Monday, September 19, 2016



Donald A. Windsor

Hunts Mountain is that big hill southeast of the Village of Sherburne, the one with the tall tower topped with a flashing light. Its pinnacle is 1880 feet elevation. The Village elevation is 1055 feet. (1). Hunts Mountain was the highest point in the Town of Sherburne, until 1853, when Sherburne annexed the area around Skinner Hill from the Town of New Berlin (2). Skinner Hill has an elevation of 1960 feet (1). So, now Hunts is second to Skinner.

The pinnacle was marked by the United State Geological Survey in 1942 and is quite visible. It has three ancillary markers with arrows in their medallions pointing to the pinnacle marker. Two are quite visible but the third is overgrown by vegetation. Photo below is by Maryann Weiss.

This hill is all privately owned, but we Bullthistle Hikers were fortunate that one of the landowners, Allen “Al” Marsters, led us on a vigorous hike on Sunday morning 11 September 2016. He took us up, down, and all around, showing us some interesting sights and explaining their backstories. We covered about 5 miles.

Hunts Mountain was named after an early settler, Milo Hunt. He was probably not the first settler because he was born in 1793 (3). Baker (4, page 1) claims that he settled here between 1795 and 1800, but he would have been a child then. Baker does say that the Swan family settled here around 1795 (4, page 2). Anecdotal information has Andrew Freeman as the first settler, but documentation remains elusive. Baker wrote a useful comprehensive history of the ensuing settlements and real estate changes. Milo Hunt was the Town of Sherburne Supervisor during 1829-1830 (6, page 454).

As a chronological benchmark, the first Euro-Americans known to enter the area that is now the Town of Sherburne were the surveyors for the 1789 survey of the Twenty Towns. Sherburne is Town 9. The first settlers arrived in either 1791 (5, page 8) or 1792 (5, page 46). The Town of Sherburne was first organized in 1795 as the Town of Paris in Oneida County (6, page 449) and established as Sherburne in 1798 when Chenango County was formed (6, page 71).

References cited:

1. United States Geological Survey topographic map Sherburne, N.Y. 1943 Revised 1994.

2. Windsor, Donald A. Skinner Hill. In: Souvenirs of Yesteryear. Exploring Chenango County, New York. Norwich, NY: SciAesthetics. 2010. Pages 16-18.

3. Anon. Christ Church Cemetery, Sherburne, NY.

4. Baker, Pete. History of Hunts Mountain. Handwritten unpublished manuscript November 10, 1992. 14 pages. Transcribed by Sandy Gutosky in June 2014. 9 pages.

5. Hatch, Joel, Jr. Reminiscences, Anecdotes and Statistics of the Early Settlers and the 'Olden Time' in the Town of Sherburne, Chenango County, N.Y. Utica, NY: Curtiss & White. 1862. 104 pages.

6. Smith, James H. History of Chenango County … Syracuse, NY: D. Mason. 1880. 500 pages.