DELAWARE county has played an important part in the past history of the commonwealth of New York. It is fitting, therefore, at the end of the first century of her organized life, to commemorate the circumstances of her establishment, and to gather up the facts of her experience which may serve as lessons for the future. The committee having charge of the celebration of the centennial anniversary of the county has deemed it suitable to prepare a volume, which besides containing the proceedings of the days devoted to the public exercises at Delhi, should also include historical notices of the towns and the county, and biographical sketches of some of her most eminent citizens.
It is impossible to enumerate all the sources from which information has been derived for the compilation of this story of a century, to the authors of the town histories whose names are given in the contents, the committee desires to express its special thanks for their valuable contributions. Acknowledgements are particularly due to Mr. John A. Parshall, the veteran antiquarian of Delhi, for his constant and willing assistance at all times; and to Mr. S. B. Champion of Stamford who for forty-seven years has edited and published a continuous newspaper and whose recollections cover more than half of the county's history.
For the illustrations which add so much to the interest and value of the volume we desire to express our obligations to those who have aided us in securing them - to Miss Foote who has permitted the photographing of a miniature bust of her ancestor, Judge Foote; to Mr. E. B. Sheldon for permission to copy the portrait of General Root in his possession; to Mr. Samuel Sherwood of New York for a portrait of his grandfather and a view of the venerable house which he occupied when he was a resident of Delhi; to Mrs. John V. L. Pruyn for a portrait of her father, Judge Amasa J. Parker; and to Miss Helen Miller Gould for that of her father, Jay Gould. Besides these notable illustrations, it is most fitting to make mention of the picturesque views of places and things gathered by Mr. Chas. T. Telford, the photographer, who has traveled over the county in search of what would add interest to the past life of the century.
It will be of interest here to enumerate the maps and books which have heretofore been published in reference to Delaware county. In this statement we do not include the most important publications of all, viz: the newspaper press of which an account is given in the appendix. Mr. S. B. Champion has kindly a detailed statement of these publications from which this is chiefly derived.
1. In 1829 David H. Burr, a land surveyor, published a map of Delaware county. It was mainly designed for the benefit of the owners of land patents and their agents, and for lawyers conducting litigations concerning land. The boundaries of land patents and the location of the lots are there given.
2. In 1856 Jay Gould, then in his 20th year, published a map founded on surveys made by himself. It is a wall map containing plans of all the villages in the county. Mr. Champion admiring his pluck and self-reliance, furnished a small amount of financial backing, with which he accomplished the job.
3. While Mr. Gould was making surveys for his map he also collected material for a history of the county. The manuscript having been destroyed by fire had to be re-written. It was published finally in 1856.
4. In 1860 a Gazetter of the State of New York, giving a brief history of every county in the State, was compiled by J. H. French and published by R. P. Smith of Syracuse. The sketch of Delaware county was mainly composed of facts taken from Simms' history of Schoharie county, Campbell's history of Tryon county, and Gould's history of Delaware county.. In 1873 a now edition of this gazetter was published under the supervision of Dr. Franklin B. Hough who had been engaged in the preparation of the original work.
5. In 1869 an atlas of Delaware county was prepared under the direction of F. W. Beers and published by Beers, Ellis and Soule of New York. It resembled Gould's. map in style and arrangement, and claims to have been made from actual surveys, But this is uncertain. It contains forty-_ pages, a colored map of each town on a page and outlines of the larger villages on others.
6. In 1880 a quarto volume of the history of Delaware county was published by W. AV. Munsell & Co- of New York. It contained 362 pages, and was illustrated with county buildings, farms and houses, and with portraits of resident citizens.
7. In 1895 the Boston Biographical Review Publishing Company issued a volume of 716 pages, containing biographical, sketches of 591 persons then resident in the county, accompanied with portraits of a portion of them.
8. In 1872 the citizens of Sidney celebrated the centennial anniversarv of the first white settlement- The proceedings of this celebration were published in the newspapers of the day but no centennial volume was issued. In 1897 a historical souvenir of Delhi and vicinity, of 62 pages, was published containing historical matter and illustrated with views and portraits.
9. Besides these publications, which refer exclusively to Delaware county, mention may here be made of the following works which deal more or less with the early settlements of the county, viz: Simms' History of Schoharie County, Campbell's History of Tryon County, and Stone's; Life of Brant.