The Early History of Hornellsville

Our Hornell story begins with a settlement of runaway Frenchmen, Indians out-lawed, who belonged to no tribe; fugitive slaves from Chesapeake Bay; renegade Dutch, who had been driven away from Albany, and graceless Yankees from New Plymouth. A more worthless lot of good-for-nothings, who had no hope of Heaven, or fear of Hell.
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Hornell, New York

On April 1st 1820, a new town was formed from the town of Canisteo and was named by Col. Ira Davenport, who was then a resident, “Hornellsville,” for Judge George Hornell.  The first town meeting was held on the 1st Tuesday in March, 1821, at the house of Martha Hornell.  The City of Hornellsville was chartered in 1888.  In 1906 Hornellsville was changed to Hornell.

The territory that is now Hornell was included in Tryon county from March 12, 1772 to April 2, 1784; then in Montgomery county, until January 27,1789 then in Ontario, until the formation of the county of Steuben, March 18, 1796.

The Directory For 1880 describes the growth of Hornell from a rough railroad town with cheap buildings, muddy streets, sidewalks conspicuous for their absence, or remarkable for numerous man traps they had resolved themselves into, devoid of shad trees, with scarcely a building in it that would be tolerated in a civilized community, with few men of capital and influence into one of the most pleasant little cities in the country.

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