The History of Otsego, NY 
Early Milford History

By Holice and Debbie



Organization—Geographical — Topographical — First Settlers and Their Locations — Initial Events — First Town-Meeting — Officers Elected — Documentary History — Supervisors and Town Clerks From 1796 to 1876 — Present Town Officers — Agricultural and General Statistics — Area — Assessed and Equalized Valuation —  Population from 1806 to 1875.

This town was formed from Unadilla, Feb. 5, 1796, as "Suffrage." It retained this name until the year 1800, when it was changed to Milford. It is an interior town, lying south of the centre of the county, and bounded as follows: on the north by Hartwick, Middlefield and Westford, on the east by Maryland, on the south by Oneonta, and on the west by Oneonta and Laurens.

The surface of Milford is a hilly upland, divided into two ridges by the Susquehanna River. The declivities of the hills in many places are very steep. Crumhorn Mountain, on the east order, attains an elevation of 500 to 600 feet above the valley. The hills in the west part of the town are 300 to 400 feet in height. The soil consists chiefly of a sandy loam, in some localities mixed with gravel.

Settlements were begun in this town before the Revolution, but the border wars caused them to be abandoned, and no permanent settlement was affected until 1783. Among those who located prior to the Revolution was one Carr, a "squatter," who settled on the Susquehanna.

Among the first who located in the town after the War were David, Thomas, and Mathew Cully, from Cherry Valley, and the Mumford’s from Bennington, VT. They came in 1788, and settled at Milford Centre.

The Mumford family consisted of the father, Thomas Mumford, and four sons, George, Gardner, John, and Joseph, and five daughters. Mr. Mumford purchased a grist-mill of David Cully, and four hundred acres of land from David and Mathew Cully. He settled, with his sons, on the farm. In the year 1800, desiring to change his location, purchased a farm on the site of the present village of Portlandville, on the west side of the river. One son, Al---o, now resides in the vicinity. The only descendants are De---, residing in Otego; Robinson, below Portlandville; and Captain James Mumford. The latter now resides at Portlandville, at an advanced age. He has kept a public-house in this place for more than forty years.

The Edsons were early settlers in the corners bearing their names. Levi Adams was also an early settler in the vicinity. He came from Pawlet, Vt., and located here in 1790. He was the first carpenter in the town. He built many of the pioneer houses, and was in many respects a useful man in the new county. A daughter, Polly, married Joseph Mumford. She lived to the advanced age of ninety-seven, and died in 1876.

The village of Portlandville was formerly known as Mumfordville, but the Mumford’s, not caring that their name should be perpetuated in this manner, decided to change the name of the village, and finally, at the suggestion of Captain Jesse Mumford, it was called Portlandville. This designation pleased the inhabitants, and it has since retained that name.

The establishment of the post-office was an event hailed with much satisfaction by the people of Portlandville and vicinity. This was established in 1826, and Captain Mumford appointed postmaster. After officiating in this capacity for years, the office was removed to Milford Centre, and was subsequently removed to Portlandville, and Captain Mumford reinstated,

The first tavern was built in 1825 by Captain Mumford which he kept for a period of forty years.

The excellent water-power afforded by the Susquehanna at this point early stimulated the erection of mills, and in 1814 a large dam and saw-mill were built by a company, consisting of Joseph Gardner, Joseph and John Mumford, John Lowe, Sr., John Lowe, Jr., and David Cully. In the following year, 1815, a grist-mill was also built by the same company.

The pioneer store in Portlandville was kept by Russell Briggs. The first physician was Dr. Steward.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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