VERNON was formed from Westmoreland and Augusta, February 17, 1802. A part of Stockbridge, (Madison Co.,) was taken off in 1836. It lies on the west border of the County, south of the center. Its surface is rolling, the mean elevation being 200 feet above the Mohawk. The principal streams are Oneida Creek, forming the west boundary, and Skanandoa Creek, flowing through the east part. The soil is a fine quality of gravelly arid clay loam, underlaid by limestone, water-lime and gypsum.. It is one of the most fertile towns in the County. A mineral spring is found about one mile north-west of Vernon Center. The territory of this town was included in the original Oneida Reservation. The principal Oneida village was called Kan-on-wall-o-hu-le. A small remnant of this once powerful tribe still live in the south-west part of the town.
Vernon, (p. v.) on Skanandoa Creek, north of the center of the town, was incorporated April 6, 1827, and contains four churches, two academies, a bank, two hotels, a knitting factory and carding mill, a flouring mill, a saw mill and about 500 inhabitants. The Fair Ground of the Agricultural Society in the vicinity contains a half-mile track.
Vernon Center, (p. v.) situated south-east of the center of the town, contains two churches, viz., Presbyterian and Methodist, a hotel, a grist mill, two saw mills, and about 100 inhabitants.
Oneida Castle, (p. v.) on the west line of the town, contains two churches, a union school, two hotels, a hat manufactory, two stores and about 600 inhabitants.
Turkey Street is a thickly populated part of the turnpike between Vernon and Oneida Castle.
The first settler in this town was Josiah Bushnell, from Berkshire County, Mass. He came here in 1794, and settled upon the north-west corner of Bleecker’s South Patent. The Indian title to this territory was extinguished in 1797, and immediately a large number of emigrants from the New England States settled here, and within two years most of the land was taken up. The first settlers upon “Baschard’s Location,” were Rev. Publius Bogue, Deacons Hills and Bronson, Samuel Wetmore, David and Levi Bronson, Seth Holmes, Anosn Stone, Asahel Gridley, Heman Smith, Eliphas Bissell, Adonijah Foot, Stephen Goodwin, Seth Hills, Eli Frisbie, James and John DeVotie, Samuel Austin, and others named Stanton, Griswold, Alvord, Thrall, Wilcox, Church, Spencer, Carter, Marshall, Tuttle, Bush, Wilcoxsou and Webber. Most of these were from Litchfield County, Conn. They laid out a plot of six acres, called Vernon Center. On this green all Protestant denominations have a right to build meeting and. school houses. Around this plot the land was surveyed into acre lots, upon which some of the first settlers located. On the “Reservation,” in the east part of the town, were settlers named Skinner, Lawrence, Shedd, Gratton, Deland, Spaulding, Grant, Kdlogg, Carter, Tryon, Morse, Simons, Doane, May, Mahan, Page, Ingraham, Crocker, Graves, Soper, and others. In the south-western part of the town the settlers were Griffin, Webster, Freeman, Grant, Stone, Hotehkiss and others, and on VanEps’ Patent the early settlers were Richard and Benjamin Hubbell, Gad Warner, Benjamin, Alanson and David Pierson, Joseph Patten, and William and Elisha Root. The early settlers of this town were possessed of more wealth than those of any other town in the County, and as a consequence were able to hire some of their improvements made, and were exempt from many of the hardships and privations to which most of the early settlers of the County were exposed.
The first marriage in the town was that of Aaron Davis and Amy Bushnell; it took place previous to 1798, but the time is not precisely known. The first birth was that of Edward Marshall, and the first death that of a daughter of Josiah Bushnell, in 1795. Mr. Sessions taught the first school, in 1708; A. VanEps kept the first store, the same year, and Asahel Gridley built the first grist mill. The first religious society, (Cong.) was formed in 1801, at Vernon Center.
The population in 1865 was 2,931, and the area 28,649 acres.
The number of school districts is twelve, employing fourteen teachers. The number of children of school age is 865; the number attending school 605; the average attendance 276, and the amount expended for school purposes during the year ending Sept. 30th, 1868, was $4,569.09.