Village Of Angelica

21 Peacock Hill Road


When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Allegany County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770 by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont. On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York. In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery County in honor of the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor. Ontario County was split off from Montgomery County in 1789. In turn, Genesee County was split off from Ontario County in 1802. Allegany County was formed in 1806, split off from Genesee County. From 1812 to 1816, Cattaraugus County was incorporated into Allegany. From 1814 to 1817, some of the county records of Cattaraugus County were kept in Belmont. The southern part of the county lies within the oil field where petroleum was first discovered in the USA, at Titusville, Pennsylvania. Names such as Wellsville and Petrolia (as well as Olean in neighboring Cattaraugus County) indicate areas where oil was formerly extracted. Oil has played out, but natural gas is still an important Allegany County resource.

The town was first settled around 1802 at Angelica Village. The Town of Angelica was incorporated in 1805. Angelica is the oldest town in Allegany County and was formed from the Town of Leicester in Livingston County, New York before Allegany County was formed. English pioneer Capt. Philip Church, a nephew of Alexander Hamilton, chose this site for the Town and named it in honor of his mother Angelica Church, and daughter of Gen. Philip Schuyler. . Everett Van Wickle laid out the Village at the direction of Philip Church as an example of solid planning the central circle held a park with the County Building and Jail and various churches and a school. The Everett Van Wickle house still stands today and is the oldest and first frame house west of Bath, NY. All streets sprang from this circle in the early days. The original plan is still in obvious evidence today. Philip Church built his mansion about 2 miles southwest of Angelica Village looking over the Genesee River. It endures to this day and is visible from CR Route 20 when the leaves are off. The house is privately owned and is rarely open to the public.

During the 1800's paper mills, grist mills and wool mills a brick yard, wagon and machine shops, and dairy production prospered. Initially the County seat of Allegany County was in Angelica. This lasted from 1807 to 1860. For a few years this honor was shared between Belmont and Angelica and then the County seat was officially made Belmont. Churches were developed early on with Presbyterian in 1812, Episcopal and Methodist in 1827, Baptist in 1834 and the Catholic Church in 1844. The Catholic Church is the oldest standing of these today followed by the Episcopal. The Presbyterian Church stopped being used for worship and was used by the Angelica Grange for many years. It is now owned by the Town and will one day be used as a community center.

By 1830 the Town population had grown to 998. The Village of Angelica was incoporated in 1835 is within the Town of Angelica. With the advent of the Railroad the Town found that the Erie-Lackawanna was in neighboring Amity running through Belmont then to Belvidere on the southwestern part of the Town. In 1884 the Lackawana & Pittsburg, which became the Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern RR railroad in the early 1900's began development to haul passengers, freight, mail and coal to Angelica and beyond to the northeast. Rail yards were constructed on the eastern part of the Village. Present day Railroad Avenue follows the route of the rail line that was abandoned March 31st 1947. The depot remains and is under renovation as part of the Angelica Bakery works.

The first school was taught by Widow Smith in 1804 and the Angelica Academy School opened in 1856. This was followed by the Wilsonian Academy located on the Park Circle. Part of this building still stands. It was replaced by Angelica Central School about 1955. In 1995 the Angelica Central School was joined with Belmont Central School to form Genesee Valley Central School. The 1955 building was abandoned by the newly formed Genesee Valley Central School in 2002 when they moved the school functions to just north of Belmont.The 1955 school building survives today and is used by the Centerpoint Christian Academy. The first library was established in 1827 on West Main Street. In about 1905 a fine new building was created due to a local benefactor and this is located at the corner of West Main Street and Center Street.

The Park Circle has a Roque Court. Roque is an American variant of Croquet (the name was derived by removing the first and last letters). Roque was an event at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, United States. The American Roque League was founded in 1916. A tournament is played during Heritage Days in August of each year.