Learn more about our community and our mission.
History of the Town of Hamilton
Hamilton is one of the five townships in the southern tier of Madison County in Central New York, and encompasses 41 square miles. The Town of Hamilton is composed of two villages (Earlville and Hamilton), as well as the hamlets of Poolville, Hubbardsville, and East Hamilton. Hamilton’s rolling hills are broken by the pleasant valleys of the Chenango and Sangerfield Rivers. The Oneida Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy camped along these rivers.
Four Towns – Hamilton, Lebanon, Sherburne and Smyrna – join here as well as two counties – Madison and Chenango. Construction of the Chenango Canal through the village in 1834 inspired its new name, Earlville, in honor of Jonas Earl, a state Canal Commissioner.
Poolville is roughly three miles northeast of Earlville on the Chenango River. It takes its name from the Pool family who came to the area from Plainville, Massachusetts, in about 1810. Hubbardsville, also on the Sangerfield River, is about four miles north of Poolville.
According to the 2010 census 6,690 people make the town of Hamilton their home. In 2000, the census was 5,733. The region remains well adapted to agriculture with dairy and beef farms dotting the countryside as well as new small-scale farming ventures. Colgate University is situated in the village of Hamilton and brings over 2,800 students to the village each school year.
(Derived with permission from Hamilton, Yesterday and Today by Howard D. Williams and Robert H. Kuiper, 1985)
In 1794, Colonel William Smith purchased the area, which had been named for the American patriot Alexander Hamilton. Colonel Smith sold a considerable portion of his holdings resulting in early settlements along the Sangerfield River near where the village of Earlville now stands. Situated at the point where the Chenango and Sangerfield Rivers meet, Earlville was first known as “The Forks”.
Its name commemorates Calvin Hubbard, a native of Northhampton, Massachusetts who moved to this location in 1813 and soon became one of its leading residents.
Among the village of Hamilton’s first settlers in 1794 were Samuel Payne and his wife, Betsey, from Oneida County. Elisha Payne, Samuel’s brother, and other homesteaders joined them the following year. The village marks its establishment date as 1795, and was originally called Payne’s Settlement or Payne’s Corners in honor of Elisha’s work in settling the area. It was incorporated as the Village of Hamilton in 1816.
The Hamilton Business Alliance strives to increase cooperation and collaboration among local businesses in order to strengthen and enhance the business climate in and around Hamilton.
We will do this by sharing resources, identifying and implementing cooperative opportunities and creating a strong system of referrals among member businesses.
These efforts will result in a more cohesive identity for merchants and business owners as well expand business opportunities.