WHITESTOWN, named from Hugh White, the pioneer settler, was formed March 7, 1788. It originally included an indefinite
amount of territory, now forming several counties. Steuben, Mexico, Paris and Westmoreland, were taken off in 1792;
Augusta in 1798; Utica in 1817, and New Hartford in 1827. It lies upon the right bank of the Mohawk, a little south-east
of the center of the County. A broad, fiat intervale extends along the Mohawk, from which the surface rises in
gentle slopes about 100 feet, and from the summits spreads out into a rolling upland. Oriskany Creek ("river
of nettles") flows north-east, through near the center of the town, and Sauquoit through the east part. The
soil is thiefly a fine quality of gravelly loam and alluvium, well adapted to grain raising.
Whitesboro, (Whitestown p. o.) in the south-east part of the town, was incorporated March 26, 1813. It contains
four churches, viz., Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopal and Free Will Baptist; the Whitestown Seminary and several
small manufactories. It is a station on the Erie Canal and the New York Central Railroad. The population is about
Oriskany, (p. v.) near the mouth of Oriskany Creek, is on the canal and railroad, and contains three churches,
a cotton factory, a flouring mill, a tobacco factory, a store, three hotels, an iron manufactory and about 1,000
New York Mills (p. v.) is a manufacturing village in the south part, on Sauquoit Creek, and contains three churches,
two cotton mills and about 1,000 inhabitants.
Yorkville is a manufacturing village on the same stream.
Waterville (p. o.) is a hamlet in the south-western part.
Coleman's Mills, in the central, and Pleasant Valley, in the Northeastern part, are hamlets.
The first settlemant was made in May, 1784, by Judge Hugh White and his five sons, Daniel C., Joseph, Hugh, Ansel
and Philo. This was the first settlement made in the County and became the nucleus of civilization in Central New
York. The hardships and privations of the early settlers can hardly be realized at this day. During the first two
years of Judge White’s residence here, the nearest mill was at Palatne, about forty miles distant, and for a considerable
portion of the way the only road was art Indian trail, utterly impassable by any wheeled carriage and scarcely
permitting a horse to thread his way through it. The early settlers frequently carried their grists to the mill
and returned with them upon their backs. The first gristmill was built in 1788, upon Sauquoit Creek, by Judge White,
Amos Wetmore and John Beardsley. Other early settlers not already mentioned were Jonas Platt, George Doolittle,
Thomas R. Gould, Reuben Wilcox, Arthur Breese, Enoch Story, Elizur Moseley, Caleb Douglass, Wm. G. Tracy, Gerrit
Y. Lansing and Henry R. Storrs.
Judge White and family removed from Middletown, Conn. He came by water to Albany, crossed to Schenectady by land,
where he purchased a bateau in which he made the passage up the Mohawk to the mouth of Sauquoit Creek. When he
left Middletown be sent one of his sons with a yoke of oxen by land to Albany. As the family proceeded up the Mohawk
in their boat, the teams kept pace by land. When they arrived at Shoemaker’s, a few miles below Utica, they found
many of the farms unoccupied, and the charred remains of the houses and outbuildings told a fearful tale of the
ravages of Tories and savages. Judge White planted a field of corn here, and in the fall returned and harvested
a bountiful crop. His first house was of peculiar construction. It was situated upon the bank which forms the eastern
terminus of the village green, in Whitesboro, a few rods south of the Utica road. He dug into the bank so that
the lower story was underground and, the upper one in regular log house style. The roof was composed of slabs split
The first religious society was formed in 1794, and on the 20th of August of the same year, Rev. Bethuel Dodd was
settled as pastor. The population in 1865 was 3,984, and the area 15,697. The town contains thirteen school districts,
employing sixteen teachers. There are 1,487 scholars, with an average attendance of 403. The amount expended for
school purposes during the year ending September 30th, 1868, was $4,125.54.