History of Wellsville Village, New York (Part 1)
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


THE TOWN had existed but a short time when the question of village incorporation was agitated, and in October. 1857. application was made to the state for power to submit the question to the people for decision. It was made in the names of James V, Brown, Mason M. Hill, Geo. W. Russell, C. L. Farnum, and Isaac W. Fassett. An election held at the public house of J. C. Stannard, Nov. 26, 1857, decided to incorporate by a vote of 142 to 8, Upon the filing of the necessary certificates, Mar, 20, 1858, the incorporation took effect, and Feb. 23d, at Stannard's Hotel, these officers were elected: Trustees, C. L. Farnum, Hiram York, I. N. Stoddard, Henry Taylor, Julius Hoyt, Angus Williams; Clerk, G. W. Russell; Assessors, Jesse C. Easton. Wm, E. Armstrong, Samuel Carpenter; Pound Master, Eli Potter,

The proceedings of the village trustees contain much matter of general interest. In 1858 an appropriation of $100 was voted to the owner of "the small fire engine called 'Union' which has been for several years at the service of this village." This was the first fire engine used, The records, by showing the number of votes cast at the different elections, demonstrate how greatly from year to year interest varied in village affairs, In '58, Stoddard received 164 votes. For the next ten years the vote averaged about half of that, In '63, but 23 ballots were counted. In '65, 13; in '66, 12; in '68, 246; in '72, 237; in '73, 444; in '85, 1,275, The first bylaw of the village adopted by the trustees was: "No person shall at any time allow any of his cattle, horses, sheep, or swine (except milch cows) to run or be at large in any of the roads, highways, or streets of this village; nor shall any person allow any such cow to run or be at large in any such road, highway or street except in the day time between the first day of May and the first day of November in each year. Whoever shall offend against this provision shall forfeit for each and every offense one dollar Another of the early bylaws read: "Each owner of an occupied building shall procure a wooden or leather fire bucket for each fire kept in such building, with the initials of owner on bucket, which shall be kept in some place of easy access, Also a ladder of sufficient capacity to reach roof shall be kept on premises" The early bylaws granted a rigid power of quarantine to the Board of Health. This was a wise provision, for in March, 1861, small pox visited the village, There were 23 cases and one death. A second epidemic broke out in November, 1862. By prompt action of the board of health the scourge was confined to about a dozen cases and one death, During these visitations the town was panic stricken and business paralyzed.

The village in 1841 and in 1845, - Mrs. Harriet Hills came here in 1841 with her father David June, She says:

A man named Gibbs lived where Gardiner Wells had resided, James Fosbury's was across the road. The father of Henry Gordon lived where Dr, Macken's house now is, next the Ackley House, Sarni Shingler's tavern stood on the same side near State street, The dwelling of Dan'l Tuttle was opposite the hotel. Norman Perry had a store on the corner of State and Main, The store of Thos, Conklin and Hezekiah Lee stood about where McEwen's office now is. Speaking of Conklin, it was he, who with Johnson in 1840 built the first mill where the Duke sawmill now stands, Trees had been felled on the land between State and Mill, along Main street, but the lots had a sorry appearance. The VanBuren tavern, Henry Gordon's store and Myron Fuller's house were on the corners of Mill and Main. The Taylor house was not far from Fuller's on the same side, Dr. G. B. Jones lived in a frame house opposite the Thornton Block. W. H. Coats' dwelling was just opposite the present site of the 1st Nat'l Bank, Jonathan Seeley lived near the present Johnson (Genesee St.) cemetery. There were three painted houses; VanBuren's and Shingler's taverns bad white fronts, and Taylor's house had the front and one side painted white, W. D. Spicer lived quite a distance up State St. David June had a dwelling where Opp's residence is, Lewis Foster lived where I. N. Fassett's house stands. There was a bridge across the river on State St., built by Silas Hills and others in 1833, and was carried off by a flood in 1842, The river had previously been crossed by rafts and boats. For many years, Joe Crowner, Justus Brimmer, Billy Weed and Mr. Dunham were the only residents south of the Genesee, About a mile down the river there was a bridge near the Hull and Morse gang sawmill, Our Main street then was a rough country road and the settlement was of little account.

In 1845 Mr. G. B. Gordon came with his father Groves Gordon. He says:

At that time E. A. Smith had a store near where Scoville, Brown & Co,'s is now. Stumps and trees, heaps of rubbish and refuse on partly cleared land lay between State and Mill streets. Across Mill from VanBuren's stood the Gordon store. This remains today about as when erected, one of the few relics of early Wellsville. The Taylor, afterwards the England House, erected in 1835, stood east of the gas company's office. Enlarged and remodeled it is now the oldest structure in town. It is now in the rear of the gas company's office. For years it was the only tenement house and all newcomers between 1840 and 1870 lived in it. Samuel Palmer's house and blacksmith shop stood just above the present Baldwin Block. A. E. Bronson's wagon shop was near it, The Bronson residence was near the site of the First National Bank, There was no Madison street, The frame schoolhouse of '42 was near the site of the Academy.

General Training. - Where the race track of the Wellsville Fair Association is now situated, militia encampments or "general trainings" were once periodically held, Samuel A. Earley tells of his visit to one in 1835, He was but a mere stripling Of a boy, but can remember the affair well, for it was an episode in his career, Boys and girls, men and women, everybody was there. It was more than a circus, better than a Fourth of July. There were bands of martial music, to the strains of which the proud civilian soldiery marched and maneuvered. Peddlers and auctioneers were numerous. Gingerbread, peanuts, cider, honey, and yankee notions found a ready sale. Captain Wm. Cowles of Bolivar, Capt, Jonathan B. Potter, the old Indian" of Almond, Capt. Thos, Applebee of Friendship, and Col. Knight of Scio, who had command of the training" were among the officers present,

Fourth of July Dance. - The dance in 1849, at McClane's tavern, situated on Main directly across State street from the present McEwen site, was an affair typical of the lumber country. Rustic swains with their sweethearts walked or rode in from the surrounding country. Sam and Ed, Wilkins, the best fiddlers in all Allegany, played their way into the hearts of the dancers. Sam's quaint calling of the "French Four" and the Monie Musk" was an entertainment in itself. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon the dance began, and some of those present never missed a step till 10:30 the next forenoon. An elaborate spread, a regular dinner, was served at midnight, after which those of the ladies who were "in style" made a new toilet with a change of gown and came on the floor sweeter and prettier than ever, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Burchell, Mr. Ephraim Proctor and Miss Mary Ann Jones, now Mrs. Tallman, were at the party,

Railroad Times. - Edward J. Farnum of Bath, a railroad surveyor, settled here in 1847. He became an extensive lumber dealer and one of our leading business men. Carlton, his brother, came in June, 1848, from Pennsylvania. In 1849 the Farnum store, still standing opposite the homestead, was erected, Carlton, who had been keeping the postoffice in a store on the McEwen corner of State and Main streets, moved his goods and the postoffice across the river into the new building where he remained till 1851. This location of the postoffice out of the business section gave rise to considerable fault finding, Until the railroad had actually been completed, however, there was a question about its crossing the river, When it became evident that it would remain on the east side, Mr. Farnum moved the postoffice into the Empire Hall block which he built on the Opera House corner of State and Main streets. This building now stands on Main street near the Dike's Creek bridge March 11, 1851, marked an epoch in our history, for then the first railroad train ran through here, bringing prosperity to the pretty hamlet which had sent each winter loads of "clear stuff" pine or shingles to Dansville in exchange for pork and flour. Wellsville itself, thenceforth became the active, bustling market for a large section of surrounding country. New industries resulted from the energizing influence of the new business men who infused the village with a spirit of vital activity and substantial prosperity. Lumbering, however, remained the principal business of the community for some time, It was the basis for the making of many fortunes, For some months after the completion of the railroad the station was on Mill street. It is claimed by old residents that E. A. Smith and Nathaniel Johnson put such a price on lands along the road that the Erie hesitated long before purchasing real estate sufficient for switch yards, station, etc. There is a tradition (which the writer has found impossible to verify) that, had it not been for the exorbitant demands of our property holders, Wellsville instead of Hornellsville would have been made the division terminus, However, the same tradition honors Nathaniel Johnson by ascribing to him the making of a most excellent contract with the Erie, requiring it to stop every passenger train here.

Change of Name. - In 1852 the Erie railroad officials named the station at this place Genesee, because here the Erie first touched the Genesee river, The citizens, however, preferred Wellsville, and when in '55 a township was set off from Scio, Andover and Willing, it was by common consent called Wellsville like the village which for twelve years had been known by that name. There were those, however, who preferred the melodious and in many ways appropriate "Genesee," and on April 4, 1871, a few influential ones succeeded in getting through the legislature an act changing the name of the village to "Genesee," This was very quietly, if not secretly, done and considerably surprised the good people of Wellsville, the majority of whom favored the old name, April 11, 1871, the electors voted to reincorporate under the law of 1870. The certificate as filed reincorporated the village es "Wellsville." Here was confusion indeed; our legislative name was Genesee; the corporate name, Wellsville; and the Erie station, Genesee; while the people called the place Wellsville, June 14, 1873, a special act of the legislature, which had been petitioned for and urged by citizens, changed the name from Genesee to Wellsville, to be so designated in all courts and places. Section 2 of this act changed the name of the Erie station to Wellsville, and instructed the officials to recognize and adopt such name on and after Jan. 1, 1874, The Erie very reluctantly did so, changing baggage checks, tickets, printed matter, etc., from Genesee to Wellsville, Thus the largest southern settlement on the far famed and beautiful Genesee river lost a melodious name. It was not that our citizens failed to appreciate the beauty of the word Genesee. There was already a Geneseo in the state, a Genesee township and a Little Genesee postoffice in the county, and a Genesee Forks, but eleven miles distant, And thus it was that to avoid confusion Wellsville retained its first name in honor of its pioneer land owner Gardiner Wells.

Wellsville village was reincorporated in April 1871, H. H. Nye, president. It then covered 590 and 61-100 acres, It was enlarged Nov. 16, 1883, and reincorporated in 1884; the survey being made by R. H. Lee, It has 1,297 acres of land and 16 1/2 miles of streets. The assessed valuation in 1894 was $1,100,000, The boundaries in 1895 are:

Beginning on the northwesterly line of the residence of Ambrose G, Coats on Main street the corporation line passes to the rear of the home of the late John Crowner on High St., includes in the village the residence of Mr. W. C. Ross, above High St., thence to Niles Hill road taking in W. H. Dawson's property, crossing King St., at the junction of King with Clark St., cutting West Main St., at the Serena place, on through the Genesee river taking most of the Fair Ground, thence through Main St. at the north line of Thos, Morrison's lot (south line of Great lot 5 which runs to the south east corner of said lot) thence north, taking in Morris Wilson's and the N s rsery lot, crossing Rauber St, on the west line of the Rauber farm, onward north to the northeast corner of lot No, 4. Easterly crossing the land of W. H. Miller, taking in all of the village lot on Dike St. at the point of junction of Trapping Brook road with Dike St, thence due west cutting Dike's Creek and State street, so as to pass through the dwelling of Mr. Lewis Johnson, west to the southeast corner of lot 28, onward North including the lots of R. H Lee Dr, Gena and Wm. Stevens, crossing Madison St. through the residence of Geo, Cross, to the northeast corner of lot No, 27, to a point about 4o rods east of Briggs St., thence north parallell with Briggs St. taking in the residences on Briggs St. to a point north of the junction of Briggs and Farnum Sts., and then south westerly to the place of beginning; comprising an area of 1,297 acres,

The corporation is composed of these lots and parts of lots, Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 20, 21, 22, 27, parts of lots 31, 34, of Willing and Francis Tract, in Range 1, and parts of lots 2, 5, 40, 41, of the Robt, Morris Reserve in Range 2, and part of lot 24 Schermerhorn Tract, Range 1, and contains 46 streets which have a length of 16 1/2 miles. Beginning on the "Brooklyn" side of the Genesee River the streets are: King, Fassett, Clark, Pine, Pleasant, High, Factory, Earley, Stevens, Howard, Chamberlain, Seneca. On the east side of the Genesee: Main, Rauber, Hanover, Osborne, Dike, West Dike, State, Jefferson, Mill, Broad, Harrison, River, Madison, Second, Third, Furnace, Jefferson, Pearl, Lee Ave., Genesee, Depot, Loder, Elm, Martin, Grove, Lombard, Chestnut, Briggs. Furnace, Farnum, O'Connor, Coats, West Main, and Lewis Ave, State, West Main, and West Dike Sts., cross the Genesee river, State, Mill and Genesee streets cross Main St. Loder, a private street, belongs to the Erie Railway.

The village presidents have been: I. N. Stoddard, '58; W. H. Coats, '59; Nathaniel Johnson, '60; Austin Dunton, '61; Wm. Bartlett, '62, '63; L. D. Davis, '64, '65, '66; D. L. Vaughan, '67, '68; Dr. H. H. Nye, '69, '70; John Foland, '71; E. J. Farnum, '72; Hiram A. Coats, '73; James Macken, '74; A. A. Howard, '75, '76, '77; James Thornton was elected to fill unexpired term caused by Howard's death, but did not accept, and, failing to qualify, W. B. Coats was elected, '78; George Howe, '79; S. F. Hanks, '80; 0, P. Taylor, '81; Henry L. Jones, '82; D. C. Ackerman, '83, '84; Joseph Doty, '85; A. S, Brown, '86, '87; D. C. Ackerman, '88, '89; A. J. Applebee, '90; W. C. Kendall, '91. '92; A. S. Brown, '93; Grant Duke, '94, '95. The present trustees (1895) are: Grant Duke pres.; W. C. Kendall, E. D. Clark, Martin Moogan and Win, L. Rogers, E. J. Farnum, elected in 1872, was the first president chosen by the people, Under the incorporation of '58 the trustees chose their own presiding officer, the reincorporation in '71 empowered the electors to chose a president and granted him new powers of administration,

It is decidedly doubtful if ever again in the history of Wellsville any decade will see over 20 new business places equipped in substantial new brick blocks. Such was the case in the years '80 to '90. During this decade as many old stores were thoroughly repaired and furnished with plate-glass fronts, Beginning at Pearl street the new blocks on the west side of Main street were: The Reporter; Thurston, now Cummings; Thornton and Baldwin blocks, On the east side: the Wm. Duke; O'Connor; 1st Nat'l Bank; block adjoining bank; Lewis Bank & Gas Co's, and the Grant Duke block, In '88 there was erected in the rear and connected with Baldwin block a fine and large ground floor theater. It has seats for 500 and can accommodate 1,200 by using the very deep stage, The history of this wonderful '80-'90 decade would be incomplete with no mention of the remarkable roller skating craze. We had a great rink at the foot of River street with the finest hardwood floor ever built in the county, During the winter of '84 a band of music was in attendance every evening and gay crowds were skating away for dear life. The craze passed away as suddenly as it came and the rink was transformed into a theatre by Thornton & Dobbins, It was totally destroyed by fire a few days before it was to have been opened, It was in this decade that the village saw its wickedest as well as liveliest days. With the oil excitement came scores of reckless men and dissolute women, In '84 we had 55 places where liquor was sold and a half dozen houses of ill fame. A law and order league was organized and finally succeeded in driving out the greater part of the most depraved element and closing many of the saloons, Prominent in this league were Samuel Hanks, L. S, Anderson, A. O. Very, T. P. Otis; James Thornton, A. R. Hill and others,

Following this decade came reaction, The town had "boomed" on the basis of the oil business, which saw its palmiest days in '82 and was to find its dreariest period just ten years later, In '92 the oil market touched the lowest point in the history of this field's development, averaging but 55 cents a barrel, Sharply following this came the financial panic of '93 spreading disaster from the Atlantic to the Pacific, A year saw two banks and a number of business firms forced to make assignments. Real estate values and rents, which had been steadily going down for several years, reached the lowest point, The Lewis bank failure, Aug, 14, 1893, and the Baldwin bank failure, Jan. 9, 1894, tied up the currency at the very time depositors were most in need, and disastrous results to all our people were narrowly averted, That the town has recovered so remarkably is characteristic of its stability, In the year '93, the very worst of the depression, an electric light company was franchised. The plant is now owned by the water company, whose pumps and machinery, with the electric dynamos, etc., are located in a brick structure on the Brooklyn side of State street, In the spring of '95 the sudden rise in the value of oil wonderfully brightened the outlook for local business, This advance in price has stimulated drilling and put considerable money in circulation, The absorption of the W. C. & P. C. R. R. by the Buffalo & Susquehanna system brought another element of prosperity, The Citizens National Bank was organized and began business early in '95, while the prospect in all departments of trade brightened materially, Though the past five years saw the greatest depression in our business affairs, they also marked the construction of our most costly buildings, The theater had just been completed; the Methodist church, corner of Broadway and Madison streets, was erected in '93; the Union School building at a cost of $28,000, in '92; an $18,000 City Hall in '94, The new station of the B. & S, R. R. on State street, and several fine residences, including those of W. C. Ross, A. S. Brown and Sidney Frisbey, and the Baptist and Congregational parsonages were all built within five years, The Stillman & Ross greenhouses were recently built, The church of The Immaculate Conception to cost $50,000 is under construction on Harrison street, "The village has always been considered an important point on the Erie railroad and all through passenger and mail trains on the western division stop here, The Erie's payroll in Wellsville approximates $2,500 a month and its local cash receipts aggregate $25,000 a month. These figures tell a business story which needs no comment, The transactions at the postoffice repeat the tale, From 1888 to 1890 the receipts more than doubled, and, despite the financial depression, have increased $1,000 in five years, gaining pretty nearly half that amount in the past 18 months. The First National Bank has deposits of $350,000 and transacts a conservative loan, discount and collection business of great volume. The Citizens' National, recently chartered, already holds deposits of $125,000 and publishes an excellent report of its condition,"

Schools. - The first public school was kept in 1832. As the town grew other district schools were founded and the one of '32 was moved successively from the cornor of State and Main to Broad and Mill in '37, and in '42 to the present Union School property, where is now, after being twice destroyed by fire, a substantial brick structure. There are now 10 whole districts, 5 joint districts and 12 schoolhouses in the township, The lives of the district schools, with the exception of those which have united with Union Free School District No. 1, have been decidedly uneventful. Progress, however, has been yearly made, the schoolhouses are more convenient, the methods of instruction improved and the teachers much better qualified to impart instruction, District No. 2 (Brooklyn) employs 4 teachers. In 1858 the Main street schoolhouse was a small building with a single room. April 12, 1859, it was voted to erect a new house which was completed by Jan. 1, 1860, and cost $1,868.50. Nov. 16, 1859, it was resolved by a two thirds vote to create a Union Free School District. The members of the first board of education were: Charles Collins, Hiram York, H. M. Sheerar, G. W. Russell, Wm, Peebles, W. H. Coats, Edmond Baldwin, W. S, Johnson and I. W. Fassett. En 1860 the average attendance was 209. The teachers were: Prof. A. C. Spicer, principal; Mrs. A. C. Spicer, assistant; Mrs. T. L. Smith, intermediate; Miss L. A. Wildman, primary. The principals have been A. C. Spicer, F, A. Williams, A. H. Lewis, G, S, Hicks, M. B. Rankin, D. A. Blakeslee, D. L. Freeborn, Prof. de la Rochette, C. B. Macken, J. L. Burritt, C. M. Harding and L. W. Craig. Mrs. Addie Elwell has had the longest service in the school, having taught there 25 years, April 1, 1865, the legislature ratified all the acts of the trustees and incorporated the school, Feb. 27, 1876, the schoolhouse was burned. A new one costing $7,000 was immediately erected on the old site, Until this was completed school was held in the Keystone block, and five teachers were employed,

The Regents System, - In February, 1882, the board of education was made up of A. O. Very, James Thornton, J. H. Preasall, G, W. Pierce, M. Macken, Mrs. B. C. Rude, L. S. Anderson, Mrs. T. P. Otis and W. W. Nichols, The faculty consisted of C. B. Macken, principal; Mrs. Bingham, 1st assistant; Miss Flora Parish, A intermediate; Miss Ida Ross, B intermediate; Miss Bridget Shaughnessy, primary April 3, 1882, by a vote of 7 to 2 the trustees voted to establish an academic department under the government of the Regents of the University of the State of New York, to take effect July 1, 1882. Considerable opposition was' manifested, June 3, 1882, the board elected a new principal and added one teacher to the faculty which was now: J. L. Burritt, principal; Miss Carrie Coats, 1st assistant; Mrs. Bingham, Grammar department; Mrs. Elwell, A intermediate; Miss Sarah Yorke, B intermediate; Miss B. Shaughnessy, primary, Prof. Burritt thoroughly reorganized the school, and the entire course of instruction was revolutionized, He was aided and encouraged by the board, whose faithful endeavor to care for the best interests of education among us, has been crowned by lasting success.

At the annual election of trustees following the introduction of the Regents' system, 200 votes were cast. a very unusual number and James Thornton, A. O. Very, T. Frank Fisher were re-elected by a good majority, though not without a heated opposition, Prof, Burritt's salary of $1,000 was increased May 7, 1883, to $1,250, and July 1, 1884, to $1,500, Dec. 1, 1884, C. M. Harding of Canton, Pa., was engaged as vice principal at a salary of $600, In 1885 a large addition was made to the building and a new system of heating and ventilation costing $5,575 was put in, Dec, 18, 1885, Prof. J. L. Burritt resigned, Prof, Harding became principal at a salary of $1,000 (increased in March, 1887, to $1,250). Mrs. Hallock became vice principal, she was succeeded by E. M. Lake in 1886, who was followed by Prof, Noll. The school building and contents was destroyed by fire in the spring of 1891. The insurance covered the loss and the building now occupied was immediately commenced, In 1893 Prof. L. W. Craig became principal, at a salary of $1,250, The faculty now is, Lewis W. Craig, A.M., principal. Greek and Latin; Chas. E. Bryant, vice principal, Science and Mathematics; Louie J. Sackett, Training Class and History; Mary E. Fassett, Language and Literature; Ella Ione Foster, eighth grade; M. Adell Fuller, seventh grade, Mary S. Wilcox, sixth grade; Mrs. A. T. Elwell, fifth grade; Sarah Plain, fifth grade extra; Charlotte R. Boothe, fourth grade; Nellie E. Devore, third grade; B. T. Shaughnessy, second grade; Kate Day, first grade,

Wellsville Union and High School has now a building which in beauty, conveniences, and sanitary conditions is not surpassed by any in Western New York, Completed in 1892, it is built of brick and stone, and contains ample grade and recitation rooms, a large laboratory, a well arranged library room, and a hall, for literary and other exercises, with a seating capacity for 650 people, The chemical laboratory is furnished with desks, gas and water for individual experimental work, Four 60 count, two 70 count, one 80 count, one 90 count and 21 academic diplomas were granted in 1894-5, A teachers training class is maintained, 559 students were in attendance in 1894-5; 127 in the High School. There are 111 non resident pupils, Since the first class graduated in 1885, 86 have received Regents' diplomas, The board of education is A. G. Coats, president; Geo. E. Brown. A. S, Brown, 0, L. Mather, Rev, Geo Bunch, O. A. Fuller, Geo. Rosa, Mrs. Mary L. Bruce, Mrs. L. A. Marvin, O. D. Browning is clerk and F. H. Furman treasurer,

CHURCHES First Seventh day Baptist Church. - The Seventh day Baptists have been long represented in. Wellsville, On March 4, 1830, Deacon Jesse Rowley made his home in the dense forest then occupying the site of Wellsville village, when only a few families were scattered from Stannard's Corners to Amity, The deacon, a godly man, sought religious associations and held meetings, A council held at his residence, May 16, 1834, organized a church with these members: Jesse, Charles, Nathan and Mary Rowley, Amos L. Maxson, William Davis, Joseph and Elizabeth Flint, Justus Seeley, Jonathan and Achsah Fisk, Stephen Tanner, Joseph Flint, John D. Green, Sally Straite and Lydia Ammadown, This body was weak in numbers and in funds and affiliated with the Amity church, and was in the course of years merged with the Scio organization, No other organization of this faith existed here until 1885. when the church named above was formed, September 9th, with these members: Dr, Jasper W. Coller, Mrs Ardoette G., his wife, Mrs. Prudence Smith, Hosea B. Marion, Mrs. Esther A. Miller, Mrs. Eliza Rowley, Mrs. Ida M. Irish, Ira S. Crandall, Mrs. Mary E. Amy, Mrs. Hattie K Goodliff, Mrs. Waity A. Witter, Simeon B. Smith, Minerva E. his wife, Abram W. Sullivan, Della M. his wife, Joshua Green, Sarah C. his wife, Lorenzo Witter, Mattie A. his wife. Three of the constituent members, Hosea B. Marion, Mrs. Eliza Rowley and Mrs. Minerva E. Smith, have died. The additions since organization have been, 44; the dismissions by letter have been, 10; the exclusions, 2; the deaths, 6; present membership (34 resident, 11 non resident) 45. The succession of pastors is: Rev, Leander E. Livermore, Sept 9, 1885, to June 1, 1888, Rev, Joshua Clarke from June 1, 1888, to Aug. 13, 1892, Rev. Henry L. Jones from Nov. 16, 1893, to the present, The deacons have been, Ira S. Crandall since September, 1885, Henry L. Jones from Dec. 12, 1888, until his removal April 1, 1892, to Verona, N. Y., where he was ordained. He returned and became pastor in November, 1893, J. W. Coller, M. D., has been church clerk from the beginning, Services are held at 11 A. M. in the Disciples' church on Mill street east of the railroad, Sabbath school immediately follows the morning service. Mrs. E. E. Crandall is superintendent,

First Congregational Church. (By H. M. Sheerar.) - In 1841 Angelica Presbytery appointed Revs, A. S, Allen of Andover, Benjamin Russell of Belmont and Elder Perry a committee charged with the special duty of organizing a Presbyterian church in Wellsville. This committee met 17 professing Christians of Wellsville, July 6, 1841, in the schoolhouse standing on the corner of Mill and Broad streets where is now the residence of Miss Anah Baldwin, These persons related their experience and became members: Mr. and Mrs. Norman Perry, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas G. Conklin, Mr. and Mrs. James Dunham, Mrs. Perces Y, Johnson. Mrs. Lucinda Gowdy, Mrs. Betsey Ann Lee, Mrs. Polly Shingler, Mrs. Louisa Harmon, Misses Betsey, Sally and Catherine Bellamy, Miss Mary Dunham (Mrs. Dwight Goodrich), Miss Louisa Dunham and Miss Charlotte Finn. The confession of faith of Phillipsville (Belmont) church was adopted. Prayer was offered by Rev. B. Russell. The charge" was by Rev, A. S, Allen, and then "A resolution made them the first Presbyterian church of Wellsville," James Dunham and Norman Perry were chosen elders, and Thomas Conklin clerk, These persons united by letter: (Those with a * annexed and Mrs. Dwight Goodrich were members in March, 1895.) John F, Godard and wife, Josph Shaut and wife, Geo, F, Ely, Mrs Hannah Purple, Mrs. Emaline Hills, Mrs. Phcebe Taylor, Miss Anna Reynolds, Miss Margarette Pratt, Miss Nancy Cole, Mrs. Silas Hills. Mrs. John Carpenter,* Mrs. John Dayton, Mrs. Sarah Johnston, Julius Hoyt*, Henry Lewis* and Myron Fuller. The first communion service was in December, 1842, Rev. Mr. Reynolds officiating, when John F, Godard and wife united by letter, The first infant baptism was administered by Rev. Mr. Reynolds to John L son of John F. Godard. The first addition by profession of faith was Myron Fuller, The first death was that of Polly Shingler. The first preparatory lecture was by Nathaniel Hammond in 1847, when he became pastor, He continued in this relation until Feb. 26, 1853, when he delivered his last preparatory lecture, and, on the Sunday following, administered the holy sacrament for the last time to this church,

After the close of Mr. Hammond's labors only 14 members could be found. May 18, 1856, this small church invited Rev, Stewart Sheldon to preach in the Baptist church, and he became pastor May 25, 1856, July 1, 1856, a meeting was held in Metropolitan Hall (corner of Pearl and Loder streets) to re-organize as a Congregational church. Rev, Stewart Sheldon was chosen chairman, and H. M. Sheerar secretary. Of the members were present, James Dunham, Julius Hoyt, Joseph Shaut and Myron Fuller. A resolution was passed bringing into existence the FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, and a constitution, articles of faith and covenant were adopted, The church then consisted of these charter members: Jullus Hoyt, Myron Fuller and. wife, Mrs. John Dayton, Mrs. Silas Hills, Miss Nancy Cole, Joseph Shaut and wife, Mrs. John Carpenter, Mrs. Sally Johnston, H. N, Lewis. Mr. and Mrs. James Dunham, Mrs. Dwight Goodrich, The first services were held in Metropolitan Hall, The store under this hall was used as a wholesale liquor store, and the church members could not enter their place of worship without being forcibly reminded that man had a depraved spirituous as well as a spiritual nature, and sometimes their devotion were disturbed by the devotees of Bacchus beneath them, The Free Press, edited and published by A. N. Cole, gave this small but vigorous church a compliment in one of his bright editorials thus:

The spirit above is the spirit of love, The spirit below is the spirit of woe; The spirit above is truly divine, The spirit below - adulterated wine.

Services were held from April 28, 1856, until Nov. 7, 1857, in this hall, The new church went to work with faith and zeal, A lot was purchased of John Carpenter on the left bank of the Genesee river; the contract for building the church let to Wm. Gifford; ground broken in May, 1857, and the church was finished and dedicated Nov. 10th of the same year, The dedication sermon was preached by the pastor, Mr. Sheldon; text, "And the glory of the Lord filled the house." Mr. Sheldon remained pastor four years, preaching his farewell sermon May 6, 1860, Rev, Eusebius Hale, the next pastor, entered upon his duties Nov. 18, 1860, and remained three and one half years. Rev. Charles Livingston succeeded him May 22, 1864. Aug. 10, 1866, Mr. Livingston was ordained an evangelist by the Genesee Valley Presbytery, then in session in this church. Nov. 14, 1867, Mr. Livingston resigned, preaching his farewell sermon Nov. 18, 1867. Rev. T. H. Quigley was the next settled pastor, serving from May 30, 1868, to April 30, 1870. Rev. E. W. Brown became pastor Aug. 20, 1870, and resigned May 7, 1873.

With the growth of the village the Congregationalists began to think they ought to have a larger, a more central and a more commodious house of worship, and October 17, 1870, a special meeting was called and this building committee appointed: Julius Hoyt, E. J. Farnum, A. Howard and Thomas Pullar, Dec, 20, 1870, a contract for the lot now occupied was made for $4,000, and the first payment of $1,000 on it was made by the ladies, In the autumn of 1871, $12,000 was subscribed, and in the spring of 1872 a contract was made with a Mr. Henry for the brick work. The first blow toward the new church was struck by workmen June 10, 1872, in demolishing an old woodshead in the rear of the Stevens' dwelling which stood where the church now stands, Excavation was commenced on the cellar June 3, 1872, The corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies Aug. 12, 1872, Rev, E. W. Brown, the pastor, read a poem, and Dr, Niles of Corning, preached the, sermon in the Baptist church. There was placed in the cornerstone a box containing one copy each of these papers, pamphlets and magazines:

New York Independent, Evangelist, Christian Union, American Messenger, Sunday School World, Advocate and Guardian, Golden Censer, Child at Home, Good Words, Good Cheer, Old and Young, Sunday School Times, The Nation, Harper's Weekly, Frank Leslie's Ladies' Journal, New York Times, Tribune, and World, Illustrated Zeitung, Albany Argus and Evening Times, Rochester Union and Advertiser, Buffalo Daily Courier, Elmira Daily Advertiser, and Gazette, Corning Democrat, Bath Courier. Hornellsville Times, and Tribune, Springfield Republican, Canaseraga Advertiser, Andover Advertiser, Cuba Patriot, Allegany County Reporter, Wellsville Free Press and Democrat, Friendship Register, Scio Express, Baxter's Record (Friendship), Godey's Ladies' Book, Our Young Folks, Golden Rule, Golden Hours, Family Christian Almanac (1872), Report of the 7th Annual Convention New York State Teachers' Association, Home Missionary, Presbyterian Monthly Record, S, S, Paper for August r8, 1872, Foreign Missionary, Bistoury, Woods Household Magazine, Scribner's Monthly, American Educational Monthly, Bookseller's Guide, Bible Society Record, College Advocate, North Pacific Railroad Business Routes, etc., 7th Annual Announcement of the Phila. College of Dentistry, Farmers' Almanac, 1872, Illustrated Catalogue of Estey Organs, Program of S. S, Teachers' Institute held at Rushford in 1872, Dental Cosmos, American Agriculturist, 48th Annual Report of American Sunday School Union, Sunday School Journal, 1872, Sunday School Teacher, 1872, Copy of Articles of Faith and Covenant of this church, History of this church and list of members, pewholders, officers and members of Sunday School, A copy of the subscription list for the church; also a complete set of postage stamps, furnished by L. D. Davis, P. M., with a characteristic letter; Complete set of revenue stamps given by York & Chamberlain, Coins contributed by Hoyt & Lewis, (silver) half dollar, quarter dollar, dime and half dime; (nickel) five cent piece and three cent piece; (copper) cent and half cent; the last was given by Murray Carl; U, 5, fractional currency by Baldwin Bros., 50, 25, 10, and 5 cent scrip; 25 cent fractional currency (first issue) by H. B. Marion; Pocket diary, 1875, by Arnold & Ellis; Patent ink eraser by Palmer & Elliott, Watch key by Kendall Bros., Stereoscopic views of E. J. Farnum's residence, Union Schoolhouse, E. B. Hall's residence, Fassett House and Howell House; three views of A. N. Cole's trout ponds, six views of Nile's Hill in Alma, where the cornerstone and other stones of this church were quarried; two views on Genesee river below Jefferson's dam, one view of the old bridge by J. A. Rider, one certificate of stock issued by the Cong, Sabbath School in favor of said school, 62 shares, $6.20; Pocket mirror and pinholder with pins, Steel pens and penholder, Oneset of artificial teeth mounted on rubber base, by H. M. Sheerar, dentist; Lead pencil and slate pencil, One bottle of hair oil to be sold too years hence for the benefit of this church, One bottle of perfume, furnished by E. B. Hall, druggist, with this sentiment: "My love for life is so strong that I would like to live forever, August 11, 1872, E. B. Hall"; A set of cut nails from the smallest tack to a heavy "double ten," by E. B. Tuller, hardware merchant.

March 7, 1874, the church was completed at a cost (with lot) of $27,000, and March 12th it was dedicated free from debt with three dollars in the treasury.* Rev, Thomas K. Beecher preached the dedication sermon. Rev. F. W. Beecher (nephew of Thomas K.) offered the dedicatory prayer, and entered upon his duties as pastor, Sunday, March 15, 1874, He held the longest pastorate in Wellsville, 18 years and 3 months, and preached his farewell sermon June 26, 1892, Rev. Edward A. Leeper, D.D., the present pastor commenced his labors Nov. 6, 1892, and was installed Dec. 13, 1892. He was born in Princton, Ill., in 1847, graduated from Oberlin Theological Seminary in 1877, received his degree of D.D, from Amity College, Iowa, in 1889, and came to Wellsville from York, Neb.

In 1894 extensive repairs were made, consisting of an inclined elevated floor, a lowered ceiling of beautiful Georgia pine, new and convenient curved seats, The parlors were improved, electric lights put in and other changes made, The audience room is now as fine as any in this section. The cost in round numbers was $2,500, The pulpit is made of black walnut and birds eye maple. The communion table is the handiwork of Mr. Gaede, an accomplished wood carver of Wellsville,

First Things. - The prayer meeting was held in Metropolitan Hall, May 25, 1856. The first Sunday school session occurred May 11, 1856, H. M. Sheerar acting superintendent. He was elected June 8th, and has filled the office the greater part of the time since. The first "collection" ($3,90) was taken July 15, 1856, First admission by letter Mrs. Sheldon, Aug. 1, 1856, First admission by profession Polly Atwood. First baptism Edith Sheerar, Aug. 24, 1856, First instrument used in any church, service in Wellsville, was a bass viol played by H. M. Sheerar in Congregational choir, First meeting in Genesee street church, Nov. 15, 1857. First Sunday school teachers' meeting held at Samuel Carpenter's house, Jan. 17, 1878, H. M. Sheerar leader Uniform series of lessons adopted by this Sunday school Jan. 10, 1869. Blackboard, maps, charts and pictures introduced into this school before any other school in this county. The brick church was the first brick church erected in the county, and the first meeting in it was on March 15, 1874. First session of Sunday school in the new chapel was Jan. 11, 1874.

Dec. 7, 1874, Rev. Thomas K. Beecher lectured here giving the proceeds toward the purchase of a pipe organ for the church. To the same object $775 was pledged at the meeting held the next day. Mr. E. J. Farnum said at this meeting "I will give one-tenth of the cost of the organ, and you may get as good a one as you are a mind to." This offer secured our splendid organ, which was placed in the church and first used in an organ concert May 14, 1875. The organ has 24 stops and over 800 speaking pipes. Miss Edith Sheerar, the present organist, was the first regular organist.

History files for Wellsville.

Town of Wellsville part 1, part 2.

Village of Wellsville Part 1, part 2.

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