The following is a brief overview of the origins of the Town of Hume and the settlement of Mills Mills. Information for this article was taken from the following sources:
Allegany and It's People A Centennial Memorial History 1795-1895 by John S. Minard
History of Allegany County New York with Illustrations 1806-1879 by W. E. Morrison & Co.
Bill Farrell of Syracuse University
Hume, one of the northern tier towns of Allegany County, is bounded north by Wyoming & Livingston Counties, east by Granger, south by Caneadea and west by Centerville. John S. Minard, a former Town of Hume and Allegany County Historian, believed Hume was named after an English Historian named Hume. This is not the belief of Bill Farrell of Syracuse University. Farrell says the Town of Hume was named after David Hume a Scottish philosopher and historian, who lived in the 1700's. Hume was originally part of the territory known as the Town of Angelica. Nunda was split from that territory on March 11, 1808 and then further reduced to the Town of Pike on March 3, 1818. Township 6, Range 1 of the Holland Land Grant officially became the Town of Hume on March 20, 1822. "Brooks Gore" (Dutch Hill) was later added in 1846. In the spring of 1806 at the age of 60 years, Roger Mills of Canajoharie, Montgomery County came here in search of a mill site. He traveled from Pike where he had spent the winter. There he hired a man named Olin for $1.00 to lead him on his quest for land that would be of good use. Olin lead him through the Wiscoy Valley to the "upper falls" in Wiscoy Creek and there is where Roger Mills found the best location for water power. Mills left for Batavia to acquire the lots of land # 36 & 37 and upon his return he built a log cabin. The following year a dam was built across the creek and a sawmill was erected. In the winter of 1807 castings and stones were brought from Albany by sleigh by George Mills and Zach Keys. The following year a gristmill was added, the first in the area. Men came from as far away as Geneseo (40 miles) and were also assisted by the Indians from the nearby Caneadea Reservation, to help in the "raising" of the mill. The mill was primitively constructed, its gearing, cog-wheels, etc. made mostly of wood. The development of the gristmill was important since it was used to grind the first crops of the early settlers. People came from as far away as Great Valley (40 miles) with their grist on a drag drawn by a yoke of oxen. The Indians also took advantage of the "modern" convenience and gave up their mortar and pestle. "Teseona" is the name which the Indians gave the gristmill and "Kanisteoni" for the sawmill which they didn't patronize, too much labor was needed to cut and draw the logs to the sawmill. In 1809 Elisha Mills sold the first stock of goods from the mill. Part of the mill was also used for housing and it is said that Goodwin Mills was born there. The mill was also used as a make shift "hotel", for people who had traveled a great distance. They were given a meal provided by the miller and the use of a sack or bag of grain for bedding. The mill served as the distribution center of mail brought from the nearest Post Office. The mill served many uses for the early settlers of this area which became known as Mills Mills. And so the growth of the Town of Hume began.......
*Note from the historian: how the Town of Hume was named has been in question by several individuals since the first publication of this website. Recently it was brought to the attention of this department how Hume was named.
The following is taken from Hume Pioneer Sketches, written by John S. Minard, published in the Northern Allegany Observer office 1888-9 Fillmore, N.Y.
Hume was named at the instance of Benjamin or Joshua Skiff, or both of them. A meeting was called for that and other purposes. Some proposed one name, some another. I believe the name Doud, after one of our pioneer families, was suggested by some.
Mr. Benj.Skiff was at that time reading Hume's histories, and was much of an admirer of his works. So also was his brother Joshua, and hence the suggestion of the name. Its brevity, and the ease with which it is written and spoken, also commended it to others.
It is the hope of this historian that the matter of "how Hume got its name" is resolved. John S. Minard was born January 31, 1834 he left this world in January 1920. Mr. Minard was not only our town's historian he was also Allegany County Hisorian. It is the belief of this histoiran he was undoubtedly the most knowledged person of the history of, not only, the Town of Hume but Allegany County as well. He lived it, and who better to write the history than John Sterns Minard.
Grist & Saw Mill at Mills Mills,
Mr. Rood in foreground, circa 1850.