New York Books - Chenango County
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New York - Chenango County

Click on these titles to check out books on this county.
Revolutionary War Veterans, Chenango County, New York
Nelson B. Tiffany
Index of Names Appearing in the 1784 History of Chenango and Madison Counties . . .
John J. Tyne
East Guilford Cemetery : Town of Guilford, Chenango County, New York
Shirley Boyce Goerlich
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Other County Resources

Books on county genealogy and history

1895 Map of Chenango Co.

Chenango Co. Genealogical Resources

Chenango Co. GenWeb Project

Chenango Co. Historical Society

Chenango Co. Visitors Guide County Website (sponsored)

Historic County Tour

Map of Chenango Co. (1895)

NY State Official Website

Most of the places in Chenango County have been named in one of four ways. The most common naming method for villages, towns, rivers and streams is to name them after prominent military men, first settlers, or innkeepers. A second common method is to transplant the names of the New England and English places of origin. Several places have retained their Native American names. And, finally, some names came from nature.

About half of the county's town are named for military leaders or prominent citizens. The exact derivation of some names is in doubt, and county folklore cast some long shadows on the origins of some of the places around the county. Some of the information was published in a pamphlet "Geography of Chenango County," prepared for use in County public schools by S. H. Albro, Superintendent of Schools, and published in 1881 and 1882 by the Chenango Union Power Presses.

Here are a few of the better known factual origins of place names:

  • Bainbridge was named for Commodore William Bainbridge. Bainbridge was called Jericho prior to 1814. Jericho was a section set aside for the Vermont Sufferers.

  • Coventry was named after the English city of Coventry.

  • German was named for General Obadiah German.

  • Greene was named for General Nathaniel Greene of the Revolutionary War.

  • Guilford was originally named Fayette, after the Revolutionary War hero LaFayette who had traveled through the area in the company of Gen. George Washington. Later, the name was changed to Guilford, after the town in Connecticut.

  • Lincklaen was named to honor Colonel John Lincklaen, an agent for the Holland Land Company and founder of Cazenovia.

  • McDonough was named for Commodore Thomas McDonough who gained fame in the War of 1812.

  • New Berlin was probably named after the German city, Berlin, because of the large number of early settlers were German.

  • Norwich was named after the town in Connecticut and the city in England.

  • The Town of Pitcher was named in 1827 for Lieutenant Governor of New York, Nathaniel Pitcher.

  • Plymouth was alternately known as Frenchtown, Frank Town or Francistown in honor of the village's early French settlers.

  • Sherburne is thought to have been named after James Sherburne, one of the village's first settlers.

  • Smithville Flats was named after Elisha Smith, first agent for the Hornby Estate which included the village.

  • Strong Brook in the Town of Greene received its name from an early settler family that lived on its banks.

  • Symrna probably got its name from the city in Asia Minor which is now known as Izmir, a large city and seaport in western Turkey.

Indian places names:

  • Canasawacta Creek was named from the Indian word "Ganaswadi," meaning "cabin between two others."

  • Chenango, some say, comes from an Iroquois word, "O chenang," meaning "region of the bull thistle." Others say Chenango means "beautiful river" or "pleasant stream."

  • Genegantslet is an Indian name meaning "Three Deer-lick" River.

  • Otselic is from the Indian word "Ocksilic" meaning "Plum Creek."

  • Tioughnioga comes from the Indians words "Te-ah-hah-houge" meaning "meeting place of trails and water."

Placenames in folklore:

  • Afton and Bainbridge have always been rivals. The people of Afton were said to have chosen the name so that their town would fall first on the list of County names, before Bainbridge. The name itself might have come from Burns' Flow Gently Sweet Afton, a reminder to the early settlers of the quiet Susquehanna River.

  • Beaver Meadow is said to have been named because it was inhabited by a large number of beavers who built a dam across Beaver Brook. The dam resulted in a pond which covered about forty acres. Other stories of the hamlet of Beaver Meadow and other local folklore names can be read here in a series of letters to the editor published in the Syracuse Post-Standard, during November and December, 1926.

  • Broomstick Swamp and Broomstick Creek were named by the early settlers in the Town of Bainbridge who used to go there to cut slim water beech or elm saplings to be used as brooms.

  • Cork Island, Oxford, was the site of a duel fought by Mssrs. Sherwood and Starkweather in 1830. It is held that the seconds loaded the pistols with cork bullets.

  • Plasterville was named for the plaster mill that was in the area prior to 1843.

  • Polkville, a village southeast of Norwich, is said to have gotten its name because most of the villagers supported James Polk in the 1844 election.

  • The settlement known as White Store (south of New Berlin) derives its name from the general store that was the first building painted white in the area.


Click on the links below for book titles and history specific to that county.

From what or whom did the name of each county originate? Click here to find out.

County Date
Parent County County
Albany 1683 original county Albany
Allegany 1806 Genesee Belmont
Bronx 1914 New York Bronx
Broome 1806 Tioga Binghamton
Cattaraugus 1808 Genesee Little Valley
Cayuga 1799 Onondaga Auburn
Charlotte 1772 Albany renamed Washington in 1784
Chautauqua 1808 Genesee Mayville
Chemung 1798 Tioga Elmira
Chenango 1798 Herkimer, Tioga Norwich
Clinton 1788 Washington Plattsburgh
Columbia 1786 Albany Hudson
Cortland 1808 Onondoga Cortland
Delaware 1797 Ulster, Otsego Delhi
Dutchess 1683 original county Poughkeepsie
Erie 1821 Niagara Buffalo
Essex 1799 Clinton Elizabethtown
Franklin 1808 Clinton Malone
Fulton 1838 Montgomery Johnstown
Genesee 1802 Ontario Batavia
Greene 1800 Ulster, Albany Catskill
Hamilton 1816 Montgomery Lake Pleasant
Herkimer 1791 Montgomery Herkimer
Jefferson 1805 Oneida Watertown
1683 Original county Brooklyn
Lewis 1805 Oneida Lowville
Livingston 1821 Genesee, Ontario Geneseo
Madison 1806 Chenango Wampsville
Monroe 1821 Genesee, Ontario Rochester
Montgomery 1772 Albany (as Tryon to 1784) Fonda
Nassau 1899 Queens Mineola
New York City
1683 Original county New York
Niagara 1808 Genesee Lockport
Oneida 1798 Herkimer Utica
Onondaga 1794 Herkimer Syracuse
Ontario 1789 Montgomery Canandaigua
Orange 1683 Original county Goshen
Orleans 1824 Genesee Albion
Oswego 1816 Oneida, Onondaga Oswego, Pulaski
Otsego 1791 Montgomery Cooperstown
Putnam 1812 Dutchess Carmel
Queens 1683 Original county Jamaica
Rensselaer 1791 Albany Troy
Staten Island
1683 Original county St. George
Rockland 1798 Orange New City
St. Lawrence 1802 Clinton, Herkimer, Montgomery Canton
Saratoga 1791 Albany Ballston Spa
Schenectady 1809 Albany Schenectady
Schoharie 1795 Albany, Ostego Schoharie
Schuyler 1854 Tompkins, Steuben, Chemung Watkins Glen
Seneca 1804 Cayuga Ovid, Waterloo
Steuben 1796 Ontario Bath
Suffolk 1683 Original county Riverhead
Sullivan 1809 Ulster Monticello
Tioga 1791 Montgomery Owego
Tompkins 1817 Cayuga, Seneca Ithaca
Tryon 1772 Albany (renamed Montgomery 1784)
Ulster 1683 Original county Kingston
Warren 1813 Washington Lake George
Washington 1772 Albany (see Charlotte) Hudson Falls
Wayne 1823 Ontario, Seneca Lyons
Westchester 1683 Original county White Plains
Wyoming 1841 Genesee Warsaw
Yates 1823 Ontario, Steuben Penn Yan

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