Deposit is situated in the valley of the Delaware, sixty miles from its source, nestled among mountains which surround it on all sides, with their summits nearly a thousand feet above the bed of the river. (Illustrated History of Delaware County 1880).
The name Deposit was logical because in early times vast quantities of pine lumber were drawn in winter on sleighs, from as far away as the Susquehanna, and deposited on the banks of the river here to await the Spring high waters when the logs were fashioned into rafts sometimes as large as 200 feet in length, and taken to Philadelphia's market. This was in most cases the only cash income for these early settlers, who did business the rest of the year by bartering and the giving of notes of promise to pay.
Before the coming of white settlers, this part of the Delaware River Valley was inhabited by Indians from several different tribes. The Lenni Lenapes, or Delawares, were most numerous, but the Mohawks held the upper hand. There were also some Oneidas and Tuscaroras. Their council ground, where they held public meetings and performed ceremonial dances, was on a level piece of ground about 8 rods square, situated a few feet south of the present location of the Revolutionary Cemetery. On the flats below the railroad they had cleared 30-40 acres of land where they raised corn and also had a number of apple trees.
To the Indians this area was known as Koo Koose (Cookose, Cookhouse) the place of owls. The local chapter of D.A.R. has adopted the name Koo Koose and the Deposit Historical Society has adopted the owl for a logo.
The first permanent settler was John Hulce who came from Orange County in the Spring of 1789 and settled on the west side of the river at the northerly side of the village. Next was Phillip Pine who came from Fishkill on the Hudson in 1791. Other residents came - including Jonas Underwood and Henry Evans.
In 1790 Captain Nathan Dean a native of Taunton, Massachusetts, removed to Kortright, Delaware County, where he remained until June 1791. Then, as there were no roads, he lashed two canoes together and loaded his family and goods thereon and floated down the river to Cook-house, where he found an empty log house and lived there until he could provide one for his family on his farm consisting of two lots of two hundred acres each covering that part of what is now Deposit, in Broome County, of which he was the first settler. Later streets were laid out and the area became known as Deansville. In 1811 the village, containing twelve dwellings, on the westerly side of the river, on land consisting of Lot No. 43 of the Evans patent, containing 156 acres extending only to "the property line" was incorporated. In 1851 the charter was amended to include 400 acres in the Town of Sanford, Broome County. A provision was inserted that the village, except for elections and schools, should be regarded as belonging to either or both counties. The next and present charter, made in 1871, was a very special act of the State Legislature because of the unique location of the Deposit in two counties. We even have a special date for village elections. But our dual "nationality" has created some problems over time.
Logging was at first the main industry as settlers cleared the land for residential purposes. Then this part of New York State became agricultural with some very large farms in existence. But the rebuilding of highways and changing economy has reduced farming to a minimum.
There have been and still are various industries, printing establishments, fiberboard processing, and harvesting and sale of bluestone from local quarries.
There are a number of lakes nearby and this gives an enhancement to summer population. Now, the Delaware River itself is coming into its own for recreation, and several small businesses are testing the waters, and very successfully.
Deposit really is a great place to live, and to visit. Check out our local Deposit Free Library and the Deposit Historical Museum with its genealogical department which is thriving. And, we have good stores, and good restaurants, a great theater, and a 5600-square foot Family Health Care Center, one of the best in the area.
submitted by Mary Cable, March, 1997
The Deposit Historical Museum was built in 1874, the first building in this village built for banking purposes. Previously the Knapp family had done banking business at 44 Pine Street, a building adjacent to their residence. Unfortunately the Knapp Bank closed (failed) in 1909. Thereafter, the Harold Strong family, lived in it as a dwelling for some years. It was used by the Boy Scouts and the VFW. Then there were intervals of disuse, neglect, and general wear and tear by elements.
When the remains were purchased by the Deposit Historical Society late in 1977, it was virtually dangerous to walk into, what with rotted floors and floor joists, leaking roof and falling plaster from both ceilings and sidewalls. It was completely renovated in late 1980 and opened and dedicated as a Museum june 20, 1981. In January 1988, excavation was started for a large addition at the rear, and after its completion the new entity was dedicated May 13, 1989.
Deposit's Historical Museum contains so many wonderful items it's impossible to enumerate them - antique furniture, clothing, tools, artifacts, pictures, maps, scrapbooks, biographical reviews, lists of cemetery data, plat books, county and township histories, bound volumes of old magazines, and a great deal of information about early local families - including Axtell, Demoney, Burns, Smith, Gregory, Hathaway, Hinman, Hulce, Kelsey, Loder, Lobdell, McClure, Stiles, Whitaker, Briggs, Burrows, Dean, VanAlstine, Wheeler and others. Information and inquiries come from genealogy buffs from all over the country, even from England.
Local industries of yore are represented, from cigar making and sled making to button factories, and glass factories. Pictures and stories about the first hotels, abound. One could spend days here and never run out of astonishing finds.