Gazetteer of Towns


    PRESTON was formed from Norwich, April 2, 1806. It includes most of township 14, of the Twenty Towns. McDonough was taken off in 1816, and a part of Norwich in 1808. A part of Norwich was reannexed in 1820. It is the central town of the County. The surface is a high rolling upland, divided into two distinct ridges. The hills rise to the hight [sic] of 200 to 800 feet above the Chenango Valley at Norwich. The principal streams are Fly-Meadow Creek, Mill Brook and Turner Brook, flowing south into the Chenango River. The soil is a gravelly and slaty loam, in many places stony and hard to cultivate. It is generally well adapted to grazing and dairying.

    Preston, (p. v.) situated in the north part, contains three churches, viz., Baptist, Methodist and Universalist; a school house, a tannery, a blacksmith shop, a shoe shop, twenty dwellings and about 100 inhabitants.

    The first settlement was made on Fly-Meadow Creek, in 1787, by James Glover. David Fairchild and his sons, John and Amos, settled at Preston Corners in 1795; Randall Billings and Silas Champlain, from Connecticut, at Preston Center, in 1796. Jonas Marsh came in from Massachusetts in 1799, and Col. Gurdon and Dudley Hewitt the same year. Among the other early settlers were Samuel and Clark Lewis, Rev. Hazard Burdick, David Eccleston, William Packer, Abraham Avery, Wm. Walsworth and others, who settled in various parts of the town.

    The first birth was that of Fanny Billings, July 16, 1796; the first marriage was that of Captain Lyon and widow Crandall, in 1798; and the first death that of an infant child of George Crary. The first school was taught by William McAlpine, who surveyed the Livingston Tract in 1798, and subsequently the Morris Tract. Jonas Marsh kept the first inn, in 1800, and James Glover the first store and erected the first grist mill, in 1788-9. The first church (Bap.) was formed in 1806, by Elder Haskall, the first preacher.

    The population of Preston in 1865 was 982, and its area 20,922 acres.

    The number of school districts is eight; number of children of school age, 200; number attending school, 186; average attendance, 90, and the amount expended for school purposes for the year ending September 30, 1868, was $1,322.64.


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