CAROGA lies on the north border of the county, and is bounded on the north by Hamilton county, on the south by
the towns of Johnstown and Ephratah; on the east by Bleecker, and on the west by Stratford. Its surface is rolling
in the south, but is broken in the north by small mountains, some of which are sharply peaked. A large hill stands
west of Garoga creek, and there is an eminence of land about 300 feet high between its principal branches. The
creek has its source in Garoga lake, and flows in a southerly direction through the centre of the town. The numerous
lakes in the centre and northern part of the town form a striking feature in the landscape, the most noticeable
being East and West Fish lakes, Garoga lake, Stink lake, Bellows, Prairie, Green and Pine lakes. The soil is light
and consists largely of sand and hence only a small portion of the area is adapted to cultivation. Lumbering and
tanning and gathering hemlock bark have formed the principal business of the inhabitants, and though tanning has
declined, lumbering is still continued in the northern section of the town.
Caroga was formed from Johnstown and also from Stratford and Bleecker by an act of the legislature, passed April
11, 1842 It received its name from "Garoga Creek," but while custom has applied the name "Garoga"
to the stream and also the lake, it has changed one letter in the name of the town which is called Caroga. It embraces
portions of the Glen and Bleecker & Lansing patents, and contains 31,628 acres. The assessed valuation of real
estate in 1891 was $57,680, and the population in 1890 was 624.
Early Settlement.-It is claimed that two Indian villages existed within the present limits of Caroga, prior to
the revolution, but that they were broken up and deserted during the early part of the war. One was located near
Garoga lake, and the other near Stink lakes. The naming of the latter is attributed to a circumstance that occurred
during a hunting trip, in which Nicholas Stoner and a companion were engaged. On reaching these lakes they discovered
large quantities of fish which had been carried over a beaver dam during a freshet, and being unable to return,
died when the water abated. This caused a foul odor, which suggested to the two hunters a name which they applied
to the lake. Flint arrowheads and other relics of Indian occupation are frequently found in the vicinity of these
bodies of water.
White men first began to locate in the town shortly after the revolution, one of the earliest being Isaac Peckham,
who settled there in 1783, on the farm more recently occupied by Jacob Dorn. He was a grandfather of Isaac Peckham
Christiancy, at one time United States senator from Michigan. The latter was born in this town and spent a great
share of his youth there. Contemporary with the settlement of Mr. Peckham came Reuben Brookins, who located on
the place afterwards occupied by William Harden. About 1785, James McClellan secured a title to 1,000 acres of
land in what is now Caroga, and the property is at present owned by twenty or more individuals.
Cornelius Van Allen, who built the first saw-mill in the town, came about 1790 and was followed in 1798 by Daniel,
Robert and Solomon J effers. Among other pioneers who settled there prior to 1800 were Samuel Gage, William Jefferson,
Abram Garley, Anthony Stewart, Nathan Lovelace, Elijah Gardner, Ira Beach, John Mead, Titus Foster, Lemuel Lewis,
and Daniel Goff. Nicholas Stoner, who first located in what is now the town of Broadalbin, came and settled in
this town early in the present century.
The first tannery in the town was built by Garret A. Newkirk and John Littlejohn
in 1843. The first tanner and currier was Lewis Rider who rented the new tannery building, stocked it and carried
on the tanfling business for the first two years, after which G. A. Newkirk became proprietor and conducted the
establishment until 1857, when it was discontinued.
The first school-house was erected at North Bush in the southern part of the town.
A Methodist Episcopal society was organized at Garoga lake in October, 1842, by Stephen Parks, at that time living
in Gloversville. John Mead was chosen its first class leader, and in 1843, S. M. Foster, one of the members of
the society, became a licensed exhorter, and served the little congregation in that capacity until 1850, at which
time he was granted authority to preach, and continued in this service for many years. The society erected a house
of worship at Wheelerville in 1872, the dedication taking place under the auspices of Rev. D. C. Dayton.
Newkirk's Mills, a little hamlet located on Garoga creek, about one mile south of the lake bearing the same name,
is the only settlement of any importance in the town. Daniel Francisco, one of the principal lumber merchants of
the town, conducts a store at this place and is also postmaster. He has also held important positions in the town's
Town Officers. -The first town meeting for Caroga was held at the house of G. A. Newkirk, on the second Tuesday
of February, 1843, at which time the following officers were elected : Supervisor, Garret A. Newkirk; town clerk,
Nelson Brookins; justices of the peace, A. Van Nest, Silas June, and James Timmerman.
The supervisors of this town, with the exception of two or three years, when no returns were made by the town clerk,
have been as follows:
Garret A. Newkirk, 1855; James D. Foster, 1856-7; Ralph Sexton, 1858; Abner Swan, 1859; Ralph Sexton, 1860-61;
Samuel M. Foster, 1862; Daniel Francisco, 1867-71 ; Zachariah Smith, 1875; Daniel Francisco, 1876-7; Thomas Bradley,
1879; Joseph Sherman, 1882; Thomas Bradley, 1883; Joseph Sherman, 1884; Alanson Morey, 1885- 7; Van Rensselaer
Caldwell, 1888; Cyrus Durey, 1889; J. W. Gage, 1890; Cyrus Durey, 1891-2.
Town Clerks.-Uriel C. Buck, 1855; Asa Streeter, 1856-7 ; Samuel Worth, 1858 ; James T. McMartin, 1859; Daniel Francisco,
1860-2; Joseph C. Zeyst, 1867-71 ; Frederick Baum, 1872; Nathan Oathout, 1874 Alanson Morey, 1875-9; William B.
CaIdwell, 1881-2; Alanson Morey, 1883; Van Rensselaer Caidwell, 1884; James J. Houck, 1885-7; Chauncey E. Francisco,
1888; F. H. Argersinger, 1889; Felix Kernan, 1890-2.
The principal town officers at present are: Supervisor, Cyrus Durey; town clerk, Felix Kernan; justices of the
peace, James Shaw, Alanson Morey, Lewis Ballou, and Frank A. Hill; assessors, Christopher Horth, Henry Morey, and
Fred L. Morey; collector, George Hine.