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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intervals until the general had passed I he compact part of the village.
At the last bridge, near the residence of the lamented Judge Miller,
little boys threw baskets of flowers into the boat as it passed. The
general all the time presented himself to the people, and answered
their congratulations with bows and expressive gesticulations. The
committee attended him to the bounds of the county, and a deputation
proceeded with him."

The visit of the illustrious compatriot of Washington to
America was the greatest event of the kind which the
people of the United States have ever been witness to, and
he was everywhere received with the liveliest demonstra-
tions of gratitude and respect. His journey through the
various portions of the country was like the triumphal
march of a conqueror, and one continued ovation, amid the
ringing of bells, the thunder of artillery, and the acclamations
of the populace, which met him at every step. The village
of Utica bore an honorable part in the general jubilee, and
her older citizens, the few remaining ones who remember
the joyful occasion, still speak with pride of the honors
shown to him who was the bosom-friend of the " Father of
his Country,'' — the unselfish patriot who threw his fortune
and influence into the scale in favor of the " rights of
, man.''

The second great event was the celebration of the opening
of the grand Erie Canal throughout its entire extent, which
commenced on the 26th of October and continued for several
days. G-overnor Clinton, the officers of theState government,
a committee of the Common Council of the city of New
York, and numerous delegations of citizens in a flotilla of
boats made the passage from Lake Erie to Sandy Hook
amid the most enthusiastic demonstrations along the whole
route. The people of Utica were not behind other towns
and cities in doing honor to the occasion.

The following gentlemen constituted the Committee of
Arrangements appointed by the people of the village to
take part in the grand celebration : William Clarke, presi-
dent of the corporation, Jonas Piatt, Thomas H. Hubbard,
Charles C. Broadhead, Richard R. Lansing, and Dr. Alex-
ander Coventry.

The Governor and delegations reached Utica on Sunday,
and in the afternoorLattended divine services at the Pres-
byterian Church. *0n Monday there was a grand reception
at the court-house, where Judge Ezekiel Bacon, on behalf
of the town, delivered an address, which was feelingly re-
sponded to by Governor Clinton, whose far-seeing vision
had comprehended the great work, and whose untiring
energy and indomitable will had triumphed over the ob-
stacles of nature and the scoiFs and ridicule of ignorance,



until he stood vindicated before the world as a profound
statesman and the greatest public benefactor of the age.*

The completion of this great work was an important
event in the history of Utiea, and a very large trade con-
centrated here, giving the place an impetus which in the
course of five years nearly doubled its population, and
which to the present time has undoubtedly been an impor-
tant factor in its steady upbuilding. The completion of
the Chenango Canal in 1836, connecting the Erie Canal
with the waters of the Susquehanna River, was another
important event which added to the business and healthy
growth of Utica ; and the climax of its good fortune was
reached when the railways and the great manufacturing in-
dustries subsequently added their crowning influence.

The influence of the Erie Canal upon the increase of the
place is best shown by a few figures touching the popula-
tion. In 1820, when a portion of the canal was in opera-
tion, the number of inhabitants was 2972 ; in 1823, it had
increased to 4017; in 1825, to 5040; and in 1830, to

The great steam woolen- and cotton-mills were put in
operation in 1846-48, and the railway influence began to
be felt as early as 1839, and has been increasing in a steady
ratio up to within a very few years by the extension of the
great main line and the construction of new ones north and

Considerable feeling was aroused again in 1828 for the
struggling Greeks, and Utica contributed quite liberally in
their behalf

In 1831 the terrible conflict which the Poles were waging
against the gigantic power of Russia awakened a chord of
sympathy throughout the civilized world. In the United
States the feeling was intense, and public expressions of
sympathy were made throughout the land, and substantial
contributions in various forms were forwarded to General.
Lafayette, who had consented to act as agent for the

In Utiea a public meeting was called at the court-house,
on the 9th of September, 1831, at which an address and
stirring resolutions were adopted, and a committee appointed
to solicit subscriptions for the gallant people who had given
Pulaski and Kosciusko to the cause of American liberty.
Of this meeting Hon. Nathan Williams was chairman, and
General Joseph Kirkland secretary. The following promi-
nent gentlemen were appointed as the soliciting committee :

A. B. Johnson, D. Wager, T. H. Hubbard, Joseph Kirk-
land, Montgomery Hunt, Horatio Seymour, William J.
Bacon, Rudolph Snyder, James S. Porter, Abraham Culver,
E. B. Shearman, Ammi Dows, A. Munson, J. McGregor,
Aug. Hulburt, James Piatt, John Newland, E. A. May-
nard, T. R. Walker, Dr. J. McCall.

A considerable sum was raised and forwarded by this
committee to General Lafayette, who jesponded in the fol-
lowing characteristic letter :

" Paris, November 29, 1831.
" GENTLESfEN, — The resolutions, the address, the donation of S974.59,
and the letter which my American fellow-citizens of Utica have been
pleased to send me, could not fail to excite those feelings of admira-

» See Chapter XVI.

tion, pride, and gratitude, the more gratifying to my heart when I
remember the situation of your part of the country in the years 1777
and 1794, as well as the welcome bestowed upon me six years ago in
your Bourishing and beautiful town. The unhappy downfall of Poland
will have been known in Utica long before this answer can reach you.
But while we have to mourn together over the fate of that heroic nation,
and tohopetheday of justice shall rise again upon them, we find some
consolation in the thought that the appropriation of fraternal relief
could never be so seasonable as it proves to be in their present cir-
cumstances. I have requested the American committee that had
framed the first address to the sympathy of the citizens of the United
States to assist me in the judicious distribution of the money intrusted
to my hands. We meet every week, and there is an understanding
between us, the French committee and a committee of the Poles
already arrived in this capital. Accounts of those proceedings have
already been transmitted to Now York. Every mark of your so long-
experienced affeetion and confidence is to mo a most precious treasure.
I beg you, gentlemen, to receive yourselves, and to transmit to the
citizens of Utica the homage of my grateful and affectionate respect.

" Lafayette."!'
'• The gentlemen of the Utica Committee."


Utica was incorporated as a city by an act of the LegiiS-
lature, passed Feb. 13, 1832. Under this charter the city
was divided into four wards by Gene-see Street and the Erie
Canal, the northeast quarter being the first ward, the
northwest quarter the second ward, the southwest quarter
the third ward, and the southeast quarter the fourth ward.
The officers provided for by the charter were a mayor,
four justices, one supervisor, and three constables for the
city, and three aldermen, one assessor, and three inspectors
of election in each ward. All these, except the mayor,
were elected by the people ; the mayor was appointed by
the Common Council until 1840, when the office became an
elective one. There were also appointed by the council a
city clerk, an attorney, a treasurer, an overseer of the poor,
a street commissioner, a surveyor, several collectors, two
police constables, watchmen, and other subordinate officers.

" The amount of taxation was limited to $8000 in one
year. Under the school law of 1843, two school commis-
sioners were elected annually, who held their offices three

The original charter was revised in 1849 and 1862, and
perhaps at other periods. The boundaries under the
charter were the same as those of the village, but under the
new charter of March 3], 1849, they were enlarged, and
the city was subdivided into six wards. The east and
north boundaries remained on the county line and the
Mohawk River, but the west line ran between lots Nos.
99 and 100 of Cosby's Manor, beginning at the river and
running thence to a point in said line 200 rods south of
the south side of Varick Street, thence at right angles with
said line east to the east line of the county.

The first and second wards remained as before. The
third was divided by the Chenango Canal, the part lying
east forming the third, and the portion lying west of the
said canal the sixth ward. The fourth ward was also
divided by John, Rutger, and West Streets, the portion
lying on the west side of the line forming the fourth, and
that on the east the fifth ward.

t The original of this letter was destroyed when the council-room
was burned, Dec. 7, 1848.
J Jones.

Photo, by Williama.

JosiAH Eathbun was born in Brookfield, Chenango
Co., N. Y., Jan. 12, 1795. He was second son in a family
of seven children of Josiah Rathbun and Catharine Fitch.
His father was of English descent ; was a native of Canaan,
Conn., born about the year 1758. Was a soldier (in place
of his father) of the Revolutionary war ; was taken prisoner
on the Vermont frontier by the British and Indians, and
confined until the close of the war, when he married and
settled in Brookfield. Afterwards removed to Denmark,
Lewis Co., where he died at the age of eighty years. His
wife was bom about the year 1761, lived to be eighty
years of age, and died at Denmark, Lewis Co. Dr. Rath-
bun spent the time until he was seventeen years of age at
home, receiving the advantages only of the common school.
His father being in limited circumstances, Josiah resolved
to leave home and begin a business life for himself.

He accordingly went to Martinsburg, N. Y., where he
worked on a farm for two years, attending school during the
winter seasons. It was during this time, on account of a
feeble constitution, that he became impressed with the idea
of leading a professional life, and entered Onondaga Acad-
emy, in Onand^a County, where he remained for nearly
three years, including the time spent in teaching in winter.

In the year 1820 he began the study of medicine at
Lowville, Lewis Co., N. Y., which he continued for some
three years, including one course of lectures at Fairfield,
Herkimer Co., and two courses in the old Medical College
of New York. After receiving his license. Dr. Rathbun
practiced some eight years in Martinsburg, and then in
the spring of 1833 came and settled in Utica, where he
has remained until the present time in the practice of his

profession. He has lived to see most of his associates of
the medical fraternity who were here when he came pass

Dr. Rathbun has never been active in politics. He was
first a Clintonian, and identified with the old Whig party,
but is now an unswerving member of the Republican party.
He was formerly a member of the Medical Society of Lewis
County, and since his residence here has been a member of
the Medical Society of Oneida County.

Dr. Rathbun is a plain, unassuming man, known for
unsullied integrity of purpose in all his dealings with his
fellow-citizens ; and in his professional career has remem-
bered the needy when his assistance could afford relief,
as well as to dispense to those who were able to pay for his
services. He has been a member of the Presbyterian
Church since 1825, and a liberal supporter of all kindred

In the year 1824 he married Miss Irene Ballard, of New
York, by whom he had two children, — Anna, wife of
General John W. Fuller, of Toledo, Ohio, and Jane, de-
ceased. His wife died in 1856. For his second wife he
married Miss Eliza, daughter of James S. Foster, of New
Hartford, this county, with whom he now lives.

Dr. Rathbun is a careful and judicious practitioner, hon-
orable in his professional intercourse, quiet and unobtrusive
with the sick. Affable and courteous, a large and influen-
tial circle called for his aid, and through many long
years he has ministered to the same families. He retained
a large business until age admonished him of required rest,
and now, full of the memory of a well-spent life, he waits
for the summons of the great king.



Under this charter the ofifioers to be elected were a
mayor, recorder, attorney, treasurer, surveyor, oyerseer of
the poor, marshal, street commissioner, four justices of the
peace, and six school commissioners for the city, and two
aldermen, a supervisor, assessor, collector, constable, and
inspectors of election for each ward.

The boundaries under the revised charter of 1862 are
described as follows, to wit :

" BeginDing at the point in the middle of the Mohawk River where
the division line between lots numbered 101 and 102 in Cosby's
Manor intersects it, thence running southerly on said division line to
the southerly line of the New York Central Railroad ; thence west-
erly along said southerly line of said railroad to the west line of
great lot 104 in said Cosby's Manor; thence running south on said
line to the north side of the Whitesboro* road ; thence easterly on the
north side of said AVhitesboro' road to the old division line between
John S. Capron's and J. and C. Faass' land; thence running south-
erly along said division line to the line of New Hartford ; thence
easterly along the line of New Hartford to the westerly line of lot
101 in said Cosby's Manor ; thence southerly along said line of lot
101 to the centre of the road leading from Utica to Burr -Stone Mills
(so called); thence easterly in the centre of said road to the westerly
line of lot 100 in said Cosby's Manor; thence southerly along said
la.«t-mentioned line to the line between the farms formerly owned by
Samuel S. Thorn and John Butterfield; thence easterly along the
last-mentioned line to the centre of the old Seneca Turnpike ; thence
easterly along the centre of Slayton'e Bush Road (so called) to its
intersection with the centre of the road leading northerly through
the farm owned by Robert McBride; thence northerly in the centre
of said last-mentioned road to the present southerly bounds of the
city of Utica; thence easterly along the present bounds of the city
of Utica to the easterly bounds of Oneida County ; thence northerly
on the easterly bounds of Oneida County to the centre of the Mohawk
River; thence westerly up the middle of the Mohawk River to the
place of beginning."

Under this charter the city was divided into nine wards.
A tenth was added in 1872, and the western boundary was
altered and extended to its present location in 1875. The
present area of the city is 5600 acres.

The year 1832 will long be remembered as the date of
the first visitation of the scourge known as the Asiatic
cholera, which is supposed to have its origin in the immense
malarial region covering the delta of the river Ganges,
from whence it travels, in a direction opposite to the diur-
nal motion of the earth, until it compasses almost every
land on the globe. Its appearance in Utica was on the
12th day of July, and it continued to work its terrible
destruction for several weeks, disappearing in August.

At that date the town had a population of about 9000, and
during the continuance of the disease, according to Mr.
Jones, there were 201 cases and 70 deaths ; among whom
were several prominent citizens. Ezra S. Cozier, who had
been president of the village in 1821-23, and in 1831,
died on the 17th of July; and Hon. Wm. H. Maynard,
while on business in New York, was stricken down with
the disease, and finally died of jtyphoid fever, August 28.

There was great consternation, and many of the people
left the place. Business was interrupted, and there was
more or less suffering and destitution. It was probably
the most severe epidemic, in proportion to its duration,
that has ever visited the place.

On the 21st of October, 1835, it is said the first anti-
slavery convention ever held in the State convened at the
Bleecker Street Presbyterian Church. Meetings in antici-

pation of the convention had been held previous to this
date, at which strong resolutions were passed in condemna-
tion of the scheme of the " Abolitionists.' ' At one of these
meetings, held at the court-house on the 17th of Octo-
ber, Rudolph Snyder was president ; J. C. Devereux,
Ephraim Hart, E. S. Barnum, Kellogg Hurlburt, Adam.
Bowman, Nicholas' Smith, and J. B. Pease, vice-presidents ;
and William C. Noyes and Isaiah Tiffany, secretaries. The
committee on resolutions consisted of Samuel Beardsley, J.
M. Church, Rutger B. Miller, Chauncey Rowe, and B. B.
Lansing. The resolutions condemned the action of the
Common Council in granting the use of the court-house,
approved the course of the mayor (General Joseph Kirk-
land) and the minority of the Council for opposing the
measure, and declared that the meeting would " not sub-
mit to the indignity of an abolition assemblage being held
in a public building of the city, reared as this was by the
contributions of the citizens, and designed to be used for
salutary public objects, and not as a receptacle for deluded
fanatics or reckless incendiaries ;" and that it was the " in-
cumbent duty of every citizen to make use of all lawful
and proper measures to arrest the disgrace which would
settle upon the city by the public assemblage of the conven-
tion appointed to be held on the 21st inst."

The meeting was adjourned to meet at the court-house
on the 21st inst., at nine A.M.

Another meeting was held at the court-house on the
20th instant, composed of the more conservative element,
who were in favor of freedom of speech, while at the same
time proclaiming the inviolability of the laws. This meet-
ing was presided over by Bradford Seymour, assisted by
H. Nash, E. M. Gilbert, and Dr. J. P. Batchelder, with
John Bradish, James Sayre, and James McGregor secre-
taries. Dolphus Bennett, Horace M. Hawes, T. B. Dixon,
Dr. Rathbun, and Andrew Hanna were the committee on
resolutions. The meeting was not altogether harmonious.
The morning of the 21st was u.shered in by the firing
of cannon, and several thousand people assembled from the
surrounding country. The anti-slavery convention, con-
sisting of about 600 delegates from all parts of the State,
met at the Second Church, on Bleecker Street, and organized
by choosing Judge Brewster, of Monroe County, chairman,
and Rev. Oliver Wetmore, of Utica, secretary.

At the citizens' meeting, held at the court-house, a
committee, consisting of J. Watson Williams, Chester
Hayden, George J. Hopper, Rutger B. Miller, and Harvey
Barnard, was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of
the feeling of the people, which reported in favor of ap-
pointing a committee of twenty-five leading citizens to visit
the convention and remonstrate against their proceedings,
and to " warn them to abandon their pernicious movements,"
etc. The committee, consisting of the following well-known
names, was accordingly appointed: Chester Hayden, R. B.
Miller, S. Beardsley, Ezra Dean, William Tracy, J. W.
Williams, E. A. Wetmore, A. G. Dauby, 0. B. Matteson,
G. W. Hubbard, J. D. Leland, Benjamin Ballon, Augustus
Hickox, A. B. Williams, Julius A. Spencer, H. Barnard,
T. M. Francis, B. F. Cooper, I. Tiffany, D. Wager, T. S.
Gold, A. Blakesley, Burton Hawley, Jesse Newell, and J.
H. Dwight.



This imposing delegation, followed by a great concourse
of people, visited the Abolition Convention, into which, after
considerable difficulty, they forced an entrance, and amid
much confusion read the resolutions of the court-house
meeting, after which the convention was broken up amidst
a terrible uproar, mingled with threats and bitter impreca-
tions, and the delegates, were shortly driven from the city.
The churcii was locked, and the key put in the possession
of C. A. Mann. And thus the cultivated, high-toned, and
religious people of Utica vindicated the principles of the
Declaration of Independence.

The change in public opinion between 18.S5 and 1861 is
among the most wonderful phases in the life of the Great

It is recorded in Judge Jones' " Annals'' that the first
locomotive ran over the Utica and Schenectady Railway on
the 22d of July of this year (1835).

The most destructive fire that had at that time ever
desolated Utica occurred on the 31st of March, 1837. It
broke out in the building No. 53, on Genesee, corner of
Broad Street, in a row of old frame buildings which then
extended down G-enesee Street about half-way to Bagg's
Square. Everything on the block bounded by Genesee,
Broad, John, and Main Streets was destroyed except two
or three substantial buildings on the corner of Main and
John Streets. The stores on Genesee Street were partly
cleared of their goods, which were piled in the middle of
the street but subsequently destroyed. The fire crossed
Genesee Street to the northwest side, and destroyed every
building from No. 54 to Whitesboro' Street, including ten
stores and the four-story temperance hotel kept by Captain
William Clarke. On Whitesboro' Street every building
was destroyed between Genesee Street and Burchard Lane,
including the hotel known as " Burchard's Inn.''

It was, apparently, a very disastrous conflagration, but
proved, in the end, a blessing ; for the " burnt district"
was soon rebuilt with a far better class of brick structures,
adding not only greatly to the appearance of the place but
reducing the chances for future fires.

In July of this year the renowned statesman and orator,
Daniel Webster, visited Utica and delivered a political
speech in Steuben Park.

The Utica Female Academy was founded in this year.

On January 27, 1839, the first train of cars passed over
the Syracuse and Utica Railroad, and in September of the
same year President Martin Van Buren visited Utica.

Utica, in common with the whole country, was visited
by the political excitement of the campaign of 1840, when
" Tippecanoe and Tyler too," and log cabins and hard cider
were all the rage. Judge Jones records the fact that a log
cabin was completed by the Whigs on the corner of Genesee
and Whitesboro' Streets, on the 8th of August of that year.

On the 3d of August, 1841, died Captain William
Clarke, a veteran of the war of 1812, and presumably
the same man who kept the temperance house destroyed by
the great fire of 1837. Captain Clarke was an officer in
the 23d United States Infantry, and participated in the un-
fortunate aff'air at Queenstown, where he was severely
wounded, and in consequence of which he received a life

Another officer of that war who resided for several years
in Utica, and who died on the 19th of May, 1838, was
Commodore Melancthon T. Woolsey. He belonged to a
military family, his paternal grandfather having fallen at
the head of a battalion in 1758, during the old French war.
Commodore Woolsey was in the county clerk's office of
Oneida County previous to the year 1800. In that year
he entered the United States navy, where he rose to distinc-
tion, and served in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and on
the lakes. In 1808 he was placed in command of the
Lake Ontario flotilla, with headquarters at the then impor-
tant naval station of Sacket's Harbor.

The only armed vessel on Lake Ontario at that date
seems to have been the brig " Oneida," in addition to which
he equipped the schooner "Julia," and on the breaking out
of the war in June, 1812, he made a cruise and succeeded
in capturing the British war schooner " Nelson," which he
added to his little squadron.

He was in command of the naval forces at Sacket's
Harbor when the British squadron made their attack on
the 19th of July, 1812, and by his judicious management
and eflTectual fire from some heavy guns advantageously
posted caused the enemy to withdraw from before tlie
place. He was also in command of the party who were
transporting a large supply of naval stores from Oswego to
Sacket's Harbor, in bateaux, in the summer of 1813. The

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 81 of 192)