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County History

County Postal History

Transcribed by Crist Middaugh

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Part 1

County can boast of storied postal history

By Frank O’Brien

Special to the Reporter

It is hard to believe but there has been over 90 post offices in Allegany County. Some have served their communities for as short a time as six months, others for 40 to 50 years before the surrounding communities more or less ceased to exist and most of the people moved away.

Alfred town was in present-day Almond and it changed to Almond in 1822. The post office started up in 1816. There were several closings and name changes that are hard to follow. I am starting with Allen Center, where a post office started in 1831 and discontinued in 1878.

The post office in Allensville, of the town of Allen, was started in 1825 and discontinued in 1852. Allentown is part of Alma and was formerly served from the Knights Creek Post Office. As I am a native of Knight’s Creek, I had never heard of it before County Historian Craig Braack mentioned it and then he got out this book called “The Postal History of Western New York - Its Post Offices and Postmasters” by Pitt Petri. The book lists the post offices of Allegany County, past and present.

I recall that the big house across the road and up toward Allentown a few hundred feet was a tavern, a natural place for a post office as I have read about taverns caring for the mail.

The town of Alma still has a post office, and the postmaster, a woman, just retired after 58 years of service. They received mail from West Shongo before that.

Almond was an off-shoot of Alfred and had its first post office in 1882. The town was probably located just about where it is now.

Andover was first called Strong Mills. A post office was begun and closed in the same year, 1824, when it was called Andover and had the same postmaster, Thaddeus Baker. The last postmaster before the book was written was Mrs. Mary Burns, who held the position for many years including 1960, when “The Postal History of Western New York” was printed.

Angelica was unique as it had a post office in 1807, being the first town established in Allegany County. The last postmaster before the postal history book was written was Howard Grinnup, who assumed his post in 1954.

Aristotle was located in the town of Allen. A post office that was started there in 1888 was discontinued in 1902. Being near Angelica, mail went to that town.

Belfast always had a post office from its settlement in 1825 right to the present. I noticed Arthur Formerly was appointed in 1935 and was still postmaster in 1960.

This article is the first installment in a series on Allegany County post offices. The series will run throughout the Settler’s Days celebration. The source of much of O’Brien’s information is “The Postal History of Western New York” by Pitt Petri.

Part 2

P.O. comes to Hobbieville (Belvidere) in 1835

By Frank O’Brien

Special to the Reporter

Belmont was previously named Phillipville, after Phillip Church. The post office was moved to Belmont in 1859 and I noticed the last listed postmaster, Leo Pike, starter there in 1933, so he must have stayed until at least 1960.

The town of Belvidere used to be called Hobbieville. It got its first post office in 1835 but the community changed its name to Belvidere in 1851 and the post office lasted until 1932 when mail was discontinued. Belmont became the mailing center.

Bennet, in the town of West Almond, first had a post office in 1884. It shut down in 1903 and then mail came from nearby Angelica.

Birdsall was unique in that the mail was discontinued in 1859 for five years having the first mail in 1830 and starting up again in 1864 until the post office was closed in 1903, the mail being sent to Angelica. In studying the book on Birdsall, it was discontinued again and started up a third time in 1906 and lasted until 1913.

Black Creek, town of New Hudson, had a post office early in 1825 and I believe it was just closed in 1993 or ’94. The mail would go to Rushford or Cuba.

Bolivar was always known by that name and had its first post office in 1825.

Burns seems to have a checkered career. It was formerly Dewitt Valley and started in 1846 and was discontinued in 1883 when the mail went to Arkport in Steuben County for a time, and back to Burns again in 1899. Finally it was discontinued again permanently in 1946 and the mail went again to nearby Arkport.

Canaseraga was also in the town of Burns and received its mail from Whitney Valley, which was the former name of Burns. It has its first post office in 1857 and it has continued up to the present time.

Caneadea was located where Rushford is now with its first post office in 1816. The name was changed to Rushford in 1820. The present Caneadea was located at its current site with the first post office arriving in 1825.

A number of the postmasters were relatives over the years and the name Burr is seen a number of times. One interesting piece of information I noticed was a Mrs. Smith, a Burr relation, who was postmaster in 1950. I notice a different name for later on in the year but it turns out it was the same person, she had remarried.

Center Almond was in the town of Almond. It was started in 1827 and lasted 38 years. A single postmaster served the entire time.

Centre Independence in the town of Independence had a post office in 1828 and continued under that name until it was changed to Hallsport in 1852.

Centerville had its first post office in 1820 and still has it in 1995.

Ceres in the town of Genesee was formerly Cerestown. It had its first post office in 1851 and continues with a post office to the present day.

Chautauqua Valley was in the town of Grove in the north west corner of the town. It had its first post office in 1850. It was discontinued in 1863.

The Church Tract was also in a Grove location and is at present East Grange - formerly Short Tract - but finally changed to Grove in 1828. The post office started in 1822 and Joseph Backus was the only postmaster in its six years of existence. He continued to be postmaster for two years when its was called grove.

Cuba use to be Oil Creek. It had a post office for the first time in 1824. George Dye was installed postmaster in 1936, lasting until at least 1960.

Dewitt’s Valley was in the town of Burns. East Caneadea’s post office lasted three years, from 1851 to 1854. Probably mail went to Caneadea then.

East Granger was in the town of Grove. Its first post office began in 1859 and was discontinued in 1902 with the mail going to Dalton.

East Rushford, town of Rushford, started mail service in 1857 and was discontinued in 1880. The mail was sent to Rushford as it was not too far away. It would have been discontinued anyway in 1927 or thereabouts when Caneadea Dam was built, flooding the town site.

Elm Valley of the town of Andover had its first post office in 1852 and it was discontinued in 1860, then started up a year later, 1861 lasting for five years. Mail service started for a third time in 1886 and was discontinued permanently in 1910, the mail going to Andover.

Fillmore was a late bloomer you might say and had its first post office in 1850 and continues to have it today. Eugene Towell was postmaster for a lone time, form 1933 to near 1960.

Friendship had a post office early, 1821, and continues to have it now.

Fulmer Valley, town of Independence, started in 1870 and was discontinued in 1904 and the mail went to Andover.

Galen, in the town of Allen, had a post office for six years, from 1896 to 1902, when the mail was sent to Angelica.

This article is the second installment in a series on Allegany County post offices. The series will run throughout the Settler’s Day celebration. The source of much of O’Brien’s information is “The Postal History of Western New York,” by Pitt Petri.

Part 3

Short-lived post offices left their mark

By Frank O’Brien

Special to the Reporter

Genesee Valley’s post office was located about two miles south of Belmont, on the Belmont Scio road. I have heard of a settlement somewhere out there. It lasted from 1830 to 1849 and Samuel Van Campen was the only postmaster in the 19-year span. Granger’s post office, in the town of Granger, earlier called Hickory Swale, lasted from 1842 to 1900 when the mail was sent to Hunt, the nearest town in the next county, Livingston.

Higgins, of the town of Centerville, had its first post office in 1897 and its as discontinued in 1903. The mail then went to Fillmore.

Hiltonville was another post office in the town of Birdsall which started in 1878 and was discontinued in 1902 with the mail being sent to Arkport.

Houghton was a continuation of Houghton Creek, with its first post office in 1854, and continuing to the present time.

Hull - this one is a tough one - in the town of Allen, lasted only two years, from 1822 to 1824 with Elives Hull postmaster.

Hume has a straight forward existence, having its first postmaster in 1825. The post office has continued to the present day.

Innvervale mean “between the hills.” Located in the town of Wirt, the first post office was founded in 1891, but was discontinued in 1903. The postmaster did not have his job long as it was discontinued the same year he was installed and the mail was sent to Utopia. Innervale is five miles form my home on Knighs Creek and it used to be a thriving community with a cheese factory, blacksmith shop etc., including a post office. Now it only has a grange hall and a few people live on the two parallel roads on each side of the valley.

Karrdale, in the town of Almond, was probably up Karr Valley and had its first post office in 1886. It lasted eight years with one postmaster, Walter McHenry. It was discontinued in 1893 and the mail went to Almond.

The Knights Creek post office was established in 1858 and discontinued in 1860. Then it was reestablished in 1879 and discontinued again in 1881 when the mail was sent to Allentown. The postmaster was Chelson W. Frundald and in the same year it was Huldah Furnald (his wife maybe?)

Knightsville’s post office in the town of Birdsall started in 1833 and was discontinued in 1903. The mail then went to Birdsall.

Little Genesee - in the town of Genesee - never changed names and established its first post office in 1828. It continues there to the present time.

Mapes was a little town in Willing. The post office lasted 23 years with just one postmaster, Thomas Mapes, from 1891 to 1914. When it was finally discontinued the mail was forwarded to Wellsville.

Marshall was another small town, this one in the town of New Hudson. The post office was started in 1882 and laster to 1902 when it was discontinued and the mail then wen to the nearby post office in Black Creek.

Marsh Creek’s post office was short-lived, operating in 1872 only with Ramson Beebe as postmaster. I have no idea what town it was located in but the Beebe name is a familiar one in the Cuba area.

Mills Mills, town of Hume, has an unusually melodious name. As there was all kinds of waterfalls in the nearby creek and the first early settlers were Mills, they erected saw and feed mills at an early date. The first post office was started in 1850 and lasted to 1903, when it was discontinued and the mail was sent to Fillmore.

Mixville must have been a small settlement in the town of Hume and probably an early prominent settler was Mix. The post office was started in 1837 and the name was changed to Wiskoy in 1849.

This article is the third installment in a series on Allegany County post offices. The series will run throughout the Settler’s Day celebration. The source of much of O’Brien’s information is “The Postal History of Western New York,” by Pitt Petri.

Part 4 - Not Available

Part 5

Postal history looks at the Vandermark community

By Frank O’Brien

Special to the Reporter

Sping Mills, in the town of Independence, was a thriving farming community in the early days, according to the Whitesville News. It had its first post office in 1827, with the Cobbs, the well known cattle and race horse breeders, being postmasters at a different time. The post office was discontinued in 1925 with the mail going to the town of Whitesville.

State Road, in the town of Allen, had its first post office in 1882. Its name was changed to Galen in 1895. The post office shut down in 1902, with the mail going to Angelica.

Stone Dam of the town of Willing started its post office in 1878 and it was discontinued in 1909. The mail was sent to Genesee, Pa.

Strong’s Mill, in the town of Andover, had its first post office in 1824 and the same year the name of the town was changed to Andover.

Styx was another small crossroads town. Near West Allen in the town of Allen. Postal service began in 1882 but lasted for only three years. It was discontinued in 1885 with the mail going to Angelica.

Summitville - probably between Cuba and Friendship - was started in 1805 and was discontinued in 1851. Joseph Cole was the postmaster, an ancestor of the present Coles in that area, no doubt.

Summner’s Valley, town of Belfast, had its post office very early, 1826, and then the name was changed to Rockville in 1839 and the post office closed in 1934, with the mail going to Belfast.

Swain, in the town of Grove, was formerly Swainville, which had its first post office in 1853. It was Swain in 1862 and it still has a post office and is a thriving community, mostly due to its ski resort.

Transit Bridge, in the town of Belfast, at the intersection of the Angelica road, must have been a thriving farming community in the early days. It had its first post office in 1849, then it was discontinued in 1868, but it was back in service again in 1878. It lasted until 1905, when it was discontinued and the mail was sent to Friendship.

Vandermark’s post office, in the town of Alfred, was started in 1832 and was discontinued in 1846. In asking an old time about the location, he thought it was about where Del Kinter lived and where Myron Babbit ran a store. But according to a map, it would have to be further up the road - toward Alfred. My book source didn’t say where the mail went when it was discontinued. William McDonnell was postmaster in there first year while Alexander Black served for 13 years. He was also postmaster in the town of Ward for six years, as he lived in that area.

This article is the fifth installment in a series on Allegany County post offices. The series will run throughout the Settler’s Day celebration. The source of much of O’Brien’s information is “The Postal History of Western New York,” by Pitt Petri.

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