REMSEN, named from Henry Reinsen, Patentee of Remsenburgh, was formed from Norway (Herkimer Co), March 15, 1798.
A part of Steuben was annexed in 1809. It is the northeast corner town in the County. Its surface is an elevated
upland,broken by hills and ridges, elevated from 1,200 to 2,000 feet above tide. Black River and its tributaries
drain the central and north parts; West Canada Creek forms a small part of the south-east boundary and Cincinnati
Creek a part of the west boundary. Otter, Long and White Lakes are in the north part. The soil is a light, sandy
loam, better adapted to pasturage than to tillage. A large part of the town is still covered with forests, forming
a portion of the great Northern Wilderness. The Black River and Utica Railroad passes through the south-western
part of the town.
Remsen, (p. v.) situated on-the Black River & Utica Railroad, contains five churches, two hotels, a grist mill,
a saw mill and about 1,000 inhabitants.
Forest Port, (p. v.) situated on Black River, two and a half miles from Alder Creek Station, on the Black River
& Utica Railroad, contains three churches, two hotels, several lumber manufactories and about 800 inhabitants.
The Forest Port Stave and Lumber Manufacturing Company has a capital of $50,000, and is doing a large business.
There are a large number of saw mills in the town.. A navigable feeder to the Black River Canal termi- nates here
and affords an easy communication to all points by water. Several horse railroads extend from Forest Port to mills
in the vicinity, constructed for the transportation of lumber.
The first settlement was made in 1792 by Barnabas Mitchell, from Meriden, Conn. The whole region was then a howling
wilderness. Mitchell and his family located about five miles north-east of the present village, and were the only
settlers that year. In 1798 John Bonner, Nathaniel Rockwood, Bettis Le Clere, Perez Farr and Jonah Dayton, removed
to the presert 1imits of Remsen. These early settlers were from the eastern States; but in 1808, David Mound, John
James, Griffith I. Jones, John Owens and Hugh Hughes, from Wales, located in this town, and were soon followed
by a large number of their countrymen. A large majority of the inhabitants of this town are natives of Wales or
their. descendants. They are a moral and religious people, as well as industrious and frugal. The settlement of
the village was commenced in 1795 by James Smith, who opened a public house. The house was constructed of logs
and boards, and continued for several years to be a house of entertainment.
The first birth in the town was that. of Polly Mitchell, and the first death that of Capt. Peck. Broughton White
kept the first store, in 1803. Mr. White was a surveyor and for several years was a member of Baron Steuben's family.
The following is an extract from the journal of Rev. J. Taylor, a missionary, who visited the place in September,
1802: "This is a broken society. The people are very ignorant and wicked. About three months since, a stranger
came into the town, who appeared to be a pert coxcomb, about twenty-eight years of age, who calls his name Alexander.
He soon obtained a school and in a fortnight set up preaching, and pretends to preach every Sabbath. Who and what
he is they know not, but that he is some notorious villain, I believe there is no doubt. Many of the people, especially
the wickedest part, are very much attached to him. There is no church in town and but one professor, who belongs
to the church in Steuben."
The population in 1865 was 2,650, and the area 71,321 acres.
There are sixteen school districts, employing twenty-four teachers; number of children of school age, 726; average
attendance, 212; amount expended for school purposes during the year ending September 30, 1868, $2,946.50.