Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 166 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 166 of 192)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and settled on an adjoining farm in Rome. In the two
families were 24 persons, who, in 1808, formed themselves
into a family association " for religious improvement and
Sabbath worship," and this was the germ of the present
Seventh-day Baptist organizations in town. In 1820 the
number was swelled to 51, and a church was formed. In
March, 1828, they organized a society under the style of
" the first Seventh-day Baptist Society of Rome and Ve-
rona," numbering 90 members, and the next year a house
of worship was erected. Itinerant preachers at first held
services. The first regular pastor was Elder John L.
Kenyon, who was settled in 1837, and the same year the
second Seventh-day Baptist Church of Verona was organ-
ized at Durhamville, with 41 members, 16 being from the
first church. Elder Kenyon died in 1839 ; among his sue-,
cessors have been Elders Charles M. Lewis, Christopher C.
Chester, and others. The second church built a house of
worship a mile of Durhamville in 1850. The latter
society has a membership of 38 (28 residents and 10 non-
residents). Its pastor is Elder Charles M. Lewis. Meet-
ings are held every alternate Sabbath, and Sunday-school
every Sabbath. The attendance at the latter is about 40,
and its Superintendent Frank Mills. The church has been
extensively repaired. Elder Lewis also has charge of the
first church, which is located at a place called " Church-
ville," near New London. At that place are also German
Lutheran and German Reformed Churches, and the Ger-
man Methodists and Free Methodists also have buildings
at New London. The Methodist Episcopal Society is the
largest at that place.


located on the road leading from Rome to Oneida Castle,
was first settled by Shubael Brooks, in the fall of 1797..
The place was long known as " Hand's village,'' from the
fact that Captain Ichabod Hand for many years kept an
excellent public-house here. Dr. Brundage, the first physi-
cian in town, located here very early, on the corner where
the hotel now stands. The latter building, now owned by



Samuel Britt, was built in 1830 by Calvin and Harrison
Bishop (brothers). Another building, formerly used as a
hotel, but now discontinued in that capacity, is much older
than this ; it was built by James Clark, and kept by him. His
brother, George* Clark, owned the first store in the place,
which stood on the site of the building now containing a
store and the post-office. This was about the year 1805,
and at that time the only other building in the place was a
log house occupied by Esquire Martin L^ngdon.

Dr. Alexander Whaley settled early in the town, and built
the framed house in this village now owned by the widow
Eames. The doctor was one of the first physicians who
came to Verona, and was a prominent man in his profession.
He lived to be nearly ninety-two years of age, and died
at the residence of his son, James Whaley, in Rome. His
father, who was a blacksmith, had a shop a short distance
north of the Tillage (Yerona). The doctor's son, Francis
Whaley, occupies the old place, and a daughter, now Mrs.
McLean, resides in the village. Samuel Whaley, brother
to the doctor, is also a resident of the village, and aged
eighty-eight years.

One of the first postmasters in town was a tailor named
Hess, who lived in the western part of the village, and kept
the office in his shop. The first postmaster here was very
probably Robert Clark, the first mcTchant, who had the
post-office in his store. The present incumbent is R. M.


is a station on the New York Central and Hudson River
Railroad. The site for the railroad buildings was given to
the company by Simeon Parsons, who, with all his family^
has removed from town. Besides the .station buildings,
the place has a small store and a hotel, which have been
erected since the railroad went into operation.


is a village located in the southwest part of the town. Eli-
phalet Frazee has been mentioned as its first settler, locating
in 1811. The place contains eight or ten stores, two hotels,
several saloons, several mechanic shops, etc., besides the
churches already described, the Durhamville Glass- Works,
and other manufacturing institutions. Here is also located
a dry-dock for the Erie Canal.

The place for a long time existed as a corporation, it
having been incorporated principally through the efforts of
Spencer H. Stafford, at the time a lawyer in the village,
now of Oneida, Madison Co. Under the original charter
the affairs of the corporation were administered for a num-
ber of years, and finally (in 1869) a new charter was drawn
up by H. Doane Brockway, then village clerk, who was one
of a committee for that purpose, and it was confirmed by
the Legislature. From some the charter was never
filed in the county office, and this fact did not become
known to the citizens until the village had been existing
under its supposed new charter for several years; the
consequence was the corporation business was ultimately
dropped. This charter was much the same as the general
law passed by the Legislature in 1870 for the incorporation

* Should this name be Robert?

of villages. Arrangements were nearly completed for newly
incorporating the place when it was visited (June, 1878).

The village was named from Eber Durham, who removed
here from Manlius, Onondaga Co., in 1826, when there
were but four log houses in the place. He leased the sur-
plus water from the canal, and employed it extensively for
hydraulic purposes. The Canal Company finally decided to
allow no one to use the water, as the rents but poorly paid
for the damage to navigation, and whatever there is of
waste now runs over a weir into the Oneida Creek.

The Durhamville post-office was established quite early
in the history of the place. The present po.stmaster is R.
W. Powers. The business of the village was much larger
during the palmy days of the Erie Canal, before the rail-
road was constructed, than at present, and a large tannery,
several saw-mills, an extensive foundry, and other manufac-
turing institutions furnished employment to many persons,
and were sources of prosperity to the place.

A pipe- factory was established in the fall of 1877 by E.
N. & G. F. Kelsey, who at present employ from 15 to 20
hands. The clay used in the manufacture of the pipes i.s
principally from Woodbridge, N. J., although some English
clay is used. The brick building in which the factory is
located was erected in 1850 by E. N. Kelsey, to be used for
stores, etc.


The business of glass-making, which was the starting-
point of the trade of the present firm, was commenced in
1818, at Sand Lake, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., by Isaac D.
Fox. In 1845, the factory at Durhamville was built by
the noted contractor, De Witt C. Stephens, who operated it
for a few months, when it passed into the hands of Fox,
Gregory & Co. Some of the firm finally retired, and until
recently the firm-name was Fox & Son. The present firm
is Fox & Co. (father and son). Connected with the estab-
lishment is a tract of 220 acres of land, upon which have
been erected the various dwellings for employees, a general
store, shops, etc., and the factory. Some of the land owned
by the company is located at a distance. The factory,
dwelling, shops, etc., are built upon a tract of about 20
acres, and 100 acres close by are cultivated. The buildings,
furnaces, etc., have been lately enlarged, and still further
additions are to be made. Ten large glass pots are used,
and the annual use is necessitated of about 250 tons of
soda ash, imported from Liverpool and Newcastle, England ;
15,000 to 20,000 bushels of sand, from lots owned by the
firm within a mile of the works; about 1000 bushels of
salt; 100,000 pounds of German clay, and 20,000 pounds
of Jersey clay; 2500 tons of coal; about 1500 cords of
wood ; and about 30 tons of stra-w for packing. A shop
is owned by the firm, containing machinery for making
boxes, and 250,000 feet of lumber are annually used for
that purpose. The season for manufacturing glass extends
through, usually, ten months, and about 4000 boxes are
made each month. Some 60 hands are furnished with
work. No agents are employed, and the goods are sold
principally in New York City. This is the largest factory
in the State, and turns out more work than any single fac-
tory in the Union. The buildings are located on the bank
of the Erie Canal.



northeast of Durhamville, on the caaal, contains a small
hotel and a post-offioe, — the latter conducted by W. S.


located four miles below Durhamville, also on the canal,
are at present owned by Monroe, Cowarden & Co. From
50 to 60 hands are employed; the manufactures amount
to 30,000 boxes and upwards annually, the materials used
being of about the same quality (though smaller in quan-
tity) as those used at the Durhamville factory. The com-
pany also own a general store.


in the upper part of Higginsville, has a general store and
a. depot for canal supplies. Here is also a large basin and
a bridge.

still lower on the canal, has been entirely built up since
the construction of the latter, and its population, like that
of all the canal villages, is constantly changing. But very
little of its early history can be obtained. It now contains
one store, a cigar-factory, a post-office, — present postmaster,
J. M. Tinker, — and a small hotel. The old branch canal
from this place is only in use about one mile to a fine sand-
stone quarry.

are localities on the canal below Higginsville, each contain-
ing a store and one or two houses.


farther east, was first settled, in 1824, by Ambrose Jones,
who afterwards moved to the town of Vienna. Boat-build-
ing has been extensively carried on at this place, which
contains three stores, a hotel, a post-office, — established in
the neighborhood of 1825 ; Daniel Q-. Allen, present post-
master, — and several shops of various descriptions. The
place has suflFcred severely from fire at different times, and
was as large forty years ago as it is at present. A very
neat two-story brick union school building has been erected



now also called " Verona Mills," was first settled, in 1802,
by Achus Bathbun, a member of the Society of Friends.
His son, Solomon Rathbun, in later years became the pro-
prietor of quite an extensive business here, including a
large flouring-mill, a woolen-factory, and a store. The old
Rathbun grist>mill was destroyed by fire, and the present
one has since been erected : it is owned by Clarence
Williams, and does principally custom grinding.

is the name of a locality in the southeast part of town,
and its first settler was a man named Strallon (or Stratton).
Merrit Clark moved upon the hill in 1798, opened a small
store, and manufactured potash. Very probably this was
the first store in the town of Verona. Mr. Clark also built
a small frame dwelling so near the standing timber that in
cutting it away a tree fell upon the house and broke in
part of the roof; it remained in that condition for years.

John Tildon, from whom the hill took its name, moved
upon it in 1800. The following anecdote was told of him
at the time :

" After he had purchased, but before he removed, he came up to view
his farm, and satisfying himself, he went to Vernon village to spend
the night. Captain Benjamin Pierson then kept the tavern. Mr.
Tilden informed mine host that he wished to stop with him for the
night, but that he had spent his money, so that he had not a dollar,
nor a two-shilling piece, nor a six-penny piece left, but that the bill
should eventually be paid. The captain seeing no appearance of
poverty on the part of his guest, and knowing he had purchased a
farm in the vicinity, readily told him he could stay. He had supper,
lodging, breakfast, and horse-keeping. In the morning, as about to
leave, he inquired the amount of his hill. It was made out without
any expectation of its being paid at that time, but, to the surprise of
our landlord and his attendants, the wayfarer drew from his pocket a
stocking well filled with half-dollars, and paid the bill, convincing the
landlord that he was a man of truth, for in tbe capacious wallet there
was not a dollar, two-shilling or six-penny piece."-

is a small village located in the southwest part of the town,
on the creek of the same name, near its entry into Oneida
Creek. The late Samuel S. Breese formerly owned a
cotton-factory at the place, which was discontinued about
1844-45. The celebrated chieftain for whom the stream
was named first used the water-power here to turn the
wheels of a grist-mill and a saw-mill for the use of his
tribe and the few whites then living in the vicinity. A
post-office in the northwest corner of the town, on the New
York and Oneida Mountain Railway, established since that
road was built, is called Fish Creek.

Among those to whom we are indebted for information
furnished in this town are Calvin Bishop and others, at
Verona village ; H. D. Brockway and numerous others, at
Durhamville ; Salmon Tuttle, at New London ; the pro-
prietors of the various manufactories; the pastors and
members of the different churches, and many whose names
are not recalled.



This town lies in the western border of the county,
upon the north shore of Oneida Lake, and has an area of
38,102 acres. Its surface in the southern part is level,
and in places originally quite marshy. In the north it is
hilly and broken. The soil is generally sandy. The eastern
boundary is partly formed by Fish Creek, and the northern
partly by the west branch of the same stream. Numerous
smaller streams abound, all of which furnish good power.
A portion of the town was originally covered with yellow
or pitch pine, and the balance was made up largely of hem-
lock and white pine, so that for many years the lumber
interests were large. In the north part of town was a strip
of land covered with rock-maple, and known as the " Maple
Flats." It was about two miles in length and one in

Oneida Lake, viewed from any point in this town, is a

* Junes' Annals.



beautiful sheet of water, and along its shores are many pic-
turesque locations, particularly in the vicinity of the village
of North Bay. That the lake once covered the greater por-
tion of the town to the north, and at a much more recent
period that to the eastward, is plainly evident from the
nature of the soil and the general appearance of the country.
Since the timber has been destroyed to so great an extent
the amount of water in the lake has been slowly diminish-
ing, and, although it still has a large area, its depth is slight,
and numerous sand-barS abound. The view from the pro-
montory at North Bay, when a fresh wind is blowing and
the sky is clear or partly cloudy, is one long remembered.
Stretching away to the west and south, the blue waters of
the lake appear magnificent with their curling waves and
caps of foam, and on the opposite shore the distant hills of
Madison County rise bold and free, — a fitting background
to the exquisite picture. Although there are in a few
places low, marshy spots, the general appearance.of the lake
add its surroundings is oiie of great beauty, and the dusky
Oiieidas loved to glide Over or sport in its waters, while the
anthem they sang in their steady beating upon the pebbly
shore was the sweetest music to the ear of the red son of
the forest, whose swift canoe no longer cleaves its waters
and whose form is no more present upon its shores.

April 3, 1807, the town of Orange was formed from
Camden; April 6, 1808, the name was changed to Bengal,
and April 12j 1816, to Vienna, which has since been re-
tained. This town "comprises townships Nos. 9 and 10
of Scriba's Patent, and is a part of the original grant to
Nicholas Roosevelt, of New York. The latter not comply-
ing with the terms of sale, a large share of his purchase
was re-sold to George Scriba, a native of Germany, but then
a merchant in New York, and the remainder, including this
town, was subsequently sold tinder proceedings in chancery
against Roosevelt, and General Alexander Hamilton, John
Lawrence, and John B. Church became the purchasers."*
The early records of the town have been lost, and it is im-
possible without them to give a list of the town officers for
the years previous to 1871, since which time the Supervisors
have been the following, viz. : 1871, Bri Kinne ; 1872, Zeno
Borland; 1873-74, Henry Nicholas; 1875, S. A. Covell,
Jr.; 1876, John H. Meays; 1877-78, S. A. Covell, Jr.
The remaining officers for 1878 are: Town Clerk, Lorin
Bushnell ; Justice of the Peace, John H. Bedell ; Collector,
Harvey H. Bailey ; Assessor, George W. Mathews ; Com-
missioner of Highways, Russell Campbell ; Overseer of the
Poor, William G. Marsh ; Constables, Addison West, G.
W. Varian, E. M. Reed, Benjamin Peacock ; Game Con-
stable, Luther Reed ; Inspectors of Election, District No.
1, Anson L. Eaton,. Ephraim McCarty ; District No. 2,
Warren Wolson, Thomas Planigan ; District No. 3, W.
H. Cornoste, Peter Kilts, Joseph A. Cook ; Excise Com-
missioners, Velsor Montross, Edward McCormic ; Auditors,
John M. Thompson, Edward Hillock, Henry D. Eaton. A
portion of this town was taken off and added to Annsville
i,n 1823.


The first settler in the town of Vienna was Ephraim
Church, who located on a farm now owned by William

* Jones' Annals.

Bailey and John Humiston.f He arrived probably in 1797,
and afterwards sold out to a Mr. Jarvis. Isaac Cook came
the same year with Church, or not later than the year fol-
lowing, and Timothy Halstead, the third settler, in 1798 or
1799. The fatter built the first frame House, which stood
until quite recently, when it was torn dovfn. Mr. Halstead-
and his brother Joseph located first in Trenton, and the
former finally came to Vienna at the earnest solicitation of
Isaac Cook, from whom he purchased land. Mr. Halstead's
son, Henry N. Halstead, is at present the oldest resident of
the town.

Eliphalet Pierce, for a short time a resident of the town of
Trenton, came to Vienna the year following Mr. Halstead's
removal here. Amotig other settlers, all coming about 1800—

1802, were, Kilbourne, Alexander and Jonathan

Graves, John TuUy, Luther Fisher, Smith (a shoe-
maker), and others. Alexander Graves was killed in the
saw-mill at McConnellsville, one of the first deaths in
town. Two children of Luther Fisher had previously
died, and were buried upon a lot from his farm, where the
present cemetery is located, west of McConnellsville.

Henry N. Halstead was a member of the old 68tli Regi-
ment of militia, and in 1814 was one of 36 from it who
were called to Sacket's Harbor. He is probably the only
one of the number now living.

Peter Gibbons, from Massachusetts, located in this town
about 1803, on the farm, about half a mile below McCon-
nellsville, now owned by Alanson Tuttle, and was one of
the first settlers in the neighborhood. Upon this farm is
still standing the frame barn built by Mr. Gibbons, being
the second erected in the town ; the first was put up by Jona-
than Graves, about a year previous. Mr. Gibbons also set
out the second orchard in the town. His granddaughter, Mrs.
David Pike, lives with her husband at McConnellsville,
and two grandsons — cousins to Mrs. Pike — reside, one in
Vienna and the other at McConnellsville Station, in the
town of Annsville, where he is agent for the Rome, Water-
town and Ogdensburg Railroad Company. Mrs. Kerr,
another granddaughter, also resides in McConnellsville.

Luther Pike settled on the road between McConnellsville
and North Bay in 1815. His son, David Pike, lives atthe
former village. Mrs. Axtell, living above McConnellsville,
is a daughter of Andrew- Palms, who settled here previous
to the war of 1812, and was out with the militia during
that struggle. Qramon Tuttle, who first located iij Cam-
den, where he and his wife were members of the first Con-
gregational Society, came to Vienna in 1815 or 1816, and
settled a mile above McConnellsville, where his son, Noah
Tuttle, now resides.

John Wheelock, from the State of Massachusetts, came
to this town in 1813, and settled near Fish Creek, on the
farm now partly owned by his son, Otis Wheelock. Mr.
Wheelock served seven years in the Revolutionary army.
His son, Otis Wheelock, came to the town in 1814, with
bio brother Curtis, making the trip on foot. The former
has walked to his old home in Massachusetts and back
twice in one winter, and during the war of 1812 was out as
a soldier to Sacket's Harbor. Of John Wheelock's family

f Also written Humaston.



but two children are now living, — Otis, in this town, and
John, Jr., in Corunna, Shiawassee Co., Mich.

When Mr. Wheelock came there were but few living in
this part of the town, and it was mostly covered with a
heavy growth of hemlock timber. Among those in the
neighborhood at that time were George Haskins, the first
settler on Fish Creek in that vicinity ; Roswell Seeley,
next above Otis Wheelock (the latter owning the lot be-
tween Seeley and Ha&kins) | Enoch Strong ; Blisha Ris-
ley, from Connecticut, who had relatives of the same name
in the town of New Hartford ; these men were all in the
southeast corner of the town, on the west side of Fish

John Humiston kept a tavern near the Fish Creek
bridge on the main road to Rome ; Samuel Sawyer lived
above Otis Wheelock's present residence, and was the first
man west of Humiston's ; next towards the lake was a jolly,
good-natured old man, familiarly known as " Daddy" Little,
an early settler; the brothers William and John Paddock
lived just above what is now known as Vienna Post-Office,
or " South Corners." That place had in 1813 a tavern
kept by Rufus Kinne, and was quite a settlement. Elia-
kim Stoddard, who had settled in Camden in 1799, re-
moved to this place in 1803, and resided five years on the
corner where the tavern now is, opposite the old Rufus
Kinne stand. He was the first supervisor of Vienna, and
returned to Camden in 1808.

Silas Jewell settled in the southwest corner of the town
in 1817, coming from Massachusetts. In 1818 he removed
to Constantia, Oswego Co., but finally came back and located
at West Vienna village.

This town at one time contained thirty-seven saw-mills,
and the manufacture of lumber was the principal industry
of its inhabitants. But few are now in operation, and
agricultural pursuits receive much more attention than


. The first school in Vienna was taught by Lyman Mathers,
in 1803 or 1804, on the place now owned by Josiah New-
Ian, a shoil distance below McConnellsville, on the Rome
road. It was kept in a small log house owned by Isaac

In the neighborhood of Fish Creek Landing a school was
taught early by Phebe Barker, in a log house built by »
Mr. Graves, and afterwards (1807) purchased by William
Covell. The latter had built a new house when school was
kept in the old one. Miss Barker afterwards taught in a
log school-house, which was built in the same neighbor-

In 1815-16, Otis Wheelock taught a school in a small
log house which stood a short distance above his present
residence. This house contained two or three of the old-
fashioned windows, having but eight small panes of glass
each. There was at the same time a brick school-house at
the " South Corners," which had been built four or five
years previously, and several other log and frame school-
houses then existed in the town.

In 1813-14, Miss Lucretia Tremaine was teaching in the
district next below McConnellsville. The schools of the

town at present are in good condition generally, with a fair


The present frame house of. worship belonging to this
society was commenced about 1832, David Pike hewing the
first timbei-s used in its construction. Before the church
was built Revs. Stoddard and Westcott preached in the
school-house at the village, and a large class had been organ-
ized, which met at the same place. Of this class Mrs.
David Pike is probably the only surviving member. The
society numbers at present about 150 members, and is

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 166 of 192)