On the 7th of March 1788, a town was formed from a large part of the Palatine district of Montgomery county, taking the same name, from its pioneers having been Palatines. Other towns were subsequently formed from portions of Palatine. Thus Salisbury, Herkimer county, was taken off in 1797, and Stratford, Fulton county, in 1805; also Oppenheim, Fulton county, which then embraced the town of St. Johnsville, in 1808. Again, in 1827, it was still farther reduced by the taking off of Ephratah, a small part of which was re-annexed in April, 1838. It was somewhat irregular in shape, extending about eight miles and a half east and west, and seven miles north and south. It is bounded on the north by the towns of Mohawk, while the Mohawk river forms its western and southern boundaries.
The Garoga, in the northwest, and the Kanadarank, in the southeast, are its principal streams, while Fink's Flat and Mill creeks, and several smaller rivulets flow in different directions through the town.
The surface is chiefly an upland, from 200 to 500 feet above the Mohawk, slightly undulating, broken occasionally by narrow ravines which descend irregularly toward the river. A rocky range of hills runs across the southeast corner of the town, terminating very abruptly at the river's edge in a high, narrow bluff, called the "Nose." The soil is principally a dark clayey loam, inclining to the gravelly order in some parts; it is very fertile, well adapted to grazing, and, with proper cultivation, yields remunerative crops of most cereals.
Dairying is carried on to quite an extent by a majority of the inhabitants. There are, at present, nine cheese factories in the town, most of which are owned by stock companies, manufacturing from 750,000 to 1,000,000 pounds of cheese annually. Dwight D. Smith, who became a resident of Palatine in 1839, erected a factory and commenced the manufacture of cheese in 1862. This is said to have been the first establishment of the kind in Montgomery county.
Palatine contains within its present limits an area of 22,893 acres, four-fifths of which are under improvement. The population in 1875 was 2,706. The number of taxable inhabitants in 1877 was 483. The assessed valuation of property in 1877 was: real estate, $617, 881; personal estate, $18, 200.