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County History

Another Trip Among Early Records of Allegany County

Transcribed from The Friendship Chronicle, September 15, 1880.


No. 8. another trip among the early records of the county.
In a Blackman's Bower.

Not many days since chance favored us in carrying out our threat to once more ferret out and apprise our readers of some of past histories, mysteries, musty rolls and dusty documents in charge of County Clerk Blackman at his office at Belmont.

Rambling somewhat painlessly into that not very imposing structure, for it resembles very much in outward appearance the family vault of second-rate scion of the aristocracy in an old English churchyard, we found Deputy Smith in a delirium of bewilderment over a sheet of paper several yards long. We found he was preparing a draft for the official return of the voting at the approaching election. It was a most intricate affair but the undaunted Smith would be equal to the emergency if there were a hundred candidates in the field for each of a hundred different county, state, and National offices.

Gentlemen George himself was absent, but the courtesies of the establishment were extended in a pleasant manner by his young henchmen Grover and Crandall and Lieutenant Smith as aforesaid.

For our literary refreshment the first course set before us was a good size tin box filled with old manuscripts and maps.

This box was labeled

MAPS, FIELD NOTES AND SURVEYS
OF
MAJOR MOSES VAN CAMPEN,
AND
ALVAN BURR.

Filed August 17, 1880, by his daughter, Mrs. John Olmstead.

Alvan Burr was the companion of Moses Van Campen in his surveying expedition, indeed all the notes, which are very neatly and legibly written, are in his handwriting. He died in a short time since and his daughter, who resides in Yonkers, placed the documents in the care of the County Clerk as requested by her father, very earnestly, previous to his death.

The maps and surveys are almost all of the different portions of the Morris Reserve and Church tract, and cover very much of where are now located the towns of Wellsville, Scio, Amity, Angelica, Allen, Granger, West Almond, Ward and Grove.

The papers are in a good state of preservation and have evidently been carefully compiled and cherished. They date back considerably more than half a century.

We next “investigated” the first officially printed records of the Empire State, and found therein, in the very first volume, the act whereby the State Legislature “erected” the county of Allegany from the County of Genesee. This act received the signature of the Governor, Morgan Lewis, April 7th, 1806, and the 29th session of the legislature. It passed the Senate March 7th, 1806, and the Assembly on the 4th of the following month.

Our inquisitorial fingers then handled with considerable tenderness the work of an old time draughtsman. This was a well worn, but by no means illy executed, map available of Allegany county, drawn, as the inscription set forth, by order of the Board of Supervisors, by James Reed, under the direction of Horatio Waterhouse. This old record was made with pen and ink, and colored in some parts. That map shows the county before its partition, and includes only five townships: Nunda and Ossian covering the northern half and Caneadea, Angelica and Alfred occupying the lower portion, which includes the Allegany County of the present time.

Continuing our researches we had the pleasure of examining the official roll of the county. This document is actually a roll of paper of considerable length, and the record was kept in this form for many years, in fact down to 1851, when an official book was opened.

The first part of the role is on parchment detached from the roll paper. It is inscribed as follows:

Office Roll for Allegany County. Oaths of office administered by and taken before Philip Church, Moses Van Campen, Evert Van Wickle, Thadius Bennett, Judges, or Jacob S. Holl, clerk of the county of Allegany, by virtue of a Letter or a Commission, in nature of a dedimus prostatum. To us directed, and under the great seal of the State of New York, bearing date the 12th day of June, 1807.

I * * * do solemnly, without any mental reservation or equivocation, swear and declare (or affirm) that I renounce and abjure all allegiance and subjugation to it every foreign King, Prince, Potentate and State, in all matters ecclesiastical as well as civil, and that I will bear faith and true allegiance to the State of New York, as a free and independent state.

I * * * do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States.

I * * * do swear I will truly and honestly demean myself in the Practice of an Attorney (or counsellor) or Solicitor, as the case may be, according to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Here follow 26 names, down to Oct. 24th, 1815,

The roll proper is headed

OFFICIAL ROLL OF ALLEGANY COUNTY

It sets forth the forms of oath, all of which are very similar to that on the parchment, taken by judicial officers, Sheriff, Coroners, Clerk, Military and other officers.

The following are the first names inscribed, the entry of the first four being signed August 12th, 1807, by Jacob S. Holl, and the next four Aug. 15th and 17th of the same year, by Moses Van Campen: Philip Church, First Judge; Moses Van Campen, Judge; Evert Van Wickle, Judge; Thaddeus Bennett, Judge; Jacob S. Holt, Clerk of the county; George Renwick, Justice of the Peace; Wm. Higgins, Asst. Justice, and J. P; John Brooks, Assistant Justice. In December 1808, Luke Goodspeed was enrolled first Surrogate of the county and John Gibson the first Sheriff. On June 8, 1808, Moses Van Campen was enrolled Justice of the Peace, and May 11, 1809, with Luke Goodspeed he entered as one of the Commissioners of the Loan. A long list follows including officers now obsolete such as Pay Master, Captain of the Militia, Ensign, Second Major, Lieutenant of Rifleman, Master in Chancery, etc.

Thinking we had regaled ourselves amply on the archives of the county we thanked the gentlemen of the office for their urbane treatment, and withdrew from the feast.

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