History of Alma, New York
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


ALMA IS A rough hilly town on the south border of the county surrounded on the north by Scio and Wellsville, on the east by Willing, on the south by Pennsylvania and west by Bolivar, and although it has fine farms in some parts, and much pine and other lumber has been taken from its forests, its importance and wealth has principally come from the mineral treasures under its surface. Here the Allegany oil field was first shown to exist, and to-day, after eighteen years, the oil is found in paying quantities and furnishes the chief revenue of the town. The steep hillsides are not well adapted to cultivation and the streams, Honeoye creek and others, have but narrow valleys and flow in deep ravines for the most part. The "Niles Hill" country is a fine farming section. There are two sawmills, one hotel and one store in this town on the Honeoye. Jones' steammill and shinglemifi was built by Wallace Jones. The town has 28,349 acres of land, the equalized value of its real estate in 1894 was $286,496, the assessed value of personal property $2,375, and there was $23,414 assessed to corporations.

This "first township of the second range of the Morris Reserve" was taken from Willing, Nov. 23, 1854. It comprises the Lawrence Tract, 144 lots, 15,360 acres, and 40 lots of the 9,640 acres of the Patterson Tract, there being a strip of this tract, 40 chains, 83 links wide, extending along the south side of Scio and Wellsvffle now included in these towns. The written history of Alma began in a general way in 1620 when King James of England granted the first charter of this territory from 42 degrees to 44 degrees north latitude reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, continuing on through the grant by Charles I. in 1663 to the Duke of York and Albany of the Province of New York, which extended from a north and south line 20 miles east of the Hudson west rather indefinitely and embraced the present states of New York, New Jersey, etc. Massachusetts became later undisputed owner of the grants, and consequently of Western New York. It includes the various changes of title to the soil.

The title of the realty of Alma is well defined by deeds recorded in the Allegany county clerk's office, particularly one in Book A of Deeds, page 333, which relates that in "May, 1797, Robert Morris, Esq., of Philadelphia, Pa, of the first part, and Garrett Cottringer, gentleman, and Bridget, his wife, of the same place, of the second part, and Samuel Sterrett of Baltimore, Md., merchant, of the third part, made a contract whereby Sterrett purchased from the others the south end of the Morris Reserve, 175,000 acres. (This stretched along a wide distance and embraced much of the land that afterwards became the Church Tract.) In December, 1797, Samuel Sterrett contracted to George Harrison, who, in January, 1798, sold to Joseph Sterrett the 25,000 acres now known as the Lawrence and Patterson Tracts." On page 165 of the Book of Deeds referred to commences the record of a deed copied for us by W. F. Allen, of Friendship, which is a history in itself.

THIS INDENTURE made the 28th day of March, 1801, between Thos. L. Ogden, of the city and state of New York, Esq., of the one part, and Joseph Sterrett, of the city of Baltimore and state of Maryland, Esq., of the second part, Whereas: Thomas Mather of the city of Albany, merchant, by indenture of release bearing date April 22, r8oo, did remise, release and quickclaim unto said Thos L. Ogden, his heirs and assigns, all that certain tract or parcel of country situated in the county of Ontario and state of New York, bounded South by the Pennsylvania line; North, by the line which divides the dominions of the King of Great Britain from the territories of the United States, West, partly by lands reserved by the state of New York extending from L. Ontario to L. Erie along the river Niagara and partly by lands ceded by the state of New York to the United States and purchased by the state of Pennsylvania commonly called the Presque Isle Angle and Easterly by the land confirmed to Nathaniel Gorham and Oliver Phelps, by the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and Whereas Roger Sprague, Esq., Sheriff, of said County of Ontario, by deed of indenture, bearing date the thirteenth day of May in the same year, did grant, bargain, sell and convey unto Thos. L. Ogden, his heirs and assigns, all and singular, the said tract of country, the same having been theretofore seized and taken by the said sheriff as and for the property of Robert Morris, Esq., under and by virtue of a certain writ of the people of the state of New York, commonly called a Testatum Fieri janas and sold to the said Thos. L. Ogden at a public auction (he being then and there the highest bidder for the same) as in and by the said several deeds of indenture may appear, and whereas: by certain articles of agreement bearing date April 22 in the same year, made and executed by and between Thos. L. Ogden of the first part: Wilhelm Willink, Nicolaas Van Staphorst, Pieter Van Eghen, Headrick Vollenhoven, and Rutger Ira Schimmelpennick of the second part, and Gouverneur Morris of the third part, it was declared and agreed that said tract of country should be so purchased and held by the said Thos. L. Ogden upon the trusts and the several interests and purposes in the said articles of agreement expressed and declared and among other things, IN TRUST, to grant, release, and convey certain parts and parcels of said tract of country. in the articles of agreement particularly mentioned and described, to certain persons therein particularly named, and claiming the same, or such part or parts of the said several tracts of land, any or either of them, as Alexander Hamilton. David A. Ogden, and Thomas Cooper, of the city of New York, Esqs., or any two of them should under their hand prescribe and direct, and in respect to the rest and residue of the said Tract of Country IN TRUST, to grant aid release, sell and convey the same to such person or persons in such part or parts and upon such terms and conditions as they, the said Alexander Hamilton, David Ogden and Thomas Cooper, or any two of them, should under their hands prescribe and direct, and not otherwise, as in and by the said articles of agreement relation being thereto had may appear, and Whereas the said Alex. Hamilton, David A. Ogden, and Thos. Cooper, in execution of the powers vested in them as aforesaid, by a writing under their hands and seals, bearing date Jan. 22, z8oz, have among other things ordered, appointed, directed and prescribed that the said Thomas L. Ogden should release, convey and confirm unto the said party hereto of the second part, his heirs or assigns, in FEE SIMPLE all that tract or parcel hereinafter mentioned and described being part and parcel of the same tract of country so as aforesaid granted and conveyed to the said Thomas L. Ogden, as in and by the said writing relation being thereto had may aiso appear. Now THEREFORE, This Indenture Witnesseth that the said Thomas L. Ogden, in pursuance of the said direction and appointment, and in consideration of One dollar to him in hand paid by the said party hereto of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, Hath bargained, sold, released, conveyed and confirmed, and by these presents doth bargain, sell, release, convey and confirm, unto the said second party hereto, his heirs and assigns, all that certain tract or parcel of land situate, lying and being in the county of Ontario and state of New York aforesaid: Beginning at a point in the Pennsylvania Line Six miles West from the South West corner of the lands purchased by Nathaniel Gorham and Oliver Phelps from the Five Nations of Indians by deed bearing date 1788, and running thence Due West along said Pennsylvania line 6 miles to the South Eta corner of lands deeded to Wilhelm Willink and Jan Willink and Wilhelm Willink, Jr. and Jan Willink, Jr., thence Due Nurth 6 miles, 40 chains and 83 links, along the meridian line run by Joseph and B. Ellocit as part of the eastern boundary line of the said tract of land of the said Willinks el al. to a point to be planted, thence Due East 6 miles to a point to be planted in the western boundary line of the lands of Thomas Willing Francis, thence due south along the boundary line of the lands last mentioned to the place of beginning containing 25,000 acres.

May 29, 1812, Joseph Sterrett, of Baltimore city, merchant, and Molly his wife, for the sum of $30,000, deeded to Robert Gilmore, Jr., and John Oliver, merchants, of the same city, In trust, The Lawrence tract (6 miles by 4 miles) containing 15,360 acres, to be sold as they thought best, but the proceeds was divided into 24 shares, of which Gilmore, Jr. & Oliver owned 6, Robert Gilmore the Elder 4, Hugh Thompson 4, Mark Priugle 4, John Sherlock and William Lonnan 2; all these being business men of Baltimore. This deed relates that not only land was sold, but all houses, buildings, improvements, water ways, watercourses, rights liberties, privileges, appurtenances and advantages to the same belonging. In 5830 John Oliver having died, Robert Gilmore, Jr., sold for $6,912 to Richard M. Lawrence of N. Y. City, the tract which bears his name In 1854 Joseph Sterrett sold to Thomas Tennant the north 9.640 acres in trust to be disposed of, and the pro ceeds to be paid under certain conditions to Mr. Sterrett. In 1815 Tennant disposed of the property at a public sale held in the city of Baltimore for $14,942. The purchaser being Joseph W. Patterson of Baltimore.

The forests first echoed to the tread of actual settlers in 1833, when Myron Rough, a Canadian, and John Longcore located here. Others soon came, Azor Hurlbutt on lot 26 in 1834. He opened the first tavern "in 1837, and his daughter Emeline was the first white child born in the town. Wm. Smith, one Harding and one Hunter came in 1835, when the sole roads were rough sled tracks in winter and footpaths in summer. Samuel B. Stebbins, a very active citizen, was here in 1836 on lot 20. Rev. Reuben Kent was here in 1838; his daughter Clarinda taught the first school in 1839. Myron Allen the pioneer of Allentown came to lot 1 in 1839, and Samuel Wyvell was an early settler. From 1840 to 1850 solid residents made homes, and the ring of the axe. the falling of trees and the burning of "slashings "went on merrily. Jared Emerson come in 1840. The first sawmill was built by J. W. Post in 1843, in which year also earns William Andrus to lot 22, as did his stepson, R. R. Russell, who has been one of the town's most valued citizens. Samuel Peet opened the first "store" in. 1844, Jacob Crandall came in 1845, Paris Clair in 1848, and Joseph Smith and others in 1849 and 1850. In the next ten years many came, lumbering was an important industry, numerous mills were built and great gaps were cut in the heavy forests. Among other names of settlers are Cole, Chamberlain, Oviatt, Bartlett, Elliott, Garrison Nobles, Wilcox, etc., a goodly number.

A great event occurred at Hurlbutt's tavern March 6, 1845. None other than the town's first town meeting. The list of officers elected contains names of other prominent settlers. There were elected John H. Foland, supervisor; Darius C. Rudd, clerk; Arvis Burrows, John C. Rowell, Walton T. Rice, Ambrose Straight, justices; S. B. Stebbins, A. R. Southmade, Alzina Straight, assessors; Solomon Allen, Daniel Shaw, Jasper White, road commissioners; Ebenezer Southmade, Charles C. Fay, inspectors of election W. S. Oliver, superintendent; John Halbert, overseer of the poor; Samuel Wyvell, constable and collector; William Andrews, Saul G. Green, Solomon Allen, constables. The town's first census, 1855, showed 412 population, that of 1860, 578; 1870, 766; 1880, 865; 1890, 1,509.

In the early days of the town there came to this wild district, it is said, a man who purchased a small mffl and ostensibly manufactured lumber, which each season he would raft down the Ohio. His real business was the making of counterfeit silver coin which he distributed freely at the various towns he passed on his rafting trips. After some years stay in Alma suspicion fell on him and he was forced to flee. During the lumbering period smaU centers of activity sprang into being. Alma (formerly lloneoye Corners. Honeoye and Shongo), Pikeville, where Mark W. Pike for ten years from 1856 conducted lumber manufacturing on a large scale, and Allentown in the extreme northwestern corner.

ALLENTOWN became very prosperous after the discovery of oil, growing with the development, which took on the characteristics of a "boom," and stores, hotels, shops were rapidly built of wood. The streets were crowded with men and horses at all hours of the day and night, and "leases" and "rigs" and "drilling," "wildcatting," and "oil" were the absorbing topics of conversation. Numerous wells were drilled and many of them were producers. Some of the first ones put down are yielding enough to pay for keeping the pumps running to-day. Allentown is surrounded with derricks which tower like giant ftnger-posts indicating the source of the town's wealth. (See the history of the Allegany oilfield on page 144.) Riley Allen, the most prominent business man, lives just over the Scio line, but he is so identified with Allentown and Alma that his biography is put in this town. Allentown has witnessed all the changes of an oil city, prosperity, a deep depression, and then a steady solid growth. It has three small hotels, the office of Allen & Coyle oil producers, four stores, boiler and machine shops, flourishing societies, G. A. B. Post, and schools, and one of the best appointed post offices in the county. There is also a "church union" meetinghouse where the Methodists hold regular religious services.

Terrence Higgins opened a general store here in 1880 or 1881, and in 1888 took his brother James into partnership, forming the firm of Higgins Brothers. They have also a grocery store in Austin, Pa. Hugh J. Coyle also conducted a store from 1881 to 1890, and in 1892 again engaged in trade.

The Allentown (Scio) cheese factory was built by a stock company, but, since 1884, has been owned by Riley Allen. The milk of from 250 to 300 cows is here manufactured. The product in 1893 was about 80,000 lbs.

The Allentown High School is in a very healthy condition. No person has taken greater interest in this school than Mr. Riley Allen, one of the chief tax payers of the town. He has served as trustee for nearly ten years, and still ably fills that position. Prof. O. M. Burdick was principal of the school for four years, until 1895 and succeeded in introducing a course of study by which the school is graded and capable of doing better work. Too much praise cannot be given the people of Allentown who have aided and encouraged this work. With an enthusiastic trustee, faithful teachers and an intelligent public, such results are not surprising. The school has 130 scholars on its roll, with an average attendance of nearly 100. To say that the school remains so uniform in size (when speaking of an oiltown, where removals are constantly taking place,) speaks volumes as to the character of the work done. The school building was built in 1883 and cost $2,000. It is artistic in. design, and commodious in its arrangement-a credit to the village in which it is located. The teachers now are Prof. George E. Miller, principal; Edith LaZear, intermediate department; Gertrude Sullivan, primary.

The religious life of Alma commenced in 1838 when services were held by Rev. Reuben Kent, and twelve years later the Methodists formed a cisas. The Niles Hill Seventh-Day Adventist church formed August 10, 1862, with 32 members, by Rev. N. Fuller, is still in. existence with a fine church building at Petrolia. We have not been able to obtain its present condition.

Eastern Star Chapter. - The first charter for a chapter of this order here was granted to 62 members for Allentown Chapter, (Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Hulbert being the first promoters) which was organized March 31, 1887. by Mrs. Sadie McKelvey of Rochester, Grand Matron, with Mrs. Lina Raydure, Worthy Matron, Robert McOutcheon, Worthy Patron, and 65 members. The chapter was sustained until 1894 when the charter was surrendered and some of the members united with ladies in Bolivar in applying during the same year for a charter for a chapter to be located at Bolivar. This was granted and Buttrick Chapter, No. 109, 0. E. A., was then organized with these charter members: Mrs. Melvina Allen, W. M.; Mrs. Harriet Beatty, A. M.; Mrs. F. A. Hulbert. Treas.; Mrs. Frank Beers, Sec.; Mrs. Clara Andrews, Con.; Mrs. Lfflian Tuttle, A. Con.; Mrs. Garthwaite, Warder; Mrs. Ada Barber, Ada; Miss Estella Smith, Ruth; Mrs. Bertha Weiler, Esther; Mrs. Hunt, Martha; Mrs. Ella Dunning, Electa; Thomas P. Lardin, W. P. The chapter is flourishing and. meetings are held bi-monthly on second and fourth Tuesdays in Masonic Temple, Bolivar. Mrs. Melvina Allen has been W. M. for five years in Allentown and Bolivar, and District Deputy Grand Matron of the 13th District for two terms, 1890 to 1895.

Marshall Phillips Post, G. A. R., No. 640. Alpheus L. Witherspoon, formerly of Co. I, 19th Maine, gives us this information concerning this post and the soldiers of Alma. "This post was organized by the efforts of A. B. York and others who became active members and the charter was granted Sept. 28, 1889. The first officers and members were: A. L. Witherspoon. commander; Frank C. Dore, senior vice commander; Sheldon S. Applebee, junior vice commander; Edwin C. Baker, quartermaster; Frank N. Smith, surgeon; Riley B. Russell, chaplain; Charles Woodard, O. D.; Alva B. York, O. G.; and A. J. Eveland, James Q. Welch, Lester L. Lewis, Henry L. Lamb, William H. Richardson, Christopher Filber, Thomas P. Lardin, Charles H. Young, Newton Phillips, William H. Dunn. Names of men that did not join. any post: Jacob Apker, Jesse Johnson, Daniel Simons. "On the 30th day of June, 1893, I. A. L. Witherspoon, then acting quartermaster, did square all acounts on the book, paid the per capita tax to the Department of New York, and reported that there was not enough membership to sustain the post, as there was not interest enough taken by the members to get out enough members to hold any meeting whatever. And so we had to let the post go by the board. The greater part of the members now belong to other posts, some at Wellsvile, some at Bolivar, some at Richburg, a number have left this part of the county, one is dead (A. J. Eveland), and one (Christopher Filber) in the State Soldiers' Home at Bath."

Supervisors.- 1855, John H. Foland; 1856, '57, Arvis Burrows; 1858, '59, Luman B. Elliott; 1860, '61, '62, Mark W. Pike; 1863, '64, '65, Luman B. Elliott; 1866, John H. Foland; 1867, '68, Ittai Elliott; 1869, George S. Wilcox; 1870, '71, '72, I. J. Elliott; 1873, Henry C. Wilcox; 1873, '74, Martin Strickland; 1875, '76, '77, I. J. Elliott; 1878, '79, '80, '81, Stephen J. Rhoades; 1882, E. E. Lindsley; 1883, W. S. Raydure; 1884, '85, H. J. Coyle; 1886, James Reese; 1887, James Shields; 1888, '89, Newton Phillips; 1890, Newell Phillips; 1891, '92, George S. Wilcox; 1893, '94, '95, Terrence F. Higgins.

The present town officers are T. F. Higgins, supervisor; G. S. Wilcox, clerk; James McCarriston, collector; W. A. Vance, overseer of poor; D. S. Johnson, E. C. Baker. F. E. Elliott. justices of the peace; H. J. Coyle, W. F. Lane, commissioners of excise; E. H. Gigee, H. H. Hanchet, H. L. Elliott, assessors.

SOME OF THE TOWNSMEN.- Daniel H. Anderson was born in Warren county, N. J., in 1843. In 1862 he enlisted in Co. H, 31st Regt. N. J. S. V.. and served nine months, the term of his enlistment. In 1872 he went to Parker City, Pa., and was employed as a pumper. In 1874 he commenced as a producer of oil in Clarion county, Pa., and has been in that business ever since. In 1881 he came to Richburg. In 1882 he married Miss Helen Johnston, of Edenburg, Clarion Co., Pa. In 1884 Mr. Anderson located in Allentown, where he is largely interested in the oil business.

Hugh J. Coyle, son of Peter, was born in Scio in 1857. In 1881 he same to Allentown, built a store, and established himself in the mercantile business, which he conducted for stwen years. He then sold his store, and engaged in the oil business, forming a partnership with Riley Allen, under firm name of Allen & Coyle, and has been in the oil business since, operating in both the New York and Ohio oil fields. In 1892 he again went into trade. Mr. Coyle has been town clerk four years and supervisor for 1884-5. In 1885 he married Mary E. Culbert and has four children.

Oscar F. Barnes, son of Hiram and Charlotte (Almy) Barnes, was born May 9, 1835, in Spafford, N. J. In 1855 he came to Wirt and engaged in agriculture. In 1865 he married Lucinda Brandon of Amity and they settled in Scio. Mr. Barnes has held the office of high way commissioner for one term. In 1891 he located in Allentown. Mrs. Charlotte (Almy) Barnes married second, Lemuel Bessey and removed to Wirt in 1860, where she died in 1868.

Ittai Elliott, a native of Massachusetts, came to West Almond in 1826, bought a farm, built a log house and made the first clearing. His wife was a Miss Page. Of their 10 children, Jared P. Elliott, the oldest son, was born in 1809, chopped the first fallow on the farm and slept on hemlock boughs. He married Mary Smith. They had 11 children. He resided on the old farm until about 1864 when he moved to Alma and settled in the south part of the town. He held the office of assessor and highway commissioner of West Almond. He has been Justice of the peace two terms and highway commissioner 3 years. His wife died in February, 1890. Henry S. Elliott, son of Jared P., was born on the old homestead at West Almond in 1832. In 1864 he settled in Alma, and has been a farmer and lumberman. He has served as collector for 2 years and assessor for several years. He married Elizabeth Wilson, their children are Julius A., Belle (Mrs. Wells Wyveil), Ward H., Jennie (Mrs. John Riley of Olean).

Robert A. McCutcheon was born at Big Bend, Pa., in 1857. When he was 12 years old, he commenced to work pumping oil and received $1.25 per day, and has been engaged in the oil business since. When 14, he learned telegraphy, attended Janes' Academy at Clintonville, and high school at Emlenton. He was in the Clarion oil-field from 1876 to 1880, in the Butler oil-field one year, in i88i went to Bradford, and after remaining three years, in 1884, he came to Allentown as operator and engineer for the National Transit Co., and has been with it since. In 1882, Mr. McCutcheon married Kate Richardson and has children. He is special agent for the Pennsylvania Mutual Life Insurance Co., is a member of Wellsville Lodge No. 230, F. & A. M., Wellsville Chapter R. A. M. No. 143, St. John's Commandery of Olean No 24, Ishmalia Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Buffalo.

Marshall N. Phillips, son of John, was born Aug. 31, 1322. in Vermont, and when 6 years old, came with his father to Bolivar, and in 1846 married Sarah Green. Their six children survive. Marshall N. Phillips enlisted in Co. A, 179th N. Y, Regt., and was wounded at the battle of Petersburg, Va., June 17, 1864, and died June 21. The G. A. R. Post at Allentown was named for him.

Newton Phillips, son of Marshall N., was born in Bolivar in 1847. He enlisted in Co. A, 179th N. Y. Regt., and served two years. He was wounded at the battle of Petersburg, and was discharged in 1865 for disability. He is a member of Marshall Phillips Post No. 6. In December, 1876, Newton Phillips married Phebe Perry of Sharon, Pa., they have 3 children. Mr. Phillips has been in company with his brother Newell, since 1880, as an oil producer and has48 wells. He has been supervisor two years (1888 and 9), is a member of Wellsville Lodge, F. & A. M. No. 230, Wellsville Chapter, Olean Commandery and Mystic Shrine of Buffalo.

Robert R. Russell was born in Homer in 1824. He came to Alma in 1843. bought the farm where he now resides, made the first clearing on it and built his loghouse. January 1, 1849, he married Ada E., daughter of Wilson Phillips. They had 4 children, all are living. Mr. Russell worked in the first steam sawmill erected in the county 50 years ago. In 1862 he enlisted in Co. H. 160th Regt. N. Y. S. V., was taken prisoner at Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864, and was detained as prisoner until about March 1, 1865. He was in all the engagements in which his regiment took part and was discharged June 5, 1865. Mr. Russell has held the office of highway commissioner, assessor and other town offices.

Lagrand A. Tuttle, son of Caleb, was born near Windsor, N. Y., Oct. 11, 1854. In 1856 his father came to Scio, and when a boy Lagrand was clerk in a store in Scio for 4 years. In 1878, he went to Rixford, Pa., and established himself as a merchant. The next year he purchased a variety store, which was burned in 1880, Mr. Tuttle losing about $2,000. In 1883 he came to Allentown, and was in trade 4 years. He then commenced business as an oil producer, which he still continues. He has been notary public since 1883, was appointed postmaster in 1894 is a member of Macedonia Lodge No. 258, F. & A. M. of Bolivar, and Bolivar Chapter. In 1879 he married Lillian, daughter of Sherman S. Perkins of Scio. He is also a member of St. John's Commandery, No. 24 of Olean, N. Y.

William A. Vance, a native of Butler county, Pa., was born in 1847. In 1866 he commenced dressing tools in the Pennsylvania oil field, and was drilling and pumping until 1877, when he commenced producing oil in the Butler field and was engaged in that vicinity until 1883 when he came to Alma. Here he drilled 18 wells for Anderson, Otis & Co., and wells for other parties. Since 1884 he has been in the business for himself. Mr. Vance has held many town offices, highway commissioner for three years, assessor, constable and overseer of the poor. He is a member of Wellsville Lodge, No. 230, F. & A. M. Mr. Vance married in 1871 Emma S. Thompson.

George S. Wilcox, son of Clark, was born in Groton, N. Y., Oct. 22, 1818. He came to Wellsville in 1852, engaged in lumbering and built a shinglemill on Brimmer brook. In 1857 he located about five miles south of Allentown, buying a sawmill on Centre brook, which he converted into a steammill and ran until 1892. He bought the Central House, Allentown, which he conducts, in 1893. He was the first Republican elected supervisor of Alma serving three terms. He has held most of the town offices, been justice many years, and often a delegate to county and other conventions.

Alva G. York came to Scio with his father, Barnabas York, in 1808, when a child. They were among the pioneers of the town. Alva G. York married Amy Welch. Their children were Dr. Edgar, who was in the 85th Regt. N. Y. S. V., was in a rebel prison, now lives in Kansas, Delos and Thomas died in the army, John died about 1860, Alva B. and Delight, who married Frank Vosburg and died in 1888. Mr. York died in 1892, his wife in 1864. Alva B. York, son of Alva G., was born in Scio, in May, 1845. He worked for his father who was a lumberman for some years. In January, 1864, he enlisted in Co I, 109th Regt. N. Y. S. V., and was discharged Aug. 6, 1865. He was a charter member of Hallett Post of Belmont. In 1868, he married Marie, daughter of Wm. L. Norton. They have four children. Mr. York removed from Scio in 1882 to Allentown. He was justice of the peace four years in Scio, and four years in Alma, and has been postmaster of Allentown for five years, and is an oil producer. He is a member of Wellsville Lodge and Chapter F. & A. M., St. John's Commandery of Olean, No. 24.


The pen of the historian can in no better manner be employed than in perpetuating for posterity some of the incidents connected with those who by their energy and self reliance, industry and perseverance have raised themselves from humble positions to affluence, and have demonstrated themselves as important factors in the business and social life of the community. One of these men is Riley Allen, of Allentown, the veteran oil producer, who is one of the leading men of southern Allegany. His extended acquaintance with oil and oil production in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere has caused him to be known to and by more people than any other resident of that section. He was born in Wirt, a son of Clinton Allen, Nov. 18, 1848. He attended the district schools only until he was old enough to work, and has since that time acquired a most valuable practical education, laboring faithfully and intelligently, and attaining by his own exertions a most enviable success. He has had a rough, rugged school, but it has produced valuable results. He was early in life engaged in lumbering in Scio and in the forests of Pennsylvania. When the oil excitement arose in Allegany he was one of the first to join the ranks of its developers, and being a warm and intimate friend of 0. P. Taylof, he formed in 1880 what proved to be a lasting, pleasant and remunerative partnership with him under firm name of Allen & Taylor. Their first producing well was at Sawyer's Station. This was soon followed by the first well at Allentown, which they drilled. They were alsb of the happy company which drilled the old Richburg well, which demonstrated the rich possibilities of this field on its completion on April 28, 1881. From that time on Mr. Allen has been a leading operator, and has experienced all of the "ups and downs" of life in the oil field. He is now interested in 400 wells located in the Allegany field, besides large holdings in Pennsylvania and Ohio. and is probably the largest individual operator of this field. He has domonstrated his practical ability in other kinds of business. He owns and operates seven farms and personally plans and supervises the work on them. He has a handsome dairy of 140 Ayrshires, and is an owner of the Allentown cheese factory. He laid out and plotted the village of Allentown, which bears his name, in 1881, and here his residence is pleasantly located. His wife, formerly Miss Melvina Prince, is prominent in society circles and a leading officer and a district deputy in the Order of the Eastern Star. Five daughters and three sons constitute the family circle. In his business correspondence Mr. Allen has the able assistance of his daughter May, who is an expert business woman. Mr. Allen is a 32d Degree Free Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine and of the Order of Elks. He is much interested in and liberal toward all objects he deems deserving of his aid, and the efficiency of the Allentown Union School is largely due to his personal efforts and liberality. He has been its popular trustee for many years. Mr. Allen occupies a high position, and his success has been gained by honest and hard labor, keen and wide-awake business sagacity, well-directed effort and intelligent personal supervision of the details of his numerous fields of industry. He has many friends, who esteem him for his personal good qualities, his liberal, open-handed generosity and his freedom from ostentation.

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