Samuel W Durant.

History of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

. (page 105 of 192)
Online LibrarySamuel W DurantHistory of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 105 of 192)
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year or two afterwards the wing was buiit for the banking-

West of this building was the structure known as the
" Long House," owned by Benjamin Wright and Bela B.
Hyde, and previous to 1820 occupied by them as residences.
Isaac Draper resided in it about 1812.

Next to this, and near the corner of Washington Street,
a Mr. Sweatman built a harness-shop about 1812-14.
Moses G. Watson had a harness-shop in the same building
in 1828.

On the corner of Dominick and Washington Streets there
stood at an early day a small frame dwelling, occupied by
Caleb Hammill. Previous to 1820 it was used by Reuben
Hoag for a blacksmith-shop, and Amos Peckham afterwards
carried on a plow-factory in it ; he was succeeded in the
same business by his son Seth, and Henry N. Kellogg
owned it in the same capacity in 1835. The buildings on
this corner were a number of times destroyed by fire.

Prior to 1837, Messrs. George and Henry Huntington
owned the premises on the south side of Dominick Street
now occupied by the First National Bank and the stores of
H. M. Lawton & Co. and W. Willard Smith. The old
store of the Huntingtons fronted on James Street, and that
of Gurdon Huntington originally occupied the site of the
above-mentioned bank. It was built about 1808, and occu-
pied by Mr. Huntington until about 1836. These two
buildings were the only ones on these grounds previous to
1838. The space was long used as a " common," and
cattle, sheep, and swine roamed over it at pleasure. " Piles
of lumber lay scattered here and there upon those grounds,
and men yet residing here whose hair is white with the
snows of winter, or slightly touched by the autumnal frosts
of age, mention as among their boyhood recollections that
of playing hide-and-seek in and behind the hundreds of
potash-kettles, which thirty-five, forty, fifty, and sixty years
ago covered most of the grounds above mentioned."

Previous to 1800 a tavern, called the "Rome Coffee-
House," was erected on the ground later occupied by the
stores of B. H. Shelley and H. W. Mitchell. The main
building was a three-story frame structure, with two-story
" lean-to's" on the east and west, having sloping roofs. It
is not now known by whom this tavern was built, but it
was kept in 1800 by Solomon Rich, who afterwards removed
to the town of Western. About 1804 its landlord was
Parker Halleck, who carried on a tailor-shop in the bar-
room The Masonic fraternity of Rome held their meetings
in one of the upper rooms of this building, previous to the



erection, in 1824, of the " Masonic Hall," now the Univer-
salist Church. In 1839 the lower part of the " Coffee-
House" was converted into stores, and the upper portion
used for building apartments. One of the individuals who
kept a store here, about 1842, was Mr. Avery, now of
Chicago, and long prominently connected with the " Na-
tional Watch Company," at Elgin, 111., and after whom one
of the watch movements manufactured by that company is

West of the ground now occupied by the new building
of the Central National Bank, and across the alley, there
stood very early a one and a half story frame store, occupied
in 1814, and several years after, by Jay Hatheway, who
moved across the street about 1823, and was succeeded in
the " red store" by John Eddy. The old building rotted
down or was torn away about 1828, and the site was covered
the same year by a three-story frame building, erected by
General Jesse Armstrong and Martin Galusha, who carried
on a general mercantile business. This building was burned
in 1844, and the present structure erected the same year
by G. N. Bissell.

West of this was a two-story frame building, erected
about 1800 or soon after. Previous to 1810, Dr. Matthew
Brown had a drug-store here, and he and Dr. Blair were
afterwards associated ip the same business. Dr. Brown sold
out in 181 1 , and removed to Rochester. Stephen Hubbard
had a store here as early as 1815, and soon after associated
with him Oliver Grosvenor, the two continuing in business
until about 1826. In 1827, Dr. Arba Blair and Abner
B. Blair kept a drug-store in the building, and others after-
wards. It was destroyed in the fire of 1844, and the present
edifice built the same year by Henry G. Giles.

Previous to 1810 the ground between the store of G.
N. Bissell and the Central National Bank was owned by
Stephen Hubbard. Next west was an alley, and next was
a small one and a half story frame building, occupied as a
millinery establishment by Miss Marsh, who afterwards be-
came Mrs. Arden Seymour. Various other buildings were
erected at later dates, west of this, for stores, shops, offices,

The ground where the Central National Bank now stands
was vacant until 1817, when William Wright erected upon
it a brick building, which he used for a store.

Across the alley, the grounds were purchased by William
Wright from John Barnard about 1804. A small frame
dwelling, a story and a half in height, was then standing
upon it, and was used by Mr. Wright for a store before he
built the brick one above mentioned.

Still west of the site of this building there was erected,
previous to the year 1800, a frame building, which became
known as the " McGraw House." The property was pur-
chased about 1807 by Deacon Elijah Worthington, and
about 1810 he erected upon the west end of the lot a small
frame building, which he occupied as a hat-store for about
twenty years.

The next lot west was purchased about 1800 by Na-
thaniel Mudge, who, about 1804, erected a small frame
building on the east end, to be used as a tin-shop. This
shop was rented and used by the United States Government
in 1812 for a recruiting-office. Among the citizens of

Rome who responded to the call for troops during that war
were Major Samuel Dill, who was at Saeket's Harbor ;
Joshua Hatheway, Quartermaster-General ; his son. Jay
Hatheway, Paymaster ; and his subsequent son-in-law.
Judge Beardsley, Adjutant. John Westcott was Colonel
of the Rome regiment; Joshua G. Green, Lieutenant-Colo-
nel ; and Messrs. Rudd, Hinckley, Fillmore, Church, Gran-
nis, and Peck, Captains, — all of whom went to the Harbor.

On the ground at n more recent date occupied by the
store of Williams & Edwards a small frame building was
erected previous to 1800, and occupied about 1819 by
Ephraim Shophard as a dwelling-house. Judge Roberts
afterwards used it as a law-office. It was burned about
1851, and probably the next year the present brick store
standing on the site was built by the Lynch estate.

About 1810 there was erected on a part of the site of
the present " Northern Hotel" a two-story frame house,
with a wing on the east side. Dr. Alden lived in this
house at an early date, using the wing for an office. He
removed to Redtield, Oswego Co., previous to 1820. Judge
Beardsley occupied the building about 1820, and used the
wing for his law office, and after him Leonard Dunton lived
in it, and used the wing for a tailor-shop. The building
was burned about 1838, and J. M. Orton, then owning the
premises, built a part of the present hotel, in which he
kept a cabinet-shop. Jacob Stpvens purchased the prop-
erty, and about 1850 converted it into a hotel. In 1856
he gave it the name " Fremont House," after General John
C. Fremont, Republican candidate for President in the cam-
paign of that year. A few years afterwards he changed
the F to a T, and it was for a number of years called the
" Treniont House." It is at present known as the " North-
ern Hotel."

About 1800 a one and a half story frame dwelling stood
on the site of A. Ethridge & Co.'s store, and in 1810 and
for years after it was occupied by Nathaniel Mudge, Sr.
It was burned about 1837, and the lot remained vacant
until Mr. Ethridge erected his store upon it.

A " town well" has been mentioned, located at the inter-
section of James and Dominick Streets. There was another
at the crossing of Washington and Dominick, and still
another at the corner of James and Embargo. In their
day these were great institutions, and not only were they
used to quench by their waters the cravings of thirsty men
and animals, but the cold fluid was brought into requisition
on the occasion of fiires near at hand.

A building known as the " Vine-covered Cottage," which
stood on the site of Mr. Marriott's blacksmith-shop, on
Dominick Street, was occupied about 1825-26 by Levi
Howard, a constable of Rome. Mr. H. was the proud
father of a likely boy, aged twelve. In the course of events
the latter was taken sick, and as a cheap and effective wire
for his ills a blister was applied to him, warranted to draw!
The boy slept in a trundle-bed, in the same room with his
parents, and long after the drowsy god had closed the lids
of the latter in slumber the pain of the blister kept the
boy awake and uneasy. To lie still with the blister doing
its work so earnestly was out of the question ; suddenly a
happy thought crossed the boy's brain, and action followed.
With undoubtedly a smile of supreme satisfaction he re-



moved the blister from his own person and placed it
cai'efuUy upon that of his sleeping father. It must be
understood that the duties of a constable " in those days"
required considerable travel, and Mr. Howard always went
on horseback. The power of the blister was so effectually
demonstrated upon him that he found it inconvenient for
soveial weeks to ride on horseback, or even to sit down.
It is not related whether the lad received any punishment
or not, but his " little joke" was no doubt fully appreciated,
and different treatment given him in subsequent eases of
sickness, in order that his rising genius'might not have too
rapid growth.

Quite early in the present century Dominick Lynch
erected thirty-five tenement-houses in the village.

A State arsenal was built before 1810, on the site of
St. Peter's Catholic Church, and was destroyed by fire a
few years previous to 1850. The United States Arsenal,
with its magazines, workshops, and officers' quarters, was
erected in 181.3, the work being superintended by Major
James Dalliba, of the Ordnance Department. In 1873
the United States Arsenal property here was sold to Messrs.
Mudge & Ames, who converted it into a knitting-factory,
work in the latter line being commenced in December of
the same year. The interior of the mills was recently de-
stroyed by fire, and although efforts have been made ta
repair the buildings, put in new machinery, and start again,
the works are not now running, and the institution is prac-
tically out of existence.

George Huntington, mentioned previously as the first
merchant in the place, resided here until his death, which
occurred September 23, 1841, in the seventy-first year of
his age. Mr. Huntington was a fine-looking man, and pos-
sessed great excellence of character. By the Oneida In-
dians he was called " A-i-o," — " handsome." His brother,
and for many years business partner, Henry Huntington,
came to Rome in 1798, and was also a man of strict integ-
rity and worth. The Utica Bank was chartered in 1812,
and Mr. H. was president of it from that time until his
death, Oct. 15, ISitJ. He lived to be eighty years old, and
was considered the wealthiest man in the county.

Among the other early settlers of Rome was Hon. Joshua
Hatheway,* who came previous to 1800, and lived here more
than forty years. He died December 8, 1836. He served
both in the Revolution and war of 1812; was long a judge
in the Common Pleas and county courts of Oneida County ;
and on the 4th of July, 1817, cast the first spadeful of dirt
in the work of excavating the Erie Canal. His father, him-
self, and six brothers were with General Stark at the battle
of Bennington.

Captain Samuel Perkins, a veteran of the Revolution, a
soldier under General Anthony Wayne in his Indian cam-
paigns, and a participator also in the exciting events of the
war of 1812-15, held for eighteen years the position of
ordnance-keeper under the government, and died at the
United States Arsenal in Rome, December 30, 1837, aged
seventy-five years.

On the north side of Dominick Street, and west of Wash-

-This name is upon the court records written Hathoway and

ington, there stood as early as 1810, on the site of the brick
block built by R. W. Pritchard and N. Kling, a small
dwelling. About 1814 it was occupied by Marinus W.
Gilbert, who afterwards removed to Watertown, where he
died. In 1815 there were a number of fine young ladies
at Mr. Gilbert's, and a " dancing-master" who came to the
place in that year evinced a decided liking; for one or more
of them. " He went late one evening, towards midnight,
to give them a serenade. A serenade in those days was an
entiie new feature to all Romans except dancing-masters,
and the family did not understand the matter at all when
they heard the singing and the violin. A brother of the
girls got up out of bed, went into the yard, drove the
dancing-master off, broke his fiddle into a dozen pieces,
and gave him such a trimming as made him keep step
quite lively to music of another sort. The brother was
under the impression that the man was a burglar, or had
come there to make a disturbance. The dancing-master,
in relating the occurrence afterwards, was very indignant
at what he culled Tom Gilbert's boorishness, and declared
that the brother did not know anything about fashionable
life, nor how to salute a lady."

The portion of the village south of the canal has long
been known as " Canal Village." Previous to 1820 there
was not a solitary house or building of any kind between
the New York Central Railroad and the Poor-House, and all
the intervening space was a swamp, with mud between the
bogs from knee- to waist-deep. It was covered with timber,
and next to impas-sable ; in fact, it was entirely so in all
.seasons except winter. A road had been cut through it
and a cross-way of logs built, which, when the mud was
frozen in the winter, could be traveled by teams. In the
winter of 1817-18 the Legislature granted a charter to
Jeremiah B. Brainard and Isaac G. Green and their a.sso-
ciates to construct a turnpike on that route. The road was
built and the first tolls taken October 20, 1819. J. Burr
Brainard, who came to Rome September 10, 1813, the day
of Commodore Perry's famous victory on Lake Erie,
shoveled the first gravel to go on this turnpike, and collected
the first toUs^after it was completed. Upon the completion
of the Erie Canal from Montezuma to Utica, in 1819, Mr.
Brainard built in "Canal Village" the tavern long known
as the " Mansion House," on the south side of the canal
and close beside it, on lands belonging to the turnpike com-
pany. This was the first building erected south of the
railroad, and was kept both as a hotel and toll-house. It
has long been removed. Among those who served in this
building as landlords were James Thompson, Benjamin I.
Starr (both these also kept the " American," at the corner
of James and Dominick Streets), J. B. Brainard, Charles
Moseley, and M. D. HoUister.

The next building was erected the same year by the
State, and extended across the canal. Here tolls were taken,
and a chain was stretched across to detain boats until their
tolls were paid. B. B. Hyde was the first collector of tolls,
and Thomas J. Hyde, later of Verona, clerk. Colonel John
Westcott, of Rome, paid the first canal tolls, on a raft of
timber. This old building, which was painted yellow, stood
upon piles driven into the marshy ground, and a year or
two afterwards was purchased by B. B. Hyde, placed north



of the canal, enlarged, and converted into and used by him
and N. H. Leffingwell as a warehouse, the first one in Roftic.
It was painted red, and subsequently used for a brewery by
John O'Neil, and finally destroyed by fire.

The next building erected was the " Canal CoiFee- House,"
built in 1824 by Daniel Whedon. It was a two-story
tavern, and kept at different times by Alva and Hiram
Whedon, Norman Butler, Samuel Henderson, A. J. Roe,
and Marvel & Sons. It was also finally burned down.

Following this was a small grocery building erected in
1826, by John O'Neil, immediately west of the " Mansion

In 1S26, Hiram Whedon built the first dwelling-house in
this locality. It stood north of the " Canal Coffee-House."
Alva and Hiram Whedon lived in it a number of years, and
carried on a cooper-shop a little farther north. The latter
was also built in 1826. and in 1835-38 was used as the
first place of worship for those now constituting St. Peter's
Church. It was finally converted into a dwelling.

For the first ten years after its settlement Canal Village
grew slowly. In 1841: the canal-bed was changed to nearly
the same place where had been located the canal of the
Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, and this change
called away all the "Yankees" from Canal Village, which
immediately began to fill up with foreign immigrants. The
principal growth has been since that time, and the popula-
tion is now almost or entirely foreign.

The New York Central Railway was completed through
Rome on the 4th of July, 1839. The " Railroad House''
was built the same year by H. A. Foster. This building is
now known as the " Curtiss House."

Caleb Putnam's tannery has already been mentioned as
occupying the triangular space between the railroad, the
canal, and James Street (cast of the latter). Opposite the
tannery property and near James Street, there stood at one
time a hotel. This was out of use, old and dilapidated,
more than fifty years ago.

West from James Street some distance a pottery was
carried on by Norman Judd as early as 1813, and about
where the coal-yard now is was an ashery, owned by Messrs.
George & Henry Huntington, and afterwards operated by
Levi Green. Next west of the latter establishment, towards
Washington Street, Elijah Worthington erected a shop
about 1822 for the manufacture of hats.

The " Armstrong Block," on the west side of James
Street and south of the canal, was built in 1843-44 by
Jesse and E. B. Armstrong.

The corner of James and Whitesboro' Streets, north of
the canal, was built upon at an early day. About the year
1800 John Barnard erected a two-story hotel, with a piazza
in front, on the north part of the present site of Stanwix
Hall. It had a front of fifty feet on James Street, and
extended back forty feet. On the corner of the streets
named, and where the south part of Stanwix Hall now is,
was a small red building, occupied as early as 1812 by
Nathaniel Mudge, Sr., as a grocery. The tavern was kept
in 1812 by Benjamin Hyde; Sr. Enos Gilbert after-
wards became landlord and proprietor, and in 1815 sold to
Elisha Walsworth, who kept it till about 1825, when
Thomas Ford became proprietor, repaired the building, and

put in a brick front. He kept it until about 1833, when
his son, John A. Ford, became the owner, and named the
tavern " Stanwix Hall," in order to perpetuate the name in
the locality of the fort, then leveled and destroyed. In
1838, Giles Hawley purchased the Mudge premises on the
corner, and afterwards sold them to John A. Ford, and the
latter, in 1843, erected a brick building south of the old
one. The brick part became the hotel, and was first kept
by M. E. Jenks, of Troy. The old part was left standing,
and used principally by M. L. Kenyon and Giles Hawley for
a stage-house. M. L. Kenyon purchased the whole prop-
erty about 1845, raised the roof of the brick part, tore
down the Walsworth Hotel, and in its place erected the
brick block which runs to the original " Putnam Hotel"
property, on the " Hill Block" corner. M. D. HoUister
kept " Stanwix Hall' in 184V-48, E. R. Robinson in 1849,
Hager & De Ryther in 1850; since then it has been kept
in turn by J. L. Watson, N. M. Clark, A. W. Churchill,
George Wood, Hiram Nellis, W. B. Sink, Henry Hepburn,
Wheeler & Churchill, A. J. Sink, R. W. Barr, and the
present occupant, J. Q. Perley. The entire property was
purchased of M. L. Kciiyon in 1861 by A. J. Sink, who
still owns it. " Stanwix Hall" is announced on the arrival
of trains at the depot to be the " principal hotel in the
•city," and as the intelligent passenger hears its name spoken
there are awakened in his mind memories of the days of
I' long ago," when the smoke of battle, the shriek of the
bullet, and the yell of the savage awakened the echoes in
the dim old forest aisles around the beleaguered fort, within
which a brave and hardy garrison held forth valiantly in
defense of their lives, their property, and their country.

On the site of the " Merrill Block," corner of James
and Domiiiick Streets, a Mr. Devereux kept a store or
grocery as early as 1804.

Much of the preceding matter is taken from articles
published in 1871 in the Raman Citizen, and copied by
the Rovie Sentinel. These articles were from the pen of
D. E. Wager, Esq., who has done much towards rescuing
from oblivion a large amount of interesting and historical
lore regarding Rome and vicinity, and who is still engaged
in the work. Another article, accompanied by a map, was
published in the Sentinel of March 31, 1874, showing the
village as it appeared in 1810, with descriptions and loca-
tions of buildings. A copy of the map is presented on the
following page, together with the article as it appeared. The
buildings are numbered on the map, and the numbers in
the description correspond with them, beginning at the east
end of Dominick Street and going west.

" A map of Rome in 1810 is substantially one of Home at the com-
mencement of the present century, for the changes were not so rapid
nor so marked in that period as those of the present day. The
census of the town of Rome in 1800 shows a population of 1459, and
the census of 1810 shows a population of 2003, — a gain in the whole
town of only 544 in ten years. And further, the descriptions of the
buildings generally state (where it can be remembered) the year each
building was erected, so that our readers can judge for themselves as
to the growth of Rome.

" It should be borne in mind that Bominicli and Janaes were the
main, and, practically, the only streets in Rome sixty-five and
seventy years ago. It is true, Washington Street was opened then,
as now, but no buildings stood thereon, except that of Dr. Mathew
Brown, who resided, about 1806, on the site now occupied by the



resideDce of Mr. J. B. Jervis, and perhaps with the exception of the
house of the Rev. Moses Gillett, which stood on the site of the brick
block near the TJniversalist Church, and that of the house of M. L.
Brainard, built by Bieecker Lansing. As it is difficult to ascertain
whether those two houses were built before or after 1810, we have omit-
ted them from our map. James Street did not run farther south than
the present location of the railroad, for all below that was a miry
cedar swamp. Liberty and Court Streets were opened between
James and Washington Streets, but no farther. The foregoing and
Whitesboro'Road and the Floyd Road "(which used to be the Indian
path to Oswegatchie) were the only opened streets in Rome at the time
we write of (between 1800 and 1810). The numbers in the descrip-
tion and those of the buildings, as described on the map, correspond.
" We commence at the east end of Bominick Street, and go west
on the north side thereof.

ling a little west of the site now occupied by the residence of Dr.
Cobb. Afterwards, and before 1810, he erected, as the addition or
main part, a part of the dwelling of the late Mrs. Merrill. The part
erected in 1794 now stands on the east side of James Street, north of

"No. 6. — As early as 1804 a large frame building, used as a store
at that time by a Mr. Devereux, stood on the corner where the Merrill
Block is. It was afterwards occupied by Levi Green. Fifteen or
more years ago it was used as avinegar-factory by Mr. Rathbun, near
the Black River Canal.

"No. 7. — On the American corner a three-story frame building
was erected soon after ISOO. It was called 'The Hotel,' and at the
town-meeting in Rome, in 1806, it was voted that town-meeting the
next year be held at 'The Hotel.' The sheds were in the rear, and
access to them was from James Street. West of this hotel, and





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Online LibrarySamuel W DurantHistory of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 105 of 192)