Gloversvilleis a city in the Mohawk Valley region of Upstate New York, and the most populous city in Fulton County. Gloversville was once the hub of the United States’ glovemaking industry, with over two hundred manufacturers in Gloversville and the adjacent city of Johnstown.In 2010, Gloversville had a population of 15,665.In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates program calculated that the city’s population was 14,747.
Settlers came to the Gloversville area as early as 1752.
The region, historically known as “Kingsborough”, was acquired by Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet, who established tremendous influence with the Native Americans of the area, which translated into control of the Mohawk Valley region. It was due to Johnson where the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy remained allied with England during the French and Indian War. In reward, Johnson was granted the Kingsborough Tract, a large parcel of land which was settled by Scottish Highlanders. The Highlanders were so loyal to Johnson that when he died in 1774, they followed his son to Canada.
In 1752, Arent Stevens purchased land in the area. Puritans from New England settled there at the end of the 18th century, utilizing the houses and cleared land that had been left behind when the Highlanders emigrated. By 1803, according to Elisha Yale, the population of Kingsborough consisted of “233 families and about 1,400 souls. Of the families, 191 are of English descent, twenty-three Scotch, fourteen Dutch, and five Irish.”
In 1852 Gloversville had a population of 1,318 living on 525 acres in 250 small wood-frame houses centered on the “Four Corners” formed by the intersection of Main and Fulton Streets. The proximity of hemlock forests to supply bark for tanning made the community a center of leather production early in its history: there were already 40 small glove and mitten factories there by 1852. The city would become the center of the American glovemaking industry for many years. From 1890 to 1950, 90% of all gloves sold in the United States were made in Gloversville.
Upon the establishment of a United States post office in 1828, “Gloversville” became the official name of the community. Prior to that Gloversville had been known as “Stump City” because of the large number of trees that had been cut down. In 1853, Gloversville incorporated as a village, and then in 1890 as a city.The city grew rapidly, and the population swelled from 4,000 in 1877 to 13,864 in 1890.
Glove-making operations had gradually changed from being home-based to being factory-based, and large tanneries and glove shops employed nearly 80% of the residents of Gloversville area. Home workers sewed the gloves from leather which had been cut in factories. Related businesses, such as box makers, sewing machine repairmen, and thread dealers opened to serve the industry.
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