After the end of the Revolutionary War in 1781, the State Legislature did not have the money to pay its surviving soldiers, so in February 1789, The New York State Legislature passed a law governing the surveying and setting apart, for use of its surviving soldiers of the Revolutionary War, a large section of land between Seneca and Oneida lakes. This was known as the "Military Tract.2"
The town of Dryden, named for an English poet, John Dryden, was part of the New York military tract, two million acres of wilderness between Seneca and Oneida Lakes, the land which comprises Ellis Hollow was included in this as well.
The land was divided into 600 acre lots, which the veterans drew by ballot in 1791. What is now known as Ellis Hollow was then Military Lots 71-74, and parts of lots 62-65, 75, 82-83 and 85. Many former soldiers had no interest in settling on their military lots. They sold or traded them for what they could get and left the pioneering to bolder, younger people.