Gazetteer of New York, 1860 & 1861 page 218
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CHEMUNG COUNTY.

This county was formed from Tioga, March 29, 1836.1 A portion
of Schuyler was taken off in 1854. It lies upon the s. border of the
State, is centrally distant 158 mL from Albany, and contains 406
sq. mi. Its surface is principally a hilly upland broken by the
deep ravines of the streams. The highest points are 400 to 600 ft.


> above the valleys and 1300 to 1500 ft. above tide. The ridges extend
' in a general
N. and s. direction, and have steep declivities and broad
and rolling summits. A deep valley, extending s. from Seneca
Lake, divides the highlands into two general systems, and forms an
easy communication between the Susquehanna Yalley and the cen¬
tral portions of the State. Chemung River flows s.
e. through the s.
-part of the co. and cuts the ridges diagonally. Wide alluvial flats,
bordered by steep hillsides, extend along nearly its whole course. Catharine Creek flows n.
through the central valley and discharges its waters into Seneca Lake. The other principal
streams, all tributaries of the Chemung, are Post, Sing Sing,2 Newtown, Goldsmith, Wynkoops,3
and Cayuta Creeks from the N., and Hendy and Seely Creeks from the s. The valleys of these
streams are generally narrow, and are bordered by steep hills. The valleys of the smaller streams
are mere ravines and gulleys.

The principal rocks in the co. belong to the shales and sandstones of the Chemung group. In
the n. part the rocks of the Portage group are exposed in the ravines. The sandstone is quarried
in several places, and furnishes a good quality of stone for building and flagging. Bog iron ore and
marl are found to a limited extent. The soil is a gravelly and sandy loam, intermixed in some
places with clay. The valleys are covered with a deep, rich alluvium. The highlands are best
adapted to pasturage. The people are principally engaged in agriculture. Until within a few
years, lumbering has formed a leading pursuit ;3 but since the disappearance of the fine forests this
business has been mostly superseded by stock and wool growing and dairying. Since the com¬
pletion of the railroads and canals, commerce and manufactures have received considerable atten¬
tion, although they are still subordinate to the agricultural interests of the co.

The county seat is located at Elmira, upon Chemung River.4 The courthouse and jail are located
near the center of the village,
e. of the canal. The jail is poorly arranged, and in construction it
meets neither the requirements of humanity nor the law. The average number of inmates is 12,
kept at a cost of $2 50 per week each. The poorhouse is located upon a farm of 180 acres in the
town of Horseheads, on the line of Erin. The average number of inmates is 70, supported at a
cost of $ .80 each per week. The farm yields a revenue of $1000.® The Chemung Canal extends
s. from Seneca Lake through the central valley to Chemung River at Elmira, forming a direct
connection with the great chain of internal water navigation of the State. A navigable feeder
from Corning, Steuben co., forms a junction with the canal on the summit level at Horseheads
Tillage. Junction Canal extends several mi. along the Chemung, affording navigation at points
where the river is obstructed by rapids and narrows. The New York & Erie R. R. extends along
Chemung River through Chemung, Southport, Elmira, and Big Flats. The Chemung R. R. extends
N. from Elmira through Horseheads and Veteran. The Williamsport & Elmira R. R. extends s.
from Elmira through Southport into Penn., forming a direct line to Philadelphia.

Two daily and 2 weekly newspapers are published in this co.T

Joseph L. Darling, First Judge; Andrew K, Gregg, District At¬
torney;
Isaac Baldwin, County Clerk; Albert A. Beckwith,
Sheriff; and Lyman Covill, Surrogate.

6 The poorhouse is entirely inadequate for the comfort or
health of the inmates. Many insane persons are confined, with¬
out proper care or medical attendance. No school is kept, but
at proper age the children are bound out.

1 The Telegraph, the first paper published in the co., was estab¬
lished at “
Newtown” (now Elmira,) by Prindle & Murphy
at an early period. In 1816 it was issued as
The Vidette by Prindle & Murphy, and subsequently by Wm.
Murphy.

The Investigator was commenced at Elmira, in 1820, by Job
Smith. In 1822 its name was changed to
The Tioga Register, and in 1828 to

The Elmira Gazette, and its publication was continued


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1

Name derived from the principal river, signifies “Big horn,”
or “ Horn in the water.” It is called by the Delawares Con-on-
gue, a "word of the same signification. These names were ap¬
plied to the stream in consequence of numbers of immense deers’
horns having from time to time been discovered in the water. In
his “Views of Elmira,” Solomon Southwick says, that the Indian
name of the Chemung was Con-e-wa-wa, signifying “ a head on
a pole.”

2

Named from John Sing Sing, a friendly Indian.

3

For many years 10,000,000 ft. of pine lumber were floated

4

down the Chemung and Susquehanna from Elmira annually.


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