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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her place, weeping, at the window.

"The clock had struck the hour of twelve. All was still in the
mansion of the rich merchant La Fargo. A dull tiper was burning
in the room of Celeste, which revealed equipage for a journey in
readiness, and a male servant armed and in disguise. The lady was
still at the window. A carriage appeared at a distance in the street
leading from the mansion. Presently one of the windows is closed,
as if by accident. Instantly, with a still and cautious tread, the lady
leaves the window, and in a moment is moving tfiward the street
from a rear entrance. The carriage is muffled, — the watch allow it to
pass at a signal from its occupant, and turn away smiling as the
shining metal dazzles in the lamplight upon their palms, whispering
as they meet, ' Fine fellow that ! Fine operation, b'gar !'

"The lady is in the carriage, and soon all is siill again in that
mansion and in the streets.

" It is morning soon, and a couple habited as travelers, with bag-
gage, with male and Ceinale servant:!, appearing to be of middle age,
descend from a hotel and repair to a ship bound for the United States.
The wind is fair, and soon they are under way.

"Gre;»t excitement prevails in the mansion of La Fargo. The
hour of breakfast has come, and the summons does not bring down
the beloved daughter. A servant is dispatched. The father turns
pale lest she is sick, and will be unable to perform the journey.
Perhaps she has destroyed herself! No, she is too sensible for that.

" ' Speak, girl ! Why does not your mistress come to breakfast V

" ' Not there ! Here is a letter I found addressed to your honor.*

" ' Not there ! A letter ! hand it to me !'

"' Havre, 1793, 12 midnight.
" ' Dear Fatiteb., — I am sorry to leave you ; Ijut regaid the aeparation your
departure with me to England wunld create between myself and him who ha^
long occupied the strongest affections of my lieart a great affiiction. As a
father, you iiave my love, — will ever have it. As a husband, La Nonreese has
. my heart, — must control it. Be not alarmed. Ei'o breakfast passes to-morrow
I shall be on my way to America, — from which place you shall hear from me.
" ' Affectionately, farewell. Celkste.'

"'Gone to America! Marry La Nouresse ! Never! My car-
riage! My pistols ! Ho, there, De Nair ! Quick, you blockhead!*

" ' De Nair has gone, too, master, and broken the heart of his poor

" ' To the ship, then, — let us away, — police !'

" * Oh, the ship has gone, — been gone two hours !'


"Four years had elapsed. A gentleman and lady were seen walk-
ing along the beach of one of the sweetest little lakes in the State of
New York, called Oneida. A convenient log house, not splendid, like
a city mansion, but comfortable, stood a little distance from the shore.
The forest around them was echoing with the sound of the axe and
the falling trees. Out upon the bosom of the lake danced the canoe,
as the waves sped before the wind. Here and there in the distance
around them, inland, the smoke curled as it arose and parted upon
the air, showing that they were not altogether alone. Were they
happy ? Listen. Said La Nouresse, as he fixed his soft, expressive
eyes upon Celeste, —

" * Four years have passed since we left our home in France j tell
me, love, are you happy? Do you regret our adventure?'

" ' I have but one answer to give ; and as they say the truest lan-
guage of the heart is expressed in song, I will answer you.' Then in
a voice melodious and distinct as the harp she sang :

*' ' Let others seek, in wealth or fame,

A splendid path whereon to tread ;
I'd rather wear a lowlier name.

With love's enchantment round it shed.
Fame's but a light to gild the grave,

And wealth can never calm the breast ;
But love, a halcyon on life's wave.

Hath power to soothe its strifes to rest.'

"'And have you no wish to exchange our rude dwelling and these
wild scenes for the gayety or retirement of your native city ?*
"'Oh, not the smiles of other lands,

Though far and wide our feet may roam,
Can e'er untie the gnnial banda
That kult our hearts to home^

again sang Celeste in the same sweet voice; but added, 'Still I am
happier here,' as she gently leaned her head upon the breast of her

"La Nouresse felt the blood rush to his face as his heart vibrated
to the magic power of that love which had transplanted the angelic
being from the soil of her birth and culture, surrounded by all the
advantages of wealth and distinction, into a foreign clime, and upon
a wilderness soil, subject to deprivation and many hardships. And
when he reflected that, in flying from home and a father's stern com-
mand, to escape the doom of a union with a. nobleman because she
loved an untitled, unwealthy merchant, he was proud of his seclusion.
That being was a treasure which titles and wealth could not estimate.

" Once Celeste had written to her father. She had painted the
scenes in which she moved with all the poetry and romance of life.
She represented her situation with that enthusiasm which it inspired
in her own heart. She made her home in the * American Wilderness'
a transcript of Eden before the expulsion.

" To that letter an answer was sent in full of bitter unforgiveness.
It was a severe blow to the gentle heart of a daughter. But she
reasoned correctly that, as to the choice of her life's companion, if she
had made that life a delight, the complaints of her father, however
well designed, were unreasonable: filial love cannot ask the sacrifice
of a life to the pleasure of another's will. Life is our own, its happiness
our own.

"chapter III.

"Another four years had passed away. It was late at evening.
The gentle breath of spring, perfumed by the fragrant wild-flowers
that adorned the luxuriant openings, and that crept to the very
threshold of the happy cottage, was moving across the bosom of the
lake, and wildly murmuring in ripples along the shore, while the voice
of the night-bird was heard in echoes among the forest hills. Upon
the floor of the cottage danced a bright-eyed little boy, whom his
mother, in her forgiving love, had named La Fargo, after his unfor-
giving grandfather, and upon the grass-plat in front of the dwelling
in many gambols frolicked the dogs, who had not yet retired; and
withal it was a happy scene.

" A coach is seen far away down the road leading from the Mohawk
turnpike, and running for many miles upon the lake-shore. Nearer
it approaches, until, near the house of La Nouresse, it stopped, and
the driver called out, —

" ' Can you direct us to the residence of a gentleman whose name
is La Nouresse, anywhere in these parts?'

" ' I have the honor to be that person,' was the reply.

"In a moment the coach stood before the door. A gentleman
alighted. He was apparently about fifty-five years of age, richly
dressed, and wealthy. The darkness obscured his face, and he was not
recognized by the owner of the dwelling, who politely invited him to
walk in, while himself directed in securing the beasts. A shriek from
his wife soon called La Nouresse into the house again. On entering
the door he saw the stranger prostrate upon the floor, and his wife in a
swoon by his side. The man was dead. He had discovered himself
to his long-absent daughter, and being overcome by the intenseness
of his feelings, fell at her feet, uttering the first and the last, — the
only words, — 'Daughter! Forgive!'

" Deep was the afiliotion of that little family that night. Long
and tenderly, with tears, sat Celeste by the cold form of her father.
That sweet word ' daughter,' and the sweeter word ' forgive,' were oft
pronounoed amid the disturbed slumbers of the night.



" The last tribute of respect had been paid to the departed father.
Upon examining his papers, a will, prepared previous io his de-
parture from France, was found duly attested, making Celeste the
heir of one million francs and all his estates at Havre. Besides this,
among his papers addressed to his daughter, which he had prepared
previous to leaving, and during his voyage, to provide against sud-
den death, was a full expression of his entire approbation of the
marriage of Celeste with La Nourosse, and an account of the great
injury done him by the nobleman who had won his confidence, and
through whose influence he had, by mi.^guided ambition, been in-
duced to attempt her compulsory union with a villain, instead of
being united to the worthy person of her heart's first choice.

" Five years more had passed. La Nouresse had disposed of his
property in America and was among the wealthiest, most respected
merchants in Havre. One of his daughters is the happy wife of an
American merchant, a son of a New England mechanic, who resides
in New York. That merchant with his lady visited the shores of
the beautiful lake this summer. Such are life's changes and

This pleasant little fiction was not without foundation in
fact, for, after " Celeste" and De Wardenou had exchanged
TOWS of eternal constancy, she was confined by her friends
in a convent, to prevent her marriage. She, however, es-
caped ; the twain were married and sailed for America.
He had invested a large fortune in merchandise, and brought
it to New York City, where misfortune fell to his lot, and he
lost nearly his whole property, after which he moved to the
vicinity of Oneida Lake. Their first-born child sickened and
died in 1797, to the great sorrow of its parents. This was the
first death in town. As the necessary coflBn could not be
procured, the child's cradle was substituted in its place.
When the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company was
erecting. a structure at the "Oak Orchard," a few years
later, they disinterred, in digging for a foundation, a cradle
containing the skeleton of a child, which was undoubtedly
all that remained of the loved babe of De Wardenou and
his wife. The second death among the settlers was that
of a daughter of Josiah Newland, named Abigail ; the
precise date of her decease is unknown.

In the spring of 1798 the southern part of town was
settled by numbers who had the year previous bid off at
auction various tracts in the Oneida Reservation, for the
purpose of becoming " actual settlers" thereon. Among
the arrivals this year were the following, viz. : Russell
Brooks, Martin Langdon, Noah Langdon, Samuel Avery,
Joseph Eames, John Bosworth, Oliver Pomeroy, Ithaniar
Day, Eleazer Ellis, Fisher Ellis, Jedediah Phelps (from
Rome, where he had settled in 1784), Stephen Benedict,
Jabez Loomis, Jonathan Warren, John Tilden, John R.
Todd, Levi Skinner, Lieutenant Billington, Peter Whelan,
Robert Robbins, Rodman Clark, Caleb Clark, Solomon
BLshop, and Moses Brown.

Others who located in this year (1798) and later were
Simeon Parsons, Joseph Couch, Benjamin Blaokman,
Aohus Bathbun, Artemas Brewer, Nahum Joslin, Elias
Cagwin, Daniel B. Cagwin, Dr. Alexander Whaley, Joseph
Green, and Gideon Todd. The first fram.ed house in town
was built by Robert Robbins.

Previous to 1805 two men were killed in the north part
of town, at a barn-raising, one of the bents being left in
an insecure position and finally falliiig, causing the instant
death of one of the men, and fatally injuring the other,
who lived but a few days.

The most virulent typhus fever broke out in this town
in August, 1805, and carried off many of the citizens, the
first being Miss Elizabeth Day, daughter of Ithamar Day.
Captain Oliver Pomeroy, one of the pioneers of the town,
died with this fever, Oct. 9, 1805.

With the exception of its northern and northwestern
portions, Verona was settled and improved very rapidly.
The parts mentioned began to be filled up faster upon the
completion, in 1820, of the middle section of the Erie

As provided in the act creating the town of Verona, the


was held at the house of Martin Langdon, on the 2d day
of March, 1802. This house stood about half a mile west
of what is now Verona village. The following officers were
chosen, viz.: Supervisor, Jedediah Phelps, Esq.; Town
Clerk, Eleazer Ellis ; Assessors, Martin Langdon, Peter
Whelan, Caleb Clark ; Collector, Stephen Benedict ; Poor-
masters, Jonathan Warren, Noah Langdon; Commissioners
of Roads, Isaac Weld, John Bosworth, Alexander Enos ;
Constable, Stephen Benedict; Overseers of Highways,
Reuben Langdon, David Shed, George Seton, Simeon Par-
sons, Isaac Weld, Thomas R. Clark, Eleazer Ellis, Squier
Holmes, Eliel Nichols, Park Adams; Fence- Viewers, Jede-
diah Phelps, Caleb Clark, Jabez Loomis ; Pound-Keeper,
Joseph Eames.

Among those living in the town in 1802—4 were Eli
Whelan, Eleazer Ellis, Alexander Beebe, John Bozworth,
Oliver Pomeroy, Keeler Starr, Dan Bozworth, Noah, Joseph,
Martin, and Reuben Langdon, Daniel Hall, Nathan Ellis,
Thaddeus Wilson, Calvin Giddins, Robert Robins, Thomas
G. Day, Ebenezer Loomis, Jabez Loomis, Simeon Parsons,
Obed Williams, Enoch Hitchcock, Richard Brown, Thomas
R. Clark, James Bewel, John Gray, Joseph Eames ; and
in 1805, Stephen Clark, Ephraim Robbins, Samuel Pratt,
Achus Rathbun, Constant Bozworth, Samuel Whaley, Dr.
Alexander Whaley, Elias Cagwin. These had mostly set-
tled several years previous.

The Supervisors of Verona, from 1803 to 1878, inclu-
sive, have been as follows: 1803-6, Jedediah Phelps, Esq. ;
1807-19, Stephen Benedict, Esq.; 1820, Joseph Grant,
Esq.; 1821, Stephen Benedict; 1822-23, Joseph Grant;
1824-25, Stephen Benedict; 1826, Alexander Whaley,
M.D.; 1827-31, Nathaniel Fitch; 1832, Ichabod Hand;
1833, Alfred Patten; 1834-37, James J. Carley; 1838,
De Witt C. Stephens; 1839, James 0. Gates; 1840-41,
Justus E. Gillett; 1842-43, Alfred Patten ; 1844, no rec-
ord ; 1845-46, James S. Whaley ; 1847, Willet Stillman ;
1848-49, Thomas G. Halley; 1850, Archibald Hass ;
1851, James S. Whaley; 1852, no record; 1853, Solomon
P. Smith ; 1854, Calvin Bishop ; 1855, no record ; 1856,
Martin Tipple; 1857-58, Orson Foote; 1859-60, Salmon
Tuttle; 1861-62, George Benedict; 1863-64, J. Piatt
Goodsell; 1865-66, George H. Sanford ; 1867-69, Henry
S. Stark; 1870, Willard H. Bennett; 1871-73, Henry S.
Stark; 1874, Delford Patten; 1875-76, William Williams;
1877-78, Henry S. Stark.

The remaining officers for 1878 are: Town Clerk, Josiah
Andrews ; Justices of the Peace, Ezra Mansfield, 0. Elmer,



J. S. Hyatt, W. M. Reynolds, Josiah Andrews ; Collector,
Frederick Eisch ; Commissioner of Higliways, M. V. B.
Warner; Assessor, George Hoffman; Overseers of the
Poor, William H. Sheffield, John McMahon ; Constables,
Martin S. Crossett, Delbert Peokham, David Doty, James
McMahon; Town Auditors, Newell Hall, Francis Mills,
N. Warner Fitch ; Inspectors of Election, District No. 1,
George H. Kline, Theodore Cagwin, N. Warner Fitch;
District No. 2, James Drummond, John* Rant, John Mar-
cellius; District No. 3, Hermon Roberts, Alfred Briggs,
Michael Murphy ; Excise Commissioner, William B. Nel-
son ; Game Constable, Josiah Walrath.

Abel Gillett, from Hartford Co., Conn., came to this
town in 1806 and settled on a farm east of Verona village,
now owned by his son, Justus B. Gillett. The latter came
with his father, and is at present residing with his son-in-
law, J. W. Dodge.

Noah Leete located a mile and a half south of Verona
village in 1809, and afterwards moved to it. His grandson,
R. B. Leete (son of Harley N. Leete), is the present post-
master at the village.

Solomon Bishop, from Whitingham, Vt., settled in
Hampton village, in the town of Westmoreland, in 1797,
and in 1803 came to the town of Verona, and located on
the farm now owned by the heirs of David Osgood, where
he resided until 1808, when he removed to the place now
owned by his grandson, Calvin W. Bishop. Solomon
Bishop was a Revolutionary soldier, and was present at the
surrender of Burgoyne. His son, Calvin Bishop, possesses
his father's old gun-barrel. The latter person is the
youngest of eleven children, and until 1871 lived on the
farm last occupied by his father. He at present resides in
the village of Verona, and is the oldest resident of the
town, probably having made it his home since 1803.

Wells Rathbun, whose father, Achus Rathbun, a Quaker,
settled in 1802, was until his death the oldest resident.

Salmon Tuttle, now living near New London, is a native
of the town of Camden, in which his father (Zopher Tut-
tle) was an early settler. Mr. Tuttle's wife is a daughter
of Aaron Bailey, one of the pioneers of the town of
Vienna. Mr. Tuttle located at New London in December,

Esquire Orville Elmer is probably the oldest resident of
the village of New London or its vicinity. L. D. Smith is
also an old resident, and Henry Bissell, whose place is near
that of Mr. Tuttle, is a native of the town. Of the early
settlers in this portion of Verona the descendants are but
few in the locality, those now occupying the neighborhood
being mostly much later arrivals, a few only having lived
here more than forty years. Property in this vicinity has
changed hands many times since the construction of the


The earliest schools in town were kept in the neighbor-
hood of Verona village. The first two were at Blackman's
Corners, and what is now Verona Depot. The dates at
which they were commenced are not now recollected.

A select school was at one time established near the
Bishop place, and sustained for several years. The school

— a very good one — was first in charge of a Mr. Ayres,
and afterwards of Miss Phelps. The schools at present in
existence are equal to those of any town in the county.


" The first sermon preached in the town was by the Rev.
Joseph Avery, of Tyringham, Berkshire Co., Mass., while
upon a visit to his son, the late Samuel Avery, one of the
first settlers. The first preacher employed by the people
was a Mr. Masey, a candidate for the ministry, who preached
a portion of the time in this, and the other portion in an
adjoining town, for one season."* He was followed by
Stephen Williams, of New Hampshire.

The first church organization in town was Congregational
in denomination, and was formed Aug. 5, 1803, in a barn,
which is yet standing in Verona village. Its founders
were Revs. Peter Fish and Timothy Cooley, missionaries,
one a Congregationalist and the other a Presbyterian. The
members numbered 23.

In November, 1806, the first religious society was formed
" to provide the privileges of the gospel for themselves and
families," the articles of agreement being signed by 65 heads
of families. A Methodist preacher, in the fall of 1805,
held a revival at Lowell, in the town of Westmoreland,
which spread into Verona, and about 40 were added to this
church. Its first pastor was Rev. Israel Brainard, who was
installed Sept. 23, 1807. In 1828 the church and society
(having previously built a meeting-house two miles east of
Verona village) divided, and a second Congregational Church
and Society was formed, which erected a new house of wor-
ship in the village. This status of affairs continued until
June, 1837, when they reunited, and occupied the building
at the village. The present membership of this society is
something over 100, and its pastor Rev. Charles F. Jones.
The predecessor of the latter. Rev. D. I. Biggar, was pastor
here for ten years. Among the earlier pastors were Revs.
Luther Myrick, B. Spencer, Lewis, Benjamin Lock-
wood, Charles P. Butler, Washington Stickney, Henry
Kendal, Nathan Bosworth, and J. S. Barteau. The Sun-
day-school in connection has a present membership of about
100, and a library of several hundred volumes. Its Super-
intendent is I. W. Young.


This society was organized as a separate station in 1833.
It had previously been connected with the old Westmore-
land circuit, and a church was built in 1830. The latter
has been largely repaired and remodeled. The building now
in use as a parsonage was formerly occupied by Dr. Main
as a store, and was purchased by the society in 1836 for the
purpose of a parsonage and chapel, and has been used as
such since that time. The following is a list of pastors of
this church: 1834-35, Rev. Isaac Stone; 1836, David
Kingsley ; 1837, J. D. Torry ; 1838, William H. Pearne ;
1839, L. B. Weaver; 1840-41, Lyman A. Eddy; 1842-
43, M. Adams; 1844, J. D.-Torrey; 1845-46, Isaac
Foster; 1847, Robert Fox; 1848, William Burnside;
1849-50, Ephraim C. Brown ; 1851-52, T. B. Rockwell ;

* Jones.



1853-54, L.H.Stanley, 1855-56, E. P. Williams ; 1856-
57, William Jerome; 1858-59, William E. York; 1860-
61, John H. Hall.; 1862-63, William A. Wadsworth ;
1864-65, P. W. Tooke; 1866-67, L. H. Stanley; 1868-
71, L. Eastwood ; 1872-73, S. M. Eisk ; 1873-76, James
Stanton ; 1876, and present pastor, Gordon Moore. During
Mr. Eastwood's pastorate the church was repaired at a cost
of $7000. The membership in the spring of 1878, accord-
ing to the minutes of the Conference,. was 86, with 11 pro-
bationei-s. The Sunday-school has 65 members and II
teachers and officers, and possesses a library of 250 volumes.
This society has one local preacher. Rev. William S. Lewis.


In 1843 this society purchased the building formerly
occupied by Mr. Braiiiard, and moved it to New London.
The present membership is 52, beside 17 probationers, and
the pastor Rev. Clarence M. Skeel. A Sunday-school is
sustained, with 40 scholars and teachers, and a library of
100 volumes.


This society was organized some time previous to 1850,
and has a present membership of 82, with 9 probationers.
Its pastor is Rev. E. Everett. The Sunday-school has 30
scholars and 9 teachers, and a library of 50 volumes. ,


Eliphalet Frazee, the first settler on the site of this vil-
la<i;e, removed here in 1811, and in 1812 he, with Benja-
min Newcomb, Dyer D. Ransom, Roswell Barker, and a
few others, began religious worship, which was maintained
till 1815, when they were organized into a church of twelve
members. Mr. Newcomb was their preacher most of the
time until 1819, when he was ordained as the first pastor
of the cliurch. In 1833 a church was erected, 38 by 48
feet in dimensions, and completed in 1834. Mr. Newcomb
preached until 1834, when he died. His successor was
Rev. Dyer D. Ransom, who had removed from here to
Peterboro', Madison Co., where he was ordained to the
ministry. Among his successors have been Revs. Seymour
W. Adams, R. Z. Williams, William J. Loomis, Albert
Cole, and Harry White. At present the society has no
regular pastor, although services are held by Rev. G. R.
Pierce, of Oneida. The members number about 55. The
Sunday-school has an attendance of about 60, with 12
teachers, and a library of 75 volumes. Its Superintendent
is 0. F. Kelley. There have been tliree Baptist Churches
in this town, one at Higginsville and one at Verona Depot.


This church has been organized about twenty years, and
the building for worship erected about the same length of
time. The latter has since been considerably enlarged, and
is a frame structure. The church is in charge of the Fran-
ciscan, Fathers, of Syracuse, by whom pastors are supplied.
About 80 families are connected with the church, and a
Sunday-school apd day-school are maintained. The school
building is located near the church; its teacher is Miss

Elizabeth Buck, who is also Superintendent of the Sunday-


This is a missionary station in charge of Rev. Greorgo
Hibbard, of Oneida; its membership is small, prob.ibly
from 15 to 20. Meetings are held in the building belong-
ing to the Presbyterians, the latter society not at present
holding services. This church was erected in 1851, th&
work being done l>y a man named Sykes. Rev. A. Coch-
ran, still a resident of the village, was pastor at the time.
The Presbyterians have had no regular organization here
for several years.


Daniel Williams, of this denomination, removed from
Hopkinton, R. I., to the west part of the town of Rome
in 1805, near what is now called Rathbunville. in Veronal
He was accompanied by his daughter and two of his seven
sons, and the other five moved into the vicinity within four
years succeeding. His brother, Joshua Williams, also from
Hopkinton, came with a large family during the same period,'

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 165 of 192)