Gurney S Strong.

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people showed their appreciation by gladly accepting
the silver money in place of the paper money. In
redeeming the shinplasters, it is said that there has
been about $7,000,000 of the shinplasters either lost
or destroyed; so that the Government is just so much



The recent stringency in the money market re-
calls the fact that during the great periods of finan-
cial stringency, leading up to panics that have swept
over the country, leaving business ruins in their
track, Syracuse has been able to continue her wonted
industries and mercantile operations with very little
of individual disaster to mark the time as one of
peril. The banking institutions of this city have been
managed with an exceptionally high degree of finan-
cial ability. In the early days of business transac-
tions in this city, especially in the village of Salina,
where the salt industry was centred, there was very
little money in circulation. Salt was the staple article
used in bartering for produce, clothing, household
utensils and everything that was needed. It did not
require much capital for its operation, while the re-
turns were sure and continuous. The State required
a certain quantity of salt to be constantly kept in the
storehouse, provided by the Superintendent of the










Onondaga Salt Springs, in order to meet the demands
of the citizens of the State who depended on obtain-
ing their supply from the salt reservation. It was
sometimes customary for the Salt Superintendent to
give certificates for deposits of salt in the public store-
house, and these certificates passed from one to
another as cash, so that the public storehouse in sub-
stance became a bank.

The first bank to be organized in this county was
the Onondaga County Bank, which was chartered in
1830, with a capital of $150,000. When organized, it
was located at the east end of the east wing of the
Syracuse House in East Genesee street. It was after-
wards located in the second floor, northwestern cor-
ner, of the old bank building, corner of South Salina
and Washington streets, where the White Memorial
Building now stands. Its first President was Oliver
R. Strong of Onondaga Hill, father of Col. John M.
Strong, Canal Collector for the port of Syracuse ; and
its first Cashier was Moses S. Marsh of Pompey,
father-in-law of Edward S. Dawson, President of the
Onondaga County Savings Bank. In 1839 Mr. Marsh
became President, and Hamilton White was made
Cashier. Mr. Marsh was succeeded by Oliver Teall,
father of Col. William W. Teall, who is the father of
Oliver Sumner Teall, famous in New York city as an
eccentric individual. Mr. White continued as Cashier.
George J. Gardner, Oliver Teall's son-in-law, who


entered this bank in 1843, as a Bookkeeper, became
Teller, and Charles Tucker was made Bookkeeper.
These officers remained in the bank until the expira-
tion of its charter in 1854, when the banking business
was continued by Mr. White as a private banker.
Some of the directors in this bank, aside from the
officers already mentioned, were Horace White, John
Wilkinson, Moses D. Burnet, Johnson Hall, Thomas
D. Davis, Hiram Putnam, Harvey Rhoades, David
S. Colvin and James R. Lawrence.

The Bank of Salina was chartered in 1832, with a
capital of $150,000. Its first President was Nathan
Munro of Camillus, and its first Cashier was Ashbel
Kellogg, the father of ex-Lieut-Gov. Thomas G.
Alvord's first wife. The directors at an early date
were Dean Richmond, William Clark, David Munro
of Camillus and Daniel Kellogg of Skaneateles. At
the death of Nathan Munro, Ashbel Kellogg became
President and Miles W. Bennett, formerly of Ca-
millus, became Cashier. Mr. Kellogg continued as
President till 1845, when he removed to Michigan,
where he died in 1848. He was succeeded by David
Munro of Camillus. The largest stockholder in this
bank was Daniel Kellogg of Skaneateles, who was
also President of the Bank of Auburn. In 1S51-52,
the date of the first city directory, the officers were :
David Munro, President; Miles W. Bennett, Cashier;
Timothy Brown, Teller; Walter C. Hopkins, Book-


keeper and Discount Clerk. The city directory of
1854-55 gives these officers: David Munro, Presi-
dent ; James Lynch, Vice-President ; Timothy Brown,
Cashier; T. J. Leach, Teller, and John H. Slaven,
Bookkeeper. Mr. Brown removed to Madison, Wis.,
the following year, and he was succeeded by Cornelius .
L. Alvord. The city directory for 1856-57 gives the
following officers : President, vacant ; Cashier, James
Munro; Teller, T. J. Leach; Directors, Robert Town-
send, John Rice, Lewis H. Redfield, John B. Burnet,
James Noxon, Allen Munro, Joseph Battel, James
Munro, James M. Munro and Isaac Hill. Thomas
G. Alvord became a director the following year. In
1859, James Monroe became President and George
B. Leonard became Cashier.

The Bank of Salina was originally located at the
corner of North Salina and Wolf streets. It was
afterwards moved into what was known in the old
city directories as 15 South Salina street, about where
A. W. Palmer now has his clothing store, between
Genesee and Washington streets. The charter expired
in 1864, when the business was succeeded by the
Third National Bank. Of all the names mentioned
above as being connected with these two early banks,
the only ones now engaged in banking business, and
almost the only ones now living, are George B.
Leonard, Cashier of the First National Bank, and
Thomas J. Leach, Cashier of the Salt Springs


National Bank, though, Thomas G. Alvord was the
first President of the Salt Springs National Bank. The
Third National Bank, successor to the Bank of Salina,
was organized with James Munroe, President, and
Francis H. Williams, Cashier.

Another of the early banks, and one closely allied
with the other two, was the Bank of Syracuse,
chartered in 1839 with a capital of $-200,000. It was
located in the second floor, southwestern corner of
the old bank building, corner of South Salina and
Washington streets, where the White Memorial
Building now stands. Its first officers were John
Wilkinson, President, and Horace White, Cashier.
Mr. White was the father of Andrew D. White,
ex-President of Cornell University. Upon the death
of Mr. Wilkinson, September 19, 1802, Hamilton
White became President ; and he was succeeded for a
short time by John H. Cheddell, and he by Andrew
D. White. In 1856, Horace White was succeeded
as Cashier by Orrin Ballard. The bank continued
business until 1865, when it was reorganized as the
Syracuse National Bank and continued as such until
1877, when it closed its affairs and retired from

The Onondaga County Bank and the Bank of
Salina were chartered under the Safety Fund system,
which was first authorized in 1829. Every bank
belonging to that system received a special act of


in corporation from the Legislature. These charters
were for a limited period, generally having about
twenty years to run. That system was regulated by
a general law, which was incorporated into every
charter, by which each bank was required to have all
its capital paid in before it commenced business; and
it was also required annually to contribute one-half
of one per centum upon its capital to a common fund,
deposited with the State Treasurer, until such fund
should amount to three per centum upon the capital
of each bank. This fund was denominated the Bank
Fund, and was to be applied to the payment of the
debts of any insolvent bank contributing to the same ;
and, in case the fund was at any time diminished by
payments from it, the banks were again required to
make their annual contributions, till each had in
deposit the three per centum on its capital stock. This
fund, in common parlance, was called the Safety
Fund, which finally gave name to the system.

There was so much political influence mixed up
with the Safety Fund Bank, preventing the establish-
ment of any bank that was not in accord with the
leading politicians, that the Free Bank system, as it
was styled, was established in 1838. The Bank of
Syracuse was chartered under the new system. By
this system every individual and association was
authorized to engage in the business of banking,
and on depositing with the Comptroller the stocks of


the United States or of any State which should be or be
made equal to a five per centum stock, or such stocks,
and bonds and mortgages to the same amount or less,
on improved, productive and unincumbered real estate,
worth double the amount secured by the mortgage,
over and above all buildings thereon, and bearing an
interest of at least six per centum per annum, the
Comptroller was required to deliver to such individual
or association an equal amount of bank notes for
circulation. Associations under this law were a
species of corporation. But there was nothing in the
act that required individual bankers to deposit any
particular amount of securities before they com-
menced business. The country was then flooded with
stock from almost every State, and the consequence
was that numerous banks sprung into existence under
this law. Repudiation soon followed. Many States,
that did not repudiate, failed to meet their obliga-
tions, confidence was impaired, credit was shaken,
and stocks generally depreciated in the market. The
consequence was that many banks failed.

The time when these pioneer banks were chartered
was a period in which banking capital could be em-
ployed very profitably and to the great advantage of
the public. The bank stock books were open to the
public, and anyone could subscribe for as much stock
as he wanted. It frequently happened that the sub-
scriptions exceeded the capital stock. The State


Comptroller then allotted a pro rata share of the stock
to each subscriber. Of course a man of sufficient
means could buy up the stock of other men, and thus
obtain control of the bank. The three early banks of
this city were ably managed, and they were successful.



The Syracuse Academy, knowledge of which is
fast passing into a tradition, was once a celebrated
school of learning, and it rivaled the celebrated
academies at Pompey, Onondaga Valley, Elbridge
and other towns in this county. It was located
in East Fayette street, commonly called Academy
street, directly in the rear of the present Onondaga
County Orphan Asylum, which faces East Genesee
street. After the Academy building had passed into
the hands of the Orphan Asylum in 1846, and the new
asylum building was completed in 1885, the old
academy building was torn down and the brick taken
to Geddes. The brick was used in building the Butler
Manufacturing Company's building, erected in West
Fayette street, between the old Thomson's Infirmary
and the Onondaga Pottery Company. The building,
as it now stands in Geddes, closely resembles in its
construction the old academy building. When first
built for an academy it was a three-story building,



the design being to add wings, but afterwards a fourth,
story was added. The academy building was long
and narrow, though strongly built, and it had a
cupola in which there was a bell. The grounds were
large and laid out in a beautiful manner, the walks
sloping from Lodi hill, or Academy hill as it was
called, to the streets on either side.

The Syracuse Academy was incorporated by act
of Legislature, dated April 28, 1835, the incor-
porators being Oliver Teall, Harvey Baldwin,
Aaron Burt, William I. Dodge, Thomas Spencer,
Lewis H. Redfield, Elihu L. Phillips, Thomas Rose
and S. W. Cadwell. The President of the Board of
Trustees was Harvey Baldwin, the Clerk, or Secretary,
was Lewis H. Redfield, and the Treasurer was Thomas
Rose. The land was purchased by the institution
May 25, 1835, from Aaron Burt and Harvey Baldwin
for $1,000, and it is described as being in the village
of Lodi, now Syracuse, commencing on the south line
of Third South street (now East Fayette street) eight
rods east of Chestnut street (now Crouse avenue) and
running easterly sixteen rods on the south line of
Third South street, and thence southerly twelve rods.
In the deed it was provided that the land should be
used for the sole and only purpose of having enclosed
thereon an academy or other buildings for the instruc-
tion of youth and the diffusion and promotion of
literature and science, and when not so used or


otherwise appropriated the land, with the appurten-
ances, should revert to Messrs. Burt and Baldwin,
unless the institution should pay $1,500.

The academy grounds were part of a purchase of
sixty acres made by Harvey Baldwin shortly after he
came to Syracuse from Onondaga Valley in 1826.
The land was formerly a farm owned by Rufus Stan-
ton, who had before 1810 cultivated thrifty fields of
wheat near the Salina street bridge over the Oswego
canal, and who kept a tavern in 1811 just south of
the site of the bridge on the east side of the street.
Mr. Baldwin sold one-third of the land to Mr. Burt,
and another third to Oliver Teall, and the land was
known as the Baldwin, Burt and Teall tract. In
those early days all that portion of the city lying
between Mulberry street and Lodi on the south side
of the canal was an unclaimed cedar swamp. The
present Fayette Park was then a favorite resort for
foxes, rabbits and wild fowl, forming a capital sport-
ing ground. The Genesee turnpike passed through
this unhealthy swamp, and it consisted of an ill laid
corduroy road that tested the strength of the horses
and wagons, and the skill and moral training of all
teamsters and passengers having occasion to pass that
way. It was the purpose of the purchasers of this
tract to build on the highlands of Lodi a city which
should rival Syracuse.

The year 1835, in which the academy was started,


was chiefly notable in the village of Syracuse, whose
population in 1830 was 6,929, for the introduction of
paved streets, the result of the vote of the citizens
being to pave Salina street between Fayette and
Churdh (now Willow) streets. In that year also the
bounds of the original village were considerably en-
larged. But there was a great need of educational
advantages for the youth. The children of such
parents as could afford it were sent to the academies
at Onondaga Valley or Pompey or Utica, or to some
of the colleges. Syracuse was in need of an academy
of her own. Through the exertions of Messrs. Bald-
win, Teall and Burt and some others friendly to the
cause of education, the charter for the Syracuse
Academy was obtained. Under many discouraging
embarrassments the building was completed in the
fall of 1835, and the academy was opened in January
of the following year. It was supplied with compe-
tent teachers and supported by the benefactions of the
citizens, besides drawing its share of the educational
funds of the State. The academy was well supplied
with educational facilities, and it had a fine library,
many of the books coming from the parish library of
the old St. Paul's Church. Richard A. Yoe, agent of
the Austin Myers estate, is probably the only one of
the original stockholders now living.

The first principal of the academy was a Mr.
Kellogg, who came from New York. The next


principal, and the one that gave most distinction to
the academy, as he was an excellent instructor, was
Oren Root, the father of Elihu Root, the distinguished
lawyer of New York, and of the Rev. Oren Root,
Professor of Mathematics in Hamilton College. Prin-
cipal Root taught mathematics and the classics. His
assistant during the first part of his principal&hip was
Albert G. Salisbury, who afterwards taught in the
district school built in 1839 on the ground occupied
by the old Putnam school and who became the first
clerk of the Board of Education. Mr. Salisbury was
succeeded as teacher by Joseph A. Allen, an excellent
disciplinarian, who taught English branches. When
Mr. Root went to Hamilton College about 1844, where
he became Professor of Mathematics, Mr. Allen was
made Principal. His assistant was Oliver T. Burt,
son of Aaron Burt, and he taught mathematics and
the classics. J. B. Clark was at one time one of the
teachers. Miss Frisbee was at one time principal of
the female department, and she was a highly cultured
woman. She was succeeded by Miss Buttrick, a sister
of Mrs. Oren Root. During the time that Mr. Allen
was principal, the academy was discontinued, and
Mr. Allen and Mr. Burt opened a private school in
the brick building on the west side of Mulberry street,
corner of East Washington street, just south of the
blacksmith shop.

The instructors of the Syracuse Academy were men


and women of more than ordinary ability. Almost
all the men afterwards became distinguished. Mr.
Root was a fine mathematician, and he is remembered
by the graduates of the academy, as well as of
Hamilton College, as one of the best of instructors.
Mr. Allen, who married Lucy Burt, daughter of
Aaron Burt, afterwards kept a music store in Syra-
cuse, under the firm name of Allen & Phelps. He
returned to Massachusetts, where be became dis-
tinguished as a teacher, meeting with great success.
He is now living at Westborough, Mass. But the
Syracuse Academy was not a success financially. It
was built on the college dormitory plan, but the
pupils came almost entirely from Syracuse. After
a few years the enterprise of the people began to be
aroused, jealousies in reference to the academy being
a speculation for building up the village of Lodi were
awakened, and district school houses sprang up and
were patronized. In those days every one, who
sought the gratification of political ambition or to
enact a part on the stage of life with a view to the
applause of his fellow men, hastened to mount the
common school hobby, as it was called, for education
had become a hobby. The result was that the common
schools and the free schools profited by the popular
agitation, and the Syracuse Academy went into a

The Trustees of the Syracuse Academy executed


a mortgage, June 22, 1836, to The Syracuse Company,
the owners of the greater part of the village of Syra-
cuse, for $3,000. The conditions expressed in the
deed or the reversionary interest retained by Messrs.
Burt and Baldwin were removed in favor of The
Syracuse Company for one dollar, the mortgage being
acknowledged July 2, 1842, and recorded five days
thereafter. This mortgage was foreclosed May 22,
1845, the principal and interest then amounting to
$4,398.83. John Townsend of Albany, one of the
members of The Syracuse Company, bid in the prop-
erty for $2,000, and he sold it to the Onondaga County
Orphan Asylum, March 18, 184G, for $3,000. Bradley
Cary and Herman H. Phelps, who did the carpenter
work on the academy, were judgment creditors subse-
quent to the mortgage, as appeared at the time of
the foreclosure. The stockholders of the Syracuse
Academy waived all their rights in favor of the
Orphan Asylum. Although the Academy was not a
financial success, it was an excellent school, and it
educated many of the children of the early settlers,
who have become prominent citizens of this and
other cities.

THE RECRUITING STATION.-From a recent photograph.



On the south side of West Water street, between
Clinton and Franklin streets, there recently stood a
two-story stone building, the first stone building
erected in the village of Syracuse ; and it remained
till recently in almost the same appearance as when
first erected by Judge James Webb. This building
was one of the most historic landmarks of what was
once the village of Syracuse, though the present
location seems strangely out of place, as it is now in
the centre of the wholesale trade. The building was
owned and occupied as a dying and scouring works
by Mrs. Eliza Smith, widow of Alexander Smith who
died in 1890. It was built of Onondaga blue lime
stone. The walls were almost two feet in thickness,
the owner evidently intending that his home should
indeed be his castle, capable of withstanding the
bloody onslaught of the Indian or the bombardment
of the more civilized soldier.



Timothy C. Cheney in his "Reminiscences of Syra-
cuse," published in pamphlet form in 1857, says:
"Judge Webb built the stone house lately used as a
United States recruiting office on Water street in
1824, and occupied it as a dwelling house." The
records in the County Clerk's office show that the
lot whereon this building stood, 42 feet frontage, "was
purchased September 3, 1829, for $127.28, by James
Webb from Moses D. Burnet, who was the trustee of
The Syracuse Company, and who received his deed of
trust June 18, 1825. The Syracuse Company was
formed in May 1824, having purchased the Walton
Tract, and being composed of William James of
Albany, who owned five-eighths; Isaiah Townsend
and John Townsend of Albany, who owned two-
eighths; and James McBride of New York, who
owned one-eighth. In 1819, when the ultimate success
of the Erie canal was assured, Judge Joshua Forman,
the founder of Syracuse, removed from Onondaga
Valley to Syracuse and built a residence about on the
site of the present wholesale grocery store of G. N.
Crouse & Company, being on the northeast corner of
the block in which the Smith dye house is located. In
1821 there was but one store in Syracuse, excepting
two or three small groceries, and it was kept by Gen-
eral Amos P. Granger, who came from Onondaga

Among the list of business men who settled in


Syracuse up to 1825, as mentioned in "Clark's Onon-
daga," the name of James Webb does not appear. But
it does appear that Mr. Webb, at the first meeting for
the election of officers of the village of Syracuse, held
May 3, 1825, was elected one of the three Assessors.
The population of Syracuse in 1825 was 600. James
Webb was engaged in the storage and forwarding
business, bis store being located on the west end of
wbat is now the Onondaga County Savings Bank
building, directly opposite the Syracuse House. He
sold the residence June 11, 1832, to John F. Wyman,
the consideration being $1,650.

One of Judge Webb's daughters married Horace
Wheaton, who was elected to the Assembly in 1834
and who was appointed Mayor of Syracuse by the
Common Council in 1851, Moses D. Burnet having
declined to qualify. Another daughter married Col.
George T. M. Davis, a lawyer by profession, who was
for some years under Dr. William Kirkpatrick, the
Superintendent of the Salt Springs at Salina. Colonel
Davis afterwards removed to Louisville, Ky., where
he became a prominent newspaper man, being the
editor of the Louisville Commercial and the rival of
George D. Prentiss. He became Colonel in the Mexi-
can war, and afterwards located in New York city,
where he became an authority on financial questions.
His daughter married George Francis Train, whose
remarkable and eccentric history is well known


throughout the entire country. Judge Webb moved
from Syracuse, about the time he sold his residence,
to Alton, Ills., in the wilds of the wilderness; and
there he died.

John F. Wyman, the second owner of this old stone
building, established the Syracuse Advertiser in 1825,
in company with Thomas B. Barnum, who, however,
soon withdrew and was succeeded by Norman Rawson.
The Advertiser was continued by Rawson & Wyman
until the autumn of 182G, when the firm dissolved,
Mr. Wyman continuing alone until the spring of
1829. The Onondaga Journal, published at Onondaga
Hill by Vivus W. Smith, was then united with the
Advertiser under the name of the Onondaga Standard,
the publishers being Wyman & Smith. Silas F.
Smith, brother of Vivus W. Smith, says that he lived
with his brother, Vivus, who was older than himself,
in the old stone building, erected by Judge Webb.
Mr. Wyman sold a half interest in the property,
December 5, 1833, to Henry Ogden Irving, who lived
in Orange, Essex county, New Jersey, for $1,150.
The other half was sold to Mr. Irving December 5,
1834, at the same price. Mr. Irving sold the property
February 17, 1853, to George Everson and Giles
Everson, the consideration being $2,500. The Everson

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Online LibraryGurney S StrongEarly landmarks of Syracuse → online text (page 4 of 22)