Dwight Hall Bruce.

Memorial history of Syracuse, N.Y., from its settlement to the present time online

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Memorial History



From its Settlement to the Present Time





THE promised History ok Sykacusk lias been written, and it ;— f Irnwlh of the Village— Prominent Builders 85


Primitive Conditions of the Site of Syracuse— Map of 1819-TThe Walton Tract and its
Sale- The First Treasurer— The First Buildings in Syracuse— The Earliest Tavern
—The Original Names of the Place— The Old Red Mill— Salina Street— The Canal
and its Influence— Forman, Wil.son & ("o.— Celeliration of the ()]iening of the Canal
— Population in 1 820- Lowering of the Lake— The Name of Syracuse— Oliver
Teal! and the Water Works— Conditions in 1825 93



Incorporation of the Village — Rivalry between Salinaand Syracuse — The First Election
of Village Ollicers — Proceedings of the Early Meetings of Trustees — Some of the
First Ordinances— The First Fire Protection— Visit of Marquis de La Fayette —
General Condition of the Village at thu Time of Incorporation— Early Improve-
ments and Sales of Lots— Location of Buildings between 1825 and \SSQ 108


Pen-Picture of the Village of 1827— Lathrop's Lodging House— Yellow Brook— Clear-
ing of Lands by the Syracuse Company — Buildings on Various Streets in 1827 —
W. B. Kirk's Tavern— The Old Episcopal Church— Phelps's Blacksmith Shop— The
Site of the Bastable Block— The Section South of the Canal and West of Sahna
Street— William Malcom's Buildings— Description of the Western Part of the City
Site— The Cinder Road 1-0


From 1828 to 1840— Improvement oi Streets— The Census of 1829— Captain Hiram
Putnam— The Business Houses of the Village and where they were Located — Sam-
uel Lamed and his Floating Store— The Approach of the Cholera— Measures adopted
to Thwart the Disease— Deaths of Prominent Persons— The Canal t,|uarantine and
its Eftects— Census of Business Houses in 1834— The Great Fire of that Year- The
Coming of the Railroad— E. W. Leavenworth and his Early Influence— Changes in
the Ordinances '-^


Further Progress of the Village— The Rose Hill Cemetery Purchase— A Brief Era of
Turbulence— Additions to the Business Houses of the Village— Tlie Great Gun-
powder Explosion— Lists of Killed and Injured- Public Action on the Casualties-
Changes of Street Names — A Disgraceful Riot— Whisperings of a City Charter —
Abolition of the Old Can.al Basin— Erection of a Public Market— Causes of its Fail-
ure — Incorporation as a City ''•o


First Officers of Salina Village— Early Village Expenses— Opening of Exchange Street
—The Old Cemetery .ind the New— The First Paving- Purchase of Fire Apparatus
—Lists of Village Olliceis— Various Public Improvements -Preparations for Union
with Syracuse as a City 159

lo Memokiai, Histdkv of Syracuse.


The Dawn of a New Era— Plank Roads and their Influence— A Savings Bank— E. B.
Alvord's Cahfornia House— The First Ref,'ular Theater- Salt Lands at Auction—
Onondaga Creek Inii>rovenient— ( )iganization of the Franklin Institute— New
Mflhod of Hoad Making— The Bu.-iiiiess Establishments of the Young City-
Growth of the Place — A Disastrous Fire— The Jerry Kescue — Jenny Lind's Con-
cert—Abandonment of the Public Market— Sale of the Old Court-IIouse Property
— The New Wards and their Boundaries — Increasing Public Debt — A Reign of In-
cendiarism — The Wietiiig Blo(;k Burned — Trouble in the Public Finances — A Great
Political Meeting I'i'i


How History was Rapidly Made — Charier Election of l!^6li — The Presiileutial Campaign
— The Beginning of the War — Inteuse Patriotic Excitement — The First Military
Organization for the War— The Great Freshet of 18G2— Raising of the 122d Regi-
ment — Bounties to Volunteers — Stagnation in all Public Improvements — Prospects
of u Draft — The Delegation to Washington — Further Generous Bounties — Special
Election — The Last Regiment Raised — A Snow Blockade — Steam Fire Engines
Purchased — City Iiuprovemenis Following the War 190


John Greenway's Barbecue — A Protest and Warning— Charter Election — Public Im-
provements—A New Water Supply Demanded — The Tully Lake Project — The Fire
Alarm Telegraph — Democratic Victory — A Period of Prosperity — A Bank Run —
Small Pox Flurry— The Chenango Valley Railroad -Funding of a Heavy Floating
Debt — Mayor Ijraves Deplores the Existence of the Great City Debt— Development
of Southern Suburbs— The Village of Danforth — Di.ssension between the City and
Gas Company — Public Alarm at the Municipal Debt — The Committee of Ninety-
six— The Belden Administration and its Benefits 207


The Last Decade— Application for a New (ias Company Charter — The " City Improve-
ment Society "—Building of the Wot Shore Railroad— Removal of Police Com-
missioners—Trouble with the Board of Education— City Annexation — The New
City Hall Project -Charter Amendments— Better Water Supply Demanded — The
Committee of One Hundred and its Work -William A. Sweet's Project— Annex-
ation of Geddes— Gift of Burnel Park -The Kirk Administration— Pushing the
Work for a New Water Supply — A Real Estate Boom —Extension of the Street
Railway System — Conclusion 231



Villa),'." OITicers— City Officers— Judicial Olliccrs of llerkiiner County— Supreme Court
.Iutlj;os~-Surroocal Officers— Regimental Organizations down to
ISl'i Sulisequent Changes down to 1822— Missing Records of Ten Years- Other
Changes down to the War of the Rebellion— ( »nondaga in the War— Butler's
Zouaves— Jenney's First Company— Jenney's Rattery— Organization of the 12th
Regiment— Its Various Campaigns and Return Home— The r22d Regiment and its
Record— Organization of the 149th Regiment— An Account of its Campaigns—
The ISoth Regiment and its Brief and Brilliant Record— History of the 51st Regi-
ment—Independent Military Organizations 2( 1


German Population in Cities— Their Chief Characteristics— Proportion of Germans in
Syracuse— Where they Came From- The first Germans of Syracuse— Where they
Settled— The Beginning of Larger Immigration— Prominent German Settlers and
their Occupations — The German Press— German Medical and Other Societies 336


Syracuse as a Healthy Financial Center— The First Monetary Strmgency— Its Conse-
quences—The Stringency in 1857 - 01d Bank of Syracuse- -Trust and Deposit Com-
pany— Salt Springs National Bank— Merchants' National Bank— Onondaga County
Savings Bank- -First National Bank— New York State Banking Company— Syra-
cuse Savings Bank— Third National Bank — Bank of Syracuse — State Bank of
Syracuse — Robert Gere Bank 3G4


Sail in Olden Days— The Discovery of the Onondaga Salt Springs— The First Known
Source of Salt away from the Sea Coa.^t— Comfort Tyler's Primitive Salt Works
—Isaac Van VIeck's Operations— The Geddes Works— The Federal Company—
Eli.sha and Dioclesian Alvord— The Establishment of Larger Blocks— The Early
Methods of Boilmg— The First Wells— Relations of the State to the Salt Lands-
Improvements in Processes— Early Markets for Salt -Statistics of Manufacture
— Organization of Companies — Pi esent and Future of the Industry 378

12 Memorial History of Syracuse.

chaptp:r XXV.

The Western Inljiml Lock and Navigation Company- First Inception of the Erie Canal
Project — The Kontes Discussed — Judge Kornians Early Work in Favor of the Ca-
nal— The State Loan— Completion ot the Canal— The First Packet Boat— Railroads
— The First One to Reach Syracuse— Its Rude Character — Other Railroads of
Syracuse 404


Early Ilistory of the Bench and Bar of America - The Courts of the State of New York
— Appointment of Associate Judges of the Supreme Court — The Supreme Court
— The Old Supreme and Circuit Courts — The Eight Judicial Districts — The Court
of Common Pleas — District Attorney — The First Court-House — Rivalry for a New
Court-House in Salina and Syracuse — The Compromise — The Last Court-IIouse —
Its Enlargement — The Court of .\ppeals Lil)rary — Biographic Sketches — The Pres-
ent Bar 4\~i


The Onondaga Medical Society — Its Organization — Records of Early Meetings — The
First Cholera Epiiiemic — A Complimentary Dinner - List of Presidents — List of
Members — The Syracuse Medical Association— Proceedings of Various Meetings
— Officers of the Association — Biograpliical Notes — -The Homoeopathic Medical
Society ... 449


First Religious Meetings in the Vicinity — Early Meetings atSalina and Goddes — Meet-
ings in the Old School-House — Organization of the First Baptist Church— Burning
of the Church — Other Baptist Churches - Pre8byterian Churches of Syracuse —
Congregational Churches of Syracuse- -Methodist Episcopal Churches of Syracuse
— Protestant Episcopal Cliurches — Catholic Churches 476


The Early Ilistory of the Schools of Syracuse— The Foundation laid for the Present
Superior System— Languag.", Art, and Science Taught— Syracuse Academy Char-
tered — Public Schools Before the City Organization — Public Schools Under the
City Government 53q



The Public Press — Its Character in Syacuse — Tlio Syracuse Standard and its Prede-
cessors — The Syracuse Journal and its Ori';in — The Syracuse Couriir — The Evening
Herald — Weekly Papers. — Tlie Rehgious Press — Defur.ct Newspapers ... 545

Music in Syracuse 557


The First PosloHice — Its In.sigiiificance — The First Postmaster — First tjuarterly Re-
ceipts — A Stately Removal — First Free Delivery — The New Government Build-
ing — List of Postmasters 559


Earl}' Protection from Fire — The First Engine — How it was Purchased — Fire Regula-
tions — Members of the First Company — A Second Engine House — Purchase of a
Third Engine — Re-organization of 1851 — Establishment of the Paid Department —
Present Features — Commissioners 563


The First Burial in the County — First Burial (rround in Salina — The Second and Pres-
ent Burying Ground in the First Ward — The Old Burial Place of Syracuse Village
— Rose Hill Cemeierj' — Movement for Establishment of Oakwood Cemetery-
Dedication .570


Free and Accepted Masons — Tiie First Ma.sonic Lodge in Syracuse — Its Location in
Salina — Syracuse Lodge, No. 501 — Other Masonic Lodges — The First Odd Fel-
lows Lodge — Present Lodges and their Officers 577


The Police Department — The Syracuse Water Works Company — The Syracuse Gas
Light Company — The Telegraph and Telephone in Syracuse — Onondaga County
Orphan Asylum — The State Idiot Asylum— St. Joseph's Hospital— House of the
Good Shepherd — The Old Ladies' Home — Business Men's Association — Bureau of
Labor and Charities 586

14 Memorial History of Syracuse.


An Kstiniate of the City's Material Wealth— Its Growth, and tlie Reasons for it— A
Uelletion of its Industries — Capital Em|>loyed and the Results Wrought Out— Its
Sihools and Churches — A Sketch of its More Prominent Manufacturing Establish-
ments — Hotels... GIO


Notes anil Reminiscences with Wit and Humor interspersed — Interesting Anecdotes of

Historical Importance 083


Reminiscences of Hon. A. D. White— Present Recollections of Syracuse— Scenes and

Incidents of H.ilf a Century ago— A Pen-Picture Closes the Volume 708

Biographical , Par^ n i







Indian Occupation of Onondaga— The Five Nations— The Clreat Iroquois League— Tribal
Characteristics- The Indian at Home- Emigration from the Old World to the New— The Jesuit
Missions and their Work — Other Missions.

THE history of the site of Syracuse, and the territory adjacent thereto,
begins among the traditions of one of the most powerful nations of
Indians of whom we have any knowledge, and still fainter traditions of white
men who may possibly have visited this region many years previous to the
time of which there are any existing records. The history of the Five Nations
(ultimately the Six Nations,) of Indians— the Grand Iroquois," as they were
termed by the French — illuminates thousands of brilliant pages from some
of the ablest pens that this country has produced. Of these Five Nations
the Onondagas, who were the original proud owners and occupants of the
territory which comes distinctly within the province of this history, were,

♦The name Iroquois was given these Indians by the French, who prefixed the name " Huron "
because their language indicated the Hurons, who were seated on Georgian Bay. to be a part of the
Iroquois family, and. like them, were isolated in the midst of the Algonquins when discovered by
the French. — Lossing.

Memorial History of Syracuse.

also, with one exception, the most influential and numerous, as well as the
most intelligent.*

Among the traditions of these Indians antiquarians and scholars have
delved in efforts to trace their history back to their origin, but it can scarcely
be said that the results have justified the labor. We know wMth a fair
degree of certainty when white men first came here, driven by their ambition
from the crowded acres of the Old World to a continent where a domain
could be purchased with a cask of rum and the slaughter of a few natives;
but whether those natives had occupied the soil fifty, a hundred, or a thou-
sand years, we know not.

The Five Nations of the Iroquois Indians were bound together in a
League, the bonds of which were strong as steel and peculiarly adapted to
secure permanence and the welfare of the several members in all the cir-
cumstances of their lives. These nations were called Mohawks, Oneidas,
Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, and they were located across the terri-
tory embraced in the State of New York from east to west in the order
just named.

The time of the formation of this League is lost in the past. Some
writers have placed it only a generation previous to the landing of the
Dutch in New York : others a hundred years earlier. Webster, the first
wliite settler on the site of Syracuse, and an Indian interpreter, gives the
time as "about two generations before the white people came to trade with
the Indians. "t It is, however, believed by those best informed on the sub-
ject to have been formed at a much earlier date, and that nothing is left to
indicate the actual time, excepting the tradition which is current among the
Onondagas, of which the following is a brief summary:

The origin of the League is ascribed to Hiawatha, the incarnation of
wisdom, about the beginning of the fifteenth century. He came from his
celestial home to dwell with the Onondagas, where he taught the related
tribes all that was desirable to promote their welfare. Under his immediate
tutelage the Onondagas became the wisest counselors, the bravest warriors,
and the most successful hunters. While Hiawatha was thus quietly living
among them they were attacked by a powerful enemy from the north, who
laid waste their villages and slaughtered their men, women, and children in-
discriminately ; utter destruction seemed inevitable. In this extremity
they turned to Hiawatha, who, after thoughtful contemplation, advised a
grand Council of all that could be gathered of the tribes, saying, " Our
safety is not alone in the club and dart, but in wise counsels."

* There were other tribes of Indians in the territory along the Atlantic sea board, at the time
when white seillcnienls began, but in comparison with the Iroquois they were feeble and insignifi-
cant. The Kivc Nations dominated them all and to such an extent that, with other active influences,
Ihcy were soon practically exterminated.

f Clark's Onondaga.

Traditions oi' the Iroquois Lea(;ue. 19

The Council was held on the shore of Onondaga Lake and the fire burned
for three days awaiting the presence of Hiawatha. He was troubled with
forebodings of ill fortune and had resolved to not attend the Council ; but in
response to importunities of messengers he set out with his beautiful daugh-
ter, Minnehaha. Approaching the Council he was bidden welcome by all,
and they then turned their eyes upward to behold a volume of cloudy dark-
ness descending upon them. All fled excepting Hiawatha and his daugh-
ter, who calmly awaited the impending calamity. Suddenly and with a
mighty swoop, a huge bird with long and distended wings descended upon
the beautiful maiden and crushed her to death, itself perishing with the
collision. For three days and nights Hiawatha gave himself up to exhibi-
tions of poignant grief. At the end of that period he regained his wonted
demeanor and took his seat in the Council, which, after some deliberation,
adjourned one day. On the following day Hiawatha addressed the Coun-
cil, giving to each of the Five Nations their location and their degree of
importance, as before described. The advice of the venerable sage was
deliberated upon until the following day, when the celebrated League of

Online LibraryDwight Hall BruceMemorial history of Syracuse, N.Y., from its settlement to the present time → online text (page 1 of 110)