HARTSVILLE. - On the 7th of February, 1844, the town of Hornellsville was divided, and township No. 3,
of range 6, Phelps and Gorham purchase, was erected into a separate town by the name of Hartsville. Either by design
or mistake this township was originally sold by Oliver Phelps to the company of proprietors who purchased Canisteo
and Hornellsville. These purchasers sought to secure Nos. 3 in the fifth and 4 in the sixth range, but through
some cause the deed of conveyance described townships three in the fifth and sixth ranges. However, before many
improvements were made in this town the error was discovered and corrected.
Geographically, Hartsville is located on the western border of Steuben county and south of the center. It contains
23,20o acres of land and is regarded as one of the best dairy towns of the county. The land surface is generally
hilly and somewhat broken, though there is comparatively little waste or useless land in the town. Bennett's Creek
flows northerly through the east part and Purdy Creek has its course from west to east across the north part and
discharges into Bennett's Creek in the town of Canisteo.
The first settler in this locality was Benjamin Brookins, who made an improvement in the year 1809, but, becoming
discouraged, left for other parts before the pioneer in fact of the town made his beginning. Joseph Purdy, an earnest
and hard working Irishman, located in the north part in 1810, and for a time occupied the cabin abandoned by his
predecessor; and records inform us that Purdy was the only settler in this then remote region until the year 1819.
Still, during this period the pioneer made a good beginning and cleared a good farm. His name is worthily preserved
in the town, by the name of the principal stream and also the name of the post office at the Center. In 1819 Jesse
Pilmater, Perry and Andrew Potter and William D. Burdick came to the town, settling in the northwest part. Daniel
P. Carpenter came in 1822, driving with an ox team, and located half a mile south of the Center. Frank Powell came
the same year and settled near the site of the cemetery as afterward established. The settlers in 1823, as near
as can be determined, were William Hudson, John Granger and Ebenezer and Robert G. Martin, while in the next year
came Joseph and James Thompson. John Hood came in 1826, and is remembered as having been and old " war of
1812 " survivor. He organized the town militia company and was its captain; Nathaniel Williams was its lieutenant,
and Oliver Coon ensign; Ferris Clawson, sergeant. General training day was a notable occasion, and Carpenter's
lot was the scene of many a hard fought battle against the common foe Yankee ginger bread and hard cider.
In 1825 William Allison, the head of a numerous and prominent family in the county during later years, settled
near the Carpenter place. James Howell and John Martin joined the settlement in 1828. Othniel Call came during
the same year and located on what was named for him "Call Hill." He was followed later on by Joseph,
David and Orlando Call, thus creating the Call settlement. Francis and Micah Kennedy came in 1829, and James Classon,
John Henry, and David Whiting in 1830. Among the later settlers were Henry Acker, Reuben and Charles N. Hart, Simeon
Baker and his sons James, Ephraim and Simeon, jr., Thomas Stout, Ralph Amidon, George L. Puffer, David Phelps and
others, all coming in gradually and adding to the settlement until the lands were quite well taken up. Many of
these settlers gave their first attention to clearing the lands, hence were engaged more or less extensively in
lumbering; and it has been claimed that between 1825 and 1840 there were no less than fourteen saw and shingle
mills in operation in the town. The forests were reasonably well cleared about 185o, after which Hartsville became
an agricultural district. To this end nature has favored the people here, for the soil, a shale and clay loam,
is good and yields well in return to proper cultivation. The lands are especially adapted to grazing and the growth
of hay, hence here we have an important dairy town in this part of the county; and the village of Canisteo and
the city of Hornellsville are always good markets.
According to conceded authority, the first events of town history in Hartsville were these: the first birth, that
of Sarah A. Carpenter; the first marriage, that of Robert G. Martin and Mary A. Gleason; the first death, that
of an infant child of Ebenezer Martin, all in 1823. The first school was taught by the daughter of Joseph Purdy.
Daniel P. Carpenter opened a store in 1825, and built the first saw mill in 1827. Robert G. Martin built a mill,
where the recent Allison mill stood, in 1832, and soon afterward William Allison built another. R. F. Allison put
in the first steam power in the town. The first tavern keeper was Henry Frisbee, 1849; the second, Joseph Henry,
in 1851. The town was organized in 1844, and in 1845 had a population 759, or just twenty three less than the population
as shown by the census of 1892. The greatest number of inhabitants was in 1860, being 1154.
Hartsville was so named in honor of Charles N. Hart, for many years one of its foremost men and identified with
its best history. The first town meeting was held in February, 1844, and the officers elected were Charles N. Hart,
supervisor; Erastus S. Beard, town clerk; James Beard, Jonathan Pettibone and Elizur Sage, assessors; Silas Palmate,
Jonathan B. Purdy, Reuben W. Willard and Henry Acker, justices of the peace; Israel Adams, Edmund Cook and Levi
C. Henry, highway commissioners.
The supervisors of Hartsville, in succession, have been as follows: Charles N. Hart, 1844-45; James Beard, 1846-47;
Edmund Cook, 1848-49; Erastus Beard, 1850; Francis Kennedy, 1852-53; James Beard, 1852-53; E. Cook, 1854; Jas.
Beard, 1855; C. C. Purdy, 1856; Jas. M. Cook, 1857-58; Shepard Amidon, 1859-60; Richard F. Allison, 1861-66; Silas
Palmer, 1867; R. F. Allison, 1868; Lyman A. Cook, 1879-80; R. F. Allison, 1871-72; James A. Almy, 1873; Joseph
Vickers, 1874-75; James B. Hendee, 1876-77; Langford Whitford, 1878; Milo M. Acker, 1879-80; James A. Almy, 1881-82;
Charles Amidon, 1883; Jacob Vickers, 1884-85; S. B. Van Buskirk, 1886; Wm. Clark, 1887-88; Wm. C. Acker, 1889-90;
N. P. Flint, 1891-92; Wm. C. Acker, 1893-95.
The officers for the year 1895 are as follows: William C. Acker, supervisor; Floyd E. Carney, town clerk; Aaron
Kennedy, R. Clark, Scott Van Buskirk and M. S. Amidon, justices of the peace; James A. Almy, Fremont Hendy and
W. A. Vickers, assessors; J. W. Norton, highway commissioner; M. D. Westcott, collector; Leroy Johnson, overseer
of the poor; Alexander Todd, Eli Woodworth and Charles Comstock, commissioners of excise.
The martial spirit with which Captain John Hood inspired his citizen soldiers during the good old days of general
training seems to have been enduring and to have awakened a spirit of patriotism truly commendable, for we find
that during the war of 1861-65 the town of Hartsville contributed a liberal quota of men. They were attached to
several regiments formed in the county, and a more complete record of their services will be found in another chapter.
When first formed from Hornellsville the schools of this town were a part of the system then in operation, but
after the separation was rearranged in districts to suit the convenience of the inhabitants. The districts were
nine in number, each provided with a school. As at present arranged Hartsville has eight districts, and the total
number of children in the town of school age is about 225. Eight teachers are employed during the school year,
The value of school property is $3,190, and the assessed valuation of the districts is $251,535. In 1893-94 the
town received from the public school funds the sum of $907.26, and raised by local tax $1,027.67.