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Wellsville, New York

Extracted from Allegany County and Its People by John S. Minard, 1895

with historic newspaper clippings added

Early Settlers before 1829

Settlers between 1827 and 1832.

Wellsville Village in 1837

Mrs. Joanna Coats, widow of Welcome H. Coats remembers the village of 1836 and 1837. In November, 1836, she came with her husband from Alfred.  It was the proposed construction of the Erie railroad that brought them.  In '37 they built a building.  Mr. Coats was a cabinet maker and in 1838 established a small shop in his house.  The turning-lathes were run by horse power.  In 1852 the first steam engine used in the village was put in the shop, which had been moved from the dwelling, and occupied the site of the present brick store.  W. H. Coates was the villages pioneer manufacturer.  The present Coats Furniture Company, of which he was the founder, is our oldest manufacturing concern.  Other than the early settlers already mentioned Mrs. Coates remembers that Stephen Taylor, E. A. Smith, Jno. F. Goddard, Samuel Shingler and A. E. Bronson were here in '37. “Eph” Smith soon after his arrival in '37 purchased the Mill street grist and saw mills and conducted them for a few years.  He afterwards owed the greater portion of lot 3 as well as considerable property along Main street farther down the river.  He built the homestead now remodeled and occupied by E. C. Bradley.  The river road then ran directly by the house.  The highway then was not as straight street; for instance, the road took a sharp turn to the north near Furnace street and ran through about where the lane is in the rear of the business blocks.  After passing around the deep gully which lay between Furnace and Pearl, the street swung back toward the river again.  The ravine was not “filled in” for years after the street was straightened.  Ambrose Coats, who was born at Riverside in 1837, says, that as a boy he remembers a valley between two hills on Main street.  The sides seemed steep and precipitous.  To-day on either side of the street the gully remains unfilled.  Where O'Connor Bros. store was erected it was not necessary to excavate for the cellar.  Not till L. D. Davis became the first street commissioner of the village was the road made really level.  Mr. Davis' efforts at the time (1867) were saluted with these verses from the pen of the versatile Dr. H. M. Sheerar.

Davis! spare our street,
Touch not a single stone
Where oft our children's feet
Have trampled in mud alone.
'Twas our forefather's hand
That laid it near our lot,
There, Davis, let it stand,
Thy spade must harm it not.
That old familiar street,
Whose mud and pumplog down
Below the surface neat,
Take water through the town.
Davis! forbear thy stroke,
Spoil not the rugged grade.
I tell you 'tis no joke,
your army with a spade.

In '37 and for many years afterwards the village extended down the river only to Furnace street.  When in 1842 a school house was built upon the Academy site its location said to be “out in the country in the woods,” though the site was in the village as surveyed by Sheldon Brewster in '37.  The Baptist church site was not then in the village.  The Brewster survey comprised about 75 acres and lay entirely within great lot 3 of the Willing and Francis Tract, Morris Reserve.  The south line began at the junction of Dike's Creek with the river at State street bridge and crossed Main street and took in the Hanrahan blacksmith shop.  The west boundary was the river.  The east line was nearly parallel to Main street and about 56 rods distance therefrom.  The present central business section lies within these boundaries.  Main street extends from the south to the north line of lot 3.  Broad, Harrison and Washington streets were parallel to Main.  Clinton and Lafayette were south of present State street and 10 degrees off from a right angle to Main.  Franklin, Mineral, Jefferson, Genesee, Nelson and Pine were on the east side of Main. State and Mill crossed Main.  Clementina Square of 1 1/2 acres was bounded north by WAshington, east by Jefferson, south by Harrison and west by Genesee.  Capt. Geo. H. Blackman's resident is on this square. [Minard, pp. 337-338]

Old Residents and an early Wedding

In the spring of 1839 Mr. John B. Clark stopped at the VanBuren tavern.  He says:   “There were few buildings on Main street then.  Gardiner Wells, James Fosbury, H. VanBuren, A. M. Taylor and Nelson and Cornelius Seely I remember well.  The night I reached Wellsville 16 couples attended a dance at the VanBurens'.  The pretty girls at that dance had much to do with my settling here,” said the old man with a twinkle in his eye.  “In '40 I purchased some timber land of Judge Bartlett and also the John F. Godard farm.”  In 1848 Mr. Clark married Miss Anna L. Knight who, of all our residents, has had the longest continuous residence here.  She was born in 1832 in a log cabin which stood on Genesee street near the Clinton House.  Their wedding on Nov. 22, 1848, was a great event.  The ceremony took place in the Thompson “Castle” at Riverside, the finest mansion within a radius of many miles,* where Mr. Clark's mother was living.   The mansion this night presented a gay appearance.  It was illuminated not only with hundreds of wax candles, but with lamps, in which whale oil at $1.00 a gallon was burned.  One hundred guests were present.  They came from the whole surrounding country.  One room of the castle was set apart for the liquid refreshments which were furnished the guests.  Costly wines and old liquors, such as a new country seldom tasted, were free as water, yet it is said there was no intoxication.  Elder Hammond of the Congregational church performed the ceremony.  The “castle” was certainly not haunted with ghosts that night.  The last bit of this interesting structure formed a part of the Riverside Sanatorium which burned a few years ago.  The DePeyster house, built by a friend of Captain Thompson's below the “castle” is still standing, and owned by Dr. E. B. Sheerar.

[* This was owned by Captain Thompson, a wealthy old seaman and an aristocrat.  Just before its completion the Captain, who was superintending the construction, received word of the death of his wife in New York City.  Painters were at work on the house and he ordered them to pain the sash and other woodwork black, and stopped all other work.  This uncanny proceeding and the large unfinished rooms that echoed and re-echoed steps and voices gave rise to a story that the house was haunted.  Captain Thompson went to New York and never returned to live in Wellsville.  Edwin, his son, however, resided here many years and was long town clerk of old Scio.]

Civil History

The township of Wellsville was formed November 22, 1855. It was formed from parts of Willing, Andover and Scio.


First Town Meeting at the home of Harmon VanBuren on March 4, 1856.

  • J. Milton Mott, Supervisor
  • Jonathan Wyatt, Town Clerk
  • Zenas H. Jones, Samuel Sturgess, Levi S. Thomas and Alanson Holt, Justices of the Peace
  • E. W. Wells and W. H. H. Wylls, Assessors
  • Hiram Parish, Collector
  • Hiram Parish, David G. Sterling, Geo. A. Franum, Clark C. Abbott and E. E. Enos, Constables
  • Harmon VanBuren and Elijah Stowell, Overseers of the Poor
  • C. L. Farnum, S. O. Thomas, David Jonesl, commissioners of Highways

Town Supervisors

1856J. Milton Mott
1857Zenas H. Jones
1858C. L. Farnum
1859-1861Wm. S. Johnson
1862I. W. Fassett
1863Hiram York
1864-1866Adolphus Howard
1867-1868Sumner Baldwin
1868Tie Vote
1869-1872Sumner Baldwin
1873John Carpenter
1874Sumner Baldwin
1875-1876Wheeler Hakes
1877-1879Dickinson Clark
1880-1881Wm. R. McEwen
1882Hiram A. Coats
1883Thomas O'Connor
1884-1885A. A. Almy
1886Wm. Duke
1887-1888E. A. Osborn
1889Harry W. Breckenridge
1890-1892O. D. Browning
1893-1895G. H. Witter, M.D.

Biographies from Allegany County and Its People by John S. Minard.

  • Baldwin Brothers
  • William Bellamy
  • Alfred Steward Brown
  • E. C. Bradley
  • George H. Brown
  • Church Brothers
  • Dickinson Clark
  • Asahel N. Cole
  • Bartholomew Coats
  • Ambrose G. Coats
  • Welcome H. Coats
  • A. E. Cowles
  • Prof. Lewis W. Craig
  • Alson Crowner
  • Joseph Crowner
  • C. Eugene Farnum
  • Isaac W. Fassett
  • Patrick Fay
  • George M. Fox
  • Christopher H. Frederick
  • Mrs. Addie Frisbey
  • E. Mack Fulmer, Jr.
  • Thomas Francis Fisher
  • Charles H. Fisher
  • Dwight Goodrich
  • Edward Bradford Hall
  • Julius Hoyt
  • Seymour Johnson
  • David S. Jones
  • Henry Ketchum
  • Joseph B. Macken
  • Ablert D. Morrow
  • Joseph S. Norton
  • George R. Nobles
  • Frederick S. Osborn
  • Geroge J. Osborn
  • Therone P. Otis
  • Joshua S. Pittenger
  • William W. Plants
  • Horace E. Purdy
  • Aaron Rathbone
  • Jacob Rauber
  • Nicholas Rauber
  • Rev. Edward Alexander Rice
  • Fred D. Rice
  • Alexander L. Robertson
  • Joseph B. Schreiner
  • Dr. Harvey M. Sheerar
  • William Steffy
  • William Swain
  • Frank A. Taylor
  • James Thornton
  • Charles Smith
  • Hiram J. Torrey
  • Dan Tremaine
  • James K. Voorhees
  • Charles F. Weinhauer
  • Michael Wetherby
  • Clark Wilcox
  • Dr. J. G. Wilson
  • John H. Wolverton

Biographies from Beers' History of Allegany County, 1806-1879

  • S. F. Alexander
  • Anderson, Otis & Co.
  • Ira E. Austin
  • Baldwin Brothers
  • Enos W. Barnes
  • Rev. F. W. Beecher
  • W. J. Beecher
  • William Bellamy
  • Henry Brandes
  • J. H. Brown
  • J. H. Browning
  • O. D. Browning
  • L. A. Bunker
  • James Byrnes
  • John Carpenter
  • A. N. Cole
  • Horace E. Purdy
  • C. B. Cartwright
  • Dickinson Clark
  • W. H. Coats
  • William Coats
  • Rev. Albert Coit
  • Henry Crandall
  • Rev. Anson W. Cummings
  • Alson Crowner
  • S. E. Daniels
  • Simon Dornow
  • Lester Dyke
  • Edward J. Farnum
  • Isaac W. Fassett
  • C. L. Farnum
  • George A. Farnum
  • Fisher Brothers
  • John Foster
  • C. H. Rriedrich
  • J. B. Goodliff
  • Pardon Gree
  • E. B. Hall
  • Brigham Hanks
  • H. Heers
  • C. C. Horn
  • George Howe
  • George Howell
  • Hoyt & Lewis
  • Shadrach Hubbell
  • John S. Johnston
  • Martha Johnson
  • David S. Jones
  • J. Eugene Jones
  • Z. H. Jones
  • Mrs. D. C. Judd
  • Rev. Philip Kinsella
  • J. J. S. Lee
  • H. P. Lewis
  • McEwen Brothers
  • William W. Nichols
  • Ira Niles
  • H. H. Nye, M.D.
  • F. S. Osborn
  • Samuel Palmer
  • Ephraim R. Proctor
  • Thomas Puller
  • J. D. Rathbone
  • Stillman & Very
  • Jeremiah Sheehan
  • Henry Schrauder
  • C. H. Simmons
  • E. A. Smith
  • Thomas L. Smith
  • J. N. Stoddard
  • L. Sweet
  • O. P. Taylor
  • James Thornton
  • Mrs. C. Thurston
  • Samuel S. Truex
  • E. Van Nostrand
  • Jacob Rauber
  • F. K. Richards
  • J. A. Rider
  • Simon Rixford
  • James Roche
  • Charles Rowley
  • B. C. Rude
  • Hugh Sarsfield
  • B. C. Schermerhorn
  • Captain H. N. Schlick
  • Dr. H. M. Sheerar
  • Mrs. Moses Stevens
  • S. D. Vaughn
  • George Waffle
  • George Wagner
  • Edmund Ward
  • C. F. Weinhauer
  • W. J. Whitwood
  • J. G. Wilson
  • M. Wilson & Son
  • Edward G. Witter
  • Hiram York

The Friendhsip Chronicle, Vol. I, No. 11, April 21, 1880

James L. Macken, Anti-Tilden and W. W. Nichols, Tilden delegates to the State Convention, left here for Syracuse yesterday morning.

Miss Fanny Lewis and Miss May Cutler who have been attending school at Elmira, are home on a visit during vacation.

Miss Mary Babcock, of Hornellsville, is on a visit to relatives and friends here.

Mr. C. L. Parker, who has been very sick with diptheria, is now able to be out again.

The social of the Congregational Church and society is to be held on Wednesday evening at the residence of Mrs. McEwen.  A highly enjoyable gathering is anticipated.

Eugene Farnum returned from Rochester on Saturday, bringing with him about thierty thousand young trout to stock our stream with.

McEwen Brothers are running fell blast.  They are employing more workmen; than ever before, and still they cannot begin to fill their orders.

Coats Brothers are preparing to again enlarge their already extensive furniture manufactory.  They contemplate employing twenty-five more workmen this spring.

Triangle well No. 2 was torpedoed yesterday at eleven o'clock.  Within six hours it filled up with over six hundred feet of oil.  Good judges claim that it is certainly good for from twenty-five to fifty barrels per day.  J. G. Haymaker and several other Bradford operators are purchasing large quantities of land at one hundred dollars per action. -- Splinter

The Cuba True Patriot, Vol. V, No. 37, Mar 15, 1867:

Another Fire in Wellsville -- Wellsville was again visited by a disastrous fire on the morning of Saturday, the 9th inst. It was first discovered in a small building known as the "Blue Front," occupied by the firm of Nast & Auerbach, Clothing merchants. They lost their entire stock. The fire spread rapidly south, along the row of light wooden buildings, burning everything up to and including Plum's bakery. North, it burned Banister's shoe shop and the new post office. The looses, as far as can be learned, are as follows:

The stocks of goods were mostly moved, which accounts for the light loss. The property was mostly fully insured.

Wellsville Town Page

Allegany County GenWeb Page

Last updated on July 17, 2006
© copyright 1999, 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.