Gazetteer of Towns


    PHARSALIA was formed from Norwich, as Stonington, April 7, 1806. It was named from Stonington, Connecticut, from which place the early settlers came. Its name was changed April 6, 1808. It is an interior town, lying north-west of the center of the County. Its surface is a rolling and hilly upland, and forms a part of the water-shed between the Chenango and Otselic Rivers. The latter stream flows through the extreme north-western corner. Canasawacta, Genegantslet and Brakel Creeks take their rise near the center of the town. The soil is a shaly loam.

    Pharsalia, (p. v.) situated in the west part of the town, contains a hotel, several shops and about a dozen dwellings.

    East Pharsalia, (p. v.) in the south-east part, contains two churches, a hotel, several mills and about fifteen dwellings.

    North Pharsalia (p. o.) is a hamlet.

    The first settlement was made in 1797, by John Randall, from Stonington, Conn., on lot 48. Joseph Breed located on lot 49, Sanford Morgan on lot 36, John Weaver on lot 28, Daniel Denison on lot 70, Lodowick Weaver on lot 32, Joshua Weaver and David Davis on lot 69. All of these were from Connecticut. Mr. Charles Randall, now residing in Norwich, son of John Randall, the first settler of this town, informed the writer that he was eighteen years old when he removed to this town, in May, 1798. His father came the fall previous and erected a log cabin to which he removed his family in the spring. Mr. Charles Randall drove an ox team from Stonington, Conn., and was twenty-one days on the road. He started with two yoke, and at Hartford made an addition of one yoke to his team, with which he completed the journey, crossing the Hudson at Catskill. In 1799 C. Randall went to Norwich and purchased the first load of boards ever used in Pharsalia. After starting for home he purchased a hog which had just been butchered, and placing it upon his load started for home. He stopped in Plymouth over night, leaving the load outside. Soon the wolves began to gather around, reminding the owner of the pork that he must secure that immediately if he did not wish to have it feed the hungry denizens of the forest. They congregated in great numbers, and being disappointed of their expected feast, fell to fighting each other and made night hideous with their howls. The next morning the ground showed how bloody and fierce a battle had raged.

    John Randall erected the first framed house in Pharsalia; Sanford Morgan kept the first store and tavern, on lot 36, and Asa Weaver erected the first mill on lot 27, on Canasawacta Creek. The first birth was that of Denison R. Weaver; the first marriage that of Jabish Brown and Ketura Brown, and the first death that of Mrs. Nehemiah Lewis. Aruna Wait taught the first school. The first Congregational Church of Pharsalia was organized Oct. 25, 1814, by Rev. Oliver Hitchcock, of Truxton, and Rev. Abner Benedict, of Paris, with ten members, five of whom were males and five were females. Rev. John Peck was the first settled minister.

    The population of Pharsalia in 1865 was 1,112, and its area 24,024 acres.

    The number of school districts is eleven; the number of children of school age, 324; the average attendance, 150, and the amount expended for school purposes during the last year was $2,131.89.


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