Place:Wellsville (town), Allegany, New York, United States


NameWellsville (town)
Alt namesWellsville
Coordinates42.117°N 77.933°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

Wellsville is the largest community in Allegany County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 7,397.

Wellsville is centrally located in the south half of the county, north of the Pennsylvania border. Wellsville is also the name of the main village within this town. The village and the town have two separate, paid governments. Alfred State College maintains a branch campus in the town, with the main campus in Alfred east.


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

Originally an encampment for native peoples, Wellsville's settlement was driven, first, by the tanning and lumber industries and, later, the discovery of oil and natural gas.

Wellsville was the location of encampments for thousands of years, including the Lamoka and Brewerton cultures. The latest native people, the Seneca, named Wellsville Gistaguat, according to a map produced in 1771 by Guy Johnson, as the official map of New York state at the time, for then-Governor William Tryon. The Seneca referred to the Wellsville area as "the Pigeon Woods" and held annual festivals and encampments there to take advantage of the passenger pigeon (see memoirs of Captain Horatio Jones). At the time, passenger pigeons filled the skies by the millions, and the tribes and bands came to the Wellsville area from all over western New York and northern Pennsylvania to Gistaquat to harvest the pigeons by the thousands.

European settlers moved into the area before 1800. Nathaniel Dyke, a native of Connecticut, and a captain in the Revolutionary War, serving under both General George Washington and General Warren of Bunker Hill fame, was the first of these in Allegany County. He married a Native American woman (Esther) and moved his family to the Wellsville area by 1795, while it was still owned by the Seneca Nation (two years before the Big Tree Treaty of 1797). He began running a gristmill, a sawmill, and a tannery on a stream now known as Dykes Creek, by 1803. Dyke is buried in Elm Valley, just east of town. His tombstone has the official memorial placed there by the Catherine Schuyler Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Wellsville's first industry was tanning, utilizing the bark of the hemlock tree for its tannins. Three large tanneries operated in Wellsville during the early 19th century. Next came the lumbermen and the railroad. The New York and Erie Railroad came through what would become Wellsville (then the outskirts of Scio) in 1851 as the quickest way west from New York City, crossing New York state. This proved that Nathaniel Dyke's choice of location was the quickest, easiest and most practical way across Allegany County. The trains gave the lumbermen a new and more efficient means to get their product to market. Prior to this, the logs had been floated on the rivers and canals. Logging moved on to more densely forested areas in the latter part of the 19th century but the cleared ground quickly produced excellent grazing for a tremendous dairy industry which followed.

Wellsville was named after a man named Gardiner Wells, who was, according to local history, the one person who didn't show up for the meeting when the residents were naming the town. Wells was the major landowner of the real estate pieces, now the downtown Main Street section of Wellsville. The first oil boom came later in Wellsville's history, several decades after the founding of the town and village when oil was discovered in Wellsville in 1879 by O.P. Taylor in his famous "Triangle No. 1" well in Petrolia, west of Wellsville. A second boom occurred with the discovery of "Secondary Recovery", led by Bradley Producing, based in Wellsville. The method uses water, so abundant in Wellsville, to force the oil from the "oil sands". The Sinclair Refinery was built in Wellsville at the beginning of the 20th century, not closing down until 1957 after two major fires and falling oil prices.

Since World War II, Wellsville's economy has been dominated by skilled engineering and manufacturing with a cluster of multinational companies in the energy sector. It also has a cluster of ceramic artists and artisans fed by its proximity to Alfred University's ceramics school.

The area that is now Wellsville was part of Scio through the first half of the 19th century. It was incorporated as Wellsville and set apart from Scio in 1857. For a brief time during the early 1870s, Wellsville changed its name to "Genesee". On April 4, 1871, the New York State Legislature officially changed Wellsville's name to Genesee. After much political wrangling, by a special act of the legislature, the name Wellsville was again designated as the official name of the town, June 8, 1873. The village of Wellsville was first incorporated in 1857 and then again in 1873.

Wellsville is the junction of many foothill streams including Dyke Creek feeding the Genesee River from the east. The water from Hurricane Agnes in 1972 exceeded the capacity and banks of Dyke Creek, producing a rapid and huge pool of water at the center of the village. The extent of the damaged area continued downstream through Scio and Amity until the valley widened to accept the large flow of water in the lesser populated area. Erosion of topsoil during this flood eliminated many small farms.

The US Post Office-Wellsville, built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression in the art deco style, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.[5]

The Wellsville Erie Depot is a historic train station located at Wellsville in Allegany County, New York. It was constructed in 1911, for the Erie Railroad. It is a one-story, 132-foot (40 m) by 33-foot (10 m) structure displaying elements of the Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. It is located across the street from the US Post Office-Wellsville. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

In March 2006, a referendum to dissolve the village was defeated by the residents. At present, local officials are attempting to obtain a charter for the community to reorganize both municipalities into one entity, a city.

Research Tips

External Links

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

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