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County History

Names of Settlements & Villages

COMMUNITIES & SETTLEMENTS

Many naming conventions have been used over the centuries for Towns, Villages, Hamlets and Settlements.  Changes through the years have taken place with some names changing or even being lost in history.

Here are a few of the settlements that may not be organized as official governmental bodies, but never-the-less, necessary to know in order to locate them within the county.  The Towns that claim them are shown in parenthesis.

(CENTERVILLE) Centerville, Lost Nation; (HUME) Hume, Fillmore, Wiscoy, Rossburg; (GRANGER) Short Tract; (GROVE) Swain; (BURNS) Burns, Canaseraga, Garwoods; (BIRDSALL) Birdsall; (ALLEN) Aristotle, Allen Center; (CANEADEA) Caneadea, Oramel, Houghton; (RUSHFORD) Rushford, Rushford Lake; (NEW HUDSON) Rawson, Black Creek; (BELFAST) Belfast, Rockville Lake; (ANGELICA) Angelica; (WEST ALMOND) West Almond; (ALMOND) Almond, Bishopville; (ALFRED) Alfred, Alfred Station; (WARD) Phillips Creek; (AMITY) Belmont, Belvidere; (FRIENDSHIP) Friednship, Nile; (CUBA) Cuba, Oil Springs, Cuba Lake; (CLARKSVILLE) West Clarksville, Obi; (WIRT) Richburg, Inavale; (SCIO) Scio, Petrolia; (WELLSVILLE) Wellsville; (ANDOVER) Andover, Elm Valley; (INDEPENDENCE) Independence, Whitesville, Spring Mills; (WILLING) Stannards, Yorks Corners, Shongo, Hallsport; (ALMA) Allentown, Alma, Pikeville; (BOLIVAR) Bolivar, Kossuth, South Bolivar; (GENESEE) Little Genesee, Ceres.

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WELLSVILLE HISTORIAN TELLS D.A.R.

HOW AREA PLACE NAMES CAME ABOUT

“Place Names in Allegany County” was the topic discussed by Mrs. Albert D. Howe of Wellsville at the June meeting of the Catherine Schuyler chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, held June 15 at McCarty’s Restaurant, Fillmore.

Mrs. Howe as town historian has made extensive study of historical lore concerning Wellsville and Allegany County in particular. She has found that the history of how various towns and villages were named reveals interesting connections with world events, as well as picturesque descriptions, some of which are no longer in use.

Wellsville, though now the largest, is by no means the oldest town in the county. A gr oup of men from the area gathered in 1832 to choose a name for the town, and as one of the largest land owners, Gardner Wells, was absent, they voted to call the town Wellsville.

The early history of the county began around the 100,000 acres which John Barker Church purchased from Robert Morris in 1800, along the river and near the center of the county. His son, Philip Church, laid out a town in 1802 in the center of the tract and named it Angelica for his mother, daughter of Revolutionary Major-General Philip Schuyler of Albany. Angelica’s mother was Catherine Schuyler, for whom the chapter was named at its organization on June 15, 1897, 70 years ago. In 1810 Philip Church completed the Villa Belvidere and lived there for many years, also the original name of Belmont, Philipsville.

In later years, one of those who owned part of the original Church land was a William Short, hence the name, Short Tract.

Historical links with other countries appear in the names of Bolivar, named for the great South American liberator; Scio, named after a Green island in the Aegean Sea where a massacre of Christians occurred in 1820 which horrified the world. Previously, the settlement had been known as Riddleville. Alfred was named for King Alfred the Great; Allen, for Gen. Ethan Allen of Ticonderoga fame; Fillmore, for President Millard Fillmore.

Other place names are due to local opinions or prejudices, as for instance Friendship, which gained a reputation as Bloody Corners or Fighting Corners because of the Saturday night fights. Some of its citizens thought the town should have a better sounding name and chose the name of Friendship. Belfast flourished under several different names such as Huddle, Podunk, Poland and Portland. Finally, after numbers of Irish settled in the community, the justice of the peace, who had come from Ireland, suggested the name of Belfast.

Mrs. Howe related the story of how the great fighter, John L. Sullivan, was brought to Belfast for training. She also mentioned several towns with Indian names: Genesee which means “pleasant banks;” Caneadea, which means “where the sun rests on the hills;” Wiscoy, a compound name from “Wis,” the fifth Indian numeral, and signifies “the creek with five falls;” “Canaseraga means “valley of the elms,” Shongo, first called Beanville, was named in honor of a famous Indian chief. One of the oddest place names is that of Obi, which was originally called Moonshanty Bridge. The postal authorities wanted a shorter name, so after consulting a dictionary of proper names, Obi, a river in Siberia was found and adopted.

Business transacted at the business meeting, presided over by Mrs. George Schram of Bolivar, included election of delegates and alternates to the D.A.R. State Conference to be held in Buffalo, Oct. 4, 5 and 6. Mrs. Schram and Mrs. William Hodnett of Fillmore were named as delegates an d Mrs. Albert Howe of Wellsville and Mrs. Quincy Smith of Fillmore as alternates.

The July 20 meeting will be held at the Campus Center in Alfred.

(The Evening Tribune; Hornell NY- 1967)Submitted from clipping in file of ACHS.

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