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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State census, according to the population. The term of
service under the new constitution was reduced to two years.

Senatorial Z>iVnc<s.— Oneida County was a part of the
Western District, under the first constitution. Under the
second constitution it formed a part of the Fifth District.

* This name is written also Cookinham.

Under the constitution of 1846 it has formed the Nine-
teenth District.

SENATORS — 1777-1847.

Thomas K. Gold, Whitesboro', Western District, 1797-1802.
Jedediah Sanger, New Hartford, Western District, 1797-1804.
Henry Huntington, Rome, Western District, 1805-7.
William Floyd, Western, Western District, 1808.
Francis A. Bloodgood, Utica, Western District, 1809-16.
Jonas Piatt, Whitesboro', Western District, 1810-13.
Ephraim Hart, Utica, Western District, 1817-22.
Samuel Beardsley, Utica, Fifth District, 1823.
George Brayton, Western, Fifth District, 1825-26.
Ttruman Enos, Westmoreland, Fifth District, 1827-30.
William H. Maynard, Utica, Fifth District, 1829-32.
Henry A. Foster, Rome, Fifth District, 1831-34, 1841-44.
David Wager, Utica, Fifth District, 1836-40.
Joshua A. Spencer, Utica, Fifth District, 1846— 17.


Thomas B. Clark, Utica, Nineteenth District, 1848-49.
Charles A. Mann, Utica, Nineteenth District, 1850-51.
Benjamin N. Huntington, Rome, Nineteenth District, 1851-53.
Daniel G. Dorrance, Florence, Nineteenth District, 1854-55.
Eaton J. Richardson, Utica, Nineteenth District, 1856—57.
Alrick Hubbell, Utica, Nineteenth District, 1858-59.
William H. Ferry, Utica, Nineteenth District, 1860-61.
Alexander H. Bailey, Rome, Nineteenth District, 1862-65.
Samuel Campbell, New York Mills, Nineteenth District, 1866-69.
George H. Sanford, Rome, Nineteenth District, 1870-71..
Samuel S. Lowery, Utica, Nineteenth District, 1872-74.
Theodore S. Sayre, Utica, Nineteenth District, 1875-76.
Alexander T. Goodwin, Utica, Nineteenth District, 1877-78.

ASSEMBLY — 1798 TO 1847.

The Assembly has always been chosen annually. It
consisted at first of 70 members, with the power to in-
crease one with every seventieth increase of the numbers of
electors until it contained 300 members. When the con-
stitution was amended in 1801 the number had reached
108, when it wiis reduced to 100, with a provision that
it should be increased after each census at the rate of two
annually, until the number reached 150. This increase
was 12 in 1808 and 14 in 1815. The constitution of
1821 fixed the number permanently at 128. Members were
elected on a general ticket, which has been since continued.

No change can be made in the representation of coun-
ties between the period fixed by the constitution for the
apportionment based upon the census taken in years ending
in 5. Counties erected from parts of other counties, or em-
bracing parts of different election districts, between these
periods cannot have a separate representation until the next
apportionment. The Legislature apportions to each county
its relative number of members, and the boards of supervisors
divide the towns and wards into Assembly districts.

The constitution of 1846 required the boards of super-
visors of the several counties to meet on the first Tuesday
of January succeeding the adoption of the constitution,
and divide the counties into districts of the number appor-
tioned to them, of convenient and contiguous territory, and
as nearly equal population as possible. After each State
census the Legislature is required to re-apportion the mem-
bers and to direct the time when the supervisors shall meet
for the purpose of re-districting.

Fulton and Hamilton Counties together elect one mem-
ber, and every other county one or more.



179S-99.— Abel French, Henry McNeil, David Ostrom.

1800.— John Hall, David Ostrom, Nathan Smith.

lSOO-1. — Jesse Cnrtiss, Abel French, David Ostrom.

1802,— Joel Bristol, Abel French, David Ostrom.

1803. — James Dean, Sr., Abel French, John Lay, Aaron Morse.

1804. — David Coffeen, Joseph Kirkland, David Ostrom, Abraham

Van Epp.
1804-5. — Geo. Brayton, Jos. Jennings, Jos. Kirkland, Benj. Wright.
1806. — George Brayton, Thomas Hart, Joseph Jennings.
1807.— George Brayton, Uri Doolittle, Charles Z. Pratt.
1808.- Thomas R. Gold, Henry McNeil, Benjamin Wright.
1809. — Joel Bristol, James Dean, Sr., David Ostrom, John Storrs,

Benjamin Wright.
1810. — Levi Carpenter, Jr., Samuel Chandler, John Humaston, David

Ostrom, John Storrs.
1811. — Isaac Brayton, George Doolittle, George Huntington, Henry

McNeil, John Storrs.
1812. — I?aac Brayton, Joel Bristol, Erastus Clark, George Hunting-
ton, John Storrs.
1813. — Josiah Bacon, Erastus Clark, George Huntington, John Lay,

Nathan Townsend.
1814. — Isaac Brnyton, Laurens Hull, James Lynch, Henry McNeil,

Theodore Sill.
1815. — Theodore Sill, John Lay, James Lynch, Rufus Pettihone, John

1816. — Isaac Brayton, Jesse Cuitiss, James Lynch, Roderick Morri-
son, Richard Sanger.
1817. — David I. Ambler, Wheeler Barnes, Abram Camp, Martin

Hawlcy, Henry Huntington, Newton Marsh.
1818. — George Brayton, Henry Huntington, Joseph Kirkland, Nathan

Williams, Theodoie Woodruffe.
1819. — (Oneida and Oswego) Ezekiel Bacon, Luther Guiteau, David

P. Hoyt, George Huntington, Theodore Woodruffe.
1820. — (Oneida and Oswego) James Dean, Jr., George Huntington,

Henry McNeil, Theophilus S. Morgan, John Storrs.
1821. — (Oneida and Oswego) Josiah Bacon, Allen Fraser, Geo. Hunt-
ington, Joseph Kirkland, William Root.
1822. — (Oneida and Oswego) Greene C. Bronson, Saml. Chandler,

George Huntington, Peter Pnitt, Israel Stoddard.
1823. — (Oneida) Uri Doolittle, Thomas H. Hamilton, Jesse Lynch,

Henry Wager, Saml. Wetmore.
1824 — Joseph Allen, ApoUos Cooper, Joseph Grant, John Ruger,

Henry Wager.
1825. — Joseph Kirkland, David Pierson, Israel Stoddard, Broughton

White, Samuel Woodworth.
1826. — Aaron Barnes, Russell Clark, Laurens Hull, Theodore Sill,

Israel Stoddard.
1827.— John Billings, W. H. Chandler, Benj. P. Johnson, John Par-
ker, Theodore Sill.
1828.— Gardiner Avery, S. Sidney Breese, Thomas E. Clark, Benj. P.

Johnson, Eli Savage.
1829.— Reuben Bacon, Benj. P. Johnson, Eli Savage, Reuben Tower,

Fortune C. White.
1830. — Arnon Comstock, Linus Parker, Elisba Pettihone, Eli Savage,

Ithal Thompson.
1831. — Reuben Bettis, Arnon Comstock, David Moulton, Riley Shep-

ard, John F. Trowbridge.
1832.— Nathaniel Fitch, Lemuel Hough, Rutger B. Miller, David

Moulton, Daniel Twitchell.
1833. — Ichabod C. Baker, Levi Buckingham, John Dewey, Squire

Utley, David Wager.
1834. — Pomroy Jones, Israel S. Parker, Hiram Shays, Aaron Stafford,

Ithal Thompson.
1835.— Merit Brooks, Dan P. Cadwell, Riley Shepard, David Wager,

Amos Woodworth.
1836.— Henry Graves, John W. Hale, William Knight, Jared C. Pet-
tihone, John Stryker.
1837,— Levi Buckingham, John I. Cook, Lester N. Fowler, Andrew

S. Pond.
1838.— Russell Fuller, Henry Hearsey, Fortune C. White, James S.

T. Stranahan.
1839. — Jesae Armstrong, Ward Hunt, Amasa S. Newberry, Israel

1840. — Nelson Dawley, Anson Knib>oe, Charles A. Mann, John F.

1841. — Calvin Dawley, Joseph Halleck, Luke Hitchcock, Nathaniel

1842. — Ichabod C. Baker, Ebeuezer Robbins, Horatio Seymour, De
Witt C. Stevens.

1843. — Dan. P. Cadwell, Amos S. Fassttt, David Murray, John H.

1844. — Justus Childs, James Douglass, Richard Empey, Horatio Sey-

1845. — Andrew Billings, Merit Brooks, Calvert Comstock, Horatio

1846. — Chauncey C. Cook, Benj. F. Cooper, Daniel G. Dorrance,
Russell Fuller.

1847. — Nathan Burcbard, Abel E. Chandler, Isaac Curry, John Dean.


First District.

Second District.

Third Dislrict.

Fourth District.


Luke Smith.

Warren Converse

B. S. Beach.

Henry Wager.


Oliver Ti-escott.


J. M. Elwood.

C. Stevens.


Wm. J. Bacon.

Biilpli Mcintosh.

K. Frazier.

Luther Leiand.


Joa. Benedict.

Lorenzo Kuuse.

Lewis Rider.

Geo. Brayton.


G. D. Williams.

C. S. Butler.

Henry Sandford.

John J. Castle.



Amos 0. Osborn.

Julius C. Tluirne.

Amos C. Hall.


.)os. Benedict,

A. P. Chsp.

D. L. Boardmau.

James Mitchell.


G. D.Williaiiis.

Levi Blakeslee.

H. H. Beecher.

Daniel Walker.


G. F. Fowler.

J. J. Hanchett.

T. D. Penfleld.

Caleb Goodnch.


R. U.Shermnn.

P. B. Babcock.

John Halstead.

I. Tuwnsend.


Henry K. Hart.

Wm. J. McKown.

Thomas 6. Hailey

. Benhen Knight.



Kdward Loomis.

P. C. Costello.

Didymus Thomas.


J. McQuiule.

Benjamin Allen. EvauB.

George Williams.


F. Kcnmn.

L. T. Marshall.

M. L. Keiiyon.

William Lewis,



Eli Avery.

T. D. Penfi.ld.

Jeremiah Sweet.


A. B. Weaver.

D. M. Prescott.

Asa S. Sherman.

Isajic McDoiigall.


A. B. Weaver.

Levi Blakeslee.

C. Brodock.

J. W. Douglass,


A. B. Weaver.

Lorenzo Ituuse.

T.D. Penfleld.

Geo. W. Cole.


Geo. Graham.

Alva Penny.

B.N. Huntington

Silas L. Snyder.


L. Blakeslee.

Ellis H. KoI.erts.

Geo. H. Sandford.

L. W. risk.



Alanson B. Ciidy.

James Stevens.

A. Nicholson.


EH Avery.

A. B. Tnttle.

James Stevens.

Erustus Ely.


S. S. Lowery.

David M. Miner.

St. Pierre Jerred.

James Roberts.



Sidney A. Biince.

Thos. Miilliiill.

Isaac McDongall.


M. L. Hiinger-

N. A. Wliite.

B. Beckwith.

Geo, K. CairoU.

Albert L. Hayes,


H. J.Cogge.shiiIl.

P. H. Costello.

llaniel Walker,



. Arthur F. Brown

.lohn J. Parry.

G. 0. J.mes,


B. U. Sliorman

Silas T. Ives.

Edward Lewis.

H. Lillyhridge.


B. U.Slicrman

S. Gridley.

J. H. Flanagan.

Walter Ballon,


Jas. Corbelt.

Everett Case.

Benj. D. Stone.

J, Robert Moore,


Wm. Junes.

A.DeV.Tuu nsley

Cyrus D. Prescott

Robt, H, Roberts,


Convention 0/I8OI, — James Dean, Bezaleel Fisk, Henry Huntington.

Convention of 1821, — Ezekiel Bacon, Samuel Sidney Breese, Henry
Huntington, Jonas Piatt, Nathan Williams.

Convention o/1846. — Hervey Brayton, Julius Candee, Edward Hunt-
ington, Charles P. Kirkland.

Convention of 1867. — Benjamin N. Huntington, Francis Kernan,
Richard U. Sherman.

Convention of 1872, — Commission for amending the constitution,
Francis Kernan.


District Attorneys. — The original appellation of this
office was Assistant Attorney-General. The districts were
seven in number, and the office was filled by the Governor
and Council during pleasure. The attorney-general offici-
ated personally in New York County. The office of dis-
trict attorney was created April 4, 1801. In 1818 each
county was made a separate district. Under the second
constitution district attorneys were appointed by the court
of general sessions in each county. Under the constitu-
tion of 1846 the office was made elective for terms of three

* During the 68th session, from January 7 to May 14, 1846, Mr.
Seymour was Speaker of the Assembly.



From 1796 to 1801 Oneida County formed part of the
9th District, composed of Herkimer and Otsego Counties.
From 1801 to 1818 it was in the 6th District, comprising
Chenango, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, Otsego, Madison (from
1808), and Jefferson (from 1805 to 1808). Since 1818
each county has formed a district.

Thomas R. Gold, from Feb. 26, 1797, to Aug. 20, 1801; Nathan Wil-
liams, appointed 1801; Joseph Kirkland, 1813; Thomas H.
Hubbard, 1816; Nathan Williams, 1818; Samuel Beardsley,
1821; Hiram Denio, 1825; Ichabod C. Baker, 1834; Timothy
Jenkins, 1840 ; Calvert Comstock, 1845 ; Calvert Comstock, 1847 ;
iRoseoe Conkling, 1850 ; Samuel B. Garvin, 1850 ; J. Thomas
Spriggs, 1853; Henry T. Utley, 1853; Jairus H. Manger, 1866;
Hiram T. Jenkins, 1859 ; Daniel Ball, i868; Daniel C. Stoddard,
1871; M. D. Barnett, 1874; M. D. Barnett, 1877. '

County Clerks. — Appointed up to 1847 ; elected for terms
of three years since. The county clerks are keepers of the
county records, and clerks of all the courts, including the
Supreme Courts, for their respective counties.

Jonas Piatt, 1793; Francis A. Bloodgood, 1802; Abrain Camp, 1813;
Francis A. Bloodgood, 181 5 ; Eliasaph Dorchester, 1821-22 ; John
H, Ostrom, 1825; George Brown, 1831; John D. Leland, 1834;
James Dean, 1837 ; P. Sheldon Root, 1840 ; Debs De Wolf, 1843 ;
Patrick Mahon, 1846 ; Alexander Rae, 1849 ; Richard Hulbert,
1862; Zenas M. Howes, 1855; J. Earl Hulbert, 1868; Daniel P.
Buckingham, 1861; Orson Carpenter, 1864; James C. Bronson,
1867; Linus R. Clark, 1870 ; James E. Paddon, 1873; Taliesin
Evans, 1876.

Sheriffs. — These officers, under the first constitution,
were appointed by the Council of Appointment annually;
but no person could hold the office for more than four suc-
cessive years. Under the constitution of 1821 they were
elected for three years, and were ineligible for a second
terra. These conditions still exist.

William Colbrath,* March, 1798; Elizur Mosely, December, 1798;
Charles C. Brodhead,' November, 1800; James S. Kip, 1804;
Benajah Merrill, 1807; James S. Kip, 1808; Benajah Merrill,
1810 ; James S. Kip, 1811 ; ApoUos Cooper, 1816 ; John B. Pease,
1819; John E. Hinman, 1821-22 ; David Pierson, 1825; John
E. Hinman, 1828; Samuel M. Mott,1831; Erastus Willard, 1834;
Lyman Curtiss, 1837 ; David Moulton, 1840 ; Theodore S. Faxton,
1842; Israel S. Parker, 1843; Palmer V. Kellogg, 1844; Lester
Barker, 1847 ; John R. Jones, 1850 ; Hugh Crocker, 1852 ; Calvin
Hall, 1855; William J. McKown, 1868; Hugh Crocker, 1861 ;
David B. Danfortfi, 1864; George F. Weaver, 1867; Lewis Gay-
lord, 1870; George Benedict, 1873; Frederick G. Weaver, 1876.

County Treasurers. — These were appointed by the Boards
of- Supervisors until the adoption of the constitution of
1846, since which time they have been elected foi- terms
of three years. The following list is from the record at
Rome, and goes back to 1830, anterior to which we have
not been able to procure the names :

1830-41. Jay Hathcway.
1842-45. A. Bennett.
1846. W. Tracy.
1847-48.' E. B. Armstrong.
1849-51. Sanford Adamfl..

1852-54. B. H. Shelley.
1856-67. J. Thomas Spriggs.
1858-66. J'ohn J. Parry, Jr.
1867-72. Charles Northup.
1873-78. William McPherson.

Coroners. — This list is not entirely complete. The oaths
of office are many of them lacking in the clerk's office, but
we have made it as full as possible.

1793, — April 1, Samuel Ensign, Lemuel Leavenworth, Flleazer House.
1799.— April 30, Bill Smith, Lemuel Leavenworth, Samuel Ensign,
Eleajer House.

* Written also Colbraith,

1800.— Lemuel Leavenworth, Eleazer House.

1801.— Shadrach Smith, Bill Smith. These were sworn before Hugh

White, County Judge.
1803.— Shadrach Smith, Bill Smith, George T. Klook.
1S04.— Shadrach Smith, Wells Kellogg.
18Q6.—Elisha Spurr, JohQ B. Pierce.

1807.— Solomon Bvarts, John B. Pierce, Joseph Butler, E. Spurr.
ISOS.-^hadrauh Smith, E, Spurr.

1809.— Joseph Butler, Solomon Evarts, Smith, and Spurr.
1811.— E. Spurr. .

1812.— Jedediah H. Peck, John Herrick.

1813.— John Hunter, John Pierce, John E. Hinman, Bela B. Hyde.
1814.— Levi Green, Enoch Strong, John Pierce.
1815.— J. H. Peck, B. B. Hyde, J. E. Hinman.
1816.— Wm. Stone, E. Spurr, J. H. Peck.
1818. — B. B. Hyde, David Pierson.

1819.— John Butler, Jr., Ezra S. Barnum, David Pierson, B. B. Hyde.
1 820.-;-Bzra S. Barnum.

1821. — Zenas Howes, Charles Granger, Samuel Jones, Seely Jewell.
1822.- E. S. Barnum, A. L. Wood, Freedom Tibbets, Stephen White,

Zenas Howes.
1823. — E. Spurr, James D. Stebbins, Preston Hilgard, C. Halladay.
1824.— P. H. Graves (or Groves).
1825. — Benjamin Hyde, Jr.
1826. — Bliphalet Bailey, Robert Jones.
1832. — Linus Sanford, Martin Rowley.
1837.— Francis BickncU.

1840. — Willett StiUman, Abraham A. Barnes.
1841. — Benjamin F. Brooks, Benjamin B. Hinkley.
1843.— P. McCraith, Abner B. Blair, Daniel Chatfield.
1844.— Elisha Fowler.
1846.— Aaron B. Bligh.

1847. — Benjamin F. Bfooks, A. B. Blair, William Tompkins.
1849.— H. H. Roberts.

1850.— A. B. Blair, John R. Everett, B. B. Harris.
1851.— S. M. Ferine, R. H. Francis.
1852.— William H.Green.
1853.— A. B. Blair, John H. Tower.
1854. — James H. Frear,
1865.— S. M. Pcrinu, Clark A. Riggs.
1856.— John P. Van Vliok, Alexander Glfford.
1857.— H. H. Roberts, J. M. Browne.
1858. — David Donaldson.
1859.— J. P. Van Vlick.
I860.— H. H. Roberts.

1861, — Newton Graves, Jabez V. Cobb, John H. Van Ness.
1863.— H. H. Roberts.

1864. — Newton Graves, Saml. F. M^ney, J. V. Cobb, E. A. Munger,
1866.— W, B. Monroe.
1866.— Charles B. Tefft.

1867.— J. V. Cobb, E. A. Munger, W. B. Monroe.
1869.— Evan G. Williams.

1870. — E. J. Lawton, E. A. Munger, Christian Weiss.
1871.— Charles B. Tefft, Wm. Meyer.
1872.— B. G. Williams.

1873. — Edward D. Taylor, James G. Hunt, B, J, Lawton,
1874. — David Larrabee, James G. Hunt.
1876.— Chas. E. Eraser, Jr., Francis T. Gorton.
1876. — James G. Hunt, E. J. Lawton.
1877-78.— E. J. Lawton, E. F, Gorton, C, B. Fraser.


appointed by Boards of Supervisors from 1843 to 1847,
when the office was abolished.

Elon Comstock, Julius C. Thome, Hosea Clark, Stephen Moulton,
William S. Wetmore.

In 1857 the office of school commissioner was established
and made elective. First election held in November, 1859.
Abram B. Weaver, Harvey E. Wilcox, Mills C. Blackstonc, Grove W.
Bagg, Peter B. Crandall, Charles T. Pooler, Julius C. Thome,
Joshua H. Tracy, Harvey S. Bedell, Homer T. Fowlor, Morrilt
N. Capron, Silas L. Snyder, Eugene L. Hinckley, John R. Pugh,
Charles T, Burnley, Henry S, Ninde, Horace 0. Farley.



The county is divided into four principal districts, each
of which has a superintending commissioner.'
Tlie present commissioners are V

John R. Pugh, Marcy, first district; Charles E. Howe, Clinton, seo-
ond district ; Martin W. Smith, Rome, third district j Milton W.
George, Trenton, fourth district.

Each commissioner reports his own district separately
and independently to the State superintendent, but the re-
ports are generally very meagre and unsatisfactory through-
out the State.


The list of these officers is imperfect, for the same reasons
whit;h apply in the case of coroners, — the records ^re not
complete. We give what names we have been able to find:

1824. Benjamin Hyde.
1S2S. Benjamin Hyde.
1S3S. James D. Stebbins.

John Parker.
1840. Denio Babcock.*
1842. David Babcock."

1543. Parker Halleck.
A. S. Newberry.
A. Hazen.

1544. Clark Potter.

1845. Parkei- Halleck.

1846. Clark Potter.
1848. Denio Baboock.

William Higby.

1848. C. C.Cook.

J. P. Fituh.
1852. Eiihvaim Ptorrs.

John W. Stafford.
1854. Murk Potter.
1855-58. Andrew Jones.
1860. William E. Griffith.

1870. Israel B. Spincer.
Jacob S. Ethridge.

1871. Benjauiin D. Stone.
1S73. Curtiss J. Wright.

A. G. Williams.
1878. Curliss J. Wright.
A. G. Williams.



Medical Societies — The Early Bar of Oneida County — Educational:
Early Schools, Academies, Colleges, State Institutions, Asylums
— Religious : General Statistics by Denominations.

FROM 1806 TO 1878.t


Mr. President and Gentlemen:

By a resolution passed at the last annual meeting of this
society, it becomes my duty, as chairman of the committee
then appointed, to present to you a history of the measures
employed to found and develop a compact of medical men,
legalized by State authority, to care for the interests of the
medical profession in Oneida County. For this purpose, it
will be necessary to turn back to the preliminary steps
taken by a few physicians in the counties of Saratoga,
Washington, and Montgomery to understand the condi-
tions or circumstances which led to the important move-
ment. Those who witnessed the progressive settlement of
the northern and western sections of the State can easily
understand how few young men in central New York could

* These names are obscure, and may be identical.

t At the annual meeting of the Medical Society of the County of
Oneida, July, 1877, a committee of three was appointed' to prepare a
history of the society from its organization in 1806 to the present
lime, July, 1878. Drs. Thomas, Guiteau, and Whaley were ap-
pointed to prepare and report such history. Dr. Thomas was chair-
man of the committee.

obtain the means necessary for an education, broad and
comprehensive enough to be a good foundation foi" the
study of medicine ; consequently a large proportion of those
who were successful in obtaining a license were men of but
little culture, and unused to the social amenities of life.
Thus poorly qualiBed to discharge the duties which be-
longed to the profession, the struggle for business with them
was a battle in which the grosser elements of humanity
sought to gain a professional reputation by arrogant boast,
ing of the marvelous recoveries that had been made by the
remedies they had administered.

But fortunately for the profession at large, there were
some whose rare endowments enabled them to reach a high
position in spite of all difficulties, while others more fortu-
nate had ample means to give them the necessary advan-
tages, and thus secure a small army of competent and
honorable practitioners. Most of them were men of marked
ability, holding prominent positions not only in the town
and county in which they lived, but some were leading and
distinguished participants in the councils of the State.
Such men as we have thus described were the founders of
this society — men who were ornaments in social life, who
adorned the medical profession, and with zealous enthusiasm
engaged in every movement designed to benefit the profes-
sion at large, and to establish on an enduring basis the
science of our noble calling.

In 1796 a series of articles were published in the news-
papers of Saratoga, advocating the plan of having "medical
societies organized by law to advance the interests of medi-
cal science ; and at the same time to be a safeguard against
the impositions of empiricism. A society was formed to
carry out the proposed measure ; but for the want of inter-
est in its projects, and the discordant materials of which it
was composed, the year of its birth was the grave of the
premature effort. All movements either in social or pro-
fessional life that look like innovations on old and estab-
lished customs require time, discussion, and thought to
educate the human mind to a full understanding of the
scope and measure of such needed changes, and bring them
to act in concert and in good faith to establish the new
principle of action.

Previous to the year 1806 the medical profession in this
State had no shield of law to guide its actions or protect
its interests. The few practitioners who had become emi-
nent in spite of the difficulties with which they were sur-
rounded, had little power to elevate and dignify the profes-
sion without the aid of legal rights secured by law. What
did it matter if the old country law had thrown its pro-
tecting arm around the profession, and given it a place
among the kindred sciences, whilst here no legislative act
had been invoked to guard its interests, and draw a line of
separation between the pretending charlatan and the high-
minded, honorable, and conscientious physician ? It was
during this period of disorder, when law had no voice to
proclaim the duties, or power to enforce the special rights
of medical men, that a second and successful effort was
made to place the members of the profession under the
restraints of law.

Through the exertions of Dr. Stearns and a few medical
men of Saratoga County, a meeting was held at Ballston,

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 52 of 192)