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(from Clipping Collection of Jane Pinney)

 

SCIO NOTES BIRTHDAY

January 31, 1973

      Today is the Sesquicentennial of the Town of Scio!
Scio was formed on January 31, 1823, and the following history was written from notes made in 1964 by Claribel Babcock James from a speech by B.F. Palmer at a Scio School Alumni Banquet in the late 1940's. It was compiled and revised in June of 1971 for use by the Scio Junior Girl Scouts, Troop 157, at the Heritage Fair in Wellsville.
      Scio was formed from Angelica on January 31, 1823. A part of Amity was taken off in 1830, a part of Willing in 1851, and a part of Wellsville in 1855; Two and one - half square miles were taken off and annexed to Wellsville in 1868. The highest summits are 700 to 1,000 feet above the valleys.
      The first settlement was made at the mouth of Knight's Creek in 1805 by Joseph Knight and his son. They had to go to Elm Valley for supplies. Their first crop was corn.
      The original Scio Township extended from Angelica to the Pennsylvania Line. The town line between Scio and Amity was first located where Sciota Street is today. When the township of Ward was established, it took over land from Scio and Amity; so Amity deeded to Scio three-fourths of a mile on Scio's northern border which established the present town line. People buying property on Sciota Street find their deeds worded, "To Sciota Street or the old town line."
      In 1808 this section of Allegany County was a primitive forest. Then came Silas Bellamy, who settled 100 acres which included most of the site of the present village of Scio. Later Mr. Bellamy sold 50 acres to Barnabas York, who built a tavern which stood on Main Street where Kinsey's Gas Station is today. Mr. York sold this tavern to Mr. Francis Blood, a man of means and ability. He kept the tavern for years. The corners nearby became known as “Blood Corners.” North of the tavern a short distance, Mr. Blood built a house. In this house Maude Brands now lives. It is the oldest house in Scio Village. Across from Mr. Blood's tavern was a store owned by John Russell, at the site of Bentley's Antiques; and a short distance up the Vandermark Road was a blacksmith shop.
     Silas Bellamy and Silas Palmer came to this area in 1809. Middaugh Hill settlement began in 1819 when John Middaugh came. A log school house was built in 1825. Joseph Flint came in 1820. In 1832 he built a sawmill at the mouth of the Vandermark. His farm was at the site of the present Dan Fuller farm. In 1832, most of the business centered around Benjamin Silas Palmer's house and mill. Mr. Palmer's house stood about one and one-half miles south of the present village near the present Robbins' residence. At the Palmer house travelers were furnished food and lodging; elections and town meetings were also held there until 1840. About this time Hiram Cheney, who had settled in 1825 the tract of land which is owned today by John Potter, gave his name to a bridge spanning the Genesee close to his house.
      In 1840 John Russell and Charles Marvin constructed a small store near the "Cheney Bridge" which they conducted for three years. Then they moved to Richburg about the same time L.S. Russell bought the "Cottage Tavern" which was built in 1832. This tavern stood a few feet south of Charles Roger's present home. It became a resort for pleasure seekers, and its dances, parties, elections, and other gatherings lingered in the minds of the old timers for years. All travel from the west side crossed Cottage Bridge as there were no other roads or bridges running west from this village until 1850.
     After the opening of the second road across the river, the village grew rapidly. The railroad station was located here in 1849, and it became a great shipping point for vast quantities of lumber. At one time there were two miles of railroad switches here and it was all in use. Where the Scio Feed Mill now stands was a shed filled with 4-foot wood lengths. Nearby was a treadmill with a horse used to cut this wood in 3-foot lengths to be used to fire engines on the Erie. The Erie Railroad was first known as the New York, Lake Erie, and Western. Scio was the western terminal for two years beginning in 1849 because the railroad ran out of money when it got this far. The rails were wider and the cars smaller.
When the first settlers came here, this area was covered with beautiful pine forests. Lumbering was the first important industry. There were two mills on the Vandermark and seven on Knight's Creek. Because of the many mills on Knight's Creek, the road became very muddy or dusty; so the mill owners built a plank road from Scio to Allentown. Most of the lumber was shipped to New York.
      Some of the early lumber men were the Clarks, Dukes, Knights, Flints, Palmers, and Middaughs. Duke's mill was where the present Pete Clark farm is located.
The first newspaper was known as the Scio Diary. It was printed at the site of the present post office. After oil was discovered at Petrolia, the name was changed to the Scio Derrick.
In 1855 Scio had a population of about 496 and was the largest town in the county. It was very much larger than Wellsville at this time. Then some tanneries wished to locate here but Isaac Miles, who operated a small tannery where Mr. Danielsen now lives, persuaded the people of Scio not to sell to the tanneries. The tanneries built in Wellsville which caused that village to grow.
      On account of the growth of Wellsville and other causes the prosperity of Scio declined so that in 1896 it was a quiet little village with a two-room school of about 100 pupils. This building sood on land between the Vandermark Creek and the present home of Larry Lessard, Jr. Minnie Ackerman Tuttle, Gertrude Babcock Scott, and Anna Frey were some of the teachers. Previous to this a one-room log school which stood near the present Arthur Murphy home was the only place of learning.
      At this time buildings in Scio included several homes, the Church of Christ, Seventh Day Baptist Church, Methodist
Church, Episcopal Church, Catholic Church, Hakes Post, No. 261, G.A.R., a tent of Macabees, Lodge of Good Templars, and W.C.T.U. There were several business places and stables for race horses with a one-half mile track, for racing, just north of the village. The B.& S. Railroad came to Scio in 1905.
      In the light of past events, perhaps one of the first things Scio should have done was to establish an adequate fire department. But as the fire department cause much later, one after another of the buildings went up in flames. The two-room school was destroyed in 1904. At various dates two stores, which stood on the corner of Clair Brook's present home were burned. One was a dry goods store operated by Miles Smith and the other a hardware run by his brother. Two stores owned by Judson Clark across from the present Post Office burned. A store owned and managed by Charles Chadwick, father of Mrs. Emma Smith, which stood where the Esso garage now is, was also consumed. A hotel which stood on the site of our library and a hotel where the Methodist Church now stands were burned. A grist mill where Henry Scott's home is today as well as a beautiful home and stables for race horses were likewise destroyed by fire. Who ktbwii to what size Scio might have grown if fire had not taken such a toll?
A few of the interesting people in Scio's history are the following :
      William Middaugh, grandfather of E.E. Wright, came to Scio in 1819. When a boy he used to boil sap in large kettles. One day he fell into a kettle full of boiling sap and was badly burned. In later years he worked for $8 a month and paid for his farm.
      Mahon Peterson, father of the late Mrs. Miles Hardy, enlisted in the Civil War. He was wounded four times at the battle of Fisher's Hill, but captured a rebel flag; and for that meritorious service he received a gold medal from President Lincoln.
Gordon Babcock, father of John Babcock, was wounded in the battle of Fair Oaks in the Civil War. He was later held prisoner by the Confederates for nearly a year. When taken to prison he weighed 193 pounds; when released, he weighed less than 90 pounds. After his honorable discharge, he bacame a member of the Hakes' Post G.A.R.
     John Coyle, a native of Oreland, James Tibbs, a native of England, and Christian Harms of Hanover, Germany, settled in Scio.
Some of the early business people were J. J. Crandall, dealer in hardware and groceries; J.E. Sherrett and R. C. Major, druggists, and Elias Harris, a lumber operator, later a successful oil operator, who purchased the banking institution of Judson Clark. In 1886, Harris conducted a private business where the present Post Office is. The Harris family ran a factory which produced staves and bottoms for barrels. These were made of oak cut from Oak Hill. Applebee's Store was located at the site of the store recently operated by the Thompsett family. Loomis ran a wagon and sleigh shop. Across the river at the corner of Knight's Creek Road there was a Cheese factory, a wagon shop and a blacksmith shop. A two-story wooden building at the site of Milks' hardware was a general store downstairs and an opera house upstairs. These, with a box factory, jewelry store, and several blacksmith shops made up the business life of Scio.
     The village was well supplied with churches. The original Class of the Methodist Episcopal Church was formed by Rev. Azel Fillmore about 1825. Services were held in private homes. About 20 years later, the Methodists worshipped in the Union Church. In 1860, the present church was built just south of the cemetery on Main Street. There was a mill yard where the church is now located; when the yard burned, the church moved to its present location.
     The Seventh Day Baptist Church was started by 24 faithful members in 1834 at the Davis School, two miles north of Scio. Later the Union Meeting House, which had been used by all denominations, became neglected. The Seventh Day Baptist Church purchased that building where they held services until about 1922. The building was torn down about 1946; it was located at the corner of River and Church Streets on the lot presently owned by Gerald Smith.
     The Church of Christ was organized by Rev. Wilson Collins in 1861 with 9 members. Meetings were held in the Union Church until 1874, when the society built a church.
     The first Catholic Church was a small building. People in Angelica and Caneadea came to Scio for services.
 

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