Transcribed from the Wellsville Daily Reporter by Crist Middaugh.


Passing through…Independence
By Kathryn Ross
Staff Writer

Independence - Every state in the union seems to have a town or village called Independence, according to one local historian.

 Independence NY

Allegany County is no different, its town of Independence is located in the most southeastern corner of the county, bordering Steuben County and Pennsylvania. The largest village within the town is Whitesville, but nestled in a valley between two hills separating Andover and Whitesville is the hamlet the town draws its name from, Independence.

Today little is known about the hamlet. Historians’ interests have recently been peaked, and they are looking into it.

For now what is known of Independence is that like many towns and hamlets in this part of the state, a few settlers moved in, cleared the land and made homes there. One of Independence’s historians, Edward Brewster said that more than likely life revolved around logging and clearing the land in the early days, the late 1700s and early 1800s, and when the land was cleared family took over.

There’s no record of a thriving industry in the hamlet of Independence.

But one notable fact, among those first settlers, the name Clark seems to surface most often, was one Nathaniel Perkins.

Perkins was a Revolutionary War veteran, and served the Continental army as a sergeant and militia trainer. He also was part of the Sullivan Expedition which was responsible for freeing much of Western New York from the influence of Indians.

Like others, for his service to the fledgling colonies in the war for Independence, Perkins was awarded 160 acres of wilderness land. At that time large tracts of land in the Southern Tier belonged to Letchworth and Church families. Perkins’ land was located in the town of Independence.

It is unknown as to what Perkins and his wife and children found in Independence after their long and arduous journey from their native Rhode Island, but historians do know that Seventh Day Baptists were among the first settlers and were responsible for constructing the first church. Perkins was a Seventh Day Baptist minister, a ship-keeper and a farmer as well as a blacksmith.

Through the work of the Catherine Schuyler Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, today a small American flag flutters over Nathaniel Perkins’s grave in the small rural cemetery adjacent to a white church that marks the center of the hamlet of Independence.