part of the Sacandaga Land Patent of 1741. The area
was locally known as “Old Ford” and
renamed Sacandaga. Northville got it’s name from
being the farthest settlement north in Fulton County
in 1827. Incorporated in 1873, Northville’s village
base was surrounded by the following settlements: Parkville,
Hope Valley, Sacandaga Park, Gifford’s Valley,
Hardscrabble, and Maple Grove. First Settlers in 1788
were Samuel Olmstead and his brother-in-law Zadoc Sherwood
who built crude huts on the east side of the river.
In 1794, near the present day Northville Bridge, the
land had been somewhat cleared and developed by about
forty settlers. An “Indian raid” took place.
War cries and gunshots were heard on the west side
of the river. Settlers quickly went to arm themselves
against the coming raid. The raid went on into the
night. No attackers appeared at the settlement and
things became quiet again. In the morning several of
the settlers crossed the river to investigate . They
found no one dead, only half spent wad casings , and
moccasin prints in the muddy banks. But the footprints
were suspicious of being Indian due to the absence
of “toeing in” of the print. Upon return
to the settlement it was discovered that two of the
settlers were missing and were not among those who
were in the investigating party. When the two returned,
it was ascertained that they had been paid off ($25.00
a piece) by land developers to try to scare the settlers
away so the developers could move in on the newly settled
property and profit by it’s sale. The two men
left the settlement so swiftly, it’s said, that
one left forgetting his own wife. That was the only “Indian
raid” the settlement experienced. Early farming
produced wheat, rye, barley, corn, and maple syrup.
In 1790 the first Gristmill was built and another
in 1815. Both operated on Hunter Creek that emptied
into the Sacandaga river. In 1794 Ridge Road was a
main road from Fish house to Northville. The road continued
to Hardscrabble and Maple Grove and went on to Canada.
From 1800 to 1890 the population grew from 900 to
1,992 people. Despite the absence of new settlers the
village took great pride in their homes maintenance
and up keep. Main Street was formed in 1807 at which
time six residences made up the street. A few other
residences were randomly scattered throughout the village.
Also in 1800 the first general store was built and
in the same building was a shoe shop and tavern. .
1800 first school built in the village and later
were built and outgrown. These cast off buildings
were used by various groups. A brick school was built
in 1888. The yearly salary of school principal was
$750.00 and the position also included being the janitor.
Gifford’s valley had a school built in 1830.
Most settlements mentioned above had their own schools.
Circuit riders followed early settlers to hold religious
meetings wherever people would congregate. Methodist
Episcopal formed in 1798. In 1805 a meetinghouse was
built and shared with the Baptists. Then the Methodists
went back to one of the old schools in 1812. The first
Methodist Church built was a wooden structure. Then
later the wooden structure was moved to build brick
church in 1872. After various name changes it is now
the First United Methodist Church.
Church members met for the first time in 1802. The
meetinghouse that had been built in 1805 was remodeled
in 1847, then ultimately torn down 1869. They rebuilt
the church in 1870. In 1902 exactly 100 years from
it’s first meeting the church was struck by lightning
causing enough damage that the church was leveled and
rebuilt in 1903 in a new location.
The Presbyterian Church members met in 1849 built
in 1853 and is oldest church still standing. Damaged
by fire of unknown origin in 1936 it was repaired.
Other religions came after 1850.
first brick house on South Main Street was built
by Joseph Spier. In 1820 he became the first
postmaster. Still know as Sacandaga in postmark, the
village name changed to Northville by efforts of Spier
in 1827. Mail was very irregular arriving on horseback
until an established stage route came about in 1840
from Amsterdam via Fish House to Northville. On a good
day, over a plank road, the journey took 7 hours. It
helped some with the regularity of the mail but it
wasn’t until 1875 when the railroad came in that
Northville received mail on a regular basis.
buildings still standing Samuel Olmstead’s
house, Spier House, Gifford’s Valley schoolhouse
was moved and is Northampton Museum on South Main.
1800’s to early 1900’s
grew rapidly from 1850 to the early 1900’s.
A lot of that growth was due to the F.J.& G. railroad
that came in around 1875, but more about that later.
Through that time the village had nine hotels, six
dry goods stores ,six grocery stores five blacksmith
shops, four harness shops, three coopers shops, three
churches, three tailors, three livery stables, two
wholesale flour and feed stores, two markets, two cabinet
shops, two dentists, two shoe and boot stores, two
saw mills and one of each of the following: knitting
mill, oil cloth factory, printing office, tannery,
lumber and excelsior mill, gristmill, hardware store,
drug store, measure factory, granite factory, foundry,
barbershop, jewelry store, and a Chinese laundry.
village was the first to have running water in 1890.
hills above Northville had many springs which
supplied the creeks in the settlement below. But Northville
still struggled with water problems especially in regard
to fighting fires. The 1880’s brought with it
rates raises by insurance companies or refused polices
to businesses due to the frequencies of fires. In 1892
The Citizens Hose Company #1 was formed the first equipment
being a two wheeled horse drawn hose cart. Later a
horse drawn hook and ladder was added. Local horse
owners were paid $3.00 per fire for use of their horses.
Motorized equipment was bought in 1928. Church bells
sounded fire alarms until the company bought it’s
own bell in 1907. Hunter Creek was dammed to provide
a reservoir to aid in the fighting of fires. Worst
business fires on record from 1885 to 1934 numbered
21. One of the more devastating fires occurred in 1888
which 111 of the private cottages in Sacandaga Park
burned. Amazingly no deaths occurred in those fires.
Following water, electricity came in 1893 then the
telephone in 1897.
the Main Street Cemetery had reached capacity a contractor
Stephen Acker, well known in the village,
was hired to level and clear the new site on Prospect
Hill in 1885. In 1882 he had built the concrete supports
for the Northville steel bridge. Also painted the Presbyterian
Church spire, and erected Hubbell’s chimney (which
still stands today and is home to migrating chimney
swifts) He lent his handy work to almost every street
in the village. He made the comment that maybe someone
would get killed just to be the first one in the newly
created cemetery. Shortly afterward he was stuck on
the head by a large boiler wrench which fell from above
him. He died instantly. He became the first person
to be interred at Prospect Hill Cemetery at the age
Continuing church history follows: St Francis of Assisi
Catholic missionaries celebrated mass in private residences
from 1887 - 1891 Summer masses were held in the open
air Rustic Theatre in Sacandaga Park. Church was built
Pilgrim Holiness met in 1906 and built a church 1907-08.
There was a printing press in the basement where gospel
literature was made.
A bank was formed in 1895. Twenty-eight men subscribed
300 shares for a capital of $30,000.00. The bank was
chartered and constructed in 1895.