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Schuyler County History
The History of Hector

In 1779, by the authority of the United States Congress, an army of approximately 5,000 men, placed under command of General Sullivan, sought out hiding-places of Native Americans.  At Newton, now Elmira, both sides met and a desperate engagement of several hours in which both sides fought bravely, however the Native Americans were overpowered.  Defeated and confused the Native Americans fled across the river, following the Chemung Valley and down the east side of Seneca Lake, with Sullivan still pursuing.  The area was surveyed and welcomed civilization.


The first permanent settler arrived in 1790, his name was William Wickham, and he left Orange County with his family; a wife and four children, and came as far as Tioga Point, now Athens, where they passed the winter.  In spring, the moving resumed, the family loaded their belongings and a barrel of flour that was just purchased.  They paddled up the Chemung to Newton, then working their way through the pine swamp slowly and laboriously, as best as they could, to Catharinestown, then paddled on down the creek and lake until they reached the point on lot No.40, which Mr.Wickham had just purchased.  They climbed the hill for a short distance, and came to the road that had been made by Sullivan’s army, and is now known as the Lake Road.  This was undoubtedly the first house built in the town.


There are several descendants of William Wickham living in the town; among them is Erastus Wickham, of Bennetsbury.  The town of Hector has profound beauty.  The town is drained by many creeks, one of which, Cranberry Creek, rises in the center of the town, flows in a southwesterly direction, and empties into Seneca Lake.  Bennetsbury and Burdett are situated on this stream; Hector Falls is also on this stream.  Other streams empty into Seneca Lake, among which is Breakneck Creek near north Hector, Taghanic is also another stream, and it’s tributaries; Bolter and Mecklenburgh Creeks, which flow in an easterly direction through the town, and unite in Ulysses, gliding along toward Taghanic Falls.


    There are four self-rule villages in Schuyler County, the largest is Watkins, and the second largest is Montour Falls.  The official dates of erection of the villages that make up Schuyler County are thus followed; Catharine (1803), Hector (1802), Cayuta (1824), Dix (1835) and Montour (1860)

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