It was the first of September 1779. Under orders the forces of General John Sullivan, burdened down with heavy military equipment, marched north in their 450-mile journey through a wooden wilderness from Easton, Pennsylvania over to Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and on up the Susquehanna River Trail to Newtown (Elmira). They continued north through what is now known as Horseheads to the Finger Lakes Region and west to Genesee. They returned about three weeks later, having accomplished fully and completely the purpose for which they had set out. The larger portion of the army under the immediate command of General Sullivan returned by the way it went.
The journey had been particularly severe and wearing upon the animals and their food supply found insufficient. Arriving about six miles north of Fort Reid on September 24, 1779 they were obliged to dispose of a large number of sick and disabled horses. The number of horses was so great that they were quite noticeable, and the native Iroquois collected the skulls and arranged them in a line along the trail. From that time forward, that spot was referred to as the “valley of the horses' heads” and is still known by the name given to it by the Iroquois.
Around 1787, the first settlers arrived, making the town one of the first in the county to be populated.
The former Chemung Canal passed through the town.