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County History

Allegany County History

Where the dark green pines and hemlocks grow,

Where the fountains of light from rock sources flow,

Where the Red Man's foot had scarce ceased to roam,

Our fathers established their pioneer home.

'Tis the "top of the world," 'tis the land where we see

The waters flow all ways to get to the sea;

To the north, to the south, to the east, to the west,

The crystal streams spring to the broad ocean's breast. —W. A. Fergusson. 

("Allegany County & It's People; A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, NY; John S. Minard, Esq., County Historian; President, Allegany County Historical Society. 1896.")

 

"Allegany County was taken from Genesee in 1806. It is 44 miles long, 28 wide, being part of the tract ceded to Massachusetts. The two western tiers of towns are within the Holland Land Company’s purchase. The Genesee river flows through the county by a deep channel, depressed from five hundred to eight hundred feet below the higher hills.

By an act passed in 1828, this river was dedicated a public highway from Rochester to the Pennsylvania line. The soil is of a good quality, there being extensive tracts of alluvion, and the uplands embrace a variety. The northern part is best for grain, but as a whole it is better for grazing.

Wheat and corn thrive well in the valley and on the river flats. Of the former, twenty-five bushels an acre are an average crop, and of the latter forty. On the upland, corn, rye, potatoes, oats, and buckwheat, are productive crops.

The growth of forest trees being heavy, lumbering is carried on extensively. The Rochester and Olean canal, chartered in 1836, and now constructing, enters the county at Portage and terminates at Olean, in the adjoining county of Cattaraugus. The line of the Erie railroad also passes through it. The county contains 30 towns."

(From: Historical Collections of the State of New York, Past and Present, John Barber, Clark Albien & Co. 1851)

Many changes have taken place in the annals of time covering Allegany County History since those words were written in 1851....including the borders of the villages and the Towns as evidenced by studies of maps showing the border changes through the first 6 decades of formation since 1806.  By 1856 the county's Towns were finalized as we see the borders now surrounding 29 Towns and an Seneca Oil Springs Indian Reservation, tiny as it is.

The remarkable history of our Allegany County is reflected in the various articles published on this website.  Perhaps we will show more human interest articles that reflect the true history of the people who lived at some time within the borders, rather than the solid History facts shown in the "Bibles" of History written in the "Beers" and "Minard" books of 1879 and 1896.

Allegany has always contained a "fluid society", always having people come-and-go....as the nation developed around her....and so we will always attempt to attach the hidden "little" people who surface as important to the county history as well as the "famous" on our website.

Continue through the articles in the History section to enjoy the flavor of the people who came here and wrought out a living from the lands of the Genesee Valley.  We can all learn lessons from these hearty souls who have caste their marks upon us all.....Allegany County History - "A Story Worth Telling!"

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