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branch of the Moose river runs through the southern portion of the tract. Mr. Brown visited his lands near the close of the last century, made some improvements in the way of opening roads, building houses and erecting mills, intending and expecting to make sale of them. Mr. Brown died, however, before he realized any of his anticipations, and no doubt a great many more men will die before that wilderness will be seen "to blossom as the rose." In 1846, the commissioners of the land office were offered five cents an acre for a considerable portion of townships one and two, but they refused to take less than eight cents an acre.
A son-in-law of Brown, Mr. Charles F. Herreshoff, went on to the tract a few years after the death of Brown, for the purpose of making permanent improvements upon it and bringing the lands into market. This project was quite as visionary, far more expensive, and in the end, more fatal to the projector, than the antecedent one had been to Brown. Herreshoff expended a large sum of money in clearing up the lands, repairing the former mills built by Brown, and erecting new ones, in building houses and opening roads, and at one time had gathered around him some thirty or forty families. He also erected some iron works in township number seven, and actually succeeded, it is reported, in making about one ton of iron. But Herreshoff's outlays were large, and it required something more "to speed the plough " than could be raised on the tract, or from the proceeds of the iron; he therefore resorted to the expedient, which he doubtless had often indulged in before, of drawing on his friends in Providence for the needful means to consummate a dearly cherished object. The draft was returned to him protested; he felt dishonor keenly, and deliberately shot himself through the head with a pistol. He was ardent, ambitious, probably visionary, and could not have had much practical experience of the business he was engaged in; and if he died " as a fool dieth," it was a choice of evils with him. He preferred death, a suicidal exit from the world, to the crushing endurance of mortified feelings, groping his way through life in poverty, and as he thought, covered with dishonor.
After HerreshofPs death the people he had brought there left the settlement, and iron works, mills, barns and houses, with one exception, went rapidly to decay. It is understood that sometimes one and then another family has been found bold and hardy enough to keep watch and ward on the tract since Herreshoff died. A great portion of the tract, if not all of it, has been sold for arrears of taxes and bid in by the state.
In 1815, a Mr. Noble, a venerable patriarch, and nephew of the patentee of Nobleborough patent, had found his way there through the woods, and was enjoying a wilderness life as he best could in a green old age. It will be observed that this large tract was purchased of the state by Arthur Noble in 1787; he made some improvement on these lands as early as 1790, and then erected a sawmill and had some boards sawed out which he took to Ireland. The settlement broke up and another effort to colonize the tract, in 1793, was made with the like success. The remains of a grist and sawmill were seen at this settlement about the year 1811 by Mr. William Bensley of Newport. Mr. Noble must have been influenced by a monomania like that of John Brown's, when he caused a carriage road to be cut and cleared to his lands, over which he passed in his coach. Mr. Noble sojourned for a time at Little Falls while his experiments in the woods were going on, but finally returned to Scotland, where he died many years since. There are large quantities of excellent timber on the lands in this town, of almost every description, except pine, found in our northern latitude. Portions of the surface are broken and stony, and other portions can be brought under cultivation and will make fair grazing lands. The iron mines of this region are spoken of as rich and inexhaustible.
Contains all that part of the county, beginning in the west bounds of the county, where the same are intersected by a line run due east from the northeast corner of township number twenty of the Twenty townships, so called, and running thence easterly to a bound on the south side of the Utira and Minden turnpike at the southeast corner of the town of Litchfield; and then south thirty degrees west to the bounds of the county; and then along the bounds of the county easterly, southerly and westerly to the place of beginning: comprising within its bounds parts of Bayard's, Lispenard's and Schuyler's patents.
This town was settled by whites before 1800, but at what period I am not able to state; probably between that time and 1790. A small part of it lay within the limits of the Old England district until the municipal organization of the counties in this part of the state into townships took place. Its area is not large, containing only about fifteen thousand acres, as returned by the assessors. The soil is good and highly productive. More attention has been here given to wool growing than any other town in the county. The products of butter and cheese, as given by the census returns, show that this branch of industry has not been forgotten. Several streams which flow southerly into the Unadilla river, have their rise in this town and Litchfield, and afford very considerable facilities for milling and mechanical pursuits, which have not been left unimproved. The Great Western turnpike passes through the southerly part of the town, which, before the days of canals and rail roads, was a large thoroughfare thronged with stages, carriages, teams and droves of cattle, but now almost a solitude.
The village of West Winfield, whose population is nearly four hundred, is located very near the west bounds of the county. It contains an academy incorporated by the regents of the university. I refer the reader to another chapter for a more particular description of this institution. The locality is pleasant and healthy. A bank organized under the laws of the state has recently been established in this village. The plank road from Hion on the Mohawk to the Great Western turnpike, a short distance east of this place, has caused a very considerable portion of the trade and travel of the Unadilla country to center at and pass through the village northerly to the canal and Central rail road.
List of Towns in the county and the number of voters in each, and list of Villages and Population in each, in 1855:
No. 1. Referred to at page 42.
[Council Minutes XIII, page 162.] At a Council held in Albany, the 9th day of September, 1721. Present:His Excellency, William Burnet, Esq., &c; Capt. Walter; Mr. Cadwallader Colden; Mr. James Alexander.
The petition of several Palatines, in behalf of themselves and others, at Skohere, praying his Excellency's leave to purchase a Tract of Land on the Mohacks River, for their use and settlement, which his Excellency communicated to this Board.
It is the opinion of the Council, that the Palatines have leave to purchase a certain Tract of Land, in the name of his Majesty, upon the Mohacks River, above the fall, about forty miles beyond Fort Hunter, and that the said purchase be made within a year after the date of the Lycense, to be in pursuance hereof, a Patent will be granted to them, their heirs and assigns, under the same Restrictions and Reservations as other vacant lands are granted to his Majesty's Subjects in this Governmt, they taking care the said Land be not granted, Purchased or Patented to any others from the Governmt heretofore.
To all christian people or Indians to whom these presents shall come at any time, Know ye that we being some of the principal sachems or chiefsof the five Nations of Indians, belonging to the crown of England, do for ourselves, to and with the consent of all other Indians belonging and proprietors of a certain tract, parcell or parcells of land lying and being on both sides of the Mohawks river, beginning at the first carrying place, being the eastermost bounds, called by the natives Astenrogen, running along on both sides of the said river westerly unto Garreudagaraew, or the upper end of it, it being about twenty-four English miles long on both sides of the said river, Together with all the woodland northerly and southerly of the said meadow land as far as the said Palantines or High Dutchmen please to take, containing about in acres we know not, do of our own free will, and for the respect we have for the Government of New York, and likewise we have taken into consider