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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large quantities of general mill machinery. The trade
covers all parts of the United States, and reaches South
America, Canada, and the British Islands. The latter is
for a peculiar class of improved goods not manufactured
in Europe. The works occupy a large area on Broadway
and the canal, and their shipping facilities, both by rail and
water, are excellent.

Mr. Alfred Munson, the originator of this branch of
manufactures, was a well-known and prominent citizen,
intimately connected with the business of Utica in various
departments for many years.


This important industry is located on Whltesboro' Street,
a little beyond the Chenango Canal, and occupies an area of
400 feet I'ront on the street, and the same width on the
Erie Canal, with an average depth of 200 feet or more.
This ground was occupied at first by two firms, — Justin
Campbell, commencing in 1826, and Messrs. Brayton,
Kellogg & Doolittle, who began in 1827 ; both engaged in,
the manufacture of pottery.

In 1819, Noah White emigrated with his family from
Thetford, Orange Co., Vt., to Madison Co., N. Y., and set-
tled near Oneida Lake ; but the region was so malarious
that he soon after removed to Westmoreland, Oneida Co.

In 1828 he removed again to Utica, and engaged with
one of the pottery firms, and labored for about two years.
In the mean time the works passed through several hands»
About 1833, Mr. White took one of them, and operated it
on shares for a number of years, and in 1 838 he purchased
one and leased the other, and in 1841 became the owner of
both. . •

In 1842 his sons, N. A. and William, became partners in
the business. About 1856, William sold his interest to his
fa,ther and brother, and removed to Morris, La Salle Co.,
III., and subsequently to Utica, in the same county, where
he is at present engaged in the manufacture of sewer-pipe
and drain-tile. The firm then became N. White & Son.

Afler the death of Noah White, his son, N. A. White,
associated his son, William N., with him in the business,
and the firm continued as N. A. White & Son until the
death of the latter, in the autumn of 1877, since which it
has been N. A. White.

When Noah White first began business, in 1833, his
means were limited and the business small ; but both grad-
ually increased as the country became more densely popu-
lated and the wares better known, until at the present time,
at a very low valuation, the amount invested in real estate,
working capital, and stock equals $50,000. .

The goods manufactured up to about 1840 were common
stone-ware. At that date fire-brick were added, and in
1870, sewer-pipe. Extensive improvements have been
made by the present proprietor, including a new building
for manufacturing purposes, constructed of brick, two stories



in height, fifty-five by sixty-five feet in dimensions, and a
new engine and machinery. The present number of hands
employed is about twenty, and the value of annual produc-
tioiis, in the present depressed condition of business, about
$25,000, of which 815,000 is stone-ware and $10,000 fire-
brick. The manufacture" of sewer-pipe is for the present

The clay is all procured in New Jersey, mostly at Amboy.
The motive-power is steam, and the fuel anthracite coal and
hemlock wood. The stone-ware is largely marketed in Cen-
tral New York, though considerable sales are made as far as
California. The fire-brick are sold over a large territory.


James Eaton commenced the manufacture of matches at
West Winfield, Herkimer County, in 1850. In 1864 he
removed his enterprise to Utica, and located on South
Street, in the " gulf," where the business has grown steadily
to its present respectable proportions. Extensive buildings
have been erected, and improved machinery introduced from
time to time, until the establishment is one of the most com-
plete in the country. Every variety of matches known to
the trade is manufactured here except the two known as
" safety" and " wax" matches.

James Emery Eaton, a son of the original proprietor, was
admitted to a partnership in 1875, since which the firm has
been J. Eaton & Son. The amount of capital at present
invested in land, buildings, and machinery is about $30,000,
and the firm carry an average of $10,000 in stock on hand.
The number of hands directly employed averages 65, — 15
males and 50 females. The total product annually equals
$100,000 including stamps, of which about three-fifths is
paid the goverument in duties. This tax is a very onerous
one. The amount of lumber consumed annually equals
300,000 feet, of which one-half is used in the manufacture
of the matches, and the remainder for boxes. The lumber
is from Canada, and the goods are sold over a region extend-
ing from Vermont to Ohio, and from the St. Lawrence to
Maryland. The motive-power is furnished by a twelve
horse-power engine. It is the only institution of the kind
in Oneida County.


The business of manufacturing shoe-lasts is a peculiar
one, requiring great skill not only in the construction of
the necessary machinery, but in its use, as any one can readily
understand who is acquainted with the complex and irreg-
ular forms of the goods manufactured.

The Utica Last Company's Works are located on Blaudina
Street, near First, in the block of brick buildings partly
occupied by the Phoenix Iron-Works, and were put in op.
oration in August, 1876, by H. Beckwith, George Walker,
and A. H. Auborn, with a working capital of about $5000,
including stock and machinery. The material is principally
procured at Lyon's Falls, in Lewis County. Every descrip-
tion of work in their line is manufactured, and the firm
makes a specialty of " manufacturers' lasts."

The market is principally among finders, and boot and shoe
manufacturers. The largest trade at present comes from
Pennsylvania. The business is well established and promising.

We mention this establishment not so much on account
of the amount of capital employed or business transacted,
but because of its peculiarity, it being comparatively a new
branch of industry in this region. The works are well
worth a visit to those who take a special interest in inge-
nious machinery and its application.


An establishment for the manufacture of soaps and
candles was put" in operation as early as 1840 by a gentle-
man named Cahoon. James S. Kirk, now of the extensive
firm of James S. Kirk & Co-, Chicago, was also for some
years, from 1845 to I860, interested in this branch of
manufactures in Utica, and was located on or near the
ground now occupied by Messrs. Heath & Tavender. The
last-named firm began business in 1862, and have continued
it, with a steady increase, to the present time. Their
present capital invested in the business is $20,000, and the
amount of their annual sales approximates $50,000. They
employ about seven hands, including the proprietors, who
give their undivided attention to the management of the

Their manufactured goods include all kinds of staple
brands, including the celebrated " woolen-mill soap." The
candle business was, before the introduction of petroleum,
a very extensive one, but has gradually diminished in im-
portance, until it forms but a fraction of their total business.
This branch is now confined exclusively to the production
of coinmon tallow candles. The works are located on
Whitesboro' Street, West Utica, near Wiley Street, and
also near Nail Creek.


The manufacture of tobacco and cigars is quite extensive
in Utica, and the aggregate sales are very large, though we
are unable to give the total value in dollars and cents.


WENIE ; No. 4 Bleecker Street.')

This firm confines its manufacturing department exclu-
sively to the production of various brands of cigars, ranging
through all grades from the lowest to the highest. They com-
menced the business with eight employees, in 1872, and have
gradually increased their trade, until at the present time
the business gives employ^ment to a total force of 60 hands.
The aggregate sales of cigars for 1878 will reach 2,000,000.
They also do a large jobbing business, the sales of various
brands of chewing and smoking tobacco reaching a value
of $50,000 annually. Three traveling agents are employed,
and the goods are mostly marketed in the State of New
York. The stock is purchased in New York City and


HEMMENS ; 120 Genesee Street.)

This manufactory was established about 1853, by Sher-
wood & Wilkins, subsequently changed to Stephen Sher-
wood, and to Sherwood & Hemmens in 1871. The business
at first gave employment to from 25 to 30 hands, which



has been increased to about 75 of all classes at the present
time. In the line of cigars this firm confines itself to the
manufacture of a special grade known as the " S S" brand.
The manufacture of chewing and smoking tobacco embraces
all grades, and the aggregate productions are very large.
The number of cigars turned out annually amounts to about
1,000,000. The stock is mostly purchased in Cincinnati,

Three traveling agents are employed, and the sales are
almost exclusively within the territory of the State of New

WAENICK & BROWN. (JVb. 86 Genesee Street.') ' '

The original of this establishment was put in operation
ip. 1837 by Warnick &, Bryan, with a force of two or three
workmen. Since 1853 the firm has been Warnick & Brown.
The total number of hands now employed, including men
and boys, aggregates about 80. Five traveling agents are
kept on the road, and the sales of cigars are 1,500,000
annually. The firm manufacture every description of
tobacco, cigars, and snuff, excepting plug-tobacco. The
raw material for the various grades of smoking and chew-
ing tobacco is purchased in Kentucky, the cigar-leaf in
New York.

The market is principally in the State of New York.

■ In addition to those enumerated, there are extensive
manufactures of various descriptions, such as breweries,
flour-mills, sash-, door-, and blind-, and furniture-factories,
and innumerable establishments which the limited space
allotted to general manufactures compels us to omit.
Among others there is quite an extensive oil-cloth manu-
factory, situated on the corner of Cornelia and Columbia
Streets, of which we had intended to give a brief descrip-
tion, but, for reasons best known to himself, Mr. Pomeroy
declined- to furnish the necessary information for the pur-

Extensive wholesale and retail mercantile houses are
found in .various parts of the cjty, engaged in every variety
of trade usually carried on in the larger towns, and the
number of ordinary retail establishments is very great for
a city of 35,000 people. We should have been glad to
make mention of piany other business enterprises had the
plan and scope of our work permitted, but, for reasons
that will be obvious, we have confined ourselves as much
as possible to the legitimate purposes of a history of Oneida
County, inserting brief descriptions only of a small number
of the more extensive and important manufactures,


The buildings belonging to the city are a city hall, public
library, city hospital, police station, two engine-houses, and
one hose depot. The public library building is described
in connection with the city schools.


This building was erected by a commission named in the
special act for its erection, between the years 1850 and
1856, from designs by Mr. Upjohn, the well-known archi-
tect of New York. The approximate total cost was $80,000.

It is constructed of light-colored brick, something after the
Romanesque style, and has a lofty tower at the northeast
angle. The building has two lofty stories above the base-
ment, and is occupied for city purposes, and by the United
States District Court and clerk's office. Previous to the
construction of the new police station, there were a series
of cells fitted up in the basement for the safe-keeping of
prisoners sent up by the recorder's court, These have
been supplanted by the new ones.

The clock in the tower was constructed by Messrs. La-
fever & Beary, of New York. The bell, weighing about
3500 pounds, is from the foundry of Jones & Co., Troy,
N. Y. The fire-alarm is attached to this bell. The clock
dials are of European manufacture, and about six feet in
diameter. They are illuminated at night.


This building was also erected by a commission in
1855-56, and was originally calculated for a hospital and
work-house. The total cost has been about $12,000. It
is three stories in height, with a wing of two stories on the
south. Its capacity is equal to the accommodation of fifty
patients, though only a portion of the building is at present
fitted up. It occupies a fine site on the corner of Mohawk
and South Streets, and is supplied with gas and city water.
The material used in its construction is red brick.

Rooms have also been fitted up for the confinement of
prisoners from the recorder's court, and for women and
children awaiting tpal, and witnesses detained who are
unable to furnish bail.


This fine and commodious building, adjoining the city
hall on Pearl Street, was erected in 1877—78, at a total cost
of about $10,000. It is used exclusively by the police
department and the recorder's court. The basement is
fitted up with ten cells for prisoners, and there are three
above for another class. The building is constructed of
red brick, with stone trimmings, and is a model one of its

The following additional figures are from the annual re-
port of the Fire and Police Commissioners for 1877. The
stated cost of the new police station-house is less in this
than the amount shown on the books of the city clerk,
which is owing probably to the fact that the building was
not entirely completed at the date of the report,

"Property. — Prior to the organization of the Fire
and Police Commission, the city rented all the houses
of the fire department, except the hose depot, but since
then the houses of No. 2 and No. 4 have been built by
the city, and only Nos. 1 and 3 are now rented by the
board, and it is hoped that the city will soon build two
new houses.

" The estimated value of all the houses belonging to the
departments in charge of the Commission is :

"No. 2 engine-house $5,500

No. 4 " " 6,000

Hose depot 7,500

Police station-iiouae 7,000

Total real estate ,..., $26,000

Photo, by Mundy.



John J. FnANcis was a descendant upon his father's aide of an old
"Welsh family. His grandfather was an officer of rank in the British
navy, who, having heen an extensive traveler, was so well pleased
with America, and confident of its future commercial growth, that
he resigned bis lucrative and honorable commission, and settled in
Utica at an early day. Among his children was William Francis,
father of the subject of this sketch. A man of strong characteristics,
good judgment, and general intelligence. He figured amoog Utica's
early financiers; was one of the first trustees of the Savings Bank of
Utica. He was a devout Baptist, at the same time liberal towards
those whose views diflFered from his own. Throughout his entire life,
in his domestic, political, commercial, and religions relations, he had
the universal respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens.

Thomas and Eleanor James, the maternal grandparents of John J.
Francis, were both natives of North Wales. Upon their departure
for this new country, a large number of their friends and neighbors
joined in giving them a farewell dinner. They landed in Philadel-
phia. It had been their intention to proceed to Kentucky, but Mr.
James' death occurring ten days after their arrival, his widow, with
her family, settled in Utica, in 1798. With the comfortable fortune
left her, she did much towards alleviating the wants of the new Welsh
settlers of Oneida County. At her decease she left 61 living descend-

Of the eight children born unto William and Eleanor Francis, John
J. was the third. He was born Nov. 6, 1808. He received a good
academic education, was a zealous reader, and well informed upon all
subjects. He learned his father's trade, that of carpenter and joiner,
at the latter's request and under his supervision ; but he early devel-
oped a taste for a different pursuit. He naturally inherited a retiring
disposition. His judgment was sound and good. He was far-seeing,
and many sought the benefit of his counsel. He early became prom-
inent among the extensive builders of his native city. He assisted
in the creation of various companies and business organizations,
among them the Packet, Screw, and Insurance. He was also one of
the projectors of the street railroad company in the eastern part of

the city. He became early identified with the Utica Mechanics' Asso-
ciation, and was one of its first life members. It was as a dealer in
real estate that he was most actively and widely known. He bought,
improved, and sold, during his busy life, a large quantity of real es-
tate; and upon past, present, or future valuations his judgment was.
unsurpassed. In 1845 he was elected a vestryman of Trinity Church,
which trust be filled conscientiously and industriously from that time
until his death. For many years he was chairman of the committee
on real estate.

In ]854 he was appointed, together with J. Watson Williams,
E. A. Wetmore, Thomas Hopper, E. A. Graham, and John Dagwell,
one of the commissioners of the building of the city hall. Through-
out his entire business career, his honor and integrity were never
questioned. He was a member of the board of trustees of the House
of the Good Shepherd, from its first organization in 1872, and a mem-
ber of the building committee during the construction of the building.

In 1835 he married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the late John A.
Kuss, long and favorably known here. In his domestic life, Mr. Frnn-
cis was a kind husband, a tender parent, and a firm friend. His
widow and three children, Helen G., Daniel J., and Cornelia M.,
still survive him. His son is an enterprising merchant of Syracuse,
N. Y.

Mr. Francis was a great lover of nature. Bryant's poems were
among his favorites. It was his custom to take long walks, for exer-
cise and pleasure, amidst the green fields, the sloping hills, and beau-
tiful valleys. There were few places of interest in his native county
with which he was not familiar. He thought no walk too long to se-
cure the first wild-flowers of spring, and the trailing arbutus in its

He passed from earth, May 5, 1877, so peacefully and gently that
he seemed to exemplify the truth of the poet's words, —

" Sure the last end of the good man is peace.
How calm his exitl
Night dews fall not more calmly on the grouod,
Nor weary, worn-out winds expire so soft."



" Value of apparatus, horses, furniture, etc. :

* Steamers, hoso-oarts, truck, oto $18,970.00

Fourteen horses iind harness 4,005.00

Hose, tools, etc 5,284.00

Depot of supplies 125.26

Furniture, Bxtures, etc 1,383.85

Fire-alarm telegraph 1,600.00

Furniture, equipments, etc., of police office. 450.00

Total $.S1 ,818.11

Add value of real estate 26,000.00

Total amount of property belonging to police and

fire departments $57,818.11"


The citizens of Utica began at a very early day to pro-
vide for the prevention and extinguishment of fires. The
village was originally incorporated in 1798, and it is prob-
able that a " Fire Company" was organized soon after. At
any rate, we find in a notice of the fire which destroyed
the trading-house of John Post, in February, 1804, a pub-
lished card from the trustees of the village, in which they
present " their warm thanks to the fii-e company" for their
exertions on that occasion.

There is no record of the proceedings of the village
trustees from 1798 to 1805, and consequently no informa-
tion can readily be obtained of any legislation or action on
this subject.

In 1805 the village received a new charter, and we find
that immediate steps were taken by the trustees to organize
a fire department. Wells wore ordered dug, and pumps
and fire utensils were procured. Twenty-five able-bodied
men were appointed firemen, who were exercised on the
last Saturday of every month, and firemen were selected to
take charge of the hooks and ladders. The firemen were
selected from among the lawyers and merchants, and were
exempt from military duty. An ordinance was passed in
the year 1805, requiring the owner of every dwelling, store,
or workshop to keep hung up in a. conspicuous place one
or more leathern fire-buckets, of the capacity of eight quarts,
ready at all times for instant use.

The first officers of the fire company of 1805 were Gar-
den Burchard, captain ; John Hooker and Moses Bagg,
lieutenants ; and E. B. Shearman, clerk. The company
wore painted hats, lettered and numbered. It would appear
also that the village was then in possession of a hand-engine,
or purchased one about that date. In December, 1805, a
volunteer night-watch was organized, as will appear from
the following document, which we transcribe from Dr.

Bagg's work :

"Utica, Dec'r 10, 1806.

"We, the subscribers, esteeming a Night Watch in the Village of
Utica as necessary to guard us against the dangers of fire, do hereby
associate ourselves for that purpose, and mutually pledge our honor
to each other to act during the winter ensuing as good and faithful
watchmen, under the direction and superintendence of the Trustees
of said village."

Signed by 98 citizens.

These watchmen were distributed in squads of five or six,
and patroled the two principal streets. Paid watchmen were
employed first in 1810. Benjamin Payne, a tailor, was one
of the early captains of the " Utica Fire Company."

In 1809 a lot for an engine-house was given by the
Bleecker family, and an attempt was made to sell the en-
^ne then in use, but did not succeed. The same year

was voted for various purposes, a portion of which
was for the engine-house.

Under the third charter, obtained in 1817, the fire de-
partment was reorganized and increased in numbers and
efficiency, and engineers and fire-wardens were appointed in
each ward. Two companies of firemen were organized,
containing in the aggregate 40 men.

In the days of hand-engines and a volunteer department
the most famous " machine" in Utica was the old " Red
Jacket," which was built by L. Button & Co., of Water-
ford, N. Y., for an independent company in Utica. Bob
Chapman, now of Waterloo, Iowa, was her first foreman.
She was in use in Utica about two years, when she was sold
to the fire department of Chicago, and became Red Jacket,
No. 4. In 1865 she was purchased for the fire department
of Waterloo, Iowa, by her old foreman. Chapman, and was
recently in good condition in that city, and capable of doing
excellent work. She was warranted when built to be the
most powerful hand-engine in the Union, and her record is
something wonderful. Captain Chapman states, in a cor-
respondence on the subject, that she has thrown a stream
over the First Presbyterian Church spire, in Utica, a height
of 210 feet; and in Albany a horizontal stream of 225 feet.
In New York, manned by the Chicago boys, she surpassed
anything before seen in that city.

The hand-engines were used until the advent of the
" st<3amer," after which their use was gradually abandoned.

One of the most noted organizations of the fire depart-
ment was the old Rescue Hook-and-Ladder Company, or-
ganized in 1857.

The first steamer brought to Utica was a " Silsby," in
1863, now No. 3. In 1865 two additional ones were pur-
chased, now Nos. 2 and 4, and the last one was purchased
in 1875.

The present fire department was organized in 1874, with
a total force of 59 men, the same as at present. Two of
the steamers now in use are of the Silsby pattern, and two
were manufactured by Cole Brothers, of Pawtucket, R. I.

The following statements are taken from the annual re-
port for 1877 :

PARTMENT, APniL 1, 1877.
Rent Estate.

House of Steamer No. 2, John Street $5,500

House of Steamer No. 4, Fayette Street 6,000

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 86 of 192)