ALLEGANY COUNTY CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
Compiled by William A. Greene 2014
Information: Andover News and Wellsville Daily Reporter
and The History of Allegany County 1896
In the year 1795 Nathaniel Dike hewed out the first clearing in Allegany forests, and established the first home ever made for a white man within its borders, upon the creek which still bears his name.
In 1894 it was decided by the whole county to have a Centennial Celebration the year 1895 in the Village of Wellsville in honor of Nathaniel Dike’s settlement at ElmValley in 1779, AlleganyCounty’s first settlement.
So throughout the year of 1894 and the first part of 1895, towns and villages and different organizations put their heads together, to come up with a celebration like no one had ever seen.
Each town collected old items that had been passed down from their ancestors to be displayed at a museum in Wellsville. Different speakers were gathered to give talks about our history, our involvement in the different wars over the years and the building of the Erie Railroad and the effects it had on our county. Bands were to put on concerts on different days. It was to be a celebration like never seen before.
Wednesday and Thursday June 26 and 27 are the big days.
The Literary Exercises and Speakers
The Historical Pageant, Stereopticon Exhibition,
Hose, Foot and Bicycle Races.
The detailed program for the Centennial Celebration, subject to minor changes, has been planned as follows:
WEDNESDAY FORENOON, JUNE 26
At sunrise, a salute of 100 guns. At 11:10 there will be a 5 mile excursion via Erie railroad, to Dike, the cradle of Allegany’s civilization where the first log cabin was erected, the first white child born, and the first mill built. Bands of music will be in attendance and Hon. O.A. Fuller will deliver the oration on “Nathaniel Dike, the First White Settler”.
At one o’clock a grand procession of school children will march to the village park, where after the invocation and the address of welcome, by Hon. Wm. F. Jones, the Prize Essays from the public schools will be read; and music and singing will be interspersed, while the “Historical Sketch” by Hon. Jno. S. Minard, president of the
Historical Society; “Woman’s Share in out History” by Prof D.A. Blakeslee, formerly an Alleganian now of Addison; and “Agricultural Resources” by A. W. Litchard, president of the Farmers Club are being presented.
With considerable expense and much labor, a stereopticon exhibition of remarkable interest is being arranged. The portraits of representative Alleganians, views of her rugged scenery, cultivated fields, and a series of pictures illustrative of 100 years of progress, will be thrown upon a screen placed near the academy, between the Congregational and Baptist churches. These views, with vocal and instrumental music, will be interspersed with brief addresses on the “Bench and Bar” by Hon. Frank S. Smith, of New York; “The Press” by LaMonte G. Raymond, of Angelica; “The Church and Its Influence” by Rev. F.W. Beecher, of Angelica; “Trade Commerce and Manufacturing “ by S.P. Morse, of Friendship and “Civic Societies” by Hon. S. M. Norton” and “W.C.T.U. by Miss Bowler of Little Genesee are being delivered.
On this, the great second day, every moment from early morn till night will be filled with something interesting, entertaining and instructive. At 10 o’clock the oration on the “Centennial” and “Allegany in the Late Rebellion”, the poem, will be delivered. Captain R.H. Pratt, a native Alleganian, who has achieved a wide reputation as originator of the present successful system of Indian education and who is now superintendent of the CarlisleIndianSchool, has kindly consented to give the Centennial Oration. He is an effective and eloquent speaker and will charm his auditors. Judge Edward W. Hatch, of Buffalo, an Allegany boy whose father served loyally in the Northern army, will speak about “Our Boys in Blue”. The CountyG.A.R. Association has planned to hold its annual campfire here on this day. Hon. Hanford L. Gordon; of Minneapolis, Minn. Author of “The Feast of the Virgins,” “Pauline” and other poems will return to his native town to deliver the Centennial Poem.
By noon of this day the literary exercises will be completed and the demonstrative part of the celebration will follow. It is believed that the Grand procession will be the most interesting ever seen in Western New York. It will consist of five sections, each a parade in itself. The Historical Pageant, contrasting the old with the new, is in the hands of two hustling committees composed of W.E. Fisher, G.B. Gorden, William Bruce, Willet L. Ward. W.M. Lee and others; and H. K. Opp, J. M. Rathburn, I. N. Fssett, Rev. R. A. Miller and others. This exhibition in itself will be worth coming to Wellsville to see. The G.A.R., the Militia, the Civic Societies, the Firemen and other organizations
will take their place in the procession. The finest band music in Western New York is being engaged and no money will be spared in entertaining the crowd that will be present. Directly after the procession has finished its line of march the sports will take place. The present arrangement of the program is as follows: 1) Hub and Hub Hose Race. 2) Mile Bicycle Race. 3) ½ Mile Bicycle Race. 4) 220 Yard Foot Race. 5) 100 Yard Dash. 6) Greased Pole. 7) Greased Pig. 8) A good long Wheelbarrow Race. 9) Sack Race 10) Obstruction Race. 11) Three-Legged Race. 12) Relay Race. 13) Boys Bicycle Race. 14) Bicycle Parade. Prizes will be given for best trimmed wheel; best ladies costume and most graceful riding. 15) 50 Yard Foot Race. 16) The Best of Band Music every minute during the afternoon.
These sports will be given at the Fair Ground where there is a large grand stand capable of seating 2,000 people. There will be absolutely no admission charged.
United State Senator Teller, Col. Thorp, Judge Dexter, Judge Brundage and other representative natives of Old Allegany are expected to be present.
A feature of remarkable interest will be the HistoricalMuseum for which the ladies have secured the entire ground and upper floors of the commodious City Hall. This display of interesting relics will doubtless be the largest and best selected exhibition of its kind ever collected in Western New York. Spinning, weaving and other early methods of manufacture in use by the pioneers will be done daily, and good music will be in attendance. This exhibition is under the management of the ladies and cannot be other than a success.
TWAS A BIG DAY
Fifteen Thousand People in Wellsville
All Came to Celebrate Allegany’s Centennial
A Grand Parade and the Finest Display Ever Seen In This Section
Races at the Park
Allegany’s first Centennial celebration came to a successful close last night, when the sports at the race track finished and an immense crowd of nearly a thousand people went home, expressing perfect satisfaction with the day’s programs.
The two day’s exercises commenced Wednesday morning with an excursion to ElmValley, followed in the afternoon by the speeches and addresses that were listened to by the large crowds that attended. They also enjoyed the Centennial Poem and Centennial Hymn.
Thursday was the large parade. Many old relics and old machinery were on floats in the parade. Many were dressed in the clothes that were worn back when Nathaniel Dike settled this area. There were men dressed as Indians in the parade, walking and riding bareback on horses.
The museum of relics probably contributed to the success of the celebration to a greater degree than any other one feature, and the credit for this belongs, as we understand it, entirely to the women. They certainly did their part of the work well, and the museum contained a greater number of articles illustrative of pioneer life than was thought to exist in AlleganyCounty at the present time.
Altogether the celebration was a great success, and the people of Wellsville, as well as those throughout the county who assisted in making it so, are entitled to much praise for performing the work necessary in carrying out such a mammoth undertaking.