In 1806, Allegany County was created from lands that previously had been part of both Steuben and Genesee Counties. Within a year of the County’s formation, Clark Crandall and Nathan and Edward Greene walked into the area from the hills of Rensselaer County three hundred miles east. They and those who followed came from families who called themselves Seventh Day Baptists, some of whose ancestors had branched off from Roger Williams’ Baptist Church in Newport, Rhode Island.
They had developed a distinctive faith, unique for their keeping of the traditional Jewish Sabbath, the seventh day of the week (Saturday). Some of the members of this loose federation of autonomous churches had descended from members of the Millyard Sabbatarian Baptist Church in London, England, while many others joined the churches that sprang up as members moved west.
These and later settlers came with strong commitments to church life and education, and were accustomed to hard, honest labor. They began building homes near the junction of two valleys that are still rich in geological variety, where a prehistoric lake had once been blocked at its northern extremity by a glacier and its debris. This combination seems to have forecast the kinds of industries and educational pursuits which developed in the community.
The settlement at the junction of the two valleys took its first name from an early inhabitant, and is still known to many as Baker’s Bridge. But as settlement expanded up the two valleys, business and residential changes resulted in the choice of the name of Alfred for the Baker’s Bridge settlement. The development of the railroad through the eastern valley caused another name change, so that area became known as Alfred Station. Those who settled further up the Canacadea Creek, to the west, later chose the name Alfred Center for their home, but it is now known simply as the Village of Alfred. Both remained within Alfred township.
If you would like more information, you can contact the Baker’s Bridge Historical Association at P.O. Box 13, Alfred Station, NY 14803 or at www.bakersbridge.org