Source - Unknown (possibly Wellsville Daily Reporter)

Transcribed by Crist Middaugh


Angelica has important role in county history

Angelica - Angelica is the birthplace of Allegany County.

It may also be the birthplace of the Republican Party, according to town historian Alan Stone, although Friendship claims that honor as well, and so does a town in Wisconsin.

“Angelica’s claim is based on the fact that the Republican’s first nominating convention was held here, in the old courthouse,” Stone said. “The organization meeting, however, was indeed held in Friendship. As for Wisconsin, I don’t know the basis of their claim.”

Allegany County’s system of social welfare was also born in Angelica. The first county home or poorhouse was built in 1831, Stone said, “but the function it performed was carried out from the very beginning.”

“This was a function of local government,” he said. “It’s so much more efficient to do this locally. In the early 1800’s, they’d have a town meeting and appoint overseers of the poor. Someone would point out that ‘it’s been a hard winter, there have been quite a few deaths, and there are widows and orphans to take care of.’ And the town would do it.

“Nowadays, the town is obviously too small a unit,” he said, “but the county, in my view, is the ideal size, because the people who do the caring-for are right here. They know the people and their needs.

“To build a building and employ people to take care of those who can’t feed themselves is so much more efficient than trying do it from Washington.

“You can trace the history of care for the poor in the minutes of supervisor’s meetings,” he continued. “Often it’s mentioned that the supervisors conducted a visit to the poorhouse. Incidentally, these were usually surprise visits - no opportunity to clean things up ahead of time.”

The Allegany County Home was built in 1831. John Lloyd, an early Angelica builder, was the contractor. The first sign - a large metal affair - has been salvaged and now rests in the basement of the county museum.

The county home was abandoned when the Social Service Department moved to its present home in the new county office building in the mid-1970s.