Avoca is a community, a town,a village and a memory - “The Sweet Vale of Avoca.” It is part of the geographic entity of the Conhocton Valley with broad, loamy fields in the valley and steep wooded hillsides topped by a rolling plateau. It sits on top of the Conhocton aquifer and a thick deposit of salt, both relevant to modern development.
To the Seneca Indians, it was the center of the rich hunting and fishing grounds which became a refuge after the Sullivan Expedition destroyed permanent Seneca villages. To the pioneer settlers, it was the scene of backbreaking work and thriving lumbering industry as they cleared the forest and established their farms.
The first pioneer settlers were Scotch-Irish who came from eastern New York state: the Buchanans, McWhorters and Moores. Circa 1840 and after, the area became home to a large group Mohawk Dutch settlerswho came fromPalatine Bridge and nearby communities in the Mohawk Valley. This influx of prosperous, family-connected people provided the impetus for the formation of a new town. The Town of Avoca, with parts taken from Bath, Wheeler, Cohocton and Howard, was established by the New York State Legislature on April 12, 1843.
In the late 1930's and early 1940's, another large, cohesive and energetic group of families migrated to Avoca from the Aroostook Valley in Maine. They were potato
farmers. Many of these families were descendants of Swedes who came to Maine in answer to an invitation for the United State government which wanted to have settlements on the Canadian
border to prevent illegal lumbering by French Canadians.
Until the coming of the Erie Railroad in 1852, the settlers were mainly lumbermen and subsistence farmers who met their financial obligations when they could by the sale of lumber and potash,wheat and wool.
In the period of 1852- 1935,general farms were the rule but the main source of income was dairying. After 1935, commercial farming became the norm as farms grew larger and farmers concentrated on one crop - either raising potatoes or dairying. Some valley land is no longer farmed, but holds commercial enterprises and mobile
home settlements. A few factories lasted a long time and
made a lasting impression on the community.
According to newspaper accounts, George H. Noxon started making brooms in Avoca in a barn on N. Main St. in 1885. Around the turn of the century, he bought the Richards wagon shop on River Street and
started manufacturing on a larger scale. He enlarged the
plant and brooms were made there continuously for 60 years. The Noxon broom was a quality product and enjoyed good sales in the
Northeast. The building burned in 1963 and was not rebuilt.