Early Settler

Current Sign Text

Thomas Gould Alvord, Sr.
Built his cabin here in
1794 on land granted for
Services in
Revolutionary War

Problematic issues

- In March 1781 as a recruitment device, New York promised potential soldiers "bounty pay" - land acreage instead of cash. New York identified nearly two million acres as the "Military Tract of Central NY" However, the land in the Military Tract was actually the territory of the Onondaga and the Cayuga peoples. Neither New York nor the Congress had legal or ethical rights to that land. Once the war was over, New York politicians spent almost ten years in a series of treaties and questionable land deals, displacing the Onondaga and Cayuga peoples.

- The phrase "early settler" is used to reinforce the notion that title to the land was "settled" or "final", thus glossing over the reality that this land was Onondaga territory for hundreds and thousands of years.


Intersection of NYS 41 & 41A at the Atwater Cemetery, about four miles from Homer, NY.


- Thomas Gould Alvord, Sr. was a soldier in the French & Indian War and in the Revolutionary War. His son, Thomas Gould Alvord, Jr. was also a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Both were at the surrender of the British at Yorktowne. The Alvords were each paid for their services in the American Revolution with 600 acres of bounty land that was in the Military Tract. (2)

- Alvord Sr. was paid with lot 13 which near the site of the marker. Alvord Jr. was paid with lot 57, but land sharks in Manlius tricked him into selling the lot. (3)

- Another son, Charles arrived first, traveling from Farmington, CT, through Manlius and Truxton. Father and son built the cabin.(2)

Indigenous Place Names for Site

None noted

Circumstances of Marker Placement

No date or indication of sponsor on sign. However, it was likely posted in the mid 1930s as part of New York State's Historic Marker Program -- a program of the State Education Department to commemorate the Sequicentennial of the American Revolution. Over 2,800 of the small, cast iron site markers ... were erected statewide during the duration of this program (1926-1939)."(4)

Additional Information

- Two other sons, Elisha and Dioclesian, Alvord arrived in Salina. Elisha was superintendent of the Federal Salt Company. Both men were instrumental in the development of the salt industry.(1,2)

- Lot 57 (that Alvord Jr. lost to land sharks) later became Lorings Crossing, a lucrative crossing site on the east branch of the Tioughnioga River.(3)


1. Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: Lawrence, http://www.schenectadyhistory.org/families/hmgfm/lawrence.html. Accessed July 1, 2011.

2. "Alvord, Thomas G." Ancestry.com http://boards.ancestry.com/ localities.northam.usa.states.newyork.counties.onondaga/6434/mb.ashx. Accessed January 23, 2011.

3. H. P. Smith, History of Cortland County. Chapter 19, 1885. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nycortla/smithhis.htm. Accessed January 26, 2011. [Note: Smith says the lot is 56. Official records say 57. (5)]

4. New York State Museum, "Outreach: State Historic Markers", http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/services/marker/srvmarker.html. Accessed January 23, 2011.

5. The Balloting Book and other Documents Relating to Military Bounty Lands in the State of New York. Albany, NY: Packard & Benthuysen, 1825.

Last Updated

Gail Bundy, July 3, 2011