Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 164 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 164 of 192)
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John Tuffts, Ard. Judson.

1870. — Orson Carpenter, Josiah Case, Jacob S. Ethridge,
Ira B. Kirtland, Ard. Judson.

1871-73. — Everett Case, Jacob S. Ethridge, Ard. Jud-
son, Ira B. Kirtland, Orson Carpenter.

1874.— Everett Case, Ralph Mcintosh, Charles M. Ward,
Charles H. Pfister, John H. Wood.

1875-77.— R. Mcintosh, L. A. Griswold, C. H. Pfister,
A. B. Pardee, J. H. Wood.

1878.— Trustees, Godfried Pfister (President), A. P.
Case, Henry A. Williams, Matthew Pennock, Charles D.
Simmons ; Assessors, Niles L. Tilden, Sherman Townsley,
Charles M. Ward.

Fire Department. — The " Vernon Village Fire Company"
was organized June 18, 1827. A small hand-engine had
been previously purchased, and this year it was repaired,
and a quantity of new hose procured. The same was done
in 1831. On the 29th of June, 1833, anew fire company
was organized, with seventeen members. A new engine
was purchased in 1840, and an engine-house built, costing
|150. The latter has since been enlarged. A hand-engine
was purchased from second hands in 1872, at a cost of
$300, together with 200 feet of hose, costing S210. Two
reservoirs have been constructed and walled up with stone,
to be used in case of fire. The village has several times
been in danger of destruction by the flames, but the efforts
of the firemen prevented such a disaster. The membership
of the department June 11, 1878, was 35, and its officers
the following, viz. : Josiah W. Jenkins, Foreman ; John
H. Wood, Assistant Foreman ; Daniel Burke, Secretary
and Treasurer ; W. H. Hills, Foreman of Hose.

J. B. Loomis, the present clerk of the village, is the
grandson of Esquire Ephraim Blackmer and Nathaniel"
Loomis, who located in the county early, both in West-
moreland ; the of the latter is yet standing upon the
line between Westmoreland and Whitestown. Mr. Loomis
settled about 1792. Mr. Blackmer died when compara-

tively a young man. His daughter, the wife of John
Loomis, and mother of J. B. Loomis, of Vernon, resided
on one place for more than seventy years.

Salmon Case, from Norfolk, Litchfield Co., Conn., came
to this village in 1813, and resided here until his death, in
1871. He was married in 1817 to Maria Pierson, daugh-
ter of Benjamin Pierson, who settled in the place about
1800. He had previously lived in Cazenovia, Madison
Co., and upon removing to Vernon built, in 1801-2,
the front part of the tavern now owned by A. B. Pardee,
in the east part of the village. The portion which he
erected was an addition to a building which was standing
when he came, and previously kept as a tavern by one of
the Hubbells. Mr. Pierson died while visiting in Con-
necticut. ,

When Salmon Case came here he opened a " country
store," and in time considerably enlarged his stock to meet
the demands of his growing and successful trade. He was
the first cashier of the old Bank of Vernon, and a promi-
nent man among the Whig politicians, being the candidate
of the latter for Congress in 1844 ; owing to their then
hopeless minority in this district he was defeated. He was
twice supervisor of the town. From the fact of his coming
here as a druggist, he was always called " Doctor" Case.
Although not connected with any of the churches of the
village, he aided largely in their support, and was also
chiefly instrumental in establishing the old academy.

The oldest residents of the village at present are Mrs.
Salmon Case, who came here when but a year or two old
(born in Cazenovia in 1799) with her father ; and Benja-
min S. Williams, whose father, Thomas Williams, was one
of the early settlers. Another (younger) son of the latter,
Thomas Williams, Jr., is also a resident of the village.
Thomas Williams, Sr., owned an extensive tannery in the
southeast part of the village, which was finally burned
down and never rebuilt. Mr. Williams came here from
New Hartford in 1803 (his father, Thomas Williams, was
originally from Roxbury, Mass.), and built his tannery. His
father and his uncle (Ezekiel Williams) were in the same
business at New Hartford. Mr. Williams had here at one
time one of the largest tanneries in this region. His son,
Benjamin S. Williams, now in his seventy-second year, is
the oldest native of the corporation now living within it.
In connection with his tannery, Thomas Williams conducted
the business of shoe and harness making and currying. He
was a deacon in the Presbyterian Church at the village.

The Vernon post-office was established early in the
history of the place, and the mail carried over a route
extending between it and Peterboro', Madison County.
Ward Root, now living southwest of Vernon village, car-
ried mail between these two places when a young man.
The present incumbent of the office at Vernon is Ralph
Mcintosh, who also has a law-office in the place ; his deputy
is M. P. Brewer.

Mrs. Charles Kellogg, of Utica, is a daughter of Abra-
ham Van Eps, the patentee of the tract on which the
village of Vernon is located, who has been previously
mentioned as the first merchant here or in the county.

The hotel now owned by C. Turner, and known as the
"- Empire House," was built for a dwelling by Hezekiah



and Asa Ames (brothers), who had a carding-machine and
fulling-mill on or near the Scanandoa Creek. The build-
ing was converted into a hotel, probably by Mr. Brown,
who occupied it but a short time. Shelburn Ives, now
deceased, owned and occupied it afterwards for many years.

The old Hubbell — afterwards Pierson — Tavern was the
first one in the place. During the present season (1878)
it has been greatly enlarged and improved. The present
residence of A. Judson was long kept as a hotel, its fii-st
occupant in that capacity probably being Samuel Gay, who
kept it as early as 1813. Whether it was built for a hotel
or a dwelling is not at present certain.

A public library association was formed at Vernon in
1806, the following proceedings at its organization being
tiiken from its records, which are preserved no later than

" Verno.v, April 8. 1806.

'•"At a legal meeting of the proprietors, who, for the purpose of
forming themselves into a library,

"Voted, That Josiah Patten be chairman of said meeting.

"Voted, That Joseph Hopkins be clerit of said meeting.

"Voted, That Josiah Patten, Huet Hills, Joseph Hopkins, Eliphaz
Bissell, Alanson Pierson, Amos Woodward, William Root, William
Grnnt, and Asnhel Gridley be chosen trustees of said library com-

" Voted, That Joseph Hopkins be librarian by the voice of the trus-
tees, — Asahel Gridley, chairman.

" Voted, That Joseph Hopkins be treasurer of said library.

" Voted, The books of said library be kept at Van Eps 4 Hopkins'
store for the year ensuing.

"Voted, That Josiah Patten, Eliphaz Bissell, and Asahel Gridley
be a committee to purchase books and other materials necessary for
said library."

The following bill of books purchased for this library will
no doubt repay a perusal :

" Vehso-v Social LiBnAnv,

" Bought of Georne Richards, Jr.,
"Utica, 26th April, 1
1806. J

1 Adams' View of Religion $2.25 — 1 vol.

1 Hallyburton Enquiry 1.75 — 1 "

1 Newton's Prophecies 3.25 — 2 "

1 Paley's N. Theology 1.00—1 "

1 Mendon Evidence 0.75 — 1 "

1 Mason Self Knoledge 0.75 — 1 "

1 Hervey's Meditation 0.87 — 1 "

1 Goldsmith's Rome 1.00 — 1 "

1 Goldsmith's Greece 1.00 1 "

1 Russell's Madern Europe 13.50 — 5 "

1 Mavor's Voyages and Travels 30.00-24 "

1 Burgh's Dignity 2.00 — 1 "

1 Forsyth's Fruit-Trees 1.75 — 1 "

1 Algerine Captive 1.50 — 2 "

1 Interesting Memoir 1,00 — 1 "

1 Stewart's Elements 2.00 — 1 "

1 Young's Night Thoughts 1.00—1 "

1 Thomson's Seasons 0.75 — 1 "

1 Life of Joseph 0.62i-l "

$66.75i— 48 vols.
Discount 10 per cent ( 6.67

Errors E.ioepted $60.08

" Received payment of A. Gridley <fc E. Bissell,
" Geo. Richards, Jr."

The library was incorporated April 14, 1806, and on the
same date a code of by-laws was adopted for its regulation.

The village has at present one resident lawyer, Ralph
Mcintosh, in who,se office D. C. Burke and Sheldon S.
Judson are students. The physicians are Drs. Isaac Free-
man, F. A. Gary, and Chamberlain. Philander P.

Root is a student with Dr. Gary.


This institution was organized under the laws of the
State as the " Bank of Vernon," in 18:-i9, with a capital
of $100,000. John J. Knox was the first President, and
Salmon Case first Cashier. The original Board of Directors
consisted of the following persons, viz. : Abraham Van Eps,
John J. Knox, Salmon Case, John Currie, Joseph L. Wil-
liams, Charles Kirtland, John P. Sherwood, Calvary Wet^
more, and Levi Skinner. The present stone bank building
was erected the same year (1839). The bank was continued
under the State law until 1865, when it was changed to a
National bank, with the same amount of capital. The
successor to Salmon Case as Cashier was T. F. Hand, now
Cashier of the " Oneida Valley National Bank," at Oneida,
and he, in turn, was succeeded by Everett Case, in 1851 ;
the latter still continues in that capacity. Josiah Case is
President, and George W. Dodge Vice-President, of the bank
at this time. Josiah Case succeeded General J. J. Knox
as President in 1862, and has held the position since. The
present Board of Directors is composed of the following per-
sons : George W. Dodge, Warren G. Strong, W. S. Todd,
Joel H. Hills, A. Pierson Case, R. Mcintosh, W. J. Mc-
Kown, Josiah Case, B. M. Webber. Three attempts have
been made to burglarize this bank, but the vault was not
reached at either time. The last attempt was in the spring
of 1876. Some of the tools used at that time were se-
creted about a mile from the village, and were found on
the confession of one of the would-be thieves. They are
in possession of the bank as curiosities.

In this village is a factory owned by Bullard Brothers,
where are made " scythe-rifles" (emeried scythe-sharp-
eners). It was established by the present proprietors many
years ago, and is the only institution of the kind in the
county. The market for its manufactures is New York

The village also contains four mercantile establishments,
a saw-mill and grist-mill, a drain-tile factory, and numerous
mechanic shops. The grist-mill was built for Abraham
Van Eps, the first mill-wright being Robert Richardson,
who erected and occupied the dwelling now owned by A.
P. Case. Mr. Richardson also owned a brewery in the
place. The Granger Brothers at one time had a factory
here for making glass bottles ; and a window-glass factory,
which was owned and operated by a stock company, was
located south of the village, and known as " Sherman's
factory," from its manager, Willett Sherman. These fac-
tories did an extensive business ; the one at which bottles
were made was afterwards removed to Sacondaga, Saratoga
Co., and the window-glass establishment to Cleveland, 0.,
and both are yet in existence. A small glass-factory
was operated a short time at " Turkey Street," but was
soon discontinued, and nothing of the kind has a present
existence in the town.


IS located southeast of Vernon village, and contains two
stores, two churches, and the usual number and variety of
shops found in a village of its size.

A post-office was established here soon after the war of
1812, and the first postmaster (or nearly the first) was Pitt



Cody, -who kept the oflSce in his shoe-shop. He is now
living in Wisconsin. His father, Samuel Cody, was a jus-
tice of the peace. The early mails were carried in saddle-
bags, on horseback, and before this office was established
the nearest was at Vernon village. The present postmaster
at the Centre is Willis Walter.

Mrs. P. M. Pettibone, now living in the village, is in her
eighty -seventh year, and came into the town in 1811, with
a family named Ward, to visit her cousins, who wore then
living here. Her maiden name was Humphrey, and she
was from Simsbury, Hartfoid Co., Conn. She was after-
wards married to Elisha Pettibone, from Norfolk, Conn.,
who settled here about the same time.

The " Pettibone House," now occupied by A. S. White,
was built very early, and Mrs. Pettibone says it was origi-
nally a " small concern." One Mr. Hill was among its early
landlords. It is not now recollected who built it. After
Mr. Pettibone came he purchased and rebuilt it in its pres-
ent shape. He had painted upon it the words, '= Ellisha
Pettibono's Hotel." It is at present the property of Jay

While Mr. Pettibone was completing his hotel a second
one was started, in opposition to it, by a man named Hills,
on the ground where the Methodist Episcopal parsonage
now stands. This was discontinued after Mr. Pettibone
became settled, which circumstance occurred on New Year's
day, about 1818. The latter gentleman owned a distillery
north of the village, and operated it for many years. He ^
happened to be at BuiFalo during the war of 1812, at the
time the place was burned, although he was not a soldier.

As early as 1817-18 a store was kept opposite the hotel
by Sylvester Herrick ; it was the only one then in the vil-
lage, and was one of the first established.

John Barber, the father of Jonathan Barber (the latter
now a resident of the village), came into the town in 1813,
and located north of Vernon village. He was from Cam-
bridge, Washington Co., and originally from Ireland.

For information received in this town we are indebted to
John B. Avery, M. L. Carr, Mrs. Timothy Jenkins and
daughter (Mrs. Hickox), the Misses Parkhurst, and others,
at Oneida Castle ; Mrs. Salmon Case and sons (A. P. and
Everett), Henry A. Williams, Benjamin S. Williams, J.
B. Loomis, J. Sherman Carpenter, and others, at Vernon ;
the proprietors of the Oneida Community manufactories;
Mrs. P. M. Pettibone and others, at Vernon Centre ; and
the members of religious denominations, and mariy others
throughout the town.



son of the late Dr. John Dorrance, was born at Peterboro',
Madison Co., N. Y., March 13, 1811, of New England
parentage. His early life was spent upon a farm and as
clerk in a store in his native village. At the age of nineteen
he entered Cazenovia Seminary, and for about two years pur-
sued medical studies, with a view to practice as a physician.

In 1832 he became a resident of Florence, Oneida County,
N. Y., and was engaged as clerk for J. S. T. Stranahan and
the late Gerrit Smith. In 1837 he was married to Ann
Sparrow, of Florence, N. Y., and commenced business as a
country merchant, remaining engaged therein until 1859.
He was the land-agent of Hon.jGerrit Smith from 1840
until his removal from the town ; has since 1840 been a large
dealer in lands, and is now owner of a large quantity situ-
ated in several counties in this State, and also in Western
States. In 1859 he removed to Oneida Castle, town of
Vernon, N. Y., where he now resides. The grounds occu-
pied by him as his residence may be considered almost classi-
cal, or, at least, historical, as a portion was occupied by the
Rev. Samuel Kirkland, a missionary to the Oneida Indians
who came among tliem in 1766, and theold mission-house
formerly stood near a corner of his garden.

Mr. Dorrance's public positions have been postmaster,
supervisor, member of Assembly in 1846 from Oneida
County in the Legislature of the State of New York, and
he represented the same county in the Senate in 1854 and
1855. , He was one of the original corporators and directors
of the Port Stanwix Bank, in Rome, N. Y., in 1848, and has
continuously been in the direction of that institution ; is
also president of the Oneida Savings Bank, at Oneida ; vice-
president and director in the Oneida Valley National Bank,
and is the senior member of the banking firm of D. G. &
J. Gr. Dorrance, of Camden, N. Y.

His success in life, pecuniarily, is the result of industry,
economy, close attention to business, and the adoption in
early life of the rule (which is so sadly neglected by many
at the present day) of living within his income, or in spend-
ing less than he earned.



This town lies on the central western border of the
county, and has an area of 41,796 acres. Its western
boundary is formed by Oneida Creek and Oneida Lake,
and its northern by Wood Creek. It is also watered by
Stony Creek and various smaller streams, each having a
tortuous course, and finding its way ultimately into some
one of the two tributaries of the lake. The town is within
the Oneida Reservation, the lands of which were sold at
auction in August, 1797. The portion of Verona south-
east of the Erie Canal is generally undulating, but hardly
rising to the dignity of hills, while the northwestern por-
tion is very level, with birely sufficient slope towards Oneida
Lake to admit of drainage. The latter part bears unmis-
takable evidence of having been at one period covered by
the waters of the lake. It has a deep, rich, alluvial soil,
and was originally covered with a dense growth of beech,
maple, elm, oak, ash, and hemlock, with some cedar and
pine. The New York Central and Hudson River Railway
passes across the southern part of the town, having a station
at Verona Depot. The dairying interest in this town is
large, there being nine or ten cheese-factories in operation.
The first one erected in town was at Verona village ; it has




since been considerably enlarged, and is now the most ex-
tensive in the town. The second was built at New London.
This town was formed Feb. 17, 1802, from a part of
Westmoreland, and at that time contained 102 families and
439 inhabitants. A very good quality of iron ore is found,
also an excellent building-stone. In the southeast part of
town is exposed for some distance a fine outcrop of the Oneida
Conglomerate. In the same vicinity are located the noted


This locality was well known to the Indians, who discov-
ered the spring. The place was also a famous " deer-lick,"
from the salt which abounded, and an old squaw once told
Dr. Hunt that " Indian climb hemloek-tree and shoot deer,"
which came to the spot for salt. The spring was known
to the Indians as the " medicine spring," and is the only
one of the kind known in this country. A water-cure was
established here by Dr. Seymour Curtiss in 1850. The
spring was first brought into general public notice about
1830. The channel of the creek in which it was discovered
was turned aside, and a bathing-house built over the spring.
A large boarding-house was erected a few rods distant. The
present proprietor is Dr. Nelson Hunt, who, with his wife,
Mrs. A. A. Hunt, M.D., are both graduates of a medical col-
lege, and attend to all cases which the water of this spring
is recommended to cure. The establishment is filled with
boarders every summer, the season beginning June 1 and
lasting till about the 1st of November. At one time it was
kept open till January 1. Most of the boarders come prin-
cipally as patients, although many spend the season here
for mere pleasure, who have formerly been patients and
have acquired a relish for the water. The following is an
analysis of the water of the Verona Mineral Spring, made
by Prof Peter Collier, of the Vermont University;

Sulphate of lime 63.189 groins.

Carbonate of lime 38.473 "

Chloride of calcium 82.609 "

Chloride of magnesium 27.109 *'

Chloride of sodium 662.891 "

Chloride of potassium 4.057 "

Chloride of lithium 2.376 "

Silicic acid 688 "

Grains in one imperial gallon 781.291

Uncombined Acida or UaBeg.

Silicic acid 588 grains.

Sulphuric acid 37.170 "

Chlorine 418.411 "

Carbonic acid 10.047 "

Hydro-sulphuric acid 9.870 "

Lime 89.271 "

Magnesia 11.424 "

Potassa 2.662 "

Soda 298.487 "

Lithia 838 "

Total 878.668 grains.

Gaaea in .yoitih'on.— Sulphuretted hydrogen, 26.56 cubic inches.

Professor Noyes, of Hamilton College, who made an early
analysis of this water, said of it, " From what I have seen
of its salutary operation, I am confirmed in the opinion I
first formed of ite medical properties, especially in scrofula,
diseases of the skin, and many diseases of the stomach. It
is very similar to the Harrowgate water, England." It is
said to be very beneficial in many forms of disease not ne-
cessary to repeat here. Dr. Hunt is always found willing to

furnish information concerning his spring, and is consider-
ably enthusiastic over it, as he can well afford to be. There is
also a chalybeate spring, of great efBcacy in cases of debility.

which stood on the south bank of Wood Creek, near its
entrance into Oneida Lake, was built about 1722 (?), on a
slight elevation. It was about eight rods square, and sur-
rounded by a dit?h ten feet deep. The entire fortification
has now disappeared, the ground having been undermined
by Wood Creek and fallen into that stream.


of this town was begun in 1791. On Christmas- eve of that
year George A. Smith — better known by his Dutch sobri-
quet of " Yearry Smith" — arrived with his family at the
tavern of Judge James Dean, in Westmoreland. The next
day they started for their new home in the wilds of Verona,
through a deep snow, and over swamps and through thickets.
Their progress was so slow that they did not reach their
destination until Jan. 1, 1792, although they were in the
town in the last days of 1791. Mr. Smith was quite prom-
inent among the pioneer settlers of the town, and died about
eleven years after he located. His daughter. Eve, born
March 25, 1795, was the first white child which saw the
light in the town.

The second settler was Asahel Jackson, of Berkshire Co.,
Mass., who located at the mouth of Wood Creek in May,
1796, and built a house near the old ■' Royal Block-House."
Very soon after he opened a public-house for the accommo-
dation of boatmen. Mr. Jackson only lived about ten years
after his arrival, and after his death his widow kept the
tavern another ten years, when she married a man named
Eggleston. The construction of the Erie Canal was a death-
blow to the prosperity of a tavern in the locality where this
one stood, and that business was soon given up. When Mr.
Jackson settled he had no neighbor within eighteen miles
except Mr. Smith, above mentioned.

The next, or third settler in the town was a Frenchman
named La Whiten de Wardenou, who arrived either in
1796 or early in 1797, and made his home at a place called
" Oak Orchard," on Wood Creek. He and his wife were
descendants of French families of considerable rank. The
following short sketch appeared at one time* in the Rome
Sentinel, and, as fiction, was really interesting, especially to
the inhabitants of Verona and the vicinity of Oneida Lake.
We reproduce it here as worthy of preservation :

" [From the American Lady's Album.]


[Snggeated by remarku of H. Baldwin, Esq., at the Plauh-Road Cele-
bration, Bremerton.^


'"They flee I
But see 1 Why turn they now to gaze
Upon the gloomy, reddening sky ?'

" Early in the evening of a pleasant day in April, 1793, might have
been seen in a richly-furnished parlor in Havre a young lady of mod-

* A few years previous to 1860.



erate stature and moderate personal attractions. A close examina- -
tion, however, revealed a mind whose powers were developed in one
of the most intellectual pairs of eyes ever placed beneath a brow.
These, although not the only tokens of intelligence, never failed to im-
press the observer, when they met his own, with the superiority of
their possessor. Connected with these were strong developments of
benevolence, and of a noble and generous heart. She was a being to
be loved for herself — for her amiable qualities — by one whose mind
was not enslaved by sensual passions.

"As we introduce her, she was sitting by a window, apparently
awaiting the arrival of some one. She leaves the window and pro-
ceeds to her room, and presently returns to receive the message of her
father requiring her to prepare for a journey to London in twenty-
four hours. With a pale and agitated countenance, and with a trem-
bling hand, she indorsed the message, — ■

" 'I will be ready to depart. Celeste.'

Handing it to the servant, she orders him to retire, and again takes

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 164 of 192)