The Pioneer History of
 Orleans County, NY
Albion Village

By Arad Thomas

Online Edition by Holice & Deb

 

 CHAPTER XVI.

THE VILLAGE OF ALBION.

First Inhabitants -- First Business Men -- Strife with Gaines for Court House -- Strategy Used by Albion Men to get Court House -- First Court House -- Second court House -- County Jail -- First Hote l-- First Warehouse -- Stone Flouring Mill -- Lawyers -- Drs. Nichoson and White -- First Tanyard -- First Blacksmiths -- Name of the Village.

Oak Orchard Road intersects this village and now forms Main Street, north and south, in the center of the place. It was this road and the Erie Canal that fixed a village here.

When the canal was commenced Albion was used for farms, but by the time the canal became navigable considerable of a town had sprung up.

William McCollister cleared the first land on what is now in the corporation, where the Court House and Female Seminary stand, and built his log house on the Seminary lot in 1812. He took up lot thirty-five, township fifteen, range one, on the east side of Main street, under article from the Holland Company, which he sold to William Bradner, who took the deed from the company of two hundred and sixty-six and one-half acres of the north part, his brother Joel taking a deed of ninety-two acres on the south part, on the west side of Main Street.

Jesse Bumpus took up by article from the company, the land from the town line of Gaines on the north, to near State Street on the south. John Holtzbarger, or Holsenburgh, as he was sometimes called, took up the next land south of Bumpus and Elijah Darrow took the next.

Before the canal was made Mr. William Bradner sold one hundred acres to the north-west part of his tract to Nehemiah Ingersoll and others. Mr. Ingersoll employed Orange Risden to lay out his land bordering on the Oak Orchard Road and canal, into village lots, and to make a plat of the same. From this Mr. Ingersoll sold lots and opened the streets, he having bought out his partners.

The Bumpus tract, on the west side of Main Street, at this time was owned by Mr. Roswell Burrows, the father of Messrs. R. S. & L. burrows. He did not layout his land into village lots by any general survey and plan, but laid off lots and opened streets from time to time as the wants of the public required. The land fronting on Main Street, through the village, was taken up and mostly occupied by purchasers from the original proprietors, about the time the canal was made navigable.

The location of the County Seat in Albion, about this time, and the bustle and business of erecting county buildings, establishing the courts and public offices and organizing the affairs of a new county, town and village, brought in an influx of inhabitants at once, representing the different callings and employments pursued by those who settled in villages along the canal.

The south side of the canal--the north being the towing path--was soon occupied by buildings put up for the canal trade, such as warehouses and grocery stores. The large number of passengers who filled the canal boats, made the grocery stores, from which they the boatmen procured their supplies, places of lively trade, by night and day. Variety stores, each filled with goods of every name, class and description demanded by the customers, were numerous, though small.

Among the first merchants were Goodrich & Standart, John Tucker, O. H. Gardner, R. S. & L. Burrows, Alderman Butts, and Freeman Clarke, of late years a prominent banker in Rochester, N. Y.

When the Commissioners appointed to select the site of the Court House came onto fix the spot, their choice lay between the largest village, being on the Ridge road, and being well supplied with mechanics and merchants, and of having many of the institutions of old and well organized communities established here. Albion was nearest the geographical center of the county, and was intersected by the Erie Canal and Oak Orchard Road. The west branch of Sandy Creek runs through the east part of the village. Rising in some swamps in the south part of the town, it afforded sufficient water after the melting of the snow in spring, and after rains to turn machinery a part of the year, but in summer was nearly dry. On this stream two saw mills had been built, one in the village, the other south of it.

The Commissioners came to consider the claims of the rival village about the middle of the dry season. Mr. Nehemiah Ingersoll, Philetus Bumpus, Henry Henderson and a few other Albion men, determined to use a little strategy to help Albion, Knowing when the Commissioners would be here the creek would be too low to move the sawmills, and foresee the advantage a good mill stream would give them, they patched the two dams and flumes and closed the gates to hold all the water some days before the Commissioners would arrive; sent some teams to haul logs and lumber about the saw mill and mill yard, in the village to make the ground and give the appearance of business there.

When the Commissioners came to see Albion, having been generously dined and wined by its hospitable people, they were taken in a carriage to see the place, and in the course of the ride driven along the creek and by the sawmill, then in full operation, with men and teams at work among the lumber, with a good supply of water from the ponds thus made for the occasion. The Commissioners were impressed with the importance of this fine water power and gave the county buildings to Albion before the ponds ran out.

Mr. Ingersoll donated to the county the grounds now occupied by the court and jail and public park.

The first court house was built in 1827, of brick, with the County Clerk's office in the lower story. Gilbert Howell, Calvin smith and Elihu Mather were building committee.

This Court House was pulled down and a new one erected in its place in 1857-58, at a cost of $20,000. W. V. N. Barlow was the architect, and Lyman Bates, Henry A. King and Charles Baker, building committee.

The present jail was built in 1838, and the clerk's office in 1836.

The first hotel was kept on the south-west corner of Main and Canal streets, by -------Churchill. The next hotel, called Albion Hotel, was built by Philetus Bumpus about twenty rods south of the canal on the west side of Main street, and kept several years by Bumpus & Howland, succeeded by Hiram sickles. Mr. Bumpus then built the Mansion House, a hotel standing on the north side of the canal, on Main Street, which he kept several years.

Mr. Philetus Bumpus, and his father, Jesse Bumpus, built the first framed dwellinghouse in Albion, on the lot on which Mr. L. Burrows now resides.

The first warehouse was built by Nehemiah Ingersoll, on the canal about twenty rods east of Main Street. the next by Cary & Tilden, on the west side of Main street, on the canal.

The first sawmill in the corporation of Albion was built in 1819, by William Bradner.

Mr. William Bradner built the first grist-mill, the millstones for which he cut in person from a rock in Palmyra. One of these stones is now used for a corner guard stone on the corner of State and Clarendon streets. These mills were cheap structures and were taken away after a few years.

The stone flouring mill on the canal was built by Ward & Clarke in 1838.

The first lawyer in Albion was Theophilus Capen. He remained here but a short time. The next lawyers were William J. Moody, Alexis Ward, Henry R. Curtis, Gideon Hard, William W. Ruggles, and others came about the time the county was organized.

Dr. Orson Nichoson was the first physician. He located two miles south of the village in 1819, and removed to Albion in 1822. Dr. William White, who had been in practice at Oak Orchards in Ridgeway, came here about the time the county was organized, and opened a drug store and went into partnership with Dr. Nichoson in the practice of medicine.

Dr. Stephen M. Potter was one of the early physicians who settled in Albion. He was born in Westport, Mass., removed to Cazenovia, n. Y., and from thence to Albion. About the year 1837 he removed to Cazenovia again. He represented Madison County in the State legislature in 1846.

The first tanyard was located on the south side of the canal on the lot now occupied by the gas works, by Jacob Ingersoll, about the year 1825. Tanning was continued here until the gas works were built in 1858.

The first blacksmiths were John Moe, Rodney A. Torrey and Phineas Phillips.

Albion was at first for some years called Newport, but on account of trouble with the mails, there being another post office in this state by the name of Newport, at a meeting of the inhabitants to take measures to get the village incorporated, on motion of Gideon Hard, the name was changed to Albion in the first Act of Incorporation passed April 21st, 1828. The first company of firemen was organized in 1831.

John Henderson settled in Albion in Sept. 1825 and established the first shop for making carriages. He kept the first livery stable in 1834, and started the first horse and cart for public accommodation in 1837. He has been an active man, an ingenious mechanic and has built tenor twelve dwelling houses and numerous shops, barns and other buildings here.

The Pioneer History of Orleans County, NY, By Arad Thomas

 

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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