BRIDGEWATER was formed from Sangerfield, March 24, 1797. It lies in the south-east corner of the County. The surface
is uneven, consisting of the valley of the west branch of the Unadilla, which runs through it from north to south,
and the adjacent hills. This valley is known as “Bridgewater Flats” and is. about one mile wide at the north border
of the town, but decreases to about half that distance at the south. These Flats are celebrated for their fertility
and are highly cultivated. The hills rise on the east and west borders, from 300 to 500 feet above the valley,
their declivities being often very steep. The soil in the east is a gravelly loam, and in the west clayey. In the
north-east part is a quarry of excellent limestone, for building purposes. The quarry extends over some 300 or
400 acres, and lies about thirty feet higher than the flats opposite. The excavation which forms the valley of
the west branch of the Unadilla, has been filled to a great depth with drift, and no rock is found within a great
depth from the surface. Cedar swamps extend along many of the streams.
Bridgewater (p. v.) is situated in the south part of the town, and contains two churches and about. 300 inhabitants.
North Bridgewater, (p. v.) in the north part, contains about twenty houses.
Babcock's Hill (p. o.) is a hamlet in the north-east part.
There are several mills in various parts of the town. At the center of the town is a saw mill and a grist mill,
on the west branch of the Unadilla. There is also a horse-rake factory in connection with the saw mill.
The first settlement was commenced in 1788, by Joseph Farwell, at a place known as “Farwell’s Hill.” In March,
1789, Mr. Farwell, in company with Ephraim and Nathan Waldo, removed their families from Mansfield, Oonn., to Farwell
Hill. They came via Albany and the Mohawk Valley to Whitesboro, thence to Paris Hill. From Paris Hill they were
obliged to make their own road, following a line of marked trees. Their team consisted of two yoke of oxen and
a horse, and their vehicle an ox sled. On their arrival, March 4, the snow was about one and a half feet deep,
but soon increased to four feet. Their team, with their two Cows, subsisted on browse until the spring opened.
Their house consisted of four crotches set in the ground, with a roof of split slabs and hemlock boughs, and siding
of blankets. These families lived in this shanty till midsummer. About three years after this Mr. Farwell built
the first frame house in the town. Ezra. Parker settled in the north part of the town in 1789, erected a log house
and kept the first tavern. A Mr. Lyman, Jesse, Joel and Abner Ives, were among other early settlers. For the first
two years the settlers were obliged to go to Whitestown to mill, a distance of twenty miles. Mr. Farwell built
the first saw mill, in 1790, and Mr. Thomas the first grist mill, in 1792, on land now occupied by George L. Foot.
In 1792 Ephrairn Waldo built the first store and blacksmith’s shop in the town. Soon after the settlement of the
town, a son of Ephraim Waldo, eight years of age, discovered a young bear asleep in the woods by the side of a
log. - Eager to secure so valuable a prize, he retreated a short distance to a small elm tree, from which he peeled
a piece of bark with which he made a noose, and, creeping softly up, slipped it over the head of the young sleeper
and started for home. He had taken the precaution to draw his noose so tight that the cub could make no noise,
and though soon followed by the mother of the cub, reached home in safety, the old bear being shot by Jesse Waldo
as she approached their residence.
The population in 1865 was 1,252, and its area 14,702 acres.
There are eight school districts, employing eight teachers. The whole number of children of school age is 425;
the number attending school, 312; the average attendance, 142, and the amount expended for school purposes, $1,937.69.