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... History of Oswego County, New York online

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Fredericksburg, Yorktown, North Anna, Malvern Hill, White Oak
Swamp, Seven Pines, Harper's Ferry; disch. Sept. 20, 1864.
Shul ael Lyman. Enlisted Co. M, 2d H. Art., Dec, 1863 ; died in hos-
pital at Washington.

Harvey Mandigo. Enlisted Co. G, 184th N. Y. V., Aug., 1864 ; dis.
June 29, 1865.

Anson Miller. Enl'd 3d N. Y. Lt. Art., Marohj 1864; dis. July, '65.

Titus B. Mitchell. Enlisted Co. I, 24th Cav., Feb. 8, 1865 ; was wd
at Five Forks ; dis. June 29, 1865 ; also served in a cavalry regi-
ment in New Mexico.

Charles F. Mulverhill. Enlisted Co. B, 110th N. Y. V., August 6,
1862 ; in siege of Port Hudson ; dis. August 28, 1865.

Joseph S. Nichols. Enlisted Co. A, 94th N. Y. V., Feb. 26, 186.'i;
deserted; dis. July 28, 1865.

Franklin Nicholas. Enlisted Co. A, 94th Inf., Feb., 1862; in battle
of Bull Run: dis. 1864.

Reuben Noble.

William H. Paddock. Enlisted Co. K, 81st N. Y.V., Sept. 10,1861; in
battles Yorktown, Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Drury's
Bluff, and many others; re-enl'd in same company and regiment;
disch. August 31, 1865.

Joseph Pentworth. Enlisted Co. G, 1st Lt. Art., Oct. 4, 1861 ; re-
enlisted in same company and regiment, Dec. 17, 1863; was in
battles of Wilderness, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg,
Cold Harbor, Fredericksburg ; discharged June 21, 1865.

Joseph Perkins. Enlisted 24th N. Y. V., May, 1861 ; died in service.

Henry Pettingill. Enlisted Co. G, 24th N. Y. V., Oct., 1861 ; in battle
of Chancellorsville; dis. May 17, 1863.

Albert Pickens. Enlisted Co. A, 16th N. Y. H. Art., August 1, 1863 ;
in battle of Malvern Hill, and several others ; died at Wilmington,
N. C, April, 1865.

Albert A. Potter. Enlisted Co. C, 110th N. Y. V., Jan. 23, 1862; re-
enlisted Feb. 4, 1804; discharged Sept. 30, 1865.

Delavan Preston. Enlisted Co. K, 81st N. Y. V., Sept. 23, 1861 ; in
battle of Fair Oaks: died in hospital, July 30, 1862.

Thomas Purdy. Enlisted Co. B, 110th N. Y. V., August 14, 1862;
in battles Franklin, Camp Bisland, siege of Port Hudson, Ver-
milion Plains; dis. August 29, 1865.

Adelbert E. Rich. Enlisted Co. I, 81st N. Y. V., Dec. 6, 1861; in
battles of Fair Oaks, Swift Creek, Drury's Bluff, Cold Harbor,
Petersburg; killed Aug. 7, 1864.

Hermon Rich. Enlisted Co. A, 26th N. Y. V., Aug., 1861; disch.
Jan., 1863; re-cnld in Uth N. Y. Cav.; deserted March, 1864.

Isaac Rowell. Enlisted Co. H, 185th N. Y. V., Sept. 6, 1864; in battles
Southside R. R. : Gravely Run, seven in all ; at Lee's surrender
was wounded by a ball in right arm and cheek ; discharged
June 9, 1865.


Alfred E. Seamans. Enlisted Co. M, 2.1 H. Art., Oct. 25, 180,1; in

battles Cold Harbor, Spottsjlvania, Petersburg; takeo prisoner

at Petersburg; oiissiug.
Dclos S. Seamans. Enlisted Co. M, 2d 11. Art., Oet. 29, 186.1 ; in battles

Spottsyh'ania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg; missing.
B.vron R. Seamons. Enlisted Co. C, 50th Eiig., August 28, 1861;

died Oct. 22. 1S61.
William Slaftor. Enlisted llth Cav., Doc. U, 18B2; pro. 2a licut.,

Augustus, 1861; 1st lieut., Marcb 21, 1865; discharged April 29,

Henry J. .Smart. Enlisted Co. O, 24th N. Y. V., Nov. 2'.l, l.sGl ; re-

tml'd 21lh N. y. Cav.; dis. July 17, IXOJ.

Garret S. Sweet. Enlisted Co. I), I'JIld X. Y. V., A,.iil 6, lSfi5; dis.

June 18, 1866.
Lansing Tanner. Enlisted Co. F, ISIth N. Y. V., Aug. 24, 1864;

discharged June 29, 1K65.
Do Witt Clinton Trumbull. Enlisted Co. O, ,1d H. Art., Feb. 11, 1864;

Five Forks; dis. July 16, 1865.
George Trumbull. Enlist«d Co. G, 3d H. Art., Feb. 8, 18B4; disch.

April, 1865.
Luke Tryon. Enlisted Co. K, 8Ist N. Y. V., .Sept. 10, 1861 ; in battlci

Vorktown, Williamsburg, .Seven Pines, Chickahominy, Malvern

Hill, Cold Harbor, and several others ; re enl'd in same company

and regt; was wounded, and lost a log; discharged.


The town of Constantia w;is set off from Mexico, then
a part of Oneida county, April 8, 1808, and comprised at
that time the present towns of Hastings, West Monroe,
and Constantia. Hastings was taken off in 1825, and West
Monroe in 1839, reducing Constantia to the limits of the
old survey-township of Rotterdam, or No. 11 of Scriba's
patent. It is the southeastern town of Oswego County, and
is upon the north shore of Oneida lake, to which last fact
it doubtless owes its early settlement. The surface is nearly
level, though slightly broken in the northern part. A large
portion of the town is still covered with hemlock timber,
and lumbering is one of the chief occupations of the inhab- ,
itants. The most important streams are Scriba and Black
creeks, and the outlet of V.anderkemp pond ; all of which
afford excellent mill privileges. Although the soil is quite
sandy, good crops of wheat and corn are raised in some
portions of the town. The southern portion is peculiarly
well adapted to sheep grazing.

The early history of Constantia, comprising the fact of
its being owned by the Oneida Indians, and the story of
the numerous warlike expeditions which passed along its
southern bounds during the last century, are to be found
in the general history of the county. There, too, will be
found a statement that when the Oneidas relinquished
their title to the State in 1788, they reserved a tract of
half a mile square every six miles along the north shore
of Oneida lake. One of these reservations fell within the
present limits of Constantia.

As in the of other towns, we begin the history of
Constantia with the first white settler.

The earliest settlement of which we have any account
was made in 1791, when the Frenchman, Desvatines, located
upon " Frenchman's island," about four miles southwest
from the site of Constantia village. Desvatines had come
to this country from France several years previous with a
considerable sum of money, had been unfortunate in busi-
ness, had finally lost his fortune through the treachery of
a partner, and had retired with his wife and two children
to this island, where another child was born, and there
erected a comfortable house and cleared sever;il acres of
land. He remained undisturbed until 1793, when visited by

an agent of John and Nicholas Roosevelt, who informed him
that the .St.ate had sold the island with other lands to the
Roosevelts, and that he must leave it. Mr. George Scriba,
who had already purchased the Roosevelt tract, though he
had not received a patent, and Wiis commencing a settlement
at Rotterdam (now Constantia), invited Desvatines to live
there, offering him a tract of land for which he might pay
at his convenience. The Frenchman gladly availed himself
of this liberal offer. It is a little singular that Scriba
should have allowed him to be driven from the island, but
perhaps that gentleman wanted him to increase the new
city of Rotterdam.

A more full description of Desvatines' life on Frenchman's
island, about which so many romantic tales have been told,
is given in the general history of the county, where will
also be found an account of the original purchase of half a
million acres of land by the Roosevelts, and its transference
to Scriba. Constantia having been the second town in
Oswego County in which a settlement was made, its early
annals possess a general as well as local interest, and it
is inevitable that much of them should be given in the
county history.

Meanwhile, in 1791 or '92, a man named Bruce had
built him a cabin on the site of Constantia village, being
the first settler on the mainland. He h;id been a merchant
in Connecticut, but appears to have been a squatter on
Oneida lake. He was found there in the summer of 1792
by F. A. Vanderkemp, who m;ide a journey to Oswego at
that time.

Although Mr. Scriba did not obtain his patent until
December 12, 1794, j-et he began the settlement of Rotter-
dam in the spring of 1793. It is spoken of in the journal
kept by the Frenchmen sent from Paris in the fall of 1793,
by the " Castorland company," to examine the Black river
country, and who visited this settlement on their route.
They say : "... We then took a view of the site of the
future Rotterdam. It is upon a moderately-elevated, sandy
plateau, with a view of the lake and the islands, and at
present consists of a saw-mill and three log houses ; but its
location is favorable. Mr. Scriba intends to open a road
from this ]>lace to the Little Salmon creek, nliich is twenty-


four miles by land, and will save more than sixty miles by
water, as well as the tedious navigation of the rivers. It
is probable that this will become the route of trade from
the lakes, which cannot fail to give it importance, especially
if the Little Salmon creek is navigable, so as to reduce the
portage to si.x or eight miles ; as they assured us could be
done. The only trouble is in the landing-place, but some
piers would remedy this, and timber is plenty."

In the summer of 1793, while the little colony at Rot-
terdam were busy with their improvements, Frai.cis Adrian
Vanderkemp, a native of Campen, in Overyssel (one of the
United Provinces of the Netherlands), came from Ulster
county, where he had been living. He bought a thousand
acres of Mr. Seriba, at a point on the lake which he called
Kempwick, about five miles east of Rotterdam. He put
up here some fine buildings, which had been framed on the
Hudson river. His barn is said to have been eighty by
ninety feet. He was a man of wealth, and brought with
him a large number of negroes, and in a very short time
had a huge tract of land cleared and under cultivation.
The tract purchased by Mr. Vanderkemp included a large
pond in the northern part, in which it is said there were at
that time large numbers of fish. Mr. Seriba, becoming
aware of this lact, told Mr. Vanderkemp that if he would
give up the north half of his laud, including the pond, he,
Seriba, would give him a deed of the remaining five hun-
dred acres free of cost. The offer was accepted, and the
arrangement duly carried out. The sheet of water in ques-
tion is still known by the name of " Vanderkeuip's pond."

Solomon Waring came about this time (1793) and located
at the village of Rotterdam, and is said to have opened the
first tavern there, in that year, on the site of the present
hotel of J. P. Brown. Joshua Lynch was also a settler
of 1793. In 1794 Mr. Seriba cut out the celebrated road
from Rotterdam to his other city of Vera Cruz, at the mouth
of Salmon creek.

In June, 1795, the French duke De la Rochefoucauld-
Liancuurt visited Rotterdam in his travels through the
United States, and published an elaborate account of it,
which we transcribe here, as it is the best authority to be
found regarding the locality at that time. He says, —

" Rotterdam is a new establishment begun eighteen
months (two years) since, by Mr. Seriba, a wealthy Hol-
lander, and a merchant, who is the owner of a large tract
of land extending from here to Lake Ontario. He has
chosen the mouth of Bruce creek as the site of his princi-
pal city, and has begun another at Salmon river, two miles
from Lake Ontario. Bruce creek is navigable some miles
above Rotterdam, and Mr. Seriba has opened a road from
here to his new city. At present his establishments amount
to but little. A dozen poor log houses, built almost en-
tirely at Mr. Scriba's expense, constitute all there is of the
city of Rotterdam, so named in honor of the native place
of its founder. The dams for the use of the mill that he
has built have cost much money, and being always poorly
built he has been obliged to recommence them several
times. The grist-mill is not yet built, and the dam appears
too feeble for the pressure it will have to sustain. Some
work and considerable money has been expended at the
mouth of the creek to make a landini;-, but the accommo-

dation is very poor. They estimate that Mr. Seriba has
expended over eight thousand dollars here, and if the work
had been well applied it would be a profitable investment.
Mr. Seriba is now building a fine frame house in which he
intends to place a store. In this he will share the profits
with two associates whom he has as his agents for all these
works. A store is, moreover, in America, the best means
for gaining property rapidly in a new settlement, and he
can thus regain the money expended on his establishment.
He will sell, for instance, a quart of brandy for four shil-
lings and sixpence, or if more for three shillings, flour at
sixpence a pound retail, or ten dollars a barrel, while it
only costs him seven. The profits on other articles are still
greater. The land which sold eighteen months ago at a
dollar an acre now brings three dollars, and is not consid-
ered dear at that price. The present settlers of this place
came from New England, and from near Albany. Mr.
Scriba's partners in the store are Hollanders like himself,
and they have a mulatto in charge. This mulatto is also a
doctor and a gardener, and appears to have been well edu-
cated ; they say he is a half-brother of Mr. Melth, one of
the partners. Workmen get in Rotterdam four shillings a
day and board, or six and sixpence when they board them-
selves. Boarders pay fourteen shillings per week without
liquor. They paid for bread ninepence a pound, the com-
mon price being six. Fresh meat is eightpence ; but not-
withstanding the number of workmen constantly hired by
Mr. Seriba, provisions are scarce and uncertain, and the
price is always high. The country is also liable to fevers,
as is all that through which we have passed."

Mr. John Meyer settled in the vicinity of the village
before 1796, and was Mr. Scriba's agent ; perhaps he was
one of the partners mentioned by La Rochefoucauld-Lian-
court. He was the first supervisor of Mexico (and the
first in the present county of Oswego), being appointed by
the justices of Herkimer county, in default of an election
in the spring of 1797. He was also the first justice of the
peace in the county.

On the 11th of April, 1796, occurred that ever-interest-
ing event in a new settlement, the birth of the first child,
which in this case was George Waring, son of Major Solo-
mon Waring.

Mr. Seriba himself did not make his home in Rotterdam
until several years later, carrying on his business through
his agents. The store mentioned by the French duke was
opened within a year or so afterwards. It is said that at
one time it contained a stock of goods valued at ten thousand
dollars ; an enormous sum in those days. There being no
other store in this part of the country, an immense business
was carried on. The Indians often came here with their
furs to tiade, from a distance of more than forty miles.

Mr. John Bernhard, from whom Bernhard's bay derives
its name, was a native of Holland. He emigrated to this
country in the year 1790, and settled upon Staten Island,
where he lived until the foil of 1795, when he moved, with
his family, to the bay. Arriving late in the fall, he found
but one building there, — an old log house, built by a Mr.
Dayton two years before, but occupied by hiui only a short
time. It was sadly in need of repair, and, as the season
for cold weather had already set in, 5Ir. Vanderkemp kindly


invited him to spend the winter at his house. This invita-
tion Mr. Bernhard accepted. The foUowinf: circumstances,

Online LibraryCrisfield. cn Johnson... History of Oswego County, New York → online text (page 76 of 120)