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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nine feet in height, resting upon a pier of solid masonry. A
clock-work, with Bond's isodynamic escapement and spring
governor, causes the telescope to follow the daily motions of
the stars, by acting upon long arms attached to the equatorial
axis. The wings are each eighteen feet square ; the east
room is used as an oflice for the director. In the west room
is mounted a portable transit instrument of two and a half
inches aperture, the gift of Hon. Anson S. Miller, LL.D.,
of Rockford, 111., and constructed by W. Wurdeman, of
Washington, D. C. It has a cast-iron folding stand in*
vented by the maker.

Near the transit is an astronomical clock, constructed by
William Bond & Son, Boston, and presented by the late Hon.
Wm. Curtis Noyes, of New York. It is regulated for mean
time, and provided with the break-circuit for telegi'aphic
operations. By the side of the clock is a chronograph of
Bond's most recent construction, and regulated by the
spring governor, presented by Michael Moore, Esq., of
Trenton Falls. These instruments have been connected by
a telegraphic wire with the nearest station ; and the longi-
tude of the observatory has thus been accurately determined
by exchanging star signals with the Harvard College Ob-
servatory, at Cambridge, Mass.

In its turn, the Litchfield Observatory already has become
the basis of several longitudes in the State, determined
under the auspices of the Regents of the University at
Buffalo, Syracuse, Elmira, Ogdensburgh, and of the longi-
tude of the Detroit Observatory at Ann Arbor, Mich., which
latter forms the fundamental point for the longitudes of the
Lake Survey. The ktest work of this kind has been to
determine the longitude of the western boundary of the
State of New York.

Besides, the observatory has a sidereal chronometer, con-
structed by the same makers, with Hartnup's improved
combination balance ; this instrument was the gift, of the
late Hon. George Underwood, of Auburn.

A Morse telegraph apparatus also has been presented by
the late S. W. Chubbuck, of Utioa, and an aneroid barom-
eter by the late Simeon Benjamin, of Elmira.

In order to observe the total eclipse of the sun, Aug. 7,
1869, Mr. Edwin C. Litchfield presented a fine portable
telescope, so that an expedition could be organized, and pro-
ceed from this observatory to Des Moines, Iowa. The cost
of the expedition was likewise defrayed by the liberality of
Mr. Litchfield. The telescope, the make of Messrs. Stein-
heil Sons, of Munich, has four (French) inches aperture,
five feet focal length, and is mounted parallactically on a
solid iron tripod, with setting circles for right ascension and
declination, and has also a tangent screw for following the
daily motion of a star. It has two terrestrial and six astro-
nomical eye-pieces (varying in power from 40 to 360), a
ring and a scale micrometer, and a sliding-wedge for mod-
erating the light. There is, moreover, fitted to the eye-
tube a direct vision spectroscope, with five prisms, for
analyzing the light of the sun and its protuberances. This



instrument will be particularly useful for the exercises of
students who make astronomy a "special study.

Another portable telescope, of the comet-seeker construc-
tion; was brought from Europe by the director four years
ago. It is the make of Mr. Hugo Schroeder, of Hamburg,
and its object-glass has five inches aperture. There are five
eye-pieces, varying in power from 25 to 275, with a ring
micrometer and a prism for more convenient observation.
The telescope is mounted on a firm wooden tripod, with
circles for altitude and azimuth, divided into degrees.

In order to make fall use of the two last-mentioned
telescopes, an addition has been built on the west side of
the observatory, connecting by a door with the transit-
room. It consists of an entrance or study-room, and two
movable domes 10 feet in diameter, the northern conical,
the southern a hemispTiere. Solid piers of masonry secure
the stability of the instriiments.

The following 27 asteroids were first discovered at the
Litchfield observatory :

No. 72, Feronia, discovered May 29, 1861.

" 75, Eurydioe, " Sept. 22, 1862.

77, Frigga, « Nov. 12, 1862.

" 85, lo, " Sept. 19, 1865.

« 88, Thisbe, " June 15, 1866.

« 92, Undine, " July 7, 1867.

" 98, lanthe, " April 18, 1868.

" 102, Miriam, " Aug. 22, 1868.

" 109. Felicitas, " Oct. 9, 1869.

" 111, Ate, " Aug; 15, 1870.

" 112, Iphigenia, « Sept. 19, 1870.

" 114, Cassandra, " July 23, 1871.

" 116, Sirona, " Sept. 8,1871.

" I 122, Gerda, „ | j , 3,

ll23, Brunhilda, J ^ '

" 124, Alcestis, " Aug. 23, 1872.

" 129, Antigone, " Feb. 6, 1873.

" 130, Electra, " Feb. 17, 1873.

" 131, Vala, " May 25, 1873.

« 135, Hortha, " Feb. 18, 1874.

" (144, Vibilia, „ )j^^^ 3_jg^5

L 145, Adeona, 3

" 160, Una, « Feb. 20, 1876.

" 165, Loreley, " Aug. 9, 1876.

" 166, Rhodope, " Aug. 15, 1876.

" 167, Urda, " Aug. 28, 1876.

" 176, Iduna, " Oct. 14, 1877.

Knox Hall Natural History. — The Department of
Natural History has the benefit of an endowment, given
by the late Hon. James Knox, LL.D., of Knoxville, Knox
County, Illinois. The geological and mineralogical cabinets
and collections of natural history embrace the following,
viz. :

1. 9000 specimens of ores and simple minerals.

2. 2500 specimens of fossils and rocks to illustrate the
geology of New York.

3. 1000 specimens to illustrate the geology of the
United States.

4. 600 fossils, mostly from the Silurian formations of



5. 500 specimens from the Coal formations of the United

6. 250 specimens from the New Red Sandstone formation.

7. 600 specimens of crystallized minerals from New York

8. 2000 specimens of land, fresh water, and marine

9. 300 specimens in ornithology from China.

10. 13 cases of specimens in entomology, presented by
Hon. Thomas Barlow.

11. Plants from China, presented by Dr. S, Wells

12. 1 case of birds from the Transit of Venus expe-

Sartwell Herbarium, — Through the liberality of the late
Hamilton White, of Syracuse, the college collections in
Natural History have been enriched by the Herbarium,
collected by the late Dr. H. R Sartwell, of Pcnn Yan, and
well known in scientific circles as a very extensive and valu-
able exhibition of our North American Flora. This Herb-
arium is the resultof fifty years of botanical study, research,
and correspondence. It contains «ight thousand samples of
plants, skillfully cured, accurately labeled, and conveniently
classified in sixty-two handsome volumes. Among the more
unique or useful specimens are 451 Mosses, 226 Lichens,
341 Sea- Weeds, 600 Fungi, 575 Ferns, 314 Grasses, 200

The Libraries. — The college and society libraries, amount-
ing to 12,000 volumes, are accessible to students.

A few gentlemen in the city of New York, a few years
since, presented to the college the private library of the
late Edward Robinson, D.D., LL.D., of Union Theological
Seminary. It consists of 1420 volumes, and about 100
valuable maps, and furnishes rare facilities for the study of
biblical exegesis and scriptural geography.

Hon. William Curtis Noyes, LL.D., a native of Oneida
County, and an honorary alumnus of the college, after a
life of eminent service, professional and political, bequeathed
to Hamilton College his law library. The collection numbers
about 5000 volumes. The books had been collected daring
a practice of over twenty-five years, at a cost of not less
than $60,000. " The collection consists of all the American
Reports, with scarcely an exception, down to the present
time ; of all the English Reports in the Courts of Law and
Chancery, and in the Exchequer, down to the beginning of
the year 1860 ; and all the Scotch decisions, in the Ju-
diciary, Senior Courts, and House of Lords, and the Irish
Reports in Law and Equity.

" In elementary law it contains all the principal treatises
in England and America, among which is the ' law library,'
in upwards of 90 volumes.

" It contains a complete set, in upwards of 70 volumes, of
the printed Statutes of the Colony and State of New York,
including the Session Laws from the earliest period, com-
mencing with a copy of Bradford's, printed in London in
1719, which formerly belonged to Lord De la Warr, and
seems to have come from the plantation office in the

The Noyes Library is at all times accessible to members
of the bar.



The new building for the library, iu- honor of the prin-
cipal contributor to the fund for its erection, is named the
» Perry H.. Smith Library Hall." The alumni of the col-
lege in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa/, have also been filial '
and generous in their gifts.

The building is two stories high above the :bas'ement : 75 '
feet long and 50 broad. The first floor above the baseiflent '
is divided into the vestibule and hall, two rooms for 'the i
libirariart, and the library proper. The alcoves in the library '■
room are arranged in three tiers, one above another, and j
with the adjacejit walls and the librarian's rooms will fur- '
nish a, place for 60,000 volumes. The library is lighted by '
windows iu the side-waflssind' by skylightk' '.

Over the entrance hall and librarian's rooms there is an i
apartment for a memorial hall and' art gallery',' to contain ■
tablets and portraits of the alumni and students of the
college who have, served their cotintry; also portraits and i
other memorials of the founders of the eoHego, its' offi<!ers, '
arid beneiafctors. ' ' ' - . .

Valuable additions' have been toade to the libtary,' in the ;
-department ' of metaphysic'si by ■ Professor Meai-s', whose j
friends ' had -eoti'tributed; in' su'itis previously' acknowledged, !
$370 for this purpose^ to which- the' sum of 822 from ah
anonymous source is to be added, making $392 in all.

In honor of the prizes a-warded Mr; Julien- M. Elliott,
'76, and Mr. Fi-ank F; Laird, '77; at" the inter-collegiate '
contest in oratory, held in the Academy of Music, New ''
York, Jan.- 4, iS76', and Jan. 3, 1877, $1'500- were pre-
sented to Professor- Frink, by the Rev-.' Peter Lockwobd, i
the Hon.' Samuel D. Hand,- M.©., and the Hon. Charles
McKinney, of Bingharhton, N. Y., for the purchase of re-
cent books in polite literature. These books were - selected l
by Professor Frink -with special referefice to the work of
the rhetorical department, and are called the Rhetorical
Library. Mr. McKin'fiey has' recehtly iriude an- additional
gift to the library^ and the students have' provided for its ;
annual increase.

The following summary exhibits the niiimber of studerlts
in attendance for 1877— 78:

Law Students.., , 30.,

Seniors .' ^ ." 33

Juniors ; 43

Sophomoros... .^... 33

FrcshTnen ...'......■. '. '.'. .....'.' 53

Total.;....; ^192 i

Total numbSv of alumni ; , .' M23

Number now living '. 1520 i


The materials for a history of this institution are from
Hon. P. Jones' Annals of Oneida County, and additional
informationffurnished by -Dr. John P. Gray, the efficient ,
a'nd gentlemanly superintendent. , , , :

As early-as 1830 Acting-Governor Throop,in his annual
message, called the attention of the Legislature to the subject .
of the insane poor of the State, and recommended the
esfabHshment of an asyluni for their " gratuitous care and '
recovery." In his message he states that there were, according
to the census of 1825, 819 insane persons in the State, of
whom 263 possessed means of support, 280 were in jail or

supported by charity, and 348 insane paupers were at large,
"a terror to others, and suffering, in addition to mental
derangements, all the privations attending penury arid want."

The subject -was referred to a select committee of the
Assembly,' who, on the i7th' of April, reported " that the
general expediency, and, 'indeed; necessity, of another
asylum seemed manifest front a bare examination of the
feots." The suTjjectthus becoming "agitated,.another coffl-
mittefe was appointed, : of which Hon. A. O. Paige was
chaii-man, by whom extensive examinations, with reference
to the insane and lunatic asylums, were made, and" an
elaborate- report presented in March, 1831.- During th'e
three following years: considerable attention was gnien-fco
'the subject; and' committees were annually appointed, who
reported in favor of legislative action, but no' laws -were
enacted.. ■ - ' . ■ :• ' ' ' -"■ "■ , '-

In 1834 Governor Mare^ made' a strong appeal in lii^
nife^age to the Legislature upon' the subject. ' In 1836
the Oneida County Medical Society, through' its delegate.
Dr. J. McCall, brought the-subject before the State Medical
Society, by whom a memo'.ial .was sent to the Legislature,
accompanied by a petition drawn up. by Dr. G.B. Cov-
entry. ;,

Finally, on the 30th of March, 1836, an act was passed
for the establishment of the New York- State Lunatic
Asylum. The act authorized the appointment of
commissioners to- purchase a site at an expense not ex-
ceeding $10,000, and ; also authorized the appointment of
three additional commissioners to contract for the erection
of the asylum buildings, and appropriated $50,000 for that

The site of the asylum in. Utica, including about 130
acres of land, was purchased in the summer of 1837 at an
expense of $16,300, of which the. citizens of Utica con-
tributed $6300 and the State $10,000.* Captain William
Clarke, of Utica, Francis B. Spinner, of Herkimer, and Elam
Lynds were appointed commissioners to superintend the erec-
tion of the buildings. This committee vi.<ited variousinstitu-
tions of a similar nature, and plans were drawn by Captain
Clarke and submitted to the State officers and a committee
of the Legislature, by whom they were accepted and
adopted. The original plan contemplated; four buildings,
each 550 feet long, to be located around four sides of a
quadrangle, and connected at the angles by verandas of
open lattice-work.. A,t the clpse of 1838 tliere had been
expended $46,881.79 of the appropriation.-. The founda-
tions were laid according to the original plan, and additional
appropriatioris of $75,000 were made in each of the years
1839, '40, Ul, making the total appropriations up to that
time $285,000, including the $10,000 paid for land. ■ . -'
• On the 6th of January, 1842, the cotamissioiiers re-
ported that the institution was- doih'pleted and ready fot
occupation, with the exception of furniture. During the
erection of the buildiri'gs, Messrs. Lyrids and Spiniier had
been retnoved, and Messrs. W. H. Shearman and Anson
Dart appointed in their places, and subsequently Messrs.
Clarke and Dart were replaced bjr James Piatt and Theo-
dore S. Faxton.

* The official figures for e.\penscs give only the cost to the State.



In May, 1841, Messrs^ Dayjd Russell, W, H. Shearman,
N, Devereux, Dr. C. B. Coventry, and T. S. Faxton, were
appointed by act of the Legislature. trustees of the asylum,
and required to report a system for the government, dis-
cipline, and management of the institution, and regulations
for the admission of patients. A committee of the trustees
visited fourteen of the twenty institutions of a similar
nature, then completed in the United States, and on the
12th of January, 1842, reported a system which was
mainly adopted.

The act organizing the government pf the asylum was
passed on the 7th of April, 1842-, by which, Nicholas Dev-
ereux, Jacob Sutherland, Charles A. Mann, Alfred Mun-
son, Charles B. Coventry, Abraham V. Williams, Thomhs
H. Hubbard, T. Romeyn Beck, and David Buel were ap-
pointed managers. The act also granted $25,000 for the
purchase ^f furniture, fixtures, stock, books, food, fuel,
medicine, and for inclosing and improving the grounds;
an^ the next year $1.6,000 were appropriated for a drain
extending to the river, and for supplying the buildings
with water, arid other necessary improvements.

The beard of managers organized in April, 1842, and
on the 9th of September following, appointed Dr. Amariah
Brigham, superintendent; H. A. Buttolph, M.D., assistant
physician ; K. A. Wetmore, Esq., treasurer ; Cyrus Chat-
field, steward ; and Mrs. Chatfield, matron.

The asylum was opened for the reception of patients on
the 16th of January,. 1843, and during the first year the
admissions were 276.

This rapid and extraordinary influx of patients soon
demonstrated that the accommodations would, ere long, be
entirely inadequate to the needs of the insane poor of the
State, and in 1844. the managers submitted to the Legis-
lature a plan for enlarging the asylum, advising the aban-
donment of the original plan, iind substituting the erection
of two wings of brick at right angles with the front build-
ing, each 240 feet in length and 38 feet in width, at an
estimated expense of 880^000. The Legislature of that
year appropriated $60,000, and $4000 additional for the
purchase of grounds adjoining, and in front of the build-
ing, making the total number of acres 133. A portion,
also, of these appropriations was expended for furniture
and fencing.

In 1846, $17,000 were- appropriated for completing the
wings J $15,000. for furniture, furnaces, fixtures, etc. ;
$5000 for supplying water; and $3000 for various other

In 1860, a body of land lying on the flats of the Mo-
hawk River, containing forty-eight acres, was purchased at
a cost of $10,880. This is devoted exclusively to the
production of grass, of wliich large quantities are cut an-
n«ally. Various improveinents and additions have been
made from time to time, and the total amount of land now
connected with the institution is about 200 acres, including
lawn, meadow, and cultivated land.

The total valu§ of the property on the 30th day of No-
vember, 1877, was as follows:

200 iiores of land valued at..- $24,878.84

Buildings " " 637,066.38

Total „ $661,944.42 .,

Important alterations and imprpvemente -have been made
from tiiue to titne in the arrangements of the .offices, halls,
rooms, etc., and pai;ticular]y in the direction of heating and
ventilation. , The original plans, made no arrangements
whatever for ventilation, other than that afforded by the
necessary doors and jfyindoiys.- - - ,.;,'

The "first attempt, at syst(jmatio ventilation was made
about 1851, since which, timfr continuous improvements
have been made, until the system is as iiearly perfect as
human knowledge admits of. The apparatus in- use con-
sists of two immense fans^ which furnish, in cold Tveathgr,
fifty cubic feet per minute of fresh air to , each patient in
the institution, and during the warm season .one hundred
and fifty feet per minute. The system.adoptod for heating
purposes is that of steam by indirect radiation_,j and its suc-
cess is best illustrated -by the remafkably even .temperature
maintained throughout, the. winter njonths, the yariatiou
not exceeding three degrees- for the months of Decemberj
January, February, and March, the ; average being. about
70° F-. , .,.'.■;

The farm pf 200 acres is largely in cultivation,-, and the
main source of labor supply is from among the inmates of the
asylum^who labpr according to^ a careful estimate pf their
physical and mental capacity, and, are never overwprkedi
It is only comparatively a very few years'since the insane have
been treated as human beings. Any one familiar with Ho-
garth's pictures of the English Bedlam, will uadorstand.what
is meant. Formerly this unfortunate class was chained in
dark, ill-ventilated rooms,-without clothing or fire in many
instanoes,^n short, treated precisely as a dog, would be which
had symptoms of rabies. If in a public institution^ which
was inferior to a respectable cattle corral, they were herded
together promiscuously, withoutregard to sex or condition.
To realize the immense change in their condition, one needs
but to look at a picture pf Bedlam as it appeared in Eng*
land a few years ago, and then visit a noble State charity,
like the one located in the city of Utica.-

The institution is provided with extensive shops, filled
with materials and necessary tools, for the use of the inmates,
The main building is. 121 by 27 feet in dimensions, and
here there is ample opportunity given to the mechanical
genius of every one, and the beautiful specimens of marine
architecture turned out by some of the patients amply tes-
tify to the value of this department as a means of both
employment and recreation. The library contains upwards
of 2000 volumes of selected reading matter, and during
the year 1876, 35,200 newspapers were furnished the in-
mates. Musical instruments are provided, and many inno-
cent games, both indoors and outdoors, are allowed ; and
one would scarcely suspect any mental derangement while
watching a game of draughts in the halls, or a crpquet party
under the shade of the beautiful trees upon the lawn. At
the extremities of the main or frpnt building large, airy,
and well-lighted balconies, or immense bay-windows, have
been constructed in each of the different stories,, .which
add greatly to the convenience and pleasantness of the
wards, and furnish most agreeable lounging-rooms, espe-
cially in the cold months and in rainy weather in summer.
They are a decided feature of the institution. All the dif-
ferent apartments, including halls, dining-rooms, parlors,



sleeping-rooms, pantries, closets, etc., are kept wonderfully
sweet and clean, and the whole establishment resembles, in
all its appointm«nta, much more a well-regulated and well-
patronized leading hotel in one of our great cities than a
place of confinement for demented people.

The lawn and adjacent grounds are finely laid out and
beautifully ornamented with a great variety of native and
foreign deciduous and evergreen trees, some of them of a
very large growth, shrubs, exotics, flowers, etc;

The grounds of the sexes are separate from each other,
the men having a large area containing several acres for re-
creation, well shaded by noble trees, while the women have,
in addition, a large and finely-stocked flower-garden, with
everything' beautiful, comfortable, and most agreeable
around them.

For several years from the time the institution was
opened the basement- rooms were occupied by the patients;
but about 1850-51 this plan was given up, and the rooms
were gradually abandoned, and since 1853 have not been
used for such purpose. During the process of vacating the
basement there was an apparent decrease in the capacity of
the institution (though not a real one) from 495 total ca-
pacity, Nov. 30, 1848, to 423. Modifications and additions
have since brought the accommodations up to a total capa-
city of 600, that being the number of patients which can
be domiciled at the present time.

The buildings are finely located in the west part of the
city, on commanding ground, and present prominent objects
of interest to one approaching- the city from various direc-
tions. The front or main structure is buiU of heavy Tren-
ton limestone, with the central building ornamented by a
lofty and commanding portico, with six enormous, fluted
Doric columns, eight feet in diameter at the base and forty-
eight feet in height. The columns are constructed of heavy
blocks of the same material of which the building is com-
posed, and are probably the largest columns in America;
and among the largest in the world, almost rivaling those
of the famous ruins of Karnae and Palmyra. The wing
buildings are of brick.


Total number of admissions from Jan. 16, 1843, to

Deo. 1, 1877 12,727

Total number of discharges 12,145

Total number discharged recovered , 4,702

Total number discharged improved 1,883

Total number discharged unimproved .■ 3,745

Total died 1,614

iloi insane 201

General statement of the operations of the New York
State Lunatic Asylum for the thirty-Jive years ending
SOc/i November, 1877.

General Statement — Continued.


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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 64 of 192)