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This town was erected from Lorraine, May 2, 1848; the first election being held at the school house at Wilcox’s Corners. It comprises town No. 2, of Boylston’s Tract. At a special town meeting, held in Lorraine, in February, 1810, the division of the town was unanimously voted; but numbers of settlers in this part having left soon after, it was not divided.
Supervisors. -- 1848-9, Albert S. Gillett; 1850, Riley W. Green; 1851, Jonathan M. Ackley; 1852, Riley W. Green; 1853, John M. Ackley. The name of the town was selected by a committee chosen for that purpose. Wellington, and Roseville, were proposed, but rejected.
The eastern portion of the town was divided up among the early proprietors of the Black River Tract, to make their proportions equal. These tracts, reckoned from the north to the south, were: Harrison and Hoffman, 1283; Henderson, 649; Low, 1576; William Constable, 947; the remainder to Harrison, and Hoffman, 22,004 acres. The town was, in part, surveyed in November, 1801, and May, 1802, under the direction of Abel French, by Joseph Crary. Portions have been sold for their taxes, and several duplicate numbers occur in the numbering of the lots, that have occasioned much difficulty. The town derives its name from General W. J. Worth, of the United States army, who became personally known in the county, during the patriot disturbances in 1838-40.
Settlements commenced under the agency of Abel French, of Denmark, an early and prominent agent, originally from Albany. In passing through Herkimer County, he succeeded in interesting a company of citizens, residing in Litchfield, to purchase, in common, a large tract in this town, for the purpose of settlement. A committee, consisting of Timothy Greenly, Joseph Wilcox and Elihu Gillet, having visited the tract, and found its location and advantages worthy of attention, concluded, on the 22d of July, 1802, a contract, with French, the agent of Daniel McCormick and Charles Smith, by which they agreed to pay $7,622 for the north-west quarter of No. 2. A deed was afterwards executed to them, in trust, for themselves and their associates, and a mortgage given. The tract was divided into lots, and drawn by ballot by the company, who paid over money as they might be able, to the above committee, and received bonds for the delivery of deeds, when the purchase money should have enabled them to produce a clear title. The company consisted, besides the above, of Asaph Case, Leonard Bullock, W. Flower, Eli Gillet, Lodwick Edwards, John Griswold, Ezekiel Chever, Phineas Rose, Joel Caulkins, Abram Ford, Nathan Matoon, Asa Sweet, John Pinear, Phineas Stevens, Elijah and David Richmond, John and William Sargas, John Houghtailing, and perhaps a few others, neighbors in Herkimer County, and mostly natives of Connecticut. A few settled in 1802, and most of the others in 1803, coming in by way of the state road and Redfield, with ox teams, and working their way through to their destination, with great difficulty. When this was fairly reached, their labors were but begun; and provisions must be obtained at a distance, with no roads but obscure paths, and no vehicles but drays formed from the crotch of a tree, and drawn by oxen. In 1805, a rude saw and grist mill, under one roof, was got in operation; and in 1806, the first school was taught in a log barn, by an elderly woman named Brown. The Methodists held meetings from an early period, and are at present the only religious organizations in town. Settlements were commenced near a small branch of South Sandy Creek, which is generally known as Wilcox’s Corners, the seat of Worthville Post Office. This is about one mile from the south line of Rodman, and two miles from the corner of Pinckney. The settlements had made considerable progress, when the rumors of war, that filled the country with alarm, induced nearly every settler east of the Corners, for a distance of three miles, to abandon the town, and retire to a more interior place. This, with the cold seasons that followed, nearly annihilated the settlement, which was abandoned to a common; the mortgage was foreclosed, and the greater part of the land reverted to the proprietors. To those who remained, a reasonable clemency was extended, and the foreclosure, upon the whole, did no injury to the town.
In 1845, an edifice, for the purpose of schools and meetings, was built at the Corners; and during the last five years, the town has rapidly increased in population in the south part. About one quarter of the town, along the east and south line, is still a forest, and a considerable portion bears the aspect of a new country. From its great elevation, it is somewhat liable to frosts and deep snows; but it is well watered, and the soil is found to be finely adapted to grazing, and much less liable to drouth than the flat country, underlayed by limestone, nearer the lake and north of Black River. The surface is undulating, and less broken by gulphs than Lorraine. The rock is Lorraine shale, in some places covered by drift; and several sulphur springs occur in town.Return to Hough Index Return to Shirley Farone's Homepage