The Wilderness of the Town of Ohio and Its Composites
(Ohio City, Gray and Wilmurt)

article provided by the Newport Historical Center and Bill McKerrow


provided by the Herkimer County Historical Society.

The Town of West Brunswick was organized April 11, 1823 from the parent township of Norway, which had been formed in 1792. At the time of its organization, West Brunswick lay entirely within the Jerseyfield Patent except for a small triangle in the Remsenburgh Patent. On May 3, 1836, the name of the Town was changed to Ohio and at that time a portion of the town was taken off. This splintered-off section of land was added to part of the Town of Russia and become Wilmurt, the largest township in the State of New York. On January 25, 1896, Wilmurt was divided and the northern portion became the present-day Town of Webb. Because of declining population, Wilmurt was dissolved in February 1918 and half was given back to Ohio and half to Webb.

From a newspaper account from the Utica Daily Press, May 2, 1918:

"Governor WHITMAN has let fall the axe which eliminates the town of Wilmurt from the map. At the last annual session of the Board of Supervisors, it was advocated to abolish the town of Wilmurt and divide the spoils between the towns of Webb and Ohio. For some time the citizens of Wilmurt fought the matter and spent considerable time and money in effort to allow the old town to remain intact, but at a hearing in Albany the other day, no protest was heard on the part of the Wilmurtites.

Wilmurt has had peculiar experiences. Years ago, it was one of the largest towns in the county. It was so large that it was found to be necessary to divide it and the Town of Webb was created. Wilmurt was noted for Hunting and Fishing and a great many residents of the Mohawk Valley sought the section for that purpose.

Wilmurt was not known solely for its natural resources in that respect but it had an able body of residents who neither toiled nor worried; they simply lived by giving service to hunter or fisherman, or made arrangements with the town officials. They tell a story a few years ago about a couple of residents who went to a supervisor who also conducted a hotel, and wanted to borrow a couple of dollars. He told them that there was no money of his own to be had, but he did have some town funds. He said that the brush needed cutting along the roadway and if they wanted to work, they might receive two dollars a day. The men got their fish poles and went "cutting brush". At night they got their pay and sold their fish to the valley fishermen.

They also tell the story of the highway commissioner who built a barn which did not cost him much. There was also a concrete bridge, the abutments of which fell down on the day of inspection by the supervisors. Different actions led to the indictment of one of the town supervisors. This ended in 23 sealed indictments and the man served time in the county jail.

In the elimination of the town, Ohio receives 160,000 acres and Webb gains 25,000 acres."

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Last Updated: 2/23/00
Copyright ©1998, 2000 Lisa K. Slaski
All Rights Reserved.