History of Woodhull, 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

[Also see the village of Woodhull]

WOODHULL. - In the extreme south part of Steuben county, bordering on the Pennsylvania line, is a civil division containing 33,600 acres of land, a good general agricultural region, known as Woodhull. This town was created by act of the Legislature, February 18, 1828, and was named in honor of General Nathaniel Woodhull, an officer and patriot of the Revolutionary war. To this formation the older towns of Troupsburg and Addison surrendered portions of their territory, and also their population to the number of about 500 hard working and determined inhabitants.

The physical characteristics of Woodhull are quite similar to those of adjoining towns, the surface being generally hilly upland, the soil clayey and gravelly loam, fairly fertile even on the highlands and rich throughout the valleys. Tuscarora Creek is the chief stream, and courses east through the north part of the town, having in times now gone, furnished abundant water power for the many mills which were built along its banks. In fact, for many years Woodhull was quite noted as a lumber region; milling was carried on extensively and profitably, and farming did not become the leading pursuit of the inhabitants till within a comparatively recent date. Though now secondary in importance, lumber making is still going on and much good standing timber is found in the town.

The first permanent settler in Woodhull, or rather township 1 of range 4, of the Phelps and Gorham purchase, was Daniel Johnson, who came in 1804 and made an improvement, although it is said that about that time two other settlers were here, named Spears and Merlin, but after making a clearing left the region. Pioneer Johnson also became an active factor in early history, and was the first supervisor of Troupsburg, holding that office from 1808 to 1812. The settlers in 1805 were Stephen Dolson, Bethuel Tubbs, Price Kilpatrick, Patrick Breakhill, Squire Wilkes, Amos Riffle, Samuel B. Rice and William Martin. In 1806 Caleb Smith came in from Orange county, and after locating his family at once began the erection of both saw and grist mills, the latter being a log building, but nevertheless a great benefit to the people of the whole region. In the same year Joshua Green, Asel Stiles and Henry Martin located in the north part of the town. Daniel Cortright, Lekins Clark, Mr. Mynear, or Manier, and one Layton settled on the south branch of the creek about the same time. In 1807 the Smith mills, and also the dam, were carried away by high water. The second mill was built by George Martin in 1812. Among the other early settlers, though perhaps not pioneers, were Abner Thomas, John Latimer, Seth Pierce (who opened the road from Canisteo River to the village of Woodhull in 182i), Peter Smith, Bethel Gurnsey, Micajah Sherwood (whose descendants were prominent men in the county), John Stone, Hugh Boyd (from whose settlement the locality called Pulteney Hill was named), James Williams, Samuel Stroud, Mr. Hornecker, Seth Baxter, Worcester Perry, Thomas Hedges, Samuel Smith, Martin and Henry Harding, Andrew Colgrove, Joseph Tubbs, Sylvester Tousey, John Stone, Calvin Searle, all of whom, and others now forgotten, in some manner contributed to the early building up of a thriving settlement.

Noting briefly some of the first events, we may state that the first birth was that of Polly Smith; the first marriage that of Levi Rice and Cynthia Tubbs; the first death that of Benjamin Tubbs. Caleb Smith built the first mills; Ichobod Leach kept the first tavern; Josiah Tubbs opened the first store, and Abner Thomas taught the first school.

As early as 1826 and '27 the inhabitants began to discuss the subject of a separate town, but the matter did not culminate until 1828, when the Legislature passed the act creating the town. However, in 1856, a portion of Woodhull was set off to Rathbone. The first town meeting in Woodhull was held at the house of Asher Johnson, and he was elected supervisor; Jeffry Smith, town clerk, and Levi Tubbs, collector. The county records disclose these facts, but we may here state that in 1866, and again in 1875, the village of Woodhull was visited with disastrous fires, by which the records were entirely destroyed; also the business part of the village. However, the succession of supervisors of the town is known, and is as follows:

Asher Johnson, 1828-30; David Edwards, 1831-37; Stephen Kent, 1838-40; David Edwards, 1841-44; Christopher Marlatt, 1845-48; Stephen G. Tubbs, 1849-50; S. V. Lattimer, 1852; Jeffry Smith, 1853; Asa Arnold, 1854; S. V. Lattimer, 1855; A, J. C. Edwards, 1856-57; S. V. Lattimer, 1858-59; Nelson Perry, 1862-63; S. V. Lattimer, 1862-63; Halsey Swarts, 1864; J. R. Strock, 1865; D. H. Williams, 1866; James Carpenter, jr., 1867; J. S. Warner, 1868-70; H. S. Williams, 1871-72; Win. Carpenter, 1873-75; Silas G. Tubbs, 1876-77; C. W. Morgan 1878; John Sullivan, 1879; Wm. S. Edwards, 1880; Wm. M. Sherwood, 1881; H. S. Williams, 1882; Jerome S. Warner, 1883-84; John W. McPhee, 1885; Solomon L. Wildrick, 1886-87; Delany Colvin, 1888-89; Leonard Lamson, 1890-91; Charles W. Tubbs, 1892-93; Jerome C. Hustled, 1894-95.

The officers of the town for the year 1895 are Jerome C Husted, supervisor; Samuel H, Barrett, town clerk; R. C. Park, B. F. Gee, L, B. Walker and J. S. Andrews, justices; Jent C. Brown, Leroy Hoglin and Eugene Hurd, assessors; Charles S. Castle, collector; M. P. Wilson, overseer of the poor; Earl Herrington, highway commissioner; John M. Park, John Stroud and Bradley Husted, excise commissioners, Woodhull is one of the comparatively few towns of Steuben county in which there has been a gradual increase in population. In 1830, two years after the erection of the town, the inhabitants numbered 501, and in 1840 had increased to 827. Ten years later the population was 1,769, and by 1860 had still further increased to the maximum number of 2,207, regardless of the fact that in 1856 a portion of the town was annexed to Rathbone. In 1870, however, the number had fallen to 1,997, and in 1880 to 1,963, but in 1890 increased to 2,006. The population in 1892 was 2,084.

As one of the townships purchased by the Pulteney Association, so called, from Robert Morris, Woodhull was materially affected by the anti rent disturbance; and we find a number of the influential men of the town active participants in the events of that unfortunate period. In the convention held at Bath in 1830 the delegates from Woodhull were Caleb Smith, Samuel Stroud, Asher Johnson, Jeffrey Smith and Martin Harder. Asher Johnson served on the committee appointed to prepare the famous memorial presented to the agents of the proprietary, and the other delegates were also active in the affairs of the convention.

During the war of 1861-65, this town furnished about one hundred and eighty men for the service, and a glance at the official roster of the several regiments to which they belonged will disclose the fact that a number of these brave volunteers never returned to the town, but lie buried on southern battle fields. The history of the companies in which were Woodhull men forms an interesting chapter in local annals, and the story of the war and of the various commands from this county is told in another department of this work.

Within the geographical limits of this town are four hamlets or unincorporated villages, each having a post office and mercantile interests of greater or less importance. Among these the village of Woodhull is largest and is a place of some note. Special reference to it will be found in the department of this work devoted to municipal history.

Borden is the name of a hamlet containing a post office, three stores and a church, situated about six miles south of Woodhull village. The postmaster is Gird Harrison.

Hedgesville is a hamlet situated four miles north of the principal village of the town. It contains three stores, three blacksmith shops, a planing and saw mill, a barber shop and the M. E. church. The postmaster is Elmer W. Hurd.

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