Organization--Area and Boundaries--Physical Characteristics--Streams and Drainage--Population--Early Settlers--Manufacturing Enterprises--Schools and Justices--Churches--Cemeteries--Postoffices and Postmasters.
Farmington township was created in February, 1830, and was taken from Elkland township. It is nine miles in length from east to west, has an average width of four miles and contains about thirty-six square miles. It is bounded on the north by the boroughs of Osceola, Elkland, and Nelson, and a part of the township of Lawrence; on the east by Lawrence and Tioga townships; on the south by Middlebury, and on the west by Chatham and Deerfield. Lying midway between the Cowanesque river, on the north, and Crooked creek, on the south, this township forms a part of the watershed between the two streams. Its surface is rugged, hills and valleys alternating. With but few exceptions, however, the former are tillable from base to summit, and at least seventy-five per cent. of the area of the township is under cultivation. It is distinctively an agricultural township and one of the best in the county. The drainage is principally toward the north and east. Thorn Bottom and Cummings’ creeks, which rise west of the center of the township, flow northeast into Nelson township. The valley of the former, on account of its picturesque beauty, is known as Pleasant valley. Elkhorn creek rises near Farmington Hill and flows southwest into Tioga township, uniting with Crooked creek at Tioga. A few of the smaller tributaries of Crooked creek rise in the southern part of the township and flow south into Middlebury township. The township was heavily timbered when first settled. This has been cleared away, except a few acres here and there. The pine and hemlock has been manufactured into lumber. Owing to its small streams the township has not had many saw-mills within its boundaries, and the pine and hemlock logs have, as a rule, been hauled to Osceola, Elkland, nelson, Tioga and other milling points, and there manufactured into lumber.
The township has no villages and it is claimed for it that there has never been a license granted to sell liquor within its boundaries. It has grown slowly but prosperously, and is in many respects the model farming township of the county. In 1840 it had 503 inhabitants; 1870, 997; 1880, 995, and 1890, 907.
It is a difficult matter to determine who was the first white man to settle within the present boundaries of Farmington township, or to definitely fix upon the year of his coming. Lemuel Cady, a carpenter and joiner, is credited with locating at Osceola about 1810. In 1812, so his living descendants say, he went into Farmington township, and bought 200 acres of land near what is now known as the Cady school house, but his name does not appear upon the assessment rolls of Elkland township, from which Farmington was taken, until 1817. In 1818 he returned to Osceola where he remained until 1823, when he went back to Farmington, bought a tract of land near his former location and became a permanent resident. He worked at his trade until 1839. The name of David Bryant appears on the assessment list of Delmar township for 1812, the territory of which then included Farmington, and so far as can now be learned, he appears to have been the first permanent settler. He located on the State road, on what was long known as the Bryant homestead. He was still a resident of the township in 1831, the year of its organization. The name of David C. Bryant makes its appearance on the assessment list of 1819. The name was spelled "Briant" by the assessors. The name of Ezra Cummings and Chandler W. Chamberlain, both residents of the township at its organization, appear on the assessment list of 1823, as does also that of Jacob Cummings. Martin Bowen’s name is on the assessment list of 1828. In this year also appears the name of John McCallum. His descendants say he was the fifth settler in the township. The assessment list of 1829 contains the name of William Gee, whom his descendants say came in 1824. Moses Atwood appears to have settled about 1829. James Cook came in 1830 and erected a saw-mill. Peter Moury came previous to 1831, as did also Asa Moury. It has been stated that in 1828 there were but four log cabins in the township, and that in 1830, when the first election was held, there were but eleven voters. If this be true, the township must have grown rapidly during the next year, inasmuch as the assessment list of 1831 shows sixty-five persons, who were assessed as owners of seated lands and personal property within its boundaries. Among the more prominent of these, in addition to those already named, were Ives Chamberlain, Zebediah Clark, James Works, John and Daniel Crippen, Jacob Lichenthaler, David Cummings, Job Herrick, Lockwood G. Hoyt, Freeman Place, Alva Cummings, John C. Robb, Samuel P. Babcock, Jonathan Sobres, Nathan Bottom, Charles Carr, Randall Drake, George Stanley, William Perrigo, Johnson Butts, Henry B. Turk, Harvey Foster, Hiram Merritt, Samuel and Daniel Buckbee, and Abner Webster. Descendants of most of these pioneers are still to be found in the township. Like the early settlers in other townships of the county, they felled the forests, cleared the lands and planted homes for themselves and their descendants and lived to see the township transformed from a wilderness to a thrifty and prosperous agricultural community.
James Cook erected a saw-mill on Elkhorn creek in 1831. In 1838 he was succeeded as owner by Ephanetus Cook, who sold to Northrop Young in 1849, who was succeeded in 1853 by Lyman Fisk. This mill was afterward changed to a steam mill and was operated until 1882, being owned at the time by A. J. Fisk. Peter Moury operated a saw-mill from 1844 to 1847. These appear to be the only saw-mills erected in this township.
The West Farmington Cheese Factory, located near the Cady school house, was erected in the spring of 1895. It is owned and operated by E. A. Bean, of Knoxville, and has an output of 70,000 pounds of cheese annually.
SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES.
The first school was taught in the township in 1836 and was located in what is now known as the House district. Within the next few years school buildings were erected in other parts of the township. Although the public school law went into effect in 1835, the schools were supported by subscription until 1850. Ten schools are now maintained within the township, there being an average of seven months school each year. good school buildings have been erected and a liberal policy pursued in supplying them with furniture, globes, maps, charts, etc. Competent teachers are employed and are paid fair wages.
The following named persons have served as justices of the peace since the organization of the township: Martin Bowen, 1831; Samuel Snow, 1831; A. M. Compton, 1834; John C. Whitaker, 1836; Richard Ellison, 1838; Chandler W. Chamberlain, 1840; John C. Robb, 1840; Rockwell W. House, 1845; John A. Kemp, 1845; re-elected, 1850; John Peters, 1850; Seneca Horton, 1855; J. B. Redfield, 1855; Reuben T. Hall, 1858; M. D. Bosard, 1860; James Beebe, 1863; re-elected, 1868; Andrew J. Doane, 1864; A. J. Smith, 1866; J. M. Shaw, 1869; William Campbell, 1869; Aurel J. Fisk, 1874; Edgar D. Fish, 1877; re-elected, 1862; R. S. Lugg, 1879; J. H. Merritt, 1885; re-elected, 1890, 1895; Justus Leonard, 1887; re-elected, 1893.
The Presbyterian Congregation of Farmington was organized February 10, 1844, at the house of Johnson Butts near Farmington Hill. The constituent members were Johnson and Lucy Butts, John C. Robb, Miss Prudence Crippen, Mrs. Prudence Foster, and Josiah H. and Mary Ann Foster. The elders have been Johnson Butts, Peter M. Close, John C. Robb, Harvey Foster, P. L. Butts, O. H. Blanchard and D. P. Close. Rev. S. J. McCullough, who organized the church, was its pastor till 1848. His successors have been Revs. Thomas E. Woodcock, J. Gordon Carnahan, F. Rand, 1859; Fred Graves, 1866; S. A. Rawson, 1873; Benjamin Russell, 1880; C. B. Gillette, 1881; R. G. Williams, 1885; S. P. Gates, 1889; J. L. Campbell, 1890; John H. Elliott, 1892, and W. C. McCormack, who took charge in January, 1896. He is also the pastor of the church at Tioga. A church edifice was erected in 1851 at a cost of $1,200, and has been repaired as needed. The congregation is a strong one. Services have been held with but occasional interruption since the society was organized and a good Sunday-school maintained. The society was incorporated February 14, 1853, upon the petition of John Harrower, Peter M. Close, Isaiah H. Foster, Johnson Butts, John C. Robb and Leverett L. Wilson.
The Farmington Hill Methodist Episcopal Church was organized about 1845. The following are the names of the original members: Daniel S. Buckbee, S. P. Buckbee, Mrs. Hannah Buckbee, Miss Katie Buckbee, Mrs. John Crippen, Mr. and Mrs. H. Merritt, Mr. and Mrs. John Edgebert, Mrs. Katie Tremain, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin S. Mulford, and H. B. Turk. The following named pastors have served this church: Revs. G. W. Terry, Mr. Grandin, A. R. Jones, Mr. Davison, E. D. Rosea, Mr. Christian, R. L. Stillwell, James Duncan, J. M. Powell, J. H. Austin, 1860-63; G. N. Packer, 1863-64; C. L. F. Howe, 1864-66; V. Brownell, 1866-67; W. M. Haskell, 1867; W. H. Rumsey, T. L. Weaver, John Van Kirk; Harvey Lamkin, 1873-76; C. J. Bradbury, 1876-77; G. W. Howland, 1877-79; Harvey Lamkin, 1879-81; J. W. Gamble, 1881-83; J. D. Requa, 1883-85; R. E. Thomas, 1885-86; F. A. Peterson, 1886-88; W. L. Linaberry, 1888-89; C. M. Gardner, 1889-91; D. O. Chamberlayne, 1891-92; L. P. Thurston, 1892-95; Uri Mulford, 1895-96, and D. E. Stiles, who took charge in October, 1896. The society was first organized by Daniel Buckbee, and services were held in a log school house. In 1852, during the pastorate of Rev. A. R. Jones, a church edifice was erected on Farmington Hill, at a cost of about $1,500. The society now numbers sixty-three members. There is a good Sunday-school and a Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of West Farmington—also known as the Pleasant Valley Church—was organized in November, 1883, by Rev. James Scovill, pastor. The following are the names of the original members: S. C. Doane, class leader; Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Teachman, Mr. and Mrs. William Van Dusen, Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Simeon Cady, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Casbeer, Mrs. Charles Starr, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Seely, and Mrs. Redfield. The names of the pastors are as follows: Revs. James Scovill, 1883-85; M. D. Jackson, 1885-86; William S. Crandall, 1886-88; D. L. Pitts, 1888-90; Melvin J. Smith, 1890-91; J. W. Miller, 1891-94; A. G. Cole, 1894-96, and W. J. Wilson, who came in October, 1896. The first trustees were Rev. Charles Weeks, Simeon Cady and Aaron Baker, under whose supervision a church building costing $1,300 was erected in 1883, on land purchased from Simeon Cady. It stands in the valley of Thorn Bottom creek, in the midst of a prosperous agricultural section. There are at present fifty members in the society, which is in the Osceola charge. There are sixty pupils in the Sunday-school, of which Aaron Baker is the superintendent.
The Farmington Cemetery Association was incorporated December 2, 1872. The cemetery owned and controlled by this association embraces two acres of land and was opened in 1854. It adjoins the Presbyterian church. The incorporators were James Beebe, R. H. Close, O. H. Blanchard, Reuben T. Hall, O. L. Butts, George White, James L. Robb and P. M. Close. It is neatly fenced and well cared for. It has been for nearly half a century the burial place for the families resident in the eastern part of the township.
The Union Cemetery Company of Farmington was incorporated December 5, 1873. The incorporators were Andrew Van Dusen, Edgar M. Stevens, James E. Peters, J. B. Redfield, Carlos H. House, William Welch, A. B. Wright, William Pierce, Willard Cass, E. D. Fish, Charles Edwards, William Van Dusen and Milo Anderson, all representatives of old families in the western part of Farmington and eastern part of Chatham townships. This cemetery, known as the Peters cemetery, is situated on high ground near the old parsonage. It contains the graves of many of the first settlers of the township.
The Cemetery Association of North Farmington was incorporated April 13, 1882, by J. W. Teachman, Osceola; Warren Phelps, Farmington, and Rev. Charles Weeks, Nelson. This cemetery is located about half a mile east of the Pleasant Valley church, on the road to Nelson. The land was given by Rev. Charles Weeks and wife. The deed and charter require that the money derived from the sale of lots shall constitute a permanent fund, the interest of which shall be devoted to keeping the grounds in proper condition and repair. The first interment was made here in 1851. It was a family burying ground for many years.
The Moury Cemetery, a family burying ground, was incorporated April 20, 1886, by Jonathan and Charles w. Mourie, Daniel Moury, Ira H. Moury and Henry Moury. This was the private burying ground of the Moury family. It was incorporated to preserve it in perpetuity as a cemetery.
Besides these incorporated cemeteries there are several private burying grounds in different parts of the township. Among these may be mentioned the Gee burying ground, and the Jacob Prutsman burying ground. All the public and private cemeteries are well cared for and contain an unusually large number of handsome marble and granite monuments.
POSTOFFICES AND POSTMASTERS.
The West Farmington Postoffice was established about 1858, the first postmaster being C. H. House. His successors have been Ansel Wright, John Hammond, Rockwell House, Adelbert Van Dusen, Willard Cass and Elizabeth Cass, the present incumbent, who was appointed in July, 1895.
Farmington Hill Postoffice, in the eastern part of the township, was established in 1861. There have been but two postmasters, Reuben T. Hall, who held the office until November 27, 1882, when George White, the present postmaster, was appointed. Farmington Hill Grange, No. 841, which was organized March 8, 1888, meets in a hall near the Farmington Hill Methodist Episcopal church. It now numbers sixty-four members.
Elbridge Postoffice was established in 1883. J. E. White was the first postmaster. His successors have been Charles McCallum, J. E. White, Mrs. C. B. Moury, J. B. McCallum, and Mrs. C. B. Moury, the present incumbent. Mrs. Moury also carries on a general store. The office is near the center of the township. Elbridge is also the voting place of the township.
Odle Corners Postoffice, in the western part of the township,
near the Deerfield township line, was established in July, 1893. Mary Odle,
the postmistress, has kept a store here for twenty years.