Wellsville Daily Reporter, April 1 1896
(Researched & Transcribed by Mary Rhodes)
WELLSVILLE 50 YEARS AGO
The Late G. B. Gordon’s Reminiscence of the Settlement Here in 1845
Our Main Street Before Railroad Times and when We Were a Part of Scio
On March 27, 1895, a year and a day before his sudden death, Mr. G. B. Gordon was interviewed to gather facts for the forthcoming Centennial History of Allegany County His memory was wonderfully clear and the information volunteered has now become invaluable.
Recollections of the Wellsville of half a century ago can be furnished today by but two or three residents and by none better than they were by the bright mind of “B” Gordon. Mead Shepard and Mrs. John B. Clark verify his reminiscences. Some of these may be interesting to THE REPORTER readers.
Groves Gordon, a tavern keeper, moved here in 1845 from Whitesville, bringing his son George Byron, then a lad of 18 years. The father became landlord of the hotel which stood on the corner of Main, across State street from the present McEwen manufactory. This was known successively as the Shingler, the Scribner and the Fishler hotel. It was totally destroyed by fire about 1858. After some years Byron went into business with James Brown, now a wealthy citizen of Williamsport. They ran a general store in the old building on the corner of Main and Mill streets. This structure is one of the relics of early Wellsville. It was built by Henry Gordon in 1848. Wm Pooler remembers its construction, having helped shingle the roof.
Fifty years ago the number of buildings on our Main street from State to Pearl could be counted on one’s fingers. There were several structures, however above State, the hotel already mentioned built by John B. Clark, his residence on the opposite side of the street, the Gardiner Wells and Fosbury log cabins, and a few barns. The opera house, corner of Main and State street was occupied by Dwight Goodrich’s house and store. Conklin & Adams store was across the street. From State to the Mill street corner, every inch of which is now occupied, was well nigh worthless property. Ephraim Smith had a store near where Scoville, Brown and Co. now do business. The Van Buren hotel stood where the Fassett House now is, and opposite was the old Henry Gordon store. The John F. Godard dwelling, now Jas Macken’s residence, occupied the other corner. The old house, now owned by Grant Duke which stands in the rear of the Gas Co’s office was the most pretentious residence in the village. Its history will be detailed in the County History. Sam’l Palmer’s house and blacksmith shop was about where the old engine house now stands. Bronson’s house and other property occupied the 1st National Bank site. There was then no Madison street. Beyond on the east side there was not a structure until Seeley’s log house on the present Healey lands, formerly A. R. Hill’s property. W. H. Coats house and shop stood on the present Coats property just above the City Hall. A dense pine forest extended from here to the Ephraim Smith house, now E. C. Bradley’s residence.
Such was the settlement here, six years before the old Erie connected it with the business world and ten years before there was any township of Wellsville. The next five years saw a considerable change and in ten years the place had doubled in population.