Dwight H. (Dwight Hall) Bruce.

Onondaga's centennial. Gleanings of a century (Volume 2) online

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Onondaga's Centennial





Volume II,










GENERAL SUMMARY 1070-1 1 1 3








PART I - - 495-530

PART II 530-531

PART II I - - 531-544

PO RT RAITS 545-546



Abell, Flavel L facing 111, Part II

Allen, Alexander H... facing 164, Part II

Andrews, Charles 179, Part II

Andrews, John Y facing 69, Part II

Baldwin, C. B 203, Part II

Barnes, George 84, Part II

Beauchamp, Howard C 202, Part II

Bibbens, Clarence H ...207, Part II

Bingham, Augustus W. .facing 61, Part II

Brand, William F 211, Part II

Burdick, Edward H. ..facing 154, Part II
Burdick, Hamilton... facing 138, Part II

Burhans, Henry N facing 30, Part II

Burns, Peter 132, Part II

Campbell, Alexander J., Dr .

facing 158, Part II

Clark Elizur 90, Part II

Clark, S. E facing 971, Parti

Collin, David 329, Part III

Comstock, George F 176, Part II

Cook, Ele facing 144, Part II

Cotton, George G facing 56, Part II

Davis, Richard R 210, Part II

Denton, L 358, Part HI

Donohue, Florince O 55, Part II

Duncan, William A. ..facing 213, Part II
Edwards, Hiram K 338, Part III

Gay nor, John F 466, Part III

Gere, Robert 169, Part II

Gifford, Henry.. 74, Part II

Goodelle, William P. facing 134, Part II

Graves, Maurice A facing 32, Part II

Graves, Nathan F 60, Part II

Hall, Nathan K. 1005, Parti

Hall, Will T ...205, Part II

Hanchett, Reuben C, Dr

facing 26, Part II

Hiscock, Frank 141, Part II

Hiscock, Frank H 188, Part II

House, Rufus ...368, Part HI

Howlett, Alfred A 63, Part II

Hoyt, Ezekiel B facing 1012, Part I

Jenkins, Arthur 196, Part II

Jewett, Freeborn G 173, Part II

Judson, E. B 53, Part II

Kennedy, George N. . .facing 183, Part II

Kirkpatrick, William, Dr 143, Part II

Knapp, H. J 469, Part HI

Kyne, John L 204, Part II

Leavenworth, Elias W .112, Part II

Legg, John facing 991, Parti

Leslie, E. Norman facing 979, Part I

Longstreet, Cornelius T 109, Part II

Loomis, Henry H facing 130, Part II


Mabee, Anbrose S 332, Part II

McClary, C. E., Dr. .. .facing 24, Part I
McEvers, William F. ..facing 160, Part I

McLennan, Peter B 186, Parti

Mclntyre, Calvin . facing 94, Part 1

Mclntyre, Edward M. ..facing 96, Parti
Magee, Charles M., Dr. . facing 73, Part I

Maine. F. L 206, Part I

Markell, Peter V facing 153, Part I

Marlovv, Frank W., Dr. .facing 29, Part I

Marsellus, John facing 64, Part I

Marvin, William facing 987, Part

May, Samuel J., Rev 7, Parti

Moore, John J., Dr facing 33, Part I

Morgan, Le Roy. .177, Part I

Moseley, Daniel 172. Parti

Munro, David Allen, jr. .facing36. Part I

Nash, John F. 199, Part I

Nichols, Charles facing 1016, Part

Nims, Horace, Dr. .481, Part II

Northrup, Milton H 194, Part I

Noxon, James 181, Parti

Peck, John J. , Gen. 107, Part I

Peck, M. L 346, Part II

Pierce, William K facing 17, Part I

Potter, J. Densmore, Dr

facing 167, Part I

Pratt, Daniel 175. Part I

Raynor, George facing 216, Parti

Redfield, Lewis II 189, Part

Roe, C. A ....209, Part

Ruger. William C 182. Part

Sampson, Ernest S facing 62, Part

Sawmiller, Ignatius facing 34, Part

Saxer, Leonard A., D. _ .facing 27, Part
Sherman, Isaac N. ..facing 163, Part

Slocum, Henry W. , Gen. 99, Part

Smith, Carroll E 192, Part

Sniper, Gustavus 47, Part

Stacey, Alfred E facing 67, Part

Stephenson. J. S. .. 201, Part

Sullivan, Napoleon B. , Dr

facing 51 , Part

Sumner, Edwnn V.. Gen,.facingl, Part

Sweet, John E _ .facing 85, Part

Thayer, Joel facing 1005, Part

Thorne, Chauncey B. . . facing 42, Part
Totman, David M., Dr. .facing 54, Part

Vann, Irvmg G .185, Part

Wallace, WiUiam J 180, Part

Weeks, Forest G facing 128. Part

Wells, Samuel J 350, Parti

White, Hamilton 125, Part

White, Horace... 121, Part

White, Howard G 197, Part

Wilcox. Asel F 335. Part I

Wood, Daniel P 119, Part


Alvord Building, the old, in Syracuse_939

Aunt Dinah, portrait of 1068

Captain George, portrait of.. 1065

La Forte, Daniel.. 1058

Map of Onondaga Reservation

facing 1049

Sacrifice of the White Dog 1062

Webster, Thomas, portrait of 1060

Onondaga's Centennial.


This town, organized March 27, 1809, in its relation to the Military
Tract, contained only nine and one -half lots of the tract, taken from
the northwest corner of Manlius. They were nnmbers 1, drawn by
Col. Goose Van Schaick; 2, by Joseph Travis; 3, by James Williamson;
4, by Simon Peterson ; 8, by Israel Harriott ; 17, by Christopher Yonngs;
18, reserved for gospel and schools; 19, by Col. John Lamb; 27 (in
part), by Capt. Benjamin Pelton; 28, by Nicholas Van de Bogart.

In the year 1797, when the vState took formal control of the salt
springs, the surveyor-general was authorized by a law to lay out a por-
tion of the vSalt Reservation, to provide for the manufacture of salt.
Accordingly a part of the marsh lands and the uplands were laid out and
mapped and given the name, Salina. In 1798 a village was laid out
and called also Salina; and upon the organization of the town, that,
too, took the same name. When the county was organized in 1794,
the territory which went to form the original vSalina t(nvn was compre-
hended in the original townships of Manlius and Marcellus, and after,
the town of Onondaga was set off in 1798, and the military township
of Marcellus was organized as a civil town (co incident with the county
organization), that part of the Salt Reservation not taken into Onon-
daga and lying on the west side of the lake and creek, was attached to
Camillus. For the formation of Salina town, the nine and one-half
lots in the northeast corner of Manlius were taken and with the JSalt
Reservation, formed this town. With the incorporation of the city of
Syracuse in 1848, Salina was reduced to its present area by setting off
what had been the villages of Geddes and Syracuse.


The act under which the village of Salina was laid out contains the

Be it enacted, that the superintendent shall, on the grounds adjoining to the south-
east side of Free street, so named on the map of the Salt Springs, made by the Sur-
veyor-General, lay out a square for the village, consisting of sixteen blocks, each six
chains sijuare, with intermediate streets, conforming to the streets laid down on the
said map, made by the Surveyor-General, and divide each lot into four house lots,
and deliver a map and descrii)tion thereof to the Surveyor-General.

The act further provided that no lot should be sold for a less sum
than $40, and that no lot on which there was a building worth $50
should be liable to be sold, if the owner or occupant should agree to
obtain a deed for it, at the average price of other lots sold. Thus was
laid the foundation of what is now the city of Syracuse.

Almost simultaneously with the settlement of Major Danforth and
Comfort Tyler in the Hollow, the first settlers established their rude
houses near the salt springs. The first houses were not only primitive ;
they were peculiar. The sills were laid on four posts which were set
up with plates on the top. The posts were grooved on the sides
facing" each other and into these grooves were dropped the ends of
sticks laid horizontally one upon the other, forming the rough sides of
the building. The outside was then plastered with clay or mud inter-
mixed with straw, making a comfortable, if a queer looking dwelling.

During the year 1789, and possibly in one or two instances in 1788,
Nathaniel Loomis, Hezekiah Olcott, Asa Danforth, jr., John Danforth
(brother of the major), Thomas Gaston, and a Deacon Loomis settled at
Salina, made their homes, and most of them became prominently iden-
tified with the salt industry. Mr. Olcott became a member of the Fed-
eral Company, organized only a few years later for the manufacture of
salt on a large scale. In 1700 Col. Jeremiah Gould, with his three
sons, Jeremiah, James, and Phares, and one daughter, removed from
Westmoreland to Salina. This family became prominent in the com-
munity, and the pioneer has the credit of building the first frame house
at Salina in 1792, which was also the first one built in the county.

In 1791 Samuel Jerome left his home in Saratoga county, visited the
salt springs, and on his return took a little salt with him through the
towns of Pompey, Fabius, Homer, and Manlius, reporting to eager list-
eners that he had found the " promised land." This was the means of
inducing other families to settle at Salina. Among these were a family
named Woodworth, and another named Sturges, the first names of
whom were in the scattered records of the village in early times.


On the 2d of March, 1792, Isaac Van Vleck removed to Sahna from
Kinderhook, N.Y., with his wife and four children His was the sixth
family to become permanent residents of the place. Mr. Van Vleck
is credited with building the first arch for a kettle for salt lioiling.
He was prominent in the little settlement until his death which took
place about 1800. His son, Abraham, was born at Salina October 16,
1792,1 and is believed to have been the first white child born within
the present limits of Syracuse, and the first white male child born in
Onondaga county. He was born in what was afterwards known as the
Schouten house, which was used later for a blacksmith shop, corner of
Exchange and Free streets. Isaac Van Vleck's family consisted of
three sons, named Matthew, Abraham, and Henry, and three daugh-
ters. Henry Van Vleck removed to Illinois and died there; Matthew
became a prominent citizen and a large land owner; he held the ofhce
of supervisor many years and was a member of assembly in 1833. He
was killed while on a hand car in a collision on the Oswego and vSyra-
cuse Railroad. After Isaac Van Vleck's death his wife removed to
Pittstown, Rensselaer county, where Abraham learned his trade of tan-
ner and currier. After following it some years he returned to Salina
in 1834 with his family and lived there until his death in 18(J7. James
Van Vleck, of Salina, and Isaac, of Clay, were sons of Abraham. The
late Mrs. O'Blennis, of Salina, was a daughter of the pioneer Isaac \"an
Vleck. She lived to a great age and was authority for many valuable
historical facts. She stated that in 1792 there were in Salina, besides
those above mentioned, Josiah Olcott and James Peat.

Sometime in the year 1702 Phares Gould built what was known as a
mud house. It was constructed by laying up one upon another narrow
strips of boards flatwise on the four sides, lapping the ends at the cor-
ners, and filling between the boards with clay. The roof was made of
rough planks split from logs. By the close of the year 1792 there had
been built eight or nine dwellings, two of which were of mud (so-
called), one frame (Jeremiah Gould's) and the others of logs. Three
of these houses stood on what is now Salina street (called in early times
Canal street) and as many more on Free street near Carbon, as those
streets now appear. No sales of land had yet been made and settlers
erected their houses wherever their fancy dictated.

1 About the time of Mr. Van Vleck's birth an Indian was accidentally drowned at Oswego
Falls, and the grief of the dead native's friends bore so heavily upon them that they named
Abraham " Ne-un-hoo-tah," meaning sorrow for the departed. He was always called thus by the
Indians, whose friendship for him was lasting and unwavering.


If we leave out of consideration the marsh lots near the lake, the
surroundings of wliich were unwholesome, no fairer spot could be
found on which to found a village than the rising uplands of Salina.
This rounded, rising lake shore was covered with original forest or
with a heavy second growth, from among the shore line shadows of
which could be seen the placid lake and the distant wood crowned hill-
sides, now covered with the dwellings and shops of Geddes. The lake
and nearby streams were filled with fish for the table, first among which
was the noble salmon, and the forests abounded with game of various
kinds. It was fortunate for the pioneers that such was the fact, for
provisions in the early years were scarce and difificult to obtain. Such
as could be procured came from Tioga, or Herkimer, or Whitestown,
and were brought only in small quantities and at irregular intervals.
Suffering for necessary articles of diet was not unknown. On several
occasions in 1792-3, when there was a scarcity of provisions, boats were
sent from Salt Point to Kingston, Canada, by way of Oswego, and re-
turned with welcome stores. According to Clark, an old resident
stated that " they at different times procured bread, biscuits, salted
meat, and fish that were made and cured in England, which, though of
inferior quality, were nevertheless accepted with a relish which hunger
never fails to give." There was no grist mill nearer than Asa Dan-
forth's small affair, on Butternut Creek, and the first corn raised or
brought to Salina was pounded into meal in the hollowed top of a
stump. But the scarcity of provisions continued only a few years.
Deer were then so numerous that they often herded with cows and
came home with them at night. Bears, wolves, foxes, coons, and other
small animals were also very plentiful. The Indians caught many
young bears and traded them to the settlers, who in turn exchanged
them with the boatman for provisions. Prominent among the very
early boatmen was a man known as Captain Canute, who ran a boat
hither from Albany, bringing in provisions, etc., in exchange for salt,
furs, young bears and other animals, for which he found a ready market
to the eastward.

During the year 17;)3 a number of families joined their fortunes with
the little community at Salt Point. Thomas Orman came and brought
the first caldron kettle in which to boil salt, and Aaron Bellows, a
good cooper, was a welcome accession, as he was able to supply the
needed barrels for packing the staple product, Simon Phares (followed


in 1796 by Andrew Phares) and William Gilchrist also settled there in
that year. The latter has been given credit for having kept the first
public liouse; but it is certain that Elam Schouton kept a tavern earlier
(1791-2) and was succeeded by Isaac Van Vleck in 1793. Andrew
Phares was justice of the peace from 1808 to 1821, and held ofifice in
the militia. He, with his wife and daughter Lois, then one year old,
made a journey to New Brunswick, N. J., on horseback in the year
1812, when there was no wagon road over much of the distance.

Sometime in the year 1793, Isaac Van Vleck rendered the little set-
tlement a great service by journeying to Albany and returning with a
large grinding mill, which he set up in Mr. Bellows's cooper shop, and
thither the settlers brought their corn to be ground. In the same year
John Danforth, a brother of Asa, built the second frame house in the
the place, and at about the same time Isaac Van Vleck and Asa Dan-
forth, jr., built better dwellings for themselves. The lumber for these
structures was brought, in part at least, from Little Falls in bateaux,
and the nails came from Albany. At the close of 1793 there were only
sixty-three persons in the community and of these more than twenty
were ill. The first settlers discovered at once that they had located
amid unwholesome surroundings. The decaying vegetation of the
marshes which were alternately overflowed and then left to give out
their deadly vapors, and perhaps other conditions not so well under-
stood, caused an alarming prevalence of fevers of the various types,
and the resultant sickness and mortality was frightful. At times there
were not enough well persons in the community to properly care for the
sick. Under these circumstances the Indians were exceedingly kind
and lightened the burdens of many families. Dr. David Holbrook,
who had settled at Jamesville, probably as the first resident physician
in the county, came over daily and was faithful in attendance upon the
afflicted. In 1797 Dr. Burnett settled at Salina and thereafter shared
in caring for the sick. The question has been seriously asked whether
Salina would not have been depopulated from this cause before the be-
ginning of the century, had it not been for the stimulating incentive of
the probable future iinportance of the place as a wealth-creating center
through the salt industry. By about the year 1800 the prevailing
fevers were much reduced by drainage of the low lands, but they were
not wholly dispelled until the later lowering of the outlet of the lake.
Hon. Thomas G. Alvord states that as late as 1880 he has s^en the


canal bridge covered with persons just well enough to get out of doors,
leaning on the railings to get the benefit of the sunshine.

One of the first settlers at Green Point was Mr. Lamb, who carried
on farming. Mrs. O'Blennis related the following interesting incident
in connection with this famil}' :

In 1793, when Mr. Lamb's daughter was about fourteen years old, she was left
alone in the rude house while he attended to his farm work. Hearing a noise in the
house, Mr. Lamb approached and saw an Indian kissing his daughter and taking
liberties with her. Mr. Lamb killed the Indian on the spot and fled to Salina. The
Indians declared they must have his life, according to their custom. The chiefs
were called together, with Ephraim Webster as interpreter, and the facts were nar-
rated. A council was held (the last one at Salina) and Kiacdote stepped forward,
threw off his blanket and commanded attention. He then related the circumstances
to the tribe and said it was the first time an Indian had ever been known to insult a
white squaw. He declared that the killing was justifiable and that Mr. Lamb must
not be punished. This decision was adopted, provided Mr. Lamb would pay to the
relatives of the dead Indian, a three-year-old heifer, which was to cement peace and
good will between the posterity of both parties forever.

Meanwhile settleinent began to reach out to other points in the town.
John Danforth began making salt in 1794 at Liverpool, and was soon
followed by Patrick Riley, Joseph Gordon, James Armstrong, and
Charles Morgan. John O'Blennis located at Green Point and was
making salt there in 1794. In the same year Elisha Alvord, father of
Thomas G. Alvord, ^ settled at Salina, whither he was followed four
years later by his brother. Dioclesian. Both of these men became
prominent citizens and foremost in developing the infant salt industry.
Immediately upon the arrival of Elisha Alvord at vSalina he began to
make his presence felt. He engaged in salt manufacturing and had
the honor of erecting the first permanent structure under which salt
was made. In 1808 he was appointed to lay out what was known as
the " Salt Road," extending from Salina north through Cicero and on
to vSackett's Harbor. In 1808 he and his brother built the first brick
building within the present limits of Syracuse, which is still standing
on the southeasterly corner of Salina and Exchange streets. The
brick for this building were made by David Marshall on the banks of
the Yellow Brook near where it crossed South Salina street between
Jefferson and Onondaga streets. The stone in the cellar wall were
quarried in the line of what is now Center street, in the First ward.
The Alvord brothers kept a hotel a few years in this building.

1 An extended sketch of Hon. Thoma.s G. Alvord appears on a .subsequent page of this work.



The Old Alvord Building.

Upon the organization of the town in 1809, Elisha Alvord was chosen
supervisor; he was also prominent in the early militia and rose to the
position of first major. He was conspicuous in the organization of the
Federal Company in Salina for the more extensive and systematic
manufacture of salt. This company was composed of himself, Jede-
diah vSanger of Oneida, Thomas Hart, Ebenezer Butler of Pompey,
Hezekiah O 1 c o 1 1 ,

Daniel Keeler, and ,

Asa Danforth. Ow-
ing to disagreements
this company was
bought out by the
two Alvords about
two years later and
their interests were
thus combined. Mr.
Alvord removed from
the county in 1813,
and died in July,
1846, at Lansingburg.

Dioclesian Alvord died in Salina March 10, 1868, aged ninety -two years.
In 1793 the settlers at Salina became fearful of attack by the Indians.
War was still going on between the western tribes and settlers, and
the belligerent feeling extended among the Six Nations to some ex-
tent. Moreover, the condition of things on the northern frontier,
where the British still held control, was such as to render an attack
from that quarter imminent. The capture of a boat load of stores at
Three River Point, which belonged to Sir John Johnson, by a party
of thirty or forty men, aroused the ire of the British officers, who de-
termined that a body of soldiers and Indians under Johnson and
Brant, should make a sudden descent upon the Onondaga settlements,
where it was assumed most of the party who had captured the boat re-
sided. The collection of duties on American boats by the British gar-
rison at Oswego was the prime cause of the attack on Johnson's boat.
The British had employed spies to give notice of any boat designing
to "run" the fort, and through this agency several had been con-
fiscated. Two of the spies had been captured by the Americans and
publicly whipped at Salina. While no real collision occurred, there
was anxiety and foreboding at Salina which extended in lesser degree


to other points. Many families made serious preparaticns to leave
their homes until the danger was passed. For consultation upon the
subject a meeting- was held at Onondaga Valley and Johnson Russell
was sent to Albany to explain the situation to Governor Clinton. These
measures resulted in the erection of the old block-house, a description
and the location of which have been given in an earlier chapter. A
committee of public safety was appointed consisting of Moses De Witt,
Isaac Van Vleck, Thomas Orman, Simon Phares, and John Danforth.
The block house was built by Cornelius Higgins and was finished be-
fore the beginning of 1795, It was made of square oak timbers and
was surrounded by a high palisade of cedar posts. The building was
about twenty feet high and pierced with port holes. The garrison con-
sisted of a company of grenadiers, whose headquarters had been at
Onondaga Hill. The old block-house was not long used as a military
post and subsequently served a more peaceful purpose as a State store-
house for salt.

David Brace settled at Salina in 1794 and became prominent in the
community, as also did his descendants. His brother, Horace, was an
early settler and both were merchants during many years. While still
young, David carried the mail on horseback to Oswego, when he had to
find his way by the aid of marked trees.

Benajah Byington was prominent among the early salt workers, and
spent a great deal of time and money in boring wells on the high
ground away from the lake shore. He died February 8, 1854.

Oris Curtis was a pioneer as early, probably, as 1795. He was
father of Fisher Curtis, who became quite prominent as a merchant and
manufacturer, and was at one period in company with Elisha Alvord
in mercantile business; he also had a store on the corner of Free and
Spring streets. He was elected first president of Salina village in
1824 and was town clerk in 1810. The family was from Farmington,
Conn., the former home of the Alvords. Oris Curtis died at the early
age of thirty-eight years on January 23, 1804, and Fisher Curtis died at
fifty-one years of age on the 27th of April, 1831.

To supply the household needs of the settlers Benjamin Carpenter
opened a store in 1795, in which he traded in furs, trinkets, ammuni-
tion, etc., with the Indians, and in general goods with the white fam-

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