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974.701 ■^** *-• 




3 1833 01152 7832 


A- F. ^A'b w.>., 

- OSWEGO. N. Y. 







llIlM«lra!i0n5J mul ^h^ni^lilvA Mltcfclie^ 



'n^.ic\ — - 


714—16 Filliert Street, ^Philadelphia. 



7 9 10 6 5 15 



C O N T E N T S. 























Introductory . . . • 
A Rnid in 1615 

-The Iroquois . . . • 
-Jesuits and Colonists 
-Do La Barre and Garangula . 
■ Count Frontenae's Expedition 
-From 1097 to 1753 . 
-Tlie " Old French War" . 
-From 1761 to 1775 . 
-The Revolution 
-From 17S.3 to 1800 . 
From ISOl to 1812 


10, 11 
18, 19 

—The War of 1812 ''2-69 

From 1815 to 1830 . 

From 1831 to 1861 . 

XXIX.— Oswego in the R 

Since the War . 

•The Press of Oswego Count 

County Buildings . 

-The State Normal School 

-The Common Schools 
— Religion and Temperance 
Medical Societies . 
Agricultural Societies 
The National Guard 
Oswego County Civil List 


. 75-115 
. 116,117 
. 117-121 
. 121,122 
. 122-125 

. 125,126 
. 126-129 
. 129-131 



of Oswego City . . . • 
Oswego Harbor 
;c of Hon. G. B. Sloan 

Thomas Kingsford 

Thomson Kingsford 

Elias Root . 

Leonard Ames, with Portrail 

Dclos De Wolf 

Edwin Allen . 

Edwin W. Clarke . 

Joseph Hover 


" Thomas S. Molt . 

" and Portrait of B. B. Burt 
" Orvillc Robinson, with Portraits 

" Farm Retreat," Residence of Thomson Kingsf< 
St. Paul's Church and School . 
Residence of E. G. Jones . 
" R. Gordon . 

" 0. M. Bond . 

First National Bank Building . 
City Savings " " 

Mannister Wort's Block . 
Neal's Block (and Masonic Temple) 
Residence of Luther Wright, with portrait and biography 

between 186, 187 

Portrait and Biography of AlvinBronson . . facing 142 

u " Sylvester Doolittle . . " 113 

u " Cheney Ames ... "172 

« " II, >n. A. P. Grant . . " 1"3 

View of Kingsford's Starch-Factory (steel) . between 174, 175 

Portraits of Thomas and Thomson Kingsford (steel) " 174, 175 

Portrait and Biography of R. Oliphant . . • facing 176 

Portraits of Myron Pardee and wife, with biography " 178 

facing 13G 

Portrait of Judge W. F. Allen (steel) . • ■ ""^'"S ' 

Hon. Elias Root (steel) .... "I 

" S. Bates, with biography 

Frederick T. Carrington (steel) . • l»eing 1 

Portraits of E. G. Jones and wife . . . • 

Portrait of Wm. S. Malcolm 

" Mrs. Catharine Van Rensselaer Cochran " 1 

PortraitandBiography of John B. Edwards . . . . 1 
u '• Colonel Edward M. Paine . . 1 

" Daniel E. Taylor . . - • 1 

ti ti Lucius B. Crocker . . . . 

Portrait and Biography of Hon. B. Doolittle . . • • 
« " II. Murray . . • fa<:i»g 

Biography of Judge W. F. Allen 

B.B.Burt • 

" Hon. Elias Root 

« Frederick T. Carrington 

" Moses P. Neal 

" Wm. S. Malcolm 

Mrs. Catharine V. R. Cochran . . . • 

" Orvillc Robinson 

" Mrs. Lucrctia Robinson 

Military Record 


History of the Town of Oswego 

Residence of Eli Wilder (double page) . . between 200, 
" Levi Pease (double page) ..." 202, 

Portraits of Nathan Lewis and wife, with biography 
Stock Farm and Portrait oliThos. G. Thompson (and Agricul- 
tural Fair Grounds) .... between 204, 
Residence of William Clark .... "204 

Biography of Eli Wilder 

" Levi Peaso 

Military Recoi-d 


History of the Town of Richland 

View of Court-House, Pulaski f''='^"g 

" Pulaski Academy 

Residence and Land-Office of Charles H. Cross, with portrait 
between ^ 1 

and biography 

Portrait of Thomas W. Dixon (steel) 
Residence of S. II. Fellows .... 

" J. G. and G. W. White 

First Congregational Church Building, with portra 

Moacham and Rev. James Douglas 
Residence of Jas. N. Belts, M.D., with portrait 

" and portrait of Don A. King . 

Portrait of Robert L. IngorsoU (steel) 
Biography of " " . . . . 

Captain Ira Doane 
" James N. Bctts, M.D. . 

" Don A. King .... 

Portrait and Biography of William Strong 

of Ansel Brown 

View of Salmon River House, Pulaski . 
Box and Bett's Block, Pulaski . . - . 
Residence of Capt. Ira Doanc, with portraits . 

Military Record 

History of the Town of Volnoy 
Views on Oswego River, near Fulton 



Portrait and Biography of Lovwell Johnson (steel) 
Willard Johnson (steel) 
Residence of J. H. Distin, with portraits . 

F. Vant, " " . . 

" Samuel Hart, " " . . 

" Wm. D. Patterson .... 

" D. W. Gardner .... 

" Mrs. L. E. Loomis, with portraits 

" Elias Thomas, with portraits 

" Charles G. Bacon, M.D., withportrait 

Portraits of Ira Carrier and wife, with biographj' 

Farm View of Ira Carrier 

Portraits of Colonel John Gasper and wives 

" Ira Ives and wife, with biography 

" Thomas Hubbard and wife, with biogr.aphy 


Kesidence of Thomas Hubbard, Esq. 
Portraits of Walter Wilber and wife, with biography 
" Timothy Pratt and wife, with biography 

Residence of John W. Pratt, with portraits . . facing 
Portraits of Aaron G. Fish and wife, with biography 
Portrait of Lyman Pa'.terson, with biography .... 
Portraits of Holsey Hubbard and wife, with biography facing 

" William Ingell and wife, with biography 

Portrait of Isaac Marltham, and biography of Jason S. Marliham 
Residence of Jason S. Markham, with portraits . facing 

Portraits of Freeman Gasper and wife, with biography 
Portrait of F. W. Squires, with biography . . 

" Hon. Ransom H. Tyler, with biography . facing 

Biography of Dr. Ransom Howard, with portraits . opposite 

*' L. E. Loomis ....... 

" John H. Distin 

" Elias Thomas 

" Dr. Charles G. Baeon 

" Samuel Hart 

Military Record 


History of the Town of Me.\i 
Residence of the late Euge 

N. Hil 

ith portraits facing 262 

L. H. Conkli] 

" J. B. Driggs 

" Phineas Davis 

Residence and Factory of S. N. Gustin (double page), bct« 
Carriage Manufactory of Lewis Miller 

View of Grace Church 

Portrait and Biograpliy of Hon. Avery Skinner 
" ** Ebcnezcr E. Menfer 

Residence of Mrs. Dr. C. D. Snell .... 

Toronto and State Mills 

Portrait and Biography of Dr. C. D. Snell 

Biography of Eugene N. Hills 

Military Record 


History of the Town of Albion 278 

Residence of D. K. Averill (double page) . between 271S, 279 

Portrait and Biography of Aaron Fuller 281 

" " Thomas Henderson .... 282 
Military Record 282 


IHstory of the Town of Constantia . 

Portraits and Biography of the Bernhard family 

Residence and Portrait of Hon. William H. I!ak 

Biography of Hon. W. H. Baker 

Portraits of Rev. Christoj.hor Martin an.l wilo 

Henry Winu a"ud wife . 
Portrait of Ephraim Cleveland 
Biography of Christopher Martin . 

Icnce of Patr 
ary Record . 

ck 11 


History of the Town of Orwell 297 

Residence of I. W. Bennett facing 297 

James J. Montague .... "298 

" John Washburn "298 

Residences of John E. Potter and Alexander Potter, with por- 
traits facing 300 

Residence of Hon. John Parker, with portraits . " 303 

Biography of lion. John Parker 303 

" Jas. J. Montague 303 

" S. C. Davis 303 

Property of S. C. Davis and Son ... . opposite 304 

Portraits of the Davis family " 305 

Military Record 30i 


History of the Town of Hannibal 307 

Residence of Norman Titus facing 307 

C. S. Chamberlain .... " 307 

" E. S. Tallman (double page) . between 308, 309 

" Jonas Shutts, with portraits (double page) between 


Biography of Jonas Shutts 311 

Residence of Avery Green, with portraits . . facing 312 
Military Record 312 


History of the Town of Palermo 316 

Residence and Store of D. H. Trimble, with portraits facing 316 

Factory and Hotel of W. H. Hann.^n . . . opposite 318 

Residence of J. F. Lansing '•' 319 

" Frederick C. Church .... "319 

" W. S. Lansing, with portraits . . facing 320 

" D. L. Brown "321 

Portraits of Almon Mason and wife .... "321 

Portrait of Dr. Addison Beckwith .... "321 

Biography of Isaac N. Lansing .... " 320 

" Almon Mason "321 

Biography of David L. Brown . . . . . . .321 

Military Record 321 


History of the Town of Sehroeppel 324 

Residence and Portrait of Alonzo Utiey . . . facing 324 

" of W. H. Rico "324 

Howard House " 32J 

Residence of Nelson Corey (double page) . between 326, 327 

Portraits of Andrew Gilbert and wife . . . facing 330 

" Stephen Griffith " . . . . " 330 

Portrait of E. L. Jennings " 330 

" J. M. Williams " 330 

Residence of R. Sutton, with portraits ... " 334 

Biography of Reuben Sutton ....... 334 

Military Record 334 


History of the Town of New Ilavcn. 


Premises of Orlando R. Cummings .... facing 339 
Portrait of Seth Severance, with biography . . opposite 310 

" A. W. Severance, " . . " 341 

Portraits and Biography of A. H. Barton and wife . " 342 

Residence of Edward W. Robinson, with portraits . " 343 

Views at Captain Henry Daggett's, with portraits (double 

page) between 344, 345 

Portrait of Norman Rowo, with biography . " 344, 345 

Residence of M. S. Lindall, with portrait . . " 344,345 

Portrait of L. Cummings 345 

Biography of Captain Henry J. Daggett 345 

Military Record 345 



I'ortniits of P. J. Wilsou and wife . 

Poitriiit of i'. I,aing 

Philip Hess .... 
" Georgo D. Wells, with biogvniiliy 

Biograjihy of Thomns Laing 
Rosiilciice of John Jamicson, with portrait 
Portrait of Charles Loigh, with biography 
Biography of John Jamicson 
Residence of II. and N. Leigh . 
Military Record ..... 


History of the Town of Williamstown 353 

View of Lake and Mill at Kasoag .... facing 353 

Residence of Edwin Comstoek, with portraits . . " 355 

" and Hotel of C. S. Sage, with portraits . opposite 356 

" A. Orton and William Steele, with portraits " 357 

Biography of Hon. Chaunoey S. Sago 356 

" Ashbel Orton 356 

Military Record 357 


History of the Town of Hastings 358 

Residence of William B. Parkhurst, with portraits . facing 358 

" D. D. Drake, M.D " 300 

" Robert Elliott "360 

" Leonard Snow ..... " 362 

Military Record 365 


History of the Town of West Monroe 367 

Military Record 369 


History of the Town of Boylston ...... 370 

Residence of William Wart, with portraits . . facing 370 

Biography of William Wart 373 

Military Record 373 


History of the Town of Sandy Creek 37i 

High School Building facing 374: 

Residence of William Bishop, with portraits . . " 376 

" Orin R. Earl, with portrait ... " 378 

Gilbert N. Harding .... "380 

" William Jay Stevens .... "380 

" Hon. A. S. Warner, with portraits . . .382 

Biography of Hon. Orcn R. Earl 3S2 

" " Andrew S. Warner 382 

Residence of Julia K. Robbins, with portraits . . facing 383 

Biography of Benjamin G. Robbins 383 

" Julius S. Robbins 383 

" William Bishop 383 

Residence of J. S. Robbins facing 384 

The Salisbury House "384 

Portrait and Biography of Hon. Azariah Wart . . . 384 

" of J. Lyman Bulkley 3S4 

Military Record 384 


History of the Town of Granby 388 

Residence of Wm. W. Palmer, with portraits . . facing 388 

" Calvin French, with portraits . . " 389 
Farm View and Residence of Thos. R. Wright, with portraits, 

between 390, 391 
Farm and Residence of Jasper H. Whitcomb, with portraits 

(double page) between 392, 393 

Residence of Felix M. Rico, with portraits . . facing 394 



John C. Wells, 
Mrs. M. Howell 


. oppi 

Portraits of Benjamin Wells and wife, with bio 

" Benj. B. Pierce '• " . . 

Residence of I. F. Pierce, with portrait . . . facing 
" W. B. Gaylord, with portraits . . " 

Portrait of Asa Phillips, with biography 

Residence of Morgan Blakeman, with portraits . facing 

" Lewis II. Hutchins, " . " 

Portraits of Aaron Stranahan and wife, with biography . 

Residence of Aaron Stranahan facing 

" Wm. II. Tompkins, with portraits . 

Portrait of David Willcox, with biography .... 
Residence of Milo Wilcox, with portraits . . . facing 
" Dan. S. Shattuck, "... " 

" II. H. Merriam, "... " 

" Mrs. Isaac Bogardus, "... " 

" Jesse Reynolds, " 

" Jackson Reynolds, " 

J. II. Langdon .... 
)hy of John C. Wells .... 
" Isaac Boganlus .... 

John I. AValradt .... 
" William B. Gaylord 

" Jackson Reynolds .... 

" Morgan lUakcman 

" Scth Paine 

" William U. Tompkins . 

" Jasper II. Whitcomb 

" Dan. S. Shattuck .... 

" Calvin French .... 

II. H. Merriam .... 

" John Palmer 

" David Hutchins .... 

" Jesse Reynolds .... 

Military Record 



History of the Town of Scviba . 

Residence of Geo. Fradcnburgh 

" Russell Turner, with portrait 

Philo H. Burnham, " 

Portrait of Thomas Askew, with biography 
" Daniel Hall (2d), " 

" Erastus Stone .... 

Biography of Erastus Stone 

Portrait of Robert Simpson, with biography 
Geo. W. Snyder, M.D., " 

Portraits of James Church and wife, " 
" Rev. Geo. Blossom an 

" Philo Burnham and w 

Military Record 

ilh 1 


History of the Town of Redfiold 423 

Residence of James Petrie, with portrait . . . facing 424 

Biography of James Petrie 428 

Military Record 428 


History of the Town of Parish 429 

Portrait of Lieutenant-Colonel Melzar Richards, with biog- 
raphy facing 429 

Residence of Hon. Harvey Palmer, with portraits . " 4:J2 

Biography of Hon. Harvey Palmer 432 

Military Reconl 432 


List of Citizens who assisted in the publication of the History 

of Oswego County, with personals 434 

Outline Map of Oswego County .... facing 9 

View of Salmon River Falls (vignette) . . facing title-j»age. 

H I 8 T O K Y 





Plan of Ibc Work— Sources of Information— List of Books Examined 
— Acknowledgments of Aid — Closing Remarks. 

The plan of this work comprises : 

First, a connected history of the events of general im- 
portance or interest which have occurred in the territory 
now comprising the county of Oswego, or in which residents 
of that county have been actors, from the advent of Cham- 
plain in 1615 down to the second year of the second century 
of American Independence. 

Second, special and statistical matter relating to the 
county at large, and intended chiefly for reference. 

Third, histories of the city of Oswego and of each town 
in the county, including notices of early settlers, and sketches 
of churches, lodges, and other local organizations. 

Fourth, biographical sketches and personal records. 

The general history is intended to follow strictly the 
chronological order from 1615 to 1877, confining itself to 
the territory of the present county and the acts of its resi- 
dents, referring to outside matters only so far as may be 
necessary to show the connection of events, telling the story 
not only of battles and sieges, in which this county has been 
extremely prolific, but of pioneer struggles and modern 
development, and not disdaining the use of anecdote and 
reminiscence to give vivacity to the picture. The other 
portions of the work must necessarily be arranged according 
to the subjects of which they treat. 

That portion of the general history pertaining to the 
period previous to the beginning of settlement was derived 
entirely from books ; the later portion is partly from books, 
but largely from personal recollections, contemporary records, 
newspaper articles, etc. All these sources have also been 
utilized in compiling the special sketches and town histories. 

The books which wc have consulted, and to which we 
desire to acknowledge our indebtedness, arc the Documentary 
and Colonial Histories of New York, Colden's History of 
the Five Nations, Smith's History of New York. Morgan's 

League of the Iroquois, Squier's Antiquities, Schoolcraft's 
Report on Indian AflFairs, Stone's Life and Times of Sir 
William Johnson, Pouchot's Memoir of the War of 1754- 
60, Lossing's Life of Schuyler, Bishop Timon's History of 
Missions in Western New York, Stone's Life and Times of 
Joseph Brant, Mrs. Grant's Memoirs of an American Lady, 
Bancroft's History of the United States, Cooper's Pathfinder, 
Clark's Onondaga, Turner's History of the Holland Pur- 
chase, Ketchum's History of Buffalo and the Senecas, 
Hough's History of Jefferson County, Hammond's Political 
History of New York, the New York Civil List, French's 
New York Gazetteer, numerous directories of Oswego, and 
several minor works. 

Many of the volumes above named arc the property of 
B. B. Burt, E.sq., of Oswego, to whom we are indebted for 
their, and whose knowledge of local history h;is enabled 
him to give us much v;Juable information regarding the 
subject of our labors. We are also especially indebted to F. 
W. Squiers, Esq., of North Volney, for assistance regarding 
early records and events after the settlement of the county. 
The Hon. Alvin Bronson, of Oswego, having been a resident 
there since 1810, having during the greater part of that 
time been active in commercial and political life, and having 
entered with form scarce bent and memory scarce dimmed 
upon his ninety-fifth year, has been able to furnish us much 
information not attainable from any other person. 

We regret that it is impracticable to mention all those 
who have kindly enlightened us on minor points, but as 
they number many hundreds, scattered through every town 
in the county and every ward in the city, we are obliged to 
confine ourselves to a general expression of thaiiLs to thusc 
numerous aiders of our enterprise. 

Of the manner in which the work is executed it were idle 
to speak at any length here. It must stand or fall on its 
own merits. Doubtless, between the frequent obscurity 
of the subject, and the numerous and often conflicting au- 
thorities to be consulted, occasional inaccuracies have crept 
in. Doubtless some things have been omitted, a.s worthy 
of attention as others which have been included ; yet we 
are certain there is an immense amount of information rc- 



garding Oswego County within this volume, and we trust 
it is so arranged and presented that our patrons and their 
children and their children's children will long turn to these 
pages to learn the story of their own and their fathers' home. 


A KAID IN 1615. 

Chamjilain in Oswego County— His previous Action— Attack on the 
Onondagas — Champlain Wounded — The Retreat. 

Hundreds upon hundreds of almost naked savages, 
painted and plumed for war, gliding with stealthy step 
amid the tangled vines and beneath the autumn-tinted 
leaves of an American forest, armed with the bows and 
arrows, the war-clubs and the stone tomahawks, which had 
been the weapons of their ancestors from immemorial time, 
in whose midst marched a band of ten Europeans, equipped 
with arquebuse, and pistol, and cutlass, led by one whose 
mien betokened the habit of command and whose eye 
flashed with the fire of his adventurous spirit, — such was 
the scene to be witnessed in the early days of October, 
1615, in the central portion of the territory now composing 
the county of Oswego. 

Doubtless the same ground had previously seen many an 
Indian war-party on its errand of slaughter, but never 
before had it been pressed by the foot of the Caucasian. 
Samuel Champlain was then leading through Oswego 
County the first white men who ever visited any part of 
the Empire State west of the immediate vicinity of Hudson 
river. The period of his advent here was only a hundred 
and twenty-three years after the discovery of America by 
Columbus, eighty-one years after Cartier had sailed up the 
St. Lawrence to Montreal, making some fruitless efforts at 
colonization, twelve years after Champlain himself had 
founded the colony of Canada, nine years after Henry 
Hudson had discovered the noble river which bears his 
name, and five years before the Pilgrim Fathers landed on 
Plymouth rock. 

From his first arrival in America, Champlain, eager to 
ingratiate himself with his neighbors, the Hurons, had 
aided them in their wars against their most dreaded foes, 
the far-famed Iroquois. Six years previous to the time in 
question he had led a band of the northern Indians along 
the shore of the lake which has received his name, and had 
engaged in battle with the Five Nations on the outskirts of 
their territory, thus arousing their deadly enmity — trans- 
iBTtted through many generations— against all the inhabit- 
ants of New France. 

At length he and his Huron allies had determined to 
strike at the very centre of the great confederacy. With 
ten trusty companions he had sought the principal villages 
of the Hurons, situated on the lake of the same name. 
There he had been promised that twenty-five hundred war- 
riors should assemble to attack the Iroquois. What number 
actually congregated at the rendezvous is unknown, but it 
was undoubtedly large for an Indian wai-jiarly, and with 

the aid of the terrible fire-arms of the white men they 
hoped to gain an easy victory over their dreaded and de- 
tested rivals. From the Huron country the whole party 
had made a portage with their canoes to the head-waters of 
the river Trent, had passed down its tortuous channel and 
through the bay of Quints to Lake Ontario (never before 
seen by a white man), had crossed that beautiful inland 
sea, and had landed somewhere on its eastern shore. 

At what precise point they disembarked cannot be ascer- 
tained from the meagre account which Champlain has left. 
Blost authorities have located it at or near the mouth of 
Stony creek, in Jefierson county ; but one or two have be- 
lieved that Sandy Creek bay, Oswego county, more nearly 
accords with the facts stated by Champlain. At all events, 
as soon as they landed, the Indians carefully concealed their 
canoes, and set out in the direction of the enemy. For 
four French leagues (about ten miles) they marched along 
a sandy beach beside a beautiful country adorned with 
prairies and small lakes, crossed by numerous streams and 
by what Champlain calls two small rivers, which, if Sandy 
Creek bay was the landing-place, must have been Salmon 
river and Salmon creek. 

Then the whole body struck boldly into the forest to 
seek the home of their foes. There is no reasonable doubt 
but that their object was to attack the main village of the 
Onondagas, situated on or near Onondaga lake. Other 
tribes and other localities have been suggested, but none 
that so well satisfies the description of Champlain. For 
three or four days the Huron wari-iors and their French 
companions pursued their devious and tedious way, guided 
only by the general knowledge which the former possessed 
of the location of their enemies. It was not until the 
fourth day after leaving their canoes, being the 9th of 
October, that they crossed Oneida river, at or near the site 
of Fort Brewerton, catching a glimpse of the beautiful 
Oneida lake, where Champlain, even in his hurried passage, 
noted the immense number of fish which inhabited the 
stream, making it the favorite fishing-place of the Onon- 

Thenceforth their course was outside the present bounds 
of the county of Oswego, and it is not our purpose to give 
a minute description of events which have happened beyond 
those bounds, unless residents of the county were the chief 
actors in them. Barely enough will be related regarding 
such matters to show the connection in the chain of events. 
SufiSce it to say, then, that Champlain's expedition was 
entirely unsuccessful. He arrived before the enemy's prin- 
cipal village on the 10th of October, and found it so well 
defended by four rows of interlaced palisades that, notwith- 
•standing the number of his followers, notwithstanding the 
fire-arms of the Frenchmen and his own gallant leadership, 
he could not induce his undisciplined Hurons to make the 
persistent efi"orts necessary to success. After a spirited but 
irregular assault, in which Champlain himself was twice 
severely wounded and many of his warriors were also in- 
jured by the arrows of the Onondagas, and after vainly 
waiting several days for a friendly tribe which was expected 
from the south, the Hurons, in spite of their leader's re- 
monstrances, on the 16th of October turned their steps 
towards home. The Onondagas pui-.sui'd tlioni a short 


distance, but were soon driven back by tbo Frenc'b ari|uo- 

But littlo over a week after the long eortege swept througli 
the forests of Oswego County, full of savage pride and war- 
like hope, it came hastening back defeated and forlorn, each 
wounded warrior being borne on tlie back of one of his 
fellows, in a rude wicker-basket. Champlain himself Wiis 
thus carried, suffering severely from his wound, and still more 
so from the cramped condition to which he was coufiued 
by his basket ambulance. As soon a.s he could possibly 
bear his weight, he preferred to hobble with halting steps 
over the hills thau to remain pent up in the basket, which 
he describes as a perfect hell. 

Feeling in constant danger of attack from the vengeful 
Iifii]iiois, the retreat of the Hurom was more rapid than 
their advance, and on the 18th of October they reached 
Lake Ontario at the point where they had concealed their 
canoes. Though Champlain was anxious to return directly 
down the St. Lawrence to Montreal, the Jfaroiis insisted on 
taking him back to their own country, where he remained 
during the winter; returning in the spring to his friends, 
who had for months mourned him as dead. 

Such was the first appearance of the white man within 
the present borders of the county of Oswego, and, so far 
as that county is concerned, the month of October, 1615, 
marks the line between history and tradition. Standing 
at this divisional point betwixt the known and the un- 
known, let us employ a little time in peering amid the 
mists of earlier ages and dubious systems ere we go for- 
ward on firm ground along the ever-broadening historic 
pathway from 1615 to 1877. 



Thoir Various Names— Their Origin— Curious Traditions— The Prob- 
able Truth— Formation of the Confederacy— Atotarho— The Sys- 
tem of Clans, Sachems, and Chiefs— Prowess and Eloquence- 
General Characteristics— Three Tribes in Oswego County. 

At the time our history begins, the territory of the 
present county of Oswego was unnuestionably in the pos- 
session of that celebrated confederacy, whose renown has 
far surpassed that of any other North American Indians, 
and who were variously known as the Five Nations, the 
Iroquois, the Iledonosannee, and the People of the Long 
House. The term " Five Nations" explains itself The 
appellation Iroquois was given them by the French, but is 
not a French word. Old maps show a tribe of Indians 
called "CoKis," located near the site of Kingston, Canada; 
also " Isles des Couis" and " Bay des Couis,"' in that 
vicinity. Another map designates the country of the Six 
Nations as that of the '^Hiro Couis." It would seem, 
therefore, that the name "■Coicis" first belonged, or was 
given, to the Canadian Indians, and that the French, sup- 
posing the Five Nations to be of the same tribe, gave them 
the specific designation ''Iliro,' though what that means 

is unknown. From •'Iliro Couis" to "Iroquois," the change 
is easily seen. 

The Five Nations Ciilled themselves Ilriloiwsiinnee, liter- 
ally, " We form one cabin," thereby denoting that they 
were all of one political household ; and this name has been 
translated, with substantial correctness, "The People of 
the Long House." They also called them.selves " Oiigwe 
Honice," meaning Superior Men, but this appellation lias 
never been adojited by the whites, though it is in some 
sort continued by the proud motto of the Empire State, — 
" Excelsior." 

When first discovered by the whites, each of the Five Na- 
tions was on the ground which it continued to occuiiy down 
to the outbreak of the American Revolution, and their names 
have been perpetuated by the waters whereon they dwelt, — 
that of the Mohawks by the Mohawk river, those of the 
Oneidas, the Onondugas, the Cnyugas, and the Scnecns by 
the lakes bearing the same appellations. These tribes, or 
nations, were linked together in a kind of federal union, 
which decided all questions of war and peace, and perhaps 
other matters affecting the general welfare, if any such 
there were. The origin of this league, the origin of the 
tribes which composed it, are alike uncertain. Where they 
were when found by the Europeans they might have been 
a thousand years, for aught that is positively known. But 
there were several traditions among the Iroquois regarding 
their origin, all pointing in the same direction, and all link- 
ing the history of the confederacy in an especial manner 
with the county of Oswego. 

One account is simply that the Iroqiioif once resided in 
Canada, being neighbors and rivals of the Ilitrous ; that 
they were defeated by the latter, fled across Lake Ontario, 
passed up the Oswego river, and settled on the lakes and 
rivers of central New York. A more remarkable tradition, 
given by David Cusick, the Tuscnrora chief, is that their 
ancestors were called from the bowels of a mountain 
near Oswego falls, by Tareuyawayon, " the Holder of the 
Heavens," under whoso direction they went eastward to 
the Hudson, and thence back to Seneca lake, the several 
tribes dropping off on their way. Still another legend, 
related in Clark's " Onondaga," is that at one time, when 
the Irtquois were in great affliction on account of the 
blighting of their corn, the obstruction of their rivers by 
monsters, etc., two Onondagas, sauntering on the beach at 
Oswego, saw a white canoe coming over the lake, from 
which, when it landed, stepped a venerable personage, who 
announced himself as the Spirit-man, Taounyawatha, come 
to extricate the people from their troubles. He went up 
the Oswego river and removed the obstructions at the falls, 
so that canoes could pass without portage, though the 
cataract has been replaced, on account of the wickedness of 
succeeding generations. Then he continued his course up 
the O.swego and Seneca, cut in twain with one blow of liis 
paddle a serpent several miles in length, which lay across 
the stream a little above Three Rivers point, destroyed 
numerous other monsters, more terrible than those which 
fell under the wrath of Hercules, and, finally, laying aside 
his spiritual attributes, lived for a long time as a mere man, 
the fijther and adviser of the Iroquois, under the well- 
known name of Hiawatha. 



All these traditions go to show that the Iroquois origi- 
nally came from the north, and that they made their advent 
in central New York by way of the Oswego river. Similar 
shadowy authority indicates that while there was a general 
resemblance and a kind of connection between the five 
tribes, yet that they were politically independent for a long 
time after their establishment in central New York, and 
were often engaged in deadly conflict with each other. At 
length, a wise old sachem named Daganawada, perceiving 
that all the tribes were likely to be destroyed by each other 
and by their common enemies, advised a confederation be- 
tween them, and proposed Atotarho, otherwise called Tado- 
daho, an Onondaga chief of extraordinary valor, as the 
head of the new league. His suggestion was agreed to, and 
a humble deputation of sachems sought out the renowned 
Onondaga in the midst of one of his swampy fastnesses, 
and persuaded him to accept the honors of leadership. One 
of the few pictorial representations of Indian origin repre- 
sents the terrible Atotarho, seated and smoking, with scores 
of living serpents curled around his legs and hissing from 
his hair, while two meek-looking ambassadors approach to 
oflfer him the presidency of the proposed confederacy. 

After the formation of the league, it is said that the 
snakes were combed out of Atotarho's head by a Mohawk 
chieftain, thenceforward called Ha-yo-went-ha, " The Man 
who Combs." Perhaps this symbolizes the fact that the 
authority of the Atotarho, or head chief of the confederacy, 
was reduced to an almost nominal rank, involving little 
more than the privilege of presiding over the general 
council of the league ; but Indian symbolism, like Indian 
tradition, is of too shadowy a nature to admit of elaborate 
discussion in a work of this character. 

Not only the early history of the Indian tribes, but their 
policy, laws, and organization, as they were before, or even 
since, the advent of the whites, cannot be delineated with 
any certainty of correctness. When the writer first began 
to consult authorities regarding the Five Nations, for the 
purpose of writing the history of another county, he sup- 
posed, after a short research, that he had mastered not 
indeed the minutia9, but the general outlines of the Iroquois 
policy, for the first book he read laid down the whole politi- 
cal and social system of those tribes with a clearness which 
could not be misunderstood and a positiveness which left 
nothing in doubt. But further investigation, instead of 
increasing, has sadly diminished his stock of knowledge on 
that subject, for other authorities give widely diflerent views 
not merely as to details, but in regard to the most essential 
points in the organization of the Ilcdonosaimee. He is now 
fully satisfied that their whole system was far less definite 
than is usually supposed, and that the precise and positive 
language which might properly be used by the historian to 
describe the constitution of a civilized people is entirely 
out of place in delineating the shadowy outlines of aborigi- 
nal customs. 

Yet, as Oswego County was, from its first discovery to 
the close of the Revolution, acknowledged by French, 
Dutch, English, and Americans to be the property of the 
Iroquois, as it was constantly used by them as a hunting- 
ground, and as its fortunes during all that time were closely 
interwoven with those of that celebrated tribe, it would 

seem as if an Oswego County history should give at least 
an outline sketch of their character and policy. 

The most remarkable characteristic of the Iroquois was 
the system of clans, which extended through all the tribes 
of the confederacy. Although these associations were far 
diflFerent from the Scottish clans, which were almost inde- 
pendent nations (and, indeed, from any other societies in 
the world), yet the word " clan" is used by the best writers, 
as more nearly suiting the case than any other in our 

There were, iit all, eight of thase clans, each named after 
something in the animal kingdom, viz. : Wolf, Bear, Beaver, 
Turtle, Deer, Snipe, Heron, and Hawk. Even in regard 
to this important matter we are met with the usual uncer- 
tainty which hangs over Indian affairs ; while some au- 
thorities declare that all the clans extended to all the tribes, 
others say that only the first three were thus widely spread, 
and that the other five clans only extended through two or 
three tribes each. The latter seems the more probable 

Each clan was a large family, all the members of which, 
however widely separated among the various tribes of the 
confederacy, were bound to each other by peculiar ties, and 
were under obligations to aid each other with fraternal care. 
The idea of family relationship was strengthened by pro- 
hibiting all intermarriage between members of the same 
clan. This was strictly enforced by public opinion, and 
those who violated it, if any such there were, were visited 
with the deepest disgrace. The Mohawk of the Beaver 
clan, whom the chase or war had led among the Senecas, 
living three hundred miles from his own castle, was at once 
made at home among his brother Beavers, though he might 
never have seen one of them before ; but he was bound to 
treat them as brothers and sisters, and marriage was not to 
be thought of 

Whether the clan system was the fortunate outgrowth of 
fortuitous circumstances, or the splendid invention of some 
forest-born genius, there seems to be no doubt that it was 
the vital principle of the Iroquois confederacy. The feel- 
ing of brotherhood between the dans, carefully preserved 
by the prohibition of intermarriage, was a better preventive 
of war between the tribes than the most solemn compact 
which could have been formed among that barbarous people. 
The Oiiondagas could not go to war with the Cayugas, for 
in that case the Heron would have been compelled to do 
battle with his brother Heron. There must be no strife 
between the Oneidas and the distant Senecas, for if there 
were it would sunder the fraternal bonds uniting the Bear 
which reposed on the shore of Oneida lake to the fiercer 
Bear which roamed through the wilderness west of the 

In each tribe there were several sachems, having some 
kind of authority. This much is certain ; but having ascer- 
tained so much, the unfortunate investigator is again sur- 
rounded by the clouds of doubt. The general belief is that 
the sachems were civil chiefs, having no authority in war. 
But Sir William Johnson, who ought to have had as good 
a knowledge of the Iroquois as any other white man in 
North America, said the sachems were elected chiefly on 
account of their warlike prowess. The latter view is much 


more consistent with the usual customs of savages than the 
former, but the Iroquois were a peculiar people, and. wc are 
inclined to believe, from all the testimony, that there was 
more or less distinction between civil chiefs and war chiefs. 
Morgan, the able author of the " League of the Iroquois," 
says that there was no distinct class of war chiefs among 
the Five Nations, but every renowned warrior could beat 
up for volunteers, and obtain the leadership of a band of his 
countrymen. Certainly in some cases the fighting men of 
the Six Nations have been known to choose a leader for a 
particular battle only the day before it was to take place. 
The truth jirobably is that in regard to both civil sachems 
and war chiefs there was a lemleitcj/, so to say, to take them 
from particular ftimilies, but there were no definite regula- 
tions, and personal prowess, acknowledged wisdom, or 
oratorical skill frequently gained the day over the rights 
of primogeniture. 

All admit that the Oiiondagas had a certain pre-emi- 
nence, and that the principal civil chief was always from 
that tribe, but the Senecas and the Mohaicks both claim 
to have had the honor of furnishing the principal war chief 
As these two hist-named tribes were located one at each 
end of the " Long House," they were necessarily more often 
assailed by sudden attacks than the others, and their prin- 
cipal chiefs would naturally be accorded a certain suprem- 
acy in warlike atfaii-s. 

There was an annual congress of the confederacy held 
at the council-fire of the O/iOHcZa^as, composed of six mem- 
bers, according to Schoolcraft, but of fifty, according to 
Morgan, and perhaps of some other number according to 
the next investigator. Probably the larger figure is more 
nearly correct, for the IroqKois were not accustomed to trust 
much power to a single person ; but Morgan's careful allot- 
ment of nine to the Oiieidas, nine to the Mohaicks, four- 
teen to the Oiiondagas, ten to the Cayiigas, and eight to 
the Senecas, is not in accordance with the miscellaneous 
manner in which the Indians generally transacted business. 

But whatever the number or the power of their chiefs, 
whatever the details of their organization, the Iroquois had 
already, at the advent of the white man, made themselves 
the dread of all the nations round about, battling fiercely 
with the Hiirons of Canada, with the Eries on the shores 
of Lake Erie, and with the Cherokees of the far south, 
while they had reduced to abject submission the Mohicans 
of New England, the Delawares of Pennsylvania, and 
many other feeble or timorous tribes. 

Their republican system of government, too, and their 
frequent attendance on councils and congresses, had de- 
veloped their rude eloquence, in which they always took 
great delight, until in all North America there were none 
who could so stir the hearts of their hearers as the orators 
ef the Hedonosannee. 

Aside from their political skill, their valor in war, and 
their eloquence in council, the People of the Long House 
closely resembled the savages who surrounded them. Like 
them, they were not quarrelsome towards those of their own 
tribe or league, but were apt to look on all others as their 
enemies, and to visit them with the most terrible cruelty. 
Like them, they lived iu rude wigwams, skimmed over the 
wave in fragile bark canoes, went very scantily clad in the 

skins of the animals they had slain, and subsisted on the 
flesh of those animals, save for the corn and beans raised 
by the labor of their squaws. 

Such were the ownci-s of Oswego County when Chaniplain 
made his unfortunate raid, in 1615. There were, so far as 
we are aware, no permanent villages of the Iroquois within 
the county limits, but parties of them frequently erected 
temporary wigwams for the purpose of fishing in its rivei-s 
or hunting in its forests. The greater portion of the county 
was considered as belonging to the Onondagas, but the 
Oneidas po.ssos.sed all the borders of the lake which b(!ars 
their name. 

According to Morgan, no less than three of the Iroquois 
tribes were owners of the territory now forming Oswego 
County, and their boundaries were as clearly defined as those 
of a modern township. The line between the CayugasaniS. 
Onondagas began on the shore of Lake Ontario, a little west 
of the mouth of the Oswego, and ran nearly due south to the 
Susquehanna, leaving part of the present towns of Oswego 
and Hannibal in the territory of the Cai/ugas. The line 
between the Onondagas and the Oneidas, according to 
the same authority, ran north and .south through " Deep 
Spring," in the present town of Manlius, Onondaga county ; 
north of that point it bore westward so as to include the 
whole circuit of Oneida lake in the Oneidas territory, 
then returning eastward to the longitude of Deep Spring, in 
the present town of Constantia, and thence running north 
through Watertown to the St. Lawrence, giving to the 
Oneidas, in Oswego County, the present town of lledfiold 
and the eastern part of the towns of Boylston, Orwell, 
Williamstown, Amboy, and Constantia. We have not 
much faith in the precise accuracy of Indian boundaries, 
but, doubtless, the line between these tribes was substan- 
tially as above laid down. 



French, Dutch, an.l English Colonization— Father Le Moinc in Oswego 
County — Cros.sing Oneida River — Laboring among the Onomlagas 
— Le Moinc's Return— Coming of Chaumont and Dablon— Du Puys 
and his Colony going up the Oswego — Their Returning Flight — 
Their Mysterious Story— Another Strange Talc — End of Coloniza- 
tion in Central New York. 

For forty years after the visit of Champlain, naught of 
especial interest is known to have happened in the county 
of Oswego. We use, and shall use, that term for conve- 
nience, meaning the territory now composing the county of 
Oswego, though that county had no legal existence until 
two hundred years after the beginning of its own history. 
In like manner towns will be referred to by their present 
names long before their municipal existence began, in order 
to designate without cumbersome repetition the territory 
afterwards comprised within their limits. 

During those forty years the eastern shore of North 
America, and the banks of its rivers, were the scenes of 


numerous discoveries, and of frequent efforts at colonization 
by the most enterprising nations of Europe. The sturdy 
Holland Dutchmen planted themselves all along the Hud- 
son to the mouth of the Mohawk, and their bold traders 
penetrated far into the territory of the Iroquois, buying 
their furs and selling them the fire-arms and ammunition 
which that fierce people were only too eager to obtain. 
With these they not only wreaked vengeance on all their 
enemies of their own race, far and near, but were even 
ready to do battle with the hated French, who had so fool- 
ishly provoked their wrath, — the wrath of those whom Vol- 
ney afterwards called tlie "Romans of North America." 

Though the French, by their situation on the St. Law- 
rence, had the advantage over other European colonists in 
regard to water communication with the interior of the 
continent, and though they established numerous missions 
and posts on the upper lakes, their respect for the Iroquois 
warriors was such that they rarely ventured on the southern 
shore of Lake Ontario. 

Meanwhile a little band of resolute men and women had 
come from old England to New England, and had begun 
on Plymouth rock to develop a force which was eventually 
to overwhelm Dutch, and , French, and Iroquois, and all 
other rivals, foes, and obstructionists. 

Though in 1648 the Jesuit father, Jogues, was sent on 
a mission to the Mohawks, falling at length a martyr to his 
zeal, there is no evidence that any attempt was made to 
convert the Onondagas until the summer of 1655. In 
July of that year Father Simon Le Moine, another of the 
indefatigable followers of Loyola, passed through Oswego 
County on that perilous undertaking. Having made a 
toilsome journey in a canoe up the St. Lawrence, Father 
Le Moine, with one companion, landed at a hamlet of fish- 
ermen on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario on the first day 
of August. The precise point is not designated, but it was 
probably not far from the mouth of Salmon river, or per- 
haps at that of Salmon creek. There seem to have been 
one or more trails running from that locality to the principal 
Onondaga villages, crossing Oneida river below the lake. 
Many French parties, at different times, are described as 
pursuing substantially this route. 

Le Moine and his companion were warmly received by 
the Indians whom he met. especially by Huron squaws 
held as prisoners among the Iroquois, and who in their own 
country had been favorably impressed by the religion of 
the French missionaries. All the second day of August, 
and until noon of the third, the three devoted men tramped 
southward through the forests and over the hills of the 
present towns of Mexico and Hastings, traversing a dis- 
tance which Le Moine estimated at from forty to fifty miles, 
but which was probably much less. At noon of the third 
day they reached the Oneida river, across which they were 
ferried by an Iroquois warrior whom Le Jloine had treated 
kindly at Montreal, and who even carried the reverend 
father on his shoulders through the shallow water. 

Thence the visitors went to the Onondaga villages, where 
Father Le Moine spent a fortnight in praying, exhorting, 
holding councils, and otherwise .seeking to gain the hearts 
of the Onondagas. So well did ho succeed that the chiefs 
begged that more missionaries might be sent, and that a 

French settlement might be planted on the shore of Onon- 
daga lake. Delighted with these evidences of friendship, 
Le jMoine started for home on the 15th of August, by way 
of the Oswego river. On the 17th he passed the mouth of 
the Oneida, and two or three miles below, near the present 
village of Phcenix, he found a hamlet of fishermen. Such 
hamlets for fishing and hunting were evidently scattered 
here and there throughout the present county of Oswego, 
and doubtless elsewhere in the immense country claimed by 
the Iroquois. Remaining there a day, Le Moine and his 
comrade proceeded very leisurely down the Oswego to Lake 
Ontario, which they reached on the 20th of August. 
Thence they coasted along the lake-shore, and went down 
the St. Lawrence to Montreal, where they arrived on the 
11th of September. 

No sooner did Father Le Moine report the desire of the 
Onondagas than Fathers Chaumont and Dablon responded 
to it. They set forth on the 19th of September, arrived at 
the Onondaga village on the 5th of November, and re- 
mained there through the winter. They, too, ingratiated 
themselves so thoroughly with the Iroquois that the latter 
renewed their request for the planting of a French settle- 
ment, and even the building of a French fort, in their 
midst. It has been supposed by some that this friendship 
was entirely feigned by the Onondagas for the purpose of 
getting the French into their power, but the Jesuit fathers, 
with more probability, assigned it to a desire to obtain 
French arms, ammunition, and assistance against the 
dreaded Cat nation, living on the shores of Lake Erie, and 
other tribes with which the Iroquois were at war. 

At all events, when Father Dablon returned to Montreal 
in April, 1656, bearing the Iroquois' request for a French 
colony, it was gladly complied with by the authorities of 
New France. On the 17th of May, fifty Frenchmen, 
under an officer named Du Puys, accompanied by Dablon 
and three other Jesuit fathers, and two brothers of the 
society, set forth in bateaux to establish, as they doubtless 
hoped, the dominion of France over the fertile fields of 
central New York. It was the forepart of July before 
Du Puys and his companions reached the mouth of the 
Oswego. Their provisions were exhausted, but they had 
managed to send a messenger in advance, and ere long they 
were met by a number of canoes, sent out by the expectant 
Onondagas to their French brethren. 

This was the first considerable body of white men who 
had ever passed up the Oswego, and Du Puys expected to 
make a powerful impression on the simple-minded natives. 
All his men were thoroughly armed, and no less than five 
small cannon were carried in his bateaux, ready to wake 
the wilderness with awe-inspiring reverberations. Making 
the necessary portage around Oswego falls, Du Puys pro- 
ceeded to Lake Gannentaha (Onondaga) where a great 
concourse of the Onondagas awaited him. There he 
marshaled his men so as to make the fullest possible dis- 
play of his strength, fired all his cannon, and then passed 
on to take possession of the ground allotted to him in the 
vicinity of the Onondaga village. 

A curious mystery hangs over the whole history of the 
French efforts to colonize central New York. It is strange 
that a people so jealous of their independence as the Iro- 



quois, who had been at enmity witli the French for forty 
years, should have invited or allowed a French colony to 
settle among them, and the end of the proceeding is even 
more mysterious than its beginning. In the e;irly spring 
of 1(j5S, while the ice w;is running in dangerous masses 
down the ever-turbulent Oswego, Du Puys and all his com- 
panions, together with several other missionaries and colo- 
nists who had joined them in 1G57, came hurrying in rude, 
newly-built bateaux towards Canada. There was now none 
of the grand display which had marked their hopeful ad- 
vent only twenty months before ; the men, with weapons 
ready for conflict, were watching anxiously for pursuing 
foes, and such good time did they make with their oars 
that on the 3d of April they landed at Montreal, fifteen 
days after they started from Onondaga. 

Du Puys reported that their suspicions had been aroused 
by the conduct of the Iroquois, and that finally one of their 
converts had informed them that a plot had been laid to 
murder the whole colony. Too weak to fight, the French- 
men secretly built bateaux in the inclosed yard of the Jesuit 
mission, and when all was ready one of their number, who 
had been adopted into an Indian family, persuaded his 
foster-parents to make a feast in his honor, to which all the 
Indians of the village were invited. After the feast they 
went to sleep, and then the Frenchman rejoined his comrades, 
and all fled in haste down the Oswego. It is a curious story. 
Peril ajis they were afraid of massacre, and perhaps they 
were homesick. 

The Jesuits attributed the supposed treachery of the 
Iroquois to the fact that since the arrival of the French 
they had destroyed the Eric or Cat nation, the Kahquehs, 
and other tribes, and that, ouce freed from these enemies, 
all their jealousy of the French at once revived. 

At any rate, this was the end of French colonization 
(though not of missionary effort) in central New York, 
unless we are to trust the dubious account of a French 
settlement in the present town of Pompey, Onondaga county, 
which flourished from 16G6 to lO'G'J, and which wasjoined 
by a party of silver-seeking Spaniards from Florida, between 
whom and the Frenchmen ([uarrels arose, that were only 
settled by the savages slaying all of both parties. 

French missions, however, were soon after re-established 
at Onondaga, for the Jesuits would labor for their religion 
under the very edge of the uplifted tomahawk, and twenty- 
five years after the flight of Du Puys we find the two 
Lambervilles fearlessly saying mas.s and making converts 
even when the old hostility between the French and Iroquois 
seemed on the point of breaking out into open war. 



The French and their Allies — Iroquois Offenses— De la Barre's Advance 
— Mediation Offered — Location of La Famine — A Picturesque Army 
—The Council— Speech of the (ioveriior— Reply of Garangula— A 
Chieftain's Sarcasm— A Worthless Treaty— Failure and Flight. 

It was not until 1684 that any new event of importance 
occurred on the soil of Oswego County. Doubtless the 

Iroquois wnr-parties frcfjueutly piussed over it on their way 
to almost certain victory ; pos-sibly a French bateau occa- 
sionally landed on its shore, or a French scout glided through 
its forests, listening every moment for the step of the vigilant 
Iroquois. Certainly tne missionaries to Onondaga must 
have fre<|uently pa.ssed through here, and it is certain, too, 
that at this time some Dutch and English tradei-s had made 
their way up the Mohawk and down the Oswego into tlic 
lakes which the French had hitherto claimed as their own. 
For, since the events described in the last chapter, the 
English, in 16G4, had taken possession of the Dutch terri- 
tory on the Hudson, their title had been confirmed by 
treaty in 1C70, and they, like the Dutch, had successfully 
cultivated the trade and friendship of the Five Nations. 

The French governor-general of Canada was Monsieur 
Le Febure de la Barre, under whose government and that 
of his predecessors alliances had been made with numerous 
Indian tribes of the far west, with whom the Canadian 
colonists were carrying on a most lucrative trade. The 
Iroquois, or at least the Senecas, in their career of conquest, 
made war on some of these French allies in the west, robbed 
some French traders whom they found carrying supplies to 
their enemies, and even attacked a French fort. De la Barre 
determined to punish the haughty confederates, or at least 
to appear in their country with such a force that they should 
be compelled to sue for peace. He informed Colonel Dongan, 
the English governor of New York, of his purpose, and 
asked him to forbid his people from selling weapons and 
ammunition to the Iroquois. Dongan, however, though a 
Catholic, had no desire to see French power extended on 
tlie south side of the great lakes. He protested against the 
movement, and probably took especial pains that his allies 
of the Long House should be well supplied with the means 
of defense. 

During the spring of 1684, one of De la Barre's officers, 
the Sieur d'Orvilliers, carefully reconnoitred the southern 
shore of Lake Ontario, and especially the country of the 
Seiiecas, for it was that powerful and ferocious tribe whom 
the governor was most particularly desirous to punish. On 
the 9th of August De la Barre reached Fort Frontcnac, now 
Kingston, where his forces were concentrated. Meanwhile, 
the younger of the Lamberville brothers, the Jesuit mission- 
aries among the Onoitdagas, came to say that the Cayugas, 
Onondogas, and Oneidas offered themselves as mediators 
between the offending Senecas and the French. Considering 
the close uuiou between the tribes, it was very much as if 
Massachusetts and Connecticut should offer themselves as 
mediators between New York and a foreign power. De la 
Barre, however, seems to have had little stomach for the 
undertaking which he had begun, and sent back Lamberville 
with a message that he preferred the proposed mediation to 
war. Still, he was determined to make a strong demonstra- 
tion, to impress the Iroquois with a sense of French power, 
and to attack them if the negotiations should tail. On the 
21st of August he sent off the greater part of his force 
from Fort Fronteuac to a point called La Famine, at the 
mouth of La Famine river, on the eastern end of Lake On- 
tario, and on the 27th set forth himself with the remainder. 
After a tempestuous voyage of two days they landed at La 



The location of this place with the desolate name has 
usually been given as Black River bay, in Jefferson county, 
and the name of " Hungiy bay" has been applied collectively 
to the three bodies of water (Chauniont bay, Black River 
bay, and Henderson bay) at the mouth of the Black river, by 
the Americans, apparently in perpetuation of the old French 
name of "La Famine," supposed to have pertained to them. 
An examination of the old French accounts (or translations), 
however, will satisfy any one that La Famine was far south 
of Black River bay. La Barre himself said that La Famine 
was only four leagues from Onondaga. This must have 
been a miscalculation in any case, but not half so gross if 
we suppose La Famine at the mouth of Salmon river as if 
we locate it at Black River bay. But what proves beyond 
doubt that La Famine was not at Black River bay, and was 
not far from the mouth of Salmon river, is the record of 
Count Frontenac's expedition against the Onondagas in 
1696. His flotilla set out from Fort Frontenac (now Kings- 
ton), and on the first day went to Isle aux Chevreuils, or 
Deer island (now called Grenadier island). The next day 
it advanced to a place '' within three leagues of Riviere de 
la Famine," and on the third proceeded to the mouth of 
Oswego river. But Deer (or Grenadier) island is itself 
close to Black River bay, while it is plain from the account 
that more than a day's journey with boats lay between it 
and La Famine. 

Finally, Pouchot, an eminent French engineer, who took 
part in the capture of Oswego in 1756, and who was en- 
gaged professionally on the shores of Lake Ontario for sev- 
eral years, has left a minute description of those shores in 
his memoirs. That description follows the shore eastward 
from Oswego, and mentions two streams which could be 
entered with bateaux, but did not extend far into the 
country (probably Catfish and Salmon creeks). It next 
says, " The Riviere a la Famine, in Indian Keyouanonague, 
enters very far into the interior, and goes quite near to the 
portage of the height of land." No stream in that vicinity 
but Salmon river answers to that description, and Pouchot's 
further mention of Sandy creek and other streams to the 
northward fixes the identity of Salmon river and La Famine 
beyond all reasonable doubt. 

To return to Monsieur Febure de la Barre. As his army 
was the first large force of whites that ever appeared in 
Oswego County, nay, anywhere on the great lakes of North 
America, it is worthy of especial attention. It was one of 
those motley assemblages, of which so many were afterwards 
seen in this country, under both French and English com- 
manders, and in which regular European soldiers, provincial 
militia, hunters, trappers, and painted Indian warriors were 
all joined in the most picturcsf|ue if not the most effective 

On the shores of Salmon river were to be seen two 
companies of " king's troops," gayly dressed, carefully dis- 
ciplined, and trained to victory in the armies of Louis le 
Grand. Then there were some five hundred Canadian 
militia, motley in costume and irregular in tactics, but 
accustomed to the use of arms, and not to be sneered at 
in a combat in the forest. That amphibious being, the 
Canadian voyageur, had already begun the life of adven- 
ture for which he has been celebrated during two centuries. 

and numbers of his species were to be seen amid the fifteen 
bateaux and two hundred canoes which floated on the 
placid bosom of the bay. Besides all these there were some 
three hundred friendly Indians, part of them being de- 
nominated Christians, who had adopted to some extent 
the customs and dress of Europeans, and part of them 
being fierce pagans of the wilderness, terrible in war-paint 
and plume, who cared for nothing of European origin 
except the musket and the brandy-bottle. 

De la Barre does not seem to have been a man of much 
energy, and on his arrival at La Famine, on the 29th of 
August, he was appalled to find many of his men sick with 
tertian fever, though it does not seem as if a very great 
number could have been taken down after their leaving 
Frontenac only seven days before. He immediately sent 
a messenger, a " Christian savage," to Monsieur Le Moine 
(not the missionary), at " Onontague," to hasten the move- 
ments of the mediatorial ambassadors. On the 3d of Sep- 
tember, Le Moine arrived with nine Onondaga chiefs, three 
Oneidas, and two Coyugas, not a single Seneca being present 
except " Tegan Court," who had come with the French from 

The day after their arrival was devoted to feasting, and 
on the 5th of September a council was held. As in all 
councils, a good deal of time was necessarily consumed in 
complimentary remarks, smoking the pipe, etc. ; but at 
length De la Barre made a speech to the assembled chiefs, 
seated on the ground in a semicircle before him. It was 
menacing in its character, in accordance with the governor's 
purpose of overawing the Five Nations. He demanded 
satisfaction for the misconduct of the Senecas, saying that 
in case of refusal or of further misconduct he should declare 
war. He accused the Five Nations of taking the English 
into the lakes belonging to the French king, and among 
nations that were his children, to destroy the trade of his 

" If the like shall happen again," said the governor, " I 
shall declare war." 

He proceeded to charge the Iroquois with having made 
barbarous incursions on the Indian allies of the French, in 
which they had slain many and taken many others prisoners, 
and he concluded this accusation in the same manner as 
the others : 

" If the Five Nations do not give liberty to those cap- 
tives, I shall declare war." 

Then he took his seat in the arm-chair which had been 
brought from Quebec, as was thought befitted the dignity of 
the representative of Louis the Fourteenth, and the spokes- 
man of the Iro(piois arose to his feet. He was an Onon- 
daga chief, widely celebrated under the name of Garangula, 
but whom the French called " Grande Geule" (Big Throat), 
either by a modification of his Indian name, or in allusion 
to a natural characteristic. While De la Barre had been 
speaking Garangula had kept his eyes fixed on his pipe, 
with that stolid gravity of demeanor underneath which the 
Indian ever conceals his emotions in the presence of his 
foes. But now he arose, and, with due respect to Iroquois 
forms, walked gravely five or six times around the circle 
ere he halted in front of the governor-general. Then he 
delivered a speech which for keenness of sarcasm and bold- 



iiess of defiance it will be hard to equal in tbe annals of 
oratory, whether civilized or savage. 

As a rule, the writer is very much averse to the practice 
of many local historians of copying numerous Indian 
speeches, which are usually very long, very monotonous, 
and only to be distinguished from extremely dull sermons 
by the circumstance that every paragraph begins with 
" Brothers," instead of " My beloved brethren." But the 
reply of Garangula to Monsieur de la Barre is a brilliant 
exception, and surpasses any other aboriginal production 
we have read, except, perhaps, the speech attributed to 

Before transcribing the remarks of Garangula, it may 
be worth while to explain why he, as well as all the rest of 
the Iroquois, always called the governor of Canada " Yon- 
nondio," and the governor of New York " Corlear," no 
matter what might be their real names. One of the earliest 
French governors was Monsieur de Montmagny. The Iro- 
quois inquired the meaning of his name, and were told that 
it originally meant " great mountain." They translated 
this into their own language, " Yonnondio," and that term 
was ever after applied by them to the governors of New 

Arent Van Curler, or " Corlear," was the agent of Kil- 
iaen Van Rensselaer, the first patroon of Rensselaerswyck, 
and managed that grand estate, comprising nearly the 
present counties of Rensselaer and Albany, while his 
principal remained at home in Holland. In this capacity 
Van Curler endeared himself to the Iroquois who came to 
trade with him, and as he was the greatest mfin with whom 
they were acquainted, they applied his name to all the sub- 
sequent governors of New York, though he himself was 
not a governor. 

At first Garangula spoke with studied politeness, but 
after a few sentences he broke out in the bitterest sarcasm : 

" Yonnondio, you must have believed, when you left 
Quebec, that the sun had burnt up all the forests which 
render our country inaccessible to the French, or that the 
lakes had so far overflowed their banks that they had sur- 
rounded our castles, and that it was impossible for us to 
get out of them. Yes, Yonnondio, surely you must have 
dreamed so, and your curiosity to see so great a wonder has 
brought you so for. 

" Now you are undeceived, since that I and the warriors 
here present are come to assure you that the Senecas, Ca- 
yugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks are yet alive. 
I thank you in their name for bringing back into the 
country the calumet which your predecessor received from 
their hands. It was happy for you that you left under- 
ground that murdering hatchet that has so often been dyed 
in the blood of the French. 

" Hear, Yonnondio ; I do not sleep, I have my eyes wide 
open, and the sun which enlightens me shows me a great 
captain at the head of a company of soldiers, who speaks 
as if he were dreaming. He says that he only came to the 
great lake to smoke the calumet with the Onondagas. But 
Garangula sees the contrary ; he sees that it was to knock 
them on the head if sickness had not weakened the arms 
of the French. 

" I see Yonnondio raving in a camp of sick men, whose 

lives the Great Spirit has saved by inflicting this sickness 
upon them. 

" Hoar, Yonnondio ; our women had taken their clubs, 
our children and old men had carried their bows and arrows 
into the heart of your camp, if our warriors had not dis- 
armed them and kept them back when your messenger, 
Obguesse (Le Moine),canie to our castles." 

He proceeded to justify all that the Iroquois had done, 
of which De la Barre complained, declaring that they had 
good cause to attack the western Indians, that they had 
only assailed those French who carried arms to their ene- 
mies, that they had a perfect right to take the English to 
trade in the interior, that the lakes did not belong to the 
French king, but to the Five Nations, and closing with the 
eloquent declaration, " We are born free ; we depend on 
neither Yonnondio nor Corlear." 

It must be confessed that, for a " mediator," the tone of 
Garangula was sufiiciently belligerent, but the startled gov- 
ernor was in no condition to resent it. A considerable 
number of his men were actually sick ; he had made very 
poor provision, according to his own account, for supplying 
his army, and, above all, he had not the energy of character 
which forces success from adverse circumstances. Garan- 
gula was master of the situation. De la Barre made what 
he called a treaty with the ambassadors, which did not even 
contain promises of good behavior on the part of the Iro- 
quois, while the governor himself actually promised to leave 
the country the next day. It was a complete diplomatic 
victory for Garangula and his associate ambassadors. They 
could well aflFord to give a feast to the French officers, as 
they did that evening, at which the discomfited invaders 
consoled themselves as best they might with the delicacies 
of forest and stream for the insolence of the savages and 
the weakness of their commander. 

Long before the early summer dawn of the following 
morning, while the chiefs were still asleep, Do la Barre was 
astir, superintending the removal of the sick to the boats, 
so that his sharp-eyed visitors might see as little of his 
weakness as possible. As soon as daylight came the whole 
army embarked in their bateaux and canoes and left as 
quickly as possible the scene of their disgrace. So earn- 
estly did they bend to the oars that at nightfoll they 
reached Fort Frontenac, whence they soon after returned to 
Montreal and Quebec. 

Yet the whole force of the confederacy which had thus 
bidden defiance to the power of " Le Grand Monarque," 
Louis the Fourteenth, was not supposed much to exceed 
two thousand warriors. Wentworth Greenhalph, an Eng- 
lishman, who, seven years before, had visited all the Five 
Nations, making very minute observations, even to counting 
the houses of the Indians, reported the Molumks as having 
three hundred warriors, the Oneidas two hundred, the 
Onondagas three hundred and fifty, the Cayugns three 
hundred, and the Senecas a thousand. 

Yet, even amid the contempt heaped on the military 
power of France, .so adroitly had the Jesuits worked on the 
feelings of the Indians that tiie chiefs made a special re- 
quest that the mission should not be removed from Onon- 
daga, to which, of course, a ready assent was given by De 
la Barre. 





De Nouville's Att.ack — Iroquois Revenge — French Distress — De 
Frontenao appointed Governor — His Ap]iearance on tlie Oswego 
— Advance of his Army — Overland by Canoe — The Indian's 
Warning— Harrying the Enemy— The Return— A Relic of the 

The failure of Monsieur de la Barre was received with 
much disgust by his government, and the next year after it 
occurred he was removed from his office, and the Marquis 
de Nouville appointed governor-general of New France. 
He determined to chastise the contumacious Senecas, and 
in 1687 he crossed Lake Ontario with a lai'ge force (that 
is, large for that time and locality) and landed on the shore 
of Irondequoit bay. He marched against the Seneca towns, 
then situated a short distance southeastward from that bay, 
and, after a battle in which the French seem to have suf- 
fered as much as the Indians, he succeeded in burning their 
principal villages. But the Senecas themselves all retired 
into the forest, and in the then primitive condition of their 
agriculture and architecture they suffered very little danger. 
It was about this time that the elder Lamberville, then 
the only Jesuit missionary to the Iroquois, was withdrawn 
from his post among the Onondagas. 

All the Iroquois tribes made common cause with their 
injured brethren, and the very next year twelve hundred 
of their warriors set forth against the Canadian settlements, 
doubtless passing along the usual route down the Oswego, 
and then coasting along the east end of the lake and down 
the St. Lawrence. They ravaged the island of Montreal, 
even to the very gates of the city, and had they possessed 
the means of reducing fortified places, would perhaps have 
put an end to French power in North America. As it was, 
the French were compelled to abandon Forts Frontenac and 
Niagara, and it seemed as if the Iroquois were about to be- 
come undisputed masters of the whole lake country. 

The same year the second English revolution placed 
William, Prince of Orange, on the throne of James the 
Second, and the war with France, which immediately fol- 
lowed, set at work all the tomahawks and scalping-kuives 
on the American frontiers. Both the English and French 
colonial governments habitually urged their respective Indian 
allies to send scalping-parties against the settlements of 
their rivals. But the Canadian Indians were, as a rule, no 
match for the Iroquois, and the French government found 
it necessary to take strong measures to defend their infant 
colony. In 1689 the Count de Frontenac was sent over as 
governor of New France, — an aged but most energetic noble- 
man, formerly minister for the colonies, whose name had 
been given to the fort at the outlet of Lake Ontario, and 
was even borne for a time by the great lake itself Under 
that vigorous but cruel leader the French fortunes began to 
improve. After several years of mutual slaughter the old 
peer determined to strike a blow in person at the centre of 
Iroquois power, the great council-fire of the Onondagas. 

On the 28th day of July, 1696, a well-appointed little 
army, bearing the banners of France, and led by the vet- 
eran Count de Frontenac, appeared in bateaux and canoes 
at the mouth of the Oswego river, then called by the 

French the Onnontague, or Onondaga. Encamping there 
for the night, the next day they proceeded slowly and 
cautiously up the foaming river. 

On either side of the stream fifty scouts, Frenchmen 
and Indians, advanced in open order through the forest, 
ever alert for ambushed Iroquois. Four battalions of reg- 
ular troops, of two hundred men each, formed the elite of 
the invading force. These and one battalion of militia, 
numbering nearly three hundred, under Frontenac himself 
and the Chevalier de Vaudreuil, ascended close along the 
western shore, ready to spring to land at any moment when 
the scouts should report the presence of a foe. Three 
more battalions of militia of similar strength and nearly five 
hundred savages, under Messieurs de Callieres and de Ra- 
mezay, in like manner advanced up the eastern side of the 
stream. These savages consisted of Hurons, Abenahis, 
Ottawas, and other tribes in alliance with the French, who 
were eager, with the assistance of French arms, to wreak 
vengeance on the hated Iroquois for the many chastise- 
ments they had received from them. So hard was the task 
of working against the current, and so great the caution 
observed, that at night the army had advanced hardly half- 
way to the falls of the Oswego. 

The next day, however, they arrived there and began 
the portage. The soldiers and Indians in each bateau or 
canoe sprang ashore, lifted it on their shoulders, and con- 
veyed it around the falls. But when the Count de Fron- 
tenac was about to disembark, expecting to go on foot like 
the rest, fifty savages seized his canoe, and with him seated 
in it bore it to the smooth water above, making the forest 
re-echo with their songs and yells. The fierce old noble- 
man, then seventy-four years of age, was a great favorite 
with the northern Indians, whom he had aroused to the 
fiercest hostility against the English and Iroquois, giving 
them the hatchet with his own hands, and dancing the 
war-dance with their chiefs to stimulate their savage ardor. 

Some of the battalions did not pass the portage till the 
next day, when an advance of ten miles was made. Near 
Three Rivers point they found a rude representation of 
the army, made on bark, doubtless left by some of the 
Iroquois as a warning to others, and accompanied by two 
bundles of rushes to signify the great number of the in- 
vaders. Some of the Frenchmen had the curiosity to count 
the rushes, which numbered fourteen hundred and thirty- 
four, and supposed that the Onondagas meant to indicate 
that as the precise number of Frontenac's army. But no 
Indian could count a tenth part so many; the rushes 
merely showed that there was a great force coming. 

After passing into the present county of Onondaga, the 
army proceeded more rapidly, landed on the south shore of 
Onondaga lake, and advanced to the village, but on their 
arrival found that the inhabitants had fled. The French 
and their allies destroyed the villages and the crops of 
growing corn, but their only captives were a lame girl and 
an old man, the latter of whom Count Frontenac with his 
usual cruelty allowed his Indian friends to burn at the 
stake. Monsieur de Vaudreuil with a light detachment 
also destroyed the villages of the Oneidas. 

On the 11th of August the whole army returned, and 
encamped below the falls. By ten o'clock the morning of 


the 12tl) the rapid Oswogo had borne them to its mouth. 
A violent uale from the west detained them till the 14th. 
At noon of that day they set forth, raising sails over their 
bateaux, and by nightfall made twenty-five miles, as they 
computed, eamping at the mouth of a small river. On the 
15th the army returned to Fort Frontcnac, and thence pro- 
ceeded to the Canadian settlements. 

About a hundred and twelve years later (ISOS or 1809) 
one of the early scttlcre near Oswego falls on the east side 
cut down a large tree, deep within which was found an old 
"blaze," and beneath it a large number of musket-balls. 
The blaze was overlaid by a hundred and twelve circles, 
and those who reckoned back the years till 1696 concluded 
that on returning from their raid some of Count Fronte- 
nac's musketeers had amused themselves by firing at a 
mark, leaving the bullet-scarred tree as the only relic of 
their expedition in Oswego County. 

The Oiwndaffas and OiieiJas were supplied with corn 
for the winter by the authorities of New York, and the ex- 
pedition had apparently had no other effect than to bind all 
the Iroquois more closely to their English friends. What 
vengeance they would have taken on the French can only 
be inferred, as the next year the peace of Ryswick was 
concluded between the kings of France and England ; the 
colonies of each were of course included, and their Indian 
allies accepted the arrangements of their white brethren. 


FROM 1607 TO 1753. 

Oeneral Quiet — King William's Projects — Expulsion of the Jesuits 
—English Supremacy— The Si.\ Nations— The Fur Trade— Traders 
at Oswego — The French on the Watch — Chonequen — Ontario — A 
Dispute at the Falls— A Deed to King George— Meaning of Os- 
wego— The First Trading-Post- A French Protest— Punctilio in 
the Woods— Dutch Adventurers— Gov. Clarke's Opinion— A W.-ill 
at Oswego— Two Relics— Sir William Johnson in the Oswego 
Trade — War— Rumors— The Black Prince— Rumors without 
Fighting — Peace — Picquet's Opinion — Mutual Accusations — Buy- 
ing Oneida Lake— Oswego Reljuilt— Approach of War. 

For the next twenty-five years after the peace of Rys- 
wick there is very little to relate regarding the county of 

Eagle-eyed King William the Third saw the military 
importance of the locality, and ordered a fort to be built at 
the mouth of the river. The plate and furniture for the 
chapel of the intended post was sent to America, but the 
death of the vigilant king put an end to the project. 

Notwithstanding the punishment inflicted by the French 
on the Iroquois, no sooner was that peace concluded than 
the adroit French Jesuits again began to make their way 
up the Oswego, the Oneida, and the Seneca, and establish 
themselves in the villages of the Five Nations. They were 
found there by the English and Dutch traders from New 
York, the jealousy of the English authorities was aroused, 
and in 1700 an act of the Colonial Assembly forbade any 
popish priest from coming into the colony, under penalty of 
death. The French would doubtless have denied that the 

Jesuit missions among the Iroquois were in the colony of 
New York, but the act seems to have been effectual in 
frightening them away, and their efforts in this section were 
finally abandoned. 

In 1702 the great European conflict known iis " Queen 
Anne's war" broke out, but the Iroquois had made a treaty 
of peace with the Canadian Indians, and for many years 
both sides maintained it. Yet in 1708 we find them again 
engaged in hostilities against the French, but not of enough 
importance, nor having suflicient relation to Oswego Countj-, 
to merit attention here. 

, By the peace of Utrecht, in 1713, the sui)reniaoy over 
the Iroquois tribes was conceded to the English, but no 
definite boundaries were established. About the same time 
the Five Nations became the Six Nations. The Tusatroras, 
a North Carolina tribe, defeated in war by the whites and 
the neighboring Indians, fled to New York, implored the 
protection of the Iroquois, and were received as members 
of that powerful confederacy. The Oueidus granted them 
a seat near to themselves. They are supposed to have been 
originally descended from the same stock as the other five 
tribes, and it is hardly probable that those haughty con- 
federates would otherwise have admitted them into their 

After the peace of Utrecht the English and Dutch traders 
pushed their excursions farther and further among the 
Indians, rivaling the French in the boldness and skillful- 
ness of their search for furs. Coming up the Mohawk to 
the site of Rome, they bore their light canoes over the por- 
tage to Wood creek, thence passed down that stream to and 
through Oneida lake, and skirted the southern bounds of 
our county along the Oneida river to Three Rivers point. 
Thence some of them pursued their way up the Seneca 
river to the lakes from which it springs, others went down 
the Oswego to Lake Ontario, and often passed through that 
lake and far beyond, even to the foaming straits of Michili- 
mackinac and the fertile prairies of Illinois. The French, 
being the first traders in all those regions, were naturally 
jealous of the new-comers, and the latter were obliged to 
exercise constant watchfulness against the hostile intrigues 
of the former with the native tribes.. 

As early as 1721, William Burnet, governor of New 
York, made an effort to counteract the French by estab- 
lishing a post on Irondequoit bay, in the present county 
of Monroe. It does not, however, appe;ir to have been 
sustained any considerable time. It is probably from 
this circumstance that several historians of the State 
of New York, followed by local writers, have stated that 
a trading-post or fort was built at Oswego in 1721 or 1722. 
No permanent establishment was really made until several 
years later ; but there appears to have been a considerable 
increase of the Indian trade at the mouth of the river. It 
became a point at which the " fur Indiaus," as ihcy were 
called, congregated to market their furs, and very likely 
some temporary cabins were erected. 

The direct trade of the English with the Indians was 
stimulated by a law p;isscd by the provincial legislature of 
New York in 1721, forbidding the furnishing of Indian 
goods to the French in Canada. As the latter could not 
obtain those goods as cheap elsewhere as from the English, 



they lost a large part of their trade. The New York im- 
porters were angry, but the small traders were delighted, and 
hurried to and tlirough Oswego, sure of having the advan- 
tage over their French rivals. 

As early as 1724 the French received information that 
the English had projected an establishment at the mouth of 
the river ; but in the following May Monsieur de Longueil. a 
French oflBcer, after making a reconnoissance, reported to his 
superiors that there was as yet no trading-post at that 
point. This is the first mention we meet with the name 
" Choneguen" (or Chonaguen), which was ever after, as 
long as the French held possession of Canada, applied to 
the ground now covered by Oswego city, and sometimes to 
the river which there enters Lake Ontario. It had been 
adopted by them some time between 1696 and 1724; but 
the precise year and the meaning of the word are alike 

In the French letters of 1725, too, we find for the first 
time the great lake which borders Oswego County on the 
north mentioned by its present euphonious appellation 
of Ontario, instead of those more or outlandish ones, 
Skanadario, Cataracqui, Conty, Frontenac, etc., which it 
had previously borne. It is probably a contraction of Ske- 
nadario, and is supposed to mean beautiful water. 

But though Monsieur de Longueil found no trading-post 
at the mouth of the river, he learned enough to alarm him 
in regard to English progress. At the portage around the 
fiills he found no less than a hundred English and Dutch 
traders, with sixty canoes, who compelled him to exhibit his 
passport, and showed an order from Governor Burnet that no 
Frenchman should be allowed to go by without one. De 
Longueil reproached some Iroquois chiefs, who were pres- 
ent, with the insolence of the English, telling the sachems 
they were not masters of their own lands. According 
to his report the Indians "flew out" against the English, 
told them they would bear with them no longer, and that 
they had only permitted them to come there for the purpose 
of trade. 

De Longueil then passed on to the Onondaga village, 
where he met chiefs of all the tribes in council. They gave 
him permission to place two small vessels on Lake Ontario, 
and to build a stone house at Niagara, a post which had 
long been abandoned by the French, though they had lately 
had a trading establishment at Lewiston. This house, or fort, 
was immediately begun and finished the next year, 1726, 
when the two vessels were also built. 

That year the English and Dutch traders gathered at 
Choneguen (Oswego) to the number of three hundred, 
where they remained all summer, carrying on a thriving 
trade with the Indians both of the vicinity and of the far 
west. Monsieur de Longueil sent orders from Frontenac 
to his son, the Chevalier de Longueil, commanding at Ni- 
agara, not to return until the English should leave Chone- 
guen, and to plunder any of their canoes which he might 
find on the lake. In September the son replied there were 
no more English at Choneguen, nor on the lake, nor in the 
river, and promised that if he met any of their canoes he 
would piously fulfill the parental command. 

The wrath of the Iroquois at the English, described by I 
De Longueil, could not have been very strong nor very i 

general, for in this year (1726) seven of the principal 
sachems of the Onondagas, Cayvgas, and Senecas made 
a deed of trust to the king of England and his successors 
of their lands, extending in a belt of sixty miles wide, and 
in length running from Caynunghage (probably the same 
as Keyonanouague, La Famine, or Salmon river) all along 
Lake Ontario, the Niagara river, and the lake Oswego, to the 
creek called Canahogue, which we take to be the same as 
Cuyahoga. Besides this land, the deed included their 
" beaver hunting-grounds," — a tract of undescribed bound- 
aries and indefinite extent. 

It will be seen that at one time Lake Erie was called Os- 
wego (or " Okswego," as it is put down on an old map 
in Colden's History of the Five Nations). The name 
seems to have sprung up suddenly in two widely separate 
places, for it was not till the next year that it is known to 
have been used in regard to the point to which it is now ap- 
plied. The meaning of the word has been rendered many 
different ways, the most plausible being " flowing-water" 
and " boundless view." The latter appellation would apply 
to any of the great lakes, and would best account for the 
curious coincidence just mentioned. But it is very uncer- 
tain ; there is a great deal of indefiniteness about everything 
pertaining to an Indian except his tomahawk. 

It may be doubted, for instance, whether the seven chiefs 
above mentioned had any authority to give a deed to George 
the First of the lands, the castles, the corn-fields, and the 
" beaver hunting-grounds" of these three nations. They 
were, however, only given in trust, to be protected by the 
king for the use of their red owners forever. In all proba- 
bility it was a scheme devised by the English ofiicials to get 
an acknowledgment of the king's authority over the land 
in question, so as to " head off" the French in their cease- 
less efforts to extend their sway. 

The eastern line of the tract in question, running south 
from Caynunghage or La Famine, traversed the county of 
Oswego nearly in the middle, leaving the eastern half in 
the possession of the Oneidas. 

Early in the spring of the next year (1727) Governor 
Burnet sent a body of workmen to build a " stone house of 
strength" at Oswego, and they were soon followed by a 
detachment of sixty soldiers, with three officers, to defend 
them from any interruption by the French. The new fort, 
for such it might be called, was situated on the west bank 
of the river, close to its mouth, having walls of large stone 
four feet thick, which the governor declared capable of re- 
sisting any arms which the French were likely to bring 
against it. 

A French account, written while the post was being built, 
states that there were then about seventy English and Dutch 
cabins on the river-shore, showing the rapidity with which 
the fur trade was developing. 

In Governor Burnet's report to the English board of 
trade is found the first mention which we have seen of the 
name " Oswego" as applied to the point in question. Hence- 
forth it was invariably called by that name by the English, 
while the French just as invariably called it " Choueguen," 
a word which comes to light in French documents at the 
same time. The earlier French only spoke of the mouth 
of the " Onnontague" river. The French pronunciation. 


as near as can be represented by Knglish letters, would be 
" Shoo-ay-gwang." We are informed that the original pro- 
nunciation of Oswego, down to the beginning of this cen- 
tury was " Oswaygo," and it is quite probable that Oswego 
and Choueguen — alias Os-way-go and Shoo-ay-gwang — 
were derived from the same Indian word, modified by 
GalHc and Saxon lips. This view is strengthened by the 
fact that the place the English called Oswegatchie the 
French cjJIed Chouegachie. 

Governor Burnet was quite proud of his achievement, 
declaring it to be the best thing that had over been done to 
check the French, keep the Six Nations under English in- 
fluence, and promote trade with the remote Indians. He 
was most unquestionably correct. The position of Oswego 
at the outlet of the large and fertile territory drained by 
the Oswego river and its branches, in which all but one of 
the Six Nations dwelt, together with its accessibility from 
the Mohawk valley, made it altogether the most important 
post the English had west of the Hudson, and such it re- 
mained to the time of the capture of Canada. The only 
wonder is that the French, with their control of the St. 
Lawrence and Lake Ontario, had not secured this important 
location in advance of their rivals. It is quite probable 
that, had they done so, it would have made a serious differ- 
ence in the subsequent contests between the English and 
the French. 

The Marquis de Beauharnais, then governor-general of 
Canada, was much chagrined at Burnet's proceedings, and 
in July sent an ofiicer to him with a protest, and another 
to the commandant at Oswego, demanding that he should 
forthwith abandon the place and destroy the fortification. 
The latter officer of course paid no attention to the request. 
The governor replied to Monsieur de Beauharnais, reproach- 
ing him with having first built Niagara, and declaring, 
truly enough, that according to the treaty of Utrecht the 
Five Nations were admitted to be subjects of Great Britain. 
This was a good answer to the French, but the Five Na- 
tions themselves might not have admired that clause of the 

After the fortification was completed the garrison was 
reduced to a lieutenant and twenty men. 

An incident that occurred in the summer of 1728 illus- 
trates the jealous ceremony with which the officials of the 
rival nations conducted themselves towards each other in 
the wilds of America, partly out of mere punctilio, and partly 
because evei-y ceremony might involve the title to a large 
tract of land. 

A French subordinate, bearing the formidable appellation 
of Monsieur de la Chauvignerie, was sent on a mission to 
the Iroquois. Coasting along the eastern and southern 
shores of Lake Ontario, he arrived at Oswego, having sent a 
messenger in advance to the Onondagus. At Oswego he 
landed and pitched his tent. Some Indians came to him 
from the commandant of the little fortress, to demand that 
he should salute with a s;dvo of musketry and lower his 
flag. This he would not do. The Indians who accompa- 
nied De la Chauvignerie visited the commandant and were 
presented with a supply of rum, whereupon they all got so 
drunk that the Frenchman was obliged to remain three days 
under the guns of the fort. In spite, however, of another 

summons he would not strike his flag, but kept it flying 
night and day, though the usual custom was to lower it at 
sun.set. On his departing up the river the summons was 
again repeated, and an Onondaga chief unfurled a British 
flag over one of De la Chauvignerie's boats. But the officer 
would not start until it was furled, and as neither side would 
salute first that important ceremony was entirely omitted. 
The OnonJagas were at a loss what to say, as they claimed 
the land themselves, but felt constrained to acknowledge the 
supremacy of the fortress. The English would not go so 
far as to fire on the boats, and so the plucky Frenchman 
had his way. 

Notwithstanding continued efforts on the part of both 
English and French to gain increased ascendency over the 
Indians, and the occasional erection of a fortress on doubt- 
ful ground, there was substantial peace between the two 
nations for sixteen years more. During this time Oswego 
continued to be garrisoned by a lieutenant and from twenty 
to twenty-five men ; but the smallness of the force was no 
measure of the importance of the post. Every summer 
hundreds of traders from the banks of the Hudson assem- 
bled there, some remaining to trade with the Indians who 
came thither for that purpose, others pushing still farther on. 

The Indian trade was the great field of adventure in 
which the young men of the colony of New York sought 
to lay the foundations of their fortunes. Mrs. Grant, in 
that pleasant sketch of ante-Revolutionary times in the 
vicinity of Albany entitled " Memoirs of an American 
Lady," says that as soon as a young Albanian fell in love, 
which he generally did at seventeen or eighteen years of 
age, he prepared to support a family by going on a trading 
expedition. He asked of his father only forty or fifty 
dollars in money, a canoe, and a young negro attendant. 
Loading his frail vessel with Indian goods, taking care to 
have a good supply of strong liquors, he and his dark 
assistant set forth on a voyage as perilous as that of Jason, 
amid the tears of his female friends, and especially of the 
damsel who knew herself to be the object of these laborious 
and dangerous exertions. There were several routes pur- 
sued, but the principal one was to Oswego, whence the 
adventurers scattered in every direction. The profits were 
large, and if the young lover saved his scalp, one or two 
trips would enable him to buy a farm or start a country 
store, and settle down into the placid life of a Dutch 
burgher with his chosen dulcinoa. The more extensive 
traders used bateaux, a bateau being a light, flat-bottomed 
boat running to a point at each end, generally carrying 
about fifteen hundred pounds, and propelled by two men 
with paddles in deep water and setting-poles in shallow. 

For several yeais the garrison of the little post was 
victualled by Albany contractors at about twelve hundred 
dollars per year. In 1733 nearly fifty traders sent a peti- 
tion to the then governor. Colonel Crosby, setting forth that 
the commandant of the garrison laid improper restrictions 
on trade, and the assembly requested the governor to ap- 
point some competent man, who understood the Indian 
trade and language, to live at Oswego as a superintendent. 

The English do not appear to have claimed any jurisdic- 
tion over the waters of Lake Ontario, however near the 
■shore, for in 1730 we find Monsieur de Beauharnai.s com- 



plaining that a French canoe had been ordered ashore while 
passing under the guns of the post at Oswego, whereupon 
the governor of New York sharply reprimanded Captain 
Congreve, the commandant. 

In time the little iort got out of repair,* and the colonial 
assembly was slow in voting the necessary funds to renovate 
and strengthen it. Governor Clarke, in a communication 
to that body in 1740, said that Oswego was the only mili- 
tary post on the northwestern frontier, and if well fortified 
would be a complete barrier against French invasions from 
that quarter. If it was captured, he declared that the 
French could hold everything firom Canada to Georgia, and 
concluded with this impressive testimony to its value : 

" The peace and happiness of the plantations, and the 
trade of England, if not the very being of his majesty's 
dominions on this continent, depend on the holding of 

The next year the assembly voted six hundred pounds 
(New York currency, e(|uivalent to fifteen hundred dollars) 
to build a stone wall around the " trading-house at Oswego," 
at a proper distance from it, with a bastion or block-house 
in each corner. Yet it seems that even in " good old colony 
times" there were officials and contractors disposed to de- 
fraud the government, for in 1742 we find the governor 
writing to the English board of trade that the post was in 
a very defenseless condition, not only because it was out of 
ammunition, but because the director of the works had 
built the new wall in day instead of lime, under the pre- 
tense that the latter article was not to be obtained, which 
the governor did not believe. His excellency continued : 

" It is, as it is managed, a jobb, calculated rather to put 
money in the pockets of those who have the management 
of the business than for any service to the publick." 

And again he dilates on the fatal consequences to be 
apprehended from the loss of Oswego, declaring that it 
would be followed by the loss of the fur trade, and proba- 
bly by the defection of the Six Nations. All this time, it 
will be understood, the French and English were at peace ; 
but there were signs of war, and each was jealous of the 
other, and su.spicious lest a sudden outbreak should put 
some important post into the enemy's hands. 

At this time the French had two or three sailing-vessels 
on Lake Ontario, armed with light cannon, while the Eng- 
lish had nothing larger than the bateaux of their traders. 

The only remaining relics of British occupancy at this 
period are two stones, now in the Oswego city library. 
One is a grave-stone, carefully lettered " Roger Corbett, 
1742." On the other is rudely scrawled " Crannell, 1745." 
It is doubtless also a grave-stone, though it has been sup- 
posed by some to have marked the building of Fort 
Ontario. But that fort was certainly not built until 1755. 
The last-mentioned stone was taken from the fort and used 
in the construction of the first court-house at Oswego, and 
on the demolition of that building was placed in the library. 

In the year 1743, William Johnson, afterwards the cele- 
brated Sir William Johnson, but then only a prosperous 
Indian trader in the Mohawk valley, became interested in 
the fur-trade at Oswego. 

In March, 1744, war was declared between France and 
Great Britain. No sooner did the report of this event 

reach Oswego than the traders there were filled with terror 
at the prospect of a French and Indian attack. Putting 
no trust in the dilapidated fort and scanty garrison, nor in 
their own valor, most of them prepared for instant flight. 
A few adventurous spirits remained ; to these the majority 
sold such goods as they could, and departed with the rest 
for Albany. Indians coming from the far west to trade at 
Oswego, as they had done for years, found little or nothing 
for which to exchange their furs, and departed in disgust. 

George Clinton, then colonial governor of New York, 
but not a member of the Clinton family afterwards so cele- 
brated in State politics, immediately did what he could to 
strengthen Oswego. He sent six cannon thither, and called 
a council of the Six Nations at Albany to engage them to 
help defend the threatened post. They gave a half promise 
to that effect, but insinuated that Oswego was not as valu- 
able to them as formerly, because goods had not of late 
been as cheap as they once had. In truth, the Six Nations 
were very much (and very sensibly) disposed to remain 
neutral, and let the English and French fight their own 

Lieutenant John Lindsay, the founder of the Cherry 
Valley settlement, was appointed commander of the post at 
this time, and held the position for five years afterwards. 

In the spring of 1745 one of the officers of the garrison, 
a young lieutenant named Butler, afterwards the too-cele- 
brated Colonel John Butler, of detested memory, wrote from 
that point that fifteen hundred men, besides Indians, were 
reported to be organizing in Canada for the purpose of 
attacking Oswego. If any such movement was contem- 
plated it was certainly abandoned. 

In June an Onondaga chief, bearing the historic name 
of " The Black Prince," attended by a hundred men, women, 
and children of that nation, went down to Oswego on his 
way to visit Canada, on the invitation of the governor- 
general. Conrad Weiser, an interpreter, who accompanied 
him as far as Oswego, has left an account of what transpired, 
which is so characteristic of Indian parleys as to be worth 

On their arrival they saluted the fort with two volleys 
from their muskets, which were duly returned. After land- 
ing, the warriors went in a body to visit the officers. One 
of the first proceedings on the part of the latter was to fur- 
nish the noble visitors with a dram apiece. Presently the 
Black Prince asked for another dram all around to drink 
the king's health. It was given. Very soon he requested 
another dram to drink the governor's health, and this too 
was furnished. Then the red men seated themselves upon 
their haunches and began smoking and talking. They 
wanted to know all about the war, and especially about its 
probable results. They said they were going to Canada to 
make arrangements whereby the house at Oswego should 
not be attacked by the French. Finally they wanted the 
officers to give them some food. As the latter had been 
treating them pretty freely, and liquor was two dollars a 
gallon, they hesitated at this fresh demand. Finally, how- 
ever, they hunted up three bags of peas, a few loaves of 
bread, and thirty pounds of pork, which they presented to 
their guests. They appeared well pleased with the gift, but 
among themselves they grumbled much at the covetousness 


of the Englishmen. The next da}' they came again to the 
fort, wlien the interpreter himself treated them with a dram 
apiece, and gave them a two-gallon cask of licjuor to drink 
the health of the king and queen at Montreal. As Weiscr 
then returned to Onondaga, it is very doubtful whether the 
cask remained unbroached until the Black Prince and his 
companions reached the capital of Canada. 

The oflBcers seem to have made no effort to prevent the 
Indians from vi-siting the French, even in time of war, 
which shows that the English claims of sovereignty over 
the Six Nations were not considered as involving much 
active control. In fact, the Six Nations remained substan- 
tially neutral thoughout the conflict which raged from 17-14 
to 1748, though perhaps occasionally a small party went 
upon the war-path. 

In 1745, William Johnson, the successful fur-trader be- 
fore mentioned, was commissioned colonel of the New York 
militia, and in 1746 he was appointed superintendent of 
Indian affairs for the Six Nations. He was also about the 
same time selected as contractor to supply the troops at 
Oswego, on condition that he should receive no higher 
prices during the war than had been paid in time of peace. 
This was the first appearance in public aflfiurs of one who, 
until the day of his death, nearly thirty years later, exercised 
an immense influence in the colony of New York. A coarse- 
minded, uncultured man, but energetic, clear-headed, and 
fair-dealing, he was well fitted to manage the rude warriors 
and scarcely less rude frontiersmen with whom he was con- 
stantly brought in contact. He had already made himself 
a great favorite with the Mohawks, who looked up to him 
as a father (as many of the children had a right to do), and 
he soon acquired almost as great an influence over the other 
Iroquois tribes. They called him Warragiyagltey (which 
is supposed to mean chief manager), and probably deferred 
more to him than to any other man they ever knew, not 
excepting their own most powerful chiefs. 

The next year, although Oswego was still unattacked, the 
road from the Mohawk valley thither was infested by small 
parties of the enemy, and the post was thought to be in 
considerable danger. Governor Clinton and Colonel Johnson 
relieved it in June, .sending thither Lieutenant Visschcr and 
a company of men, with a supply of goods, provisions, and 
ammunition. The next year (1748), Johnson declared he 
could no longer supply the post for two hundred pounds 
($500) per annum, and the assembly voted him two hun- 
dred pounds extra, — no extravagant allowance for a post on 
which depended to a great extent the welfare of the colony. 

As the French still made no movement on this side of 
the lake, the traders began to be desirous to obtain again 
some of their old profits. Not yet daring to go to Oswego, 
they congregated in numbers on the road thither, trading 
what they could with the Six Nations, and anxiously look- 
ing for an opportunity to resume business with the fur 
Indians. Fortunately for them, the peace of Aix-la-Cha- 
pelle, in 1748, removed the barrier, and the mouth of the 
Oswego was soon alive again with traders' bateaux and 
Indian canoes. Again the shores were gay with plumed 
warriors from Miami and Michilimackinac, as well as stal- 
wart Iroquois from their nearer homes, while scalp-decorated 
braves and submissive squaws alike .stood in open-mouthed 

admiration before the gaudy blankets and silver jewelry 
displayed by tlie sturdy Dutch traders. 

Tliere was even a considerable commerce carried on with 
the French of Canada, who could buy goods so much 
cheaper of the English than of their own merchants that 
they were willing to run the risk attendant on illicit trade. 
But even while they bought they scowled with envy at the 
thought that the hated English were the possessors of all- 
important " Chouegucn." 

The feeling of the French was well cxjires.«ed by the 
Abbe Piequet, the head of the colony of Catliolic Iroquois 
at La Presentation (now Ogdensburgh), who made a tour 
of Lake Ontario at a little later date. He declared Choue- 
gucn to be " a post the most pernicious to France that the 
English could erect." lie expressed a strong desire for its 
destruction, and calculated how easily two batteries of 
three twelve-pounders each would reduce it to ruins. Yet 
he was obliged to admit that the English and Dutch sold 
goods there to the Indians for less than a fourth of the 
price, in furs, which the French charged at Niagara, an 
advantage which was not counterbalanced by the fact that 
the red men preferred French brandy to English. 

Soon after the war Captain Lindsay resigned his military 
position, and became Indian agent and commi.ssary. which 
oflBces he held until his death, in 1751. 

There is a tradition, and a quite probable one, that about 
1750 a small mill was built at Oswego falls to grind corn 
for the traders, the garrison, and those Indians whose 
palates were sufficiently educated to prefer meal to samp. 
In the year last named the Oswego garrison (which was a 
colonial force, not a part of the Biitish army) threatened 
to disband for lack of pay. The money was probably sup- 
plied, as there was no outbreak. About the same time 
Superintendent Johnson got into trouble with the colonial 
assembly. He claimed much more than they had allowed 
him for provisions and goods sent to Oswego. They, in 
turn, accused him of charging for articles not sent. John- 
son resigned his superintendency, but was immediately 
afterwards appointed to a seat in the executive council by 
Governor Clinton, with whom he was a great favorite. 
With all his faults, Johnson's character, acquired during a 
long and active life, was not that of dishonesty, and tlie 
probability is that the assembly was merely seeking an 
excuse for not paying the public debts. 

The Sis Nations were much disturbed at the rcsignatii)n 
of their beloved Warragiyaghcy, and in 1751 formally re- 
quested his reinstatement; "for," said their spokesman, the 
celebrated King Ilendrick, ■' he has large ears, and hears a 
great deal, and what he hears he tells to us. He has also large 
eyes, and sees a great way, and conceals nothing from us." 

But in spite of these compliments Johnson refused to re- 
assume the po.sition. He declared that he had advanced 
for the Indian department and for suj)plying Oswego up to 
the close of 1748 no less than seven thousand one hundred 
and seventy-seven pounds (about eighteen thousand dollars, 
an immense sum for those days), of which only five thou- 
sand eight hundred and one pounds had been even voted to 
him, and two thousand four hundred and one pounds of that 
amount remained unpaid, although he believed the " Oswego 
duties" to be sufficient for the purpose. These duties ap- 


pear to have been a tax levied on all goods sold at or sent 
through Oswego. Since 1748 he had advanced five hun- 
dred and ninety-five pounds, at the governor's request, for 
the same purposes, which was still unpaid. As he made no 
charge for his personal services, he insisted that he could not 
aiford to hold so unprofitable an ofiice. Several commis- 
sioners of Indian affiiirs were appointed in his place- 
Most of the statements relating to Sir William Johnson 
are taken from his " Life and Times," by William L. Stone. 
The work in question is strongly colored in favor of the 
baronet, but we have taken pains to compare it with other 
accounts, and to get at the facts as accurately as possible. 

The ex-superintendent still prosecuted a lucrative trade 
with Oswego, and his own interests, if nothing else, im- 
pelled him to keep vigilant watch over French intrigues. 
Learning that the Jesuits had persuaded many of the 
Onomlagas to consent to the establishment of a military 
and missionary station on Oneida lake, Johnson summoned 
the Onondaga and Oneida chiefs together and purchased 
the lake and a strip of laud two miles in width clear around 
it for three hundred and fifty pounds. He off'ered it to 
the colonial government at the price he paid, but they re- 
fused to take it. As an unconfirmed Indian title was never 
considered valid, he had but little to show for his money. 

There was almost always a conflict going on betwixt the 
colonial governor and his council on one side and the 
assembly on the other. In this year (1751) the council 
pa.ssed a bill applying five hundred pounds to the repair of 
Oswego and the conduct of Indian affairs, but the assem- 
bly voted this passage of a " money bill" by the upper 
house a high breach of privilege, and were soon after dis- 
solved. Before that occurred, however, their attention was 
called to another Oswego matter. They called for an 
account from the commissioners of the Oswego duties. 
John Be Peyster, one of their number, sent in a return, 
showing the collection of eleven hundred and forty-five 
pounds for the four years closing with September, 1750. 
His report for 1751 was nine hundred and forty pounds. 
Johnson wrote to Clinton that there was some " cursed vil- 
lainy" about the Oswego duties, but that it would be hard 
to ferret it out. He asserted that De Peyster had admitted 
receiving over one thousand pounds in 1749, immediately 
after the war, and that the remaining one hundred and 
forty-five pounds would by no means cover the receipts of 
1750, to say nothing of the smaller sums collected during 
the two last years of the war. From all the circumstances it 
seems cjuite certain that the duties would average some 
twenty-five hundred dollars per year. 

In 1752 the assembly finally provided for rebuilding the 
post at Oswego, which was said to be in a ruinous condi- 
tion. The next year there began to be serious apprehen- 
sions of further difiiculties with France. Strange as it 
may seem, notwithstanding all the wars which had raged, 
and all the treaties which had been made between France 
and England since they had founded colonics in America, 
no definite boundary lines had been agreed upon between 
their respective possessions on that continent. It seemed as 
if at every treaty each nation hoped that the fortunes of 
peace or war would give it a larger slice of American terri- 
tory than it could then lay claim to. In peace-thc English 

colonies increased in population with ten times the rapidity 
of the French, but the latter were much the more enter- 
prising in establishing posts in the wilderness. 

At this time they were taking measures to form a line of 
forts from their possessions in Canada to those in Louisiana. 
In May of the year last mentioned. Captain Stoddard and 
Lieutenant Holland, two ofiicers of the Oswego garrison, 
wrote to Governor Clinton that thirty French canoes and 
five hundred Indians, under the celebrated partisan leader, 
Monsieur Marin, had passed that post on their way to the 
Ohio. There were rumors of still larger forces moving in 
the same direction. The New York authorities appro- 
priated a considerable sum in presents to keep the Six 
Nations in good humor, and the governor, council, and 
assembly all agreed that Colonel Johnson was the fittest man 
for commissioner to distribute the goods among the Indians. 
In this year, too, the colonial government, according to 
Stone, confirmed Colonel Johnson's purchase, noted a short 
distance back, at least so far as the land was concerned, and 
in accordance with it granted him a strip two miles wide ex- 
tending the whole circuit of Oneida lake. This, of course, 
included a portion of the present towns of Constantia, West 
Monroe, and Hastings, and Sir William Johnson was con- 
sequently the first legal landholder in the present county of 
Oswego. If such was the case the land must have descended 
to Sir John Johnson, and have been confiscated with the rest 
of his property on his joining the British during the Revo- 



Hostilities in 1754 — Oswego in Danger — Braddock and Shirley — Ex- 
pedition against Niagara — First Englisli Sliip on Lal^e Ontario — 
Siiirley's Advance — Braddock's Defeat — Shirley's Expedition 
Abandoned — Fort Ontario and Fort George — Omens of Disaster — 
De Montcalm and Loudon — Attacking the Communications — Brad- 
street's Bateau-Men— Dc Villiers on the Watch— The Conqueror 
of Washington— A Bloody Surprise— A Skirmish by the River- 
War Declared— De Villiers attacks Ontario— The Ambuscade fails 
—"Corsairs" on the Lake — Bradstreet with Supplies — Philip 
Schuyler— The Battle of Battle Island— Schuyler's Humanity— 
De Villiers Defeated— British Blunders— De Montcalm's Vigilance 
— From Charaplain to Ontario— The Stealthy Approach- The Sud- 
den Appearance — Opening Fire — The English Force — French 
Artillery landed — Opening the Trenches — Ontario Abandoned — 
Crossing the Oswego — Mercer Killed— Littlehales Frightened — 
Oswego Surrendered — The Losses — The Massacre — French Evi- 
dence—A Curious Adventure— The Forts Destroyed— Brilliancy of 
the Victory— Runaway Webb— A Quiet Year— Pitt to the Front— 
Bradstreet and Schuyler on the Wing— Quick Ship-Building — 
Capture of Frontenac- A Fort at the Falls- One at Three Rivers 
Point— The Culminating Struggle of 1759— A French Rcconnois- 
sancc— An English Army— The Six Nations in the Field— On to 
Niagara — Another Attack — A Barricade of Barrels — A Warlike 
Priest— Defeat of De la Come— Niagara Captured— Lively Times 
— The First Duel— Rebuilding Fort Ontario— Building Fort Brew- 
erton— Ancient Relics— Capture of Quebec— The Final Rally— 
The Main Army at Oswego — Distinguished Personages — Amherst 
and Gage — Johnson, Bradstreet, and Putnam — The Grand Em- 
barkation — Surrender of Canada — End of the War. 

In 1754 hostilities actually began on the frontiers of 
Pennsylvania and Virginia, though without any formal 



doclaration of war. Tlio Xcw York assembly took the 
alarm and voted some lliirteoii hiiiidred dollars to pay for 
repairs at Oswego, and for doubling tlio garrison. It should 
be remembered that a dollar would probably go nearly as 
far then as five will now, so that the amounts voted from 
time to time for that important post were really not a.s 
small as they look. The year passed without any events of 
importance in this vicinity, but in 1755 the tide of war 
set strongly towards Lake Ontario. Y^et, while the work of 
slaughter was raging all along the frontier, England and 
France were still nominally at peace. There was merely a 
little dispute about boundaries going on in America. 

In February, 1755, acting governor De Lancey informed 
the assembly that Oswego was in great danger through want 
of provisions, as Colonel Johnson had refused to furnish 
any more until his old debts should have been paid. The 
urgency was so great that the necessary arrangements were 
soon made. 

Early in the spring the sadly- celebrated General Brad- 
dock arrived in America, bearing the king's commission as 
commander-in-chief of all the British forces on the conti- 
tinent. His second in command was William Shirley, gov- 
ernor of Massachusetts, a man of decided genius, to whom 
was principally due the brilliant capture of Louisburg, ten 
years before, but who was more successful in devising plans 
than in carrying them out. 

Braddock convened a council of the provisional gover- 
nors at Alexandria, Virginia, to concert methods of driving 
back the French. The keen-eyed Shirley saw at once that 
by sending a force, by way of Oswego, to capture Fort 
Niagara, and by building vessels which should gain posses- 
sion of Lake Ontario, not only Duquesne but all the other 
western forts would be cut off from their communications 
and the whole French system broken in pieces. Braddock, 
however, determined to march directly against Duquesne 
with nearly all the regulars, and it is said that his orders 
compelled him to do so. Colonel Johnson, now appointed 
major-general and superintendent of Indian affairs by Brad- 
dock, was directed to organize an expedition against Crown 
Point, while the operations on Lake Ontario, the key of 
the whole frontier, were intrusted to Governor Shirley. 

That energetic commander .sent forward two Albany in- 
dependent companies and two companies of Sir William 
Pepperell's* regiment to strengthen Oswego while he was 
organizing his forces, and directed the immediate beginning 
of a Lake Ontario navy, by the construction of a small 
schooner at that point. This schooner, of forty feet keel, 
propelled by sweeps as well as sails, and armed with twelve 
swivels, was launched on the 28th of June following, and 
was the first English vessel on Lake Ontario. 

Meanwhile, Shirley gathered some three hundred more 
ship-carpenters, whom he sent to Oswego in June to build 
vessels enough to command the lake and convey his army 

*■ Sir William Peppcrell, lieutenant-general in his majesty's ser- 
vice, was born in Maine, and was bred a merehant. He rose to the 
lii^hest military honors. The king, in reward of his services, con- 
ferred upon him the dignity of a baronet, an honor never before, or 
since, conferred upon a native of New England. He died at his seat 
m Kittcry, Maine, 1759, aged si.vty-thrce years.— /'o(fer'« //lilu.i/ 
luiil Antiq,iitk» of tin- Nurlhen, ,S'(,<(c«, 1844. 


to Niagara. The raising, equipping, and moving of that 
army, though it was to consist of only three regiments and 
some independent cx)mpaniea, was a work of time. Jeal- 
ousies arose between Governor Shirley and General John- 
son, and the former accused the latter of preventing the 
cordial co-operation of tlic Six Nations. Shirley probably 
lacked the tact to manage the Indians, and perhaps, not- 
withstanding his genius, was deficient in executive capacity. 

In July, Colonel Schuyler's regiment of New Jersey 
troojw was sent forward to Oswego, and in the forepart of 
August, Shirley embarked at Schenectady with his own 
and Sir William Pepperell's regiments, some independent 
companies, and a sufficient complement of artillery. 
as he was doing so there came the news of the terrible de- 
feat of Braddock, almost at the gates of Fort Duquesne, 
and the death of that tuost unfortunate general. The gov- 
ernor was now commander-in-chief of all the British forces 
on tlie continent, but his men received a great shock from 
the dismal story, and the expedition set forth under the 
gloomiest auspices. Following the usual route, they pro- 
pelled their bateaux up the Mohawk, down Wood creek, 
through Oneida lake, and down the river of many rapids 
to Oswego, where they arrived on the 21st of August. 

There everything wore an animated aspect. Besides the 
schooner before mentioned, one or two other small ves.sel8 
were already bearing the British flag upon Lake Ontario, 
and still others were under way. The work was pres.sed 
forward as speedily as possible, but no sooner were the ves- 
sels and boats ready than a severe storm set in, which de- 
layed the embarkation for several days. 

It was not until the 26th of September that the six hun- 
dred men who were to attack Niagara went on board the 
craft intended to convey them thither. But storms and 
head-winds prevented their departure. For thirteen days 
more they remained at Oswego, ready to set forth if the 
weather abated, and then Shirley saw that the expedition 
must be deferred. Many of his men were sick, all were 
thoroughly discouraged, and the few Indians whom he had 
induced to accompany him soon deserted what appeared to 
be the failing Determined to prosecute his darling 
scheme the next year, the governor placed Colonel Mercer 
in command of the forces, gave orders for the erection of 
two new forts, and returned to Albany. 

Mercer immediately set his troops at w^ork constructing 
the fortifications ordered by Shirley. On the east side of 
the river, about a quarter of a mile from Fort Oswego, a 
work was built which received the name of Fort Ontario, a 
name which has ever since been applied to some fortifica- 
tion on substantially the same site. It was about two hun- 
dred feet square, built of logs from twenty to thirty inches 
in diameter, set up on end in stockade form, and banked 
up with earth so as to make a wall fourteen feet in height. 
Outside was a ditch fourteen feet wide and ten feet deep. 
Inside, barracks were built for three hundred men. The 
work was intended to mount sixteen guns. It was proba- 
bly not finished until the spring of 1756. 

At the same time with Fort Ontario another fortification 
was begun on the hill west of Fort Oswego, exactly on the 
site of the house erected by the late F. T. Carriiigton. It 
was intended to prevent Fort Oswego from being com- 



maoded from the rear, and was to be a hundred and seventy 
feet square, the wall being a rampart of earth and stone, 
twenty feet thick and twelve feet high, surrounded by a 
ditch and crowned by a parapet. This work was never fin- 
ished. It was sometimes called Fort George and sometimes 
New Fort Oswego. This latter fort was also strengthened 
by Mercer. The French imagined that its name Was Fort 
Pepperell, and so designated it on some of their plans, but 
it does not appear that the English ever called it by any 
other name than Fort Oswego. 

Meanwhile, General Johnson, in his march against 
Crown Point, being threatened by Baron Dieskau, threw 
up intrenchments, and when the latter made an attack he 
was repulsed with heavy loss. Johnson neglected to take 
any advantage of his victory, and did not even attempt to 
capture Crown Point, the sole object of his expedition. 
His success, however, was the only one of the year; so the 
home government rewarded him with a colonelcy in the 
regular army, the permanent superintendency of all the 
northern Indians, a grant of five thousand pounds sterling, 
and a baronetcy, and he was thereafter known as Sir Wil- 
liam Johnson, — a very proper recognition of the extraordi- 
nary character of any English victory in America. 

Shirley, as commander-in-chief, summoned another coun- 
cil of provincial governors at Albany in December, and 
again proposed his pet scheme of making Lake Ontario the 
main theatre of military operations. He desired that five 
thousand troops, most of them to be raised by the colonies, 
should rendezvous at Oswego in the spring, and thence 
proceed to the capture of Frontenac and Niagara, and the 
complete severance of the French line of communications. 
His plan was the right one, but his previous failures to 
carry his fine schemes into execution were causing his star 
to pale before the rising light of the new baronet, and very 
little heed was paid to his suggestions. 

The spring of 1756 opened from the first with omens of 
disaster to the English cause. The new commander-in- 
chief of the French forces was the Marquis de Montcalm, 
one of the very bravest soldiers and ablest generals who 
ever trod the soil of America, while the selection of the 
English court fell on tlie Earl of Loudon, probably the 
most thoroughly stupid, indolent, and incompetent man to 
whom were ever intrusted the destinies of a continent, 
devoid alike of the theoretical skill of Shirley, the rude 
vigor of Johnson, and the bull-dog courage of Braddock. 

In March a French lieutenant, with a mixed party of 
regulars, Canadians, and Indians, marched through the wil- 
derness from Ogdensburgh, and captured Fort Bull, one of 
the two posts which guarded the great Oneida carrying- 
place from the Mohawk river to Wood creek ; killing most 
of its garrison, destroying a large quantity of stores, and 
startling the troops at Oswego with a sense of the great 
insecurity of their slender line of communications. 

Shirley did all he could to strengthen that important 
post. He had early ordered the building of three new 
vessels there, carrying respectively twelve, sixteen, and 
eighteen guns. He organized a great number of bateau- 
men, in companies of fifty each (composed largely of those 
formerly engaged in the Albany and Oswego fur-trade), to 
transport army supplies and naval stores to Lake Ontario. 

These were all placed under Colonel Bradstreet, a vigilant 
officer of the quartermaster's department, then rapidly 
rising into prominence. 

Soon, however, the governor was relieved from military 
duty, though neither the Earl of Loudon, who was to com- 
mand in chief, nor General Abercrombie, who was to have 
charge of the northern army, had yet arrived from Europe. 
Even after his removal, Shirley held a council of war at 
Albany, at which he recounted what he had done to 
strengthen Oswego and obtain complete possession of Lake 
Ontario, and urged that four companies of scouts, of sixty 
men each, should be raised to keep open the communication 
with his favorite post. In modern phrase, the governor 
of Blassachusetts had Oswego on the brain. But he spake 
to deaf ears and dull brains. 

Meanwhile De Vaudreuil, the governor-general of Canada, 
and De Montcalm, the commander of the forces, kept ears 
and eyes wide open, and brains and hands very busy. As 
soon as spring had fairly opened, the Sieur de Villiers, a 
captain in the colonial service, was sent with seven hundred 
men to keep watch of Oswego, furnish information regard- 
ing it, harass its communications, and capture supplies. 
This De Villiers was the same enterprising officer who had 
previously been operating in the vicinity of Fort Duquesne, 
and who had compelled the surrender of Fort Necessity by 
Major George Washington two years before. He was a 
brother of Jumonville (brothers frequently had difierent 
names in France, derived from their estates), who was 
killed by Washington's troops in the skirmish that brought 
on the war. Captain De Villiers played a very important 
part in Oswego County during the summer of 1756, and 
as he was the only man who ever fully conquered Wash- 
ington, his proceedings are invested with peculiar interest. 
Monsieur De Villiers established his headquarters on 
Niaoure bay, now called Henderson bay, in Jefierson county, 
and was soon busy ; sometimes sending detachments under 
his subordinates, and sometimes marching himself with his 
main force. Scalping-parties of Indians, or of Indians and 
French combined, frequently penetrated the wilderness, 
throughout this and previous wars, and harassed the settle- 
ments on the Mohawk. They took various routes, but 
French writers mention that a favorite one was up the 
Famine, or Salmon, river. 

About the 12th of May one of De Villiers' detachments 
attacked a party of ship-carpenters at work only three hun- 
dred yards from Fort Oswego, killing nine and capturing 
three. A body of soldiers was instantly sent out, but the 
wily assailants retreated into the forest so quickly that not 
oven a sight of a living Frenchman was obtained, though 
the pursuers found one dead one, whom they scalped and 
threw into the river. Scalping seems to have been the 
fashion on both sides at that time. 

A few days later a very large amount of supplies came 
through in two hundred bateaux and two hundred whale- 
boats, managed by about a thousand men, probably under 
command of Bradstreet, though there is no record to that 
effect. In passing over the falls two bateaux and two 
whale-boats were lost, and four men drowned. Pursuing 
their toilsome way, most of them soon reached the post, but 
some were detained at the reefs, two miles above. On the 



morning of the 17tli a lieutenant named Blair, with tweuty- 
four men, was sent up to guard the bouts at the reefs. He 
was yet on his way when he was attacked by one of De 
Villiers' scouting-parties. Wounded at the first fire, the 
young officer continued to encourage his men, but was soon 
struck by a second bullet and slain. The men, under a 
sergeant, maintained their ground, and in a short time were 
relieved by a force from the fort. One soldier was killed 
and another wounded, besides a Muhauk Indian killed and 
a ship-carpenter wounded. Two French Indians were also 
killed, who were duly scalped and flung into the river. 

Notwithstanding that nearly two years of actual warfare 
had passed, war was not formally declared by England 
against Franco until the ISth of May, 175G ; followed by 
a counter-declaration on the part of France on the 9th of 
June. These public declarations involved no perceptible 
change in the proceedings. 

Near the last of May, the three vessels on which the 
carpenters had been at work throughout the spring not 
being ready for use. Commodore Barclay, the naval com- 
mander, went out with some small ones on a voj'age of 
exploration towards Niagara, from which point there were 
some expectations of an attack. Being met by continuous 
western winds, they returned after a fruitless voyage of 
twelve days. 

On the 10th of June De Villiers left Niaoure bay with 
his whole force, arriving in the vicinity of Fort Ontario on 
the 15th. He then arranged to make a demonstration 
against that fort the next morning with a few men, hoping 
to provoke a sortie, when he expected to destroy the sally- 
ing party by an ambuscade. All his men, and particularly 
his Indians, were carefully instructed not to fire until the 
Engli-sh made a sortie. At daybreak the next morning 
the combined force of French and Indians moved forward. 
Early as it was, they found eight men at work a little dis- 
tance outside. This was too much for the Indians. With 
a yell that rang far over lake and forest, and brought every 
man in both garrisons to his feet, a host of the savages 
rushed forward, fired their muskets on the unfortunate 
squad, and the next moment had torn the bleeding scalps 
from five who lay dead upon the ground. 

The garrison of Fort Ontario, which consisted of Colonel 
Schuyler's New Jersey regiment, sprang to arms and opened 
a brisk fire on the enemy when they appeared on the edge 
of the forest. But it was in vain that De Villiers, by 
showing a small force, endeavored to provoke a sortie ; the 
terrific yell and tremendous fusilade with which the un- 
lucky workmen had been greeted had put every one on his 
guard, and the conflict soon became a mere exchange of 
shots between the assailants and the defenders of the post. 
After an hour and a half of such firing, De Villiers drew 
off his men and retreated eastward. Schuyler lost but a 
few men in addition to those surprised at the first onslaught, 
and the French loss was also small. 

About the 23d of June Commodore Barclay again went 
on a cruise with his flotilla, consisting of his flag-ship, the 
" Oswego," carrying four four-pounders, one three-pounder, 
and forty-five seamen and sailors ; the " OnUirio," Captain 
Lafory, carrying the same number of guns ; and a little 
schooner with six little swivels and thirteen men. On their 

return, after a four-days' trip, they were chased by four of 
the enemy's vessels, two of whom the Frencli called 
" barks," and two " corsairs." Considering the great im- 
portance of his little squadron to the welfare of Oswego, 
the commodore tliought it best to make all sail for that 
port, where he arrived safely with his two larger vessels, 
while the little schooner was seized by the foe. 

On the 1st of July, 175G, Colonel Bradstreet arrived at 
Oswego with six hundred bateaux, bringing sixteen car- 
riage-guns, and sixteen swivels for the new vessels, which 
were still unfinished, besides an immense amount of ammu- 
nition and other supplies. Two liundred soldiers also came 
through to join the garrison, and Colonel Mercer, the com- 
mander, did his best to put the new fort on the hill in a 
proper stiite of defense. Through the foresight of Governor 
Shirley and the exertions of Colonel Bradstreet, Oswego 
was now amply supplied with provisions and ammunition ; 
the only question being whether there were men enough to 
defend it against an attack in force. 

Bradstreet's right-hand man in this expedition, as in 
other enterprises, was a slender, fair-faced young soldier of 
twenty-three, ever active, but never flurried, a descendant 
of one of the oldest families of Albany, and destined to 
make his family name one of the most illustrious in the 
annals of America. This was Captain Philip Schuyler, 
afterwards the celebrated major-general of the Revolutionary 
army, who had been selected by the clear-he;jded Bradstreet 
as his chief assistant, and who then held the important 
post of commissary of the expedition of relief. 

On the third of July Colonel Bradstreet started on his 
return, with his well-armed and partially-disciplined bateau- 
men in their empty boats, arranged in three divisions. 
Strict ordei-s were given that they should keep close to- 
gether, but the roughness and rapidity of the river prevented 
complete obedience. When Bradstreet himself, beiiig near 
the head of his command, was about nine miles above Os- 
wego, and near the small island now known as Battle 
island, the report of a hundred muskets rang out from the 
dense forest on the eastern shore, and several of his men 
fell killed and wounded around him. And then 
"Atouce there rose so wild a yell, 
As all the fiends from Ileaven that fell 
Had pealed the banner-cry of Hell !" 

while the dark forms of a host of naked savages were seen 
half concealed amid the trees. 

De Villiers had arranged a more complete ambuscade, but 
had been disappointed by the impatience of his Indians, 
who fired at the first bateaux they saw, instead of waiting 
for the whole line of boats to come abreast of them. 
Seeing that concealment was no longer possible, the French 
commander ordered his Canadians also to open fire. 

Confusion spread rapidly among the bateuu-men, but 
Bradstreet Wiis fully equal to the emergency. Ordering 
the main body to set their bateaux to the western shore 
and effect a landing, he himself, with a few of those nearest 
him, sprang to the island befjre mentioned, and returned 
the enemy's fire, in order to cover the movement of the 
others. One of this gallant band was Captain Schuyler. 
A squad of Indians, carrying their guns and ammunition 
above their head.-, d;ishcd through the water and attempted 


to clear the island. Bradstreet and Schuyler stood their 
ground, and the assailants were beaten back, but did not 
leave the island. 

Both parties were reinforced till the English had about 
twenty, and the Indians numbered twice as many. The 
latter made another attack, but were again unsuccessful, 
though they succeeded in wounding eight of their foes. 
A dozen more bateau-men came to Bradstreet's aid, and the 
Indians were likely to be destroyed, when De Villiers placed 
himself at the head of fifty Canadians, and waded through 
the stream to the relief of his allies. 

A very sharp conflict now ensued between the detach- 
ments under the two commanders, and the bullets flew 
thick among the trees on the little island. Whenever a 
man fell, if his slayer could reach him, he was forthwith 
scalped, and a yell of triumph arose from the throat of the 
victor. Among those who fell wounded was a French 
Canadian, whom an enraged bateau-man at once lifted his 
tomahawk to dispatch. Captain Schuyler interposed, saved 
his life, and bade him consider himself his prisoner. As 
Bradstreet and his men acted on the defensive, and rarely 
left the shelter of their trees, they were enabled a third 
time to drive back the assailants, and De Villiers soon re- 
treated to the main-land. As the French report puts it, 
he rescued the endangered Indians and retired ; but, from 
a perusal of both accounts, we have no doubt that he was 
really defeated at every point, though he captured a few 
prisoners. The conflict on the island lasted about an 

Meanwhile the bateau-jnen had fastened their boats to 
the western shore, had been formed in line by their sub- 
ordinate leaders, and were exchanging shots with the enemy 
across the river. Leaving a detachment thus engaged, De 
Villiers marched with his main force to ford the river a 
mile farther up, and fall on Bradstreet's rear. The latter 
perceived the movement, and at once transferred his force 
from the island to the main-land to frustrate it. There 
was but one bateau available, and this was crowded with 
English wounded. Schuyler's disabled prisoner begged to 
be taken with them, but was refused. 

"Then," he exclaimed, in accents of despair, "then 
fling me into the river, so I may die quickly ; do not leave 
me here to perish of hunger and thirst." 

The gallant and humane Schuyler could not endure this 
distressing appeal. Giving his coat and weapons to a com- 
riide, he supported the wounded Frenchman with one arm, 
and with the other swam across the rushing current to the 
main-land. He gave the wounded man in charge of Dr. 
Kirkland, the surgeon of the expedition, under whose care 
lie finally recovered. Twenty years afterwards, when 
Major-General Philip Schuyler was commander of the 
northern department of the Continental army, a portion of 
which was invading Canada, the poor Canadian, though 
caring little for the political questions involved, yet joined 
the American forces, that he might once more meet the 
man who had twice saved hi.s life on Battle island. 

On reaching the main-land, Bradstreet, still accompanied 
by Schuyler, at once set forth with two hundred and fifty 
men to meet the French. Captain John Butler, afterwards 
the celebrated Tory leader during the Revolution, was left 

in charge of the remaining men to guard the bateaux. On 
Bradstreet's arrival at the. destined point, he found that Do 
Villiers had already forded the river, and taken possession 
of a pine swamp on the west side, at the outlet of Lake 
Neahtawanta. Bradstreet engaged them, and an action an 
hour long took place, all fighting from behind trees, Indian 
fashion. Finally, the commander of the Americans led 
his men into the swamp and drove the enemy to the river, 
where many of them were killed in crossing it. 

The French and Indians then fled in great baste, bearing 
twenty-six scalps, taking along a few prisoners, and having 
wounded twenty-six bateau-men, but without destroying a 
single one of the bateaux, and leaving the ground strewn 
with abandoned muskets and blankets. It was reported 
that a patrol from Oswego found seventy-four French and 
Indians killed, but that was probably an exaggeration.. 

While the bateau-men were congratulating themselves 
on the victory, the drums of advancing infantry were heard, 
and a company of grenadiers of Shirley's regiment marched 
up from the south, being on their way to strengthen Oswego. 

A report of the I'acts being forwarded to Colonel Mercer, 
the latter sent up two hundred men, with whom and the 
grenadiers Bradstreet proposed to pursue the enemy the 
next morning. A severe rain, however, prevented, and it 
would probably have been useless, as the foe was doubtless 
by that time in his boats and on his way to Henderson 
bay. The English supposed that the French had a per- 
manent camp about twelve miles east of Oswego, but this 
was a mistake. De Villiers' headquarters were all the while 
at Henderson bay. 

Bradstreet hastened back to Albany, where he arrived 
about the 10th of July, and immediately importuned Gen- 
eral Abercrombie, who had arrived in the month of June, 
to send reinforcements to Oswego. Sir William Johnson, 
also, who had lately persuaded the Six Nations to consent 
to the laying out of a military road to that post, declared 
that his influence over them would be gone if Oswego 
should be taken. Governor Shirley, too, who, though de- 
prived of military rank, still remained near the border, re- 
iterated the necessity of sustaining his darling fortress. 
All was useless. Abercrombie billeted his troops at Albany 
and began fortifying that town, as if expecting that the far 
inferior forces of the French would soon be at its gates. 

On the 29th of July his excellency the Earl of Loudon, 
commander-in-chief of his majesty's forces in America, ar- 
rived in Albany to begin his campaign. He, too, refused 
to aid Oswego, and made some feeble preparations to attack 
Crown Point. At length, however, the representations of 
everybody who knew anything of American matters in- 
duced him to order Colonel Webb, with a brigade of troops, 
to march to the relief of the endangered fortress. 

During all this time that vigilant chief, Field-Marshal 
the Marquis de Montcalm, was doing all that lay in human 
power to take advantage of the blunders of his foes, and to 
remedy by his genius the smallness of his force. Every 
exposed point of his own was guarded, every exposed point 
of the enemy was watched, and his communications were 
kept up, so that he could strike at whatever locality might 
show the best prospect of success. 

Determined to destroy, if possible, the long-detested 


Chouegucn, he made his preparations at once to carry out 
his purpose and to conceal it from the English. Rigaud 
de Vaudrcuil, governor of the Cauiidian department of 
Three Rivers, was sent with a fresh body of colonial troops 
and Indians to take command of De Villiers' camp, on 
Henderson bay, where he must have arrived about the time 
that vigilant partism returned from bis attack on Brad- 
street. The battalion of Beam was recalled from Niagara 
to Frontcnac. Colonel Dc Bourlamaquc, at the latter post, 
was ordered to make preparations for forwarding an army. 
Descombles, an engineer, was sent forward with an escort 
to reconnoitre Oswego, and then on the 27th of June the 
mar(juis sot out from Montreal for Crown Point and Ticon- 

Hero he was very active for a few days, and his presence 
soon became known to the English, and was probably one 
of the inducements for the dull-witted Abercrombie to for- 
tify Albany. Having made the necessary preparations for 
the defense of the Lake Champlain route, and sufficiently 
advertised his presence there, De Montcalm set out for 
Montreal on the 15th of July. Urging his sinewy oarsmen 
tfl their best endeavors, his bateau sped down Lake Cham- 
plain and the river St. Johns, and on the 19th he reached 
the capital of Canada. One "day was devoted to a final 
conference with the governor-general. On the 21st the 
commander-in-chief was again afloat. Despite the rapids 
which made the St. Lawrence so tedious to ascend, be 
reached Fort Frontenac on the 29th. In six days he or- 
ganized his army, made sure of its complete equipment, and 
set forth with the first division. On the 6tli of August 
they arrived at Henderson bay, which had been designated 
as the final rendezvous, and on the 8th were followed 
thither by the second division. 

Despite all his endeavors, the marquis could muster 
hardly three thou.sand men for this important expedition. 
The English afterwards exaggerated the number to five or 
.six thousand, to cover the disgrace of their defeat, but 
French writers state it at scant three thousand, and from 
the details they give we have no doubt that that is substan- 
tially correct. Of these the three JJuropean battalions of 
La Sarre, Guienne, and Beam numbered about thirteen 
hundred, the Canadians nearly a thousand, and the Indians 
probably about five hundred. De Montcalm, however, had 
taken good care that there should be in addition an excel- 
lent train of artillery, which, with its equipments and the 
supplies, occupied eighty of the strongest bateaux. 

The same day (August 8) that the last division arrived 
at Henderson bay, the marquis sent forward the vanguard, 
under Rigaud de Vaudreuil. They rowed all night, in 
order to conceal themselves from the Jlnglish, and early 
the next morning reached their temporary destination, a 
place called "L'Anse aux Cabanes," — Cabin cove. This 
point is stated by a French writer to have been three 
French leagues (seven and a half miles) from Oswego, and 
the attendant circumstances show that the statement was 
nearly correct. That would fix the locality at one of the 
indentures in the shore, in the northwest corner of the 
town of Scriba. The editor of the Documentary History 
of Now York locates " L'Anse aux Cabanes" at Sandy 
Creek hay. but that is entirely out of the (juostion. The 

first divi.sion, however, under De Montcalm in person, went 
from Henderson bay to Sandy Creek bay the night of the 
8th, and bivouacked at the latter place all day of the 9th. 
At nightfall they again set forth, and reached Cabin cove 
at two o'clock the morning of the 10th. They had four 
cannon with them, but the most of the artillery was with 
the second division, which followed more slowly. 

At six o'clock, the morning of the 10th, the vanguard 
set forth through the woods, reaching the lake again at a 
cove which the French accounts loaitc only a mile and a 
half from Fort Ontario, and consc(juently just within the 
present limits of Oswego city. There is a projection into 
the lake, however, just of the city limits, and it is 
probable that behind that projection was the cove that shel- 
tered the invaders. Here the vanguard remained perfectly 
quiet all day, without the English having apparently the 
slightftst suspicion of their presence. After dark De Mont^ 
calm, with the first division, rowed cautiously along the 
shore, reaching at midnight the cove where the vanguard 
waited ready to cover their landing. The four cannon 
were at once landed, and formed in a battery looking out 
upon the lake, the bateaux were fastened to the shore, and 
the wearied soldiers flung tbem.selves down on the beach 
for a few hours' rest. 

At three o'clock in the morning, Descombles, the chief 
engineer, went forward to the edge of the forest to recon- 
noitre the forts, the object of all this preparation. Return- 
ing ere it was fairly light, he was mistaken by an Indian 
for an Englishman, shot, and instantly killed. The French 
movement could no longer be concealed. As day began to 
break the Canadians and Indians were pushed forward to 
within two hundred rods of Fort Ontario, forming a curved 
line of investment from the lake to the river. Many of 
the Indians skulked among the stumps of the clearing, and 
opened fire on the astonished soldiers as they appeared on 
the walls of the fortress. 

This .seems to have been the first indication that the had that a French army was anywhere this .side of 
Montreal. The fire was returned from the garrison, but 
even yet they did not know but that the assailants were 
merely some of De Villiers' rangers renewing their old 
tricks. Sieur Desandronius, the only surviving engineer, 
designated the route for a road for the cannon through the 
woods, and the laborers began work on it at eleven o'clock. 
At noon Commodore Barclay with his three vessels sailed 
out of port. Discovering the right of the French camp 
near the landing-place, he fired a few fruitless shots at it, 
but was easily driven off' by the battery before mentioned. 
All the afternoon the soldiers worked at the road for the 
artillery, and continued their labors far into the night to 
complete it. 

The force in the three fortifications which the Marquis 
de Montcalm was about to attack had been somewhat in- 
creased during the spring, and now numbered about fifteen 
hundred men. Of these, the main strength was in the 
regiments known as "Shirley's" and " PeppereU's." They 
were otherwise designated sis the first and second royal 
American regiments, being a portion of the British regular 
army, but raised principally in America. Their colonels, 
whose names they bore, were Governor Sliiiley and Sir 


William Pepperell, but, as was the case with most colonels 
in the British army, they did not serve with their regiments. 
PeppereU's was commanded by Lieutenant^Colonel Mercer, 
who was also commander of the post, and Shirley's by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Littlehales. These two regiments had 
seen service in Europe, but had been sent to America on 
the outbreak of hostilities here. They had been much de- 
pleted, but numbered together about nine hundred men fit 
for duty. 

There was also a weak regiment of New Jersey militia 
under Colonel Schuyler, a relative of Captain Philip Schuy- 
ler, containing about two hundred men ; two or three inde- 
pendent companies, numbering perhaps a hundred more, 
besides some three hundred carpenters, laborers, sailors, etc., 
who were trained to manage the guns and otherwise aid the 

It was not until the morning of the 12th that the second 
division of De Montcalm's army arrived with the numei-ous 
bateaux laden with the artillery and provisions. A large 
part of this artillery had been captured from the unlucky 
Braddock the year before. Both artillery and supplies 
were unloaded during the forenoon, right under the eyes 
of Commodore Barclay, who was cruising off shore with 
his three vessels. The commodore showed a very apathetic 
spirit throughout the whole affair. He might have done 
the French great, perhaps iireparable, damage while they 
were landing, and ought to have risked the destruction of 
his vessels to do it. But they were allowed to carry on 
their preparations without interruption from the ships, 
Montcalm pushing them forward with indefatigable energy. 

As engineer Desandronius was a young, inexperienced 
man, Captain Pouchot, of the Beam regiment, who was 
also an engineer, was directed to take charge of the opera- 
tions. This was the same able officer to whose memoirs of 
the war of 1754-60 we are largely indebted for information 
regarding the operations in Oswego County. 

Firing was kept up briskly from Fort Ontario through- 
out the day, but at eleven o'clock at night it ceased. It 
was not until midnight that the French were ready to begin 
work on the trenches, and then labor was at once com- 
menced in the darkness, among the stumps, and continued 
until daylight. In this time a parallel six hundred feet 
long had been erected within a little over five hundred feet 
from Fort Ontario. The French now opened a heavy fire 
on the fort, which responded to them through the fore- 
noon, but with constantly decreasing energy. At three in 
the afternoon the watchful Frenchmen observed a great 
commotion between the fort and the river, and in a few 
moments it was evident that Fort Ontario Wiis being evacu- 
ated. Colonel Mercer sent over some whale-boats for the 
purpose, and in great disorder the garrison passed to the 
other side. They were so well protected by the guns of 
Fort Oswego that the French were not able to do them any 
serious damage in their retreat. Only four men had been 
killed and wounded in Fort Ontario. Perhaps, in view of 
the small size of his force. Colonel Mercer was justified in 
contracting his lines, but the movement greatly encouraged 
the French, and correspondingly depressed the English. 
Eight small cannon and four mortars were left in the de- 
serted fortress, which was at once taken i)os.session of by 

the joyful French, while their red allies made the woods 
re-echo with their yells of triumph, striking terror into all 
the timorous hearts in the beleagured garrison. 

Mercer soon sent PeppereU's regiment and a hundred of 
Smiley's to reinforce Colonel Schuyler at the redoubt on 
the hill, where they were employed during the day in cut- 
ting down the bushes which afforded a cover for assailants, 
and making other preparations against an attack. 

All day De Montcalm pressed on the siege with renewed 
vigor. A small, lithe, active man, as rapid of speech as of 
motion, the marquis hurried to and fro, regardless of dan- 
ger, supervising everything, pouring out censure or praise 
as occasion required, and infusing his own impetuous spirit 
into all his men. 

The guns of Fort Ontario were turned upon Fort Oswego. 
The south end of the now trench was curved to the west 
and curried down to the river's edge, where at uightfiill a 
battery was erected, designed to beat down the walls of Fort 
Oswego, and also reach the line of communication between 
that and Fort George. Darkness only increased the labor. 
The whole army was set at work, and twenty cannon were 
carried in their arms (a Herculean task) to the places 
designed for them. 

At daylight the ever-active Montcalm ordered Rigaud de 
Vaudreuil, with his Canadians and Indians, to cross the 
river a little way up, occupy the woods on the other side, 
and harass the English rear. The gallant partisau imme- 
diately flung himself into the foaming stream and made his 
way across it, followed by the whole body of provincials and 
savages, some swimming, some in water to waist or neck, 
but all successful in reaching the western shore. They 
took positions in the edge of the forest, and made a target 
of every Englishman who showed his head above the 

At six o'clock Montcalm had nine heavy guns ready for 
use in his new battery, and then the game commenced in 
earnest. This was the most serious fighting during the 
siege. The roar of the heavy battery resounded through 
the forest and rolled out upon the lake ; other French 
guns in various locations added to the din. The English 
responded with the fire of twelve cannon and four mortars, 
while the yells of the furious Indians in the forest added 
to the terrors of the scene. One of the English mortars 
burst. Soon afterwards, and between eight and nine o'clock. 
Colonel Mercer was killed while gallantly directing the fire 
of the English guns. 

The command devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel John 
Littlehales, who certainly seems to have lost his head amid 
the terrible confusion rcigning'around. He ordered Colonel 
Schuyler to abandon Fort George, where Mercer had placed 
him, thus leaving Fort Oswego liable to be commanded from 
that important position. Two of Schuyler's men were 
killed while marching down. The firing was still kept up 
from Fort Oswego ; but Littlehales had evidently lost heart 
as well as head. He soon called a council of the field-officers 
and captains, and they, taking their tone from their com- 
mander, quite readily agreed to a capitulation. A flag was 
sent to Montcalm, and after some parleying the forts were 
surrendered, the garrison became prisoners of war, and not 
only all the ammunition, stores, etc., were vieldod up, but 


all the vessels, finished as well as unfinishoil, with twelve 
naval officers and nearly two hundred scainen. 

From a comparison of different accounts, it is (|uitc cer- 
tain that at the time of the surrender not over thirty of the 
Anglo- Ameriain force had boon killed or wounded. The 
French loss was stated by themselves at thirty ; that of the 
English, who were sheltered, could not well have been 
larger. Several of Shirley's regiment who escaped fixed it 
at twenty-four, and the latter number is probably very near 
correct. The total number of men made prisoners was 
fifteen hundred and twenty, but of these, as has been said, 
several hundred were sailors, carpenters, artificers, etc. ; all 
of whom, however, worked the guns, or did other duty 
about the forts. There was an ample supply of provisions 
and ammunition, no less than twenty-three thousand 
pounds of powder being among the spoils gained by the 
victors ; and under all the circumstances the surrender 
must be considered highly discreditable to Colonel Little- 
hales. The victors themselves were surprised at the ease 
with which their triumph was gained. 

The French took immediate possession, and then fol- 
lowed one of those scenes so frequent in the old border 
wars of America, which sully the lustre of the brightest 
victory. Near one hundred of the captives were slain by 
the enraged Indians, and their scalps, torn from their man- 
gled remains, were borne to decorate the wigwams of their 
murderei-s on the banks of the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa, 
and Lake Huron. The massacre was at length stopped by 
the interposition of Montcalm ; but one cannot help think- 
ing that he must have known how the savages would act, 
and that he might have prevented their cruelties entirely 
if he had been very anxious to do so. It looks as if he 
thought it would disaffection if he prevented entirely 
their feast of blood, and did not interfere till they had been 
partially satiated. 

We are aware that it has been doubted whether any 
massacre was perpetrated, but all the statements point the 
same way. One French writer, who was present, says dis- 
tinctly that the Indians " perpetrated there a multitude of 
hoiTors, and assassinated more than one hundred persons, 
included in the capitulation, without our being able to pre- 
vent them, or having the right to remonstrate with them." 
Another stated that one hundred and fifty English were 
killed and wounded, " including several soldiers, who, wish- 
ing to escape into the woods, fell into the hands of the 
Indians." Deducting thirty for the number killed and 
wounded in the fighting, leaves a hundred and twenty who 
fell beneath the savage tomahawks. This accords with the 
statement of the first-mentioned writer, that over a hun- 
dred were massacred. He said nothing about their at- 
tempted escape, and that was probably a mere excuse. 
Montcalm himself wrote that the savages attempted a mas- 
sacre, but that he prevented it. But that intervention did 
not take place until after many had been slain ; too late to 
clear the memory of Montcalm from the suspicion of con- 

There is reason to believe, too, that some of the prLsoners 
were reserved by the savages for the still more horrible fate 
of death by torture. Among the prisoners was Francis 
Lewis, afterwards a di.stinf;uished citizen of New York, 

and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. 
His biography, together with that of Governor Morgan 
Lewis, has lately been publishi^ by his descendant, Mrs. 
Delafield. There is one anecdote, which the authoress 
received from her grandfather, Morgan Lewis, and lie from 
Francis Lewis, which bears directly on the question of the 
treatment of the Oswego prisoners. Although it comes to 
the public at third hand, yet the main facts are so impor- 
tant, and must have been so well known in the Lewis 
family, that there could hardly be any serious mistake ; 
and besides, in regard to the atrocities committed by the 
Indians, it harmonizes but too well with accounts derived 
from French sources. Mrs. Delafield says : 

" Montcalm allowed his Indian allies to select thirty 
prisoners as their share of the booty, and Lewis was one of 
the number. The Indians retreated northward. Towards 
the of each day, when they found by the side of a 
mountain stream, or in a sheltered valley, a pleasant spot 
which invited them to rest and to feast, they lit their fires 
and celebrated their victory by the sacrifice of a captive. 

"The bloody rite was repeated so often that Lewis was 
certain of the fate awaiting him. He was not a man under 
any circumstances to lose his presence of mind or to de- 
spair. He seemed to submit, watched, and waited. Two 
warriors were selected as his guard. As the prisoner 
showed no disposition to escape, they were satisfied with 
binding his arms, allowing him to walk otherwise un- 
shackled while they beguiled the time talking together. 

" Presently words familiar to his childhood struck his 
ear. Acquainted with both the Gaelic and Cymracg dia- 
lects, it was easy for him to join in their conversation. It 
may be that Lewis was gifted with the power of controlling 
men, — it may be that his calm and dignified bearing had 
already had an influence upon the savages. When they 
found that there was the tie of a common language between 
them, he was no longer a prisoner, — he was treated as a 
friend and brother. They accompanied him to Montreal, 
recommended him to the protection of the governor, and 
requested that he might be permitted to return at once to 
his home. This permission, however, was not granted. 
He was sent to France in a cartel and exchanged." 

Lewis was a native of Wales, where he learned the 
"Cymraeg dialect;" and it is suggested that the Indians 
might have acquired some knowledge of the Breton lan- 
guage, which is almost identical with the Welsh, from the 
French settlers at Cape Breton. It would be foreign to 
our purpose to enter into any discussion of this branch of 
the subject, but the story, coming from so distinguished a 
man as Francis Lewis, adds much to the evidence that a 
portion of the captured garrison of Oswego was massacred 
by JFontcalm's Indian allies. 

The Indians departed for their homes almost immedi- 
ately after the close of the siege. The main body of the 
French remained for a week. During that time the re- 
maining prisoners were sent away under guard ; the cap- 
tured supplies and artillery, as well as what the French had 
brought, were shipped, and then the fortifications of Chou- 
aguen, so long an eye-sore to French officials, were razed 
to the ground. The buildings were burned, and utter deso- 
laticiTi reigned over the locality so long considered the bul- 


walk of the province of New York. On the 21st of August 
the victorious army re-embarked and returned to the bay 
of Niaoure. whence the various coi-ps wore distributed where 
their presence was needed, and the commander-in-chief 
proceeded to Montreal. 

The numbers engaged were small, but in every other re- 
spect this achievement of the Blarquis de Montcalm is 
entitled to rank as one of the most brilliant in the annals 
of war. From beginning to end not a misstep was made. 
The concentration of forces at Frontenac and Niaoure, the 
engaging of the enemy's attention by the appearance of the 
marquis on Lake George, liis rapid return and advance up 
the St. Lawrence, the silent movement along the lake-shore 
in the night, the unloading the artillery in face of the 
enemy's fleet, the amazing energy with which the siege was 
pushed forward, and the valor with which the example of 
the commander inspired his soldiers, all show the work of 
the master, and display in the clearest light the remarkable 
military genius of Field-Marshal the Marquis de Montcalm. 
It is the more to be regretted that the suspicion of conniv- 
ing at cruelty mare the lustre of the brilliant achievement. 
Possibly that suspicion is unfounded. 

During all this while the English authorities were as 
stupid and dilatory as the French were skillful and ener- 
getic. We have mentioned that the Earl of Loudon had 
at length ordered Colonel Webb, with a brigade of troops, 
to march to the relief of Oswego. That oflScer, faithfully 
copying the example of his superiors, did not get his com- 
mand under motion fiom Albany till the 12th of August, 
two days before the surrender. On his way up the Mo- 
hawk he was met by an express bearing the news of the 
arrival of the French before the fated fortiess. The mes- 
senger went on to Albany, and Lord Loudon, on learning 
the news, ordered Sir William Johnson to march to the 
support of Webb. 

At the " Oneida carrying-place," now Rome, the latter 
officer was met by a few scattered fugitives, bringing news 
of the surrender. Although it was to be expected that 
Montcalm would advance upon the settlements, and though 
the safety of the Mohawk valley depended on holding the 
forts at the portage, Webb turned and fled with rapid steps 
towards Albany. Everywhere consternation reigned su- 
preme. Oswego had so long been considered the main 
defense from attack in that quarter, that the news of its 
capture filled iiH minds with the expectation of a hostile 
army marching down the valley, and, worse still, of blood- 
thirsty Indians making that peaceful land hideous with 
indescribable atrocities. Fortunately, Montcalm's force was 
too small to justify a farther advance. 

The remainder of 175C and the whole of 1757 passed 
away very quietly, so far as Oswego was concerned, though 
the province of New York suffered seveiely on account of 
its loss. The Mohawks had been profoundly impressed 
with the prowess of the French in capturing the very gate- 
way of their domain, and in April, 1757, a delegation of 
their chiefs visited Montreal to treat for peace. Satisfactory 
arrangements were made, and all the Iroquois except the 
Mohawks remained neutral, while the French and the 
Canadian Indians ravaged the frontiers. The British gen- 
erals acted as if they, too, were neutral, and the year 1757 

closed in disgrace, foreboding the destruction of the English 
dominion in America. 

But in 1758 the celebrated William Pitt became prime 
minister of England, and new vigor was at once infused 
into all the English operations. Various important French 
posts were captured. All of De Montcalm's energies were 
required to defend Lower Canada from invasion. Fort 
Frontenac was left with but a small guard. The enter- 
prising Bradstreet being commissioned as brigadier-general, 
asked permission to take a force by way of Oswego and 
capture Frontenac, but was refused by General Abercrom- 
bie, now become commander-in-chief. But in July, Aber- 
crombie was defeated with terrible slaughter at Ticonderoga. 
Bradstreet then renewed his request, and, as it was desira- 
ble to do something to ameliorate the efi'ects of that defeat 
on the public mind, his petition was granted. 

Provided with the requisite orders, and accompanied as 
usual by his deputy, — Major Philip Schuyler, — Bradstreet 
hastened to the Oneida portage, where he found General 
Stanwix with nearly three thousand provincial troops, re- 
building the fort at that point, which thenceforth bore his 
name. Of these Bradstreet took command, and proceeded 
with all speed to Oswego. In the words of a contemporary, 
he flew rather than marched. Fast as he went, however, 
still faster sped Major Schuyler, in command of the advance- 
guard, accompanied by a corps of ship-carpenters and other 
artisans. He arrived at Oswego several days before Brad- 
street, and instantly began the construction of a schooner, 
called the " Mohawk," intended to carry the necessary can- 
non for the expedition. He urged on the work with such 
energy that in three weeks the vessel was ready for sea. 
Meanwhile Bradstreet had arrived, bringing with him the 
bateaux and whale-boats with which he had so often navi- 
gated the Oneida lake and river, and about the 20th of 
August his army embarked on Lake Ontario. 

Among the New York regiments in this expedition was 
one commanded by Colonel Charles Clinton, the ancestor of 
a family which has had more influence than any other over 
the destinies of the State of New York. The captain of 
one of its companies was the colonel's third son, — James. — 
afterwards a distinguished Revolutionary general, and the 
father of De Witt Clinton. The lieutenant of Captain 
James Clinton's company was his younger brother, — - 
George, — governor of New York for nearly twenty years 
after its independence, and for eight years vice-president 
of the United States. 

After a short voyage the expedition arrived before Fort 
Frontenac, and as that post was defended by only a hun- 
dred and fifty men, it was soon surrendered to the English 
commander, together with an immense quantity of stores. 
Early in September, the army returned to Oswego, whence 
the greater portion of it proceeded to the settlements. A 
detachment (but whether detached before or afVer the expe- 
dition to Frontenac is uncertain) built in that year (1758) a 
new fort, a short distance below Oswego falls. Its name, if it 
had one, is unknown. It was octagonal in form, with the sides 
curved inward, and the angles very acute, making it almost 
star-shaped. The west part of it was cut off' when the Os- 
wego canal was dug, but the remains of the rest could be 
traced down to a few years ago. Fifty rods below was also 


to be seen, within the recollection of the earliest settlers, 
the remains of another fortification, semicircular in form, 
situated on the high bank of the river; but this is supposed 
to have been built before the coming of the white man, 
either by Indians or some still earlier race. 

A fort was also built — probably this year (1758), but 
possibly the nest — at Three Rivers point, on the east side 
of the Oswego, in the present town of Schroeppel, — a small 
fortification only about twenty yards square, but provided 
with four bastions, and having three largo store-houses on 
the inside. 

Early in 1759, General Amherst was api>iiinted com- 
mander-in-chief, and herculean effort* were made by Eng- 
land and her colonics to overthrow the French power in 
America. Owing to her superiority by sea. Great Britain 
could transfer much larger armies to the scat of war than 
could her Gallic rival, and the populous colonies which bor- 
dered the Atlantic could give far more aid than could the 
scattered settlements on the shores of the St. Lawrence. 

Again Oswego County became the scene of hostile opera- 
tions. Captain Pouchot, the engineer at the capture of 
Oswego, was in command at Fort Niagara. Early in June 
he sent a colonial officer named Blainville, with a company 
of Missisdiiffa Indians, to see what was going on in this 
vicinity. They went up the Oswego a few miles, and then 
went back and reported to Pouchot that there were no 
English to be found. Had they gone as far as the falls 
they would have found an English army even then making 
the portage around that obstruction. It was under the 
command of General Prideaux, who, with two thousand 
regulars and provincials, was on his way to attack Fort Ni- 
agara. At Oswego he was joined by Sir William Johnson 
with about seven hundred warriors of the Six Nations. 
They had evidently become satisfied that the 
would succeed in the contest, and had recovered from their 
neutrality. In a short time some two hundred and fifty 
more Iioqnnis, from the banks of the St. Lawrence, who 
had long been under French influence, came to place them- 
selves under the command of the baronet. 

On the first of July. Prideaux and Johnson, with their 
motley command, embarked on Lake Ontario in open boats 
and turned their prows toward Fort Niagara. Colonel 
Haldimand, with five or six hundred provincials, was left 
to guard Oswego. It was supposed that the French were 
all gathered on the lower St. Lawrence to resist Wolfe, but 
still it was deemed advisable to erect a stockade. A large 
portion of the men were daily sent to the forest to cut logs 
for that purpose. Meanwhile, Haldimand made a kind of 
wall around his camp out of barrels of pork and flour, of 
which there were an immense number. 

On the 5th of July, the workmen to the eastward of the 
camp were suddenly fired on by a body of French and In- 
dians. Ectreating quickly to the camp they found it in wild 
confusion, men rushing from the forest in all directions, 
while those already there were ensconcing themselves 
behind the bamcade of barrels to repel the foe. The 
assailants were the advance-guard of a cinsiderable force 
under the Chevalier de la Come. He commanded five or 
six bundled Canadians from Frontcnac, and several hundred 
Christian Indians iVoni the mission of La Presentation ( now 

Ogdensburgh). The Abbe Piequet, the .hief ..f that mis- 
sion, accompanied his converts. 

De la Come had landed without discovery at the same 
point, about a mile and a half cast of the mouth of the 
river, where Montcalm had disembarked three years before. 
Had he pushed forward his whole force to the attack it is 
quite probable that he would have defeated the surprised 
and ill-prepared English, — a defeat which would almost have 
insured the ruin of Prideaux's army. According to Pou- 
chot's account of the affair, however, the Abbe Pic(|uct, when 
he heard the firing of the advance-guard, insisted on making 
a short exhortation to the troops and giving them absolution. 
Meanwhile the opportune moment was lost, and when De la 
Corne arrived before the camp with his main force, he found 
the English under arms behind their barrels, and readj' for 

He had no artillery, and he could not induce his Canadi- 
ans and Indians to attack even that feeble barricade. A 
desultory fire was kept up on both sides for two or three 
hours, but De la Corne was unable to accomplish anything 
of moment. Finally his men exclaimed that the blow had 
fijiled, and in spite of their officers made their way as fast 
as possible to their boats. The belligerent abbe endeav- 
ored to rally them, but was thrown down in the rush, and 
escaped being left only by his vigorous cries of '■ Save your 
chaplain ! at least, save your chaplain !" 

The English about a dozen men killed and wounded, 
and the French probably about the same. One account 
states that another attack was made the next day. This is 
doubtful, and if true the attempt had no results, and De la 
Corne returned to the St. Lawrence. Between three and 
four weeks later the successful English were still further 
gladdened by the appearance from the west of a detach- 
ment of the Forty-sixth Regiment, escorting between seven 
and eight hundred French officers and men, captured at 
Fort Niagara. The prisoners were soon sent forward to 
Albany. On the 7th of August the main army, except a 
garrison left at the conquered fortress, and the Indians also, 
returned under the command of Sir William Johnson, Gen- 
eral Prideaux having been killed during the siege. 

On the 16th of the same month General Gage, afterwards 
celebrated as the commander at Boston in the beginning of 
the Revolution, arrived at Oswego to take command in place 
of Prideaux. All was now as animated at Oswego as it had 
been desolate three months before. The gayly-dressed Eng- 
lish officers, the sturdy provincials, and the painted Iroqnnis 
were alike jubilant over the capture of Niagara, the great 
French stronghold of western New York, and all (except 
perhaps the Indians) were eagerly watching for news from 
Quebec, where Wolfe and Montcalm were measuring swords 
for the last deadly conflict. 

Gage had received orders to go down the St. Lawrence 
and capture the post of La Galette, below Ogdensburgh. 
There was much counseling between the general, Sir Wil- 
liam, and Colonel Haldimand on the subject. The vigorous 
baronet was in favor of going, but Gage, like almost all the 
English generals of that day, was very dilatory, and after 
allowing much valuable time to .>ilip away he finally declined 
to go, on account of the lateness of the season. 

Sir William w;is, in niudcrn phrase, •full of busines.s." 


Indians were constantly coming and going, and the baronet's 
diary is full of memoranda of conferences, speeches, giving 
belts, and all the other formalities essential in the manage- 
ment of the red man. His entries for one day were two in 
number, — the first being : " Fine morning ; I propose this 
day speaking to the Indians;" the second: "All drunk; 
could not meet them." 

The first duel of which there is any record in Oswego 
County was fought at this time, between " Bassy Dunbar 
and Lieutenant Pionier, of the Royal Americans." The 
former was shot through the lungs, receiving, as was sup- 
posed, a mortal wound. 

There were still some French vessels on Lake Ontario, and 
two of them came in sight of Oswego. Two or three small 
English vessels had also been built, which went out to meet 
the visitors, but did not succeed in doing so. 

Meanwhile, measures were taken to prevent losing what 
the English already possessed. The engineers drew a plan 
of a pentagon fort to replace the Port Ontario destroyed by 
Montcalm. It was approved by General Gage, and the 
erection of a large and substantial fortress was begun. It 
was also called Fort Ontario, and remained until replaced 
by the present fortification, about 1839. No attempt was 
ever made to rebuild either of the works on the west side of 
the river. 

The new Fort Ontario was very nearly, perhaps exactly, 
on the site of the old one. It was also partly on the site 
of the present work, but went considerably nearer the lake. 
The south part of the fortress, built in 1759-60, was within 
the limits of the present Fort Ontario. The traces of the 
old walls are still to be seen between the present rampart 
and the lake. The whole circuit of the five sides was about 
five hundred feet. The rampart was built of earth, revetted 
with " saucissons" on the side towards the lake, but on the 
landward sides the earth was kept in place by large square 
timbers laid one upon the other. The parapet was some 
twelve feet thick, and outside of it there was a ditch nearly 
thirty feet wide. During the autumn of 1759 or spring of 
1760, four block-houses were also erected at long gun-shot 
from the fort. 

At this time, too, detachments from Oswego and Fort 
Sfanwix, under the direction of Captain Brewerton, built a 
fort on Oneida river, a few rods from the north bank and 
about a mile below the outlet of the kke. Like the one 
at the falls, it was an octagon, with the sides curved inward, 
so that the sharp angles made it resemble an eight-pointed 
star. It was about a hundred feet in diameter on the in- 
side, with a wall five feet high, crowned with palisades 
twenty feet high, with loop-holes and embrasures. Outside 
was a ditch, and outside of that a still lower wall. The 
new fort was evidently intended for defense against Indian 
rifles, not against French artillery. It was named " Brew- 
erton" in honor of its constructor. The remnants of the 
old wall and ditch are still to be seen close to the present 
Fort Brewerton hotel. 

At the same time a mole or wall of large rocks was built 
at the exact point where the lake changes into the river, 
running southeast into the lake and reaching somewhat 
above its surface. At the end a sentry-box was erected, 
and here a sentinel was continuously posted, who, from his 

curious station, could view the river for many miles and 
the lake as far as eye could reach. Of this, too, the ruins 
are still to be seen under water. More. than a hundred 
acres were cleared around the fort to give a more extended 
view of an approaching foe. 

Here, too, as at the falls, the modern fortification is in 
the near neighborhood of ancient relics dating back to un- 
known ages. In a sand-bank, a short distance east of the 
fort, a large number of human bones have been discovered, 
apparently belonging to males, and denoting the probable 
place of interment of the warriors of a nation. The length 
of some of the bones found there is said to have indicated 
that they belonged to men at least seven feet high ; but the 
accuracy of such estimates is always doubtful. 

On the 8th of October, 1759, a scout sent out from Os- 
wego towards the enemy returned with some Canadian 
prisoners. These brought to the garrison the first news of 
the capture of Quebec, which had occurred three weeks 
previously. All men saw that the downfall of French 
power in America must speedily follow, and joy reigned 
supreme, especially among the provincials, who could now 
hope for a long respite from the haunting fears of toma- 
hawk and sealping-knife. Sir William Johnson issued a 
formal invitation to the Indians to reopen trade at Oswego 
and Niagara the next spring, most of the provincial troops 
were sent home, the garrisons of the posts went into winter 
quarters, and silence again settled down on the scene lately 
so full of life. 

In the spring of 1760 England and her colonies rallied 
their forces to give the final blow to the French dominion 
in Canada. Although it was plain that the fall of Quebec 
involved the conquest of the whole province, yet De Vau- 
dreuil at Montreal still held out for King Louis, and many 
minor posts were yet in possession of the French. It was 
arranged in the English councils that three armies should 
concentrate on Montreal. One was to move up the St. 
Lawrence from Quebec, one smaller one was to go down 
Lake Champlain from Albany, while the main Anglo- 
American force, under the commander-in-chief, General 
Amherst, was to rendezvous at Oswego, and thence pro- 
ceed down the St. Lawrence to attack the doomed capital. 

The colonial levies came in slowly, and it was not until 
the 12th of June that Amherst left Schenectady with six 
thousand provincials and four thousand regulars. Once 
more the Jlohawk, the Oneida, and the Oswego were alive 
with hundreds of boats, their banks resounded with the 
tramp of armed battalions, and the deer and the panthers 
alike shrank back affrighted from the countless camp-fires 
which blazed upon their woodland shores. 

In the forepart of July the whole force arrived at Os- 
wego. Great preparations had to be made ere this army, 
the largest ever seen within this county, could be embarked 
on its destined voyage. On the 25th of July Amherst 
was joined by Sir William Johnson, with six hundred Iro- 
quois warriors, and this number was soon swollen to over 
thirteen hundred by those called French Iroquois, anxious 
to make their peace with the conquering English. Never 
before nor since has Oswego exhibited such an animated 
and variegated scene as during the latter part of July and 
forepart of August, 17tiO. Four thousand regulars, re- 


splendent in the gaudy uniform of England, moved with 
martial port about the frontier fortress, or engaged in mili- 
tary manoeuvres, executed with machine -like precision. 
Six thousand provincials, mostly sturdy New York Dutch- 
men and keen-foccd New Englanders, whose uniforms, if 
not so brilliant, were generally new, and who had seen too 
much hard service to be despised as soldiers, even by 
European veterans, proudly marched and countermarched 
to martial strains, in which the time-honored sounds of 
" God Save the King" were mingled with the newly-in- 
vented air of " Yankee Doodle." 

Supplies were being brought forward by the ton ; hun- 
dreds of carpenters were at work constructing boats ; the 
whole locality rang with the noise of axe and mallet, of 
drum and fife, of shout and song, and amid the excitement 
the thirteen hundred plumed and painted Iroquois forgot 
for the moment that their hunting-grounds were being over- 
run with fearful rapidity, and were ready to follow Brother 
Warragiyaghey, alias Sir William Johnson, to the death. 

Man}' were the men, then or afterwards celebrated in 
American history, congregated at that time at the mouth 
of the Oswego. The commander-in-chief. General Jeffrey 
Amherst, afterwards Lord Amherst, though devoid of great 
genius, was an energetic and fliithful soldier, then forty- 
three years of age, a firm but not harsh commander, highly 
respected by his men, and ever ready to share their hard- 
ships and their dangers. General Gage, the second in 
command, a bluif, dull-witted British general, of the regu- 
lation pattern, was destined to reap a dubious fame as the 
presiding genius on the English side at the opening of the 
Revolution, and then to sink into obscurity. 

More famous at that time than even the commander-in- 
chief, Sir William Johnson was doubtless the busiest of all 
the busy throng. Pioneer, fur-trader, soldier, man of busi- 
ness, magistrate, superintendent of Indian affairs, council- 
lor of the province of New York, chief of the Mohawks, 
and baronet of the Kingdom of Great Britain, this " Trib- 
une of the Six Nations," as he has been aptly called, was 
then, at the age of about forty-five, in the full vigor of 
strength, the full flush of power, the full tide of success in 
all his undertakings. 

General John Bradstreet, the quartermaster - general, 
whose doings in the vicinity of Oswego we have so often 
had occa.sion to chronicle during the previous four years, 
was by this time recognized by the commander-in-chief as 
one of the efficient officers on the continent. He was 
taken sick, however, while at Oswego, and did not accom- 
jiany the expedition down the St. Lawrence. His coad- 
jutor and friend. Major Philip Schuyler, being on other 
service, wa.s not with Amherst's army that summer. There 
was another Revolutionary officer there, the opposite of 
Schuyler in every respect except valor and patriotism. 
This was that rough but stanch Connecticut fai-mer who 
left his oxen unyoked in the furrow at the news of Lexing- 
ton, and whose fame is now especially united to the glories 
of Bunker Hill, but who was known to the army encamped 
at Oswego in 1760 as Lieutenant-Colonel Israel Putnam. 

Many others of minor fame were employed under the 
skillful direction of Amherst in forwarding operations, and 
on the 9tli of August all was ready. Hundreds of whale- 

boats were loaded with artillery and supplies, and Colonel 
Haldimand had been sent ahead with a thousand men to 
clear the way. 

On the lOtli occurred the scene, .somewhat remarkable 
in the history of war, of the embarking of over ten thou- 
sand men in open boats to traveree a lake and river for 
more than two hundred miles. A great host of bateaux 
and whale-boats were filled with regulars and provincials, 
the Iroquois warriors, with Warragiyaghey at their head, 
occupied their light canoes, a long train of artillery and 
supply-boats brought up the rear, and then, to the sound 
of martial music, with flashing oars and waving banners, 
the grand army set forth on its watery path to the Franco- 
American capital. 

Amhenst's plan of advancing by three routes was faulty 
enough, for it involved the possibility of the enemy's de- 
feating all the corps in detail. Had the French had any- 
thing like equal numbers, and been directed by the genius of 
Montcalm, such a consequence might perhaps have resulted. 
They were, however, too much enfeebled and discouraged 
to make the attempt. Captain Pouchot gallantly defended 
Fort Levis, below Ogdensburgh, but the fort was soon cap- 
tured by the overwhelming numbers of the English, and 
that brave and skillful, but unfortunate, officer was again 
sent as a prisoner through Oswego. 

In September, the Marquis de Vaudreuil surrendered 
Montreal, and with it all Canada. This ended forever the 
rule of France in this part of America, although the formal 
treaty of peace was not signed until February, 1763. Am- 
herst's provincials returned home by way of Lakes Cham- 
plain and Ontario, the regulars were distributed where their 
presence was most needed, and Oswego County saw no more 
of the grand pageants which had so lately enlivened its 
sylvan scenery. 



FROM 1761 TO 1775. 

of Luiidic" 



■Tbi- Fir: 

Sehuol — Military Garileiiing — The Patlilinder, Kau-Douce, Dcw-iif- 
June, etc.— A Sudden Death— The Chieftain's Funeral— Brad- 
strccfs Western Expedition — A Dramatic Meeting— A Week's 
Festivities— The " Property Line"— Tryon County— The Troops 
withdrawn— Death of Sir William Johnson. 

A CONSIDERABLE force was Still thought necessary at 
Oswego, and the greater part of the Fifty-fiflh Infantry, a 
regiment mostly raised in Scotland, was transferred thither 
from Montreal immediately after the surrender. The com- 
mander was Major Alexander Duncan, commonly called 
" Duncan of Lundie," from the estate which belonged to 
his family. One of its captains was Duncan McVicar, a 
Scotchman, whose wife and little daughter had been living 
on the Hudson while he was doing duty with the army. 
He was determined to take them to Oswego, and they are 
supposed to have been the first white females belonging to 
any, except the lowest, class that ever visited this county. 
Little Annie McVicar was hardly six years old, but very 
precocious, and having a most remarkable memory. Nearly 
fifty voars later, and forty years aflcr she had returned to 


Scotland, having, under the name of Mrs. Grant, acquired 
considerable literary fame, she wrote a book, entitled " Me- 
moirs of an American Lady" (Mrs. Schuyler, aunt of the 
general!, which is widely recognized as the most charming 
picture extant of New York colonial society and life. Three 
chapters of her work are devoted to her journey to, and 
stay in, Fort Ontario, which bring vividly before the reader 
that frontier post as it was a hundred and sixteen years ago. 

The McVicars came through in October, 1760, with a 
company of soldiers of the Fifty-fifth, in bateaux, follow- 
ing the usual — not well-trodden, but well-paddled — course, 
and fevr things in literature are more pleasant than the 
romantic child's description of their forest-shaded voyage 
and fire-lighted bivouacs. The last night of their journey was 
spent at Fort Brewerton, then garrisoned by a company of the 
Fifty-fifth, under Captain Mungo Campbell, another Scotch 
officer, afterwards killed at the battle of White Plains. 

They found Fort Ontario a large structure, built of 
" earth and logs," as Mrs. Grant expressed it. The major 
commanding was a shrewd, quaint, hard-headed, middle- 
aged Scotchman, who ruled his young subordinates with 
despotic, yet fatherly, control. He had had fitted up for 
his own use a small frame house on wheels, which could be 
moved to any part of the parade. The thin walls and 
floor were supplemented by an ample lining of deer-skins, 
bear-skins, etc., and the area was divided into two parts, — • 
one serving as the commandant's bedroom, the other as 
eating-room and library. 

Here, during the long winter, which completely closed 
all communication with the civilized world, the subordinate 
officers were a.ssembled for instruction by the worthy major, 
and required to take their daily lessons with the regularity 
of school-boys. The object of the major was, doubtless, 
not so much to make his officers good scholars as to keep 
their faculties from rusting and their habits from lapsing 
into dissipation through the idleness so common in unoccu- 
pied garrisons. Whatever the object, this was undoubtedly 
the first school ever taught in Oswego County. 

When spring came, both officers and men, when not em- 
ployed in the chase, were kept busy in agricultural labors. 
Of the large tract which had been cleared around the fort, 
either for defensive purposes or to provide firewood for the 
many successive garrisons, a portion was devoted to the 
raising of beans, peas, Indian corn, etc., by the men, an- 
other to the gardening operations of the officers. The 
shrewd and kindly Duncan had thus the gratification not 
only of raising on that new, strong soil the largest beans, 
onions, and squashes in America, but of keeping his officers 
and men out of mischief to a very remarkable extent. 
Major Duncan's garden lay in the hollow south of the fort, 
where, E. W. Clark states, the appearances of it could be 
seen sixty or seventy years ago. The McViears returned 
to Albany in 1761, but Major Duncan and six companies of 
the Fifty-fifth remained there until 17G5, the necessity for 
this large garrison being caused by the difficulties with the 
western Indians. 

It was during the reign of Duncan of Lundie that 
Cooper lays the opening scenes of his celebrated novel, 
" The Pathfinder," in Oswego County. It was near the 
Oneida river that Cap, tlic sailor, Mabel Dunham ("the 

sergeant's daughter"). Arrowhead, and Dew-of-June met 
Jasper Western (Eau-Douce), Chingachgook (the Big Ser- 
pent), and the redoubtable Pathfinder. It was down the 
Oswego falls that Pathfinder and Eau-Douce ran their bark 
canoe, while the veteran salt-water sailor sat in the middle 
of it trembling for the consequences, — a feat which Cooper 
thinks it needful to verify by declaring that he has seen a 
long thirty-two-pound cannon floated over the same dubious- 
looking track. It was on the western border of Volney 
that the party hid in a leafy cove, while their savage pur- 
suers passed by, and that Big Serpent tomahawked the 
inquisitive Iroquois. It was at Fort Ontario that Duncan 
of Lundie and Quartermaster Davy Muir disputed regard- 
ing the three or four wives of the latter, and that the great 
contest of marksmanship came ofi' in which Eau-Douce, 
through the complaisance of Pathfinder, won the silken 
calash which he bestowed on Mabel Dunham. 

Pontiac's war, which broke out in 1762, created great 
excitement in all the frontier posts, but did not extend as 
far east as Oswego. When they heard of it, several chiefs 
of one of the Canadian tribes came to visit Major Duncan. 
He invited them to return with their people, and celebrate 
the accession of the new king, George the Third, and renew 
the treaty of peace with Britain. They did so, witnessed 
a review, and were supplied with a grand feast outside the 
fort. The principal chief and his brother, a pair of stal- 
wart braves, were invited to dinner with the officers. When 
they were seated, the major called for wine to drink the 
health of King George. Scarcely had this been done by 
the assembled party, when the sachem's brother fell lifeless 
on the floor. The usual remedies in case of fainting were 
applied, without effect. The chief looked quietly on while 
these efforts were being made, but when convinced that his 
brother was indeed dead, he drew his blanket over his head 
and burst into tears. 

Indian life is not conducive to apoplexy or heart-disease, 
and such sudden deaths are almost unknown among them. 
The officers might well fear that some sinister interpretation 
would be put on this strange event, following so soon after 
drinking the wine given by the English to the deceased. 
The weeping of a warrior was something equally unknown, 
and betokened a degree of grief which might easily turn 
to revenge. But presently the chieftain threw back his 
blanket, arose, and in a dignified manner addressed the 
English. He acquitted them of all part in his brother's 
death, and declared that their common enemies, the Hurons, 
should weep tears of blood for all those which he had slied 
for his brother. 

Major Duncan ordered the dead warrior to be buried 
with the greatest ceremony. His body was borne to the 
grave to the sound of muflied drums and booming cannon, 
attended by a guard with reversed arms, while British offi- 
cers in full uniform walked in solemn procession with the 
warrior-brethren of the dead. The brother and companions 
of the deceased were highly pleased with these manifesta- 
tions of respect, and it is quite likely that this gratification 
•of their vanity made the apparently untoward death of the 
chief the cause of linking them more strongly to the Eng- 
lish interest. 

In 1764, General Bradstreet, so fre(|uently nientioued in 


these pages, was sent with a considerable force to quell the 
robellious Indians of the west. In the latter part of June 
he came across from the Mohawk valley to Oswego with 
from fifteen hundred to two thousand provincial troops from 
New York and New England, among whom Putnam, who 
never missed a chance for a fight, was in command of the 
Connecticut battalion. Shortly after their arrival they 
were joined by the "Tribune of the Six Nations," Sir 
William Johnson, with five hundred and thirty of his Iro- 
quois warriors. The e,Npedition sailed for Niagara on the 
3d of July. Johnson returned after holding a council at 
that post, but Bradstreet and his white and red command 
proceeded to the head of Lake Erie, inflicted some punish- 
ment on the hostile tribes, and did not return to Oswego 
till September. 

In the spring of 176G Sir William Johnson was ap- 
pointed commissary of trade for Oswego and all the west- 
ern posts. His duties are not definitely known, but from 
the title of his oflice it is presumed that they involved a 
general superintendence of the trafiic with the Indians at 
those points. 

In July of that year there occurred at Oswego oue of 
those dramatic events which we hardly expect to meet with 
(though we frequently do) in real life, and which would 
form an unsurpassed subject for the liistoric painter. In 
accordance with an arrangement made the previous year 
through Deputy Superintendent Croghan, Pontiac, the de- 
feated but hardly conquered Ottuwa chief, came from his 
home on the di.stant shores of Lake Michigan to meet Sir 
William Johnson at Oswego. It seems strange that one 
who had so deeply imbrued his hands in English blood 
should have trusted himself so far in the country of his 
conquerors; but a safe-conduct was granted him, and he 
seems to have relied implicitly on the good faith of the re- 
nowned Warragiyaghey. 

Pontiac, with a few of his tribe, came in canoes about 
the 18th of July, and Sir William arrived on the 20th. 
Nearly all the warriors of the Six Nations, too, came at the 
call of their superintendent, to give dignity and importance 
to the interview. An awning of evergreens was erected in 
the open air to protect the deliberations of the council from 
the rays of the July sun. On the 23d the high contract- 
ing parties met in a brief preliminary interview, to make 
each other's acquaintance, but nothing of consequence was 
done till the next day. 

On the 24th the council opened in full state. Standing 
beneath the shelter formed of the fragrant branches of the 
pine and hemlock were the two principals, each in his way 
one of the most remarkable men of the age. The broad- 
shouldered baronet, who never missed' an opportunity of 
pleasing his Indian friends, wore over his civilized costume 
a fine scarlet blanket edged with gold lace, while his full, 
strongly-marked features were surmounted with the cocked 
hat and plumes of a British colonel. The head of the tall, 
keen-eyed, hawk-visaged Ottawa was also adorned with 
plumes, — not, indeed, of the ostrich, but of the eagles which 
his rifle had brought to the earth, — and if his blanket was 
less costly than that of Sir William, it was worn with no 
less dignity and with much greater grace. 

Around these central figures the principal chiefs of the 

Six Nations reclined upon the ground iu .savage ease, yet 
with all possible decorum, while farther back was a host of 
the ordinary warriors, all in full co.stuine of feathers and 
paint in honor of the occasion. A group of British oflficcrs 
in their brilliant uniforms added variety to the scene, and 
the murmur of the wild Oswego furnished approi)riate 
music for this curious drama. 

Sir William lighted the great calumet, which had pre- 
viously been sent to him as a present by Pontiac, took a 
puflF himself, gravely presented it to his distinguished 
visitor, and then in turn to each of the Iroquois chiefs. 
Then the baronet opened his speech with the usual formula, 
presenting a belt of wampum to Pontiac, and declaring 
that thereby he " opened the door and made the road clear 
and smooth" for the English and Ottawas to meet each 
other in friendship. He then proceeded to discuss the 
position of afl"airs at con.siderable length, pointing out what 
the English had done and were willing to do for the west- 
ern Indians, and adjuring them to pursue henceforth the 
flowery paths of peace. At the conclusion Pontiac thanked 
the baronet for his remarks, said his speech Wiis "all good," 
and promised to reply to it the next day. 

On the 25th the council again met with the same for- 
malities as before. Though he had taken a night for de- 
liberation, Pontiac did not make a very lengthy address. 
The substance of it was that he too was in favor of peace ; 
that although he had been the enemy of the English he 
should be so no longer, and referred to the fact that he had 
always kept faith with the French as proof that he would 
do the same with the English. Sir William expressed his 
belief in these professions, and again the council adjourned. 

The se.ssions were continued for several days after that ; 
for however reticent the great Ottawa might be, there was 
abundance of eloquence garnered up for the occasion in the 
bosoms of the Iroquois chiefs, and it never would have 
done to prevent its due expression. There was much feast- 
ing, too, to be gone through with, and, doubtless, some 
drinking ; and it was a week from the opening of the 
council ere all these pleasing ceremonies were concluded. 

At length, on the day of July, Pontiac was ready 
to return home. Sir William presented to each of the 
princijwl chiefs, both Iroquois and Ottawa, a silver medal 
bearing this inscription : " A pledge of peace and friend- 
ship with Great Britain, 1766." Then Pontiac and War- 
ragiyaghey spoke their last adieus, the Ottau-n chief and 
his warriors entered their canoes and turned their prows 
westward, while the stately baronet watched them from the 
shore till they disappeared behind the nearest headland. 

But little requiring the historian's attention occurred in 
Oswego County from this time till the beginning of the 
Revolution. Oswego continued to be a thriving trading- 
post. We learn from Clark's " Onondaga" that Henry 
Van Schaak, of Albany, had an important trading-house 
there, transporting large quantities of merchandise around 
the portage at Fort Stanwix and Oswego falls, and carrying 
on an extensive trade at both Oswego and Niagara. 

In 1768, at a grand council between the English and the 
Six Nations, held at Fort Stanwix, of course under the 
management of Sir William Johnson, a " property line" was 
agreed on between the whites and Indians, beginning at the 


junction of Canada and Wood creeks, a little east of Rome, 
and running thence southward to the Susquehanna. West- 
ward of this line no lands were to be purchased by the 
whites. It was not continued northward from the mouth 
of Canada creek, as Sir William said the land in that di- 
rection was owned by the Mohawks and Oiieidas, with 
whom an agreement could be made at any time. Probably 
he left that part open hoping to carry the boundary farther 
westward the next time. It is uncertain what became, in the 
arrangements, of Sir William's two-mile belt around Oneida 
lake, which, according to Stone, was the first land legally 
granted in Oswego County, but we are inclined to think 
he surrendered his title to the Indians if he ever had any. 

Up to 1772, all this section, and all westward and north- 
ward to the boundaries of the State, was nominally a part 
of the county of Albany. In that year, all west of the 
present east line of Montgomery county was formed into 
a new county named Tryon, in honor of William Tryon, 
then the royal governor of New York. The officers who 
administered the laws in the settled portion were all ap- 
pointed on the nomination of Sir William, and as the Indian 
owners of this region usually complied with his wishes, he 
was very nearly the dictator of the county. 

Meanwhile the continued peace caused the almost entire 
withdrawal of military force. Fort Brewerton and the forti- 
fications at the falls and Three Rivers point were entirely 
abandoned, and the report of Governor Tryon shows that in 
177-4 Fort Ontario was dismantled, and only a few men were 
stationed there to keep it from falling into entire decay. 

In that year Sir William Johnson, so long intimately 
connected with the prosperity of Oswego, died suddenly at 
his residence, near Johnstown. His title and the greater 
part of his estate descended to his son. Sir John Johnson, 
and his office of superintendent was conferred on his nephew 
and son-in-law, Colonel Guy Johnson ; but the remarkable 
influence which he wielded over both whites and Indians 
could not be transferred to another. It has been supposed 
by many that his death was hastened by anxiety concerning 
the relations between England and the colonies, then rapidly 
hastening to a rupture, but there is no very strong reason for 
that opinion. There is no cause to doubt that had he lived 
he would have adhered to the royal cause, and it is certain 
that all his family and the majority of his especial friends 
took that side of the great contest. 



Distrust in the Mohawk Valley — Guy Johnson goes to Oswego — Great 
Council of the Six Nations— Quiet in 1770— Activity— The Koyal 
Greens at Oswego — The Gathering of the Clans — Brant's Rank — 
General St. Leger — Sir John Johnson — Butler and Brant— Setting 
forth to Victory— The Return— Oswego Abandoned— De- 
stroyed by the Americans— The Attack on the Onondagas— Sir 
John and Colonel Guy again — Re-establishinent of the Post — An 
Attempted Surprise— Lost in the Snow— The Return— Peace and 

When the Revolution broke out, in the spring of 1775, 
the distrust which, for the previous few months, had been 

growing up between the adherents of the Johnson family 
and the Whigs of the Mohawk valley, grew stronger with 
each successive day. The influence of the Johnsons with 
the Six Nations was especially dreaded. The Oiieidas and 
Tuscaroras, under the influence of their missionary, Samuel 
Kirkland, were disposed to be friendly to the colonists. No 
attempts were made to obtain their services, as the Ameri- 
cans, -at that time, would have been only too glad to secure 
the neutrality of all the tribes. It soon became certain that 
Guy Johnson was intriguing with the Indians against the 
Americans. Early in June he removed westward from the 
lower Blohawk valley, first to Fort Stanwix and then to 
Oswego, where he arrived on the 17th of June. He was 
accompanied by most of the Mohawk Indians, by several of 
the white loyalists of the valley, by Colonel John Butler, an 
officer of the old French war, who has been mentioned in 
this history, and by the celebrated Joseph Brant, a full- 
blooded Mohawk, whom Colonel Guy had made his private 
secretary. Sir John Johnson remained at Johnson Hall 
nearly a year longer. The superintendent sent messengers 
to the three western tribes, and, early in July, a large 
council of warriors and others was assembled at Fort Ontario. 
Colonel Johnson is said, in " Ramsey's History of the Revo- 
lution," to have invited the Indians to come to Oswego to 
" feast on the flesh and drink the blood of a Bostonian" (as 
all the Whigs were frequently called by the loyalists), and 
to have explained this ferocious expression as meaning that 
they were to eat a roast ox and drink a hogshead of wine. 
But, considering the natural disposition of the Indians, such 
a phrase, if u.sed at all, could only tend to fill them with fe- 
rocious hopes and stimulate them to bloody deeds. 

There was then no garrison or stores' at Oswego, and 
Johnson, before coming, had written to Niagara and Os- 
wegatchie for supplies. One small sloop came from Niagara 
with ninety barrels of provisions, — a small allowance for six- 
teen hundred and forty-eight hungry Indians and a hundred 
white men, which is stated in British official documents to 
have been the number present. This must have included 
the squaws and children. Colonel Johnson, in a letter to 
Philip V. Livingston, stated the number of warriors at 
thirteen hundred and forty, but this may have been an 
exaggeration to frighten the Americans. The best esti- 
mates give the total number of warriors in the four tribes 
which adhered to the English at about sixteen hundred, 
and it is hardly probable that so large a proportion of them 
as Johnson mentions had gathered at Oswego. 

At first the Indians were very unwilling to promise their 
assistance. Colonel Johnson labored assiduously to engage 
them on the English side, and in this he was warmly assisted 
by Brant, a shrewd, acute Mohaivk of about thirty-three, 
whose elder sister, Molly, had been the mistress of Sir 
William Johnson for twenty-five years before his death. 
Johnson, Butler, Brant, and others appealed to the Indians' 
avarice, declaring that the colonists were few and poor ; 
that the king was rich and powerful, both in money and 
men ; that his soldiers were as numerous as the leaves of 
the forest ; his gold as abundant as the dirt under their 
feet; and, best of all, that his rum was as plentiful as the 
waters of Lake Ontario. 

Finally, the Indians entered into some kind of an engage- 


luent to assist in defeiidiiig Lake Ontario and the St. Law- 
rence from the Americans, but did not, as we understand 
the British report, tlicn join in a complete offensive alliance. 

The superintendent then delivered to them a lot of new 
arms and other handsome presents, including a number of 
brass kettles, which for more than half a century afterwards 
were in use among the Seiiecas on the banks of the Gene- 
see. In fiict, the account of Mary Jcmison, the celebrated 
" white woman," then resident in that tribe, has it that the 
English oflScials gave every Indian a suit of clothes, a brass 
kettle, a gun, a tomahawk, scalping-knife, some ammunition, 
and a piece of gold. It is out of the question, however, 
that Guy Johnson could have had such stores at Oswego 
at that time, and certainly he did not pay out several thous- 
and dollars in gold, when he bad as yet received no definite 
order to enlist the services of the Indians. The letter of 
instructions to that effect was signed by Lord Dartmouth 
on the 24th of July, 1775, and could not have reached 
Colonel Johnson until September. 

The council was closed about the Stli of July. Most of 
the Indians returned home, but the Molumks, who had 
abandoned their home, accompanied Colonel Johnson and 
his white adherents to Canada. They set sail in their little 
sloop and a few small boats on the 11th of July, the whole 
number of whites and Indians being two hundred and twenty, 
and made their way to Montreal. Colonel Butler, however, 
proceeded to Niagara, of which post he was soon after placed 
in command. Oswego was left unoccupied, except perhaps 
by a few men to take care of the buildings. 

During the year 1776 nothing of especial consequence 
occurred in this county. The Indians were frequently 
visited by British agents to confirm their friendship for 
the king by presents and flattery, but they made no serious 
raids against the frontier. The Americans at first had con- 
siderable success in Canada, and this doubtless contributed 
to keep the red men quiet. 

But during the summer of 1776 our forces were driven 
out of that province, and early in 1777 great preparations 
were made by the British to follow up their success with 
crushing effect. A large army under General Burgoyno 
marched into northern New York, which was to be sup- 
ported by another strong force, entering by way of Oswego 
and sweeping down the Mohawk valley. There is some un- 
certainty about the details, but it is pretty sure that Sir John 
Johnson, with his regiment of " Royal Greens," and Colonel 
Claus, Guy Johnson's deputy (and, like him, a son-in-law of 
Sir William) came to Oswego as early as June, and began 
making preparations for the intended onslaught. Colonel 
Guy Johnson was at that time in New York, having visited 
England with Brant the year before, and returned to that 
port, whence the chief had been sent across the country, 
through the American lines, to rouse the Indians. He 
(Brant) had been making some threatening demonstrations 
on the upper Susquehanna, but drew off, and in July came 
to Oswego with his band. 

Numerous other warriors came in, especially Seiieais, that 
tribe being by far the largest and fiercest of the Six Nations. 
x\bout the middle of July, Colonel John Butler, also a dep- 
uty superintendent, came from Niagara to Oswego and held 
a council with the warriors, requesting them to take up the 

hatchet and engage in the projjoscd expedition. Some of 
the Indians demurred, declaring that they bad been invited 
to Oswego merely to hold a council and to see the British 
whip the rebels, — not to fight themselves. But the usual 
appeiJs to their cupidity and love of blood were made, and 
they were soon persuaded to take an active part. Stone, in 
his " Life of Brant," declares that from that time forward 
that chief was acknowledged as head war-chief of all the Six 
Nations. He gives, however, no authority for the statement, 
and all the circumstances show to the contrary. Brant was 
never spoken of as head-chief of the Six Nations in the 
British dispatches, but only as " Brant," or "Joseph, the 
Indian chief" He never signed himself a.s head-chief, 
though he was fond of using the far inferior title of " cap- 
tain," conferred on him by the king. Besides, there was 
no head war-chief according to the old customs of the con- 
federacy, and it is hardly probable that the English would 
have undertaken to introduce such an innovation, which 
would be certain to disgust all the Iroquois except the Mo- 
hdwks, — especially the Seiiecas, who were more jwwerful 
than all the other tribes who adhered to the British put 
together. It was customary, however, among the Six Na- 
tions to choose leaders for some particular battle or expe- 
dition, and it is not improbable that Brant was thus selected 
as commander of the Indians who were to accompany St. 
Leger, and afterwards of similar expeditions. 

Shortly after the council. General Barry St. Leger ar- 
rived with a body of regulars. For a short time Oswego 
bore once more the stirring and martial appearance to 
which it had been a stranger since the days of the old 
French war. Sir John Johnson, dark, sour-faced, and 
scowling, was drilling bis regiment of Tories, whose green 
coats covered hearts which, like his own, were fairly black 
with hatred of their old neighbors of the Mohawk valley. 
Big, burly, red-faced John Butler, of whom it could at least 
be said that he was a good, hard fighter, was getting " But- 
ler's Rangers" ready for action, and also giving attention to 
the Indian department. Brant, tall, slender, keen, and sin- 
ister in appearance, was gliding among the motley groups, 
clad in half-civilized, half-Indian attire, and ready to use pen 
or tomahawk as occasion might require. The scene was 
filled up with throngs of green-coated Tories, red-coated 
regulars, and naked Indians, while over all ruled Barry St. 
Leger, a plain, stubborn British officer, driven half frantic 
at times by the vagaries of his strange command, but never- 
theless dreaming of the glory to be won by his triumphant 
march to Albany. 

Meanwhile the Americans had not been idlt;. Old Fort 
Stanwix had been repaired and garrisoned, and had been 
rechristencd Fort Schuyler, but in common parlance still 
retained its former appellation, by which it will be called 
in this work when it may be necessary to mention it. The 
gallant Colonel Gansevoort had been placed in command. 
General Herkimer had called the militia of Tryon county 
to arms, though at first they responded but slowly. St. 
Leger knew it was not all plain sailing in front of him, and 
was determined that at he would not be surprised on 
his march. 

On the 27th of July the advance-guard set forth, con- 
sisting of a small detachment of the Eighth or King's regi- 


ment and a few Indians, under Lieutenant Bird. The 
main body followed the next day. Once more the turbid 
Oswego river and placid Oneida lake were vexed with the 
stroke of multitudinous oars and paddles, while bateaux and 
canoes bore white men and Indians on their mission of 
death. Bird's Indians were extremely insubordinate. Hav- 
ing got above the falls on the 27th he went forward the 
next morning two miles, but found that no Indians were 
accompanying him. He waited two hours, when sixteen 
Senecas came up. Then he advanced to Three River point, 
where he again waited two hours, when seventy or eighty 
JtJissismtffas made their appearance. But these declined to 
go any farther that day. Their canoes were full of fresh 
meat, and Bird learned that they had stolen two oxen from 
the army drove. They were determined to have a feast, and 
poor Bird had to go forward without them. He proceeded 
seven miles, encamped, and the next morning again set off 
without his "savages." That night he encamped at Nine 
Mile point, in the present town of Constantia, and the 
next day proceeded to Wood creek. 

Following the same route, St. Legcr, with the main body, 
arrived at Nine Mile point on the 1st of July, where he 
learned that Bird had already invested Fort Stanwix. He 
sent forward Brant " with his corps of Indians" (by which 
St. Leger may or may not have meant the whole Indian 
force) to assist Bird, and proceeded as rapidly as possible to 
join him with the army. 

The .siege of Fort Stanwix, the gallant defense made 
by Gansevoort, Willett, and their men, the bloody battle 
of Oriskany, the relief brought by Arnold and Larned, 
and the final abandonment of the siege, all lie outside 
the purview of this work. Suifice it to say that in the 
latter days of August the remains of the confident army, 
which had started for Albany a month before, came hurry- 
ing down the Oswego, defeated and crest-ftillen, its members 
thinned by battle and sickness, its artillery abandoned in 
the trenches before Stanwix, and its red allies having nearly 
all departed in anger to their homes to mourn over their 
many slaughtered brethren ; nay, it is said, on British au- 
thority, having vented their wrath by plundering the boats 
and murdering the straggling soldiers of King George. 

From Oswego, St. Leger, with his regulars, proceeded 
by way of Montreal to join Burgoyne. Butler, with his 
rangers, returned to Niagara, and Sir John Johnson took 
his Royal Greens back to Oswegatchie, or that vicinity. 
The Surrender of Burgoyne in October put an end to all 
hostile operations in New York for that season. Oswego 
was probably entirely abandoned. 

It was certainly unoccupied in March, 1778, and re- 
mained so throughout the sgring, except perhaps for a 
short time by parties pa.ssing from the St. Lawrence to 
Niagara, or the reverse. In the forepart of July, Colonel 
Gansevoort sent down Lieutenant McClellan to destroy Fort 
Ontario and the buildings around. The lieutenant found 
no one there but a woman and her children and a lad of 
fourteen. The family he placed in an outhouse with their 
furniture and some provisions, and then proceeded to burn 
all the other buildings, and as far as possible, with his .small 
force, to destroy the fortifications. The boy was taken as 
a prisoner to Fort Stanwix. These events took place at | 

Oswego almost exactly at the same time as the slaughter of 

From this time forward very little of any consequence 
occurred in Oswego County during the Revolution. It has 
been generally supposed that a strong post was maintained 
by the British at Fort Ontario, and that numerous bloody 
raids against the frontiers were set on foot from that locality ; 
but a close examination of the authorities shows that this is 
entirely a mistake. The Indian allies of the British were 
anxious for a post there for their protection, and in the 
spring of 1779 sent a delegation of chiefs to General Hal- 
diniand, at Montreal, charged, among other things, to re- 
quest the re-establishment of a fort at Oswego. General 
Haldimand explained that all his troops had been diverted 
to other points, and nothing was then done towards rcoccu- 

Probably if a British force had been stationed at Os- 
wego it would have saved the Oaoiulagas the destruction 
of their villages. Early that spring. Colonel Van Schaick 
left Fort Stanwix with about five hundred and fifty men, 
who rowed along the north shore of Oneida lake, and soon 
reached Onondaga landing, opposite old Fort Brewerton. 
There they left a guard with their boats, and marched rap- 
idly to the Onondaga villages, destroying the principal one, 
and, according to the ofiScial report, killing and capturing 
fifty warriors. 

Sullivan's great raid followed in the summer. In the 
autumn a slight attempt was made by the British to inau- 
gurate hostile proceedings at Oswego. Sir John John.son 
and Colonel Guy Johnson went thither in vessels from 
Niagara, and were joined by a considerable number of 
Indians. Another body, however, who marched along the 
shore, under Brant and some British ofiicers, did not come 
up, and the Canadian Indians who had been expected to 
make a foraging expedition to the vicinity of Fort Stan- 
wix declined to undertake the dangerous task. So Oswego 
was again abandoned. Sir John and Colonel Guy returned 
to Niagara, and the Indians were mostly distributed in 
winter quarters on the Niagara and the St. Lawrence. 

Colonel Guy Johnson, in giving an account of this trans- 
action to the home government, urged that Fort Ontario 
should be re-established the next spring, as the Indians had 
it much at heart. Whether it was so re-established in the 
spring of 1780 there is nothing to show. 

In the autumn of 1780 Sir John Johnson, with a force 
of Indians and whites, again passed through Oswego aud up 
the river to Oneida lake. There they concealed their boats, 
and passed by a circuitous route to the borders of Schoha- 
rie county. They inflicted great damage on the Americans, 
and finally succeeded in escaping despite all the efforts of 
the New York militia. 

It was not until 1782 that it is certain there was a gar- 
rison at the point in question. That season there was cer- 
tainly a small one there, and in the succeeding winter an 
effort was fnadc by the Americans to it. Under 
the special orders of Washington, the gallant Colonel Wil- 
lett as,sembled four hundred and seventy men at Fort 
Herkimer, in the present county of that name. They set 
out on the 8th of February, 1783, proceeding in sleighs 
over the ice of Oneida lake, near the north shore, till they 


reached Fort Brewerton. There they left their sleighs 
under a guard and went forward on foot. Striking through 
the woods, they reached Oswego river, three miles above 
the falls, about the 12th of February. At two in the after- 
noon they reached the '' lower landing." There they made 
seventeen scaling-ladders, and at night again moved forward. 

They walked on the ice as far as '• Bradstreet's rift," 
where they ag-ain struck into the woods to avoid discovery. 
An Oneida Indian was acting as a guide, and the wearied 
soldiers were warm with hopes of a successful surprise. 
But, after several hours of tramping in the snow, through 
the dense forest, it w;is found that the Oneida had last his 
way. All attempts to find it were unavailing, and nothing 
remained but to keep in motion till morning, lest they should 
succumb to the bitter cold. On they went, scarce knowing 
whither, hour aft<?r hour, until at length the late Febniary 
morning dawned on the disheartened soldiers. They found 
themselves at the side of the wood. Looking forward, they 
saw at the distance of three-quarters of a mile the very 
prize they had been seeking, — Fort Ontario, lying in uncon- 
cerned repose on the icy borders of the lake. They were 
on Oak hill, near the present corner of Utica and East 
Seventh streets, Oswego. 

Colonel Willett's orders from Washington were impera- 
tive not to attack the fort unless he cOuld surprise the gar- 
rison. It w;is accordingly out of the question to push 
across that three-fourths of a mile of open space. If they 
could retire to some place where they could build a fire, and 
remain in the vicinity till another night, the surprise might 
yet succeed. While the officers were discussing what was 
to be done, five British soldiers in fatigue dress, with axes 
on their shoulders, were seen approaching, evidently sent 
out to provide wood for the garrison. The Americans en- 
deavored to capture them without noise, but though two 
were taken three escaped, and fled with all speed to the 
fort. Soon the drums were heard beating to arms, the gar- 
rison swarmed upon the ramparts, and parties were seen 
shoveling the snow from the embrasures and pi-eparing the 
guns for action. 

All hopes of surprise were at an end, and Wiljett reluc- 
tantly gave the order to return. The men threw their 
scaling-ladders in the hollow, southeast of Oak hill, where 
the remnants of them were found by the early settlers, and 
made the best of their way back to Fort Brewerton. Dur- 
ing the trip, either coming or going, several men were badly 
frozen, and one colored man was frozen to death. Two 
men, Henry Blackmer and Joseph Perrigo, who afterwards 
both settled on the west side of the Oswego, above the 
falls, were badly frozen on this expedition. 

At Brewerton the battalion found their sleighs, and 
(juickly made their way to Fort Stanwix. When they ar- 
rived there they heard news which well compensated them 
for their disappointment at Oswego. Peace was declared, 
and their country was now one of the independent nations 
of the earth. 


FROM 1783 TO 1800. 

The nounclftry— The Iniquois NogloolcJ— Washington in th>- Iiiili;iii 
lloavcn— Treaty of 1784— The Two Land Companies— Treaties of 
178S— Woman's Rights— Oswego County bouglit liy the Whites- 
The Bonnty-Laws- Laying Out the Military Tract- Method of 
Allotment— The Survey Fifties- Classic Names— Oldest Deed- 
First Resident of Oswego County— The true Story of Frenchman's 
Island— Bruoo at Constantia— Herkimer County— Me.\ico— Ma- 
comb's Purchase- The Boylston Tract- The Roosevelt Purchase- 
Sale to Scriba— Cookburn'a Survey— Major Van Valkenburgh— 
Love and Murder — Great Gxcitemont — Vanderkcmp's E.xpedition 
—More about Frenchman's Island— A Scene on Lake Ontario— 
The Ariadne of Oneida Lake — A Bear in commaud of a Boat — The 
First Blacksmith in the County— Scriba begins Settlement— The 
Castorland Expedition— Marc Isombard Brunei- New Rotterdam 
—Oswego in 1793— A Grouty Captain— Brunei under a Tarpaulin 
-Stratagems and Troubles— "Jovial as Cupids"— Formation of 
Onondaga County— Mc.vioo Disorganized — Indian Troubles — Rob- 
bing a Boat— The Thunder of Cannon— Terrible Alarm— Stevens' 
Block-House— Wright's Survey- Van Valkenburgh at Fort Ontario 
—A Moral E.xplosion— The Town.ship Survey— Scriba's Names 
— La Rochcfoucauld-Liancourt — Condition of Rotterdam — The 
Last of Desvatines— An Adventure with Wolves— Mexico Reor- 
ganized — Oswego Surrendered — The Letter announcing it — Stow's 
Adventure-Selkirk'.- Piir.hasc-Sritlomcnt of Oswego— Settle- 
ment of Mexico— Sottl.imut ,.!' Rr.lReld- Scriba's Liberality- 
Laying out Oswego^l'irs' ■r..\vii iMlirors of Mexico — First Justice 
of the Peace— Settlement uf Uswugu Town— Formation of Oneida 
County- Assessment Roll of Mexico— Settlement of Scriba and 
New Haven — A Terrible Disaster — Mexico Divided. 

By the treaty of peace at the close of the Revolution it 
was provided that the line between the United States and 
the British dominions should run along the forty-fifth paral- 
lel and the middle of the St. Lawrence river, Lake Ontario, 
Niagara river, Lake Erie, etc , and that all posts held by the 
British south of that line should be given up. But when 
the next summer General Washington sent Baron Steuben 
to receive actual possession of those posts, he was astonished 
by a peremptory refusal on the part of the English authori- 
ties in Canada. Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, etc., were all 
held on to with a firm grasp, in direct violation of the 
treaty, and were so retained for over thirteen years. The 
excuse was that some action was expected or taken by some 
of the States unfavorable to English creditors. 

But while the English were thus eager to hold on to 
American soil, they had utterly neglected to make any pro- 
vision in the treaty for their Iroquois allies. These were 
left entirely to the mercy of the victors. By the same 
rules of confiscation applied to the Tories, and usually en- 
forced by concjuerors at that period, all the lands of the Six 
Nations, except those of a portion of the Oneidas and Tas- 
caroras, could have been appropriated by the victorious 
Americans. Prudence, however, as well as humanity for- 
bade the excessive exasperation of a people who, even 
though defeated, crushed, and driven from their homes, 
could yet inflict a terrible retribution ou their more power- 
ful but also more vulnerable enemies. 

It is said, also, that General Washington interposed in 
their behalf, and that the Iroquois have therefore made a 
place for him in the Indian heaven, where no other white 
man is ever allowed to enter. Just within the gate of the 
happy hunting-grounds they have located a walled inclosure, 


laid out with spacious avenues and shaded walks, filled with 
every object to make it delightful, and containing at its 
centre a splendid mansion built after the fashion of a fort- 
ress. Each good Indian, as he passes on to the regions 
where deer and buffalo furnish objects of eternal chase, sees 
the tall, dignified figure of Washington, ever clad in his 
Continental uniform of buff and blue, pacing to and fro in 
front of his fortress-mansion, uttering no word, but exist- 
ing in a state of perfect and silent bliss. 

Whether it be true that Washington interposed in favor 
of the Six Nations or not, it is certain that neither the gen- 
eral government nor the State of New York made any law 
appropriating the lands they had owned before the Revolu- 

In October, 1784, a treaty was made at Fort Stanwix 
with the Six Nations, by commissioners on the part of the 
United States, by which the Oneidas and Tiiscaroras were 
secured in the possession of the lands on which they were 
settled. The Mohawks, Ononda^as, Cnyngas, and Senecas 
surrendered all their lands west of the present location of 
Buffalo, and were confirmed in possession of that which 
they had held east and north of that point, reserving six 
miles square "around the fort of Oswego" to the United 
States fur the support of that post. This reservation, how- 
ever, was never claimed by the general government as 
against the State. 

Up to this time all western New York had remained 
nominally a part of Tryon county, being also comprised 
within the indefinite and far-reaching boundaries of 
"Kingsland district," now the town of Herkimer. In 
1784 the name of Tryon county was changed to Mont- 
gomery, in honor of the American hero who fell at Quebec. 

For several years the condition of the Indian lands 
remained uncertain, and many intrigues were entered into 
to control it. In the winter of 1787-88 two companies 
were formed for that purpose, — one called the " New York 
and Genesee Land Company," headed by John Livingston, 
a resident on the Hudson, and one termed the "Niagara 
Genesee Company," composed mostly of Canadians, and 
controlled by the notorious Colonel John Butler. The 
latter — retaining much of his old influence over the Six 
Nations, and being aided by Brant — obtained for his com- 
pany in November, 1787, a lease from the principal chiefs 
of the Six Nations, and another from those of the Oneidas 
alone, which covered all the Iroquois lands in New York, 
except some small reservations. The consideration was to 
be a payment of twenty thousand dollars down, and an an- 
nual rent of two thousand dollars, and the term was to be 
nine hundred and ninety-nine years ! The object of this 
was to evade the laws of New York, which forbade the 
sale of lands by Indians to any one out of the State. 

In the succeeding winter the two companies, having 
united their forces, boldly demanded a confirmation of their 
lease from the legislature. That body, however, promptly 
declared that a lease for nine hundred and ninety-nine 
years was in effect a deed, pronounced the lease of Butler 
and company void, and authorized the governor to use the 
military force of the State to prevent intrusion on the lands 
in question. 

In March, 1788, an act was passed appoirjting commis- 

sioners to treat with the Indians relative to the purchase of 
their lands by the State. The lessees made another effort, 
this time to get half of the Indian land and surrender the 
other half to the State. This attempt, too, was without 
avail, and in July a grand council was held at Fort Stan- 
wix by Governor George Clinton and the State commis- 
sioners with the chiefs of the Onondagas, Oneidas, and ' 

The Onondagas then ceded all their lands to the State, 
retaining the Onondaga reservation and the privilege of 
making salt at the salt springs. In consideration therefor 
the State agreed to pay a thousand French crowns in money, 
two hundred pounds (New York currency, — equivalent to 
five hundred dollars) in clothing, and five hundred pounds 
annually forever. It may be interesting to the advocates 
of women's rights to know that this treaty, which is the 
foundation of the title of a large part of the land of Oswego 
County, was signed not only by Governor Clinton and the 
State Commissioners, not only by the chiefs of the Bear, 
Deer, Eel, Tvvtk, Beaver, and Wolf clans, of the Onon- 
dagas, but by two ''governesses," or principal women, of 
that tribe. It was witnessed also by several prominent 
whites and Indians, and by Kayendatyona, " chief governess 
of the Senecas." 

The Cayugas made a similar cession at the same time. 

In September the Oneidas also granted all their lands to 
the State except some reservations. The greater part of 
the reserved land was outside of Oswego County, but there 
was a half-mile square reserved every six miles along the 
north shore of Oneida lake, and " a convenient piece at the 
fishing-place on Onondaga river, three miles below where 
it issues from Oneida lake." The consideration was two 
thousand dollars in cash, three thousand dollars in goods, 
provisions, etc., five hundred dollars towards building mills, 
and six hundred dollars in silver every year thereafter. 
This treaty, too, after the signatures of numerous chiefs, 
bore those of Konwagalot, Konawgalet, Hannah Sodolk, 
and Honoiiwayele, leading women of the tribe. 

The next year an act was passed by the legislature pro- 
viding for the laying out of a large part of the newly- 
acquired lands as bounties for Revolutionaiy services. This 
was in accordance with numerous previous enactments 
passed from 1781 to 1788. Three regiments had been 
raised in New York in the former year, intended chiefly for 
the protection of the frontier, to whom large bounties in 
land had been offered. In 1782 the legislature had desig- 
nated a tract in the centre of the State running southward 
from the mouth of the Oswego. In 1783 they had con- 
firmed this grant, and provided for bounties for general 
officers who were citizens of New York, and for various 
other classes of ofllicers, and also provided for giving an 
extra hundred acres to each private (with proportionate 
sums to the oflicers) who would relinquish the hundred 
acres in the west which he was entitled to under a law of 
Congress. The object of this last provision seems to have 
been to induce New York men to remain in New York. 
By a law of 1784 two square miles of land at the mouth 
of the Oswego (a square mile on each side) had been re- 
served by the State. It is worth noticing that even at that 
late day it was set down in all desorijitions that the "Onon 



daga," as it was then called, ran westward, and that the 
shore of Lake Ontario ran nortli and south. The description 
in question provides very precisely that tlie lines of the 
reservation shall run " from the mouth of said river, and 
on both sides thereof, as the same runs, one mile, then ex- 
tending northerly and soidherli/ one mile, with a line per- 
pendicular to the general course of the river within the said 
mile, thence wesfei-li/ with the said general course to Lake 
Ontario ; thence northerly and southerly to the places of 

Another reservation was provided for at " the falls, com- 
monly called Oswego falls, on the Onondaga river," with 
the somewhat indefinite boundary of beginning " twenty 
chains above where the bateaux were usually taken out of 
the said river to be carried across the portage, and extending 
down the said river twenty chains below where the bateaux 
were usually put into the said river, after having been trans- 
ported over the said portage, and extending northeasterly 
in every part between the said two places ten chains from 
the said river." 

By the same law of 1784 the governor, lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, and four other State officers were appointed commis- 
sioners to convey the lands to the soldiers or their assigns. 
All this time the land itself — at least that part in Central 
New Y'ork — had remained in po-ssession of the Indians, 
and the fort at Oswego, around which the State designated 
the lines of its reservation, was firmly held by the British. 
There were lands on which bounty warrants could be located 
in the northern part of the State, but most of the holders 
of those warrants preferred to wait for the opening of the 
rich tract lying south of Oswego. 

At length, as before stated, those lands were purchased, 
and the law of February 28, 1789, was passed. By that 
act, modified by the law of April 6, 1790, the commissioners 
of the land-office were authorized to direct the surveyor- 
general to lay out as many townships as might be necessary 
to satisfy the lawful claims for bounty, each township to 
contain sixty thousand acres, and to be as near square as 
practicable. This would make them nearly ten miles square, 
— or, to be precise, a trifle over nine and two-thirds miles 
square. The commissioners were required to number the 
townships, and were for some reason commanded to put 
township No. 1 on the west side of the Oswego fldls. 
They were also required to give to each town.ship an indi- 
vidual name. Each township was then to be subdivided 
into a hundred lots, as near square as might be, each con- 
taining six hundred acres. This was the amount allowed 
to a private soldier, including the tract received in lieu of 
western land. 

All who claimed under the bounty laws were required to 
present their claims before the first day of July, 1790. 
Then the commissioners were directed to have each man's 
name written on a ballot, with extra ones for the officers, 
and all put in a box. The lots in each town.ship were then 
to be numbered, and the number of each with its township 
written on a ballot, and all those ballots to be put in another 
box. A person appointed by the commissioners was to 
draw a man's name from the box of names and then a lot- 
number from the box of lots. That lot was to belong to 
that man. But there were six lots not to be allotted in 

each township. Two of these were reserved respectively 
for the support of schools and of the gospel, and the rest 
to fill out the sliares of commissioned officers which might 
not make exact multiples of six hundred. Most of them 
did, however; a lieutenant receiving twelve hundred acres, 
a captain eighteen hundred, a major twenty-four hundred, 
etc. There was a further provision that a settlement must 
be made on every six-hundred-acre tract within seven years 
after the issuing of a patent, on penalty of the lands revert- 
ing to the State ; an condition, which was probably 
complied with. 

This was the origin of the celebrated " Military Tract," 
within the bounds of which are comprised all that part of 
Oswego County west of the Oswego river. 

Besides certain small fees in money, fifty acres in one of 
the corners of each six-hundrcd-acre lot were made subject 
to a charge of forty-eight shillings (six dollars) to pay the 
expenses of surveying. If the owner of the lot paid that 
sum in two years after receiving a patent, the whole title 
vested in him ; if not, the surveyor-general was required to 
sell the "survey fifty" to the highest bidder for the benefit 
of the State. 

The people were evidently in great haste to occupy the 
fertile lands from which they had so long been shut out. 
In the .spring of 1790 the commissioners advertised for the 
appearance of claimants, and on the 3d of July in that 
year, only two days after the time allowed by law, they 
met to distribute the land. Twenty-five townships had 
been laid out under the direction of the surveyor-general, 
Simeon Do Witt. According to law, the designation of 
No. 1 was affixed to the township adjoining the falls on the 
west. The one north of it was marked as No. 2 ; No. 3 
was south of No. 1, and then the numbers ran up as they 
went south, where most of the tract lay. The commission- 
ers were very classical. They named township No. 1 Ly- 
sander; No. 2 Hannibal; and gave the names of distin- 
guished ancients to all the other townships but three, who 
were called after equally distinguished Englishmen. Ly- 
sander and Hannibal were the only ones of which any 
portion is now comprised within the county of Oswego, and 
therefore the only ones it is needful for us to mention. 
Readers must always bear in mind the difference between a 
survey township and a political town. The survey town- 
ship of Hannibal comprLsed the present towns of Hannibal 
and Oswego, and a small part of Granby, in Oswego County, 
and the town of Sterling, in Cayuga county. Lysander 
embraced the greater part of Granby, in Oswego County, 
the present town of Lysander, and part of another in 
Onondaga county. 

On the same day above mentioned the commissioners 
proceeded to allot that immense quantity of land — a mil- 
lion and a half of acres — in the manner prescribed by law. 
Patents were soon issued, but in very few cases did these 
go to the soldiers who did the fighting. Out of fifty-eight 
names of officers and soldic^rs on a page of the old " ballot- 
ing-book" belonging to B. B. Burt, Esq., from which we 
have gleaned most of the facts regarding the Military Tract, 
only three received their land in person. All the rest had 
sold their claims. 

The oldest deed on record in the O.swcgo CouMty clerk's 



office is from Dennis McCarthy and William Whalen, of 
lots 42 and 53, in the survey-township of Hannibal, to 
parties who immediately transferred the same to William 

Settlement immediately began on the Military Tract, but 
not at first on the northern portion, in what is now Oswego 
County. Meanwhile we will cross the river, and see what 
is going on there. 

The first white resident of Oswego County was Oliver 
Stevens, who located at Fort Brewerton in 1789, began 
trading with the Indians, and kept a rude tavern for the 
accommodation of boatmen. In 1791, Major Ryal Bing- 
ham settled in the vicinity of the fort, on land leased of a 
Mr. Kaats, who had procured the title. He, however, 
remained but two years, while Stevens became a permanent 

That year (1791), also, another man made his home in 
Oneida county with his family, whose residence there has 
been the theme of many a romantic tale. This was the 
hero of the celebrated episode of "Frenchman's island." 
He has usually been metamorphosed into Count St. Hi- 
lary, and he and his young bride are generally supposed to 
have fled from the Reign of Terror in France ; but, ac- 
cording to his own account, he left that country long before 
the period in question. Other published accounts have 
been still more fanciful. Indeed, the story has been writ- 
ten and told with so many variations, with so evident a 
desire to make the most of the romance, that some have 
doubted the truth of the whole account, iind have looked 
on the noble Gaul and his fair bride as a mere myth of an 
imaginative brain. But this is a mistake ; there really was 
such a couple, and their adventures were suflSciently ro- 
mantic to make the aid of fiction entirely unnecessary. 

There are at least three authentic records, by personal 
wiinesses, regarding them. The first is found in the letters 
of Francis Adrian Vanderkemp, regarding a voyage through 
Oneida lake in 1792, published in 1876 in the Centennial 
address of John F. Seymour, at Trenton, Oneida county. 
The second is the " Castorland Journal," a very interesting 
account of the voyage of certain Frenchmen to the Black 
river by way of Oswego, in 1793. The " Journal" lies 
not been published, but has been translated from the French 
and annotated by Dr. Franklin B. Hough, the well-known 
historian, to whom we are indebted for the privilege of 
using it. The third is the published travels of the Duo de 
la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, who saw the exiles in 1795. 
From these three accounts, which agree in all substantial 
respects, it is easy to learn the truth regarding the story of 
Frenchman's island. 

The man's name was De Vatine or Desvatines ; the latter 
is the form used by most of the witnesses, and will be adopted 
in this narrative. He claimed to have been a seigneur near 
Lisle, France, and that his father had squandered a largo 
part of the estate. The young man sold the remainder for 
a sum variously estimated at from five thousand to forty 
thousand dollars, and came to America with his newly- 
wedded wife in 1786, several years before the French revo- 
lution. Unused to the country, and of a volatile dispo- 
.sition, he wasted half his fortune in traveling and buying 
worthless land, and then, to recuperate, engaged in trade in 

New York with a partner who ran away with nearly all 
their joint property. Desvatines gathered up the remaining 
pittance, and, disgusted with civilization, determined to 
make his home in the wilderness. He sold the most of his 
furniture, but retained his library and a little silver for the 

It was in the spring or summer of 1791 that the exiles 
with their two children first located on " Frenchman's 
island," where Desvatines began to make a clearing with his 
own hands. He was unable to complete a building in 
which it was possible to pass the winter, and when that 
season approached he took his family to live with the 
Oneida Indians at the east end of the lake, while he spent 
his time hunting with the warriors. The 0»eiV/a.'! treated 
the unfortunate family very kindly, and Desvatines always 
spoke of them with grateful warmth. 

In the spring of 1792 they returned to the island, where 
Madame Desvatines gave birth to a child, Camille Desva- 
tines, probably the first white child born in Oswego County 
outside the military esta'olishments. Notwithstanding his 
somewhat frivolous disposition, Desvatines seems to have 
done a good deal of hard work for a man who had been 
reared in ease. Unaided, and without a team, he cleared 
a tract of some six acres, planted it with corn, built a cabin 
in which his family could live, and a still ruder one which 
served as a kitchen. 

The nearest neighbor of the Desvatines was a Mr. Bruce, 
previously a Connecticut merchant, who built him a cabin 
in 1791 or 1792 on the site of Constantia village, main- 
taining himself by hunting, fishing, and raising potatoes. 
Leaving Bruce, Desvatines, Bingham, and Stevens, as the 
white occupants of Oswego County outside of Fort Ontario, 
we must go back a little to look up the title to the land 
and the municipal organizations. And first, regarding the 

In the spring of 1791 the county of Herkimer was set 
off from Montgomery, embracing the whole country from 
the west line of the latter county to the east line of Ontario 
and from Tioga north to St. Lawrence. On the 10th of 
April, 1792, the first town was erected, of which the name is 
still retained, in Oswego County. This was Mexico. Its 
eastern boundary, as defined by law, was a line drawn north 
and south through the mouth of Chittenango creek, on the 
south shore of Oneida lake, striking through the west part 
of Con.stantia, the east part of Parish, and so on northward, 
leaving the eastern part of Oswego County in Whitestown. 
Its western boundary was the west line of the survey- 
townships of Lysander and Hannibal. North and south 
it was near a hundred miles long. The old town records 
are alL lost, and as the town was afterwards reorganized, 
same have doubted whether it was organized at all under 
the law of 1 792. There is every reason, however, to believe 
that it was, for there was already a considerable population 
iu what is now Onondaga county. 

On the 22d of June, 1791, Alexander Macomb, of New 
York city, father of the celebrated general of the war of 
1812, on behalf of a'company, supposed to consist of him- 
self, Daniel McCormick, and William Constable, applied to 
the State commissioners of the land-ofiice to purchase a 
tract of nearly four million acres in the present counties of 


St. Lawrence, Franklin, Jefferson, Li'wis, and Oswego. 
The southwestern boundary of tlie tract ran southeasterly 
from the mouth of Salmon river to the present soutliwest 
corner of Lewis county, thus inclosiri": the present towns 
of Redfield, Boylston, Orwell, Sandy Creek, and part of 
Richland. The price offered was eightpence (which, in 
New York currency, was about the same as eight cents) 
per acre. The proposition was accepted, and on the 10th 
of January, 1792, nearly two million acres, including the 
part of O.swego County above described, w;is conveyed to 
Macomb by patent. 

Macomb seems to have been very much embarrassed, 
and in June following conveyed the whole tract to Consta- 
ble. The latter immediately went to Paris to sell the land. 
An association was formed there, called the Castorland Com- 
pany, to purchase a large tract in Jefferson and Ljwis 
counties. The agents of that company were the authors 
of the " Castorland Journal" before referred to, and which 
will be again drawn upon for information. 

Constable, that same year, sold over a million acres, in- 
cluding the Oswego lands, to Samuel Ward, who imme- 
diately transferred to Thomas Boylston, of Boston, a tract 
of eight hundred thousand acres, of which those lands 
were a part. Thence came the name of the Boylston tract. 
Boylston held the Oswego County portion three or four years, 
but finally it was reconvej'ed to Constiible, doubtless for in- 
ability to complete the payment. While in Boylston's hands, 
or held by trustees fur him, it was surveyed into townships, of 
which all the names but one have been dropped from use. 
Township No. 12 of that tract was called Redfield, and now 
constitutes the south part of the town of that name. No. 
7, being now the north part of Redfield, was called Arcadia. 
No. G, now Boylston, was Campania; No. 11, now Orwell, 
wasLonginus; while No. 10, comprising the present town of 
Sandy Creek, the north part of Richland, and the corner of 
Albion, then bore the terrible appellation of "Rhadamant." 
Minos, the companion judge of Rhadamanthus, was honored 
by his name being given to the present town of EUisburg, 
Jefferson county. These two last names, not to be found 
in any of the gazetteers, were procured from a curious old 
map, in the possession of the Scriba fiimily, showing all the 
survey-townships of northern and central New York, seventy 
years ago. 

A few weeks after Macomb made his application, John 
and Nicholas Roosevelt, likewise of New Y^ork city, applied 
to the commis-sioners to purchase a tract of a little over five 
hundred thousand acres, lying between Oneida lake, Oswego 
river. Lake Ontario, Macomb's purchase, and " Orthout's 
patent." The price offered was three shillings and one 
penny (nearly thirty-nine cents) per acre. One-jixth of 
the purchase money was to be paid in six months, one-half 
of the remainder in one year, and the rest in two years. 
These terms were accepted by the commissioners, and there 
is in the possession of the Scriba family a certificate of such 
acceptance, under the broad seal of the State, signed by 
Governor George Clinton. 

On the 7th day of April, 1792, the Roosevelts sold their 
contract to the person whose, name has ever since been a.s- 
sociated with that immense tract of land. This was George 
Frederick William Augustus Scriba, who usually signed him 

self simply George Scriba, a native of Holland, and then a mer- 
chant of New York city. To ascertain the number of acres 
for which Scriba was to pay, the outer boundaries of the tract 
wore run and the contents estimated, in 1792, for the Roose- 
veltii, by James Cockburn, under the general direction of 
his brother William, an eminent surveyor, of Kingston, 
New York. With the necessary assistants, James Cock- 
burn pa.s.sed down the north shore of Oneida lake, and fol- 
lowed all the windings of the Oneida and Oswego rivers, 
constantly measuring distances and taking angles. Arriv- . 
ing at Oswego, he applied to the commander to let him run 
his line to the mouth of the river. But the officer refused 
to allow him to come within range of the guns of the fort. 
So he was obliged to make an offset and .strike the lake east 
of the fort, though he managed to take several observations 
by means of the flagstaff. The fort, which then mounted 
only four carriage-guns, was garrisoned by a company of 
Royal Americans and a few artillerists. There were no 
inhabitants outside the fort, and a British custom-house 
officer exercised his functions as coolly as if the territory 
belonged to King George IIL 

Cockburn then proceeded along the south shore of Lake 
Ontario, and the northeastern and eastern linos of the pur- 
chase. On completing his work he made a map of the tract, 
under the n<ime of the Roosevelt Purchase, a few copies of 
which are still extant. Mr. Scriba did not receive a patent 
for the tract until December, 1794 ; but before reaching 
that point we must turn our attention again to the course of 

Lawrence Van Valkenburgh, popularly known as '• the 
major," having acquired an interest in lot 75, on the west 
side of the river, came there early in 1792, accompanied by 
two laborers, Valentine and Schermerhorn, and a colored 
slave boy called " Har." Two men, named Olcott and Fow- 
ler, brought some Indian goods to the falls a little later, and 
began trading. Major Van Valkenburgh. having set iiis 
men to work, returned cast. In his absence Schermerhorn 
died, and was buried by Olcott, Valentine, and " liar," en- 
wrapped in a blanket, while a few pieces of bark did duty 
in jilace of a coffin. 

. Shortly afterwards, and before the major's return, Val- 
entine contracted a special friendship for a squaw, or was 
suspect<id of having done so by her copper-colored liege 
lord. The latter made some hostile demonstrations against 
the intruder, a quarrel ensued, and Valentine struck the 
Indian on the head with a hoe, causing his death. Instantly 
a tremendous excitement arose among the Indians, accom- 
panied by a very natural terror on the part of the two or 
three whites and the negro. 

Valentine sold Major Van Valkenburgh 's oxen and gun 
to the English at Oswego, and fled to Canada. Olott and 
" Har" left for the eastern settlements, but were ni-t at 
Three Rivers point by the major, who returned to the falls 
with them, and addres.scd himself to the task of pacifying 
the Indians. The British commander at Fort Ontario sent 
up a detachment of soldiers for the same These 
efforts were successful, though there was much ill feeling 
for a long period. 

Governor Clinton offered a reward for the capture of Val- 
intine, and in time the latter Wiis brought back from Canada. 


It is said that the person who brought him promised to give 
him half the reward if he would come quietly, as there was 
no extradition treaty in those days. Valentine was tried 
at Whitesboro', then the county-seat of Herkimer county, 
and acquitted, but the tradition runs that the speculator 
who arrested him kept the whole of the reward. 

Another event of 1792 was the expedition of Francis 
Adrian Vanderkemp, a distinguished citizen of Holland, 
who fled from that country on account of having engaged 
in an unsuccessful attempt at revolution, and who was ex- 
amining the Roosevelt purchase with a view to settlement. 
He was accompanied by the Baron De Zeng, a German 
nobleman, sometimes called Major De Zeng, who had come 
from Saxony to take part in the American Revolution, and 
had become a permanent resident of the country. 

In June the travelers, with two servants, entered Oneida 
lake in their canoe, and proceeded to the mouth of Scviba 
creek (where Constantia village now stands), which was 
then called Bruce creek, from the solitary resident of that 
name before mentioned. They then visited " Frenchman's 

It has been questioned as to which of the two islands 
near together was actually occupied by " the Frenchman," 
but Vanderkemp's statement is direct that it was " the largest 
and most westerly." His account of the exiles is very in- 
teresting, and is none the less so fi-om the occasional quaint- 
ness of the worthy Hollander's English. He says, — 

" This island might in ancient days have been the hapjjy 
seat of a goddess, in the middle ages that of a magician, or a 
fairy's residence in the times of chivalry. Proceeding on 
one after another the stately trees through which we per- 
ceived yet the last glances of the setting sun, we were at 
once after a few rods, surprised with an enchanting view, of 
which it is not in my power to give you an adequate de- 
scription. All that the poets did sing of the gardens of 
Alcinous, all the scenery of those of Armida, so highly 
decorated by Virgil and Ariosto, could scarce have made 
upon me, who was captivated unawares and bewildered, a 
more deep impression than this spectacle of nature. We 
did see here a luxuriant soil in its virgin bloom ; we did see 
industry crowned with blessing ; we did see here what great 
things a frail man can perform if he is willing. It seemed a 
paradise which happiness had chosen for her residence. 
Our path, gradually increasing in breadth, did lead us to 
the circumference of a cleared circle surrounded witli lime- 
trees ; at both sides of the path was planted Indian corn, 
already grown from four to five feet, while a few plants 
towards the middle of this patch were six feet long, and this 
in the middle of June. A small cottage of a few feet square 
stood nearly in the centre of this spot. It had a bark cover- 
ing, and to the left of it asimilar one, three-fourths uncovered, 
and appropriated for akitchen. Herewastheresidenceof Mr. 
and Madame des Wattines [the Hollander's rendering of the 
French name], with their three children. They lived there 
without servants, without neighbors, without a cow ; they 
lived, as it were, separated from the world. Des Wattines 
sallied forward and gave us a cordial welcome in his demesnes. 
The well-educated man was easily recognized through his 
sloven dress. Ragged as he appeared, without a coat or 
hat, his manners were those of a gentleman ; his address 

that of one who had seen the higher circles of civilized life. 
A female, from whose remaining beauties might be conjec- 
tured how many had been tarnished by adversity, was sit- 
ting in the entrance of this cot. She was dressed in white, 
in a short gown and petticoat, garnished with the same 
stuff; her chestnut-brown hair flung back in ringlets over 
her shoulders, her eyes fixed on her darling Camille, a 
native of this isle, at her breast ; while two children, stand- 
ing at each side of her, played in her lap. Her appearance 
Was amiable indeed ; a wild imagination might have lost 
herself, and have considered the wearied, toiling Des Wat- 
tines as the magician who kept this beautiful woman in 
slavery, but ere soon the charm dwindled away. Esteem 
for the man filled our bosom, and when you considered how 
indefiitigably he must have exerted himself, what sacrifices 
he must have made, what hardships endured, to render her 
situation comfortable and rear roses for her on this island, 
so deep in the western wilderness then, notwithstanding all 
the foibles which a fastidious, cool observer might discover 
at his fireside, in a character and conduct as that of Des 
Wattines, he becomes an object of admiration. I, at least, 
gazed at him in wonder. Des Wattines introduced us to his 
spouse. She received us with that easy politeness which 
well-educated people seldom lose entirely, and urged, with 
so much grace, to sit down, that we could not refuse it with- 
out incivility. This couple was now in the second year on 
this island, and all the improvements which we had seen 
were the work of Des Wattines' hands exclusively." 

Mr. Vanderkemp describes the interior of the cabin as 
containing a few trunks, a few chairs, an oval table, two 
neat beds, a double-barreled gun, and a handsome collection 
of books, chiefly in modern French literature. The follow- 
ing delineation displays the French love of adornment, even 
in the most adverse circumstances : 

" Des Wattines had laid out behind the cottage a pretty 
garden, divided by a walk in the middle. The two fore- 
most beds, and rabats, against the house were covered with 
a variety of flowers ; sweet williams, lady slippers, with a 
few decaying hyacinths. At the right hand were bush 
beans, large kidney beans at poles, cabbage, turnips, peas, 
salade, with that strong-scented herbage which we call 
keovel (cheovel), and which you purchase so dear at your 
ariival in New York, although its culinary use in cakes and 
soup was then yet unknown there; at the left, watermelons, 
cantelopes, cucumbers, persil, string peas, with a few of the 
winter provisions, all in great forwardness, with few or no 
weeds among them ; behind the garden a small nursery of 
apple-trees, which was closed with a patch of luxuriant 
potatoes, and these again were joined both sides by wheat, 
describing a semicircle around it." 

When Desvatines learned that the travelers were going 
to Lake Ontario in a canoe, he generously off'ered them his 
safer and more commodious bateau, which they thankfully 

With it Vanderkemp and De Zeng proceeded without 
any adventure of note to Oswego. They found Fort On- 
tario garrisoned by only one company of British troops, 
under Captain Wickham, a Rhode Islander by birth. He 
treated the travelers very politely, and allowed Mr. Price, 
the interpreter of the post, to conduct them to the mouth 


of Salmon oioek. Nevertheless, Vanderkenip records with 
iiKlignatioii that he saw " ui this despieahle fortress seven 
barrels of salt taken from an American bateau, by aii 
American runaway, now a IJrilish custom-house officer." 

The ti-avelers were very near being wrecked near the 
mouth of Salmon creek, and Vanderkemp's curious descrip- 
tion of the adventure is very aniusint; in spite of the danger 
he delineates. Price gave up the helm to one of the hands 
who professed to be a good sailor. There was a strong wind, 
and from fear of going out on the lake the .steersman almost 
ran on the rocky shore. Vanderkenip says, — 

" At once a loud, pitiful cry ' hold towards shore,' struck 
our ears. Price did tear the oar from Barker's hand, com- 
manded to lower the sail and bring out the oars, but all in 
vain. The pilot wept and cry'd, ' Hold towards shore, Mr. 
Price, good 5Ir. Price ! push on shore — I pray God Al- 
mighty — dear Jlr. Price, set on shore !' Price's reply was 
' God damn you, rascal ! down the sail, out the oar; obey or 
sink !' One of our boys sat nearly lifeless in the bow ; the 
other near the mast, pale as death, with staring eyes and with 
opened mouth. The danger increased to appearance : the 
surge rose higher and higher ; our united strength and 
weight, viz., De Zeng's and mine, were scarce sufficient to 
prevent the bateau turning upside down ; twice did I actually 
see a great part of the bottom, twice did I see it naked ; 
one-half inch more and we had been lost. At hist the sail 
was struck, the oar out, and we were only in part exposed 
to the first shock, while Price, who remained calm and alert, 
succeeded in forcing the prow into the waves, and bringing 
us again in safety in deep water." 

After this, a little more exploration satisfied them, and 
they speedily returned. Mr. Vanderkenip mentions seeing 
numerous bateaux and canoes laden with goods, furs, salt, etc., 
and there was evidently a good deal of business transacted 
on the forest-lined shores of the Oneida and Onondaga. 
On reaching Desvatines' island in July, the garden vege- 
tables were fit to use, and the poor exiles, with unftiiling 
generosity, insisted on furnishing the travelers with a plen- 
tiful supply. Desvatines went with them as far as Fish 
creek, to obtain corn of the OiiciJas, and Mr. Vanderkemp 
tiius describes the scene when they set forth : 

" Madame des Wattines, with her Camille to her bosom, 
her eldest boy and sister at her side, motionless, staring at 
us with an expressive countenance, with features portray- 
ing what her soul so keenly seemed to feel in that distress- 
ing moment of separation. ' Adieu, Des Wattines !' was all 
which we could distinguish. There stood that lovely de- 
serted fair one ! not deserted as Ariadne, but nevertheless 
left, alone with three helpless children — ^alone ! on an island 
in Oneida lake. I turned my head from this mournful 
object and conquered, with .some reluctance, these painful 
sentiments which tortured my bosom." 

Mr. Stevens, at Fort Brewerton, had a curious adventure 
this same year. While at dinner one day, a Frenchman, 
excited, breathless, and dripping with water, came rushing 
up to the open door of his house : 

'' Ah, you come vite, quick, right away, Monsieur Yankee, 
s'il vous plait. Mon camarade, my fren', he get kill right 
avay. He be mangg — vat you call eat up— or drown, or 
somesings. Venez — come right along !" 

"Why, what's the matter?' exclaimed the astonished 
Stevens, springing from his chair. 

" Ah ! my fren', my camarade —/.c bear vill kill him — 
and I lose my bateau — mon boat — prenez votre gun — take 
your fusil — kill ze bear — stop ze boat — save mine fren I" 

At the words "gun," "bear," and "boat," Stevens be- 
gan to comprehend what was needed, snatched his loaded 
rifle from the wall, and rushed down to the river's edge. 
There he found another Frenchman, as wet as his com- 
panion, wailing and wringing his hands. 

" Ah ! mon Dieu ! mon Dieu ! ze bear run away mit mine 
bateau. Ah ! see him go — shoot him quick !" 

Looking out to the centre of the stream, Stevens Wiis 
astonished to see a bear seutad on his haunches in the stern 
of a boat, which was floating slowly down the river, while 
Bruin surveyed the scene with an air of the most majestic 
tranquillity. Lifting his rifle, Stevens fired, and the bear 
sank down dead in the craft he commanded. The French- 
men then swam out and brought both boat and bear to 
shore. The animal weighed o\'ei' three hundred pounds, 
and furnished many a good meal to the pioneer. 

It seems that the two men had been rowing up the 
stream when they saw the bear swimming it. They 
had no fire-arms, but thought they could perhaps kill him, 
and at all events could have some fun. They rowed up to 
him, and one of them aimed a stroke at his head with an 
oar. The bear dodged the blow, and then, of trying 
to get away, put his paws on the gunwale of the boat and 
began scrambling in. The Frenchmen tumbled out with 
equal celerity and made for shore, while his bearship took 
command, as before narrated, and started on ajourney down- 
stream. The man who reached shore first never looked 
around, but ran at full speed for Stevens' house, thinking 
his comrade in the claws of the monster. They liaJ all the 
fun they wanted. 

In the spring of 1793, Major Van Valkenburgh brought 
his family. Forming a part of his family was his son 
Abram and his newly-wedded wife of sixteen. Their son, 
Lawrence, Jr., born in November, 1793, has generally been 
considered the first white child born in the county, but 
must give place to Camille Desvatines. With the Van 
Valkenburghs came Henry Bush and a Jlr. Lary, who also 
settled at the fiills. 

Daniel Masters located himself on the west side in 1793, 
being the first settler in the present town of Volney. He 
established the first blacksmith-shop in the county, an 
important part of his business being the making of spear- 
heads to kill the salmon which then abounded in all the 
streams. These useful articles he sold to the Indians and 
settlers for a silver dollar each. 

In the spring of 1793, also, Mr. Scriba, though ho had 
not yet received a patent, began a settlement on his land. 
He selected as its site the mouth of the stream, which Van- 
derkemp called Bruce's creek, but which has since been 
called Scriba's creek. The swell of the lake there was 
called Fisher's bay. He named the place New Botterdam, 
after the celebrated city of that name in Holland, where 
he was born. He immediately set his men to building a 
saw-mill and making other improvements. He also sold 
a hundred acres on c;Lsy term-, to Monsieur Desvatines, who 


for some reason, was required to leave liis island, where he 
had resided for ten years. 

In the autumn the embryo city was visited by Pharoux 
and Desjardines, the agents of the " Castorlaiid Company," 
before mentioned, who were on their way to examine the 
Black river lands, which the company was about to pur- 
chase from William Constable. They were accompanied 
by Marc Isombard Brunei, then a young officer of the 
French navy, afterwards one of the most celebrated engi- 
neers in the world, and the constructor of the Thames 
tunnel, who accompanied the expedition for the sake of 
adventure. Baron De Zeng also went with them from his 
residence at Rome. 

Their journal, for the use of which, as before stated, we 
are indebted to Dr. Hough, states that they arrived at New 
Rotterdam on the loth of October. Scriba's saw-mill had 
been erected during the summer, but the dam was poor, 
and the travelers foretold its destruction when high-water 
came. New Rotterdam at that time consisted of three log 
houses, evidently occupied by Scriba's workmen, who were 
all sick of fever, which was attributed partly to the shallow- 
ness of the water and partly to the immense numbers of 
fish thrown on shore to decay by the water's edge. Des- 
vatines was living close by, but was absent hunting. The 
travelers, however, were visited by Mr. Vanderkemp, who, 
during that summer, had purchased a thousand acres of 
Mr. Scriba four miles east of New Rotterdam, and was 
preparing to make a permanent residence there. 

Pharoux, Desjardines, Brunei, and De Zeng proceeded 
to Fort Brewerton, where they found the outlet almost 
filled up by piles of stone which Mr. Stevens had arranged 
with an opening in which a willow basket or eel-weir was 
fastened. They mention the cabins which the Indians 
occupied there during the fishing-season, built of poles 
supported by crotched sticks covered and sided with bark. 
Below Three Rivers point they were accompanied by 
Major Bingham, who had already left Fort Brewerton and 
settled in Lysander, Onondaga county. 

At Oswego falls they formed an arrangement by which 
the boats were slid on rollers about sixty yards around the 
falls, while the goods were laden on wagons and carried 
down from the upper to the lower landing. The price of 
portage was half a dollar per load. 

On reaching Fort Ontario a British inspector came to 
see if they were taking any merchandise to trade with 
Canada. De Zeng then went to the fort alone, flattering 
himself he could rapidly obtain a pass, as the new com- 
mander. Captain Schroeder, was, like himself, a German. 
The ruins of houses were so numerous as to convince the 
Frenchmen that there had once been quite a town there. 
So far back had the forest been felled that the firewood for 
the garrison was procured out along the lake-shore and 
brought to the fort on boats. The garrison is represented 
as being composed of Germans and Scotch, and as being 
relieved annually in May. 

While the Frenchmen were investigating. Captain 
Schroeder and Major De Zeng came out, and the former 
expressed great indignation and astonishment at the pre- 
sumption of the French, saying he could hardly restrain 
himself from sending them as prisoners to Quebec. He 

compelled them to encamp on the west side of the river. 
After much negotiation he consented to grant a passport, 
but only on condition that Brunei should remain as a hos- 
tage, and that his companions should not go into Canada. 
Brunei agreed to stay if Schroeder would take care of him 
iu the fort, but would not give his parole and camp on the 
west side of the river. 

But the worthy commandant was horrified at the idea of 
admitting a Frenchman within the sacred precincts of his 
fortress. Monsieur Brunei might stay on the other side 
and fire his gun when he wanted food, and the commandant 
seemed to have no objections to the young man's returning 
to Oswego falls to stay till his companions' return. Even 
this privilege was not obtained without promising the com- 
mandant a ease of gin and some powder and lead. Brunei, 
however, disliked to remain behind ; so his companions hid 
him under a tarpaulin, took him safely past the sentry, and 
steered for the mouth of Black river. 

When returning from their explorations, on the 28th of 
October, the party came in sight of the fort before they 
knew it. They landed Brunei some two miles from the 
post, so that he could cut across through the woods to the 
Oswego river, without his presence being discovered. The 
two other Frenchmen and De Zeng proceeded on foot to 
the fort. They were met by Lieutenant Holland, the 
second in command, to whom they satisfactorily explained 
their proceedings and whom they describe as a very gentle- 
manly person. A year and a half later he was the hero of 
an exciting adventure, ending in tragedy, of which mention 
will be made farther on. 

On their arrival at the fort Captain Schroeder declared 
he must hold them prisoners till the return of his hostage, 
but was pacified by the presentation of the gifts which had 
been promised him. The travelers pushed up the river, 
but were very anxious about Brunei. Pharoux went to 
seek him, but got lost himself, and had to sleep in the 
woods. Brunei, meantime, had met a patrol in the forest 
seeking deserters, but had evaded suspicion and got away, 
and the whole party was united the next day at the portage. 
They found families there, emigrating westward, probably 
to the Genesee. There appear to have been several resi- 
dents about the falls engaged in spearing salmon, which 
they packed in Onondaga salt (costing a dollar and a half a 
hundred) and sold for from two to three dollars per barrel. 
The Frenchmen say that this facility of living by hunting 
and fishing made the people indolent, and that they saw 
men sitting in the sun while their log houses were not yet 
covered with bark, at the last of October. 

Od the thirty-first of that month they arrived at New 
Rotterdam, where they supped and lodged " at the log 
house of Mr. Scriba." They visited Desvatines, whose new 
house was not covered and was " as open as a cage ;" yet 
the Frenchmen say, — • 

'' We found his wife and three little children as jovial as 
Cupids. They made the most they could of their poor 
barrack, where they would be obliged to spend the winter, 
as from all appearances it could not be finished this 

He had at that time a coujile of cows which had been 
obtained by the sale of fine embroidered clothing, and liis 


poultry-yard contained a few fowls ; these were his sole' pos- 
sessions, except his " chance" on the land. 

The travelers mention Mr. Scriba's intention to open a 
road from New Rotterdam to the mouth of Salmon creek, 
and expri'.ss their expectation that that will boconii; the 
main route of trade between the lakes, — the same idea 
which led Mr. Scriba to his ruin. The party left for the 
east, attended for some distance by the indefatigable Des- 
vatines in a dilapidated canoe, and soon passed beyond the 
limits of Oswego County. We may mention, however, 
that the Castorland Company bought the lauds for which 
they were negotiating, but their proposed colony was a com- 
plete faihire. 

On the 5th of March, 1794, the county of Onondaga 
was set off from Herkimer, embracing all of the present 
counties of Onondaga, Cortland, and Cayuga, and that part 
of Oswego west of the Oswego river. On the same day 
that part of the town of Mexico situated in the new county 
was organized into four new towns. Of these, Lysander 
embraced all of the present Oswego County west of the 
river, and a large part of Onondaga. The others were 
farther south. This left Mexico " out in the cold." All 
the territory remaining to it was north of Oneida lake and 
river, in which, so far as known, the only white men living 
were Mr. Stevens, at Fort Brewerton, and Mr. Masters, and 
possibly one or two more, at Fulton. The town organiza- 
tion, of course, fell through, and this solves the mystery as 
to how it happened that Mexico was twice created by law, 
as will appear a little farther on. 

For several years, about the time now under con.sideration, 
there was great alarm felt all along the frontier regarding 
the Indians. Tlie western savages broke out into open 
war, and those in this State were still sore and angry over 
the chastisement inflicted on them during the Revolution. 
The three or four settlers at Oswego falls felt themselves in 
especial danger on account of the fatal affray already 

Another event of far more importance, but tending to 
the same result, and occurring about the same time, is re- 
lated in Clark's " Onondaga.'' The British, as has been 
said, levied duties on all American boats passing by Oswego. 
The hardy boatmen, chafing at this exaction on what they 
considered their own territory, frequently attempted to run 
by in the night, and sometimes succeeded. The British 
commander hired some Americans to give notice of the 
approach of boats. When these spies were discovered, they 
were mercilessly punished by Judge Lynch, several being 
whipped at "Salt Point," now Syracuse, where there was 
already a considerable settlement. The bitter feeling against 
the English which had come down from the Revolution 
(especially on the New Y'ork frontier, so long ravaged by 
tomahawk and scalping-knife) w:i3 intensified by the ex- 
tortion practiced at Oswego, and many were disposed to 
sanction the most desperate reprisals. 

At this juncture it was learned that Colonel Guy Johnson, 
still superintendent of Indian affairs in Canada, had pur- 
chased in Albany a valuable boat-load of stores for the 
Mohawhs in that province, and that it was coming through 
by the usual route to Oswego. Thirty or forty reckless 
men, incited alike by greed and hatred, determined to rob 

it. A report was set afloat that the government had begun 
granting letters of reprisal against Great Britain for injuries 
to our commerce. The marauders were very ready to be- 
lieve it, and equally ready to waive the formality of a com- 
mission. They posted themselves on Oneida river, near 
Three Rivers point, seized on the boat as its crew unsus- 
pectingly steered it down the stream, divided its contents 
among themselves, and ipiickly scattered to their respective 

They were condemned by a majority even of the fron- 
tiersmen, were it only for prudential reasons. Nothing 
could possibly have been more dangerous to the infant set- 
tlement than the seizure of goods intended for the Indians. 
Guy Johnson came to Oswego. Many Indians gathered 
there and at Niagara, threatening revenge. It is believed 
that a plan was fully arranged by which, jf AVayne was 
defeated in the west, a body of Indians under the terrible 
Brant should make a descent on the Onondaga settlement. 
The robbers, learning too late what a storm they had raised, 
endeavored to keep themselves and their plunder concealed. 
By diligent efforts, however, on the part of the better class 
of citizens and the ofiicials, a large part of the stolen goods 
was obtained and restored to the owners, and other means 
taken to placate them. 

It was while matters were in this excited condition that, 
on the 3d of June, 1794, the few settlers at the falls, and 
those scattered through Lysander, and even still farther 
south, distinctly heard the sounds of cannon borne on a 
gentle northern breeze from the direction of Oswego. Two 
or three shots might have been easily accounted for, but 
when the reverberations continued for a quarter of an hour 
— twenty minutes — half an hour — and still showed no signs 
of cessation, a feeling of dismay spread rapidly among the 
settlers. Not knowing what could have happened, they 
imagined everything. Perhaps Guy Johnson, John Butler, 
and the terrible Thayendanegea were even then ascending 
the Oswego with a horde of rangers and Seiiecos, though 
it was hard to imagine why they should be wasting so much 
powder. Some became almost distracted. Jlen, women, 
and children ran about among their neighbors, though 
neighbors were then a long way apart, inquiring if they 
had seen any Indians coming. Some began to bury their 
most valuable effects, and others hastily yoked up the oxen, 
which were their only teams, half disposed to leave the 
country at once. 

At length, aft«r what seemed an intolerable number of 
shots had been fired, the sounds cea.sed, and, as no enemy 
could be heard of, peace was gradually restored to the heaits 
of the dismayed people. Had they counted the number of 
shots they would have found that just a hundred had been 
fired, and the next comers from Oswego informed them that 
the commandant was merely celebrating the birthday of 
King George the Third. 

General Wayne's great victory over the western Indians 
in the summer of 1794 had a ver}' soothing effect on those 
in the east, and thenceforward they showed very little dis- 
position to raise the tomahawk against their white neighbors. 

During this period of excitement, and not later than 
1794, as narrated in Clark's "Onondaga," Mr. Oliver 
Stevens obtained authority from Governor Clinton to erect 



a block; house, at the expense of the State, at Fort Brewer- 
ton, the fort itself not being in a situation for defense by 
any garrison which could be rallied there. Mr. S. built 
the block- house but a few steps south of the old fort, and 
exactly on the site of the present Fort Brewerton hotel. 

In 1794, also, Benjamin Wright, of Rome, afterwards a 
celebrated surveyor and engineer, made an outline survey 
of the Roosevelt tract for the purpose of ascertaining the 
area for Mr. Seriba. He had the usual trouble about passing 
Fort Ontario, and was fired on by the garrison. No damage 
was done, but it was only by making a wide " offset" that 
the surveyors ran that part of the line. Pursuing their 
way, they completed the outline of the tract, which Wright 
reported to Seriba as containing five hundred and twenty- 
five thousand and sixty-three acres. There were a few 
more log houses built in New Rotterdam that year, and a 
road was probably opened from that point to the mouth of 
Salmon creek, though possibly not till the next spring. Mr. 
S. also spent a great deal of money in repairing his mill and 
dam, which occasioned him a great deal of trouble. In the 
mean time, genial Major Van Valkenburgh and the English 
officers at Fort Ontario had become excellent friends. In 
the fall of 1794, the prospect of the long cold winter was 
so disheartening, and the disposition of the Indians was 
still so uncertain, that the major accepted an invitation 
given him by Captain Sohroeder, whose name American 
tradition has converted into " Shade," to take his family 
down and spend the winter there with the captain and his 
wife. Comfortable quarters were accordingly fitted up, and 
the major and his family remained at the post until spring. 

In the spring the stay of the visitors was cut short by 
an explosion at the fort, — but not of gunpowder. In April, 
1795, Captain Schroeder and one of his lieutenants went 
hunting wild fowl at Sodus bay. Lieutenant Holland, 
the good-looking young officer so cordially mentioned by 
Pharoux and Desjardines, remained in command of the 
fort. Mrs. Schroeder was also young and handsome, while 
her husband was somewhat older. While at Sodus the 
captain was notified of the misconduct of his wife and 
Lieutenant Holland. He came back raving with fury. 
Lieutenant Holland was secreted to save his life, while the 
other officers and the soldiers restrained and guarded the 
captain. At night Lieutenant H. came and tapped at Major 
Van Valkenburgh's window, begging him to protect Mrs. 
Schroeder from her husband's wrath. He then embarked 
in an open boat and made his way to Kingston, Canada. 

The next day the captain contracted with Major Van 
Valkenburgh to take his wife to Schenectady, on the way 
to her father, who was a Georgian, and had been a Tory in 
the Revolution. Schroeder threw a handful of money in 
his wife's lap, but she flung it on the floor, saying, " I don't 
thank him for it. I can draw for what I want." That 
afternoon young Abram Van Valkenburgh, with a boat- 
man, took her and her woman servant in a boat, and started 
for Schenectady. Not long afterwards Schroeder went to 
Montreal and challenged Holland. A duel ensued, in which 
both were wounded, Holland mortally. So it seems there 
were some bad people in the " good old times," eighty years 

In the spring of 1795, Mr. Seriba, having now a complete 

title to his domain, began operations on a larger scale. He 
had some buildings erected at the mouth of Salmon creek, 
where he contemplated the founding of a city to be called 
Vera Cruz. He employed Mr. Wright to survey out the 
tract into townships, — a task of no slight magnitude. A 
base-line was established running southeast from Fort On- 
tario to Fort Stanwix (Rome), and nearly all the township 
lines were made parallel to, or at right angles with, that 
base. The townships averaged about forty square miles 
each, but there was no definite size established. Those in 
Oswego County were named by Seriba as follows : 

Township No. 5 was called Franklin (now the town of 
Williamstown) ; No. 6 was Middleburgh (now Amboy) ; 
No. 11, Rotterdam (now Constantiaj ; No. 12, Delft (now 
West Monroe) ; No. 13, Breda (now Hastings) ; No. 14 
was Brugen (comprising all of Palermo except about a fifth 
on the west side) ; No. 1 5 was Mentz (now embracing the 
west part of Palermo and the northeast part of Volney) ; 
No. 16 was named Georgia (comprising the west third of 
Schroeppel and the south part of Volney). The east two- 
thirds of Schroeppel was then township 24, and was named 
Erlang. No. 17 was called Fredericksburg, after Mr. Scriba's 
son, Frederick, and comprised the northwest part of Volney, 
the south part of i3criba, and a portion of Oswego city ; No. 
18 was called Oswego, but only a very little of it has gone 
into the city of that name ; the rest forms the north part of 
the present town of Seriba ; No. 19 was Vera Cruz; it em- 
braced the present town of New Haven, and a narrow strip 
on the lake-shore now belonging to Mexico ; No. 20 was called 
Mexico, and corresponded to the present Mexico, except that 
the strip just mentioned has been taken off from Vera Cruz, 
and a small triangle, in which Union Square is situated, 
which has been taken from Richland ; No. 2 1 was Rich- 
land, and comprised about three-fifths of the town of that 
name south of Salmon river; No. 22 was Alkmaer, now 
the town of Albion ; No. 23 was Strasburg, which corre- 
sponded exactly with the present town of Parish. 

These townships were laid out with lines mostly parallel, 
and perpendicular to the base-line running from Fort 
Stanwix to Fort Ontario. None of them lay on both sides 
of that line. Soon after receiving his patent, Mr. Seriba 
conveyed many large tracts to other parties. Several town- 
ships went to the Roosevelts, in payment for their original 
contract for the land. A large part of their interest was 
soon sold under a decree in chancery, and the town of 
Richland, a large part of Volney, and half of Seriba (as 
well as Vienna, Oneida county), were bought by General 
Alexander Hamilton, John Lawrence, and John B. Church, 
and is still known as Hamilton's Gore. The township of 
Vera Cruz (now New Haven) was transferred to William 
Henderson, who in the next year resold it to Seriba. In 
fact, there was in those days a constant trafficking back and 
foi-th, between adventurous men, in great tracts of land 
in northern and central New York, very much as there 
is between sporting men in horses at the present time. 
They traded, apparently, as much for the sake of trading 
as for anything else. For two or three years after Mr. 
Seriba bought the tract it was still described in deeds as 
the Roosevelt purchase, but afterwards it was termed 
Scriba's patent. 



The most definite information that we have of the con- 
dition of the county this year is from the published travels 
of the Duke de la Kochefoucauld-Liancourt, a French 
nobleman, who made extensive jourueys and elaborate ob- 
servations in the United States in 1795-97, and who 
passed down the Oneida and Oswego rivers in June of 
the first-named j'ear. He found about a dozen poor log 
houses at Rotterdam (for the prefix " New" appears to have 
been dropped about this time), mostly erected at Mr. 
Scriba's expense. Besides these there were only Mr. Van- 
derkemp's farm and one other clearing, with a log house 
upon it, along the whole north shore of Oneida lake. But 
the road to Vera Cruz was already opened, and Mr. Scriba 
was then building a fine frame house, which he proposed 
to occupy as a store. If this store was opened that year 
it w;is the first in the county intended for the custom of 
white men. 

The duke also gives an account of the hero and heroine 
of Frenchman's island. The Desvatines were still residing 
at Rotterdam, and the duke describes him as a man of thirty, 
gay and active, always laughing, accustomed to labor, com- 
plaining of nothing, and on good terms with all his neigh- 
bors. He exchanged work with them, and sold them the 
products of his well-cultivated garden. He was delighted 
at seeing a countryman, and, generous as ever, insisted on 
supplying the duke with vegetables without price. After 
having sold his jewelry and his fine clothing he had finally 
been obliged to dispose of his librarj' to Mr. Vanderkemp, 
though he still retained several standard French works. 
The three children before mentioned were all living. 
Madame Desvatines is portrayed by the gallant duke as 
then only twenty-four years of age, though her oldest child 
was nearly ten. He says, — 

" She appears bright and intelligent ; makes hay, bread, 
and soap, and does the kitchen-work ; yet her hands are 
quite delicate. She is lively, good, and has eyes of pecu- 
liarly sweet and agreeable expression." 

La Rochefoucauld evidently considered Desvatines' 
troubles as largely owing to his unstable disposition, and 
suggests that his Gallic devotion to other ladies had aroused 
some jealousy on the part of his wife, who was warmly 
attached to him. 

This is the last definite record that we have regarding 
the celebrated, though half mythical, occupants of French- 
man's island. They certainly left Constantia at an early 
period ; but whether to return to their beloved France, or 
to seek a subsistence in some other part of America, we are 
unable to say. 

The same fanciful story which transforms Desvatines into 
the Count St. Hilary states that the exiles were rescued 
from the island by Chancellor Livingston, and were aided 
to return to France after the Reign of Terror was over. 
But they certainly left their island in 1793, and if there 
was any truth whatever in the Livingston story it must 
have referred to some other persons and locality. 

La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt found at Oswego falls, in 
1795, a tavern kept by one William Shorter, who also drew 
boats around the falls with a yoke of oxen. 

It was about this time that Oliver Stevens, the pioneer 
I exciting adventure in the central 

of Fort Brewerton, had i 

part of the county, our account of which is principally de- 
rived from Clark's " Onondaga." He had some busine!^s in 
the north part of the county, perhaps at Mr. Scriba's new 
city of Vera Cruz, and accordingly set fortli at dawn, on 
foot, with his rifle on his shoulder and a haversack well 
stored with provisions at his side. There was not even a 
foot-path to guide him, but he boldly selected the course 
he thought he ought to take and plunged into the forest. 
Holding his course, as he supposed, steadily in the same 
direction, he strode on over hill and dale. Noon came, and he 
transferred a part of the load in his haversack to where it 
could be more conveniently carried. On he went again, 
and by the middle of the afternoon he began to bo seriously 
alarmed because no signs of settlement nor of the lake had 
been seen. 

He soon became convinced that he had lost his way, a 
fact that was not made any more pleasant by hearing the 
howls of a pack of wolves resounding through the forest. 
He hurried on, hoping to strike some clearing, but none 
was to be seen. The howls of the wolves came nearer and 
nearer. They had evidently scented their prey, and soon 
their shaggy forms were seen among the trees. It is sel- 
dom that the ordinary gray wolf will attack a man in the 
daytime ; but these were not only spurred on by hunger 
but were led by a large black wolf, a member of the fiercest 
species of the lupine genus. With open jaws and flaming 
eyes, he came boldly on within a few paces of the weary 
traveler. Stevens fired his rifle, and the monster fell dead in 
his tracks. The gray wolves halted, and though the scent of 
blood made them howl more fiercely than ever, yet the loss 
of their leader materially diminished their courage. Stevens 
faced them, and after a few moments they retired some 
distance, though not out of sight, and seated themselves on 
their haunches in a group, as if holding a council of war. 

Mr. Stevens reloaded his rifle, and then, being, like all 
good frontiersmen, provided with flint and tinder-box, he 
proceeded to kindle a fire, to which he dragged the body of 
his slain enemy. The wolves howled and raged and daahed 
to and fro among the trees like so many demons. Satisfied 
that they were afraid of him, the traveler flung a burning 
brand among them, when they immediately dispersed. Feel- 
ing safe by the side of his blazing fire, and determined to 
gain something by his adventure, Mr. Stevens coolly pro- 
ceeded to skin his prey. By the time he had finislied it 
was dark. Gathering more fuel, he kept up a big fire all 
night, and remained awake by the side of it. All night 
long his cowardly enemies howled in the distance, but just 
before morning they finally retreated. 

Having made a breakfast from the contents of his haver- 
sack, Mr. Stevens strapped his wolf-skin on his back, shoul- 
dered his rifle, and, laying his course by the appearance of 
light in the east, endeavored to make his way back to Fort 
Brewerton. But the sun did not shine, and he soon found 
himself wandering aimlessly through the forest. All day 
he tramped wearily on, and at night was as hopelessly lost 
as ever. Again he built a fire ; but this time he did not 
attempt to keep awake. If the wolves wanted to seize him 
by his own fireside they could do so. Utterly exhausted, 
he flung himself down on the damp ground and slept 
soundly and .safely till morning. 



Again the dispirited traveler set fortb on his journey, 
still carrying his black wolf-skin. About ten o'clock his eyes 
were gladdened with the view of a clearing. Hurrying 
forward, he saw what, doubtless, had often made his heart 
swell with bitterness before, but which now appeared like 
the very star of hope itself, — the banner of St. George float- 
ing over the ramparts of Fort Ontario. There the wan- 
derer was hospitably welcomed, and there he remained 
through the rest of the day and the succeeding night. 
Two more days were occupied in returning home, for the 
traveler felt no inclination to go " across lots," but consci- 
entiously followed all the windings of the Oswego and the 

All the while he stuck to his black wolf-skin, and in due 
time received from the proper authorities a bounty of forty 
dollars for destroying that foe of the sheepfold. 

On the 26th day of February, 1796, the town of Mexico 
was reorganized by law. There were then but a very few 
settlers in what wa.s left of the old town, the eastern bound- 
ary of which, it will be remembered, was a line running 
north from the mouth of Chittenango creek, in Madison 
county. Two or three families at Fulton, one or two at 
Port Brewerton, and perhaps a few along Scriba's new road, 
comprised the whole number. There were some, however, 
around Rotterdam, who were a long distance from the 
principal settlements in Steuben, the town to which they 
then belonged. A large portion of that town was therefore 
annexed to Mexico, which was made to run as far east as 
Scriba's patent, and also included nearly all of the present 
counties of Lewis and Jeiferson this side of Black river. 
The first town-meeting was directed to be held at the 
house of John Meyer, in the survey-township of Rotter- 
dam (Constantia). There is no record, however, to show 
that any was held. Mr. Meyer was the agent of Scriba, 
and was naturally the most important man in town. 

That year the British flag ceased to arouse the anger of 
Americans as it waved over the dilapidated fortress at the 
mouth of the Oswego. Ever' since the Revolution nego- 
tiations had been going on between the United States and 
Great Britain on the subject, but for a long time without 
success. Knowing but too well the weakness of America, 
Washington resisted with patriotic firmness the clamors of 
the more reckless classes for the redress of our injuries by 
war. At length, after years of fruitless diplomacy, John 
Jay was sent as minister to England, and succeeded in 
negotiating a treaty by which all diflicultics were settled, and 
the frontier forts were agreed to be given up by the British 
on or before the 1st day of June, 1796. 

The stipulations on the part of the United States were 
such that the bitterest feeling against the treaty was aroused 
on the part of the friends of revolutionary France, who 
were rapidly showing their opposition to the conservative 
policy of Washington, Adams, and Jay. In the south, 
especially. Jay was denounced with unbounded fury. 
Washington, however, sustained him, the senate confirmed 
the treaty, and New York sanctioned the course of her 
honored son by electing him her governor for two successive 
terms of three years each. 

Still, Virginia managed to make trouble by refusing to 
pay debts due to British subjects, and difficulties ensued on 

account of which Forts Ontario and Niagara were not sur- 
rendered till July. In fact, the western forts were not 
yielded until two years later. So quickly do historic facts 
become involved in uncertainty, that Clark's " Onondaga," 
issued thirty years ago, stated that Fort Ontario was one of 
tlie posts which were not surrendered until 1798, and some 
other writers have adopted the same view. To fix the date 
beyond question, we publish a copy, furnished by B. B. 
Burt, Esq., of a letter written to George Seriba by the 
officer who received the surrender. It was originally pub- 
lished in Greenleaf's New York Journal and Patriotic 
Advertiser, on the 2d of August, 1796, and reads as fol- 
lows : 

"Fort Ontario, July 15, 1796. 

" Dear Sir, — I have the pleasure of informing you that 
the American flag, under a federal salute, was for the first 
time displayed from the citadel of this fort at the hour of 
ten this morning. A Captain Clark and Colonel Fother- 
gill were his majesty's officers, left with a detachment of 
thirty men for the protection of the works. From these 
gentlemen the greatest politeness and civility was displayed 
to us in adjusting the transfer. The buildings and gardens 
were left in the neatest order ; the latter, being considerably 
extensive and in high culture, will be no small addition to 
the comfort of the American officers who succeed this sum- 

" I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, etc., 
"P. Elmer." 

A small detachment of American troops, under a lieu- 
tenant, now occupied Fort Ontario, and the eyes of their 
passing countrymen were greeted by the joyful sight of the 
star-spangled banner, their ears saluted by the beloved if 
not melodious strains of Yankee Doodle. 

How tenaciously the English held their grip as long as 
they possibly could, is shown by the fact that only a very 
short time before the final surrender, Joshua Stow, on his 
way with several boats to survey the "Western Reserve" 
in Ohio, was refused permission to pass by the red-coated 
autocrat of Oswego. In vain he pleaded that he had sup- 
plies and surveying tools on board, and that the whole work 
in Ohio would be disarranged if he was detained. It was 
" no go." Stow apparently acquiesced, and started back up 
the river. A few miles up he stopped, and waited for night. 
When it came and was at its darkest he ran down again, 
glided quietly past the sleepy sentinels, gained the lake, and 
proceeded on his way. Arriving at Niagara, he found that 
post already in the hands of the Americans. 

The same year that England surrendered her hold on 
the position at the mouth of one of the principal rivers of 
Oswego County, a distinguished British subject acquired 
an interest at the mouth of the other principal stream. On 
the 16th of November, 1796, a tract of three miles square 
at the mouth of Salmon river, on the north side, was con- 
veyed to a Mrs. Colden, in trust for Thomas Douglas, Earl 
of Selkirk, a Scotch nobleman, who doubtless had an idea 
of making a great commercial emporium at the mouth of 
Salmon river. 

Either John Love and Ziba Phillips established them- 
selves as traders at Oswego immediately after the British 
left, or else, which is quite probable, they had been there 



before. The same year Neil McMullin, a merchant of 
Kingston, New York, moved to Oswego with his family, 
bringing with him a house framed at that place. He 
found Love and Phillips there, but the latter left not long 

Captain Edward O'Connor, one of the gallant band who 
had followed Colonel Blillett in the weary march through 
the snow, at the time of the futile attempt to surprise Fort 
Ontario, located himself at Oswego the same year as Mr. 
McMullin. He, with his family, however, went to " Salt 
Point" to stay during the winter, and such was the custom 
with several of the new-comers for two or three years. 

Considerable business at once began to flow through the 
embryo city as soon as the restraint of a foreign power was 
withdrawn, for there was absolutely no other way to reach 
the west, with heavy freight, save by this route. Although 
the fort was on the east side of the river, all the new- 
comers located on the other shore. 

In what year the first settlement was made in the present 
town of Mexico is not certain. It may have been in 1795, 
when Scriba's great road from Rotterdam to Vera Cruz was 
first opened, and it was certainly as early as 1796. In that 
year the city of Vera Cruz, at the mouth of Salmon creek, 
just below the present hamlet of Texas, wa.s laid out and 
mapped by Benjamin Wright, and that gentlemen then re- 
sided there as the agent of Mr. Scriba. A store was built 
there that year, and although Scriba was a very adventurous 
person, it is reasonable to presume that he did not build a 
store unless there was somebody lived in the vicinity besides 
his agent. In November, 179G, Mr. Wright wrote to 
Scriba from Vera Cruz that the new store at that point was 
almost ready to hold goods. The original letter is in the 
possession of Mr. Cross, at Pulaski. The fact that there 
was a handsome settlement in township 20, now Mexico, 
early in 1798, is strong proof that it^was begun as soon as 
1796. perhaps in 1795. 

Redfield was another of the earliest settled towns in the 
county, but the exact date is uncertain. It was occupied 
certainly as early as 1799, probably in 1796, and possibly 
in 1795. 

Mr. Scriba's city of Rotterdam progressed very slowly. 
A letter written by his agent, Meyer, in the fall of 1796 
(which is now in the possession of the Scriba family), reads 
as if they were just finiishirig the saw-mill which was 
built in 1793 ; probably he referred to repairs, on account 
of the destruction of the dam by high water. The grist- 
mill was still in contemplation. 

Few men ever set themselves more earnestly to develop 
a new country than did George Scriba. His money must 
have flowed like water. True, he undoubtedly expected to 
get it back again in due time, but nevertheless liberality, 
enterprise, and public spirit in the early stages of a county's 
development may fairly be called virtues, and it is to be 
regretted that Mr. Scriba carried them so far to excess as to 
work the most serious injury to himself 

In 1797 an act was passed directing the surveyor-general 
of the State to lay out a hundred acres at the mouth of 
the Oswego, on the west side, in a village to be forever 
thereafter called by the name of O.swego. The tract was 
laid out as directed, by Benjamin Wright, the lots were 

sold by the proper officials, and thus far on the road to 
"forever" the place has been called by the name of Oswego. 

So few and so widely scattered were the people of the 
great town of Mexico, that they neglected to hold a town- 
meeting this year at the time prescribed by law, — April 1 , 
1797, — and perhaps had done so the year before. Town 
officers were accordingly appointed by the justices of Herk- 
imer county, and as these were the first of which we have 
any knowledge in tlie present county of Oswego, we insert 
their names here : John Meyer, of Rotterdam, supervisor ; 
Oliver Stevens, of Fort Brewerton, town clerk ; Amos 
Matthews, Solomon Waring, and Luke Mason, of Rotter- 
dam, assessors ; Amos Matthews and Solomon Waring, 
overseers of the poor ; Solomon Waring, collector ; and 
Elijah Carter, constable. 

Meyer was also a justice of the peace at that time, for on 
the 8th of June he signed a certificate that Abram Van 
Valkenburgh had acknowledged the proper bond to keep 
an orderly hotel. Mr. Meyer was undoubtedly the first 
justice of the peace in the present county of Oswego ; for 
if there had been one on the Oswego river, Van Valken- 
burgh would not have gone from the falls to Constantia to 
get his certificate. 

Meanwhile a few new settlers had located on the river- 
shore. John Van Burcn made his home on the east side, 
below the falls, in 1796, and John Waterhouse in 1797. 
At this time the .settlement at the falls, on both sides, was 
known indiscriminately as " Oswego Falls." There were 
others came whose names are unknown, and in 1796 there 
was business enough, so that it is said that Daniel Masters 
and one Goodell built a saw-mill on the east side. 

In the summer of 1797, Asa Rice, his family, and two 
or three friends, having made their toilsome way from Con- 
necticut to the embryo village of Oswego, passed along the 
lake-shore to lot No. 2, in the present town of Oswego, 
where Mr. Rice had purchased a farm. They proceeded to 
erect a shanty of .small logs, the completion of which was 
celebrated with a bottle of wine, carefully brought from the 
land of steady habits. The location was duly christened 
" Union Village," which name it has retained to the pres- 
ent day. His friends did not remain through the winter, 
and Mr. Rice was thus the earliest permanent settler in the 
town. His .son, — Arvin Rice, — then a boy of eleven, still 
survives, and is undoubtedly the earliest living resident of 
the county. 

On the first day of January, 1798, the first post-office 
was established in the county, Rotterdam being its name 
and location, and the much-ofiice-holding John Meyer being 
the first postmaster. 

On the 15th of March foUowii^g, the county of Oneida 
was formed from Herkimer. It embraced the present 
county of that name, all of Lewis and Jefferson counties, 
and all that part of Oswego County west of the Oswego 
river. So far as Oswego County was concerned, this or- 
ganization — the part being in Oneida county, and the 
west part in Onondaga — continued during the whole period 
of pioneer settlement down to 1816. The town of Mexico 
was not for some time touched by the hand of change, 
retaining its old magnificent proportions. 

It is extremely difficult to a.^certain with :iny certainty 


the date of events occurring so long ago, except when writ- 
ten documents can he found. Events themselves will live 
in tradition for unnumbered years, but dates are hardly 
recollected even through the first generation, still less 
through succeeding ones. In that same year — 1798 — we 
come to a document which gives quite a good idea of the 
state of affairs in all that part of Oswego County west of 
Oswego river at that time. This is the assessment-roll of 
the town of Mexico for that year, now in possession of Mr. 
Cross, of Pulaski. We have copied the names of the 
assessed parties belonging in Oswego County. Their resi- 
dences are given on the roll according to the number of 
their survey-township, but for convenience' sake are desig- 
nated here, in most cases, by the corresponding modern 
town. We may add, in explanation of some of the descrip- 
tions, that Salmon river was then called Salmon creek, and 
Salmon creek was then termed Little Salmon creek. The 
list was as follows : 

At the mouth of Little Salmon creek, Benjamin Gil- 
bert, Benjamiu Winch, Archibald Fairfield, and Benjamin 
Wright, agent for Scriba. He was assessed on a store, barn, 
blacksmith-shop, saw-mill, and log house. 

Mexico, Isaac Burlingham, Miles, Simon King, 

Jonathan Parkhurst, Elias Rose, Nathaniel Rood, Stephen 
Spinner, Hezekiah Stanley, Chipman Wheadon. 

Constantia, John Meyer, Amos Matthews, John Bern- 
hardt, Daniel Banvard, Henry Fall, Solomon Waring. 

Orwell, Moses CoflBn. 

Fort Brewerton, Oliver Stevens. 

Volney (township 17), Ebenezer Wells. 

" Locations on the Oswego,'' Stephen Lush, Daniel Phoe- 
nix (in Schroeppel), Philip Roe, L'Hommedieu, John 

Waters, Ebenezer Wright, Benjamin Walker, Lawrence 
Van Valkenburgh. Two or three of those named in the last 
paragraph were probably only owners, not residents. Such 
was the case also with William Constable, assessed on part 
of the Boylston tract; with Franklin and Robinson, as- 
sessed on part of Constantia ; with Jacob Mark, assessed on 
part of Scriba ; and Mr. L'Hommedieu on part of township 

George Scriba was at that time the owner, and assessed 
on but nine out of his original twenty-four townships, of 
which eight were in the present county of Oswego (and 
from these are to be excepted the lands of the before-men- 
tioned resident owners), viz., No. 6 (Amboy), No. 11 
(Constantia — the greater portion), No. 12 (West Monroe), 
No. 16 (parts of Schroeppel and Volney), No. 17 (parts of 
Volney and Scriba), No. 19 (New Haven), No. 20 (Mex- 
ico), No. 23 (ParLsh), — making a total of one hundred and 
sixty-two thousand four hundred and seventy-seven acres, 
assessed at two dollars per acre. 

But by far the most populous township at that time in 
the old town of Mexico was " No. 12," now known as the 
south part of Redfield. The assessed owners of property 
there were Samuel Brooks, Phineas Corey, Nathan Cook, 
Ebenezer Chamberlain, Joseph Clark, Taylor Chapman, 
Roger Cooke, James Drake, John Edwards, Nathaniel Eels, 
Titus Meacham, Amos Kent, Joseph Overton, Joel Over- 
ton, Silas Phelps, John Prine, Nathan Sage. Eli Strong, 
Jedediah Smith, Obadiah Smith, George Seymour, Jo.seph 

Strickland, Samuel Smith, Josiah Trj'on, Benjamin Thrall, 
Jonathan Worth, Joseph Wickham, Thomas Wells, Luke 
Winchel, Charles Webster, Daniel Wilcox, and Jonathan 
Waldo, — making thirty-two assessed residents in that town- 
ship alone, to about twenty-six in all the rest of Oswego 
County, east of the river. 

Making allowance for men who had no assessable prop- 
erty, and for those living on the west side of the Oswego, 
there were probably about eighty or ninety adult males in 
the county in the early part of 1798, representing a popu- 
lation of near five hundred souis. 

We say in the early part of 1798, for those who came 
later would not be assessed. The first settlement in the 
present town of Scriba was made in this year by Henry 
Everts, who located in the southwest part of the town, near 
the river. New Haven was also first occupied by perma- 
nent residents in 1798, its pioneers being Mr. Rood and 
Mr. Doolittle. 

We have copied at length the list of assessed men, be- 
cause they show more clearly than aught else could the ad-- 
vance and direction of settlement in the county up to 1798. 
Henceforth, however, names of individual settlers, uncon- 
nected with any especial incident, will generally be left to 
the township histories. 

Benjamin Wright, of Vera Cruz, Mr. Scriba's surveyor 
and agent, was appointed a justice of the peace in 1798, 
being probably the second one in the county. 

Mr. Scriba pushed forward his settlements in Rotterdam 
and at Vera Cruz and along the road between with all pos- 
sible speed. The latter-named place was destined to be the 
great commercial emporium of central New York. It must 
have been in the latter part of 1798 or forepart of 1799 
that one Captain Geerman started a ship-yard and built a 
small schooner. No mention of the vessel is made in the 
assessment-roll of 1798, and the oldest residents say it was 
in 1799 that the accident happened to it which, with its 
consequences, cast a gloom over all the scanty settlements 
around. It will be adverted to in the town history of 
Mexico, but at the time it occurred it was a matter of very 
wide general interest, and even yet the story of the remark- 
able disasters of the Vera Cruz pioneers claims the mournful 
attention of every sympathetic reader. It has therefore 
been thought proper to insert an account of them here, 
principally drawn from a statement furnished many years 
ago to the Mexico Lidepeiulent by Mr. Goodwin, of that 
village, after careful consultation with several old residents, 
now deceased. 

At that time the country around Kingston, Canada, 
which had been settled at a much earlier period, was the 
ordinary resource for getting provisions, or grinding those 
raised here. Men sometimes took two or three bushels of 
grain across the lake in an open boat, got it ground, and 
returned by the same precarious conveyance. Either to 
relieve a scarcity of provisions before harvest, or to get 
grinding done after it. Captain Geerman, in the summer of 
1799, accompanied by a young man named Welcome Spen- 
cer, started in his new schooner for Canada. In a few days 
the people began to look for their return, but in vain. 
Days and weeks passed on, and still they came not. Anx- 
iety spread rapidly among the settlers, bound together as 



they were by the ties of common dangers and hardships. 
The only hope was that the wanderers had been driven on 
some coast or island by the wind, whence they might be 

Misled, perhaps, by their desires, a report spread among 
the people that lights had been seen on Stony island, a 
short distance this side of Sackett's Harbor, and it was 
hoped that the wanderers might have been cast ashore 
there. A meeting of the settlers for some distance around 
was held at Vera Cruz, and it was determined that a party 
should go in search of the missing ones. 

Bold volunteers were readily found, and a crow was 
made up, con.sisting of the father of young Spencer, Chip- 
man Wheadon, Green Clark, Nathaniel Rood, and a Mr. 
Doolittle, all of whom resided either at Vera Cruz or a 
short distance back. They rowed across the lake in an 
open boat, and made a thorough search of Stony island 
and the neighboring isles, but found no trace of the lost 
mariners. On their return they, too, encountered a heavy 
gale. It came from the west, and drove their frail craft 
swiftly towards the mouth of Salmon river. A man who 
chanced to be on the beach, in that then uninhabited lo- 
cality, saw the boat swiftly approaching the shore, bearing 
all its inmates to their fate. When within a short distance 
the boat was upset, and all five of the men were flung into 
the boiling surf Strange as it may seem, not one of them 
reached the shore alive, and it does not appear that even a 
single body was ever found, except that of Green Clark, 
which was washed on shore near Sandy creek. Chipman 
Wheadon, a very active man, clung to the boat for some 
time, but was finally washed off by the waves, and met the 
fate which had befallen all his comrades. 

Seven strong men were thus lost to the infant settle- 
ment, for Geerman and the younger Spencer were never 
heard of more. There was a vague rumor that some of the 
contents of the schooner were found near Sackett's Harbor, 
from which it was inferred that it was capsized near there, 
but nothing was certainly known, save that it never reached 

It is not correct to say, as the gazetteers have generally 
done, that only one survivor (Benjamin Winch) was left 
in the " settlement," even confining that expression to the 
little hamlet of Vera Cruz, for Benjamin Wright and Arch- 
ibald Fairchild at least remained. Kvcn then there were 
others not far distant. The story of a subsequent disaster 
on the lake, sweeping away more men of the Vera Cruz 
settlement, which has found its way into some publications, 
is entirely a mistake. 

Unquestionably these disasters were a terrible blow to 
Mr. Scriba's embryo metropolis. We cannot learn that 
any more vessels were ever built there. The store, how- 
ever, was kept up, and a grist-mill erected, and it is said 
that one year, not long afterwards, more goods were .sold 
there than at Oswego or Utica. In fact, for some time, 
most of the settlers on the Seriba patent were on or near 
the old Rotterdam and Vera Cruz road, and they had to 
go to one of those places to trade ; they generally chose 
the latter, as the more convenient. 

In 1799 the collection districts of Oswego and Niagara 
were formed by act of Congress. Tlic former embraced 

the shores and waters of the St. Lawrence, and of Lake 
Ontario, within the United States, from the forty-fifth 
parallel to the Genesee river. It does not appear, however, 
that any oflicers were appointed, or any attempt made to 
collect duties, until four years later. 

In the same year the gigantic town of Mexico was re- 
duced by the formation of Camden, Oneida county ; and in 
1800, Champion, Rcdficld, Turin, Lowvillc, and Water- 
town were taken ofl". This brought it down so that, in 
addition to the whole eastern point of Oswego County 
(with Redfield forming a notch-out), it only included the 
southern third of Jefferson county, — giving it an area in 
all of about twelve hundred square miles. In the last- 
named year (1800) one more of the present towns — 
Schroeppel — was settled, Abram Paddock being its earliest 

Having now reached the close of the eighteenth century, 
we will begin the nineteenth with a new chapter. At this 
time the settlements were still confined to the new (and 
flourishing) town of Redfield, those in Constantia, those 
extending through Mexico to Vera Cruz, a few residents 
at Oswego, two or three at Union Village, and a few more 
scattered along on both sides of the Oswego river. Sandy 
Creek, Boylston, Orwell, Richland, Albion, Williamstown, 
Amboy, Parish, West Monroe, Palermo, and Hannibal, all 
greeted the new century untouched by the pioneer's axe. 


1801 TO 1812. 

An Importnnt Era — Early Hardships — Price of Land — The Bachelor 
Piiinecr— The Indispensable O.t-Sled— Poverty of the Settlers— An 
Imaginary Sketch — A Miscellaneous Load — A Schooliua'am in 
the Woods — An Unfortunate Boy — A Day-Dream and its Interpre- 
tation—Arriving at Deslination— The House-Raising- Clearing 
Land— The Logging-Bee— Browse— Deer-hunting— Snow-Shoes— 
"Yards" of Deer — Rails and Fences — Multitudinous Salmon — 
Si.\ty-three in Seventeen Minutes— Making of Sugar— The Well— 
The '■ Sweep"— Slaughtered Sheep- The Schoolma'am Spinning— 
The Olil Lady Weaving— Young Jonathan's Home — The Indepen- 
dent Citi7,en^Sehool-house and Meeting-house — Sugar-Party and 
Quilting-Bee — Spelling-School, Singing-School, and Husking-Bee 
—A Twelve-Miles' Walk to a Dance- First Settlement in the va- 
rious Towns— Formation of New Towns — Ancient Relics on Trout 
Brook — Increase of Commerce — The First Custom-house — An At- 
tempted Raid- The Raiders Routed— First American Sliip-of- 
War — Townscnd, Bronson & Co. — Durham Boats — Roads — Onu- 
diaga^Difficulties with Great Britain— Feelings of Parties- 
Hostile Measures. 

The years to which this chapter is devott^d form the 
most important era in the development of the county, 
though few remarkable events transpired in it. Then was 
the time when in every township the axe of the woodman 
was heard, either beginning the work of improvement or 
greatly enlarging on the few efforts already made. Every 
year saw numerous immigrants locating in different parts 
of the county. The story of one is the story of hundreds. 
A few pages may, therefore, profitably be devoted to a gen- 
eral view of the way in which this county, like other new 
rouioiis coV( ii'd with timber, W;is settled. 


The old know how it was themselves. The middle-aged 
have heard the story so often told by their predecessors, 
and have seen the events so often repeated in the newer 
portions of the county, that they are very well acquainted 
with them ; but a county history is designed to fix the 
fleeting circumstances of pioneer life for the instruction of 
those who are yet to come, ere they fade forever from the 
memory of the living. There will soon be no spot which 
will witness a renewal of such hardships as were endured 
by the early settlers of New York. The labor of subduing 
the prairie is trifling indeed compared with that undergone 
by the pioneer who confronted the beeches and the maples, 
the oaks and the hemlocks, the stumps and the roots, the 
rocks and the hills, of Oswego, of Jefferson, of Lewis, and 
of hundreds more of just such counties on the eastern side 
of the Alleghanies. 

The price of land varied from two dollars an acre up- 
ward. As late as 1806 the instructions to the agent of 
town 6 (Amboy) directed that a hundred families should 
each receive a farm in the centre of the town for two dol- 
lars and a half per acre. Purchasers of lots along the 
" State road" were charged three dollars an acre for fifty 
acres each, and four dollars for all over that amount. All 
buyers were required to live on the land, or have some one 
else do so. 

The young bachelor, intent on making a home for him- 
self, and mayhap for the girl he left behind him, often 
plunged into the depths of the far-famed Soiiba's Patent or 
the Military tract, with no aid but the axe he bore on his 
shoulder, a scanty supply of provisions on his back, and 
possibly a few dollars in money, though this was by no 
means certain. Selecting his location, he obtained a con- 
tract, and handed over perhaps his last dollar as an advance 
payment. Very likely he dispensed even with a log house 
the first summer, putting up a mere hut of poles, shingled 
with bark. 

Then late and early his axe rang among the monarchs 
of the forest. When a few acres had been cut down he 
probably made a logging-bee, one of the great events of 
pioneer life, and got his ground cleared ready for a crop of 
winter wheat. If he had no money to buy seed or neces- 
sary provisions, he earned them by working for his more 
fortunate neighbors. Having sown his piece of winter 
wheat, he proceeded, before snow came, to put up the 
" body" of a log house, — that is, the logs, without roof nor 
floor, door nor window, — and then returned to the place 
whence he came, married his girl, and brought her out in 
the spring to his well-ventilated palace in the forest. 

Often a married man came alone, in advance, in the same 
way, went through the same routine, and brought his wife 
and family the ensuing season. When the family came, 
whether the first season or the second, whether in winter 
or spring, the chances were that they and their scanty 
household goods were packed on an ox-sled, and that the 
music of " Whoa ! haw ! gee. Buck !" resounded in their 
ears throughout the whole length of their journey. Once 
in a while a solitary horse was ridden into the forest, but 
its possession was a decided mark of aristocracy. Oxen 
could be driven along the diabolical roads, where horses 
would have broken their legs in an hour. The former 

could be used in clearing land, where similar dangers 
waited ; and if worst came to worst, they could be changed 
into beef, to help eke out the failing supply of bread. But 
their prime recommendation was their cheapness. For 
cheapness was absolutely essential to the pioneer. 

Mention has been frequently made of the scantiness of 
their means, and it would not be far out of the way to say 
plumply that all the pioneers of Oswego County — all the 
pioneers of central and western New York-^were poor. 
The exceptions were few indeed. Their descendants now 
look back with pride to the humble log house, the ox-team, 
the home-made furniture, which were the beginning of 
subsequent competence ; and the greater the hardships en- 
dured the greater the pride of the sons in the courage and 
energy which overcame them. 

Not only was the ox preferable to the horse, but the sled 
was more convenient than the wagon. The former would 
twist around among the trees and logs where the latter 
would soon have been ruined ; besides, it was for cheaper. 
Sometimes a cart, consisting of little more than two big 
wheels, an axletree, and a tongue, would be brought into 
use ; but for moving into the country the sled was the gen- 
eral favorite, it being not only cheap and hard to break, 
but capable of holding all that the ordinary emigrant family 
would have to bring. Advantage was usually taken of the 
snow of late winter or early spring ; but even when the 
ground was half bare, the sled was the thing for moving. 

Perhaps the usual process of settling a new country in 
the old times can be best pictured to the mind of the reader 
by an imaginative sketch, condensing and uniting the nu- 
merous accounts of the pioneers. 

Here comes an ox-battery attacking the forest fortress of 
Oswego County. The patient, broad-horned toilers move 
steadily forward along the narrow road, undisturbed by the 
numberless stumps, trees, and logs against which they rub 
as they make their tedious way. Behind comes the sled, 
where a middle-aged matron in linsey-woolsey gown sits on 
top of two feather-beds, while around her are stowed a bag 
of flour, four splint-bottom chairs, three tow-headed chil- 
dren, a side of pork, two iron pots, three bags of potatoes, 
and a brindle cat. The new-comers evidently belong to the 
more opulent class of pioneers, and will be looked up to 
with i-espect by all their less fortunate neighbors. Very 
likely the tall, dark, gaunt, keen-eyed, iron-jawed New Eng- 
lander in sheep's-gray clothing, who with long ox-goad in 
hand tramps by the side of his team, has as much as six 
dollars and a half in his pocket, and will be a justice of the 
peace inside of three years. 

Behind the load trudges a bright, red-cheeked girl of 
eighteen, occasionally clinging on in order to pass a bad 
mud-hole, but capable of traveling as fai- as the oxen can, 
at least. Poor as the family may seem to the city gentle- 
man or old-world observer, she has had a fair English edu- 
cation, has taught school the previous summer in her native 
town, has quilts of her own making on that all-embracing 
ox-sled, and plenty of ideas in the brain behind that inde- 
pendent-looking face. Still farther back comes the boy 
next younger, doomed to be the custodian of the old red 
cow, the producer of the only luxuries the fomily enjoy, 
the hope and solace of many a clamorous child. He looks 


mad. He is vexed to the utmost point of boyish disgust 
because he is not, liice liis big brother, wandering througli 
the woods with rifle on shoulder, instead of fogging at the 
heels of poor, despised old Betsi>y. Oh, if lie wore only 
twenty instead of fifteen ! wouldn't he have a gun ? and 
wouldn't he kill a bear? To kill a bear is to his mind the 
chief object in moving into a new country, and he knows 
he could do it if he only had a gun. 

And he, the envied big brother of twenty, has sonicwliat 
similar ideas as he strides with elastic step amid the trees 
away off on the right flank of the main army, the flint-lock 
rifle with which his fiither had faced the red-coats at Ben- 
nington carelessly resting on his shoulder, his powder-horn 
and bullet-pouch by his side, his inevitable sheep's-gray suit 
scratched by the thickets through which he has plunged, 
and his eager face aglow partly with the excitement of the 
liunter, and partly with the hopes of the pioneer. Of 
course it isn't for him— a man — to think much about such 
trivial things as deer and bear ; he has come to the wilder- 
ness to help his parents make a home and then to make 
one for himself; to acquire a two-hundred-acre farm, to 
turn it into first-class meadow and grain land, to raise the 
largest crops in the county, to build a fine house and barns 
of incalculable size, — in short, to get rich. 

Still, if a deer should show itself — or, still better, if a 
bear should obstruct his path — if he should boldly confront 
the monster (as of course he would), and if, just as it was 
rising with horrid front to attack him, he should with well- 
aimed bullet lay it bleeding at his feet — what a fine thing 
it would be to write back to Mary Ann about. Full of 
these mingled thoughts the youth strays farther and farther 
into the forest, and his mind becomes more and more ab- 
stracted from its surroundings. Suddenly a great noise is 
heard, a big buck with branching horns springs from his 
lair and comes bounding directly across the front of the 
startled young Jonathan. That worthy stands with open 
eyes and mouth, forgetting his rifle, his Mary Ann, and 
everything else, in his surprise and astonishment. Just as 
the tail of the fleeing animal flutters for the last time among 
the beeches, Jonathan recovers himself and fires an una- 
vailing shot after the retreating flag. 

Great Heavens! Why didn't he shoot before? Oh, if 
another would only come wouldn't he fix him ? But no 
other comes, and, after reloading his rifle, Jonathan makes 
his way slowly and sadly back to the fiimily ox-sled. There 
the young cow-captain, who has heard the shot, soon digs 
the story out of him, and great is the contempt of that 
would-be hunter at the recital. Oh, if he had only been 
there with a gun ! Catch him standing still while a deer 
ran by within twenty steps ! Bah ! 

Enlivened by adventures like this, the cavalcade (if a 
yoke of oxen, a sled, and a cow can be so called) makes its 
tedious way towards the promised land. Passing by the 
scattered settlements on the bank of Oneida lake, and reach- 
ing Rotterdam, it turns up the " old Mexico road" and 
works its way over the high ridge whence the streams run 
in opposite directions into the two lakes, Oneida and Onta- 
rio. Then it turns aside into Parish, or Palermo, or Albion, 
or New Haven, or Richland, or the farther part of Mexico, 
following a road more execrable even than before. 

If a log of moderate size lies in the way, the oxen step 
carefully over it, and the sled goes bouncing up and down, 
the children clinging to the side-boards with little shrieks 
of mingled alarm and pleasure, and the old cat elevating lier 
tiiil in angry protest against tliese violent pnx;eedings. If 
a larger one is encountered, a.s it fre(|uently is, which can't 
be driven around, axes are brought out and old Epliraim 
and young Jonathan sever it in two places, roll the middle 
section out of the way, and lead forward their forces in 

Arriving at length at the selected locality, if no house 
has been erected in advance the family easily finds shelter 
with an earlier settler, perhaps a mile or two distant. All 
are ho.spitable, not only for hospitality's sake, but because 
every new-comer is a positive advantage to the country. 
The fii-st thing is the erection of a log house. Our two 
grown-up heroes go to work preparing the logs, while young 
Timothy is kept busy all day taking care of the cattle, run- 
ning of errands, and helping the women folks, till he wishes 
twenty times a day that he were back on the stony hill- 
sides of Vermont. 

As our friends belong to the best society, they cut their 
logs eighteen feet long, intending to have their house nearly 
sixteen feet square on the inside, — something quite palatial. 
The logs being ready, the enginecr-in-chief prepares his 
machinery for raising the house. It consists of a gallon 
of whisky. The '" neighbore" for several miles around are 
invited to the raising, and respond with unanimous alacrity. 
Four fini.shed architects are selected to carry up the corners. 
These shape the notches and saddles by means of which the 
logs are fitted together, their less expert brethren lift the 
material up to the builders, who rise with their work till 
they arc six or eight feet above the ground. Rough poles 
furnish the rafters. 

Our high-toned friends cannot think of getting along, as 
some do, without a floor, and so a few ash-logs are split up 
into "puncheons," and laid on the lowest tier of logs, and 
even an upper tier is laid so as to furnish a chamber, which, 
divided by blankets, furnishes sleeping- rooms for the young 
people. Apertures for a door and window are cut out, and 
then, after an ample if homely supper, and an annihilating 
attack on the remnants of the badly-defeated whisky, the 
neighbors depart to their homes, pouring out their good 
wishes for the new residents with equal profu.seness and 
sincerity, and the younger men deeply smitten by the grace 
and beauty of the fair-haired young schoolma'am. 

A few days more suflice to put on the ash " shakes," two 
and a half to three feet long, which do duty as shingles, to 
build the fire-place of stone and the chimney of poles, and 
to put in the board-door and glass-window which mark the 
residence of a gentleman of substance. The women folks 
begin keeping house, and the men turn their attention to 
the clearing of land. There being two of them, ambitious 
and active, they are determined to have a crop this very 
season. Working early and late, they cut down the trees 
on three or four acres, trim off' and pile the, and burn 
it as soon as the spring sun has made it combustible. The 
trees are left where they fall. Between them, in the soft 
woodland soil, the late corn is planted, and a tolerable crop 
is harvested. But only "right smart" men c;in do thi.s, 






rly frost 

and even then they 
would destroy. 

Meanwhile more land is cleared to be sown to wheat. 
About this job there is to be no half-way work. The brush 
is trimmed and burned, the trees are felled in the right 
direction, and the logs cut of the proper length. When 
the August sun is hottest, another supply of whisky is laid 
in, and again the neighbors are invited, — this time to a 

But the muse who waits on a common county historian 
can hardly be expected to describe with sufficient accuracy 
and vividness that remarkable scene. Dante and Virgil 
both descended into hell, but neither of them ever saw a 
" logging-bee ;" if they had, they could have added some 
extra touches to their Plutonian pictures. How the work 
begins at a moderate pace at first ; how the logs, already 
blackened by the fire which has consumed the brush, are 
dragged together by ox-teams and rolled into heaps with 
handspikes ; how clouds of black dust rise from the ground 
and envelop everybody and everything in one funereal pall ; 
how the speed increases as time progresses ; how Ephraim 
and Jonathan, and young Timothy and old Jeremiah, and 
William and Henry, and James and Thomas, and Buck and 
Bright, and Broad and Blaze, all catch the spirit of 
rivalry, and spring to their work like soldiers to the charge; 
how, regardless of danger, men bound among the whirling 
logs to lelieve some dead-lock with their handspikes ; how 
jest and laugh and shout and cheer go up from the heroes 
of the day as they sec their labors progressing to a success- 
ful close ; and how, when all is done, and the great heaps 
are ready for the torch, they retire to their homes covered 
with soot half an inch thick, more or less, but triumphant 
in another victory over the wilderness, — all this forms a 
vivid picture in the mind of an old pioneer, but can hardly 
be appreciated by a modern city gentleman. But without 
the tremendous labors of the forest and the " logging-field" 
the dry-goods box would have yielded no profit to the 
smiling merchant, and the palatial residence would never 
have adorned the elegant avenue. 

The next day our friends Ephraim and Jonathan and 
Timothy apply the torch to the log-piles, and for several 
days have plenty of work watching the fires, dragging to- 
gether the brands that remain, and burning them again 
until all are destroyed. A harrow prepares the virgin soil 
sufiiciently to receive the proper allowanceof winter wheat, 
which is soon sown by the skillful hands of the head of the 
family, and then the harrow again comes into play, cover- 
ing the grain with enough earth to secure its germination. 

As winter approaches, the family mansion is " chinked" 
all around with pieces of wood between the logs, and fur- 
ther secured against cold by a liberal coating of clay. Ere 

long the snow comes down in an avalanche, and lies one, 
two, or three feet deep throughout the forest. No hay lies 
piled in stacks or stored in barns ; and how are Buck and 
Bright and Betsey to be kept through the winter ? Browse. 
Each morning Ephraim or Jonathan goes to the forest, 
chops down a few trees, and gives the cattle a chance to 
feed on the succulent twigs. It is hardly equal to first- 
class hay, but cattle can live on it throughout the winter. 
Half a ton of hay, procured with great labor from a distant 

settlement, keeps the poor beasts in memory of old times, 
and prevents them from despairing of the future. A rude 
log shed slightly shields them from the fury of the frequent 

Now, at last, young Jonathan has a chance to display 
his skill with the rifle. Deer roam thick through the 
woods, and it is not difiicult for even a mediocre marksman 
to supply a family with abundance of venison. Even our 
boyish friend, Timothy, has the inexpressible delight to 
discover a fat doe peering in wonder from the edge of the 
clearing at the strange-looking cabin, to seize the rifle, to 
steal quietly to a convenient stump, and, after carefully 
sighting, to bring the unfortunate intruder dying to the 
earth. That one shot adds four inches and a half to the 
boy's height. 

As the snow becomes deeper the snow-shoe is brought 
into requisition. The light ashen or hickory frame, twenty- 
eight to thirty-two inches long, and from fourteen to six- 
teen wide, braced with bars and plaited with leather thongs, 
is strapped to either foot, and away goes the youthful 
hunter over snow four feet deep, at the rate of three miles 
or more an hour, scarcely sinking above the top. As the 
deer had no snow-shoes, the hunter had an immense 

As food becomes scarcer the deer gather in groups (or 
" yards," as they are called), twelve, fifteen, or twenty to- 
gether, and dig down through the snow with their feet, to 
obtain a little scanty nourishment from the shrubbery 
below. When the hunters find one of these " yards" they 
can save their powder ; they begin with club and knife, and 
slaughter at will. (Mr. Jeremiah Matthewson, of Pulaski, 
says he has known of three men killing eighteen deer in 
that way in one day.) If the poor wretches attempt to 
escape, they instantly sink deep into the snow, and are easily 
overtaken and dispatched by those woodland Mercuries, 
whose heels are made light by snow-shoes instead of wings. 
A ftincy sportsman would call this mere butchery, but a 
man whose pork-barrel is getting low cannot be particular 
as to the way he supplies his family with meat. 

But not much time can be spared for the exciting joys 
of the hunter. Our friends have come into the wilderness 
not to play but to work. A large part of the winter is 
spent in cutting down the great oak- and ash-trees and split- 
ting them into rails. It may be possible to get along a few 
years with brush-fences, but Ephraim and Jonathan are 
resolute Yankees, who look on the brush-fence as a mark of 
shiftlessness hardly to be tolerated even for the first year. 

Meanwhile the female head of the household and her 
blithe daughter are busy within, being especially necessi- 
tated to devote a large part of their time to the repair of 
clothing. Every article must be made to last as long as is 
humanly possible, for the prospect of obtaining more is poor 
indeed. How earnestly the matron longs for the time when 
they shall have sheep, and geese, and all the adjuncts of 
civilizatiou I 

Spring brings new labors and new pleasures. The rails 
must be laid into the old-fashioned "worm-fence," eight 
rails high, "staked and ridered," which is now following 
the log house into the limbo of oblivion. Spring crops 
must be sowed, — more srround must be cleared. Hand- 


some Ilaiinah retreats to a little older eettlemeiit, and ob- 
tains eniployniont in teaching school through the summer 
at a dollar a week and " board around." 

Timothy is happy, for every little while he gets a chance 
to fish for salmon. It makes no difference whether they 
live near Salmon river, Salmon creek, or Oswego river, all 
the waters which flow into Lake Ontario abound in that 
delicious fish. Whenever those waters rise and roll their 
turbid volume out into the lake, the salmon ai'e attracted 
and rush up the streams. Even in the daytime they can 
be speared by the score, but night is the chosen time. 
Then two young men start out in a boat, — one handling the 
oars, and one armed with a spear, — with a supply of pine- 
knots for light. As the salmon are dimly revealed in the 
dark wat<;r, the stiilwart spearsman transfixes them, one after 
another, and hauls them into the boat till his arm is almost 
too weary to lift one. (Mr. Mattliewson, to whom we have 
before referred, declares that he has himself taken out sixty- 
three salmon in the burning of one "jack-light" of pine- 
knots, which was calculated to last seventeen minutes. 
Two hundred and thirty were captured by himself and 
comrade during the four hours between dark and midnight. 
A hundred of these, taken at random, weighed fourteen 
hundred and seventy-five pounds ! This was at a later 
period, but it shows what fun there was to be had in all 
those early days.) 

Another winter passes more comfortably than the last. 
Our friends have time to make a few dozen sap-troughs, 
and, when spring sets the sweet blood of the maple flowing 
in its veins, a corresponding number of trees are tapped, a 
big kettle is swung over a fire in the woods, the sap is boiled 
down into syrup, the syrup is "sugared ofl^,'' and little 
Tommy and Johnny and Polly enjoy themselves for a while 
at the top of their bent. A year or two later a still larger 
number of trees will be tapped, a shanty will be built in the 
woods, the sap will be gathered from far and near on a sled, 
and a grand jubilee of the young folks — up to twenty-five 
years old — will be held over the operation of sugaring off". 

Now the women folks make up their minds that they 
have carried water long enough from the spring some sixty 
rods distant, and insist on a well. Ephraim, Jonathan, and 
Timothy (now a stout youngster of seventeen), all take part 
in this work. Good water is found some fifteen feet down. 
Stone for the sides is soon brought from the surrounding 
fields on that peculiar vehicle called a stone-boat, built of 
stout plank, five feet by three, with a flat keel to navigate 
on top of the earth, behind a yoke of cattle, and a rounded 
prow, to glide past the numerous stumps. The well is at 
once finished, and ornamented by its lofty " sweep," rising, 
at an angle of forty-five degrees, twelve or fifteen feet high, 
supported in the middle by a sturdy crotch, with a slender 
pole pendent from its topmost end, and the celebrated old 
oaken bucket hanging from the lower end of the pole. 

This year, when the crops are harvested, Jonathan goes 
back to Vermont after Mary Ann, buys a yoke of steers 
and a cart, and gives his bride a ride of three hundred 
miles, while he walks ahead and drives a dozen sheep 
for his father's use. Carefully he watches them all the 
way, fastening them at dark in the pens of friendly farmers, 
until, the night before reaching home, some point Ls left 

unguarded, the wolf comes down on the fold, and in the 
morning ten of the twelve are found dead, their mangled 
throats testifying to the cause of their untini 'ly taking ofl". 
This is no fancy sketch. Not only in Oswego County, but 
elsewhere, the writer has been told of little flocks brought 
from some far distant eastern home only to be slaughtered 
the first night of their arrival. 

Many a tear is shed by the good mother over tliis de- 
struction of her hopes, and the little ones join in wailing 
over the warm flannels of which they have boon defrauded. 
In fact, so dismal is the prospect that resolute Ejihraim 
goes in person, gets more sheep, and sees to it that they 
come through in safety. Then there is joy in the family. 
In due time fleeces are obtained, the spinning-wheel is 
brought out, and Hannah, after finishing her summer 
school, treads lightly to and fro over the floor, — in which 
boards have been substituted for puncheons, — twirling the 
rolls she has carded with deft fingers, until an ample number 
of skeins of stout yarn lie packed in a rude box, ready for use. 

Yes, Hannah can spin, — as sturdy Ben, the son of a 
neighbor only four or five miles distant, admiringly con- 
fesses, while he sits on the door-step, with his rifls leaning 
against the logs, and catches her graceful movements, — but, 
when it comes to weaving, the old lady's services arc in re- 
quest. She alone can manage the " warp" and the " filling," 
the "harness" and the "shuttle," so as to produce the soft, 
warm flannel which so many backs are anxious for. She, 
too, turns out the stronger cloth to which black sheep and 
white sheep contribute, and which, after being carried 
twenty or thirty miles to the nearest fulling-mill, is re- 
turned as " sheep'sgray," good for coat or trousers for man 
or boy. 

Jonathan and Mary Ann's new homo cannot at first be 
expected to be as stylish as that of the old folks. He has 
his first payment to make on his land, and after that his in- 
terest to provide for, and money is scarce beyond what any 
one can now conceive of. What is called "hard times" to- 
day would have been thought a perfect jubilee of monetary 
abundance seventy years ago. The first summer a blanket 
does duty instead of a door, and a piece of greased cotton- 
cloth instead of a window. The first chairs consist of slabs 
split out of a log, with four holes bored in the corners, fitted 
with hickory legs. The first bedstead is made of poles 
stuck in auger-holes in the logs in the corner of his house. 
The first baby is rocked in a sap-trough. 

Yet even in this humblest of residences the observant 
visitor sees at once that he is in the home of an intelligent 
and self-respecting freeman. Two or three books have sur- 
vived the disasters of poverty and removal. If the head 
of the young family cannot yet afford a newspaper, some 
good-natured neighbor has loaned him one, and he hjis a 
common-sense idea of the aff'airs of the nation. The rifle, 
which hangs over the fire-place, may yet be leveled against 
the enemies of his country. There may be a nasal tone to 
his voice, but, as compared with the European pesisant, his 
speech is amazingly accurate and grammatical. If a king 
were to enter our friend's cabin, Jonathan would off'er him 
a seat on one of the slab chairs, and Mary Ann would 
bring him a drink of buttermilk, with but little more con- 
cern than if it were Sijuirc Jones of the neighboring ham- 



conceited : he 

let. To be sure our independent, ri: 
paper-reading citizen and voter is a tr 
would be ready to manage the nation by the views lie has 
picked up in the district school ; but still a few million 
such citizens make a very solid foundation for the super- 
structure of a free government. They are not easily fright- 
ened nor cajoled, and their hard " horse sense" has more 
than once carried the republic through long seasons of diflB- 
culty and danger. 

It is needless to say that the young people do not attend 
high-toned balls in gas-lighted rooms, where, on spring-bot- 
tomed floors, they waltz away the hours, with an interval 
for supper, consisting of scolloped oysters, roast beef a la 
Franjaise, giblets a I'Espagnole, ice-cream, and champagne. 
Neither does the peripatetic lecturer illuminate the people 
on the glories of progress and the mysteries of philosophy. 
All mental instruction comes from the school-master or mis- 
tress in the log school-house; all ethical teaching from the 
itinerant preacher, who has not even a log meeting-house at 
his command, but who occupies once a month a school- 
house three miles distant, to which all the settlers around 
flock with ox-teams or on foot. Equally simple are their 
amusements. The sugar-party, with its egg-shells filled 
with the finest product of the maple, and its waxen luxuries 
cooled upon the snow ; the quilting-bee, where the girls 
who work all the afternoon are taken home by the young 
men in the evening ; the spelling-school, that primitive 
athenasum, where rosy-cheeked lasses and sturdy youngsters 
struggle with the awful mysteries of phthisic, caoutchouc, 
and Michilimackinac ; the more infrequent singing-school, 
also held in the log school-house, whither the poor bring 
pine-knots and the rich bring tallow candles ; the jolly 
husking-bee, where the great pile of corn is soon denuded 
of its covering by nimble hands of girls and boys, the ra- 
pidity of whose labors keeps out the cold, and where the 
finding of a red ear is rewarded by a kiss from every girl 
in the barn ; — these are the primitive recreations which 
enliven the hard labors of pioneer life. 

Nor is the dance entirely ignored. Though the log 
taverns furnish very contracted accommodations, yet when 
a backwoods fiddler can be found to play the part of Apollo, 
the youth of both sexes are not unwilling to gather for 
many a mile around in rustic devotion at the shrine of 
Terpsichore. It is seldom, however, that that devotion is 
carried as far as in the case which will be related in the his- 
tory of the town of Volney, when three young men walked 
twelve miles through the pathless forest from New Haven 
to Volney Centre, found three girls whom they had never 
.seen before, persuaded them to walk back with them to a 
" house-warming" in the former locality, running the risk 
of bears and wolves, and occupied five days in going after 
their partners, going back with them, dancing, escorting 
them home, and returning. 

The present chapter being confined to the period before 
the war of 1812, it is needless to give any description of 
the early frame houses, for, though not absolutely unknown, 
they were so few as not to form a feature in the landscape. 
The erection of the first in each town, as well as that of 
the earliest blacksmith-sliop, saw-mill, grist-mill, etc., may 
safely be left to the town histories. 

Leaving our friends Ephraim, Jonathan, Mary Ann, and 
Hannah to push their fortunes as best they may, we will 
return to the prosaic record of events. As already stated, 
settlements had been made previous to the close of the last 
century in Oswego city. Oswego town, Granby, Volney, 
Scriba, Schroeppel, Mexico, New Haven, Hastings, Con- 
stant ia, and Redfield. Omitting details for the present, it 
will sufficiently give a general idea of the progress of settle- 
ment to say that some one began the pioneer's work in each 
one of the remaining towns before the war of 1812, in the 
following order: llichland and Williamstown, in 1801; 
Hannibal, in 1802; Sandy Creek, in 1803; Parish, in 
180-1; Amboy, in 1805; Orwell, Palermo, and West 
Monroe, in 1806 ; Boylston and Albion, in 1812. 

The course of municipal organization during the same 
period was as follows: In 1802, 1803, and 180-4 the towns 
of Adams, Ellisburg, and Lorraine, in the present county of 
Jefl'erson, were taken off from Mexico, bringing it down to 
the limits of that part of Oswego County west of the river, 
with Redfield already separate. In 1804, also, Williams- 
town was taken off, including the present town of that 
name, Amboy, Albion, Richland, Sandy Creek, Orwell, and 
Boylston. In 1806 Fredericksburgh was formed on the 
other end of the patent, embracing the present towns of 
Scriba, Volney, Palermo, and Schroeppel. The same year 
Hannibal was formed from Lysander, embracing the old 
survey-township of Hannibal and thirty-three lots from 
Lysander ; in other words, all of the present county of Os- 
wego west of the river. These dimensions it retained until 
after the war. In 1807 Richland was set off from Wil- 
liamstown, embracing what is now Richland, Albion, Or- 
well, Boylston, and Sandy Creek. In the same year the 
survey-township of Arcadia was annexed to Redfield, en- 
larging that town to its present size. In 18U8 another new 
town was formed from Mexico. Mr. Scriba's favorite name 
of Rotterdam was aside, and the survey-township of 
that name, together with Delft and Breda (West Monroe 
and Hastings), wore organized as a town under the name 
of Constantia. This reduced Mexico to the territory of the 
present towns of New Haven, Mexico, and Parish, which 
it retained until during the war. Finally, in 1811, Scriba 
was set off fi'om Fredericksburgh, the name of which was at 
the same time changed to Volney, in honor of the cele- 
brated French author of that name, who had lately passed 
down the Oswego on a tour through the country. Thus, 
at the beginning of the war, the present county of Oswego 
contained eight towns, — Hannibal, in Onondaga county, 
and Scriba, Volney, Mexico, Constantia, Williamstown, 
Richland, and Redfield, in Oneida county. 

We have already mentioned the remains of Indian or 
ante-Indian relics near Oswego Falls and Fort Brewerton. 
The only other locality especially rich in such relics was 
discovered by the early settlers of Albion, on Trout brook, 
in the north part of that town. There was to be seen a 
mound twenty-eight feet high and sixty or seventy feet in 
diameter at the bottom, rising in the midst of a piece of 
level ground. Close beside it large quantities of stone axes, 
arrow-heads, stone pipes, etc., were often thrown up by the 
pioneer's plow. Near by, but on the top of a hill, was a 
circular embankment nearly six feet high, inclosing some two 



acres of gi'ouiid. Outside of it was a ditch, which, before the 
pUice was cleared, was eight or ten feet deep. Pine-trees, 
two feet in dianiet«r, grew on the top of the embankment, 
undoubtedly proving its great age. It will be observed 
that in this, as in most cases of old fortifications in New 
York, the implements found are those of Indians. 

There was not a church building in the county during 
the whole period treated of in this chapter. Fort Ontario 
was abandoned about the beginning of the century, even by 
the small squad who had held it since the British left. 
Vera Cruz fell into decay. The trade with the western 
lakes by way of the Oswego river. Lake Ontario, and the 
Niagara continued to increase through this period, but was 
still small at its close. In 1803, Matthew McNair, a resi- 
dent of Oswego, bought a sloop called the "Jane," changed 
its name to the " Peggy," and went into the forwarding 
business. Considerable of the merchandise which went 
west was shipped by Canadian vessels, owned at Kingston 
or by the Northwestern Fur Compihiy. For many years 
the American vessels on Lake Ontario were very few and 
very small, those of the British being far superior both in 
number and size. 

In the year last named a custom-house was put in oper- 
ation at Oswego, with Joel Burt as the firet collector. The 
importations, which had previously gone through free, were 
now obliged to pay duty, — not at all to the satisftiction of a 
good many of the neighboring people. The next year a 
man named Wilson, a government contractor, built the 
schooner " Fair American," of ninety tons, and Mr. ]Mc- 
Nair the "Linda," of fifty tons. The boats in which goods 
were brought down the Oswego wore sometimes carted 
around the fiills and re-embarked at the lower landing. 
More frequently, however, they were sent back and the 
goods re-shipped in a much larger kind of boats, which often 
made the journey to the Niagara. 

As has been said, the payment of duties was not relished 
by many of the citizens, and there was a good deal of smug- 
gling going on. It seems it was then an object to import 
Canadian flour, for, in 1808, Collector Burt seized a con- 
siderable quantity of that article, which the owners were 
trying to run through the lines. Some sixty armed men, 
partly, if not wholly, from JefFei-son county, as related in 
Hough's history of that county, came to Oswego in ten 
boats to recapture the flour. They came into the harbor 
in the daytime, but intended to wait till eleven o'clock at 
night before making the attack. They could not disguise 
their elation at the great feat they intended to accomplish, 
and were heard swearing that they would " clear out the 
place or burn it." 

Mr. Burt, however, had hoard of the attack beforehand, 
and had sent post-haste to the southern part of Oncmdaga 
county for the aid of a company of dragoons. These came 
within six miles in the daytime, and camped. About half- 
past nine o'clock, they saddled up and rode forward towards 
town. Just before eleven the marauders gathered in the 
streets, rifle in hand, ready to make an assault on the col- 
lector's warehouse. Suddenly their ears caught the sound 
of galloping steeds, and a moment later they saw the head 
of the column of dragoons emerging swiftly from the dark- 
ness. There was not even time to escape to their boats. 

Without firing a shot, they fled at full speed to the woods, 
which, fortunately for them, were near at hand, leaving 
their boats the lawful prey of the collinitor. In their long, 
wearisome journey througli the forest back t*) their \iome8, 
they must have frequently repented of their lawless under- 

The same j'ear, the first United States armed vessel on 
Lake Ontario was begun, by Eckford & Bergh, at Oswego. 
This was the brig " Oneida," carrying sixteen twenty-four- 
pound carronades. She was launched the next spring. 
Lieutenant Jlelancthon T. Woolsey (afterwards the cele- 
brated Commodore Woolsey) superintended the building, 
and commanded the " Oneida" after she was afloat. One 
of his midshipmen was James Fenimore Cooper, subse- 
quently so distinguished as a novelist, who then obtained 
that knowledge of the geography and history of the Oswego 
river which, at a later date, he reproduced in the vivid pic- 
tures of the " Pathfinder." 

From 1810, there was a decided increase in the amount 
of business carried on via the Oswego river and Lake On- 
tario. In that year, the firm of Town.send, Bronson & Co. 
began the forwarding and transportation business on the 
lakes. For the two years before the war, as well as for 
several years afterwards, they controlled the major part of 
the business on both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario ; the 
portage around Niagara Falls being carried on by tlie equally 
celebrated firm of Porter, Barton & Co. The member of 
the fi)rmer firm who established himself at Oswego was 
Mr. Alvin Bronson, then a young man of twenty-seven, now 
ninety-four, and probably the most energetic man of his age 
in the county. 

One of the principal articles of commerce at that time 
was salt, which the Syracusans (or " Salt Pointers," as they 
were then called) had begun to manufacture in large quan- 
tities, and which was transported by the Oswego route to all 
parts of the west. The river trade above the falls was then 
carried on largely in " Durham boats." They were decked 
over fore and aft, and had "running-boards" on each side. 
These were arranged with cleats to secure a firm footing, and 
on them the men (four to six besides the steersman ) walked 
from bow to stern, propelling the boat by means of setting- 
poles placed against the bottom of the stream. Sometimes, 
after discharging portions of their cargoes, the Durham boats 
were run over the falls. Generally, however, work below 
the falls was done by Oswego river boats, which were much 
smaller and managed by three men each. 

Turning from water-ways to land-ways, we find that, be- 
sides Scriba's great road from Rotterdam to Vera Cruz, 
another was cut out, about 1804, from Camden to Vera 
Cruz, pa.ssing tlirough the present towns of Amboy, Parish, 
and Mexico. Up to 1808, there were no roads pas.sable 
with a wagon in Richland, nor in any of the towns north 
and east of it, except Redfield and Williamstown. In 1807 
a State road, six rods wide, was laid out from Onondaga 
Hill to the mouth of Ox creek, in the present town of 
Granby, and thence to Oswego. One branch went from Ox 
creek to Salt Point. 

The same year, a mail-route was establislied between 
Onondaga and Oswego, and a post-oflice at the latter place. 
The first mail-carrier, as stated in Clark's " Onondaga," was 


Onudiaga, a veteran Onondaga chief, wlio had fought 
against the Americans at Fort Schuyler, Oriskany, and 
Cherry Run, but who had now descended to being the 
news-bearer of his conquerors. Once a week the mail 
was put up in a small valise at the Onondaga office, ready 
to leave at four o'clock the next morning. At nine in 
the evening Onudiaga invariably came, received his valise, 
and then, without a word, laid himself down on the floor 
of Judge Forman's kitchen. At four in the morning 
he arose, took his valise, and started forth on his journey 
of forty miles. Rain, hail, or snow, it was all the same. 
No one ever knew Onudiaga to flinch from his journey, or 
to be delayed on the route by the weather. The worse it 
was, the more the chief increased his long Indian strides; 
so that the people of Oswego came to look for Onudiaga as 
regularly as they did for sundown. The next day he re- 
turned with equal regularity to Onondaga. 

The flrst member of the assembly elected from what is 
now Oswego County was Barnet Mooney, who served in 
1810, and again in 1812 and 1814. He resided in what 
was then Hannibal, but is now Granby, and of course rep- 
resented the county of Onondaga. 

Thus, in clearing the forest, erecting log houses, opening 
roads, building vessels, carrying salt, starting new settle- 
ments, forming new towns, etc., the time passed peacefully 
on until the beginning of 1812. But here, as through- 
out the country, there was a constantly-increasing anger 
against Great Britain on account of her infringements, in 
her wars with France, of the neutral rights of the United 
States. The two chief causes of bitterness were the in- 
vasion of American mercliantmen by British men-of-war in 
order to seize sailors claimed as British subjects, and the 
capture of American vessels trading to France, even when 
no actual blockade was violated. There were hundreds 
upon hundreds of such outrages, and it is safe to say that 
English statesmen would no more think now of directing 
such a course of conduct towards the United States as they 
then authorized, than they would think of cutting their own 

The only excuse that could possibly be made was that 
Napoleon pursued a similar course in relation to neutral 
vessels (he did not attempt to impress seamen), and that 
the British were obliged to do as they did in self-defense. 
In fact, however, Napoleon inflicted far less damage on 
American commerce than the English ; and he first re- 
pealed his obnoxious decrees. Yet, the violent hatred felt 
by the Federal party against Napoleon and the French 
revolutionary principles caused them to be willing to forgive 
almost any oflense on the part of England, while she was 
fighting the man whom they designated as the tyrant of 

Mingled with this feeling was the intense party spirit, 
which was probably stronger then than even at the present 
day, and which led either party to oppose whatever was 
done by the other. The dominant party was the one which 
had originally been christened Republican, but the members 
of which wore beginning to call themselves Democrats. 
They were bitter enemies of Great Britain, and looked with 
far more lenient eyes on the trespasses of Napoleon than on 
those of George the Third and his ministers. 

All through the winter and spring of 1812 the question 
of war or peace was the subject of excited discussion in 
Congress. In April a law was passed forbidding the ex- 
portation of specie and merchandise for ninety days. About 
the same time another law directed the calling out of a hun- 
dred thousand militia, of which thirteen thousand five hun- 
dred were from New York. Details were made from the 
numerous militia regiments and sent to the frontier. Cap- 
tain Asa Wells, with a company of militia, occupied Fort 
Ontario, or rather the ruins which then went by that name. 
The lists of officers in the militia regiments were filled up, 
musters were frequent, the people were full of excitement, 
and all waited anxiously for what a day might bring forth. 


THE WAE OP 1812. 

War Declared— Occupation of Fort Ontario— McNair and Bronson— 
Schooners turned into Gun-boats— Commodore Chauncey — Oswego 
Gun-boats at Work— A War of Ship-builder.=— Cooper's Ark— Sup- 
plies at Oswego Falls — Rumored Danger — Arrival of Troops — 
Orders to Conceal Stores — Appearance of the Enemy— Attack and 
Repulse— Another Attack— Guns of the Fort Disabled— The As- 
sault—The Fort Taken— Mulcaster Wounded— The Battle in the 
Brush— Mitchell's Retreat— The Losses- Perils of Making an 
Attack— Sinking the "Syren"— A Close Shot— Seizure of Property 
— Sir James Yco and Mr. Bronson — Five Prisoners and Three Sur- 
vivors—A Plucky Boy— A Ruffianly Knight— Prisoners taken to 
Kingston— Released— The Militia— A Harvest of Cannon-Balis— 
Getting the Guns to Sackett's Uarbor— The Boats Set Forth— One 
Captured— An Indian Escort— Out of the County— Entering Big 
Sandy— The British Follow— The Battle— A Complete Victory— 
The Guns, etc., taken through — Chauncey again Ahead — Peace. 

At length, on the 18th day of June, 1812, the declara- 
tion of war, having passed both houses of Congress, was 
signed by the president. The excitement increased ten- 
fold. The shores of the Oswego river had so often been 
the scene of bloody conflicts in former wars, that men 
might well tremble lest the invader should again seek that 
convenient opening into the country, and those scenes of 
blood be repeated on a still wider scale. 

In July, Colonel George Fleming, of Cayuga county, 
with nine companies of militia, marched down the river 
and took post at Fort Ontario. He made some attempts to 
repair the dilapidated works, but effected very little. The 
militia were called out for only a few months' service at a 
time, and when their terms expired they were relieved. In 
the fall, Colonel Cleveland, of Madison county, took com- 
mand of Fort Ontario in place of Colonel Fleming. The 
terms of almost all the militia expired with the year, and 
no provision was made for supplying their places. Fort 
Ontario was left almost entirely undefended. 

Early in the season Mi'. McNair was appointed commis- 
sary of subsistence at Oswego, and Mr. Alvin Bronson 
military storekeeper. Some of the contractors, whose prop- 
erty would necessarily pass through his hands, objected to 
Mr. Bronson's appointment on the ground that he was a 
Federalist, who could not safely be trusted in such a posi- 


Hon. One of the principal contractors, however, who knew 
Jlr. Bronson's personal reput;ition, declared that he was 
just the man for the place, and warmly urp;ed his appoint- 
ment, which was accordingly made. Shortly afterwards he 
was also appointed naval storekeeper. 

Meanwhile strong efforts were made by the government 
to organize a naval force on Lake Ontario, where at the 
beginning of the war the stiir-spangled banner was borne by 
no armed ship except the brig •' Oneida." All vessels that 
were capable of being armed were at once purchased. Mr. 
McNair's schooner "Julia," named for his daughter, was 
thus bought, and was armed with a long thirty-two-pound 
gun, and two long sixes. Soon afterwards she was sent to 
Ogdensburgh, manned with sixty volunteers under Lieuten- 
ant Wells, of the " Oneida," and accompanied by a company 
of riflemen in an open Durham boat ; the object was to 
protect six American schooners in that vicinity. Eleven 
miles this side of Ogdensburgh she met two British vessels, 
and a three hours' cannonade ensued. The enemy withdrew, 
and the improvised Oswego man-of-war, only very slightly 
injured, proceeded to Ogdensburgh. During an armistice 
soon after proclaimed on the frontier, the " Julia" and the 
six schooners escaped to Lake Ontario. 

The schooner " Charles and Ann," belonging to the firm 
of Townsend, Bronson & Co , was also purchased by the 
government and ohanged into a gun-boat by the name of the 
" Governor Tompkins," and did good service during the fore- 
part of the war, ere larger vessels could be constructed. Lieu- 
tenant Woolsey was the first commander on Lake Ontario, 
but in August, Captain Isaac Chauncey was appointed com- 
mander of the forces on all the northern lakes. He arrived 
on Lake Ontario in the fall, taking command of the forces 
on that lake in person, and fixing his headcjuarters at Sack- 
ett's Harbor, at that time the only port where large vessels 
could be built. 

In November the two Oswego gun-boats, "Governor 
Tompkins" and "Julia," with the rest of Chauncey's fleet, 
were engaged in a conflict with the British land-batteries near 
Kingston. Afterwards these two and another chased the 
" Simcoe," of twelve guns, on a reef of rocks, and riddled 
her with shot, so that after being taken into Kingston har- 
bor she sank to the bottom. The " Tompkins." with three 
other gun-boats, then blockaded Kingston until the ice 
closed the port, when they all returned to Saekett's Harbor. 
During the year 1813 very little of importance occurred 
in Oswego County In April the town of New Haven was 
formed from Mexico, with its present limits. A small force 
of militia, frequently changed, was stationed at Fort On- 
tario, but the principal dependence for protection was on 
the naval force, which Commodore Chauncey was doing his 
best to increase. The conflict on Lake Ontario was, as Jlr. 
Bronson well defined it, a " war of ship-builders." At first 
the British had the largest vessels. Then the Americans 
built larger ones, and drove the enemy into his harbors. 
Then the British built still larger vessels, and the Ameri- 
cans lay back, and laid yet longer keels than ever. Several 
indecisive conflicts took place during 1813, but none in 
immediate proximity to this county. 

Stores and munitions of war were constantly forwarded 
in large quantities from the east over the old route — so 

often traversed for the same purpose during the previous 
century — to Oswego, whence they were sent both ways, 
some west to Niagara and others northeast to Saekett's Har- 
bor. Bodies of troops, too, were moved back and forth 
from one end of Oiit;irio lake to the other, with the pur- 
poseless imbecility which marked almost all the proceedings 
of (he government during the war of 1812, and which can 
only be accounted for by supposing that the south, which 
then ruled the nation, was determined that Canada should 
not be concjuered. 

In June of that year there was a small body of regulars 
at Fort Ontario. During the month several British armed 
vessels, among them the frigate " General Wolfe," ap- 
peared ofl' Oswego, and opened fire. The American ship 
" Growler," of three guns, happened to be anchored in the 
harbor. She responded briskly, as did the batteries under 
the command of Major Case. After a brief cannonade the 
enemy retired. The Americans suffered no loss, and that 
of the British was probably slight. 

The only other event of 1813 which need be narrated at 
any length partook somewhat of the ludicrous order. Wil- 
liam Cooper, a brother of Fenimore Cooper, was a rather 
eccentric genius, who then made his home about Oswego. 
He undertook to build a floating battery, which was to be 
taken to Saekett's Harbor, and used to defend that post 
from the British. Full of faith. Cooper went to work at 
his own expense, the government agreeing to pay him six- 
teen thousand dollars for the battery when it should be 
completed and had proved actually capable of being floated 
to Saekett's Harbor. It was nearly square, about sixty feet 
across, and rose some four or five feet out of the water. It 
was made of large logs hewed partially square, and Mr. E. 
W. Clarke describes it as looking like a big, low, half-sub- 
merged log house. 

Whatever name the inventor might have given it, nobody 
else called it anything l)ut " Cooper's Ark." There was a 
mast in the middle, and when the thing was done Cooper 
placed it in charge of a Captain Gould, who boldly spread 
a large sail, and with a few men started for Saekett's Harbor. 
There were also two or three prisoner on board, whom the 
government officers wished to send to the Harbor. The 
guns were to be put on board at the latter place. The ark 
had gone but a short distance (being somewhere off New 
Haven, as near as we can learn) wlien the wind rose slightly ; 
the log craft became unmanageable, and soon went to pieces. 
Fortunately, all the men escaped to shore without serious 
injury. Cooper had used up his means on this curious 
contrivance, and his, together with the ridicule to 
which he had subjected himself, soon caused him to leave 
this part of the country. 

In the spring of 181-1, Commodore Chauncey was building 
the frigate " Superior" and other vessels at Saekett's Harbor. 
The "Superior'' was launched on the second day of May, 
I eighty days after her keel was laid. Two other vessels, the 
"Jefferson" and the "Jones," were ready for use, with the 
exception of a part of their armament. A large number of 
heavy guns and naval stores, designed for these vessels, was 
brought through from Albany to Oswego Falls, where they 
were detained, awaiting a safe (ijiportunity to ship them to 
Saekett's Harbor. There was also a large amount of .stores 



at Oswego, in charge of Mr. Bronson. The ice in the lake 
broke up early, and in April, General Gaines, at Sackett's 
Harbor, learned that the British were fitting out an expedi- 
tion at Kingston, the object of which was supposed to be 
Oswego, or, rather, the stores and munitions believed to be 
gathered there. Gaines immediately dispatched Colonel 
Mitchell from Sackett's Harbor, with five companies of artil- 
lery armed as infantry, with orders to protect the cannon 
and naval munitions at the falls, at the hazard of everything 
else. Mitchell marched his little force, less than three hun- 
dred, all told, along the main road, — a very rude one, — 
through Sandy Creek, Pulaski, and Mexico, and reached 
Fort Onbuio on the 30th of April. He could bring no 
artillery with him. He found the fort in a most wretched 
condition, — the stockade broken down, and only five rusty 
iron guns mounted on the ramparts. Of these, the trun- 
nions of two had been knocked oflF, and they were almost 
utterly worthless. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Bronson had also received notice of the 
expected attack from the district quartermaster, who di- 
rected him to stop all stores on their way at the falls, to 
send all he could forward to Niagara and Sackett's Harbor, 
and to conceal the rest to the best of his ability. These 
instructions were faithfully carried out. Besides the pro- 
visions and stores dispatched by lake, a large quantity was 
sent out into the surrounding forest for concealment. 

On the 4th of Maj', Sir James Lucas Yeo, commander 
of the British fleet on Lake Ontario, sailed out of Kings- 
ton harbor with eight men-of-war, besides several gun-boats 
and smaller craft. The fleet was armed with two hundred 
and twenty-two guns, and carried about a thousand soldiers, 
under the command of Lieutenant-Genoral Sir George 
Gordon Drummond, of the British army. Commodore 
Chauncey did not feel himself strong enough to make an 
attack until his new vessels were completed, and Sir James 
sailed unchallenged past the American fleet in Sackett's 
Harbor. , 

At reveille, the morning of the Gth, the sentinels at 
Fort Ontario s;iw a long line of vessels athwart the northern 
horizon, their sails filled by a favoring breeze and their 
prows pointed towards Oswego. A look through a field- 
glass showed their sides frowning with cannon, and their 
mast-heads decked with the red-cross banner of St. George. 
Colonel Mitchell immediately sent a number of horsemen 
at full speed into the country to arouse the militia, and 
made preparations to defend the pile of ruins which were 
dignified with the name of fort. 

The schooner " Growler," with Captain Wool.sey and 
Lieutenant Pearce on board, was in the river, waiting to 
convey the guns and stores before spoken of to Sackett's 
Harbor. She was at once sunk, and part of her crew, under 
Lieutenant Wilson, joined Mitchell at the fort. On the 
west side of the river, near the site of old Fort Oswego, in 
what is now Fortification block, No. 2, and near the corner 
of Water and West Van Buren streets, was a breastwork 
armed with four brass guns, but it seemed not to have been 
much used. Mitchell had his tents pitched on the west 
side, apparently to give the enemy as large an idea of his 
force as possible, but mustered all his men at and near the 

On came the hostile fleet, their sails swelling gracefully 
before the breeze, and about a quarter of a mile from the 
shore they rounded to and began making preparations to 
land. While these were going forward. Colonel Mitchell 
sent an old iron twelve-pounder, under Captain Boyle and 
Lieutenant Legate, down near the shore, a little to the 
westward of the fort. Ere long, fifteen large boats filled 
with soldiers left the sides of the enemy's vessels, and were 
rowed rapidly towards the shore. They were covered by 
the fleet, which opened a heavy cannonade on the fort, to 
which Mitchell responded with his half-dozen old guns as 
best he might. 

For a short time the thunders of artillery echoed along 
the shore and rolled far inland, startling the people with 
terrible visions of coming invasion. But when the boats 
came within convenient range the old twelve-pounder opened 
on them with severe effect. Several of the boats were 
seriously injured, and many of their occupants killed and 
wounded. Two or three boats were abandoned, the sol- 
diers and oarsmen clambering into the others to escape 
drowning. After a few discharges from the twelve-pounder, 
the boats turned about and retired, in much confusion, to 
the fleet. Presently, the British ships unfurled their sails 
and put out on to the lake. They lessened swiftly to the 
view and finally disappeared, and the Americans congratu- 
lated themselves on the easy victory which they had won. 
Sir George Drummond, however, in a general order after- 
wards issued, declared that he did not intend to make an 
attack, but was merely feeling the American strength. 

Possibly this was true ; at all events Sir George and Sir 
James were not seriously discouraged by their repulse, and 
the next morning the fleet again appeared off Fort Ontario. 
The British man-of-war " Magnet" took up a position in front 
of the village; two other vessels stood in towards the 
mouth of the river. The rest of the fleet occupied nearly 
their former position, but a little nearer shore. About ten 
o'clock the fleet commenced cannonading the fort with all 
its guns. The fort returned the fire as well as it could with 
its feeble artillery. One after another the American guns 
were disabled, and still the cannonade was kept up. A 
great part of the balls aimed at the fort went over it into 
the woods, and others flew so high that they were appar- 
ently aimed at the forest to scatter any militia that might 
be lurking there. 

In fact, a few had come in, but the population was ex- 
ceedingly scattered, and the greater part of those who had 
been notified had not arrived ; those who had, were posted 
in the woods near the fort. Colonel Mitchell ever bore in 
mind that his main business was to protect the guns and 
stores at the falls, and that he must keep his command in 
a position where they could not be caught. He therefore 
left only a few men in charge of the artillery in the fort, 
and posted his battalion in the underbrush to the east of it. 

About one o'clock, when all but one of the American 
guns were disabled, the British boats again lefb the fleet. 
For a description of their force we are indebted to Lossing's 
" Field-Book of the War of 1812," though most of the inci- 
dents of the fight are derived from still surviving witnesses. 
The enemy's attacking force consisted of two companies of 
De Watteville's regiment of iufimtry, under Captain Be 


Bersey, one company of the celebrated " Glengarry" regi- 
ment, under Captain McMillan, a battalion of marines, 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm, and two hundred sea- 
men, armed with pikes, under Captain Mulcaster, of the 
royal navy. The whole was commanded by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Fischer. Sir George Drummond remained on 

The boats containing the infantry and marines headed for 
the brush-covered shore where Mitchell was stationed, 
while Mulcaster led his sailors directly towards the fort. 
Undeterred by the fire of the solitary American gun, Mul- 
caster's men sprang from their boats through the water to 
the shore, and rushed up the high bank before them. 
Another blast of grape from the old twelve-pounder mowed 
down a number of the sailors, and the few infantry in the 
fort did considerable damage during a brief period, but the 
British were in too large force to be stopped by such feeble 
means of resistance, and in a moment gained the top of the 

There they found two American sailors ramming down a 
charge, while two or three other men who had been helping 
them were just scurrying through the gate of the fort. 
One of the sailors, too, flung down his rammer, and made 
good his escape. The remaining old tar, however, was 
determined to have another shot. Though surrounded by 
foes, who, with leveled pikes, ordered him to surrender, he 
seized the linstock and endeavored to fire the cannon. The 
British might easily have run him through with a dozen 
pikes, but, admiring his valor, they seized him ere he could 
apply the linstock, and dragged him by main force away 
from the gun. 

There was no time to tarry, and, with Mulcaster at their 
liead, the British sailors flooded over the feeble ramparts of 
the fort. The few men on the parapet who were not struck 
down fled across the open space of the little fortress, but, 
determined to fight to the last, turned at bay on the outside 
of the southern wall and began firing back upon the foe. 
In the northwestern bastion stood the flag-staff', to which 
the star-spangled banner had been nailed by order of Col- 
onel Mitchell. One of the sailors climbed up 
to take it down, when a bullet from the southern wall 
stretched him lifeless on the ground. Another attempted 
the perilous task, and he, too, fell beside his com- 
rade. Captain Mulcaster himself than sprang on the par- 
apet, and endeavored to tear down the defiant banner. The 
next instant he, too, fell .severely wounded to the ground. 
It was not till the fourth attempt was made that the flag 
was removed. The few defenders of the southern wall 
were either slain, captured, or driven away. 

Meanwhile a still sharper battle had been going on to the 
eastward. Colonel Mitchell, with Captains Romeyn and 
Melvin, and the principal part of his battalion, met the 
enemy in front as they landed, while Captains Mclntyre 
and Pierce annoyed them on the flank. For near half an 
hour the ground was hotly contested. The cracking of 
muskets and rifles was incessant, and the bullets flew thick 
and fast among the saplings and underbrush. But the 
British, outnumbering the Americans two to one, .steadily 
advanced, and the latter as constantly fell back. Finally, 
Colonel Mitchell, seeing that the fort was cajitured and 

that his little force was likely to be surrounded, and the 
munitions at the falls thus exposed to seizure, gave the 
order to retreat. The battalion fell back in good order, 
and took their line of march up the river. 

The enemy did not pursue. It is doubtful if they knew 
that the principal articles of value were at the falls, and 
even if they had their loss had been such, and the road 
through the forest was so easily defensible, that it is not 
probable they would have followed. The Americans lost 
six killed, one of whom was Lieutenant Blaney, thirty-eight 
wounded (thirteen mortally), and twenty-five missing. The 
British loss is reported by Lossing at nineteen killed and 
seventy-five wounded. Although it is customary to exag- 
gerate an enemy's losses, yet we presume that Lossing had 
access to the British official records, and has given the 
numbers correctly. That the English, though successful, 
should sufl^er tar more heavily than the Americans, is ex- 
tremely probable, since the former had to take the offensive 
and attack the latter behind trees and intrenchments. The 
value of a defensive situation is rarely appreciated by 
civiKans, who consider nothing but the numbers engaged ; 
especially if their feelings them to misunderstand 
the facts. Thus, secession sympathizers are in the habit of 
dilating on the great superiority in numbers of the national 
troops during the war for the Union, but carefully forget to 
consider that the rebels had mountains, rivers, forests, and 
swamps as their auxiliaries, all guarded, and doubly guarded, 
by the most formidable intrenchments, behind which they 
lay in comparative safety, — before which the friends of the 
Union fell by thousands. 

Two citizens of Oswego, Abram D. Hugunin and Wil- 
liam Squires, who had crossed the river with their rifles 
and attached themselves to the American troops to aid in 
repelling the invaders, did not retreat (|uickly enough, and 
were captured. Peter D. Hugunin, afterwards judge, also 
occupied the breastwork on the west side of the river, 
occasionally sending a bullet from his rifle at the invaders, 
until the fort surrendered, when he made his escape. 

When Mr. Bronson saw how matters were going, he 
began hastily to load some stores on to his schooner, the 
" Syren," preparatory. A sergeant's guard came up to the 
opposite side of the river and fired across at the laborers, 
one of the bullets passing within two feet of Mr. Bronson, 
and striking in the end of his warehouse. Nevertheless he 
persisted in sinking the vessel. Meanwhile, the British 
burned the barracks, but could do little to the fort, as it 
was already in ruins. Presently Sir George Urummond 
came ashore, and he and Sir James Yeo devoted themselves 
to .seizing what public property they could. They suc- 
ceeded in raising the " Growler" and the " Syren," which 
were the principal prizes they made. There was no sys- 
tematic injury to private property, but the soldiers and 
sailors did considerable plundering whenever they had an 

From the storehouse of Mr. McNair, the government 
commissary, were taken some twelve hundred barrels of 
hard bread, and a quantity of other provi.sions, whisky, etc , 
but these and all the other prizes were ver^' poor compen- 
sation for the loss suffered by the British. The work of 
seizure and luadinsr went on for .several hours. While Sir 


was superintending the loading of some of the stores 
on a captured schooner, he saw Mr. Bronson walking about 
on the wharf, dressed as became a merchant, and sharply 
addressed him, — 

" Here, sir, I want you to furnish pilots to take these 
boats over the bar." 

Mr. Bronson replied that all the men had left the place, 
and that he had no pilots under his control. With a vulgar 
oath. Sir James seized him by the collar, and shoved him 
back across the wharf, saying, — 

" Then go yourself and take the boat out, and if you get 
her aground, God damn you, I'll shoot you !" 

Without making any reply, Mr. Bronson started towards 
the boat. Before reaching it, however, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Harvey, a gallant British officer, much respected on both 
sides of the line, who was standing a short distance away, 
called out, — • 

" That is the public storekeeper. Sir James ; he may be 
useful to us." 

" Here, come back !" cried Yeo. Mr. Bronson did so, 
and awaited the course of events. 

An hour or so later. Sir James sent for Mr. Bronson, 
who obeyed the call, when the following conversation took 
place between them. Sir James began, — 

" You are the public storekeeper here?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" And you arc my prisoner ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Now, sir, I want you to tell me all about the public 
stores : what have been sent to Sackett's Harbor and Ni- 
agara, if any ; what have been detained at posts in the 
rear ; and what, if any, are concealed in the vicinity. If 
you will give me full and correct information on these 
points, you can remain here ; if not, you will be taken a 
prisoner to Quebec." 

" Well, Sir James," replied Mr. Bronson, " my books and 
papers have been sent away for safety ; I do not think I 
could give you this information if I would, and I am sure 
it would be inconsistent with my' duty for me to do so if I 

" I have nothing to do with your duty," said the com- 
modore ; '• all I have to say is, — if you give the information 
I want, correctly, you can stay ; if not, you go to Quebec." 

" Very well, sir," replied the faithful storekeeper, " that 
settles it ; I will go to Quebec." 

Sir James then called Captain O'Conner, his flag-captain, 
and said, — 

" Take that man aboard the ' Prince Regent,' and take 
care of him." 

Mr. Bronson requested O'Conner to let him go to his 
room to get his trunk or some clothes. The officer con- 
sented, and sent a subordinate to accompany the prisoner 
to his room. On their arrival there, however, he found, as 
he expressed it, " Jack Tar had been ahead of me," and 
neither clothes nor books were to be found. Mr. Bronson 
was then taken on board the " Prince Regent." 

Four other residents of Oswego were also taken as 
prisoners on board the fleet, — Abram D. Hugunin and 
William Squires, the volunteer riflemen before alluded to ; 
Eli Stevens, and Carlos Colton. Of these, Mr. Squires 

still survives, a resident of Oswego. Mr. Colton is also 
living, but resides at Toledo, Ohio. Thus, out of the five 
Oswego prisoners then taken on board the British fleet 
three still survive, sixty-three years after that event, — a 
most remarkable coincidence in longevity. Mr. Hugunin 
came of a warlike family, two of his brothers being the n in 
service, — Robert as a midshipman in the navy, and Daniel 
(afterwards a member of Congress) as a lieutenant in the 

Four of the five prisoners were grown men, but Carlos 
Colton was then a boy only fourteen years old, and a clerk 
for Mr. Bronson. It was doubtless this circumstance that 
caused his capture, for he was taken on another vessel from 
his employer, and his captors there endeavored to obtain 
from him the information which they had failed to get 
from the storekeeper. 

" Come, now," they said, " Mr. Bronson has owned up 
all about the public stores, and you may as well do so, too, 
and save going to Quebec." 

" I don't believe a word of it," promptly replied the 
plucky boy. The British officers were highly amused, and 
soon abandoned their attempts to cajole him into giving 

The fieet lay oflF the harbor all night. About midnight 
Sir George Drummond came on board the " Prince Regent." 
Walking up to Mr. Bronson, where the latter stood on the 
deck, the high-toned major-general and knight thus accosted 
him, his prisoner, — 

" So you are the public storekeeper, are you ? You are 

a pretty damned son of a ! You said there were 

no stores concealed, and now we have found cannon sunk 
at your own wharf" 

" I did not say so. Sir George," replied Mr. Bronson ; 
" I said that my books and papers were gone, which was 
true, and that it would not be proper for me to give any 
information concerning the stores, even if I could." ■ 

The general glared at him for an instant, and then broke 
out again, — 

" Damn you, you ought to be strung up to the yard- 
arm I" 

The insulted prisoner made no reply, and Sir George 
presently left him. 

At daylight the next morning (the 7th) the fleet set sail 
for Kingston. In the course of the day. Colonel Harvey, 
in conversation with Mr. Bronson, apologized for the 
ruffianly language of Sir George Drummond and Sir 
James Yeo, saying that they had lost heavily and gained 
little by the expedition, that their friend. Captain Mulcas- 
ter, was severely wounded, and that they both felt terribly 
out of humor. Mulcaster was then on board the " Prince 
Regent," and the groans of the stout sailor showed how 
severely he was sufi"ering. He died of his wound, but not 
till two years later. 

But the behavior of Sir James Yeo towards Mr. Bron- 
son was quite in harmony with his usual style. In the 
beginning of the war he had sent, by a paroled prisoner, 
from the West Indies, where he was then stationed, to the 
gallant Captain Porter, the following message, as printed in 
the Philadelphia Journal of September 18, 1812: 

" A passenger of the brig ' Lyon,' from Havana to New 



York, is requested by Sir James Yeo to present his compli- 
inents to Ciiptaiu Porter, commander of the American 
frigate ' Essex ;' would be glad to have a lelc-d-li/c any- 
where between the Capes of Delaware and the Havana, 
where he would have the pleasure to break his own sword 
over his damned head and put him down forward in irons." 

Captain Porter sent a courteous acceptance of this re- 
markable cartel, but Sir James did not come to the l(tc-<}- 
tete he had requested. 

The Drummonds, also, were a brutal race. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Drumruond, the brother of the bully of the " Prince 
Regent," was killed a short time after, in the assault on 
Fort Erie, while crying out to his men, " Give the damned 
Yankees no quarter !'' and pistoling with his own hand 
the wounded who asked for mercy. We mention the be- 
havior of Sir George and Sir James because it is connected 
with the history of Oswego County, not with the idea of 
sanctioning the common clap-trap notion that all the ruflBan- 
ism in any war is on one side. 

The British fleet proceeded to Kingston, where the 
prisoners were kept in the guard-house a day or two. Mr. 
Bronson was fortunate enough to have an acquaintance there 
who supplied him with money for his immediate needs. 
After the fleet had been renovated at Kingston, Sir James 
Yeo blockaded Commodore Chauncey for a fortnight, in 
Sackett's Harbor, the prisoners being kept on shipboard. 
At length they were dismissed, one at a time, and sent 
home. Even Mr. Bronson, though holding a semi-military 
position, was finally released, on the representation of Com- 
modore Chauncey that he was only a merchant in charge 
of public property. The difliculty which kept Commodore 
Chauncey cooped up in Sackett's Harbor, while Sir James 
Yeo rode insultingly before him, was the fact that the great 
frigate " Superior," designed to be the monarch of Lake 
Ontario, was still without her armament. To see how it 
was obtained, and chronicle other matters worthy of men- 
tion, we must return to Oswego County. 

As was said in the description of the battle, a large 
number of militiamen arrived after the fate of the day was 
decided. Most of them at once returned home, having 
fiimilies in a state of terror on account of the approach of 
the enemy. Although no Indians accompanied the in- 
vading force, yet those merciless foes had been largely 
employed by the British on the frontier, and the traditions 
of the Revolution led every one to expect the presence of 
the red men whenever a British force appeared. Every- 
where the sound of the cannon was listened to with gloomy 
forebodings, and when the fleeing fugitives brought the 
news of disaster, universal consternation prevailed. Hun- 
dreds placed their families and a few household goods on 
whatever vehicles they could command, and hastened 
towards the interior. 

Mr. John B. Johnson, now a venerable resident of 
Oswego, relates that he was then a child of three years; 
his father residing in the present town of Scriba, on the 
second fiirm east of the city line, and his grandfather on the 
first one. When the news of the American defeat went 
flying on the wings of terror through the country, his 
grandfather's fiimily was placed on an ox-.sled, the only 
vehicle to be had, and started eastward. Arriving' at his 

father's residence, his mother and children were added to 
the load. As they pursued their course, almost expecting 
to hear the Indians' war-whoop echoing in their rear, his 
infant recollections vaguely preserve the appearance of a 
company of militia marching past the sluggish team, one 
of whom carried something which fla.shed brightly in the 
sun, and which the boy was afterwards told was an oflBcer's 

When they arrived at Major Stone's tavern, now called 
Scriba Corners, after sundown, lie dimly remembers seeing 
a large crowd, and hearing fearful outcries, which he has 
since learned came from a wounded man, from whose 
shoulder a surgeon was cutting a bullet. 

As, however, it was learned the next day that the British 
had retired, and, above all, that no Indians were in the 
vicinity, the panic soon subsided, and the fugitives returned 

An immense number of cannon-balls were fired into the 
woods by the British vessels, and the very next day all the 
boys and some of the men who had not lefl the vicinity 
were at work picking up these relics of battle. They were 
not sought as relics, however. Dr. Deodatus Clarke, father 
of E. W. Clarke, Esq., then residing on a farm just inside 
the present eastern city line, knowing that cannon-balls were 
in good demand, off'ered to pay for all the eighteen-pound, 
twenty-four-pound, and thirty-two-pound balls that should 
be brought him. What he picked up himself and what he 
bought amounted to nearly five tons. Besides these there 
were some still larger, and some twelve-pounders that he 
would not buy. He readily sold his " pile" to Judge For- 
man, at Onondaga Hollow, the contractor for furnishing the 
government, as these balls were much better than those which 
that gentleman could cast in his forge. 

The munitions at Onondaga Hollow, by the way, were the 
subject of a curious order, illustrative of the f\iet that official 
ignorance flourished in the days of the fathers as well as in 
our own. At one time when ordnance stores were needed 
on Lake Ontario, the secretary of the navy sent an order 
to a naval officer at Oswego, directing him to take his ves- 
sel at once to Onondaga hollow, load it with shot ani shell, 
and to return to the lake with the needed articles. The 
existence of Oswego falls and a few other obstacles pre- 
vented a compliance with the order. 

■There were other relics in which young Edwin, with the 
other boys, took perhaps still greater interest. At the gate 
of the fort the retiring British threw down a large quantity 
of wet cartridges. These the boys gathered up, and long 
afterwards youthful soldiers stole out from many a log cabin 
into the roads, and re-enacted the bombardment of Oswego, 
by exploding those old cartridges, to the infinite gratification 
of themselves, and the terror of their small sisters. 

Mitchell, when he retreated, marched up to the falls, filling 
the road with trees behind him, and took post there to defend 
the precious arms and munitions. He was accompanied by 
Captain Woolsey and one or two other naval officers. Find- 
ing they were not pursued, Woolsey set his wits to work to 
get the guns, etc., to Sackett's Harbor. The chance of carry- 
ing them on schooners, in face of the fleet, was poorer 
than ever. In this .strait Woolsey sent a messenger to 
Chauncey projiosing to take them quietly along the shore 


ia open boats to the mouth of Stony creek, some twelve 
miles this side of Sackett's Harbor, and then up that creek 
and overland to Henderson bay, thus giving the go-by to 
Yeo's blockaders. Chauncey assented, and General Gaines 
gave the necessary orders to insure the co-operation of the 

For two or three weeks Woolsey and his men were very 
busy. Even before the fight many of the guns had been 
run over the falls in scows, — a feat which looks hazardous, 
but was found entirely practicable. The rest were now 
taken over in the same way, all were loaded into boats, 
the cordage was stowed, and all the needful preparations 
were made with the utmost care. Then the precious freight 
was carefully rowed down the turbulent Oswego to its mouth. 
The flotilla consisted of nineteen large open boats, and car- 
ried twenty-two long thirty-two-pounders, ten twenty-four- 
pounders, three forty-two-pound carronades, and twelve 
large cables, besides other munitions. The main cable for 
the " Superior" was an immense thing, which filled one of 
the largest boats, being twenty-two inches in circumference, 
and weighing nine thousand six hundred pounds. Besides 
a strong complement of oarsmen, the boats carried an escort 
consisting of a hundred and thirty riflemen, under Major 
Daniel Appling, and an arrangement had been made by 
which a hundred and fifty Oneida warriors were to meet 
at the mouth of Salmon river. 

At sunset on the 28th of May the flotilla stole quietly 
out of the harbor of Oswego, and with eastward -pointing 
prows began its hazardous journey along the shore. All 
night long the rowers plied their oars so vigorously that, not^ 
withstanding their heavy freight, at dawn they had reached 
the mouth of Salmon river. In the latter part of the night 
the darkness was increased by a fog, in which one of the boats 
got lost from its companions. The other eighteen safely 
entered the mouth of the river at daylight, where the 
Oneidas awaited them on the shore, but the estray was 
caught up by a British cruiser. The captain soon learned 
what was going on, and immediately stood away towards the 
blockading squadron, under every sail that his craft would 
bear, to inform Sir James Yeo of the Yankee manoeuvre. 

Meanwhile, Captain Woolsey had discovered the loss of 
his boat, and as it did not appear at the rendezvous, he 
could easily guess that it was captured, and that there would 
soon be a squadron looking after the great prize. He con- 
cluded that it would be too dangerous to try to take the 
boats along shore as far as Stony creek. He thought, how- 
ever, that he could reach the mouth of Big Sandy creek, in 
the town of Ellisburg, Jefferson county. At top of speed 
a messenger galloped northward to inform General Gaines, 
and ask for aid to be sent to that point. 

Then, after recruiting their energies with a hasty break- 
fast, the wearied oarsmen rowed their boats into the lake, 
turned their prows to the north, and bent resolutely to their 
work, while every officer's eyes nervously scanned the hori- 
zon to see if British men-of-war were coming to derange 
their well-planned scheme. The Oneida warriors, stripped 
and painted for battle, each arrayed in only a breech-cloth 
and a crest of feathers, and armed with rifle, tomahawk, and 
scalping-knife, strode proudly along the sandy shore, abreast 
of the flotilla. Thus escorted, the squadron swept by the 

outlet of Little Sandy Creek bay, and soon passed the north- 
ern boundary of Oswego County. It would hardly do, how- 
ever, to suspend the story of the expedition at so interesting 
a juncture, and a brief sketch of its further fortunes will 
be subjoined, although they carry us for a little while out- 
side of the county which is our especial subject. 

At noon the boats reached the mouth of the Big Sandy, 
and quickly sought its friendly shelter. They proceeded a 
mile or so up the south branch as far as the depth of water 
would allow, and then the hard-worked sailors at length 
found an opportunity to rest. 

Meanwhile, as was expected, Commander Yeo had been 
informed of the expedition, and had sent a light squadron, 
consisting of two gun-boats, three cutters, and a gig, to in- 
tercept it. These did not arrive in the vicinity until after 
Woolsey had entered the creek. They cruised along the 
shore all the afternoon, and not until the evening did the 
commander learn that the American boats had gone up Big 
Sandy creek. Nothing could be done that night, so he de- 
termined to lie oflF shore till morning, and then sail in and 
gain an easy victory over the heavily-laden boats ; probably 
being ignorant of the presence even of Appling's men. 

But that same afternoon a company of cavalry and another 
of light artillery had come dashing through from Sackett's 
Harbor, in response to the request of Woolsey and Appling, 
and still later a small detachment of infantry came up. 
Boatmen of the vicinity were kept out on the lake all night 
watching for the enemy, and soon after daylight the Ameri- 
can commanders were notified of the approach of the British 
squadron. Major Appling placed the artillery and the other 
reinforcements from Sackett's Harbor near the boats and 
just above a bend in the creek. Below the bend he ambushed 
his riflemen and Indians. The British came confidently on, 
having apparently little idea of serious resistance. When 
they came in sight of the boats they opened on them with ' 
solid shot, but with very little eff"ect. Landing a flanking 
party on each side of the stream, they moved forward, con- 
stantly assailing the bushes with which the creek was then 
fringed, in advance of the flankers, with grape and canister. 
The Indians, always easily frightened by artillery, soon fled, 
but the riflemen hugged the ground and let the noisy storm 
pass harmlessly over them. 

When the pursuing vessels came opposite their ambush, 
they suddenly arose and poured in a deadly fire on the boats 
and the flankers. The latter were cut in pieces almost in 
an instant. The boats were raked with a heavy fire, and 
at the same time the American artillery opened on them 
with deadly elfect. Another detachment made a rapid cir- 
j cuit and assailed the enemy in the rear. In ton minutes 
the British commander found that he was engaged in a 
hopeless contest, and surrendered his whole force. Out of 
nearly two hundred men, he had in that brief time lost 
eighteen killed and at least fifty wounded ; while the whole 
injury to the American.s consisted of the wounding of one 
rifleman and one Indian. A hundred and seventy prisoners, 
two gun-boats and four other boats, five cannon and two 
howitzers rewarded the skillful plans and vigorous action 
of the Americans. The cannon and cable were afterwards 
carried by land to Sackett's Harbor ; the big cable of the 
" Superior," in default of any vehicle of suflicient strength, 


being borne on the shoulders of two hundred volunteer 
niilitiauK'n. Tlie "Superior" was quickly fitted out, the 
blockade was broken, and Chauncey was able in turn to 
drive Yeo around Lake Ontario. 

During the remainder of the war very little of especial 
consequence happened in Oswego County. The summer 
and winter passed quietly away, though the people were 
ever in a state of ner\'ous alarm lest the enemy should 
ag-ain find his way into the county. But none came, and 
when, in the early part of 1815, the news of peace spread 
through the land, the people gladly returned to the inter- 
rupted task of improving and developing the country. 


FROM 1815 TO 1830. 

Organization of Oswego County— Towns then Existing— Two County- 
Seats— First Officers— The " Tear without a Summer"— The Erie 
Canal— Ellicott's Logic— An Oswego County Engineer— The " Big 
Cat and the Little Cat"— The First Steamboat— First Court at 
Pulaski— A Duel on Ice— Court-Houses begun— Three New Towns 
—Mr. Bronson's Services— The Census of 1S20— Condition of the 
County— Deer and Salmon— Oswego County Medical Society- 
Constitution of 1821- An Oswego County Senator— Oswego Canal 
Authorized— The Famous " Seventeen" — The First Circuit Court — 
First Chtirch — Anecdote of Aaron Burr — Oswego Canal Built — 
Stopping the Salmon — First Oswego County Congressman — The 
First Pier— The First Village— The Situation in 1830. 

Without pausing on the unimportant year succeeding 
the close of the war, we pass at once to an event which 
would be of very slight consequence in a general history, 
but is of the gi-eatest moment in this local record. 

On the first day of March, 1816, the legislature of the 
State of New York passed an act forming the county of 
Oswego out of the counties of Oneida and Onondaga. Its 
boundaries were the same then as now, embracing one town- 
ship and thirty-three lots of the IMilitary tract, sixteen 
townships of Scriba's patent, and five townships of the 
Boylston tract. Its area is one thousand and thirty-eight 
square miles. The towns existing at the separate organiza- 
tion of the county were Hannibal, Scriba, New Haven, 
Volney, Mexico, Richland, Redfield, Williauistown, and 

It would appear that when the scheme for a new county 
was mooted, there was a strife, as is frequently the case, 
between several locations for the county-seat. Oswego 
village, small as it was, had the advantage in population, 
wealth, and commercial importance ; while the little settle- 
ment which afterwards became the village of Mexico, but 
which then contained neither store nor tavern, and the still 
older settlement of Colosse, divided between them the honor 
of being in the centre of the county. Pulaski, too, where 
there were as yet but a few log houses, was desirous of 
sharing the benefits of being the capital city. Under these 
circumstances the extreme eastern and western parts of the 
proposed county united their forces and procured the inser- 
tion in the law of a provision for two jury districts, with a 
court-house in each. Three commissioners, residiuir outside 

the county, were appointed by law to select sites for the 
court-houses. These made choice of Oswego and Pulaski. 

Next came the selection of ofiiccrs. At tliat time all 
county officers were appointed by the " council of appoints 
ment." The first ones commissioned for Oswego County 
were Barnet Mooney, first judge; Henry Williams, Smith 
Dunlap, Peter D. Hugunin, David Easton, and Kdmund 
Hawks, judges ; Daniel Hawks, Jr., assistant justice ; Elias 
Brewster, surrogate ; James Adams, county clerk ; and 
John S. Davis, sheriff. The population of the new county 
was between six and seven thousand, and as they were 
mostly poor, they did not feel like entering at once on the 
task of building two court-houses. The first court of com- 
mon pleas in the county was held at the school-house in 
Oswego village by Peter D. Hugunin and Edmund Hawks, 
judges, and Daniel Hawks, Jr., assistant justice. The follow- 
ing lawyers, already counsellors of the supreme court, were 
admitted to practice in the Oswego common pleas on pre- 
sentation of their certificates : Luther Badger, Abraham 
P. Vosburgh, John Grant, Jr., and Thomas French. 
Three students were admitted on examination, — Henry 
White, Levi S. Burr, and George Fisher. The clerk's 
office was kept in the private house of the clerk, and was 
so kept in private houses or offices, alternating every three 
years between Oswego and Pulaski, for forty-five years. 

The summer of 1816 was the celebrated "cold summer,"' 
when there was a frost every month during the season. 
The crops were almost an entire failure. The smallness of 
the population, the scantiness of the supplies left over from 
the previous year, and the large number of immigrants 
requiring food, all combined with the failure of the crops 
to raise breadstufls to a very high price, and cause great 
suffering among the people. Fortunately, however, the deer 
were still abundant in a large part of the county, and the 
salmon ran thick in all the streams. These resources sup- 
plied to some extent the place of wheat and corn, but still 
there was much suffering, and the memory of the " year 
without a summer" is deeply impressed on the minds of 
the early settlers. 

In Marcli of this year an act passed the assembly pro- 
viding for the con.struction of the Erie canal. The senate, 
however, insisted on further surveys, to which the assembly 
agreed. The preparatory work was prosecuted under the 
direction of a board of canal commissioners, of which 
De Witt Clinton was the leading spirit ; one of the other 
members being Joseph Ellicott, the principal surveyor and 
agent of the Holland land company in western New 
York. At a meeting of the board, in 1815 or '16, the 
subject of employing a supervising engineer was under con- 
sideration. There were very few engineers in America at 
that time, and it was proposed to send to England to obtain 

" Stuff and nonsense !" exclaimed Ellicott, who was a 
rude, blunt-speaking man ; " what will an English engineer 
know about making a three-hundred-mile canal through 
the woods and hills and swamps of New York ? He will 
want to work with as much nicety and elaboration as if he 
were cutting a ditch twenty miles long through some level 
English plain. He will make the work cost three times as 
much as it ought to, and it won't be finished in a century. 


The main thing is to survey a good line, and then have the 
men dig the ditch on that line. A good surveyor, accus- 
tomed to the woods, will be better than the most scientific 
engineer you can find in England." 

Ellicott's logic prevailed, and it was thus it happened 
that the Oswego County surveyor and pioneer, Benjamin 
Wright, together with James Geddes, was selected to 
supervise the location and construction of the Erie canal. 
The success with which he performed this great work 
amply justified the shrewd ideas of Ellicott. 

The people of Oswego County were naturally opposed to 
a work intended to divert the great and growing western 
trade from its time-honored channel past their borders. 
They repeated the story of the backwoods philosopher, 
who cut two cat-holes in his door, a big one for the old cat 
and a small one for the kitten ; and they declared that the 
Erie canal was a useless hole for the small commercial cat, 
while the big one would always go through Oswego. But 
they evidently didn't know how the cat would jump. 

The pressure in favor of the new route could not be suc- 
cessfully resisted, and, in the spring of 1817, a law author- 
izing the construction of a canal was passed, the work being 
commenced soon after. These proceedings dispelled the 
dream of those who had expected the whole commerce of 
the west to pass up the Oswego river. The dwellers on 
its shores saw that to get even a share of that commerce 
they must be connected with the great artery of the State, 
and soon began to take measures to that end. 

One event, which tended to revive their hopes of a great 
lake-commerce, occurred this same spring. One fine day 
the whole population of the little village of Oswego — men, 
women, and children — poured out into the streets and 
hurried towards the wharf 

" It's come ! She's come ! There she is ! See her 
come ! Hurrah ! Now we will have some business ! Good 
gracious, what a smoke !" such were the mingled exclama- 
tions of surprise and pleasure which broke from the lips of 
the excited people as they crowded down to the river. 

The cause was to be sought in an object out on the lake, 
the like of which perhaps not one of the spectators had 
ever before seen. Coming from the northeast, and heading 
directly towards the harbor, was a large vessel, moving 
rapidly without sails or oars, while from a tall pipe rolled a 
huge column of smoke. It was the first steamboat west of 
the Hudson. It had been built the year before at Sackett's 
Harbor by General Brown, Commodore Woolsey, and other 
prominent men of that vicinity, had a capacity of four hun- 
dred tons, and had been christened the " Ontario," in honor 
of the great lake which it was to navigate. 

As it came up to the wharf the most extravagant mani- 
festations of joy were indulged in by the people, who thought 
the steam-boat would certainly beat the canal-boat, and 
bring the whole wealth of the west directly to their 
wharves. In fact, they were so excited over this new 
wonder that they kept up their rejoicings with beating of 
drums and blazing bonfires all night long, and until the 
steamer departed the next morning. The steamer " Fron- 
tenac" was built at Kingston, Canada, the ensuing season, 
and ere long a vessel of that kind was no wonder on Lake 

We may note in passing that the first term of the com- 
mon pleas for the eastern jury district, being the second 
in the county, was held on the 4th of February, 1817, at 
the school-house in the fourth school-district of Richland 
(Pulaski), with Barnet Mooney, the new first judge, pre- 
siding, assisted by Judges Hugunin and Dunlap. Jamss 
F. Wight, Joseph Pynchon Rosseter, Thomas C. Chitten- 
den, Benjamin Wright, and Daniel Wardwell were ad- 
mitted to the bar ; most of them (except Wright) being 
doubtless outsiders who were already practitioners. It was 
provided by law that circuit courts or courts of oyer and 
terminer need not be held in the new county until the 
circuit judges should decide that it was necessary, and none 
were held for several years. 

An event which occurred at Oswego in the winter of 
1817-18 is curiously illustrative of the manners of the 
period. Two Scotchmen, named McDonald and Campbell, 
had a quarrel about the wife of the latter. Campbell's 
jealousy at length became so great that he challenged Mo- 
Donald to fight a duel. The latter accepted, and chose rifles 
as the weapons. Each invited a friend to act as second, 
but dueling was under the ban of the law, and not at all 
popular ; so the persons invited declined to act. Mr. Wil- 
liam Squires, who was asked by McDonald to be his sec- 
ond, refused, but conquered his scruples sufficiently to lend 
his rifle to the duelist. 

Being unable to find seconds, the principals determined 
to get along without them. The duel came ofi' in due 
time, and what distinguishes it from most combats of that 
nature was that it was fought on the ice. The field of 
battle was on the Oswego river, a little above the mouth, 
and near the east side, about in front of where the marine 
elevator now stands. At the appointed time, which had 
become generally known, a large crowd of men was as- 
sembled on the bank, who, though none of them were 
disposed to take part in the fight themselves, were all 
perfectly willing it should proceed. 

The principals had necessarily made their own arrange- 
ments, according to which they marked two lines on the 
ice ten rods apart. Midway between these lines the 
enemies took their places, back to back, with their rifles 
at a "carry." When both were ready, they started by 
mutual consent, marched steadily to their respective lines, 
and faced about. When both were faced, Campbell lifted 
his rifle and fired, McDonald following an instant later. 
The latter remained unharmed, but Campbell dropped as 
if shot through the heart. On examination, however, it 
was found that he had only received a fle.sli wound in the 

McDonald hid for a short time, and left for parts un- 
known. Campbell, too, soon recovered from his wound, 
and made his way to Canada ; but what became of the fair 
Helen of this Oswego Iliad history saith not. This battle 
on ice was the last display of old-fashioned chivalry within 
the limits of Oswego County. 

The year 1818 was distinguished for the erection of three 
towns. On the 28th of February, Orwell was formed from 
Richland ; including within its boundaries the present towns 
of Orwell and Boylston. On the 20th of April, the towns 
of Oswego and Granby were formed from Hannibal. They 


li;id nearly tbe same boundaries as now, but the dividing 
line was a little farther north, so that a small part of the 
jircsent Granby was then in Oswego, which also included 
all of the present city on the west side of the river. 

lu the summer of 1818, two court-houses were begun at 
both Oswego and Pulaski. The one at the former was a 
wooden building of very moderate dimensions, designed for 
a court-house alone, while that at was a substantial 
wooden structure, of which the lower part was intended for 
a jail. The buildings were not completed till a year or two 

The eastern portion of the canal was now being rapidly 
constructed. The Oswego peojile, as well as many others, 
were anxious to turn it down to Oswego, and not construct 
the western part, — the "hole for the little cat." Failing 
in that, the Oswegonians wanted a branch canal from Syra- 
cuse down the Oswego river to its mouth. Mr. Bronson, 
being at that time the principal merchant and leading 
citizen of the county, made fref|uent journeys to Albany in 
the interest of his locality. He had not then acquired the 
facility with his pen for which he was afterwards noted, but 
he furnished a large portion of the facts and arguments 
from which S. B. Beach, Esq., and Dr. Walter Colton wrote 
pamphlets on the subject. 

With a supply of Colton 's pamphlets, Mr. B. went to 
Albany, and so impressed the leading friends of the Erie 
canal that they obtained an appropriation of twenty-five 
thousand dollars for the improvement of the Oswego river. 
This was not what was wanted, but was accepted for the 
time as a preparatory step towards a branch canal. No 
action, however, was taken under the law. 

The number of inhabitants in Oswego County by the 
census of 1820 was twelve thousand three hundred and 
sixty-four. By this time the county had begun to lose its 
primitive appearance. A few frame houses had taken the 
place of log houses on some of the main roads. The log 
school-house at the four corners was, in a few localities, re- 
placed by the red frame familiar to the memories of the 
present generation. The convenient windlass was some- 
times substituted for the picturesque well-sweep, but the 
pump was still unknown in the farmer's yard. The clear- 
ings had increased rapidly since the war, but even in the 
western part of the county there were often many miles of 
road to be seen bordered by woods on both sides, and in 
the eastern portion the forest held its own with still more 
tenacity. Besides Oswego, several little hamlets had begun 
to look village-like, — such as Pulaski, Mexico, Fulton, and 
Constantia, but there was still not a .solitary church edifice 
in the county. The deer still coursed in large numbers 
through the woods, and the salmon ascended the .streams 
in immense shoals. 

Mr. William Squires tells of chasing a door on to the ice 
of Lake Ontario, near Oswego, about this time, and fol- 
lowing it with his dogs out of .sight of land, until at length 
his four-footed assistants caught the fugitive, and brought 
it, not to the earth, but to the ice. Mr. Cross, of Pulaski, 
relates how, when he was a youngster, in his father's saw- 
mill, on Trout brook, in the town of Albion, the salmon 
u.sed to come up and collect below the dam in great <|uan- 
tities. The mill-man would shut the gate, when the water 

would rapidly become shallow, and the salmon start back 
towards the river. Then the young man, standing in the 
stream, with a pitchfork would throw them out by the score, 
catching from two to three hundred in a niirht. 

From 1814 to 1820 there had been no member of as- 
sembly from Oswego County. In the latter year Theophilus 
S. Morgan, of Oswego, served as one of the representatives 
of the district composed of Oneida and Oswego counties. 

In 1821, the doctors in the county had become suf- 
ficiently numerous so that a county medical society was 
organized, of which a sketch will be given hereafter. That 
year a new State constitution was formed, under which 
sheriffs and county clerks were elected by the people of each 
county, Orris Hart being the first sheriff' elected in Oswego 
County, and Hiram Hubbell the first county clerk. 

Senatorial districts were also provided for, each electing 
four senators. By the first apportionment under the new 
constitution, Oswego County belonged to the fifth district, of 
which the other counties were Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, 
Madison, and Oneida. When the nominating convention 
of the Bucktail or anti-Clintonian party met, it was de- 
termined to give a senator to the now county of Oswego, 
and Mr. Alvin Bronson was duly nominated and elected, 
being the first senator (chosen fifty-five years ago ) from the 
county in which he still resides. 

In the classification of senators, Mr. Bronson drew a two- 
years' term. He very naturally became the leader of the 
movement in favor of the Oswego canal, and finally brought 
that movement to a successful issue, obtaining an appropri- 
ation of three hundred thousand dollars for that purpose. 
He was also, in the latter part of his term, a member of 
the celebrated " seventeen" who were the theme of such 
wide denunciation and praise over half a century ago. 
Previous to that time the presidential electors had beerr 
chosen by the legislature. At the session of 1824, in order 
to prevent the vote of New York from being cast for Wm. 
H. Crawford, a bill was introduced giving the election to 
the people. Few were willing to oppose what seemed likely 
to be so popular a measure, and it passed the assembly 
almost by acclamation. In the senate, however, seventeen 
senators defeated the bill, considering that whatever might 
be its merits at the proper time, it was a mere i)arty meas- 
ure, designed to afl"ect the ensuing presidential election. 
For a while they were denounced in the bitterest manner, 
and not one of them was re-elected, but in time the reason- 
ableness of their action was admitted, the " seventeen" 
became popular, and one of their number, Silas Wright, 
became a leader of his party in the United States. Mr. 
Bronson and Heman J. Iledfield, of Genesee county, arc 
now the only survivors of the little band once so widely 
celebrated, both being over ninety years of age. 

We have spoken of " parties" and " party measures ;" it 
would be more correct to say " factions," for in 1824 it 
could hardly be said there were any parties in the usual 
sense of the word. The Democratic party had swallowed 
all others, and the political contests were merely about ques- 
tions of local policy, or over rival candidates for office. 

It was not until 1823 that the judges of the supreme 
court thought Oswego County of sufficient importance to 
justify the holding of a circuit within it. The first one wxs 


held on the 20th of August, in that year, before Hon. Na- 
than Williams, circuit judge. Four cases were tried. A 
court of oyer and terminer was held the same term, at 
which three criminals were tried. In that year, also, Os- 
wego County alone was first allowed an assemblyman. 
Tlieophilus S. Morgan, of Oswego, was again elected to 
that position, and thenceforward the county has always had 
a representative in the lower house of the legislature. 

In that year (1823), also, the first church edifice in the 
county was begun at the little village of Colosse, in the town 
of Mexico. It was a substantial frame building, thirty-six 
feet by forty-six, and at that time was justly considered as 
a remarkable specimen of architecture. 

Before a blow was struck on the Oswego canal, the 
Oswego people learned with consternation that the Buffalo 
member of assembly, Reuben B. Heacoek, had introduced 
a bill repealing the law authorizing the Oswego canal. Mr. 
Bronson was then out of the senate, but was expected to 
take care of the interests of Oswego all the same. He 
mounted his horse and started for Albany. On entering 
the capital the first man he met was Aaron Burr, who, 
twenty-five years before, had been vice-president of the 
United States, but was then, in his old age, earning a very 
moderate subsistence by his practice at the bar. He knew 
Mr. Bronson, having argued cases before him when, as a 
senator, that gentleman was a member of the old court of 

" Ah," exclaimed the veteran, as he met the Oswego 
merchant, " so you have come to look after your canal, have 
you ?"' 

" Yes, sir ; that is my main object." 

" Well, now, Mr. Bronson, I am disposed to be on your 
side ; I am in favor of the Oswego canal, too." 

" Well, colonel," said Mr. Bronson, " I believe that all 
sensible men are on our side." 

"Ah, my young friend," replied the disappointed and 
cynical politician, " if you have none but the sensible men, 
there is a vast majority against you." 

But whether by the aid of the sensible or the senseless, 
the Buffalo project was defeated, and the Oswego canal was 
begun in 1826, the corner-stone of the first lock being laid 
on the 4th of July in that year, the semi-centennial of 
American independence. The canal was completed in 
1828, at a cost of five hundred and twenty-five thousand 

The greater part of the way the river was turned into a 
canal by the erection of dams through which locks were 
built for the passage of boats. The building of these dams 
seriously interfered with the navigation of the salmon, and 
finally stopped it. Over a dam .seven feet high they vaulted 
with comparative ease, but when they came to one of the 
twelve-feet ones only an occasional very muscular salmon 
could leap it, and a twenty-feet dam vanquished them all. 

The first congressman from Oswego County was General 
Daniel Hugunin, of Oswego village, the young lieutenant of 
the war of 1812, who was elected in the autumn of 1824, 
but was obliged to go through a contest with the person 
holding the certificate, and was not adjudged his seat until 
the opening of Congress, in December, 1825. That winter 
he obtained an ap{)ropriation by Congress for a pier at 

Oswego, the first constructed there by the general govern- 
ment. The twentieth congressional district then consisted 
of Oswego, Lewis, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties, 
and was represented by two members. 

In 1828 the first village in the county was incorporated, 
being, of course, Oswego. Hon. Alvin Bronson was chosen 
the first president of the board of trustees. In 1830 the 
Welland canal was opened, and the commerce of the upper 
lakes began, though slowly at first, to seek the old route up 
the Oswego river. 

By that year the population of the county had risen to thousand one hundred and nineteen, and the 
face of the country showed a corresponding improvement. 
Churches began to raise their white spires in hamlets here 
and there ; frame houses superseded the old log domiciles, 
even on many of the back roads ; orchards flourished and 
bore fruit on nearly every farm ; the deer and bear receded 
eastward, though not entirely abandoning the county ; the 
canal was hailed as the harbinger of wealth ; and the people 
generally looked forward to a long era of ever-i 


FBOM 1831 TO 1861. 

Prosperity — Two Now Towns — Speculation — Departed Greatness — 
The "Hard Times"— The "Patriot War"— Adventure of the 
Steamer " United States"— The " Oswego Patriot"- John Cochrane 
—West Monroe— Slow Progress— The Agricultural Society— Re- 
viving Prosperity — Lake Commerce — Another Son of Steam — The 
Syracuse and Oswego Railroad — The Rome and Watcrtown Railroad 
— Oneida River Improvement— First Plank-Road in the Union— 
The Oswego and Rome Plank-Road— Lively Times- Other Plank- 
Roads — Stage-Routes — L.arge Increase — The Reciprocity Treaty- 
Approach of War. 

For several years Oswego County with the rest of the 
country enjoyed great prosperity. Population and wealth 
increased. Business flowed along the line of the canal, 
and its vivifying influence permeated the whole county. 
Two new towns were formed, Schroeppel and Palermo being 
both taken from Volney on the 4th of April, 1832. New 
villages started up here and there, the growth of which will 
be described in the township histories. Oswego made rapid 
progress towards becoming a city. Soon came the celebrated 
era of speculation, extending through 1834, 1835, and part 
of 1836, when nearly all the people in the United States 
thought they were going to get rich at once, by the rise of 
land. Oswego County and especially Oswego village had 
their delusions like the rest of the country, but did not 
become quite so exalted as Buffalo and a few other western 

By a curious coincidence, marking well the " irony of 
fate," it was just when the flush times were at their climax, 
when half the people on Scriba's patent thought themselves 
on the highroad to wealth, that George Scriba, once the 
owner of half a million acres of land, the liberal proprietor, 
the enterprising citizen, master of towns, and founder of 
cities, died at Constantia, in hopeless poverty, at the age of 
eighty-four. He had long been a bankrupt, but had been 


allowed to retain a siiiiiU homcstoiul out of tlu^ iiuuieiise 
tract he had once Ciilled his own, ami then' W liad soon a 
new world grow up around him, — a world of which ho had 
once hoped to bo the leading spirit, but in which he had 
now no part, save what was accorded to the pitying memory 
of the past. 

In 18;JG came the crash, when all the imaginary wealth 
of the country faded out of existence, leaving behind only 
a beggarly account of worthless mortgages. The depression 
was as deep as the excitement had been great, and for several 
years the " hard times" pressed on the people with a weight 
which has never been equaled, nor even approached, in 
later days. 

In 1837 and 1838 the troubles in Canada, known as the 
" Patriot War," ran their somewliat ridiculous course. 
Nearly all the people along the northern frontier of the 
United States sympathized more or less with the insurgents, 
commonly called the " Patriots," not so much on account 
of their grievances as because it was natural for Americans 
to sympathize with any revolt against British power. 

Secret lodges of " Hunters" were formed all along the 
frontier, money and supplies were forwarded to the " pa- 
triots," and some armed men crossed the border. In No- 
vember, 1838, the steamer " United States," then considered 
the pride of the inland lakes, lay in the harbor of Oswego, 
under the command of Captain James Vaii Cleve. A large 
number of "patriots," under one General Von Schultz, had 
come on board, and the captain was unwilling to set forth 
down the St. Lawrence. But some of the owners decided 
that she must go on the 11th, and go she did, with the 
" patriots" still on board, and with two of the owners of the 
steamer also on board. Two schooneis were seen near the 
entrance of the St. Lawrence, which the owners just men- 
tioned said they wanted to help through to Ogdensburgh. 
Captain Van Cleve took them in tow, one on each side of 
the " United States." In a short time the hatches were 
raised, and a large number of armed men swarmed out of 
the hold and boarded the steamer. 

Captain Van Cleve was afraid of trouble, and wanted to 
run the steamer and schooners ashore in Alexandria bay, 
but the owners decided difl'erently, and on they went to 

Captain W. S. Malcolm, of Oswego, who was then acting 
;is United States deputy marshal, on secret service, had been 
sent down to Ogdensburgh a week or two before to watch 
the movements of the " patriots," and was there when the 
'■ United States" arrived. The town swarmed with " pa- 
triots," and it was soon noised around that they would use 
the " United States" for the of making an incursion 
into Canada. The captain and engineer left the vessel. A 
crowd of " patriots" (juickly took possession of it, under 
the command of a General Birge, of Syracuse, and began 
seeking for a pilot. Some one espied Captain Malcolm, 
who stood near watching their proceedings, and exclaimed, — 

'■ Here is Captain Malcolm ; he has commanded the 
' United States,' and knows every harbor on the lakes or the 
St. Lawrence ; he can pilot her." 

The captain was immediately seized and forced to board 
the vessel, which soon set out on its voyage of invasion. 
His services, however, were not at first rci|iiir(d, as the 

regular wheelsman was well ae(|uaint<;d with the channel. 
The " United States" ran down and landed most of the 
forces on board her at " Windmill point," some three miles 
below Prescott, whither General Von Schultz and the rest 
of the " patriots" crossed in boats about the same time. The 
subsequent conflict and the defeat of the insurgents at the 
point just mentioned are beyond our purview, and we only 
mention what occurred on the " United States" because it 
was to some extent connected with Oswego. 

As that steamer neared Ogdensburgh she was fired into by 
the armed British steamer " Experiment," the ball striking 
the head of the wheelsman and instantly killing him. Cap- 
tain Malcolm and a '■ patriot" colonel were standing near the 
wheel-house at the time. 

"Take the wheel, Malcolm," exclaimed the colonel; 
" the man is killed." Captain M., seeing that the vessel 
would be destroyed unless he did .so, stepped into the wheel- 
house, and, standing over the prostrate form of the slain 
man, guided the steamer amid a storm of balls into the 
mouth of the Oswegatchie, and ran her on a bar. He im- 
mediately took away some important parts of her engine, 
so as to prevent her being again used by the raiders. 

Colonel Worth soon came with a body of regulars, and 
placed a guard on board of the " United States." Captain 
Malcolm, however, remained in charge, and took her up to 
Sackett's Harbor, where she was kept by the government 
for a year or so, but was finally relesised. 

The prevalent feeling along the frontier was fanned by a 
newspaper called T/ie Oswego Putrio/, especiidly devoted to 
the cause of the insurgent Canadians, and we think the 
only downright organ that they had, though many papers 
favored them. The I'ulriu/. was issued from the PallaiUam 
office, and its editor, after a brief trial of another man, was 
the young Oswego lawyer, John Cochrane, since so renowned 
as an ardent politician of New Vork city. It is safe to say 
that his editorials were of the most enthusiastic description, 
and if armies were to be beaten by glowing words, those of 
Great Britain would have been annihilated by three or four 
discharges ol' 7%e Oswego Fatilot. 

But in spite of young Cochrane's thunders, and of more 
material aid covertly furnished by sympathizing Americans, 
the "patriot" war came to an end in the forepart of 1839, 
with an infinitely small amount of bloodshed. Dorephus 
Abbey, the early printer of Oswego, was one of the few 
who lost their lives, having been hung by the British gov- 
ernment for his part in the rebellion. The truth Wiis, the 
people of Canada did not think they were much oppressed, 
and so tlie rebellion failed for lack of rebels. 

In 1839, on the 21st of March, the town of West Mon- 
roe was formed from Constantia, embracing the territory of 
the old survey-town.ship of Delft, — No. 12 of Scriba's pat- 
ent. Since that time no new town has been organized, and 
West Monroe is still the youngest of the Oswego County 

By the United States census of 1840 the total population 
of the county was forty-three thousand six hundred and 
nineteen, an increase of only five thousand three hundred 
in five years. This showed the result of " hard times" very 
plainly, for during the semi-decade from 1830 to 1835 the 
iiicrcjusc had been over eleven thonsand. 



It was not until 1840 that the Oswego County Agricul- 
tural Society was organized, that event occurring on the 
1st of February in that year. The first president was N. 
G. White, and the first fair was held at Oswego, coni- 
mencing on the 7th of the following October. For fifteen 
years the location of the fiiir was changed each year. A 
more full description of the society will be given farther on. 

With the new decade the condition of the county began 
slowly to improve ; yet it was several years ere it had 
fairly recovered from the " hard times." From about 
1844, however, until 1857 was a season of very general 
prosperity. The log houses almost entirely disappeared. 
The old red frames which in early times had been the resi- 
dences of the most prominent men in each rural district 
now looked shabby and forlorn beside the handsome white 
form-houses, with green blinds, which rose in every direc- 
tion. The cleared ground was extended on every side, and 
the greater part of the county took on all the characteristics 
which distinguish an old from a new country. The com- 
merce, too. which passed through the Oswego canal, Lake 
Ontario, and the Welland canal continually 

The appearance of the lake, too, at least in 
changed with that of the land. Where once the broad ex- 
panse had been broken only by the solitary canoe of the 
savage, and later by the occasional bateau of the fur-trader, 
now schooners and sloops and brigs swept in rapid succes- 
sion befoi-e the breeze over the rippling surface, deeply 
loaded with the grain of Canada and Ohio and Michigan, 
and of still more distant fields, or bearing in return the 
manufactures of the east and the immigrant of Europe. 

Among these white-winged burden-bearers, too, was often 
seen the dark cloud of smoke which denoted the presence 
of the less picturesque but more rapid steamboat, crowded 
with passengers of the better class, for whom, before the 
completion of the Central railroad, the Lake Ontario steamer 
was the principal means of summer travel. The " United 
States," the " Bay State," the " Northerner," the " Onta- 
rio," the " New York," the " Cataract," the " Niagara," 
and numerous other steamers navigated the lake, landing 
and receiving passengers at and from Oswego by thousands, 
and freight by hundreds of tons. The first propeller on 
the lakes was built at Oswego, in 1842, by Sylvester Doo- 
little, of that place, — now the proprietor of the Doolittle 
House, — and numerous others speedily followed. 

Meanwhile, however, another son of steam had been 
born ; another agent had taken its place among the instru- 
ments of modern civilization, destined apparently to surpass 
the canal, the steamboat, and all the other methods of trans- 
portation previously known. A company had been formed 
to build a railroad from Oswego to Syracuse as early as 
1839, and a route was surveyed the same year. But the 
times were not propitious, and nothing moi-e was done for 
over seven years. In March, 1847, the company was fully 
organized under the name of the Oswego and Syracuse 
railroad company, and work was begun the same season. 
During that and the succeeding years the enterprise was 
pushed rapidly forward. In October, 1848, it was com- 
pleted, and the iron horse every day went screaming up 
and down the west bank of the Oswego, where not so very 
long since the Indian war-whoop had sounded ; where Eng- 

lish and French and Americans had met in deadly conflict ; 
where the burden-bearing squaw had been succeeded by the 
ox-cart ; the ox-cart by the stage-coach ; the stage-coach by 
the canal-boat ; and where now the valiant captain of the 
passenger-packet saw his brief reign brought to an untimely 
close by the advent of the locomotive engineer. 

The Rome and Watertown railroad company showed a 
much longer hiatus between its organization and the begin- 
ning of its labors. The former was accomplished in 1832, 
but it was not until November, 1848, that work was actu- 
ally commenced at Rome. In the autumn of 1849 the 
road was completed to Camden, Oneida county. The next 
year the most of the work in Oswego County was done, and 
in May, 1851, the road was in running order to Pierrepont 
Manor, a short distance north of the county line. This 
road crossed the towns of Amboy (barely a corner), Wil- 
liam.stown, Albion, Richland, and Sandy Creek, and fur- 
nished a market to a large section of the county which had 
previously been almost without one. On being subsequently 
extended to Watertown, it took the name of the Watertown, 
Rome and Ogdensburg i-ailroad. 

Another public work of this era was the improvement of 
the Oneida river. In 1846 a steamboat was placed on 
Oneida lake, and the dwellei-s on its shores began to hope 
for a renewal of the old times when that was the great 
route of western travel and commerce. An appropriation 
to improve the navigation of the river was obtained from 
the legislature. A coffer-dam was built at Fort Brewerton 
to deepen the channel. A lock was also built at Coughde- 
noy, four miles below Fort Brewerton, and another at Oak 
Orchard creek, five miles farther down. This furnished 
ample means of communication between lakes Oneida and 
Ontario, but has not resulted in diverting any great amount 
of travel from the Syracuse route. 

In this period, too, some one, tired of the terrible roads 
of those days, conceived the idea of covering some of the 
principal ones with four-inch plank (as being cheaper than 
turnpiking or macadamizing them), the expense to be re- 
paid by tolls. In 1845 a charter was granted for a com- 
pany to build such a road from Salina, Onondaga county, 
to Central Square, in the town of Hastings, Oswego County. 
In 1846 the road was completed, being the first " plank- 
road" built in the United States. This example was soon 
followed in other localities, and for a few years there was a 
mania for building plank-roads all over the country. 

Nowhere was it more prevalent than in Oswego County. 
The Rome and Oswego plank-road company was orgauized 
in 1847, and the road, running through Scriba, New Haven, 
Mexico, Albion, and William.stown. was built immediately 
afterwards, being finished in the spring of 1848. During 
the following summer it was crowded with business. Large 
numbers of passengers came down the lake from the west, 
landed at Oswego, took the stage to Rome, and thence went 
eastward by rail. Others fi-om the east went over the same 
route in the opposite direction. Five coaches were fre- 
quently dispatched from Oswego the same morning, each 
with nine passengers inside and eight outside, besides the 
driver, making eighty-five passengers in all. Nothing 
could be more exhilarating than a ride on the outside on 
a fine day. With the sun shining brightly, and the air 



full of vigor, the four spanking horses went at a rattling 
gait over the smooth new road, whirling the deliglited pas- 
sengers over hill and dale, past smiling farms, pleasant vil- 
lages, and cool-looking groves, and landing theiu at Rome 
after a ten-hours' ride of unsurpassed excitement. But all 
the while the iron horse, as has before been said, was 
making his way down the Oswego. Coaches went out to 
meet him as he approached, and when, in October, 1848, 
he came screaming into the new city, the great stage-route 
was destroyed, so far as through travel was concerned. 

The Oswego and Syracuse plank-road was begun in 
184S. It ran from Oswego, thirty-two miles, to Liverpool, 
Onondaga county, connecting there with a road to Syra- 
cuse. The Oswego, Hannibal and Sterling plank-road, 
built about the same time, ran from Oswego to Hannibal, 
with a branch to Sterling, Cayuga county. The Oswego 
and Hastings Centre plank-road was begun in 1849. The 
Williamstown and Pulaski plank-road was another of the 
productions of this period, while stiil another ran from 
Constantia to FuTton. All these roads have been given up 
so far as the plank part was concerned. The worn-out 
planks have been removed and the toll-gates abandoned. 
Railroad rivalry has ruined some of them, but the general 
cause of their failure has been the rapid destruction of 
their material under the wear of travel. Besides, as the 
county progresses, the people can afford to make bettor 
gravel-roads, and do not so much feel the need of any other 

As railroads advanced the stages gave way. Yet as late 
as 1857 there was a daily line from Oswego to Pulaski ; 
another from Oswego to Kasoag ; another from Oswego to 
Auburn, and still another from Oswego to Richland Sta- 
tion, — while a tri-weekly ran from Oswego to Rochester. 
Across these ran other routes, — south from Pulaski to 
Brewerton, and thence to Syracuse and northward to 
Watertown, etc. In twenty years nearly all have passed 
away, — an occasional tri-weekly or semi-weekly route tra- 
versed by a Concord wagon, with a span of horses, only 
emphasizing more thoroughly the loss of the staging glories 
of the past. 

By the census of 1850, the population of the county was 
sixty-two thousand one hundred and ninety-eight, an in- 
crease of eighteen thousand five hundred and seventy-nine 
over that of 1840. Business was evidently looking up. In 
1854 the celebrated reciprocity treaty was entered into be- 
tween the United States and Great Britain, by which 
nearly all the natural productions of British America were 
admitted into the United States free of duty, as were those 
of this country into those provinces. By the operations of 
this treaty the business of the Oswego canal was largely in- 
creased. This, of course, increased the business of Oswego 
city and the villages along the canal ; and these, again, by 
furnishing a better market, and causing a general financial 
activity, promoted the welfare of the towns. The imports 
of the port of Oswego became by the close of 1860 more 
than four- fold what they were in 1854. 

The census of 1860 showed a population in Oswego 
County of seventy-five thousand nine hundred and fifty- 
eight, an increase of thirteen thousand seven hundred and 
sixty during the decade. 

This was a handsome, though not as large as 
that of the previous decade. But the events of that and 
the succeeding years put in the background questions of 
increase of business and population, and concentrated tiie 
thoughts of all American citizens on subjects of vital and 
instant import;ince. 

The election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidencj- by 
the Republican party, in the autumn of 1860, was followed 
by the revolt of seven southern States, while four others 
stood ready to join them at the first excuse, and all the 
rest of the south was exceedingly dubious in its loyalty. 
The rebel Confederacy was formed. Treason organized its 
forces and sharpened its weapon.s, and no power could be 
found in the constitution to prevent the destruction of the 
nation. The citizens of Oswego County, like all the h>yal 
north, looked on with astonishment and anger. Thus the 
winter and the early spring wore away, and all was rips for 
a terrific explosion. 



First War Me 

ig— The Twcnty-fuurth Itegii 

No portion of the Empire State exhibited more patriot- 
ism, or responded with greater alacrity to the president's 
call for volunteers, than the county of Oswego. The light- 
ning had scarcely fl;ished along the wires, convoying the 
intelligence to the expectant north that Major Anderson 
and his gallant band had surrendered as prisoners of war, 
when a meeting was held in the city of Oswego, April 16, 
1861, and measures adopted for the immediate fin-raation 
of a regiment. Recruiting was rapidly pushed forward, 
and on the morning of April 26, 1861, a company, under 
the command of the intrepid John D. O'Brien, who was 
the first captain of volunteers commissioned in the State of 
New York under the president's first call for seventy-five 
thousand troops, proceeded to Elmira. His was the first 
company to rendezvous at that subsequently celebrated sta- 
tion. They found nothing prepared for them, and while 
barracks were being erected wore tpiartered in a barrel-fac- 
tory. While here they were joined by Companies B and 
G, under command of Captains Edward M. Paine and 
Frank Miller. These three companies established a mili- 
tary encampment, and assumed the pomp and circumstance 
of war. 

The following companies soon after reported at Elmira, 
and on the 17th day of May, 1861, were mustered into the 
United States service as the Twenty-fourth Regiment, New 
York State Volunteers, by Captain Sitgreaves, of the United 
States Army : Company D, from the town of Parish, under 
command of Captain Molzar Richards, subsequently lieu- 
tenant-colonel of the Twenty-fourth Cavalry ; Company E, 
from Volney, Captain Orville Jennings ; Company F, from 
Oswego city. Captain Archibald Preston ; Company G, 
IVom Sandy Creek, Captain W. D. Ferguson, subsequently 
majir in the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth llegimeut ; 



Company H, from A''olney, Captain Albeit Taylor, after- 
wards major of the Twenty-fourth Cavah-y ; Company I, 
from Oswego city, Captain Levi Beardsley ; and Company 
K, from Ellisburg, Jefferson county, Captain Andrew J. 
Barney, who was subsequently promoted to major. 

The following were the regimental and line ofiBcers : 

Colonel, Timothy Sullivan ; Lieutenant-Colonel, Samuel 
R. Beardsley ; Major, Jonathan Tarbell ; Surgeon, J. B. 
Murdoch, M.D. ; Assistant Surgeon, Lawrence Reynolds, 
M.D. ; Adjutant, Robert Oliver, Jr. ; Quartermaster, 
Charles T. Richardson ; Chaplain, Rev. Mason Gallagher. 

Line Officers. — Company A, Captain, John D. O'Brien ; 
First Lieutenant, Samuel H. Brown; Second Lieutenant, 
Daniel C. Hubbard. 

Company B, Captain, Edward M. Paine ; First Lieuten- 
ant, B. Hutcheson ; Second Lieutenant, William L. 

Company C, Captain, Frank Miller ; First Lieutenant, 
John Rattigan ; Second Lieutenant, William L. Peavey. 

Company D, Captain, Melzar Richards ; First Lieuten- 
ant, Severin Beaulieu ; Second Lieutenant, William Wills. 

Company E, Captain, Orville J. Jennings; First Lieu- 
tenant, Richard J. Hill ; Second Lieutenant, Ten Eyck G. 

Company F, Captain, Archibald Preston ; First Lieuten- 
ant, Patrick Cleary ; Second Lieutenant, Thomas Murray. 

Company G, Captain, William D. Ferguson ; First Lieu- 
tenant, Calvin Burch ; Second Lieutenant, Henry B. Corse. 

Company H, Captain, Albert Taylor ; First Lieutenant, 
Henry Sandorel ; Second Lieutenant, Edson D. Goit. 

Company I, Captain, Levi Beardsley ; First Lieutenant, 
Theo. Dalrymple ; Second Lieutenant, Noi-man Holly. 

Company K, Captain, Andrew J. Barney ; First Lieu- 
tenant, John P. Buckley ; Second Lieutenant, Jonathan 
R. Ayers. 

After being uniformed and equipped the regiment pro- 
ceeded to Washington, via Baltimore, marching through 
that rebellious city with loaded muskets and bayonets fixed. 
They first encamped on Kalorama Heights (Mud Hill), and 
soon after marched to Meridian Hill, where they remained 
until the battle of Bull Run, disciplining and perfecting 
themselves in the school of the soldier. 

On Sunday, the 21st day of July, 1861, was fought the 
disastrous battle of Bull Run. During the day the boom- 
ing of the guns from that sanguinary field was plainly 
heard in the camp of the Twenty-fourth, and at the close 
of the day an order was received to move to Chain Bridge. 
Night had already set in when the regiment marched to the 
arsenal and exchanged their Springfield muskets for the 
more effective Enfield rifle. While preparations were being 
made during the night, an order came to move to Fort Al- 
bany, about three miles distant from Washington. On the 
morning of the 22d the First Oswego Regiment steadily 
and beautifully marched down Fourteenth street, in Wash- 
ington, and, notwithstanding the heavy shower there was 
falling, they were cheered and animated by the waving of 
hats, handkerchiefs, and small flags, which were occasionally 
to be seen along the march through the not over-loyal capital 
city of our country, and nowise disheartened by the retreat- 
ing and demoralized forces in full flisiht from the scene of 

our first defeat. In twos and threes and larger groups they 
met the Garibaldi Guards and other regiments, with broken 
weapons and lost accoutrements, and bleeding with wounds, 
filled with dismay and tidings of disaster, with stories of 
pressing hordes of Black Horse Cavalry, — men without 
oflBcers, and ofiicers without men. It was any other than a 
cheering prospect for the members of the Twenty-fourth, 
but, never daunted, they passed them by with words of 
encouragement and pressed to the front. 

At Bailey's Cross-Roads the regiment was deployed as a 
picket guard, and through the night rested on their arms, — 
the only organized force between the victorious Confederates 
and the city of Washington. An occasional shot exchanged 
during the night told to the pursuing and victorious army 
that it had met with a barrier to its further progress. 

During the following three weeks, without a tent, blanket, 
or baggage of any description, the Twenty-fourth held the 
picket-line, and awaited the organization of the scattered 
army. It is a part of the history of this regiment, and 
merits mention, to state that while ■ statiolied at the cross- 
roads it was supported by two guns of Sherman's battery, 
and when, at the close of the three weeks, it was relieved 
by another regiment, its discipline and bearing was in such 
marked conti'ast with that of the Twenty-fourth that the 
ofiicer commanding the battery deemed it no longer safe to 
remain on the outpost, and retired within the earthworks. 

On being relieved they encamped in the pine-woods, and 
soon after on Arlington Heights, where they were brigaded 
with the Fourteenth New York (Brooklyn Zouaves), the 
Twenty-second and Thirtieth New York Volunteera, and 
some three months later the Second United States Sharp- 
shooters, under the command of General Keyes. 

During the fall the regiment broke camp and moved 
to Upton's Hill, where they built Fort Upton, and passed 
the first winter. During the winter Brigadier-General 
Keyes was relieved by General C. C. Augur in the com- 
mand of the brigade. While here General McClellan 
assumed command of the Army of the Potomac, and the 
Twenty fourth at once entered upon a life of dress-parade 
and reviews, held in awe by the ominous-looking Quaker 
guns at Manassas and Centreville. In the spring of 1862 
the grand Army of the Potomac moved. The Twenty- 
fourth advanced to Bristoe Station, where they remained 
about one week, and then marched to Catlett's Station, six 
miles farther west. Here began its severest duty and 
heavy marching. They started for Fredericksburg, and, 
after a weary march of twenty miles, halted, and had 
scarcely divested themselves of their accoutrements when 
they were startled by a rifle-shot immediately in front. It 
was soon learned that a Federal sharpshooter in the van of 
the brigade bad shot a courier for refusing the countersign, 
and upon his body was found an order requiring the com- 
mand to press forward. There was no time for questions 
or delays. They immediately pressed forward, and on the 
following morning reached Falmouth, where they had an 
engagement with the enemy, defeating and driving them 
across the Rappahannock river. The artillery at once 
opened a destructive fire, dislodging the enemy and driving 
them from the river. The Twenty-fourth was warmly re- 
ceived in Falmouth by the colored population, who lined the 


I on eitlier hand, and as the troops marched through, 
with fla^ flyhig and the bands phiying "Dixie," could but 
clasp their hands in thankful prayer, while some upon their 
knees, with tjars streaming down their black faces, ex- 
claimed, " Bress da Lj'd ! Bress de L )'d ! I knowed ye 
was comin", and here ye is." They had endured one of 
the severest marches of the campaign, and, in consequence 
of the condition of the roads, and the incredibly short time 
in which it was made, received from the commanding gen- 
eral the name of the "Iron Brigade," a designation worthily 

Camp-life at Falmouth was varied by frequent inarches 
and countermarches from camp to Spott.sylvania and Front 
Royal, in Shenandoah valley, to intercept Jackson and 
liis raiders. While camped at Falmouth this brigade 
pjtssed from the command of General Augur to the com- 
mand of General Hatch, the son of a former Oswegonian, 
M. P. Hatch. The command of the division pas.sed from 
General McDowell to General King, the former assuming 
command of the corps, and General John Pope the Army 
of Virginia. By these changes the Twenty-fourth became 
the senior regiment of the First brigade and First army 
corps of the army, which they maintained until the First 
corps was terminated by the exjiiration of term of service 
of the two-years' men. 

General Burnside relieved them at Fredericksburg, and 
they marched to Cedar Mountain, where Pope fought the 
battle of Cedar or Slaughter Mountain. From this place, 
August 9, 1862, commenced what is known as Pope's re- 
treat, the First Oswego Regiment occupying the post of 
honor, the rearguard. About this time was fought the 
battle of Sulphur Springs, in which the Twenty-fourth 
Regiment was under fire, supporting a battery of artillery. 
At times the cloud of dust that betrayed the position of 
the foe was plainly seen, and oftentimes was uncomfortably 
near. At Rappahannock Station the regiment was under 
fire, and Company B, being deployed as skirmishers, beheld 
without protest the planting of a rebel battery ; the first 
shi)t from which killed a man in Company D. After an 
artillery duel, which lasted during that day and part of the 
next, the march was taken up along the main thoroughfare 
known as the Warrenton turnpike, and continued until 
August 28, when Gainsville Wiis reached. Here commenced 
a series of engagements known in history as the second 
battle of Bull Run. 

The following was the po.sitiou of the opposing forces: 
The Army of Virginia, numbering forty thousand strong, 
under General John Pope, was in retreat towards Mana.ssas 
railroad, for the purpose of forming a junction with General 
McClellan. Pope was closely followed by Stonewall Jack- 
son, with an army of thirty thousand ; while General 
Longstreet was pressing up the valley of the Shenandoah, 
his objective point being Thoroughfare Gap, in Bull Run 
mountain. Pope in the mean time thought to arrest Jack- 
sun by decoying him to press our retreat until Franklin's 
division, hourly expected from Alexandria, could attack 
him in the rear, and thus destroy Jackson before Longstreet 
could arrive with his force. The latter, however, was one 
day's march nearer the Gap than General Pope had sup])osed, 
and when he charsxed Jackson, that wily general drew in 

his flanks, thereby leading Pope to believe him in retreat, 
who rapidly pressed forward, with the assurance that 
Franklin would soon open a rear attack. Franklin, how- 
ever, was not there, but Longstreet was with his force of 
thirty thousand men, and the entire army under the com- 
mand of General Robert E. Lee. 

During the night of the 28th of August, the Twenty- 
fourth supported Gibbon's brigade. Some time during the 
night word w;is silently passed that the enemy had out- 
flanked them, and were close on them both front and rear. 
In the dead hour of the night, silently and stealthily King's 
division crept out from between these superior forces. Not 
a sound was heard as on a double-cjuick they escaped from 
this trap, marching upon the soft sod and in the grass until 
daylight brought them to Manassas Junction. After a 
brief halt at this point they proceeded to Ccntreville. 

At five o'clock in the evening of August 29, 1862, 
General Pope, •believing that Porter was advancing, in 
compliance with orders sent him, ordered an attack on 
Jackson's right, supposing it to be the right of the entire 
Confederate force in the field. The attack was made along 
the Warrenton turnpike by King's division, then com- 
manded by Hatch, of McDonald's corps, who, trusting to 
find the enemy in full retreat, took the men forward with 
an impetuosity akin to rashness. Instead of finding the 
enemy retreating he was confronted, after marching nearly 
f>ne mile, by a large force, under the command of Generals 
Hood and Evans, of Hill's division. The regiment was un- 
der the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Beardsley. A fierce 
struggle, lasting nearly oneliour, took place, mainly between 
Hatch's brigade, commanded by Colonel Sullivan, of the 
Twenty-fourth, and Doubleday's brigade, on the Union side, 
and A. P. Hill's division on the Confederate. This fierce 
contest is thus vividly described by an eye-witness : 

"All day Friday the Twenty-fourth supported a regiment 
of artillery in sight of the battle, which was raging in a 
natural basin of many miles' extent. At evening, when 
the long shadows of twilight were creeping over the land, 
the regiment moved forward to harass the retreating foe. 
The red dust lay in suSbcatiug thickness in the road 
through which we pas.sed on the double-quick, stirring it 
up beneath our feet until it hung in great clouds about 
us, shrouding the landscape from view. Down the road 
we dashed and through a creek, on the opposite bank of 
which, on his horse, sat General McDowell, hat in hand, 
with clenched fist menacing the air ; as the regiment ap- 
proached he inquired, — 

" ' What regiment is that?' 

" ' The Twenty-fourth New York,' was the reply. 

" ' Hurrah for the Twenty-fourth New York ! Give it to 
them, boys ! give it to them ! They are on the run ; don"t 
let them stop ; remember your country, and remember 
Bull Run !' 

"An answering cheer rose to our lips, ;ls through the 
suff'ocating dust we rushed along. Soon a retiring battery 
is met. 

" ' What's the matter, boys ?' 

" ' Out of ammunition.' 

" ' Close up, and forward ! Forward !' and away we go ; 
and still the twilight dee[)ens and the shadows gather round. 



Suddenly an ominous flash of fire, and a report of artillery 
immediately in front, and the whiz and whistle of grape 
and canister greeted our ears, and exploding shells burst 
among us. We immediately flanked out of the road and 
into the bed of a creek out of the immediate rake of their 
batteries, until covered by the embankment of the creek, 
about ten feet in height, up which we scrambled. No 
attempt at order then, and short time was there for organ- 
izing on its brow. 

" The top of that bluff revealed a stone wall, at the right 
from which hundreds of guns poured their murderous fire 
among us. Upon the rise of ground in front appeared a 
very wall of fire, and in the open brush and wood at the 
left was a large force of the enemy, and fire answering 
fire. Upward ! forward ! nothing fearing till the very crest 
of the hill was reached and bayonets crossed. Two brigades 
of intrepid, enthusiastic youths crossed bayonets with an 
army numbering sixty thousand men. Who could endure 
it? what amount of patriotism or love of country could 
stand in that holocaust of fire and death ? Back ! alas, 
back ! Slowly but surely back ! Ah ! what is that ? Forth 
steps a youth, his pale face lighted up, and made paler by 
the flashing lines of fire from three sides of that fatal 
square. His musket and his hat raised in front, his foot- 
steps press forward, while back he casts his fiice and shouts, 
' Be brave, men ; don't run like cowards; forward ! and follow 
nie ! I'll lead you !' 'Twas but a second, yet many saw 
how Marvin Cozzens fell. While like a wall came up a 
line of bristling bayonets, and the words from the hoarse 
throat of a mounted ofiicer rang out, ' Steady, steady, 
Hampton legion !' and on they passed over the dead and 
over the wounded and the dying. They passed, and back- 
ward we .slowly yielded the ground, until the darkness in- 
creased and threw its merciful folds over the scene of carn- 
age, and silence reigned. The battle of Grovetown was 
fought and lost." 

In this engagement the regiment lost twenty-nine killed, 
one hundred and eighty-six wounded, and one hundred and 
twenty-four missing. Among the killed was Major Bar- 
ney, who fell gallantly fighting at the head of his command. 

From the battle-field of Bull Run the history of the 
Iron brigade is the history of the army. Associated with 
the First corps, it followed its marching, camping, battles, 
and glory. At South Mountain, with but a handful of men, 
they again met the same enemy that had so severely han- 
dled them on that fatal Friday night, and at the point of 
the bayonet utterly routed and defeated them. In this 
charge the regiment was under the command of the gallant 
John D. O'Brien. The battle of Antietam soon followed, 
and the Twenty-fourth rendered gallant service in driving 
the Confederate forces back into Virginia. In this battle 
the regiment was also under the command of Captain 
O'Brien, who was wounded. 

After an encampment of six weeks at Sharpsburg, Mary- 
land, the First corps, with a squadron of cavalry, crossed the 
Potomac at New Berlin, and fought the enemy in skirmishes 
and raids along the difl"erent gaps in the mountains, forcing 
the Confederates back upon their Richmond defenses. From 
Warrenton, whore the command of the armies passed to Gen- 
eral Burnside, the First corps and the Iron brigade marched 

across the country to Brook's Station, on the Aquia creek 
and Fredericksburg railroad. In Burnside's attack on Fred- 
ericksburg it occupied the extreme left. At first Freder- 
icksburg, Company B held the picket-line, under command 
of W. L. Yeckley. The whole army retired and left them, 
fearing that by withdrawing the picket the retreat would 
be discovered. And it was not until the pontoons were 
about to be withdrawn that the company was recalled 
from their perilous position, and the bridge immediately re- 
moved. After this unsuccessful assault the army retired to 
Belle Plain, on the Potomac, and went into winter quarters. 

In December occurred what was known as Burnside's 
famous " mud march." In this march the army advanced 
nine miles in three days and then returned to their old 
camp. During the remainder of the winter nothing oc- 
curred to relieve the ceaseless monotony of camp life. 

In the following May, under " fighting Joe' Hooker, the 
Potomac was again crossed, and the Iron brigade occupied 
the extreme left in Reynolds' division, and in that order 
went into the second battle of Fredericksburg. During the 
engagement the brigade was withdrawn from the left of the 
army and sent to support the Eleventh corps, on the ex- 
treme right at Chancellorsville, and when the retreat was 
ordered it covered the movement as the rear-guard, and 
was the last to cross the Rappahannock river. The Twenty- 
fourth did picket duty along the Rappahannock river from 
this time until May 17, 1863, when, their term of enlist- 
ment having expired, they were ordered to Elmira, New York, 
where they were mustered out of the United States service, 
on the 29th day of May, 1863. 

The battle-flag of the Twenty-fourth bears the following 
inscriptions : " Falmouth ; Sulphur Springs ; Rappahannock 
Station ; Gainesville ; Groveton ; Manassas ; South Moun- 
tain ; Antietam ; first Fredericksburg ; second Fredericks- 
burg ; Chancellorsville. ' ' 



The Eighty-first Regiment. 

The result of the battle of Bull Run, while it carried 
enthusiasm to the south and gave the Confederacy fresh 
evidence of the valor of its soldiery, fired the northern 
heart with a determination to at once organize an army of 
six hundred thousand strong, and no longer be compelled 
to submit to the humiliation of acting on the defensive, but 
open at once an aggressive campaign. 

President Lincoln issued a call for three hundred thou- 
sand men, and soon after followed with another call for three 
hundred thousand more, and under this proclamation the 
Eighty-first, otherwise designated as the Second Oswego 
Regiment, was raised. 

It was mustered into the United States service, on the 
14th of September, 1861, by Captain D. B. McKibbin, of 
the Fourteenth United States Infantry. 

The following were the field and stafi' oflScers : Colonel, 



Edwin Rose; Lieutenant-Colonel, Jacol) J. Do Forest; 
Major, John McAnibly ; Surgeon, Wm. II. Uiec ; Assist- 
ant Surgeon, Carrington Maefarlane ; Adjutant, Edward 
A. Cooke; Quartermaster, Roger A. Francis; Cliaplain, 
David SIcFarland ; Sergeant-Major, James L. Belden ; 
Commissary-Sergeant, N. H. Green ; Quartermasler-Ser- 
geant. John F. Young ; Hospital Steward, C. S. Hart ; 
Drum-Major, W. S. Winters. 

Line Officers.— Company A, Captain, William C. Raul- 
ston ; First Lieutenant, Hamilton Littlufield, Jr. ; Second 
Lieutenant, Elias A. Fish. 

Company B, Captain, Augustus G. Bennett; First Lieu- 
tenant, Hugh Anderson; Second Lieutenant, Jlartin J. De 

Company C, Captain, Franklin Hannahs ; First Lieuten- 
ant, Orin J. Fitth ; Second Lieutenant, Setli J. Steves. 

Company D, Captain, L. C. Adkiris ; First Lieutenant, 
John G. Phillips ; Second Lieutenant, R. D. S. Tyler. 

Company E, Captain, Lyman M. Kingman ; First Lieu- 
tenant, W. C. Newberry; Second Lieutenant, D. G. Harris. 

Company F, Captain, T. Dwight Stow; First Lieutenant. 
Edward S. Cooke ; Second Lieutenant, D. C. Rix. 

Company G, Captain, Henry C. Thompson ; First Lieu- 
tenant, Henry H. Hamilton ; Second Lieutenant, H. W. 

Company H, Captain, John B. Raulston ; Fii-st Lieu- 
tenant, John W. Oliver; Second Lieutenant, Peter French. 

Company I, Captain, D. B. White; First Lieutenant, 
Willard W. Ballard ; Second Lieutenant, B. F. Wood. 

Company K, Captain, J. Dorman Steele; First Lieu- 
tenant, George W. Beniman ; Second Lieutenant, L. J. 

On the 20th of January the regiment left Oswego for 
Albany, and while here, February 1, 18G2, received an ac- 
cession of three hundred and fifty men from Oneida county, 
forming Companies C, E, and I. This completed the regi- 
ment, and on the 21st of the same month it departed from 
Albany for the front. They arrived in New Y'ork the day 
following, and went into barracks on Staten Island, and 
here remained until March 5, when the order came to move 
to Washington, which city they reached on the 7th, and on 
the 8th encamped for the first time near the city, on 
Kalorama Heights. Here the regiment halted twenty days, 
and was attached to the Third brigade, Casey's division. 
Fourth corps. 

March 28 they marched to Alexandria, and two days 
thereafter embarked on the steamer " C. Vanderbilt," for 
Fortress Monroe, where they arrived April 1. From this 
point the regiment was ordered towards Newport News, seven 
miles distant, and encamped in an unhealthy locality, where 
they remained fourteen days, during which period many 
became ill and were sent to the hospital. 

It was with glad hearts they broke camp on the 15tli of 
April, when they marched to Young's Mills, and on the 
following morning continued their march to Warwick 
Court-House, two miles distant, and here remained five 
days. On the 21st they marched four miles, and camped 
in front of the enemy's works at Lee's Mills. While at 
this camp many left the regiment on sick leave, Colonel 
Edwin Rose among the number. 

May 4 and 5 they marched sixteen miles, passing to the 
left of Yorktown, and encamped on the plain before Wil- 
liamsburg, where they remained during that sanguinary 
struggle, the division, commanded by Casey, being the 
reserve. On the 10th he engaged in a .series of short 
marches via Roper's Church, New Kent Court-House, Bot- 
tom's Bridge, to Seven Pines, where they arrived on the 
morning of the 28th, whore they remained until the battle 
which was fought May 31. lu this contest the Eighty- 
first was assigned to the left of Ca.sey's division, unsupported 
and in an open field. 

A member of the regiment thus describes this engage- 
ment: "The enemy in front, screened by a thick under- 
growth of bushes, poured several volleys of musketry into 
the regiment, and, although this was the first regular en- 
gagement in which they had participated, yet they stood 
like veterans. Volley after volley wa.s poured into the 
bu.shes with deadly efl!'ect. Soon finding that they could 
not maintain their exposed position, the regiment fell back 
in good order to the edge of the woods in their rear. 
During this time both field-officers fell. Lieutenant-Colonel 
De Forest was shot in the breast ; Major John McAmbly 
and Captain Kingman were killed and left on the field, to- 
gether with many privates. Captain Wm. C. Raulston, being 
the senior officer present, then assumed command, and in the 
position then taken they kept up a constant fight with the 
enemy in front for two hours, when a large force, afterwards 
ascertained to be a brigade, entered the field they had left 
and deployed in such a manner as to approach them both 
in front and flank. To save themselves from being taken 
prisoners, the order was given to fall back towards the centre 
of the line, which was on the Williamsburg road, half a 
mile distant. While moving in that direction the centre 
gave way and was being forced down the road. To meet 
this they wore obliged to change direction, passing through 
a thick wood and, slashing, gaining open ground half a mile 
in the rear of the firet line of rifle-pits, which they entered 
and continued the fight until the day closed, — the enemy 
in possession of the battle-field, including the camp, with all 
the tents, the personal baggage, and extra clothing of the 
men and officers." 

Darkness put an end to the conflict. Although this was 
the Eighty-first's baptism of fire they behaved like veterans, 
and all during that memorable afternoon they were found 
in the thickest of the fight, and their thin and decimated 
ranks at the close of the battle told only too well of the 
fierceness of the struggle. 

At night they lay on their arms, and the following day 
was spent in burying the dead. 

June 2, General JlcClellan issued an address to the array 
announcing that the final and decisive battle was at hand, 
which served to inspire the troops with new vigor. 

On the fourth day they marched to White Oak swamps, 
where they encamped and remained until the 28th. While 
i here Colonel rejoined the regiment. On the morning 
I of the 80th, after a weary march of fifteen miles through 
I mud and mire, they arrived at Malvern Hill. It was im- 
possible, in consof|uenfe of the depth of mud, to get the 
wagons and stores through, and they were destroyed to 
I prevent their falling into tiie hands of the enemy. 


July 1 the Eighty-first was assigned to the reserve corps, 
and on the following day took up the line of march for 
Harrison's Landing. On the 8th they encamped near 
James river, and remained there thirty-nine days. While 
here Colonel Rose tendered his resignation, and Major 
Raulston assumed command of the regiment. On the 
morning of August 16 the regiment broke camp and 
marched twenty miles in the direction of Williamsburg. 
The following morning the march was resumed, and at 
three o'clock p.m. they crossed the Chickahominy, and at 
eventide, after a weary march of twenty miles, bivouacked. 
On the 18th the march was resumed, and they passed via 
Williamsburg to Yorktown, which place was reached on 
the 19th, after one of the most fatiguing marches of the 
campaign. Many of the men dropped by the wayside, ut- 
terly exhausted by the heat and fatigue. No member of 
this battle-scan-ed regiment will soon forget the march on 
that August day under the scorching rays of a southern 

The Eighty-first went into camp at Yorktown, where 
they remained till the last of December, doing fatigue duty 
on the fortifications. During their stay at this place Col- 
onel De Forest rejoined the regiment. December 29 the 
regiment left Yorktown, and on "New Year's day," 18fi3, 
arrived at Beaufort, North Carolina. They disembarked, 
and, after a march of three miles, reached Caroline City, 
where they encamped and remained twenty days, when they 
re-embarked and sailed for Port Royal, and subsequently 
camped on St. Helena island. Nearly a month was now 
passed in rapid changes of position. April 4 they sailed to 
North Edisto inlet; on the 10th returned to Hilton Hiad; 
the 15th sailed for Beaufort ; the 17th moved to Newborn, 
and on the 2d of May ordered back to Morehead City. At 
this time Major D. B. White, with three companies, B, D, 
and G, was ordered to Fort Macon to perform garrison 
duty. The lamented Captain Ballard, with Companies E, 
I, and K, was assigned to Beaufort as provost guard, and 
the remaining four companies. A, L, F, and H, remained 
at Morehead City, the headquarters of the regiment, then 
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel W. C. Raulston. 

While here several important raids were made into the 
enemy's country by the Eighty-first and other troops in the 
district. The Wilmington raid was made July 1, and a 
few days after an expedition was sent to Swansboro'. The 
most important one, however, was that under command of 
Brigadier-General C. A. Heckman, which penetrated the 
enemy's country to within six miles of Weldon, capturing 
prisoners, destroying cotton, etc. This raid la.sted eight 
days, and the men suffered greatly from fatigue. 

On the 18th of October they embarked for Newport 
News, Virginia, which place was reached two days there- 
after, and they encamped on the ground occupied by them 
in April, 1862. Again they were "tenting on the old 
camp ground." Here the regiment remained, participating 
in the usual routine of camp duties, until November 18, 
when it was ordered to Northwest Landing, about twenty- 
five miles from Norfolk, on the borders of the Dismal 
swamp. Nothing of particular importance occurred during 
the march except that the regiment lost two men — one 
wounded and one taken prisoner — in an attack by bush- 

whackers. The 19th of November found them finely en- 
camped near Northwest Landing river. While here their 
Yankee ingenuity was displayed by the construction of a 
bridge across the river with a draw cunningly devised for 
the of destroying the enemy in the event of a 

While in this camp a pleasing episode occurred in the 
presentation to the regiment of a beautiful flag by BIrs. C. 
E. Ingcrsoll, of Lee, Oneida county. The old banner that 
waved over the Eighty-first when it went out to battle had 
been returned to the citizens of Oswego in a dilapidated 
condition and no longer fit for service. 

January 1, 1864, a proposition was made to those having 
less than one year to serve to re-enlist for three years.- On 
the 23d of the following month two-thirds of the entire 
regiment had re-enlisted, and the Eighty-first became a 
veteran regiment. This entitled them to a furlough of 
thirty days, and February 23 they started for home via 
Norfolk, and on the afternoon of the 29th arrived in New 
York. Here the regiment was mustered for pay, and 
March 2 was reviewed by the mayor of the city and Gen- 
eral Burnside, after which they were escorted to the depot, 
and took the night train for Albany, where they arrived 
on the following morning, and remained three days, during 
which time they were reviewed by Governor Seymour and 
members of the legislature. Upon their arrival in Syra- 
cuse they were met by a delegation of citizens, by whom 
they were breakfasted, after which they boarded the cars 
for Oswego, where they arrived at four o'clock, and marched 
to Doolittle hall, where the ladies of the city had prepared 
a splendid repast, with which they welcomed home the 
" Second Oswego." 

April 5, after having passed a few weeks in the quiet of 
their homes, the regiment reassembled, and on the 12th 
left for the front, arriving at Yorktown, Virginia, April IS. 

While encamped at this place the P]ighty-first was as- 
signed to the First brigade. First division. Eighteenth 
corps. Army of the James. Leaving camp on the 4th of 
May, they arrived at Bermuda Hundred on the day follow- 
ing, and on the 6th marched six miles from the landing 
and commenced constructing fortifications. They were de- 
ployed as skirmishers on the 9th, when they encountered 
the troops of Beauregard, and after a sharp contest routed 
the enemy, who made several inefieotual attempts during 
the night to regain their lost position. During the month 
now following the Eighty-first engaged in an almost unin- 
terrupted series of skirmishes and battles. 

June 12 an advance was made towards Richmond, and 
General Gillmore's corps, to which the regiment was tempo- 
rarily attacked, engaged the enemy, drove them from a long 
line of works, and captured a large number of prisoners. 
The battle continued until midnight, the rebels in the mean 
time making several desperate charges to re-take the works. 
On the 14th it was ordered to support a battery, and on 
the 16th was in the battle of Drury's Bluff, where the 
enemy captured many of our men. General Heckman, the 
brigade commander, among the number. In this contest 
the Union forces lost about three thousand killed, wounded, 
and missing. 

The Eighty-first occupied a conspicuous position in this 



battle, and twice repulsed charges of the enemy, and was 
compliuiented by both Generals Butler and Gillmore for 
their g-allantry. May 28 the Eighteenth corps was ordered 
to the James river, where it embarked for White House, 
Virginia, and on June 1 joined the Army of the Potomac 
at Cold Harbor, and, although suffering from the excessive 
heat and weary marches, the Eighteenth corps was ordered 
to engage the enemy at once, and, taking a position on the 
left of the Sixth corps, went into the conflict. It was a 
desperate struggle, but at last the enemy was forced from 
their position and a long line of works captured. This 
brigade was designated to hold the works during the night, 
and several times repulsed the enemy in attempting to re- 
take them. June 2 the regiment lost over seventy in 
killed and wounded. Among the killed was Lieutenant J. 
W. Burke, of Company K. 

Cold Harbor ! The mere mention of this name causes a 
sickening dread to creep over us as we remember the 
slaughter of human life on that June day. This was one 
of the bloodiest conflicts of the war, and the Eighty-first 
acquired fresh laurels to those already won on man}' a hard- 
contested field. Two captains, W. W. Ballard, of Company 
I, and James Martin, of Company K, were killed, and five 
other captains wounded. The regiment lost thirteen offi- 
cers ; the color-guard was completely annihilated, and one- 
half of those who went out to battle in the morning at night 
lay on the field wounded or killed. Scores of Oswego 
homes were rendered desolate by this day's carnage, as so 
many of her brave sons were offered up as a sacrifice upon 
the altar of their country. 

" They never fail who die 
In a great cause. The blocli may suali their gore: 
Their heads may sodden in the sun ; tlicir limbs 
Be strung to city gates or castle walls : 
But still their spirits walk abroad, though years 
Elapse, and others share as dark a doom. 
They but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts 
Which over.«prcad all others, and conduct 
The world at last to Freedom." 

At the close of the twelve days in which the regiment 
had been engaged at Cold Harbor, two- thirds failed to 
answer at roll-call, and an order was issued to consolidate 
the companies provisionally into four. They now expected 
rest, but, instead, were marched to Petersburg, where, on 
the 15th, they drove the enemy from their first line of for- 
tifications, and participated in the brilliant charge of the 
Eighteenth corps, which was one of the most successful of 
the campaign. On the 16th the regiment supported an 
assaulting column, and on the 26tli were charged by the 
enemy, upon whom they opened a deadly fire, utterly an- 
nihilating the assaulting column. 

July 10 the regiment returned to the trenches that they 
had thrown up before Petersburg. August 2 they marched 
to Appomattox river, where they remained until the 2Gth, 
when they returned to Bermuda Hundred. The Eighty- 
first was in the battle of Fort Harrison, and was the first to 
plant its banner on the enemy's works. They captured 
several pieces of artillery, a battle-flag, and a large number 
of prisoners. Nine officers were either killed or wounded 
in this action, together with many privates. Captain Rix, 
Lieutenants Tuttle and Nethway were killed, and Captain 

Fish, Lieutenants Polbier and Porter mortally wounded. 
Lieutenant Amos Copeland was wounded, and soon after, 
while en route home, was killed in a railroad accident. The 
day following the regiment captured two battle-flags and a 
large number of prisoners. During the two days' battle 
the Eighty-first lost one hundred in killed and wounded, 
including nine officers. The regiment participated in the 
battle near Seven Pines on the 29th, and subsequently re- 
turned to Chapin's Farm. 

In recognition of its gallant services the P]ighty-first was 
presented with a stand of colors by the War Department, 
bearing the inscriptions, Yorktown, Seven Pines, Savage 
Station, Malvern Hill, Winton, Violet Station, Kingsland 
Creek, Drury's Bluff, May 13, 1.5, IG ; Cold Harbor, June 
1, 2, and 3 ; Petersburg, June 15, 10, and 24, and July 9 
and 30 ; Fort Harrison (Chapin's Farm), September 29 
and 30 ; Fair Oaks (2d), October 27, 1SG4. 

November 5 the regiment was ordered to New York, 
where it remained during the presidential election, and then 
returned to its camp, near Richmond, and was the first in- 
fantry regiment to enter the Confederate capital. The 
Eighty-first was mustered out of the United States service 
August 1, 1865. 

The following is a list of the sieges, engagements, and 
raids in which the reg,iment participated : Siege of York- 
town, Virginia, May 3, 18G2 ; William.sburg, Virginia, 
May 5, 1862 ; Bottom's Bridge, Virginia, May 11, 1862 ; 
Savage Station, Virginia, May 22, 18G2; Fair Oaks, Vir- 
ginia, May 30, 1862; Seven Pines, Virginia, May 31, 
1862; Chickahominy, Virginia, June 24, 1862; Charles 
City Cross-Roads, Virginia, June 25, 1862 ; Malvern Hill, 
Virginia, July 1, 1862; Siege of Charleston, South Caro- 
lina, April 7, 8, 9, and 10, 1863 ; raid on Washington, 
North Carolina, April 18, 1863; raid on Trenton, North 
Carolina, July 4, 1863; raid on Winton, North Carolina, 
July 28, 29, 30, 1863 ; raid on Violet Station, Virginia, 
May 9, 1864; Kingsland Creek, Virginia, May 13, 1864; 
Drury's Bluff, Virginia, May 16, 1864; Cold Harbor, Vir- 
ginia, June 1-12, 1864; Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, 
from June 15 to August 26, 1864; Chapin's Farm, Vir- 
ginia, September 29, 1864 ; Fair Oaks (2d), Virginia, Oc- 
j tober 27, 1864 ; entered Richmond, April 3, 1865. 



The One Hundr 

ind Tenth Regii 

This regiment was composed of companies raised in the 
county of Oswego, and was mustered into the United States 
service, Au, 25, 1862, to serve three years. It was offi- 

I cored as follows, viz. : 

j Colonel, Dewitt C. Littlejohn, Oswego ; Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel, Clinton H. Sage, Fulton ; Major, Charles Hamilton ; 
Adjutant, Harvey D. Talcott, Oswego ; Quartermaster, 
Warren I). Smith, Oswego ; Surgeon, Allen C. Livingston, 
Fulton ; Assistant Surgeons, Tobias J. Green, Parish, and 


Alfred Rice, Hannibal ; Chaplain, Edward Lord, Fulton ; 
Quartermaster-Sergeant, F. Gr. Comstock, Albion; Ser- 
geant-Major, B. F. Bailey, Oswego. 

Line Officers. — Company A, Captain, Brainard M. Pratt, 
Fulton ; First Lieutenant, Valorus Randall, Fulton ; Second 
Lieutenant, Almon A. Wood, Fulton. 

Company B, Captain, Vinson L. Garrett, Albion ; First 
Lieutenant, Albert A. Fellons, Pulaski ; Second Lieutenant, 
J. Ashpole, Pulaski. 

Company C, Captain, 0. B. Olmstead, Orwell; First 
Lieutenant, Yates W. Newton, Sandy Creek ; Second Lieu- 
tenant, A. F. Johnson, Redfield. 

Company D, Captain, H. C. Devendorf, Hastings ; First 
Lieutenant, D. D. McKoon, Schroeppel; Second Lieutenant, 
W. S. Bradley, Schroeppel. 

Company E, Captain, John Sawyer, Mexico; First Lieu- 
tenant, Samuel Nichols, Mexico; Second Lieutenant, Wm. 
A. Smith, Palermo. 

Company F, Captain, E. N. Boyd, Hannibal ; First Lieu- 
tenant, Isaac H. Peckham. Hannibal; Second Lieutenant, 
Thomas Hunter, Sterling, Cayuga county. 

Company G, Captain, Wm. P. BlcKinley, Oswego ; First 
Lieutenant, E. Jenett, Soriba ; Second Lieutenant, A. B. 
Frey, Oswego. 

Company H, Captain, John Stevenson, Oswego ; First 
Lieutenant, Charles A. Philipps, Oswego ; Second Lieuten- 
ant, Wm. I. Rasmussen, Oswego. 

Company I, Captain, James Doyle, Oswego ; First Lieu- 
tenant, Thomas Kehoe, Oswego ; Second Lieutenant, E. P. 
Allen, Oswego. 

Company K, Captain, H. D. Brown, Constantia; First 
Lieutenant, C. Gardner, Parish ; Second Lieutenant, N. A. 
Gardner, Amboy. 

The following list shows the number of men enlisted 
from the various towns in the county, viz. : Albion, 48 ; 
Amboy, 21 ; Boylston, 15; Constantia, 50; Granby, 25; 
Hannibal, 77 ; Hastings, 67 ; Mexico, 56 ; New Haven, 
20 ; Orwell, 44 ; Oswego town, 43. City : First ward, 31 ; 
Second ward, 23 ; Third ward, 53 ; Fourth ward, 40. 
Parish, 29; Palermo, 33; Redfield, 15; Richland, CO; 
Schroeppel, 35 ; Sandy Creek, 24 ; Scriba, 55 ; Volney, 100 ; 
West Monroe, 1 1 ; Williamstown, 9. Enlisted from Oneida 
county, G ; from Onondaga, 2 ; from Cayuga, 30 ; from Jef- 
ferson and Erie, 1 each ; making a total of 1025 men. 

At eight o'clock on the evening of August 25 the regi- 
ment left camp, and was escorted to the depot by the United 
States regulars from Fort Ontario, the Oswego Guards, 
German Light Guards, Washington Guards, Fremont 
Guards, and Captain McKlintock's company, enlisted for 
the Fourth Oswego Regiment, freemen, etc. Business was 
suspended, and more than six thousand people assembled to 
bid farewell to and witness the departure of a regiment 
composed of the best material in Oswego County. They 
proceeded to Baltimore, via Albany and New York, and 
while passing through the latter city received many enco- 
miums of praise on the personnel of the regiment. Among 
the captains were two ministers of the gospel and two 
oflScers of the State militia, — Rev. V. L. Garrett, of Com- 
pany B, and Rev. John Sawyer, of Company E ; and James 
Doyle, of Company I, colonel of the Forty-eighth Regiment 

of militia, and H. C. Devendorf, of Company D, lieutenant- 
colonel of the same organization. 

The regiment remained at Baltimore, in Camp Patterson 
park, about two months, and then embarked aboard the 
steamer " Ericsson" for Fortress Monroe, where they 
arrived November 6. While here they were assigned to 
the Department of the Gulf, in the expedition under the 
command of General N. P. Banks. They remained at 
Ship Island nine days, and then proceeded by steamer to 
New Orleans, and were ordered into camp. After a few 
weeks they moved to Baton Rouge, and at the expiration 
of ten days the regiment was ordered to Port Hudson, and 
actively participated in that memorable siege. The Union 
land forces were under the command of General Banks, 
and the fleet was directed by the late gallant admiral whose 
bravery and succass at Port Hudson and Mobile immortal- 
ized his name, and won for him the proud epithet of the 
most brilliant and successful naval commander of the age, 
— David G. Farragut. 

Eight war-vessels comprised the expedition to Port 
Hudson ; viz., " Hartford," " Richmond," " Mississippi," 
" Blonongahela." " Kineo," " Albatross," " Sachem," and 
" Genesee." On the night of the 15th of April, 1863, all 
being in readiness, a red light from the flag-ship signaled 
the squadron to weigh anchor, and the majestic steamers, 
followed by the four gun-boats, steamed silently along in the 
darkness of night. They had not proceeded far, however, 
when a challenge was received from a rebel battery secreted 
in the foliage on the river-bank. The challenge was 
promptly accepted, and a broadside was hurled upon the 
ambuscaded foe. This was the signal for the conflict, and 
immediately there began one of the fiercest naval contests 
of the war. Battery after battery opened its fire until the 
hillsides seemed peopled with demons hurling their thunder- 
bolts, while the earth trembled beneath the incessant and 
terrific explosions. An eye-witness thus describes the 
scene presented by the mammoth shells : 

" Never shall I forget the sight that then met my aston- 
ished vision. Shooting upward, at an angle of forty-five 
degrees, with the rapidity of lightning, small globes of 
golden flame were seen sailing through the pure ether, — 
not a steady, unfading flame, but corruscating like the fitful 
gleams of the fire-fly, now visible, and anon invisible. 
Like a flying star of the sixth magnitude, the terrible 
missile — a thirteen-inch shell — ncars its zenith, up and 
still up, higher and higher. Its flight now becomes much 
slower, till, on reaching its utmost altitude, its centrifugal 
force becoming counteracted by the earth's attraction, it 
describes a parabolic curve, and down, down, it comes, 
bursting, it maybe, ere it reaches terra firma, but probably 
alighting in the rebel works ere it explodes, where it 
scatters death and destruction around." 

Two of the vessels succeeded in running the blockade. 

About this time the regiment returned to New Orleans, 
and encamped at Algiers, opposite the city, and soon after 
joined the expedition to the Tench country, and partici- 
pated in the battle of Camp Bisland. They next encamped 
at Alexandria, on the Red river, where they remained ten 
days, and returned to Port Hudson. 

During a period of nearly two weeks the squadron had 


kept up an almost incessant bombardment; and on the 
morning of Wednesday, May 27, the land forces came into 
position, and the great battle opened. The conflict was 
severe, and several guns of the enemy were captured. On 
the 13th of June General Banks gave orders for a grand 
assault at three o'clock on the following morning. 

In this grand assaulting column were four companies. A, 
B, E, and I, of the One Hundred and Tenth, under com- 
mand of Major Charles Hamilton. The thin and deci- 
mated ranks of those four companies at the close of this 
fierce assault told only too plainly of the horrors of that 
June day. The fighting lasted eight hours, and was one 
of the most desperate assaults ever witnessed. The regi- 
ment at this time was commanded by Colonel C. H. Sage. 
The six companies of the regiment stationed on the west 
side captured a large number of the enemy while attempts 
ing to carry the fort. The One Hundred and Tenth 
shared in the general rejoicing when, on July 9, 1863, 
General Gardiner surrendered his entire command to Gen- 
eral Andrews, of the Union forces. No member of the 
gallant One Hundred and Tenth who witnessed the surren- 
der, and saw the old flag of the Union unfurled to the 
breeze, and heard the thunder of the batteries whose rever- 
berations rolled majestically along the calm surface of the 
Father of Waters, will soon forget the enthusiasm and 
rejoicings of that day. 

After the capitulation the regiment left Port Hudson, 
and next encamped at Algiers, opposite New Orleans, where 
they remained a few days, and then embarked aboard trans- 
ports for Sabine Pass. They soon after joined the expedi- 
tion to the Tench country, under command of General N. 
P. Banks. General Banks' celebrated " water-train" created 
considerable merriment among the men. It consisted of a 
long train of wagons, each carrying a huge hogshead filled 
with water for the use of horses and men. Theoretically 
it was a success, but practically a miserable failure. Magru- 
der drove him back ; the expedition was abandoned ; the 
water-train was among the things of the past, and the 
regiment returned to Algiers, and embarked for Fort 
Jefferson, Garden Key, otherwise known as the " Dry 

The regiment remained here doing garrison duty, and 
had in charge about nine hundred prisoners, among whom 
was the celebrated Dr. Mudd, of assassination notoriety. 
During the month of August they left Tortugas for home, 
and were mustered out of the United States service at 
Albany, August 25, 1865. 



The One Ilundrc.l and Furty-,«cve.,lli Keainu-nt. 

The failure of General McClellan's peninsular campaign 
in the spring and summer of 18G2, the disaster of the 
second battle of Bull Run, and retreat of the army of the 
Potomac into the defenses of Washington, had dissipated 

all hope of a speedy tenniiiatiim of the war, and tilled the 
country with alarm. 

President Lincoln had issued his proclamation for " six 
hundred thousand more." In August, 1862, D. C. Little- 
john passed through every part of Oswego County, and 
with fiery eloquence sounded the " slogan." The farmer 
left his field ; the artisan his bench ; all pursuits gave way 
to the extreme necessity of the hour, and the men hastened 
to enroll their names under the sacred banner of their 

The One Hundred and Tenth lleginient New York vol- 
unteers was speedily organized, and left for the field under 
Colonel D. C. Littlejohn. 

The One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment New 
York volunteers was soon after organized, its ranks filled, 
and the regiment mustered into the United States service 
September 23, 1862. 

The following wore the field and staff' of the One Hun- 
dred and Forty-seventh regiment: 

Colonel, Andrew S. Warner ; Lieutenant-Colonel, John 
G. Butler; Adjutant, Dudley Fading; Quartermastt;r, 
Benjamin F. Lewis; Surgeon, A. S. Coe; Assistant Sur- 
geons, John T. Stillman, S. G. Place; Chaplain, Harvey 
E. Chapin. 

Line Officers. — Company A, Captain John :\IeKinlo(k ; 
First Lieutenant, George Huginin ; Second Lieutenant, 
Edward Greyware. 

Company B, Captain, George Harney ; First Lieutenant, 
Patrick Slattery ; Second Lieutenant, A. Judson Dickison. 

Company C, Captain, Datus Woodward ; First Lieu- 
tenant, E. D. Parker; Second Lieutenant, William R. 

Company D, Captain, Alexander Hulett ; First Lieuten- 
ant, George A. Sisson ; Second Lieutenant, W. P. Schenck. 

Company E, Captain, Elhannan Secly ; First Lieutenant, 
James Cocy ; Second Lieutenant, Orson J. Woodward. 

Company F, Captain, Cyrus V. Hartshorn ; First Lieu- 
tenant, Chaunccy L. Grulley ; Second Lieutenant, Harvey 

Company G, Captain, Delos Gary ; First Lieutenant, 
Charles F. Robe ; Second Lieutenant, Volney J. Pierce. 

Company H, Captain, R. W. Slayton ; First Lieutenant, 
Abram Contennan ; Second Lieutenant, D. W. C. Mat- 

Company I, Captain, Patrick Regan; First Lieutenant, 
James A. McKinley ; Second Lieutenant, Daniel McA.ssy. 

Company K, Captain, Nathaniel A. Wright ; First Lieu- 
tenant, Franklin N. Hamlin ; Second Lieutenant, Joseph 

Non- Commissioned Staff. — Hospital Steward, Charles 
K. Paddock ; Sergeant-Major, H. G. Lee ; Quartermaster- 
Sergeant, Henry II. Mellon ; Commissary-Sergeant, Alfred 
N. Beadle. 

Francis C. Miller, late captain Company C, Twenty- 
fourth New York volunteere, was commissioned major Oc- 
tober 4, and joined the regiment in the defenses of Wash- 
ington. The regiment, comprising eight hundred and 
thirty-seven enlisted men, left Oswego, where it was organ- 
ized and enrolled,* under the command of Colonel A. S. 
Warner, for the front, September 27, 1862, via Elniira, 


Harrisburg, and Baltimore, and arrived at Washington Sep- 
tember 30. It was ordered to Camp Chase, in the southern 
defenses, about two miles from Long Bridge. 

October 3 it was ordered to the northern defenses at 
Tenallytown, three miles north of Georgetown. It there 
remained nearly two months, occupied in building forts and 
digging rifle-pits for the protection of Washington. It 
occupied an old camping-ground in the midst of a beautiful 
country, diversified with wooded knolls, open glades, and 
bosky dells, but this beautiful encampment was infected 
with a deadly malaria, emanating from decaying animal and 
vegetable matter, the accumulation of one and a half year's 
occupation by our armies. Dysentery, typhoid fever, and 
jaundice soon became prevalent. The regiment was soon 
decimated by sickness and desertion. 

Nostalgia, or home-sickness, often was a fruitful source 
of more serious illness. Harvey Flint, second lieutenant 
Company F, died of typhoid fever November 23. . Horace 
G. Lee, sergeant-major, was promoted to fill his place 
December 3. Colonel Warner, Lieutenant-Colonel Butler, 
Captain Woodward, Company C, Lieutenant Slatterly, 
Company B, and Quartermaster Lewis were stricken with 
fever and sent to hospital or went home on sick leave of 
absence. Much discontent and dissatisfaction among the 
men were caused by enforced labor on the defenses. But 
little time was afforded for drill and military instruction, 
important requisites for preparing the regiment for efficient 
field service. The men had not acquired the pride of a 
professional soldier, which yields willing obedience, unques- 
tioned, to his superior officer. The officer had not yet the 
requisite knowledge of his profession which inspires respect 
from his inferior in rank. 

There was also a great lack of experience with officers 
and men in the practical life of camp and field, hence it 
was difficult to enforce efficient sanitary measures for the 
health of the regiment. 

November 28 the regiment, under the command of Major 
Miller, was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac, then 
stationed at Falmouth and Aquia creek, Virginia. 

The enemy occupied the south bank of the Rappahan- 
nock about Fredericksburg, a position strong by nature, and 
made impregnable by art, as the e.xperience of our army 
soon after proved. 

The regiment marched across southeastern Maryland to 
Port Tobacco, situated on the north 'bank of the Potomac, 
opposite to Aquia creek, arriving there December 1. It 
crossed the Potomac that night on transports. December 
2, before the baggage train containing the tents came up, 
there set in a furious snow-storm. The men had with 
them their shelter-tents, which afforded to them a partial 
shelter from the driving storm, but the officers had no tents, 
save one which was brought up by one officer who went 
back to the baggage-train after dark to get it. The night 
was spent by the officers mostly in cutting wood to keep a 
huge fire burning to keep themselves from freezing. In 
the morning their garments were frozen stiff on their backs. 
During the next day the train arrived and the regiment 
went into encampment. Soon after its arrival at Ai|uia 
creek it was brigaded with the Twentieth, Twenty-first, 
and Twenty-second New Jersey, and One Hundred and 

Thirty-seventh Pennsylvania Regiments, enlisted to serve 
nine months, under Colonel Bossert, of the One Hundred 
and Thirty-seventh Regiment. 

The brigade was assigned to provost duty under the 
direct command of army headquarters. Its duties were to 
guard the line of railroad from Aquia creek to Falmouth, 
attend to receiving and forwarding supplies, and perform 
general police duties. The One Hundred and Forty-seventh 
regiment was stationed at Falmouth, and witnessed the 
disastrous battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, but took 
no active part in the engagement. In the first week of 
January, 1863, the brigade was transferred to the First 
army corps, commanded by Major-Geueral Reynolds, form- 
ing the Third brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General 
Paul, in the First division, commanded by Brigadier-Gen- 
eral Wadsworth. Colonel Warner, Lieutenant-Colonel But- 
ler, Captain Woodward, Company C, and Quartermaster 
Lewis had a short time previously returned to duty. Up 
to this time the regiment had been performing irregular 
duty, affording little opportunity to become pi'oficient in 
the details of drill and discipline. General Paul, an old 
army officer, directly set himself to the task to perfect the 
organization and discipline of his brigade, attending to the 
details of drill, sanitary policing, and the personal and 
soldierly bearing of officers and men. The regiment was 
encamped at Belle Plain, on the Potomac, four miles below 
Aquia creek. The country was densely wooded and broken 
into high conical hills and deep ravines. Access to the 
camps was sometimes difficult. The roads during the rainy 
season were nearly impassable. The camping-grounds were 
excessively uneven, and the men were obliged to excavate 
or burrow into the hill-side to erect their tents or cabins, 
and to obtain shelter from the fierce storms of wind, rain, 
sleet, or snow which almost constantly swept the Potomac 
throughout that winter ; consequently much sickness pre- 
vailed, especially typhoid pneumonia. Many a brave and 
patriotic soldier yielded up his life with the regret that it 
should be thus untimely cut short before he could strike a 
blow for his country. 

January 30 the Army of the Potomac, under the com- 
mand of General Burnside, started on what is designated 
" General Burnside's mud march." Its object was to sur- 
prise and attack the enemy across the Rappahannock above 

Previously, there had been a few days of warm, settled 
weather ; the roads had become dry and hard. During the 
first night after breaking camp there set in a drenching 
rain-storm, which lasted two days. The second night found 
the whole army literally stuck in the mud. It had reached 
the north bank of the stream above Fredericksburg and 
encamped near the river. 

The entire transportation had stuck fast, and could move 
no farther. The regiment remained encamped in a dense 
pine grove during the next day ; the day after it retraced 
its steps and returned to its old camping-ground at Belle 
Plain. This was the first experience the regiment had in 
campaigning. General Burnside was now (January 26) 
relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac 
by Major-General Joe Hooker. 

During the months of February and March, there were 


many changes in tlie organization of tlie regiment by resig- j 
nation and promotion. Tlie field and staff and line ofiScers I 
were as follows : i 

Colonel A. S. W^anier, resigned February 4. Lieutenant- i 
Colonel J. G. Butler was commissioned colonel February 1 
24, 1863. Major Francis C. Miller was commis.sioncd j 
lieutenant-colonel February 24. George Harney, captain 
Company B, was commissioned major February 24. 

Compniiy A. — Edward Greyware, second lieutenant, 
resigned January 8. John F. Box, private, commissioned 
second lieutenant February 11. ] 

Cumpitny B. — Patrick Slattery, first lieutenant, was 
commissioned captain, v!ce Harney promt)ted, March 12. 
William J. Gillett, first sergeant, commissioned first lieu- 
tenant, vice Slattery promoted, JIarch 24. 

Company C. — Captain Datus Woodward, resigned Feb- 
ruary 4. E. D. Parker, first lieutenant, was commissioned 
captain February 13. Wm. R. Potts, second lieutenant, 
commissioned first lieutenant, vice Parker promoted, Feb- 
ruary 13. H. H. Lyman, first sergeant, commissioned 
second lieutenant, vice Potts promoted. 

Company D. — Captain Alexander Hulett, resigned Feb- 
ruary 4. George A. Sisson, first lieutenant, commissioned 
captain February 24. W. P. Sehenck, second lieutenant, 
commissioned first lieutenant February 24. D. G. Van- 
dusen, sergeant-major, commissioned second lieutenant Feb- 
ruary 24. 

Company E. — Captain Elhanuan C. Seely, resigned Feb- 
ruary 4. James Coey, first lieutenant, commissioned cap- 
tain February 24. 0. J. Woodward, second lieutenant, 
commissioned first lieutenant February 24. S. J. Taylor, 
first sergeant, commissioned second lieutenant February 24. 

Company F. — Captain Cyrus V. Hartshorn, resigned 
January 25. Second Lieutenant Horace G. Lee, commis- 
sioned captain February 10. Gilford D. Mace, first ser- 
geant, commissioned first lieutenant February 24. Charles 
B. Skinner, second sergeant, commissioned second lieu- 
tenant July 4. 

Company H. — First Lieutenant Conterman, resigned 
January 8. D. C. Matthews, second lieutenant, commis- 
sioned February 10, first lieutenant. Luther M. Hays, 
first sergeant, commissioned second lieutenant February 10. 
First Lieutenant D. C. JMatthews, resigned February 24. 
L. M. Hays commissioned first lieutenant March 24. 
Cheney D. Barney, sergeant, commissioned second lieu- 
tenant March 25. 

Quartermaster Lewis, after a severe illness, was sent to 
hospital at Georgetown, and soon after was discharged on a 
surgeon's certificate of disability. Henry H. Mellen, quar- 
termaster-sergeant, Wiis commissioned (juartcrmaster Feb- 
ruary 13. Quartermaster Lewis had, with heroic persist- 
ence, shared the fortunes of the regiment, against the 
earnest solicitations of his medical ofiBcer and warmest 
friends, through two or three attacks of illness, barely es- 
caping with his life each time ; with a sorrowful heart he 
was forced finally to submit to the inevitable, or offer up 
his life as an unnecessary sacrifice. The regiment thereby 
lost the services of a valuable officer. Harvey E. Chapin, 
chaplain, was also discharged on a surgeon's certificate, and 
died, a few weeks after returning home, witii chronic diar- 

rhoea. The office was not again filled. April 3, the regi- 
ment was transferred to the Second brigade, commanded 
by Brigadier-General Cutler. The brigade comprised the 
Seventy-sixth and Ninety-fifth Regiments, New York Vol- 
unteers, and Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania and Seventh Indiana 
Volunteers. James Coey, captain Company E, was pros- 
trated with typhoid fever, and sent home on a sick leave of 

The following died in hospital in the northern defenses 
of Washington : Alfred Lukin, Company A, private, Nov. 
21, 18C2;dias. A. Brown, Company B, Nov. 22, 1862; 
Amos D. Fuller, corporal. Company D, November 2, 1862 ; 
Nathan Rowley, corporal. Company D, December 22, 1862 ; 
Franklin Lurce, private. Company II, December 11, 1862; 
Stewart Park, private. Company H, November 12, 1862; 
Thomas Kane, private. Company E, November 25, 18G2 ; 
Edwin Robottom, private. Company E, Nov. 23, 1862 ; 
Hamilton M. Wilcox, Company F, November 3, 1862 ; 
George Button, private. Company E, December 31, 1862. 

The following died in hospital at Belle Plain and in 
general hospital, during the winter of 1862-63, and to May 
1,1863: Thomas Harrington, Company A, April 11,1863; 
Andrus MeChesney, Company A, February 26, 1863 ; 
Theodore DoUoway, Company B, January 18, 1863; Wm. 
Delamater, Company B, January 15, 1863; Joseph Pilow, 
Company B, February 25, 1863 ; Wm. C. Spain, Company 
C, March 19, 1863 ; Henry Miller, Company C, March 5, 
1863 ; Levinus Wait, Company E, George Edmonds, Com- 
pany C, February 1, 1863; Geo. M. Havens, Company C, 
March 7, 1863; John Place, January 9, 1863; Luke 
Potter, Company C, February 12, 1863; Henry Pittsley, 
February 12, 1863; Wheaton Spink, Company C, January 
1, 1863; Justus Carey, Company D, April 25, 1863; 
Darius T. Dexter, Company D, March 10, 1863 ; Albert 
Clemens, Company D, February 4, 1863 ; Barnard MeOwen, 
Company E, April, 1863 ; Joseph A. Upton, Company E, 
April, 1863; Barton White, Company E, April, 1863; 
OrviU Wines, Company H, April 21, 1863; Jas. Boddy, 
Company I, December 23, 1862 ; Ephraim Darling, Com- 
pany H, January 10, 1863 ; Henry P. Green, Company H, 
April 24, 1863; Wm. Haight, Company H, February 17, 
1863; Jas. Johnson, Company H, January 10,1863; Jas. 
K. P. Miller, Company H, April 1, 1863; Elisha Ozier, 
Company H, January 19, 1863 ; Gilbert Jones, Company 
G, February 5, 1863 p John Moshiser, Company G, March 
13, 1863 ; John Warner, Company G, April 8, 1863; Jos. 
F. Munger, Company F, January 11, 1863; Henry Wing, 
Company F, February 28, 1863 ; Jas. A. Scribner, Com- 
pany G, January 3, 1863 ; Jas. Forbes, Company K, March 
23, 1863 ; Timothy Ryan, Company K, JIarch 30, 1863 ; 
Daniel Whitney, Company K, February 22, 1863; Amos 
Grosbeck, Company D, January 21, 1863; Alonzo Ellis, 
Company E, February 12, 1863; James M. Geer, Com- 
pany E, January 22, 1863 ; Willihm Lyons, Company K, 
February 28, 1863 ; George W. Coon, Company G, April 
13, 1863; John H. Coon, Company G, March, 1863. 




The One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment -Battle of Chan- 
cellorsville— Battle of Gettysburg. 

April 28, the regiment broke camp to set out on the 
campaign terminating in the battle of Chancellorsville. 
During the winter of 1862-63 the enemy occupied the 
south bank of the Rappahannock, extending from Port 
Royal, twenty miles south, to Kelly's Ford, twenty-seven 
miles north of Fredericksburg. The fords were few and 
strongly guarded, and watched with untiring vigilance. 
No attack or demonstration on the enemy's lines could be 
made below Kelly's Ford without the immediate knowledge 
of the enemy. 

Parts of the Third army corps, thirty thousand strong, 
April 27, marched up the north bank of the stream and 
crossed at Kelly's Ford, with but little opposition, and 
swept down the south bank to Chancellorsville, skirting 
the wilderness and uncovering the United States ford, 
twelve miles above Fredericksburg ; there they were joined 
by the remainder of the Army of the Potomac, excepting 
the First and Sixth corps. In the mean time the enemy 
became aware of their extreme dangei' and withdrew all 
but ten thousand men, under General Early, from Freder- 
icksburg, and hastened to meet General Hooker at Chan- 
cellorsville. Prom May 2 to May 4 was fought the battle 
of Chancellorsville. The First and Sixth corps were left 
behind to make a feint on Fredericksburg, or if the enemy's 
lines became weakened by the withdrawal of a large force, 
to turn the feint into a real attack, and carry the place and 
effect a junction with the main army on the south side of 
the river. The two corps were to approach the river and 
lay the pontoon bridges in the night under cover of darkness, 
but, owing to the bad condition of the roads, daylight (April 
29) found them with the bridges incomplete, and the men 
received a galling fire from a line of rifle-pits on the oppo- 
site bank of the river. The regiment, with General Wads- 
worth's division, was to cross at Fitzhugh's crossing, about 
three miles below Fredericksburg. An attempt was made 
to shell the enemy out of the rifle-pits with Battery B, 
Fourth United States Artillery, Captain Reynolds, but 
without avail. General Wadsworth, with the Twenty- 
second New York and Sixth Wisconsin Regiments, crossed 
below (General Wadsworth swimming his horse) in boats, 
attacked the enemy on the flank, and captured the entire 
force, between two hundred and three hundred rebels. The 
bridges were then speedily laid and the corps marched over, 
the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York taking the 
lead. The two corps took position on the enemy's side of 
the river to menace Fredericksburg, placing the enemy 
between the two wings of the army. At this point the 
hills on the southeast recede about two and a half miles 
from the river and close in on the stream at Fredericks- 
burg above, and also about two miles below, forming an 
amphitheatre. The enemy were strongly posted on the 
hills, with several batteries. Here occurred an artillery 
duel (the infantry was not engaged) duiing the next three 
days. The regiment lost four or five killed and wounded. 

In the mean time the battle was fiercely raging at Chan- 

cellorsville. On the 2d of May the First corps was ordered 
to join General Hooker at Chancellorsville. The regiment 
arrived on the field of battle in the morning of the 3d at 
the time of a fierce conflict. It was the day after the 
stampede of the Eleventh corps under Major-General How- . 
ard, which ^aseo rendered the position of the Federal army 
untenable. The enemy were striving to follow up their 
success of the day previous by driving our army into 
the river. The battle raged two hours afterwards, when 
all fighting ceased, save occasional exchange of shots on the 
skirmish-line and between the artillery. The army had 
safely taken up a new position, changing its lines under a 
determined attack of the enemy. The regiment remained 
two days on the field and fell back with the army, recross- 
ing the river in the night. It went into camp in a pine 
grove, about three miles below Falmouth. The men suf- 
fered much from sickness after the fatigue and exposure of 
the campaign. Typhoid and remittent fevers and diarrhoea 
prevailed extensively. George A. Sisson, captain of Com- 
pany D, a brave and valuable oificer, died from typhoid 
fever soon after. Colonel Butler was again disabled by 
sickness, and sent home on a sick leave of absence. He 
did not again return to his command. He was a thorough 
disciplinarian ; he had a lively and genial temperament ; he 
was strict without being harsh, and possessed the love and 
respect of his officers and men. He had brought the regi- 
ment to a high state of efiiciency. P. N. Hamlin, first 
lieutenant Company K, became ill, and was sent to hospital, 
and afterwards sent home on a sick leave. 

Died in hospitals in May and June, 1863 : Charles H. 
H. McCarty, Company C, from wounds received at Fitz- 
hugh Crossing, below Falmouth, May 1, 1863; William 
H. Robbins, from wounds received May 1, 1863; George 
A. Sisson, captain Company D, May 13, 1863 ; Ira A. 
Sperry, corporal, June 22, 1863 ; David Stey, Company 
D, June 11, 1863; Newton Ehle, Company E, June, 
1863 ; Gordon L. Smith, Company H, June 4, 1863 ; David 
Wines, Company H, May 1, 1863; Thomas Dunn, Com- 
pany I, May 30, 1863 ; James L. Dodd, Company II, June 
7, 1863; Nathan B., Company C, June 1, 1863; 
Silas Halleck, Company G. 


June 12, 1863, the regiment commenced its march on 
the memorable Gettysburg campaign. It was suflTering 
much from sickness. The ambulances were overcrowded, 
and many of the sick were obliged to follow along the best 
way they could or be captured by the enemy. A march 
generally inspirits and invigorates the men, and rapidly 
diminishes the sick list ; but the weather was extremely 
hot, and the marches long and fatiguing. Each man carried 
seven days' rations, forty rounds of ammunition, half of a 
shelter-tent and blanket, besides his musket, making fifty 
pounds in weight to each man. The soldiers were tormented 
with blistered feet, and sunstroke became unusually preva- 
lent. Men dropped down exhau.sted on the march. The sick 
and disabled accumulated on the route. Requisition was 
made on all mess and private transportation for the use of 
the sick. Mess-kitts and other articles of necessity and 
comfort were abandoned on the road. Personal convenience 


and private rights were willingly j'ielded to the necessities 
of the sick and disabled. On the 14th the regiment reached 
Bealton Station, on the Orange and Alexandria railroad. 
The sick were sent from there to Alexandria. On the 15th 
the regiment reached Centrcvillc, and there remained till 
the 18th, affording the weary soldiers much needed rest. 
The regiment had marched over the racing- and battle- 
grounds of the two armies of the two years previous. 
Everywhere were the evidences of the ravages of war. 
What few inhabitants remained were dejected and poverty- 
stricken. Houses and fences were destroyed ; landmarks 
obliterated; even the county records were seen strewn 
upon the road. Long stretches of country, on the plains 
of Manassas and about Warrenton Junction, were an arid 
waste. The men suffered greatly from thirst. At long 
intervals stagnant pools were found, the water of a drab 
color. The march, from that time till the battle of Get- 
tysburg, was regulated by the movements of the enemy. 
No unusual incidents occurred up to that time save the 
terrible hardships of the march. Several men were pros- 
trated with sickness, and sent to Washington upon every 
available opportunity. George Huginin, first lieutenant 
Company A, was taken ill, and sent to hospital. The 
regiment crossed the Potomac at Edwards' Ferry, June 
26, and encamped near Middletown, Maryland, on the 
evening of the 27th. On June 28, after a toilsome march 
over Cotocton mountain, reached Frederick. The next 
day the regiment was detailed to guard the wagon-train to 
Emmettsburg. It left Frederick at twelve M., and reached 
Emmettsburg about eleven p.m., marching twenty-six miles, 
with scarcely a halt on the route. 

Crossing into Maryland was like passing from a desert 
into a garden, from a land of desolation into a land of peace 
and plenty. 

Save the fatigues of the long, toilsome marches, it was a 
succession of delights. The ripening crops, the well-kept 
fences, and the immense, painted barns, denoted thrift and 
comfort. The line of march passed over a succession of 
low ranges of mountains or hills, cultivated to their tops, 
with beautiful valleys lying between, presenting long vistas 
of variegated landscape, dotted with villages and farm- 
houses embowered with trees. 

It was a picture of Arcadia to the weary soldiers, who 
had long been accustomed to the worn-out lands and the. 
stunted, scrubby groves of Virginia, made more desolate 
by the ravages of war. It made them long for peace, and 
sigh for the rural comforts which they saw spread before 

The ravages of armies soon became apparent in this 
beautiful country. Fences began to disappear, and the 
ripening grain, ready for the reaper, was soon trampled 

FIRST day's battle OF GETTYSBURS. 

The next day the First corps marched to Marsh creek, 
about four miles from Gettysburg, and went into encamp- 
ment. Many things indicated that the army was on the 
eve of an impending battle. Batteries were put into posi- 
tion ; a strong picket-line was posted, and the corps en- 
camped in line of battle, as if in readiness to receive an at- 
tack. June 30 the regiment was mustered for pay. Early 

in the morning of July 1 the " long roll" was sounded. 
The first division was hastily got into marching order, and 
started on its way towards Gettysburg. As it was crossing 
the summit of the divide, two or three miles from Gettys- 
burg, overlooking the valley below, puffs of smoke could bo 
seen from exploding shells, about two miles northwest of 
Gettysburg, but no report could be heard ; the distance 
WiiS not over two and a half miles. The advance of Gen- 
eral Hill's corps was debouching from the mountain, 
and driving General Buford's cavalry before it. The pace 
was quickened, and as the division approached within half 
a mile of the town it filed into the fields; it hastened on 
the double-quick to meet the enemy, the men loading their 
muskets as they marched. It hastily formed in a grove on 
Seminary Ridge, in the western outskirts of the town. It 
was led by General Reynolds in person to a parallel ridge 
four hundred yards distant, towards the advancing enemy. 
Through this ridge is a deep railroad cut. General Cutler's 
brigade was formed on this ridge, the cut dividing the 
brigade into two unequal parts. The One Hundred and 
Forty-.seventh and Seventy-sixth New York Regiments 
were stationed to the right; the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania, 
Ninety-fifth New York, and Seventh Indiana Regiments, 
to the left of the cut. The One Hundred and Forty- 
seventh Regiment's left rested on the cut; the Seventy,-" 
sixth joined the One Hundred and Forty-seventh on th^ 
right. The two other brigades of the First division formed 
the centre and left of the line of battle. Cap.aiin Hall's 
battery supported General Cutler's brigade, and was in 
position on the right of the railroad cut. 

The principal force of the enemy was advancing on the 
Cashtown road against General Cutler's brigade, and the 
brunt of attack was directed to the right of the railroad cut. 
The battle opened about ten a.m. In front was a wheat- 
field, sloping down to a stream, which sheltered the advance 
of the enemy. They suddenly poured a withering volley 
into the two regiments. General Reynolds was instantly 
killed. The enemy charged through the railroad cut, 
within sixty yards of Captain Hall's battery, and poured 
in a destructive fire, obliging it, with its supports, to with- 
draw. At the same time the enemy advanced in double 
lines of battle in front and on the right flank. General 
W^adsworth directed this brigade to fall back. The Sev- 
enty-sixth Regiment received the order, and fell back in 
time, but the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment 
did not receive the order to retire. Lieutenant-Colonel Miller 
was wounded on top of the head just at the time the order 
was delivered to him. Confused by the wound, he did not 
communicate the order to his successor. Major Harney. 

Major Harney bravely held the regiment to its position, 
against overwhelming numbers, until Captain Ellsworth, 
assistant adjutant>general on General Wadsworth's staff, 
seeing its perilous position, with great personal bravery 
hastened forward and ordered Major Harney to fall back ; 
the enemy at the time held the railroad cut, partially inter- 
cepting the regiment's retreat. It was none too soon to 
save the regiment from total annihilation or capture. It 
had already lost full one-half of its numbers in killed and 
wounded. Major Harney, ever mindful of the good name 
and welfare of the regiment, saw after the retreat that the 


colors were missing. Sergeant HinchclifF, tlie color -bearer, 
conspicuous for his bravery and fine soldierly bearing, was 
shot through the heart, and had fallen upon the colors. 
Major Harney was about to return in person to bring them 
off, when Sergeant Wy bourn, Company I, volunteered to 
rescue them. He returned, rolled Sergeant Hinchcliff oif 
the colors, and bore them ofiF triumphantly amidst a storm 
of bullets. He was wounded slightly, but was saved by his 
knapsack ; the ball that hit him first pas.sed through it. At 
this time General Meredith's brigade, occupying the centre 
of the line, was in great danger. The right wing had been 
driven back, and the enemy with a large force held the 
railroad cut, ready to intercept the retreat of the remainder 
of the divi.sion. Upon the spur of the moment, the Sixth 
Wisconsin, Fourteenth Brooklyn, and Ninety-fifth New York 
wheeled around perpendicularly to the line of the enemy 
and charged furiously upon them. They caught them in 
the railroad cut, and captured eleven hundred men, two 
battle-flags, and the rebel General Archer, and bore them 
safely oflF. This movement materially facilitated the retreat 
of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York. This 
manoeuvre severely repulsed the enemy, and the Federal 
lines were re-established. The One Hundred and Forty- 
seventh New York rallied under cover of Seminary Hill, 
"-lut at no time during the remainder of the day could it 
_ muster more than seventy or eighty muskets. The battle 
had lasted about thirty minutes at the time of the falling 
back of *h° i-paiment. It returned near its former position 
after the line was re-established. 

The two remaining divisions of the First corps soon 
came up to meet the enemy as they deployed and extended 
their lines on the right, and the theatre of action shifted to 
the northwest of Gettysburg, between the Chamborsburg 
and Mummasburg roads. There the enemy endeavored to 
overwhelm our right by superior force. The regiment was 
moved up midway between the two roads about twelve M., 
and again suffered depletion of its already diminished ranks. 
Several of its officers were severely wounded and borne to 
the rear. 

General Hill's corps, thirty thousand strong, was kept 
at bay by the First corps, thirteen thousand strong, until 
reinforced by General Ewell's corps in the afternoon. It 
came in on the Carlisle road. The Eleventh corps, com- 
manded by General Carl Sehurz, was on the field to oppose 
it. Between the two corps there was an interval which was 
not wholly filled up during the battle. The enemy now 
had a force on the field nearly sixty thousand strong. The 
two corps, First aud Eleventh, were about twenty-five 
thousand strong. The roads approaching the north side of 
the town — -the Mummasburg, Carlisle, and Harrisburg roads 
— converge and unite just before the town is reached, form- 
ing but one street or avenue of escape through the town. Be- 
tween three and four p.m. the enemy with a vastly superior 
force overlapping tlie Eleventh corps on the right, and 
closing in on the interspace between the two corps, advanced 
all along the line. The Eleventh corps made a feeble re- 
sistance during a brief interval, and then fled in disorder. 
It soon became disorganized and panic-stricken, and, as it 
approached the junction of the converging roads, became 
wedged and huddled into a mass of frightened humanity. 

The enemy, unopposed, pursued and deliberately poured 
volley after volley into this seething mass. The slaughter 
was terrible. There were fields of standing grain in the 
northern suburbs of the town filled with the dead and 
wounded soldiers. This exposed the right flank of the 
First corps, and necessitated a hasty retreat. 

General Doubleday, successor of General Reynolds in 
command of the First corps, in his official report says, — 

" About four P.M., the enemy having been strongly rein- 
forced, advanced in large numbers, everywhere deploying 
into double and triple lines, overlapping our left for a third of 
a mile, pressing heavily upon our right, and overwhelming 
our centre. It was evident that Lee's whole army was upon 
us. Our tired troops had been fighting desperately, some of 
them for six hours. They were thoroughly exhausted, and 
General Howard had no reinforcements to give me. It 
became necessary to retreat. ... I gave orders to retreat, 
the right to fall back first, and the Third division covering 
the movement by occupying the intrenchments in front of 
Seminary Hill, which I had directed to be thrown up in 
the morning as a precautionary measure. 

" The fortifications were nothing but a pile of rails, but 
from behind them Rowley's gallant men, assisted by part 
of Wadsworth's command, stemmed the fierce tide which 
pressed them incessantly, and held the foe at bay until the 
greater portion of the corps had retired. . . . The batteries 
were all brought back from their advanced position and 
posted on Seminary Ridge. They greatly assisted the 
orderly retreat, retarding the enemy by their fire. They 
lost heavily in men and horses at this point, and as they 
retired to town were subjected to so heavy a fire that 
one gun was left, the horses being all shot down. The 
bodies of three caissons were necessarily abandoned. . . . 
I remained at the Seminary myself until thousands of hos- 
tile bayonets made their appearance round the sides of the 
building. I then rode back and regained my command, 
nearly all of which were filing through the town. As we 
passed through the streets the pale and frightened inhabi- 
tants came out of their houses, olfering us food and drink, 
and the expression of their deep sorrow and sympathy." 

The two streams of the retreating corps met in the streets 
of the town, and impeded each other in their efforts to 
escape. The enemy did not pursue our retreating forces 
beyond the town, and they were rallied on Gulp's Hill, on 
Cemetery Ridge. This was about four p.m. The first 
day's battle of Gettysburg was ended. For some reason, 
never sufficiently explained, the enemy were contented, for 
that day, with the advantages already gained. If they had 
continued the pursuit, in the then broken and demoralized 
condition of our troops, our army could not have rallied and 
defended the strong positions which it occupied during the 
next two days, and the battle which checked the rebel in- 
vasion would have been fought elsewhere. The Union 
losses were five thousand killed aud wounded, and five 
thousand taken prisoners. The enemy's loss was about the 
same in killed and wounded, but less in prisoners. All the 
hospitals, wouijded, and nearly the entire medical staff of 
the First corps were captured. Many prisoners were 
paroled ; but, as there was an agreement per cartel that no 
parole should bo binding unless made at certain designated 



points, and as Gettysburg was not one of them, the men 
were immediately returned to duty. This w;is seized upon 
by the enemy as a pretext for returning to duty tliirty 
thousand rebels captured at Vicksburg by General Grant 
about this time. The loss of the One Hundred and Forty- 
seventh Now York was about forty filled, two hundred 
wounded, and thirty missing. 

The following officers were killed : Gilford D. Mace, first 
lieutenant Company F ; D. G. Vandusen, second lieutenant 
Company D ; Daniel McAssy, second lieutenant Company I. 

The officers wounded were as follows : F. C. Miller, lieu- 
tenant-colonel, slightly ; George Harney, major, slightly ; 
Captains P. Slattery, Company B, severely ; E. D. Parker, 
Company C, slightly ; D. Gary, Company G, severely ; Na- 
thaniel Wright, severely; Lieutenants Wni. R. Potts, 
Company C, severely ; \Vm. P. Sehenck, Company D, mor- 
tally ; and Joseph Dempsey, Company K, slightly. 

Tbo following is a list of the non-commissioned officers 
and men killed in this battle, July 1, 1863 : 

Company A, Charles Cole, Alexander Leroy, Joseph 
Lemain, Oliver Legault, Samuel Lesarge, Walter B. Thorp, 
Frank Virginia. 

Company B, Corporals Conrad Warner, Wm. Martin, 
Michael Doyle, David Haydeii, Delos W. Field ; Privates 
Albert P. Hall, Jas. Mahoney, Henry Miller, Stephen 
Planter, James Sears. 

Company C, Allen Morgan, corporal, died July 12, from 
wounds received July 1 ; Jos. W. Burr, Franklin Clary, 
Elias Hannis, died July 15, from wounds received July 1 ; 
Horace B. Hall, Degrass Hannis, Harlow JMills, Morgan L. 

Company D, Albert Bartley, John S. Butler, Joseph W. 

Company E, Samuel Carpenter, Albert D. Potter, Seth 
Potter, Simeon Potter, George W. Tryon, David Welch, 
John Williams. 

Company F, Judson Dolbear, Frank N. Halsey, Henry 
B. Mayo, Alvin P. Bureh, Johnston B. Church, Henry F. 
Morton, Asa Pettingill, Chauncey Snell, Asa Westcott. 

Company G, Peter Sliultz, sergeant, Fred. Rife, Edwin 
Aylsworth, Peter Zeigler, Jo.seph Stoutenger, Louis Ain- 
gen, Frederick Ershman, John Jlosheiser, Alex. McAm- 
bly, David Rau, Hiram Stowell. 

Company I, Martin David, Deglin McGrath, Denni.s 
McGrath, Richard Judson. 

Company K, Jas. HincbclifF, color-sergeant, Theophilus 
R. Barberick, Thomas Banister, James Hudson, sergeant. 

The list of the names of the wounded cannot be obtained 
from the final muster-out rolls in Albany, New York. 

General Doublcday in his official report says, " I concur 
with the division commanders in their estimate of the good 
conduct and valuable services of the following-named offi- 
cers and men: General Cutler, commanding the Second 
brigade, says, 'Colonel Hofmann, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania 
Volunteers, Major Harney, One Hundred and Forty- 
seventh New York Volunteers, Captain Cook, Seventy- 
sixth New York Volunteers, deserve special mention for 
gallantry and coolness ; Colonel Fowler, Fourteenth Brook- 
lyn, for charging the enemy at the railroad cut, in coimec- 
tion with the Ninety-fifth New Y'^ork Volunteers and Sixth 

Wisconsin, by which the One Hundred and Forty-seventh 
New York Volunteers was releasnl from its perilous position ; 
Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, commanding the One Hundred 
and Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, was severely 
wounded at the head of his regiment on the 1st instant. 
. . . Major Harney, of the One Hundred and Fortj-- 
Seventh New Y''ork Volunteers, and Major Pye, of the 
Ninety-fifth New Y'ork Volunteers, on assuming command 
of their respective regiments, did all that brave men and 
good soldiera could do, and deserve well for their services. 
Sergeant H. H. Hubbard, Company D, One Hundred and 
Forty-seventh New Y'ork Volunteers, was in command of 
the provost guard of the brigade, eighteen strong, on the 
morning of the 1st instant. He formed the guard on the 
right of the Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, and 
fought until the battle was over, losing twelve of his men. 
The color-sergeant of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh 
New York Volunteers was killed, and the colors were caught 
by Sergeant Wm. A. Wybourn, of Company I, One Hun- 
dred and Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, and brought 
oft' the battle-field by him, notwithstanding lie was him.self 
severely wounded.' " 

This wai3 the baptism of the regiment: fortunately, in 
the previous battles, it had escaped with small loss; but in 
this its fortune was to be placed in the most exposed and 
trying position of the battle, and receive the furious onset 
of vastly superior numbers. The brave General Reynolds 
was immediately shot dowu in its presence. Manfuhy had 
it stood up to its work, and justified the trust imposed in 
it. It had withstood the attacks of the enemy when nearly 
surrounded on all sides, with over one-half of its numbers 
killed or wounded, its flag torn into tatters, and the staft" 
completely severed by hostile bullets. Henceforth it was 
considered an honor to belong to the One Hundred and 
Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, and its deeds in this 
day's battle were referred to with pride. The enemy, not 
pursuing beyond the streets of the town, gave our shattered 
and somewhat disorganized forces a breathing-spell. They 
rallied on Gulp's Hill, a part of Cemetery Ridge, on the 
south side of the town, a strong defensive position. 


General Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac, 
was fifteen miles distant, and hearing that there was fighting 
at Gettysburg, sent General Hancock, with orders to take 
conmiand of the two corps. He arrived about the time 
the forces fell back to Gulp's Hill, and immediately selected 
a defensive position. He chose a ridge running nearly 
north and south between the Tancytown and Emniettsburg 
roads, terminating on the south at Round Gap Mountain, 
on the north at Gulp's Hill, south of Gettysburg. The 
northern extremity curves around, similar in shape to the 
bond of a fish-hook. The convexity of the curve is towards 
Gettysburg. This is called Cemetery Ridge. On the 
morning of July 2 the remainder of the Army of the Po- 
tomac, except the Sixth coi-ps, had come up, and were 
posted all along this ridge. The enemy's army was posted 
on Seminary Ridge, running nearly parallel to Cemetery 
Ridge, except Ewell's corps, which lay opposite to Gulp's 
Hill, its left extendin"; around to the northern suburbs of 


the town, where it joined the right of tiieir (the rebel) army, 
nearly encircling the town. The One Hundred and Forty- 
seventh New York Volunteers were posted on Gulp's Hill. 
The forenoon was spent by both armies in getting into po- 
sition. In the afternoon, at 3.30, General Longstrect made 
his celebrated attack on our left, striving to get possession 
of Little Round-Top Mountain, the key to the whole posi- 
tion ; that obtained, the enemy could enfilade our whole 
line. Attack followed attack, until night put an end to 
the contest. 

The enemy had obtained some advantage, but the posi- 
tion still remained in the possession of our forces. During 
the battle Gulp's Hill had been much weakened by the with- 
drawal of troops to oppose General Longstreet. Between 
six and seven p.m. General Ewell made repeated charges 
up the steep hill, crowned by a rude breastwork of loose 
stones and logs hastily thrown up by our men. The at- 
tacks were renewed along in the night. Finally the enemy 
effected a lodgment. A regiment of the Twelfth corps 
gave way, and let the enemy in. The One Hundred and 
Forty-seventh New York and Fourteenth Brooklyn, with 
some troops of the Twelfth corps, charged upon them and 
drove them out, restoring the lines. July 3 the enemy 
placed in position, on Seminary Ridge and the railroad em- 
bankment next to the town, one hundred and fifty pieces 
of artillery. At one P.M. they opened fire on our centre. 
The Union batteries replied, but owing to their position 
only eighty pieces could be brought to bear at once. After 
two hours General Hunt, chief of artillery, slackened fire 
to see what the enemy were intending to do. The enemy, 
thinking our batteries silenced and the troops demoralized, 
began the grand attack of the day. General Picket, with 
twenty thousand men, moved up the slope in dense columns 
towards our centre. Our batteries opened on them, tearing 
huge gaps in their lines, which were closed as soon as made. 
The enemy pressed steadily on until they met our forces in 
a hand-to-hand conflict. Gunners used their rammers and 
the infantry clubbed their muskets to beat them off. Lieu- 
tenant Haskell, on General Gibbons' staflf, speedily collected 
several fragments of broken organizations of troops, and at- 
tacked them " on the flank," throwing them into disorder. 
During a period of a quarter of an hour the combatants 
were struggling in close quarters. The attack was soon 
repulsed, and nearly the entire charging column was either 
killed, wounded, or captured. On the right, at Gulp's 
Hill, General Ewell had kept up a series of attacks or feints 
since the evening of the 2d. The hill was steep and nag- 
ged, densely wooded, and the surface covered with loose 
stones. With wonderful persistence and bravery, the enemy 
had charged up this steep hill to our bi'eastworks during 
the night of the 2d and through the day of the 3d, until 
their dead literally covered the ground. Under the breast- 
works they lay in heaps. Their wounded were mostly 
removed during the night under cover of the darkness. 
The One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York had been 
kept constantly on the alert until exhausted by fatigue and 
want of sleep. A constant stream of musketry was kept 
up by our line to repel the enemy. The trees facing the 
line, scarred to their tops, and the limbs cut ofi' by bullets, 
attest the severity of the contest. An incident occurred 

on the 3d which illustrates the desperate valor and reck- 
lessness of the enemy. In a charge more vigorous and de- 
termined than usual, after persistent fighting, their line 
broke ; a number of their men took shelter behind a large 
rock in front of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New 
York, but it did not wholly protect them from a flank fire 
from both sides. They were being gradually picked oiF by 
our men. They commenced to wave handkerchiefs and 
give other tokens of surrender. This was seen by an ofli- 
cer on General Ewell's staff at a distance on our right. He 
immediately started to ride across our front to arrest it. 
He and his orderlies were immediately riddled with bullets. 
The wadding of their coats was seen to fly as the bullets 
passed through them. The regiment had been fighting 
almost constantly from the evening of the 2d to the evening 
of the 3d without rations, and without food, save a little 
fresh beef without salt, and seasoned with gunpowder. 
The pickets in the night were relitvcd every thirty minutes 
and the oflacers every second hour, as it was impos.sible for 
them to remain longer on their posts without falling asleep. 
Nature could endure no more. The men and cfiicers in the 
first day's battle divested themselves of every incumbrance, 
their knupsacks, haversacks, and all, save their arms and 
ammunition ; consequently they had nothing to eat, save 
the fresh beef which was once or twice brought to them. 
During two days the enemy had made herculean efforts to 
break our lines, but the Union army at all points withstood 
and repulsed their fierce onsets, with terrible slaughter. 
Animated by a fanaticism and bravery which was almost 
superhuman, only having its parallel in the old army of 
Cromwell, they had exhausted the limits of human endur- 
ance. Thirty thousand out of an array of one hundred 
thousand men, the flower of the Confederacy, had been 
killed and wounded, and nearly ten thousand more taken 
prisoners. They had the best army the world ever had seen. 
The best blood in the Confederacy was fighting in its 
ranks. They had gathered this splendid army through the 
popular desire and inducement of invading the enemy's 
country, and of diverting the ravages of war from their own 
soil. It was supposed when the teeming North, with its 
poplilous cities, began to witness the horrors of war, the 
people would speedily sue for peace. They were now ar- 
rested on the threshold, and their hopes and anticipations 
turned to ashes. 

This may well be considered the decisive battle of the 
war. The enemy kept up a show of continuing the battle 
till nightfall. In the night they silently gathered their 
dispirited forces and withdrew from the town, leaving the 
hospitals and wounded as they had found them. Our army 
lay on its arms all night; in the morning of the 4th, 
tidings were brought that the enemy had withdrawn in the 
night. They fortified Seminary Hill as a menace to our 
army — keeping up a show of renewing the attack during 
the 4th — and a cover of retreat for theirs. In the morning 
General Meade called a council of war, by which it was 
decided to remain until the enemy's plans were developed. 
There was some cannonading through the day, but little 
infantry fighting. In the night a heavy shower set in, and 
in the morning of the 5th the enemy had retreated from 
Seminary Hill. The losses of the One Hundred and Forty- 



seventh New York, during the 2d and 3d, were consider- 
able, in proportion to its numbers. Lieutenant Taylor, 
Company E, was killed, and Lieutenant John P. Box, 
Company A, was wounded in the shoulder, and had his 
arm amputated at the shoulder-joint. 

The following were killed in the second and third days' 
battle of Gettysburg : John Hart, Company C ; Sergeant 
Joseph Stuyvesant, Company C ; Sylvester Taylor, second 
lieutenant Company E ; Sylvester Quick, Company K. 
Francis Dodd, Company H, died at Fairfax seminary, 
July 3, from typhoid fever. The names of the wounded 
in these battles cannot be obtained. 

Among the incidents of the battle, there was one which 
occurred at the hospital, illustrating the reckless abandon 
and bonhommie of the life of the soldier during this war. 
The surgeon of the regiment with- the surgeon of the 
Fourteenth Brooklyn Regiment occupied a large hotel in the 
lower part of the town, which was very much exposed to the 
shells of the enemy during the first day, and from the shells 
of the Union army during the next two days of the battle. 
In the morning of the 6rst day's battle, the hospital was 
soon filled with the wounded of these two regiments; 
many of them were wounded slightly. In the confusion, 
the slightly wounded hud the freedom of the hotel. They 
ransacked the building, and found a quantity of liquor of 
all descriptions ; they soon got somewhat intoxicated. 
Several of the Fourteenth Brooklyn men, with their arms 
in their hands, were looking out of the windows into the 
street, when they saw the enemy come into the town, 
driving the Eleventh corps before them. They fired out 
of the windows at the enemy. A volley was immediately 
returned into the building ; thereupon the wounded soldiers, 
about twelve in number, rushed down and formed a line 
across the entrance, to defend the hospital against the 
whole rebel army ! Just at that time, one of the suigeons 
returned from a visit to several officers of his regiment, who 
had been taken into a building in another part of the town, 
and saw a squad of the enemy, only a few paces off, with 
their muskets raised to their shoulders, about to fire into 
these Brooklyn men. He ordered them not to shoot those 
wounded men ; the rebel officer in command told his men 
not to fire, and turned to the surgeon and said, " Disarm 
them, then, or I will have every man of them shot." The 
surgeon ordered the men to give up their arms and go 
back into the hospital. All but three or four obeyed; 
these declared that they would never surrender, and it w;is 
with great difficulty that the surgeon finally saved their 
lives. The enemy were determined to shoot them, and the 
surgeon once or twice pushed the muzzles of the guns 
aside when they were about to fire. Finally, with assistance, 
he wrenched the muskets from the grasp of the wounded 
men. One man was shot through the heart, and lay across 
the steps of the hotel. As soon as matters were quieted, 
the surgeon looked around and saw a mounted rebel officer, 
considerably intoxicated, across the street, brandishing a 
pistol, declaring that he would sack and burn the hospital, 
because they had been firing out of the windows at his men. 
He caught sight of the surgeon and came riding across the 
street, saying, " I say, doctor, don't we Louisianians fight 
like h — 1?" at the same time displaying several trophies 

which he had picked up from the battle-field, but claiming 
that he had captured them from " Yankee officers" by his 
personal prowess. The surgeon, mindful of the real danger 
the wounded were in, for firing out of the windows was a 
plain violation of the usages of civilized warfare, flattered 
the rebel officer to the top of his bent. Finally he rode oflf, 
siying nothing more about sacking the building. The men 
who, a short time before, were ready to defend the hospital 
with their lives, soon affiliated with the ones who were 
anxious to shoot them down, and were soon seated on the 
curb-stone side by side, chaffing each other. Tliey soon 
found out that they were old acquaintances, — they had often 
picketed the banks of the Rappahannock opposite to each 
other, and had often, by concerted agreement, crossed the 
river into each others' lines, and had a friendly game of 
cards or traded tobacco for coffee. They had many remi- 
niscences to relate, and boastings of their respective prowess 
in many a hard-fought battle in which they were oppo.sed to 
each other. 



Tlic One Hundred .and Furty-sevt-uth Regiment— Pursuit uf the 
Enemy to the Ilajjidan and lietieat uf the Ai-Jny uf the Potuuiac 
to Centieville. 

In the morning of the 0th the First corps set out for 
Emmettsburg. As the regiment passed along the I'jmmetts- 
burg road, p;ist the scenes of the late conflict, at the centre 
and left of the line they saw evidences of the terrible 
slaughter. The enemy's dead still cumbered the ground. 
Immense piles of muskets were gathered from the fields 
where the men were shot down. In places where the con- 
flict raged the fiercest were the dihris of cartridge-boxes, 
soldiers' belts, fragments of clothing, and bayonets trampled 
into the ground and stained with blood. At Peach-Tree 
Orchard an old man was gathering up relics from the battle- 
field. He lived close by, in a small wooden house, around 
which the battle had fiercely raged during two days, the 
combatants charging and counter-charging, driving each 
other backwards and forwards over his garden and yard. 
He took shelter in the cellar during the battle. He gave 
a graphic description of his two days' experience. In 
many of the muskets gathered from the field were found 
many charges of cartridges, some of them filled to the 
muzzle. In the excitement, the cartridge had been put in 
wrong end first; not ob.serving that the charge did not ex- 
plode, another wits put in on top of the first, and so on 
until .several had accumulated. 

The regiment encamped at Emmettsburg in the evening 
of the 6th. On the 7th crossed Cotocton mountain, taking 
a short cut to Middletown ; took a mountain-path or chute 
for getting wood down from the mountain. Many of the 
men were nearly shoeless, and the recent severe rains had soft- 
ened the horses' hoofs so much that it was difficult to keep 
them shod. Many of the horses became lamed ascending 
the steep mouniniii path gullied out by the rains, leaving 


the bed full of loose, small stones. The men suffered much 
in the feet. Arrived at Middletown, Maryland, in the even- 
ing. General Cutler ordered the inhabitants to remove their 
shoes. from their feet and give them to those soldiers who 
were entirely shoeless. The men had become much en- 
feebled by want of sleep and proper nourishment in the 
three days' battle of Gettysburg. On the 8th the regiment 
marched in rain and mud through the village of Middle- 
town, and encamped near South Mountain Gap. On the 
9th passed through the gap and encamped in a locust grove 
on the side of the mountain, overlooking a beautiful valley; 
the enemy could be seen in the distance. Here, for the 
first time in many days, the baggage-train came up, and the 
ofiBcers obtained a change of nnderclothii)g, a luxury rarely 
indulged in since leaving camp below Falmouth, on the 
12th of June. On the 12th the army advanced, driving 
in the outposts of the enemy, to Funkstown, Maryland. 
Beyond the town the enemy were found intrenched. The 
recent rains had raised the Potomac, making it unfordable. 
General French had several days previously destroyed the 
enemy's pontoon-bridges ; they were obliged to await the 
falling of the waters or till they could construct a new 
bridge. On the 13th, General Meade called a council of 
war, which advised a postponement of the attack until a 
reconnoissance had been made. In the evening an order 
was issued for an advance on the next morning. In the 
morning of the 14th the army advanced on the enemy's 
works, but found them deserted. During the night the 
enemy had crossed over the Potomac, partly on a new pon- 
toon-bridge constructed out of timber obtained by tearing 
down old buildings, partly by fording the stream. About 
thirteen hundred rebels were captured, consisting of strag- 
glers and part of the rear-guard which did not have time to 
cross over. Marched on that day to Williamsport. Here 
the brave General Wadsworth left his command for the 
south. He called on the officers of the regiment and bade 
them an affectionate farewell. He was greatly chagrined 
at the escape of the enemy. He had met with the council 
of war and strongly urged an immediate attack upon the 
enemy, but as he was a junior in rank his opinion had but 
little weight. He was a patriot of an antique mould, sturdy 
and robust: his bravery was a little prone to rashness. 
His voice was always for a vigorous prosecution of the war, 
and to attack the enemy wherever found. Perhaps what 
he lacked in discretion was amply made up in boldness and 
bravery. Hitherto there had been too much halting and 
timidity in executing and shrinking from assuming respon- 
sibility. General McClellan, one year ago, had, near this 
place, let the enemy slip from his grasp from the want of 
vigor and boldness. Now, under vastly more favorable 
conditions for our army, the enemy had escaped while our 
generals were deliberating when they should have been 
acting. The men had, on the 8th, got news of the capture 
of Vicksburg, and, notwithstanding their enfeebled condi- 
tion, were inspirited and eager for the attack, knowing that 
the enemy must be much demoralized and nearly out of 
ammunition. The enemy were now safe across the river, 
and the men had long, weary marches before them and 
many a hard battle to fight before the rebellion could be 
Tiut down. 

Passing over the battle-field of Antietam, July 15, the 
regiment marched to Crampton's Gap, in the Cotocton 
mountains ; the next day it passed through the Gap, and 
crossed the Potomac into Virginia again, above Harper's 
Ferry. Adjutant Fading and Lieutenant-Colonel Miller 
returned to duty on the 15th. At Keedysville, July 21, 
a detail was made, consisting of Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, 
Captain James Coey, and Lieutenant Gillett, to go to Elmira, 
New York, for conscripts to fill the depleted ranks of the 
regiment. Blaj or- General Newton, who had been assigned 
the command of the First corps, about this time joined the 
corps. The corps marched through a beautiful valley, an 
elevated plateau between the Bull Run and Blue Ridge 
ranges of mountains, to Warrenton, reaching there July 28. 

The inhabitants were extremely hostile. This region 
had been the stronghold and refuge of the guerrillas, and 
some of our officers and men were captured when not fiir 
from the main column. When at Warrenton the regiment 
witnessed a battle at Manassas Gap, in the Blue Ridge 
range, five or six miles distant. The enemy attempted to 
pass through the Gap, but were met by one of the Federal 
corps and driven back. The corps left, July 25, for War- 
renton Junction. August 1 marched to the Rappahan- 
nock, and crossed the river August 2, and commenced to 
fortify the south bank of the stream, expecting an attack ; 
had some skirmishing in front. Alexander R. Penfield 
reported for duty as first lieutenant, Company H, commis- 
sioned July 4. The regiment lay in camp at Rappahannock 
Station until September 16, then marched to Stevensburg, 
near Culpepper ; there remained till the 24th instant, then 
marched to Raccoon Ford on the Rapidan river. Septem- 
ber 24 an elegant sword was presented to Major Harney by 
Adjutant Farling,— a gift of the regiment, as a token of 
respect and esteem. Received October 6 one hundred and 
forty-two conscripts, and eighty more on the 9th. October 
10 the regiment marched to Morgan's Ford, on the Rapi- 
dan, and returned to Pony mountain, near Culpepper, in 
the night. 


There had been signs of some impending movement by 
the enemy during several days; the movement on the Rapi- 
dam was a reconnoissance. The experience of General Pope, 
the year previous, had made our generals more wary. The 
Bull Run range of mountains afforded a curtain for the 
enemy to mask their movements from our view. In August, 
1862, Stonewall Jackson had marched up behind that range 
of mountains, passing through Thoroughfare Gap, cut off the 
communications of Pope's army, and destroyed an immense 
amount of military stores at Centreville and rolling stock on 
the Orange and Alexandria railroad, before General Pope 
was aware of the movement. He at the time supposed he 
was holding the enemy at bay across the Rapidan. It was 
supposed a similar movement was being executed by the 
enemy at this time. The regiment remained near Pony 
mountain until noon, and then retreated to Kelly's Ford 
on the Rappahannock. As it passed over the hills near 
Stevensburg the enemy's cavalry came in sight in pursuit. 
General Plcasonton's cavalry protected the rear. 

The enemy's cavalry could be distinctly seen deploying 




and charging upon our cavalry, which handsomely repelled 
their charges and kept tliem at bay. Heavy cannonading 
was heard towards Brandy Station to our left during the 
afternoon, but the retreat of the First corps was not again 
molested. It crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford 
that evening, and encamped on the north bank that night. 
The regiment remained till the 12th, then retreated at 
midnight, leaving the camp-fires burning to deceive the 
enemy ; they coming up soon after shelled tlie deserted 
camp. Reached Warrenton Junction at twelve M. on the 
13th, and then halted in line of battle. Heavy cannon- 
ading was heard towards Warrenton. The corps halted 
until the baggage-traiu got safely under way, and a large 
quantity of forage had been sent to the rear on the cars, 
then moved to Bristoe Station, arriving there at 11 p.m., 
after a toilsome march, and encamped over night. 

In the morning heavy cannonading was heard from the di- 
rection of Warrenton. The First corps pursued its retreat 
to Centreville, reaching there about three P.M. From the 
heights of Centreville could be seen the rebel army advan- 
cing in pursuit of General Warren, then at Bristoe. They 
pressed so closely upon the heels of the retreating Second 
corps that it was obliged to make a stand behind Broad 
Run and deliver battle. It handsomely repulsed the enemy, 
and captured five guns and several prisoners. It resumed 
its march to Centreville in the night. The next day there 
was heavy cannonading to the left towards Bull Run, but 
it soon subsided. The entire Army of the Potomac had 
now taken shelter once more behind Bull Run. The enemy 
had been foiled in his object, partly by the tardiness of his 
uiovenienfs and partly by the skill of General Meade in 
keeping his army well in hand, and making a timely 
retreat. ■ 

General Meade, in his eagerness to escape the disasters 
which had fallen upon the army under General Pope in 
August, 1862, lost agolden opportunity to attack and defeat 
the enemy in detail. Their flanking column came upon his 
flank and rear at Bristoe Station, and there it was severely 
defeated by one corps. 

If he had halted his whole army then and given the 
enemy battle, instead of falling back to the heights of Cen- 
treville, he must have obtained an easy victory. General 
Ewell coming up too late on our left found the Union army 
safe behind Bull Run, threw across the stream a few shells 
as a token of love and respect, ;;nd then retired. The 
enemy, baffled in his attempt to cut the communications of 
the Union army and repeat the brilliant manoeuvre of the 
year preceding, set about destroying the Orange and Alex- 
andria railroad. They twisted every rail and burned every 
tie from Broad Run, near Bristoe Station, to the Rappa- 
hannock, about twenty-five miles. On October IG the 
regiment received one hundred more conscripts. Assistant 
Surgeon Place reported for duty. He was left at Gettys- 
burg, soon after was taken ill, and went from there to his 

The following promotions took place about this time : 
Sergeant H. H. Hubbard was promoted to second lieutenant, 
for gallant conduct at the battle of Gettysburg; James A. 
McKinley, first lieutenant Company I, promoted to captain, 
October 7, vice Patrick Resran, discharged on surgeon's 

certificate of disability ; Volncy J. Pierce, first lieutenant 
Company G, promoted captain Company D, vice Hulett, 
resigned ; Joseph Dompsey, second lieutenant Company K, 
promoted first lieutenant August 26 ; Edward Seeider, ser- 
geant Company E, promoted second lieutenant Company 
E, October 7, vice Lieutenant Taylor, killed at Gettysburg ; 
Sidney Gaylord, sergeant Company E, promoted second 
lieutenant Company E, October 7 ; James W. Kingsley, 
sergeant Company K, promoted second lieutenant Company 
K, August 26. 

The following is a list of deaths in hospitals ; 

George W. Box, Company C, September 22, 186'3; 
Charles H. Backus, sergeant Company D ; Levi M. Wallace, 
Company E, August 18, 1863; William Edmonds, Com- 
pany P, September 17, 1863 ; Horace Cheever, Company 
F; Asa Westcott, Company F, July 25, 1863. 



The One Ilunilrcd and Forty-seventh Regiment— Mine Run— Winter 
Quarters — Battles of tbc Wilderness, North Anna, and Peters- 

October 19, the First corps advanced to Haymarket, 
near the entrance of Thoroughfare Gap. The regiment lost 
several men, captured on the picket-line that evening. Tlicy 
were surprised by the enemy's cavalry, in consequence of a 
blunder or negligence of the ofiicer posting the picket-line. 
On the next day the corps marched through the Gap and 
encamped on the other side, and remained several days. 
Captain Gary, Company G, returned to duty. Brigadier- 
General Rice, late colonel of the Forty-fourth Regiment 
New York Volunteers (Ellsworth Avengers), about this 
time was assigned to the command of the Second brigade. 
Brigadier-General Cutler commanded the First division, 
vice General Wadsworth, relieved at Williamsport, Maiy- 
land. October 24, returned through the Gap in a cold, drench- 
ing rain, and marched to Bristoe Station. The railroad was 
gradually being repaired, and the army advancing towards 
the Rappahannock. October 31, Captains Wright, Com- 
pany K, Parker, Company C, and Slattery, Company B, 
who were wounded at Gettysburg, reported for duty. No- 
vember 5, the regiment removed to Catlett's Station. A 
brigade of the Sixth corps captured more than its number 
of the enemy at Rappahannock Station. It made a gal- 
lant charge on a rebel redoubt about sunset, cutting off' 
their retreat across the liver, and forced them to sur- 
render. November 11, Captains Wright, Parker, Gary, 
Huginii), and Slattery were discharged on General 
McClellan's general order No. 100 ; also Assistant Sur- 
geon Place and Lieutenant Hamlin, Company K, were 
discharged on the same order. On the 9th of November 
the army crossed the Rtippahannock and drove the enemy 
out of their encampments between the lla])pahannock and 
Rapidan. They had made elaborate propaiations for the 
winter; had erected coiufoi-table log huts for wintar-qiiar- 



ters, as if they had meant to stay. The eDcmy retreated 
across the Rapidan, and again went into winter quarters at 
Gordonsville and Fredericksburg. November 27, the Union 
army crossed the Rapidan to attack the enemy ; tlieir army 
at the time was stretched from Gordonsville to Fredericks- 
burg. The object of the movement was to surprise the 
enemy, separate the two wings before they could unite, and 
attack each in detail. Tlie enterprise miscarried because 
of delay in concentrating for th'e attack, giving the enemy 
time to unite and oppose the Army of the Potomac with 
Iheir entire force. The First corps crossed the Rapidan 
at Germania Ford at three a.m., marched to Gold Mine, 
near the junction of the Gordonsville road, and encamped. 
On the 28th marched to Robinson's Tavern, in the Wilder- 
ness. On the way, the Fifth corps ordnance train was at- 
tacked by guerrillas. They were stationed on the road, 
dressed in Federal uniform, and were taken for Union 
stragglers. As soon as the ordnance train passed by they 
deployed across the road, and in the thicket intercepted the 
head of the column of the First corps. By the time troops 
had deployed and driven the guerrillas off they had killed 
or captured several of the wagon-guard, who on the way 
were riding on the wagons, neglecting their duty ; and 
drivers ran off three or four of the ordnance wagons on to 
a by-road, and killed several of the mules. 

They set fire to the wagons which they had captured ; the 
explosions of the shells were heard a long time afterwards. 
This delayed the column but a short time in its march. 
About three p.m. the corps reached Robinson's Tavern. 
Towards Gordonsville, heavy cannonading and musketry 
were heaid to our right, about two or three miles distant. 
The corps was immediately got in marching order, and started 
through the dense thicket for the scene of action. General 
French, commander of the Third corps, had experienced 
delay in crossing the ford, and was several hours behind. 
The enemy had attacked him in force and had checked his 
advance. When the First corps arrived on the ground 
the battle had ceased. The remainder of the day and till 
about ten a.m. on the 29th was occupied in getting into 
position. The First corps formed into line of battle, and 
charged through the dense thickets, and over ravines, pre- 
serving a perfect line when possible ; when any part of the 
line was interrupted by some impediment, formed into 
columns by regiments, deploying into line again when the 
impediment was passed, preserving intact an unbroken and 
even front, and a continuous line of battle, until the enemy 
were driven across Mine Run. No manoeuvre could have 
been more perfectly executed on an even parade-ground. 
It was a beautiful sight. Across the run, the enemy 
occupied a natural fortification, with escarpment, bastions, 
and salient angles, the run serving as a ditch. November 
30 was spent in reconnoitcring the enemy's position to 
find a weak point for an attack. December 1, the army 
remained through the day to await the result of a flank 
movement by the Second corps, commanded by General 
Warren, but he found all parts of the enemy's line equally 
protected and impervious to attack. In the mean time the 
weather had become intensely cold ; the men on the skirmisb- 
and picket-lines suffered terribly ; some of the wounded 
were frozen on tlie ground. In the night it fell to the lot 

of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment, under 
Lieutenant-Colonel Harney, to picket the front across the run. 
No fires were allowed ; they were in close proximity to the 
enemy, and the least noise would draw upon them a shower 
of bullets. When he withdrew the line, many of the men 
were so benumbed with cold that it was with difficulty that 
they could be urged to withdraw. The enemy had already 
made a movement to cut them off, and the regiment barely 
got across the run in time to escape capture. 

In the evening of December 1, the army fell back. 
The First corps encamped on the south bank of the Rapidan, 
at Ely's Ford. In the morning of December 2 returned to 
near Culpepper, and from there went to Kelly's Ford, on the 
Rappahannock. Here the corps went into encampment, 
and remained several weeks. The regiment suffered much 
by sickness, especially the unseasoned conscripts. Remittent 
and typho-malarial fevers became prevalent. The ground 
was saturated with moisture ; it had a clay subsoil which 
retained the moisture from the autumnal rains. Excavations 
made for the purpose of constructing the camp would soon 
fill up to the surface of the ground with water discolored 
by the clay. Colonel Miller, Captain Coey, and Lieutenant 
Gillett returned to duty from their trip north for conscripts. 

About January 1, 1864, the First corps moved to Cul- 
pepper and went into winter quarters ; it occupied a rolling 
country with pure water. The health of the regiment 
immediately improved, and the hospital soon became empty. 
During the winter the following promotions took place : 
Lieutenant-Colonel F. C. Miller, promoted to colonel, No- 
vember 24, 1863, vice J. G. Butler, discharged on sur- 
geon's certificate of disability; Major G. Harney, promoted 
lieutenant-colonel, December 15, vice P. C. Miller, pro- 
moted ; D. Farling, adjutant, promoted major, Deceinber 15, 
vice G. Harney, promoted; H. H. Lyman, second lieu- 
tenant Company C, promoted adjutant, January 12, 1864, 
vice Farling, promoted ; Joseph Dempsey, first lieutenant 
Company K, promoted captain, January 12, 1864 ; George 
Huginin, first lieutenant Company A, promoted captain 
Company B ; Henry H. Hubbard, second lieutenant Com- 
pany D, promoted first lieutenant Company D, December 
24, 1863, again promoted to captain, March 24, 1864 ; 
Alexander R. Penfield, promoted to captain, December 24, 
18C3; Nathaniel Wright, restored, November 30, 1863; 
William J. Gillett, promoted to captain, March 30, 1864 ; 
James W. Kingsley, second lieutenant Company K, pro- 
moted first lieutenant, March 30, 1864; James Brown, 
sergeant Company B, promoted first lieutenant, July 27, 
1863; Byron Parkhurst, sergeant Company G, promoted 
first lieutenant Company G, December 24, 1863 ; Alexander 
King, sergeant Company D, promoted second lieutenant Com- 
pany D, December 24, 1863, again promoted to first lieuten- 
ant Company D, April 14, 1864 ; Cheney D. Barney, second 
lieutenant Company H, promoted first lieutenant Company 
H, February 8, 1864; William A. Wybourn, second lieu- 
tenant, promoted first lieutenant, January 23, 1864 ; Lansing 
Bristol, sergeant Company D, promoted second lieutenant 
Company D, April 14, 1864 ; Franklin N. Hamlin, restored 
first lieutenant Company K, December 24, 1863 ; Edwin 
M. Sperry, sergeant Company C, promoted second lieutenant 
Company C, February 8, 1864 ; Clark H. Norton, sergeant 



Company H, promoted second lieutenant Company 11, 
December 7, 18G3 ; Jolm Berry, of the Fourteentli Brooklyn, 
promoted second lieutenant Company A, November 24, 
1863 ; William Kinney, sergeant Company K, promoted 
second lieutenant, January 11, 1804; Joel A. Baker, ser- 
geant-major, promoted second lieutenant Company G, April 
19, 1864. 

The winter of 1863-64, after the terrible battles and 
weary marches of the previous season, was spent in a series 
of amusements and recreation. All pursuits of life were 
represented in our volunteer army. Rude theatres were 
constructed, and the drama became the most popular source 
of amusement. Scenes of the war were represented on 
the mimic stage, generally at the expense of the enemy. 
The Fourteenth Brooklyn was specially fertile in inventing 
these ludicrous representations, but they stimulated rivalry 
and emulation, and rival theatres sprang up. March 19, 
1864, a reconnoissance in force was made on the enemy's 
front. The baggage was packed, tents struck, and every- 
thing put in readiness to be sent to the rear. The First 
corps marched to the llapidan at Morton's Ford in the night, 
and there encamped in a swamp. The men were obliged 
to put down a layer of rails and logs to keep out of the 
water. The enemy were strongly fortified across the stream. 
The opposite bank rose abruptly, and a series of rifle-pits, 
filled with rebel sharpshooters, rose up to the top of the bank. 
The Sixth corps effected a crossing in another part of the 
line, but was driven back with considerable loss. The 
object of the movement was to prevent the enemy from 
detaching any considerable force to send southwest to oppose 
General Sherman. 

During the winter a congressional committee investigated 
the condition of the army. It was thought that results in- 
adequate to the force and strength of the army had been 

A reorganization of the army was recommended to make 
it more efficient. The Firet corps was consolidated with 
and merged into the Fifth corps under Major-General War- 
ren. The Third and Second corps were consolidated into 
the Second corps under Major-General Hancock. Other 
changes took place. General Wadsworth returned, and 
assumed command of his old First division, now of the Fifth 
corps. General Grant had been assigned the command of 
all the Federal armies, and made his headquarters with 
those of the Army of the Potomac. March 29. the Army 
of the Potomac was reviewed by General Grant. He in- 
spected the troops very closely and with care. 

The following is a list of those killed in battle or who 
died in hospital,* from October 16, 1863, to May 4, 1864 : 

Alpheus Austin, Company A, captured at Haymarket, 
Virginia, October 19, died in Andersonville prison; James 
Guard, Company A, killed November 3, 1863, at David's 
island, New York ; Israel Barber, died November 8, 1863, 
of typhoid fever; Daniel Wilson, Company B, December 
23, 1863 ; Lucian Gibbs, Company B, November, 1863 ; 
Samuel Delano, died at Richmond, Virginia, December 2, 
1863; Jonathan Ween, Company B, December 10, 1863; 
Josiah Farrington, Company F, November 24, 1863; Os- 

sian Howe, Company F, December 15, 1863; Jacob 
Snider, Company F, date unknown ; Robert N. Baker, cor- 
poral Company G, November 20, 1863; Decatur Russell, 
Company H, November 28, 1803 ; Isaac Goslinc, Company 
H, November 27, 1863 ; John B. McCord, Company H, 
February 15, 1864 ; Elam Seymour, Company F, January 
30, 1864; Benjamin I. Stone, December 20, 18G3; Levi 
Decker, Company I, November 23, 1863; Nathaniel 
Covert, Company K, January 10, 1864 ; Andrew Craig, 
Company K, December 8, 1863 ; John Daly, Company K, 
January 18, 1864 ; John W. Elliott, Company K, Novem- 
ber 17, 1863; Nicholas McCoy, Company K, Jaimary 8, 
1864 ; Daniel Sharp, Comininy K, January 2, 1864 ; John 
Maggerly, Company D, January 31, 1864; Stephen L. 
Lacy, Company E, March 10, 1864 ; William Topher, Feb- 
ruary 25, 1864. Conscripts or recruits killed in battle or 
died in hospitals are not included in this list, as their names 
are not found on the final muster-out rolls deposited in the 
adjutant-general's office in Albany. 


May 5, 1804, commenced the memorable campaign of 
the Wilderness, Spottsylvania , and Petersburg. 

The Fifth corps set out in the night of the 3d, crossed 
the Rapidan at Germania Ford, and encamped near the gold 
mine. On the morning of the 5th, advanced to the right on 
a wood road over a marsh, and up a steep hill through a 
dense thicket of scrub pine timber, into a clearing. Here, 
the ammunition- and baggage-trains and artillery were halted. 
Heavy skirmishing was heard in front. A aipturcd rebel 
was brought in to Generals Warren and Wadsworth, and 
questioned. He said there were only two or three rebel 
regiments in front. The First division formed into a line 
of battle and advanced towards Mine Run. After advanc- 
ing about half a mile in a dense thicket, and over ridges and 
ravines, preserving the line with difficulty, they met the 
enemy. They were concealed in an opening partially grown 
up to stunted, bushy pine. The division was greeted with a 
withering volley. The right of the line soon fell back, leaving 
the right flank of the Second brigade exposed. The 
enemy pressed on all sides, and the brigade was forced to 
give way. It fell back to the clearing from whence it started, 
in some disorder, but none too soon to prevent being cap- 
tured. The enemy had driven in all on the left, and occupied 
part of the clearing. The ammunition- and baggage-trains 
and artillery were all gone. The entire Pennsylvania Re- 
serves, who were to the left, were cut oflFand captured. The 
enemy had formed a " cul de sac," and the only point of 
egress was the narrow path through which the brigade had 
retreated. Many of the regiment, trying to escape, ran into 
the enemy's lines and were taken prisoners. 

Colonel Miller w;is severely wounded, and captured. Adju- 
tant Lyman and many of the skirmish-line were captured. 

Generals Griffin's and Crawford's divisions, in advance 
farther to the left, had been struck by General Hill's corps, 
and driven in. When the Second brigade emerged from 
the woods on the retreat, the enemy occupied a hill to the 
left, in short range from the broken brigade. General Rice, 
supposing them to be Federal troojis, tried to rally his 


brigade, but be soon found tbo position untenable, and fell 
back to near tbe road, at Tod's Tavern, from wbere tbe Fifth 
corps turned oflF in the morning. There General Wadsworth 
wasrallying his division. The First division was moved 
off in another direction, but was not again engaged that day. 
The loss of the regiment in killed, wounded, and prisoners 
was very large. It is difficult to describe the positions 
which tbe regiment took during the remainder of the two 
days' battle. The country is a wild region. The timber 
had been formerly cut off to supply iron-furnaces, and the 
land left to grow up to dwarf pine, scrub oak, chinquapins, 
and brambles. The surface is broken into low ridges, 
ravines, and swamps. The wood took fire in many places, 
iidding the torture of burning by a slow fire to the usual 
horrors of a battle-field. There was a continuous discharge 
of musketry throughout the night from the muskets of the 
fallen as they were ignited by tbe burning woods. In the 
morning at five the battle was again opened. The First divi- 
sion had marched several miles to the left after its repulse 
on the 5th. It made a fierce attack on the enemy's right, 
and drove it back one mile and a half, overturning General 
Lee's headquarters. The Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania and 
the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York, under 
Colonel Hofmann, of the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania, attacked 
the enemy and recovered a position lost by a part of the 
Second corps, which had given way. The position was de- 
manded of Colonel Hofmann by the defeated colonel of the 
Second corps, which he refused to give up until ordered to 
do so by his superior officer. General Wadsworth was 
killed while leading his division to the attack, and fell into the 
hands of the enemy. His bravery commanded respect from 
the foe. His body was carefully preserved, and afterwards 
sent into the Federal lines under a flag of truce. In him 
the country lost an earnest and single-minded patriot. It 
was often said of him that " he knew not fear." He was 
shot down when rashly exposing himself to encourage his 
men, who were shrinking from a galling fire, saying, 
" There is not danger enough to harm a mouse." The 
battle raged until after dark, neither side gaining any ma- 
terial advantage. Towards nightfall General Lee massed 
a large force on our right, and drove it far enough to get 
possession of our communications. The wounded were 
loaded into ambulances and empty baggage-wagons, ready to 
be sent to Washington by Culpepper, when the news of the 
disaster came. They were retained in the ambulances until 
communications could be opened by Fredericksburg and 
Aquia creek or Belle Plain. They suffered much by the 
detention and transportation over rough roads. The First 
division in this two days' battle lost over half of its num- 
bers. Thus terminated, for the Union forces, the most 
bloody and unique battle of the war. It was fought mostly 
in dense thickets, the combatants often coming upon each 
other without warning, and soon became inextricably mixed 
and confused, neither party knowing which way to turn to 
find its way out. It was only by the general plan of battle 
that any order could be preserved. The effective fighting 
force of the Union army was about eighty thousand, in- 
cluding the artillery, which, owing to the nature of the 
country, did but little service. 

This is exclusive of General Burnside's corps, which re- 

mained behind to protect the rear, and did not cross the 
Rapidan till the second day. The effective strength of the 
enemy was sixty thousand muskets, which was reinforced 
on the second day twenty thousand muskets by General 
Longstreet. The Union army was permitted to cross the 
fords, which were strongly fortified, unmolested. General 
Lee's plan was to launch his whole force and strike the 
Union column on the flank, after crossing the fords, when 
marching. It had failed through difficulty of manoeuvring 
his army in the dense thickets of the Wilderness. It was 
supposed by General Lee that General Grant would turn 
back after the second day, and he sent a large cavalry force 
across the river to intercept his retreat. But General Grant, 
contrary to the previous habits of Union generals, on the 
morning of the 7th, with about twenty thousand wounded, 
in ambulances and wagons, set out for Spottsylvania, about 
fifteen miles distant. General Lee, on interior lines, 
hastened on, reached and occupied bis fortified positions 
before him. 

The Fifth corps in the advance was impeded by the 
enemy's cavalry, and infantry attacks on the flank obliged 
it to keep up a running fight all that day. General Rob- 
inson, Second division, was wounded and lost a leg. By 
the time the Fifth corps came up the enemy had arrived, 
and were strongly intrenched in its front. In the morning 
of the 8th the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment 
was engaged in repelling an attack of the enemy, with con- 
siderable loss in killed and wounded. May 9 was mainly 
occupied in getting into position by both armies. The 
enemy occupied a strong intrenched position, barring fur- 
ther advance of the Union army. No fighting except by 
sharpshooters ; the men were obliged to keep under cover, 
as the least exposure drew the fire of the enemy. General 
Sedgwick, of the Sixth corps, was picked off by a sharp- 
shooter. May 10, about noon, the regiment was engaged, 
■ and was relieved when out of ammunition. About five p.m. 
was again brought into action and remained until after dark ; 
was driven back by the burning woods; loss in killed and 
wounded considerable. May 11 the regiment lay in the 
rifle-pits under a heavy cannonading of shot and shell, and 
a constant fire from sharpshooters. May 12, five A.M., the 
regiment went into the skirmish-line without its breakfast, 
charged through a dense thicket up a hill to the enemy's 
breastworks, and were repulsed. The regiment then went 
about five miles to the left, to engage in one of the most 
determined and fiercely-contested battles of the war. At 
4.30 A.M. General Hancock with the Second corps stormed 
a salient angle of the enemy's works, and carried it, cap- 
turing twelve thousand of the enemy. He pursued the 
enemy to the second line of works ; having partially lost the 
organization of the corps, he was forced to retire to the first 
line, which, by the aid of reinforcements, he was able to 
hold. The whole rebel army was nearly demoralized and 
routed by this onset, and was only saved by the personal 
example and bravery of General Lee. He caught up a 
standard and placed himself in front of his routed and de- 
moralized troops, rallied them, and in person commenced 
to lead them back to the charge. His officers and men, 
inspirited by his example, first forced him to the rear, then 
chai-ged upon General Hancock, and drove him back to the 


fii-st line. In course of the day General Lee made five 
desperate attacks upon this line, but was repulsed each time 
with great slaughter. 

Here was the most remarkable fighting of the war. Part 
of the Fifth corps was moved up in the evening to assist 
in holding the position. Every man was given two hundred 
and fifty rounds of Ciirtridges, and was ordered to keep up 
a constant fusilade towards the enemy throughout the night ; 
by so doing they kept down the enemy's fire. No living 
thing could withstand such a constant stream of bullets. 
In the morning there was no enemy in sight in front, and 
their dead lay in heaps behind their breastworks, mostly 
shot through the head. The trees within musket-range 
were killed, and one tree eighteen inches in diameter was 
cut clean in two by bullets. May 11, the brave General 
Rice, commander of the Second brigade, when in front of his 
coniniaiid, had his thigh-bone shattered by a bullet from a 
rebel sharpshooter, and died that evening after an amputa- 
tion, from loss of blood. When breathing his last, he made 
a request to have his face turned towards the enemy. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Harney was slightly wounded that after- 
noon in leading a charge on the enemy's works. In with- 
drawing the First division of the Fifth corps to aid in 
holding the position gained by the Second corps, the Fifth 
corps' hospitals were necessarily uncovered. 

All the wounded that could be easily moved were re- 
moved to a place of safety during the night, but about two 
thousand were abandoned and captured by the enemy's 
cavalry. Among them were several ofiSeers and men be- 
longing to the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment. 
They were rescued by the Federal cavalry three days after- 
wards, but, from the want of care and proper nourishment, 
many of them died who would otherwise have recovered. 
In the night of the 13th the regiment experienced the 
most fatiguing march of the war. It had been raining 
steadily during several days, and the mud was deep. The 
corps moved twelve miles to the left, through thickets, 
swamps, and ravines. 

During several days General Grant had been gradually 
moving his army to the left to get around the enemy's 
right, but he was met by a corresponding movement by 
General Lee. In these series of battles the regiment had 
sufiered greatly in killed and wounded and from sickness. 

The following were killed or fatally wounded in the bat- 
tles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, JLiy 5, 1865 : 

Company A, Arnold Brown, Benoni Baker, David Bird, 
George Bull, William Backus, Job G. Campbell, Abram I. 
White, John E. Peer, May 8 ; Drisdon Founier, wounded 
May 5, died August 16. 

Company B, May 5, Bently H. Throop; Simon Barbo, 
May 12. May 5, wounded, Eugene Burlingame, died July 
2, 186-1. May 5, William CuUen, Allen S. Vorce. 

Company C, May 5, Ransom Guinness, Albert Eaton. 

Company D, Thomas Murphey, corporal. May 8 ; Wil- 
liam Horsford, May 12 ; John 0. Hadley. 

Company E, Burr B. Lathrop, May 5 ; William Caster, 
May 5 ; Roland T. Rogers, May 10 ; Charles Brownell. 

Company F, James Brown, first lieutenant, died July 
1, 1864, from wounds received May 10, 1864, at Spottsyl- 

Company G, May 5, William S. Herrick; May 5, Wil- 
liam Harrison ; May 5, Albert June ; George W. Sncll, 
May 10. 

Company K, Franklin N. Hamlin, first lieutenant, died 
of wounds received May 5, 1864 ; Joseph Walker, May 5 ; 
Joseph Ballard, Silas E. Parsons, Daniel Vanderwalker, 
William Whitehead, Abram M. Wiburn, Michael Walken- 

May 21 the Fifth corps marched to Guineas' station, on 
the Fredericksburg and Richmond railroad. Continued 
the march on the 22d, and reached the North Anna river 
at four P.M. on the 24th at Jericho ford. The banks of 
the stream were precipitous, and at places rising up perpen- 
dicularly thirty or forty feet. The crossing was at a dis- 
used ford. The road leading down the banks had been 
washed out by rains, and had to be graded. The First 
division, commanded by General Cutler, crossed over in 
advance, fording the stream, before the pontoon bridge was 
laid. The general carelessly gave permission to his division 
to mass and get coffee, at the same time posting a few 
pickets. General WaiTen coming up a few minutes after, 
seeing from the opposite side of the stream the precarious 
condition of the division, sent a peremptory command to 
General Cutler to get his division into line of battle at 
once, and get it in readiness to receive an attack from the 
enemy. One brigade had time to form and advance a few 
paces in a pine wood, when it was greeted with a deafening 
roar of musketry. It came out disorganized, and fled pre- 
cipitately down the banks of the stream. A host of non- 
combatants, — chaplains, servants with pack animals, stretcher 
bearers, hospital attendants, and surgeons, — who had crossed 
over with the division, took fright, and fled, giving the 
appearance of a stampede. In the mean time, the enemy 
had commenced an artillery duel with four Federal bat- 
teries stationed on the bluffs on the north side of the river, 
the shells passing over the heads of the frightened non- 
combatants, adding terror to their fright. The Second 
brigade, commanded by Colonel Hofmaiin, was formed 
into line, stood firm, and was in readiness to receive the 
enemy. A battery, commanded by Captain Mink, formerly 
a Black river boatman, a brave artillery officer, came over 
at the critical moment ; he posted his battery on an eleva- 
tion to the right of the Second brigade, at the same time 
sending a request to Colonel Hofmann to reserve fire, and 
give him the first chance at the rebels. He had loaded 
his guns to the muzzle with canister. The enemy came 
swarming out of the woods within short range of the bat- 
tery, when it was discharged in their midst. They recoiled, 
and fled panic-stricken. The battle was soon renewed. 
The enemy was finally repulsed with a loss of one thousand 
prisoners. The Fifth corps lost three hundred and fifty 
killed and wounded. A second Ball's Bluff disaster was 
only prevented by the timely arrival of General Warren on 
the north bank of the stream, and the opportune arrival of 
Captain Mink at the critical moment on the field of battle. 
He had been wounded, and carried a crutch with him at 
the time. 

During the battle General Warren came over and up- 
braided General Cutler, an old man, in forcible but not 
over-polite terms for his carelessness. In the mean time, 


General Hancock, with tlie Second corps, had effected a 
crossing four or five miles below, and General Wright, with 
the Sixth corps, afterwards crossed above. 

In the morning, May 24, the One Hundred and Forty- 
seventh Regiment was deployed as skirmishers in the ad- 
vance. About forty of the affrighted rebels were captured. 
They had not recovered from the demoralization caused by 
the battle of yesterday. They appeared to be veiy willing 
prisoners. In the morning of the 25th the regiment was 
again deployed on the skirmish-line, and advanced towards 
Hanover junction, to the southeast about two miles; had 
severe fighting; the country flat and densely wooded at 
places ; loss in killed and wounded considerable. May 26 
it seemed evident that not much progress was to be made 
towards Richmond in this direction. The enemy still held 
the south bank of the stream between the Fifth corps and 
General Hancock, and were strongly posted in our front. 
In the night the corps was withdrawn to the north bank of 
the stream, and started for Hanover town on the Pamun- 
key. Arrived at Hanover town on the 28th. There met 
General Sheridan's cavalry on its return from a raid on the 
defenses of Richmond. It had met the cavalry of the 
enemy, under the rebel general, Stuart, about four miles from 
Richmond, and fought a severe battle, in which General 
Stuart was killed. About one thousand of the wounded 
cavalry were left in hospital at Hanover town. May 30 
the regiment was engaged in the battle of Bethesda Church, 
in which a large number of wounded prisoners fell into our 
hands. May 31 , lay in the trenches in front of the defenses of 
Richmond. Heavy cannonading was heard in themorningon 
the right, and in the afternoon on the left, but no fighting in 
front. June 2, attacked by the enemy about five P.M. ; fell 
back and changed front to meet the enemy, and drove them 
back ; loss considerable. There was heavy firing to the 
right during the day, which continued along in the night. 
June 3, battle of Cold Harbor. Commenced throwing up 
breastworks about daylight ; they were not finished when 
the battle opened with great fury ; several were wounded, 
but none seriously. The heaviest fighting was on the right 
and left. The Ninety-fifth New York suffered severely. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Pye was mortally wounded. 

Since crossing the Pamunkey, General Grant had been 
tentatively feeling the enemy's lines. To-day he had 
made an assault all along the lines, and was repulsed with 
great loss in killed and wounded ; the enemy's loss was 
comparatively slight, as they were fighting behind breast- 
works. The regiment lay in the trenches till June 6. The 
baggage-wagons came up the first time during thirty days. 
Oflicers obtained a change of under-clothing for the first 
time during that period. The state of that which they had 
on, and of the cuticle, can be easily imagined. 

In the morning of the 7th, at 3.30, the division moved 
to the left ; met the enemy at the West Point and Richmond 
railroad. The Second brigade was deployed as skirmishers, 
and drove the enemy across the Chickahominy river ; then 
encamped in the mud for the night. Picketed the north 
bank of the stream till the 12th, the enemy picketing the 
other side. The river here is about twenty feet across. 
The enemy's pickets wore disposed to be friendly, and de- 
sired to trade tobacco for coffee, but were forbidden to do 

so by their ofiicers ; but the men did so clandestinely, toss- 
ing their exchanges across the river. Six rebels came into 
our lines on the night of the 9th. The men fished in the 
stream. Moved July 13, and crossed the Chickahominy 
in the night. The regiment was detailed as a train-guard, 
and moved on the road towards the James river ; arrived 
near the river at eleven p.m., and encamped on a fine planta- 
tion, the owner of which, with three sons, had joined the 
rebel army, one of whom was killed and another wounded 
in the battle of the Wilderness. Jane 16, crossed the 
James river at Wilson's landing ; marched for Petersburg, 
starting about noon ; had a weary and toilsome march of 
twenty-six miles in a broiling sun, each man carrying a 
blanket, forty rounds of ammunition, and half of a shelter- 
tent, making a weight of forty or fifty pounds, and went 
into camp at two a.m, June 17, about three miles from Pe- 
tersburg. The regiment by this time had become much 
enfeebled by constant vigils and long, weary marches in the 
heat of a Virginia summer. Since May 5 it had been 
almost constantly in the presence of the enemy, and more 
than half of the time under fire. It often slept in the 
trenches when the enemy's shells were bursting thick and 
fast around them as a lullaby. 

The losses of the armies in their fierce struggles from 
the Wilderness to the James river were never oflScially 
published ; probably they were so enormous that the au- 
thorities deemed it unwise to appall the country by making 
known their magnitude. The whole scene of contest from the 
Rapidan to the Chickahominy rivers was one Golgotha. In 
many places in the dense thickets the dead were left with- 
out sepulture, and their bleaching skeletons were seen upon 
the return of some of their comrades after the surrender 
at Appomattox Court-House (1865), who passed through 
there to revisit the scenes of their former struggles. Gen- 
eral Grant had had his losses more than made up by con- 
stant reinforcements from the defenses of Washington by 
the heavy artillery regiments stationed there. They never 
supposed they were to be called into the field, and lacked 
the experience and efiicicncy of the veterans who had been 
in constant service and had withstood the shock of a hun- 
dred battle-fields. They had to withstand the jeers and 
gibes of the hardened veterans, who, not always without 
malice, greeted them as " Heavies," and said, " It is better 
to get accustomed to the use of small guns before attempt- 
ing to use big ones," because, as they thought, they had 
shrunk from the dangers of the war by seeking a safe 
place behind the defenses of Washington. These regi- 
ments were from two thousand to two thousand four hun- 
dred strong when they came into the field. From sickness, 
arising from want of proper seasoning, and casualties in 
battle, in a great measure arising from the want of expe- 
rience, they were soon reduced to two or three hundred. 
They had not yet acquired the " discretion which is the 
better part of valor" (not speaking, however, in the Fal- 
staflBan sense) of the veteran, coolness and wariness in 
battle, which can only be attained by long experience, and 
which makes a veteran three times as valuable as a raw 
recruit, bravery in both being equal. From nature's most 
imperative law, self-preservation, the veteran learns to avoid 
all unnecessary danger, and instinctively seizes upon all the 


:nlvanlagcs of his position. At the end of every day's 
niart-h, however weary he niiglit bo, the veteran would pvo- 
tt-ct himself by constructing some kind of breastwork to 
guard against surprise. When on the picket- or skirmish - 
line, with marvelous quickness, if there was no natural 
cover, he would scoop up a little mound of earth to protect 
himself from the bullets of his foe. A gopher could not 
burrow out of sight sooner than a veteran would conceal 
himself from the euem^' by the use of a tin-cup or a bay- 

General Grant had been flanking the enemy from the 
Wilderness to the James river, and now endeavored to suc- 
ceed by hastily seizing Petersburg before General Lee could 
get there to defend the place. It was protected by an elab- 
orate fortification built in the early part of the war, encir- 
cling the town on the south side of the Appomattox, about 
two and a half miles from the suburbs. Generals Han- 
cock, Smith, and Burnside, with a large force, crossed the 
James river and made a rapid march to surprise the place 
on the 16th of June; but the enemy got there about the 
same time. The Union forces took the outer works with- 
out opposition, and met the enemy midway between the 
works and the town. A fierce battle ensued ; neither party 
gained advantage. The enemy, to hold their position, com- 
menced to build an inner line of works. In the morning 
of the 17th the Fifth corps, after the toilsome march of 
the day previous, advanced on the enemy and gained a 
position, from which it took part in the general assault upon 
the enemy's lines which was made the next day. June 
18, the Union army endeavored to take the enemy's works 
by coup dc main, but was partially repulsed. A position 
was gained varying from one hundred to four hundred 
yards from the enemy's works. A vigorous use of the 
pick and spade was then made, and in a few days a heavy 
line of works was built, confronting the enemy's. In the 
charge of the 18th the line of battle of the Fifth corps 
passed over a broken country, partly wooded, partly open 
fields, and crossed diagonally over a deep railroad cut, and 
up the steep bank, consequently the line of battle became 
very irregular and uneven. The part of the line occupied 
by the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment, under 
Lieutenant-Colonel Harney, was in the open field ; the line 
gave way on each side of the regiment, but a part of an- 
other regiment remained with it. They had charged within 
a short distance of the enemy's breastworks, and were there 
left without support. It was more dangerous to fall back 
than to hold the position. Lieutenant-Colonel Harney 
ordered the men to lie down behind a low ridge, which 
aflbrded partial protection from the enemy's fire. The 
enemy opened embrasures in their works in front (the men 
could look into the muzzles of the enemy's cannon as they 
were run out), and bombarded them with spherical case- 
shot, which nearly grazed their backs when they passed 
over them. They kept their position through the day in a 
broiling sun. The enemy at one time sent out a force on 
the flank to capture them. Lieutenant-Colonel Harney 
reserved the fire of his command until they came within 
point-blank range, and poured a volley into them. They 
immediately fled back behind the works. 

Some of the men clamored for permission to go to the 

rear. The colonel endeavored to convince them that it was 
much safer to remain where they Wire; but, finally, to quiet 
the complaints of others, gave four or five of them permis- 
sion to retire and see what would come of it. They made 
the attempt, and were all killed or wounded. 

The lieutenant-colonel, like a true soldier, wished to save 
the colors, and called for a volunteer to carry them to the 
rear. William Sullivan, sergeant Company I, volunteered, 
and carried them off', but was severely wounded. He was 
soon after promoted second lieutenant for his gallant con- 
duct. The regiment remained till after dark, and got off' 
safely. The losses in this day's battle in killed and wounded 
were very great. 

The following were killed in battle, or died in hospitals, 
from May 22 to June 19, 186J : 

William Upcraft, Company A, killed Juno 1 ; Christian 
Field, Company B, killed at North Anna, May 25 ; Patrick 
O'Conner, Company B, wounded May 25, died June 14 ; 
Orange Beardsley, Company C, killed May 24 ; Henry 
Foster, Company C, June 18, at the battle of Petersburg; 
Charles Gurnsey, Company C, June 18, at the battle of 
Petersburg; Herbert Gilbert, Company C, June 17 ; Philip 
Stevens, Company C, June 18 ; John Fitzgeralds, Company 
D, killed at battle of Bethesda Church, June 2 ; Sidney 
C. Gaylord, second lieutenant Company E, killed June 18; 
John L. Bayne, Company E, June 18 ; Lewellen Laird, 
Company E, wounded June 18, died June 24 ; David S. 
Rice, Company F, June 18 ; Edwin Marshall, Company G, 
June 18; John McMurray, Company G, June 19 ; Thomas 
Seagraves, Company G, June 19; Wilbcr H. Wentworth, 
Company G, June 18; Atwell Winchester, Company H, 
June 19; James A. Castle, Company H, June 10; Thos. 
I. Wright, Company H, May 28, at Andersonville, Georgia; 
John Mitchell, Company I, died from wounds received 
June 18 ; John Daly, Company K, June 18 ; Samuel 
Morey and John S. Riley, Company K, June 18; Daniel 
Sanders, Company K, May 25 ; Franklin B. Woodrufl', 
Company K, wounded June 2, died Juno 11. 



The One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment— Siege of Peters- 
burg—Battles of Weldon Railroad, Pecble's Farm, Uatcher's Run, 
Ilickaford, and Dabney's Mills. 

Now commenced the most arduous and trying service of 
the war, taxing the temper of the men to the endur- 
ance. The Union army, to make any headway, was com- 
pelled to hold on to every foot of ground gained, with a 
death-gi-ip. The front of the line occupied by the One 
Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment was in an open field, 
about two hundred yards from the enemy's breastworks, 
which it was expected to build up and defend. No one 
could any part of his person without being hit by 
the enemy's sharpshooters. Several of the men were shot 
through the head during the first two or three days. 
Nothing could be done at first in the daytime, and the men 


worked witli a will ia the night for self-preservation. The 
sun came down broiling hot in the day, and the men were 
without shelter, save what could be got by planting boughs, 
obtained from the neighboring woods in the night. The 
rear descended to a small stream, then dry ; then ascended 
an incline, fully exposed to the rebel sharpshooters ; conse- 
quently no reliefs or communications could be got from the 
rear, without great risk, in the dnytime. Moreover, on the 
right the Ninth corps occupied a salient angle on a hill 
within one hundred and twenty-five yards of the enemy's 
lines. There was constant skirmishing going on in front 
of that corps; the balls, passing over the Ninth corps on the 
right flank, descended into the depression in the rear of the 
regiment. Many men were killed and wounded when 
cooking their food or washing their clothes : there seemed 
to be no place of safety, no matter how well, apparently, it 
was sheltered. In a few days, by constant labor through 
the nights, strong bomb-proofs were built and covered Wiiys 
constructed, which afforded complete shelter for the men 
behind the works, and a safe access to the rear. By this 
time the men were worn out by constant vigils and exposure 
to the inclement heat. Nearly every man was sick with 
diarrhoea. There were only one hundred and fifty men fit 
for duty. The enemy soon procured cohorn mortars, and 
silently dropped down shells in the midst of the men when 
they supposed they were safe. That was a game that two 
could play at. Mortars were procured on our side, and 
both parties amused each other by an exchange of compli- 
ments, which often had tragic endings. Occasionally, when 
a fine opportunity ofi"ered, when more than usual the enemy 
were off their guard, a shell would be thrown into their 
midst, and playing havoc by a timely explosion (scoring 
one for our side), would raise a shout from our men which 
would pass all along the line. For a while this game of 
ball aS"orded recreation for both parties, but at length a 
truce was made against picket-firing and sharpshooting for 
amusement, except by the Ninth corps, which kept up a con- 
stant fire upon the enemy, for the purpose of concealing 
from them the mining of a rebel fort in its front. 

The lines, about one mile to the left, approached still 
nearer to each other, and the pickef^lines were only a few 
paces apart. The fort erected at the left extremity of the 
line at this time commanded, by its position on a hill, the 
enemy's line. Desperate efforts were made by the enemy 
to drive our forces from it, but without avail. 

They called it " Fort Hell," by which name it was after- 
wards designated. At 4.40 a.m. July 30, the mine in front 
of the Ninth corps was exploded, blowing up a rebel fort 
with several hundred men ; at the same time the artillery 
opened all along the line. The Fifth corps took a very 
small part in this engagement. It kept down the enemy's 
fire in its immediate front, and awaited orders to join in the 
assault afterwards. 

The assault was to have been made by the colored troops, 
but a short time before the time set for the springing of the 
mine the plan of attack was changed, creating some con- 
fusion from want of time for preparation and training the 
men by the commanders who were to lead the assault. 
The explosion had made a crater one hundred and fifty feet 
in length by sixty in width, and twenty-five to thirty feet 

in depth. The sides were of loose sand, from which pro- 
jected huge blocks of clay, making a formidable barrier to 
the advance of the attacking column. Some delay was 
causjd by removing the ab-itis and clearing aw.iy obstaales 
for the advance of thj troops, giving the enemy time to 
recover from the momentary panic caused by the explosion. 
The troops as they rushed into the opening fell into confu- 
sion, and became mixed up, losing their organization. The 
enemy rallied, and poured in upon them a destructive fire 
from both flanks, and from the crest of the hill in front 
beyond. But a few troops were able to pass through the 
crater and deploy so as to protect the flanks. 

The enemy were protected by covered ways, and were 
enabled to advance upon them without molestation from 
the fire from our old works on either side. The attacking 
column became wedged in the crater, confused and helpless, 
unable to advance or retreat. In the mean time the enemy 
had planted artillery at several points, and gained the range 
of the crater, and poured a terrible fire upon the helpless 
mass. Most of the men in the crater were killed and 
wounded or captured. Thus ended the attempt to capture 
Petersburg by breaching the works, by springing a mine, 
and attacking them in the confusion and panic following it. 
Great expectations were based upon its success, and corre- 
sponding depression followed its failure. August 18, the 
Fifth corps moved to the left, taking a circuitous route, and 
captured the Weldon railroad, at the Yellow House. The 
Second corps had been sent over to the north side of the 
James to make a feint. 

The enemy had weakened this point to oppose the Second 
corps. Two or three attempts had been made previously to 
capture this road, and they all had come to grief It was 
the principal source for supplying the rebel army, and had 
been defended with great pertinacity. The corps massed 
in an open field on the side of the road. A rebel battery 
opened at a distance, and plowed up an adjoining field 
with solid shot ; no one was hurt. About six a.m. the 
enemy had discovered the joke, and returned. The corps 
formed in line of battle, and advanced to meet them. A 
sharp fight ensued. Captain Huglnin was severely wounded. 
The loss in killed and wounded was considerable, mostly in 
the Second division. In the evening there came up a 
drenching rain and flooded the country, it being very flat. 
The rain continued at intervals throughout the next day. 
In capturing the road there had been an interval left of 
about four miles, occupied by a line of pickets. 

The country was mostly grown up to a dense thicket of 
second growth of yellow pine. In the afternoon of the 1 9th 
the Fifth corps advanced a strong skirmish-line towards 
Petersburg, before connecting the line on the right, leaving 
the gap unclosed. Rebel General Mahone, the hete noir of 
the Fifth corps, marched through the gap with a large force, 
in the rear of the skirmish-line, and captured nearly the 
entire force — nearly three thousand men — without firing a 
shot. They were all armed with Spencer rifles. One brigade, 
commanded by Colonel Wheelock, faced about, and fought 
its way back. The enemy came upon the Federal line of 
battle without warning. The centre of the line, being sur- 
prised, gave way, and fled in confusion. The disaster for a 
time seemed irreparable. The Second brigade. Colonel Hof- 


maun couiiuandiiig, occupied llie extreme left of the lino in 
an open field, and was cut off. It was ordered to fall back. 
The oflieer on Colonel Hofuiann's staff had to pass over a 
long space swept by the enemy's bullets to give the order. 
He reached the regiment on the right, and gave the order, 
and told the colonel of the regiment to pass it down the 
line, and then returned. The order was not promulgated 
to the other regiments. The regiment that received the 
order fell back, leaving the remainder of the brigade on the 
field. General Warren, seeing from a distance the three 
regiments of the brigade, supposing them to be the enemy, 
ordered a battery to open upon them. The brigade was 
successfully repelling the enemy when the battery sent a 
shower of shells into its midst. They were receiving a fire 
from friend and foe, and were for a while obliged to dodge 
from one side of the breastworks to the other for protection. 
The mistake was soon discovered, and the captain of the 
batterj' was ordered to desist firing. The brigade held to 
its position, and repulsed the enemy in its front. About 
this time the Fifth corps was reinforced by a division of the 
Ninth corps under General Wilcox, and the enemy were 
driven back. 

The possession of the railroad was maintained in conse- 
quence of the failure of the staff ofiiccr to give the order to 
the whole brigade to retii-e, and the determined bravery of 
the brigade in holding to its position when receiving a fire 
from the front and rear. Lieutenant-Colonel Harney was 
slightly wounded by a fragment of one of our shells. Sev- 
eral of the men ct' the One Hundred and Forty-seventh 
Regiment were killed and wounded by the shells from our 
battery. General Warren, fearing another attack from the 
enemy, in order to drive him from the railroad, as the road 
was almost a vital necessity to them, immediately com- 
menced to re-arrange and strengthen his linos. He was a 
very able engineer oflacer. He superintended the construc- 
tion of the works in person, at times using the spade to en- 
courage the men. The corps worked day and night to 
prepare for another attack. August 21 the enemy made 
another attack. They expected, from the knowledge gained 
of our position in the previous attack, to win an easy vic- 
tory, but in the mean time the position of the works had 
been materially altered and strengthened. They were 
easily repulsed, this time with terrible slaughter, and with 
slight loiss to the Fifth corps. The attack fell almost 
wholly on the First division. 

An incident occurred during this battle illustrating the 
reckless daring of some of our ofiicers. The attack in front 1 
had been terribly repulsed, and all fighting had ceased, | 
when a rebel brigade emerged from some woods on the left ! 
flank and rear of the First division, within short range of 
our troops. They had arrived on the field too late. Cap- 
tain Daily, on General Cutler's staff, took in the situation, | 
and rode alone down in the midst of them, snatched away \ 
the brigade colors from the color-bearer, and demanded a ' 
surrender of the brigade. General Haywood, the rebel 
commander, being dismounted at the time, walked up to 
Captain Daily and shot him through the lung. As Captain 
Daily fell from the saddle. General Haywood leaped into it, 
and ordered his brigade to face about and retreat. Up to ' 
this time there had been no firing from either side. Tlie I 

division, seeing Captain Daily with the colore, supposed the 
brigade had surrendered. 

When General Haywood shot Captain Daily the division 
opened upon them a destructive fire. One-half of the brigade 
was killed or wounded. Captain Daily was found behind 
a stump, where he had crept for shelter from our bullets. 
His horse was found wounded. General Haywood had 
got off wounded. A Charleston paper soon after contained 
an account of a personal encounter of General Haywood 
with a Yankee officer in this battle, in which General Hay- 
wood by his prowess had slain the officer and come off 

The dead and wounded of the enemy lay thick before 
our breastworks ; many battle-flags and other trophies were 
picked up on the field. Our hospitals were filled with their 
wounded, many of them riddled with bullets, showing the 
destructiveness of our fire. The men were greatly elated 
and inspirited over this easy victory. The conditions of 
the fight had been reversed. Since the battle of the Wil- 
derness the enemy had acted on the defensive, and had 
fought mostly behind breastworks, and had our army to a 
great advantage. 

In the Wisconsin brigade there were several wild Indians 
from the plains ; many of them could not speak English. 
They served an excellent purpose as irregular troops, as 
scouts and skirmishers. The nature of the country afforded 
an excellent field for their mode of warfare. With character- 
istic cunning, they would creep upon the enemy's picket- or 
skirmish-line like a snake, or ascend trees, and conceal 
themselves among the branches. In one of the engage- 
ments many of them were wounded, and taken to hospital. 
They silently, with frightened looks, watched the surgeons 
as they placed the wounded on the operating-table, made 
them insensible with chloroform, and probed and examined 
their wounds or cut off their limbs. 

When it came to their turn to be examined, they were 
seized with a great fear lest they should be dismembered of 
their limbs. Their untutored minds could not be persuaded 
that it was for their good, and the surgeons meant them no 
harm. They looked upon it all as a species of torture. 
Many of them who were seriously wounded had to be left 
to nature, unaided, to cure their wounds. 

One time Lieutenant-Colonel Harney had command of 
the skirmish-line when a rebel was captured. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Harney gave him in charge of one of these Indians, 
and instructed him to take the prisoner to the rear, and deliver 
him to the provost-guard. In a very short time the Indian 
returned to the front. Lieutenant-Colonel Harney asked 
him what he had done with his prisoner, and was hor- 
rified at hearing the reply, " Oh, me shoot him." He 
had taken him a short distance in the thicket and shot him. 
He could not understand why so much pains should be 
taken with a prisoner, after incurring so much trouble and 
danger in capturing him. 

In a few days alter the battle the lines were strongly 
fortified, and extended beyond the Weldon railroad. The 
siege of Petersburg was .slowly progressing; every foot of 
ground gained was so .strengthened as to be defended with 
a small force. In September, another feint was made across 
the James river, and the Fifth corps made an attack on the 


enemy's line, half a mile to the left, capturing by surprise 
two strong forts newly built. Towards nightfall the 
enemy returned. The Second brigade, under Colonel Hof- 
mann, was marched about half a mile in front, through 
a belt of timber, and encamped for the night. At early 
dawn the next morning the enemy discovered the exposed 
position of the brigade, and opened an enfilading fire upon 
it. Before the brigade could get under arms and gain a 
defensive position it was thrown into disorder, notwith- 
standing the coolness of Colonel Hofmann, whose voice rang 
clear and distinct above the din of the bursting shells and 
the roar of musketry. The brigade retired in some dis- 
order behind the forts captured on the day previous. The 
remainder of the corps was waiting to receive them, and 
the enemy were quickly repulsed. The brigade was sent for- 
ward for a decoy to draw the enemy into the works, — a foolish 
and needless sacrifice of men. This was called the battle of 
Peeble's Farm. Again several weeks were spent in fortifying 
and extending the lines, gradually closing in upon the 
enemy. About the middle of October, another see-saw 
movement was made. Three corps, the Second, Fifth, and 
Ninth, advanced three miles to the left, to get possession of 
the South Side railroad, the last line of communication 
leading to Petersburg, excepting the railroad connecting 
Petersburg with Richmond. The Fifth and Ninth corps 
marched to the right and formed on Hatcher's run, the Ninth 
corps to the right, the Fifth corps to the left of the run. 
The Second corps took a detour to the left and was to join 
the Fifth corps on its left. The Second corps met with 
considerable opposition from the enemy in endeavoring to 
get into position, and did not succeed in forming a junction 
with the Fifth corps, there being an interval of nearly a 
mile between them. The counti-y was grown up to a dense 
thicket, the surface was uneven, and as difficult to manoeuvre 
an army in as the Wilderness. 

The maps which were used by our generals as guides 
were imperfect and misleading. Hatcher's run is a very 
tortuous stream. General Warren was ordered to keep his 
right on the stream. The two corps. Fifth and Ninth, 
formed into line of battle, without waiting for the Second 
corps to come up and join the Fifth corps on the left. The 
One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment was detailed to 
act as flankers on the left, to guard the Fifth corps against 
surprise. The duty of flankers is to march by the flank, 
or in column, within sight of the main army, to guard it 
against surprise. The thicket was so dense that objects 
but a short distance oflF could not be seen. The direction 
of the line of battle of the Fifth corps was soon deflected 
to the right, in order to follow the turning of the stream. 
The One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment soon lost 
sight of the main line, and continued its march in a straight 
course into the gap between the Second and Fiftii corps, 
diverging more and more from the line of battle as it 
marched ; it soon become lost. After a while a stafi'-oflicer, 
after a long search, came with an order to Lieutenant- 
Colonel Harney, directing him to advance with the regi- 
ment and find the right of the Second corps, and picket 
the interspace between the two corps. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Harney, ever cautious to guard against surprise or sudden 
disaster, rode in front with an orderly, to examine the 

ground ;. when the regiment came up halted it until he 
examined farther on. The regiment kept on in this way 
until the left of the Fifth corps was found. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Harney then rode off to find the right of the 
Second corps. Soon after, a deafening roar of musketry 
was heard from the direction towards which he had but a 
few minutes before disappeared. 

The enemy soon poured into the gap. They attacked 
the Second corps in front and on the flank at the same 
time, overwhelming it and forcing it back. The One Hun- 
dred and Forty-seventh Regiment made a hasty retreat 
and got ofi' without loss, save the great one of losing Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Harney. He was not again seen by the 
regiment until it was on its return from Appomattox 
Court-House after General Lee surrendered. He had 
saved the regiment from capture, and probably from a great 
loss in killed and wounded, by his timely caution. It was 
not known during many months whether he was killed or 
captured, and his loss was mourned by the regiment more 
than all of its previous misfortunes. The whole army fell 
back when the Second corps was forced to retire, and en- 
camped near Hatcher's Run. Early the next morning it 
resumed its retreat and returned to its old quarters in the 
intrenched camp. 

Many incidents occurred of an amusing nature during 
the stay in the dense woods. 

Rebel General Mahone, the bugbear of the Fifth corps, 
found, as was his wont, the weak point in our line, and it 
was his division which came into the gap. In the attack 
on the Second corps his troops became much broken up 
into squads, which became lost in the woods. They wan- 
dered aimlessly around, and often met similar squads of our 
own troops lost in the same manner. They would demand 
of each other a surrender, a brief parley would be had, and 
it was decided that the weaker in numbers should surrender 
to the stronger, upon the democratic principle that the 
stronger should rule. At length they would run upon 
another squad, there would be another counting of noses, 
and perhaps a reconsideration of the former vote, the 
stronger always carrying the day. But in the retreat the 
gap was closed by the two corps uniting, and all the lost 
squads of the enemy were captured and brought out as 
prisoners. There were between seven and eight hundred 
of them. No new move was made until December. 

It was discovered that the enemy had established a line 
of communications connecting the Weldon railroad, about 
twenty miles below or south of our lines, with the same 
railroad within the enemy's lines, near Petersburg, by the 
Boynton plank-road. The fifth corps was ordered on a raid 
down to the North Carolina line, to destroy the Weldon 
railroad and break up the communication. The corps 
crossed the Nottoway river, about twenty miles south of 
Petersburg, and there cut loose from all communications. 
The weather was very warm for the season. It seemed 
very much like setting out on a pleasure excursion. The 
rights of property with the inhabitants were scrupulously 
respected. The first day the troops marched till late in the 
night. The moon- shone with unusual splendor; there was 
not a fleck of a cloud to be seen. The weather was so 
warm and the air so balmy that the ofiicers did not have 



tlieir tents put up, but laid them on the ground to sleep 
on. Late in the night there came a sudden down-pour ; 
the ofiScers awoke with the rushing of waters under them, 
which nearly floated them off. The next day, about noon, 
there came a dash of the enemy's cavalry, throwing the 
head of the column into temporary confusion. The division 
was then commanded by General Crawford, and had the 

The troops were as soon as possible deployed across the 
road and in adjoining fields to repel the cavalry, on account 
of the suddenness of the attack. There were conflicting 
orders, and the enemy's cavalry got off without much loss. 
As soon as they saw that they were charging upon a line 
of infantry they turned and fled. General Warren, hasty 
and passionate, upbraided some of his oiBcers for allow- 
ing them to escape. The Federal cavalry were supposed 
to be in advance. The inhabitants in the country had 
stored in their cellars plenty of cider-brandy, or apple-jack. 
Our cavalry had on the road stopped at the houses and 
partaken freely of the fiery beverage, and were nearly all 
lying intoxicated along the road, 

Towards evening the Weldon railroad was reached; then 
commenced its destruction. A brigade was marched along 
the side of the railroad track and halted. A break was 
made in the track at one end of the brigade. The track 
was then pried up at that end with ties, and turned nearly 
over bodily. After once started, the process of lifting one 
side of the track from the bed and turning it over became 
a very easy niattir Miles of track, with its ties attached 
intact, were, in a very short time, turned over from the 
bed, leaving the ties on top of the rails. It was then an 
easy matter to wrench the ties from the rails and pile them 
up into heaps and set fire to them. The rails were placed 
across the burning piles of ties, which soon became heated 
in the middle, and the weight of the ends bent them in the 
shape of a bow. A rail of railroad iron, when once sub- 
jected to this process, can never again be restored. By the 
evening of the next day nearly twenty-five miles of the 
Weldon railroad was completely destroyed. 

At Hicksford, on the Meherrin river, the enemy con- 
fronted the Fifth corps with a superior force. A sharp 
skirmish was had at that place, and the corps set out on its 
return, the object of the expedition having been accom- 
plished. In the night of the commencement of the retreat 
there came up a sleety storm ; in the morning the branches 
of the trees were crusted over with ice. Then set in a cold, 
drizzling rain. The enemy pursued, and their cavalry an- 
noyed the rear exceedingly. The Federal cavalry, that 
should have protected the retreat, were demoralized and 
fled, mixing in with the infantry along the column. Gene- 
ral Crawford, ambitious for the post of honor, had the rear 
division, and the Second brigade was perpetuully pestered 
by sudden eruptions of the enemy's cavalry from by-paths 
or openings in the woods. They were easily driven off, but 
kept the men in a state of irritation and alarm. 

Whenever there was a good defensive position the army 
halted and awaited attack from the enemy ; but the enemy 
was wary, and was not to be induced to attack when the 
advantage of position was in our favor; they contented them- 
selves by throwing a few shells after us, which did us no 

harm. In the evening of the second day of the retreat, 
weary from a long and toilsome march through deep mud, 
and drenched by a cold, drizzling rain, the men were in- 
spirited by an opportunity to get even with the enemy's 
cavalry, which had been annoying and pestering the rear 
throughout the day. 

A trap was set for them. General Wheelock's brigade had 
the rear. Passing a ravine and through a deep tut in the 
hill opposite, which the rains had washed out, and left high 
banks on each side of the road, overgrown with dense 
thicket, the general arranged his jilan. Placing a regiment 
on each side, on the brows of the cut, he instructed them 
that when the enemy were in the cut, to close in upon them 
and capture them without firing upon them if they could. 
After arranging the men out of sight of the enemy, he in- 
structed the pioneers to pretend to be busy in tearing up 
the bridge across the stream, and when the enemy came in 
sight to retreat hastily through the cut, and entice them 
into the trap. 

The enemy's cavalry came and made a dash at the 
pioneers, who hastily retreated. When the enemy's cavalry 
dashed into the cut, both regiments rose up and poured a 
volley into them, killed and wounded many of them, and 
captured the remainder. The men could not be restrained 
from firing, they were so much incensed and irritated by 
the annoyance they had suffered all that day. In their 
eagerness, some of them overshot the mark, and wounded 
two or three of their own men on the opposite banks, by 
their own fire. The enemy pursued no farther. The next 
day the corps recrossed the Nottoway river and encamped 
on the north bank of the stream, in the woods; the weather 
had become very cold and the wind blew a gale ; the wood 
was saturated by recent rains, and there the men remained 
through the night, shivering over the smoky, smouldering 
fires. The next day the cold increased in severity. The 
men were exhausted by previous hardships and benumbed 
with cold. Many a poor soldier had fallen by the way and 
had to be urged on by the provost guard, occasionally at 
the point of the bayonet, to prevent his falling behind and 
being captured by the enemy. At the Nottoway, going 
down, the corps had cut loose from all communications. On 
its return it met a friendly force sent down to meet it, but 
there was no occasion, as the corps had got safely back. It 
had accomplished its object with a slight loss; but its 
hardships were great, — more from the inclement weather 
than from the encounters with the enemy. On the way 
down rights of property of the inhabitants were scrupu- 
lously respected. On the way back, every, barn, 
church, and corn-crib was burned. 

The retreat of the array could be traced for miles by the 
smoke rising from the burning buildings. Families of 
helpless women and children were turned out in the cold at 
the commencement of winter. The able-bodied male popu- 
lation was all in the rebel army. The writer went into a 
house that seemed to be deserted at first by its inmates. 
It was filled with Union soldiers, who were ransacking the 
house. The brave General Wheelnck was there, endeavoring 
to restrain them, but without much avail. 

Passing into a back room, there was found a poor woman 
with fdur or five small children cowtriuir around her, cling- 


ing to her skirts ; slie with mute appeal looked imploringly 
for protection. The soldiers were driven out of the house, 
but upon looking back after the march was resumed, the 
flames were seen bursting out of the house. The occasion 
for this vandalism was that on the way down several of 
the Union men gave out on the way, or had straggled ; on 
their way back they were found dead, stripped naked, and 
horribly mutilated. 

Upon the return the regiment went into winter encamp- 
ment, and but little was done, save strengthening the lines, 
until February G, 1865. 

The following promotions took place during the last year 
of the war : James Coey was promoted to the lieutenant- 
colonelcy, November 15, 1864 ; Alexander Penfield was 
promoted to the majority, November 15, 1864. 

The following were made captains : William J. Gillett, 
Byron Parkhurst, Henry H. Hubbard, William A. Wy- 
bourn, Alexander Ring. Alfred N. Beadle was made quar- 

The following were m.ide first lieutenants : Patrick J. 
Brown, James W. Kingsley, Richard Esmond, John N. 
Beadle, Frank P. Benks, A. Judson Dickison, Lansing 
Bristol, Samuel S. Conde, Edward M. Sperry. 

The following were made second lieutenants : John S. 
McCoy, William Sullivan, William Boyce, Joseph W. 
Emblem, and Sidney G. Cook. 

During the fall and winter of 1864-65, General Grant, 
with grim humor, often greeted the enemy with shotted 
Salutes upon the receipt of the news of important victories, 
such as the battle of Cedar Creek, the capture of Fort 
Fisher, and General Sherman's successes in the south. 
The time chosen was generally about dusk, when all was 
quiet along the lines. Suddenly the heavens were lighted 
up by the discharge of hundreds of cannon, and the course 
of the projectiles could be traced, followed by the explosion 
of shells as they descended into the enemy's lines. The 
enemy would spitefully return the salute by the time ours 
was over. The enemy were not long in discovering its object. 
Their papers complained bitterly, giving General Grant all 
sorts of hard names for what they pretended to consider 
his " brutal humor." It had a very demoralizing effect upon 
the enemy, as they soon learned that each salute was occa- 
sioned by some fresh disaster to their cause. 

There were signs of demoralization and breaking up of 
the Confederacy; deserters were constantly coming in from 
their lines ; but our ranks had been largely filled with mer- 
cenaries, or bounty-jumpers, who availed themselves of 
every opportunity to escape, and often, in battle, would lie 
down and submit to capture without resistance. To these 
General Lee issued a proclamation offering them safe-con- 
duct by blockade-runners, or through distant parts of the 
lines, home. 

The Fifth corps broke camp February 5, and marched 
to near Dinwiddle Court-House, and encamped for the 
night. About dark a heavy cannonading was heard in the 
rear, and an order came for the corps to get into marcliing 
order. The corps was marched back a short distance, and 
halted in an open field ; the wind was blowing a gale, and 
the weather cold. The men were told that they might lie 
down and get some sleep. It renuiiiicd there a few hours, 

and then resumed the march ; at sunrise the corps was 
halted at the crossing of Hatcher's Run. The Second corps 
was busy throwing up breastworks. The corps remained 
until about four p.m. ; then it was formed into line of battle, 
and advanced upon the enemy. The Second brigade was com- 
manded by General IMorrow, formerly colonel of the Twenty- 
fourth Michigan Regiment. The Second brigade drove the 
enemy, and gained a position in advance of the line. It held 
it against several assaults of the enemy until out of ammu- 
nition. The regiment had protected itself by placing 
in front an abatis of tree-tops and limbs. When out of 
ammunition. General Morrow still strove to maintain the 
place, hoping relief would come soon. The enemy had 
come up and were removing the abatis before a retreat was 
ordered. The brigade was driven back, and lost all it had 

The loss of the regiment in this battle was great. Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Coey, commanding the regiment, was shot 
through the face, and it was supposed he had received a mortal 
wound. Lieutenant Wybourn was shot through the ankle, 
and had his leg amputated ; Lieutenant Bristol was killed ; 
Lieutenant Berry was captured ; Captain Joseph Dempsey 
was wounded in the arm ; General Morrow was shot in the 

The Fifth corps was driven back to the breastworks that 
night. Scant provision had been made to shelter the 
wounded in case of a battle ; but few of the hospital tents 
had been brought up, and what there were were filled with 
wounded, and many wounded were placed outside in the 
open air ; fires were built around them to keep them from 

In the night came on a sleety storm, covering every- 
thing with ice. About two A.M. February 7 the wounded 
were all got into the ambulances and sent to City Point. 
That day was a cold rainy day. There was constant 
skirmishing with the enemy, at times amounting to a 
real battle. The regiment occupied a swamp, and had no 
shelter. The men who were wounded soon became stiffened 
with cold, and by the time they reached the hospital were 
pulseless. The fighting continued through the night of 
the 7th. The morning of the 8th broke clear and cold. 
The men, when they left camp on the 5th, were not allowed 
to cumber themselves with more than one blanket apiece. 
Their sufferings from exposure were great. On the 8th 
they were allowed to return to the old camp and get their 
tents and blankets. This battle enabled the army to extend 
its lines two miles, which were strengthened with strong 
defensive works. The regiment again went into winter 
quarters near the place where it had fought so persistently 
and bravely. 

It erected new huts and had a season of rest. In the 
morning of March 25, before daylight, a terrible roar of 
artillery was heard towards the right. The Fifth corps 
was immediately got under arms and marched towards the 
scene of conflict. By the time it got on the ground the 
battle was over. The enemy had captured Fort Steadman 
by surprising the picket-line in its front. Deserters from 
the enemy were in the habit of coming in in the night. 
Sijuads of men, first announcing themselves as deserters to 
lull suspicion, dashed upon the pickets and overpowered 


them. Immediately five thousand of the enemy rushed on 
the fort and surprised it. The fort was garrisoned by a raw 
Pennsylvania regimeut. The men were soundly sleeping 
in their huts or tents. The enemy woke them up with the 
points of their bayonets, though in a playful manner. The 
Penusylvanians had full haversacks and knapsacks. The 
enemy, half starved, made a raid upon the larder, and 
searched the haversacks and knapsacks for food. All con- 
trol over them by their oflScers was lost ; no threats or en- 
treaty availed to restore order out of their demoralized con- 
dition. Daylight found them still in the fort, which was 
commanded by a Federal fort on each side. They were 
to advance on the military railroad, capture it, and cut oft' 
all of our army on the left. But the enemy thought — if 
he thought anything — that he could fight better on a full 
stomach, and tarried too long to fill it. The two forts 
poured into them a destructive fire of shot and shell, and 
they were all captured. The enemy assaulted our lines in 
front of the Second corps. The Second brigade suffered 
severely. All that day there was mischief in the air, and 
the Second division of the Fifth corps was moved about 
from point to point to be in readiness to take part in it. 

In the afternoon the division was reviewed by President 
Lincoln. During the review heavy firing commenced in 
front, and the division marched from the review direct to 
the scene of action, but by the time it got there all was 
quiet again ; then it returned to its camp. 

The following were killed or died in hospitals from June 
1 9, 1864, to the end of the war : John S. Kippen, corporal, 
Co. B, February 6, battle of Hatcher's Run ; Wilson Sanders, 
Co. B, July 8, 186-i, typhoid fever; Christopher Rising, 
July 18, in hospital; Charles A. Brown, Co. C, killed 
November 22, 186-t; Albert Fuller, Co. C, September 1, 
1864, died in hospital ; L. Lawrence, killed February 5, 
1865; Wm. Minor,Co.C, 11, 1864, died in hospital; 
Ansel Orr, Co. C, died in hospital ; Henry Smith, Co. C, died 
in hospital; Edw. Topping, Co. D, died May 11, 1865, of 
smallpox ; Luther Clark, Co. D, wounded April 1, 1865, at 
Five Forks, died April 19 ; William Cline, Co. D, died in 
hospital September 25, 1864 ; Samuel Fessenden, Co. D, 
wounded April 1, died April 10, 1865 ; James Nolan, Co. 
D, died at home August 20, 1864; Asa Radick, killed at 
the battle of Hatcher's Run, February 6, 1865 ; Alfred S. 
Nichols, Co. E, killed April 1, 1865, at Five Forks; James 
Brown, first lieutenant, Co. F, died July 1, 1864, from 
wounds received at Spottsylvania ; Daniel Densmore, Co. 
G, died October 10, 1864, of wounds received May 5, 1864 ; 
Sylvanus E. Barker, Co. G, killed at the battle of Gravelly 
Run; Edward Damm, Co. G, killed in action August 18, 
1864; Wm. Knight, Co. G, killed in action August 19, 
1864; Andrew Morrison, Co. G, killed at the battle of 
Gravelly Run March 31, 1865; Charles Brown, Co. G, 
missing in action October 1, 1864 ; John F. Kelley, Co. G, 
killed October 1, 1864; (Co. H) Alamander Plumb, killed 
June 22, 1864 ; Wm. H. Morse, died August 30, 1864, 
in hospital ; Daniel A. Wheeler, died August 23, 1864 ; 
(Co. I) Horace Chapin, killed June 25, 1864; John 
Mitchel, killed June 20, 1864; Richard Murry, killed 
July 10, 1864; (Co. K) Lansing Bristol, first lieutenant, 
killed February 6, 1805, at the battle of Hatcher's Run ; 

Richard McUraw, killed August 19, 1864, at the battle of 
Weldon Railroad; Wm. Fitzpatrick, killed August 19, 
1864; Florin Hess, killed August 21, 1864: John F. 
Roberts, died August 13, 1864, of wounds received May 

5, 1864 ; Richard White, killed June 25, 1864 ; Tlieodore 
Whitlock, killed at the battle of Hatcher's Run, February 

6, 1865. 



Tlie One Hundred and Forty-seventh llegimcnt— Battles of Gravelly 
Run, Five Forks, and Appouialtox Court-llousc. 

In the morning of March 29 the Fifth corps broke camp 
to set out on the last campaign of the war. It was joined 
with General Sheridan's command, under the direction of 
General Sheridan. General Sheridan had, with a large 
cavalry force, set out farther to the left to make a long de- 
tour, to get around the enemy's right. During the first 
day, near sunset, the Fifth corps came upon the enemy and 
had a sharp engagement. The One Hundred and Forty- 
seventh Regiment, at Hatcher's Run, on the 6th of Febru- 
ary, had lost its field and staff ofliicers, and the command 
was given to Colonel Daily, of Weldon Railroad renown. 
Colonel Laycock commanded the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania. 
They were two kindred spirits. These two regiments weie 
ordered to charge and t;ike the Boynton plank-road, which 
was on a ridge in their front. Each colonel seized the 
colors of his respective regiment and led the charge in per- 
son. It was a rivalry between the two which should plant 
the coloi-s on the ridge first. The charge was made with a 
great flourish and noise, the men fully entering into the 
spirit of the rivalry. 

The enemy fired a volley into the two regiments and fled 

During the night it commenced to rain ; the rain con- 
tinued steadily till the 31st of March. The soil is of quick- 
sand and clay, and moistens up to a great depth. The en- 
tire transportation of the army was stuck fast. The roads 
had to be corduroyed; in some places the first layer of log.s 
sank out of sight, and a second layer had to be put on tf)p 
of the first before the trains could be moved. The Fifth 
corps was groping its way through dense thickets and 
swamps, endeavoring to get possession of the White Oak 
road and join its left to Sheridan's cavalry. In the morn- 
ing of the 31st the enemy massed a large force on the left 
of the Fifth corps when it was groping its way bewildered 
in the swamps and woods. They made a furious attack, 
sweeping down the line, doubling up brigade after brigade, 
until two divisions of the corps were disorganized and the 
woods filled with retreating soldiers, with all semblance of 
organization lost. The left had been driven in two miles, 
to a swale, where was posted the Wisconsin brigade in re- 
serve. This brigade checked the pursuit of the enemy. 
It met the enemy in. a hand-to-hand encounter. One of 
the enemy attempted to seize the colors of a Wisconsin 
regiment from the hands of a stalwart standard-bearer. 



The standard-bearer seized a musket and brained him on 
the spot. He was afterwards rewarded by a medal by the 
State of Wisconsin for his gallantry. After the enemy was 
repulsed he turned around and attacked General Sheridan. 
General Sheridan was driven back three or four miles near 
Dinwiddle Court-House, but he retreated in good order, 
and finally held the enemy at bay. The loss of the regi- 
ment in this encounter was very severe. Colonel Daily 
received a painful wound in the hand. 


When General Sheridan had drawn the enemy back, and 
was holding him at bay, he sent an order to General War- 
ren to march the Fifth corps up to the rear of the enemy 
and cut oflF his retreat, and capture the whole force ; but 
the Fifth corps was so much scattered that it could not 
be got together in time. On the night of the 31st two 
divisions of the Fifth corps advanced to join General Sher- 
idan, but the entire corps did not get up and into position 
until about four p.m. By that time the enemy had partially 
fallen back. The corps was formed so as to swing around 
and intercept the enemy's retreat, and capture five thousand 
of them. The cavalry and Fifth corps pursued the enemy 
over their works to Southerland station on the South Side 
railroad ; there they tried to rally and make a stand, but 
were soon driven from their position. The enemy were 
broken and demoralized. The pursuit was continued along 
in the night, and many of their trains were captured. The 
pursuit was so close that the enemy were not enabled to 
cross the Appomattox to join General Lee. After the 
battle of Five Forks was over, General Sheridan relieved 
General Warren from his command on the field. The pur- 
huit was continued, giving the enemy no rest, night nor 
day, until April 4, when the army arrived at Jetersville, 
five or six miles from Buck's Station. Sheridan's cavalry 
and the Fifth corps were now across the track of General 
Lee's army, intercepting its retreat into North Carolina. 
During the night of April 1 a terrible cannonading was 
heard towards Petersburg. On the morning of the 2d an 
assault was made on the enemy's works all along the line. 
General Lee had weakened the force in the defenses to 
strengthen his right to oppose General Sheridan and the 
Fifth corps. The works were soon carried. The principal 
resistance was met in one fort garrisoned with two hundred 
and fifty rebels. It was captured with a loss of five hun- 
dred men in killed and wounded. Only about thirty of the 
enemy escaped. The force which General Lee depended 
upon for the salvation of his army was broken and scattered 
by General Sheridan's cavalry and the Fifth corps. Gen- 
eral Lee collected the remnants of his army, and in the 
night of the 2d evacuated Richmond, burning the bridges 
behind him, and blowing up the magazines on the whole 
line of his defenses. Anarchy and destruction ran riot 
during the evacuation and the final breaking up of the 
Confederacy. The business part of Richmond, consisting 
of magnificent warehouses, was laid in ashes. The Con- 
federate archives were partly burned and partly scattered 
about the streets. The inhabitants were kept in a constant 
state of consternation and alarm, fearing alike the uncon- 
trolled license of their own rabble and the entrance of the 

Federal army. Many of them gathered up hastily what 
they could of their valuables, and fled with their retreating 
army. It was to them like the breaking of doom. By 
the time that General Lee had arrived at Amelia Court- 
House, on the Danville railroad, General Sheridan's cavalry 
and the Fifth corps were across his track, intercepting fur- 
ther retreat, at Jetersville, about four miles in his front. 
General Sheridan expected an attack from the desperate 
enemy before the remainder of the Federal army could 
come up in their rear. His scouts, dressed in rebel uni- 
form, were scouring the whole country, misleading their 
baggage-trains, which were endeavoring to get off on by- 
roads. Some of them were led into our lines by these pre- 
tended friends and captured ; others were pounced upon by 
Sheridan's cavalry, which seemed to them omnipresent, and 
burned. One train, two or three miles distant, was sur- 
prised by the Twenty-fourth Regiment New York Cavalry, 
with some other cavalry troops, and was pillaged and burned. 
The rebel cavalry, under General Lee, came upon them, 
and a desperate fight ensued, in which Lieutenant-Colonel 
Richards, of Parish, was killed. The smoke arising from 
the burning train, and the explosions from the powder- 
and ordnance-wagons, could be distinctly seen at Jetersville. 
Geneial Sheridan remained at Jetersville, awaiting attack, 
until the remainder of the Union army began to press 
General Lee in the rear. April 6, General Lee com- 
menced his retreat towards Lynchburg. Then a hot pur- 
suit commenced. The Fifth corps, under the command of 
General Grifiin, pursued on the right flank, its column 
keeping pace with the fleeing rebel army. The Second 
corps pursued in the immediate rear, and crowded so 
closely upon the enemy's heels that he was forced at times 
to deploy the rear-guard into line of battle to keep it back. 
In the mean time the flanking columns made it necessary 
for them to keep moving on to prevent being wholly sur- 
rounded, and having their retreat cut off. General Gor- 
don's division was nearly all destroyed or captured. April 
6 the enemy, with its shattered forces, succeeded in crossing 
High bridge, and partially destroyed it. General Ewell's 
corps made a stand across Sailor's creek, near Farmville. 
The enemy occupied a strong position, protected in front by 
a swale and the creek. In attacking this position, two or 
three Pennsylvania regiments, endeavoring to cross the 
swale, were nearly annihilated. At length General Custer's 
cavalry gained a position in the enemy's rear. In a mag- 
nificent charge, it came sweeping down upon them, and 
captured nearly the whole corps, with General Ewell. This 
is commonly called the battle of Farmville. Our losses 
were very great, principally confined to the Pennsylvania 
regiments. The pursuit continued through the 8th, and 
until the morning of the 9th, when the Fifth corps, after 
marching continuously through the 8th, and in the night, 
till two A.M. of the 9th, cut off further retreat of the 
enemy at Appomattox Court-House. Early in the morn- 
ing of the 9th heavy firing was heard in our front. The 
Fifth corps immediately got under arms and advanced. It 
soon came upon the enemy driving the cavalry before them ; 
a brief fight ensued, and a rebel brigade was cut off and 
captured. It was the last effort of General Lee's army to 
escape. It was completely hemmed in on three sides by 



our forces ; on the other side was an impenetrable swamp. 
As the Fifth corps advanced to a high ridge, the whole 
rebel army came into view, exposing their weak position. 
They were encamped across a valley on the side of the 
opposite ridge. Overtures for surrender had already been 
made, and a conference of the opposing generals was in 
progress. There was a truce to all further fighting. The 
elation of the army am better be imagined than described. 
All the toils and the dangers of the weary and famished 
soldiers were over. The demonstration of their joy was ex- 
pressed in one hearty and prolonged cheer, extending through- 
out the lines, and then subsided into perfect stillness. They 
respected the bravery of the fallen foe, who had met them 
in many a terrible battle-field, and now lay helpless at their 
feet. There was not the disposition to gibe and jeer them 
which was common after their discomfitures in other en- 
gagements on the pursuit. The enemy were cowed and 
humiliated, and showed none of the arrogance universal with 
them before in any of their misfortunei. Their spirit was 
completely broken. 

The hardships of the pursuit had baen terribly severe 
upon our men. They had to follow in the wake of the re- 
treating enemy, over roads trampled into a thick mud of the 
consistence of a mortar-bcd. The roads were lined with 
dead mules, given out on the way, festering in the hot sun, 
giving out a stench that was intolerable. The supply-trains 
were flir in the rear, and during days the famished soldiers 
would pick up the corn left by the feeding mules to stay 
their famished stomachs. Nothing but the elation of vic- 
tory, and a sure prospect of destroying or capturing the 
rebel army, could have kept them up on the pursuit. There 
was much less straggling than usual in our rear in this pur- 
suit. In the evening of the 8th, General Sheridan, in the 
advance of the enemy, captured a rebel supply-train of pro- 
visions coming from Lynchburg for the relief of the rebel 
army. This was like manna sent from heaven to our fam- 
ished soldiers, and starvation or sun-ender to the starving 
rebels. It was the last straw that broke the camel's back. 

One great feature in this campaign, and which greatly 
contributed to its final success, was the daring and ubi(juity 
of General Sheridan's scouts. 

They were dressed in the rebel uniform, with long 
Shanghai gray coats. They presented a unique appear- 
ance. They were constantly coming and going through 
the lines, and sometimes ran great risk of being shot by 
our pickets as rebels. They were gay^ bold riders, and de- 
lighted in their duties. There was a spiee of adventure in 
that sort of service which made it peculiarly attractive to 
them. Out of many hundreds of them, the writer was 
told that only two had got caught, but they were given a 
short shrift, and immediately hung up. They claimed it 
was the least dangerous of all the branches of the service. 
They had the complete style and reckless abandon of the 
Confederate cavalier, and the peculiar accent of the South- 
erner. As the regiment wjis passing two or three hundred 
of captured rebels, near Southerland station, the men, as 
usual, commenced bantering them: "Ah, Johnny! you 
have got enough of it, have you ? Pretty hot work now, 
and poor feed, and about time to quit. Getting tired of it. 
Eh, Johnny?'' Oue of thcni, thinking that it w;is an im- 

putation upon their courage and constjincy to the rebel 
cause, replied, " By golly! you wouldn't have got us if it 
wasn't for one of your fellers dressed in our clothes. He 
misled us when we were, and trying to find our way 
into our lines. lie told us that he w;is sent to find us, and 
show us where to go, but led us right into your lines, and 
we were captured. We'll fix him if we ever catch him 

Tliat same night a rebel wagon-train wiis captured by 
one of these scouts, who told the conductor of the train 
that he was ordered to show him where he was to park his 
train for the night. He led the train into our lines, and it 
was captured. 

These seouts were everywhere in the rebel army. They 
pointed out the places where some rebel cannon were buried, 
with tablets put up, with some names inscribed on them, 
representing them to be soldiera' graves. They had assisted 
the enemy to bury them. The pursuit had been so close 
that the rebel army had become demoralized, and nearly 
scattered, leaving a remnant only at the capture. The 
country was filled with rebel soldiers wandering aimlessly 

Out of about forty-five thousand at Amelia Court-Ilouse 
only twenty-two thousand had reached Appomattox Court- 
House, and of that number only eleven thousand had 



Return of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment to the Do- 
fouses at Washington, and its final Muster-Out. 

The First division remained two days to rest and receive 
supplies. It then returned to Burk's Station. The con- 
dition of the roads beggars description. Bridges were 
destroyed, and the baggage-trains bad great difiieulty in 
crossing the streams. 

At Farmville the news came of the assassination of 
President Lincoln. The inliabitants were in great fear lest 
the soldiers would wreak vengeance upon them. They has- 
tened to express their horror for the deed, and showed 
regret and sympathy for the great loss to the country. 
They said they feared Andrew Johnson much more than 
they did President Lincoln, whom they had begun to look 
upon as their friend. 

They feared their liberated slaves, who were roaming 
about the country, and clamored for protection from our 
army, but they feared more their disbanded and straggling 
defenders, released from all restraint and discipline. Their 
great anxiety was to know " what was going to be done 
with them," as they were now conquered. 

They were amazed and delighted with the generous 
terms of surrender granted by General Grant. After the 
surrender, General Crawford, with his staff, rode into the 
rebel camp to call on his former old army friends, who had 
been fighting for the Confederacy. General Longstrect told 
him that he had fought to the last ditch, and expected no 


terms but an unconditional surrender, and that he should 
be hung for treason. The most of them greeted the gen- 
eral very cordially, but occasionally there was one whose 
rebel spirit was still strong within him, and would answer 
his salutation with a scowl, and turn his back upon him. 
From Burksville the regiment returned by short marches 
to Manchester, opposite to Richmond, passing through 
Petersburg on its way. The men gave themselves up to 
joy and frolic on the way, and discipline was very much re- 
laxed. The poor liberated contraband contributed more 
than his share to the amusement of the troops. Tossing 
him up in blankets, and blowing him up by mined cracker- 
boxes, when he came into the camp for food, were the daily 
sport of the men, but they always rewarded him well after- 
wards for the entertainment. 

The regiment remained at Manchester two or three days, 
and visited the stronghold of the Confederacy, the objective 
point of three immense armies, and to capture which had 
cost the country hundreds of thousands of men and an in- 
credible amount of treasure. Libby prison, Castle Thunder, 
and Belle Isle were objects of interest and places of histor- 
ical celebrity. 

The notorious Dick Turner, shut up in the dungeon-cell 
under Libby, and fed on bread and water until his complex- 
ion became bleached and eyes watery, had frequent calls 
from some of his old acquaintances, whose relative conditions 
were now reversed. He was very cautious in coming to the 
door of his cell when called for by his former victims ; some 
of them had endeavored to retaliate upon him part of the 
punishment he had inflicted upon them. In the month of 
May the regiment marched from Richmond to the southern 
defenses of Washington. On its way from Appomattox 
Court-House it was joined by Lieutenant-Colonel Harney, 
Colonel Miller, and Adjutant Lyman, who had been liber- 
ated from the rebel prisons by the march of General Sher- 
man from Savannah north ; also by Lieutenant-Colonel Coey, 
who had partially recovered from the frightful wound received 
at Dabney's Mills ; and Captain Wybourn, who lost a leg 
at the same place. The regiment was then mustered out of 
the United States service, June 7, 1865, and started on its 
way for the north a day or two after. At Baltimore it was 
assigned two or three box-cars, fitted up with seats con- 
structed out of rough boards loosely put together, affording 
insufficient room and no possibility of reclining for sleep in 
the night, on their long journey home. The cars were ex- 
cessively dirty, having been used formerly for a miscellaneous 
kind of transportation. The men became indignant at their 
treatment by the railroad company, which was receiving sufii- 
cient compensation from the government to afford them first- 
class passage. They were to go by Harrisburg and Elmira. 
A demand was made by Colonel Miller for better cars, on 
the superintendent of the road, which was refused ; he then 
demanded more cars, so that the men could ride more com- 
fortably ; that also was refused. The men could no longer 
be restrained. They forcibly took possession of two more 
cars and attached them to the train. A riot was with dif- 
ficulty prevented. There were one or two other regiments 
in the same predicament. 

The regiment was two days and nights going from Bal- 
timore to Elmira. It was switched off on a side-track for 

the passage of every passenger and freight train that came 
along, as if it contained cattle or swine instead of the brave 
defenders of the country, who had bravely fought in a 
hundred battles. 

The railroad company had been pampered throughout 
the war by the government. It unfortunately was managed 
by corrupt politicians and lobbyists, who did not scruple to 
profit by the misfortunes of the country and the blood of 
its brave defenders. 

When the regiment arrived at Elmira it was warmly 
greeted by the citizens of the place, and the irritation caused 
by its treatment at the hands of the Pennsylvania road 
soon subsided. The Erie railroad, contrary to the practice 
of the Pennsylvania road, fitted out an elegant special train 
to take the regiment to Ithaca. The weary men reposed 
on the luxurious seats of the cars, an enjoyment no one 
could fully appreciate who had not passed through weary 
marshes and bivoucks in rain and mud, oflen disturbed by 
the enemy's cannon, during nearly three years. ' At Ithaca 
it was transferred to an elegant boat on Seneca lake, and 
enjoyed a luxurious ride upon its clear waters, bordered 
with abrupt banks, crowned with trees which were reflected 
in the pellucid depths of the lake. It was a beautiful 
clear day. The surrounding country, diversified with wood- 
land and growing field, with farm-houses nestled in em- 
bowering shades, presented a picture of peace and happiness 
that the men had been a long time strangers to. Arriving 
at Geneva, the regiment was again met by a deputation of 
grateful citizens, who had made elaborate preparations for 
its reception. 

A special train was soon got in readin&ss to take the regi- 
ment on another stage on its journey home. It arrived in 
Syracuse in the night, its place of rendezvous. It then 
went into encampment, and remained several days awaiting 
its final muster-out and disbandment as a regimental organ- 
ization. July 7, the regiment was mustered out of the 
State service, and returned to Oswego. It was there greeted 
with firing of cannon and other demonstrations of joy. An 
elaborate collation was in readiness at one of the public 
halls of the city, graced with a profusion of beautiful flowers. 
The fair daughters served the bronzed and '■ battle-scarred 
veterans" the delicacies of the groaning tables, who with 
modest demeanor accepted the proffered service with un- 
feigned embarrassment. They were much more accustomed 
to storming batteries than meeting the glances of the fair 
sex. Out of the eight hundred and thirty-seven enlisted 
men who had left Oswego September 27, 1862, only one 
hundred and forty-seven had returned; several of them 
were crippled or maimed for life. Its ranks had been filled 
several times during the war. The recruits, what were left 
of them at the time of the muster-out of the regiment in 
Washington, were transferred to other regiments. There 
were on the muster-rolls of the regiment nearly two thousand 
three hundred men. 

This history would not be complete without a brief men- 
tion of Mrs. R. H. Spencer. 

Mrs. Spencer pos-sessed the true missionary spirit, with 
superabundant energy for its constant employment. The 
war furnished an excellent field for its exercise. She set 



out with the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment 
New York Volunteers, as matron and nurse in the hospital 
department. She persuaded her husband, R. H. Spencer, 
to enlist in the ranks. He was mostly occupied with her 
as hospital attendant. They remained with the regiment, 
in the defenses of Washington, until it was ordered to the 
front, at Falmouth. They were left behind to care for the 
sick who were left in the hospitals in Washington. 

January 12, 1863, they joined the regiment at Belle 
Plain. The sick at that time were suffering very much 
from the want of delicacies of diet and comforts of bedding, 
which could not be obtained from the purveyor's stores at 
Aquia Creek. 

The frequency of desertions, and smuggling contraband 
stores into the army, had necessitated stringent regulations 
in all communications to and from the front. 

Mrs. Spencer gathered a large amount of stores from the 
Sanitary and Christian Commissions. 

It was necessary to apply to Colonel Rucker, the head of 
the transportation bureau in Washington, for transportation. 
He was a terror to the inexperienced regimental quarter- 
masters. Bluff and rude in manner by nature, the want 
of knowledge of the official forms and red tape in transact- 
ing the business of the department by regimental quarter- 
masters, and the many blunders and impositions practiced 
upon him, often drove him into a paroxysm of passion. 

Mrs. Spencer applied to him for transportation for her 
stores to Aquia Creek. She was very curtly told she could 
not have it ; nothing daunted, she then called on the secre- 
tary of war, and made known her mission. 

The secretary of war gave her an order on Colonel Rucker 
to give her transportation on the ne.xt boat going to Aquia 
Creek. She gave Colonel Rucker the order, and asked him 
if that was satisfiictory. He grutHy said, " Yes ; take the 
boat and run it !" 

Her appearance with the needed supplies was like the 
advent of a ministering angel to the sick, languishing in 
the hospitals. 

She accompanied the troops on the Gettysburg campaign, 
carrying with her, on her horse, her bedding, cooking uten- 
sils, and a supply of clothing, besides supplies for the sick. 

She often assisted the men, when exhausted on the weary 
marches, by carrying for them their coats and blankets, 
which they would have otherwise abandoned on the way, 
and then suffered from the want of them in the twilight 
dews, chilly nights, and drenching rains. Nearly the entire 
hospital department and medical staff of the First corps 
was captured in the first day's battle of Gettysburg, and 
there was great lack of medical officers and hospital attend- 
ants to care for the wounded during the following two days' 
battle. Amidst great confusion, and not wholly free from 
danger from hostile shells, Mrs. Spencer, assisted by her 
husband, got over the fire her camp kettles, and took from 
her haversacks, hanging to her saddle-bow, coffee and 
canned extract of beef, and was soon ministering to the 
wants of the wounded, by giving to them fragrant coffee 
and delicious soup. She was always cool and brave in time 
of danger, and never shrank from going to the relief of the 
wounded when her services were the most needed. In the 
trenches before Petersburg, when no one could go to the 

front without incurring imminent risk from the enemy's 
sharpshooters and stray bullets, she frequently conveyed to 
the weary, famishing men delicacies, of which they were 
sadly in need. After the terrible battles of the Wilderness 
and Spott.sylvania, the wounded were conveyed in ambu- 
lances and lumbering baggage- wagons, over rough roads, 
miny weary miles, by Fredericksburg to Bjlle Plain ; there 
they were put upon hospital transports and taken to W:tsh- 

At Belle Plain, tlie wounded, weary, famished, and tor- 
tured by festering wounds, were greeted by their old friend, 
Mrs. Spencer, who had, as usu:il, comj to their relief in 
time of their greatest need. It had been raining several 
days. She spent several days, standing ankle-deep in the 
tenacious Virginia mud, making coffee and soup, till thou- 
sands were served. Thousands were removed from the 
ambulances and baggage-wagons and placed upon the hill- 
sides, without shelter from the pouring rain. They were 
made cheerful by her ministering care, and forgot their own 
sufferings in their anxiety for her own comfort, and danger 
in taking cold. As the Army of the Potomac advanced 
towards Richmond new communications were opened, by 
Port Royal, White House, and City Point. She, at each 
successive point, repeated her ministering care to the 
wounded and afflicted. The remainder of her deeds of 
heroism and mercy are duly recorded in " Woman's Work 
in the Civil War." 

The following members of the regiment died in rebel 
prisons during the war : 

Company A, Thomas Barnes, October 4, 18(]4; Theo- 
dore Elliott, September 16, 1864; Moses Shaw, September 
10, 1864 ; Miles Morgan, September 1, 1864 ; Wm. Camp- 
bell, 31, 1864; Orrin Kimberly, July 13, 1864; 
John Green, August 26, 1864 ; Robert Hyde, September 
14, 1864. 

pompany B, Joseph P. Clyens, August 17, 1864 ; Jacob 
F. Goodbred, August 28, 1864 ; Gilbert Sherwood, August 
4, 1864; George Walling, August 22, 1864; Francis G. 
Defendorf, July 13, 1864;^ Matthew Devine, July 12, 1864 ; 
John Garner, July 22, 1864. 

Company C, Peter Douglass, October 5, 1864 ; Lorenzo 
W. Horton, Morgan L. Allen, Jr. 

Company D, Henry Broder, August 26, 1864; James 
C. Eldred, July 19, 1864 ; Edgar A. Stratton, October 10, 
1864; Wm. Cline, September 25, 1864; Theo. W. H. 
Hawley, October 11, 1864. 

Company E, John Chambers, August 29, 1864 ; Reuben 
Ellis, August 24, 1864 ; Wm. Haggerty, August 26, 1864 ; 
Theo. Smith, August 24, 1864 ; Ezra C. Jones, October 
12, 1864; James Kenny, September 10, 1864; David 
Smiley, October 9, 1864 ; Jehiel Weed, at Salisbury, North 
Carolina, November 29, 1864 ; George Yerdon, at Salis- 
bury, North Carolina, November 29, 1864. 

Company F, Leonard A. Freeman, date and place un- 
known ; Burr B. Lathrop, Florence, South Carolina; Fred- 
erick Shultz, August 23, 1864, at Andersonville, Georgia ; 
Wm. 0. Daniels, sergeant, November, 1864, at Rich- 
mond, Virginia; Ansel Gannon, September 12, 1864, at 
Andersonville, Georgia ; Charles S. Little, September 20, 
1864; A. B. Randall, September 2(t, 1864; Michael 


Trainer, September 12, 1864, Andersonville, Georgia; 
Waldo Ponchin,' died, after exchanged, at Annapolis ; 
Wm. W. Wood, Mnrch 16, 1865, Florence, South Carolina. 

Company G, Harvey D. Merritt, August 18, 1864, An- 
dersonville, Georgia ; Cornelius Cramb, date unknown ; 
George Keiser, September 15, 1864; John Thompson, 
date unknown ; Isaac Washington, August 18, 1864; John 
Wetherby, December 1, 1864, Salisbury, North Carolina; 
John Miller, date unknown; John Rigby, December 10, 
1864 ; Garrett S. Ayres, date unknown. 

Company H, Sanford Alsavor, died in Florence, South 
Carolina; John Granger, July 10, 1864, at Andersonville, 
Georgia ; Isaac Gaslin, Richmond, Virginia ; David H. 
Johnson, December 29, 1804, after exchanged, at Annap- 
olis ; Thomas Wright, May 28, 1864; Samuel Bowen, 
July 20, 1864, Andersonville, Georgia; Wesley Brock, 
September 18, 1864; James A. Castle, June 10, 1864; 
Noah L. Myers, August 7, 1864; James Spoor, July 18, 

Company I, John Dooley, after exchanged, at Annapolis ; 
Griggs Holbrook, August 22, 1864 ; Joseph Lemoreux, 
August 21, 18'U; Elijah Chappel, October 12, 1864, at 
Andersonville; John H. Leach, September 11, 1864. 

Company K, Silas B. Taylor, September 29, 1864, An- 
dersonville, Georgia ; Jabez E. Spaulding, Company E, date 
unknown ; Chas. Jennings, date unknown. 



The One Hundred and Eighty-fourth Regiment. 

The One Hundred and Eighty-fourth Regiment was 
authorized by Governor Seymour, upon the personal appli- 
cation of Hon. Elias Root, of Oswego. W. G. Robinson 
and William I. Preston immediately thereafter held a series 
of war-meetings throughout the county, assisted by D. G. 
Fort, Cheney Ames, A. B. Getty, Henry Fitzhugh, and 
A. Van Dyck. Though Oswego had sent thousands of her 
brave sons to the front, and the home ranks were sadly 
thinned, the patriotic fire was again kindled, and recruiting 
for the fifth Oswego regiment was rapidly pushed forward. 
There were over fourteen hundred men recruited for the 
regiment from this county, and two hundred from Madison 
and Cayuga counties. It was mustered into the service 
during the months of August and September, 1864. 

The following were the regimental and line oflBcors : 

Colonel, Wardwell G. Robinson ; Lieutenant-Colonel, 
Wm. P. McKinley ; Major, W. D. Furgeson ; Adjutant, 
Howard M. Smith ; Quartermaster, John Dunn, Jr. ; Sur- 
geon, Tobias J. Green ; Assistant Surgeon, T. Y. Kinnie ; 
Chaplain, Jacob Post. 

Line Officers. — Company A, Captain, Joel S. Palmer; Lieutenant, C. P. Strong ; Second Lieutenant, M. L. 

Company B, Captain, W. S. BI ; First Lieutenant, 
J. N. Hoot; Second Lieutenant, C. H. Pavey. 

Company C, Captain, J. W. Parkhurst; First Lieu- 
tenant, George A. Leonard ; Second Lieutenant, Daniel 

Company D, Captain, S. R. Town ; First Lieutenant, 
Augustus Pliilipps ; Second Lieutenant, Joel H. Warn. 

Company E, Captain, John Sheridan ; First Lieutenant, 
J. M. Francis; Second Lieutenant, J. H. Loomis. 

Company F, Captain, Wm. Dickinson ; First Lieutenant, 
I. W. Darrow ; Second Lieutenant, S. H. Brown. 

Company G, Captain, J. T. Outerson ; First Lieutenant, 
J. H. Grant; Second Lieutenant, T. W. Smith. 

Company H, Captain, H. W. Ramsey ; First Lieutenant, 
G. W. Woodin ; Second Lieutenant, T. M. Watkins. 

Company I, Captain, George Wetulore ; First Lieutenant, 
E. F. Morris ; Second Lieutenant, John H. Gilman. 

Company K, Captain, S. Scriber; First Lieutenant, M. G. 
McCoon ; Second Lieutenant, Jerome H. Coe. 

The regiment left Elmira for the front in September, 
1864. They arrived at Washington, embarked for City 
Point, and subsequently went into camp about two miles 
distant from Bermuda Hundred. 

September 27, orders were received to move to Wilson's 
landing, known as Fort Pocahontas. The regiment embarked 
aboard the " Thomas Powell," and at four o'clock p.m. 
arrived at the fort. On the following day one hundred 
and twelve men were detached for picket duty, and two 
companies sent to Harrison's Landing. September 29, the 
regiment embarked for Harri.son's Landing. Here they 
found comfortable quarters within sight of City Point, and 
Colonel Robinson, being the ranking officer, became post 
commandant. November 8, Rev. Jacob Post was selected 
as chaplain. The regiment remained here during the term 
of service, and although not participating in any severe 
conflicts, they performed the duties assigned them faith- 

To place before the reader a history of the entire regi- 
ment, it will be necessary to follow the four companies, 
A, B, D, and F, as these companies were forwarded from 
Elmira before the remainder of the regiment, and rejoined 
it only a short time previously to its discharge. 

The four companies mentioned above, under command of 
Major Furgeson, left Elmira September 14, 1864, and .soon 
after arrived in Washington, where they remained until 
September 23, when they took up the line of march for 
Winchester, Virginia. At Harper's Ferry they halted four 
days, and left for Harrisburg as a guard for a provision 
train. They joined the army of General Sheridan, and 
were with him during the celebrated raid through the Shen- 
andoah valley. In three days they marched one hundred 
and four miles on the track of the rebel General Early, 
burning and destroying property. During this long and 
tedious march they daily exchanged shots with Mosby's 
guerrillas, and at Fisher's Hill the army participated in a 
sharp engagement. They subsequently were ordered to 
Martinsburg. Here they remained two days, and were 
again ordered up the valley, and encamped at Cedar creek. 
Early on the morning of the 19th of October, 1864, while a 
greater portion of the men were sleeping, an orderly dashed 
into camp with orders from General Wright, the corps 
commander, to fall into line of battle immediately. With 


nil alacritj' truly commendable, tliey struck tents and ad- 
vanced, when they were immediately attacked by the enemy, 
and the memorable battle of Cedar Creek commenced. 

The battle raged until night put an end to the contest. 
It was a severe engagement, and thrice were they driven from 
their ground, and as often regained it. At the close of the 
conflict they encamped on the ground that they had lefl in 
the morning, but not all of those brave men who responded 
so promptly to the call returned to the old camp. Sixteen 
sealed their devotion to their country with their life's blood. 
Lieutenant Philipps among the number. In addition to 
the killed, there were forty wounded. General Early was 
defeated, and the Union forces captured five thousand 
prisoners, sixty-two pieces of artillery, besides a large quan- 
tity of small arms. In this engagement the cavalry was 
under the command of the lamented Custer. This was the 
first engagement in which these companies were under fire, 
but they behaved like veterans, and won many encomiums 
of praise for their prompt action and bravery. Through 
the inexcusable fliult of some one, no tents were issued to 
these companies until the battle of Cedar Creek. Adjutant- 
General Andrew J. Smith, of General Seymour's staff, 
presented the officers with a wagon-cover, and this was the 
only tent in the command. 

They subsequently were ordered to Winchester, where a 
long line of works was thrown up, called " Camp Kussell." 
Here the companies remained about four weeks, when they 
returned to Harrison's Landing, and joined the remainder 
of the regiment. The entire command remained here several 
months, and, in addition to their other duties, bestowed 
much labor upon their camp, in beautifying and rendering 
it comfortable. It was said to be one of the finest in the 
army. While at the Landing, Colonel Robinson was post 
commandant, and Major Furge.son acting provost-marshal 
and post inspector. June 30, 1865, Colonel Robinson re- 
ceived orders from JlajorGeneral Hartsuff directing that 
the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth be marched out of the 
breastworks preparatory to embarkation. The order was 
promptly obeyed, and the embarkation commenced. Com- 
panies A, B, D, I, and F, under command of Major Fur- 
geson, shipped aboard the steamer " North Point," and the 
remainder of the regiment on the " Robert Morris." July 
1, the entire command reached Baltimore, and after march- 
ing to the " Soldiers' Rest," where dinner was served, they 
took the cars for Elmira, New York, where they arrived at 
four o'clock on the following day. The regiment subsequently 
went to Syracuse, where they were paid off and mustered 



The Twelfth Regiment of Cavalry : " Third Ira I 
RegimeDt Light Artillery. 

i Guard"— First 

The Twelfth Regiment of Cavalry, otherwise known as 
the " Third Ira Harris Guard," was organized at New York 
city to serve three years. The companies of which it was 

composed were raised in the counties of New York, Colum- 
bia, Albany, Rensselaer, Clinton, Franklin, Oswego, Onon- 
daga, and Erie. It was mustered into the United States 
service from November 10, 1862, to September 25, 1863. 

Two companies were raised in this county, and were com- 
manded by Captains Cyrus and Simeon Church. Aft«r the 
formation of the regiment they encamped at Camp Wash- 
ington, on Stat«n Island, where they remained until March, 
1SG3. The colonel, James W. Savage, was on General 
Fremont's staff, and when the latter was relieved he came 
to New York and was tendered the command of the regi- 
ment. He served during the entire terra of service, and 
at the close of the war emigrated to the far west, and is 
now a member of the judiciary of Omaha. 

March 8, 1863, the regiment broke camp and embarked 
for Newbern, North Carolina, and remained there during the 
war. While stationed here the regiment participated in a 
scries of raids into the enemy's country, the most important 
one being the advance on Tarboro', which was made by eight 
hundred men for the purpose of destroying a rebel gun- 
boat, stores, etc., at that place. They destroyed the Wel- 
don railroad, and on approaching Tarboro' found the enemy 
in force, and immediately charged them with portions of the 
Oswego companies, A and B. It was a sharp contest, and 
Captain Cyrus Church, while gallantly leading the charge 
at the head of his company, was in.stantly killed, eleven 
bullets entering his body. Lieutenant Hubbard was 
wounded and taken prisoner, and was subsequently killed, 
in Slarch, 1865, in the advance on Goldsborough. Ephraim 
Mosier, second lieutenant of Company A, was taken prisoner, 
and died at Charleston. In this charge the two companies 
lost twenty men. 

A detachment of this regiment was sent to Plymouth 
and also one to Little Wiishington. The Plymouth detach- 
ment performed general scouting duty, and was in the bat- 
tle of Plymouth, fought April 20, 1864, when the Federal 
forces were defeated by the Confederate General Hooke, 
and the two companies of this regiment composing the de- 
tachment were taken prisoner. In this contest Captain A. 
Cooper was in command, and was among the number cap- 
tured. Eighty-five men were sent as prisoners of war to 
Andersonville, and nearly all perished in that hellish pen 
lorded over by the notorious Wirz, who was subse(|uently 
executed. The detachment sent to Little Washingt^m also 
did scouting duty, and were very instrumental in breaking 
up and routing the rebel General Mosby's celebrated gang 
of guerrillas. The Twelfth performed substiintial service 
for the government, and no portion of the regiment did 
better service during their two years of life on the tented 
field than the Oswego companies. The prison-pen and the 
bullet left their impress upon these companies, as many 
who went out never returned. They battled nobly for their 
country, and it is an honor to say, " I belonged to the 
Twelfth Cavalry." The regiment was mustered out in 
July, 1865. 

This regiment wa.s organized at Elmira, New York, to 
serve three years. The companies of which it was composed 
were raised in the counties of Oswegu, Oneida, Onondaga, 


Chemung, Steuben, Monroe, Wayne, Erie, Niagara, Jeffer- 
son, St. Lawrence, Lewis, and Herkimer. It was mustered 
into the United States service from August 30 to Novem- 
ber 19, 1861. The Fourteenth New York Independent 
Battery was assigned to this regiment September 7, 1863. 
On the expiration of its term of service the original mem- 
bers, except veterans, were mustered out, and the organiza- 
tion, composed of veterans and recruits, retained in service. 
We give below a history of Battery D, compiled from the 
diary of the lamented Lieutenant Albert N. Ames, who was 
killed by sharpshooters near Petersburg, Virginia, Septem- 
ber 26, 1864. 

After leaving Oswego they remained in Elmira a short 
time, and about November 1 moved to Washington. The 
regiment arrived there in the night-time, and took supper 
in a building bearing the pleasant-sounding title of the " Sol- 
diers' Retreat," and after partaking of a meal consisting of 
poor coffee, dry bread, and poor beef-tongue, they marched 
to a large building called the " Soldiers' Rest," where the 
members of this regiment passed their first night on south- 
ern soil. They went into camp here, where they passed tlie 
time in drilling, etc., until March 1, 1862, when marching 
orders were received, and on the following day tents were 
struck and the batteries embarked on board steamers, and 
they were soon steaming down the Potomac. At four 
o'clock they disembarked, and commenced their march to 
camp. While on this slow and tedious tramp they received 
their fii'st taste of the unpleasantness of war, being harassed 
continually by the shells from the enemy's batteries. 

March 5, the first gun was fired by this regiment in de- 
fense of her country's rights. They stationed a battery at 
Budd's ferry, opposite the rebel batteries, and immediately 
opened fire. They responded with three batteries, and the 
shells and solid shot dropped around them like hail. This 
firing soon ceased without loss to the regiment. 

April 5, they marched to Liverpool Point, Maryland, 
and embarked for Chesapeake bay, where they arrived 
April 9. Camped here until May, when marching orders 
were received. At six o'clock a.m. on the following day, 
after having marched during the whole night, with no sup- 
per and through a country rendered almost impassable by 
the recent rains, orders were received to move immediately 
to the front, and without breakfast they continued their 
march through mud knee-deep. While moving as rapidly 
as possible one of General Hooker's aids dashed along and 
gave the order to hurry to the front, as the infantry was in 
pjsition and the general was only awaiting the arrival of the 
batteries to open the engagement. 

At nine o'clock the batteries arrived, and while forming 
the enemy opened fire, and several men were wounded, 
among them Lieutenant C. P. Aiken, who was struck in 
the breast with a shell, and Lieutenant H. P. Pike, who 
had a leg shot off. 

Major Wainwright attempted to rally his men, who had 
become panic-stricken at this sudden firing ; but neither he 
nor Captain Webber, who commanded a battery of regu- 
lars, could call the men to their posts of duty. At length 
Major Wainwright, exasperated at the conduct of the reg- 
ulars, rode up in front of Battery D, which was awaiting 
orders, and asked '■ if u volunteer company would volunteer 

to work the guns of a regular battery." The battery re- 
sponded promptly to the call, and nobly did they do their 
work. They manned the regular battery, and this, to- 
gether with Captain Branchall's that came up soon after, 
were the only batteries in this division outside of the woods 
in front of the enemy's works. Here remained these gal- 
lant batteries, supported by Hooker's infantry, firing and 
silencing the rebel artillery, until four p.m., when the di- 
vision, having fought during the whole day without rein- 
forcements or relief, was forced back by the enemy, who had 
been heavily reinforced. Though pouring in a deadly fire 
of shot, which swept the ground and left the rebel dead 
thick upon the field, they were being driven steadily back. 
At five o'clock the lamented Kearney and his gallant divi- 
sion came to their relief, and, driving the enemy back, re- 
gained the ground from which the batteries had been forced, 
after a severe contest of eight hours with a force largely 
superior in numbers, and which had constantly been re- 
inforced. Through the fault of some officer this division 
was suffered to wage this unequal contest unrelieved, and 
their thin and decimated ranks at the close of the battle 
alone told of the severity of the struggle. Their loss was 
over two thousand killed, wounded, and missing. 

After the battle the regiment camped near Williams- 
burg, and here remained nearly one month, during which 
time nothing of particular interest occurred to relieve the 
ceaseless monotony of camp life. June 1, the order was 
received to move out in front of the works, and while occu- 
pying this position they afforded excellent marks for the 
enemy's sharpshooters, who harassed them until they fell 
back. The regiment remained in this section until the 
latter part of August, when they embarked for_ Alexandria. 
Prior to this time the battery had participated in the fol- 
lowing battles : Yorktown, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, 
battle of June 25, 1862, Peach Orchard, Savage Station, 
White Oak Swamp, Glendale, and Blalvern Hill. At this 
point Lieutenant Ames ceased the keeping of the record, 
and it is impossible to give a further detailed history of the 
battery. It was subsequently in the following engage- 
ments : Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rap- 
pahannock Station, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, 
North Anna, Tolopotomy, Bethcsda Church, Petersburg, 
Weldon Railroad, and Chapel House. 

In the various battles in which this battery was engaged 
— and many of the number were the greatest struggles of 
the war — it acquitted itself with distinguished credit and 
received many compliments for its gallantry. It was mus- 
tered out of the United States service June 16, 1865. 



The Twenty-fourth Cavalry. 

This regiment was organized at Auburn, New York, to 
serve three years. It was composed of companies from the 
counties of Oswego, Erie, Monroe, Chemung, Oneida, Ot- 
sego, Ontario, Onondaga, Livingston, and Albany. It was 



mustered into the United States service in January, 1864. 
Three companies were raised in tliis county. The colonel 
of the Twenty fourth was William C. Raulston. 

The regiment left Auburn in .February, 1864, and went 
to Washington, where they remained until March, and 
were then sent to the front as dismounted cavalry. They 
crossed the Potomac, and went out to the Wilderness and 
participated in that battle. The regiment was detailed for 
picket duty, and the loss was light. A few days after they 
marched to Spottsylvania Court-House, where they had an 
engagement with the enemy. Several were wounded, IMu- 
jor Taylor among the number. There seemed to be no 
rest for the regiment, as they soon after marched to North 
Anna river, where a battle was fought and a few men 

On tlie day preceding the battle of Cold Harbor the 
Fourteenth Heavy Artillery was attacked by the enemy. It 
soon became evident that they would be repulsed, and the 
Twenty-fourth was ordered to advance as reinforcements. 
The order came to hold the line at all hazards, and, while 
fighting manfully to retain the line, the enemy, towards 
night, charged these gallant regiments with an overwhelm- 
ing force, defeating them and capturing many prisoners. 
Thirty men belonging to Company E were taken prisoners, 
and sent to Andcrsonville, where they nearly all perished 
in that inhuman stockade. After the engagement at Cold 
Harbor the regiment crossed the James river and marched 
to Petereburg, and was actively engaged in the operations 
in front of that city. 

On the 17th day of June, 18G4, the grand charge was 
made on the enemy's works, and this gallant cavalry regi- 
ment led the assault. It was one of the most brilliant 
charges of the war, and the entire command lost heavily. 

" When can their glory fade ? 
Oh, the wild charge they made!" 

Captain Burch, of Company I, was killed, and Captains 
Taylor and Martin wounded. On the following day the 
same command made another charge, and again lost heavily. 
The Twenty-fourth was then sent to the rear to recuperate, 
where they remained a few days, and were ordered into the 
breastworks to relieve the colored troops. They were in 
line of battle when the explosion of the mine occurred, and 
soon after Captain George Simons, of Company I, was mor- 
tally wounded by a shell, which carried away one eye, his 
nose, and a portion of his forehead. He survived several 
weeks, and died in Washington. In the engagement at 
Peeble's farm, in September, 1864, Colonel Raulston, Cap- 
tain Thomas, and Lieutenant McGraw were captured and 
taken to Danville, Virginia. Soon afler. Colonel Raulston 
was killed in attempting to escape. He was a brave and 
faithful ofiScer, and his loss was keenly felt. The regiment 
participated in the battle of Weldon Railroad, and soon afler 
received their horses, at Camp Yellow House, and joined 
the mounted force. The division was commanded by Gen- 
eral Gregg, and the brigade by General Henry E. Davics, 
of New York city. 

During the winter the regiment did general picket duty 
on the left and in rear of the army operating before Peters- 
burg. One night Company E, which had been stationed as 

a reserve near what was known as the Calhoun, was 
attacked by guerrillas, and Orderly Sergeant Benj. La Rook, 
then in command of the company, was killed in his tent, 
several wore wounded, many taken prisoners, and every 
horse save two captured. 

In the spring of 1865 the regiment moved to Dinwiddle 
Court-House and joined the general advance of the Army 
of the Potomac. On the day of the advance the Twenty- 
fourth was deployed as skirmishers, and in an engagement 
with the enemy they lost several men. Colonel Newbury 
among the number. They were in the vicinity of Fair 
Oaks during the battle, and at this time the brigade was 
composed of the Twenty-fourth, Tenth Heavy Artillery, and 
a New Jersey and also a Massachusetts regiment. Soon 
after the battle of Fair Oaks the Twenty-fourth and Tenth 
were sent out on a reconnoissance, and surprised a long bag- 
gage train of the enemy, which they destroyed, and cap- 
tured a battery of new Wierd steel guns. They kept up a 
running fire with the enemy, which finally made a stand, 
and were immediately attacked by the Twenty-fourth and 
Tenth, and, after a sharp conflict, were repulsed. In this 
engagement Lieutenant-Colonel Melzar Richards was mor- 
tally wounded. They followed hard upon the retreating 
enemy, which, being pressed close, a second time fell in 
line of battle, and, after firing one volley, waved the white 
flag in token of surrender. 

The Twenty-fourth was at the front, skirmishing with 
the rebel cavalry, when the order came to cease firing, as 
the grand army of the Confederacy had surrendered. The 
regiment moved back from Appomattox to Petersburg, 
where they remained until Sherman's army came through 
from North Carolina, when the entire force moved to Rich- 
mond, and from thence to Washington. The Twenty- 
fourth participated in the grand review at Washington, and 
afterwards crossed the Potomac to Cloud's Mills, Virginia, 
where they were consolidated with the Tenth New York 
Cavalry, and the new organization became known as the 
First Provisional New York Cavalry. Many officers were 
mustered out as supernumeraries, and among the number 
were Charles A. Taylor, captain of Company E, Major 
Taylor, Harry A. Genet, E. A. Talman, George F. Raul- 
ston, Albert Thomas, John Hutchinson, Francis L. Brown, 
A. Tucker, A. J. Heff'ron, M. McGraw, C. L. Pratt, Geo. 
Curtis, Van R. Kelley, Eugene Smith, and William W. 
Cook. The latter soon after entered the regular army, as 
General Custer's adjutant, and was killed with him in the 
fatal contest with the Sioux. The regiment was mustered 
out July 19, 1865, at Syracuse. The Twenty-fourth saw 
severe service, as evidenced by the following roll of honor : 
Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Guineas' Station, North Anna, 
Tolopotomy, Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, 
Cemetery Hill, Weldon Railroad, Reams' Station, Peeble's 
Farm, Vaughan Road, Beilefield. 




The Twenty-first New York Independent Battery— The One Hun- 
dred and Ninety-third Regiment— The Fiftieth Engineer Kegi- 

The Twenty-first New York Independent Battery, Vol- 
unteer State Artillery, was raised in Oswego County in 
August, 1862, and was mustered into the service of the 
United States September 2, 1862, with full ranks. 

Being attached to the expedition under General Banks, 
who succeeded General Butler in the command of the De- 
partment of the Gulf, the battery left New York about the 
middle of December, on two sailing-ships, took in cargoes 
of horses at Fortress Monroe, and arrived in New Orleans 
early in January, 1863. 

The commissioned officers who went out with the battery 
were James Barnes, captain ; Henry H. Cozzens, first lieu- 
tenant ; and George Potts, second lieutenant. At New 
Orleans the battery was armed with four three-inch steel 
rifled guns, and was stationed until the beginning of May 
at New Orleans and Bonnet Carre. 

During the siege of Port Hudson it was attached to the 
division of the gallant Major-General Thomas W. Sherman, 
of Mexican-war fame, and was actively engaged during the 
siege, which continued until July 8. 

When the first attack was made, on May 21, the bat- 
tery was sent during the previous night to the extreme left 
of our line, to open fire on the rebel works at daylight. It 
was placed in an open plain, just at the edge of the timber, 
in full view of and about eight hundred yards from the 
rebel earthworks. Its opening fire was instantly answered 
from ten guns, scattered along behind the works, and al- 
though their fire was continued until nine A.M., and they 
had the range perfectly, not a man in the battery was hurt. 
Many shells exploded with wonderful accuracy, one burst- 
ing under one of the guns, cutting the gun-carriage in 
five places and severing the lock-chain. The gunners had 
just stepped aside after loading the piece, and not a man 
was wounded. The same good fortune continued during 
the entire siege. No member was hurt, except Corporal 
James Norman, who got a bullet in the hip. 

During the attack on the 14th of June the battery was 
sheltered by a breastwork. 

After the surrender of Port Hudson, the battery was 
stationed at that post for nearly a year, during which time 
but little active service was seen, except in an occasional 
expedition to Baton Rouge or other points in company with 
a cavalry force. On April 7, 1864, one gun, under Lieu- 
tenant Potts, was sent to Baton Rouge with two or three 
cavalry companies, where the force was attacked by a large 
body of rebels. The cavalry escaped, but the gun was cap- 
tured, with seven men of the battery, viz.. Corporals James 
Campbell and Charles Barnard, and Privates Alonzo Dun- 
ham, Charles Dexter, Daniel Roberts, Jr., John Walker, 
and Moses Potter. These men had a taste of the horrors 
of Andersonville. On February 28, Privates Daniel 
McSweeney and John S. Cozzens were captured by guerril- 
las, while outside the fortifications, and were taken to An- 
dersonville, where young Cozzens died. Moses Potter, one 

of the prisoners captured with the gun, died at his home, 
in Hastings, Oswego County, soon after his release from 
the prison, " of scorbutus and starvation, contracted while a 
prisoner of war in the Confederate prisons of Georgia," as 
stated in the surgeon's certificate. 

When the unfortunate Red River expedition of General 
Banks was organized, the captain of the battery made re- 
peated applications to have it ordered to accompany the 
army, but without success. After the signal failure of that 
disastrous enterprise, a large force was organized at Mor- 
ganza Bend, below the mouth of Red river, and the battery 
was ordered there, where it remained until the end of the 

Here it exchanged two of its steel guns for four twelve- 
pound Napoleon guns, and the entire outfit of Battery G, 
Fifth United States Artillery. During this time it was 
sent several times, with other troops, into the rebel terri- 
tory near the Atchafalaya river, where several smart skir- 
mishes were had with General Dick Taylor's troops. 

Lieutenant Cozzens having died in New York, February 
18, 1864, Lieutenant Potts was made senior first lieuten- 
ant. Lieutenant Francis G. Barnes was transferred from 
the Eightieth United States Colored Infantry and made 
junior first lieutenant, and Orderly Sergeant Barber Ken- 
yon and Sergeant Aaron F. Colnon were promoted to 
senior and junior second lieutenants. 

Near the close of 1864 the battery was ordered to New 
Orleans, to refit for active field service. The Thirteenth 
and Sixteenth army corps, under Generals Gordon Granger 
and Baldy Smith, were about to undertake the reduction 
of the city of Mobile. During the investment of the forts 
defending that city, which commenced March 27 and 
lasted nine days, the battery was in a very exposed position 
in front of the " Spanish Fort," and lost two men, viz., 
John Wilson, a driver, killed March 27 by a solid shot, 
and John Daly, a cannonier, March 29, by a rifle bullet. 
These were the only men killed in action belonging to the 
battery in its three-years' service. 

After the surrender of Mobile, the battery was stationed 
in that city, and had the honor to be selected to fire a 
national salute in its public square, at noon of July 4, 1865. 
Soon afterwards it was ordered to Galveston, Texas ; thence, 
after a few weeks, to New Orleans, and thence by sea to 
New York. 

It was mustered out of service at Syracuse, New York, 
September 8, 1865, three years and six days after its 

Of the two hundred and twelve men who went out with 
it, or who joined it from home while in Louisiana, one 
hundred and forty-nine officers and privates were mustered 
out at the close of its term, four deserted, two were trans- 
ferred to the Invalid corps, nine were transferred to the 
Twenty-sixth New York Battery ; Lieutenant Cozzens died 
in New York, Private John S. Cozzens in Andersonville ; 
Moses Potter at home, in consequence of the hardships he 
suffered in the same place; and twenty-three died of disease 
in camp or in. the hospitals, viz. : 

Quartermaster-Sergeant James Blunger, Artificer Jay 
Jewitt, Bugler Aaron Yan -\ntwerp, and Privates Orvin 
Buudy, Luther 0. Dodge, John Dwyer, Wallace Holden, 



Ilonry Slirader, Tiinotliy Becbe, Horace Benedict, William 
H. Huested, Adam Sixbcrry, Jacob Smith, Elmer P. 
Burt, William H. Mitchell, Alvin S. Miller, Matthew 
Thompson, George H. Millard, Daniel Mayne, George W. 
Betsinger, Peter Dunham, Michael Daidy, and Henry 
Hopkins. John Wilson and John Daily were killed in 
action ; and twenty-two were discharged for disability on 
surgeon's certificate. 

That the battery was not engaged in more active service 
was not its fault, as both ofBcere and men were ready and 
anxious always to be actively employed, and never failed to 
apply for a chance if any movement was contemplated. 
Few organizations, of equal nunibci-s and length of service, 
suffered so little from disease and death, which speaks well 
for the thoroughness of its sanitary discipline. It always 
had the reputation of being one of the best-disciplined 
bodies in the Department of the Gulf, while it is believed 
that none could show a smaller proportional record of pun- 
ishments inflicted. 

Its commanding officer always felt a just pride in the 
faithful, orderly, manly, and soldierly qualities of the men 
whom he had the honor to command. . 


was organized at Auburn, New York, to serve one, two, 
and three years. The companies of which it was composed 
were raised in the counties of Cayuga, Oswego, Onondaga, 
Oneida, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, and Franklin. It was 
mustered into the United States service from April G to 
July 6, 1865, and mustered out of service January 18, 
18G6, in accordance with orders from the War Department. 
Two companies were enlisted from this county, under Cap- 
tains A. H. Preston and William L. Yeckley. The regi- 
mental officers were as follows : Colonel, John B. Van Pet- 
ten ; Lieutenant-Colonel, John C. Gilmore ; Major, Alfred 
iMorton ; Adjutant, T. B. Wasson ; Quartermaster, Charles 
B. Bailey ; Surgeon, D. H. Armstrong ; Assistant Sur- 
geons, A. H. Tankis, Lorenzo Phinney ; Chaplain, W^. 
Dempster Chase. 


contained a number of men from this county. This regi- 
ment rendered the government valuable service in laying 
pontoons and building bridges. The regiment was com- 
manded by Colonel Charles B. Stewart, and was mustered 
into the service of the United States at Elmira, New York, 
September 18, 1861. On the e.xpiration of its term of 
service, the original members, except veterans, were mus- 
tered out, and the regiment, composed of veterans and re- 
cruits, retained in service until June 13, 1865, when it was 
mustered out of the service. 

The following regiments also had a few men from Oswego 
county in their ranks, viz.: Fifty-ninth, Ninety-third, 
Ninety-fourth, One Hundred and Forty-ninth, One Hun- 
dred and Eighty-sixth, One Hundred and Eighty-ninth, 
Second Artillery, Third Artillery, Fourth Artillery, Four- 
teenth Artillery, Sixteenth Artillery, Seventh Cavalry, 
Twentieth Cavalry, and ninety-eight enlisted in the regular 

Before closing the history of the part taken by Oswego 
County in the war for the Union, it is proper to say a few 
words, regarding the county as a whole, in addition to 
our sketches ot the separate regiments and batteries. 
Hardly another county in the State sent to the field as 
many men in proportion to its population as Oswego. 

By a general order of July 7, 18G2, a war-committee 
was appointed by the governor to take charge of the raising 
of troops in this senatorial district, and that committee 
continued in service throughout the contest. Hon. Elias 
Root was the president and Henry S. Davis, Esq., was secre- 
tary. As men entered the army from time to time, they 
were credited to the counties in which they enlisted, — 
Mr. Davis taking especial pains, and often following the 
detachments to other localities, to see that they were so 

When volunteering began to drag, extraordinary efforts 
were made to see that an ample number of men were en- 
listed. When the time came for a settlement between the 
State and Oswego County, under chapter 29 of the laws 
of 1815, it was found that the State was indebted to the 
county for soldiers furnished in excess of the quota of the 
latter to the enormous amount oi five hundred and fifty- 
two thousand seven hundred dollars, and this sum was 
actually received from the State authorities by Mr. Conklin, 
the county treasurer, who went to Albany several times for 
the purpose, accompanied by Mr. Davis, as secretary of the 

At the rates established by law, this showed an excess 
furnished by Oswego County equivalent to eighteen hun- 
dred and forty-two men for one year each. But the law 
only applied to those who volunteered suKsequcnt to the 
call made in July, 1864. Taking the whole war into con- 
sideration, Oswego County sent to the field an excess over 
her proportion, according to population, equivalent to about 
five thousand men, serving one year each. 

This remarkable fact needs no comment from the his- 

Our military history is closed. We have faithfully 
traced the history of the various regiments, and it has been 
our honest endeavor to place before the people of Oswego 
County a truthful record of her gallant sons who risked 
their lives in the defense of their country. AVe have 
sought to deal justly with all, and give deserving credit to 
each and every regiment. While the history is a record of 
many of the severest battles of the war, it is not in any 
particular overdrawn ; it is a " plain, unvarnished tale." 
It has been impossible to sketch many individual acts of 
heroism, but these were not wanting. We might speak of 
the lamented John D. OBrien, and the gallant Major 
Barney, and follow the list down through a long line of 
brave men, who distinguished themselves on many a hard- 
fought field, but it would be without the scope of this work. 

Oswego County may justly point with pride to the record 
of her soldiery, as no section of our country act«d a more 
prominent or honorable part in the great tragedy. 




The Volunteers at Work— Plenty of Business— New Railroads— The 
Oswego and Rome Road— The Midland Road— The Syracuse 
Northern— The Lake Ontario Shore— Transfer of the Syracuse 
and Oswego Road— The Panic of 1873— Hard Times— Bankruptcy 
and Foreclosure — Subterranean Matters — Lorraine Shales — Gray 
Sandstone — Medina Sandstone — The Clinton Group— A last Look 
at the whole County — The Great Transformation. 

When the great war had closed in the spring of 1865, 
the thousands of Oswego County volunteers were speedily 
absorbed into the community from which they had sprung 
to arms at the call of their country. Most of them went 
to work, and there was plenty of work for them to do. 
The immense amounts of depreciated money which the 
government had been obliged to put in circulation during 
the war had stimulated all kinds of business into an intense 
activity, which lasted for several years after the close of the 

The transportation business was perhaps the most active 
of all, and the great line of transportation which runs 
through Oswego County was crowded to its fullest capacity. 
Men tell of seeing in those halcyon days the harbor of Oswego 
city so crowded with vessels that a person could walk from 
one shore to the other on their .decks. The Oswego canal 
and the Oswego and Syracuse railroad were equally thronged 
with business. Naturally, it seemed as if new railroads 
were sure to prove roads to wealth for their owners and for 
the community. 

The articles of the Oswego and Rome railroad company 
had been filed in April, 1863. It was built from Richland 
station, in the town of Richland, through the village of 
Pulaski and the towns of Mexico, New Haven, and Soriba, 
to Oswego city, being completed to the latter place in the 
autumn of 1865. Immediately after the organization of 
the company, even before the building of the road, it was 
leased in perpetuity to the Rome, Watertown and Ogdens- 
burgh company. The latter company subsequently bought 
a majority of the shares, and by operation of law their 
directors are also the directors of the Oswego and Rome 

A much more important scheme was that of building a 
railroad from Oswego to Jersey City, opposite New York, 
a distance of about two hundred and forty miles. The 
articles to organize the company were filed January 11, 
1866. The road was intended to be a part of a great 
through route from the west to New York, and the people 
along the line were very enthusiastic regarding it. Five 
million two hundred and fifty-six thousand dollars in town- 
bonds were secured, and only seven hundred and seventy- 
three thousand from personal subscriptions. 

In Oswego County the road was built through the towns 
of Constantia, West Monroe, Hastings, Schroeppel, Volney, 
and Scriba. It was opened to Central Square, in the town 
of Hastings, in October, 1869, and to Oswego the following 
month. It was completed to New York in 1872. 

The Midland was followed by the Syracuse Northern rail- 
road, running from Syracuse northward, crossing the Oneida 
river into Oswego County, at Fort Brewerton, passing thence 

through the towns of Hastings, Parish, Mexico, and Rich- 
land, and connecting with the Rome, Watertown and 
Ogdensburgh road at Lacona, in the town of Sandy Creek. 
It was finished in the fall of 1871, by the Rome, Watertown 
and Ogdensburgh company. 

The Lake Ontario Shore railroad was the latest enter- 
prise of this kind in the county. The articles were filed 
in the office of the Secretary of State, March 17, 1868, 
thus completing the organization of the company. The 
road was from Oswego through the towns of Oswego and 
Hannibal in this county, and thence westward along the 
lake-shore to Lewiston on the Niagara. In the mean time 
the Syracuse and Oswego railroad had been leased to the 
Delaware and Lackawanna railroad company on the 1st of 
March, 1869, and was thenceforth extensively used by them 
in the transportation of coal, in addition to its ordinary 

In the autumn of 1873 came the great financial crisis, 
which produced its natural depressing effect upon Oswego 
County as well as upon the rest of the country. Men no 
longer walked across Oswego harbor on the decks of vessels, 
and were no longer anxious to build railroads through every 
hamlet in the county. The Midland road went into bank- 
ruptcy, and is now in the hands of a receiver. The mort- 
gage-bonds of the Lake Ontario Shore company were fore- 
closed, and in the autumn of 1874 the road was sold. It 
was bid oiF by parties who organized, according to law, a 
new company, called the " Lake Ontario railroad company." 
In February, 1875, this company was consolidated with the 
Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburgh company, under the 
name of the latter. The Syracuse Northern was sold on 
foreclosure, reorganized in the same manner as the Lake 
Shore, and then consolidated with the Rome, Watertown 
and Ogdensburgh company in 1875. 

These new roads are now doing fairly well, but have as 
yet hardly realized the expectations of their projectors. 
But, as Oswego County felt the depressing influence of 
commercial disaster with the rest of the nation, so with the 
rest of the nation it is beginning to recover from the blow, 
and hopeful men look forward with reason to the time when 
all her great commercial avenues shall again be crowded 
with travel and freight, and her illimitable water-power be 
utilized by uncounted mills and manufactures. Certainly 
much may fairly be hoped for in a county which has grown 
from a few score of struggling pioneers at the beginning of 
the century to the numbers shown in Oswego County in 
1875, — seventy-eight thousand six hundred and fifteen. 

Little more remains to be said regarding the general 
history of the county. Before closing it, however, we will 
take cognizance of the legal maxim that the jurisdiction of 
any district extends downward to the centre of the earth, 
and will give a little attention to the subterranean structure 
of the country under consideration. 

It would, of course, be impracticable to furnish anything 
like a treatise on geology in a work of this description. 
Sufiice it to say that beneath the surface soil the rocks of 
the earth are arranged in strata or layers, usually somewhat 
inclined upward, which come to the surface one above the 
other, or, in different language, each of which crops out 
from under the other. Throughout the State of New York 




these strata incline upward to the north, consequently the 
lowest stratum which comes to the surface in each county 
crops out in its northern portion. 

In Oswego County the lowest stratum is the "Lorraine 
shales" or upper portion of the Utiea slat«, which last is 
tlie uppermost stratum of what is called by geologists the 
" lower Silurian" system. The Lorraine shales crop out in 
the extreme north part of the county, near the lake. Nest 
above this, and therefore coming out south of it, is the gray 
sandstone, belonging to the middle Silurian system, which 
extends from the northeast corner of the county to a point 
near its centre, and thence runs westward along the lake ; 
the line between it and the nest stratum south crossing the 
Oswego river about a mile from its mouth. This gray 
sandstone is very compact, and firmly resists the action of 
the elements. It has been quarried for grindstones in the 
town of Orwell, near Salmon river. 

Nest to this conies the Medina or red sandstone, also a 
part of the middle Siluiian system. Its northern boundary 
i.s the same as the southern limit of the gray sandstone, and 
runs northeast from the centre of the county to its north- 
eastern corner. It extends southward, occupying more than 
a third of the area of the county. It shows itself freely 
on the banks of the streams, and is largely quarried for 
building purposes. 

The southeinmost and uppermost of the Oswego County 
strata is what is known by geologists as the Clinton group 
( belonging to the middle Silurian system), which 
occupies the entire border nest to Oneida lake and river. 
It consists of parallel layers of shale and of red and gray 
sandstone. Iron ore is found in it, but in small quantities. 
Peat and marl are abundant. 

Over all these rocky strata large amnunts of soil, inter- 
mingled with loose rocks, have accumulated, the whole 
forming what geologists term " drift." The underlying 
rocks are rarely seen by the ordinary observer escept on the 
banks of streams. 

After this brief inspection of the foundation-walls of 
Oswego County, we will give one more glance at its outward 
appearance, — an appearance most encouraging to the lover of 
progress and civilization. 

The Indian trails over which Champlain and Le Moine, 
Garangula and De la Barre, Sir William Johnson and Philip 
Schuyler, passed to and fro on their various missions of war, 
religion, and traffic, are now changed into the tracks over 
which the iron horse screams and thunders in his seemingly 
savage wrath. The forests have become groves, orchards, 
and fields. The wigwams have expanded into country farm- 
houses and city mansions. The place of the stump, hollowed 
on top into a mortar in which to pound corn, is taken by a 
score of mills capable of turning out over two million barrels 
of flour per year. 

What is far more important, churches are now seen by 
the score, and school-houses by the hundred, in the territory 
which less than a century ago was devoted to barbaric ig- 
norance and pagan sacrifices. The wolf or the bear which 
strays into our county from the depths of the Adirondack 
forests is very liable to be trapped by a minister or shot by 
a school-master, — a fact which is perhaps no consolation to 
the animal in question. In short, in less than a hundred 

years Oswego County has been transformed from the home 
of barbarism to that of the highest civilization ; a change 
which it has shared with the greater portion of our country, 
but which is none the less the cause of perennial wonder to 
those who meditate upon it. 

Having now given a resume of the general course of 
events from 1615 to 1877, we will subjoin sketches of 
various organizations, buildings, etc., which pertain to the 
county at large, liut which could not well be incorporated 
into the continuous narrative. 



The American Farmer — The Oswego Gazette — The Oswego Palla- 
dium—The Oswego Palladium and Republican Chronicle — Tho 
Palladium Again ; Uow it Looked of Old ; Its Subsequent Changes ; 
The Palladium Printing Company; Tho Palladium of To-Day— 
The Oswego Republican — The Oswego Gazette and Advertiser — 
Dr. Burdell — Major Cochran — The Oswego Democratic Gazette — 
The National Republican — The Oswego Free Press — The Oswego 
Democrat— The Oswego Observer— Equal Rights— The Oswego 
Patriot— The Commercinl Herald— The Oswego County Whig— 
The Oswego Daily Advertiser— The Oswego Commercial Times— 
The Oswego Times and Journal — The Oswego Times; Various 
Changes: The Advertiser and Times ; The Advertiser ; The Times 
again ; The Oswego Publishing Company ; The Times of To-Day 
—The Oswego Commercial Advertiser— The Oswego Press— The 
People's .Tournal— The Daily News— The Northern New Yorker— 
The Pulaski Banner— The Pulaski Advocate- The Advocate and 
Aurora— The Port Ontario Aurora— The Pulaski Courier— Tho 
Richland Courier— The Northern Democrat— The Pulaski Demo- 
crat—The Fulton Chronicle— Ben Franklin— The Weekly Dis- 
patch—The Fulton Sun- The Fulton Mirror— The Fulton Patriot 
—The Fulton Patriot and Gazette— The Phoeni.i Gazette— The 
Oswego County Gazette— The Fulton Times— Tho Phoenix Demo- 
crat—The American Banner and Oswego County Times— Tho 
American Banner and Literary Gem — The Phoenix Reporter — The 
Phcenix Register- The Oswego County Democrat— The Messenger 
—The Mexico Independent— The Deaf Mutes' Journal— The Han- 
nibal Reveille— The Hannibal News— The S.xndy Creek News— 
The Lakeside News— The Lakeside Press— The Parish Mirror— 
The Central Square News. 

The press is so widely recognized as one of the most 
important agencies of modern civilization that in so full a 
work as this it naturally requires a special chapter devoted 
to its history. 

" French's Gazetteer" asserts that the first newspaper in 
the county was the American Farmer, published at Os- 
wego before 1807. We have, however, been able to learn 
nothing of such a sheet from the oldest inhabitants, and, 
as there was no post-office at Oswego until 1806, and it 
was then a mere hamlet of between one and two hundred 
inhabitants, it is extremely doubtful if there was a news- 
paper published there at that time. 

The first paper of which anything is definitely known was 
the Oswego Gazette, a small weekly, started at O.swcgo in 1817, 
by S. A. Abbey & Bro., and by them transferred to Augus- 
tus Buckingham. It was discontinued in 1819, but the 
material was purchased by John H. Lord and Dorephus 
Abbey, who began in that year to what is now by 



far the oldest paper in the county, the Weeldy Oswego 

This was at the period when the old Republican party, 
already more commonly called Democratic, had overcome 
all opposition, and was beginning to split into factions by 
its own weight. The Palladium affiliated with the " Buck- 
tail," or Anti-Ciintonian faction. Mr. Lord afterwards be- 
came the sole proprietor, and continued the publication 
until 1830, supporting the administration of Monroe and 
Jackson, and opposing that of John Quincy Adams. 

Mr. John Carpenter then became a part owner with Mr. 
Lord, and, after a few months, became sole proprietor. 
When Mr. Carpenter first entered the office the name of 
Republican Chronicle was subjoined to the former title, 
and for about a year and a half the paper carried the some- 
what top-heavy appellation of The Oswego Palladium and 
RepMican Chronicle. The latter title was then dropped, 
and the journal in question has ever since been known only 
as Tlie Oswego Palladium. 

By this time parties had been organized ; the supporters 
of Jackson falling heirs to the old name of Democrats, 
while the opposition was composed of "anti-Masons" and 
" National Republicans," but was soon after consolidated 
under the name of " Whigs." The Palladium from the 
first allied itself with the Democratic party, and has ever 
since remained its stanch supporter, except for a brief 
period in and after 1848. 

Mr. Carpenter, who still resides on a farm near Oswego, 
has a file of the Palladium while under his management, 
which he has permitted us to examine. It was a good- 
sized sheet of six columns, with the dark look noticeable 
in all old papers, and still observable in English, and, to 
some extent, in Canadian journals, — a look indicative of 
much ink, many "block-letters," and closely-printed adver- 

In 1815, Mr. Carpenter sold out to Mr. Beman Brock- 
way, with whom Mr. C. S. Sumner was associated for about 
a year. In 1818 the Palladium supported Van Buren and 
Adams, and upheld the " Free Democratic," or, as it was 
commonly called, " Free Soil" party, until it was re-absorbed 
in the Democracy. 

In 1850, Mr. Brockway started the Daily Palladium, 
which has been issued in connection with the weekly ever 
since. The next year Mr. Brockway transferred a share 
in the paper to Lloyd Mills, and for a short time it was 
issued by Brockway & Mills. Mr. Brockway soon disposed 
of his interest to Joseph C. Hatch, and the firm became 
Mills & Hatch. In 1853, Dudley Farling became the pro- 
prietor, selling out to T. P. Ottoway in 1854. 

The last-named gentleman retained the control nine years, 
publishing a stifi' Democratic paper during the rapid growth 
of the Republican party, and the early years of the war. 
In 1863 he .sold out toS. H. Parker. Mr. Parker remained 
as editor and proprietor until 1866. From that time until 
187c; the Palladium was published by C. Morrison & Co., 
and edited by John A. Barry. In the last-named year a 
stock company was formed, called the " Palladium Printing 
Company," by which the journal in question has ever since 
been published, Mr. Barry remaining the editor. G. A. 
D.iyton has been president of the company since the for- 

mation ; G. P. Briggs was secretary and treasurer during 
1870 ; Dudley Farling during 1871 and 1872, and Simeon 
Holroyd since that time. 

The Dailg Palladium is now a handsome twenty-four- 
column sheet, a member of the New York State Associated 
Press, issued about four o'clock each afternoon, under the 
editorial management of John A. Barry, editor-in-chief; 
B. E. Wells, local editor ; and Simeon Hohoyd, business 
manager. The Weeklg Palladium is a large paper of thirty- 
two columns, under the same proprietary and editorial 

In Blarch, 1825, Mr. William W. Abbey established 
another weekly newspaper at Oswego, called Tlie Oswego 
Republican, to champion the newly-inaugurated adminis- 
tration of John Quincy Adams against the opposition of 
the Palladium. In 1827 it was sold to Samuel Osgood, 
who changed its name to The Oswego Gazette and Adver- 
tiser. The next year it was transferred to William C. Shope, 
who dropped its first name. In 1828 or 1829 the Adver- 
tiser was purchased by Dr. Burdell, whose mysterious 
murder, twenty-six years later, at the residence of Mrs. 
Cunningham, in New York city, caused such intense and 
wide-spread excitement. Dr. Burdell changed the name 
of the Advertiser to The Freeman's Herald, and issued 
it about a year, when he, too, gave up the unprofitable 
eSovt. About the same time, and probably on the same 
material, Major James Cochrane, a son-in-law of General 
Philip Schuyler, started the Oswego Democratic Gazette 
as a National Republican opponent of Jackson's adminis- 
tration, it being published for him by Burdell, but it lasted 
only a short time. In 1832 it was resuscitated by Mr. 
John Quincy Adams as The National Republican, and 
advocated the principles of the party whose name it bore 
for another year, when it finally ceased to exist. 

Meanwhile the feeling against Masonry had reached its 
climax, and in 1830, Richard Oliphant established The 
Oswego Free Press, and published it fur years as an anti- 
Masonic organ. In 1834, anti-Masonry having ceased to 
exist as a separate political organization, the Free Press was 
transferred to George G. Foster, who gave it the name of 
I'he Oswego Democrat. But the Palladium was too 
firmly fixed in the hearts of the Democracy to be dislodged 
even by a journal bearing their favorite name, and the next 
year the Democrat gave up the ghost. 

Equally unfortunate was The Oswego Observer, a weekly 
begun by Bailey & Hawks in February, 1835, and dis- 
continued in the latter part of 1836. 

A paper called Equal Rights was issued at Oswego for a 
short time about 1837. It was printed by Richard Oli- 
phant fur unknown publishers. 

The excitement caused in Oswego County and vicinity by 
the celebrated " Patriot War" was so great that a newspaper, 
called The Oswego Patriot, in sympathy with the insur- 
gents, was published from the Palladium office during the 
autumn and winter of 1838 and 1839. It was, so far as 
we know, the only recognized organ of the revolt, though 
the American frontier press very generally sympathized 
with it. When the Canadian patriots were all dispersed, 
transported, or hung, the Oswego Patriot was also sus- 
pended. Brief as was its existence, it had two editors ; 


tlio first being Mr. John Bonner, and the other a young 
lawyer, since quite well known to fame as General John 
Cochrane, of New York city. 

In 1837, too. The Commercial JTerald, devoted espe- 
cially to the commerce of the lake and canal, was established 
at Oswego by Hull & Henry, and issued weekly until 1843. 
In 1838, when the Whig^party was rapidly growing in 
popular favor, The Osicigo County Whig was founded at 
Oswego by Ilichard Olipliant, who published it until 1844, 
and then sold it to Daniel Ayer. The next year Mr. Ayer 
issued from the same office the Oswego Daily Advertiser, 
the first daily paper in the county. In 1847, C. D. 
Brigham became proprietor. He changed the name of the 
weekly to The Oswego Commercial Times, and of the daily 
to The Ostcego Daily Commercial Times, but without 
relini|uishing the Whig principles of his predecessors. 

Mr. Brigham sold out in 1848 to James N. Brown, who 
continued the publication under the names last mentioned 
until 1854, when the paper was transferred to Winchester 
& Ferguson. These gentlemen also published the Weekly 
and Daily Jouriad, and united it with the I'imes, publish- 
ing the weekly issue as The Weekly Times and Journal, 
and the daily as The Oswego Times and Journal. 

On the organization of the Republican party, in 1855, 
the paper adopted its principles, of which it has ever since 
been a faithful supporter. In 1857 the " Journal" part of 
its name was dropped, and the weekly and daily issues 
became respectively The Oswego Times and The Oswego 
Daily Times. From Winchester and Ferguson the Times 
went to N. M. Roe and W. B. Buckhout, and from them 
to Jonathan Tarbell, who edited and published it in 1859 
and 1860. In the beginning of the war Mr. Tarbell sold 
out to James N. Brown, and entered the army, becoming 
afterwards a brigadier-general of volunteers and a judge of 
the supreme court of Mississippi. BIr. Brown, having for 
the second time taken the helm, retained it until 1865. 

The Times was then sold to T. S. Brigham and J. A. 
Place, proprietors of the Oswego Commercial Advertiser, 
the consolidated paper being issued for a year as The Adver- 
tiser and Times. The name " Times" was then dropped, 
the weekly edition becoming The Oswego Weekly Adver- 
tiser, and the daily Tlve Oswego Commercial Advertiser. 
In 1873 the Osicego Press was united with the Advertiser; 
the proprietorship of the consolidated journal was vested 
in a stock company, called the " Oswego Publishing Com- 
pany." The names Press and Advertiser were both dropped 
and the old one of Times was adopted, under which title 
the paper has since been published. 

About two years since, the weekly Times was enlarged 
to an eight-page paper of forty-eight columns, in which 
form it is still published. The daily is a four-page sheet 
of twenty-eight columns. The president of the company 
is Benjamin Doolittle ; the secretary and treasurer, John 
A. Place; the business manager, Frederick Thompson. 
The editorial stafi" consists of John A. Place, editor-in- 
chief; Frederick A. Dixon, local editor ; and Henry C. 
Stillman, commercial editor. 

The Oswego Commercial Advertiser, daily and weekly, 
was established in February, 1864, by T. S. Brigham and 
J. A. Place, Mr. Place being the editor. The Times was 

consolidated with it early in 1865, as before stated, and the 
Ailvertiser continued under the .same management and title 
until its transformation into the present Times, as just 

The Osicego Press, daily and weekly, was founded by a 
stock company in 1870, and mainlainedasei)arate existence 
until 1873, when it was consolidated with the Advertiser 
to form the Times. 

The People's Journal, weekly, was established at Oswego 
in March, 1849, by O'Leary & Dean. The next year it 
was sold to L. A. Winchester. In 1851 it passed into the 
hands of Sumner & Poucher, who started the Oswego Daily 
News in connection with it. The next year L. A. Win- 
chester again bought it, and changed the name of the daily 
to the Oswego Daily Jownal. Two years later, 1854, the 
Peoples Journal and the Daily Journal were united with 
the daily and weekly Times. The Northern New Yorker 
was founded at Oswego in 1873, by J. II. Oliphant. It 
was issued only fourteen months, being discontinued in 

The first paper in the county outside of Oswego was The 
Pulaski Banner, begun in 1830, and published at Pulaski 
by Nathan Randall until 1832, by A. A. Matthcwson & G. 
G. Foster until 1833, and by James Geddes until 1834, 
when it suspended. 

In 1836 the old material of the Banner was purchased 
by Daniel Ayer, who issued a weekly paper called The Pu- 
laski Advocate until 1838. It was then sold to Mr. Dick- 
inson, the owner of the /"orf Ontario Aurora, who removed 
the latter paper from Port Ontario to Pulaski, and consoli- 
dated it with the Advocate, under the name of The Advo- 
cate and Aurora. Daniel Ayer again became the owner 
in 1840. He discarded the second name, and published 
the Advocate until 1842, when it was discontinued. 

The Port Ontario Aurora was published at the intended- 
to-be great city of Port Ontario, from 1837 into 1838, first 
by Mr. Van Cleve and then by Mr. Dickinson, the latter of 
whom removed it to Pulaski, and merged it in the Advocate, 
as just stated. 

In 1843 The Pulaski Cwiover was started in that village, 
on the material of the defunct Advocate, by W. Winans. 
In 1847 it was purchased by A. A. Matthcwson, who 
changed its name to The Richland Courier. After pub- 
lishing it until 1850, he sold out to Joseph C. Hatch, who 
thought it necessary to make another change of name. 
The appellation chosen this time was The Northern Demo- 
crat. In 1854 it passed into the hands of S. C. Miller, 
who gave it the title it still bears, — The Pulaski Democrat. 
L. R. Muzzy, tlie present editor and proprietor, took control 
of the Democrat in 1869, and has ever since conducted it. 
Notwithstanding its name, it is independent in politics. It 
is a thirty-two-column sheet, of good appearance, and has 
a large circulation in the eastern part of the county. 

The second paper in the county outside of Oswego was 
the Fulton Chronicle, first published as a weekly in No- 
vember, 1837, by Thomas Johnson. In 1840 it WiW sold 
to Isaac S. Clark and Edwin Thompson, who gave it the 
peculiar name of Ben Franklin. Unfortunately, however, 
for that style of nomenclature, the Ben Franklin died the 
very next year. 


The Weekly Dispatch was published in Fulton about a 
year, beginning in 1840, by E. C. Hatten. 

The Fulton Sun was begun in 1841 by N. B. Northrop. 
The next year it was united with the Mirror. 

The Fulton Mirror was established in August, 1842, by 
Daniel Ayer. Immediately afterwards it was united with 
the Sun, and the consolidated paper was published weekly 
as The Fulton Sun and Mirror until 1844. It was then 
sold to Spencer Munroe, and soon after discontinued. 

The Fulton Patriot was started in 1846 by M. C. 
Hough. He transferred it to John A. Place in 1848, and 
he to T. S. Brigham, in 1854. In 1858 the Patriot was 
purchased by Hon. R. K. Sandford, who bought out the 
Oswego County Gazette the same year, and published the 
consolidated paper as The Fulton Patriot and Gazette. 
This is still the name borne at the head of its columns, 
though it is commonly called The Fulton Patriot. In 
1861 Mr. Sandford disposed of his paper to Rodney L. 
Adams, who sold out in 1865 to Bennett Bros., who have 
been the editors and proprietors up to the time of the death 
of the lamented Mr. Charles T. Bennett, just previous to 
the issuing of this history. Having been enlarged three 
times in twelve years, the Patriot is now a thirty-two- 
column weekly, and a sturdy supporter of Republican 

The Phoenix Gazette, weekly, was started at Phoenix in 
1851, by Jerome Duke. He sold out to George E. Wil- 
liams, who in 1853 removed it to Fulton, and changed its 
name to The Osioego County Gazette. Under that title it 
was published five yeare, when it was merged in the Pa- 
triot, as before stated. 

The Fulton Times was established in June, 1868, by 
George E. and J. M. Williams. It is one of the few 
papers in the county which has not changed its name since 
its foundation. It is now a neat independent weekly, 
twenty-two by thirty-two inches ; George E. Williams 
being editor and proprietor, and W. E. Williams local 

The Phanix Democrat was established at that village 
in 1852, by an association of citizens, who sold it in 1854 
to James H. Field. In 1855 the name was changed to 
The Phoenix Banner, and again, the same year, changed 
to The American Banner and Oswego County Times. 
This extensive appellation proved, as might have been ex- 
pected, too heavy to carry, and ere the close of the year the 
paper expired. 

The next year it was revived by Mary Frances Tucker, 
as Tlie American Banner and Literary Gem. It carried 
this patriotic, martial, refined, and brilliant designation for 
eight months, when it was sold to Levi Murrill, who re- 
duced its name to The American Banner. The Banner 
was finally furled in 1857. 

Two months afterwards the material was used by Joshua 
M. Williams for the publication of the Phwnix Reporter. 
That paper soon passed into the hands of A. P. Hart, who 
published it until 1860. He then sold it to M. M. Carter, 
who enlarged the paper to its present size, twenty-four 
columns, and conducted it until 1870. In 1805 he changed 
the name to The P/iuenix Register. In 1870 the Register 
was sold to J. M. Williams, who has conducted it till the 

present time. It is independent in politics, and devoted to 
the welfare of the community which has so long supported 

The first paper at Mexico was the Oswego County Demo- 
crat, established in 1837 or 1838, by Thomas Messenger. 
After a short time he changed the name to correspond with 
his own, denominating his paper The Messenger. But the 
times were unpropitious, and in 1839 the Messenger ceased 
from its journeys. 

The Mexico Independent was established at that village 
March 19, 1861, by Humphries & Scarritt, and has re- 
mained ever since (over sixteen years) under the same 
name, at the same place, and in the hands of the same 
firm, or one of its members ; a remarkable example of sta- 
bility in the changeable world of Oswego Countyjournalism. 
It is a twenty-eight-column weekly, and, as its name implies, 
is independent in all respects. Henry Humphries is the 
sole editor and proprietor. 

One of the most interesting productions of journalistic 
enterprise in the county, or even in the State, is The Deaf 
Mates Journal, brought to Mexico in October, 1872. For 
three years it was published in connection with the Inde- 
pendent, several columns of that paper being occupied by 
the editor of the Journal. In October, 1875, it was pub- 
lished separately, as The Mexico Independent and Deaf 
Mutes Journal, and in January, 1876, it reduced its title 
to The Deaf Mutes Journal, which it still retains. It is 
the recognized organ of the deaf and dumb in the State of 
New York, and is the only paper published for their espe- 
cial use in the State, except a small one established a short 
time ago in New York city, to teach them to print. The 
Deaf Mutes' Journal has a circulation of about six hun- 
dred. The legislature has recognized it as the organ of the 
class referred to, and has granted it an allowance of six 
hundred and fifty dollars, on condition of its being sup- 
plied to a certain number of the deaf mutes free of charge. 
Henry C. Rider is the proprietor and the resident editor ; 
F. L. Seliney, of Rome, is assistant editor, and Henry 
Winter Lyle, of Philadelphia, the first ordained deaf-mute 
minister in the country, is the foreign editor. 

The publication of the Hannibal Reveille was begun on 
the first day of October, 1866, by Dr. G. V. Emens. It 
was then a monthly, only fifteen by twenty inches in size, 
and was furnished to subscribers at the modest price of 
fifty cents per year. In August, 1870, its size was in- 
creased to twenty-two by thirty-two inches. On the 1st 
of January, 1872, the Reveille was made a semi-monthly, 
and a year later it was issued as a weekly ; the subscription 
price being changed to one dollar per year. On the 3d of 
July, 1873, it was purchased by Albert N. Bradt, who has 
continued its publication up to the present time. 

The Reveille has always received a generous support 
from the people of Hannibal and the surrounding towns, as 
is evidenced by its steady progress. 

The newspaper-taking capacity of Hannibal was not con- 
sidered to be exhausted by the Reveille, and on the 20th of 
December, 1876, Messrs. Charles H. Parsons and Clarence 
B. Brower established the Hannibal Neivs, a weekly jour- 
nal, twenty four by thirty-six inches. On the 1st of April, 
Mr. Parsons' interest was transferred to N. B. Brower, and 


the firm-name of the publishei-s became N. B. & C. B. 
Browor, who are still the editors and proprietoi-s. It lias 
attained a circulation of near five hundred, which must cer- 
tainly' be considered a success in a small country village, 
which already supported a similar enterprise. 

Ptissiny; from the western to the ciistcrn extremity of the 
county, we find the Smidj/ Ciec/c News springing into ex- 
istence in the growing village of Sandy Creek, in the month 
of ApriJ, 1S71. Its founders were Goodenough & Soulc. 
The firm soon became II. Soule & Son, who edited and 
published the paper until April 1 of the present j-ear. It 
was then purchased by Munger & Washburn, who took 
possession on the 1st of May, 1877, and have since been 
the editoi-s and publishers. The News is an independent 
weekly, of twenty-eight columns, and the rapid growth of 
the village iu which it is published indicates a prosperous 
future for the journal in question. 

In 1873, Mr. A. F. Goodenough began the publication 
of the Lakeside Neios at the village of Cleveland, in the 
town of Constantia. In 1874 he was succeeded by Mr. 
Charles R. King, who changed the name of the journal to 
The Lakeside Press. It is still published by ]Mr. King 
under that title, being a vigorous, independent weekly, of 
twenty-eight columns, which indicates by it-s name its 
position on the shore of the beautiful Oneida lake. 

On the 14th of May, 1874, the first nunibei' of another 
Oswego County newspaper appeared ; in fact, it would seem 
as if the " hard times" had had the effect of stimulating, 
instead of depressing, journalistic enterprise in this locality. 
The new candidate for public favor was called Tlie Parish 
Mirror^ and was established at the village of Parishville, 
town of Parish, by Mr. John W. Northrop, who is still its 
editor and proprietor. The Mirror is a lively young 
weekly, of twenty-eight columns, and, like most of the 
other village papers of Oswego County, is independent in 
politics and religion. 

The very latest journalistic adventure in our county is 
the Central Square News, which was established at the 
pleasant little village of Central Square, in the town of 
Hastings, in January, 1877. Willis G. Bohannan was the 
founder, and is the editor and proprietor, with John W. 
Hallock as associate editor. The News contains twenty- 
four columns, and, in its own language, is " an independent, 
miscellaneous family journal." 

Our review of the press of Oswego County has neces- 
sarily been very brief, presenting only an outline history of 
each journal, but we have taken considerable pains to make 
it accurate as far as it goes, and we trust it will be found 
convenient and reliable for the purpose of reference. The 
most noticeable point to be observed in it is the large num- 
ber of village journals which have sprung up, mostly since 
the war. Of these journals there are no less than eleven. 
It is doubtful if another county in the State of the same 
population has so many, especially one in which the jour- 
nalistic field is largely occupied by two widely-circulated 
city dailies. 



Tlic ol.l C.mrt-Houscs— Enlargement of that at Pulaski— Building of 
a ucw one at Oswego— The Clerk's Office and the Juil— The old 
i'.por-Ilouse— The new Insane Asylum— Tlio new l'i)or-lIouse— Its 
InuiiUes- Interior of the .\8ylum— The Soldier's Fiito. 

As has been st;ited, the first court-houses at Oswego and 
Pulaski were erected ab<mt 1822. The one at the latter 
place, being of brick, remained in a very good state of pres- 
ervation, but the frame one at Oswego became, in the course 
of thirty-five years, quite unfit for the purfwscs for whicii 
it was intended. 

In 1858 the board of supervisors appropriated thirty 
thousand dollars to build a new c-ourt-house at Oswego, and 
five thousand to extend and repair the one at 
Both works were carried out in the years 1859 and 18G(). 
The five thoasand dollars were duly expended at PuUiski, 
the court-house there being extended several feet both in 
width and length, becoming a very handsome and commo- 
dious edifice, fronting on the public square and standing 
but a few rods from the banks of Salmon river. 

The cost of the Oswego court-house wa.s twenty-nine 
thousand three hundred and ninety dollars. Tlie building 
erected is, like its wooden prcdece.s.sor, situated ou the pub- 
lic square, on the east side of the river. It is built of Onon- 
daga limestone, and is quite irregular in form, being com- 
posed of a main building fifty feet by sixty-six, and two 
stories high, with a two-story projection on the main or 
north front fifteen feet by twenty-five, and a one-sttiry pro- 
jection on each side, e;ich eighteen feet by twenty-five. 

The county clerk's oflice is a small one story brick build- 
ing, also on the east side of the public square, and nearly 
in front of the court-house. 

There was no jail at Oswego until 1853, the city lock-up 
being used for occasional prisoners, and more permanent 
ones being sent to Pulaski. In that year a substantial 
stone building was erected for that purpose on E;ist Second 
street, near the lake. It is forty-five feet by seventy-five, 
and two stories high, besides a high basement. 

The Oswego County poor-house was established in 1828. 
In December of that year Mr. John Parsons, the first 
superintendent, took charge of it. It was then kept in a 
small frame farm-house, on or near the site of the present 
institution, in the town of Mexico. Some of the inmates 
were also accommodated in a log house near by. The next 
year a two-story addition was made to the farm-house, and 
this constituted the poor-house for over forty years. There 
were at first alout seventy or eighty inmates, but afterwards 
the numbers increased to one hundred and twenty-five, in- 
cluding children and insane, all crowded in those narrow 

The inconvenience became so manifest that in 1859 and 
1860 the county erected a commodious and substantial iii- 
s;ine a.sylum of brick, two stories high, with basement, the 
main building being sixty-eight feet by thirty-two, and the 
projection in the rear being forty-two feet by thirty-two. 
Tbe cost was four thousand one hundred and fifty dollars. 
This building, with its inmates, was then placed under the 
charge of a separate keeper, independent of the keeper of 


the poor-house, though they act together in regaid to some 
minor matters. 

The old frame poor-house was retained until 1870, when 
it was replaced by a fine brick establishment at a cost of 
sixteen thousand five hundred dollars. The present build- 
ing is eighty feet by thirty-five, with a wing forty-two feet 
by forty, all two stories high, with basement. It now con- 
tains fifty-five inmates, — twenty-seven females and twenty- 
two males. Connected with it is a farm of sixty acres, on 
which are kept ten cows, two horses, and a few hogs. This 
is worked by the paupers ; hay, potatoes, and grain being 
raised by them. The female inmates do the work of the 

The whole number of paupers received during the year 
ending October 31, 1876 (when the last report was made) 
was one hundred and eighty-six. Eighty-three were dis- 
charged during the same time, and twelve died. The aver- 
age expense per week of supporting them was one dollar and 
fifty cents. The poor-houso contains none but adults and 
a few very small children, all children between three and 
sixteen being sent to the Oswego orphan asylum. Neither 
has it any inmates from Oswego city, the paupers of that 
locality being cared for at the Oswego city almshouse. 

The insane asylum stands but a few yards from the poor- 
house, and it is intended to extend the former building so 
as to occupy the intervening space. Three acres of the 
poor-farm are cultivated as a garden by the male inhabitants 
of the asylum, while the domestic work is done by the fe- 
males, except washing, baking, and ironing, which are done 
at the poor-house. Twenty-four unfortunate women and 
thirteen men are cared for in the asylum. Under the 
guidance of the gentlemanly keeper the writer passed, a few 
months since, through all portions of the home of these 
stepchildren of Nature. Everything was in the neatest 
condition and the best of order, but the pall of afBiction was 
over it all. The lack-lustre eyes and downcast looks of 
some, and the unnatural vivacity of others, told but too well 
the tale of their misfortune. Each human being there was 
a living tragedy, but the story of one was peculiarly im- 

Among the men was one who was a soldier in the Union 
army during the rebellion. In the midst of a battle in 
which he was engaged a shell exploded close beside him, 
drawing no blood, but throwing him stunned to the ground 
by the concussion, and affecting his brain so that he arose a 
maniac. Unheeding the bullets which were flying around, 
he rushed at full speed into the rebel ranks. They seized 
him, but after the battle, perceiving his wretched condition, 
they allowed him to return. He was discharged with a 
pension of fifty dollars per month, which now supports him 
in the insane asylum of Oswego County. Twelve years 
have passed, but no daylight comes to the darkened mind 
of the Union soldier, and hope points to no other prospect 
than that of a life-long confinement amid his wretched 



Origin of tlie School— First Apiiropriation— Object- Toaching— Prog- 
ress — An Increased ApprojirLation — Purchase of Buildings — 
Description of Buildings— The Practice School— Complete Adop- 
tion by the State— The Course of Study Enlarged— The Oswego 
System — Institutions Officered from Oswego — Points of the Oswego 
System — The Objective Method of Instruction— Natural Objects- 
Numbers, Colors, etc. — Mental and Moral Science — Pestalozzi — • 
Number of Scholars— The Regulations- The Course of Study— 
The Local Board and the Faculty. 

This institution originated in the Oswego city training- 
school, founded in 1861, of which mention will be made in 
the history of the city schools. It was not until 1863 
that it had any connection with the State. The legislature 
of that year, on the recommendation of that ardent friend of 
education, Hon. Victor M. Rice, of Buffalo, then superin- 
tendent of public instruction, and influenced by the great 
success which had attended the training-school, under the 
management of Miss M. E. M. Jones and Mr. Edward A. 
Sheldon, appropriated three thousand dollars a year towards 
its support, for the next two years, on condition that there 
should be fifty pupils in attendence, and that each senatorial 
district in the State should have the privilege of sending 
two pupils free of charge. The school remained, however, 
un(]er the entire control of the Oswego board of education, 
occupying the building now used by one of the city schools, 
on East Fourth street, between Mohawk and Utica. 

During the years 1863 and IBG-l the number of scholars 
rapidly increased, much exceeding the minimum prescribed 
by the legislature. Mr. Sheldon continued as principal, 
assisted by five teachers, including " critics." The system 
commonly called " object-teaching," but which Mr. Sheldon 
more accurately defines as " the objective method of instruc- 
tion," which had been previously inaugurated, and of which 
more will be said farther on, was kept up and developed ; 
many scholars came from distant counties, and the fame of 
the school began to spread even beyond the limits of the 

This success induced the legislature to increase its appropri- 
ation, by an act passed April 4, 1865, to six thousand dollais 
annually, on condition that each assembly district in the 
State should be entitled to send one pupil free of charge, 
and also that the city of Oswego should provide suitable 
buildings and grounds for the accommodation of the school. 
The institution thus provided for was also placed under the 
general direction of the superintendent of public instruc- 
tion, under whom the Oswego board of education was to 
exercise immediate control. 

These terms were accepted by the city, and in the sum- 
mer of 1865 the board of education purchased the " United 
States Hotel property," situated on the north side of Seneca 
street, between Sixth and Seventh streets, at a cost of eleven 
thousand five hundred dollars. They then enlarged and 
fitted up the buildings at an additional expense of about 
fourteen thousand five hundred dollars, making the total 
cost, exclusive of furniture, twenty-six thousand dollars. 
As thus enlarged the Normal School building consists of a 
central structure of gray Onondaga limestone, fifty-one feet 


front by Bfty-four deep, three stories high ; of a frame wiiij; 
on the cast side two and a half stories high, twenty-five 
feet front by fifty-four deep, but jutting back of the central 
building; and of the frame portion on the west side, whieh, 
though willed a wing, is the largest part of the wliole struc- 
ture, being sixty-five feet front, ninety-nine feet deep, and 
two stories high. 

Only a few rooms on the first floor were designed for 
recitations by the normal pupils ; the greater part of the 
space was devoted to the " practice-school," and to small 
rooms in which the normal pupils hear recitations by the 
practice-school children. This practice-school was an im- 
portant part of the original training-school, and is still of 
the normal school. The children in the district in which 
the normal school is situated meet in the same building 
with it. Tiiey are Uiught entirely by the normal pupils, 
but under the supervision and criticism of instructors ap- 
pointed by the city board of education, and belonging to 
the regular corps of city teachers. 

The institution began work in its new building in Feb- 
ruary, 18G6. On the 7th of April a general normal school 
act was passed, providing for six new normal schools in 
various parts of the State, to be governed by local boards 
appointed by the State superintendent, removable at will by 
him, and consisting of such number of persons as he may 

By an act passed March 27, 1867, the building, grounds, 
and appurtenances of the Oswego school were accepted by 
the State, and it was fully admitted to the privileges and 
subjected to the rules of the State normal schools, as speci- 
fied in the act of the previous year. The State superin- 
tendent appointed a local board of thirteen, and this ended 
the connection of the Oswego normal school with the pub- 
lic school system of the city, except what necessarily arises 
from the existence of the practice-school. Mr. Sheldon was 
continued as princiiml, with sufficient competent assistants, 
most of whom had previously served under him. 

Up to this time the work of the school had been confined 
entirely to teaching and practicing the best methods of in- 
struction, depending on examinations to test the know^ledge 
of the ordinary studies possessed by candidates for admission. 
As scholars increased in number, however, it was found that 
many of them, while they might pass an examination in 
the elementary branches, were yet so defective in regard to 
various necessary studies, and so devoid of practical thorough- 
ness, that it was considered absolutely necessary to provide 
for their more complete instruction. This was also made 
necessary by the fact that there was a constant demand for 
teachers pos.sessing both advanced education and normal 
training, to take charge of union .schools, high schools, and 

Two courses were accordingly arranged in 1866, one for 
the training of common-school teachers, occupying a year 
and a half, and one especially designed for teachers of higher 
schools, embracing two years. Those who had already suf- 
ficient scholarship to enter at once on the strictly professional 
work could graduate in the elementary course in a year, 
and in the higher course in one term. 

The school was highly successful, and its fame extended 
throughout not only the State, but the nation. The plan 

of thorough professional training of teachers employed 
there became known in educational circles throughout tlic 
country as the " Oswego school system." Urgent calls 
came from tlie west for Oswego teachers to labor in ordi- 
nary and high schools, and more especially in training- 
schools similar to the present institution. Other graduates, 
though less numerous, found employment in tiie eastern 
and middle States. 

Among the institutions officered in whole or in part from 
Oswego during the sixteen years since the city training- 
school was founded, have been the training-schools of 
Lewiston, Maine; of Boston and Worcester, Mas-sachu- 
setts ; of New York city ; of Cincinnati, Ohio ; of Indian- 
apolis, Indiana ; and of Davenport, Iowa. Also the State 
normal schools at Trenton, New Jersey ; at Terrc Haute 
and Indianapolis, Indiana ; at Mankato, Winona, and St. 
Cloud, Minnesota; at Iowa City, Iowa; at Kirksville and 
Warrensburg, Missouri; at Peru, Nebraska; at Leaven- 
worth, Kansas ; and at San Francisco and San Jose, Cali- 

The six new normal schools in New York, provided for 
by the law of 1866, went into operation at various times 
between 1867 and 1871. Like their sister-schools in other 
States, these drew largely on Oswego for teachers. Nearly 
the whole faculty of the Fredonia normal school was taken 
from that of Oswego ; its principal, Mr. John W. Arm- 
strong, having been a teacher there. all the schools named derived not only their 
teachers, but their teaching, from Oswego, which is umiues- 
tionably the parent of the present system of normal instruc- 
tion throughout the country. Even the Albany normal 
school, a much older institution, and very ably conducted, 
confines itself almost entirely to ordinary instruction, giving 
its pupils only two weeks of practice in a model school. 

The salient points of the " Oswego system" are: First, 
the long practice of every pupil under competent super- 
vision in actual teaching, not of high-toned young ladies 
and gentlemen, but of real, uneasy, whispering, pinching 
little boys and girls, essentially the same as those with 
whom all teachers must deal in the actual work of their 
profession. Second, the maintenance of a model school, 
composed of the best scholars and teachers, as a practical 
example of what a first-class school should be. Third, the 
use of the " objective method of instruction" in all depart- 
ments of the school and in all branches of study. 

An elaborate description of the objective method would 
be beyond the scope of this work, but we can hardly fur- 
nish a full history of tluj Oswego normal school without 
giving some idea of the sy.stem of which that school is the 
loading American exemplar. It certainly does not mean, 
as some may imagine, the mere holding up of objects be- 
fore a child and saying to it, " This is a stick of wood," or 
" This is a piece of calico ;" but something like that is at the 
fuumlation of all objective teaching. 

The grand object of the system is to give the child 
" ideas first, expression afterwards." If, however, he has 
already seen the object under consideration, so that he has 
what is called a "concept" of it in his mind, a picture of it 
on his brain, it need not be exposed in the school-room. If 
the children have never ^^een it, it should \n: produced bo- 



fore them if conveniently attainable ; if not, they should be 
taught to form an idea of it from something resembling it 
which they have seen, — eking out this idea with as much 
of reality as circumstances will permit. 

Every child has seen a tree. It is not necessary that 
one should be brought into the school-room, or even grow 
in the yard, in order to give him an idea of it. But if the 
lesson relates to oaks and maples, then the wood, the leaves, 
and the bark of oaks and maples should be brought before 
the class to emphasize the distinction between them. There 
may be no mountains near, but the children have seen high 
hills, and from these the idea of the mountain is built up. 
If neither the desired object itself nor any other object suf- 
ficiently resembling it is to be found, then, but not other- 
wise, a picture is produced as its next best representative. 

When a clear idea of the object has been produced in 
the child's mind, then, and not till then, he is presented 
with the word which represents that object. He spells it, 
he reads it, he pronounc&s it. The same course is pursued 
in regard to actions. They are first MluuWy jyj'eseiiled, and 
then represented by words. 

Ascending higher, in dealing with numbers, the pupil 
gains his fiist idea of them from actual counting of visible 
objects. All the processes of addition, subtraction, multi- 
plication, and division are verified by counting. If the 
subject of distance is under consideration, the students are 
provided with lines, with which they actually measure 
inches, feet, rods, perhaps miles. (We have never heard, 
liowever, of the young ladies of the Oswego normal school 
carrying object-lessons to that extent.) If colors are the 
theme of study, paints are brought into the school, the stu- 
dents are taught to mix them, and learn to name at sight 
all their minutest gradations. Sounds, too, are first " pre- 
sented" and then "represented," — a process which in a 
large school must be more entertaining than convenient, 
and is probably somewhat modified in practice. 

In grammar, too, the pupils are first taught to observe by 
actual sight the position of articles under or over others, 
before dealing with the prepositions which represent those 
ideas. The idea involved in the verb, the noun, the adjec- 
tive, or the adverb is similarly realized before being sub- 
jected to grammatical analysis. 

Nor is the objective method confined to the material 
world. The same realism above described is carried into 
the domain of mental and moral philosophy. The emotions, 
the formation of ideas, the will-power, are first described by 
the students from their own internal consciousness, and then 
made the subject of discussion. Thus, 

"Love, Hope, and Joy, fair Pleasure's smiling train; 
Hate, Fear, Remorse, the family of Pain," 
are subjected as far as practicable (ah, yes, as far as practi- 
cable !) to the tests of actual experience before any theories 
regarding them may be considered. 

Though Lord Bacon and other philosophers have made 
suggestions pointing towards the objective mode of teaching, 
' it was first given thorough practical expression in the latter 
part of the last century, by the celebrated Swiss teacher, John 
Henry Pestalozzi. It is a pleasant coincidence that a son 
of Pestalozzi's first assistant, Herman Kriisi, a son bearing 
the same name, has for over twelve years been a teacher in 

the Oswego normal school, the first American institution 
which to any considerable extent has adopted Pestalozzi's 
methods of instruction. 

During that time it has steadily increased in numbers as 
well as influence. During the spring term of 1877 there 
were three hundred and sixteen students belonging to the 
normal school proper, besides the public school children of 
the practice and model schools, which number over three 
hundred. The whole number of graduates from the begin- 
ning of the training-school in 1861 up to June 30, 1877, 
was seven hundred and seventy-seven, an average of over 
forty-eight per year, which is more than twice as many as 
have graduated yearly from any other normal school in the 
State. Less than one-tenth of these have been males. The 
proportion of male students is, however, steadily increasing. 
At fiist there were almost none. During the past year 
there have been eighty graduates, of which just one-eighth 
have been young gentlemen. 

Ninety-one per cent, of those who graduated previous to 
the last year are known to have taught school, — a larger pro- 
portion of teachers than the graduates of any other normal 
school in this State has furnished, with one exception. The 
number of counties represented in the school since its 
organization have been fifty-six ; those thus represented 
during the past year have been forty-five. 

By the present law each school-commissioner district in 
the State is entitled to send two pupils to this school^, the 
cities being each allowed a number proportionate to its 
population. They are appointed by the superintendent of 
public instruction, on the recommendation of the school 
commissioners and of the superintendents of cities. They 
must pass, according to the regulations, " a fair examination 
in reading, spelling, geography, arithmetic (as far as the 
roots), and must be able to analyze and parse simple sen- 
tences." Pupils must be at least sixteen years of age, and 
must possess good health, good moral character, and average 
abilities. Tuition and the use of text-books are free, but 
students are held responsible for injury to or loss of books. 

The range of study has been gradually increased until it 
now includes three courses, — the elementary English, the 
advanced English, and the classical. The first occupies two 
years. The first year is devoted to the ordinary elementary 
English studies, but taught in the objective manner before 
described. The second year is given up entirely to studies 
bearing on modes of instruction and to practice in the 

To be admitted to the advanced English course, students 
must pass a thorough examination in all the studies of the 
first year in the elementary English course. The first year 
of the advanced course embraces algebra, geometry, chemis- 
try, and other important studies. The second is nearly the 
same as the corresponding year of the elementary course, 
with instruction in moral philosophy and physical geog- 

The classical course covers three years; besides which, in 
order to obtain admission, the pupil must pass a satisfac- 
tory examination in the studies of the first " elementary" 
year. The first " classical" year is nearly the same as the 
first "advanced," with the addition of Latin. The second 
" classicid" i.s occupied principally by Latin, natural phi- 


losophy, physical geography, and Greek or modern lan- 
guages. The final year gives practice in training-school 
and methods of teaching, without omitting Latin, Greek, 
and geology- 
Students possessing the requisite age and qualifications, 
and who can pass the prescribed examination, may be ad- 
mitted to the class of any year in any course, but no one 
can graduate from a course without having passed through 
its last or professional year. A pupil who satisfactorily 
completes either one of the courses receives a diploma, 
which serves as a license to teach in all the public schools 
of the State, and makes a license from a commissioner un- 
necessary. There has never been an " academical" depart- 
ment in this school, — that is to say, a department in which 
no portion of the time is devoted to strictly professional 
instruction, — and the late order of the State superintendent 
discontinuing those departments does not aifect the Oswego 

The school-year consists of two terms of twenty weeks 
each. Scholai-s may enter school in either September or 
February, graduate in either February or June. There is 
a fair-sized library of t«xt and miscellaneous books, and an 
ample complement of chemical and philosophical apparatus. 
A large boarding-house is provided at a short distance from 
the school, which is under the supervision of the teachers, 
and at which the non-resident lady pupils are expected to 
board, except in special cases. 

We close our sketch of this important institution with 
the officials of the present year. 

The local board is composed of Gilbert MoHison, presi- 
dent; John K. Post, secretary; Daniel G. Fort, treasurer; 
Samuel B. Johnson, Benjamin Doolittle, Theodore Irwin, 
Alanson S. Page, John M. Barron, Delos De Wolf, Thomas 
S. Mott, Abner C. Mattoon, Thompson Kingsford. 

Besides Edward A. Sheldon, A.M., Ph.D., who has 
been the principal from the beginning, and who may be 
considered the founder of the school, so far as any one 
man can be credited with that honor, the faculty consists 
of Henry A. Straight, A.M. ; Isaac B. Poucher, A.M. ; 
Herman Krusi, A.M.; Mary V. Lee, M.D ; Matilda S. 
Cooper, F. Elizabeth Sheldon, Emma D. Straight, Ordelia 
A. Lester, Mary E. Moore, Rose Whitney, Martha A. 
Keeler, Sarah J. Walter, and S. Ida Williams. 



School Commissioners' Districts 
drcn, and Attendance— Wage: 

of Schools, Teachers, Chil 
rics— Present Condition. 

For the management of its common schools Oswego 
County is divided into three school-commissioners' districts, 
besides the city, which has its separate board of education 
and superintendent. A sketch of the city schools is given 
in the city hLstory, and some mention is made in each of 
the towns of the earliest schools taught within it. In this 
chapter we present a brief abstract of the present condition 
of the schools of Oswego County, outside of the city, for 
which we are indebted to the courtesy of the commissioners, 

Messrs. Robert Simpson, Jr., of the firat district, Fowler 
H. Berry, of the second, and J. W. Ladd, of the third. 

First Di.itr,ct. g^|,^„,. Toucher.. t»cen S nnd 21. AttcT.lancc. 

ttranby 20 22 1,002 822 

Hannibal 15 IS a'J5 4:iS 

New Haven 12 12 618 228 

Oswego l.i 16 1,0.36 ;ia.> 

Scrihii 17 17 1,092 4:18 

Volney 17 2i) 1,9J5 70fi 

Second District. 

Amlmv 7 7 .380 103 

Con-sti'mtia 1.3 16 1,119 .3.S5 

Hastings 10 19 1,021 A'.t:, 

Parish 13 1.^ 719 .321 

Palermo 1.3 13 013 211 

Schn.cp'pel 10 22 1,110 S.H 

West Monroe... 8 8 o21 19,S 

Thiril District. 

Albion 14 1.^ 818 311 

liovlslun S 8 371 131 

Mexico 19 21 1,075 112 

Orwell II 11 487 ISO 

Redfield 1" 11 526 IS9 

Richlan.l 22 20 1,313 518 

Sandy Creek.... It 20 932 396 

AVilliamstowu... 9 10 755 257 

Total 2S9 XUi 19,007 7, GO I 

There are several union and graded schools in the county, 
of which mention is made in their respective towns. About 
three-fourths of the whole number of persons between five 
and twenty-one actually attend school at some period of the 
year, though the average daily attendance while school is 
taught is only forty per cent, of the whole number. Wages, 
though varying greatly, are reported to average about five 
dollars per week in summer, and eight in winter. School 
libraries, unfortunately, are generally in a dilapidated con- 
dition, and the larger part of the districts use the library 
money to help pay the teachers. In other respects the 
schools are reported to be flourishing, both numbers and 
zeal being manifestly on the increase. 



Formation of the Oswego County Bible Society— Curious Facts- 
Names of the Presidents — Present Officers — Oliject of the Society — 
Payments to the American Bible Society — Depository and Branches 
—Organization of the County Lodge of Good Templars— First 
Officers— The Succession of Presidents— The Present Officers. 

The Oswego County Bible Society was formed in 
January, 1826. The American Bible Society had then 
been in existence ten years, but its work had been compar- 
atively small, and an interest in its benevolent operations 
was then only just beginning to be awakened. The records 
of the Oswego County society prior to the 15th of Sep- 
tember, 1840, are lost, but the following extract from a 
circular issued just after its organization, in 1826, shows 
the necessity for its formation : 

" As a preliminary step to the formation of this society, 
a partial investigation of the county was effected to ascer- 
tain the deficiency of Bibles ; the surprising result of which 
was that one-fourth of the families in this county do not 
possess an entire copy of the Holy Scriptures, a large portion 



of whom have no part of the Bible in their houses. In 
one of the school districts in this town, containing sixty 
families, twenty-nine were destitute. In another town of 
this county thirty-.six families out of one hundred and six 
were found destitute. From all the returns which have 
been received, it appears that eight hundred and ninety-four 
families have been investigated, and of them two hundred 
and fiftj'-one are put down as partially or entirely destitute 
of the Word of Life." 

The society was recognized as an auxiliary of the Amer- 
ican Bible Society in March, 182G; but where the first 
meetings were held, or who were the first cfficers, cannot 
be ascertained. Rev. Oliver Ayer was elected president in 
1827, and it is not certain but he was its first one. The 
next year Rev. Jason Lathrop was chosen to the same 
position. Rev. Ralph Robinson was elected president in 
1829, and was successively re-elected for the next three 
years. The succession of presidents siiice that time has 
been as follows: 1833-35, Rev. Robert W. Condit ; 1836- 
39, Rev. Robert W. Condit; 1840-43, Rev. Ralph Robin- 
inson; 1844, Rev. Gardner Baker; 1845, Mr. Luther 
Pardee; 1846, Hon. George F. Falley; 1847-48, Judge 
Elias Brewster; 1849, Dr. Newell Wright; 1850, Hamilton 
Murray, Esq. ; 1851-52, Hon. William F. Allen ; 185.3, 
Hon. Ransom H. Tyler; 1854, Hon. James Piatt; 1856, 
Hon. L. B. Crocker; 1857, Dr. M. Lindley Lee; 1858, 
W. L Preston; 1859, Prof. J. P. Griflfin ; 1860, Mr. 
Ralph Robinson ; 1861-62, Hon. William F. Allen ; 1863- 
67, Hon. Ransom H. Tyler; 1868-72, Gilbert Mollison, 
Esq.; 1873, Hon. Cyrus Whitney; 1874, Hon. T. W. 
Skinner ; 1875, Col. W. D. Smith ; 1876, John B. Edwards, 
Esq. ; 1877, J. G. Benedict. 

The present officers of the society are J. G. Benedict, 
president ; Charles T. Benedict, L. R. Muzzy, and W. H. 
Kenyon, vice-presidents ; Frank S. Thrall, recording secre- 
tary ; L. E. Goulding, corresponding secretary ; J. H. Coe, 
treasurer and depositary ; Gilbert Mollison, S. W. Brewster, 
Manni,ster Worts, 0. M. Bond, 0. J. Harmon, Thomas 
Mathews, executive committee ; F. B. Lathrop, George 
Goodier, auditing committee. 

The object of the society, as declared by its constitution, 
is to promote the circulation of the Holy Scriptures, " with- 
out note or comment." As to membership, it is provided 
that all persons contributing to its funds annually shall be 
members ; that those contributing one dollar or more shall 
receive, if called for within twelve months, a common 
Bible ; and that those contributing ten dollars at one time, 
or five dollars for two consecutive years, shall become mem- 
bers for life, and entitled annually to fifty cents' worth of 
Bibles or Testaments. 

All funds not needed for circulating the Scriptures 
within the county are paid over annually to the parent 
society, to be used in distributing Bibles wherever needed. 
The receipts for the year ending June, 1876, were seven 
hundred and fifty-one dollars and ninety-three cents, of 
which seven hundred and forty-seven dollars and seventy- 
four cents were paid to the American Bible Society. The 
Oswego society has a depository at Oswego, and branches 
at Sandy Creek, Hannibal, Fulton, Mexico, Sand Bank, 
and Williamstown. 

The total value of the becks at these points in June, 
1876, was eleven hundred and ninety-six dollars and 
seventy-eight cents. 

The Oswego County Lodge of the Independent Order 
of Good Templars was organized on the 20th day of De- 
cember, 1870, with the following ofiicers: County Chief 
Templar, S. C. Weeks ; County Vice-Templar, Helen M. 
Coe ; County Secretary, W. J. Dougall ; County Assistant 
Secretary, Mrs. W. J. Dougall; County Financial Secre- 
tary, Julia A. Ames; County Treasurer, L. P. Storms; 
County Marshal, C. R. Groesbeck ; County Deputy Mar- 
shal, Mrs. Lizzie Redding ; County Chaplain, Rev. J. H. 
Allsever ; County I. G., Mrs. May Chapman ; County 0. 
G., B. N. Menter; R. H. S., Miss L. E. Wadleigh ; L. 
H. S., Miss E. Redding. 

The county lodge is composed of delegates elected from 
each of the subordinate lodges in the county. It has held 
meetings quarterly from organization to the present time ; 
meeting with the various subordinate lodges, and doing all 
in its power to promote the cause of temperance and good 
morals. There are now ten subordinate lodges in the 
county, with about five hundred members. The successive 
County Chief Templars have been as follows : S. C. Weeks, 
1871-72; Albert Potter, 1873-74; S. C. Weeks, 1875-77. 

The following are the cfiicers for the year 1877 : C. C. T., 
S. C. Weeks; C. V. T., Mrs. 0. D. Austin; C. Sec, 

C. W. Cogswell ; Assistant Secretary, A. Beardsley ; C. T., 
John Cooper; C. Chaplain, B. Gleason ; C. M., C. Wright; 

D. SI., Mrs. R. J. Dimon ; R. H. S., BIrs. Hannah Smith; 
L. H. S , Mrs. J. Cooper. 



Oswego County Medical Society : First Members and Officers ; 
Progress; Regulations, Meetings, etc. ; Code of Ethics; Present 
Officers; List of Presidents; List of Members— Homceopathic 
Medical Society : First Officers and Members ; List of Presidents ; 
Present Officers and Members — Eclectic Medical Society: Its 
Organization ; First Officers; Reorganization; The Eclectic Creed; 
Present Officers. 

" The Medical Society op the County of Os- 
WEOO." — The above is the official title of the association in 
question, though it is more commonly designated as The 
Oswego County Medical Society. It was organized in 
June, 182], and, so far as known, the following were the 
only members present : Anson Fay, of Volney ; S. F. Kin- 
ney, of New Haven ; Allen Andrews, of Pulaski ; — 

Gridley, of ; Sardius Brewster, of Mexico ; Benjamin 

Coe, of Oswego ; and L. Cowan, of Volney. As, how- 
ever, the records have been twice burned in ten years, it is 
possible that some names have been omitted. 

For the same reason the names of the first officers can- 
not be given, though from the scant number of members 
they doubtless all held official rank. Even the names of 
the presidents for 1821 and 1822 cannot be found in the 
society's manual. The president in 1S23 was Allen An- 
drews, of Pulaski. 


From 1821 to the present year the number of members 
lias steadily grown until, instead of seven, there are now 
fifty-eight on tiie society's register. Two of these are ladies, 
female merabei-s being admitted on equal terms with males. 

Four members joined in 1822, seven in 1823, four in 
1824, two in 1825, four in 1826, and four in 1827. In 
1828 there seems to have been a regular "revival" in the 
way of joining the society, no less than seventeen having 
enrolled their names in that year, while in 1829 there were 
only four. No subsecjuent year has cfjualcd 1828 in that 
respect. The total number of physicians who have been 
members of the society since its organization is over a hun- 
dred and sixty ; but of these a large majority have died or 
left the county. 

The officers of the society are a president, a vice-presi- 
dent, a recording secretary, a corresponding secretary, a 
treasurer, a librarian, and five censors, who are chosen 
annually .by ballot. The society also elects annually five 
delegates to the American medical association, and five to 
the Central New York medical association. The annual 
meeting is held on the second Tuesday in June, at which 
officers are elected ; besides which, there is a semi-annual 
meeting on the second Tuesday in December of each year. 
Special meetings may also be called by the president, or, in 
his absence, by the vice-president. Jleetings are held at 
various localities throughout the county. 

At these meetings discussions are held regarding inter- 
esting questions in medicine and surgery, new members 
elected, charges examined, etc. A member can only be 
convicted of misconduct by a vote of two-thirds of the 
members present, at a special meeting called to investigate 
the charges ; after which he may be reprimanded, sus- 
pended, or expelled, by a majority vote. 

It is the duty of the censors to examine every candidate 
for a license to practice medicine or surgery, who shall have 
complied with the requisitions of the laws of the State (on 
payment of five dollars for the society), and, if he be found 
qualified, to give him a certificate to that effect, addressed 
to the president, who thereupon confers a diploma upon him. 

Any physician or surgeon, practicing in Oswego County, 
may become a member, on payment of one dollar to the 
treasurer, if a majority of the censors shall certify that he 
is entitled to practice, and if, on being balloted for at an 
annual meeting, he shall receive the votes of a majority of 
the members present. 

The code of ethics of the American medical association, 
and that of the State medical society of New York, are 
made binding on the members of the Oswego County medi- 
cal association by its by-laws, and the intentional violation 
of these precepts is considered good cause for discipline. 
Misconduct is not only theoretically, but actually, punished, 
and six or eight members have been expelled fur violations 
of duty. 

The following is a list of the officers and delegates chosen 
at the last annual meeting, held at Oswego June 12, 1877, 
to serve during the ensuing year : President, R. N. Cooley, 
of Hannibal ; Vice-President, J. W. Eddy, of Oswego ; 
Recording Secretary, J. K. Stockwell, of Oswego ; Corre- 
sponding Secretary, George P. Johnson, of Mexico ; Treas- 
urer, G. C. Bacon, of Fulton ; Librarian, A. S. Low, of 

Pulaski ; Censors, D. Pardee, George W. Nelson, I. L. 
Jones, A. A. Desaulinors, and D. Acker ; Delegates to the 
American Medical As.sociation, J. K. Stockwell, C. M. Lee, 
T. J. Green, F. S. Low, and William M. Rice; Deleg-atcs 
t<i the Central New York Association, H. W. Caldwell, N. 
W. Bates, H. E. Balcom, H. D. C. Phelps, and B. I)e Witt. 

The following members of the Oswego County medical 
society have been duly elected by the Medical Society of 
the State of New York as permanent members of that 
honorable body: Benjamin E. Bowen, of Mexico; A. Van 
Dyck, of Oswego; G. A. Dayton, of Mexico; Charles G. 
Bacon,' of Fulton; Austin Wliite, of Parish; James B. 
Murdoch, of Oswego ; Frank S. Low, of Pulaski ; William 
H. Rice, of Phicnis; and C. C. P. Clark, of Oswego. 

The following is a list of the presidents from 1823 to 
1877, so far as known : Allen Andrews, 1823 ; Anson Fay, 
1827; S. F. Kinney, 1830; E. S. Barrows, 1831; P. H. 
Hard, 1832 ; H. F. Noyes, 1835 ; B. E. Bowen, 1836 ; 
S. Brewster, 1837 ; R. Howard, 1838 ; A. Gardiner, 1839 ; 
S. Hart, 1841 ; J. M. Watson, 1842 ; A. K. Beckwith, 
1843; H. Murdoch, 1844; S. Brewster, 1845; P. H. 
Hard, 1846 ; S. Pardee, 1847 ; A. Van Dyck, 1848 ; C. G. 
Bacon, 1849 ; B. E. Bowen, 1850 ; A. White, 1851 ; A. 
Williams, 1852; A. B. Coe, 1853; T. J. Green, 1854; 
J. P. Rosa, 1855 ; G. A. Dayton, 1856 ; M. R. Holbrook, 
1857; John Hart, 1858; S. G. Place, 1859; Franklin 
Everts, 1860 ; A. S. Coe, 1861 ; D. Pardee, 1862 ; C. C. P. 
Clark, 1863; J. B. Murdoch, 1864, 1865; M. Bradbury, 
1866 ; F. S. Low, 1867 ; C. M. Lee, 1868 ; G. A. Dayton, 
1869; William H. Rice, 1870 ; L. L. Stevens, 1871 ; Car- 
rington Macfarlane, 1872; J. L. Buckley, 1873; D. T. 
Wbyborn, 1874; A. S. Coe, 1875; D. D. Drake, 1876; 
R. N. Cooley, 1877. 

The following is a chronological list of the members from 
the organization of the society to the present time, with the 
date of admission, and residence, when known : 

1821. — Anson Fay, Volney; S. F. Kinney, New Haven; 

Allen Andrews, Pulaski ; Gridley, Sardius Brewster, 

Mexico; Bjnjamin Coe, Oswego; L. Cowan, Volney. 

1822.— S. Dunlop, Samuel Torbutt, Williamstown ; H. 
G. Torbutt, Williamstown ; Samuel Freeman, Williamstown. 

1823.— D. W. Cole, Oswego; H. Smith, Constantia; 
Darius Clark, Scriba; J. A. Paine, Lyman Huntley, Ran- 
som Howard, Volney ; Al. Frederick Smith, ]Mexico. 

1824.— P. H. Hard, Oswego; Samuel Hart, Oswego ; 
Silas Mcac'liam, Pulaski ; W. Steward, New Haven. 

1825.— Bushnell B. Carey, H. Dewey, Scriba. 

1826. — A. S. Bradley, Fulton; D.Robinson, Mexico; 
A. Howland, Oswego; John M. Wat.son, Pulaski. 

1827.— Elisha Moore, Mexico; D.G.Ayre, Sandy Creek; 
H. F. Noyes, Pulaski ; Justin Morgan, Richland. 

1828.— H. Perkins, A. L. Cooper, Owen, Isaac 

Whittemore, Pulaski ; J. Douglas, Scriba; L. Root, Lucius 
Van Schaik, Oswego ; H. P. Van Valkonburg, Volney ; 
J. H. Richmond, Parish ; Arden Allen, Hannibal ; Egbert 
S. Barrows, Oswego ; Samuel K. Lee, J. Hewett, Oswego ; 
J. K. Tburber, Oswego; John (i. Ayre, Sandy Creek; 
Hough, N. Tift. 

1829.— Wm. G. Adkins, O.swigo ; Timothy Goodwill, 
R. B. Root, Mexico. 


1830.— E. Palmer, Mexico; A. F. Kent, Hannibal; 
David L. Hardy, Granby ; N. F. Bruce, Oswego ; N. W. 

1831.— M. L. Lee, Fulton ; J. Steele, Mexico ; A. Steele, 
Volney; T. S. Gilbert, Orwell; Dolson Morton, Orwell; 

Abiatha Gardiner, Mexico ; Webster, Hastings ; E. 

G. Mygatt, A. White, Parish. 

1832.— P. Sprague, Hannibal ; J. P. Rosa, Albion. 

1833. — A. Goodwin, Mexico ; Caleb Burge, Sandy Creek ; 
A. K. Beckwith, Palermo; S. O. Thompson, Sandy Creek. 

1834. — L. Wellington, Williamstown ; M. Ostrander, 
Mexico ; Chas. W. Mitchell, Oswego. 

1835.- Wm. M. Baker, Scriba ; Daniel P. Stryker, Han- 
nibal ; Wm. James Goulding, Oswego; 0. W. Randall, 
Schroeppel ; A. E. Noble, Palermo ; Benjamin E. Bowen, 
Mexico ; Stephen Pardee, Fulton. 

1836.— Wm. S. Randall, Benj. A. Rosseau, Scriba. 

1837. — Joseph H. Bagg, Oswego; Lucien M. Haynes. 

1838.— Lewis M. Yale, Scriba; Richard M. Clark, Han- 
nibal ; J. H. Skinner, Hannibal. 

1839.— T. Secor, Volney; H. Murdoch, Richland; E. 
A. Potter, Oswego ; James A. Thompson, Sandy Creek ; 
Alex. M. Charles, Eleab M. Joslin, New Haven ; Uri Lee, 

1841 . — A. W. Robinson, New Haven ; Joseph R. Brown, 

1842._D. Conger, Phoenix; A. Whaley, Mexico ; S. G. 
Place, Southwest 0.swego ; H. A. Skinner, C. G. Bacon, 
Fulton ; Lyman Osborne, Hannibal ; M. Tuttle, Hannibal. 

1843.— Wm. J. Acker, Hannibal ; Alfred Rice, Han- 
nibal ; Gilson A. Dayton. Mexico. 

1844.— James V. Kendall, Pulaski; A. Van Dyck, 
Oswego ; Justin B. Colweil, Oswego. 

1845. — Joseph H. Allen, Oswego ; J. Marble, Hastings ; 
A. B. Coe, Oswego. 

1846. — A. Read, Oswego; A. C. Living-ston, Fulton; 
Wm. C. Coy, Schroeppel. 

1847. — S. Inman, Williamstown. 

1848.— N. Williams, Phosnix ; A. B. Howe, Orwell; 
S. Avery, Phoenix. 

1849. — A. M. Dunton, Oswego; George W. Snyder, 
Scriba ; C. Porter, Fulton. 

1850.— Daniel Neugent, Wm. H. Rice, Phoenix. 

1851.— M. Bradbury, Mexico ; M. R. Holbrook, Fulton. 

1852.— Wm. M. Skinner, Orwell ; Robt. Soott, Oswego ; 
R. C. Baldwin, Volney ; T. J. Green, Parish. 

1853.— John Hart, Oswego. 

1855.— A. S. Coe, Oswego ; N. B. Rice, Fulton ; J. C. 
Rhodes, Oswego; C. Ford, Parish; A. P. Williams, 

1856. — Lucius Stevens, Constantia; Franklin Evarts, 
Oswego ; S. W. Austin, Oswego ; J. B. Murdoch, Oswego ; 
D. B. Van Slyke, Central Square. 

1857. — D. Pardee, Fulton ; S. D. Andrews, Oswego 
Falls ; C. S. Waters, Fulton. 

1858.— C. C. P. Clark, Oswego ; F. S. Low, Pulaski ; 
Wm. H. Rulison, Parish. 

1861.— Geo. W. Earle, Hastings; S. P. Johnson, New 
Haven ; C. Mudge, Fulton ; F. A. Sherman, Sand Banks. 

1862. — E. A. Huntington, Mexico. 

1863.— Charles M. Lee, Fulton. 

1864. — Ira L. Jones, Minetto. 

1865.— Chas. J. Bacon, Fulton; Byron De Witt, Os- 
wego ; George Seymour, Pulaski ; L. 0. Huntington, 
Palermo ; D. D. Becker, Parish. 

1866.— Geo. G. Whittaker, New Haven ; Isaac Morell, 
Fulton ; D. T. Whyborn, Cleveland ; J. Lyman Bulkley, 
Sandy Creek ; Joseph Gardiner, Williamstown ; C. Mac- 
farlane, Oswego; D. D. Drake, Central Square; N. W. 
Bates, Central Square. 

1867.— L. C. Mitchell, Sand Banks; Ed. M. Curtis, 
Oswego; S. P. Kingston, Oswego; Joseph Pero, West 

1868. — George P. Johnson, Mexico. 

1869.— A. B. Bowen, Mexico ; S. J. Crockett, Oswego ; 
Dillon Acker, Hannibal. 

1870. — A. A. Desauliners, Oswego ; D. A. Lawton, 

1871.— J. K. Stockwell, Oswego ; F. C. Durant, Oswego. 

1872.— R. N. Cooley, Hannibal Centre. 

1873.— George W. Nelson, Orwell. 

1874.— Mary K. Hutchins, Oswego ; J. W. Eddy, Os- 
wego ; A. S. Low, Pulaski ; A. S. Rockwell, New Haven ; 
E. F. Kelley, Albion ; J. A. Griffen, Constantia ; J. J. 
Taylor, Parish ; A. L. Thompson, Sandy Creek ; H. D. C. 
Phelps, Palermo. 

1875.— J. N. Mease, Oswego; A. P. Hamill, Phoenix; 
Cyrus Haven, Hannibal. 

1876.— H. E. Balcom, Oswego ; R. M. O'Rielley, United 
States Army ; J. B. Todd, Parish ; H. H. Philbrick, Sandy 
Creek ; H. W. Caldwell, Pulaski ; George E. Carpenter, 
Sand Bank. 

1877.— George H. Whitcomb, Phoenix ; E. A. Matfoon, 
Oswego; Chas. E. Hea ton, Mexico ; J. W. Huntington, 
Mexico ; Ella M. Whittaker, New Haven. 

The Homceopathic Medical Society of Oswego 
County. — This society was organized on the 22d of Janu- 
ary, 1862. The officers who were elected at that time were 
E. A. Potter, president ; A. F. Rockwell, vice-president ; F. 
W. Potter, T. D. Stowe, and W. L. Woodbury, censors. 

The members of the society at that time were E. A. 
Potter, W. L. Woodbury, A. F. Rockwell, F. W. Potter, 
Augustus Pool, T. Dwight Stowe, and Wm. W. Rundell. 

The succession of presidents has been as follows: E. A. 
Potter in 1861-63 ; Augustus Pool in 1864-66 ; E. A. 
Potter in 1867; G. D. McManus in 1868; T. D. Stowe 
in 1869-71; L. B. Waldo in 1872; W. W. Rundell in 
1873; Wm. L. Woodbury in 1874; E. A. Pool in 1875 ; 
W. L. Woodbury in 1876 ; Harriet Rundell in 1877. 

The present officers of the society are Harriet Rundell, 
president ; Cathreon Townsend, vice-president ; G. D. 
McManus, secretary and treasurer ; Drs. Pool, Woodbury, 
Rodway, and McManus, censors. 

The present members of the society are Dr. W. L. 
Woodbury, Fulton; Dr. A. Pool, Oswego; Dr. G. D. 
McManus, Oswego ; Dr. Cathreen Townsend, Oswego ; 
Dr. Harriet Rundell, Mexico ; Dr. C. W. Rodway, Dr. N. 
H. Haviland, Fulton; Dr. G. Smith, Phoenix. 

Eclectic Medical Society op the County op 
Oswego. — The legislature having passed an act iucorpo- 



rating the Eclectic medical society of the State of New 
York, and auxiliary local medical associations, conferring 
on them all the powers and privileges of other medical 
societies, and subjecting them tjo the same responsibilities, 
in the summer of 1865 Dr. A. C. Taylor, then recently 
returned from service as an assistant^surgeon in the army, 
circulated a call for a meeting to organize an Oswego County 
Eclectic medical society, and personally urged the members 
of that school of practice to take such action. The eclectic 
physicians generally entered into the movement, and on the 
20th of September, 1865, an organization was effected at 
the oflBce of Dr. C. D. Snell, in the village of Mexico. 

The first oflBcers were as follows: President, Jesse Wat- 
son, of Fulton ; Vice-President, C. D. Snell, of Mexico ; 
Recording Secretary, J. N. Betts, of Pulaski ; Correspond- 
ing Secretary, A. C. Taylor, of New Haven ; Treasurer, J. 
Wiltse ; Censors, C. T. Greenleaf, of Brewerton, John 
Wiltse, of Hannibal, and S. Douglas, of Sandy Creek. 

The first delegates to the State society were H. L. Baker, 
of West Amboy, C. D. Snell, of Mexico, and J. B. Chap- 
man, of South Richmond. 

The legislature having passed another act, in May, 1874, 
designed to elevate the standard of practice in medicine and 
surgery, this society effected a re-organization in the follow- 
ing June for the purpose of more fully carrying out the 
provisions of the new law. The society now numbers sev- 
enteen members. Its annual meetings are held on the first 
Tuesday in June, its semi-aunual on the first Tuesday in 

This society, like all other eclectic medical associations, 
claims to be based on the American ideas of freedom, lib- 
erty, and equality, rejecting the doctrine that there must be 
what its members call an "established church in medicine." 
All physicians are eligible to membership, if found qualified 
to practice medicine or surgery by the board of censors. 
Its members are at liberty to extend professional courtesies 
to or meet in consultation with any reputable physician, 
whatever his school of practice. They are bound to no 
set rules, but are free to use any remedies which in their 
judgment will benefit their patients, and to discard all drugs 
which they may consider injurious. 

The transactions of this society are published yearly, with 
those of the Eclectic medical society of the State of New 

The following oflBcers were chosen at the election held 
June 5, 1877, and are now in ofiice: President, A. C. 
Taylor, of Scriba ; Vice-President, H. W. Leonard, of 
Camden, Oneida county; Secretary, D. E. Lake, of Ful- 
ton ; Treasurer, J. Watson, of Fulton ; Censors, E. J. 
Marsh, of Southwest Oswego, S. W. Miller, of Fulton, J. 
N. Manwarren, of Mexico. 



Oswogo County Agricultural Society : Organization and First Fair; 
I'eriiinuont Location; Grounds and Buildings; Cost of Iinprovu- 
nients, etc.; List of Presidents; Present Officers; Regulations — 
The Sandy Creek Society : Organization and Territory ; First 
OfiBcers; Grounds, etc. ; Present OfiBcers; Its Success. 

Oswego County Agricultur.\l Society. — This use- 
ful association was organized on the first day of February, 
1S40, with U. P. White, Esq., as president. The first fair 
was held at Oswego, commencing on the 7th day of Octo- 
ber of the same year. Its success was such as to induce its 
repetition, and for fifteen years fairs were held at various 
points in the county, changing the location each year. 

The inconvenience of this migratory existence, however, 
was more strongly felt every year, as the as.sociation became 
more prosperous, and in 1855 a re-organization was effected 
with a view to a permanent location, and the society was 
duly incorporated under the laws of the State. Fourteen 
acres of ground were purchased near the village of Mexico, 
and fitted up for the desired purpose. It was determined 
that the fair should occupy three days, beginning on the 
17th day of September in each year, except when that day 
should come on Sunday. At the time and place then 
selected the fairs have ever since been held. Grounds 
have been added and buildings have been erected, from 
time to time, as increasing prosperity demanded. 

The society now owns twenty-seven and one-fourth acres 
of land, on which are the following buildings: Floral hall, 
a frame structure in the form of a Greek cross, each section 
being a hundred and five feet long by thirty-four feet wide; 
Agricultural and Mechanical hall, eighty-four feet long by 
thirty-four wide ; a commodious eating-saloon, besides oflBces 
for the secretary and treasurer and for other business pur- 
poses, stalls and pens for stock, and other fixtures. A fine 
race-track serves to test the speed of Oswego County's fast 
horses, and an excellent spring of water conduces to the 
comfort of the visitors. 

The total cost of the improvements has been between 
seven and eight thousand dollars, besides which the society 
has a handsome sum in its treasury. The total expendi- 
ture — since the permanent re-organization of the society — 
for premiums, expenses, improvements, etc., has been about 
thirty thousand dollars. 

The following is a list of the presidents, from 1840, in 
the order of their service: U. P. White, Alvin Bronson, 
Orville Robinson, William Ingalls, Seth Severcncc, K. E. 
Sandford, Benjamin E. Bowen, Bradley Higgins, Andrew 
Z. McCarty, Jervis W. Dewey, Hamilton Murray, John W. 
Judson, Hamilton Murray (two years), John N. Holmes 
(two years), Harvey Palmer, Leonard Ames, Avery W. 
Severence, Oren R. Earl, Thomas H. Austin, Alvin Law- 
rence, Hiram Walker (two years), Luther H. Conklin. 
Hiram W. Loomis, Charles S. Cheever, Benjamin G. Rob- 
bins, Morgan L. Marshall (1808 to 1872 inclusive), John 
Davis (1873), Albert F. Smith (1874-75), Henry J. 
Daggett (1876). 

The following are the present officers of the society: A. 
C. Mattoou, of Oswego, president ; L. M. Tyler, of Pulaski, 


vice-president; L. H. Conklin, of Mexico, treasurer; H. 
L. Barton, of Mexico, secretary; Romayne C. Robertson, 
Washington T. Henderson, William H. Lansing, Seymour 
C. Davis, Elihu Trowbridge, and R. E. Sill, directors. 

Any resident of the county who pays one dollar to the 
treasurer becomes a stockholder and member for the current 
year, and a payment of ten dollars constitutes a person a 
life-member and stockholder. A generous premium-list, 
amounting to over two thousand dollars (of which near a 
hundred dollars are set apart for exhibitors under fifteen 
years of age), stimulates the zeal of exhibitors, and a large 
attendance at each annual meeting rewards the liberality of 
the managers. 

Oswego Falls Agricultural Society. — The old 
Oswego County agricultural society having been perma- 
nently located in Mexico in 1855, a large number of citi- 
zens in the western part of the county were very much 
dissatisfied with the manner in which that proceeding was 
accomplished. The next year they accordingly organized 
an association of their own, to which they gave the old 
name of the Oswego County Agricultural Society, claiming 
that the prior organization of the Mexico society was fraud- 
ulent and void. We have no list of the first officers, but 
the first fair was held at New Haven in September, 1856. 

In 1858, Hon. Joel Turrill was president, and John A. 
Place was secretary, and the fair was held at Oswego Palls. 
The first full list of ofiBcers we find on the society's books 
is that of those elected in 1858 for the ensuing year, and 
was as follows : President, Joel Turrill ; Vice-Presidents, 
John W. Pratt and Orson Titus ; Treasurer, Samuel G. 
Merriam ; Recording Secretary, J. U. Smith ; Correspond- 
ing Secretary, R. K. Sanford ; Executive Committee, 
Charles E. Case, M. S. Kimball, John Reeves ; Finance 
Committee, John E. Button, A. G. Fish, E. Harrison. 

Persons residing in the towns of Lysander, Onondaga 
county, and Ira and Sterling, Cayuga county, were invited 
to join the society. Thenceforth the fairs were held at 
Oswego Falls. Legal steps were taken to assert the right 
of this association to the name of Oswego County Agricul- 
tural Society, and the consequent emoluments, but it hav- 
ing been finally concluded that the association which met 
at Mexico had the first claim to that name, the one now 
under consideration took the name of Oswego County In- 
dependent Agricultural Society. 

It continued to prosper, and its fairs were attended by 
large numbers of people from the towns of this and other 
counties. In 1862 or 1863, finding its name inconve- 
niently long, it adopted that of Oswego Falls Agricultural 
Society, which it has ever since borne. On the 29th of 
April, 1868, an act of incorporation was passed by the 
legislature, of which the two first and most important sec- 
tions were as follows : 

"Section 1. The association heretofore known as the 
Oswego Falls Agricultural Society is hereby incorporated 
as an agricultural society, under the corporate name of 
' The Oswego Falls Agricultural Society,' and shall consist 
of such citizens of the towns of Constantia, West Monroe, 
Hastings, Palermo, New Haven, Scriba, Oswego city; 
towns of Oswego, Hannibal, Granby, Schroeppcl, and Vol- 
ney, in the county of Oswego; the towns of Clay and Ly- 

sander, in the county of Onondaga ; and the towns of Ira, 
Sterling, Cato, Conquest, and Victory, in the county of 
Cayuga, as have heretofore paid at one time, or shall here- 
after pay to the said corporation, the sum of ten dollars. 
The payment of said sum by said citizens shall constitute 
them life-members and stockholders of said corporation, 
and the owners of any and all property, whether real or 
personal, of said society. The life-members or stockholders 
aforesaid shall be the only persons qualified to vote at the 
annual election of said society, or eligible to hold any office 
in said corporation; and the object of said corporation shall 
be to improve the condition of agriculture, horticulture, and 
the mechanical and household arts. 

" Section 2. The officers of the society shall consist of 
a president, two vice-presidents, a secretary, and a treasurer, 
who shall be elected annually, and hold their offices for one 
year, and until others shall be elected in their stead ; and 
six trustees, who shall be elected for three years each, as 
often as vacancies occur in said office of trustee, and shall 
respectively hold their offices until others are appointed in 
their stead." 

The provisions restricting the voting to those who paid 
ten dollars each was doubtless intended to prevent any 
" snap judgments" being taken, by manufacturing voters 
ofi'-hand, and has admirably succeeded. The fairs are 
required by law to be held at or near Oswego Falls. 
The corporation is capable of holding real estate, for the 
purposes mentioned in the act, to the amount of fifteen 
thousand dollars, and personal estate to the amount of five 
thousand dollars. 

Being permitted to recruit from eighteen prosperous 
towns and the city of Oswego, the society in question has 
attained great success, though receiving no aid from the 
State. About twenty-five acres of land have been purchased 
and fitted up as a fair-ground, on the pleasant shore of 
Lake Neahtawanta, near the Oswego Falls depot of the 
Syracuse and Oswego railroad. The main building, a very 
commodious and elegant structure, was erected in 1873, at 
a cost of about seven thousand dollars. It is two stories 
high, and in the form of a cross ; the length of the sections 
being respectively one hundred and one hundred and 
twenty feet. A broad gallery runs entirely around the in- 
side of the second story, approached by three ample stair- 
ways ; the whole being lighted by a large cupola and nu- 
merous windows. 

The receipts from fairs are from four thousand to six 
thousand dollars annually, about half of which is distributed 
in premiums, and the rest used for necessary expenditures. 
The following is a list of the presidents, except in the two 
first years, as to which the records are defective : Joel 
Turrill, 1858-60 ; Messrs. Orson Titus, C. G., and 
F. D. Wagenen served for brief periods in 1860, after the 
death of Mr. Turrill; A. G. Fish, 1861-62; Gardner 
Wood, 1863-64 ; Robert Oliver, 1865 ; John H. Mann, 
1866; Robert Oliver, 1867-68; John H. Mann, 1869-71 ; 
0. Henderson, 1871-76 ; H. H. Merriam, 1877. 

The following are the present officers: President, H H. 
Meri'iam, Oswego Falls ; Vice-Presidents, B. Doolittle, 
Oswego ; W. Johnson, Fulton ; Secretary, Amos Youmans, 
Fulton ; Treasurer, Charles R. Nichols, Fulton ; Trustees 



and Executive Committee, T. K. Wri-iht, Granby ; A. 
Grejrg, Peiinelville ; R. Walpole, Jr., Oswego; T. G. 
Somcrs, Oswego Falls ; Isaac R. Osboni, Ira ; J. P. 
Streeter, Fulton; Marshal, Ambrose Gregg; Chief of 
Police, John W. Pratt. 

The Sandy Creek, Richland, Oravell, and Boyls- 
TON Agricultural Society. — Notwithstanding its top- 
heavy name, this is a very energbtic institution. It was 
organized in the year 1858, its constitution admitting to 
its privileges the inhabitants of the four towns named in its 
title, and also of that part of Ellisburgh, Jefferson county, 
lying south of the road which runs from the line of Lor- 
raine to the town-bridge at Ellis village, and thence down 
the creek to the lake. The payment of one dollar by resi- 
dents within these limits constitutes a person a member for 
the current year. 

The following were the first ofiiccrs of the society : Presi- 
dent, Oren R. Earl; Vice-President, Horace Scripture; 
Secretary, E. H. Sargent ; Assistant Secretary, W. W. 
Alton ; Treasurer, Pitt M. Newton ; General Superintend- 
ent, Minot A. Pruyn. 

])uving its twenty years of existence the society has met 
with continued and most gratifying success. The grounds 
on which fairs are held in September of each year are situ- 
ated at the village of Sandy Creek, and after successive 
additions now comprise twenty-five acres, with the neces- 
sary buildings for the purposes of the society. The follow- 
ing is a list of the officers for the present year, 1877: 
President, Elhanan C. Seeley; Vice-President, Newton B. 
Mann; Secretary, Gilbert N. Harding; Treasurer, Albert 
E. Sherman ; General Superintendent, Edmund H. Sar- 
gent ; Directors, Simon Pruyn, Alexander Potter, Thomas 
Lamb, O.S. Potter, George S. Buell, William G. Hitchcock. 

As an evidence of the success mentioned, it need only be 
said that notwithstanding the " hard times," the receipts of 
the fair last year, 1876, were larger than on any previous 
occasion. The managers have disbursed the amounts thus 
received with liberality and discretion, and a large pre- 
mium-list is yearly offered, covering all the products of the 
farm, from matched horses to matchless babies. 



The Twenty-fourth Brigade— Brigade Staff Officers of the Forty- 
eighth Regiment— Company Olficers— Cavalry Troop- The Ar- 
senal—Location and Dimensions— The Arms— Trophies of Sliill. 

The following organizations constitute the Twenty- 
fourth brigade, National Guard, State of New York, with 
headquartei-s at Oswego : Forty-eighth Regiment, Oswego ; 
Fifty-first Regiment, Syracuse ; Separate Troop cavalry. Os- 
wego ; battery of artillery, Syracuse. 

Number of officers and men in the Twenty-fourth bri- 
gade, one thousand and seventy. Brigadier-General, Tim- 
othy Sullivan ; Lieutenant-Colonel E. A. Cooke, Assistant 
Adjutant-General ; Major E. A. Van Home, Inspector ; 
Major Carrington Macfiulane, Surgeon ; Major G. N. Burt, 

Judge Advocate; Major H. N. White, Engineer; Captain 
J. T. Mott, Quartermaster ; Captain G. T. Lyon, (!ommis- 
sary ; Captain G. W. (ioble. Ordnance Officer; Captain E. 
G. Baxter, A. D. C. ; Lieutenant James D. Macfarlane, 
A. T). C. 

Forty-eighth Regiment, field and staff: Colonel, George 
Hugunin ; Lieutenant-Colonel, C. V. Houghton; Major, J. 

E. Fisher ; Adjutant, H. C. Thompson ; Quartermaster, 
Chester Penfield ; Commissary, D. H. Judson ; Surgeon, S. 

F. V. Whited ; Assistant Surgeon, D. F. Acker ; luspectur 
of Rifle Practice, Alverson Curtiss. 

Company officers : A, Captain, H. H. Horron ; First 

Lieutenant, J. S. Barton ; Second Lieutenant, T. W. Qoodsell. 

B (Hannibal), Captain L. P. Storms ; First Lieutenant, 

G. V. Emeus; Second Lieutenant, Joseph Albring. 

C, First Lieutenant, John Miller; Second Lieutenant, 
Jacob Snyder. 

D, Captiiin, Laurence Johnson ; First Lieutenant, John 
Shepard ; Second Lieutenant, John J. White. 

E, Captain, Prank D. Waugh; First Lieutenant, Charles 
R. Parkinson. 

F, Second Lieutenant, Frank J. Baltes. 

G, Captain, John Ratigan. 

H, Lieutenant, Walter Stebbins. 

I (Mexico), Captain, E. L. Huntington ; First Lieuten- 
ant, H. M. Ames ; Second Lieutenant, F. B. Gregory. 

K, Captain, Thomas Quirk ; Second Lieutenant, Charles 
S. Peckham. Number of officers and men, five hundred 
and thirteen. 

Separate Troop cavalry, Twenty-fourth brigade: Captain, 
William S. Turner ; First Lieutenant, Charles S. Newell ; 
Second Lieutenant, Henry Sivers ; Second Lieutenant, A. 
A. Wellington. Number of officers and men, sixty-two. 

The Arsenal. — This home of the Forty-eighth Regi- 
ment, which is also the present headquarters of the Twenty- 
fourth brigade, is a very fine, substantial brick building, 
with a Mansard roof and tower, situated on East First 
street, between Oneida and Mohawk, in the city of Oswego, 
and facing the Oswego river, a few rods away. It is a 
hundred and seventy feet long by a hundred feet deep. 
The greater part of the building is occupied by a drill-room, 
seventy feet-by a hundred and seventy, and extending to the 
roof In front of this the lower story is occupied by separate 
rooms for each of several companies ; the second story by 
other company rooms, and by regimental and brigade head- 
quarters ; the third story by the separate troop of cavalry. 

The arms and uniforms of the men are kept in their re- 
spective company rooms. Remington breech -loading rifles 
with bayonets are the weapons of the infantry ; sabres and 
Remington carbines those of the cavalry. Numerous prizes 
are displayed in various rooms, attesting the prowess of 
Oswego County men in rifle^hooting within the piust few 
years. Two of these were first prizes presented by the 
State for victories won by the Forty-eighth Regiment over 
all the other regiments of the Sixth division in 1875 and 
1876. Two others were the third prize, won at Creedmoor 
in a State contest in 1875, and the second prize similariy 
obtained in 1876. There are also trophies snatched from 
Canadian rivals, and one obtained by the cavalrymen in a 
contest at Syracuse. 




State Officers from Oswego County — Court of Appeals and Supreme 
Court — Members of Congress — Presidential Electors — First Judges 
of the Common Pleas — County Judges — Special County Judges — 
Associate Judges of the Common Picas — Justices of Sessions — 
Surrogates — Special Surrogates — District Attorneys— SherifTs — 
County Clerks— County Treasurers— State Senators— Members of 
Assembly — Superintendents and Commissioners of Schools. 

State officers from Oswego County are as follows : Henry 
Fitzhugli, of Oswego city, was elected canal commissioner 
in November, 1851, for three years, and re-elected in 1854, 
serving until December 31, 1S57. 

Andrew H. Calhoun, of Oswego city, was appointed 
canal appraiser by the governor and senate, July 1, 1850, 
and served until April 5, 1855. 

William F. Allen, then of New York, but previously and 
subsequently of Oswego, was elected State comptroller in 
November, 1867, and held office from January 1, 1868, till 
June, 1870, when he was elected judge of the court of 

John Cochrane, formerly a resident of Oswego, served as 
attorney-general in 1864: and 1865. 

Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. — Previous to the 
constitution of 1847, there had been no supreme court or 
circuit judges from Oswego County. Under that constitu- 
tion Oswego County was united with Jeiferson, Lewis, Her- 
kimer, Oneida, and Onondaga, to form the fifth judicial 
district, and elected four justices of the supreme court, — one 
to be chosen every two years, and those first elected to draw 
for terms. 

In June, 1847, William F. Allen, of Oswego city, was 
elected, and drew an eight-years' term. In 1855 he was 
re-elected, and served till December 31, 1863. 

Henry A. Foster, of Oneida county (ex-congressman and 
ex-United States senatorj, was elected in his place, and soon 
afterwards removed to Oswego, where he lived throughout 
his term of office, which expired December 31, 1871, and 
whore he still resides. 

By the judiciary amendment to the constitution, adopted 
in 1869, a new court of appeals of seven members was pro- 
vided for, the judges to hold fourteen years. 

William F. Allen, of Oswego, was elected one of the first 
judges of the new court in May, 1870, and still holds that 

Members of Congress. — By an act of the legislature passed 
in April, 1822, Oswego County was made a part of the 
twentieth congressional district, which also embraced Jef- 
ferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties, and elected two 
members of Congress. Previous to this the sections east 
and west of the Oswego river liad been joined in represen- 
tation respectively with Oneida and Onondaga counties, and 
no member had been a resident of the present territory of 
Oswego County. At the election in 1824, Egbert Ten 
Eyck, of Jefferson county, received one of the certificates, 
but on contest his seat was awarded, in December, 1825, to 
General Daniel Hugunin, of Oswego, who held till March, 
1827. He was succeeded by Rudolph Bunner, of Oswego, 
in the Congress of 1827-2!i. 

George Fisher, of Oswego, received a certificate for next 

term (1829-31), but his seat, on contest, was awarded in 
December, 1829, to Silas Wright, Jr., of St. Lawrence, who, 
however, declined to accept it. and another St. Lawrence 
county man was elected the next spring. There was no 
one from Oswego County in the Congrats of 1831-33. 

By law of June 29, 1832, Oneida and Oswego counties 
formed the seventeenth congressional district, with two mem- 
bers. Those from Oswego County were as follows : 

Joel Turrill, of Oswego, 1833-35. Re-elected for 1835- 

Abraham P. Grant, of Oswego, 1837-39. 

David P. Brewster, of Oswego, 1839-41. Re-elected for 

By a law passed in September, 1842, Madison and Os- 
wego counties formed the twenty-third congressional district, 
with one member. Those counties have composed one dis- 
trict ever since ; but in 1851 its number was changed to the 
twenty-second, and in 1871 it was changed back to the 
twenty-third. The representatives have been as follows : 

Orville Robinson, of Mexico, 1843-45 ; William J. 
Hough, of Madison county, 1845-47 ; William Duer, of Os- 
wego, 1847-49 ; re-elected for 1849-51 ; Leander Babcock, 
of Oswego, 1851-53; Gerrit Smith, of Madison county, 
1853-54; resigned November, 1854; Henry C. Goodwin, 
of Oswego, elected in place of Smith, 1854-55 ; Andrew Z. 
McCarty, of Pulaski, 1855-57; Henry C. Goodwin, of 
Oswego, 1857-59 ; M. Lindley Lee, of Fulton, 1859-61 ; 
William E. Lan.sing, of Madison county, 1861-63 ; De Witt 
C. Littlejohn, of Oswego, 1863-65 ; Sidney T. Holmes, of 
Madison county, 1865-67 ; John C. Churchill, of 0.swego, 
1867-69 ; re-elected for 1869-71 ; William E. Lansing, of 
Madison county, 1871-73; re-elected for 1873-75; Wil- 
liam H. Baker, of Constantia, 1875-77 ; re-elected for 

Fresidential Electors from Oswego County, with date 
of elections. — Theophilus S. Morgan, of Oswego, 18.32 ; 
Peter Pratt, of Mexico, 1840 ; Henry Potts, of Williams- 
town, 1844 ; Delos De Wolf, of Oswego, 1852 ; Daniel H. 
Marsh, of Oswego, 1856 ; Thomas Kingsford, of Oswego, 
1864 ; Delos De Wolf, of Oswego (elector at large), 1868 ; 
John E. Lyon, of Oswego, 1872; Bartholomew Lynch, of 
Oswego, 1876. 

First Judges of the Courts of Common Pleas, loith date 
of appointment. — Baruet Jlooney, of Granby, March 21 , 
1816; John Grant, Jr., of Oswego, June 1, 1820; Joel 
Turrill, of Oswego, April 2, 1828 ; David P. Brewster, of 
Oswego, April 15, 1833 ; Samuel B. Ludlow, of Oswego, 
May 11, 1841. 

CounfT/ Judges elected for four years, with time of enter- 
ing on office. — Orla H. Whitney, Mexico, June, 1847 ; 
Ransom H. Tyler, Fulton, January 1, 1852; Sylvester C. 
Huntington, Pulaski, January 1, 1856 ; John C. Churchill, 
Oswego, January 1, 1860 ; Ransom H. Tyler, Fulton, Jan- 
uary 1, 1864; Cyrus Whitney, Mexico, January 1, 1868; 
elected for six years; Cyrus Whitney, Oswego, January, 

Special County Judges, elected for three years, with time 
of entering on office. — Benjamin F. Rhodes, Pulaski, Jan- 
uary 1, 1855 ; Dennis D. McCoon, Schroeppel, January 1, 
1858 ; De Witt C. Peck, Mexico, January 1, 1861 ; James 


W. Fenton, Pulaski, January 1, 18G4 ; re-elected 18G7 ; 
Andrew Z. McCarty, Pulaski, January 1, 1870; John 
Preston, Pulaski, January 1, 1873; Henry A. Brainard, 
Sehroeppel, January 1, 1876. 

Axsociale Judges of the Common J'ltas, icilh years of 
service. — Peter D. Hugunin, Oswego, 181G-26, inclusive; 
Edmund Hawks, Oswego town, 1816-18; Daniel Hawks, 
Jr., Hannibal, 1816-17; Smith Dunlap, Sandy Creek, 
181G-1<» ; Henry Williams, Williamstown, 1816-17, 1821- 
22, 1824-26 ; D.ivid Easton, New Haven, 1816-17 ; Orris 
Hart, New Haven, 1817-20; William Hale, Richland, 
1817-19; David S. Bates, Constantia, 1820-21; James 
Bill, Oswego, 1820-21 ; John Seeber, Richland, 1820-21 ; 
Samuel Farnham, Hannibal, 1820-21 ; John S. Davis, 
Richland, 1821-22; Oliver Burdick, Volney, 1821-22; 
Chester Hayden, Richland, 1822-23; Joseph Easton, Vol- 
ney, 1822-30, inclusive ; Hastings Curtiss, Hastings, 1823- 
25, 1828-29 ; Simeon Meacham, Richland, 1828-31 ; 
Avery Skinner, Mexico, 1828-31, 1835-38 ; John Rey- 
nolds, Orwell, 1829-34, inclusive; Lovewell Johnson, Pa- 
lermo, 1832-36 ; Samuel Freeman, Williamstown, 1832- 
42, inclusive ; Hiram Hubbell, Pulaski, 1835-39; Enoch 
Hibbai-d, Volney, 1837—16, inclusive; Elias Brewster, 
Mexico, 1839^3 ; Samuel B. Ludlow, Oswego, 1840-45, 
inclusive; Thomas S. Meacham, Sandy Creek, 1841-45, 
inclusive; Huntington Fitch, Hastings, 1843^7; Julian 
Carter, Constantia, 1844-47 ; Orla H. Whitney, Mexico, 
1846-47; John M. Watson, Pulaski, 1846-47. 

Justices of Sessions, ivilh the years of service of each 
justice. — John M. Casey, Oswego, 1 848 ; L. Thayer, 
Parish, 1848-50, 1861-63; Norman Rowe, New Haven, 
1849, 1856; Robert Simpson, Scriba, 1850, 1863; John 
Wart, Boy Iston, 1851, 1852; John B. Higgins, Mexico, 
1851; Mason Salisbury, Sandy Creek, 1852, 1855; Ed- 
ward S. Reed, Albion, 1853 ; Samuel A. Comstock, 
Albion, 1853; Ezra Green, Palermo, 1854, 1856; John 
Vandenburgh, Constantia, 1854 ; Edison Wilder, Sandy 
Creek, 1855; Lewis F. Devendorf, Hastings, 1857; 
Marcus Patterson, West Monroe, 1857 ; Benjamin N. Hin- 
man, Hannibal, 1858, 18G0-62 ; Nelson J. Williams, 
Boylston, 1858; Caleb L. Carr, Williamstown, 1859-60; 
Hiram M. Stevens, Sandy Creek, 1859 ; Alvin Richardson, 
Mexico, 1864; Fowler H. BeiTy, Amboy, 1864; Alvin 
Osborn, Oswego, 1865 ; Mars Nearing, Hastings, 1865 ; 
Henry M. Barrett, Hannibal, 18G6 ; John Shepard, Albion, 
1866; William Congdon, Scriba, 1867, 1873; Marcus 
Patterson, West Monroe, 1867 ; Levi Brackett, Hannibal, 
1868 ; Jesse W. Cross, Orwell, 1868 ; R. George Bassett, 
Volney, 1869-70; Andrew S. Coey, Redfield, 1869-70, 
1875 ; James G. Caldwell, West Monroe, 1871 ; Joseph 
W. Phillips, West Monroe, 1871 ; Abraham David, Parish, 
1872; Edmund Potter, Parish, 1872,1874, 1877; Noel 
A. Gardner, Amboy. 1873 ; William R. Potts, Williams- 
town, 1874; F. W. Squires, North Volney, 1875; Henry 
L. Cole, Mexico, 1876; Cornelius Edick, Parish, 1876: 
Isaac R. Parkhurst, Scriba, 1877. 

Surrogates appointed, icith date of appointment. — Elias 
Brewster, of Mexico, March 21, 1816 ; Abraham P. Vos- 
burgh, of Fulton, February 17, 1817 ; Orris Hart, of New 
Haven, April 8, 1819 ; Chester Hayden, of Oswego, 1820; 

James A. Davis, of Pulaski, March 28, 1S23; Joseph 
Helme, of Pulaski, March 27, 1826 ; Orville Robinson, of 
Mexico, March 5, 1830; Joseph Torrcy, of Mexico, Feb- 
ruary 9, 1834 ; Joel Turrill, of Oswego, February 8, 1843 ; 
Orris Hart, of Oswego, November 3, 1845; William P. 
Curtis, of Fulton, October 1, 1846; county judge per- 
formed duties of surrogate from 1847 to 1852. 

Surrogates, elected for four years, with dale of entering 
on office. — James Brown, of Oswego, January 1, 1852; 
Amos G. Hull, of Fulton, January 1, 1856, re-elected ; 
Timothy W. Skinner, of Mexico, January 1, 1864 ; Henry 
L. Howe, of Sandy Creek, January 1, 1868; Timothy W. 
Skinner, of Mexico, January 1, 1872, elected for six years. 

Special Surrogates, elected for three years, toith date of 
entry on office. — William Sanders, of Cleveland, January 1, 
1855 ; Joshua B. Randall, of Hastings, January 1, 1858, 
re-elected; William W. Scribner, of Oswego, January 1, 
1864; Francis David, of Sehroeppel, January 1, 18G7, re- 
elected ; William H. Kenyon, of Sehroeppel, January 1, 
1873 ; W. B. Smith, of Pulaski, January 1, 1876. 

District Attorneys appointed, with date of appointment. 
—James F. Wright, Oswego, April 17, 1820 ; Samuel B. 
Beach, Oswego, February 19, 1821 ; David P. Brewster, 
Oswego, 1829 ; Abraham P. Grant, Oswego, 1836 ; Orville 
Robinson, Mexico, 1841 ; Leander Babcock, Oswego, 1843 ; 
William Duer, Oswego, 1845. 

Elected for terms of three years, with date of entrance 
on office. — Ransom H. Tyler, Fulton, June, 1847 ; John 
B. Higgins, Oswego, January 1, 1851 ; Archibald N. Lud- 
dington, Fulton, January 1, 1854 ; John C. Churchill, Os- 
wego, January 1, 1857; George G. French, Mexico, Jan- 
uary I, 1860; William H. Baker, Constantia, January 1, 
1863 , Sylvanus C. Huntington, Pulaski, January 1, 1866; 
William H. Baker, Constantia, appointed (in place of Hun- 
tington, resigned) in the spring of 1866, elected for full 
term in the fall of 1866; Newton W. Nutting, Oswego, 
January 1, 1870; John J. Lamorce, Oswego, January 1, 
1873, releeted. 

Sheriffs appointed, with date of appointment. — John S. 
Davis, Pulaski, March 21, 1816; Peter Pratt, Mexico, 
February 4, 1820 ; Orris Hart, New Haven, February 13, 

Elected by the people for three years, icilh date of enter- 
ing on the office. — Orris Hart, Oswego, January 1, 1823; 
Asa Dudley, Oswego town, January 1,1826; Hastings 
Curtiss, Hastings, January 1, 1829; William Hale, Pu- 
laski, January 1, 1832; Jonathan Case, Fulton, January 
1, 1835 ; Jabcz H. Gilbert, Orwell, January 1, 1838 ; Nor- 
man Rowe, New Haven, January 1, 1841 ; Marinus W. 
Matthews, Pulaski, January 1, 1844; Horatio J.Carey, 
Oswego (appointed in place of Matthews, deceased ), Decem- 
ber 5, 1844; Alvin Lawrence, Mexico, January 1, 1846; 
Norman Rowe, New Haven, January 1, 1849; George W. 
Stillwell, Orwell, January 1 , 1852 ; Rufus Hawkins, Oswego, 
January 1, 1855; Charles A. Perkins, Constantia, Jan- 
ary 1, 1858; Sidney M. Tucker, Pulaski, January 1, 1861 ; 
Robert D. Gillespie, Ricldand, January 1, 1864; Sidney 
M. Tucker, Oswego, January 1, 1867; James Doyle, Os- 
wego, January 1, 1870; Henry II. Lyman, Pulaski, Jan- 
uary 1, 1873; Frank S. Low, Pulaski. January 1, 1876. 



County Clerks appointed, with date of appointment. — 
James Adams, Oswego town, March 1, 1816 ; Joseph Davis, 
Oswego, March 19, 1818; Smith Dunlap, Sandy Creek, 
February 19, 1821. 

Elected hy the people for terms of three years, with date 
of entering on the office. — Hiram Hubbell, Pulaski, Janu- 
ary 1, 1823; T. S. Morgan, Oswego, January 1, 1826; 
Thomas C. Baker, Pulaski, January 1, 1829 ; Erie Poor, 
Oswego, January 1, 1852 ; Marinus W. Matthews, Pulaski, 
January 1, 1835; Daniel H. Marsh, Oswego, January 1, 
1838 ; Andrew Z. McCarty, Pulaski, January 1, 1841 ; 
John Carpenter, Oswego, January 1, 1844; Jabez H. Gil- 
bert, Pulaski, January 1, 1847 ; Philander Kathbun, Oswego, 
January 1, 1850; Edwin M. Hill, Pulaski, January 1, 
1853 ; Henry S. Conde, Hastings, January 1, 1856 ; Samuel 
R. Taylor, Oswego, January 1, 1859 ; Edward N. Rath- 
bun, Oswego, January 1, 1862 ; Bernice L. Doane, Pulaski, 
January 1, 1805; Manister Worts, Oswego, January 1, 
1868 ; John J. Stephens, Oswego town, January 1, 1871 ; 
Brainard Nelson, Oswego, January 1, 1874 ; Daniel E. 
Taylor, Granby, January 1, 1877. 

County Treasurers, appointed hy the Council of Ap- 
pointment. — Peter Pratt, of Mexico, 1816 ; Elias Brewster, 
of Mexico, 1820. 

Appointed hy the Board of Supervisors under the Consti- 
tution o/1821. — Avery Skinner, of Mexico, 1827; Robert 
A. Stitt, 1839 ; Starr Clark, 1840 ; Robert A. Stitt, 1841 ; 
Hiram Walker, 1846. 

By the constitution of 1846, county treasurers were 
to be elected by the people for terms of three years. Those 
of Oswego County, with the respective dates of their enter- 
ing on the office, have been Samuel H. Stone, of Mexico, 
January 1, 1849, re-elected; Henry C. Peck, of Mexico, 
January 1, 1855 ; Luther H. Conklin, of Mexico, January 
1, 1858, re-elected each succeeding term ; is now serving 
his seventh term. 

State Senators. — There were no senators from Oswego 
until after the constitution of 1821. By that instrument 
the State was divided into eight senatorial districts. The 
fifth district included Oswego, with which were joined Jef- 
ferson, Lewis, Oneida, and Madison, also Herkimer until 
1836, when it was transferred to the fourth district, and 
Otsego annexed to the fifth. Each district elected four 
senators for four years, one each year ; but on the first elec- 
tion they necessarily drew for terms. 

In 1822, Alvin Bronson, of Oswego, was elected, and 
drew a two-years' term, serving in 1823-24. No senator 
from Oswego County thereafter until 1830. Alvin Bron- 
son, of Oswego, 1830-33. No senator thereafter till 1838. 
Avery Skinner, of Mexico, 1838-41. No senator till 1845. 
Enoch B. Talcott, of Oswego, 1845-47, when his term was 
cut short by the new constitution. 

By the constitution of 1846 the State is divided into 
thirty-two districts, from each of which a senator is elected. 
Under its provisions Madison and Oswego counties formed 
the twentieth senatorial district, which was represented as 
follows : Thomas H. Bond, of Oswego city, 1848-49 ; Asa- 
hel Stone, of Madison county, 1850; resigned, and Moses 
P. Hatch, of Oswego city, elected in his place, serving in 
1851 ; James Piatt, of Oswego city, 1852-53 ; Simon C. 

Hitchcock, of Madison county, 1854-55 ; M. Liudley Lee, 
of Fulton, 1856-57. 

By the apportionment act of 1857 Oswego County alone 
became the twentieth senatorial district. The following 
were the senators therefrom : Cheney Ames, of Oswego, 
1858-59; Andrew S. Warner, of Pulaski, 1860-61; 
Richard K. Sanford, of Fulton, 1862-63 ; Cheney Ames, 
of Oswego, 1864-65 ; John J. Wolcott, of Volney, 1866- 

By the act of 1866 Oswego and Madison counties were 
again united as the twenty-first senatorial district, and so 
remain. The following gentlemen have represented that 
district in the senate : Abner C. Mattoon, of Oswego, 1868- 
69; William H. Brand, of Madison county, 1870-71; 
William Poster, of Constantia, 1872-73 ; Charles Kellogg, 
of Madison county, 1874-75; Benjamin Doolittle, of Os- 
wego, 1876-77. 

Memhers of Assemhly elected for one year, with years of 
service. — Barnet Blooney, of Granby (then Hannibal), 
1810 (elected from Onondaga county), 1812, 1814; The- 
ophiius S. Morgan, of Oswego, 1820 (district of Oneida 
and Oswego) ; William Root (?), 1821 (district of Oneida 
and Oswego) ; Peter Pratt, of Mexico, 1822 (district of 
Oneida and Oswego) ; Theophilus S. Morgan, of Oswego, 
1823 (Oswego county alone) ; Hastings Curtis, of Has- 
tings, 1824; Chester Hayden, of Oswego, 1825 ; Henry 
Williams, of Williamstown, 1826; Orris Hart, of New 
Haven, 1827-28 ; George F. Falley, of Fulton, 1829 ; Hi- 
ram Hubbell, of Richland, 1830 ; Joel Turrill, of Oswego, 
1831 ; Avery Skinner, of Mexico, 1832-33 ; Orville Robin- 
son, of Mexico, 1834 ; Jesse Crowell, of Albion, 1835-36. 

By act passed in 1836, Oswego County was allowed two 
members of assembly, both elected for whole county. Or- 
ville Robinson, of Mexico, and Caleb Carr, of Williamstown, 
represented the county in 1837 ; Arvin Rice, of Hannibal, 
and John M. Richardson, of Mexico, 1838 ; Samuel Haw- 
ley, of Oswego, and Edward B. Judson, of Constantia, 
1839 ; William Duer, of Oswego, and Peter Devendorf, of 
Hastings, 1840-41 ; Peter Devendorf, of Hastings, and 
Robert C. Kenyon, of Fulton, 1842; William F. Allen, of 
Oswego, and Alban Strong, of Orwell, 1843-44; Thomas 
Skelton, of Hannibal, and L. Thayer, of Parish, 1845 ; 
Thomas Skelton, of Hannibal, and Reuben Drake, of Red- 
field, 1846 ; Orrin R. Earl, of Sandy Creek, and M. Lind- 
ley Lee, of Fulton, 1847. 

Henceforth the county was divided into two assembly 
districts. The first comprised Granby, Hannibal, Oswego 
city and town, New Haven, Schroeppel, Scriba, and Volney. 
The second embraced Albion, Amboy, Boylston, Mexico, 
New Haven, Orwell, Palermo, Parish, Redfield, Richland, 
Sandy Creek, West Monroe, and Williamstown. The 
names of members will be given in the order of their dis- 
tricts : M. Lindley Lee, of Fulton, and Andrew Z. McCarty, 
of Pulaski, 1848 ; Henry Fitzhugh, of Oswego, and Ed- 
ward W. Fox, of Richland, 1849 ; William Lewis, Jr., of 
Oswego, and Luke D. Smith, of Mexico, 1850 ; Moses P. 
Hatch, of Oswego (resigned, and Wm. P. Curtis took his 
place), and BeTijamin F. Lewis, of Redfield, 1851 ; Edwin 
C. Hart, of Oswego, and James T. Gibson, of Albion, 
1852 ; De Witt C. Littlejohn, of Oswego, and Charles A. 


Porkins, of Constantia, 1853 ; De Witt C. Littlojohn, of 
Oswego, and Azariah Wart, of Boylston, 1854 ; Do Witt C. 
Littlojohn, of Oswego, and Jacob M. Solden, of Williams- 
town (contosted by Andrew S. Warner, of Pulaski, to whom 
seiit was awarded), 1855; Orville Robinson, of Oswego 
(chosen speaker on the forty-seventh ballot), and Andrew 
S. Warner, of Pulaski, 1856; De Witt C. Littlejohn, of 
Oswego, and Leonard Ames, of Mexico, 1857. 

By an act passed in 1857, Oswego County was allotted 
three members of assembly, and the supervisors appor- 
tioned the districts as follows : First, Oswego city and 
town, Hannibal and Scriba ; second, Constantia, Granby, 
Hastings, Palermo, Schroeppel, Volney, West Monroe ; 
third, Albion, Amboy, Boylston, Mexico, New Haven, 
Orwell, Parish, RedfielU, Richland, Sandy Creek. 

William Baldwin, of Oswego, John J. Wolcott, of Ful- 
ton, and Chauncey S. Sage, of Willianistown, represented 
the three districts, respectively, in 1858. 

De Witt C. Littlejohn, of Oswego (elected speaker), 
James J. Coit, of Hastings, and Beman Brockway, of Pu- 
laski, 1859 ; De Witt C. Littlejohn, of Oswego (re-elected 
speaker), William H. Carter, of Hastings, and Robert S. 
Kelsey, of Now Haven, 18G0 ; De Witt C. Littlejohn, of 
Oswego (re-elected speaker), Richard K. Sanford, of Ful- 
ton, and Mason Salisbury, of Sandy Creek, 1861 ; Elias 
Root, of Oswego, Willard Johnson, of Fulton, and Benja- 
min E. Bowen, of Mexico, 1862 ; Abner C. Mattoon, of 
Oswego, Hiram W. Loomis, of Palermo, and Harvey 
Palmer, of Parish, 1SG3 and 1864 ; Elias Root, of Oswego, 
Richard K. Sanford, of Fulton, and Avery W. Severance, 
of New Haven, 1865 ; De Witt C. Littlejohn, of Oswego, 
AVilliam H. Rice, of Hastings, and John Parker, of Orwell, 
1866 ; De Witt C. Littlejohn, of Oswego, William H. Rice, 
of Hastings, and Charles McKinney, of Redfield, 1867 ; 
John A. Place, of Oswego, James D. Lasher, of Fulton, 
and Alvin R. Richardson, of Mexico, 1868; Benjamin 
Doolittle, of Oswego, James D. Lasher, of Fulton, and 
Nathan B. Smith, of Pulaski, 1869 ; De Witt C. Little- 
john, of Oswego, Abraham Howe, of Fulton, and John 
Parker, of Orwell, 1870 ; De Witt C. Littlejohn, of Os- 
wego, Abraham Howe, of Fulton, and Chauncey S. Sage, 
of Williamstown, 1871; Daniel G. Fort, of Oswego, Thos. 
W. Green, of Coughdenoy, and Chauncey S. Sage, of Wil- 
liamstown, 1872; Daniel G. Fort, of Oswego, Willard 
Johnson, of Fulton, and Justin L. Bulkley, of Sandy 
Creek, 1873 ; George B. Sloan, of Oswego, Willard John- 
son, of Fulton, and Justin L. Bulkley, of Sandy Creek, 
1874 ; Alanson S. Page, of Oswego, Willard Johnson, of 
Fulton, and Henry J. Daggett, of New Haven, 1875 ; 
George B. Sloan, of Oswego, Thos. W. Green, of Hastings, 
and John Preston, of Pulaski, 1876 ; George B. Sloan, of 
Oswego (elected speaker), George M. Case, of Fulton, and 
De Witt C. Peck, of Mexico, 1877. 

Siq^erinteiidents and Commissiuners of Schools. — By a 
law passed in the spring of 1843, each board of supervisors 
was authorized to appoint one or two county superintend- 
ents of schools. Dr. Otis W. Randall, of Granby, was 
appointed fur the western district of Oswego, and D. P. 
Tallmage, of Pulaski, fur the eastern. In 1845 the districts 
were consolidated, and Randall was re-appointed. Resigned, 

and Baker, of Orwoll, appointed. Law repealed in 


By a law passed in the spring of 1856 the office of com- 
missioner of common schools was created. The first incum- 
bents were to be appointed by the supervisors, and to hold 
till December 31, 1857, when commissioners were to be 
elected by the people for terms of three years. That part 
of Oswego County outside the city was divided into two 
districts, the first comprising Oswego town, Hannibal, 
Granby, Scriba, Volney, Schroeppel, Palermo, New Haven, 
and Hastings ; the second comprising the rest of the 

Rev. Theodore M. Bishop, of Fulton, was appointed the 
first commissioner of the first district. He resigned the 
last of 1856, and John A. Place, of Fulton, was appointed, 
holding during 1857. Hiram W. Loomis, of Palermo, was 
elected in the fall of 1857, entering on the office January 
1, 1858. 

James W. Fenton, of Pulaski, was appointed the first 
commissioner of the second district. George F. Woodbury, 
of Orwell, was elected in the autumn of 1857, entering on 
the office January 1, 1858. 

In the autumn of 1858 the supervisors re-organized the 
county into three districts: Oswego town, Hannibal, Gran- 
by, Scriba, Volney, and New Haven, comprising the first 
district ; Schroeppel, Palermo. Hastings, West Monroe, 
Constantia, Amboy, and Parish, the second ; and tlie rest 
of the county the third. This threw Mr. Loomis into the 
second district, of which he continued to act as commis- 
sioner, Mr. Woodbury remaining in charge of the third. 
John A. Place was appointed commissioner of the first dis- 
trict, holding under the appointment till January 1, 1860. 
In the fall of 1859 he was elected to serve out the remain- 
der of the term, which was held to expire with the others, 
Decembers], 1860, and was then re-elected. Since then 
the districts have remained the same, and the commissioners 
have succeeded each other with more regularity than before. 
They have been as follows, with times of entering on office : 

First District. — John A. Place, of Fulton, January 1, 
1861. James W. Parkhurst, of Scriba, January 1, 1864. 
After serving a short time, Mr. Parkhurst resigned, and 
went into the army. Lemuel P. Storms, of Fulton, elected, 
and served remainder of term. David D. Metcalf, of Han- 
nibal, January 1, 1867 ; re-elected. Isaac W. Marsh, of 
Granby, January 1, 1873. Robert Simpson, Jr., of Han- 
nibal, January 1, 1876. 

Second District. — Elias A. Fish, of Schroeppel, January 
1, 1861. Resigned, after serving about a year, and went 
into the army. Willis G. Chaffee, of Palermo, served re- 
mainder of term. Newton W. Nutting, of Parish, Janu- 
ary 1, 1864. Amos J. Richardson, of Palermo, January 
1 , 1867. Byron G. Clapp, of Schroeppel, January 1, 1870. 
William B. Howard, of Schroeppel, January 1, 1873. 
Fowler H. Bony, of Amboy, January 1, 1876. 

Third District. — George F. Woodbury, re-elected, enter- 
ing on second term, January 1, 1861. William S. Goodell, 
of Mexico, January 1, 1864. Orville A. Fobes, of Pulaski, 
January 1, 1867. George F. Woodbury, of Orwell, Janu- 
ary 1, 1870. John W. Ladd, of Mexico, January 1, 1873. 


The early history of the military post at Oswego was so 
closely interwoven with that of the northern frontier that 
it has been given at full length in the general history of the 
county. The history of modern Oswego begins with the 
surrender of Fort Ontario by the British, which occurred 
on the 14th day of July, 1796. John Love and Ziba 
Phillips were either here when the British left or came im- 
mediately afterwards. Little is known of them, except that 
they were engaged in the Indian trade. Phillips left in a 
short time, but an individual named John Love was here 
six years later. He was evidently an obscure person, how- 
ever, as no mention is made of him by the early settlers, 
except in a single instance. 

"~In this year (1796) that part of the present city east of 
Oswego river was in the town of Mexico, Herkimer county, 
while the portion west of the river was in the town of Lysan- 
der, Onondaga county. The main parts of the city on both 
sides of the river were in the State reservation, intended to 
be a mile square, which had been provided for by law while 
the place was still in the hands of the British. The outer 
portion on the west side was in the survey-township of Han- 
nibal, of the Military tract (the political town of Hannibal 
was not yet in existence), while the similar portion on the 
east side was in the two survey-townships of Fredericks- 
burg and Oswego, of Scriba's patent. The distinction be- 
tween survey-townships and political towns must be con- 
stantly kept in mind by any one who wishes to have a clear 
idea of the changes of those early days. 

That same season Neil McMullin, a merchant, of Kings- 
ton, New York, determined to take up his abode at Oswego, 
where he had previously been on business. Anxious to 
provide for his family comfortably, he had the frame of a 
small house constructed at Kingston, and brought it through, 
with his family, over the long, tedious route by way of the 
Mohawk river. Wood creek, Oneida lake, and Oswego river, 
so often traversed by English soldiers and Dutch fur-traders. 
On their arrival the house was erected on the west side, 
near the river-bank, in the centre of the ground afterwards 
occupied by Seneca street. This was the first framed house 
in the place, and McMuUin's was the first family here, after 
the military occupation ceased, of which there is any 
account, though Phillips or Love may possibly have had 
one. Mr. McMullin opened a trade with the Indians, 
which was the only mercantile business possible here at 
that time. 

That same season came Captain Edward O'Connor, an 
Irishman of good education and pleasiiii; ijiuiincrs, who had 
fought for freedom during the Ilrvnliirhm, :iiiil had fol 
lowed the leadership of "Willett in tlic desprrate attempt to 
surju-isc Oswego in the winter of 17S3 (desciibed in the 

general history). He and his family occupied a log house 
at first, but, being fearful of the terrible winters which pre- 
vailed here, removed them to the little settlement at Salt 
Point, now Syracuse, to remain during the cold weather. 
His daughter, afterwards Mrs. Alvin Bronson, was born 
there in the early part of 1797. It is probable the captain 
taught school at Salt Point that winter, as he certainly did 
in subsequent years. If Mr. MoMullin's femily remained 
at Oswego, which is not certain, they must have been sub- 
stantially alone. 

At the session of the legislature in 1797 an act was 
passed directing the surveyor-general to lay out a hundred 
acres on the west side of the Oswego river at its mouth, so 
as to form a public square or market-place at the most 
convenient point. Lots for public buildings were to be 
reserved on the square. House lots to be sixty-six feet 
front by two hundred feet deep. The principal streets 
were to be a hundred feet wide, and cross-streets sixty, and 
a map of the survey was to be deposited in t he surveyor- 
general's ofiice. The lots were directed to be sold at auction, 
but the governor was authorized to reserve for public pur- 
poses any that he saw fit. It was further enacted that the 
town so laid out should be " called forever thereafter by the 
name of Oswego." 

The locality was spoken of in the law as being in the 
town of Lysander and county of Onondaga. That part of 
the present city on the east side of the river, it will be re- 
membered by the reader of the general history, was then 
in the town of Mexico and county of Herkimer. 

The now village was laid out, in accordance with the 
law, during the summer of 1797, under the direction of 
Surveyor-General Simeon De Witt, by Benjamin Wright, 
the surveyor of Scriba's patent. The plat ran from the river 
west nearly to the line of Military lot No. 6, now known as 
the Van Buren tract, and from the lake southward to the 
neighborhood of Oneida street. The streets running north and 
south were named — as now — "First," "Second," "Third," 
" Fourth," etc., but those running east and west received 
entirely different appellations from those they now bear. 
Surveyor-General De Witt was as classical in regard to 
Oswego's streets as he or the land-commissioners had been 
respecting the townships of the Military tract, and the 
constellations of the heavens were utilized as freely as the 
heroes of Greece and Rome had been. Only nine streets 
were named at the time in question, but the number of 
appellations taken from the celestial sphere was afterwards 
increased to fifteen. To promote the clearness of subse- 
quent history we will give the wliole number here. 

The northernmost street laid out in 1797 was Aquila, a 
very short one, which was nearly an eastward extension of 


Bronson street, runnin;;; through to the river, but is now 
closed up. As extended to the east side it is now called 
Mercer street. On the east side, also, still north of Aquila, 
were afterwards laid Auriga street, now De Witt, and Orion 
street, now Mereer. Soutli of Aquila street the ancient 
and modern names are as follows: Lyra street, now Van 
Buren ; Aries street, now Schuyler ; Taurus street, now 
Seneca ; Gemini street, now Cayuga ; Cancer street, now 
Bridge ; Leo street, now Oneida ; Virgo street, now Mo- 
hawk ; Libra street, now Utiea f Scorpio street, now Albany ; 
Sagittarius street, now Erie ; Capricornus street, now Ni- 
agara ; Aiiuarius street, now Ohio. Certtiinly it was not 
Simeon De Witt's fault that Oswego did not become a celes- 
tial city. 

The two blocks now occupied by the public S((uare were re- 
served, in 1797, for that purpose, together with the next one 
to the east. The three blocks north of these, — Nos. 8, 9, and 
10, — bounded by Third and Sixth streets, and by Taurus 
and Aries (now Seneca and Schuyler streets), were reserved 
for public buildings, while the ground between Third and 
Sixth streets, northward from Aries (Schuyler) to the lake, 
— being blocks one to six inclusive, — was set apart for a 

The street-lines of the embryo city were marked by 
blazed trees, for — except where McMullin and O'Connor had 
made little clearings to set their houses — the ground on the 
west side as far up as Ohio street was covered with woods. 
It was mostly second growth, however, as the original 
forest had all been cleared off (except a few scattering trees) 
during the early period before 175G, when large garrisons 
were stationed on the west side of the river. There was 
a similar clearing on the east side, but more recent, it 
having been made afber the establishment of Fort Ontario, 
in 1755. On that side, too, a large tract in the vicinity of 
the fort Iiad been entirely cleared, and had been used as 
garden and grass-ground from the advent of " Duncan of 
Lundie" in 1760. There were numerous oaks, maples, etc., 
on both sides, but the principal growth was of chests 

If any new settlers came to Oswego in 1797, their 
names have escaped record. There were five or six more 
families came between that year and 1802, but the precise 
time of their respective arrivals is unknown. It is pre- 
sumed, however, that two or three of them came in 1797 
or the spring of 1798, for long ago the oldest inhabitants 
used to assert that in 1798 Miss Artemisia Waterhouse, of 
Fulton (afterwards Mi-s. Ichabod Brockett, of Salina), 
taught the first school in Oswego. It is needless to say 
that it was in a private house, and it could hardly have 
numbered over a dozen children. It is not pretended that 
there were but five families in the " district," and probably 
one of these was that of Asa Rice, who had settled three 
miles west of Oswego in 1797. 

In 1798 Oneida county was formed from Herkimer, and 
the east part of Oswego became a portion of the former 

The next year the collection district of Oswego was 

formed by Congress, embracing all the shores and waters 

of the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, from the forty -fifth 

parallel to the Genesee river, and the president was author- 


izcd to establish a and appoint a collector. 
For several years, however, it w;is not supposed that the 
duties would repay the expense of collecting tliem, and tlio 
whole frontier was left, unguarded. Absolute " free-trade"' 
prevailed. A few furs, however, and a little grain for tlic 
use of the pioneers, was alt that Wiis imported from Canada. 
There was plenty of lumber on this side then. 

The principal business of the little port was cau.sed by 
the pa.s.sage of emigrants, military stoi-es, salt, and Indian 
goods to the west, and the bringing back of furs from the 
same locality. Westward-bound stores were brought from 
Rome through the Oneida lake and Oswego river; and 
often they were sent west in open sail-boats. 

Peter Sharpe and ^Villiam Vaughan came at a very early 
date, probably about 1798 or 1799. Sharpe kept a small 
tavern for the accommodation of travelers and. boatmen, 
and stored goods detained on their pa&sage. Sharpe and 
Vaughan soon became the owners of a little schooner of 
about fifty tons' burden ; from the indefinite accounts 
handed down we should infer that it was not built here, 
but purchased from the Canadians. This was used in the 
modest commerce before mentioned. 

In the spring of 1800, Archibald Fairfield, who had been 
a resident of Scriba's city of Vera Cruz, at the mouth of 
Salmon creek, discouraged by the loss of the only Vera 
Cruz vessel the year before, and by the general depressing 
appearance in that ambitious locality, moved to Oswego 
with his family, built lum a, and went to keeping 
tavern. In days almost every man kept tavern who 
had two rooms in his house, and some landlords got along 
with one. 

At Fairfield's tavern, in the summer of 1800, stopped 
Daniel Burt, of Orange county. New York, the grandfather 
of B. B, Burt and E. P. Burt, of this city, having made a 
canoe voyage from Kingston, Canada, where he had been 
on business. Pleased with the appearance of Oswego, he 
determined to make his abode in the vicinity, and on his 
way home purchased of one of the Van Rensselaer family, 
at Albany, military lot No. 7, now forming the upper part 
of the city of Oswego, on the west side. 

There was another arrival, in 1800, of the utmost im- 
portance, — " a bald-headed stranger from No-Man's-L md." 
This was Rankin P. McMullin, the first white child born 
in modern Oswego. He, too, liked the country, and con- 
cluded to stay. 

Whatever education was received by the few children of 
that period came from Captain O'Connor, who sometimes 
taught school here and sometimes at Salt Point. The lat- 
ter place contained the nearest post-office, and was the me- 
tropolis to which the inhabitjints of Oswego (which was 
the jumping-ofi" place of central New York) made their way 
to catch the first glimpses of a doubtful civilization. There 
was no road between the two places piLSsable by a wagon or 
even by a sled, — in fact, there was no road to Oswego at 
all. In summer every one traveled by boats ; in winter 
there was no communication between the infant city and 
the outer world, save when some adventurous Oswegonian 
j made his way on snow-shoes to Salt Point, learned the news 
I from Europe, Asia, and America, obtained the letters ad- 
: dressed to his neighbors, loaded himself with a demijohn of 


whisky, if that article had become scant in Oswego, and 
returned the same way he went. 

But in summer business was even then quite lively. 
Archibald Fairfield soon procured two schooners of about 
a hundred tons each, presumably by purchase in Canada, 
bringing the Oswego fleet up to the number of three. 
With these he engaged in forwarding goods and stores to 
the Niagara, whence they were taken up the lakes. Cap- 
tain Easmussen and Captain Ford, both masters of vessels 
on the lake, came about this time, but the exact year is 

In May, 1802, we come to the first definite information 
regarding the progress of Oswego since its foundation. Al- 
though informed by McMullin that he would starve there, 
Daniel Burt had not given up the idea of settling at Os- 
wego. His sons, Calvin Bradner Burt and Joel Burt, went 
to Ovid, Seneca county, in the fall of 1801, and the next 
year, in company with a young lawyer named Baird, they 
made their way down Cayuga lake and Seneca and Oswego 
rivers in a skiff to Oswego, and took up their quarters at 
Peter Sharpe's tavern. At that time, as stated by Mr. 
Bradner Burt in his reminiscences, published long after- 
wards, there were but six families living in Oswego, — those 
of Peter Sharpe, Archibald Fairfield, John Love, Edward 
O'Connor, Augustus Ford, and Captain Easmussen. Wil- 
liam Vanghan was still utimarried, and McMullin's family 
was perhaps temporarily absent. There were also a few 
unmarried lake-sailors and river-boatmen who made their 
headquarters here. There were no stores, but at least two 

Young lawyer Baird thought there was not much of an 
opening here for legal talent, and left. Joel Burt also went 
back to Orange county for the season. After a short ab- 
sence Bradner Burt returned in September, and began the 
erection of the first saw-mill in Oswego. It was on the site 
of the " old red mill," and nearly on that of the present 
. Exchange mills. When the timbers were ready young 
Burt sent out to Rice's and up to Oswego Falls to invite 
help, and all responded with great willingness. But when 
every man within reachable distance was mustered, there 
were but twelve, and it was only by the most strenuous ex- 
ertions and the use of tackles that they were able to get 
the timbers into place. After the mill was finished Mr. 
Burt again returned to Orange county. 

That same year Matthew McNair, a native of Paisley, 
Scotland, made his way to Oswego and began a residence 
there which terminated only with his death in extreme old 
age. He has stated that but two of the few residences he 
found here in 1802 were frames. Besides these there was 
a warehouse built here that same season by Benajah Bying- 
ton, of Salt Point. 

Early in the spring of 1803 young Bradner Burt made 
his way to Rome, and thence on foot to Oswego, stopping 
in Mexico to dance all night in a house where the young 
men had to bow low to escape the joists which supported 
the chamber floor. When he arrived at Fort Ontario he 
found the whole garrison out under arms. It consisted of 
a sergeant and two men. Proceeding to the river-bank, he 
called for a boat to take him across. One was immediately 
sent, and while it was crossing the whole iiopukitiun of the 

city, men, women, and children, turned out and came down 
to the west bank of the river to welcome him. If he had 
been the long-lost brother of every one of them, with straw- 
berry-marks all over him, he could not have been more 
warmly greeted. Eager hands were stretched out to him 
from every side the moment he touched the shore, and 
happiness beamed on every countenance. 

And why this excess of joy over the return of a com- 
parative stranger, not related to any of the citizens ? Sim- 
ply because he was the first arrival of the season. For four 
months, more or less, Oswego had been snow-bound and 
ice-tied, its people shut out from the sight of all faces but 
their own, which were but few in number (even including 
the gallant garrison of Fort Ontario), and the first arrival of 
a man, proving as it did that spring had really opened, was 
a subject of more excitement than was the first arrival of 
a steamer in the palmiest days of steamboating. 

Meanwhile his father, Daniel Burt, through his acquaint- 
ance with the Orange county governor, George Clinton, had 
obtained a lease from the State of a hundred acres of land, 
extending from the river eastward, so as to include all the 
cleared ground around the fort. The lease was for ten 
years, at ten dol'ars per year. He moved to Oswego in the 
summer of 1803 with his sons Joel, George W., and 
Daniel, Jr. His son William soon after moved to Scriba. 
Daniel Burt, Sr., leaving his own land unimproved for the 
present, built a log house on his leased ground directly 
opposite Taurus street, and in the centre of what is now 
East Seneca street. This was the first building, not con- 
nected with the fort, on the east side of the river. Having 
received a charter from the legislature, Mr. Burt estab- 
lished the first regular ferry in Oswego, on the present line 
of Seneca street. 

By this time it had been discovered at Washington that 
a port called Oswego, on Lake Ontario, was doing con- 
siderable business, and the president determined to estab- 
lish a custom-house there, as authorized by act of Congress. 
It was doubtless on the recommendation of Governor Clin- 
ton that Joel Burt was selected as the collector of the new 
port. His commission was dated August 1, 1803. He 
was certainly the first United States civil ofiicer at Oswego, 
and so far as we can learn he was the first civil officer of 
any kind. There is neither record nor tradition of even a 
constable previous to that time. 

Perhaps it was supposed that the now collector would be 
sufficient to guard the entrance to Oswego ; at all events 
the sergeant, with his army of two men, was withdrawn 
this year, and Fort Ontario, so long the object of intense 
solicitude to rival nations, was left to fall into ignoble 

Mr. McNair, whose arrival the year before has been 
mentioned, purchased the old schooner " Jane," of Sharpe & 
Vaughan, and went into the forwarding business. Fairfield 
still continued his transactions in that line. Numerous 
boats came down the river. Burt's saw-mill gave, promise 
of frame houses instead of log, and Oswego began to look 
up. Still there was not a house north of Cancer (now 
Bridge) street. 

In 180-t the progress was suflicient so that it was de- 
termined to have a land communication with the outer 



world. C. B. Burt was chosen path-master, and uiiJor his 
direction a road was cut through as far as the falls. 

This good example was quickly followed. That same 
season a man named King came from the settlement in 
Cato, ill the present county of Cayuga, and on the part of 
himself and three neighbors offered to open a road from that 
settlement to Oswego for forty dollars, being ten dollars for 
each man engaged. The "solid men" of Oswego de- 
termined to have the road. Forty dollars in cash was a 
big sum here in those primitive times, but after much 
financiering the required sum was subscribed by responsible 
parties, and King began the work. It was no slight task, 
the ten dollare per man Wiis well earned ; but in time the 
road was completed, and when the midsummer sun was 
shining most brightly King and his companions, seated on 
an ox-.sled, rode triumphantly into Oswego, amid the cheers 
and congratulations of the people. It was very cheap road- 
making, but it should be remembered that " opening a road" 
in those days meant merely cutting out the underbrush, 
logs, and small trees from a space perhaps a rod wide, 
making a track barely passable for an ox-sled or cart. 

Captain O'Connor taught school in 1802, the first in the 
place according to Mr. Burt, who had no knowledge of the 
little educational effort of Miss Waterhouse. It was taught 
in a log house, built as a workshop by Captain Ford, and 
situated near the bank of the river, between Gemini and 
Cancer (Cayuga and Bridge) streets. 

It was in this year also that a man named Wilson, a con- 
tractor for the carrying of government stores to the west, 
built a schooner of ninety tons, called the " Fair Ameri- 
can," and Mr. McNair built one, called the '' Linda," of 
fifty tons. The latter gentleman then or soon after also 
bought some Canadian vessels, showing that the commerce 
of Oswego was rapidly rising into prominence. 

In the spring of 1805 there came to Oswego a family 
long and creditably known in its early history, and, from 
the number, vigor, and intelligence of its members, ex- 
ercising a strong influence over the destinies of the infant 
city. The head of this family was Daniel Hugunin, Sr., a 
man of French extraction, but brought up among the 
Dutch of the Mohawk valley. With him came his adult 
sons, Peter D., Daniel, Jr., and Abram D. ; the younger 
sons, Robert, Hiram, and Leonard ; and the daughters, 
Lucretia, Eliza, Catharine (afterwards Mrs. John S. Davis 
and mother of Henry L. Davis), and Mary (afterwards 
Mrs. John Grant, Jr.). The last named was then a girl of 
nine, and is now the earliest surviving resident of Oswego. 
Of all her youthful companions not one is left who as early 
as she looked upon the pleasant woodlands, the scattered 
cabins, the brawling river which constituted the O.swego of 
seventy years ago, and of which, even now, she speaks with 
enthusiastic praise. 

We fix the date of the Hugunins' arrival from the state- 
ment of Mrs. Grant, though C. B. Burt has stated it a year 
earlier. At all events, the first year of their coming, whether 
1804 or 1805, Mr. Burt helped Daniel Hugunin, Jr., to 
build a small frame store, the first in the place. It was on 
First street, between Cayuga and Seneca, and still " sur- 
vives,'' so to say, as the fruit-store of Thomas Hart, being 
now the oldest buildin- in Oswoiro. 

In 18(15, too, but shortly after the Hugunins, came 
Edwin M. Tyler, another of the sea-faring men of whom 
early Oswego was so largely composed. With him was his 
son, Joel F. Tyler, a child of three, since long known as 
Captain Tyler of the lake service, and now, at the age of 
seventy-five, the second earliest r&sident of Oswego. Cap- 
tain Thcophilus Baldwin came about the same time. 

It was in 1805 or 1806 that tlie first in 
Oswego was erected. Mr. Bradner Burt was the builder, 
and, according to his recollection, it was in the former 
year ; but the weight of evidence is in favor of the latter. 
It owed its existence to private enterprise, for the school 
system of the State was not then organized so as to provide 
for the erection of school-house.s at the expense of the pub- 
lic. Joel Burt, Matthew McNair, William Vaughan, and 
others contributed liberally,. and the resulting structure was 
extremely creditable to the educational enterprise of the 
pioneers of O.swego. 

It was a one-story frame, no less than thirty-five feet 
square, with a cupola on the top intended for a bell, which, 
however, it never received. In fact, it would pcrliaps be 
more correct to speak of it as a school meeting-house, for 
it was intended from the firet for the use of traveling 
preachers, and was provided with a pulpit for that purpose. 
This, doubtless, accounts for the comparatively large scale 
on which it was built. 

The firet school in the new school-house was taught by a 
Dr. Caldwell, who had lately arrived, and who practiced 
medicine and taught school conjointly for several years. 
He was Oswego's only physician for several years. Those 
who did not appreciate his medical services used to send 
for Dr. Squires in Hannibal. 

In the early part of 1806 both sections of the present 
city became parts of new towns. On the 28th of February 
the town of Hannibal, Onondaga county, was formed from 
Lysander, comprising the present towns of Granby, Hanni- 
bal, and Oswego, and the west part of Oswego city. It 
will be observed that while the survey-township of Hanni- 
bal came only to the line of the State reservation on the 
west and south, the political town included the reservation 
also within its limits. 

On the 21st of March the town of Fredericksburg was 
formed from Mexico, including the present towns of Scriba, 
Volney, Schroeppel, and Palermo. This change of juris- 
diction on the east side of the river, however, did not affect 
many people in the present city, for Daniel Burt was then 
on that side. 

On the 21st of April following. Congress seems not to 
have learned of the change of names, for on that day it 
ftstiiblished a post-route from Onondaga Hollow to the vil- 
lage of Oswego, " in Lysander." Yet no post-ofiice was 
established at 0.swego till the next fall, when Joel Burt, 
already collector of the port, was appointed postmaster, his 
commission being dated the 7th of October. The practice 
of appointing the same man to several federal offices appeal's 
to have been quite common in those days. In Buffalo, at 
the same period, one person was collector, postmaster, and 
superintendent of Indian affaire, by appointment from Wash- 
ington, besides being a judge under State authority. 

It was about this time that Onudiaga, the Oiinndoga 


chieftain, carried the mail weekly from Onondaga Hollow 
to Oswego, with such exemplary punctuality, as narrated in 
chapter xii. of the general history of the county. Captain 
Elizur Brace is said to have been the first contractor for 
carrying the mail between the places first mentioned, — pos- 
sibly Ouudiaga was hired by the citizens before any regular 
contractor was employed by the government. 

Thomas H. Wentworth, father of the well-known resident 
of that name, passing through the village on his way to 
Canada in 1806, and forming a high opinion of its com- 
mercial fiicilities, obtained the " refusal" of water-lots 5 
and 6, and of the other property belonging to Archibald 
Fairfield. The original contract, which in curious language 
gave Wentworth the privilege of going to Canada and re- 
turning to Utica, is now in the hands of his son, and is 
certainly one of the oldest business contracts extant relating 
to Oswego, if not the very oldest. Milton Harmon was a 
new settler of this year. 

The oldest native of Oswego now resident in it was born 
in September, 1806. She then received the name of Nancy 
Hugunin, being the youngest daughter of Daniel Hugunin, 
Sr., but is now better known as Mrs. Goodell. 

Early in 1807, Mr. Wentworth returned, in accordance 
with his previous arrangement, and bought out Fairfield^ 
the latter soon after moving to Sackett's Harbor. He was 
one of the first citizens of the place while he lived here, 
and an incident related by Captain Tyler would tend to 
show that the first citizens regaled themselves with food 
wliich would hardly be acceptable to those of similar posi- 
tion now. Just before Fairfield left, little Joel went with 
his mother, who was paying an afternoon visit to Mrs. F. 
Scarcely were they seated when the child's curious eyes 
discovered something hanging from a joist, which to his eye 
appeared to be a baby denuded of its skin. 

"Oh! oh!" exclaimed the terror-stricken boy, " what 
you going to do with that baby ?" pointing to the object 
which had caused his excitement. 

" Why," replied Mrs. Fairchild, laughing, " we are going 
to eat it, of course." 

" Oh, ma! take mo home ! take me home !" pleaded the 
frightened child, who felt that if they had got to eating 
babies at that house they might soon have an appetite for 
four-year-old boys. His mother pacified him, but through- 
out his stay he cast many a wary glance at the object which 
had aroused his pity and his fears. 

He afterwards learned that it was a porcupine, dressed 
and prepared for eating. At present a good many would 
about as soon think of eating a baby as a hedge-hog. 

Mr. Wentworth succeeded to Fairfield's forwarding busi- 
ness. Though bred to mercantile pursuits, he was an 
artist of much .ability, and in after-years was in great 
request as a portrait-painter in the eastern cities. He was 
also the producer of many more elaboiate works, some of 
which are still in the possession of his son. He was the 
first devotee of the fine arts who made his home in Oswego, 
and should the lovers of those arts ever dedicate a gallery 
in their honor, his portrait would be entitled to e.special 

The reminiscences of early settlers that have been pub- 
lished make no mention of any religious services in Oswego 

until 1807, but in all probability there were such seiTices 
held there before that time. 

Next to Dr. Caldwell, the first physician who settled 
within the present limits of Oswego was Dr. Deodatus 
Clarke. His point of location, however, was then nearly 
two miles from the village, being on a farm adjoining the 
present eastern boundary of the city, or rather in the forest, 
where he made a farm. Among his numerous children 
was Edwin W. Clarke, then six years of age, afterwards an 
able member of the Oswego bar, and still surviving in an 
honored old age. From his father's new house to the house 
of Daniel Burt, Sr., at the corner of West Seneca and First 
streets, all was a dense forest, though partly of second 
growth. After erecting a log house, Dr. Clarke was unable 
to procure shingles for the roof. He paid two dollars per 
thousand for drawing boards for that purpose from the 
river-side. The transportation was accomplished on an 
ox -sled in midsummer, about a hundred and fifty feet being 
drawn at a time. 

There were then about fourteen families on the west side 
of the river, the houses being partly log and partly frame. 
A log causeway facilitated travel along the road in front of 
the site of the starch-factory, and a rude ferry, on the line 
of Taurus (Seneca) street, served a similar purpose for those 
who wished to cross the stream. Near this time the ferry 
was transferred from Mr. Burt to Mr. Tyler, who bought 
the house originally erected by McMullin, but which had 
passed into the hands of Captain Rasmussen. 

Rude indeed would now seem the little frontier village, 
with its six or eight log houses and a similar number of 
frame ones ; with its one diminutive store, its two or three 
taverns and barn-like warehouses ; but to those who were 
children then it appears almost another Eden. Mrs. Grant, 
especially, grows as enthusiastic over the charms of Oswego 
seventy years ago as her namesake, the celebrated authoress, 
was over the spring-time delights of the same locality half 
a century earlier. 

"Ah!" exclaims the old lady, her memory reviving as 
she dwells on the beloved theme, her imagination kindling, 
and her language taking on the glow of youth, " those 
were happy days ! How beautiful everything was ! How 
beautiful I The trees were so green ! the air was so fresh ! 
the lake was so sparkling ! wild-flowers bloomed at every 
step. All kinds of berries and nuts abounded. The old 
fort-ground was covered with strawberries. Cranberries 
were thick along the river-shore. Bccch-nuts, hickory-nuts, 
and especially chestnuts, could be gathered by the bushel. 
Wild plums were equally abundant. Game was plentiful 
beyond conception ; any man with a rifle could obtain it, 
and the Indians brought it in to sell for next to nothing. 
A saddle of venison could be bought for twenty-five cents. 
And the salmon ! what great shoals of them went up the 
river ! Thousands at a time ! their fins breaking above the 
surface of the water, and flashing like floating silver in the 
sunlight ! There was no need of doctors then ; everybody 
was healthy. There used to be two or three years at a 
time without a funeral. There were no lawyers then, and 
no need of them ; everybody was honest. Ah ! what 
happy times ! what a beautiful, beautiful country!" 

Once in three or four months an itinerant preacher would 

West First Street, between Utica a;id Mohawk Streets, Oswego, New York. 

Corner of West Third and Oneida Streets, Oswego, New York. 



come along, and then notice would be given out of a meet- 
ing on Sunday at the school-house. As the hour fur ser- 
vice approached a horn would be blown at the school-house 
door to notify the villagers, and when the appointed time 
was re ichcd, the same primitive sounds again rang out upon 
the morning air. The pioneers set great store by the bap- 
tism of the young ; all being anxious that their children 
should receive the benefit of that rite, though they were 
not all of them very particular regarding the language used 
towards the holy man who administered it. On one occa- 
sion an itinerant had preached on a week-day evening, and 
was about to move on, when he was requested to stay over 
Sunday and baptize some children. He was directed to one 
pereon who was especially anxious to have the rite per- 
formed. The preacher found the individual at work near 
the river, and was at once accosted by him : 

" Well, parson, are you going to stay over Sunday and 
baptize our children ?" 

" Well," replied the minister, " I hardly know. I should 
be glad to do so, but it will break in on my arrangements 
very seriously." 

"Well now, parson, you must stay !" exclaimed the en- 
thusiastic parent. " I have got two children that want bap- 
tizing bad ; Mr. has another, Mr. has three 

more, and I know we can pick up two or three others, and, 
take it all together, you can make a d good job of it." 

It is not recorded whether the reverend gentleman took 
the job or not. 

The event of 1808, at Oswego, was the building of the 
brig " Oneida" by Henry Eckford, under the superintend- 
ence of Lieutenant Woolsey, of which mention was made 
in the general history. Henry Eagle, a native of Prussia, 
and long a well-known resident of Oswego, first came to 
that place in the year last named, and helped to build the 
" Oneida." 

The next spring the new brig was launched. When ready 
for sea, it was taken out of the harbor and its armament 
was put on board. When this had been done, it was found 
that the " Oneida" could not return over the bar. It was 
never inside the harbor again. The firm of McNair (& Co. 
built a fine schooner of eighty tons this year. Building 
began to increase on land, too, as well as on the water. 
Messrs. Forman & Brackett erected a small grist-mill and 

The grist-mill was the first in Oswego, and the saw-mill 
was second only to that of Braducr Burt, built in 1802. 

By this time immigration was increasing with consider- 
able rapidity ; many coming whose names have escaped 
research. Theophilus S. Morgan, long a very prominent 
resident of Oswego, was one of the new settlers. 

The next j'ear (1810) there was a still larger immigra- 
tion, including several men of some note in the early annals 
of the frontier village. Of these the most prominent was 
Mr. Alvin Bronson, a young man only twenty-seven years 
old, although he had been in the mercantile business nine 
years, who settled at Oswego as the representative of the 
firm of Townseud, Bronson & Co., and began the construc- 
tion of a schooner with the men and tools he had brought 
with him from his former home in Connecticut. 

Besides the vessel, which, under the name of the '' Charles 

and Ann," and subsequently of the " Governor Tompkins," 
has been mentioned at some length in the general history, 
Mr. Bronson soon erected a warehouse on the corner of 
West First and Cayuga streets, for tlie use of tiie firm, 
which was engaged largely in the forwarding business. 
They also kept a supply of general merchandise in one end 
of their warehouse. This was a custom with all the for- 
warders here, as it was considered that the business would 
not warrant separate mercantile establishments. 

Another new-comer of this period of some notoriety was 
" Colonel" Eli Parsons. He gained his military title aa 
the second in command in the celebrated " Shay's rebellion," 
which broke out in Massachusetts in 1786. Parsons had 
served gallantly as a captain in the Massachusetts line in 
the Revolution, and excused his subsequent misconduct on 
the ground of the hardships to which he and his comrades 
were subjected when the depreciated paper-money in which 
they had been paid was found to be worthless to buy pro- 
visions or pay debts, or even to pay the taxes levied by the 
State government. As one of the leaders, he was excepted 
from the first amnesty granted to the main body of the 
insurgents after their defeat, and was obliged to escape to 
Canada, in which he only succeeded with great difficulty. 

After the final amnesty he returned and settled in Oswego, 
where he kept a tavern, and where he received a pension 
for his services in the Revolution. According to the recol- 
lections of the old settlers he was a jovial old fellow, well 
liked by his neighbors, fond of making quaint remarks, and 
much more at home in keeping a tavern than in leading a 

" How do all you people make a living here ?" queried 
a stranger, who could not see that there was much business 
going on. 

"Well, sir," replied the old colonel, "in summer we 
live by skinning strangers; in winter by skinning each 

On another occasion, when provision was scarce, the 
colonel was seen trudging up to his house with a remark- 
ably fine string of fish. 

" Bless me !" exclaimed a b3-stander, " what large fish ! 
How did you catch them, colonel? What sort of bait did 
you use?" 

" The best of bait, — necessity," was the sententious reply 
of the veteran. 

Dr. Benjamin Coe, who settled here in 1810, was the 
next physician after Caldwell, and the first who had much 
practice. Dr. Walter Colton, who came shortly after, was 
a man of marked ability, and prominent not only in pro- 
fes.sional, but in social and political life. 

Edmund Hawks, who irftcrwards became a.ssociate judge 
of the common pleas, came in 1810, and established a 
tannery near the corner of West First and Cancer (Bridge) 
streets, the first institution of that kind in the village. His 
house was about where the Jefferson block now stands. 

The brothers Eli and Moses Stevens about the same 
time set up in business, the fii-st as a shoemaker and the 
second as a hatter. The afterwards-celebrated author, 
James Fenimore Cooper, was then a rollicking young mid- 
shipman on board the " Oneida," making frequent visits 
to Oswego, and being a hail-fellow with all its younger 


population. He is credited with the production of the 
following distich, descriptive of the occupations of the two 
Stevens brothers : 

Upon Moses and Eli 

All the people may rely 
For shoes and for hats that will stand the worst weather; 

What with boots and with felt 

They will use up the pelt, 
And to two-legged calves sell the quadruped's leather. 

On the 5th of April, 1811, the name of Fredericksburg 
was changed to Volney, and on the same day the town of 
Scriba was taken oif. Thus the territory of the present 
city was divided between Scriba, in Oneida county, and 
Hannibal, in Onondaga county. 

It is hard to realize, in these days of compact organiza- 
tion and swift police, that fifty odd years ago the two parts 
of Oswego were separated by a jurisdictional line which 
was almost impassable. Young Joel Tyler, though only 
nine years old, was now intrusted with the management of 
the ferry, while his father was out on the lake in command 
of the schooner " Eagle." When a pedestrian wanted to 
cross, the youngster could put him over in a skiff, but when 
a horseman or a wagon came, the hired man was called from 
his work to manage the unwieldy scow. One day Joel 
heard from the Scriba side a halloo announcing that a foot- 
man wanted to cross the stream. The skiff being taken 
over, the passenger, who seemed to be in a great hurry, 
stepped in, and Joel turned his prow westward. When 
he was about a third of the way across, a horseman came 
galloping up to the eastern shore, and shouted to the boy 
to return. 

" No, no ; go on," said the passenger. 

" Come back ! come back, I say !" yelled the man on 

" Go ahead, go ahead," growled the fellow in the boat. 

" Come back, you young rascal, or I'll shoot you !" cried 
the pursuer, taking a pistol from his holster. 

" Pull for your life, you little devil, or I'll drown you !" 
exclaimed the runaway, rolling up his sleeves and preparing 
for instant action. 

Terrified beyond measure at these contradictory threats, 
the boy yet thought that the nearest danger was the greatest, 
and bent to his oars with all his might. The sheriff, for 
such the pursuer was, did not fire, the fugitive gained the 
Onondaga shore, plunged into the forest, and was out of 
reach long before the officer could get new papers to give 
him jurisdiction in that county. 

William Dolloway, who came in 1811, was the first man 
who had a store of much consequence, separate from the 
forwarding business. It was near the corner of West First 
and Taurus (Bridge) streets, and the owner's residence, 
just above the last street, was the farthest south of any 
house in the village. The nearest house above that point 
was one built by Mr. Wentworth for the use of the boat- 
men whom he employed, and which stood on lands still 
owned by the State, as was the case with all the land above 
Mohawk street. Long afterwards JNIr. Wentworth bought 
from the State the tract of land which he had improved, 
and his son now lives there. That son, by the way, who 
was born in 1810, is, so ftir as we can discover, the oldest 

male, and next to Mrs. Goodell is the oldest person, born in 
Oswego and now residing there. 

Just above Wentworth's house was the farm and resi- 
dence of Daniel Burt, Sr., to which he had removed after 
he gave up the ferry, and which was situated on military 
lot No. 7. The Wentworth house was fitted up in 1811, 
and rented to Judge Nathan Sage, known as Captain Sage 
to the early settlers of Redficld, who came from that place 
to Oswego and was appointed collector of the port. His 
commission was dated June 12, 1811. 

Oswego being shut up by itself, with little communication 
with the rest oi' the world, many of the men, in default of 
other recreation, devoted a good deal of time to playing 
practical jokes on each other. Judge Sage was a some- 
what stately old gentleman, of fine appearance and de- 
liberate movements, and the young fellows about town 
thought he would be a good subject for some of their 
pranks. Every morning he was in the habit of setting 
forth from his residence, neatly dressed, with a cane in his 
hand, and walking down to the foot of First street, where 
his office was situated. 

One morning, shortly after his appointment as collector, 
the judge was marching with his usual deliberation down 
the road towards the village, but he had not gone far from 
his house when he saw a young man of his acquaintance 
apparently working by the roadside with an axe. 
" Good-morning, judge," said the axeman. 
" Good-morning, sir," politely responded the official. 
" Fine morning." 
" Very fine," said the judge. 
" But looks some like rain." 

" Yes, it does a little," and Mr. Sage started forward. 
After he had gone a few yards the man called out, — 

" By the way, judge," — the latter halted and turned 
around, — " can you tell me where young Stevens, the hatter, 

" Well, no, I can't ; he hasn't been here a great while, 
you know. I have had no especial business with him. I 
presume you can easily ascertain, however." 

" I presume so," said the man, and the judge resumed 
his walk. Some forty rods farther down he met Dr. Coe, 
with a rifle on his shoulder and equipped for a hunting ex- 

" Good-morning, judge." 

" Good-morning, doctor. After the deer, eh ?" 
" Well, yes; I thought I would try them a few hours," 
replied the young ^^isculapius. 

" It's a fine day for sport," said the worthy collector, " if 
it doesn't rain. I wish you every success." 

"Thank you, judge ;" and the two men moved in opposite 

"Ah, excuse me," exclaimed the doctor, after they were 
two or three rods apart, " there is a question I wanted to 
ask you, which I had almost forgotten. Can you tell me 
whore young Stevens, the hatter, boards?" 

" Well, now, that's curious," said the judge, halting. 
" Mr. B., up here, asked me the same question. What's 
the matter. Has Stevens been doing anything out of the 
way ?" 

" Oh, no, not at all," replied the doctor ; " I happened to 


The fortunes of this gentleman were for forty years so 
closely connected with those of Oswego County and city, 
and he is so often mentioned in other parts of this work, 
that all which is needful in this sketch is to give some per- 
sonal details, and advert to some circumstances not set forth 
in the general history. 

Alvin Bronson was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, May 
19, 1783. After spending his boyhood on a farm, and his 
youth as a clerk, he became a merchant at the age of 
eighteen, and has been engaged in some department of the 
mercantile business ever since ; that is to say, during a 
period of seventy-six years ! After nine years of successful 
merchandising, during which he built two vessels and made 
several voyages by sea, Mr. Bronson came to Oswego in 
1810, and engaged in the lake trade as one of the firm of 
Bronson, Townsend & Co. Of his connection with the 
early commerce of Oswego, and of the part he took in the 
war of 1812, sufficient has been said in the general history 
of the county and city. 

In October, 1815, Mr. Bronson married Mary, the 
youngest daughter of Captain Edward O'Connor, also promi- 
nent in the early history of Oswego. By that lady, now 
deceased, he had one son and two daughters. After carry- 
ing on a large part of the commerce of the lakes for seven 
years after the war, the firm of Bronson, Townsend & Co. 
was dissolved in 1822. That year Mr. Bronson was elected 
to the State senate, and drew a term of two years. We 

have mentioned in the general history the exertions he 
made in behalf of the Oswego canal, and his connection 
with the celebrated " seventeen," of whom, and of the senate 
of that day, he is now the sole survivor ; the late Heman J. 
Redfield, who died a few weeks since, having been the last 
preceding one. Mr. Bronson was also conspicuous as an 
advocate of free-trade views, which were then very un- 

In 1829 he was again elected to the senate, where he 
served four years as chairman of one of the most important 
committees, — that of finance. Many able reports written 
by him attest his ability, though he was never a seeker after 
popularity, and was frequently in a small minority. About 
1830, Mr. Bronson went into partnership with the late 
Lemuel B. Crocker, in the forwarding business, and the 
firm of Bronson & Crocker continued for twenty-five years, 
weathering all the storms which at times swept over the 
commercial world. Mr. Bronson was the first president of 
the Oswego board of trade, in 18-18. Since then he has 
confined himself mostly to his private business, though he 
has occasionally found time to write an able article in aid of 
the commercial interests oi" the city of his choice. The 
firm of Alvin Bronson & Co. still exists, though Mr. Bron- 
son has gradually given up the management of its business 
to others, as well he may, considering that over ninety-four 
years have passed over the head of this honored patriarch 
of Oswejro. 


was born at Whitestown, now Whitesboro', Oneida county, 
State of New York, on the 11th of January, 1800. His 
parents were from Connecticut. He learned the business 
of ship-carpenter at Sodus Point, Wayne county. New 
York. In 1822 he removed to Rochester, and there built 
the first boat that went through the canal to Albany. From 
there he removed to Utica, and was engaged in building 
packets for the Erie canal before the railroads were con- 
structed. Here he built and took to New York the first 
lake-boat ever made, and laid the foundation of the through 
freight trade by canal-boats to that city. After the railroads 
were built and the packet business destroyed, through the in- 
fluence of Abram Varick, Mr. Doolittle removed to Oswego, 
New York, in the fall of 1830. Here he built three or four 
vessels and improved the carrying capacity of the lake craft. 
Having learned of the new invention of Mr. Ericsson, in 
adapting the screw to the propulsion of vessels, and because 
side-wheel steamers could not go through the Welland 
canal, Mr. D. constructed, by the consent of Mr. Ericsson, 
the first screw propeller ever used for transportation of 
freight and passengers, thus establishing the feasibility 

of the screw as a motive power in marine architecture. He 
also built one of the first large mills in Oswego, introducing 
many improvements in handling grain and making flour, 
assisting by these improvements the reputation of the Os- 
wego mills and character of the flour manufactured at that 

Having given up ship-building, he engaged in the busi- 
ness of forwarding from New York to the west, and in 
milling. About this time he built the block known as the 
Doolittle block, and Doolittle hall, the chief place for exhi- 
bitions in the city. While engaged in deepening the chan- 
nel of the river a mineral spring was discovered boiling up 
through the rock on the then dry bottom of the river. He 
traced the stream ashore on his property, and after a large 
expense, with much labor, he secured what is now known as 
the Deep Rock spring. Over this he built the Doolittle 
House, one of the largest and handsomest hotels in western 
New York. 

In the year 1829 Mr. Doolittle married Miss Catherine 
Gould, of Utica, daughter of Samuel Gould, Esq. There 

no issue from this 




think that I didirt know wliere lie boardod. and I didn't 
know but you did." 

" AVeli, no, I don't," said the old j;cntlenian. " Ho hasn't 
been here but a little while, you know, and I have had no 
particular business with him. I presume, however, you 
will have no difficulty in ascertaining his place of abode." 

" Oh, certainly not ; excuse my troubling you. Good- 
morning, judge." 

"No trouble at all; good-morning;" and the two men 
went on their separate ways, the judge wondering as he 
walked at the sudden interest manifested in " young Stevens, 
the hatter." Sixty rods farther along he saw another 
young man, just turning off from the ruad towards the river, 
with a fish-jKile in his hand. 

" Good-morning, judge." 

'•Good-morning," responded Sage; " the fish are bound 
to suffer now, I suppose." 

" Well, yes, I think it is a pretty good day for fishing ; 
and if it should rain a little it would do no hurt. By the 
by, judge," hastily continued the speaker, stepping back a 
few paces out of the underbrush, '' do you happen to know 
the boarding-place of young Stevens, the hatter?" 

A light suddenly broke on the mind of the puzzled 

" You infernal rascal !" he roared, shakiirg his cane at the 
offender, " if I had you here I would teach you to play 
your jokes on a man of my age and position. This is all 
that rascal Coe's work. I know him ; I'd like to break this 
cane over his head." And the judge strode rapidly towards 
the village, muttering anathemas on all the impertinent 
young scamps in Oswego, and especially on Dr. Coe, whom 
he rightly concluded to be the chief engineer of this elabo- 
rate jest. 

He was just entering the village when a steady-going old 
ship-captain came out of his house, who was in a quandary 
as to the proper action to be taken regarding some goods 
which he was about to ship. 

" Guod-morning, judge," he exclaimed at sight of the col- 
lector, " glad to see you ; I wanted to ask you a question. 
Can you tell me " 

" Oh, you're another of the scoundrels, are you ?" shrieked 
the judge, his anger now at white heat, hurling his cane at 
the astonished son of Neptune, and then rushing towards 
him with clenched fists, while the latter hastily beat a 
retreat within his domicile. " I'll teach you to impose on 
me in this way. I'll break your rascally head for you, if I 
have to wait half a day for you to come out." 

It was only through the intervention of his wife that the 
seaman finally made it manifest that his question was a 
legitimate one, and had nothing to do with the whereabouts 
of " young Stevens, the hatter." 

For many weeks the conspirators, and especially Dr Coe, 
wisely kept out of reach of the judge's cane, but at length 
his wrath was placated, being only occasionally renewed 
when some saucy boy would inquire, in his hearing, of a 
comrade, if the latter could tell where " young Stevens, the 
hatter, took his meals." 

Time pas.sed on, and even the boys ceased to bother the 
judge. The war of 1812, with its years of excitement and 
terror, blotted from most men's minds the memory of less 

important events. Some time after its close the people of 
Oswego, still debarred from the more exciting kinds of 
amusement, determined on a grand concert, to be held one 
winter afternoon and evening at the school-house, to which 
the people from all the country round should be invited. A 
good leader was provided, and all the best singers of the 
vicinity were duly drilled in the good old tunes of those 
early days. 

No one entered more heartily into the project than Dr. 
Coe, then a rising physician, with an interesting family. 
Those of the country people who had acquaintances in the 
viHagc generally received invitations to pass the night with 
some friendly family. Deacon Mann, howciver, who had lately 
settled on the river, several miles up, was almost entirely un- 
acquainted in Oswego. Two or three days before the con- 
cert he received a polite note from Dr. Coe, whom he had 
never met, saying that he, the doctor, was aware that the 
deacon was a stranger in Oswego, and might be embarnisscd 
in finding accommodations on the night of the concert. He 
was, however, continued the note, well known to the writer 
by reputation, and the latter, therefore, took the liberty of 
inviting Mr. and Mrs. Mann and family to make their 
home at his house the day and evening of the concert ; com- 
ing to dinner and staying overnight. 

The worthy deacon was well pleased with this courtesy, 
and on the appointed day hitched his oxen to his sled, took 
his family on board, drove down to Oswego, and stopped at 
Dr. Coe's house. Making himself known to the doctor, he 
said, — 

" I received your letter, doctor, and am very gla<l to avail 
myself of it, and very much obliged to you for your kind- 

" My letter'?" queried the surprised physician. 

" Why, yes," replied the deacon ; " the letter you sent 
inviting us to stay with you to-day and to-night and attend 
the concert." The doctor saw at once that a fraud had 
been perpetrated, but was polite enough to conceal the fact. 

" Oh, yes, certainly," he said, " you refer to that letter ; 
I was thinking of something else. Come right in and make 
yourselves at home." This invitation was duly honored ; 
the deacon and his family attended the concert, and the 
next morning left for home, highly pleased with the doctor's 

Then the latter began figuring- to find out who had " put 
up the job' on him. As there was only a weekly mail, 
and there had been none up the river for several days, he 
knew that the letter had been sent by hand, and before the 
deacon left his host ascertained who delivered the missive 
to him. Immediately after the departure of his guests, 
the doctor sought out the person named, who was a well- 
known resident of Oswego, and began his investigations. 

" Did you deliver a letter to Deacon JIann, up the river, 
two or three days ago '?" 

"A letter to Deacon Mann?" queried the individual ad- 
dressed, assuming a thoughtful expression ; " let me see ; I 
have been so busy about this concert that I hardly recollect, 
but it seems to me I did give the deacon a letter, — yes, I 
am sure I did." 

'■Who gave it to you?" 

The man scratched his head and thought and hum' d 


and lia'J a long time, but finally made up his mind that 
Mr. B. was the person who had given him the epistle in 
question. Dr. Coe hied to Mr. B., and repeated his inter- 
rogatory. The latter had also great difficulty in recollecting 
the circum-stanee, but finally brought it to mind, and was 
sure that Captain C. had given him the letter. Captain 
C, after the due amount of head-scratching and hard think- 
ing, remembered that Squire D. had handed him the missive, 
giving at the same time a plausible reason for not delivering 
it himself Thus the doctor was sent to some half-dozen of 
the principal residents of the village, and last of all to 
Judge Sage. « 

" Now," said Coe to himself, " I shall know the facts in 
this business ; the judge is a straightforward old fellow, and 
will tell what he knows without any fuss.'' Arriving at 
Sage's office, he put his question without any preliminaries. 

" A letter to Deacon Mann ?" queried the old gentleman, 
scratching his head and rolling his eyes ; " why, yes, it seems 
to me I gave such a letter to Mr. G. about Wednesday or 
Thursday, — yes, I am quite sure I did." 

"Well, where did you get it?" snapped the doctor, by 
this time thoroughly out of patience. 

" H'm ; now, really, Doctor Coe, I don't know where I did 
get that letter ; but, now I think of it, there is a question I 
would like to ask you : can you tell me where young Stevens, 
the hatter, boards?" 

The doctor had a sudden illumination from " the light of 
other days ;" he perceived that the persons of slow recollec- 
tion, whom he had been hunting up and questioning during 
the better part of a winter day, had all had their cue, and he 
returned with rapid footsteps to the seclusion of his own 

To return to Oswego before "the war. At this time 
Water street was a mere lane, which did not go south of 
Gemini (Cayuga) street. It was kept open without legal 
authority, by general consent, and after twenty years' use 
attained the dignity of a public highway, being finally 
opened through as far as Oneida street. There was a bluff 
near the river below Cancer (Bridge) street as well as 
above it, and back of the blufl' was a hollow. Near where 
the Normal-school boarding-house now is there was frequently 
quite a little pond of water, which the boys used for sliding 
and skating. 

One of the most sorrowful events of early days in Oswego 
happened in 1811. Captain Samuel B. Morrow had a log 
house near " Baldwin's bay," a long way out of the village, 
but within the line of the present corporation. While the 
captain was out on the lake, in command of his vessel, his 
house caught fire and three young children perished in the 
flames. This sad episode of peaceful life was not surpassed 
in tragic interest by aught thatoccurred duringthe war of two 
years and a half, which was declared on the ISth of June, 
1812. The main events of that war relating to Oswego 
County have been narrated in the general county history, 
and all that remain for mention in this sketch are a few 
local incidents of comparatively slight importance. 

Several citizens of Oswego took a prominent part in the 
conflict, besides those who from time to time served in the 
militia. Daniel Ilugunin, Jr., was a lieutenant in the regular 
array, taking part in the battles on the Niagaia frontier. 

Robert Hugunin was a pilot through the war, on one of 
Commodore Chauncey's vessels. Dr. Walter Colton was a 
surgeon in the army. Peter D. Hugunin was a paymaster. 

The fear of Indian invaders handed down frpm Revolu- 
tionary times lay heavy on all the inhabitants of the north- 
ern frontier. Mrs. Grant, then Mary Hugunin, relates 
that more than once she and her sister-in-law, Mrs. Peter 
D. Hugunin, who had a pair of twins, sprang up in the 
night on an alarm being raised ; each seized one of the twins 
and fled, but returned when the alarm was found to be a 
false one, as was generally the case. Mary, then a young 
woman, kept house for her father and younger brothers in 
Oswego during a part of the war, while the rest of the 
family were sent away. 

Eli Parsons, Jr., a son of the old colonel, owned and 
navigated n small open boat on the river. On one occasion, 
when no better means could be found, he undertook to carry 
a boat-load of cannon-balls from Oswego to Sackett's Harbor. 
But rough weather assailed him on the way, the boat with 
its heavy freight went to the bottom, and the remains of 
the unfortunate man were washed ashore near the mouth 
of Little Salmon creek. 

In the spring of 1813 there rode on horseback into 
Oswego a midshipman in the United States navy, bearing 
dispatches from Sackett's Harbor, which were forwarded to 
Commodore Chauncey, then at the head of the lake. The 
bearer, a native of Baltimore, had already reached the age 
of thirty-five years. He had thrice looked upon the stately 
form of Washington, had seen him the last time he 
reviewed a body of troops, had witnessed the laying of the 
corner-stone of the national capitol, had passed through 
various financial vicissitudes in early life, had served under 
Commodore Rodgers and the lamented Lawrence, had con- 
versed with the gallant Decatur, and having twenty years 
later become a citizen of Oswego, still survives, a resident 
here, though in December of this year, 1877, he will reach 
the age of a hundred years, rounding out a century which 
began only eighteen months after the birth of the Republic. 

Most citizens of Oswego will be aware that we refer to 
the venerable John M. Jacobs. His business here in 1813 
was not important, yet it seemed proper to notice the ap- 
pearance at this stage of one who maintains his hold upon 
life with so tenacious a grasp, and the sight of whom carries 
the mind of the most unimaginative man back to the earliest 
days of our national existence. 

Among the reminiscences furnished to the Oswego Pal- 
ladium during the centenary year by a son of Dr. Walter 
Colton, now resident in Ohio, was one which we insert in 
almost the language of the writer. IMany accidents hap- 
pened in early times when vessels were passing into or out of 
the harbor. Lieutenant (afterwards Commodore) Francis 
H. Gregory, of the navy, frequently scouted along the lake- 
shore during the war in a light-draught cutter called the 
" Black-Snake." When entering the harbor on one occa- 
sion a man fell overboard, was swept out by the current, 
and drowned. 

The body was soon after discovered on the east bar, 
when the gallant young officer dived to the bottom and 
brought it up. His boat, however, had drifted away, 
through the mismanagement of the crew, but the lieutenant 


clung to the body, aud finally, by desperate exertions and 
with great peril, succeeded in carrying it ashore. There 
was a military hospital on the beach near by, and some of 
the invalids were outside. They were, or thought they 
were, too feeble to help the lieutenant, who came very near 
drowning. The moment he got ashore he laid down the 
corpse he had rescued and went to throwing stones at the 
soldiers with all his might, cursing them roundly for sitting 
idle while he was likely to drown. They soon made their 
way within the shelter of the ho.spital. The most remarka- 
ble circumstance connected with the afiiiir was that one of 
the sick soldiers in the hospital discovered the drowned 
man to be his brother, who had left, home twenty years 
before and had never been heard from since. 

A few hours after Lieutenant Gregory had shown such 
courage and humanity, the same passionate officer was en- 
gaged in flogging a sailor, for some breach of discipline, in 
the loft of Burt's warehouse. Several idle boys of the 
village, among whom was young Colton, crowded in to see 
the " fun." At this Gregory exploded again, and with a 
storm of curses rushed upon the intruders " cat" in hand. 
The boys tumbled head-over-heels down an outside stair- 
way, while the future commodore shook his " cat" at them 
in fury, and then returned to finish up the flogging, — a 
kind of punishment common enough at that time, but long 
since abolished by law. 

When the British attacked Oswego, in 1814, all the 
families left that could do so. Old Mr. Sheldon, knowing 
that Captain E. M. Tyler was out" on the lake, came down 
with an ox-sled and took the family out to his own resi- 
dence. As soon as they arrived he sent his own son and 
Joel Tyler back to bring some young cattle which were 
glazing on the open grounds around the fort. Just as the 
boys had got the steers and heifers started for home the 
first gun was fired from the fleet, and the ball came scream- 
ing and plunging close beside them. The cattle stuck up their 
tails and galloped off' towards home, and the boys followed 
at almost equal speed. 

Even the terrors and troubles of war, however, did not 
prevent the making of an important movement towards the 
development of Oswego in 1814. A surveyor, named John 
Randall, was sent on by the surveyor-general to remeasure 
the State reservation on the east side of the river, and to 
lay off a hundred acres in streets and village lots. 

He Was ordered simply to follow the law designating the 
bounds of the reserve, which directed that the southern 
boundary should begin a mile from the mouth of the river, 
and run thence a mile at right angles with the course of 
the stream. Randall, however, managed to make the dis- 
tances and angles materially different from those established 
by Wright, encroaching seriously on the adjoining farm 
lauds previously purchased. Anxiety was caused to the pur- 
chasers, and delegations were several times sent to Albany 
to obtain a restoration of the old line. Owing to a friendly 
feeling towards the aged surveyor-general, whose proteg6 
Randall was, no direct action was taken by the other State 
authorities, but by general consent ^V^right's line was al- 
lowed to pass as the correct one, and everybody conformed 
to it in making purchases and .sales. 

lu laying off' streets un the east side Mr. Randall pur- 

sued the same system that had been adopted on the west 
side. The streets parallel with the river were named East 
First, East Second, East Third, etc., while Aries, Gemini, 
Taurus, and the other celestial avenues were extended 
across the stream to the east side of the new tract. 

Early the next year peace was declared, and the people 
at once began to occupy the lately-opened territory. Dr. 
Coe, T. S. Morgan, and William Dolloway built houses on 
the east side below Cayuga street. Others purchased lots 
and began clearing away the trees in preparation for the 
erection of buildings. By general consent the locality was 
called East Oswego, though it was legally only a portion of 
the town of Seriba. 

Here, as everywhere on the frontier, there was a heavy 
immigration immediately after the war, and Oswego rapidly 
emerged from its chrysalis condition, — so rapidly, in fact, 
that it will be impracticable henceforth to give the names 
of individual settlers to the extent we have hitherto done. 

In addition to the rapid improvement on the east side, 
after the war, buildings began to show themselves on the west 
side, at various points above Cancer (Bridge) street, which 
had previously been the southern boundary of civilization. 
One of the Hugunins, in 1815 or 1816, built a house, 
then considered something palatial, on Mohawk street, near 
the bank of the river, being the farthest south of any in 
the village. Immediately after the war, too. Judge Sage 
moved down from the Wentworth place and built him a 
residence on the site of the Doolittle House. 

Increasing prosperity made Oswego all the more anxious 
to become the county-seat of the new county which was 
proposed to be formed out of Oneida and Onondaga. The 
great difficulty was that the village was very near the west 
end of the large tract which it was designed to include in 
the new county boundaries, and which, from the location 
of counties already formed, eould not well be materially 
changed. There was no doubt but that a large majority of 
the people of the proposed county were opposed to locating 
the county-seat so far on one side. Yet the village had 
the advantage of being the only one of any consequence 
within the proposed limits, and had naturally more capital 
and brains to work with than any of its rivals. 

At that period it was customary for the legislature, when 
it created a new county, to appoint three commissioners 
from other counties to select a county-seat. It was 
altogether probable that if an act forming Oswego County 
should be passed during the ensuing winter, the commis- 
sioners would select a more central location than Oswego 
village. Under these circumstances, Oswego and Pulaski 
— which was also an aspirant for the honors and emolu- 
ments pertaining to a capital city — ^joined forces. Dr. 
Walter Colton drew up a bill containing a provision for 
two county-seats, and visited Albany to urge its pa.ssago. 
The principal inhabitants at both ends of the proposed 
county .supported him, and the bill became a law on the 
IGth day of March, 1816. It provided for commissioners 
to locate the two county-.scats, but no one could doubt that 
Oswego was the proper place at this end of the county, and 
the selection was soon made. 

The tonnage of the ves.sels belonging to the port at that 
time was five hundred and four tons. The new county- 


seat had not yet arrived at the dignity of a stage line. 
The mail was still brought from Onondaga Hollow on 
horseback. A little later a mail-route was established 
from Utica to Oswego, the mail being also carried on horse- 
back, and running once a week. The post-ofl5ce could not 
have been a very profitable institution, which was probably 
the reason that William Dolloway, who was appointed post- 
master in January, 1815, gave up his position a year later. 
Judge Sage was appointed postmaster, and, as he was 
already collector, he could probably get a living out of the 
two offices. 

The establishment of a county-seat at Oswego was fol- 
lowed by the advent of several lawyers. One of the very 
earliest, if not the earliest, of these was John Grant, Jr., 
a young college graduate, who had been serving as a pay- 
master in the army during the war and until a year after; 
he was already a counsellor of the supreme court, when, 
in the spring of 1816, he located at the promising village, 
where he resided till his death. Theodore Popple was the 
only other supreme court counsellor who made his home 
there that first summer ; but at least two students came 
who were anxious for the honors of admission to the bar. 

When the first court of common pleas for Oswego 
County was held at the old school-house, on the first day 
of October, 1816, by Judge Peter D. Hugunin (in the 
absence of First Judge Mooney), assisted by Judge Ed- 
mund Hawks and " Assistant Justice"' Daniel Hawks, Jr., 
the people began to think that theu- village was really 
amounting to something. The supreme court counsellors 
before mentioned, as well as several outsiders, were ad- 
mitted to practice on presentation of the credentials they 
had already, and the students, George Fisher and Henry 
White, were, after due examination, admitted as attorneys 
of the common pleas. It may be remarked, for the benefit 
of those accustomed only to the usages of the present day, 
that the privilege of practicing in the last-named tribunal 
only required three years' study, while the august honors 
of the supreme court then demanded seven years of prepara- 
tion from their recipient. 

But, although Oswego had attained to the dignity of a 
court, there was no litigation to be disposed of, no criminals 
to be tried, and Judge Hugunin was obliged to adjourn sine 
die. There was another young student, James F. Wright, 
who located in Oswego about this time, but was not admitted 
till the next term of the common pleas, held at Pulaski the 
following February. Samuel B. Beach was another lawyer 
who came nearly as soon as those who have been mentioned. 

Another important event of 1816 was the organization 
of the first church in the village. This was the First Pres- 
byterian church, which was organized at the ever-useful 
school-house on the 21st day of November by Rev. Mr. 
Abeel, with seventeen members. Considering that it was 
just twenty years since the settlement of Oswego began, 
and that it had attained a population of five or six hundred 
before a single religious association was formed, it must, we 
think, be admitted that the place could not have suffered 
severely from " early piety." 

The next spring witnessed the appearance in Os ego 
harbor of the " Ontario," which was not only the pioneer 
steamboat of the lake whose name it bore, but was the veiy 

first vessel of that kind ever seen on a lake anywhere in 
the world. The event has been mentioned at some length 
in the general history. The chapter devoted to the press 
also contains a notice of another important event of this 
year (1817), — the establishment of the first newspaper in 
the village by S. A. Abbey & Brother, under the name of 
the Osioego Gazette. 

By this time the population on the east side had in- 
creased so it was thought that a school could be supported 
there. Not a school-house though ; that was an institu- 
tion only to be obtained for East Oswego in the far future. 
The first teacher of the few children of that locality was 
Miss Philomela Robinson. She held forth in a hired room 
near the river, and for eleven years the school was changed 
from one rented building to another, occupying five or six 
different ones in the time mentioned. 

On the 20th of April, 1818, the town of Oswego, which 
included all of the village west of the river, was formed 
from Hannibal by an act of the legislature. The two parts 
of the present city were now in the towns of Oswego and 
Scriba, the inhabitants being frequently designated as Os- 
wegoites and Scribaites. There was a bitter feud between the 
boys on the two sides of the river, breaking out in frequent 
fights, and woe to the unlucky juvenile who fouud himself 
alone on the wrong side of the stream. 

Then, as previously, a large part of the trade of Oswego 
consisted of salt, brought down from Salina and shipped 
westward. It is noted that in that year (1818) thirty-six 
thousand bushels were brought from Salina, of which 
twenty-six thousand were shipped westward. 

In 1819 the Oswego Gazette, having passed through the 
hands of Augustus Buckingham, was discontinued for a 
short time, when John H. Lord and Dorephus Abbey, 
with the material of the Gazette, began the publication of 
that veteran of the press, the Oswego Palladium. 

In 1820 the first grist-mill that was intended for manu- 
facturing flour on a large scale was built, by Alvin Bronson 
and T. S. Morgan. 

It contained five run of stone, and was considered a 
grand institution. It did a successful business ; but for ten 
years no material advance was made in the work of mill- 
ing. One of the proprietors, Colonel Morgan, was the 
first member of the assembly from Oswego village, serving 
during this same year. 

All this' time Oswego was making very slow progress. 
The Erie canal was in process of construction, people had 
got a notion that trade was sure to flow along its channel, and 
new settlers nearly all sought their fortunes in the cities and 
villages growing up on its banks. The numerous stage- 
coaches, too, which ran along the present line of the Cen- 
tral railroad, carried the greater part of the passenger- 
travel which had formerly passed through Oswego. Heavy 
freight, however, still followed the old route. 

Though the increase in numbers was small, however, 
there was a material improvement in the appearance of the 
village. Nearly all the old log houses had disappeared, 
though a few still remained as relics of the pioneer days. 
Neat frames had taken their places, and occasionally a brick 
building might be seen, though this was very seldom. 

In 1821 a light-house was built by the United States 


Among the truly repreaenta- 
tiTemeDof Oawego County, few, 
If any, have been more inti- 
mutely asBociat«d with the ma- 
terial derelopment of thttt part 
of the State than Leunard Ames, 
the well'kuowu banker and iron 
oianufacturer. Mr. Ames not 
only witnessed the transition of 
a small village into the largest 
and most prosperous city in the 
county, — of a thin settlement 
into a busy and populous com- 




has typified so admirably the 
agencies which wrought many 
of these changes, that uo history 
of Oswego County would be com- 
plete withontsomeaketch of his 
life, labors, and character. 

Mr. Ames is of New England 
-origin, his parents having re- 
moTed frum Litchfield, Connec- 
timt, to Mexico township, this 
county, in 1814. The subject of 

town of Mexico, February 8, 
1818. He was the seventh child 
of a family of thirteen. His 
early life, like that of most of 
our nuccessful business men, 
was one of close application, 
self-reliance, and self-denial. 
He worked on the farm until 
he reached his twenty-fourth 

1 the Wabash r 
of Indiana. At this time that 
State was quite new, and the 
present improvements in navi- 
gation and transportation were 

> Sute, and thrice Mr. 
returned east on horseback from 
Delphi, Indiana, there being no 
public conveyance of any kind 
part of the distance. Subse- 
quently, Mr. Ames returned to 
this county, and, in connection 
with James S. Chandler, entered 
into the private banking busi- 
oeaa at Mexico, and afterwards 
one of the originators of the 
firm of Ames, Howlett & Co., at 
Oswego. In 1864 he was the 
prime mover in the or^aiiization 
of the Second National Bank of 
that city, of which ho has been 
president from that time to the 
present. He alio became a mem- 
ber of the firm operating the 

terpris* and energy In their 
establishment. These works em- 
ploy an aggregate of one hun- 
dred and sixty hands, and aver- 
ago the Dianufactiire of one 
locomotive daily. In this, as to 
all other of his business under- 
takings, he has been eminently 
successful. Honesty and a firm 
desire to succeed have been the 

Ho ha« evinced an excellent 
judgment in all his ti-auaactions, 
and sterling honesty has been 
the basis of his operatiuni. 
This is high testimony, but It is 
only the retlex of the prominent 
traits of Mr. Ames' character; 
and what to the stmng» reader 
may seem peculiarly the lan- 
guage of eulogy, will be readily 
recognized hyali who know him 
OS a mere plain, uncolored state- 
ment of the salient points of hiv 
character, and features of his 
commercial career. 

Mr. Ames has figured quite 
conspicuously in local. State, 
and national politics. He was 
elected wupervisor of the town 
of Mexico in 185.'), a member of 
the Assembly in 1857, and was a 
delegate to the Chicago Conven- 
tion which nominated Abraham 
Lincoln (of glorious memory) 
to the presidency. He was the 
appointee under President Lin- 
coln for the United States asses- 
sorship for the twenty-second 
Congressional dietrirt, which 
positien he occupied (vut years, 
being removed by Andy John- 

an uncompromising abolition- 
ist; having in him the inherent 
love of freedom and a natural 
hatred of oppre»>jion. 

1 the 

^C/LO 2 /<^ Z'^^^^^-:/ 

safe transport of fugitive slaves, 
and that, too, at a time when 
public sentiment was largely 

Mr. Ames never enjoyed the 
advantages of education, but 
being naturally intelligent, and 
endowed with a large amount of 
I sense, industry, perse- 

succeeded in building a reputa- 
tion as wide spread as it is envi- 
able Indeed, it may be truly 
saKl of bim, that his entire career 
IB niic worthy the emulation of 
theyjung and a fitting example 
for all Borttt and conditions of 
bn«inoBi men to follow, 

Residence: or LEONARD AMES,NoU2,co/f.4i'^ &oneida sts..Osw£6o,N.Y 


govoriimciit on the north side of the fort. It was first 
lii;litcd up the following spring. Tiiis was an important 
'' institution" in those days, and was followed by two others 
the same year (1822). A frame court-house was built on 
the park on the east side of tlie river, the original court- 
house block on the west side having been sold by permis- 
sion of the legislature, and the proceeds applied to the 
building of the structure just mentioned. When finished 
it was used as a meeting-house. In fact, so eager were the 
people to employ it for that purpose that they occupied it 
before the paint was dry on the seats, and many a Sunday 
suit was badly injured in consequence. 

The first bridge, too, was erected in this year at the same 
point as the present lower bridge. It was bragged about 
in contemporary publications as a tremendous structure, 
seven hundred feet long and costing two thousand dollars ! 
In truth, its erection was no slight task for that era. Wooden 
boxes (caissons) were sunk in the river and filled with 
stone, and on these the bridge was placed. Edwin W. 
Clark, then just twenty-one, was the first man across the 
new structure. 

Nearly the first use that was made of the bridge was for 
a battle. The Oswegoite and Scribaite boys, mindful of the 
warlike traditions of the locality, mustered all their forces 
on this convenient though narrow field the first night after 
its completion, and proceeded to test their superiority by a 
resort to the last arbitrament of kings and of boys. Long 
the victory hung doubtful in the balance, while the com- 
batants rivaled the deeds of De Montcalm and Mercer, of 
Bradstreet and De Villiers. of Mulcaster and Mitchell, of 
Pontiac and Warragiyaghcy, while many an eye was 
closed in temporary darkness, while many a nasal organ 
dripped plenteous gore upon the virgin planks of the new 
bridge, and while the wild Oswego murmured a subdued 
accompaniment to many a dismal shriek. But " Providence 
fiivors the strongest battalions," and at length the superior 
numbeis of the Oswego army compelled the slow retreat of 
the gallant Scribaites. They fell back in good order and 
were not pursued. 

The contractor for the bridge, name was Church, 
did not entirely his work till the beginning of winter. 
Being desirous of transporting his chains and tools to the 
northern part of Jefiierson county, he put them on board the 
schooner " Morning Star," commanded by young Captain 
Tyler, who, at the age of twenty, then made his first trip 
as commander of a vessel. The voyage is noticeable for 
the late time in the season at which it occurred. Captain 
T. left Oswego on the 13th of December, proceeded to 
Ogdensburgh (leaving the tools as he went on the ice, which 
had already formed along the shore of the St. Lawrence), 
cut his own way through the ice near that place, and got 
back to 0.swego on the 23d. It has beenjilong time since 
a vessel has traver.sed the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario 
in the latter part of December. 

Among the other vessels which Captain Tyler mentions 
as then running on the lake were the " Henrietta," " Vi- 
enna," " Gold-Hunter^" " Betsey," " Traveler," " Julia," 
" Hunter," '• Niagara," " Oswego," " New Haven," and 
" Linda." A large business was dune in bringing staves 
from the head of the lake and takiii- them down the St. 

Lawrence. Some lumber was also carried, but hardly a 
single bushel of grain had yet found its way from the west 
to the shore of Lake Ontario. There was a little of one 
kind of trade which has since disappeared. To save 
making the portage from the Hudson to Lake Champlain, 
goods were frequently brought from New York by means 
of the Inland Navigation company's canal, through Oneida 
lake to Oswego, and thence shipped down the St. Lawrence. 

Lot No. 6 of the Military tract, now forming the western 
portion of the city, had been a subject of legal warfare in 
the courts ever since its being granted by the land-comniis- 
b-ionei's. Martin Van Buren was the counsel for one of the 
claimants, and Moses J. Cantine, his brother-in-law, was the 
attorney. In 1822 the contest was .it length decided in 
favor of Mr. Van Buren's client. The tract was not even 
then very valuable, and the expenses of litigation had been 
such as to more than equal what the land was worth. 
The title was accordingly transferred, through Mr. Cantine, 
to Mr. Van Buren in payment for his services. The land 
in question has ever since been known as the Van Buren 
tract, and a portion of it is still owned by the heirs of the 
ex-president. It is now probably worth more than a thou- 
sand times what the coun.selor would have charged for his 
services in 1822. 

As has been mentioned in the general history, Mr. Bron- 
son was chosen to the State senate in the autumn of the 
year just mentioned, and continued there the up-hill work 
of getting an appropriation for a canal from Syracuse, in 
which he and others had been for several years engaged. 

The next year, 1823, the Oswego Canal company was 
chartered, — not for constructing a commercial canal, how- 
ever, but a manuflicturing one, on the east side of the river. 
The State soon after built a wing-dam to throw the water 
of the river into the canal, under an aiTangement that the 
latter was to be used as a part of the State canal. It was 
so used for a brief period, but the scheme was found im- 
practicable, and a separate canal had to be built for boats. 

In the year 1823, also, Oswego received the benefit of its 
first steamboat line, consisting of the primitive "Ontario," 
the new steamer "Martha Ogden," and a small one called 
the '■ Sophia." As in the milling so in the steamboat line, 
very little improvement was seen thenceforth until 1830. 

It was not until 1825, nine years after Oswego had be- 
come a county-seat, that it could boast of a church edifice. 
In that year the First Presbyterian society erected a frame 
in the centre of the public square, on the west side. 

The first member of Congress from Oswego, General 
Daniel Hugunin, Jr., was elected in 1824, awarded his 
seat after a contest, and held it until March, 1827. He 
devoted himself especially to securing an appropriation for 
a pier to protect Oswego harbor. He succeeded in obtain- 
ing one, and in the spring of 1827 the important work was 
commenced by the contractors, MeNair & Hatch. 

Meanwhile Mr. Bronson in the senate and Colonel Mor- 
gan in the assembly had been the principal agents in urging 
through a law for the construction of the Oswego canal, 
which had been begun in 1826. It was completed in 1828, 
and then at last the long-neglected village began to feel the 
first waves of the tide of business which it had been expect- 
ing for nearly thirty years. 



Even at that late date there was hardly a thousand pop- 
ulation in the villages on both sides of the river, and there 
liad never been even a village organization. But a lavr was 
passed providing for one at the session of the legislature 
in 182S, and on the 13th of May of that year the first elec- 
tion of officers was held. Hon. Alvin Bronson was chosen 
the first president of the village, with Thomas Willett as 
treasurer and John Howe as collector. The board of tras- 
tees comprised seven of the most eminent men in the vil- 
lage, — Daniel Hugunin, Jr., the ex-Congressman ; George 
Fisher, who had received a certificate as member, and had 
held the seat for a short time ; David P. Brewster, subse- 
quently a member for two terms ; Colonel T. S. Morgan, 
the ex-assemblyiijan ; Nathaniel Vilas, Jr. ; Joseph Turner ; 
and Orlo Steele. 

In those still primitive times the inhabitants of the vil- 
lage settled the amount of their local taxes by a viva voce 
vote, as is now done at town-meetings. While the whole 
village voted the amount to be raised for general purposes, 
each of the two "sides" decreed how much should be de- 
voted to the special uses of that side. Accordingly, at the 
first election the whole population voted to raise two hun- 
dred dollars for the common use of the village. Then the 
west-siders collected together and voted that three hundred 
dollars should be levied for local improvements in their dis- 
trict, and the eastern voters followed suit by devoting the 
modest sum of one hundred dollars to the same purposes 
on their side of the river. It is fair to presume, and the 
presumption is corroborated by the evidence, that these 
sums corresponded with reasonable closeness to the popula- 
tion of the two sections, and that the west side, in 1828, 
contained three-fourths of the inhabitants of the village. 
The record of the first election was signed by Daniel Hu- 
gunin, Jr., Joseph Turner, and John Howe, justices of the 

At the meeting of the board Edwin W. Clarke was ap- 
pointed the first village clerk, and John Howe village sur- 
veyor. In accordance with a vote of the west-side people, 
the board leased the north third of the market-ground for 
nine hundred and ninety-nine years. They were also 
authorized to lease in the same manner the north third of 
the easterly block of the public square. The price of a 
grocery-license was fixed at ten dollars. 

Henry Eagle, Francis Rood, Thomas Ambler, and Wm. 
I. Kniflen were appointed fire-wardens, and divers quaint 
regulations were made to insure the subdual of conflagra- 
tions. The fire-wardens were provided with badges of 
office, consisting of staffs seven feet long, painted red, with 
the words "fire-warden" upon each of them. The fire- 
wardens were directed to attend every fire with their 
badges of office, and attend to the forming of lines and 
other necessary measures. Trustees present at a fire were 
also directed to wear white bands around their hats. If 
any contumacious individual should refuse to obey the 
orders of either fire-warden or a trustee, it was ordered that 
he should be fined two dollars. As there were eleven war- 
dens and trustees, there was considerable danger of contra- 
dictory orders, but no umpire was provided for in such a 
case. Each citizen was required to have a fire-bucket for 
every two fireplaces or stoves in his house, to be kept hang- 

ing at the front of his building, with his name painted upon 
them, and in case of fire every man was required to take his 
buckets thither, under penalty of two dollars fine. Lost, 
however, these regulations should not produce the desired 
eflFect, a fire company was raised, consisting at first of thirty, 
and afterwards of fifty, members. 

This year, 1828, the east side had advanced sufficiently 
so that a few of its most enterprising inhabitants thought it 
possible that a school-house might be erected. A school- 
meeting was called at the store of Milton Harmon. At the 
appointed time only three persons were present, — Harmon 
himself, James Sloan, and Joseph Turner. They repre- 
sented the sovereignty of the people, and they proceeded to 
enact that a school-house was absolutely necessary, and 
should be erected at a cost not exceeding one hundred dol- 
lars. The next morning the conservatives of the east side 
were shocked to learn that they had been saddled with a 
tax of one hundred dollars for an article of such doubtful 
utility as a school-house. They threatened to prevent the 
resolution from being carried out, to have it rescinded, etc., 
but finally consented to the proposed movement, strictly on 
condition that the cost of furniture should be included in 
the hundred dollars appropriated for the school-house. 

Another church edifice (Episcopal) was also begun on 
the southeast corner of the west-side public square in 1828. 
There began to be some queries about the propriety of 
using the square for such purposes, and the next year the 
council resolved that only four churches should be built on 
the ground in question. These were to be situated at the 
four corners, at each of which a piece of land ninety-eight 
feet front by one hundred and twenty feet back should be 
set apart for church uses. 

These corners refer to the square as now laid out, for in 
1829 the board leased the remainder of the eastern block, 
and by that or some other means acquired a hundred dol- 
lars with which to improve the remainder of the square. 
It was intended that the Presbyterian church should be 
moved from the centre to one of the corners, but it was 
never done. 

At this time the salmon were still running thick in the 
streams, for the first dams were not so high as to prevent 
their passage, and at long intervals a deer made his way 
from the outlying forest on to Oak hill, gazed for an in- 
stant at the little village below, and then darted back to his 
leafy retreats. In the night, at salmon time, "jack-lights," 
composed of blazing pine knots held in the prows of skiffs, 
went flashing up and down the river, giving a picturesque 
touch to the usual humdrum of village life. But the board 
of trustees did not appreciate the picturesque, and either for 
fear of fire, or because the blazing knots disturbed the 
sleepy citizens, the village fiithers brought down the ex- 
tinguishing hand of power upon the jack-lights. They 
enacted that none should be used below Leo (Oneida) 
street, and that above that point none should be brought 
within three rods of a dwelling. 

The beach on the river and lake north of Aries (Schuy- 
ler) street was sot apart as a public fishing-ground, but was 
free only for the hook and spear ; no one could draw seine 
or net there without permission from the board of trustees, 
who put the privilege up at auction. 



Even before the completion of the Welliind canal, its 
anticipated benefits were so great that a new liotel, erected 
in 1829, on Gemini (Cayuga) street, between First and 
Second, was called the Welland House. For a long time 
this was the grand hotel of the village, where all distin- 
guished strangei-s stopped, where all conventions were held, 
and where everybody met everybody else. 

In 1830 the AVelland can:d was opened, and the same 
year saw an upward movement of the long-dormant milling 
business. Two mills with six run of stone each were built : 
one by Henry Fitzhugh and one by Gerrit Smith and Rich- 
ard L. De Zeng. Messrs. Smith and Fitzhugh, who were 
brothers-in-law, both became largely interested in Oswego 
property ; the latter remaining till his death one of the 
leading citizens of the place, and Mr. Smith, though not a 
resident, always manifesting a deep interest in its welfare. 

By the census of the last-named year the population of 
the village was about two thousand two hundred ; having 
more than doubled within two years. The increase was the 
most rapid on the east side, which had now risen to about 
a third of the total population. 

These were the times of hot warfare regarding Masonry. 
Masonry itself had suspended operations in this county, 
but anti-Masonry had also reached its climax, and was de- 
clining in power. At the spring election for the town of 
Oswego, the Democratic party, which was still sometimes 
called by its old Jeffersonian name of " Republican," had 
a majority of about sixty over the anti-Masons. Matthew 
McNair was elected supervisor, and among the five assessors 
were ex-congressman Rudolph Bunner and ex senator 
Alvin Bronson. One of the three inspectors of schools 
was William F. Alien, a young lawyer of twenty-two, who 
had only the year before been admitted to the bar. Mat- 
thew McNair, Samuel Carter, and Edward Bronson were 
the " commissioners of gospel lots," — ofiicers having charge 
of the land set apart for religious purposes in each township 
of the Military tract. 

On the 1st of August, 1830, the little schooner " Erie" 
came down the lake to Oswego. A great crowd greeted its 
arrival with the most exuberant manifestiitions of joy, and 
its oflBcers and passengers were entertained at a gi-and ban- 
quet at the Welland House, where the wildest predictions 
were made regarding the results to flow from the coming of 
that little schooner. The reason of all this excitement was 
that the " Erie" was the first^comer from the lake whose 
name it bore, — the first vessel to pass through the Welland 

One of the severest of the early fires in Oswego occurred 
on the 1st of October, 1830. All the buildings on the 
west side of West First street, from Gemini (Cayuga) 
street to Taurus (Seneca) street, and thence along Taurus 
to the corner of Second street, were reduced to ashes. That 
locality was then in the heart of the business portion of the 
village, and the list of losers included the names of F. T 
Carrington, D. P. Brewster, E. & T. Wentworth, R. L. De 
Zeng, Bronson & Doming, L. B. Crocker, George Fisher, 
J. I. Fort, A. Richardson, Dr. W. G. Adkins, and others 
of the " heavy men" of that era. But the place was then 
in the full tide of growth, and the scars of fire were quickly 

The first church built on the east side was the First 
Baptist, the society of that name having received permis- 
sion in March, 1831, to erect an edifice -on the northwest 
corner of the east square. The desire for higher education 
than could be afforded by the district schools also began to 
manifest itself, and in 1831 a number of the leading citi- 
. zens associated themselves to found an academy. The 
foundation of the building was laid that year on part of the 
block originally intended for the east portion of the public 
square and leased by the city, but hardly was the new 
structure erected when jealousies arose on account of its 
proximity to the district school, which was still the only one 
in the place. So the trustees sold the new building and 
purchased another on Taurus (Seneca) street, between 
Third and Fourth. This was used for school purposes for 
nearly twenty years. 

Another proceeding which indicated the awakening of 
the literary spirit was the opening of a reading-room by 
Mr. John Carpenter, the proprietor of the l\illaditim, 
where the principal periodicals of the country were kept on 
file, and were submitted to the perusal of readers at a sub- 
scription price of four dollars a year. 

The loss of the new schooner " Henry Clay," belonging 
to Mr. Fitzhugh, causing as it did the death of Captain 
Duncan Campbell and a number of seamen, cast a temporary 
gloom over the rising village, quickly dissipated by the 
constantly broadening glow of material prosperity. 

Early in 1832, rumors of the hitherto unknown destroyer, 
cholera, began to alarm the people. In time the mysterious 
miasma, wafted from the Atlantic coast, approached the 
frontier village. Meetings of the citizens to devise pro- 
tective measures against the deadly invader were held, and 
in a short time the trustees appointed a board of health, 
consisting of Joel Turrill, Rudolph Bunner, T. S. Morgan, 
H. N. Walton, John Grant, Jr., G. II. McWhorter, Elisha 
Moon, Joseph Grant, and Ambrose Morgan. Dr. W. G. 
Adkins was appointed health ofiicer. 

One event of the cholera period is worthy of especial 
notice. Money was deemed necessary to drain unhealthy 
localities and to take other precautions, and the trustees 
had no power to pledge the village for that purpose. They 
therefore resolved to raise, and did raise, a thousand dollars 
by their personal notes, trusting to the legislature to au- 
thorize the necessary tax. The cholera came and many fell 
before it, but one can learn little on the subject by consulting 
contemporary records. People were very shy of saying 
much, for fear of increasing the panic. As for the news- 
papers of 1832, one couldn't learn from them that there 
had been any cholera within a thousand miles. 

At this period the remains of old Fort Oswego were still 
to be seen at the foot of the hill on the west side. Tra- 
dition asserted that when the fort was taken by the French 
(or, as the people generally misunderstood it, when it was 
taken by the English from the French) a large amount of 
specie was hidden in the old well within the inclosure, and 
still remained in concealment. Numerous searches had 
been made, water-witches and "sorcerers" had been (m- 
ployod, but the seekers had not been able to find even il o 
well, much les.s the money. But in the latter part of lt32 
a man named Scripture, from Sandy Creek, wliile rummaging 



round within the old wall, and near where the liberty-pole 
then stood, found the long-abandoned well. If he found 
any specie he said nothing to any one about it, and the next 
morning he left the village, his discovery being marked only 
by the presence of numerous cartridge-boxes, bullets, etc., 
thrown out by the finder. The well was about sixteen feet 
deep and four feet across, and was well walled up. It was 
a focus of curiosity for a few days, but people were too 
busy then to devote much time to inve.stigating the relics 
of the past. 

Each succeeding month saw an increase of population 
and of wealth. The then immense sum of a thousand 
dollars was raised by general tax, and after the cholera had 
passed by all sorts of improvements were the order of the 

The remainder of the eastern third of the public square 
and of the market ground, on the west side, were disposed of, 
and the avails applied to improving the western section of 
the village. The lot on the northeast corner of the market 
ground was sold for eleven hundred and fifty dollars, subject 
to a yearly rent of ninety dollars to the village. Mr. Van 
Buren laid out a portion of Military lot No. G into streets 
and lots, and these streets were soon opened by the author- 
ities as far as the village bounds extended. 

Abraham Varick, a wealthy capitalist, had the Varick 
canal constructed, for hydraulic purposes, under the man- 
agement of R. L. De Zeng, on the west bank of the river. 
The wall between it and the river was built ten feet thick 
at bottom, about four feet thick at the top, sixteen feet high, 
and three thousand feet long ; the canal being sixty-two 
feet wide and seven feet deep, with a fall of nineteen feet 
deep, and costing, when completed two years later, seventy- 
five thousand dollars. 

Politics also were hot. There was a Bronson and a 
Turrill section of the Democratic party, under the leadership 
of Hon. Alvin Bronson and Hon. Joel Turrill, and between 
that party and its opponents, now rapidly taking the name 
of Whig, the fight was as lively as could well be desired. 
General Peter Sken Smith, a brother of Gerrit Smith, and 
a lawyer, residing on the east side of the river, was a leader 
of the opposition ; the FaUadhim was the organ of the 
Democrats, the Free Press and afterwards the Democrat 
were the champions of the Whigs, and the wordy wars, 
frequently enlivened with libel suits, were even more fierce 
than at the present day. 

There was but a single school district on the west side of 
the river up to 1834. In that year a new one was formed, 
bounded by Gemini (Cayuga), Third, and Scorpio (Albany) 
streets and the river, being district No. 12 of the town of 
Oswego. In fact, people hardly had time to attend to 
such little things as schools. By 1835 everybody was get- 
ting rich at forty knots an hour. The Oswego bank turned 
out money in unlimited quantities, and the next year the 
Commercial bank was equally liberal. The lovers of inflation 
had everything their own way. A fire which burned up 
Fitzhugh's grist-mill, Bronson & Morgan's grist-mill, and 
fifteen or twenty other large buildings, was hardly noticed. 
There was plenty of money to build more. 

Some reserved lots on the river and outward harbor, be- 
longing to the State, were sold at auction. Competitors 

came from New York, Albany, and other places, anxious 
to make their fortunes out of Oswego land. One large 
lot of about three acres sold for a hundred and eight 
thousand dollars. Twelve small ones brought about forty- 
eight thousand. No one doubted that all the property then 
bought would be sold for much larger amounts. It was 
asserted that the State had then received three hundred 
thousand dollars for property in 0.swego, and had still a 
large amount left. 

The collections at the custom-house felt the astonishing 
impetus of business. For the third quarter of 1835 they 
were over twenty-one thousand dollars, and it was announced 
that the collections for the second and third quarters of that 
year were thirtt/ times as much as they had been for the 
corresponding quarters in 1834. A gentleman came from 
the east and bought the old "Oswego House," occupying 
somewhat less ground than the present " Fitzhugh," for a 
hundred thousand dollars. He paid ten thousand dollars 
down, and that was the end of it. 

The year 1836 opened with still more glowing prospects. 
In March there were thiity-five vessels building at once, 
averaging a hundred tons each. Property continued to rise. 
A block between Sixth and Seventh streets, which had been 
purchased the summer before for two thousand dollars, was 
now sold for sixteen thousand I 

There were at this time on the two hydraulic canals six 
grist-mills, two cotton-factories, three machine-factories, a 
stone-polishing mill, a tobacco-factory, three extensive tan- 
neries, four saw-mills, a cedar-cutting mill, a large foundry, 
and extensive iron-works. 

Besides these, there were in the village a Presbyterian, 
an Episcopal, a JMethodist, a Baptist, a Congregational, and 
a Catholic church ; an academy, two banks, seven taverns, 
twenty-one general stores, two weekly newspapers, and about 
six hundred dwellings, containing in the neighborhood of 
five thousand inhabitants. Any one who should then have 
denied that Oswego would soon be one of the first cities on 
the continent would have been considered a lunatic and a 

But in the latter part of 1836 the trouble began. In- 
flation had been carried to its utmost possible extent, and 
when the reaction set in, the vast volume of the practically 
irredeemable paper-money shriveled up befoi-e the hot breath 
of the panic, involving the whole country in financial dis- 
aster which has never since been approached. 

The Oswego people could not at first believe that their 
high hopes were so completely blasted, and for a while en- 
deavored to breast the tide. But all through 1837 prices 
continued to sink, and money, of late so plentiful, became 
scarce beyond conception. Both banks broke. Millions 
of imaginary wealth disappeared. Nearly every business 
man became bankrupt. The firm of Bronson & Crocker 
struggled through almost alone. Building ceased, and for 
years Oswego lay commercially supine under the weight of 
the terrible " hard times." 

On the 1st of March, 1837, a new and complete code of 
village laws was enacted by the trustees, all previous ordi- 
nances having been repealed. Regarding the usual provisions 
regulating the market, forbidding the running at large of 
animals, etc., little need be said here, but there were two 



sections regarding the streets wliich are of nineh inter- 

The people had become thorouglily weary of tlie celestial 
street-names selected by old Simeon De Witt. The use of 
these had now been extended as far south as the south line 
of the old State reservation, near the present Ohio street. 
To the mind of the ordinary, common-sense citizens, there 
was something outlandish in such names as Aries, Taurus, 
Cancer, Scorpio, Caprieornus, and Sagittarius ; and if he 
kTiew enough of Latin to tran.slate those appellations into 
Ham street. Bull street, Crab street, etc., it did not materi- 
ally help the matter. 

So in 1837 the trustees, responding to the general wish, 
changed the name of all the old streets in the village run- 
ning east and west. Auriga street was transformed into 
De Witt, A(|uila to Mitchell, Lj-ra to Van Buren, Aries to 
Schuyler, Taurus to Seneca, Gemini to Cayuga, Cancer to 
Bridge, Leo to Oneida, Virgo to Mohawk, Libra to Utica, 
Scorpio to Albany, Sagittarius to Erie, Caprieornus to Nia- 
gara, and Afjuarius to Ohio street. A street running north 
and south, which had previously borne the name of Van 
Buren, was changed to Eighth street. 

It w;is also provided that the curb-stones of the side- 
w;ilks on all streets from and including Second to the river 
(and on Bridge street as far as Fourth), on the east side, 
.should be placed nineteen feet from the street-line. In 
West First, West Second, north of Mohawk, and in West 
Seneca, east of Second, the curb-stones were to be twenty 
feet from the street-lines ; while in all other streets a hun- 
dred feet wide they were to be twenty-six feet from the 

This, of course, left a wide space between the sidewalk 
and street-Hue. It was further enacted that on the business 
streets before mentioned, where the curb was nineteen or 
twenty feet from the line, the owner might build a platform 
seven feet wide into the street on which to display goods. 
On the streets where the curb was twenty-six feet out 
(except from Second street to the river), the inhabitants 
were allowed to inclose seventeen feet of space with an 
ornamental fence, to be removed on thirty days' notice from 
the board of trustees. 

This practically reduced the streets from a hundred to 
sixty-six feet wide. The result has been to make Oswego 
one of the shadiest and hand.somest cities in the country. 
The owners of adjoining lots had no permission to build on 
the seventeen feet, but they universally availed themselves 
of the permission to inclose it. Consequently, throughout 
almost all Oswego, the houses are invariably at least seven- 
teen feet from the sidewalk ; the intervening space being 
usually occupied by a handsome shaded yard, — a sight 
hardly to be seen in any other city of its size in the world. 

In the latter part of 1837 the financial depression was 
variegated if not relieved by the excitement regarding the 
celebrated " Patriot War," Oswego, on account of its 
being the general gateway of communication with Canada, 
was perhaps more infected with " patriot" sympathy than 
any other town on the frontier. All through 1838 con- 
tinued excitement prevailed, and men and means were sent 
to the insurgents by the " Hunter" lodges formed along 
the border. We have described some of the leading events 

of this period in the general history of the county, in- 
cluding the operations of the steamer " United Stiites," and 
the publication of the Oswego Patriot ; but there was one 
affair of a local nature, near the close of the disturbances, 
which we will mention here. 

On the 12th of January, 1839, two brass field-pieces, 
which had been stolen from some State arsenal by the 
patriots, were found concealed about a machine-shop just at 
the east end of the bridge. On the 14th they were seized 
by George H. MeWliortcr, United States marshal, and 
placed in charge of a guard of regular soldiers. The next 
day he prepared to remove them to a more secure place. A 
crowd began to a.ssemble, who desired to prevent their 
being put out of reach of the " patriots " The marshal 
sent for a company of United States troops, which was 
quartered in the United States hotel property, where the 
noimal school now is. The company came down upon the 
bridge, where they were immediately surrounded by an im- 
mense crowd, so closely packed that the soldiers could 
hardly have brought a musket to bear had they tried. 

The mar.shal was unwilling to proceed to extremities. 
Finally John Bunner, an ardent " sympathizer," remem- 
bered that Colonel Runnill, of the New York State militia, 
who was also the keeper of the jail, had orders to take posses- 
sion of all arms bearing the State mark, as the two field-pieces 
did. The colonel was hunted up, and demanded the guns 
in the name of the State. As the claim was reasonable on 
the face of it, the marshal decided to give them up to him, 
though he was known to be in sympathy with the " pa- 
triots," For this reason the crowd assented to the arrange- 
ment. The cannon were dragged out, and under the 
nominal charge of Colonel Runnill were paraded through 
the principal streets, preceded by drum and fife, and sur- 
rounded by the exultant sympathizers, who numbered 
nearly all the people of the village. The cannon were 
finally deposited in the jail-yard, on the site of the present 
city hall, under the charge of the worthy colonel. 

A short time afterwards a number of sympathizers took 
possession of them without difiiculty, dragged them by a 
roundabout road to the locality now called Minetto, and 
concealed them under the floor of a barn, ready for 
the next invasion of Canada. The United States troops, 
which had been reinforced from Sackett's Harbor, got on 
the track of the lost guns, and marched to the ueighborhcod 
where they were concealed, but could not find them. 
None of the people would betray wliat they considered the 
cause of freedom. Colonel Runnill was afterwards court- 
martialed for allowing the cannon to be taken from his 
possession ; but the militia officers who tried him were 
probably as friendly to the " patriots" as himself, and he 
was speedily acquitted. 

Among the results of the military excitement of the day 
was the organization, in 1839, of the " Oswego Guards," the 
first uniformed militia company in the village of which we 
can find any account. Its first officers were Captain S. S. 
Hulbert, Lieutenant J. AV. Ransom, and Ensign G. S. 

Notwithstanding the hard times the trustees continued 
to order the paving and improving of streets, and fifteen 
hundred dollars were raised for general purposes in ISllS. 


But for several years thereafter it was very quiet in Os- 
wego. About 1842 or 1843 the village began slowly to re- 
cover from the previous depression. In the latter year the 
Eagle and the Washington mills, each with five run of 
stone, were erected, being the first since the panic. The 
next year the Empire mill was built, new residences began 
to rise, and commerce showed signs of improvement. 

The Masons had been under the ban of public opinion in 
all this section ever since the Morgan afi"air, but in 1845 a 
new secret order made its appearance in Oswego. The first 
lodge of Odd-Fellows, " Oswegatchie," was organized here 
in May of that year. 

Business and improvements continued to increase during 
184G, but 1847 was the most remarkable j'ear which had 
yet been known. No less than six large mills were built in 
that single year, — the Atlas, Premium, Pearl, Seneca, Lake 
Ontario, and Express, — having in all forty-two run of stone, 
and being capable of making four thousand two hundred 
barrels of flour per day. New business blocks, churches, 
and residences arose on all sides, and people began to talk 
railroad and city. Oswego lodge of Ma.sons was organized, 
the first in the place since the outbreak of anti-Masonry. 

The next year both city and railroad talk became accom- 
plished facts. Application was duly made to the legis- 
lature, and on the 24th of March an act was passed by that 
body organizing the city of Oswego. It was divided into 
four wards, each represented in the council by two alder- 
men, who exercised the legislative power of the new body 
politic, while the executive authority was confided to a 

The first city election resulted in the choice of James 
Piatt as mayor, and of Hunter Crane, Gilbert Mollison, 
Stephen H. Lathrop, Robert Oliver, George S. Alvord, 
John Brigeol, Samuel S. Taylor, and William S. Malcolm. 
The council appointed J. M. Casey as the first city clerk. 

The railroad from Syracuse was completed in October, 
and this gave a new impetus to the business of the youthful 

The same year another institution was established, which 
has been almost as important to Oswego as the railroad or 
the city government. This was the starch-factory erected 
on the Varick canal by an Auburn joint-stock company, and 
placed under the management of T. Kingsford & Son. A 
full account of this important establishment will be found 
elsewhere. Two more mills were built in 1848, — the 
Crescent and the Huron. 

In 1849 a wooden bridge was built across the river on 
Utica street, at a cost of seven thousand dollars. Toll was 
still exacted on the old one on Bridge street, but the new 
one built by the city was free. 

By 1850 the population had risen to twelve thousand 
two hundred and five. Ships loaded with grain came down 
from all the upper lakes by the score. That newly-invented 
Yankee notion, the elevator, quickly transferred it to the 
canal-boat or the mill, and it was speedily sent forward to 
New York or transferred into flour. The old academy had 
gone down, and there were only district schools in the new 
city. To supply the defect iu higher education the Oswego 
seminary was opened in the " United States hotel" building 
in May, 1850, and for a while met with gratifving suecess. 

In 1852 the city had advanced far enough, so it was 
thought, to be lit by gas, and the Oswego gaslight factory 
was incorporated. On the 11th of February the same 
year, the Oswego orphan asylum was organized. 

One of the first, as it was one of the most important, 
events of 1853, was the organization of the schools of the 
city in a compact system, controlled by a board of educa- 
tion, in place of the ten or twelve disunited districts previ- 
ously existing. 

But by far the most startling and impressive event of the 
year 1853, and probably of that whole decade, was the great 
fire of July 5. All the mills and elevators on the east side 
of the river were destroyed, and most of the buildings in 
the second ward. But ere the ashes were cold the enter- 
prising citizens began to rebuild. Six mills were rebuilt, 
with increased capacity, during that and the succeeding 
year, and no less than eight elevators. These, added to 
those which had escaped the fire, made a total of seventeen 
mills and ten elevators in operation at the end of 1854. 

Other improvements were made at the same period. 
The old wooden toll-bridge, erected in 1822, was replaced, 
in 1855, by an iron one, built by the city at a cost of 
forty-two thousand dollars. 

That generous philanthropist, Gerrit Smith, who had 
long had an interest in Oswego, in 1853 gave twenty-five 
thousand dollars to establish a city library, then committing 
its ipanagement to a board of trustees appointed by himself. 
A large two-story brick for the use of the library, on the 
corner of West Second and Oneida streets, was built in 
1853 and 1854. A more full account of this important 
institution is given separately farther on. 

In 1854 the celebrated reciprocity treaty was negotiated 
between the United States and Great Britain, by which 
most of the natural products of the United States and 
British America were admitted into each of those countries 
respectively duty free. Oswego, the great entrepot of the 
Canadian trade, was greatly benefited by this treaty, and 
all the steamers, propellers, schooners, mills, elevators, and 
canal-boats were crowded to their utmost capacity by the 
grain and other products of Canada superadded to those of 
the west. 

During the five years from 1850 to 1855 the population 
increased from twelve thousand to near sixteen thousand, 
a growth more rapid than that of any other city in the 
State. Sixty-nine Oswego vessels, including steamers, pro- 
pellers, and schooners, with an aggregate tonnage of twenty- 
one thousand two hundred and seven tons, rode in and out 
of her busy harbor, besides the numerous ones belonging to 
other ports. 

From that time till the beginning of the Rebellion, 
Oswego continued its onward course. Even the panic of 
1857, which seriously aifected the trade of the country at 
large, but slightly checked that of Oswego. In 1860 the 
population was sixteen thousand eight hundred and sixteen. 

The stirring events of the next four years, the march of 
gallant battalions to the seat of war, the story of their hard- 
ships and their valor, the return of their thinned but vic- 
torious ranks, have all been recounted in the general history 
of the county. While a host of gallant volunteers left the 
little city built on the classic ground of the old French and 



tho Revolutionary wars, the thousands who remained pushed 
on the more prosaic but equally necessary business of every- 
day life with scarcely diminished vis^or. 

A new iron bridge was built, in place of the wooden one 
on Utica street, iu 1807, and other improvements were not 

But with the abrogation of the reciprocity treaty in 18GG 
came a decided check to the prosperity of the city. The 
population in 1870 was but twenty thousand nine bundled 
and ten. 

The financial crisis of 1873, though far less disastrous 
than that of 1836, yet had a seriously' depressing effect 
upon Oswego, as well as upon the rest of the country. 
From that depression the Frontier City is now slowly but 
steadily arising. Notwithstanding the " hard times," the 
population increased to twenty-two thousand four hundred 
and fifty-five in 1875. Commerce lifts her drooping head, 
and once more essays, though not yet with her old-time 
vigor, to make the shores of the Oswego the home of 
industry, enterprise, and wealth. 

Yet those who look upon the turbulent river, rushing 
with rapid pace towards the lake, and aifordiug a water- 
power unsurpassed upon the continent, cannot doubt that 
commerce alone will never accomplish the " manifest des- 
tiny" of Oswego. Even the milling business, important as 
it is, cannot occupy a tenth of the power which runs to 
waste at Oswego and in its vicinity. With more than the 
capacities of Lowell and Lawrence combined, with greater 
facilities than those towns for the gathering of materials 
and the distribution of products, there is no good reason 
why Oswego should not outdo both Lowell and Lawrence 
in the number and magnitude of its establishmonts, save 
that they already have those establishments and Oswego 
has not. But the star of industrial as well as of political 
empire is taking its way westward. New Lowells and Law- 
rences must arise in various parts of the continent, where 
natural advantages and intelligent enterprise point out the 
location, and nowhere do the natural advantages ofter stronger 
inducements to enterprise than on the shores of the rushing 

We have passed very rapidly over the later history of 
Oswego, for the reason that we give separate sketches of all 
its important institutions, its schools, churches, societies, 
banks, mills, elevators, etc., and to those sketches we now 
call the attention of the reader 


The elegant and substantial building known as tho city 
hall was erected in 1869-70. It is of Onondaga lime- 
stone, three stories high, with a Mansard roof, the whole 
surmounted by a tower in which is placed the city clock. 
Its dimensions are sixty-one by one hundred and six feet, 
and its cost about one hundred thousand dollars. The 
lower story is used as the city jail and the offices of the 
police department ; the second story contains the offices of 
the municipal authorities, and the upper story the offices 
of the board of education and the council chamber. On a 
tablet in the interior of the building we find inscribed the 
subjoined : 

"eoKSF.ii STcivF. i.\in jii.vK 21, 1S70. 

" Hon. Alansoii Page, Miiyi>r. 

"Aiaormim Morgan M. Wheeler, Alderman Charles Poolittle, 
Aldcriuan Goorgo Gohio, Ahlcrman Juhii Eilland, AUlcrinan John 
Kaligan, Al.lcrman .fames H. Murdoek, Alderman William Black- 
wood, Aaron Calnon, Uuilding Committee. 

" II. N. White, Arehitect, 

" Henry W. Secbor, Julius A. Sccber, Master Builder.«. 

"John Ratigan, AutUony Culkins, Michael Culkins, Master 

" James Randall, Thomas NcsdcU, Stono Cutlers." 

The building is conveniently located, being in the public 
square, opposite the post-office. It is an imposing structure, 
and constitutes one of the finest architectural nionunieiits 
iu the city. 


This substantial structure was erected in 1857, and first 
occupied in 1858. It is of limestone and iron, and is as 
near fire-proof as possible. Its dimensions are fifty-eight 
by eighty-six feet, and its location Oneida street, between 
First and Second streets. It is a three-story building, with 
a basement. The first floor is occupied by the post-office 
department, the second by the custom-house officials, and 
the third is used as the United States court-room. 

was established in 1806, and the first postmaster was Joel 
Burt, appointed October 7, 1806. Ilis successors, with 
the dates of their respective appointments, are as follows : 

William DoUoway, June 2, 1815 ; Nathan Sage, Janu- 
ary 17, 1816; John Grant, Jr., June 22, 1825; Samuel 
Hawley, January 10, 1831 ; John H. Lord, September 24, 
1839; James Cochian, September 27, 1841; David P. 
Brewster, July 2, 1845 ; Robert H. Martin, January 19, 
1849; Cheney Ames, May 17, 1849; Samuel H. Beards- 
ley, May 4, 1853 ; Alfred B. Getty, July 6, 1858 ; Henry 
Fitzhugh, March 27, 1861 ; Aaron J. Cowles, July 7, 
1865 ; Samuel R. Taylor, October 26, 1866 ; David W. 
Erwin, March 2, 1867; George Hugunin, April 15,1869; 
John A. Place, May 10, 1873; Cheney Ames, June 9, 

The business of the office fur the fi.scal year ending 
June 30, 1877, is represented by the subjoined statistics; 

Received — Letters, 728,000; postal cards, 160,000; 
newspapers, 300,000 ; miscellaneous, 75,000. 

Forwarded— Letters, 750,000; postal cards, 200,000; 
newspapers, 130,000; miscellaneous, 117,000. 

Number of registered letters received, 1605; forwarded, 
804 ; transit, 2040. 

Total receipts for sale of stamps, stamped envelopes, 
postal cards, and box rent, $18,353. 

Number of money-orders i.^sued — Domestic, 2578 ; for- 
eign, 55 ; amounting to 833,968. 

Number of money-orders paid— Domestic, 2625 ; foreign, 
125 ; amounting to $49,458. 


as before stated, is located in the second story of the gov- 
ernment building. Oswego was made a port of entry in 



1803, and Joel Burt was appointed the first collector on 
the 1st of August of the same year. His successors, from 
the expiration of his service until the present, have been 
as follows: Nathan Sage, appointed June 12, 1811 ; John 
Grant, Jr., June 1, 1826; George H. McWhorter, May 1, 
1834; Thomas H. Bond, August 2, 1841; George H. 
McWhorter, May 24, 1843; Jacob Richardson, June 5, 
1849; Enoch B. Talcott, May 23, 1853; Orville Robin- 
son, April ], 1858; John B. Higgins, April 1, 18G0; 
Charles A. Perkins, October 1, 1861 ; Andrew Van Dyck, 
September 1, 1864; Charles C. P. Clark, April 1, 1869; 
Elias Root, May 1, 1871 ; Daniel G. Fort, June 30, 1877. 


The first light-house was built in 1837, and rebuilt in 
1869. The present structure is built of gray limestone. 
The tower is sixty-six feet high, and is octagonal in shape. 
It is situated five hundred feet from the pier-head. The 
light is of the third order of lens apparatus, fixed, and is 
visible fifteen miles. On the pier-head, five hundred feet 
north of the above, is an octagonal iron tower, the focal 
plane of which is thirty-three feet above water, and con- 
tains a beacon-light which is visible eleven miles. It is so 
constructed as to be removed to the outer breakwater when 
the latter shall be completed. 

As has been stated in the previous sketch of the city, 
the first school in Oswego was taught in a log house near 
the corner of West First and Seneca streets, about 1798, 
by Miss Artemisia Waterhouse, from Oswego Falls (now 
Fulton). The school was subsequently taught by Captain 
Edward O'Connor, and, as early as 1807, by Dr. Joseph 
Caldwell, a physician by profession, who, not finding patients 
enough to give him a comfortable support, turned school- 
master. We have also narrated how, in 1806, a school-house 
was built by Mr. Bradner Burt, with the proceeds of a sub- 
scription, on what was then known as the Court-House 
block, on the corner of West Third and Seneca streets. 
The block was afterwards sold, and the proceeds applied 
to the erection of a court-house on the east side of the 
river, and the building was removed to the opposite block 
on the corner of Second and Seneca streets, then the corner 
of the public square. It here served the triple purpose of 
school-house, meeting-house, and court-house. It was occu- 
pied for school purposes until another building was erected 
on Fourth street next north of what is known as the Acad- 
emy building. It was destroyed by fire in 1865. 

About this time, or soon after, the subject of the erec- 
tion of an academy building was agitated, and in 1831 
the foundation of the building just referred to was laid. 
The ground on which it stands was at first leased, it being 
a part of a reserve for a public square. 

Fears being entertained that two schools of a somewhat 
different character, brought into such close proximity, 
might interfere somewhat with each other, the trustees 
decided to sell the new building and purchase a house on 

» For this sketch wo are entirely indebted to the reports of the 
board of education, and the courtesy of their secretary, Mr. Vir;;!! 
C. Douglass. 

Fourth street, between Seneca and Van Buren streets. 
This building was converted into a school-house, and occu- 
pied for that purpose until 1851, when it was sold, and the 
academy building, which had long been occupied for a 
boarding-house, was purchased and fitted up for school 

Up to 1834, this was the only district school within 
the limits of the village of West Oswego. In this year a 
district was formed, which we find described as follows ; 
" Commencing at the Oswego river on Gemini (now 
Cayuga) street, in the village of West Oswego, running 
westerly along Gemini street to Third street, thence so\ith- 
erly along Third to Scorpio (Albany) street, thence easterly 
along Scorpio street to the Oswego river, thence north on 
said river, at low water mark, to the place of beginning." 

This was district No. 12. The first meeting for organ- 
ization was held at the "Welland House, on the 18th day of 
January, 1834; Gideon H. Wuodrufi', Henry White, and 
Edmund Hawks were elected trustees. The first school in 
the district was taught in an old building on the corner of 
Second and Bridge streets, originally erected for a tavern. 
A new brick school-house was built on West Third street, 
near Mohawk, in 1836. This house has since been twice 
enlarged, once by the trustees in 1850, and afterwards by 
the board of education. 

In the same year, 1836, the district called No. 14 was 
created, including all the territory west of Fourth and 
north of Cayugas streets, within the village limits. A lot 
was purchased and a house erected before the close of the 
year. The first trustees were Jacob N. Bonsteele, Leonard 
Smith, and Peter Hailigan. In 1848 the title of this dis- 
trict was changed to No. 6, by order of the city superin- 
tendent. In the year 1852 the old school-house and lot 
were sold, and another lot purchased on the corner of West 
Eighth and Schuyler streets, on which the house at present 
occupied by primary school No. 1 was erected in the same 
year. The entire expense of house, lot, and appurtenances, 
was nineteen hundred and sixty-seven dollars and thirty- 
six cents. 

In about the year 1841 or 1842 a stone school-house 
was built on West Bridge street, between Sixth and 
Seventh, for the district designated as No. 13, which 
included all the territory west of Third street, between 
Albany and Cayuga, within the village corporation. For 
some time previous, the school of this district liad been 
taught in a hired room west of the present site of tlie 
Methodist church. The now school-house was small, con- 
sistinir of but a single room. 

In 1843 another district, styled No. 17, was taken off 
from the east end of this district, including all the territory 
lying between Albany and Cayuga streets, and Third and 
Sixth streets. A house consisting of a single room was 
built on Fourth street, near Bridge, for the use of this 
district. In 1856 this building was enlarged to its present 
size by the board of education. 

In the fall of 1848 another colony was formed from the 
parent stock, and from the southwesterly part of No. 13 
was created a district embracing all the territory lying 
between Albany and Oneida streets, and west of Sixth 
street. This new district was created by an order of John 


B. Purk, town superiiifciKiont, issued October ;5, 1S4S, and 
was designated district No. 21. la December of the same 
year the title was changed by Mr. A. H. Dunham, the suc- 
ces-sor of Mr. Park, to No. 10, by which it wa^ designated 
at the time of the organization of the board of education. 
In the winter and spring of 1849 a new house was erected 
on West Mohawk, near Tenth street. Tiiis also was a 
single room, and is still known by the name of " White 
School-House," being occupied by primary school No. 3. 

All south of Albany street constituted district No. 9. 
About the year 1841 a new district was cre;itcd from 
tills extensive one, embracing all between Albany street 
and the old viUage line ; and a stone school-house, with a 
single room, was erected in 1842. This was enlarged in 
1850 to its present capacity. The cost of enlarging was 
fourteen hundred dollars. It stands on or near the corner 
of West Fourth and Erie streets, and is occupied by pri- 
mary school No. 5. The district was known as No. 18 
until the year 1848, when its title was changed to No. 9. 
It has since been changed to No. 7. This house was 
burned in the winter of 18(51. The walls, however, were 
left standing, and it was rebuilt by the Northwestern insu- 
rance company the same year. 

The first public school on the east side of the river was 
taught by. Miss Philomela Robinson, in a hired room near 
the river, in the Second ward, about 1817. The location 
of the school was frequently changed; the second one was 
near the cove; the third near where the Columbia mill 
now stands ; the fourth on the west side of First street, at 
the foot of Cayuga ; the fifth in Mr. Elias Park's house, 
on the corner of Second and Seneca streets. Among the 
early teachers of the school who succeeded Mis.s Robinson 
were Mr. Morton, Miss Daggert, Mr. Dwyer, Miss Ora 
Coate, Lydia Miner, Richard Parsons, and Eliza 

Some time in the fall of 1828, a school-meeting was 
called at the store of Milton Harmon. At this meeting 
were present James Sloan, Milton Harmon, and Joseph 
Turner. Being progressive and liberal-minded men, they 
voted that it was " absolutely necessary to have a school- 
lujiisc," and resolved that one be erected at once, at a cost 
not exceeding one hundred dollars ! On the morrow a great 
breeze was raised about their ears by some of their more 
wealthy but parsimonious neighbors, who neglected to guard 
their pecuniary interests by being present at the meeting. 
They were severely rebuked for presuming to levy so heavy 
a tax on the district. They were warned that they would 
surely ruin the town by such oppressive taxes. 

We have already told in the sketch of the city how the 
three persons present voted that a school should be built for 
a hundred dollars, how their neighboi-s afterwards opposed it, 
and how the latter finally yielded on condition that the 
greatest economy possible should be used. The contract 
was accordingly made with Mr. Luther Palmer to erect the 
house and put in all the furniture complete for one hundred 
dollars. It was a slab or plank house, about twenty-five by 1 
thirty feet, battened on the inside, adorned with neither [ 
paint nor mortar. The seats were of the same materials as I 
the rest of the structure, with a board fastened around 
against the wall to serve as a writinir-Jesk. This i 

stood until about the year 1840, when it gave way to a very 
respectable one-story stone structure, with a hall, two school- 
rooms, and a basement. The building was consumed by the 
great fire of 1853, and the following year the present two- 
story brick building, with a hall and ten school-rooms, in- 
cluding two in the basement, iiside from furnace-rooms and 
closets, arose from its iuslies, under tlie auspices of the board 
of education. This house accommodates about five hun- 
dred pupils, and is tilled to its utmost capacity. 

In the year 1851 a wooden school-house was built on the 
corner of Ninth and Seneca streets, designed the 
younger children of this part of the di.strict. This build- 
ing is now occupied by primary school No. 8. It appears 
to have been erected by Jas. H. Dow, for the sum of four 
hundred and sixty-five dollars. The cost of the lot was one 
hundred and eighty dollars. 

About the year 1832, we are informed that Mrs. Wells 
taught a public school in a room rented of Mr. O'Harra, on 
East Third street, near Oneida. As near as we can ascer- 
tain, this was the first public school taught in that part of 
the town. For the next two years the school was taught by 
R. P. Grossman. The territory south of Bridge street had 
been set off as a new district about 1830 or 1831. 

For nine or ten years this school was taught in hired 
rooms, and in the old court-house for some time. It was 
not until 1841 that a new building was erected. This was 
a very respectable frame house, with two school-rooms, and 
was located on the site of the present elegant brick structure 
on East Fourth street, between Mohawk and Utica streets. 

In the same year this district was divided by the county 
superintendent, in answer to a petition of the trustees, and 
all that portion of the village east of Sixth street and south 
of Bridge street constituted district No. 19. For some- 
thing more than a year the school of this district was taught 
in a rented house belonging to James Cochran, on Oneida, 
below Tenth street. In 1842 a new house was erected, 
consisting of a single room, located on Tenth street, near 
Oneida. This house has since been twice enlarged by the 
board of education. 

The old frame house on Fourth street was removed in 
1857, and a three-.story brick building was erected under 
the direction of the board of education. This was destroyed 
by fire in December, 18G0, and the following year tlio 
present building, modeled after nearly the same plan as the 
other, but somewhat enlarged, was erected. 

For several years a room was also rented of Mr. James 
Baker, on West First street, near the tannery, for the 
acconimudation of the smaller children in this part of the 

Desiring to dispose of this building, Mr. Baker kindly 
offered to erect a small house for the accommodation of tlie 
school, and rent it until such time as the board could jiur- 
chase the same. 

The proposition was gladly accepted, and the house which 
now stands on East Fifth street, near Erie, was built, and 
rented until June 2, 1859, when it was bought by the 
board. It has since been enlarged to double its original 
capacity. Aside from the districts already enumerated, 
there were two joint school districts, — one up the river, on 
the west side, in the neighborhood of .^Ir. Sobicski Buit, 



and the other in the west part of the town, in the neighbor- 
hood of Mr. Lewis A. Cole. As to the time of the forma- 
tion of these districts, we have been unable to gain any 
reliable data. By the act under which the schools were 
reorganized these districts were dissolved. 

This brings down the history of the public schools to the 
time of their reorganization under a board of education. 
Before entering upon a consideration of this period of their 
history, it is proper that we should notice a movement, in 
itself of comparatively little moment, but which, at the 
same time, had an important bearing on the organization of 
the present free-school system. 

In the fall of 1848, a benevolent association was formed 
for the purpose of providing for the education of the poorer 
classes : such as from inability to pay the requisite rate-bill, 
to purchase school-books, or clothe their children properly, 
were practically shut out from the advantages of a common- 
school education. This was called the Orphan and Free 
School association. The movement enlisted the sympa- 
thies and co-operation of many of the best citizens. The 
ladies, through the aid of sewing-societies, prepared cloth- 
ing for the children. All the dwellings of the poor were 
visited, and those requiring assistance selected. A room was 
rented (^the basement of what was called the old ■' Taber- 
nacle," on West Second street), books were provided, and the 
school was opened in the fall of the year above named. The 
prime mover of this enterprise was the present principal of 
the normal school, E. A. Sheldon, who acted as secretary of 
the society, solicited and collected the funds, visited the 
families of the poor, distributed the clothing, and taught 
the school. 

The school opened with one hundred and twenty children, 
most of whom had rarely, if ever, seen the inside of a school- 
room before. It was continued for eighteen months, when 
it was proposed by some of those most actively interested 
in the school, to initiate a movement to make all the public 
schools of the city free, and thus, in a great measure, 
obviate the necessity of this free-school association. 

After one or two meetings of the directors for consulta- 
tion in regard to the matter, it was resolved to call a meet- 
ing of citizens, to take into consideration the propriety of 
organizing a system of free graded schools. This was held 
in the fall of 1850, and a committee was appointed to pre- 
pare, and submit at a subsequent meeting, a plan for the 
reorganization of the schools. The plan presented was very 
similar in its main features to the present organization ; but 
meeting with warm opposition, the project was for the time 
being abandoned. 

Another eifort was made the succeeding winter, but with 
no better success. In the year 1853, through the hearty 
CO- operation of the representatives at Albany, Hon. James 
Piatt and Hon. D. C. Littlejohn, a local school act was se- 
cured, the one under which the schools are now working ; 
and the first board was organized May 11, 1853, consisting 
of the following gentlemen : 

First ward, Leander Babcock, D. S. Goldey ; Second 
ward, Wm. F. Mason, John C.Churchill; Third ward, Ab- 
ner C. Mattoon, Wm. H. Goit ; Fourth ward, A. B. Coo, 
0. J. Harmon. A. B. Coe was elected as the first president 
of the board, and E. A. Sheldon as secretary. 

At the time of the reorganization of the schools, there 
were, as stated in the first annual report of the board, 
" twelve school districts, including one joint district, the 
school-house of which was located within the city. Each 
district was a separate and distinct organization, and all the 
children who attended school at all were obliged to attend 
the school in their own district, or be subjected to an oner- 
ous tuition." 

At that time there were in the employ of the board 
twenty-one teachers, with an average attendance of thirty- 
eight pupils each. The compensation paid was from one 
bundled and fifty to two hundred and twenty dollars, and 
in one instance two hundred and forty dollars per annum 
for ladies, and from three hundred to four hundred dollars, 
and in one instance six hundred dollars for gentlemen. 
There were also seventeen private schools, with an average 
attendance of six hundred and thirty pupils. 

The following September the city was entirely redis- 
tricted and the schools completely graded. The city was 
first divided into eleven primary districts, then into five 
junior districts, bounded without reference to the primaries, 
then into three senior districts, the whole comprising one 
high-School district. As the scholars finish the course pre- 
scribed in each of the lower schools, they may progress up- 
ward into the higher. 

The old academy building, the academy having long been 
discontinued, was purchased by the board and fitted up for 
a high school. That institution was kept there until 1867, 
when it was temporarily removed to the normal school 
building. In February, 1868, the academy or high school 
building was destroyed by fire. During the succeeding 
summer the board built a substantial brick structure for the 
use of the high school, on the same site, on Third street, 
between Cayuga and Seneca. It is eighty-eight by seventy- 
nine feet, will accommodate six hundred pupils, and cost 
twenty-two thousand two hundred and twenty-five dol- 

During the summer of 1870 the board of education 
purchased two lots, one in the Second ward, on the corner 
of Tenth and Mitchell streets, for the sum of fifteen hun- 
dred dollars, and the other in the Seventh ward, on Talman, 
between Third and Fifth streets, for the sum of nine hun- 
dred and ten dollars. The board also enlarged the site of 
school No. 7, on West Fourth, between Albany and Erie 
streets, by the purchase of the adjoining lot on the north, 
thirty-three by a hundred feet, for the sum of seven hun- 
dred dollars. The site of school-house No. 2, in the Fourth 
ward, was enlarged by the purchase, on the 6th of Novem- 
ber, 1875, of fifteen by a hundred feet on the north, for 
four hundred and fifty dollars. 

In the summer of 1871 the board erected, on the lot in 
the Seventh ward, purchased the year before, a school-house 
of suitable size and construction to accommodate three hun- 
dred pupils, at a cost of ten thousand eight hundred 

On the night of October 1, 1875, the b