Transcribed by Crist Middaugh


Fillmore: Lucky location, Luckey Buck

By Kathryn Ross

Fillmore is one of five communities which make up the Town of Hume. It was first known as Mouth of the Creek situated as it was at the mouth of Cold Creek where it flowed into the Genesee River. The name Fillmore came from the community’s blatant attempt to finesse a post office from the Federal government explains Town Historian Rondus Miller.

“They figured if they named the village after a sitting president they would have a better chance of getting a post office,” she said.

And it worked; on Sept. 23, 1850 a post office was established in Fillmore honoring Millard Fillmore, the 13th president of the United States. While 13 may be considered an unlucky number, Fillmore has its share of good luck as the town served as the shipping hub for the northern part of the county throughout the late 1800s.

Up until 1836 the area around Fillmore was covered with a heavy grown of pine, buttonwood and elm. On the river flats the Seneca maintained a large village where they grew beans, squash, gourds and corn (which they sold to the white settlers who made corn mash liquor). According to Beer’s History of the County, “Probably the first settler was John Whiting who built a saw-mill.

By 1850 much of the forests had fallen to the white man’s axe and the principle industry was lumbering, wrote historian John Minard who called the Town of Hume home and who wrote the definitive history of the county.

In May 1836 the state legislature authorized the building of the Genesee Valley Canal from Rochester to Olean to pass through the villages of Wiscoy, Fillmore, Houghton, Oracle, Canada and Belfast.

Minard wrote that once the canal was completed it gave lumberman the opportunity to ship lumber and shingles to Rochester, Albany and New York City, and farmers shipped great quantities of butter, cheese and grain all from Fillmore.

He reported, “In 1851, J.B. Whitebeck and Theodore F. Hall built a large warehouse in the basin….this building was located on the Genesee Valley Canal and faced downtown business district…the basin made it possible for boats to turn around and park to load or unload their goods.” He goes on to recount that the building was later turned around and served as the waiting room and telegraph office for the New York and Pennsylvania Railroad which would follow the canal towpath following the demise of the Genesee Valley Canal in 1876.

According to Miller, this canal building has been in continual use since it was built.

The Big Tree Treat of 1797 set aside hundreds of thousands of acres of land for the Seneca, but by 1826 the Indians had sold most of the land to a syndicate for a little more than 48,000 dollars - not beads. By the 1850s the Caneadea Indian reservation stretched two miles wide and eight miles long from Rossburg to Caneadea along the river and included part of Fillmore. It was here that famed Indian fighter Moses VanCampen ran and survived the gauntlet in 1782 before becoming one of the county’s forefathers.

But Fillmore and the Town of Hume have its own homegrown heroes. One of the first Medal of Honor recipients was George Ebenezer Meach of Co.1, 6th NY Cavalry who captured a Confederate Flag at the battle of Winchester on Sept. 19, 1864.

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In World War II, Lt. Almond E. Fisher of the 157th Infantry received the Medal of Honor for his gallantry and intrepidity on the night of Sept. 12 and 13, 1944 in battle near Grammont, France. Fisher single-handedly subdued an enemy machine gun nest, and after intense hand-to-hand combat advanced his platoon and despite being wounded in both feet he cared for the men under his command.

Fillmore and the Town of Hume were also a hotbed of the suffragette movement. In 1888, the first Women’s Suffrage Pole in the United States was erected in Rossburg. The following year, in March Belva A. Lockwood, who in 1844 was the first woman to run for the Presidency for the Women’s Rights Party, spoke before 600 people in the Fillmore Opera House - 41 years after the Women’s Rights Convention in nearby Seneca Falls and almost 40 years before wowen won the right to vote. In may 1889, 48 young women, members of the White Star Literary Society, marched under a flag declaring, “Equality of Sex and Suffrage” in Fillmore’s Memorial Day parade. A few years’ later women again marched under a right to vote banner, but marched wearing masks to conceal their identities for fear of reprisals.

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In the 1913 issue of the Northern Allegany Observer, one of several newspapers which were started in Fillmore and Hume, notice was given, “Women can vote (on town matters) if they are tax payers and have the other necessary qualifications of residence.”

In 1939 when the first official hunting season opened in Allegany County, a record was set when Roosevelt “Bill” Luckey harvested what was to become known in the annals of hunting as the Luckey Buck.

Miller said that along the Claybed Road, Luckey shot a 14-point buck that later scored a 198 2/8 to become the NYS Record Typical-Gun.

Today the original mount is housed in a refrigerated vault in the state museum in Albany and the mount on display and displayed at the sportsman’s shows is a replica of that great whitetail deer.

The Town of Hume Museum displays a monument in its yard to the Luckey Buck.

Once the see of a 35-bed hospital, knitting mill and bustling agricultural community, today Fillmore’s leading industry is Fillmore Central School.

As one of the first and only government supported town museums, The Town of Hume Museum houses two rooms of records and memorabilia and maintains a computer searchable collection of area newspapers compiled by Nancy Gillette. It is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. In July and August it is also open from 9 a.m. to noon. Appointments to view its extensive collection or to research its files may be made by calling, (585) 567-8399.

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