Pioneers of The Town of Oneonta


Image and text from Otsego county New York Geographical and Historical
by Edwin F Bacon, Ph B. 1902 Oneonta NY
This township was formed from portions of Milford and Otego in 1830.

Page 44. ONEONTA. Area 21,930 Acres. Population 8,910.

This township was formed from portions of Milford and Otego in 1830.
The Susquehanna river flows through the southern part, dividing it into
two ridges. The hills south of the river, called South mountain, attain
an elevation of about 700 feet above the valley, and 1,800 feet above
sea level. The center and northern part of the township is hilly and
broken by the Otego, Silver, Oneonta, and Emmons creeks. It was a
favorite resort of the Indians in the olden time, and the present Main
street is believed to be on the line of an Indian trail.

Of white settlers, previous to the Revolution, little is known. The
names of Scramling, Young and Alger are all that have come down to us
from that time. General Sullivan's destructive expedition in 1789 broke
the power of the aborigines, and after the war the tide of emigration
was early turned to this attractive region.

Among the early families were those of Henry Scramling, Frederick Brown,
Abram Houghtailing, William Morenus, Peter Swart, James Young, Jacob
Wolf and his son Conradt, John and Nicholas Beams, Frederick Bornt,
David Alger, Elihu Gifford and his seven sons, Solomon Yager and his son
David, Josiah Peet, Ira Emmons, and Dr. Joseph Lindsay, who was the
first physician.

Jacob VanWoert settled at the mouth of Otego creek. Andrew Parrish,
James Blanchard and Thomas Morenus on the south side near "Round Top."
Col. Wiliam Richardson built a saw and grist mill on Oneonta creek in
the vicinity now known as "Richardson Hill."

At Emmons, on Emmons creek, then a place of some importance, Major Asa
Emmons built a carding and fulling mill. At Oneonta Plains early
settlers wer Elisha Shepard and Asel Marvin.

VILLAGES: There are two villages in this township---Oneonta, with a
population of 7,147, and West Oneonta, population 207. The plain west
of Oneonta village, in the triangle between the rivers, is called
Oneonta Plains. It has a considerable settlement, and a Methodist
church. Postoffice, Oneonta.

SCHOOLS: Number of districts 14; number of teachers 38; children of
schoo age 1,683.

CHURCHES: There are thirteen churches in this township, viz.: At
Oneonta, Baptist, Free Baptist, Catholic. Christian Science, Episcopal,
Methodist, Presbyterian, United Presbyterian and Universalist; at West
Oneonta, Baptist and Free Baptist; at Oneonta Plains, Methodist; and a
Mehodist church at Richardson Hill.

NEWSPAPERS: There are six newspapers published in Oneonta, viz.: The
daily Star, and the following weekly papers: the Herald, the Lender,
the Press, and the Spy. The Oneontan is a monthly and is issued during
the school year as the organ of the State Normal School.


The village of Oneonta is pleasantly situated on the north bank of the
Susquehanna river, and on the line of the Delaware and Hudson railroad,
nearly midway between Albany and Binghamton. The greater part of the
village lies upon a gentle slope that rises from the river for nearly a
mile to the northward, and affords from its summit a commanding view of
the village and of the wooded highlands that surround it in nearly every

Oneonta is a growing and prosperous village, and is becoming a railroad
and manufacturing center of considerable importance. Its railroad
connections are the extensive "Delaware and Hudson" systerm, the "Ulster
and Delaware", extending from Oneonta to Kingston on the Hudson, the
"Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley" road, which crosses the "Delaware and
Hudson" near the village, and the "Oneonta, Cooperstown and Richfield
Springs" electric railroad, which is to connect at Herkimer with the
"New York Central."

The "Delaware and Hudson" railroad shops at this point employ nearly 600
men, and the enlargement of the plant, now in process of construction,
will materially increase this firm. Other important industries are the
"Oneonta Milling Company," the "Paragon Silk Mills," the branch of the
"Gloversville Knitting Company," the "Buckley Shirt Manufactory," the
"Dauley & Wright Marble Works," and the extensive cigar manufactories of
Doyle & Smith, and Hayes & Bowdish.

The wholesale trade of Oneonta is important, especially in the lines of
flour and grain, groceries, crockery, glassware and paper. The "Central
New York Fair" is held here each year in the month of September, and is
always largely attended.

The "Oneonta Building and Loan Association" contributes to the
establishment of homes by its stock loans to members. A state armory is
located here, and an efficient military organization maintained (Company
G, 1st Reg't, N.G.N.Y.).

The buildings of the State Normal School, which was established here in
1889, occupy a commanding position upo the eminence at the northern side
of the village. It is one of the best equipped and most successful
Normal schools of the state. Other institutions and societies are the
"Aurelia Osborn-Fox Memorial Hospital Society," the "Young Men's
Christian Association," the "Oneonta Club," and the "Women's Club."

The village is lighted by electricity, has an excellent water supply,
complete telegraph, telephone and express service, and the principal
business streets are well paved. The electric road extends through the
village to the East End suburb, with a branch to the normal school.


The Union Free School, which dates from 1867, employs a superintendent
and twenty-three teachers, and had 1,125 pupils enrolled. The High
School department, under the Regents, fits for college or business. It
is well supplied with apparatus, charts and specimens for the study of
the natural sciences. Its business course includes book-keepng,
commercial law, typewriting and stenography. With this school will
always be associated the memory of the late Nathaniel N. Bull, for
twenty five years its efficient and much esteemed principal (1870-1895).

The End End suburb, population 564, has a graded school that employs
three teachers. It has a new and commodious school building.

Transcribed by Karen Flanders Eddy.

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