Ischua is a town in Cattaraugus County, New York, United States. The population was 859 at the 2010 census. Ischua is also the name of a hamlet in the town. The town is on the eastern border of the county, north of Olean.
The area that would become Ischua was first visited around 1808 by Seymore Buton and also visited around 1812 by Abram Farwell, who would return with his wife Lydia Farwell and their family. Lydia Jackson Farwell was the daughter of Revolutionary war soldier Thaddeus Jackson, builder of the Thaddeus Jackson House the historic 2-1/2 story wood frame house known as one of the oldest surviving homes in Brookline, Massachusetts where Lydia was from. In 1814, Lydia Farwell inherited money through her father's family and bought the first tract of land in what is now the town of Ischua to build the Farwell sawmill on. The community of Ischua has had continuous settlement ever since that date, and the founding mother Lydia Farwell's family have been a part of the history of Ischua for generations since.
The town of Ischua was established in 1846 from a division of the town of Hinsdale. There was previously another "Town of Ischua" in the county, which has now been succeeded by the town of Franklinville and the rest of the northern part of Cattaraugus County. When first formed, on Feb. 7, 1846, the present Ischua was known as the "Town of Rice". The first town meeting was held at the residence of E. Densmore, Feb. 24, 1846. The first town officers were Frederick Carpenter, Supervisor; Isaac N. Fuller, Town Clerk; Philo Burlingame, Superintendent of Common Schools; Wm. S. Pitcher, Simon C. Mallory and A. L. Barnard, Assessors; and Morgan I. Titus, F. Carpenter, C.C. Hatch and Hiram L. Seavy, Justices of the Peace. Its name was changed March 27, 1855, from Rice to Ischua.
Cuba Creamery, situated in the southeast corner of the town, about from Cuba, was established in 1869, by Gardner & I.N. Sheldon, and made about of cheese and of butter at its height. Quarries of good building stone existed within the borders of the town to aid the early settlers in construction. After the Genesee Valley Canal failed, the Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia Railroad traversed the town in the valley of Ischua Creek.
The town had several telephone prefixes during the party line days shared with nearby communities such as Franklinville, Allegany and Cuba and including 557- that it shared with Hinsdale. The town had its own post office, in the early days known as West Hinsdale, then Rice, and finally Ischua (ZIP code 14746) until the early 1990s, when the ZIP code was abandoned and postal services merged with Hinsdale's.