History

 


‘Wellsburg truly belongs on map’

A letter to the editor written by Miss Marian Burt of Wellsburg, N.Y.

          Your map of “points of interest” in Chemung County (in the Newcomers Guide) was good but one of the most important communities in Chemung County was ignored.  That was Wellsburg and the Town of Ashland.
The Town of Ashland was formerly a part of Elmira, the Town of Southport and Chemung but, as the people of this community had to travel a great distance to vote, a resident of Wellsburg, R. E. Lockwood, secured a petition of the people and presented it to Assemblyman George W. Buck of Chemung, who had it formally acted upon.  It became a town April 25, 1867.
As a result of this petition, the people wanted to name the town after Mr. Lockwood but he asked them to name it “Ashland,” the Kentucky home of Henry Clay of whom he was a great admirer.
In the vicinity was the scene of the battle of Gen. Sullivan with the Indians August 29, 1779.  A monument on the centennial anniversary was dedicated on what was then known as Monument Hill, or in other words Sullivan’s Monument.
From this spot can be seen the Village Of Wellsburg, where a log home built by Green Bentley in 1788 was the first habitation of a white man in the town.
In 1790 came the Wells family after whom Wellsburg is named.  Henry Wells was sheriff of Chemung County in 1819 and later became it’s judge.
The first church west of the Hudson River was located in Wellsburg and was founded September 2, 1789.  This historic church was destroyed by fire on March 12,1965, but due to it’s historic value, many civic minded people set to work to restore the church.  Mrs. Howard C. Carpenter of Horseheads accepted the chairmanship to raise funds to rebuild it.  Congressman Howard W. Robinson, Sen. William T. Smith and Assemblyman L. Richard Marshall were made honorary chairmen Harry B. Kelsey agreed to be historian and Ralph Tanner assumed the chairmanship of the construction.  With the aid of these fine people, the church was restored and dedicated Sept. 7, 1969.
In Wellsburg were many of the first industries such as four dry goods stores, three grocery stores, grist mill, drug store, saw mill, planing factory, hotels, meat markets, harness shop, wagon shops, creamery, tannery and two telegraph offices.  Also a post office dated Dec. 29, 1824.
The first white child born in the town was Eunice Kesey, born March 18, 1789.
Don’t you think Welslburg should truly be a point of interest on the map?  The bodies of the arly settlers lie buried aroudn the old Baptist Church and I know they cried out at the making of your map.  Wellsburg is a friendly place, with three churches, an A-No. 1 fire company and other industries with many lovely homes.  Even though a few might have been affected by the flood, with the help of our officials and the pioneer spirit of these people, flood conditions are being overcome and Wellsburg will not be in the new for floods again.

The Village of Wellsburg would like to send a thanks to Miss Marion Burt for making everyone remember our little town!!

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