Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 95 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 95 of 192)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

March, 1817. He joined Utica Council, No. 28, of Royal and Select Masters
soon after its organization. In February, 1823, Utica Encampment, No. 7
(now Utica Commandery, No. 3), of Knights Templar was chartered, with Sir
Richard Sanger Illuetrious Grand Master, and among those elected to mera-
borship was Ezra S. Barnum. In the bodies named he was early inducted
into official position, having held almost all of the offices connected with
them, and also nearly all the offices of the Grand Chapter, R. A. M., of New
York, and twice to the office of Grand High Priest. Ho held also neariy
every office of the Grand Commandery, K. T., of the State, of which body he
was Grand Master, 1835-41 inclusive, together with several offices in tbe old
Grand Council of High Priests. In 1838, Mr. Barnum'a Masonic merits were
further recognized by his election to the office of Very Eminent Grand Sword-
Bearer in the General Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United
States, at the Encampment held at Boston ; which office lie filled for six years,
and was advanced to Junior Warden, in 1847 Senior Warden, and in 1853 Very
Eminent Grand Captain-Genoiul. In all these positions it is recorded that Mr.
Barnum served with distinguished ability and fidelity. Medals, certificates,
and complimentary resolutions testify to the appreciation of his services by the
various bodies. At the age of eighty-five he was an attendant at the meetings
of the Masonic bodies of the city. His church connections were always with
the Universalist denomination.

In the year 1815, May G, he married Miss Mary, daughter of John and
Jane Ostroni, of Uttca. She was born March 5, 1793, and died July 2, 1875.
Their children are: Stephen 0., Richard (deceased), George (deceased). Surah
(deceased), Jane (deceased), wife of D. V. W. Golden (deceased), Samuel, Mai7,
Ezra (killed at Chicago during a fire), Eliza C, wife of I. C. Mcintosh.



and its present Commander, Thomas M. Davies. Though
small in numbers, the Post is in a very flourishing con-
dition. Like Post Bacon, it is composed entirely of vet-


The history of Freemasonry in Oneida County carries us
back to the year 1796. At that date Horeb Chapter, of
Royal Arch Masons, was formed and liolden at Whites-
tovrn, with Caleb B. Merrill, Jedediah Sanger, and George
Kassack as its principal officers. It continued in existence
until 1842, and Nathaniel Caulking was for many yeai-s
one of its leading members.

In 1802 Craft Masonry flourished in Oneida County, and
the following lodges were then in existence: Amicable
Lodge, Whitestowu ; Western Star Lodge, Bridgewater ;
Roman Lodge, Rome ; Federal Lodge, Paris. • The second
named of which has a continued existence to the present

In the city of Ulica there are three lodges, namely:
Utica Lodge, No. 47 ; Oriental Lodge, No. 224 ; and
Faxton Lodge, No. 697.

Utica Lodge, No. 47, was organized, in 1816, by aur
thority of a warrant issued by the Grand Lodge of New
York, and signed by De Witt Clinton, Grand Master;
Martin Hoffman, Deputy Grand Master; Cadwallader D.
Golden, Senior Grand Warden ; Eiisha Gilbert, Junior
Grand Warden. Among the petitioners for the foregoing
warrant were Montgomery Hunt, Thomas Walker, Asahel
Seward, Walter Fleming, and Levi Comstock. In 1825
the lodge for-med part of the procession on the occasion of
the opening of the Erie Canal, when His Excellency, Gov-
ernor De Witt Clinton, visited the brethren.

Its first oBicers were Montgomery Hunt, Master; Ephraim
Hart, Senior Warden ; Thomas Walker, Junior Warden.
Its present principal officers are William E. Hopkins,
Master ; Eugene B. Hastings, Senior Warden ; Elon G.
Brown, Junior Warden.

Oriental Lodge, No. 224, was formed and constituted
in 1851. Prominent among its founders was Philemon
Lyon, a man of unblemished reputation, and honored by
all for his integrity and Christian character. He was
ardent in all things pertaining to the welfare of the craft,
and his influence and example were felt in the growth and
progress of the organization. The public acts performed
by the craft in the city, and participated in by this lodge,
were the laying of the corner-stone of the City Hall, the
Utica Orphan Asylum, and the celebration of the laying
of the first Atlantic cable. Its contributions have been
liberal to enterprises designed to promote the welfare of
Masonry in the State.

Its first officers were Philemon Lyon, Master; Edward
Eames, Senior Warden; Brastus G. Perkins, Junior
Warden. Its present principal officers are Elizur Russell,
Master ; J. Scheehl, Senior Warden ; E. L. Akehurst,
Junior Warden.

Faxton Lodge, No. 697, named in honor of an old Ma-
son, Hon. Theodore S. Faxton, was formed and constituted
in 1870. Its membership was composed of brethren who
had gained experience by long practice in official positions
in the other lodges. At its organization it met with de-

cided, numbers of influential citizens having identi-
fied themselves with it. The recent acquisitions are
mainly composed of younger men, who by their energy
contribute materially to its growth. Its first officers were
Wm. C. Scranton, Master ; Judson B. Andrews, Senior
Warden ; Henry H. Cooper, Junior Warden. Its present
principal officers are Edward Lawson, Master ; F. S. Cur-
tiss. Senior Warden; John A. Roberts, Junior Warden.

Oneida Chapter, No. 57, of Royal Arch Masons, was
organized in 1817. Its first officers were Thomas Walker,
High-Priest; Asahel Seward, King; Walter Fleming,
Scribe ; who were assisted by the leading Masons of that
period in building up the Chapter. Ezra S. Cozier was one
of its most active and useful members, who became noted
in the history of Royal Arch Masons in the State, and who
filled the highest offices with honor and credit. He was
elected Grand High-Priest of the Grand Chapter of the
State in 1831, and was at a later date succeeded by Ezra
S. Barnum in 1846-47, and by Rees 6. Williams in 1871-
72, each of whom were members of Oneida Chapter. Its
present principal officers are M. A. Lewis, High-Priest ;
Elon G. Brown, King ; Wm. E. Hopkins, Scribe.

Utica Commandery, No. 3, Knights Templar, was or-
ganized in 1823. Its first officers were Richard Sanger,
Grand Master ; Elijah F. Willey, Generalissimo ; Thomas
Latimore, Captain-General. Its present principal officers
are Joseph A. Johnson, Commander; John H. Douglas,
Generalissimo ; John H. Cunningham, Captain-General.

The history of this organization during the past twenty
years has been one of progress and success, and the roll of
its membership has been increased by the acquisition of
leading citizens from adjacent parts of the State. In 1825
the sword worn by Baron Steuben during the Revolution-
ary war was presented to the Commandery, and is still
preserved as a valued memento among its archives.

Utica Council, No. 28, of Royal and Select Masters,
was organized in 1866. Its first officers were Rees G.
Williams, T. I. M. ; Theodore W. Bolles, I. D. M. ; Charles
B. Foster, I. P. C. of W. Its present principal officers are
Edward B. Cash, T. I. M. ; Edward Lawson, I. D. M. ;
A. L Simmons, I. P. C. of W.

Yah-nun-dah-sis. — Lodge of Perfection (Scottish Rite)
was organized in 1872. Its first officers were Theodore
W. Bolles, T. P. G. M. ; Daniel N. Crouse, D. G. M. ;
Harvey Barnard, S. G. W. ; James H. Howe, J. G. W.
Its present principal officers are Theodore W. Bolles, T. P.
G. M. ; James H. Howe, D. G. M. ; James H. Brand, S.
G. W. ; Thomas M. Davies, J. 6. W.

i/xrrt S. Barnum Chapter of Rose Cruix. — This
Chapter was chartered in 1878. It meets the second Wed-
nesday of every month, and is in a flourishing condition.

The Ziyara Temple, or Ancient Order of the Nohles of
the Mystic Shrine, meets regularly in February, May, Oc-
tober, and December. Its present officers are Frazier W.
Hurlburt, 32°, 111. G. P.; Taliesin Evans, 32°, 111. C. R. ;
Edward A. Tallman, 32°, 111. A. R ; Charles B. Foster,
14°, 111. H. P. and P. ; Theodore W. Bolles, 32°, 111. 0. G.

Ezra S. Barnum, whom we have already mentioned as
having been honored with the highest offices in the State,



was conspicuous for his devotion to the interests of Masonry
for a period of sixty years. During the anti-Masonic times,
when storms and trials in dark and troublous days over-
shadowed the fraternity, Ezra S. Baraum was one of the few
who remained steadfast and upheld the integrity of the
craft. His funeral obsequies, which occurred in February,
1878, were attended by the highest Masonic dignitaries in
the State.


This order, which has attained great strength in the
State, regards Utica as one of its strongholds. Its oldest
organization in this city is Oneida Lodge, No. 70, which
may be regarded as the parent lodge from which all others
in the western portion of the State have sprung. There are
in the city five Lodges, two Encampments, and two Daugh-
ters of liebekah Lodges, beside one Degree Lodge. Oneida
Lodge, the oldest, obtained its charter May 21, 1842. The
following year Skenandoa Lodge, No. 95, was organized,
its charter bearing date Oct. 13, 1843. Schuyler Lodge,
No. 147, was chartered May 27, 1845, and Central City
Lodge, May 6, 1846. There is also Allemania Lodge, No.
186. The Tri-Mount Encampment, No. 24, was chartered
Aug. 25, 1845, and the Steuben Encampment, No. 67,
April, 1871. All these organizations are in a flourishing


This order was founded in Washington, D. C, about
fifteen years since, and in a comparatively short time has
attained a membership of over 100,000. It has two Lodges
in Utica, — Utica City Lodge, No. 59, and Excelsior Lodge,
No. 118. The first Lodge was instituted Aug. 5, 1871.
Prominent among its founders were A. R. McKenzie, James
E. Hall, R. U. Owens, G. J. Buchanan, and 0. A. Buen-
ham. The object of the order is the promotion of friend-
ship, benevolence, and brotherly love.


This lodge was organized and instituted into the Order
K. S. B., under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of
District No. 1, April 23, 1873, with the following ofiicers :
S. Mitchell, W. A. ; Simon Stein, W. N. ; A. Z. Heyman,
Secretary ; and Joseph Wineberg, W. Ct. The principles
of the order are similar to those of other secret orders of a
benevolent nature. It has also an insurance provision, the
widow and orphans of deceased members receiving the sum
of $1000, for which each member is assessed. There are
also other benevolent provisions for the assistance of mem-
bers. The present officers are S. Mitchell, President; Z.
Zandlospky, Vice-President ; Edward Jackson, Secretary ;
and S. Stein, Treasuirer. The Lodge is at present in a
flourishing condition.


The charter of the Oneida Historical Society bears date
Sept. 18, 1878, though the society was organized prior to
that date. Among the names inscribed upon its record as
members and founders are Horatio Seymour, C. W. Hutch-
inson, M. M. Jones, Alexander Seward, Francis Kcrnan,
Wra. J. Bacon, John F. Seymour, Roscoe Conkling, Dr.

John Gray, Ellis H. Roberts, Alexander S. Johnson, M.
M. Bagg, and many other residents of Oneida County. The
charter states the society to have been formed for " histori-
cal and literary purposes, and the particular business shall
be the discovery, collection, preservation, and publication of
the history, historical records of and data relating to the
territory or districts of country formerly occupied or claimed
by the Oneida and Mohawh tribes or nations of Indians ;
the collection and preservation of books, newspapers, pam-
phlets, maps, genealogies, portraits, paintings, relics, and
manuscript letters, journals, surveys, field-books, and any
and all other articles and other materials which may estab-
lish or illustrate such history, or the growth and progress
of population, wealth, education, agriculture, arts, science,
manufactures, trade, and commerce in said territory or dis-
trict." The Oneida Historical Society took the initiativ-e
steps in celebrating the battle of Oriskany, which was one
of the most desperate and sanguinary, as well as one of
the roost important battles of the Revolution. This battle
was fought Aug- 6, 1777, and the memorable centennial
ceremonies which commemorated the event occurred Aug.
6, 1877. The society holds its meetings in commodious
rooms placed at its disposal in the new library building in
the city of Utica. The apartments are fire-proof, and well
calculated to preserve the valuable archives and relics which
are rapidly filling its cases. Its officers are : President,
Horatio Seymour; 1st Vice-President, C. W. Hutchinson ;
2d Vice-President, Alexander Seward ; 3d Vice-President,
Edward Huntington ; Corresponding Secretary, Morven M.
Jones ; Recording Secretary, S. N. Dexter North ; Treas-
urer, Robert S. Williams.


The Utica Law Library and Bar Association was incor-
porated on the 19th day of December, 1876, the object
of the Association being the founding, continuing, and per-
petuating of a law library in accordance with an act of
the Legislature bearing upon the subject. Its foundei-s were
Nicholas Kernan, H. J. Cookinham, A. C. Coxe, R. W.
Mclncrow, E. H. Risley, J. R. Swan, Jr., W. B. Sutton,
L. B. Root, and Addison C. Miller. Through the efi"orts
of the Association a general term will hereafter be held in
Utica, their fine library, comprising nearly 4000 volumes,
having aided materially in bringing about that result.

The present directors of the Association are Addison 0.
Miller, N. E. Kernan, Henry J. Cookinham, Alfred 0.
Coxe, Richard W. Mclncrow, Wm. B. Sutton, L. H. Bab-
cock, Lynott B. Root, and Joseph R. Swan, Jr.


On the 19th of May, 1827, a meeting was held at John
King's tavern, which stood on the corner of Washington
and Liberty Streets, to form a Mechanics' Association.

After some discussion the meeting was adjourned to
the next week, when a larger number came together, and
formed a " Mechanics' Benevolent Society." The member-
ship of the first society was confined to practical mechanics,
and the chief object seems to have been to assist the poor
and needy among themselves. It dragged along for several
years, holding meetings occasionally and passing " good



resolutions," which were never put in practice until the year
1831, when it was reorganized under a new constitution,
with the following officers: President, Thomas Walker;
Vice-President, Kellogg Hurlburt; Secretary, J. D. Ed-
wards ; Treasurer, Zenas Wright ; Directors, S. V. Oley,
William Francis, James McGregor, W. C. Rogers, A. B.
Williams, D. S. Porter.

The whole number of members at this time was 32.
The institution was incorporated March 30, 1833, and
the original charter remains the same, except Section 5,
which in the year 18G3 wa.s altered so as to allow the Asso-
ciation an annual income of |5000, instead of $1000, as

There have been in all twenty-nine presidents of this As-
sociation. Thomas Walker held the office from 1831 to
1835; Gardner Tracy, from 1835 to 1837; Rudolph
Snyder, from 1837 to 1843 ; and the following persons for
one year each consecutively; Ezra S. Barnuui, John S.
Peckheim, Harvey Barnard, Levi Cozzens, S. V. Oley, Dol-
phus Bennett, Otis Manchester, Grove Penny, Dolphus
Bennett, John S. Peckham, Philip Thomas, John Dagwell,
Wm. C. Churchill, Theodore S. Faxton, Thomas May-
nard, David P. White, George H. Wiley, Russel Wheeler,
Chauncey Palmer, L. W. Rogers, S. W. Chubbuck, N.
A. White, E. D. Wood, Benjamin Allen, Selden Collins,
Benjamin Allen, Charles Millar, George H. Wiley, Theo-
dore S. Faxton, Lewis Lawrence, and S. S. Lowery.

The Association has had but five treasurers during its
existence. Zenas Wright served from 1831 to 1833;
James Murdock, from 1833 to 1850 ; Levi Cozzens, from
1850 to 1862; Grove Penny, from 1862 to 1867; and
Wm. P. Carpenter, from 1807 to the present time.

Among the first objects which engaged the attention of
the Association was the establishment of a library and
reading-room. The accounts of the treasurer for 1834
make mention of both, and in 1836 there is a charge of
1101.84 taxes, "paid on library stock." A printed cata-
logue of 1836 shows that the library then contained over
six hundred volumes, in all departments of learning and
literature. The books were kept in the law-office of J. H.
Rathbone, on Broad Street, until Mechanics' Hall was built,
when they were removed to what is now the furnace-room,
in the second story of the old hall. The large apartment
at the southwest end of the building, subsequently occupied
by the Common Council, was then used for a reading-room.
In 1838 the library was sold to the Young Men's Asso-
ciation. Some $200 of the purchase-money was paid, and
then it seems to have passed again into the possession of
the Mechanics' Association, and was finally disposed of " in
lots to suit purchasers."

In 1844 a new set of officers was chosen, whose activity
and energy seemed to infuse new life and vigor into the
Association. The next year the third fair was held, and
from that time the Association has steadily advanced.

In the second year of its existence the Association had
a course of lectures from Dr. Noyes, Professor of Chemis-
try in Hamilton College, for which, as appears by the
treasurer's books, he was paid 809.50. The same "entle-
man lectured again before the Association in 1833, 1834,
and 1835. There is no record of other lectures until the

year 1851-52, when the course resulted in a loss of $23.54.
From that time until the present the Association has had
a course of lectures in each year, except 1855, when they
were suspended for the purpose of enlarging and remodel'
ing the hall. The lectures have been upon scientific, lit-
erary, and miscellaneous subjects, mostly of a populai

When the Association was first organized, in 1831, the
whole number of members was 32. In 1835 the number
had increased to 161. In 1837 there were about the same
number of paying members, but many had made themselves
life-members by large contributions towards the erection
of Mechanics' Hall. From 1839 to 1845 there seem to
have been very few but life-members belonging to the As-
sociation. From this time there has been a slow but steady

The lot upon which Mechanics' Hall was originally built
was purchased of the Bank of Utica, April 4, 1836, for
$4600, and in the same year a building was erected at a
cost of $8837.75. In 1854 another lot, north of and ad-
joining the first, was bought of Augu.stus White for $1100,
and in that year the old building was enlarged and im-
proved, at a cost of about $6000. In March, 1860, the
lot adjoining the hall, on Liberty Street, was bought of
John Camp, for $1355, and in 1863 another lot, adjoining
the former, was bought of the same person, for $3000.
This shows the entire cost of the land and building, not
including many alterations and repairs, to have been

By a report of the finance committee, made at the an-
nual meeting in May, 1863, the value of the property be-
longing to the Association was estimated as follows :

Mivin building $25,000

Lot purcliased of Cnmp in 18(50 1,000

Lot purchased of same in 1863 3,000

Personal property, furniture, etc 1,000


The whole indebtedness of the Association at this time
was a mortgage of $3000, given for the last Camp pur-
chase, and $1500, borrowed on two notes, which was ex-
pended in repairs on the hall.

The Association entered upon its thirty-fourth year with
435 members, and property beyond all incumbrance to the
amount of $26,000.

During the latter part of the interval of ten years since
the foregoing history it will be seen that a spirit of progi-ess
became aroused to such an extent in the Association as to
push forward a scheme, the result of which has been an
accumulation of property now amounting to $125,000, on
which, however, there is an incumbrance of $85,000.


In December, 1863, the Association took the initiatory
step towards the building of a new hall. The increasing
" growth of the city, and the lack of public halls, demanded
that something should be done in that direction, either
by the Association or private capitalists."

At a meeting held in February, 1868, a committee of
nine, consisting of T. S. Faxton, S. S. Lowery, J. S. Peck-
ham, A. McMillan, James Mann, L. Blakeslee, C. C.



Kingsley, N. A. White, and A. B. Buel, was appointed, to
whom was referred the subject of a new hall.

The committee having decided to erect a hall, and having
secured the site, on the 26th of March, 1870, proposals for
the building of the hall were opened, and after due delibera-
tion it was deemed that the best interests of the Association
would be served by the acceptance of the bid of Messrs.
Metcalf & Dering, and contracts were entered into with
this firm for the performance of the work.

On behalf of the Association, G. H. Wiley, V. B. Stew-
art, A. McMillan, R. Wheeler, and A. H. Colling were
appointed as a supervisory committee during the erection of
the building.

Excavations were commenced in April, and the work
progressed rapidly, so that the large and spacious stores
were ready for occupancy by the 1st of May, 1871.

The whole structure, including its interior decorations
and furnishing, was completed, and the doors thrown open
to the public, on the 16th day of October following.

The new hall, styled the Utica Mechanics' Association
Opera-House, now stands as a monument to the energy and
persevering efforts of the Association that reared it.

In architectural appearance, in the beauty and simplicity
of its decorations, and in its scenic effect, it will bear com-
parison with the best halls in the State.

Present officers : President, Hon. S. S. Lowery ; Vice-
President, Philo S. Curtis; Secretary, Parker W. Tefft;
Treasurer, William P. Carpenter.


The Utica Art Association was organized in 1865, and
became an incorporated institution in January of 1866.
The object of the Association is to " promote and encourage
the culture of the fine arts, and to elevate and refine a .
proper taste therefor by the public exhibition of paintings,
statuary, and other works of art."

The first exhibition of paintings occurred during the
winter of 1867, which was eminently successful, and did
much to add to the pleasure of the lovers of art in Utica.
The Association received very valuable aid in the furtherance
of its objects through the energetic labors and refined taste
of one of its early presidents, Mr. Thomas H. Wood, whose
sudden death was greatly deplored by all its members.

The last exhibition was held at Carton Hall, during the
winter of 1877-78. The catalogue on that occasion embraced
250 paintings, besides a choice collection oihric-a-hrac. The
articles represented some of the most eminent names in the
world of American art, among whom were Bierstadt, Casi-
lear, Wm. and James Hart, Church, Gifibrd, Do Haas,
McEntee, Kensett, and many foreign names of celebrity.
During the progressof the exhibition more than sixty of these
pictures were purchased, most of which remain in Utica, and
now decorate the dwellings of its wealthier citizens.

The Art Association has been so successful in its objects
as to have established for Utica an extended reputation for
refined taste and broad culture in art, and in that regard
it takes rank with the metropolitan cities. Its present
officers are G. W. Adams, President ; R. S. Williams, Vice-
President; G. C. Churchill, Secretary ; D. N. Grouse, Treas-
urer ; B. D. Gilbert, Corresponding Secretary.


Early in the year 1865 four gentlemen of cultivated
musical tastes met at the old Sherwood House in this city
on their return from a rehearsal at Trinity Church. They
were Williamson Spruce, Benjamin F. Davies, John P.
McQuade, and B. G. Kunkelly. The project of forming
a gentlemen's musical club was discussed ; and at a sub-
sequent meeting, held at the house of Michael McQuade,
the subject was more fully considered, and the necessary
steps taken to secure a large meeting of amateur musicians,
to be held January 31, of the same year. This meeting

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 95 of 192)