History of Georgetown, NY

The Town of Georgetown.

Georgetown was set off from De Ruyter April 7, 1815, and lies west of the center of the south line of the county. It is bounded north by Nelson, east by Lebanon, south by Chenango county, and west by De Ruyter. It was named at the suggestion of the Legislature, instead of being called Washington, which was the preference of the inhabitants. The surface of the town is mainly hilly upland. The valley of Otselic Creek extends across it from north to south in the eastern part, breaking the surface into two ridges which rise from 400 to 500 feet above the valley bottom. Otselic Creek is the principal stream and its many small tributaries drain most of the town. The headwaters of the Tioughnioga touch the northwest corner. The soil is a yellow loam on the hills and and a gravelly alluvium in the valley. The Syracuse and Chenango Valley branch of the West Shore Railroad crosses the northeast part, with a station three miles east of Georgetown village. The principal industries of the town are dairying and hop growing; the latter has lost its pre-etninence in comparatively recent years. Mixed farming is also carried on to a sufficient extent for home consumption and in recent years potatoes have been marketed to a considerable extent. There are two cheese factories in the town, one of which is situated at Georgetown village, operated by C. Stevens, and the other two miles south of the village, by E. W. Brown & Co. The lumber industry still continues important in this town and large quantities have been shipped away in comparatively recent years. A steam saw mill is operated by E. W. Pease a half mile south of Georgetown village; another one in the southern part by Van Ness Baldwin, and another near the Otselic town line by M. C. Aiken. There are also three water power mills, one of which is at the railroad station, owned by E. E. Collins; one by E. C. Hart and one by W. & E. V. Brown.

The first settlement in Georgetown was made in 1804 by William Sexton, who located on lot 58. Others who came in that year were John C. Payne, on lot 115; Elijah Olmstead, who soon sold to Josiah Purdy, a blacksmith; Apollos Drake, father of a large family; Joseph Bishop, and Eleazer Hunt, on the site of the village; Bethel Hurd, on lot 69; Olmstead Brown, on lot 115. In 1805 there came into the town Mitchell Atwood, who settled two and a half miles from the village; Matthew Hollenbeck, in the north part of the town; Bailey Carter, adjoining the John C. Payne farm; William Payne, on lot 45; Joseph P. Harrison, in the north part; Calvin Cross, in the northwest part; Capt. Samuel White (settled about this year) also in the northwest part. Weston H. Payne, son of William Payne, was the first white child born in the town, his birth being in 1805.

Other early settlers, mast of whom came in at a little later date, were Elijah Brown, Ebenezer Hall, Jesse Jerrold, Zadock Hawks, John Gibson, Charles Belden, David Parker, Philetus Stewart, Benjamin Bonney, Reuben Buckingham, James McElwaia, Asa West and a few others. The settlement here for a few years of the French refugee, who called himself Louis A. Muller, has been described in an earlier chapter.

The first town meeting for Georgetown was held at the house of John Holmes on March 5, 1816, the proceedings of which and the officers elected will be found in Chapter IX. Following is a list of the supervisors of the town from its formation to the present time, with the dates of their election: 1816-23, William Payne; 1824-25, E. Whit. more; 1826, Daniel Alvord; 1827, S. B. Hoffman; 1828, Hanford Nichols; 1829-30, William Payne; 1831-34, Peter Nichols; 1835-37, W. F. Bostwick; 1838-40, Horace Hawks; 1841, Elijah Brown; 1842, Tru. man Amsbry; 1843, Truman Amsbry; 1844, Samuel Wiekwire; 1845, Elijah Brown; 1846-47, Samuel Wickwire; 1848-49, Zinah J. Moseley; 1850, Truman Amsbry; 1851-52, Enoch L. Savage; 1853-54, Zinah J. Moseley; 1855-56, W. P. Bonney; 1857-58, Robert Utter; 1859-60, Elijah W. Brown; 1861-62, C. M. Amsbry; 1863-65, Alfred A. Brown; 1866-67, John W. Northrop; 1868-69, Elijah W. Brown; 1870-71, John W. Dryer; 1872-73, 1876, Elijah W. Brown; 1874-75, Andrew McCoy; 1877, Asa Pritchard; 1878, Alfred A. Brown; 1879, Elijah W. Brown; 1880-81, Russell Whitmore; 1882-83, Charles C. Wagner; 1884-89, W. Albert Hare; 1890-91, Albert A. Stoddard; 1892-93, Eugene M. Perry; 1894-97, Joel J. Parker.

Georgetown Village.- This is the only village in the town and is pleasantly situated in the Otselic valley a little southeast of the center, and nearly three miles from the station of the same name on the railroad.

For many years the village bore the local name of Slab City, which even yet still clings to it; this rather belittling title is said to have been suggested by Apollos Drake when he and his neighbors were raising the frame of the first saw mill in the town. Messrs. Bemiss and Dudley were the first merchants of the village and left the business some time before 1817. In that year John F. Fairchild opened a store and also kept a tavern many years. Other early merchants were Ira B. Howard, Albert C. Stanton, James Wesson, Samuel and Charles Wickwire, Zinah J. Moseley, who was a partner with Samuel Wickwire, Samuel Ballard, Elnathan Ellis, Nelson Parmelee, Enoch L. Savage, John Clough, Jerome A. Norton, John Northrop, Northrup & Way, Northrop & Priest, Northrop & Henry, Zinah N. Dutton and S. C. Whitmore. Merchants now engaged in trade are J. F. Stoddard, opened a general store in 1884; H. J. Evans, hardware, established in 1884; Floyd Currier, opened a general store in 1892, and also succeeded to the undertaking business of J. Q. Hawks in 1897; J. J. Parker & Co., formed a partnership in 1893, succeeding W. A. Hare; Noel E. Jackson, general store; George M. Griffith, flour and feed, and insurance, established in 1861 with S. M. Faulkner, who retired in 1872; S. G. Holmes, flour and feed; Mrs. C. H. Rice, dry goods and millinery; B. D. Halbert, meat market; formerly with B. C. Hart and later with Van Ness Peckham; L. Edgerton is a blacksmith, and C. R. Rice carries on a livery business.

The first postmaster in Georgetown was probably John F. Fairchild, who was succeeded by David Parker, Alexander McElwain. Dr. Whitmore, who held the office ninteen years, Zinah J. Moseley, William W. Hare, James Hare, William H. Johnson, Harvey Robie, William Way, W. A. Hare, A. A. Stoddard, W. A. Hare again, Leslie Hare, A. A. Stoddard, and W. A. Hare, who again has the office.

Physicians of past years were Dr. Epaphroditus Whitmore, settled in 1810, also taught the first winter school; Drs. Guthrie, Blakeslee, Truman, and Elliott Stewart, each practiced here only a short time; Dr. Babcock; Dr. Reynolds, a short time in company with Dr. George W. Harris, who continued here until his death; Dr. Benjamin Franklin, practiced until his death; Albright Dunham, here a short time and removed to West Eaton; Charles M. White, in practice here since 1844, and Dr. E. F. Lamb.

A tannery was established many years ago which passed to possession of Christian Hartgen in 1875, and upon his death in 1879, was operated by his widow a short time when the business was abandoned; the building is now in use as a barn. It was built about 1859.

A half mile north of the village is a saw mill operated by Edward Hart; it was originally built in 1852 by Bradford Payne; Mr. Hart also operates a grist mill. There was, many years ago, a carding mill in operation here. Two miles south of the village is a grist and saw mill now owned by B. W. Brown & Co., and conducted by W. F Cossett; a saw mill was built on this site as early as 1819 by Manning Drake.

What was formerly called the Blakesley House has been kept since 1876 by Oscar M. Stewart, and is called the Stewart House.

At the railroad depot is a milk station, a blacksmith shop, a flour and feed store conducted by the station agent, H. C. Allen, and a postoffice with the name of Georgetown Station, which is in charge of Charles Wagoner, postmaster. A steam saw mill and stave mill were established here by W. H. Lynn; the property is now owned by a nonresident and only small business is done here.

The Methodist Church was organized about 1830, and the meeting house was built by the Free Church, organized in 1845 by a part of the members of the now extinct Presbyterian church, and was purchased by the Methodists. The building was greatly improved several years ago and the society is prosperous under the pastorate of Rev. E. E. Benson.

The Baptist Church was organized in 1831 and the edifice was erected in 1834 This building was purchased in recent years by Clark Sanford, who moved it to another point where it was burned. The present church was built in 1885. Rev. George Bowler is pastor.

The Union school in Georgetown was organized in 1897 and is fully described in chapter XXIV. There are eleven school districts in the town, employing twelve teachers. For the school year ending in July, 1897, there were 235 children attending these schools. The value at present of the school buildings and sites is $4,645.

The town hall is a frame building of two stories, which was built in 1894, by private enterprise.

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