CORTLAND COUNTY. 253
is quite uneven, consisting of the valleys of' the two branches of the Tioughnioga River and the
ridges which border upon them. The valley of the western branch is over a mile wide, and
elevated 1,096 feet above tide. The eastern valley is narrower. A ridge of hills, 200 to 500
feet above the river, separates the two valleys; and a similar ridge occupies the s. e. corner of the
town. The western part is a hilly upland, 1500 to 1600 feet above tide. The principal branches
of the Tioughnioga are Cold and Factory Brooks, from the w. The valleys of these streams
open northward into corresponding valleys, through which flow streams emptying into Otisco and
Skaneateles Lakes. The soil upon the river intervales is a deep, rich alluvial and dark loam, well
adapted to tillage; among the hills, it is a sandy or gravelly loam, better for pasturage. Homer1
(p.v.) is finely situated on the Tioughnioga, 3 mi. n. of Cortland Village. It contains 6 churches,
a printing office, and several manufacturing establishments, including the only cotton factory in the
county. It is the seat of Cortland Academy,2 an old and very flourishing institution. Pop. 1625.
East Homer (p.v.) contains 25 houses, and ILittle York, (p.v.) 15. Spencer Beebe and
his brother-in-law, Amos Todd, were the first settlers of this town, and of Cortland county, in
1791.3 The first religious meetings were held in 1793, when there were but 6 families in town;
and all attended. The first church (Cong.) was founded in 1801, chiefly through the influence of
Mrs. Hobart, wife of Lieut. Hobart.4
LAPEER—was formed from Virgil, May 2, 1845, and embraces the s. e. quarter of that
township. It lies upon the high ridges w. of the Tioughnioga River, on the s. border of the county,
w. of the center. The declivities of the hills bordering upon the river are precipitous. “ Luce
Hill,” in the north western part of the town, is the highest point, and is 1,600 to 1,700 feet above tide.
The streams are all small brooks. Upon Fall Creek, near the s. border of the town, is a wild
and beautiful cascade, 71 feet high, known as Hunts Falls. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam.
Nearly one half of the town is still unsettled. Hunts Corners contains 10 houses. Eajpeer
(p.o.) is near the center of the town. There is no church edifice in town.5 The first settler was
Phineas Grant, a colored man.6
MARATHON—was formed from Cincinnatus, April 21, 1818, as “Harrison,” embracing the
s. w. quarter of the military township. Its name was changed in 1827. It lies upon the southern
border of the county, e. of the center. Its surface is rugged and hilly, the ridges rising 500 to 700
feet above the valleys. The Tioughnioga flows through its western part, in a deep, narrow valley
with precipitous sides. Hunt Creek in the n. w. and Merrill Creek in the e. part of the town
also flow thorough deep and narrow valleys. The arable land lies principally along these valleys,
the uplands being broken and only fit for pasturage. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam
Marathon7 (p. v.) contains 3 churches, the oldest of which is the Presb., organized Feb. 11,
1814.8 Pop. 500. Texas Valley is a p. o. in the n. e. corner. Dr. Japheth Hunt, a surgeon of
the army, who served in both the French and Revolutionary Wars, settled on Lot 93, in 1794.7
1 Incorp. May 11,1835. * I
2 Incorp. February 2,1819. This institution, from its com¬
mencement, has uniformly borne a high reputation. Samuel
B. Woolworth, LL.D., present Secretary of the Kegents of the
University, was at the head of this institution for nearly 22
years. At a jubilee celebration, held July 7 and 8,1846, it was
stated that 4000 students had been connected with the academy.
The whole number up to 1859 was over 8,000.
s They came in the fall, and erected a temporary dwelling, a
little N. of Homer Village, near the bridge, and returned in
the winter for their goods, leaving Mrs. Beebe the sole occupant
of the house, and the only representative of civilization within
a circuit of 30 miles. They were prevented from returning for
6 weeks by the deep snows; and during the whole of that
period the lone woman remained in anxious doubt as to the
fate of her husband and brother. Mr. Todd located on lot 42,
“West Hill.” Among the other early settlers were John House,
John Miller, Jas. Matthews, Jas. Moore, Silas and Danl. Miller,
(from Binghamton,) in 1792; Darius Kinney, (from Brimfield,
Mass.,) in 1793; Roderick Owen, (from Lebanon, N.Y.,) Jonathan
Hubbard, and Moses Hopkins, in 1794; Thos. Wilcox, (from
Whitestown,) Zebulon Keene, and John Stone, (from Brimfield,)
John Keep, Solomon and John Hubbard, and Asa White, in 1795.
The first male child born was Homer Moore, and the first female
Betsey House; the first death, that of Mrs. Gould Alvord. The
first marriage was that of Zadoc Strong and Wid. Russell, who were
obliged to go through the forests to Ludlowville, Tompkins co., on
horseback, to have the ceremony performed. The first school-
house was built a little N. of Homer Village in 17981 The first
teacher was Joshua Ballard. Enos Stimson kept the first inn,
and A. M. Coats the first store. The first permanent and suc¬
cessful merchant was Jedediah Barber. John Keep, Solomon
Hubbard, and Asa White built the first grist mill in 1798, on the
The first sermon was preached by Rev. Mr. Hillard, of N.J.
He was assisting at a raising; and, when it became known that
a minister was present, a sermon was clamorously called for
and was delivered on the spot. The census reports 6 churches
in town; Cong. Bap., M. E., Prot. E., and Univ. at Homer,
and M. E. at East Homer.
6 Free Bap., Meth., and Christian denominations hold meetings
in schoolhouses, The Free W. Bap. Society was formed by Elder
Lake in 1820.
Among the other first settlers were Peter Gray, (on lot 70,)
Robt. K. Wheeler, and Thomas Kingsley, who came in 1802;
Seth Jennings and Timothy Roberts, in 1805; Zac’h Lynes, John
R. Smith, Urial Sessions, Simeon Luce, Avery Hartshorn, and
H. J. Richards. The first marriage was that of Simeon Luce and
Rebecca Ayres, Oct. 9,1805; and the first death, that of Simeon
Luce, in 1808. Ebenezer Luce taught the first school, in 1814;
and Harvey Jennings built the first mill, in 1813.
7 About one mile s. of the village, on the E. bank of the river,
is the site of an old Indian village and burial ground. Tradition
says that this was once the seat of a powerful tribe of Indians.
settler, in March, 1808, aged 97 years. Wm. Cowdrey taught
the first school, in 1803; John Hunt built the first saw mill;
and Weed & Waldo, James Burgess, and David Munroe were the
early merchants. The first successful mercantile firm was that
of Peck, Archer & Dickson, now of New York Citj.