I. Allegany County, New York 

1. The first settlements of Centerville, Allegany County, New York were made by Jos. Maxson of Rhode Island in April 1808 and by James Ward in the fall of the same year. Centerville was formed from Pike, Wyoming county on Jan. 15, 1819. It is the northwest corner town of the county.From: Atlas of Allegany County, New York, 1869 by D. G. Beers & Co.

1.1 Allegany County - Petit Jurors, 1807-1810
Extracted from microfilm of the early court records
Ward, Zebediah,June 9, 1809 (called but excused),Oct 24, 1809 (called),June 26, 1810 (called and fined $5) 

2. 1810 US Federal Census of Nunda Township  
Zebediah Ward
James Ward

 3. James Ward erected a framed barn before 1810. It is said to have been the first in the Town of Almond. He is also credited with planting the first orchard in Centerville. (Note: Centerville is near the northwest corner of Allegany County, west of Hume.)

From: John S. Minard, Allegany County and its People. A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, New York, W. A. Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N.Y., 1896.

4. James Ward of the Town of Almond, Allegany County conveys property in Almond to Trustee of School District Number 11 of said town September 8, 1831.
James Ward and his wife Wealthy of the Town of Almond, Allegany County, New York conveys property in Almond to Zabad C. Handy of Tompkins County, April 16, 1837.  From: Record of Deeds, Allegany County, New York

5. A Zebadeah Ward was chosen Commissioner of Schools at the first town meeting of Greater Nunda at Peter Granger’s home in Pike on April 4, 1809. Greater Nunda consisted of Eagle, Pike, Genesee Falls, Portage, Centerville,Hume, Granger and Grove.  From: Letter from Historian Robert H. Gath of Nunda, New York.

6. James Ward, late of the Town of Almond, died in the said town on or about the 7th day of January, 1854 and the following persons are all the heirs at law and the next of kin of the deceased, and their respective ages and places of residences are as follows: 
Luman A. Ward of Hornellsville, about 48 years
Ruth Ann Brockway of Brady, Kalmazoo County, Michigan, about 45 years
Wealthy Brookina of Brady, Kalmazoo County, Michigan, about ? years
Electa Webb of Hornellsville, New York, about 49 years
Zenas Ward of Howard, Steuben County, New York, about 37 years
Alfred Ward of Hornellsville, New York, about 28 years
Durastus Ward of Hornellsville, New York, about 26 years
Elisha Ward of Almond, New York, about 20 years

Note: Ages of the "heirs at law and next of kin" listed here, don’t seem to match the ages of the males and females listed in the 1810 census record of the James Ward in Nunda Township, shown in item 2 above.

Is the Wealthy Brookina listed as an hier or next of kin in these probate records, James Ward’s wife, mentioned in item 4 above?

From: Surrogate Records of Allegany County, New York, Petition for Proof of Will

7. WARD, James, late Town of Almond. Elisha Ward, minor child, age 20 on 6 January, resident of Town of Almond, has no guardian. Thornton F. CURRY appointed guardian. 27 February 1854.  Note: This is surely the same James & Elisha Ward listed in the probate records of James Ward, in item 6 above .

From: Guardianship Orders (1852-1864) on file in the Allegany County Surrogate's Office, Belmont, New York.

8. Interred at Old Catholic Cemetery near Portageville, Allegany County, New York
Ward, Catherine - 1820-1871, wife M. Ward
Ward, Michael - no dates, son M.C.Ward (Baker & Keyes family on same monument)

9. WARDS around Almond, Allegany Co., New York. 
p. 757 Under Fillmore business interests, Eugene Ward groceries and provisions, boots, shoes and staple dry goods. 
p. 764 The children of Horton and Sarah (Engle) Clute are Julia May (Mrs. Eugene H. Ward) and Hattie (Mrs. Carl J. Howden), both of Fillmore, N.Y. Mr. Clute has been a merchant in Wiscoy (Allegany Co) since 1881, an assessor 9 years, and postmaster the past 7 years. Mrs. Clute has long been known as a newspaper correspondent, under nom de plume of "Lucile", at Wiscoy. Since these people lived in Fillmore, they may be buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Fillmore. (NOTE: Wiscoy and Fillmore are located in the northern part of Allegany Co east of Hume.)  From: John S. Minard, Allegany County and its People. A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, New York, W. A. Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N.Y., 1896.

10. More WARDS around Almond, New York. 
p. 561 (Almond) The first permanent settler of North Valley was Solomon David, who located on the Hull farm in 1804. Elihu Knight with Ardeno Cobb, and Wheeler Hinman settled in the lower part of North Valley about 1804. Benjamin Hayes who had been in the Revolutionary War settled on the Peter Lippencott farm in 1807. North Hill was settled by William Howe and Charle Cook and his father in 1808. Howe was a very prominent man in the town, and died about 1870, the oldest resident of the town. John and Jeremiah Van Vechten came from Montgomery Co. about 1817, and settled near Bishopville. Zenas Ward, grandfather of the Wards now living in North Valley, was one of the first settlers of that locality.  Note: This Zenas Ward is likely the same Zenas Ward listed in the probate records of James Ward, in item 6 above. 

p.562 (Almond) The original settlers of North Valley with but few exceptions are all gone and have left but few descendants living there; some of the Wards are still there, descendants of the original settlers.

p. 573 (Almond) Joseph W. Emery, son of Abram K. and Eliza (Thomas Emery, was born in Hornellsville, May 24, 1840. He enlisted in Co. F, 141st Reg't. N.Y.V., in 1862 and was discharged May 30 1865. He married Helen J., daughter of William C. and Rachel (Head) Ward of Almond in 1865 and settled in the town. Mr. Emery has been assessor of Almond 7 years, is a member of Doty Post, No. 226 of Hornellsville. He has one son Homer H.

p. 578 (Almond) Capt. Zenas Ward, son of Zenas Ward, born in Connecticut, married Elizabeth M. Delaney. He came to Almond from Cayuga Co. in 1823 and settled on the farm now owned by the Curry family. He was a farmer. Of his ten children 5 are living: Cordelia (Mrs. Lewis Wollever), Jonathan, Jackson, Nancy J. (Mrs. Dr. D. Van Vechten of Ohio), and Angeline, who married Charles W. Van Vetchen, son of Jerry. C.W. Van Vechten was born in Montgomery Co., he came here early with his parents. He settled on the farm owned by Newton Karr. He was road commissioner. He died in 1885. Ashbel Ward, son of Zenas, was a native of Connecticut. He located here, married Electa Brown, had 4 sons and 4 daughters and died in Almond.  Note: The father of Capt. Zenas Ward, Zenas Ward is likely the same Zenas Ward listed in the probate records of James Ward, in item 6 above.

From: John S. Minard, Allegany County and its People. A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, New York, W. A. Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N.Y., 1896.

11. 1820 US Federal Census of Pike Township, Allegany Co., New York  

James Ward  (Note: Is this the same James Ward that was living in Nunda in the 1810 census, above?) 

12. 1830 Federal Census of Almond, Allegany County, New York                             
Hiram Ward  
Thomas Ward  
Ashbe (?) Ward 
Thomas Ward, Jr.

 Note: This Ashbe(?) is likely to be Ashbel, Zenus Ward's son, mentioned in 10, above. 

13. 1830 Federal Census of Canadea, Allegany County, New York 

 John Ward  (Note: Where was James Ward of Nunda, Allegany Co., in the 1830’s?) 

14. The Settlement of Almond, NY

From Souvenir Program: 175th Anniversary of the Founding of Almond; 1796-1981, presented by: The Almond Historical Society, August 14, 1971

Let us go back in fancy one hundred seventy-five years to a spring morning in 1796 along the Susquehanna River as it flowed through Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Folklore suggests that on such a morning when a glow in the sky heralded the rising sun, the loading of an unknown number of boats had been completed and the time for their departure had arrived.  A small band of frontiersmen with their wives and children then boarded these small heavily laden boats and with a wave of farewell to friends and relatives on shore, headed upstream and began a journey of three weeks and nearly two hundred miles into an unsettled wilderness.  To the west, at the headwater of this rivers tributaries lay a vast area known as the Genesee Country where on Williamson, agent for the Pulteney Associates, was selling land at a reasonable figure. From scouting reports of some of their members they were advised they would find a region of hill and dale, many streams and virgin forests where they could acquire land, build homes, raise crops and families and pursue their destinies in the manner of their forefathers.  The boats, propelled by poling in swift water and by rowing in quiet stretches, proceeded upstream at a pace equal to that of the livestock being driven along the trail that skirted the river's edge.  For the men who took turns in propelling the boats and in driving the livestock along the shore, it was a difficult and continuous struggle against the strong, relentless current, becoming ever more toilsome each passing day as the streams grew smaller and the current swifter.  At sundown the boats were secured to the shore and preparations for the night were made. Firewood was gathered and the evening meal prepared. The boats provided sleeping quarters and shelter on rainy days as each had a canvass tarpaulin. The livestock did not wander away, but after browsing for a while, would lie down contentedly nearby and needed to be guarded only from marauding animals.  It was a small party composed of five or six families, some of these closely related. None of them possessed great wealth but what they lacked in this respect, they made up in experience, resourcefulness and courage. Most of them were well educated for the times.  The leader of the group was the Rev. Andrew Gray, a large, powerful man and a veteran of the Revolutionary War. This party and those soon to follow had consented to this journey into the wilderness only on the condition that Rev. Gray would lead them both spiritually and physically. Among the others was a young schoolmaster who was to prove a valuable asset to the forthcoming community. There was also Major Moses Van Campen, a surveyor by profession but who had acquired fame as a fearless borderman and Indian fighter whose thrilling experiences were legend.  When they turned into the Canisteo River at Painted Post their progress became much slower. The current was swifter, riffles more frequent. The trees and driftwood obstructing the channel had to be removed before they could proceed. Where the current was very strong, it was necessary to snub ropes around trees along the shore and inch the boats slowly forward. Eventually, they emerged from between steep hills towering above the river to the seven-year old settlement of Canisteo.  A short distance west of Canisteo the river made a wide horseshoe bend. As navigation beyond this point was impractical, a temporary camp was made, the boats unloaded and conveyances assembled to carry their belongings the remaining distance to their destination. At Hornell, they turned up the valley of the Canacadea, meaning in the Seneca language, "Where the Earth Meets the Sky," a region few white men had penetrated.  Only an Indian trail wound along the banks of the Canacadea. A short distance north of the present site of Almond village, the travelers were turned aside by the presence of a large swamp and obliged to ascend a narrow ravine, later known as Lincoln's Notch, which took them up from the valley floor to the glacial sandhills above and down into the valleys wherein they were to make their homes. Thus, the first settlers arrived in Almond. Later, as roads were opened, settlers came by ox team and wagon, by horseback and some on foot.  They found the land covered by primeval forest with towering pines and hemlocks and hardwoods such as maple, basswood, oak, beech and hickory as to make the location in Almond's valley's attractive. It was a virgin wilderness populated by a large variety of animals and birds. They found passenger pigeons in such great numbers that their passage overhead darkened the sun for unbelievably long periods. It was and had been for ages, a hunter's paradise broken only by the gurgle of many brooks and the sigh of the wind in the trees.

The earliest and most authentic account of the early settlers of Almond is contained in the first volume records of the Presbyterian Church of Almond wherein the Rev. Robert Hubbard, the first pastor of the church from 1812 to 1827 made the initial entry in the record book as follows:

"The first settlement in this township was commenced in the years 1786 and 1797. The first settlers and original proprietors of the township were Rev. Andrew Gray, Moses Van Campen, Henry and Matthew McHenry, Joseph A. Rathbun and perhaps one or two others. In addition to these and not far from the same time William Gray Walter, Joseph and Samuel Kerr, Silas Ferry, Stephen Major, Benjamin Van Campen, Joseph Coleman, George Lockhart and a few others established themselves here."  All of these first settlers located in either Karr of McHenry Valleys, the majority of whom chose the gentle, southward facing slope of Karr Valley. Historian Stephen Coleman stated that by 1798 the new settlement numbered 48 persons. By the year 1800 that number must have increased considerably. 

 The settlement of Whitney Valley was commenced in 1802 when John Putnam arrived with his family that included two sons, Peter and Jacob. Peter's marriage to Polly Waters, solemnized by Rev. Gray, was said to have been the first marriage in this community.  Putnam was followed by 1803 by David, Micah and Roswell Haskins and in 1806 by Enos Seward and family and Tarbell Whitney the same year with his wife and sons Ami, William and Rufus. Rufus is reputed to have built the brick house still standing across from Alfred Almond Central School now owned and occupied by Glen Leathersich and family.  Silas Stillman, a native or Rhode Island, first settled in Alfred where he resided for two years before he bought land and settled on the southernmost farm in the valley. Silas was a blacksmith by trade. He was also elected the first supervisor of the town when it was organized in 1821.  Joel White was another settler in the valley.  The year 1804 appears to have been the year of settlement of North Valley. This is when Solomon Doud came and is reputed to have been the first to settle there. He was followed the same year by Miles and Jeremiah Oakley, Walter Hinman and Elihu Root. John McIntosh came at some time prior to 1806.  Other early settlers were John Bunnell, John Brown, Lemuel Granger, Bartlett Dake, Lewis Moffett and Truman Burdick. All of these located in the valley or the North Hill but the dates are not known.  Benejah Hayes, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, located in North Valley between 1805 and 1807. He acquired the mill at the north end of Almond Village upon the death of his father-in-law, Joseph Corey.  John and Jeremiah VanVachten followed a little later as did William Howe, William Root, Laurence Clark, Benjamin Head, Zenas Ward, Samuel Nealy, Joseph Baldwin, Charles Cook, William Upson, and undoubtedly others.

The Turnpike was settled later than other parts of the town. The primary inducement was the Bath and Lake Erie Turnpike that was constructed through this are in 1810 or 1811  Among the first to take up residence along this road was Elijah Osgood who located near the west line of the town and opened up a tavern to accommodate the many travelers who were making their way westward at the time.  Among the others who settled along this thoroughfare were Luke Greene, Christopher Saunders, Allen Barber, Zebulon Wright, Joshua and David Vincent, Ephraim and William Burdick, Christopher Tefft and others. 

Almond Village, first settled in 1803, was destined to become the commercial center of the town although it had the disadvantage of being located in the extreme eastern portion of the town astride the boundary with Steuben County. This disadvantage, however, was offset by two important factors so necessary in those early days. The first was the Canacadea Creek with its substantial flow of water to furnish power for the mills and the Bath and Lake Erie Turnpike Road that provided transportation and communication with outside communities.  Almond Village today lies in two counties, principally in Allegany but with its northern portion in Steuben County. At the time of its first settlement the village was entirely within Steuben County. Its present location came about in this manner:  On March 8, 1796 Steuben County was formed from a part of Ontario County and the town of Canisteo, of which Almond became a part, was formed. The new settlement was described as Number 4 Settlement but officially it was known as Township Number 4 in the 7th Range of Townships. The earliest settlers in Almond took part in the town meetings at Canisteo.  Allegany County was created between Genesee County on April 7, 1806 but the shire town of Angelica was too far to the east to make it a desirable central location. This was corrected by another act of the Legislature on March 11, 1808 that removed three ranges of towns on the west and added a range of towns on the east that placed Angelica almost in the center of Allegany County. Almond remained as such until March 16, 1821, when Alfred was divided into four townships, namely, Almond, Alfred, Andover and Independence.  Phineas Stevens arrived in 1803 to become the first settler in what is now Almond Village. His log house is said to have stood across the street from the United States Hotel that occupied the vacant space directly south of Gillette's Garage. Stevens was the first to utilize the waters of the Canacadea when he built the first sawmill in the village in 1806 which, according to old accounts, was "located on the west bank of Canacadea Creek at the right side of the bridge to the depot." Partial remains of the dam that served this mill are still in evidence on the property of Edward Geitner on North Main Street. Phineas also opened a tavern to accommodate the traveling public at the advantageous location he occupied.  Taking advantage of the transportation facilities the Bath and Lake Erie Turnpike provided, Stephen Webb built the first gristmill in the town along the Canacadea and adjacent to the road a short distance north of the Stevens sawmill. Part of the dam associated with this enterprise is still in evidence also. This mill remained in operation for 50 years.  David Crandall was the pioneer merchant in the town from 1812 to 1816. His store was located in the northern part of the village across the road from the hardware building recently dismantled. The first merchandise for the store was purchased from a firm in Utica and was hauled to Almond by five horse teams, so old accounts tell us. Crandall is thought to have built the United States Hotel in 1815 that served as a landmark for seventy years and was well known to the traveling public. Early town meetings were held in this old hotel.  A blacksmith by trade, Asa Clarke settled in the village prior to 1806. Later, about 1818, he built a gristmill in the southern part of the village that was to continue in business the longest of any other enterprise in town under several proprietorships. It was last operated by Jacob Braack, an experienced miller. Part of the foundation wall to this old mill is still standing at the site. Clarke also built a distillery nearby and part of the grain brought to the mill was used in the manufacture of whiskey.

Almond continued to grow and by mid-century was a principal trading center and a thriving, prosperous community serving the needs of the agricultural area surrounding it. About this time Almond could boast a population of nearly equal to that of neighboring Hornellsville and the largest population of any town in Allegany County, Angelic excepted.  Along the length of Main Street, there were about a dozen stores in the two business districts that then existed which were dubbed the "Upper Battery" and the "Lower Battery" because of the intense rivalry that was evident There were several shops, three or four hotels and taverns, three churches a school and at least three factories, one that manufactured boots and shoes, another mowing machines and another that produced men's clothing. There was also a tannery or two. Other industries were located south of the village in Whitney Valley. These included a sash and blind factory, a woolen mill, a carriage and wagon manufactory and a sawmill.  The coming of the railroad in the 1850's proved to be a mixed blessing for Almond. Almond had hoped to become the division headquarters for the railroad but Hornellsville was chosen. While the railroad provided transportation for goods and produce, it also afforded Almond's industries a strong reason for moving to a fast growing community that held greater promise.

Early Land Record in Allegany County
NOTE: The following info was provided by a William Greene, Jr., Allegany County Historian in 1972.
Zenos Ward, 1825, town of Almond, lot 16
John & Wm. Ward, 1828, town of Almond
Jacob Ward, 1830, town of Eagle, lot 45 (now in Wyoming Co.)
James Ward, 1830, town of Almond
Zenos Ward, 1833, town of Almond
David Ward, 1834, town of Burns, lot 197

There is a township in Allegany County named WARD. It was named in honor of a Hamilton Ward, who was a Congressman for the county in the 1860's. His birth was 3 July 1829 in Salsbury, New York.  The following 3 Ward families were provided by Nunda Town Historian (Marjorie C. Frost) in 1973:

1.  Rowland Ward resided in Town of Portage (originally in Nunda Township), born 1818 in England, died 9 June 1898, age 80 yrs 2 mos, buried Hunt's Hollow, Town of Portage; married Almira E. Vedder (date not known),died 7 March 1888, age 57 yrs 8 mos, buried Hunt's Hollow, Town of Portage.  Row land Ward was a Civil War veteran and had part of his jaw shot away during the war. He was a member of the 4th New York Artillery.

   5 children to this marriage (but only 3 names were known)
     - Harriet (who married Henry Lyon)
     - William R. (who married Esther Gearheat)
     - Samuel, died 17 December 1869, age 1 yr 5 mos

2.  Horace Ward, born 1820, parents not known, died 2 February 1873, age 53 yrs 1 mo, buried Hunt's Hollow, Town of Portage; married Allura, died 15 June 1865,
     age 41 yrs

3. Harriet Ward, born 1817, daughter of Abram & Rosanna (Ernest or Earnest) Ward of Lansingburg, Cayuga Co., NY; married 1842 Peter Passage, born Herkimer County, 12 January 1812, son of George & Margaret (Helmer) Passage; died 27 July 1894, age 76 yrs 10 mos.  Harriet & Peter lived together 52 yrs, members of Dalton Methodist Church, buried in Union Cemetery, Dalton, NY (in Nunda Township).



Compiled and Submitted by Carl W. Ward (Email Link)

CLICK HERE for Website Link to The WARD Family Study