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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originally chartered under the name of Watertown and
Rome Railroad, April, 1832 ; revived May 10, 1836,
and May 6, 1837 ; extended May 17, 1845, and again
April 28, 1847. Work was commenced at Rome in No-
vember, 1848. The road was opened to Pierrepont Manor
May 28, 1851 ; to Watertown, Sept. 24, 1851 ; to Chau-
mont, Nov. 20, 1851 ; and to Cape Vincent in April, 1852.
The name was changed to its present one in 1861. The
shops of this company were formerly located at Rome, but
have recently been removed to Oswego.

Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley Railroad
Company. — This company was formed Jan. 11, 1866.

* It is stated in Mr. Jones' Annals, that the first passenger-train
arrived at Utica August 2.

The road extends through the towns of Utica, New Hart-
ford, Paris, Marshall, and Sangerfield, in Oneida County,
and thence through Madison, Chenango, and a portion of
Broome County, to Binghamton, a distance of 95 miles,
with a branch to Richfield Springs, in Otsego County, 21
miles. It Ls now operated by the Delaware, Lackawanna
and Western Railroad Company. ,

New York and Oswego Midland Railroad. — Articles
of association filed Jan. 11, 1866. There has been much
special legislation touching this road sipce its organization.
The line extends from Jersey City, opposite New York, to
Oswego, on Lake Ontario, a disstance of about 240 miles ;
passing through a portion of New Jersey, and the counties
of Orange, Sullivan, Delaware, Chenango, Madison, Oneida,
and Oswego, in New York. It was opened about 1872. ,

Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Com-
pany. — This is a Pennsylvania corporation, but, under an
act of the Legislature of 1864, it has the right to purchase
and hold propertiy in the State of New York. The Utica,
Chenango and Susquehanna Valley Railroad is at present
leased and operated by this company. The Utica, Clinton
and Binghamton, and the Rome and Clinton Railways,
are leased to the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company,
and operated by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western
Railroad Company, under an arrangement with the Dela-
ware and Hudson Canal Company.

The Rome and Clinton road extends from Rome to
Clinton, a distance of 12 miles. It was opened in the
latter part of 1871, and intended principally for a coal
road. As above stated, it is leased by the Delaware and
Hudson Canal Company, and operated by the Delaware,
Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company.


The first experiment in the modern system of telegi'aph-
ing in the United States was made about 1844, when a line
was established by its great inventor, Prof. Samuel F. B.
Morse, between Washington and Baltimore. The first line
put in operation in the State of New York was in 1845 ;
and to a citizen of Utica, Mr. Theodore S. Faxton, are the
people of the State indebted for carrying out the then
problematical enterprise.

Hearing much of the wonderful invention, and its mar-
velous workings on the new line, Mr. Faxton determined
to see and investigate for himself. The matter was fre-
quently discussed with interested friends, and Mr. F. finally
proceeded to Washington, in 1845, and after fully satisfy-
ing himself of the capabilities of the new invention, he
obtained the right from the proprietors. Prof Morse, Hon.
Amos Kendall, F. 0. J. Smith, and others, to build and
operate a line between the cities of New York and Buffalo ;
the original owners to have one-half the stock when tho
line was completed.

Upon his return to Utica a stock company, including him-
self, Jo'in Butterfield, Hiram Greenman, Messrs. Livingston,
Wells, and others, was formed, with a capital of two hun-
dred thou.sand dollars, and a line was put in operation the
same year.

The Messrs. Livingston and Wells were in the express
business. Mr. Faxton was chosen president of the com-



pany, and also superintendent, in which capacities he served
continuously for seven years.

The first wire adopted was of copper, that being con-
sidered the only available material for the purpose ; but
it was soon found that iron wire answered a very good pur-
pose at much less cost, and the copper material was taken
down and sold, and iron substituted in its place.

From this beginning the system has spread over not only
our own broad land from sea to sea, but to almost every
habitable corner of the globe, until it has become a common
occurrence to receive daily at the great business centres the
current news from every land, including the islands of the
sea and far-away Australia. Improvements are constantly
being made, and the recent advent of the " Telephone,"
the " Phonograph," the " Megaphone," and other wonder-
ful contrivances and inventions, would indicate that the
human mind is far from the limit of possibilities, and that
the future will prove as prolific as the past in important
discoveries. The lines at present in operation in Oneida
County are the Western Union, the Delaware, Lackawanna
and Western, and the Utica and Black River, with stations
at all important points.


Those at present doing business in the county are
the " American" and the " Delaware, Lackawanna and



Officers of the Nation — The SUte — The Judiciary— The Senate— The
Assembly — The County.

Oneida County from its organization has been among
the most prominent in the Empire State. National and
State ofiSces have been filled by her citizens with marked
ability and distinguished honor, from constable_to United
States Senator, and from justice of the peace to the high
position of Governor of the commonwealth. The present
United States Senators are both residents of Oneida County,
and she is ably represented in all departments of the State
government, and many of the national.

Henry A. Foster, Rome, Nov. 30, 1844 j appointed in place of Silas

Wright by the Governor during recess of the Legislature, and

vacated by the meeting of that body.
Roscoe Conkling, 0tica, Jan. 15, 1867 ; reappointed January, 1873.
Francis Kernan, Utica, January, 1876.


The United States constitution directs that a census of
the inhabitants be taken every tenth year, commencing with
1790, and after each enumeration Congi-ess apportions the
representation pro rata among the several States. As soon
thereafter as practicable, the Legislature divides the State
into congressional districts. The ratio of apportionment
and number of representatives for the State of New York
since the adoption of the constitution, in 1788, have been
as follows :

Years. Katio. Kepresentation.

1789 30,000 6

1792 33,000 10

1802 33,000 17

1811 25,000 27

1822 40,000 34

1832 47,000 40

1S42 70,680 34

1852 93,423 33

1861 127,000 31

1872 137,800 33

The following are the districts, with their numbers, which
have included Oneida County :

Under act of March 23, 1797: District No. 9, Chenango
(1798), Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida (1798).

Under act of March 30, 1802 : District No. 15, Her-
kimer, Oneida, St. Lawrence.

Under act of March 20, 1804: District No. 15, Her-
kimer, Jeiferson (1805), Lewis (1805), Oneida, St. Law-

Under act of March 8, 1808: District No. 11, Madison,

Under act of June 10, 1812: District No. 16, Oneida,
part of Oswego (1816).

Under act of April 17, 1822 : District No. 14, Oneida

Under act of June 29, 1832 : District No. 17, Oneida
and Oswego, two members.

Under act of Sept. 6, 1842 : District No. 20, Oneida

Under act of July 19, 1851 : the same.

Under act of April 23, 1862 : number changed to 21.

Under act of June 18, 1873 : number changed to 23.


Jonas Piatt, Whiteshoro', 1799-1801, Sixth Congress.

Benjamin Walker, Utica, J 801-3, Seventh Congress.

Nathan Williams, Utica, 1805-7, Ninth Congress.

Thomas R. Gold, Whitestown, 1809-11, Eleventh Congress; 1811-13,

Twelfth Congress ; 1815-17, Fourteenth Congress.
Morris S. Miller, Utica, 1813-15, Thirteenth Congress.
Henry R. Storrs, Whitesboro', 1817-19, Fifteenth Congress; 1819-21,

Sixteenth Congress; 1323-25, Eighteenth Congress; 1826-27,

Nineteenth Congress; 1827-29, Twentieth Congress; 1829-31,

Twenty-first Congress.
Joseph Kirkland, Utica, 1821-23, Seventeenth Congress.
Samuel Beardsley, Utica, 1831-33, Twenty-second Congress; 1833-35,

Twenty -third Congress; 1836-37, Twenty-fourth Congress; 1813-

44, Twenty-eighth Congress.
Henry A. Foster, Rome, 1837-39, Twenty-fifth Congress.
John G. Floyd, Utica, 1839-41, Twenty-sixth Congress; 1841-43,

Twenty-seventh Congress.
Timothy Jenkins, Oneida Castle, 1845-47, Twenty -ninth Congress;

1847-49, Thirtieth Congress; 1851-53, Thirty-second Congress.
Orsamus B. Matteson, Utioa, 1849-51, Thirty-first Congress; 1863-

55, Thirty-third Congress; 1856-57, Thirty-fourth Congress;

1857-69, Thirty-fifth Congress.
Roscoe Conkling, Utica, 1859-61, Thirty-sixth Congress; 1861-63,

Thirty-seventh Congress; 1866-67, Thirty-ninth Congress; 1867-

69, Fortieth Congress.
Francis Kernan, Utica, 1863-65, Thirty-eighth Congress.
Alexander H. Bailey, Rome, 1867-69, Fortieth Congress; 1869-71,

Forty-first Congress.
Ellis H. Roberts, Utica, 1371-73, Forty-second Congress; 1873-75,

Forty-third Congress.
Scott Lord, Utica, 1875-77, Forty-fourth Congress.
William J. Bacon, Utica, 1877-79, Forty-fifth Congress.


These were appointed by the Legislature from 1792
until 1825, since which they have been elected by the



people. They were elected under the district system at
one election only. The Legislature passed an aet April;
15, 1829, under which they have since been elected on a
general ticket, made up of one from^ each congressional
district, and two to represent the State at large. In 1872
there were three at large, one to represent a Congressman
at large, given before re-districting the State.


180i, William Flojd ; 1808, Henry Huntitigton ; 1812, Henry Hun-
tington, James S. Kip; 1816, Montgomery Hunt; 1820, William'
Floyd, Henry Wager J 1824, Samuel Hicks.


1828, Ebenezer B. Shearman.


1832, DaTid Moulton ; 1836, Parker Halleck ; 1840, John J. Knox ;
1844, Thomas H. Hubbard; 1848, William B. Welles; 1852,
Thomas H.Hubbard; 1856, James S. Lynch; 1860, Benjamin
N.Huntington; 1864, John J. Knox; 1S08, J.^mes McQuade;*
1872, Samuel Campbell ; 1876, James MoQaade.


Among those who have filled this office for the northern
district of New York have been Samuel Beardsley, ap-
pointed March 8, 1823, and January 12, 1827, and Henry
A. Foster, appointed April 20, 1853.


Governor. — Horatio Seymour, elected, in 1862, by a vote of 306,649,
against 296,897 given to James S. Wad'sworth, his opponent.
Council of Appninlment.^In the old Council of Appointment, which

existed from the formation of the State until abolished by the

constitution of 1821, Thomas R. Gold, Henry Huntington, Jonas

Piatt, and Henry Seymour were members.' Mr. Seymour was at

that time a resident of Onondaga County, but became a citizen

of Oneida shortly after.
Private Secretary of the Governor. — John F. Seymour was appointed

by Governor Seymour Jan. 1, 1863, and served one year.
Aid-de-Cavtp. — Colonel James McQuade.
Auorneyi-General.—Sam\ie\ A. Talcott, Feb. 12, 1821, and Fob. 8,

1823; Green C. Bronson, Feb. 27,1829; Samuel Beardsley, Jan.

12, 1836.
State Engineer.— John T. Clark, Nov. 8, 1853 ; William B. Taylor,

Nov. 6, 1861 ; J. Plntt Goodsell, Nov 7, 1865 ; William B. Taylor,

Nov. 7, 1871; Horatio Seymour, Jr., November, 1877, Engineer

and Surveyor.
Canal Commin8ioiierR. — Henry Seymour, appointed from Onondaga

County, March 24, 1819; rctnovod to Oneida County the same

year; Ephraim Hart, 1818; S. N. Dexter, 1-840.
Canal Appraiser. — Chester Hayden, April 18, 1843.
Bank Commistiioner. — Hiram Denio, April 10, 1838.
Jnepeetor of State-Prisons. — Wesley Bailey, Nov. 4, 1856.
State Svperintendent of Public Instruction.— Ahra.m B. Weaver, April

7, 1868.
Regents of the University. — Frederick William, Baron de Steuben,

April 13, 1787; Nathan Williams, Jan. 28, 1817; George 'R.

Perkins, Jan. 30, 1862; Francis Kernan, Feb. 10, 1870.
Principal of State Normal School. — George R. Perkins, Jan. 12,

Commis'inner of Public Charities. — John C. Devereux, Feb. 11,



This court was established by act of the Legislature,
May 6, 1691, and recognized by the first constitution of

» Did not attend, and Morvon M: Jones appointed to fill vacancy.

the State, and the convention which adopted it reorganized
the court May 3, 1777.

Originally the office of the clerk of this court was located
in New Yprk City, but in 1807 an additional clerk was
appointed, and an office established in Albany ; and the
same year another office was located in Utica. :

The judges of this court who have been citizens of
Oneida County have been as follows ;

Chicf-JnsticeB. — Green C. Bronson, March 5, 1845 ; Samuel Beardsley,

June 29, 1847:
Puisne or Junior Justices. — Jonas Piatt, Feb. 23, 1814; Samuel

Beardsley, Feb. 20, 1844.


Under the constitution of 1821 the State was divided
into eight circuits, corresponding with the Senatorial Dis-
tricts. The circuit judges also held a court of Oyer and
Terminer at the same time and place with the circuit, or
otherwise as they chose. This court was abolished by the
constitution of l846.

The circuit, judges who were citizens of Oneida County
were as follows:

Nathan Williams, appointed April 21, 1823.
Samuel Beardsley, appointed April 12,' 1834.
Hiram Denio, appointed May 7, 1834.
Philo Gridley, appointed July 17, 1838.


This court was organized under the constitution of 1846,
and succeeded the court for the trial of impeachments and
the correction of errore, so far as the correction of errors was
concerned, Oneida County has furnished the following
officers of this court:

Judges. — Hiram Denio, appointed Nov. 7, 1857 j Ward Hunt, appointed

Nov. 7, 1865.
Associate Judge. — Alexander S. Johnson, f Dec. 29, 1873. _
Comniissimicrs of Appeals. — Ward Hunt, July 5, 1870 ; Alexander S.

Johnson.f Jan. '7, 1873.
Reporter. — Francis Kernan, from June, 1854, to March, 1857. Four



The constitution of 1846 abolished the Supreme Court
as it then existed, and established a new one, having general
jurisdiction in law and equity. The State is divided into
eight judicial districts, in each of which four justices are
elected (excepting the city of New York, where there are
five). This court possesses the powera and exercises the
jurisdittion of the preceding Supreme Court, Court of
Chancery, and Circuit Court, so far as consistent with the
constitution of 1846, and the act relating to the judiciary,
passed May 12, 1847.

The Legislature, by an act passed April 20, 1870, abol-
ished the general terms of the Supreme Court then existing,
and divided the State into four departments. There are a
Presiding Justice and two Associate Justices in each de-
partment, appointed by the Governor.

The fifth district is composed of the' counties of Herk-
imer, JeffiBrson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego.

The justices from Oneida have been Philo Gridley, six
years, appointed June 7, 1847 ; William J. Bacon, Nov.

t Died at Nassau, New Providence, W. I., Jan. 21, 1873.



8, 1853 ; re-appointed Nov. 5, 1861 ; Charles H. Doolittle,
Nov. 2, 1869.


This court was continued from the colonial period to the
adoption of the constitution of 1846. For a considerable
portion of the time under the first constitution the number
of judges and assistant justices differed widely, in some
counties the number being as high as twelve each. By an
act passed March 27, 1818, the office of assistant justice
was abolished, and the number of judges was limited to
five, including the first judge. The. court was continued
by the constitution of 1821, without material change.
The judges were appointed by the Governor and Senate
for a period of five years.

1793.— March 22, Jedcdiah Sanger, of Whitcstown, First Judge;
Hugh White and David Ostrom, of Whitestown, James
Dean, of Westmoreland, and George Huntington, of Home,

1801. — Jan. 28, Silas Stone, of Lowville, Judge. Aug. 21, Messrs.
Sanger, White, Dean, Ostrom, and Huntington, re-appointed,
with Thomas Hart additional.

1802.— March 13, Nathan Sage and Henry Coffecn, of EedBeld.

1803.— March 31, Ncedham Maynird.

1801. — April 3, Chauncey Gridley. July 3, Messrs. Sanger, Dean,
Ostrom, Huntington, Sage, Coffeen, Maynard, and Gridley,

1805. — Feb. 15, Messrs. Sanger, Dein, Sage, Maynard, Ostrom, Cof-
feen, and Gridley, re-appointed ; and, March 26, Samuel
Dill, and, April 8, Apollos Cooper, additional.

1808.- March 22, Messrs. Sanger, Dean, Gridley, Sage, Dill, Cooper,
re-appointed, and Joseph Jennings and Jarvis Pike, addi-

1810. — March 5, Morris S. Miller, First Judge; Jedediah Sanger,
Henry McNeil, of Paris; Abram Camp, of Whitestown;
and Timothy W. Wood.

1813. — Feb. 23, Morris S. Miller, James Dean, David Ostrom, Henry
McNeil, George Brayton, Kichard Sanger, Jesse Curtiss,
Gerrit G. Lansing, Benjamin Wright, John Storrs, Peter

1814. — April 5, Messrs. Miller, Dean, Ostrom, MtiNeil, Curtiss, Lan-
sing, Wright, Storrs, and Pratt, re-appointed ; Levi Car-
penter, Jr., and Frederick Stanley, additional.

1815. — April 15, M. S. Miller, Joseph Jennings, Solomon Wolcott,
Prosper Rudd, Daniel Ashley, Peter Pratt, James S. Kip,
Sherman Barnes, Thomas U. Hamilton, Asahel Curtiss,
Charles Wylie, Joseph Grant.

1818. — April 24, Messrs! Miller, Wylie, Grant, and Hamilton, with
Ezekiel Bacon, additional.

I821.^-March 21, Messrs. Miller, Grant, and Hamilton, with Truman
Bnos and Joshua Hathaway, additional.

1823. — Feb. 3, Messrs. Miller, Enos, Hathaway, and Grant; Samuel
Jones, additional,

1824.— Nor. 22, Samuel Beardsley, First Jndge, in place of M. S.
Miller, deceased.

1825.— March 9, Henry R. Storrs.

1826. — April 5, James Dean, in place of Truman Enos, elected to
State Senate.

1828. — Feb. 5, Messrs. Hathaway, Grant, and Jones, re-appointed.

1830. — Jan. 16, Chester Hayden, First Judge; Israel Stoddard.

1831. — April 8, Reuben Tower, of Sangerfield, in place of James
Dean, term expired.

1832. — Feb. 10, Nathan Kimball, of Augusta, vice R. Tower, resigned.

1833. — Feb. 6, John P. Sherwood, of Vernon, and Arnon Comstock,
of Western, vice Jones and Hathaway, terms expired.

1835, — Jan. 23, Chester Hayden, of Utiea, First Judge, and Israel
Stoddard, re-appointed.

1837. — Feb. 21, Nathan Kimball, re-appointed.

1838. — Feb. 2, Pomroy Jones, of Westmorland; vice J. P. Sherwood,
resigned ; March 9, Arnon Comstock, re-appointed.

1840.— Feb. 2, Fortune C. White, of Whitestown, First Judge, vice

, Hayden,; April 14, Seth B. Roberts, of Rome, vice Stoddard.

1843. — Feb. 10, Chester Hayden and Amos Woodworth, of Florence,

vice Messrs. Kimball and Comstock; and Pomroy Jones,

1845.- Feb. 21, P. Sheldon Root, of Utica, First Jadgp, vice White;

April 14, Ebenezer Robbins, of Lee, vice Roberts.
1846.— May 12, Othniel S. Williams, of Kirklani, vice Hayden.*


These courts were created by the constitution of 1846.
Associated with the judge are two justices of the peace
from among the justices of the county who hold courts of


p. Sheldon Root, elected June, 1847.
George W. Smith, elected November, 1369.
Joel Willard, electel November, 1867.
Alexander H. Bailey, eleited November, 1371.
William B. Bliss, elected November, 1874.


1847.— Julius C. Thornc, Caleb Steves.
1849. — Samuel C. Brooker, Evan J. Evans.
1850. — Evan J. Evans, Samuel C. Brooker.
1861. — Thomas D. Penficld, Evan J. Evans.
1852.— Charles Robinson, Thomas D. Penaeld.
1853.— Charles Robinson, G. H. Church.
1854. — David Babcock, Samuel C. Brooker.
1856.— Morris Wilcox, G. H. Church.
1856. — David Babcock, Ezra Brown.
1857.— Milo P. Sherman, Benjamin F. Cady.
1858. — Leverett S. Davis, Benjamin F. Cady.
1859.— John Ballard, Wm. Ralph.
1860. — Samuel C. Brooker, M. F. Hamilton.
1861.— Wm. Knight, M. F. Hamilton.
1862.— L. S. Davis, T. E. Barnes.
1863.— C. F. D Jones, T. B. Barnes.
1864.— James Woodward, C. F. D. Jones.
1865. — William Lewis, Richard Harter.
1866.— A. B. Blair, E. S. Bearss.
1867.— St. Pierre Jerred, E. S. Bearss.
18G8-69.— E. T. Marson, St. Pierre Jerred.
1870-61.— Wm. H. Pratt, E. T. Marson.
1872.— Henry Johnson, Wm. H. Pratt.
1873. — Henry Johnson, Edward Lewis.
1874. — James Skelly, Edward Lewis.
1875. — George H. Weaver, James Skelly.
1376.— George H. Weaver, E. T. Marson.
1877-78, — Geotge Graham, Josiah Andrews.


The constitution authorizes the Legislature to provide for
the election of a county officer to perform the duties of
county judge in case of inability or vacancy, and to exercise
such other powers as may be provided by law. The fol-
lowing have acted in Oneida County :

David E.' Wager, elected November, 1852.
George Harrison, elected November, 1856.
Kiron Carroll, elected November, 1861.
George H. Lynch, elected November, 1867,
William B. Bliss, elected November, 1870.
Robert 0. Jones, appointed to fill vacancy, 1874.
Robert 0. Jones, elected November, 1875.


This office has existed in one form or another since the
organization of the State. Under the constitution of 1846,

* Jones' Annals.



they are allowed only in counties containing 40,000 inhabi-
tants and upwards. The following shows those who have
served in Oneida County, with date of appointment or
election :

Arthur Breese, appointed March 19, 179S.

Joshua Hathaway, appointed March 23, 1808.

Erastus Clark, appointed Feb. 23, 1813.

Joshua Hathaway, appointed March 16, 1815.

Greene C. Bronson, appointed April 13, 1819.

Joshua Hathaway, appointed Feb. 19, 1821.

Henry A. Foster, appointed March 31, 1827.

Alanson Bennett, appointed Jan. 12, 1831.

Henry A. Foster, appointed Jan. 27, 1835.

John Strylier, appointed Aug. 22, 1839.

Othniel S. Willi.am8, elected June, 1847.

Henry M. Burchard, elected November, 1855.

Joseph S. Avery, elected November, 1863, and re-elected to 1877.

Stephen H. Van Dresar, elected November, 1877.


These are elected under a special act on application of
the Board of Supervisora.

Ralph Mcintosh, elected November, 1852.
Nelson B. Stevens, elected November, 1855.
Ralph Mcintosh, elected November, 1858.
David T. Jenkins, elected November, 1861.
Eugene Stearns, elected November, 1867.
Theodore Avery, elected November, 1870.
Henry J. Cookingham,* elected November, 1873.
Marcus D. Raymond, elected March 19, 1874.
Elliott S. Williams, elected 1S77.


Under the first constitution the Senate consisted of
24 members, apportioned among four great districts.
After the first election they were divided by lot into four
classes, so that the terms of six should expire each year.
An additional senator was to be added to each district
whenever, by a septennial census, it was shown that the
number of electors in the district had increased one-twenty-
fourth. This increase was to be allowed until the number
reached 100. The census of 1795 made the number 43.
In 1801, the rule being found unequal in its operation,
the constitution was amended so as to fix the number
permanently at 32, where it has since remained.

Under the first constitution the State was divided into
four great senatorial districts, entitled Southern, Middle,
Eastern, and Western Districts. The number of senators
from each district varied according to acts of Assembly
passed at difi'erent periods.

Under the second constitution (1821) the State was
divided into eight great senatorial districts, each of which
was entitled to four senators.

Under the constitution of 1846 the State was divided
into thirty-two senatorial districts, and this arrangement is
still continued, the districts being re-aiTanged after each

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 51 of 192)