History of Coventry, New York

Coventry was formed from Greene, February 7, 1806. Parts of Oxford and Greene were annexed in 1843. It is situated on the south line of the County, near the center. The highest summits are about 800 feet above the valleys. It occupies the dividing ridge between the Chenango and the Susquehanna River, the streams upon the east half flowing into the latter stream and those upon the west flowing into the former. The slopes of the hills are usually gradual and suitable for cultivation to their summits. The principal streams are Harper’s and Kelsey’s Creeks, both flowing into the Susquehanna. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam, for the most part, occasionally interspersed with spots of red loam. The town is an excellent grazing region but not so good for tillage.

Coventry, (p. v.) situated a little north-west of the center of the town, contains three churches, viz., Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist; a hotel, one district school and a select school, two wagon shops, a blacksmith shop, a tannery, several stores and about 50 dwellings.

Coventryville, (p. v.) situated about two miles east of Coventry, contains a Congregational church, a hotel, a store, a wagon shop, a blacksmith shop, a cooper shop and about a dozen houses.

The first settlement was made near the center of the town, in 1785, by Simon Jones. A man by the name of Goodell and another by the name of Clark settled near Mr. Jones in 1786, and Benjamin Jones at the same place in 1788. Ozias Yale and William Starks located a little north of Coventry in 1792, Elijah Warren on lot 2, in 1804, and Moses Allis, Roger Egerton and Z. Hutehinson soon after.

The first birth was that of William Allis, son of Moses Allis, in 1794; the first marriage was that of Simeon Parker and Polly Sprague; and the first death that of a son of Roger Egerton in 1790. Sherman Page taught the first school; Benjamin Jones kept the first inn, in 1788, and Jotham Parker the first store in 1799. The first grist mill was erected by Captain Parker, in 1795, and the first carding and cloth dressing mill by A. & William H. Rogers, about the same time.

The early settlers of this town were from New England. Though there was not one male professor of religion among them, they had been accustomed to attend church and felt that they could not allow-the Sabbath to go unobserved by the usual forms of public worship. They accordingly agreed to meet on the Sabbath, and selected the man whom they deemed most capable of being a leader to conduct the exercises, which consisted of singing, prayer and reading a printed sermon. The man selected to lead in prayer was not a professor of religion. This is an interesting illustration of the influence of early training. They were soon joined by a pious man who took the lead of their meetings. The families attending these meetings were distant from each other four or five miles. Their meetings were conducted in this manner for several years, when an old preacher by the name of Camp visited them and preached for a while. The church was organized Nov. 19, 1807, by Rev. David Harrower, according to Hotchkin's History, though the State Gazetteer gives the name as Harmon. The number of members at the time of its organization was fourteen; the next year there was an addition of twenty-four members. In 1823 the membership was one hundred and sixteen.

The population of Coventry in 1865 was 1,522, and its area 29,306 acres.

The number of school districts is twelve; the number of the school population, 474; number attending school, 387; average attendance, 193; and the amount expended for school purposes during the last year was $2;647.86.

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