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
"HERKIMER AT 200"
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
In the elimination of the town, Ohio receives 160,000 acres and Webb
gains 25,000 acres."