Overview of
Towns from
French's Gazetteer

In French's Gazeetter on pages 250-256, there are overviews of each town written during the 1858-60 time frame. I have reproduced those excerpts here. I also plan to add the footnotes, except for the fact that I will reformat them, change the numbering scheme and place them immediately after the town they applied to, instead of at the end of the page. The footnote number will include a 2 digit code to identify the township.



CINCINNATUS–was formed from Solon, April 3, 1804. It embraced the township of Cincinnatus, or No. 25 of the military tract, a name applied by the Land Commissioners upon its first survey. The present town is one-fourth of its original size,–having been reduced by the erection of Freetown, Willett, and Marathon, in 1818. It lies upon the eastern border of the county, S. of the center. Its surface consists of the narrow valley of the Otselic River and of the high ridges which rise upon each side. Deep ravines, forming the valleys of small tributaries to the river, extend laterally far into the highlands, dividing nearly the whole surface of the town into steep ridges of hills. The soil is generally a gravelly loam, and best adapted to grazing. Cincinnatus (p. v.) contains about 290 inhabitants, and Lower Cincinnatus 150. The former contains 3 churchesCI1 and an academy.CI2 The first settlers were Ezra and Thos. Rockwell, from Lenox, Mass., who located upon lot 19; and Dr. John McWhorter, from Salem, N.Y., on lot 29, in 1795.CI3 The first church (Presb.) was formed by a union of the people of Cincinnatus, Solon, Taylor, and Pitcher, Chenango Co.


CI1 Cong, Bap., Meth.

CI2 Cincinnatus Academy was chartered by the regents, April 21, 1857.

CI3 Eb'r Crittenden, from Barrington, Mass., removed to the present town of Willett in 1793, and to the present limits of this town in 1797. The first child born was Sally Rockwell, the first marriage that of Dr. McWhorter to Katy Young, and the first death that of Daniel Hartshorn, -- all in 1796. Mrs. H. Beebe taught the first school in 1797; Col John Kingman, the first inn; Elijah Bliss, the first store; and Eph'm Fish built the first mill, in 1814.


CORTLANDVILLE –was formed from Homer, April 11, 1829, and embraces the southern half of the original township of Homer, and a small portion of the N. E. corner of Virgil. The name was applied to the town from its being the county seat of Cortland county. It is situated at the junction of the eastern and western branches of the Tioughnioga River, and extends from the central portion of the county to the extreme western border. The surface of much of the town is level; but the eastern and southern parts are hilly. From an eminence just W. of Cortland Village can be seen 7 distinct valleys, separated by ranges of hills radiating in different directions. The ridges are 200 to 400 feet above the valleys; and the southern part of the town is a broken upland region, the hills being arable to their summits. The tributaries of the Tioughnioga in this town are Trout Brook from the E. and Dry and Otter Brooks from the W. A small part of the western portion of the town is drained by streams flowing westward into Cayuga Lake. In the S. W. part of the town are three small ponds, fed by springs, and furnishing an almost unlimited supply of marl, from which an excellent quality of lime is manufactured.CO1 The soil is generally a sandy or gravelly loam. Cortland VillageCO2 (p.v.) is finely situated upon the Tioughnioga, near the center of the town. It contains an academy,CO3 5 churches, 3 hotels, and a population of 1,576. McGrawville (p.v.) is situated upon Trout Brook, 4¼ mi. E. of Cortland Village. It contains 3 churches and several manufacturing establishments, and is the seat of the N.Y. Central College.CO4 Pop. 558. South Cortland, (p.v.,) in the S. W. part of the town, contains 161 inhabitants. Blodgets Mills is a p.o. The first settlers of this town were Jonathan Hubbard and Col. Moses Hopkins,–the former upon the lot where Cortland Village now stands, and the latter upon lot 94.CO5 The census reports 9 churches in town.CO6


CO1 Crandall's Pond covers an area of 15 acres; Swains, 6, and Chatterdons, 4. The marl is generally of an ash color when first taken out, but the vegatable matter which it contains whitens upon exposure to the air. When partially dried, it is moulded into the form of bricks, and those are thorougly dried and burned. The greatest known thickness of these deposits of marl is about 20 feet. - grol. Third Dist., p. 291

CO2 Incorp.

CO3 The Cortlandville Academy, incorp Jan 13, 1843.

CO4 The institution was incorp. in 1850. It was originally started as a manual labor school, and is open to all, without distinction of color or sex.

CO5 In 1795, Thos. Wilcox, from Whitestown, located upon lot ....Reuben Doud, from New Haven, Jas. and John Morse and Joseph Lee, upon lot 75. In 1796, Aaron Knapp located near Cortland Village, ---- Hotchkiss upon lot 73 and Saml. Inglis and son of lot 75. In 1800, Wilmot Sperry (from Woodbridge, xxxx) settled on lot 73; and a few settlers came yearly until ....., when the growth became more rapid. The first schoolhouse stood on the present site of the Eagle Hotel. The first xxx was kept by Saml. Inglis, in 1810.

CO6 2 Bap, 2 M.E., 2 Presb., Christian, Ref. Presb., and Univ.


FREETOWN –was formed from Cincinnatus, April 21, 1818, and embraces the N. W. quarter of that township. Lot 20 of Virgil was annexed in 1850. It is situated upon the ridge between the Otselic and Tioughnioga Rivers, S. E. of the center of the county. It is high and hilly, and its surface is much broken by the narrow ravines of the watercourses which flow N. and S. A considerable part of the more hilly portions is yet covered with the original forests. Its soil is a sandy and gravelly loam, and is best adapted to pasturage. Freetown Corners (p.v.) has 2 churches and about 100 inhabitants. Robert Smith, a soldier of the Revolution, drew lot 2, and, accompanied by his son-in-law, Ensign Rice, took possession of it in 1795.FR1 The first church (Bap.) was organized in 1810, by Elder Caleb Shepard, of Lisle, who was the first preacher.FR2


FR1 About 10 years after, Smith and Rice sold their improvements to Saml. G. Hathaway and Saml. Jennings; and about the same Caleb Shepard and David H. Monro, from Washington Co., settled on lot 22. In 1806, Remembrance Curtiss settled on Lot 12; and Remembrance Curtiss settled on Lot 12; and Curtis and Chas. Richardson, from Saratoga Co., on Lot 32. Henry Gardner, Wm. Tuthill, Jacob Hicks, Gideon Chapin, Simeon Doty, John Backus, and Amos Eaton, were among the other early settlers. The first marriage was that of Robert Smith, Jr with Amity Smith. The first school teacher was Don A. Robertson. The first store was kept by Peter McVean, at "The Corners." The first permanent merchant was Walton Sweetland, still a resident of the town.

FR2 The census reports 3 churches: 1 Bapt., 2 M.E.


HARFORD –was formed from Virgil,HA1 May 2, 1845, and it embraces the S. W. quarter of that township. It is the S. W. corner town in the county. Its surface consists of a high, broken upland, 500 to 700 feet above the valleys and 1500 to 1700 feet above tide. The Owego Hills, in the southern part, are the most elevated portions. The declivities are usually steep, and often rocky, and the summits are crowned with forests. One half of the town is yet a wilderness. The streams are mere brooks. The soil is a moderately productive sandy and gravelly loam, best adapted to pasturage. Harford (p.v.) contains 30 houses, and South Harford 20. The first settler was Dorastus De Wolf, in 1803.HA2 Religious meetings were held as early as 1804; but the first church (Bap.) was not organized till 1815.HA3


HA1 The P.O. of "Worthington" was establisted in this part of Virgil in 1825 or '26. Its name was changed to Harford about 10 years after. From this the town derives its name.

HA2 Among the other first settlers were Thos. Nichols, in 1804, John Green, in 1805, Eben Burgess, ----- Barns, Gordon Burlingame, Nathan Heaton, Theodore E. Hart, and Lewis Moore. Theodore E. Hart kept the first store, in 1824. The first birth was that of Dr. Chas. Barns. The first marriage, that of Obed Graves and Alice Munroe; and the first death, that of Dorastus DeWolf. Betsey Carver taught the first school, in 1806. Lewis Moore kept the first inn; and Nathan Heaton built the first grist mill, in 1814.

HA3 The census reports 3 churches; Christian, Cong., and Union.


HOMER –was formed March 5, 1794. Solon was taken off in 1798, Virgil in 1804, and Cortlandville in 1829. It lies upon the W. border of the county, N. of the center. Its surface is quite uneven, consisting of the valleys of the two branches of the Tioughnioga River and the ridges which border upon them. The valley of the western branch is over a mile wide, and elevated 1,096 feet above tide. The eastern valley is narrower. A ridge of hills. 200 to 500 feet above the river, separates the two valleys; and a similar ridge occupies the S. E. corner of the town. The western part is a hilly upland, 1500 to 1600 feet above tide. The principal branches of the Tioughnioga are Cold and Factory Brooks, from the W. The valleys of these streams open northward into corresponding valleys, through which flow streams emptying into Otisco and Skaneateles Lakes. The soil upon the river intervales is a deep, rich alluvial and dark loam, well adapted to tillage; among the hills, it is a sandy or gravelly loam, better for pasturage. HomerHO1(p.v.) is finely situated on the Tioughnioga, 3 mi. N. of Cortland Village. It contains 6 churches, a printing office, and several manufacturing establishments, including the only cotton factory in the county. It is the seat of Cortland Academy,HO2 an old and very flourishing institution. Pop. 1625. East Homer (p.v.) contains 25 houses, and Little York (p.v.) 15. Spencer Beebe and his brother-in-law, Amos Todd, were the first settlers of this town, and of Cortland county, in 1791.HO3 The first religious meetings were held in 1793, when there were but 6 families in town; and all attended. The first church (Cong.) was founded in 1801, chiefly through the influence of Mrs. Hobart, wife of Lieut. Hobart. HO4


HO1 Incorp. May 11, 1835.

HO2 Incorp. February 2, 1819. This institution, from its commencement, has uniformly borne a high reputation. Samuel B. Woolworth, LL.D., present Secretary of the Regents of the University, was at the head of this institution for nearly 22 years. At a jubilee celebration, held July 7 and 8, 1846, it was stated that 4000 students had been connected with the academy. The whole number up to 1859 was over 8,000.

HO3 They came in the fall, and erected a temporary dwelling, a little N. of Homer Village, near the bridge, and returned in the winter for their goods, leaving Mrs. Beebe the sole occupant of the house, and the only representative of civilization with a circuit of 30 mines. They were prevented from returning for 6 weeks by the deep snows; and during the whole of that period the lone woman remained in anxious doubt as to the fate of her husband and brother. Mr. Todd located on lot 42, "West Hill." Among the other early settlers were John House, John Miller, Jas. Matthews, Jas. Moore, Silas and Danl. Miller, (from Binghamton,) in 1792; Darius Kinney, (From Brimfield, Mass.,) in 1793; Roderick Owen, (from Lebanon, N.Y.,) Jonathan Hubbard, and Moses Hopkins, in 1794; Thos. Wilcox, (from Whitestown,) Zebulon Keene, and John Stone, (from Brimfield,) John Keep, Solomon and John Hubbard, and Asa White, in 1795. The first male child born was Homer Moor, and the first femal Betsey House; the first death, that of Mrs. Gould Alvord. The first marraige was that of Zadoc Strong and Wid. Russell, who were obliged to go through the forests to Ludlowville, Tompkins Co., on horseback, to have the ceremony performed. The first schoolhouse was built a little N. of Homer Village in 1798. The first teacher was Joshua Ballard. Enos Stimson Kept the first inn, and A. M. Coats the first store. The first permanent and successful Merchant was Jedediah Barber. John Keep, Solomon Hubbard, and Asa White built the first grist mill in 1798, on the present site of that of Cogswell and Wilcox. The old mill for some time was used as church, public hall, and ball room.

HO4 The first sermon was preached by Rev. Mr. Hillard, of N.J. He was assisting at a raising; and, when it became known that a minister was present, a sermon was clamorously called for and was delivered on the spot. The census reports 6 churches in town; Cong. Bap., M.E., Prot. E., and Univ. at Homer, and M.E. at East Homer.


LAPEER –was formed Virgil, May 2, 1845, and embraces the S. E. quarter of that township. It lies upon the high ridges W. of the Tioughnioga River, on the S. border of the county, W. of the center. The declivities of the hills bordering upon the river are precipitous. “Luce Hill,” in the north western part of the town, is the highest point, and is 1,600 to 1,700 feet above tide. The streams are all small brooks. Upon Fall Creek, near the S. border of the town, is a wild and beautiful cascade, 71 feet high, known as Hunts Falls. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam. Nearly one half of the town is still unsettled. Hunts Corners contains 10 houses. Lapeer (p.o.) is near the center of the town. There is no church edifice in town.LA1 The first settler was Phineas Grant, a colored man.LA2


LA1 Free Bap., Meth., and Christian denominations hold meetings in schoolhouses. The Free W. Bap. Society was formed by Elder Lake in 1820.

LA2 Among the other first settlers were Peter Gray, (on lot 70,), Robt. K. Wheeler, and Thomas Kingsley, who came in 1802; Seth Jennings and Timothy Roberts, in 1805, Zac'h Lynes, John R. Smith, Urial Sessions, Simeon Luce, Avery Hartshorn, and H.J. Richards. The first marriage was that of Simeon Luce and Rebecca Ayres, Oct 9, 1805; and the first death, that of Simeon Luce, in 1808. Ebenezer Luce taught the first school, in 1814; and Harvey Jennings built the first mill, in 1813.


MARATHON –was formed from Cincinnatus, April 21, 1818, as “Harrison,” embracing the S. W. quarter of the military township. Its name was changed in 1827. It lies upon the southern border of the county, E. of the center. Its surface is rugged and hilly, the ridges rising 500 to 700 feet above the valleys. The Tioughnioga flows through its western part, in a deep, narrow valley with precipitous sides. Hunt Creek in the N. W. and Merrill Creek in the E. part of the town also flow through deep and narrow valleys. The arable land lies principally along these valleys, the uplands being broken and only fit for pasturage. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam. MarathonMA1 (p.v.) contains 3 churches, the oldest of which is the Presb., organized Feb. 11, 1814.MA2 Pop. 500. Texas Valley is a p. o. in the N. E. corner. Dr. Japheth Hunt, a surgeon of the army, who served in both the French and Revolutionary Wars, settled on Lot 93, in 1794.MA3


MA1 About one mile s. of the village, on the E. bank of the river, is the site of an old Indian Village and burial ground. Tradition says that this was once the seat of a powerful tribe of Indians.

MA2 The census reports 4 churches; 2 Presb., Bap., and M.E.

MA3 Among the other pioneer settlers were John Hunt, in 1796; Abram Brink, (first innkeeper,) Barnabas Wood and Son, and Zachariah Squires, in 1802. The first child born was S.M. Hunt, a grandson of the first settler; the first marriage, that of Nicholas Brink and Polly Alfred; and the first death, that of the first settler, in March 1808, aged 97 years. Wm. Cowdrey taught the first school, in 1803. John Hunt built the first saw mill; and Weed and Waldo, James Burgess, and David Monroe were the early merchants. The first successful mercantile firm was that of Peck, Archer and Dickson, now of New York City.


PREBLE –named in honor of Commodore Edward Preble, was formed from Tully upon the organization of Cortland co., April 8, 1808, and embraced the southern half of the latter town. Scott was taken off in 1815. It lies upon the northern border of the county, W. of the center. Its surface consists of the valley of the western branch of the Tioughnioga River, which is here nearly 2 miles wide, and the ridges which rise on the E. and W. Mount, S. W of the village, is 1,700 feet above tide; Truxton Hills are the highest land in the county. The declivities of the hills are steep, and some of their summits sharp ridges. North of Mount Toppin a valley extends northward and opens into the valley of the Otisco Inlet. In the northern part of the town are several beautiful little lakes; and upon the southern borders are others of a similar character, known as the Little York Lakes. The soil is a fine quality of gravelly loam. Preble Corners (Preble p.o.) contains 200 inhabitants, and Baltimore 75. The first settlers were James and Robert Cravarth, John Gillett, and Elijah Mason, who came in 1798.PR1 The first church (Cong.) was formed through the efforts of Revs. Theodore Hinsdale and Joel Hall,missionaries from Conn. PR2 Rev. Matt. Harrison was the first pastor.


PR1 Among the other first settlers were Amos Skeel, Seth and Samuel Trowbridge, Richard Egbertson, Samuel Orvis, Jabez B. Phelps, Ed. Cummings, and Francis, Albert, and Garret Van Hoesen. The first child born was Nancy Gill; the first marriage, that of Amos Ball and Sally Mason; and the first death, that of John Patterson, a Revolutionary patriot, in 1799. Ruth Thorp taught the first school, in 1801; Davis and Taylor kept the first store, and Moses Nash the second; Samuel Trowbrige kept the first inn.

PR2 The census reports 2 churches; 1 Presb., 1 M.E.


SCOTT –was formed from Preble, April 14, 1815, and named in honor of Gen. Winfield Scott. It is the N. W. corner town of the county. Its surface is mostly upland, broken by two deep and narrow valleys which extend N. and S. through the town. The declivities of the hills are very steep, and in many places precipitous. Cold Brook flows through the eastern valley, and Factory Brook and Skaneateles Inlet through the western. Skaneateles Lake borders upon the N. W. corner. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam, and is best adapted to grazing. Scott Center (Scott p.o.) contains about 300 inhabitants. Scott Corners (East Scott p.o.) is a hamlet. Peleg and Solomon Babcock and Asa Howard (from Mass.) and George Dennison (from Vt.) located on lot 82 in 1799.SC1 The first church was a Seventh Day Baptist, organized in 1820, Wm. B. Maxson first pastor.SC2


SC1 Among the other first settlers were Cornish Messenger and Daniel Jakeway, (from De Ruyter,) Maxon Babcock, (from Mass.,) Gershom Richardson, Jared and John Babcock, Elisha Sabins, Henry and Jesse Burdick, Timothy Brown, and Nathl. Morgan. The first child born was Harriet Babcock; the first marriage, that of Solomon Babcock and Amy Morgan, and the first death, that of an infant daughter of Peleg Babcock. Amy Morgan taught the first school, in 1804; James Babcock kept the first inn, and Nathan Babcock the first store.

SC2 Besides this, there are in town 3 societies; Bap., M.E., and Presb.


SOLON –was formed from Homer, March 9, 1798, and embraced the townships of Solon and Cincinnatus. A portion was annexed to Truxton, April 4, 1811. Cincinnatus was taken off in 1804, and Taylor in 1849. It is an interior town, lying near the center of the county. The surface is mostly upland, broken by numerous narrow valleys of small brooks and creeks. The hills on the eastern border are 1400 to 1500 feet above tide. Many of the highest summits are too rough for cultivation, and are crowned with forests. Trout Brook flows in a westerly direction through near the center, forming a narrow but fertile valley. The soil is a gravelly loam, well adapted to grazing. Solon (p.v.) contains about 100 inhabitants. The first settlers were Johnson Bingham and Eddy Wildman, from Canterbury, Conn., who located, the former on lot 62, and the latter on lot 51, in 1796.SO1 The first church was formed in 1804, Rev. Josiah Butler the first preacher.SO2


SO1 Among the other first settlers were Benj. Beebe, Lewis Beebe, (first innkeeper,) Daniel Porter, Zerah Tinker, Jas. H. Wheeler, Elisha Johnson, Saml. G. Hathaway, Stephen N. Peck, and Noah Greeley, (first mill owner.) The first child born was a daughter of Johnson Bingham; the first marriage, that of Robert Smith and Amy Smith, and the first death, a daughter of Johnson Bingham. Roxana Beebe and Lydianna Steward taught the first school, in 1804; and B. Tubbs kept the first store.

SO2 The census reports 2 churches; 1 Bap. and 1 R.C.


TAYLOR –was formed from Solon, Dec. 5, 1849, and named in honor of Gen. Zachary Taylor. It lies near the center of the eastern border of the county. Its surface is mostly upland and is very broken and hilly. The declivities are generally precipitous, rising 600 to 800 feet above the valleys. Mount Rhoderick, lying partly in this town and partly in Solon, is the highest point. The streams are mere brooks, generally flowing in a southerly direction and discharging their waters into the Otselie. Solon Pond is a small sheet of water near the center of the town. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam. Taylorville, (Taylor p.o.,) or “Bangall,” contains 25 houses, and Union Valley (p.v.) 20.TA1 The first settlers were Zerah Beebe, a Revolutionary solider, Latus Beebe, his son, and John Tinker, his son-in-law, from Waterbury, Conn., in 1794. TA2


TA1 The census reports 5 churches; Bap., Cong., Wes. Meth., 2 M.E.

TA2 The first child born was Kezia Beebe; the first marraige, that of Asaph Butler and Lucy Beebe; and the first death, that of Zerah Beebe, in 1800, ----- Beers taught the first school, Orlando Beebe kept the first inn, Hurlbut and Gilbert the first store, and Ezra and Thos. Rockwell built the first saw mill, in 1816.


TRUXTONTR1 –named in honor of Commodore Thomas Truxton, was formed from Fabius, April 8, 1808, and embraced the S. half of the latter town. The N. 4 tiers of lots of Solon were annexed April 4, 1811. Cuyler was taken off in 1858. It is the N. E. corner town of the co. The surface consists of a broken upland divided into ridges, which have a general northerly and southerly direction. The east branch of the Tioughnioga River flows in a S. W. direction through the center of the town, cutting the ranges of hills diagonally. The Truxton Hills are the highest in the co. North of the river, nearly the whole surface is divided into sharp ridges with steep declivities, their summits being technically termed “hog backs.” Muncey Hill, in the S. E. part, the highest land in town, is a wild, broken region, poorly adapted to cultivation. On the N. border is a small lake known as Labrador Pond, noted for its wild and picturesque scenery. Upon a small brook, which flows into the outlet of this pond from the E., is a beautiful cascade, called Tinkers Falls. The soil is generally a sandy and gravelly loam. In amount of dairy products this town is one of the first in the State. Truxton (p.v.) contains 257 inhabitants, and Cuyler (p.v.) 112. Keeney Settlement is a hamlet on the N. line. There are in town a woolen, a sash and blind, and butter tub factory, and an extensive carriage shop. The first settlers were Saml. Benedict, Chris. Whitney, and Jonas Stiles, in 1795, who located on Lots 12, 93, and 2, respectively.TR2 The first church (Bap.) was formed in 1806, under Eld. Rufus Freeman. TR3


TR1 In Nov 1858, this town was divided into 2 nearly equal parts by a line extending N. and S.; and the E half now forms the down of CUYLER.

TR2 Among the other first settlers were Robt. Knight, (from Manmouth, N.J.,) Hugh Steward, (from Colerain, Mass.,) John Jeffrey and Enos Phelps, (from N.J.,) Billy Trowbridge and Dr. John Miller, (from Dutchess co.,) The last named was the first physician, and is still living. (1858,) aged 82. The first child born was a son of Samuel Benedict; and the first death was a child in the same family. A.W. Baker taught the first school, in 1799; Bowen Brewster keep the first inn, in 1801, and Stephen Hedges the first store.

TR3 The census returns 4 churches; 2 M.E., Bap., Presb.


VIRGIL –was formed from Homer, April 3, 1804. Harford and Lapeer were taken off in 1845. A small portion of its E. part has been annexed to Cortlandville and Freetown. It lies upon the W. border of the county, S. of the center. Its surface is a broken and hilly upland. The Owego Hills, in the S. W. part, are about 600 feet above the valleys and 1600 to 1700 feet above tide. The valleys are narrow, bordered by the steep declivities of the hills. Virgil Creek, flowing E., and Gridley Creek, flowing W., are the principal streams. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam, and is best adapted to grazing. Virgil (p.v.) contains 206 inhabitants, and East Virgil (p.v.) about 60. State Bridge (Messengerville p.o.) is a R. R. station. Franks Corners is a hamlet in the S. W. part. The first settler was Joseph Chaplin, in 1792.VI1 The first religious meeting was held in 1802; and the first church (Cong.) was formed, Feb. 5, 1805, by Rev. Seth Williston. VI2


VI1 Mr. Chaplin was engaged to open a road from Oxford to Cayuga Lake, which he commenced in 1792 and finished in two years. This road was 60 mi. in lenth, and it became the thoroughfare for emigrants. Mr. Chaplin brought in his family from Oxford in the winder of 1794-95. Among the other first settlers were John M. Frank, John Gee, John E. Roe, James Wright, Jas. Knapp, Jas. and John Glenny, Joseph Bailey, and Enos Bouton. The first flock of sheep, brought in by Mr. Frank, were all destroyed by the wild animals. Mr. Roe and Capt. Knapp killed 15 wolves in one year. The first child born was a son of Joseph Chaplin; the first marraige was that of Buloff Whitney, of Dryden, and Susan Glenny, in 1800; and the first death was that of a stranger, named Charles Hoffman, who was found dead in the woods in April 1798. Chas. Joyce was the first teacher; Peter Vanderlyn and Kathl. Knapp built the first grist mill, in 1805; Daniel Edward built the first saw mill in 1801, and Danl. Sheldon kept the first store, in 1807. As early as 1828, in a series of articles in the "Cortland Observer," Nathaniel Bouton, a farmer in this town, strongly advocated the construction of a R. R. through the southern tier of counties. From the proceedings of a "Festive Cathering" of the early settlers and inhabitants of the town of Virgil we make the following extracts: -- to be added later.

VI2 The census reports 5 churches; Bap., F.W. Bap., Cong., M.E., Union


WILLET –was formed from Cincinnatus, April 21, 1818, and was named in honor of Col. Marinus Willett, of Revolutionary memory. It lies in the S. E. corner of the county. Its surface consists of the narrow valley of the Otselic River and of the high ridges which rise on either side. The uplands are broken by the narrow ravines through which the small streams flow. Nearly one-third of the town is yet unsettled, the surface being too rough for profitable cultivation. In the N. W. part of the town is a small lake, known as Bloody Pond,–its sanguinary name having been bestowed in consequence of the vagaries of delirium tremens. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam. Dyersville (Willet p.o.) contains 20 houses. The first settler was Ebenezer Crittenden, from Barrington, Mass., in 1793.WI1 The first church (M.E.) was formed in 1816. There is also a Cong. church in town.


WI1 Mr. Crittenden embarked, with his wife, child, and goods, upon a rude boat, at Chenango Forks, and with a paddle and setting-pole worked his way up the rapid current of the Tioughnioga and Otselic Rivers to his place of settlement. For 9 years, he was the sole inhabitant of the town. Among the other first settlers were Jabez Johnson, (from Vt.,) Benj. Wilson, (from Westchester co.,) John Fisher, Thos. Gayley, Thos. Leach, Phineas Sargent, and John Covert. The first birth was that of a child of Eb'r Crittenden. The wives of Solomon Smith, Danl. Roberts, and Edward Nickerson all died in 1812 and these were the first deaths in town. The first school was taught in 1814. Benj Wilson kept the first inn and built the first mill, and John E. Dyer kept the first store.


Source: French, J.H., Gazetteer of the State of New York, Syracuse, N.Y.: R. Pearsall Smith, 1860.


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