The History of Steuben County Community Names Continued . . .

Imagine growing up in Bloods, NY

Long before it was the name of any inner-city gang or a potential setting for some Vampire-related fictional tale, there was a community here called Bloods. If you rode the Erie Railroad prior to 1892, you may have stopped at Blood Station.

Historic Train Image
Historic Erie Railroad courtesy June Shearer and Hornell Partners for Growth

“Atlanta (formerly Bloods) was named from Calvin Blood, an early settler. This hamlet is located a mile from North Cohocton. Joseph Biven in 1794 was sent by Colonel Charles Williamson of Bath to erect a tavern on the Pulteney Estate at what was known as 22 Mile Tree. After roads were laid out it was called Bivens Corner until a post office was established in 1828 with the name North Cohocton. The 22 Mile Tree was where the Van Riper Hotel stood for many years. Blood Stations (Atlanta) on the Cohocton River was a station on the Corning and Rochester division of the Erie Railroad and an important station because of its connection with the Canandaigua Lake Route. The name Blood Station was changed to Atlanta in 1892.” (Pioneer History & Atlas of Steuben County)

Once upon a time, there was an Orange, too. 

Imagine the potential Blood-Orange rivalry. Too much? Perhaps. But Orange, which started out as part of Frederickstown, eventually became Wayne which still exists today. 

In our previous post on the history of Steuben County Community Names, we alluded to Canisteo which has had its name since the mid-1600s if not before. 

Research into town names also revealed some other interesting trivia about the sort of people who lived here and what they did. 

Cheese factories used to be plentiful here.

Today, you will find several wonderful cheese producers in the Finger Lakes region (thank you, Food & Wine Magazine for noticing), but back in the 1800s you would have found cheese factories in several of the small towns making up Steuben County. 

Button's Creekside B&B
Button's Creekside B&B in Cohocton

For example, when “Cohocton was formed from Bath and Dansville on June 18, 1812 a large cheese factory was located just north of Liberty village across the river and at the foot of the hill.”

Today, you can step back in time at the Olde Country Store and More which maintains a charming nostalgic candy shop and general store feel. 

Hartsville, named for a prominent early settler, was formed from Hornellsville in 1844 and was “regarded as one of the best dairying towns in the county” (Pioneer History, p62). “At an early date, 3 cheese factories were in operation. One in the village of Hartsville, one in Call Hill and one on Hartsville Hill in the northwest part of town. The principal cheese factory was at Hartsville village, manufacturing upwards of $10,000 worth a season” (Pioneer History, p63). 

In Hartsville you'll find Webb Hollow, as well as Purdy Creek (also named after an early settler) which flows into the Canisteo River

Howard, Jasper, Rathbone, Troupsburg and Woodhull all had cheese factories.

In fact, a cheese factory built near the village of Woodhull in 1874 by Henry Cobb became, by the 1996 publication date of Pioneer History & Atlas of Steuben County, NY had become “the largest independently owned cheese factory in the state of New York is in operation in Woodhull today” (p97).

We haven't determined just yet which cheese factory that was (though we're working on it), but you can still procure wonderful locally made cheese in town at the Golden Age Cheese facility. Or visit Cugini Cafe in Corning for delicious meals using some of those exceptional Golden Age cheeses. You can even find some of their products at Mud Creek Bison Ranch in Savona.  

On a hill overlooking Bath, you'll find another small cheese producer in Parulski Farms which has a farm store open to the public. Call ahead for hours. 

Why is Greenwood so named? It’s believed to be because the “hills and valleys were heavily timbered with pine and hemlock which added a deep green color to the scenery” (Pioneer History & Atlas p60).

In doing the research on town names, we haven’t always been able to dial in on a definitive source of a town’s name, but have stumbled across, at times, some rather interesting information worth sharing.

For example, the small town of Howard which was formed in 1812 is “mostly rolling upland forming part of the dividing ridge between the Conhocton and Canisteo Rivers.” Prior to the coming of the Erie Railroad to Hornell, “Howard was considered a place of some considerable note.” It “had two hotels in the stage-coach days” . . . “was on the stage-coach road, and was a station for changing horses and for refreshment of passengers” (Pioneer History, 69).

Farmland in Howard

In 1809, the first sawmill in Howard was built. 

“The erection of this sawmill was a great boon for the settlers, who prior . . . covered their log cabins with slabs of split timber” (Pioneer History 69).

There’s a road that runs parallel to the Interstate, one most folks travel beside or perhaps notice fleetingly.

Along that road, William Goff, who settled there in the fall of 1812, built Goff Mill:

“which was hailed with great delight since the settlers before this event had to travel long distances with their corn, wheat and other bread grain on their shoulders to have it ground, since very few had teams of horses with which to go to mill. The roads at that time were mere paths through the forest. During the year of famine, Mr. Goff with what means he could command, went and purchased corn. On his return he distributed the flour to the almost starving people” (Pioneer History, p69).

Today in Howard, you'll find Farmer Phil's Cabins which is a great spot for rural weddings and for hunters. And stop by Stewart Family Farm where you can buy delicious handcrafted goat cheese and maple ice cream made with local maple syrup and goat's milk from the farm. 

Sheep Farm Near Jasper
Sheep on Farm Near Jasper

Jasper, named for Sergeant Jasper, noted for his courage at the battle of Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, was formed from Troupsburg and Canisteo.

According to Pioneer History & Atlas of Steuben County, “many logs were rafted from Troupsburg township down the south branch of Tuscarora Creek, to Baltimore” (Pioneer History, 70).

Troupsburg, it turns out, was named after Robert Troop of New York City, General Agent of the Pulteney Estate (Pioneer History, 82).

Rathbone was named for General Ransom Rathbone who settled there in 1842. The town was formed from Addison, Cameron, and Woodhull in 1856. (Pioneer History, p78)

And Tuscarora, formerly part of the town of Addison . . . “was first called ‘Orville,’ and later changed to Tuscarora, the name of the adopted tribe making the 6th Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Tuscaroras were received by the Indians and adopted in the year 1712” (Pioneer History, 84).

If you aren't familiar with the story, it seems the Tuscaroras were a Native American tribe originally from North Carolina which “became the first native people to be dispossessed of their land during colonization, and they walked north to New York in the early eighteenth century to join the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenonsaunee). Accepted by the confederacy, they have been part of the Six Nations ever since . . .

Depot Park With Seaplanes and Hammondsport Drone Shot During Wings & Wheels
Hammondsport courtesy Luke Petrinec

Hammondsport, known today for its role in establishing the region as one of the premier wine destinations in the world, and as a world-class lake destination, was incorporated June 16, 1856.

“It received its name from Lazarus Hammond who came from Dansville to Cold Spring in 1810. He became a larger shipper of grain and farm produce by canal boat over Keuka Lake” (Pioneer History).

Most people don't realize, this same small town is where most of the experimentation and advancements in early aviation took place from 1907 until WWI. Thanks to the collaboration between Glenn Curtiss, Alexander Graham Bell, and innovators, Hammondsport was known as the Cradle of Aviation.

Wayland was formed from Cohocton and Dansville April 12 1848.

“Loon and Mud Lakes are situated in a valley in the south part of the town and their waters flow in opposite directions. The outlet of Look Lake is subterranean for half a mile and where it comes to the surface it was of sufficient volume to form a valuable mills stream. At one time there were no less that 14 mills powered by this stream” (Pioneer History, p88).

“A plank road extended from Patchinville to Wayland and Dansville in 1842. Gates were erected and tolls collected” (Pioneer History, p89).

West Union was formed from Greenwood in 1845.

In 1855, Rexville and Wileyville were hamlets. West Union was a post office . . .

“The whole country was a maze of woods and hills with deep gorges in which it was easy to get lost. The timber was mostly beech, maple, birch, cherry, elm, and basswood. Large quantities of maple sugar were manufactured. It was one of the principal sources of revenue for the early settlers” (Pioneer History).

Deer Leaping Hunting Wildlife
Whitetail Deer courtesy Bill Banaszewski

Woodhull was named in honor of General Nathaniel Woodhull of the Revolutionary War and formed from Troupsburg in 1828 (Pioneer History, 96).

“The first inhabitants discovered what appeared to be a hunter’s paradise. They were men who lived for the pleasure of the chase, ready to leave on the approach of more permanent settlers. These settlers did little more than to build for themselves cabins and open communications with the outside region” (Pioneer History, p96).

Today, Steuben County remains a hunter’s paradise as the perennial chart-topper for deer harvested. 

Savor Vineyards
Savor Vineyards in Arkport courtesy Michael B. Studios

With a name like Arkport, bet you can guess what was made there at one time. That's right! “Arks” which were used to transport local materials to the coast. 

 “In 1797 Christopher Hurlbut came with his eldest son John to Arkport purchasing a tract of land from Williamson. 640 acres, and later more, until he had 1,365 acres of land. He built the first ark in 1800 and loaded with wheat, sending it down the Canisteo, Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers to Baltimore where the grain and lumber were sold.” 

Today in Arkport you'll find two rustic wineries, WIld Brute and Savor Vineyards (where you'll also often find live music). 

Just down the road a couple miles in Dansville you can explore the area's wonderful landscape with a moderate hike near waterfalls at Stony Brook State Park. Picnicking and camping options are also available. Learn about some of the other fun experiences to be found in that area of the county here

Stony Brook State Park
Stony Brook State Park in Dansville

While we’re still learning about the numerous stories behind the names of so many Steuben County communities, we’re also learning about the area’s rich history. Lumber, tobacco farming and other agricultural products, glass, aviation, wine . . . the history is quite rich with unique stories and interesting names. You can find more about those community names and history here.