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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The composition of the earliest boards cannot now be
determined. The members of the board in 1847 were as
follows :

1. Annsville, Samuel Beach.

2. Augusta, David Murray.

3. Ava, Henry Capron.

4. Boonville, N. C. Grant.

5. Bridgewater, John Southworth.

6. Camden, Ambrose Curtiss.

7. Deerfield, Jacob G. Weaver.

8. Floyd, David Moultcn.

9. Florence, Watson Sammon.

10. Kirkland, C. C. Cook.

11. Lee, J. J. Castles.

12. IMarcy, Clark Potter.

13. Marshall, H. H. Eastman.

14. New Hartford, Oliver Prescott.

15. Paris, D. J. Millard.

16. Remsen, Mather Beecher.

17. Rome, John Niles.



18. Hangei-field,^ De Witt C. Tower.

19. Stciiben, Russell Puller.

20. Trenton, Henry Miller.

21. Utica; A. S. Pondi'

22. Vernon, David Pierson.

23. Verona', Willett Stillman.

24. Vienna, Harvey Freeman.

25. Western, David Utley.

26^ Westmoreland, James J. Curtis.

27. Whitestown, Onias'P. Nellis.

Chairman, David Moulton ; Clerk, Dexter Gillmore.

In 1847 the number of acres returned by the assessors
in the county was 725,863, and the assessed valuation was,
real estate, $9,575,393 ; personal property, $2,603,221 ;
total, $12,178,614.

The total treasurer's account with the county for the
year was $48,559.33, of which amount the superintendents
of schools received' $8948.98. The amount of funds be-
longing to the State in the hands of the loan commissioners
was $163,187.76.

The assessment of the incorporated companies in the
county was, real estate, $1,563,571; capital employed,


The State excise law was fiassed in 1857, and continued
to be managed by the several counties until 1869, when
the law was changed, making it a matter for each town
to manage as they deemed proper. Under the original act
the proceeds went into the poor fund.

The following table shows the annual income for the
several years during which it was in the hands of the county :

1S57 $6,956

1838 9,040

1859 8,910

ISOO 9,613

1861 8,406

1802 9,186

1863 9,600

1864 9,266

1865 9,800

1866 10,420

1867 16,805

1868 18,420

1869 18,680

Total $144,988


The first action upon the subject of paying bounties to
volunteers was taken at a special meeting held Aug. 14,
1862, at Rome.

A committee of seven was appointed by the chairman to
report resolutions relative to the raising of a uniform bounty
for the payment of volunteers. The committee

" lUmhed, That Hor.itio Seymour, C. H. Doolittle, Francis Kernan,
"Wm. H. Ferry, Wm. ,T. Bacon, Edward Huntington, E. B. Armstrong,
and Samuel Campbell, togeth er with L. Kouso, chairman of the meet-
ing, and 0. Carpenter, clerk, be appointed a committee to raieeupon
the credit of the county $162,700, upon county orders, bearing in-
terest, signed by the clerk and chairman.'*

The clerk was directed to make the orders payable to the
order of Horatio Seymour, chairman of the committee.
The quota of Oneida County, under the call of July, 1862,
for 300,000 men, was about 1200 men, and the number of
enrolled militia under the State law was reported at 3159.

Under this resolution a bounty of $50 was offered to each


In 1862 the following-named towns, at. their annual

town-meetings, voted the following sums respectively for

bounties :

Augusta $1,180.00

Eridgevpater 2,688.60

Lee 647.00

Marcy „ 317.00

New, Hartford..., 3,400.00

Paris ; .....; 1,600.00

Remsen 2,017.50

Trenton '. 3,227.62

Verona .'..." 150.00

Wostmorcliind, 1,000.00


This action was approved, and the several amounts or-
dered levied by the Board. At the meeting held Dec. 7,
1863, the Board passed a resolution taxing the county a
sum sufiicient to pay every volunteer $300, amounting to
a total of $389,400., This was for the quota of 1863
alone^ making it 1298 men.

On the 23d of August, 1864, the Board passed a reso-
lution to pay $400 to two years' men, and $500 to three
years' men, who should enlist from Oneida County in the
army or navy of the United States, and be credited to the

On the 21st of December, 1864, under (mother call for
300,000 men, the Board passed a resolution to pay volun-
teers $200 for one year, $400 for two years, and $600 for
three years' enlistments, for all volunteers not heretofore

The, total amount of orders issued to Dee. 22, 1864,
$670,459.84 ; including interest, $777,939.59.

On the 24th of January, 1865, the Board passed a reso-
lution to pay $300, $500, and $700, respectively, for one,
two, and three years' men. The payments of war loan by
the county treasurer for 1864 were :

1884 $651,447.92

1866 309,962.19

Total, including interest $961,410.11

The following tabular statement shows the amount of
war loan bonds .issued to the respective towns in 1865 :

■Annsville $21,750.00

Augusta 14,500.00

Ava 1S,125.I]0

Boonville 32,425.00

Bridgewater 13,750.00

CiHudcn 31,976.00

Deertield 17,400.00

li'lorenoe 27,675.00

^}°y^ 8,000.00

Kirkland 19,576.00

L>!« 29,160.00

l^o-ray 18,,860.00

Marshall ; 6,075.00

New Hartford 24,900.00

P"-™ 26,326.00

R«"s™ 26,850.00

J'''™^ 72,376.00

Sangerfleld 18,550.00

"'""ben 14,475.00

Tr™*"" 33,600.00

Ut'<"i 171.945.00

*'«''"°° 30,700.00

y,«™na 44,1)00.00

X'™"» 26,100.00

Western 20,350.00

Westmoreland 26 126.00

Whitestown 22,'960.00

C. H. Doolittle 500.00

T. Buchanan, Jr 3S6.03




Tlie following summary shows the amount of war bonds
issued in each year, and the amount paid the county treas-
urer by the supervisors :

Bonds of 1864, outstanding $129,360.00

Interest on same .- 9,054.50


Bonds of IS65 Sfi4,474.2&

Orders of 1864, extended 14,900.00

Paid Treasurer by Supervisors 28,407.78

Total $1,046,186.57

Of this amount the State refunded $973,510.


The increase in the amount of funds handled by the
county treasurer in the past thirty years is a matter of
interest to tax-payers.

The report of 1847 shows that he received and disbursed
$48,559.33. Inl856 the amount had grown to8117,038.33.
During the war, of shortly after, it reached a suna exceed-
ing 8400,000, and thft amount of receipts and disburse-
ments for 1877 was $361,305.20, as follows:

Appropriated to General Fund $213,185.99

" School Fund 79,116.15

" " Poor Fund... 30,899.32

" " Judiciary Fund 20,000,00

" " Stenographic Fund 674.62

" " Salary Fund.. 11,000.00

" " Asylum Fund 6,000.00

" " County Fines 429.12


Balance in treasury, $6266.98.


In 1863 the number of dogs reported in the county was
5261; number of sheep injured by them, 360; damages
allowed for same, $1482.61. The lotal tax on dogs was
for the same year $3188.50, so that they did hot eat sheep
enough to overbalance their cfedit-accoutit. In 1866 the
number assessed was 4153, and the amount of tax collected
$2584; amount paid for damages to sheep, $1839.19.
There are no figures to show the value of services per-
formed by the canine race, and in their absence we are
forced to the conclusion that the county of Oneida is an
actual'losfer to the extent of nearly $2000 per annum of
its available capital, which is cliargeable to profit and loss
oh the dog account. It is said that it costs aS much to
keep an average-sized dog as to keep a cow, and it would
really appear that every county in the State might export
ninety per cent, of its dogs; and be a large gainer by the


We have not been able to obtain from, the records the
original amount of this fund deposited with the commission-
ers of Oneid^ County. In 1847 the amount in their hands
was $168,187.7.6; in 1851 it was $157,534.63; in 1852,
$157,257.56; in 1870, $152,523.37 ; and in 1877, $144,-
48l'.88. ' , , '

The chairmen of the Board of Supervisors since 1847
have been as follows :


David Moulton.


William Balicr.


David J. Millard.


Lorenzo Rouse.


David J. Millard.


N. T. Metdalf.


52. David Moulton.


William Lewis. :


T. D. Penfield.

1867-68. Joseph B. Cushman


R. U. Sherman.


Harvey Head. ,


David Moulton.


Henry 0. South worth. '


Evan E. Roberts.


-Joseph B. Cushnian.. '


John French.


Delos A. Crane.


Piatt Camp.


Albert N. Bort.


,Wm. S. Bartlett.


James G. Preston.


"ChirieE M. Schofield.


Thomas J. Griffiths.


Delos A. Orahei


Joseph K. S'oHpyler;


li. Rouse (speoialsoasion).
Piatt Camp.


Griffith M.. Jones., ',

Utica became a city in 1832, ]Dufc was represented, in the
Board by only one supervisor until 1850, since whjch each
ward has been represented.

The clerks of the Board since 1847 have, been, —

1847. Dexter Gillmpre.
1848-49. James G. French.
1850-53. Joseph B. Cush'man.
1854; Wm. M. French.
1855-57. Joseph B.,Cushman.
1858:-62. Orson Carpenter.
1S63. Thomas B. Allanson.
1864. P. B. Crandall.

1865-68., Sidney A. Bunce.

1869. Thomas' Butterfielii."

1870. Thomas S. MelncroW.

1871. Wui. M. Fr«nch.

1872. Joseph Porter. ,
1873-74., E. L. Hinckley.
1875-78. Albert' N. Bo^'t.

The present Board is constituted as follows :

Annavitle, — Thomas B. Allanson.

Augusta. — T. S. Hathaway.

Ava. —Gideon Vary.

IlomwilU. — H. D. Grant. '

Bridfjetoater. — William N. Southworth.

Camden.— T. D. Penfield.

Beerfteld. — Nicholas H. Hicks.

Florence. — Joseph E. McFern.

FloT/d.—ChnTles A. Ward.

/■brea^/jor*.— Timothy Coughlin.

Kirkland. — Henry , C, Earle.

Zee. — James Eames (2d).

Marci/. — William Marson.

Manihall.—S. F. Tooley.

Neto Hariford. — John 0. Robey.

Payia. — Harvey Head; , .,

Remaen. — John R. Thomas.

iiloine.— First Ward, N. H.' Leffingwell.

Second " Lawrence Gaheen.

Third " Wilson Smith;

Fourth " Homer T. Fowler.
, Fifth " David G. Evans.
Snngerfield. — M. B. Crossett.
Sleuhen. — John C. Owens.
7Veiifon.;— Jacob J. Davis. -
Uticq. — First Ward, Robert MqCreary.

Second " Griffith M. Jones.

Third " George J!. Allen.

Fourth " Joseph B. Cusbuiah.

Fifth " Thomas J. Smith. .
, Sixth ," Henry Martin;

Seventh" James G. French.,

Eighth," Patrick J. Cbakley.

Ninth " Hugh Sloan. I

Tenth, " Alon'zo E. Walling;
Verni)!!. — A. P. Case. .
Vei'ona. — Henry A., Stark..
Vienna. — ^Stephen A. Covell, Jr.
Wealerit. — Jerome V. Que.
Weatmoreland. — William S. Fuller.
Whitealoiau. — Edward Kernan.




The fir-it jail erected in the county was at Wliitestown,
in 1801. Previous to that date prisoners had been sent
to Herkimer for sufe-Iieepiog. In 1806 the Legislature
authorized the county to raise $4000 for the purpose of
building two court-houses, which were erected at Rome
and Whitestown soon after. Previous to the erection of
these buildings the courts had been held in the school-
house near Fort Stanwix.* The old court-house at Rome
was destroyed by fire about 1848, and a new one was
erected soon after at a cost of about $12,000. This sum
included also the cost of a jail.

In 1848 Utica became a half-shire town, but the courts
continued to be held and the supervisors to meet at Whites-
town until 1852, when a court-house and jail were com-
pleted at Utica, at a cost of $15,000. The site for these
buildings was donated to the county by the city of Utica.

The court-house and jail at Whitestown reverted, accord-
ing to the terms of the original deed, to the heirs of Hugh
Wliite. The court-iouse was sold to the town for a town
hall, and is still used for that pui-pose. The jail was eon-
verted into a dwelling. In 1858 all the water used in the
jail at Utica was brought a distance of thirty-five rods in
pails. The sheriff was authorized in that year to bring
water to the building at a cost not exceeding $800.

In 1874 the county expended on the Rome court-house
the sum of $7337, and on the jail $879.82. On the Utiea
court-house, $271.07, and on the jail $1004.41. In 1875
the following sums were expended : on Utica court-house,
$13,963.81; jail, $122.05; Rome court-hpuse, $U98.41 ;
jail, $510.86; for other, $5160.94. The county
buildings were insured in 1875 for $90,300.


In 1810 a tax was levied for the purpose of erecting a
fire-proof clerk's office in Utica. It was located in Wliites-
boro' Street, where it remained until 1848, when the county
exchanged the property for the lot and building on Gene-
see Street, where the present fine office stands. It was
then Oijuupied by the office of the clerk of the Supreme
Court, which was used until the erection of the new office
in 1870-71.

The county clerk's office was penuanently located at
Utic;i by an act pjissed Jan. 29, 1848.

By a resolution of Djc. 13, 1869, a committee of three
was appointed to receive proposals for a site, and to procure
plans and estimates for cost of erecting a new county clerk's
office in Utica. The committee consisted of Nehemiah
Pierce, James M. Weed, and H. S. Armstrong. The esti-
mates for a building, 41 feet 9 inches wide and 100 feet
deep, were $43,887.40.

After a long discussion the Board, on the 23d of March,
1870, passed a resolution asking the Legislature to imme-
diately pass the bill, then pending, authorizing the Board
to borrow money for the erection of a county clerk's office.
During the time occupied in building, the records were re-
moved to the court-house. The new building was erected
on the site of the old office. The first floor is occupied by

the county clerk's offices, and the second is conveniently
fitted up for the use of the Supeivisors.

At the November meeting, in 1871, Mr. Joseph B.
Cushman, chairman of the special committee, reported the
total cost of the building at $45,000.

The following inscription is from the tablet in the county
clerk's office :

ERECTED A.D. 1870.





























and Bai


» Courts wore also held in (he eohool-housc in Whitesboru'.

This included $2404.37 expended in furnishing the
building. Considerable additional sums were subsequently
expended in finishing and furnishing.^

A strong efiiHt was made by the citizens of Rome to se-
cure the location of the office in that city. In December,
1867, they made the proposal to donate the sum of $45,000
and a site to the county, and there was a long controversy
over the matter at the meetings of the Board ; but it was
finally settled, by a very close vote, in favor of Utica.

Previous to the erection of this building the Board of
Supervisors had possessed no convenient place of meeting.
Their ordinary rule was to meet at the court-house in Rome
or Whitestown (at which places they met alternately, the
even ycare at Rome, and the odd ones at Whitestown), and
adjourn to a hotel. As early as 1843 they met at Whites-
town and adjourned to Utica, where, as in the other places,
they also held their sessions in hotels. The last meeting
in Whitestown was in 1849. In 1850 they met at Rome,
and in November, 1851, they lield a session at Utica.
From this date until 1871 they met alternately at Rome
and Utica. Since the latter date the sessions have been held
exclusively at Utica.


The earliest legislation upon the subject of the mainte-
nance of those unfortunates who were unable to take caie
of themselves, in the territory now constituting the State of
New York, of which we can find any record w;»s that of
the Colonial Assembly, in April, 1691, by which the sev-
eral towns were required to support their own poor. By
this act also safeguards were provided to prevent imposition
upon the public authorities. This act was published in
Bradford's edition of the " Colonial Laws," London. The
Legislature, in 1778, passed an act providing for the sup-
port of the poor in towns and cities, and, at a somewhat
later date, for the building of poor-houses by towns and
counties. Until the adoption of the poor-house system, the
poor of Oneida County were provided for by the various
"towns. The ordinary way was to dispose of them year by
year at auction to the lowest responsible bidder. The'

t E.\i.endcd in ISM, $228.84; in 1875, $500.39.



contrast between the past and present in this respect is

Now this unfortunate class is provided with aa comfort-
able, and even luxurious, quarters as can be found in the
land, and every possible care is taken of them which skill
and experience can suggest.

The original county farm, containing in the vicinity of
100 acres, was purchased of Mr. Sayer, about the year
1836. The cost of the land we have not been able to learn.
Several additions have been made, and the county has ex-
changed some of the original purchase with the owners of
adjacent farnis for lands better suited for its purposes. In
1861, the reports show that the county owned 115 acres,
which was then valued at 870 per acre, equal to 88050.
In 1872, 73 acres were purchased at a cost of $90 per acre,
making $6570. The present main farm contains about 150
acres, with additional woodlands not connected with the
farm, bringing the total to about 190 acres.

Within a year or two after the original purchase a cheap
two-story stone building was erected for the accommodation
of the people, and there was no discrimination made be-
tween the ordinary paupers and the insane, — all were kept
in the same building. We have not been able to ascertain
the cost of this structure. In 1850, steps weie taken to-
wards erecting a better and more convenient building, and
also to separate the incurably insane from the others. A
plan for an insane asylum was drawn up by Dr. Gray. Su-
perintendent of the State Insane Asylum at Utica, which
was adopted by the Board of Supervisors. A new poor-
house was erected in I860 at a cost of $18,000, and the
furtlier sum of $1200 was appropriated for furnishing it.
The money required for the erection of the building was
borrowed of the State Comptroller, upon which interest to
the amount of $1687 was subsequently paid, making the
total expense of the building, including furniture, $20,887.
In 1861 the following appraisement of the property was
made :

115 norcs nf laDd .it $70 per ncre 58,050.00

New p(M)r-l»ouse anil uutbuililings 20,0011.00

Personal properly 4,252.43

Total ; 832,302.42

These buildijigs were erected under a general law, —
Revised Statutes, fourth edition, vol. i. page 678. The
amount authorized to be raised annually by the county was

In 1862 63 a county lunatic asylum was erected at a
cost of $6000. It was authorized by a resolution of the
Roard pa,ssed Deo. 17, 1861. ,

In 1869-70 a new asylum was erected, under tlie super-
vision of a committee consisting of Harvey Head and Colo-
nel E. B Armstrong, at a total cost of $12,874.24; and
in 1874 a further expenditure was made on the farm of

In 1875 a further expenditure was made on the pooi"-
farm buildings of $5160.94. This included a considerable
outlay for the purpose of fur-nlshing wholesome watir
to the inmates. A conti-act was made with the city au-
thorities of Rpme, by which water was taken from the

mains, and will be furnished to the county for a period of
ten yeai-s from 1875, at an annual rental of $250. The
county constructed its own pipe line at an expense of some

In 1876-77, exteusive additions and repairs were made
at a total outlay of $55,195.85, including a new asylum
building, costing about $30,000, a new barn, and various
other improvements. The bills of the architect alone were

The total expenditures for 1876-77 on county buildings
amounted to $59,125.67.* The total outlay since the
original purchase of the farm, in real estate and improve-
ments, reaches nearly $120,000.

The farm at the present time, with its buildings, appur-
tenances, and improvements, ranks among the best in the
State, and is a just source of pride to the citizens of
Oneida County. The buildings are all in first-class condi-
tion, and made comfortable and convenient, having arrange-
ments for hot and cold water, and steam -heating apparatus
in every room.

The farm originally was quite wet, but a thorough system
of drainage has greatly improved its condition, and it is
now very productive.

The report for 1875 shows the following productions :
Hay, 100 tons; corn fodder, 10 tons; potatoes, 3045
bushels ; beets, 670 bushels ; onions, 240 bushels ; carrots,
575 bushels ; turnips, 335 bushels ; beans, 27 bushels ;
peas, 22 bushels ; oats, 656 bushels ; corn, 550 bushels ;
tomatoes, 75 bushels ; cabbage, 3000 heads ; pork killed,
7528 pounds ; beef killed, 4326 pounds.

The average cost per week for keeping each person has
increased from fifty cents in 1847 to one dollar and sixty
cents in 1878. The expenses of the poor department for
1^47 were $4236.66. In 1850, $11,627.25. Total number
of persons relieved, 839 ; number remaining, Nov. 1, 1850,
192. In 1852 the total expenses, including transportation
and temporary relief, were $35,315.53. In 1859, the ex-
penses had increased to $47,779.20. The total number of
persons relieved during 1860 was 929. The total amount
appropriated to the poor fund for 1877 was $30,899.32.
The county charges at various periods since 1847 have
been as follows: 1852, $71,472.47 ; 1862, including future
liabilities, $271,150.48; 1870, including future liabil-
ities, $336,927.92, of which sum the State tax amounted
to $208,794.18; 1872, total $379,767.39; State tax,
$278,309.17; 1874, total, $!32,606.05; State tax,
$212,239.53; 1877, total, $295,302.39; State tax,

Jan. 8, 1878, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolu-
tion authorizing the issue of five bonds of $10,000 each
for the payment of improvements and additions to county
buildings, the same to run one, two, three, four, and five
yeals, at six per cent, interest, — $50,000.

The following statement shows the amount of present
insurance on county buildings, as reported by Mr. Penfleld,
chairman of committee on county buildings :

-^ The committee on county buildings for 1877 consisted of Messrs.
Penfleld, Howarth, T. Cougblin, Sholos, MoCreary, Fowler, and



Amount on new asylum $16,^00.00

" old asylum and poor-house 37,199.97

" new barn. .'. : 6,000.00

" old barn 1,741.68

" ■ hay, produce, and wagons 991.75

'■ live-stock 1,460.13

" furniture and clothing , 3,199.93

" heating apparatus and pipe 4,000.00"

" Rome court-house ; 9,000.38

" Romejail 1,800.02

" Ulica court-house 13,000.00

" county clerk's office; 14,000.00

Total $107,899.86

No insurance on Utica jail.

The following summary shows the amounts of money
allowed to benevolent institutions outside the county for


Central New York Institution for the Blind at Ba-

tavia $61.17

Unibri Ilome and Sobool, New York 442.60

New York Asylum for Idiots at Syracuse 192.00

Onondaga County Penitentiary at Syracuse 2028.61

State Asylum for Insane '. 442.00


Compensation to supervisors $6605.94-

Salary of superintendent of poor 1200.00


These were originally five in number, appointed by the
Board of Supervisors. Under the constitution of 184(j,
the number was reduced to three, and the office made elec-
tive by the people. The number was finally reduced to
one by a resolution of the Board of Supervisors, and elected
for three years. The number was gradually reduced as the
terms expired : Julius C. Thorne, ISUli-G-l ; Archible
Hess,. 186:5-67 ; Owen E. Owens, 1868-73 ; Roderick
Morrison, '1874-76 ; Thomas J. Brown, 1877-79. In
addition the following officers are employed at the county
farm: Keeper, E. F. Brown; Keeper of Asylum, B.
Sayles ; Physician, Edwin Evans, M.D., of Rome. There
aie also six attendants at the asylumj and two farm hands
employed for general work.



Eoads — Early Slnck- Water Nfivigation — The Erie Canal — Railways

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 47 of 192)