SHERBURNE was formed from Paris, Oneida county, March 5, 1795, and its name is said to have been suggested by a member of the Legislature, who affirmed that the early inhabitants were in the frequent habit of singing the tune of Sherburne, which was a great favorite with them. It originally embraced the town of Smyrna, (Stafford,) which was taken off March 25, 1808. It was enlarged by the annexation of a small part of New Berlin in 1852. It lies upon the north border of the county, east of the center, and is bounded on the north by Hamilton, Madison county, on the south by New Berlin and North Norwich, on the east by Columbus, and on the west by Smyrna. The highest elevations are from 200 to 500 feet above the valleys of the streams. Chenango River enters the town near the north-west corner and flowing in a south-easterly direction leaves it near the center of the south border, receiving in its course through the town Handsome, Mad and Nigger brooks from the east and Pleasant brook and several smaller streams from the west.
It is underlaid by the rocks of the Hamilton, Portage and Ithaca groups, which have been sufficiently referred to in connection with the geology of the county. The soil is chiefly a gravelly and slaty loam, but in the valleys, especially that of the Chenango, along which are fine alluvial flats, rich and fertile, a sandy loam prevails to some extent. It is well adapted both to grass and grain. When first settled the town was timbered with beech, birch, hickory, ash, elm, basswood, oak, chestnut, hemlock and maple, the latter of which furnished the early settlers with sugar. Dairying forms the chief industry, though hops are extensively raised along the river. There are five creameries and two butter factories in the town, the former of which—the creameries—are owned by White, Smith & Co., of Sherburne; and one of the latter by Skinner & Thompson and the other by Ira Palmer.
The Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley Railroad crosses the western portion of the town, making an extensive detour to connect with Sherburne village. The Chenango canal crosses the town through the valley of the river.
The population of the town in 1875 was 2,940; of whom 2,664 were native, 276 foreign, 2,923 white, 17 colored, 1,452 males and 1,488 females. Its area was 27,927 acres; of which 23,466 were improved; 4,457 woodland, and 4 otherwise unimproved. The cash value of farms was $1,706,375; of farm buildings other than dwellings, $211,900; of stock, $246,805; of tools and implements, $48,024. The amount of gross sales from farms in 1874 was $185,144.
There are seventeen common and one Union Free School districts in the town. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1877, there were twenty-one licensed teachers at one time during twenty-eight weeks or more. The number of children of school age residing in the districts at that date was 848. During that year there were twelve male and twenty-five female teachers employed; the number of children residing in the districts who attended school was 627, of whom six were under five or over twenty-one years of age; the average daily attendance during the year was 375.555; the number of volumes in district libraries was 1,974, the value of which was $1,904; the number of school-houses was eighteen, seventeen of which were frame and one brick, which, with the sites, embracing 5 acres and 52 rods, valued at $2,672, were value at $14,780; the assessed value of taxable property in the districts was $1,485,972. The number of children between eight and fourteen years of age residing in this district at that date was 217, of whom 176 attended district school and 1 a private school during fourteen weeks of that year.