CONKLIN 1 was formed from Chenango, March 29, 1824. A part of Windsor was taken off in 1831, and a part of that town was annexed in 1851. Kirkwood was erected from it Nov. 23, 1859. It is one of the southern tier of towns and lies west of the center of the County. Its eastern boundary is formed by the Susquehanna. The surface is generally hilly. The summits of the hills rise from 400 to 600 feet above the valley. Their declivities terminate abruptly on the river. It is watered by several small streams, tributary to the Susquehanna, the principal of which are Big and Little Snake creeks. The former flows through the town in an easterly direction, a little south of the center, and its valley is narrow and bordered by steep hills; while only a small portion of the latter flows (north) through the south-east corner. The soil upon the summits of the hills is a hard clayey and gravelly loam, largely intermixed with fragments of slate.
The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western R. R. enters the town in the north-west corner, and following the course of the Susquehanna, leaves it in the south-east corner.
The town is the smallest in the County. It covers an area of 14,858 acres, of which, in 1865, according to the census of that year, 10,022 were improved. Its population in 1870 was 1,440.
During the year ending Sept. 30, 1871, it contained eight school districts and employed eight teachers. The number of children of school age was 571; the number attending school, 448; the average attendance, 207; the amount expended for school purposes, $2,534; and the value of school houses and sites, $7,670.
CORBETTSVILLE, (p. v.) located in the south-east part, near the line of the D. L. & W. R. R., and the Susquehanna River, contains two stores, two tanneries,2 two saw mills,3 two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, about twenty-five dwellings and 150 inhabitants. It is surrounded by hills, nearly all of which are covered with forests.
CONKLIN STATION, (p. v.) (formerly known as Milburn,) located near the Susquehanna and on the D. L. & W. R. R., contains one church, (Presbyterian) a school house, a store, a wagon shop, a blacksmith shop, the extensive pyroligneous acid works4 of A. S. Saxon, thirty-five dwellings and about 140 inhabitants.
CONKLIN CENTER (p. o.) is located about the center of the east border.
There are several other mechanical and industrial institutions in parts of the town which are removed from the business centers. 5
The first settlements were made in 1788 by Jonathan Bennett, Ralph Lathrop6 and Waples Hance,6 who located at the mouth of Snake Creek. These were followed at an early day by Garret Snedaker, David Bound,7 Daniel Chapman, Peter Wentz, Asa Rood, Nathaniel Tagot, Asa Squires, John Bell, Silas Bowker, Joel Lamereaux, Abraham Sneden, David and Joseph Compton, Abraham Miller, Ebenezer Park, Noel Carr, and Thos. Cooper. The latter were followed at a later date by David Bayless, who came from Princeton, N. J., about 1810, and settled near Conklin Station; Edmund Lawrence, who settled on the river road, in the north part of the town, in 1813; Felix McBride, who came from Ireland, in 1820, and settled on the river road, about four miles from Binghamton, and who was followed by his son, Michael, four years later. At that time, says Mr. McBride, there was no regular public highway---only a sled road along the river. He was accustomed to go to mill in the summer with an ox-sled. There were, he says, but three wagons in the town, (which then comprised Kirkwood and a part of Windsor,) most of the carrying business being done in boats on the river.
The first birth was that of Wm. Wentz, Feb. 18, 1795; the first marriage, that of Noel Carr and Sally Tousler in 1803; and the first death that of Silas Bowker. The first school was taught by Geo. Land, in 1801.
The settlers in this vicinity gave early evidence of a deep interest in religious matters. The first religious services were, says French, conducted by Revs. David Dunham and John Leach, Methodist missionaries; but whether the extraordinary zeal displayed by the inhabitants of this locality at an early day was due to their ministrations does not appear, though it is fair to presume they exerted a salutary influence in that direction. The people seem to have been extremely rigorous in the observance of devotional exercises, for in speaking of them, J. B. Wilkinson, in the "Annals of Binghamton," page 140, says, "it is said that in all the families from the mouth of Snake Creek to Harmony, beyond the Bend, [Great Bend in Penn.,] morning and evening prayers were offered; and not one family in this whole distance in which there was not one or more of the members pious." But what appears more strange is the fact, which we extract from the same work, that "in the course of five and twenty years, instead of nearly all the families being pious, not but two or three were to be found entitled to that sacred epithet." Whether this declension is due to the removal of these early settlers and the influx of an element inimical to their devout practices, or to change in their religious convictions, we have been unable to learn; but the author quoted is inclined to "refer it to the general depravity of men." After the death, in 1814, of Rev. Daniel Buck, the resident minister at Great Bend, infidelity, which had previously manifested itself in a subdued form, was, by many, "openly and publicly avowed; and its abettors went so far as to hold their meetings on the Sabbath, and to read Paine's 'Age of Reason' to the multitude. They showed their hostility to the Christian religion, by attending meetings for divine worship, and either succeeding with theirs immediately, before the Christian Congregation had dispersed, or they would commence before the stated hour of Christian worship. Meetings then were held in a school house, in which the whole community felt they had an equal right. The magistrate of the place however, who took a part in this demoralizing cause, too active for his own interest or lasting reputation, was in consequence finally deposed from his office." In what the culpability of the so-called infidels, implied in the quotation from Mr. Wilkinson, consisted, does not appear, unless it is found in the persistence of the right to the free exercise of their religious convictions; for the right to the use of the school house for religious purposes remains unquestioned, and his charge does not implicate them in any breach of decorum. But we will draw the mantle of charity over an historic period in which men were sometimes led by blind zeal to unwittingly persecute those who differed with them in matters of religion, and look with intense gratitude at a present which ensures comparative immunity to all from similar persecutions.
The First Baptist Church of Conklin, located on the river road, near the east center of the town, was organized in 1855, with forty-three members, by Rev. S. M. Stimson of Binghamton, who was the first pastor. Their house of worship, which will seat 225 persons, was erected in 1856, at a cost of $1,600. There are sixty members. The present pastor is Rev. Edward H. Ashton. The Church property is valued at $4,500.
The M. E. Church, located on Little Snake Creek, was organized with sixty members, by Rev. C. N. Arnold, who became and is still its pastor, in February, 1872, in which year their church edifice, which will seat 225 persons, was erected, at a cost of $2,000. The Church property is valued at $2,500. The number of members is 75.