Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 122 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 122 of 192)
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did a small business. The present one furnishes employ-
ment to an average number of 45 persons, and uses 6000
cords of hemlock-bark annually. Twenty thousand hides
are tanned in the course of a year, the market being in
England and Germany. This firm has a very large tannery
in Williamstown, Oswego Co., and four in the State of Penn-
sylvania, the most extensive one being at Warren, in the
latter State.

Grove Mills, on the east side of Mad River, were built
by John Lambie and Levi Wilcox about 1858-60. The
present proprietor is James Owen. This mill contains two
runs of stone. Mr. Lambie's people came from Scotland in
1831, and his wife's father, John Richmond, in 1830.

The furniture and chair-manufactory in the north part
of the village was established by F. H. Conant, in 1851.
The present proprietors are F. H. Conant's sons, who man-
ufacture for the trade only. The old factory was burned in
1876, and the present one erected since. It is located on
Mad River. The lumber used is purchased principally in
the log ; about half a million feet were worked up in 1877.
All kinds of hard-wood lumber are used, of which the black-
walnut is shipped mostly from Michigan, with a small
amount from Ohio. The value of the annual productions
of this factory is about $50,000. The goods are princi-
pally disposed of in the State of New York, although con-
siderable amounts are sold in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and
Canada. The firm has a retail store in the village. Forty
hands are employed on an average. There is also a furni-
ture-factory two miles above the village, on Mad River,
owned by Young & Mabie.

Corn Canning. — Camden is the centre of a very large
business in this line, and the brand of corn packed in this
neighborhood is equal to any in the country. A new fac-
tory has been erected the past season (1878), by Messrs.
Godfrey & Stoddard, on Mad River. The principal estab-
lishment is owned by the " Camden Packing Company,"
which has two factories in town. One of them, located a
mile and a half west of the village, was erected by J. E.
Woods in the spring of 1874, and the other, below the vil-
lage, by Stephen S. McCall, in 1872. The_former is known
as the " Woods Factory," and Mr. Woods owns a third in-*
terest in it, the company renting the building of him. Eigbt
thousand cases, of two dozen cans each, were packed here
in 1877. During about half the year five or six men are em-
ployed in making cans, and in the canning season about 200
men, women, and children are furnished work at the factory.
The other, known as the " McCall Factory,'' was operated
in 1872, by S. S. McCaU & Co., and, in 1873, by J. p'.



MoCall & Co. The " Camden Packing Company" carried
it on for Mr. McCall from 1874 to 1877, and packed in the
latter year over 16,000 cases. The products of these fac-
tories are shipped to nearly every point where canned corn
is used, although the principal market is San Francisco,
Cal. Other extensive markets are Chicago, Boston, and
New York. Very much of the corn prepared by this com-
pany is shipped indirectly to Great Britain and Europe, and
even to Australia. The company is largely interested in
a fruit-canning establishment at Lockport, Niagara Co.,
N. Y. During the summer of 1877 the following persons
were engaged in corn-packing in the neighborhood of Cam-
den, beside the " Camden Packing Company," viz. : J. W.
Mix, Godfrey & Stoddard, Pliny Phelps, Byron Phelps,
W. I. Stoddard, and Paddock Brothers. A new factory,
to go into operation in 1878, was nearly completed in
March, when these items were gathered, owned by James
Gerow. In 1877 the Paddock Brothers put up about 1000
cases ; Godfrey & Stoddard, about 2000 ; J. W. Mix, about
7000 ; and the others, from 200 to 500 each. The Camden
Packing Company canned more than all the other factories
in the State in 1877, calculating the amounts put up here
in corn, and the fruit at their Lockport factory, about
28,000 cases altogether, and rank about fifth among the
firms in the United States in the same business.

The first fii-m to establish themselves in the business of
corn-canning in this county were the Edgett Brothers, who
commenced at Camden about 1855. J. W. Mix established
his factory in 1865. He employs from 140 to 150 hands
during the canning season, and averages from 7000 to 8000
cases annually, while the first year after he started he only
canned about 100 cases. Except in the packing and ship-
ping season, he has several persons making cans, at the
rate of 1050 daily. His factory is located in the northwest
part of the village. Mr. Mix's great-grandfather, John
Mix, came from New Haven, Conn., as early as 1800-2,
and settled on the hill west of Camden village. At that
time it was generally supposed the village would be laid out
on the latter site ; but, owing to the better facilities for build-
ing factories, mills, etc., the space between the two streams.
Fish Creek and Mad River, was selected.


was organized in 1856, and grounds leased of Ashbel
Upson, upon which a race-track was constructed, and build-
ings erected for the exhibition of agricultural and other pro-
ducts. Until 1875 very successful fairs were held annually;
but none have been held since the latter date.

A building for the use of the Camden union school was
erected in 1853, and in 1855 it was destroyed by fire. It
was rebuilt the same year, and is a fine-appearing two-story
structure of brick, in the northeastern part of the village.

A private bank was established here May 14, 1876, by
its present proprietors, Messrs. D. G. & J. G. Dorrance.


was organized in 1855, with fourteen members. The or-
ganization has since been continued under difierent names.
At one time it was considered one of the finest bands in

Central New York. It has fifteen pieces at present, and is
under the leadership of C. R. Besse.

The village contained in March, 1878, about thirty stores
of various descriptions, and a proportionate number of
mechanic shops.


Philanthropic Lodge, No. 164, F. and A. M., was or-
ganized about 1850. Previous to this, at quite an early
date, a Masonic Lodge was organized here, numbered 140,
but was disbanded during the anti-Masonic excitement
consequent upon the Morgan afiair. The membership of
the present Lodge in March, 1878, was 102, and its officers
as follows, viz. : Spencer J. Upson, W. M. ; B. D. Stone,
S. W. ; John F. Wolcott, J. W. ; W. H. Crenan, S. D. ;
C. E. Knifien, J. D. ; E. A. Harvey, Treas. ; J. H. Tracy,
M.D., Sec. ; P. E. Boehm, Tyler ; P. J. Loveland, Chap-
lain ; G. W. More, Organist ; N. N. Salladin, Marshal. A
neat Masonic hall belonging to this Lodge was built in
1863, at a cost of about $2700.

Darius Chapter, No. 144, R. A. M., sprang from the old
lodge, and has at present a small membership. Its officers
for 1878 are P. J. Loveland, High Priest ; J. H. Tracy,
M.D., King ; George Abbott, Scribe ; James E. Tripp,
Treasurer; H. G. Du Bois, M.D., Secretary; Spencer J.
Upson, Captain of Host ; M. R. Cook, P. S. ; F. D. Fi-
field, R. H. C. ; H. A. Case, M. 3d V. ; Heman Snow, M.
2d V. ; A. T. Van Valkenburgh, M. 1st V. ; P. E. Boehm,

The resident lawyers in Camden are Stephen Cromwell,
Arthur C. "Woodruff, and Egbert More.

The present physicians of the village are the following :
Robert Frazier, M.D., regular, formerly of McConnellsville ;
J. S. Wright, M.D., eclectic, oldest practitioner in the
place; Robert McLaughlin, M.D., eclectic; Hiram G. Du
Bois, M.D., regular, in practice here since 1869 ; Henry W.
Leonard, M.D., eclectic, a member of the Oswego County Ec-
lectic Society. Dr. Joshua H. Tracy and Dr. H. H. Wood-
ruff are regularly educated physicians, but are not now in
practice. Dr. Du Bois served as president of the County
Medical Society in 1875 and 1876, and Dr. Frazier in
1872 ; both are permanent members of the State Medical


About 1800, Manning Barnes came to this town from
the State of Connecticut, and located where the village of
West Camden now stands. He buUt a log house on the
site of the present hotel at the place, and a frame part after-
wards added is now a portion of the hotel. Some time
after he settled, having been obliged to keep persons over
night who were on their way north and northwest (into
Jefferson and other counties), he erected a, sign, and made
a business of tavern-keeping for many years.

Mr. Barnes was accompanied to this town by his brothers,
Whiting and Lyman. They selected land upon which to
locate, and afterwards moved in the family of their father,
Zopher Barnes. The other sons were Zopher, Street, and
Pliny Barnes. Whiting Barnes settled on the farm now
owned by A. Barnes, westward of West Camden.

The first store at this place was established by Wilburt
Barnes, who erected a small building, and placed a stock of



goods therein. lie continued in business for some time.
He was a son of Manning Barnes.

The post-office at West Camden was established in 1832
or shortly before, and probably the first postmaster was
Merritt Munson. Whiting and Wilburt Barnes afterwards
held the office, and the present incumbent is E. Delamater.

West Camden is located on a sandy level two miles west
of Camden village, and contained in March, 1878, one
store, a post-office, a hotel, a school-house, one church edi-
fice, in which the Congregationalists and Methodists hold
services, a railway-station, a blacksmith-shop, and a saw-
mill. Quite an extensive tannery was located here, but
was recently burned, and when the place was visited for

historical notes (March, 1878) it had not yet been rebuilt.
The Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railway passes
through the place, following the valley of Fish Creek, along
which, in this vicinity, are numerous tracts of swampy land.

To those who have aided the historian in compiling the
foregoing account of the town thanks are hereby tendered.
Among the parties who have" kindly assisted us are Hon.
Thomas D. Penfield, the pastors and members of churches,
proprietors of manufactories, and many, whose names we
have not space to mention, in Camden village ; Woodard
Perkins, Mrs. S. L. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo Munson,
of West Camden and vicinity, and numerous others.




The subject of this brief sketch was born June 6, 1801,
in Albany County. He is the son of Wright and Hannah
(Ten Eyck) Skinner. The family moved to Oneida County
about the year 1827, and settled in the town of Camden.
In the same year Francis bought the farm on which he now
resides, which was then in a wild state. He spent six years
of his early life in this county, peddling tin-ware for Erastus
Upsen in this and the adjoining counties.

Oct. 31, 1839, he married Maria Keals, daughter of
Frederick and Catherine Keals, of Manlius, Onondaga Co.
Together they have labored to earn for themselves a home,
and their effiDrts have been crowned with success, and they
can look forward to a life of ease, having a competency for
this world's needs.



" Bt an act of the Legislature passed March 1 5, 1798, the
county of Oneida was taken from Herkimer County, with
Its eastern boundary commencing on the southeast corner


of the town of Bridgewater, and running north on the east
line of Bridgewater to the southeast corner of Paris ; thence
on the same line, continued on the east line of Paris and
Whitestown, to the southerly line of Cosby's Manor. Thus
far the county line was upon the original line of Whites-
town, as established in 1788. Commencing on the south-
erly line of Cosby's Manor, the county line diverged from
the original line of Whitestown, by running northeasterly
in a direct line to the northerly bounds of Cosby's Manor,
at a point where the same is intersected by the division line
between Gage's and Walton's Patents ; thence northerly upon
the line between Walton's and Gage's Patents to the West
Canada Creek ; thence northerly up the waters of said creek
to the forks thereof, etc. The line of the county thus
diverging from the original line of Whitestown, left por-
tions of the towns of Frankfort and Schuyler in the county
of Oneida. The act then proceeded to annex the part so
left of Frankfort to Whitestown, and then organized the
town of Deerfield from the part taken from Schuyler, pro-
viding that the first town-meeting should be held at the
house of Ezra Payne."*

By an act passed March 30, 1832, the town was di-

Jones' Annals, etc.



vided and the new town of Marcy created, leaving Deer-
field with its present boundaries. The town has an area of
a little more than 35 square miles, or 22,500 acres. Its
population, by the census of 1875, was 2098. The northern
boundary is formed by the West Canada Creek, and the
southern by the Mohawk River ; on the east is Herkimer
County, and on the west the towns of Marcy and Trenton,
Oneida County. Reall's Creek, named from an early set-
tler, rises near the centre of the town, and, after a winding
course of seven or eight miles, empties into the Mohawk,
near the Genesee Street bridge at Utica. It flows through
the village of Deerfield Corners, which place is connected
with Utica by a turnpike toll-road one mile in length.
North of the centre the town is crossed by Nine-Mile Creek,
so named from the fact that it discharges its waters into the
Mohawk at a point nine miles above Utica. There are
numerous smaller streams, mostly tributary to the Mohawk,
a few flowing into West Canada Creek.

The surface of the town is greatly varied. Immediately
north of the Mohawk the broad alluvial intervale, or bottom-
land, stretches back an average distance of perhaps one and
a half miles. After passing for some distance above what
is known as the " river-road" a steady ascent begins, and
terminates on the summits of the famous " Deerfield Hills,''
800 feet above the Mohawk. Crossing these, the valley of
Nine-Mile Creek intervenes, beyond which the hills in the
north part rise to the height of probably 1000 feet above
the Mohawk. The view from either range is one of great
beauty. A broad expanse of hill and dale is spread before
the eye, and occasional silver threads of water appear along
the beds of the different streams. From the vicinity of
North Gage Post-ofi&ce, the valley of West Canada Creek
appears almost under foot, and away eastward the frowning
hills of Herkimer County appear, massive and grand. To
the north are seen the highland regions of Russia, Herki- .
mer Co., with an occasional church-spire or white farm-
house, and to the northwest rises some of the highest land
in Oneida County, — Starr's Hill, in the town of Steuben.
From the southern range of hills a fine bird's-eye view of
the Mohawk Valley for many miles is obtained, and the
villages of Oriskany, Whitesboro', Yorkville, and New
York Mills appear seemingly in a cluster, while the city
of Utica becomes dwarfed by distance to a mere handful
of church-spires and columns of smoke. The valley to
the east is closed in by the hills, which stand like mighty
sentinels to watch the gateway through which the stream
passes, and forever

*' Frown on the river below."

Previous to the Revolution a few adventurous men came
into the upper valley of the Mohawk, and located in what
is now Deerfield. These were George J. Weaver,* Captain
Mark Damoth, and Christian Reall, who located here in
1773, built themselves log houses, and began clearing
ground for cultivation. " Like a large proportion of the
Dutch on the Mohawk, these settlers were stanch Whigs.
Not having the sign of being Tories at their doors (this
sign was the skull-bone of a horse upon the top of a stake),
they were marked for the firebrand and the scalping-knife.

* Originally spelled Weber,

In the summer of 1776 an Indian, believed to have been
an Oneida, and who, for some cause, had received the
sobriquet of Blue Bach, was hunting northwardly from
the settlement, and in the vicinity of Canada Creek.
While thus occupied, he came upon a party of Tories and
Indians, who were very particular in their inquiries respect-
ing the little settlement at the Corners. Blue Back gave
such answers as he chose, and the party proceeded in the
direction of the settlement. After they were out of sight,
Blue Bach, who was well acquainted with, and the fast
friend of, the settlers, boding no good to them from the
visit they were about to receive, determined to apprise them
of their danger. For this purpose, being well acquainted
with the intervening hills, swamp, and thickets, with all
the rapidity of the Indian scout he hastened to their set-
tlement, and gave them timely warning of their danger.
Soon their scanty furniture was hidden in the forest, and
the women and children, in a wagon, accompanied by the
men on foot, were rapidly wending their way to Little Stone
Arabia, a small fort which was situated in the present town
of Schuyler.f The time was but brief ere the Indians and
Tories were in the settlement ; but ' the birds had flown,'
and nothing was left upon which to vent their disappointed
spite except the empty dwellings. To these the brand was
applied, and their charred ruins were all that was left of the
first settlement of Deerfield."J

It is stated that after the escape of these pioneer settlers,
Mr. Damoth, who had previously been a resident of Herki-
mer, returned to that place, and was soon after commis-
sioned captain of a company of rangers. In a subsequent
attack upon Herkimer he had an arm badly shattered,
which disabled him so much that he received a pension for
life on account of it.

Mr. Weaver, another of the settlers, was taken prisoner
near Herkimer by a party of Indians and Tories, and carried,
by way of Oswego, to Canada, and kept for nine months in
close confinement at Quebec. He was taken from there
to England, and after having been a. prisoner for over two
years was finally exchanged and returned to the Mohawk

The long Revolutionary struggle was not the least severe
in the beautiful valley of the Mohawk, and many scenes of
ruthless slaughter and bloodshed were witnessed within it,
the scattered settlers suffering from Indian ravages and
from the forays of their scarcely less savage allies, the
Tories. Scarcely a family living in the region but was
in mourning for some member slain, and many were
completely broken up and their farms left desolate. The
three families who were driven out of Deerfield, however,
each resolved to go back to their hastily-evacuated farms,
and the year 1784 found them again at work in their fields
so long untilled, in the locality of what is now Deerfield

At nearly the same time Peter Weaver,§ Nicholas
Weaver,§ George Weaver, George Damoth, Nicholas
Barter, and Philip Harter, arrived and settled in the same

t Herkimer County. t ^'''^'"'•

I Peter and Nicholas Weaver were not of the same famUy as
George J. Weaver, althoogh distantly related.


■ Sa m so or So ftET. !

LITH. By L H. EvEffW. Phil* .Pa. .




m^^^^^^ff^^^'^^r^^^^:.-'-. -^^ .%-M.j ^ ■■ ,- ^ - ■,-^. -"^^

Residence of JAMES M. COX, Deerheld, Oneida C°N.r

(.irn Br LH.Evtms.rHiLA.f^A..



neighborhood. Judge Hugh White had but a short time
previously located where now stands the village of Whites-

The first white male child born in the town of Deerfield
was a son of George M. Weaver and grandson of George
J. Weaver. This was George M. Weaver, Jr., whose birth
occurred Jan. 15, 1787. He died early in 1877, in his
ninetieth year. When but five yeai-s old he was a party to
an adventure of a kind common at that period, which is
described as follows in Judge Jones' " Annals" :

" In 1792 the first bridge was erected over the Mohawk between
Utica and Deerfield. To insure more help it was raised on Sunday.
George M. Weaver — son of George J. Weaver — and his wife, with
their little son, . . . were on their way to the raising, and when about
half-way from the Corners to Utioa, Jind some twenty or thirty rods
above the present MacAdam road, their dog treed a bear. Mr.
Weaver left his wife and son with the dog to keep the animal up the
tree, while he returned for his gun. The peculiar barking of the dog
had apprised the inhabitants of * Old Fort Schuyler' that valuable
game was on foot, and a number of them arrived with their guns at
about the same time that Mr. Weaver returned. Four or five shots
were made in quick succession, and poor Bruin's life paid the forfeit
for his temerity in approaching so near the site of an embryo city."

The only surviver of the third generation of the Weaver
family in this town is Jacob G. Weaver, who lives a short
distanise above the corners, on the old plank-road. A son
of George M. Weaver — Hon. A. B. Weaver — occupies his
father's old place, and is among the leading citizens of the
town. He has several times been in the Assembly. Jacob
G. Weaver has four times filled the office of supervisor of
Deerfield, — and the Weaver family, from its earliest settle-
ment here, has been one of the most influential both in
agricultural matters and politically.

Nicholas and Philip Harter, mentioned among the early
settlers of this town, were brothers, and owned adjoining
farms. Nicholas Harter was a Revolutionary veteran and
pensioner, and a shoemaker by trade, at which he worked
evenings, attending to his farm-labors during the day. He
died July 26, 1854, in his ninety-fourth year. His son,
Richard Harter, resides on the old place, and in the house
in which he was born in 1800. The road originally passed
north of the house instead of south, as at present. Philip
Harter was by trade a blacksmith, and erected a small shop
on his place, in which he worked during his life in Deer-
field. He died about 1807-8. The Harters were from
Herkimer, Herkimer Co., where they were both born.
Their grandfather was a native of Germany, and was killed
by the Indians during the Revolution.

Timothy Smith, originally from near Providence, R. I.,
and afterwards of Worcester, Mass., settled in Deerfield in
March, 1800, with his family, on what is still known as
" Smith's Hill," where they at first occupied a barn. Mr.
Smith was accompanied by his wife, four sons, and one
daughter. One of the sons died in JelTerson Co., N. Y.,
another in Iowa, and the others in Deerfield. Pratt Smith,
the last survivor, died in town in March, 1874, at the age of
eighty-six. He was one of the settlers who had witnessed
a great amount of hardship and privation in the develop-
ment of the country. His son, Giles Smith, from whom
the foregoing information was obtained, is a resident of the
town, of which he was elected supervisor in 1877. The

hill was named from the Smith family, they being the first
permanent settlers upon it.

Dr. Alexander Coventry, who settled in Utica in 1796,
removed to a farm in Deerfield about 1804. He was a
native of Scotland, and came to America in July, 1785,
locating first at Hudson, Columbia Co., N. Y. From there
he removed to Romulus, Seneca Co., and in 1796 to Utica,
—then " Old Fort Schuyler." In 1817 he had for a part-
ner Dr. John McCall, at that time also a resident of Deer-
field. In 1818 their office was removed to Utica. Dr.
Coventry died Dec. 9, 1831. His son, Robert Coventry,
resides on a portion of the old farm in Deerfield, where he
was born in February, 1807.

The settlements in the northern part of the town were
made a number of years later than those along the Mohawk.
In 1803, John Smith, from near Little Falls, Herkimer Co.,
several families named Blue, the Walkers, and the McKays,
located in the North Gage neighborhood. These families
were nearly all Scotch.

Jacob H. Sohermerhorn, a native of Rensselaer County,
and later a resident of Montgomery, came to Deerfield about
1800-2, and purchased between 200 and 300 acres of land
in the north part of town. In 1803 his eldest son, Uriah
Sohermerhorn, with a colored family named Jackson (the
property of the elder Sohermerhorn), moved to the place,
and in March, 1804, his father settled with the rest of the

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 122 of 192)