Historical Summaries

1]   (Excerpt from “Allegany County and its people : a centennial memorial history of Allegany County, New York Alfred, N.Y.: W.A. Fergusson & Co., 1896, 984  pgs.” –John S. Minard)

The town of Allen , named in honor of the hero of Ticonderoga , was formed from Angelica, Jan. 31, 1823 .  Its population in 1860 was 991;
in 1870, 794; in 1880, 818; in 1890, 717; in 1892, 728.

As created Allen comprised all of township five, range two, of Morris Reserve, the west half of township five, range one, of same tract, and in addition, the six northeast lots of the last mentioned township (present Birdsall).  By act of May 4, 1829 , the Birdsall part was set off and since that time the town has remained as now defined, being township five, range two, and has an area of 22,764 acres.  It was embraced in the 100,000 acre Church Tract, and settlement was begun before the subdivision of the town was made, which was done in the fall of 1810 or spring of 1811 by Major Moses Van Campen.

Its surface is generally hilly upland, broken into ridges by Baker’s, Wigwam, Plum and Rush creeks.  The hills in some cases reaching an altitude of 600 or 700 feet above the lowest valleys.  The soil is in most part clayey, underlaid with hardpan, while gravelly loam is shown in some of the valleys.  Beech, maple, basswood, elm, pine, hemlock, oak and cherry were the leading kinds of timber found by the first white visitors.

Local historians without exception have ascribed to James Wilson, who emigrated from Ireland in 1804, the honor of making the first settlement in this town in 1806.  While this may be true as to the fact of actual settlement, it is quite possible that Robert Barr preceded him in his advent into this wilderness, as Major VanCampen, in his notes of lot 61, begins at “a cherry post standing in a lot of land surveyed for Robert Barr the 12th day of August, 1805,” which post stood on the south line of the township.  This was, in all probability, the first piece of land surveyed for anybody in the town of Allen, whether to be occupied or not.  Mr. Wilson had stopped for a short time at Geneva and Angelica, but in 1806 “took up” the farm on Baker’s creek, which he cleared up and upon which he spent the remainder of his life.  His son, the late Col. William Wilson, so well and favorably known by our county people, achieved an enviable position in town and county, becoming a member of the legislature, where he demonstrated his fitness for the position and served his constituents faithfully.  It is said he was the first white child born in Allen, making his appearance Jan. 10, 1810 .  Joseph G. Wilson, another son of James, is still living on the state road, and is postmaster at the State Road postoffice.  This postoffice was established in March, 1881, with Jesse L. Whiteman, postmaster.”

2] (Excerpt from “History of Allegany County, N.Y. : New York: F.W. Beers, 1879, 444  pgs.)

P.151:“---Not long after the advent of Wilson, Robert Barr settled on Baker’s creek in the south part of the town; and a little later came Archibald Taylor, an Irishman, who had lived in New York for a time, and who settled on lot number 54, in the southeast part of the town.  Probably the next settler was Robert McBride.

Few settlers came in during the succeeding few years.  Among those who found a home in the town during the period were Nehemiah, John, Ichabod, Isaac, Joseph and Joshua Peavy, who settled on the road which afterward came to be known by their name, in the southwest part of the town, about 1815.  Eleazer Scott and his sons Friend, Hiram, Simon and William came in the next year from Watertown , Litchfield county, Conn. , and located east of the center of the town.  The Teller and McCoon families were early settlers.

Erastus Walker came with a span of horses and a wagon in 1817, from Vermont , and took up a farm on lot number 62, where he lived during life.  About the same time two men named Lefever, and Otto and Chester Roach, whose name often appears on the town records at a later day, settled at the Centre, and widow Armstrong near the southern boundary.  She came from Angelica, where she had previously located.

In 1820 George Glover, from Ontario county, settled in the southwest part, and Daniel Baldwin on the Otto farm the same year or the next.

In December 1822, Joseph Jennings, from Bristol county, Mass, settled in the southern part, on the farm now occupied by his son.  He was a resident there till his death.  Other settlers from the “ Old Bay State ,” Robert, Joseph and Jonathan Walker, located in the eastern part during the same year.  In 1824 Asher Miner and Martin Miner, the latter from Norfolk , Conn. , came to Allen, the former locating in the southwest part of the town, and the latter a little east of the center.  The first saw-mill on Wigwam creek was build by Asher Miner in 1825.

The Willison brothers (James and Samuel) located on lot number 48 in 1826, and James, John, Robert, George and William Burthwick, with their mother and three sisters, from Genoa , Cayuga county, in the western part of the town.  Joshua Smith, also from Cayuga county, settled near the Burthwicks during the same year.  He took up a farm and cleared and improved it, and lived on it during the remainder of  his life.  At the date of his settlement there was scarcely a road in the western part of Allen.

In 1827 Andrew Clark, from Sullivan county, located north of the center, and Abram Post moved in from Angelica about the same time and settled in the southeast part.  He was a son of Abram Post, who settled in Angelica early in the century, when Abram, jr., was only a year old.  John Hooker and his brother Ruel, also from Angelica, located west of the center about the same time; and Ege Pierson moved in north of the center perhaps a little earlier.

Several settlers moved in during 1828, among whom were Austin Manley and Henry Light, from Cayuga county, in the southeastern part; Henry Burt, from Springfield , Mass, on lot number 35; Thomas Cole and Robert K. King, from Steuben county, the former on lot number 33 and the latter on a farm in the western part, and Jared Atwater, Uriah Cook and Solomon Woodworth, from Cato, Cayuga county, all in the western part, Atwater locating on lot number 34 and Woodworth lot number 18.  Cole came the 2nd of May.  King was from the town of Pultney .  In 1829 Conrad Benjamin, from Sandisfield, Berkshire county, Mass, settled a little east of the center.  A few months later he moved into the northeast part of the town and took up the farm he has since occupied. James Crandall, from Trumansburgh, Tompkins county, settled at the Centre in 1832.

A man named Cole, or Cowle, was an early settler on lot number 41.  How long he remained we are unable to state.  The property afterwards passed into the hands of another and a later new comer named Worth, who allowed the place to “go back into the office.”  When David C. Grummon moved into Allen, in 1851, from Hume, where he had settled previously, and bought the farm of Philip Church, he found that a clearing of about one hundred acres had been made, which was then grown up to brush.  An old log house that had once served as a dwelling was so dilapidated as to be unfit for occupation.

At the present (1879) there are no hotels or stores within the borders of the town.  The inhabitants are essentially an agricultural community and number among them neither a doctor, lawyer, or preacher;  for though the interests of Christianity are zealously guarded and advanced, there are no resident pastors.  There are two post-offices in the town, Allen and Allen Centre, the latter being a small settlement, centrally located containing two churches and eight or ten houses.  There is another small settlement on the north border of the town, near the western boundary, at the Botsford saw-mill.”