Deposit Historical Society

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The History of Deposit

Deposit is situated in the valley of the West Branch of the Delaware River, sixty miles from its source, nestled among the mountains which surround it on all sides, with their summits nearly a thousand feet above the bed of the river.

The name "Deposit" was logical because in early times vast quantities of lumber were drawn on sleighs in winter from as far away as the Susquehanna and deposited on the river banks awaiting the spring high waters when the logs were fashioned into rafts, many as long as 200 feet in length, and floated to the Philadelphia market. This was in many cases the only cash income for these early settlers.

Before the coming of the white settlers, this part of the Delaware River Valley was inhabited by Indians of several different tribes. The Lenni-Lenapes or Delaware were most numerous, but the Mohawks held the upper hand. There were also some Oneidas and Tuscaroras. Their council ground was south of the present location of the Revolutionary War Cemetery. On the flats below the present railroad tracks they had cleared 30-40 acres of land where they raised corn and also a number of apple trees.

The Indians knew this as coke-ose, meaning "place of the owls." But to the early settlers this was so distorted that for many years the settlement was known as "The Cookhouse." The local chapter of the DAR further adapted the name as its official title calling itself the Koo Koose Chapter. The Deposit Community Historical Society has adopted the owl as its logo.

The first permanent settler of Deposit was John Hulce who came from Orange County in the spring of 1789 and settled on the west side of the river at the northerly end of the village. Next was Philip Pine who came from Fishkill on the Hudson in 1791. Other settlers came including Jonas Underwood and Henry Evans. In 1811 the village, with just 12 dwellings on the westerly bank of the river in Delaware County, was incorporated as the Village of Deposit.

In 1790 Captain Nathan Dean, a Revolutionary War officer from Taunton Massachusetts, moved to Kortright, Delaware County, where he remained until June 1791. Then, as there were no roads, he lashed two canoes together and floated down the river to Cookhouse where he found an empty log house. He lived there until he could build a home on his 400 acre farm west of the Fort Stanwix Treaty line covering what is now the Broome County side of Deposit. When his family transformed the farm into laid out streets, it became known as Deansville.

In 1851 the charter of the Village of Deposit was amended to include Deansville. Thus Deposit became a village in two counties.

The next and present charter, drawn in 1871 through a very special act of the State Legislature, continued our life in two counties but established a special election date for the village-wide offices. Our school also serves both sides of the village. But our dual "nationality" has created a great many problems over time.

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