The Town of Maryland


Image and text from Otsego county New York Geographical and Historical
by Edwin F Bacon, Ph B. 1902 Oneonta NY

Page 37. MARYLAND. Area 29,873 Acres. Population 1,998.

This township was formed from Worcester in 1808. The principal stream
is the Schenevus creek, which flows south-west through the town and
empties into the Susquehanna.

The surface consists chiefly of a hilly upland, broken by ravines. The
settlement of the town dates back to 1790, at which time Elisha
Chamberlain and the three brothers, Israel, Elephas, and Phineas
Spencer, located near the present Maryland station on the railroad. The
first settlers where Chaseville is now located were Jotham Houghton and
his two sons Jerehamel and Daniel. Daniel was a captain in the war of
1812. Wilder, Ezekiel and John Rice settled near Schenevus, Caleb
Boynton in the eastern part of the town, and Joseph Howe in Elk Creek.
Early settlers and large land owners were Josiah Chase and John Bigelow,
who came in 1791 and purchased 1,000 acres of land. In 1794 arrived
many pioneers, prominent among whom were John Thompson and his sons John and James from Columbia county. They located near the foot of Crumhorn Mountain and their descendants have been leading citizens.

Other settlers in the vicinity of Elk Creek were Earl Wright, Philemon
Perry, Eleazer Grove, John Kelly, and the Chase brothers, Asa, Dean,
Seth and john, with their families.

One of the first necessities of the early time was a grist mill near at
hand. For a long time all grain had been sent to Cherry Valley. There
was, therefore, great rejoicing when in 1794, those enterprising
pioneers, Israel and Elisha Spencer, erected a mill near the present
Maryland railroad station. At about the same time Jonathan Houghton
built a saw mill near Chaseville, but afterwards removed it to a place
near Spencer's Mills. These mills were built by Phineas Spencer, the
pioneercarpenter. He was a mechanical genius. He made furniture, plows
and coffins. For years he made all the burial cases free of charge.
They were doubtless made, as was the custom in those days, of pine
boards, colored black by a solution of water with the ashes of straw.

The first death in the town was that of the wife of Josiah Chase. The
remains were borne a distance of seven miles to the Maryland cemetery,
the bearers being on foot as was the custom, for this was regarded as
more respectful to the dead.

VILLAGES: There are four villages in this township, viz.: Schenevus
(population 613), Maryland (population 227), Chaseville (population
123), and Elk Creek (population 52).

The Schenevus Valley Fair is held annually on the spacious grounds near
Schenevus village.

SCHOOLS: Number of districts 15; teachers 23; children of school age
481. The Schenevus High School is under the board of Regents, and is
well equipped for efficient work. It is supplied with apparatus for the
teaching of the natural sciences, with maps, globes, charts, reference
books, and a circulating library of 1,000 volumes. A Regents' diploma
corresponding to an Academic course of four years is conferred upon its

CHURCHES: At Schenevus, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, and Methodist.
At Maryland, Christian and Lutheran. At Chaseville, Baptist. At Elk
Creek, Methodist.

NEWSPAPERS: At Schenevus, the Schenevus Monitor, a weekly paper,
established in 1863.

Transcribed by Karen Flanders Eddy.

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