In 1795, the Connecticut Land Company offered for sale a 17,247-acre tract of land named Bazetta Township. This large tract of land was divided into 100 parcels and offered for sale to the early pioneers. The first settlers arrived in the township in 1805. The area was wilderness, and their first tasks were to clear the land, plant crops, build a log house and a stockade for their animals. Deer, turkey, rabbit and squirrel were plentiful. So were bears and wolves. By 1812, most Indians had left the area.
Samuel Bacon moved to Bazetta Township in 1816. The Bacon family operated a sawmill from 1816 to 1850. Samuel Bacon erected some of the first frame buildings, developing stores in the community. Thus, the area now named Cortland was locally called Baconsburg.
The village of Cortland became a reality in 1874 when the first railroad was built with a depot in Cortland. By 1882, the population of the village rose to 614 people. There were three churches, two newspapers, stores, mills and other enterprises.
Agriculture was the first and foremost industry in the area. Most other industries were farm related: feed and flour mill, cheese, dairy and canning factories, mercantiles and lumberyards.