While it may seem to the uninitiated a task involving but little difficulty to prepare for publication a work no more comprehensive in character than this volume, and containing merely a history of a single county, still it is not out of place here to assure all such readers that the task is one involving a vast amount of labor and research, watchful case, untiring patience, and fair discrimination. This need not be said to any person who has had experience in similar work. In attempting the production of a creditable history of Cortland county the publishers and the editor did not underestimate the difficulties of this task, and came to it fully imbued with both a clear idea of its magnitude and determination to execute it in such a manner that it should receive the general commendations of all into whose hands it should fall. It is believed that this purpose has been substantially carried out, and that while a perfect historical work has never yet been published, this one will be found to contain so few imperfections that the most critical readers will be satisfied.
It is the general plan of the publishers in the production of county histories to secure, as far as possible, local assistance in preparing the work, either as writers, or for the purpose of revising all manuscripts; the consequence being that the work bears a local character that could not otherwise be secured, and, moreover, comes from the press far more complete and perfect than could possibly be the case were it entrusted entirely to the hands of a comparative stranger to the locality treated of. In carrying out this plan in this county the editor has found such generous co-operation and assistance that to merely mention all those who have liberally aided in the work is impossible; the satisfaction of having contributed to a desirable public work must be their reward. But we cannot pass unnoticed the names of a few who have given most generously of their labor and time towards the consummation of the work: To Hon. R. Holland Duell, Hon. A.P. Smith and David E. Smith for aid in preparing the chapter on the bench and bar of the county, most of the writing of which was done by the last named gentleman; to Dr. Caleb Green and Dr. Frederick Hyde, the former for writing and the latter for revising much of the chapter on the medical profession; to George L. Warren, H. W. Blashfield and others for assistance in preparing the history of the Masonic order; to Hon. Wm. H. Clark, B. B. Jones, F. G. Kinney, Wm. O. Bunn, Ed. L. Adams, W. O. Green and E. P. Fancher, of the county press, for generous aid and the use of their valuable newspaper files; to Mrs. Dr. Frederick Hyde for valuable documents; to Alonzo Blodgett for use of valuable scrap-book; to Charles Kingsbury and T. Mason Loring for valuable historic materials; and many others in the different towns whom we cannot mention for want of space. In this connection we should be greatly neglectful of courtesy if we did not acknowledge our great obligation to the work of the late Hon. Horatio Ballard, whose published reminiscences contain so much that is of the greatest value to the historian of the towns of Cortland and Homer; and the same need of credit is due to the indefatigable work of the late Hon. Nathan Boston, whose published pamphlet embraces almost the entire history of the town of Virgil. With these brief and inadequate acknowledgements, the work is commended to its readers by the publishers and
1885 History of Cortland County
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