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Black Creek Corners

Neva Gross
New Hudson Town Historian

In 1823, Jacob McElheney and his father Thomas McElheney settled near Black Creek Corners. Thomas came to New Hudson from Dryden in Tompkins County. He was born in Mt.Methal, Pa. He married his first wife, Jane Bower (Bauer) about 1796. She bore him 7 children. His second marriage was to Isabel Fergusen in March 1814. She also bore him 7 children. Many of the McElheney’s in the area are his descendants. He was active in the affairs of the town and was the first postmaster in Black Creek in 1825-1843. He was no doubt active in the early Methodist Episcopal church as his family names are found in the old records. Jacob McElheney was known as Colonel McElheney from being a colonel in the militia. Both Thomas and Jacob and their wives are buried in the old M.E. Cemetery. Many other McElheney’s are buried in the Black Creek Cemetery.

Calvin Cheeseman and his son, Elias, came to New Hudson about 1824-25 from the area near Albany. They settled on the Spring Valley Road, where Clark and Esther Luckey now live. Calvin and his wife Amy (Elizabeth) Day had 11 children, one of them, Marie Whitney Cheeseman married Samuel S. Haight, the one that the town was originally named for. A barn built by Elias Cheeseman was covered with split shingles or "shakes", fastened with wooden pegs instead of nails. The only nails then used being wrought nails, hammered out on an anvil, mostly made in England and Germany, and costing 25 cents a pound.

In the 1822 Elias Briggs and his father Ephraim Sr. settled in the south part of the town on the Spring Valley Road. They came from Schenectady with an ox team and were 17 days on the road. Ephraim Briggs, Jr., Elias, and other members of their family were active in the early church at Black Creek. Both Ephraim and Elias served as deacons. One of the stained glass windows in the church has the inscription "In memory of Elias D. Briggs, Roxanne Briggs, and Sarah Briggs King." There were many descendants of the Briggs families in the Richard Comfort, Harry Hibbard, and Reuben and Jonas Eastwood.

The first written record of a school meeting was on April 1, 1831 at the school house. It is apparent that the first settlers lost no time in starting a school. I do not know the site of this school house. In May 1840, a meeting was held for the purpose of appropriating money to buy a lot for a new school house site. On a map of 1856, it shows a school house on the Hyde Flats Road situated between the canal and the muddy Black Creek. On November 10, 1868, at a school meeting, a vote was taken to select a site for a new school house. It was decided to build a school house on land situated on the south west corner of land owned by the Congregational Church on the road running from Black Creek to Rockville, east of the Methodist Episcopal burying ground. The contract for building the school house was let to Newell C. McElheney for $740. I believe this to be the same school house that was in use until New Hudson District #4 centralized with Cuba. At the time, a new school house was built near the site of the old Methodist Church. The old school house was partially torn down and one portion is used as a bus garage.

Before 1853, there was a building at Black Creek Corners occupied by Carpenter and Spaulding. This may have been the place, where they had their business of dealing in the manufacturing of deer skin gloves and mittens. In 1853 a business was carried on in that place by Elijah Bard. On the 1856 map, it shows a dry goods store operated by Bard and Webster. On the corner where the Fire Hall now stands it shows "Rorabeck, Dealer in gloves and mittens." On the same map it shows a Dr. Taylor’s office, the Spaulding Hotel, J.D. Smith Blacksmith, and a carriage Shop.

The Spaulding Hotel must have been built before 1856. The population was the greatest in New Hudson in 1840, probably due to the work on the Genesee Valley Canal. the hotel was situated in the area where the Town Hall now stands. I believe it was built by Isaac Spaulding. In 1863 on the assessment roll it was owned by E.P. Bard. On the 1869 map, it was owned by Andrew Lounsbury. It was owned by the Lounsbury family until it burned in 1916. It was referred to as the Town House in many of the old records as the meetings of the Town Board were held there. After the last boat came through the canal in 1878, Black Creek became a quiet town again. Some of the rooms in the hotel were rented as a flat. Cynthia Steward told of living there as a child. They had a kitchen, living room, dining room, and a bedroom downstairs and 3 upstairs. I believe they lived there until they bought the house formerly used as the Methodist parsonage, before the church was torn down.

The map of 1856, shows a store at Black Creek Corners, where Wixson’s garage stood for so many years. This store was operated by J.D. Smith. This building burned, but before the turn of the century another building was erected there. Jennie and Burdette Larrabee were the owners. There was a skating rink in this building. Also the Maccabee Lodge met there. Names of Officers of the Knights of the Maccabees: Clarence Ricker, V.J. McElheney, C.E. Bartlett, A.B. Larrabee, E.L. Lyon, A.R. Rogers, T.S. Thomas, M.J. Dunn, C.J. Lacy, George C. Amsden, Charles H. Drake, B.J. Tuesdell, Freeborn A. Gee.

Another store and adjoining house was built about this time where the Fire Hall now stands. This store was owned by H.P. Ricker, who was the postmaster and dealer in the dry hoods groceries, boots and shoes. Later it was owned and operated by Frank Hicks, son-in-law of Mr. Ricker. He also held the office of postmaster. This building burned about 1934.

The first religious meeting held in the Town of New Hudson was at the house of Jonas Eastwood, a Methodist preacher at Black Creek in 1821, who continued his labors for some years. I found on a scrap of paper in the Town Hall the following concerning Rev. Jonas Eastwood. "We whose names are hereunto annexed do severally agree to give the sums set present to remunerate him in some small degree for his labors of love in preaching the gospel to us ever since we first settled in the wilderness, which he has done cheerfully without fee or reward and has always held himself at our call o attend funerals, to visit the sick, and preach to us (let his business be ever so urgental)". The names were not on this paper although I searched for them, I did not find them. In 1827 a Methodist Episcopal Society was organized. The meetings were held in the school house for the next ten years, until a church was built by the society. This church was built where the brick school house was built after New Hudson District #4 centralized with Cuba. The building is now used as a home and two apartments.

In June 1822, a Presbyterian Church was former in Black Creek by the Rev. Robert Hubbard, consisting of six members of which John C. McKean was appointed deacon. In November of 1826, thirteen more were added and at that time Rev. Reuben Hurd took charge of the church. The first church building was erected in 1832 or 33. In August of 1837, the churches of Black Creek and Haight united to form the Presbyterian Church of New Hudson at the "Center". The membership in 1840 was 92. By 1839, 16 members withdrew from the Church of New Hudson to form the Church of Black Creek. In 1846, it numbered 35 members. In 1849, a new edifice was built at a cost of $1,600. On February 28, 1850, the new meeting house was dedicated. This edifice burned on March 1898. It was decided to rebuild and on March 9, 1899 the present building was dedicated. In 1839, the Black Creek Church had organized themselves as a Congregational Church and was of that denomination for many years.

The first physician locating at Black Creek Corners was Dr. Calvin L. Allen, who came there in the early 1830’s. He practiced there a few years and then went to Hume, where he remained five years. He then returned to Black Creek and remained there until his death in Jun 1875. He married Minerva Rogers and had two sons, Dr. Otis Allen and Dr. Seneca Allen of Cuba. Dr. Austin Taylor was the next doctor to practice there, but particulars concerning him are lacking as well as those of Dr. Harry Taylor. Dr. Ensorth is another physician of whom no information has been received. Dr. Thomas practiced there until 1894, when he moved to Cuba and formed a partnership with Dr. Otis Allen as "Allen and Thomas" in the drug store and the practice of medicine.

Up to the 1844 the cheese and butter product was small. There were no cheese or butter factories. The work was all done on the farm. By the 1870s there were many cheese factories in the area. The Black Creek Valley Cheese Factory was in operation in 1873. This factory burned and in the 1890s, another cheese factory was built. This was called the Black Creek Cheese Factory. In the early 1900s, a milk plant was built by the Borden Co., near the old canal on the Tibbetts Hill Road. This building was removed in 1922.

As I have mentioned before, work on the Genesee Valley Canal was the cause of the population being greatest in 1840. The canal was finished to Belfast in 1853, to Rockville in 1854, and to Olean in 1856. So it must have been completed through New Hudson in 1855. For the next 20 years the town had a convenient market for it’s lumber, shingles, wood, and bark. The canal was 42 feet wide at water-surface and 26 feet wide on the bottom, with banks 7 feet high and calculated for 4 feet of water. There were two types of boats, one which carried passengers (called packets), and horses, and the freighters by mules and oxen. The swiftest packet boats drawn by horses could make four miles an hour, but when it reached the region of many locks, any pedestrian could leave it far out of sight. The boats on the Genesee Valley Canal were generally round bow and square stern, some fourteen feet wide and eighty feet long. There was a cabin at the stern for living purposes, and a hand’s cabin or a place for horses at the bow. It served as a home for the waterman and his family. There were probably many in this area who worked on the canal, but details are lacking. Jerome Upham, as a youth in his teens, came to this area where he worked loading canal boats. Frank Reynolds was a boatman. Claron Cole drove a team of horses on the towpath, when he was a lad of sixteen. (My Grandfather) Henry Norman (Grandfather of Lena Hyde Lockwwod), as a boy of twelve years, drove a team of mules as he hauled loaded barges, while walking on the beaten path along the canal bank. Nellie Roat Jordan’s grandmother also drove mules along the towpath, when she was a girl. Clark Luckey’s grandfather, Sam Luckey, also drove a team on the towpath. In the year of 1878, the last boat passed through the canal.

In 1879, steps were taken for the organization of a company to build a railroad on the line of the abandoned Genesee Valley Canal. this later materialized and was called the Genesee River Railroad. Later this railroad was known as the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. In 1909, the Erie Railroad Co. built a cutoff from Cuba to Hunt, completed in 1910. At this time the Pennsylvania Railroad changed its route along the banks of the old canal to run its tracks along the Erie cutoff. Many immigrants worked on the building of the railroad, many of Italian and Irish descent. Much of the work was done with pick and shovel. It has been told that the two railroad engines were lost while building the railroad across Baldwin swamp southwest of Black Creek.

Black Creek had a depot that was built soon after the railroad was completed. Here mail was sent out and delivered twice daily for many years. There were two passenger cars available daily. Will Gere served as Station Master for many years. Robert Dolph carried the mail to and from the post office twice a day. The daily papers were also sent on the train. The Black Creek depot burned in the late 1920s. As the years passed, the trains were used less and less for travel and mail delivery. In 1963 the last train went through Black Creek on the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Erie’s last train on the cutoff was in 1977. The rails were removed in 1980.

Post Office at Black Creek

The Post Office at Black Creek was established on April 23, 1825.

Date appointed
Thomas McElheneyApril 23, 1825
Thomas CarpenterMay 9, 1843
Solon NicholsNovember 26, 1847
Elijah F. BardDecember 14, 1848
James M. McElheneyOctober 2, 1849
Isaac SpauldingJune 30, 1853
Thomas CarpenterMay 17, 1855
Ezekiel CaprenterMar 14, 1856
Austin TaylorOctober 3, 1856
Henry P. RickerJune 23, 1863
Lucius B. LyonApril 27, 1877
Henry P. RickerNovember 23, 1881
David WileyAugust 24, 1885
Henry P. RickerMay 10, 1889
Charles W. HalseyJuly 27, 1893
Clarence RickerJune 9, 1897
Charles S. WestfallJune 27, 1901
Frank A. HicksApril 6, 1903
Leah M. McElheneyOctober 26, 1911
Laura VandermullenJuly 28, 1917
Homes L. DavisJune 12, 1918
Mrs. Gladys MowersJune 3, 1946
Mrs. Margaret BotensJuly 31, 1971
Mrs. Carol FullerApril 9, 1988

The majority of the resident in the Black Creek area were farmers, but there were several in the area who had a trade. John Alexander and James Smith were wagon makers. Reuben Eastwood, George Lane, and William Webster were coopers. Uriah Bartlett, Aaron Gee, Moses Gee, Charles Hapgood, Joseph Harbeck, John Hutchings, and Daniel Kingsbury were carpenters. John Harbeck operated a sawmill, as did C.S. Clark. Andrew Lounsbury was a hotel keeper. Ambert Quinton sold boots and shoes. Thomas Evans was a shoemaker. John D. Smith was a blacksmith. Charles K. Halsey moved buildings. Wiley and Lewis were dealers in flour, feed, and grain.

The Black Creek Band was organized about 1913-14. They played for concerts at Cuba on Saturday nights in the park.

Position and Instrument
Israel JacobsInstructor
Maurice HarbeckLeader
Solo Coronet
Rufus CornellManager
Solo Coronet
Harry WixsonSecretary-Treasurer
Frank VanschaickE Flat Tuba
Henry Van FleetBaritone
Elmer JordonTenor
Leon RorkClarinet
Tony Miday (Cuba)Saxaphone
Lewis WixsonSecond Coronet
Henry MinerFirst Coronet
Maurice HarbeckSolo Coronet
Claude HarbeckSecond Alto
Emmett HarbeckSolo Alto
Charles CartwrightBass Drum
Arthur CartwrightSnare Drum
Percy WixsonClarinet

New Hudson

Allegany County, New York Table of Contents

Last updated on July 16, 2006
© 1998 by Neva Gross, all rights reserved; used by permission
© copyright 1999, by Vivian Karen Bush
This page is part of the Allegany County, New York GenWeb Site and is not affiliated with any other society or organization.