Sherburne is a town in Chenango County, New York, United States. The population was 4,048 at the 2010 census. The town contains two villages, one named Sherburne and the other named Earlville. The town is at the north border of Chenango County.
The area that became Sherburne, part of the Chenango River valley, was originally inhabited by the Oneida people, until the late 1780s when the state of New York purchased the land from them. These parcels were later sold at auction in New York City.
The settlement of Sherburne occurred around 1792 near the present-day Sherburne village. The town was named after the tune "Sherburne", written by Daniel Read in 1783. The early inhabitants had a habit of frequently singing the tune, which was a great favorite with them. Most of the earliest inhabitants and settlers of Sherburne were originally from the town of Kent, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Sometime around 1785 or 1786, two years after the Treaty of Paris and Treaties of Versailles were signed on September 3, 1783, ending the American Revolutionary War, the future proprietors and pioneers of Sherburne left Kent and emigrated to Duanesburgh, Schenectady County, New York. After a few years there they had been unable to secure title to the lands on which they settled. It was at that point that they resolved to move again as a body to the Chenango Valley, which had just begun to open lands in the Twenty Townships.
In June 1791, Deacon and Judge Nathaniel Gray, Elisha Gray, Joel Hatch, Abram Raymond, Newcomb Raymond, and James Raymond visited these lands in the interest of the company as an exploring party, accompanied by Josiah Throop, chief of the corps who had surveyed the tract that and the preceding years. On their arrival they found that a family consisting of five men, one woman and some small children from Paris in Oneida County had squatted a few hours previously on Handsome Brook, and were occupying a bark cabin. There they found hospitable welcome through the night and in the morning were regaled by their hostess with new bread and beer, both her own making. This family remained but a short time, for they had left before the return of the exploring party.
The exploratory party examined the southwest quarter of the 9th township, containing , which they and their associates eventually bought of Colonel William S. Smith, to whom the township was patented by the state of New York for $1.25 per acre. The exploratory party returned to Duanesburgh with a good report sometime prior to October 9, 1791, for on that date, James Raymond married Melissa Burritt, the second daughter and child of Rev. Blackleach Burritt, the spiritual leader of the company, and of Martha Welles.
In the summer of 1792, the exploratory party returned, which was mainly composed of the original proprietors, and settled in a cabin near Handsome Brook. During the later summer and fall, the exploratory party had accomplished the work they had set out to do, and they returned to their families in Duanesburgh, except Abram Raymond and his wife, Betsey Gray Raymond, the daughter of John Gray and Elizabeth Skeel and sister of Nathaniel Gray.
Within a year, the first settlers of Sherburne established themselves on their newly acquired plots. And it was not confined alone to the proprietors and their families, most of whom arrived that time, but many of their friends and neighbors from Duanesburgh joined with them. The advance company arrived on a Saturday night in March 1793. Their first organization of the town was that of the Congregational Church of Sherburne, founded on July 6, 1794.
The town of Sherburne was created in 1795 from the town of Paris (now in Oneida County). The town of Smyrna was formed from part of Sherburne in 1808, and the size of Sherburne was increased by annexing part of the town of New Berlin in 1852.
The opening of the Chenango Canal in 1837 between Utica and Binghamton, which ran right down the middle of Sherburne, greatly reduced the cost and time of receiving goods and supplies. During the Civil War, Union soldiers set up camp on the banks of the canal, on what is now the home of Westlake Village. The railroad, like elsewhere around New York, replaced the canal in 1867, and two trains came through town on a daily basis.