History of Willett, New York
GAZETTEER and BUSINESS DIRECTORY
OF CORTLAND COUNTY, N. Y. FOR 1869.
COMPILED and PUBLISHED BY HAMILTON CHILD, SYRACUSE, NY 1869




WILLETT, named in honor of Colonel Marinus Willett, was formed from Cincinnatus, April 21, 1818. It lies in the southeast corner of the County. The surface consists of the narrow. valley of Otselic River and of the high ridges which rise on either side. The uplands are broken by narrow ravines through which the small streams flow. Much of the surface is unsettled and too rough for profitable cultivation. Bloody Pond is a small sheet of water in the north-west part. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam.

Willett, (p. v.) situated a little north of the center of the town, contains three churches, two stores, a hotel, several mechanic shops and mills, and about twenty dwellings.

Burlingame's Mills is situated a short distance east of Willett and contains several mills, mechanic shops, stores, &c.

The first settler in this town was Ebenezer Crittenden, in 1797. He was from Barrington, Mass., but had married in Binghamton. Having embarked upon a rude boat, with his wife, child and goods, at Chenango Forks, he forced his way up the river by means of one paddle and a setting pole, to his place of settlement. His first shelter was formed by means of some crotches and poles covered with bed clothes. He soon after built a log house which he covered with shingles of his own make. His gristmill was made by hollowing out the top of a stump and erecting a spring-pole for a pestle. His gun furnished his meat and the Otselic his drink. For nine years he was the only inhabitant of the town. In 1806 or 1807, Benjamin Wilson, from Westchester County, John Fisher, from England, John Gozlay, from Dutchess County, and Thomas Leach, from Madison County, settled here. Jabez Johnson, Phineas Sargent and Ebenezer Andrew came in in 18078. Other early settlers were Joseph Merritt, Solomon Smith, Daniel Roberts, John Coverts, William Greene, Ira Burlingarne, Altitius Burlingame and Edward Nickerson, all of them settling in 1809. Arnold Thomas came here in 1810, and. Solomon Dodge in 1811.

The first birth was that of a child of Ebenezer Crittenden; the first marriage was that of Solomon Smith, and the first death that of the wife of Solomon Smith. Benjamin Wilson built a grist mill, a saw mill and a clothing mill, in 18078. The first school house was built in 1814; the first post-office was established in 1823, and Samuel Dyer wis appointed post-master. William Throop was the first supervisor and Samuel Dyer the first town clerk. The first church (Methodist) was organized in 1816. In 1818 Mr. Arnold Thomas and his wife were drowned in Otselic River, in attempting to cross on a raft. The Baptist Church was organized in 1821, and the Congregational in 1852.

The population in 1865 was 982 and its area 15,664 acres.

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