WINDSOR was formed from Chenango, March 27, 1807. Colesville and Sanford were taken off April 2, 1821, and a part of Conklin, in 1851. A part of Conklin was annexed April 18, 1831. It is one of the southern tier towns, lying east of the center of the County. It covers an area of 51,997 acres, of which, in 1865, according to the census of that year, 23,790, were improved. The surface consists principally of two elevated ridges, which are separated by the narrow valley of the Susquehanna. The hills in the eastern range attain an altitude of from 400 to 800 feet above the valley, and terminate in several sharp ridges; while those in the western range, though being generally less elevated rise in some instances to an equal height. Oquaga Hill, in the north-east part, is one of the highest peaks in town. The declivities of the hills are generally quite abrupt. About two-thirds of the town--the western and central portions--lie within the great bend of the Susquehanna, by which river and its tributaries (Okkanum, Red and Tuscarora creeks) it is watered. The soil in the valleys of these streams is a deep, rich, gravelly loam; and on the hills it consists of a gravelly loam underlaid by clay and hard-pan. The Delaware & Hudson Canal Co.'s railroad passes through the town following the general course of the river; and the Erie R. R. crosses the south-east corner. These, with the river, furnish ample facilities for the transportation of the products of the farm, dairy and mill.
In 1870 the town had a population of 2,958. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1871, it contained twenty-two school districts and employed twenty-three teachers. The number of children of school age was 1,010; the number attending school, 911; the average attendance, 451; the amount expended for school purposes, $6,113; and the value of school houses and sites, $8,525.
WINDSOR, (p. v.) located on the west bank of the Susquehanna, a little east of the center of the town, contains four churches, (Free Methodist, Episcopal, M. E. and Presbyterian,) five dry goods stores, one hardware store, two hotels, a foundry and machine shop, one harness, three wagon, four blacksmith, one cabinet, three shoe and one milliner shops, an undertaker's establishment, one whip and two spoke manufactories, one planing, one grist and one saw mills, a spring-bed bottom manufactory and 600 inhabitants. It is a thriving village, surrounded by a good farming country and a wealthy farming community, and enjoys the ready transit of the river and the D. & H. Canal Co.'s R. R. The Susquehanna is spanned here by a free bridge, 700 feet long. 1
CASCADE VALLEY, (p. o.) located near the south-east corner, on the Erie R. R., is simply a post station, and derives its name from the two falls on the creek on which it is located, each of which is one hundred feet in height. The surrounding country presents a wild aspect.
RANDOLPH CENTER, (p. o.) located west of the center, and so named from its being the center of Randolph's patent, contains one church, (Baptist) a wagon and blacksmith shop and eight or ten houses. It is a fine dairy country.
HAZARDVILLE, located in the south-west part, contains one church, (Wesleyan) a school house, a blacksmith shop, a grocery, four saw mills, 2 one of which is operated by steam and three by water, one grist mill and twenty-six houses. It is surrounded by a good grazing country. 3
STILLSON HOLLOW (West Windsor p. o.) is located in the north-west part, contains one church, (Union) a store, a blacksmith shop and a wagon shop.
BARTONVILLE is located south of the center. Stannard & Son's saw mill, situated near here, has a capacity for cutting 200,000 feet of lumber per annum.
For a long time anterior to its settlement by the whites the country embraced within the limits of this town was the home of the red man. Windsor,4 says Wilkinson, "appears to have been a half-way resting place for the 'Six Nations,' as they passed south to Wyoming or its neighborhood; or for the tribes of the Wyoming valley as they passed north. Their path over the Oquago mountain, and also over a mountain this side, nearer the village, [Binghamton] was worn very deep, and is still plainly visible." The mountain referred to in the quotation extends on both sides of the river, toward which, on either side, it has a gentle slop, and incloses a beautiful vale from three to four miles in length and from one to one and one-half miles in width. The route pursued by the Indians was also the one followed by many of the early New England settlers to reach their western homes. "That portion of Gen. Clinton's army, not embarked in the boats, at the time of his inroad against the Iroquois of [this] valley in 1779, took the same course from river to river; and in 1785 a portion of James McMaster's pioneer company from the Mohawk crossed from that point over the same ground which their Indian predecessors with their intimate knowledge of the geographical features of the country, had so long before, with intuitive woodland sagacity, pronounced feasible."5 "The evidence we have," says Wilkinson, in the Annals of Binghamton, " of its great antiquity, and of its distinction at some date or other, is from the numerous and valuable trinkets that were found by the whites when they came to dig and plow upon its plains. The apple trees also found growing there, of great size, and of apparently great age; their number, too, and the variety and richness of the fruit; all indicated the antiquity and importance of the place. A great number of human bones from various depths below the surface, were thrown up from time to time. Some of these were of peculiar formation. A scull was found with the lower jaw attached to it, which had an entire double row of teeth; a single row above, but all double teeth." Remains of a fort, constructed to meet the enemy from the river, were discernible to the first settlers; and as they presented indications of its recent construction the impression prevailed that it was built when Gen. Clinton passed down the river. This, however, seems improbable, since the Indians did not offer any resistance to him or even show themselves. It is highly probable, (in view of the fact that traces of its existence would, at that early day, require much more time for their obliteration, than under the attrition of the present comparatively thickly populated country in its vicinity,) that it was constructed at a much earlier day, and quite possibly during the French and Indian war, as we find mention of a fort which it was then contemplated to erect at this place, and expressions of fear that opposition would be made to the project which would render it difficult to procure workmen for that service, in a letter addressed by Rev. John Ogilvie to Sir Wm. Johnson under date of May 14, 1756.6 The object of erecting this fort was doubtless to afford protection to and extend the missionary labors in this section, which were instituted about the middle of the last century. The Indians of Oquaga were religiously disposed and were among the first to avail themselves of the advantages of the Indian School instituted at Stockbridge at a very early day. They are supposed for this reason to have belonged to the Iroquois, who were distinguished for their deep interest in religious matters. A large number of them went to Stockbridge while Jonathan Edwards,7 who was afterwards president of Princeton College, was a missionary there, and were commended to him by the sachems of the Mohawks, in council, as being worthy of peculiar tenderness and care, since, as they ingenuously admitted, the Oquagas "much excelled their own tribe in religion and virtue." Accordingly Mr. Edwards interested himself in their behalf and secured for them a missionary in the person of Rev. Gideon Hawley, who, in company with Timothy Woodbridge and Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Ashley,8 the latter of whom went in the capacity of interpreter, visited Oquaga in 1753, and Hawley remained there until the breaking out of the French war, when he was admonished that it was unsafe to remain longer, his companions having previously returned.
Mr. Hawley thus describes his reception at Oquaga:
"June 4th.  In the afternoon appeared at a distance Onohoghgwage mountain, and shewed us the end of our journey and the object of our wishes. It rained. Wet and fatigued, we arrived near night. The Indians flocked around us, and made us welcome. Our hopes were raised by favorable appearances. But our accommodations, considering our fatigues, were not very comfortable. Our lodgings were bad, being both dirty and hard; and our clothes wet.
"June 5th. To-day there were many the worse for the rum that came with us. One of our horses hurt an Indian boy; and this raised and enraged such a party against us, as Ashley, his wife the interpreter, and the Indians at whose house we lodged, hid themselves, and would have me and Mr. Woodbridge get out of sight; but we did not think proper to discover the least symptoms of fear, although they threatened us in the most provoking and insulting manner. In the afternoon came the chiefs of the Onohoghgwages, and assured us that those insulting and ill-behaved Indians did not belong to them,9 but were foreigners. We pointed out to them the ill effects of intemperance, and remonstrated against their permitting rum to be brought among them; and that it was necessary in future it should be prohibited, or the dispensing of it regulated, in case we founded a mission and planted Christianity among them. In short, we now opened a treaty with them upon the affairs of our advent, and the importance of our business in every view. Having shewn our credentials, Mr. Woodbridge addressed himself in a well adapted speech of considerable length, to an assembly who were collected upon the occasion.
"It affected them, and they appeared to be religiously moved, convicted and even converted."
The war with all its pernicious influences does not seem to have eradicated from the minds of these aborigines their religious predilections.
Oquaga was also a noted rendezvous of Tories and Indians during the Revolution.
John Doolittle, who settled on the west side of the Susquehanna, about four miles above the bridge, in 1786, is believed to be the first white man to make a permanent settlement in this town. In 1787 came David Hotchkiss and his two sons, Amraphael and Cyrus. They settled on the west of the river, a little below the bridge. Hotchkiss took up a large tract of land, on both sides of the river, purchasing only the possession of a Mr. Swift, who came the same year. This was a little before the land was patented, or at least before the patentees were known to the settlers. John Gurnsey, who came in 1787, took up a patent of 1,000 acres, next south of Hotchkiss' tract. This he left to his sons, of whom there were many, and all of whom left it. North of this, on the river, was the Ellis patent, which embraced the land taken by Mr. Hotchkiss. It consisted of seventeen lots of two hundred acres each, of which Mr. Hotchkiss took ten. Mr. Hotchkiss was the first magistrate appointed in the place. It is related of him that he was very generous and that often, in times of scarcity, he refused to sell his grain to those who had money, preferring rather to supply those who had none. Settlements were made in considerable numbers during the succeeding years, principally by persons from Connecticut. Among these was Major Josiah Stow, from Danbury, Conn., on whose lands were a large number of the ancient apple trees previously mentioned. It was the opinion of the first settlers that they were one hundred years old at the time of their settlement. Some of the apples, says Wilkinson, were large enough to weigh a pound. The trees stood irregularly and their trunks ran up very high, with few or no limbs for some distance from the ground, thus indicating that they grew in a forest. The large number of human bones plowed up in after years beneath these trees led to the supposition that this was the place of sepulcher for the Indian dead.10
Samuel Stow came in 1793. In August, about the year 1794, occurred the "pumpkin freshet." The water in the Susquehanna rose much above its usual height and swept away in its torrent the products of the fields along its banks. A great scarcity of provisions was the natural consequence. During this period the characteristic generosity and hardihood of Major Stow manifested itself. He shouldered a bushel of wheat, in which the whole neighborhood had a share, and with it started to Bennett's mills, via Wattles ferry, a distance of more than forty miles, to get it ground. He performed the journey on foot, and returned in the same manner. During the journey he purchased a quarter of a pound of tea, a luxury to which those early settlers were then entirely unaccustomed, to supplement the feast which his return was to inaugurate. On the Major's arrival the company assembled at his house and active preparations were soon begun to complete the arrangements for a sumptuous feast, in which all were to participate. A shortcake was made from the flour, and as no lard was to be had, the Major bethought himself of some bear's grease he had in the house, which was used as a substitute therefore. As tea was a new article in their bill of fare they did not possess the usual conveniences for preparing and serving it. A small kettle was procured and made to serve the purposes of both tea-kettle and tea-pot. Instead of tea-cups and saucers a wooden bowl was filled with the savory beverage and passed around in a cosmopolitan, if inelegant way. But who shall contrast with disparagement to the former the social cheer which prevailed at that feast, with that which is evoked by similar gatherings in modern times.
Until 1797, when Nathan Lane built the first grist mill in the town, the settlers were obliged, at first, to go more than forty miles with their grists to mill, but somewhat later, and previous to the erection of Lane's mill, one was built about ten miles east of Deposit, which lessened the distance about one-half. Shortly previous, or soon after, (which the memory of old residents does not satisfactorily determine,) the erection of the saw mill by Mr. Lane, the same year in which his grist mill was built, a saw mill was built by Mr. Doolittle. Amraphael Hotchkiss built the first mills upon the Susquehanna.11 David Hotchkiss built the first frame barn.
Frederick Goodell was an early settler. He came from Conn., in 1787, and settled about three miles above Windsor, on the river. In 1798 he moved to that part of the town known as Randolph, which was then a wilderness, and cleared a farm and raised a family, some of whom still reside in the town. Lyman and Henry Beebe came with their father from Wilkesbarre, Penn., May 9, 1803, and settled on the Susquehanna about one mile north of the State line. Lyman Beebe was five years old the day on which he moved into the town. He has since resided within a mile of his present residence. Luman Blatchley came with his son, Neri, and two daughters from Conn., in 1806, and located at Randolph. Soon after his brother, Daniel Blatchley Jr., settled at Hazardville. Jehiel Woodruff was one of the first settlers in the west part of the town. He came with a family of six children, (three of whom still live in the town,) from Long Island, in 1811. On the Randolph hills, around Oquaga, were extensive groves of locusts, so valuable in ship building. Great quantities of this timber were carried to Deposit and thence conveyed in rafts down the Delaware to Philadelphia. The Randolph hills locust had a high reputation, and was found in many of the principal sea-ports east of Philadelphia.12
The first birth in the town was that of David Doolittle, Dec. 27, 1786; the first marriage, that of Capt. Andrew English and Miss Rachel Moore; and the first death, that of Mrs. Ashley, the interpreter accompanying Rev. Mr. Hawley in his mission to Oquaga, in August, 1757, as before stated. The first death among the permanent settlers was probably that of Mrs. Rhoda Goodell, wife of Frederick Goodell, in 1803.13 Josiah Stow opened the first inn and store, in 1788; and Stephen Seymour taught the first school in 1789.
The first settlement at Randolph Center was made by Capt. Samuel Rexford, and family, in 1782. He settled on one hundred acres of land given him as an inducement to locate there. He built a log house and covered it with bark, and grappled manfully with the hardships and privations incident to the opening of a new country. Joseph Brown settled there in 1812, and still resides there.
Windsor may point with just pride to the record of her participation in the war of the Rebellion. She did her duty nobly. The town furnished 237 men for the army, and, as far as we have been able to ascertain, they were distributed as follows:
|In||Company||G.14||89th||Regt.||N. Y. S. Vols.||97|
Of this number thirty-five are reported killed, wounded or missing.
The first church (Cong.) was organized by Rev. Mr. Judd, Aug. 15, 1793.
The Union Chapel (M. E.) society, located at East Randolph, was organized with six members, in 1803, by J. Herron, Samuel Budd and John P. Weaver. Its first pastors were Revs. Dunham and Leach; the present pastor is Rev. L. F. Ketchum. Their church edifice, which will seat 250 persons, was erected in 1865, at a cost of $500. There are forty-two members. The church property is value at $600.
The M. E. Church, at East Windsor, was organized with seven members, in 1812, by Revs. Nathaniel Reader and Nathan Dodson, its first pastors. Their house of worship was erected in 1852, at a cost of $600. It will seat 200 persons. The present number of members is twenty-five; the present pastor, Rev. C. D. Shepard. The Church property is valued at $1,000.
The Windsor Baptist Church, at Randolph Center, was organized with twenty-eight members, by a council composed of representatives from the churches of Chenango, Colesville and Great Bend, Sept. 20, 1838. Their first house of worship was purchased in 1850, and sold in 1866; the present one, which will seat 275 persons, was erected in 1867, at a cost of $1,500. There are fifty-seven members, and though there is at present no settled pastor the pulpit is regularly supplied each Sabbath. The Church property is valued at $2,000. The first pastor was Rev. Abiah P. Worden.
The Zion Episcopal Church, at Windsor, was organized with five members, by Rev. Dr. Van Ingan, in 1842. The church edifice, which will seat 150 persons, was erected in 1863, at a cost of $1,600. The first pastor was Rev. James Keeler; the present one is Rev. Wm. Roberts. There are thirty-five members. The value of Church property is $5,000.
The First Wesleyan Church of Windsor, located at Hazardville, was organized with eight members, in 1843, by Rev. D. E. Baker, its first pastor. The church edifice was erected in 1860. It cost $800, and will seat 250 persons. It has a membership of twenty-seven. Rev. Seth Burgess is the present pastor. The Church property is valued at $1,400.
The East Randolph Wesleyan M. E. Church was organized with sixteen members, by Rev. D. E. Baker, its first pastor, in 1844. The church edifice, which was erected in 1865, and is designated Union Chapel, will seat 250 persons. It cost $500. The present value of Church property is $600. Rev. Seth Burgess is the pastor; and the number of members, thirty-seven.
The Christian Advent Church, located at Wilmot Settlement, was organized with ten members, in 1867, by Rev. C. F. Sweet, its first pastor. The church will seat 100 persons. It was erected in 1868, at a cost of $1,000. The present value of Church property is $1,200. There are twenty members. The pulpit is supplied by Rev. E. C. Cowles and J. W. Taylor.
The First Free M. E. Church, located at Windsor, was organized with ten members, in 1867, by Rev. Wm. Gould, its first pastor. The house of worship was purchased from the Baptist Society in 1866, for $2,000. It will seat 300 persons. Rev. Wm. Jones is the pastor. The number of members is thirty-six. The Church property is valued at $3,500.
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