Samuel W Durant.

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

. (page 99 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 99 of 192)
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in his residence, and when it was alluded to by the writer



the doctor went to the house, detached it from its position
on the wall, and laid»it on the desk. It reads as follows :

•" Kingston, TTpper Canada, Deo. 18, 1813.
" I do hereby certify that the religious ceremony of matrimony was
duly solemnized on the 18th day of December, 1813 (Sunday), be-
tween Jean Batiste Marchisi and Catherine Forbis, the former Pay-
master Sergeant in De WalterviUe's Regiment, and the latter an in-
habitant of Kingston, who were married on the above day by license,
and with the permission of V. Visber, Lt. Col. Commanding, by me.

" George Okile Stuart,
" Minister and Missionary of Kingston, U. C."

Sergeant Marchisi was on duty in Fort George when that
fortress was taken hy the American forces in the war of
1812, and he continued in the British service until the
cessation of hostilities.

Photo, by WilliamB.

Dr. Marchisi came to Utica in 1815. In Italy, from his
fourteenth to his eighteenth year, he had heen in the ser-
vice of an apothecary, and on one occasion, when a hoy of
fifteen, was sent to deliver some medicine to Prince Beau-
harnais. He describes his sensations while executing this
commission, and speaks vividly of the terror inspired by the
huge black Mamelukes who stood guard at the door of the
chamber of the Prince. His early experience as an apothe-
cary's assistant induced him to enter the medical field when
he came to Utica, in 1815. He entered the oflBce of Dr.
Hull, and was with that physician for ten years. He was
naturalized at the old court-house, in Whitestown, by
Judge Miller, the father of the late Rutger B. Miller, and
his naturalization papers are dated sixty-two years ago.

Utica was then a village, and, as the doctor expressed it,
" there were no sidewalks, and really but one street.
Main Street. There was but one brick building in the
village, and that was occupied by Judge Ostrom. It stood
on the site of the old Franklin House." Dr. Marchisi
recalls the time when the late Thomas E. Clark was sick.
He resided in the upper part of Genesee Street when it
was so thickly wooded that it was impossible to reach
Mr. Clark's residence with a conveyance. He remembers
Ezra S. Barnum in those early days, and speaks with warm
expressions of praise of Mr. Barnum's services as collector,
trustee, and under-sherifl'. He remembers distinctly when
Wm. N. Seward was a printer here and kept a bookstore.
He recalls Judge Camp, president of the village of Utica,
and the Merrell family, and General Kirkland, and other
early residents.

Mrs. Dr. Marchisi is living at the age of seventy-eight.
Her health is very good. " Of course," said Dr. Marchisi,
" my wife can't run as fast as she once could, but her average
physical condition is extremely good." In speaking of his
labors as a physician, the doctor said, " I am proud of
one feature of my career — the discovery of the Catholicon.
Howarth & Ballard paid me $10,000 cash for it. I believe
it has done untold good."

The doctor and his wife have had thirteen children,
three of whom are now living. These are Mr. Henry N.
Marchisi, of Utica, Mr. F. W. Marchisi, of Chicago, and
Mrs. Elizabeth Tanner, of Cooperstown. They have seven
grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Dr. Marchisi served thirteen years in the volunteer fire
department of Utica, being a member of old Lafayette Fire
Company, No. 4. His certificate of discharge hangs framed
in his office, and bears the signature of Ward Hunt (since
one of the justices of the United States Supreme Court)
who was mayor of Utica at the time Dr. Marchisi's exemp-
tion certificate was made out.

Dr. Marchisi is a life member of the Utica Mechanics'
Association, and his certificate to that efiieot, signed in 1848
by " Theo. S. Faxton, President," has been carefully pre-

He was also one of the original stockholders and members
of the Utica Female Seminary, and exhibits the first cer-
tificate of stock issued bearing the signature of " J. Wat-
son Williams, Treasurer."

Dr. Marchisi is an entertaining talker. He gives an in-
teresting account of his first voyage to this country. The
trip to Quebec consumed thirty-two days, and was an events
ful one to the young sergeant, who had just joined the ser-
vice of the King of Great Britain. His memory is excel-
lent, and he can to-day carry on a conversation in either
German, French, Italian, or English. He called on his
old friend, Ezra. S. Barnum, a short time before his death,
and both enjoyed the interview greatly. While the writer
was conversing with the doctor, his son Henry entered.
The old gentleman inquired after Mr. Barnum, and said,
" I am sorry Mr. Barnum is so poorly. He is only eighty-
six years old, however, and I think he should live much
longer. His habits have always been the very best."*

^ Mr. Barnum has since died.



was born of Scotch parentage, in the city of Glasgow,
Scotland, on the 5th of June, 1821. He was the eldest
of nine children of Robert Russell and Agnes Dunlop.
His father was a coal-factor in the city of Glasgow, where
he managed a large and profitable business. The family
emigrated to this country in the year 1832, acting on the
advice of their lawyers in the prosecution of a claim for
the escheated estate of the late John G. Leake, of New
York, whose property, by act of the Legislature, founded
and built the Leake and Watts' Orphan Asylum.

In early life Dr. Russell evinced an ardent love for study,
leaving the pursuit of pleasure always secondary to that of
knowledge. His tastes naturally led him to study medi-
cine, and in the year 1845 he began to study in the office
of Dr. Whiting Smith, of Whitesboro'. Subsequently
pursuing his studies in Berkshire Medical College, at Pitts-
field, Mass, he took the degree of Doctor of Medicine
at that institution in the fall of 1848, and the following
winter took a post-graduate course in the College of Phy-
sicians and Surgeons in New York, and also attended the
lectures of the eminent A'^alentine Mott.

In the year 1849, Dr. Russell settled in the practice of
his profession in the city of Utioa, where he has practiced
continuously until the present time.

Soon after his settlement here he became identified with
the Oneida County Medical Society, and took rank as an
active and influential member. He has been connected
with that society as its secretary for ten consecutive years ;
subsequently as its vice-president, and in 1871 was elected
its president. In the following year he delivered an able
address on the question : " Is woman adapted by nature
and social position for the arduous duties of the medical
profession ?" and read several papers before the society on
" diseases peculiar to women."

Dr. Russell was elected to permanent membership of the
State Medical Society in 1860, and also a member of the
American Medical Association.

He was appointed consulting surgeon for the Provost-
Marshal's Board during the examination of drafted and
enlisted men.

He has been identified as a member of the Board of
Health of Utica City, and in 1875 was elected by the
trustees a member of the medical staff of Faxton Hospi-
tal, which position he now holds. Without making any
special efforts in this direction, his practice has become
large in the field of obstetrics and diseases of children, and
his large experience and unusual success in this department
of practice have given his opinions weight on points of
treatment, and brought his services into requisition as a
consulting physician in these special branches.

In December, 1851, he married Agnes, daughter of
Alexander Patterson, of New Hartford, Oneida Co., N. Y.
Their children are (one daughter died in infancy) Charles
P., bom May 11, 1853, is now a physician, associated with
his father in practice, having received his preliminary edu-
cation at the common school and academy, from which he
graduated in 1871. He was a student of medicine in his
father's office, attending lectures in the University of Michi-
gan and in Bellevne Hospital Medical College, New York,

and receiving the degree of M.D. from the latter institu-
tion in 1874. In the year 1875 he weat to Europe, spent
nearly a year in clinical study in the University at Edin-
burgh, Scotland, and was for some time previous to his re-
turn home house-surgeon in the Royal Maternity Hospital
of Edinburgh, where he enjoyed to a large degree the
opportunity of becoming practically acquainted with obstet-
rics, and the instruction of such eminent men as J. Mat-
thews, Duncan, Simpson, and Ziegler. He is a member of
the American Medical Association, and at present holds
the office of Secretary of the Oneida County Medical So-
ciety. The second son, William G., born Dec. 23, 1854,
after receiving his preliminary education in Utica, en-
tered the office of Conkling, Lord & Coxe, in 1874, as a
student of the law ; was admitted to the bar in February,
1878, and is now engaged in the practice of his profession
in the city of Utica. The third son is R. W. Russell,
born April 6, 1863.

Dr. Russell, when only seventeen years of age, united
with the Presbyterian Church, and has remained a member
until the present time, being always interested in church
and all kindred interests, and all enterprises tending to ele-
vate and educate the rising generation.

Politically, Dr. Russell has never taken a very active part,
but has firmly adhered to the principles of first the Whig
and subsequently the Republican party.


His father, James Sears Foster, came from Connecticut to
Litchfield, Herkimer Co., N. Y., where the subject of this
sketch was born June 3, 1803. Gaining a better education
than was common to farmers' boys in those days, at the
Paris Hill Academy, then a prominent high school, he
learned the trade of a machinist at Willowvale, and ac-
quired marked skill. For some years he was employed at
Auburn in superintending the construction of the machin-
ery at the State prison. He came back to a farm in New
Hartford, Oneida Co., and, in 1827, married Miss Orpha
Eliza, daughter of Rev. Publius Virgilius Bogue, then of
Sauquoit, a pioneer clergyman, born March, 1764. Her
father was a graduate of Yale College, in the class of 1787,
and her grandfather, Ebenezer Bogue, was a graduate of the
same institution of learning in the class of 1748, and the
first clergyman that ever settled in Farmington, Conn. The
family is descended from the emigrant John Bogue, a
native of Scotland, born and brought up in the city of Glas-
gow ; came to this country about the year 1680, settling at
East Haddam, Conn.

Mr. Foster became a resident of Utica in 1832, and
entered here upon the practice of dentistry, to which he
had already successfully devoted himself, and in which he
became recognized as one of the most scientific and adroit
operators. He studied his profession zealously, and labored
long and earnestly to elevate it. His associates in it recog-
nized him not only as a father in it, but as a leader in the
improvements which have been introduced. His remark-
able skill in mechanism, and his inventive faculty, enabled
him greatly to improve the rude methods which he found
in dentistry; and he was one of the first to devise and
manufacture teeth.




He was one of the first members of the American Soci-
ety of Dental Surgeons, and one of the earliest permanent
members of the State Dental Society, and when the Fifth
District Dental Society sought for its first president, Dr.
Foster was the natural and obvious choice.

In 1853 he was one of the commissioners at the World's
Fair, in New York, on dentistry.

Dr. Foster was a man of natural taste and refinement.
He loved nature and the sports of the woods and waters,
and his annual pilgrimage to the north woods had the zest
of poetry and religious feeling. He was passionately fond
of music, was well versed in it, and did much to promote
it here. In painting and engraving he would not style
himself a connoisseur, but he had a quick eye for good
work, and when such things were more rare in our commu-
nity than now, he aided not a little in cultivating and dis-
seminating a taste for art. For archaeology, and all that
relates to the beginnings of our local history, he had an
intelligent and suggestive interest.

In social intercourse he was genial and attractive, unsel-
fish, anxious for the enjoyment of others, and with a cheery
word for everybody.

He was in practice and profession a Christian, without
cant and without self-assertion, and at the time of his
death was a member of the Reformed Church. He was
connected with the Masonic fraternity from his twenty-first
year, and was one of the first members of " Amicable
Lodge and Horeb Chapter, of New Hartford." For thir-
teen years he has been a member of Utiea Gommandery,
Knights Templar. He was a life-long member of the
Utica Mechanics' Association, and one of the originators of
the Oneida County Historical Society. In none of these
organizations did he aspire to anything but active member-
ship, preferring faithful service in the ranks to the honors
of office.

In politics, he was a Whig, and subsequently a Repub-
lican, and was earnest in his convictions and faithful to
them. He was an alderman of the city in 1846, but politi-
cal office was not to his taste. All his life a resident of
Utica and its immediate vicinity, he had during the period
of nearly three-quarters of a century observed the growth
of the city and county, and had a warm affection for
them and their people. He knew how to discriminate and
he loved his friends, but his heart had no room for hate.

He never sought notoriety, but he delighted in kindliness,
and in what is sweet and bright in life. That is the memory
which he left to family and friends. He died Dec. 7, 1877.

Dr. Foster's wife of his youth survives him with three
children, — Dr. Charles B. Foster, of Utica, N. Y., Mrs.
Sophia Ingalls, of Chicago, and Miss Kittie E. Foster, of
Utica, N. Y.

was born at Cassville, Oneida Co., N. Y., Nov. 7, 1819.
He was the eldest son of Ira D. Hopkins and Polly War-
ren, the former a native of Connecticut, born July 28,
1795 ; removed to this county previous to his marriage and
about the year 1815 ; was a mechanic and miller by occu-
pation ; was a member of the Baptist Church for nearly a
half-century; was a quiet, unostentatious man, possessed
of great integrity of character. He died at the age of sixty-

nine years, in the city of Utica. The latter, a native of
Oneida County, town of New Hartford, was a daughter of
Ephraim Warren, and born April 26, 1797 ; was a consist-
ent member of the same church as her husband for some
fifty years, and died at the age of seventy-three years.

Mr. Hopkins until he was some eighteen years of age
spent his time at home attending school and learning the
milling business. At that age he left home, and after one

Phuto. liy Winiaina.

year in Rochester and several years in Peterboro', N. Y.,
and at home about one year, he went to Oswego, where
he remained during the summer of 1841 in the mill of
Mr. Burkel. From 1842 to 1844 inclusive he was in
Fayetteville, and then went to Chittenango, where he re-
mained until April, 1846, when he removed to Utica, and
engaged in partnership in the milling business with Mr.
John C. Merritt, of New York. Upon the decease of Mr.
Merritt, about 1848, Mr. Hopkins engaged also subse-
quently in business with George Curtiss and Samuel Y.
Lane, remaining in business with the latter until May,
1869. May 12, 1861, Mr. Hopkins was appointed post-
master of the city of Utica, under the administration of
Abraham Lincoln, and, with the exception of six months,
has held that position until the present time, 1878. And
during these years of public office he has performed the
duties of the responsible position of postmaster with that
evenness of bearing to all, and unwavering courtesy and
business ability that commands the respect not only of his
friends, but the confidence of those opposed to him politi-

Politically Mr. Hopkins is identified with the Republican
party, and was originally a member of the old Whig party,
and during his middle life, from 1856 until his health failed
him in 1869, was very active in the councils of his party.
He has been largely interested in the various enterprises



in the city since his residence there, and a member of its
council for two years as alderman from 1858 to 1860.

Mr. Hopkins has been married twice, — ^first to Miss Al-
mena M., daughter of John Downer, of Peterboro', N. Y.,
March- 26, 1839. She was born May 4, 1819. By this
union there were born three children, — William A., Pul-
cheria M., and Almena D. His wife died June 7, 1849.
For his second wife he married Miss Eliza, daughter of
Elijah Budd, of Schodack, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., March 1,
1854. She was born Nov. 9, 1826. By this second union
he has living two children, — Jennie F. and George E.

Mr. Hopkins and wife are members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, and interested in all kindred institutions
tending to educate and elevate the rising generation. .


is a native of Colchester, New Londofi: County, Conn., born
August 24, 1816 ; the youngest of five children of Henry
Wells and Sophia Breed.

In the year 1825 the family removed from Colchester to
a large farm in Berkshire County," Mass; Here he re-
ceived his early education at the district school, two miles
from his home. This school was only open about four
mouths in the year, from November to Marclifi And here,
after cheerfully bearing his part in the farm labor, he
sought to obtain the knowledge which should fit him for
useful life. At the age of fourteen an opportunity was
given him to enter the country store of Owen & Huvlbut,
merchants and papei: manufacturers, of South Lee, Mass.
He remained with this firm seven years, attending with
such fidelity to its interests, that on attaining his majority
he was admitted as a partner, the senior members furnish-
ing for the store a capital of $3000. At the expiration of
one year Mr. Wells' share of the profits' was $500. This
was considered a neat sum for those days ; but as the field
for extending business was limited, i the partnership was
dissolved. Leaving Massachusetts, Mr. Wells visited; "hill
parents, who were then living in Portage County, Ohio";
but not finding a desirable opening there, he came to Uticrf,'
and entered the dry -goods house of A. L. & R. H. Wellss
Two years later, in the spring of 1841, he formed a copart-
nership with Lewis Bailey, of Utica, for five years, under
the firm-name of Bailey & Wells. The business was com-
menced and conducted in Auburn, N. Y., for two years,
and the remaining three years in Utica. In 1846 the
partnership expired, and Mr. Wells commenced business
alone at 88 Genesee Street, remaining there ten years. In
1856 he removed to the Marble Block, then newly built,
and in 1864 to his present location, 79 Genesee Street. A
year later the firm-name was changed to J. B. Wells & Co.,
and in 1874 to J. B. Wells, Son & Co.

As a business man, Mr. Wells has been noted for his
energy, perseverance, strict integrity, and close application
to business. He never failed, never allowed a note to go
to protest ; and whether on the farm or in the store, faith-
fully performed the work before him. Thus, from small
beginnings, the house of which he is the head has gained
an extensive influence and an honorable name. In politics
Mr. Wells was formerly a Whig, and in later life a Repub-
lican. Though decided in his political views, he was never

radical ; and after depositing his vote on each election day,
his next duty was to attend to his business. In religion he
has long been a Presbyterian, and that church has received
from him a liberal support.

He was united in marriage with Roxanna Hill Lee, in
the year 1841. By this union were born five children,
four of whom are still living.


was born in the parish of Brenchley, county of Kent,
England, May 2, 1802. He was the fifth child of James
Thorn and Elizabeth Springate. His father was by occu-
pation a timber-surveyor and farmer, and died in the year
1816. In the year 1818, the mother, with six of the

children (leaving only the eldest son, James, in England),
emigrated to America, landed in New York, where they
stopped only a short time, and came to Albany, where,
after one year, the mother and two of the daughters died.
Thus thrown upon the world as orphans, Stephen came to
Utica, and learned the saddle-, harness- and carriage-making
business ; and about the year 1822 set up business of the
same kind for himself here, which he continued successfiiUy
for ten years, when he engaged quite extensively in the
real estate business, not only here but in Ohio, Wisconsin,
and Michigan. This has been the main business of his
life since and until 1867, at which time he gave up active
business operations. In the year 1838 he became interested
in the forwarding business in Utica, and also in brewing
and malting, which he continued, inore or less, uptil 1865.
Throughout his life he has been generally successful in busi-
ness, and has carried forward all enterprises with that reiu-




lution and zeal which know no failure, and has been known
for his integrity in all transactions with other men.

Mr. Thorn, in middle life, was active in the political
circle, and known in politics as an old-line Whig, but
during his later years an unswerving member of the Demo-
cratic party, and during his career in Utica has held the
office of alderman of his ward for several terms.

His first connection with the church was in 1825, since
which time he has been a supporter of church interests,
and identified himself with all enterprises tending to ele-
vate society. He is a member of the Episcopal Church of
Utica in 1878. In the year 1825 (November), he married
Miss Mary Ann Bennett, of Albany, born Aug. 21, 1807.
By this union he had eight children, — Stephen S., James
Edward, Samuel S., William B., Anna E. (deceased, wife
of George H. Wiley, of Utica), Joseph C. (deceased)
Francis S., Sarah E. (deceased). Mrs. Thorn was a mem-
ber of Grace Church, but became a member of St. Joseph's
congregation upon its organization. She was a devoted
wife and mother, and left at her death, Jan. 11, 1875, a
large circle of friends, who have the happiest memory of
her exemplary life and deeds.

Mr. Thorn still survives, and is able to look back through
the history of Utica, and review the various changes and
improvements from a small village to one of the finest and
most beautiful cities of the State.


was born at Paris, in this county, Sept. 16, 1796. He
was youngest son of Asahel Gridley, a respectable farmer
of that town, in comfortable but not opulent circumstances.
In the ordinary course of events he would have been
brought up on the farm and have followed rural pursuits;
but a strong relish for books induced his parents to yield
to his desire of obtaining a liberal education. Having
completed hia preparatory studies he entered Hamilton
College, then presided over by the venerable Dr. Backus,
at the opening of that institution in 1812, and he grad-
uated Bachelor of Arts at the Commencement in 1816.

His was the first full class that graduated there, some of
whom have gained considerable prominence io the world.
Judge Gridley retained throughout his life a warm interest
in his alma mater, which was reciprocated by the latter.
The college conferred on him the degree of LL.D., in 1848,
and he was for several years, and at the time of his death,
August 16, 1864, a trustee. A few years prior to his death
he delivered an eloquent and highly-interesting address
before the association of the alumni, and contributed to-
wards its funds at one time the sum of $1000.

After leaving college he commenced the study of the
law, for a time with Thaddeus M. Wood, of Onondaga,
and with Othniel Williams, of Waterville, father of Judge
Williams, of Clinton, and was admitted to the bar as an
attorney at the October term of the former Supreme Court,
held in this city, in 1820, and at the expiration of the time
required by the rule was advanced to the grade of coun-

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 99 of 192)