New York Books - Allegany County
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New York - Allegany County

Click on these titles to check out books on this county.
The Man Who Owned the Pistols : John Barker Church and His Family
Helene C. Phelan
The Unequal Hours

Linda Underhill
Linked Arms: A Rural Community Resists Nuclear Waste

Thomas V. Peterson
Angelica, Belmont, & Wellsville, NY

Robert V. Bogan
Tile Roofs of Alfred: A Clay Tradition in Alfred, NY
Try also Belmont Co.,
the parent county of Allegany.
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Other Resources

Allegany Co. NY GenWeb Project

Allegany County's Official Website

Books on Allegany Co. Genealogy and History

Map of Allegany Co. (1895)

New York State Official Website

On the southern line of New York State, two hundred miles from Albany, lies Allegany County, with its hills, farms and prosperous towns. It was organized from a part of Genesee County, April 7, 1806, and has an area of 1,033 square miles. Because of its broken surface, high summits and abruptly descending valleys, it was rather late in being settled and developed. The Genesee River, which flows toward the northeast through the county, while of value in draining the region, led in the wrong direction to enable the pioneer to arrive at its source. The land to the north is less rugged and more fertile, and it was here that the first comers located, but settlement of the county did not begin until the early years of the nineteenth century.

The two western tiers of towns in the county were a part of the Holland Land purchase, while the remaining sections were a part of the Morris Reserve. John B. Church became the owner of 1,000,000 acres of this Morris tract, and his son, on becoming the possessor of half of his father's land, made it his home and was the pioneer of the Angelica district, 1804.

The forests were probably the main attraction in the early days, for the hills, which rise to a height of 2,500 feet, were covered with pine and, in sections, with hardwoods of great size. The Genesee and its many tributaries gave easy outlet for the cut timber, and the streams on the south side flowed into the Susquehanna. The forests have never been completely wiped out, and form a source of income today. As the timber was removed from the lower levels, and the land laid bare, agriculture crept in, and it is this industry that is paramount in the county now. Grain was at first the principal crop, this to be displaced by wool growing and cattle raising as canal and railroad opened the way to other grain lands. But these in turn have been displaced by dairying, mixed farming and, to quite an extent, fruit culture. Apples and grapes do well, while the humble potato is one of the main productions next to milk and hay.

The inaccessibility of the early days passed away with the building of the Genesee Valley Canal, which extended from the north boundary of the county through to the west side. The Erie and other railroads tapped other parts of allegany. Not only were farm products and lumber given an opportunity to reach markets, but the growth of towns hastened, and the location within the county of many manufacturing industries encouraged.

The discovery of a great oil pool beneath the surface of the county was perhaps the most momentous occasion in its history. Strangely the first petroleum in the United States was noted by Roche-d'Allion, a French Jesuit, July 18, 1627, near Cuba in this county. Until the coming in of the famous Triangle well in June, 1879, nothing had come of the priest's find. Although the oil boom has long since passed, a fabulous amount of money came into the county, and there were towns growing overnight. For fifteen years the oil brought to the surface had more value than all the rest of the county's products combined. It could not last, at least on the scale at which it had started, and the oil production of Allegany occupies a very back seat in the home of its prosperity.

Upon the erection of the county, Angelica was made the shiretown. A brick courthouse was erected in 1819 a wooden jail constructed, but these were not kept in repair and soon depreciated. A movement started in 1857 for the removal of the courthouse to a location on the railroad, and a law passed to this effect the next year, but the execution of this law was delayed by legal proceedings. Buildings were rushed to completion in the new county seat, Belmont, with the expectation that it would be the sole shiretown. And such it was for two years, but in 1860 the Legislature passed an act whereby the county was divided into two jury districts and the courts were ordered held alternately in Angelica and Belmont. This condition ruled until 1892, when the latter place gained full possession of the field, and the courthouse in Angelica was sold for $855.

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From what or whom did the name of each county originate? Click here to find out.

County Date
Parent County County
Albany 1683 original county Albany
Allegany 1806 Genesee Belmont
Bronx 1914 New York Bronx
Broome 1806 Tioga Binghamton
Cattaraugus 1808 Genesee Little Valley
Cayuga 1799 Onondaga Auburn
Charlotte 1772 Albany renamed Washington in 1784
Chautauqua 1808 Genesee Mayville
Chemung 1798 Tioga Elmira
Chenango 1798 Herkimer, Tioga Norwich
Clinton 1788 Washington Plattsburgh
Columbia 1786 Albany Hudson
Cortland 1808 Onondoga Cortland
Delaware 1797 Ulster, Otsego Delhi
Dutchess 1683 original county Poughkeepsie
Erie 1821 Niagara Buffalo
Essex 1799 Clinton Elizabethtown
Franklin 1808 Clinton Malone
Fulton 1838 Montgomery Johnstown
Genesee 1802 Ontario Batavia
Greene 1800 Ulster, Albany Catskill
Hamilton 1816 Montgomery Lake Pleasant
Herkimer 1791 Montgomery Herkimer
Jefferson 1805 Oneida Watertown
1683 Original county Brooklyn
Lewis 1805 Oneida Lowville
Livingston 1821 Genesee, Ontario Geneseo
Madison 1806 Chenango Wampsville
Monroe 1821 Genesee, Ontario Rochester
Montgomery 1772 Albany (as Tryon to 1784) Fonda
Nassau 1899 Queens Mineola
New York City 1683 Original county New York
Niagara 1808 Genesee Lockport
Oneida 1798 Herkimer Utica
Onondaga 1794 Herkimer Syracuse
Ontario 1789 Montgomery Canandaigua
Orange 1683 Original county Goshen
Orleans 1824 Genesee Albion
Oswego 1816 Oneida, Onondaga Oswego, Pulaski
Otsego 1791 Montgomery Cooperstown
Putnam 1812 Dutchess Carmel
Queens 1683 Original county Jamaica
Rensselaer 1791 Albany Troy
Staten Island
1683 Original county St. George
Rockland 1798 Orange New City
St. Lawrence 1802 Clinton, Herkimer, Montgomery Canton
Saratoga 1791 Albany Ballston Spa
Schenectady 1809 Albany Schenectady
Schoharie 1795 Albany, Ostego Schoharie
Schuyler 1854 Tompkins, Steuben, Chemung Watkins Glen
Seneca 1804 Cayuga Ovid, Waterloo
Steuben 1796 Ontario Bath
Suffolk 1683 Original county Riverhead
Sullivan 1809 Ulster Monticello
Tioga 1791 Montgomery Owego
Tompkins 1817 Cayuga, Seneca Ithaca
Tryon 1772 Albany (renamed Montgomery 1784)
Ulster 1683 Original county Kingston
Warren 1813 Washington Lake George
Washington 1772 Albany (see Charlotte) Hudson Falls
Wayne 1823 Ontario, Seneca Lyons
Westchester 1683 Original county White Plains
Wyoming 1841 Genesee Warsaw
Yates 1823 Ontario, Steuben Penn Yan

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