Gurney S Strong.

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reads thus: "Compliments of R. W. Jones. This pic-
ture hung on the wall in the old Welch Coffee House
on this site, about forty years ago." The picture
represents two women in their stage costume for "As-
modeus, or the Little Devil's Share." As there was
some resemblance in the face and hands especially,
and also in the form, of the shorter of the two figures
to Susan Denin, the picture passed as a likeness of
the Denin sisters, Susan and Kate. But the picture
was not a likeness. These Denin sisters were the
reigning actresses in those days, and they became
famous in starring throughout the United States.
They were great favorites in Syracuse, especially with
the "Salt Pointers," as the residents of Salina were
called; and they were always given an especially en-
thusiastic reception whenever they appeared in the
National Theatre, which was formerly the First Bap-
tist church, and which is now the site of the Univer-
salist church. They will be remembered as appearing
in their great play, Jack Sheppard, as well as Asrno-
deus, Romeo and Juliet, in which Susan appeared as
Romeo and Kate as Juliet, and also in Grandmother's
Pet.

The Denin sisters were fine actresses, singers and
dancers, and they were blessed with elegant figures,
which made their presence very attractive. Susan
was an unusually beautiful woman in face and figure.
She was the shorter of the two. She married Fletcher



40 A FAMOUS COFFEE HOUSE

Woodward, son of Arnold Woodward, a former pro-
minent dry goods merchant in this city. The mar-
riage was not a happy one, as Woodward was of a
jealous disposition. Susan made large sums of money
on the stage, but Fletcher was improvident. While
returning from California by steamer, Fletcher is be-
lieved to have shot an actor of whom he was jealous.
Susan nursed the actor, who died a few months after-
wards in New York ; but as no one was found who
would swear against Fletcher, the murderer was never
found. Susan was afterwards divorced from her hus-
band. When she next appeared at the National
Theatre, Fletcher and some of his friends attempted
to hiss her from the stage. But there were a number
of Salt Pointers in the theatre, and they notified him
that if the hissing continued they would throw him
and his friends out of the building. It is needless to
add that the hissing ceased, for the Salt Pointers were
famous for their fighting propensities. Susan thanked
her admirers for their kind protection. She is re-
membered as having resided in this city in the Wood-
ward homestead, on the southeasterly corner of Rail-
road and Clinton streets, and she was a welcomed
guest in social circles. Susan afterwards married
Captain Frank Barroll. Her daughter is now living
in Portland, Oregon, a lovely woman and the mother
of five children. Susan died in 1875 and is buried in
Indianapolis, Ind. The picture was purchased by



A VALUED PICTURE 41

Richard W. Jones from Mr. Cook; and it formerly-
hung on the walls of the Citizens' Club, of which Mr.
Jones has been President for some years. About a
year ago Mr. Jones gave the celebrated picture to the
Vanderbilt House.



CHAPTER III



AN EARLY HOUSE OF GOD



The old, dilapidated wooden building on the north-
westerly corner of Madison and Montgomery streets
is the most historic ecclesiastical landmark now re-
maining in Syracuse. It was the first Episcopal as
well as the first Catholic church in the village of
Syracuse ; and it was the third building in this place
to be used exclusively for religious purposes. The
first religious society organized in the village was of
the Baptist denomination, the society being organ-
ized in the winter of 1819-20. The First Baptist
Church edifice was erected in 1824. The First Pres-
byterian Church edifice was built in the summer of
1825 and dedicated in January, 1826, the society hav-
ing been organized December 14, 1824. This old
building was completed in 1827 for the St. Paiil's
Protestant Episcopal Church, though religious ser-
vices were first held there in July, 1826. In Febru-
ary, 1842, the edifice, with all its fixtures and ap-
pointments, including the organ but excepting the

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THE OLD ST. PAUL'S CHURCH— From an old painting.



ST. PAUL'S CHURCH 43

bell, was sold to the congregation of St. Mary's
Roman Catholic Church for about $600. The first
Roman Catholic Church of Syracuse was organized
December 25, 1842.

A meeting of those interested in organizing St.
Paul's Church was held May 22, 182G, in the old dis-
trict school house which stood for many years in
Church street, in the rear of the former First Baptist
meeting-house. The Rev. John McCarty presided,
and John Durnford and Samuel Wright were elected
wardens; and Amos P. Granger, Archy Kasson,
James Mann, Matthew W. Davis, Mathew "Williams,
Barent Filkins, Othniel H. Williston and Jabez
Hawley were elected vestrymen. The question of
erecting a church edifice of their own had been pre-
viously discussed, the preliminary steps having been
taken in 1824. In 1825 The Syracuse Company gave
to this congregation the triangular lot, bounded by
Warren, East Genesee and East Washington streets,
where the Granger Block now stands, under the ex-
press agreement that a church should be built thereon.
In September of that year the frame of an edifice, 41
by 52 feet, was raised and covered in, and in the fol-
lowing July the first regular service by a missionary
began, though the building was not completed till
1827. In those early days that triangular piece of
ground was a fine little green meadow. John Durn-
ford advocated the selection of this meadow for the



44 AN EARLY HOUSE OF GOD

proposed site for the church edifice, but Archy Kas-
son and John Rodgers, the other members of the Site
Committee, offered an objection to the lot, saying it
was too far from the village, whose central location
was where the old red mill stood, now the location of
the High School building in West Genesee street on
the east bank of the Onondaga creek. But the Site
Committee finally coincided with Mr. Durnford in his
choice and the report was adopted.

The church edifice was a plain, unpretending build-
ing, painted white, with green blinds, clapboarded,
buttressed angles and surmounted with a square
tower, with pinnacled corners. The windows were
lancet shaped, and there were three on either side, in
front two full length and one shorter over the en-
trance, and one in the west end over the pulpit, fitted
with seven by nine plain glass. The triangular lot
was greater in its area than it now appears. The
front faced the east and between it and the apex of
the triangle was a grass plot, set with shrubbery.
The rear or west wall was within a very few feet of
the east line of Warren street, and the whole plot was
entirely surrounded with a plain picket fence. In
front of the church, at the further end of the triangle,
was located a well of superb water, the common resort
of the residents of that neighborhood. The accom-
panying illustration is from a picture painted and
given to the church by Miss F. L. Dickinson; and the



A PARISH LIBRARY 45

painting may now be found in the vestry room of the
present St. Paul's Cathedral.

The Rev. John McCarty, who was the first clergy-
man of St. Paul's church, resigned in the latter part
of 1826 from his pastoral charge of the parish and also
from the one at Onondaga Hill ; and he was succeeded
in the following December by the Rev. William Bar-
low, who became the first resident missionary of the
church in the village of Syracuse. Mr. Barlow was an
uncle of the members of the Barlow family, all at that
time living here and occupying prominent positions in
society. He continued his services until the autumn
of 1828. From this period until 1830, a space of more
than a year and a half, the parish was left without a
rector. The Rev. Palmer Dyer of Hartford, Conn.,
entered upon the rectorship of this church May 1, 1830.
One of his first acts was the establishing of a parish
library, which was the first public library established
in the village. Its volumes from some cause eventu-
ally became scattered and the remnant was absorbed
either by purchase or gifts in the library of the Syra-
cuse Academy. This parish library did much towards
building up a church sentiment and in allaying a
strong sectarian opposition. In those early days,
when the common people were more unenlightened
than they are to-day, there was a considerable feeling
against the Episcopal church, which was looked upon
as resembling the Catholic church, against which



46 AN EARLY HOUSE OF GOD

there was an intense, bitter feeling. It will be re-
membered by the older citizens that in the winter of
1847-48, Dennis McCarthy, who afterwards became
distinguished as State Senator, and Dr. James Foran,
a finely educated and leading physician, gave lectures
twice a week on the doctrines of the Catholic church
in the public hall, which was built on the triangular
lot where the Granger Block now stands after St.
Paul's church was removed. Those lectures were of
the nature of debates, as they were participated in by
representatives of the Protestant religion, especially
of the Methodist denomination. Bat happily, through
the influence of education, that sectarian prejudice is
now greatly removed.

In 1833, Mr. Dyer resigned, and the parish from
that time until May, 1835, except for a short period
of about six months, when the Rev. Richard Salmon
officiated, was without a resident rector. Mr. Dyer
was succeeded by the Rev. John Gregg, who officiated
for about six months. In October, 1835, the vestry
resolved to recall the Rev. William Barlow, who,
however, declined the call. The Rev. Francis Thomas
Todrig became rector in December, 1835, and on the
28th of May following, was instituted according to
the forms laid down in the prayer book. This is the
first and only instance of the institution of a rector
in this manner, in this parish, from its organization
till the occasion of the Rev. Dr. Henry Gregory in



st. mary's church 47

1840. These two clergymen, Messrs. Todrig and Gre-
gory, were the only ones thus instituted as rectors in
St. Paul's church in this city. Mr. Todrig had for-
merly been a member of the Roman Catholic church.
He resigned in July, 1836, and from that date till De-
cember of the same year, the parish was again
vacant. The Rev. Clement M. Butler accepted the
charge December 4, 1836, and continued to officiate
till May, 1838. He was succeeded, July 15, 1838, by
the Rev. John B. Gallagher, who resigned November
1, 1840.

In March, 1840, the first definite action relative
to a change of location of St. Paul's Church edifice
was had. The Rev. Dr. Henry Gregory became rector
December 1, 1840, and continued as such for nearly
eight years, when he became rector of St. James
Church in this city, in order that he might carry out
his ideas on free pews in churches. The church lot
was sold March 8, 1841, at auction, by order of the
Court of Chancery, to Daniel Elliott, Joseph I. Brad-
ley and Samuel Larned for $8,000; and the new lot,
corner of Warren and Fayette streets, where the
Government building now stands, was purchased for
$3,500. The last sermon preached in the old edifice
previous to its removal, was on April 10, 1842,
by the Rev. Henry Gregory, D. D., an eloquent,
able and highly esteemed gentleman. The church edi-
fice now passed into the hands of the Roman Catholic



48 AX EARLY HOUSE OF GOD

Church, from which time it was called St. Mary's
church. The corner stone of the new St. Paul's
church, which was a marvel of beauty in its day, was
laid July 12, 1841, and the building was completed
early in the following year.

The Rev. Father Michael Haes was the first resi-
dent Catholic priest in the village of Syracuse. He
assumed charge of St. Mary's Church, the old build-
ing having been removed to the corner of Montgom-
ery and Madison streets, then an open common, a spot
low and marshy and altogether undesirable for resi-
dences or for buildings of this character. The lot
was given by The Syracuse Company to the Catholic
Society, who transferred it to Bishop McCloskey of
Albany, who afterwards became Archbishop of New
York. The title now stands in the Board of Trustees
of St. Mary's Church. Previous to the year 1842,
there were only a few Catholic families in the village
of Syracuse. During the administration of Father
Haes the church grew rapidly, and in 1848, the year
when Syracuse became a city, the church edifice was
considerably enlarged and improved. The general
external appearance of the building, however, does
not vary much from its former aspect, except that a
spacious basement was finished off and the building
was lengthened and an addition of two windows made
on either side, and a section was added to the tower,
on which there was placed a cross. In 1852 the




THE OLD ST. MARY'S CHURCH. -From a recent photograph.



THE HOUSE ABANDONED 49

congregation of St. Mary's Church became so numer-
ous that there was organized the Church of St. John
the Evangelist, the edifice for which was erected under
the charge of Father Haes in 1854. This church is
now St. John's Cathedral, an outgrowth of St. Mary's
Church.

The Rev. Father Haes died in 1859, and he was
succeeded by the Rev. Father James A. O'Hara, a
man of unusual ability and an eloquent and compre-
hensive speaker. Father O'Hara was the first Ameri-
can student who graduated from the University of
Sapienza, a famous seat of learning, and honored with
the degree of Doctor of Divinity. Through his ardent
and strenuous efforts the site of the present St. Mary's
Church edifice, at the intersection of Montgomery,
Jefferson and East Onondaga streets, was purchased
from Peter Burns for $30, 000. The laying of the corner
stone of the new St. Mary's Church, the most costly
and beautiful church in the city, was held November
8, 1874. And it is worthy of note, as showing the
kindly feeling which then existed among the differ-
ent churches, a very marked contrast to former times,
that considerable financial aid was given by people
of other religious denominations. The new St. Mary's
Church edifice was dedicated December 6, 1885. The
Rev. Father John Grimes became assistant to Dr.
O'Hara, November 10, 1882, succeeding the Rev.
Father James J. O'Brien, who was removed to Fonda.



50 AN EARLY HOUSE OF GOD

Dr. O'Hara died December 26, 1889, and he was suc-
ceeded by the Rev. Father Grimes, February 6, 1890.
Under the administration of Father Grimes the con-
gregation has steadily increased, and the church is in
an excellent and prosperous condition.

The old building has been suffered to remain un-
used since it was abandoned in 1885. One Sunday in
1832 as Richard A. Yoe, one of the few early settlers
now living, was coming out of the old St. Paul's
church, he was asked by a man if Captain Hiram
Putnam, then President of the village, was inside the
church. The man said that a passenger on one of the
line canal boats, which carried freight as well as
passengers, had been abandoned by the boat's crew
because he was sick, and that the passenger lay in
the marsh grass between the two locks, Nos. 18 and
49. When Captain Putnam came out, he and Mr.
Yoe and the man went to the canal, found the sick
passenger and took him in a wagon to the old pest
house, which was then on the hill just north of Rose
Hill cemetery. The passenger died that same after-
noon, and it was found that he had the Asiatic cholera.
His was the first case of cholera in Syracuse. Many
deaths followed during that year. It might be also
noted that the first case of Asiatic cholera appeared
in the United States during 1832. The old bell which
hung in the tower of the old St. Paul's church, the
only part not sold to the Catholic Church, was sent



THE OLD CHURCH BELL 51

to Troy and recast for the new St. Paul's church, in
Warren and Fayette streets. When that church was
torn down in 1885 for the beautiful St. Paul's Cathe-
dral, corner of Montgomery and^Fayette streets, the
bell broke in being taken down and it was again re-
cast in Troy. It now swings in the present cathedral,
of which the Rev. Henry R. Lockwood, S. T. D., is
the able and esteemed rector.



CHAPTER IV



MONEY OF EARLY DAYS



Prior to 1830, the date when the first bank was
established in Syracuse, the banking business of this
county was carried on mostly by the Bank of Auburn,
of which Daniel Kellogg of Skaneateles was Presi-
dent, and by the Cayuga County Bank of Auburn.
In those early days there were very few men in the
present limits of Syracuse who were worth $10,000.
If a man was worth $5,000, he was considered wealthy.
There was not a great deal of money in circulation ;
and of the money then used most of it was Mexican
and Spanish silver. There was not much English
money, comparatively, and very little American or
Federal currency. When the Safety Fund banks
were authorized by this State in 1829, the banks, in-
corporated under that act, issued bank notes which
were readily received as money by the merchants
throughout the entire country. The cities where this
money was redeemed were Albany and New York.
The banks in the Western States, and even in

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Online LibraryGurney S StrongEarly landmarks of Syracuse → online text (page 3 of 22)