SANFORD was formed from Windsor, April 2, 1821. It is the south-east corner town in the County, and is the largest one in the County. It covers an area of 52,674 ¾ acres, of which, in 1865, according to the census of that year, 21,024 ¾ were improved. Its surface consists principally of the high ranges of hills which extend between the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers, and whose summits are from 500 to 900 feet above the valley, and declivities usually steep. 1 These highlands are separated into two parts by the deep, narrow valley of Oquaga Creek. This valley and that of the Delaware are bounded by almost precipitous mountain declivities. The principal stream is Oquaga Creek, which enters the town near the north-east corner, and, flowing in a south-west direction to a point a little south of the center, turns and runs due east until it empties into the Delaware at Deposit. This creek has numerous falls, which furnish an abundance of excellent water power. It has numerous small tributaries, the principal of which is North Brook. The Delaware forms the east boundary of the town, south of Deposit.
Its geological formation consists in the west part of the Chemung group of the Old Red Sandstone, which terminates on the surface about three miles west of Deposit, where the Catskill group commences. In the former is found a great number of shells and fossil fish, and in the latter, ferns and other vegetables of enormous size.
In the valleys the soil is a fertile gravelly loam, but upon the hills it is a cold clayey loam, underlaid by hardpan. It is well adapted to dairying purposes, in which the people are largely engaged. The chief wealth of the town consists in its dairy products.
In 1870 the town had a population of 3,249. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1871, it contained twenty-three school districts and employed twenty-four teachers. The number of children of school age was 1,265; the number attending school, 941; the average attendance, 439; the amount expended for school purposes, $7,672; and the value of school houses and sites, $13,064.
DEPOSIT 2 (p. v.) is situated partly in this town and partly in the town of Tompkins, Delaware county. 3 It lies on the Delaware, at the mouth of Oquaga Creek. It is the center of a large lumber business, and is an important trading station and wood depot on the Erie R. R. which traverses the southern portion of the town. In addition to the numerous mechanical and other establishments, which are described more minutely in the Directory list for this village, it contains a printing office, (The Deposit Courier,) a bank, 4 an academy, 5 a library, 6 a carriage factory, 7 and about 1,600 inhabitants.
SANFORD (p. o.) is located on Oquaga Creek, about the center of the town.
NORTH SANFORD (p. o.) is located on Oquaga Creek, near the north-east corner.
GULF SUMMIT, (p. o.) located near the south-west corner, seven miles from Deposit, is a station on the Erie R. R.
McCLURE SETTLEMENT (p. o.) is located at the confluence of Oquaga Creek and North Brook, a little south of the center of the town. The post office was established here in 1865. D. & S. Post's steam saw mill, located here, gives employment to seven men, annually saws four millions of feet of lumber and manufactures 5,000 lath per day.
The first settlement was made in 1787, by Wm. McClure, 8 from Chester, New Hampshire. Captain Nathan Dean9 and family followed him in 1791 and Squire Whitaker10 and family in 1797. Among the other early settlers were John Pinney, Anthony West, Luther Hulce, ___ Potter, James P. Aplington, John Peters, Simon and Zina Alexander, Alex. Butler, Geo. Plummer, Moses Farnham, Nathan Austin, Jonas Underwood, Silas Seward, (the last three were Revolutionary soldiers) James and Benj. Coburn, Daniel Race, Noah Carpenter, S. P. Green, Joseph Page, Capt. Parker, Isaac Denton and Dexter May.
In 1821 there was not a sufficient number of freeholders in the town to form a jury and a special act was passed constituting any man, a resident, a competent juror. The law is still in force. The 5th of March the following year the first town meeting was held at the house of Wm. McClure.11
Formerly the streams abounded with fine trout and the forests with wild animals. Until after the Revolution the east line of the town was the division line between the Indians and the King, and was called the "property line." The growth of the town has been gradual but constant, and it is now one of the wealthiest in the County.
The first saw mill was built in 1791 and the first grist mill in 1792, by Capt. Dean, who also opened the first store and kept the first inn in 1794. The first store in Deposit was built by Benj. And Peter Gardner, in 1795, where Vail's brick store now stands, near the Oquaga House. It was stocked with eight sleigh loads of goods which were brought from New York. The men and teams put up at Capt. Dean's. The first death was that of Stephen Whitaker, which occurred Oct. 23, 1793, in which year the first school was taught by Hugh Compton.
The Deposit Baptist Church was organized as the First Baptist Church of Tompkins, with fourteen members, March 7, 1812. The first house of worship was erected in 1827-8 and was burned down in 1851; the second one was blown down while being repaired in 1866; and the present one, which will seat 450 persons, was erected in 1866-7, at a cost of $9,000. The first pastor was Rev. ____ Holcomb; the present one is Rev. J. N. Adams. There are 255 members. The Church property is valued at $13,000.
The First Presbyterian Church at Deposit was organized July 21, 1812, by J. T. Benedict and David Harowar, missionaries, with nine members.12 The first church edifice was erected in 1819; the second one, which was consumed by fire in 1855, in 1853, and the present one, which will seat 600 persons, in 1856, at a cost of $6,000. The first pastor was Rev. Elisha Wise; the present one is Rev. Geo. O. Phelps. The present number of members is 255. The value of Church property is $10,000.
The First Baptist Church of Sanford, located in the north part of the town, was organized with thirteen members, May 12, 1842, by a council of delegates from the Baptist churches of Coventry, Masonville, Deposit and South Bainbridge. The church edifice was erected in 1846, at a cost of $400. It is still standing, but in consequence of its not being centrally located it has been unoccupied the past three years. The Society has held meetings regularly at two school houses, alternately. A movement is on foot to secure a site and build a more convenient church. The first pastor was Rev. E. L. Benedict, from Deposit; the present one is Rev. A. H. Hamlin. There are thirty-six members.
1 - The highest point between the two rivers, by the State Road Survey, is 1,686 feet above tide.---French's State Gazetteer, p. 183.
2 - It derives its name from having been an important station, or place of deposit, for lumber, preparatory to rafting in the spring freshets. It was called by the Indians "cokeose," or owls nest, which was corrupted by the English into "Cook house," a name by which it is still designated by the old inhabitants.
The earliest mention of this place is found in Boudinot's Star in the West, where it is stated the Indian name was "O-hoot-ose," to which name the same meaning is given.
3 - It was incorporated April 5, 1811, but the original limits of the village were entirely within the town of Tompkins. A part of Sanford was annexed in 1852; and the charter was amended in 1858.
4 - The Deposit National Bank was organized February 20, 1854, and was changed to a National Bank July 1, 1854. It has a capital of $125,000. The or ricers are Charles Knapp, President; James G. Clark, Vice-President; James H. Knapp, Cashier; C. J. Knapp, Assistant Cashier; H. W. Knapp, Teller.
5 - The Deposit Academy was built in 1866. It has accommodations for 200 boarding students. Connected with it is a library containing 150 volumes, valued at $300; and philosophical and chemical apparatus to the value of $120. The buildings and ground are valued at $7,700. The Principal, R. L. Thatcher, A. M., and Preceptress, Mrs. M. E. Thatcher, are assiduous in their efforts to promote the mental, moral and physical welfare of those entrusted to their care.
6 - The Deposit Library Association was organized in 1859. The library contains 575 volumes. T. More is President and A. More, Secretary.
7 - The Deposit Carriage Manufactory, of which Beardsley & Wall are proprietors, employs about fifteen persons and turns out a large number of wagons, carriages and sleighs.
8 - From Mr. M. R. Hulce of Deposit we learn the following interesting particulars relative to McClure: He was born in 1725. His father was a native of Ireland, near Londonderry, and was of Scotch descent. McClure acquired a good English education--including a knowledge of navigation, surveying and higher mathematics--and some knowledge of Latin. The religious principles imbibed in his boyhood inspired him with a deep reverence for the Deity, and his early training confirmed in him habits of exemplary morality. These, with his proficiency in mathematics, were his chief recommendations to the land-holders, by whom he was employed as surveyor and land-agent. In the Spring of 1787 he started from Orange county, (in which and Dutchess county he had been teaching successfully,) for the Cookhouse, in the employ of the owners of the Fisher & Norton Patent in this county, threading the pathless forests with the aid of his faithful mare "Ohio," and followed by assistants who came up the river in a canoe loaded with provisions. On his arrival he built a rude log cabin on Oquaga Creek, about five miles west of Deposit, which he called "Castle William," since known as McClure Settlement. During the summer and fall he surveyed the greater part of Fisher & Norton Patent into lots one mile square. His labors were retarded by lack of provisions, caused by the pumpkin flood. As the winter approached he sent his men back and remained in the wilderness with no other companion than a faithful dog. His Bible, field-book and diary occupied much of his time; while the stream, which abounded with trout, furnished his meat. The deprivation of society made the time drag heavily; and the want of bread and vegetables was keenly felt by him. His appetite failed, and toward spring indications of a fever were apparent. The depth of snow and his weak condition prevented escape. The nearest human habitation was Hynback's, on the east side of the river, at the "Cookhouse." His efforts to overcome his increasing weakness were unavailing, and soon he was unable to go to the brook for water and his accustomed supply of fish. As he lay stretched on his couch of boughs, unable to rise, death seemed the only relief which awaited him. His dog, which staid with him some days, left one morning, and toward night McClure was greeted by its joyous barking, which heralded the coming of Cornelius Hynback, who soon entered the cabin, with stimulants, which he administer to McClure, whom he found helpless and almost dead. He staid with him until he was sufficiently recovered to render it safe to leave him, when he returned for supplies, which he brought as often as necessary. Hynback's farm was on elevated ground, so that the flood did not destroy his crops. The dog has made his way to Hynback's and by his action induced him to suspect that something was wrong at Castle William, and when Hynback started on his journey, the demonstrations of joy made by the dog, which led the way, were of the most extravagant nature.
The following spring McClure, having recovered from the prostration produced by his sickness and hibernation, resumed surveying and continued it two or three years during the warm season, after which, more than satisfied with his monastic experience at Castle William, he returned to Orange county and again occupied himself in teaching. While thus engaged he became acquainted with Miss Sarah Farnham, daughter of Capt. Elias Farnham, whom, in the early part of the winter of 1791, he married, and moved to a log house which he erected in November of the previous year, on the site of Castle William, in anticipation of the coming nuptials. Their effects were placed on a light sleight, to which was hitched his favorite Ohio. McClure had purchased a large tract of land (including the site of Castle William,) with the proceeds of his services in surveying.
His children were William, David, Henry, Walter, Sally, Thomas, Fanny and Prudence. After the death of his first wife he married Lydia Austin of Conn. He died at Castle William in 1826, leaving numerous descendants in its vicinity.
9 - Nathan Dean located at Deposit in June, 1791, and purchased that part of the village lying in this county. He died in a few years leaving a widow and five children, viz: Nathan L., Joshua, Caleb, Zenas K. and Catherine, (who married James Aplington,) of whom Joshua and Zenas still survive. All had families and their descendants chiefly reside in the town.
10 - Squire Whitaker came in April, 1797. The same day that he arrived his daughter Elizabeth was married to Conrad Edick. This was the first marriage in the town. The bride was dressed in linsey-woolsey, and the groom in brown-tow and buckskin moccasins, with stocking au-naturel. The ceremony was performed by a Baptist missionary name How. Mr. Whitaker and family were at Wyoming at the time of the massacre. He was taken prisoner in Fort Jenkins, but was released and, with his family, fled over the mountains, enduring severe hardships, and reached his former home in Orange Co.
11 - At that meeting was elected the following named officers: Wm. McClure, Supervisor; Joshua Dean, Town Clerk; James P. Aplington, Nathaniel L. Dean and Wm. McClure, Assessors; Nathan L. Dean, Alex. Butler and Wm. McClure Jr., Commissioners of Highways; John Peter and James P. Aplington, Overseers of the Poor; Wm. McClure, Nathan Dean and Alex. Dean, Commissioners of Common Schools; Jacob Edick, Constable and Collector; Joseph Eddy, Constable; Daniel Evans, Gusham Loomis and Michael Child, Inspectors of Common Schools; John Pinney, Eli King and Nathan Austin, Fence Viewers. This list of officers includes all the freeholders in the town at that time.
12 - The church edifice is in Delaware county, but the members reside in both Broome and Delaware counties. The church has a Congregational form of government and is connected with the Presbytery on the "accommodation plan." The three constituent male members at its organization were Wm. McClure, Aaron Stiles and Benj. Hawley.
Transcribed by Mary Hafler - May, 2007.
Town of Sanford
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