History of CINCINNATUS, New York

CINCINNATUS was formed from Solon, April 3, 1804. It embraced the original township of Cincinnatus, or No. 25 of the Military Tract. The present town embraces one-fourth of the original township of 100 lots, or 64,000 acres, Freetown, Wilett and Marathon having been taken from it in. 1818. It is situated on the east border of the County, south of the center. The surface consists of the valley of the Otselic River and. of the ridges which rise upon each side. Nearly the whole surface of the town is divided into steep ridges, by the deep ravines, throughwhich flow the tributaries of the Otselic, extending far into the interior. The soil is generally a gravelly loam, not as fertile as in some other sections, but well adapted to grazing. Lots 1, 16, 37, 49, 53 and 62, of this township, were set apart for the support of the Gospel and schools.

Cincinnatus, (p. v.,) situated on the Otselic Creek, contains three churches, viz., Congregational, Methodist and Baptist, an academy, two hotels, two tanneries, a foundry, a gristmill, a sawmill, and about 550 inhabitants. Cincinnatus Academy was built in 1856, and is under the Principalship of C. E. Babcock, A. M. It is now in a flourishing condition.

Lower Cincinnatus is a small village about a mile south of. Cincinnatus Village, and contains a church, a hotel, several shops and about 200 inhabitants.

The first settlement of this town was commenced. by Ezra and Thadeus Rockwell, from Lenox, Mass. Ezra settled on lot 19, in 1795, and Thadeus on lot 9, the same year. Zurial Raymond, from Williamstown, Mass., came in about the same time and settied on lot 29, on a revolutionary claim which he received through his wife. John Kiugman was another of the early settlers, a native of Massachusetts. He came in and located on lot 19, in 1795, and worked during the day clearing his land, and in the evening worked at his trade, shoemaking. Dr. John McWhorter, from Oxford, Chenango County, was also among the first settlers. He married Miss Katy Young, step-daughter of Mr. Raymond. This was the first wedding in the town, and as there was no one authorized to marry in the town, a clergyman from Oxford was employed; but on his arrival another difficulty arose; the clergyman was not authorized. to marry outside of Chenango County. To obviate this difficulty the party started for Chenango County, and when they supposed they were over the border, the ceremony was performed in the open air, in the midst of the forest. Samuel Vining was another early settler, as were also Phineas Sargent, Jesse Locke and. Ebenezer Crittenden. Charles DeBille, from Berkshire County, Mass., settled on lot 9, in 1797.

During the first few years after the settlement, the Indians were accustomed to visit the Otselic Valley. in 1796, forty of the Orieidas camped. upon the site of the village, and, during the fall and winter, killed forty-two bears. The oil preserved was used for cooking purposes. The Indians were uniformly peaceable and well disposed towards the whites.

The first merchants were James Tanner and Elijah Bliss. Col. John Kingman kept the first inn and erected the first store. The first frame house was erected by Dr. John McWhorter, about 1802; and the first school was taught by Miss Hepsy Beebe. The first death was that of Daniel Hartshorn, in 1796. The first birth was that of Sally Rockwell, in 1796. The first sermon preached within the limits of the town was by Rev. Dr. Williston, in a log barn, from the text, “Hear Ye.” The first church (Presbyterian) was organized at a much later day by a union of the people of several of the adjacent towns. Previous to 1798 the citizens were compelled to go to Chenango Forks, Ludlowville, or Manlius Square, to have their grinding done, transporting their grists on drays drawn by oxen. These drays were made of the crotches of trees, with a few pieces of board attached to them by wooden pins. They were from six to eight feet in length, and eight or ten bushels made a very respectable load for one pair of oxen.

The population of the town in. 1810 was 1,525, but the town at that time embraced about four times the amount of territory contained in it now. The population in 1865 was 1,169, and its area 15,819 acres.

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