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The City of Tonawanda is located at the corner of Erie County and Niagara County. The city is bordered by the Town of Wheatfield on its north, Town of Newstead on its east, City of North Tonawanda to its south and west, and Niagara Falls across the river to its north. According to the United States Census Bureau, as well as numerous historical markers in downtown Tonawanda (and from local historians), it was founded in 1836 by Nathan Wilson who purchased a tract for $1.25 an acre ($3/km²) from Joseph Ellicott's Holland Land Company; this land included most or all that now comprises both North & South townships within present-day boundaries for both cities: i.e., "North" & "South" Townsends were not yet incorporated into either city until after 1900). In addition he gave his sons each plots within what would become known as 'Tonawanda'.