LEE, named from Lee, Mass., whence some of the early settlers came, was formed from Western, April 3, 1811. Its
size was diminished in 1823 by taking off a part of Annsville. it is situated in the interior of the County, north
of the center. Its surface is rolling or moderately hilly, gradually rising from the low lands in the south to
an elevation of 500 to 800 feet above the canal at Rome. The west branch of the Mohawk flows through the northeast
corner of the town, and Fish Creek forms a part of the west boundary. The soil is a clayey, sandy and gravelly
loam, and in some places is very stony.
Lee Center, (p. v.) situated a little south of the center of the town, contains a church, a hotel, a tannery, a
grist mill, a saw mill and about 300 inhabitants.
Delta, (p. v.) in the south-east corner of the town, contains a hotel, a store, a grist mill, a tannery, a wagon
shop, a school and about 100 inhabitants.
Lee, (p. v.) in the south-western corner, contains a church, two saw mills, a blacksmith shop and about twenty-five
West Branch, (p. v.) in the north-east corner, contains two hotels, a saw mill, a grist mill and about a dozen
houses. Near the village is a woolen factory, a carding machine and a tannery.
Stokes is a hamlet in the south-east part, oontaining a hotel, a store and several shops. A new road has been laid
out, beginning at the south-east corner of lot 38, Banyard’s Patent, and running west on the line of lots to the
plank road running from Stokes to West Branch.
The first settlement was commenced at Delta in 1790, by two brothers, Stephen and Reuben Sheldon. At that time
there was no house between them and Fort Stanwix. Other early settlers in this vicinity were David Smith, Daniel
Spinning, Stephen and Nicholas Salisbury. Soon after a settlement was commenced at “Lee Center” by Nathan Barlow,
William Taft, Dan and Smith Miller, John Hall, Frederic Sprague and a Mr. Hall. James Young, Charles Ufford, Elisha
Parke, a Mr. Potter and others, came as early as 1795. New Eiiglanders described the Military Tract, consisting
of Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca counties, as “so far off and so near the ends of the earth that they supposed it
never would be settled by civilized people.” What is now Lee and Western, was said to be “away up the Mohawk River,
away beyond Fort Stanwix, inhabited by bears, wolves and Indians.”
At the first town meeting in March, 1812, James Young, Jr., was elected Supervisor, and West Waterman, Town Clerk.
Fenner Sheldon was the first child born in the town, in 1791. The first marriage was that of Dan Miller and Miss
Amy Taft, and the first death that of Job Kaird, in 1798. The first saw mill was built in 1791 or 1792, by David
Smith, and the first grist mill by Gen. Wm. Floyd, in 1796. The first school house was erected in 1796 or 1797,
by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants, in money, materials and labor, and was situated one mile south-east
from Lee Center. The first religios society (Congregational) was organized in 1797. Rev. James Southwork was the
The territory comprised in the town of Lee consisted of the following tracts: Scriba’s and Oothoudt’s Patents,
including Bowne’s Purchase, Banyard’s and Fonda’s Patents, Mcllwaine's?, Boon’s and Mappo’s Tracts.
The population in 1865 was 2,714, and its area 27,886 acres.
There are eighteen school districts in the town, employing twenty-seven teachers. The number of children of school
age is 875; the average attendance, 855, and the amount expended for school purposes during the year ending September
30, 1868, was $3,391.07.