The Town of Nelson is a rural residential community of about 1990 inhabitants, (est. census in 2005) located in the western portion of Madison County, NY.
It’s origin begins after the Revolutionary War with a series of treaties forged by the state of New York with the Oneida and Tuscarora Indians. George Clinton, (1739-1812) was governor of the state at that time.
The Surveyor-General for the state, Simeon DeWitt, laid out and surveyed the lands claimed in these treaties of 1785 and 1789. The large tract of land was to be divided into sections of roughly 25,000 acres each.
Each section was to be subdivided into four equal sections and lots of 250 acres each. Twenty townships were thus created and designated by the numbers one through twenty. The parcels were then sold to speculators with the money to go to the state treasury. In 1793, three men, Alexander Webster, Edward Savage and John Williams applied for land area number one, which was the largest of the parcels, 27,187 acres. In the same year, this parcel was purchased by JohnLincklaen, an agent of the Holland Land Company, and it became part of the town of Cazenovia. By 1806, Parcel #1, was fairly well populated and the following year, 1807, it became a separate town that was given the name, Nelson, as a tribue to the British Admiral, Lord Horatio Nelson, who was considered to be one of Britains’ greatest Naval heroes. Famous for his participation in the Napoleonic Wars, Lord Nelson died of wounds received in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Nelson is a captivating piece of earth with a topography that runs from a protected swamp to pastoral vistas to lakes and forest. It has seen many changes during its 200+ year history. Farmers from Vermont and New Hampshire were among the first settlers to arrive as groups of families. With their homes and roads built, industry arrived in the form of ironworks, cheese factories, stores, grist mills, asheries and taverns. Small farms were plentiful. Churches fluorished. A railroad ran through.
Only remnants remain of these earlier ways of life. People choose to live here now because of its serenity and natural beauty. Metro areas are not too far away; Syracuse, Oneida and Utica with their opportunities for employment, culture, education and entertainment. Living here in Nelson one can experience the best of both worlds.