Samuel W Durant.

History of Oneida County, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

. (page 85 of 192)
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 85 of 192)
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a small scale, in the same block where it is now located,
about twenty years ago, and continued for a number of
years by various individuals. The present extensive work's
were put in operation, in 1874, by Messrs. Wild & Dev-
ereux, in the building previously occupied for the purpose,
with new and improved machinery. The real estate is the
property of John F. Seymour, Esq., and is leased by the

The business at first gave employment to about thirty
Lands, which number has gradually increased until at the
present time sixty are employed, about forty of whom are
females. The amount of working capital invested is about
$25,000, and the production of finished goods reaches the
value of $75,000 annually. They are marketed through
a commission house in New York. Considerable amounts
are also disposed of at retail at the mill.

The mill is fitted up with three sets of cards, and spin-
ning and knitting machinery to correspond. The amount
of raw material consumed per month (both cotton and
wool) averages from 25,000 to 30,000 pounds. The classes
of goods manufactured are principally shirts and drawers,
of which over one hundred dozen per day are manufactured.
The raw material is purchased in New York City and Utica.
The motive-power is steam.


S. S. and J. L. Lowery commenced the knitting business
in 1863, with an investment of about $10,000, and continued
until 1866. The present firm, A. S. Lowery and J. L. Wil-
liams, was formed in 1867. The present capital employed,
including stock and machinery, is $50,000. The real estate
is leased.

When first put in operation, the business gave employ-
ment to 40 hands. The number at the present time is 125.
The mill contains four sets of cards, with spinning and
weaving machinery to match. The amount of raw material
consumed annually is about 200,000 pounds, including about
equal amounts of cotton and wool. The stock is purchased
in New York and Utica, largely of Lowery Brothers, cotton
dealers in the latter city. The value of the annual produc-
tions is about $150,000, of which the principal portion is
sold on commission in New York. The sales in Utica
(wholesale and retail) reach $30,000 annually. The firm
makes a specially of ladies' fine underwear, and also manu-
facture men's and children's wear to a considerable extent.
The mills are located on Fulton and Franklin, near John



Street. The sales-rooms are on Bleecker, near Genesee

The knitting industry of Utica is an important and inter-
esting feature of her manufactures, and bids fair to enlarge
to still greater proportions.


This branch of industry dates as far back as 1835-, when
R. V. Yates and John P. Martin began, on a limited scale,
■what was then comparatively an unimportant branch of
manufactures, but which has increased quite steadily until,
at the present time, the amount of capital invested, the
number of hands employed, and the annual value of pro-
ducts are enormous. The amount of capital employed by
the four manufacturing firms in Utica at the present time
aggregates over $500,000, and the annual sales reach the
surprising sum of $1,500,000.

It is often remarked by strangers that the number of
clothing, hat, cap, and boot and shoe establishments in
Utica seems excessive, outnumbering as they do those of
Syracuse, and even Rochester ; and the wonder is how they
all live and apparently do a flourishing business. The
secret lies in the fact that Utica, although nominally much
smaller than the cities named, is in the heart of the finest
farming and dairy region of the State, and surrounded on
all sides by an immense number of thriving and wealthy
towns and villages and a thickly-settled and rich agricul-
tural region.

In the line of clothing the facilities for manufacturing
are surpassed by those of very few cities in the land.
Here are extensive manufactures of cotton and woolen
goods, cheap labor, and excellent shipping facilities in all
directions by rail and water.

The quality of the goods produced by the numerous fac-
tories located within a radius of fifteen miles of Utica, and
especially those of the woolen-mills, is well known through-
out the country, and this alone is a most important item in
considering the clothing business. The trade generally
understands that an invoice of goods from Utica is a
guaranty of excellence in quality and make-up.

As before stated, the manufacture of clothing was com-
menced in Utica about 1835, by R. V. Yates and John
P. Martin, and the business has been continued under
various firms to the present day.

. About 1850 or 1855, C. A. Yates & Co. commenced the
manufacture of clothing, which was continued to 1870,
when they were succeeded by the present firm of Griffith,
Roberts & Butler, which is composed of M. H. Griffith,
James Roberts, and J. M. Butler. This firm is employing
a capital of $200,000, and their annual sales average from
$350^000 to $400,000. Five traveling agents are em-
ployed, and the productions are sold generally throughout
the Northern and Western States. A branch house is located
in Minneapolis, Minn., which is doing an extensive busi-

The goods include all grades of men's, youths', boys'
and children's clothing, and a very large number of work-
men are employed.

The appliances are complete in every department, in-
eluding Warth's celebrated steam-cutting machine, which

performs beautifully the work of a score of expert hands. .
The house is located at 15 and 17 Whitesboro', and 54
Genesee Streets.
OWEN, PIXLEY 4 CO. (Corner John and Main Streets.)
This firm is individually composed of John Owen, Philip
Owen, and Henry D. Pixley. The history of this house
takes us back to about 1838, when P. V. Kellogg & Co.
commenced the business on quite an extensive scale, and
continued under various firm-names to 1870. For many
years this was the heaviest house in this line in the city,
and did a very large business. In 1870 they closed out
their trade in Utica and removed to Chicago. The firm
of Owen, Pixley & Co., then just organized, purchased the
fixtures of the retiring firm, gave employment to their
workmen, and began business in Franklin Square, where
Kellogg & Co. had carried on business for a number of
years. The new firm commenced with an investment of
about $80,000, which sum has been gradually increased
until at the present time they have $200,000 invested ;
and from a force of 200 hands at first employed, have con-
tinued increasing until the present number of employees
reaches an aggregate of between COO and 700.

The firm have eight branch houses, located as follows :
one iu Lockport, N. Y., one in Oil City, Pa., two in
Indianapolis, one in Fort Wayne, one in Terre Haute, and
one in Greencastle, Indiana, and one in Bloomington, 111.
From three to four traveling agents are employed, and the
total annual sales exceed $500,000. All grades of men's,
youths', boys', and children's clothing are manufactured
from selected stock. The firm has an interest in the
Granite Mills, of Oriskany, and use largely of their manu-
factures. They also consume a large amount of the goods
of the celebrated Globe Woolen-Mills, of Utica, and the
Empire Mills of Clayville, Oneida Co., and in addition
purchase extensively, in New York and Boston, of Ameri-
can and foreign fabrics. The sales of manufactured goods
are principally in the Northern and Western States. The
house occupies for its sales- and manufacturing-rooms three
floors of Ballou's Block, corner of John and Main Streets,
opposite Bagg's Hotel.

The motive-power is furnished by a six horse-power
engine, which drives all the machinery used in the estabr
lishment, including sewing-machines, sponging and hoisting
apparatus, and the wonderful improved Warth's cutting;
machine, which is among the most curious and valuable
inventions of this inventive age. It is mounted on a long'
table, and arranged to traverse in all directions, in which it
is guided by means of a simple lever or handle, and turns
out every description of garments, cut from as many as
32 thicknesses of cloth at one movement, and with a ra.-
pidity that equals the combined work of 20 expert cutters,
This remarkable machine is manufactured in New York,
The entire establishment is heated by steam, furnished by
a boiler located under the sidewalk expressly for the pur-
pose, and is in every department systematically arranged
and complete.

ROCKWELL & WHITE. (iVW 4 and 6 Catherine Street.)
About the year 1850, H. J. Wood commenced the man-
ufacture of clothing in the building now occupied by the



above firm, and continued it down to 18'r4i wlieri Messrs.
James Rockwell and Henry Ir. White became associated in
business, and purchased the interest of Mr. Wood. The
capital employed by this firm is $50,000, and their annual
sales of manufactured goods are given at $300,000. The
sales are mostly in the State of New York. They etnploy
five traveling agents, and sell to dealers. Their manufae-
tures include all grades of men's, youths', and boys' clothing,
made expressly for their customers from the best-selected

H. H. COOPER Sc CO. {Reynolds' Block, John Street.)

This house was established Jan. 1, 1871, by Cooper,'
Chamberlaiii & Horn, who commenced business on the
corner of Genesee and Broad Streets, wherte they remained'
until 1874; when, finding their rapidly-increasing business
demanded enlarged facilities, they removed to their present,
location, where they occupy one of the finest and most
commodious business buildings in the city. On the 1st of
January, 1874, previous to the removal, the firm changed-
to Cooper & Chamberlain, Mr. Horn retiring, and subse-
quently again changed to H. H. Cooper & Co.

The manufactures comprise all grades of men's, boys', and
youths' clothing, and give employment to about 300 handS;
Five traveling agents are employed by this house, and the
sales, which are principally effected in the States of New
York and Pennsylvania, reach an annual aggregate of

The btlsiness of this firm is conducted strictly on a cash
basis. The best of material is selected, and the manufac-
turing department is under the most careful and economical
supervision, every pains being taken to produce only stand-
ard goods of uniform quality and finish.


This branch of industry was commenced in Utica, about
1862-63, by James M. Wiswell, who subsequently became
associated with James H. Thompson. In 1866, J. Newton
Cloyes purchased Wiswell's interest, and the firm became
Thompson & Cloyes, who continued the business until
1872, when Mr. Cloyes became sole proprietor, and has
carried it on to the present time.

When the business was commenced by Mr. Wiswell, it
was on a limited scale, in the attic of the building now
occupied by Mr. Cloyes. He at first employed from five to
ten hands, and put in operation the first McKay machine
ever brought to Utica.

In busy seasons the establishment has employed as many
as 125 operatives. At the present time from 80 to 90 are
at work. Mr. Cloyes has about $25,000 invested, and
turns out 300 pairs of shoes per day. The goods manu-
factured consist exclusively of ladies', misses', and children's
fine wear. The sales for 1877 were $125,000, and the
prospect is excellent for a production of $150,000 worth
the present year.

The stock is purchased in New York, Philadelphia, and
Boston, and the market is principally in New York and the
Western States.

The factory is located at No. 12 John Street.

RI^YNOLDS BROTHERS, {John Mid Catherine Streets.')

This establishment was first put in operation by B. S.

and William H. Reynolds, ofi Fayette Street, in 1865. In

' 1867 tiieiy removed to Nos. 21 and 23 Blandiria Street,

: where they were partially burned out in 1873, and removed

to their present location the same year.

The original capital (as stated by the firm) was $25,000,
i and the number of hands employed 100. The present
capital is given as $300,(i00, and the number of hands
'. employed 350.

The manufacture reaches a daily total of lOOO pairs, and
tiie annual sales a value of $600,000.

The goods are sold mostly by agents to regular customers,
diealers throughout the Northern and Western States. The
! production includes all varieties of women's and mbses'
wear, including calf-skin, pebbled-goat, kid, and morocco.
The stock is purchased in New York, Philadelphia, and
Boston, whict are the gi-eat markets for shoe- and leather-

The factory of this company is lOO by 50 feet in dimen-
' sions, and the work is distributed over five floors, from
basement to attic, all connected by a steam elevator.

Another brother, George A. Reynolds, was admitted to
a partnership in 1866. William H. Reynolds died in

The establishment has three of the celebrated McKay
' machines in operation, with all other necessary machinery
[ and appliances. The motive-power is furnished by a steam-
engine of 15 horse-power.

HOLBROOK ft LUDLOV^. (Ladies' Fine Shoes, Nbs. 9 and
11 John Street.)

This firm bommeOced busitiess in the building now occu-
pied by them on the 1st of December, 1874, with a capital
of $40,000, which has been steadily increased until at the
present time it amounts to $150,000. At first about 50
hands were employed. The number now reaches 230.
, 700 pairs of shoes are manufactured daily. The goods
i produced are riiostly the finer grades of Fretich and Amer-
ican kids, and principally for ladies' and misses' wear.
The manufacture of boys' fine shoes has recently beett'
; added. The firm also manufiictures the leading standard
; pebble-goat and calf goods. Six traveling agents are em-
: ployed, and the goods are sold directly to leading dealers
throughout the coufitry. The rijarket extends to Florida,"
Odiifornia. and Oregon, and large Sales are made In all the
leading Western cities. The firm of Lord & Taylor, New
York, purchase their goods to the extent of $30,000 annu-
ally, nie total sales for 1878 will reach $300,000. The
number of pairs nianufactured annually is about 175,600':
The firta occupies six floors, 44 by 105 feet. The ma-
chinery in operation consists of 2 McKay maohines, 3
Tapleys, 3 edge-setters, 2 planers, 2 buffers, 2 levelers, 60
improved Wheeler & Wilson and Weed sewing, and 7
American Button-hole machines, the latter handletl by the
Singer Sewing-Machine Company. 'These last have a
capacity for making 1000 button-holes each daily. The
motive-power is furnished by a 20 horse-power engine.
The building is heated by steam throughout;




PeckhAm's Foundrt. — This is the oldest establishment
of the kind in this region, having been originally put in
operation by Seth Peckham, in the town of Westmoreland,
Oneida Co., in 1817 ; from thence he removed to No. 22
Catherine Street, Utica, in 1819, where the business was
conducted by him until 1827, when John S. Peckham be-
came proprietor; and continued until 1835. Up to this
date the business had been confined to the manufacture of
plows. In 1835, J. S. and M. Peckham commenced the
manufacture of stoves, and about 1857 established the
manufactory now occupied oh the block bounded by Broad,
Catherine, and Third Streets, and the Canal Basin. The
manufacture of plows was discontinued about the time of
the removal. The beginning of the business by Mr. Seth
Peckham was on a limited scale, and during a period of-
over sixty years it has gradually increased to its present
extensive proportions. The capital now invested, including
real estate and personal property, aggregates $200,000, and
the gross sales of products for the past year reach $220,000.
The firm manufactures all varieties of wood- and coal-burning
stoves, except those known as " Parlor Cook," and they
handle them as dealers. Their trade is mostly with job-
• hers, and reaches the Canadas and New Brunswick on the
north and east, Maryland on the south, and every portion-
of the west. Steam is the motive-power, and the estab-
lishment is in every respect first-class. The salesrooms
and general headquartera are at No. 22 Catherine Street.

RUSSEL WHEELER & SON. (Stove- WorJcs, Columbia

The original of this establishment was put in operation
in .1842 by Joel C. Bailey, for the manufacture of stoves,
machinery, and castings, and for job work generally. In
1844, Russel Wheeler and Stephen A. Bailey were admit-
ted as partners, and the firm became Bailey, Wheeler &
Co. About 1854, Russel Wheeler purchased the interest
of J. C. Bailey, and the firm changed to Wheeler & Bailey.
In 1865, Mr. Wheeler purchased the interest of his part-
ner, S. A. Bailey, and transacted business in his own name
until 1877, when his son Frank E. Wheeler became a part-
ner, and the firm assumed the present name, Russel Wheeler
& Son,

Mr. Bailey originally commenced the business in a frame
building. In 1844 the present salesroom and office build-
ing was constructed of brick. About 1845 a machine-
shop and furnace building was erected in the place of the
old wooden structure, which was removed. In February,
1847, 100 feet of the eastern portion of works, extend-
ing back 120 feet, was destroyed by fire, involving a loss
of $11,000. The burned portion was rebuilt the same
year, and considerably enlarged and improved. The large
and convenient brick building for the storage of patterns
was erected about 1866. In 1867 the salesroom was en-
larged by an extension to the rear.

The lots front on Columbia Street 158 feet and extend
back 120 feet, all of which space is covered with buildings
excepting an inner court. The original capital employed
in 1842 was about $10,000, which has been gradually in-
creased until at the present time the working capital is

$75,0i)0. The number of' hands at AM employed was
about 15. At the present time it is between 50^ and 60.
The products annually approximate $80,0,00 in value> Sales;
are made mostly by agents, directly to dealers in New York
and the Western States. "•

The firm manufactures every variety of ranges, cookfng'
and parlor stoves, and agricultural furnaces, for both wood
and coal ; wagon skeins and boxes, and all kinds of machin-
ery castings and job work generally.

CURTIS MACHINE-SHOP. ( Whitesboro' Street.) ".

The ■ original of this institution was put in operation"
about 1832, as a machine-shop, by Philo C. Curtis, who con-'
tinned the business about three years, when it changed hands''
a number of times, and, among other firms, was operated'
by Pond, Higham & Co. for several years. In 1861, Mr.
Curtis succeeded the last^mentioned firm, and in 1863,i
Philo S. Ciirtis, his son, became proprietor, and has con-:
tinned the business to the present timci

The present investment in real estate) Stock, and tnii-
chinery is about $100,000, and the annual productions
reach a value of from $50,000 to $150,000, according to
the condition of trade. The number of hands employed
varies from 45 to 100 ; at present about the smaller num-
ber are at work.

The business comprises general foundry, machinff- and-
boiler-work. Steam is used as the motive-power. The
buildings, machinery, and appliances are first-class, and the-
work turned out is equal to the best. ■


This establishment was Originally put in operation in its
present location in 1858, by Linus Dean, for the manufac-
ture of ornamental iron-work, and is still operated by
him. Iron fence is extensively manufactured as a specialty,
in every form and variety, and railings, balconies, and ver-
andas, flower-vases, urns, lawn furniture, etc., are turned
out in endless styles and varieties ; also iron stable furni-'
ture, roofing materials, street gratings, and portable horse-

The lot occupies a space fronting 250 feet on WhiteS-
boro' Street, and extending the same width to the Erie
Canal. The buildings, consisting of foundry, machine^
shop, etc., are extensive and fitted with improved machinery.
The number of hands at present employed is about 20. In
busy times the number is much larger. The goods manu"-
factured by Mr. Dean may be largely classed as luxuries,
and in times of depressed trade the demand is affected
more than that for staple goods.

The sales are mostly made at the works, and the market
is principally in Central New York.

and Mohawk Streets.)

The ground now occupied by these works was formerly
occupied by a lock-factory, which was burned ; and about
1863, John H. Chapman purchased the property, built a
portion of the present buildings, and began the manufacture
of wagon-skeins and boxes, which branch is still continued.
Mr. Chapman carried on the business with various part-

310 :


ners until about 1870. The firm was also Hawley & Mc-
Clure, and Hawley & Co. At the death of Mr. Hawley,
in 1874, Messrs. T. V. Le Roy and L. H. Shattuck bought
out Hawley & Co., and in April, 1875, Mr. J. Q. Head
was admitted to partnership, and continued until his death,,
in 1878. . His interest, however, remains in the business.

This firm made extensive additions to the buildings and
facilities of the establishment, and it is at the present time
in very complete condition. The goods manufactured are
plain, turned, and patent metal bearings, skeins and boxes,
malleable and gray iron ; and during the present year the
manufacture of hop- presses and agricultural implements has
been added. The capital employed in 1874 was $60,000,
and 24 hands were employed. The capital remains the
same, but the number of hands has increased to from 90 to
105, according to demand. Steam is used as the motive-
power. The firm has agencies in New York and Philadel-
phia. AH other sales are made direct to dealers. It is
the only establishment in the county combining the two,
branches, malleable and gray-iron work. The firm is Le
Roy, Shattuck & Head.

{^Mumson Brothers, Broadway and Erie Canal.')

The manufacture of buhr-millstones was commenced by
Alfred Munson about 1823-25, on the corner of Hotel and
Liberty Streets. It was subsequently removed to Wash-
ington Street, on the Erie Canal, and about 1855 again
removed, to the west side of Broadway, on the canal. In
1868 it was once more changed, to its present location,
on the east side of Broadway. Alfred Munson continued
the business in his own name until about 1830, when
Martin Hart became associated with him, under the firm-
name of Munson & Hart. This continued for a number
of years, when the firm dissolved, and Mr. Alexander B.
Hart (a son of Martin) and Mr. Edmund Munson (a brother
of Alfred) became associated under the firm-name of Hart
& Munson, and carried on the business until about 1868,
when the firm dissolved, and a new one was formed, con-
sisting of Edmund L., Alfred H., and Countcil Munson
(sons of Edmund Munson), under the title of Munson
Brothers, which is the style of the present firm. Countcil
Munson died in 1873.

Edmund Munson, Sr., was an excellent mechanic and
inventor, and under the impulse of his genius the business,
which had been commenced with limited means and a small
number of employees, rapidly increased. Among the im-
portant improvements invented and put in operation by
Mr. Munson were an ingenious machine for finishing buhr-
stone, an improved cast-iron eye and spindle, and a port-
able mill, for grinding all kinds of grain.

The firm of Hart & Munson did an extensive business,
employing at times as many as 100 hands. It was then
comparatively a new industry in the United States, and
competition was almost unknown. The business has since
been established on an extensive scale at Buffalo, N. Y.,
Indianapolis and Richmond, Indiana, and other localities.
The Messrs. Munson are at the present time employing
about fifty hands, and have about $60,000 invested in the
business. Under an itnproved condition of trade these

figures would be largely increased, but this, like all other
industries, is afiected by the depressed condition of general

The raw material comes exclusively from a locality near-
Paris, France, and is imported through New York houses.
The manufacture includes about 200 sets annually, besides

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 85 of 192)