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place according to Mr. Burt, who had no knowledge of the
little educational effort of Miss Waterhouse. It was taught
in a log house, built as a workshop by Captain Ford, and
situated near the bank of the river, between Gemini and
Cancer (Cayuga and Bridge) streets.

It was in this year also that a man named Wilson, a con-
tractor for the carrying of government stores to the west,
built a schooner of ninety tons, called the " Fair Ameri-
can," and Mr. McNair built one, called the '' Linda," of
fifty tons. The latter gentleman then or soon after also
bought some Canadian vessels, showing that the commerce
of Oswego was rapidly rising into prominence.

In the spring of 1805 there came to Oswego a family
long and creditably known in its early history, and, from
the number, vigor, and intelligence of its members, ex-
ercising a strong influence over the destinies of the infant
city. The head of this family was Daniel Hugunin, Sr., a
man of French extraction, but brought up among the
Dutch of the Mohawk valley. With him came his adult
sons, Peter D., Daniel, Jr., and Abram D. ; the younger
sons, Robert, Hiram, and Leonard ; and the daughters,
Lucretia, Eliza, Catharine (afterwards Mrs. John S. Davis
and mother of Henry L. Davis), and Mary (afterwards
Mrs. John Grant, Jr.). The last named was then a girl of
nine, and is now the earliest surviving resident of Oswego.
Of all her youthful companions not one is left who as early
as she looked upon the pleasant woodlands, the scattered
cabins, the brawling river which constituted the O.swego of
seventy years ago, and of which, even now, she speaks with
enthusiastic praise.

We fix the date of the Hugunins' arrival from the state-
ment of Mrs. Grant, though C. B. Burt has stated it a year
earlier. At all events, the first year of their coming, whether
1804 or 1805, Mr. Burt helped Daniel Hugunin, Jr., to
build a small frame store, the first in the place. It was on
First street, between Cayuga and Seneca, and still " sur-
vives,'' so to say, as the fruit-store of Thomas Hart, being
now the oldest buildin- in Oswoiro.

In 18(15, too, but shortly after the Hugunins, came
Edwin M. Tyler, another of the sea-faring men of whom
early Oswego was so largely composed. With him was his
son, Joel F. Tyler, a child of three, since long known as
Captain Tyler of the lake service, and now, at the age of
seventy-five, the second earliest r&sident of Oswego. Cap-
tain Thcophilus Baldwin came about the same time.

It was in 1805 or 1806 that tlie first in
Oswego was erected. Mr. Bradner Burt was the builder,
and, according to his recollection, it was in the former
year ; but the weight of evidence is in favor of the latter.
It owed its existence to private enterprise, for the school
system of the State was not then organized so as to provide
for the erection of school-house.s at the expense of the pub-
lic. Joel Burt, Matthew McNair, William Vaughan, and
others contributed liberally,. and the resulting structure was
extremely creditable to the educational enterprise of the
pioneers of O.swego.

It was a one-story frame, no less than thirty-five feet
square, with a cupola on the top intended for a bell, which,
however, it never received. In fact, it would pcrliaps be
more correct to speak of it as a school meeting-house, for
it was intended from the firet for the use of traveling
preachers, and was provided with a pulpit for that purpose.
This, doubtless, accounts for the comparatively large scale
on which it was built.

The firet school in the new school-house was taught by a
Dr. Caldwell, who had lately arrived, and who practiced
medicine and taught school conjointly for several years.
He was Oswego's only physician for several years. Those
who did not appreciate his medical services used to send
for Dr. Squires in Hannibal.

In the early part of 1806 both sections of the present
city became parts of new towns. On the 28th of February
the town of Hannibal, Onondaga county, was formed from
Lysander, comprising the present towns of Granby, Hanni-
bal, and Oswego, and the west part of Oswego city. It
will be observed that while the survey-township of Hanni-
bal came only to the line of the State reservation on the
west and south, the political town included the reservation
also within its limits.

On the 21st of March the town of Fredericksburg was
formed from Mexico, including the present towns of Scriba,
Volney, Schroeppel, and Palermo. This change of juris-
diction on the east side of the river, however, did not affect
many people in the present city, for Daniel Burt was then
on that side.

On the 21st of April following. Congress seems not to
have learned of the change of names, for on that day it
ftstiiblished a post-route from Onondaga Hollow to the vil-
lage of Oswego, " in Lysander." Yet no post-ofiice was
established at 0.swego till the next fall, when Joel Burt,
already collector of the port, was appointed postmaster, his
commission being dated the 7th of October. The practice
of appointing the same man to several federal offices appeal's
to have been quite common in those days. In Buffalo, at
the same period, one person was collector, postmaster, and
superintendent of Indian affaire, by appointment from Wash-
ington, besides being a judge under State authority.

It was about this time that Onudiaga, the Oiinndoga


chieftain, carried the mail weekly from Onondaga Hollow
to Oswego, with such exemplary punctuality, as narrated in
chapter xii. of the general history of the county. Captain
Elizur Brace is said to have been the first contractor for
carrying the mail between the places first mentioned, — pos-
sibly Ouudiaga was hired by the citizens before any regular
contractor was employed by the government.

Thomas H. Wentworth, father of the well-known resident
of that name, passing through the village on his way to
Canada in 1806, and forming a high opinion of its com-
mercial fiicilities, obtained the " refusal" of water-lots 5
and 6, and of the other property belonging to Archibald
Fairfield. The original contract, which in curious language
gave Wentworth the privilege of going to Canada and re-
turning to Utica, is now in the hands of his son, and is
certainly one of the oldest business contracts extant relating
to Oswego, if not the very oldest. Milton Harmon was a
new settler of this year.

The oldest native of Oswego now resident in it was born
in September, 1806. She then received the name of Nancy
Hugunin, being the youngest daughter of Daniel Hugunin,
Sr., but is now better known as Mrs. Goodell.

Early in 1807, Mr. Wentworth returned, in accordance
with his previous arrangement, and bought out Fairfield^
the latter soon after moving to Sackett's Harbor. He was
one of the first citizens of the place while he lived here,
and an incident related by Captain Tyler would tend to
show that the first citizens regaled themselves with food
wliich would hardly be acceptable to those of similar posi-
tion now. Just before Fairfield left, little Joel went with
his mother, who was paying an afternoon visit to Mrs. F.
Scarcely were they seated when the child's curious eyes
discovered something hanging from a joist, which to his eye
appeared to be a baby denuded of its skin.

"Oh! oh!" exclaimed the terror-stricken boy, " what
you going to do with that baby ?" pointing to the object
which had caused his excitement.

" Why," replied Mrs. Fairchild, laughing, " we are going
to eat it, of course."

" Oh, ma! take mo home ! take me home !" pleaded the
frightened child, who felt that if they had got to eating
babies at that house they might soon have an appetite for
four-year-old boys. His mother pacified him, but through-
out his stay he cast many a wary glance at the object which
had aroused his pity and his fears.

He afterwards learned that it was a porcupine, dressed
and prepared for eating. At present a good many would
about as soon think of eating a baby as a hedge-hog.

Mr. Wentworth succeeded to Fairfield's forwarding busi-
ness. Though bred to mercantile pursuits, he was an
artist of much .ability, and in after-years was in great
request as a portrait-painter in the eastern cities. He was
also the producer of many more elaboiate works, some of
which are still in the possession of his son. He was the
first devotee of the fine arts who made his home in Oswego,
and should the lovers of those arts ever dedicate a gallery
in their honor, his portrait would be entitled to e.special

The reminiscences of early settlers that have been pub-
lished make no mention of any religious services in Oswego

until 1807, but in all probability there were such seiTices
held there before that time.

Next to Dr. Caldwell, the first physician who settled
within the present limits of Oswego was Dr. Deodatus
Clarke. His point of location, however, was then nearly
two miles from the village, being on a farm adjoining the
present eastern boundary of the city, or rather in the forest,
where he made a farm. Among his numerous children
was Edwin W. Clarke, then six years of age, afterwards an
able member of the Oswego bar, and still surviving in an
honored old age. From his father's new house to the house
of Daniel Burt, Sr., at the corner of West Seneca and First
streets, all was a dense forest, though partly of second
growth. After erecting a log house, Dr. Clarke was unable
to procure shingles for the roof. He paid two dollars per
thousand for drawing boards for that purpose from the
river-side. The transportation was accomplished on an
ox -sled in midsummer, about a hundred and fifty feet being
drawn at a time.

There were then about fourteen families on the west side
of the river, the houses being partly log and partly frame.
A log causeway facilitated travel along the road in front of
the site of the starch-factory, and a rude ferry, on the line
of Taurus (Seneca) street, served a similar purpose for those
who wished to cross the stream. Near this time the ferry
was transferred from Mr. Burt to Mr. Tyler, who bought
the house originally erected by McMullin, but which had
passed into the hands of Captain Rasmussen.

Rude indeed would now seem the little frontier village,
with its six or eight log houses and a similar number of
frame ones ; with its one diminutive store, its two or three
taverns and barn-like warehouses ; but to those who were
children then it appears almost another Eden. Mrs. Grant,
especially, grows as enthusiastic over the charms of Oswego
seventy years ago as her namesake, the celebrated authoress,
was over the spring-time delights of the same locality half
a century earlier.

"Ah!" exclaims the old lady, her memory reviving as
she dwells on the beloved theme, her imagination kindling,
and her language taking on the glow of youth, " those
were happy days ! How beautiful everything was ! How
beautiful I The trees were so green ! the air was so fresh !
the lake was so sparkling ! wild-flowers bloomed at every
step. All kinds of berries and nuts abounded. The old
fort-ground was covered with strawberries. Cranberries
were thick along the river-shore. Bccch-nuts, hickory-nuts,
and especially chestnuts, could be gathered by the bushel.
Wild plums were equally abundant. Game was plentiful
beyond conception ; any man with a rifle could obtain it,
and the Indians brought it in to sell for next to nothing.
A saddle of venison could be bought for twenty-five cents.
And the salmon ! what great shoals of them went up the
river ! Thousands at a time ! their fins breaking above the
surface of the water, and flashing like floating silver in the
sunlight ! There was no need of doctors then ; everybody
was healthy. There used to be two or three years at a
time without a funeral. There were no lawyers then, and
no need of them ; everybody was honest. Ah ! what
happy times ! what a beautiful, beautiful country!"

Once in three or four months an itinerant preacher would

West First Street, between Utica a;id Mohawk Streets, Oswego, New York.

Corner of West Third and Oneida Streets, Oswego, New York.



come along, and then notice would be given out of a meet-
ing on Sunday at the school-house. As the hour fur ser-
vice approached a horn would be blown at the school-house
door to notify the villagers, and when the appointed time
was re ichcd, the same primitive sounds again rang out upon
the morning air. The pioneers set great store by the bap-
tism of the young ; all being anxious that their children
should receive the benefit of that rite, though they were
not all of them very particular regarding the language used
towards the holy man who administered it. On one occa-
sion an itinerant had preached on a week-day evening, and
was about to move on, when he was requested to stay over
Sunday and baptize some children. He was directed to one
pereon who was especially anxious to have the rite per-
formed. The preacher found the individual at work near
the river, and was at once accosted by him :

" Well, parson, are you going to stay over Sunday and
baptize our children ?"

" Well," replied the minister, " I hardly know. I should
be glad to do so, but it will break in on my arrangements
very seriously."

"Well now, parson, you must stay !" exclaimed the en-
thusiastic parent. " I have got two children that want bap-
tizing bad ; Mr. has another, Mr. has three

more, and I know we can pick up two or three others, and,
take it all together, you can make a d good job of it."

It is not recorded whether the reverend gentleman took
the job or not.

The event of 1808, at Oswego, was the building of the
brig " Oneida" by Henry Eckford, under the superintend-
ence of Lieutenant Woolsey, of which mention was made
in the general history. Henry Eagle, a native of Prussia,
and long a well-known resident of Oswego, first came to
that place in the year last named, and helped to build the
" Oneida."

The next spring the new brig was launched. When ready
for sea, it was taken out of the harbor and its armament
was put on board. When this had been done, it was found
that the " Oneida" could not return over the bar. It was
never inside the harbor again. The firm of McNair (& Co.
built a fine schooner of eighty tons this year. Building
began to increase on land, too, as well as on the water.
Messrs. Forman & Brackett erected a small grist-mill and

The grist-mill was the first in Oswego, and the saw-mill
was second only to that of Braducr Burt, built in 1802.

By this time immigration was increasing with consider-
able rapidity ; many coming whose names have escaped
research. Theophilus S. Morgan, long a very prominent
resident of Oswego, was one of the new settlers.

The next j'ear (1810) there was a still larger immigra-
tion, including several men of some note in the early annals
of the frontier village. Of these the most prominent was
Mr. Alvin Bronson, a young man only twenty-seven years
old, although he had been in the mercantile business nine
years, who settled at Oswego as the representative of the
firm of Townseud, Bronson & Co., and began the construc-
tion of a schooner with the men and tools he had brought
with him from his former home in Connecticut.

Besides the vessel, which, under the name of the '' Charles

and Ann," and subsequently of the " Governor Tompkins,"
has been mentioned at some length in the general history,
Mr. Bronson soon erected a warehouse on the corner of
West First and Cayuga streets, for tlie use of tiie firm,
which was engaged largely in the forwarding business.
They also kept a supply of general merchandise in one end
of their warehouse. This was a custom with all the for-
warders here, as it was considered that the business would
not warrant separate mercantile establishments.

Another new-comer of this period of some notoriety was
" Colonel" Eli Parsons. He gained his military title aa
the second in command in the celebrated " Shay's rebellion,"
which broke out in Massachusetts in 1786. Parsons had
served gallantly as a captain in the Massachusetts line in
the Revolution, and excused his subsequent misconduct on
the ground of the hardships to which he and his comrades
were subjected when the depreciated paper-money in which
they had been paid was found to be worthless to buy pro-
visions or pay debts, or even to pay the taxes levied by the
State government. As one of the leaders, he was excepted
from the first amnesty granted to the main body of the
insurgents after their defeat, and was obliged to escape to
Canada, in which he only succeeded with great difficulty.

After the final amnesty he returned and settled in Oswego,
where he kept a tavern, and where he received a pension
for his services in the Revolution. According to the recol-
lections of the old settlers he was a jovial old fellow, well
liked by his neighbors, fond of making quaint remarks, and
much more at home in keeping a tavern than in leading a

" How do all you people make a living here ?" queried
a stranger, who could not see that there was much business
going on.

"Well, sir," replied the old colonel, "in summer we
live by skinning strangers; in winter by skinning each

On another occasion, when provision was scarce, the
colonel was seen trudging up to his house with a remark-
ably fine string of fish.

" Bless me !" exclaimed a b3-stander, " what large fish !
How did you catch them, colonel? What sort of bait did
you use?"

" The best of bait, — necessity," was the sententious reply
of the veteran.

Dr. Benjamin Coe, who settled here in 1810, was the
next physician after Caldwell, and the first who had much
practice. Dr. Walter Colton, who came shortly after, was
a man of marked ability, and prominent not only in pro-
fes.sional, but in social and political life.

Edmund Hawks, who irftcrwards became a.ssociate judge
of the common pleas, came in 1810, and established a
tannery near the corner of West First and Cancer (Bridge)
streets, the first institution of that kind in the village. His
house was about where the Jefferson block now stands.

The brothers Eli and Moses Stevens about the same
time set up in business, the fii-st as a shoemaker and the
second as a hatter. The afterwards-celebrated author,
James Fenimore Cooper, was then a rollicking young mid-
shipman on board the " Oneida," making frequent visits
to Oswego, and being a hail-fellow with all its younger


population. He is credited with the production of the
following distich, descriptive of the occupations of the two
Stevens brothers :

Upon Moses and Eli

All the people may rely
For shoes and for hats that will stand the worst weather;

What with boots and with felt

They will use up the pelt,
And to two-legged calves sell the quadruped's leather.

On the 5th of April, 1811, the name of Fredericksburg
was changed to Volney, and on the same day the town of
Scriba was taken oif. Thus the territory of the present
city was divided between Scriba, in Oneida county, and
Hannibal, in Onondaga county.

It is hard to realize, in these days of compact organiza-
tion and swift police, that fifty odd years ago the two parts
of Oswego were separated by a jurisdictional line which
was almost impassable. Young Joel Tyler, though only
nine years old, was now intrusted with the management of
the ferry, while his father was out on the lake in command
of the schooner " Eagle." When a pedestrian wanted to
cross, the youngster could put him over in a skiff, but when
a horseman or a wagon came, the hired man was called from
his work to manage the unwieldy scow. One day Joel
heard from the Scriba side a halloo announcing that a foot-
man wanted to cross the stream. The skiff being taken
over, the passenger, who seemed to be in a great hurry,
stepped in, and Joel turned his prow westward. When
he was about a third of the way across, a horseman came
galloping up to the eastern shore, and shouted to the boy
to return.

" No, no ; go on," said the passenger.

" Come back ! come back, I say !" yelled the man on

" Go ahead, go ahead," growled the fellow in the boat.

" Come back, you young rascal, or I'll shoot you !" cried
the pursuer, taking a pistol from his holster.

" Pull for your life, you little devil, or I'll drown you !"
exclaimed the runaway, rolling up his sleeves and preparing
for instant action.

Terrified beyond measure at these contradictory threats,
the boy yet thought that the nearest danger was the greatest,
and bent to his oars with all his might. The sheriff, for
such the pursuer was, did not fire, the fugitive gained the
Onondaga shore, plunged into the forest, and was out of
reach long before the officer could get new papers to give
him jurisdiction in that county.

William Dolloway, who came in 1811, was the first man
who had a store of much consequence, separate from the
forwarding business. It was near the corner of West First
and Taurus (Bridge) streets, and the owner's residence,
just above the last street, was the farthest south of any
house in the village. The nearest house above that point
was one built by Mr. Wentworth for the use of the boat-
men whom he employed, and which stood on lands still
owned by the State, as was the case with all the land above
Mohawk street. Long afterwards JNIr. Wentworth bought
from the State the tract of land which he had improved,
and his son now lives there. That son, by the way, who
was born in 1810, is, so ftir as we can discover, the oldest

male, and next to Mrs. Goodell is the oldest person, born in
Oswego and now residing there.

Just above Wentworth's house was the farm and resi-
dence of Daniel Burt, Sr., to which he had removed after
he gave up the ferry, and which was situated on military
lot No. 7. The Wentworth house was fitted up in 1811,
and rented to Judge Nathan Sage, known as Captain Sage
to the early settlers of Redficld, who came from that place
to Oswego and was appointed collector of the port. His
commission was dated June 12, 1811.

Oswego being shut up by itself, with little communication
with the rest oi' the world, many of the men, in default of
other recreation, devoted a good deal of time to playing
practical jokes on each other. Judge Sage was a some-
what stately old gentleman, of fine appearance and de-
liberate movements, and the young fellows about town
thought he would be a good subject for some of their
pranks. Every morning he was in the habit of setting
forth from his residence, neatly dressed, with a cane in his
hand, and walking down to the foot of First street, where
his office was situated.

One morning, shortly after his appointment as collector,
the judge was marching with his usual deliberation down
the road towards the village, but he had not gone far from
his house when he saw a young man of his acquaintance
apparently working by the roadside with an axe.
" Good-morning, judge," said the axeman.
" Good-morning, sir," politely responded the official.
" Fine morning."
" Very fine," said the judge.
" But looks some like rain."

" Yes, it does a little," and Mr. Sage started forward.
After he had gone a few yards the man called out, —

" By the way, judge," — the latter halted and turned
around, — " can you tell me where young Stevens, the hatter,

" Well, no, I can't ; he hasn't been here a great while,
you know. I have had no especial business with him. I
presume you can easily ascertain, however."

" I presume so," said the man, and the judge resumed
his walk. Some forty rods farther down he met Dr. Coe,
with a rifle on his shoulder and equipped for a hunting ex-

" Good-morning, judge."

" Good-morning, doctor. After the deer, eh ?"
" Well, yes; I thought I would try them a few hours,"
replied the young ^^isculapius.

" It's a fine day for sport," said the worthy collector, " if
it doesn't rain. I wish you every success."

"Thank you, judge ;" and the two men moved in opposite

"Ah, excuse me," exclaimed the doctor, after they were
two or three rods apart, " there is a question I wanted to
ask you, which I had almost forgotten. Can you tell me
whore young Stevens, the hatter, boards?"

" Well, now, that's curious," said the judge, halting.
" Mr. B., up here, asked me the same question. What's
the matter. Has Stevens been doing anything out of the
way ?"

" Oh, no, not at all," replied the doctor ; " I happened to


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