Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 172 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 172 of 192)
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vices were occasionally held by itinerant preachers. Until
1803 their gatherings were in private houses, but in that
year they purchased the South Street Congregational
Church, which was used until 1835, when a church was

built at Hampton and another at Lairdsville. Among the
early Methodist preachers in this town were Rev. Messrs.
Harvey, Simon, Everdell, Fox, Freeman, Paddock, Foster,
Matteson, and Row. The church at Hampton (Westmore-
land Post-Office) numbered 109 full members and 47 proba-
tioners by the report of 1877, and about 140 communicants
in the spring of 1878. The Sunday-school has about
140 members, including a of 15 or 20 members at
Coleman's Mills, in Whitestown. A library of about 100
volumes is owned by the school. The present pastor of
this church is Rev. A. G. Jlarkhani, who holds services
also at Coleman's Mills. The church at Lairdsville is
occupied as a union church, and is in the same charge with
Vernon Centre ; Rev. Mr. Crofoot, pastor. A Sunday-school
is supported, with a respectable attendance.


was organized about the commencement of the year 1842,
and for a time supplied by Rev. Stephen McHugh, of
Oriskany. Revs. Staples and Spalding were his success-
ors, who also had charge of the " De Lancey Institute," as it
was then called, — an academic school near the Westmore-
land mineral spring. It was afterwards called the " Williams
Collegiate Institute," after its principal, A. G. Williams,
A.M., previously principal of the Vernon Academy, and
present owner of the institution at this place. The school
is not now in operation. The number of families at pres-
ent connected with this church is 30 ; communicants, 41 ;
rector. Rev. James S. Lemon, of Clark's Mills, where he
also has charge of a church. The frame church edifice
now in use at Westmoreland was erected in 1858.


in Westmoreland was constituted March 17, 1803, with 11
members. In March, 1804, Ora Butler came to preach to
them, was ordained and became their pastor, and continued
as such until his death, Jan. 16, 1811. Elders Hascall,
Gorton, Kincaid, Wade, Phileo, Beach, La Hatt, Bicknell,
Green, Simmons, Reed, and Belden preached here at dif-
ferent periods, and Messrs. Kincaid and Simmons were
ordained over this church. The Vernon, Verona, Second
Westmoreland, and Clinton churches were taken from this,
and in time it became extinct. It was the fifth church of
this denomination constituted in the county, its seniors being
at Whitestown, Deerfield, Paris, and Sangerfield.


is located at Bartlett, and was formed from the old church
at Lairdsville, with 12 members, Feb. 21, 1818. A small
church building was erected in 1819. In 1836 some of its
members withdrew and organized the " Old-School Baptist
Church.'' Elder Caleb Read was the first regular pastor
of the second church, in 1826. The present pastor is Rev.
G. L. Fan', and the membership not large. A Sunday-
school is sustained.


located north of Bartlett, has been under the pastoral care
of Rev. James Bicknell since its organization in 1836.



Its present house of worship was erected in 1838. The
attendance is not large.


at Lowell has a membership of 96, and is in charge of
Rev. Isaac Turney. The Sabbath-school has a membership
of 120, a library of 200 volumes, and is superintended by
George W. Revcly.

THE friends' meeting-house,

north of Bartlett, was built in 1819, soon after the organi-
zation of the society, which latter originally consisted of
the fiimily of Nathan Peckham, and Messrs. John Wright
and Lawton Barker. Alfred Richardson and wife, from
Lansingburg, N. Y., came soon afterwards. The society
now has between 60 and 70 members. Until since- 1852
the meeting has never had a regularly " recommended min-
ister;" at that date Mary A. Peckham, wife of Daniel
Peckham, was settled in that capacity. Traveling ministers
have visited the locality occasionally ever since the organi-
zation of the society. The old frame meeting-house was
used until 1871-72, when it was removed and the present
building erected in its placei

The first of this society who settled in this locality were
Messrs. Wright and Barker, above mentioned. Daniel
Peckham, from Pittstown, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., settled in
1812, and his wife, Lydia Peckham, was the first female
member of the society. Mr. Peckham brought with him
a family of ten children, of whom Daniel, now living near
the meeting-house, was the oldest son and next to the oldest
child. The Society of Friends in this town is considerably
larger than any other in the county of Oneida.


is located in the southern part of the town. Samuel Laird
has been mentioned as the first settler here. His old log
tavern was for some years the most noted one west of
Albany. For his first sign he placed one end of a piece of
board in a hollow stump, with the other end telling the
wayfarer that an inn was before him. He afterwards built
a better log house, and extended the ridge-pole far enough
to hang a sign upon. Isaac Jones afterwards opened a
second public-house at this place, which before the days of
canals and railways was quite a metropolis in miniature.

The Lairdsviile post-office was established about 1820-21,
through the efibrts of Judge Dean and Pomroy Jones.
The first postmaster was probably Salmon Cushman, who
was keeping a public-house in the village at the time. The
mail is at present brought from Clinton, and the afliiirs of
the office are administered by J. B. Jennings.


In 1800 a blast-furnace, known as the " Westmoreland
Furnace,'' was erected and went into operation at this
place, which is located in the southwest part of town. The
company which built it was composed of the following
persons : Russell Clark, Joel Bradley, Bradford Seymour,
Asa Seymour, Isaac Seymour (brothers), and George Lang-
ford. They at first used ore which was found near Judge
Dean's, but it proved to be inferior in quality, and con-

siderable quantities were brought from Verona, which con-
tained so much lime that it rendered fluxing unnecessary.
Ore was also used from various other localities. The old
foundry has been converted into a saw- and grist-mill, and
the manufacture of iron at this place is numbered among
the things of the past.

The Hecla post-office was established in the spring of
1851. The present postmaster is W. W. Wells. A small
store, the mills above referred to, and a few houses, com-
prise what is now " Hecla Works."

is a locality in the northern part of town, and was proba-
bly so named from Mr. Spencer, an early settler. Elections
were in an early day held at his house.


is located in the northwestern part of town, and contains
a store, a school-house, a church, a post-office, two black-
smith-shops, a shoe-shop, and a wagon-shop. Its location
was long called the " Two-Mile Tract." The post-office,
when first established, was called Republican, and afterwards
changed to Lowell. The village, or " corners," was for
some time called Andover, but as there was another post-
office in the State with that name, it was finally changed.
The present postmaster is J. M. Lawrence.

A fire in the village early in September, 1875, destroyed
a dwelling, a store, and the old brick tavern known as the
" Union Hotel," and the latter has not been rebuilt.


was established in 1876, with George Harris as postmaster,
who is still in office. It was named after Governor John
A. Dix, and is located at a station on the Rome and Clinton
Railway, near Spencer Settlement.


was established about the spring of 1871, and L. B. Good-
sell appointed first postmaster. The office was named aft«r
the president of the Rome and Clinton Railway, upon
which it is located. Previous to its establishment mail
was brought from Westmoreland, and for ten or eleven
years placed in care of Z. E. Downing for distribution.
Walter H. Dawley kept the office from 1873 to 1876, and
his father, J. C. Dawley, the present incumbent, has held it
since the fall of the latter year.

formerly called Hampton, lies in the eastern part of the town,
and contains two dry-goods and grocery stores, two tin-
shops, one flour and feed store, one drug-store, three black-
smith-shops, one wagon-shop, one harness-maker, one tailor,
one cabinet and undertaking establishment, a malleable-iron
manufactory, three saw-mills (near the village), a post-office,
a hotel, two livery -stables, three boot and shoe shops, and
two physicians (H. Warden and A. L.Terpenning). Over
the feed-store is ■' Halleck's Hall," for public uses. One
lawyer, E. L. Clark, practices in Utioa ; Prof L. F. Billings
is a music- teacher; and there are also three churches and
a two-story graded-sohool building. The post-office at this
place was established quite early, and originally called



Hampton. Much trouble was experienced from the fact
that another post-office of the same name existed in the
State, and it was finally changed to Westmoreland, to corre-
spond with the town. The place is still occasionally called
Hampton by those who knew it in the days before its name
was changed. Anson Smith was one of the early post^
masters hero ; the present incumbent of the office is N. P.

The Westmoreland Agricultural Society was conducted
some ten years, and disbanded about 1876. Annual fairs
were held during its existence.


In 1850, Messrs. Smith, Buell & Co. erected and put
in operation a furnace for the manufacture of malleable
iron. Mr. Buell removed to OrLskany in 1857, and estab-
lished a factory at that place. The officers of the present
company, which succeeds Clark, Metcalf & Co., are : Pres-
ident, James M. Clark ; Secretary and Treasurer, Francis
M. Metcalf Clark, Metcalf & Co. were successors to
Smith, Clark & Co., and one of the early names of the
firm was Smith, Halleck & Co. From 250 to 300 tons of
malleable and gray-iron castings are manufactured annually,
the work being mostly light harness buckles, etc. The
capacity is much larger; employment is furnished to about
50 hands upon an average, and it is the largest manufac-
turing establishment in the place.

The mineral springs at this place were first brought into
public notice in 1837-38, by Samuel, Halleck, father of
A. H. Halleck, now residing in the village. The water
was analyzed by Prof Noyes, of Hamilton College, and
found to possess fine medicinal qualities. {. It was discovered
by Mr. Halleck while boring for coal, which he erro-
neously supposed existed in this locality, He erected a
large building for boarders, and the place was quite a well-
known summer resort for a number of years. The water
forced itself in a strong stream through a pipe whieh had
been set in the ground. The property now belongs to
Professor A. G. Williams, A M., but is not kept open for
the accommodation of boarders or seekers after the life-
giving properties of the water.

Among those who have kindly furnished information in
this town, and to whom we are greatly indebted therefor,
are the veteran. Judge Pomroy Jones, John L. Dean, Z.
E. Downing, A. H. Halleck, Rev. James Deane, various
members of churches, manufacturers, and many others.


The name of this venerable man, so long identified with
the interests of Oneida County, finds an appropriate place
in its history. Commencing during Washington's admin-
istration, his life lay parallel with almost the entire history
of the United States.

He was born in Lebanon, Windham Co., Conn., April 4,
1796. His father, Charles Clark, wa^ a descendant of

Daniel Clark, who emigrated from England in 1C39, to
AVindsor, Conn,

Receiving only the advantages of a common-school edu-
cation, he served an apprenticeship at blacksraithing in his
native town. Soon after, he made his first visit to this
State, passing through the counties of Oneida and Madison.
This journey was made by horse and wagon, and occupied
several weeks. He was accompanied by Justus Brewster,
a fellow-apprentice, who afterwards settled in Verona, in
this county, where he died many years ago. At this time
(1817) no locomotive whistle had disturbed the Mohawk
Valley, the Erie Canal was but just begun, and Utica was
a thriving village of 2000 inhabitants, living mostly on
Greriesee and, Whitesboro' Streets.

Mr. Clark was married in Lebanon, Nov. 13, 1817, to
Miss Lucretia H. Buell, sister of Colonel Abel B. Buell,
now residing in Utica.

In 1818 he removed to Schenectady County, and after-
wards to Schoharie County, working at blacksniithing.

In March, 1824, he removed to Oriskany, in Oneida
County, and eiigaged in ti-ade and the manuficture of lum-
ber. He furnished part of the first lumber used in con-
structing the Naw York Mills cotton-factories, then in their
infancy, now holding a leading position among the industries
of this county. While he resided in Oriskany, the Erie
Canal was completed, opening a new era in the progressive
development of this State and the great West. This event
was celebrated with groat ceremony, Oct. 26, 1825.

After several years here, and a brief residence in Albany,
he removed to Westmoreland, Nov. 26, 1828.- Here he
was engaged in trade, and in the business of sheet^iron and
tin-ware manufacturing, being associated with his brothers,
L. and C. Clark, and with them built the brick .store in
that place in 1832. The work was well done by the late
Thomas L. Kingsley, of Utica, and his brother, then prac-
tical masons and builders.

In October,. 1837, he removed to Vernon, where he lived
nearly ten years, being engaged in the tin, iron, and stove
trade with N. P. Metcalf, now of Westmoreland.

After a short residence in Albany, in 1847 he removed
to Oak Hill, Greene Co., N. Y., where he resided nearly
three years, and first became connected with the malleable
iron manufacture, then in its infancy in this State. This
connection resulted in the establishment of the Malleable-
Iron Works in Westmoreland, in September, 1850, of
which he was one of the founders, and for many years the
business manager. To his industry, care, and cautious man-
agement the great success of this enterprise is largely due.
His a.ssociates in this business were Colonel Abel B. Buell,
Parker Halleck, William Smith, Asahel Strong, and Simeon
B. Smith, of whom Mr. Buell alone .survives. In 1871 he
retired from the business, having some years previously
ceased any active participation in its work.

About ten years after his return to this town, he suffered
a great affliction in the loss of his wife, with whom he had
lived happily for nearly forty-three years. Her life termi-
nated, after a long and painful illness, May 2, 1860.
Their children were seven in number, as follows :
Delia B. iMetcalf, wife of N. P. Metcalf, of Westmore-
land, born June 9, 1818.



Anna B. Seymour, wife of William B. Seymour, residing
in Iowa City, Iowa, born Nov. 22, 1819.

Harriet E. Clark, wife of William J. Clark, of West-
moreland, born Deo. 20, 1820.

James M. Clark, residing at Westmoreland, born March
26, 1824.

N. Sophia Clark, born April 18, 1830, died in Vernon,
Feb. 12, 1845.

Parker H. Clark, born June 13, 1833, died in Newton-
ville, Mass., April 11, 18G8.

W. Everett 'Clark, born March 27, 1838, and now re-
siding in Woodhaven, N. Y.

Of his descendants were also eight grandchildren and
four great-grandchildren.

In his political associations, Mr. Clark was originally a
Democrat, but early becoming impressed with the evils of
slavery, he threw his influence, on all occasions, against its
extension, and in 1848 acted with the " Free-Soil" party.
In 185G, he joined in the organization of the Republican
party, which had his warmest sympathies during his life.
Throughout the Rebellion the government had his earnest
and unvarying support. He hud no ambition for public
office, but was often chosen for positions of trust. In 1840
he was appointed as deputy marshal for taking the United
States census, his work covering seven towns of this county.
In 1841 he was elected supervisor of the town of Vernon,
and in 1842 justice of the peace, holding the office four
years. He also received the nomination of the " Free-Soil"
party for delegate to the Convention of 1846, for revision of
the Constitution of the State of New York.

Liberal in his religious belief, he was always charitable
and tolerant towards the views of others. While at Vernon
he assisted in the organization of the society there, composed
of Unitarians and Universalists, and did much to build it up.

Temperate and careful in his habits, his perceptive and
mental faculties were clear and bright to the last. He died
quite suddenly, of heai't-diseasc, on the 19lh of July, 1878.
Thus a wish he had often expressed, that his life might end
with only brief notice, and free from the pain and sufFering
of lingering disease, seemed gratified. A few moments be-
fore his death, he was engaged in reading, writing, and
cheerful conversation with his physician and friends.

A valuable member of society, a kind and generous pa-
rent, aiding in every good work, sympathizing with progress
and reform, identifying himself with every local enterprise,
he was held in esteem and respect by all. In his death one
more of the landmarks of Oneida County is removed.

The following remarks, written down by him some years
ago, and found, after his death, among his memoranda, may
be interesting to his many friends :

"Being about to enter my eightieth year, lean sa}', with the Psalmist,
' 1 have been young but now am old.' I have loolted forward in youth
into the misty future, dreaming of the happiness to be enjoyed, malt-
ing plans never to be realized, and to be swept away by the first touch
ofre.ality. Youth and old age ! How different are the hopes and as-
pirations that animate each ! The one just setting out in life; the
other just finishing hia career. The one sees nothing in the future
which can cloud his prospects or mar his happiness; the other sees in
the past many spots in his history that he would be glad to correct.
The one has the most of life's history to learn and experience; the
other has seen about all there is to see in life, and is waiting the last
great change which finally overtakes all. It is not pleasant to grow

old, and feel our strength and power.", both phj.'iical .and mental, slip-
ping from us by degrees, and having no way of staying our course;
but this seems to be the order of Him who dcieth all things well. I
am on the down-hill of life, and far down, and am admonished each
day of this fact. My stop is not fiiiib, my eyes arc dim, and it is diffi-
cult to find anything that will asfifet mo to read. My memory is
treacherous. I can remember nothing from day to d.iy, and the phys-
ical man is subject to weariness and pain. The sands in my glass
are fast running out. My work for good or evil is done.

"' And if to eighty we aniv6,

We rather sigh and groiin liiini live.'

"So says the Psalmist, and so I find it to be. Yet with abundant
means, and surrounded with a family circle and associations of the
pleasantest character, and with a host of warm friends, norwithstand-
ing the gloom and suffering of old age, I am desirous to live on."



By an act passed March 7, 1788, the district of Mont-
gomery County known as " German Flats," including the
entire western portion of the State of New York, was di-
vided, and the town of " White's Town" was formed, with
the following boundaries, viz. . " Easterly by a line run-
ning north and south to the north and south bounds of the
State, and crossing the Mohawk River at the ford near, and
on the east side of the house of William Cunningham,
and which line was the western boundary of the towns of
Herkimer, German Flats, and Otsego ; southerly by the
State of Pennsylvania, and west and north by the bounds
of the State." William Cunningham's house .stood near
the foot, and on the west, side of Genesee Street, in Utica,
midway between Whitesboro' and Water Streets. It will
be seen by reference to the map that the territory embraced
in the oriijinal town of " White's Town" included nearly
half the present area of the State. Its population at the
time was probably less than two hundred, — a few scattered
settlements in the vast wilderness, — and by the census of
1870 the same territory, including about thirty counties,
contained more than a million and a half inhabitants. As
early even as 1810 the growth in population had been re-
markable, the census of that year showing that nearly three
hundred thousand people had settled in tlie va,st domain
long familiarly known as the " Whitestown country," to
which, " way up among the Indians," so many adventurous
pioneers from New England had come. Upon the forma-
tion of Oneida County, in 1798, the limits of Whitestown
were extended to the east aboiit two miles, or to the present
line of Herkimer County. The town had been divided by
an act passed April 10, 1792, and the new towns of West-
moreland, Steuben, Paris, Mexico, and Peru erected, the
original name of Whitestown being retained by but a small
portion of the territory formerly included. March 5, 1795,
portions of Whitestowu and Paris were formed into a new
town called Cazenovia, and, on the formation of Oneida
County, that portion of the town of Frankfort which came
within its limits vas annexed to Whitestown. From the
latter Augusta was formed, while the remainder of Whites-
town " lying within the Oneida reservation, so called," was
annexed to Westmoreland. April 7, 1817, the town of



Utica was formed from a portion of Wliitastown, and April
12, 1827, the last division of the old town was made, and
Now Hartford was added to the list. The present area of
Whitestown is about thirty square miles, ^{ts northeastern
boundary is the Mohawk River, back from which extends
a broad, level intervale, from which the surface rises to the
height of a hundred feet or more, and stretches away in a
rolling upland. The waters of Oriskany and Sauquoit
Creeks find entrance to the Mohawk through this town,
the former in the northeast and the latter iq the southeast
corner. Beside these, there are numerous smaller streams.
Oriskany Creek was named by the Seneca Indians "Ole-
hislc'-a" or stream of nettles. Some other fpatures of the
town, including New Hartford, received the name "Che-
ga-quat-ka" from the same nation, signifying Iddneys.
Oriskany and Sauquoit Creeks furnish abundant power,
which has been extensively utilized for manufacturing pur-
poses. The Erie Canal, completed to Whitesboro' in 1819,
follows the valley of the river side by side with the four-
track railway of the New York Central Company.

Two miles above the village of Oriskany, on the north
side of the road leading to Rome, is the spot where, on the
6th day of August, 1777, the Tryon County militia, under
command of General Nicholas Herkimer, on their way to
relieve the garrison at Fort Stauwix, were ambushed by
the British and Indians, under Colonels Johnson and But-
ler and the noted chief Brant, and a severe battle fought,
which resulted in the militia remaining masters of the
field, although the losses were nearly equal on each side.
The gallant Herkimer received a mortal wound, and many
of his officers were slain.* The ground was in every way
fiivorable for a successful ambuscade, and had not the men
of Tryon County been possessed of great courage and phys-
ical prowess the story would have been differently told.
The ravine in which the painted warriors concealed them-
selves is not yet shorn of its wildnes.s, and the locality of
tlie tree near which General Herkimer stood when he re-
ceived his wound is yet shown to the visitor, marked at
present by a flag-staff.

From the journal of the Committee of Safety of this
State in the Revolution is found, under date of Feb. 7,
1777, the statement that a committee was appointed to
devise ways and means for manufacturing salt within the
State, and they furnished a sample of salt,

"made of tho water of certain springs at Orisltie (Oriskany), about
teo miles to tho eistw.ird of Fort Soliuyler (Stanwi.t), and reported

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 172 of 192)