FLORENCE was formed from Camden, February 16, 1805. A part of Annsville was taken off in 1823. It is the north-west corner town in the County. The surface is roiling and from 250 to 300 feet above the Rome level of the canal. Mad River flows southeast through the town. The soil is stony and under-laid by the Hudson River shale. A portion of the town is still covered with forests. The soil is better adapted to grazing than to grain. There is a 4uarry of good building stone on Little River, about half a mile below Florence village.
Florence, (p. v.) situated a little north of the center, contains three churches, viz., Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal, a hotel, four stores, a grist mill, two saw and shingle mills, two tanneries and about 400 inhabitants. East Florence, (p. v.) in the south-east part, contains a church, two stores, a grist mill, two saw and shingle mills, two wagon shops, a school house and about 150 inhabitants. Empeyville, in the east part, contains a church and about twenty houses. Florence Bill is a hamlet, a little south-west of the center of the town. The first settlements were commenced in 1801, by AmQs Woodworth, John Spinning and a Mr. Turner, each of whom received fifty acres of land from William Henderson, the proprietor of the fourth township of Scriba’s Patent, as a bonus for commencing a settlement. Charles Crawford, from Massachusetts, settled on lot 147, and Norman Waugh on lot 149. Elijah Blake, the first surveyor, settled on lot 133. Abel Smith, from Connecticut, on lot 119, Nathan Thompson, from Massachusetts, on lot 115, and Oliver Foster, from Connecticut, on lot 114. Other early settlers were Benoni and Ebenezer Barlow, Ambrose Curtis, Ephraim Wright, Joseph Olcott, Benjamin Young, Hiram Fellows, John Cropper and Anthony Empey.
The first town meeting was held at the house of John Spinning; Asa Jenkins was chosen Supervisor, and David Young, Town Clerk. The first marriage was that of Benjamin Wilcox and Betsey Waugh, in 1803. The first birth was that of a child of Charles Crawford. The first saw mill was erected in 1803, by Hiram Fellows, and the first grist mifi, by John Cropper, in 1807. The first religious society (Congregational) was organized December 16, 1816, consisting often members. William Dooling owns the first settled farm in the town.
The population in 1865 was 2,467, and its area 32,612 acres. There are seventeen school districts, employing the same number of teachers. The whole number of scholars is 848; the average attendance, 273; and the amount expended for school purposes during the last year was $3,224.42.