Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 160 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 160 of 192)
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any taste. About a mile in distance along the stream has
here been made accessible, and in visiting the far-famed
cataracts no one will miss the delicious treat in store for
him at the rear of the " Summit House,'' while the genial
proprietor of this house, with his amiable and pleasant
wife, may be commended to the public, or that portion of
it which has as yet not made their acquaintance. Those
who have stopped with them once will go again, and the
same may be said of the various places for the entertain-
ment of guests along this magnificent stream.


This pleasant hamlet is cosily nestled among the hills at

the foot of the gorge in which are located the cataracts so

well known to the inhabitants of this and other lands. A

grist-mill was built here about 1822 by Henry Conradt,

who lived in a small log house north of the mill ; the latter
is now the property of William M. Morgan. There is
also a small saw-mill, built several years before the grist-mill.
The first store was probably opened by Romeo W.
Marshall, about 1820. It is yet standing near the mill.
A brick-yard was worked at an early date, and brick were
made in it for chimneys when the neighborhood was first
settled. As early as 1826-28, and possibly earlier, a post-
office was established here, and Romeo W. Marshall was
probably the first postmaster; the present incumbent is
Michael Moore, Sr.

It is related that about 1808 the families of Colonel
Mappa and others held a Fourth-of-July picnic on a large
flat rock above the High Falls, which was at that time a
spot very difficult of access.

In Mr. Seymour's address mention is made of Trenton
Falls and the way they were brought into notice. From
a small volume on this locality, published in 1851 origi-
nally, and edited by N. P. Willis, containing Rev. John
Sherman's description, a few items are taken :

John Sherman was a grandson of Roger Sherman, one
of the signers of the Declaration of Independence; he
graduated at Yale College in 1793, and settled in Mans-
field, Conn., where he was ordained a Congregational min-
ister. He resigned his charge there about 1805, having
preached doctrines " rather too liberal to suit the minds of
a small part of his flock," and about that time received an
invitation from Colonel Mappa and Judge Van der Kemp,
who, with their families, had formed a small Unitarian
society at Olden Barneveld, to visit the place, which he
did, staying several weeks, and preaching to them. While
here, he made his first visit to the Falls, called by the In-
dians Kauy-a-hoo-ra,* or " leaping water." Mr. Sherman
was struck with the beauty and wildness of the spot, and
remarked "that it must eventually become one of the great
features of our continent." He returned to his home at
Mansfield, and soon after accepted a pressing invitation
from the society at Olden Barneveld, and March 9, 1806,
was installed pastor of the first Unitarian church in the
State of New York. He subsequently established an aca-
demy near the village (Olden Barneveld, now Trenton),
" which was soon in a flourishing condition, and over which
he presided for many years with high scholarship and ability ;
and in 1822 (still clinging to his old reminiscences) caused
a house to be built at the Falls for the accommodation of
visitors, which he called the ' Rural Resort,' the entire re-
ceipts of which, for the first season, amounted to $187.35.
In 1823 he removed thither with his family, and in 1825 a
large addition was made to the conveniences of the place, —
Philip Hone, of the city of New York, his personal friend,
furnishing a loan for that purpose." The first visitors who
slept in that house were Philip Hone and Dominick Lynch.
Mr. Sherman passed his remaining years at the "Rural Re-
sort," and made many improvements in the pathway to the
Falls. He died Aug. 2, 1828, in the fifty-seventh year of
his age, and at his special request was buried " on the

^ The authority is unknown for this statement, wliicli is so com-
monly made, as the name in the Oneida dialect ia BaU-w'd' -»unt-
h'd'-go, meaning " Great Falls."



grounds he so much loved, within the sound of the loud
anthem of the raging Kauy-a-hoo-ra, and in the view of the
' hostelrie' he had founded. The traveler, casting his eye
to the northward of the hotel, may observe on the summit
of a conical hill an inclosed space beautifully shaded : there
rests what remains, earthly, of John Sherman."

The present proprietor of the hotel at the Falls is Michael
Moore, Sr., whose wife is a daughter of Rev. John Sher-
man. Mr. Moore enlarged the hotel, and has spent large
sunas of money in arranging it and the grounds for the
comfort and convenience of his guests. He has built and
out numerous stairways and constructed foot-paths along
the gorge, in order that people may safely view the beauties
and wonders of Nature, which present themselves for in-
spection along this famous stream.

The rock is the Trenton limestone, and from it have been
secured many fine geological specimens, whose age dates
back to the Lower Silurian days, before the advent of man
upon the earth. Thi,s rock is made up of millions upon
millions of specimens of the older animal formations upon
the globe, and for the best ones as high as $75 have been
paid by seekers after evidences of Nature's wondrous trans-
formations. Mr. Moore has an excellent cabinet of these
specimens. From the 1st of June of each year the hotel
is filled with guests, and many picnic-parties find ample
facilities in the neighborhood for enjoying themselves to the
utmost. Among the celebrities who have visited the Falls
are Baron de Trobriand, the poet Channing, Bishop Hobart,
De Witt Clinton, John Quincy Adams, Chancellor Kent,
Judge Story, Dr. Samuel Mitchell, Edmund Kean, Joseph
Bonaparte, and many others.

Mr. Sherman, in his description of the Falls, written in
1827, says they are in latitude 43° 23', and 14 miles north
of Utica. On the summit-elevation between West Canada
Creek and Black River the distance between these streams
is only three-fourths of a mile. To Mr. Sherman's descrip-
tion many notes were added by N. P. Willis, and the
various accounts and views of the Falls are in number
legion. The stream contains a considerable number of the
brook-trout in some localities.

Beginning at the " Prospect Fall," twenty-four feet high,
the spectator proceeds down the stream a short distance, and
finds his pathway suddenly obstructed by a huge wall of
rugged rook, just above the fine iron bridge which here
spans the creek, and which wall he must climb over or go
around. From this point the stream becomes very narrow,
and up from the winding gorge comes the roar of the darkly
rushing waters, heaving and foaming in their mad career,
and no place of descent is found until we have reached the
stairway in the rear of the " Summit House," where a small
building has been erected for the accommodation of tourists
seeking refreshments. Descending to the narrow ledge at
the bottom of the gorge, and proceeding onward between
the huge rocky walls, the locality is ere long reached which
is known as the " Rocky Heart," from its resemblance to
the figure of a heart on cards. All along the gorge is a
seething rapid, and at its outlet is the magnificent " Cascade
of the Alhambra." Here the waters seem to have concen-
trated their powers in one mighty effort, and burst through
the rocky barrier to find peace beyond. After the last vio-

lent struggle they spread themselves in a placid basin, upon
whose bosom only the flecks of pure white foam give evi-
dence of the turmoil above. This basin is surrounded by
giant walls, adown whose steep sides, in early spring, tumble
great masses of rocky debris, loosened by frost, endangering
the adventurous explorer, and upon whose lofty summits
are aged, gnarly hemlocks and cedars, their foliage contrast-
ing darkly with the blue sky above. Below this broad
space the walls again approach each other, and at some dis-
tance is reached the " Mill-Dam Fall," fourteen feet high,
and extending in an unbroken sheet across the stream ; it
was named from the fact that a saw-mill was at one time
built at its eastern end, the timbers of which may yet be
seen. Below this fall the scenery becomes more and more
imposing; the rush of the amber waters, the frowning walls
of rock, crowned with dark forest-trees, the roar of the cat-
aracts, and the clouds of mist transport the beholder into
almost another world, with which and the world above there
seems no connection. Now the mind is>thoroughly awakened
to the expectant glories beyond, and the feet instinctively
move more rapidly onward, for at a short distance only is
seen the parapet of another fall, of greater magnitude than
any yet witnessed. We pass quickly the intervening dis-
tance. We stand on the verge of the precipice, at the base
of a tremendous cliff, and our souls are filled with awe at
the stupendousness of Nature's wonders. Here is the
" High Fall." Ah, what a concentration of beauties !
The foliage upon the overhanging trees seems to sway in
unison with the music of the waters, and the breezes of
heaven pause for a song above the heaving abyss, kissing
the leaves of the forest as they pass, and paying tribute to
this most glorious of waterfalls, in point of solemn grandeur
and striking beauty, in the land ! In the centre of the fall
a huge rock divides the waters, and rushing swifl;ly on either
side, they plunge into the depths, more than forty feet below,
and send up columns of dancing spray to greet the beholder
and tell of their union with those already over. But a few
rods farther the adventure is again attempted, and a second
plunge of forty feet is accomplished, with a proportionate
amount of noise and foam. Passing down the stairs at
the upper part of the High Fall, and reaching the rocky
ledge below, we proceed still on, the cliffs rising higher and
higher above us, around a jutting point and underneath
an overhanging shelf of rock, holding to a chain fastened
with staples to the wall to prevent slipping into the dashing
torrent, and at the distance of forty rods reaching the mag-
nificently beautiful cataract known as the " Sherman Fall."
Here the parapet-wall has been worn backward in one place a
distance of several feet, and the volume of water becomes
contracted, and pours down the narrow opening with a thun-
derous sound, and rushes madly on through the awful gorge,
whirling and seething past the rocky battlements, and dis-
appearing from the observer's gaze around a curve, to expend
its fury finally at the " Village Fall," beyond the narrower
channel, where the valley expands and the hills recede to
the right and left, as if at last despairing of caging the
foaming stream, and giving up the struggle without further
effort. From here the river becomes smooth and placid,
and in its further windings nothing can be traced of the
fury of the conflict its waters have passed through.

Stephen Chapman.

Mrs. Stephen Chapman

Lilt ^ L H FvF«rs P>' LA Pa

Residence of COL.T.H.rERRIS,PposP£C7,ONOD>^ C° N.Y

Uth by l « Evems Th l« Pa



Those who have never visited the Falls should do so at
the earliest opportunity, for a sight awaits them which will
repay many miles of journeying to witness. At the village
parties have engaged in the business of specimen-hunting,
and supply curiosity-seekers with fossil organic remains, at
various prices. From Utioa the journey is accomplished by
rail in less than an hour's time. The Utioa and Black
River Railway passes within half a mile of Mr. Moore's hotel,
and trains stop at Trenton Falls Station during the pleasure
season. There is a second hotel at the village, also very
popular with travelers. The drives in the vicinity are nu-
merous and pleasant. In earlier years several accidents oc-
curred here, and a number of persons lost their lives by
being swept over the Falls ; but these dangers have been
averted by blasting away the rock, building stairways, etc.,
and rendering the passage comparatively safe. ■

For information regarding the history of this town we
are indebted to Michael Moore, Sr., and others, at Trenton
Falls ; Mrs. George Watkins, Mrs. Crosby, and many others,
at Prospect ; Mr. Skinner, Dr. Gruiteau, Albert S. Skiff, and
others, at Trenton village ; Dr. C. A. Crane-, "Vincent Tuttle,
and others, at Holland Patent ; F. C. Mizer, Mr. Martin,
and others, at Stittville ; John P. Garrett, and others, at
South Trenton ; Thomas G. Hicks, at Joy's Hotel ; the
pastors and members of churches in general, and many
whose names are not now recalled to memory.



was born in Norway, Herkimer Co., N. Y., October 20,
1805, the fourth child of Sylvanus and Sally Ferris.
There were nine children, eight of whom reached adult
age. Their names were Sylvanus W., Nathan Olmstead,
Sally Maria, Timothy H., William Mead, Henry, Laura,
Harriet Newell, and George Washington Gale. Nathan
0., Sally Maria, Laura, and Harriet Newell are deceased.
Sylvanus W., William Mead, and Henry are residents of
Galesburg, 111. ; George Washington Gale, of Carson City,
Nevada. Sylvanus, the father, was born in Westchester
Co., N. Y., March 5, 1773; the mother in Ridgefield,
Conn., November 30, 1779. In the spring of 1788, Mr.
Ferris came to Norway, Herkimer Co., and purchased
one hundred acres of unimproved land. Returning to his
native State, he married, and settled on his land in Norway
in the fall of the same or spring of the next year. He was
one of the most successful farmers of Herkimer County,
and accumulated a large landed property there. In 1835,
in company with the Rev. George Washington Gale, then
of Whitesboro', Oneida Co., and others, he made a pur-
chase of land in Illinois, upon which the city of Galesbur"
has since been built. In 1837 he removed there with his
family. Five sons and one daughter also moved there
with their families. He was closely identified with the
upbuilding of the city of Galesburg and its institutions.

As a financial manager he had few equals. While a resi-
dent of Herkimer County he held the office of justice of
the peace for quite a number of years ; was also supervisor
of the town of Norway. Possessed, in a remarkable de-
gree, of a hopeful disposition, united with excellent good
judgment, every enterprise undertaken by him prospered.
Both himself and wife were members of the Presbyterian
Church. He died June 13, 1861 ; his wife, September 6,

Colonel Timothy H. Ferris was married February 18,
1830, to Eliza Ann Salisbury, daughter of Nathaniel and
Anna Salisbury, of Wooster Co., Conn. Mrs. Ferris was
born in Norway, Herkimer Co., June 9, 1809. Her
parents settled in Herkimer County in 1797. She was
the sixth child of a family of two sons and eight daugh-
ters. Two sisters and one brother are still living. Her
father lived to the extreme age of ninety-five years, and
saw, before his death, of children, grandchildren, and great-
grandchildren, over one hundred. To Colonel and Mrs.
Ferris there have been born seven children, — three sons
and four daughters, — as follows :

Maria, born Nov. 29, 1830 ; wife of William Morgan, of
Trenton Falls. They have had six children, four of whom
are living.

James H., born May 17, 1833 ; married Francis M.
Terry, a farmer living in Cattaraugus Co., N. Y. Four

Harriet Newell, born Nov. 10, 1835 ; wife of Alexander
Gray, farmer in Rome, Oneida County.

Francis M., born June 24, 1838 ; wife of Lyman H.
Buck, farmer in Russia, Herkimer Co.

Charles S., also a farmer in Russia, born Nov. 28, 1840;
married Gertrude Terry. They have two children.

Stella Eliza, born Aug. 3, 1843 ; wife of Herman Rice,
merchant in Friendship, Alleghany Co., N. Y. Two

Franklin S., born Aug. 26, 1846 ; married to Ida S.
Brayton. He lives on the homestead farm in Russia
township, Herkimer Co., N. Y.

Colonel Ferris received his education in the district
schools of his neighborhood ; worked on his father's farm
till twenty-one years of age. After marriage he settled on
a farm in Norway, sold to him by his father at about its
original cost. His father dealt by each of his sons in the
same manner, making it a rule to settle them on a farm
when they were married ; not before. He remained seven
years in Norway, then purchased a farm in Russia town-
ship, where he remained from 1837 to 1878. He then
purchased of Mrs. Leroy Coon a place in the village of
Prospect, Trenton township, Oneida Co., where he now re-
sides, having I'etired from the life-work of a farmer.

Colonel Ferris is a Democrat in politics ; has served
one term as supervisor of the town of Russia. Receiving
first the appointment of adjutant of the 12th Regiment,
4th Brigade, 1st Division of Riflemen of the State of New
York, he was promoted successively to the offices of major,
lieutenant-colonel, and colonel of the same regiment.

The portraits of the colonel, Mrs. Ferris, and Sylvanus
Ferris, his father, with a representation of his home, appear
on other pages of this work.





George Perkins, grandfather of William, was born May
3, 1766, in Enfield, Conn. He married Lucy Cooley, by
•whom he had children as follows : George, born Sept. 20,
1790 ; James, born May 31, 1792 ; Jabez, born Aug. 17,
1793 ; Elam, born Jan. 23, 1800 ; Daniel, born Feb. 8,
1804. In February, 1808, he moved with his family from
Connecticut, and settled on lot 74, buying of the Holland
Land Company 112 acres, at $10 per acre. A log house
was built near the spot now occupied by his grandson, Wil-
liam Perkins. He died Sept. 17, 1842, aged seventy-seven
years. His wife died March 4, 1838, aged seventy-three
years. His son George died May 24, 1806, in Connecticut.
James died May 16, 1815, at the homestead. Jabez was
drowned in Fox Eiver, 111., May 12, 1842. Daniel died at
the homestead Sept. 17, 1850. Elam, father of William,
married, March 6, 1822, Anna Merriman, daughter of Ben-
jamin and Anna Merriman, of Herkimer County. Mrs.
Perkins was born Dec. 26, 1799, in Russia, Herkimer Co.
Their children were as follows ; William, born March 3,
1823; Louisa M., born Oct. 19, 1825, wife of George D.
Egert, died Sept. 16, 1860. The father died Nov. 28,
1866 ; the mother, Sept. 26, 1877.

With the exception of 30 acres which Elam bought of
his father, the homestead farm fell by will to Daniel. Upon
the death of the latter it came into the possession of William.
Including the original homestead farm, Mr. Perkins is now
the owner of upward of 300 acres of land. Its eastern
boundary is Canada Creek, and comprises some of the most
picturesque scenery of the celebrated Trenton Palls. In
1870, Mr. Perkins erected a fine three-story brick edifice,
which he has since kept open for the reception of guests
during the summer season. Mr. Perkins reckons among
his patrons many of the most prominent families in the
State. The house commands a fine view of the surround-
ing country, and owing to its near access to the falls, and
to the unsurpassed scenery in its vicinity, it is a most desira-
ble home for summer guests. It is distant from the Pros-
pect Station, on the Utica and Black Eiver Railroad, three-
quarters of a mile, and one mile south of Prospect Village.


Born in the old frame house, still standing, erected by his
grandfather, Mr. Perkins, has always lived on the home-
stead farm. He was married Jan. 26, 1848, to Helen H.
Broadwell, daughter of William and Dorcas Broadwell, of
Trenton Palls, who were among the earliest settlers of the
town of Trenton. They have children as follows : Anna
L., bom Deo. 1, 1849, married Oct. 3, 1871, to Byron G.
Barker, merchant in Trenton Village ; they have one child,
Frank P. Emma De Ette, born Feb. 7. 1856, living at

Both Mr. and Mrs. Perkins are members of the Free-
will Baptist Church of Prospect. In politics Mr. Perkins
was a Democrat up to the time of the organization of the
Republican party, since which time he has been identified
with that party. He has served as assessor of the town
for nineteen years.


This gentleman was born in Cirgill, Perthshire, Scotland,
March 26, 1824, the fifth child of Alexander and Chris-
tiana Pirnie. He attended the parish schools summer and
winter to the age, of fourteen, and winters to the age of
twenty-one. He learned of his father the stone-cutting
trade, and followed the business during his stay in Scotland.
The sandstone-quarries of Cirgill, on the river Tay, were
rented of Lord Willoughby, and worked in the Pirnie
family continuously for five hundred years. His father
and mother died in Scotland, the latter in 1826, the former
in 1847. He sailed from Liverpool April, 1848, landing
in New York in May, the first of the family to emigrate.
In 1849 his sister, wife of James Irvine, emigrated and
settled in Columbia Co., Wis., and are still residing there.
In 1851 his brother Michael emigrated with his family,
settled in Onondaga County, moved to Medina, Orleans
Co., where he died. Peter, his eldest brother, died in
Scotland in 1837. His sisters, Margaret and Catharine,
died in infancy. Remaining with his friends in New York
city about six weeks, he made his way to North Western,
Oneida County, and engaged for eighteen months cutting
stone for the locks of the Black River Canal. He then



superintended the construction of a bridge across the James
River, at Richmond, Virginia. For six years he was fore-
man for Kasson & Lewis, contractors for the construction
of looks and aqueducts on the Brie Canal. The Monte-
zuma aqueduct was the heaviest work. He then entered
into partnership with Arthur Lewis, above named, and
built twenty-seven miles of the stone work of the Syracuse
and Binghamton Railroad. Spent six years in Dundas,
Canada, where he huilt the gas-works and many of the
finest stone residences of that place. Superintended the
stone work of the Hamilton and Port Dover Railroad, a
road which was never completed. Built a block of build-
ings in Medina, Orleans Co. Superintended the construc-
tion of a bridge over Onondaga Creek at Syracuse, the
Madison County reservoir for the Erie Canal, the stone
culvert over Cincinnati Creek, for U. and B. R. Railroad, at
Trenton, and the stone work for the Rome Iron-works.

He built the Baron Steuben monument, in Steuben ;
superintended the building of Kingsford's starch-factory,
at Oswego ; also the reservoirs for the Erie Canal at Wood-
hull and Sand Lakes, in the North Woods. These works,
with many others of lesser note, will stand as enduring
monuments of his mechanical genius. In August, 1864,
he enlisted in the 5th New York Engineers. Soon after
joined, as private, the 189th Regiment, New York Volun-
teers. Served in thirteen skirmishes and engagements, the
principal of which were Hatcher's Run, Five Forks, and
Appomattox Court-House. He received an honorable dis-
charge May 30, 1865.

He was first married September, 1852, to Mary McClellan,
daughter of William McClellan, of Richland, Oswego Co.
Christiana, William, and Alexander were their children ;
the former, wife of F. Pride, a farmer living in Richland.
His wife died December, 1857.

His second wife was Jane McClellan, sister of his first.
By her he has seven children, viz. : Mary L., Katie M.,
Jennie A., Edwin J., Roscoe C, Annie G., and Allen S.
All except Christiana living at home. Mr. Pirnie still
carries on the stone business, his boys managing the farm.
In politics he is Republican. Is a member of the Masonic
order, also of the Good Templars.

A sketch of his residence, with portrait of Mr. Pirnie,
appears on another page of this work.

was born in Trenton, Oneida Co., N. Y., March 24, 1825,
the second child of Samuel and Nancy Guiteau. The
father was born in Lanesborough, Mass., June 6, 1789 ;
the mother in Middletown, Conn., Dec. 18, 1789. Their
children were Harriet E., born Dec. 16, 1823, wife of
Enoch Candee, farmer, living in Trenton ; Francis, subject
of this sketch ; Laura E., born March 31, 1829, married
to Chester Wells, a farmer in Trenton, died Jan. 17, 1851 ;
and Frederick Irving, who died in infancy. When seven-
teen years of age Samuel Guiteau took, up some wild land
in Trenton, now owned by Mrs. Henry Shelden. From

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 160 of 192)