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French's Gazeteer of 1860
Town of Dryden

From Gazeteer of the State of New York by J.H. French 1860

Dryden1--was formed from Ulysses, Feb. 22, 1803. A part of Danby was annexed in 1856. It is a large town, occupying the central portion of the E. border of the co. The surface of the N. half is rolling or moderately hilly, and that of the S. half hilly and broken. The E. border forms the watershed between Tioughnioga River and Cayuga Lake. The highest ridge, in the S.E. part, is 1,700 to 1,800 ft. above tide. The principal stream is Fall Creek, flowing S.W. through near the center of the town, on its course affording several millsites. Several small streams, tributaries to Owego Creek, take their rise in the S. part. Dryden Lake is a small sheet of water 1 mi. long and about 1/2 mi. wide. lying in an elevated valley near the E. border and 1,500 ft. above tide. A mineral spring, strongly impregnated with sulphur, magnesia, and iron, is situated one mi. W. of Dryden Village, and has a local notoriety for medicinal virtues. In the S.E. part are two swamps, each covering an area of several hundred acres. Dryden, (p.v.,) on the S. branch of Fall Creek, in the E. part of the town, is a flourishing inland village. It contains 2 churches, a large gristmill, and several manufacturing establishments. Pop. 522. Etna, (p.v.,) on Fall Creek, near the center, contains 2 churches, a grist and saw mill, an iron foundery, and machine shop. Pop. 230. West Dryden, (p.v.,) in the N.W. part, contains 93 inhabitants; Varna, (p.v.,) on Fall Creek, near the W. border, 170 inhabitants; Malloryville, Freeville, and California are hamlets. The first settlement was commenced in 1797, by Amos Sweet, on the present site of Dryden Village.2 Joseph Chaplin built a road from Oxford, Chenango co., to Ithaca, passing through this town, in 1792-93-94. There are 9 churches in town.3


1Named in honor of John Dryden, the English Poet.

2The next settlers were Ezekiel Sandford, David Fort, and Ebenezer Chausen, who located at Willow Grove in 1798. A single yoke of oxen, at one load, brought these three families, consisting of 14 persons, and all their household goods, from the Chenango River. Capt. Geo. Robinson (sometimes called the "father of the town") came in the same year, and settled on Lot 53. Among the other early settlers were Lyman Hurd, from Vt., Dr. Sheldon, Dr. Wolf, Irona Peat, Wm. Daley, Joel Hall, and Jas. Wood. The first child born was Robert Robertson; and the first death was that of the mother of Amos Sweet. Daniel Lasey taught the first school, in 1804. Amos Lewis kept the first inn, Joel Hull the first store, and Col. Hopkins, from Homer, built the first mill, in 1800.

35 M.E., 2 Presb., 2 Bap., and R.C.

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