Methodist Episcopal Church. (by Mr. L. S. Anderson) - On the 12th day of December,
1851, the following notice was issued: "The members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Wellsville will meet
at the schoolhouse in the village of Wellsville on the 6th day of January, 1852, for the purpose of forming a corporation
and electing officers to build a Methodist Episcopal church or place of worship, to be located at Wellsville."
Previous to this, meetings were held once in four weeks in the schoolhouse. A subscription had been circulated
by Lewis Foster, and pledges of over $1,000 secured. At the meeting held pursuant to the above call, legal steps
for the organization of the society were taken. John Carpenter, Lewis Foster and Dwight Goodrich were elected trustees,
and instructed to procure a site for a meeting house, superintend the planning and building and to collect and
use the subscription. Of the names recorded on that subscription but few (I think ten) would appear in a present
directory of Wellsville. The largest pledge was $50, one $30, six $25, four $20, a few $15, and the rest from 50c.
to $10. On the 26th of August, 1852, a contract was made with S. Wyllys of Scio, for the erection of a church 36x54
ft., for the sum of $1,354, not including the frame, mason work, or inside painting. Rev. John Shaw was pastor
in 1852-3, and during his pastorate the church was built. He came before his appointment on the Scio charge (which
included Wellsville), held a quarterly meeting in the schoolhouse, and found 44 Methodists here. He accepted the
appointment at a salary of $500 for the support of his family of seven children; he received $350, partly made
up by "donations," in which the value of the provisions furnished for the supper, and eaten by the donors,
was included in the pastor's salary. Lewis Foster, in the movement which culminated in the building of the church,
was the moving spirit. The subscription was secured by him, the contract for the building, and the records for
some years afterward, are in his handwriting. For years his house was a home for Methodist preachers.
In the summer of 1853 the church was dedicated. The writer came, a boy of 13, from Almond with his mother, to hear
Bishop James preach the dedicatory sermon. The impression made on his mind by the number of big pine stumps on
Main street has outlived that made by the dedicatory exercises. On the 11th of February, 1854 a judgment was confessed
by the trustees, in favor of S. Wyllys, the contractor, for $875, amount due him on contract. Rev. Mr. Maiming
was pastor in 1854-5. Services were held every Sunday afternoon and evening, the morning services being at Scio.
During 1855-6 Rev. C. C. Goss was pastor. He was followed in 1856 by Rev. John Spinks, who remained until 1858.
In March, 1857, Bro John James Speed undertook to raise the money to pay the church debt of over $600. He continued
in this 11 months, visiting 130 towns of the state in which he collected $1 from most of the contributors, and
from 10 to 25 cents for his expenses. The detailed statement of these contributions, together with the smallest
item of his expenses, etc., and the resolutions, signed by Rev. John Spinks, pastor, Dwight Goodrich, W. H. H.
Wyllys, and Eli Potter, trustees, approving the fathfulness and fidelity of his work, are among the interesting
items of our church history.
January 18, 1858, it was "Resolved unanimously that we approve congregational singing in our church,"
also, "Resolved that the trustees be authorized to sell the melodeon as best they can." At the annual
meeting in 1859 the trustees were authorized to purchase a melodeon for the church, "if they can be provided
with funds," and K D. Rosa, Daniel Vaughn, and G. G. Bennett were elected as a committee to secure such funds.
Also, "Resolved that the second resolution passed at the last annual meeting (approving congregational singing)
be rescinded." As this resolution stands on record as the latest action of the church, such members as have
indulged in congregational singing should understand that they have no official sanction for so doing.
Rev. E. D. Rosa in 1858 succeeded Rev. John Spinks. Ms term extending until 1860. During his pastorate the work
and influence of the church were largely extended. The church at Scio was built. Preaching in several places where
there had been no religious services was begun. Brother Rosa had appointments at Wellsville, Scio, Vandermark,
Knight's Creek, Hallsport, Stannard's Corners, and Proctor schoolhouse. Preaching at Hallsport was in the schoolhouse,
controlled by an Universalist. He closed the schoolhouse, and a hotel keeper offered his ballroom, which was accepted,
and a series of meetings held, in which so many were converted that a preacher was sent to Hallsport and Stannard's
Corners. Soon after the war of the rebellion Mrs. Grant was being congratulated on the general's work, when she
replied that she was not surprised, "for the general was always a very wilful man." The writer was not
acquainted with Brother Rosa, but it would seem that, fortunately for Methodism in Wellsville, he might be characterized
in the same way. Realizing the necessity of a parsonage he desired the church to undertake the work of securing
one, which was refused. He then purchased the ground where our new church now stands. It was well covered with
pine stumps. He employed Bro. Walter Statham by the month to assist in church work at the outside preaching-places,
and dig stumps. After he had dug the dirt from the roots and got a large lever in position, he would invite the
workmen going by to dinner, to "give him a lift." In this way the stumps were removed. After Brother
Rosa had done this and secured a donation of $50 in lumber from E. J. Farnum, and $25 in timber from Bennett Rowland,
the trustees were induced to take the lot. and the parsonage was built.
From 1860 to 1862 Rev. S. H. Aldridge was pastor, from 1862 to 1864 Rev. C. J. Bradbury. 1864 to 1866, Rev. Wm.
Armstrong. The records show but little of the work. as the war overshadowed all other interests. The writer came
to Wellsville in the spring of 1866. Preaching services in the afternoon were well attended, but a large share
of the congregation were members of other churches, while many Methodists went elsewhere in the morning, and were
too tired to come in the afternoon. The chorister and some of the members of the Baptist choir constituted the
larger part of our choir. Mr. Henry L. Jones, a Baptist, was our Sunday school superintendent. That year we raised
as our share of the pastor's salary $300, to which was added a very liberal "donation," Brother Armstrong
being very popular. The ladies cleared about $90 unfinishedal held July 4, 1866, in the uniinished store of Mr.
John B. Clark. A receipted bill for the strawberries for that festival at 40 cents a quart was found not long ago.
During 1866 to 1869 Bro. E. P. Huntingdon was pastor. He saw that if we were ever to have a congregation and Sunday
school in Wellsville of our own it must be by having services in the morning, and decided to have services here
in the morning and at Scio in the afternoon. This deprived us, at once. of the outside help we had had in choir.
Sunday school and congregation. and for a time it was hard rowing up the stream. During Bro. Huntingdon's pastorate
the fund in the hands of the ladies started by the festival July 4, was used to make needed repairs andethe pulpit
platform in its present appearance was built. During Bro. Huntingdon's pastorate we wkreviouslyo add one-third
to the amount previously raised for pastor's salary, and our congregation, choir and Sunday school became established
Rev. Daniel Clark was pastor from 1869 to 1871. During his second year a large revival at Scio added so many to
the church there that the charge was divided at the ensuing conference. Rev. David Nutten was pastor from 1871
to 1874. During his pastorate our congregation increased until it was necessary to enlarge the church in 1872 at
a cost of $1,600. Pledges covering the amount were secured, but so much time was taken by some who paid, and so
many failed to pay, that when all the pledges possible were collected there remained a debt of $900. The annual
interest on this, together with the last end of the pastor's salary, were usually paid by draft on the Ladies'
Aid Society. Bro. D. Leisenring was pastor from 1874 to 1876 His faithful labors, together with those of his equally
faithful wife, resulted in a widening and deepening of the hold of the church. Rev. Mr. Bradbury was pastor from
1876 to 1878.
Our beloved Father Rice was pastor from 1878 to 1881. During the last two years he lived in his own house and gave
the rent of the parsonage to the church and it was applied in reducing the church debt. During his pastorate a
revival occurred, the fruits of which are among the most potent factors of our church life today. Bro. C. G. Stevens
was pastor from 1881 to 1884. His work among us was ably supported by his wife. It was during his pastorate we
had our last "donation" for the pastor. It was largely attended and the amount realized was unexpectedly
large, testifying to the general esteem felt for him by the community. It was determined at the beginning of the
conference year 1884 and 5 to make the seats free and to adopt the plan of securing pledges payable weekly. Its
success was immediate and a happy surprise. This change in our financial plan marks distinctly the beginning of
an improved condition in our finances.
During the pastorate of Brother L D Chase, commencing with our change of plan in 1884 and closing in 1887, the
remainder of the church debt (then $500) was paid. All incidental debts were paid, and at the close of each conference
year we were able to report pastor paid in full " without calling on any of the "supplements." In
1887 Rev. K P. Hubbell became pastor, the first under the five-year limit, and remained the full five years. Among
the enduring monuments of his labors stands the new church. The coming of Rev. F. H. Cowman as Brother Hubbell's
successor is a demonstration of the successful working of the church economy, and his pastorate so far has carried
on well the good work done by Bro. Hubbell. The number of communicants is over 400. A large Sabbath school is doing
good work for the young. This church has several vigorous auxiliary societies: Ladies' Aid Society, Woman's Foreign
Missionary Society, Epworth League, Junior Epworth League, Wrecking Band, etc.
In the pastorate of Mr. Hubbell it was decided to build a $10,000 church on the corner of Madison and Broadway
streets. By 1892 $9,000 was raised and the contract to build the church was let to John Prest of Andover. It was
completed at cost of $13,000 and dedicated April 23, 1893, Bishop Vincent attending to that function. The Ladies'
Aid Society paid $1,300 to the building fund, and on the day of dedication $6,000 was pledged to free the house
from debt and $2,000 for an organ. The church is an "up-to-date" edifice, a credit to the village. The
bell is the oldest church bell of Wellsville, having called Methodists to worship for over 40 years.
The "First Baptist Church of Wellsville" was organized May 21, 1852. The following persons were constituent
members: A. A. Goodliff and wife, Welcome H. Coats and wife, Charles Hatch, Bartholomew Coats and wife, I. W. Fassett,
S. Lowell and wife, Wayne Spicer and wife, Robert Vorhees and wife, E. Gowdy and wife, W. H. Harrison and. wife,
Mrs. Tuthill. Mrs. Spicer, Mrs. Sally Farnum and Mrs. and Miss Carpenter. February 7, 1854, the first meetinghouse
was dedicated. The number of members at this time was 64. The growth of the organization from the beginning was
very flattering, and although the early years of the enterprise were filled with perplexity and trial, the church
continued to advance steadily. One edifice and its furnishings has been destroyed by fire, and again a cyclone
unroofed the building, but the noble band of working and praying brethren and sisters grappled successfully with
all these difficulties and maintained a prominent place in the village Few, if any, Baptist churches can boast
of such a membership, comprising the choicest and best of earth. The society has been always noted for loyalty
to its pastor and for unity and harmony among its members. The first pastor of the church was Rev. G. W. Huntley.
He was followed by Rev. L. W. Onley, Rev. James DeBois, Rev. F. F. Emerson, Rev. E. F. Crane, Rev. J. W. Spoor.
Rev. Albert Coit, Rev. M. W. Covell and Rev. Charles B. Perkins who is the present pastor. Under his ministry a
beautiful parsonage has been erected upon a corner lot given by Mrs. W. B. Coats. A flourishing Young People's
Society of Christian Endeavor is maintained, 'and the sabbath school, numbering 250, has for the superintendent
Charles E. Davis. During the revival in December, 1895. the church increased its membership about 25.
Rev. Charles B. Perkins, A. M., was born in Newburyport, Mass., Oct. 12, 1845. He was graduated from the college
now Colgate University in 1871 and in 1873 from Hamilton Theological Seminary. October 9, 1873, he was ordained
pastor of the Clinton Avenue Baptist Church of Trenton, N. J., where he labored four and one-half years. He was
next pastor of the First Baptist Church of Binghamton for two years, then had charge nine years of the First Baptist
church of Amsterdam and came to Wellsville in 1893 after a five year pastorate at Corning. His wife, formerly Miss
Mary Northrup, he married in 1873 at Binghamton. They have one child, Fannie White.
St. John's Episcopal Church was organized according to the constitution and canons of the Protestant Episcopal
Church and the laws of the state of New York, May 30, 1859, and admitted to union with the diocese of Western New
York in the next August. Rev. John A. Bowman was then missionary in charge. He was followed by Rev. Robt. Dobyns
in 1864. Rev. J. H. Waterbury took charge of the parish in December, 1865. These officers were elected April 2,
1866: Senior warden, W. G. Johnson; junior warden, Elijah Stowell; vestrymen, E. A. Smith, Geo. Russell, Hiram
York, Nathanael Johnson, D. C. Judd, Lebbeus Sweet, J. L. Williams, R. R. Helme. The corner stone of the church
edifice, erected during the rectorship of Rev. J. H. Waterbury, was laid Aug. 13, 1866, by the rector, these gentlemen
participating in the service: Rev. Lewis Thibou of Belmont, Rev. M. Scofield of Angelica, and Rev. Dr. H. N. Strong
of Olean. The Rev. Adolphus Rumpff succeeded Rev. Mr Waterbury as rector. The church building was moved to its
present site, corner Main and Genesee streets in July, 1872. Rev. J. Wainright Ray was rector at that time. The
year previous a commodious house was purchased to be used as a parsonage. Among the early officers of the church
were Brigham Hanks, D. C. Judd and C. M. Bucher who served as wardens. In April. 1887, Rev. E. H. Edson became
rector. The present (1895) officers are Brigham Hanks, senior warden; Oscar A. Fuller, junior warden. Rev. S. A.
Whitcomb is the present rector. He is a very scholarly gentleman. with fine literary abilities. The ladies of the
church organized and for years have maintained two very efficient societies for benevolent work; they are known
as St. John's Guild and St. Margaret's Guild.
The Broad Street Church of Christ (Disciples) was the immediate outgrowth of a series of revival meetings held
in the opera house in February, 1886, by the Rev. H. B. Sherman of Canada, afterward state evangelist for Pennsylvania.
An organization was effected that winter and on Dec. 4, 1888, the society was legally incorporated with 80 members
and these officers: David S. Jones, W. M. BeElsie, and T. J. Applebee, trustees; David S. Jones and T. J. Applebee,
elders; W. M. Bellisle, Samuel F. Hanks and T. J. Applebee, deacons; and S. F. Wanks, clerk; all of whom still
hold their respective offices. The prime mover in organizing the church was T. J. Applebee, a member of the Church
of Christ of Scio. Services were at first held in the opera house and later in a brick store which the society
had rented of W. F. Jones and fitted up. A frame church building was begun, which, on Jan. 24, 1889, was formally
opened and dedicated. Rev. B. B. Tyler of New York City preached the dedicatory sermon, assisted by Rev. J. M.
Trible of Buffalo, and local pastors of other denominations. The edifice, including lot, cost about $6,000 and
the society is free of indebtedness. The present membership is 125. The first pastor was Rev. George P. Slade,
who came from Centralia, Ill., and assumed charge in the spring of 1886. He continued until January, 1887, when
he moved to Missouri and was succeeded by Rev. John Encell, from Syracuse, who remained till August, 1889. He went
to Suspension Bridge, N. Y., and his successor was Rev. D. H. Patterson of Indiana, who continued in charge until
Nov. 1, 1892, when he went to Auburn. The next pastor was Rev. C. A. Kleeberger. Nine months later he was succeeded
by John L. Phoenix of Troy, Pa., for one year. The present pastor, Rev. A. R. Miller, formerly of Canton, Ohio,
commenced his pastorate Nov. 1, 1894. The church is rapidly growing and prosperous, 35 additions to its membership
occurring in the winter of 1894-5. The Sunday school membership is about 100 with 12 teachers and William Wilson
German Evangelical Lutheran Church. (By H. A. Laewen.) - As tall oaks from little acorns grow, so did this congregation
grow from very small and slender beginnings to its present strength and importance. It is about a score and ten
years ago that a few Lutheran families, who had cast their lot amongst the forest-clad hills of old Allegany, banded
themselves together to form what is to-day the flourishing Evangelical Lutheran congregation of this place. They
had shaken the dust of the fatherland from their feet primarily to ameliorate their physical welfare. They found
what they had hoped to find, a land of milk and honey; honey trickling even from the forest tree. What of the primeval
condition of the country? What of the toil and struggles to convert this wilderness into homes? They were able
and willing to cope with them unflinchingly. But no sooner did they see their physical wants in a measure supplied,
when their spiritual wants came home to them. Echoes from their childhood and youth, when they used to chant the
battle hymn of the great reformer: "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott!" when they were wont to listen to
the inspired words of the sacred volume on the sabbath day after the toil and turmoil of the busy week. They cast
about for a proper person to preach to them the way to salvation in their own tongue even as it had been taught
them in the fatherland. Such a man they found to be the Rev. I. H. Doermann, at that time pastor of a Lutheran
congregation at Olean. He was prevailed upon to visit them from time to time, and to perform what pastoral ministrations
were necessary until they sent a call to Mr. Conrad Engelder, who had, in June, 1860. been graduated from the Concordia
Seminary at St. Louis, Mo., an institution of learning belonging to the Lutheran synod of that state. They were
in all 17 persons who resolved to form a congregation with Mr. Conrad Engelder as their chosen pastor, who thereafter
successfully administered the affairs of this little flock, They prospered and grew in number until they felt sufficiently
strong to secure some suitable place of worship of their own, having until this time held their devotional exercises
in the various houses of the several members, A house and lot on Martin St. was bought from Mrs. Judd for $800.
The building was transformed into a schoolhouse which was also used as a place of worship on the sabbath. This
modest structure was the witness to many a physical exertion on the part of the pastor to ground the young idea
in the three R's during the week, which exertions were turned into spiritual ones on the sabbath to ground the
adults in the fundamental principles of Lutheran theological lore, and all the glories of the Solomonian temple
in the land of milk and honey under the old dispensation, did not seem so precious to these early worshipers as
did this unpretentious temple in the valley of the Genesee under the new.
In the year 1860 Mr. John Himmler succeeded Mr. C. Engelder in the pastorate, the latter having accepted a call
to the city of Pittsburgh. By this time the number of communicants had risen to 200. The congregation had built
a parsonage costing $1,120 on the Judd place, and must necessarily have a larger building for church purposes.
They were offered and bought their present church building on Genesee St., for $2,700. At the close of 1872 the
number of communicants had grown to 266 and although Mr. Himmler accepted a call to Cohocton, N. Y., and C. A.
Geyer, a recent graduate of Concordia Seminary was called to occupy the pulpit. The change of pastors did not retard
the growth of the congregation; for at the end of the year 1874 we find the number of communicants to have been
305. Mr. C. A. Geyer was installed Aug. 6, 1873, and continued 2 years, when he resigned. Mr. Carl Zollmann, another
recent graduate of the same theological seminary of the Missouri synod, taking up the reins which had to be relinquished
by his predecessor for reasons of sickness, continued to guide the fortunes of this Lutheran band until the year
1882 when he accepted the responsible position of director to the Martin Luther Orphan's Home at West Roxbury,
Mass. At this time the number of communicants amounted to 486. The work to care not only for these adults, but
also instruct the young in secular knowledge, devolved upon Mr. Geo. Buch the present incumbent of the pastorate,
who was called from New York City to succeed Mr. Zollmann. He was installed on the 11th of September, 1882. Under
the efficient, careful and discreet management of Mr. Buch the congregation continued and does continue to prosper.
The number of communicants has risen to 700. The church edifice has been enlarged. A two-storied schoolhouse has
been built and the congregation is numerically one of the strongest in this village. Their property is valued at
about $10,000. At this time of writing (February. 1895,) the officers are: president, Rev. Geo. Buch; secretary,
Fritz Sievers; treasurer, John Gallmann; trustees, Messrs. Henry Putzmann, Fred Kaufmann and Louis Dornow; deacons,
Messrs. Christian Gallmann Sen., Christian Gallmann, Jun., Andrew Braunschweiger and Charles Biermann. It is a
law unto themselves with Lutheran congregations to establish and maintain parochial schools, so that the young
may be instructed not only in secular knowledge, but also in those things which are after all of paramount importance
to any Christian and which enter the composition of the most desirable type of citizenship. For these reasons the
various pastors of this flock administered not only to the spiritual wants of old and young, but since a secular
education must not in any way be neglected they also instructed the young idea in the three R's as mentioned above.
Truly they had withal a busy time of it laboring in season and out of season. Since this congregation had grown
to such an extent that the pastor was found unable to serve two masters-church and school-a resolution was passed
May, 1891, to send a call to Mr. H. A. Laewen of Bergholz, Niagara county, to look after the interests of the young
generation. He commenced the labor in September of the same year. In the interval of 1891 to 1895 the number of
pupils has grown to 100 and the school has been arranged into grades. The pastor gives religious instruction throughout
all grades. The younger pupils are caught by a lady teacher, whose place is at this time filled by Miss Ottilie
Sievers of Wellsville. The older pupils from the age of 9 to 14 are instructed by Mr. H. A. Laewen. It is the aim
and object of the school to make the pupil proficient in: 1st, "Religion as expounded by the Lutheran church,"
2d. English and German reading, 3d, English and German spelling, 4th, English and German penmanship, 5th, Arithmetic,
6th, English Language Lessons, 7th, Deutsche Sprach lehre. 8th. Geography, 9th, United States History. Time of
instruction from 9 to 12 M., and from 1 to 4 P. M. The educational course closes with the 14th year, when the average
pupil is supposed to possess an education, founded upon a Christian basis, which will enable him to successfully
cope with the hardships and adversities of life, and in time make him a good citizen of this world and of the world
Rev. George Buch was born in Koenig, Germany, June 6, 1854, and came to America in February, 1872. He studied in
Darmstadt, Germany, the Polytechnical School in Philadelphia, and finished his education in the Evangelical Lutheran
Seminary in Philadelphia, Pa., graduating therefrom in 1877. He began his ministerial career as a missionary in
Narrowsburg, Sullivan county, and has also preached in Binghamton, Great Bend, and Lackawaxen, in this state. In
1879 he was called to New York City as second pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel church on 86th street.
Six months later Mr. Buch assumed pastoral charge of the Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel church on 83d street, which
position he held until 1882, when he came to Wellsville, where he has since been pastor of the First German Evangelical
Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity. Rev. Mr Buch is much respected as a pastor and a citizen. He takes great interest
in educational matters and is a member of the school board. It was through his influence and personal activity
that the German church at Hornellsville was started.
The German Methodists, Rev. C. Haefeli, pastor, have an organization of some years standing, and a small church
in Brooklyn on West Main St.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception. For many years an earnest Catholic society has existed here, which now
numbers about 180 families, with a Sunday school of 200 attendants. Under the pastorate of the Very Reverend Dean
Leddy the church has been broadened and strengthened, and in 1895, one of the finest church edifices in Western
New York was erected at a cost of $50,000. The building is a large Gothic structure, cruciform in shape, with two
spires respectively 148 and 96 feet in height, and two transepts 26 feet in width, containing handsome cathedral
windows 24 feet high, and is entirely constructed of the beautiful Warsaw blue stone. The exterior dimensions are
144.5x91 feet. The auditorium, 96x90 feet, seats 750 persons. It is an ornament to Wellsville. The stone for the
foundation came from a valuable quarry on the Rauber farm, presented to the congregation by John Rauber. A parochial
school is connected with the church and is spoken of elsewhere. Very Rev. Henry M. Leddy, V. F., was born in county
Clare, Ireland, in 1842, received his preparatory education in Ireland, and, coming to America, attended St. Francis
College at Albany where he was graduated in 1865 as A. B. and in 1866 as A. M. Taking holy orders in 1870 he was
sent to Buffalo as assistant to Vicar-General Gleason at St. Bridget's church and served there 14 months. In 1872
he was stationed at Watkins and for eight years ministered to the congregations there, at Horseheads and at Van
Ettenville. In November, 1879, he took charge of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Wellsville and now
resides here. He is esteemed by the entire community, beloved by his congregation, and is building up a strong
and useful church.
Cemeteries. - The very earliest burying grounds were private ones, but the Farnum Cemetery, recently enlarged
and improved, was used in the days before ever the village had a name. The earliest recorded burial there was that
of the infant son of landlord Samuel Shingler in 1839. The stone now stands over this grave. This cemetery is on
good high ground, at a convenient distance from the village. The Roman Catholic Cemetery is above the Farnum and
nearer Main street. The old Johnson graveyard on Genesee street, though not now much used is well kept.
Wellsville Free Public Library. (By Mrs. F. B. Church.) - The history of the organization and growth of this institution
is very interesting and instructive, showing what the influence of public-spirited and enterprising women can do
for the benefit of a community. The library, as its name implies, is free to the residents of the incorporated
village of Wellsville, and is owned by the corporation. It has a charter from the University of the State of New
York, and a board of trustees, appointed by the trustees of the village, pursuant to chapter 387, of the laws of
1892. It is now, after a period of less than two years from its creation, one of the best equipped and most successful
libraries in Western New York, having 2,000 volumes of the choicest literature, and a weekly circulation of 500
books. and is the direct result of the untiring efforts of a women's literary society known as the Monday Club.
This club in pursuing its courses of study soon discovered the need of an institution of this character and sought
how the need might be supplied. It was known to some of them that in the past there had been a public library in
the village, but it had fallen into disuse and the books were scattered far and wide. Upon inquiry it was learned
that the old library was a stock company, its shares of stock owned by men and women, several of whom had died
and others who had long ago left their old homes. Some of the books were found in the rooms of the Y. M. C. A.,
which had for a time used them, with the consent of some of the stockholders, others were packed away in boxes,
and many were in the hands of individuals who had taken them from the library and never returned them. The women
determined to try and get these books as a nucleus for better things and try and organize a library which should
be of a permanent character, and of the benefits of which all might share. As a first step they at their own expense
procured of the University of the State of New York one of its Traveling Libraries, consisting of 100 volumes.
These books they loaned to the public free, themselves acting as librarians, and one or more of the members becoming
responsible for the value of the books. Then they obtained the consent of many of the stockholders of the old association
and took possession of such of its books as they could find, procured the consent of the board of education of
the Union Free School that they might use a room in the school building for library purposes, and after fitting
the room at their own expense, put the books in there and gave the public access to them. By this time the public
had become interested in the movement and they found little difficulty in getting the stock of the old library
association turned over to them. The Y. M. C. A. gladly released such claim as it had to the books in its possession,
and gradually all that was left of the books were accumulated and got ready for circulation. When this had been
accomplished the women went before the village trustees and asked them to appoint, pursuant to statute, library
trustees, and to accept the books they had secured as the foundation of a free public library for the village.
They also petitioned the board to set apart in the new City Hall, then barely begun, rooms for library purposes.
Both of these requests were gladly granted, and the enterprise promised to be a success.
These persons were appointed as the first board of library trustees, viz.: Mrs. Alfred S. Brown, Mrs. Enos W. Barnes,
Mrs. Frank B. Church, Mrs. Waters B. Coats, Mrs. James Macken, T. Frank Fisher and Hon. Clarence A. Farnum. Very
much remained to be done to carry out the plans of the club. No funds had been provided by the village, nor had
any been asked, it being the determination of the ladies to put the library on a thorough working basis and turn
it over to the authorities perfect in all its details. As a first step, after getting the books mentioned, they
called upon. the state for an appropriation, based upon the value of the books they had secured. This was granted
and the money expended in the purchase of new books. In the mean time Mrs. F. B. Church, the president of the club,
went to Albany and at the State Library learned the most approved methods of library work. Under her direction
the members of the club have carefully catalogued and classified the books by the Melville Dewey system of "decimal
classification," a dictionary catalogue, also a subject catalogue of cards has been made and is kept revised
to the latest purchase and the most approved library methods have been put in practice by them. In June. 1895,
the city hall was completed, and beautiful rooms set apart for the library. These rooms the ladies of the club
have fitted with shelves and furnished with chairs, desks, tables. draperies, rugs, and all things necessary to
make it a model library and reading room. They have themselves twice moved the books, first into the school building
and from there to the new rooms. Up to the present time members of the club have voluntarily acted as librarians,
devoting at first three afternoons, and now, owing to the largely increased demand for books, four afternoons of
each week to the work Money has been raised by subscription and by lectures and other entertainments to meet the
expenses, and as a basis for application for state aid, so that when the library was established in its permanent
quarters, there were 1,525 volumes, and $500 in the treasury. This sum is now being expended for good books, under
the supervision and approval of the University of the State of New York.
The Monday Club is composed of energetic and progressive women, full of the spirit of the age. Mrs. Frank B. Church,
president since its organization. Mrs. Alfred S. Brown, vice president, Mrs. E. W. Barnes and Miss M. Fannie Lewis
have been the leaders in the enterprise, while every member of the club has worked with the proverbial energy and
zeal of women for the accomplishment of their aim, an excellent public library, free to all. They are justly proud
of their success and the people of Wellsville are loud in their praises, and eagerly grasp the opportunity to enjoy
with them the benefits.