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Hume (Cold Creek) Village, Allegany, New York

A few rods westerly from the old Ingham House is a famous spring, the waters of which issue from the rocks at the base of a ridge or terrace only a short distance from the bank of the creek, into which they are discharged.  This spring is known to have been a favorite place of resort among the Indians, who called it “Cold Spring.” This is believed to be the origin of the name of the creek, by which name the neighboring village has been known. [Beer's History of Allegany County, 1806-1875]

Hume Village

by John S. Minard
(I am largely indebted to Mrs. Sarah Ingham, landlady of the Ingham Tavern for so many years, for information concerning the settlement of this village.)

Sylvanus Hammond, from Middlebury, was the pioneer of Hume village, erecting the first house, a log one on the site of residence of J. Van Dresser about 1820.  Ira Higbee early built a log house here James Ingham lives, but soon sold to Ebenezer Utley from Butternuts, Otsego Co., who came in January, 1823.  James Drake made a clearing and erected a shingle-shanty style of cabin, nearly or quite on the site of Henry Wells’ residence, and Luther Merchant from Middlebury, put up a log structure about on the site of the Henry House.  Mr. Ingham bought his interest and occupied the house in March, 1823, coming from Bethany whence he had removed from Herkimer Co.  They came down the narrow ravine which makes up the hill nearly opposite where Mrs. Climina Kendall lives.  Gen. Elijah Partridge had previously “planted his destiny” a little to the south, “taking up” lots 18 and 34.  A bridge had been built across the creek by Geo. Dennis and Geo. Barker.  And such a bridge!  It was made by felling large pines, hewing them on three sides and placing them side by side across the stream, (then much narrower than now) until sufficiently wide for travel, and where needed, filling in between them with sticks properly shaped like “chinking up” a log house.

In June, 1823, Mr. Ingham put up a framed addition to his log house and opened the first public house in Hume village.  Of its local patrons the Indians were quite numerous, sometimes coming in large numbers, and frequently the kitchen floor was literally covered with Indians of both sexes lying with the heads to the fire.  A few rods west from the “Ingham Stand” is a famous spring at the base of a terrace.  Around this the Indians would sit on the logs and partake of their simple lunch, indulging in mirth, sentiment and joke.  The spring was called by them the “cold spring.” I believe this is the origin of the name of the creek.

The first sawmill was built in 1823 by Blakely and Doake.  Its site is occupied by the hardware store of Mr. Seeley, and the stores of Wells Bros., Goodrich & Skiff, Geo. S. Hopper, and the residence of C. F. Skiff was the mill yard.  The pioneer blacksmith was Ruby who built a shop at the south end of the bridge.  The first physician was Dr. Balcom.  The writer well remembers him as an aged man mounted on an old white horse; staff in hand and pill-bags astride, slowly wending his way to the bedside of the sick.

James D. McKeen, the pioneer merchant, a former foot-peddler, put on a sale a few goods, first in the bar of Ingham's tavern, but, about 1825, changed quarters to the front room of the framed addition.  His success encouraged him to build the first store of the village.  This was the “old red store” and the “old red rookery” of later years. It stood near Mechanics Hall in the corner of the beautiful grounds surrounding N. P. Baker's residence.  Other stores soon followed and each had its lumber yard while some added an ashery, one having stood on the high bank of the creek near Henry's opera house, and another near R. M. Skiff's.  Lumber and shingles were used almost as currency at prices which would astonish our modern dealers.  The “ash gatherer” would go all over country trading calico, etc., for ashes, which, converted into pot and pearl-ashes, would be sent to market and exchanged for cash or more goods.  These goods were hauled from Albany by teams, making the goods very dear to the settlers.  After 1826 goods were shipped by canal to Rochester, from there poled up the river in flatboats to York Landing, where our merchants would send teams for them.

The first school was taught by Charles Mather in the winter of 1823-4 in a schoolhouse just completed.  Miss Harriet Utley succeeded him the next summer.  Miss Utley and her sisters Huldah and Dolly, twins were generally known as the “Utley girls.”  They had for many years been teachers in the district schools of this and adjoining towns, and many of the older people of this section made their acquaintance (as did the write) in the “old log schoolhouse,” with its ample fireplace appropriating nearly the whole of one end, and its row of desks, or rather continuous desk and seat, around and along the other end and sides; when “boarding around” was the order, the sharp rapping with the ruler on the door or window casing, served all the purposes of the modern school-bell; and black-boards and steel pens were things of the “dim future.”  These “Utley girls” were the best of nurses, ministered frequently to the suffering and afflicted, and their presence and attention were thankfully welcomed.  Self reliant, taking an ardent interest in public affairs and neighborhood prosperity, sociable, charitable and merciful, their lives were devoted to the good of others, and left in the memories of their many friends pleasant recollections.  Rufus Chaffee conducted the first school for instruction in music as early as 1826.  He also worked in the sawmill by the bridge and was there crushed to death while removing ice from around the pitman.

The first gristmill in Hume village was erected in 1829 by Ozro Thomas and John Freeman.  The principal gearing was made of wood.  It had two “run” of stones, and stood on the north bank of the creek (in the rear of N. M. Wells’ barn).  It ran but a few years, being superseded by the present mill which was built by Albert Utley, Gordon M. Abel and a Mr. Griffith.

The first tannery was built by Townsend and Smith, and stood near the residence of L. D. Hubbard.  Another was built in 1832 by Alanson and Wm. R. Skiff on the north side of the creek, about where H. C. Brown has a barn.

Dr. Seth H. Pratt came about 1825.  He was orator at the first “Fourth of July celebration” of the village in 1825 or 6.  Tables were spread in front of Ingham's tavern under a bower, seats were constructed, a stand erected, and the oration delivered on a little flat under the creek bank, long since washed away.  Gen. Partridge was marshal.

Hume postoffice was established in 1826, with Chauncey G. Ingham postmaster, who held office over 15 years.  The first mail contained but one article, a letter.  The receipts for the first few years averaged about $10 per annum.  Soon after 1826 the Holland Company appropriated $1,200 for roads and bridges in Hume, the work to be done under the direction of Judge Dole and Mr. Ingham. This was for the main or stage road from Angelica to Batavia, which ran through by Absalom Ayers’ over the old “gulf road” route, striking the river near Geo. P. Leet's in Caneadea.  Down the river from Leet's no road had been opened.  Samuel Mills, son of Gen. Mills of Mt. Morris, was the first lawyer (about 1840).  He remained but a short time.

Wolves were very plenty around Cold Creek, and were loth to leave for some years after the first settlement.  One of the settlers, who lived about where H. C. Brown 's house stands, one dark night heard a noise under his window, which he raised, and thrusting out an arm, he seized a wolf by the leg.

Source: 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, pp. 743-744]

1 Mrs. C. T. Kendall
2 R. D. Kendall
3 J. S. Minard
4 Van Dresser's Shop
5 Stewart's Store
6 Miss E. E. D'Autremont
7 D. W. Sweet's Hotel
8 Universalist Church
9 Mrs. M. M. Sharp
10 W. H. Guild's Store
11 M. W. Skiff
12 Marvin & McElwain's Store
13 A. A. Yager, P.O.
14 G. S. Hopper's Store
15 J. S. Minard's Store
16 S. L. Doud's store
17 J. M. Paul's Mill
18 Rice's Hall
19 G. G. Hopkins
20 S. L. Doud
21 H. C. Brown
22 H. C. Brown & Co.'s Shop
23 Harding's Law Office
24 Ingham Hotel
25 George Meach
26 L. Butterfield
26 E. E. Harding
28 Dr. C. M. Stewart
29 J. Smith
30 F. E. Mix
31 John Paul
32 Baptist Church
33 N. P. Baker
34 Mrs. C. Ingham
35 W. S. Seaver
36 J. S. Isted
37 School House
38 H. E. Coy
39 W. Lane
40 Dr. Lyman
41 H. S. Isted
42 Baptist Parsonage
43 Mrs. M.P. Hamlin
44 Misses Utley
45 Dr. D. Seaver
46 J. Nye
47 A. Beardslee
48 E. A. Hammond
49 G. R. McElwain
50 R. B. Mills
51 J. P. Manchester
52 M. E. Church
53 F. Heath
54 N. M. Wells, Jr.
55 G. W. Marvin
56 H. H. Relya

Hume, New York

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Last updated on July 19, 2006
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