johnston, who was bed-ridden, was kindly taken into care by neighbors on Water Street.

It was interesting to discover in the following week's newspaper, "Fire in the Bushes - On Thursday last, a fire on the bank of the creek on Mr. D. Dix's premises, fanned by the high wind, began spreading through the woody underbrush, until at night the Planing Mill on the opposite bank, and Rorig's Gristmill and Brewery, were in danger of being fired, should the wind chance to shift. About 10 P.M. the firemen quietly drew the engines (Cascade and Independent) up to the scene, and in a few minutes flooded the whole business. Rorig showed his appreciation of the move, by unloading a couple of kegs of lager for the benefit of all concerned."

There was a Westfield Bottling Works that Geo. Maurer purchased in 1883-84. But research has not determined where the bottling works was located. Ads for this facility were only located in the Westfield Republicans of late 1883 through 1884. (See example ad from May 7, 1884.)

Readers having more information or relics related to this story, please contact Marybelle Beigh, Westfield Historian, at 716-397-9254, or email to westfieldhistorian@fairpoint.net.

 
 
 

 

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