What would be later known as Elma Village was called "Big Flats", the home of the Seneca Indians, and later name of Hurd or Briggs" mills after the first settlers in that area. In 1842 the reservation was sold to the Ogden Company, who advertised it would sell the land to settlers. In 1844 the Senecas' moved out of Big Flats. People came from the already developed towns of Lancaster, Aurora, Alden and Wales. Reports spread everywhere of the heavy growth of timber and the fertility of the soil.
The 1800s brought Clark W. Hurd and Joseph B. Briggs to this settlement. They acquired land next to the Buffalo Creek to build a dam, dig a mill race, and construct a saw mill.
Any mail for settlers in the area was directed to the Lancaster Post Office. Obliging teamsters, on their way home from hauling lumber, would stop in and take any mail to their neighbors. The question was asked "Why not have a post office and have our mail brought regularly?" Several names were suggested, but none were satisfactory, until someone said " There is a big elm tree at the crossing of Bowen Rd. and Clinton Street, why not add the letter a to the word elm and call the post office Elma?" It was accepted and after all procedures were carried out the new Elma Post Office was established and received mail three times a week. This was in 1852. Soon houses were built and a store keeper moved into one of the houses and opened up with a small stock of groceries. (pictured above).
The need to give children the elements of a good education make it necessary to build a small schoolhouse. The property was donated by J. B. Briggs whose land was on the west side of Bowen Road, which was later to become school No. 7. Its now a private residence.
The time had come when this settlement, with a Post Office called Elma, was to become a town within Erie County in the State of New York. On September 4, 1856 the Supervisors of Erie County voted to form a new town from parts of Lancaster and Aurora called Elma. The first town meeting was held at the home of Clark W. Hurd (now the Town Museum) and a spirited one it was, since there had been strong opposition to the forming of a new town. The first general election was held on November 3, 1857.