A. D. (Amos Delos) Gridley.

History of the town of Kirkland, New York (Volume 1) online

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carried on the same industry for several years. He was
quite a recluse, being seldom seen outside of his own
premises. Yet he had a genial soul, and loved to scatter
jokes and bits of humor among old and young who came
to inspect his work or to buy his wares. He was a devout
Methodist. Placing a lump of clay on his lathe, he would
set his wheel a-spinning, and, while moulding pan or jug
or other vessel, would burst into some old refrain, as —

" Behold the potter and the clay !
He forms his vessels as he please." 1

Brick have been made at different times in this town,
of an excellent quality. The first were made by Dr
Abel Sherman, on the land east of Mr. John Elliott's.
house on Utica Street. From this yard came the bricks
used in building the old brick school-house on the east
side of the Village Green. The chimney of the first
school-house in Deansville was made of this brick, and so
were many of the first chimneys in Clinton. The method
of reducing clay for making bricks here was this : A cir-
cular pit some two feet deep and from fifteen to twenty
feet in diameter, and floored and sided with inch boards,
was prepared to receive the clay and sand in due pro-
portions. Water was thrown on to bring the mass into
proper consistency. Then two or more oxen were driven
around the circle until the mixture was completed. Brick
were also made at an early day on the John Kirkland

1 Arminians, as well as Calvinists, will sometimes sing counter to their theol-
ogy and the laws of grammar.


farm, and on David Comstock's farm, near the present
Houghton Seminary. The house now owned by B. S.
Piatt, and the residences of the late Dr. Charles Barrows
and of Dr. Austin Barrows, and of Josiah L. Cook, were
built of brick from the last-named yard. Of the recent
successful works of Robinson and Bronson my readers are
well informed.

About fifty years ago a few enterprising citizens com-
menced the making of potash in Clinton, Dr. Noyes be-
ing their scientific adviser. Their factory stood on the
stream near the tannery of Bangs and Dillow on Utica
Street. The new business sprang up, flourished, and ex-
pired within a twelvemonth. Another was commenced
near Manchester, which was on a larger scale and lived a
longer life.

Several tanneries have been established in this town
within the past half century. Theophilus Redfield's stood
near the foot of College Hill ; John Shapley's in the hol-
low just east of the village ; Rufus Hayes' on the farm
now owned by Seth K. Blair ; Bangs and Dillow's on
Utica Street ; — and does it still survive ?

As these pages have already chronicled, the first grist-
mill in the town was erected in the year 1787 by Captain
Cassety, on the east side of the Oriskany, just above
College Street. At a later day Simeon Nelson built a
grist-mill on the site now occupied by William Healey.
A flouring-mill was erected at an early day, forty or fifty
rods above the present Farmers' Mill. Afterwards it
was moved down-stream and rebuilt under the name of
Hart's Mill ; and subsequently it took its present desig-
nation of Farmers' Mill. Ebenezer Thompson established
a flour-mill in Manchester about 1818, which is still in
operation near the former residence of A. B. Clark.


Of saw-mills the first was put in operation by Bronson
Foot, in the summer of 1788, on the site now used by-
Mr. Harrington. Another was built not many years
later, near the upper end of the Dug- Way, and this was
the first use made of the Oriskany as a water-power after
it entered the town. On the spot now covered by Mr.
Landers' chair factory there was once a saw-mill owned
by Mr. Bliss. Ralph W. Kirkland had another a short
distance below the present Franklin Iron Works. Mr.
S. P. Landers' factory was established by him in 1861,
and is still carried on successfully.

In the year 1794 a deed was made by Mr. Bliss to
Woodruff and Kinney, for a dike to be cut from his mill-
pond (near Mr. Landers' present factory), through his
land to the present location of the shop. The water-
course having been dug, a trip-hammer shop was built
for making scythes, hoes, and for common blacksmithing.
After a few years Manross and Wicks became the pro-
prietors. They sold one half of the shop to Charles
Faber, who made nail-hammers. The next proprietors
were Porter and Kelsey, who made hay-forks. After
them came Mr. Wells, who made staves. The next pro-
prietors were Biam and Hiram Davis, who made sash,
blinds, and doors. The next owner was James Stewart,
who made Excelsior shavings, and carried on the business
of upholstery. During its occupancy by Col. Stewart,
Mr. M. H. Jones manufactured axes to some extent. Suc-
ceeding Col. Stewart came Messrs. Cooke and Case, who,
during the war of the Rebellion, when cotton was high,
dressed flax. Soon after this they turned their attention
to the making of cotton-batting. The same manufac-
ture is still carried on by C. O. Jones, the present pro-


In a note communicating these facts, Rev. Mr. Landers
observes : —

" The dates of these several changes and transfers can-
not now be learned with accuracy, without reference to
the county records ; but for the variety of business done
within its walls, I think no building in the town of Kirk-
laud can equal the old Trip-hammer Shop."

About the year 1830, a Mr. Hurd established a small
factory on a little stream between Clinton and Deans-
ville, for the making of German silver spoons. He soon
ventured to coin money, secretly, and to circulate it
through his agents in other parts of the country. His
business becoming at length an object of suspicion, he
suddenly left this region for parts unknown. The settle-
ment where he lived has since borne the name of Bogus-

The small stream known as the Sherman Brook, and
which crosses Utica Street near the tannery of Bangs and
Dillow, was once used for milling purposes on a small
scale. Near the cross-road on the eastern limits of the
town it propelled a- saw-mill owned by Judah Stebbins
and Zadok Loomis.. A little farther down-stream it
drove a grist-mill owned by Timothy Barnes and his
sons. After a few years this property was sold and con-
verted into a distillery. Mr. Gaius Butler tells us that
the new proprietors began business with the high moral
purpose " to make a pure whiskey that would not intox-
icate." Precisely how they did this we do not know ; but
the tradition goes that the water of their mill-race was
used for more than a single purpose. 1

1 Let it be noted here that in the ravine through which this stream runs,
the stones were quarried for building the college chapel and North College, and
the Stone Church in the village.


Still farther down-stream was the saw-mill of John
Bird, and lower still stood one built by Thomas Parmele.
These several mills have now all disappeared, though the
remains of their foundation walls or of their dams may
in some instances still be seen. They depended for their
working force largely upon dissolving snows and copious
rains, and hence were unprofitable in the long run,
especially as they had to compete with others in the
same town of ampler size and driven by a large and
permanent stream.

Here let it be mentioned also, that two furnaces for
working up scrap-iron were established in Clinton within
the past fifty years, namely, one by Lewis Pond, in the
hollow directly east of the Village Green, and another
by Andrew Pond, on the Manchester road, just north of
Mr. Gunn's house. Both were of short duration.

A cotton factory was built at Manchester, in the year
1815, the name given in its charter being " The Man-
chester Manufacturing Company." Its capital stock
was $100,000. The works were put up on a contract
by Thomas R. Gold, Theodore Sill r and John Young,
and the building was stocked with such machinery as
was then in use.

The power-loom was not known at that time, and all
the cloth of this period was woven by hand. From this
factory a large amount was put out into private families
far and near, some of it being sent from twenty to thirty
miles for weaving. The price paid for weaving was
eight cents a yard. On the introduction of the power-
loom and other improvements in machinery, the cost of
manufacturing was so much reduced that in a few years
the cloth was sold for six and eight cents per yard.

In 1831, the factory was enlarged, and ninety-six


looms and other new machinery were added. In the
year 1854, the factory was burned to the ground, and
was not rebuilt. During the past year, a blast furnace,
called " The Clinton Iron Works," has been built on the
site of the old factory, and uses the same water-power.


The most important manufacturing industry ever
organized in the town of Kirkland is the blast furnace,
known as the Franklin Iron Works. The iron here pro-
duced is made from ore dug from the neighboring hill-
sides. This ore was discovered quite early in the history
of Kirkland, on the farm of the late James D. Stebbins ;
and it lay so near the surface that it was turned up by
the plowman while preparing his field for a crop. Pat-
rick little knew that he had uncovered the most useful
of all minerals. Since then, it has been found in many
places along the eastern and western slopes of the town.
For many years it was dug in small quantities, and
carried to Taberg, Constantia, and Walesville, where it
was worked into pig-iron ; but the business of mining
did not flourish to any great extent until the Franklin
Iron Works went into operation in 1852.

From an instructive paper read by Mr. John E.
Elliott, before the Clinton Rural Art Society, in Decem-
ber, 1864, I glean the following facts : —

Iron ores are found in various parts of Oneida County.
The deposits run across the county in northwest and
southeast lines. They crop out first in the western
parts of the county, in the town of Verona, near Oneida
Lake. A considerable amount of ore was drawn from
this bed in former years, but after the opening of the
richer beds in the town of Kirkland, these old deposits
were abandoned.


Iron has been found and mined in several parts of the
town of Westmoreland. "It is a little remarkable,"
says Mr. Elliott, " that the Hecla Furnace Company-
drew a large part of their ore from the town of Kirk-
land, a distance of six miles, driving their teams over an
undiscovered bed of ore lying near the surface within
one mile of their own works, and with an abundance of
it in the immediate vicinity." Passing southward into
the town of Kirkland, we find it again on the farms of
Messrs. Healey, Gunn, and Norton, from which beds
much has already been drawn to the Franklin furnace.
At this point the Oriskany Valley cuts the vein in two.
Crossing the valley in a southeasterly direction, we find
the ore again on the Kellogg farm, where it has been
mined extensively. From this point it extends easterly,
cropping out on the farms of Henry L. Barker, James
D. Stebbins, and Charles Wells. Beyond this last-
named land the vein becomes thin and of a poor quality.
It however reappears in New Hartford, and is of con-
siderable richness, though not abundant.

The ores of the town of Kirkland, " when properly
sorted," says Mr. Elliott, "and melted with charcoal, will
make about fifty per cent, iron ; melted with anthracite
coal, from forty to forty-five per cent. The Westmore-
land ore will not make over thirty to thirty-five per
cent. ; the Verona ore still less. In New Hartford, on
the west side of the Sanquoit Valley, it would probably
be about twenty-five per cent. On the east side of the
valley, it is as rich as the Kirkland ores."

The ores of this region when used alone make the
finest of castings for ornamental purposes ; in their molten
state they flow like water, and fill up every part of the
mould with perfect nicety. A large portion of the iron


made in this town is used for stoves, and other castings
requiring a high finish. It is not suitable for making
railroad iron or wrought iron bars, because it lacks in
strength ; but when mixed with other ores, it is valuable
for such purposes. At Poughkeepsie, it is used for
making pig-iron in about equal proportions with the
Lake Champlain and hematite ores. At Buffalo, it is
mixed with the Kingston magnetic and the Lake Superior
ores, and makes an excellent grade of railroad bars,
chairs, spokes, etc. The Kirklaiid iron is largely used
in the manufacture of the famous Fairbanks' Scales.

The iron ore of Kirkland is a greater source of wealth
to the town than many suppose. The product of the
several mines is now about thirty-five thousand tons a
year ; and when the new furnace at Manchester is com-
pleted, it will be greatly augmented.


The existence of numerous beds of iron ore in this
town early suggested the project of building a furnace
for their reduction here. For it seemed plain that if
furnace-companies in other towns could afford to draw
the ores of Kirkland to their distant works and find it
profitable to do so, then it would be more profitable to
manufacture the iron here ; since it would cost less to
bring the fuel to the ore, than to carry the ore to the

In the year 1850, a company was formed in this town
for the manufacture of iron, consisting of the following
persons: Lester Barker, Mills and Parker, S. P. Landers,
Miss L. M. Barker, H. H. Kellogg, Henry L. Barker,
Thomas J. Sawyer, Rollin Root, Frederic Tuttle, Morris
S. Wood, John E. Elliott, John R. McConnell, and John


Owston. The capital stock was $16,000. It was re-
solved to build a furnace of sufficient capacity to make
from six to ten tons of iron per day. The construction
of the works was commenced in January, 1851, and con-
tinued through the year. In the progress of this enter-
prise, Mr. Jonas Tower, of Crown Point, a man well
skilled in the manufacture of iron, was employed to
superintend the work here, and he soon advised the
company to build a larger furnace than they had at first
projected. As the original stockholders were unable to
furnish the capital required for this enlargement, a new
company was formed early in the year 1852, with Mr.
Alfred Munson, of Utica, and Mr. Tower as additional
stockholders, and with the capital stock increased to
832,000. The work of construction was then resumed,
and carried forward to completion.

Since this beginning of the manufacture of iron here,
the works of the company have been greatly enlarged
and improved. In the words of Mr. Landers (to whom
I am indebted for the foregoing statistics), " This fur-
nace has made a blast of four years and ten months'
duration, probably the longest ever made by any furnace
in this country, if not in the world. It has converted
the ores which had been lying waste under the ground
since the creation, into useful products, has increased the
resources of those who projected it, and has helped for-
ward in many ways the best interests of the town of

In the year 1864, the furnace property passed into
the hands, of a new corporation, with the following
officers : O. B. Matteson, president ; E. B. Armstrong,
vice-president; Delos DeWolf, treasurer; H. S. Arm-
strong, managing trustee ; C. H. Smythe, secretary.
The capital stock was then increased to $ 100,000.


The first stack was of sufficient capacity to produce
one hundred tons of iron per week. In 1869-70, a new
stack was built which now makes one hundred and sixty
tons a week, using about three hundred and fifty tons
of ore and two hundred and forty tons of coal for the
same. This stack was constructed with an iron casing
resting upon six columns. It is fifty-five feet high, and
fourteen feet diameter at the base. The furnace, as now
arranged, is blown by a direct acting engine, which was
manufactured by Knowles & Sibley, of Warren, Massa-
chusetts. The blowing cylinder is seven feet diameter,
and ten feet stroke.

The old stack was rebuilt in the year 1871, and was
made of the same capacity as the new one. It was put
in operation in the summer of 1872. Both stacks have
closed tops. The waste gas is brought down to the
ground, and is used for making steam and heating the


In the summer of the year 1846, a cotton factory was
established on the Oriskany Creek, near the northern line
of the town, by Messrs. Ralph Clark, Eneas P. Clark,
and A. B. Clark. This factory, as well as the settle-
ment which grew up around it, was styled Clarks' Mills.

The corner-stone of the main building was laid June
16, and the brick-work was finished November 14. It
was four stories high, two hundred and seventy-five feet
long, seventy feet wide, with a wing in the rear of about
one half the dimensions of the main building. One him-
dred and eleven looms were set in place April, 1849.
Spinning began in April, and carding in May. Subse-
quently the woolen factory at Clinton and the Peckville
Mills were purchased, the first being at the time thor-


oughly repaired and enlarged, and the latter rebuilt. A
mill for making batting and rope was also established at
Clarks' Mills by the company.

In the year 1873 the factory changed its proprietors.
The officers of the new company are W. A. Ogden Hege-
man, president ; George W. Adams, secretary ; Edgar
B. Clark, treasurer ; William Allison, receiver and book-
keeper ; and William Young, superintendent. The pres-
ent number of looms in operation is two hundred and
eighteen. The Central Mills manufacture on an average
30,000 yards of sheeting per week ; and their annual pro-
duction is expected to reach 1,750,000 yards. The Clin-
ton Mills produce about 700,000 yards annually, of den-
ims and ticking. The number of operatives employed by
the company is two hundred and fifty, and more will be
added in the course of this year. The capital stock of
the corporation is $500,000.


was organized in November, 1872, with a capital of
$100,000. The officers are Theodore W. D wight,
LL. D., president; S. A. Bunce, vice-president; Theo-
dore Avery, secretary and treasurer ; B. S. Piatt, super-
intendent. The furnace is located at Manchester, on the
site of the old cotton factory. Several farms containing
ore have been purchased by the company. The stack,
which was commenced in April, is now finished. It is
forty-eight feet high from the hearth, forty feet being
of stone and eight feet of iron. The base is thirty-one
feet square on the outside. The bosh is thirteen feet
in diameter. It is expected that this stack will produce
fifteen tons of iron daily. The stack-house is sixty feet
by one hundred, and the cast-house is fifty feet by one


hundred and ten. The wheel-house is thirty-six feet by

The furnace is connected with the Rome and Clinton
Railroad by a switch one half mile in length. It is ex-
pected that the works will commence the manufacture of
iron in January 1874.


Cheese factories were established in this town about
twelve years ago, and have proved 'to be quite an impor-
tant industry. The sale of milk has not only yielded a
fair profit to the farmer, but has relieved the farmer's
family from a great burden of care and labor.

The first company organized was that at Manchester,
in the fall of 1862. Its original capital was 82000,
afterwards increased to $3000. Its first officers were
Benjamin Barnes, president ; George W. Pixley, secre-
tary; and E. C. Lewis, treasurer.

The factory has received the milk from four hundred
to six hundred and fifty cows, annually, varying in num-
ber from year to year. The amount of cheese made in
1863 was 112,154 pounds. In 1866, it was 149,658
pounds. In 1867, it was 159,480 pounds. In 1871, owing
to the high price of butter, it was only 74,466 pounds. In
1872, the factory was leased for three years to Jones,
Faulkner & Co., of Utica, for the manufacture of butter
and cheese. They use at present the milk of four hun-
dred and fifty cows.

In the year 1864, a cheese factory was set up in the
Chuckery district by a stock company, consisting of J.
H. Hubbard, Alfred Jones, Robert W. Evans, Enos Pot-
ter, and W. W. Palmer. From that time to the pres-
ent their constituency of cows has ranged from three


hundred to six hundred. The amount of cheese made
has also varied from 85,000 to 182,000 pounds annually.
The prices received have ranged from ten cents to
twenty-six and a half cents per pound. This factory
is in operation from May 1 to October 1 of each year.
At present Enos Potter is treasurer of the company, and
R. W. Evans secretary.

The factory at Franklin was established by Thomas
T. Sawyer, Jr., in 1866. The first year it made
100,630 pounds of cheese, which sold for $17,310.89.
From that time to the present its sales have ranged from
$20,493.46, to $11,768.71. In 1872 its sales were
$12,654,04. For the first two years Cyrus Nichols was
superintendent ; since then it has been under the man-
agement of Charles B. Van Slyke. For the first year
R. Ferris was treasurer ; since then its accounts have been
kept by Thomas H. Brockway.



This history would be incomplete without some rec-
ord of those men who were prominent here at an early-
day in the several professions and in the pursuits of busi-
ness. Accordingly, I mention of Physicians, the names of
Sewall Hopkins, Seth Hastings, John Fitch, and Emory
Bissell. Of Lawyers, Joseph Symonds, William Dowes,
William Hotchkiss, John Kirkland, Ebenezer Griffin,
Julius Pond, and Othniel Williams. Of Merchants,
George W. Kirkland, Ralph Kirkland, Thomas Hart,
and his two sons Ephraim and Thomas, Job Herrick,
Chauncey Gridley, Orlando Hastings, Eurotas Hastings,
Joseph Stebbins, Orrin Gridley, and Solomon Lamberton.
Of Farmers, the more prominent were Nathaniel Griffin,
Eli Bristol, Joel Bristol, Samuel Kirkland, David Corn-
stock, Ozias Marvin, Solomon Gleason, Jesse Curtis,
Barnabas Pond, James Bronson, Samuel Roy r ce, Judah
and Joseph Stebbins, Salmon Butler, Aaron Kellogg,
Amos Kellogg, David Pixley, Reuben Gridley, John
Hart, and others hardly less conspicuous.

The streets laid out at the first settlement of the place
were the following : the street leading from the Village
Green to Utica, with that which branches off from it at
the right and runs easterly through the Butler and Steb-
bins' neighborhood, and formerly called Brimfield Street ;
the streets running from the southeast corner of the


Green to Chuckery and to Paris Hill ; College Street,
with the road branching off from it at Professor Dwight's
and leading to Deansville, and the two streets branching
from it north and south at the foot of College Hill ; the
street running from the village directly north to Manches-
ter, with the road branching from it near the old ceme-
tery, and leading to Lairdsville.

Mulberry Street was opened in the year 1833 or 1834.
William Street, Marvin Street, and Chestnut Street were
opened in 1850 ; Canal Street in 1851 ; Meadow Street
in 1856 ; Franklin Avenue in 1858 ; Elm Street in 1861 ;
Prospect Street in 1864 ; and North College Street in

The Chenango Canal which leads from Utica to Bing-
hamton, and crosses this town diagonally from northeast
to southwest, was constructed during the years 1834-35.
The lockage of this canal within the limits of the town
is about two hundred feet.

A plank road, leading from Utica to Waterville, and
passing through this town, was built in the year 1848. It
was for many years a great convenience to the public,
and was profitable to the stockholders ; but since the con-
struction of the several railroads in this county it has de-
clined in importance and value.

In the year 1854 a telegraph line was opened between
Oxford and Utica. John Foote, of Hamilton, was the
first president of the company ; and John H. Tower was
the superintendent of the office in this place for several
years. In the course of five years, the enterprise not
proving very profitable, the stock was transferred to the
Albany and Buffalo Telegraph Company. It was after-
wards sold to the Western Union Telegraph Company,
by whom the business of the line has since been con-

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Online LibraryA. D. (Amos Delos) GridleyHistory of the town of Kirkland, New York (Volume 1) → online text (page 13 of 17)