Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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excerpted from History of the Century -
courtesy of John Whitney, August 17, 1997, former resident of Franklin, NY

History of the Century

1797 - 1897
Centennial Celebration
June 9 and 10, 1897



By Wm. B. Hanford.
. . .

Franklin was taken from Harpersfield March 10, 1793, while part of Otsego county, and four years before Delaware county was organized. But its area has been much reduced by the setting off of Walton, Meredith and Sidney. Its surface is uneven, rising into ridges and low mountains. The soil is mostly red clay loam underlaid by hard pan, from one to two feet below the surface. Along the creeks the subsoil is gravel or clay. There is very little waste land, and nearly all is suitable for agricultural purposes. The Ouleout creek and its branches flow southwesterly across the northern part of the town, to join the Susquehanna and forms good drainage and some water powers. The hills on either side of the Ouleout and some of its branches were covered with dense forests of the largest and best quality of pine. The general forest is beech and maple. In localities there is oak, hickory and chestnut, with scattering varieties. The first town meeting held in Franklin was held at Bartlett Hollow, near Edwin Taylor's, at the house of Sluman Wattles. Sluman Wattles was elected supervisor and Robert North town clerk; Gabriel Smith, David St. John and Samuel Hanford, assessors.
. . .

The general business of the farmers in the early days was clearing land, raising grain, pork and cattle. The grain and pork found market among the lumbermen along the Delaware. The cattle were mostly bought by drovers and driven to the eastern markets. Manufacturing and rafting lumber down the Delaware to market began very early to attract attention till it became a very general business. Silas Johnson, a young man from Walton, who in after years kept hotel and lived and died in Franklin, steered the first raft of lumber ever run from Walton. Franklin had plenty of pine timber and gradually worked into the lumber business till for many years it was engaged in manufacturing lumber and drawing it to the Delaware at Walton and rafting it to Philadelphia. This business continued for some years till a very large proportion of pine had been carried away. But it never proved a lucrative business. The business of the farm changed from grain and stock growing to sheep and wool. The town of Franklin became one of the largest wool growing towns in the county, and for some years Delaware county was the largest wool producing county in the state. A few years later another change came over the business of the farm, changing from wool to dairying. And to-day this county is one of the largest butter-producing counties of the state, and its character for quality stands at the head of the butter market. Franklin has done its share in raising the dairy character of the county to where it now stands, both in quantity and quality.

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a service of the Delaware County Historical Association located at 46549 State Highway 10, Delhi, NY 13753

Online since 1996 - created and managed by Joyce Riedinger