History of West Almond, 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


GENERAL DESCRIPTION.- West Admond was formed from Angelica. Almond and Alfred April 15, 1833, and is a broken. hilly, upland town lying a little northeast of the center of the county. and contains 22,109 acres. Its population has never exceeded 1,000, being 935 in 1860, 799 in 1870, 803 in 1880, 649 in 1890 and 642 in 1892. The greater part of the soil is muck or loam with a subsoil of stony clay or hardpan. The drainage of the north part flows to Black Creek. and that of the south flows off in the Angelica, Philips and Karr Valley creeks. all three of which rise in the town. Thus the water from the east part reaches the Atlantic through Chesapeake Bay by way of Karr Valley creek while that of the west finds an outlet through the river St. Lawrence. The town is chiefly inhabited by farmers engaged in dairying, to which the soil is best adapted.

The Central New York & Western railroad crosses the northwest corner of the town in the valley of Black Creek, and has a stopping place there called Bennets.

West Almond (P. O.) is a scattering hamlet situated on Angelica creek, southeast of the center of the town and contains two churches. two stores. two blacksmith shops, a schoolhouse, a cheese factory, and about twenty dwelling houses.

Early Settlers.-The pioneer settler of West Almond was Daniel Atherton, who settled at the center in 1816 and kept the first tavern in 1817. Jason Bixby, Isaac Ray and Daniel Hooker settled on the "turnpike" before 1818. About the same Lime John Alfred from New Jersey settled near the north line, and other settlers coming soon after from the same state, the fact has given to that part the name of "Jersey Hill." Seth Marvin, Chester Bennett, John Patterson, Jasper White of Vermont, Richard Carpenter with his sons, Samuel and Smith, David H. and Ellison. Carpenter and AbiaJ Weaver were among the first settlers. Elijah Stevens settled in 1820, Daniel Dean in 1822, Joseph, John and Matthias Engle in 1823 and Alvin Stewart in 1825. Wm. and Sether Dean, Joshua and Ira Baker, Sidney Marble, Philip McHenry, Joseph Hodges, Henry Lewis. John Lockhart and Carey Baker came soon after.

The first town meeting was held Mar. 1, 1836. at the house of Elijah Horton when were elected: supervisor. David Brown; town clerk, William Dean; collector, Ira Baker; justices of the peace. Caleb Knight. John Engle, and Sidney Marble; assessors, Philip McHenry, Joseph Hodges and Henry Lewis; constables, Nicholas Trimmer, Ira Baker and Norman Randall; school commissioners, Joseph W. Engle, John Lockhart and Abijah Brown; inspectors of common schools, Sether Dean, George B. Engle and Orange Sabin; road commissioners, Newell Ives, George W. McHenry and Isaac Blinn; overseer of the poor, Richard Norton; sealer of weights and measures, Dennis Pickett.

Enoch Hanks built the first sawmill in 1833 on Angelica Creek. Five others followed but all are gone now. Dr. Orange Sabin practiced medicine in the town over 50 years, having come about 1835. There is no physician in the town at present. There are eight common district schools in the town. The business interests, other than farming, are one blacksmith shop, one general store, and three cheese factories.

The Baker cheese factory in the southwest part of the town, was built by Abel Baker, about 1870, and has been owned by the family since.. The present proprietor is James A. Baker. It uses the milk of 200 cows and in 1894, 60,000 pounds of cheese were made.

In 1895 a "limburger cheese" factory was built which uses the milk of 100 cows.

The M. E. Church of West Almond was organized in 1861 with 30 members. The first pastor was Rev. Woodruff Post, the present pastor is Rev. Wm. Wilson. The house of worship was built in 1861 at a cost of $2,000. and there is also a parsonage and barn. Total value of church property $3,000. Present membership 23. The trustees are Edward Wyse, D. L. Baker, Lewis Hills; stewards, Edward Wyse. Abashaba Sawyer, Fannie Margeson. The first Sunday school was organized in 1862 with Cornelius Lord as superintendent. The present officers are Edward Wyse superintendent, Wm. Wilson assistant superintendent, Grace Welch secretary and treasurer. There are 5 teachers, and 40 pupils.

Baptist Church.- Dec. 3, 1831, at the house of Daniel H. Pierce in the southeast part of what is now West Almond (then Alfred), Job Pickett, Moses Johnson, Joel Carrington, Peter Burrus, Daniel H. Pierce, Jesse B. Boroughs, Daniel Pickett, Alonzo Burrus, Arvis Burrus, Hannah Pickett, Annah Boroughs, Nancy Carrington, Phcebe Boroughs, Octava Burrus, Lovina Pierce, Rene Mathews and Electa Carrington met and formed themselves into a church, called the Alfred Baptist Church and afterwards united with the school district (now Dist. No. 4) in building a log house which was used as a place of worship and for school purposes. Rev. J. P. Evans was the first pastor. (Burrows is probably the proper spelling.)

Oct. 9, 1824, Jonathan Post, Thomas Stutson, Aaron B. Jones, Robert Mifier, Susan B. Stutson, Aurelia Stutson, Amanda Barnaby, Marylia Jones and John Stutson, met at the house of Thomas Stutson, (On the farm now owned by G. A. Morton then in Angelica) and joined in covenant, forming the Angelica Baptist Church (that in Angelica village being called the Angelica Village Church) using the schoolhouse near Mr. Stutson's for a place of worship. The first pastor was Rev. Jonathan Post, ordained at the court house in Angelica March 2, 1825. In 1835 the church membership was 57, when it united with the 31 members of the Alfred Baptist church to form the Baptist church of West Almond. This was organized Oct. 22, 1835, with 88 members. The first pastor was Rev. J. P. Evans. The first house of worship built in 1842 and used until 1861, was a plain old-fashioned church, substantially built, and without paint or steeple. It had a pulpit at one end. with a gallery for singers over the entrance hail at the other end. The present house of worship, built in 1861 at a cost of $2,000, is a tasty edifice, well built and well kept. It will seat 275 persons. The present membership is 45. The church is now without a pastor. The deacons are, Geo. W. Watson, Vinton Wardner and Heman Margeson. The officers of the Sunday school are George W. Watson superintendent, Vinton Wardner assistant superintendent, Mrs. Edward Ives, secretary, John Watson treasurer. There are 35 pupils and 4 teachers.

Supervisors :- 1836, David Brown; 1837, Elijah Horton; 1838, David Brown; 1839, 1840, 1844, 1854-56, Jesse B. Gibbs; 1841, 1845, 1860, 1868, 1869, 1872, 1873, 1875, Orange Sabin; 1842, 1843, Allen Norton; 1846, 1848, Samuel M. Eddy; 1847, 1850, Luman B. Elliot; 1849, Henry MeGibeny; 1851, 1852, Thomas Richardson; 1853, Philip McHenry; 1857, Jonas G. Prentiss; 1858, 1859, Hiram Karr; 1861, 1866, 1867, Andrus Post; 1862, 1863, George Morton; 1864, Edwin Baker; 1865, Fernando C. Lord; 1870, 1871, Jeremiah Halsey; 1874 and latter part of 1894 (to fill vacancy caused by resignation of Walter Waver), Sherman G. Hurd; 1876, 1877, 1891 and part of 1892 (resigned in November), Wesley B. Welch; 1878, 1885, John A. Ives; 1879, 1880, Darius White; 1881, 1882, H. H. Watson; 1883, 1884, A. J. Bennett; 1886, George E. Shaw; 1887, 1888, Owen Baker; 1889, 1890, George A. Morton; latter part of 1892 (to fill vacancy caused by resignation of Wesley C. Welch) and 1893, George W. Watson; first part of 1894 (resigned), Walter Waver; 1895, Avilah Cartwright. The present, 1895, town officers are: Avilah Cartwright, supervisor; Alfred Fletcher, town clerk; George W. Watson, Avilah Cartwright, George A. Morton and Lewis Waldorf, justices of the peace; Llewellyn Hadsell, road commissioner; Michael Coot, overseer of the poor; Fred Halsey, Charles Morton, Frank D. Welch and Smith Dean, inspectors of election; W. W. Wyse collector; John Costello, James Stewart, John Baker, and W. W. Wyse, constables S. Adams, J. O. Fuller and A. J. Bennett excise commissioners.

LATER SETTLERS.- Joshua Baker, son of Gideon, was born in 1778 in Lisbon, N. H. He married first Margaret Houston. second Elizabeth Parker. He came from Broome county to West Almond in 1832, and took up and cleared the land now owned by J. T. Green. He died on this farm in 1842, his wife in 1858. The only survivor of their 13 children is Dewitt C. Baker, born Aug. 26, 1814. He married Mary L. Parker in 1856 and settled where he now resides and conducts his large farm. His five children are Clara E., Charles F., John, Mary and Stephen P.

Abel Baker, born in 1822, married Sarah C. Green, and settled where his son William A. now lives. He was a farmer and cheesemaker, and justice of the peace several years. His' other son James A. married Adda L. McGibeny and has two children, Sarah G. and William W.

Andrew J. Bennett, son of Dr. William and Orrilla (Rawson) Bennett, was born in 1836 in Bradford, Pa. He married Josephine Palmer of Fremont. In 1866 he came to West Almond and located at Bennett's Station. He is a farmer and breeder of and dealer in fine stock. He has been supervisor of the town for several years, assessor 18 years and is postmaster. He has always been a Democrat. His children are, Victoria (Mrs. Henry Mead), Frederick and Flora.

William A. Cartwrigbt, a native of Rhode Island, came to Amity among the early settlers. He was a farmer. He married a Davis and had 3 sons and 4 daughters. John C., his son, was born in 1812, married Hannah, daughter of Spaulding Burdick, and located in Bolivar, from there removed to Belmont where he died in 1862. His second wife was Mary Ballou; of their 4 children 2 are living. Avilah Cartwright, son of John C. and Hannah B. Cartwright. born March 27, 1836, married Mrs. Dyantha (Aldrich) Irish in 1860. In 1864 he enlisted in Co. I. 85th Regt. N. Y. Vols., which being previously captured at Plymouth, N. C., he served in de- tachment to the 80th N. Y. V. V. I. He was discharged July 15, 1865, when he returned to Belmont where he lived until 1879 when he settled in West Almond. He is a farmer, has been justice of the peace 10 years, is now (1895) supervisor. His first wife died Dec. 24. 1876. He married, second, Emma A., daughter of John and Ruth (Gillett) Renwick of West Almond.

Daniel Dean came at an early day from New Jersey to West Almond. He was an agent for Judge Church and was well known in town. He was a member of the Presbyterian church. He married first, Nancy Sampson, second, Mary Jewel. Oliver Dean, his son, married Mrs. Eliza (Stevens) Bostwick. (See Almond).

Erastus Gleason, a native of Lowell, Mass., came to this town about 1833, he was a shoemaker by trade.

Patrick Griffin, born in Ireland, came to America about 1850 and settled in West Almond, where he has since resided, in 1851. He married Jane Holleran and had 8 children-two dying in infancy in Ireland, and 4 sons and 2 daughters born in America. They are Rev. James, John, a lawyer of Hornellsville, Michael, a lawyer of Grand Rapids, Mich., Thomas, an insurance agent of Grand Rapids, Maria (Mrs. W. F. McNamara) of Corning, Jennie (Mrs. George McMahon) died at Elmira in 1893.

Harry, son of Zacbariah Hurd, was born in Sandgate, Vt., in 1805. He married Jernima Hamilton, and came here in 1836.

Jeremiah Halsey, son of Lewis and grandson of Stephen, born in Tompkins Co., married Mary A. Burdick. He was a farmer, supervisor and justice of the peace. His 2 children were John (dec.), and Mary L. (Mrs. John Marvin). George Watson from Washington Co., settled in the southwest part of the town with his son Elijah H., who married Ada Spencer. He and his wife were members of the Baptist church. He died in 1874, his wife in 1887. His son George who married Martha O. Hanks, has been justice of the peace 20 years.

Justin Hills, born in Hebron, Washington Co., N. Y., of English ancestry, came early in the thirties to West Almond and located on the land now the pleasant farm of George E. Shaw. He married Sarah Burrows, a member of the numerous family of that name which was so prominent in the early history of the town and the organization of the Baptist churches. He did his full share of clearing off the forest, and developed a good farm. Of his 11 children only 4 are living: Levi, Eliza (Mrs. Seely Bostwick), Laura (Mrs. A. Hellen), and John. Burrows Hills, son of Justin and Sarah (Burrows) Hills passed his life on the old homestead, marrying Mary Nichols, a descendant of the Herkimer county family of that name, of whom many came to this county in the early days. He died in 1862, Mrs. Hills in 1870. George E. Shaw, son of Moses and Sarah (Herald) Shaw, was born in Conneaut, Crawford Co., Pa., Feb. 16, 1859. He was educated at the common schools and Northeast Seminary, and in 1879 married Emma E., daughter of Burrows and Mary (Nichols) Hills, and in 1880 they made their home in West Almond on the ancestral acres of Mrs. Shaw's father and grandfather. Their children are Leroy E., Frank H., and Glenn. Mr. Shaw was formerly a school teacher and is now a farmer. He is a Prohibitionist in politics, has held the office of justice of the peace since 1882 and was supervisor of West Almond in 1886, one of the first two Prohibition supervisors elected in Allegany county.

Josiah, son of Newell Ives, was born in New Jersey. His father settled in Tompkins Co., and came to West Almond about 1820. He was a farmer and hotel-keeper.

James Lord, son of Henry and Anna (Van Dyke) Lord, was born at Great Bend, Pa., in 1800. When he was 9 years old his father moved to Starkey, Yates county. James Lord married Sarah, daughter of Daniel and Temperance Washburn. In 1839 he settltd in West Almond. and has been a farmer and wagon maker.

Walter Major, son of Stephen, settled in Hornellsville where he was a farmer. His son, Stephen Major, married Ellen, daughter of William and Susan (Clark) Rude of Almond, and settled in West Almond. He was a man whose word was as good as his bond, and was much esteemed by his townsmen. He was assessor for 15 years. Mr. Major enlisted in 1864 in Co. E, r88th Regt. N. Y. Vols., was discharged in July, 1865. He died March 23, 1894. His children were Frank (died aged 2 years), Eva (Mrs. J. M. Hadden of Hornellsville), Fred W. of Elmira. Mrs. Ellen R. Major occupies the old homestead at West Almond.

John McGibeny came from Ireland about 1787 and settled in Hebron, N. Y. His sons Samuel, John and George were soldiers of the War of 1812. In 1839 Samuel with his family came to West Almond. He was a blacksmith and worked at that trade during life. He was married three times, to Nancy Qua, Jane Kelley and Hope Dewers, and had nine children, 3 sons and 1 daughter now living. Jarnes B. McGibeny. son of Samuel. born Feb. 7, 1835, came with his father in 1839 to West Almond, was graduated from Alfred University in 1860 married Hannah Sterritt of Philadelphia, Pa., in 1862, and, in 1864, went to Minneapolis, Minn., as superintendent of music in the city schools. He was engaged there four years, at Winona two years, and at Portland, Oregon, four years. In 1875 he commenced giving concerts, and, as the celebrated McGibeny family, his family has won high praise in all parts of America.

David McGibeny borx1 in Hebron, N. Y., married Lavinia Cooper. Mr. McGibeny located in West Almond in 1835 and attended the first town meeting. He bought 100 acres of land which he cleared, Of his 7 children, 3 sons died in the Civil War, the others, 2 daughters and 2 sons, are residents of the county.

Soldiers.- Many of our citizens who served in the Civil War are credited to other towns and we can find no record of the names of those who went from West Almond. These few names secured from the best attainable sources are inaccurate, inadequate and incomplete. 86th N. Y., Alamanzo and Alexander L. Litchard; 1st N. Y. Dragoons, Co. A, Lyman R. Hanks; Co. C, Hector A. Arnold; Co. H, Wilbur F. McGibeny, George Dean, Henry P. Green, Henry H. McGibeny, Henry Sawyer, Clayton L. Hurd, Theodore Ostrander; 136th N. Y., Co. E, William H. Safford; 189th N. Y., Co. C, William J. IReniff; 188th N. Y.. Joel R. Green, lifer. Let it be known however that West Almond showed as patriotic and self-denying a spirit in the terrible days of war as any of her sister towns.

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