History of Dickinson, New York


Like a number of other townships, Dickinson was carved out of what was originally territory comprised in the township of Chenango, this being the last of the series to be set off from the mother township. For that reason we do not need to enter into any lengthy discussion as to the names of those who were interested in the early settlement and development of the locality. These have already been mentioned in our description of Chenango. It will suffice to say that the time when Dickinson was created as a distinct township, a number of old families were to be found within its borders. Of these we may mention the Lamb family, which held possessions on the east side of the Chenango river, as did the Stows, the Browns, the Van Names, the Carmans and the Dicksons. On the opposite side of the same river lived the Sewards, the Cutlers, the Clonneys, the Gales, the Conklins, the Randalls, the Livermores, the Baileys, the Gambles; and the more remote rural districts presented such personages as the Fairchilds, the Bedells, the Whitfords, the Beachs, the Davis and the Smiths.

As may be suspected, the township owes its name to the memory of the services rendered the locality by Hon. Daniel S. Dickinson, and the appellation was bestowed when the township was created. December 12th, 1890, the board of supervisors of Broome county passed a resolution to the effect that a new township should be set off from the township of Chenango, which action was ratified by the State Legislature at its annual session in 1891. In area Dickinson is the smallest township of Broorne county, embracing only 4,006 acres. What the township lacks in size, however, it more than makes up in beauty and in actual worth as a farming and commercial community. Of late years the township has developed as a residential section, a large part of its territory now being devoted to homes of a very substantial and comfortable type.

By reason of the terms of the law providing for the creation of the new township of Dickinson, the first town meeting was held February 10th, 1891, in Osborne and Winn's hotel. The list of officers then chosen was as follows: Supervisor, James M. Holt, Jr.; town clerk, Edward H. Smith; collector, Elbert Bailey; justices of the peace-Philip Champlin, William H. Gale, John T. Rozelle; assessors-Charles Brownson, Wakeley Jones; commissioner of highways, Perry W. Cutler; overseer of the poor, Charles Warner; commissioners of excise-Edgar Dickinson, S. Melvin Baird; Erastus W. Smith. At the time of its organization, Dickinson's population numbered 525. We shall be interested in noting the variations since that times, as disclosed by the federal census: 1910, 728; 1910, 832; 1920, 1,975. It is safe to predict that the next enumeration will show far greater growth than has ever been recorded before in the same length of time.

Dickinson has within its borders the County Home, situated on the west side of the Chenango river, about two miles from the city of Binghamton. The land originally occupied by this institution was acquired in 1831 from Seth Leonard. A number of pieces of land have been added since by purchase, and certain other lands are leased for farm purposes. The buildings have been enlarged at various times, the latest acquisitions being a commodious cow-barn and a large hospital. Elsewhere the story of the Home is told in detail.

The only village of Dickinson is called Port Dickinson, which came into existence at the time of the opening of the Chenango canal in 1837, when it was a shipping station and trading point for the people living in the vicinity. A few stores were opened there and Joseph Carman, a farmer, was appointed postmaster, while Benjamin DeVoe was collector of tolls for the canal. As we come on down the years to 1865, we find that Dickinson possessed a number of important enterprises, among them being the paper mills owned by Cary, Nash & Ogden, a broom factory operated by C. Bevier, and still later a floüring mill owned by the George Q. Moon Company, Stow's flexible shaft works, and Russell & Hunt's whip factory. These have, however, all gone out of existence, so that there is not a single concern of this kind in the township of Dickinson. The present merchants are M. A. Hunt, grocer; Robert.son Company, hardware; the Mulford general store; and two other smaller concerns at Hillcrest, a short distance beyond Port Dickinson, on the line of the street railway.

January 22d, 1876, Port Dickinson became an incorporated village. The following are its officers for 1922: President, Arthur Ogden; trustees, Dr. C. P. Kinsman and Clarence Boyce. The village clerk is Andrew Dewing, and the collector, Charles M. Johnson. The village has its own assessors in the persons of George Baker, Joseph Valentine and J. L. Andrews.

As showing the progress made by Dickinson in educational matters, it may be stated that whereas in 1899 there were only 65 children of school age, to the teachers of whom the sum of $1,891.46 was paid, in the year of 1921 a beautiful school building was erected, the cost of which was $75,000 aside from the cost of equipment, which would bring the total expense well above $100,000. In addition to the school building, the district owns five acres of valuable land. The present school board comprises Messrs. Floyd Anderson, Ford Mulford and George Jenkins. During the last school year 150 pupils were registered in this school, under the leadership of Mrs. Mary Tyler, principal, assisted by four teachers.

The officers of the township of Dickinson for 1922 are the following:
Supervisor, Charles M. Johnson; town clerk, A. S. Wilcox; assessors- A. D. Vosburg, William 1-ladsell, Fred Hulbert; superintendent of highways, George Van Wagener; justices of the peace-Fred Wilcox, R. G. Mungle, M. S. Hickox, Edward Ingerson; collector, Fred M. Hunt; superintendent of the poor, Henry Trafford; constables-A. H. Archibald, Fred Barrett, Guy Van Dusen. The assessed valuation of the property in Dickinson is as follows: Real property, $1,372,525; franchises, $63,609.

We bring this :ketch to a close with the following list of some of the people now living in the township of Dickinson who trace their ancestry back to early settlers. We mention: Napoleon Beaty, now past eighty-three, who has lived in the township since 1862; George Beaty, Mrs. Bert Chamberlin, Bert Chamberlin and wife; Dwight Merrill, Dennison Nash, Fred Gordon and Alonzo Nash; Edward Smith, probably the oldest man in the township; L. Wright, Forest Gates, Floyd Hotchkiss, John Terwilliger, S. M. Baird, S. Delavan, Benjamin Dickinson, Fred Shaw, Nelson Clearwater, together with the widows of Wakeley Jones, Joshua Beals, Myron L. Jones, Elmer and Clinton Perkins, Charles Bingham and Ben Lamereaux.

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