The Otego Historical Society
A History of Otego
Stuart Banyar Blakely
This book is an exact reproduction of the original as printed in 1907.
It is expected to sell as many as 1,000 copies. The income is for the benefit of the new Otego Harris Memorial library relocation.
Vincent B. Fuller, a native of Otego, contributed the "History of Otego"
Bicentennial Year 1976
This book was digitized in December 2009 and
posted on the Otego Historical Society website for personal enjoyment and
research purposes only. No commercial use of this book is allowed without
written permission of the Otego Historical Society.
This little book is the result of the past four summers' work in searching old records, consulting books and articles that bear upon local history and talking with those who, by age or interest, are authorities. An endeavor has been made, by fair search and impartial judgment, to bring together data of local interest, particularly such that exist only in men's memory. It has been impossible, in the time at my disposal, to gather all the facts that may be found recorded. To name all the occupants, or even the first settlers, of every farm would be an unprofitable and probably an impossible task. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that many of the early settlers were very transient.
A few explanations of the text may be needed.
The terms "above" and "below," or "upper" and "lower," are used to locate places in reference to the center of the village, and do not refer to the river or the creek. The facts about the churches have been taken chiefly from Hurd's History of Otsego County. I cannot vouch for the truth of the legends and the stories.
It has been necessary, as well as interesting, to gather a great deal of the genealogy of the families of this town. This is at the disposal of anyone desiring it. I wish to thank the many who have contributed to this history by word and deed. I am especially indebted to W. J. Goddard. As a history the book is far from being complete, and of necessity contains errors. Any corrections, suggestions or new facts will be most gratefully received. If a greater desire to preserve family records and traditions is aroused, if a wider interest in local history is created, if a few facts have been rescued from oblivion, I shall feel well repaid, and the purpose of this little history will have been accomplished.
STUART B. BLAKELY
Map of Otego Township, showing Huntsville, a part of old Otego, and those portions of the three patents that lie within the town. About two miles to the inch.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I Indian Occupation: The Indian Village of Wauteghe
II Indian and other Names in the Town and the Vicinity
III The Organization of the Township: Old Otego
IV The Period before the Revolution: The Patents
V Otego during the Revolution
VI Settlement: The Ogdens
VII The South Side of the River
VIII The North Side of the River
IX Mill Creek
X The Otsdawa
XI Flax Island Creek
XII Briar Creek
XIII Churches: Schools in the Village: Post Offices: River Bridges: Newspapers
XIV Otego's Old Soldiers
XVI Pioneer Experiences
XVII Legends and Stories
The township of Otego comprises 26,634 acres on the southern border of Otsego County. It is bounded on the north by Laurens, on the east by Oneonta, on the south by Delaware County, on the west by Unadilla and Butternuts. The part north of the Susquehanna river is separated into ridges 200-400 feet high, which in general, are parallel with the creeks that empty into the river. The range of hills on the south side along the valley is unbroken. In 1770 the valley was described as a "beautiful country with fertile soil and well timbered; deer were as numerous as cattle on a thousand hills, and the river was alive with fish." In general the soil is a clay and sandy loam. The population, according to the census of 1905, was 1,708.
The village of Otego is situated on the Susquehanna river in latitude 42° 24' and in longitude 75° 11' at an elevation of about 1050 feet above the sea. It is a station on the railroad of the Delaware and Hudson Company, ninety miles from Albany and fifty-three miles from Binghamton. In 1800 it was a hemlock swamp with only one frame house in the vicinity; even twenty years later the children often amused themselves by jumping from bog to bog, from Main Street to the river. About 1835 the land south of Main Street was overgrown with low bushes, white oaks and small pines, and through it there ran a path worn by children's feet on their way to the little red schoolhouse. A pipe was recently sunk one hundred thirty feet, and, after passing through the surface soil and a thin stratum of gravel, only quag was found. The village was incorporated 12 July 1892, and comprises six hundred forty acres. Its population on 15 September 1907 was about 613. It contains 180 houses, including hotels and stores.