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Alfred

from Child's 1875 Gazetteer, pp. 30-37

Alfred was formed from Angelica, March 11, 1808, and a part of Angelica was annexed in 1816. Almond and Independence were taken off March 16, 1821; a part of West Almond, April 15, 1833; and a part of Ward, Nov. 21, 1856. The first town meeting was held at the house of Benjamin Van Campen, on the first Tuesday in April, 1808, and the following named officers were elected:

A bounty of $4 for every wolf killed was voted.

The town lies near the center of The east border of the county, and contains 19,200 acres. It's surface is broken by irregular hills, separated by deep, narrow valleys, and their highest summits are 500 to 800 feet above the streams. It is drained by Whitney Valley Creek in The north, and by Dykes Creek in the south. The soil is a clay and shaly loam upon the hills, and a gravelly loam in the valleys. It is well adapted to grazing, and the farmers are mostly engaged in dairying. The morality of the people is marked, and we are advised that no license for the sale of intoxicating liquors has been granted in The town for over thirty years.

The Erie Railroad enters the town in The northeast corner, and extending in a south-westerly direction, leaves it near the center of the south border.

The population of the town in 1870 was 1,555; of whom, 1,499 were native, 56, foreign and all except nine, white.

ALFRED CENTER (p.v. is situated on Whitney Valley Creek, a little north of the center of the town, and is distant two miles form Alfred, The nearest railroad station. It contains one church, Alfred University and Academy, a printing office, (The Sabbath Recorder, published weekly by the American Tract Society,) ten stores of various kinds, one hotel, a photograph gallery, a steam saw mill and cheese-box factory, a sash, door and blind factory, two wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, and undertaking establishment, and about five hundred inhabitants.

Alfred University was founded in December, 1836. It has two general departments-- an academic and a collegiate-- each having a male and female department, with equal powers and privileges. The academic department was incorporated in 1842, and received under the visitation of The Regents Jan. 31, 1843. It was incorporated as a University March 28, 1857, and organized as such April 15, 1857. It has eighteen professors and instructors, and 179 male and 184 female students. The value of the buildings and grounds is $63,500; of library, cabinet and apparatus $13,500; and of other college property, $80,000. It has an income of $11,273.86, and is under the care of The Seventh Day Baptists.* *[Gazetteer of the State of New York, by Franklin B. Hough, A.M.,M.D., 1872, and the University Catalogue, 1869.]

ALFRED, (p.v.,) (formerly known as Bakers Bridge,) is situated on Whitney Valley Creek, and on the Erie Railroad, in the north-east part of the town, and contains one church, (Seventh day Baptist,) four stores of various kinds, one hotel, a blacksmith shop, shoe shop, some twenty-five dwellings, and about 100 inhabitants.

Settlement was commenced in May, 1807, by Judge Clark Crandall, from Petersburgh, Rensselaer Co., and Nathan Green, from Brookfield, Madison Co., who located at or in the vicinity of Alfred, the former on lot 8. Crandall was Associate County Judge. He was the first member of the state Legislature from this town, and one of the first in the county. He built the first court house at Angelica. Green was a single man. Shortly after, and probably the same year, came Edward and Caleb Green, brothers of Nathan, who came also from Brookfield, and settled between Alfred and Alfred Center. They were both drowned a few years after in the Canisteo River. Edward Green built the first framed house in the town about 1809. Wm. Saunders, from Berline, Rensselaer Co., located about the same year about half a mile south of Alfred Center. He served as a soldier till the close of the war 1812, [p.32] but lived only some two weeks after his return home. James Fisk, from Brookfield, Madison Co., came in 1808 and took up a farm within the limits of the village of Alfred Center. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. he was taken sick in 1814, came home, and died in a few days. John Teater, from Oneida Co., settled the same year a little east of Alfred Center. He kept the first hotel in town in 1818. His daughter, Nancy, taught the first school in 1814. Luke Green, from Brookfield, Madison Co., a soldier in the war of 1812, settled between Alfred and Alfred Center in 1809. His wife is still living in the town at the advanced age of nearly 92 years. A daughter, (Mrs. Phebe Crandall,) aged 70 years, is living in the town of Alma. But few settlements appear to have been made from this period until after the close of the war of 1812. David Satterlee, from Berlin, Rensselaer Co., located between Alfred and Alfred Center in 1813; and settlements were made in 1814 by Richard Hull, Abel Burdick, Stephen Coon and his son Stephen Coon Jr., Jesse Whitford, and James C. Burdick. Hull came from Berlin, Rensselaer County, and settled in the eastern part of the town. He was one of the early preachers of the town. His son, Rev. N. V. Hull, has been pastor of the First Seventh day Baptist Church of Alfred Center for the last twenty-eight years, and is now editor of The Sabbath Recorder. Burdick was also from Brookfield, Madison Co. He settled in the northern part of the town. The Coons came from Rensselaer Co. and settled in the central part. Whitfordcame from Brookfield, Madison Co. and located in the southeast part, on lot 35, where he lived the remainder of his life. Burdick was also from Brookfield. He settled in the eastern part, on lot 25, where he remained till his death, where one of his sons still lives. Elias Burdick from Rhode Island, settled in the western part about the same year (1814). In 1815 settlements were made by Freeborn Hamilton, a soldier of the war of 1812, who took up 100 acres of land near Alfred on which he remained till his death; by Elias Smith, who located with his wife, five sons, two daughters and a daughter-in-law, a little west of the center, on lot 21, and whose son, Elias Jr., also settled at the same time and place, where they remained till death; by George Green, who located on lot 20; by Gideon L. Spicer, who settled at Alfred Center; by Nathan Lanphear, who took up a farm in the southern part, put up a part of a log house, and, in consequence of an accident by which he cut his foot while engaged on the same, returned to Berlin, Rensselaer Co., whence he came, and where he remained two years, after which he moved on his farm, where he is still living; and by Amos Burdick Jr. who located in the south-eastern part, on lot 43, on [p. 33] the farm upon which he still lives. Hamilton, Green, Burdick and the Smiths were from Brookfield, Madison Co. Rodman Place settled near the central part about 1815. He came from Rensselaer Co. During the cold season of 1816 he, with many others, suffered severely, and barely escaped starvation. David Stillman, from Petersburgh, Rensselaer Co., settled near Alfred Center about 1815 or 16. Amos Burdick, Russell Davis and Paris Green came in from Brookfield, Madison Co., in 1816. Burdick settled in the southeast part on lot 44, where he died. His son, Welcome B., who was a little over three years old when his father moved in, has lived on the same farm since 1816. Davis also settled in the south-east part, but lived only about two and a half years after he came here. Green settled in the eastern part, on lot 35, in March. Stephen Collins and Isaac Burdick, from Madison Co., and Samuel Thatcher, from Hornellsville, but originally from Vermont, came in 1817. Collins came in the fall, the whole distance on foot, and settled in the western part. His first log house was covered with split hollow basswood logs. Burdick settled a half mile east of Alfred, where he lived most of the remainder of his life. Thatcher settled near the central part of the town. Amos Crandall and wife, and Samuel Lanphear, with his wife and two children, came in from Rhode Island in 1818, and settled in the northern part. They brought their goods in an ox cart, drawn by a yoke of oxen and a horse hitched ahead. Wm. Crandall, from Rensselaer Co., settled in the southern part the same year. Joseph Claire from Petersburgh, Rensselaer Co., settled in the north-western part in 1819, and lived on the farm he took up the remainder of his life. Abner Allen, from Onondaga Co., settled in the north-eastern part in 1820; and Ebenezer Allen, from Marcellus, in the same county, settled in the north-western part two years later. Elijah Woolworth, from Turin, Lewis Co., but immediately from Brookfield, Madison Co., where he had lived two years, purchased a farm on which some improvements had been made, in the western part of the town, and raised some grain in 1822. He then returned for his family, which he moved here in February of the following year. They came with a lumber wagon, drawn by a span of horses. He spent the remainder of his life on the farm he then took up. Isaac Fenner came from Herkimer Co., in 1824, and settled in the western part. He was for a time engaged in the mercantile business, but prior and subsequent to that time has followed agricultural pursuits. He has been instrumental in fostering Alfred Academy and in building several churches. Maxson Stillman and his son, Maxson Jr., came in from Rensselaer Co. in 1825, [p. 34] and settled on lot 23, one mile south of Alfred Center. Jeremiah Burdick from Rhode Island, settled in the town in 1825. He is in his eighty-eighth year, being the oldest man in Alfred. Thomas J. Burdick, from Westerly, Washington Co., R. I., settled in the north-western part of the town in the fall of 1829. Other early settlers were the families of Perry Murphy, Charles H. Clark, Maxson Green, Luke Maxson and George Stillman, who settled at Alfred Center very soon after Crandall and the Greens came in. Another, though not among the earliest settlers, yet an important one with respect to the moral, spiritual and aesthetic culture of the residents in this vicinity, was Rev. Wm. Colegrove Kenyon, A.M., who was for several years president of the faculty of Alfred University, and who devoted the last years of his earth life to its fostering care. He was born in Richmond, R. I., Oct. 23, 1812, of poor and humble parentage. At the age of five years ye was bound out to a guardian, from whom “he experienced the severity and ungraciousness not unfrequently attaching to the life of a ward.” When old enough he was hired out to neighboring farmers during the summer, and in the winter he attended district school, doing chores night and morning, and working one day in the week for his board. At the early age of fourteen he united by baptism with the First Church of Hopkinton, and the three following winters were spent in the families of deacons Daniel Lewis and John Langworthy, whose high social, refining and elevating influences awakened in him noble aspirations. During this time he attended school, and when at work on the farm he kept a book handy, that all odd spells might be improved. His work was driven with a view to gain time for his studies, and he read and studied by fire light when no better was at hand. When he was about nineteen years of age he bought his time of his guardian, giving his note, which he subsequently paid, principal and interest, with money earned by teaching at the institution with which he was afterward so prominently connected. He learned the trade of machinist, and while working with the lathe and file did much of his studying, reciting with classes in a school known as the Lyceum. In the summer of 1836 he entered Union College, having gone over only about half the studies usually required for entering, a fact which necessitated very hard work to enable him to keep up with his classes. The winter of 1836-7 he spent at the “Novelty Works” of New York city, and during this time he nearly kept up with his college studies. One vacation and a part of a term he taught district school, and another term was nearly lost by his having the small-pox. Dr. Nott, President of Union College, becoming deeply interested in him, cheered him on and solicited aid for him from the American Education Society; but it was refused on the ground that he, being a Seventh-Day Baptist, was not orthodox. The Hopkinton sewing Society and another local society aided him somewhat, and he paid back the money received from them after he began teaching, “testifying that their manifestation of confidence in him was worth as much the money, giving him new inspiration to press forward.” In the spring of 1839, Rev. James R. Irish who was his room-mate while in college, and who was then principal of the school in Alfred Center, procured the appointment of Mr. Kenyon as his successor. The latter entered upon the duties of his office, expecting to remain only two or three years at most; for in preparing for the ministry he intended to devote his life to missionary work in foreign fields. But here, in a field comparatively unoccupied by institutions of learning, he saw a mission worthy of his efforts, and he soon became interested in educational projects, to the success and perpetuation of which his whole future live was devoted. We have not the space to detail the arduous labors involved in his efforts to awaken that interest which was the germ of Alfred University, nor the unflagging energy with which he pushed his beneficent plans through periods of despondency and grave financial embarrassments to so grand a culmination. To-day that institution stands as a monument to his unremitting toil and self-sacrifice, and his memory is enshrined in the hearts of hundreds who have and are yet to reap the benefit of his labors. In addition to the preparation demanded by his daily duties in school, he prosecuted his college studies, frequently working most of the night, and in due time received the degree of Masters of ARts. In the fall of 1841 he was appointed Superintendent of Common Schools for this county. He spent the winter and part of the following summer in the discharge of the duties of his office, Elder Irish taking his place temporarily as Principal of the school.

From a Memorial Address delivered by Prof. Jonathan Allen, by appointment of The Trustees of Alfred University, to which we are indebted for the foregoing particulars relative to Mr. Kenyon, we extract the following description of him:--

“One of those slender, compact, nervous, magnetic men--a man very earnest, very incisive, somewhat radical, even eccentric, if you please, yet very genuine--the first sight of him, on his arrival here to take charge of the school, stirred one young life to the core. The first address that we heard him deliver roused and thrilled us as no other, and we worked for days in a dream; and his teaching was suggestive, electric, inspiring. We students in those early days, in our little gatherings, voted him, save in a few points, the greatest man living. His whole being appeared to our youthful eyes condensed, intensified, spiritual energy, with strange [p.32] fascinating power. As the chemists assert that each drop of water contains electricity enough to produce, when set free, a small thunderbolt, so he appeared to our youthful imaginations as possessing in each minutest globule of his blood, life-force sufficient to electrify and stir into action any nature however dormant. The chief excellency of teacher does not consist in the number of facts he may store away in the minds of his pupils, but in awakening their individual powers to independent action, in dispelling stupidity, drowsiness, quickening them into vitality, fervor, kindling aspiration, spurring on to self-improvement, high endeavor, thus leading on to noble achievement. President Kenyon sometimes said that the noblest inscription which he could have for his tombstone, would be, that he had been good at drill, and secured mental concentration, steadiness of mental nerve and eye, steadfastness of purpose, lending to an appreciation of the infinite importance of life's opportunities and responsibilities.”

“On the 5th day of August 1840, he married Miss Melissa B. Ward, whose life thence forward was inseparably interwoven with the life of the Institution, and who, like her husband, gave all, even to the offering of life itself, for its welfare.” In 1857, when the University charter was granted, he was appointed President, an office he held till 1865, when he spent a few months in Missouri, having married in september of the previous year Mrs. Ida S. Long. He soon resumed his duties in the University, “and though offered one of the most lucrative and tempting educational positions in the gift of the State, he steadfastly held to his purpose to devote a complete life-service to the cause of education in Alfred. Illness, however, soon compelled him to again seek medical aid, rest and foreign travel.” He spent the summer of 1866 at Dr. Taylor's “Swedish Movement Cure,” in New York city, and by October he was so far restored as to be able to sail for Europe, where he spent the winter with his wife's friends in Prussia. “In early spring, President and Mrs. Kenyon had started from Forste, in Prussia, for the Orient, intending to take a steamer at Trieste directly for Alexandria; thence, after traveling through portions of Egypt, to go to Palestine. But soon after starting they were compelled, on account of his ill health, to turn aside to Geneva, in Switzerland, spending four weeks there; but as he was getting weaker from week to week, they turned their faces homeward, stopping a few weeks at Paris, thence to London on the 2d of May.” His health failed rapidly, but such was his intense desire to reach home, that his home passage had been paid, trunks packed, and a man engaged to take him to the ship. He died on the morning of June 7, 1867, and his funeral took place on the 11th, at Abney Park Cemetery near London.

The first marriage in town was contracted by Luke Maxson and Susan Green. The first birth was that of Rebecca Stillman, [p. 37] Nov. 4, 1808; and the first death, that of Charles H. Clark, who accidentally shot himself while wiping his gun after a day's hunt. Ephraim S. and Lodwick Davis built the first saw mill in 1821, and the first grist mill in 1824.

The First Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, at Alfred Center, the first church formed in the town, was organized with about six members, by Elders Wm. Satterlee and Henry Clark, in 1816. Their first house of worship was erected in 1831; and the present one, which will seat 700 persons in 1855, at a cost of $6,000. The first pastors were Elders Daniel Babcock and Richard Hull. The Society numbers 451 members, who are under the pastoral care of Rev. N. V. Hull, our informant. The Church property is valued at $10,000.

The Second Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred, at Alfred village, was organized with about thirty-six members, by members from the First Church, in 1831. The first church edifice was erected about 1836; and the present one, which will seat 300 persons, in 1858, at a cost of $3,300, the present value of the Church property. The first pastor was Rev. Ray Green; the present one is Rev. L. R. Swinney, our informant. There are 197 members.



Allegany County GenWeb Page

Town of Alfred

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Created on ... August 12, 2003

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