KIRKWOOD was formed from Conklin, Nov. 23, 1859. It is one of the southern tier of towns and lies near the center of the County. It is separated from Conklin, on the west, by the Susquehanna, which, with its several small tributaries, form its waters. The surface is generally hilly, though along the river extends a fine broad intervale, enriched by the fertilizing deposits of the adjacent hills. The hills, which, on the west side of the river, are steep, on the east side have a more gradual descent. On the hills the soil consists of clay and gravel, largely intermixed with slate; while in the valley it is a deep, rich alluvium and gravelly loam. Most of the remaining timber consists of oak and chestnut. The pine, of which there was a considerable quantity, has mostly been cut and sent to market, the stumps being utilized as fences. Various kinds of grain are grown successfully, and dairying is carried on to quite an extent.

    The New York and Erie R. R. passes through the town, following the course of the Susquehanna.

    The town covers an area of 18,437 acres, of which, in 1865, according to the census of that year, 12,706, were improved. Its population in 1870 was 1,402.

    During the year ending Sept. 30, 1871, it contained ten school districts and employed ten teachers. The number of children of school age was 491; the number attending school, 399; the average attendance, 219; the amount expended for school purposes, $2,401; and the value of school houses and sites, $4,360.

    KIRKWOOD (p. v.) is located in the south-west part, on the Susquehanna River, and the N. Y. & e. R. R., by which it is distant eleven miles from Binghamton. It contains one church, (M. E.) a school house, three stores, a wagon shop, a harness shop, two blacksmith shops, a shoe shop, a paint shop, forty houses and 155 in habitants. About one mile south of the village, on the Susquehanna, are the Kirkwood Mills, of which M. A. Andrews is prop. They consist of a grist, saw and planing mill. About 100,000 feet of lumber are sawed in the saw mill. Considerable custom grinding is done, and but very little planing.

    KIRKWOOD CENTER (p. o.) is situated on the Susquehanna River, and the N. Y. & E. R. R., near the center of the west border. It is distant from Binghamton by rail eight miles.

    RIVERSIDE (p. o.) is located in the extreme south part, on the Susquehanna River, and on the N. Y. & E. R. R. It contains one church, (M. E.) one school house, a cooper shop, wagon shop, blacksmith shop, store, twenty-five dwellings and 125 inhabitants.

    STANDLEY HOLLOW is located in the north-east part, and contains a school house, blacksmith shop, five or six dwellings and about twenty-five inhabitants.

    Ferguson's saw mill, located on the Windsor road, about one mile from the town line, saws about 50,000 feet of lumber annually.

    We are unable to give the date of the first settlement of this town; but among the early settlers are the following: John and William Jones, who came from near Trenton, N. J., in 1802, and settled on the river about two miles below Kirkwood, at which time the country was new and the forests abounded with all kinds of game; Henry C. Bayless, who, with his father, came from Middlesex Co., N. J., but immediately from Wilkesbarre, Penn., in 1808, and settled on the farm contiguous to the Conklin bridge;1  Ely Osborne, who came from Windsor, Conn., about 1812, and located at Standley Hollow, formerly known as "South Osborne Hollow"; Ezra Carrier, who came from Liberty, Sullivan Co., in the autumn of 1814, and located on the river, about five miles from Binghamton, on the farm now occupied by James White; Moses Standley, who came from Bennington, Vt., in 1820, and located in the eastern part of the town, near Osborne Hollow; Thomas M. Carroll, who was one of the first settlers in Standley Hollow; and Arthur Attridge, who located in the north part of the town in 1824, at which time there was only one house between his and the Chenango River.

    The first grist mill2  in the County was erected in 1790 at or near the mouth of "Fitch's Creek," about four miles above Binghamton, and it, as well as the creek on which it was located, was named from Jonathan Fitch, to whom it belonged. Mr. Fitch was from Wyoming, and settled on the creek to which he gave his name in 1789. He is believed to have been the first representative to the State Legislature from Tioga County, though some confer this honor upon Gen. Patterson, who settled at an early day at Whitney's Point.

    The Christian Church, located at Kirkwood, was organized Oct. 18, 1856, with nineteen members, by Rev. J. G. Noble, its first pastor. Their church edifice, which will seat 250 persons, was erected the following year, at a cost of $1,000. There are forty members; but there is no pastor. The Church property is valued at $900.

    The First M. E. Church of Kirkwood was organized with twenty-five members, in 1860, in which year their house of worship, which will seat 230 persons, was erected at a cost of $1,500. The first pastor was Rev. J. M. Grimes; the present one is Rev. James N. Lee. There are seventy-five members. The Church property is valued at $4,000.


1 - At that time, says Mr. Bayless, there were only three families near them, viz.: the Berkalews, Bounds and Roods, all of whom lived near Kirkwood, which was then covered by a forest of oak and hickory. The river afforded the principal carrying facilities. Their grists were taken to mill by this means. On one occasion when he and his brother attempted to cross the river at high water, their canoe became unmanageable and ran against a tree, up which they climbed and were obliged to remain some time before they could right their canoe.
2 - It is probable, that for a few years after this mill was erected, it was the only one within at least eighty miles west of it, for in 1792 we find that the inhabitants of Newark Valley, in Tioga County, and within the limits of what was then known as "Brown's Settlement," carried their grist to this mill, a distance of forty miles.
Transcribed by Mary Hafler - February, 2007.
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