Place:Belfast, Allegany, New York, United States


Coordinates42.333°N 78.1°W
Located inAllegany, New York, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Belfast (/ˈbɛl.fæst/ or /bəlˈfɑːst/) is a town in Allegany County, New York, United States. The town is in what is called the Southern Tier of the state. Its population was 1,663 at the 2010 census. It was named in 1825 after the city of Belfast, the capital of present-day Northern Ireland, because it had numerous residents of Scots-Irish ancestry from that area.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

This territory was for many centuries before European encounter occupied by the Seneca people of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy. They were the westernmost tribe of the Five Nations of the Confederacy which dominated the area south of the Great Lakes in present-day New York and Pennsylvania. (They became the Six Nations after being joined by the Tuscarora, another Iroquoian-speaking people, who migrated from the Carolinas in the early 18th century). These tribes are among Iroquoian languages-speaking peoples who long inhabited areas along the upper St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes.

The first European-American settlers did not arrive in this area until after the American Revolutionary War. As the Seneca had been allies of the defeated British, their lands were among territory ceded to the United States, without consultation with the Iroquois. Most of the Haudenosaunee migrated to Ontario, Canada, where they were given land in compensation by the British Crown.

European-American settlers were documented in this area by 1804. David Sanford built a sawmill and grist mill on the Genesee River in 1809. The community was established in 1824 as the Town of Orrinsburgh from part of the Town of Caneadea. In 1825 residents changed the name to Belfast as many new settlers were from northern Ireland, where Belfast was a port. Irish immigrants in upstate worked on the canals and in the developing mills. The hamlet of Belfast was established as a "mill town" with water power from the Genesee River, which runs across the town. In 1831, the size of the town was increased by the state legislature by adding more territory from Caneadea.

The Genesee Valley Canal was completed around 1853 to connect markets from the south of the state to the Great Lakes. It stimulated the growth of the hamlet Belfast, which was later also served by three railroads. Their speed and carrying capacity caused much freight traffic to move to the railroads, causing a decline in canal traffic. The Rail and Titsworth Canal Warehouse in Belfast was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 as an important structure from this time period.

In the mid-19th century, new ethnic English migrants, many from eastern Yankee New York and New England, were resisted by many of the Irish residents. There were longstanding tensions between these groups related to religious and social history in Ireland. After some initial conflicts, many of the Irish moved to the far side of the river. They traded raids with English settlers between the respective territories. Although most of these clashes were minor, a larger conflict occurred from 1846–1847, when a food shortage in the area raised tensions. New waves of Irish immigrants were entering New York in this period as refugees from the Great Famine in Ireland. The unrest was quelled by New York State militia groups. The Irish faction in 1847 took control of the mills before the state militia intervened.

Industrialization continued in the 19th century. Sandstone for grindstones was quarried in the late 1870s above the mouth of White Creek at Rockville.

In 1889, John L. Sullivan, an international Irish-American boxing star from Boston, Massachusetts, came to train with William Muldoon in Belfast for the last bare knuckle boxing championship. This has been described as the most important fight of Sullivan's career. Muldoon set up training headquarters in two barns he owned. Known for developing training techniques ahead of his time, Muldoon helped Sullivan get into the best shape of his life. Facing Jake Kilrain in Richburg, Mississippi that August, Sullivan lasted for 72 rounds before being declared the winner. In 2009, the Belfast training barns, which had been virtually untouched for more than 120 years, were adapted for use as the world's only Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame.

Since the 1970s, several pirate radio stations have used the Belfast post office as a mail drop to receive letters from listeners.

In the 1980s an Amish community settled in the town. They make their living from farming, sawmilling, and furniture making. These families are among a number of Amish migrants to western New York in the late 20th century from Pennsylvania, particularly the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area, which is under development pressure with rising land prices and increased population.

Research Tips

External Links

  • Outstanding guide to Belfast family history and genealogy resources (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, town histories, cemeteries, churches, newspapers, libraries, and genealogical societies.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Belfast, New York. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.