Samuel W Durant.

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

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family. A log house and barn were built on the place, near
West Canada Creek, and Mr. Schermerhorn, Sr., afterwards
moved up and built another log house near the present
dwelling of his grandson, William Schermerhorn. The
house now occupied by the latter was built by his grand-
father in 1812, and was the first framed house erected in
this part of the town. Jacob H. Schermerhorn died on the
8th day of May, 1813. His son, Cornelius Schermerhorn,
resides at North Gage. Another son, Daniel, was the first
man to volunteer from Deerfield for the war of 1812. He
held the rank of sergeant, and was stationed at Sacket's
Harbor. After the war he became a colonel of militia.

Levi Schermerhorn, of North Gage, has in his possession
an old-fashioned plow, with a wooden mold-board, and but
one handle ; also, an iron pitchfork eighty years old or more,
a shovel-plow of about the same age, and a " scythe and mat-
hook" brought from Germany before 1800. While recently
in North Holland, where he went to give instructions in
the art of cheese-making, he prepared a model of the wagons
now in use in that country. It is a curiosity, and shows a
lack of enterprise and ingenuity on the part of the Hol-
lander. The driver sits on the end-board, and by means of
a crook in front steers the wagon down-hill with his feet.

In 1805, Jacob H. Schermerhorn built a saw-mill on
West Canada Creek, which was operated about two years,
when the dam was carried away in a freshet, and the mill
was afterwards removed to Newport.

In the spring of 1819, Mr. Shermerhorn's sons, Daniel
and Cornelius, built a tannery near the present corners at
North Gage, which had a shoe-shop in connection. The
institution flourished, and work was done for people living
more than half-way to Utica, and for many living in Tren-
ton. Nothing remains of this establishment.

Isaac Heatherington, father of William Heatherington,



442



HISTORY OF ONEIDA COUNTY, NEW YOBK.



now residing at the corners, and also of Mrs. Cornelius
Schermerhorn, was a native of England, and came with
his parents to the United States previous to the Revo-
lution. They settled near Johnstown, Montgomery Co.,
N. Y., afterwards removing to Schenectady ; and about
1808, Isaac Heatherington brought his family to Deerfield,
and located on the farm now occupied by W. Johnson, on
the Utica road, south of North Gage. Some time after-
wards he built a saw-mill on Nine-Mile Creek, which was
burned. The site is now occupied by a saw-mill owned by
Amasa Salisbury.

About 1807 a school was taught in a log building which
stood on the land of Ephraim Owens, near J. H. Scher-
merhorn's. The pedagogue who held forth in this first
school-house in North Deerfield was one Stuart Cummings.
He was possibly not the first, but taught quite early. He
was a man of considerable talent, and was not only respected
but feared by his pupils, as he was equally an adept in
" birch-and-rule" practice and the use of the text-book. He
taught a summer and a winter term.

THE FIRST TOWN-MEETING

in Deerfield was held April 3, 1798, at the house of Ezra
Payne. The following oflScers were elected : Supervisor,
Dr. Francis Guiteau ; Town Clerk, Isaac Brayton, Jr. ; Jus-
tices of the Peace, Abram Camp, James S. Kip; Asses-
sors, Daniel Biddlecom, Ebenezer Steward, Phineas Camp ;
Commissioners of Highways, William Hallock, Calvin
Guiteau, Hazard Sherman; Poormasters, Olney Pierce,
Ezra Payne ; Constables, Heli Foot, Wm. Hallock, .Samuel
Wells ; Overseers of Highways, Rev. Oded Eddy, Ezekiel
Willington, Olney Pierce, Hazard Sherman, Joseph Tylor,
John Warren, William Hallock, James Wilson, James
Briggs, David Hadcock, Ebenezer Steward, John Jonson ;
Poundmasters, Hazard Sherman, Phineas Camp ; Fence-
Viewers, Hazard Sherman, Phineas Camp, Wm. Hallock,
Nicholas G. Weaver.

The Supervisors of Deerfield, from 1799 to 1877 in-
clusive, have been : 1799-1800, Dr. Francis Guiteau ;
1810-10, Isaac Brayton, Jr.; 1811, Calvin Guiteau;
1812-18, Isaac Brayton ; 1819-23, Dr. Alexander Cov-
entry; 1824, John G. Weaver; 1825, Amasa Bpwe;
1826-27, John D. Leland; 1828, Jacob Edio ; 1829-31,
John D. Leland; 1832, Amasa Rowe; 1833-40, Calvin
Hall, Jr.; 1841, Ambrose Kasson ; 1842, Luther Leland;
1843-44, Jacob G. Weaver; 1845, Richard Harter;
1846-47, Jacob G. Weaver ; 1848, Luther Leland ; 1849,
John G. Webster; 1850-51, George F. Weaver; 1852,
William D. Schermerhorn ; 1853, John D. Leland; 1854-
55, Calvin Hall ; 1856-57, William H. Green ; 1858-59,
William Haddon ; 1860-61, George F. Weaver; 1862,
John C. Blue; 1863, Luther Leland; 1864, tie vote, — no
supervisor recorded ; 1865, William McSorley ; 1866, no
vote recorded; 1867, George P. Weaver; 1868, Job
Sayre; 1869, no vote recorded; 1870, Nicholas Hicks;
1871-72, Frederick G. Weaver; 1873-74, Malcolm A.
Blue; 1875, Nicholas H. Hicks; 1876, Frederick G.
Weaver; 1877, Giles Smith.

The remaining officers for 1878 are : Town Clerk (1877)
Charles B. Cruikshank ; Justice of the Peace, Luther Le-



land ; Justices holding over, Isaac Willmarth, Levi Cruik-
shank, Russell Fuller, and R. Harter; Assessor, Charles
M. Dewey ; Commissioner of Highways, F. S. Davis ;
Overseers of Poor, A. C. Shaw and John D. Davis ; Col-
lector, James M. Cruikshank; Constables, James H. Riley,
William Lynch, Peter H. McEwan, Monroe Lawton, and
William M. Griswold ; Town Auditors, John Bolger, Archi-
bald Blue, and George B. Keyes ; Inspectors of Election —
District No. 1, Stephen Northrup, Jacob Klumbach, and
Pierce D. Condon; District No. 2, Hugh M. Ellis, Elliott

D. Johnson, and J. T. Cruikshank ; District No. 3, Wm.

E. Bowen, Levi C. Schermerhorn, and Jacob Becker; Sealer
of Weights and Measures, William Peck ; Excise Commis-
sioner, John B. Roberts ; Game Constable, Henry Ruben.

Licenses were granted in this town by Dr. Guiteau, when
supervisor, to the following persons : In 1798, Jabez
Stewart and James Fluskey; in 1799, to Ezra Payne,
Philip Harter, Isaac Brayton, Jr., Hazard Sherman, and
Guiteau & Pierce ; in 1800, to Bennett Rice, Isaac Bray-
ton, Jr., Philip Harter, and George Tisdale.

The first road laid out by the town is recorded March
16, 1799, " Beginning at the place where the . . . of
Utica Road intersects the County Road, on the north side
of the Mohawk River, and continuing on the line between
lots Nos. 14 and 15, twenty chains beyond the Dwelling-
House of Eldred Edwards ; to be two rods in wedth (that
is, one Rod on each side the line)."

Calvin Guiteau, Hazard Sherman, and William Hallock
were the commissioners of roads.

Another road was laid out May 10, 1799, " Beginning
near Hazard Sherman's house, upon the line between Lots
Nos. 14 and 15, as they now run ; from thence Northerly
until it intersects the back road. Said line is the middle
of the Road, and is four rods wide."

Philip Harter and Samuel Reeve were the commisioners
of roads.

The early roads and many farms in Deerfield were sur-
veyed by Calvin Guiteau, who came to town about 1792.
In 1817 he removed to Utica, where he spent the remainder
of his life. His brother. Dr. Francis Guiteau, whose name
appears as the first supervisor of Deerfield, settled in 1792,
and began the practice of medicine.

He died in Whitesboro' about 1823.

Abraham M. Walton was a lawyer by profession, and
practiced in New York City before removing to a tract of
land known as Walton's Patent, lying in Deerfield and
Schuyler. Mr. Walton opened an office in Utica, and
finally purchased 250 acres of salt reservation, and laid out
a village. This was on what became known as " Walton's
Tract," and was the starting-point of the present city of
Syracuse, Onondaga Co.

RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES.
BAPTIST CHURCH, DEERFIELD CORNERS.

The second Baptist society in Oneida County was organ-
ized here in 1798, and a house of worship erected a short
distance east of the corners. Elder Oded Eddy was the
first pastor, having been ordained at about the time of the
organization of the society. He continued in charge
for twenty-four years. Elder John Leland, father of John










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HISTORY OF ONEIDA COUNTY, NEW YORK.



443



D. Leland, Esq. (the latter several times supervisor of the
town), also preached here. The present frame church was
built in 1812, and has been several times repaired. The
original pulpit was in the ancient style, high and small,
and has been three times cut down. The cemetery ad-
joining the church was laid out about 1812, on land donated
by General John Gr. Weaver, a commander of militia during
the war of 1812-15. The general's wife, who died about
1811, was the first person buried in it, and the general is
also there interred. But few Baptists are lefl in this
neighborhood, and most of them attend services in Utica.
Trustees are, however, regularly elected, and the associa-
tion preserved. The Methodists hold services in the
church every Sunday, and are at present under the pastoral
care of Rev. Mr. Church. The different denominations in
the neighborhood contribute towards the support of a pastor,
and Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and other preachers
hold meetings here. The Methodists have a regular
organization.

EPISCOPAL CHURCH, DEEEFIELD CORNERS.

This was organized as a union Sabbath-school about
1862-63, and Episcopal services were begun under a mission
from Whitesboro' about 1874—75. The niembership is
small. The rector is Rev. R. L. Mathison, of Oriskany
and Whitesboro'. The Sabbath-school building, or chapel,
is used, and the school is still continued.

ST. Peter's (roman catholic) church, deerpield

CORNERS,

was organized, and the present frame house of worship
erected, in 1872, the first meeting being held November 1,
of that year. The first pastor was Rev. Father Eis. The
membership in February, 1878, was about 400. A school
numbering some 35 or 40 children is under the care of the
pastor. Rev. Father Lindenfeld, who lives in the parsonage
adjoining the church.

UNION CHURCH (PRESBYTERIAN AND BAPTIST), NORTH
GAGE.

A church was built by the above denominations and
dedicated in September, 1830. A funeral sermon was
preached in the building in August, before it was com-
pleted, by the Baptist pa.stor, Rev. David Pratt. The
first pastor of the Presbyterians was Rev. William Goodell.
The present membership of the Baptist society is about 25,
and of the Presbyterian perhaps more. The Baptist
society is connected with one at South Trenton, and has
had for a supply since the latter part of 1876 Rev. Robert
Wallace. The Pi'esbyterian supply is Rev. Mr. Morse, of
Utica. A union Sabbath-school was established in June,
1877. Its present Superintendent is A. L. Blue ; Assistant
Superintendent, Cornelius Sohermerhorn, Jr. A cabinet-
organ, of Syracuse manufacture, is used in the church.

In the central-eastern portion of town the Methodists
and Roman Catholics have each a small society, with
church buildings.

DEERFIBLD CORNERS.
This village, located a mile from the bridge over the
Mohawk at the foot of Qenesee Street, in Utica, is the site



of the first settlements made in the town. It is on the
stream known as Reall's Creek, already mentioned. The
house first built by Christian Reall, for whom the creek
was named, stood upon its bank, and was burned by the
Indians at the time they destroyed those of Damoth and
Weaver. The farming lands in the vicinity are finely
improved, and generally occupied by a wealthy and pros-
perous class of citizens. From the farmers of the Mohawk
Valley in Deerfield many have been chosen for posts of
honor in the gift of the people, and the name Deerfield
is associated with pleasant memories of her inhabitants
and their works. Northwest of the village, near the town-(
line of Marcy, is the residence of ex-Governor Seymour,
occupying a beautiful location on a terrace overlooking the
valley of the river and the city of Utica, — away from the
bustle and smoke of the " metropolis of Oneida," yet but a
half-hour's ride from business. The Governor, a thorough
gentleman, and an enthusiast in matters of agriculture, has
one of the best-regulated farms in the county. A beauti-
ful grove of hemlocks stands a short distance from his
dwelling, and is carefully preserved as a memento of " auld
lang syne." There is no ostentatious display about this
comfortable homestead. The dwelling is a large plain
building, one and a half stories in height, of a style more
resembling that of a southern planter than the ordinary
farm residences of the northern States. A wide and pleas-
ant portico extends along the east and south sides, adorned
with trophies of the chase, mementos of Governor Sey-
mour's younger days, when a hunter among the Adiron-
dacks. The grand old forest^trees are carefully preserved,
and a most remarkable native black-cherry stands a few
yards from the south entrance. It is fully four feet in
diameter at the base. The place has much the air of
Mount Vernon, and the outlook over the Mohawk Valley
is very beautiful.

At Deerfield Corners a post-office, named Deerfield, was
established about 1854-55, with Joseph Oster as first post-
master. The present incumbent of the office is Thomas
Watkins.

Between the comers and Utica brick-making was long
advantageously carried on, and most of the brick buildings
in Utica were erected from the products of the different
kilns of Deerfield. Among the early manufacturers of
brick in this section was a man named Fisher. John
Green and a Mr. Barber were also engaged in the busi-
ness. Within a mile of the Mohawk River bridge six or
seven yards were being worked at the same time. The
yards now in operation occupy new sites, and the brick are
excellent in quality.

A few men from this neighborhood enlisted in the
United States army during the Mexican war, but their
names cannot now be ascertained.

The village contains at present (April, 1878) two gen-
eral stores, a clothing-store, a post-office, several boot- and
shoe-shops, three hotels, and numerous " groceries" or sa-
loons. The road from the corners to Utica is lined with
dwellings, and near the river are four or five hotels, numer-
ous saloons, a pork-packing establishment, built and ope-
rated by H. Roberts' Sons, with a capacity for packing
100 to 150 hogs daily, and the "Central New York Var-



444



HISTOKY OF ONEIDA COUNTY, NEW YORK.



nish- Works" of Messrs. Comstock Brothers & Co. This
latter institution was established in 1868, by Comstock
Brothers, and the present brick factory-building erected.
The manufacture of varnish only was commenced in 1868,
paint-making being a recent venture of the firm. The
gums used in the manufacture of varnish are all imported,
principally from the coast of Africa. From four to ten
hands are employed. Owing to high insurance but little
raw material is stored at the factory. The warerooms of
the firm are at 117 Genesee Street, Utica.

NORTH SAGE POST-OFFICE

was established about 1831, and Daniel Schermerhorn, who
was mainly instrumental in securing it, was appointed first
postmaster. He was succeeded by Dr. Stephen F. Fenton,
about 1832. The present postmaster is Henry Smith, who
has held the office about nine years. The office was named
from its location in the north part of Gage's Patent, a. tract
of 18,000 acres, granted by the English and colonial govern-
ments to Thomas Gage, July 6, 1769, and lying principally
in Deerfield.

The first cheese-factory in this part of town was built by
Archibald C. Blue, about a mile south of North Gage.
This was as early probably as 1863. John C. Blue estab-
lished the second one ; he died in 1869. The North Gage
Cheese-Factory was established by a stock company about
1871, and John Campbell was the first cheese-maker em-
ployed. The factory is at present owned and operated by
the Schermerhorn Brothers. Dairying is the principal
industry in the north part of town.

North Gage contains a post-office, a small store and shoe-
shop, a cheese-factory, and a church. Travel over the I'oad
from east to west was quite extensive in the days of stage-
coaches, and public-houses were kept in the vicinity; but
none are at present in existence.

For information received we are under obligations to
Hon. Abram B. Weaver, Jacob G. Weaver, Giles Smith,
Richard Harter, Robert Coventry, and others at Deerfield
Corners ; C. E. Oruikshank, town clerk ; P. Ryan ; Cor-
nelius Schermerhorn, wife, and sons, and Henry Smith, at
North Gage, besides others whose names are not now recol-
lected.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



ALEXANDER COVENTRY

was born near Hamilton, in Scotland, Aug. 27, 1776, and
was the son of Captain George Coventry, who had served
under his majesty George III., in the old French war.
Alexander attended medical lectures at Glasgow and at
Edinburgh, and imbibed the instruction of those eminent
teachers, Monro, Cullen, Hope, and Gregory. In July,
1785, he sailed for America, and first settled at Hudson, in
this State, where he became engaged in agricultural pur-
suits in conjunction with the practice of his profession.
Thence he removed to Romulus, on the east side of Seneca
Lake, which place he left in 1796, on account of sickness of



himself and his family, and came to Utica, then known
as Old Fort Schuyler. At first he entered into mercan-
tile business with Mr. John Post, but soon separated
from him, and opened a physician's office just above, near
the corner of Whitesboro' Street. About 1804 he had for
a partner Dr. David Hasbrouck ; but having purchased a




ALEXANDER COVENTRY.

farm in Deerfield, he removed thither and once more en-
gaged in agriculture. The doctor pursued farming, and
especially fruit-growing, with all the ardor of more modern
amateurs, and his grafted apples and other ftuit were
famous the world around.

From this period onward, until his death, his time and
attention were divided between his farm, his books, and the
practice of his profession, although during the latter years
the demands of his profession were paramount to all beside.
As a family physician and obstetrician. Dr. Coventry was
eminently distinguished, and not only in his own town but
in the adjoining counties.

His uniformly courteous and sympathizing manner with
the sick, co-operating with his clear and discriminating
judgment, obtained for him unrivaled esteem and affection.
In person he was muscular, and moderate in height ; in man-
ners, without pretense, but affable and engaging; in his
tastes, social. The public appreciation of the science and
standing of Dr. Coventry is shown by the offices he held.
Besides presiding for several successive years over the Med-
ical Society of his own county, he was twice elected presi-
dent of the Medical Society of the State. He was a trus-
tee of the Fairfield Medical College, a member of the So-
ciety for the Promotion of Agriculture, Art, and Manufac-
tures, a member of the Albany Lyceum, and a corresponding
member of the Linnaean Society of Paris. He was an oc-
casional contributor to the political and agricultural journals
of the day, and was also the author of some professional
papers for the medical serials. From the period of his stu-
dentship to the last year of his life, he kept a diary, in
which he noted at length his medical and agricultural em-
ployments, with references, now and then, to social and
other current events of the day. About the year 1817 he



HISTORY OF ONEIDA COUNTY, NEW YOKK.



445



led the way in the formation of the first agricultural society
of the county, and was its secretary and president.

While attending a dangerous case of sickness in the fam-
ily of Nicholas Devereux he fell a victim to an epidemic
influenza, and died Dec. 9, 1831. His wife, Elizabeth
Butler, of Brantford, Conn., had deceased some years before.




AARON BAKKES
was born in Lanesboro', Berkshire Co., Mass., March 16,
1781. His father. Captain Joseph Barnes, was a patriot,
possessed of manly and sterling virtues. He took an ac-
tive and zealous part in our country's struggle for independ-
ence. His mother was of the Buck family, of high posi-



Photo. by Williams.



ROBERT COVENTRT.



He left a family of seven sons and four daughters, one only
of whom, Robert Coventry, now resides iu Deerfield, on a
portion of the farm originally belonging to his father.

Robert Coventry was born in Deerfield, Feb. 17, 1807.
He spent his youth on his father's farm, and his education
was limited to the common schools of Deei-field.

On May 9, 1836, he was united in marriage with Lydia,
daughter of Aaron and Lucinda Barnes. By this union
two children were born to them, viz., Robert, born Aug. 19,
1837, and now resides in the town of Miller, La Salle Co.,
111., and Helen, born Nov. 26, 1842 ; died Jan. 11, 1863.

ALLEN L. BLUE.
This gentleman is of Scotch ancestry. His father, Dun-
can Blue, emigrated from Argyleshire, Scotland, in 1803,
and came to the town of Deerfield, where he located and
purchased a farm of 96 acres. The subject of this sketch
was born in that town Aug. 27, 1827, being the only son
of a family of six children of Duncan and Flora Blue, and
is to-day residing on the same farm, which he has increased
to 190 acres, on which his father originally settled. His
parents both died and are buried in the town.

Allen L. was married Oct. 20, 1853, to Ann S., daugh-
ter of Gilbert and Isabel Blue, her father being a brother
of Duncan's, and emigrated to this country about the same
time. She was born in Deerfield, Nov. 15, 1827. Two
children came to bless their home and fireside, John Gil-
bert, born Sept. 14, 1854. Charles Duncan, Nov. 15,
1857, and was called to his last home April 8, 1878. Mr.
Blue Ls a member of the Republican party, also of the
Presbyterian Church of Deerfield. Has held the office of
Superintendent of Sunday-school for nine years. He is
one of the most enterprising, energetic, and public-spirited
citizen of the town in which he resides.



Photo, by Williams.



AARON BARNES.



tion and culture, and a noble Christian woman, living a life
of implicit faith and prayer. She had six sons, of whom
Aaron was the second. An elder brother, Joseph, was edu-
cated at Williams College, and chose the law for his pro-
fession. He located at Philadelphia, and attained eminence
as a jurist. Three other brothers received liberal educations ;
one, a physician, located in Alabama. Our subject, although
a farmer, filled many positions of trust, the duties of which
he performed with credit to himself, and to the entire satis-
faction of his constituents. He was a man of strong con-
victions, and very pronounced in his opinions. In his
political affiliations he was of that school of which John Q.
Adams, Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster were the leaders,
believing that the principles they promulgated best subserved
the common interests of the masses. He came to Deerfield
in 1818, where he continued to reside until his death, which
occurred March 25, 1852, and his memory is still held in
grateful remembrance by all who knew him. He married
Lucinda Sherman, of Lanesboro', who lived to the advanced
age of ninety years. She possessed those lovely traits
which adorn the wife and mother, and was indeed all that
is expressed in the terms amiable and intelligent, and was a
worthy helpmeet of her devoted husband, to whom she was
" a treasure above price." They were blessed with eleven
children, — four sons and seven daughters, — seven of whom
are now living.

PETER WALKER

was born in the town of Deerfield, Oneida Co., N. Y., Nov.
20, 1823, being the youngest son of a family of fourteen
children of Alexander and Annie Walker. His father was
a native of Perthshire, Scotland, and emigrated to this
country in 1802, and settled in Deerfield in 1803, where
he purchased a farm of 112 acres, being the same one on



446



HISTOKY OF ONEIDA COUNTY, NEW YORK.



which the subject of this sketch now resides, but which
has been increased to 156 acres. He was married Oct. 10,
1850, to Mary, daughter of Duncan and Flora Blue. Her
parents were of Scotch ancestry, and were among the early
settlers of Deerfield, where she was born, Dec. 9, 1819.
They have had but two children, James A., born Aug. 17,
1852, died July 26, 1878; John K., born Dec. 25, 1855.
Mr. Walker has always belonged to the Republican party,
and is Presbyterian in religious belief. A view 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 123 of 192)