The Town of Hartwick was named after Lutheran Minister John Christopher Hartwick (1714-1796), an early landowner of the town. Hartwick had bought the area that now constitutes the township (the Hartwick Patent, granted 1761) from the Mohawk Indians in 1763. Discontent with the sparsely settled communities of Palatine Germans in the Mohawk Valley to the north, Hartwick bought the original patent with the intent to build a "New Jerusalem." This did not occur as Hartwick stipulated and by the 1790s William Cooper had sold most of Hartwick's land against his wishes. Instead of a New Jerusalem, Hartwick requested in his will that a Lutheran seminary be opened with his estate. Upon Hartwick's death in 1797, efforts to do this started but were complicated by the fact that Hartwick left his estate to Jesus Christ. Fifteen years later, Hartwick Seminary - the oldest Lutheran Seminary in the United States - opened in 1812. The seminary closed in the 1920s, and the proceeds were used to open Hartwick College in nearby Oneonta in 1925. The town was established in 1802 from the Town of Otsego. In 1803, the north town line was altered.