HISTORY of ALDEN, NY
FROM OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A DESCRIPTIVE WORK ON ERIE COUNTY
NEW YORK
EDITED BY: TRUMAN C. WHITE
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 1898


TOWN OF ALDEN.

Alden is situated on the eastern border of the county, north of the center, with Newstead on the north, Genesee county on the east, Manila on the south, and Lancaster on the west. Its territory is mostly within township 11, range 5, of the Holland Company’s survey, contains almost thirty.five square miles, or 20,833 acres. The surface in. the north and west parts is nearly level; in the remainder it is gently undulating. Eleven-mile (or Ellicott) Creek flows northwesterly across the town, and Cayuga Creek flows a little north of west across the southwest part. The soil is deep, fertile loam, mixed with sand, gravel or clay.

The town was first settled by Moses Fenno in 1810, who located in the spring, and was followed in the same year by Joseph Freeman, William Snow, John Estabrook and Arunah Hibbard, each of whom built a log house near the site of Alden village. Settlers in 1811—12 were Samuel Slade, James Crocker, Samuel Huntington, Jonas Stickney, Nathaniel Estabrook, Saxton Bailey, William Humphrey, Nathan Willis, John Webster, and a Mr. Bunce and Mr. Cransaky. Willis and Webster both built mills on Cayuga Creek and were prominent citizens. Seth Butterfield settled in 1812 where J. L. Butterfield now lives. During the war of 1812 many settlers left the town, but returned in the spring of 1814, and in that year John C. Rogers built the first saw mill in the town on Ellicott Creek at the site of Alden Center.

The first school was taught in a log house in Alden village in 1815, by Mehitable Estabrook; in the same year Amos Bliss began keeping tavern in his house half a mile east of the village site. In 1816 or 1817 John C. Rogers built a grist mill near his saw mill, and about that time Seth Estabrook brought in some goods and began trade a little east of the village site, where Joshua Hendee had settled. The store and the tavern were both soon closed. Between 1816 and 1820 Homer Hendee, Amos Herrick, Moses Case, Jonas Van Wey, A. C. Burdick, Stephen Church, and possibly a few others located in the town. In 1822 Thomas Farnsworth settled in the town, and about the same time Dr. John M. Harrington began practice; John Bryant opened a store half a mile east of the village. From that date forward the town rapidly filled up with an energetic and generally prosperous class of men. Between 1830 and 1845 a large number of Germans tobk up residence in the town and have materially contributed to its growth. In 1843 the Buffalo & Attica Railroad was constructed through the town, and in 1853 the Buffalo & Rochester Railroad Company built a line which became part of the New York Central. In 1883 the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Company completed their road across the town between the other two lines, giving the inhabitants ample facilities for reaching the markets.

Alden Village.— This village is situated southeast of the center of the town on what is now the Erie Railroad. The post-office was established in 1823, from which date the place began to assume the character of a village. Joseph Freeman was the first postmaster; among other postmasters were Harvey Litchfield, Samuel M. Butler, Spencer Stone, Horace Stanley, R. N. Butler, Elisha Saunders, E. T. Cross, C. N. Fulton, William E. Saunders, Fred Thatcher, Jerome J. Stickney, Lester P. Stickney, William C. Tucker, Brace G. Eddy, George A. Webb, Freeman P. Wheeler, incumbent.

The early growth of the village was slow. Thomas Farnsworth built a tannery in 1822 half a mile to the north. Calvin Bishop and John Bryant, Horace Stanley, Litchfield & Barstow, a Mr. Severance, and Samuel M. Butler, were in mercantile trade in past years. Elisha Saunders opened a store before the last war and continued to about 1877. L. P. & J. J. Stickney began trade in 1870 and continued together or separate many years. Wasburn Parker had an early tavern a little west of the village. The hotel of Thomas Farnsworth was the first permanent public house; it continued until 1869 when it was burned. A house built in 1844 was subsequently used as a hotel, and was burned in 1894. Another was built in 1851 by Grove C. Gage; John A. Ferner took the house in 1883. The house called Martin’s hotel was built in 1871 by Horace King, who was succeeded by George P. Patterson.

The Oddaographic, a newspaper, was started November 1, 1875, by E. C. Dodge, but lived only a few months. The Industrial Union was started at Manila April 1, 1892, by Benjamin H. and Evan H. Morey, and in April, 1893, it was removed to Alden village. In 1894 its name was changed to the Alden Union; the paper is still published by the men above named.

In 1854 William C. Leonard and others interested in education built a large frame building and established a seminary; it continued a fairly prosperous existence several years. The present Alden Union High School was conducted as a graded school several years; it passed under the Regents in 1897. The school has three departments. J. P. Abbott has been principal since 1895.

Alden village has now 2 general stores, 2 hardware stores, 3 hotels, 1 newspaper, 1 harness shop, 2 blacksmiths, 1 feed store, 1 furniture store, 1 grist miii, 4 physicians, 1 wagonmaker, 2 markets, 1 tannery and 3 churches.

On the 7th day of May, 1869, the village was incorporated, with G. F. Vandervoort, E. W. Hendee, D. C. Skeels, J. B. Pride and A. D. Farnsworth, trustees. A reincorporation was effected in 1891, since which time considerable street improvements have been made. A fire department was organized in 1894, and a firemen’s hail built in the same year. A hand engine and hook and ladder truck are owned.

The Spring Creek cheese factory began operations in 1880 under ownership of Benjamin Gifford. The building was burned and rebuilt by him and he still operates the factory.

The Alden Natural Gas Company, was organized in 1892, and two wells were bored in the village and two outside; the village is now lighted by natural gas.

West Alden.— This is a hamlet situated about a mile and a half southwest of Alden village; it was long known as Alden Center, and a small business interest has long existed. A hotel which was kept many years by Almon Perry, was burned. The post-office was opened soon after 1870. Ira R. Martin opened a store in 1865, which was later converted into a hotel and burned. Charles Eels began trade in 1872 and still continues. The place has now a printing office, one store, one blacksmith shop and a church.

Alden Center.— This hamlet is situated in the center of the town, where John C. Rogers built the early mill before mentioned. This mill has had several owners and finally passed to John Smith. The post-office was established April 1, 1857, with William J. Perry postmaster; his successors were Jacob Sandmann, Michael Killinger, Joseph Fix and Jacob Sandmann again. Mr. Killinger opened a grocery about 1850. George Holland built a hotel in 1855, which became the property of Jacob Sandmann and is now owned by his son. Another hotel was built by George Shank, which is now owned by his son. Jacob Sandmann kept a store several years. The village now contains one store, a meat market, two hotels and the grist mill.

Mill Grove.—This is a small village in the northwest part of the town, which had its inception in the opening of a store in 1848 by the pioneer, Moses Case. A post-office was procured by him in 1849, with Hugh M. Case postmaster. Henry Sadler was a merchant for a few years, and Emile Yund began mercantile business in 1861, which still continues. There are two hotels in the village and a few shops.

Crittenden.— This is a village on the New York Central Railroad in the northeast corner of the town. About the first business enterprise in the place was the building of a hotel in 1848 by Benjamin Arbuckle; it had half a dozen occupants within two or three years. About 1850 John Edson built a steam saw mill, which was burned a few years later. In 1852 the railroad station was established there and a postoffice opened with the present name. In 1853 Isaac Mallory built a hotel, and two others have since been opened. H. H. & J. P. Edson opened a general store in 1864, and S. P. Waldo and D. J. Watson conducted the grocery business in former years. There are now in the village two general stores, three hotels, one grocery and a church.

Peters’s Corners is a settlement half way between Critten den and Mill Grove. Among the pioneers in that section. were Parker Marshall, B. Barnes, E. B. Banks, Robert Dickinson, Harry Chesebrough, John Stonebraker, Rufus Blodgett and William Cockerell. Many Germans located there between 1830 and 1840. A hotel was built in 1860 by Peter Trusinski, but there are no business interests at the present time.

Town Line, a hamlet on the line between Alden and Lancaster on the main road. Most of the inhabitants in the vicinity are Germans. Small business interests have for many years been in existence there. George King formerly kept one of the hotels and James Willis had a grocery. The place now has 1 store, 1 hotel, 1 harness shop, 1 wagon shop, 2 blacksmiths.

Wende. — This is a station on the New York Central Railroad a little south of the village of Mill Grove. Henry Gehm settled there in 1848 and H. A. Wende in 1849; the latter built a saw mill on Eleven-Mile Creek in 1850 which was operated to about 1876. A store was built in 1857 by Michael Killinger, who was succeeded by his brother Matthias. There is no .business carried on there at the present time.

There is a railroad station on the Erie line in this town, with the name Marilla, where a small settlement has come into existence within the past ten years. The business interests are a flour store, two livery stables and two saloons.

On July 17, 1813, the Presbyterians and Congregationalists of this town met and subscribed to a declaration of religious faith, and in May, 1817, a church was organized. The existing house of worship was erected about 1830, but has since been much improved.

In March, 1833, thirteen persons professing the Baptist faith met and formed a conference, and on the 5th of December following a church was organized. They had no house of worship until 1852, in which year the church at Alden village was erected. A parsonage was built in 1870.

The Methodist church at Alden village was organized April 17, 1881, and the house of worship was erected in 1885.

The Methodist church at West Alden was organized in 1850 and the edifice was erected in the following year. The organization is substantially given up.

At Town Line is an Evangelical Lutheran church which was organized in 1853; a brick church was built in the same year, and the edifice in present use was erected in 1875. St. Paul’s United Evangelical church at the same place was organized in 1875 and a house of worship erected the same year. There is also a Free Methodist society there.

In the year 1867 a Lutheran church was built at Mill Grove, services having long been held prior to that in the school house. The society continues its active existence.

The first Roman Catholic services were held at Alden Center. about 1847, and they have been continued regularly since. A church edifice was erected in 1850, and a new one in 1861. A school was built in connection with the church in 18.52 and a larger building in 1883. The Roman Catholics at Crittenden built their church in 1860, and a mission was maintained until 1883, when a settled pastor was sent there.

Alden was erected from Clarence on the 27th of March, 1823. The first town meeting was held at the house of Washburn Parker. where the following officers were elected:

Edmond Badger, supervisor; Homer Hendee, town clerk; William H. Dayton and Jonathan Larkin, assessors; Thomas Durkee, collector; Thomas Farnsworth and John Van Wey, overseers of the poor; Nathan Willis, James C. Thompson and Jesse Gressman, commissioners of highways; Samuel Slade, Silas Snow and Thomas Gregg, commissioners of schools; Homer Hendee, Paul White and Joseph Perry, inspectors of schools; Thomas Durkee and Simon Hill, constables.


The following is a list of the supervisors of the town of Alden from the time of its organization, with their years of service: Edmond Badger, 1823—24; Moses Case, 1825—32; Jonathan Larkin, 1833—34; Moses Case, 1835—37; Joshua Fullerton, 1838—40; Dexter Ewell, 1841—42; John D. Howe, 1843—46; Alexander Kellogg, 1847—48; Nathan Willis, 1849; Ziba Durkee, 1850; Asa Munn, 1851; Nathan Willis, 1852—53; John B. Pride, 1854; Lester Gary, 1855; Herbert Dayton, 1856; Nathan Willis, 1857; Festus Tenney, 1858—59; Herbert Dayton, 1860; Andrew P. Vandervoort, 1861; John C. Baker, 1862: Herman A. Wende, 1863— 64; William Slade, 1865; Bradley Goodyear, 1866; E. R. Hall, 1867; E. H. Ewell, 1868; Spencer Stone, 1869—74; Bernhard A. Wende. 1875; L. W. Cornwell, 1876; B. A. Wende, 1877—78; Joseph E. Ewell, 1879—80; George T. Patterson, 1881—83; H. K. Fullerton, 1884; George T. Patterson, 1885—87; Emile Yund, 1888; Frederic S. Ewell, 1889; Emile Yund, 1890—92; George T. Patterson, 1893—94; Otto H. Wende, 1895—97.

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