Crisfield. cn Johnson.

... History of Oswego County, New York online

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IGth day of March, 1816. It provided for commissioners
to locate the two county-.scats, but no one could doubt that
Oswego was the proper place at this end of the county, and
the selection was soon made.

The tonnage of the ves.sels belonging to the port at that
time was five hundred and four tons. The new county-


seat had not yet arrived at the dignity of a stage line.
The mail was still brought from Onondaga Hollow on
horseback. A little later a mail-route was established
from Utica to Oswego, the mail being also carried on horse-
back, and running once a week. The post-ofl5ce could not
have been a very profitable institution, which was probably
the reason that William Dolloway, who was appointed post-
master in January, 1815, gave up his position a year later.
Judge Sage was appointed postmaster, and, as he was
already collector, he could probably get a living out of the
two offices.

The establishment of a county-seat at Oswego was fol-
lowed by the advent of several lawyers. One of the very
earliest, if not the earliest, of these was John Grant, Jr.,
a young college graduate, who had been serving as a pay-
master in the army during the war and until a year after;
he was already a counsellor of the supreme court, when,
in the spring of 1816, he located at the promising village,
where he resided till his death. Theodore Popple was the
only other supreme court counsellor who made his home
there that first summer ; but at least two students came
who were anxious for the honors of admission to the bar.

When the first court of common pleas for Oswego
County was held at the old school-house, on the first day
of October, 1816, by Judge Peter D. Hugunin (in the
absence of First Judge Mooney), assisted by Judge Ed-
mund Hawks and " Assistant Justice"' Daniel Hawks, Jr.,
the people began to think that theu- village was really
amounting to something. The supreme court counsellors
before mentioned, as well as several outsiders, were ad-
mitted to practice on presentation of the credentials they
had already, and the students, George Fisher and Henry
White, were, after due examination, admitted as attorneys
of the common pleas. It may be remarked, for the benefit
of those accustomed only to the usages of the present day,
that the privilege of practicing in the last-named tribunal
only required three years' study, while the august honors
of the supreme court then demanded seven years of prepara-
tion from their recipient.

But, although Oswego had attained to the dignity of a
court, there was no litigation to be disposed of, no criminals
to be tried, and Judge Hugunin was obliged to adjourn sine
die. There was another young student, James F. Wright,
who located in Oswego about this time, but was not admitted
till the next term of the common pleas, held at Pulaski the
following February. Samuel B. Beach was another lawyer
who came nearly as soon as those who have been mentioned.

Another important event of 1816 was the organization
of the first church in the village. This was the First Pres-
byterian church, which was organized at the ever-useful
school-house on the 21st day of November by Rev. Mr.
Abeel, with seventeen members. Considering that it was
just twenty years since the settlement of Oswego began,
and that it had attained a population of five or six hundred
before a single religious association was formed, it must, we
think, be admitted that the place could not have suffered
severely from " early piety."

The next spring witnessed the appearance in Os ego
harbor of the " Ontario," which was not only the pioneer
steamboat of the lake whose name it bore, but was the veiy

first vessel of that kind ever seen on a lake anywhere in
the world. The event has been mentioned at some length
in the general history. The chapter devoted to the press
also contains a notice of another important event of this
year (1817), — the establishment of the first newspaper in
the village by S. A. Abbey & Brother, under the name of
the Osioego Gazette.

By this time the population on the east side had in-
creased so it was thought that a school could be supported
there. Not a school-house though ; that was an institu-
tion only to be obtained for East Oswego in the far future.
The first teacher of the few children of that locality was
Miss Philomela Robinson. She held forth in a hired room
near the river, and for eleven years the school was changed
from one rented building to another, occupying five or six
different ones in the time mentioned.

On the 20th of April, 1818, the town of Oswego, which
included all of the village west of the river, was formed
from Hannibal by an act of the legislature. The two parts
of the present city were now in the towns of Oswego and
Scriba, the inhabitants being frequently designated as Os-
wegoites and Scribaites. There was a bitter feud between the
boys on the two sides of the river, breaking out in frequent
fights, and woe to the unlucky juvenile who fouud himself
alone on the wrong side of the stream.

Then, as previously, a large part of the trade of Oswego
consisted of salt, brought down from Salina and shipped
westward. It is noted that in that year (1818) thirty-six
thousand bushels were brought from Salina, of which
twenty-six thousand were shipped westward.

In 1819 the Oswego Gazette, having passed through the
hands of Augustus Buckingham, was discontinued for a
short time, when John H. Lord and Dorephus Abbey,
with the material of the Gazette, began the publication of
that veteran of the press, the Oswego Palladium.

In 1820 the first grist-mill that was intended for manu-
facturing flour on a large scale was built, by Alvin Bronson
and T. S. Morgan.

It contained five run of stone, and was considered a
grand institution. It did a successful business ; but for ten
years no material advance was made in the work of mill-
ing. One of the proprietors, Colonel Morgan, was the
first member of the assembly from Oswego village, serving
during this same year.

All this' time Oswego was making very slow progress.
The Erie canal was in process of construction, people had
got a notion that trade was sure to flow along its channel, and
new settlers nearly all sought their fortunes in the cities and
villages growing up on its banks. The numerous stage-
coaches, too, which ran along the present line of the Cen-
tral railroad, carried the greater part of the passenger-
travel which had formerly passed through Oswego. Heavy
freight, however, still followed the old route.

Though the increase in numbers was small, however,
there was a material improvement in the appearance of the
village. Nearly all the old log houses had disappeared,
though a few still remained as relics of the pioneer days.
Neat frames had taken their places, and occasionally a brick
building might be seen, though this was very seldom.

In 1821 a light-house was built by the United States


Among the truly repreaenta-
tiTemeDof Oawego County, few,
If any, have been more inti-
mutely asBociat«d with the ma-
terial derelopment of thttt part
of the State than Leunard Ames,
the well'kuowu banker and iron
oianufacturer. Mr. Ames not
only witnessed the transition of
a small village into the largest
and most prosperous city in the
county, — of a thin settlement
into a busy and populous com-




has typified so admirably the
agencies which wrought many
of these changes, that uo history
of Oswego County would be com-
plete withontsomeaketch of his
life, labors, and character.

Mr. Ames is of New England
-origin, his parents having re-
moTed frum Litchfield, Connec-
timt, to Mexico township, this
county, in 1814. The subject of

town of Mexico, February 8,
1818. He was the seventh child
of a family of thirteen. His
early life, like that of most of
our nuccessful business men,
was one of close application,
self-reliance, and self-denial.
He worked on the farm until
he reached his twenty-fourth

1 the Wabash r
of Indiana. At this time that
State was quite new, and the
present improvements in navi-
gation and transportation were

> Sute, and thrice Mr.
returned east on horseback from
Delphi, Indiana, there being no
public conveyance of any kind
part of the distance. Subse-
quently, Mr. Ames returned to
this county, and, in connection
with James S. Chandler, entered
into the private banking busi-
oeaa at Mexico, and afterwards
one of the originators of the
firm of Ames, Howlett & Co., at
Oswego. In 1864 he was the
prime mover in the or^aiiization
of the Second National Bank of
that city, of which ho has been
president from that time to the
present. He alio became a mem-
ber of the firm operating the

terpris* and energy In their
establishment. These works em-
ploy an aggregate of one hun-
dred and sixty hands, and aver-
ago the Dianufactiire of one
locomotive daily. In this, as to
all other of his business under-
takings, he has been eminently
successful. Honesty and a firm
desire to succeed have been the

Ho ha« evinced an excellent
judgment in all his ti-auaactions,
and sterling honesty has been
the basis of his operatiuni.
This is high testimony, but It is
only the retlex of the prominent
traits of Mr. Ames' character;
and what to the stmng» reader
may seem peculiarly the lan-
guage of eulogy, will be readily
recognized hyali who know him
OS a mere plain, uncolored state-
ment of the salient points of hiv
character, and features of his
commercial career.

Mr. Ames has figured quite
conspicuously in local. State,
and national politics. He was
elected wupervisor of the town
of Mexico in 185.'), a member of
the Assembly in 1857, and was a
delegate to the Chicago Conven-
tion which nominated Abraham
Lincoln (of glorious memory)
to the presidency. He was the
appointee under President Lin-
coln for the United States asses-
sorship for the twenty-second
Congressional dietrirt, which
positien he occupied (vut years,
being removed by Andy John-

an uncompromising abolition-
ist; having in him the inherent
love of freedom and a natural
hatred of oppre»>jion.

1 the

^C/LO 2 /

Online LibraryCrisfield. cn Johnson... History of Oswego County, New York → online text (page 38 of 120)