History of Fremont, NY
From: Landmarks of Steuben County, New York
Edited by: Hon. Harlo Hakes
Assisted By: L. C. Aldrich and Others
D. Mason & Company, Publishers,
Syracuse, New York, 1896

FREMONT. - In the year x854, about the time of the organization of the Republican party, the creating powers were petitioned to form a new town in Steuben county, and in accordance with the request there was erected the present town of Fremont, so named in allusion to John C. Fremont, who at that particular time was a conspicuous figure in national politics. The town was erected on November 17, and the older divisions Hornellsville, Dansville, Wayland, and Howard surrendered portions of their territory to the new formation. The new town contains 19,600 acres of land, and is located in the northwest part of the county. Its surface is a hilly upland and forms a part of the dividing ridge between the Canisteo and Conhocton Rivers. The soil is chiefly a shaly loam, derived from the disintegration of the surface rocks.

The pioneer of this town was Job B. Rathbun, a native of Connecticut, but a former resident of Dansville in this county. Mr. Rathbun moved into what is now Fremont in 1812 and built the first dwelling house in the town, and from his settlement the locality soon became known as "Job's Corners." About the same time Abel H. Baldwin moved in from Otsego county, exchanging one hilly region for another. Next came Thomas Buck and family from Washington county. John A. Buck married Rebecca Baldwin, and their son, Charles E., born November 12, 1816, was the first birth in the town. The first death was that of the wife of Amos Baldwin, December 12, 1815.

Among the other early settlers may be recalled the names of Ira Travis, in the valley of Big Creek; Solomon and Jacob Conderman, from whom has descended several prominent men in the county; John Bartholomew, in the southeast part of the town; Lemuel Harding, in 1816; Oliver Harding, a patriot of the Revolution; Samuel Sharp, who located west of Harding's. Harding's Hill was so named from the families just referred to. Elisha Strait was the first settler in the north part of the town, coming here in 1815, and was followed in 1816 by Edward Markham and Francis Drake, who located south of him. In 1819 Jerry Kinney, George Nutting, Barnet Brayton, Henry Cotton, and Leonard Briggs made a colony settlement at the head of the west branch of Neil's Creek. Here they found a camp of about twenty Indians, who were engaged in hunting and fishing. Alexander Kelly made the first clearing where Haskinville is located,

Other and later settlers, yet worthy to be mentioned in these annals, were James Rider and William Haskins, from Saratoga county, also William Holden, Gideon Maynard, Silas Benjamin, Stephen Holden (1816), Lewis Canfield, Daniel Upson, Michael G. Helmer, Edward Patterson, Elisha G. Stephens, founder of the village called Stephen's Mills, Richard Timmerman, and others who were in some manner identified with the history of the 'town while its territory formed a part of the older divisions.

As we have noted the town was organized as a separate jurisdiction in 1854, then having a population of about 1,100 inhabitants. The first town meeting was held in Mr. Stephen's hotel at the Center, on February 13, 1855, at which time these officers were elected: Elisha G. Stephens, supervisor; Franklin Dart, town clerk; Jason Ranger, Solomon Gates, Ebenezer H. Mason, justices of the peace; Randall F. Beecher, Isaac P. Haskins, Morrison Harding, assessors; Hiram Culver, Norman Eldridge and William Haskin, highway commissioners; James R. Babcock, collector; Cornelius Conderman, overseer of the poor.

The town officers for the year 1895 are M. J. Harding, supervisor; E. R. Kilbury, town clerk; J. M. Kelly, Seymour Jones, D. D. Wild and Melvin Nipher, justices of the peace; A. D. Huvener, assessor; E. H. Helmer, collector; R. C. White, overseer of the poor; Clark Haight, highway commissioner; Smith E. Harding, A. D. Osborn and Levi B. Evans, excise commissioners.

The supervisors of Fremont have been as follows: Elisha G. Stephens, 1857-59; Lorenzo N. Rider, 1857-59; Jason Ranger, 1860-61; Oathniel Preston, 1862-63; Samuel E. Haskins, 1864; William B. Stephens, 1865-66; W. B. Rathbun, 1867; William B. Stephens, 1868; Esek Page, 1869-72; Ira Carrington, '873-74; De Merville Page, 1875; Calvin Bullock, 1876; L. H. Benjamin, 1877-78; W. H. Bowen, 18798o; S. S. Cotton, 1881-82; C. K. Mason, 1883; S. S. Cotton, 1884; M. J. Harding, 1885-86; Joel Killbury, 1887; G. S. Van Keuren, 188889; Harrison Russell, 1890-91; S. S. Cotton. 1892; M. J. Harding, 1893-95.

In 1855 Fremont had a population of 1,119, and in 1860 had 1,117. In 1870 the number of inhabitants was again 1,119, and in 1880 had increased to 1,274, but in 1890 had fallen to 1,047. In 1892 the population was 1,088.

This is peculiarly an agricultural town, and as such compares favorably with other adjoining divisions; and while there has been made some attempt at manufacture this pursuit has never added materially to local prosperity. In the growth of hay, grain, potatoes, apples, and dairy products lies the success of the people of Fremont.

Unlike many towns of the county, Fremont has not suffered seriously from disturbing causes. To be sure the anti rent conflict had an effeet somewhat prejudicial to local interests, yet at that time settlement was not far advanced and the territory of the town belonged to the older divisions of the county. The sturdy agriculturists steadfastly adhered to their legitimate occupation in life and gave small heed to the annoyances of the period. However, during the war of 1861-65, a truly martial spirit perpervadede entire community, and Fremont sent into the service no less than one hundred and three men, who were scattered through the different companies organized in the county. This was certainly a remarkable record, especially when we consider the fact that in 186o the population of the town was but 1,117.

Previous to 1855 the school interests of Fremont were a part of the history of older towns, but in the year mentioned, under the local corcommissionership George Collins, jr., the town was divided into districts, nine in number, while the children of school age numbered 457. From this beginning the present school system of Fremont has developed. The districts now number ten, and the children about 300. Ten teachers were employed during the last current year. The value of school property is $4,395. The town received of public moneys, $1,183.78, and rair3ised tax $1,431.61.

Among the several named hamlets or settled localities of Fremont, that known as Stephen's Mills or Fremont Center, is the largest. It is located near the center of the town. Haskinville is in the northeast part, Niel's Creek is in the southeast part, Big Creek in the south part, and Job's Corners in the east part of the town. Big Creek is a postoffice station, D. D. Weld, postmaster. Neil's Creek is also a postoffice, Matthew N. Silsbee, postmaster. Here also is the feed and cider mill of P. Pettis. Job's Creek has a grocery kept by B. R. Chubbuck. Haskinville and Stephen's Mills and also the churches of this town are elsewhere mentioned in this volume.


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