TOWN OF ALDEN
Alden is situated on the eastern border of the county, north of the center, with Newstead on the north, Genesee county on the east, Manila on the south, and Lancaster on the west. Its territory is mostly within township 11, range 5, of the Holland Company’s survey, contains almost thirty.five square miles, or 20,833 acres. The surface in. the north and west parts is nearly level; in the remainder it is gently undulating. Eleven-mile (or Ellicott) Creek flows northwesterly across the town, and Cayuga Creek flows a little north of west across the southwest part. The soil is deep, fertile loam, mixed with sand, gravel or clay.
The town was first settled by Moses Fenno in 1810, who located in the spring, and was followed in the same year by Joseph Freeman, William Snow, John Estabrook and Arunah Hibbard, each of whom built a log house near the site of Alden village. Settlers in 1811—12 were Samuel Slade, James Crocker, Samuel Huntington, Jonas Stickney, Nathaniel Estabrook, Saxton Bailey, William Humphrey, Nathan Willis, John Webster, and a Mr. Bunce and Mr. Cransaky. Willis and Webster both built mills on Cayuga Creek and were prominent citizens. Seth Butterfield settled in 1812 where J. L. Butterfield now lives. During the war of 1812 many settlers left the town, but returned in the spring of 1814, and in that year John C. Rogers built the first saw mill in the town on Ellicott Creek at the site of Alden Center.
The first school was taught in a log house in Alden village in 1815, by Mehitable Estabrook; in the same year Amos Bliss began keeping tavern in his house half a mile east of the village site. In 1816 or 1817 John C. Rogers built a grist mill near his saw mill, and about that time Seth Estabrook brought in some goods and began trade a little east of the village site, where Joshua Hendee had settled. The store and the tavern were both soon closed. Between 1816 and 1820 Homer Hendee, Amos Herrick, Moses Case, Jonas Van Wey, A. C. Burdick, Stephen Church, and possibly a few others located in the town. In 1822 Thomas Farnsworth settled in the town, and about the same time Dr. John M. Harrington began practice; John Bryant opened a store half a mile east of the village. From that date forward the town rapidly filled up with an energetic and generally prosperous class of men. Between 1830 and 1845 a large number of Germans tobk up residence in the town and have materially contributed to its growth. In 1843 the Buffalo & Attica Railroad was constructed through the town, and in 1853 the Buffalo & Rochester Railroad Company built a line which became part of the New York Central. In 1883 the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Company completed their road across the town between the other two lines, giving the inhabitants ample facilities for reaching the markets.
This village is situated southeast of the center of the town on what is now the Erie Railroad. The post-office was established in 1823, from which date the place began to assume the character of a village. Joseph Freeman was the first postmaster; among other postmasters were Harvey Litchfield, Samuel M. Butler, Spencer Stone, Horace Stanley, R. N. Butler, Elisha Saunders, E. T. Cross, C. N. Fulton, William E. Saunders, Fred Thatcher, Jerome J. Stickney, Lester P. Stickney, William C. Tucker, Brace G. Eddy, George A. Webb, Freeman P. Wheeler, incumbent.
The early growth of the village was slow. Thomas Farnsworth built a tannery in 1822 half a mile to the north. Calvin Bishop and John Bryant, Horace Stanley, Litchfield & Barstow, a Mr. Severance, and Samuel M. Butler, were in mercantile trade in past years. Elisha Saunders opened a store before the last war and continued to about 1877. L. P. & J. J. Stickney began trade in 1870 and continued together or separate many years. Wasburn Parker had an early tavern a little west of the village. The hotel of Thomas Farnsworth was the first permanent public house; it continued until 1869 when it was burned. A house built in 1844 was subsequently used as a hotel, and was burned in 1894. Another was built in 1851 by Grove C. Gage; John A. Ferner took the house in 1883. The house called Martin’s hotel was built in 1871 by Horace King, who was succeeded by George P. Patterson.
The Oddaographic, a newspaper, was started November 1, 1875, by E. C. Dodge, but lived only a few months. The Industrial Union was started at Manila April 1, 1892, by Benjamin H. and Evan H. Morey, and in April, 1893, it was removed to Alden village. In 1894 its name was changed to the Alden Union; the paper is still published by the men above named.
In 1854 William C. Leonard and others interested in education built a large frame building and established a seminary; it continued a fairly prosperous existence several years. The present Alden Union High School was conducted as a graded school several years; it passed under the Regents in 1897. The school has three departments. J. P. Abbott has been principal since 1895.
Alden village has now 2 general stores, 2 hardware stores, 3 hotels, 1 newspaper, 1 harness shop, 2 blacksmiths, 1 feed store, 1 furniture store, 1 grist miii, 4 physicians, 1 wagonmaker, 2 markets, 1 tannery and 3 churches.
On the 7th day of May, 1869, the village was incorporated, with G. F. Vandervoort, E. W. Hendee, D. C. Skeels, J. B. Pride and A. D. Farnsworth, trustees. A reincorporation was effected in 1891, since which time considerable street improvements have been made. A fire department was organized in 1894, and a firemen’s hail built in the same year. A hand engine and hook and ladder truck are owned.
The Spring Creek cheese factory began operations in 1880 under ownership of Benjamin Gifford. The building was burned and rebuilt by him and he still operates the factory.
The Alden Natural Gas Company, was organized in 1892, and two wells were bored in the village and two outside; the village is now lighted by natural gas.