Clarence Historical Museum & Wilson Greatbatch Exhibit

Part of the Wilson Greatbatch Exhibit at
the Clarence Historical Museum

The original Holland Land purchase from Robert Morris was 3,250,000 acres including the area west of the Genesse River, north to Lake Ontario, West to Lake Erie, and south to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Before Robert Morris, a Philadelphia Banker and signer of the Declaration of Independence, could give Holland Land Co. title to their purchase, it was necessary to first obtain title from the Indians. At the Treaty of Big Tree in 1791, the Indian exchanged their rights to the land in return for $100,000 and 200,000 acres to be retained and used for reservations.

In 1798 Joseph Ellicott began the “great survey,” marking out townships throughout the Holland Land Purchase. To aid settlement, he offered a discount on land to anyone who would open an inn or tavern between Buffalo and Batavia. In 1799, Asa Ransom opened a tavern in the Clarence Hollow. It was soon followed by a saw mill and grist mill. On March 11, 1808, the Town of Clarence was incorporated. Once incorporated, Clarence began to grow. More inns, mills, businesses, schools and places of worship sprang up, which fostered additional development including the formation of neighboring hamlets of Harris Hill, Clarence Center, Swormville, and Wolcottsburg. Agriculture, commerce and travel prompted several railroads to pass through through the area.

Wilson Greatbatch invented the implantable cardiac pacemaker that is today used around the world. The Clarence Historical Museum has his original small red barn set up as it was as he worked and perfected the cardiac pacemaker in the early 1960’s. It includes the original work bench, a small pot belly stove that kept his workshop warm, along with his doctor’s bag that he would take with him into the operating room. The museum houses instruments of his such as the colorimeter and his early to modern cardiac pacemakers. The Clarence Historical Museum showcases his many awards and includes the National Metal of technology that he was award in 1990 by then President George H. Bush. He considered himself a tinkerer whose many innovations resulted in the patenting of over 350. His resourcefulness resulted in his induction into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 1986.

The Clarence Historical Museum located at 10465 Main Street, is a significant as a rare mid-nineteenth century stone Greek Revival building example. The location is significant in that it is part of a 144 acre lot originally purchased by Asa Ransom in 1803. Museum is open Wednesday and Sundays, for hours  call 716-759-8575, or check out the web site:

Located just 3 buildings  from the Clarence Historical Museum is the historic (1853) Asa Ransom House Country Inn, B&B and restaurant. The Asa Ransom House was voted the Best B&B in a Buffalo News readers survey. Together, they offer part of the early history of Western New York. View the Inns rooms and menus at   We hope you will visit us and the museum soon! Have a great 2018!

Bob Lenz, Innkeeper