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. . . FOR THE YEARS . . . 

t899, t900, t90t and to 
July t, f902f and a w » 


. ... OF THE LATE .... 


in la 

JANUARY 2, 1896. 





1899, 1900, 1901, to July 1, 1902. 






The Society 

25 S '08 


Tlic llcrkinu'i- County Historical Society was or.uani:^e(l at a imlilic 
iiicctin.u licld at tlie Court House in Heikinier, January 2, IS'.lt;. 

'I'lie olijects of the Society are to discover, collect, i)resei-ve and puh- 
lisli the history, liistorical records and data of and relating;- to that 
ixirtion of the State of New York formerly known as Tryon and later 
Herkimer county; the collection and i)i-eservation of l)ooks, newspa- 
jicis, pamphlets, maps, ucueaolo.uies, poi'trails, paintings, relics, nninu- 
sci'i|its, letters, journals, licld hooks, and any and all other 
materials, wliicli may estalilisli or illnstrate such history, oi- the 
jivowtli and proj;ress of i»oi»ulation, wealth, education, agriculture, arts, 
manufactures and commerce in Herkimer county; and also to discuss 
and treat subjects of general history. 

The niemlii'rship consists of Kesi(h'nt. Life and Hcniorary memliers. 
Itesident memlx-rs pay ;innual dues of two dollars, ;i life nu'mhersliip 
(osts ten doUai's. 

Tile p.apers read before the Society dui-in.i;- the yeai'S 1S!M'.. 1S'.»7 ;ind 
18US have Iieen printed and l»ound in book form. Copies of the same 
can l)e o))tained by achlressing the se<-retary at Herkinn'r, N. Y. Co])ies 
l:ound in cloth cost .$1.00 and paper-l)ound, lifty cents. If to be sent 
li\ nijiil. Hfteen c"nts sliould be adch'd for postai^V- 

'ihis x'olumc contains not only th-' aihb'esses (U'livcred before 
the Society for the past three and a lialf years. l>ut also six i)ri/.e ('ssiiys. 
the writi^rs beinu awaided prizes of $2.".. $10 and $.") each, offered by 
Hon. b'obert K:\v\ of Herkimer and .Vlbert X. liussell of Ilion. for the 
bi'st essays on liistorical subjects olfered by .ludye Earl, and like i)ri/,es 
oilen (1 Iiy ^Ir. Russell foi- essays (Ui "Our ComuHui Kree Schools." 

The present olUcers of tlie Society are Hon. Rol)ert Earl, Hei'kimei-. 
)ii(sident: Alltert N. lUissell. Ilion. Frank I*.. T'arkliurst, Frankfort, 
:\;rs. I'. C. Haldwin, Little Falls, vice-pi-esiih-nts; ,\i-tluu- T. Snuth. 
Heikimer. iccordin.u secret;iry; (Jeor.iic W. Smith. Herkimer, corres- 
pondinu secictary: .Icilin Itryih-n Henderson. Herkimer, treasurer: 
William M. Dutton, llerkinu'i-, librarian; William C. Prescott. HiM-ki- 
mcr, .lohn \'. Schmidt, Ilion. .1. H. J. Watkins, E.ast Schuyler, .lohn 
1>. Henderson, Herkimer, Richard Lohrman, Herkinu'r, executive com- 


First 'President of the Herkimer County Historical Society. 


Delivereil before the Herkimer County Historical Society, January lo, 1899. 

At the coninienct'iHcnt of tlie Ivcvolutionavy era of our country, a 
lai'.n'o majority of thou.t;litful in<'n were o])]>os(m1 to separation from 
Enjiiand. "JMicy Avci't' and liad liccn foi' some years conteiHliii!.; for 
what they ehiimed t<i Ite fundamental ri.uhts of Kn.ulishmen — not for 
indei)endenee. hut maiidy for the doctrine that taxation and n'pre- 
sentation should s'o toj;(>ther — for the rislit of the ])eoi)le thronnh their 
repi-esentatives in their Colonial Assemblies to regulate all forms of 
taxation affectintj them. The stubborn and arbitrary conduct of Eng- 
land embittered the Colonists: and the Declaration of Independence 
came only after they became satisfied that they could not obtain, as 
an integral part of the British Empire, the rights which they claimed. 

The conduct of the war on the i)art of Ihigiand, Avith her Indian and 
Tory allies, was by the patriots considered so unjust and cru'd that a 
bitter sense of wrong and feelings of great animosity survived the 
successful issue of the contest and the li'caty of jx'ace. Sul)se(iuent 
to the treaty, there were frecpient causes of friction lu'tween the two 
counti'ies. TIhm'c were great delays on the ]»;irt of England in surren- 
dering territory and forts as stipulated in the treaty; and when she 
l.ocame involved in war with France, new causes of irritation arose. 
Tlie French had been our allies in the Revolutionary war, and the sym- 
pathies of the great bulk of oni- i>eople were with them In th<^ titainc 
struggle growing- out of the I'^rench Revolution and the andiition of 
Napolean to dominate all Enroix". 

At lirst the commerce of this country gi-eatly stimulated by the 
European wars. But soon England and France issued orders and 
decrei's which together in form blockaded all the poi'ts of Europe 
against neutral commerce; and they both issued letters of maniue to 
pi'ivateers who under one pret<Mise or another preyed ui)on neutral 
commerce. The result w.-is embargo. non-imi)orta1ion and non-inter- 


course acts by our Congress, and for the time the practical destruction 
01' nearly all of our commerce. England in effect, even as early as 
1803, blockaded our ports, and English frigates cruised along our co.-ists 
and at the mouths of our harbors waiting for French privateei's and 
searching our merchantmen for contraband goods and British seaman: 
and in this business many outrages were committed upon the rights 
of our citizens. The most truitful cause of complaint on the part of 
our go\eriunent was the right asserted and exercised by England to 
search for and to impress seaman claimed to be English subjects. She 
was engaged in a gigantic struggle in which slie needed :ill her sea- 
men; and she contended for the right to take them wlierever she could 
find them and place them in her service on l)oard of her war vessels. 
This right she based upon what was then the generally recogni/A'd 
principle of international law, that a subject could not change his 
national allegiance and thus escape any duty he owed to the govei'u- 
ment of his birtla. She asserted, as a fundamental legal axiom, that 
an Englishman by birth always remained an Engiislunan. Thus she 
claimed the riglit to English seamen wlierever tliey miglit V)e, the right 
to seize them wherever she could find tliem, and to searcli for them 
wlierever slie suspected them to l>e. In the exercise of this riglit to 
talve lier seamen she claimed the right to stop our ships upon the ocean, 
war vessels and merchantmen, and search them for English seiimen 
and to forcibly take such as she found. This brought on frequent col- 
lisions between our vi'sseis and hers, and created much liitterness and 
aroused much indignation throughout our counti-y. In this way sev- 
eral thousand sailors w^ere forcibly taken from our vessels and trans- 
ferred to English war vessels. There were a large number of English 
seamen on board of American vessels attracted tliere by tlie larger 
pay and the more agreeable service. As our seamen and the English 
seaman loolvcd alike and spolve the same language, it freipiently hap- 
pened that by mistake our sailors were tlius seized and imi>ressed 
into the Engiisli service on board of English war vessels. P.ut this 
action was not always, not even usually due to mistake, as frecpiently 
colored seaman, and Dutch. Danish and others manifestly not English 
v*'(»re arbitrarily seized. 

I will here give two typical cases of these outrages wliicli did inucli 
to arouse a determined spirit of hostility toward England. In .Vpril, 
1800, the Leander, an English war ship, had long lain near S.-iiidy 
Hoolv at the entrance to the port of New York, stopping co.istei-s, 
searching merchantmen, seizing ships and impressing citizens of tlie 
United States, when a coasting sloop. The Richard, came along. Sud- 
denly three shots came screaming toward her from the Leander. one 
of which carried off the head of .John Fierc(>. the helmsman. The 
Kichiird made lier escape and reached New York; and there the news 
of the outrage threw the whole population into commotion. In .Tune. 
ISPT, the frigate Chesapeake was in tlie Hampton Koads just starting 
on a voyage to Europe in the service of our government, wlien she 

THE WAR OF 1812. * 

Wiis ovcrh.-nilcd l>y the J'^iiiilisli wai'sliip. The Lcojjard, wliicli dfiaaiul- 
ed the i-i.uiit to scar«'li her lor lOii.ulisli scainaii and dcscrlci's. Tlic 
dcuiatid not hcin:^ coniplicd with. Tlic ]iCoi)ard discliari;('d rcitoatcd 
lnoadsidis into licr and disal>l('d lu>r, killing' thrct" uicn and wonndinu 
ciuliti'cn. Tlic ( 'licsapoako was obliged to haul down licr i'ai;- anri 
suiTcndcr. as slio was not ]n-('])ai-('d for I»attl('. Slio was llicn search- 
ed and tonr scaincn were taken from her, thi'ce of whom were not Eni;- 
lisli snh.jccts. \\'herc\-er throu.uliout our conntry the news of this ont- 
laiic \\(nt, it ciealed tiie .i;reatest imli.unation. iMn-in.u several years. 
Ironi time to time, onr iiox-crnnient i)rotested against these rc]»eatcd out- 
rat^cs and insults of lOnulish war vessels, and endeavored liy negotia- 
tion to obtain redress for them, and to indnce Eiruiand to foreu'd or 
snrrender the liuht of sc.-inh and impressment so offensively clainn'd 
and ])racticcd by her. Itut n<t recli'css could be obtained and no satis- 
factory treaty could be ncL^-otiated: and mainly on account of these 
onti-aKcs tinally war was deciar<'d l)y Congress. .lune istn. 1S12. 

The war was ]»o])ular with the ureat mass of our people. Their 
hatred of En.iiland < amc down Irom Itevolutionary times. The declar- 
ation of wai- was approved with lii'cat unanimity by the friends of 
Jefferson and .Madison. c;illed Kepublicans; and it was disa))proved 
,!j,enei'ally by the I''edcralis1s who were mainly residents of New En.u- 
land. New York and New .lei'sey. and wIkj tliouuht tbere was just as 
much cause for war with France as with lOiruland. In ('oni;'ress. all 
tiie representatives fi'om Ithode Island and Connecticut, ei.uht of the 
fourteen rejireseidat ivts of Massachusetts, eleven of tlie fourteen rep- 
resentatives of New York, four of the six representatives of 
New Jersey voted a.iiainst the declaration; and .all the rep- 
resentatives of South ("arolina, (ieor.^ia, Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee, sixteen of the ei.L;hteen representativi'S of Pennsylvania, six 
of the nine representatives of Maryland, and fourteen of the nineteen 
i'epres(-ntatives of Viruinia voted for it. The ministers of i-eli.iiion, 
unlike Hieir ■•ittitudc in the Kevolutionary war, tlie war of the Kebel- 
lion. and the late war with Si)ain, generally opposed tlu' wai'; and it 
was very unpoiiular in most p.-irts of New England. Tliere the news 
of the di'claration id' wai" was received witli jniblic niain'festations of 
grief. Bells w<'re tolled, shops closed, business susitended. and town 
meotings were called to denounce thi' war, as they liad some years 
earlier been called in the sanu' i-egion to denounce Embargo acts. 

Although we had been gradu.-illy drifting into war with England for 
several years, at the time of its declaration, our country was from cul- 
])able neglect quit(> unprepared for it. Th(> treasury was 
almost empty. Our regular army but six thousand soldiei-s poorly 
equipped and enervated and demoralized by thirty yeai's of ])e:!ce. We 
had 20 large vessels and a few gun boats together carrying three hun- 
dred guns. \Ve had live hundi'cd naval odicers of ;ill grades and hve 
thousand two liuudred .sciimen, an<l but tive of our vessels were ready 
for soa. At the same time, the English had one thousand vessels of 


war manned hy one hundred nnd forty Ihonsiind seaman and a lai'ge 
army, trained and disciplined in tlie gigantic wars wliicli liad been 
waged on the continent of Europe. We liad a population of seven 
millions two hundred and titty thousands which had grown to tliat 
number from three millions two hundrc<l and fifty thousands at tlie 
close of tlie Revolutionary war, while the iiopulation of Great liritain 
was eighteen millions. 

The Avar having been declared, active and vigorous efforts were at 
once made to meet its responsibilities. Congress passed acts increas- 
ing tlie regular army and calling for volunteers. Enlistments in the 
army were dilatory and volunteers came in slowly. Tlie president 
called for militia from the States, and the governors of three States, 
Massachusetts. Connecticut and Rhode Island absolutely refused to 
ol)ey tlie call. They claimed that the constitution authorized the pres- 
ident to call out the militia for three purposes only, to-wit: to i-epel 
invasion, to put down insurrection, and to execute the law.s of the 
United States; and these governors claimed the right to determine 
each for himself whether any of the constitutional conditions existed 
for making such a call; and each determined that there was no ground 
for the call; and during the war our government was further embar- 
rassed by the refusal of the militia to invade Canada on the ground 
that tliey could not be reciuired to go outside of tlie United States. 

Tlie president was singularly unfortunate in his selection of the 
prominent officers to command our soldiers. The historian RIcMaster 
says tliat: "As a class tliey were old, vain, respectable and incapa- 
ble." General Scott who knew tliem well stated in subseciuent years 
that: '"Of the old oflicers, many were sunk in sloth and manv ruined 
by intemperate drinking; that of the new appointments, some were 
positively bad and otliers indifferent and that as a class the othcers 
vfere swaggerers, political dependents, poor gentlemen, who. as the 
plirase went, were fit for nothing else." The most prominent among 
these officers were Generals Dearborn, Pinckney, Wilkinson, Hull and 
Hampton; and wdierever they were in command disaster befel our 

While President Madison was a genuine and useful patriot during 
tlie Revolutionary war, a good political thinker and writer, and of great 
intellectual al)ility, I am inclined to think that it is the verdict of 
impartial history that as an administrator of the government he was 
a conspicuous failure. It must, however, be put to his credit that he 
Mas forced into the Avar by tlie clamor of the Jingoes of that day as 
I'resident McKinley was prematurely forced into the l:ite Avar with 
Spain by the clamor of the same class. 

It is not my purpose to give a detailed account of the Avar upon land 
or sea, as tlie exigencies of this occasion forbid it. At the commence- 
ment of the war it Avas the plan of our government to invade Canada 
and take it from the British. Repeated attempts were made to that 
end, but A\'ere always attended Avith failure. While our troops made 

THE WAR OF 1812. 9 

teniporiiry l<i(l.uiiiv'nts in ( 'aii.-id.-i, tlicy wore soon ohliucd to i-ctirc, and 
the British f'oi-ccs iinadi'd our territory, captured Detroit and Uurned 
the villajivs at Niagara Falls, I'.laelv i;oel< and I'.ulf.alo; and at tl)e close 
of tlie war tliey still held some of our territory on our Xortliern fron- 

While the r.ritisli foi-ces liad for sonu" time tlireatened our nati(tnal 
eapitol, it not put in a state of adeipiate defense and in Au.nust, 
1S14 it was ea]»tnred l>y tliem; ;ind the eapitol. executive mansion and 
nearly all the other ])ulilic huildiugs were liurned, the president and 
his cabinet havin.u lied from the city. Indeed, tliere was no conspicu- 
ous success of the AmeiMcau forces ujion land until the battle of New 
Oi-leans, fou.uiit on the Sth of .January. ISl."). Tliere (Jeneral ,Ta<'ks(m 
had under his command about five thousand soldiei's from the South 
Western frontier, mainly from Teimessee and Kentucky, who were 
Indian liKhters, ex])(>rt marksmen, eouraj^'eous and fearless, made heroic 
by the lejnh'rshi]) of the heroic ucner.-il. The British soldiers, inimber- 
ini;- .about ll2,(M)(), were veterans who had foun'ht un(h^r Wellinutou in 
the I'einnsul;ir <"am]>ai,L;n :ind wei'e commanded l)y his brother in-law, 
( I';ickin.i;li;im. The battle lasted about tweuty-tive minutes, 
.and in time seven hundred of the British, including their j;vneral, 
were killed. 1,4(10 wouikUmI, and live hundred were t.aken prisoners, 
(if our forces, but ei.nht were killed and thirtei'u wounded. The I'csult 
of that l)iittle m.ade (Jeneral .T.tckson :i national hero; ;ind of .all the 
.licnei'als in our .army, he came out of the with the greatest re]iu- 
t.-ition. The battle .actually fought .after the treaty of peace 
been conchKh'd Ix'tween the two countries at (ihent on the 24th d.ay 
ot December, 1S14, news of which had not yet reached New Orleans. 

T^pon the sea our navy jjained .yreat glory. Our s.ailors were hardy 
and skilful and were not surpassed, prob.ably not e(iualled, by any in 
the world; and our u.ival commaiKha's. Porter. Bo.i;-ei's. Hull, I'.ain- 
bridjA'e, .Fones, Decatur, Perry and Macdouou.uh. will .always have a 
hinh place in the .auu.als of wai'f.are. They were nearly alw.ays 
victorious and even in defeat exhibited the heroism which excited 
the admiration of their countrymen ever since. The iuspirin.t;' words 
of Captain liawrence, after he was wounded and Ids vessel 
reiKh'red helpless, "Don't sive up the shi])!" will nevei- l)e forj^-otten ; 
.and the laconic dispatch of Perry announcing- his sjihaidid victory on 
L.ake Erie, "We have met the enemy and they .are ours" — p.aralleli'd 
oidy by the famotis disp.atch of Julius Ce.asar to the Koman Senate, 
veni, vidi, vici — stil! awaken euthusiasm as they did throughout the 
country when first read by the American ])eoi)le. His llagshii) in that 
battle was named The Lawrence, and she carried at her mast head 
a flag on which was emblazoned tlu' t.alism.anic words, "Don't give up 
the ship." These li(a'oic eomni.anders were the successors of our n.aval 
heroes of the Kevolntioujiry period, an<l they rendnd us of .bilui P.aul 
.lones. who. wlieii in eonim.ind of the P.on Tlonnne Kich.ird in 177U, 


li.i;iitiii,n- tlu" Eiij;li,sh wai' vessel, The Seiniiis, wlien his vessel was 
sinking under him, and when asked by the English eoniniander. "Have 
.^<)U struck your (•(dors," i-eplled, "I have not y<'t began to tight;" and 
in a lirief time tlie English ship surrendered and his own battered 
v( ssel helplessly went down in the waters of the ocean. 

l)urlng the war, there was never at any time more than thirty 
Ihousand fighting men in onr army; and in n(» battle were there more 
than "),()()() soldiers. The nu)id)ei' of men killed in the war on land 
was under l,(iOO, and the wounded were under o.r>(M). The exiienses 
oi" the war were about one hundred million dollars, and at its close 
our national d(>l)t was about one hundred and twenty million dollars. 
During the war there was intense animosity betwee'n the Kepublicans, 
who favored the wai'. .and the Federalists, who opposed it: and 
1»< tween men of the two ])arties there wtre Jiot infreipUMit collisions. 
Tlie tirst blood shed alter the declaration of war was dr:iwn in I'.alti- 
n)ore in a riot causi-d by the successful attempt of a Republican mob 
to wreck a Federal i)rinting othce, just as the first l)lood in the war o( 
the Rebellion was shed there by mob violence when Union ti-oops at- 
tempted to march to the defense of our national capitol. 

This war, like the oth(»r wars in which our country has been engaged, 
made a resoi't to extraordinary taxation necessary to raise the needed 
i-evenue. Among other internal taxes, there a stamp tax, as there 
was after the Revolutionary war during the administr.ntion of .tohn 
Adams, during the war of the Rebellion, and as (hei-e now is .-is a con- 
S( (juence of the late war with Spain — fovn- times since the adoption 
of our Federal Constitution. 

In this war, as in the Revolutionary war and the war of the Rebel- 
lion, our currency became badly deranged. In IS 14 .all the b.-mks sus- 
pended specie paymen.t. The best currency (lisai)peared .and tlie poor- 
est came into use. impede disappeared iind thus there w;is no sm.-ill 
change, and .all kinds of people, merchants. tr;idesmen. m.anufacturei's, 
stage owners, tavern keepers. fei'rynuMi, ( i.tii's. towns, .and all kinds of 
corporations issued paper bills, sometimes as sniiill as one cent, to 
supply the needs of the people. After m.-iiiy futile efforts in various 
States and by the general ••■overnment to foi'ce th(> b.anks to resume 
speci<> payment, i"esumi)t ion did not come until ISIT.when it Iirought 
.ihout mainly by the Charter of the United St.ates bank, which com- 
menced Imsincss e.niiy in year with a of ip:^r>,()00,000. 

It w.'is during the war tlnit Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and Daniel 
Webster laid the foundations of their gr<>at careers in Amerit^an pol- 
itics. The two former were among the most active supporters of the 
war. and the latter opposed it. Clay Avas speaker of the House of 
Ri-presi ntatives dm'ing the war and weilded much influence in shaping 
the legislation of Congress. 

The closing of tiie w;ir with the brilliant victoi'y .at New Orleans 
after so many hnmiiitating disasters upon land in other i>I.ices. made 

THK WAR OF 1812. 11 

(Jciicrnl .Iiicksoii diiriii.u liis whole lifi- (he poiHilnr idol of llic Aiiicriciin 
|M'(i|il(". Xo iii.-iii niiywiicrc aroused so iiiucli eiitliusiasiii, and no polit- 
i(al leader had more de\ot('d lollowei-s, 

I'ri'sidt'iit Madison was. aeeordiiii;- to the iiolitical elassilication ol' 
his day. a Kepnhliean ; and hence he and the war had the sup- 
jtort ot the Ke](uhlican i»arty. and Ihe opposition ot the Federal part.y, 
which \\as most dominant in the Xew Fai.uland States. Those Stati-s 
more lar.^i'ly than any others were en.:;a.i;('d in commerce. na\ii;atioii 
and tishinu, and to them Ihe emI»argo, non-iiiterc()urs(> and non-impor- 
taiion a( ts tollowed liy the war were most disastrous, producinu' ^reat 
distress and discontent. They wore liackward and unwillim;- to aid 
the KoveruuHMit with eitliei- men or money to carry on the war. They 
were dissatisfied with theii' position in the union, and their conduct su<-h that Madison and his friends ca.nie to entertain a snsi>icion 
that many of tlieir inlluential citizens contemi)la{ed a separate peace, 
secession and a union with Can.ida under tlie r>ritish (jovermnent. 
Tlieir eoin])l;unts were most rife in the darkest days of the war after 
many disasters to oui- .uinies and the capture and destruction of our 
national capitol. In the Massacluisetts le.i;islature. the voice of disaf- 
f(ction was loudly heard and nu'inhers denounced tlu' administration 
and the wai- in the most violent terms, and demanded amendments 
of the Ii\'(h'ral Constitution and a national convention for jiurpose. 
To forward the project, they favored a conference of the New lOns- 
land States; and for that pur])ose the le.trislatiu'e in October, 1S14, 
I)asscHl a resolution callinj; a convention to meet at Ilai'tfoi'd on the 
inth da.v of December — the famous Hartford Convention, whicli iilayed 
such a prominent ]>art in the politics of oin- country for many years 
thereafter. The .i;ovei'nor ai)i)ointed twelve delegates to tliat conven- 
tion, and by a circular letter invited all the otlier New Kusiand States 
t(» do tlie same; and Connecticut and Kliode Island alone respomled 
favorably and appointed dele.yates. The delegates, twenty-three in 
nund)er, convened at the appointed time and place. They sat and 
deliberated with closed doors for three weeks. They framed a leniithy 
|-e]tort which was made ]iublic and tliey ad.iourned subject to the call 
of their president. In their iciiort they set forlh their ni-ievances in 
most vigorous tei'ins .and recommended amou.u' other thiniAS that if they 
were not redressed by proper amendments of the constitution and in 
other ways, "'a sep.i ration by eciuitable arrang-emeut will be preferable 
t«t an alliance by constraint amonc; nominal friends but real enemies;*' 
and they recommended a second convention to nn-et in Boston on the 
;!rd d:iy of June then ne.\t. Tlie :\fassachusetts (Jeneral Court assem- 
bled and within a few days adopted tlie report, ai)])rovin.u- each recom- 
mendation thereof and selectcMl three commissioners to carry her com- 
plaints to Washington and there demand of the government of the 
I'nited States that Massachusetts lie allowed to defend hers'-If, enter 
into defensive alliances with her neighbors, and i-etain ;i reasonable 
■share of the Federal ivvemu's gatliored within her boundaries and use 


it to pay an army to ho raised by herself. Connecticut added two more 
commissioners, and early in Peln'uary the five set out. What made 
the situation of these commissioners embarrassing and to some extent 
even absurd and ludicrous were the facts unknown to them that a 
treaty of peace had been concluded on the 24th day of December, while 
the Hartford Convention was in session, and that the splendid victory 
of Jackson at New Orleans had been achieved on the 8th of January. 
When the commissioners reached Washington, they were confronted 
with these facts and they Avere there silenced l>y ridicule and they took 
no action to further the object of their mission; and the proposed sec- 
ond convention was never held. 

In consequence of the Hartford Convention and their hostility to the 
war and their apparent leaning in favor of Great Britain, tho Feder- 
alists were made so odious throughout the counti-y that they soon dis- 
appeared as a party from our politics, most of them in the end being 
merged in the Whig party upon its formation. For more than a gen- 
ei-ation after the war, to have been a Federalist was as odious as it 
nas after the Revolutionary war to h.ave been a Tory. 

Th(* Hartford Convention was held during the most discouraging 
jxTJod of the war, when our national (■.•ipitol had been burni'd. our 
currency was completely deranged, when taxes were pressing heavily 
upon our people, when business and commerce were prostrated and 
general distress prevailed; and if the war had continued for another 
y(>ar the schemes of the Federalists engaged in the Hartford Conven- 
tion miglit have been cari'ied to success and the Union there] )y dis- 

When peace came, it was hailed with great joy throngliout the 
country. It was peculiarly acceptable to the Fe(h'i':i lists, jis they had 
always opposed the war; and however dissatisHe<l the lie]»ublicans 
might be with the terms of the Treaty of Peace, they became recon- 
ciled because the war had been inangm-ated by them and the peace 
concluded by their administration. It was truthfully pointed out by 
the Federalists that the English did not in the treaty .sm'i'ender .-my of 
the things for winch the war was commenced. Not one word was said 
in the treaty about the right of search and impressment. P.ut it can- 
not be said that the war was fruitless. The achievements of our navy 
and our victory at New Orl<>ans gave us character and impi-ovrd our 
standing among the nations. While Fngland did not surrender her 
right to search our vessels and iini)ress se.-imen therefrom, she has 
never exercised the right since in a single inst.iiice. She le.-irned to 
respect our ]irowess upon the ocean and that she \v;is not invulnerable 

Until recent years, the hostility of our people to England engendered 
by this war and the war of the Revolution survived and seemed to 
Iw nioi'e ]>otent than the unity of blood and language and the inher- 
it. nice of a common btcrafui-e and of similar free institutions. But of 
late years, this hostility been gr:idually disappearing, and now 

THE WAB OF 1813, 13 

EiigUiiid and America, wiiih' not bonnd tom'tlicr by any formal alli- 
ance, are drawn toyetlier l>y feelinj;s of most cordial friendship. War 
between tliem is now liardly a remote i)0ssil)ility. and it should he the 
ardent wisli of every pliilanf in-opist that they may ever co-opei'ate 
in spreading tlie Clu'istian religion, free institntions and Anglo-Saxon 
civilization throngliout tlie world. 

I must not close this paper withont some reference to the part taken 
by soldiers from Herlvimer Comdy in the war. 

This State was called upon to fnridsh by draft from its milili.i 
]o,5UO men; and the term of service was tliree montlis. This connty 
furuislied its fnll quota of soldiers. There was a case t>i conspicuous 
patriotism whicli deserves commemoration. (Jeoi'ge Widri.y was a 
prondnent citizen of tins county, residing in the town of Frankfort, and 
he was major genei-al of nulitia. lie ;i]»plied to have his whole division 
called into the service; and failing in that, .and on account of his rank 
being unable to get any other position, he took the only one he could 
get, that of teamster, and served in that capacity durin.i; one campai.un. 
He was a man of sound judgment and practical ability, .although (pnte 
unlettered; and I was told by I)i-. Harvey W. Doolittle, who a 
surueon in one of tlie regimeids that was seid to S.acketts Harbor, that, 
the superior oflicers being to some extent incompetent .and inetlicient. 
General Widi-ig's advice sought, .and that he restored order out of 
chaos, and rendered valuable services in quartering and providing for 
the soldiers who, lacking other acconnnodatlons, were (]uartered in 
dwelliiig houses, stores, shops and barns. 

Christopher 1". liellinger, a prondnent resident of Little Falls .and 
for many years one of its most distinguished citizens, the colonel 
of a militia regiment of this couidy, and he was, in M.ay, ISli'. befoi'c 
the decl.aration of war, ordered with his regiment to Sacketts llai'bor 
an.d other places on our Northern Frontier to w.atch Ihe LJritish, to 
protect the public property accumul.ated there, to enforce the Endtargo 
and non-intercourse acts, and to prevt'ut smuggling. Aftta' the declar- 
ation of war in the followin.g ni(»nth, his reginieid was reinfoi-ced by 
a draft from the militia of this county. He served under (ieneral 
I'.iown, Avho. in letters to <Jovernoi' Tompkins, spoke of him as "a bi'.ave 
(•nic(M- and woiihy man;" and s.aid he "one of the best of mcai." 
'•The more I have seen of Colonel Bellinger, the more I am pleased 
with him. He is disposed to do everything for the i>esl." 

As the term of one re.giment expired, anothta- called into I hi' 
si'rvice; and in Septendter, LS14. the militi.a of this comdy oi'dca-ed 
(!id en masse and marched to Sacketts Harbor. pl.ace .a xt'vy 
important one, being a depot of supplies; and wlu-n it was att.acked 
ia M.ay, ISi;;, by the liritish, its g.arrison Largely composed of men 
from this county. 

Colonel M.attnew Al.ayers of this vill.agv, ,a line looking .and d.ashing 
officer, in comm.and of one of the regiments sent to S.acketts 
bor, and in his regiment the late Major Bellinger of .Mohawk served 


as a captain. At one time Colonel Forsytli was Colonel Myers' super- 
ior, and for some alleged insubordination demanded his sword, and 
was promptly informed tliat he could not take it unless he toolv it 
point lirst, and he did not take it. 

Thurlow Weed, the Warwiclv successively of the Whig and Repub- 
lican parties, who was a journeyman printer here at the time under 
Mr. Stone, tlie publisher of the Herkimer American. V>eing tlien under 
eighteen years of age, went as a volunteer with the militia to Sacketts 
Harbor; and his cheerful and humorous disposition made lilni a great 
f'lvorite with his comrades. 

Most of the able-bodied men lial)le to milit;iry duty who resided in 
tl'is county were sent to our Northern Frontier; and for many yeai's 
afterward they had many stories to relate of their campaigning, and 
had many jokes to tell of each other. Of one. a prominent citizen 
of this village, who was a captain or major in Colonel Myers' i-egi- 
ment,, it was frequently told that when a battle was imnpiicnt at 
Sacketts Harbor he crawled into a cellar to get out of the way of harm, 
and said, in terms of great distress, that he wished he was home "wid 
liis wife Katrine." He always denied the charge and was at all times 
ready to back up his word by combat. Of another well known citizen 
of this town it was told that, finding fault with his rations and the ser- 
vice, he said he would rather be home and eat "suppon and milk with 
his buppy dog Towser." These and many other similar stories were circu- 
lated when I was young and they could only be fully appreciated by 
one acquainted with the subjects of them. Our returned soldiers were 
also fond of telling this authentic story: "In the fall of 1814, Sir James 
Yeo Avas in command of the British fleet which appeared at Sacketts 
ILarbor, made threatening demonstrations and sent a flag of truce 
demanding its inmiediate surrender. General lirown. in command of 
the Aiiierican forces, sent one of his officers, a Frenchman, to meet 
the flag. In reply to the demand for the surrender, in decided Fri>ncli 
accents, he said: "Sir, you return to your ship and say to youi- master 
if he wants Zacketts Zarbor he must come and take him. He no run 
away." Then turning his horse he galloped back to headquarters and 
the British fleet soon sailed aAvay. 

The men from this county who went into the service had the rep;i- 
tatioii of being brave and good soldiers. Such has been the character 
of Herkimer soldiers in .ill the wars in which our country li is been 
engaged; and so may it always be! In civil and military !if(> may 
the men of Herkimer always in every emergency stand by their guns 
and do their duty. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, March ii, 1899. 

In sk< tcliiuK some of tli«^ principal ('V(mUs in tlie life of tliis rcmaik- 
aiily interestin.u' man. i)U'asant nn-mories are awalvcncd. A 'ife-ion^ 
ac(inainlan<-(' prrjiarcs the writer to pen some of the leadin.L events 
whieli eharaeteri/.ed his youthful andiition, to become a useful man. 
To relate in detail of his subseijent and interesting life would consume 
too much space in this paper. 

HIS Bnrrnpi.ACE. 

Comparatively but few of the present day kiiow the early history 
of the Spinner family, especiallly the subject of this sketch. He 
the eldest son of the Rev. John P. Spinner, and was liorn in the hum- 
ble home of his parents in the town of (iermaii Flats, where th<' village 
of Mohawk is now situated, on Decend)er 21st, ISdl. The house stood 
on "glebe land," belonging to the Reformed Church, of Cerman I'M.-its. 
near the southeast corner of Main and CoUnnbia streets. Just on.e week 
after his l)irth the house took tire and burned. The tire occurred on a 
winter's night, liis mother, barefoot and in her night-clothes, with her 
babe in her arms, waded through the deep snow to their nearest neigh- 
bors, the C'ampbells, then situated but a slnn-t dist.-ince west of the 
present old "General Spinner house." 

His father soon after this misfortune, moved to the town of Her- 
kimer, aliout one mile east of the village, on the turnpike road. Sub- 
se<iuently he purchased a three-acre plot of land at the foot of I'ros- 
p«»ct street in Herkimer and built the house that still stands there. where 
the rest of the children, consisting of five boys and three girls, were 
born ;ind reared. 

The lands and dwelling of my father joined that of the u-eneral's 
father on the south. And for about thirty years we were their nearest 
neighbor. • 


At an oarly age young Spinner evinced a love for books, and the 
meager education he received in the district schools of those days, up 
to the age of fifteen years; his reflective mind began to take in tlie 
situation in regard to tlie store of knowledge he possessed, to prepai'e 
him for a useful life work. And (to use Ills own words) found he was 
comparatively an "ignoramus." He resolved at once to commence self- 
education. In order to carry out his plan he made it a rule never to 
associate with those who did not know more than he did, so th;it ea<'h 
day sliould add something to the desired fund of general information. 
And to this end he chose to be in the company of men. 


His fatlier seeing his inclination for books had no desire it should 
lead him to follow liis calling, that of the ministry, and acting on tlie 
rule universally applied in tlie fatherland (Germany) that every boy of 
the proper age. and who might be spared from liome, should learn 
some trade, lie bound him to a manufacturer of confectionery in Al- 
bany. The father finding that he still continued the study of books 
much more tlian learning a trade, set aside tlie indenture and bound 
liim to a liarness maker in Amsterdam. Here young Spinner's greatest 
o[)pportunity presented itself for the reading of good books. 

He managed to become a shareholder in the circulating library of 
that place. He improved all his spare time by reading, until he had 
read every book in the library; and had read more books than all the 
other shareholdei's combined. When he had served out his term of 
apprenticeship, he in company with a fellow apprentice, set up lousiness 
for themselves, in a small way, at a settlement near Amsterdam. And 
subse(iuently alone, started in the same business in Herkiiner village. 
He still continued the habit of reading and read Blackstone and other 
law books, and all the cases in the supreme courts of the state of New 
York. So well informed did he become (hat lawyers frequently con- 
sulted him on legal matters. 


At the age of twenty-seven he was appointed deputy sheriff of 
Herkimer county. And during the six years service as deinity. the 
duties of the office were so satisfactorily rendered that in is;{4 he 
Avas elected sheriff, which office he filled for three years. His popularity 
had so increased that his fellow townsmen were ready to bestow upon 
him further honors for his capabilities as an executive officer. 

He was the organizer of the 2(>tli N. Y. State Artillery, being chosen 
its first lieutenant, and subsequently attaining to the rank of Major 
General of the third division of artillery. The organization of the 
"La Fayette Giiards" was due to his efforts, the finest military com- 
pany as to tactics and equipment iu the state. 


In 18;j8 he was aiiitoiiitcd Ii.v (ioveriior Marcy one of tlio coiniuission- 
«'i's for the biiildiii.i; of tlic state lunatic asylum at Utica. A position 
lio tilled with his cliaracteristie energy. In ISol), upon the oi-,t;aniza- 
tion of the Moh:!\vk \'aliey Hank, he was ealled to the offiee of cashier 
oi that institution, which post he tilled with honor for twenty yeai-s. 
as cashier or president, ;ind hy his fible financiering', and his system 
(/f conducting .-iffairs of tin- institution, he left It on a stable founda- 
tion, which it has cvei' since maintained. 

In lS!;"i, at the solii-itation of Michael Hoffman of Herkimer, naval 
otticer of the port of New York, the General was appointed auditor 
and dei»uty naval officer, which position he held for four years, but 
still retained the presidency of the Mohawk Valley Bank. 

In ]<}4 he was elected to Congress upon the Democratic ticket. And 
during this, his first term, he served on many important committees. 
In isrx; he was re-elected by the Republican party, which party he 
helped to organize, and with which he was ever after identified. He 
was re-elected foi' ;i third term in ISoS, by the largest majority given 
any mcmljer of those two Congresses. Being an out and out freesoiler 
and strongly oppos( d lo llie exttMision of slavery into new lei'i-itory. 
he became the hnml)le instrumeni in bringing about the hajipy result 
of the election of Nathaniel I'. Baidvs for speaker of the houi-c, after 
a struggle of two months' voting. In this he acted as one of the 
a<lvance gn.-irds on the lirst battle line of the war Avliich soon followed, 
and brought to an end human slavery in our nation. 


In ISCl. through llie reconimendation of the si'cretary of the treas- 
niy. Salmon V. Chase, he \v;is appointed by Presi<lent TvincoJn. I'nited. 
States treasurer. I'jxin assuming the ofiice at the commencenienl of 
(lie war of the Rebellion, he found the treasury of the government 
empty and with no funds to carry on tiie war. But through his able 
advice to the secretary of (he treasury, a system was adopted which 
I'elievcd the innuediate needs of the government. 

r.eing the custodian of miilions, he was allowed to call around him 
men foi- the different dc]";! li nients who were personally known to him, 
to (ill responsible ])osi(ions as accouidants, clerks, etc. as he w;is a 
bond(<l ofiicer by Congress and responsible not only for the faithful 
pei-formance of his own duties, but the Inuidreds of those in his 
employ. The work was so systematized that every one had their 
sjiecific duty to perfoi'm. And so faithfully iind honest were they 
rendered that of the millions (hat were received and disbursed daily, 
not one dollar Avas evei' lost. 

The lion. Hugh McCullogh. his old-time comjianion in (he (i-e;isnry. 
thus spi'aks of the (Jencral in his ".Men and Measures of Half a Cen- 
tury:" "A more trustworl hy. coMscientious. upright man than Francis 
E. Spinner never held .in oliice under this government or anv other. 


And his name shonkl be insci'il)ed high on the roll of honor, for nieri- 
torious services at a time when the government was greatly in uvvd 
of such services as he was able to render. Until I knew him I had 
not met a man with more disposition or caitacity for hard work than 
myself. He worked constantly from nine to ten hours a day and often 
this was extended to twelve or fifteen hours. Seemingly he never 
slept, as by day and late at night he could be seen at his desk, and 
the last one to leave the office at night." 

The General naturally inherited a splendid constitution to stand the 
long hours and overwork, together with the mental strain imposed 
upon him in the every-day duties of the olfice in detail, wliicli would 
be considered very ti-ying to most men. 


That peculiar signature of his was tiixt i>ractice(l on while lit held 
the office of sheriff in 1S'S^>, and Avas used during the period of his olfice 
as commissioner, at the Ijuilding of the state lunatic hospital at Utica. 
It was brougiit to its greatest perfection when he was United States 
treasurer, as the constant use of his pen in signing the greenbacks 
and fractional currency caused him to execute it perfectly. The daily 
and long continued use of his pen at one time caused a partial paral- 
ysis of the hand. P>ut after a short rest he resumed the work, on to 
the time he was relieved by his signature being printed. The (ieni-ral 
never left his post for a vacation, only for a few hours spent in a row 
boat up the Potomac in the summer time, to en.1oy a lunch on some 
mossy bank by the river side. 


Among the many incidents of the General while in the treasury, 
none seemed to demonstrate his loyalty and patriotism more tlian the 
formation under his auspices of the Treasury IJattalion, to aid in the 
defense of Washington against the raid of the rebel General Early, 
in the summer of 18(54. He earnestly requested that the male foivi' 
employed in the treasury should join this battalion, and set the exam- 
ple by shouldering a musket and drilling in the ranks as a private. 
No one knew better than the Genei-al what the result would be if the 
capital of the nation should f;ill into the hands of the confederate 
general and its treasury taken. He planned to put all the money 
in mail bags and, should it become necessary, put them aboard a tug 
and steam down the Potomac. 


It was during the third year of General Spinner's term as U. S. 
tieasurer that the fii'st female clerks were employed in the different 
departments. And it was said that this innovation of his proved a 
wise one, as the ladies' dep.-irtment work was that which gave the 
best satisfaction for c<)rrectness and disi»atch. Female clerks are still 



Wliilc he was actiiiu as trfasiiicc, lie was scut to I''>iir(»]M' to rcjirc- 
Sfiit this ,t.'(>vcriiiii('iit ill soliritiiii; ("orci.un (•ai)italists to invest in our 
.liovci'iiiiK'iit sciaiiMtit s. His mission was siiccrssl'ui and lio was vxi'vy- 
wht'i'i' <-oi'(lially iiict. witii iait one cxccfttioii. whit h tlip Ooiioral I'clatcd 
afterward. It oceurictl at tlie Iiaid< ol' tiie Rothschilds in London, 
iic having' called and sent in his cai'd, and. after a loni;' an<i 
patii'nt wait, left tlie luiildin.u'- A messenger was sent aftci' liini liul 
Im' could not l»e ]»ic\;iiled upon to return, sayini;'. '"I'dl them I will not 
leturn, as such ti'catnient as 1 liave met with would not he .i;iven a 
doK by any American under sitnilar circumstances." rromi)tness in all 
Ipusiness mattei's was a viitue with him. He ^\■as ([uiclv and firm in 
his decisions hut was e\ ci' ready to yield a point if thei'e was ^ood 
reason for it. No personal inconveni«'nce was too .yreat when a friend 
was to l)e heli)ed. The open hand of charity was ever extended to 
help the needy and distressed. 


A few years previous to the war of tlie Rebellion and duiini;' his 
second year in Congress. Ix-ini;- at his home in Moliaw]< duriiiu tjie stir- 
ring campaiiiii of IS.Mi, a Reiuihlican niei'tin.^ was held at the oWl court 
house in Herl\imer. tlic (Jeneial JK-iim i>resent and hai)penin.i;' to enter 
tl'c ciowded court room rather late, was olili.ued to tal^e a standinj;' 
seat (as well as the writei', who stood a few feet from him). . Ilis pres- 
ence' when seen on tlie ijooi- was the occasion of (juite a sensation, he 
liein.u calhd n])on foi' a speech. Tlu' (lencral's forte not Iteint;' si)eecli- 
iiiakin.y. he was rather liacicwai'd in responding'. Rut tlu' ci'y of "Spin- 
ner. Spinner," ranu out so forcibly and the occasion of the meetin.i; 
I'cin.u of a national cliaractcr. the (ieneral yielded to the situation, 
and still standini;- in his place upon the floor, in Avell chosen words, 
('elivered one of the most famous and i)roplietic S])eeches »'vei' listem'd 
to. It was in substance a forecast of the inevitable strn.^ule which 
"ould b( caused by the slavery (piestion b(>tween the north and south. 
The pi'o|)hetic sentences he then uttered were fultillcd in ISC.l. 


Tiiis sobriipu't uiven the ,i;enei-al was not mis]>laced. As his vigilant 
eye was ever on the alert for tli<' safety of "Um-le Sam's i>ocketbook." 

("onpliivu this with his unitiue si.iiuature, which constituted a strikin.u' 
featm'e of every m-ccnback and fractional cnri'cnc.v. lirou,i;ht him i)roin- 
inently befoi'e tlie American pcojiie. Many visitors to Wasliin.^ito'i 
diM-in,;;- the years ii(> was treasurer wi'i'e siu'c to make a visit to tlie 
treasury liuildini;- to see the man who wi'ote that wonderful si.!;n;iture. 

HIS i{i:Tnn<:ME.\T ero.m I'ERLIc life 

\fter nearly a score ol years as the "v,atcl)dou of the treasury." lie 
retired fi'om :icti\'e public life and chose to siiend the i-emaininu vars 
a]lote<l to him in :i more conucnial climate. He left his old home in 


Mohawk and joined that of his daughter, Mrs. Schumacher, and her 
husband, James M. Shumacher, in Jaclvsonville, Florida, where his 
declining years were happily spent, surrounded by his children and 
grandchildren, in the pursuit of scientiiic subjects of which he was 
always fond, as his old home in Mohawk attested. His large library 
contained a fine selection of books; also one of the best private col- 
lection of mineral and geological specimens, petrifications, etc., in the 
State, together with a fine collection of fresh and salt water sliells. 
all of which were mostly of his own collecting. 

His southern home being situated on the banks of the beautiful St. 
John's river, afforded him enjoyment in boating and fishing, which 
pastime added much to tlie comforts he enjoyed in that genial climate. 
But at length a fatal disease fastened upon his stalwart form and, after 
a protracted illness of nearly two years, prepared him for the "Reaper." 
He passed on to the higher life December 31st, 1890, in his 90th year. 
His funeral obsequies took place in his old Mohawk home, January 
4th, 1891. 


A daring attempt was once perpetrated on the life of General Spin- 
ner, during the first year he was cashier of the Mohawk Valley Bank. 
A plot was lain by a gang of robbers to possess the keys of the bank, 
knowing the General always closed the bank at night and carried the 
keys on his person. The scheme was to be consummated on a cer- 
tain night on his way home, and the place selected to comlnit the deed 
(by assassination if need be) was but a short distance from his liome, 
at a by-path he usually took to shorten the distance, it being at that 
time a rather secluded place, surrounded with trees and shrubbery, 
with a line fence to be crossed by steps. On the appointed night the 
General was confronted by a man at this fence crossing, and, strange 
as it may seem, there was no attempt made by the man to possess the 
keys or injure him, but he immediately fled. The man's courage failed 
him, as the sequel afterwards proved, as a letter soon after this was 
found by a friend of the General's, in Albany, giving a detailed account 
of the plan, which was sent to him. After tliat he went prepared and 
on the alert. 


In penning briefly some of the principal events that occurred in the 
life of General Spinner's father, we will speak of those preceding and 
after his coming to this country from Germany in 1801. The Rever- 
end John P. Spinner was bom in Werbach, Germany, January 18th, 
1768. In early life he was dedicated to the Roman Catholic priest- 
hood and received a preliminary education preparatory to entering the 
University of Mentz. In 1789 he was admitted to exercise the oflSee 
of a Roman Catholic priest, and for eleven years continued in the 
priesthood lof that church. During this time he took part in the 


funerals of Emperor Joseph 2nd, Leopold 2nd and other distinguished 
personages of that country. 

In 1800 he changed his religious views and became a protestant, 
which created quite a sensation at Mentz. By his eloquent appeal to 
the people in defense of his new faith, and possibly in taking this 
step, it may have engendered some ill-feeling toward him by many, 
.•ind he resolved to emigrate to America. The restriction of celibacy 
being removed he selected his life partner in the person of Miss Mary 
Magchiiene Fldelis Brument, she lielng also a convert to the protestant 
faith, which left nothing to interfere to their becoming happily mated. 
They were soon after united in marriage, which took place just prior 
to their embarking for America, May 12th, 1801. After a tedious voy- 
age of over two months (which was rather a prolonged bridal trip), 
they arrived in New York, and, having letters of introduction to John 
Jacob Astor, he being known by the up-country people, and mainly 
tiirough his influence the young and talented preacher and his liride 
wended their way up the valley of the Mohawk and cast their lot 
with the people of his native country, in Crerman Flats. 

It was not long before he was called to the pastorate of the old Fort 
Herkimer church, he being the successor of Abraham Rosecranz 
(brother-in-law of General Herkimer), who served the parish for thirty- 
one years, and whose death occurred in 170<!. 

His engagement as pastor of this: old, historic church bears date of 
July 4th, 1801, which is on record in the county clerk's ottice in Her- 
kimer, stipulating that services shall be held alternately in the places 
of worship, designated in German Flats and Herkimer, twice on eacti 
Lord's day. The salary was fixed at two hundred pounds in good and 
lawful money, together with tliirty bushels of wheat, and he was 
looked upon by his parishioners as holding quite a lucrative position. 
Howsoever it was considered l>y the young preacher, he continued to 
serve his people up to the year of his death, which occurred in 1848. 

In personal appearance the dominie was tall and very dignified, 
having a large head, a massive forehead and long, tlowing locks, and 
his countenance revealed the strength of character he possessed. His 
garb was always of tlio ministerial order, at home or abroad. His step 
was measured and deliberate and he never seemed in a hurry on any 

He was fond of horticulture and this afl'orded him out-door exercise. 
Whenever his parochial duties permitted, he might be seen busily 
engaged in cultivating his garden and extensive orchard of fine fruit. 
The trees he transplanted from his own nursery and afterward grafted 
upon, with the best scions of fruit obtainable. 

He was much sought after on public occasions and outside the 
pulpit was popular from the fact of his remarkable versatility, and a 
certain dry liumor aiwl sparkling wit, which often found expression, 
together with a fine, sonorous voice, made him widely popular. He 


was an excellent linguist and Avas more or less familiar with eight dif- 
ferent languages. 

About the year 1840. on the occasion of ex-President John Qnincy 
Adams' visit to Herkimer, he was selected to meet him on the arrival 
of the train and escort him to the steps of the Uailroad House, where 
Ihe people could greet him with a handshake. On his arrival he was 
met by the dominie and arm in arm they proceeded to the steps, in 
the mean time they Avere conversing in (iermnn. The parting words 
were also spoken in German, the ex-president being known to the 
dominie as a linguist, and tlie pleasing incident of their meeting on 
this occasion, no doubt, Was long remembered by the ex -president. 


In closing, we will speak briefly of the General's mother. She was 
one of that type which characterizes every true and devoted wife and 
mother. Having reared a large family of six sons and three daugli- 
tei-s, most of her younger days were necessarily devoted to the domes- 
tic duties of her household, and she was seldom seen from it, choosing 
rather to be in the home with the husband and children. She was a 
most estimable lady of both mind and heart, and many of the good 
qualities that characterized the General were inherited from her, as 
he was always her favoriti' boy. The others never caused the father 
any anxiety on thi> score of too mucli "book lore," neitiier bad they 
any desire to follow his calling, that of the ministry. 


Mr. Thomas Cunningham of Mohawk has many mementoes of (ren- 
eral Spinner, being a life-long friend of his; they are highly prized. 
Among the many souvenirs,, we will nuike mention of two remarkable 
letters, the, last ones he wroti' or dictated. One was written by him 
to a friend. in Mohawk, several months previous to his demise, givin.g 
instructions in regard to his funeral, which would sooner or later occur 
Ihei-e, as the wasting disease would soon "loose the silver chord." The 
other was dic.tated by him and written by a grandson to his brother 
Jacob in Mohawk, a few days l)efore he passed away, with his last 
autograph. It shows the feeble hand and the blinded si,ght in its- 
execution, and is hardly recogiuzable, compared to the ones he was 
enabled to execute so. perfectly in ihe bye-gone years, a fac-simile of 
whi(di is inscribed on the granite monnment in the ))unal plot in the vil- 
lage cemetery at ^Mohawk, with no other inscription followin,g this fam- 
ous si.gnature, to perpetuate in m(>mory th(> life of this remarkable and 
self-made man. Reing a co-adjutant of the immortal Ljncoln during the 
strug,gle of "in to 'V,r,, their work will long sni'vivt^ the crumbling mon- 
uments erected to their nuMnories. Requicscat in pace. 

JOSEPH brant-thayendanp:gka. 

Delivered before the IlL-rkinier County Historical Society, April 8, 1899. 

There are two clnsses of jicople who, indi vi'liiaUy. ;ire ver\' iini'eiia- 
hle biogrnphers-ix'ison.-il eiieiiii( s and |.<isonal friends. We woidd 
scarcely exi)ect to hnd the Inie eharactei- of ^^'ashin,l;■ton transcrdx'd 
1>\ the avera,u<' Kn.i;iishinan ol 1777; no.' wei e ihere many American 
palriots of the same date who wonld have yiven Kin.u' (ieorsj,'' a fair 
ratin.t;. On the otlier hand a jtei'sonal fri"nd is apt to neglect to chron- 
icle the mistakes and shortconiini;s of tlieii' herois, while they are more 
than apt to overestimate theii' \ii'tnes. The tiaie hioii-rapher. there- 
fore,- should be neutral; like The yood cook, he innst use the jiroiier 
amotint of vine^,^ar as well as su,i;ar, i!or forget Ihe salt, the s]Hce, or 
the pepper. In uathei'inii- his informatio'i he must blend accounts of 
friend and fo(>. considerinu' e.xistin.i;' circumstances, the linu', the aji'i', 
and the motives of .actions and foi'in his estimates with the 
one all-important idea, that he is writing of a mortal .and not of (iods. 
If Satan, thi' I'rince of Hell, had h;id but one sin.ule friendly bio.!J,r.iiiher 
from his own ranks to h.avc left .1 counter-version of his char- 
acter. I doubt if that black lecord of unmlti.u'.ated sin miuht not have 
had SOUK- silver lines; his bio,i;r;iphei-s. however, have been his foes 
and he is. tlH'refoj'c. known to us iiccordin.^Iy. 

Nearly i»;ir;illel is the case of the American aboriuines. uidutored 
children of the ch.ase. the early Indians knew but little of the use 
of the pen; traditi(»ns alone make up tht ir e.irly histoi-y, and wdnle 
their stirring ekxpience, excelled in depth of thought and bentity of 
e.\])ression by that of no other r.ace on the face of the earth, has often 
been he.ird around theii- own council lii'es and even in our legislative 
ehambers, pleading their lioix-less cause and v.aiidy reciting their 
wrongs, it is to be regi'etted that their histories have been wi'itten in 
most part by the white man, their woi-st foes and bitterest enemies. 
Those i)ale-faeed brothers first engi-.afted upon ihis moi'e simple 
of the forest wilds, sins of which they were before entii'ely ii;noran1; 
then began that pushing. (M'owding and driving of them inl.and; de- 


I'rauding them wben practicable and stealinij their huuls where fraud 
woukl not suffice, until they were ahnost entirely driven from the 
lionies of their fathers and tlie hunting grounds tliat tlie Great Spirit 
liad given tlieni. It is but little wonder tlnit in this desperate state, 
tliey retaliated and it is less to be marveled at that from this race 
that was often made to feel the sting of the tomahawk and scalping 
knife, the Indian has had only bigoted biographers. 

In this paper I shall give a brief sketch of the life of one of those 
American Indians and at the same time try to present some evidence 
to vindicate a character that I believe has to some extent been mis- 
rei)resented and misunderstood. The subject of this sketch is Joseph 
IJrant — Thayendanegea. the Washington of his people; a leader who 
never deserted his race in peace or war, in victory or defeat. 

The parentage of this celebrated chief of the iNIohawks is more or 
less shadowed in uncertainty, for, inasmuch as the Indians left no 
written record of the paternity of their people, high or low, we have 
to again resort to tradition. I think, however, it has been fully estab- 
lished that Brant was born of pure jNIohawk blood, in the year 1742, 
on the banks of the Ohio, where his father, a full blooded Mohawk 
of the Wolf tribe, was camping with his family during a hunting trip 
which, as was customary, extended over a period of several years. 

After the death of Tehowaghwengaraghkwin. his father, who was 
by some supposed to be the Nickus Brant, "Old Nick'" and ''Old Brant," 
so often referred to by Sir William Johnson in his letters and papers; 
young Brant's mother returned with her two children, Joseph and 
Mary, to their family home at the middle castle of the Mohawks, at 
Canajoharie. Joseph was quite young at this time, Mary being the 
elder by several years. Soon after the retui'u of the family to their 
native valley, the mother married Carrihogo. an Indian wliose Eng- 
lish name was Barnet or Barnard, contracted by some to Brant; 
whetlier the children took their name from this step-father or from 
their own lineal parent is a question of dispute which will probably 
never be fully settled. Certain it is, wliether young Brant inherited 
his chieftainship as a birthright; or. if his name came from his foster- 
father and he won his position by personal actions, he was most AA'or- 
Ihy of the distinction and never dishonored the name. At about the 
time of the mother's second marriage, Mary Brant or Molly Brant, as 
she was more familiarly known, went to live with Sir William John- 
son, of Johnson Hall, who had shortly before been left a widower in 
the prime of life. Whether Sir William ever married "Miss Molly" 
according to the church rites or whether she lived with him as his wife 
after the usages of the Indian marriage is not known, but it is certain 
that they lived together in perfect harmony until his death in 1774, 
several children were born to them and he always spoke of her with 
affection and pride, and took an unusual interest in her brotlier, 

Young Brant, at a very early age, with his tribe of warriors under 


tho l)r;iv<' old Ilcndrick. followed Sir William in that iii»'iiioraI)U' bat- 
tle of Lake (leor.ue. where William won his title and llentlrick lost 
his life; the yonnL; brave also was with Sir William in the Nia.nara 
campaign of ITo!), and when, after the death of I'rideaux, Sir William 
took eommand, he ni't'iitly distinguished himself for bravery. 

At about this time Sii' William, who had interested liimself to a 
large extent in the im])rovcment. mentally and soi-ially, of the Mo- 
hawks, at the reiinest of Kev. Kirkland. selected llrant. together with 
.several other Indian yonths. and sent them to the "Moor ("h.-irity 
School, ;it Lel)anori, Conn., where tlu' youth lay (hiwn the tomahawk 
for the duties of the school room under the dirtn-tion of Dr. Eleazer 
Wheelock, afterwards lu-esident of Dartmouth College." Whether 
Brant entered or left the school in 17»>1 is a ([uestiiHi of dispute, l)Ut 
lie probably left in that year, as oidy two of tlie Indians tlius sent out 
by the I'.-ironet ever received honors ;it the College. After Brant's 
school days he went on m;iny important missions for Sir William, and 
also with the Bev. (.'has. .leffrey Smith, as interpreter among the 
Mohawks; Imt still when the war came on between the back Indians 
and the English, which drove Smith out of the country, B>rant remain- 
ed behind and soon took up ;trms. prob.ably ag:iinst the great (.Htoway 
chief, I'ontiac. 

Thayendanegea's first wife was the daughter of an Oneida chief. 
<)f the exact d.-ite or circumstances of this m.arriage but little is known, 
farther than it must have been prior to ITC't and the last six 
years if not all of tliis m.-irried life was spent at the ancestral home at 
('anajoharie, where, probably he was enjoying the peace that had come 
to the country during that period. During the winter of 1771 Dr. Stew- 
ait says he visited Thayendanegea at the old family home and found 
him living thei'e with his two children, Is.-iac and Christian.-i. and his 
lirst wife, Aviio was dying with ct)nsuniption; soon afti-r occurred her 
death and Brjint removed to Fort Hunter, where he resided with the 
Doctor, assisting him in ti'anslatiug and revising the Indian prayer 
book, a l)rief history of the Bible and a part of the Acts of the Apos- 
tles, together with an explanation of the church catechism in the Mo- 
hawk tongue. In the winter of '7-:-.j, Stewart refusing to perform the 
ceremony on account of forhiddc-n relationship, I'r.-mt was wt'dde<l to 
his lii'st wife's half sister by a (Jerman minister. By this marriage he 
had no children. 

After the death of Sir William, June 24th, 1774, his son, Sir John, 
succeeded him as ma.ior general of the Tryon County militia; his son- 
in-law. Col. Guy Johnson, who had been Sir William's assistant as 
deputy, became General Superintendent of the Indian Department and 
he in turn was assisted l)y another of th(> Baronet's sons-in-law, Col. 
Daniel Cl.aus. Their inlluence with the Indians and whites were less 
than that of the father, but they were materially aided in their work 
by the sujierior talent and knowledge i)ossi'SSi'd by Molly Brant and 


also by Joseph Brant, who was at once advancod to the position of sec- 
retary to Guy Johnson. 

Ever loyal to his pledge of eternal friendsliip to the Johnsons, Brant 
followed Guy westward as the times and circumstances forced them, 
and eventually, at the beginning of the seven-year struggle, he went 
with him to Canada, never for a single moment forgetting his sacTed 
pledge of friendship, and also ever mindful of that other pledge given 
to tlie P^ngiish. Had it not been for this Indian idea ever present with 
him, that sacredness of a given promise, I' sometimes Hive to think 
that he miglit have been as ardently ready to have fought for the strug- 
gling colonies and their liberty, as he was loyal to the king, and in that 
case, perliaps, the history of the Six Nations an-d the whole Indian 
race in America might have been different. Be that as it may, he 
remembered those pledges and threw his whole energy of mind and 
muscle on the side of the old government. If his methods of warfare 
seem to us cruel and unnatural, we must remember that he only fought 
according to the teachings and necessities of his race; we must remem- 
ber, also, that the Indian's implements of war were much inferior to 
those of the whites, their numbers were much less and for tliose rea- 
cons they could not contend with them in the open tield but must 
resort to ambuscades and deceptions to accomplish anything. They 
had no forts into wliicli tliey might retreat, or jails to hold their pris- 
oners and so their warfare must be that of extermination. Brant 
believed in those methods, but not in the common Indian practice of 
torture and notwithstanding the fact that all the cruelties practiced 
by his savage warriors are often attributed to him. directly or indi- 
rectly, the real truth of the matter is that he often exerted himself 
to stop such atrocities, sometimes in vain, but often with success. 
Some historians, mainly PJnglish, claim that Sir Guy Carleton did not 
favor tlie employment of the Indians against the colonists. To refute 
those assertions and also to express the In<lian's motives for arraying 
themselves on the side of the king, we here (iuoti> from a speech of 
Brant, delivered in 1803 and preserved by Stone in his "Life of Brant." 
It is as follows: 

"We Avere living at the former residence of (iuy Johnson, when the 
news arrived that war had commenced between the king's people and 
the Americans. We took but little notice of this first report; but in 
a few days we heard that live hundred Americans were coming up 
to seize ou)' Suix-rintendent. Such news as this alarmed us. and we 
immediately consulted togetlier as to wliat measures were necessary 
to be taken. We at once reflected upon the covenant of our forefath- 
ers as allies to the King, and said. It will not do for us to break it, 
let what will become of us. Indeed, it is a long time since the Gover- 
nor (Sir Guy Garleton) said to us: I txhort you to continue your 
adherence to the King and not to break the solemn agreement made 
)>y your forefathers; for your own welfare is intimately connected 
with your continuing the allies of his maj(>sty. He also said a great 


(I'-iil inofc to tlu' siniK- imi'iiosc; iiiid (.!i tliis our luiiHls \\'('ri' IIh- more 
tiniily tixcd, foi' we nckiiowlcducd tlinl it would ccrtninly lie tlio Ix'st 
iu tilt' {■\[il. for our fauiilit's ;;ud oursi'lxcs to rcuiniu uudcr th" Kinu's 
protection, whntcvci' ditHcidtics we might liave to contoud witli. * * 
* * A couiR'il was next convt^iiiii'd at Montreal, in July, 1775, at wliidi 
the Se\(n Nations (or <";iu,t;iniawajias) were i)resent as well as our- 
selves, tlie Six iV.-itions. On tliis occasion (Jen. Ilaldimand told us wliat 
had ln'tallen tlie King's subjects, iind said now is tlie time for you to 
lielii tlie King. Tlie war has commenct'd. Assist tlie King now, and 
you will find it to your advantage, do n<)w .and tiglit for your posses- 
sions, and whatever you lose of your property during the war, the 
King will malvC up to you wlien peace returns. Tliis is the sultstance 
of what Gen. Ilaldimand said. The Caughnawaga Indi;ins then joined 
lliemselves to us. We immediately commenced in good earnest and 
did our utmost during the w:ir." 

Aliout the time of his at Montiv.'il with Johnson, I'rant pi'o- 
h.ahly assumed the title of princii>al war chief, held at home Ity I.,ittle 
Abraham. Avho succeeded llendrick nearly 2)1 years before and who had 
riMiiaiiud in the MohaAvk with those few of the Nations still favoi-able 
to the colonies: and thus in full command and also having formed a 
••omiiact wilh <"ar!eton; yet this Indian ,dipIom;it hesitated to take up 
Ihe liat''het until he had seen the "iLi^reat, King," and his resources. 
.\ccordingiy near, the close of 177r> he made his tirst visit to England, 
where he was received ^]',\th iiiMi'ked distinction l)y the tirst men of 
st.ite. In March or earljVj.^\ji)ril ho returned, landing near New York, 
tuUy determined to fultill^ his part of the contract with Gen. Carleton. 

Stealing his way through .the country of the enemy, he returned to 
Canada, and tir.'^^j^piH'ared on the scenes as ;i leader at the battle of 
the "Cedars," wliioro he lead his dusky warriors to victory. Gontr.ary 
to some writers, aft<,u',wards he exe.vted himself nobly to prevent tlu' 
cruelties of the massacre that followtMj Major Shurburne's surrender; 
a single exampl^^ of which was his. {aeroic rescue of Capt. McKinstry 
from the sta^ke ,by supplying aai ox in his stead; as proof of this we cite 
the fact tha|; the Oaptain contracted a >v:"i'nai friendship for the great 
chief durijiji his captivity and, returning to his Man<ir at Hudson, after- 
wards, oftc;n welcojned I'.r.ant there a,s a dear fri(»iul- 

On the I'.ith of .lanuary. 1777, it vyYi;S aniioiinced by a speech of the 
Oneida clu^fs th;it the council hre at Onondaga, .the capital of the Six 
Nations, l(,i\d been extinguished and wouhl no longer burn. The nu>an- 
ing of this announce nient is not altogether clear, liut Brant, returning 
from Canada in th(» siuMng with a body of warriors, eanie to Q,gh4v.waga, 
at which place his following was gi'eatly augmented. i^f-Jfroni there he 
went to TTnadilla to attend that nieiiiorable o<;)n,f;orqnGe /pith Hon. llerT. 
K'imer in .lune or .Ful.v, duiMng which Ilerkiiiier ;pre..suming on Ids ohl 
fi'lendsliip with I'.rant, lli(\v having been nei.ghbors before the war, 
.•ittemi)1cd to trap and kill the Indian chief and his attendant!;^ , yvitli 
the aid of oue, Joseph Waggoner, whose .manuscripts substantiaty- the 


truth of the attempt. Owing to the native cunning of Brant, the 
scheme faijecl and only the attempt and not the deed remains to mar 
the character of Gen. Herlvimer. This was the last conference held 
Avith the hostile Mohawks. Soon afterwards, probably in re.sponse to 
an invitation from Guy Johnson to a general council of the Six Nations, 
I'rant withdrew his forces from the Susquehanna and soon united witli 
the tory and refugee forces of Sir John Johnson and Col. John Butle^-, 
at Oswego. From the date of this conference Brant was the acknowl- 
edged chief of the Six Nations and owing to his native hardihood and 
sagacity, combined with the advantage of education and civilization, 
he soon became the master spirit of the motley force in the valley of 
the Mohawk. 

During the summer Brant and his warriors were active with St. 
I.eger, wlio had been dispatched by way of the St. Lawrence, Lake 
Ontario and Oswego to form a junction with Bux-goyne on his expected 
arrival at Albany. Herkimer County people are all familiar with the 
facts of this campaign and the seige of Fort Schuyler (or as it ought 
to have l)een known, Fort Stanwix). Many of us can trace the names 
of lineal ancestors on tlie battle monument at Oriskany; in our local 
histories the year 1777 is pregnant with reminiscences of that sturdy 
old I>utch General who received his death Avound upon that same bat- 
llctield and whose neglected grave this great patriotic nation and 
Empire State have but recently remembered, after an elapse oC nearly 
a century and a quarter. Following close after this battle occurred 
that semi-comedy in which Han Yost Schuyler, the half-witted but 
shrewd convict-traitor, succeeded where an armed force had failed; 
liaving previously shot holes through his garments, he carried conster- 
nation into the Indian camp before Fort Stanwix by indicating the 
number of Arnold's approaching troops, fi'om whom he was supposed 
by the Indians to have barely escaped with his life, as like unto the 
leaves on the forest trees and straightway the seige was raised, and 
Tories and Indians fled in terror. Returning with their scattered 
forces to Oswego, St. Leger and Brant proceeded to Lake Champlain. 
passing up as far as Ticonderoga to join Burgoyne. 

In the spring of 1778 we tind Brant with his warriors back again 
to his former haunts on the Susciuehanna; many a field was devastated 
and many a family wiped out or crippled by his savage horde, and 
then on the 3d of July followed "Wyoming," one of the blackest pages 
in the history of the world. That Brant's warriors took an active part 
in this bloody tragedy there is no doubt, but from his own statements 
and those of the British, Brant was absent many miles away at the 
time of the massacre. Certain it is that many years afterwards, his 
son, John Brant, when he had succeeded his father as chief of the 
Six Nations, crossed the ocean that he might lay proofs of his father's 
absence and vindicate his memory from this calumny before the Eng- 
lish people and the world. Campbell, the poet, who wrote "Gertrude 
of Wyoming," in which Thayendanegea was denounced as "The Moa- 


ster Brnnt." thus fully convinced of Hrant's absence, inilrll.v exonerated 
him by pul)lishinj; a foot-note to th<' effect tliat tli'e name Hrant as 
used, had no personal sijinitication, only referring' to the Indian war- 
riors in fieneral. The poem, however, remained tlie same for future 
generations to read, while that foot-note lias long since i)een foi-gottcn. 
and this gives another illustration of the generosity (V) of the Indian's 
white biographers. 

During the rest of the summer Brant and his foUowei-s contined 
thi&mseives to the plundering of small settlements; striking the tirst 
blow July ISth, at a little hamlet called Andrus-town. six miles soutli- 
east of the German Flats. The last of August or first of September 
he devastated German Flats, but warned by .John Ilelmer, the only 
survivor of four scouts wlio had been sent towards Unadilla to learn 
the movements of Brant, most of the inhabitants escaped the night 
before to Fort Herkimer and Fort Dayton and only two lives were 
lost. Later in the sea.son occurred that bloody day at Cherry Valley, 
where the pig-lieadedness of Col. Allen, commanding at the fort, in 
refusing to believe a warning of the approach of the enemy, cost that 
beautiful town so much life and property. In this massacre again 
Brant has been cited as the leader, while in reality he was but a subor- 
dinate under Walter N. Butler, a white-skinned, black-hearted savage. 
This ended the campaign for this year, but early in May, 1770, Brant 
was out again on the war-path and on the 20th plundered and laid 
waste Minisink, in Orange county, from wlience Coinit Pulaski had 
just withdrawn his forces to join Lincoln's army. Being pursued by 
the Goshen militia and others to the fording place near the mouth of 
the Lackawaxen, by strategem and a counter-march, the Indians soon 
surrounded their pusurers and almost wiped them out. Thence by a 
rapid inarch Brant returned to the south bank of the Mohawk and 
resumed operations there, falling on small towns for plunder and pris- 

It was during the summer of this year that occurred Sullivan's suc- 
cessful campaign against the Indians and Tories and the battle of 
(^^'hemung, where Brant was the animating spii'it of the Indians. I'^ol- 
lowing up his victory, Sullivan marched to Catlierine's towTi, which 
he pillaged; destroying everything on his route, houses, crops, oi-chards. 
et(^., he advanced through Kanadseagea, Schoyere, the beautiful and 
prosperous Kanandaigua, Hineoye, far into the fruitful valley of the 
fTcnesee; every tree, field and village Avas laid waste. The army 
returned by the same route it had advanced and on September ,'i()th 
i-eached Tioga, destroying their works rudely constructed when they 
concentrated their forces there at the opening of tlie campaign; re- 
turned to Easton, October 15th, and ended one of the destructive 
campaigns in the Indian territory during the war. The Indians were 
driven from their cultivated lands to Niagara, "their liabitations left 
in ruins, their fields laid waste, their orchards uprooted and tlieir altars 
and the tombs of their fathers overthrown." During this winter, how- 


ever, Brant surceKUd in tlrivinj;' the unfriendly Oneidas from tlieir 
homes down to the wliites, who iK'rniitted them to settU' near S: hr- 
nectady, Avhere they supported them until the elose of the war. 

At about this time Brant was married to his third wife, Catharine, 
by whom he had seven children, Josepli, .lacob, John, Margaret, Mary 
and Elizabeth, and by whom he was survived just thirty years to a 
day, she dying at Brantford dn'the Grand Kiver, November 24, 1.S37, 
at the age of 78. 

Early in April 1780 Brant took to the war-path; with a small band 
of Indians and Tories and on''fhe'T»'tli or surprised and destroyed 
llarpertield, from whence it \\^at?'%is' design to proceed to the nitper 
fort of Schoharie; but on tl)e'fMWwihg day, falling in and taking a 
party of sugar makei's undin- GJfiVt: Harpei-, who were at work in tlie 
"Bush," the Wily chief \Vi<s for once deceived by Harper, in believing 
that 300 Continentals Wad arrived oiliy the day before to garrison 
tlie fort, and s<J he .turned back with his prisoners to Niagara. 

By the 2d of AugtiSt Brrtnt was' again in the valley of the Mohawk. 
Circulating rumors of his intended invasion and capture of tlie stores 
(k>stined for Fort Stanwix aiid even of the fort itself, he saw the 
militia called from the lower part of the valley for the defense and 
then swin.ging around to the rear he fell upon the defenseless valley 
at Canajoharie and its neighboring settlements. l>cing sole leader of 
this expedition, and no Tories with him, it certainly should add 
anotlier item of importance to the final summing up of his character 
to know: that while the counti'y AVas left as desolate as was th;it of the 
(lenesee by Sullivan, yet thei^ %tas bo instance of wanton cruelty and- 
not a single act of outrage offert'd' to defenseless women and children, 
excepting the carrying of them into captivity, which to liim was one 
of the necessities of Indian warfare. Ijater on, still sni.-irting under 
the memory of devastated Geiiesee, tlu' Indians under I'rant and the 
famous Senectl'llJilf-brGed; 'Corn-Planter, joined with the forces of Sir 
John Johnsori and iUvaded Schoharie. Successfully passing the upper 
fort unperceived, but failing to take the middle fort at Middleburg. 
which they attacked on the Kith of Octolier, they proceeded toward 
Foit Hunter. Attacking the lower fort at Old Schoharie with like 
I'esnlts. withdrawing tliey laid waste everything on the way, except- 
ing the buildings ami property known to belong to loyalists. Divid'ng 
Tlieir forces they proceeded up the Mohawk as far as Klock's Field, 
where the memorable battle was fought resulting in their complete 
defeat. And here had it not been for the Indians and Brant, their 
leader, who, though wounded in the head, still directed their course 
and captured Vrooman's troops that had been sent out from Fort 
Schuyler to cut off Johnson's reti'eat, Johnson, probably, would never 
have reached Oswego in safety. 

And so this undaunted red man fought to the end of the war, appear- 
ing and disappearing like a will-o-the-wisi) in true Indian style, using 
those methods inborn and bred with his race, contining his field of 


operations mostly to tlio valley of the Mohawk and that iinniediate 
territory, with whieh he was as familiar as the scholar is v.ith his 
A. R. ('.'s; and Avhen the strii.n'.ule was over and the (Jreat Kin.L;, with 
whom he had cast his lot, was whipped, \\itli his pe()ple he ci'ossed 
into that Kinii's territory, devoting the rest of his life to the interests 
of his own lielox'.'d race. Xo sac!'ili<'e was e\( r too much or labor too 
ureat if only he cotild advance their iiderests. lJei)catediy xisitin;; 
(^)m'l)ec. he secuicd for his peojile from Sii' l-'icderick llaldimand in 
the name of the crown all that tract of land, "upon the I)aid<s (d' tli ■ 
liver (Uiise, commonly called (ir.and Ki\cr, rnnniiiL; into iiake t^rie, 
of six miles lM-e:idtli from each side of the river, Ixvuinnin;; at L.ake 
I'h ie. .and extending- in (hat proi>ortion to the head of said river: which 
the .Moliawks and others of the Six Nations who had either lost their 
possi ssioiis in the wai', or wished to retire from tliem to the I'.ritisii, 
with their i)osterity. ^\'ere to enjoy forev(a'.'" I'.i'ant, howe\'cr. did not 
reliiitpiish his jtosition as chiet of that i»;irt of the Six Nations iMinain- 
in.u' in tlie I'liited States, and postponini;' ;i \isit to lOn.uiand in behalf 
of wai' claims of his people in Canada, he was active in the councils 
th;it l-.ntiiLiht .about the Indian treaty at l-'ort Stanwix, l.ate in list, 
relative to the boiiiKhiry lines cd' the Indian t<'rritory. In ITS.") that 
Jonmey aia-oss the Atlantic was undertaken. He arrived at S.ilisbury 
early in I'l'cember and was I'eceivcd and \'ery cordiall.v recoi;nizcd 
by man\' of his old companions in arms, distinK'nislie<I persons and 
even roy.alty. Meeting him at n royal reception, the IJaroness lieidesel 
afterwards thus speaks of him in lier memoirs: "I saw at time 
the famous chief, Captain lirant. His manners are ])olished: 
he expressed himself with tlueiicy, and was much esteemed by (ieii. 
llaldimand. I dined once with him at the (leneral's. In his drt ss he 
showed off to advantage the half military and half sava.tic costume. 
His countenance was manly and iiitelli.^cnt, and liis disposition very 
mild." Amouii' the anecdotes related of him during- this visit to I'hii;- 
land was one that occurred at a grand masquerade. l'>rant as the guest 
of Earl Morra was present, "dressed in tlie costume of Ids nation, wear- 
ing no mask, but painting one-half of his f.ace. His iilnmes nodded 
as proudly in his c;ii) as though the blood of a hundred rercies coursed 
through his veins and his tom.ah.awk glittered in his girdle like 
l>u.rnished silver. There was. likewise, in the gay and gallant thi'ong 
a stately 'I'urkish diplomat of rank, accompanied by two houris, whose 
attention was ]>articularly .attracted by the grotesijue appearance of 
till' chieftain's singular and, as he sui)iiose(I fantastic attire, which, 
being ii;itural, appeared to be the best made up. He scrutini/.ed the 
chief \'ery closely, .and mistaking his complexion foi' ;i ]),iinted \isor. 
the Turk took the liberty of attempting to handle his nose. r.i'ant 
had. of course, w.atched the workings of his observation, and fell in 
the humor at' ;i little sport. No soonei'. Ilierelore. had touched 
his f.-icial Moint of honor, under the niist;ikeii i(h'a that it was of no 
belt( I- m.aterial than the parchment nose of the Strasburgh trumpeter, 


than the Chieftain made the hall resound with the apiiallin.i;- war- 
whoop, and at the same instant the tomahawk leaped from his girdle, 
and flashed around the astonished Musselman's head as though his 
good master, the Sultan, in a minute more would be relieved from any 
future trouble in the matter of taking it off. Such a piercing and 
frightful cry had never before rung through that salon of fashion; 
and breaking suddenly, and with startling wildness, upon the ears of 
the merry throng, its effect was prodigious. . The Turk himself trem- 
bled with terror, while the female mascpu-rs — the gentle shepherdesses, 
and fortune telling crones,Turks, Jews, and gypsies. Sultans, nurses and 
Columbines, shi'ieked. screamed and scudded .-iway as though the 
Mohawks had broken into the festive hall in a body. The matter, how- 
ever, was soon explained; and the incident was accounted as happy 
in the end as it was adroitly enacted by the good-natured Mohawk." 

Early in the summer of '.SO Brant returned to this country and in 
December attended the council in the country of the Great Lakes. 
Wlierever a council was called to advance the good of the Indians, 
during that unsettled period after the war. there you found Brant. 
At Huron Village in December, 178(j, and at the councils of the west 
lie was active. Much of his coiTespondence Avitli the officials of this 
go\ernment relative to tlu'se councils has been saved and is published 
in "Stone's liife of I!r;int." He devoted much lime also during this 
period to translating the Bilde or parts of it into his own tongue and 
establishing missionaries among his people. On the 4tli of November, 
1791, however, Brant was one of the leading spirits in the defeat of 
St. Clair in the Northwest, notAvithstandiug the fact that all his pre- 
vious efforts in the difficulty had been on the side of peace. Why 
lie took an active part in this battle is not known, but probably he 
saw a possibility of perfecting his loiig-ehei'islied scheme of uniting all 
the Indian tribes of tliis country in one great confederacy with him- 
self at the liead. Be that as it may, on the 23d of INIay, urged by 
Secretary of State Knox, he accepted an invitation to visit Philadelphia 
and to attend a conference on Indian affairs. In June, Avliile making 
the journey tlirougli the vailey of the JNJohawk, several attempts to 
lake his life were made by Germans, whose relatives had fallen at 
Oriskany 15 years before. On June 20th, he arrived safely at the 
national capital, and with the exception of the Germans above men- 
tioned, Avas treated with distinction at every point. 

During the conference at Philadelphia he emphatically refused sev- 
eral tempting offers from the United States Government to buy his 
intiuence in their difficulty of adjusting the boundary line Avith the 
Indians, but readily consented to carry any offer of peace made to 
those Indian tribes. Acting upon this situation tlie whole affair w:is 
fully explained to him and invested witli power from this govrnmeiit 
and from the tribes of the Six Nations, he met that great number of 
Indian deputations from all parts of the country at the R.apids of the 
Miami and spoke much in the frequent councils that followed; but 


influenced, either by tlie Britisli Government or dissatisfied witli tlie 
final result. P.rant and the Six Nations failed to sign tlie ultimatum 
that the other triln's finally sent to the commissioners. During- the 
campaign of Wayne, r.nint was again activi' in behalf of tlu' Indians, 
either in the held or as a dusky diplomat, but the end of this destruct- 
ive war ended his military career. 

Laying down the tomahawk, Thayendanegea devoted fhe ri'st of his 
life to advancing his people, morally and intellectually. It is ;i slr.-inge 
fact that the first Christian church ever built in upper waft 
erected by him, a chief of a once pagan race, and the first bell that 
ever rang to call the people to worship the true (iod in that country, 
was carried there by him. At the council fires and before tin- white 
man he always exerted himself to adjust the difhcultii's regarding their 
lands in New^ York, and on the Ohio, in Connecticut as well .-is on tlii'lr 
grant in Canada and only once in all his efforts for his people was his 
zeal ever (piestioned by them. Worked upon by parfies je;ilous of his 
success in securing the grant; and through the instrunieiitality of 
his arch-enemy, Ked Jacket, and a few kindred spirits who were anx- 
ious to occupy his position, in JSUo he was illegally and contrary to 
their national laws, deposed. Only for a brief time, however, weri' the 
eyes of his people blinded: when he stood before fliem in .ill his dis- 
interested glory, tlH^ scheme was more than evident to them and he 
was again placed at their Ih'.-kI. After this time and while he w;is at 
work adjusting his jieople's l.inil claims, he was aliki' busy upon their 
religious and educational advancement: through his instrumentality 
schools were established for his people and missionaries brought among 
tlu'in and he lived to see his work beginning to bear good fruit. 

Kegarding the closing days of his eventful life, wv (piote the follow- 
ing from 8toiie: "A few years before his death. Captain I'.rant built 
a commodious dwelling-house, two stories high, on a tract of land pre- 
sented him by tlie King :it the head of Lake Ontario — directly north 
of the beach which divide<l the l.-ike from the sheet of watei' known 
;is lUirlington liiiy. The situatii>n is noble and commanding, alf'ording 
a glorious prosi)ect of that beautiful lake, with a fruitful soil and a 
pictures(pie country around it. At this place on the 24th of November, 
I.SOI, he closed a life of greater and more uninterrupted activity for 
the space of half :i century, than has fallen to the lot of almost any 
other man whose n.-ime has been inscribed by the muse of history. 
He was a steadfast believer in the distinguishing doctrines of Clii'is- 
tianity and a member of the Episcopal church :it tlu' time of his 
decease. He bore his illness, which was painful, w'ith patit'uce and 
i-esignation. lie died in the full possession of his faculties, ;iiid, accord- 
ing to the belief of his ;i tieiidants. in the full faith of the Cjiristian 
religion. His age was (■>4 ye.-irs and eight months. His rem.-iins were 
reniove<l to the Mohawk \illage, on the <ii-and Kiver, and interred 
by the side of the church which he had built. The interests of liis 
people, as they had been the parumouut object of his exertions through 


life, were uppermost in liis thoiiglits to the end. His last words that 
have been preserved upon this subject, were contained in a charge 
to his adopted nephew: 'Have pity on the poor Indians; if you can 
get any intlueuce with the great, endeavor to do them all the good you 
can.'" In summing up his character the same author said of him: 
"He was ambitious — and so was Caesar. He sought to combine mauy 
nations under his own dominion — and so did Napoleon. He ruled over 
barbarians — and so did Peter the Great." And to this let me add. 
He was ever first in the hearts of his countryman — and so was Wash- 

At his death, according to the unwritten laws of the Mohawlis, which 
is that tlie superior chieftainship descends to a sOn of the direct line 
on the mother's side, by her appointed; Catlierine, the wife of Brant, 
named as his successor, John, her fourth and youngest son. .John and 
his youngest sister, Elizabeth, remained at the Brant Mansion, while 
the mother, always partial to the manner of living and customs of the 
Indians, soon returned to the village on Grand River, where she after- 
wards lived mostly with her other children: and yet at .John's death, 
in 1821), this venerable Indian princess did not name his successor from 
among her grandchildren in the Indian settlement, but selected for that 
place the infant son of Elizabeth, who had married William Johnson 
Karr, a grandson of Sir William Johnson and "Molly Brant," and who 
still occupied her father's old home. 

I'erliaps it would not add interest t(.) this papei", which is already una- 
voidably too long, to name any of the intermediate chiefs, but to show 
how this remarkable family is still interwoven with the destiny of the 
Six Nations, I will say that the present Superior (.'hief, or as the title 
is now called, the I'resident of the Council of the Six Nations, is Oron- 
hyatekha, M. U., S. C. K., a graduate of Oxford; a personal friend of 
the Prince of Wales. He is a prominent politician and a well-known 
doctor of Toronto: is the head of the Independent Order of Foresters 
of this country, with the title of Supreme Chief Banger: a thirty-third 
degree Mason, and is the husl)and of a grandd.-iughter of .loseph Brant. 

For the- facts embodied in this sketch I am principally indebted to 
the works of Stone. Campbell. Benton and Ileckwelder; frou) which 
I have freely copied; and also to lettt'rs in my own pi'rsonal corres- 
pondence with Dr. (.)roiithyat<'kha .-ind others of tlu' race in Canada. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, May 13, 1899. 

The towns of I^itchtieltl and Frankfort were taken from Gi'miiin 
Flats and incorpoi'ated I)y an act of the Ici^islatnre. Feliruary r)th, 
IT'.M). A part of the town w;is taken off and nu-orporaled in the town 
of Winlield, in ISlC. Litcldicid was naiiUMl by Addison Condis' i^rand- 
falher, who came from Litclilield, < 'onnecticnt. 

The surfat-e is hilly; the hi.nliest land in the connty, soutli of the 
INIohawk river, bein.L; W'lieelock's hill, which is .")(!() feel .ibovc the 

The soil is well a<l;ii)tc(i for dairying', which is tlic in:iiii industry 
at the present time. A wafci'shcd commences on West I M'n Iiiii a ud 
extends easterly, through North Litchlicld to lOast 1 >ry hill, llicnre 
southerly to the south bounds of the town. The str»'ams south of Ibis 
divide dischar.i;e their waters throui;h the Susciueh.anna ; while those 
having their sources iioi'th from it, flow thr<Mi.i;h the JNIoliawk and 

The 1 >i'y hills are elevated plattcans of lintidred aci'es each, 
in the western and southern i»arts of the town. They were once the 
Mohawk Indians' huntin;; m'ound ;ind contained se\'ei';il i)onds where 
llic lutlians fished and shot ducks. A canoe i-eecidly found at 
Snnth's pond. All the ponds h;ive disappeared except Smith's i»ond. 
There are no springs, as there is no laiid in the vicinity hi.iihei- than 

There are nunu'rous eaves. Some contain water. One ne;ir < Joodici-'s 
Corners is so l.-tr.ue a lived in it for sevei'af y<'ars and the remaijis 
of a lirepl.Mce can still be seen. 

Tlie Hrst settler of the town of latiblield is believed by some to h.ave 
b(-en Elijah Snow, and b.\' ofheis lo haxc lieen David S(;ott. Mr. Snow 
was a native of Westbury, Mass., ,ind came in ITSC and settled on 
Wheelock's hill, (hen known as Snow's hill or Snow's r.usli (the word 
bush meaning woods|. It renniine<l that nanu' until after (In- I'resby- 


lerian church Avas organized and there had been a religious revival 
there, then Kbenezer Goodale named it Jerusalem Hill, by which name 
it is still known. 

As near as I can learn, in 1787, William Brewer and Ezekiel Goodale 
came from Massachusetts, John Andrews, Christopher Kider, John and 
Eleazer Crosby from Connecticut. Ebonezer Drewrey and John Everett 
from New Hampshire, settled in the town. In 17S8 came Samuel Miller 
from Connecticut and James Gage from New Hampshire. In 1791 
came Nathaniel Ball from Temple, New Hampshire, and Marshall and 
Selah Holcomb from Simsbury, Connecticut. 

Mr. Hall brought four sons, the oldest but 12 years of age, and an 
invalid wife, using his own conveyance. As it was- a long, cold jour- 
ney, how could ho keep his wife Avarm? He purchased a beautiful dog 
with her two babies, and placed them at his wife's feet, kept her com- 
fortable all the way. 

Their house was built of logs, the roof of bark, curled a little and 
extended from ridgepole to eaves, laid the Inner side up. The next 
course was placed the bark side up,, each strip meeting in the center 
of the under course, making a waterproof roof. 

Mr. Ball brought the first apple seeds and distributed them among 
his friends. Selah Holcomb moved his family and all his goods on 
an ox sled. He settled near the present Talbot farm. As he cut the 
trees for his log house, they fell in the form of a triangle and he built 
his liouse in that shape. He used to catch tisli for his breakfast, carried 
his grist to mill on his back and rocked two of his children in a hollow 
log. He was an industrious and economical farmer and accumulated 
considerable property. He made Avooden land sides for the "old bull 
plow," and sold his wheat to the new settlers for $3 per bushel. He 
frequently held town offices. 

The Townsend family came in 17'.»l2. when there was l)ut or..' frame 
house in Utica. As soon as they could clear a si)ot lai'ge enough and 
build a log cabin, they were all vaccinated for the smallpox. They 
were put on a diet of nuish and molasses and came out of it very easy 
and said "it was not as liard as the "itch." The trees were so close to 
the cabin, they used to stand out of doors when they were felling them 
for fear they would fall on the cabin and kill them. 

In 170.3, llvv. William Underwood and two brothers, John and Na- 
than, came with their families from Connecticut. One ox sled was 
used for the people and one for their goods. They had great difficulty 
in crossing the Mohawk river. Grandmother Norton was one of those 
children, only four years of age. At this time William was a Baptist 
minister, but afterward became a Universal Uestorationist. John was 
the father of Judge John C. Underwood, who mni-ricd a niece of Stone- 
wall .Jackson. He died in Virginia. 

fn March. 1794, Itev. Aaron Goodier. wife and inf;inl son. his brother. 
Henry, and Avife came from Newton, Christian couiit;^', I'^nglajid. Tlipy 
clime up the INIohaAvk on a. raft, poling it along ajid using ropes to pull 


it where lU'ressniy. There were but four builtliiiKs in lltiea. It was 
caHed "Fort Schuyler." At New Hartford, they bought ;j<M) acres of 
laud in Litehliehl, coiiiiiit; here on foot, followinj;- a lino of marked 
tret>s. Tli(>y built a lou liouse. In 1808, Aaron was licensed as ;i local 
.Methodist i»reiichei-, Itishops Iledding' and Asbury each signing a 
license. He preached ail ;iI>out this locality for many years. At tlie 
centennial celebration of his settlement in town, in 18;»4, it was found 
his actual descendants numbered 254; 75 liad married in tlie family, 
making 321), of whom V,)7 were then living. 

In 1704, Rev. Archiltnld Parker of Rhod<' Isiland. cam(> with his age<l 
l)arents, wife and tlire(> diihlren. As there were no palace cars, tlu^y 
cnme with an o.\ team, settled In th« fort-st with bears and panthei's 
for tlieir noighl)ors. U'lien a spot of land liad been cle.-ired. Mr. Parker 
walked 12 miles to (he .Mohawk river liats and purchased one-half 
luishel of oats for seed, carrying it home on Ids back, and receivtHl 
gratis, ft sort of a legacy, in the form of quack seed that has yielded a 
dividerd yearly, much to the annoyance of tlie generations wlio f*)l- 
howed. Ten cliildren grew to man and womanliood. One night, late 
in the season, one of the oldei' sons was sent after tlie cows whicli 
were pastured in the forest: datkness came before he could find them 
and he lost Ids way home. To l>i> out of Ihe reach of wild animals he 
spent the niglit in a sni;iil tn-e, swaying the to]» to keep w;irm. Arch- 
ibald, Jr., tlie severdh son, Avas born and spent his entirt- life on this 
farm, dying in 1885. He was well known throughout the county as a 
man- of strong character and i)eisoiial worth. He lii'ld many respon- 
sil)le places of trust in the town: was supervisor in the sixties. The 
Parker homestead i>;isscd into the iK)ssession of T. P. P.arker, avIio still 
owns it. It is now occupied by Archibalil K. P;irker. only son of T. P. 
I'arkor, and representing the fifth geni'ration of Parkers who hid livi'd 
cu his same farm. 

Samuel Matthews came fiom North I'rooktield. Mass.achnsrtts, in 

Judge P.oughton Everett, son of the original settler of that name, 
was liorn in Litchfield in 171t8. He was well known :ind highly 
lespected throughout Herkimer county. He was a man of dignified 
and coiu'teous manners, always re;idy to help his fellow-men b^' advice 
or in a pecuniary way ;ind held the esteem and confidence of his 
iKMghbors to a marked degree. .ludge Everett ran for member of 
assembly, but w.-is defeate<l l>y Col. Standish P.arry of Newport. He 
was supervisoi of the town in 1851. He di(>d in 1871. ripe in years and 
good works, and Avas burled in the cemetery ;it Jerusalem Hill, where 
now rest representatives of five generations of the Everett family. 

The Warren family, while not among the very earliest settlers, came 
to Litchfield from Connecticut about 17!)0. Eiisli;i. the father of the 
family, was born in Massachusetts, where the name of Warren is 
held in honor. P.ostoii in particulai', has ])erpetiiated it in numberless 
ways in memory of (Jeneral Joseph Warren of Bunker Hill fame. 


Elislui Warren was a very near relative of the Revolutionary hero, a 
tact which his descendants remembered with pardonable pride. Four 
generations of this name lived in Litcliheld, intermarrying with many 
of the prominent families of the town, among which were tlie Snow, 
Kyder, Wheelock, Underwood and Fish families. 

Julius C Warren, gi'andson of Elislia, was a man respected in his 
day and generation. lie -occupied various positions of trust in his 
native town (he was Ikh-u in l.S()4) having l)een at different times super- 
visor, justice of the p(>ace and captain of militia. He was successful 
in business and owned and occupied tlu' same farm tifty-two years. 
After his retirement from active affairs he removed to Ilion, where 
he died in 187S. 

Henry L. Easton, who was born in Wilmington, Vt., in 17!)4, became 
a resi<h'nt of the town in LSI 7, settling at deilarville, where for ttfty 
years he was a prominent and leading citizen. He was a practical 
surveyor and for a numi>er of years a teacher. For a series of terms 
he HUed the office of justice of the peace and in 1837 was a member of 
the legislature. He died in 1807. His brother, Dr. Charles L. Easton; 
who was a graduate of the Fairfleld medical college, practiced his 
professiop at Cedarviile for many years, prior to 1850. 

Other early settlers were Abner Rising and family, from Massachu- 
setts; Nathaniel Fish, Silas Hamilton. John Eocke, William Hadley, 
Ira Wilkinson, Timothy I'^uller, Harry Crane, John Ross, William Bray- 
ton. Diiniel Ellsworth. John S. Avery, David Reals, John I'addocU, 
Jam(>s Schooley, Samuel Rrewer, Ethel Ju(hl. John Ingersoll, Ezekiel 
Smith, and tAVO Richard Smith's, Russell and Ezekiel Norton, also the 
(iilletts, Kinnes, Mattisons, Riders, (iaylords, Burpees, Harveys.Wash- 
burns, Condons, Brown and R>ennetts. 

When John Ingersoll came from Connecticut, two other families 
accompanied him with their oxen and sleds.. Mrs. Ingersoll, l>eing an 
invalid with a 1)a])e in her arms, rode in a i-ocking chair. 

in 1Sf»0, Eliphalet Remington. Sr., wife and three sons, came fi-om 
Connecticut and settled at Cranes Corners, later living near Ilioh. At 
that time Eliph:ilet, Jr., was seven years of age. He was founder of 
the Ilion armory. 

Wheelock's pond, the source of Moyer creek, was named after Alvin 
Wheelock, who came from Massachusetts and settled near it in 17U1. 

The first white daisies were brought by Benjamin Wood from Con- 
T\ecticut, in some hay in his sleigh, and they have replenished t!ie town. 
The first settlers received their mail once in three months. It was 
brought from Connecticut by a man on horscl);ick, who acted as a 
guide and escort to anyone wishing to ni.ike the journey. Indeed, 
mothers Avith a child in their arms often made the j(mrney in that 

The first store was kept by David Davis, .foseph Sheppard kept the 
first inn. John Littlejohn built tlie first grist mill, and one Talbot the 
first saw mill, in ISOC. or 1807. Jerenuah Everett taught the first school. 


In the early twenties there was an academy hiiildin.n' on Jerusalem Hill, 
three stories hij;h, where a school was maintained sonu" years, but it 
was soon abandoned and th.' bnildinu sold to Lyman (Jayloid, who 
demolished it and in 1S41.' erected the brick house, wjiich is still stand- 

The Litohtield Furnace Company was established by a .ioint stock 
company, about ISKi. Their i)roduct w^as potash-ketlles. hollow-ware 
and such articles as the people re(piired. The ore this company smelted 
was I)rou.!ilit fi'om (Minton. As mineral coal was nol in ust' here, the 
furnace furnished a maikct for vast (inantities of charco.-il, which the 
settlers burned just to .yet the tind)er out of their way. There was at 
one time a store on Jerusalem Hill, kept by liauri-u Clark. Cyrus 
Norton had a jiallery in part of the store, where he took .ambrotypes 
of people. 

The first settler of Cedarville was Henry Devendorf, in ISO.*',. He 
kept the first t.avern in 1S11. The hrst store there w;is opened by John 
and Thurston M.abbit. in ISi';;. .lohn Mabbit w:is made the first post- 
master there, the same year. William Hosford started ;i tannei'y in 
Cedarville in 1.S24. It consisted of six vats. I'.oards placed on poles 
laid across crothces. the only roof. 

Cranes Corners named after Ilai'ry Ci'ane, who kejit a tavern 
there about ISl'S. .lohn Ecker kejit a store, and Colonel Uoswell Cham- 
l)ion carried on a tannery there. Other industries have been eiuht or 
ten saw mills, several cider mills, two Hour nulls, cl(»thin,i;' mill, shin.iile 
mill, four hotels, si.x stores, a route, several linn' kilns and other 
industries. In IT'.tl there but one road throu.n-h the town. Marked 
trees guided elsewhere. 

The first road laid out and i'e<()i'ded .after the incoi'por.ation of the 
town was surveyed ]»y Israel I'oi-fer, j'ecoided .M.-iy Id. ITP'l. It is 
descrilted as "a road from Aai'on r.udlor>,t:'s to .1. Shepperd's." The 
old Utica and .Minden lui'npike ci-ossed the toAvn : it was incoi-](oi';ited 
about 1S24. It was never comi)leted .and its cliartei" lai)se<l. The Utica 
and l{urlin.i;t(m plank I' (M-(tssed the town, endiiii; at linrlintiton 
l-'lats. The Ilion and Ced.arville plank road was built in 1.S4S; it w;is 
;i toll I'o.-id until ISCS. The first birth was that of liake Andrews, in 
1790, son of .lohn Andrews, named .after John C. L.-ike. of Xew York. 
The first bride.uroom was .loseidi Il.ay, whose mai-ri.i,i;e occiu'red in 

According to .some records, the first death a yong man, in IT'.H, 
and his funeral was held in the open air, under an elm tree, near the 
Jerusalem Hill cemetery. Other accounts are that Betsey Burns was 
the first death, aged !."» years, in 17!»;i. Her fuiH>ral was held in the 
oi)en ;iir near .Tei'usalem Hill. The coflin was made of rough bo:ii-ds 
painted black, and rested on a stump during the service. The fii-st 
religious services were held in 17P1. The lirst I'.;ii)fist church of Litch- 
field was orgiinized .March !.">. 17".l."., at the house of .Xallianiel r.:ill. 
Meetings were held in different houses untd the school house at North 


Litchfield was finishod in 1815. Tlieir first cluircli edifice was erected 
al)Oiit 1S34, costing $700. Elder Harris was tlieir first pastor. No ser- 
vice lias been held there in years and the hnilding is rapidly decaying. 
A Congregational clanch was organized in Norwich Corners in 170'J 
with 82 members. Their first clinrch was erected in 1S02, costing 
.$0,000. In IStO it was strnck by lightning and burned. In 1811 another 
building was erected, whrch is still in use and in good condition. The 
lirst pastor Avas Kev. John Eastman, of Massachusetts, who i-emained 
ton years. In 187() the society united with the Jerusalem Hill church. 

On August 18, 170<i, a Congregational church was organized, but its 
history cannot be found. In a school house near John Underwood's, 
on the 24th of December, 1804, the latchfield Eirst Congregational 
Society was formed. April 11th, 18i;{, the church united with the 
Presbytery of Oneida, and took the name of the Litchfield Presbyterian 
Society, which it still retains. At this time Rev. Thomas Mills was the 
pastor and remained till 1820. This church is situated on Jerusalem 
Hill. The first church was built in 1804; it was a huge building, framed 
of hard wood and took two days to raise the frame. Matthew and 
Calvin Keith were the builders. It cost ij;2,()r)0. About 1834, William 
Brewer gave the church a bell and left the use of a legacy to help sup- 
port preaching in this church, which they still receive. Cyrus Norton 
made an image of Gabriel blowing his horn, which was on top of the 
belfry many years. Some hunters passing, shot it, and it fell to the 
ground. June 7, 1874, the b(>lfry containing the bell fell to the ground; 
the bell was not injured. Later the old church was sold and demol- 
ished. In 1890 the church standing on the other side of the street was 
moved on the site of the old one, a belfrey added and the bell rehung. 

The Methodist Episcopal cliurch at Cranes Corners was formed very 
early in this century, as a wooden building 40x90 feet, owned in part 
by this society, was standing there in 1804. It remained unfinished a 
few years, and was warmed (?) by coals placed in a large kettle. In 
1814, Bishop McKendree spent a Sabltath here when Abner Chase was 
pastor. Thomas Kiniie gave this church a bell. A new church was 
built in 1862 or 1SG3, costing $3,000. 

The Methodist Episcopal society was formed at Cedar Lake previous 
to 1813. In that year Aaron Goodier, a pioneer and an esteemed 
preacher, was ordained a deacon. A church was built in 1838 and ded- 
icated by Aaron Goodier and Zachariah Paddock. This was burned 
in 1858 and another built in 18(52 or 18G3, costing ,$4,000. 

The Mt'thodist p]piscopal church of Cedarville was organized early 
in the century. The first church edifice was erected about 1H2C,, costing 
$1,500. In 1870 it was removed and converted into a village hall. The 
society is extinct. 

The Universalist society of Cedarville was organized October 27, 
1829. Tlie first church was erected in 1829, costing $2,500, and dedicated 
in 1830. Rev. Dolphus Skinner preached the dedication sermon. 

The Universalist society of North Litchfield was organized May 19, 


1S3.S, the chui-cli luiilt in IS^O, costiiiu .i:.''..!!*"). .Inlin .iiid M.iry Ann 
Ramsay gave the land on whifli the c-hurch stands, on condition it Ik- 
used oidy for a ITnivorsalist cliuri-h. The Kevs. Dolplms Skinner and 
T. I >. Cook were anion.u" its pastors. For many years no si-rviees have 
been lieUl there and it is now offered for sale. 

Anions' the i>roininent men i-aised in Litelifield were Kevs. Charles 
Mills of Syracuse. Moses E. I>nnham of Whiteslown, Oliver V,. I'eals 
of New York. Charles M. Dods'c' of Oriskany, Charles (i. Matteson of 
Long Island, K. Watson (xoodier of Connecticut, and John Donahoe. 
Joel T. and I'hineas Iladley were distinguished authors. Among tiie 
lawyers were Delano T. Smith. William A. M.atteson, Charles J. Ever- 
ett, James W. Tiayhill. Francis S. Wilcox. Wadsworth Z. Goodier, I'rad- 
ley Fuller, William K. Harvey, the present city .iudge of Uticn ; Volney 
Owen and Irving Ilolcoml) were sent to the state legislature; Levi C. 
Smith was county clerk. Among school commissioners were Judson 
Joslyn, Earl 1'. West, John Champion, (Hiver lieals, Alonzo Goodier, 
Chas. Wheelock and S. liincoln Fish. Henry Symonds taught singing 
school for years. Charles T. Barnes was a leading school teacher, and 
other good teachers were Abigail and Salina Cowles, and a half sister, 
Clarissa Meri'ill. .also Mary,'ah and Ellen Parker. IMiilander Kewry. 
Matthew J. Everett. Morgan Hooker and Frank Itayhill were mer- 
chants in Utica ; I>. (i. Koss a nu-rchant in Ilion. Alonzo Fish shipped 
the tirst cheese ever sent to England. Thaddeus Harrison moved to 
Oregon and became a successful business man and prominent oilice 
holder. Melville C. Smith, a prominent railroad man in New York, and 
many others. The Rev. Dana W. r>igolow, of Utica, began preaching 
in Norwicli Corners' church. The noted Universalist preacher, 10. 11. 
Chapin, of New York, iireached his lirst sermon in the North Eitchlield 
school house. At one time eight settled ministers were here, and sev- 
eral doctors; among them were Drs. Gaylord, WMiite, Randall. Thomas. 
Maltby, Skinner and others. There were many hardships among tlu; 
early settlers. 

All produce sold was drawn to Albany and wheat was carried there 
to be ground. All su])plies came from the)-(>. The roads were terrible. 
Sonu' were built of logs laid close together cross-ways. The country 
w;is .'ill forest and the nu'u worked hard to fell the trees and ))rei)are 
the land for crops. The women worked hard, spun and wove all the 
material for the garments of the family. Once a year the cobbler and 
tailoress came to each house and made the shoes and clothes for the 
family. One lady says she had but one utensil to cook in for the fam- 
ily when she kept house and got along nicely. It Avas an iron basin 
with a cover. Gourds were made into dippers and dishes. Each family 
dipped their own candles, made llieir own starch by grating jiotatoes 
on the tin lantern. Their soda they made by burning cobs to ashes; 
they called it pearl-ash. TIkmv were no matches or stoves. The cook- 
ing was done on a crane in the fireplace and in a brick oven. If the 
lire went out they had to borrow fire of a neighbor. 

42 HerkiMer county historical society. 

Everybody nttciidcd the •'.licnornl trainings" wliicli were held yearly 
at Norwich Comers. The horse soldiers wore l)lue coats with steel 
buttons, leather caps triiiimed with bear skin and a long white plume; 
they carried saddle bags witl) two pistols and a sword. On one occa- 
sion an attempt was made to get a minister's son drunk by pouring a 
glass of brandy over his rice pudding: it failed, as he did not eat the 
pudding. Thomas Goodier, Mr. Townsend, JNIr. Truesdale, John I{ay- 
niond, Silas Hamilton and Richard Smith were in the war of 1.S12, and 
nearly starved on tlieir return from Sacketts Harbor. 

A man found his cow and a bear grazing quietly together in a clear- 
ing. While after his gun the bear disappeared. While after the cows, 
two small girls were frightened at a bear. Calling- the mein with their 
guns, tliey surrounded the bear, which proved to be a large black 
stump. Mrs. Munn, when a young lady, had a calico dress from 
Albany costing .$1 a yard; it would be called poor cloth now. Sh? wore 
it to a party with "Crosl)y," two on one horse, lier mother spreading 
her apron on the horse to keep the dress clean, charging her not to fall 
off and spoil the precious dress. Miss Gillett, the mother of D. G. 
Koss, of Ilion, wore a pink cambric dress to a party; It was the dress 
ot the party. Traveling was done in lundxM- wagons and on horseback. 
l'e(H)le rode to church, two on one horse. Mrs. William Underwood 
was so homesick she went on horseback to her old home in Connecticut, 
carrying a small child with her. Mrs. Marshall Avanted some johnny- 
cake so much slie carried a peck of corn on her b.-ick to Whitestown, 
10 miles, to get it ground, walking on snowshoes and marking th.e trees 
to And her way home. It is remembered bow Joseph Ball fell into the 
creek on his way liome from calling on a wi(hiw. 

Februai-y 3d, 1805, Russell Norton and N;incy UuiU'rwood were mar- 
ried at her home by a justice of the peace, in the presence of three 
ministers. The bride's father was a minister, and two otliers chanced 
to call to spend the night there and were pres(>nt at tlie ceremony. 
They were the grandparents of William and Ch.-irles Norton and E. 
G. Van Housen. I h.-ive the stockings the bridegroom wore, and p;irt 
of the bride's gown, !)4 years old. He raised the first building in town 
at whicli no li(iuor was used, but served pie and doughnuts inst(»ad, and 
it went up as nice as could be desired. 

C.-iptain Cowles was a great talker. One moi-ning he borrowed a 
plow of a neighl)or which he must return at noon. On his way honit- 
with the plow on his shoulder, he met a neighbor. They talked a while, 
when Mr. Cowles made a move to put the plow on the ground, then 
tile neighbor made a move to start on. Mr. Cowles kept tlie plow on 
his shoulder and they kept on talking. Every time Mr. Cowles started 
to i)Ut down the plow the otlier man would make a move to start on. 
In this Avay they talked until noon, wlien Mr. Cowles had to return 
the plow witliout using it. 

It was said if Jiyman Gaylord got his foot on the hub of a wagon, 
there was no way of getting away from him for half a day. Early 


ill the (•(Mit\ii'y u's liiini was l)uriic(l by liulitniiii;. The [tooplo 
Imilt him a new l)ai-n; tlicrc wen' a few pieces (if tiiiilicr left. Tlie 
iKxt year liis next ueiLililior's liarn was huriied Uy liuhtiiini;-. So the 
nei;;lil)ors l»ullt a liani for liiiii. Wlien they aslved for fjie tiiiihers h'ft 
of tlie first ham. the old man replied: "I really don't know, I had 
thonj;ht of linildini;- a shed of them." A sister of Lyman (laylord lost 
her way in the woods, and eonunn to a place where men liad been 
clH)ppin.u-, waited nntil they returned frojn dinner. ( >ne of the men 
.ynided lu'r where she wished to t^o, and later man-ied her. His name 
was Samuel l'er;;nson, the fomnU'r of that family in West Frankfort. 

A schoolhouse stood near the road on the hill back of the stone house 
now owned by (Jeorn'e Holland. Lyman (laylord wished it moved n(>ar 
In^ liome, where (J. (irilhtlis now lives; Mr. Crosliy wi.shed it moved 
near his iilace. where 1'.. Tal))ot now lives. One day each liitclied four 
yoke of oxen to each of two corners: as Mr. Crosby's oxen pulled the 
strongest li" t;'ot the s<-hoolhouse \\liere he wislu'd. 

The iieople opiiosed the buildiuii, of the I'tica and Miuden turnpik(>. 
They worked all one ni,tilit with over tliirty yoke of oxen, [»uttiuj;' a 
lartic I'ock in the road just wt-st of Jerusalem Hill. I'.efore noon tlie 
next day the road builders had It sunk in the grouiuL 

The Spencer's often neylecti'd their farm work to enjoy huntin.i;' and 
lishiiii;-. Wood-bees, huskinn-bees, ])ai-in.i:-bees, sin.^in.u schools arrd 
sjielliim schools were fi'equeidly held. Xo amusements were allowed 
at a church (hm.ition, which were attended in the afteiaioon by the 
(>lder people and in the evening l)y the yoiin.u;' people. ( »n one occasion 
the Kev. Mr. Mills reluctantly consented to allow the youui^ peojMe 
to marcli about the room in pairs to the music of a flageolet. 

The cliurches liad no means of beiiiu warmed, and the peo]ile <-,irried 
small foot-slo\-es, containinu li\'e coals, to keei) them warm. Servici'S 
wert' iK'ld in the forenoon and ;ifteriioon. the pi'ople carryinu a lunch 
with them. 

One Sal)b;ith when Elder Loomis was preachin.n\ one of his small sons 
be.iian pla.yinj;. He i)aused in his sermon and said, "Keep still, (Jeorjic." 
Anothei- Sabliath when ho reached lionie li'oiii chui'ch he found he liad 
left one of his boys at the church and had to return foi' him. Aniony 
remarks made in a hot anM-sla\'ery UKH-tiiiu, Mr. William Smith, a 
sla\e ownei'. became so indi.i;ii:i nt he left the house. 'I'here was one 
day so dark the people thonuht the world was cominu to an e'id. They 
had to li.t;lit candles in mid-day. The heirs all went to roost and the 
l!idians wei-e so frightened they came to the homes of tlie wMte 

One season was called the "yeai' without a summei-:" there was fi 
frost every month exce]it Auiiust. No crops could mature and once 
that summer they had to dii;' the lambs out of the snow to sa\e their 

Thei-e Avas yreat excitement when the Millerites came preachiuf'' 
the end of the world was at hand. Kev. Augustus Ueach and wife 


iu'ld the moetings. Some gave up nil work, expecting to see the end 
of the world. Mrs. Beach was a tine singer. A portion of one of her 
songs is remembered, as follows: 

"The chariot, the chariot, as its 

Wheels roll on tire, 
As the God is descending 

In the pomp of His ire, 
Lo! self -moving He I'ides 

On the wings of His cloud, 

And His angels with the God-head are bowed." 

In 1842 a Fourth of .Inly celebration Avas held in the old church on 
Jerusalem Hill, in Ihe forenoon. Thaddeus II;irrison was marsiial of 
the day. The oration was by Rev. Edward M. Wooley. In the after- 
noon, the exercises were in the grove back of the church. Samuel 
Wells of New Hartford was the oratoi-, and the Old Litchfield br.ass 
band furnished the music. 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical vSt>ciety, June lo, 1899. 

The Royal Grant was opened to settlement hy the Comunssioners 
of Forfeiture, in September, 17S4. A few lots were sold that fall, but 
there h;id lieen no pei-nianent settlement fnim New l-hi^lancl, or by 
one who spoke Kuulish, previdus to that time. 

The three (ierman families, Maltanner, <Joodl)radt and SlialTer, who 
settled near the Ki'eat siirint;-. ;ind head of the brook M.iltjinner, near 
the present villaye of i<'airlield, in 1770. had been driven out liy the 
Indians, in 177U. There was also a German setth-ment in the south- 
east part of the town, before the Revolution, upon what has lieen called 
Toi) Xoteh, near the town line, ;ind about four miles noi'lh (tf Little 
Falls. Amony these German lamilies were the Kellars, Wiudeekers, 
I'iekerts, and others, not of the I'.urnetsheld patentees, but who eame 
ui) from the lower Mohawk valley ;ind seated themselves in Glens' I'ur- 
ehase. When I collected the taxes in Fairheld, about 1S.">2 or ''>:',, I 
found sons of these, and some of the best tax payers in the town. 

Mr. Cornelius Chatfield arrived with his family, March 24th, ns.5, 
and settled at or near the spot where the village of Fairfield now is. 
Ill' is supposed to hiwv been the first settler fi-om New Knyiand who 
(ame into the county after the war, for the purpose of settlin.u on the 
Royal (irant. 

Asa Chatfield, the fallier of tiie lal«- 1 >r. Clinton Cliatlield (dentist), 
had his home a mili' or moi-e north of the vlll;i,i;e. on the road to Nor- 
way. I remendier Asa Cliatlield well. In ISIS he was i)residentlal 
elector. That year I c.isl my tii-st \utv. to elect Zachary Taylor iiresi- 

Abi.jah Mann, the fathei" of Abi.jah Mann, .Ir., Chas. A. and William 
Mann, arrived in May foilowin.u, and located a little west of the vil- 
lage, on the present road to Middlevillo. There was upoTi oi- near the 


lands taken up by Mr. Mann a small Indian orchard, and the Indians, 
many years after the war, would cluster around it as a loved and ven- 
erated spot. Al)i.jali Mann, Jr., became a lawyer of note and settled 
in Frankfort. He represented the district in Assembly in 1828, '29, '30 
and '38. Meml)er of Conjjjress in 1832, re-elected in 1834. Chas. A. 
studied law in Utica. became prominent, and a useful citizen there. 
He represented his district in Assembly and Senate. William I'emained 
on the farm a while. My first recollection of tlie Mann homestead was 
about 1S3S or '40. William was tlien tliere. 

Mason Morey, father of P. A. Morey, mei'chant, of Fairfield, owned 
and occupied the place many years. I think Charles Neely has it now. 

Except Chatfield and Mann and one or two others, the first settlers 
from New England took up lands soutliwesterly of tlie village. Josiah, 
David and Lester Johnson came into tlie town from Connecticut in 
178G. A Mr. Whipple and Christopher Hawlvins, from Newport, U. I., 
in 1786, made an effort at clearing for a liome in Norway, but did not 
prosecute tlieir enterprise. It sliould be remembered that this was all 
Norway until 1790, when Fairtield was talien oft" and set up a town 
by itself. 

This Royal Grant was an inviting field for the people of New Eng- 
land, and they now came quite rapidly. Jolni lUicklin, Ben.i. Bowen 
and two brothers, William and Ephraim, and David Beuchley, all from 
Newport, K. I.; John Eaton, Natlianiel and William Brown from Mas- 
sachusetts, and Samuel Low came in 1787; also the Potter family from 
Rliode Island came this year, and settled about one and one-lialf or two 
miles nortliwesterly of Norway village, on a tract known as tlie Hiu-- 
ricane. Tliere is a very good story in reference to this family, and as 
it illustrates incidents in frontier life so well, 1 hope my hearers will 
kindly be willing to bear witli me four or five minutes to repeat it. 

They had opened a small clearing and built a log lint to slielter tliem 
from the frosts and snows of winter. Their wliole store of provisions 
to carry them tlirough their first long northern winter was a crop of 
potatoes, with some salt. Forest game liad to supply the residue of a 
meager sul)sistence. A gun and suital)le annnunition were indispen- 
saltle to a frontier forest life and they were of course provided. A 
severe tempest had prostrated a strip of the forest near the plac(> 
where tliis family liad made their clearing and this spot in those days, 
and now, is called the Hurricane, and here was found the white forest 
rabbit in al)undance. Tlie snow had fallen to the depth of four of 
five feet, banking up tlie outsidi- walls of the log liut, rendering it 
quite comfortable during the whole winter. The men were employed 
procuring fuel and lumting game. One cold, frosty morning, Fisliei- 
and Jeremiali strapped on tlieir snow-shoes, took flieir guns and went 
into the Hurricane after rabbits. They had .-i small dog with them, 
only useful to start up tlie small game. 

Wliile earnestly intent on obtaining something which would r«Mider 
their potatoes and salt a little more savory and palatal>le, and 


soiiH'what iiKirc iiourisliiiii^. they (liscovc'icd ;i IkiIc in tlic snow. ncai'Iy 
as larye as a (luart cuii. cxtciulinn down fonr or live Icct dc'it. 'IMic 
sidles of this hole wcic liai-d and covered with wliite frost Ihil^es. show- 
Inn that there was some heat lieh)W. tlu' exiuiialions from which 
escaped tliroii,i;li this aporaturi; and Icept it open. Wliatever it niiylit 
\)v our pioneei's were not liacl^wai'd in hndinu it out, and I'^isher con- 
vertin.i,' liis snow slioes into a shovel, witli ri.uht iiood will, dui;- away 
the snow, (h)wn to a mass of hendock Ixm.^hs, and after removin;; a 
portion of them, a consich-rable cavity was discovered in the e;irth 
below, hut nothin.y- more. A (juestion of some inipoi't;in<'e now pre- 
sented itself, whether they should uncover the civity further or resort 
to other means. The services of the little don were put into requi- 
sition. He was hrom;ht to the hole and after talvinu' two or three scents, 
liarked valoi'ously, but Ueei)in,i; himself ready to m.ake a s.-ife retreat 
if needful. This unusual disturbance roused the habitant below from 
his torpidity, and lu' ,t;ave evi(h'nt tokens of disquiet. In the me.intime. 
Fisher, believing that he had uncovered an ;inimal that would riMpiire 
Komothins;- more than rabbit shot to (luiet him. stepjied b.ick a few 
paces from the hoh' and charged his gun with a ball, and then both 
were ready for the encounter. 

l'>ruin not intimid.ited by tlu' noise, had resolved to punish the in- 
tiauh'rs upon his dominions, with a few har<l siiueezes, if he could 
catch them, had presented his comely vis:ii;'e at the IkiIc id" bis den. 
^vlien Fislier. presentinji' the mu/.zle of his uun within a few feet of his 
bearslijp's head, juave him the whole charge. The bear was killed, and 
being large and fat, and the meat tender, was worth more than his 
weight in white rabbits to the famishing family. 

The informant who possessed a ri'Uiarkably clear and accur.ate re- 
collection of the incidents attending the hrst inunigration of the Xew 
Ku,gianders into the county, sai(h "he saw old Mr. Totter and his son 
Fisher when they first came out (d' tlie woods the sining .ifter the in- 
cident above related. He said Fislier was a tall man. but lean and 
gaunt, his complexion sallow and lie appeared very much as thougli lie 
had been neaiMy starved." Old Mr. Potter said, "that killing tli(> bear 
was a lucky thing for the family, and probably saved them from star- 
vation, :is their other i)rovisions, potatoes and i-;ibbits (when they 
could kill any) were getting (juite short." jNIr. Potter lived to a good 
old age and died in ].Si;j. The I'otters were the Hrst settlers in the 
present town of Norway. 'IMie centennial celebr.ation. h;id in 1SS7, 
Avas in accordance therewith. 

Now returning to and contiiuiing in reference to the town of Fair- 
tield. Elislia, Wym.-in ;ind Comfort Eaton, c.ime from .Massachusetts 
in 17.S.S. Jeremiah r.;iilai-d from .Mass.-ichusetts in ITS'.). There may 
have been others, and piob.-ibly were, whose names we h;ive not ob- 
tained. William IJucklin. the Arnohl families. D.iniel I'ennie, N;ith;in 
tallied. William P.ucklin. the Ainold f.imilies, D.aniel l''enner, N'atli;in 
Smith, Nahuiii Daniels, Amos and .lames IlaiKe, most of these from 


]\Iassacliiisetts in 1700. (Observed only one dwelling in Little Falls at 
this time.) l»eter and Beln Ward in 1791. The Neelys in 1702. 
Tlie Eatons, Browns, llailes, Arnolds, Wards and Bueklins 
seated themselves at and near the present village of Eatonville. In 
1703 came the Mathers. Seamaus and Charles Willard, a lad with his 
father, like all the Yankees, always pnshing Avest, settled west of the 
village of Fairlleld about one and one-half miles, on the table land 
since known as the platform. In 1701 came Johnathan Buell with 
his family, from near ir^aybrook, Connecticut, and settled farther down 
the platform, toward Middleville; George and Luther, were sons of 

Reckoning from the school house, district No. 3, as a centre of the 
platform, north toward Ilardscrubble. district No. 2, first Avas Col. 
Charles Willard, as I knew him. lie had a large family. His oldest 
daughter was the mother of the late I)r. C. W. Hamlin, of Middleville. 
The second, Ann, the wife of the late Dr. A. E. Varney of Middleville. 
The third, Louisa, the wife of the late Dr. Daniel M. Holt, of Newport, 
and four sons, George N., William, Charles W. and Samuel. Next 
north of Willard was Gilbert Corey, father of the late Jeremiah Corey, 
who kept the tavern at Middleville so long and was sheriff of the 
county one term; also was the grandfather of E. W. Corey the music- 
man. Next beyond Corey was Joshua Bushnell, succeeded by his son 
Joseph. East from the school was Griswold and Kelsey; south Benja- 
min Stevens and the Buells; west Mr. Vischer, Davies Safford and 
John Boss, the two last also from Connecticut. In reference to the 
name "platform," I have heard it associated with Saybrook. I have 
seen, and know personally very many of these old first settlers, which 
I have named and others I shall name, and also their families, parti- 
cularly their sons. 

Now let us for a moment, consider conditions, circumstances and sur- 

All this royal grant was an unbroken forest, wilderness, in March, 
1785, when Chatfield came. Very heavy timber, indicating good soil. 
ready to produce any crop, adapted to this latitude, as soon as cleared. 
The people coming were not generally wealthy, but (piite the reverse. 
Many of them had put their all in a cart, drawn l)y a pair of oxen, 
and thus they came trudging slowly along on ro.-ids far different from 
Avhat they are now, perhaps a week or more on their way. My grand 
parents and my wife's came in about this way, and they had plenty 
of associates. Chatfield nuist have had something different from a 
cart if the March was like this of ISOO. Those Avho had been here 
in the Pall and put ui> a cabin came early in the Spring with sleds. 
Where Avas there a mill to gi't lumber even for a shanty? There had 
been some mills before the Avar, about German Flats, eight or t(>n 
miles aAvay; one at Little I\-ills, .-ind one at Rlieinicnsnyih-r's I'.ush, 
about four miles north of Little Falls. All burned during the war. 
The first thing needed, of course, Avould be some sort of u cabin, or 


Imt, ;is Iteforc noted in refcri-nce to the Potters. If one liad ;i window 
and a few nails, four tools would sutliee to huild a coniforta'ile place 
of abode, viz: the axe, saw, au,i;er and hannner. 

I was born in a lo,n' house, in Newport, in 1827. I lived in another six 
miles east of liockford, in northern Illinois, in 1S44 and ]S4r). Hock- 
ford then contained r»(i() or (idO inhabitants. Now it has over .'{l.tlOO. 
Chicago, when I A\'cnt, in lSt4, contained according;- to history, the 
immense number of S,()(i() and next year reached lL;,(i(i(t inhabitants, 
and now it has aliout 1,7.")(»,(I00. There \\<re many lo.n" houses at that 
time between Belvidere and Ivockford. The best citizens lived in them. 
1 helped raise one there in the spring of lS4r», and had the honor 
of notching the logs at one corner. It only needed ;i little e\i)ertness 
in the us(^ of the axe. The next fall I went to lU'lvidede to leai'n tlu' 
c;ii-penter"s trade as a regular apprentice, and have worked contiimously 
since, in some branch of wood work. The body of tht> log houst> being 
nj). next in order wire the gables, and as they went up poles were laid 
horizontally in notches in the gable in such a manner as to form the 
pitch of the roof, to be covered with barlv or shakes laid on the poles. 
Shakes were split from tind)er in a similar maimer as staves for cooper 
work. Shakes wei-e used in Illinois, and if the woi-k was well done, 
made a good, dm-ablc I'oof fi'om the oak there used. I''or a tloor, pun- 
cheons were laid, \\ liich wvvv i)lanks split fi-om the log and hewn a 
little with the axe if necessary, and next came the door of similar 
materials, hung with wooden hinges, of course; a hook and eye hinge, 
made -with axe, saw and auger. The latch, also of wood, lifted by a 
string pulled through a hole abo\e the latch and hanging on the out- 
side. Thus the saying in reference to the hospitable man, his latch 
sti'ing is on the outside. The lati-h string being pulled in ;it night left 
iidi-ndeis out. The "Chinkin,"" bits of wood driven into the ci'acks and 
spaces between logs, and "Daubin," puttying cra'-ks with clay mortar, 
completed the house. 

Now we have the family sheltered, we will clear a sjuit in the forest, 
prei):iratory to raising a crop for food. Timber is worthless lU'arly; 
cut it down and bm-n it. out of the way. The ashes are of some value, 
furnishing ixilash in the soil to feed growing crops. L.ater. aslies were 
gathered and manufactured into potash of commerce, thus rol)bing the 
soil of a needed element. There was method in clearing, by falling 
the tind)er in wiiu'ows. to facilitate burning. An axe man, or choi)per, 
as they were called, after \iewing the piece to be cut oi' chopped, 
would cut in the side of the trees, nearly to the ])oint of falling, in the 
line selected for the winrow. and leave them standing, on both sides 
of a center line, so that they would fall toward the center, on thai 
that line. The Last tree in the line he would fall .against the next, 
which would ])reak over and fall against the next. ;nid so on through 
tlie whole line, falling in one gr;nid crash as many rods long as 
desired. Then .anothei' winrow along the side and ])arallel, and so on 
until the wliole piece desired to be cleared was prostrate iu winrows. 


AU cut in tilt' winter and Ijnrnod off in the spring, was ready for 
spring wlieat, corn and potatoes, and otlier vegetables, but for winter 
wheat he would continue cutting through the summer until August. 
After the first burning, getting rid of the brush and fine stuff, what 
there was left in large brands, and some, perhaps, quite large logs, 
had to be rolled together and piled in heaps to continue the burning 
until all was finished, furnishing plenty of black for hands, face, and 
clothing I have seen my father do it, when I was about eight or nine 
years old. Thus, when all was cleared off and ready, the pioneer with 
hoe and rake worked in seed among the stumps for a crop. Potatoes 
and other vegetables were of finest ciuality, better than we usually get 

Just to show how a pioneer family may live for a time without 
access to a grist mill, I will repeat a littl" story. 

As before mentioned, .leremiah liallar*"! came in 1789 and 'oca ted 
about two miles northeast of Fairfield village. He left his family the 
iirst winter, and returned to Massachusetts, where he remained until 
Spi'ing. The informant said: "This family had nothing to subsist on 
during a long and dreary winter but Indian corn and rabbits, if any 
could be killed. There being no mills then in the country, and if there 
had been any they could not be leached except by the use of snow- 
shoes and carrying the giist on one's back. Having no hand or other 
mill to crack or break the corn in, a moitar was the only thing they 
could resort to, and even this they were destitute of. The family pro- 
cured a large hardwood log and having no tools suitable to the object, 
they burned a hole or hollow .in it by concentrating the fire, sufficiently 
deep to answer their pni'pose. After this it was an easy task to make 
a pestle out of some hard wood, and crack corn to their stomachs' con- 
tent." By these means the resolute and noble mother carried her family 
through the winter, while the father ^^as absent, and it should be 
hoped, was detained by sickness, at his former home in Massachusetts. 
It was very evident that at that time mills wcnv a great necessity, 
especially for sawing lumber and grinding grain. We will start out 
from Mr. Boss's placi-, on the western part of the platform, to follow 
the pioneers, hnnting for w.nter power and mills, if there are any, in 
1790. Going north a slioi't distance, perhaps half a mile, and near the 
present fine residence of V. (). I'liillips, we come to Mill Creek. The 
discoverer might say "Eureka! Here is a boon for the settlers." The 
eastern part of Fairfield was not well supplied with water powers; 
but here was the best in town. A fine stream in those days, rock bed 
{•nd falling in a succession of falls lOU feet or moi-e in half a mile, 
above and east of this point was the saw mill of Itowland Phillips, 
grandfather of V. O. I'liillips, and whose present tine home is on a por- 
tion of the old Phillips homestead. Below and west a short distance 
Avas the home of Rowland Phillips, who came in 1800 and established 
himself here. Nearby on the bank of the creek, at a fine fall, was his 
bark mill and tannery, in operation in 1834, wheu I first knew the 


place. Tlic luHisf (lien yellow, is still sfaiidiim'. imiiited yellow, niul is 
now kiKiwii as tlif olii yellow house, occupied uow li\' (Jcor^e I, aw. 
Ml. riiillips raisetl a lar.m' laniilN' here, some of them schoolmales of 
my father. A)»out IS.'IS or '.■['.i .Mr. Phillips had (lie red house built, 
farther east, the siti- of if on the ju-emises of \'. (>. I'liillijis, near his 
liouse. To this red house old .Mr. I'liillips and Ids wife retired, leav- 
iiiji' some of their children at the ytUow house to manage the farm, 
until lSr)8 oi' "!» (more than od \-ears on tliis farmt he passed awa\'. 
I >own the hill a little west, a road crosses .Mill ('reek nor(herl\ toward 
.\or\\a.\'. On the noi'lh hank of the creek and west si(h' of the road 
is tlie white sellout liouse of the •'Old ("ity," disti'ict Xo. 4, I*"airtield and 
Newport. This is the thii-d school house on this site. 'IMie tirst one 
burned when m\' father was a school boy there. .\o. -. built to take 
its place, remained in use until IS.j.S, when it was demolished and this 
one built on the same siti'. L. li. Arnold was my teacher in the winter 
of l!So4 and '."> in house Xo. '_'. .Tolin 1'. Crilliii, .a biu boy there also. 
.Inst above the bi'id.ue. on that little falls, was the d;nn for the saw 
mill, which w;is on the bank, south side, at that considerable fall, 
below the school house and bridge. This was laiii by .Mi'. Samuel 
Fortune many yeai-s aftei' he came in ISOb, but was .uoin.u to decay in 
l.s;!4. A little below this, on top of the hi.yli falls. w;is the dam for 
tlu' yrist mill, water bein:4 taken out (m the north side and carried 
akui.i;' the precii)iee over the hill, higher than the roof of the mill, which 
stood on the site of the present .lolin A. ('nimby's barn; he tore down 
what remained of the old ui-ist mill, after 1S(;8, and erected his b;irn 
on the same spot, just at the end of the I)ridi,''e. There were two over- 
shot wIkh'Is. one .above the other. .lust below the jiit for those wheels, 
but above the road bridge, was the dam for the fulliu:.;- mill and card- 
iii,u- works, which was .lust below on the other or west side of thi' 
i-oad, also on the north bank of the ei-eek. The race was under the 
bridge. This mill building was oiii' of the old time he.av.v timber frames 
I'.ewn with the axe from the forest timber when it was i)lenty and 
cheap. .\sahel ILarias comirii;' into possession of this ])ro]»er1y about 
1S4(I. had reii,iii-(d this mill buildiut;-, coverin.t;- it entirely new. Ouring- 
the great tl(»od het-e in .Vugust. 1S!)S, the s"verest known here, th',' north- 
ern end of the stone ar<-hed bridge, abo\e which had recently been 
built, gave away, letting the whole force of the lh)od .against the under- 
liinning stone walls of this building, which soon (MMindded like dirt; 
the mill tipix'd over into the r.-iging torrent and was instantly c;irried 
down stream. This ;ind th.e grist mill h;id been run. doing business 
until .about hs;;s or ■.■[".I, and this one the last remaiinng <d' the old time 
mills of the Old City. 

Immediately Itelow this w.ts the dam to;- the bark mill, tannery and 
potashery of .Fon.athan Card, which was on the south side and Just 
below this was the dam for I.eon.ard fortune's gun shop, which 
on the noi'th side. This is not so old .and is, or was recently, is^lill st.and- 
ing. Below this on the staith side on the lower f.-slls, Avas the iV.w mill, 


run by a 14 feet ovei'sliot wheel, recently built by Win. R. Baker, who 
D'.ade a failure of it. 1 used the same from 18G0 to 'G3 for sash, blinds 
doors and general builders' jobbing in lumber. After I left it in lHG8 
it was changed into a cheese factory, about 1870. After some years 
burned and not rebuilt. Tlie gun shop and flax mill were in Newport. 
All the rest in Fairfield. All these mills above mentioned I have seen, 
except the Card tannery and potaslu-ry. I have been told there was a 
trip liammer, also, but I have failed to locate that. I had all this old 
mill property from the school liouse down for several years. The old 
deeds showed the water power rights. Here were eight dams and mills 
in about a mile, seven of them in half a mile. In those days the mills 
were mostly on small streams, reipiiring less capital to build and oper- 
ate them. My Grandfather Johnson said that "Before the Bowens 
got started at Newport, the City was quite a place of business." Other 
old settlers and their descendants give the same testimony. Besides 
the mills mentioned, they liad stores, taverns and mechanic sliops. 1 
have seen many of them. There was a shoe shop occupied as late as 
1848. I have seen dancing in the "ballroom" of one of tlie old taverns, 
known as the Carpenter Ikmse. I think the late Hon. A. M. Ross was 
born there; liis parents had lived there some time and lie might at that 
lime mentioned have been five or six years old. 

1 have before noted that Christopher Hawkins, the Bowens. Bench- 
leys and some others from Newport, R. I., had come about 1787 and '88, 
and stopped in the present town of Fairfield. They were to be the first 
settlers of Newport, as I shall soon show. 

In July, 178(5, Daniel Campbell, of the City of New York purchased 
of the Commissioners of Forfeifui'e the lands where the present village 
of Newport is. In 1788-0 the Bowens before mentioned purchased of 
Mr. Campbell the water power and land for the village of Newport. 
In 1790, a Mr. Lawton made a small clearing and put up a log cabin in 
Newport, which he aband(Uied. In the fall of 17!)!. Christophe'- Haw- 
kins removed into the present town of Newport, with a vIcav of making 
a permanent settlement. He obtained title through a Mr. Vischer, of 
the Commissioners of Forfeitnri". In the spring of ITlfJ, Hawkins 
erected for the BoAvens upon their property a small house and Benj. 
Bowen seated himself there the same year, and the next year built a 
dam and saw mill, and the next year, 1704, a grist mill. I have taken 
some pains to learn where that house was, what it was made of, 
whether of logs or sawed lumber, and if sawed, how and where ob- 
tained. I think Hawkins occupied the cabin built by Lawton tempor- 
arily until he could build for himself. Old Mrs. Barry, widow of the 
late Standisli Barry, ex-county clerk, etc., now residing at Newport 
with her daughter, Mrs. Pomeroy, in the old Barry homestead, is the 
daughter of Benj. Bowen. She is also the grandmother of Frank G. 
and Theodore P>arry of Herkimer. She was too aged and infirm more 
than two years ago to give me any information. I commenced this 
paper more than three years ago for my children only. I found two 


lucii li\iiis wlioiii 1 Ii.mI Um)\\ii foity or lil'ty yens, 'i'hcy were honi 
ill ISd'.l, thus ".Ml years old. Jlciiiy Thornton had worked for r.<»wfn 
in his niill, hut was tiieii. over two years auo, in lied and has since i^one 
over the rixcr. Siiernian Wooster, son of .Iiid.iii' Shei-iiiMii Wooster, 
aiiparentiy in .uood Jiealth and hi'i.uht, clear memory and could tell 
nhout the first settlement of Newport, said: "Yes. I knew < 'liristojilier 
Hawkins A-ery well. I didn't like scliool. ami my father said if 1 
wouldn't .!i'o to school I should work. I worked for Hawkins and he 
used to tell me many things about the early days of Xew]»ort. I have 
lieen in that liouse lie iiuill for Itoweii many a time. It was of sawed 
lumber. He i;ot it at the Old City, brought it ovei' 'Woodchuck hill" 
on that old First road from the City to Newport. It was the central 
rear pai't of that j^reat Waterman mansion, on the hill. The house was 
not lar.i;e; it had a jireat kitchen, and lar.iie lire-place, to I'oll in i^reat and room to jiile on hniu wood in front. When he had r.aised some 
.urain ftir food he put some in a s;ick and on the back of ;i gentle ox he 
I'.ad and took it over to the City and .yot it .uround." Th:it settles the 
point for me. There were mills at the City liefore 17'.»"_', and they were 
among the earliest, if not tlie very earliest in this part of tne country, 
and perfoi-med a very important part in the settlement. 

Bowen's clam and mills at Newjiort were the iii-st on the strea.m by 
many years. Accordin.L;- to ,Mi'. J. N. Waltei's, of Russia, there ini.niit 
have been one above Trenton Falls, and one below Hve or six years 
later, say about ITilS. Tliei'e was in early days a small aff.ilr on the 
east side of the creek below the iiresent Middleville. at a sliarji tui'ii 
in the stream, op])osite the home of F.ela Ward, who was succeeded by 
his son, Henry L. Ward, on land lonu owned by l>avid l''ord, and now 
by his son, A. W. Foi'd. There was no dam .across the creek, the water 
being run into :i ditch, and thus down to the mill. There was pothin.i;- 
of mills yet at Middleville and not until ]Sl(i. 

Now, as to tliat old First road over '"Woodchuck hill." fi'om the City 
to Newport. I su]ipose that with the excejition of the little clearing 
made by Lawton. in IT'.Mi, it was ;in unbroken forest wildeiness. beyond 
and west of the White Creek, when Hawkins went in IT'.ll. Starting 
out fioin the City north, the road soon turns westerly, to tic corner 
occupied many years by the kite Win. K. .Morey. Ann)n,g the earliest 
settlers wei'i' three families by the n.anie of I'ost. from White Creek, 
Washin.gton county. X. Y.. but oi'igiually from Conne<'ticut. The cor- 
ner above mentioned, was taken by Han Post. IOs(|.. and w'as his home- 
stead more than fifty years, or until 1S47, when he sold it and retired to 
Newport village. Nathaniel took up lands farthei- north. His home- 
stead has been just across the roadway south of the stone school 
house, over seventy years, or xintil his death, about ISi^l), at !)•> years 
of age. He is known to have voted at Norwiiy in ISliS;, for IT. S. ({rant, 
which was :ill these yeai's his voting place. The othei- brother settled 
on the farm on the noi-fli side of the White Cri'ck and adjoining it 
about a half mile from its niouth. now owned by .loseph Spellmaii, 


Tho house was near tlio crook; tlio barn is there yet, farther back in 
the meadow. Dan's farm adjoined the creek, about fifty rods, which 
also ran tlirough Nathaniel's. Continuing Avest from Dan Post's to near 
White Creek, the road turned, just west of Spelhiian's house, directly 
north, across tlie creek, passing' I'ost's house; ran on and up over the 
hill to Hawkins' place, where he made his settlement by the side of 
the West Canada, below Newport village. The Hawkins lands were 
held and occupied by his son, Christopher, and George B., a grandson 
now dead, al)Out 100 years. The property now is owned by Mrs. Jxdia 
Crumby, widow of the late D.ivid CrTiniby. There were at one time 
five houses on that road, between Hawkins' and White Creek. His 
brother, Stephen, lived in one, nearest his. and tln-ee between Stephen 
and I'ost. Sherman Wooster gave me their names. 1 used to see the 
pits where cellars had been, and apple trees nearby. My fatlier and 
gi'andfather had bought of Post's widow and heirs the land ho liad and 
th(>n aftei' buying another lot, between it and Hawkins; the two farms 
Joined, :ind contained all of the old I'oad, less than two miles. Pour 
of the houses had been on ours. It had bi'on the only road to Newport 
for some years. I am told that my grandfather's brother, Silas Johnson, 
lived at one time on Woodchnck hill. Ho was the grandfather of 
Alexis L. Johnson, of Schnyloi'. Wiien I first knew Uncle Silas he 
lived at Eaton's P.ush, now E.-itonvillo. 

About ITS!), Oliver Lawton came on to the Royal Grant fi'oin New- 
port, K. L, and settled on lot No. 1, of the second allotment. He had 
five sons, David, P>onjamin, (ieorgo, Jose])h and Oliver, and one d;iugh- 
ter, Polly. They had HOO hundred acres of land. Hence the name Law- 
ton street on which they wi'i'c settled. It is the road up the hill directly 
east from the City to the Slate road, intersecting it, westerly of Ayres' 
place, iu school district No. 1, Paiiheld. It is .about midway between 
Fairfield and NorAvay. and they were seated west of that main road 
crossing, toward Iho ('ity. 1 know George and Joseph; they i-omained 
on the street, kept their farms and raised up families, (ieorgo was the 
grandfather of Levi A. Lawton, of Herkimer, ('ontinuing on the same 
Lawton street road east toward the State road, we come to the Tan- 
ners, who also came from Rhode Island, at about the same time. Mr. 
Tanner, I thiidc his name was TlKimas. had three sons, Thomas, Perry 
and Smith. They had 100 aci'os, divided among them. Thomas' i)lace 
was that of the late Wai-i'on P.uck. now \'o()hres, of Newport, on the 
Lawton street road. Smith was on the .lerseyliold road; is now the 
estate of the late Jarius Mather, merchant, of Pairfii'ld; and I'erry's 
place was not on any road, but between all three, viz., Jorseyfiold, 
Lawton street and the State road. It is now owned and occupied by 
Miss P. Norton, d.-inghtei- of the late Norton, who was the son 
of James Norton. The old Norton homestead is on tlio State road 
north, in plain siglit. 

IVrry Tanner was my mother's father. She was born there in ISO;^. 
^he said her father built there before the roads woi-e laid, and thus 


^()t left out; also that wlicii lt\-iirti('l(l \A'as dixidt'd Iroin Norway, in 
17!m;, lie was in FairlicUI. 1 think the town line is tlic iiorlii line oC the 
farm. It is said tiiat tlir .Ici'scn licld I'oad was tiic lirst laid in (lie town 
of Fairlicld. It was t'l'oni sonic Imsli (1 liavi' ror^ollcn tlic nanid i>i-o- 
hably IMicinuMisydci-'s I'.ush. It is nortli of tiio I'ivcr. and a road fi-oin 
it runs into Little i'\ills. UnnniMji' tlioncc nortii past Top Xotcli, tlic 
Dutch settlement, jiasses'tow Ilill. on its c;istein side, crosses the 
road, Fairticld to S;ilislmry, :it the Wliii»ple school house; )he late 
Smith Taunt'r's iil.-icc. the site of the \(H'th F.airlield cheese factory, 
and is crossed by the State road (laid in lS(i;;) at the homestead of the 
late N.-ithaniel S. Henderson, fathi'i- of .lolm 1). Henderson, and con- 
tiuuiny" nortli on a line of lots, now neai'ly .all the w,i\'. reaches .Icrsey- 
tield near Western's mill (which I think is now r.ennetfsi on the I'.l.ack 
("reek. The ("anadi.ans and Indi.ans in the I-'i'ench .and also in 
the Ilevolution.ary wai'. in some of then- r.aids came by \v:iy of the 
I'.l.-ick liiver and .lerseylield, about on this line. Koss .and I'.utlei-, in 
their fam<)us i.aid .and retreat at the time I'.utlcr was killed, were on 
this route. 

My tirst rt'colh>ction o1 my (Jrandfather .lohnson w;is when I was 
seven years old, and his telling me somethin,^ oc( nired wIh'U he 
was seven ye.ars old. He was out in the woods A\here his peojile made, and heard the lii-iiii;- of .L:uns. It in fact, the memorable 
r.)tli of Ajiial. the day of the battle of Lexington and Concord, in ITT-'t. 
lie was a few miles west of ("oncoi-d. in Worcestei' county. His f.ather, 
Asa Johnson (in the tifth n-eneration, in our line, from ('.apt. I''>dward, 
who came to I'.oston, in Winthrop's exjicdition in lil.'ioi. enlisted .and 
served three short terms in the Revolutionary (see Ifcvolutionary 
N. Y. arvhives, se(a-etary's ollice. Com.. .Mass., r.ostoni called enua'.ucncy 
terms. He 14 children. lH of them boin befoi'c the the oldest 
son then only 14 years old. The next recollecticui of m-andf.a11ier was 
in reference to old lirst .at Little r'alls for the river bo.ats. 
lie said: "I strucMc almost the lirst blow stiuck on work." I don't 
think he canu' for that: as he soon settled on a line f.irm Just ovei- 
the hill west of Eatonville, on the to Middleville. as it now is. 
The oldest son of a larye family was born there, in 1T".».'>. the same' 
the canal was tinished. .\lso three moi-e sons and thiee d;iu.i;htcrs were 
born there, my father bciim the youngest son. TIkm-c was another 
notable fi.uure on that canal work. Mr. S.amuel l-'ortune. an Fn.ulish 
luillwri.nht, came from lOnijl.ind to build those locks, which were of 
wood, and had char^^c of the work. More about him latei-. We m.ay 
ol)serve that two years before this work was commenced there 
was only one dwellln.u- house in lattle F.alls. 

In 1795, Joseph Benchley removed fi-<)m Fairlield to Newport. P.e- 
tween this time and 17!»S, Wm. W.akely, .Mr. Iturton. Stei)hen H.awkius, 
brother of Christoi)her. (Jeoriic Cook, .Nahum H.iniels, I'Idward Coflin, 
John Nels(Mi, John C. (Jreen, -lolm ( 'liur<hill. Ccoruc l''enn(a- .and Wm. 
Whipple made permanent locations in the town. These families were 


from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Hhode Island. Mr. Wakely kejit 
the first tavern and George Cook tlie first store. Coffin, Green, Nelson. 
Ch-urchill and others purchased lands on the west side of the creek, in 
Walton's Patent. 

The first town meeting took place in 1S(»7. Doctor Westel Wil- 
loughby, Jr., was the moderator. Christopher Hawkins was chosen 
supervisor and Phineas S.lierman, town clerk. Dr. Westel Wil!ouglil).v, 
Jr., was a prominent personality, in l)otli town and county, for 50 years 
or more. He was getting to be old, when I used to see him, in IS;};! to 
1840. Benjamin Bowen also was prominent and it was said of him 
that he was a business man, but his enterprises in Newport were not 
successful. I can surmise that liis outlay of capital was too lieavy for 
the times. Too many mills on small streams with small cai)ital in com- 

The territory of the town Avas taken partly from Norway and Pair- 
tield. The boundary, as described, places the northeast corner at the 
jiortlieast corner of lot No. 23, in tlie second allotment of the Royal 
Grant, adjoining Norway. It is a little nortli of the State road, near 
the residence of Chas. Hines, running south; tlience crosses the rond 
east of Hines' house, on a line of lots, down tlie White Creek valley, 
crossing and re-crossing tlie road as it tur)is either way, and some of 
the way in tlie I'oad, to the soutlus'ist corner of lot No. 42 in the said 
second allotment. That point is the southwest corner of Norway and 
the nortliwest corner of Fairfield. I'rom thence on a line of lots, 
directly east to Salisi)m-y, is the line between Norway and Fairfield. 
Tlie late Dean Kelly had on White Creek, near liis residence, a cheese 
box shop. On the same site had been previously tlie shop of Joshua' 
Howell, a wooden clock maker. Mr. Howell used water power from 
the creek to run a circular saw, turning latlie and such otlier special 
machinery as was considered needful in tlie manufacture of clocks. 
He made good clocks. I heard of one in that higli case style, standing 
on the floor and reaching to a low ceiling, wliicli was recently running 
right along and keeping good time. His residence was on the east side 
of the road, directly opposite. There was a story current when I was 
a school boy at the stone school house, in ]So(i to 1S42. that Mr. Howell 
could sleep in one town, his wife in another, and both in tlie same bed 
at the same time. ]\Ir. Howell had a son, Julius, and two daughters, 
liaura and Mary, who was my school teacher. 

Josiah Harris, a blacksmith, and one of the best of men, lived near 
the stone school house, on tlie west side of the road, in Newport, and a stone shop down liy tlie creek, with Avater power, for a ti'ip ham- 
mer, grindstone, polishing wheels, turning latlie and a special wheel 
to blow his bellows. Agricultural implement manufacture was in its 
infancy before 1850. Mr. Harris not only shod the farmers' horses, but 
made their implements in iron, steel and some of wood, viz., axes, hoes, 
forks, rakes (some scytlies, not many), spades, crowbars, cliains, etc. 
Also carpenters' tools, cliisels, adz, hatchets, axes and hammers. It 


mifiiit truly be said lie iiindc ull kinds Imt poor ones. I li.-ul a set of his 
carpenter tools. I never knew him to Tnake a jioor one. (lettinu ad- 
vanced in years and his tliree suns, I':d\vin A., \V. Irvin.i; and .lehii net 
wishinj;- to follow in the footsteps of their father, on the death of Linns 
Yale, at Newport, the inventor and founder of the Vale lock, they 
leased the shop, iiatents, tools ;ind tixtui'es and run that, until liinus, 
Jr., had ni.-ide arrauiienients east to have the locks nia(h' on a l;ir.i;<'r 
scah'. Mr. Harris, his Hrst wife heini;' dead, and he had married a 
second, sold out his honiestea<l there, including' shop and tools, and liav- 
in;^- previously purchased the Howell homestead (a small f;irnn I'enioved 
the old Howell house and about 1S(;7 built himself one on the.samo 
site. J\Ir. Harris liad at the above mentioned pl;u-e been a resident of 
Newport for .'55 years or more, perliaps -10. IHs postottice, liis church 
and votiny- place were Newport. He did not now wisli to changt' his 
residence, althou.L;h nearly all the Howell land was in Norway. He 
carefully planned the house, with the bedrocun so located that he could 
sh'ep in Newport and his wife, who had been a Norway woman, on the 
other side of tlie lied in Norway, and thus Mr. Harris could honestly 
retain his residence in Newport. He was a true Christian and I never 
knew a child on White Creek that did not love him. The town's corner 
aforesaid is near tliis spot. I think the Howell lot, that part of it in 
Norway, runs to and is th(> town's corner; continuiny thence soiitli, 
on the same line of lots as heretofore, throu.L;ii the City oti its western 
side to the C;inada Creek at the bridge near the house, heretofoi'e or 
late of Obediah Knittin; thence west to the michlle of the creek, thence 
down the michlle of the creelv, etc. 

That point is opi)osite tlii' homestead of the late Nicholas Smith, 
now of his son, A. G. Smith, one mile from I\Iiddl<>vill(>. My father and 
my wife's father, (4eorge Buell, used to t<>ll me about that brid.t;c and 
how it was carried away by ice in a tlo(»d. Thei-e was none built to 
replace it. as one had been built at Mlddltnille in ISIO, ;ind thus travi-l 
to Utica and in general also, was diverted. i)\vv that bridge and direct- 
ly on and up over the Hassenclever hills as the I'oad now runs into 
Schuyler, and on through Deertield, was the route for many years fi'om 
tliis section to Utica and Whitestown (now Whitesboro) the county seat 
of Herkimer county from its organization in ITMI to the organization 
of Oneida in 17!»S. 

In isoi! the Kev. John Ta.\ lor of Massacliusetts m.-ide a mission.ary 
tour through this section, and ke])t a diary, or joui'nal. In it he wrote, 
July 21)tli: "I this morning left Norway for Utica, .ind .arrived the)-e 
about r» o'clock, liaving traveled '2:i nul(>s. I i)assed through a cornel' 
of Schuyler into Deertield, u])on the Mohawk." H(> ])i'obably canu' 
down through the City and crossed this bridge. 1 h.ive no idea there 
was .any othei" way h(> could go. It was the hrst and only bridge over 
the creek for some years. .\ notable person.ality, on this Crant in 
ISO], was the Kev. Caleb Alexander. He Avas a native of Northlield, 
Mass., graduated at Yule college, and having been admitted to the miu- 


istry, settled as pastor of the church at Mendon. Mass. lientoii says: 
"He came into \\'estern New York, as a luissionary, in 1801, and I am 
enabled, tln'ouyh tlu^ kindness of one of his descendants, to consult his 
journal, from ^Yhich I have made sonu' extracts. He visited various 
localities on the North River and many places on the Avay to Onondaiia 
j'.nd Ontario counties, and finally reacluMl Norway in this county, 
Novemljer lOtli." 

The first entry copied is August 10th. ISOl : "Having received my 
commission fi'om the Rev. Nathaniel Kmnions, D. D., president of the 
Massacliusetts Missionary Society, having- obtained consent of my 
church and congregation, and committed myself and family to the direc- 
tion and disposal of God, I ))egan my missionary teur to th^ people in 
the western part of the State of New Yorlv." 

He remained in tliis vicinity until tlie 23d of November, thirteen days, 
visiting and preaching at Norway, Fairfield and Salisbury, and kept 
a daily journal. I infer from his journal that he was a Congregation- 
alist. There were church organizations but no church buildings. Re- 
ligious meetings were held in school houses .and private houses. Preach- 
iiig mainly by Baptist and Methodist. On the 18th, at Fairfield, he 
wrote: "In Fairfield is a Congregatlonalist church of 21 members: 
some attention to religion. This town contains 2,005 souls; no min- 
ister. Some r.aptist. and some never attaclied tliemselves to any de- 
nomination. Salisbury, Fairfield and Norway contain 3.(;0(i souls, and 
no ministei'. The county of llerkinu'i' contains ll.fiO.'!, and no minister, 
excepting illiterate P>aptist preachers." 

During the thirteen days he liad been in this vicinity, he had bt'cn in 
Fairfield five different days and had made arrangenuMits to have a 
budding erected during the winter, for tlie purpose of opening a scliool 
in tlie Spring. A frame building was erected and in May, lS(rJ. he 
returned Avith his family from Massachusetts and commenci'd in good 
earnest to lay tlie foundation of an institution which gave birth to 
I'airtield Academy. iMn-iiig the wliole period of his engagement at the 
head of the Academy, ten years, he preached alternately at Fairheld, 
Norway, Salisbury and other places in the northern part of the county. 
He left Fairfield in iS12. 

Mr. Alexander in his missionary tour in ISOl closed the work at Fair- 
field, and on Monday, November 2;!d. he Avrote: "Set out from Fairfield 
on my journey honu'ward; cold weather; rode seven miles to the Little 
Falls with a view of taking a boat, to fall down the river to Schenec- 
tady. Found the Mohawk River covered with ice. Tlien rode up the 
river seven miles to German Flats, to take the stage. Finding that the 
stage is not to run until to-morrow, I crossed the Mohawk to Herkimer 
Court House, two miles. 

"Ai'ound the Little Falls the country is hilly and very rocky near the 
river. On the northern bank is a canal with seven (five) locks for the 
conveyance of boats. Here is a village of forty houses, several mer- 
cliant stores, mechanic shops and a new meeting bouse of octagonal 


coiisf ruction. Tlic [tcoiilc ni-c iiriiiciiially Eii.i;lisli, mid tl:cy seldom have 
proacliiiiu. TIh' jdact" abounds in vice, especially iirolanily. Since my 
aiTi\al on the ri\er 1 liaNC iieard mori' cui'sin.u and swearin.L:. lionjd 
oatlis and imprecations, flian in ten yeai's past. 'I'liey tell cinetly trom 
the lips of boatmen. In some tavei-ns wtnv Enjilish and l>ntch fai-mers 
drinkini;- and swearin.L;', and the Enjilish appeared to Ik' llie most ahan- 
doned. They regard not the i)rt'sencc of a ('ler.iiyman, for the Dominie 
drinks and sweats as much as the conunon ix'ople. At (!erm:in l<"'lats 
I observed an old iMifcli stone chapel. There is a iHitcli cieriiyman 
\\lio jireaches to (lie people e\cry second Salibath." 

'I'his was undoubtedly the Kev. John Spinner, tlie fatlier and founder 
of tlie Spinner fiimily in Ilei'kimer — li\ K. Spinner ;ind others. Mr. 
Spinner from <JiM'many had Jandi-d in Xcw York on tlie \'2t\i of May. 
ISOl. Soon after he was called to the spiritual charge of the (Jeiinan 
(■oii.yreiiations at IIi>rkiniei' and (ieiaiian Flats, and commenced his pas- 
toral functions in September and his coiniection with thest' churches 
continued forty yeai's. 

("ontiuuiui;', Mi'. Alexander said: "On the Hats in the town of Herkimer 
is a liandsome tlourishinu' villa.u'e. Nino years since,viz.. M'.)'2. there wei'e 
only two Dutch buildini;s in the place. There is now a handsome 
street, a meetin.u' house, a court house, a jail, ;i printing;- ollice, merchant 
stores, about thirty ele.^'.'int d\\'elliii.t;s and se\'eral mecli;inic slio]>s. No 
minister. Keliuion appears to li.iN'e no footini;' here. In the whole 
county of II( I'kimei' lliere is neitliei' a I'resbytei'iiiu or a Con.^re.ii'ation- 
alist minister. The iieo])le in ucneral seem to be urowini;' up in ignor- 
ance and wickedness. 

"Tuesday. 24th. Took the sta.ue at Herkimer and it.-issed throuuh 
the German Flats and Minden, to ( 'auajohai-ie, (wenty-si.x miles." 
Observe that .'it this time the st;i.u'es from here to Schenectady r.'in on 
the south side of the river, jiassint;' Little Falls over l"\'ill hill. The 
IJev. John Taylor, mission.-ii'y in 1S(rj. before menlioncd, I think ;ilso 
w;is ;i ( V)niire,u'ati()nalis1. When in Nor\v;!y he wi'ote in his jouriuil: 
"A young gent by the name of .lohnson l;;is pre.'iched in (his (own sev- Sabbaths, and the people liave hired him for three or four (o come; 
but it is in tliis town, as in all these ports, there is a mixture of I'.aje 
tists. ;\retliodists, I'niversalists and Diests. In the varimis i»ai'ts of 
the town there is ]>reacliing by sectarians of ;ilinost ;ill kinds, every 
Sabbath. Thei'e is one Methodist church, prosju'rous: (wo r.-ajitist, and 
(lart of :i third. No meeting houses. 'J'lie jieople .-ilmosl universally 
Inclined to hear pre;iching of their v.'ii'i(ais sects." Thus we ha\e a pict- 
ure of what Herkimei" and Little l<''alls were !)S ye.ars ago, and ;ilso ](>T 
years ago, when there were (wo Dutch buildings in Hei'kimei' and one 
dwelling in Little Falls. 

About 37110 t(» 1S(l(l. ro.'ids centered at the ("ity from .all ])oints and 
Itnsiness booming. The Heikimei' county clerk's oltice was luu'iied 
in the S]»ring of isot. Thus th(> oldest deed I found recorded on pro])- 
erty at the City was IT'.i'.). i'eleg Card was the lirst grantor of mill 


piopt'i-ty, whicli I lound ivcord of. Win. Card wms an early purchaser 
of land. Jonathan Card, bi'fore mentioned, bought the mill property 
on the south side in 1S()2. lie AA'as the father of Mrs. Graves, wife of 
the late Judge Ezra (Jraves of Herkimer. She was l)oni in 1S(».3. i)i-ol)a- 
bly on that property. When I lived there she told me of her girlhood 
days, playing around on those grounds. She has been known to visit 
the spot as a loved one. -There was a disposition at one time to call it 
Card City. I think that, besides the tannery and potashery, he had a 
store of general merchandise. Elijah Holmes, the grandfather of Mrs. 
A. L. Howell, of Mohawk, was one of the early grantees in 18(X). Caleb 
Sheldon another. Mr. Holmes had mill propcM-ty and land. Thus things 
went on until 1800, when Mr. Samuel Fortune, that English millwright 
who had done those wooden locks at Little Falls, was purchaser of tlie 
mill property and established himself here for 25 years or more, raising 
up a large family. Rowland Phillips, before mentioned, came this year; 
also Sheffield Kenyon, whom I knew as late as 1851, and w^ho was the 
father of the late Varnum S. Kenyon, mei'chant and manufacturer, of 
Michlleville, came this year. ISOO, and obtained title to land for Middle- 
ville, and that same year a tavern was built on that corner and kept by 
Mr. McMitcliell, where J. Cory kept so long. It is now kept by Spell- 
man. In 1807 Samuel Stevens built a tavern a little farther west and 
nearby was the mechanic shop of Eber Stevens. I first knew the spot 
as the home of Shibney Nichols, and later, of Wm. Criswold, who had 
retired here from Fairfield village. He had (piite a family, four sons 
and three daughters: Samuel, a merchant at Aliddleville; (leorge, Wal- 
ter and William, three farms on the west side, above Middleville; 
Ttebecca, the wife of V. S. Kenyon: Almy. the wife of E. T. Tefft, a 
New York merchant; P^liza, the wife of Rev. David Chassell. D. D., 
principal of Fairfield Academy over twenty years: retired to the Oxbow 
farm, toward Newport, after 1840. 

Middleville got its name in 18(t8. Streetei' had a blacksmith shop; 
first bridge and saw mill, 1810; school house. 1813; John Wood, tan- 
nery, 1815. John Wood was the grandfath<M- of Geo. H. Thomas: post- 
office and "weekly mail," 181(i; Iinion church, 1828. 

■ Feltruary 29th, 1808. my Grandfather Johnson was still on the farm 
he took up in the south i)art of Fairfield, .about fifteen years ago, but 
this day conveyed it (1(»S acres) to Stephen I'.i-ayton. The niwt day, 
March 1st, grandfather obtained titli- from Joseph Waldo to 107 acres, 
which he held about thirty years, about one and one-half miles westerly 
of Middleville, and about half a mile southerly from the City. My 
fatlKM- was then three years old. This corner has been occupied by 
II. W. Dexter the last 50 years. 

Stephen Brayton and three of his sons removed into Newport, west 
of the village, and became large land owners, viz.. Smith. Stephen and 
Renssalaer. Daniel remained on the Johnson farm his lifetime, or 
until about or aft(>r 18(;0. His daugliter, Maria, now Mrs. jNI. C. Crist, 
of Middleville, still holds it, or her husl)and does. 


As Nt'wport ;i(lv;uic('d in ixiimliitidii aiul wciltli .m better ro-id, troiii 
tilt' east was needed tlian L liaxc desnilied. Slartini; trnin urand- 
father's corner above named, as now Hexter's. the new road rrossid 
Mill Creek, near its mouth (when I lii'st Icnew it in IN.'iJi on a line stone 
aiclied brid.i.':e of two arehes on bed rock. (During tlie i^reat Uoo(i 
ol' August, 1S;>S those were rut out chjin.i Continuinu on it crossed 
tlie W'lute Creek iieai" its moutli. and caiue to tiie ci;iy slip liank, b.\' 
tlie side of West (".an.ada Creek. A I'oad 'aiis cut alonu it a few t( ct 
atio\e the w;iter line, and coidinued on thence to Xewjioit. 'I'hat 
clay slii) baid< ju'oNcd very troublesonu'. After he;i\y rains, or in siirin.:; 
wlien the frost came out it would slich- and till the roadway or caii'y 
all into the creek. For a time it was abandoned, and a road m.-id,' 
o\-er the hill farther east, in ;i little cut or p.-iss and ;ilon,u ilown the 
side hill west, into tin' ]'oad lielore menrioned, near the cret>k. lint 
this road was also troublesome on the side hill west of the pass, Ikmu.i; 
clay also, like the other, it would slide and si>oil the road, and thus 
thinus weld on until 1X2"). That hill beiny so hard to climb and 
troul)lesonie about sliding, the people of Newport, in \X'2Tt. set to work 
in uood earnest to ()i)en the dug way road ag.ain, which they did i)ei-- 
manently, although the cl.-iy bank was troublesome many ye.irs. About 
ISIO, or a little after a retaining wall was built, next the water and as 
the bank had slid down so nnich ;is to make the grade bettc!', not so 
much difficulty is experienct-d now. 'I'hus a pretty good highway 
was ojK-n to liittle Falls. A bi'idge being built at Aliddleville, in ISld, 
thus a road was open down through the I^'anner Settlement (now 
Hildreth's) and over Osborn hill, to Herkimer. Later a road was 
worked along those two slii' banks (dug ways) where the railroad 
now runs. 

In 1(S4.S and ls4!t a great improvement was made in the road from 
Newport to Herkimer by tilling hollows, grading down hills and mak- 
ing cross cuts, to avoid hills and l)ad places, also to sliorten the dis- 
tance, tlius cross cuts were made preparatory to tlie' laying of plank. The 
lirst change of route from Newport was commenced just west of Mill 
Creek, by grading down, vei'y near its mouth and below the old stone 
arches, and ci-ossing on a low bridge to the flat, and thence continu- 
in.n along side the West Canada to the old road again, ;it the old bi'idge 
place, opposite Nicholas Suntirs. Next cutting down from where the 
Countryman cheese factory was built later, across the flat by the side of 
the West Canada to the dug way. Couidryman built his white house 
on the plank road in IS.'rJ. Next below, at the uiK>er end of the lower 
dug way. a l)ridge was built, and the m;ide across tlie to the 
east end of tli(> Kast bridge, and l:isf just beyond the present cheese 
facfoi'y a cut .across the ll;it to near l<'olt's by the bri<-k school house. 
The whole completed, and i)l,ink l.iid and in use in isr.o. Then the 
mail route w^as changed. \\'arren (i.alusha was the lirst to carry the 
mail on the new plank road route with two horses. Later (icorge W. 
I'ayne put on a tallyho, and sometimes four horses if nu)re than two 


wore nt'eded; Koini; down in the nioruiiiK and back in the afternoon, 
I)rin,nin.y the daily mail exeept Sunday. The mail route had been Little 
]<'a.lls to Trenton, tri-weeivly, going- up one day and down the next, 
except Sunday. The routi' and stations tlius: Ijittle Falls to Eatonville, 
i^'airtield, IMiddleville, Newi^ort, Poland, Cold Brook, Russia, Gravesville, 
Tr(>nton Falls ;ind Trenton, c-onnecting tlierewitli tlie Blaclv Kiver route, 
Utica to Boonville and Watertown, run by John Butterfield; talllyho, 
coaches and four. When the planli road was new, Newport to Herki- 
mer, they used to run it, going down from Middleville, eiglit miles 
in ;")() minutes. Thus we of the Knrayahoora valley were doing a little 
sometliing to ki-ep up with the improvements of the age. In Febru- 
ary, ISC)!, there was a good wooden liridge with sliingle roof, over the 
crtvk at Middleville. I have before noted that the first bridj^c was 
built there in ISIU. This may have been the same. If so it had only 
been there 40 or 41 years. It was same style as tlie one below 
Dempsters, I)Uilt in 1S4S, for the plank road, which lias been tliere 
50 or 51 years and appears good for 50 more years. Tlie winter liad 
lieeii cold and the ice on the creek thick and strong and tlie snow 
deep. A protracted tliaw liad caused a liigh water and broken up tlie 
ice in the creek above Newport, except in the pond above the dam, 
wliicli broken ice liad come down to the upper end of the pond and 
lodged there. Also below the dam the ice liad gone down- to the pond, 
above Middleville, and lodged there. Friday it was stil) raining. Sat- 
urday night it turned cold. Sunday morning was cold, with a nortli- 
v/ester. At Newport, below the dam, on the east side, next the village, 
and aVtove the bridge, of the same style as the one just mentioned, on 
a point there, stood the little stone blacksmith shop of Ezekit'l Angell. 
lie had a trip hammer and grind stone, etc., run by water power. Uii 
Sunday afternoon following the Friday mentioned, the dam near 
Angell's shop, gave way, ;iiid then the terrible break up occurred. 
Soon the whole body of ice was moving and down the stream it went 
as fast as a horse could run, with a swell of water in front of ir tw^o or 
tliree feet high, noted by those who saw it. The ice at Middleville 
could not stop this ami thus that was lifu'd ;ind loosened anil started 
on down stream at a furious rate. For a litth' while it Aveiit mider the 
bridge, but soon the str<'am was so full of ice, piling higher and higher, 
it lifted the from its foundation and carried it away Itodily on 
the ice. Many bystanders saw it go, and some that night following 
walked eight or ten miles to get home. Angell's shop was di'molished, 
completely ruined, and never rebuilt. 

In the great flood of August, 189S, the White Creek caused trouble 
on the old plank road route, near its month :ind east of the dugway. 
The iron bridge over it was undermined and carried down stream, 
warped and twisted as if it had been tin or lead. Also the cicek cut 
across the road, some rods west, toward the dugway, an I'litire new 
channel, where the creek now runs, emptying into the West Canada 
some distance nearer the dugway, making it necessary for the town to 


Imild two Idiii;. heavy and cdstly inm Iiriducs. 'I'lic sluiic aiclicd hrid.m- 
at Newport was built about lsri4-C.. It was after .March. IS.";;, and was 
two or more years in buihliiiL;. 

iSaiiuu'l Fortiuie. befoi'e iiientioned as established in the mills at the 
City in ISUC. liad I'oui- sons and three or more daughters, as 1 knew 
tiiem — John. Eli. Leonard and lOdward. 'I'he (Lanulders were the .Mrs. 
I'.ates. ("olliiis and I'ennei-. The sons had assisted their tatluM- in th" 
business. John, the oldest, had married my l'atliei-"s sister, I>uf'y, aed s t- 
tied on a hue farm about two unles uorthwestei'ly ot .Newport, on the 
old idad to I'olaiul. lOli icmained for a lime with his father at the mills. 
Ituildin.t;' himself a home on the south side (on (he premises foinierly 
occupied by Jonathan Card), the while house which I oecuiiied ten 
years. IS.IS to lSi;s, and which was burned three or four yeirs a,L;ii. 
(tecasioually he and his IV.ther wituld uo out and do some Job of mill- 
wii.^ht work. Later he removed to a small suburban farm at Newixti't. 
(-n the west si(h'. Lconai'd ran the saw mill some of the time and I 
su-p|iose assisted iu a .^euei-al way in all of the mills; 1 think he was 
competent to run any or all of them, lie lived in the old house on the 
i<oi-th side of the creek, below tiie I'oad ((U the west side; his slioit on 
the liank of the creek. Later he l)e<-ame a .gunsmith and carried on the 
I'usiiiess of making-'p-sliootin.:,;- s[)ortin.u- rilles, .i;<'(liu,u' his barrels 
of old Mr. K. Itemin.uton. at the ••[•'oi'.ue,'" as lie used to say when .^oin.u 
for barrels. (I>ayton l^oss. father of the late lion. A. M. Uoss, m.ide 
the stocks). Iliou was not named then and not until aftei- he (|uit busi- 
ness there, about ISA'.',, lie rilled and tinished the barrels by h;ind. He 
was an athlete and expert in anytliin.i; he attempte<l. I have been ti)ld old Mi-. E. Kendnutou. the founder of the uun works at Iliou, had 
watched tliei'e at Fortune's sIki]) for hours to obt;iin some of his i»ro>-ess, 
which m.ay be in use to-day in the Ueminuton works in reference to 
drilling and strai.ghtening b.arrels. At a nnlit.ary parade in .Xorw.iy, 
In 1825, when there was a light yoing on. his rille barrel burst, 
destroyin.g his left hand. JNly father with him :ind went for the 
d(K-tor, wlio performed the amputation Just above the wrist Joint. Th.-it 
did not sto]) him from work. He made an .appliance to stra]i on the 
stub of his forearm with an iron socket, with ;i set screw iu the side, 
in which he would put his fork to be held while eating, and .also he 
used it in the shop, holding m.-iny tools, (>tc. Il<" a violiidst. or as 
people used to s.ay. a ■■Jiddlei-." After losing his h.and he i-e(|uircd 
some one to hold the insti-ument ami linger the strings while b.e drew 
the bow. Nath.aniel Post, a son of Dan I'ost. Escj.. a near neighbor, .also 
•A hddler, woidd perform that duty for him. Also he a son. Henry, 
(.about my .age), grow up. and becoming a violinist. I h.ave si en him 
perform service for his father. At the raising of frames U-r build 
ings, like a S(piirrel. with his one hand h" was .alw.ays on top. Xo man 
could do more, if .as much. .Vt pl.aying bi.ll aftei the r.-iising. he was 
a match for the smai-tcst; and .also in jumping h(> took the lead, lie 
invented and built a machim- for turning axe helves. Sold out .at the 


City and about 1S42 or '4;:! ivmoved to St. Lawrence county. Time and 
si)ace will not allow me to say more of liim. 

Edward was also something- of an expert when a lad and companion 
of my veneraltle cousin. Alexis L. Johnson, of East Schuyler, who was 
then, in ISl'.j, fourteen years of age, living at my grandfather's, on the 
corner. Edward would malce a cross-gun and with it kill a scpiirrel or 
a pigeon. Tliey wert" very mncli more plentiful and not as wild as now. 
I have seen pigeons in hocks of thousands, and at nesting time in 
spring, when tliey came out of the woods to tind food, walking over a 
meadow of spring grain they would cover acres thickly. For the ben- 
efit of the young people I will try to briefly describe the cross-gun. The 
bow and string, much like that used by the Aboriginal Indians. The 
stock shaped somewhat like any gun, with a groove in the upper side, 
capped over, to help guide the arrow and prevent it flying out. The 
bow framed into the stock, crosswise near the muzzle end. The string 
under the cap drawn to a notch in the place for a lock, strained the 
bow. The arrow slid down the groove under tlie cap and resting 
against the string, and all was ready. A trigger released the string 
from the notcli and drove the arrow flying. Edward settled in Lapier 
county, Mich.,- and was there about 1800. When I first knew old Mr. 
Samuel Fortune he had retired some little time l)efore, 1834, to a com- 
fortable home very near to his son, John; was only a few rods away. 
He was able to work some in the garden and there with his good wife 
the venerable pair lived in quiet peace, enjoying the fruit of labor. 

Referring to Jonathan Kuell and his family, before mentioned, on 
the platform just above the present Middleville. He had four sons and 
four daughters, George, Luther, Jonathan S. and Charles, Mrs. Cook, 
Wright, Safford and Paddock. After paying for land they had bought 
for a home, they learned that the title was worthless. They then bought 
over again of the real owner, causing a hard struggle. George became 
an expert carpenter and builder; Luther worked with him awhile after 
1S()8. There were no machine made nails at the time. The nails they 
did have were all forged by a blacksmith on the anvil under his ham- 
mer and cut off without heads, and could be bought in that form by the 
one hundred pounds, the heading being an after consideration. They 
then could be headed and straightened and the points fixed up a little 
if necessary. They bought their nails in this way, without heads, and 
did their own heading in Winter time or any other odd spells. I have 
been enabled to see the old account book they were using in 1817. They 
had an assortment of sizes, as now. No. 3s, (Is, 8s, 10s, etc., the price 
according to size. Small sizes the highest priced, as now. thus. No. (is, 
or () penny, 17 cents per pound; 10s, l."> c»>nts, etc. I Ijought 3 penny 
iron nails in 1898, for $2.45 per 100 pounds at retail; that is, single hun- 
dred weight, and not by the ton. same size in 1817 would have 
cost about $20 per hundred weight. 

One of their ventures was to purchase some stock in a manufacturing 
enterprise, to be at Newport. I think it was to be a cotton mill, proba- 


l)Iy In Bowi'ii's tiuic. 1 liiivc licard my wifVs father, (Jcor^c Itudl. tril, 
but do not ri'nionihcr partirulars. l'>ut I do i('U)(.'nd)('i- that (lu-y lost 
what they put in. Sonic of those old woiih! ss certihcates can be seen 
n<.w. After a while I-uIIk r reiiiovid to tlie \icinily of the rest of the 
fanuly, in Onondaua counly. Jnst west of ("a/.enovia, where his fallier 
ami a portion of the family had [ni'\ lonsly uone. Some years auo I 
read in the Xoi-ilieiii ('hrislian .Vdsocate a skebli ol' earl.\ hisbiry. 
of thi' or.uanizati(in and fonndiny (d' ('a'/eno\ia Seminary. IjUlher 
I'.neirs n.ame was i;i\('n as one of the first ju-omobMs. lie li\<'d nearliy 
(hei'e, ill t'omjiey. (>iioiidai;a county, and his name was prominently 
uientloiu'd. lie liad (|Uib' a business tiu-n and later est.ablished himself 
in uiaiiufactnriim in woolen and mercaidile enteriniscs at or near 
Manlins, ()nonda.i;a county. Ilattie K. Ibnll. the wife of his son, Wij- 
Jard, licsides other iioems, wrote the poeni entitled, "The Child of a 
KiuK." the music to wliicli was wi-itten by Uev. .1. 1'.. Sumner, of tlie 
Wyondng conference, liy wliom 1 have lieen entertained, with my son, 
1{('V. 11. B Jolmson. (ieoriic ;ilone retained the homestead farm and 
besides nianaiiinu- it, continues the liuildinu Imsim'ss <|uite exti'usix dy. 
bcconiiu.ii' a noted church liuihh-r. He built a r..i](tist chui-ch at Nor- 
wa.v, a Union cliurcji at liussia, a Union churcli :it Middleville, .aiid ;i 
Methodist Episcopal chui-ch :it Uairlield. Mr. lUiel, after forty or fifty 
years of active life in <arpentry and faiaulng, bought an addition to 
his farm on its westeiai side, l^nown as the sou El)er Stevens place. 
To that he retired, leaving his second sou, Georye S., to manaj^e the 
fai-m awiiile, ;ind later, '[' I'., took his place. Althonuh (piite 
active and in he.-ilth foi' one of his ;i,i;e. Mr. Ituell h:ul become vei-y 
nearly ))liiKl, al)out IS.'iS, and sold liis farm and retired to a home in 
Middleville, not far from the cinuch, to which he could .^o witli others. 
a he enjoyed many years, a uiu<-h esteemed and resjtected 
citizen to 1S71, and at !)(i years of auc lie passed ovi'r on (he other side. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, September 9, 


Abraham Lincoln was one of the world's greatest characters. He 
was so unlike other great men commemorated in history that it is dif- 
ficult to make a comparison between liim and tliein. We cannot well 
measure him by the same standards which we use in estimating the 
cliaracters of Julius Ceaser, Napolean Boneparte, the great Prince of 
Orange, Oliver Cromwell, or even of George Washington. He was 
unique in his endowments, and stands alone in his glory. He was self- 
cultui'ed, self-reliant, and wise beyond the wisdom of most of the 
contemporai'y statesmen. 

His real career commenced with the culmination of the anti-slavery 
agitation in this country, and his permanent fame depends largely, if 
not exclusively, upon his attitude towards slavery prior to and during 
the Civil War. He was not a great general, and his knowledge of and 
insight into military affairs were not greater than those of many other 
civilians then in public and private life. His interference with the 
Union army in the field was often unwise; and it was not until he 
left the Union generals untrammeled in the management of the armies 
that the telling blows were dealt which finally crushed the rebellion. 

The story of his relation to slavery will always be an interesting one, 
and I will here undertake to give its brief outline. 

He was by nature a humane man, opposed to wrong and cruelty 
in all their forms; and a fair and just man, and any unfairness and 
injury were quite sure to arouse his indignation and call out his active 
interference in favor of the weak and oppressed. Hence we find him 
at the age of fifteen reading a composition on "Cruelty to Animals," 
in which he maintained that to give pain to dumb animals was con- 
temptible, cruel and wicked. In early life, he saw in Kentucky some- 
thing of slavery in its mildest form; and it did not take him long to 


I'cacli tlic (•(tiu-lusioii that n lu'.uro was a fellow man, and that it was 
wrony to eiislavt' him. In is;;{», when he was uiidci- 21 years old, he 
went down the Mississipiji River in a Hal boat, and at New Orleans 
he witnessed the sale of slaves in ail its levoltinti' details; and it so 
aroused his indi.ynaticai and offended Ids sense of ri.L;lit and Justice 
that he said to a eom|)anion with Kreat emotion: "John, if ever I get 
a elianee to hit that institution, I'll hit it hard"; and so he did many 

About l.S.jCi, the anti-slavery men of the north began to raise a loud 
clamor against slaver.\. clainung that tlie genei'al government slunild 
cease to be responsible for it in the District of Cohunbia, and in all 
i!llier places under its cmitro!. Newspapers v'ere established, societies 
organized. jnUilic addresses made, and petitions sent to Congress to 
further the aims of the agitators. This agitation aroused great indig- 
nation at the south, and excited great animosity even in the north. 
An abolitionist was almost as unpopular throughout the north — in 
l!oston, Illinois, and llei'kinu-r county — as in tlie south. At this time 
Ijincoln was a member of the Illinois Legislature, and there a member 
introduced a series of resolutions, similar to tliose about that tinu' in- 
troduci'd into ("ongress .and the legislatures of nearly all the northern 
States, deprecating any discussion of slavery l)y the people, and de- 
nouncing the Abolitionists. lancoln did not like the si)irit of the reso- 
lutions, belie\ing that the people had the right to freely discuss any 
tiuestiou; and In- toolc ttu' ground then, which he maintained to the 
end of. his life, that the institution of slavery was founded on both 
Injustice and l)ad policy; that Congress had the riglit to abolish it in 
the District of Cohunbia. but that it ought not to exercise the right 
except with tlu- consent of the people of the District; and standing 
almost alone — but one other nuMnber joining liim — lie \\rote .a protest 
against the resolutions which was his first public expression in re»;'ard 
to slavery. 

At tills time no one could speak against slavery in the South with 
im])unity; and it was .almost ('( dangerous to do so in the North. 
A clei-gynian in \ew Hampshire was offering pray(>r at an anti-slavery 
meeting when the sheriff entei-ed tlie pulpit and dragged him down 
the steps and out of doors. In lioston, October 21st, IS.'!."), a mob seized Lloyd (J.irrison at nn abolition meeting, and (h'agged him from 
the building in which the meeting was held into the street with a rope 
.aromid his neck. On the s.ime day, an .abolition nu-eting in Utica was 
broken U]) by .i nuib of men some of wliom were from this village. 
Dining this tinH>, Mr. Lincoln, at the risk of his personal popularity, 
stood t"or fair jilay and free speech. A negi'o was lynched in St. Louis; 
.and Rev. lOlij.ih !'. Lovejoy, }iublishing .a paper there, denounced the 
lynching, and ;i mob destroyed his i>rinting iuh-ss, and he was obliged 
to tlee fioni the city, lie went to Alton, in Illinois, not far from the 
home of Mr. Lincoln, with the intention of publishing his paper there; 
and there, again, November 7, LS.'JT, a mob destroyed his press and also 


took his life. Tliese acts of violence greatly aroused the iudignation 
of Mr. Lincoln, and he fearlessly denounced them. 

He always took the side of freedom against slavery. The census of 
1840 showed that there were some slaves in Illinois, although it Avas a 
free State. In 1841 a slave was sold there, and a note taken for the 
luirchase price; and the note not being paid, it was sued and a recovery 
had upon it at a Circuit Court. An appeal was taken to the Supreme 
Court, and there Mr. Lincoln was brought into the case for the defense. 
He took the ground that the ordinance of 1787 prohibiting slavery in 
the Northwest territory, and the prohibition of slavery in the State 
Constitution, made the note illegal and void; and he procured a reversal 
of the judgment. In the same year, or al)out the- same time, a free 
negro boy went from Illinois to New Orleans as a cabin boy on a 
steamboat. There he went on shore without a pass, and he was arrest- 
ed and put in i>rison, and would soon have been sold into slavery. Mr. 
Lincoln interested himself in the case, and. finding no other remedy, 
raised two hundred dollars and procured his release. 

He was elected to Congress in 1S4(;, and he there supported the 
Wilmot Proviso, prohibiting slavery in all the territoi'y to be acquired 
from INIexico in the Avar then pending. While in Washington he saw 
slaA-es in chains marched aAA-ay to be sold in the southern States; and 
he looked upon this as a national disgrace. lie favored a Congressional 
act not only prohibiting the slave trade in the District of Columbia, 
but also making free all slave children liorn after July 1, 1850, pro- 
A'Jding for the purchase by the ({overnmc^nt of all slaves Avhich their 
owners AA'ere Avilling to sell, and that the act should be submitted to the 
popular A'ote in the District before it could become operative. But 
he failed to get much effective support for his vieAvs. 

During all this time, the anti-slavery sentiment in the North was 
spreading, and the time had come before 1848 Avlien people opposed to 
slavery could get a hearing in any part of the North. The Free Soil 
party had been formed; and in 1848 it placed Ix-fore the i)eople a pres- 
idential ticket upon a platform of opposition to the extension of slaiv- 
ery Into any of the territories of the United States, and the abolition 
of slavery in the District of Columbia. The public conscience at the 
north had become aAA'akened concerning slavery; and the agitation 
North and South was so fierce that many citizens began to iear that 
it might result in the dismiHion of the I'nion. To .avoid such a direful 
catastrophe, and to givi' peace to our disti'.-ictcd country. Clay, Web- 
ster, Cass, Crittinden. Douglass, and other leading statesmen. North 
and South, evolved the compromise measures of 1850, Avliich it Avas 
hoped would put at rest the troublesome (;uestion of slavery for a long 
time at least. Rut they failed to accomplish their i)urpose. In the 
minds of a constaiitly increasing numlier of people at the North slavery 
AA-as Avrong, and they Avould tolerate no compromise with it; and the 
slave holders Avere constantly on the alert to i)rotect ;ind intrench the 
institution of slavery, and to extend its domiiuon. And llnally, to lay 


tin' .yiiost of the sinvci-y (|iicsti<m auaiii. a new si'liciuc was hi'dunht 
forward in the Kaiisas-.Xfbi-aska I'.ill of lsr>l. That r.ill repealed the 
Missouri ('oiniiroiiiis<' of ISilo. an<l jn'ovided terrilorial uoveniiiieids for 
Kansas and \el)rasl<a, declai'in.ii' for n(»n-intervention li.v Congress with 
siavei'y in tlie Stales and 'territories, and asserting tliat it was tiie true 
intent and nu'aniui;- of the aet "not to legislate sla\-ei-y into any terri- 
tory or State, nor to exclude it tlierefroui. Imt to leave tiie people 
thereof perfectly free to form and re.nulate their domestic institutions 
in their own way, subject only to tlu' Constitution." T.y the i-eiieal of 
the Missouri ("ompromise, llierc was opened to sl.iveiy territory larger 
in extent than the original thirteen States. The act was carried 
through Congress largely by the efforts of St<'phen A. I>onglass. then 
Senator from Illinois; and it embodied c.ime to be known a» 
the doctrine of "Popular Sovereignty," sometimes called "Scjuatter 
Sovereignty." It was the last effort before the Civil War to compro- 
mise with slavery. It was the cuhnination of the anti-sla vi'ry agitation 
and marks a great era in the history of American jiolitii-s.. It was 
followed liy the complete destiuction of the Whig paiiy, and the for- 
mation of the lJei)ublican ]>arty, which soon became dominant in nearly 
all the noi'thern stales. A majority of the northern ]te<iple s;i\v in ft a 
fresh evidence of the determin.ition of the sla\(' holders to strengthen 
their power by the extension of sl.ivei'y into the tertitories. I>ouglass. 
more than anyone I'lse the author of the bill, lost some of his ])oi)nl;irity 
in his own State; and upon his return home at the close of the Con- 
gressional session of lsr)4, he deemed it important to ;ittemi)t to stem 
the rising tide of indignation against him. He, therefore, made 
speeches at Chicago and at SiM'ingti<'ld, detiuing his jjosilion a.s to slav- 
ery and defending his course in Congress. He was one of the greatest 
debaters, and one of the .ablest popular (»r;itors in this country. Mr. 
Lincoln, who ha<l never measuicd swords with him in debate, w;is a 
listener to his Springtield address aiul ainiounced he woidd speak 
in reply the next evening. On that i-vening, a lai-ge .audience gathered 
to hear liim. He s])oke foi' four houi's with only a scraii of juiper 
before him, and is said to lia\c made a m.asterly reply lo .Mr. I )ougl;iss, 
and to liiive stirred his he.arers to ;i high state of enl Imsi.asm. Mr. 
Douglass replied in a speech of two hours; and he afterw.ard spoke 
at I*eori;i, .md was followed lliere by Mr. Lincoln, .-md the debate then 
ended. In those deb;it( s, the whole merits of the K.ansas-Nebi'.aska Bill 
were thoroughly discussed, .ind .Mr. Licoln's .attitude towards slavery 
fully defined. 

By the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, the General Covernment was pledged 
to absolute indilference to the (luestion of sl.ivi'ry in tlie territories; 
and that question was releg.-ited absolutely to the jyeople of the terri- 
toiies for tlieii- determimit ion. Slaxcry bad lieen ke])t out of K; 
by the Missoni'i Comitromise of IS'JO; and Compromise iM'ing now 
repealed, the sl.ave holdei's of the South .it once inaugurated strenuous 
eftorts to introduce it there. Societies \\ cic formed in the Xorth to 


counteract these efforts, and Mr. Lincoln was a member of the exec- 
utive committee of one of the societies. Tlie result of these efforts 
was civil war in Kansas, and great excitement throughout the country. 
Emigrants were hurried into the territory from tlie North and tlie 
South ai'nied and sometimes marcliiug in military array. Those from 
the North, as they marclied into the territory, were sometimes heard 
to sing a song composed hy Whittier: 

"We cross the prairies, as of old 
The pilgrims crossed the sea, 
To make the West, as they the East, 
I Tlie homestead of the free. 

We go to rear a wall of men 

On Freedom's southern line, 
And plant l)eside the cotton tree 

The rugged northern pine. 

We go to plant her common schools 

On distant prairie swells, 
And give the Sabbath of the wilds 

The music of her bells.'" 

The North, having the greater resources and being the most populous, 
won the race, and hnally secured Kansas for freedom. P>ut the battle 
was not won without niany interesting episodes. The Dred Scott 
Decision came the day after the inauguration of Mr. Buclianan, as 
President, in March, 1857, holding that slaves were property, and that 
their owners were entitled to protection in tlieir possession as such in 
the territories. This was regarded l)y many people in the North as 
another bold step on belialf of the South to bolster up and fortify the 
institution of slavery; and it added fuel to the flame already sweeping 
over the North to the destruction of slavery. At the South, it was 
hoped that with the repeal of the Missouri Compromise this decision 
would secure to slave holders the right to take their slaves iuto any 
of the territories and hold them there, at least until they should become 
States, when and not before by their sovereign action the peoi)Ie could 
prohibit or abolish slavery — thus giving the South tlie advantage of 
having slavery planted in the soil of a territory before any attempt 
could be made to root it up. 

We now come to the year 1858, and the anti-slavery fight was on 
with constantly increasing vigor. In June of that year, Mr. Lincoln 
made his famous speech, a model of forcible, terse and felicitous ex- 
pression, before the Republican State Convention at Springfield, 111., 
in which he fully defined his attitude toward slavery, making the nota- 
ble announcement that "a house divided against itself cannot stand. 
I believe tliat this government cannot endure permanently half slave 
and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not 


oxpoct tho honso to fall, bnt I do expect it will cease to be divided. 
It will become all one thins. f>i" <ill the other. Either the opponents of 
slavery will arrest the further spread of it. and place it where tho 
pulilic mind shall rest in tlie belief that it is in the course of ultimate 
extinction; or its advocates will push forward till it shall become alike 
lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South." 
Before its delivery, he read the speech to a few selected friends, and 
they advised liim that it would be unwise for him to deliver it, and that 
it would defeat his (Section as United States Senator and with him 
the Republican party in his State. But he replied: "My friends, I 
have given mucli thought to this <iuestion. The time lias come when 
these sentiments should be uttered. If it is decreed that I shall go 
down because of this speech, then let me go down linked with it to the 
truth. Let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right." This 
was about four months before William II. Seward, in October of tlie 
same year, made his famous speech at Auburn in this State in which 
he took substantially the same ground as Mr. Lincoln in the announce- 
ment of his doctrine of "the irrepressible conliict" between freedom and 
slavery. In concluding that speech, Mr. Lincoln, with the foresight of 
a seer, expressed his confidence in the triumpli of tlie cause he advo- 
cated as follows: "We shall not fail — if we stand firm we shall not 
fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but sooner 
or later, the victory is sure to come." lie was there nominated for 
United States Senator to succeed Mr. Douglass, whose term of office 
was about to expire. On th(> 24th of .Tuly thereafter, he challenged 
Mr. Douglass to a joint debate before the people, and his challenge 
was accepted. That debate was the most interesting and notable joint 
discussion l>efore tlie people ever held in this country. Audiences of 
from ten thousand to twenty thousond people came out to hear the 
distinguished orators. There were seven joint debates, and tlieir argu- 
ments reached nearly the whole people of Illinois, and also many thous- 
ands through the entire North. Slavery ii' all its phases — the Missouri 
Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska P.ill, the Doctrine of Popular and 
Squatter Sovereignty, the power of the ])eopl(i over slavery in the ter- 
ritories, the Dred Scott Decision, the I'ugitive Slave Law, and the 
violent and extraordinary etforts made to introduce slavery into and 
,to keep It out of Kansas were discussed as never before with mas- 
terly ability. Mr. Lincoln in his arguments and statements was reason- 
able, conscientious and practical. He did not play the role of a mere 
idealist, dreamer, or philosopher. He did not advocate the uncondi- 
tional repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law, but objected to some of its 
features. He did not absolutely oppose the admission of more slave 
States, but said: "If slavery shall be kept out of tlie territories during 
the territorial existence of any one given territory, and then the people 
shall, having a fair chance and a clear held, when they come to adopt 
their constitution, do such an extniordinary thing as to adopt a slave 
constitution, uninfluenced by the .actual i)resence of the institution 


among them, 1 see no alternative, if we own the country, but to admit 
tliem into the Union." 

He said lie would be "exeeedin;;!y ylad to see slavery abolished in 
the District of Columbia," that Conj^Tcss had "the constitutional power 
to abolish it there; but that he would favor the measure only upon con- 
dition: First, that the abolition should be gradual; second, that it 
should be on a vote of the majority of qualitted voters in the District; 
and third, that compensation should be made to unwilling owners." 
He held that Congress had the right, and that it was its duty to pro- 
hibit slavery in all the tei-ritories, and reiterated his belief that slavery 
was "a moral, a social and a political wrong." He said more than once 
that he would faithfully stand by the guarantees- and compromises of 
the Constitution in reference to slavery, and that he had "no purpose, 
directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery where 
it existed; that he had no lawful right to do so and no inclination to 
do so;" that he was not in favor of the social and political equality of 
the Negro with the white man, but that he was in favor of allowisg 
him "to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own 
liands earn;" and that in that respect "he was tlu' eipial of every livi»ig 
man." With a magnimity and charity which characterized all his suTv 
sequent career, he said: "I have no prejudice against the southern 
people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery 
did not exist among them, they would not introduce it. It it did exist 
among us, we would not instantly give it up. * * * j^ does seem 
to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but 
for their tardiness in this, I Avill not undertake to judge our brethren 
of the South." "If all earthly power were given me, I should not know 
what to do as to the existing institution." In these debates, lie advo- 
called a scheme for the colonization of the freed Negroes, and their 
deportation to Africa; and he declared that it Avould be "best for all 
concerned to have th(> coloi-ed population in a State by themselves." 
Colonization of the Negroes was with him a faA'orite sclieme in all his 
after life. He frequently recommended it while he was President, and 
attempted to enforce his views upon Congress and the people of the 
border States; and he never seemed to realize its utter impracticabil- 
ity. In all other respects, so far as I can discover, his views regarding 
slavery, and his treatment of it were eminently feasible and practical. 
But, apparently, he never perceived how impossible it would be to 
transport and colonize four millions of Negroes, and how ruinous it 
would be to the slave States to be thus deprived of almost all their 
laboring population. He seemed to sum up the discussion in these 
forcible phrases: "The real issue in this controversy — the one pressing 
upon every mind — is the sentiment on the part of one class th.-it looks 
upon the institution of slavery as a wrong; and of another class that 
does not look upon it as a wrong * * * No man can logically say 
he does not care whether a wrong is voted up or voted down. He 
(Douglass) contends that whatever community wants slaves has a right 


to ha VI' lliciii. So they liavc, if it is not wronu- r>nt it it is wroim, lie 
caiiiiot say people iiavc a riulit to do wroii.i;'. He says tlial, upon a score 
of iCtiuality, slaves should he allowed to .uo into a new terrilory like 
oilier projx'rt.w This is strictly logical if there is no ditl'erence between 
it and otlu'r lu'operty. * * * I'ut if you insist that one is wron.i; 
and the other riyht. thei'e is no use to institute a conii)arison l)i'tween 
i-i,i;ht and wronu. * * * That is the real issue. That is the issue 
that will continue in this couidry when these ]»oor toniiues of .Ind.u'e 
])onj;luss and myself shall be silent. It is the etei-nal strnu.^le between 
these two prineii)les, ri.uiit and wr(Ui.L;', throughout the woild. They 
ar(> the two iii'inciples that have stood face to face from the be.iiinniu.u' 
of time, and will ever continue to stru.u,i;le. The one is the eonimon 
r'uht of humanity, and the other the divine riuht of It is the 
same principle in whatevei' state it develops itself. It is the sanu' spirit 
that says: 'Yon work and toil and earn bi'ead and I'll eat it.' 1 ask 
you if it is not a false philoso])hy V Is it not a false statesnianshii* that 
undertakes to build U[i a system of policy U])on the basis of carina 
rKithinu about the very thin.i;s that everybody does care most about." 
In these debates lie iiidul.uod in little humor oi' wit, for whicli he had 
L'.reat aptitude. lie seemed to I'eyard the matter in h.and as too nu)- 
mentous to be dealt with except in the most earnest, serious .and solemn 
mannei'. lie wished to present the right, and the moral asjx'ct of the 
(juestions discussed, and to foi-tify his position by the best ai'.i;uments 
he could make, and thus furnish to the thousands who he.-ird and should 
read his speeches, food for tlmuniit and ri>fieetion. Once durini;' the 
debate ho said to :i friend: ■'Sometimes in the exeitenu'id of s])eakin.u. 
I si'em to see the end of slavei'y. I feel tluit the tinu' is soon coming 
when the sun shall shine, th-' I'ain fall on no man who shall uo forth 
to unre<iuited toil. How this will come, when it will come, by whom 
it will come, I cainiot tell, but that time will surely conu'." 

These debates with the most consi)icuous and popular l>emoci'at in 
the country, afterwai'd his competitor for the presidency, attraeted tlie 
attention of the whole land, and gave Mr. Lincoln .a national reputa- 
tion. ^^'hile his c.indid;i les for the leyislature at the election received a 
Iio])ul:ir ma.joi'ity of about four thousand, the friends of Mi'. Douglass 
were in a majority in the legislature, and he was chosen United States 
Senator. Aftei'w.ard writing to ;i friend of the conti'st he made for the 
otlice, Mr. Lincoln s.iid: "I am glad that I made the It g;ive 
nu' ;i hearing' on the <iuestion of the ag<' which 1 could have had in no 
other w;iy; and though I may siidc entirely out of unnd. and sli.ill be 
forgotten, I believe I h.ave made some remarks which will tell for th(> 
eans<' of liberty when I am gone." And to another friend he wrote: 
"The tight must go on. The cause of civil libeiiy must not be sni'i'en- 
dered at the end of one oi- even one thous.and defeats." Dur- 
ing this gi' discussion, as in all his after life, he h;id no uid<ind 
words for slav(^ holders, and nianifesteil no animosity toward them. 
Over them his great heart threw the uuuitle of charity. IJut he de- 

74 Herkimer county historical socieT"?. 

iiounced the institution of slnA'ery. Spealcing of tlie debate aferward, 
Mr. Douglass said of Mr. Lincoln: "lie is an al)le and honest man, 
one of the ablest men in the nation. I have been in Cont;ress sixteen 
years, and there is not a man in the Senate 1 would not rather encoun- 
ter in debate." 

In May, 3.S59, in answer to an invitation from Boston to a festival 
In honor of Jefferson's birthday, referring to the language of the Declar- 
ation of Independence tliat "all men are created equal" and have cer- 
tain "inalienable rights," and claiming then, as he always did, that these 
words condemned slavery, he said: "This is a world of compensation; 
HTid he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those 
who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under 
a just God cannot long retain it." 

In the fall of the same year, Mr. Douglass went to Ohio where a 
canvass for the office of Governor was pending, and made some 
speeches there; and Mr. Lincoln followed him, and also spoke there, 
his main topic being the exclusion of slavery from the territories, and 
the effect of the Dred Scott Decision; and he added to his reputation 
as a debater and an anti-slavery champion. And in December, he made 
several speeches in Kansas, and there gladly met the men who had 
imperiled their lives in the battle for freedom stimulated somewhat 
by the elO(]uent words which he had uttered. In February, 18(i0, he 
went by invitation to New York, and adrressed a large meeting in 
Cooper institute, presided over by William Cullen Bryant wlio introduced 
him simply as "An eminent citizen of the West, hitherto known to you 
only by reputation." His audience contained Horace Greely, ex- Gov- 
ernor John A. King, David Dudley Field, and many others of the most 
prominent men of the city. It is safe to say that never before had the 
questions then pending relating to slavery been presented in a more 
forcible and convincing style. He there reiterated the views he had 
expressed in the West; and he also went to Massachusetts, Rhode 
Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, and spoke to large and enthu- 
siastic audiences, everywhere presenting his views upon the pending 
slavery questions with a force and freshness never liefore experienced 
by the people of the East. 

Down to this time, his reputatloii depended wholly upon his relation 
to tlie anti-slavery discussion. He was not distingxiished al)Ove some 
otliers in Ids own state as a lawyer. He had held but two offices, mem- 
ber of the Illinois Legislature, and member of Congress; and in these 
positions he had not achieved any peculiar success. He had not l)ecome 
l»ronunent in the treatment of questions of finance, of tariff and other 
matters to which statesmen give much of their time. He had become 
one of the ablest and most conspicuous champions in the country of 
the anti-slavery cause as embodied in the platform of the Republican 
party. He was prol)ably the best and fittest representative in the coun- 
try of the wise, conservative, practical, and at the same time, deter- 
mined, earnest, and fearless anti-slavery men. It is not, therefore, 


woiulerful tliat. at a tinio wIhmi slavery was tlie all absorltiiii;- t()i>i(' 
for discussion evci-ywlioiv, nortli and sontli, hv shonld have roct-ivtMl 
tlio nomination of tlio Koi)Ul>lican i)arty for IMcsidcnt in May, ISCO. 
After Ins nonnnation, lie did not say niucli for tlie pul)lie ear until he 
delivered his Inanunral address. He did, however, .say to a friend 
before the election: "I know there is :i (Jod, and that He hates injus- 
tice and slavery. ♦ * « i have told them that a house divided 
against itself cannot stand. Clirist and reason say the same, and tliey . 
will find it so. Douj^lass doesn't can- whetlier slavery was voted up 
or down. But (Jod cares, humanity cares, and 1 care. Witli God's help, 
I shall not fail." As the time approached for his inauguration, he saw 
with alarm a tendency, even among the members of his own party, 
for further compromises with slavery, and against tins he protested 
most vigorously. lie wrote to a prominent Ilepul)lican member of Con- 
gress from his own State: "Entertain no propositions for a compro- 
mise in regard to tlie extension of slavery. The instant you do, they 
have us under again; all our labor is lost, and sooner or later must 
be done over again;" and he wrote to other mendters of Congress, and 
to Horace Greely to the .same eit'ect. To all efforts made during these 
days, under many specious pretexts, by editors. pid)lic ni(<Ti, and other 
citizens, to get from him some new or furtlier expressioti of Ids views 
upon tlie subject of slavery, he generally rcidied by referring them to 
his record made in his public speeches, and to the platform of tlie 
Republican party. Upon one point more than any other he was inflex- 
il)le, and tliat was his opposition to tlie extension of sl.-ivery into any 
of the territories. 

Down to this time, and at all times thereafter, Mr. Lincoln, in all his 
views on slavery, and in all the measures he proposed in r<'fer(>nce 
thereto, kept within the constitution. Wliere sl.avcry constitutionally 
existed, lie would leave it untouched. Wliat rights tlie slave holders 
liad under the constitution, he would always respect: and so he 
not popular witli tlie genuine Aliolitionists wlio denounced both the con- 
stitution and the Union. Wendell Phillips spoke of him as "The slave 
hound of Illinois." He liad two forces to contend Mith in the North — 
those Aliolitionists who I'eally wanted the Union dissolved so as to have 
no further responsibility for slavery or association with it; and a large 
]>ody of citizens who wanted further compi'oniises with slavery to save 
tlie Union; and we shall see how he d<'alt with these forces, and witli 
the people of the border States who wanted to save both the Union 
Hud slavery. 

When he was inaugurated, March 4, isr.l, seven of the southern 
States had in form seceded from the Union, and the Confe(hM'ate (iov- 
ernraent had been established; and secession was tiercely agitated in 
the other southern States, all but four of wliicli, Delaware, Maryland. 
Kentucky and Missouri, soon formally .joined the seceding States. .No 
statesman ever before, uiion entering otlice, was confronted with graver 
problems for solution. The key note of his. inaugural address was the 


preservation of the XTiiion. It was conciliatoi'y in its lanyuage, and at 
this day, separated by many years from the passions and prejudices of 
the times when it was delivered, we wonder that its toucliing appeals 
did not reach more hearts in the south, and to a larger extent disai-m 
tliat resentment which the flery leaders of that region were endeavor- 
ing to foment. In that address, he said: ■'A])])rehension seems to 
exist among the ix-ople^ of the southern States, that hy the accession 
of the Kepnhlican administration their prej)erty. and thiMr peace, and 
personal security ai'e to l)e endangered. There has never been any 
reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evi- 
dence to the contrary has all the while existed, and been open to their 
inspection. It is found in nearly all the public speeches of him who 
now addresses you. I do but (piote from one of thost' speeches wliere I 
declare that: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere 
with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe 
1 have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.' 
Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that 
I made this, and many similar declarations, and have never recanted 
them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my accep- 
tance, and as a law to themselves and to me the clear and emphatic 
risolution which I now read: 'Resolved, that the maintenance invio- 
late of tlie rights of the States, and especially the right of each State 
to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own 
judgment exclusivi'Iy is essential to that balance of power on which 
the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we 
den<mnco the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State 
or territory, no matter under what pretext. ;is among the gi-avest of 
crimes.' " Thert' was more to the same effect, including the recogni- 
tion of the duty to enforce the clause in the Federal constitution as to 
the rendition of fugitive slaves on the claim of their owners; and he 
concluded with this forcible, pathetic appi'al: "We are not enemies, 
but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have 
strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords 
oi" memory, sti'ctching from every battlefield and i>a1riot gi'avt' to every 
loving heart and he;irthstone all over this bro.-id land, will yet swell 
the chorus of tlu' union when again touched, as surely thi-y will be. by 
the better angel of our nature." 

DiHicult problems, as to the trealment of slav(>ry and the slaves, 
soon after his inauguration, came before him for solution. On the one 
hand were the old-time xVbolitionists, with some recent allies, who 
were urging upon him radical action — the freeing and arming of slaves 
so far as he could. On the other baud, were the people of the border 
States, the great mass of Democrats, and many of his own party urging 
him to touch the institution of slavery as little as possible, and to make 
the restoration of the Union the sole issue of the armed contest. 

Of advice, much of it very bewildering, there was great abundance; 
and through the clash of discordent opinions, he had a hard task to 


sifcr his w;iy. He iiip.iicdi.-ilcly .idoptcd llic upiiiidii lie had tlic 
ri.ulit to iiitci'lciv witli slavci-.v in tiic rc\(>lti'd Slates only as a wai" 
liicasiirc; and he early i-et'used lo use (lie war ixiwer, excejii so far 
as Ik- could lie satisfied that it would aii! the riiioii cause; and lie did 
not at any time, so far as 1 can i>ei-cei\c. let his feelings of iK.stility 
to slavery, or motives of pure humanity inlluence his action. He set 
beforo him the task of sa\iu.L; and restoring; the I'nion. and he kept 
his eye single uixtu that i'wd. 

The (|Uestion very soon arose, what should he done with slaves that 
came within the lines of the linion ai'uiyV And he forbade their retnru 
to their masters: and the (|Uestiou. what should be done with sl.aves 
used for cai'ryiuu on the war of the ItebellionV .\nd that was answer- 
ed by the of the con.yressional act of AuL^ust isr.!. fi'eeiu.^ 
such slaves. He fean d tliat tlie armiu,:;- of Negroes to li.^ht in the 
I'nion cause would alienate the people of the border stales whom he 
\v;is nntst solicitous to keep on the side of the ruion. or at least neuira'; 
and so, when in October. hStn, Secretary of Wai' Cameron issued an 
or(h'r to Genei-al Sherman, then at Tort Koyal. .luthori/.inu- him to 
em]tloy Xe.izi'oes in any capacity which he mi.uht "deem most benelicial 
to the service," he interlined in the oi'(h'r: "This, however, not to mean 
a Kt'uoral arming- of them foi' military service." A few months later 
the sauie secretai'y inserted in his rei)ort. which was to the 
I'l-esident's annual messai^c to Con.^ress. this lanuua.ue: ".Vs the labor 
and sei'vice of their slaves constitute- the chief i)roperty of the rebels. 
they should share the common fate of war. * * '■' II is clearly a 
ri.Li'ht of the liovernmi-ut to arm slaves s\ hen it bece^mes necess,ii-y, as 
it is (o use .mm powder taken from the enemy. Wlu'ther it is expeilieut 
to do so is purely a military (iiU'Stion." \\'hen this lan^ua.iic came to 
(he I'resiih'nt's knowled.i^c. In- orch'red the secretary to onnt i(, and 
insert in its place tliese words: "Slaves on captui'ed or abandoned 
lilantations sliould not be n'tuiaied to their masters, but withheld to 
lessen tlu' eiu-my's military resources." About tliat tinu' he was much 
botlun-ed with wliat slioukl be done witli slaves who should in any 
way become free; and his general views in reference to the emancii)a- 
tion of slaves, so far as it coiikl l)e aeliieved, were these: N'oluntary 
action of tlie indivi(bial slave States by the exercise of their sovereign 
l)Ower; eompensatiou of slave owners: and coloiu/at ion. and Hie appro- 
priation of money by Congress foi- ac<|uiriii.i;' teri'itory for that ]iur|iose. 

Wlien General Fremont, in (he l''all of hsr.l. while commander in 
INfissouri, proclaimed tlie slaves ot rebel owners free, the I'resideut set 
aside tlie proclamation. When (Jeneral I'.utler went with his e.\i)edi- 
tion to New Orleans, knowing' his meddlesome disposition, he told him 
not to interfere with the institution of sla\ei'y. lii May. ISC.L'. ( 
Huntei". in conimai.d of the I >e|)arlineiit of South Carolina. <ieoi-.i;ia 
and Florida, issued a pi'ocljimalion fi'ceini; all the slaves in his dejiart- 
iiH'nt, and the President set it aside by a pi'oclani;i(ion. in which he 


said: "Whether it be competent for me, as Commander-in-chief of the 
army and navy, to declare tlie slaves of any State or States free, and 
whether, at any time or in any place, it shall become a necessity indis- 
pensible to the maintenance of the govei'nment to exercise such sup- 
posed powers, are (luestions which, under my responsibility, I reserve 
to myself, and which 1 cannot feel justified in leavinj;- to the discretion 
of commanders in the tield," closing with tlie following most urgent 
and tender appeal: "To the people of the border States, I now earnestly 
appeal — I do not argue; I beseech you to make the argunu-nts for 
yourselves: you. cannot, if you would, be blind to the signs of the 
tunes. I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, rang- 
ing, if it may be, far above personal and partisan politics. This pro- 
posal (referring to the joint resolution of Congress adopted JNIarch (>) 
makes common cause for a common object, casting no reproach upon 
any one. It acts not the Pharasee. The change it contemplates would 
come as gently as the dews of heaven, not rending or wrecking any- 
thing. Will yon not entertain itV So much good has not been done by 
one effort in all past time as, in the providence of God, it is now your 
privilege to do. May the vast future not have it to lament that you 
neglected it." In these acts, the mass of northern people sustained 
the President. But Fremont and Hunter became tlie idols of most of 
the radicals, and they denounced him. William Lloyd Garrison said: 
"All honor to General Hunter. With cheer upon cheer, the welkin 
rings. Shame and confusion of face to the I'resident for his halting, 
shulHing, backward policy. By his act, he has dispirited and alienated 
the truest friends of freedom universally, and gratitied the malignity 
of the enemies of his administration who are at heart rebels." 

In his annual message delivered to Congress, December 3, 18(>1, he 
again advocated his pet scheme of compensation for slaves made free 
by the voluntary action of slave States, and for the colonization of 
such and other colored persons in territory to be ac(iuired by the United 
States. In a special message sent to Congress. March Gth, 18(j2, he rec- 
ommended, giving his reas<ms therefor at some length, the adoption by 
Congress of the following joint resolution: "Pesolved. that the United 
States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt gradual 
abolislnnent of slavery, giving such State pecuniary aid to be used by 
such State in its discretion to compensate for the inconvenience, public 
and private, produced by such change of system." This resolution was 
introduced into the House of Representatives by Roscoe Conkling, and 
was passed by large majorities in both houses. 

In April. 1S(;2, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, providing for compensation and colonization, and 
the President approved it. lie was so anxious that his views should be 
kept before the p(H)ple that he sent to Congress a special message in 
whicli he said: "I am gratitied that the two principles of compensation 
and colonization are both recognized and practically applied in the 


act." Ill Juno, Conj^ross passed anotlicr act, aitprovcd hy the rrcsidi-ut. 
securing freedom to all persons within the territories of the Fnited 

On the 14th of July, the I'resident sent to Congress a draft of a i)ill 
to make compensation to States which would abolish slavery, and rec- 
onnueiided its passage. Before sending the draft, July ll'tli, he invited 
the ineinbers of Congress from tlie l)order Stati's to a eonfei'eiice with 
him; and he submitted the draft to them, and made an e.arnest appe;il, 
expressed in the forcible language he was able to use, to abolish slav- 
ery in their States, receiving compensation for the sl.aves so fre<'d, say- 
ing to them: "The incidents of war cannot be avoided. If it continues, 
as it must if the object is not sooner attained, the institution in your 
States will be extinguished by nu'n- friction and abrasion. It will be 
gone, and you will have nothing valuable in lieu of it. Much of its 
value is gone already. * * * lluw much better for you as seller, 
and the Nation as buyer, to sell out and buy on; tli;it without which 
the war could never have been than to sink both the thing to l)e sold 
and the ])rice of it in cutting one another's throats." He 
spoke of the dilHculties which surrouinU'd him and the pressuri; 
which was brought to bear upon him against slavi-ry, and of the dis- 
satisfaction created l)y his recent repudiation of (jJeneral Freenioiit's 
proclamation of fn-edom. Wh.nt he earnestly asked of them was to 
vote a sum of money for purchasing the slaves in tlu'ir respt'ctive 
States sutticii'iit to fully compensate the owni'rs. I'.ut he failed to con- 
vince them. A majority of them claimed that the pi'ople of their 
States had the right to hold slaves; and they were not ready to give 
up slavery. About this time he said to two members of Congress: "(Hi, 
if the bordei' States would accept my proposition! Then you, Lovejoy, 
and Arnold, and all of us would not have lived in vain! The labor of 
your life, Lovejoy, would be crowned with success! You would live to 
see the end of slavery." 

On the 17th day of July, Congress passed an act which was approved 
by the President, "to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and re- 
bellion, to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, .and for other 
purposes," which, among other things, provided the slaves of per- 
sons convicted of treason, and of all persons thereafter convicted of 
Inciting, setting on foot, assisting, or engaging in rebellion against the 
TTiiited Stati'S should be liberated; that all slaves of jiersons who 
should tliereafter be engaged in the rebellion, or who shoukl give aid 
or comfort thereto escaping from such persons and taking refuge with- 
in the I'nion lines, and all slavi-s captured from such persons or de- 
serted by them and coming under the control of the government, and 
all shaves of such persons found or lieing within any ph-u-e occiii»ied by 
rebel forces and afterward occupied liy the forces of the Cnited States 
should i)e (U'emed captives of war and forever free; tli:it no slave 
escaping into any State. Territory, or the District of Columbia from 
any other State should be delivered up unless the person claiming the 


fugitive should lirst lu.-ikc oath that ho is the owner and that he had 
not liorne arms against tiio United States in tlie rel)ellion nor in any 
way given aid and comfort thereto; and no military officer should 
assume to decide on the validity of the claim of any person to any 
fugitive slave, or surrender up such fugitive on pain of being dismissed 
from tlie service; (hat the President should be authorized to einj)loy as 
many persons of African descent as he might deem necessary and 
proper for tlie suppressitMi of the rebellion; and for this purpose he 
might organize and use them in such maimer as he might judge best 
for the public welfare; that the President should be autliorized to 
make provision for the transportation, colonization and settlement in 
some ti'opical country beyond tlie limits of the 'United States, of 
such Negroes made free by the act as might be willing to emigrate. 
There had been great clamor on tlie part of the radicals in favor of 
arming the freed Negroes of the South to tiglit against their former 
masters, and to free the slaves of those engaged in the reb"!lloii or 
in giving aid and comfort thereto; and tliis was tlie first act to accom- 
plish these ends. The President had been reluctant to use the war 
power to accomplish these ends, fearing to exasperate the people of the 
rebel States, to supiiri'ss the Union sentiment tliere. to ali<'n;ite the 
people of the border States, and to prejudice the Union cause at the 
North. Tlie radicals were beginning to denounce him in unmeasured 
terms, were clamoring for the emancipation of the slaves in the south- 
ern States, and were pressing him to issue an emancipation proclama- 
tion. He resisted the pressure, and bided liis time, waiting for the 
opportune moment when he could issue sucli a proclamation with tell- 
ing effect upon the rebllion, at the same time doing as little harm as 
possible In other directions. He had meditated niucli and anxicmsly 
ui)on the subject, and tinally reached the conclusion that lie ought to 
issue the proclamation; and on Sunday, July 38th, the next day after 
tlie conference with the border State Congressmen above referred to, 
Avhile riding in a funeral procession in a carriage with Secretaries 
Seward and Wells for the burial of a son of Secretary Stanton, after 
saying, among other things, that lie ha<l given much thought to the 
matter of issuing a proclamation of em;inci])ation, he said: "I have 
about come to the conclusion that it is a military necessity essential 
for the salvation of the nation. This is the first time I have ever men- 
tioned it to any one. Wliat do you think of itV" They replied sepa- 
rately in substance that the sui)ject was so vast that they must have 
time for refiectioii ;and that the measure might be justifiable and nec- 
essary. He replied tliat he wished them to give the question careful 
consideration, for "something must be done." Congress had then finish- 
ed its session and adjourned. It had passed the act referred to con- 
fiscating the property of those in rebellion. Slaves were property and 
under the act they might lie seized and used for the benefit of the gov- 
ernment; and they were so seized and used; and Mr. T>incoln con- 
cluded that the time had come to give them their freedom. His Cab- 


iiu't was ill session on the "Ji'ikI dny of July. Mncli thon.nlit liiid .uiven 
him a tinu coiM-iiision. The roli^'ls in s!)ilo of al! his appoals clnn.i;- to 
tlR- institntion of slavery, and were (h'U'rinined and a,i;.U'i'<'ssive. Tliick 
elonds iniiK'iided over Hie I'nioii cause. With the nieniliers of his Cah- 
Inet seated around him, he took from his desk the draft tif his enianci- 
palion proehimalion, and read it to them. They listened In ama/.e- 
ment. The stupenduous sehenie of .i;ivinii- freedom to four millions of 
slaves chalU'iiKcd their faith and perplexed their minds. They sat as 
it" (h'l/.ed. Lincoln with self-contained confidem-e, ami a vision inspired, 
calmly said to tiieiii: "I have not called you to^other to ask your 
advice, but to lay (he subject befoi>' you. I sh.all be pleased to hear 
any suy-yestions from you." It was criticised sonu'. Mr. ("liase wanted 
the hui.t;ua.i;e str()ii,i;('i'. Mr. I'.lair said it would cost the fall elections. 
Mr. Seward apiiroved the proclamation, but thought the time had not 
yet come to issue it — that many reverses to the Union arms had caused 
great dei)ression in the public mind — that it might Ik- viewed as a con- 
fession of weakness and evidence of despair, and that lie had better 
defer it until it could follow soiue military success. Mr. rjincoln 
aeceeded to this view. Some nuniths later he said of the proclamation: 
"It had to conu'. Things had gone from bad to worse until I felt that 
we had reached the end of our rope on the plan of operations we had 
been pursuing, that we had played oiu' last card and must change our 
tactics, or lose tlu- game. I deti'iniined on the emancipation procla- 
mation, and witliom consultation with or knowledge of the Cabinet, 
I prei>ar(Hl the original draft; and after much anxious thought, called 
a dabinet meeting upon the sul).ject." On the same day, July 22nd, he 
issued an order to the military commanders within the States of Vir- 
ginia, South Carolina, (b'oi'gia, Florida, Alal»ama, Mississippi, r>ouis- 
iana, Texas and Ark.nnsas that they should "employ as laborers 
within and from said States so many persons of African descent as 
can be advantageously used for military or naval purposes, giving them 
re:is<inable wages for their labor." 

At that time, in .Inly, iscii', there was much vigorous criticism, even 
l)y members of Mr. Lincoln's party, of his treatment of the institution 
of slavery, and of the conduct of the war; and the fault linding was 
particularly rife in ("oiigress. .Mr. .lulien, a prominent Itepublican 
memlier of Congress, afterwards said: "No one at a distance could 
have formed any ade(|uate concei)tion of the hostility of Itepublican 
members towards Mr. Lincoln ;it th(> final ad.journment (the middle of 
.Inly), while it was the belief of many that our last session of Congress 
had been held in Washington." Senator Wade of Ohio said: "The 
country was going to hell, and that the scenes witnessed in the French 
Ue\'olutioii were nothing in comparison with what we should see here." 

At that time New Orle.-ins was in possession of the Fiiion trooi»s, 
under (Ik- command of Ceiier.-il Lntler, and Negroes were, to the great 
d»«gust of (he iieople of tluil city, ;irnied iind drilled as soldiers. 
Kp-verdy Johnson of .Maryland had been sent there on public business, 


and he wrote to Mr. Lincoln, deprecating the arming of the Negroes, 
and saying that it would have a depressing effect upon the Union sen- 
timent in that locality. . To this Mr. Lincoln replied: "The People of 
Louisiana, all intelligent people everywhere, know full well that I 
never had a wish to touch the foundation of their society or any right 
of theirs." 

In August, 1S(>2, Horace Greely had published a letter in his own 
paper, the Tribune, criticising Mr. Lincoln and the conduct of the Avar. 
To this letter he wrote a reply, which at the time excited much com- 
ment, in which he said: "If there be those who would not save the 
Union unless they could at the same time save slavery. I do not agree 
with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless 
they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. 
Mj"- paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not 
either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without 
freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all 
the slaves, I would do it; and if I could .save it by freeing some and 
leaving others alone. I would also do that. What I do about slavery 
and the colored i"ace, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; 
and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it lielps to save 
the Union. * * * I intend no modification of my oft-expressed 
personal wish that all men everywhere could be free." 

The battle of Manassas, usually called the second battle of Bull Run, 
resulting in the disastrous defeat of General Pope, and spreading con- 
sternation throughout the loyal North, was fought the latter part of 
August. 18G2; and soon after, a delegation of ministers from Chicago 
reached Washington to urge the President to do something to abolish 
slavery. Among other things, he said in reply: "Gentlemen, you 
know I am powerless to enforce the constitution in the States now in 
rebellion. Allow me to ask if you think that I can enforce a proclama- 
tion of emancipation better?" The delegates interpreted the question 
as indicating reluctance under any circumstances to issue sucli a proc- 
lamation; and one of them replied: "What you have said compels me 
to say that it is a message of the Divine Master, through me, com- 
manding you, sir, to open the doors and let the oppressed go free." 
"Well, that may be," said the President humorously, "but if it is as you 
say a message from your Divine Master, is it not a little odd that the 
only channel of cunnuunication to me must be by the roundabout way 
of that awfully wicked city of Chicago?" And they departed without 
having obtained any satisfaction. 

All this time, Mr. Lincoln was keeping from the public his own coun- 
sels; and he had locked up in his desk the proclamation which at the 
proper time he would issue. That time soon came. The battle of 
Antietam was fought on the 17th of September, and resulted in a great 
victory for the Union army. The tide of rebel invasion was stayed, and 
confidence was awakened, and enthusiasm aroused throughout the 
North. The time had come when he thought he could safely and effect- 


ivply issue the in-oclninntioii of ciniUicip.ition and lie called a nuM>tin.iC 
of his (\il>iiiet on Monday, SeiiteniluT lilind. lie ix'ad to llieni liis jiroe- 
laniation: and then wiiat took place at this, the most nioiuenloiis Cab- 
inet nieetinu- ever held in Wasliin.uton, niaikin.i; an epocli in the world's 
history, ninst he stated as subsequently related by Mr. Secretary Wells, 
who Avas [iresent: ""'riie I'resident stated that the (luestion was linally 
decided — the act and the conseciuences were his — but tliat lie felt it dui^ 
to us to make us ac(iuaiuted with the facts and to invit(> criticism on 
tlie paper which he luid prepared. There were, lu> liad found not unex- 
pectedly, some differences in his Cabinet; but he had, after ascertain- 
in.n' in ids own way the views of each and all, indiviibially and collect- 
ively, fo?-nied his own conehisions and made liis own decision. In the 
course of the discussion on this iiaj)er. which was loni;'. earnest, and 
on tlie .yeneral principles involved, harmonious, he remarked that he 
had made a vow — a covenant — that if God gave us the victory in the 
aiii)roachin,L; battle, he would consider it an indication of Divine will, 
and tliat it >vas his duty to move forwai'd in the cause of emancipation. 
It uiight be thought strange, he s;iid. tliat he had in this way sulimitted 
the disposal of matters when the way was not clear in his own mind 
what he should do. (Jod had decided this (juestion in favor of the 
slaves, lie was satislied it was right — was confirmed and strengtli- 
eiR'd ill his action by the vow and the results. His mind was fixed, his 
decision made, but he wislied his paper announcing" his course as cor- 
rect as it could be made without any cliange in his determination." 

The jirocla Illation awakened much enthusiasm in the North gener- 
ally, altliougii there were very many who thought it untimely and 
unwise as a matter of !)ublic i)oliL*y. With the exception of the procla- 
mation of Alexander il., the Czar of Russia, issued about eigliteon 
months earlier, March ."h-d, 1S(;1, the day before the inauguration of 
Mr. Lincoln as rresident, freeing more than twenty millions of s<»rfs, 
tiiis was the most momentous iiroclamation ever issued Iiy any ruler 
in the world. It announced freedom to four millions of slavi's, and 
transforiiHcl the character of our government and changed the whoh> 
future history of our c<)untry. 

In the Iiroclamation, he stated tliat the war would, in the future as 
in the past, be prosecuted for the restoration of the Union; that it was 
his ]»urpose to again recomniend to Congress, at its next meeting, the 
adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to tlie free ac- 
ceptance or rejection of all slave States, '"the jicople whereof ma.v not 
then bi' in rebellion against the United Statesand which States maythen 
have voluntarily a(!o]>ted, or tliereafter may voluntarily adopt imme- 
diate or gradual abolishment of slavery within their respective limits; 
and that the effort to colonize iiersons of African descent with their 
<'onsent u])on this continent or elsewhere" will lie continued; and ]\o 
proclaiiiK (1 "that on tlu> 1st day of .January, A. I).. ISti;*,, ;ill persons 
held as slaves within any State or (h'signate<] ])art of a State the people 
whereof shall then be in Rebellion against the United States shall bo 


then, thenceforwfird and forever free; and the executive government 
of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, 
will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do 
no act or acts to repress such ijersons or any of them in any effort they 
may make for their actual freedom." "That the executive will on the 
1st day of January aforesaid by proclamation designate the States and 
parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall 
then be in rebellion against the United States." 

On the last day of December, lSr)2, he delivered his second annual 
message to Congress in which again he called attention to the language 
of his inaugural address, and recommended certain amendments of the 
Constitution providing for compensation to States in which slavery 
should be voluntarily abolished before January 1st, 18(;3; and he en- 
forced liis views recommending emancipation of slaves with compen- 
sation and colonization at considerable length; and he closed with this 
eloquent appeal: "Fellow citizens, we cannot escape liistory. We of 
this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of 
ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or 
another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will liglit us 
down In honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We say we are 
for the Union. Tlie world will not forget tliat we say this. We know 
how to save the Union. The world knows we do know liow to save it. 
We, even we here, liold the power and bear the responsibility. In giv- 
ing freedom to the slaves, we assure freedom to the free — lionorable 
alike in wliat we give, and in what we preserve. We sliall nobly save, 
or meanly lose the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; 
this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way 
wliicli, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must for- 
ever bless." 

The 1st of January was drawing nigh. Tliere was much to discour- 
age tlae Pi-esident. Tliere was want of liarmony in Ins Cabinet, and the 
success of the Union arms had not been all that could be hoped. But 
undismayed and resolute in liis great purpose lie went forward, and on 
tliat day issued his linal proclamation of freedom of the slaves in 
the States and parts of States then in rebellion which he designated, 
closing with these words: "And upon this act, sincerely believed to 
be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military 
necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gra- 
cious favor of Almighty God." 

About this time it came to his attention that the Confederates were 
disposed to disregard the ordinary rules of civilized warfare in the treat- 
ment of captive colored soldiers, and their white officers; and, deter- 
mined to give protection to sucli soldiers, he issued the following order: 
"That for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the 
laws of war, a rebel soldier sliall be executed; and for everyone 
enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier sliall be 
placed at hard labor on the public works and continued at such labor 


until tlie other shall ho relcMscd and receive the treatment due t(t a pris- 
oner of war." Afterward, in the Sprini; of IXi'A. speaUiny of the col- 
ored soldiers, he said in an address at I'.altiniore: "At the beginning 
of the war and for some time, the use of colored troops was not con- 
templated; and how the change oi purpose was wrought I will not now 
take time to explain. Upon .a clear conviction of duty 1 resolved to 
turn tliat element of sti'engtli to account; and 1 am resi)onsil>le for it 
to the American people, to the Christian world, to history, and, in my 
linal account, to God. Having determined to use the Negro as a sol- 
dier, there is no way hut to give him all the protection given to any 
other soldier." His judgment as to the use of colored soldiers AA^as vin- 
dicated by events. During the war, mostly during the last two years, 
38(5,017 colored soldiers were enlisted, and at the close of the war there 
were of such soldiers in the ranks of the army 123,ir»(;. 

In August, 18G3, the l'i-(>sideiit was invited to attend a mass meeting 
of unconditional Union men, at Springfield, 111.; and on the 2(;th of that 
month he wrote a characteristic letter to Hon. James C. Conkling, 
stating his inal)ility to attend, and defending with great vigor his eman- 
cipation proclamation at considei-abI(> length. The letter is a notable 
one, and will well repay pei'usal. About this time, speaking to Governor 
Morgan of what had been done in reference to slavery, and of the 
impetuosity of some of his friends, he said: "We are like whaU rs who 
have been long on a chase; we have at last got the harpoon into the 
monster, but we must now look how we steer, or with oTie lloj) of his 
tail he wHl send us all into eternity." 

On the 8th of December, he sent to Congress his third annual mes- 
sage in which he said: "The policy of emancipation and of employing 
black soldiers gave to the future a new aspect about which hope and 
fear and doubt contended in unccM'tain contlict. According to oui- polit- 
ical sj^stem, as a matter of civil administration, the general govei'ument 
had no lawful power to effect emancipation in any State; and for a 
long time it had been hojied that the i-ebejliou could be suppi'cssed 
witliout resorting to it as a military mcasuri". It was all the while 
deemed possible that the necessity foi- it might come, and that if it 
should, the crisis of the contest would then be presented. * * * Of 
those who were slaves at the beginning of the rebellion, full one hun- 
dred thousand are now in the United States military service, .about 
one-half of which numl»er ■■ictn.illy hear arms in the ranks. « * * j 
may add at this point th;it while 1 remain in my present position I 
shall not attemi)t to reti.ict or moilify the emancipation proc- 
lamation; nor shall I return to slavery iiny person who is free by the 
terms of that proclamation, or by any of tlt(» acts of Congress. * * * 
The movements by St.nte action for emancipation in several of the 
States not included in the emancipation pi'oclamation .-ii-e matters of 
profound gi'atul.ation. And while ! do not repeat in detail what 1 h;ive 
hei'etofore so earnestly ui'ged upon this subject, my g<'neral views and 
feelings remain unchanged; iind 1 trust that Congress will omit no fair 


opportunity of aiding tlicse important stops to a j^reat consuniation." 
Accompanying tlie message was an amnesty proclamation in which 
he ottered pardon to all, with a few exceptions, who had participated 
in the rebellion, upon condition that they would take an oath, among 
other things, that they would "abide by and faithfully support all proc- 
lamations of the President made during the existing rebellion freeing 
slaves so long and so far as not modified or declared void by the de- 
cisions of the Supreme Court." And he said: "And I do further pro- 
claim, declare and make known tliat any provision which may be 
adopted by such State government in relation to the freed people of 
such State whicli shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom 
and provide for their education, and which, may yet be consistent as a 
temporary arrangement with their condition as a laboring, landless and 
homeless class will not be objected to by the national executive." 

Congress just before its adjourument in July, passed a bill for the 
reorganization of the rel)el States which, among other things, re(iuired 
that the conventions in those States should adopt the following pro- 
vision in their State constitutions: "Involuntary servitude is forever 
prohibited, and the freedom of all persons is guaranteed in said State;" 
and the twelfth section emancipated the slaves in the rebel States, and 
declared them and their postei-ity forever free. This bill was present- 
ed to the President less than an hour before the adjournment of Con- 
gress; and he did not sign it, and it did not become a law. He issued a 
proclamation to wliich he annexed a copy of the bill, giving his reasons 
for not signing it, in which he stated he was miprepared "to declare a 
constitutional competency in Congress to abolish slavery in States," 
but at tlie same time he sincerely hoped and expected that a constitu- 
tional amendment abolishing slavery throughout the nation would be 
adopted. He never believed that Congress had authority to abolish 
slavery in any State, but claimed, as Commander-in-chief of the army, 
that he could free the slaves in a State in rebellion as a necessary war 

During the year 1803 and subsequently, whenever negotiations for 
peace or terms of peace with the rebel States were suggested or taken 
in hand by any one, he firmly and always insisted upon two conditions: 
the integrity of the Union, and the abandonment of slavery. In May, 
I8G4, he said: "There have been men base enough to propose to me to 
return to slavery our black warriors of Port Hudson and Olustee, and 
thus win the respect of the masters they fought. Should I do so, I 
should deserve to be dammed in time and eternity. Come what will, I 
will keep my faith with friend and foe." 

In 18G4 the President wrote to Mr. Hodges, a southern citizen, about 
slavery as follows: "I claim not to have controlled events, but con- 
fess plainly that events have controlled me. Now at the end of three 
yeai-s' struggle, the nation's condition is not what any party or any 
man expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems 
plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also 


tliiit we of the North, as well as you of the youth, shall pay fairly for 
our complicity in that wronj;-, iiii[)artial history will liiid tlu-rein new 
causes to attest and revere the justice and yoodness of (Jod." 

The tinH> had c-onie when he earnestly desired the abolition of slav- 
ery in all the slave States by constitutional nirthdds. He was brought 
slowly and fj;radually to this position. The Hi'pul)iican national con- 
vention was about to convene. June 8, 1S(;4. And he said to Governor 
Morgan, who was expected to call the convention to order: "I would 
like you in your address when you call the convention to onh'r, as its 
keynote, and to put into its platfoi'ni as its keystone, the amendment to 
the constitution abolishing slavery." Governor Moigan in his address 
calling the convention to order accordingly said: •'\\'e shall fail of 
accomplishing oiu* great mission unless we shall declare for such an 
amendment to the constitution as will positively forbid African slavery 
in the United States;" and Rev. llobert J. Breckenridge, who was 
chosen temporary chairman of the convention, in his ad(h'ess said: "Wo 
must use all power to exterminate the institution of slavery which has 
raised the sword against the Union;" and the convention adopted a 
resolution, dem.-inding an amendment of the Constitution pro- 
liibiting slavery in any part of the Union. In his reply to the 
committee which notihed him of his nomination, Mr. Lincoln 
said: "I api)rove the declaration in favor of so amending the Consti- 
tutioin as to prohibit slavery throughout the nation. Such an amend- 
ment is a necessary conclusion to the tinal success of the Union cause." 
Shortly after this, Frederick Douglass, who had been a slave, was in 
Washington, and was invited to take tea with the President, and was 
taken to the White House in the UresicU-nt's carriage. He aftei'ward 
said: "The President is one of the few men with whom I h;ive i)assed 
an hour who did not ri'mind me in some way that 1 am a Negi'o." 

At the election in November, 1S(>4, Mr. Lincoln w;is again elected 
President; and December (I, he delivered to Gongress his fourth .iiHinii! 
message in which he strongly recommended the adoption of the pro- 
posed constitutional amendment abolishing sl.ivery throughout the 
Union, and announced his determination to adhere to his emancipation 
pi'oclamation, and not to return to slavery any person made free by 
that proclam.ation or by any act of Congress, saying: "If the peoi)le 
should by whatever mode oi' means make it an execuTlve duty to re- 
enslave such persons, .inolher. and not I. must be theii- instrument to 
perform it." He not content with wli:it he said in his message. 
He used his influence with members of Congress in favor of 
the amendment; and it was linally carried through Congress in Janu- 
ary, 18<;.">, and was subsequently r;itili(>d by the States; and thus it be- 
came what is now known as the Thirteenth Anu'iidment of the (Consti- 
tution. The formal ratirtcation of the amendment by a sulHcient num- 
ber of States came after his death in Decenibei', ISC,.".. P.ut he lived to 
foresee the certain iiccomplishment of a puipose he had very much at 
heart during his l.ast year ui)on e.-irth. It is clear ti-om his public 


utterances that in the early stages of the Civil War, he did not contem- 
plate the abolition of slavery in any of the States. He gradnally reach- 
ed the conclusion that he could and sliould abolish it in the rebel States 
as a war measure; and it was only after the war had been waged for 
two years or more that the conviction was forced upon him that slav- 
ery must absolutely die in all the States, and that to accomplish that 
end the constitution ought to be amended. 

Preceding his second inauguration as President, on the 4th of March, 
18G5, there were negotiations for peace with the rebel States conducted 
with the sanction of the President, but always on the two fundamental 
conditions of the restoration of the Union and the abolition of slavery. 
He would not recede from any of the positions he liad taken in refer- 
ence to slavery. In his second inaugural address, he said that at his 
lirst inauguration, one-eighth of the wliole population of the country 
were colored slaves; that all knew that slavery was somehow the cause 
of the war; that neither party to the civil strife expected for the war 
the magnitude or the duration which it had attained; that neither party 
anticipated that the cause of the conflict miglit cease with or even be- 
fore the conflict itself should cease; that "both read the same Bible aild 
pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It 
may seem strange that any man should dare to ask a just God's assist- 
ance in wringing tlieir l)read from the sweat of other men's faces. But 
let us judge not that we be not judged. * * Fondly do we hope, 
fervently do we pray that this mighty scourge of war may speedily 
pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled 
up by the bondman's two hundred and lifty j^ears of unrequited toil 
shall bo sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall 
be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand 
years ago, so still it must be said: 'The judgments of the Lord are true 
and righteous altogether;' "' and this large-hearted, generous man. not 
embittered by tlie long and bloody strife, and the many misconceptions 
of his own character and motives, closed with the following iienutiful 
and generous sentiments: "With malice toward none, with charity for 
all, with firmness in the riglit as God gives us to see the right, let us 
strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, 
to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and 
his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting 
peace among ourselves and with all nations." 

In less than six weeks after the utterance of these beautiful words, 
forever a part of the best literature of our language, he fell a victim to 
the hate, bred of the civil strife. His worlv was done. The measure of 
his fame was full, and he became one of the world's immortals. It is 
useless to speculate as to what would have been the course of events 
in this country if he had survived to serve out his second presidential 
term. A careful study of his acts and of his character leads me to 
believe that he would not have favored the re-construction of the 
revolted States in the precise way it was subsequently accomplished. 


I do not boliovo that lie would have favored dcin'iviiiij,' tlio <,n-<'iit hulk 
of the whites in the southern States of the ri^iht to vote, and eonferriufjc 
that right upon all the enfranchised Negroes. He was never in favor 
of conferring universal suffrage upon persons of color. He seems to 
h.ave been in favor ol giving the right to vote to very intelligent Negroes 
and especially to those Avho had fought in the Union ranks. 

I must here I>ring this paper to a close, for fear I may transcend the 
limits winch the occasion ])nts njion me, linally saying that this study 
of Mr. Lincoln's relation to slavery has given me a more exalted esti- 
mate of his chni.-ii'ter, and of the endiu-ing \;ilue of the ^york he 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, October 14, 1899. 

Mucli has been wfitttn, and some of it very well written, nbont those 
Frenchmen, and their descendants, who settled Canada, explored the 
country about the (Jreat Laki's, the valleys of the Ohio, the Illinois and 
the Mississippi, and for nearly two centuries struJ,^^■led with our Brit- 
ish ancestors for the mastery of the American continent. 

"The French in Canada!" What visions of forest adventure, what 
instances of devoted piety, what tales of heroic sacrifice, what (luiet 
days of happiness, what wild nights of terror, what hardships endured, 
what cruelties perpetrated, what j^ioi-ious triumphs, and what miser- 
able failures the words suysest. 

The Frencli based their claim to Canada and the Northern Atlantic 
coast on the alleged discoveries of Verazanno, in 1524, entirely ignoring 
the previous voyages of John and Sebastian Cabot in 1497 and 'OS. along 
the same shore. England claimed under the Cabots, and also by virtue 
of tr«>aties with the New England Indians, and later with the Irocpiois. 
None but Spain of the European Tiations made permanent settlements 
in North Amei'ica during the l(>th Century, and for more than a hun- 
dred years after the discoveiy of the continent, no attempt of conse- 
quence was made to civilize or Christianize the savages. But early 
in tlie 17th Century the struggle for the possession of America began. 
England founded colonies in Virginia and in New England. Sweden 
tried her luck in New Jersey; Holland established hei-self in New 
York, and France took possession of Nova Scotia and entered Canada. 
Jac(iues Cartier, an adventurous Frenchman, in 1534 sailed up the 
St. Lawrence as far as Anticosti, and in 1535 to the palisaded Indian 
town of TIoclu>laga (now Montreal). He returned to Stadacona (Que- 
lu'ct and spent the winter; twenty-five of his men died of scurvy, and 
in the Spring he treacherously took and carried off to France several 
of the natives, all of whom were baptized and died abroad. 


Ciirtier ('.Mine back in I'^Ai) with IJobcvnI's cxpt'dition, and attempted 
a colony, hnt the Indian icnKMnlicrcd his fornici' condnct and two of 
his men were killed, (."artier abandoned Uobeval, iieai' (^)nebee, in the 
night, but came back again in 1543, and took away the remnant of 
liobeval's colony. Not until latJS did the French try a.iiain, when De La 
Hoche met with f;iilure in Acadia. 

When C'hamplain came in Kio."!, he found the Indian town of Iloche- 
laya a ruin, and abandoned. An entirely different nation of Indians 
from those Carder found there in ir>:'>i occn])ied the country. Cham- 
I'lain, too, was a <lifferent kind of a man from ('artier. lie was ))riive, 
adventurous and honorable, and may well be re.uarded as the founder 
of ('anada, or New Fr.ance, as it was then called. In KJOS ('hamiil.ain 
founde<l Quebec, buildinu lln'ee houses, surrounded by a wooden wall 
for defense, and outside the wall a moat like a Eurojiean fortress. He 
i;-ained the friendshiit of his AljixuKiuiu neighbors, and, in the sununer of 
IGO'J, joiiH'd with them :um1 tlii' Ilurons in an expedition a.gainst the 

How lon.i; l)efore the Dutch came to New York the IroijUois had occu- 
pied and dominated the territory from Nia.cara to the Hudson river no 
on(^ c;in tell; their traditions furnish no information; with them 
it w:is the stone Jige and there is no written history of their career up 
to that time. When the I Hitch canu' in KIO'.), they found tlu- live 
riations, or Iro(]Uols, in jtossession, lirmly established, feared by all their 
neighl)ors and leagued together against the Ilurons and other Canadian 
Nations on the north, the Algoiniuins on the east, the Creeks :ind Chei'o- 
kces on the south, and the Sioux on the west. 

They were the most powerful confederation of savages on the conti- 
nent. They were hunters and eaters of men, levyin.g continual war 
from Niagara to the JMississippi; from the St. Lawrence to Hudson's 
Bay; from the Hudson Kiver to the Atlantic coast and from their own 
southern boundary to (Jeorgia and the Carolinas. They killed, scalped, 
tortured and ate their enemies, and while in some respects much 
superior to their neighbors, they were the fiercest and most savage of 
American Indians. 

These wild men welcomed tlie Dutch to New Amsterdam ;ind Albany 
because they bought their fui's and supi)lit(l them with guns :nid pow- 
der. The Dutch were tr.-iders and canae in p(>ace, and a firm and lasting 
friendship was established with the INIohawks, which continued during 
the entire Dutch occupancy, iiud under their English successors. 

Champlain and the Frenc'i came as (>n<Mnies, allies of the hated 
Ilurons, and the manner of their coming was never forgiven or for- 
gotten. The same sunnuer that Hudson sailed up the gre.-it river which 
bears his name, Champlain with two Frenchmen, and a lai-ge p.-irty 
of Ilurons and Algoncpiin w.arriors, came up the St. Lawrence .and the 
Sorel, enter(>(l th:it be.-iutiful Lake now called Ch.'implain, and, p.-iddling 
along its shore, met a l.-irge party of Moliawk warriors, who wvvv on 
their way to invade the country of their northeru neighbors. The 


llurons and the tlirce Frenchmen were greatly outnumbered, but tire 
Mohawks tlieii knew nothuig of fire arms and after two dischari^es of 
the guns of the Frenchmen, the Iroquois fled in terror, and Champlain 
and liis allies returned to Quebec in triumpli. He soon after returned 
to France but came back in Kill, made another expedition into Lake 
Champlain against the Iroquois, and attempted a settlement at Mon- 
treal, but it did not thrive. Champlain also ascended the Ottawa to the 
Huron towns, thinking that he miglit by tliat way reach Hudson's Bay 
and perhaps find the long sought Nortiiwesf passage to India, but he 
niet with so niucli difficulty that he turned back and did not get even 
to Georgian Kay, until liis next trip up the Ottawa, in 1()14. Thence 
coasting southward, along the eastern shore of that bay, lie reached 
the Huron towns overland. One of the zealous Keccolet missionaries 
had already begun work among the Hiu-ons, and the Indians luid built 
him a cliapel of bark; the first mass was said in this chapel after 
Champlain's arrival. He then joined these Hurons in a campaign 
against the Iroquois, crossing Lake Ontario, and attacking them at 
Onondaga. Here tliey found a fortified town and were defeated. The 
llurons returned to their own country and refused to allow Champlain 
to go back to Quebec until tlie following summer. 

The Frencli had made another attempt at settlement in Acadia. Port 
Royal was founded in 1004, abandoned in l(i()7 and again occupied in 
IGIO. The Micmac Indians all became Christians, and they with the 
Abonakis, allies of the French, and later on the scourge and terror of 
the Englisli settlements of northern and eastern New England. 

In 1622 the Iro(iuoJs attempted to exterminate the French in Canada 
because of tlie lielp tliey liad given their enemies, and an army of sav- 
ages attaclvcd tlie convent and fort at Quebec, but they were defeated 
and secured only a few Huron prisonei's. 

Aside from these raids of tlie Iroquois, the new settlers had ti'oubles 
of their own, Jesuits and Keccolets could not agree in Quebec any bet- 
ter than they could in France, and the colony did not prosper. In 1027 
(Cardinal Riclielieu put the control of New France info the hands of 
"1'lie Company of One Hundred Associates," liut the attempt to farm 
out file colonies in Canada was not more successful than in other parts 
of America. In 1(!2(; war broke out between France and England. 
The French colonies in Acadia liad lieen partially destroyed by an Eng- 
lish expedition from Virginia in 1(513 and in i(i29 Captain David Kirk 
ascended the St. Lawrence and captured Quebec. It was restored to 
France in 1033 and in 1035 its founder, Samuel Ue Champlain, died. Set- 
tlements were established along the St. Lawrence, and some interest 
was awakened in France in tlie pro.iect of Christianizing the Algonquins 
and the Hurons. There was a continual state of war with the Iroquois, 
and the houses of the French habitants were liable to attack at any 
fime day or night. The Jesuits obtained the controlling influence in the 
colony. Their missionaries penetrated tlie interior and established them- 
selves in the Huron villages, and while they made no serious attempt 



to civilize, they baptized the sava.ues and called tlieiii Christians; the 
converts liecanie the liriii friends of the French and lierccly fiin,i;ht the 
couimon enemy, the Iroiiiiois. 

The Jesuits discouraged tlie cannibal practice of eatinj; prisoneis. but 
tliought it well enough to torture and burn them, provided a .lesnit 
priest could baptize the victim just before he gave uj) the ghost, so as 
lo insure liis salvation from eternal lii'e. 

In KiOO, the Inxjuois attacked the IIukmi villages located between 
Lake Ontario and (he (Georgian Bay, and nearly destioyed the entire 
nation, lunnbering about <*),()U0 peopK'. 

A remnant took refuge on an island in the Bay and later went farther 
west and were known as Wyandots. A few went among the Algon- 
(juins, and under the walls of Quebec found comparative s.afoty. but 
even there the Iro(iuoJs pursued them, and the I'^rench themselves 
escaped destruction only because of their guns and wooden walls, 
.iesuit priests were taken, tortured and murdered, .and died rejoicing 
tliJit thev had been found worthy of m;irt\"rdom. 

Among tliese wei'e (Joupil de None, Daniel. Couture. (Jaiaiier, Clia- 
baneau. lirebeuf and Lallennint. No l)raver nien ever liv((l or died in 
till' sei'vice of the Savioi'. 

rarkman says: "The nioxcment in western I'vurope known as the 
Kenaisance, was far more than a revival of arts and letters — it was an 
awalvening of intellectual, moral and religious life, the offspring of cause 
long in action, and the parent of other nnnements in action to this 
day. "The I'roti'stant reformation was a part of it. That revolt against 
Kome produced a countt-r renaisance in tlie bosom of tlie ancii'ut cluu'ch 
itself. In piest'Uce of that peril she awoke from sloth and corruption, 
and girdi d lierself to beat back the invadnig lieresies, by fraud or by 
craft, by inquisitoi'ial tires, by tlie arms of princely and imperial allies 
and by the self-sacriticing entliusiasin of her saints and martyrs. 

"That time of change produced the exalted piety of Xavier and the 
intense, tliouglitful zeal of Loyola. After a century had passed, tlie 
flame still biu'iied and it never shone with a purer or brighter radiance 
than in the early missions of New France. But before the end of the 
17th Century the functions of the Canadian Jesuit had become as much 
liolitical as religious." 

In IcriC. the Canadians yielding to tlie solicitation of the Irociuois, 
and accepting their invitations, formed a colony at Onondaga. Tliey 
were received with aiip.irent friendship and the Indians listened to 
the teaching of the priests with seeming interest, but the whites were 
soon conxinced they were being decc'i\'ed. and that in the end the 
Indi.ans intended to torture and destroy' them. Then followed for more 
than a year a game of dissimulaticn. 'IMie l-'rendi determined 
that they would not wait until the tires were lighted for their s;icritice. 
but would escape if possible and return home. 

They secretly began the building of bcjats in their house by the lake 
shore, and at the same time used every effort to tlatter and cajole the 


Indiniis. Finally our iiiiiht late in ]Marcli. ICt.lS, as soon as the ice had 
Kfaie oiit of the lake and river, they gathered the Indians to the rear 
of their great bark building and gave them a feast. It was the Indian 
eustoni to gorge themselves with food at tliese feasts so as to be almost 
unable to move, and on this occasion wlien the Indians were thus 
gorged and sleeping off the effects of the mighty meal, the French 
quietly placed their boats-in the lake and all started for Canada. When 
the Indians awoke, their intended victims had escaped; how, the* 
Indians could not tell, as they knew nothing about the boats and the 
fugitives had left no trail. The fleeing Fri'uch a perilous passage, 
mid snow and ice, by lake and river, but tinally arrived in safety at 

The French built a fort at the mouth of the Sorel, and mainiained a 
garrison there, but it was easily avoided and the enemy coming down 
Lake Ohamplain simply carried their canoes around the fort, and 
launched them below on the St. I.awrenc'\ 

Many hostile raids were m;ule in the dciid of winter, and every man 
who laid down to sleep in his foi-est camp knew that he was liable to be 
killed before morning. 

In IC.dO, Adam DoUard and 17 Frenchman with 40 Hurons, learning 
of a threatened Irociuois invasion, took (piarti-rs in an old fort at the 
foot of the Long Sault on the St. Lawivnce. Tlie enemy came, laid 
seige to the fort, and after several days of very severe lighting, in which 
many of the beseigers were killed, all but one of the Ilurons desert- 
ed, the Iroquois entered the fort and Dollard and 1(! of his Frenchmen 
were butchered, but the victorious Iroipiois were discouraged by this 
brave resistance, and by their own losses, and turning back, abandoned 
the enterprise. 

In the Winter of KJC-j and '(>, Courcelle, then (Jovernor of Canada, 
took the offensive and invaded the Mohawk valley. The western con- 
federates had suffered greatly in the Huron and Shawnee wars and 
had made peace with the French, but the iNIohawks and Oneidas were 
constantly raiding into Canada, down the Sorel, and about Montreal, 
at which place since b',42, the French had maintained a convent, hos- 
pital and garrison. 

This expediton of Courcelle reached the :\Iohawk valley but accom- 
plished nothing. In the Fall of l(JG(i, Tracy, with tlu' lirst regiment of 
regular troops that ever came to America, numbering 1,()(M) men, and a 
large body of Canadian and Indian allies, came l)y the usual route, 
up the Sorel and through I>ake Chami)lain, and carried the war into 
our fair valley. The towns of the Mohawks and Oneidas were buriu'd 
and their crops destroyed. 

The Indians Ihd before the invading French without striking a blow, 
and they received such severe treatment that for twenty years the Can- 
adian colonists enjoyed i)eace and i)rosperity and multi])lied exceed- 

During these years of comparative peace. Fathers Allouez, Dablon, 


Marciiit'ttc and lleuiu-pin taii.t;lit and baptized the licathcn and ixplorcd 
the great West. Father Uollier De Ca.sson was anotlier devtitc d jirii'st 
who tigured in nnmy an t'xpedition uf trial and liai-dship. Jle was the 
tirst white man to sail through Lakes Erie and Ht. Clair. A giant in 
statui-e, it is said that he could streteh his arms and hold a man on 
each hand; tender hearted as a wonnin, he nursed the sick, shrived 
the dying and was greatly beloved by his associates, the soldiers and 
the people. 

Louis Joliet traversed the upper Mississi])pi cinintry, and the region 
about Lake Winnipeg and accomplished much as an explorer. I'.ut 
greatest of all was Itobert De La Salle, who after repeated trials and 
many failures, overcame all obstacles, pushed his way down the Illi- 
nois and the Mississippi to its mouth, claimed the whole country west 
uf the Ohio and the Mississippi for the King of France, founch'd a 
colony in Texas, and at last in the solitudes of that lonely region fell. 
murdered by his own men. 

He it was who tirst proposi-d that vast scheme of continental enipiif, 
which, for a luuuhvd years was the dream of France, and the menace 
of the American colonies. With lier sliips on the Great I^akes and he; 
forts along tlie Ohio and the Mississippi reaching fi'om the St. LaM 
rence to the Gulf of Mexico, b'rance lioped to push the Fnglish colonies 
into the Atlantic, but between these scattered settlements, straggling 
along the coast, and the armies of France advancing from Canada, 
stood tlie Iroquois, like a wall of Hre, ever to l>e ret-kont-d with, and 
never overcome. 

In Kid'J the Massachusetts Indians made their last hostile raid into 
our valley and wi-re cut to pieci-s and driven out by the Mohawks. 

The French made some attempt to secure tlie friendship of and to 
Christianize the Inxpiois and st'nt missionaries among tlii'm. 

No prospect of torture could deter tlie zealous Jesuit priests from 
these enterprises; and Father Jo(]ues, after having been mutilati'd by 
the Mohawks and held by them for more than a year in a most terrible 
slavery, escaped by the assistance of the Dutch at Albany, went to 
l''rance, obtained libci'ty fiom his Bishop to celebrate (he mass with 
his mutilated hands and returned to Canada, to again take ui) his work 
and die a martyr's death at their hands. The scene of his final suffer- 
ing has become the siiriiu' at Auriesville, and is visit<'d by many pious 
Catholics who revere his memory. 

In this period Fronteiiac ruled Canada his lirst term and loyally he 
served the grand monariiue, Louis the 14th, in that policy of paternal- 
ism which sapped the life blood of the State and fostered the tyranny 
of the Church. Proud and arrogant, he (luarreled with the I'.isliop and 
the .Tesuits and like other Canadian governors, sought to eiu-ich him- 
self at the expense of the colony. 

But he was bold and able; the Iroipiois feared him. He established 
forts and trading iiosts upon the frontier, and kei)t o])en the avenues 
of trade so that the colony prospered. 


Parkniaii says of Froiitonac: "Many suritassi'd ]iim in cruelty; none 
equalled liiiu in eapaeity and vigor." 

Before the reign of Louis the 14th, the entire white popuhition of 
Canada did not exeeed 2,500. In lOGS it was 5,870 ,and during this 
reign every efi'ort possible was made by the King to increase the num- 

Girls were sent out from Fiance by the sliip load as wives for tlie 
colonists and when they arrived, as an old writer says: "Bridegrooms 
chose their Avives as a butcher choses sheep out of the midst of the 
lloclv." The marriagis took place at once, and the next day the Gov- 
ernor gave each new couple an ox, a cow, two hogs, two fowls, two bar- 
rels of salt meat and eleven crowns in money. 

Young men were recpiired to marry at twenty, girls at sixteen. No 
mercy was shown to odburate batchelors; they were forbidden to hunt, 
tish, trade witli the Indians, or go into the forest under any ])retense 
whatever, and were excluded from all offices. In spite of these aids to 
matrimony, many young men took to the woods and refused the wives 
so kindly furnished by tlie King. 

De Casson tells of a widow wlio was married afresh before her late 
luisband was buried. Bounties were paid for large families: For ten 
children, 300 livres; for twelve, 400 livres, and for fifteen. 1,200 livres 
per year. Yet with all this stimulation and encouragement by the gov- 
ernment in half u century the gain was only 20.000. 

The people were regarded as the children of the King. Lands were 
hehl by feudal tenure, :ind this system was not entirely ■-.bolished in 
Canada until 1854. 

The Governor, and the intendant, Avho was Jilways a mere spy on the 
Governor, each wrote long letters, from forty to sixty pages, home, 
giving their views of the situation and coinplaiTiing of the conduct of 
tlie other. The power of the Governor, intendant and council was 
absolute, and only limited by the will of the King. No foreign trade 
was allowed. All trade was in the hands of the government, prices on 
all articles and the per cent, of profit allowed to a merchant were fixed 
l)y the council, home traders were favored. Huguenots and Protestants 
were forbidden to exercise their i-eligion, or to remain in the colony 
during Winter without special license. Not an enterprise was set up 
without a petition to the King for aid, and it was rarely refused. 

The instructions to (Jov. Talon in l('.(i() from Colburt, the Fi-ench 
Prime Minister contains the following words: 

"As the King regards his Canadian subjects from the highest to 
the lowest almost as his own children and wishes them 1o enjoy 
e(iually with the people of France the mildness and happiness of his 
n ign, the Sienr Talon is to solace them in all things. an<l encourage 
them to trade and industry, and seeing that nothing can better pro- 
mote this end. th.-in enti'ring into the detiiils of their houseliolds. and 
of all their little affairs, it will not be amiss that he visit all their 
settlements, one after the other in order to learn the true conditions. 


provide as much as possible lor tlieir wants and performing- rlie duty 
of a good head of a family put them in the way of makiii.u some 

The Kinu did exerythin.L;', the people did notliinu- for thciuselves. 
Tlie festivals of the Church became so numerous that not ninety work- 
inii' days were left in the whole workin.i; season. Iteaver and moose skins 
were used for money and wheat was made a leyal tender. At one 
time tliere was an issui' of p'laying cards stamped as money and the 
scheme of tiat money was fully developed. A candid ytudy of the his- 
tory of those limes ought to satisfy the most rabid infiationist of our 
day. A writer of that age says: "It is the sign of a sign, and has no 
\alue as the ic>presentativt' of money." Yet it bon; the government 
stamp of vaUu'. Would liat nuniey be any better nowV The beaver 
trade, and the law against batchelors produced "Coureur de bois;" 
young men who adopted th(> customs of the savages, and became wilder 
than the Indians tlieniselves. At one time eiglit hundred out of a popu- 
lation of less than ten thousand were living in the woods, and when 
these men came into tlie settlement, "There was a hot time in the old 

The government outlawed these wild rovers, but the governor and 
his business partners found it inofitable to maintain friendly relations 
witli them, and they coidd always be depended on as volunteers in ex- 
l)editions against tlie English colonies. 

The .Tesuits oppposed balls, dancing and tlie sale of licpior to tlie 
Indians, they tried hard to draw the Iroquois away fnjui the Diitcli 
and P^ngiish, and to divert their trade to Canada. The tirst temper- 
ance fneeting in Amei'ica was held in 1<;4S at the Jesuit missions of 
Sillci'y. but the priests could not break up the trade in rum. 

The plan of the .lesuits was "for tlie cliurch to rule the world, the 
I'o])e to rule the church, and the Jesuits to rule the I'ope." 

T.aval l)ecame "I'.ishop of Tetraea." Vicar Apostolic of Canada, in 
]i;rt'.K at the ;ige of ."'.(i, and at once had a bitter contest with (^)ueyliis, 
the SuliMtian Triest of Moiitnal. who opposed him, and who would not 
admit his authority; but the .lesuits sided with Laval and after seven 
years of strife, (Jueylns submitted. 

Laval was a iMontmorancy and could brook no divided authority, 
lie quarreled with (Jovernor after (Governor and drove one after anoth- 
er from the colony. The .lesuit principles were never better explained 
than by one of their own number iis late as 1872, the Kev. Father 
liraun, in a sermon at Montreal: "The supremacy and infallibility of 
the Pope, the independence' and liberty of the church, the subordination 
and submission of the State to the cliurch: in case of conflict between 
them, the church to d 'cide. the St;ite to submit; for whoever follows 
and defends these ]M'itici]»l( s, life .-ind ;i blessing: for wlioev<'r rejects 
aiKl cnnib.-its then:, death jind a curse." ly.-nal always act<'d upon this 
theory of ethics .-ind his succ;'Ssors followed him. 

'I'lie English succeeded the Dutch in New York and All)any in 1G04, 


and maintainod friendly relations witli the Iroquois. During tlie years 
of peace with the Frencli, tlie Iroquois reeruited tlieir strength; they 
destroyed the Illinois in 1G80, the Eries and Andastes in 1G82 and in 
1684 again defied the Frencla. Denonville fought the Senecas in tlieir 
own country in 1(;87, and when the war between France and England 
bx'oke out in 1(588 the contest became general and New York and Can- 
ada again a battle ground. 

The Iro(iuois attacked Montreal in lOSi) and massacred many of the 
inhabitants. Count Frontenac after an absence of ten years returned 
as Governor of Canada in 1<>89. He was seventy years old, but he 
entered upon the defense of his country witli all tlie energy of his youth- 
ful days. He immediately laid plans to capture New Yorlc and Boston, 
but did not receive the expected aid from France and the scheme was 

Among tliose liardy Frenchmen wlio made Canada tlieir home was 
Charles LeMoyne, a man of great courage and ability. He was the 
father of eleven sons, at least five of whom, Serigny, Chateaugay, St. 
Ilelene, Bienville and Iberville, left great names behind them. 

Tli,e three last named were with Mantel in February, 1(590, at the burn- 
ing of Schenectady. During a terrible storm on the niglit of February 8th, 
the palisade of tliat town was entered liy a party of three hundred 
French and Indians, the houses tired and the inliabitants murdered as 
they I'an from tlieir beds. Tlie town was completely destroyed and 
only a few escaped to tell the dreadful tale. 

Four of the LeMoyne brothers were engaged m the attack on Fort 
Nelson on Hudson's Bay. Iberville was educated in France and was 
regarded as the most skillful captain in the French navy. While com- 
manding the French frigate "Pelican," in ICi'.iT, he sailed into Hudson's 
Bay and fought in those icy waters that remarkable liattle witli three 
Englisli ships in which he destroyed them all and added to his own 

He also ravaged tlie English settlements of New Foundland. terror- 
ized the Atlantic coast, founded a Frencli colony in Louisana. and 
tinally, as he was preparing for an attacli on Nortli Carolina died of 
fever at Havana, at the age of forty-five. Bienville was twice Governor 
of Louisiana and had a great career in that colony. St. Helene fell 
during the Bjitish attaclc on Quebec. Captain .Tolin Scliuyler led a 
party of Englisli and Indians into Canada in 1(590, and destroyed the 
village of LaPrarie, near Montreal, but the Boston expedition up the 
river against Quebec was a complete failure. 

In January, 1()93. an army of nearly seven hundred Canadians came 
out of the forest near Schenectady, burned the houses of the settlers, 
destroyed the Mohawlc towns and having cai)tui-ed some three hun- 
dred prisoners, retreated. 

They were pursued by Captain Peter Schuyler with a small party ctf 
militia and Indians. He came up with tliem near Saratoga, killed about 
twenty of them and harrassed them until they reached Lake Cham- 


plain, wiu'u tlicy cscaixd on Ihc i<'t'. l>ut many of tlieni pcrislicd with 
ciild on tlicii" way to Canada. 

Tlic si'lticnicnls <»f nortliorn New England sntTcrcd toiriUly in tliis 
war, town al'tor (own was l)Urni'd and destroyed, and tlic i>i'o|)lc nmr- 
dered or carried into captivity. Inil it is not my pnrpose to tell the tale 
of Mood and tire, ontside our own valley. 'IMie Mass.-iehusetts -nen 
rt'taliated on Acadia, and tlie Ircxiuois and New Yorkers on ("anad;i. 

A single incident of (he New Enuland trouble will sntliee. In KUlT, 
Haverhill, in Massachusetts, was attacked by the ("anadian Indians 
and the Dustan house burned. Hannah iMistan ;ind Many Xelf were 
taken prisoners. .Mrs. Uustan's baby, one week old. was luui'dered be- 
fore her eyes and the [trisoners started tor Cmada. One nii;lit Mrs. 
Dustan, who planned ;in escap<'. insi)ired M.iry Netf and a white 
itoy taken ;il W'ooster, to attack their captt»rs. Kisini;- (piietly, the boy 
and the two women each took a toniah.awk and slrikinK rapidly killed 
ail of the slei-pin-;- Indians but a little boy and a S((naw. who escaped 
v.oujided into the woods. Mrs. iHistan i-etiuned to her desol.-ited home 
with a canoe, gun, tomahawk and ten Indian scalps as trophies of her 

Froidenac crossed L.ike (tntario in ICiPi; and attacked Onond.iua with- 
out doing vei-y much d:im;ige. lie returiu'd to C.inada and died in 
Ki'.IS. His successoi-. Cilliere. made peace with the lro(|Uois, but war 
broke (tut again in 1Tt»."l and lasted until 1712. During tlu'Se years New 
York did not sutler as much as did New England. In 1712 the ()uta.g- 
aruues.of Fox Kiver,\Visc<insin, fornu'd an alliance with the Iroquois and 
attacked the western outi)osts of the French, but did not destroy them. 

V>y the pe.ace of Itrecht. France and l<]ngland each restoi'ed c.-ijitui-ed 
territoi'y and the lro(iuois wei-e i-ecogni/,ed by France as being within 
the 10n.L;lish domain, but the Inxiuois themselves acknowledged no 
master, 'i'hey simply called the English brothers ;iud the Kiiig their 
father. Parkman says that in 1701, '"The power of the lro(juois 
so far broken they were never again \ cry formidable to the 
French. ('anad;i had conhrmed her Indian .alliances and rebuttt'd th(> 
English claim to sovei'eignty ovei- the live tribes with all the conse- 
<iuenccs that hung uiion it:'" ;ind also in a note, " the li'oquois 
iiund)ere<l twenty-live hundred warriors in ir.O'.t; twelv<' hundred and 
fifty in IC'.IS, and tweh'e hundred in 1701. After tlu' Tuscaroras Joined 
tliem in 1720, they nundtered two thousand." 

In their best d;iys they never could muster more than live thousand 
warriors, ;ind La I'otherie says of (hem: ■"Strange th;i( four or ti\'e 
thousand should m.ake a whole new world tremble. New Englan<l is 
but too hap|iy to gain (heir i;()od graces. New I''r-ance is often w.isted 
by their wars and our .allies dn-ad them over ;iu exteid of more than 
tifteeii hundred miles." 

Acadia was ceded to lOnul.i iid in 171."!. 

Aftei' 1712 the lOnglish colonies increased in ])o]>ulation much more 
rapidly than did Canada. The Iroquois adopted a policy of neutrality 


and had it not been for the great inflncnoe of the Schuylers and of Sir 
William Johnson they might have yielded to the solicitation of the 
Jesuit priests and joined France against the English; but the Mo- 
hriwks and Oneidas generally stood tirni and acted with the English 
in the wars of '45 and '50. 

The French priests labored diligently and somewhat effectively to 
win the friendship of tire Iroquois, but in 1738, William Johnson came 
from Ireland into the Mohawk valley and settled among the Mohawks. 
He was the nephew of Sir Peter Warren. He learned the language of 
the Iroquois, adopted their mode of living when among them, and 
became the most able and elKcient Indian Agent that England ever 
had. How much this valley owes to Sir William 'Johnson no one can 
know without a diligent study of his life and the history of those 
times. It was through him, more than by any other influence that the 
Six Nations were kept in alliance with the English, and eventually that 
the tide of battle was turned against the French. Some Irocpiois were 
drawn away and became mission or praying Indians, settling near Mon- 
treal. They joined the French in their attacks on the English settle- 
ments and murdered, scalped and burned their poor captives just as 
if they had not been Christianized. Mercy to heretics and protestauts 
had no place in the French creed of those days. 

Saratoga was destroyed and thirty families slaughtered in 17-17, and 
a sharp battle with a party of French and Indians fought near Schenec- 
tady in the summer of 1748. The French were defeated and retreated, 
taking the unusual route via the Sacondaga, and thus escaped a party 
lying in wait to cut them off. 

The English took Louisburgh in that war, but much to the disgust of 
the colonists, by the peace of 1748, captured territory, except Acadia, 
was again restored to France and for a few years more there was a 
nominal peace until the final struggle l)egan in 1754. Each party had 
tried to strengthen itself by building forts in the disputed territory. 
The French at Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Niagara and down the Ohio. 
The English on the eastern border of Maine, in New Hampshire, at 
Fort Edward and at Oswego. 

The Iroquois ui'ged the English to action and in a council held in 
1754 at Albany, for the common defense, between the Governors of the 
sevei-al colonies and the chiefs of the Six Nations, a Mohawk chief 
said: "Look at the French; they are men; they are fortifying every- 
where. It is but one step from Canada hither and they may easily come 
and turn you out of doors." 

One is reminded by the Avords of this savage orator of Cato's "Car- 
thago est delenda" in the Koman senate. There had been skirmishing 
all along the dis])Uted boundary and B'rench priests were cotistantly 
trying to stir the Acadians to revolt, and to violate their oath of alle- 
giance to the British crown. 

So, almost at the beginning of the struggle the Acadians were ex- 
pelled from the peninsula and driven into exile. We see now that the 


t'.xile <»f the Ac;i(li;nis was i'xciisal)h' if not justifialilc, lnit it has fur- 
nished foundation foi' many a patlictic tale, both in prose and poetry, 
and is regarded as one of the saihh'st incidents in histoi'y. 

Late in Xovemhei'. 17r>T, Caid.-iin I'.elletre. witli tlir<'c hundred I'rench 
and Indians, attaclvcd tlie (lerinan settlement wliere Herkimer vilia.ue 
is now situated. l''rieiidly (>nei<las and Tusearoras liad warned tlie 
settlors but the warniu,u for some I'eason was unheeded and tlie settle- 
ment w^'^s unpre[)ared. 

In the Doc. History of New York, Vol. X, paiic ('.72, there is a 
translation of the Frencli Captain's otticial re]K)i't of his ('xjtloit. 
Whether or not he was a ureat Huhter, Ik- was (ci-t.ainly ;i lii-eat liar. 
He says he burned sixty houses, killed forty Kn.ulish, took one hundred 
and fifty prisoners and a lar.ue amoiuit of plunder; tli.-it om* Indian 
alone secured ^C, ()()(» in money, and that the mayor of the town lost 
.*};.S0,0()() worth of property. We all know tliere was no such amount of 
wealth here at that time. 

The inhaliitants of the villa.yc lied to Fort Hei-kimei-, across the river. 
Some were killed, nearly one hundred carried into captivity and their 
property and homes buiiied aiul desti'oyed. The enemy did not att.ack 
the fort, Init after securing their plunder, took the back ti'ack for Can- 

On April 30tli, 17.")S, a party of eighty Indians and four Frenchmen 
entered the valley and appeared near Fort Herkimer. This time they 
attacked the settlements on the south side of the rivei- and killed some 
thirty'of the inhal>itants, but were driven off by Captain I'.lnir ;ind his 
rangers from the fort. 

That the French were thoroughly posted on the sittnition through 
the Valley may lie seen from the following translation of a document 
in the French archives at l*aris. Doc. History, Vol It), (>7S: "Fort 
Kouari is situate on the right bank of the Mohawk river, on a small 
hill on the scarp of the river. It is a large three-story stone house, with 
port holes at each stor.v and likewise in the basement, foi- the ])urpose 
of cross firing. 

"The Palatine villag<'. which consisted of thirty houses, h;is been 
entirely destroyed and burnt by a detachment under M. de Belletre's 
orders. The inhabitants of this village formed a company of oni' hun- 
dred men bearing arms. They icckoned three hundred persons, men, 
women and t-hildren, one hundred .and two of whom were made pris- 
oners and the ri'mainder lied to l''ort Kouai'i, except a few who wn-re 
killed whilst fording the river. Fiom the Palatine village to the Little 
Falls, still continuing along the b;inks of the river, is estimated about 
three leagues. In this distance there had been eight houses, wduch 
have been abandoned. The inhabitants of these houses compose a 
company with those of Fort Kouari, at the opposite of the river." 

Also in a note, (!S(>, from another French document, we get this: 
"In the whole country of the I'iver Corlae there were nine coui]»anies 
of militia under the command of Colonel .fohnson, eight only remain, 


that of tlio village of the Palantines being no longer in e.^istence, the 
greater portion having been defeated by M. De Belletre's detachment. 
Colonel Jolinson assembles these companies wiien lie has news of any 
expedition wliich may concern the Mohawk river. He did so in A])ril, 
1757, and with twelve hnndred, in all two thousand men, entrenched 
himself at the head of the Palatine village wlien the Frencli went up 
the St. Lawrence to re-enforce the beautiful river (Ohio)." 

The Shawnees and Delawares, though vav«;sals of the Iroijuois, went 
over to the French, but the Cherolcees were faithful to the English. 

Braddock's defeat was a great disaster and many of tlie wavering 
Indians, especially Seiiecas. thinking that the French woidd lie vic- 
torious, took sides witli tliem. .Jolmson's victory at I^ake George in 
.1755, in Avhich two hundred Mohawks took p.-irt and Ilendrick, the 
Mohawk chieftain, fell, slightly stemmed the tide. Montcalm took and 
destroyed the English fort at Oswego and obtained entire control of 
Lake Ontario in 1756. Jjord Loudon and General Abercrombie made a 
miserable failure of the campaign against Ticonderoga in 1757, so tliat 
at the close of 1757 the French were triumphant all along the line. 
They were fortified at Ticonderoga and Grown Point, had destroyed 
Fort William Henry and Oswego, wei-e in possession of the valleys of 
the Ohio and Mississii)pi, had won over many of the Iro(juois, and even 
the Cherokees had begun to waver. But now the elder Pitt became Pre- 
mier of England. A vigorous policy was adopted, all (piarrels with the 
colonies about raising funds were put aside. Lord Jjoudon was recalled 
and able commanders with large English armies were sent to America. 
In that war England sent more soldiers to assist the Americans to con- 
quer Canada than she did later in the Revolutionary war to attempt to 
mainlatn her own supremacy. 

At the close of 1757 the victorious Fi-ench. however, had l>egun to 
feel the exhaustion of war; the fields had not been tilled, for the men 
had been with Montcalm in the enemy's country: the crops failed; no 
supplies came from France and the English colonists far outnumbered 
the French. 

Fort Stanwix was bnilt in 17.5,S and .Colonel Bradstreet with twenty- 
seven hundred provincials and one hundred and fifty Iroquois marched 
in September from that post, crossed I>ake Ontario from the site of 
Oswego and took and destroyed Fort Frontenac. 

In November of the same year General Forbes and Colonel George 
Washington took Fort DuQuesne and changed its name to Fort Pitt. 

General Amherst and Admiral BoscawcMi ca])tured Louisburg. and a 
French army of five thousand six hundred and thirty-seven men. in 
July, 175.S, and here General Wolfe distinguished himself. General 
Amherst then turned his victorious army to help Al)ercrombie on Lake 
George against the hitherto invincible Montcalm. In a preliminary 
skirmish at Ticonderoga, Lord Howe, a man of great ability, and from 
Avhom much was expected, had been killed, and later Al^ercrombie, 
who had little capacity, and no faith in his provincial officers, Putnam, 


Stark. r>ra(Ntre('t and IfoL^crs, bad suft'cri'd defeat with the h)ss ot two 
thousand men. He retreated to the site of Fort Wiiii.ini Il'-iny and 
even prepared to Ih'e to Albany and New York, bnt when ,\ndierst 
eanie the sitn.ation elianyed. 

In June, IT")!*. (Jeneral Amherst with an overwhelming force proceed- 
ed agiiinst Ticonderoiia and Crown I'oint, which posts the French aban- 
doned, and retreated down tlie lake. Andierst was slow abont pnrsn- 
iny. and M'hen in September he was ready to follow the I'l-eneh, it 
was too late to proceed a.uiiinst Afoiitreal. Sir .Johnson with 
his Iroquois Jillies, and (ieneral Frideanx witli two I'.iitish reyiments 
went to Niauiini in the sunnner of 17.">'.l and took the fort. Fridean.x 
was killed early in the sei.:;(' and .Johnson obtained ail the yloiy of the 
victory, as his Mohawks were of great assistance in the battle which 
preceded the surrender of the Fort. Colonel Boquet took the French 
forts at rres(tue Isle. Venango and Le r>oef and Colonel Ilaldeniand 
successfully resisted a Freni-h attack on Oswego. The French com- 
mander at Toronto burned his buildings and took his gai'rison to Mon- 
treal. General (Jage, although ordered to .attack the I'^rench pctst :it 
Ogdensl)urg, failed to do so. Captain Rogers with his rangers attacked 
the village of St. Francis Indians about midway between Montreal and 
Quebec. Tliey had been great freebooters and had often ravaged the 
New England settlements. II<' found them holding a feast, and wait- 
ing uuitil about H o'clock in the morning when they were all asleej). 
entered tlie town and killed two hundri'd Indians. He returned to the 
settlements by the way of the Comu'cticut Ixiver. 

Lat-e in June, ITo!), Wolfe ai-rived before and laid seige to (}uebec, 
and on the 12tli of September he fought that battle on the T'lains of 
Abraliam, whicli sealed the fate of New France, and gained for him 
the glory of a soldier's death. Montcalm, the ablest genei-al I''i-ance 
ever had In America, was mortally wounded and died Se|>tember 11th. 
DeLevis, who succ(>eded Montcalm, attempted in April. 17<>0. to rct.-ikc 
Quebec, lie moved down fi'om .Montreal with about ten thousand men, 
defeated General ^lui'r.ay on the Plains of Abraham, and in\('st<'<l llic 
town; but on the !Mh of May a British shi]) arriv<'d with rclii'f and 
other vessels came on the l.'itli. DeLevis raised the seige and retreat- 
ed up the river. (Jeneral Andierst cauK* down from Oswego and invest- 
ed Montreal on the <;th of September. Murray came u|> from t^uebec 
and Ilaviland from Crown Point, and on the .Sth. of Sejjfember, ITdO, 
Vandreuil surrendered all C.inada to the lOnglish. Pontiac in ITCii; was 
al)le to draAV only a few of the Senecas into his conspiracy, and .John- 
son held through that trying time nearly all of the Iroquois, as firm 
friends lof the Phjglish king, so that oui' valley did not suffer again 
until the Revolutionary w;ir. 

The treaty of peace was signed in 17<i'J .md Canada, .Vova Scotia and 
Cai)e Ih'cton were ceded to Gre.-it P.rit.ain. l''i'enre reserved Louisiana 
and the territory w<'st of (lie .M ississliipi, but soon alter ceded it to 
Spain, and S^iain, later on, ceded to Napoleon, who sold that whole 


territory to the United States wlien Jefferson was President, in 1803. 
Tlius just two liundred years after France began tlie settlement of Can- 
ada she finally retired and gave up forever the scheme of empire in 
North America, but what a terrible tale of blood is the history of those 
two centuries. The contest with France was tlie school in which the 
American colonies learned tlieir own strength when united in a com- 
mon cause. 

In the battles with the French tliey learned to fight, and there such 
generals as Stark, Herkimer and Washington were educated. 

It is no wonder that the Iroquois generally sided with the King in the 
war of the Revolution. The King of England had been their friend 
for many generations, his agent Johnson was like one of tlieir own 
nation, he was their brotlier, his sons were loyalists and tliey cast in 
their lot with them. In that struggle they lost their homes and their 

We have been so accustomed to blame the Indians for tlie cruelties 
perpetrated on the patriots, during that war, that we liave forgotten 
the long period of more than a century in wliich the land of the Iro- 
quois stood an almost impassable barrier l)etween tlie hostile Frendi 
of Canada, with their Indian allies on the one side, and the weak set- 
tlements of New York on the other. Now we know that we are undei- 
•great obligations to the Irocpiois. More than once they saved the set- 
tlers in this valley from destruction, and what is better still, they saved 
the continent from Jesuit domination, and French civilization. 

Let us give them the honor they deserve, and rememlvr that they 
were true friends of ou'-" fathers when our fathers most needed friends, 
and although they were savages and heathen, they loved the valley of 
the Mohawk, and the places where we delight to dwell. 



Delivered 1)efore the Herkimer County Historical Society, November ii, 


Chronology and goo.L;r;i]>]iy are said to t)0 the two eyes of history. 
The sttidoiit who would ])roiierly understand and ai)i)i'eeiate the story 
of any people must eonsider their relations in time and spaee to other 
people and other cotmtries. 

The science of Chronology deals with time in its succession; and 
many Chronological systems formerly prevailed and several still pre- 
vail. Among all nations having Chronological tables, time has always 
been computed from some impoitant event in their history. In ancii'iit 
IJome, it was computed from the founding of Kome by Komulus, in 
753 B. C, in the fourth year of the sixth Olympiad. In Crece, tlie Olym- 
pic Games were great national events. They were instituted In honor 
of Jupiter to exercise the Grecian youths in various athU'tic contests 
and combats. They took place near Olympia in the relopoiu'sus, now 
the iVIorea, every four years; and hence an Olympiad was a period of 
four years. The victor in those games was honored with a crown of 
wild olives and sometimes he became a national hero. In 77(> B. C. 
Coroebus, one of the conti'stants in the games of that year, achieved 
great and conspicuous success, and hence the Olympiads were reckoned 
from that date. The Mohammedeus (except in I'ersia) reckoned time 
from the Hegira, the flight of their prophet from Mecca to Medina. 
July IG, A. D. G22. The Jcw^s reckon time from the date of the Creation 
as they learn it from their Bible. Biblical scholars differ widely as to 
that date, their computations depending upon the Biblican versions 
they use and upon their views of the facts there recorded. Their esti- 
mates vary from 3G1G the time usually accepted by the Jews, to G9S4 
years before Christ. The ordinarily received Biblical chronology is that 
of Archbishop Usher, who put the date of the Creation at 4004 B. C. 

Among some of the older nations of the East, there is a remarkable 
coincidence in the commencement of their chronologies, which are all 


liiised niton very litth' if any data of facts ovon authenticated l)y any 
establislied tradltons. The Hindoos in their count of time reach back 
(;i74. tlie llahyionians (iins and tlie Chinese (!157 years l)efore Christ. 

The year lias not always liad tlie same length. In Rome it was at 
one time ci~A <lays. then 3(j0, then 3(j5; and finally the calendar was 
reformed under Julius Ceasar, and the year was made 305 days and 
one-cjuarter, and tliat has been called the Julian Year. It was divided 
into twelve months, January, March, May. July, September and Novem- 
ber navin.i; •">! ilays. and all tlie i-emainder but February having- 30 days. 
i<\'bruai-y luul 2U days I'xcept every fourth year, when it had 30 days. 
As July. nani('<l ;ifter Julius Ceasar, liad 31 days .the Emperor Augus- 
tus, who succeeded Julius, determined tliat August, named after liim, 
should also liave 31 days; and he caused tlie calendar to l>e rearranged 
as to the lengths of the months, as it now is. 

There have in different ages and countries been different times for 
the commencement of the year. Among the Latin Christian nations 
it Itegan variously January 1st, March 1st, March 25th, December 25tli, 
and at Easter. In England, from the Fourteenth Century until the 
change from the Old Style to the New, in 1752, the legal and ecclesias- 
tical year began on the 25tli of March. 

Among the ancients, astronomy was a very imperfect science. The 
rtolemaic system, wliich placed the earth in the center of tlie universe, 
with the sun and all the other planets revolving around it, prevailed 
until the present Copernican system, due to a better Ivnowledge of 
astronomy was established in the early part of the Sixteenth Century. 

At the time of tlie establisliment of tlie Julian year, 45 B. C, the in- 
struments for measuring time were very primitive and imperfect. 
There were then probably no clocks operated by wheels or springs as 
we now have tliem. There were three means of measuring time, to- 
wit: Sun dials, the hour glass, and vessels holding water, whicli Avas 
permitted to run out through an orifice. Caesar, therefore, in his ref- 
ormation of the caleiid:ir made a mistake in the precise length of the 
year: and when he made it 3(55 days and six hours he made it about 
eleven minutes too long, tlie luore accurate measurement of modern 
times making tlie true length of the mean solar year 3t»5 days 5 
liours, 4!) minutes and 4() seconds. The conseciuence of this error in 
the length of the Julian year was a constantly increasing discrepancy 
between the calendar time and the true solar time; and by the year 
15X2, this discrepancy amonnti'd to about ten days — the calendar time 
being so much behind tlie solar time. Astronomical science had made 
such progress that tlie error was discovered, and Pope Gregory XI 11 
determined that the calendar should be reformed; and, therefore, he 
issued a Bull on the 15tli day of October, 1582, advancing the calendar 
10 days and calling tliat day the 15th; and tlie calendar as thus reform- 
ed was adopted in all the countries Avhich acknowledged the supremacy 
of the Tope; and this mode of computing time came to be called the 
"New Style," and this reformed calendar was called the "Gregorian 


calondnr," to distiiimiisli it from tlic '".luliaii cilcndnr." ft was not 
adopted in all the I'l-otcstant states of (Jeniiaiiy and northern Knropc 
until 1774. It jidopted by act of Parliament in l]n,i;land in 17.')-. 
and now is in use in the whole of l<]nrope except Russia, wlu're tlie 
Old Style, the .Fuli;in calendar, is still used. I'.ut nieasur«'s haxc 
recently Ihh'U taken there to chaniic to the Xew Style on the 1st day of 
.lannary, 1!>()1. 

r.y the tinu" the New Style came to he adopted in I^imland tlie <lis- 
crepaucy between it and the Old Style was eleven days, and hence the 
calendar was advanc(>d eleven days, the ."Jrd of tlie month Ix'inff called 
the lith. The discicpancy rcTn.ained elevi'U days until ISOU, and since 
then it been twelve d.ays. and after llMKi it will be l.'> days. 

Tliese ('h.-iny-es in the calendai- and contlictin.i;- methods of ccunputiiiR 
time introduced some confusion into history, and liistorians differ 
in their i-ecords of m;iny important events as to the precise d.ates wiien 
they occurred. 

Tlie system of countini; time from the foundation of Rome and by 
the 01ymi)ia(ls was continui d until about the middle of tlie Sixtli Cen- 
tury of the present er;;, when Dyonisius lOxiuuus, a Roman Abbot, 
introduced into Italy the method of countinti' time from th(> birth of 
Christ, wliicli accordin.t; to his computation occui'red in the fourth year 
of the one hundred and ninety-fourth (Mympiiid and the 7.">.">rd ye:ir of 
the found.ation of Rome; and tins metliod came into vo,i;ue in other 
parts of Europe at later i>eiaods. More accurate calculations since 
lia\c shown that he ma<le a mistake and he pl.iced that event 
about lour ye.ars too l.ale; and hence its date must be |daced in tlie 
4 B. C. Therofore, countiiii;' from the birtli of Chi'ist. as now ascer- 
tained, this is the lOOMrd year from that event. 

The system of reekoiiiuf;' time from tlie supposed birth of Christ has 
universally Ix'en adopted amon.i;' Christian nations, and since its adop- 
tion has been departed from but once. iMiiMUf;- the French revolution, 
when the churches were closed, and reli;;ion was .ibolished by law. and 
reason enthroned in its stead, a new calendar was inti'oduced, c(uintini;' 
time from Septenilier 22nd. 17'.>2. the tirst year bein.u the "Mrst of the 
French Republic." The Christian calendar was restored there after the 
madness bred of the revolution had passed ;iway in l.soc. 

The chan.i^e from tli(> Old to the New Style was not made in I'hi.uland 
without aiiitation and opposition. Pope (Jre,n'ory XIII 
was from \arious reasons very odious to the I'l'oteslants throuuhout 
Europe; jiiid they were very i-eluctant to follow his lead in the r(>for- 
mation of the calendar. The reformation was carried throimh F.arli.a- 
ment on the initiative of Lord ('hestortteld, who intro(luce<l tlie act into 
th(> Mouse of liOrds, in the reijiu of (Jeoruc II, while the Duke of New- 
castle was Priiiu^ Minister. L<»rd Chestertield had the .assistance of the 
eminent niathematicians, Eord iNfacelsl'eld and Mr. I'radley. The 
I'riine Minister, dre.adiui; .an explosion of feeling;, entreated 
Cheslerheld not to "stir matters that had lou!;' been (piiet," or to nied- 


dlft with "now fjingied things;" and his apprehensions were to some 
extent realized, as a widespread irritation was for a time aroused. By 
the opponents of the measure, muoh was said al>out the profanity of 
altering Saints' days and immovable feasts. Many of the common 
people felt as if eleven days had been taken out of their lives as they 
went to bed on the 2ud of September and woke up on the 14th; and at 
the ne.xt election one of the most popular cries of the mob was, "Give 
us back the eleven days we have been robbed of." Hogarth, the great 
caricaturist, in one of his pictures representing an election feast, in- 
troduces a banner carried by one of the crowd, bearing the inscription, 
"(Jive us back our eleven days!" 

When many years later Mr. Bradley died of a lingering disease, his 
sufferings were supposed by the populace to be a judgment due to the 
part he had taken in the "impious transaction;" and in subsequent 
years, when a bill was pending in rarliament for the naturalization of 
the Jews, it was said in debate: "It is no wonder he should be for 
naturalizing the devil who was one of those that banished old Christ- 
mas." And there was a ballad against the bill with these lines: 

"In seventeen hundred and fifty-three 
The style it was changed to Popery." 

The change to the New Style was, indeed, an achievement of infinite 
difficulty. Many statesmen shrank from the undertaking, and Lord 
Chesterfield found it essential to prepare the public by writing and 
publishing papers on the subject. After he had made a speech in tlie 
House of Lords in favor of liis bill, he wrote to his son: "I had not 
even attempted to explain the bill to them: I might as soon have talk- 
ed Celtic or Slavonic to them as astronomy. They would liave understood 
it full as well." No l)etter illustration can be found tlian the popular 
clamor in England over the change to the New Style to show that ignor- 
ance is the foster mother of superstition and bigotry. We are fortu- 
nate to live in an age when the cry of most intelligent men and women 
is Fiat Lux in the pursuit of truth wher-jver it leads. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Hi.slorical Society, Deceinl^er 9, 1899. 

Til" subject of this skctt-li was in many respects the foremost lawyer 
o*' Herkimer ciunity, and in what was his distinnuishin.u line in juris- 
linidence, he was one of the most tnily eminent in the state or nation. 

There are lawyers and lawyers, some who are liovei-ned only by pi'e- 
cedent. They abide by the mediaeval superstition that all wisdom 
was of the ancients; they are wholly boinid by "ita lex scripta est." 
and think it temeiity to ittempt to be "wise above what is written." 
There are others who oetter deserve the plaudits and .i;i';ititudi' of pos- 
terity. These disc<'i'n the evils perpetuatt'd by precedents, they ri'co.n- 
nize the truth that the latest experience is the sum of our knowledjie: 
to tlu'in, errors and abuses are not venerable, tlu)U.i;h imbedded in usa.iit- 
and sanctioned by tradition, but things to be attacked and abolished. 
They realize that every human institution should be informed and mod- 
ilied by the enlij;htem'd spirit of the bi' made Hexible to the move- 
ment of events and adjusted to new conditions. Such minds do not hes- 
itate to consi,nn outworn and obstructive forms to the limbo of tliin.i^s 
useless and the obsolete. 

To this latter class Arphaxed IjOomis belon.nvd. and unidcd by the 
ideas of men of that school, he was instrumental in producing the 
.i;reati'st reform in the exercise of popular self-.i;(>vernment and in the 
administration of the law that has been accomplished within any cen- 
tury since written constitutions and laws have existed. 

Mr. Loonus at an early day pointed out the necessary restriction of 
the lejiislative power to imi)ose jmblic di'bt upon the i)eoi»le. and the 
Viecessity for enlaruini; the same i)ower over the cor|)oratioiis \\hicli 
it created. The limitation of le.uislative powei- was reim^nant to ucn 
eialiy accepted Ideas. The r"pi'esentat ion of the iieojile li_\- their aucnts 
in the lej-islatui-e had lieen regarded as the very palladium of the ])ublic 
safety, the safety of the public purse, and of most of the citizens' 


rights. But exporience had shown that this delegated power had oftrn 
lieen exercised to tlie public detriment in exp'Miding tlie public money 
and should be limited. Indeed, when a government is dictated by the 
l»opular will, the most essential provisions of the organic law are those 
which limit the power of the people themselvi'S or of their agents. 
There is no human sovereignty, whethei- of monarch or p-.ople, but 
must be restrained by some higher law tlian any present impulse of 
mere desire or will, either autocratic or i)opular. 

It was said against this clieck upon thedel)t creating power th:it it 
discredited the rei)resentative system. Iianicl S. Dickinson, .-uhlressing 
the graduates of Hamilton Law School in IS.VJ. attacked this piovision 
and said that it "practically concedes that popula,r representative gov- 
ernment had proved ;i failure — that no persons can be found possessing 
suflicient wisdom .-iiid integrity to discharge faithfully the representa- 
tive office, or if such exist, that the electors have not the horesty or 
discernment to select them. * * * j^,^ i^^j^,. .,^ rci)resentative gov- 
ernment is upheld, legislation should, said he, be ])ermitted freely to 
exercise its functions ui)on all legislative' subjects, leaving its errors to 
be corrected, its abuses restrained, not by constitutional fetters, but by 
elevating the representative standard, and holding the servant to a 
strict and fearful accountability, etc. This superficial reasoning of a 
statesman, more superficial than profound, practically advises allowing 
tbe abus(>s which are known to be incident to l(\gislation, to go on, and 
then look to a responsibility that lias no practical existence, and, in 
sliort. to "lock the door after the horse is stolen." Wiser men than Mr. 
Dickinson had learned that there must be clu'cks on legislative power, 
and that they were nowhere more necessary th;in where they were ap 
plied to the debt making power. 

The comjielling the reference of the (piestion of incurring debts to 
tlie vote of the people liable to pay them, is a provision second in sal- 
nt.ary effects to no other ever adojitcd in tliis state, and such a "refer- 
endum" now gaining favor in popular government, might well be re- 
(luired on other ((uestions of general public concern, even if it should 
imply some discontent with the nninner in which legislative agents 
discharge their representative trust. 

Mr. I.oomis' eminent constructive faculties as constitutional and legal 
refornu'r provided the nu'ans of cliecking the imposition of public debt 
upon the State, and tlie means of correcting corporate .abuses by enlai-g- 
ing the control of the legislature over their charters, a contrt.l before 
.abridged by a series of decisions beginning with the Dartmouth College 
case, and he initi.-ited and more than any other carried forward the sim- 
plifying of the legal procedure by which rights are asserted and wrongs 
redressed. Practice and pleading are the law, practically applied, and 
Charles O'Connor held this to be the chier department of jurisprudence. 
To these great objects Mr. Looinis devoted .a large part of his lif(>, 
his deafness having precluded him, in a gr(>at degree, from the more 
active pursuit of his i)rofession. His persevering efforts for constitu- 


tioiial and lejj^al reform were an miscllisli lalmr. For tliis devotion of 
his cnt'r.nies and a larav part of his life to Ihcsc ui-cat jMihlir ohjccts. 
tJu're was no incontivi- of prrsonal anibitioii or of pccnniai-.v unin. Ills 
efforts were from tlie impnlst' of a patriotic pnhiic s])irit. iiis icward 
was the relh'ction that he had conferred ,^i-eat and endnrin.^ henelits 
u;(on tlie whole State. 

Thei-e liave liei'n many much ai)plan(led careers in the Senate and in 
the liehl, nt»isy with a public fanu', which have left no monunu'nt that 
su.u;;est any endurin.u' or real public service. Mr. Loomis' nami' is writ 
larne upon an improved constitution and upon a reformed Judiciary, 
adopted by ureat nundiers of our own and in foici.mi stales, and which 
reforms are en.i;rafled upon tlie iirocedure of that ancient teni|)le of 
An,n'lo-Sa.\on law, Westminster Hall. 

Ai-pha.\ed Loomis was born at Winchestei'. Conn.. A|)ril '.». UPS. Ills 
father, ThaihU'US Loomis. and his mother. Lois ((iriswoldi Loonns, 
S(>ttled in Salisbtiry, Ileikimer county, when he was three years old. 
His father's means were snnill and he had a iai-.m' family, and in his 
youn.yer days Aridiaxed worked oi\ his father's farm. His father's 
health was not .yood: he was considerably occujiied by his duti<'s as 
justice of the peace, and the labor of his sons was re(inii-ed to aid in 
the sn[(port of the fannly. Mv. Loonns, Sr.. was aftei'wai'ds one of the 
associate .iudjies of the Common Pleas, held at .lohnstown. then the 
eount.v seat for Salisbin-y. and known as ".Indue." 

At the ajie of fifteen Arpha.xed was "hired ont" by his fatliei' at lirst 
to teach school three months at .$<>.()(> per month and board "around." 
after the custom of those days. The school honst' was distant eiuht 
miles from his home, in the town of Norway. His father uave him his 
time and wa^es, about all that he was alile to afford, and .\rph;i.\ed, 
by teaehiuiL;' school in Winter, obtained the means of i),i;' his way 
at Fairtield Academy in the Siunnier. He enteri d the Aca<lemy in ISb'i 
and attended there Summers until ISIS. l)oardin.u' himself, doinu' the 
little eookinu i-e(iiured on a bo.\ stove, and brin.yin.u' UH)st of his provis- 
ions fi'om lionu'. .Vmon.y his associates A\'ere Albert I'arnes. .-luthoi' of 
the "Notes" on the r.iblical wiMtin.ns, and Hiram Denio and .Vddison 
(iarcbier, who afti'rwards became Jud.yes of the Court of Apjieals, and 
lie fully raidved with them in scholarship. The Academy was then in 
charge of Kev. Viruil H. r>arber, a nuiu of learning, who created a sen- 
sation by announcinu his couNci'sion to the Koman ('atholic clinrch, 
resi.iiuing his position as [)rincip;il and temjiorarily breaking ui) the 

Arpha.v<'d remained at Fairtield, except when teaching, tuitil ISIS, 
when he began the study of law with William I. Dodge of Johnstown. 
In I)eeend)er he went to Watertown, contiinied tea<-hing there, and i-ead 
law in tlie office of Ford i^- F.ucklin. He then si>enf a year and a half 
in till' law olhce of Alfred Lathro|i, at Chaminon, .lelfersoii county. 
Here, too, for a time sojouined the celebrated Henry U. Stons, .Judge 
Moss Kent, brother of the Chancellor, and . lodge Fgbert Ten lOyck, 


father-in-law of Judge Joseph Mullen, who were attracted to that place 
by the project for making- it a county seat for Jefferson county. 
i\Jr. Loomis finally finished his preparatory legal course with Justin 
Butterfield, an eminent lawyer at Sacketts Harbor, in whose otHce he 
i-emained for three years, lie was admitted to practice in January, 
1822, at All)any, his diploma being signed by Chief Justice Ambrose 

On his admission, he practiced law with Mr. Buttertield for about 
two years and then returned to Salisbury. • In May, 1824. he went to 
Sacketts Harbor and from there sailed for Uochester, fin.illy extending 
his trip to Buffalo, Pittsburg, Louisville and Nashville, with a view of 
finding a suitable location for practice, lie visitt,Hl (ieneral .Tackson, 
at the "Hermitage." near Nashville, who hospitably entertained him 
and gave him a horse-back ride by his side to attend an old fashioned 
Fourth of July celebration. In July, 1S24, he abandoned his purpose 
of a western location, and returned to Little Falls, with somewhat 
broken health, in Septemlier. He remainid at his old home in Salis- 
bury some months to recover his health and then revisited Sacketts Har- 
bor, thinking he might- resume practice there, but hnally decided to 
begin his life work at Little Falls, where he opened an office March 
4, 182.5, taking the small law business of Oran G. Otis, then about to 
leave that place. 

A great obstacle to the growth of Little Falls at th;rt time was the 
l)olicy of Edward EUice, who owned most of the lands north of and ad- 
joining the river. On the south tlu^ lands were owned by General Bel- 
linger and non-residents of the Herkimer family. Kllice resided in 
England and had never visited Little Falls. He rented his lands on 
l(»ng leases and refused to sell. Only four or five of the residents had 
deeds in fee of their lands, and hfty of sixty held under leases, reserv- 
ing a rent of $3 per year for lots CO by 12U feet. But relief wiis found 
in a clause inserted in the law giving Ellice's heir authority as an alien 
to take and convey real estate, forbidding Edward Ellice to lease, and 
this prt)hibition which liad l»een overlooked, was found by Mr. Ijoomis 
and pleaded as a bar in an action brought by Ellice's agents to recover 
rent. The citizens organized an anti-rent war against the Ellice policy 
by public meetings, petitions to the legislature, etc., in which Mr. 
Loomis took a leading part, until Ellice was driven to make a sale of 
his lands in fee, which he did to six pi-rsons. This event was cele- 
brated as a popular triumph, lots and water power were sold at auc- 
tion, and the future prosperity of Little Falls was assured. 

In 1828, Mr. Loomis was appointed surrogate by Governor Clinton, one 
of the few appointments made by Governor Clinton of Democrats. The 
compensation of the surrogate was then by fees, which amounted to 
about i?r>()() to .$(•.()() per annum, the surrogate providing his own record 
books, bl.-inks and stationery. In ]8:!,'i Mr. Loomis was ap- 
pointed hrst judge of the Common IMeas, and held that office 
until 1840. The compensation for discharging the duties of 



this office was a por dioni of $2 per day when lioldini? court, 
and some small fees, the wlioie being less than -i^KM) i>vv yr-.w. II is safe 
to say that large salaries have never secured a better or more satisfac- 
tory performance of the duties of these offices in this county, or else- 
where. The honor and dignity of these positions sufficed for the nol)le 
and healthy ambitiun of that time, and they secured the services of the 
higliest order of talent. 

On the 2.jth of October, ISol, Judge Loomis Avas married to Ann P.. 
daughter of Dr. Ste])hen Todd, of Salisbury, the family residence being 
the well known "Todd I'lace," later the "Carr Place," al)out two miles 
from the residence of Judge Loonjis' father. Dr. Todd, Member of 
Assembly in isi'-j. was the leading physician of that section and one 
of the pioneer dairymen of tlie country. Judge Loomis and his wife 
in November following took up their residence in liittle Falls, where 
the rest of their lives was spent. Of their eight children, three survive, 
Watts T. Loomis, Miss Adeline A. Loomis and Louisa L., wife of David 
IL I'.urrell. 

In is;{4 Judge Loomis was appointi'd by Governor INLarcy a commis- 
sioner to investigate the subject of the management and discipline of 
the Stati''s prisons, and especi.-illy in regard to the employment of pris- 
onei's in industries. Judge Loomis" report to the legislature 
on th.-it subject became the basis of the State's prison system until 
recent change's. 

In IsyC) he was elected to Congress for the twentieth district and took 
his S(.'at at the extra session called in September, 18o7. At tliis session 
he was iippointed chaii'maii of the ("ommittee on Patents, .and at the 
I'egular t;ession. 1S;S7-.'!S. ne w;is on the committee on Piivate Land 
Claims. At tlie third session he was on the committee on Puldic Lands 
and there advocated the just jiolicy of limiting the sales of juiblic lands 
to actual settlers. At this session lie introduced resolutions looking to 
the abolition of the franking system and the reduction of the rates of 
postage. He served but one term in Congress. The other county of 
the district was Lewis. ;nid as Herkimer had had the representative 
since is:*4. the cl.jims of Lewis were allowed and Andrew W. Doig was 
ele(-ted from that county for the succeeding term. 

In IS.'it, when .ludge .\:ithan \\'illianis. of Oneida, was retired by 
age, .[uilge Loomis. then about thirty-hve years of age, w;is nominateil 
to tlu> Senate by (Joveiaior .Marcy as his successor. Put senators know- 
ing Judge Loonns" dithculty ol hearing, lii-ought the (Jovernor's atten- 
tion to that fact, and the nonunation was for that reason witlidrawn. 
Thest' senators united in a kin<l letter to Judgi' Loomis, saying that his 
deafness was tlu' sole cause of their action, and I»ut foi- this, thev would 
haxc promi)tly conlirmcd the nomination. 

Could Judge Loomis have gone uiion th" bench, he would have stood 
in the first rank of the Jni'ists of this country, but while he nught have 
acquired greater reinit.ation as a lawyei' in a stiactly judicial cai'oer, 
Mh services could not have been so widely, useful as were those he gave 


to the groat subjects with which Ids name will always be connected. 
To those subjects he devoted strong originating and constructive pow- 
ers, and in that field he justly ranks asa lawgiver, adjusting i)olitical 
and legal systems to the wants and conditions of the age, and to a 
rational and salutary progress. 

As stated in the chapter on the •'Herkimer School," the subject of 
legal reform, as well as that of limiting the creation of public debt, be- 
gan to engage the attention of Mr. Loomis as early as 1S35. In that 
year a series of resolutions, the joint product of Mr. Loomis and Dud- 
ley Burweli, were adopted by the Herkimer County Democratic Con- 
vention, and those portions which are from the pen of Mr. Loomis. 
embody the germs of the signal reforms in matter of St;ite tinance and 
of control over legislative charters, which were incorporated in the 
Constitution of 184G. Mr. Cambreling referred to these resolutions in 
the debate on the Constitution of lS4(i, when he said: "It (the Consti- 
tutional limiting of debt) was from this State, originating in the pro- 
ceedings of 1885, (in Herkimer county), and later years, whicli demand- 
ed the 'People's Resolution' and the act of 1842," and he referred to the 
fact that this feature liad tlu'n found its way into the constitutions of 
the several States. 

In 1842, as chairman of the Assembly .Tudiciary committee, Mr. 
Loomis reported three bills which contained the siibstance of the new 
system of legal practice and procedure. David Dudley Field had be- 
stowed his labors upon very similar lines of legal reform and these two 
original and constructive minds, each without communication witli the 
other, laid a comprehensive basis for the new system. Mr. Field, 
after Mr. Loomis had prepared his bills and report, sent to a member 
of the committee an essay, and tlu'ee l)ills upon the same subject. 
Tliese Mr. Loomis attached to his own report and they were printed 
together in number 81 of the Assembly Documents of 1842. Tliese bills 
did not pass. As Mr. Loomis remarks in his historic sketch of law 
reform, "public opinion was not yet ripe for the reforms wliicli at a 
later day it demanded and achieved in a more extended and efficient 
form." The constitution of 1846 enjoined upon the legislature, at its 
first session after the adoption of that constitution, the appointment 
of three commissioners to revise, reform, simplify and abridge the prac- 
tice and proceedings of the courts of record. The legislature of 184G 
created a commission for this purpose, consisting of Arpliaxed Loomis, 
Nicholas Hill and David Graham. The commission proceeded to its 
work in April. 1847, and in the following September Mr. Loomis 
presented a working code governing civil actions and a general out- 
line of a plan abolishing mere forms of actions, and uniting tlie pro- 
cedure in law and equity. Mr. Graham coincided, but Mr. Hilll dis- 
sented and soon resigned, because lie thought it impracticable to" ad- 
minister law and equity under one system, and he regarded Mr. 
Loomis' propositions as dangerous experiments. Mr. Hill claimed too, 
that this was the view generally taken by judges and lawyers. While 


Mr. Hill still nclod with Ilic (•oiniiiission he lind yivcii liis asstMil to 
tlio vital iniiiciiilc of the ii<'W plcadiim set roith hy Mr. IaioiiiIs. 
■■Ou.^ht it to In- siilliciciit to state siilistantially for the cause of aitioii 
VI' (k'fense. so far set I'orth as to inroriu tln> other |iart\' (»!' the grounds 
of aetioii or defense without luisieadiiii; hiuiV" Ail the coiiiiuissioners 
iiiiswt'red this imiuirx' in tlie alliriuative. The work of Mr. Looniis, 
presented at this si ssion. contained the essrential i)rinci]>les of the sys- 
tem that was linally fi-amed in more extended detail. At the same 
tiuK' lie suLmitted his .y'uidin.n- i>rinciples in woi'kini;' out th(,' comtem- 
piated reform in these i)ropositious: 

1. "A new system of practice and i)leadin,i;- to lie estalilished, and 
not a system of mere amendments to the e.vistin.i;' ])raclice." 

2. "Noni' of the lire sent forms of conunon actions to he retained, 
hut every action, as well of a le.ual as of an e(|uitahle nature, to rest 
on its own f.acts and the law a]>plicahh' to them without re.^arci to any 
le.yal delinition of the l<iiid of action, the remedy to lie apiilled as the 
nature of the case may require." 

;!. "The attirmative i)leadin.L;s to he confined to (lie complaint and an- 
swer, allowiui;- a replication only to deny mattei' alleged in the an- 

4. "All e.xistinu remedies and rights to he retained, hut the distinc- 
tion of le.ual and (Mpiit.ahle foi-ms ii(>t to he retained. The remedy to he 
ndjud.yed as the case when proven may recp.iire." 

Mr. Loomis was asked to n.ame a colleague in the iilace of Mr. Hill, 
and he selected David Dudley If'ield and he was soon after chosen, 
'i'he commission, now includiuii- Mr. Field, met in January, 1818. The 
work allotted to each, the manner of proceeding and tlie Inlsor of Mv. 
Loomis upon the common suhject. are more fully stated in the chapter 
on the '•Herkimer School." where thi' error of the "P.ench and T'ar" 
in asci'ihing the pri ]);irat ion of tlu' celehratt'd c(Kh^ of civil prcn-i dure 
to Mr. I'^ield, as if it were his moi'e special production, is con-ected. 
The facts show that .Mr. Loomis was the original ]>rojeetor of this re- 
foi'ui, suggested all the essential featni'es of the new system ;ind con- 
irihuted as much of sei-\ ice, at least, in working out its details, as 
either of his associates. .Mr. Loomis, in the sketch before referred to, 
says: "Fcir myself, after it became a la.w and went into use, I felt 
that a large sh;ire of the odium and censure bestowed on its instigators 
and authors, seemed to fall U|)on me as the supjiosed chief offejuler." 

lint what \vas odium, finally became an enviable fame. The een^ 
sure of a generation of lawyers whose toilsome study of sp(X'ial i)lead- 
ings m.-ide them regard tlieii' knowledge of pleas, replications, rebut- 
teis and surr(>hutteis, and the other venerable (H)l)webs of the law, as 
\alualple jiossessions, and necessary to llie attainment of justice, now 
gives [ to a sense of gratitude to a clear siglited jurist avIio did 
so much to simplify legal methods, to substitute truili for fiction, and 
to make practical common sense, the foundation of ])ractical law. 
TJiis salutiiry system of administering the law. after some yenis. was 


adopted in twenty-seven states and teiTitories, and it is destined 
to accompany everywliere Anglo-Saxon legal institutions, and to form 
the common-sense method of invoking legal remedies. 

Such men as Loomis and Hoffman, saw in 1842, that complete legal 
reform and financial security demanded radical changes in tlie or- 
ganic law. A large and growing debt had carried state stocks from 
above par to twenty per cent below par. State bankruptcy impended. 
These two tribunes of the people, self devoted to this task, then re- 
solved upon measures for restoring the credit of tlie state. Both were 
elected to the Assembly of 1841 on account of their known views on 
the subject of the state finances, and they divided the reciuisite labor 
which was thus committed to them. Mr. Hoffmai) undertook the en- 
actment of a law to stop the present increase of debt and provide for 
the payment of that which then weighed down the credit of the state. 
Mr. Loomis' part was the more far-reaching measure for preventing the 
recurrence of state debts, except by the Avill and direct. voice of the 
I'cople. In the Democratic Herkimer County Convention in 1835, Mr. 
Loomis by a resolution presented by him and there adopted, proposed 
the initiative proposition for checking the creation of state debt. This 
was to recjuire the annual interest of state loans to be levied by direct 
tax, so far as they should exceed the income of a proposed improve- 
ment, thus forcibly warning the tax payers of the effects of growing 
debt, and the resolution called for the engrafting of a clause into tlie 
constitution reiiuiring such a provision in all state loans. In 3837 this 
proposition was further matured in the mind of Mr. Loomis, so as to 
embrace a submission of the question of public debt to a vote by the 
people and in that form it was adopted by the Democratic County Con- 
vention. This resolution, at hrst known as "Loomis' Resolution," was 
afterwards styled the "IVople's Resolution," at Mr. Loomis' refiuest, 
and it was kept standing at the head of the radical press of the State. 
He continued tlie discussion in favor of tliis measure in the Mohawk 
Courier and other publications, until it was presented in the Assembly 
at the session of 1841. It then failed but liad a majority in 1842, but 
still not the two-thirds vote recpiisite for its submission as an amend- 
ment to the Constitution. Mr. Loomis continued to urge it upon public 
attention in leading journals until it was made a part of the (.\)nstitu- 
tion in 1846. As finally framed it required every law creating a State 
debt to specify the purpose of the expenditure, which could not be 
diverted to any other object; that it should embrace but one object 
and tliat specifically stated, and that it should not take effect until sub- 
mitted to, and approved by the people at the next genera! election, but 
the provisions did not apply to laws for raising money in case of insur- 
rection or hostile invasion. The flnanical article in the Constitution 
of 1846 gave effect to these provisions. It prohibited the sale of the 
canals, devoted their revenues to paying the State debt and to the sup- 
port of the government, and any surplus to canal improvements. 

The delay in the adoption of this measure by amending the Consti- 


tiition Avas. as Mr. I.iO(Mnis suii'iit-sts, pnVininont ainoiiu the iiidiu'i'iiionts 
lor calling the (%nistitiitioiial Convention. In November, lS4o, Mr. 
Hoffman made an elaborate speech in a nieetiiii;' at Albany in favor 
of sweepinj;' chanj;es in the Constitntion, embracing those contemplated 
by the "I'eople's Kesolution," and others, which conld only be made 
effective by a new Constitution. In 1S44 Ixtth iionses of the Legisla- 
ture adopted resolutions for submitting to the people the (luestion of 
embodying the act of 1S42, and the substance of the "I't'ople's Resolu- 
tion," In the Constitution. The Senate, in 1S45, adopted these amend- 
ments by the required two-thirds vote. The radicals, however, thought 
tliese amendments inadeijuate and they withheld their votes in the 
Assembly for the reason that the adoption of tlie amendments would 
nullify many of the grounds upon which the calling of the convention 
was urged. On the advice of ;Mr. Loomis and Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Wil- 
liam C. Crain, then a member from this county, brought in a bill in the 
session of 1S45 for calling a convention, which passed, by the radicals 
voting with the Whigs. In the convention of 1S4(), Mr. Loomis was a 
leading niend)er of the judiciary connnittee, composed of thirteen mem- 
bers. His colleague, Mr. Holfman, was chairman of the connnittee on 
finance, and among the most important of his efforts were those carry- 
ing through the constitutional restrictions on State indebtedness, con- 
ceived, matiu-ed. and so long advocated by Mr. Loomis. His sugges- 
tions on all the details of tlu' topics relating to law reform and to State 
tinances, were elaborated in committee, and enforced by lucid state- 
nu'ut ^and arginnent by Judge Loomis on the tloor of the convention. 
In their special fields of action, the two representatives from Herki- 
mer county were the most impressive .and powerful niemliei's of that 
body. One of its prominent members said at the close of its Labors that 
"the finger marks of Mr. Loomis in the Constitution as .adopted, were 
more perceptible than those of any otlier." 

Mr. Loomis was again elected to the Assembly in \sr>:',. He was nom- 
inated in view of the exigency arising from the passage in lS."iL' of the 
.*|;0,0()0,()(X> Loan I'.ill. Large contracts had been made under this l:iw. 
and the Court of Ai>peals had declared it to be nncoiistitntioiial. This 
law w;is an attemiit to get ai'ound the b.ari'ier against 
borrowing or creating ;i State debt, by a scheme to I'aise miiiiey. by 
pledging the canal revenues foi- its I'epayment, although the Consti- 
tution had applied those re\cnu( s to the paynuMit of the debts of tne 
State. The lA'gislature h;id invented, as Mr. Loomis said, "a form of 
certificate by which the State could promise to pay money out of its 
treasm-y without calling it ;i debt." The decision of the Court pi'O- 
nouncing this device null and void, embairassed the treasni'v. There 
h:id been raised and expended ."(^LoOO.OOb. and contracts had been made 
involving i);8.0(IO.noo or more. Mr. Loomis accei>ted the nomination, 
being anxious that "measui'es of i-efoiiii with which oui- histmy 
is identitied, should be effectual to ob\ i;ite the evils, and picveiit the 
abuses they were designed to meet." He was further constrained to 


aocept the nomination by the fact that niucli of the work rcjiortod to 
carry the law reforu) measures into harmonious operation liad not been 
acted on by the Legislature. His increased deafness would make his 
labors in the Legislature very ditlicnlt, and liis return to the public 
service involved a great sacrifice of liis private interests, but he deemed 
his acceptance an act of public duty. The Senate and the House were 
not in political acc-ord ami could not agree upon any measure to meet 
the urgency of the situation. In this state of tlie affaii-, Mr. Loomis 
proposed an amendment to the Constitution which would give relief 
to the treasury and to the public creditors without violating the consti- 
tutional provision against increasing State liability by mere legislative 
act. It was passed by the present and the succeeding liCgislature, and 
adopted by the vote of the people. 

At the session of 1853, Mr. Loomis introduced a resolution impeach- 
ing John C. Mather for misconduct as Canal Commissioner. It was 
adopted and Mr. Loomis was chairman of the committee to appear and 
represent the Assembly before the Court of Impeachment. He had as 
associates on the trial, Mr. Hastings, Mr. Champlain and Mr. John K. 
Porter. The charges were sustaini'd by a majority of tlie Court, but 
not the two-thirds necessary to sustain an impeachment. Mr. Loomis" 
last appearance before the public as a candidate for office was for dele- 
gate to the Constitutional Convention of ISC.T, his associate nominee 
being Judge Robert Earl. The slavery question and the war of the 
Rebellion had thrown a large majoi'ity in the county to the adverse side 
and the Republican candidates were elected. 

Mr. Loomis had for many years an extensive legal practice, and was 
employed in many important litigations. He was thoroughly grounded 
and versed in the law, and notably accurate in the applicarion of legal 
principles. He had as partners, Hiram Nolton, in IS.'tC. Powers L. 
Greene and William M. Griswolld were associated witli liim about 1845, 
the firm name being Loomis, Green «fc GriswoUl. James Hart was af- 
terwards associated a\ itli Judge Loomis, but retired when Watts T. 
Loomis and Sidney Loomis became partners with their f.-ither. Sidney 
Loomis died in 1879, and upon the death of Judge Loomis, Watts T. 
Loomis became surviving member of the firm. 

In the year 1854 Mr. Loomis successfully defended the occupants of 
Sussanna Johnson's tract against tlie claims of descendants of Sir Wil- 
liam Johnson's Indian children. His opponent was David Dudley 
Feld, his former colleague on the revision of the system of Pleading 
and Practice. This case is more fully stated in the chapter on the Royal 
Grant, and it is found in 31 P>arbour's Reports, ISO. and 21 N. Y. Re- 
ports, 20G. 

The impression which force of intellect and character makes upon con- 
tompories is seen in the personal titles bestowed upon them. Thus in 
the debate in the ('onstitution.-il Convention of 1840, Mr. Archer, of 
Wayne, an earnest adversary of tlu; policy of Herkimer's represent.a- 
tives, speaks of Mr. Hoffman as the Ajax Telemon of the debate, and 


of Mr. Looiiiis ns tlic TTlyss(>s who aided liiiii with stalistifs and snc:- 
gestious as ho procoodod — a tril)uto to tho force and wisdom of these 
men, wliieh is a sti-il\in,n' proof of tlieir pre-enjineiit standing in a body 
wliicli was illnstrious for its men of mark and intelleetnal power. In 
IS.") tlie New York Association, an orjiiin of tlie "Ilards," styled Mr. 
Loomis as the "Anti-Canal Ajax" — an appellation misleadin.i;- as to his 
real attitnde toward the e:mals, since he unifoi'mly advocated the pol- 
icy in that hehalf, which he deemed the most prndent and jndicioiis for 
maintaining their pi'osperity and i)ermanent usefnlness, and our canal 
history confirms the soundness of the judjiiuent on which he acted. 

.Tud^'e Loomis was alert to detect public wron.ys. In the New York 
World of April IT, ISTH, he pointed out that the patent laws, a subject 
studied by him when a member of the committee on patents in Con- 
gress, wei'e an obstruction to re.-il impi'ovement, that they Wive no de- 
sirable or needed stimulus to invention, iait were often made use of to 
extort from the community wide-spread exactions. lie alludes to the 
fact that really useful inventions are clo.!i-,iied l»y numberless patents for 
petty devices, which would readily occur to those using the orij;inal 
invention, petty patents that openito to the detriment of the orijiinal 
patentee and of those usins;' the right. The facility with which pat- 
ents are obtained le.-ids to great abuses. It is said that a patent may 
be obtained for tlie maniiei' of cutting oft a nail. A I'ack for the stand- 
ing of a bicycle is now said to be covered by a patent, and .$."> demanded 
for using that trivial and wholly obvious device. When the owner of a 
patent, Iield in ambush, it may be, sallies foi'th against the unwary 
infringei", he points to the p;iins and penalties of the patent law. The 
defendant soon learns that suits in some distant ITnited States Court, 
Federal Injunctions, and the enormous fees of patent Lawyers are fear- 
ful things. Once the ]>atentee has, by whatever means, obtained from 
whatever judge a decision that his patent is valid, the whole country 
is laid under contribution. In this way partii'S have ])een enjoined 
under penalty from the use of their own inventions. 

It has truly been s;iid th;it "it is the ;ige that invents:" one inven- 
tion may be the conseiiuential outcome of many preceding inventions. 
Mr. Loomis denied useful inventions wi're appreciably promoted 
by the patent laws. Indeed the most valuable inventions spring from 
some felt nec(>ssity. fi'om the spontaneous love and faculty of inven- 
tion, from the desire and instinct to give effective form to mental con- 
ception, rather than from the expected rewards of a monopoly. What- 
ever may be lu-ged in favoi- of securing to inventors a reward for their 
ideas, the fact rem.-uns that they seldom reap any considerable com- 
pensation, and that some speculating assignee taking advantage of 
their needs, obtains the patent and the means of exploiting the commu- 
nity by enforcing new, and in many cases vexjitious monopolies. It is 
a misfortune that ]Mr. Ijoomis' pregnant suggestions ui)on these abuses 
have not attracted the .Mlteiition of the iniblic. The i)atent laws, in- 
junctions in favor of patentees, ;ind the enoi-mous power of a single 


judge in making decisions as to the validity of patents which become 
armories from which numberless injunctions are drawn, now consti- 
tute an oppressive arm of the federal jurisdiction. 

JMr. Loomis" self-reliant character was manifest in his early life. 
The judgment upon which he acted was his own. An eminent citizen 
wlio knew him well, said of him, that he was pre-eminently an original 
thinker, one wliose ideas Avere his own and thought out for himself. 
His mind was of a large mould, it was comprehensive, profound, saga- 
cious, penetrating and creative. Largely deprived, almost at the begin- 
ning of his professional labors, of the sense whicli, next to sight, is the 
most receptive of all the senses, he was isolated from tlie ordinary com- 
merce of thouglit, and from hearing public discussions. Thrown upon 
his own studies and reflections, liis native self-reliance became a still 
stronger element of liis cliaracter. This isolation also led to assiduous 
study and reading by which lie became familiar with a wide range of 
topics in general literature, and he acquired an extensive knowledge 
of useful and scientific subjects and attained a high degree of intel- 
lectual culture. He had a mental impulse to go to the bottom of an 
inquiry and his mind was never satistied by superficial views. An 
example of this thoroughness is found in his complete knowledge of 
water power. When he came to own this kind of property, it was a 
matter of course with him to make himself familiar with the principles 
and practical facts coimected with the use of hydraulic power, and he 
could not be content with the reports of others. f)n this subject, like 
all others which he specially studied, he became an authority. 
His inventive and constructive faculties led him, at various periods, 
to occupy himself with mechanics, which were largely in use on his 
numerous proi)erties. He had a marked taste for the beaiitiful in art, 
and a sympathy with nature, which attracted him to agriculture and 
to in(iuiries in that pursuit. 

Judge Loomis was a model of public and private integrity. His pub- 
lic duties and trusts engaged his devoted and paramount attention. 
There was never a suggestion that he ever neglected any public duty. 
His eminent services in reforming the Constitution and laws, to which 
so much of his life was given, were performed with as deep a sense of 
obligation as that which he felt in discharging the duties he owed to 
clients or the public in other capacities. What Judge TiOomis himself 
says in his "Reminiscences" as to the spirit and motives that animated 
liis labors, had the concurring voice of his contemporaries: "While I 
was in public life, say from 1827 to 1854, I enjoyed the performance of 
my duties. I was never happier than at those times, when I felt a con- 
sciousness that my labors were devoted to the work of improving the 
laAvs or otherwise promoting the public good. I am entirely conscious that 
my woi"k in the legislature, and as one of the commissioners to ])repare 
the Code of Legal Procedure, and in the constitutional convention of 
1840, and in my previous labors to call that convention into existence 
to reform the organization of our courts and advance by these mean^ 


reform in our system of Ici^'al pi'occdure, I wns actuatiMl iidt by tlie 
pociinijiry rcw.-ird of oltic-o, nor l»y the love of f.-inio. so mncli ;is by a 
sincoro dcsiic to .ulministor justice, make good laws, and to ctfcct salu- 
tary reforms, in-actical and useful." The efforts inspired l)y sndi mo- 
tives his own generation i)rononneed successful, and other generations 
count his acliievements among the most valuable of the legacies trans- 
mitted to them by the profound thought and the miseltish labors of 
their great public benefactors. 

Few men have left su<-h a stamp of personality on the Iiistory of their 
time, or so many evidences of well directed public services. For many 
years Judge Loomis wrote largely for the Mohawk Courier and the 
local press, for the Washington T'nion, the New York Evening I'ost, 
the NeAV York \A'orld. the Albany Argus, and the Albany Atlas, on the 
subjects to which he had directed his eminently reflective intellect, and 
they widely impressed the public mind. For many years he took a 
luominent part in the discussions of the Little Falls Farmers' ('lub, 
which effected important results iu connection with dairying and farm- 

Judge Loomis' e.arly observation of sl;ivery made it repugnant to him. 
but he foresaw that the Union could not long survive sectional assaults 
upon slavery in the States. lie was strongly attached to the Union. 
He knew the dilHculty of composing the contlicts of sectional interest 
in forming the Union, an<l that the slavery compromises were the price 
of our natioualit.v, and that th(> fruits of the revolutionary struggle 
would luive fallen futile from the divided and feeble arms of discordant 
States. These facts were to the statesmen of his time, and 
they dreaded the effi'cts of renewed and more violeiit dic(»rds. The 
Union and the compi-omises upon which it rested were politically sacred 
— to assail them was to violate the Ark of the Covenant. The Democ- 
racy asserted and the great mass of the ]>eople accepted with its full 
vigor the doctrine of the reserved riglits of the States, and that the 
Constitution was the shield of slavery. The southern <)lig;irchy had 
not then fully disclosed their intention to make the South ]ierpetnally 
equiponderant in the Senat(>, and slavery the special ward of the Fed- 
eral government. It w;is still hoi)ed that a possible modus vivendi 
might be maintained by the two sections. 

If the saving of the ITnion was the supreme interest, the rejection 
of petitions asking Congi'ess to act against slavery in the States was 
logical and expedient. Such jx'titions were barren of results except to 
create sectional strife. The right to ask Congress to ;ict on a sultject 
on which it had no right to act. was not vital to the right o( petition. 
hut was rather its perversicui. When the majority in Congress adopted 
the Atherton resolutions, they believed that these impractical and irri- 
tating appeals imjieriled the Unioji, and Mr. TiOomis shared that belief. 
'I'hey were guided by the light of their time, and an ancient ])roverb 
says that "men are more like the times they live in. than they are like 
their fathers." On the other hand, the right of petition must exist 


under the most dt'spotic forms of government, antl it involves principles 
so fnndamental, and rights so inherent in all men, that no remote dan- 
ger conld justify its suppression; but many patriotic men tlien thought 
that the rejection of these petitions was a compromise necessary to 
avert immediate disaster to the Union. The truth was not yet appar- 
ent that such compromises would not stop short of the complete siibju- 
gation of the government and of the country to the will of the southern 

Rut ten years later this ominous fact was palpable. When the issue 
for tlie exclusion of slavery from free territory was raised. Judge 
Loomis took a hi-m position along witli Tilden, Cliurch, Gardner, John 
Van Buren, Bryant, Dlx, Grover, King, Kernan, the Manns, Ward Hunt, 
Stanton, and others in asserting the competency of Congressional con- 
trol over the territorit s in respect to slavery, and these men regarded 
him as one of the profoundest thinkers and safest advisers among them. 
He supported Van Buren in 1S4S against Cass. When a re-union of the 
party was attempted at Rome in 1S4!), and the Hunker convention, 
pi'esided over by William L. Alarcy. and managed by Samuel Beardsley. 
Daniel S. Dickinson, Chancellor Walworth and Daniel E. Siclvles. sought 
to impose a pro-slavery creed upon the Democratic party. Judge Loomis 
was among the foremost in resisting that attempt. 

While at Washington in 1S54, writing to the Washington Union, lie 
asserted the power of Congress over the status or non-status of slavery 
in the tertitories, that freedom was the normal condition and t'.iat slav- 
ery could not exist except by force of some conti'ary law. Writing to 
the Albany Atlas in 185.5, on the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, he 
said: "This solemn but delusive compact and pledge was abrogated and 
repudiated by the votes of the same South, aided again by a few north- 
ern doughfaces. The Missouri compact so odious to the North in its 
inception as the price of its humiliation and treacherous defeat in tiie 
first gr(>at struggle against slavery encroachment, had hitherto been a 
dead letter, for all practical purposes; and when at last, after thirty- 
tlu'ee years of acquiescence in the fruits of that defeat, its time had 
arrived as a barrier to further encroachments, it is rudely assailed and 
trodd«>n under foot by the same South, which had given it as a price 
and a pledge against future aggressions." 

Touching upon the Douglass doctrine of "i)opular sovereignty," he 
writes: "It is not the principle of the right of self-government that is 
souglit to be enforced, but it is the perversion of the principle to justify 
a purpose * * * j^,, overthrow under its shadow, the policy of the 
lathers of the Rejiublic, that of denationalizing the institution of slav- 
ery in the name of liberty in the territories." 

Against such a measure Judge Loomis protested, and declared that 
administrative patronage should not thus pervert Democratic principles. 
His idea of the proper action of Free Soilers in respect to the Demo- 
cratic party was to remain in it, and he shared at least in part, the 
i-urpose expressed by John Van Buren "to make the Democratic party 


of Now Yoi'k the niiti-sl.-ivoiy party of New Yoi-k. and to make the 
Democratic itai'ty of tlio riiioii tlio uroat aiiti-sia \ crx- ]>arty of tlic 
linioii." In writin.i: to Mr. .loffcrson Tillintihast, Soptonihor llUli. IS.')."., 
he said: "'! liave not hesitated to ((Uidenin the course of the National 
(Piere(>) administration in i-elation to tlie Nehraska-Kansas (incstion. 
* * * * We can (witliin tlic i)artyi exercise more inllnence 
^^ ith our friends — witli oni- own i».irty. tlian we can stand- 
inu (in.tside as anta:^-onists. 1 symiiatlii/.e with many warm 
and sincere friends wliose fe«' have been ontra.C'('d liy 
the I'niiitive Slave Law and tlie ch'cisions under it, liy the 
Kansas-Xehi-aska nieasuri'S and other recent advances of slavery in- 
fUieuce to a decree that they have come io the conclusion to leave all 
oilier ]iolitical (luestions to their fate, until these thin.^s are i-iuhted, 
hut I cannot as yet ^o so fai', such, in my .iud.ument is not the most 
i'ffecTual means of rech'ess foi- that urievance. "■ * * Let us he hold, 
fraidv ;ind lirni in statinu we believe and in rellectin.i;- the senti- 
ments of those we represent * * * and if the Democratic I'epresen- 
tatives of other States who think diffei'ently from us on slavery, shall 
for our opinions on this subject, exclud<' us from a voice in selectlus 
can<lid;ites for N;itional sntfrauc let them do so, but let them remember 
tlie result of such a course in 1S4S." 

It was bec.anse .Mi'. Loomis thought that effectual n^sTstance could 
be ma(h» within the Democi-atic lines to the demands of the slaveholders 
that he refused to join the Fusion or lJeptd)lic:iu movenuMit in this 
county in- ISfi."). He had always been op])()sed to ^Ir. Sewai'd at all 
points except on the slavery (pU'stion, and he could not consent to su])- 
p<ul a movement to sust.ain what he I'euarded ;is a s]»eci:il endorsement 
of Mr. Seward's general i)()licy. In that \-e:ir, in view of the evclusion 
sui;.U'ested as likel.\' to occni' of I'^re*- Soilei's fi'om the counsels of the 
pai'ty, he wrote was inoi'hetic of the f;ite of the Democr.atic jtarty 
, foi" many years to come: "If those who .are in .a jiosition to the 
DeuKxa-.atic i>;irty ai-e mad enouiih * * =•' to exclude men * * * 
because they hate sl.avery .and honestly s.ay so, * * * then indeed 
will it prov<> true that the i)olitic;il orKani/,;ition heretofoi'e known .as 
tlie Denuxa'.'itic ]>arty * ='■ * become extinct all but in n.ame, 
and (h'feat is ine\il;ible. (}uem I )eus vult perdere, jnaus (hanentat.' "' 

.Tudye Loomis' h.abit of ])rofonnd thouuht su]»i)lied .a resiaxc of powia* 
which iiavo .ureat streuii'th to the exi)ression of his dee]>er convictions. 
Ho thorouuhly oomnutted to the sni)pression of tlie rebellion, but 
h<> as strou.uly insisted that in its suiipressiou the constitutional secur- 
ities of liberty shouhl be uph(-ld. In the I >emo(a';it ic St.ato 
Convention of lS(i2 the celebrated Niidh Resolution of the series ado])t- 
ed in committee, denotmced arbiti'.-iry .-na-ests m.ade by the order of the 
Seer«'t:iry of State and the Seia-et.ary of \\'ar. Many citizens of the 
Slate had been imi)risoned in Fort, .and other prisons by order, without any cause .assii^ned, o!- any o])i)ortuinly of 
<leten,se. It \\as said at tlial time that the Secretary of State had 


declared that by the "tinkling: of a bell" he could order the arrest of 
any citizen. As the State of New York Avas still under the protection 
of the Federal and the State constitutions, its courts open and exercis- 
ing their civil functions, and not under the ban of martial law. Judge 
Loomis held these violations of personal liberty to be uncalled tor and 
tiiat they should be rebuked by loyal men. 

When the Ninth Resolution became known to influential politicians 
like Dean Richmond and others tliey feared that this resolution would 
bo branded as disloyal, although the other resolutions of the series 
emphatically sustained the war, and congratulated the country on the 
success of its arms. They procured the committee to be liastily recon- 
vened, and by a majority of one this resolution was expugned, against 
Judge Loomis' protest. He then gave notice that he would .appeal to 
tlie convention to restore it. When the resolutions were read to where 
the expungned resolution had stood, Judge Loomis, in the midst of much 
confusion, gained recognition and moved the insertion of the Ninth Res- 
olution. He was nervous from the critical responsibility he had assum- 
ed, but as he proceeded he rose to the height of the occasion. He de- 
nounced as unworthy of a Democratic convention the rejection of a 
resolution asserting the lil>erties of the people against unlawful invas- 
ion. Such a retreat from the already publislied declaration that citi- 
/.(Mis must not be arrested without due process of law, would subject 
the convention to public contempt. He declared that such a declaration 
was due to the sanctity of personal liberty. In vigorous and eloquent 
words, enforced l)y his great weight of character, he appealed to the 
convention to vindicate the old time attitude of the Democratic party 
as the champion of popular freedom and to sustain his motion. His 
bold and impassioned appeal — an inspiring protest against the striking 
down of personal liberty that was full of the spirit of the parliament 
that estalilished the Petition of Right — -electrilied the convention. He 
was followed by Francis Kernan and by Levi H. Brown of Jefferson, in 
support of his motion. It was opposed in a fervid expression of war 
patriotism by JMr. Lanning of Buffalo, Init it was adopted by an almost 
unanimous "aye" and Judge Loomis was at once the center of applaud- 
ing congratulations. This attitude of the convention, favoring a loyal 
and vigorous prosecution of the war, but insisting upon the constitu- 
tional rights of loyal citizens against arl)itrary power, was salutary, and 
illegal arrests were seldom resorted to from that time. Judge Loomis* 
severely disciplined mind and taste made liim wholly averse to mere 
oratorical display, but on this occasion his strong appeal for the sanctity 
of the rights of the citizen has been seldom surpassed in parliamentary 
debate. In the serene air, in what Bacon calls the "dry light" of pure 
leason and argument, liis clearness of statement, his cogent unfolding 
of his subject and a natural strength of logic, Avere always conspicuous. 
Mr. Henry B. Stanton said of him: "He was not a magnetic orator; 
he had no glistening qualities. You might as well apply this term to 
a block of granite, but like granite he was solid all the way through." 


The essential political liistory of Ilerkiiner county, from 1S27 to 
lSr)4, is trac«'il in the career of Arphaxed Loouiis and Michael Ilotfnian. 
and their joint labors, niori' than thosi> of any two men, have moulded 
the Constitution and laws of the Empire State; so true is it l!iat the 
chief history of all States is found written in the liio.uraphy of their 
.ureat men. Others have i;iven impulse to jireat material projects, l)Ut 
none have done more to make fundamental laws a securit.v for the .gen- 
eral welfare. The school which they founded has been called the St. 
Lawrence and Herkimer School of I'olitics. Silas Wrij^ht impressed 
upon the public mind ideas similar to those brought into proiuinence 
by these Herkimer statesmen. Samuel Youny, Azariah ('. Fla.ny, 
Churchill C. Camlirelinii- and others ably advocated them, but the 
measures for carryin.i; them into practical effect wi-re conceived by 
Herkimer county statesmen and the.v were the principal advocates that 
secured their ultimate adoption. Human yovi'rnment. Mr. Loomis in- 
sisted, should be the simple incorporation of human rights, and that 
all its agencies should be under the strict control of the people. Simple 
forms to nive effect to the popular will, strict limitations u]ton dele- 
.uated powi-r and economy in adnnnistration. ^■oid of poni]) and displa.v. 
were his ideals in popular uovernment. These he I'e.uardrd as tiie essen- 
tia! methods of government "by the pi'ople for the peoiiie." 

In May, hS82, thirty-six members of the bar, in a h'tter addr"«sed to 
.Ind.ue Loomis. expressed tlu>)r high estimation of his abilities, his ser- 
vices (Ml the l)ench, in the National and State Le,nislatures, in (he con- 
stitutional convention and in the caus<' of law reform, as well as their 
I'cspcct for his personal and professional character, and r-Mjuested 
him to sit for his likeness, to be placed in the court house of the county. 
11< complied in ai)in-eciative and feeliny terms, and the faithful likeness 
now in the court room was painted by ^Iv. Henry H.arrison. in com])li- 
ance with this request. 

This correspondi'nce appeared in the journals of the county .and in 
the "Herkimer Democrat," of Septendjer loth, 1SS2. it was prefaced 
by the following article by the writer of this sketch: 


"A large munber of the bar of Herkimer county, mindful of the use- 
ful and distinguished career of Hon. Arphaxed Loomis in professional 
and civil life, in our count.A% State and Nation, have taken measures to 
perpetuate on the walls of our court house the venei-able ligure of the 
jurist, civilian and citizen, who has given lusti-e to his prolession. 
renown to his count.v and a noble example tt» all the coming gener.Mtions 
of the republic. 

"In this memorial tribute. ( arned by personal worth. an<l great pub- 
lic services rendered without ostentation, a memorial due to a spotless 
I)vivate character, and a constant example for the ennilation of liis fel- 
It^w citizens for more than half a centui'y. all our peoi)le will join with 
coi'dial a])i)r<'ciation and respect. All classes will rejoice 11i;it this rec- 
ognition of the oldest, the ujost esteemed of the citizens and i-epresen- 


(jitives of our county has not been too lonji' deferred. The venerated 
form, the reflected presence of Judge Loomis, will fitly lead tlie ]tortraits 
of all the lawyers and jurists that the reverence of our har may ix'rpet- 
uate by the pencil, for the admiration and regard of coniini;' genera- 

.Indge Loomis died at lattle Falls September lilth. ISSf), in the y8th 
year of his age. At the llei'kimer circuit in November, a meeting of 
the bar was held in respect of that event, at which Hon. Irving (J. ^'ann 
presided, and Judges Earl, Hardin and several members of the bar 
spoke appreciatively of the deceased, and Mr. Samuel Earl read an 
excellent memoir of his life and work, from whicii much of the data of 
this sketch is taken. Appropri.ite rt'solutious dra>vn by Judge Hardin 
were adopted, and thereupon the court, as a mark of respect for the 
distinguished deceased, adjourned. The resolutions were presented by 
a committee charged with tluit <lutjs% consisting of George W. Smith. 
Clinton A. Moon and (Jeorge h\ Crund)y, and they were inserted in tlii' 
minutes of the court, by its order. A mor(> full history of Judge Loomis" 
piU>lic activities will be found in the chapter entitled, "The Herkimer 
School, Political and Legal." Space will be taken Jiere for only a 
tiibute paid to him in the colunuis of the Jou]nal and Courier at the 
time of his decease. 

"His private life among his intimate friends, liis home life in the 
loved family cirt-le. was so pure, gentle, affectionate and kind as to be 
especially noteworthy, and even during the later years, when inhrniities 
are wont to come with irritability and impatience, his disposition 
seemed to grow more lovely and his thoughtfulness for oth<'i-s more 
constant. He delighted in his garden, in fruits and flowers. * * =f 
His private charities were numerons and large, made without ostenta- 
tion and distributed with a wise and careful discrimination. ^lucli of 
his entire life was occupied as the friendly adviser of his neighbors, 
and his associates, of men in trouble, widows, and of young men. * * 
* Although not a member of the church, he gave evidence of a Chris- 
tion faith, a Ch.ristian life, and a Christian example, in observing the 
outward forms of religion in his home * * * seeking the approval 
of his own conscience rather than the applause of the multitude; happy 
in the gentler duties and enjoyments of life, i-athcr th.-in in the excite- 
ment of public life; proud of his participation * * * in the i-eforms 
of his profession, rather than in any sellish emoluments; firm and stea- 
dy and true in behalf of right ratliei- than for any mere personal choice 
or prejudice; sympathetic and enthusiastic in behalf of great principles 
rather than in the petty excitements of the hour — Judge Loomis has 
left the most honorable record that it is the privilege of a man to trans- 
mit to posterity." 

Such was the character whicii men who had observed all its features, 
dejiicted as so wholly admirable. No enmity detracted from the con- 
curring tribute of his cotemi)orai'ies, no criticism dimmed the reflected 
light, and a succeeding generation confirms the estimate both of his 


personal worth and of lii.s eminent iniblic scrvict>s. the fruits of wliicli 
they see still emlnrin.ii' in tlu' institutions of (tur State and icual i)(ili<-\. 

Here was a life that may he likened to the stiduu flow of a slcauv 
stream, which in its course refreshes many extended and various liclds: 
••Thouyli deep, yet clear: thoujih ycntle, yet not dull: strong witliout 
raye; without o'erliowinji', full." 

When the old Presbyterian chui-ch was dedicated in ls;!l. Mr. Looniis 
wrote a "Letter to I'osterity," which was deposited in the corner stone. 
At the building of the new church it was brought to ligid and deposited 
with other papers in the corner stone of the new edilice. 1( is well said 
in the obituary notice referred to: "When this edili<-e shall have ciiun 
bled and fallen, and this document shall be revived again, the intluen«'e 
of his life and of his life woi'k, will still remain in this connniunty, 
and the record of his name, his example, his virtues ;ind his good deeds, 
will have become established, even more tirmly than now in the history 
of his day and geni'ration." (The foi'egoing references to chapters ai'e 
to those contained in "Uiogaphies and History of Central New York," 
by George W. Snuth.) 


Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical vSociety, February lo, 1900. 

The North Aiuericau Imlinns were the most barl);u'ous aiul savaye 
people anywhere to be found. They delighted in savage ernelry. and 
mercy was an unknown virtue generally regarded as evidenci' of weak- 
ness and effeminacy. In tlieir forays and wars tliey did not ask mercy 
for themselves nor grant it to others. Prisoners were torttu'ed and the 
killed were mutilated. In these characteristics, the Inxpiois who in- 
habited this State surp.-issed all the other Indians; and they dominated 
ail other Indian triiies with Avhom they came in contact. The whites 
living near them were fre(iuently the victims of their merciless ferocity; 
and nowhere did they inflict more suffering than upon the whites in 
and about the Mohawk valley. 

The Iroipiois not only tortured and scalped their victims, but fre- 
(piently cooked and ate them. In 1757, Rev. Claude (Jodfrey Cocguard, 
a Jesuit priest living among them, writing to his brother, said that in 
the war with the English "the Indi.-ins do not make any prisoners; they 
kill all they meet, men. women and chiidi'en. Every day they have 
some in their kettle, and ;ifter having ambushed Avomen and maidens 
they slaughter or burn them;" and he stated that "we have received 
letters from the Commandant at Eort Duiiuesne stating that the 
Indians in December, 175(), had 500 English scalps." 

It was one of the Indian customs to scalp their wounded and dead 
enemies. In this bloody work they bec;inie very exi)ei't. They would 
generally I'lui the scaljung knife around the crown of the he-id, and 
then te.-ir off the scalp, sometimes by seizing the hair with their te<'th, 
and in the case of women by winding the long hair around a hand. 
The scalps Avhen numerous were generally strung upon poles and car- 
ried in the rear of the marching colunni of Indians. They were carried 
in triiun]ih to tluMr homes, and exhibited with gr(>at acclaim; and the 
warrior who secured the largest nund)er received a gi-c;it ov;i(ion :ind 
W!is proclaimed tlie gi-eatest brave. It was cpilte usual for the ^varriors 
to indicate by notches on the handles of tlieii' tomahawks and scalping 


knives the nniiilici' of sc;ilps llicy taken. S<-ali)s were sonietiiii(>s 
delivered (n Indians w lio liad lost relatives in battle to I'l'in-cscnt or 
replace sndi relatixcs. 'I'liey were kei»t as tiliastl.v trophii-s to decorate 
Indian lod.ucs. 'I'licy were stretched on liooi)s and dried, freciuently 
with tlic hair on. and S(>inetinies decorated with paint and also by 
marks for id<'ntilicat ion. 

Scalpini; was enconra^ed by both parlies in the l']n,t;lish and I''r*'nch 
wars carried on in this connlry. In tliose wars tlie lro(inois adliei'cd 
te the Knulisli canse, nnder the inllnence of Sir William Joimson; and 
nearly all the oilier Indians Joined the Frencli; and the Indians on botli 
sides were stimnlated to action by bounties olferi'd for scali>s. The 
Indians who si<led with the French genera.lly took their scalps to Mon- 
treal and were thei'e rewarded by.uifts of in(>ney or rnni; and the Indians 
who sided with the En.ulisli took their scalps to Albany or New York, 
or to Sir William Johnson, at Fort Johnson, and wei'i' sinularly I'eward- 
ed. Tile French Indians took scalps of whites in various parts of this 
State, nmstly abont the Mohawk valley and the waters of tlie upper 
Hudson, and sometimes in New Jersey, New Enylaiul, I'ennsylvaina, 
and even as far south as Vir.i;inia ; and the Englisli Indians made forays 
into Canada and fo()k the scalps of Frenchmen there; and Indians on 
both sides scalped Indi:iiis. 

The records and other documents relatinj;' to the Cohniii's contain 
many accounts of Indian scali)inii', to some of which foi- illustration I 
will refer: 

In 1()8.8 the (iovernor of Canada offered the Indians in alliance with 
the French ten beaver skins for every scalp of hostile Indians or Chris- 
tians. In ICIIS and in 17()(l the French paid their Indians for scalps 
tifty crowns each. In ITdt Massachusetts in her war witli the Indians 
offered £1."> for the scalp of a male Indian over twelve years old, and 
ilO for each ( hild or woman captured. These l)ounties were subse- 
(juently increased, and in 11-4, a man's scalp was worth as much as 
£1()(», and a child or woman cai)tured, £">(», to [)ersons in the [tublic ser- 
vice, and the double of each sum to volunteers. 

In Xovendier, 17-1"), the Xew York Colonial Assembly olfei-ed the 
Indians Itounties for scalps; and in 1T4S, « iovernor Clinton recommend- 
ed to the Colonial Assembl.\' tliat they should i)i'ovide bounties for 
scalps. In 174<; some of the Inxprnis scalped some French Indians near 
Montreal and brou.yht theii- scali)s to Albany for the reward. In July, 
1747, (Jovernor Clinton reported to the Duke of New Castle, Prime Min- 
ister of Ep..uland, that Colonel Johnson had sent several i)ai'ties of 
Indians into Cana<la, and that tliey se\-eral times brought bai-k' jiris- 
oiiers and scaljis. In the s.ime year. Sir- William .lohnson reported to 
(ioveiaioi' Clinton that he had paid £('.(• for six sc.-ilps brought fi'om 
Crown I'oiid, and he ;iskcd for more money foi' tlie s.-iine ]>ui'pose. In 
Octobei-. 171<>. some of the iro(iuois exliibiled I'^rench scali>s in .\e\v 
York City for which they received bounties, and they were handsonu'ly 
treated by the Council, the gentlemen of the city, and the Colonial As- 


sembly. In 1754 the Froueh Indians niurdored twenty-one Englishmen 
and carried their scalps to Cape Breton, where tliey were rewarded. 
In 1755 the New York Colonial Governor issued instrnctions to Sir Wil- 
liam Johnson to nrge the Six Nations to go against the French and their 
Indians, and to assure them that they would be rewarded for scalps. 
About this time at a council held at Oneida by Sir William Johnson 
and the Indians, to condole over the death of the Chief Sachem of the 
Oneidas. the ceremonies of condolence were conducted with eleven belts 
and three strings of wampum, and a scalp of the enemy to replace the 
deceased sachem, and a glass of rum all around to wash down all sor- 
row and grief. 

At the battle of Lake George, in 1755, in the French and English war, 
the Indians of the Six Nations, fighting under the English, l)rovight to 
Albany a number of scalps for the bounties. In August, 175G, at a 
council of the Six Nations with Sir William Johnson at his home, a 
Seneca Chief with great solemnity delivered over three scalps — one 
scalp belt in the room of a Tuscarora killed at Schenectady by the sol- 
diers of the 44th Kegiment. another scalp belt for a Tuscarora killed 
in the engagement at Fort George, and still another in the room of a 
Seneca, a great friend of Sir William. 

Vaudreuil, the French (Governor at Montreal, in April, 1757, wrote to 
his home government that the Indians in New Jersey (the Delawares) 
"had carried out his instructions to the best of their ability, and burned 
forty English liomes with the crops in their barns, and had returned 
to Niagara with six scalps of soldiers killed in a New Jersey fort. 

In July, 175(i, Sir William Johnson held a conference with the 
Indians at Onondaga and on his return homeward he called at the Tus- 
carora Castle, and he entered it with two B^rench scalps, which one of 
the young men there briskly seized and then sung the war song, carry- 
ing them in his hands around the Castle. He also stopped at the Oneida 
Castle and there gave the Chief Warrior of the Oneidas a war belt, 
insisting on his going to war Avith the French and bringing to him 
either prisoners or scalps to give him in the room of some friends he 
had lost; and the chief accepted the belt and promised as requested. 
In a war with the Indians in Pennsylvania in 17(54, John Peun, succes- 
sor and grandson of William I'enn, the friend of the Indians, who lived 
in peace with them, offered by proclamation in the city of Philadelphia 
bounties for the capture of Indians or for their scalps, as follows: For 
every iiu\\e above the age of ten years captured^, one hundred and fifty 
dollars; scalped, being killed, )fl34; for every female Indian enemy, 
and every male under ten years captiu-ed, !fl30; for every female above 
the age of ten years scalped, $50. This was a wide departure from the 
policy pursued by the philanthropic founder of Pennsylvania. 

During the French and English war, whenever the Schoharie Indians 
who were on the side of the French, came home with the scalps of 
Mohawks or other hostile Indians, a cannon was fired for joy to cele- 
brate the event. 


The (JovcriKir oT Ci n.-id.-i olTcrcd tlio ludiaiis ;i liouiity for tlio scalp 
of Sii- William .lolnisdii. uiiosc masterful tact and sagacity ki'i)t the 
Iroquois on the side of llic I'Jn.ulisli. 

In preparation for I he Itcx'olutionary war, the Kn.i;lish had socnrod 
as auxiliaries nearly all the Indians, and at the outbreak of hostilities, 
they incited them to sav.iue foi.ays upon the colonists. This was set 
forth in the Decl.iration of Independence as one of tlie .urievances of 
the colonists. The charm' was the King "had endeavored to bring 
on the Inhahitants of oui' frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose 
known rule of warl.nre is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, 
sexes and conditions." The colonists endeavored to secure the neutnil- 
ity of the Indians. In this they were foiled maiidy through the intlu- 
ence of the family of Sir William Johnson, ln' having died previous to 
the outbreak of the war. 

Wlu'U it was i»roi)osed by Lord Suffolk. Secretary of State, in the 
r>ritish rarliament. to enii)!oy Indians against the Americans, he made 
a speech in which he said "that they had a right to use all the means 
that (io<l and natin-e had put into theii- hands to couipier America." 
Against this scheme I'itI, then the Karl of Chatham, delivered a most 
impassioned and memorable spi-ech which ranks among the most elo- 
(juent in the English language. Among other things he said: "My 
lords, we are calhd upon as iiienibers of tills house, as men, as Chris- 
tian men. I<i protest against such notions, standing near the throne, 
polluting the ear of majesty. "That (iod and nature put into our hands!' 
I know not what ide;i that lord may entertain of (iod and nature; but 
I know that such .ibomin.ible princiides are etpially abhorent to religion 
;ind humanity. What! to attributt' the sanction of God and nature to 
the massacres of tlu' Indian scali»ing knife, to the Cannibal savage tor- 
turing, mnidt'ring. roasting, e;iting, literally, my lords, eating the man- 
gled victims of his b:irbarous l);ittles! Such horrible notions shock 
e\t'ry ])rece])t of i-eligion. dix iiie and natural, and every geiienuis feeling 
of humanity. And. my lords, they shock every sentiment of honor; 
they shock me :is a lover of honorable war and a detester of nnu'derous 
baii'liarity." And lOdmund I>urk, who said he had learned that the 
natural ferocity of the Indians far exceeded the ferocity of all bar- 
barians mentioned in history, declared in the House of ConujK)ns that 
"they were not lit allies for the I\ing in a w;ir with his subjects." 

Wliile (ieneral Iturgoyne was adxaiicing in his campaign in the Col- 
ony of New York, in 1777. the Indi.ans lirought in ten S(;il]>s. The next 
(l;iy he held a confei'eiice with a large nuinb«'i' of Iroipiois and other 
Indians; and he made thcni an ,iddi-ess in which he told them "that 
aged men, women, children and inasoiiers must be ht>ld sacred from 
the knife and the h:itchet. e\cn in the time of actual coiillict. You shall 
receive comiicns.-il ion for |iiisoncrs yon take, but you shall be called to 
account for scalps. \'onr ciislonis ha\«' .illixed an ide:i of honor to 
such badges of victory. You shall \h' .allowed to take the scalps of the 
dead when killed by your lire in fair opposition. But on no preteuse 


are they to be taken from the wounded or even dying. 

The savages fighting with Burgoyne inflicted tlieir cruelties indis- 
criminately upon patriot and loyalist; and this soon served to madden 
the yeomanry and array against the invaders whatever wavering senti- 
ment liad hitlierto remained in the country. Among the savage cruel- 
ties which followed General Burgoyne's address was the killing of 
Jennie McCrea, whose tragic deatli and cruel scalping has been so often 
repeated in prose and poetry. She was killed and scalped by one of the 
Indians addressed, and her death aroused the indignation and nerved 
the arms of tlie yeomanry of Nortliern New York, Vermont, and West- 
ern Massachusetts, which boded disaster for Burgoyne. When tlie 
cclioes of this address reached England, it wa,s angrily ridiculed by 
Burlv, who took a sounder view of tlie natural instincts of the red man. 
"Suppose," said he, "that there was a riot on Tower Hill; what would 
the keeper of his majesty's lions doV Would he not fling open the doors 
of the wild beasts, and then address them thus? 'My gentle lions, my 
humane bears, my tender hearted hyenas, go forth! but I exhort you 
as you are Christians and members of civilized society to take care not 
to hurt any man, woman or child!" " The House of Commons was con- 
vulsed over this grotesque picture; and Lord North, to whom it sound- 
ed irrisistibly funny to hear an absent man thus denounced for meas- 
ures which he himself had originated is said to have sat choking with 
laughter, while tears rolled down his great fat cheeks. 

The effects of the employment of the Indians by General Burgoyne 
was soon seen. Soon after this address to the Indians, while he was 
still on the banks of the Hudson, the Indians brought in twenty scalps 
and as many captives, and he approved their incessant activity. About 
the same time, to prevent the desertion of his soldiers, he announced 
in orders to reach the regiment that the savages were enjoined to scalp 

This scalping went on in Wyoming, Andrustown, Springfield. Cherry 
Valley, Schoharie, on the upper Hudson, in this vicinity, throughout the 
Mohawk valley and in many other places, stimulated by the rewards 
paid the Indians by the P.ritish in rum. goods and money. I have been 
unable to find that the British distinctly and directly offered bounties 
for scalps, although it is so recorded in some histories. If they had done 
so. it Avould have aroused such a vigorous and indignant protest by 
Burk, Chatham and their associates in the Parliament as the ministry 
of that day would have been quite reluctant to meet. But while they 
did not directly offer bounties for scalps, they in one way or another 
paid for them, and thus stiuiulated the Indians in their cruel work. It 
Is authentically recorded that Colonel Jolni Butler, a British officer and 
notorious Tory, promised certain Indians to pay them ten dollars each 
for scalps from an American officer, Captain Greg, and a corporal, at 
Fort Stanwix, while they were out hunting pigeons. Captain Greg 
was shot, tomahawked and scalped. He feigned death, was rescued 
through the fidelity and sagacity of his dog, and survived the war 


many yoars. Tho scalps takon horo and there thrmmiioTit the cxposod 
settlements were very nnmerous. So it ai)itears from a letter from Tap- 
tain C'onrisli of tlie NeAV En.iiland militia, dated Alliany, i\rareli 7, 1TS2, 
fonn<t ill ("anipliell's Annals of Tryon Connly. The ('ai»tain mentions 
an expedition, evidently in pm-suit of some Indians in which his piirty 
took from the Indians a lariie amonnt of peltry and also ei.uht packa.ues 
contalnins' nearly one thousand scalps of nun, women :ind childi'en taken 
in the three precedinji' years from the inhabitants on the fi-ontiers of 
New York. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and \'iruinia, which were bein.a; 
carried to the (Governor of Canada. With tliese scalps they found a 
letter addressed to tlii' (iovernor, in which the writer said: "At the 
reciuest of the Seneca chiefs, I send herewith to yom- excellency * * 
* eiji'ht p.'icks of scalps, cured, (h-ied, hoojied an<l i);iinted with all the 
Indian triumphal marks;" and then follows a minute desci-iption of the 
scalps contained in each pack, the writer sayinj;;: "Father, (meaning 
the Governor of Canada) we wish you to send these scalps over the 
water to the Great King- that he may repaid them and he refreshed, and 
that he may see our faithfulness in destroying his enemies and he con- 
vinced tliat his presents have not been made to ungrateful people." 
These scalps tell a pitiful story of men, women and children murdt'red 
and mutilated, of shrieking victims, of burning homes, of smouldering 
ruins, of mnnentionable Indian atrocities. These scalps at least did 
not reach the Great King for his refi'eshment! 

Tlie barbarities of the Indians left a bitter feeling .among the inhab- 
itants of the Mohawk valley for many years aftei- the close of the Kev- 
olutionary war. Some of the scaljied siu'vived, living witnesses of the 
Indian cruelties. In this town. Mrs. Joseph Smith, the great grand- 
mother of George Smith, a resident here, was tomahawked and scalped 
by an Indian on the east side of tlie West Canachi Creek, near where 
her descendants now live. She was left for dead, but revived, was res- 
cued and lived many years after the war. 

The Indians who had been hostile during the w;ir occasionally visited 
the Mohawk ^'alley .-iftci- the war. Theii' :i]iiic;irance aroused mem- 
ories of Indian :itr(tcities and fre(iucntly stirred tlu' surviving i),atriots 
to great indignation and furor. iMa.jor Nicholas Stoner sometime after 
the war met an Indian in a tavern at Johnstown who showed a knife 
with nine notches in tlie handli' indicating the number of scalps he had 
taken, and ])ointing to one that was cut dee])er than the rest, he said 
that was "foi- the scalji ol' old Stoner." The major stung to fury by 
what he saw and heard, sprang to tlir lire place and seizing a hot 
andiron hurled it at the head of the Indian, striking him a hard, if 
not deadly l)low; and it is not known whetlu'r Indian ever re- 
turned to Canada. 

Some years after the war, John Adam Il.artman. a daring Indian 
fighter during the war whose family h;ul sull'ei-cd much from the In- 
dians, some of whose descendants still live here, met ;in IiKb-in in a 
tavern near the westeiai limits of this town; ••ind the Indian stimulated 


by fire water boasted of liis achievements in the war, of the number, 
of rebels he had killed, and of the scalps he had taken. He exhibited 
a tobacco pouch made of the skin taken from a white child's arm and 
tanned or dressed with the nails of the tingers and thumb still hanging;- 
to it. Ilartnian maddened by what he heard and saw at once came 
to the resolution that the Indian should do no more ))oastinj;-. So he In- 
quired where he was going, and when informed, said he was going in 
the same direction; and he offered to carry the Indian's ritle as he 
also had a pack. They went west together, and the Indian Avas never 
seen alive after he entered a swamp with Hartman. About a year 
afterwards, his body and pack were found in the swamp and his ritle 
in a hollow tree. Hartman was asked where the Indian was and he 
replied that when he last saw him he was standing on a log a few rods 
in advance of liim and that he fell from the log as if hurt. He was 
afterward indicte'd for the murder of the Indian and tried at Johns- 
town; and, although there was no reasonable doubt of his guilt, such 
was the prejudice against Indians still lurking in the minds of the peo- 
ple that he was acquitted, as Nat Foster was many years after for kill- 
ing an Indian on the Fulton Chain. 

In this State there was no instance, so far as I have learned, where 
a white man scalped an Indian, although in General Sullivan's cam- 
paign against the Indians in the western part of this State in 1779 a 
few liostile Indians were scalped, presumably by friendly Indians 
marching with the American General. 1 have found but one case in 
the Revolutionary Avar where an Indian fighting for the Colonists scalped 
a Avhite man; and that man Avas the cruel Tory, Walter Hutler, avIio 
Avas shot and scalped by an Oneida Indian aa'Iio AA'as with Colonel Wil- 
let in his pursuit of Koss and Butler Avith their British, Indian and 
Tory followers upon their retreat up the West Canada Creek in 37S1. 

There is one case at least related in New England annals where a 
Avhite Avoman paid the Indians in their OAA'n coin. In March, l(i!)S, Mrs. 
Hannah Dustin, her nurse and infant child wei*e taken prisoners by the 
Indians at Haverhill in Massachusetts. The child was murdered, and 
slie and her nurse were taken to an island in the Merrimac River, now 
called Dustin's Island, in New Hampshire; and there she Avas placed 
in a family of eleven Indians. With the aid of her nurse and a captive 
Avliite boy, she killed all the Indians in their sleep except a squaAv and 
a little boy who escaped; and she returned to her home with a canoe, 
a tomahaAA'k and ten Indian scalps as trophies of her courage and 

The custom of scalping wounded and dead enemies, so rar as I can 
learn, AA^as confined to a portion of the North American Indians — -mainly 
to the Iro(|Uois and the tribes Avitli which they came in contact. I ha've 
not found that it prevailed anywhere else in the world. 

To my great surprise, I find that the Indians fighting for the English 
in the war of 1812 did some scalping, stimulated thereto by the expec- 
tation of roAvard. It is recorded in Vol. 4 of Scribner's History of the 


United States at pa^ie ISS that in that war Captain Natlian llcald was 

in eonnnand of I*\)i't Dcai'Ixirn. wlici'c Chica.iio now stands, and that hy 
order ot (icncral llnll he was conniianch'd to abandon the fort: and ho 
with tifty sohliers and sovei'al t'amilit's left tlie fort, and witliin wliat 
is now the eity limits he was attacked l)y a force of Indians, and the 
women fontiht as hravcly as the men; l»nt they were defeated. A 
waft'on load of twelxc chihli'en were all tomah.-iwked hy one Indian. 
The snrvivors snrrendered, and all the woinided were scalped. The 
British Colonel Troctoi', stationed ;it Maiden, in Canad.a. had offered a 
preminni for Amei'ican scali>s. 

We must not the men of the ei.uhteentli century by the stand- 
ards of the elosiuK years of the nineteentli centm-y. Such has been 
diu'ing this century the advance of civilization, with all its retinin.u' an<1 
elevatin.c: intlnences. and such the urowth of noble, generous and 
humane sentiments even amonii' beliy-erents that such barbarous prac- 
tices as I have (h'tailed will never a.y:iin 1)(> tolerated in w.irfare itetween 
civilized nations. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, April, 14, 1900. 

TluM-o is no section of the United States more rich in historical inter- 
est than the valley of the Mohawk. The events of the war of the Rev- 
olution wei-e nowhere more marked for cruelty and desolation at the 
liands of the Indians and Tories. Of all the noted personages that 
figiu-ed so prominently as allies of the British crown, none held a more 
.inliuential position than the subject of this sketch — Theyendaneiica, 
Joseph Brant. 

This famous Indian ("lii<'f of the Mohawk, whose remarkable career 
during the war of the Kevolution, history accords him as one of the 
master spirits, as a leader of men. Possessing rare attainments which 
qualified him to take such a position, he becanu> a potent factor in the 
interest of the King against the colonies. 

He was born in 1742, on the banks of the Ohio, whither his parents 
had emigrated from the valley of the IMohawk, and Avhere they so- 
journed several yeai's; his father having died there when Theyanda- 
negea was an infant. His motlier finally returned witli him antl his 
sister, Molly, to their home at Canajoharie, the center of the castles of 
the Mohawk valley. 

His father was a full ))looded Mohawk of the Wolf tribe, and accord- 
ing to the early history of the tribe, was a direct descendant of one of 
the Mohawk chiefs who visited ICngland in 1710, during the reign of 
Queen Ann. His mother was married again soon after their return to 
Canajoharie, to an Indian of the Mohawk tribe. 

Of the boyhood days of Brant there is no record; other than his going 
to school. At the early age of thirteen years, under the direction 
of Sir William Johnson, he was at the memorable battle of Lake 
George, in which the Mohawks w«M-e engaged and led into battle by 
their celebrated chief, the brave old Henclrick, who was slain. 

In after years, when relating an account of this his first experience in 
battle, "he said he was seized with such a tremor when the firing com- 
menced that he was obliged to take hold of a small sapling to steady 


himself ; but tliat after tlie disclinriie of a few volleys li(» recovered the 
use of his limbs, aiul (•omi>osui-e of mind, beeomiuji' that of a brave, 
which was his ambition in tlie future to become." 

It was said of him once in after life, when the conversation was on 
the sul)ject of music, lie made the remark: "1 like the harpischord 
well, and the oruan still better, but I like the drum and trumpet best 
of all, for they make my heart beat (luick." 

Theyandaneuea's early education connnenccd at the ,Moor clcirity 
school, established ;it Lebanon, Connecticut, under the suiiervision of 
Kev. Eleazt'r Wheeiock. who later was President of Dartmouth Coileii-e. 
It was through the exertions of Sir William Johnson to improve the 
moral and social condition of his Mohawk nei.yhbors, that younu They- 
andaneji'ea, to.uether with other younj;' Mohawks, were seid to this 
school. The precise year he was placed at school no date is i;iven, as 
the school was op<'ncd Cor the rc-ception of pupils in 174S; and doul)tless 
lie entered soon aftei' its openint;'. 

After receivin.i;- his education there he was pai'ticulaiiy noticed l>y 
Sir William Johnson as a youth of threat promise, and was snbscMjuentl.y 
employed by him in pulilic liusiness. Distinsnished alike for his fine 
address and acti\'ity, as he .i;'r<'W to maidiood possessiny- in point of stat- 
ure and symeti'.v of person, the adv.-intauc of most men, even of his 
own weli-foi'med race; tall, erect and majestic, with the air of one who 
was'iiorn to command,"" havin.L; been schooled inwarfare fi'oni his youth, 
lie was a tower of strenuth amoni;- his own warriors. Still more exten- 
sive was his intlueni-e rendered by the cirumstances that he had been 
much employed in the civil service of the Indian department under Sir 
William Johnson, by whom he was often sent upon business anionn' the 
tribes of the confederacy, and those yet mon^ distant upon tlie lakes 
and rivers of the Northwest, which liave him accurate knowlediie of 
tlie whole country and its ])(^i)])le. for the piosecution of the border war- 
fire. Tlie oflicers of the crown could scarcely liave (Mi.^a.ued a more 
valuable auxiliary. The lad was in the future to become not only 
a distin.uuished war chief, l>ut a statesman and associate of the Kin.ii's 
a.uents in this country, and to be courted b.v the cliiv.alry and nobility 
in En.uland. 

In the jirosress of events Thayendane.tica had been advanced to the 
l»Iaoe of ])i-incipal war chief of the confederacy. How he seeui'cd this 
important i>lace, history does not inform us. Ilendi-ick, the last of the 
Mohawk chiefs who had borne the title of Kins", fell at the battle of 
Lake Geori;e, under Sir William Johnson, twenty years before. The 
sachems of each tribe of the Six Nations wei-e usually chosen in the 
assembly of the chiefs and warriors whenever a vacancy hai»i)ened by 
death or otherwise. Thayendauenea beinj;- a descendant fi-om a family 
of chiefs, his bii'thriuht may h,'i\'e conti-ibnted to his elevation. His 
family and odlcial connection with the Johnsons, whose name was so 
pot(Mit with the Indians, no doubt facilitated his advancement as the 
chosen chief. 


Sul)so(iu('iitly ail nsrcoiiiont was ontorert into with tho officials of tlio 
crown tliat his tril)c were to take np tlie hatchet in the cause of tlie 
Ivinj;. In tlie autiiinn of that year, 1775, Brant resolved to make a 
visit to Enjilaiul. The object of this visit he did not then disclose. It 
was quite prohable, however, that notwithstanding the agreement so 
hastily formed by his tribe to espouse the cause of the King, the 
sagacious chief may have judged it prudent to pause before committing 
himself too far by overt acts of hostility against the colonies. 

The Oneidas were evidently inclined to espouse the colonial side, if 
any; the river Indians had already ranged themselves on the same 
side; the DelaAvares had determined upon neutrality, and some of the 
chiefs of the Cauglinawagas were in the caniii of Washington. 

These circumstances were certainly enough to make the cliieftain 
hesitate as to tho course he would take, and dictated by true wisdom 
he resolved to know for himself. His predilections from the first inclin- 
ed him to espouse the cause of the King. lie maintained that tlie 
ancient covenants of his people rendered it obligatory upon him to do 
so. In addition to which he was bound liy the strong ties of blood, 
association, and gratitude to the family and interests of the Johnsons. 
Thus situated, the chief may have found his position so embarrassing 
as to induce him to visit the parent country and appear in the presence 
of the "Great King," before he should finally determine whether to 
actually take the fi(-ld with his tribe or not. By making the voyage he 
would have tlie additional advantage of studying the resources and the 
l)ower of the pari'iit country, and would thereby be the better able to 
determine for himself whether success was likely to crown his maj- 
esty's arms in the end, or whether by a scrupulous observance of an 
ancient stipulation of alliance, he should not with his people be rushing 
upon certain destruction. But, after due deliberation, he sailed for 
Phigland toward the close of 1775, and reached London early in 1770. 
Only a lirief account of this, his first visit to England was ever found. 

He was not only well received, but his society was courted by gentle- 
men of rank and station, statesmen, scholars, and divines. Possessing 
but little of the savage make-up of his people in his countenance, aside 
from his color, wherein he differed from other men. In person he was 
graceful and dignified, his stature being five feet eleven inches; of 
fine form and proportion, possessing great muscular power, his eyes 
brilliant and expressive; in short everything in relation to his person- 
ality was engaging and prepossessing. On state occasions he appeared 
in court, clothed in the costume of his native tribe; at all other times 
he appeared in the dress of the European. 

At the request of one of his most intimate friends he sat for his por- 
tiait; he was painted in his native garb; and the picture was highly 
prized by liim. The tomahawk worn by him when he was clothed in 
his full Indian costume, was a very beautiful article, polished to the 
very highest degree, upon which was engraved the first letter of his 
christian name, with his Mohawk appellation, "Thayendanegca." He 


(lid not r<'iii;iin in Eniiland iiinny inontlis. Init returned toward the close 
of March oi- early in Aiiril. ITK;. and anivid on the coast near thi' har- 
bor ot New York, after a short passaiie. 

liavin.t;- determined fully to fidtiii his stipulation with Ceneral Carle- 
ton, and take up tlu> hatchet in the cause of the ci-own. he had to per- 
foiin a \-ery hazai'dous .journe.\' to Canada: and was oldiucd to steal 
his way thronuh a host ilep<>|)ulati<U) until lie could reaih the forest of the 
Mohawk. He had taken the pi-ecantion in Knuland to provide for the 
identity of his body In case of disaster, or his fall in any of the h.attles 
bj procni-ini; a Ljold tinger-riug with his n.anie en,i;raved thereon at 

What were the p.articular arguments used by the Kinu' on the occa- 
sion of IJrant's visit, to impress him that the ISritish arms would in the 
end be \'ictorious in the colonies, is uot known. It is certain, howevi-r, 
that whatever doubts he mi.L^ht have entertained were dispelled; and 
in taking leave it was understood that lie pledyed himstdf to end)race 
the royal cause; and promised to take the lield with three thousand 
wari'iors of his race. In regard to the principle by which he was gov- 
erned in his decision, a letter was written by him to the under Secre- 
tary of State, when in England, after peace was declai'ed in ]7tS3. 
"He stated that wlu'U he joined the Kngiisli in the beginning of the 
war. it was purely on account of my forefathers' engagement with the 
King. I always looked upon those engagements, or covenants, be- 
tween the King and the Indian nations as a sacred thing; I assuredly 
had no other view of it from the beginning." 

It was during the early part of the year 177r», while it was yet con- 
sidered doubtful which si<le the Mohawks would finally espouse; and 
it was -desirable to ascertain the views of I'.rant in regard to it; I'l'es- 
ident Wheelock was ajiplied to as a medium of commmiication with 
his former pupil. The reverend gentleman, accordingly to n-adition, 
wrote him a long epistle upon the aspect of the times; and urged upon 
him those considerations which appeared most likely to win him over 
to neutrality, if not his friendship, to the colornsts. Brant rei)lied very 
ingeniously. lie referred to his former residence with him, ami recalled 
the happy hours he had passed under his roof; and the fannly. devo- 
tions to which he had listened. He said he could never forget those 
prayers; and one passage in pai-ficular was so often repeated: "that 
they might be able to live as good subjects, to fear God, and honor the 
King." If doubt existed among the coloiusts before as to the direction 
of the channel in which his inclinations were running, there were 
surely none left after the i>ernsal of this letter. 

General Herkimer still cherished the belief that he might detach the 
dusky warrior from the course lie had esi)oused; at le.ast he might not 
be disinclined to reliiuiuish it; theii- fonnei' fi-iendship, as well as 
being near neighbors, nught ]iei-hai)s have some beai'ing toward his 
rescinding the cours(> as plaimed. 

{Subsequently the General made an appointment to hold an interview 


with Brant at Unadilla; the time and place for the meeting was decid- 
ed upon. Tlie design of Herlcimer, no doubt was, if in case of failure 
to win him over, to seize his person. But the yvUy chieftain was on the 
alert for any such proceedings (if really intended), as was proved soon 
after they met. 

The scene exhibited at this interview was novel, and imposing; the 
hostile parties were encamped about two miles apart. About midway 
between, a temporai-y shed was erected, large enough to seat two hun- 
dred persons. By mutual agreement, their arms were to be left in 
their respective encami>ments. Brant and his five hundred warriors 
remained at their camp; in the meantime Brant dispatched a courier 
to (General Herkimer with a message desiring to knbw the object of 
his visit. General Herkimer replied that he had only come to see and 
converse with his brother. Captain Brant. The witty messenger in- 
(luired if all those men with him wished to talk to the chief, too! On 
taking his leave he said to the General that he would carry his talk 
back to the chief; and soon an arrangement was made for the meeting 
of Herkimer. Brant appeared in the edge of the distant forest with an 
escort of about forty warriors, and proceeded to the place of meeting; 
after a little parleying a circle was formed, into which Brant and Her- 
kimer entered together. After the exchange of a few remarks, the 
chieftain, keeping an eagle-eye upon his visitor, inquired the reason of 
his being thus honored! General Herkimer replied that he had come 
on a friendly visit. And all these had come on a friendly visit, too! 
replied the chief. All want to see the "poor Indian." It is very kind, 
he added with a sarcastic snnle. General Herkimer expressed a desire 
to go forwai-d to the village; l)ut the chief replied he was (piite near 
enough, and that he must not proc(>ed further. Whether the wary 
chi(»ftain entertained any suspicion of perhdy was never known, but 
certain it was that his precaution and his bearing when he arrived at 
the place of meeting were such as to wariant him to be able to frus- 
ti'ate any such proceedings, if really intended. In addressing the Gen- 
eral he drew himself up with dignity and spoke as follows: "I have 
live liundi'cd warriors with me, armed and ready for battle; you are in 
my power; but as we have been friends and neighbors, I will not take 
advantage of you," and continued by saying that the Indians liad con- 
cluded to take up the Avar liatchet in favor of the King, and they 
would not violate their pledge. Therefore he advised Herkimer to go 
back to his home, and thanked him for his civility in coming to see 
him; that perhaps he might some time return the compliment. At a 
signal a host of his armed warriors darted forth from the forest, paint- 
ed and ready for the onslaught, with the well known war-whoop re- 
sounding through the forest, but. with no hostile intention against Gen- 
i>ral Herkimer. 

The chief then s.nid that he would go back to the village; in the 
meantime the General might rest assured that no hostilities should 
for the i)resent be committed by the Indians. Brant then turned 


proudly away tlirou.uli tlu- I'oiest; while ilfrkluuT struck liis iciils and 
ivlurut'd to tlu- valley of the .Mdhawk. Thus toniiinatfd this most siii- 
.uulnr couforouci'; the last that was held lictuccn (Jciicral llcrkiiiici- 
and tilt" Mohawk chict. 

After this, seeues of a stiri'iuu eharactcr soon took place in Tryon 
eouuty. and especially in the valley of the Mohawlc; in which the lead- 
ers of this noted uieetin,ti at I'nadilla beeanie active particiiiants. 

Most historians, in describin.L; the events th;it occun-cd, used much 
of liction and exaggeration. Xo doubt tlu' crude verbal ai-connts that 
found their way into the I'cports of military ofhcers. .•in<l others without 
examination or authentic material for history, were instrnmiMibil in 
intiannny tlie people: in short, tliey were wi'itten .-it too e.tily a day lor 
an impartial account. 

This master spirit of the Indians thus en,t;a,y-ed in the r.ritish service. 
during' tlie war of the K<'volution, not only were all the border mas- 
sjicres cliarged directly upon him, but upon his lie;ul fell all the acts of 
atrocity wliich marked that sanguinary contest: whether connnitted 
by Indi.ans oi' Tories. In m.any instances great injustice was done 
I'.rant. In regard to the att'air of Wyoming, which has been regarded 
as being one of the most cruel events in the history of tlie Ut'volution, 
it is cert.-iin in the face of every historical authority, British and 
American, th;it so far ;is Itrant's being engaged in this .affair as a 
leader, hi' w;is m.-iny miles distant at the time of its occurrence. Such 
was the uniform testimony of the liritish otticers in expedition: 
and such w;is always the word of Thayendanegea himself. 

In ;i correspondence between \Vm. L. Stone and Samuel ('. Frey, of 
upper ("iinaila, a son of Philip It. Frey, who was an ensign in a regi- 
ment which was engaged in the campaign and battle of Wyoming, and 
who died at Palatine, IMontgoniery county, in 1S2;!: it was his testi- 
mony that I>rant a\';is not ;it Wyoming; that there w;is no chii'f of 
note with the Indians on that expedition, and th;it they were led by 
one Captain IJird. of the Eighth i-egiment, joining the Indijins placed 
under him with a (U't;ichment of his regiment, to Butler's Uangers. 
They conceived and carried out the descent upon Wyoming. Rarely 
does it happen that history was more at fault in regard to fjicts, than 
in this case .at Wyonnng, IJrant was the leadt'i-. 

A correct history .-issures us that the bloody scenes that were en.acted 
:it Cherry Valley, should not be coupled with the n.ame of I'.r.ant. 
he was not the commander <»f that expedition: but that it was led by 
the notorious Walter N. llutler. whose father was griev(»d at the con- 
duct of his son on that melancholy day: because the exix'dition was 
entirely of his s(»n's undertaking, lir.ant's conduct on day not that which some histoiians m.ade it a])i)ear. On the 
lie did all in his power to lU'event the shedding of innoceid blood. His- 
tory i-ecords the following incideids that look place. On I lie morning 
of the attack he lett the niiiin body of Indians and endeavored to 
arrive at the home of a Mr. Wells, for the purpose of affording i)iotec- 


lion to the family; lie beinjj an intimate friend of liis, but he aiTived 
too late; the entire family were killed. On entering a eeitain house 
r.earby, he found a woman cnnployed in her household work. Brant 
thus aeeosted the woman: "Are you thus engaged." inciuired the 
ehief, "while all yoiu- neighbors are being murdered?" The woman 
replied that they were in favor of the King. "That plea will not avail 
you to-day! They h;ive murdered Mr. Wells' family, who were 
as dear to me as my own." "I'.ut," continued the woman, "there is one 
Joseph l*.i-ant; if lie Is with the Indians he will save usl" "1 am .loseph 
Brant," was the (piiek response. "But I have not the connnand. and I 
know not that 1 can save you. ))ut I will do what is in my power." At 
this moment he observed th<' Indians approaching. "Get into l>ed, 
quick," he couunanded her, "and feign sickness." The woman obeyed, 
and when the Indians retired he rallied a few of his Mohawks by a 
wt'll known signal, and directed them tt) paint his nuirk upon the 
woman and her children. "Ycm are now probably safe," he remarked, 
and departed. One other incident in point to sul)stantiate the noble 
trait in his character. On entering a house where Butler ordered a 
woman and child to l)e killed. Brant interfered, saying: "What! kill 
a woman and child! No; that mother and child are ;;ot an enemy to 
the King; long before the child will be i)ig enough to do any mischief, 
tlie dispute will be settled." They were saved. 

The whole conduct of Brant on that memorable day demonstrated 
he was not the cruel monster he was represented to be. History de- 
clares that Brant was no less humane than he w^as brave. He was an 
Indian and led Indians to tight upon their own principles and usages of 
war. Bold and daring, sagacious, and wily, he often struck when least 
expected, watching with sleepless vigilance for opportunities of action. 
But no instances of wanton cruelty, treachery, or the murder of pris- 
oners, or others, was ever permitted by him in cold blood. It was said 
of him that notwithstanding all his martial tire, and heroism, he pos- 
sessed a sensibility of soul that would weep at a tale of woe. 

In justification of the practices of Indian warfare. Brant's course of 
reasoning was "that the object of each party when engaged in war 
was to destroy his enemy, or to weaken and intimidate him so much 
as to force him to peace. The Indians, he .said, were destitute of nu'ans 
and also of implements of war which the white people possessed. They 
could not successfully contend with them in the open tield, because 
they had no artillery, so indispensible and destructive in a field fight. 
That the Indians had no forts to resort to for protection; no depots or 
prisons to secure their prisoners. The simple and necessary principle, 
therefore, of Indian warfare, was extermination. To destroy as many 
of the enemy and their supplies, and save as many of themselyes as 
practicable; and for tlu^se results to resort to ambuscade, strategem. 
and every .species of deception to effect the ol)ject." And a n;ition is 
yet to be discovered tliat will not fight for their homes, the graves of 
their fathers, and the family altars. Cruel as may seem the mode of 


Indian warfare, tlicy were not so considered by tliosc wiio itracticcd 
tlioni, and was lield in tln'ir estimation as iK'in.n' not more ciiicl Mian the 
wliolt'saie nmrder laid down in Ijoolcs, witli all tlic cnLiincs of destruc- 
tion which the ingenuity of the white man lias conceived, to eltect this 

The cruel act of scalping by the Indian was gn-atly aunnieiited. 
owing to the bounty given for such scalp by tlie King's agents. 

It was a matter of policy on the part of the crown, as a means to the 
end, of subjugating the people of the colonies. 

Many instances are related by Jlrant in saving the lives of innocent 
children, their mothers, the aged and intirm. from cruel death at the 
hands of his people. He said their impi'tuosit.v in the excitement of 
war was often hard to be kept under control. And his own life was 
many times imperiled in shielding such as were noncondyatants: thus 
demonstrating tlie humanitarian spirit that actuated this famous Indian 
chief, under the circumstances in which lie was placed, as :i leadi-r 
of hostilities in favor of the King. In the domestic relations of I'.rant. 
his home was the abode of kindness and hospitality. He was thi-ic(> 
married; l)y his hrst wife, the daughter of an ()neid;i chief, lie had 
two children, a son and daughter; by his second wife (who a sis- 
ter of his first wife) he had no children; by his third, he had seven. 
His great solicitucU' for the well being of his children, is attested by 
his desire that they might all receive a good education. ;iiid become 
useful and honored citizens. Tlie purity of his private mor.als wi-re 
never (lUestioned. In his dealings and business relations lu' was promi»t 
and honoral)le. I tut one cloud ever obscured the lu-ightness of his 
family circle. It was the wayward son of Ins first wife, whose un- 
timely death was caused by his intemperate habits. 

The natural indolence of the Indian race in all matters e.\cei)tiiig the 
war-path and the chase, was not the characteristic of Ur.-int. On the 
contr;iry. the history of man scarcely supplies a parallel instance of 
such active public service in the council as well as in the tield, from the 
day of his youtli at Lake Gi'orge until his death, moi'e than half ,i cen- 
tury afterward. The termination of the war brought none of the iii.ic- 
tivities of life to him. 

His correspondence was voluminous; all his letters and writings, 
that were preserved as history of the events in which hv was an active 
l)articipant, breathed the spirit of tlu' true; they were 
always couched in tine language, becoming a scholar and student of 
human nature. 

In 17S4, a few years previous to the death of r.rant, he built ;i line 
dwelling on the tract of land in Canada, ])resented through him to the 
Mohawks, and the othei-s of the Si.K Nations, as their iiossessions for 
loyalty to the King. The district of country thus granted alike 
be;iutiful ;ind fertile: lying ui>on the banks of (Jrand Kivei'. being si.v 
mih's in width on each side of the rivei\ bv about one hnndred in 


length. The situation of his home atfordcd a tine prospect of Lake 
Ontario, with a fruitful soil and pietures(iue country around it. 

At this home on the 24th day of November, LSOT, died Th:iyend;i- 
negea, Joseph Ltrant, at the age of G4 years 8 months; whoso life was 
made famous for the space of over half a century. He was a stead- 
fast believer in the distinguished doctrines of Christianity and a mem- 
ber of the Episcopal clmrch at the time of his decease; and buried 
near the church which he built at the Mohawk village on Grand River. 

It is an interesting fact that this, the first church erected in upper 
Canada, was built by IJrant, the chief of a people who were previously 
I'agan in belief. The tirst bell which summoned the people to this 
house of prayer in the province, on the Christian Sabbath, was carried 
thither bv Brant. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical vSociety, May iS, 1900 

Stamps for the imrposc of t;i\.atioa and revenue were first l>rou.i;]it 
into use l)y the Dutch in Holland, in ](;i'4. They were Hrst used in 
I'lniilaiid in 1(!!M 10 raise revenue to earry on the war witii Fraiuc; and 
they liave lieen pari ot tlie I'evenue system of that country ever since. 
Tliere tiiey covered a .^reat variety of subjects, and, anion.:;- otiier teat^ 
tu-i's which eharacteiized them, they were avowedly so arrauL^ed as to jotu-nalism. wliich it was feared miyht foster discontent, 
sedition, and the rcfoi-niin^- spirit anionu' the people. The uoveruin.^- 
classes feared ciieap newsjtapers wliich would reach (he common peo- 
jili', and stimulate their minds, and briu.i;- about concerted action foi' 
the assertion of their rights .and the reform of their Kfievances. Ac- 
eordin.uly, down to the early part of this eeutury, the stam]) duty 
aiiiounti d to four iinice on every copy of a newspaper issued, 
besid( s a he;i\y duty upon the bl.ank pai)er; :ind there was 
;i tax of six i)ence on every advertisement conl.ained in a 
newspaper. Thus it was very dillicult for .anyone excejit a 
(ai)it;ilist of lar.ue means to publish any newsp.apei, and 
impossible to ]>ublish a cheai) one. Later the stamp tax was reduced, 
and in is;;(;, it was bron.uht down to a penny, represented by tlie red 
si;, nip of the uovernment <>ii every c()]>y. About IStJO, undei' the stimu- 
i.itiiii;- leadership ot Mv. (il.adstone, the paper duty. aft<>r much ojipo- 
sitioii. ticulaiiy from the House of I^ords. was entirely abolished; 
.and thus cheap newspapei-s wi're made jiossible in Eiml.and. 

II may lie iinticcd here p.ireiit lietic.-illy durinu' the Second I'hnidre 

ill Kr;ince. stamp duties were imposed upon newsp.apers pui])()sely to 

discoura.ue the publication of cheap newspai)ers which lui^iit arouse 

.i ■ a.nitation and insubordin.-ilioii .iiikiii^ tlie peojde. and thus endau.u'ei- 

f'ij ■. (lie thnme of the Third I'.oii.iparle. A free pr(>ss which can reach all 

-».«-,.. ,ij|' .1 the iieople of ;iny country will .always in the end undermine autocratic 

' or despotic power. 

J, Tliti project of raising i-eveiiue in the colonies of America by stamps 


had for some years been agitated among the statesmen of England, and 
finally what came to be known as the Grenville Stamp Act was passed 
by the English Tarliament on the 22nd of March, 17(;5, to take effect 
Novend>er 1st of that year. It passed in the House of Commons by a 
very large majority, and in tlie House of Lords unanimously. Tliere 
were some English statesmen, liowever, like Pitt, Camden, Barre and 
Conway who denied the right of the Parliament to tax the colonies 
because tliey were not represented therein. Tliey contended in a de- 
bate conducted with great ability and whicli left notliing to be said 
(what tlie colonists always maintained), that taxation and representa- 
tion should go together, and that as the colonists were not represented 
in the parliament, it liad no right to appropriate their i)roperty by way 
of taxation; and they predicted tlie momentuous conse(iuences whicli 
would tlow from an enforcement of the act. The act was very sweep- 
ing in its provisions. It imposed stamp duties upon all legal papers 
and documents of every kind, upon all licenses, shipping bills, bonds, 
notes, evidences of debt, contracts and even upon pamphlets, newspa- 
pers, almanacs and calendars; and the tax was double on all papers 
and documents not in the English language. 

Throughout the world, in all of the struggles of the masses for great- 
er freedom, the lawyers generally have been found on the side of the 
people against despotic power. So it was in ancient Greece and Rome; 
and so it was in France at all times of the uprising of the people to 
achieve greater protection from and a larger sliare in tlieir government, 
and, conspicuously, in England in every great crisis in lier liistory. And 
so, with the exception of the lawyers who held office under the crown 
or expected royal patronage, the great mass of the lawyers in America 
were patriots and staunch supporters and leaders of the people in their 
struggles against English tyranny. Therefore, as Trevelyan in liis his- 
tory of the American Revolution, says: "A secondary, but an evident 
and even confessed object of a Stamp Act Avas to impose a prohibitory 
tax upon the manufacture of legal documents, and thereby to injure 
and pare down the gains of those unofficial lawyers among whom Avere 
to be found the most skillful and stubborn opponents of the crown." 

When the news of the passage of the Stamp Act reached this country 
it aroused everywhere the most intense excitement and indignation. 
Meetings were held in the principal towns and cities, and the act was 
denounced as an invasion of the fundamental rights of freemen; and 
n^solutions were adopted to resist its execution. It suddenly converted 
thousands of staunch royalists into patriots. A congress of the colonies 
was called to meet in New York in October to effect a union among the 
colonies for resistance to the attacks of the Parliament upon the liber- 
ties which they claimed as their English birthright. When the first 
day of November arrived on which the act was to talvc effect, the liis- 
torian Bancroft describes the situation as follows: "It (the day) broke 
upon a people unanimously resolved on nullifying it. From New Hamp- 
shire to the far South, the day was introduced by the tolling of muffled 


l/fUs: minute i;ims were lirrd and pcnants lioistcd lialf staff; or a 
t was pronounced on liberty, and her Ivnell sounded: and then 
ayain the note elian.i^ed as if she were restored to Hfe; and while [lieas- 
ure shone on evi'i'y ei»nntenanee, men shouted confusion to her enemies. 
('liil(h'en iiardly aliie to speai; caui^ht U[) tlie .general cliorus and went 
aiouL;- tlie streets cariolini;'. "Lihi'rty, I'roix rty, an<l No Stamps." Mer- 
cliants l)anded to.ucther to refuse tlie importation or sale, wlnii' tiie act 
was in force, of any goods from Enyhind; and citizens resolved not to use 
any yoods so imported. Stamp agents were forced by threats and vio- 
lence to resign tli«'ir otiices. Stamps were seized and destroyed, and 
e\en the buildings in wliicli they were stored or offered for sale wei'e destroyed. When news (jf the act hrst reached New York, hand 
bills containing a coi»y of the stamp act with a death's altixed 
were hawked al)out the streets under the title of "The Folly of lOng- 
land and the Kuiu of America;" and t)U the ".Ist day of October a news- 
paper made its appearance there in mournin.g, headed by the following 
prologue: "A Funeral Lamentation on the Death of Liberty, wlio liual- 
ly E.xpin's on tliis ."ilst day of October in the Year of our Lord 
MDCCLXV. and of our Slavery L" It was al»out this time in a debate 
in the House of Iturgesses of \irginia over the Stamp Act th;it Patrick 
Henry made his famous speech in which he said: "Caesar had his 
I'.rutus, Charles I his Cromwell, and George III (Treason! crii'd the 
Speaker. Treason ! Treason, echoed fi'om every part of the house) 
may i)rolit by their example. If that be treason, make the most of it." 

Till' ;igitation against the act was so tierce and determined in this 
counti'y, and also in England by I'itt and othei's who thought it not only 
unwise and inexpedient, bnt also an inv.asion of the English Constitu- 
tion, that it was ivpealed by the I'arliament on tlie ISth day of March. 
ITCiC). During the time it was in force, llie stamp duties realized 
amounted to oidy four thousand pounds, not enough to pay the expenses 
of collection. A majority of the nuMubers of I'arlianu'nt who voted for 
the did so on the gi'onnd of exi»ediency. The repe.-il would have 
been more salisfactoi'v to the colonists, but for the fact that it was 
accompani(>d with the declaration that the English I'arliament had the 
right by its acts to impose taxes upon the colonies and to bind (hem 
in ;ill cases. 

The repeal was nevertheless hailed here everywhere with great nniii- 
il"estations of Joy. To.asts weri' drunk to the royal family and to Par- 
li.'iment. P.ells were rung. c;innon lireiL banners disjilayed, and illunu- 
nations by night lighted cities ;ind villages: and in P.oston. imi)risoned 
debtors were released by subscription, .lohn Adams wroti' th;it "the 
repeal of the stamp act has composed every wave of popular discontent 
into a smooth .Mnd peaceful ocean." In celebration of the event the 
first liberty pole in .\niei-ica w;is erected liy the Sons of liiberty in 
New \'ork, and there.-ifter such jtoles bec.-nne the symbols of liberty 
among tlie .Vnierican jieople, and the rallying (loint of patriots. 

The Stamp Act set in motion the causes wliich led to the American 


Revolution and the independence of our country. P»ut the cokniists liad 
other grievances which would undoubtedly have led to the same results 
unlessEngiandchanged her policy toward the colonists. In her legislation 
and her treatment of them, she disregarded their interests and exploited 
them for her beneht. Navigation laws prohibited trading and com- 
merce between the colonies and other countries then England. Every 
branch of consumption here was so far as practicable secured to Eng- 
lish manufacturers. Every form of competition by colonial industry 
was discouraged or forbidden. No colonist of English blood would 
have patiently endured these invasions of their natural rights, if there 
had been no Stamp Act and no asserted right to impose taxes upon them 
by act of Parliament. What the colonists claimed was the regulation 
of their own internal, domestic affairs, including taxation, through their 
own legislative assemblies, and they would have been satisHed with 
nothing less. Their leaders had thoroughly studied the science of gov- 
ernment, and the principles upon which tliat science should be based 
were neAer more thoroughly and ably discussed tlian by the patriots of 
the Revolution and their friends in the English Parliament. 

A generation had scarcely passed, and the memories of the Stamp 
Act, and the bitterness and animosities which it aroused liad not gone 
from the minds of men before another Stamp Act was enacted by Con- 
gress during the administration of John Adams, July Gtli, 1797, a sim- 
ilar act ha^ang been rejected by Congress during the administration of 
Washington. It provided for stamps on legal paper, licenses, evidences 
of debt, and other private documents. The license of an attorney 
required a stamp of $10; and a certiticate of naturalization, a stamp of 
$5. The act was a Federalist measure passed at a time when the 
Federalists had control of Congress, and it was bitterly opposed and 
assailed by the Republicans of that day. They accused Adams and 
his friends, the Federalists, of a leaning toward Great Britain, and 
some denounced the act because it imitated tlie British way of raising 
revenue. Many denounced it on sentimental grounds, associating with 
it the odium of the British Stamp Act of 1705, and the momentous 
struggles against that act; and others claimed tliat the raising of rev- 
enue by stamps was not a proper function of the general government, 
but one to be exercised by the States. The act provided for the sale 
of stamps by agents to be appointed for that purpose. General Michael 
Myers, a leading Federalist, was appointed the stamp agent for this 
locality. He lived where Robert E. Steele now lives, and he placed at 
his house a sign indicating that he had stamps for sale. That sign 
aroused the animosity of the Republicans in this neigliborhood. They 
had not forgotten the British Stamp Act of 17()5; and as the patriots 
of that time forcibly resi-sted that act, they determined so far as they 
could to resist this, even by violence. So a number of them, all of whom 
had been Revolutionary soldiers, in the Fall of 1797, assembled at a 
tavern which stood at the corner of Main and Mary streets, where the 
Monroe building now stands, and they uiarched in military array to 


the rosidonoo of Gonornl Myers, ami tliore thoy tore down the sign and 
oaiTiod it away in trinni])li. Tliis was not done without some sliow of 
I'esistance I)y (Jeneral ^iyei-s. One of liis negro slaves was armed with 
an axe, wliirh lie tlonrislied in defense of Ills master. His, son. I'otiT, 
drew his sw()r<l: hnt tlie sturdy Repuhlieans wlio liad many times faced 
greater dangers, were not intimidated and eompli'ted tlieir work. For 
this riotous eonduet tlie participants were indicted in the Federal 
Court and were snhseipu'ntly arrested and tal<en to All)any. Tliere 
tliey emidoyed Aaron P.urr to defend them. lie toolv tlie prisoners in 
cliarge, liad tliem sliavcd and hi'uslu>d up so tliat tliey wouhl malce a 
good appearance in Court: and in some way, just liow I never learned, 
lie got them off. I'.enton in his history of Herkimer county, says it was 
through the intervention of Governor Jay, who was a Fi'deralist. This 
was a great matter at tliat time in tlie Mohawk valley, and the riot- 
ers returned home the heroes of tlie houi'. My grandfather (Dr. Petry) 
who lived where my bi-otlun-'s family now live, within a few rods of 
General Myers" resiih'iice, was among the men who marched from the 
tavern; and Just hefore tlu' sign was torn down his eldc^st daughter, a 
resolute wom:in. fearing (hat he, an old man, might he injured, went 
from her home and took him by the arm and led him away; and so he 
escaped indictment with his compatriots. Another incident illustrating 
the intense feeling of the times may here be related. (Jeneral Myers 
had some Guinea hens who used to get upon the division fence between 
his lot and Dr. Petry's, ;ind there utter their n.-itnral cackle, which 
sounded very much like Stamp .\ct! Stamp Act! Stjini]) Act! ;ind he or- 
dered one of his sons to kill them, ,is he would not have those con- 
founded Guinea hens crying Stamp Act at him, 

Tliis act was so odious to the Republicans that it was repealed when 
they came into ]iower (hiring tlie administration of Thomas .Ti'fferson, 
in 1802. 

In the war of ]S12, with Great P.ritain. stamps were again resorted 
to for the i)uri»ose of revenue uiuh'r an art of Congress p.-issed in ISI.'i. 
The act was ;i Kei>ublic;iii n'.easure. devised to I'aise inoii(>y to (h'fray 
the ex'penses of what at tli.'it time c.-illed by t!ie Feder;i lists a 
llepuldican war. and it was violently opposed by the Fech'ralists, as 
were substantially ;ill the Av;ir measures passed by the I{ei>ublican 
party. It is thus seen that subsecnient to the administration of John 
Adams, the two it.-n'ties had r<'versed their position on the question of 
st.-imp taxation. This taxation was nbro.u.ated soon after the close of 
the wai-. 

In the war of the Rebellion, the enormous expenditures made a 
resort to nearly every sp<>cies of taxation necessary to meet the needs 
of our Government; and stamps were extensively used as a means of 
revenue uiKh-r an ad of Congress i>assed in 1S(!4. The main provisions 
of that act reiii.-iined in force until ISS.'I. when nearl.x' all its |>rovisioiis 
W(-re re])e:ili'd, lea\ing only stam|» taxes iii>on beer, distilled liquor, 
cigars and cigarettes. .\iid now ;igain to meet the expenses of tin' Late 


war with Spain we have a system of stanip taxation which, in conse- 
quence of. the large increase of our national expenditiu'es, I believe has 
come to stay. 

This kind of taxation has ceased to l)e a political measure, dividing 
political parties. It is generally approved by writers on political econ- 
omy and the .science of taxation on tlie ground that such a tax is less 
burdensome and more- easily collected than most others. Such taxes 
imposed liy the representatives of the people no longer arouse any fears 
or opposition. A self governing people have very little reason to com- 
plain of taxation which they themselves through their representatives 
impose. Systems of taxation may be and sometimes are imperfect and 
even mischieveous. Time and experience will perfect them, and the 
vigil.-ince of the people should be mainly directed to the manner in 
which their servants dispose of money thus taken from them. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, June 9, 1900. 

The Her'vinH'r liydiaulic «';ni,'il lins contril)iit«Ml very lariicly to the 
fjrowth and jti-ospcrity of tlie villauc of Horkinier, tluM'efoi't' a state- 
ineiit of sonic of the facts in reference thereto and a brief sketch of 
the inchistrics connected thcrewitli may l)e of interest to many persons 
and may have some historical value. 

Before this eanal was built the water power of the West Canada 
Creek had not been utilized at Herkimer to any great extent. In 188^5 
there was a eardins;- and fulling mill and a saw mill near wIumv Terry 
(t. Wires now lives, opei'ated liy lOlisha T.isby. The fulling and carding 
mill was afterwai'd conducted by Chestei' W. Palmer. Sr. At about 
the same time the saw mill was oiiernted by W. A. Caswell. Soon after 
the hydraulic canal was built a new tail race was constructed by War- 
ren Caswell. Sr., and Nathaniel Ethridge, which passed through lands 
lat(>ly owned by Dr. IVter Tryne and lands now owned by William 
W. liarse, and discharged into the West Canada Cn-ek near Mr. Barse's 
cider mill. A s;iw mill .and clover mill were erected near this tail race 
on the Barse place and Willaid A. (iray. father of (Jeorge II. (Jray, and 
Kellogg Ilubbai'd manufactured brooms and broom h.andies. 

(hi the other si(U' of the creek nearly ojiposite I'.isby's mills was a 
saw mill and carding mill, owned by Lawrence L., Frederick L. and 
Jacob L. Ilarter. The course of the tail race from these mills is still 
visible. This ])ro|(erty was sold by the Ilarters to the Hydraulic Com- 
pany in 1S.';4 and the mills were abandoned. 

Xear the west bank nf the West ('aiiad;i Creek, a short distance north 
of the old toll gate on Albany street, were a saw mill, a grist mill and 
distillery, at one time owned by Windsor Maynard and Simeon Ford 
and afterward by the Manhattan Conn)any of the city of New York, 
which company conveyed that and other property along the north side 
of the Mohawk turii]>ike (now .\lbaiiy street) to the Hydraulic Com- 
pany in IS.'U. (icorge Smith, son of Nicholas (!. Smith, says tli;it when 
a small bo\' he went on horseback with grain U> be mound at this gi'ist 


Djill. These mills, after their purchase by the Hydi'aulic Company, 
were abandoned. 

The tail race discharged into the West Canada Creek near the rail- 
road bridge. It lias never been tilled up and at the time of the over- 
tiow of the West Canada Creek in the winter and spring of 181)9 a 
large amoinit of water passed down this channel and into the creek. 

About the year 1S31, some of the leading citizens of the village of 
Herkimer, with a view of developing manufacturing industries, consid- 
ered the subject of diverting the waters of tlie West Canada Creek 
through an artificial channel which was to pass through or near the 
village and empty either into the West ('anada Creek or the Mohawk 
liiver. Jolin B. Jervis, civil engineer, was employed to make sm-veys 
and measurements of the quantity of water flowing into tlie creek when 
the water was low. He surveyed several different routes, all of them, 
however, passing through what was then called the "Little Lake." By 
one proposed route the canal would empty into the West Canada Creek 
between German street and the power house now owned by the village. 
By another route into the Mohawk River, but at a point at a consid;*- 
able distance west of the present place of discharge. By this route 
the canal would have passed through the northern part of the village 
near the head of Main street and run through the Bellinger fiats. Tlie 
present route was finally adopted and about April, 18-!{2, a blank form 
of deed for a right of way was prepared. It was arranged that the title 
to lands necessary to be ac<iuired should be taken in tlie n.-imes of 
Charles Gray and Harvey W. Doolittle. Charles Gray was a lawyer, 
;.nd afterwards became a .lustice of the Supreme Court of this State 
and Avas for one year a .Judge of tlie Court of Appeals. He was the 
father of Mrs. Mary Grosvenor, Miss Catherine Gray and Mrs. M. G. 
Palmer, and lived on Alain street wliere his daughters now reside. 

Harvey W. Doolittle was a doctor and was the father of Dr. Andrew 
F. Doolittle, wlio lived where C. R. Snell now lives, and of .Judge 
Charles H. Doolittle of Utica. 

Quite a number of deeds were prepared in May, lS.32. The preamble 
contained in the printed form of the deed was as follows: "Whereas, 
the said Harvey and Charles and others, their associates, propose to 
divert a part of the waters of tlie West Canada Creek from their nat- 
ural channel, and to conduct the same into the 'Little Lake,' so called, 
and from thence across the lands of various persons to the INIohawk 
River or West Canada Creek, in such manner as shall be considered 
most proper in order to create Water powers to be used in manufac- 
turing and other liydraulic purposes; and whereas, in conducting tlie 
said proposed operations it will be necessary to use and occupy such 
parts of the lands of the said parties of the first part as are hereafter 
described; and whereas the construction of th(> aforesaid work will 
require the expenditure of large sums of money, and, if completed, 
will be productive of great pul)lic benelit, and will also promote the 
individual interests of the said parties of the first part, Now, therefore, 


ill coiisidcmtioii of tlio iirciniscs. with a view to cnconrauc and pidinotc 
the oonstnictioii of liic afoi'i'said work, and for tlic consideration of 
OIK" dollar paid to llic said paity of the first part," etc 

In order to caia-y ont the projected enterprise a company incor- 
l)orated April IT, is;;;;, by Cliapter Km of flic laws of that The 
object of the enterprise is stated in the act. Section one is as follows: 
"Frederick V. P.ellin.uer, Harvey W. Doolittle. Nicholas Smith, Charles 
Gray, and such other jiersons .as may he associated with them, are 
hereby declared to be a body cori)or;it(>, by the name of 'The Herkimer 
iManufactnrin.ti' and Hydi-anlic ('om[)any,' for the purpose of erecting 
a across the \Vesr (";inada Creek, in the town of Herkimer, in 
the county of Herkim-'i', at some convenient point northw.Mi'dly from 
the villaiie of Herkimei-, and to conduct the waters of the said creek 
in such canal as they may consti'uct, near to the said villa.u'e, and to 
discharge the same into the Mohawk Kiver. or West Canada Creek, ov 
both, at such place or places ;is thi\v shall deem most convenient, there- 
by to create" water power for driving all kinds of machinery; and to 
cnrry on the m;inn1'actui'(> of cotton .and woolen goods and machinery 
(at Herkimer and not elsewhere! or either of them sei»ai'ately, and to 
dispose of such w.ater jiower ;is shall not be used by them." 

The capital stock was m.ide .$1(l( »,(!()(), but the comit.any was author- 
ized to commence ojterations when .*}!;!( »,(>()() had been sul)S(Mibed, The 
directors for the first year were Ii'rederick P. Bellinger, John 15. Jervis, 
Harvey W. Doolittle, Xichol;is Smith, Frederick IW'llinger, Ch.arles 
(iray and William Small. Tlie election of directors was to t.ake i)l;ice 
the lirst Monday of September .aimually. The company conld not bake 
lands without the consent of the owners, and were m;ide to ]iay 
the owners of mills and mill iirivileges actual dam.ages sustained by 
them; the stockholders were made individually li.ible to the extent of 
their stock and the duriition o1 the coi'i)oi-ation was to be twenty years. 
The only change made in the charter was by Chai)ter i;!() of the laws 
of lSl."i, which provided the time for the annual election of direct- 
oi-s should be changed to (he lirst Monday of May, and pi'escrlbed the 
manner of giving notice of such election. Frederick \\ Itellinger (com- 
moidy called "Squire" Itelilnger or "Colonel" P.ellinger), was chosen 
president of the c<imp.iny and held the office until Heccanber, ls;;c., 
when he resigned on account of his pm-chase of the lower drop. He 
was the f.ather of the late Ileni-y H. P.ellinger and Peter h\ P.ellinger 
and of .Mrs. Klizabelh Ilaiier, who now livi'S at the old homestead on 
( street. 

In the sununer of is;!;!, when th(> success of the eiitei'i)rise seenu'd 
to be assured, ground for the can.a! was broken and a great celebration 
was had. The exercises were held near the head of Lake sti'eet, the 
prin(a'i>al spe.akei- was Simeon I-'ord, one <(f the leading lawyei's of the 
village and county, who stood untler ;i huge hickory tri'e. 'IMu- iteoitle 
assenibl<'d on the site of the canal ;ind upon the rising ground now 
t;wued by Clark A. .Miller. At (he close of his addirss Mr. Ford took 


a shovel and removed the tirst earth for the canal, a cannon was fired 
and a f^reat deal of enthusiasm was manifested. Refreshments were 
served (both solid and liquid) to the multitude of people wlio had as- 
sembled to take part in the celebration. Colonel James A. Suiter says 
that he was working for John D. Spinner at the time and drove his span 
of whiti' horses attaclied to a two wheeled caisson wliich contained pro- 
visions instead of ammunition. He has reason to remember the occa- 
sion liecause lie tipped over in descending the hill on the upper side of 
the proposed canal. Albert L. Howell, now of Moliawk, although then 
a boy only eight years of age, says he also lias reason to rememl)er tlie 
celebration on account of the hard cider served to liim. 

Among those now living in the village who remember the celebration 
are Hon. Robert Earl, Isaac Dockstader, Jacob P. Harter, Mrs. William 
Renchley and Mrs. A. M. Gray. 

Most of the work was performed by contract, each contractor taking 
a different section. Among the contractors were Michael F. Myers 
(the father of jNIrs. A. H. Prescott), Homer Caswell, Adam Rasbach, 
Major Frederick Rollinger of Mohawk and Abijah Osborne. Most of 
the work was done by Ii'ishmen and there was sometimes consideraljle 
rivalry between the employees of different contractors. In one case it 
culminated in a fight between two large and powerful Irishmen, one 
employed by Mr. Caswell and the other by Major Bellinger. A I'ing 
was formed near Bisby's mill and the men fought until one of them, 
who had but one eye, was ))linded by lilood running into his remaining 
eye. Jacob Harter says that he Avitnessed the tight. On another occa- 
sion he says that William A. Caswell made a wager that he could load a 
wagon with dirt (]uicker than any two Irishmen and won the wagt'r. 

Isaac Dockstader says that he drove a team from the beginning to 
the end of the work, working a considerable part of the time on the 
embankment at the foot of jNIirror Lake. 

It became necessary to obtain deeds fiom all the owners of land 
through which the canal was to i)ass and also to obtain consents and 
releases from persons owning lands along the West Canada Creek be- 
low the dam, because the proposed canal would divert the greater part 
of the waters of the creek and destroy the usefulness of water powers 
between the dam and the Mohawk River. Commencing at or near the 
dam across the creek, the following persons executed conveyance, either 
to Charles Gray and Harvey W. Doolittle in trust, or to the Herkimer 
Manufacturing and Hydraulic Co.: (Jeo. L. Harter, Henry G. Harter, 
Frederick Dockstader, Henry DcCamp, Mary DeWolf, Maria B'^ll. (Jeo. 
I. Hilts, Nicholas Smith, John, Nicholas and George Smith, Peter M. 
I'olts, Jacob P. Weber, Joshua B. Aldridge, Nicholas Smith, Mathew 
Smith, John, Nicholas and George Smith, George Hilts, John Harter, 
.1. P. Weber, the Executors of the will of Samuel Merry, John Nich- 
olas and George Smith, J. P. Weber, Peter M. Folts, J. P. Weber, IMiilo 
M. Ilackley, Joshua P.. Aldridge, Enoch B. Talcottt, Andrew and Har- 
vey W. Doolittle. the Maidiattan Company, Jacob Burrill, Jr., Henry 


retry, .7. P. WcUrr, John, Nicholas and (Jcoi-yc Siiiilli, (Jcoriic Hilts. 
Henry Tetry, l'\ !'. I'ellin-vr, .7. I'. WclnT. Nicholas Smith, .lolin. Nich- 
olas and (Jcor.^c Smith. 

Some of the persons above named owned lands at diHerent points 
alon.u' the course of the canal, hence the it'iietitioii of their names. 
Besides eouveyin^- land for the canal and its embankment John. Nich- 
olas and Geoi'se Snntli conveyed five acres of lan<l on the north side 
of (Jerman Str(>et. just above Mrs. Theodore Hilts', and four acres on 
the south side of (ierman Street just east of the canal. 7t Avas ex- 
pected that water would lie taken from the m.-iin across these 
lots foi- the use of manufacturing establishments to be located tliereon. 
The Manhattan Company. Jacob r>urrilll, Jr., and Henry Totry also 
conveyed consideralile Land to the Company, most of which w:is laid 
out in htls called water lots on the mai) m.ade by J. 1'.. Jervis. S<'veral of 
the jieisons above named an<l Elisha r.isby. Peter (i. Hartt'r, Sil.-is Shep- 
ard, Frederick Stevens and Peter IMIarter executed releases of their re- 
spective rights, claims, interest and property "of. in and to the waters 
of the said ^^'est Canada Creek and the Howing or flowings thereof in 
their natural ciiannel along the lands now owned and belonging to 
them" — witli leave and authority to take and divert the waters of the 
creek from their natural channel. 

Tlie canal was substantially comiileted at the end of the year lS.'>r» 
at a cost of about thirty-tive thousand dollars. Judge Eai'l says that 
when the water reached tlie upper drop a cannon was tired to cele- 
brate the event. After the completion of tlie canal an effort was made 
to induce manufacturers to l)uy water power and locate on or near the 
c;inal. a maj) showing tlie entire route of tlie canal, all the i)i<iperty of 
the company and the village of Herkimer was ])rei)ared and lithogi-aph- 
ed and copi(>s were distributed. On this map was a note wliich de- 
scribed so well tlie advantages for manufacturing purposes possessed 
by the village of Herkimer that I quote the whole of it. 

"The water power of the Herkimer Manufacturing and Hydi'aulie 
Company is situated on tlie West Canada Creek, at the village 
of Herkimer, New York. From a measurement of the stream at the 
lowest stage of th(> water in is:{8, It was calculated by .b)hn 1'.. .lervis. 
Esq., civil engine<'r, that the hydraulic power of the comp;iny, .assum- 
ing that a ten hoi'se power is adequate to operate one run of stones, 
was competent to drive one hundred and thirt.y-eight runs of fifty-four 
inch mill stones. The power for one rim of stones is estimated to be 
ecjual that recpiired for one thousand cotton spindles, making this jmwer 
therefore sufficient for one hundred and thirty-eight thousand spindles. 
The water is conducted through a canal of c;ii)aci1y suflicicnt, in :i time 
of extreme low water, to admit the whole w.-iter of the siream. The 
entire fall is 37 feet, divided into two fails, one of •_'•_• feet, the other of 
15 feet, the water to be used twice over. The gnumd ;it the two sites 
i.<"' peculiarly favorable for the erection of mills of any kind. ;ind ;i vciy 
small expense will be incurred in taking the water from the canal tu 


tlio whcol. It is hardly possible to have a location of ground more 
advantaseoiis for the occupation of water or any other power and for 
building generally, than occurs in this case. The buildings will be en- 
tirely secure and free from exposure to tioods. The village of Herki- 
mer is the county seat of the county of Herkimer, and is situated on 
one of the most l)eautiful, fertile and extenslA'e plains in the valley of 
the Mohawk. It is ]."> mrles below Ulica and SO west of Albany, on the 
immediate route of the great thoroughfare between the Atlantic and 
Western States. It is surrounded by a flue and extensive agricultural 
district, which is penetrated by good roads in various directions. The 
Utica & Schenectady raih'oad and the Mohawk turnpike pass directly 
through it and within three-fourths of a mile and -with which through 
the company's tail-race, it is to be connected by a navigable water com- 
munication, is the grand Erie canal, extending from the Hudson at 
Albany to Lake Erie, ;it Buffalo, and from which at different points 
diverge the Champlain. Chenango, Oswego, Cayuga, Black River and 
Genesee Valley i*anals. communicating Avith extensive and important 
districts of country, all of which conspii'e to render this a location 
highly advantageous for a manufacturing town. The Herkimer & 
Trenton railroad, extending from the Erie canal and intersecting the 
I'tica iK: Schenectady railroad at the village of Herkimer, will open a 
dii'cct communication by way of Trenton E;ills. a place of extensive 
fashionable resort, into the Black River country, and render accessible 
the vast and valuable lumber and iron regions of the north, and thus 
become another important ac(iuisition to the many otlw^r advantages 
■ which this place iniites. The water of the West Canada Creek is soft 
and well adapted to the manufacture of woolen. Tlii' climate is in a 
high degree healthy. Fuel, building materials and all kinds of provis- 
ion are abundant and cheap, and it is believed that nothing more is 
wanting than an examination, to satisfy manufacturers and the public 
in general, that the location and advantages at this place, are eminently 
favorable for conducting manufacturing operations. The company now 
offer the whole or any part of the power for sale; and persons desirous 
to end)ark in manufiictui'ing enterprise, will not, it is believed, find a 
liMirt' favorable location. And whether regaid is had to the convenient 
()<-cu]);ition of sites for building mills and all other buildings, the fer- 
tility and natural resources of the surrounding country, healthiness of 
climate or facility for extensive communication with both Atlantic and 
Western markets, this situation is truly advantageous and emini'utly 

"Communications upon this subject addressed to J. A. Rasbach, 
Es(n"., P. M.. Secretary of the Company, at the village of Herkimer, will 
be promptly attended to. Reference in the city of New York, T. B. 
Wakeman, Esqr., Corresp'ng Sect'ry. Amer'n Institute. 187 Broadway." 

The J. A. Rasbach referred to in the note at that time lived in Her- 
khner and was postmaster, as well as secretary of the company. He 
subseciuently moved to I lion, where he died a few years ago. 


Oil tilis in.-ip il is stated ;is follows- "Mill-(':iii;il, •l'^ ft. wide ;it l>ot 
I'liii, 1(» ft. wide .it top w.-ifiT lino, niid w-ilir r> fl. dcr|(." 'IMic 'i-'plli of 
wntcr ill MiiTor Jiai^c is stated to lie 'I'l \'vv{. 

Xoveniber "Jl, ISoii, the llydraiilie foiiipaiiy autliorized .loliii S. Seller 
Kiei-horn to sell tlie upper drop for ;f;!(»,0(M). and tlie lower droii for .$i:u.- 
0(1(1. and he \\as to haxc a eoiiiniissioii of lixc p( r ceiil. for ni.ikini; a 
sah'. and in t-ase he was the purchaser he was to be allowed to liirii in 
his stock to apply on the purchase pi ice. It is said that Mr. Schernier 
horn interested New Eiinlaiid capitalists and was about foriiiin;j,' a c<p|ii 
liaiiy for the purpose of ereciiny a cotton iiiill at the lower drop when 
the Hydraulic Company sold the lower ciroi) and all the properly con- 
nected therewith to Colonel Frederick 15. lU'llinuer. for .<'_'.">.( )0( ). 'IMie 
principal ri'ason uiven for makiny the sale to him instead of to the iiai- 
ties represented by .Mr. Schermerhorn was that he (Itellinuen would at 
once erect a urist mill and that a .urist mill was more need', d a! Ilerki 
mer than a cotton mill. The deed to Col. liellin^cr is dated I)ecembei- 
1. ISod. It contains a description of several parcels of real estate, con- 
veyed all the intt^rests of the company, ( vcept beneticiary interests, in 
the banks from (Jerman street to the lower drop and the undivided one- 
half thereof from thence to the Mohawk Ui\'er, provided that (he <-anal 
could be used by l)oth iiarti<'s for llie [mriiose o!' naxi^atioii, that the 
company shou.ld |)ay two-thirds of the expense of repairs, mainlenaiK'c 
oi bridges, etc., above (Jermaii street, and Colonel Ilellin.uer one-third. 
e.Kcept that the structure called the "T'pper 1 >rop" should be keiit U}) at 
the expense of the company; that Colonel I'.elliniit'r should pay all the 
(expense of repairs, maintenance of bridtics, etc., at the lower drop: 
th.-il he should keep the water in the second level at a liei^dit not ex- 
ceeding live feet .above the bottom of the level as originally surveyed: 
that each party should have the ri^ht to construct a railroad on the 
bank of the canal throu.nii its whole e.xti'iit oi' any p.irt thereof: that 
all the co\-ei>ants in the deed should run with the lan.d and that the 
owners or occuiiants of th.e property should also be liable therefor, and 
that a strii) of land forty feet wide from Washiimton street to the 
■'Kinu's Iliad" should be h'ft open for use of both parties. 

Colonel I'.ellinuer lirst located this strip over lands now owned by 
I'eter Wilherstinc. but subseciuently chauLicd it to its lu'eseiit location. 
it l»ein;4' now the westerly end of Eastern avenue. Colonel IN'llinucr 
at once erected and eipiip[)ed the stone .u'rist mill which is now owikmI 
by (i. M. llelmer. It was furnished with three or four runs of niili 
stones, and the water used was dischariicd below the lower dro]*, on 
land now owned by the Standard I'^urnitiire ("(Uiipany. 

The next conNcyance ol' \\ater power m.ide b\' the Tlydraulic Com- 
p;iny was to -larcd I!. Moss, by deed dated .inly bS. ^SA^.l. It conveyed 
some real estate at the upper drop. s(>veral rights of way. eiioimh water 
to be t.akeii from the basin at the U[)per droft toprojiel with an o\ersliot 
wheel four i-iiiis of lift\'-four inch mill stones, with the necessary ma- 
chinery lor the manufacture of Hour, the quantity, if not ayreed uiion. 


to be fixed by J. P>. Jervis. civil engineer. ^Ir. Moss agreed to erect 
before January 1, 1S43, a building not less than three stories high or 
less than CO by 40 feet, and by November 1, 1S43. put into op'.'ration 
enough useful machinery other than a custom grist mill or a saw mill 
to ust' one-half of the water granted and l>y November 1. 184(), enough 
to use the whole of it. Mr. Moss erected a building and intended to 
run a cotton mill and bought some second-hand machinery for that pur- 
pose. He was not able to carry out his plan and the building he erected 
was used by Rurdick ^: Orr for the manufacture of hat l)odies. D. O. 
Mills, formerly of California, now of New York, was bookkeeper for 
I>urdick>Vc Orr. 

.Tared B. Moss conveyed the property to Addison 11. I.aflin, Nnvcndier 
('), 1S47. In 1853, the Hydraulic Company conveyed more land and 
water power to Addison H. and Byron Laflin and the (piantity of water 
tliey were entitled to use was agreed ui)on as l.lO horse power. 

In ISoO, the Herkimer Manufacturing and Hydraulic Company went 
into the hands of Volney Owen, receiver, and on the 21st day of .Tuly, 
ISCO, said rect'iver sold all the property then owned by the company to 
Frederick P. Bellinger. 

The Herkimer Paper Com])any became the owner of all the property 
owned by the I.aflins and on April 20, 1SS7. the heirs of Frederick P. 
P.illinger conveyed to said company all the property at the upper drop 
conveyed to F. 1*. Bellinger by said Receiver, except the four acres on 
south side of German street, next to the hydraulic canal and also 
conveyed to the Paper ('ompany all the water power and water rights 
at the ui)per drop. This property is now owned liy the International 
Paper Company, except the five acres of land on the north side of (ier- 
man street. 

Conveyances of land and water power at the lower drop were made 
by F. P. Bellinger, as follows: 

(1) October IC, 1S41, to William A. Caswell, property and water power 
on west side of the canal now owned by the Standard Furniture Com- 
pany. The water power conveyed is described in said deed as fol- 
lows: "So much water and no more as by the most advantageous and 
present approved application thereof, regard bi'ing had to economy and 
power upon .Tohnson's reacting water whei'l shall be sufficient to saw- 
out or cut four thousand feet of ordinary inch stuff in twenty-four 

This water power was afterwards divided and in a deed from Rod- 
man Wood to George 1*. Folts and Windsor 1). Schuyler, in ISCS, the 
water to be used on the premises conveyed was described as follows: 
"The right and privilege to take from the said hydraulic canal and 
convey through the said ti'unk to the said flume one hundred and 
twenty-six square inches of water to be taken from the said flume and 
applied to the Avater wheel upon the lands hereby sold and conveyed 
substantially the same as where the sanu^ is now applied, and tlie quan- 
tity to be ascertained by measuring the w^1ter where it is discharged 


Iroiu the water wheel located substantially as the ]ii-esent wafer wheel 
is. It is expressly uiiderstdod Ity and between the ]»arties he'cto I hat 
the parties of tlie second part are not to l>e contined to the jircsent 
water whi'el nor to oni' like it and tlie pri'sent \\heel and its location 
ai-e referred to simply as a means of linntin.n and describing the quan- 
tity of water lR'rel)y int(>nded to l)e conveyed." 

This property and water power, which was a i»art of that 'onveyed 
by F. r. r.ellin.uer to XN'illiani A. Caswt'll ;is ab(»ve stated, is now owned 
l)y the Standard I''ui'niture Company. 

(L'l August r>. ISIS, to David Davenport and D. Kickeitson. 
I'roperty and water ])ower on tlie east si(h' of the canal. The w.iter 
power is (U^scribed as follows: "The privile.ue of taking frem said 
canal above said bulkliead at all times as much water as will pass 
throui^h .an orilice of tlu> size of a sciuare foot for the use of ma<'lnnery 
on said water lot and for .all other purposes." This property was 
divided June to, JS.j."), when William A. ("aswell. who then owned the 
entire property, sold what was called the Plaster Mill projierty to Cor- 
nelius JNlaxlield. The wati'r i»owei- conveyed was desci-ibed as follows: 
"The water power now used with the said plaster bein.L;- snllicieid 
water power or (luantity of water to drive or run ;i water wheel of tlie 
st.vle now used in said mill, or to use or drive any other style of wheel 
w liich sli.all not i-eijuiic a lari^cr |)ower oi' (juantity of watei- to ilrive or 
pi'opel it than the [(resent wheel." This part ((f the property is now 
owned t)y John V. Ilemstreet. The remainin.y' part by .Meiinin.t;' A. 

(.!i January I'T, ISC.O. to (Jeor.ii'e Ih'oomliall, pi'opi-rty and walt'i [(ower 
on the wi'st side of the c.inal now owned liy the Standard Furniture 
Company. The watei- [tower conveyed was described as follows: 
"Water to be taken from the hydraulic canal on the west side above the 
bulkhead of the lower dro[j ln'tween the tube of the llonrinu mill ;ind 
tube of Swift iK: (Jra.\'s mill, and to be conducled to the \t>t hereby 
conveyed throu.uh a tube or Hume [tut into the bank of I he si id 
hydraulic canal at such deiith as to b(> on a level with the tube which 
((inducts the water to Swift i<c (Jray's saw mills, the water to Ite con- 
(Uicted in a ti.nlit tube or thune, and to be such a ((uantity as w ill run 
thiduuh an orilice twelve inches S([uare to be measuredat a iioinl twelve 
ane one-half feet below the surface of the hydr;iulic canal ;it its or(b- 
iiary height above the lower drop." 

( Jl ;\larch v.], ISfJC. to Elisha Washburn. The yrist mill [ii'opcrty and 
water [)ower on tlie w( st side of the hy(h'aulic canal now ov-iu d Iiy 
(ieor^e M. llelnier. This tlvvd conveys what is called "the stone llonr- 
in.y mill pro[)erty, and all th.' water [triviliKes and i-i.i;hls beloiiLiin^- to 
said mill." The ([uantity of water was not s[»ecitted, but was probably 
siiliicient for the three or four runs of mill stones then in s.aid mill. 

l.-.i Jnly b". 1S70, to .\aron Snell and Xorm.nn Foils, all the remaining; 
land, water and watei' jiower iit tlie lower dro[) which was ((\vnc(l by 
said Bellinger. Aaron Snell conveyed land and water jiower as fol- 


lows: (1) July 15. 3871, to Morris Mark anrt Michael Elias, the prop- 
erty and water power on the east side of the ean.'il now owned by the 
Mark Manufacturing Company. The water conveyed is described as 
follows: "Three S(iuare feet of water to be run through a round tube 
or tubes in such a manner as to prevent any leakage from said tube 
or said hydr.-iulic, to l)e measured in a sauare box or boxes where it 
flows upon the water .wheel or wheels, th<j same to be taken from said 
hydraulic canal and run through said round tube or tubes into a flume 
or penstalk and from thence measured in such said square box or boxes 
as aforesaid, and the orifice of the said S(inare box or boxes 
shall have the .sjime measurement at each end so that the tiperture 
where the water enters into said square box or boxes shall l)e of the 
same size as where it leaves the same." The water used at this mill 
is discharged through a tail race running under the N. Y. C. i^ II. R. 
I'ailroad and empties into the canal between tlie premises owned by J. 
y. Hemstreet and M. A. Deiniel. In this conveyance Mr. Sneil reserves 
"the prior right to use four s(iuare feet of water and water power." 
The deed provi(U'd that said property should never be used for wiw mill, 
planing mill, sash, blind or door manufactutory or grist mill purposes 
Avithout the consent of the parties of the hrst part. 

(2) November 8, 18S(). to James A. Clark and r.eujamiu I). Lyon, prop- 
erty and \vater power on the east side of the canal now owned by 
James A. ('lark and Leonidas F. Clark. The deed conveyed "eighty 
S(]uare inches of water to l)e taken from said hydraulic canal." This 
right of water was stated in the deed to be next ])rior to the watei- 
right and power conveyed to Mark and Elias. 

{'.]) January 1, 1880, to William Horrocks and Michael Foley, prop- 
erty on west side of the canal formerly owned by Williiim A. Caswell. 
This deed conveys "water and water power to be taken from tlie hy- 
di-aulic canal al)()ve the lower di'op and to l)e conducted through a tube 
or tubes or flume or flumes put into the b.-inks of s;iid canal, but not at 
a depth below the level of the tubes conducting water to the premises 
now owned by said Horrocks & Foley to those owned by E. C. Munson 
■•ind to the premises above conveyed, viz: such a (luantity of water 
as will flow through an opening e<iuivalent to 280 s<iuare inches 
to be measured at a i)oint on a level with the water in the tail races 
ImIow the lower drop .at its ordin.nry level, said opening to be construct- 
ed in the most approved and favor;ible form ;ind manner for the dis- 
charge of water." The deed states that this water power is to be next 
in priority after power granted to Elisha Washburn. By this deed and 
a deed given to Horrocks iV Foley by Yolney Eaton and E. C. Munson. 
d.-ited January 27. l.SiK). Horrocks tS: Foley became the owners of all 
the water power conveyed by F. I'. Bellingei' to William A. Caswell as 
iibove st.ated. 

(4) March 7. lS,S!t, to Cornelius it. Snell and Henry A. Deinu'l. prop- 
erty and water power on the east side of the canal now owned by the 
Gem Knitting Company. This deed conveys "one foot and one-half or 


two Imndrcd and sixteen s(ju;uv inches ui' watei' to lie taken j'roni tin; 
liydrauiie canal aboNC (he lower dioj) and to be condncte<l (hr<Mi.i;h a 
tube or tnlx's or tUinie ov Ihinies pnt into the bank" of said canal, bnt 
not at a depth below the level of the tubes conducting watvr to the 
premises owned by Uorrocks »& Foley or E. C. Munson. Tlie (fuantity 
of water hereby conveyed is such a (juantity as will How through an 
oitening e(iuivalent to two hundred and sixteen S(iuare inches to be 
nii'asured at a i»oint on a level with the water in the tail races beliiw 
tile lower (h'op at its ordinary level, s.aid opening to lie couctiaict- 
ed in the most apprtixcd and faxorable form for the disch.arge 
of water." This water power Avas declared by said deed to be next 
sul>se(iuent to tliat granted to Horrocks cK: Foley by tlie deed above 

This <h'ed also conveys "all the suri)lus water .and water ])owei-, if 
any, after all tlie grantees of water and water power at the lower da)p 
have received and used the full amount and quantity of water and 
water power tliey are entitled to receive and use on the Ttli day of 
March. ].S8'.»." 

In the deeds above mentioned tlie granti'cs assumed a certain portion 
of the lialjilities for keeping tlie dam and canal in repair. The liabil- 
ities of the owners of water power are uow (June 'J, I'JOOj as follows: 

Upper drop. Lower drop. 

International Paper Company GU-UU none. 

Mark Mfg. Company O-'JU 12-GO 

J. A. & L. F. Clark V/U-dU 8-GO 

Gem Knitting Company 2i/;-DU 5-GU 

(i. INI. Ilelmer lO-UO 20-GO i 

.1. y. Ilemstreet IV^'JO ^-<»0 

Herkimer Mfg. Co. (M. A. Deimeli ly^-OO ."'.-GO 

St.-mdard Furniture Company 7-!)t) 14-G(i 

When F. I*. IJellinger bought tlie proiieity at the lower ili'o[) in JS;;!(; 
lie gave back a mortgage for a portion of the purchiise price. A dis- 
pute arose between him iind some of the stockholders as to the amount 
uiip;iid on the inortg.age. In l.S.''>y, wlien il liecame necess.-iry to get a 
new cli.irter for the Company, ii number of tlie stoclvholders presented 
a to the State Legislature iiskiiig that if another charter 
should be gi'jinted it should provide that Mr. Bellinger .and all persons 
not holding .at least six sh.ires of stock should be excluded from lieing 
directors or the compjiny sliould lie dissolved and its jiroperty 
sold. In this memorial the petitioners cli.argcd F. V. liellingei" 
Isad combined witli one lUirdick to purchase .a majority of tlie stock, 
that r.urdick represented that he w;is the .agent of some eastern men 
who wished to est.ablish cotton .and woolen m.anufactories but they 
insisled that they must h.ave a majority of the stock in ordei- to control 
the operations of the comp.iny, that IJurdick cl.iimed to have pnrch.aseil 
Mr. liellinger's stock, about sixty shiires. at eiglity cents on ;i dollar, 
th'at iu this way Burdick and Bellinger secured a majority of the stock, 

. 1 1 


that Burdiek turned over forty-two shares imrchased hy him, to Mr. 
Bellinger, thus giving him control of the company, that at the annual 
election in May. 1840, Mr. Bellinger voted on a majority of the stock 
of the company and elected himself and six others directors, of whom 
live were not and never had been stockholders of the compiiny, that 
on April 22, 1848, Mr. Bellinger and his directors licpiidated the indebt- 
edness of Bellinger t© the company for a less smn than was actually 
due from him, that Mr. Bellinger had continued to control the board 
of directors and that only two of the seven directors were then or had 
been stockholders. 

The Jjcgislature did not extend the charter of the Company and on 
the Kjth day of May, 1853, an action in the Supreme Court, in which 
Charles Gray, John B. Jervis, George Smith, William Smith, Alexander 
M. Gray and George Smith, Trustees and Testamentai-y Guardians of 
George Smith, John M. Smith and Nicholas Smith, infants, were plain- 
tiCFs, and Frederick P. Bellinger. Peter P. Bellinger, Charles A. Burton, 
George W. Pine, John 1). Spinner and .Tacob J. Christman were defend- 
ants, was commenced for the purpose of recovering from F. P. Bellin- 
ger the amount claimed to be unpaid by him on the mortgage and for 
the appointment of a receiver. In this action \'()lney Owen was ap- 
pointed receiver. The case was referred to William Tracey of Utica. 
On May 30, 1859, he made his report. Uv reported that Mr. Bellinger 
was not entitled to be credited upon the mortgage with the thirteen 
shares of stock, formerly owned by J. F. Schermerhorn, which he sur- 
rendered to the company in 1837. That he was not a director in the 
company from 183G to 1840, when he elected himself and six others, 
directors, only one of whom held stock in the company, that one hun- 
dred and ninety-six shares of stock had been paid for, which were 
then owned by the following named persons: J. B. Jervis, 10; Frederick 
P. Bellinger, (!1; Charles Gray, 51; Nicholas Smith, 13; George Smith. 
10; II. F. Ilelmer, 1; Jacob J. Christman. 1; Loadwick Burdiek. 42; H. 
W. Doolittle, 7. 

John H. Wooster of Newport was then appointed referee to compute 
the amount due from Mr. Bellinger upon the mortgage upon the prin- 
ciples laid down by Referee Tracy. lie made his report in 1S(;2, and 
found that on March 4, 18G2. there was inipiiid on the mortgage 
.1=3;440.53. The decree was signed by Judge Bacon, September 2(!, 1802. 
Kernan, Quin (.*t Kernan were attorneys lor the plaintiffs; Charles A. 
Burton was attorney for the defendant F. P. Bellinger at the com- 
mencement of the action and was succeeded by Ezra Graves. 

As previously stated, Volney Owen, the receiver, sold the property 
of the company at public auction, July 21, 1800, to P. P. Bellinger, the 
purchase price was !f5,400. The sale was contirmed July 24, 1800. and 
the deed was executed July 20, 18()0. 

June 30, 1809, Frederick P. Bellinger commenced an action in the 
Supreme Court against Erwin A. Munson, Erwin C. Munson. Charles 
Ingelsoll, Charles Putman and James Putman, who Avere then the own- 


ors of the watci- iiowci- ;iii(l proin'ity wiiich Imd liccii sold liy Mr. Itcl- 
liii.nt'i" to Daveni)i>r( iV Kickortsoii. ^Ir. Ilflliiiger claiincd Ilia' tlic dc- 
rt'iidauts were iisiii.n- more water than tliey were entided to use, and 
brought the action to (h'teriuiiie how uilich they were entitled to use 
and to recover chmiages tor the use of the excess. 

The acti(tn was ret\'rred to lion. Arphaxed Looniis of Tiittle Kails. 
A number of exi>erts in hy(h'auiic matters were sworn. The referee 
made his report February S, ISTl!, and found that "tiie i)r(tprictors of 
the plaster null i»remjses are entitled to an eciual one-third part of the 
entire (luantity of water- graided and conveyed by tlie i>laintiff to Dav- 
enport tic Rickerlson, an<I thai tlie other two-thirds ])ai-t contained in 
the saw mill lU'emises belonged to the owners thereof." 

He also found that the plaintiff was the owner of unsold waier llow- 
hig into the hydraulic canal and that hi granting mill lots adjacent 
with the right to draw fi'om the canal a limited (plant ity of water the 
grantees were limited to the amount expressed in their conveyances 
and that the owners and occupants of mills adjacent who drew water 
from said canal in excess of the (piantity authorized l)y tlu'ir grants 
bt-canu' liable to pay (himages to the plaintiff for such excess, lie 
foun<l that tlu' plaintiff was entitled to recover ^1^)2. damages against 
E. A. iV- 10. V. Munson, .fJK; against the defendant Charles Ingersoll, and 
.$73 against the defendants Charles Ingersoll, Charles I'utman and 
James I'utman. 

IVter I>. INIyers afterward liecanu- the owner of the plaster mill 
property, at the time of this litigation owned liy Charles Ingersoll, 
James and Chas. I'utman, .•iiid in order that there might be no (piestion 
as to the (piantity of w.iler he was entitled to use a the plaster mill, he 
l)roeured a pattern of the wheel in use in said mill at the time it was 
conveyed by William A. Caswell to Coinelius Maxfield and liad a wheel 
made and phiced in the mill. 

At about tlie same tinu" Freilerick 1'. I'.ellinger also commenced an 
action against A;iron Snell and others to recover damages for using 
more water than they were entitled to use. 

This action was also refei'red to lion. Arphaxed Loomis and after 
considerable evidence had been taken the action was settled. 

F. 1'. liellinger sold all the remaining jnoperty at the lower drop to 
Aaron Snell and Xoi-man l<\)lts on the i:!th day of July. ISTo, for the 
suni of eleven tliousand dollars. 

The settlement was a good one for Mr. Snell. for he S(ton sold ;i por- 
tion of the property for nioi'e than he gave for the whole of it, .and 
saved the [>ayment of d.amages to Mi-. liellinger. 

T'l'PER I»K()I'.— PAl'EK MILL. 

As alre.-idy st;ited. .bared \\. Moss purchased a portion of the |iroi>erty 
in ISh) ;ind I'mrdick iV < >i-i- inanufactured h;it bodies for sevei-al ye;irs. 
In 1S47 Mr. Moss sold to .\(ldisoii II. Latlin. A. 11. and I'.vron Lallin 


purchased more property and water power and for many years manu- 
factured a liiyh grade of Avriting paper. In July, 1857, they sold the 
l»rc»perty to Richard Bainbridge and Heiu*y Jerollman of New York, 
who at once transferred it to the Kent Mills Paper Company. 

Mortgages given by Bainbridge and .Teroliman were foreclosed and 
July 25, 1859, the property was bid in by the Latlins. The Latlins 
failed and the property- passed into the hands of Dean Burgess, Henry 
r. Alexander and Thomas Colt, as trustees, May 9, 1805. 

June 1st, 1805, they conveyed the property to Charles Hutchinson, 
Henry Churchill, Sr., Charles H. Roberts and Warner INIiller. The 
property was managed for a time by Warner Miller & Company, then 
by Warner Miller, and January 1st, 1S('>9, Warner Miller and Ileiu'y 
Churchill formed a co-partnership, which continued until the Herkimer 
I'aper Company Avas incorporated in 1875. 

Warner Miller was president and Henry Churchill secretary and 
treasurer of the Company. jNliller «& Churchill and the Herkimer Paper 
Company manufactured paper for newspapers, making it first from 
straw and then from rags and wood pulp, and later from chemical wood 
pulp and ground wood pulp. The mill was ))unied in 1807 and again 
in 1879. The capacity of the plant was increased from time to time 
under the efficient management of Henry Clnu-chill, and the output 
increased from twelve tons of paper a week to one hundred and eighty 

In January, 1898, the property was sold to the International Paper 
Company, Avhich now maiuifactures manila paper and fibre paper and 
newspaper. Max Miller was superintendent of the Herkimer mill and 
was succeeded by the present superintendent, George M. Dunham. 
About ninety hands are now employed at this mill by the Company. 
This Company owns and operates over thirty paper and pulp mills. 
Most of the carting for the Company is done by Syllaboch Bros. 

John E. Freeman had a machine shop in the paper mill from about 
1800 until 1877, when he put up a building east of the paper mill. He 
sold to Austin B. Klock and Jerome F. Sheaf in 1878. Mr. Sheaf sold 
out to Mr. Klock in 1890, avIio is now conducting the business. 

A foundry was started just east of the paper mill by Charles II. 
Warburton and Jared Petrie, in 1878. In about a year Mr. Petrie was 
succeeded by Mr. Warburton, Avho continued the busiiu-ss until the fall 
of 1897. The business was continued by his wife until September, 
1899, when it Avas leased to Samuel Jess and William E. Warburton, 
Avho are noAV conducting it. The machine shop and the foundry are 
both run by water power furnished by the Paper Company. 

Ice has been taken from INlirror Lake for the use of the villages of 
Herkimer and MohaAvk for many years. William W. Barse conducted 
the business for several years and Avas succeeded by the Mirror Lake 
Ice Company. The business is uoav conducted by I'hilip H. Brown. 
He employs five or six men in the summer and about thirty-tive men 
Avhen the ice is harvested. 



The pi'dpci'ty ;ni(l water powci' owned by this Company was pur- 
chased Ity Mori'is Mark and Michael Klias, in 187L JNforris Mark piir- 
cliiised tile interest of Mr. Elias, Novenilier -7, 1882. In November, 
ISSlt, tlie proi)erty was conveyed to the Mark i^ Marsh jNIanufacturins 
Company. Mr. Andrew K. Marsh retired from tlie Company and on 
r'ebruary 12. 1892, tlie name was chan.ued to the Mark Manufacturini;- 
Company. Under tlie manai;-ement of Morris Mark the business has 
been very successful. The jii'incipal business engaged in has been the 
manufacture of woolen underwear and sweaters. About 300 hands are 
employed. The present otiicers of the Company are, Morris Mark, 
president; lion. Kobert lOaiM, vice-president, and Howard Mark, secre- 
taiy and treasurer. 


This property was conveyed to .Tames A. Clark and Benjamin D. Lyon 
in November, 1880. The machine shop v.-as conducted by Mr. Clark. 
Mr. Lyon manufactui'ed builders" materials an<l was a contractor. In 
November, 1892, the proiierty was conveyed to James A. & Leonidas 
F. Clark, Avho now own it. Since 1892, it has been used as a machine 
siioji and from seven to eight men are employed. 


This Company was formerly a co-partnersliip. The pro])erty was 
purchased by Henry A. Deimel and Cornelius R. Snell, in March, 1889. 
April 1st, 189.". it was transferred to James II. Eveans, Henry A. Dei- 
mel, Cornelius R. Snell and Menning A. Deimel. Henry A. Deimel 
retired from .the business in November, 1890, and Menning A. Deimel, 
in September, 1898. The company was incorporated December 20, 1898, 
and Mr. Snell and Mr. Eveans conveyed th(>ir interest in the propert.y 
to the Company. The Company manufactures cotton ril)bed underwear 
and employs from IHO to 2(M> persons. The pi'esent olhceis of the Com- 
pany are. C. R. Snell, president: Max Miller, vice-president, and (iuy 
H. Miller, secretary and treasurer. 


This mill was i)Uilt by Frederick P. Bellinger, in 18;}9, and was owned 
by him until March 1.">, 18(;o. when he conveyed it to Elisha Washburn. 
Mr. Washburn conducted the mill two years before he purchased it. 
In August, 18V)2, .Mr. Washbui'n conveyed an undivided one-half inter- 
est to George M. Ilelmer and he purchased the othei' half of the execu- 
tors of Mr. Washl)Uin. in March, 1894. Mr. Ilelmer has been identilied 
with the mill since 1S72. It is now operated liy five turbine wheels. A 
Robinson lightning grinder constitutes a ]>ar1 of the e(|uii)ment. Mr. 
Ilelmer will soon h:ive I'eady for oi)era(inn an ele<-tric niotoi' of thirty 
horse power, the power Ix'ing furnished by the electric liglit i>lant own- 
ed bv the village. Besides doing grinding, he carries a stock of Hour, 


foed, grain, meal, middlings, land plaster, cement, steel roofinj;;, salt, 
baled hay, straw, shavings, clover and grass seed and seed grains. He 
employs from six to ten men. 


This property was sold to Davenport <\: liickertson in 1848, who built 
the plaster mill. William A. Caswell purchased it in 1851 and sold it 
to Cornelius Maxlield in 1855. It was owned for a short time l)y Sam- 
uel and Stephen Carpenter and b.y John L. Smith. Elisha Washburn 
conducted it for a time as assignee of Smith. John II. Myers. Jr., be- 
came the owner by mortgage foreclosun^ in 1SG(>, and sold the property 
to Cliarles L. IngersoU, who sold an inidivided half to James N. and 
Charles Putman. The mortgage given by Mr. IngersoU was foreclosed 
and tlie property was purchased by Peter 1>. j\Iyers, in October, 187G. 
In 1888, jNIr. Myers sold the property to Ceorge E. Bedell, who tore 
down the old plaster mill and erected the present stone building, where 
he manufactured spring beds, mattresses, etc., for several years. 

Mr. Myers again became the owner of the property by foreclosure of 
a moi'tgage, and his executors sold it in October, 1890, to Jolui V. Hem- 
street, of the Standard Furniture Company ,and the Imilding is now 
used for the manufacture of excelsior. 


The property now owned by Mr. Deimel was a part of that which 
was conveyed by F. P. P>ellinger and wife to Davenport & Ilickertson, 
in 1848. They contracted with Lewis Jones and Daniel Bell to ei'ect a 
saw mill on the propert.v innnediately below the plaster mill. The con- 
tract provided that the mill was to be built "large enough to saw tim- 
ber from CO to 35 feet long and to be finislied and furnished with one 
good saw and cant hook and a pair of bars, also to put up a good buzz 
saw and to be carried by a belt from the said plaster mill." The saw 
mill was conducted by Jones tS: P.ell, and by Mr. Jones until the mill was 
l>urned in 1850. 

William A. Caswell became the owner of the property in 1857 and 
sold it to A'olney Eaton in November, 1850. About 18(;0. Mr. Eaton 
built a new mill and the business was conducted for a time liy Mr. 
Eaton and E. C. Munson. In 18()5. Mr. Eaton sold the property to Erwln 
A. and Erwin C. Munson. The mill was burned again in February, 
1871, at which time the plaster mill was burned also. 

S. L. Black conducted a shoddy mill on the propert.v. about 18G5. 
George L. Johnson occui)ied the upper part of the saw mill from about 
1808 until the fire and did planing, and furnished buildei-s' materials. 

Mr. Munson conducted a steam saw mill on the east side of tlie lot 
for about tln-ee years, when he sold the machinery to George Sperl, 
after which the property remained idle until it .yas sold to Henry A, 
Deimel and Cornelius R. Snell, in 1883. George B. Bedell commenced 
the manufacture of cots and spring beds in the large building north of 
the freight house. He formed a co-partnership with H. A. & M. A. 


Deinu'l. under tlu- firiii naiiu' of the lU'dcll Mfff. Co., in Novoinbcr, 1882. 
Tlu'y orccti'd a wooden hnildiiii; on the aliove mentioned saw mill lot, 
about 1S!S;'>. and manufactured sprini; iteds. cots, mattresses, etc. 
About ISSd, Mr. I'.edell retired from the firm and the l)usiness was con- 
ducted under the name of the Herkimer Mfu. ( "o., comi)<)sed of (.'. R. 
Snell ;ind M. A. Deiniel. 'i'wo larue brick buildin,t,^s iiave been .added 
to the ])lant, in one of wliich tlie (Jem Knittin.t; (.'o. did business until 
the building' it now occupies \v:is erected. At one time (iiesy cV: Roberts 
had a machine shop in the basement of the uoi-therly brick building 
and llenocksbursh & Benda manufactured stockings for a time, under 
the name of the Liberty Knitting Mills. 

('. K. Snell retired from the firm in iSMti. A large and successful 
business is now conducted by M. A. Diemel. An excelsior plant with 
fourteen machines has been added. Woven wii-e and other, 
spring beds, cots, otKce desks, and other articles are now manufactured 
at this i>l;int. About fifty-five hands are employed. 


This company owns the property and water power which was con- 
veyed by F. I'. 15ellinger to William A. Caswell in 1843. and that 
conveyed by F. I*. Bellinger to George Broomhall in 18<5(). 

C A S ^^' E L E PR () P E [{ T Y . 

Mr. Caswell Ituilt a saw mill on his property and ran it for alioiit 13 
yi^ars. He sold the property to Peter Witherstine and William A. 
Swift in' isr>.^». He became the owner of the property again in 18(!1. 
and at once sold it to Francis Popi)er ;ind M.ary (Iray. the wife of Wil- 
lard A. Gray, in ISCl. A new building ^^.•ls ])nt up north of the saw 
mill property on what was afterward called the JNIunson lot. about 18(50. 
I'opper and Gray sold to Rodman Wood, in 18('>7. Rodman Wood made 
cheese boxes. Rodman Wood conveyed the saw mill portion of the 
property to Aaron Snell. .lanuai-y 1st. ISd'.l. Mr. Snell conducted a 
saw mill and at one time ground feed. He also h:id a sash and blind 
factory. The building w.-is bui-ned twice: aftei- it biirned the second 
time nothing Imt sawing was done. .I.inu.ary 1st, ISS',1. he conveyed 
tlu' property to Willi;im Horrocks and Michael Foley. 

Rodman Wood conveyt'd the other i)ortion of the ])ro])erty (the Mun- 
son property! to George I'. Foils and Windsor 1 >. Schuyler, in Novem- 
ber. 18(;8. They manuf.ictnred cliccse bo.xcs and head linings. FoltS 
iind Seliuyler sold to .Muiison and I'atiick in IST."), but Mr. Patrick had 
an inter(>st in the property but a short time. .Mr. .Munson at first man- 
ufactured carpenter's su]iplies. About 1S7'.», he comnu'nced the manu- 
facture of chamber furniture, which he continued until the property 
Wiis sold to William Horrocks ;in(l Michael Foley, in 18!K». 

Thei'e was a wooden building on this pioperty before Mr. P>roomh:ill 
bought it. in which .James and .Foel MacComlter made lasts. Kingston 


Brothers also made lasts, and brooin handles were also manufactured 
here. R. S. Hamilton, father of Mrs. F. E. Easton, of Ili<m, manufact- 
ured French bedsteads and other articles. 

Mr. Broomhall erected a stone building south of the grist mill for a 
malt house, in 18G0. It was originally only a story and a half high. 
The first planer and matcher used in Herkimer was put in this mill, in 
18fjO. and was run by 'George T. Woodin, Sr. 

In 18<».5, an interest in the property was conveyed by P.roomhall to 
B. D. Lyon. Mr. Lyon bought sash and l)lind machinery whicli had 
been used by. Zenas Green, Josepli Folts and B. Patrick, on a portion 
of the Caswell property ,and engaged in the manufacture of sash and 
blinds, and also sold lumber. Mr. George T. Woodin at one time owned 
an interest in the property. 

William Horrocks and Michael Foley became the owners, in August, 
188G. Horrocks & Foley manufactm-ed the wooden parts of tlie Rem- 
ington TypeAvriter, and made desks. In 1890, the Company was incor- 
porated. William Horrocks retired from the Company and started in 
business for himself, in 1893. 

The present ofiicers of the Company are. Michael Foley, presidefl*; 
John V. Hemstreet, vice-president; F. F. Latln-op, treasurer, and 
Charles S. Brewer, secretary. They now manufacture a great variety 
of office desks, cabinets and other worlv for typewriters. They employ 
al)ont 450 men at Herkimer and turn out from five to six hundred desks 
per week. They also employ a large number of men in Kentuclvy. 
They have agencies in London, Paris and Berlin, and special agencies 
in tlie principal cities of Jlurope. Tlie business is very large and con- 
stantly increasing. 

The foregoing are the industries operated wliolly or in part l\v water 
power from the Hydraulic Canal. Manufacturing at tliese plants has 
increased to such an extent that all the water of the West Canada 
Creek does not now furnish power enough to run them all. Steam is 
also used by many of the manufacturers, especially when the How of 
water is obstructed by anchor ice and in times of drought. 


Tliere are some industries in Herkimer not connected with tlie Hy- 
draulic Canal, but it has been thoiight best to refer to them briefly in 
this article. 


Mr. Quackenbush started in business in 1871, in a small building 
on the back part of his lot on the west side of Prospect street. The 
business increased rapidly, several buildings liave been erected by him 
on the east side of Prospect street and he now has one of the finest 
and best equipped plants in the country. He manufactures Safety 
cartridge rifles, bicycle rifles, air rifles, targets, darts and slugs, stair 
carpet rods, foot lathes, nickle and silver plated nut picks and cracks, 
and employs from 75 to 100 hands. 



About 1S7S, IToury A. Diciiit-l nnd Conu-Iius K. Sncll oncnf-c*! in the 
lumltor I)Usiiiess at HerkiintT, uikUt the hiiii name of Dcimcl tSr Snell. 
Thi'M- laii;!' and cxtt'iisivi' phiiit was on the north side of Albany street, 
next to the mill of the Mark Mfj;-. ("o. Mr. Dieniel retired in lSt)7, and 
the business is now condueted liy Mr. Snell. lie deals in huiiber and 
manufactures niati'riais for house building'. He employs about 20 
men. Ij ;, 


Mr. Metzler's place of business is on the westerly side of Second ave- 
nue, lie is a contractoi- and manufactures window sash and doors, 
lie employs aliout '{5 men. 


This ('omjiany is ensaiicd in the njanufacture of pai)er boxes in the 
building on the west side of Main street, owned l)y .lohn Stewart, and 
connnenced business jibout May 1st, lOOO. The company consists of 
C'harh^s Stewart, Robert II. (Heed, Morris Marriott. Frank Shelhorn is 


After Wm. Ilorrocks retired from the Standard Furnitur(> Co., he 
connnenced the manufacture of desks, etc., in a buildint;- on tlie south 
side of Smith street, which he leased from E. C. Munson. This build- 
inj;- w^as destroyed by tire, July ];">, lS!>;j. A corporation w,as then organ- 
ized, called the Herkimer P.uilding Co., wliich erected a brick building 
on the north side of (Jcrman street, near the residence of William Ilor- 
I'ocks and leased it to him. The business Mas conducted by Mr. Hor- 
rocks until Deoeud)er, ist)}, wiien the Ilorrocks Desk Co. was incorpo- 
rated. Wm. Ilorrocks is president, Henry G. Munger, vice-president, 
and Geoi-ge W. Searles, secretary and treasurer. Th(\v h.ave been 
compelled by their rai)idly increasing business to enlarge the i)lant, 
and lani day and night. They manufacture roll and flat top desks, 
tyjM'writer cabinets and tables, otHce tables, copy press stiinds, filing 
cabim-ts and the wood p;irts of typewriters, and emi)loy from ICO to 
ITf) hands at Herkimer, bi'sides cpiite a number at Chillicothe, Ohio. 

I have obtained most of tlie facts contained in this artich> from rec- 
ords and papers on file in the Herkimer County Clerk's ollice, and from 
persons who are now or h.ave been engaged in the in<lustries mention- 
ed. For some of the information 1 am indebted to old residents of tlie 
village and particulaiMy to Col. Jjimes A. Suiter, who, although in the 
eiglity-fifth year of his age, lias a better memory than yomigei- people 
and gives events that hai)i)ened moi'e than seventy years .ago .and dates 
with great accuracy. 



Read before the Herkimer County Historical Society, September 8, 1900. 

Too little is known of tlu' intlnonco which the Mohawk valley wield- 
ed ill the history of our nation. Its historic past should l)e household 
knowledge in every American home. For if the valley has been worth 
in no small measure our existence as Americans and not Frenchmen or 
Englishmen, as I sliall later prove in this essay, surely it should also 
be worth our most careful and conscientious study. 

Its relation to the making of the Republic is a two-fold one; first, 
up to the year 17S8, it helped to preserve this country from French 
thraldom and Enjiiish control, and so make possible our Kepublic's 
birth; and secondly, from the year 1783 till to-d;iy. it has aided largely 
in building up and developing what it helped to preserve. 

Let us now study in detail, how the Mohawk valley once helped to 
preserve our country from its enemies. 

A glance first, then, at the valley's early inhabitants. For narrow 
indeed would be our idea of this valley if it failed to include the peo])le 
in it. Indeed, what has helped so greatly to make the American peo- 
Itle the ]>ower they arc to-day. is the cosmopolitan element in their pop- 
ulation; and the Mohawk v;illey"s share in this element, though other 
nationalities Avere represented, consisted cliietly in the early Hollanders 
and Palatines. 

The Hollanders came up the valley in KtCl. and founded Schenectady. 
They had been under the Patroon system, but soon hating it. because 
under it they could not hold land in fee simple, bought from the In- 
dians lands in the "Woesting," as this region was then called, where 
the fruits of their labors would be entirely their own. 

.\ow this opening up of the valley to the white man. marked an im- 
portant chapter in the development of American freedom. For fifty 
years these Hollanders struggled with the aristocracy of Albany, for 


tbo fnH'dom of the fill- trndc witli the Indians, and in 1727, \v<>n their 
caiisi'. Thus, in the throtU of tlic Mohawk valley, centuries ;i.uo, this 
sturdy i)eoi>k' adiieiinu to tlie ideas of liln-rty (lial iiaxc since niaiU' 
Ainei-ica, linally triuniplied over the forces represent iiiK tlie feudalism 
of Europe. 

Soon following these Dutch pioneers were the I'alatines of Germany, 
whoso peaceful homes in the Khine valley had been (h'solated f)y cruel 
velifiious wars. Ohtaininy a refuse in America from (}u(H'n Anno of 
England, they dwi'lt lirst niton lands now end)raced in Columbia and 
Ulster counties in New Vorlv State; but wronged here for years, tiiially 
ouiif;Tatod to the Scholiarie valley, where also, they were unjustly 
treated. So Inter, th«'y enu.nrated to the Mohawk valley, having their 
greatest concentriition at Talatine P.ridge, Little F.-ills and Herkimer. 

In peace and in these people made the best sort of colonists. 
Accustomed to li.ardship, bi;ive. (Jod ft'aring and industrious, they 
could (Midure evei-ytliing excei)t tyi'.anny. Against this, tliey rebelled 
and wei'o a constant thorn in the si<h's of the ai'istoei'.acy and self-cen- 
tred Iioyal Governors, and by their opposition to injustice in any form, 
and by tlieir love for freedom, helped to pave the way for the American 

Not only did they love freechun but also religion. This land neeih'd 
then as it needs now ;i strong religious sentiment. The P:iliitines had 
tliat sentiment. 

In the inter-coloni;il wars, they bore with tlie Moli.awks the brunt 
of tlie Frencli inv.-ision; and their descendants in the Kevolution, 
though besot on the one h:ind iiy the emissaries sent to persujuh' them 
to join tlie crown, and on tlH> other fully knowing not only their homes 
might be destroyed, I>ut tliey themselves, if tliey remained true to tlieir 
adopted land, yet fouglit. suffered and died like heroes for right and lib- 

Of their blood are many distinguished figures in Aniei-ic;in li-istory 
wlio did great service for the cf)lonies; among tliem is .Facob fjoisley, 
who dared not only seize the reins of government, when the people 
were waiting for Sloughter to come over, but even in the face of the 
crown and power of the aristocr.-icy, supported the wishes of the peo- 
ple. For this, all of him but his noble example w;is hanged; but th:it 
lived on to inspire the people to greater love and efloits for f ree<lom ; 
also, Peter Zenger, who trivnniihod in this struggle for freedom of the 
press, thus marking one more important episode in the history of 
American freedom; also Nicholas Herkimer, a st.iunch it.itriot and 
Iirave soldier, who conniiand(>d the Tryon county militia in the Oriskany 
battle. Thus, in the marked intlueiice for right ;ind freedom of these 
eaiiy Hollanders and Palatines, in their brave defense of home ag;iinst 
Fi'onch inv.-ision. ;ind in the lixcs not only of the great but ;ilso ordi- 
nary men they i»rodnced. who did such \;iliant service in pidinoting ;i 
love for real freedom to tlie [U'oserviim and hence inakiim of our coun- 


Next lot 118 viow the f^eographlcal and physical advantages of the 
Mohawk valley. By the map, we notice that it extends from tlie center 
of New York State to the Hudson valley, joining that highway between 
Troy and Waterford. But note its chief physical feature. At Little 
Falls, the valley cuts clear tlirough to the base, a huge mountain bar- 
riir that attempts to cross its path, thus forming an almost perfect 
higliway from the Hudson river not only to tlie lu-art of New York 
State, but via short land carries on to the Great Lakes and far west. 

Nor does Nature end her work here. The head waters of the Mohawk 
interlace with streams tliat join tlie St. Lawrence river. Tlie head- 
waters of the Hudson, into which tiows tlie Mohawk, also connect with 
waters that join the St. I>awrence, and sweeping Southward from the 
Mohawk are streams that by the Susquehanna river finally empty into 
Chesapeake Bay, and not far from the Mohawk's source are streams 
that lead to the Ohio and Great Lakes, by wliich the Mississippi River, 
Great Gulf and far west are soon reached. 

Thus from the highlands that protect the Mohawk and Hudson val- 
leys, the w^aters by diverging valleys flow not only into the St. Law- 
rence river, but almost into every part of our Union. 

Small wonder, then, that the Iroquois Indians, driven south of Lake 
Ontario by the fierce Algonqnins of Canada, siiould inhabit tliis natural 
fortress. By means of the Mohawk valley and all its approaches that 
lead to other waters, they could journey into what are now twenty 
States. All the other Indian tril)es were separated from each other by 
high mountains and vast tracts of land, thus making union ditficult, 
vxiiile the Iroquois themselves united, l)y means of their natural advan- 
tages just mentioned, could attack tlu'ir enemies siuhh-nly and singly. 
What was the result? The Iro(iuois soon became lords of the continent 
and the fiercest of trilies became their vassals. 

Thus do we see how this valley took an important step towards the 
helping to make possible our Republic's liirth, in becoming the home 
of the Iroquois, thereby together with all its approaches l)ecoming also 
the chief source of their mighty power which not only con(iuered ali 
the other tribes, l)ut upon the coining of the white man was to decide 
in favor of the English tlie most important question of that age, name- 
ly: ^Vhetller Latin or Teutonic civilization should dominate America. 

And we now arrive at tliat period of history known as the Hundred 
Year War. Now while the main issue at stake in this war between 
England and Prance, in America, was the conquest of North America, 
yet the underlying one and that which involved the former was the 
secni-ing the aforementioned power of the Iroquois. 

Let us now see why it was so vitally important for the English to 
secur(> this power, by stating an event that no doubt would have hap- 
pened had the Iroquois joined the French: and in connection we will 
see. too, by being Ihe real key to the situation in New York State, how 
the Mohawk viilley was a protection to the entire land. 

Had the Iroquois joined the French, the former would have swept 


through this valley witli lii'c and tomahawk. (Icsolatiiig Schciicctady 
and xVlhany, capturing next the Hudson valley and tlicn nn>st of North 
America. For Avedged in between the New England States and the 
southern ones, with this State once taken, the Atlantic sealio.ird would 
li;ivi' lii'cn sliced in two; mighty French and Inxiuois exjieditions fol- 
lowing out the old diverging pathways of the Ircxiuois. would then 
v.'ith matchless quickness have attacked one by one the other colonies, 
which sooner or later must also have succumbed. Hut with I lie Mo- 
hawk valley in the hands of the ^lohawks, standing tirni for the l']ng- 
lish, it was an insurmountable barrier to French invasion in the I']nii)ire 
State and, therefore, a strong shield to the whole country. 

Having shown how this valley, along with its ai)proai'lies. bcc.iiue 
the chief source of the Irotiuois' power, and having shown what a de- 
ciding factor in favor of the French, had the latter secured it. that 
power would have become, and in connection having seen how this 
valley protected our Nation as long it was (h'fend<'d by the Iroiiuois, 
let us now state and answer the (lUestion, what was it that inlluenced 
these red men to join the En,glish and not the French. I'ccanse ('li;im- 
plain tired at and killed some Iroijuois in IdOUV No; for we are dis- 
tinctly told that their feeling of ennnty toward the If'rench for that 
deed had nearly died away by 1(;(;4. There is but one gi-eat and true 
reason, namely: the ^loliawk valley, and iiowV Why, in the lives of 
Arendt Van Curler and Sir William Johnson, who lived in it. These 
men stand high among the preservers of America from French do- 
minion. Ijct us see why. 

Sailing to this country in the year l(i;io. Van Curler at once became 
.-'.(•(luainted with the Indians in the "Woesting," and from first to last 
ti'cated them kiiidly and justly. Mastering their customs and visiting 
their council tires, the chain of friendship between the Fnglish and 
the French that was for.ged in KIIT, he made strong and enduring. 

And l)ecause he did this, a well-known historian has said of him: 
"The most momentous and far-reaching (luestion ever at issue on this 
continent, namely, who of the white con((uerors should bi' the ownei- 
ship of North Anun'ica, was settled by the peaceful and diplomatic 
policy of Arendt Van Curler." 

In later years. \\'illiam Johnson <'ontinued what \'an Cui'ler began. 
This stalwart young Irishman came o\'er in IT.'U to manage iiis uncle's 
(■state in the Moiiawk ^-alley. To do this etliciently. he built ;i large 
stone mansion, named Johnson Hall ,th;it is still standing at Akin, 
Montgomery county. Here he Ix-canie exti-nsively ac(iu;iiided with the 
Mohawks, studying their character, imitating their customs. .•:c(iuiring 
their tongue, dressing in their clothes, entering heartily into their 
games, feasting and counciling them .-it ids home, and even marrying 
one of the women, .Mollie I'rant, sister of the renowned war chief. I'.y 
these ways, but chielly because he was honest, did he gain unbounded 
influence over them. 

We see what an important figure in American history Johnson was 


{iiid the extent of his vast power over the red men, when we note the 
tremendous odds he had to work against; there were the'l Gov- 
einors of New York, who, with the exception of Burnett and Dongon, 
were self-centered and tyrannical. They considered the Irociuois mere- 
ly as fit tools to work out their own seltish ends, and treated them 
more as beast than as "Itonians of the far West." 

And see how stupid- they were. For instance, the Duke of York 
regarded so little the power of the Iroquois, that he actually invited 
the French to sprinkle among them their Jesuits, who though often 
Clu'ist-like, yet more often desired with their cunning lies to gain the 
Irociuois' promise to serve France than their souls to serve God. 

These Governors alone were enough to make the Irocpiois aid the 

Again, the Englisli army otttcers were inexcusably slow with their 
campaigns, and as a result badly worsted, thus discouraging the Iro- 
quois who, great warriors themselves, loved quick attacks and decisive 

Yet, to oppose these odds, that would have overwhelmed a'.iy other 
man than himself, and to rencAV afresh their love for his cause, Sir Wil- 
liam was always on hand. We see him in 1748, 17(53, 17()G and 17G8, 
assembling the Iroquois to especially important councils, giving them 
I'ich presents and overcoming French intluence over them. 

Hence it is only just to say that had it not been for the Mohawk val- 
ley, in the lives of Van Curler and Sir William Johnson, the Iroquois 
would have joined the French and that nation to-day would be control- 
ling a great portion of this country. 

Before leaving this important era, we must not omit this valley's 
vital value in being a highway for the commerce of that time. This 
commerce, because the European women of that day, like the Amer- 
ican of this, had a wild craze for wearing furs, and were willing to 
pay the most extravagant prices for them, and since the forests east 
and west of the Alleganies were teeming with fur-bearing animals, 
consisted maiidy in the fiu* trade. This trade soon became the very 
life of a colony and if it once should die, so sooner or later must the 

See how rapidly the French were monopolizing that trade. In the 
years 1(540 to 17(J0. their trading posts lined the baidcs of the Mississippi. 
St. Lawrence and Ohio rivers, aiul the circuits of Lakes Erie and Onta- 
rio. They were even extending their posts far up the Great Lakes, and 
it looked as though the complete monopoly of the trade must soon be 
theirs, the prosperity and stiniuhis of which would have threatened the 
security of the English possessions. 

But in 1722, the wise Burnett established a trading post at Oswego, 
where, giving better bargains than the French, soon diverted much of 
the trade from Montreal, the headipiarters of the French trade, to Al- 
bany, the headquarters of the English. 

But here is the important fact: the principal links in the chain of 


waterways between this iiupoi-tant front ier jxtst and A litany, from 
where must come supplies of all kinds, was this \a!iey, or more si>eciti- 
eally the Mohawk Kiver. This was the only route foi- the little bateaux 
huh-n with European brie-a-brae and rnin bound for ( )s\ve.i;c), or with 
costly furs bound for Albany. Alon.t; this same liiiihway must come, 
too. provisions for tlie tradini:; post, or else it must soon have perished. 

So, the M(»hawk \alley may be s.aid to h.-ive divei'ted niueli of the fur 
trade from tlie French to the EnjJ^lish, in the days when that eomm»rce 
was a deciding factor in the life or death of a coU)ny. 

Let us now pass on to the most critical period of our Nation's life. 
the Revolutionary war. 

It is generally supposed the Mohawk valley in the opening yc ;irs 
of this struggle, was of no more value to our Xation than the North 
Pole. A greater mistake, however, can not be nnide. No se<'tion of our 
country was more actively engaged in the plans of the colonists and in 
moulding a sentiment against the mother country, than the Mohawk 

And though Guy and .Tohn .Tohnson, relatives of Sir William, who 
has sinc<' died, at .Johnson Hall, .and elsewhere along the valley, did 
tlieir best to maki' Tories of tlie valley's inh:ibit;ints. and in some cast>s 
pucceeded, yet the majority felt in tlieir hearts, worked out in their 
brains, and later shot witli their guns, wliat a committee they api)ointed 
wrote to one at Albany: "In a \vord, gentlemen, it is oiu- ti.xed resolve 
to support and carry into execution everything recommen(h'd by the 
Congress! ;nid to be free or die." 

I>ut the year in which the Mohawk valley reached the zenith of its 
usefulness towards helping to preserve our nation from its enemies and 
to make possilile our Kepublic's birth, was 1777. 

In that year, Parliament conceived of a gigantic plan to con(,ner tli<> 
colonies. To effect this task, three mammoth expeditions weie to be 
employed; one to come from the North, under P.iu'goyne, over the old 
Lake Chami)lain route; another, under Lord Howe, was to march up 
the Hudson valle.v from New York cit.v; and the tluT'd, mider St. liCger, 
was to start from Oswego, capture Fort Stanwix, sweep through the 
Mohawk valley and unite with the other two at Albany. And thus, 
with tliis State conquered, the New England States would have been 
separated from the others in such ;i way as to prevent all effectual 
union. Then great English expeditions with their vantage ground be- 
tween Ontario and Champlain would have swept into every colony ;ind 
the "rebels" must soon have been vamiuished. 

But those thi-ee armies never united and that whit-h hindered them 
was the Mohawk valley. 

The latter did this in two ways; lirst, by having at its head on a 
portion of the jiresent site of Uonie. and thtit whicli must lirst fall, 
befon- the vjilley could be captured. Fort St.'inwix; this foi't was g;ir- 
risoned bv Colonel Peter (Jiinsvoort with a few hundred militia, when 


Barry St. Leger laid seige to it, August 3cl, 1777, witli his horde of 
blood-thirsty Tories and heartless redskins: and secondly, by having 
upon its soil, hundreds of brave Palatines whose fathers, generations 
before, had by their intense love for freedom, helped to pave the way 
for this very Revolution in which they were now to tight and perhaps 
die. These Palatines formed the majority of the eight hundred Mohawk 
valley heroes who fought with Herkimer in the ravine near Oriskany. 
And upon them must fall the elo(iuent praises of a grateful republic, 
for their heroic bravery in the battle of Oriskany. 

Of all that happened before that memorable contlict, of tlie tight 
itself, of the final rout of the enemy and the reason why, and of the 
long siege and gallant defense of Fort Stanwix that followed, need not 
be I'etold here. But let us not<^ what resulted from this campaign 
that in the gallant defense of the Fort Stanwix militia, and in the inval- 
uable services of Herkimer's Palatines, the importance of this valley 
in preserving at that time oiu' country, may appear in its fullest light. 

Of course the most important result was the closing to the English, 
the Mohawk valley. Otherwise, St. Leger with hosts of villians would 
have swept through it and reinforced Burgoyne. What then? Gates 
would have at least been crippled and perhaps been cruslwd. The 
Hudson valley then would have gone English and next the state; and 
following these the colonies, according to reasons mentioned before In 
this essay. 

Another vital result was this. A way was paved for an American 
victory at Saratoga, which victory is conceded by all prominent his- 
torians, to be one of the fifteen decisive victories of the world. 

We see how the campaign did this in five distinct ways; in the tirst 
place, the victory at Oriskany enabled all the militia in the valley to 
hasten back to Saratoga and reinforce Gates; secondly, it rendered 
useless the British-Iroquois alliance; thirdly, it tired the hearts of the 
men who hadn't fought before, to till their powder pouches and rush 
to the front; fourthly, the Oriskany victory especially, came at a time 
when victory was most needed. The Americans had met defeat after 
defeat and the final ridiculous retreat of St. Leger tilled and thrilled 
all the colonies with new joy and hope; and in the fifth place, though 
indirectly, the Oriskany victory with the long defense of Foj't Stan- 
wix which that victory insiu'cd by the weakening of St. Leger's forces, 
pievented a great Tory uprising in the vnlley and hence was a great 
moral victory. Johnson had boasted that at his approach the Mohawk 
valley settlers would flock en masse to his standard, and there is little 
doubt but that his words would have proven true had it not l)een for 
the American successes. 

"Yes, there at Oriskany. the wedge first was driven. 
By which British invasion was splintered and riven; 
Though at Hoosic and 'Saratog,' the work was completed. 


The end w:is iiuule clour with St. Lt'.ucr (U-fi-utod, 

Nor can boast he (lisi>roved on Oriskany's shore ' • 

Was worked the lirini problem involved in the war." 

During the rest of tlie wui", at different intervals, owing to the ruth- 
less ravages of ISrant. Butler and their followers, in and about Herki- 
mer, Little Falls, and the lower valley settlements, this region literally 
ran with blood, gaining the nauje of "Dark and bloody ground." liut 
Ity reason of the stout resistance of the valley folk from within their 
block houses, England gained nothing beyond satisfying Hrant's lafn- 
ger for scali)s and liutler's thirst for blood. 

With the pL'ace of 1783 that brouglit independence to the colonies, 
began the other relation which the Mohawk valley bears to the making 
of our Republic, namely: how it has helped to build up and develop 
what is helped to presv-rve. 

We see in no slight degree how it did this in lis;;; in the first place, 
by being an almost pertV-ct highway, it allowed to swarm into it and 
beyond, many New Engianders; and secondly, since these people made 
the valley their homes, we are bound to notice what they achieved. 

They were thrifty, honest, shi-ewd and keenly alivt' to the newest 
and best improveineiit. They made give way before their own, the old 
ideas and crude customs of the Palatines, who now that tyranny and 
war were over, had seen their days of ablest service, clinging as they 
did to antique ways and abhorring new ones. Fin.'illy, this new and 
up-to-date blood contributed to the development of Central New York 
and awakened not only themselves but thousands, aye millions of oth- 
ers to the fact, that hidden treasures were lying unused in the unex- 
plored west of tiie Empire State. 

I'assing on to the year 17!)2, we see another striking in>;t;uice to 
prove this valley's other relation. In that year was incorpoi-ated the 
Inland Lock Navigation Company of New York, whose canals in 1797 
were I'eady for use. This can:il removed V)y m(>ans of its locks, river 
obstructions; and by its canal from the Mohawk to Wood Creek, al- 
lowed large craft to go from Schenectady to Oswego without unloading, 
hence it was a stimulus to greater commerce and larger emigration, 
and in those days was consich'ri'd a ri'markable achievcMueuT. 

The next notable event in which the Moh.-iwk valley ligure«l ju-omi- 
uently in the ])rocess of Iiuiiding U]) our republic, was tlu' digging of 
the Erie canal. The valley \vas virtually connecti'<l with this gigantic 
improvement in three ways: two direct, the third indirect; in the 
fiist place, by being such a perfect channel, it allowed the canal to be 
built .almost throughout its entire length: in the second place, though 
indirectly, had it not been for the Mohawk valley, the Erie canal could 
not, or to say the least, woiild not have been built. We should assume 
this for two reasons: lii'stlv, anv other way than directlv from the 


Hudson to Buffalo, would have entailed enormous outlays of money 
and time; and next, even with the advantage of having riglit at liand 
an almost perfect highway for tlie canal, there was such firm and bit- 
ter opposition to the measure for its construction, that DeWitt Clinton 
had all he could do to pull it tln-ough. What would that opposition 
have been, if there had been no Mohawk valley? Finally, even though 
the valley allows the canal to come tlirough. yet the latter could not be 
operated, were it not for the Mohawk Kiver wliich the Mohawk valley 
contains, and why? The Erie canal must be constantly fed; and the 
v/ater which feeds it must come from the Mohawk River. 

Since the Mohawk valley Avas in three ways so vitally connected 
with the building of the canal we should note the latter's influence and 
then clearly shall we see how the former aided in building our Republic; 
lirst, cheaper, easier and quicker communication between the Great 
Lakes and Hudson River. In the days of tlie small bateaux and navi- 
gation company's canals, it took ten dollars and three weeks to haul 
a barrel of flour from Albany to Buffalo. With the Erie canal com- 
pleted, that barrel Avith only thirty cents charges, could be received 
at Buffalo one week after it liad started from Albany. 

Also the Eastern markets became at once cheaper for Western agri- 
cultural products and the later markets l)ecame cheaper for iniported 
goods from the East. Thus, for both sections of the Republic, the Erie 
canal was a vital means of untold wealth. 

As a result of all this, vast armies of immigrants poured into tliis 
valley from New p:ngland and Europe; armies, that unlike former ones, 
did not mean war. Imt tlie best there w:is in peace; not tlie overturn- 
ing of old states, but the building up of the new ones. On they marcli- 
ed to the West and Northwest, building 'ip as tliey marclied. gr.-at a?;ri- 
cultural communities Avhose farm products to-day are lioating down 
to tlie ocean upon the calm bosom of the Erie canal. 

In these days, there is much talk of building a ship canal. Wlu-re 
will tlie route lie? The Deep Waterways Commission has already de- 
cided that it shall extend through the Moliawk valley. 

This valley also permits the greatest four-track railroad in the world 
to run through it, as well as the West Shore railroad. The advantage?! 
of these are too well Ivnown to be restated here. 

I could not bring tliis essay to a close without a brief but grateful 
ti'ibute to the noble heroes who in 1812, 'CA and '98, went forth out of 
this valley from homes of plenty and from their dear ones, to light 
and if necessary to die like men, in defense of tlieir Republic. I can- 
not state the exact number of these soldiers; but all must acknowledge 
that no section of our land in proportion to its population, sent more 
defenders to the front than the Mohawk valley. 

Such, then, is the relation; or rather are the relations of the Mohawk 
valley to the making of the Republic- 


Let the novelist and the poet admire it for its unsurpassed beauty; 
let the farmer deliyht in its fertile soil; but let him who loves all the 
elements that have combined to make secure and to build up the grand- 
est Nation on the face of the globe, revere the Mohawk valley for its 
historic past. 



Read before the Herkimer County Historical Society, October 13, 1900. 

In 1772. the Colonial Assembly, through the influence of Sir William 
Jolinson, passed an act partitioning what was then known as Albany 
county into three parts, called respectively, Charlotte. Albany and 
Tryon counties. The last named, which is to receive attention in this 
paper, was named in honor of William Tryon. then governor of the 
colony of New York. 

The eastern boundary of Tryon county extended due north from a 
point near the present site of Hoffman's Ferry on the Mohawk River, 
to the St. Lawrence at the contluence of the St. Regis River. From 
this point the boundary followed the St. I>awrence and Lake Ontario to 
the Oswego River, thence along the Oswego. Oneida Lake and Wood 
Creek, along the eastern boundary of the Indian possessions to the 
Delaware, and up the western branch of the Delaware in a north- 
easterly direction to the starting point. This large tract included what 
are now known as Montgomery, Fulton, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, Her- 
kimer, Lewis, Jefferson, Oneida, Oswego and Otsego counties, as well 
as parts of some others. 

At the request of Colonel Schuyler, Sir William Johnson divided the 
county into five districts, as follows: The first, or Mohawk district; 
the second, or Stone Arabia district, afterward called the Palatine dis- 
trict; the third, or Canajoharie district; the fourth, or Kingsland 
district; the fifth, or German Flats district. The names of the last 
two districts were soon after reversed. 

We find the people of Tryon county taking their first active part in 
the struggle against the crown on the 27th of August, 1774, about six 
weeks after the sudden death of Sir William Johnson, the leading land 
owner and chief promoter of the interests of the county. Their action 
was the formation of a committee of safety, whose services to the 
county will be considered in another part of this paper. Srr John 


Johnson had at this time succ(mmI('(1 to his fathor's estates, and the 
tounty was in a very in'ospcrous coiKlition, It owned a tine court 
lionse and Jail situated at Joluistown, whose construction had beon 
provided tor at tlie time of the organization of tlie county. Johnson 
Hall, the honu' of the Jolnison family, was also situated at Johnstown. 
The Mohawk River aftorded a waterway tlnoujih the county, and the 
trjiusportation facilities were increased by several roads. 

The conditions which confronted the patriots in Tryon county were 
very unfavorable, moro so, perhaps, than in any othi'r section of the 
colonies. The Tory element was very strong-, all the county officers 
IxMugr servants of the crown and dependent upon it for their position 
and income. Large numbers of Indians had their homes in the county, 
and thi-ough the upright and generous dealing of Sir William Johnson 
toward them, were friendly to the Tories rather than to the patriots. 
Tlie sturdy patriot farmers, however, were not the men to be daunted 
b.V such odds as these, and showed, when the time came for action, 
tliat they had lost none of the steadfast courage that carried their an- 
cestors through the years of persecution which witnessed the destruc- 
tion of their peaceful farms by the green banks of the Rhine. 

The Tryon county committee of safety Avas composed of delegates 
from each district of the county. At first the meetings were held sepa- 
rately by the delegates from each district, but they afterward united 
in a single committee. The first committee meeting of which there is 
any record, was held by the Palatine district, and although the other 
districts of the county doubtless held similar meetings, we do not hear 
of them until they united with the Pa latino district to form the coimty 

Tlie members of the Palatine district met at the house of Adam 
Loucks at Stone Arabia, on August 27, 1774. and a set of resolutions 
was drawn up, in which the members d<'Clared their allegiance to the 
King, but protested against the unjust taxation of the people, express- 
ing sympathy for the peojtle of P.oston. whose harbor had been placed 
under an embai'go. and doclaring their iiitention to aid them by every 
uieans in their pow(>r. The connnittee also expressed approval of the 
formation of a continent;) I congress and th" election thereto of live dele- 
gates from New York colony, and bound themselves to abide liy the 
resolutions ]>assed by this congress. Tlu^y appointed a standing com- 
mittee of four, \\h!( h was afterwards inci'cased to twelve, to Join with 
the committees of the other districts of Tiyon county in conveying the 
sentiments of the county (o New Voik . In later meetings the I'alatine 
c(!nunittee communicated with that ol .\lbany, informing tliem of their 
intention to form ;in association, similar to those in other parts of the 
State, b.V I'cipiesting all sym]iiithizei's with the cause of the colonies 
to sign their names to a document setting I'oitli theii' sentiments. In 
their letter to the Albany coiiiniittee, liic I'.-ilatine committee told of 
the high-li;inded nu .-isures of the Tories in the conntv. and declared 


their intention to be free or die. The inliahitanls of the county were 
advised to have notliing to do, in tlie way of trade or otlierwise, with 
persons refusing to sign the association. 

On June 2, 1775, a meeting was lield at tlie lionie of Warren Tygert 
of Canajoliario district, at wliicli every district in the county was rep- 
resented, 43 members being present, anKuig whom were Nicliolas Her- 
kimer, Christopher Yates and John Marlott. 

The most important business of this meeting was tlie preparation of 
a letter to Colonel Guy Johnson, who, on account of his position of 
Indian superintendent, was looked upon as foremost among the up- 
holders of the Tory caiise in the county. In this letter the committee 
defended their right to hold meetings for considering the dispute 
between themselves and the mother country, saying that they liad onlV 
followed the example of others throughout the colonies. They also 
niade a statement of what they considered their rights and protested 
against the oppressions which they had suffei-ed at the hands of the 
loyalists, among which they mentioned the disregard of the British 
ministry for the petition of the continental congress. A committee 
was appointed to deliver this letter to Johnson. 

In answering the letter of the committee. Colonel Johnson said that, 
however reasonable it might seem to the colonists that their petition 
should be recognized, it appeared in a different light in a country where 
no authority not estalilished by constitution was allowed. He stated 
that the King had said in his speech to Parliament that he was willing 
to consider the grievances of the colonists whenever they should be 
laid before him by their constitutional assemblies. 

Although this letter appears straiglitforward enough at first sight, 
the Colonel's dependence on the favor of the British government for 
his position, seems in this case to have led him somewhat aside from 
the plain statement of facts, for no offer to interfere in behalf of the 
Americans by King George, is to be found in any historical record. 
In defense of his course in fortifying his premises, Colonel Johnson 
said that lie had been infoi-med that a large body of men intended tak- 
ing him prisoner. 

The committee held meetings at frequent intervals during a period 
of about six months. They appointed tAvo delegates to serve in the 
provincial congress at the request of that body. Christopher V. Yates 
and John Marlott were the ones selected. The further services of the 
committee consisted in assisting and regulating the attempts of the 
people of the country to form the county militia, treatment with the 
Indians with a view of preserving their neutrality, procuring ammu- 
nition from Albany and Schenectady and settlement of disputes aris- 
ing among the people. 

Much more remains to be told of the services to Tryon county of this 
committee, but these services are so intimately connected with all the 
affairs of the county, that it is impossible to give a complete account 


of them here Avitliout a ruthoi- full trealinoiit of luattors which have 
been reserved for treatment under another head. 

It must not be supposed that the Toi-y inhabitants of Tryon county 
were less active tlian their nei.iiiiJKjrs in nplioldiiiK their sidi- of the 
dispute. Actuated by motives e(piaily potent, though less self-forgetful, 
and doubtless, in some cases, with an eipial faith in the righteousness 
of their cause, tliey used every means in their power to further the 
interests of their mother country. 

Their action in upholding their own side of tlu^ controversy could 
hardly be condemned, were it not for the fact that their measures were 
unfair and despotic . Men whose positions at the head of affairs had 
been given tliem that they might further the interests of the people, 
turned their intiuence against the cause of liberty and used their posi- 
tions as weapons against those whom they should have protected. 

In April, 17T."», the Tories of the county drew up a declar.ation oppos- 
ing the proceedings of the continental congress, wliich was at tliat time 
about to reassend»le, and obtaine<l the sigi.atun's of most of the grand 
jurors and magistrates of tlie county . This action aroused the indig- 
nation of the people, and many public meetings were called, and com- 
mittees appointed in different ])arts of the county, to express the loyalty 
which was felt by the majority of the people for their representaties 
in Congress. 

The first of these meetings was attended by oO(» persons, all unarmed, 
and an attempt Avas made to raise a liberty pole. l-?(>fore this was ac- 
complislied, Sir .fohn Johnson rode up, accompanied by Colonels Guy 
.Tohnson, Claus and Butler. Sir .Tohn immediately began a speech to 
the people in which lie dwelt on the hopelessness of the cause of the 
Whigs, and finally became abusive. His hearei's iiore with him for a 
wliile, but at l.ast .Tacob Sammons interrupti'd the sjieaker, calling 
him a villian and a liar. .Tohnson seized Sammons by the throat and 
returned the insult . In the scufile that followed. Sammons was knock- 
ed down witli a iieavy wliip. lie wished to continiie the fight, but was 
overpowei'ed by numliers and sevei'cly be.aten. When lie was allowed 
to rise he found that he beiMi deserted by most of his friends. Salo- 
mons was tlie lirst jiatriot to receive a wound in the war in Tryon 

One of the most energetic loyalists was Colonel Guy .Tolinson. Ills 
position as Indian superintendent gave him a great influence over the 
savages. an<l this infiueiice he used to turn them against the patriots. 
He did not accomplish his purpose by fair means, for the Indians were 
inclined to be neutral, especially the iNbibawks, who inhabited Tryon 
county, and the colonists took every oiiportunit.v of expressing their 
fi'ieiidship for them, altliougli they did not attempt to employ them 
against tlie British. Colonel .lohnson jioisMiicd tlu" minds of his charges 
with false rumors concerning the intentions of the colonists toward 
them, saying that a massa<-re of the Indians had been planned. 


Complaining that his eonncils with the Indians were interfered with'. 
Colonel Johnson removed to Canada and eontlnued to influence the 
Indians, directing their depredations and distributing large amounts 
of money among them as rewards for their services. Many Tories, 
however, still remained in the county and found an active leader in 
Sir .lolin .Tohnson, whose home was the principal place of meeting of 
the tories. 

These loyalists tried by every means which their ingenuity could 
devise to shake the faith of the people in their county committee, pro- 
nouncing its actions arbitrary and illegal and ridiculing it at every 

The office of sheriff Avas at this time held by Alexander White, who 
made himself very obnoxious to the provincials by his threats and 
illegal arrests. He arrested John Fonda on account of a quarrel with 
one of his servants, and placed him in jail, whence he was rescued by 
a party of patriots, under the leadership of Sampson Sammons. The 
coimty committee finally deposed White, and appointed Jolin Frey hi 
his place. The feeling against White Avas so strong that he t^as cdWi- 
pelled to leave the county, and Avas arrested Avhile trying to escape to 
Canada, and sent to jail in Ail^any. BoAA^en and Clement, the compan- 
ions and guides of White, while on Ids Avay to Canada, returm>d to 
tlieir homes in Tryon county. They Avere arrested and araigned liefore 
tlie county committee, AAiio sentenced them to a term of imprisonment. 
As it Avas knoAV tliat Sir John Johnson claimed that the county jail 
was his proiierty, the prisoners Avere sent to Albany, l)ut were refused 
admittance to the jail at that place and sent back to Tryon county. 
The committee then sent a messenger to Sir John to ascertain AA^hether 
he intended to alloAA' the people to use the jail. He replied that per- 
sons wlio were legally convicted might be imprisoned in the jail, but 
as ln"s father had paid £700 toward tiie expenses of building it, 
lie would consider it his property until that sum was paid liiin. The 
prisoners Avere tlien sent to JohnstoAvn, with the provision that if they 
were refused admittance to the jail, they should be returned to the 

After the flight of Colonel Guy Johnson, it AA'as rumored that Sir 
John Johnson was preparing fortifications at Johnson Hall, to be gar- 
risoned Avitli 300 Indians. This I'umor AA^^s reported to Congress and 
General Schuyler was sent up the valley Avith a force of 700 men to 
put a stop to any liostile preparations. The Indians were niucli con- 
cerned at seeing so large a force entering the county, liiit a messenger 
was sent to them, telling them that the purpose of the expedition Avas 
not to make Avar but to preserve peace, and desiring them to inform 
t\\<' ti-ibcs further up the river that no harm would be done them. The 
Indians, however, Avere alarmed, and asked that the expedition be 
postponed, offering to go to Sir John and ask him to be peaceable, 


althoiisli tlioy \v(MV in constniit 1'c;ir that a party was coining from 
Now Eiiiiiaiid to take Sii' .lolm prisoner. 

General Schuyler did not wait tor the return of the niessen.i;cr but 
proceeded on his mission. At Schenectady the paily was met l»y a 
deputation of Indians undei- a chief called Little Ahi-aham. who ad- 
dressed the General at ,i:reat lenu'th. sayinj;- that the Indians had sent 
a messenger with the i)roposal that six men should be sent to inves- 
tijiate the affairs at Jolnison Ilall, and had refrained fi'om yivinj;- the 
otliei' tribes (Jeneral Scliuyler's messa.^e until they should hear wliether 
tlieir i'ei|Uest was acceded to. IIa\in,u received no reply, and finding 
that the troops wi're actually on the mai'ch. the Indians had decided 
to meet them and come to an understandiuij.- about their intentions. 
Little Abi'aliam desired (Jeiiei'al Schuyler to Ite prudent and take care 
that no blood was sheil. He said the Indians considered themselves 
mediators l)etween the kin.u's party and the patriots, and were desir- 
ous that the path upon which they were travelins', to which he referred 
as the "path of peace." should be kept open, and undetiled Ity the blood 
of either iiarty. Further he declai'cd that Sir John had assured them 
that in the event of open hostility he would not be the a^m'essor, but 
if atacked, wouhl defend himself .and added tliat although Indians 
were constantly goini; to and from Johnson Hall, tliey had observed 
no preparations of a warlike character. The chief then asked for an 
answer, saying that in si)ite of the advice of the sachems, the young 
warriors were inclined to resist the approacli of the troops, and were 
awaiting tlie answer should be sent them. 

General Schuyler answered the Indians, saying that he diii Jiot in- 
tend to close the path, but to keep it open, but ;is the men in the cotmty 
A\ere likely at any time to be called upon to go to the aid of their 
brothers in the East, it was necessary that no body of men should be 
left who should i)e able to d(>stroy the wivcs.and children of the .-ibsent 
soldiers. He then paid that instead of going to Johnstown he would 
ask Sir John to meet him at some point between Johnson II:ill .md 
Schenectady, to discuss tlu> silu.ation, thus preventing hostile action by 
either party. The Intlians assented to this proposition and said that 
they would be present .at the meeting. 

A letter was accordingly sent to Sir John, stating the object of the 
expedition, ;ind .asking him to meet them. The meeting took i>l;ice Iti 
nules above Schenect.ady. Terms wei'c offered to Sir .Fohn and after 
some o))Jections, agreed to. Sir .Fohn gave his parole not to bake up 
arms against the Americans, and to remain in such jcii-t of the coun- 
try as Congress should d(>signate. Sir John and the othei- Tories wer(> 
to give up all arms and pres<"nts foi' the Indians in their possession. 
The Indians withdrew when they matters weic bein.i^ setthd peace- 
ably .and <;enei-;il Schuyler left soon afterward, ie.-iving Colonel Herki- 
mer, who hiul joined hhn wilh the couiitv niiliti;i, to make the conclud- 
ing arrangements. Sir .lohn did not cease his efforts to incite the 


Imlians to hostility a.uaiiist the colonists, and at length, hearing that 
irstraint was to be put npon his actions, he lied to Canada, accom- 
panied by some of his tenants. They suffered terrli)ly in the wilder- 
ness before reaching th(>ir destination. During the war Sir John com- 
manded a regiment known as the Koyal Greens, composed partly of 
the Tories from Tryon county. The list of pi'ominent Tories might be 
continued to a much greater length If space permitted. Among those 
who will be remembered in this connection are Colonel John Butler and 
his son, Walter, and Colonel Clans, a .brother-in-law of Sir John 

There is one other, however, without some account of whom any 
article on Tryon county would be Incomplete. I allude to Joseph Brant 
or Thayendanegea, as he was called by the Indians. His parentage has 
been much disputed, and though it has been claimed that he was a 
half-breed, it Is probable that he was a full-blooded Indian. In his 
youth he was sent to school by Sir William Johnson, who afterwards 
employed him to tight against the hostile tribes in the outlying coun- 
try. Combining as he did the intuitive cunning of his savage ances- 
tors, with the trained skill of his adopted neighbors, he became a most 
dangerous and unscrupulous foe. He followed the example of his Tory 
benefactors in fleeing to Canada and was given the leadership of large 
numbers of Indians in the following campaign. Although it would 
seem that a man capable of being a leader in the kind of warfare or 
rather slaughter which was carried on by the Indians, must needs have 
l)een totally lacking in all sentiments of humanity, yet many acts of 
generosity and kindness have been credited to him. As he himself 
said: "I do not war against women and children. I am sorry to say 
that some engaged with me in the service are more savage than the 
Indians are." After the war Brant resided in Canada, near the head 
of Lake Ontario, wiiere he spent the remainder of his days in the 
management of affairs pertaining to the Indian lands. 

The Tryon county militia was organized on August 2(), 1775, through 
the action of the county committee. It consisted of four battalions 
of from seven to nine companies each, every district being represented 
by a battalion except the Kiiigsland and (ierman Flats districts, whose 
soldiers were included in a single battalion of nine c-om])anles. The 
county committee, who chose the othcers of the militia, gave to Nicholas 
Herkimer the position of colonel of the Canajoharie battalion, with tlio 
title of "Chief colonel and commander for the county of Tryon." About 
a year afterward, on the recommendation of the committee, the pro- 
vincial congress gave Colonel Herkimer a commission as brigadier 

We have seen Avhat the people of Tryon county accomplished during 
the early part of the war in iu'eparing for the invasion which they 
knew was inevitable, and v.e now approach the period which showed 
that it was among the wilds and marshes of Tryon county no less 


than at the historic hridsc that "Thr riu1)iiftli'(l fannci-s stood ;iih1 firod 
the shot lieard 'round the world." 

The battles of Oriskany and Fort Schuyler did for St. Leger's expe- 
detion what Saratoi^a did for Bur^'oyne's, and it was the Tryon county 
militia, under that gri-atest of the Mohawk valley's heroes, (Jeneral 
Nicholas Herkimer, that stood in the path of the invader, and made 
inipossihle the meeting- of forces wliich was to destroy American liberty 

St. Leger liegan his invasion in the latter part of July, 1777, with 
1.000 Indians under Brant, and 700 troops, including Johnson's Koyal 
Greens and Butler's Rangers, as Avell as some German troops. Cross- 
ing Oneida I>ake, St. T.eger proceeded to the attack of I'ort Schuyler. 
Colonel Gansevoort. the commander of the fort, had obstructed Wood 
Creek with felled trees, forming an obstacle which delayed the enemy 
and gave the patriots time to prepare for a seige. St. Leger arrived 
on August 3, by which time the fort had been fully stored. St. Leger 
was confident that the garrison of 750 men would surrender without 
resistance, I)Ut received no rt'i)ly to tlie insolent demand which he sent 
to the fort. 

iNIeanwhile the JNtohawk valley was thrown into consternation at 
tlie approaching invasion, (ieneral Herkimer called on the county 
militia, and all others who were willing to volunteer, to meet at Fort 
I>ayton, in tlie present town of Herkimer. Several n\giments res])oiided 
and among the volunteers wvn' most of the members of the c<Minty 
committee. On August 5th, the force encamped near Oriskany and 
sent word to General Gansevoort that they were coming to his relief. 
In order to divert the enemy's attention from the attack of the relieving 
force. Colonel Gansevoort planned a sortie on the enemy, to be com- 
manded by Colonel ^^'illet. General Ilei'kimer was iTiformed of this 
plan. The enemy, meanwhile, liad been informed of General Herki- 
mer's approach and sent out a detaclunent to meet him. General Her- 
kimer was compelled to advance , against liis own better judgment, by 
the taunts of his own inferior otflcers, who aeciised him of cowardice. 
His reply, "March on; a few hours will tell which are the brave," was 
amply justified by later events. Th(» column had proceeded but a few 
miles, wlien th<> front and Hank guards (which, by the way. General 
Herkimer did not neglect to provide) were suddenly shot down, and 
from tlie surrounding forests burst the savages, whose y(>lls were the 
signal for a genei-al attack. The Indians were under the connnand of 
Hrant. Early in the action fJeneral Ilei-kimer's leg was shatteriMl and 
his horse killed by a bullet. He had his saddle placed against a tree. 
and leaning against it he continued to direct tlie battle, smoking his 
pipe as if there was no danger. The Americans hid behind ti'ees to 
guard themselves from the Indians, and when a man had discharged 
his gun, the savages would run up and tomahawk him. Tli(> com- 
mander then ordered two men to a tree, and stopped that practice, 


Soon after, a u'inforeemont of Johnson's Gi'oons canic uit. and, furious 
at the siiiiit of tlu'se Tryon county loyalists, the Americans rushed out 
and engaged them in a hand to hand fight. The battle was interrupted 
by a storm, and an hour later was renewed. At length the sound of 
guns was heard from the direction of the fort, and the British, seeing 
they had been outwitted, fled and left the Americans victors. 

Colonel Willett made- his sortie from the fort with great success. 
The enemy took to the woods with heavy loss in killed and prisoners, 
and Colonel Willett carried his spoils into the fort by wagon loads. 
When the enemy returned the siege was continued. An attempt was 
made to intimidate Colonel Gansevoort, but he dismissed the messenger 
with scorn. Sir John Johnson sent a messenger through Tryon county 
threatening the inhabitants if they did not compel the surrender of 
the fort. Colonel Willet and Major Stockwell set out from the fort and, 
after great hardship, reached Fort Dayton. Thence they went to Al- 
bany and met General Arnold, whom General Schuyler had sent with 
a relief expedition. It was by none of these means, however, that the 
siege was raised. Arnold having captured a half-witted lad named 
Han Yost Schuyler, promised him his liberty if he would alarm St. 
Ijeger's camp with stories of tlie great numbers of the American relief 
force. This he readily assented to, and shooting his clothes full of 
bullet holes, he made his way to the camp, accompanied liy an Oneida 
Indian friendly to the Americans. When he arrived at the camp, he 
said he had just escaped from the Americans, and when questioned 
as to their number, he pointed to the leaves on the trees, as if to say 
they could not be counted. He was talcen before St. lA'ger, to whom' 
he unfolded a pitiful tale, giving an exaggerated account of the num- 
ber of the Americans. Meanwliile the «;)neida Indian went among 
Bi'ant's followers, telling of the great force that was coming against 
tliem. Between them, Han Yost and the Indian created such a panic 
that it was decid(>d to abandon the siege, and both Tories and Indians 
fled precipitately. When the relief force an-ived, they found the enemy 
gone, and Colonel (Jansevoort in possession of most of their luggage, 
which they left behind. St. Legor fled northward and joined his forces 
with those of Burgoyne. thus abandoning the plan for an organized 
invasion of the Mohawk valley. Sir John Johnson and Colonel Butler, 
however, were not willing to pass by their former ntMghbors without 
paying them a visit, so they planned an invasion of the valley in com- 
pany with the Indians whom they won ti> their side by large presen'^s. 
The Americans tried to Avin back the Indians, but failed, not being able 
to give them such rewards as the Britisli gave. 

During the years between 1777 and the close of the war. Brant and 
the Indians made the county the scene of the most horrible atrocities. 
Their princii)al acts Avei'e the destruction of the settlement of Cherry 
Yalley by Are and massacre of its inhabitants, and the burning Df 
German Flats, now Herkimer. 


The county militia did not coaso to resist the invasion of tlieir lionies. 
Tliey went f'. "tli witiiout tliou.uht or uain or .ulory. l)nt with faitl' in tlif 
principle of the liberty and e<|uali(y of mankind, l)attlrd. and l)l( d and 
died, until victory crowned their I'fforts, and the yrasp of dosiiotism was 
forever loosened from the land they loved. 



Read before the Herkimer County Historical Society, November lo, 1900. 

Wo can never i'ully renlize the iinineasnral)le influence of the home, 
and home sentiment, on the founding and pre.servation of our Republic. 

The home — where the first impressions are received, the first lessons 
of life are learned — there where "heart co-operates with mind and affec- 
tions with reasoning power," and where character is moulded, whether 
good or bad, by which our lives, the lives of others, and that of our 
country is largel}^ determined. 

The home is the best of schools, and the results of its training are 
unbounded: but over the home, teaching by example, encouraging by 
ready sympathy, stimulating to good deeds l)y silent a])proval, and 
instilling virtue in the hearts of those al)out her is the woman; and 
the home is her kingdom, her monarchy, her own true sphere, where 
slie may reign with undisputed authority; strengthening sons and hus- 
bands to fight life's battles. Surely she may claim Ji share in the glory 
of their victories. 

We cannot comprehend the immensity of woman's influence in the 
great struggle for liberty. It was the encouragement of the home 
women, Avhich sent their brave men forth to war, impelling them to 
great deeds, and that stirred up the less zealous ones to follow their 
examples. John Adams in a letter to his Avife remai-ks, "Upon exam- 
ining the biography of illustrious men, you Avill generally find some 
female a))OUt them in the relation of wife or mother, to whose instiga- 
tion ii great part of their merit is to be ascril)ed. I believe the two 
Howes have not very great women for wives; if they had. we should 
suffer more from their exertions than we do. A smart wife would Tiave 
put Howe in possession of Philadelphia a long time ago." Thus John 
Adams acknowledges woman's influence. 

It was the women who encouraged those who ('.ame out boldly for 
their struggling country, and Avho frowned down the indifferent ones. 


Even before the w;ir. the women, by their conversation and example, 
norvt'd and pri'pari'd the hearts of the men to endnre tlie comini: trials; 
and, when the bhickness of despair settled over the land, and a'l seem- 
ed lost, it was these faitlifnl women, in camp and at home, who chet'red 
on and inspired with liope. the disheartened soldiers. And when all 
w;is j)eai-e a.uiiin. woman's intlnenee, so important ;i factor dnrinu' the 
war, was e<iuall.v important after its close, in restoring to society .ill 
the .iiood of former times; and especially when the land been 
throu,i;h sncli a crisis. l']verythin,i;' was changed — precedent of rank 
abolished, and ""all nuMi created etjnall" With society in this (handed 
st.Mte, only woman's tact could place all classes on an amicjible stand- 

Comparatively little is known, however, of women's lives in this 
tryin.n' time — won)en whose tireless zeal and noble .acts helped to 
establish American Independence. This is due lai-i;cly to the Lack of 
female education at that time; an avera.uc yirrs education consisted 
chiefly in a thoronuh knowledti*^ of household duties, with Just enou.uh 
readiui;' and writiui; to enable ln>r to say she "knew how." 

Of course, many women were fond of liter.ary imrsnits, .and they 
were considered hi.uhly accomplished. So oidy from the 
instances of female lieroism and endurance, can we understand the 
patriotic spirit of the women in The women who worked for 
our country, who uavc- their .all — sons, husbands, property, .and oft<'n 
tin ir lives, for the cause, who enduivd hardships uncompI;nnin,:^ly .and 
gloried in the name of "rebel" — these we must take as types of the 
I.'cvolutionary women. They are the representatives of the cl.ass. 

I'.ut in thinking of them, let us not forjict the others, the thousands 
who suffered in silence, .and who worked for no rew.ard. unknown 
.and now fori^ott'^'ii. Their saca'itices gladly m.ade, .and gentle inllnence 
.all helpetl, for they c.ariae<l out in practice tlu' pianciples for wliich the 
I>atrlots were tightini;-. They could not ti.uht — a woman's pjirt in troub- 
lous times is to ])assively watch a course of events which can win for 
her no fame; she can t.ake but the \).\vt of a spectator. 

Those women livini;- near the scenes of battle .and Ithiodshed found 
.an outlet for their enthusi.asm — they were offered cli.ances of becom- 
inj;' heroines. But there were other women, whose less showy liei'oism 
was just as effective, whose unseen intluence. exiM'ted only oxei- their 
own families, was not without its etfect on the n.ation's future. Their 
(]niet. unobserved inllnence s(ait w.avi\s of enca'Liy thi'ouuh the Land, 
sti'ony .and inviuoratinu. And these ipiiet women are the mothei's — 
wlio kept American pi'inciiiles pui'i' in theii' sons' heai'ts. .and when the 
storm broke, sent them forth strengthened for the battle. 

They received the richest I'ewai'd for their sacaalu-es — the sons in 
whose hearts they had sown the first seeds of patriotism, they lived 
to see become the sti'cimth of the nation! 

Such a woman was the mother of George Washington, for the well- 


known character of lier son is the i-eflection of her own. All praise 
be given this motlier, who gave to her country sucli a son I 

Tliese motliers "nursed tlie infancy of Freedom." How many re- 
joiced in the thought tliat tlieir sons whom they loved with tlie unfath- 
oniaI)le love of a mother, and whom tliey liad fired with their own 
patriotic zeal, were willingly giving up their lives for freedom! And 
in this they gloried! - 

This was the spirit of Elizal>etli Martin, wlio, hearing the iiicesfiant 
boom of the cannon at Charleston, and knowing lier sons were there 
with the army, could lift her hands to Heaven and cry, "Thank God! 
they are children of the Republic!" 

Tliis same spirit enabled the women of those stirring times to bear 
griefs and insults that else would seem insupportable. 

A British officer one day rode out of his way to tell Mrs. Martin of 
the death of lier son; he had seen liim die a soldier's deatli at Augusta 
and wished to gratify liis liatred by the sight of a woman's grief. 
Hiding up to the house, he in(iuired of Mrs. Martin if she did not have 
a son at Augusta. Being answered in the affirmative, a malicious joy 
spread over his face, and eagerly watcliing for some sign of her agony, 
lie said: "Then I saw his brains blown out on the battlefield!" Crusli- 
ing as the shoclv must liave l)een, and aggravated by his brutal pleasure 
in telling it, the spirit of patriotism rose undaunted, and not a sign 
of weakness did she show, as witli a firm voice she answered: "He 
could not have died in a nobler cause." The officer, much chagrined, 
rode away — wondering! 

Mrs. Martin's two daughters-in-law, wives of soldiers, did their part 
in serving their country. One night, news came to tlieir home that a 
British courier carrying important messages, was to pass by the house. 
These brave women determined to waylay the courier and his attend- 
ant guard, and at the risli of their lives, obtain the dispatches. So, 
armed and dressed in tlieir liusband's clothes, they left the house and 
ciime to the higliway: here they Ind in the shrubln'ry andwait'Hl breath- 
lessly. Soon they hear the sound of horse's feet — nearer and nearer, 
until their liearts seem throlibing in their throats; now the horsemen 
come in sight — the men's voices can distinctly be heard — nearer and 
nearer, until the unsuspecting guard is right at hand, when up tlie 
women spring, present arms and cry "Halt!" What though the gruif 
voice sounds a little feigned — tlie guards, too startled to resist, give 
u]) the papers, and are allowed to go on parole. Tlie women, elated 
with the success and free from danger, hurry home with the precious 
dispatches for which they risked so much. Safe there, they lose no 
time in sending them to American hejuhiuarters, and sit down to talk 
it over. 

The guard, on their return. stop])t'd at the Martin house, where they 
found the two women, now in their own clothing. The men, not rec- 
ognizing their captors, told the story of their arrest. Needless to say, 


the hulit-'S enjoycnl hcariiiu ir, and proliably rallied tin' dismmfited 
soIditTS for tlu'ir lack of intrepidity. 

The States of North and Soulli Carolina are noticeable for their many 
Hevohitionary lieroines. Tliese States were the scenes of much blood- 
slied — in fact, a sort of guerilla warfare was going on there continu- 
ally. Sumter, Mai'ion and I'iclcens — the three whose vei-y names 
struclv terror to Hritisli liearts — were the principal leach-rs, and many 
were the iiair-ltreadtli escai)es and thrilling incidents accomi)anying 
their raids. 

The fre<pu'nl and unexpected attaclcs of this partisan M.irfare gave 
opportunities for a gre.nter display of woman's lieroism than M-as offer- 
ed in otlier States. 

It is sucli wild and stirring times that bring out the strf'ngth of 
character wliicli in times of peace would have lain dormant and un- 

We all know tlie story of Elizabetli Steele, how. on General Greene's 
long and arduous retreat tiu-ough the Carolinas, after tlie battle of 
Covvpens, the retreat on whose issue the fate of the South was hang- 
ing, his over-burdened heart was cheered and comforted by tlie kind- 
ness of this one woman. She had heard liim say he was penniless. 
She had seen his dejected face and rain-soaked clothes, and her kind 
heart was touched. Going to him while he was at supper, she drew 
from under her apron two b.-igs of her own hard earned money, and 
bade him take them, as he would need them more than she did! And 
even better than this timely aid, she gave him encouraging words and 
kind sympathy, until his saddened heart was refreshed and comforted. 
The General remembered to his dying day this good woman and her 
willing sacrifice. 

Needless to tell of Nancy Hart, a (Georgia woman — "the honey of a 
patriot, but the (h'vil of a wife!" as she was descril)ed liy her Whig 
neighboi's. Poor Nancy! ignorant, crosseyed .-ind ungainly, she had 
llie heart of a patiiot and w;is a dear lover of libi'rty and the "liberty 
boys," as she called the Whigs. 

In taking the five British soldiers as her prisoners, Nancy's crossed- 
eyes were even of service to her! The soldiers, thoroughly frightened 
at seeing this determined Amazon standing over them, .n musket at 
her shoulder, ready to fire at the least movement. could not t«'ll at which 

one she was locjking and e.acli imagined himself the objet*: of her 

terror-striking stare; tlu'y all surrendered without (h'lay. Then Nancy 
called lu-r husband and the lu'ighbors from the cane-luvak where they 
bad l>een hiding, and gave her i)risoners ujt to them, offering the sug- 
g<'stive hint that shooting was "too good for such." They were taken 
out ;ind hung just outsi(h' lier gate; ;ind safe to say. N;incy gloried in 
tlie thought that she had been the niean^ of i)Utting Wvv more Hi'itish 
soldiers out of the world. 

.Fane Thomas was another prominent Carolina woman of this time. 


One day while visiting her son and husband in prison, she overheard 
the conversation of some Tory women wlio were discussing a pi'oposed 
attack on Cedar Creek, arranged for tlie next niglit. Slie realized that 
no time was to be lost, and leaving the prison immediately, she sad- 
dled her horse and rode the sixty miles to Cedar Creek, arriving in an 
oxhauted condition, but in time to warn the Whigs. She then rode 
back, rather more leisurely than she had gone! 

The loyalists, confidently advancing on the litle camp, fell into the 
ambush prepared for them, and, though greatly superior in numbers, 
were completely routed, and suffered a great loss. 

The brave spirit JV'Irs. Thomas showed in defending the powder left 
in her charge, may well be taken as an example of the spirit of many 
Revolutionary dames, in defense of store for the suffering army. 

A quantity of arms and ammunition had been left at Colonel 
'J'homas' house, for any emergency on the frontier which he was com- 
manding. Word came that a large band of Tories were advancing 
toward the house. But Mrs. Thomas had resolved to keep the arms 
at any cost; so, taking her daughters, her son-in-law, and a small lad 
who had worked on the farm, all with her to the upper story of the 
house, they prepared for a defense. 

The Tories riding up to the door, demanded admittance. Their call 
was answered b.v a sharp fire from the upper windows. The British, 
thinking a large foi'ce to be in possession of the house, and not know- 
ing that a few women were loading the guns which but two young men 
were discharging so rapidly, withdrew as (juickly as their wounds 
would permit. The amunition saved was afterwards the principal 
supply at the battles of Hanging Rock, and Rocky Moinitain. 

Many victories have been due largely to the amount of powder saved 
by woman's wit and bravery. 

How many women, both North and South, did the British tempt to 
use their intiuence over their sons and hus-bands? The cunning Tories 
realized what an unbounded influence the women possessed over the 
soldiers, and they tried to use it for their own advantage. Tenyiting 
bribes they offered. If the women could only get their husbands to 
join the Loyal troops, a commission would surely be given them, and 
relief sent to their suffering families! This may seem but a slight 
temptation, to us, but then, when the women were every day suffering 
insult and abuse from British and Hessians, and their little ones were 
starving, when all seemed lost, the whole land was disheartened, and 
there was no hope of success, a royal commission and British protec- 
tion meant peace and plenty! 

But these stern dames never weakened. Quickly they gave the dis- 
comfited officers to understand that they gloried in the name of "rebel," 
and that, to them, the rank of private in the good cause was more to 
be preferred than commander of the oppressors' entire army. 

So Dorcas Richardson, a Carolina woman, thougli she and her children 


were sirk from want of food, and had lieen i)lundered of almost all 
their clothint;-, sent word to her husband in the aim.v that the family 
was well and had an abundance of ev(-r\ tiling; fearint;, if he should 
be offered proteetion, provided he joint'd the Iviny's men, he would do 
so, to give relief to his suffering fanuly. 

A great nund)er of women devoted themselves to brightening the 
gloom of eamp life. Espeeially in tlie cold months, when the army 
was in winter tiuaiters, did these helpful souls establish themselves 
by their husband's sides, enlivening tliose alK)Ut them, encouraging and 
cheering everyone. They bore all the discomforts and privations of 
camp life uncomplainingly; the soldiers could not murnuu' at the suf- 
ferings which these women boi'e without eomplaint. 

Martha Washington was the bi'st known of this class of wonu'U. 
l''ew of her sex have been placed midst scenes so varied, but in war 
and in peac<', her gentle dignity, good sense and true heart won for her 
tlu> love and respect of all. She A\as Washington's "best friend," as 
he so often called her. his coiuisellor and helpmci't. In the gloom of 
misfortune she sustained liim. and in better times, made his victories 
the sweeter by her sympathy. 

lA'ading a domestic lif<'. she has left but little for a biograi)her; her 
sacritices were made .and trials borne, not for the world's apiilause. 
Each year, as soon as the army was settled in winter (piarters. Mrs. 
Washington's coming was eagerly awaited and her arrival always 
received a liearty welcome. She was at Valley Forge with the chief, 
the winter of '77-'7S — that "time which tried men's souls!" Many an 
old grey-haired soldier, long years after, has related some incident of 
her benevolent kindness, that brought the tears to his dim eyes.. 

Her example was imitated by many of the officers' wives, bringing 
hope and good spirits to the patriots, soothing the distress of sufferers, 
and by their own patient subunssiou to privations, shaming Into silence 
those most apt to complain. 

The story of beautiful J.ane McCrea, whose sad fate aroused such a 
storm of indignation against the liritish. may well be taken to illus- 
trate the great influence of the murder of an innocent wouuin. a victim 
to political hatred. 

Burke's glowing description of the murder of this young woman, 
made her name familiar throughout Europe, and popular indignation 
nm high, that a civilized n.ation should employ such savage allies! 

Th.nckeray says: "The murder of .lane McCrea did more liarm to 
the loyal cause than the loss of an army or of a battle." Certain it is, 
that this murder, so uncalled for and ouii'agcous, contributed much to 
the Whigs' success. Men hastened to the camj) ;iud soldiers eagerly 
waited for some chance to avenge her death. 

Her pitifiil storv has been written again and again, in both poelry 
and prose. How, on the day wliich was to have been her wedding day. 
she was cruelly murdei-ed and scalped b.\ the Indians whom her be- 


tvothed had sent to escort her to Burgoyne"s camp, where they were to 
have been married. The savages probably looked on Miss McCrea as 
a captive; tliey could not have understood her relation to their em- 
ployer. Instead of returning with the lovely bride, they presented her 
horror-stricken lover with her bloody scalp. His agony cannot be im- 
agined; the thought that she had fallen a victim to her trust in liim. 
was added to liis sorrow; he did not long survive her, but died, a bro- 
ken hearted man, pitied by all who knew .his sad story. 

Some one has said tliat Jane McCrea seems to have been selected by 
Providence as a sacrifice to I'ouse the drooping spirit of Liberty, in tlie 
midsummer of '77. Tl\e influence of this sacrifice was unbounded, and 
we can never know liow far that influence went toward winning the 
decisive battle of Saratoga. By such single incidents might the fate 
of a nation be decidedl 

In speaking of the women who suffered much in the great struggle 
for American freedom, let us not omit those who endured the horrors 
Oi pioneer life in our own wild Mohawk valley, when the wolf of hun- 
ger stood at one door of the rude cabin, and the stealthy savage at the 
other. Every farmer in these trying times had some place of conceal- 
ment for ills family, wliere they could go for safety at the first alarm 
of an Indian attack. 

Our great-grandmothers have often told, how, at the cry of "to arms, 
to arms," fathers caught up the musket and frightened mothers ran 
with their little ones to the woods, the way often times lit up by burn- 
ing homes and hay-stacks. While lying there concealed, what agonies 
they must have suffered! Not knowing at what moment tlie child 
might be snatched from her breast by some pitiless Indian; not linow- 
ing but that the next gun-shot might mean the death of her husband; 
lioping against hope that her little home might be spared from the 

Sometimes a -whole family would be wiped out in an attack, as in 
the cast of the Knouts family, of what is now Freysbush. Brant — 
the terror of every heart in the valley — with his Indians had been roam- 
ing over the Canajoharie district, all through the August of 1780. One 
party of them came to the Knouts' home. The father was taken cap- 
tive and soon afterwards killed; Mrs. Knouts, who was in the garden, 
hearing the screams of her children, entered just in time to see one 
struck down by an Indian's tomahawk ,and scalped. Because she 
pleaded for mercy from this merciless foe, she and the three other child- 
ren met the same fate. The house was then fired and she with the four 
children about her were left on the door-step, probably as a warning to 
the other settlers. 

Such was the fate of many throughout the whole valley. Hard and, 
comfortless as life was, at best, on the frontier, it was rendered doubly 
so by the war. 

'For every scalp delivered at British heudquai-ters, a price was paid, 


and many were the bloody trophies brought in by the Indian warriors. 
That a civilized nation could employ sueli means to gain their end, is 
almost beyond belief; but the unfortunate settlers found it only too 

The Kentucky frontier also was not without its heroines— some, to 
whom opportunities were offered, doing noble deeds, and others less 
actively engaged, helping by their influence. All bore the trials and 
dangers of such frontier life with fortitude and bravery. 

The name of Elizabeth Zane is inseparably connected with the his- 
tory of tlie Kentucky frontier. This brave girl's hei'oism saved a fort 
from capture. The Indians in large numbers had been storming the 
litle fort all day. Its garrison of settlers had defended it wt'll, but the 
powder was almost gone, and without it they must soon surrender. 
There was a supply secreted in the Zane cabin, but men wr(3re' few, and 
the loss of one would be felt. During a lull in the hostilities, when the 
men were discussing what ought to be done, Elizabeth -Jlane stepped 
up to the commander, and insisted that she must go for the powder, 
as the loss would not be felt. After much pleading, she was allowed 
to go— the gates were opened and she ran out. The Indians did not see 
her flying figure until she was coming back, the powder in her apron. 
Providence seemed to ward off every whistling bullet, and the intrepid 
girl reached the fort in safety, with the precious poAvder. 

With such an act to inspire them, the little band could not fail; tliey 
succeeded in keeping off the foe until assistance came, and they were 

Such incidents, the records of which are not a few, serve to show the 
general spirit of the women at that time. From them we may judge 
of the other women's lives, which, though not as eventfuT, were lived 
in a spirit of loyalty to Avhat they knew was right, and if needed, were 
willingly, if not often gladly, given up to help on the good cause — some- 
thing of the same spirit which inspired the martyrs of old. 

Almost every American woman had her share of trouble in the Rev- 
olutionary war, some, of course, more than others. It is useless to evci' 
try to give many individual instances of female heroism and endurance; 
the few must stand as tyjies of the many. 

Those women who exerted a great intluence over their fellow coun- 
trymen by their literary ;i]»ilities. were helping greatly in their own 
particular way. 

Mercy Warren, well educated and talented, had a great influence 
through her letters, on many prominent men of her daj'. Her advice 
was often sought on matters of state, and, when given, was highly 

Many women living near the coast visited the prison-ships — those 
graves of living death — bringing humble comforts and cheering words 
of hope to the suffering prisoners. 

Some women melted and moulded into bullets their cherished pewter 


dishes heirlooms in the family, much of it brought over from the 

old world, and kept, spotlessly bright, in the most conspicuous corner 
of the house. It must have been a painful duty to these patriotic 
women, melting this shining pewter, their greatest pride; but the sac- 
rifice was willingly made — it was all they could do, and they did it. 

Many of the farmers' wives, when they had sent their sons and hus- 
bands off to the war, found the entire care of the farm fallen on their 
shoulders. But they never shrank, going oftentimes into the field 
themselves, and managing so well that, besides having enough to keep 
their families from starvation, they could send some of their produce 
to the near-by camps. 

The Philadelphia ladies were generally engaged in cutting bandages 
and scraping lint to send to the wounded soldiers. Washington, appre- 
ciating this work, writes to a committee for the relief of the soldiers: 
"* * * jjQj. (ijjjj n ^^^l^Q army) fear its Interests will be neglected 
when espoused by advocates as powerful as they are amiable." Mrs. 
Reed, the wife of Governor Reed, was the leader in this charitable 

Some women, living near the scene of military operations, would 
take cOoling drinks and bandages to the battle-field, where many a 
suff(M'ei''s last moments were made easier by these angels of mercy, 
and their death made sweeter by words of Christian comfort. 

Others visited the camps where fever and pestilence raged, nursing 
the sick and wounded , softening the hardships of sickness in camp, and 
bringing something of a home atmosphere to the weary sufferers. 

In our day, when the trials and privations of such a war are un- 
known, we cannot realize their sufferings, nor the uncomplaining way 
in which they bore them; perhaps, were we, their descendants, placed 
in a similar position, we might show the same strength of character, 
the same patriotic spirit which sustained them — but excel them — • 

They have rightfully been called the "back-bone" of the Revolution; 
but for their effectual efforts and encouragement our Independence 
would never have been won. Their home influence prepared and 
strengthened the hearts of the men for the great struggle; their ready 
sympathy and willing aid all through the war encouraged them, and, 
when tranquil peace once more reigned o'er the land, their great good 
sense, and their woman's tact, did as much toward starting and keep- 
ing society in the right way. as did the lengthy councils and well laid 
plans of Congress. 

Let us give honor, then, where honor is due — not only to the brave 
men who won for us our freedom, but also to the bi'ave women, those 
freedom-loving American dames, at whose inspiration the noblest deeds 
^were done! 


Delivered before tlie Herkimer County Historical vSociety, November lo, 1900. 

The first railroiul operated by steam ptit in practical and rounlar use 
for the carriage of passengers anywhere in the world was in England, 
between Liverpool and Manchester. The opening of that road in 1S29 
caused a great sensation in England, and its successful operation gave 
a great impetus to railroad building there and in this country. 

Prior to the year 1848, all railroad companies in this State were 
organized by Special Acts of the L(>gislature. But in tliat year a gen- 
eral act for the formation of railroad corporations was pass(>d, and 
since that time such corporations in this State have been organized 
under that act and the General Railroad act of 1850, and their amend- 

The first railroad company in this State was chartered by an act of 
the Legislature in 182(J. It was called the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad 
Company, and was organized to build a road from Schenectady to 
Albany, a distance of about 17 miles. Twelve miles of that road was 
constructed by 1830, at which time there were only 3(1 miles of railroad 
in the United States, and 200 miles in the whole world, while now there 
are about 192,000 miles in the United States, and 450,000 miles in the 
whole world. The road was completed and fully opened for use in 
1831, and the first locomotive for it was imported from England and 
was called the "John I'.ull," weighing four tons. Now some locomo- 
tives are used which weigii ,iliont 00 tons. 

The first company create(l to build a railroad touching this eotmty 
was "The Black River Company," chartered by act of the Legislature, 
April 17th, 1832, to build a railroad or canal from the Erie Canal at 
Rome or Herkimer or at any intermediate point, to the St. Lawrence 
River. There was some surveying done under that charter, but noth- 
ing more. 

The Utica & Schenectady Railroad Company was chartered by an act 
of the Legislature in 1833, with a capital of two million dollars to build 


a road from Schenectadj' to Utica. Nathaninl S. Benton of Little Falls 
was one of the commissioners named in the act to receive and appor- 
tion subscriptions to the stoclv. The company was authorized to use 
animal or mechanical power, or any combination of them, and to charge 
not to exceed four cents per mile for the carriage of passengers with 
their ordinary baggage. For fear of injurious competition with the 
Erie canal, it was not allowed to carry any freight, and that it might 
not by the operation of its road inflict great loss upon the Mohawk 
Turnpike Company, whose road extended from Utica to Schenectady 
through this county, it was required to purchase the stock of that com- 
pany. It was provided, as it was in nearly all the early railroad char- 
ters, that at the end of ten years and within fifteen years, the State 
should have the right to take the railroad by re-imbursing the com- 
pany for its expenditures. The charter required that one of the direc- 
tors of the company should be selected from each of the counties 
through Avliich the road passed, and Mr. Benton was the director taken 
from this county, and he continued a director until 1853. Books for 
subscriptions to the stock Avere immediately opened, and subscriptions 
were made throughout the Mohawk valley. The stock was largelj' 
over subscribed, and was apportioned pro rata among the subscribers 
by the commissioners named for that purpose in the act. The construc- 
tion of the road was commenced in 1833, and it was completed and 
opened for use through to Utica by August 1, 1830, when the first pas- 
senger train passed over the road on that day from Schenectady to 
Utica. There were great demonstrations all along the route, people 
gathering from long distances to see the train. The road with its 
equipment had cost less than the amount of Its capital stock. In 1837, 
by an act of the liOgislature, the road was authorized to carry any arti- 
cles of property belonging to an owner, who was a passenger on the 
same train. But so careful was the legislature to guard against any 
competition with the Erie Canal that it required such property to be 
carried without any charge. This condition remained until 1844, when 
an act was passed autliorizing the road to carry freight for compensa- 
tion, during the suspension of navigation upon the Erie canal, but 
requiring the company to pay to the State the same tolls that were 
chargeable for the transportation of similar property upon the canal. 
And so the law remained until 1851, when by an act of the legislature 
all railroads were allowed to carry freight without the payment of any 
tolls to the State. 

Between 1830 and 1853, railroads had been built by various railroad 
companies to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and under an act of the Legis- 
lature, passed April 2d, of the latter year, all those companies were 
authorized to consolidate ; and they were consolidated in May of that 
year, under the name of the New York Central Railroad Company, 
which was limited by the consolidation act to a fare of not exceeding 
tAVO cents per mile for the carriage of passengers. Among the com- 


panics thus consolulatcd. was '"The Mohawk Valley Railroad Compa- 
ny," oriiunizod to Imild a railraod mainly on the sonth side of the 
>r()ha\vk Kiver I'nini T tica to Scheneetady. Among its direetors were 
lienjamin Carver of .Moiiawk and ICliphalet Keminuton of llion; and 
among the prime movers in the organization of the company was Gen- 
eral F. K. Spinner of ^Mohawk. Among the original subscribers to the 
stock of the company who signed the Articles of Association were 
E. Remington of llion, and the following citizens of Mohawk: F, E. 
Spiimer, P>. Carver, T.. I>. Merry, Elias Root, J. F. Brown, Kzekiel Spen- 
cer, Cornelius Devendorf, M. Shoemaker, John Bellinger, R. H. Fom- 
eroy, and Chauncey Johnson. The road was surveyed and mapped and 
estimates of its costs were made, but no other work toward its con- 
struction was done . James A. Gray of this village, long since deceased, 
and David D. Spencer, now of Mohawk, were engaged as engineers 
on the survey of the road. The stockholders of that road had paid 
upon their stock but ten ])er cent., and yet they were taken into the 
consolidation on a footing of equality with the stockholders of the 
Utica «fc Schenectady Railroad Company, to-wit: At the rate of $155 
for each share of $](»(», they Ix ing recpiired. however, to pay th" balance 
of 00 per cent, vuip.'iid foi' their stock; and thus the eiiterpi'ising men who 
organized that company realized large gains. The New York Central 
was capitalized at .f 211, 858,000, witli some outstanding bonds convert- 
ible into stock, which when convi'rted brought the capital stock to 
5?23,085,00O. In 18G9, by an act of the Legislature, the New York 
Central was consolidated with the Hudson River Railroad Company, 
and the consolidated company has since been known as the New York 
Central it Hudson River Railroad Company; and in 1874, the number 
of tracks on the road were increased to four and it is now the only 
four track railroad for any considerable distance in this country, and 
so far as I know in the world. The capital stock of the company is 
now one hundred million dollars. 

For many years after 1830, repeated effoits were made to penetrate 
the Adirondack region with canals or I'ailroads and to connect the St. 
Lawrence River with the Mohawk valley. Those efforts seem to have 
been made by men who had no adefpiate knowledge of the ditliculties 
to be surmounted and lience their schemes were generally imprac- 
ticable and abortive. It is only in recent years, that with better knowl- 
edge and more ample means the early schemes which were then little 
more than dreams, have been carried to practical success. 

In 1834, an act was passed, '"To Incorporate the Manheim & Salis- 
bury Railroad Company," to build a railroad from the Utica and Sche- 
nectady Railroad, between Little Falls and the East Canada Creek, to 
Nicholsville, since called Deveraux, in the town of S.alisbnry. Jeremiah 
Drake, D. B. \Yiriton and Andrew A. Fink and their .associates were 
made a body corporate with a capital stock of !f75,000. Jeremiah 
Drake, D. B. Winton, Jacob I'owell, Gideon Snell, Luther Pardee, 


Andrew A. Fink, and E. P. Hurlburt, woro named in the act as com- 
missioners to receive and apportion subscriptions to the stoclc. In 1836, 
the capital stoclc of the company was by an act of the Legislature 
increased to three hundred thousand dollars, and the time for the 
commencement and completion of the road was extended. By that 
act, also, the company was authorized to connect its road with the 
Erie canal, between the points named in the first act, and to extend 
the road through the town of Stratford, Fulton county, to the westerly 
l/i'anch of the Sacandaga River, and also from Nicholsville, up the East 
('anada Creek to Morehouse Lake, in the town of Morehouse, Hamilton 
county. It was also authorized to construct navigable communication 
by means of canals, locks, dams and other works from the terminus 
of the road through Piseco Lake and Lake Pleasant, to the outlet of 
Lake Pleasant, in the coimty of Hamilton, and to use the natural 
channel of any lakes, ponds or streams on the route; and it was 
authorized to charge tolls and to appoint collectors for that purpose. 
A good deal of surveying Avas done upon the line of this projected 
road, but nothing more toward the completion thereof. In 1837, the 
name of this road was by an act of the Legislatiu-e changed to the 
Mohawk »Sr St. Lawrence Railroad & Navigation Company, and the cap- 
ital stock was further increased to one million dollars, with liberty to 
increase it to one million five hundred thousand dollars. By that act 
it was authorized to continue its road from Nicholsville to Piseco Lake 
and thence to the southern end of the lake connected with Long Lake; 
also to construct a canal and slack water navigation from the end of 
the lake connected with Long I>ake through and along Long Lake and 
the waters connecting with the same to the outlet of Long Lake; thence 
down the Raquette River, including Tupper's Lake, to the High Falls 
in that river in the county of St. Lawrence; and from thence by rail- 
road or canal and slack water navigation to the River St. Lawrence. 
Hem-y Fine. Gouverneur Ogden, Andrew K. Morehouse, Henry Dever- 
eaux and Ezra Thompson were associated with the connnissioners 
named in the prior act. The routes named in these acts were clearly 
impracticable, and nothing was done under either act but some sur- 

In 183(5, an act was passed, "to pi'ovide for the Construction of a 
Railroad from Herkimer to Trenton." with a capit;U stock of .'f'JOO.OOO; 
and the following persons were n.'inu'd in the act as commissioners to 
receive subscriptions for stock and to distribute the same among the 
subsci-ibers: Frederick P. Bellinger, Charles Gray, Francis E. Spin- 
ner, Watts Sherman. Gideon M. Davidson, Daniel Jackson. James Free- 
man, Standish Barry, Henry Waterman, John Graves, Michael Moore, 
Jr., Liither Giteau and John Billings. In 1837, by a legislative act the 
time for the commmencement of the construction of the road was 
extended to January 1, 1838; and in 1839, another act provided that 
the road should be commenced within three years and completed within 


six years. Soon after the passage of the first act tlie persons inter- 
ested in tliis ])ro.jecte(l road took measures loolving to its constriietiou. 
Coniniittees were appointed ah)n,u tlie nnite to estimate and report on 
the amount of travel and tralHc that miyht be expected for the road, 
and to raise money to pay for surveying tlie rout(>. I have before me 
the repoit made by a couunitlec at 'ri'enton. which was sent to Charles 
(Jray, of this village. It is dated November bitli. ]s;!(;. aiid is signed 
Ity John P.illings. Harlow llawley, Alexander Frasier and M. Moore, 
Jr., as a committee. They say in their report that they were appointed 
a committee '"Vi\ i-e]>ort their opinion of the amount of travel and also 
the amount of produce, merchaniiise, etc., etc., whicli would lie con- 
veyed and trai:spoi'ted upon the contemplated railroad from the Erie 
canal, near tlie village of Herkimer," to Trenton. They reported that 
the number of visitors to Trentoji Falls during the season then past 
from rtica and I>ittle Falls was i.4'.»(i, and they concluded that with 
the increased facilities of travel furnished by the railroad, the visitors 
would not fall short of S.'.lSd annually; that at four cents per mile each 
way for 22 miles this would bring to the railroad .$ir),S04.S0; and they 
estimated that other travel would bring tliis sum up to .'i!20,7o2.8(). 
They estimated that there would be 1,2SU tons of freight over the road 
north to Trenton, at .$2 per ton; and that there would be 2,r)0() tons of 
freight south from Trenton, at ifl:2~t [ler ton, bringing the sum total 
for passengers and freight u]> to .'f2i 1,4 17.80, liesides the travel and 
traffic to and from intermedi.ate stations; and they reported that .fid 
would 1)0 contributed at that end of the route toward the expenses of 
surveying. Subseciuently, Timothy P.. Jervis. a brother of the cele- 
brated engineer, John 15. Jervis. was emjiloyed as the engineer to 
survey the route and make estimates of the cost of construction, and 
he made his I'eport l-'ebruary 1, fS.'JT, by which it apiiears that the 
survey commenced at the Erie canal, between this village and Mohawk, 
and that the line went through .Alain street in this village, then up the 
west side of the West Canada Creek to Middleville, where "it crossed 
tlie creek, and then went on the east side of the creek thi'ough New- 
port and Poland, to the Russia and Trenton bridge, where it ci-ossed 
the creek to the west side and thence to the of Trenton. The 
whole length of the line surveyed was 2(i.90 miles and the whole ascent 
from the surface of the Erie canal was 388 feet. The grade was pro- 
nounced very satisfactory, as the average ascent j)er mile was only 
34.42 feet and he estimated the entire cost of construction at .flT"),- 
151.92. He concluded his report as follows: "Permit me to state that 
the fertility of the valley of the West Canada Creek and the almost 
unlimited extent of water power and the facility of using tlie same 
wliich it presents, together with the increased means of access to the 
beautiful and romantic scenery of the proposed railroad would offer, 
present inducements for investment in the stock of your road which 
should not and doubtless will not be overlooked by capitalists." Aside 


from the snrvcyins' and estimates, no work Avas done upon the road, 
and the project for a raih-oad from Herkimer north was to sleep for 
many years yet. 

In 1837, a company was chartered to build a railroad from Trenton 
to Sacketts Harbor, and Arphaxed Loomis of Little Falls was one of 
the commissioners to receive and distribute subscriptions to the stock; 
and thus by tliese two roads — from Herkimer to Trenton and from 
Trenton to Sacketts Harbor — there was expected to be a continuous 
line from Herkimer to Sacketts Harbor. 

In l!-i4C>, a company was chartered by an act of the Legislature "To 
provide for the Construction of a Railroad and Slack Water Naviga- 
tion from or near I'ort Kent on Lake Champlain fo Boonville," upon 
the following route: From Port Kent, in Essex county, to some point 
on the Saranac River; thence by river, canal and lake navigation 
through Saranac River, Ratpiette River, Long Lake, Crochet and 
Raquette Lakes, also the Moose Lakes to some point on the Moose 
River; from thence by railroad to the Black River Canal at Boonville. 
A portion of this road, if constructed, would have passed through the 
extreme northern part of this county. The route was wholly imprac- 
ticable and notliing was done toward the construction of the road. 

The Sacketts Harbor and Saratoga Raih-oad Company was chartered 
by an act of the Legislature, in 1848, to build a railroad from Sacketts 
Harbor to Saratoga Springs, passing through the northern part of this 
county. By the act of the Legislature, it was authorized to buy from 
the State at five cents per acre 2.^>(),()()0 acres of land lying along the 
I'oute of its road in the counties of Hamilton and Herkimer. It sur- 
veyed tlie route, did some grading thereon, but never completed the 
road. It, nevertheless, obtained tlie land, Avhich was probably the main 
object of its organization. 

In the latter part of 18r)2, thi-re was some agitation and discussion 
in the counties lying between Boonville, Oneida county, and French 
Creek, now called Clayton, on the St. Lawrence River, on the subject 
of a railroad from the latter place to connect with the railroad and 
Erie canal in the Mohawk valley; and the terminus of such road at 
Herkimer seems to have been very generally favored. The agitation 
resulted in a call numerously signed for a public meeting at the Bost- 
wick House in Lowville, January 8th, I80.3. Tlie call was signed by 
thirty-eight persons residing in the counties of Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida 
and Herkimer. The names signed to the call from this county were 
Cieneral Charles (iray and .ludge Ezra Graves, of this village; Jere- 
miah Cory- of Middleville; J. II. Brown and William Benchley, of 
Newport. The call was printed in the form of large posters and they 
were circulated in the four counties; and the purpose of the meeting 
was stated to l)e, "For the purpose of taking such preparatory meas- 
ures as shall be deemed expedient to secure the immediate commence- 
ment of the work. We hope to liave a general representation from 


Herkimer to French Creek. Several siicakcrs will address the nicet- 
iii.i;'." On tli(> day named. Jannary Stli, (Jeiieral Cray and I went to 
Lowvillc t() attend this meeting. We went l>y v.ail to Uonic and then 
on a very cold day Ave drove in a cntter from that point to Lowville. 
Tlie niccIiiiL; \\'as presidi'd oAcr by ?»Ir. P.oslwlek. Se\'ei'a 1 speeches 
AVd'e made and the meetin;^' was (piite enthnsiastic. There were no 
persons i»resent from IU»me or I'tiea at that meetint;. and no oU" fioni 
Herkimer eonnty l>nt (Jeneral (Jray and niyselt. The i-esult ot tlie 
nu'etiny was a rail of anotlier meeting at I'.oonville, on the l!i;th of .lan- 
nai'y. at the llurl])urt House; and a call for that lueetini; was adver- 
tised by jKisters nnmeronsly si.nned. The nanu's of the following per- 
sons from this eonnty were attached to the call: (ieneral (Ji'ay, .Indue 
(iraves, I'eter Countryman, Freilerick 1*. Itellinuer. and l{ol)ert lOarJ 
of the town of Herkimer; and ^^'illiam S. r.encliley, \'arnnni S. Ken- 
yon, David Ford, .laeoh Howe, liohert Heliner. llichard HerreiKh-en. 
J. H. Woo.ster, Jeremiali Cory and Orrin Bi'own, citizens of the county 
livini^ im.'tli of Herkinnn*. Preparatory to the P.oonville meeting and 
for the purpose of arousini;' interest in the i>ro])osed I'aili'oad alony^ the 
route theret)f in this county, posteis were i)rinte(l and circulated caJl- 
in«' a meeting at tlie Benchley Hotel in Newi>ort on tlie li'-'nd day of 
January. There were over loO names signed to the call. Those from 
this village were as follows: James Hoffman. Cenei'al Cray, Judge 
Graves, F. P. P>elliny'<>r, S. \V. Stimson, W. Caswt'll, J. I). Siiinner, H. 
H. Morgan, H. Huyck. C. C. P.elHnger. E. Taylor, J. (i. Burrill, S. 
P.arry, .[. H. Uashach. H. Doolittle, William Smith, C. A. Burton, J. 
Spo(mer, H. Cas\\fll, W. A. C.aswell, C. Spinner. E. A. Munsoii, I*. S. 
P.ellinger. A. Snell. C. ('. Witherstine, Wm. Howell, Jr., E. C. Cleland, 
I. Quaekeiihush, P>yron Lallin, D. Elwood and Alexander Hall. 1 believe 
all the numercnis persons from this and other places who signed that 
call are now dead e;>:cept David II. K.asbach, who now lives at Canas- 
tota ; .1. G. P>iirrill and myself, and possildy Byron Latlin. of whom I 
have not'd in nniny years. That meeting was held and the result 
of it was favorable to the construction of the, and as i)er- 
sons as could go were urged to attend the Boonville meeting. Before 
the Boonville meeting, on .lanujii'y 'J'ind, a meeting was also held ;it 
Home, attemh'd by the leading citizens of that jiljice. to jiromote the 
construction of the to that ]>lace. 'JMiat meeting was ju'esided o\'er 
by Edward Huntington and was addi'essi'd liy Hon. Henry A. I'^oster 
and others. Articles of association for .-i r.ailroad from French ("reek 
to Rome were there drawn u]), and committees wei-e apiioiided to 
attend the Boonville meeting, of which such well known citizens as l"'os- 
ter. P>eacli. Armstrong, Boardman. and Spriggs were members. The 
citizens of T'tic.a also \\'ol<e up to the enteriirise ;ind made ;iri';inge- 
nienls to lie reitreseiited at the Booinille meeting b\' some of their 
leading citizens. The (hiy of the Boonville meeting. .January 2(Uli, was 
very stormy and cold. General Gray, Harvey Doolittle, Samuel Earl, 


Robert Earl and others from Herkimer, General Spinner and R. H. 
I'omeroy of Mohawk, and some from Little Falls, drove in sleighs to 
r.oonville and so did many others from the northern towns of this 
founty. The meeting was numerously attended by people from this 
eounty. from Boonville and its vicinity; from Lewis and Jefferson 
counties, and from Rome and Utica. It was organized in a church, 
which was densely crowded. E. N. Merriam, of Boonville, called the 
meeting to order and on his nomination, Henry Graves of that place 
was chosen chairman; and among the vice-presidents were Jeremiah 
Corey and Henry Waterman of this county, and Harvey Doolittle of 
this village was oni' of the secretaries. On motion of Robert Earl, the 
call for the meeting was read, and then he moved that a committee of 
tive from each of the counties along the route of tlu' proposed road be 
appointed to organize a company to construct "a road from French 
Creek to Herkimer, and to nominate directors." This resolution be- 
came the storm center and at once encountered the vigorous opposi- 
tion of the friends of the Rome and Utica routes, and from that time 
foi-ward the proceedings of the meeting were of the most lively and 
tumultuous character. Judge Foster made a vigorous speech in favor 
of the Rome terminus. John Butterfield and Spencer Kellogg, of Utica, 
spoke for the Utica terminus. Those speakers were answered by John 
H. Wooster, of Newport, and by Judge George W. Smith, our honored 
townsman, then of Boonville, in favor of the Herkimer rcmte. The 
speeches of Mr. Wooster and Judge Smith were very able and e!o(iuent 
and aroused much enthusiasm. The following is a description of Judge 
Smith's speech and its effect as I find it in the Rome Sentinel of Janu- 
ary 2Sth: "George W. Smith, of Boonville, having obtained a stand- 
ing on the top of a pew, made a speech full of zeal and rhetoric in 
behalf of the Herkimer terminus, (pictting classic (Jreek against the 
Romans, and denouncing them as hypocritical in their friendship for 
tlie road, and expressing a very ])oor opinion of the 'barren moor' be- 
tween Boonville and Rome as a route for a railroad. The meeting here 
degenerated into a row and it was a long time before the president 
even could make himself heard, the friends of the Herkimer route sur- 
rounding him and insisting that he should put the (luestion ;!t once." 
After several amendments were voted down the Sentinel continues: 
"With the noise like the roar of many waters and the audience stand- 
ing on the tops of the pews of the church, the chair put the (juestion 
on Mr. Earl's resolution, which was carried with a yell, and then the 
president, without any motion or vote to that effect, declared the meet- 
ing adjourned to 7 o'clock." At the evening session the president an- 
nounced the committee under the resolution, and the five members of 
the committee from this county were, Robert Earl, Herkimer; Francis 
K. Spinner, Mohawk ; Stewart Perry, Newport; Jefferson Tillinghast, 
Norway; F. W. Stanton, Russia., and then the meeting adjoui-ned until 
the next day at a. m. In the meantiuic the committee held a meet- 


iiii:' fiiul r{<)l)i'rf lOiiii i)rt'ii;ir("il nnd submitted to thrm a drat't of arti- 
cles of association for tlic road to ircrlviincr. and to tiic lOi'ic canal at 
]\^)lia\\'k, wlucli wi-rc adopted. Tlie len.t:tl: of tlic route was stated 
lo he one hundred and twenty nules and tlie capital stock was lixetl 
at $1.2(K),(MM»; and thirteen tlirectors were named, amon.ii- wliom were 
r.enjamin Carver of Moliawk, and Ilarve;* Dooliltle, of Ileikimer. A 
motion was made to adopt the report and then tliese |)roceed!nL;s took 
place accordini? to the Kome Seutiiul: "Messrs. Sitencer and I'.utter- 
lield arose to ad(h-ess the ineetini;', hut were ])nt down by cries of 'iines- 
tion.' .Mr. Cooper of Utica nio\i'd to amend the iciiort by inscrtiiii; 
the names of Spencer Kello.ii^ and John I'.nttertield of I'tica as a(hli- 
tional directors. But he was greeted witli noise and confusion. 11. 1). 
Falkncr of Roonville, rennnded the meelini;' of the i)idmise to hear 
gentlemen fi'om Ttica. after the report was read. I'.ut he was also met 
with cries of '(piestion.' .Mr. Easton of Lowville moved to adjourn 
until two o'clock, l)ut the chairman ruled c)Ut of order all motions and 
iiniendmeats after the motion to adopt the report of the connnittee; 
and the (piestion bein.u' pressed on the report of the connnittee. it was 
adopted." Tlu- i)ictnre of the Sentinel is prob;ibly somewhat over- 
(■lawn and it may be said, in ])alliation at least of the vi:;'orous ( ondnct 
(;f the friends of the Herkimer ternnnns, that they regarded the meeting 
as called to orgaiuze a company to build a railroad from French Creek 
to Herkimer, and that they looked upon the men from Rome and Utica 
as interlopers. After the adoption of the repoi-f, the meeting ad.journed 
and the people from Mohawk and Herkimer and the valley of the West 
Cana<la Creek returned to their homes in a state of great satisfaction 
with their work. Companies were at once organized to build roads to 
liome and Utica; and it soon became evident that it would be dithcnlt 
if not impossible for Herkimer to compete with those points. The peo- 
ple north of Boonvilh' very soon came generally to favor one or the 
other of those places for the ternunus of the road. The people all along 
the route engaged in earnest and sometimes heated discussions over 
the route of the road; and the Kome Sentinel, the Observer and Herald 
of Utica. and the Herkimer Democrat, then edited by liobcit Karl, took 
active parts in the discussion. Soon a comnnttee of Ki iieisons living 
between P.oonville ;ind the t''rminus of the road at l-'rcnch Creek 
appointed to .act for the people living .ah/Ug that iiortit^n of the route, 
to determine which t'-rminus tlu'y should favor; and they m.ide .-i 
thorough investigation. They asked the people favoring Home Utic.n 
and Herkimer respectively to subnut pledges of the ;imoui>ts they 
would raise for the construction of the road. Finally, in March, the 
Itom.ans pledged good private subscriptions for .>f:{no,()(H) and the sub- 
scription by the for 4;i;j(>,Ut«). Utica |)ledged, inclndiui.-; a city 
subs(a-i]ition of .S2.'>0.(M)(), .$(;.")(),()()(•; and then the <onimitlce .■;imc to 
Herkimer nnd here they met a inimber of people intt'rested in the 
terminus here. In their rei)ort they stated tlial "through the polite at- 


teiitiou of ^Messrs. Wooster, Carver, Eaii, Perry, Root, Spinner and 
others, tlie infornuitlon sought by your eoniinittee at this point was 
readily ])r()cni'e(l."' At a previous meeting of citizens of Herlvimer, 
Moliawk, Fairtield, Newport and Norway, on tlie KItli of March, a 
formal pledge was made of subscriptions for $.jU(i,UUU of tlie stock of 
a road with its terminus here by persons living south of Boonville. 
After receiving tliese pledges and investigating the advantages of the 
several teru)ini, tlie committee of 4(3 attempted to settle the matter of 
a terminus. The liighest number of votes llerUimer received was 11, 
and tlie balance were about equally divided between Uoiiit' and Utica. 
On thi> linal ballot taken by tlie committee. Rome got 2^ votes, Utica 22 
and Herkimer 1 ; and as there was not a majority ot tlie committee for 
either termiiuis, the committee adjourned witliout making a selection. 

Meetings were lield along the route in this county and lietween $2(X),- 
00(1 and $;J00.000. of tlie stock was subscribed. 15ut I'tica and Rome, 
with their superior resources and some natural advantages pushed 
forvv.-ird their several projects and soon turned most of the people along 
the route in the northern counties against Herkimer as a terminus; and 
the friends of this route in this county, foreseeing disaster if they enter- 
ed upon the construction of tlie road, disi-ontinued their efforts and 
abandoned tlieir organization, and thus saved their money. The 
Romans entered upon the construction of the road to that point and 
after spending about $."()0,u00. failed and abandoned the enterprise and 
lost all the money they thus expended. Utica with its superior 
resources pushed the Black River road to comi)letion. But the stock- 
holders lost all tlieir stock, as a mortgage on the road foi- the benefit 
of bondholders was foreclosed and the road sold. But Utica got the 
road, wliicli is now operated to its great advantage by the New York 
Central under a lease. 

The Utica, f.'henango & Susquelianna Valley Railroad Company was 
organized in January, 1S()G, to build a railroad from Utica to Bingham- 
ton, and a branch from Cassville in Oneid;i county, passing through the 
towns of Wintield and Columbia, in this county, to Richtield Springs. 
Richtield issued bonds in aid of the road for $100.(K)0; Columbia for 
.fl-lO.OOO. and Winlield for .$75,000. Work w.-is commenced on the Rich- 
tield branch near Cassville. in ISCO. and it was oiieiied for use in May 
or .Tune. 1870. The whole road was leased to the l>ackawanna & 
Western Railroad Company in April. 1S70. and it has since been oper- 
ated by that road. 

In 1S70. the New York. Utica & Ogdensburg Railroad Company was 
organized to build a railroad which with connecting roads would ex- 
tend from New York to tlie St. Lawrence River. The ro.-id in tliis 
county W.MS tin.-illy t>xpected to be built soutli of the Moh.-iwk River to 
the vill:ig(> of Moh.-nvk. ;ind thence thi-ough the vill;ige of Herkimer, 
up the West Canada Creek valley and by means of connecting routes, 
to the St. Lawrence River at Ogdensburg. The claims and advantages 


of this road were ably presented to the citizens of this county by Mr. 
Cunuuin.iis, at i)ul)lic meetings held in various towns; and lience the 
road came to be known as tlie "Cunuuinj;'s road." Several of the towns 
in this county alonu the route of the proposed road were induced to 
take proceedings to issue town bonds in aid of the construction of tlie 
road, as follows: Stark, .$r>(t,(tU(); Little Falls, .$200,000; German Flats, 
J?1()0,000: Herkimer, $<;o.O0O; FairHeld, .$.50,000; Newport, $!)(;,000; Nor- 
way, .$20,000; Kussia, .$."!0,(I00. The town of German Flats issue<l and 
delivered to the railroad company $32,000 of its bonds, dated .January 
1st, 1S71. which are still outstanding, drawing 7 per cent. Interest. The 
company did some grading upon the route of its road in the town of 
(Jerman Flats up the Fulmer Creek valley and also a sunill amount, 
involving an expenditure of about .$."'>0, at Middleville; and so far as I 
can learn it did no other work upon its route and the enterprise was 
abandoned. The other towns which agreed to issue bonds in aid of 
the I'oad did so upon conditions not complied with, and hence tlu\v with- 
held their bonds and thus escaped being swindled by what appears to 
have been a chimerical if not in large measure a swindling scheme. 
And so again the project of a railroad up the West Canada Creek val- 
ley failed. 

In 1873 or 1S74, the I'.oston iV Ontario Kailroad Company was organ- 
ized by lioston capitalists to build a railroad from Boston to Oswego 
via the Iloosac Tunnel, crossing the Hudson River at Johnsonville, 
passing through liallston. .lohnstown, entering this county at Enuuous- 
burg. passing through Salisbury Center, north of Salisbury Corners, 
up Sjirnce Creek to within three or four miles of Gray, crossing I'.lack 
Creek, running down IMack Ci-eek through Grant, and leaving this 
county at Kottsfoi-d r.ridge. thence through Prospect to r.oonville and 
on to Oswego. Tlu- route was surveyed and map thereof m.ade. but 
nothing more was (h)ne. Watts T. Loomis of Little Falls was engaged 
upon the survey. 

In 1S77, the I'.oston. ILaisatonit- Tunni>l iV: Western Kailroa<I Conj- 
l>any was organized to build a r.-iilioad having its western terminus at 
Sodus P.ay, on Lake Ontario. Its route was through this county in the 
Mohawk valley, and it w:is known here as the "Burt road." That was 
also an enterprise of Boston capitalists. Some work was done on the 
road at and west of Canastota. in Madison county; and snbse(iuently 
its construction, at least thiough this county and west of this county, 
was abandoned. 

In 1.S70. Thomas W. Spencer, an t>ngineer of Uth-a. comnu'uced to 
agitate the building of .a nai'row gauge railroad from the village of 
Ilerkinu^r to I'ol.-ind. and made endeavors to interest the jteople along 
the nmte in the project: and as a result of his efforts, largely aided by 
.Major E. M. Burns of Mid<lleville, .June 21), 1«80, tlie Herkimer. New- 
poi't iV- I'oland Nai'iow Gauge R.-iilroad Coni|)any was organized, with 
a c;i])ital stock of $SM.(MtO, which was subsecpiently Increased to $120,- 


000, and again to $250.0fX). The following persons constituted the first 
board of directors: Thomas W. Spencer, of Utica; William Smith. 
John W. Vrooman, and Warner Miller, of Herkimer; S. II. Millington, 
W. A. Brayton and John Hemstreet, of Poland; H. D. Burlingame, 
II. W. Dexter and Newell Morey, of Newport; George H. Thomas, W. 
VV. Mosher and Edward M. Burns, of Middleville. The first officers 
were: President, Thomas W. Spencer; vice-president, S. R. Millington; 
secretary and treasurer, George H. Thomas; assistant engineer and 
afterwards chief engineer and superintendent, Albert Wilbur, now of 
Herkimer. Major Burns succeeded jNIr. Spencer as president of the 
road, and was at all times its most active and etticient friend and pro- 
moter. The company issued its mortgage bonds to the amount of ^liO,- 
(K)0. The length of the road was 10.73 miles. It was completed to 
Middleville in the fall of 1881, to Newport l>y Januaiy 1st, 1882. and to 
I'oland early in the summer of the same year, at a total cost with its 
equipment of $200,178.12. About 1891, Dr. W. Seward Webb, by the 
purchase of its stock at 50 cents on the dollar, became the owner of the 
road, and he subsequently converted it into a standard gauge road; 
and by liis energy and abundant resources, he extended it to Malone 
in Franklin county, where it has connection with a road to Montreal. 
By consolidation with other organizations, January 22, 1892, it finally 
came to have the name of the Mohawk c^ Malone Railway Company, 
under which name it was leased to the New York Central & Hudson 
River Railroad Company, on the 1st day of May, 1893, which guaran- 
teed the payment, principal and interest, of $2,500,000 of four per cent, 
mortgage bonds; and also assumed the payment upon certain terms 
and conditions of the interest up to 5 per cent, upon $3,000,000 of what 
are denominated income bonds. The road is very prosperous and is a 
great benefit to the portions of our county which has access to it. 

The New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railroad Company was organ- 
ized in January, 1881. to l)uild a railroad from New York to Buffalo, on 
the west side of the Hudson River and the south side of the Mohawk 
River, a distance of four hundred and ninety-five miles. In the same 
jnonth it was consolidated under the same name with the "New York 
& North River Raili'oad Company." a corporation organized under the 
laws of both New York and New Jersey. The road was built m.ainly by 
Ihe proceeds of bonds, and its construction was carried through with 
great vigor. It was opened for use through this county about October 
1st, 1883; and through its entire length early in 1884. The company 
soon defaulted upon the interest of its bonds, and in actions by the 
trustees for the bondholders, January 9. 1884, Horace Russell and Theo- 
dore Houston were appointed receivers of its property. They managed 
the road until December, 1885, when they sold it to J. Pierpont Morgan, 
Chauneey M. Depew and Ashbel Green. They organized the West 
Shore Railroad Company and conveyed the road to it; and on the 5th 
day of December, 1885, it leased the road to the New York Central & 

Railroads in berkimer county. 211 

lliulson Kiver Kiiilro.-ul Conipany, subjt-'ct to Ji bonded indebtedness of 
$r>(l,( »()(»,( MM), which tlie lessi'c company assumed and j;uarantoed. 

The Little Falls, L>ol.i;eville cV: IMseco Lalce Kailroad Company was 
organized Februar.v .'{nl, ISSM, to binld a railroad fnun Little Falls to 
Piseco Lake, in llamilton county, with a capital of .$12(t,(MM». Judge 
Hardin, of Littlt> Falls, was president of the conipany. Ten per cent, 
of the capital was paid in by the subscribers to the stock, and .^'J.ltJd.C.G 
was expended for engineering work upon the route, and nothing more 
n-as done. In voluntary proceedings for that purpose, K. S. Wliitmau 
was a])pointed receiver of the property of the conipany; and he woinid 
up its affaii's and paid back to the stockholders 74 per cent, of the 
moneys the,v luul paid upon their subscriptions. 

In ISSS and ISSU, a road called the Fulton Chain Railroad was build 
by G. H. P. Gould, Colonel S. F. Garmon, and Dr. A. II. Crosby, from 
the Moose Kiver tannery, on the Mtmse Kiver, to Minnehaha, on the 
south branch of the ;\Ioose Kiver. where it connected with steamboat 
navigation upon the Fulton Chain of Lakes, conducted by VV'. S. De- 
Camp. Tile road was eight miles long and cost about ifl2(>,(MM>. A pecu- 
liarity of the road was tJiat the rails were wooden; but it was operated 
b.v a steam locomotive weigliing eighteen tons. It transjiorted jiasseu- 
gers and freight, but was not operated in the winter. It was used 
until the fall of ISit'J. until the opening of the Mohawk & Malone rail- 
road, when its operations was discontinued as no longer useful or 
road, when its operation was discontinued as no longer usefnl or 

The Little Falls, A'an lloruesville «S: Gtsego Lake Narrow Gauge 
Railroad Compan.v was organized in ISSi), with a capital stock of .'f^RU),- 
(MM», to build a raili-oad from Little Falls through Van Ilonit-sville to 
Otsego Lake, a distance of lil miles. In 1.S88, subscri])(ions to the 
amount of ."fl'.'l.iMM* wei-e made to the stock of the company, .>«l(i.(MM» of 
which came from Little Falls. The time for the construction of the 
Toad was extended. The line of the road has ]>eeu surveyed and noth- 
ing elst> toward its construction has been done. The friends of the 
road at Van IIoi-n«>svil]e h.-ive not yet given up hope that the road will 
be converted into a standard gauge road and constiaicted; I>nt the Lit- 
tle Falls people are understooil to ]\;\\v lost all interest in the eiiter- 
jirlse. The present plan seems to be to change the southern terminus 
and make a connection with the Cheii'y \'alley, Sharon iVL- Albany rail- 
road near Cherry Valley, and thus obtain a through route to AUiany. 
The pri'sent directors are .1. A. I'Mkis, .1 S. Young. .Moses Sliaut, A. 
Tilyou, W. K. Thomson, L. Springei-. I). S. Tilyou. P.. W. Van Aucken 
and Gersham Smith, all of \'an lloruesville: N'ictor Adams and K. V. 
Decker of Little Falls: Cola Roof of Starkville, and D. F. Fcker. of 
Deck. D. S. Tilyou is jiresident of the company. 

The Little Falls »V: !>olgevilli. Railroad Comi)any was oi'gauized in 
ISUl. with a capital of .fi'jr.O.tM.K), to build a railroad from Little Falls 


to Dolgevillo. a distance of about 12 miles. Among its first directors, 
thirteen in number, were Alfred Dolge, Edward A. Brown. Titus 
Sheard, J. S. Barnet and J. J. Gilbert, of tliis county. The construction 
of the road was commenced in May, 181)1. and it was completed and 
open for use in October. 1892. Two mortgages were placed upon the 
road to secure bondholders — a first mortgage of $250,000, and a second 
mortgage of $100,000, upon which only $75,000 of bonds Avere issued. 
The Metropolitan Trust Company of New York is the trustee for the 
bondholders under both mortgages; and for default in the payment 
of interest on the bonds under the second mortgage, it commenced an 
action for the foreclosure of that mortgage in May,. 1899, and Charles 
Sullivan was appointed the temporary receiver of the road. The fore- 
closure action is still pending and the road has not been sold therein. 

The Kingston & Utica Railroad Company was organized May 14th. 
1892, to 1)uild a railroad from Kingston to Utica, passing through this 
county; but I cannot learn what, if anything, was done under its char- 

The Fort Plain & Richfield Springs Railroad Company was organized 
in 1894, with a capital stock of $000,000, to build a railroad from Fort 
Plain to Richfield Springs, passing through Viin Tlornesville, a distance 
of thirty miles. This route would bring Richfield Springs by rail about 
fifty miles to New York than it now is. The right of way for 
the road has been all obtained and substantially :ill the grading for 
the road has been done. But nothing was done upon the road for sev- 
eral years and the enterprise for the lack of financial aid seemed to be 
in a state of collapse until within a few days, when work upon the ro;id 
has been resumed. 

The Fulton Chain railroad, about two miles long, was constructed in 
1896, to connect the Mohawk & Malone railroad with the Fulton Chain 
of Lakes. Its chief promoter was Victor Adams of Little Falls. 

The Raquette Lake Railway Company was incorporated in February. 
1899, with a capital of $250,000, to build a railroad from Clearwater 
Station, on tlie Moliawk & Malone railroad, to Raipiette Lake, a dis- 
tance of 19 miles in Ilerldmer and Hamilton counties. Its first direc- 
t(.rs \\(M'e William Seward Webb, Chauncey M. Depew. Wilii:im C. 
Whitney, J. IMerpont Morgan, Collis P. Huntington, H. P. Whitney, 
Samuel Callaway, W. West Durant. Robert Bacon, I. B. Gates, Charles 
E. Snyder, Edward M. Burns and .Tohn A. Dix. It commenced work 
on the construction of its road in May. 1899. and completed the road 
in June, 1900. It began to run its trains regularly June 25th, 1900. It 
was organized as a street railway and is authorizetl by law to operate 
its locomotives by steam generated by the use of coal oil as fuel. The 
chief organizer and promoter of this road was Cluirles E. Snyder, of 
this village. It is somewhat distinguished for a small road by the great 
wealth of its directors. 

There were several other steam railroads projected touching or pass- 


ill? through this county upon wliicli uo worlc except in sonic caf.cs engi- 
neering was clone. Anions tliein were tlie folhnving: denesec' »S: Hud- 
son llailroiul Company, organized about l.Sr>l'. and map liled in tlie 
cleric's oHic{\ .lanuary L'dtli, IS.")."); New York. Kicldield Springs iV: 
Cooperstown Kaili-oad Company, organized in Decendn-r. 1.SS2. with a 
capital stock of .fr.(M),<M»(l: Mohawk iV: Susquelianna Itailroad Comitany, 
organized aiiout ISST. to build a raih'oad from Fort Plain to Kichheld 
Springs and Cooperstown. and map liled in tlie clerk's oliice, Octolier 
Sth. ISST; Utica, Adii'ondack A: Saratoga Railroad Company, organized 
in May, ISSS, to build a railro;id into and through the Adirondacks. of 
whicli Hon. H. J. Cookingham, of Utica. was president; Atlantic it 
Ontario Railroad Company, organized in 1871, to build a railroad from 
Hoosac or Pittstown througli Ballston Spa and .lohnstown to some 
point in Salisbury, about 70 miles, witli a capital of .$.'3. .")()(), ()()(); The 
Boston, Rome & Oswego Railroad (,'ompany, organized in September, 
1S71, with a capital of .$.">.( i( »(),( M h i, to build a railroad from Hoosac or 
Pittstown, through Roni(\ to Xienna. r_>(» miles; The Boston, Saratoga 
A: Western Railroad Company, organized in ]S70. witli a capital of .$5.- 
OOO.OOO. to Ituild a railroad from a point at or near Saratoga, or a junc- 
tion on the Adirondack railroad at or near .Tohnsburg, to Sacketts Har- 
bor or Oswego, with a right to construct a branch to TItica, a distance 
of about l;jO miles; the Forestport Railway Company, org.anized with a 
capital of .$100.00(\ May 1st, ISdS. to build a road with wooden or otlier 
rails, not over 25 miles in length in Oneida, Lewis and Herkimer coun- 
ties, a section of which in Forestport was built with woodi'ii rails. 

There may have been other railroads pi-ojected into or througli this 
county which have escaped my attention. Several of the roads I have 
referred to were projected liy Boston people in their elforts to get rail- 
road communication controlled by them, between Boston and Lake 
Ontario and the St. Lawrance River. 

There were three street railways in this county for many years oper- 
ated by horse power — Herkimer it Mohawk. Mohawk iV Ilion, and Ilion 
and Frankfort. The Mohawk it Ilion Street Railway Company 
organized Ai»ril 12. 1S70, with a capital stock of .'fl.l.ddd, of which the 
village of Moh.-iwk took if;i(),(i(iO, and issued its bonds therefor; the 
Herkimer <.t Mohawk Street Railroad Company was organized March 
25th, 1S71. The village of Herkimer took .i;i2,(Mi(» of the stock and issued 
its bonds for that sum. The Frankfort A: Ilion Strcu^t Railway Com- 
pany was organized M;iy '.Hli, 1S71. with a capital of .$20,000, of which 
the village of Frankfort took .$2,000, and issued its bonds for sum. 
These roads all passed under the control of the present trolley com- 
pany in 189!). The three villages ultimately sold their stock ;iiid retired 
their bonds at a very handsome profit. 

A few more facts not immediately coiuiccte<l with my subject. T 
trust, will be of some interest. As the fads I have alre;i(ly given show, 
there were from ;in e;irly d;iy various projects to penetrate from tlio 


Mohawk valley the Aflii-ondack forests and to reach the River St. Law- 
rence and Lake Ontario. It was at first intended to l)uild what has 
since become the Black River canal from this village; and tlie survey 
by State officials for that purpose was made in 1825, under the direction 
of Mr. Geddes, who was one of the chief engineers in the construction 
of the Brie canal. The route surveyed was from the Mohawk River 
south of this village, up the valley of the West Canada Creek, through 
Middleville, Newport and Russia, crossing the V/est Canada Creek 
north of Trenton Falls, into Oneida county, and extending to the St. 
Lawrence River at Ogdensburgh, a distance of KiO miles. The excava- 
tion for the canal was to be seventy miles in length, and the 
balance of the route, ninety miles, was upon .the Black River, 
Indian River, Black Lake and other waters to the St. Lawrence River. 
The summit level was found to be at Remsen at 840 feet, and the 
descent from that point to the St. Lawrence River at Ogdensburg was 
found to be 990 feet; and thus we learn that the St. Ijawrence River 
at Ogdensburg is 150 feet lower than the Mohawk River south of this 
village. The Black River canal on its present route was constructed 
under an act of the Legislature, passed in 18.%. 

In the early stage of railroad building, the State gave its aid to the 
building of several railroads by the loan of money. I give the names 
of the railroads thus aided, with the dates of the acts authorizing the 
loans and the amount of the loans: 

New York & Erie railroad, April 23, 183G .$ 3,000,0(X> 

Auburn & Syracuse Railroad, April 18, 1838 200,000 

Canajoharie & Catskill Railroad, April 18, 1838 200,000 

Ithaca & Owego railroad, April 18th, 1838 250,0(M:) 

Auburn & Rochester railroad, April 29, 1810 200,000 

Long Island railroad, April 29, 1840 100,000 

Hudson & Berkshire, April 29, 1840 150.000 

Tonawanda railroad. May 1, 1840 100,000 

Schenectady & Troy railroad, May 14, 1840 100.000 

Tioga Iron Mining & Mfg. Co., May 14, 1840 70.0(K) 

The money thus loaned was raised by the sale of bonds by the State 
and the companies aided were bound to repay the money as the bonds 
fell due. All the money thus loaned was repaid to the State except 
the Erie loan of $3,000,000, which was cancelled and released by the 
State, and except the loan of the Canajoharie & Catskill Railroad Com- 
pany, which was lost, the road never having been completed. Tlie 
people of the State have grown wiser and now it has l>ecome the set- 
tled policy of the State that the building of r.-iilroads and other private 
enterprises shall be left to individual efTorts. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Societ}', January 12, 1901 

It is well, now and thou, to tako our stand at sonio point of tinio, 
and note the changed conditions that have occnrred since. In 1823, 
there were no railroads for the carriajie of passenyi-rs anywhere in 
the world. The Erie canal was under construction, hut had not yet 
been completed: and the most important event in my life, my birth, 
had not occurred. .lames Moni-oe was rrcsidcnt (vf the Fnited States, 
Joseph C. Yates was j^overnor, and Er.-istus Koot, Lieutenant-governor. 
Slephea Hallet, whose daujihter married the late Xerxes Willard, the 
distinguished agficultural writer, was sheriff of the county, and Pat- 
rick Mahon, son of .Tohn Mahon, of this village, who was afterwards 
Clerk of Oneida county, Avas ITnder Sheriff: Ilem'y I'lown was first 
Judge of the county, and Sanders Lansing, the grandfather of the late 
INIrs. Samuel Va\v\. Kufus Crane, grandfather of Hon. I). .Tones Crane 
of Warren, and Edmund Varney. grandfather of ]\Irs. Ilazlehurst, of 
this village, and John Mahon. who was step-fatliei- of Mrs. P.enchley 
of this village, and who lived on the (orner where Mr. Trenbeth's 
grocery now is. were the associate judgi-s of the county. Nathaniel 
S. Benton, of Little Falls, Avas Surrogate, and Jabez Fox. grandfather 
of Charles Fox, of this village, was County Clerk. Nathan Williams, 
the grandfathei- of Mrs. T. K. Proctor, of Utica, was Circuit .Judge. 

I am led to this topic by having in my ]>ossession two copies of the 
Herkimer American — a newspaper pul)lislied in this village — one dated 
May 15th, 1823, and the other dated October 3()tli, 1823. I will here 
give some facts gleaned from the earlier paper: I Jind in the New 
York prices current the following: P»eans, for seven bushels, .$8.00; 
hogs' bristles, per pound, from .30 to HO cents; butter, first quality, per 
pound, from 12 to la cents: butter foi' eX])oi-tatioii. i>er ]>ound. Id cents: 
cheese for shijiping, per pound, 12 cents: New York sujierior Hour, per 
barrel, .$7.25; American feathei's, per pound, 4."» cents; North Kivei- 


hams, per pound, 8 to 9 cents; hog's hird, per pound, 8 cents; American 
honey, per pound, 9 cents; hops, lirst and second sort, per pound, 12 
cents; Indian corn, per busliel, 01 to 70 cents; oats, per busliel, 37 
cents; North River Avlieat. per Imshel, $1.37 to $1.40; whislcey, per 
gallon, from 29 to 33 cents. 

We see from these figures that some articles of farm produce were 
then worth more and some worth less tlian now. The cost of trans- 
portation then was so' great that there Avas great difference between 
the New York prices and the prices paid to the producers in the coun- 
try. Wheat was then grown throughout the Mohawk valley and the 
towns adjacent thereto; and what was quoted as North River wheat 
was doubtless the wheat which reached New York over that river. 
'Phe best flour then and for many years thereafter was made from 
wheat grown in this State. The produce from this region was ti-ane- 
ported in boats upon the Mohawk River or carried in wagons and 
sleighs to Albany, and from that place it was taken to New York in 
sloops upon the river. The cheese sold in the New York market was 
pi-obably from this county, as at that time very little cheese reached 
that city from any place l)ut from this county; and it must be noticed 
that cheese was exported then as now. The manufacture of cheese 
was first introduced into the northern part of our county, and it had 
grown to considerable proportions in the year named. Tlie editor of 
the papers says: "One of the farmers of that part of the county in- 
formed me a few days ago that he should l)e able to dispose of about 
twelve tons of cheese this year, the product of his own farms." 

Practically the only currency at that time (except silver used for 
small payments) Avas the bills of State banks; and the bills of country 
banks a\ ere nearly all at a discount in Ncav Y'ork, at from one-half to 
three-quarters of a cent on a dollar. 

At that date the house now occupied by the Stimsons in this village 
was a taA^ern, called the "H. S. Whiting Stage House," at which the 
stages passing over the turnpike from Utica to Schenectady, stopped 
for the exchange of horses and the refreshment of passengers. 

In the month of May was held the first session of the County Court 
of this county, under the Constitution of 1821, then called the "New 
Constitution." At that time the judges of the County Court were em- 
powered to appoint the District Attorney; and at that term, the judges 
appointed Michael Hoffman, afterAvard eminent in the politics of this 
State, District Attorney of this county, in the place of Simeon Ford, 
who Avas then the leader of the bar in this county. Mr. Ford remained 
in this county for a number of years after that event, and then moved 
to CleA^eland, Ohio, where he practiced his profession until his death. 

Jacob Burrill, Jr., was then and for many years afterAvard a general 
merchant here. He was the father of J. G. Burrill, uoav residing h(Te. 
His first Avife was a daughter of Gaylord Griswold, Avho was the first 
laAvyer In this county, and who led a distinguished career until his 


early death in 1S()9. Mr. HurriU's second wife was a dantiliter of Rev. 
John P. Spinner. E. iV: S. Farwell were also merchants here, having a 
store on the corner where Dr. Snitor's residence now is. They subse- 
(luently moved to Utica, and a son of one of them became a great mer- 
chant in Chicago, and prominent in bnsiness and politics there. liloom- 
tield Usher carried on the business of mannfacturing and selling hats 
and caps. Messrs, llackley \- Harnum and .Tames liyi-rs were 
merchants here, the latter being the grandfather of Mr. I'l'ank r. Addy. 

At that time passengers were carried in boats upon the Mohawk 
River; and on the 18th day of May it is recorded that Henry I.ock- 
wood, who was on his way from Schenectady to Russia, in this county, 
a passenger on a boat, was drowned in the ^fohawk River by falling 
from the boat. 

From the paper dated October 80th, I glean the following facts: 
William Small advertised as a merchant, and apparently succeedi'd the 
Farwells. He sultseijuently vmited with John, Nicholas and Georgo 
Smith in building what is now the Masonic Block; and he took for 
his share ;:he southerly store, now occupied by Spicer ^: Weber, and 
there for many years carried on a general mercantile business; and 
then he engaged in business as a merchant in New York until his 
death. He owned and lived in the house now occupied by Dr. Kay. 

Dr. P. Van Buren advertised that "All calls made in the line of his 
profession, embracing physic, surgery and the dentist's art shall receive 
punctual attention." His otlice was just north of the Stimson home. 
It is doubtful whether his dentistry extended beyond tlie extraction 
of teeth. The first regular dentist residing in this village was the late 
Dr. Cliatlleld. 

It was mentioned editorially that the yarn for a pieci' of cloth exhib- 
ited at the agricultural fair for that year was spun by two ladies, one 
of whom was 72 and the other 73 years old. I am inclined to think 
that at that time men and women were older at those ages than they 
are now, as in these days men and women of such years are not con- 
sidered very old. 

As I have stated a1)0ve, tliere must have been then a large (piantity 
of clieese manufactured in this county, as it was stated in a comnni- 
nication to the paper that "The dairies of the north part of our county 
have long been celelu-ated for the excellence of their cheese." 

There were then as now many advertisements of patt'iit medicines; 
and also of the drawing of lotteries, which were absolutely i)rohibited 
in this State ten years later. At that time the population of our vil- 
lage could not have been much, if any, over 500; and yet it was the 
largest as well as the oldest village in the county; and among Its 
citizens were the men of dominant intluence in the allairs of the 

I have made these V)rief gleanings in hope that they may contain a 
few kernels of grain, and I trust they will be found of some little intfr- 
est to the students of our local history. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, Februar}- 9, 1901. 

Benton, the local historian, intimates that in 1757, French and Indians 
destroyed a i^rist mill and a saw mill, which stood on the banks of "a 
creek next east of the village of Frankfort." The statement is not 
explicit, but suggests that the nameless stream was the Moyer creek, 
for long after that year it ran "next east" of the village. But so far 
as our research extends, and we have been quite diligent, the sites 
remain in obscurity. If the mills stood on the Moyer Creek and were 
rebuilt before the Indians and Tories made their great raid on the Ger- 
man Flats, the structui'es must have been again destroyed by the torch 
twenty-one years after 17.57, for when in the autumn of 177S, Brant 
and Butler with their murderous horde, came down into the valley 
of the Mohawk to massacre, pillage and l)urn, the lynx-eyed savages 
must have discovered every patriot's building nestling in the wildwood; 
and even if it were not so, the Tories, familiar with the vicinage, would 
have directed the ruthless band in theh- havoc and spoliation. The 
property of the Whigs for miles went up in fiiv and smoke. Such was 
the fate of the log house that stood on the lands of .lacob Folts. less 
than a mile, as the crow flies, from the INIoyer Creek. Wliatever the 
supposition regarding th<^ sites of the above mills, and a second confla- 
gration, we have indubitable evidence that a saw mill was l)uilt by 
.Tohn Ilollister on the .Moyer Creek in 1704, nearly a mile from where 
that stream has its .iunction with the ]\Iohawk River. This is the first 
industry that definitely appears in the region where now stands the 
village of Frankfort. And let us not ignore the old rude American saw 
mill, for it has been the precursor of all other industries; it has opened 
a way for the husbandman and for commerce; it has preceded the 
plow, the forge and the loom, and, indeed, most of the appliances to 
subdue and control nature have played a second part to this simple 
harbinger of progress. The old Yankee contrivance had a gigantic 
work to perform in clearing the wilderness, and like most plain invcn- 


tions, it did its work -well. There were several mills of like descrip- 
tion at an early period in the western and southern parts of the town, 
which, it should be remembered, was not organized until February, 
IT'JG. Its limits extended to Genesee street, Utica, and possibly beyond. 
It was named after Lawrence Frank, an early settler, who lived on the 
farm now owned by John Keese, and its first supervisor was James 
Kipp, who resided where Bags's hotel now stands. The village was 
incorporated ^Nlay 4, 1803. 

At the time John Ilollister erected his saw mill near the Moyer 
Creek, peace and prosperity had dawned upon the robust people who 
had bravely and successfully withstood tlie wrongs of that terrible 
epoch which closed with the peace of 1783. The eclioes of civilization 
reaching the solitudes, warned the hostile savage and wild beast to 
retire into the forest. The dim Indian trail south of the river which 
had been traced through the thicket, where now stands the village of 
['"rankfort, was being transformed into a bridle-path by the procession 
of adventurers who were then pushing westward from New England. 
And tinally the pathway widened to a turnpike, along which were scat- 
tered a few buildings among the timber, and the clearings on the 
woody slopes and swampy lowlands began to broaden. We may read- 
ily imagine that at this time the trusty flint-lock hung dust-covered 
over the rude chimney plt'ce, that the cheery shout of the pioneer could 
be lieard guiding his ox team, that the hum of the spinning wheel 
came peacefully through the doorway. And this was but one of the 
many exhibitions of the thrift and contentment of a people, who, 
throughout the colonies at the end of the 18th century began that won- 
derful development, a people whose sagacity, integrity and hardihood 
not only stimulated them to win the battles for civil freedom, but pre- 
pared them to organize the township, the county, the state, the repub- 
lic. They were the forerunners of a mighty race, in Avhose hands rest 
the destiny of the representative system, in whom repose the highest 
expectations of the civilized world. 

We learn that the poi)ulation of Frankfort was not above one hun- 
dred and twenty-live souls in IS'Jl, and while there is some conjecture 
regarding the Industrial pursuits in the village and vicinity before 
that year, nevertlieless, we liave been able to glean sevcr:il interesting 
facts relative to the m;inufacturing interest of the early inhabitants. 

Joseph Ingliam established the old carding mill, situated on the south 
side of West Main street, in ISOT; this was twenty-on(> years before 
Eliphalet Remington began his manufactory at the place now called 
Ilion; it is said to have been the lirst woolen f.-ictoi-y erected in Herki- 
mer county. This mill did a large business in carding and making 
cloth for many years. Many of the sturdy agriculturists of the vicinity 
maintained sheep; after tlu? wool was carded into rolls it was often 
spun and made into cloth by the busy housewives and their daughters. 
Joseph Collis followed Mr. Ingham in the management of the factory; 


liJH sons. Curron and William, were proprietors after their father, and 
William conducted the plant alone after ('nrren withdrew and went 
into the same vocation in Jetferson county. In 18<>r>, after the decease 
of William Collis, Robert Kerr purchased the property of his widow. 
The old landmark was consumed by fire in the summer of 1899. 

In 1809, on the baidc of the Mohawk River, north, and not far from 
Injiham's mill, was built by James H. Rathbone the grist mill now 
known as the Hoard mill. Tradition informs us that the hewn frame 
of beech, which was part of the structure, was cut in the immediate 
vicinity of that building. We learn, also beyond doubt, that prior to 
1824 most of the ground now included in the village, south of the Erie 
canal, was woodland, and if we are to be guided by the probable story 
of the old beech frame, we may easily surmise that at that period 
much of the soil upon which now lives a thriving population was then 
shaded by the primeval forest. In rank of proprietorship of the Hoard 
grist mill were James H. Rathbone; Timothy I. Campbell, Leonard E. 
Downie; Daniel Mason, Joel I'ruyne and Augustus King. James and 
Robert rearson,H. W. Bridenbecker & Co., Samuel and Lafayette Hoard 
and Lafayette Hoard alone. The mill was ruined by fire in April, 189G. 
The saw mill is still intact. 

The enterprise of the inhabitants at the beginning of the century 
is evinced by their cutting a raceway from the Moyer Creek, Intersect- 
ing the natural stream near the lands now owned by Charles B. Star- 
ing, running across what is now the linen mill grounds to the Mohawk, 
for the accommodation of manufactories. At tin* enlargement of the 
Erie canal in 184()-7, the Moyer Creek wns changed from its natural 
bed — it previously ran across East Main street about Avhere Ralda's 
market stands — and directly to the Avest of and nearly parall'M with 
Litchfield street, crossing the lands of Caleb Rudlong and William 
Baker to the river, just west of the Hoard mill. But the old raceway 
was not changed so as to effect those below; it was simj^ly shortened 
and conducted around the head of the locks, through a diving culvert, 
and thence to the riparian owners. This raceway was originally made 
on, or iK'fore 1807; it remains in part, a mark of the enterprise of those 
who have gone before. Then* was a drydock in 18o() on the south side 
of the Erie canal, and near where the Moyer Creek ran, on the ground 
now occupied by Russell's lumber yard. This locality was then outside 
of the village. 

While the village contained but one rude tavern in 1824 — managed 
by one Weaver and situated near where now stands the Register print- 
ing otiice — the town could boast in addition to the Industries already 
mentioned. Bliss i^ Mathews' turning and chair factory, located on the 
n'onnd afterwards occupied by the Gates match establishment; a 
flourishing tannery, situated on the south side of West Main street, 
built by John B. Dygert. He wa followed by Wm. Steele and Chaun- 
cey Devendorf, who were apprentices of Dygert; after doing a paying 


husiiu'ss for alumt livo years, Dovendorl' witliilrcw from the co-iiai't- 
iicrsliip and boyan inaiiiifactiiriiij; extensively boots and slioes in a 
linildin.u- whieli stood on the eorner of Mill and Main sti'ects, and also 
on the second tloor of his stoi-e, in the bnildinu now owned by .1. II. 
Hoard; it is presunn'd that the b<»ots and shoes were made from leathei' 
prepared at the tannery. At this time (ieoi-.ue Ileni-y — afterwards fam- 
ous as the "lUind Preaeher," manufaetnrtd slei;;h Ijells. dinne!- bells 
and cow bells; ho did not seem to aspire to the makint;- of chui-ch bells; 
his place of business was iu the rear of tin- brick residi'nce and wa^on 
shop of Wiliani Wickens. adjacent to the ground whereon Joseph .M. 
Lyon and \\'illiam P.. Holmes printed the Frankfort Democrat in ISI'J- 
4\. Henry also employed several young wonn-n making leather pocket- 

About four nnles to the south of the village in the town of Fraidcfort 
Nourished in 1S21 and several years before, the famous Frankfort fur- 
nace. It was on the banks of the Mover Creek: it employed about 
thirty men; the smelting was done by charcoal; ore was brought over 
tlie hills from ClintoTi, Oneida county, by ox and horse teams, a great 
waste of energy in view of modern facilities for transportation. 

Adam I. Campbell erected the "yellow" grist null in the southern 
part of the village iu ISOS. It w;\s afterward owned by .Teremiah 
liridenbecker, who did a protitable business there. It burned under 
his ownership in Isl"*.*?. Daniel Mason and W. R. Stevens purchased 
the site and erected a building for manufacturing wrapping paper. 
Mason bought the interest of Stevens and in company with Henry 
.lolinson. operated a grist mill and distillery there. The business was 
closed in the panic of 1S,^7, and subsequently came under the control 
of William Gates, who managed it as a grist mill, also makinu patt nt 
work tables and ormunental wood fixtures. Stephen Birch purchased 
the property of ^Yilliam Gates' sons, and is now conducting it with his 
son as a grist mill. 

Matthew and Mfchael INIycrs burll in the e.arly iiart of the (cntury, 
an asliery on the b.ank of thi" Moluiwk river, near whei-e st;ind the 
ruins of the grist mill. They m;i(h> for many years large quiintitics of 
Itotash from tield ashes lironght to them by farmei's who were clearing 
their lands. Near the same s]»ot an<l about the s;ime time. Alvin 
.Maxom conducted a distillery. 

Edwin Adams, one Kaunas and others formed a company between 
IS.SO and IS.'}."), for the ])tirpose of uniking stoves, plow points, etc. 
Their foundiy stood but a few rods south of the canal on the west 
side of Litchtield street. They did considerable business .-it one time, 
but in 1S.SS the building w;is abandoiu'd. 

Charles Clow owned and supervised a factory for making hand 
rakes, fanning mills and cradles, the latter for harvesting grain, not 
for rocking those who were to become citizens of the republic. Clow 
emjjloyed a luunber of men and ])ossessed a steam engine, a rare ad- 


juiiet ill those days. His steam factory stood on the spot now occupied 
by J. S. Putnuin's store, opposite the Central Hotel. Next door west- 
ward was the wan'on .^liop of Frederick & .Tereiuiah ]\Iyers. About 
midiii.iiht. May 81st, 1S42, the people of the village were startled by 
the cry of lire, when it was found that the liaseiuent of Clow's factory 
was in tlaines. There was considerable wind and nothing but an old 
inferior hand engine to check the consuming element. It was than 
that William Steele, captain of the tire cojnpany, performed prodigies 
that rank high in the history of the hamlet. But ere the tiames could 
be subdued every edifice between the Masonic building and Wickens' 
house lay in blackened ruins. That was long known as Frankfort's 
greatest disaster. William Steele was born in 1S12. in the town or 
German Flats. He came to reside at Frankfort when twelve years of 
age. and is said to be the oldest resident. He remembers seeing 
bateaux navigating the Mohawk. Kiver. He informs us that the old 
structure owned by A. W. McGowan in East Frankfort, was about 
1822. a hotel, and a popular place for river boatmen to rest for the 

In 1837, Amasa Mann, brother of Abijah Mann, M. C, made wagons, 
circular hay rakes and wheelbarrows in a l-uilding located on the old 
raceway nortli of Main street, and not far from the woolen mill. Mr. 
Mann lived to an advanced age; we recall him as an intelligent and 
agreeable old gentleman. We also recill that Abi.jah Mann told tlie 
writer that he assisted in laying out a corduroy road through a dense 
swamp, from the village to the railroad depot. The station was at first 
at the East Schuyler crossing, but after a short time it was located 
opposite the village. 

Silas D. Clark had a saddlers and harness shop on the second floor 
of a building standing wliere the postottice now stands. His saddles 
and harnesses were known far and wide for strength and finish; 
hand-made saddles and harnesses like hand-made shoes, were then in 
vogue. J. S. Putman, an apprentice of Mr. Cl.ark, followed in the same 

Warren Clark, a tailor and brother of the above, catered to the fas- 
tidious gentry of Frankfort and vicinity, by following the latest styles 
in cut and pattern, Avhile .Tohn Dodge, in rooms next to the Masonic 
hall, figured as a rival. In those halcyon days the fa-shlons and cus- 
toms of the eastern and southern sections of the State began to appear 
in a marked degree among the staid denizens of the upper Mohawk 
valley; every public house then must needs have its ballroom. Indeed, 
the grand climax of social enjoyment at that periml seems to have been 
the public ball. From authentic reports, it is a question whether we 
moderns could eclipse in dress and manners those who tripped "the 
light fantastic," on the waxed floor to the sweet strains of LittU'wood's 
orchestra; those social gatherings are said to have been par excellence. 


If tho taste and eliara<'tt>r of a people ean be measuri'd liy tlieii- coiiduet 
in the midst of their relaxations, we nnist grant, at least an e(inal 
place, in the social scale to those who acted on the stage in this vicin- 
it.v in 1835-45. Their diversions seem to have lu-en .as decoious and 
healthful as the amusements of this age. 


During the year 1S43, there canu' to the village (»f Fraid^fort a pl.ain. 
unassuming stranger, a man whom vicissitudes li;i(l not embittered 
nor discouraged, but rather devt'lopt'd the gcxtdnrss and energy within 
him. Of a mechanical turn of mind he soon learned the miller's trade. 
This vocation not satisfying him, he engaged in mercantile business: 
failing iu this, he left county, X. Y., and sought his fortune 
in the West. After being schooled in adversity there, lie returned to 
the State of his birth and temporarily located in Fraidvfort, but he soon 
moved his family here and began repairing clocks and watches. Dui'ing 
the winter of 1848-4 he traveled as a salesman for a tirm in Westlield, 
Massachusetts. Somewhere in New England he received a hint, which 
in his practical brain cuhninated in wonderful inventions. He returned 
home and began experimenting in malcing friction matches, which were 
rare then. His first essay was ru(h'. Itut by persistent labor he manu- 
factured a few by hand, which he attempted to sell in the city of 
lUica. Strange as it may seem, people were skeptical and he had dif- 
ficulty in disposing of liis meager stock. But he toiled on, erecting a 
small building near the Cottage Hotel. He now employed a man or 
two and pushed his enterprise with vigor. In 1844, he purchased lan<ls 
(HI the Moyer Creek, on the wi'st side of Litchtield street, about lifty 
rods from the Erie canal. There began the profitable match factory 
of William Gates, who is now known as one of the few who stood in 
the forefront in the match business iu America. The business increas- 
ed rapidly; his matches were in great demand, iieing used throughout 
the Northern States from Maine to Iowa, and in the Mississiiipi valley 
down to New Orleans. His foresight and genius prompted tlie inven- 
tion of machinery, the work of which was marvelous; tliesn labor- 
saving appliances were patented in the United States and in England 
and the British I'rovinces. Frankfort was now made famous by this 
ingeiuons citizen and his wondrous industry. In seeking ]ierfection 
in his line, his experiments did not cease until near the end of his 
circer. Space forbids following in detail this interesting subject. We 
may a<ld, however, the following signihcant facts: The establishment 
was eight times enlarged, lieginning with a twelve-foot-s(iuare building, 
and <'nding with inneteen buildings, with 34,718 scpiare feet of floor 
room. The machinery was driven by tlie water of Moyei' Creek, .assist- 
ed by a 4()-horse powei- engine. The annual consumption of lumber 
in 187!) was 1,77(),80U feet. Of this. 1,12(>,8()() was for matches alone. 
Of sulphur, 300,000 pounds, or 180 tons, Avore annually used. For 


small boxes, 4S,000 pounds of paper per year were used, and 130 tons 
of strawboard was manufactured into large boxes. At one time, three 
linndred hands were employed, but later, because of additional machin- 
ery, l)ut one linndred people were required. The annual product in 
1ST'.) was oT."), ()()() gross of matches, reckoning 100 as a luiit. A n venue 
of one cent on every box of one liundred matches, paid to the national 
government, aggregated between 1804 and 1S77, nearly $3,000,000. 

Mr. Gates died July 28th, 1877. aged G'J years, lamented by all. The 
business was transmitted to his three sons, William B.. George W. and 
i'^rederick, active aiul worthy men. The linn was organized on August 
1st, 1877, as William (iates' Sons. They joined their interests with the 
Diamond Match Company in 1881. Soon after, George W. was called 
to superintend tlie company's extensive brancli at Oslikosli, Wisconsin; 
Fredei'ick folowed as manager at Frankfort, Emory Eaton succeeding 
him, and Frederick Eaton was tlie last superintendent there. Tlie 
factory was closed and the machinery moved to Oswego, nearer tlie 
lumber region of the North, in 1803. 

Wliile William Gates was fortunate iii having sons in whom he could 
trust, the brothers were also fortunate in liaving an exemplary, inde- 
fatigable and ingenious fatlier. Mr. Gates was a man of sterling qual- 
ities, somewhat reserved, bnt outspoken to :\ friend or when his convic- 
tions were assailed. He was decided, relial)le and just. A man wlio 
stood liigh in the estimation of considerate people, he retainc d the con- 
lidence of the pul)lic to the last. Self-reliant and attentive to liis own 
interest, he yet had sympathy for tlie unfortunate, as many can attest. 
He was too deeply engrossed in liis own affairs to know much about 
otlier people's business. Lilve all men of lils class, he reciulred those 
connected with him to be prompt and exact. It is said that he never 
let a payday pass in his long career lout that he paid his employes, and 
that confusion was never found in liis shops or otiice. Sucli a char- 
acter is of inestimable value to a community, not only in a material 
sense, but liecause of liis example. His factory aided greatly in the 
growth of Franlvfort, and its removal was seriously felt in tlie village. 

Powder mills were established by Samuel Phillips and James Pear- 
son in tlie gulch on the Moyer Creek south of the village, sometime 
after 1845. The l)usiness was afterward controlled by Peter J. Hotal- 
ing and Lambert Hensler. They made blasting powder. About 1854, 
the buildings were I'uined by an explosion. The vibrations, although 
the occurrence was two miles away, aroused the sleeping people of tlie 
town, many thiid^ing it was an earthquake. We distinctly remember, 
as a lad, that in our bewilderment, it was a (piestion whether the world 
had not come to an end. 

Jolin Thomas followed Aniasa Mann In the wagon trade in 1842. 
He sold to Daniel Tisdale and David Morris. Next came E. M. Tisdale 
and Chester Alibott. They did an extensive business in making car- 
riages, sleighs and fai-m wagons. 


Engleliart Diffenbaclier and John Litze, at tlio instigation of Wil- 
liam Gates, came from Germany about 1S52. Dieffenhaelier to manu- 
facture retorts, while Litze was to superintend the making of plios- 
phorus for Mr. Gates. But the experiment proved impracticable, and 
DieftVnbacher opened, in IS.")!, a pottery on the west side of Litchfield 
street, north of the Abr.-im Grants place. 

Litze, after returning from the war of the Uebellion, purchased chem- 
ical apparatus and made annnonia and other distill;itions for a time 
on Canal street, near the Litchlield street bridge. There was also a 
pottery built by L W. Sheldon on the north- side of Orchard street, in 
18(>9. William lUuiow, ;i professional German potter, purchased the 
premises and tixtun-s in IHl'.i. enlarned the plant and built up a good 

About 1850, Elias Palmer was manufacturing grain cradles in the 
rear of his residence, corner of Main and Frankfort streets. I'almer 
was a genius in mechanical arts. It was at this time that Alpheus 
King, brother of Augustus King, made furniture moulding in a build- 
ing located near the Hoard sawmill upon tht^ bank of the r.-iceway, and 
Henry Loomis operated a factory on the east bank of the Moyer Creek, 
a mile and a half from the river, wherein he made l)edsteads, clock 
cases, etc. And it was also about this time that Andrew F. Clark 
manufactured boots and shoes near the bridge on the Avest side of 
Litchlield street. Delos M. Kenyon followed not many yeai's after. 
Loth Clark and Kenyon did a lucr.ative business. It will be remem- 
bered that there was no m:icliine-made footwear then in the country. 

It is not strictly within oui- jirovince to notice collateral institutions 
and occupations, lint we may here briefly chronicle that the old Frank- 
fort bank began business the inth of May. 1854, with a capital of .$1(.K),- 
(100, on the second fiooi' of the brick building which formerly stood on 
the corner of INIain and Litchfield streets. A lianking house was erect- 
ed nearly o])posite on Main street the same season. The bojird of 
directors did not decide to conliniie under the National banking system 
and the baidv was closed soon .after 1870. The present banking organ- 
ization ]un-chased tlie building jind began business November 8th, 1880, 
with a capital of !p50,()00. It paid an anrnial dividend of six per 
cent, to the stockholders since it began, and now has a suri»lus of 

In 18(i8, .Tames Ilortoii, associated with his son, Wallace N., manu- 
fiictured cigars (juite extensively in a building which formerly stood 
where Steele's drug store now is. Wallace N. went to liittle Falls, 
Thence to Albany, and is now one of the leading m.-mufacturers in his 
line in the State. 

Henry Marsh l)ought in ISTO the property once owned by Ileiu'y 
Loomis. on the Moyer Creek, nad mainifactured ste])-l;idders. wheel- 
barrows, extension ironing bo.ards. etc. ^\'illianl Steele joined him as a 
jiartner in 1880. The establishment burned September, 1801. 




Soon after the completion of the New York, West Shore & Buffalo 
railway, it was Avhispered that the corporation might be induced to 
locate their car sliops In tlie village of Frankfort, the ground being 
;imple and admirably situated — the location midway from the termi- 
nals of the system. Meetings were called in Frankfort and Ilion to 
consider the project. The proposition incited the people to immediate 
action; great enthusiasm was manifested. A committee was appointed 
to interview tlie othcials, wlio encouraged them to tender tlie necessary 
territory to tlie company. This was a mile in length, of sufficient width 
and consisted of about 214 acres of land. The report stimulated every 
man and woman to enlist in the work of subscriptions. Never did a 
community respond witli greater liberality; everyl)ody contributed, 
and many more than they could afford. The sister towns, mindful of 
tlie advantages of sucli an enterprise located in the immediate vicinity, 
nobly aided in tlie stupendous work. Frederick Gates, Albert N. Rus- 
sell and David Lewis were appointed trustees of funds, and Addison 
Brill designated treasurer, and tliey all performed their onerous task, 
by aid of many others, in a creditable manner. A sum approximating 
.S77,0(X) was pledged, arrangements made with the landowners, and the 
committee reported to the company — ten<hM'ing the land. An agree- 
ment was signed by the parties, March 31st, 1883, whereby the entire 
shops of tlie road were to be permanently located in Frankfort. Bands 
discoursed enlivening music, flags were thrown to the breeze, whistles 
sounded, and cannon proclaimed tlie success tliat had crowned the 
efforts of the people. And well might they rejoice, with the surety of 
such a plant locating within their midst. Tliey had reason to think 
that, if sucli a vast industry would bring burdens, the addition of a 
l)usy population, together with the hui^reds of thousands of dollars 
of invested capital, would more tlian recompense in increased valua- 
tion. They were told that within two years from fifteen hundred to 
two thousand artisans would be employed in tlie works. 

An exliaustive paper on the industries of Frankfort would include a 
detailed description of the dimensions and capacity of each of the cat 
shops, but that is impossible here. The immense shops, built from the 
most improved plans, were erected during the summer and autumn of 
1883. There are eleven buildings in all. Tlie cost of the entire num- 
ber we have not at hand. The contract prices for the first erected 
were as follows: Round house. .F>2.(»00; blacksmith shop, $23,500; 
planing mill, $3.5.000; offices, $22,500; store house. $12,000; boiler shop, 
foundry and erecting room. $177,000. It is said that there were about 
seven million bricks used in the buildings above mentioned, and seven 
thousand cubic yards of stone. We may judge something of the capac- 
ity of the plant by referring more specifically to the main erecting 
shop; our figures are taken from a report of the bids and specifications 


at the time of erection. The above named shop is 323 by 115 feet on 
the ground. The main part is 44 feet high and the sides, which are in 
the shape of wings, 2(> feet higli. It is of brick, witli an iron roof, and 
lighted liy windows a story in lieiglit; they, as well as the windows of 
most of the other buildings, are in groups of three, with a brick arcli 
spanning each group. Tlie groups are 12 feet wide and 15 feet liigh. 
They are placed (piite near together, and thus make this and tlie other 
buildings among the best lighted workshops in tlie country. A main 
track ran through the center of the building; eacli side of this were 
side tracks wliich ran parallel to tlie main track and stopped Just 
inside the walls. On the top of massive wrought iron columns were 
laid iron girders, carrying a continuous track on which ran a traveling 
crane with a lifting capacity of 35 tons. This very easily lifted an 
engine from the main tracks. Between these trjicks were two pits, 
eight feet deep. They were covered by a sectional floor and entered 
by st.'iirways at the ends. When a disabled engine was brought into 
the shop it was first lifted over on one of the side tracks, then it could 
be taken apart and such portions as needed repairs sent to their 
respective departments. There was also another track on the north 
side of the l)uilding provided with a walking crane. t)n the south side 
there was a narrow gauge track for moving tools and machinery. It is 
said that this building could accommodate four hundred workmen. 
All the other shops were equally well arranged and eciuipped to do 
their work. Many of the fixtures were removed to accommodate recent 

Scarcely had v.-ork commenced within the sliops when there were 
vague rumors in the air, but they were considered idle vapor- 
ings, and all moved onward, absorbed in their toil and build- 
ing homes. In 18S5. it learned that the effects of the com- 
pany had gone into the hands of a receiver, and the people were still 
more amazed when they learned that the competitor of the road — the 
New York Centrnl .ind Hudson Uiver Kailroad t'ompany — had leased 
for a long term the entire West Shore system. A committee was im- 
mediately dispatched to New York; they reported on their return that 
the shops would continue running as under the former regime; this 
api)«'ased for a time, but a doubt was created that was never entirely 
dissipated. There were many who considered the condition ominous; 
after operating thirteen years, not many over seven Inindred workmen 
were employed, instead of fifteen hundred or two thousand, promised 
within the first two years. Hut all were thankful fen- what they liad 
under the circumstances, for they had now assmned public burdens, 
such as bonded indebtedness of )t;i(;.<l(M» for a new sehoolhouse and 
about $00,000 for a water system, to say nothing of individual obliga- 
tions for homes and ventures in trade. During the hitter part of the 
winter of 1S!)7, a large number of men were (liscli;irged. and when 


upon investigation it was learned that all the shops were to close, ex- 
cepting the foundry, and the machinery transferred to Depew, the peo- 
ple stood aghast; a vast shadow settled upon the devoted citizens of 
Frankfort when they knew that the car shops, their mainstay, were 
to be taken from them, that the monthly payment of over ^3(t,000, the 
support of the town, was to be cut off; then it was, figuratively speak- 
ing, that the door was not only closed in our faces, but our hands were 
caught in the jamb. But even this reverse did not force the people into 
permanent dejection; they arose as one determined man in the advo- 
cacy of justice, and never was self-control more highly evinced under 
like circumstances, and, in justice to the company, we must add they 
took a more equitable course than many predicted. A compromise was 
effected whereby the indebtedness for the school house, and about one- 
. third of that of the water works was assumed, while a lease of the 
shops and grounds was given for 99 years, with the right of obtaining 
manufacturing plants, subject to the approval of the company. To be 
sure, this was not what the good people of Frankfort and their friends 
bargained for with the original company in 1883, but is was seemingly 
the best course. An appeal to a court of equity would have involved 
delay, doubt and expense. When we revert to that time with its dis- 
appointments and humiliations, we feel that the incidents, like all 
serious things of this world, left valuable impressions. We have gath- 
ered wisdom from that peculiar experience, our failures have broad- 
ened our understanding and increased our hopes, the stern lessons have 
brought this recompense; we have learned that variety is strength, that 
to rely upon a single plant for support is hazardous. The clouds are 
lifting, once more the bright sky appears in the zenith; we are no lon- 
ger in "the mysterious presence of a brooding past." 

A. M. Lints, H. H. Ingham, J. J. Dudleston, G. I. Seaman, S. S. Rich- 
ards, (i. H. Watson and G. N. Lehr were constituted trustees 
to close with the railroad company; after considerable nego- 
tiations the shops have been occupied by manufacturers. It is 
expected tliat the ground, so well adapted for new bui'dings. 
will ere long contain other plants requiring skilled labor that will 
greatly increase the material strength of the town and all concerned. 
Never was there a better situation for manufacturing plants, broad, 
healthful, plenty of pure water, good drainage and convenient to a 
great trunk railway. Frankfort has been blessed in this regard and 
by wise action may contidently bide her time. 

The industries now occupying the car shops are as follows: Main 
erecting shop. Continental Tool Company; blacksmith shop, Fratt's 
Chuck Company; store house, Utica Steam Gauge Company; boiler 
house. Michigan Condensed Milk Company; planing mill. Acme Road 
Machinery Company; foundry, N. Y. C. & H. R. R. Co. There has 
been some negotiation with reference to releasing the large main office 


building: to the railroad company, which they would use in connection 
with the foundry. There are at this writinjr about ooO individuals 
employed in the buildings. 

Another illustration of tlie energy and liberality of the people of 
Frankfort in the recent past, was their action in attempting to secure 
a valuable plant which they were told was to be removed from the 
city of Utica. Conferences were held, the requisite amount — .^f'J.S.OUO— 
was pledged in a very short time, as well as the additional cost of a 
plat of ground, for the above. But the plant was not removed from 
Utica. And so the people, according to the old adage, "had their labor 
for their pains." 

Charles E. Myres, the aeronaut, purchased, in 18.S9, the so-called 
"Gates Mansion," and fitted the same for manufacturing balloons and 
other aerial apparatus. The establishment contains a chemical labor- 
atory, a machine shop, carpenter shop, and other necessary adjuncts. 
He was for a time connected with the government in rain-fall experi- 
ments; seventy-four hydrogen balloons of various sizes for meteorolog- 
ical observations and for explosions were supplied during the season 
of 1891-2, a single order of ten having in an emergency been completed 
within five days. The professor is an enthusiast in his business. He 
has devoted much time to experimenting with air ships and flying 
machines, and has invented a vessel called a "skycycle." He has been 
a voluminous writer for the press along these lines. 

During the winter of 1893-4, one W. A. Ingram, a linen manufacturer, 
had several interviews with the citizens relative to establishing a linen 
plant at Frankfort. After deliberation it was decided to form a joint 
stock company of !j;50.(KM» capital. About Jj^-IT.OOO stock was taken; the 
company organized and purchased the valualile site owned by the 
Diamond Match Company, the main building put in proper shape, and 
lirst-class machinery (costing over ^20,000) placed in the same. This 
was made in Glasgow, Scotland, the firm sending over an agent to 
superintend setting it up. The plant was put in operation in the 
autumn of 1S91. The industry employed about one hundred people, 
mostly Avomen. Crashes were produced which, when placed in the 
market, gave satisfaction, but it found there was a strong competition 
from foreign-made fabrics. The mill is capable of turning out 1,000,000 
yards of cx'ash toweling per year. Henry Churdiill purcliased a con- 
trolling interest in December, 1898. The business never paid a divi- 
dend, and thus the stockholders "reckoned without their liost." The 
mill was closed last autumn, and Mr. Churchill was appointed receiver 
in December last. It is hoped the embarrassment is but temporary. 

In gazing backward to Hollister's rude industry on the banks of the 
forest stream, we ol)serve objects along tlie avenue of time, simple 
though many of them are, that are worthy of thought. It is by delib- 
erating upon local characteristics that we gain historical interest and 
knowledge. In short, to ignore tliese is to debar ourselves from appre- 


oiating" gnind results. Tho advancoineut for ono hundred nod six 
years, in the section to Avhich Ave refer, is but a single example of the 
progress aehieved by struggling humanity in every borough upon this 
broad land. Bancroft in his broad and philosophical treatment was 
ever mindful of local traits and conditions, and it was acquaintance 
with these individual examples that enabled Van Hoist. McMaster, and 
Fislce, to delineate so vividly our national growth, a growtli which is 
replete with lessons of honor, patriotism and industry. 

We are rapidly approaching not only intellectual but material and 
industrial supremacy. It is true the inventive spirit of this phenon- 
enal age has brought forth economic pioblems whicli will require 
X)atient deliberations and wise statesmanship to solve. But, cognizant 
of the necessity of wholesome strains and immunities, rational and 
patriotic citizens, of whatever class or calling, will seek adjustment 
in right reason and just laws — each and all will, in this enlightened 
time, duly respect the true nature of oiir republican institutions; Indi- 
vidual expansion of mind and heart in consonance with the needs of 
the hour, will continue to uplift American citizenship. 



Read before the Herkimer County Historical Societ}', March 9, 1901. 

Chapter 1. — The evolution of the idea of free schools for all children 
traced from the earliest colonial times. 

Chapter 2. — State sui)ervision and support. 

Chapter 3. — jNIeans of itrofessional tralninj;- of teachers. 

Chapter 4. — The elements leading- educators have contributed to the 

Chapter 5. — The influence of a properly dOvelopod school system upon 
the larger life of the state and nation, 

CHAPTER I, • f ■ . : 

In reviewinfi' the history of Sparta, one is impressed with the fact 
that she based her safety and prosperity on tlie education of every 
child in the community, and in Atliens theri^ were pulilic scliool'-. for her 
free citizens. But not until more recent times and not until tlie birth 
of the American free States do we see the principle carried out to its 
fulU'st extent- -the principle involving the free t'ducntion of all child- 
ren of all classes in the connnon school-s. 

In setting up a new government in a new country, amid new envi- 
ronments, our fathei's set aflame that sense of freedom which had lain 
dormant so long during the contest with P]uropean oppression and 
which has been woven into the very fabric of the public schools of our 
older States. We see the fundamental ideas which had become com- 
mon in the Old World transi)lanted to New England and the common 
run of English thought on educational matters coniI)in(Ml with the prej- 
udices of our Puritan fathers against all who wt re not of their relig- 
ious faith made the startiiig of elementary schools common to all a 
little slow. 

If. as has been said, two hea<ls are better than one in determining a 
wise course of action, so two nationalities workiiig together are better 


than one in deciding the trend of educational life. The educational 
career of New York State shows not only the influence of the Dutch, 
I>ut also of the English. The Dutch exerted a stronger and more dem- 
ocratic influence, possessed a deeper love of religious freedom, quicker 
appreciation of the riglits of the individual and, therefore, a readier 
grasp upon the doctrine of universal popular education. This gave rise 
to the first elementary- school in America supported at common ex- 
pense, managed by common authority, and free to all. 

A sturdy independence, frankness, love of liberty, and earnestness 
characterized the Dutch colonists of New York, who brought from 
Holland ideas, customs, and institutions, among which the church and 
the school were of paramount importance. With -them intellectual 
food ranked equally with material food, while education and liberty 
were synonymous. 

The first oflicial act relating to public schools in this State was in 
the charter of 1029, in which we read that the patrons and colonists 
should "in the speediest manner endeavor to find out ways and means" 
whereby they might supply a minister and a schoolmaster. Constant 
concern was manifested among the Hollanders of the fatherland as to 
the proper education of their alienated children. 

One of the articles drawn up in respect to the West India Company 
states that each householder must be taxed for the proper maintenance 
of the school and master and, although in 1040 the company was in- 
structed to furnish suitable schoolmasters, they paid little heed to it. 
In 1052, the directors established a school in the city tavern in New 

The West India Company was present in the colony for purely com- 
mercial objects, caring little or nothing for education. This, of course, 
was in direct opposition to the ideas of the Dutch, who first planted the 
seeds of our present system. 

Under the Dutch i-ule, the idea of State support was prominent, the 
schools being maintained out of a common treasury, and up to the 
time of the English occupation the fundamental idea was free school. 
There were, at the time of the surrender to the English, schools in 
most every town and city in the colony, a fact due to the persistency 
of the colonists. 

There were obvious reasons why a decay in popular education began 
after the English took possession of the colony. It was at the time ot 
the Stuart reign in England, and under this regime, as we know, the 
ignorance of the masses was encouraged. Besides this, the settlements 
were all Dutch, with the prevailing religion tliat of the Church of 
Holland and, as liberty of worship was granted the colonists, the 
school continued to hold the same relation to the church as formerly. 
Notwithstanding this, the very next year after the capitulatiou Gover- 
nor Nicolls licensed John Shute to open an English school in Albany. 
Warfare and sectarian feeling served to hasten the decay of the com- 


iiH)ii schools at this tiiiu' as well as the aristociatif cU'iuciit so prom- 
inent anion}; tho English. 

Of all the Eiifilish K<»veinoi's. Lord ('oini)iiiy was thi' most zealous 
and aj^yressive in behalf of the English oliurch and school; he assumed 
much authority arid boldly exercised it, while on the other hand. Andros 
and Fletcher endea voted to accomplish throujili jx-rsuasion. Under 
Coridiury, the first leftislative act (1T02| relating to public schools was 
put in force. This act encouraged a grammar free school in New York 
city. It instituted the school for only seven years, but it did not last 
even as long as that on aceount of the hostility of the wealthy class. 
For the few succeeding years no legal provision for schools seems to 
have been made. 

In 1704, the society for tlie projiagation of the gospel estalilished a 
scliool at Kye and in 1710, one called Trinity School of New York. 
The number of schools established by this society show what beneficial 
work it accom])lished. having founded at the close of the coloni.a! period 
twt'uty-one schools in seven counties. 

An act of 17o2 encouraged the free public scliool in New York City 
for instruction in Latin, (J reek and Mathematics, which proved to be 
the nucleus of Columbia College of later years. The institution of this 
seems to be the one bright spot in the English rule. From this date 
to the close of the Kevolutionary war, little was done in regard to 
public education. However, in 177.'^, one more public school appears, 
but oidy for a short time, passing out of existence as the one of 1702. 

Before continuing the story of the common schools after the Revolu- 
tion, let us consider for a time a simple portrayal of the schools of which 
Ave have just been studying. 

Banish from your minds any modern conception of our presont ideas 
on education and picture to yourself a little unattractive log structure, 
covered with bark and situated in the most undesirable spot in either 
the country or the city, a low, swampy place, if you choose, or the 
dullest, dirtiest and most dreadful part of the city. Bare walls, seats 
which made even the thought of standing a delight, ui)on which were 
seated children of all desc!-i])tions facing the w.-ills, for the (h'sks were 
planks projecting therefrom. The pupils are engaged in studying, that 
is, one eye is on their spelling, reading or number. book, while the other 
eye is fastened upon the rod held in readiness by the master, who, in 
connection with the fireplace, endeavors to keep the children sufticii'Ut- 
ly W'arm. Compare these conditions with those of the i>resent day and 
can we help inci-casiu}; our iidmiralion for the brilliant men whose boy- 
hood received its first instruction in such a place? 

As might be expected, after the Revolution there was a long lapse 
of time in which little was done toward educational matters. Con- 
fusion, i)overty, discouragement and ai>a11iy ruled the people and much 
praise is due our early governors for fanning the little sjjark of po|)ular 
education into a mighty blaze. 


Governor (Hintoii, the first governor of New York, saw the necessity 
of immediate action on the part of the legislature toward the education 
of the children, and through his persistent efforts the foundation of our 
present system was laid. 

In 17S4, one long step was taken in establishing the regents of the 
university of the State of New York, and in 17X9, when the legislature 
set aside in each township public lands for gospel and school pnri)oses. 
The regents were established for higher education, but they soon saw 
that that was impossible without elementary education, and accord- 
ingly set about agitating the question of common schools. 

The result of all of Governor Clinton's repeated entreaties was reach- 
ed when in 1795 the Legislature offered the annual appropriation of 
$r)0,(K>0 for five years. Commissioners and trustees were chosen and 
provision was m.'ide for the establishment of schools throughout the 
State. Wlien the term of five years was completed the Legislature 
seemed indifferent toward its renewal, but under the governorship of 
Morgan Lewis, the Legislature appropriated the net proceeds from the 
.sale of 500,000 acres of State lands for school support. This formed 
the coi-ner-stone of the present common school fund, which will be 
mentioned in the succeeding chapter. 

There came into existence in 1805, a society which accomplished much 
in the way of stimulating public opinion in the matter of popular edu- 
cation, the society for the establishment of a free school in New York 

In 1811, under the leadership of Governor Tompkins, a decided ad- 
vance was made by a report describing a plan of a good common school 
system. It recommended State supervision and contained the essential 
points of our present system. In the same year the legislature passed 
an act providing a permanent fund for the sui)port of common schools, 
and lias been enlarged by subsetpient appropriations. In 1811, meas- 
ures were taken to provide for the distribution of the interest from this 
fund and in the following year, 1812, the present system was estab- 
lished under the direction of a superintendent of common schools. But 
it was d^i'iiig the administration of Nathaniel Benton, of Herkimer, 
about 1847, that the idea of free schools was established on a firm 
foundation, when this principle was adopted: "Universal education 
in public .schools, free to all." 

There are two systems of education, the higher and common school, 
the connecting link of wliich is the union free school. The matter was 
made possible under the law of 1853, which authorized school districts 
to combine into union free school districts and to establish a graded 
school, with an elective board of trustees. 


In colonial days the schools were usually supervised by the church 
authority, who often had the assistance of some civic officers. It Avas 


not until stati'liood tliat Now York in!iu^:\n'iit»'(l a rcunlar systoni of 

The earliest record ol' supeivisieii is Cdund in tlu- law ot MV't, wliich 
stated that eaeh town should elect three or more connnissioners having 
general charge of the school. The inhabitants of the district were 
authorized to elect trustees, employ teachers and i)rovide for the 
school. By an act of 1812, three commissioners of common schools 
were to be elected by each town. Besides these officers, it further au- 
thorized the town to elect from one to si.v inspectors, who, together 
with the commissioners, had charge of the school and examination of 
teachers. The oilice of state superintendent of common schools 
created by this law, which office only lasted until 1821, when the sec- 
retai-y of state, ex -officio, was made superintendent of common scliools. 

The year 1841 gave birth to the office of deputy superintendent and 
county superintendent, with limited powers. In 1843, the office of town 
superintendent was substituted for those of town commissioners and 
inspectors. In 1847, the office of county superintendent was aboiished 
and the state superintendent from tliat time on must hear all appeals. 

The culmination was reached in 1854, when the department of public 
instruction was established, at the head of wliich the Senate and As- 
sembly elect a superintendent of public instruction. In 18r)<;, tlie sys- 
tem of supervision was fully perfected, when school commissioner's 
office was created instead of town superintendent. 

Altliough tliese officers have a certain amount of control, the system 
is so arranged that the state snperintendent of pul)lic instruction has 
almost autocratic power, both in his executive and judicial duties. It 
is a perfect system, comprising the superintendent, supervisor of the 
town, school commissioners and school trustees, all endowed with cer- 
tain powers, but all looking to the superintendent for final decisions. 

The history of the origin of oin- present system of school support is a 
most interesting one and worthy of some attention. 

The first effort on the part of the State to establish a common scliool 
fund was in 17!)9, the result of the eft'orts of .Tedediah Peck, of Otsego, 
and Adam Comstock, of Saratoga. In ITiU) and 18(»0, the .'flOO.OW ap- 
propriation was never distributed. Further means for school support 
was provided at this later date by lotteries, and the law of 1812 appro- 
priated ij^SO.OOO annually to be distributed among the counties of the 
State, provided tlie towns should laise a sum e(pial to their portion. 

The amended act of 1814 authorized the trustees to maki- good any 
deficiency in the payment of teachei's' wages by the use of the rate 
bill system, which levied a tax on the parents of the children attending 
school. This naturally encouraged absence and truancy. 

There are at itresent three sources of State school moneys, the United 
States deposit fund, the common school fund and the free school fund. 
The Hrst originated from th(> surplus money in the United States treas- 
ury which Congress in 18;JG voted to l)e i>laced in the State treasurjea. 


New York's share amounted to $4,U00,(»()(), and one year later this was 
apportioned among the counties of the State, to be loaned on good 
security. The income was to be used lor school purposes and now 
amounts to $75,UUO. 

The second was created by a law of 1805, directing that the income, 
when it reached $50,000 yearly from the sale of 500,000 acres of State 
lands, should be applied for school purposes. From the revenue of this 
fund, .$170,000 is annually appropriated. 

The third sum, the free school fund, is annually raised by taxation; 
this simi about the year 1870 became tixed each year. 

The amount paid out for school purposes during the time from 1805 
to 1845 was less than the amount now paid out Oach year. This ques- 
tion of common school support is the most momentous one which our 
legislature lias to encounter and one with ever increasing demands. 


In colonial times, under both the Dutch and English rule, tlie teach- 
ers had no preparatory training for their work, tlieir education in many 
cases having been ol)tained in the school wliere they began to teach. 
It was not until after the Revolution that the question of the teacher's 
preparation was agitated. 

Before tliis time, Prussia had adopted and enforced spi'cial training 
of teachers, and from Prussia the idea ."^pi-ead over Europe and finally 
to America. 

The increase of schools in the early eighties in New York naturally 
led to a demand for teachers, and through sheer necessity, thoughts 
turned toward training teachers for this especial work. The tirst result 
was the liancastrian school, thus economizing by using the pupils as 

In 1834, tlie Legislature provided training classes in eight academies, 
one in each senatorial district of the State. These continued with slight 
clianges initil 1844. when their support was Avithdrawn and a normal 
school established at Albany. The renewal of training classes took 
place five years later and have continued ever since, forming our prin- 
cipal nurseries of district scliool teachers. The requirements have in- 
creased as well as support and is now a well organized system. 

Tlie stormy times which followed the first few years of tlie normal 
school show liow inherent was tlie doctrine of some of our fathers, that 
teaching depends wholly on an instinct which will appear at the proper 
lime. It was not until the Oswego normal school (established in 1861) 
liad been organized some time that tlie American public became con- 
vinced that this sort of school had a place in our educational system 
wliicli was botli justifiable and useful. 

At the present time we have in New Y'ork eleven normal schools 
and one normal college, Albany normal having been clianged to a nor- 
mal college in 1890. These schools, in tlieir chronological order of estab- 


lishiiu'iit. are situati'd at Albany, Oswoiio, Rrockport. Frcdoiiia. Cort- 
land and I'otsdani, (Icncsco and Uuffalo. New I'altz. Ont'onta, Phitts- 
Iiui'l;' and .laniaica. 

The normal scliools arc controlled by trustees ai)iJointed for life by 
the slate sn[»erintendent of public instruction. These have local super- 
vision, snlijeet to the superintendent. 

These scliools are maintained. by appropriations from the State, tlu- 
ordinary expenses iTi running the schools varying from $'_*ll.(i(i() to $.'>r),- 
000 anniially per school. 

As yet the normals cannot supply all the teachers re((uir<Hl, Imt it 
exerts an influence in increasing the demand for better teachers .-md 
introducing the knowledge of better methods of instruction. 

The teachers' institute, established in 1S43, furnishes a valuable 
center of instruction for teachers as well :is do the state uniform exam- 
inations in raising the ipialitications of teachers. Tims we lind foui 
agencies affecting the training of the teaclier — tlie uniform examina- 
tions, teachers' institute, the training class in the academy, and the 
normal school. 


When we come to reviewing the subject of leading educators, we en- 
counter one both large and formi(hibIe, for not only is praise due to 
men who have contributed large plans, but. studying c.irefuUy tlu' 
influence of lesser personages, we see how often the little they advanced 
resulted in balancing the scales on the side of our perfected system of 
common schools. 

To no one are we more greatly indebted for our present system than 
the men who were ut the head of affairs at the beginning of our state- 
hood, and we can get no clearer idea of their intluence than by mention- 
ing some of the elements of our system inaugurated by them. 

It has been said that it is a blessing to the child that the first super- 
intendent of scliools in New York, Cideon Hawley, was a graduate of 
Union College under Dr. Nott. His administration from ISl.'i to 1S21 
was probal)ly more diffcult than that of any succeeding superintendent 
but his perseverance resulted in the foiuidation of our present system. 
The most notable featni-e of his term was the introduction of the Lai 
castrian School, then so successful. X'nder him schools sprang up all 
ov<'i' the State and a new impetus was given to educational life. 

Sui>erintendent Yates endeavored to inaugurate a system of school 
celebrations, but to (lovernoi- Clinton we owe the grammar and high 
school program of to-day. 

Azariah Flagg. in IS'JC), made the first ai)pro:ich toward the system 
of visitorial inspection of schools. Yet moi-e im]>orfant was his stroni: 
opi)osition to confining the work in school to the one te.\t book method. 

To Sniierintendent Dix (1,S:53-1S:5!)| we owe the district libi'ary and the 


ostablishmoiit of the eight training classes, and to Wetniore tlie estab- 
lisliment of a separate department of public instruction. 

Through Governor Marcy's efforts a portion of thv United States 
deposit fund was applied to the support of common schools and district 
libraries. In 1830, Governor Seward recommended a thorough normal 

The death of Tage. of the Albany normal, was a severe bk)w to all 
education, for which he had contributed s(> much, not only by his "The- 
ory and I'ractice of Teaching." but by his interest and earnest en- 

Under Christopher Morgan (1S4S-1S51) the free school system was 
adopted and also the free school fund. 

But we must not omit the name of Dr. Eliphalet Nott. who in directly 
benefiting Union College, indirectly helped on the struggle for commou 
free schools. 


The fact that along with the development of the State, Nation and 
idea of democracy, the common free school has kept pace, shows that 
the school, the nursery of citizenship, is essential to a progressing na- 
tion, especially to a democratic one. 

In the earlier days of some nations under an aristocratic govornuient, 
only the education of the ruling classes ^\•as considered an obvious 
ntcessity. In later days, when Prussia was an absolute monarchy, she 
considered the education of the standing army a guarantee of national 
strength, and after she had been so gloriously successful in warfare 
Ihe other nations of Europe began to wondei- and inquire wlu-icin her 
strength lay. In consequence of these inquiries many countries which 
had no etiicient educational system straightway established such. It 
has been said that under the best of militaiy management, the illiterate 
soldier is not so (efficient as the educated soldier. If universal and com- 
pulsory education is necessary in monarchies, where the duty of the 
masses is simply passive oljedience. how much more is it necessary in 
a democracy, where the masses have not only to ol)ey but also have 
legislative duties, and in a democracy where leaders appear at any 

Thomas Jefferson, the fatlier of democracy, set forth again and again 
the idea that the democracy must educate its leaders and that a gov- 
ernment will be wise and liberal as tliose who administer it are edu- 
cated in a broad and liberal humanistic sentiment. 

The views of the two great Grecian philosophers, I'lato and Aristotle, 
apply to our government to-day as to the Greek nation of their day. 
Some of their ideas are worth noting. To live together with one's fel- 
lowmen involves fitness so to liv<'. and this titness is the result of disci- 
pline and education. The highest type of the individu.-il life is tlie com- 


inimity of life, therefore the educMtioii of the individn.-il insures the 
education of the State. 

At the lieiji'ht of Greece's power tlie educated man was tau^lit that 
pai ticipation in political affairs was his duty and that the luuioi' oC his 
State lay with liiniself to a certain i-xtcnt. In the I'nitcd States to-day 
the educated man. as a ride, holds hini.self aloof from politics as some- 
thing beneath him, in a country where politics sliould attract him rather 
than repel. The remedy for this lies with the coninion scliooi, for the 
ditticulties of a democracy are the oi>portunities of the school. If om- 
schools shoukl place due stress upon the individual's resixmsihility : in 
the devt'lopment of the nation; in the social and politicjil pro.ui-ess; if 
tliey would nourish a patriotism dee])er than shells and camions, then 
would a pure democracy he the outgrowth of our conunon school 

The futiu'e welfare of our nation lies in the hands of the coming 
geiu'ration and if that generation comes into its inln-ritance with ignor- 
ance and vice .as its cliaracteristics, how scon the coiaaiption and disso- 
lution of our government will take place A\ould i)e easy to imagine. 

President Garfield has said: "The only remedy for illiteracy in 
voters is hy univei'sal educntion." .\nd in answer to Macaulay's asser- 
tion that a government lik<' ours must lead t(j anarchy, he replies that 
there is no answer to this prophecy unless the schoolniasti'r can give 
it — who has the future of the American repul)lic in ins hands. 

In this republic, where the people are the government themselves, 
God si)eed the day when the ptdilic school shall have done its work 
and the peoi)le shall have come into their own inheritance. 



Delivered before tlie Herkimer County Historical Society, April 13, 1901. 

"Flow fair beside the Palisades, tiow, Hudson, fair and free, 
By proud Manhatan's shore of ships and Kreeii Hobokeu's tree. 
So fair yon haven clasped its isles, in such a sunset gleam. 
When Ileiidrick and his sea-worn tars lirst sounded up the stream, 
And climbed this rocky palisade, and resting on its brow, 
I'assed 'round the can and gazed awhile on wave and shore below; 
And Hendrick draidv with hearty cheer, and loudly then cried he: 
' 'Tis a good land to fall in with, men, and a pleasant land to see!' " 

This prophec.y of Hendrick has indeed come to pass, for there is no 
fairer land than that of our Empire State. Her sons and daughters 
have learned that "knowledge is power," and no matter how humble 
the hamlet, the Stars and Stripes are found floating over a school- 

Go back with me and take a brief sui-vey of New York under the 
old Dutch rulers. We tind quaintly built farm-lutuses, where the great 
lafters overhead looked down upon tiled lire-places and rows of wooden 
and pewter dishes, the delight of the thrifty housewife. Where the 
floors were scoured and sanded, and big fraus and even little frauleins 
carded and spun the linen for wliicli they were so justly famous. 
"Honest days in which every woman stayed at home, read her Bible, 
and wore capacious pockets." Washington Irving says, that in these 
good old days, "The very words of learning, education, taste and talents 
were unheard of — a bright genius was an animal unknown, and a blue- 
stocking lady would have been regarded as a horned frog or a tiery 
dragon." In time, all this changed, for these good Dutch people ceased 
to be forgetful of their schools. In 1(>'J1. the colony was enjoined "to 
fiud speedy means to maint.-iin ;i clergyman and a schoolmaster." 
Each householder and inhabitant was enjoined "to bear such tax and 
public charge as should be considered proper for their maintenance." 


Four years later we tiiid the expense of the schoolmaster to be 300 
florins. In 10.33, a professional schoolmaster was broni^ht over from 
the Dutch mother cimntry and taught the little Hans and Katrina to 
read and write. A few years later, "New Amsterdani," with a pop\ila- 
tlon of SUO, engaged two teachers for the children. "The excise moneys 
seem to have been set apart to pay teachers, and they were in part, at 
least, paid out of the public ti't'asury. On one occasion the goveriior 
of the <-()lony i)arleyed with the Indian chiefs and urged them to send 
their sons down to New Amsterdam to school. After taking a week to 
consider, they diplomatically answered that they were powerless to 
accept the invitation, for the boys were altogether under the control 
of thei»' mothers." These schools were often maintained and super- 
vised by the churches. Indeed, the teacher was sometimes sexton, 
precentor, psalmetter, and a comforter of the sick. It is claimed that 
the first school in the Stat(> was founded by the Dutch Ileform Church 
at New Amsterdam, in 1033. 

Under the English rule the people did not show the same interest in 
education that the Dutch did. Those of means sometimes had 
their children educated at home, and fre(iueutly sent them to the little 
colleges that have since become Columbia and Princeton, collegvs in- 
ferior to the grammar schools then in existence in England. Occa- 
sionally the wealthy and ambitious sent their boys to Oxford or Cam- 
bridge, but these boys generally returned far less fitted, despite their 
learning, to play a man's pait in the real work of American life, than 
the home-staying brother. 

In our country, the ISth century was marked by Indian raid?;, by the 
French and Indian war, and finally by the Revolution. Tinder such 
circumstances it is hardly to be expected that education would make 
any rapid advance. Aside from New England and some ports of New 
York, education depended entirely upon private schools. The teachers 
were men of little knowledge ;ind narrow views, often recruited from 
the fiiilures in other vocations. They opened schools for lack of otlier 
employment, or as a stepping-stone to sometliing more agreeable. The 
instruction imparted was me;igre. consisting of the three U's, yet it 
must be admitted that the youths of that day made effective use of 
what they had. Heading matter was scarce, as well in the homes as in 
the schools, so the little that at hand was perusiMl until mastered. 
The si)ecimens of penmanship whieh exist in the old copy-books still 
preserved by old families, show that beautiful writing was not uncom- 
mon. In the latter part of this same century great progress was made 
throughout the State. The population was nearly doubled, many new 
counties were formed, and villages began to spring up along the rivers 
and lakes, especially in the Mohawk and Genesee valleys. This uiitm-- 
ally had its effect upon education, for we find at the tii'st meeting of 
tl" general asseinbly held after the ;i(loption of the Constitution of 
New York. Govej-nor Clint<>n said. "Neglect of education of youth is 



one- of the yTcal evils consequent upon war. Perhaps there is scarcely 
anything- more worthy your attention that the revival and eneourage- 
inent of seminaries of learning, and nothing by which we can more 
satisfactorily express our gratitude to tlie Supreme PJeing for His past 
favors, since piety and virtue are generally the offspring of an enlight- 
ened understanding." As a result of his efforts, Ave have the act In 
37S4, establishing tlie body known as the "Kegents of the University of 
the State of New Yorlv." 

One author says of New York at this pei'iod: 

"I see on all the strands, 
Old Europe's exiled liouseholds crowd, and toils unnumbered hands. 
From Hessenland and Frankenland, from Daiuibe, Drave, and Rhine, 
From Netherland, my sea-born land, and the Norseman's liills of pine. 
From Thames, and Sliannon and their isles, and never, sure, before. 
Invading host such greetings found upon a stranger's shore." 

Of course with people of so many nationalities there must have been 
great religious and political differences, so it is not to be wondered at 
that they could not agree upon any dehnite system of education. At 
first the Board of Regents met with much opposition and they were 
content to say their object was to "improve and unify the loos*; system 
of private and denominational academies and schools." (At the pres- 
ent time the Regents occupy a high position in educational matters. 
They grant charters to colleges of the State, receive annual reports 
from tliem, admit secondary scliools under tlieir supervision and in- 
spection and also have many duties pertaining to liiglier education. 
The regents examinations date from 1828, and since 1870 all papers 
have been sent to All)any to be reviewed. In June, 1878, examina- 
tions were first lield in tlie liiglier branches. Now, a student nuist hold 
in this State, regents certificates of different grades to enter upon any 
professional course offered in the State.) 

King's college collapsed during the early years of the Revolution, 
and later became Columbia college, and was in fact the only college in 
existence at the close of the war. Union college was founded in 1795 
and gained much prominence while Nott was president. We of to- 
day have no conception of the illiteracy existing at that time, the few 
schools were in a deplorable condition, and the legislature had no de- 
finite plan of action. Gov. Clinton advocated the instruction of the 
children in the lower branches. He would have them obtain a knowl- 
edge of their native language, and enough writting and arithmetic to 
fit them for practical life. His aim Avas to establish schoools that 
would benefit the poorer classes. He said "while it is evident that the 
general establishment and endowment of academies are to he com- 
mended yet it cannot be denied that a large portion of the community 
is excluded from their immediate advantages. The establishment of 
public schools throughout the State is calculated to remedy this in- 


couvt'iiiciicc."" 'I'lic Itvuislntui-f of 17'.)r> miNcii IT'.iLl l>.v sdiiic autlioritiesi 
recoj;"iiizfd the riiilil of all iiicii to an ('(lucatidii li.v inoxidiiii; that a 
sum of !?r>(),(KI() \\v apiMdiiiiatcd for live ^cais for the ('.\i)rcss i)iii-p()sc 
of t'iicuura,L;in,t;' and niaintainiii.u' schools in scvcial cifics and towns 
of the State. In tlioso schools instruction was to he uivcn in such stib- 
jects as would make a ,uood Ea.niish education. 'I'hese scliools were 
to be distributed accordinu' to tlie taxable poimlation of tlie towns. 
Tlie supervisor of eacli town was to raise by tax a sum (Miual to oiie- 
lialf of what was received from the State. This act was repealed in 
1S<I0. It was not until ITU'.l lliat the lirsi pi-actical effort was made to 
estalilish a scliool fund, and from that date until ISln may .justly he 
called a transition period. The people absolutely refused to be taxed 
for universal education. "Tis said "all thin.ys come to him who waits" 
for in 1S11 or ISlli Oov. Tompkins was anthoi'ized to api)oiid fnc com- 
missioners to \\'ork on the oruani/.al ion of a system of public schools, 
and as a restilt the State assumed a larger resixmsibility in the care 
of her schools. The report of these commissioners dealt with many 
phases of the sciiool (iuesti()n. I'eihai)s the most vital one was tUe 
intimate relation existing between education and a state whei'e the 
people are si'lf-^overnini;. The stability of the uoNcrnment (lei)ends 
largely upon the intelli.Licnce of the masses. There was als(» a need for 
better teaehers. and improvtNl text-books. Their report closed with 
tliese foreeful words: "(iod w ill sniiU' (^i the efforts of the people in a 
eause peculiarly His own." 

It was a s'reat blessing' to the children that the tirst su])criuten(h'nt 
of schools of New York Avas (Jideon Ilawley. He came of piod old 
New p]n.t;ian<l stock, and displayed the soundness of jud.muent and skill 
in affairs found in many of .\ew I<]n.^land"s sons. A Lawyer in Albany 
and always interested in the common school (|Uestion he seenu'd the 
man for the place. He was elected in ISb"! and served ei.yht years-. 
This otlice was .-iliolished in isi'l. and the Secretary of State assumed 
the duties of Superintendent of Schools. It Avas now (piite evi(h'id thar 
the common scliool had <'onie to stay. From ISi'O to ISlo many imj^orr- 
ant ehan.ues toook ])lace, the most imi)ortant beini;- the .L;'rowin.i;' sup- 
l>ort of the scliools by tlii' mass of people. 

In is;;!», when Seward became (ioveruor of the State the school ino- 
l)erty was valued at ip2,()(K»,(iOO and there was an annual exix'uditure of 
$1,000,(1(10 for the instruction of r.()0,()0() children. John (\ Spencer was 
Secretary of State ami .-is sm-!i assumed the resi)oiisibility of the Super- 
intendent of Scliools, these two men with Eliphalet Nott, president of 
Union college, formed a stroui^' triiunvirate. Seward in one of his re- 
poi'ts says, "For this evil of our school system there is a remedy, sim- 
ple, econonncal, and effectual, the establishment of a department of 
C'ducation to be constituted by a superitdendent a]i|»oiuted by le.yisla- 
ture and a board to be comiiosed of dele.uates from subordinates of 
boards of education to be established in several counties." These 


officials were to serve without pay. Previous to this time the State 
had no reliable source from which she could gain information regarding 
her schools. The only official upon whom there was any responsibility 
resting Avere the local supervisors, and they were generally men upon 
whom the duties of the olfice sat lightly. About the first thing that 
was done by Spencer was the appointment of a board of visitors whose 
duties were to visit the schools and make a report of the work to the 
State. Thus for the first time the people were to know something 
about the workings of the schools. These visitors made many discov- 
eries, they found many schools over which there had been no super- 
vision, many incompetent teachers, because the examinations had been 
so slight and superficial. They advised the appointment of a suitable 
deputy in each county, the establishment of a normal school in each 
county, more uniformity in text-books, the introduction of vocal music, 
the formation of teachers' associations, and graded schools under a 
normal school at Albany, under the immediate supervision of the Leg- 
islature. In Maj', 1843, a convention was held in Utica at which forty- 
two out of the fifty-nine counties were represented. This remained 
in session three days and was attended by the leading educators of 
the day and many vital (piestions were discussed. It is said that never 
before or since has so much been done in so short a period for the 
advancement and improvement of oiir common schools as w.-is done 
during the time of Seward. 

Each day the incompetency of the ones who had the training of their 
children was brought more forcibly before the people. Something had 
to l)e done to remedy this defect. The administration of John Dix 
brought about a partial solution of the difficulty. It was voted to dis- 
tribute a sum of ^12,000 among the academies that were willing to take 
up the work of training teachers. Several schools were selected, each 
one receiving $400. Their work was sini])ly a failure; they could not 
adapt their course of study to the professional training of teachers. 
Many totally neglected the MJ-ork, and others performed it in a per- 
functory manner. The State continued subsidizing these academies for 
this purpose until Superintendent Young lost faith in the efficacy of the 
plan. lie suggested that four of the best be allowed to continue the 
work, and one central normal school be provided. Much interest was 
manifested in the establishment of the normal school at Albany, after 
a visit by some of the educators to one in Massachusetts. New York 
Avas beginning to feel the crying need of proper training for her teach- 
ers. Spencer says: "What is to be expected when one of the most 
intricate of prol)lems is undertaken by those who have given scarcely 
a thought to the principles on which its solution depends? For shoe- 
making, or housebuilding, for the management of a ship, or a locomo- 
tive-engine, a long apprenticeship is needed. Is it, then, that the un- 
folding of a human being in body and mind is so comparatively simple 
a process that any one may superintend and regulate it with no pi-e- 


paratioii at allV It' not — if tlif procoss is with (inc rxcfi)tioii more 
coinplt'x than any in natnn-, and the task of adniinisfefinj;- it one of 
surpassing- ditHcnlty, is it not madness to maj^^e no provision for such 
a taskV" 

Finally a hill was passed in 1844, establishing the Albany normal 
sehool. Ten thousand dollars a year was pledged by the State, and 
Albany agreed to provide slu'lter for four years. It was to be under 
the eontrol of the Board of Itejii'uts. Tlie rules and I'tvi^ulations were 
to be made by that body, and a staff of live professors, with the State 
sui)erintendent. were to control it. David B. I'aji'e was appointed its 
principal. Of this man it is said he hud "the happy talent of always 
saying the riglit tiling at tlie right time. He was more than ordinarily 
prepossessing — of good heiglit and fine form, erect, and dignified in 
maimer, scrupulously neat in person, and easy in address." Twenty- 
nine teachers immediately appeared for instruction, and soon one hun- 
dred were within its walls. 

In 1845, it was put to a vote tliat "the Legislature shall provide for 
the free education and instruction of the State in tlie common schools 
now established or which sh:ill l)e established therein." At this time 
the school moneys receive<l from the State were supplemented in the 
scliool districts by rate bills, in whicli tlie deficiencies were apportioned 
among the i>atrons of tlie schools in proportion to the number of days 
of attendance of their children. It is estimated that there were r>(X()0(l 
illiterate children at this time beeause their parents were not willing 
to be rated as paupers. In ISl'J, "an act establisliing free schools 
througliout the State" was voted for ]>y the people. The oi)i)osition to 
the bill was strong, the liCgislature was swamped with protosts and 
as a result the law was again submitted to the peo]>le, and was sus- 
tained I)y a small ma.jorit.v. The rural districts were bitterly opposed 
to its passage, and the bill was saved liy the votes of New York city. 
Such pressure was brought to bear upon the Legislature that they 
either mistook or deliberately misinterpreted public opinion by declin- 
ing to pass the l)ill. It was not until IS*!? that the public schools hiive 
be(>ii supported wholly by funds received from the State and from local 
taxation, making instruction in them free to all children living in their 

In isr>4, the otiice of superintendent of e<hication was restored and 
Victor M. Rice was nia(h' tht» occupant of the ofHce. Between that 
time and 1808, roughkeepsie, Schenectady, Troy. Rochester, Albany. 
Auliurn, Oswego, and Syracuse established schools with a high school 

The work begun by tlie Albany normal has gone steadily on until 
to-day we have ten normals in tlu- State, e(iuii)ping our schools with 
one thousand graduates annually. Thes(> institutions h.-ive done much 
to elevate educational standards, and to advance flic interests of the 
teachers themselves. This State realizes "as the well e(iuii)]>;Ml citizen 


is the central tigure of our system of goveinmeiit, so the trained teuelier 
is and ever will be tlie unit of force in education." In 1S8G, of the 
twenty-two tliousand two hundred and forty teachers employed for 
the legal term, only nine per cent, held any foi'in of professional certifi- 
cate. Gradually the numljer increased and in 1898, forty-two per cent, 
held some form of professional cerliticate. Of course, the school sys- 
tem of the State feels the influence of this work, for it is said, "The 
school system is like an electric wire — touch it at any point and every 
other lioint feels that touch. '" 

The teachers" training classes have become a source of much good. 
■^Vithin tlie past few years more tiian four thousand pf their certificates 
have been issued to young men and women. The rural schools cannot 
help but 1)0 bettered by the work of these earnest teachers, wlio have 
received a year's careful training. They have put into practice the 
trite saying, "(Jladly would he learn, and gladly teach." The compul- 
sory attendance law passed in 189.") has had a most salutary effect 
upon education in the State. Each year we find fewer people Avho 
care nothing for the education of their children and who resist the 
efforts of the State in tliat direction. It is not possible for us in small 
towns to fully appreciate the benefits to the children of the large cities 
by the passage of this bill. Children of tender years were often forced 
to earn their daily bread among surroundings most corrupt. That 
period of life which should be the happiest was filled with gloom, and 
it is not to be woiuh'rcd Hint many of them iK'c-inic discouraged and 
trod the downward pjitli. '•I']ducati<)n begins at the bottom and grows 
as the tree grows, gaining strength from the e;n-th, the air, and the 
sunlight. Take care of the children and men ;ind women will take 
better care of themselves." 

For the support of her schools the State li;is several funds. In 1784, 
the board of commissioners of the land ofiice of tlie State was em- 
powered to reserve a lot of 30(i acres for the use of a minister and one 
of 390 acres for a school or schools. The first was marked "Gospel 
and Schools," and has become the nucleus of various scliooi funds; 
tlu> second, was marked, "For Promoting Literature," and has become 
the nucleus of the literature fund. The common school fund had its 
origin in ISO"), when the net proceeds of noo.odO acres of unai)propri- 
ated land of the State Avei-e giv(>n toward the sup])ort of the commoTi 
schools. The fund at the present amounts to about four million dol- 
lars, the income from which is about one hundred and seventy thousand 
dollars. The United States deposit fund came from the national treas- 
ury, by an act of Congress during Jackson's administration. The sur- 
plus in the treasury, with the exception of $1,000,000, was divided 
among the States; New York received over four millions. This she 
ai)i)lied to her common schools. The Free School fund is the term 
applied to the money raised by the State tax. 

It is not to be denied that there are weak points in our system, the 


most iiiuiortant lii'iii.i;' that more stress is laid upon instniction than 
uiioii the development of chai'acter. From tliis detect sprinij,' many 
evils, pulilie and i)rivate, ot which we hear constant coini)laints. It is 
\-ery true that, "Educjition in hoolcs is only one-third of an education; 
education in tin- Avays of the world and a knowled^ic of human nature 
is another third, and education or training- of the will is the other 
tliird." When the schools of New York appreciate that "''rhc one soh^ 
design of education when properly understood is not to malce a .i;entle- 
man, or a lawyer, or a mechanic, or a farmer, l)Ut to draw out 1o their 
utmost limits all the susceptibilities of our thi'ee-fold natni'e; and tiie 
product of this true discipline is not a scholar, nor a philosopliei', noi 
an artist, but a fully develoix'd man," she may truthfully ;':iy her 
common schools are doin.u their best. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, April 13, 1901. 

Among all peoples, there has always been a disposition to place the 
(lolden Age in the past. The era of greatest patriotism and virtue has 
always been placed at some remote time in a nation's history; and 
national heroes have not infrequently been depicted as demigods. In 
these respects, the people of our country, like those of many other 
countries, ancient and modern, have fallen into the same delusion. 
We have been taught to believe that our forefathers were more patri- 
otic than their descendants, and more unselfish in their devotion to 
their country. But I am fully convinced that this is au error, and I 
will give some facts, among many others I could adduce, for the foun- 
dation of my belief. 

At this time, it is unthinkable that a general of our army should 
prove a traitor to his country; and yet in the Revolutionary war, Gen- 
erals Arnold and Charles Lee, at critical periods in the war, became 
traitoi's and came near to bringing disaster to the American cause; 
and the generals and other othcers engaged, AVith utter selfishness in 
what is called in history the "Conway Cabal," not only showed a lack 
of patriotism, but came dangerously near to absolute treachery to the 
cause of their country. 

There were frequent cases where inferior otflcers and the common 
soldiers refused to obey the commands of their superior officers, where 
they mutinied, and sometimes deserted to the enemy. In November, 
.1777, General Tutnam wrote to General Washington "that upwards of 
one hundred of his men had deserted to the enemy." 

There were frequent wrangles over pay, over the expiration of en- 
listments, and over precedence in rank among the officers. In Novem- 
ber, 1777, General Putnam in another letter to General Washington, 
written from Fishkill, in this State, said: "I am sorry to inform you 
that for want of pay. General Poor's brigade of Continental troops 
refused to cross the North River. The troops mutinied, the officers 


oiideavoriii^ to suppress them, ami tlic.v wvvv s(i (Ictcruiincd to go 
home that a captain in the execution of liis duty ran a soldier through 
the body, who soon expired, but not Itelore he shot tlie eai)tain through, 
\\\io is sinet' (h'ad. I have got several of tlieni In i)rovosl gnarLl and a 
general court martial setting lor their trial. Aliout '-!<» of tlu-m have 
made their escain" Jionie. L have sent off some Light Horse and otticers 
of the brigade to bring them back." 

A hotter written by Major Talmadge. in November, JTSO. says: "Siuce 
the new establishment of the ;irmy has come oiU. in ( Orders, 
the field oUicers of the dilfereiit lines haxc bei'u very busy in ttxing 
on those who comm.ind the new regiments for the war. The provision 
for the retiring ollicers is so ample that I am sorry to say there seems 
to be an emulaticm among our Eastern Othcers who shall go home 
rather thau continue in tlie service." 

In July, 1777, General Schuyler wrott; to Mr. \'.in Cortlandt: "I am 
exceedingly chagrined ;it the pusillanimous spirit which prevails in 
the county of Tryon." In .1 letter from William Livingston, written 
from r.everwick (near Albany lin May. ITM. to Capt.iin Webb, he said: 
"There has been a mutiny in the I'ennsylvania line in Yoi'k, previous 
to their inarching. Wayne, like a good othcei', iinelled it soon as 
twelve of the fellows stei>i>ed out and persuaded the line to refuse to 
march in conse(juence of the promises madt' to them not being coni- 
t)licd with. Waym- told them of the disgrace they lu'onght on the 
American arms when in .lersey. in general, and on tlu-mselves in par- 
ticular; that the feelings of the otticei's on that occasion were so 
wounded they had (h'termined ne\ cr to ex|)erience the like, and 
he begged they would now lire either on him and them, or on those 
villains in front. He then called to such a platoon. They i)reseuted 
at the word, tired, and killed six of the villains. One of the otliers, 
badly wounded, lie ordered to be bayonetted. The soldier on whom 
he called to do it recovered his piece and said he could not for- he was 
his comrade. Wayne then drew his pistol and told him he would kill 
him. Tlu' fellow then advanced and bayonetted him. Wayne then 
marched the line by divisions round the dead and the rt-st of the fel- 
lows are ordered to be hanged. The line m.-uched the next day 
Houthwaid Mute as l<Msh." 

Washington wrote Robert Morris in May, 37S1.', that "the privates 
of the Connecticut Line were the other day ui)on the eve of :i general 
Mutiny. The vigiLance of the othcers discovered it a few hours before 
they were to parade .and the ringleaders have been tryed and executed." 
In a letter from General Stark to General Gati's, dati'd at Albany, 
May .")1st, 177K. T find the following quaint jiass.age, showing the state 
of the jiopnl.-ii- mind of the peiaod: "I have ;i]iplied to General Ten 
I'.i'oeciv for his militi.a and lie has |)romis((l to assist me as soon as 
Chnii-h is o\'er: he c:imi()t do an\' I'.usiness liefoi'e for fear of Fright- 
ening the Town into tits." (4eneral Ttai Ihoeck in a letter to (Jovernoi" 


Clinton, written from Albany, in July, 1778, in which he speaks of 
having received news of the destruction of Springtield and Andrustown 
by the Indians and Toi-ies, and of his efforts to rally the militia, says: 
"To my great surprise the Detachment at Johnstown, consisting of 
about 50 men wliere Colonel Livingston commanded wliom I sent 
Orders to march to Cherry Valley, the Colonel writes me the men Pos- 
itively liefused to march, alleging their leonth was up; all rhe exer- 
tions of the Officers had no Elfect and Iwst Saturday they have most 
Shamefully deserted that Post." 

Washington more than once complained that under the organization 
of the army by Congress, every Commission Avas inonopolized by the 
four New England Governments, and when a change in this respect 
was effected, there was much dissatisfaction in those colonies. It was 
jealousy of General Philip Schuyler on the part of the New England 
people that caused him to be superseded by Gates, a less capable Gen- 

General Spencer, a Connecticut officer serving witli General Wash- 
ington, Avas so dissatisfied that General Putnam was appointed Major 
General by the Continental Congress, giving him precedence over him. 
that he immediately Avent to his home without leave of General Wash- 
ington, refusing to serve under Putnam. lie afterAvards changed his 
mind. hoAvever, and returned and expressed his Avillingness to serve 
under liim. 

In a letter from Ebene/er Huntington, a nu-ritorious officer among 
the Connecticut soldiers, dated December 1st, 1775. he says: "The 
Connecticut men have this day taken the liberty to leave the Camp 
Avithout leave (I mean some of them). ^Nlaj. Trumbull and Captain 
Chester are sent after them to bring them back. They have not yet 
returned tho eight o'clock. A party went from Cambridge in the same 
manner. Among them Avas a Sergeant Avhom the General has deter- 
mined to send to Connecticut in Irons Avith a Label on his back telling 
his crime — to be dealt Avith as the Authorities of the Colony shall think 
proper. The men universally seem desirous of mutiny because the 
men had not a bounty — the General is about ordering in ^Nliinite men 
to supply the places of those persons Avho shall so Poltroon like, desert 
the lines." 

In a letter Avritten from the headquarters of the army in Pennsyl- 
A'ania, Col. Webb wrote: "I hope sure I am the Lads of that Country 
(New England) will not behave in the damed cowardly, rascally man- 
ner the People of this country (Pennsylvania) have." 

Col. Humphrey wrote to General George Clinton in August. 1777. as 
follows: "Agreeably to order, I met Col. Graham on the 5th inst.. and 
agreed to raise 74 men. On 8th I had the battalions together and draft- 
ed the number, and ordered them to appear at Poughkeepsie on the 
12th inst, and appointed one Captain and one Lieutenant. Accordingly 
the officers met at Poughkeepsie, and finding a small number of men 


tippcnr, llic C.-iiitnin w;is diss.ilislUMl ninl lins rcsiuiu'd his (•(iiniuission. 
I tlu'ii nppointc'd aiiotlirr ('aptaiii and sent to ihr scvi'val ("aiitains of 
the battalions to nnistcr tlioir draltcd men: tlioy scMit nu' word that 
the cliicf ]>art of their men were s^one away or eonceah'd. I then wrote 
warrants to eacli Captain to send ont unaids and searcli for them and 
appointed them and the (\a|)tain and Lieutenant to meet and march 
witli as many as we eonld tind: and all that would refnse to i:(j send 
them to the county jail, there to remain until they were wiUin.i;' to 
marcli or hire a man in their place. We raised a bounty of nine jxtunds 
per man and liav<' paid '21 the bounty and sevei'al fai'ineis ha'/e .u'ven 
80 pounds to men to .uo in their place. (Mi the ^iith inst.. I met them 
v,'lien 40 men ap[ieared with the otHcers at the house of Captain Rey- 
nolds. The men seeund willini;- to march, when the Captain told me 
he would not march unless he had tifty ukmk I went out in order to 
tell the men I would uet another Captain and ordered tliem to li<> ready 
to march on the shortest notice. lUit when they found the officers 
decline they dispersed and I could not ,i;ct them tou'ether a.L;aiii any 

At the battle of T.unker Hill ,A\here <nn' soldiers on the whole beliav- 
ed with conspicuous uallanfry, there were some notable excejitions. 
In the c(>rrespondence of Samuel I'.. NVebb, compiled and imbiislied by 
his grandson. Dr. \V. Seward Webb, I tind in reference to the conduct 
of some soldiers and officers in that battle, a letter written by Captain 
Clicsli'r, in wliose company ^^'ebb was a lieut<'n;int, from wliicli 1 
extract tlie followiuu: ••'■.)w Uetrcat on Saturday was shameful and 
Scandalous and oAving to the Cowai'dice, Misconduct and want of Reg- 
ularity of the Province Troftps. Thongli to I>o them justice there was 
a Number of these Otlicers and men tliat were in the fort and a \-eryfew 
otiiers that did lienor to themselves liy a most noble, manly and spir- 
ited Effort in tlie heat of the engagement, and 'tis said Many of them 
tiie flower of the I'rovince have sacrific<'d their lives in the Cause. 
Some say they have lost more OHicers than men. ( lood Dr. Warren, 
(Jod rest liis Soul, I hope is Safe in lleax-eu! H;id many of theii' ( »fti- 
cers tlie Spirit and Courage in tlieir Whole Constitution thai he had 
in liis little finger, we liad never retreated. Many considei'able Coni- 
I'tanies of their men I that said that there was not so much as :\ 
Corporal Avitli tlieiii; one in I'articular f"!! in the rear of my Company 
and marclied with us. 'I'he ('apt. had mustered and ordered them to 
March and told tliem he would overtake tliem directly, but they never 
saw him till next day. A vast numlier were Retreating as Ave iMarched 
up and witliiii a (|Uarter of a mile of the scene of Action. If :\ man 
w;is wounded, twenty men were of an ( )i)iMirtuni1y to cari-y him 
away when not more than thi'ce could take hold of him to advantage. 
One cluster would be sneaking down on their r.ellies Iiehind a Rock 
and others beliiiid Hay cocks and apjile trees. At last I got pretty 
near the action and I met a consideral)le Company with their officers 


at their Head retreating. I spolce to Lieutenant Webb and told him 
it would not do to see so many going Baclv and that we must stop them. 
By all means says he. I then inquired of the otfieer why he went back. 
He made no answer. I told him to proceed if he Dare. He still went 
on. I ordered my men to make Ready very Loud and told him if he 
went another step he should have the fire of my whole Company. My 
men declare they would fire if I ordered them, but the Toor Dogs were 
forced to Come Back like Dogs that had been stealing sheep. But 
after the retreat when we came to rally and attempt to form agaiji we 
found it impossible for they all most all said they had no Olficer to 
head them. In short most of the Companies of this Province are com- 
manded by a most Despicable set of Officers." 

In another letter written to Silas Dean, three days later, July 22nd, 
Captain Chester, writing of the Battle of Bunker Hill, after stating 
that he was ordered to march to Bunker Hill, said: "We soon marched 
with our frocks and trowsers on over our other clothes (for our Com- 
pany is in Uniform wholly blue turned up with red), for we were loth 
to expose ourselves by our dress, and down we marched. I imagined 
we arrived at the hill near the close of the battle. When we arrived, 
there was not a Company with us in any kind of order, although when 
we first set out, perhaps three Regiments were by our side and near 
us; but there they were scattered, some behind rocks and haycocks and 
tliirty men, perhaps, behind an apple tree, and freiiuently twenty men 
around a wounded man retreating when not more than three or four 
could touch him. 10 advantage. Others were retreating seemingly with- 
out any excuse, and some said they had left tlu> fort with leave of the 
officers because they had been all night and day on fatigue without 
sleep, vitals or drink; and some said they had no officers to head them 
which indeed seemed to be the case. At last I met with a considerable 
Company who were going off rank and file. I called to the officer that 
led them and asked why he retreated? lie made no answer. I halted 
my men and told him if he went on it should lie at his peril. Tie still 
seemed regardless of me. I then ordered my men to make ready. 
They immediately cocked, and declared if I ordered them they would 
fire. Upon that they stopped short, tried to excuse themselves, but 1 
could not tariy to bear him but ordered him forward and he complied." 

After the battle of Bunker Hill, Washington was appointed Com- 
mander-in-chief of the Continental Army; and on the 20th of August, 
1775, he wrote from Cambridge to Lund Washington, who had charge 
of his Virginia estate, among other things, as follows: "The people 
of this government have obtained a character winch they by no means 
deserved — their officers generally speaking are the most indifferent 
kind of people I ever saw. I have already broke one Colonel and five 
captains for cowardice or for drawing more pay and Urovisions than 
they had men in their Companies — there is two morc^ Colonels now 
under arrest and to be tried for the same offense — in short they are by 


no uicjins such Troops in any rospect us you arc Ird to holicvc from 
tlie iiecounts which arc published, l)Ut I need not make myself enemies 
amon.u' tliem by tliis declaration altlioujili it is consistent with trntli. 
I dare say tlie men would tight very well (if properly ellicei-edi 

althouiili tlu-y are exceedingly dirty and nasty peoiile. Had they I n 

]>roperly conducted at Bunker Hill (on the ITth day of .Inne) or those 
tl'.at were tliere projierly supported, the Regulars (the I'.i'itislu woiild 
have met witli a sliameful defeat and a mncli moi'e c(inside?-al>le loss 
tlian tliey did wliich is now l^nown to l)e exactly l.OoT Ivilled and 
wounded. It was for tlieir behavior on tliat occasion that the above 
ollicei-s were liroke, for I never sjiared one that was accused of co\v- 
aidice but brouglit 'em to inunediate Tryal." 

At the t»attle of Oriskany, where the bulk of the Tryon County 
Militia, with their heroic comniancU'r at their lu-ad. fought NAitli grea; 
courage and tenacity in tlie terrible andniscade in whicli they were 
caught, the rear guard, consisting of about one-third of the forces, 
turned and tied on the first tire of the enemy, and thus aban(h)ned their 
struggling comrades. 

in Marcli. 177<'>. Captain .7. li. l>e Witt, in a letter to (leorge 
Clinton, declared "That indess he could h;ive his piopei- r;ink (among 
llie Captains) according to tlie (Late of his Commission he would never 
appear in the field witli liis Company." 

In tlie same month. Captain .Tolin Crage wrote to (Jeiieral Clinton he had laid down his commission and that he would never serve 
in the militia as an othcer unless he could liave his iil.-ice. for he would 
"not be twice superseded and still serve." Other records of the jieriod 
show that there were freijuent mutinies of tli(> soldiers and inferioi- 
otlicers upon various iti'etexts. that it was nearly alw.ays dithcult to 
till up the ranks of the army by enlistments. an<I that the niiliti;i some- 
times refused on the c;ill of tlie proper officers to march against the 
enemy, and tliat they resorted to all kinds of artitices to avoid service: 
and all this in times of great peril to the country. And fiauds in the 
ccnimiss.-ii'y and (piiirtermastei's' dep.artments were not uiKdiiniioM. 

I'npatriotic conduct was not contined < xclusively to the army, but 
men not in the army could not be kei>t Iroiii ti'cacliei-ous coui'Munica- 
lions with the enemy. :ind from selling to them suiiplies gre:itly nee(h<l 
by tho patiiot army. Silas I>ean. the first diplomatic agent sent from 
this country to Europe, bi-traytd his trust and opened treasonable cor- 
rcsi)ondcnce on the other side of the ocean witli the English. 

These cases of un]iatriotic conduct caimot be |iaralleie<l in the his- 
tories of all the w.ars in which our country has been engaged since the 
Revolution. I have not found that hist(M'y recoids :\ single instan<-e 
in all such wars of treachery on the part of any ollicei' or even of .any 
private of our army. I know of no case in such wars of deserti(Ui fr(»m 
our iirmy to the enemy. In the Civil war. while more than 'J.."i( »(),()()() 
soldiers were enrolled on the T'nion side, there is no instance known 


to 1110 where u single soldier or oUieer betrayed his Hag. Ami in all 
these wars there was but little trouble to till up the ranks of our army. 
It is safe to say that there are no people in the world among Avhoni 
there is so much patriotism as ther(> now is among the people of the 
United States. This grows largely out of the fact that our people 
have the best government in the vrorld in which they gove''ii them- 
selves, and enjoy greater felicity and prosperity than any other people. 
Under such circumstances, patriotism is a natural, inevitable growth 
like family ties, love of lionu^ and parents and children. 

It is a common delusion that the battlefield is the sole, or at least the 
main theatre for the display of patriotism; and nearly all the com- 
memorative monuments erected in the jjublic places of our country 
are in honor of soldiers. We too frequently forget that those who in 
civil life devote their time and means to purify and elevate private and 
j)ublic life, to improve the conditions of the poor and the suff(n-ing. to 
spread learning, intelligence and religion among the people, to develop 
the resources of our country, and to carry our civilization to hi.gher and 
higher planes are as true patriots, as worthy of honor, and iit least 
as useful as those who face danger upon the field of battle. 

Within the past few years, a law has been passed in our St.ate re- 
quiring our national fiag to be displayed at every school house, and 
encouraging patriotic exercises in connection therewith for the pro- 
fessed purpose of inculcating patriotism. This, in my .iudgnient, is 
another delusion. Patriotism is not inculcated in that way. The flag 
can be made too common. It is an adage more than 2,000 years old, 
founded upon a true philosophy of the luunan mind, that "familiarity 
breeds contempt." These performances a\ ith the fiag may and doubt- 
less will stimulate the war spirit, but it never will in any apprecialjlo 
degree imbed in youthful minds true patriotism. The war spirit is now 
too rampant in our land. Great masses of men are always too ready 
on the least supposed provocation to fight England or any other nation, 
or even the whole world combined. Our youths should be taught thai 

"Peace hath her victories 
No less renowned than war." 

When I read the warlike speeches uttered on the platform, and in 
legislative halls by shouting jingoes, to catch the popular breeze, I ani 
reminded of the saying of Dr. Samuel Johnson, uttered in reference 
to such men, that "Patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel." 

It has not been my purpose in what I have written to call in (luestion 
the patriotism of the most of the people of the Revolutionary period, 
but to show that it is a delusion to believe that they were more patri- 
otic than the people of this day, and that their descendants, while ad- 
vancing in nearly all other respects, have deteriorated in their patriot- 
ism. My facts, I think, incontestably show that there were many more 
cases of unpatriotic conduct during the Revolutionary period man dur- 


iii.ii all the wars in (Uir national history sinrc. And yet that pci-iod was 
lilk'd with illustrions examples of devoted patriotism which will nevi-r 
be fori;otten; and it save to the Avorld (leorye Washiri,n't<ni. one of the 
greatest and most unsehish patriots the world has ever known, whose 
eharaeter and achievements cannot he stndied too closely by the youths 
of our country. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, May ii, 1901. 

Were those who oritieised and coiideiiined the arhitrary aets of I'res- 
ident Lincoln during the Civil war charyealile with disloyalty? 

To properly answer this question, a few antecedent facts of history 
must be referred to so as to show the political training and the envi- 
ronment of the men of that time. 

The writ of habeas corpus is one of the .t;n>at jiolitical lieii'l'^HMns of 
our race. It is nearly as old as the common law. and has always l)een 
regarded as one of the bulwarks of civil liberty. Its purpose is I'elief 
from illegal restraint and imprisomnent. and lU'fense against arbitrary 
I'ower. Without it, the provision in Magna Cliaita. and in the consti- 
tutions of our country, that no person shall be deprived of his liberty 
without due process of law, woiild be shorn of much of its value. 
During the whole of English history, no sovereign has assumed the 
power formally to suspend the writ; and lor more than three centuries 
no Sovereign of England could have suspended it without arousing a 
contest with the people which would have endangered the crown. 
Charles the First defied the writ and refused to permit its operation 
in certain cases, claiming that he was above the law; and his arbitrary 
acts in tlds respect were among the causes which led to his destruction. 
Thei-e it lias always been recognized that the power to authorize the 
suspension of the writ is a legislative power vested exclusively in 
Parliament; and in all the times of turmoil and rebellion there, that 
body never authorized its suspension but three times — once in 1744, 
when a French invasion was feared — once at a time of great i)eril in 
1817, and again in the 2rtth year of Victoria on account of the disorders 
in Ireland. This writ and the trial by jury have always been regarded 
as the two great palladiums of English lilterty; and they do not exist 
elsewhere outside of the English speaking peoples. 

In this country, the founders of our Republic, evei- iilert and watch- 
ful to guard against arbitrary power, and to protect the liberties they 


liiul won by tlieir pjitriotic s.icriticcs and Milor, inserted in th(> Federal 
Constitution the i»ro\ision that "tlie i)ri\ ileu*' of tlie writ of lial)eas 
eorpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of reli(>llion or inva- 
siciu. the pulilie safety may n-iiuire it." lU'fore the ("ivil war. our coun- 
rry had passed throu.uh the Kevoiutionary war, the War of 1S12 with 
Great lUitain, and the Mexican war, and the writ had never been sus- 
pended. Laws, both Kedei'al and State, had been passed under which 
any person imprisoned could easily and readil.v obtain the writ froUi 
some Court or Jud,t;-e, and have the cause of his imprisonment inves- 
ti^'ated and procui'e his rele.ise if illeually detained. 

It was one of the fundamental principles for wiiieli our liberty-loving 
ancestors always contended that the military should be subi^rdinate 
to the civil power; and our uation began its life in 177<i Ity a protest 
in the Declaration of Independence against military usurpations. Dur- 
ing the lU'volutionary war, in which the patriots staked "their lives, 
their fortunes, and their sacred honor," on the vesidt of the struggle, 
tliey always asserted and enforced the subordination of the luilitary 
to the civil power; and in most of tlie states such subordination was 
framed into tlieir constitutions. Thougli (General Washington was 
clothed witli almost dictatori;il power, even in the darkest days of tlie 
Revolutionary struggle, he never presumed to overrich' the civil law, 
or to disregai'd the ordei's of tlic Courts except in extreme emergen- 
cies by express authority of Congress or of the States. During all the 
prior wars In which our countr.v had been engaged, martial law had 
not anywhere been proclaimed or enforced except by Ceneral Jackson 
in ISl") at New Orleans; and his arl)itrary .acts tliere. although appear- 
ing at the time to be necess.-iry. wei-e never afterward justified as legal 
t>ven l).v liimself. 

P.y the people of our country of all shades of political opinion, a large 
standing army was consideretl dangerous to liberty. We h:id all Ikh-u 
educated in tliat way. In tlie history of nations, large armies had 
always been tlie tools of usui-pers and tyrants used to oppi'ess the peo- 
ple; and lience our regular army h;id .always been kept small. At the 
commencement of the Civil war. it was h'ss than 15.0(K>. I'.ut .lanuary 
1. isci', it was over 575,000. March ol, 1S<;2, it was over (m7.000. Janu- 
ary 1. 1S«;;5, it was over DIS.OOO; and when it was mustered out at the 
close of the war it was more than 1.0(io.(i()(r; and in addition to all these 
soldiers was the force belonging to th" navy. Of these enormous 
foi'ces, Abraham Lincoln was the Coinmander-in-chief. They were sub- 
.iect to his orders and obedient to his will. What did our people then 
know about him? Before the war. he had never been much tried in 
public life, lie was simply known as ,i i)romineiit Republican poli- 
tician, who had become distinguished as iUi ehxpieiit and zeahms oppon- 
ent of the extension and dominance of slavery. How d;ingerous he 
might become to the liberties of our country, wliether he would become 
a Washington, or a Cromwell, or a P.onaparte, whether he would be- 


come iutoxicated with the power he possessed, whether he would use 
his power solely for the welfdre of his country, or for the aggrandize- 
ment of himself or of his party, comparatively few men could then tell. 
He was not then generally known, as we know him now after the rays 
of history have beat upon his character showing him to have been a 
humane, patriotic ruler, whose sole purpose was to discharge his duty 
and save the Union. Then again, he was the chief of a political party 
bestowing his vast patronage upon his partisans, many of whom were 
lilled with fanatical hatred of those who did not share in their political 

^Yith these antecedents, and under these circumstances, the people 
of the North found themselves in 18G1 and afterward involved in the 
Civil war, with soldiers everywhere mustering for battle, and the 
strains of martial music, in all the States, saluting the rising and the 
setting sun. It was not, during the war, questioned by anyone that the 
President, or any commander by his authority could proclaim martial 
law, and thus suspend the writ of habeas corpus in any of the rebel 
States, and in any other part of the country where the Union armies 
were actually operating against the enemy. The power to do these 
things is founded somewhat upon the maxim inter arma silent leges; 
and it belongs to all military commanders operating against enemies 
in a country which is the theatre of war. President Lincoln was crit- 
icized, and by many condemned for arbitrary acts in loyal States far 
from the theatre of war, and it is with these acts that I am now 

Apri-1 25th, 18G1, the President issued an order authorizing General 
Scott to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in Maryland; and two days 
later, an order authorizing him personally or through a subordinate 
commander to suspend it "at any point on or in the vicinity of any 
military line which is now or which shall be used between the City 
of Philadelphia and the City of Washington." July 2nd, 18G1, he 
issued a similar order for the suspension of the writ "on or in the vicin- 
ity of any military line" between the cities of New York and Washing- 
ton; and an order October 14, thereafter suspending the writ in any 
place between Bangor in Maine, and Washington. On the 2nd day of 
December, 38G1, he issued an order authorizing General Halleck. com- 
manding the Department of Missouri, to suspend the writ within the 
limits of his military department, and to exercise martial lav,' as he 
found it necessary in his discretion "to secure the public safety and the 
authority of the United States." It must be remembered that Missouri 
never seceded from the Union, and that maiiy of its citizens were in 
the Union armies during the entire war fighting for the Union. 

Px'ior to February 14th. 18G2, many citizens of loyal States had been 
arbitrarily arrested and confined, and denied the privilege of the writ 
of habeas corpus; and partially to silence the clamor made on account 
of such arrests, on that day, the President issued an oi'der directing 


that "all political prisoners now held in military custody be released 
on their subscribing to a parole engaging tliein to render no aid or 
comfort to the enemies in hostility to the United States. The Secretary 
of War will, however, in his discretion, except from the effect of this 
order any persons detained as spies in the service of the insuiTection, 
and others whose release at the present moment may be deemed incom- 
patible with the public safety;" and on the 27th of the same month 
he issued an orde:r, appointing a special commission consisting of Gen- 
eral Dix and Edwards Pierrepont of New York, "to examine the cases 
of the' St&te prisb'ners remaining in the military custody of the United 
States,- and' tti det'erihilie' whether in view of the public safety and the 
existing rebellion theyj^hduld be discharged or remain in military cus- 
tody, or bei'ehiitted fO'th#'<!ivil'tribunals for trial;" and they were to 
hear the cases ex parte ^nd in a summary manner. 

At that time many of the persons who had been arbitrarily arrested 
in loyal States without warrant, and without the exhibition of any 
charges against them, were confined in Fort Lafayette, near New 
York, and Fort Warren, near Boston, and in other prisons; and one 
of the circumstances that made their condition hard was that they were 
frequently not permitted .the benefit of counsel, and that access to the 
civil courts Was practically denied to them. They were in fact given 
to understand that the employment of counsel Would prejudice their 
case^. ; In De'cember, 1801, Seth C. Hawley, who was then Chief Clerk 
p.f th<? Metropolitan Police Commissioners of New Y'ork, acting, as he 
.stated, under order of William H. Seward, Secretary of State, read to 
the prisoners- confined in Fort Lafayette the following paper: "I am 
instructed by the Secretary of State to inform you that the Dep.'irtment 
of State of the United States will not recognize any one as an attorney 
fa;' pplitical prisoners, and will look with distrust upon all applications 
for relief through such channels;, and that such applications will be 
regarded as additional reasons foi: declining to release the prisoners-, 
and further, that if such prisoners wish to make any communication 
to the government they are at liberty -and are requested to make it 
directly to the State Department." That was the first time, at least 
In our country, when the employment of counsel by a prisoner was held 
to, prejudice his ease. It is'not strange that such a paper should have 
emanated from that source, as about that time Mr. Sewai-d, in a con- 
versation with Lord Lyon, then ambassador to this country from Great 
Britain, said: "My Lord, I can touch a bell on my right hand, and 
order the arrest of a citizen- of Ohio; I can touch a bell again, and order 
the ifuprisonment of a citizen of New York; and no power on earth 
■except tjiat of the President, can release them. Can the Queen of 
England do as much?" The noble Lord could have humiliated the 
great Secretary revelling in his newly assumed power by quoting the 
■.language of the Earl of Chatham, uttered in the English Parliament: 


"The poorest iiiiui in his cottage may bid defiance to all the power of 
the crown. It may be frail; its roof may sliake; tlie wind may blow 
throiigli it; the storm may enter; the rain may enter; but the King of 
England cannot enter. All liis power dares not cross the tlireshold of 
that ruined tenement." 

The ordt^r of the President to Secretary Stanton of February 14th, 
was a delusion, because it authorized him to retain in prison all per- 
sons, Avhether guilty of any crime or not, whose release he, in the exer- 
cise of his sole arbitrary discretion, "deemed incompatible witli tlie 
public safety." In tlie same order, however, to prevent Mr. Seward 
from touching his bell too often, he provided that "extraordinary 
arrests will hereafter be made under the direction of the military 
authorities alone." 

On the 15th day of April, 1862, the President issued an order to Gen- 
eral Dix, commanding at Baltimore, in a State whicli had not seceded, 
:iuthorizing him to "arrest and imprison disloyal persons, declnre mar- 
tial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus in the city of Baltimore 
or any part of his command, and to exercise and perform all military 
powers, functions and authority that he may deem proper for the safety 
of his command or to secure obedience and respect to the authority 
and government of the United States." This order gave the command- 
ing general absolute power over several hundred tliousand people, de- 
priving them of all redress under th-:' civil laws for any of his acts. He 
was the sole .ludge of what was disloyal, (which in the nomenclature 
of that day was a. very comprehensive term), and of what acts were 
dangerous; and all this in a community where a majority of the people 
were loyal, where there was an ample military force to preserve order 
and support the civil power; and where all the courts were open for 
the discharge of their regular duties. 

On the 2Gth day of July, 1862, Mr. Secretary Stanton issued to H. H. 
Hoxie, United States Marshal of the District of Iowa, the following 
order: "You are hereby authorized and instructed to arrest and im- 
I'rison any disloyal person or persons in your district who shall do any 
act or make any declaration or publication to discourage or prevent 
the enlistment of volunteers to suppress the rebellion, or to afford aid 
and comfort to tlie enemies of the United States. * * * Any per- 
son or persons arrested under this authority you will transport in safe 
custody to the Military Governor of the District of Columbia." This 
cruel order which authorized the marshal in the exercise of his discre- 
tion to arrest any person and take him more tlian a thousand miles from 
his liomp for confinement must have been intended to intimidate those 
persons in Iowa, a State nearly a thousand miles from the theatre of 
actual war, who were opposed to the party of the President. A copy 
of this order was apparently sent to S. .1. Kirkwood, (Governor of the 
State of Iowa, and he sent it to his friend Lowery with these endorse- 


ments upon it: "Kead the within carefully, and if any one in your 
region comes within its terms, write to Hoxie." "P. S. — Tliere are 
persons, if I mistalce not, in Wapello county that need attendin;i' to." 

Two more extraordinary orders were issued by Secretary Stanton 
by direction of the President, both on the 8th day of August, lS(i2, 
one authorizing all marshals, deputy marshals and military olTicers of 
the United States to arrest all persons liable to be drafted who are 
about to depart from the United States, and "to suspend the writ of 
liabeas corpus in respect to all persons so arrested and detained, and 
in respect to all persons arrested for disloyal practices;" another older, 
"First, that all United State marshals and superintendents and chiefs 
of police of any town, city or district be and they are hereby authorized 
and directed to arrest any person or persons Avho may be engaged by 
act, speech or writing in discouraging volunteer enlistments, oi in any 
way giving aid and comfort to the e^iemy, or for any other disloyal 
practice against the United States. Second, tliat innnediate rci)ort l)e 
made to Major L. C". Turner, Judge Advocate, in order that such per- 
sons may be tried by a military commission." 

These orders were to operate througliout the United States. No com- 
munity, however loyal and however distant from the field of warlike 
operations, was outside of their scope. Every marshal, every deputy 
marshal and every military officer, however low his grade, and the 
police otiicers named could arrest any person wlio he supposed to l)e 
liable to any draft or whom he suspected of disloyal practices, giving 
their own detinition to disloyalty; and all such persons when arrested 
were deprived, by the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, of any 
redress in the courts although throughout the North they were at ail 
times open and in the full discharge of their regular duties. Moie arbi- 
trary orders were never issued by any ruler in any civilized country 
during the last three centuries. A distinguished jurist of this State 
who had aided in founding the party of Abraham Lincoln, told me 
that he stood by his party, and supported the acts of the I'residenr 
until the issuing of these orders, when he felt obliged to leave his party, 
and join the opposition to the President, believing that the liberties of 
our country were in danger, and fearing that he might be arrested by 
some minion of power for some judicial act conscientiously performed. 
About this time. Lyman Trumbel, United States Senator from Illinois, 
an early and staunch friend of the I'resident. and one of tli< .-iblest 
statesmen and jurists of the nation .and witli liim many otlier mem- 
bers of the President's party, began to criticise these arbitri'.ry acts, 
and to deny the power of the President to suspend the ,vrit of habeas 
corpus or declare martial law in loyal States. Among these critics was 
Benjamin R. Curtis, of Boston, who in the United States Supreme Court 
delivered the famous dissenting opinion in tlie Dred Scot case. He 
was one of the ablest jurists this country has ever produced. Among 
otlier things he said: "It lias been attempted by some p.atriotic jour- 

-S'.q 11.,. ,.■_,: . , V. 

'" M- "'' •' ^ , >t.' 
nals to raise the cry of disloyalty against any one'wlio should question 
these executive acts. But the people of the. United. States know that 
loyalty is not subserviency to a man, qr to a party, -o,r toi^the opinions, 
of newspapers; but that it is an honest and wise devotion 1^0 the safety 
and welfare of our country, and to the great principles wliic^ .opr con- 
stitution of government embodies, by which alone that ^safety and Wei-' 
fare can be secured; and when these principles ai,'e put in jeopardy 
every truly loyal man must interpose according to hi^,, lability; or be 
an unfaithful citizen. This is not a government of ,m^,^,it is a govern- 
ment of law. and the laws are recpiired l:)y'the pe.ople t(> he in conform- 
ity with their wiJl declared bv the Constitution. Our loyalty- is due to" 
that will, our obedience is duo to tliose Iftyt-s-j; ai),d Jie who wo«Jd*induc<^ 
submission to other laws springing froiu sopiv'ces of pow0r not- originat- 
ing in the people, but in casual events. ti0i}Jn- dhe mere Avill -of' the' 
occupants of places of power does not e:\h.0J"t. us to loyal-ty, but to .a 
desertion of our trust." But these criticisms were unavailing; - and 
on the 24th day of September, 18(52, the I'resident issued a most extra- 
ordinary proclamation that, "ifirst, during the existing. in§uiT€;ct4on.- 
and as a necessary Avar measure for suppressiug the sa-iri'g>i^|Pi'^bels 
and insurgents, their aiders and abettors, within' the United S-t-ates; and- 
all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting military drafts' 
or guilty of any disloyal practices .affording aid and comfort 'to rebels 
against tlie authority of the United States shall be subject to martial 
law, and liable to trial and punishment by a Court ]Martia] or Military 
Commission. Second, .that the writ of liabeas corpus is suspended in 
respect to all such persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter dur- 
ing tlie rebellion, shall be imprisoned iu any fort, camp, arsenal, mili- 
tary prison, or other place of conliuejinent by any military authority, 
or by the sentence of any Court Martial or Military Commission." 
This proclamation still more sweeping in its language than the prior' 
orders aroused much clamor in the loyal States. It placed the liberty 
of every citizen in the al)solute power of the President and the officers 
of every grade acting under him or by- his authority, and closed all the 
Courts against the victims of arbitrary power. - It aroused much ad- 
verse criticism throughout the North and "R'as much denounced in Con- 
gress by the Democrats and some Republicans-. The right of the Pres- 
ident to suspend the writ of habeas corpus was denied, and it was 
claimed that, under the federal constitution, the writ could be suspend- 
ed only by authority of an act of Congress, and it was strenuously con- 
tended that neither the President nor any military commander could 
declare or enforce martial law anywhere except where actual war 
existed Avith hostile forces in the field. These criticisms were so forci- 
ble and the clamor against arbitrary arrests, martial law and the sus- 
pension of the writ so loud and general that on the third day of March, 
1863, Congress passed an act authorizing the President, during the 
rebellion, to suspend the writ of habeas corpus throughout the United 


States; and on the loth day of Sei)teml)er thereafter, the I'resident 
issued a proehimation under that act suspeliding the writ in ;ill cases 
where by his authority military, naval and civil officers of tln' United 
States "held persons in tlieir custody, eitlier as prisoners of war, spies 
or aiders or abettors of the enemy," and other persons described. 

There is no dispute now tliat before tl:e passage of tliis act tiie Pres- 
ident had no power undei' tlie Constitution to suspend the writ of 
habeas corpus. All commentators on tlie Constitution and all tlie .judi- 
cial autliorities are to that effect. And it is eipi.tlly well settled that 
neither he nor any army otlic-er Iiad tlie right to declai'e and enforce 
martial law or set up a military commission for tlie trial of any person 
in any State or district where there was no war, which was in no sense 
the theatre of war, and wliere the civil courts were open and in full 
discliarge of their duties. It was disputed whether, even uiKler this 
act, the President could suspend the writ in peaceful and orderly com- 
munities far from the seat of war. But arrests l)y United Stales civil 
and military otlicers went on. It was easy to luring nearly all the per- 
sons who differed from the I'resident, or criticised his ;icts. oi- (jues- 
tioned the civil or railitai-y policy he pursued, or denounced unwar- 
ranted arbitrary arrests and martial law, witliin tlie l)road and con- 
venient phrases, "aiders and abettors of the rebellion, " "giving aid and 
comfort to the enemy." Many who were not arrested, were aiarmed, 
intimidated and exasperated; and it is easy to see now. that these 
arbitraiy measures worked more liarm tlian good to tlie Union cause. 

Subordinate military commanders were not slow to follow these 
examples of arbitrary power set by tlie Comm.-uider-in-cliief. On the 
l.'jth of Aioi'il, 18()3, General Purnside, then in command of the L)(>part- 
ment of Ohio, with zeal tired and judgment Avarped by liis recent dis- 
graceful defeat at Fredericlcsl)urg. issued an order. No. 38. announcing 
that "all persons found witliin our lines who commit acts for tlie bene- 
fit of the enemies of our country will be tried as spies or traitors, and 
if convicted, will sulfer death;" and he announced among the acts com- 
ing within the scope of his order, "the habit of declaring sympathy 
for the enemy;" and he declared that "Treason, express or implied, 
will not be tolerated in this Department." ^A'llat was meant by "de- 
claring sympathy for the enemy," "by acts for the benefit of the en- 
emy" and by "implied treason'.'" These phrases contain tlie sting of 
this extraordinary order and made it so conipreliensive that a large 
portion of the people of Ohio could, if desired, be brouglit within its 
scope. Tills order aroused gi'eat apprehension and bitter criticism, 
not only in Ohio, but throughout the Northern States; and Mr. Valan- 
digliam, who had been a prominent Democratic member of Congress, 
denounced it in strong tei'ms at a Democratic meeting which lie and 
others addi'essed. For this he was arrested by a coniiiany of armed 
soidiei-s at his home in Dayton, who fca'cid their way into 1>i« lunise 
for that piu'pose. He was carried to Cincinnati and put in prison and 


kept in close conllnement until he Wiis brou.ylit before ;i Military Com- 
mission organized by General Biirnside for his trial. He protested 
against the whole proceeding. But he was fonnd guilty of the charges 
against him and sentenced to imprisonment in some military fortress 
during the war. This proceeding was ai)])roved by tlie President ex- 
cept that he. wilh grim humor, modilled the sentence to deportation 
into the Confederate fines. All this took place in a loyal State, where 
the ciA'il courts were open and where a military commission was abso- 
lutely without authority to try any citizen not in the army, as it was 
afterward held by the Supreme Court of the United vStates in the case 
of ex parte Milligan 4 Wallace 0. 

These proceedings created a profound sensation throughout the coun- 
try. They were assailed in public meetings, in speeches, editoi'ials and 
pamphlets; and f-ome of the most loyal supporters of the administra- 
tion joined in the attacks. One of (xeneral Kurnside's own staff offi- 
cers, Colonel Cutts, wrote to the President that "Order No. 88 has 
kindled the tires of hatred and contention." To a pul»lic meeting called 
at Albany to take action in reference t>) tlie arrest of Valandigham, 
(Jovernor Seymour wrote, saying among other things: "It is an act 
which has brought dishonor upon om- country: it is full of danger to 
our persons and to our homes. * * * If is not merely a stej! towai'd 
revolution, it is revolution: it will not only lead to military des])otism. 
it establishes military despotism." The resolutions adopted at this 
meeting Avere sent to the I'resident, and he replied in a lengthv letter, 
justifying the action of Oeneral P>urnside: and he never revoked or 
modified Order No. 38. 

But there was still a greater stretch of power by the Pres- 
ident which no historian or jurist has yet attempted to justif.v. 
On the ITtli day of May, ]8(i4, some person desiring to influ- 
I'uce the stock markets forged what ptu-ported to V)e a proclamation 
of the I'resident calling in terms of exaggerated depression for four 
hundred thotisand troops: and he took it to the newspapers in New 
York for publication claiming to have obtained it in Washington. It 
iiad the appe.-irance of being geiuiine, and tlie New York World and 
the New York Journal of Commerci' ^\■ere deceived and in good faith 
published it. Then the I'resident, withotit any inquiry, issued an order 
to General Dix, who had charge of the military forces in and about 
New Y'ork, commanding him "to arrest and imprison in any fort or 
military prison in your command the editors, proprietors and pul)lishers 
of the aforesaid newspapers; and all stich persons as, after pttblic notice 
has been given of the falseliood of such publication, shall piint and 
publish the same with intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy; 
and you will Jiold the persons so arrested in close custody until they 
can be brought to trial before a military commission for their offences. 
Y'ott will also take possession by military force of the printing estab- 
lishments of the New Y'ork World and Journal of Commerce and hold 



tlic sainc until riu-tlicr ordi'i-s and iiroliibit any I'lirtiKT ]iiil)licatii> 
tlu'i'(.'l'r()!ii." This order was olicyt'd by (Iciifral l>ix. and the ini))lifa- 
tloii of tlic two papers was susiteiidrd for two days, wlieii the rnifed 
States authorities heeoiuiiiL;- satislied tliai tlie iiulilieatiou of the pro- 
(laiuatiiai was due to iiiistal<.e released the persons arrested :;iid the 
newspaper estahlishiiK'nts. and tlie pulilieation of tlie papers was re- 
sumed. These e\t raoKlinary acts created .ureat exeiteiiieiit in this 
State, and Horatio Seymour, then .governor, called luiblie attention 
to tliem and (h'lioiinced tluin as .-ii-liitrary inxasions of the fundamental 
li.iihts of liberty and projierty. 

The brevity reipiired for this oc<'asion lorbids 1 should specify 
many of the liuiuh-eds <d' cases of arbitrary arrests made without war- 
rant in loyal States far from the theatre of war. The victims were 
genera l!y carried far from llieir homes, jiiid conlined in vile prisons, 
and finally disclKarm-d without trial or even tlie evhibition of any 
char,u('s against them. 1 will refer to but a few cases which from their 
jteculiar eiincumsta n<-cs .-ittriicfed most attention in this State-. 

(>ctol)er 22nd. isi;l, Hon. Francis I >. I'laiiders and .Indue .biseph 
riauders. of, in this State, were arrested by four deputy luar- 
slials under ;i special order from William II. Seward, directing;' the 
I'nited States marshal to ai-rest them ami convey them to Fort Lafay- 
ette. They \\vir taken to that fort, and after centinemeiit tli: re. they 
Vt'ere conveyecl ti> Fort Wiurci) in the I'-ostoii h.irlior. ami tlu-re they 
were coiitined uiilil February l22nd. when they were discharucd without 
any trial, or even a hearin.t;' u[u)ii any chari^cs. 

Rev. .Iuds(m I >. P>enedict. a ('ami»ellite minister, born and reared iu 
the State of ACrmout. wlio li;id not voted for fifteen years, in August, 
ISCL.', i>reaehed a farewell sermon to his con.ure.uation at' East Aurora, 
iu this State, takin.t;- his text from Christ's seruion on the mount. lake 
the Quakers, he \v;is conscientiously ojipos^'d to A\;irs of any kind. ;ind 
so told his iieoi)le. For preachiuu this sermon he w;is .arrested by a 
dei)uty inarsluii. His counsel obtained from I'nited States .Tudu'e Ilall 
a writ of Iialieas eorpus; and upon the hearin.i;- on the return to that 
writ, the Jnd,L;-e, uivinu' a very able and elaborate oiiinicui. disdiar.ued 
him. Before he could le.ave the court room, the inarslial au.ain by a 
special order from the Secretary of War directing liim to dis'ibey ;iuy 
writ of habeas coriuis. rearrested him. and hurryiuL;- him off. conveyed 
him to Washin.uton. wlna'e he w.-is conliiud for several weeks in the 
old Capitol jirison. when he was taken before the .Tudue Advocate and 
without any trial or the exhiliitiou of any char.ucs a.uainst him, he was 
diseharged. In answer to his iinpiii'y why he was arrested and impris- 
oned, the Judge Advocate replied: '•Oh. it was mily to show the people 
that the military power is now above the civil jiower." 

The (a'owuing outrage, so far as this Slate was concerned, is yet to 
be stated. It relates to the arrest of several jirominent citizens of this 
State •who were concerned with the votes of soldiers from this State 


ill the field near Wasliiiigton. In 18G3, a law was passed by tlie Legis- 
lature of tills State authorizing the Governor to appoint suitable agents 
to provide additional relief for the sick and wounded soldiers from this 
State, and to perform such other duties for the relief of the soldiers 
as he might direct. And in April, 18(54, an act was passed enabling 
our soldiers in the field to vote. Under these acts. Colonel Samuel 
North of Otsego county, one of the most respectable citizens of our 
State, Major Levi Cohn of Albany and Lieutenant Marvin M. Jones of 
Utica, were appointed by Horatio Seymour, then Governor, to go to 
AVashington to discharge tlieir duties under these acts. They went to 
Washington to discharge their duties, and there they opened an office; 
and while engaged in giving relief to the soldiers and aiding tliem under 
the law of this State in preparing their votes, they were arbitrarily 
arrested the latter part of October, 18G4, by tlie order of Mr. Dana, 
Assistant Secretary of Wai", whicli contained the statement tliat it was 
issued by order of the President, and which directed the seizure of all 
the papers of the agency and all their private papers at their lodgings. 
Under this order tliey were taken and confined in the old Capitol prison 
and their papers, official and private, were seized. When news of this 
outrage reached this State there was much excitement and indignation. 
Governor Seymour at once appointed Judges William F. Allen and 
Amasa J. Parker and Hon. William Kelley, thi'ee of the most eminent 
citizens of our State, to go to Washington to investigate the matter 
and to employ counsel to defend the prisoners. Tliey immediately went 
to Washington and found the prisoners in a loathsome prison; tliey 
could not obtain free access to the prisoners, nor could counsel employ- 
ed on their behalf. The accused were finally arraigned for trial Novem- 
ber 3rd, before a military commission, charged "with conduct preju- 
dicial to the military service of the United States, and in fraud of 
the election rights and duties of the soldiers and officers of said ser- 
vice." The accused were defended by William A. Beach, of Troy, and 
other counsel employed by the State. Their objections to the jurisdic- 
tion of the Commission were forcibly presented, and in his reply to 
their arguments, the Judge Advocate, among other things, made the 
extraordinary assertion that "in times of war a great many provisions 
of the Constitution wliich wei^e intended for times of peace are pro 
tanto suspended. The constitution, or rather the mass of its details is 
intended for time of peace; but in time of war the general powers 
therein delegated to Congress and to the President take the place of 
the general provisions in time of peace." These objections which no 
one will now dispute were well taken, were overruled and the trial 
proceeded; and early in February, after about three months of cruel 
confinement, the accused were found not guilty and discharged. 

There were many other cases of arbitrary arrests within this State. 
But I have no time to deal with them now. As we look back from 
this time, it must be a matter of surprise that under the exercise of 


such arbitrary powers the people were as patient and docile as they 
nearly always were. There were millions of sober-minded, patriotic 
men who could not subscribe to the doctrine that any part of the Con- 
stitution was silent in tlie time of war in the loyal States, and so the 
Courts Hnally held. 

I have thus called attention to these acts of arl)itrary power, but 
not for the purpose of detracting from the great merits of Abraham 
Lincoln, who will always have a place among the greatest chi'.racters 
of his time. Mankind are too prone to idealize their lieroes and to 
endow them with qualities little less than divine. A perfect picture 
upon any canvass must have both shadow and light; and the charac- 
ters of great men will be more instructive if delineated with their 
human limitations. History teaches by examples, some of which are to 
be imitated, and others shunned; and if the lessons are to be worth 
anything, they must be founded upon the truth. There was doubtless 
palliation for many of Mr. Lincoln's arbitrary acts. Some of them were 
doubtless due to the solicitations and urgent advice of others who were 
less patient and humane than he was. He was engaged in a gigantic 
^md desperate struggle to save the Union, and his responsibilities and 
■ distractions were such as have rarely come to any man. In the din, 
excitement and perils of a great war, he did not see as clearly as we 
now can, the signiticance of current events, and the character and qual- 
ity of his own acts, and the acts of other men. I have i"ef erred to them 
for tlie purpose of answering the question with which I started. Those 
men. Republicans and Democrats, who criticised these acts were not 
disloyal for so doing. By protesting and by insisting upon the great 
landmarks of liberty for which our race had struggled for centuries, 
they rendered a great service to their country and to posterity. We 
can see to-day tliat these arbitrary acts did not in fact aid the Union 
cause, but that their tendency was to injure it by alienating from the 
support of the public authorities much active sympathy and assistance 
which they would otherwise have received. Impartial history will do 
justice to all the actors in the great drama, and will assign such men 
as Horatio Seymour and Samuel J. Tilden as well as President Lincoln 
and William H. Seward each to his proper place for what he did in his 
sphere of action for the salvation of the Union, and also for the pres- 
ervation of liberty regulated by law. 



Read before the Herkimer County Historical Society, June 8, 1901. 

The founders of our republic were men wise in their own generation, 
far-seeing in their provisions and enactments for the welfare and pros- 
perity of the State. To become wealthy was not their aim, but to build,, 
up a government whose strength should be in the liberty given to the* 
people. Rut if the people were to govei'n themselves, they must have 
intellectual enlightenment and moral training. What, then, could be 
wiser than to give to each man a liberal education? 

The echoes of the Reformation were still reverberating through 
Europe when some sturdy Dutchmen embarked to establish a home 
in the New World, where their most cherished ideals might be realized. 
The educational system of Xew York State is indebted to Holland foi- 
its underlying principles, "self-help and perfect freedom, but according; 
to law," for these early settlers brought with them thoroughly engraft- 
ed in their hearts the deep underlying principles of that great era in 
history when men for the first time dared to shake off servitude, to 
stand for free unti'ammeled manhood, to learn the great lessons of 
self-mastery and co-operation. 

Hardly were the Dutch settled in New Netherlands when education 
for the people was demanded. One of the first duties of the patroons 
was to find speedy means for maintaining a clergyman and a school- 
master. With A'an Twiller. in 1(!.>J, came Adam Rodlandsen, the 
pioneer schoolmaster of the Empire State. His pedagogical duties 
were supplemented by his occupations as grave digger, sexton and con- 
soler of the sick. A little later Peter Stuyvesanfs petition for a Latin 
school was granted. Dr. Carolus was its first principal. His salary 
was $187.50, use of house and garden and in addition he had the privi- 
lege of practicing medicine. That the schools flourished under the 
Dutch regime is attested by the fact that before the middle of the sev- 
enteenth century New Amsterdam, with a population of 800, had fifteen 


It was unfortunate for the cause of uhu-ation that the (•han,i;e of 
{governors occurred when the tyrannical Stuarts occupied tlie Engiisli 
tlu-one. The royal .liovernors discoura.ued any attempts on the part of 
the people to better their intellectual condition lest they should become 
dissatisfied with the existing order of tlang'S. Education sulfered a 
serious decline because in all its plans for wealth and prosperity the 
New York colony never entertained tlie idea of free schools for the 
people. However, to this period tlie cause of hi.ulier education is in- 
debted for the fouiulation of King's C'oUegi', now ('oluml)ia. 

Colonial schools afforded a strong conti'ast to those of to-day, in that 
no women were found among the teachers. If the mental culture of 
the boys received little attention, that of the girls received still less. 
To-day fully five-sixths of the teachers employed in the schools of New 
York State are Avomen who have proved their litness to till tlie im- 
portant position, the training of future citizens. They likewise differed 
in another respect, that these public schools were not in any sense free 

But if the condition of scliools was dubious previous to the Revolu- 
tion, no conspicuous improvement was made during the years inuue- 
diately following. It took the country a long time to recover from the 
effects of war and naturally tlie schools were last to receive the atten- 
tion of the State. Wasliington Irving's picture of lehabod Crane and 
his temple of learning is a fair rendering of the pedagogue and the 
schoolhouse of the time. He presents quite a contrast to the many cultur- 
ed gentlemen who govern our schools of to-day and his log schoolhouse 
looks very small and paltry compared with the ornate and elegant 
educational institutions of the present century. "'These years tilled by 
the rich with money making and bj' the poor with a struggle for a mere 
existence, Avere dark ones for education." \"ears of wise planning, 
intelligent foresight, wonderful organization and sublime courage were 
needed before our system was brought to its present state of perfection. 

Early in the administration of Governor (xcorge (^'lintoii, lie laid the 
foundation of our present school system. In his message to the legis- 
lature he said: "While it is evident that academies are to be com- 
mended, yet their advantages are confined to the children of the opu- 
lent. The establishment of common schools throughout the State is 
happily calculated to remedy this inconvenience and will, therefore, 
engage your early and decided attention." Again and again he appeal- 
ed to the lawiuakers in the interest of common free schools, but only 
indifference or a positive refusal met him. Still undisma.ved, he persisted 
in his purpose, the uplifting of the masses through education. The ])ody 
of regents, of which later mention will be made.iuiited with the governor 
in an appeal to the Legislature in 17!>.''. for common schools, but these 
wise men, while they agreed that education for the masses was a good 
thing, did not in any way bestir themselves mitil 17!)r), when an act 
for the "encouragement of schools for the instruction of branches nee- 


essary to complete a good English education," became a law. This act 
made an annual appropriation of $50,000 for five years, apportioned to 
the various counties according to the number of assemblymen and the 
taxable population. Taking into consideration the population and con- 
dition of the State, this was quite a sum. The county supervisors were 
required to raise by tax upon each town a sum equal to one-half that 
raised by the State. ,A11 beyond was to be supplied by personal tax. 
In 1800, the appropriation expired, but now the practical, clear-headed 
Jedediah Feck, of Otsego county, took up the work. He never relaxed 
his efforts until he compelled the legislature to do something. The first 
step toward establishing a common school fund was a lottery by means 
of which $100,000 was raised. This was a favorite- method of raising 
school money until the abolishment of lotteries in 1821. 

Again Governor Clinton declared that the diffusion of knowledge 
was so essential to the increase of virtue and the promotion of liberty 
that arguments were unnecessary to excite the Legislature to perse- 
verance in this laudable pursuit. He farther observed that education 
by correcting the morals and improving th(> manners tended to prevent 
those evils which are beyond the sphere of education. But his eloquent 
words fell on unheeding ears. He did not live to see the reixlization 
of his hopes, the common school system of our time. 

Once more we meet that sturdy champion, Jedadiah Peck, who per- 
sisted in his labors until, under Governor Tompkins' administration, 
the legislators considered his statement of the needs of the schooLs.and 
the most practical method of supplying them. State care and super- 
vision were suggested. In short, the vital points of the present system 
Avere mapped out. As a result of his labors, the first state superintend- 
ent, Gideon Hawley, was appointed. It was extremely fortunate' for 
the cause of popular education that such a capable, far-seeing man, 
such a remarkable organizer, should have been the appointee. When 
he assumed the duties of his office, education was in a chaotic state, 
but he succeeded in laying broad and strong the foundation of our admi- 
rable system. 

A notable feature of Mr. Hawley's administration was the Lancas- 
terian system of education. The school was divided into classes. Bach 
class into pairs of pupils, each pupil acting alternately as the instruc- 
tor of the other. This system had its strong supporters, but it has 
long since given way to better methods. The compensation Gideon 
Hawley received for his splendid services is worthy of note, $300 annu- 
ally and his removal from office. 

This impolitic move created so much controversy that the office of 
superintendent was abolished and the schools placed in charge of the 
Secretary of State until 1853, when the department of public instruc- 
tion was reorganized, with Victor Rice at its head. In 18G7, the obnox- 
ious rate bill against which there had been a long and memorable strug- 
gle for "universal education in our public schools, free to all," was 


abolished and the schools luade absolutely free. Indeed, it was during,' 
the administration of Judge Benton, of our own county, tiiat tiie key- 
note was struck. 

The rate bill, so long- a prominent feature of the educational system, 
provided that all money needed over and above that appropriated by 
the State should be raised by taxing parents in proportion to the num- 
ber of days their children attended. This gave rise to all sorts of sub- 
terfuges and practically placed learning beyond the reach of the poor. 
Upon its abolishment, a common school education was made free to all 
and the system reached its highest development. 

The growth of the department of public instruction has been simply 
marvelous, attesting the worth and executive ability of the men who 
have been its several heads. The management of our public school 
system after all these years has resolved itself into this. 

For the purpose of primary education, the State is divided into 112 
commissioner districts, which are subdivided into 11,750 school districts, 
the smallest territorial divisions of the State. At district meetings the 
voters elect from one to three trustees. A collector, librarian and clei'k 
are also elected, who serve one year. 

Under the law of 1853, school districts were authorized to combine 
into union free school districts and to establish graded schools, to be 
maintained by general tax. The schools are under the management of 
boards of education, whose powers and duties are similar to those of 
district trustees. These union free schools are important because in 
them the two systems of education in this State meet. 

Triennially, at the general election, a commissioner is chosen. His 
duties are: to lay out and regulate boundaries between school districts, 
to apportion public money, to exercise supervision over school districts, 
to examine and license teachers and candidates for normal schools, to 
make an annual report to the State superintendent. 

But the chief executive of this great system is the State superin- 
tendent, which office has been held by a series of able men from Gideon 
Hawley to the present incumbent. Charles R. Skinner. He is chosen 
triennially by the joint ballot of the Assembly and Senate. In the dis- 
charge of his manifold duties he exercises an almost autocratic power. 
He appoints the working force of his own bureau, makes appointments 
of State pupils to the institutions for the instruction of the deaf, dumb 
and l)lind. He also has charge of the Indian schools. He allots the 
.fi-l ,(»0(),0()U of puldic money, compiles reports of the school connnission- 
crs and the city superintendents. He also has supervision of all agen- 
cies for the training of teachers, uniform examinations, institutes, 
training classes and normal schools. He also determines the grade and 
issues certificates to teachers. P>esides these duties, he is the final 
arbiter in all misunderstandings and disputes that may arise over any 
l)oint in the school law. He is ex-officio a trustee of the University of 
the State of New York, and of Syracuse and Cornell Universities. 


The evolution of the idea of free schools in New York Stute was some- 
■\vhat rtehiyed because of nneducated sentiment, but now tlie people are 
in fullest sympathy with the theory that a State has the riglit to insist 
tliat every child shall be educated for citizenship. To put in practice 
tills theory a compulsory education law lias been enacted which is suc- 
cessful. It does not follow tl)at every child of scliool age in New York 
State attends school IGO days of the school year, but a great gain is 
being made and through a wise and just enforcement of this statute 
the State lias reason to expect that the acceptance of her I'ducational 
pi'ivileges will lie more ready and spontaneous. 

The Empire State's system of education is uni<iue from the fiict that 
witliin its boundaries is a dual system. In 1787. the Regents of the 
University ot' the State of New York Avere incorporated and they kept 
alive through its most discouraging years the cause of education. 
"The history of higher education has the interest of age and of historic 
incident, and is closely connected with the history of the State." To 
give an extended historical account of this admirable organization, 
which is a decided innovation in educational pi-ogress, is cpiite impos- 
sible. Brieriy, the university comprises all the iiistitutions of a higher 
cliaracter wliich are or may be incorporated together with the State 
library and museum. It consists of several liundred institutions, more 
than half of which are academies and liigh scliools. It is the latter 
which are the bone of contention between the two systems. 'The gov- 
ernment is invested in nineteen elective regents chosen liy tlie Ijcgis- 
lature, and in the Governor, Lieutenant-governor, Secretary of State 
and state superintendent of public instruction. The regents elect their 
own officers: a chancellor, Avho serves without pay, and a s(>cretary 
and treasurer. The institutions composing the University have no 
representation on the governing board. The regents have power to con- 
fer degrees, establish examinations, grant diplomas, maintain lectures 
and give and take away charters. The ol>ject of the University is to 
encourage and promote higher education and to inspect all institutions 
under its care. 

The affairs of the ITniversity have always been in able hands. George 
Clinton was its tii'st chancelloi-, Alexander Hamilton and Ezra L'Hom- 
luedieu its originators. The roll of its regents is bright with illustrious 

It rendered invaluable service in the development of the common 
free schools when it declared that secondary education was impossible 
without a lirin and Avell-laid foundation, which could be obtaiJU'd only 
by universal education. Training classes tor teachers flourish<-d under 
its fostering care. Its system of examination keeps pace with all mod- 
ern ideas and are an inspiration to teacher and pupil. 

We come now to another division of our subject, the support of the 
common schools. They derive their support from three sources. First, 
the free school fund. This is the amount raised annually by tax for 


scliools, tlu' rate, one mill uii a dollar, boiii,-- lixcd ])y the liC.niHlaturo. 
Tlie annual approitriation is now three and one-half millions. 

The common sehool I'nnd is the outcome of the sale of State lands. 
Ill 1805, 500, 000 acres of State land, at the su:4-,iiestion of Governor 
Lewis, were sold and the proceeds set asiih: as a permanent fund for 
the support of the common schools. \N'lieii the a,iinual revenues I'eached 
JhDCOOO, the first distril)Utioii was mack-. The ori.i;inal capital has now 
increased to nearly live million dollars. 

The United Stiites deposit fund ori.uinated in tlie distribution to the 
several States of tlie surplus revenues in the United States treasury. 
Tile portion received by New York amounted t(t four million dollars, 
the proceeds of wliicli were apportioned amony the counties according 
to population. 

The superintendent nialies tlie following appropriations: Cities and 
incorporated villages of not less than 5,000 inhabitants, employing a 
local superintendent, receive .fSdO. The remainder of the school money 
is apportioned according to population. These sums appear very large, 
but only one-tifth of the actual school expenses are paid by the State. 
The remainder of the .'j;o.">,00(».()00 annually exjiended for the common 
free schools is raised by local tax. 

One of the greatest ditHculties the champions of free education en- 
countered was the incompetency of the teachers. De Witt Clinton 
lirst suggested that the academies organize classes for the training of 
teachers. Naturally these tirst agencies for the instruction of teachers 
were under the control of the regents, who brought them to a high 
development. The act which authorized the consolidation of several 
school districts into union free school districts also authorized the 
establishment in these union schools of academic departments. These 
departments were recognized as of e(]ual grade Avith the academies 
and lieiice Avere placed under the supervision of the regents and thus 
they, too, could have training classes. In 1889, the supervision of these 
classes passed from tlieir hands into tliose of the State superintendent, 
with this object in view "to bring all the instrumentalities for the train- 
ing of common school teachers under one head." Several thousand 
young men and women are now enjoying tlie advantages of these 

The school receives ifl.OO a week for each ])Uiiil and in return gives 
instruction in the elementary branches, methods, history of education. 
United States, history, physiology, school hnv and psychology. The 
members of the. class also practice and observe in tlu' grades of the 
school. P.y this means (pialitied teachers are obtained for the lower 
grades and for the rural schools. 

One of the tirst means employed for the betterment of tlit ccacher's 
mental equipment was the institutes. th(> tirst one of which was h-^ld 
in Ithaca, in 1843. Their growth has been I'emarkable and the imprc i e- 
nient in methods and manner of instruction hardly less so. One insti- 


tute is held in eacli commissioner district yearly. Attendance of teach- 
ers is compulsory, but no deduction is made from their salary if the 
school is closed "because of institute." These meetings are of real 
value to instructors for their ideas are broadened and fresh courage 
and inspiration come from contact with other teachers. Summer insti- 
tutes are also held at the Thousand Island Park and Chautauqua, 
where teachers may combine rest and instruction. Still another agency 
for the training of teachers is found in the normal schools. Governor 
Clinton was the first one to suggest some means of professional train- 
ing for teachers, but it was not until 1849 that his idea took shape in 
the form of the Albany Normal School, now a State Normal College. 
For nearly 20 years it was the only institution of the kind, but its 
success finally influenced the legislature to establish a similar school 
at Oswego. There are now in the State twelve of these really valuable 
schools where men and women who plan to teach may receive instruc- 
tion at the expense of the State. These schools have given instruction 
In subject matter but the idea is growing that they should be profes- 
sional schools for those who have completed a satisfactory course of 
study. Model schools are a feature where the pupils under the super- 
vision of competent instructors put in practice their professional in- 
struction, and their ability to impart knowledge is made a condition of 
graduation. The influence of these schools is widespread and powerful. 
The standard is being raised and the State is assured that the grade 
of teacliers is higher and better every year. Nearly every common 
school now insists that its teachers be at least Normal graduates. 

The system of uniform examinations is another instrument to create 
better and more competent teachers. The idea is constantly growing 
that with the means provided, teachers not only should be better equip- 
ped mentally, that they should not only possess administrative ability, 
but that they should represent and embody the best types of American 
womanhood and manhood; that they should possess the power to 
inspire to high and noble living. 

But who have reared this great educational structure, a system of 
common free schools far surpassing the world-famed public schools of 
England, which are not free schools? New York State numbers among 
her statesmen and warriors the brightest names in the country's his- 
toi-y, nor is this less true of her educators. Governor George Clinton 
laid broad and strong the foundations of a school system so splendid 
and wise, spreading its influence that it readies to the Pacific Ocean 
and even to Europe. John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Ezra L'llomme- 
dieu, Philip Livingstone and a long series of wise statesmen and able 
administrators make bright her educational history. De Witt Clinton's 
services in the establishment of free schools are sufficient to forever 
perpetuate his name and fame. To no individual in the State is com- 
mon school education in its infancy more deeply indebted than to Gid- 
eon Hawley. At a time when everything depended upon organization 


and uiiuute supervision, he proved the man for the period, educating 
sentiment, and bringing- order out of chaos. 

Wm. H. Seward, one of our most brilliant governors, believed that 
education was a training of the mind and character and not a mere 
superficial acquirement of knowledge. He rJso believed that education 
is the cliief of the State's responsibilities, exerting a wider and deeper 
mtiuence tlian any cliange in policy or physical improvement. He pro- 
posed that the department of public instruction be in charge of a super- 
intendent appointed by tlie Legislature. His advanced ideas were the 
inspiration of much that is good in our i)ublic schools. 

To trace the influence of each man and woman who has contributed 
of his best life to the betterment of his fellowmen, liowever pleasant a 
task, is impossible, to even recapitulate the names and services of those 
mentioned in this article would take too long. No cause has ever been 
taken up so unselfishly, none has ever had to combat greater opposi- 
tion nor taken so many years to bring about the accomplishment of its 
ends. All nonor to those noble sons of the Empire State who sowed 
what they could never reap, who undertook a great cause unselfishly 
and worked it out because of love for their fellowmen. 

The century that has just closed has been a great advancement in 
education; free schools have been established, compulsory education 
enacted, professional training schools opened, free libraries instituted, 
in short a steady growth in all lines pertaining to intellectual enlighten- 
ment which cannot be without its influence upon the State and Nation. 

Tlie seers of the various periods in our State history realized the vast 
importance of education for these master spirits appreciated the fact 
that intelligent, God-fearing citizens are the life and strength of a state, 
the source of its progress and influence. The relation between educa- 
tion and civic prosperity is close and vital. Tlie latter depending almost 
entirely upon the former, but of transcendent importance is the higher 
life which comes tlu-ough the training of the mental faculties, the de- 
velopment of the moral and spiritual (lualities. A State may have ma- 
terial prosperity without education, but ignorance is tlie mother of 
crime and such a prosperity can be neitlier lasting or influential. Any 
State to become a permanent factor in the' world's progress must have 
thoughtful, law-abiding and intelligent citizens. Where are the citizens 
to receive such training if not in the public schools? 

Our government is of the people and by the people. How necessary 
then that the masses who are tlie dominating power be uplifted and 
receive proper training for citizenship and statesmanship. Intelligent 
understanding of the principles of our government and of its place 
among nations, an educated conception of freedom is essential to the 
permanence of our institutions. 

Then, too, education quickens a man's mental activity and arouses 
in him a sense of the world's progi'ess. A desire to become a factor in 
that progress is engendered in his being and from such decisions come 


the men of the times who think and observe wisely and judiciously. 
Then, too, educated men are the ones who solve the great problems 
of the age and -demonstrate the ascendency of mind over matter. 

The training of our scliools makes better working men and enhances 
the. dignity of honest labor, hot because they are tauglit trades but 
because of the mental training received and the habits inculcated. 
"The most precious gift of education is not the mastery of the sciences, 
for wlaich special schools are provided, but noble living, generous char- 
acter, the spiritual delight wliich springs from familiarity with the 
loftiest ideas of the liuman mind." 

In our scliools patriotism is taught, not a sickly sentimentality for 
the Stars and' Stripes, but ian educated patriotism tliat understands 
the underlying principles which the starry flag represents. The pupils 
become patriotic froiii a knowledge of the principles of government 
axid their proper application. Their trained intelligence malics them 
better citizens because patriotism is not an abstract conception but a 
living love for their'country. 

Individuals' compose the State, and upon tlieir intellectual, moral and 
spiritual condition depends its welfare. In our schools is a course or 
training whi<^'h can but develop tlie liigher qualities so essential to 
citizenship. There'ideas of future usefulness are created and habits 
of mind developed which contribute to the malciug of American n,ien 
and women in whose hands rests tlie welfare of our Empire State. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society September 21, 1901. 

The early agricnltiirc pursued hi this State was that -vviiich was intro- 
dueed in Holland; and the earHest truit trees, garden veg-et;ibks and 
flowers were brought from that country by tlie Dutcli settier:-:. ,Vgri- 
culture was a vocation of prime importance, as the great bulk of the 
settlers became farmers. Down to 1800, about 11-12 of the pe(/i)te ot 
this State lived upon farms, and the scientific men. statesmen and lead- 
ing mendjers of all 'the professions generally took an interest in farm- 

The first State society for the promotion of Arts and Agriculture was 
organized in the Cfty of New York in 17(11, by some of the most prom- 
inent citizens of that portion of the Province. A committee was ap- 
pointed by the society to correspond with gentlemen in other parts of 
the province to interest them in its olijecls. That conunittee issued a 
circular in which among other things they urged the forniation of loca; 
societies throughout the province to gather and furnisli to tin- parent 
society such information as might be useful for the ])urpose of itromot- 
ing and fostering agriculture and the useful arts. One of these circular!' 
was addressed to Sir William Johnson, who was then and foi- sevei'al 
years afterwards the foremost man in the Tilohawk valley. II" took a 
great interest in agriculture and did more for its promotion in an.d 
altout the ^Mohawk valley than any one else. He replied to the cii'cuiar 
in a letter dated at Johnson Hall, February 2Tth, 17i;."i. in which he 
st.ated among other things that the state of agricultm-e was very low," 
that wheat Avas the principal crop, and tiia.t it must soon liecouK^ a drug; 
that before he set the example, no farmer raised so much as -a single 
ton of hay. biit that then some raised above 100 tons; that the farmers 
were entire strangers to sheep unfil ;ho introduced them. He thougJit 
"the high wages of lal)orers and the gi'eat numlicr of tipjding !iOUsps," 
needed regulation; and tliat bad roads were a great obstruction to good 


That first society seems to have become extinct during the Revolu- 
tionary war, and a new society for the promotion of argiculture was 
organized February 26th, 1791, at the Senate Chamber in tlie City of 
New York, wiiich Avas tlien tlie capitol of tlie State. At tliat date a 
committee consisting of Chancellor Livingston, Simeon DeWitt, and 
Samuel L. Mitchell, which had previously been appointed at a meeting 
of citizens presided ovjer by Hon. Ezra L'Hommedieu, to prepare and 
report rules and regulations for the government of the society, made 
their report, which, after some amendments, was adopted and became 
the coiistitution of the society. It provided, among other things, that 
the society should meet annually at the place where the Legislature 
met, on the Tuesday next after the convening of t)oth houses; and 
that its meetings should continue by ad.iournment during tlie session 
of the Legislature; that no person should be admitted as a member 
unless he had been nominated at least seven days previous to his elec- 
tion and elected by a majority of the members convened; that every 
member on his admission should pay to the treasurer $2.00 and there- 
after annually a half dollar; that the objects of investigation of the 
society should be Agriculture, Manufactuies and Arts, with such sub- 
jects of inquiry as miglit tend to explain or elucidate their principles; 
that the society should parcel the State into districts and elect a secre- 
tary for each district, whose duty it should be to convene the members 
of his district, to inquire into the state of Agriculture* and Manufactures 
within the same, to receive communications relative to the objects of 
the institution, and to correct, arrange and transmit them to the presi- 
dent, to be laid before the society; that the society should once in every 
year elect a committee to be called the Committee of Publication, whose 
business it should be to select such of the transactions of the society 
as might merit publication, prepare them for the press, and from time 
to time publish the same; that honorary members might be admitted 
from among persons not residing within the State whose talents and 
characters might add to the respectability and usefulness of the soci- 
ety; that in order to prevent imposition, the secretary should reject 
all doubtful and suspicious facts ,and to each article of intelligence 
transmitted to tlie society annex the name of the person offering it. 

Down to 1793, the society was unincorporated. But on the 12th day 
of March in that year, it was incorporated by a special act of the Leg- 
islature. The preamble to the act sets forth the objects of the incor- 
porators, among whom were tlie following eminent citizens of the State: 
Robert R. Livingston, John Sloss Hobart, Samuel L. Mitchell, Samuel 
Jones, Melancton Smith, David R. Floyd Jones, George Clinton, Ezra 
L'Hommedieu, Egbert Benson, John P. DeLancey, John Watts, Josiah 
Ogden Hoffman, Cornelius J. Bogart, Richard Varick, John Jay. Gilbert 
Golden Willett, Jonathan N. Havens, Edward Livingston. Jeremiah 
Tan Rensselaer, James Duane, Simeon DeWitt, David Ogden, John 
Delafield, Horatio Gates, Samuel Jones, Jr. In the Act, Chancellor 


Livingston was appointed president, John Sloss Hobart, vice-president, 
Samuel Jones treasurer, and Samuel L. Mitclaell and Samuel Jones, Jp. 
secretaries. It was further provided that the members of the Legisla- 
ture, who should not be stated members of the corporation, should nev- 
ertheless, by virtue of their stations, be honorary members with the 
right to sit, but not to vote for othcers or have any voice in the distri- 
bution of the corporate funds. 

The persons engaged in organizing and in incorporating the society 
were among the most eminent men of the State, whose biographies 
would constitute the history of the State for at least the first 30 years 
of Its existence as a State. Several of them served the State as Gover- 
nors, as Chancellors, as Judges, as Attorney Generals, as members of 
both branches of the State Legislature, as members of Congress and in 
other high public stations. 

In pursuance of the constitution of the society, the State was divided 
into districts, and John Meyer was elected the secretary of the Herki- 
mer district. He resided in this village and was one of the most prom- 
inent men in this county. He was one of the county judges in ISOO, and 
in 1802 he was one of the State Senators. 

Immediately after the first organization of the society, it entered 
upon its active labors by issuing a circular setting forth Its purposes, 
which among other things were stated to be "to supply the wants and 
relieve the necessities of mankind and thereby to render human life 
more comfortable; to multiply the productions of the land, to shorten 
or facilitate the toils of the laborer, and to excite a spirit of honest in- 
dustry whereby riches may become more abundant, and. by inculcating 
the importance of ordinary and common things and of practical every- 
day truths, to store their understandings with solid knowledge so that 
happiness, wealth, and wisdom may keep pace with each other and go 
hand in hand." For the purpose of gathering information, there were 
inserted in the circular certain queries upon a variety of matters to 
which I will briefly allude: 1. Manures, as to the value of marls, 
plaster of Paris and lime as fertilizers, and the mode of their use. 2. 
Soils, as to sandy, clayey and loamy soils, and the mode of their treat- 
ment, and the crops to which they Avere respectively best adapted. 8. 
Tillage, as to depth of plowing, and how weeds can best be destroyed, 
and the soil be made mellow for the reception of seed. 4. Stock, as to 
the comparative advantages of horses, mules and oxen; "would the 
breeding of mules be beneficial in this country? Do horses draw best 
by collars or hames? Are oxen capable of doing most work when draw- 
ing by the horns or by the withers? How are sheep best managed? 
What management is best adapted to make the wool fine and plenti- 
ful? How can the breed be improved? How the mutton made sweet 
and savory? Can anything be gained by shearing lambs the first year? 
Might also sheep be sheared oftener than once a year? Which is the 
cheapest method of raising calves? In what manner and at what age 


is the best veal produced V WhicU are the most approved methods ot 
making- and preserving butter and cheese? How are cattle best relieved 
when choked by apples or potatoes, etc.? Would it be advantageous 
to introduce goats into this State? Cannot wild ducks and teal and 
heath-hens and wild turkeys be tamed and domesticated?" 5. Grain. 
"Which variety of wheat is the most productive — the red, white, yel- 
low, bearded or bald? In what proportion does winter wlieat excel sum- 
mer wheat? Is barley well adapted to our soil and climate? Is any 
part of our country adapted to the raising of rice? Can millet and spelts 
be cultivated with success and advantage?" 0. Grasses. "What grasses 
do you find to afford the best pasture? Which makes the best hay?" 
7. Fruit Trees. "What kinds of apples afford the best cider?" etc. 8. 
Forest Trees. Vpo you know any facts concei-ning the propagation of 
the locust tree?" 9. Yermiu. "How are moles to be guarded against? 
How can the bugs be destroyed which eat up your cucumbers, melons 
and pumpkin vines? Is there any way of preventing the ravages of 
the wheat insect?" 10. "Have you any improvements in the manage- 
ment of bees? Can the sillv worm be proHtal)ly introduced in your 
neighborhood?" 11. Manufactures. "What is the best method of mak- 
ing sole leather? Are there any other barks than oak, hemlock and birch 
for tanning? Have any improvements been made in tlie manufacture 
of steel? Do you know of any new method for tlie mailing of paper? 
Can you suggest anything capable of raising the reputation of our flour 
in foreign markets? Are there any coal mines? What can be done 
towards the manufacture of cotton?" 

These are a few of the queries contained in the circular; and they 
are very significant of the state of agriculture and manufactures at that 
date— more than one hundred yeasr ago. The learned and patriotic men 
engaged in the work of this society Avere endeavoring to dev^'lop the 
resources and increase tjie wealth of our country and add to the hap- 
piness and comfort of oiu; people. • 

Dr. Samuel L. MitchelJ, was appointed to deli\-er the first ;intinnl ad- 
dress before the society. , He was one of the most learned scicMitlsts in 
tliis country, and a fellgw of the Koyal Society of Edinburgh. The 
address was delivered in Ne:w York, befoi-e the members of the society, 
including the members of the Legislature. It is interesting reading 
r.ow for the many thoughts it suggests. Among other things, ho stated 
that farming could not economically or profitably be carried on in this 
State with slave labor. He said: "Upon taking a survey df tlie slave- 
holders with whom I am acquainted. I find those who have the'greatest 
numbers to be men of considerable hereditary estates in land,' or of a 
handsome capital acquired by marriage or beciuest. But I cann.ot name 
an instance of a man of smajl property ever getting ricli upon the 
profits of slave labor. Therefore the kitchen establishments of those 
who keep fifteen or twenty negroes are not to be considered as matters 
of revenue, but of expense, just after the manner of a stud of super- 

« ari- 


luimcrary liorses kept citlicr to indul.m' the prido or to .^ratify tlio prej- 
udice of tlieiv owner. It is a conviction of tlie impolicy and ex])ensive- 
Dpss of lliis Icind of service ratlier tlian to any moral or reli.uifHis con- 
siderations on the subject that the decline of slavery is principally to 
be attributed." He recommended the plantin.i;- of locust trees. He 
said it '"is one of the most vaUialilc trei's now cultivated. They grow 
best in warm sandy land and become tii for timber in about 25 or 30 
y<'ars:" that "their .!j,'reatest use is for shij) trunncls, fence posts, mill 
cogs and tire avockI. A well grown tree is worth to the owner as it 
stands .^4.00; that for fence posts they are superior in point of dura- 
bility to almost any known Avood." Under the stimulus of this society, 
locust trees were introduced into this county and flourished here 
until some destructive worm or insect practically destroyed them. 

An effort was also made by this society to intrtuluce silk culture into 
this State, and the midlierry tree was cultivated and silk worms pro- 
pagated. I'.ut our climate was not adapted to the experiment and it 
failed. The cultivation of the poppy plant for opium and medicinal 
purposes was als(k attempted but failed for the same reason. 

At that early day nuich att(mtion was also given to the raising of 
barley. In this same address. Dr. Mitchell said: "It is undoubtedly a 
subject of serious regret that while our farmers exhaust the strength 
of their fields by impoverishing croi»s of oats, tliey neglect the more 
profitalile culture of barley, and thereby necessit;ite the brewers to 
import their grain from the neighboring States or frcan foi-eign parts, 
or drive oiu* citizens to the less wholesome and more expensive use of 
distilled spirits. The practice of raising Itarley is to be considered more 
lucrative to the farmer as being a better employment of his labor and 
capital and likewise more advantageous to the State 1).v pres<'rving the 
morals and industry of its peo]>le from the injurious effects of rum and 
other ai'dent liipiors." At that time there were a large numl)er of large 
breweries in New York, and none in the New England States where 
most of the barley crops were raised. He also dwelt uiion the improve- 
ment of the breed of sheep. He said: "In iioint of s.ilnlirity. I am bold 
to say that wool far exceeds linen or cotton, and in our variable climate 
is so peculiaiiy calculated to guard the body against the viccisit.udes of 
the weather that every valetudinarian sliould wear tlannel to regain 
his health, each well person to preserve it. A tlannel shirt may be 
called the palladium of health." 

Prior to 1800, and for many years thereafter, wheat the first 
staple of the trade and Avealth of the middle States; and the lirst seed 
drill in this country was invented and used by a farmer in New .Jersey 
more than one hundred years ago. 

The society took great interest in introducing into the country new 
trees, plants, ,ind animals from abroad; and hence its president. Chan- 
cellor Livingston, December 5, 170."., addressed a letter to the Chamber 
of Commerce of the Citv of New York in which he said; '"There can 


be little doubt that the profitable commerce of this country must be 
founded upon its agriculture, and that its agriculture derives new vigor 
from the extension of its commerce;" and he requested tliat tlie Cham- 
ber of Commerce would instruct all captains of vessels sailing to Asia. 
Africa, the north of Europe, or the southern or western parts of 
North America to procure specimens of the grain and animals raised in 
those countiies for introduction here. 

Agriculture was lield in much higher estimation by the statesmen 
and scholars of our country one hundred years ago tlian it is now. 
There was not so much then as now to attract the intelligent, ambitious, 
enterprising young men from farming. In the annual address delivered 
before the society by Chancellor Livingston in 1794, h« said: "As agri- 
culture is the basis of arts by furnishing the materials upon which tliey 
work, so it is the parent of science by uniting men in civil society who 
without its aid would have continued to be wandering savages but lit- 
tle advanced in improveme}it beyond the beasts of the forest that afford- 
ed them a miserable and scanty subsistence. It is for this reason that 
the mythology of most nations have made tlieir golden age consist in 
the enjoyment of rural happiness, and placed the inventors of agricul- 
tural improvements among the number of tlieir gods. * * * xhe 
idea of a rural retreat in the evening of his days accompanies the 
meclianic to his shop, the mercliant to the exchange, tlie lawyer to the 
bar, the pliysician to tlie sick bed, and the divine to the pulpit who sees 
even there his earthly paradise upon the confines of heaven, and hai'dly 
wishes to enter the celestial mansions by any other path. * * * -pjig 
Intriguing politicians and the wordy orators of the present day will be 
buried with their principles and their parties in eternal oblivion, when 
the man who has introduced a new plant or eradicated a destructive 
weed, who has tauglit us to improve our domestic animals, or to guard 
against the ravages of noxious insects, wlio has invented a new imple- 
ment of husbandry or simply determined the angle the mould-board 
should make with the plowshare will be remembered witli gratitude as 
the benefactor of society. * * * As Cicero sums up all human 
knowledge in the character of a perfect orator, so we might with much 
more propriety claim every virtue and embrace every science when we 
draw that of an accomplished farmer." Comparing tlie agriculture of 
this country with that of England, he said tliat while here the average 
price for hired farm laborers with board and lodging was ^60 per year, 
in England it was only $40; and he closed his address, one of the most 
elegant and eloquent ever delivered in this State, in these words: "When 
the hero, the patriot, the statesman, Washington, does not disdain to 
guide, who can refuse to venerate the plow?" 

November 8th, 370G, the distinguished jurist. Chancellor Kent, deliv- 
ered the annual address before the society in the Assembly Chamber 
in the City of New York. He spoke of farming "as the absolute means 
of our subsistence, as the source of nutriment to the arts, of freedom, 


energy, commerce and civilization to mankind; and, in short, as the 
firmest basis of national prosperity." He said. "That the linage of tran- 
quility and happiness which under governments of only a tolerable ad- 
ministration everywhere appear among the cultivators of the eai'th 
must always present itself to the eye of benevolence with attractive 
charms; that although the remark be perhaps too strong that cities 
are the graves of the human species, yet it is obviously true that the 
farmer's life, from the use of the wholesome air, abundant exercise, 
moderate pleasures, and simple diet, is by far the most favorable to 
health, longevity and population." He spoke of the Mohawk as the 
second river in size in the State, and among the lirst for the richness 
of the soil through which it flows, and as navigable from Schenectady 
to Fort Stanwix for batteaux, a distance of nearly 100 miles. 

On February 7, 1798, Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell again addressed the 
society and both houses of the Legislature at their annual meeting in 
Albany, which had then become the capital of the State. He spoke of 
tlie unsuccessful efforts to find coal in this State, and said: "Fortun- 
ately for our peace and happiness, no sources of gold and silver appear 
to have been detected. It is to be hoped our country contains none but 
those of productive labor and active industry." The men of his gener- 
ation did not foresee the enormous production of gold and silver in our 
country which has added so largely during the last fifty yeai-s to our 
national wealht and prosperity. 

In March, 179o, Ezra L'Hommedieu read a paper before the society 
entitled, "Observations on Manures," in which, treating of fish as a 
manure, he said: "New metliods are now used as well for taking the 
fish as for preparing the land by this manure. Very long seins a'-e made 
use of, and it is not uncommon to see twenty ox-cart loads of the Men- 
haden or Mossbankers taken at one draught; When the ends of the seine 
are drawn to the shore, and the fish crowded close together, an ox-cart 
is driven into the water among the fish and two or three hands with 
scoop nets soon load the cart, which is drove off and another is drove 
in and filled in like manner, and so one after another untjl the whole is 
carried away. And then the carts are dri\en onto the land and the fish 
thrown out, and the whole land covered with fish about eighteen inches 

In April, 1797, Noah Webster, the great lexocographer. wrote a letter 
to Dr. Mitchell, secretary of the society, in which he spoke of agricul- 
ture as "the first and best occupation of man," and made some useful 
observations on the growing of potatoes, and gave some of his experi- 
ments. He recommended that the seed potatoes should be those of full 
growth, and said that it had been fully demonstrated that cuttings 
I>roduce moi-e than wliole potatoes. 

Prior to 1797, but little was known about the Onondaga salt spings. 
They had almost escaped the notice of naturalists and philosophers, and 
nothing of consequence had been published concerning them. About 


that time Dr. Benjamin DeWitt, fellow of the American Academy of 
Arts and Sciences, and one of the secretaries of the society, contributed 
a memorial on those springs, in which he described them and the nature 
and quality of their salt in a very interesting manner. 

February 20. 1799, Simeon DeWitt, who was then Surveyor General 
of the State, delivered the annual address before the society ;ind the 
members of the Legis-lature, in the Assembly Chamber at Albany, in 
which among other things he recommended the culture of fruit, and 
mentioned this interesting fact: "The Spitzenbergh apple, which may 
challenge the world to match it. Avas first discovered as an accidental 
production in the neighborhood of this city (Albany). Fortunately it 
fell into the hands of a man of taste, who made its- superlative excel- 
lencies known to others, and gave perpetuity to its kind. But for this 
accident, it must again have retreated into eternal oblivion."' This apple 
has gratified the taste of all the succeeding generations of men, but in 
late years has begun to suffer from the decrepitude of age. This 
address is full of beautiful passages., some of which I must quote: 
"Even the pre-eminent political purity of that great man under Avhose 
auspices we rose as a nation will not retain an unsullied whiteness 
under every historian's pen. The best of statesmen and Avarriors have 
the blessings of their memories mixed with ciirses. Their deeds may 
astonish the world for a Avhile, and their fame dazzle like tJ)e blaze 
of a meteor with a momentary glare; but the fathers, friends and guar- 
dians of useful arts have their untainted memories embalmed, and urn 
their ashes in the hearts of posterity. As long as time continues its 
current their works and their names together float along with it, and 
are gratefully recognized by ages following ages without end." It must 
be remembered that this was Avritten while Washington was living. 
At the time Mr. DeWitt spoke, the State Agricultural Society had 
attained a standing and influence Avhich have not since been main- 
tained. He said: "The society of which I now stand the representa- 
tive, is without question the most consequential in the State. Which 
beside it receives any notice from abroad, or is calculated to excite it? 
Barren as our printed transactions may appear to the unprejudiced eye 
of those Who have not condescended to compare them with others, I 
will ventiu'e to affirm that they have as good a complexion and are 
fully as interesting as those of a similar kind by which Europeans are 
climbing up to greatness and ascending the ladder of philosophic fame;" 
and he closed his address with this enthusiastic panegyric upon agri- 
cultural pursuits: "The Elysium of Pagans, the Paradise of rdahomet, 
and perhaps also the heaven of Christians would to the view of mor- 
tals lose much of their attractions, were not the descriptions of them 
decorated Avith agricultural sceneries. Indeed, they almost necessarily 
mingle with our ideas of consummnte bliss. While passions like demons 
tear the heart of the politician, gnaw like vultures on his vitals, spread 
a gloom over his prospective and embitter his days, the heart of the 


phiianthropist expands with a seraphk- joy. boiiinls with (Jod-Hki- pal- 
pitations, and feels emotions of ecstacy Ineffably i'X(iuisite, as his eye 
roves over fields Avhere the golden harvest luxui-iantly waves to the 
wind, where every shrul) and plant is loaded with dainties, where every 
tree bends under its fruit, and all thinys seem to invite us to partake 
of these bounties and be liappy. If, then, tliese things are pure, uneon- 
taminated fountains whence human happiness tlows, surely we cannot 
contemplate tliem with stoical indifference, liut as citizens, as Chris- 
tians, as leiiislators, nuist join our endeavors to cherisli and support 

During the tirst 2(J0 years of our national history, the statesnu'U of 
our countr.v and other leaders of tliought with great unanimity believed 
that agricultural pursuits were the best for the welfare of our people 
and the safety and greatn.ess of our Republic. Franklin said that agri- 
culture Avas the only honest way to acquire national wealth. As late 
as 1814, Daniel Webster, in a speech in the House of Uepres<-ntatives, 
when tariff legislation for the fostering and protection of manufactures 
was under discussion, said: "I am not, geni'rally speaking, their enemy; 
I am their friend. But I am not for rearing them or any other interests 
in hot beds. I would not legislate precipitately even in favor of them. 
I feel no desire to push capital into extensive manufactures faster than 
the general progress of our wealth and population propels it. I am not 
in haste to see Slietiields-and Birminghams in America. Until ttie popu- 
lation of the country shall be greater in proportion to its extent, such 
establishments would be impracticable if attempted, and if practica- 
ble, tliey would be unwase. I am not anxious to accelerate the approach 
of the period when the great mass of American labor shall not find its 
employment in the field; when tlie young men of the country shall be 
obliged to shut their eyes upon external nature, upon tlie heavens and 
the eartli, and inuuerse themselves in close and unwholesome work- 
shops; when they shall be obliged to sliut their ears to tlie Ijleatings of 
their own tlocks upon their own hills, and to the voice of the lark that 
cheers them at tlieir plows, that they may open tliem in dust and smoke 
and steam to tlie perpetual whirl of spools and spindles, and th(- grating 
of rasps and saws." 

Chancellor Livingston, ever alert to discover something in the animal 
or vegetable kingdom for the advancement of agriculture and the im- 
provement of rural life, during the closing years of the eighteenth cen- 
tury made experiments to domesticate the elk, which then abounded 
In our forests. He said in a paper read before tlie society that the elk 
was larger tlian the reindeer, and when taken young was as domestic 
as the ox, as he found they would run with his cattle and appeared to 
be as much attached to them as to their own species. He attempted 
to breali two of them to the harness and bitted them, and found tliem 
as docile as colts would be at the same age. These two were thirteen 
hands high two years old, and he said tliat in their native woods they 


would grow to fifteen hands high, and that their thighs were as mus- 
cular as those of a horse, and that he believed that in a state of domes- 
tication they would grow much larger, and that they would not only 
furnish flesh to eat, but milk for the dairy. He also believed the moose 
could be domesticated; and he said that he Avas well satisfied that with 
the exception of the horse, no animal was so well fitted for every pur- 
pose of labor as the moose; that he had seen one not more than eighteen 
months old that was I0Y2 hands high, and that he thought they would 
grow to more than 20 hands high. To make such experiments a success, 
it would be necessary to continue them during successive generations 
of the animals; and I have not been able to learn how long thy Chan- 
cellor continued his experiments nor what their results were. 

The eminent men then interested in agriculture were alert to dis- 
cover improvements. They experimented in raising sheep and other 
live stock, with manures, fruit trees, grasses, grain, potatoes, silk 
worms. It would be well if some of their enthusiasm for agriculture 
and rural life could be infused into the people of this day, and if the 
farm would have greater attractions for the young men who now swarm 
to cities and villages to engage in less wholesome vocations and to lead 
less useful and happy lives. It will be a fortunate time for our Republic 
when there shall be a reflux wave of population from the cities and 
villages to the country. The time will certainly come when our people 
will learn that with the same amount of probity, industry and talent, 
farming will prove to be on the average as profitable as other vocations 
and much more wholesome and satisfactory. 

NOTE. — Many of the facts for this paper, I have found in the first 
volumn of the Transactions of the State Agricultural Society, a revised 
edition published at Albany in 1801. It is a very rai'e book and the only 
volume I know of belongs to the Herkimer County Historical Society. 
It is of real value and is full of interest. 





Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society October 12, 1901. 

The physical features of the town of Warren are somewhat related 
to its early history. I shall, therefore, refer to them brletly. 

The tract comprising the township contains upwards of 23,(X)0 acres 
and with the exception of a narrow belt along the northern border, is 
drained by two creeks. One of these begins its course within a mile 
of the northern boundary, and flows southwesterly a distance of about 
feix miles in Warren, and then crossing into Richfield, finds its way into 
Lake Canadaraga. This creek is the Ocquionis. The name signifies 
in the Indian tongue. "He is the bear," and was probably that of an 
Indian chief who at some period dwelt upon its banks. This is the 
opinion of William Wallace Tookei-, well known as the author of the 
"Algonquian Series," and a recognized authority on Indian languages. 
The other creek referred to as draining the territory of Warren rises in 
the easterly part of the town, about midway between its northern and 
soutliern boundaries, and flows southwesterly into Weaver's Lake, 
thence a short distance into Young's Lake, and from the last named 
flows southerly about two and one-half miles across the boundary of 
Warren into the town of Springfield, and then on into Lake Otsego. 

Thus it will be seen that the sti'eams which drain Warren are tribu- 
taries of the Susquehannah — one the Osquionis, by Lake Canadaraga 
and Oaks Creek — the other by Lake Otsego, the outlet of which is 
accounted by geographers and historians as the beginning of the Sus- 
quehannah. The creek which I have mentioned as emptying into 
Otsego has been called by the white inhabitants different names, one 
of which is "Gilchrist," from a family of that name; but the Indian 
name has been for the time being lost. I am hoping by further research 
to bring it to light. The Indian name for the two lakes mentioned by 
me as Young's and Weaver's Lakes, is "Walontha," which in the Indian 
tongue means, "The Twins," a Very appropriate name, as the two lakes 
are nearly of the same size and not more than 300 rods apart. The 
village of Little Lakes lies between them. 


The snrfaco of Warren is for the most part at an eU'vation above the 
sea varying- from 1,300 to 1,800 feet, and at jNIount Waiontha, near 
\oungs' and WeaA'er's Lakes, reaches an altitude probably of 2,500 
feet. This surface is made beautiful by the graceful outlines of its 
hills, generally extending easterly and westerly, and its rich forests. 
On different roads at vai-ying elevations the most pleasing scenery 
comes into view. LoT)king North, we have the beautiful valley of the 
jNIohawk, with its industrial villages, and turning to the South we look 
upon the pictiu-esciue basins of the Otsego and Caniaderago. 

Warren is embraced by the water system of the great Susciuehannah, 
a river whose length measured by its bed from its extreme source, 
Lake Otsego, to its mouth, is estimated at 41(3 mifes. It is a part of 
tlie territory which became the subject of negotiations in 1083 between 
Governor Penn a'ld Governor Donga n, and which in their correspond- 
ence was designated "the Upper Susquehaunaii Region." The streams 
which from this northei'n region were feeding the Susquehannah 
abounded in beaver and other wild animals whose furs were in great 
demand in the markets of London, Amsterdam and I'aris. Governor 
Penn's fur traders had made a strenuous effort to draw this trade 
down the Susciuehannah Kiver. They were having some success. The 
fur traders of Ncav Orange (Albany) were making an equally persist- 
ent effort to draw the trade to that trading post. The efforts of Penn 
to effect this purchase created consternation at New Orange, where 
the authorities drew up a remonstrance addressed to Governor Dongan. 
in which they stated that this sale to Penn, if consummated, "would 
fend to the utter ruin of the beaver trade, as the Indians themselves 
do acknowledge, and consequently to the great prejudice of his Royal 
Highness' revenues and his whole territory in general," and they fur- 
ther stated, "We presume that there hath not anything ever been 
moved or agitated fronrthe first settling of these parts more prejudicial 
to his Royal Highness' interest and the inhabitants of this government 
than this business of the Sus(iuehannah River. The French, it is true, 
have endeavored to take away our trade piece-meal, but this will cut 
it oft" all at once." « 

The attempts by Governor Penn to buy the upper Sus(iuehannah 
region failed, 'but one cannot help contemplating the change in the 
political and social associations of the region in which is situated War- 
ren, had it been successful. 

The correspondence to be found in the Documentary History of that 
State also discloses that this upper Sus(iuehannah region had white* 
inhabitants at a very early period. The French authorities in Canada 
had been requested by the Oneida tribe as early as IGC.G to send Jesuit 
priests, French families, and trading merchants into this region. In 
1686, Governor Van Cortlandt, at a council held with the Indians at 
Albany, requested the Indians "not to permit any French or Englisn to 
go and live at the Susquehannah River without the Governor's pass; 


Iiut ill ("ISO tlicy do so. the liidinns -avv to l)riiii; tlu'iu to Albany and 
deliver tliem to the Town House for punishment. " The (Jovernor made 
one exception, however, to this rule, to-wit: "The Indians were not 
to bring the priests and they were not to interfere with one man with 
each or either of said priests, even though one of them should be mar- 
ried to an Indian scjuaw." In other correspondence of this period there 
is evidence that Jesuit fathers, and French families accomuanyins' 
them, were scattered over the upper Suscpiehannah i-e.i;ion, and that 
the heads of these Fi-ench families became trappers and traders in 
peltry. Dr. Henry A. Ward, in his "Annals of Kichtieid." in mention- 
ing these P^'rencli traders and trapiters. says: "A little settlement of 
these was located at the site of the Lake House (referring- to a hotel 
on the east shore of Lake Canadaraga. about half ;i mile from I.'ichtield 
Spring's), on both sides of the brook which seeks ihe lake at that point, 
and was doubtless the home of the white settlers in this vicinity. 
One of these Frenchmen and his Indian wife remained .-is lat<> as 180r> 
or 180G; but the others left subsecpiently to the time of the survey 
of the three land patents embracing the short's of Canadar.aga" 
Fennimore Cooper, in his "Chronicles of Cooperstown." refers to these 
French traders and tr.-ippers as having been upon Lake (Hse.uo. It is 
iiardly supposable these early French traders and trappers and priests 
were in ignorance of the beautiful lakes and sti'eams of Wari'en. so 
near Otsego and Canadaraga, and forming part of the same water sys- 
tem, especially as the niunerous beaver (hims on those stre.-ims prove 
that they abounded in valuable furs. There is still a cli.-uicc that in 
the archives of the Jesuit College at (Quebec documents exist which 
will yet afford interesting information upon the residence of French 
priests and traders in this part of the upper Sus(iuehannah region. 

The first step tending to the establishment of an organized connuu- 
nity of whites within the present boundaries of Warri'U was innpies- 
tionably the granting of the great patents to I'etrie. Henderson and 
Tlieobald Young, which instruments embrace all the land within the 
town. These patents enabled men of moderate means to obtain titles 
to farms who would have stood no chance of obtaining grants from 
the colonial government, where then as now, "intluence" wis neces- 

Letters patent dated August LMth. IT."'.!*, were granted in the name 
of King George the Second to James Henderson, John Kelley, and 
James Henderson the Younger, and on October 24th, 17H!>, to Thilip 
Livingston, John Joost I'etrie and John Del'eyster of tracts which 
taken together under the name of "L'etrie's purchase and Henderson's 
patent," cover the whole north i)art of Warren and extend over its 
western boundary into Cohnnbia to the extent probably of acres, 
and over the eastern boundary into Stark to a less exte it. The 
patent to Theobald Young and others, d.itcd August 2.".tli. 17r.2. which 
covers all the south part of the town, is bounded on the north by the 


before mentioned Henderson patents. Tlie startin,;;' point in the bound- 
ing ol' tlie patent is the hole in tlie ground a little east of Cas^Yell Cor- 
ners, in the present town of Springfield, ealled by the German settlers, 
"Kyle," which means iiole, and by the Indians, "Theogsowone," the sig- 
nification of which I have yet to learn. The southerly and Avesterly 
boundaries of this patent as far as they extend, are the boundaries 
separating Herkimer l-ounty from Otsego. I am informed that the 
patentees named Henderson were never upon the grants bearing their 
name, and that they were first visited by their descendants about the 
year 1825. Since that date, Mrs. Harriet Douglas Cruger. a descendant 
of James Henderson, and Mrs. Douglas Kobinson, her niece, have 
maintained upon this tract the beautiful summer residence known 
as the Henderson Home. Both the Henderson and Young patents were 
grants as expressed therein, "in free and common soc age as of our 
iNIanor of East Greenwich in the county of Kent within our Kingdom 
of Great Britain,"' and reserved a yearly rent of two shillings and six 
pence for each 100 acres payable "at our Custom House in our City of 
New York unto our collector or Eeceiver General, being on the Annun- 
ciation of the blessed Virgin Mary, commonly called 'Bady Day.' " It 
was provided in these grants that they should be void in case the 
grantees should destroy or suffer to be destroyed tri-es tit for masts, . 
planks, knees, etc., for "our Royal Navy." 

A rental of two shillings, six pence per 100 acres seems but nominal, 
and even this was extinguished bj^ the result of the Itevolutionary war, 
so that these grants must be regarded rather in the light of gifts from 
the Crown. It would seem that certain shrewd and far sighted men 
of the Mohawk valley, such as John Joost Petrie of the German Flats, 
and the Youngs of Canajoharie, had in conjunction with capitalists in 
Albany and New York, to whom they pointed out the desirability of 
obtaining these grants. 

In the case of the Henderson patent, about seven men, heads of fam- 
ilies, setled near its northern limit and formed the little colony called 
Henderson. It is almost certain they settled there after the date of 
the patent, for they would not have built houses or' cultivated land 
without some title to the soil. We know they were there before May 
22nd, 1758, for the New York Murcury of that date describes the flight 
of four of these families from Henderson's purchase to the German 
Flats, and the slaughter of some of the party by the French and Indiana 
near Fort Herchamer. The names of these families were Hayes, Star- 
ring, Crim. Osterhout, Bull and T^eopard, and they continued their res- 
idence in Henderson, suffering as is well known in the Revolutionary 
war at the hands of the Indians under Brant. The situation of these 
Henderson settlers was not one of compU-te isolation prior to the Rev- 
olutionary war. To the east at a distance of tAvo miles was, the Ots- 
quago settlement, where lived the Bronuers, Shauls, Fikes and Feath- 
erlys, to the southeast about three miles the Eckler settlement on the 


Kyk", cliri-ctly south live miles." st'ttU'incut, coiui.oscd of al»out 
six families, iiieludiiiy Tlu'obald Young, the patentee; to tlie west not 
more than tliree mih>s, the Coonrods-town settlement, comprising the 
families of Conrad Oren(h)rf, Conrad Frank, Conrad Fulnier, Frederick 
Cliristnian, Tiinotliy Frank. Liglitfall. Joseph Mayer and 
Henry Frink. More distant, but reason.-ilily accessible, were the old 
settlements of Springtield and Cherry Valley. Beyond any doubt there 
was a not infreciuent interchange of social and business visits between 
these ancient settlements, and the people of Henderson and Young's 
p;itents do not re(iuire our commiseration in that respect. 

T'p to March 11', 1~T2. the lerritoi'y in W.-irren was included in the 
county of Alb.-my ;ind of course deeds of land in our town were recorded 
at Albany, and the inhabitants of Henderson and of Young's settlement 
were within the jurisdiction of Albany county. On March ti'tii, 1772, 
Tryon county was erecjted, ;ind those inhabitants <-;inie under the juris- 
diction of Tryon county, with Johnstown as the county seat. 

In March, 177;!. the Proxini-i.-U Legislature enacl:ed tli;it there be held 
and kept two fail's every year ;it .Tohnstown,one to l)e held thi'ee c-onsec- 
utive (lays in .lune and the other three consecutive days in November, 
and to be m;iuaged by ;i (iovernor and lUilers. As the business ordi- 
narily transacted at the county seat must liave drawn our Henderson 
and Young settlers freiineiitly to Johnstown, it is not to be doubted 
they competed for pi'i/.es otVered at these fairs, and not infrequently 
had the satisfaction of driving their stock homewaid u]) the hills deco- 
rated with red and l)lue ribltons. 

At this earl.v i>eriod the county of Tryon was divided into districts 
instead of townships. These were calh'd respectively the iMoliawk, 
Canajoh.-irie, (ierman I'lats and Kiugsland districts. 

^V;lI•ren■s territory was at Hrst included in the Kiugsland district and 
this was described in the act of March 24th, 1772, as follows: 

"All that part of said county of Tryon which is c(UuprelH>nded within 
the following bonndai-ies: On the east liy Canajoharie <listrict, on the 
north by the Mohawk Kivei', and southerly .nnd westei'ly by tlie limits 
of this colony." 

The same ;ict reipiii-ed the freeholders of each district to elect and 
ajspoint lUie freehohler to lie a supei'visor, two freehohh-rs to be asses- 
sors, one fi-eeholder to l)e collector, two freeholders to be overseers of 
the poor, two fence vi.'wers and one cU'rk. t^ul)se(iuently on >Iarch S, 
1773, the I'rovincial Legislature ch;inged the names of the Kiugsland 
and Clernian Flats districts, giving to each the other's u.-ime. so that 
the district in which is the Wan-en teri'itory became tlie Cernnni Flats 

I will not detail further in this papc-r the changes affecting the ter- 
ritory of ^^'arreu by the erection of counties and towns, nor (Hwell U])on 
the massacre perpetrated by I'.rant at neudei-S(»n. tlie destruction by 


Amei'iciuis of the disloyal settlement at Yonngs, nor the alleged haul- 
ing of artillery over the road leading from Fort Herkimer to Young's 
settlement for the use of General Clinton's army, then embarking upon' 
Lake Otsego and the Susquehannah to join General Sullivan, but will 
vspeak of events in the early history of the established town of Warren. 

The great migration from the Eastern States which began in a mod- 
erate way about 17S4," reached its full volume by 1794, and by tlie year 
1800, had given Warren and the purely agricultui'al towns, east, south 
and west of it, a population numerically equal if not superior to that 
wliich tliey now possess. At tliis time, before tlie introduction of rail- 
ways and canals, the turnpilie was considered tlie most potent instru- 
mentality for advancing the wealth and comfort of "the public. 

The most notable enterprise in the early liistory of tlie toAvn, and one 
productive of great benefits was the building of the "Third Great 
Western Turnpike," from Clierry Valley to tlie foot of Skenneatlas 
Lalie. The cliarter for this road was obtained in Marcli, 1803. It pre- 
scribed that the road should pass westerly between Y'oungs and W^ea- 
vers Lakes in tlie town of Warren, thence through tlie towns of Rich- 
field, Plainfield, Bridgewater, Sangerfield and Hamilton to the village 
of Cazenovia, thence to intersect the Seneca turnpike near Cob's tav- 
ern in the town of Manlius, or througli the towns of Pompey and Mar- 
cellus to intersect said turnpike at or near the outlet of Skenneatlas 
Lake. The members of tlie corporation named in tlie act w^'re Jolm 
IJncklaen, .Tohn Moore, Asahel Jackson, Samuel demons, Eburean 
Hale, Oliver Norton. Joseph Farwell, Daniel Rindge, John Pray, Rufus 
Leonard, Lemeral Fitch, Nathaniel Farnham, Samuel Craft, Abner 
Cook, Luther Rich, Elleaxer Ibbotson, Calvin Clieeseman and Charles 
R. Webster. 

Tlie charter required this road to be six rods wide and not less than 
thirty-three feet between ditches, whereof twenty-eiglit feet were to 
be bedded with stone, wood or gravel and faced with pounded stone 
rising toward the middle by a gradual arch. It directed mile stones 
to be erected, one for each mile, with the distance from Albany in- 
scribed on each stone, and guideposts to be put up at every intersecting 
public road, with name of town to which the intersecting road led, and 
a hand pointing to such town. 

The tolls were as follows: Every score of sheep or hogs, 5 cents; 
every score of cattle, horses or mules, 12i/l> cents; every horse and rider, 
4 cents; every sulkey chair or chaise, with one horse, 12i^ cents; can 
Avith one horse, 4 cents; every chariot, coacli, coachee or phaeton, 25 
cents; every stage, wagon or other four-wheeled carriage drawn by 
two horses, mules or oxen, VZYo cents, and 3 cents for every additional 
horse, ox or mule; cart with two horses, mules or oxen, 6% cents; ad- 
ditional horse, mule or ox, 2 cents; every sleigh with two oxen, horses 
or mules, G cents; every additional horse, ox or mule in like proportion. 


It was enacted that no toll should be collected from a person going 
to or returning from public worship, liis farm, a funeral, a blacksmith 
shop or a physician. 

Only one-third of the foregoing toll was to be collected in case the 
wagon or other carriage had felloes or track of wheel nine inclies 
wide; and where tlie felloes or track of wheel was twelve inches wide, 
no toll whatever was to be collected. 

Tlie completion of tliis road made a continuous line of turnpike from 
Albany to the western confines of tlie State, connecting with other 
roads through Oliio and Michigan. The effect was immediate and sur- 
prising. Droves of oxen, slieep and swine at once began to move from 
Michigan, Ohio and Western New York over this route to supply New 
York and other cities of the East. An old and intelligent resident on 
the line of this turnpike states it was estimated that as many as ten 
thousand head of cattle had passed a given point on the lino in one 
day. These droves required rest and pasturage and food and shelter. 
Inns were freciuent for the drovers and their helpers. It is said there 
was at one time a tavern for every mile of the road between Skenne- 
atlas and All)any. Tlie business of keeping tliese droves was a profit- 
able one for the farmers on the line in the town of Warren. In addi- 
tion to the animals liefore named there wef-e droves of liorses and not 
infrequently large flocks of turkeys and geese en route to the eastern 
markets. Usually it required from tliree to five men to a drove. In the 
case of cattle and swine a man in a single wagon preceded the drove 
by one day to arrange for their pasturage, yarding and food. 

The mail coaches of Messrs. Sprague i^' Thorpe of Rochester trav- 
ersed the road twice in each direction everj- twenty-four hours, and the 
horn of the drivers calling for relays at different stations echoed mer- 
rily among the hills of Warren and Richfield in the days of our an- 

The impetus to business along tliis road is illustrated by the fact 
that in Cherry A'alley after the turnpike had gotten under full head- 
way, there were eight blacksmith shops giving employment to about 
fifty men, and at one time 108 stage horses were kept there. Stages 
were usually drawn by six horses, though eight and even ten were used 
at times. Regular freight transportation lines were also run between 
Albany and Buffalo. Huge wagons carrying from three to four tons 
and drawn by seven horses were used on these lines. These wagons 
had tires so wide that they passed without toll as allOAved by the char- 
ter, and they Avere considered a IxMiefit to the road l)y filling in the 
ruts made V)y ordinary wagons. This great trattic caused such a de- 
mand for horses that the pric(> of those animals advanced from twenty- 
five and thirty dollars in 1H00 to seventy-five and one hundred and 
fifty dollars in 1S2(). There wer(> in Cherry Valley at one time fifteen tav- 
erns and between Albany and (Mierry Valley. a distance of fifty-two miles, 
sixty-two taverns. (History of Cherry Valley, by John Sawyer, Esq.) 


The business of this great thoroughfare was largely diverted by the 
building of the Erie canal, and was finally virtually destroyed by the 
railways. The period of greatest prosperity for the town of Warren 
was unquestional)ly when the traffic of the "Third Great Western" was 
at its maximum of volume. 

So signal had been the success of the "Third Great Western" that 
the inhabitants of the- northern part of Wai'ren and along its parellei 
east and west naturally took up tlie project of biiilding a turnpike 
whicli sliould benefit tliem. So in 1812. a charter Avas procured from 
tlie Legislature for the "Utica and IMinden Turnpike Company." This 
road, starting at Utica, passed tln-ougi) Tiitclifield, Columbia, Warren 
and Stark, in TIerkimer county, and thence into ^linden, in Montgom- 
ery county. I liave not examined the charter, but have read a larj?'<* 
number of documents relating to the Utica and Minden Turnpike Com- 
pany, found among the pnpers of Rufus Crain, wlio was president of 
the company, from Avliich I judge the enterprise created great expec- 
tations among land owners and others along tl\e line. Those expec- 
tations ivere doomed to disappointment, for tlais turnpike diverted no 
ti-nffic from 1h(> "Third Great Western." and created very little for 

The siiirit of war created by the Revolution was kept alive by con- 
tinued ontrag<s and provocations on the pfirt of Britain. Those of this 
'-enoration can but impei'fectly realize the intensify of feeling with 
wb.ich the military organizations of the State Avere raised and main- 
t;iined. Warren partook of this enthusiasm and sent a considerable 
number of her sons to the northern frontier in the war of 1.S12. 

I wish to refer to two troops of liorse belonging to a squadron of 
\\iuch IMifus Crain w;is major, in the Sixth Regiment of cavalry, of 
A\iiich :Matthe\v Myers was colonel. One of these troops was com- 
manded by Captain Charles Fox. the other by Captain John :Mix. Tliey 
contained a large proportion of the able-l)odied men in Warren. Many 
of them were men of marked intelligence, decided individuality and 
that forceful. rugg(Hl manner which (bstinguished tlie New Englanders 
of tlie day. I have taken great interest bi tracing in a volnmiiious cor- 
responden(H' tlie movements of tliis regiment as illustr.-iting tlie time 
and money and labor devoted to the military in that day. Orders from 
James Lynch, Brigadier (ieneral. dated at Syracuse. nMinircd tliis regi- 
ment to appear not infreiiuently at distant places like Ni'W Hartford. 
T'tica and Deerfleld for review and inspection, following a parade of 
the day previous and necessitating an absence of th(> men from homT 
for at least three d;iys at a time. The uniform of this regiment was fe 
lielmet of lustrous leatlu>r. surmounted by fur. with fore-piece, coat of 
scarlet, Avith black velvet facing, crossed with gilt bands, and trcmse" 
of dark blue. 

Knowing as I do the convivial nature of these cavalrymen, ma 
of whom I well remember, and picturing to myself these gallant red 


coats sfithering from the hiuinvays and I>y\va.vs of Wan-en for a ile- 
scont in force upim some villa.u'e in the valley. I ;im prep.ared to thinlc 
they painted tlie luckless place very red during their outing of tliree 

Court martials were fre(inent. inexoralile in the iuHiction of line;^ 
upon delin(pients, and aiipai-i'utly perfectly siiceessfid in col lectin.;; 
lliem. It slioiild he noted that onr troopers from \Yarren, as ])art of 
the Tliird squadron of the Sixth Ileginient of cavalry, were present at 
Utica on the occasion of the reception of (Jeneral the ?\lar(iuis de 
Lafayette, .June lUth. ISL'.">. 

Tlie social customs in tliat early period were in stron.t;- contrast to 
tliose of tlie present time. Balls were tlien given at one and two o'cloclv 
ir. the day instead of at night. 

You will deem it remark.ihle in view of tlie slow methods of travel 
in those early times tliat men should travel great distances for pleasure, 
especially from rural districts like \\'arren; yet betweeu ispj and 1S20. 
three of our townsmen visited distant countries. 

John Bolton spent the summer of l.Sl.'i in the City of Mexico and 
towns between it .■md \'era Cruz. 

.tohn Williams visited \'euezut'la in 181i'., and (h'voted considerable 
time to Caracas and other points of intc'rest. Both these men were 
obser\ing, liad great desire to see foreign I'ountries and were extremely 
entertaining wlien relating their experiences aljroad. 

Sturges Brewster, identified witli Warren all Ids life, perhaps 
tlie lirst person from Herkimer county to visit Europe strictly as a 
tourist of pleasui'e and obs 'rvation. lie embarked from Xt \v York 
August l.jth, IKl.'), for l'>ordeaux. in the sailing packet. Blooming Bose, 
Stephen Trowbridge being the captain. He paid .flod for liis jiassage 
and liad for fellow passengers two Swiss gentlemen. Mr. Cowing of 
Soutli Carolina, and Mr. .lackson. of (ieorgia. In ;i lull on tln> P>anks 
of Newfoundland they fished foi- two liours and caught eleven tine cod, 
ANiiich were served at .lilfcrent dinners and greatly relished. Si)eaking 
another ytacket. they first learned that the Allies had entered Paris. 
I'.arely escaping shipwreck iii I'dscay. tiiey readied Bordeaux on the 
tOth of September, the •'l.'ith day of the voyage. Timi days after landing, 
Brewster saw a rem.-irkabh^ sight. I will qnot<' him: "rnderstand- 
ing tiiat two of the genei'als of I'.onaparte were to lie executed near 
the City to-day, we detei-mined if possible to lie ])reseiit. At half-past 
10 o'clock we went to the prison where they were confined, a stone 
building called the I'.astile of Bordeaux. The two victims were twin 
brothers .">(; years of age, and resembling each other so nearly tltat one 
could hardly be distingnislied from the other. Theii- nann- was Fonche. 
and both were generals of e(|ual rank in the army of the Bevohition. 
Latterly one been a niciiibe? >-" t'l'^ National Assemlily. the other 
the mayor of the town near B.ordeaiix. We found assemliled at the 
prison about 5,000 of the military and gens d' avmes. At about 11:30 


they (the Fonches) were brought out, passing through the military and 
an immense concourse of citizen spectators. 

"They were conducted to tiie center of a large s(iuare, bounded on 
one side by a high stone wall. The guards formed on the other three 
sides. The Fonche brothers stood in the center, dressed In white flan- 
nel and without hats, firm and undismayed. They looked upon the 
people and their murderers with apparent indifference, and seemed to 
smile in the faces of the blood-thirsty crowd tliat surrounded them. 
Twelve gens d' amies advanced from the line with an officer and took 
their stand ten paces from the Generals, who refused either to kneel 
or to be blindfolded. The muskets were presented, the fated Avord given, 
and they both at the same instant fell dead." 

Brewster at this time was about 20 years old, and carried letters of 
introduction which enabled him to see the home and public life of 
persons of distinction in both France and England, and embarked July 
1-ith, 181<;, in the ship ^Nlynerva Smyth, from Liverpool for New York, 
reaching the latter place August 26th, ISIG, after an absence of one 
year and eleven days. Among the passengers on this homeward voy- 
age was the distinguished Dr. Francis, of New York. 

Thus far I have not touched upon anything political, because that 
subject, like several others, could not be brought within the limits of 
this paper. But I will mention one affair so that I may introduce an 
extract from a letter written by one of Herkimer's disinguished citi- 

The Presidential contest between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy 
Adams in 1828 was characterized by an intensity of partisanship un- 
equalled before or since in this country. The Republicans (now known 
as Democrats) had nominated Rufus Grain, of Warren, as Presidential 
Elector, the electors at that time being chosen by congressional dis- 

The supporters of Adams with intent to introduce confusion in the 
Republican ranks, nominated his brother-in-law. Jacob Marsliall, living 
ill the same house, for the same office. 

The contest lietween Marshall and Grain resulted in the election of 
the latter. At this stage. Michael Hoffman wrote Grain a letter, dated 
November 14th, 1828, to which I have already alluded, and from which 
I will read an extract, illustrative of his piquant style: 

"Every man knows the uncertainty of life but does not always act 
accordingly. In this case our dangers are of a different kind, viz., bad 
roads, broken bridges, broken limbs, sickness. The only preventive is 
to start from home in due time to recover from all these evils and yet 
reach your destination. I advise you by all means to be in Albany at 
least one week before the end of this month. Go so early that a bad 
road may lie repaired, a broken carriage mended, a bridge rebuilt (or 
a substitute found), a broken limb set. and a sick man borne upon a 


"You will apprccintc this precaution wlicn you view the desperation 
of our opponents. Tliey leave nothing- undone. They will be in Albany 
early to a man. organize at the hour, and if they are a majority will 
immediately till up all vacancies with their friends." Tliis letter closes 

"I may add tliat tlie Democracy of the State has triumplied, and if 
the anti-Masonics had not divided us, we slionld have routed and beaten 
the iiristocracy horse, foot and dragoons." 


Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical .Society October 12, 1901. 

"God prospci's the good man's resolve." A Dutch proverb, of which 
my friend. Secretary Smith, is a living illustration. 

He resolved, for some reason unknown to me and for reasons I fear 
sorrowful to yourselves, to secure my pi'csence to read a paper before 
tliis society, and here I am, a plain business man, possessing no special 
qualifications as a student in historic reseai'cli, such as Judge Earl and 
others of your society possess in full measure, and yet I do possess 
one qualitication characteristic of the Dutch blood which flows in my 
veins, a heart full of loyalty to the county of my birth and full of love 
for my friends. 

I pause a moment to congratulate llrrkimer county upon having a 
society to perjx^uate its history, to honor its heroes and to educate the 
young to appreciate the sacrifices of those who lived and labored in 
other days to establish our political, educational and religious institu- 
tions, luiiuii'.v is sometimes made concerning the practical purpose of 
this and kindred societies and the permanent good accomplished by 
them. A mistaken idea frecpiently prevails that they are too general 
in purpose and too limited in usefulness to warrant continued interest 
of the member and permanent value of the organization. I am a firm 
believer, however, in the abiding good to individual and community 
of any society that gratefully remembers the labors and sacrifices of 
our ancestors; that reviews with pride the struggles and successes of a 
community: that keeps in tender recollection father, mother and home- 
land; that cultivates affectionate feeling for friend and fireside: that 
dr.-iws inspiration for the present from contemplation of what has made 
a glorious past. 

Tlie Herkimer r%)unty HistoiMcal Sociely was l)orn to further such 
purposes and lives, to cultivate such princ!])les. Believing in them my- 
self, I offer this contribution to tlie ))ro;ul and unselfish work in which 
you are engaged. 


"Oraiije bovcn" — Up with Oranse — lilu'i-ally translated lucar.s that it 
is c-haractoristic of tlic Dutcli to lie on top. Tlir Oran.uo cohji's stand 
for couraiio aTid fi'lcndsliip. Wearing thmi lias even been jiroof of 
loyalty and integrity, of unity and power. 

In 1(;23, a Dutch ship In-ought 3() Dutch families to .Alanhattan Island, 
where tliey found a new home and founded New Amsterdam, now New 
York. At the same time IS Dutch families from tlie same ship found 
a new home and founded Fort Oranut', riow Albany. Following this, 
other Dutch settlements jilong the Hudson and Mohawk Klvcrs were 
begun in the old Holland way. There wire comnuin lands wliore the 
cattle were put o\it (hiily to i)astnre and a common point of assembling 
for defense, as illnsti'ated liy our old Fort Herkimer and otlier forts 
throughout tlu' valley. 'I'liis is bronglit to our notice from the fact 
tliat almost every farm in the Moliawk valley liad a narrow frontage 
on the river, extending some distance back on the liillside. tlierel>y af- 
fording tlie e;irly settlei's opportunity for locating tlieir liouses near 
each other on tlie thits for mutual protection. Referrin.g to common 
lands, we mention tliat in Albany in olden time the Dutcli settle owned 
liis home and took pride in the garden and tlie little green surrounding 
his liouse. Tlie family also owned a cow. which was fed in a common 
pasture at the far end of the town. In the evening tlie cow^. returned 
by a patli known to each iwie and it is stated that these cowpaths 
afterward formed the streets in the city of Albany, famous for tlie reg- 
ular iri'egularity in wliich tliey are laid out. 

The Dutch names of New Amsterdam and I'^oit Orange should never 
have been changed to English New York and Albany. It is not my 
purpose to ]iraise the Dutch at the expense of the English, but I am 
bound to state as matter of liistory that it was ;in English and not a 
Dutch (Jovernor of the C'olony of New York who became so unruly at 
its capitol th.-it the Assembly granted him ;i salai'y for only a limited 
space of time, without promise of renewal, that they miglit be able to 
hold a cluti over him for political purposes. It was one of these Enj?- 
lish Governors who said, regarding the Colony and the ])eople: "This 
is the finest air to live upon in the universe, .and if our trees and birds 
could speak and our Asseml)lymen be silent, tlie finest conversation 
also." He fnrtli(>r said: "According to tlie reports of the coiuitry, the 
Siicliems are tlie poorest of the ]»eoi>le." 

My friends, let us never forget that while the eai'ly Dutch settlers 
of this country brought the colors in one hand. I hey brought the 
liible in the otiier, representin.g their characteristics of pluck and pi'ayer 
and thank CJod these charact(>ristics are relleeted in the Moliaw]< Valley 
I Mitch of to-day. Some of these scitlers rciinestcd anilioi-ity from Eng- 
land to i»lant a colony in \'irgini;i. but the King refnsed. as they ;isked 
liim to coniiie with the chartci' ;i clause guaranteeing religious lllierty. 
Knowing that in a Dutch colony their riglite would be ]irotected in that 
n^gard, they concluded negotiations with Holland with the residt that 


they settled in New Amsterdam, in Fort Orange and in tlie Moliawlc 
A'alley, as Avell as otlier places. Let it bo noted in passing, that the 
Dutch did not obtain tlieir lands here by conquest, but by purchase 
from the Indians. It was an Albany Dutchman whose influence com- 
manded the respect and confidence of tlie Five, afterwards the Six 
Nations, to such a marked degree that for more than a hundred years 
Albany was protected by a treaty with the Mohawks that was never 
broken and when attempt was made to win the Indians from the Dutch- 
man, it failed because he always "dealt fairly with them." Someone 
has well said that there is no more glorious page in the history of this 
country, no grander e.xhibition of the quality of our Dutch ancestors, 
than was manifested by tlie influence of the sturdy Dutch people in the 
valleys of the Hudson and Mohawk. They preferred free soil and they 
protected people's rights. When they came to this colony they honor- 
ably secured land from the Indians and in this way Van Curler pushed 
out from Albany and founded Schenectady. With other plucky Dutch- 
men they maintained their rights throughout the Mohawk valley by 
treating the Indians justly, and in appreciation of this just treatment 
the Indians for a long time called the Governors of New York by the 
general name of "Corlear," and many of their descendants living in 
Canada still call the reigning sovereign of England by the name of 

One of the most interesting facts in I>utch history is found in the 
influence for good that for centuries Holland sent forth throughout the 
world. If you study the history of the majority of the foremost men 
who came to this country in its earliest days, you will find that some- 
how, some way, somewhere, they received a Dutch training. For exam- 
ple, the name of William Penn will go down through the ages as one 
of our best and broadest of men because his Dutch mother made this 

In the town halls in Dutch cities liberty bells were hung, and from 
the "Liberty Bell" placed in Philadelphia by Pennsylvania Dutchmen, 
on July 4th, 177(5, freedom was proclaimed "throughout all the land and 
to all the inhabitants thereof." 

In those early days many Palatines went to Rotterdam and other 
places in Holland to find refuge and a home and from thence a large 
number came to this country, bringing Holland influences. These Pal- 
atine Dutchmen gave us some of our l)ravest men in the war of the 
American Revolution, notably Nicholas Herkimer. In this connection, 
I record with pride the statement that in 1710, Johan Jost, :\Iadalana 
and Catharina Herkimer came from Holland and finally settled in the 
Mohawk valley in 1721. The first land they occupied is now a part of 
this town. General Herkimer was the eldest son of Johan Jost and 
some of us present this afternoon are numbered among the descendants 
of Madalana and Catharina. It may also be of interest to note that 
one of the first of the Livingston family went from England to Rotter- 


dam, where he obtained his ediieation. He later eaine to tliis eoimtry, 
settled in Albany and married a sister of Peter Schuyler. She was the 
widow of Dominie Van Rensselaer, a Dutchman of high repute. The 
first Mayor of New York. Van Cortlandt. u Dutchman, also married 
a Schuyler. 

If I had the time and you the patience, mention could be I'eadily 
made of a number of our old Mohuwk Valley Dutch families, whost- 
good influences have helped to make this part of our country distin- 
guished for many of its grand cliaracteristics. 

The brief half liour at my disposal tliis afternoon will permit only a 
liasty sketch of a few Dutcli characteristics, which largely contributed 
to give us the Constitution of the United States, to instill a love of 
liberty in our citizens, to preserve tlieir Iiomes, to upbuild their scliools 
and establish their religion. 

A few illustrations may serve to present some Dutch characteristics 
inherited from our ancestors. One, love of liberty. Our forefatliers 
who came from Holland brought witli them two things of supreme 
importance, their freedom and tlieir religion, and tliese beneficent influ- 
ences have done much to make every citizen of this republic a sover- 
eign. As an evidence of their love of liberty, recall the long and bloody 
war witli the Spaniards and the challenge that went forth fiom the 
brave Hollanders in the midst of their suffering. They were then as 
now true to themselves ami to their country. Listen to their words of 
deliance to the Spaniards — they will go down through the ages: "As 
long as there is a living man left in the country Ave will contend for 
our liberty and our religion." When they formed the heroic resolution 
to break down the dykes to destroy the enemy, which would destroy 
their homes also, and a protest was made, the reply quickly came: "Bet- 
ter a drowned land than a lost land." 

The descendants of such liberty-loving. God-fearing men settled on 
the banks of the Hudson and the ]N[ohawk. They possessed the Dutch 
characteristics of pluck, not luck; of action, not accident; they labored 
to create rather than to criticise. Do you wonder that such a devotion 
and bravery gave birth on the hills and in the valleys of New York to 
homes, school-houses and churches? May we of the present preserve 
these institutions beciueathed us by our loyal ancestors because they 
stand for liberty, the bulwark of our national life; for love of human- 
ity, which educates us to better fellowship and closer friendship; for 
the old-fashioned religion of our fathers represented by the old-fash- 
ioned family Bible. 

Referring to the Spaniard, what a parallel in the defeat of Spain in 
her war with Holland which ended in 1048 and her war with the United 
States, which ended in 180S. In the Spanish-Dutch war, Spain buried 
350,000 of her soldiers in Holland and spent millions upon millions, 
nearly ruining herself financially in order to destroy liberty. In her 
then defeat she sank to the level of a fourth-rate country. That was 


tlie result of her wnr against li))ert.v centuries ago. The result of her 
i-ect'Ut war with the United Stati's in again atteni])ting to destroy lil)- 
erty need not ))e retol(L 

My friends, let us gratefully remember that Duteh love of liberty 
was so great that the I'.ritisli government declared war against fiolland 
because she saluted the American flag, which was the first foreign 
salute, and because she helped our American privateers. Holland help- 
ed us because of sympathy, not selfishness. 

Another illustration of the Dutch standing for liberty may lie noted 
in the fact that the loyalty and courage of gallant Dutclimeri largely 
contributed to check the r>ritish plan of campaign in the wa;' of the 
Uevolution, Avhich resulted in the enemy's defeat and our imperishable 
victory. ^Ye honor the sturdy, liberty-loving sons of Holland who 
fought at Oriskany and elsewliere in the valley of the .Alohawk atid of 
the Hudson! 

We proudly speak of the heroism of a Dewey at ^Manila and a Sami*- 
son and Schley at Santiago, but this lieroism was fully matched by tlie 
courage of Dutch Admiral Peter lleyn, who two hundred and sevOnty- 
five years ago in a great naval battle with the Spaniards, destroyed 
twenty-six of their warships and in a later engagement captured the 
balance of the Spanish fleet of nineteen vessels, with millions of dollars 
of treasui-e. 

Another illustration, love of home. ^ly friends, some people live in 
liouses. The 1 Hitch live in liomes. 

"A liouse is built of bricks and stones, 

Of sills and posts and piers; 
]*.ut a liome is built of loving deeds, 

That stami a thousand years." 

Thank God, not only the Dutch people of other days, but the Amer- 
ican people of to-day believe in preservation of tlie home in all its hap- 
piness aiHi ])urity. To perpetuate such a home we must chietiy depend 
upon woman's tact, woman's sacrifice, woman's love. A good home 
is the Avorld's hope and to preserve and l»eautify and dignify a Chris- 
tian liome is life's greatest mission and a pure and iiol)le woman can 
most faithfully and successfully fulfil tliat mission. God bless lier! 

Coupled with a I>utclinian's love of home is iiis cliaracteristic wel- 
come and hospitality, and so it was that tlie Dutch introduced into this 
country holiday customs and especially New Year's calls and celebra- 
tions. May Ave never depart from that old-fashioned Dutch liospitality 
which always brought .good cheer and tilled one's life with sunshine. 
I think a Dutchman must liave inspired tliis sentiment: 

'•The under side of every cloud 

Is bright and shining. 
And so I turn my clouds about. 
And always Avear them inside out. 

To shoAV the lining." 


It was Duttli cliccr and sunshiiH" that induced William I'.rovsttT, a 
bright and l)ravo yoiinu' lOni^lislinian, to spend a (hi/.eii years in Ihil- 
land. lie was so pleased with the I>uteh homes and tlieii- hosnitality 
that he intliieneed many of the I'llurim Fatliers to seek a home in IIol- 
hmd and those homes ma(h' possilile a I'lymonth Rock, made certain a 
Dechiratioii of Independence. 

Not only did the Diitcli lielieve in a home, but they lielieved in own- 
ing that home, and when in early days they were <'raniped by the limi- 
tations of the little country c;ii)tured from tlie sea, they pushed <iut as 
pioneei's to secure homes in new lands, until Holland of toda.v. witli an 
area of about l.'J.dOO S(|uare miles and a population of about live mil- 
lions, controls colonies with an .area of more than three-(iuar(ers of a 
million of square miles and .-i poi)ulatiou of more than thii-ty millions. 
In estalilisliing new lioines, it was their ambition not to forget the old 
ones and henct' it is cliaracteristic of the Dutch peojile to be tlie very 
best coloiuzers for a new country. And wliyV I'.ccause they take from 
the old home to the new tlie scliool-house and tlie cliurcli. 

Did you ever stop to flunk that no foreign missionaries were ever 
called to convert a Dutch cohmy. Do you ask tin- i-easonV Tlic Dutch 
schoolmaster always accomiianies the Dutch farmer, and the Dutch 
minister always accompanies the Dutch merch.ant in their onward 
inarch of civilization. They are all unssionaries. 

Again, let it not l)e forgotten that in Holland it was an exception to 
find a person who could not read and write. It is an histoiic fact that 
the first English translation of the Pdlde was published in Antwerp in 
1535, and in those early days nowhere in the world was the I'.ible so 
generally read as by the Hollanders and the English people who settled 
there. Thank God. love of the Bible is a Dutch characteristic of to-day 
as well as former days. 

The Dutch who settled in tliis country, while never foi-getting their 
forefathers nor the land of their birtli. became loyal Amei'icans and 
faithful in the last degree to our Iteloved land. While we rejoice that 
many of our citizens of various nationalities have renoimced allegiance 
to foreign governments, let us never sympathize with that mistaken 
sentiment occasionally found in this day wliereby some adojited citi- 
zens for public notoriety not only renounce but denounce a foreign gov- 
ernment, and frequently swear fealty to our republic in boisterous 
words, rarely followed by honorable dec'ds. ^Nlay Ave as lovers of this 
land of liberty, descendants of every nationality, ever remendier that 
vociferously cryin.g the word "American" does not always make an 
American; that the denouncement of other governments is not evidence 
of loyalty to our own government; that the best evid(Mice of true citi- 
zenship is found not in empty woi'ds but in worthy deeds. 

To be a good American is to be a good citizen, .and to be .a good citi- 
zen is to be a good person in the home. True m.anliood of any nation- 
ality, without distinction of class, without aristocracy save that of 


merit, is the inoasure of Americaiiisiii, whik' K'x^h^ hfluivior is thv devel- 
optiient of such manhood. 

Class distinction was once tried by the Dutch in New Amsterdam, 
-:50 years ago. It has never been tried since. They then attempted to 
divide into two societies, called Great Burghers and Small Burghers. 
This plan to create an aristocracy was abolished after a trial of about 
ten years, the Dutch women doing their full share in bringing about 
the change and from that time on to the present the only Dutch class 
distinction is one of merit, founded upon good behavior. That the 
Dutch people did not depend upon class distinction is further witnessed 
by the fact that shortly after the classes of the Great and the Small 
Burgher Avere disposed of, a Governor of New York, in writing to a 
friend in his home-land, complimented the Dutch residing hero upon 
their refinement, and among other things he said: "I find some of these 
people have the breeding of courts, and I cannot conceive how such is 
acquired." Ah! my friends, this Governor did not appreciate Ihe fact 
that the foundation of Dutch character in the mother-land was good 
behavior, and upon such a foundation only can refinement be builded. 

May we alwaj'S extend to true manhood the same inviting welcome to 
this country that was extended by the Dutch Court of Leyden, centuries 
ago. It was then as now the best invitation any country has ever given 
to the oppressed or the ambitious. History tells us that more than two 
centuries ago a proclamation was issued by the burgomasters and the 
Court of Leyden, "Refusing no honest person free ingress to come for 
residence in that city, provided that such persons behave themselves." 
All hail to dear old Holland, where the only price of citizenship was 
good behavior! Do you wonder that our Pilgrim Fathers received their 
best teachings of love and liberty, of education and religion, fi'om Hol- 
land? Do you wonder that with such broad proclamation and brotherly 
sentiment the first street of old Plymouth town, Massachusetts, was 
named Leyden street? Do you wonder that the immortal principles 
of freedom, equality and liberality were placed in the Declaration of 
Independence as a result of Dutch influence? In contributing to the 
elevation of manhood and the encouragement of enterprise, in battling 
for civil and religious liberty, in triumphing over despotism and diffi- 
culty, and in upbuilding practical religion of love to man and love to 
God, the little country of Holland has ever stood front and foremost 
among the nations of the earth. 

I have referred among the characteristics of the Dutch to love of 
liberty because it makes imperial manhood; to love of home because it 
elevates that manhood and to good citizenship because it educates that 

Thrift and honesty are also Dutch characteristics. I want to ask 
a question and invite your Society to make inquiry preparatory to an 
answer. How many Dutch people can be counted as inmates of the 
poorhouses here or elsewhere owing to lack of thrift? How many can 



111' ((milted as iniiiatcs of iirisons here or clscwiKM-c on account of lack 
of honesty V 

There are still other characteristu-s. Patience and perseverance. 
For centuries tlie Dutch patiently fought the ocean to secure their 
country: then for eighty years they persisstently fougiit tlie Si)aniards 
for their liberty, and as some one has said botli jiatiently and persist- 
ently they always fought tlie devil for their religion. 

'IMiat tlie early Dutch settlers in New .\.inserdaiii ixtssessed human 
as well as spiritual characteristics may he noted by the fact that one 
of the first liuildings erected in New Amsterdam was, to ([Uote the 
language of the ])u(ch ollicial who made the lirst sultscript ion, "a re- 
spectable church,"" which he said was net (hMl. A few days after the 
starting of tliis su[)Scription, a daughter of Dominie Dogardus was mar- 
ried and at the wedding repast after the wine had been freely passed 
around, the Church subscription paper was circulated with such gener- 
ous results that the building was shortly after erected. Dominies then 
as iioAV. occasionally preached practical sermons. It is said that Bogar- 
uus had a bit of trouble with the I>utch (iovernor and after some angry 
woi'ds had p;issed between th(>m the Dominie stated that he would 
preach the (ioveriior such a senium the iie.xt Sunday that it would make 
him "'shake hi his shoes." \o harm however resulted from the ser- 
mon as the anger of both men subsided. Those AA'ere fraternal days 
iKtween the churches; the Church of England and the I>utcli Iteformed 
Church worked together in brotlu'rly lo\'e. holding services in the same 
nu'eting house, one in the morning, the other in the evening. 

The Dutch jiossess in a large degree ambition and enterpi'ise. I 
niak(> bold the statement that their characteristics are and always 
have been largely misunderstood in this regard even by those who ought 
to be familiar with them. Stubborn facts as proved by history, teach 
us that man for man no country of the same size :md population ever 
produced better leaders of thought, braver pioiieei's of commerce, more 
conservative statesmen, more noble patriots, more shrewd financiers, 
more enterpiising jiersons in all that goes to make up the best all 
around men. W'nen the Dutch iirst came to America, the.v were nn- 
(loubtedly the foremost commercial people in the world ;ind introduced 
many succ( ssful elements in our Imsiness life as well as in our educa- 
tional aff.-iiis that have always been of supreme imiiortance. 

Pausing a moment to speak of edncatiocal matters, avc note that to- 
day more tha.n fifteen millions of jnipils juui teachers are at work in 
cur common schools. The common school system is a product of llol- 
l.-ip.d. The first free school in this country w;is oiiened by Dutchmen 
on .Manhattan Island, and of all flu early settlers here the Dutch ahme 
believed in the free ]tnblic school, otfering fMlm-ation not as a. cliarity 
l;ut as a right. They had it at home; they established it here. 

Listen to a statement made by .lolin of Nassau, brother of th.'it typi- 
cal Dutclim;iii, William of Orange: "Soldiers and patriots educated in 


Tree schools are better tliaii all armies, arsenals, mnnitions, al'iances, 
and treaties tliat can be had or imagined in the world." 

Let us not forget that throughout the centuries all classes in Holland, 
rich and poor, boys and girls, attend the public schools together, and 
thus the public school system ui Holland prepares men and women to 
bravely coiie with the world. Thank (xod our u\vn lieloved iState has 
profited by the wisdom of our Dutch Fathers and our public school sys- 
tem of to-day is as broad and practical as that of Holland. 

In the industrial world, in fine arts, in' high scholarship, in inven- 
tion, in various other great undertakings, no nation has ever produced 
better results, or has ever been more ambitious or more enteri)rising. 
More ambitious? Where will you lind a nobler specimen than in the 
person of the great Admiral Van Tromp. Kead the inscription on liis 
monument: "He ceased to triumph only when lie ceased to live." More 
enterprising? Where will you find a better local illustration than in 
the person of Patroon Van Rensselaer, as may be witnessed by the 
fact tliat he erected upon an island in the upper Hudson a fortified 
custom house and proceeded to compel every incoming or outgoing ves- 
sel to pay a duty for passing by, or then and there unload its cargo 
and sell to the customers of the place, v.diicli usually resulted to his 
pleasure and profit. Talk about Dutch enterprise; it loolced then as it 
looks now, that Dutchmen, ancient or niodern, want their full share 
of wliat is passing by, either of ships in the night time or men in the 

An enterprising person is a clieerful person and it is a Dutch char- 
acteristic to be cheerful and we must thank our early Dutch ancestors 
for setting apart a considerable number of liolidays to dispense good 
cheer and good fellowship. They were perhaps the leaders in a desire 
to give evidence of joy and celel)ration by the lioliday system wliich 
they adopted and which we liave in later days largely followed. 

Another illustration of Dutch character, toleration in all things. Tlie 
Dutch believe in the doctrine of "live and let live," and they apply this 
in matters of business, government and religion. In other words, a 
Dutchman does not demand the whole thing; he is willing to give a 
portion to the other fellow. In business a Dutcliman does not hold to 
Ihe one talent of doing nothing, nor to the five talents of doing only the 
big things, but he belongs to the large class of ostentatious, substantial 
people who possess the two talents. He is the average man who makes 
up tlie real bone and sinew of tlie land. 

While simplicity is a Dutch characteristic, nevertheless I am bound 
to state that our early ancestors desired to dress well and the women 
were no exceptions to the rule. It is recorded that they wore much 
finery and expended much money for expensive articles in tlio home. 
We should remember that our ancestors loved to dress well and to live 
well as well as to act well. 

In government, little Holland successfully controls her great colonies, 


I have already roft'rroil to tlu- fact that althouuh her country is about 
oiu'-tliird tlu' size of New Yorlc, containing tlbout two-thirds as much 
population, yet she satisfactorily directs the government of her colonies 
which contain an area fifty times greater than her own and a popula- 
tion six times larger. Her (jueen, the only sceptered one in the world, 
is not afraid of assassination or revolution, neither of which is a 
Dutch characteristic. On her wedding day, a little more than a year 
ago, in an open carriage, without protection, without fear, she proudly 
passed through the lines of many thousands of her subjects, who receiv- 
ed her with hearty cheers and lionest expressions of affection. 

It would be out of place for me to make comparison with tlie wed- 
ding of another royal personage which occurred about the same time 
but under entirely different circumstances; in the one country the peo- 
ple have always been governed l)y toleration in all things, in the other 
by fear. Confirming this I may state that Holland was the first Prot- 
estant country that allowed the private exercise of Roman f'atholic 
religion and the one first permitting the open celebration of its ritual. 
For a long time it was the only country where the Jews were allowed 
full liberty of religion. 

It may also be of interest to note that the Dutch not only founded 
the first day school, but also the first I'rotestant church in the United 

Desiring to give my old-time political friends who honor me with 
their presence this afternoon a bit of ancient Dutch advice, good, how- 
over, for the present day, I want to say we have a Dutch precedent 
for the promotion of trusts or corporations, for the existence of the 
political boss, for an excise law, a tariff law, and a good dinner at pub- 
lic expense. 

One of the first great corponitions or trusts was founded by a Dutch- 
man, and its shares were dealt in like our modern stock exchange. We 
are told that the Dutch East India Company was the first great joint 
stock company whose shares were bought and sold from hand to hand. 
Afterward, :inother great company, the Dutch West India Com- 
pany, was organized. This differed from some modern trusts in that 
the original sul>scription books were open to everybody, Dutclmian and 
foreigner alike, who desired to become a stockholder. 

Speaking of the political boss, our old Dutch Governor Peter Stuy- 
vesant instituted a boss system 2~)() years ago that would put to blusli 
even the Boss of New York or Pennsylvania. When the peope of that 
day desired to elect a council of nine men to aid in pi-oviding for the 
general good of the connnunity.Stuyvesant consented, but lie so directed, 
affairs that the council would l)e permitted to assist in the government 
only when he (Stuyvesanti '•called upon them." It is needless to say 
that Stuyvesant's calls were as few and I'ar between as the calls of 
any modern boss. \Ve might :idd by way of a foot-note that iM-ibcry 
was not entirelv unknown in that day. A Dutch Governor once at- 


tempted to obtain the inllueuce of the English Governor of a neigh- 
boring colony, by sending/him two Holland cheese and a box of sugar 
as an inducement for him to stop trading with the Indians. 

Our high tariff friends can quote a precedent from our Dutch ances-, . 
tors, who levied the first tariff in this country by what was then known 
as "staple right," which required all. vessels to pay a duty for passing 
the port of New Amsterdam, xin English ship once attempted to evade 
this tariff law, escaped the customs officers and. proceeded to Fort 
Orange, where a large cargo of beaver skins was obtained. The New 
Amsterdam Dutchmen sent a couple of ships up to Fort Orange to 
escort the p]ngllsli ship to t^andy Hook and thence on her way liome. 
She proceeded, however, without any cargo because tlie Dutchmen con- 
fiscated the whole thing. The most expert customs otficials of to-day 
could not do more or better. 

It is probable that the first excise law was promulgated in Now Am- 
slenhim by putting a tax on wine and beer and penalties were espec- 
ially placed upon excessive drinking. A tavern keeper who sold liquor 
to a drunkard or permitted quarrels upon his premises was liable not 
only to a fine but to the loss of his propei'ty as well. We are also told 
that a large number of drinking houses were located on ^Manhattan 
Island and for the purpose of reducing the drink habit to a minimum, 
when a drunken man was found, if the authorities failed to discover 
the particular house where the liiiuor was sold, in order to be sure of 
finding the real seller, they would impose a specific fine upon every 
drinking house located on the entire street. 

1 mentioned a dinner at public expense. In this respect our modern, 
like our ancient friends in New York an«l elsewhere possess about the 
same midriffs, including the same tastes. So l;a^-^5S I am able to learn, 
both the Dutch and English of two centuries ago and their descend-. 
ants of to-day expend about the same proportion , of . money to secure 
the same proportionate good thing. In proof of this statement, I quote 
from an official account of. the expenditure for a. .banquet given by 
New Amsterdam otticials to an English Lord more fhaa 200 yetirs ago. 
Here are the principal items: 

£•■ s. d. 

Beef and Cabbage 7 G 

Pork and Turnips T 3 

Mince Pies 1 -t 

Fruit. Cheese and 7 

31 Bottles of Wine 3 2 

Beer and < 'ider 12 

As proof that the New Amsterdam case is not an exceptional one, I 
cite another from New .Jersey. Here is an authentic copy of a bill over 
a century and a (juarter old. the original of which may be found in the 
library of Princeton University, formerly known as the New Jersey 


"The Tnislccs of Xrw .Ici'scy ('oll('.u,'(', Dr., 
T.j Will. Hick. 
1771. Sept. 1:7. 

£ s. (1. 

To 37 diiiiiors 4 I'J U 

To 23 Bottles of Wiiic at r)S .". 1.1 

To 8 Bottlfs roller IC. 

To 6 Bottles of P.eer !) 

To 3 tlou))le bowls Pnneh '.) 

To 3 double IkiwIs Toddy (*) 

To Tea I'oi- 13> (ieiitleiiien l.'t 

'J'o prove the ,'intheiilieity as well as llie correctness of tlie bill, the 
Ileverend President of the College. John \Vitliersi)oon, apitends to the 
bill over his own signature, the foUowini;' statement: 

"The :ibove amount I believe to 1h> just." Whether the ".jusf' part 
of it refers to "dinners for .■',7" or "tea for 13," or whether it fcfcrs to 
the other jiipiid refreshments is stated. 

I will not A\eary yon with otlier important cluiracteristies tliat havi^ 
conspired to place little Holland in the fi'ont rank of the itrocessioii of 
llro.^■ressive nations. Benjamin Franklin once sai<l: "Holland lias been 
ou)- ,uTe;it exani[»]<' in love of hberty and b'/avery in defendin:;- it." 

What a world of thoimht is eont;iined in one of Hollaiurs mottoes: 
"P>y concord, little thin.ns become ureat." 

We have borrowed fiom this our own nn)tto: "In miion there is 
stren.L^th." and Union ("olle.ue. which is a product of a Dutch church, 
follows this thought with its motto: "lii necessary. I'.nity: in 
tilings doubtful, liberty: in all, charity." 

In conclusion, may we not from these and other characteristics learn 
a lesson of value for present duty and future possibiiityV 

In the hasty preparation of this papei' I have endeavored to prove 
from the record (>f the p.-ist that although Holland is small in tei'ritory 
and population, yet, nic.asui-ed bv manhood, no rac<' ever developed 
grander cliaracters; measured by bi'avery. no nation ever jn-oduced 
uiore courageous protectors: measured l)y discovery, no land ever gave 
birth to men more progressive or more desirous of civilizing every hab- 
itable part of the eai-th: measured by success in commerce and tinance. 
no business center of the globe ever acliieved l)etter rei>utatic.n or ac- 
complished better I'esults: measui-ed l)y love of coiuitry and love of 
(Jod. no people since the days of Holy Writ have ever been lietter, 
broader, truer, noblerl 

Fellow mend)ers and friends, in this electric age we hear much about 
the new^ times, new methods and new countrii's. We he;ir little about 
the old times, old methods, old countries. These are well-nigh! forgot- 
ten. P.nt. thank (Jod, this society and kindred societies still keep 
sacred ;nid will forever keep sacred the old times out of whicli were 
born the new. Fven an electric age will honor any society living to 


perpetuate the memory that lingers around the old countries whose 
liberty-loving- sons obtained for us this new and glorious heritage; 
around the old home, the old father, the old mother whose prayers have 
ever given inspiration to new manhood and new devotion to duty and 
wliose old-fashioned religion is represented by the old-time family 
Bible. Are we preserving it on the table or in the heart? 

Appreciating our duty and responsibility born of love of country and 
home, of loyalty to ancestor and society, let us here and now pledge 
to both the old and the new, never forgetting the one in the favoring 
of the other. May we forever unite them in fraternity between the 
aristocracy of blood and the aristocracy of merit; in fellowship, where 
we may meet as equals but always with the equality that elevates; and 
in friendship, binding heart to heart with love to man and love to 


Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, December 14, 1901. 

TIk' Herkinirr Aiuci ic-in was estalilislied in this villa,i;c in 1S](), as 
a Federal paper, by .luhn U. i^- H. Ih'cntice. and was puIiUshed by 
successive publisheis imtil \K','2. It opposed tlic ckM-tion of Andrew 
.Tackson for I'residejd and supported John Qulncy Adams, and after- 
ward Henry (May, for that ollu-e. H. Prentice was the father of Miss 
Lueretia I'rentiee. for many years a wrU-known resident of this vib 
la.ii'e. 'J'he Herkimer Herald Avas established as a .Jackson paper in 
bS2S, the first number beiu.y published en the 1st day of October in 
tiiat ye.-ir: and its jiublication was continued until sometime in is;](i. 
Its founder and publisher was .Tohn Carpenter, who mai'rii'd ;• sister 
of the late Mrs. .fames C. Lawton of tliis villaye. There is now in the 
custody of this society numlters of the Herald for the years ls2S and 
IS-Jb. and tlie American for the years 1S.31 and 1832. 

In lookin.i;- throu.uh tiicse ]>ai)ei-s, I have found many fads can- 
not fjiil to interest the members of this society. They .uive a vivid 
vic>w of the Imsiness :ind soci.-il <'onditions of Herkimer in tlmse days 
;ind of the politics of tlie comity. State and Nation. Tliey brinp: before 
u^! the names of m.any m'ai, i>r(iminent here and in other i)aris of the 
comity seventy yc.ars .apo, who li.-ive lon.t;' since passed away. The.v 
show a thriving-, Imstlinu- little villii.ue of not more tlian live hundred 
inhabitants, located at the center of the State. The Imsiness nuai ,L;'en- 
(-rjilly .'idvertist'd their business, and I lin<l advertisenu'uts of nid-chants 
i!s follows: Small ^V- Strong' (afterwai'd succeeded by Is.aac Small, late 
of Little Falls). .lacob r.nrrill. .Ir.. father of .1. (J. I'.urrill of this; 
Philo M. Ilakley iV Son. .1. .\. K.asltack A: Co., Thomas (i. Parnum, 
.T;imcs N'an Antwerp. Prown iV- Crist. The m<'rchants u'enerally kci)t 
fl'eneral assortments of .;.;cods sncli as .groceries, di'y ii'oods, li.irdware, 
liiiuors, and patent medicines. MMiere were several t.ailoi's ;\nd bl.ack- 
smitlis who advertised their business, and several taverns were advi'r- 


tised. one of Avhic-li was called the Coffee House, and another was 
called the Eagle Tavern, all quite famous hostelries in their day. 

In those days regularly indented apprentices to all kinds of trades 
and farming- Avere quite common; and they not infreiiuently ran away 
from their masters Avho. to pi'otect themselves against lialiility for their 
support and misconduct, advertised them: and thence I find several 
notices (now no more seen) of "one cent reward" for runaway appren- 

Lotteries Avere advertised, as they continued to be allowed by laAv 
in this State until 1833; and also, as now, many iiateut medicines. 

There were from year to year several private schools in the village, 
recommended in advertisements by the leading citizens. Among them, 
there was a select school for infants in which the charges were ^1.50 
per quarter, and 12^/o cents per AA^eek; also a school for boys and young 
men where mathematics, Latin, Greek and French Avere taught; and a 
Ladies' Academy where all kinds of instruction usual in such schools 
AA^ere giA'en. 

Cast iron plowshares "of forty different varieties" Avere advertised 
by Moses Wadleigh of Frankfort, in September, 1831; and Col. F. V. 
Bellinger of this village advertised for sale "Wai'ren's newly invented 
Threshing Machines," Avhich could be seen in operation on his farm 
here. These must have been the first threshing machines introduced 
into this county. Trior to that time and for some years thei'eafter, 
grain in this county Avas threshed by flails in the hands of men and 
Avomen, and by horses driven around on the straw upon the liarn floor, 
thus stamping out the grain. Instead of horses, some farmers took a 
round log, put pegs or sticks into it, and then fixed it into sidepieces 
so that it could revolve, and then horses Avould draw it revolving about 
the barn floor over the straAV, and thus the grain would be threshed 

Wives seem in those days to have been much more unruly an.d more 
disposed to abandon their husbands than now; and so all these papers 
contain notices by husbands to the public', forbidding credit to runaAvay 
Avives. There Avas at least one occasion Avhen the Avife got even with 
her husband, as these notices Avhich appear in juxta-positiou in the 
Herald shoAv: 


"Whereas my Avife Nancy has left my bed and board Avithout 
just cause or provocation. I do hereby forbid all persons harboring or 
trusting her on my account, as I shall pay no debts of her contracting 
after this date. Aaron Frazee. 

"Columbia ,Sept. 8, 1829." 

"I have lieen compelled through the cruelty and inattention of my 
husband to leave his house and find a home at my father's, and there 


fore I'orbid nil p.'isoiis from hnrlioriiiL;- or trustini' him (Ani'on Frnzoo) 
on luy accmint. as I shall pay no debts of his eontractiiiy' after this 
date. Nancy Krazee. 

"('oUimhia. Sept. 14. [.S2!>." 

In every i)aper there wa.s a lon.i;- iist of hanks in tliis and olh-r States 
sliowin.y tlie value of tl'.eir cirenlatin.t;' notes, some of Iheni bein.L;- worth 
par ;ind others at a discount often of between threi' and I'oiu' per cent. 
lOvei'y ]iaper also cont;iined Ihe wliolesale New York jiiaces for jiroduee, 
and I tind in the .Vnierican the folUnving- priees foi' .May. is;',l: I'.utter. 
first quality. 13 to K; cents, and for exportation, 7 to 11 cents, showing 
that the poorest quality was exi)orted; sliippinu- cheese. T cents per 
pound; Hour. !^'>.1~> \n'V b.arrel; hops. S to 12 cents ]>er jiound: corn. ■'')0 
to <!0 cents, and o.ats. .'il cents ]ier bushel; .uin. ])er gallon. '-'A cents; 
wliiski-y. pi'r .uallon, L'l to '2'2 cents. 

Now, niortsage foreclosures and slieriffs' sales of real est.ate under 
jud.yinents are quite uncommon. Then tlu-y wi-re very numerous; and 
1 tind many niortiiaucs foreclosed liy l.-iwyei's ;is assignees, leading me 
to suppose that they i)urchased them to make the statntoi'y costs of 
foreclosui-e. And thei-e were frecpient le.i;al notices for the dis- 
charge of debtors from their debts, as at that tiuie debtors could be 
imprisoned for theii- debts, .fudging from these notices. I conclude that 
there were moi'e insolvent dditors then than now. lasts of uncalled 
for lettei'S were constantly advertised, and William Sni.all. (piitc a fam- 
cus character here, Avas postmaster for sevei-al years. Tost.ige was 
high then and letters few. .\s late :is 1S!(), I rein<"inl»er that a few 
pigeon lioles in the coi'uer of a store were sufficient to ac<-ommod;ite 
all the mail that came here. 

In those days, and eai'lier. and .also later. Independence l>ay was 
more commonly celel)rated than now. Now there are othei- national 
holidays which hav(^ weakened its hold upon the popular mind. One 
of the features fif all l<"oni-th of .Inly celebrjitions. so long as Revolu- 
tionary soldiers lived, was their iiresence. They were .alw.ays di'aAvn 
in c.'irriages and given ])l;ices of honoi- u])on platforms anil ;it banquet 
tables. I find an account in tlie Ameiacan of a fi'ourth of .Tuly celebi-a- 
tion hei'e in 18.31. Tliei'e AX'as ;i procession escorted to tlie Dutch 
church Ity Colon(-] Fi-ancis 10. Si)inner's regiment of .artillery. Revolu- 
tionary soldiers in carriages. .\t the chni'ch there w:is iirayer l)y Rev. 
yiv. Snyder, minister of the l>utch churcli. and then an ;inti;em was 
sung. Aaron Ilackley re.-id tlie Declaration of Tndt'pendence. and L. 
M. Morton delivered the oration. Tlie pi-ocession then returned to John 
("om-h's hotel, where dinnei- was served. After the cloth removed, 
the company drank the following .among other toasts: 
, "The day we celebrate — INlay it evei- be held in grateful .and joyrul 
remembrance liy the .\merican ])eo])le. 

"Nine cheers — 'Hail Columbi.a." 


"The surviving? offiL-ors and soldiers of the Revolutionary army — May 
they obtain benelits more substantial than the thanks of their country. 

"Nine cheers — 'Auld Lang Syne." 

"The memory of the immortal Washington. 

"Standing — 'Solemn Dirge.' 

"The memory of the soldiers and statesmen of 17T(i — May the heroes 
of Poland emulate their glorious example. 

"Standing — 'Freedom March.' 

"Charles Carroll of Carrollton — the last of the signers of the Declar- 
ation of Independence. 

" 'I.ife let us cherish.' 

"Our Country — The refuge of the patriotic ami opiiressed of the 

"Nine cheei's — Swiss Guard's jNIarch. 

"Liberal principles in Europe — Destined like the religion of Mahomet 
to be inculcated at the point of the sword. 

"Three cheers — 'Rural Felicity.' 

"The Polish nation — Let their iiKh-pendence be this day recognized 
by the American people and our government will sanction llie act. 
Humanity, patriotism and religion, all demand it of us. 

"Three cheers — 'Scott's wha ha.' 

"Education — The keystone of all our institutions. 

"Nine cheers — 'Clinton's ALarch.' 

"The militia of the State of New York — Preserve them fi'om the 
hands of vandal reformers. 

"Three cheers — 'Tompkins' March.' 

"The Girls — True patriots in every age and country, they love not 
only their country, but those who love it. 

"Thirteen cheers — 'The girl I left behind me.' 

"By the Vice-president (Caleb lUidlong), Louisiana — Saved by a hero 
fi'om falling into the hands of our enemies. 

"By J. B. Hunt, Esq. — Martin Van Buven: The proudest son of the 
State of New York. 

"By F. E. Skinner — The American Fair: iNIay they never embrace a 
coward, or bear a slave. 

By F. Clark (a Revolutionary) — The committee of arrangements: 
They have the thanks of the soldiers of '70. 

By L. jNI. Morton — The French nation: May their next revolution be 
as glorious in its results as Iheir last was auspicious in its counnence- 

"By T. Barlow — The American Fair: Mingling their sympathies 
with, and sending their aid to the oppressed and struggling (i reeks, they 
have won an unfading laurel to crown their virtues. 

"By .1. Burrill — The State of New York: The proudest daughter in 
tlie family." 


Till' day was dosed by liriiii;' of cannon. In the cvcnini;- tliiTr was a 
brilliant display of tireworks. 

Fi-fsldent Jauies Monroe dlt'd .Inly 4th, is;!l, jnst live years after 
Adams and Jefferson died, and the Anierlean for .Inly l.'!tli, w;is in 

At some early day, a debatin.u society was organized in this village, 
and during the years covered by these papers its meetings together 
with the questions to be debated were regularly advertised. There 
were also debating societies in Frankfort and Colnnibi;i, and in .March. 
1829, these three societies held a joint meeting at a tavern in (iermaii 
Flats, and discussed these questions: ■"Have moral causes more influ- 
ence ill forming national character than natural and physical?" "Has 
the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte been beneficial to the world?" 
These societies must have Iieen very beneficial to the young men of that 
period. \Ye may well imagine that the debates conducted by such men 
as Hoffman, Hunt. Bartow, Spinner and others were very inttM'esting. 
In the Herald, which advertisi-d these debates, I lind the following 
story whih may have been published as a pointed illusti'ation of the 
style of some inexperienced, poorly equipped debater. It said to 
be a literal copy of a speech delivered at a debating so<-i<'ty in one of 
the western towns of Pennsylvania: "Well — the subject to be ex<-ussed 
is whether ardent spirits does any good or not. I confer it doiTt. .list 
think of one's ancestors in future days — they lived to a most nnmerous 
age — so tliat I think that whiskey nor ardent spirits don't do any 
good. (Long pause.) Well — the question to be excussed is whether 
ardent .spirits does any good or not — so that I conclude it don't (Long 
pause.) I can't get hold of the d d thing." 

Debating societies were continued in this village with some inti-rvals 
until after 1840. Now there is not one, so far as I know, in this county. 
In August, 1831, a Lyceum (whatev(>r that may hav(> meant tlieni was 
organized here as appears from th<' following luiblication in tlu' Herki- 
mer American: 


"At a meeting of the young men of the village of Herkimer, for the 
purpose of establishing a lyceuin, Francis E. Spinner was called to 
the chair, and John Bartow appointed secretary. It was 

"Unanimously resolved, that a Lyceum be established in this village. 
and that a committee l^e ajipointed to prepare a constitution to be sub- 
mitted to the consideration of the society at its next meeting: and that 
this meeting adjourn until Tues<lay evening next, at 7 p. m.. at the 
school house, at which time ;ind place all who feel an interest in the 
subject are respectfully invited to attend. F. E. S|)iniier. Cli'ii. 

"John Bartow, See'ry. 

"August leth." 

But the literary as])irations of this village were not confined to its 


Schools iind «lebatin,n- sot-ieties. As early as 1809, a Library Association 
liere was or^■allizod under the name of "Tlie Herldiuer Library." We 
liave no record of its worlv. Again in 1829, an effort was made to 
start a library liere. As we laave no record of it subsequent to tliat 
date, it is probable tliat tlie effort did not prove successful. Good 
select schools for botli boys and girls were kept liere until 1838. when 
the Herkimer Academy was incorporated and inaugurated witli Mr. 
Garfield as its lirst principal, and he was succeeded in 1840 by Rev. 
David Chassell, D. 1)., one of the most successful teacliers in this State. 
This Academy was located on the southeast corner of Court and Wash- 
ington streets, upon a lot which extended west on the south side of 
Court street to the county lot upon whicli tlie clerk's otHce now stands. 
It was conducted under successive principals, (among them myself for 
two years, in 184.5, 184() and 1847), until alwut 1848, when it was aban- 
doned. There I and other young men were prepared for college. Dur- 
ing most of its existence there was a female department connected with 
it, witla a lady principal. 

In 1831. steps were taken foi- the organization of a bank. On the 
10th day of September of that year, a notice was published in the 
American of an application to the Ijegislature for an act incorporat- 
ing a bank to be located here and to be called "Tlie Herkimer County 
Bank," with a capital of .$1()0.()()(). This notice was signed l>y John 
Alahon, Alfred Putnam, Henry p]llison, .Tonas Cleland, .Tames B. Hunt, 
W. C. Crain, Aln'jah P.eckwith, N. Cleland, Stanton Dennison. William 
Small, Nicholas Smith, .Tacob liurrill, Jr., 1'. M. Hackley, Charles Gray, 
John A. Rasbach, C. C. Bellinger, John Farmer, and H. W. Doolittle. 
That project for some reason not now known failed. The first bank 
in the county was org.-mized in Little Falls in 1833, Avith a capital of 
i?200,000, and that was called "The Herkimer County Bank;" and under 
the National bank act that was converted into the existing National 
Herkimer County Bank of Little Falls. 

Subse(iuently, in 18.39, the Agricultural I'.aidi was oi'ganized here, 
with a capital of iplOO.OOO. and it was conducted until 18."t7, when it 
failed and was wound up. 

It appears from the advertisfMucnts in these paper.s th.nt there was a 
large variety of business for a small village carried on here. Besides 
the ordinary trades of blacksmithing, tailoring, shoemaking, cabinet 
making, carpentering, saddlery and harness making, (in wliich latter 
trade Francis E. Spinner was then engaged), there were several distil- 
leries, tanneries, a grist mill, saw mill, fulling and wool carding mill, 
a manufactory of cow bells, of hats, of baskets, and of barrels. There 
had for many years been a distillery, grist mill and saw mill owned 
by the Manhattan Company on the West Canada Creek just west of 
tlie bridge across the creek east of this village; and in September, 1831, 
Michael Hoffman, as agent of that company, advertised that pioperty 
for sale, together with the water power and 31 acres of land and two 


niul a half villa.^o lots, exteiulin.u' from tlu' villa^o on (lie iiorlli side 
of what was then the turnpike, now Albany street, to and across the 

At that time there was some agitation for Imildiiii;' a affect- 
ing tliis loeality. In September, ISol, there was published in the Amer- 
ican a notice of an application to the Legislature for an ad incorporat- 
ing a railroad company, with a capital of if7,()0(»,(i(i(i, to build a road 
from the Hudson Kiver at Albany to lUiffalo. Nothing came of the 
application. On August 1st. ls;n. the railroad from Albany to Schen- 
ectady was opened, and that was the first r.ailroad o])('i;ited in this 
State. Altout the same time there were other railroad projects affect- 
ing this locality, as I find this notice in the American: 


"The citizens of the town of Herkimer are re(picsted to meet at Wil- 
lard's Hotel, in the village of Herkimer, on Friday next, at o o'clock 
p. m., for the purpose of adopting such measures as will induce tlie 
Legislatiu'e to construct a railroad fi'om Schenectady to T'tica. ;iiid from 
the village of Herkimer up the West Canada ("reek to the stone (juar- 

"August 3rd. 1S31." 

The result of this movement here and at other places was the incor- 
jjoration of the Utica iV: Schenectady liailroad Company, l)y an act of 
the Legislature passed April ITth, 1832, and the incorporatioe. on the 
same day, of the Black Kiver Company to build a railroad or canal 
from the Erie canal at Itome or Herkimer or at any other intermediate 
point to the St. Lawrence River. LTnder this latter chai'ter there was 
some surveying done, but nothing else. 

In the simimer of 1832, cholera prevailed in Albany with fatal results 
in many cases; and it is said in the American that tlu're were 21 cases 
ia two days in July. On account of the iirevalence of cholera in Albany 
the Senate as a Court of Errors adjourned to the city of New York; 
and there in that summer William II. Maynard of Utica, a man of great 
talent and promise, elected senator in 1828 from the district inchiding 
this count.v, died of cholera while engaged there as a mendter of the 
Court of Errors. 

The Herald contains the proceedings of tlie Republican (which would 
be better understood now if called Democratici State convention, lield 
in this village September 24th, 1828. Tlie convention convened in tlie 
Court House, and Edward P. r>ivingston, of Columbia county, ]>resided, 
and Silas Wright was one of the secretaries. Among the del' gates in 
attendance from other comities who were then or subseipKMitly became 
prominent in State politics were Azariah C. Flagg, Alva Hunt, iOilward 
1*. Livingston, Erastus Root, Josiah Sutherland, Hemaii .1. Redfield, 
Mitcliel Sanford, Cnlian C. Ver IMank, Churchill C. Cambrelling, Mor- 
dicai M. Noah, Samuel Beardsley, Henry Wager, Scliuyler ('rippen, 


Jonas Earl, Jr., Thomas W. Taylor, Silas Wright, Jr., Bishop Pei-ldns, 
A. B. Dickinson, James McCall. The delegates from this county Avere 
Michael Hoffman, Julius C. Nelson and Atwater Cook. Michael Hoff- 
man was a member of tlie committee to select candidates to be present- 
ed to the convention, and the following nominations were made by the 
convention: For Governor, Martin Van Buren, of Albany, and for Lieu- 
tenant-govgi-nor, Enos T. Throop, of Cayuga. A few days afterward, 
in October, a State convention of Democratic young men was held here. 
It convened at the Dutch church. Thei'e were representative young 
Republicans here from all parts of the State, and Augustus G. Beards- 
ley of this county, the father of Guy R. Beardsley, of East Creek, was 
chosen to pi'eside. The convention adopted resolutions, and an address 
to the people of the State and ratified the nominations previously made. 
A few days later there was a Jackson Democratic meeting of young 
men held in the town of Columbia, consisting of about 100. among 
whom were John W. Beckwith, Philip Haner, Alanson Reynolds, John 
Clapsaddle, Jr., Jeremiah Miller and others who subsequently became 
somewhat prominent in the affairs of that town. 

Tliat year, 1828, Andrew Jackson was the Democratic candidate for 
President, and John C. Calhoun for Vice-president. John Quincy 
Adams was the opposing candidate for President and Richard Rush for 
A ice-president; and tlie political contest was very .lively and bitter. 
Newspaper vituperation of public men far surpassed anything to be 
found in what are called the yellow journals of this day; and news- 
paper editors treated each other with scant courtesy. The American 
for October 2()th, 1831, contains the following in reference to the editor 
of the People's Friend, published in Little Falls: "Six cents will be 
given to any person who Avill inform us whether Editor Griffing was in 
earnest wlien he charged us with having prostituted our columns to 
promulgate the vilest, grossest and most unprovoked slanders of a 

Herkimer was then so central and accessible, and the influence of 
Michael Hoffman and other Democrats in this county so potential tliat 
in 1830 the Democratic State convention was again held here, and Enos 
T. Throop was nominated for Governor. And here, also, William L. 
Marcy was nominated in Democratic State conventions for Governor 
in 1832, 1834, 1836 and 1838. Here also in 1832, when General Jackson 
was again the Democratic candidate for President, there was a State 
convention of young Democrats, presided over by the late Judge Amasa 
J. Parker of Albany, then of Delaware county. 

The Democratic Senatorial convention for the fifth Senatorial district 
which included this county, was held in 1828 in the village 'of Utica, 
and tliere Daniel Wardwell was nominated for Senator. His opponent 
on the Adams ticket was William H. Maynard of Utica before men- 
tioned. At that time there were no cities in this State west of Schen- 


The I )('ni()eriitie (•nndidntc for picsidvp.t inl fh'ctdi' in Isi'S ^,\;is Dr. 
Unt'us Crane, of Warri'ii. and tlu> Adams candidate I'or the same oHicc 
was his brotli<>r-in-la w. ,Iac(il) Marshall, oi' tln' same town, lioOi li\in,L;' 
in the same house. Tlu' Demoeratic- county commiftci' that ycai- w;is 
composed of C. II. Bellin.ut'r, Alfred rutnam. Dudley I'.urwell. .Xicliolas 
Smith. Charles (iray an<l .fames 1*.. Hunt, all I'esidin.i;' in the town of 

In tlie fall of ISi'S. ^liehael Hoffman was nominated for Con.L;ress, 
John Graves for Sheriff, Abi.jah I5eckwith for County Clerl;, and Abijah 
Maun, Jr.. of Fairlield. Cornelius Slou.uliter of Slark. ;ind John B. 
Dy.ucrt of Frankfort, foi' Mendiers of Assendily. Slaric was then a 
new town, haxinu' been created in ?\Iarcli of that year from a nortion 
((f tlie fown of l>anul)e, and Little Falls was tlien a i)art (d' Herkimer, 
and Ijecame a sepaiate town in thaf same year. 

The Democrats c.irried Ihis county that yea_r (ISi'Si by CS."! ni.n.jority, 
Slid elected 2(l of the ;!(; electors in the State, tliey lieini;' chosen l)y 
districts for the last time. \'an Buren c;irried the State for Covcn'uor 
by ."Ki-'tTO: and in all the States, Jas-k'son liad 14S electors and Ad;nns S3. 
Micliael Hoffman was elected to Congress in 1S1'4, ISiMi. IS'JS, ;ind 1S30, 
and durin.L;- those years Herkimer alone constituted a (!"on,uressioii;il dis- 

At tliat time (ISL'Si if is noticed in tlie Herald that John Jay was the 
only survivin.u mcmliei' of the iirst /vmei'ican Coui^ress of 1774. Charles 
Carroll the only survivor of the Con.uress of 177(! which ado))'ed tlie 
Declaraticin of Independence, and James Madison the only siu'vivor of 
tlie convention of 17S7 wliich adopted tli-:' Federal Constitution. 

In 1S28, Welister"s Dictioiiiii'.v was tirst pul)lislu>d in two volumes, 
and it was represented to contain 7(i,(i(M» words — 12, (too more tlian any 
otlier dictionary. Now, showiiiu' the urowtli of our langua.u'e. the latest 
dictionaries liave about double tliat numlxr. 

I find that tlie iiresent villau'e of I'ohuid was first called DanielsvilJe; 
and in 1S2".*, it took its jiresent name, and it was then the p(iStotHce 
address of tlie Slieriff, John (ii-aves. 

In the Herald dated June .".u, 1S2'.I, I find tliis notice: ".Mai'ried yes- 
terday in I'tica, by the Kev. aIi-. Sidnner, Mr. Isaac Small of ihe firm 
of Small c\: Strong, of this village, to Miss Susan, daughter of Philip 
Knapp of Utica." These were the i)arents of Mr. Frederick I. Small 
of Little Falls. 

Ezra rii-aves, for many years Judge of this county, was the son of 
the Sheriff, John (iraves, and came here before he studied law, as the 
jailor under his fatlu>r. Keligious meetings were then held in the 
Court House, and either because they wei-e crowded or boistei'ous, some 
damage was done to the building; and hence I find in the Herald the 
following notice: "The subscriber would give notice that in conse- 
quence of the damages sustained by the holding of religious meetings 


in the court room, in the future tlioy will be discontinued except on 
funeral occasions. Ezra (i raves. Jailor. 

-June 30tli, 1829." 

Tliis notice seems to liave continued in force until Seittembcr there- 
after, when tlie following notice appeared: 


"The suhscrilici- would give notice that for tlie future the court room 
will be open to tlie meetings of any denomination of Christians, pro- 
vided some responsible person will become lial)le for all (ianiage done 
tlie room in conseciuence of sucli meeting. E. (iraves. Jailor. 

"Sept. 1, 1829." 

During 1829 and onward, Francis E. Spinner Avas one of Ihe depu- 
ties under Sheriff Graves. In 1829, tlie Anti-Masonic party was very 
rampant and was engaged in a bitter figlit against tlie ^lasonic order 
and its friends and supporters. In Marcli of that year, Maitin Van 
r.uren resigned the office of Governor to accept the office of Scci'etary 
of State in President Jaclvson's cabinet. 

Homes Caswell was married in this village, September 2nd, 1S28, to 
Miss Margaret Rebecca Uslier, daugliter of Bloomtield Cslicr, liy Rev. 
Mr. Ercanbrack. Tliey were prominent citizens of our village for many 
years thereafter. 

In 1829, Thurlow Weed, at an early day a resident of tliis village, 
AVas pul)lishing the Rocliester Inquirer. He subsequently became fam- 
ous as the editor and ijublislier of tlie Albany Evening Journal, and as 
the leader of the Whig, and afterward of the Republican party in this 

In June, 1828, William H. Maynard, before mentioned, tlie candidate 
of the Adams party for Senator in the fifth senatorial district, com- 
posed of Herkimei', Oneida, Jefferson and other counties, published 
in the Utica Sentinel and Gazette a libel against Judge Samuel Reards- 
ley, of Utica, charging him Avitli misconduct as United States District 
Attorney, for Avliich Mr. Beardsley sued him and recovered ^i-Ki. 

In my early days, it Avas not uncommon to see dogs in church. They 
evidently disturbed the devotions or sensibilities of some people, as 
under date of October 13th, 1S31, I find in the American this notice: 
"If the gentlemen of our village have not decency enough to keep their 
dogs from meeting, my family shall not attend." B. A. 

There is in the Herkimer Vrve Library a history of the State of Ncav 
York, by James ^NlacCauley, Avho in 1832 and for many years thereafter 
Avas a laAvyer residing in the toAvn of Frankfort, in this county. The 
book is ACi-y rare, is uoav littU:' known, and very rarely read, and yet it 
is a pains-taking and valual)le history. In February of that year he 
published the pi-ospectus of his book, to 1)0 sold by subscription at .$2 
and if2.2r.. 

During all the years from tlie beginning of 1828 to the close of 1832. 


party roiitcsts were eoiulncted with luucli \iriilence and vituperation; 
and bitter partisanship oeeasionally invaded tlie pulpit. Extreme utter- 
ances became common. Soon after tlie commencement of the Legishi- 
tive session of is:j2. Kev. James K. Wilson was chosen one of the chap- 
lains of tlu" I.e,iiislature. Soon thereafter he pul)lished two sei'mons in 
pamphk't form, in which he spoke of (ieor.Lii" Washington as follows: 

"Wasliington did pray, it is said, in secret, on liis IvUees, during the 
battle of Brandywine. That may be true, and yet, like Thomas I'aine, 
who is known to iiave prayed, he may have been an unlieliever. Is it 
prolialiie that li(> would liave attended ))alls, tlu'atres ,and tlie card 
tii))le. had lie l)een a disciple of I'liristV Uosseau, an ;i vowed intidel, 
lias said more in lionor of Christ, than is known to liave been uttered 
by Washington. He was a slave holder, whicli was doing 'evil in the 
sight of the L'ord.' His Sabbaths were not spent as tlie •feareis of the 
Loi-d' employ that holy day. His death, as recorded ])y l>r. Uanisey, is 
much more like a Heathen philosopher's than like that of a Saint of 

And of Jefferson as follows: 

"Mr. Jefferson, the successor of Mr. Adams, w;is an .-ivoAved infidel 
and notoriously addicted to immorality. To the common decency of 
Washington's or Adams' moral deportment he had no pi'ctcnsions. His 
notes on ^■irginia contain very s.itisfactory evidence that the author 
when he composed that work was an enemy to revealed religion, and a 
\)rulent foe to the church of God. Had the people of the United 
States known the immorality of Ids private life, and the scorn with 
■which ti'cated the religion of .Tesus, it is sui'ely impossible that he 
could have been elected io the tirst ollice in their gift." 

And of ^Madison as follows- 

".Madison, to the grief of his parents, abandoned the study of theol- 
ogy, and entered the office of the intidel and libertine Jefferson, as a 
studcJit of law. Tliough Mr. Madison has pledged himself neither in 
public or pi'ivate, to the l»elief of Christianity, yet he is not known to 
have employed his intlut'uce, like Jefferson, in attempts to al)olish the 
Christian faith. The value of a religious education is strikingly illus- 
trated in the private chai'acter of James Madison. Jefferson i>robably 
made him a deist, and yet his moral deportment, as it ivgards the sec- 
ond table of the law, has been respectable. All the inlluence of the 
infidel creed, and the pi'oliigacy of morals al)out court, have not been 
of sufficient force to demolish utterly the fabric of a religious I'duca- 
tion. For the honor of the country. Ave may hope that lie will not con- 
trive to die on the 4th of July." 

This shocking language used in reference to three of our greatest 
public men ai'oused much indignation and Mr. Wils<in was removed 
from his office as chapl.-iin. 

In the fall of 1S.",-J. Andrew Jackson was tlu' Democratic c;Mididate 
for President and Henry Ciay was the opposing candidate. A Jackson 



meeting was called Jiere and the American spol^e in tliis manner in ref- 
erence to tiiat meeting: 

"Tlie paper calling a Jackson meeting for tliis town has at length 
made its appearance, after being circulated for about the matter of live 
weelvs, (Sundays not excepted), witli about tliree hundred and tifty 
names, enumerating those Avhose names are on twice, those wlio belong 
in otlier towns, those-who are not voters, and about seventy-five, wlio, 
if they vote at all, will record their votes against the administration." 

"Tlie bull-dogs of the party liere, have h.esitated not to trample upon 
all laws human and divine, they have hesitated not to enter the pre- 
cincts of the sanctuary to attain their unhallowed purposes, viz., pro- 
curing signatures for tlie call for a Jaclvson meeting.-" 

"Deception and falsehood of the basest description lias been carried 
on by the bull-dogs, in collecting and accumulating the iong string' of 
names to the Jaclcson paper in tliis town. Tliat they might the more 
elTectually deceive the honest Germans, they have employed their own 
native tongue, and under this cover, themselves and tlieir falsehoods 
have been screened from exposure." 

"Tlie miserable hirelings of pov/er were busy on Sunday last, in this 
town circulating their paper for signatures amongst the Germans who 
were here attending church. They toolc advantage of this opportunity 
to carry into effect their wicked purposes. It is worthy of the cause 
in Avhicli they are engaged." 

I have made these (luotations at some length to show how much 
more decently political contests are conducted now than they were 
seventy years ago. 

The following notice shows the beginning of an enterprise wliich has 
proved of great value to our village: 

"Is liereby given that an application Avill be made to the next 
session of the Legislature of the State of New York to incorporate the 
Herkimer jManufacturing and Hydraulic Company, with a capital of 
$100,000, and witli liberty to extend the same to $300,000. 
"May 15, 1832." 

The act applied for was passed by the legislative session of 1833, and 
the construction of the hydraulic canal was inaugurated July 4th, of 
that year, and the canal Avas completed in 1834. 

In those early days, 1S2S-1832, there were temperance societies in 
this county, tOAvn societies and a county society, to promote the cause 
of temperance, of which I find repeated notices in these papers; and 
public temperance addresses then and for many years afterwards were 
delivered in various towns in the county. These societies no longer 
exist and temperance lectures as such are rarely heard. The press and 
the pulpit have taken the places of tliese instrumentalities for reform, 
and the mass of people with growing intelligence and civilization have 
become much more temperate than they were during the first half of 


the last century. Tlioro Is more general intelligence among the people 
than there was seventy years ago, and more refinement. In those days 
there were political leaders but no political bosses in the modern sense. 
The latter are the growth of quite modern times. 

Concluding my paper, I will simply say that the only interest in it, 
as my hearers must have observed, is in the facts stated, and I hope 
they will be found interesting and of some historical value. It is 
ulwaj'S interesting to learn the political feelings, the business employ- 
ment, the educational and social conditions, and the absorbing inter- 
ests of past generations; and nowhere can these be so well learned 
as in the newspapers of the period. 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society January ii, 1902. 

In undertakins' to write something about the Herkimer county people 
who, from time to time, have lived in Washington, it seems an abso- 
lute necessity to touch upon the history of the United States Treasur- 
er's office. 

From the foundation of the Government to the l)r.eakin.ii: out of the 
slave-holding' Rebellion in 1801, the force of the office had grown from 
four to twenty employes only. 

Up to 18(!1, there is no record of a Herkimer county man liaving at 
any time held position in that office or any other, excepting that of 
Representative in Congress. 

The Congressional district, of which Herkimer county formed a part, 
had sent Hon. Alexander H. Buel to Congress in 1850. jNIr. Buel was 
born in Fairfield, received a limited education, was a prominent and 
successful merchant at the time he was elected and served to the date 
of his death, which occurred at the National Capital June SOth, 1853. 

The county was next represented at Washington by Hon. Francis 
E. Spinner, of Mohawk, Herkimer county. General Spinner vr;is born 
in the town of German Flats, January 21st, 1802. He was mostly edu- 
cated at home under the eye of his father, a highly educated German 

For twenty years General Spinner was the executive officer of the 
Mohawk Valley Bank. He held all the commissions from the Gover- 
nors of New York from Ijieutenant to Major General of State artillery; 
was Sheriff of his county, and Commissioner for Imilding the State 
Lunatic Asylum. From 1815 to 181i), he was Avulitor of the naval office 
at the port of New York. 

In 18.54, he was elected to Congress, and re-elected to the o5tli Con- 
gress, serving as a member of the committee on accounts. He was re- 
elected to the 30th Congress, and made Chairman of the committee on 


accounts. Ill this, as well as in liic prcrrdiii.u- Congresses, lie made a 
reputation as a ([iiiet but tireh'ss worker, never taking- anything for 
granted, but always looking earefnlly into everything with which he 
had to do. before giving it his approval. 

In ISCil, he was appointed Treasurer of the United States by Pres- 
ident Lineoln, his previous experience as banker, auditor and con- 
gressman having peculiarly fitted him for the position. 

For fourteen of the most eventful years in the history of our country 
he held the office. jNIeii of all classes, who had the welfare of the Union 
at heart, looked upon Francis E. Spinner, as a rock of integrity against 
whicli the v.-aves of corruption, rascality, treason and dishonesty beat 
in vain. 

When he took charge of the Treasurer's otlice, the departments were 
honey-comlied with treason and tli<' offices tilled with traitors. The 
credit of the government had been destroyed and its limited receipts 
stolen to advance the cause of treason. I'nited States securities went 
begging at i2i/4 per cent, discount, but when the old wntch-dog of the 
Treasury retired from office, the ci'edit had been restored, and tlie in- 
terest-bearing securities were eagerly taken at 3 per cent. 

Not a little of the net result was du^ to the unbounded faitli of the 
people in the man who held the keys to the treasure vaults of tlie Gov- 

Assuming charge of the oihce under the adverse conditions detailed 
above, how natural for the Cieneral to turn to his own home county for 
help, for men upon Avliom he could rel.v in aiding to carry out the vast 
financial plans about to be inaugurated. 

It was in pursuance of this policy that Colonel Standisli Barry, 
Judge II. G. Root. Allen W. Eaton. Uelloy Tuttle, Edward <). Graves, 
and many others of old Herkimer county, were early calh'd into ser- 

Colonel Standisli Barry was a resident of Newport for many years. 
He was elected Clerk of the county in 1840, and again in 1840. ]\Iarch 
'.k\, 1803, Congress passed a law creating the office of Assistant Treas- 
urer of tlie United States at Wasliington, and Colonel Barry v. as nom- 
inated by President Lincoln and confirmed by the Senate of the United 
States, as its first incumbent. 

A man of fine presence, courtly manners and a kindly heart, the Col- 
onel was loved and respected by all who knew him. Hi' held the office 
to the date of his death. 

His widow, :Mrs. Lydia still survives him at more than ninety 
years of age. She is a lady whom lo know is to love. Her noble, kindly 
face conies before me as I write. 

Colonel Barry w;is succeeded as Assistant Treasurer by another Her- 
kimer county man — E(dtoy Tuttle. Mr. Tutth^ came to :MolKnvk from 
Otsego county, about is.')!), .and w;is employed in the Mohawk Valley 
Bank under the sujiervision of General Spinner, prob.-ibly as a book- 


keeper, as lie was a fine penman, and an accomplished accountant. Mr. 
Tiittle hold the office for a number of years, and finally retired, and 
devoted his entire time to a growing real estate business. He had pur- 
chased a large tract of land on Kalorama Heights, immediately over- 
looking Northwest Washington, where the ground rapidly enhanced 
from a few cents to a dollar a square foot, thus making Mr. Tuttle a 
rich man. He continued in business until his death, a few j'ears ago. 

The i-ecent suspension of the Omaha Trust Company, at the head of 
which Avas a former United States Treasurer, A. U. Wyman, recalls an 
incident in the life of Mr. Tuttle and another Herkimer county man, 
who held a clerkship in General Spinner's office — Abram Zoller. 

Mr. Zoller had a few hundred dollars in an old State bank in which 
Mr. Tuttle was interested. The bank failed; Zoller gave Tuttle no rest 
importuning for a settlement. Finally Tuttle told him that if he would 
shut his mouth he would transfer to him a piece of land in the neighbor- 
hood of Omaha in settlement. The offer was accepted. Zoller held on 
to the ground. Omaha grew to and around it, tempting offers began 
to come in. The land-boom struck Omaha. Finally an offer equivalent 
to $400,000 was made by a banking and real estate institution, but Zol- 
ler would not sell. The bottom of the boom fell out, and left Mr. Zoller 
high and dry on a lee shore, so to speak. The same adverse tide took 
the foundation from under the Omaha Trust Company. (Moral: Sell 
when a good price is offered, even if you do let the other fellow have a 
chance to make a few dollars). 

Edward O. Graves, son of Hon. Solomon Graves, formerly of the 
town of Russia, was the next Herkimer county man to hold the office 
of Assistant Treasurer. Mr. Graves entered the Treasurer's office in 
the closing years of the war. He rose rapidly through all the grades 
to the position of Chief Clerk of the office, at ?2,500 per year. In 1874, 
when the National Bank Redemption Agency was provided for, he was 
made its first superintendent, at .$3,500 per year, and subsequently ap- 
pointed Assistant Treasurer of the United States. Graves was Chief 
Examiner of the Civil Service under President Grant, and when Cleve- 
land was elected President, he made him Chief of the Bureau of En- 
graving and Printing, one of the most important offices under the Treas- 
ury Department. In this great establishment, employing several thous- 
and people, are prepared and engraved all the plates, etc., from which 
are printed all United States currency and bonds, postage and revenue 
stamps, as well as the hundreds of millions of notes issued by the 
National Banks of the country. When Mr. Cleveland was succeeded 
by President Harrison, Mr. Graves retired, went to Seattle, Washington 
State, started a bank, and began to make money. He held many 
positions of honor, and some of profit. He recently retired from busi- 
ness, and is still living. 

Allen W. Eaton, of Little Falls, owner and editor of the old "Mohawk 
Courier," of antebellum days, was early called to General Spinner's 



assistance, llo was a tine penman, a man ot considerable eilncation. of 
rugged lionesty, and one of General Spinner's nuist trnslcd employes. 
He, a confidential adviser of tlie Treasnier. was not wliat niiglit lie 
called a favorite, because liis blunt, straight-forward way of stating 
the truth was not always acceptal^le. 

Mr. Eaton worked his Avay rapidly up through all the grades to tlie 
position of principal bookkeeper of the oliice. and from thence was pro- 
moted to the position of Cliief of the I>lsision of National Hanks, thus 
becoming the custodian of hundreds of millions of dollars in govern- 
ment bonds deposited by the banks as security for their circiilating 

Mr, Eaton held this position with credit to himself and advantage to 
the servici' until John C New, of Indiana, snccet'ded Ti'easnrcr Spin- 
ner, when he retired, and was iippointed receiver o!' public 
moneys at Oxford, idaho, through the influence of lion. War- 
ner Miller., which position he held for many years. When at leisure, 
lie frequented the trout streams of nmuntainous sei tions of tlie State, 
landing many a speckled licauty. lie died out there last yi'ar — I'JU;) — 
at the ripe age of .So. 

Hon. II. G. Root, one of jNIohawk's most respected citizens, was one 
of tlie first of Herkimer county men to ent<r the Treasnrei-'s oiiice. He 
was the first chief of the issue division — an extremely important branch 
of the oliice. In this division Avas handled and counted the unsold nul- 
lions of greenl>acks and fractional currency issued an<l put mi circu- 
lation to- aid in the suppression of the Kebellion. This divi^don has 
now grown to more than live times the size of tlie Treasurer''^ office, 
when Genera! Spinner first took charge of it. In it is now linished all 
the paper money issued by the United States; that is to say. the seal 
io here added, and the notes are separated, trimmed and put up ready 
for issue. :\{ore than half a million notes are thus daily treatid, 
re(iuiring tlu' services of at least 12.') people in the process. The assist- 
ant chief of this division at the itrescnt time is an ex-New ^ ork sol- 
dier — a Ilerkijner county man, and the writer of this artick'. He was 
born in Eittle Ealls, emigrated to the West when an infant, returned 
to Herkimer when quite a small boy. lived there until the outbreak 
of the Keljellion, entered the -Mtli New York volunti'crs, recruited a 
company for the ISth New York cavalry, passed examination and ac- 
cepted a commission in a black regiment, saw service in \'irginia, 
Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas, and at the close of the 
war entered the office of the Treasurer of the ITnited Slates, upon the 
reconunendation of Hon. Kosco(> Gonkling and Hon. Addison H. Laflin. 

Judge Root continued at the head of the issue division unlil General 
Spinner ceased to be Treasui-ei'. avIkmi lie retired, and retuincd to ^Mo- 
hawk, where he spent the ]•( niainder of his days, lie needs no eulogy 
at the writer's hands, for those Avho knew him best respected him most. 

Hon. Addison H. Laflin, next after General Spinner, represented 


Herkimer county in the National Legislature. He was born October 
34th, 1823, in Lee, Berlvsliire countj% Massacliusetts, graduated from 
Williams College in 1843, and moved to Ilerldmer where he engaged 
extensively in the manufacture of paper. In 1857, he was elected to 
the State Senate. In 18(;;4. he was elected to the 39th Congress, and 
was made a member of the committee on printing. He was re-elected 
to the 40th Congress, and selected as chairman of the committee on 
printing. His experience as a paper manufactiu-er was of much ad- 
vantage to the Government. He took an active, part in debate, and 
came in for Iiigh praise in the leading New York papers. Upon i\Ir. 
Laflin's retirement from Congress, General Grant appointed him naval 
officer at New York, His death occurred a few years later. Mr. Laflin 
was pleasant and afCable in his treatment of men. and he made friends. 
He served in Congress at a time when such statesmen as Conkling, 
Blaine, Logan, Garlield. Thad. Stevens. Colfax, Butler, Carlisle. Ran- 
dall and many other brilliant men impressed their ideas upon the legis- 
lation of the times. Ail of them members of the House — in their ele- 
ment, where they gave and took blows in the effort to correctly repre- 
sent their various constituencies. 

Major Alfred K. Quaiffe taught music, and gave lessons on rlie piano 
in all the leading towns of the county, previous to the war of the Rebel- 
lion. When the ir)2nd regiment was organized, he entered the ranks, 
and with his regiment Avent to the seat of war in Virginia. By a close 
attention to and an intelligent comprehension of duty, he rose through 
the various grades until when he left the service he was made Major 
by brevet, for meritorious conduct. He entered tlie office of the LTnited 
States Treasurer at the close of the war, and by the same zealous and 
intelligent attention to duty, rose rapidly through the various classes 
to the position of assistant tellei", at .$2..''>0() per annum. When Mr. 
Cleveland was elected President, he induced Congi'ess to pass a law 
creating the position of vault clerk, at a sal;iry of $2,500 per annum, 
to which Major Quaiffe was appointed and which position he still holds, 
having immediate charge of all the cash vaults in the United States 
Treasury. Two of these A'aults contain nearly .$100,000,000 in coin, 
mostly silver dollars, held in trust as security for a like amount in 
silver certificates in active circulation. The Major is something of a 
scholar, the official poet of the office, and withal a faithful government 

George Scliermerliorn, of ^Nlohawk, was one of the earlier appointees 
of the Treasurer's office. H.-' Avas not a brilliant scholar, but in com- 
puting interest, in correctly figuring out the exact value of a given 
numl>er of coupons, he was the lightning calculator of the offce. No 
one could approach him in that respect. This was at the time, a val- 
uable qualification and undoubtedly had much to do with his appoint- 

George will be recalled by the older residents of Herkimer as a news- 


IKipcr vciuU-r. who Just previous to the ^viw Avns (Mi.un.ucd in ;i eontost 
to see Avho could phu-e the Now York daily papers in Uiehtield Sprinf,'s 
lirst. This created jireat local excitement at the time, relays of horses 
extended all the way to Richfield Si>rin,t;s — Schernn'rhorn. I lielieve, 
was the victor. He was a very small man physically, hut what he 
lacked in size he made up in self-esteem. 

It is told of (xeorjie that once upon a time, while on leave of ab- 
sence up A\here the Mohawk gently glides, he wi'ote a Acry patriotic 
letter to General y^inner, and in the course of his denunciation of the 
effort to destroy tlie Union, he broke out as follows, viz: "(Teneral! 
the South has attempted to sever the ju.uular vein of our lil)erties, as 
with a carvinu knife — will she live, or will she dieV I thiidc slie will." 

Scliermerhorn was a horn patriot, and after m;niy years of faithful 
service, he died, full of lionors and in liarness. 

Some hesitation is felt in a])proachins- the next subject, and yet a 
historian should write the truth oi- not at all. 

Oliver ("r.iinwell was once sittin.i; for liis portrait. lie was not a 
handsome m;in, and to make matters worse, liis face was distiunred l3y 
a number of u,i;ly looking warts. The portrait paintei- thinking to im- 
prove the looks of his patron was leaving olT the warts. Wlien Crom- 
well noticed what he \\;is doing, he broke forth in great indignation as 
follows: "Kainn you, sir; paint me as I am — warts and all — or not 
at all." 

Seth Johnson came from Mohawk: he was a man of consideralde 
ability — a good penman, an excellent accountant, and as :i result, soon 
worked his way up to a position of responsil»ility. As interest teller, 
he paid out and handled daily many thousands of dollars. He was 
trusted and fell, less from dishon(>sty than the baleful intiuence of the 
times. It Avas during the gold craze, when the premium went so high 
that speculators won or lost fortunes — sometimes in a day. Johnson 
thought he had a sui-e thing on the market, and invested and lost his all. 
In a fatal moment, thinking he was sure to win, he made the one false 
move of liis life. He took money fnun his till, and invested it. thinking 
to recoup his losses. He lost. Then in his desperation, he .again in- 
v.aded his till, this time in a frantic effort to replace the (Tovernment 
money lost, and lost again. Tlien from bad to worse — loss upon loss 
resulted, until he could no longer cover up the condition of his cash — 
exposux'e and iiunishment followed. 

With his reputation blasted, his life ruined by a false step — ho return- 
ed to the world. He lingered along, doing the best he could to make 
an honest living, and a few months ago he went to that far off country 
from whose bourne no traveler ever returns. 

James H. Stevens, an old Herkimer veteran, who of the older men 
of Herkimer does not recall "Jim" Stevens? — by trade a tailor — and 
profession a telegraph operator. 


Stevens Avas of English extraction. He enlisted, probably in the 
152cl, and after the war came to Washington and succeeded in getting 
an appointment in General Spinner's otHce. He procured a pension, 
purchased a small place at the town of Arlington, near the Heights In 
Virginia, and entered politics. Some years later, he lost his position 
under the Government, retired to the shades of his little Virginia home, 
and resumed his occupation as a tailor. 

His habits became somewhat irregular, he was divorced from his 
wife, and some years later died. 

General Spinner did not at first appear to comprehend the magnitude 
of the task before him, when he accepted the office of Treasurer. The 
tirst issue of greenbacks he attempted to sign with a'pen. Those who 
remember that famous signature of his can form some idea of the 
extent of the undertaliing. He soon lamed his wrist, and nearly par- 
aJ.yzed his arm in the effort. Then in dispair, he had a number of 
clerks designated to sign for him. Soon this was abandoned, and the 
plan now in was adopted — that of having his signature engraved 
on the plate from Avhich tlie notes are printed. 

It was about this tiine tliat women were hrst employed in the de- 
partments, and to General Spinner belongs the credit of their tirst intro- 
duction to the government service. "God bless Genera! Spinnei," they 
Bay, and in proof of their gratitude, they will one day erect a monu- 
ment in his honor. They iiave already raised the money, and only 
await a suitable site to begin its erection. Many anecdotes might be 
related, which would be of interest — a t\nv must sutflce. 

Wlienever a luilon victory was reported, the clerks of the office would 
be called out into the corridors, and then all AA'ould cheer for tlie Union. 
The General did not mean that their patriotic ardor or unionism should 
get cold. In 1SG4, the force of the departments was organized into reg- 
iments. General Spinner took position in that of the Treasury depart- 
ment, as a liigli private in the rear rank. Not because he was afraid 
•to go to the front; he wanted to be where he could see that others did 
their duty. 

One day immediately after the official close of the war, a fellow who 
had been au officer in the United States Army, ahd had deserted to the 
Confederate side, entered General Spinner's office with Andrew John- 
son's pardon in his pocket, and made some inquiries aliout the pay tliat 
was due him at the time he deserted. Then up rose the old Mohawk 
war horse, and swore a little. He had something of a Ben Wade repu- 
tation in his line, and he added to it. 

As the rehabilitated deserter backed off. he undertook to more forci- 
bly present the strength of his claim by pointing to Uresident .Tohnson's 
pardon. The eye of the old :\Iohawk Dutchman glistened, his brow 
wrinkled more and more, his mouth got longer, as he burst out: 'I'll 
see you and the President both in li— 1 lirst, and then I won't." In the 



room at tlic time was a luiiiister of llie .gospel, his witV and ('anghtcr, 
who had been driven I'rom rt'tersbiiry at thi_> ontlircak of tlic Ueliel- 
lion on account of their Union sentiments. 

Tlie preaclier walked up to (Jeneral Spiuuer, and i)lacin.L;- his hand on 
tlie old fellow's shoulder, said: 

"General, you know how I depreeate profanity. 1 niust say, how- 
ever, that I never heard it sound so much like prayiny ])efore." 

A letter was one day received from some Confederate sympathizer, 
enclosing a $."tOO Confederate note for redemption with the statement 
that inasnuicli as the United States had made it impossible for the Con- 
federate States yovernnient to redeem its oliligaf ions, he felt that the 
United States (Jovernment should do it instead. 

General Spinner read the letter over (juife carefully, and then turnins' 
to tlie then chief clerk of liis office. Mr. E. O. Graves, said: "Answer 
that letter; inform the gentlenient where the Confederate goveriiment 
has gone to, and tell him to go down there and present his bill." 

In 187."), ihe (Jeneral resigUKl his i)Osition as Treasui'ei' of tln' United 
States, mainly because^ he and Mr. Secretary Bristow could not agree. 

He liad run the office in his own way for fourteen, and when 
someone else undertook to do it for liiuL he Avould not submit, and 
resigned. It was subsetiuently stated th;it had Geiieral Grant under- 
stood the situation, lie never would have accepted (Jeneral Spinner's 

Warner Miller was born at Hannilial, Oswego county, August 12th, 
ISnS, the son of Hiram and Mary Ann \Yarner ISIiller. lie grew to man- 
hood at Xortliville, Fulton county, Avorking on the farm in summer and 
attending school in Avinter. lie entered T'nion college in IS.")!;, working 
his OAvn Avay through that institution, graduating Avith honor in ISlJO. 
After graduation, he taught Latin and (iri-ek in Fort Edward Institute 
for a year, and then entered the army. In Octolier, 1Si;l, hi' joined 
Company I, of the 5th Ncav York cavalry, as a private soldier, and was 
soon after made Sergeant Major of his regiment. lie Avas taJcen pris- 
oner by the reliels at Winchester. Yirgini.-i, and later (in lfir,2) was 

Mr. Miller early took an active part in i)olitics, and was for many 
years chairman of the Republican county committi'c of Herkimer 
county. Was a delegate to the National Repulilican convention at 
Philadelphia that renominated President Grant. He was elected to the 
loAver House of the State Legislature in 1873-4, and on the Avays and 
means and canal committees in 187."). 

In 187S, he Avas elected to the Kith Congress from the -)2nd Congres- 
sional district, composed of Ihe counties of Herkimer, .Tctferson and 
LeAvis, and re-elected in 1880. In the House of IJepresent.itives he 
served on the committee on militia. 

July ICth, 1881, he Avas elected to the rnited States Senate, succeed- 
ing Thomas C. Piatt. 


In the Senate, Mr. Miller was a tireless worker, a close stndent. a 
believer in common sense metliods. and never slirank from any tasli 
-which the welfare of his great constituency assigned to him. In 1882, 
he was appointed member of the committee on commerce, postoffices 
and post-roads. In 1883, lie was made a member of the committee on 
education. In 188»>, he was made chairman of the committee on agri- 
culture, whicli afterwards included forestry. 

From these committees emanated some of the most important legis- 
lation of the period covering Mr. Miller's services. 

His retirement from the Senate as a result of political machinations 
was a distinct loss to the whole country. He liad grown to l>e an all- 
around statesman, Avith constantly l)roadening views. 'His treatment of 
all National questions was able and patriotic, and while New Yorlc 
may have iiad more brilliant men in the upper house of Congress; from 
a business and common sense point of view, it can Vie safely said tliat 
the State has seldom been more ably represented than when Warner 
Miller was in the United States Senate. 

Many other Herkimer county people have undoubtedly sojourned in 
Washington from time to time since the close of the war of the Rebel- 
lion, but so far, the writer lias been unable to secure the data neces- 
sary to give them proper notice. 

The people mentioned served at a time of great interest to the older 
residents of Herkimer county, and most of them in an office of great 
importance to the country, and under a man thought niucli of l)y those 
who knew him best. 

Alas! they are nearly all dead and gone. Those who remain, but a 
meager number, will soon pass from the stage, only to be remembered, 
if at all, by deeds done and character made. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society February S, 1902. 

The Lutheran clnireli was estal)lished in New Amstei'dani very early 
in the history of tlie New Netherlands. A eon.yreuation of Low Conn- 
try adherents of the Au.nustana was or.nanized and liad ereeted a 
church editice there aliout KmO, the first congregation of that denomina- 
tion in America. The laitheran immigration to America l)egan to take 
a substantial shape during the war of the Spanish Succession (1704-13), 
when the country of the I'ppi'r Uhine was devastated l)y the contend- 
ing armies. In ITdS, Kev. Joshua Kockerthal. a Luthei-an clergyman, 
with his family and congregation, to the number of rifty-two persons, 
came to the province of New York under the patronage of the govern- 
ment of Queen Anne, and this was the beginning of the GermaTi immi- 
gration to America. The story has been told and re-told of the settle- 
ment of these pioneers on the Hudson, their dissatisfaction and the 
removal of some of their numlier to Schoharie, and ultimately to Tenn- 
sylvania and to Burnetstield. It is with these latter and with their 
descendants that the present paper deals. 

While in Europe, the line Itetween the adherents of Luthei- and those 
of Zwingll had since the abortive conference at Marburg Iteen. sharply 
drawn, often to the detriment of both; in America the case was differ- 
ent. The Germans of the Reformed persuasion found a denomination 
already established, practically identical in creed and church govern- 
ment, and speaking an allied tongue, also having denominational allies 
among the dominant English-speaking colonists. Under these circum- 
stances it is not Strang*' that many of the immigrants found themselves 
disposed to minimize theological detinitions. and that the Ueformed 
church was greatly re-enforced by the new ai-rivals, and also that the 
pioneers directing their efforts moi'e to subduing natni'e and establish- 
ing homes for themselves and their families than to the technicalities 
of organization, that an interval of forty years exists between the set- 


tlemeiit of Burnetstield, and the first account of an organized Lutheran 

In 1T()4, Peter Hassenclever, a native of the duchy (noAv Icingdom) of 
AYurtemburg, joined his fellow countrymen on the upper Mohawk within 
the limits of the present tOAvn of Schuyler. Engaging in the manufac- 
ture of potash, he united with his neighbors and co-religionists on Sun- 
day in worship, occup-ying his ashery for that purpose. This was un- 
questionably the first Lutheran organization in Herkimer county. 

In 1809, a building was erected on the present site of the school-house 
in district No. 4, Avhich was used for many years both as a church and 
school-house. In 1878, the frame was still standing, the building being 
then used as a wagon house. The society also owned a parsonage at 
one period. In 1830, this building gave place to one used exclusively 
for school purposes, the remaining members of the society, which was 
greatly diminished, having united the previous year with the :Methodist 
Protestant society and others, in the erection of a Union church build- 
ing, which stood about thirty-five years. In 18G8, it gave place to a 
Union church built by the Free INlethodists and others, open to clergy- 
men of all denominations. Of the first board of trustees of the Union 
church, the venerable Alexis L. Johnson was a le'ading member. The 
brittania chalice used in the administration of the Sacrament was in 
JS78 in the possession of Hiram L. Johnson. 

A Lutheran congregation existed in the town of Warren (which at 
that time included Columbia), in 1803. In that year it united with the 
Reformed and Congregational societies of Warren in the erection of a 
Union church, the Congregationalists having an interest of one-half, 
the Reformed of five-twelfths, and the Lutherans one-twelfth. This 
building gave place in 1810 to the present Reformed church of Col- 

In 1815-lG, a Union church was erected in the town of Warren, on 
the "Crain" or "Baker" farm now owned by T. Clark Swift, about a 
mile east of Jordanville, in which the Lutheran denomination was in- 

We have no information as to the length of time that the liuilding 
Avas occupied. The dismantled frame was standing in the late sixties. 
We have no records of the clergymen who ofliciated in these churches, 
with tlie exception of traditionary accounts of "Dominie" Garner, 
whose last settlement was in Schuyler. His descendants are still living 
in the county. 

Another pioneer organization Avas at Otsquago, or the "Osquawck." 
This was the first center of population in the toAvn of Stark. This con- 
gregation, in connection with the old Minden or "Geisseberg" church 
near Hallsville, iMontgomery county, Avas from 1792 to 1817 under the 
pastoral care of John Christopher Wieting, a natiA-e of Brandenburg, 
Germany, who may with propriety be styled the father of the Lutheran 
church in Central New York. Although his residence was in INIontgom- 


ory county, liis influence and lliat of his son, IMiilip. extended inio Iler- 
kinu'i- and other counties, and is not extinct yet. 

Jolm ('. Wietinj;- was one of tlie Germans sold l)y tlieir native prince 
to the nunistry of George III., to aid in su))ju,uatini;- tlie colonies. Talcen 
prisoner at Saratoga, he preferred to cast Ids lot Avith his countrymen 
in Atneii<'a, rattier than to retain allegiance to the petty tyr;int who 
sold his subjects lil:e cattle. 

Hero we must lie allowed to make a few rennirks, Avithout mt) under- 
standing of the subject which we are considering is impossible . When 
the Protestants, as they were termed, presented their confession of faith 
at Augsburg, in l.'i.S."), the Avording of the articles AAas delegated io Philip 
Melancthon, Avhose pacific disposition induced him to minimize the dif- 
ferences betAA'een the Catholic church and the reformers, as far as pos- 
sible. The abandonment of the hopes of reconciliation, and attempts 
to harmonize differences among the reformers themselves resulted in 
the production of the "Smalcal articles," in IZt'-M, and the "form of Con- 
cord," in 1580. Aliout a century later th.e piestistic movement in Ger- 
many, led by Philip .Tames Spener and August Herman Franke, created 
new divisions Avhich are not yet healed and are strongly nnirked in the 
Lutheran cliurch in America. The pietists, avIio insisted on personal 
and experimental religion, were held by those avIio adhered strictly to 
the letter of tlie confessions as scliismatics, the more intemperate 
the letter of the confessions as schismatics, the more intemperate among 
them retorting on the conservatives as formalists and legalists. In 
the period uoaa' under consideration there Avas no semblance of central 
authority in the American Lutheran clnu'ch. Muhlenlterg had organ- 
ized the Synod of Pennsylvania in 1748, and the Synod of Ncav York 
had been formed in ITSC. The poverty of the country, the imperfect 
means of communication, and the transition in language from German 
to English, left these frontier churches in great measure to Avork out 
their own destiny. 

The church at Ots<iuago existed until after IS-lo, having in connec- 
tion Avith the Minden church participated in 1830 in the organization 
of the Hartwick Synod. Events which Ave shall rehearse later led to 
tlie obliteration of the society and the demolition of the edifice, Avhich 
stood on the "Holmes farm," near the cemetery. The last surviving 
member, Loadwiclc Springer, grandfather of the present supervisor of 
Stark, died in June, IS.")?, aged eighty-three years. 

The name of Palatine, Montgomery county, the name of Avliich com- 
memorates the native district of the pioneer settlers, formerly included 
the toAvn of Manheim and the eastern part of the city of Little Falls. 
Reimenschneider's Bush, in the extreme Avesterii part of the toAvn, Avas 
one of the pre-ReA'oIutionary settlements, and at one time of great local 
importance. On September 1st, I82L a religious society AA-as organized 
at lieimensnyder's Bush under the title of the "German EA'angelical 
Society of Herkimer County." This society AA-as composed of members 


of both the Lutheran and Reformed communions. The nearest Luth- 
eran organizations were those at Stone Arabia and Palatine on the east, 
Schuyler on the west, and Otsquaso on the south. The lleformed 
churches of Snell's Bush and German Flats (Fort Herkimer) were the 
closest neighbors of that denomination, wliile at Little Falls the only 
existing organization was the Presbyterian, the English representative 
of the Reformed. 

In 1S22, a Union church was erected on land donated by members of 
the Keller family. The first trustees were Peter B. Keyser, Henry F. 
Keller, John I'ickert, John Bellinger, Jost D. Petrie and Peter P. Nellis. 
The cost of this building, long known as the "Old Yellow church," was 
$1,000. It was dedicated October 29th, 1822, the officiating clergymen 
being Rev. John P. Spinner, Reformed, of German Flats; Rev. N. 
Domayer, Lutheran, of Stone Arabia, and Rev. Stephen W. Burritt, 
Presbyterian, of Little Falls. Rev. John P. Spinner was the first pastor 
for the Reformed and Rev. N. Domayer for the Lutherans. In 1847, 
the congregations was incorporated by legislative act as "The Dutch 
Reformed and Lutheran Union Church," and in 1808, during the pastor- 
ate of Rev. George Young, the organization of a distinctively Lutheran 
congregation was effected. Since the pastorate of Rev. Domayer, the 
following Lutheran clergymen have had pastoral charge here: Rev. 
Lambert Swackhammer, 1834-43; Rev. Chauncey Francisco, 1843-0; 
Rev. Stephen W. Champlin, 1840-7; Rev, A. L. Bridgeman, 1847-9; Rev. 
Benjamin Devendorf, 18.53-0; Rev. Conrad Ochampaugh, 1807-71; Rev. 
A. L. Bridgeman. 1871-3; Rev. J. W. Young, 1870-99; Rev. H. D. Hayes, 
1899 to January 1st, 1902. Rev. Hayes resigned to accept the pastorate 
of the church at Chatham, Columbia county, and the congi-egation has 
called as his successor. Rev. R. J. Van Deusen, of St. Johnsville, a licen- 
tiate of the Franckean Synod, who is at present pursuing his studies 
at Hartwick Seminary, but who expects to enter upon the discharge 
of his duties April 1st, 1902. The church building was thoroughly re- 
paired in 1852-3 at a cost of $1,500, and rededicated January 20th, 1853, 
Rev. G. W. Hemperley, of Minden, delivering the dedicatory discourse. 
In 1883, the present structure was completed and dedicated January 
18th of that year, the venerable Rev. N. Van Alstine ofhciating. For a 
short period before Rev. J. W. Young's incumbency the church was sup- 
plied by Rev. M. G. Webster, pastor of the M. B. church of Little Falls. 
In 1883 and 1893. the Franckean E. L. Synod held its annual sessions 
here, and at the former date the Synodical W. H. and F. M. S. was or- 
ganized, Mrs. Willard Keller, an active member of the church, being 
then and since a prominent member and indefatigable worker in that 
body. At the last meeting of Synod, sixty-eight communing members 
were reported, also church property, including parsonage, valued at 
$4,000, and a Sunday school of nine officers and forty scholars, and the 
expenditures for all objects aggregating $09().10. 

During Rev. Mr. Swackhammer's incumbency of the Manheim pas- 


torate, he partcipated in the organization of the Fvanckean Liitlieran 
Synod. Tlie period from IS'.IO to 1S4(» was on(» of nnrest and uplieaval. 
"Tlie era of good feeling" had l)een followed by the I'xciting politieal 
eontests accompanying and growing ont of the rresideiitial elect utn (it 
ISli-l, the aci-imonions disi)ntes ovei' tlie admission of ^lissduri had in 
dnced discnssion of the slavery (piestion. tlie total abstinence agitation 
wiis e.xcrting a powerful iiitlnenee, and anti-Masonic agitatioll^. tlireal- 
ened the jnililic jteace in some instances, and pliiln nthro|>ic v'sionai-ies 
were org;iiii/.ing peace societies and clamoring for the .-ibolition of cap- 
ital imnishinent. These ebiillitioiis of jiopnlar feeling wei'e accoMipanied 
by and in great part the results of periodsof religions e.xcitenMMi; known 
as revivals, and resulted in the formation of many new organizations, 
and the disruption and too often the obliteration of existing ones. In 
the reaction which often followed, extreme liberal opinions wei'e em- 
liraeed by many, and I'niversalist organizations were the result. A 
meeting was held at tlie new Lutheran churcli at Minden, Montgomery 
county, May 24tli, hS37, to take into consideration the organization ot 
a new Lutheran SymuL Four ordained clergymen were in attendance, 
Itev. .John I>. Lawyer of Rensselaer county, Kev. Philip Wieting of 
Scholiarie county, Kev. William Ottman of Freysbush, Montgomery 
county, and Kev. Swackhammer of Manheim, wliose pastorate at that 
time included Minden and Newville and Danube (Indian Castlci. 

Philip Wieting, son of John Christopher Wieting, previously men- 
tioned, was no orilinai'y man. Wliile never a resident of H'^rlvimer 
<'ounty,his intlnence was too strongly marked to be ignored in any 
historical ski'tcli of the southern part of the county. Born in tlv" Halls- 
ville neighborliood, .Minden, September 23, ISUO, lie from childhood felt 
and expressed a preference for the legal profession, while his mothev, 
a member of the (iroff family of Montgomery county, was equally de- 
cided that he should devote himself to the ministry. Hartwick Sem- 
inary was found'd in isl.",, two years prior to the demise of the senior 
Wieting. Here young Wieting was for some years a student, and while 
here his exp(M-ienc<'s tilted him for a leader of men. A wild, leckless, 
and wayward youth, he, in advance of the day of temperance pledges 
.111(1 temperance organizations, realized the danger of indulgence in in- 
toxicants, and abjured tlieii- use. The early revival movemencs inter- 
ested him. and after an experience which left inett'aceable impi'essions 
on him and those with whom he came in contact, he abandened all 
thoughts of a legal career .iiid devoted himself to the gospel min- 
istry. He was licensed by the New York Ministerium, Septemljer (Jth 
IS2r., and ordained September 1st, 1820, A strong, fervent and earnest 
(Xhorter. he w;is noted as a revival jireaeher. but his strong common 
sense kept him in the pastoral work, where the results of his labors 
were gathered and pres(>rved. His hrst clerical experiences wei'e in 
.leiTerson and Lewis counties, but on September 1st. IS-JS, he took 
charge of the Sharon pastorate, Scholiarie county, where he siient the 


remainder of his life, which closed September 7th, 18()9. His last pub- 
lic appearance outside of his immediate neishl)orhood, was on Sunday, 
June 6th, 1800, in the now demolished church at Port Herkimer, where 
he addressed the communicants at the Synodical Communion. 

On February 9th, 1831, Rev. Wieting organized a congregation of 
forty-one members at Southville (now Starkville\ the first movement 
in the county of the "New Measure" Luthei'ans, as they were termed. 
On July 20, 1831, Rev. Swackhammer had organized a Lutheran con- 
gregation at Newville. The original members were: Abraham I. Wag- 
ner, John Spoor, .John Deusler, Philip Baum, Philip Baum, Jr., William 
Walter, Abraham Doxtater, and Henry Osti-ander. The last survivor 
of these was William Walter, who died November, 18!)r), in his eighty- 
seventh year. The following year (183.5i. Rev. Swackhammer organized 
the present Lutheran society at Minden (long known as Fordsbush, to 
distinguish it from tlie old Minden, or Geissenbergh, church, now for 
many years extinct), with the following charter members: Mr. and 
Mi-s. Adolph Walrath, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac House, Mr. and Mrs. David 
Moyer, Mr. and Mrs. John Abeel, William Abeel, Lucinda Cress, Nancy 
Hawn, Christina Short. Elizabeth Nellis. Many of them were residents 
of Danube, and a large share of the membership of the congregation 
has always been found in that town. 

The church edifice at Newville was erected in 1835, as a Union 
church, by the liUtheran. Universalist and Free Will Baptists. We 
also find at this time a Lutheran organization at Danube (Indian Cas- 
tle), which in 1839 was merged in the Minden congregati(.)il. The 
Franckean Synod was a distinctively "New Lutheran" organization. 
The inciting cause was the desire to form a synod which would favor 
revivals, the anti-slavery, total abstinence, and anti-lNIasonic move- 
ments, and license preparatory to ordination young men of piety 
ability and discretion who had not had the advantages of a thorough 
theological training. 

It may be interesting to note now the enthusiasm with which theo- 
ries adopted by earnest men with high ideals adapts itself to unforseen 
situations. Among the reforms much agitated about this period was 
the peace movement, which the Synod heartily endorsed. At the an- 
nual meeting in 18-15, it adopted a resolution condemning the practice 
of clergymen officiating as chaplains of militia regiments at the annual 
parades. In 1S(J3, they approvingly spread on their minutes a letter 
from Rev. Justus Steinmetz. a young licentiate, who had enlisted as a 
private in the volunteer army,and unanimously voted to renew his 
license. In the folloAving year it spread on the journal a highly eulo- 
gistic tribute to his memory, he having fallen at the battle of Chicka- 

At the organization of the Synod, the lay delegates from Herkimer 
county were: Minden. Abraham I. Wagner. John P. Smith; Newville, 
John M. Gardinler, Henry Ostrander, John Spoor, Jacob Walter; Dan- 


nbe. John Davy. .Tolin Davy, .fr., William Davy. Ahi-.ihaiu Shaver; 
Southville, Henry I. Devendorf. Delegates had been .npiiointcd from 
Manheim. bnt did not attend. Henry Cronkite, John ('. ("ronkite, 
and Ad()li)h \\'alrath of Danube, were i)i'esent as advisoi-y uiendicrs. 
On the following day the lii'st session of the new Synod w;is held. 

In 1S;!S, l{ev. Swackhammer I'esigned the chai-ye of the Minden. New- 
viile and Danube ehurehes, and in lS4o. that of Manheim. Koi- a time 
he located .at (German Valley. New Jersey, but failin,y. health oblitied 
him to relinciuish that ehar.iie. In 1S-1;», he resigned his meiiibei-shii) 
in the Synod and returned to the Hartwiek Synod, in which he remain- 
ed until his decease, which occurred between 1S.")(I .and Is.'iS. 

liev. John D. F^awyer was called from Kensselaer coiinty to the pas- 
torate of MiiKh'U. Xewville and Danube, in ls;iS, residing- at Minden. 
He ivtained char,tie of this district for only one year, preachiufi' after- 
ward at H.artwick. Otsego county, and Argusville. Schoharie county. 
He w;is a niiin of tiTcat .ability, but of erratic charactei'. He haf^l left the 
Itar f()r the jjulpit and resi.mied the i»resid(>ncy of the Hartwiek Synod 
to join the new or.i;;inization. In IS-tS. qiiestions were i.aised toward 
the identity of his views with those of the denonnnation as formulated 
by the Synod, which had eml)odied in its constitution. "Articles of 
Faith," making- no reference by name to the syndiolic.-il books of the 
church. After some corrcsi)ondence relative to an investiu.ation of the 
matter, he took Ihe irrei;ul;ir course of withdrav.iiii:' from the Synod, 
abandoning the ckM'ical, and returning to the legal profession. In this 
tourse he failed to do justice to his talents, and his after life liitterly 
disappointed his friends. 

The ccuigregation ;it Stai'kville was at the time of the organization 
of the Synod served by Kev. William Ottman. in union with the church 
at I'^reysbush (organized in 1S.",4). In 1838. Rev. David Otlman (licensed 
al tlie iintial session of the Syncnl', assumed the charge of the district. 
In the following year, a third member of the Ottman family, Seffrenas, 
accepted a <-all from .Xewville and Starkville. On March 23. ISIO, Rev. 
S. Ottniiin org.-uiizcd ;i society in what was then the south pait of the 
iown of Liltle I'\ills. i}Ut it is now a i)art of the town of Stark. This 
congregation, which assumed the name of P.ethel. nund)ered twent.v- 
one original mend)ers. Since the est.ablishment of a postottice at that 
point a few years ago. it has been knoAvn as Deck. A church edifice, 
which is still in use. was dedicated December, 1841. by Rev. P. Wiet- 
ing. Revs. \'aH .\lstine. Sw.ackhammer. J. S. Robinson, D. Ottman .and 
S. Ottman being i)rescnl and particip.-itiiig. In lS^l-2, this congrega- 
tion report* (1 forty-one members, after which it began to de<-line. It 
occupied of the territory of th(> old Ots(piago church, and its organ- 
ization (licw Ihe life fiom the i)arent body. A few years later the 
Otsqua.yo cluu'ch l)uildiiig was destroyed by a lot of rowdies, an act of 
sacrilegious vandalism which reflects great discredit upon the c-mu- 


The congTegation at Bethel suffered a severe loss in 1845, in the 
death of Jacob L. Springer, Avho came to it from the Otsquago congre- 
gation, and who was prominent in organizing the society and iMiilding 
the church. 

On March 27, 1841, Rev. S. Ottman, at the school house at Fort Her- 
kimer, organized the following persons into the Lutheran church of 
German Flats: John Spoor, Catherine Spoor, William Wormuth and 
wife, and Jacob Rasback. These have been admitted by letter from 
other organizations; fifteen more were admitted by confirmation. The 
first election of oflicers was held November 20, 1842, when Bernard 
Christman and Samuel J. Palmer were elected deacons and Jacoli Ras- 
back and William Wormuth, elders. 

In July, 1848, a church building located a little west of the old stone 
church, on the opposite side of the highway, was dedicated. Revs. P. 
Wieting. N. Van Alstine and S. Ottman conducting the exercises. John 
Spoor was one of the founders of the Newville congregation, and at this 
time resided very nearly the location of the West Shore station at JacR- 
sonburg. He returned to Newville witliin a few years, where he died 
in 1885, the last of the founders of the Franckean Synod. His removal 
and the tragic death of Bernard Christman were severe blows to the 
society. The highest number of members it reported was thirty-six, 
in 184(3. In December. 1843, Rev. S. Ottman having previously resign- 
ed the care of the church at Starkville, resigned that at Bethel, and in 
February, 1844, that at Newville, retaining German Flats until 1848. 
During his incumbency at Newville, in June, 1842, tiie Franckean Synod 
held its first meeting in Herkimer county. His clerical labors after- 
wards were performed at Middletown (Penn.i, Worcester. Otsego coun- 
ty, and Rush, Monroe county, removing in 1855 to Sodus, Wayne 
county. His ministerial career terminated in 1855, in a manner dis- 
tressing to his friends, uuAvorthy of his own abilities and calculate