History of Belfast, New York (Part 2)
A Centennial Memorial
History of Allegany County, New York
John S. Minard, Esq. Historian
Mrs. Georgia Drew Andrews, Editor.
W. A. Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N. Y. 1896




Fires. - In June, 1871, the Belfast House then a wooden structure was burned, and the same day the old Lyman hotel building farther north was also burned. Jan. 2, 1877. the Willis and Saunders block, a row of wood structures opposite the present brick blocks. was burned. In this were the stores of A. R. Hopper, Saunders Bros. and B. T. Willis & Bros., offices, etc. In December, 1887, a fire consumed the Davis block, including three stores, and the Belfast bank, was injured. In February, 1893, Neely's gristmill was burned. Another fire destroyed the block on the east side of Main St., for some years the store of A. J. Lewis. The effect of these fires has been the construction of a better class of buildings, and the exercise of more care in making them safe.

Belfast Fire Department. - This was incorporated Feb. 22, 1887, with these trustees: A. R. Hopper, R. Neely, O. Whipple, F. H. Smith, James Lang. The first officers were: Reuben Neely, president; I. S. Hunt, secretary; W. B. Manley, treasurer. Under act of 1895, these fire commissioners were elected, J. D. Shuart, J. V. Jennings, Eaton Kinney. The department has a Rumsey hand engine, 1,000 feet of hose, a good engine house with rooms overhead for meetings. Six cisterns located in different parts of the village, are depended upon to furnish the water supply. The officers are: T. B. Miner, chief; George Thornton, assistant chief; Chas. Rich and E. J. Sullivan, foremen; H. H. Marsh, treasurer. The equipment for fighting fire is good. the protection afforded is such as to materially reduce the rates of insurance.

The Genesee Valley Seminary was established in 1857. The trustees named in the charter, were: William Windsor, Robert Renwick, John Huff, Sidney Stowe, Wilson Collins, Frederick Sheeley, John W. Eldridge, William R. Smith and Calvin T. Chamberlain. At a meeting of the trustees held at Belfast, Feb. 2, 1857, Robert Renwick was made president, William Windsor, secretary, and Richard Jacobs, treasurer. Robert Renwick, Ozro Thomas, W. R. Smith, and John W. Eldridge were elected building committee. Later John W. Eldridge was awarded the contract to build a suitable seminary for $5,300. Rapid progress was made and Sept. 19, 1857, Prof. S. R. Thorp was elected principal of the seminary, and S. R. Thorp, John W. Eldridge and Dr. C. M. Crandall were made a committee on dedication. It was dedicated in the latter part of October, 1857, Rev. Thomas K. Beecher delivering the address. Nov. 14, 1857, these teachers were elected to assist Prof. Thorp, and with him constitute the first faculty: Prof. F. D. Tooker, mathematics and natural sciences; Miss Lucia Clement, preceptress; Dr. C. M. Crandall, lecturer on anatomy, physiology and hygiene; Mrs. Crandall, painting; Miss Mary J. Natting, French and music. The school was soon opened with about 180 students, and was under the control of the Methodist Episcopal church until Aug. 11, 1860, when its direction was passed to the Baptists with the condition that the selection of principal should be subject to the approval of the trustees. In November, 1860, Prof. Joel Hendrick was elected principal. His assistants were Prof. Lyman B. Tefft and Misses Susan Stowe and Lucinda Ford. After seven years of faithful labor Prof. Hendrick was succeeded by Prof. Fradenburgh who remained until June, 1868. Prof. R. A. Waterbury succeeded him Sept. 2, 1868, and was succeeded Sept. 13, 1873, by Prof. Melville E. Crowell.

May 14, 1874, the trustees voted " to turn over the Genesee Valley Seminary, and all the lands and other property thereunto belonging, to school district No. 1, in Belfast, for the purpose of making a Union Graded School, with an academic department and vacate their office as such trustees, when the district shall have accepted this proposition, and shall have elected a board of education to take charge of said union school." The proposition was accepted, and the first board of education consisted of Eaton Kinney, John Rockwell, W. W. Byrns, A. R. Hopper and Dr. C. W. Saunders. Dr. Saunders was made president, and Mr. Byrns secretary. Under the new order Prof. M. E. Crowell was the first principal. The present teachers are F. W. Gray principal, Mrs. Silver class teacher, Miss Nelson grammar, Miss A. Mountain intermediate, Miss Bertha Carter primary. The attendance has increased from 258 in 1890-1, to 297 in 1894-5, and the Belfast Seminary and Union School has done its full share in elevating the standard of education, morality and intelligence of the community, and for the material prosperity of the town.

Baptist Church. - Without doubt, Rev Ephraim Sanford conducted the first religious services. In French's Gazetteer, it is stated that it was in 1806, and that he formed the first church in 1807-8. No record proof of the statement is to be found. That the first services were held in 1806 may be true, but the writer would as soon think it was earlier, for the habit of Rev. Mr. Sanford was to preach whenever opportunity occurred, and the few settlers could be convened. Some of them came from long distances, following the primitive wood paths and the lines of blazed trees. The first meeting held to establish a church, of which record has been kept, was at the house of Isaiah Smith, April 6, 1811. Mr. Smith was chosen moderator, and Ezra Sanford clerk. The record does not show any business transacted. On April 27 and May 14, 1811, meetings were held but no action was taken till June 1st when Thaddeus Bennett, Elizabeth Bennett, Isaiah Smith, Lila Smith, Nathaniel Reynolds, Margaret Reynolds, Ezra Sanford, Samuel Very, Ziba Huff, Zephaniah Huff, Jonathan Huff and Jacob Rickey, to use their own words, "joined together in covenant relations." August 24th this company adopted articles of faith and covenant. In December, 1811, it was voted " to send to the Wane and Bristol churches (Steuben and Ontario counties), calling a council in order to regularly organize a Baptist church on the first Thursday in February, 1812." No record of this meeting for organization has been preserved, but in April, 1812, "trustees were chosen who were to act also as deacons," but no names are mentioned. Sept. 11, 1812, the first delegates were elected to attend the Steuben Association. In July, 1813, the church voted to hold their covenant meetings " on the last Saturday in each month " and the practice has ever since been recognized.

In August, 1813, the church felt itself strong enough to send out four missionaries, S. Very, J. Rickey, T. Bennett, and E. Sanford, to held meetings in Nunda, Ischua and Van Campen's Creek. Sept 29, 1827, "The church left the Steuben Association, to join the Holland Purchase Association," and nearly seven years elapse before the next entry, June 28, 1834, which imparts the intelligence that it was then that the first funds for home and foreign missions were raised. In 1835 the church " resolved that we cannot cooperate with any society bound by a constitution, to support slave holding ministers in the slave states, believing that it is wrong to support a sin abroad that we would not at home." In 1838 Lewis H. and Joseph T. Ford were chosen deacons, which office each held most of the time for forty years, or until released by death. In 1842 62 members were added by baptism, during the labors of Rev. J. E. Eldridge as pastor. The need of a meetinghouse was sorely felt, for up to this time services had been held in dwellings, schoolhouses and barns. Putting forth great efforts the society constructed a building which was finished and dedicated in 1844. For the next 21 years the church observed the usual routine of services, but all the time making steady growth, and in 1865 50 members were added. In 1874 a council was called to ordain as pastor Rev. Eugene Hillman, on Nov. 18th. Sept. 25, 1889, Pastor C. L. Bonham was ordained

Under the pastorate of Rev. H. W. Jones in 1892 the church was remodeled and a session room and pastor's study added. The wooden walls were replaced with brick and stained glass windows put in. The large front window is in memory of Dea. L. H. Ford and wife, given by the sons and Ford Brothers. Another window is to the memory of Rev. A. S. Kneeland and wife, and one to Squire Miller and wife. The church was rededicated March 5, 1892. This was the first church built in the town, and the present modernized edifice occupies the site of the original structure. The pastors have been, Revs. Isaiah Smith, Solomon Dimmic, John P. Evans, M. M. Colman, James Eldridge, Benjamin Thomas, John Trowbridge, James Green, William Storrs, J. Hendrick, Mr. Mudge, R. A. Waterbury, Eugene Hillman, Mr. Rupert, D. P. Lappeus, C. H. Wood, A. S. Kneeland, C. L Bonham, EL W. Jones, F. A. Vinal, C. E. Drake. The value of church property is $4,000. The number of members Jan. 1, 1896, was 141, and the present officers are, Rev. C. E. Drake, pastor; David Kinney, S. A. Ford, R. D. Guilford and C. P. Bixby, deacons; C. D. Shuart, S. A. Ford and Frank Crowell, trustees; Cheney Kinney, treasurer; C. L. Ford, clerk. A large Sunday school of 85 pupils is connected with the church, of which R. D. Guilford is superintendent, James Talbot assistant, Edith Guilford organist and Lewis A. Walker secretary, Mary Neeley and Nellie Ramsey librarians, Mrs. M. L. Brainard supt. home department.

Methodist Episcopal Church. - The most painstaking research gives Nothing of the early history of this church, owing to the loss of the early records. It is conceded that the house of worship was erected about 1848, under the robable pastorate of Rev. John Kennard. E. Gastin was the contractor and the cost about $1,500. Mrs. Susan (Norton) Byrns, Mrs. Susan Strong and Mrs. John Huff, all aged members, have taxed their memories to restore the succession of pastors from 1838 to 1874, when records became available with this result: John Maxwell Bell, 1838; Wm. N. Cobb, 1839; Samuel Cook, 1840; Charles Barclay, 1841; J. A. Hagar, 1842; Mr. St. John, 1843; J. G. Dubois, 1844; J. G. McEwen, 1845; John Kennard, 1848; John McEwen, 1850; John A. Wells, 1860; J. G. Barrett and J. B. Whiteside, 1861; Mr. Vradenburgh, 1867. Revs. W. W. Luce, Schuyler Parker, Cornelius Brooks, John F. Durr, Thomas Hudson and William Bush are also mentioned but without dates. Since 1873 the pastors have been E. J. Cook, 1874-75; J. F. Brown, 1876-77; J. A. Smith, 1878-79; M. D. Jackson, 1880; T. E. Clayton, 1881-83; O. N. Leggett, 1884-85; C. S. Daley, 1886-87; G. H. Hancock 1888-90; W. D. Allen, 1891-93; E. M. Kelly, 1894-96. The church building is in a good comfortable condition for meetings, with a seating capacity of 275. A parsonage property has been purchased which adjoins the church lot. The church is out of debt and the property is valued at $2,500. There is a thriving Sunday school under the superintendence of Eugene Capron. It has a membership of nearly 100.

St. Patrick's (Catholic) Church. - Previous to 1854-5 mass was occasionally celebrated at private houses and sometimes in the hall over the A. J. Lewis store by Rev. Father McEvoy and others from Java. After the canal was opened in 1853 many members of the Catholic church came to Belfast, and soon the building of a church edifice was considered. A small church (30x40 feet) was soon built on land donated by Judge Benjamin Chamberlain, a former resident of Belfast. The ground had to be cleared of the large pine stumps that covered it, and a " bee " was organized, which pulled the stumps and made them into a fence on two sides of the lot. Prominent in the church building were James Durning, Patrick Finnessy and James Markham, the building committee. This first structure was never formally dedicated, further than " blessing the walls," but was used for over 20 years, when an addition of 30x60 feet was made to the old part, making the shape of the whole somewhat that of the letter T. The church was dedicated Aug. 18,1878, Bishop Timon of Buffalo officiating. PASTORS: Father Leddy was here previous to 1878-9, when Father George J Dunbar officiated as rector; Father Litchworth succeeded Father Dunbar, and then in succession came Fathers O'Mara, Barlow and Haire, the present rector. Before these dates services were at seasons held by priests from St. Bonaventure college at Allegany. The old church was completely destroyed by fire in March, 1892. Soon after the fire a beautiful brick edifice was built on the site of the wooden one and duly dedicated. It is the finest church structure in northern Allegany. The interior is beautifully painted and decorated; the windows are all stained glass memorial windows. Too much credit cannot be awarded to Rev. T. E. Haire, to whose active efforts and great executive ability is largely due the wonderful success and rapidity of work in building this beautiful edifice.

The cemetery connected with St. Patrick's church was originally one half acre of land purchased of Dr. C. W. Saunders by. Michael Dougherty. Another half acre was subsequently bought by David H. Mountain. The first interment was that ofMartha W. Dougherty, aged 2 yrs. and 4 mos., Nov. 24, 1869. The parish now owns the cemetery.

A Presbyterian society was organized Feb. 22, 1830, with 11 members, under "the care of the Presbytery of Angelica." It was reported " vacant " the next year.

Grace Church (Episcopal). - In or about 1885 Rev. Mr. Rafter of Cuba established a mission here holding services, first in the M. E. church and afterward in G. A. R. hall. In January, 1894, a society was organized. Rev. Dwight Galloupe the rector at Angelica commenced to hold services in the hall, and the building of a chapel was soon considered. Mrs. Christopher Jennings generously donated a building lot, and during the season sufficient means were pledged to warrant the letting of a contract for building. The corner stone was laid by Rev. Dwight Galloupe Jan. 30, 1895, and the completed structure was dedicated Sept. 8, 1895. Revs. Beecher and Warner of Angelica officiating. It is a beautiful little chapel. Its cost was $1,200 and 150 persons can be seated. Among those active in building the chapel and promoting the interest of the mission were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Freeborn, Mrs Milford Freeborn, Mrs. James Jennings, Mrs. Volney Jennings and Miss Susan S. Jennings. Mrs. J. H. Saunders has placed a memorial window for her father William Windsor in the chapel and others are soon to follow. Services are held regularly every Sunday by the rector from Angelica. A Sunday school of 20 members, F. Freeborn superintendent, is connected with the mission.

CIVIC SOCIETIES. - Western Union Lodge, No. 146. F. & A. M. - This lodge was instituted under a dispensation of the Grand Lodge Nov. 13, 1823, as No. 364. Calvin T. Chamberlain, as Worshipful Grand Master pro. tem., installed these officers: Hiram Gray, W. M.; Freeman Wilson, S. W.; D. D. Hardy, J. W.; J. T. Raymond, Secretary; George P. Ketchum, Treasurer; Simon Wilson, S. D.; Lewis Wilson, J. D.; Daniel Ingersoll, Timothy Daniels, Stewards; Cyrus H. Clement, Tyler. The membership came from a wide territory, covering Caneadea, Rushford, Amity, Friendship and Cuba. Among them were: Alvan E. Parker, H M Munson, Joseph Palmer, Charles Horton, Ichabod B. Sharp, Warner Hastings, John Hammond, J D James, Richard Comfort, W. C. Sheldon, James Rawson, E. Stanford, Jonathan Warford, Nathan Bailey, Collins A. Beadly, E. Kinney, B. N. Call, Henry Stephens, Noah Parker, John Decker, Jeremiah Webber, Ira Protheroe, Leonard P. Walker, C. D. Wilson, Asa G. Nichols, A. J. Wolcott and others. In the early years meetings were held in various places and at 2 P. M. One place of meeting was the residence of James McCrea, 2 miles east of Caneadea village. They also met in Rushford and other places. For 3 or 4 years the lodge did good work and received considerable accessions to its membership. When however the "Morgan excitement " came, it shared the fate of many other lodges and endured a season of " suspended animation." August 10, 1848, a new lodge was instituted with number 146. The officers installed upon resumption were: Alanson Burr, W. M.; Elijah Reynolds, S. W.; Cyrus H. Clement, J. W.; Rockwell Hopper, Treasurer; Simon Wilson, S. D.; George Parker, J. D.; David W. Reynolds, Tyler; Wm. Dean, Secretary. The lodge includes some of the most prominent business men of the place and influential citizens of the town. Its membership is 69, but it will soon be less as a number residing in Angelica will help form a lodge instituted there. The lodge has preserved its old books entire in spite of fire. The present officers are: A. P. McIntosh, W. M.; V. I. Cook, S. W.; I. S. Hunt, J. W.; W. Willis, Treasurer; R. G. Young, Secretary; J. L. Holden, S. D.; E. Carter, J. D.; J. H. Chamberlain, S. M. C.; J. D. Shuart, J. M. C.; E. Reynolds, Tyler. Their rooms are in the Lang Block.

Genesee River Chapter No. 152, B. A. 31. - The charter bears date Feb. 8, 1855. The first officers were, D. A. Knapp, high priest; C. M. Crandall, king; Jonathan Wafford, scribe. The high priests have been, D. A. Knapp, 1855, '56; E. A. Wilson, 1857, '58, '66, '67, '75, '76, '79; Jonathan Gafford, 1859; C. M. Crandall, 1860, '61; W. W. Byrns, 1862, '63, '71, '72, '73, '74, '77, '83, '84, '86, '89, '90, '91, '94; J. Hendrick, 1864, '65; R. M. Willis, 1868, '69, '70, '80, '81, '82; H. H. Lyman, 1878; G. W. Tibbetts, 1885; F. H. Smith, 1887, '88; G. D. Miller, 1892, '93; W. L. Gibson, 1895; J. H. Chamberlain, 1896.

A. K. Thorpe Post No. 86, G. A. B., was mustered in May 14, 1879. Charter members: E. B. Cronk, F. C. Angel, V. J. McElheny, E. Hitchings, G. Wells, A. Bills, A. F. Smith, J. W. Clark, C. L. Ford, C. Miller, A. Hannstein, A. Johannes, J. Wetherall, S. P. Boss, B. J. Wert, G. Lowe, D. M. Dailey, R. W. King, S. A. Ford, R. It. Seeley. First officers, James Wetherall, Com.; R. R. Seeley, S. V. C.; J. W. Clark, J. V. C.; R. W. King, O. D.; C. Miller, Q. M.; G. Wells, O. G.; C. L. Ford, Adjt.; V. J. McElheny, S. M.; E. B. Cronk, Q. M. S.; S. A. Ford, Chap. The past commanders since have been, C. L. Ford, 1880, '81; R. R. Seeley, 1882, '83, '84, '85, '86, '87, '88; C. L. Ford, 1889, '90; W. Kelly, 1891, '92; W. E. Vaughan, 1893; R. C. Phelps, 1894; S. D. Travers, 1895. There have been fully 200 mustered into this post, and it has given of its members to form other posts, notably Wilber Haver Post, Angelica, and A. & J. Van Nostrand Post, Short Tract. The post holds meetings in G. A. R. Hall, Belfast, and now has 72 members. The post in 1887, built a large public hall, which is rented by the town for town meetings and elections. The property is worth from $2,500 to $3,000. The present officers are, W. E. Vaughan, Com.; E. R. Hitchings, S. V. C.; B. C. Bacon, J. V. C.; C. D. Shuart, Q. M.; C. L. Ford, C.; R. C. Phelps, Adjt.; L. Stanton, O. D.; H. Hall, O. G.

A. K. Thorpe Belief Corps, No. 178, was organized March 7, 1890, with 21 members, and Martha E. Herkimer, president; Corinth Bartlett, S. V. P.; Emma Babcock, 3. V. P.; Harriet E. Johnson, Chap.; Jennie Babcock, Treas.; Mary Phelps, Sec.; Carrie Miner, Cora.; Leona Comstock, G. The corps meets on the third Saturday of each month, has done a noble work, and now numbers 30 members. It has paid an indebtedness of $1,500 on the G. A. R. hall, in 1894 sent $150 to the western sufferers, and in other ways it has done much charitable work. The present officers are, president, Martha Herkimer; S. V. P., Mary Comstock; J. V. P., Adel Shuart; Treas., Jennie Babcock Sec., Delia Waterous; Con., Lottie Peck; Asst. Con., Jennie Herkimer; Chap. Eva Kenney; G., Leona Crawford; A. G., Anna Wilkins.

Belfast and Oramel Tent, No. 47, K. O. T. M., was chartered June 3, 1887, and organized on the same day by District Deputy C. A. Flannagin of Cuba with these members: Warren E. Wilkinson. Daton Hendricks, Irwin S. Herkimer, W. W. Dort, Chas. L. Dailey, Wm. Bell, A. Stone, W. Rich, Chas. Rich, W. H. Wells, J. A. Reddish, F. E. Thompson, J. W. Covell, Isaac S. Hunt, P. J. Quinn, B. F. Waddington, Cass A. McIntosh, R. Bruce Renwick, W. B. Renwick. In the hall over V. I. Cook's jewelry store, nearly opposite the Massasoit House, these officers were elected and installed: Past Commander, Cass A. McIntosh; Commander, Isaac S. Hunt; Lieut. Commander, P. J. Quinn; F. K., Chas. Rich; P. K., B. F. Waddington; Prelate, W. B. Renwick; M. at A., F. E, Thompson; Sergeant, J. W. Covell; 1st M. of G., J. A. Reddish; 2d M. of G., W. H. Wells; Sentinel, W. Rich; Picket, A. Stone. The tent has increased to 107 members, one of the most prosperous in the county, always having meetings on the 1st and 3d Wednesday evenings of each month in its hall, now over Ingleby's furniture store. Present officers: Commander, William Ingleby; Lieut. Commander, Samuel R. Hunt; F. K. and R. K., W. B. Renwick; Prelate, Addison G. Weaver; M. at A., George A. Worden; Sergeant, Edward Mahloon; 1st M. of G., Martin McMahan; 2d M. of G., George Allen; Sentinel, Sanford Allen; Picket, John N. Denniston.

Belfast Hive, No. 77, L. O. T. M., was established March 17, 1893, with 17 charter members. The charter was kept open till the number reached 31. The first officers were: C., Ada M. Renwick; Lt. C., Tryphena T. Chamberlain; R. K., Ida M. Chamberlain; F. K., Minnie E. Rich; Prelate, Emma Ingleby; Ser., Edith D. Vreeland; M. at A., Delia M. Hunt; Sen. Ellen E. Miller; Pic., Anna Wilkinson; P. C., Lillian S. Wilson. Present membership 48. The Hive is in a flourishing condition with a constantly increasing membership.

W. C. T. U. - The Belfast local union was organized in September, 1883, with 9 members, and these officers: president, Mrs. L. F. Hull; vice president, Mrs. Henry Wilson; corresponding and recording secretary, Mrs. H. H. Marsh; treasurer, Mrs. J. S. Cavert. Its meetings are regularly kept up and well attended. The present membership is 50. Officers: Mrs. Jennie Babcock, president; Mrs. C. Thornton, 1st vice president; Mrs. K. M. Cavert, 2d vice president; Mrs. E. P. Titsworth, treasurer; Mrs. I. S. Hunt, corresponding secretary; Mrs. E. M. Capron, recording secretary.

Belfast Telephone Company was lately organized with $600 capital stock to connect Belfast by telephone with Rockville, Wilkeson's Cheese Factory, White Creek, M. L. Brainards, Jas. T. Murdough's on Crawford Creek. and other private residences. About 20 phones have been taken at 85 per year for at least 10 years. The officers are: N. C. Saunders. president; T. E. Lewis, vice president; Herbert Gleason, treasurer; I. S. Hunt, secretary.

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