Gazetteer of Towns

    EATON, named for Gen. William Eaton, commander of the United States military forces in the expedition to Tripoli, was formed from Hamilton, February 6, 1807. It is an interior town, situated in the center of the County. The surface is a rolling upland, broken by the valley of Chenango River into two ridges, whose summits are 400 to 600 feet in height. The Chenango flows south through the center. The outlet of the Eaton Reservoir flows through a deep, narrow ravine, and affords a large number of valuable mill sites. Hatch's Lake and Bradley Brook Reservoir, and several small reservoirs, are in this town. The soil is gravelly loam, intermixed with clay in the valleys.

    Morrisville, (p. v.) named from a family of early settlers in the town, is situated on the Chenango River, and was incorporated April 13, 1819. It contains three churches, a bank, the court house, jail, and a fine union school house, in the upper story of which is a large hall, neatly frescoed, and fitted up with stage scenes and fixtures, in a style seldom seen in a village of the size. The Madison Observer, which has retained its present name since 1835, is published here. The population of the village is about 700.

    Eaton, (p. v.) commonly called "Log City," contains three churches, an extensive manufactory of portable steam engines, and about 500 inhabitants.

    West Eaton, (p. v.) commonly called "Leeville," contains two churches, three woolen factories, and about 40 or 50 houses.

    Pratt's Hollow, (p. v.) named from John and Matthew Pratt, early settlers, contains a church and about 20 houses.

    Pierceville, contains a cotton factory and about 30 houses.

    Pine Woods is a post office.

    This town was settled in 1792, by John and James Salisbury, from Vermont. They selected lot 94, and Enoch Stowell, from New Hampshire, and Jonathan Bates, from Vermont, their companions, selected an adjoining lot, which proved to be lot 7 in Lebanon. To provide for their necessities in the depth of the forest, they drove an ox, which they slaughtered on their arrival; this, with flour and beans which they brought, supplied them while they cut timber from twenty acres of the fertile soil. On the approach of winter the party retired to Bainbridge, on the Susquehanna, intending to resume their labors in the spring, but Mr. Bates and his family only, returned in the spring. Joshua Leland, from Sherburne, Massachusetts, settled the town in 1793, and was the first permanent settler. John H. and Benjamin Morris, settled in the town in 1794, and Daniel Abbey, Simeon Gillett, Levi Barney and Elijah Hayden, in 1795. Joseph Moss, William Mills, Lewis Wilson, Samuel Sinclair, Humphrey Palmer and a Mr. McCrellis, in 1796; and Ransom Harmon, in 1797.

    The first birth was that of Col. Uriah Leland, Nov. 1, 1793, and the first marriage that of Lewis Wilson and Doris Gillett, in 1796. The first death was that of Simeon Gillett, in 1796. Joshua Leland opened the first inn, in 1794, and erected the first saw and grist-mill, in 1795. The first store was kept by Daniel Gaston, in 1804, and the first school was taught by Doct. James Pratt, in the winter of 1797-98. He taught the first month at the house of Joshua Moss, the second near Morrisville, the third year near Log City, and the fourth near the residence of Joshua Leland. The first church was organized in 1805.

    The population in 1865 was 3,861, and its area 25,851 acres. There are twenty school districts, and employing 24 teachers. The whole number of pupils is 1295, and the average daily attendance 476. The amount expended for school purposes in 1867 was $3,071.67.

    Among the notorious residents of this town, during its early history, was Abram Antone, an Indian, who came from the Susquehanna, where he was born. He was bold, adventurous and revengeful, and the terror of all who excited his ill will. He had a daughter who inherited, to some extent, the disposition of her father. She was wooed and won by a man who subsequently became fascinated by a fairer face, and deserted his first love. The dusky maiden could not endure such an indignity, and yielding to a spirit of revenge, murdered the fair one who had charmed away her betrothed. For this crime she was hanged at Peterboro. John Jacobs was the principal witness against her, and active in securing her conviction. Fearing the wrath of the revengeful father, Jacobs left the County and did not return until he received the assurance of Antone that he would not molest him. Relying upon this promise, Jacobs returned and engaged in his usual avocation. While engaged in hoeing the field, with several others, Antone approached, greeted his associates cordially, and as he seized the hand of Jacobs, stabbed him in the heart, with a knife previously concealed, and escaped. Some time elapsed before he was arrested, as the officers of the law did not want to face the desperado when armed. On one occasion he kept at bay a party of four or five, by threatening to shoot them with a rifle which he held in his hand, and which he afterwards boasted was not loaded. After his condemnation and sentence, he begged that he might be shot, as hanging was too ignominious a death for him. Rumor states that he was guilty of another crime, which ought to shock even the nature of a savage. He returned home one day from an Indian council, somewhat intoxicated, and being annoyed by the crying of an infant child, deliberately buried it in the live coals upon his own hearth, and thus freed himself from that annoyance. He was executed at Morrisville, in September 1823.

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