Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 96 of 192)
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was largely attended, and was but a foreshadowing of the
zeal displayed in the later organization of the club. The
first officers were : President, General James McQuade ;
Vice-Presidents, N. Curtiss White and George J. Sicard ;
Seci-etary, G. W. Adams ; Treasurer, B. A. Drayton ;
Executive Committee, W. C. North and Charles Beare.
Rooms were secured in the Tibballs Block, — which were
occupied for nine years, — and, after some discussion, the
present name of the society was agreed upon.

One of the articles in the by-laws provided that the club
should not be disbanded so long as four members remained.
The first formal action with regard to the incorporation of
the Utica Mendelssohn Club was taken by Geo. W. Adams,
March 20, 1866, who offered a resolution looking to that
end, which was unanimously adopted. The necessary
papers, certifying that the club was an incorporated body,
were received March 27, 1866.

For nearly five years General James McQuade filled the
position to which he was called, after which a new election
resulted in placing Charles S. Symonds in the president's
chair.

The present membership is sixty, while the honorary list
includes many names of professional celebrity. On the
evening of February 3, 1875, the club celebrated what was
jocularly called its " tin wedding," in its comfortable rooms
in the Hackett Block. On the occasion of this decennial
anniversary, very interesting addresses were delivered by
the ex-president and the present presiding officer. The
history of the club, the fame which it had won, its musical
and dramatic achievements, and its charities are matters of
record, and have established for the Mendelssohn Club a
leading rank among the social organizations of Utica.

UTICA PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY.

Among the most successful and popular orchestral asso-
ciations of which Utica is justly proud is the Utica Phil-
harmonic Society, and its future is very promising. It
was originally intended as a mutual enjoyment society, an
experiment for gentlemen of musical tastes. Colonel
I. J. Gray, its founder, was many years ago manager of
the Whitestown Musical Association, which gave a great
amount of encouragement to the people of that village,
as well as to its members. Some three years ago Colonel
Gray associated with him George W. Rockwell, pianist, the
Manning brothers, Charles W. Hall, of Yorkville, who has
since died, and Dr. Holmes, now in California. Through
the liberality of a music-loving citizen these gentlemen
were furnished with a room, piano, gas, etc., free of ex-
pense. They worked with varying success and fortunes, but



HISTORY OF ONEIDA COUNTY, NEW YORK.



345



laboring all the time. In the course of time they developed
two first and two second violin players and a viola, and
succeeded in harmonizing admirably. This orchestra first
appeared in public for the Enharmonic Society, which
encouraged its members, and its second effort, in behalf of
Westminster Church, was very satisfactory to all concerned.
Shortly afterwards the idea occurred to Colonel Gray that
the orchestra would gain much valuable experience and the
patrons of the lecture course could be pleasantly entertained
if the Philharmonics would volunteer to furaish music.
The project was favorably considered, and since that time
the Philharmonics have played before every lecture, greatly
to the satisfaction of the early goers to those entertainments.
The progress and improvement of the organization was a
marvel to many, but it has not been accomplished with-
out very hard work and considerable expense. When the
society began to receive favorable notice from the press and
public, Messrs. McCormack, Vinn, and Waters, three expe-
rienced musicians, joined it. Then the piano was discarded,
the new instrumental force more than supplying its place;
The success of the past year has been greater than was
expected, and more than satisfied the most sanguine friends
of the project.

The civil organization of the Philharmonic Society is as
follows : President, Hon. W. J. Bacon ; Vice-President,
0. F. McCormack ; Treasurer, Edward Norris ; Secretary,
J. B. Howe. The present orchestra comprises the follow-
ing musicians : manager, I. J. Gray ; leader of orchestra,
Otto Dosenbach ; piano accompanist, C. J. Barton ; first
violin, Mr. Dosenbach ; second, Messrs. Nickel, Chandler,
and Schrempf; viola, Messrs. Wilson and Middeil; 'cello,
Mr. Howe ; double bass, Mr. Waters ; flute, Mr. Gray ;
clarionets, first, Mr. Venn; second, Mr. Sickel; cornets,
first, Mr. McCormack ; second, Mr. Maynard ; French horn,
Mr. Schrempf; trombone, Mr. Geiger ; bassoon, Mr. Ran-
dall ; petite tambour, Mr. Hodiger ; grand tambour, Mr.
Gibbs.

UTICA MAENNERCHOK.

The Utica Maennerchor was organized January 8, 1865.
It was formed by the consolidation of the old Concordia
and Leiderkrantz Societies with the purpose of promoting
a love for music among the Germans of the city. Its first
organization embraced ten members, among whom were
John C. Schreiber, Edward Gebhart, John Giersbach,
Nicholas Triebel, Fred. Schmidt, Fred. Helm, and C. C.
Homung. The first musical director was R. Ritz, and the
first meetings were held on Columbia Street, in a building
now occupied as a public school. Mr. Ritz was succeeded
by Professor Mitzki, and he by Professor Sutorius, who
conducted the club successfully for four years. Its present
conductor, Mr. Zarth, is a pupil of Professor Sutorius, and
was a former member of the club. The Utica Maenner-
chor were the recipients in 1866 of a very beautiful ban-
ner from the German ladies of the city, which they have
borne with much pride on all occasions when they have
appeared in public. The club have participated in several
large musical demonstrations and have always acquitted
themselves with credit. They were present at the Saen-
gerfest in Philadelphia, in 1867, and at Baltimore on the
44



occasion of its meeting, in 1869, and in New York at the
Saengerbund, in 1871.

In 1874, by invitation of the Utica Maennerchor, the
Saengerfest was held in this city, and more than 300 guests
were elegantly entertained by the club. A grand proces-
sion marched through the streets, which were decorated by
the citizens in honor of the event. In the evening the
various clubs competed for prizes, and the following day
an excursion and picnic was tendered the guests by their
hospitable entertainers. The project, which was one of
considerable magnitude, was altogether successful, and re-
flected great credit upon President Schmidt and his able
corps of coadjutors. The present officers of the club are:



President,



Gussing ; Vice-President, Anton Rohm ;



Secretary, Conrad Snyder ; Musical Director, N. Zarth.

GERMANIA INDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATION.

In the year 1871 the German population of the city of
Utica held a grand festival to celebrate the victories of the
Prussian arms in the late Franco-Prussian war. A hand-
some surplus having remained in the hands of the finance
committee, a meeting was held to determine to what use the
balance of funds in their hands should be devoted. After
some deliberation it was decided that the money should
be used in the founding of a society which should have
for its general object the improvement and instruction
of its members. On July 31, 1871, the Jbllowing offi-
cers were elected : John Biederman, President ; Lawrence
Conrad, Vice-President ; Nicholas Zark, Secretary ; and
Charles Hutten, Treasurer. These officers having been
authorized to name the society, christened it the " Utica
Germania Association." At a subsequent meeting the fol-
lowing officers were elected : John Biederman, President ;
John C. Schreiber, Vice-President; Neil Zarth, Recording
Secretary ; Dr. J. W. Klages, Corresponding Secretairy ; and
Charles Hutten, Treasurer. April 6, 1874, the society was
incorporated under the name of the " Germania Industrial
Association," having for its chief object the promotion of
industry in all departments of knowledge. A board of
trustees was elected, consisting of Edward G. Kunkelly,
John Biederman, Charles Sutorius, George Wendheim,
Charles Hutten, Ernst H. Reusswig, George Fulmer, Dr.
F. W. Klages, and John Nelbach. The society numbers
among its members over 100 of the best representatives of
the German population of the city. It has been instru-
mental in cultivating the pure German language among its
people, and has elevated their tastes by the encouragement
of reading, and especially by their devotion to music in all
its branches. The entertainments given by them at their
well-appointed rooms are among the most instructive and
pleasing. Its present officers are : President, Otto E. Gue-
lich ; Vice-President, Herman Winchenbacb ; Finance Sec-
retary, George M. Stroebel ; Recording Secretary, Dr. F.
W. Klages; Treasurer, William Reichert.

ST. geoege's societt.

There are traditions of a St. George's Society which existed
in Utica early in the present century, though little is known
concerning that organization. The present flourishing St.
George's Society was organized on the 9th day of Novem-



346



HISTORY OP ONEIDA COUNTY, NEW YORK.



ber, 1857, its style and title being the " St. George's So-
ciety of Utica," and its object, the relief of Englishmen
in distress and the cultivation of social intercourse among
its members. The society accomplishes much good in a
quiet way, the motto on its seal being " Charity vaunteth
not itself"; but has not confined its benevolence exclu-
sively to the city of Utica, as was manifested during the
year 1862. The Lancashire operatives at that period were
in great distress owing to the cotton embargo, caused by
the Rebellion in the Southern States. At that time the
society and its friends in the city of Utica, touched by the
sufferings of their countrymen, sent, through the British
consul-general, to Lancashire nearly one thousand dollars
for the relief of the operatives. In acknowledgment of
their kindness they received from the consul an elaborately
engrossed receipt, which hangs, beautifully framed, upon the
walls of the room.

The North American St. George's Union, which now
has its affiliated societies throughout the United States and
Canada, may be said to have had its first inception in the
Utica society. It was there that the organic resolutions of
the union were framed, and a delegate sent to a conference
of neighboring societies, which assembled at Syracuse on
the 21st of February, 1873, when the organic resolutions
were passed without amendment and the union formed.
The Utica St. George's Society meets monthly, and its
subscriptions to the charity-box are voluntary. The officers
are elected annually.

THE EISTEDDFOD.

This word means a congress of bards and literati, a sit-
ting, a meeting, an assembly. It is held annually on the
1st of January, under the auspices of the Cymreigyddion,
or Welsh Literary Society. It was established Jan. 1,
1856. Prizes are given for the best compositions in prose,
poetry, and music, and in the Eisteddfod the prizes are
awarded to the successful competitors. The prizes vary
from $1 up to $200, according to the subject. The essays are
on different subjects in agriculture, philosophy, politics, polit-
ical economy, history, biography, mathematics, astronomy,
navigation, physiology, theology, chemistry, etc. The Eis-
teddfod was a congress of bards among the ancient Britons,
and they were priests, teachers, and philosophers ; but now
poetry is the only characteristic preserved by which the
bard is recognized. After passing the gradations of tuition
as a poet he is styled Bard of the Isle of Britain, a title
that originated with the system. His dress was uni-colored,
of sky-blue, an emblem of peace and truth ; his person was
sacred, and he might pass in safety through hostile coun-
tries; he never bore arms, neither was a naked weapon to
be held in his presence. On the introduction of Chris-
tianity into Britain the bard still acted as a priest, under
. the privilege of his order, and his maxims were perfectly
consonant with the doctrines of Revelation, and the system
still remains the same. The leading maxims of bardism
are perfect equality, peace, moral rectitude, and the investi-
gation of nature, having for its motto " The truth against
the world."

The officers of the Cymreigyddion for the present year
are: President, Jonn W. Jones; Vice-President, Rees



Thomas; Corresponding Secretary, Richard E. Roberts;
Recording Secretary, James Roberts ; Treasurer, Rev. Wil-
liam 0. Williams.

UTICA PARK ASSOCIATION.

The Utica Park Association was organized in the year
1871, with a capital stock of $80,000, and is one of the
tracks of the so-called Grand Circuit, which includes the
tracks of Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester, Utica, Poughkeep-
sie, Springfield, and Hartford.

The grounds are beautifully located in the eastern part
of the city, about a mile and a half from Genesee Street,
and contain about 170 acres. The extended view of the
Mohawk Valley from the grand stand is remarkable for its
beauty and characteristic scenery.

The following premiums were offered at the various
meetings: in 1872, 130,000; 1873, 840,000; 1874,
$33,900 ; 1875, $36,000 ; 1876, $25,000 ; 1877, $23,500 ;
1878, $14,000.

The President of the association is C. W. Hutchinson ;
Treasurer, M. G. Thomson ; Secretary, B. A. Clark.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



WILLIAM J. BACON
was born in Williamstown, Mass., Feb. 18, 1803. He is
son of Ezekiel and grandson of John, who were lineal de-
scendants of Nathaniel Bacon, who emigrated from Eng-
land and settled in Massachusetts in 1642, and was
councilman in the old colony of Plymouth. His grand-
father, John Bacon, of Stockbridge, Mass., represented
Berkshire County in the Massachusetts Senate, and was
president of that body in 1800. He also represented that
county in Congress from 1801 to 1803, and was subsequently
presiding judge of the Berkshire Common Pleas for several
years. His father, Ezekiel Bacon, was a member of the
Massachusetts Legislature in 1805 and 1806. From 1807
to 1813 he represented Berkshire County in Congress, and
in the latter year was appointed Chief-Justice of the Mas-
sachusetts Common Pleas and Circuit Courts, a position which
he held but a short time, resigning the office on being ap-
pointed Comptroller of the Treasury in 1814.

He cast his first vote for Thomas Jefferson in 1800, and
his last vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864, having voted
at every intervening presidential election during a period
of sixty-four years. He died at the age of ninety-five
years.

At the early age of nineteen, William J. Bacon graduated
at Hamilton College, New York, in the class of 1822, re-
ceiving then the degree of A.B. ; three years afterwards
the degree of A.M., and about 1852 the degree of LL.D.,
from the same institution.

Immediately after leaving college he began the study ot
law in the office of General Joseph Kirkland, of Utica,
N. Y. He spent one year of study at the law school of
Judge Gould, successor of Judge Tapping Reeve, founder
of the well-known and widely celebrated law school at
Litchfield, Conn. He was admitted to practice as an at-



HISTORY OF ONEIDA COUNTY, NEW YOKK.



347



torney in 1825, and three years thereafter as counselor in
the courts of the State of New York, and at once began
the practice of his profession, from the active prosecution
of which, however, he was somewhat diverted for about
two years by becoming, in connection with the late Samuel
D. Dakin, a joint editor and proprietor of the Utica Oa-
zette. Having disposed of his interest in the paper he
resumed the profession of the law, and in the year 1830
formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Charles P.
Kirkland, which continued for nearly twenty years, and
until his partner's removal to the city of New York, and
his own election in 1850 as a member of the Legislature
of the State of New York. In 1853 he was elected
Justice of the Supreme Court for eight years, and



of Second National Bank of Utica, Director of Utica
Water-works Company, Trustee and President of Utica
Savings Bank, Trustee of the Home of the Home-
less, Consulting Manager of the Utica Orphan Asylum,
Counselor of Oneida County Historical Society, President
of Utica Philharmonic Society, and Director of Oneida
County Bible Society for upwards of twenty-five years.

In the year 1828, October 23, Judge Bacon married
Eliza, daughter of General Joseph Kirkland, of Utica.
His children are Cornelia Groldthwaite, wife of S. W. Crit-
tenden, of Cleveland, Ohio; Fanny Elizabeth; Eliza, an
infant daughter, who died in 1845, and William Kirkland
Bacon, who was adjutant of a New York regiment and was
killed at Fredericksburg, December, 1862. After the de-




in 1862 re-elected for a second term. On leaving the
bench in 1870 he never resumed the practice of his
profession, strictly speaking, although he was frequently
consulted as counsel and engaged in the trial of causes as
referee. At the fall election in 1876, Judge Bacon was
elected to the Forty-fifth Congress from the Oneida district,
and is still a member of that body. Judge Bacon has been
or is still officially connected with the following literary,
business, and charitable associations and institutions :

Trustee of Hamilton College, Director and Vice-Presi-
dent of the Utica Gas Company, Director and President of
Forest Hill Cemetery Association, Director of Utica and
Black River Railroad Company, Director of Utica Cotton
Mills, Director of Utica Globe Woolen Mills, Director



cease of his first wife, in December, 1872, he was married
to his present wife, Mrs. Susan Sloan Gillette. It is a
fact worthy of note in sketching this narrative of three
generations, that Judge Bacon is the third of the name in
direct descent that has been elected to the State Legislature,
to Congress, and also held a judicial position.

EGBERT MIDDLETON

was born in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland, May 17, 1826.
He is third son in a family of eight children of Robert
Middleton and May Burnett, both natives of Aberdeen.
His father was a manufacturer by occupation while in Scot-
land, emigrated to America with his family (except the eld-
est son) in the year 1840, and settled in Middle Granville,



S48



HISTORY OP ONEIDA COUNTY, NEW YORK.



Washingtou Co., N. Y., and during the balance of his life
followed farming, and died where he first settled, in the
year 1876, aged eighty-six years. His wife died in the year
1856, aged fifty-two. At the time of writing this sketch,
all the children are deceased except Isaac, the eldest son
(who subsequently came to this country), James, a resident
of Granville, with his sister Betsey, and Robert.

At the age of eighteen, Mr. Middleton went to Lowell,
Mass., and engaged for six years with the Lowell Carpet
Company, and the following seven years with the Merrimac
Woolen Company, where he officiated as assistant superin-
tendent of the company's mills. During these years he
became impressed with manufacturing business, and had
become so schooled in that direction that his subsequent
life has been spent in connection with similar operations.
In the year 1857, May 10, he came to Utioa, and, on account
of his large experience in the manufacture of woolen fabrics,
he was at once engaged by Mr. Theodore S. Faxton, Presi-
dent of the Globe Woolen Company, of Utica, to take charge
of their mills, as agent and superintendent. His practical
experience in this branch of business, his comprehensive
knowledge of every part of machinery, and his aim to se-
cure the highest results from the business, during the twenty-
two years he has held the supervision and management of
the business, have demonstrated his qualifications to the com-
plete satisfaction of the stockholders; and it is only just to
say that the quality of goods produced, standing as high as
any in the American market, is due, most wholly, to the
management and supervision of Mr. Middleton.

Mr. Middleton, though not an active politician, yet regards
the right of suffrage of great value to every citizen, and
has during his life been identified with the Republican party.

In the year 1849 he married Miss Lucy Ann, daughter
of Ira Cummings, of Greenfield, N. H., by whom he has
one son, Walter B., and three daughters, — Ella, wife of
James G. Hunt, M.D., of Utica, Mary, and Florence.

THOMAS HOPPER

was born where he now resides, in the city of Utica, N. Y.,
January 31, 1807. His father. Captain James Hopper,
was a native of England. For many years he was in com-
mand of vessels, in the English merchant service, and
owned shares in them and their cargoes. During the war
between his own country and France he commanded an
armed vessel of sixteen guns, and, furnished with letters of
marque from the British admiralty, he cruised in the South
Seas. Attacked at one time by a superior force, his vessel
was taken after a brave defense, and he was carried prisoner
to France. Thence he was released by being exchanged —
he and another captain — for the celebrated Marshal Junot,
captured in Egypt. Some little time afterwards he came to
America, his principal object in coming being to obtain in-
demnity for the loss of another and smaller vessel that had
fallen into the hands of the French by reason of informa-
tion furnished them by an American as to its situation and
the practicability of its seizure, and which, after such seiz-
ure, was sold to parties from America.

He engaged General Hamilton, in New York, as coun-
sel, but failed in. securing the object of his visit. By him
he was prevailed upon to come to Utica and see the coun-



try, which visit occurred in the year 1801. Shortly after
his arrival he bought considerable land on the southern
borders of the village. Forty-nine acres of it were the
cleared farm of Benjamin Hammond, in great lot No. 95,
which the latter had obtained from John Bellinger. In
part it was a portion of the Holland purchase, and other
smaller parts were bought of John Post, Richard Kimball,
and Jonathan Evans. On this purchase Captain Hopper put
up a house that he enlarged upon the arrival of his family,
and engaged in farming, and also in tanning, to neither
of which pursuits he had ever been accustomed. He im-
ported tanners from the East, paying them high wages, and
as the stumps on his farm were offensive to him, he ex-
pended freely for the labor of having them grubbed up and
removed. Hence his projects failed of being very remuner-
ative, and he besides lost considerable in the Utica Glass
Company. The land which he bought increased in value,
and became ultimately, through the skillful management of
his sons, a quite handsome estate. Captain Hopper was
honest and highly respectable, but as he lived a little apart
from most of the other village residents, he was not much
concerned in affairs of general interest.

His death occurred May 16, 1816. His wife afterwards
married Joshua Wyman, but died Dec. 11, 1843, and it is
remarkable that she predicted the day of her death full a
month before its occurrence. Their children were George
J., born in England, and quite recently deceased ; Elizabeth
Ann, died in 1843 ; Thomas, and Mary (Mrs. Bradley,
afterwards Mrs. McClure), who are still resident.

Thomas Hopper spent his boyhood days at home, and
received the opportunities of an education afforded by the
common school and the old Utica Academy. He early in
life was impressed with the idea of leading a business life,
and at the age of twenty-six engaged in the mercantile
business in Utica, which, however, he continued only some
four years, and turned his attention to dealing in real estate,
improving the property first purchased by his father, by
erecting residences which now form one of the finest por-
tions of the city. This business he has continued until the
present time in Utica and New York, spending the time
from 1835 to 1844 in the latter place.

Soon after his return from New York, Mr. Hopper, not-
withstanding much opposition, instigated, and with the as-
sistance of a few others favorable to the scheme, projected,
and he himself constructed the fine system of water-works
now so much admired in the city, and became one of nine
of the first directors, which office he still holds, and for the
past six years has been its treasurer and president. In this
work of care Mr. Hopper never has consented to receive
any remuneration. He was one of the first movers in the
organization of the cemetery association, which has brought
to a successful completion one of the finest cemetery plats



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 96 of 192)