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

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of the same year. But nothing of a practical character was done until
nearly ten years later, when in March, 1847, a company was organized with
the following Board of Directors: John Wilkinson, Thomas T. Davis,
Allen Munroe, Horace White, all of Syracuse ; F. T. Carrington, Luther
Wright, Sylvester Doolittle, Alvin Bronson, of Oswego; Holmes Hutchin-
son, Alfred Munson, Thomas F. Faxton, of Utica ; Samuel Willets, of New
York, and Rufus H. King, of Albany. The first officers of the company
were: Holmes Hutchinson, President ; F. T. Carrington, Secretary ; Lu-
ther Wright, Treasurer. Work on the road was at once begun and the line
opened for traffic in October, 1848. The local press of that period ex-
pressed the opinion that this railroad had proved to be of considerable ben-
efit to Syracuse within a short time of its opening. In the year 1872, the
road passed under control of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Com-
pany and now forms a part of their through line to New York and Philadel-
phia. The present Assistant Superintendent, located in Syracuse, is Adolph
II. Schwarz.

Syracuse, Biiighaniton and Nezc York Railroad. — The Syracuse and
Binghamton Railroad Company was organized August 13, 1851, under the
general law of 1850. The original Directors were: Hamilton Murray,

412 Memorial History of Syracuse.

D. C. Littlejohn, of Oswego : Horace White, James R. Lawrence, Thomas
B. Fitch, Syracuse; Daniel S. Dickinson, Hazard Lewis, Binghamton ; Jed-
ediah Barber, Israel Boies, Homer; Alanson Carley, Marathon; Henry
Stevens, Cortland ; John B. Rogers, Chenango Forks ; Robert Dunlop,
Jamesville. Henry Stevens was made President ; Clinton F. Paige, Secre-
tary ; Horace White, Treasurer ; W. B. Gilbert, Superintendent and En-
gineer for the construction of the road. The line was opened through on
the 23d of October, 1854. It was sold on the 13th of October, 1856, on
foreclosure of mortgage, and reorganized April 30, 1857, under the title of
the Syracuse, Binghamton and New York Railroad. In 1858, the company
was authorized to purchase the short line connecting with the canal at
Geddes. The length of the road from Geddes to Binghamton is eighty-one
miles. Under the second organization, Jacob M. Schermerhorn was Presi-
dent, and Orrin Welch, Secretary. T. B. Fitch succeeded as President,
and continued in the ofifice until 1871. In 1870, the Delaware, Lackawanna
and Western Railroad Company secured a controlling interest in the stock
and the road came under its management. The new passenger station
was built in 1877, supplanting the old one at the junction of Clinton and
Onondaga streets. P. Elmendorf Sloan was Superintendent of this road
from 1871 to December, 1872 ; Theodore Voorhees from the last named
date to August, 1874; W. F. Hallstead, Superintendent, and R. F. Mix,
Assistant, from August, 1874, to November, 1876; W. K. Niver, Superin-
tendent, from that time to May, 1886. Since the latter date A. H. Schwarz
has been Assistant Superintendent of the road, with headquarters in Syra-

Syracuse, Clicnaugo and Nc7v York Railroad. — Articles of incorporation
of this company were filed on the i6th of April, 1868, the incorporators
being James P. Haskin, Elisha C. Litchfield, Henry Ten Eyck, John W.
Barker, Dennis McCarthy, George F. Comstock, Hiram Eaton, John Green-
way, James J. Belden, S. D. Luce, J. I. Bradley, John M. Wieting, and
Alfred A. Howlett. J. M. Wieting was elected president, and the capital
stock was placed at $100,000. Work was begun on the line in 1870, and in
1872 a portion of the road was opened for traffic, the remainder being fin-
ished and opened in 1874. Harlow W. Chittenden succeeded J. M. Wiet-
ing as president in 1871, and in 1872 A. A. Howlett was elected to the
office. In the year 1883 the road having passed into the hands of the
North River Construction Company, which failed in the building of the
West Shore railroad, it was turned over as one of the assets of the Construc-
tion Company to the control of the West Shore, and with that line in Decem-
ber, 1885, to the control of the New York Central and Hudson I^iver com-
pany. A separate organization is, however kept up, and J. P. Bradley,
Superintendent of the Western Division of the West Shore road, is also
superintendent of this line.

The West Shore and Bumalo Raii,k(pai). 413

The city of Syracuse was bonded in aid of the road and a history of the
trouble and difficulties, and litigation incurred during Mr. Ilowlett's ad-
ministration would fill a volume. The original stockholders received only
about twenty-one cents on the dollar of their investment. The failure of
the Midland road, with which the Chenango \'alley line connected and on
which itdepended for through freight, was an important element in the
failure of the latter.

Syriuiisc Northern Jurr/rotJi/.— The project of building a railroad to open
communication between Syracuse and the lumber districts to the north and
north east and connecting with Watertown, was di.scussed in Syracuse and
elsewhere as early as 1851, and the matter was not allowed to rest entirely
for a number of years. The final unsuccessful effort was made in 1862, the
failure being then attributable chiefly to the breaking out of the war. But
after the close of the great conflict and when money was plenty, the
project was again revived and a company was chartered in 1870, with a
capital of $1,250,000. The directors were Allen Munroe, E. VV. Leaven-
worth, E. B. Judson, Patrick Lynch, Frank Hiscock, John A. Green, Jacob
S. Smith, Horace K. White, Elizur Clark, and Garret Doyle, of Syracuse ;
William \i. Carter, of Ikewerton ; James A. Clark, of Pulaski; Orin R.
Earl, of Sandy Creek. The officers were as follows: Allen Munroe, Presi-
dent: Patrick H. Agan, Secretary; E. B. Judson, Treasurer; A. C. Powell,
Engineer. The survey was made and on the iSth of May, 1870, work was
begun. The road was openeil on the 9th of November, 1871. It was
operated until 1S75 when it was purchased b)- the Rome, Watertown &
Ogdensburg Company by whom it is now managed and owned. The reader
has already learned that Syracuse loaned $500,000 in aid of this road, for
which it took bonds for the amount at par.

T/ie AVtt' I'crX', IVtsf S/iorc mid Buffalo Railroad. — This company
was chartered on the 14th of June, 1881, and the New York, Buffalo and
West Shore Railway Company was afterwards formed under the laws of
New York and New Jersey, by consolidation of the original compan\- with
the North River Construction Company. The original capital stock was
$40,000,000, and the first officers were Horace Porter, President ; Charles
Hurd, P'irst Vice-President; Theodore Houston, Second Vice-President;
Alex. Taylor, Secretary and Treasurer ; Charles Paine, General Manager.
The road was opened from Weehawken to Syracuse on the 1st of October,
1883, and to Buffalo January i, 1S84. On the 2d of October, 1885, judg-
ment of foreclosure and sale of the road was entered in the Supreme Court
of the State of New York. The property was sold at auction and on the
5th of December was transferred to the purchasers, J. Pierpont Morgan,
Chauncey AL Depew, and Ashbel Green, as joint tenants. The road was
then at once leased to the New York Central Company.

In July, 1S84, D. B. McCoy was appointed Superintendent of the Buf-
falo division of the West Shore road, relieving Superintendent Merrill ; this

414 Memorial History of Syracuse.

division then extended from Buffalo to Syracuse, with headquarters at the
former city. H. W. Gardner was Superintendent of the Mohawk division,
from Syracuse to Coeyman"s Junction on the Hudson river, from 1884, to
April, 1885, when the Mohawk division was absorbed in the Hudson river
and Buffalo division which terminated at Frankfort, with Superintendent
McCoy's ofifice at Newark. In April, 1888, his office was removed to Syra-
cuse and his authority extended to Coeyman's. J. P. Bradfield was made
Superintendent from there to Weehawken.


The city of Syracuse had grown to a large community before men came
forward who had sufficient faith in street railways to invest their money in
one in this city. The project had, however, been often discussed, of build-
ing a line between the First ward and the Erie canal at Salina street, and it
finally assumed definite shape in i860, when the Central City Railway was
incorporated. The route was designated in the charter as through Lodi,
Lock, and Wolf streets, but it was subsequently changed to Salina street.
The road was built during the first half of the year and was opened in Au-
gust, with a public demonstration. This was the first street railway in the
city. The line was extended to the lake in or about 1872, and a branch
line was built from North Salina street along Court street to 3d North
street in 1887. The road passed under control of the People's Line April
4th, 1889, and is continued through Wolf street to the outskirts of the city.
Total length of the line is 5 4-5 miles.

On the 4th of May, 1863, a law passed authorizing Alfred Hovey, Ed-
ward B. Wicks, William D. Stewart, John \V. Barker, D. P. Wood, A. C.
Powell, D. Bookstaver, and G. P. Kenyon, to lay tracks for a street railway
in Furnace and Bridge streets to Hemlock, thence to p-ayette and thence
to Salina street. This road was incorporated as the Syracuse and Geddes
Railway Company in 1863, and the construction began at once. The capi-
tal stock was $50,000. Charles Tallman was the first President of the Com-
pany, and R. N. Gere, Vice-President Upon the death of Mr. Tallman,
Mr. Gere was made President and has held the ofifice ever since. The first
Secretary and Treasurer was D. Bookstaver. but in 1865 he was succeeded
by R. A. Bonta, who has since held the ofifice.

In the same month last mentioned (May, 1863) an Act of Legislature
granted authority to Hamilton White, L. H. Redfield, Charles A. Baker,
Jonathan Hall, James Noxon, Henry D. Hatch, Josiah Brintnall, and P""air-
fax Wellington, to build a street railway from Church street, on North
Salina street to Oakwood Cemetery and Brighton, through South Salina
.street. This organization became the Syracuse and Onondaga Railway
Company, and its line was formally opened on the 25th of July, 1S64. This
road now belongs to the People's Railroad Company.

The Street Railways ok Syracuse. 415

The Genesee and Water Street Railway Company was incorporated
April 2d, 1850, the capital stock being $60,000. The first Board of Di-
rectors were James W Haskin, George F. Comstock, Ira H. Cobb, George
Crouse. George J. Gardner, William H. H. Smith, James Noxon, Austen
Myers, H. O. ^'ilkins, O. T. Burt, R. G. Wynkoop, John G. Bridges, and
Caleb VV. Allis. The Chestnut (Crouse Avenue) branch to near the Uni-
versity was built in 1873, and about the same time the main line was ex-
tended from Beech street eastward to Wescott street. The road was origi-
nally a belt line extending through Genesee, Beach, and returning through
Water street ; but in the fall of 1868 the Water street track was taken up
and laid in Genesee, Warren, James, Hawley, Green, and Lodi streets, as
the Fourth Ward Railway. This road now forms a part of the system of
the Consolidated Street Railway Company.

The Fifth Ward Railroad Company was organized in 1867, with a capi-
tal stock of $50,000. The line was first opened in 1868 with the following
officers: Dudley P. Phelps, President; Lester J. Greenwood, Secretary
and Treasurer; David Field, Superintendent, and extends from Railroad
street through Clinton, Walton, West, Gifford, Geddes, and returning in a
belt line through Delaware, Holland and Niagara to Gifford. Its total
length is three miles. The officers in 1886 were P. B. Brayton, President ;
O. C. Potter, Secretary and Treasurer: Hugh Purnell, Superintendent.
The last officers were: H.S.White, President; S. B. Merrill, Secretary
and Treasurer; Hugh Purnell, Superintendent. These officers, with W. C.
Brayton, H. K. White, Clarence Tucker, E. W. Marsh, constituted the
Board of Directors. This road now forms a part of the system of the Con-
solidated Street Railway Company.

The Seventh Ward Railway line was established in 1886, with a capital
stock of $50,000, and with the following officers : E. F. Rice, President ;
E. I. Rice, Secretary and Treasurer; Frank Purnell, Superintendent. The
route is through Fayette from Sdlina to Montgomery, to Jefferson, to
Grape, to Kennedy, to Renwick avenue, to Oakwood cemetery. In 1889,
the Eleventh Ward Road was organized by substantially the same officers
and company, and its tracks were laid on the line of the Seventh Ward road
to Montgomery street, on which they continue to Burt, to Cortland avenue,
to Midland avenue, to Colvin street, to Mulberry, to Elizabeth, to Baker
avenue, and thence to Kennedy street, forming a belt line with the Seventh
Ward Road. The capital stock is $150,000. The Directors were E. F. Rice,
E. B. Judson, jr., Louis Marshall, H. S. White, J. N. Knapp, D. K. McCar-
thy, Daniel Candee. These two lines were the first in the city to adopt
regular ten minute time. They have now passed, with several other roads,
under control of the Consolidated Street Railway Company.

The Third Ward Railway Company was organized in 1886, and the road
was put in operation in 1888. Its line extends from Salina street on West

4i6 Memorial History of Syracuse.

Genesee to West street ; thence to Park avenue, and to Willis avenue and
Sixth North street, and terminates at the Solvay Process Company's works.
The latter extension was made in 1889, and a branch was opened on the 4th
of July of that year from West Genesee street to the lake shore. The
total length of the line is 3 4-5 miles. It is operated by electricity under
the Thompson-Houston system, and has also passed into the control of the
Consolidated Company. The last officers were: Walter S. Wales, Presi-
dent and Treasurer; H. McGonegal, Secretary; S. D. Lake, Superin-

The Woodlawn and Butternut Street Railway Company was organized
in 1866 with a cajjital stock of $30,000. Its route is from North Salina
street at the junction of James, to Butternut street, and through Butternut
to Manlius street and thence to Woodlawn cemetery. The ofificers who
held their positions from the first were: J. F. Kaufman, I'resident ;
L. House, Vice-President ; Frederick Erhard, Treasurer ; William Dopffel,
Secretary; Peter Kappesser, Superintendentj^ These with John Gebhardt,
John Moore, Theodore Hipkins, John Dunn, Henry Weinheimer and G.
Schieder, were the directors. This road forms a part of the system of the
Consolidated Street Railway Company.

The People's Railroad Company was organized in 1887, with a capital
stock of $300,000, and the road was opened in 1889. The total length of
its tracks is 10 2-5ths miles. With its various connections it extends from
Onondaga Valley to Salina, and is in all respects thoroughly equipped. A
handsome pier and pavilion has been built for its patrons at Salina, and in
the beginning of 1890 it absorbed tlie Valley road extending from Brighton
to that point. Its officers are: Joseph R. Swan, President; Samuel A.
Beardsley, Secretary; Charles H. Childs, Treasurer; H. H. Durr, Superin-
tendent ; Charles H. Childs, Samuel A. Beardsley, Joseph R. Swan, Henry
H. Durr, Thomas Hunter, Frank J. Callanen, Daniel E. Jones, Daniel
Candee, Frank B. Klock, directors.

The Fourth Ward Railroad Company was organized on the 21st of Ma)',
1888, with J. Emmet Wells, President : John Greenway, Vice-President;
George Wells, Treasurer; Charles W. Andrews, Secretary. The car tracks
in East Water street, laid by the Genesee and Water Street Company,
were acquired by the Fourth Ward Company and form a portion of its road,
being taken up and relaid for that purpose. The original line extended
from Hanover Square up Warren and James streets to Burnet street, down
Burnet to Catherine, up Catherine to Green, and in Green to Lodi, and up
Lodi to Willow; but soon after the organization of this company the route
was changed, the line going up James to Hawley, down Hawley to Green
and thence to Lodi to Willow ; while a branch starts from the intersection
of Catherine and Hawley and extends down Hawley to Lodi, down Lodi
to Burnet Avenue and thence to the city line. The franchise of the Bur-


The Bench and Bar of Svracuse. 417

net Street Car Company (granted in June i8S6 ) in Burnet avenue was ac-
quired for this branch. The line as a whole has now passed, with others
mentioned, under control of the Consolidated Company.

The Syracuse Consolidated Street Railway Company was organized
with a capital stock of $1,250,000, and it embraces all the roads in Syracuse
excepting the Central City, the Syracuse and Onondaga and the People's
Line proper. Nine of the first Board of thirteen Directors are Syracusans,
as follows: John Dunn, jr.. Manning C. Talmer, Louis Marshall, Theo-
dore L. Poole, Fred C. Eddy, Hamilton S. White, William S. Andrews,
Bruce S. Aldrich, and John H. Kaufmann.



Early History of the Bench and Bar of America— The Courts of the State of New York— Ap-
pointment of .\ssoci.ite 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 House— Its Enlargement— The Court of Appeals Library— Biographic Sketches
— The Present Bar.

ALTHOUGH as a distinct county our records are comparatively recent,
the early history of our Bench and Bar takes us back to judicial sys-
tems very different from those with which we are now familiar, and very
similar to those of England. For the ]5ritish governors, after the peace of
Westminster, introduced such of the courts of the mother country from
time to time as seemed adapted to the new colonies; and although our
Constitution of 1777 abolished such as were hostile to the democratic sent-
iments of the new era, it preserved with considerable entirety the legal
fictions and the judicial systems of its inheritance. It was thus that our
new county found in existence such courts as the Common Pleas, Chancery,
Court of Probate, Court for the Trial of Impeachments and the Correction
of Errors, and others long since abolished or merged in those of the present
day. The old Court of Assizes and Court of Oyer and Terminer had
already passed away, and the Federal Constitution had taken from the
State the Court of Admiralty ; but most of those mentioned above still
attested our early relations with the complex system of England.

4i8 Mknujkial IIistokv of Syracuse.

During the exciting times succeeding the administration of the tyranni-
cal Governor Andros, and just after the execution of Leisler and the arrival
of Governor Sloughter, and while the charter of liberties was agitating our
colony, the Court for the Correction of Errors and Appeals was established.
It consisted of the Governor and Council, its powers resembling those of
our present court of final resort. The Revolution necessitated a change
which gave rise to the Court for the Trial of Impeachments and the Correc-
tion of Errors. The Constitution of 1846, which made so many changes in
our judicial system, entirely remodeled this Court. It divided it in fact,
creating the Court of Appeals in place of the Court for Correction of Errors,
and leaving the Court for the Trial of Impeachments still composed of the
Senate and its President, together with the Judges of the new Court. The
convention of 1867-68 reorganized the Court of Appeals, and in 1869 the
people ratified the change, which resulted in the present court of final resort.
On account of the great mass of accumulated business, a Commission of
Appeals was created in 1870, continuing until 1875, possessing substantially
the powers of its sister court, and designed to relieve the latter.

In 1888, the Legislature passed a concurrent resolution that section 6 of
Article 6 of the Constitution be amended so that upon the certificate of
the Court of Appeals to the Governor of such an accumulation of causes
on the calendar of the Court of Appeals that the public interests required
a more speedy disposition thereof, the Governor may designate seven Jus-
tices of the Supreme Court to act as Associate Judges for the time being,
of the Court of Appeals, and to form a second division of that Court, and
to be dissolved by the Governor when the said causes are substantially dis-
posed of. This amendment was submitted to the people of the State at
the general election of that year and was ratified, and in accordance there-
with the Governor selected seven Supreme Court Justices, who were con-
stituted the Second Division of the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court as it now exists is a combination of very diverse
elements. The Court of Chancery, the Court of Exchequer, the Court of
Oyer and Terminer, the Probate Court, the Circuit Court, and the Supreme
Court proper, have all been combined to make up this important branch of
our system. But during our early county history several of these courts
existed independently of each other, some of our early lawyers being among
their leading members. The Court of Chancery, which had been organized
when the Court of Assizes was abolished in 1683, was the beginning of the
equity branch of the present Supreme Court. It was reorganized shortly
after the Revolution and, with some slight modifications by the Constitu-
tion of 1821, and by subsequent enactments, it continued until 1846, when
it was merged in the new Supreme Court. Its descendant is our Special
Term, the presiding Judge representing the Vice-Chancellor, the duties of

The Old Supreme and Ciuctrr Courts 419

Chancellor being filled by the General Term Bench. The Court of Ex-
chequer, having been erected in 1685, was made a branch of the old Su-
preme Court just after the Revolution, and so continued until finally abol-
ished in 1830. In our earliest colonial history there had been a Court of
Oyer and Terminer, but it was discontinued during the time of King Wil-
liam, its name, ho\ve\er, surviving to designate the criminal part of the Cir-
cuit. This brings us to the old Supreme and Circuit Courts, with which the
Court of Chancery united under the Constitution of 1S46, to complete the
principal branch of our present system. In the early part of the century
the Supreme Court of this State consisted of five Justices. It had been
the practice to hold four terms a j-ear, two in Albany and two in New York.
But previous to that time, and in the closing years of the last century, the
Circuit system was established somewhat on the plan of that of England.
It was enacted that the Judges should, during their vacations, hold courts
in the various counties of the State, and return the proceedings to the Su-
preme Court when it convened again, when they should be recorded and
judgment rendered. A few years later the system was simplified by the
division of the State into four Judicial Districts. To each of these districts
was assigned a Judge whose duty it was to hold Circuits in each of the
counties therein at least once in each year. It had already been enacted
that the Courts of Oyer and Terminer (the criminal part of the present
Supreme Court) should be held at the same time and place as the Circuit,
and should consist of the Circuit Judge, assisted by two or more of the
Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the county. This Circuit system
was very similar to the present, except that our Special Terms are substi-
tuted for the Court of Chancery.

After the constitution of 1S21, the State was divided, as at present,
into eight Judicial Districts, each being provided with a Circuit Judge, in
whom were vested certain equity powers, subject to appeal to the Chancery
Court ; while the Supreme Court proper held much the same position as
the present General Term. In 1846 the new Constitution abolished the
Court of Chancery, giving the powers theretofore held by it to the Supreme
Court, which it reorganized substantially as it exists to-da)'. Such is the
historj' in brief of the higher Courts of this county and State.

The system of local judicature was also changed to correspond with
that of the State at large. The Court of Common Pleas, organized con-
temporaneously with the Colonial Court, for the Correction of Errors and
Appeals, has given way to the County Court ; while the offices of County

Online LibraryDwight Hall BruceMemorial history of Syracuse, N.Y., from its settlement to the present time → online text (page 49 of 110)