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J 896, 1897 AND 1898. 


SECREi-vRY OF ^' tl'^i SOCVvVY. 





1896 PAPERS. 

The Career of Michael Hoffman, by Geo. W. Smith ... 5 

Life, Character and Public Services of John Jay, by Frank B. Parkhurst 37 

The First Settlers of the Mohawk Valley, by Mary Shepard Warren - 36 
Herkimer and lis People During the First Thirty Years of This Century, 

Dy Robert Earl ......-- 44 

Herkimer Seventy Years Ago, by Charles Holt .... 50 

Gen. F. E Spinner's First Nomination to Congress, by Alexis L. Johnson 53 
Personal Recollections of Herkimer Village Dating Back Nearly Seventy 

Years, by Albert L. Howell ■ - - - - - 56 

The Mohawk River in History, by Robert Earl ... 62 

History of Lotteries in the State of New York, by Robert ^rl - - 69 

Buildings in Herkimer Seventy Years Ago, by Jas. A. Suiter - - 78 
Reminiscences Concerning Several Persons Connected With Important 

Historical Events, by Robert Earl ----- 83 

A Historical Mistake Corrected, by Robert Earl . - . . 91 

John Brown's Tract, by Charles E. Snyder - - ... 94 

1897 PAPERS. 

The Royal Grant, by Geo. W. Smith .----. 7 

An Outline Sketch of the History of Tryon County, by Jno. D. Henderson 25 

Continental Money, by Wm. C. Prescott ----- 33 

Herkimer County Geology in Primitive Days, by Albert L. Howell - 39 

Early Navigation of the Mohawk River, by Rufus A. Grider - 43 

Two Prominent Citizens of Herkimer County, by Kobert Earl - - 50 

Organic History of the Village of Herkimer, by Robert Earl - - 55 

Andrew Finck, Major in the Revolutionary War, by Jno. B. Koetteritz 59 

Loss of Life in the Revolutionary and Other Wars, by Robert Earl - 74 

Ilion and the Remingtons, by A. N. Russell . . . . 7(j 

Two Historic Houses in the Mohawk Valley, by Mrs. M. B. Hedges - 94 

-Slavery in the Colony and State of New York, by Robert Earl - 108 

Printing and its Development in this Country, by Jno. L. McMillan - 115 

The Mohawk Turnpike, by Rufus A. Grider .... 124 

Religion in the Colony of New York, by Robert Earl - - - 131 

1898 PAPERS. 

John Jost Herkimer, by Robert Earl ..... 5 

The Dutch in New Netherlands, by John D. Henderson - ■ 9 

The Town of Russia, by Jas. N. Walters .... 17 
The Town of Schuyler as a Factor in the History of Herkimer County, by 

J. H. J. Watkins 22 

Fragments of Norway's Early History, by Freti Smith - - 27 

Piracy in Its Relation to the Colony of New York, by Robert Earl - 32 

John Christian Shell and his Block House, by Albert L. Howell - 35 

Fort Dayton, by Robert Earl - - - - • - 38 

The Town of Danube by Edward Simms .... 40 

Fort Herkimer, by Robert Earl .-.-.. 47 

The Feeter Family, by Jno. B. Koetteritz - - - - 50 

The Mohawk Valley and the Palatines, by Robert Earl - - - o7 

Newspapers of Herkimer County, by Geo. W. Smith ... 63 


Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society February 13, 1896. 

Among the public men of Herkimer 
county Michael Hoffman is the most 
striking and interesting figure, and his- 
torically his career is most notable. The 
impression made by him upon the legis- 
lation and policy of the state was mark- 
ed and permanent. His was the leading 
and constructive mind in what has aptly 
been called the Herkimer school of poli- 
tics, as it was known prior to the period 
that preceded the breaking out of our 
civil war, and his counsels and public 
action swayed largely, and sometimes 
decisively, the policy of his party through- 
out the state. He was a distinct and 
strong personality in the galaxy of states- 
men in which Silas Wiight, Martin Van 
Buren, Preston King, Samuel Young, 
and in this county, Arphaxed Loomis, 
Abijah Mann, Nathaniel S. Benton, Wil- 
liam C. Grain, Francis E. Spinner, Abi- 
jah Beckwith, Alexander H. Buel, F. 
P. Bellinger, Ezra Graves, Standish Bar- 
ry, and their compatriots, were conspic- 

Mr. Hoffman was a lawyer of learning, 
ability and force. But he was more. 
He was endowed with a clear sighted in- 
tellect that took within its scope and cre- 
ative energy important public interests, 
and with a characteristic eloquence that 
was displayed upon great measures of 
which he was the leading advocate in 
the forum of public affairs. The natural 
bent of his mind led him to study the 

organism of political institutions and the 
philosophy of popular government. He 
regarded existing forms not as finalities, 
but as expedients for securing the pres- 
ent welfare of the state, and he believed 
that they should be modified and re-con- 
stituted when they failed to meet new 
exigencies, and when new abuses, inci- 
dent to the exercise of all delegated 
power required new checks and safe- 
guards. He was a radical in attacking 
the measures and policies which he re- 
garded as dangerous to the common 
weal, and conservative in his defence of 
the whole domain of popular rights. He 
appreciated the truth that no political 
foresight can frame political institutions 
suited to all the varying conditions of 
social and political growth, and that the 
exertion of popular power must from 
time to time restrain the excesses of its 
delegated power. He believed, with Bo- 
lingbroke, that the virtues and essential 
spirit of popular constitutions must be 
constantly renewed by the infusion of 
new elements. His political action took 
its tone from his appreciating the fact 
that the present generation is ever en- 
dowed with the true antiquity, that it 
has the final word from the largest expe- 
rience, and is therefore constantly charg- 
ed with the duty of providing for the 
present and the future exigencies that 
arise in popular government. 

His field of action was more strictlv 

political, while his distinguished co-la- 
borer, Arphaxed Loomis, devoted his 
large constructive faculties, not only to 
political measures, but to the work of 
legal reform. Mr. Hoffman saw what oth- 
ers were more slow to see, that the pow- 
er of the agents of the people in the leg- 
islature needed to be checked and along 
with Mr. Loomis he began the advocacy 
of the restraints upon the legislative 
power to create state debts, which are 
now regarded as indispensable securities 
against abuses of the legislative trust. 
But for the reforms these men initiated, 
tlie property of the taxpayers would be 
largely at the disposal of a lobby at Al- 
bany, and the schemes of gigantic debt 
they are always organized to promote. 
Others may have perceived that the peo- 
ple's representatives could not be safely 
intrusted with the power to create the 
mortgages on the property of the state 
which organized self-interest might seek 
to impose, but those Herkimer states- 
men were the first to insist that these 
questions should be decided by the vote, 
the ijlehiscitum of the whole people. 

Born in Saratoga county in 1787, 
Michael Hoffman's birth was nearly co- 
eval with that of the Federal constitu 
tion. He came to Herkimer about 1816, 
and became the law partner of Aaron 
Hackly. About 1819 he went to Seneca 
county and was appointed district at- 
torney in 1823, and he held the same 
office in 1836. He was elected in 1824 
to the 19th congress and re-elected to the 
20th, 21st and 22nd congresses. In the 
national legislature he held high posi- 
tions in standing committees. He was 
chairman of the committee on naval af- 
fairs, and distinguished himself by able 
and thorough work in committee, and 
by his efforts in debate upon questions 
involving naval affairs. While in con- 
gress he corresponded largely with the 
late Judge Charles Gray, who was sever- 
al years his junior, and in whose train- 
ing and career he took a special interest. 
Some of his letters have been preserved 
and they throw an interesting light upon 
the times and upon the writer's solid ba- 
sis of character. In a letter dated Janu- 
ary IG, 1826, he describes his surround- 

ings at the capitol. After an apology for 
delay in writing, he says : "I entreat 
you to remember and commiserate my 
unhappy condition, in a house as large 
as six barns, in a crowd of two hundred 
men, behind a table filled with unmean- 
ing papers, hearing resolutions only in- 
tended to get the name of the mover into 
the public papers, and papers asking for 
everything but hanging, and that I am 
in a city made up, as has been said, with 
more truth than decency, of brick kilns, 
bawdy houses and magnificent distances, 
relieved now and then by a decent house 
and saved from brimstone by many res- 
pectable people." 

He expresses a disability to discover 
the drift of political events, a problem to 
many another in that formative period 
in which the older republicanism of Ad- 
ams, Clay and Calhoun, was about to be 
confronted and assailed by the newer 
and more aggressive Republicanism of 
the Jacksonian Democracy. Of the poli- 
cy and personality of John Quincy Ad- 
ams, then president, he wrote : "I can 
only guess the future, and like the pres- 
ent it will be so amalgamated as to flat- 
ter the hopes of eager credulity. Take 
as a sample the appointment of Mr. King 
and son, —of Mr. Conkling. Indeed all is 
mingled. Mr. Adams, as head of the cab- 
inet, can keep contol there. He knows 
his men and I wish you could see him 
when they pass with the crowd in review 
before him at levee. He knows him- 
self and seems to feel like a man con- 
scious of his superiority, and he is 
his own counsel. Perhaps you know his 
designs as well as any one about him. 
They hear what he says, and see what 
he does, and he appears to them perfect- 
ly open. But they are far from him, 
and they can know little more of him 
than you who are far distant. I feel so in 
looking at him and his measures. He is 
a plain man, solid, not awkward, but 
seems to approach rusticity, cool, col- 
lected, of a violent temper, but of un- 
m^asured diligence and exhaustless pa- 
tience. His temper has not, and will 
not direct him in any measure. He has 
his end in view and reaches it by the 
means suggested in his judgment." 


It is to be borne in mind that the po- 
litical divisions that occurred not long 
after, had not yet appeared. Mr. Adams 
was a recognized Republican and a pos- 
sible Republican candidate. Hoffman's 
hostility to Adams' administration was 
excited by Mr. Adams' large interpreta- 
tion of federal power and his personal fa- 
vor to the federalists and Clintonians, 
and Hoffman's complete alienation from 
the administration soon became mani- 
fest. Writing March 10th, 1826, Mr. 
Hoffman finds the course of public meas-, 
ures wholly adverse to his democratic 
instincts. He says : "This is a federal 
administration. The message speaks for 
the whole. * * All and every possible 
express or implied power is to be exercis- 
ed. In addition to past grand projects 
this government is to spend two or three 
hundred millions of dollars on canals, 
roads and bridges, is to have a school 
fund to loan out and distribute among 
the states. * * This government 
should in my view, use the most simple, 
cheap, and natural means, and never 
grasD at doubtful powers, and should 
useof that which is undoubted, the small- 
est share. The power exerted should 
be small, cheap, humble, and plain, to 
be republican." 

Mr. Boft'man here shows his predilec- 
tion for that rigid policy which seeks 
the good of the greatest number by the 
minimum of administration which mark- 
ed his whole public life. For a strict 
and close construction of all federal, civ- 
il and delegated power, he was the steady 
champion. He opposed the protective 
system, government banking by the 
agency of a national bank, and support- 
ed afterward the veto of the bill for 
constructing the Maysville road, one of 
the projected national roads, believing a 
system of internal improvements by the 
federal goverment not warranted by the 
constitution. A severe simplicity of 
character, and a certain Republican aus- 
terity of temper, was reflected in his po- 
litical creed. From hi" point of view a 
people unfettered in their industrial ac- 
tivities, burdened lightly by only the 
forms of frugal administration, and 
without favored classes or interests. 

would better enjoy their liberty, than 
with a government decorated by pomp 
and splendor. He believed that classes 
created by special legislation and en- 
riched by exaction from the masses, were 
a solecism in popular government, and 
with Mr. Hoffman to have a conviction 
was to act upon it. 

In the same letter he says : "Com- 
plaints have been made against Van Bu- 
ren and others for endeavoring to influ- 
ence the politics of New York. They 
have not deserevd this censure but the 
very reverse. Our political friends in 
New York must judge, but I will while 
here advise them of facts. I cannot 
support a federal amalgamating, all-par- 
ty administration. Adams and Clinton 
may be equal to these objections. Will 
they prove so ? Mr. Clinton's friends 
here support Adams, ask and receive fa- 
vors ; the Cling Feds will stick to him, 
the Clings proper, (you know what they 
can do) may in the last evil hour betray 
him and come over to a rival party. 
When I received a line hinting at Mr. 
Clinton's nomination I answered these 
facts. * * * I advi?.e, against al^ 
amalgamation. Let us be Republicans, 
go for the whole, gain what we desire, 
or fail. In the Presidential election, if 
New York will concentrate her vote in 
the "Choice of 'fepresentatives, and next 
pass a law providing that the people 
choose a convention as numerous as the 
assembly, to nieet and by a plurality ap- 
point electors, then she will give 36 votes 
in the college ; she may go into the cau- 
cus safely with 36 votes. But if she will 
be heard she must have a strong repre- 
sentation here, and an entire college, 
and other states must know this before 
the day of trial. * * * if you will 
elect them it must be by districts, or 
they will never tell against the mighty 
patronage of this government when there 
are three or four candidates." 

Writing February 15, 1827, Mr. Hoff- 
man shows no lack of confidence in his 
ability to meet his associates in debate. 
He says : ".Markell made a short speech 
(on the judiciary) with which I was 
pleased. I do not knoiv that I ought 
longer to forbear, and yet if I go on, ex- 

perienoe may satisfy me that silence 
would have conferred advantages. I 
could maintain any scuffle in the House ; 
you may think this boasting, but it is the 
result of two montlis close attention. 
I do not doubt the power to do it, I can- 
not fear the force, variety or eloquence 
of any I have heard." 

He speaks in this letter of men and 
measures in a manner that displays the 
elevated cast of his character and the 
natural sobriety of his mind. He says : 
I am not satisfied with the course of 
events or measures, and to stem them 
requires union and numbers. All these 
take the road that cunning points out to 
folly. Remote from the observation of 
those they esteem or fear, men here play 
at private vices which you do not sus- 
pect and would not beleve if told them. 
I cannot associate with them in their gay 
or lewd pursuits. * « * 

Of measures, I approve of the defense 
of the country by proper fortifications. 
But strange as the fact may appear, yet 
it is true that there is not now one gun 
more which we can point at an enemy, 
than at the close of the late war. Mil- 
lions have been expended, forts are be- 
gun but none finished. Why not ? Is 
it because as long as the work continues 
there are good jobs, but when the works 
are finished all jobs end ? 

Of men shere is, I say, no Republi- 
can party, but Storrs, Webster, Strong. 
Minor, Burgess, these are Republicans ! 
Yes, this is the order of the day, men 
are Republicans , but the party cannot 
get to be republican. The "Clings" ad- 
here and asking receive favors * * * 
Mr. Adams is his own administration ; 
let him support it himself ; for one I 
will not, when it stinks of federalists 
who opposed the war and country. I 
like a good honest American federalist, 
and if you were here to see the Massachu- 
setts and Connecticut "feds" you would 
be ready to say that a Mohawk federal- 
ist was a patriot because he was willing 
to fight. * * I hate Governor Strong 
and the Hartford Convention. * * i 
understand what some knaves and fools 
are about at home —they quit Adams be- 
cause he is a federal, and support Clin- 

ton because (while ?) federalists support 
him and he them ! This is neither 
rhyme nor reason, and you know Gen- 
eral Jackson was the man that recom- 
mended the striped flag and the no-party 
system, so we go." 

Mr. Hoffman clearly was not pleased 
with the drift of measures at this period. 
In 1819 his resolutions hostile to Clinton, 
introduced and successfully urged by 
him in a meeting at Herkimer, had divi- 
ded the party into two factions, known as 
Clintonians and Bucktails. His feeling 
against Clioton, whose special support- 
ers he calls "Clings," in 1827 is very 
pronounced. Benton's history says that 
Hoffman favored General Jackson's 
election in 1828, and that his antecedent 
political action was directed to this ob- 
ject. On such testimony this can hard- 
ly be doubted, but in 1827 we find him 
including General Jackson in Jiis adverse 
criticism of the men and measures of 
the day. It may be inferred that Mr. 
Hoffman entertained a high opinion of 
Mr. Adams. Some traits of character 
in the President evidently gained the ad- 
miration of Mr. Hoffman, but Adams, as 
president, gave too wide an interpreta- 
tion to the Constitution, ascribed to it 
too great a latitude of power, and his 
administrative policy showed too much 
countenance to federalists and Clinton- 
ians to permit Mr. Hoffman's toleration. 

It is a notable fact that in a house of 
which Daniel Webster was a member, 
Hoffman seems to give precedence to 
Henry R. Storrs, of Oneida, who was 
indeed one of the ablest men who ever 
represented this state at Washington. 
His speech in opposition to the resolu- 
tions of McDuffie, of South Carolina, for 
electing president by districting the 
States, made the strongest impression of 
any delivered on that subject, (1 Am. 
An. Reg. 67.) He maintained that the 
constitutional intention was to preserve 
inviolably in the election of president, 
the separate action of the States as dis- 
tinct sovereignties, and th^t the struc- 
ture of our federative system was found- 
ed upon this principle. The curious fact 
appears that the South, speaking by 
McDuffie, advocated a practical consoli- 

dation in the election of president, while 
the North, speaking by Mr. Storrs, con- 
tended for a vital principle of State sov- 


In the letters referred to, Mr. Hoff- 
man gives some useful and sagacious 
maxims on the formation of a lawyer's 
character and suggestive rules for ac 
quiring efficiency in public speaking. 

" I know," he says that good morals 
are indispensible to success, not on the 
ground so often asserted that a good 
character assists a lawyer to impose his 
views upon others, but upon the ground 
that habits of perseverance and industry 
necessary to success can never exist un- 
less caused and supported by good mor- 
als and a sober, upright and righteous 
life. There is no cant in this. It is the 
law of nature and must be obeyed. You 
ought not to be satisfied by any excel- 
lence short of that which a virtuous 
heart can give the mind. You will read- 
ily despise the utmost success to which a 
happy mind can push a vicious mind ; it 
is not great or desirable, though often 

You still suppose the art of speaking 
is difficult of attainment. It is indeed 
indispensible to success. While you 
suppose that none can shine unless gifted 
by nature, I must say that no mode of 
speaking which can in any sense bo said 
to shine will attain success, and that 
mere fluency, the envied gift of nature, 
is perfectly vulgar. * * * You will 
find ten nay a hundred, speaking men for 
one speaking mind. The undisciplined 
mind does not proceed in one continued, 
unbroken, undeviating course, but 
breaks, corrects, amends, strays, re- 
turns, repeats, and so confounds itself. 
* * * Words must succeed one after 
another in the same order, they must 
succeed thoughts of a speaking mind. 
The mind by effort, habit and practice 
may be taught lo remember all our 
thoughts on a given subject, but to rec- 
ollect all the words necessary to express 
them is not only to burden but to de- 
stroy the memory. 

A speaking succession of thoughts, 

then, is what you must first acquire. In 
a well written paragraph you have the 
thoughts arranged in a speaking succes- 
sion. To study the thoughts in that suc- 
cession, obliges the mind to associate the 
thoughts and the words in that order. I 
know the labor and diligence necessary 
to effect this end. but habit and practice 
give ease, facility and force to the 
mind to arrange its thoughts in this logi- 
cal succession. This succession of 
thought is necessary, not only to the stu- 
dent and man of business, but it is indis- 
pensable to every man who in public 
would speak well, because in public he 
can speak but once, and speaks ill when 
he is compelled to alter, correct and 
amend. Fluency of speech is not so 
great a gift of nature as you have fan- 
cied. The want of it is more frequent- 
ly occasioned by the faulty order in 
which thoughts occur than by any de- 
fect of nature." 

In another letter Mr. Hoffman writes : 
"I will not attempt rules for your direc- 
tion. Books contain enough — and I had 
almost said, they never yet did any good. 
But I will give you one,not worth a farth- 
ing if not practiced. Read in some ©ra- 
tion or law pleading one, two, three 
or more of paragraphs until you under- 
stand the subject perfectly well and put 
the main point or principle of each par- 
agraph upon a piece of paper. Let this 
note be written as short and plain as 
possible. Then take the first note and 
speak its substance in a plain and neat 
manner, so proceed from paragraph to 
paragraph until you can give a correct, 
neat and happy utterance to every para- 
graph of a long discourse. 

When you shall have acquired a good 
speaking mind, you will still feel a dif- 
ficulty in the choice and manner of ex- 
pression. In the choice of words and 
figures you will be obliged to labor nAich 
and long. You must select only words 
that are plain and figures of speech 
simple and familiar. Every fetch at a 
fine period will injure you and those 
speakers and writers that you most ad- 
mire adopt a simple and lucid style. In 
an art like that of which I am speaking 
there is no perfection. * * * But the 

same colors which might hide and dis- 
grace the canvass may. when arranged 
by a West show us our blessed Lord and 
Savior healing the sick, and fill us with 
reverence and awe. So in speaking the 
same thoughts disjointed, broken and 
scattered will digrace the speaker, but 
duly arranged, in that order in which 
words can effectually utter them, they 
will persuade, convince and sway our 


At the close of Mr. HoflEman's eight 
years of service in congress he served 
three years aa first judge of this county, 
and in 1835 he held for a short time the 
office of canal commissioner. In the as- 
sembly of 1841 he appeared with Ar- 
phaxed Loomis as his colleague and 
they together with Col. Sam Young, of 
Saratoga, opened a campaign of reaction 
against the improvement policy of Gov- 
ernor Seward. That policy was based 
upon the famous and glowing report of 
Mr. Ruggles, made in 1837, and fully 
endorsed and reproduced in Governor 
Seward's message of 1839. At the ses- 
sion of 1841 Mr. Hoffman, as chairman 
of the committee charged to investigate 
the subject of the state's liabilities, re- 
ported that the state debt was virtually 
$20,000,000 ; he dwelt upon the impair- 
ed credit of the state, apparent in the 
decline of its six percent, stocks, to twen- 
ty per cent, below par and sounded the 
alarm of bankruptcy. Prior to the elec- 
tion of 1841, Hoffman, Loomis, Young, 
Flagg and others of similar views on 
state policy had already begun to look to 
a new constitution for a permanent bar- 
rier against state debt, and they forced 
the consideraton of that question upon 
the people of the state. 

Hoffman and Loomis were re-elected 
to the legislature of 1842 and Hoffman, 
despite what he called "the shrieks of lo- 
cality," continued his assaults upon the 
improvement policy of Governor Sew- 
ard and attacked his financial system at 
all poinis. Sustained by Comptroller 
Flagg's report, showing a large treasury 
deficit, and assuming that the stocks of 
the state had depreciated from twenty- 
two to twenty-five per cent., Hoffman 

brought in his notable report demanding 
that canal expenditures ehould cease, 
recommending a mill tax, one half of 
which should be used to reinforce spe- 
cial funds, one half to be paid into the 
canal fund, in order to restore the credit 
of the state by beginning the payment 
of its debt. It requires courage in a public 
man to advise the laying of direct taxes, 
but these men had the courage of their 
convictions, and they created the senti- 
ment that sustained them. The adop- 
tion of the "stop and pay policy" in a 
short time restored the public credit and 
took the financial fortunes of the state 
out of the grasp of combinations not un- 
like those from which Mr. Tilden res- 
cued the tax-payers, thiry-two years after. 
The opposition to this temporary aban- 
donment of canal improvement was very 
bitter, and it was suggested by Hoff- 
man's opponents that his original hostil- 
ity to Clinton and to "Clinton's Ditch," 
gave edge to the zeal with which he at- 
tacked Governor Seward's scheme of 
public improvements, but it is no longer 
doubted that the suspension of the pub- 
lic works was an imperative necessity, 
nor that Hoffman and his associates per- 
formed an important service to the state 
by securing the adoption of that meas- 

A measure more far-reaching and des- 
tined to become a part of the state con- 
stitution regulating the creation of pub- 
lic debt, was proposed by Mr. Loomis 
with the concurrence of Hoffman and 
Young to the legislature of 1841. This 
important and essential safe-guard 
against the accumulation of state debt 
by the scheming of contractors and the 
subserviency of corrupt legislators, was 
devised by Mr. Loomis who advocated it 
in the columns of the Mohawk Courier 
in articles that were largely copied by 
the press. This measure which has saved 
millions to the tax-payers of the state 
provided that every act creating a btate 
debt, must specify the object, that the 
act must embrace only one object, that 
the proposition must be submitted to a 
vote of the people and that all the mon- 
ey raised by such popular vote must be 
applied to that sole object. The vote on 


the resolutions favoring tlbi3 constitu- 
tional check on the creation of public 
debt, which was first known as Loomis"'s 
Resolutions, (and on the suggestion of 
their author changed to the People's 
Resolutions) was not reached until 1842, 
when they failed for want of a constitu- 
tional majority, but the discussion of the 
subject went on and elicited a senti- 
ment which led to the incorporation of 
their essential features in the constitu- 
tion of 1846. 

An extract from Hoffman's speech re- 
viewing Governor Seward's message of 
1842 gives an idea of his vigorous and 
vehement style and the intensity of his 
opposition to the debt policy. In a speech 
continued through most of the 14th and 
15th days of January he said; "You may 
follow in the course of other states and 
institutions —offer seven, seven and one- 
half, go to eight, continue this process 
until like Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, 
your stocks are sold for forty cents on the 
dollar. But sooner or later, the hour is 
approaching, when you must stop in this 
profligate course, as we have already 
stopped our public works. If the two 
houses shall be equal to their duty on this 
trying occasion let no man tremble for the 
honor and character of the state. It can 
be preserved, it should be. Can any 
man, native or foreign, hesitate between 
stopping these expenditures and going 
on at the expense of honor, credit and 
character ? Lives there anything so base 
on earth that to work itself out of diffi- 
culty it would bring this state where 
Indiana and Illinois are? Where the 
bank of the United States,— once be- 
lieved to be beyond the reach of dis- 
honor and bankruptcy,— where Michigan 
is? Where deficit has put Maryland, an 
Atiant c state? * * If we will only 
stand by our credit,— cease our expendi- 
tures pay as we go— we shall overcome 
this storm, stand erect, and in the 
markets ot Europe, our merchants will 
be the merchants of the republic, our 
banks the banks of the republic, our 
reputation in a word like that of the peo- 
ple of Holland. But if seeking popu- 
larity for an hour, dreading the influence 
of this and that locality, winking there 

at a railroad, and there at an extension, 
the credit of the state in peril and itself 
on the verge of bankruptcy ; when 
calamity comes upon us and we call on 
the mountains t<» cover us the earth it- 
self will spurn us, the ashes of the dead 
on which we stand would be dishonored, 
* * No language of reprobation can 
express the deep indignation that men 
must face when they see their country 
urged, urged to the fatal brink of ruin." 

In the following March Mr. Hoffman 
reported from the committee of ways and 
means a bill entitled, "An Act to Pro- 
vide for the Payment of the Debt and 
Preserving the credit of the State " 
framed in accordance with the views of 
the advocates of the "stop and pay" 
policy. It passed both houses at once. 
In consequence of this act, the stocks of 
the state rose in a few months from a 
depreciation of from twenty to twenty- 
two per cent, to par value. Most of the 
leaders in this movement deemed it es- 
sential to promptly initiate measures to 
restore the credit of the state, but Col. 
Young thought mere legislation would 
prove only a temporary check, that the 
debt promoting schemes would re-ap- 
pear as the public credit revived, and 
that no effectual bar could be found 
short of a constitutional injunction 
against the legislative-making of debt. 
Mr. Hoffman believed that a consti ution 
should be framed embracing that fea- 
ture, but insisted that the legislative 
check should be applied at the earliest 
moment to restore the credit of the state, 
a result which was secured by the act of 

As to Mr. Hoffman's efforts in the leg- 
islation of 1844 Mr. Benton says : "In 
1844 the democratic majority favored 
the canal improvement policy and elected 
a speaker, (Mr. Elisha Litchfield, of On- 
ondaga.) who differed with Mr. Hoffman 
on the 'stop and pay' policy. But," 
says Mr. Benton, " there are few if any 
instances in the history of the legisla- 
ture of this state where a single member 
exerted such powerful influence as did 
Mr, Hoffman during this session. He 
did not trouble himself to advocate 
many of the measures that were brought 


before the House, but he took unwearied 
pains to oppose and defeat every project 
he considered unsound, impolitic or mis- 
chievous, and he seldom tailed." 


Mr. Hoffman was strongly opposed to 
the annexation of Texas. Personally 
attached to Mr. Van Buren, and as loyal 
to that stat'sraans political views and 
fortunes as was consistent with his own 
independent judgment, he dttested with 
aU the energy of his uncompromising na- 
ture, the instrument which was forged 
or used by Mr. Van Buren's enemies for 
his political destruction. There was an 
incipient rebellion among many leading 
democrats against ihis measure, and es- 
pecially against the underlying motive— 
the increase of slaveholding territory 
and the power of the slaveholding class. 
William C. Bryant. David Dudley Field, 
George P. Barker and other free sod 
democrats, issued a famous circular for 
the purpose of obtaining signatures to a 
proposed declaration to the effect that 
the signers while supporting Polk and 
Dallas, protested against the resolutions 
of the national convention respecting 
Texas, on the ground that they interpo- 
lated new doctrines into the party code 
that were opposed to established princi- 
ples and "abhorrent to the opinions and 
feelings of a great majority of northern 
freeman." At the head of the list to 
whom this circular was addressed, stood 
the name of Michael Hoffman. Among 
other names where those of Nathaniel 
R. Benton, Hiram Denio, Freeborn G. 
Jewett, Preston King and Samuel Young. 
It was generally understood that Silas 
Wright was in sympathy with this move- 
ment, but his position as candidate for 
governor made it inexpedient to call out 
his views upon that subject. The pro- 
posed declaration did not appear. Its 
suppres.-ion was of course due to a con- 
viction that such a manifesto signed by 
such representative democrats might be 
fatal to the democratic nominees, and 
however ill affected toward the nomina- 
tion of Polk, and deep as was their 
chagrin at the setting aside of Van 
Buren, the democratic frye soilers could 

not abide the possible election of their 
old enemy, Henry Clay. 

But Mr. Hoffman was very reluctant, 
to take the role of passive obedience to 
party dictation. He at one time an- 
nounced to his friends that if he could 
count upon the support of any consider- 
able body of the democratic party for 
such a 8 ep be was still ready to call a- 
meeting in the park of New York city, 
and speak against the annexation project. 
But the counsels of men more attached 
to party than tenacious of principle,, 
finally prevailed. Had Hoffman raised 
the standard of revolt, it is far from cer- 
tain that his appeal to that great body of 
democrats who gave him their implicit 
confidence, might not have defeated 
Polk, and changed the course of political 
history in this state and nation. Since- 
the circular letter was not addressed to 
Mr. Loomis nor Horatio Seymour, it 
is to be inferred that they differed in 
opinion from Hoffman, and such was no 
doubt the fact. The couise of events it 
may be said has vindicated their judg- 
ment. But the geographical fact that 
the Mississippi makes its way through 
Louisiana to the gulf, was the guarantee 
of nature that our ocean frontier must 
be upon the Gulf of Mexico, and the 
courses of the Red, the Colorado, the 
Brazos and the Rio Grande, taking their 
way from sources which would naturally 
fall under our control in the progress of 
western settlpment, gave a like assurance 
that the domain which they traversed in 
their course to the gulf, would be 
brought under our flag. An unjust and 
deliberately planned war of invasion on 
Mexico only hastened the acquisition of 
territory which would have been secured 
by our natural expansion westward, and 
without conquest by war. 


The convention of 1846 was called un- 
der a legislative act of 1845, by a vote of 
213,25" in its favor and 38,860 opposed. 
The project for calling the convention 
had its origin mainly in the Herkimer 
school of politics, and this county eave 
in its favor 4,346 votes, to 86 opposed^ 
Mr. Hoffman was elected a member for 
this county, though residing at the time 


in the city of New York, where he was 
acting as U. S. naval officer at that port. 
He was elected as the special champion 
of the anti-debt policy and to secure its 
incorporation into the constitution. On 
that issue he represented the friends of 
that policy throughout the whole state 
as well as Herkimer county. Upon all 
the questions that he debated, his was 
the dominant mind, and he was the 
intellectual leader of the convention. 
His unerring common sense and intu- 
itive discrimination solved questions by 
a resort to vital prmciples. In the debate 
upon the veto power, members appealed 
to ancient history and precedents, but 
his arguments and analysis, drawn from 
our own national politics, showing that 
this power was truly conservative of 
popular rights, set aside all the prece- 
dents cited against it. In the debate on 
the system of jury trial, while others 
saw in it only a protection to personal 
liberty and property rights, Hoffman de- 
clared it to be •' the great school of civil 
wisdom m any free country which more 
than all other schools put together, 
taught practical lessons of liberty and 
freedom." Not this only, but ^hile in 
his view, the right of a citizen to be 
tried by a jury was indeed important, 
the right to be a juror was one of the 
muniments of popular government, and 
he regarded " the right to sit in judg- 
ment on the controversies of his fel- 
lows" as a right more important than 
the right of the sulTrage itself, and as 
•'the highest power man could exert.'' 
He perceived in this ordinary function 
of the ci'izen not only a legal fran- 
chise, but a vital political force which is 
felt throughout the whole body politic, 
elevating and preserving it; views which 
displayed his powers of penetratmg to 
the essential and practical in political 

Mr. Hoffman's greatest effort was, of 
course, his speech in support of the 
financial article. The grasp and com- 
prehension of the questions of finance, 
state debt and the sacredness of public 
faith which he exhibited, were un- 
equalled in their completeness, clearness 
and force, and it may be questioned if 

that speech has ever been excelled by any 
of the masters of finance. Given orally 
and while suffering from a physical pain 
that embarrassed his delivery, and deal- 
ing with complicated financial operations 
running through many years, his pre- 
sentation of the whole subject was so 
lucid and convincing that the conclu- 
sions drawn by him could not be resisted. 
The member who first arose to reply 
spoke of Mr. Hoffman as the Ajax Tela- 
mon of the del ate furnished and aided 
by documents and statistics as he pro- 
ceeded, by Ulysses (Mr. Loomis)ar«d any 
one who peruses that massive and power- 
ful argument enforced as it is by a high 
O' der of eloquence, must admit the jus- 
tice of the appellation. Borne down 
by disease aggravated by his arduous 
labors in the convention and in the legis- 
lature, he did not long survive them. 
He died in Brooklyn, September 27, 1848, 
and his remains lie in the old cemetery 
at Herkimer. 

There may be those who will regard 
Hoffman's dislike of public debt as too 
intense, and as exaggerated. But hav- 
ing watched the slow and painful task 
of paying off the public debts caused by 
revolution and the war of 1812, and 
believing that public like private debts, 
create a kind of slavery, he looked upon 
them with horror. His pride in the 
financial integrity of the state, and his 
dread of a treasury deficit were akin 
to those felt by men of rigid business 
methods in respect to their private 
affairs. It was with no affected alarm 
that he beheld the prospect of defaults 
in meeting state obligations, the growing 
depreciation of the public credit, and 
the clanger of a possible repudiation. 

Michael Hoffman was a republican of 
the old school, a school in which just 
principles were souj<ht as guides for con- 
ducting public affairs. He had the 
simplicity of character, the frank earn- 
estness, the strong and abiding sense of 
impartial justice and of the rights of 
the masses which befit the exponent of a 
true democratic system. He had no 
private aims that were not subordinate 
to his convictions of duty to the state. 
He performed well his part among the 


men who by devoted service and public I first saw Mr. Hoffman on the occa- 

spirit gave lustre to the classic age of sion of his maljing a speech at Middle- 

our political history, at a period when ville in 1842. I remember him as being 

Webster brought into bold relief the of spare build, rather above medium 

national potency of the federal cousti- height, with something of a student's 

tution, and when Jackfon sustained it stoop, except when his impassioned ora- 

by the vigor of his administration, that tory brought him erect and to hia full 

period when the profound and majestic stature. Hts gray suit, long iron-gray 

oratory of the etatesnaan and the iron hair, his eyes deei^-set and penetrating, 

will of the soldier roused an enthusiasm 
for nationality, which, when nullification 
rose to armed secession, became a burn- 
ing patriotic rage that fused all sections, 
all parties, all the elements of nationality 
into the indissoluble and invincible re- 

Though not called to the highest 
oflBces of the state, yet, Mr. Hoffman's 
work in his ch( sen theatre of action was 
equal to the demands of the hour, there 
it was, teres et rotundus, rounded and 
complete. If it may be said that his 
convictions were tinged by prejudice 

his grave and thoughtful aspect, his in- 
tense earnestness of delivery, that seemed 
to struggle under the restraint imposed 
by strong self control, together made up 
a personality not to be forgotten. It is 
believed that no likeness of Mr. Hoff- 
man is in existence, as He had a great 
repugnance to give a sitting for that 
purpose. It is related that on one occa- 
sion Mr, Loomis persua led him to sit for 
the taking of a daguerreotype, which was 
defaced by some accident before it was 
finished, and he could not be induced to 
again submit to what was to him an irk- 

and affected by personal dislikes, it is some ordeal 

also true, that ihese are generally in- In surveying Mr. Hoffman's career we 
separable from such a type of character, see the self-reliance of a positive charac- 
His remarkable sway over the public ter tenoned as it were in granite, the eye 
mind came from none of the devices of single to the interests of the state, that 
the demagogue; his arts were only hon- freedom from sordid and vulgar self- 
est arts, he never ttooped to play a part, seeking, united with boldness of action 
never fawned for the favor of any power in emergencies, and that energy fruitful 
that he regarded as injurious to the pub- in results, which are found only in states- 
lie welfare, never sought for public ap- men of the first order. His traits of 
plause. Yet he was beloved scarcely less character justly connect his fame with 
than he was admired. He had the titles that of Silas Wright, the Cato of Amer- 
of nobility, the affectionate distinctions ica. No other man of this state at any 
conferred by democracies upon those period of its history, more truly parallels 
favorites thaft they learn to trust. He the noble simplicity, the devoted and 
was known as the "old Admiral " and unselfish patriotism, the self-sustained 
as " old Iron Gray," and his plain gray and unshaken independence, the native 
suit, was more to his fellow citizens power without outentation, and the in- 
than any crown or robe of state. Mr, tellectural force of that model republican 
Hoffman divided the hours of his busy statesman. The unbiased, sober judge- 
life between his profession, his public ment of all parties assigns a position to 
duties, books and discourse with political Silas Wright upon the pedestal built in 
disciples who were proud to sit at his the hearts and memories of New York- 
feet. He was fond of sharing his stores ers, and on which they cherish the fame 
of knowledge with young men, and of their best statesmen. He stands there 
sought to elevate their views and aims, among peers, but not superiors, and 
He read and studied eiirrente calamo, Michael Hoffman stands second to him 
writing out what his reading suggested, alone in the qualities that sustain popu- 
and now and then running his pen lar governments in their most benefi- 
through words and clauses that offended cent action for securing the truest and 
his taste for concise expression. widest welfare of the community, and 


the greatest good of the greatest num- 






After the reading of the foregoing the 
speech of Mr. Hoffman, delivered in the 
House of Representatives March 29, 1836, 
came to the hands of the writer. There 
is probably no other copy extant, and 
considerable extracts are here repro- 
duced. Mr. George McBufBe, of South 
Carolina, had introiuced resolutions for 
amending the Constitution so as to pro- 
vide for the election of president and 
vice-president by a general district sys- 
tem. A3 has been stated Henry R. 
Storrs, of Oneida, spoke against the res- 
olutions. Among others who engaged 
in the debate were Edward Everett, of 
Massachusetts; Andrew Stevenson, of 
Virginia, and Ralph Ingersoll, of Con- 
necticut. Mr. Hoffman argued in favor 
of abolishing the electoral college and 
for a district system that would take the 
elfcction from the House. His spee-ch 
was extensive and elaborate, and while 
characteristic of his style of argument 
and oratory it is interesting for his views 
on various subjects. After speaking of 
an illness that had prevented his hear- 
ing a considerable psert of the. debate 
and expressing his concurrence with the 
eulogies pronounced upon the framers 
of the Constitution, he said : 

"Their good character expresses our 
duty. We must not shrink from the re- 
sponsibility of our situation. Like them 
we must examine into the states's condi- 
tion and the wants of the society in 
which we live; and if the advancement 
of the interest or happiness of the citi- 
zens of the states requires it, we must 
propose proper amendments to the Con- 
stitution according to its provisions. We 
must endeavor to perfect the work they 
so happily began; and not disappomt 
the just expectations of our predeces- 

Replying, in passing, to Mr. Storrs ob- 
jection to the proposed amendment and 

his remark that the framers of the Con- 
stitution seemed " to have been inspired 
in their labors.' he suggested that i|*ny 
part of the Constitution was thoJ-wocAof 
inspiration it was that part which pro- 
vided for making amendments. Contin- 
uing, he said : 

" Akm to this is the argument of the 
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Ev- 
erett). He tells us ' it is not consti- 
tutional to propose the contemplated 
amendments' — and he went into argu- 
ment to support his position. He seems 
to suppose that some parts of the Con- 
stitution are unessential without inform- 
ing us by what rule we shall know them 
to be so. With those he admifcs we may 
play and may amend them, but he de- 
nies that we may amend the Constitu- 
tion in any of its essential features. I 
am unwilling to admit a doctrine which 
leaves it to the caprice of each individ- 
ual to say this or that part of the Con- 
stitution is a material or immaterial 
characteristic of it. When he objects 
to us our oath to support the Con- 
stitution he is well answered by those 
who reply that the oath applies as well 
to the clause making it the duty of Con- 
gress to propose amendments, when 
necessary, as to any other part of the 

'• But as he may not be satisfied with 
this reply, and as I desire the aid of his 
eloquence and vote to procure this 
amendment, I will urge upon his mind 
another consideration. The amendment 
is, or is not necessary. If it is necessary 
to the security of the rights of the citi- 
zen, the prosperity of t)he several states 
and the peace of the union —admit that 
it is. Is it then unconstitutional to pro- 
pose it ? His argument goes the whole 
length to declare that however necessary 
the amendments may be, even if neces- 
sary to provide against foreign invasion 
or domestic evils — the amendments can 
not be adopted. I can not agree with 
him. Those parts of the constitution 
which in practice operate on the person 
or property of the citizen must always 
be material. We must amend it 
wherever it operates injuriously to the 
personal liberty or personal security of 


the citizen or to his rights to private 
property, or render them in the least de- 
gree insecure, and they can never be se- 
cured to him but by securing to him a 
reasonable and proper bhare of political 
power to defend them. * * * The 
first question that presents itself is, how 
are the electors of president and vice- 
president chosen? The Constitution, 
art. 3, sec. 2, declares that "each state 
shall appoint in such manner as the leg- 
islature may direct a number of electors 
equal to the whole number of senators 
and representatives to which the state 
may be entitled to in the congress." 

The manner in which it was thought 
this appointment would be generally 
made may be different from some others 
the words would admit of. The con- 
vention which framed and the states 
which adopted the constitution un- 
doubtedly believed that the general 
practice under the clause would be that 
the citizens of the states would in some 
way appoint the presidential electors. 
* * * If any doubts could be raised 
on this subject, the clause should be lib- 
erally construed for the benefit of the 
states, who, as parties to the compact, 
reserve the right of appointment to 
themselves. If I had any doubts, a re- 
gard for state rights would induce me 
to resolve them in favor of the state, and 
I would say that the state may make the 
appointment by any body of men in 
whom they may choose, by law, to vest 
the power of appointment. Mr. Hoff- 
man i,hen declares the arguments of 
Messrs. Stevenson and Everett complete 
anil perfect to show that such was the 
power vested on the states. Continuing 
be said: 

"But, if the question were a new one; 
if we had not the secret journal of the 
convention; if, without any practice, we 
were now about to carry the constitu- 
tion into practice, there could be no 
reasonable doubt in giving a construc- 
tion to the clause in question. If it be 
said that the electors mnst be appointed 
by the people and can not be appointed 
by the legislature, then the question will 
occur, by what or by the whole of the 
citizens ? by those of full age, or by 

those who are minors? by the freehold 
voters of the state authorized to vote for 
senator and governor, or by the voters 
authorized to vote for the most numer- 
ous branch of the state legislature, or 
by the voters in their primary assem- 
blies of the people and their towns? For 
the state constitutions were then exist- 
ing, and in that of New York were these 
different classes of voters. If the con- 
vention intended the choice must bo 
made by the voters would they have left 
it so wholly uncertain by what class of 
voters the appointment should be made." 
Referring to the precise methods pre- 
scribed for the election of representa- 
tives and senators he said: "They no 
doubt believed that (the appointment) 
would be in general practice, be made in 
some way by the voters of the state; but 
they must have understood that it could 
and might be made in any other manner 
in which the stale in its judgment may 
direct. If they did not intend this could 
be done why did they leave this ap- 
pointment so unlimited in the manner 
and yet so cautiously guard the choice of 
representative and senator." 

Mr. Storrs in his speech denied the 
power of the two houses of the legisla- 
ture to make this appointment, and de- 
clared its exercise in 1824 to be usurpa- 
tion. Mr. Hoffman, replyingto this, and 
continuing his argument in support of 
the state's unlimited discretion, said: 
"I wish lo call to the no* ice of my col- 
league and the committee so much of 
the legislation of New York as relates 
to this subject. In our state (my col- 
league, though not a native, is a citizen 
of the state) nothing can be better set- 
tled as matter of law on the highest au- 
thority than the proposition for which I 
contend. Under the old constitution 
the council of revision was composed of 
the governor, the chancellor and the 
justices of the Supreme Court. They 
possessed a powerful negative upon 
every bill, and in the theory and prac- 
tice of the government were especially 
charged with the duty of permitting 
none to pass that might infringe upon 
the constitution. Yet the law of that 
state, vesting in the two houses of the 


state legislature the power of appointing 
presidential electors passed again ar^d 
again the severe scrutiny of the council 
of revision. The charge of usurpation 
made by my colleague applies, if at all, 
more strongly to those who passed the 
act than to those who acted under it. 
It would include many legislatures of 
that state. The legislature of 1824 did 
not pass the act. They were in the ex- 
ercise of this power the humble follow- 
ers of the great men who had gone be- 
fore them — the fathers and patriots of 
the state." 

The first general act of that state vest- 
ing this power to appoint presidential 
electors in the two houses of the state 
legislature was passed April 12, 1793, 
when the council of revision consisted 
of George Clinton, the governor, who 
knew the constitution and always did 
his duty; Robert Yates, John S. Hobart, 
John Lansing, Jr., and Robert R. Liv- 
ingston, the last of whom, at least, was 
well informed of the nature and design 
of the constitution. The bill became a 
law with the sanction of these great 
men and able lawyers. This bill was 
re enacted March 26, 1796. John Jay 
was then governor, and did he not un- 
derstand the constitution? The judges 
just mentioned with Morgan Lewis and 
Egbert Bensen composed the council of 
revision. But, sir, this bill was amended 
November 13, 1804, and the electoral col- 
lege itself was authorized to supply 
any vacancies which might happen 
from death or absence. This power to 
supply vacancies is a power to appoint, 
and the college appointed by the legisla- 
ture is empowered to appoint electors to 
supply the places of such as might be 
absent. Was this unconstitutional? 
Who were the council of revision ? Mor- 
gan Lewis, who had been an able judge 
in the Supreme Court, was governor; 
John Lansing, jr., an able lawyer, fa- 
miliar with everything relative to the 
constitution, was chancellor. The jus- 
tices of the Supreme Court were James 
Kent, a profound jurist and civilian, 
whose opinions v.ill be respected as long 
as virtue is esteemed; Brockholst Liv- 
ingston, who has adorned the bench of 

the Supreme Court of the union; Smith 
Thompson, who now adorns that bench; 
Ambrose Spencer, who as a lawver had 
few equals and no superior; Daniel D. 
Tompkins, since known as a patriot to 
every friend of the country. On a legal 
or constitutional question the opinions of 
these men would weigh aga-nst the 
opinion of any body of men ever assem- 
bled in the union. * * 

But, sir, these are not all that are 
reached by the denunciations of my col- 
league. On the 15th of March, 1825, 
the legislature of that state, composed of 
the old senate, who may not find favor 
with my colleague, and a house of as- 
sembly warm from the people and com- 
posed mostly of patriots elected in that 
triumph which returned my colleague 
to this house, after deliberation and de- 
bate, passed an act establishing the dis- 
trict system in that state, the adoption 
of which, while other states do not, my 
colleague declares to be "an act of polit- 
ical suicide." That act divides the state 
into electoral districts and provides for 
the appointment of 34 presidential elec- 
tors by the voters, and authorizes this 
college so appointed, when met, not only 
to supply vacancies, but also to appoint 
two additional electors, never chosen by 
the people, corresponding with the two 
senators in the congress of the United 
States. Governor Clinton had through- 
out recommended the general ticket 
system for the state and opposed the dis- 
trict system for the state until the United 
States should establish it uniform 
throughout the union. Opposed as he 
was to the policy of the act, it received 
the constitutional sanction of that able 
lawyer and statesman. If unconstitu- 
tional would he not have interposed his 
veto ? Would he not have discovered so 
fatal an objection to the bill ? Is he, too, 
an "usurper?" 

The gentleman from Virginia, who 
spoke second in the debate, (Mr. Steven- 
son,) objects to one of these amend- 
ments. He supposes that to district the 
states will enfeeble the power of tie 
state legislatures, and tells us in his own 
forcible manner that the state legisla- 
tures are by the constitution the senti- 


nels of the liberties of the people, 
placed to warn against the encroach- 
ments of arbitrary power. Tliis allega- 
tion, made in "his own eloquent manner, 
appeared like an argument; but it was 
appearance onlj', for iu a few minutes, 
in a statement_made in the same forci- 
ble manner of the facts of history, he 
overthrew this, theoretical supposition. 
When, in 1798, the legislatures of Ken- 
tucky and Virginia, seeinK the ap 
proaches of arbitrary power seizing 
upon the vitals of the constitution, 
called upon the legislatures of their sister 
states to aid in the defense of freedom, 
seven out of nine of these sentinels 
slept. They replied there is no danger; 
they deserted their posts and slept in the 
enemy's camp. 'The Praetorian bands', 
I correct the reading of my colleague 
(Mr. Storrs.) enervated and debauched as 
they were, had yet sufficient force to 
awe the Roman populace, but when the 
distant legions took the alarm they 
marched to Rome and gave away the 
empire.' Yes, sir, the state legislatures 
slept iu the enemy's camp, but the peo- 
ple of the United States rose in their 
sovereign will, produced the political 
revolution of 1800, and brought back the 
constitution to its original simplicity. 
Will you struggle to retain these sleep- 
ing sentinels of your liberty and keep 
away the people, your real defenders ? 
I desire that the state legislatures should 
be sentinels as much as the gentleman 
from Virgmia. They will not be the 
less vigilant as sentinels bj^ the adoption 
of this amendment; they will be more 
so. As organized bodies they will have 
nothing to do directly with the presiden- 
tial election. He will not be the presi- 
dent of their making, and they will be 
impartial judges of his conduct. * * 
In his most conscientious zeal to resist 
these amendments my honorable col- 
league (Mr. Storrs) has told us that there 
is in some states a "peculiar population" 
counted in the distribution of political 
I)Ower, though incapable of exercising 
ic, and he warns those states of the dan- 
gers which iie discovers in the prospect. 
* * Two-thirds of the states may pro- 
pose, but it requires three-fourths of the 

states to adopt any amendment. The 
period which he treats as dangerous to 
these states must then be remote indeed, 
long, I fear, before these states will be 
w thout this peculiar population. But 
will the adoption of this amendment 
hasten that dreaded event? No, sir. 
Will the rejection of it retard that event? 
No, sir. Will the practice of the consti- 
tution as it now stands dry up the 
sources of population in the free states 
and prevent the increase of their num- 
bers or the numbers of their people? No, 
sir. Whether you adopt cr reject these 
amendments, that period will be neither 
hastened nor protracted. 

The honorable gentleman from Massa- 
chusetts, (Mr. Everett) has unburthened 
his mind upon this subject where I have 
never felt a burthen. As the proposi- 
tion which he has asserted may be ap- 
plied to my children, I will repeat it to 
deny it. I will employ his own words. 
I know I have them nearly, and I be- 
lieve entirely correct. He says: "Slav- 
ery, domestic slavery, say what men 
will, is a condition of life as clearly as 
any other, defensible by religion, mor- 
ality and national law or international 
law." I deny it. My religion will be 
found in the example and precepts of the 
Saviour of the world, including in them 
the best system of morals, and my in- 
ternational law on this subject is writ- 
ten in the Declaration of Independence. 
What a doctrine the gentleman has 
adopted ! Let not the master lay this 
doctrine to his heart to give it ease. It 
should be more dreadful to him than to 
the slaves. It frees none and may bind 
all I The toil-worn slave may not dread 
it, but it may be pushed to the master 
himself. Is this doctrine to be the prac- 
tice of this coalition administration in 
which the gentleman tells us it is hon- 
orable for any man to serve? For my 
country I hope not and will believe not. 
It is a terrible doctrine. It has enslaved 
Asia and depopulated the fairest parts 
of the earth. Desolation marks its pro- 
gress. And if insular Hayti is odious is 
continental Barbary less so, where he on 
the one side of the Mediterranean is a 
master, on the other is a slave doomed 


to servitude ^where hope never comes, 
that comes to all, but torture without end 
still urg^es,' 

Having faid this as an answer to the 
gentleman's proposition, let me add 
what I think useful: Religion, morality 
and national law forbid— not slavery 
only— forbid not domestic slavery only, 
forbid the citizens of one sovereign state 
to interfere with and disturb the domes- 
tic concerns of another; forbid the neg- 
lect of self-reformation and a hypocriti- 
cal pretense to reform others who have 
never offended. Slavery is an evil; it is 
a domestic evil, and must be reformed 
and removed by the justice and wisdom 
of the society in which it may be found. 

The gentleman of the south may be 
well mformed as to the best remedy for 
this evil, and yet I should be unwilling 
to have them come into New York to 
teach us how to dispose of the few that 
remain to us of this unfortunate race, 
and I feel as little disposed to travel after 
these evils. Every society must reform 
its own abuoes, and if evils are neglected 
the society must and will suffer the con- 
sequences. 1 would say to the Virgin- 
ian, the Carolinian, the Georgian— rely 
upon your own wisdom and your own 
justice; if ycu have evils refcrm them; 
rely upon yourselves. Aids are prom- 
ised, but never look to Rome for aids. 
You are sovereign states, the aids may 
not come in time. In a single day in a 
Servile war the tables may be turned, 
and when the aid shall come you may 
be stretched on the earth; a sable sov- 
ereignty may wave its sceptre over your 
wives and your children, and power may 
repeat to them 'slavery, don:estic slavery, 
say what men will, is a condition of life 
as easily as any other defended by mor- 
ality, religion, national law and interna 
tional law.' 

Another argument is urged against the 
amendments: We are told that they will 
destroy state rights. State rights are 
dear to me, and I respect them, but what 
have they to do with this question, un- 
less, like slavery, they are to be urged 
into every debate ? They cannot be pre- 
served by mere theories contradicted by 
practice. Let this government exercise 

the lea^t power which can effect the 
constitutional ends of its establishment, 
and in nothing affect splendor, and state 
rights will be secure. But when the 
powers of the government are to be ex- 
tended what do we hear about state 
rights? When this government desires 
to incorporate a bank and the bank has 
carried the ramparts of the constitution; 
to construct canals; to send a mission to 
a congress of nations; to exercise a 
guardianship over Indian tribes within 
the jurisdiction of the old states, which 
were independent sovereignties before 
this government was in being, do we 
then hear of the sovereign rights of the 
states? * * But when it is proposed 
to touch the political power of this 
house— then, and not till then, are state 
rights endangered. When this house is 
called upon to give up to the citizens of 
the states the power of choosing a presi- 
dent, then we are alarmed with the cry 
of state rights. The question is not be- 
tween this. government and the states. 
No. sir. It is between this house holding 
and the citizens of the United States de- 
manding the power to elect the execu- 
tive of the union. If the small states 
are endangered will they not discover it 
and reject the amendments ? If the 
rights of the large states are to be de- 
stroyed will they not foresee it and se- 
cure their rights by refusing to adopt 
the amendments? The states do not 
elect a president here; it is the house 
who elects him. The large states can 
not value a right so perfectly worthless. 
My colleague, (Mr. Storrs,) who opposes 
the amendments out of regard for state 
rights will, I hope, aid us to ?end tho 
amendments to the states, that they may 
judge for themselves. The states will 
take care of their own rights when the 
question comes before them. * * 

in my reflections upon the subject of 
these amendments I have found to my 
entire satisfaction that the establishment 
of a system of districts equal in politi- 
cal power is necessary for the conven- 
ience of the large states and the safety 
of the small ones, and is desired. * * 
Without the amendments you force the 
large states to consolidate their electoral 


power, and you drive them into coali- 
tions to enable the moral force and in- 
telligence of the people to choose their 
president. I do not threaten the evil. 
It will ronie. Some states now small in 
numbers will increase their fertile and 
exteuded territories, and will, I hope, 
soon be populous. They will join the 
coalilion. Every man in the least ac- 
quainted with the affairs of life must 
anticipate these things. The same cir- 
eurrstances will oblige the large states 
in the measures necessary to secure their 
one vote in the house, to consolidate in 
their representation in congress. What 
will be the consequences ? I will not at- 
tempt to enumerate the evils I dread, 
but they will be more terrible than the 
fancied political distractions of New 
York, so strongly deprecated by my 
honorable colleague, (Mr. Storrs.) 

In his opposition to the resolutions he 
has alluded to the "political distractions" 
of New York, rejoiced at the abolition of 
her council of appointment, though he 
dishkes amendmg constitutions. He has 
denaunced "the caucus system" of the 
state, and represents as still more odious 
the caucus system that will grow up in 
districts. * * The history of the state 
will vindicate her old constitution and 
her council of appointment, and the ab- 
olition of both will vindicate her parties, 
her caucus system and her "district sys- 
tem," and will prove the absolute neces- 
sity of establishing a general system of 
districts throughout the United States. 

Her old constitution was framed by 
our ancestors amidst the perils of the 
revolution. It was the child of a cau- 
cus and carried the state safe to inde- 
pendence. The council of appointment 
was wisely intended to secure the due 
execution of her laws and to exclude 
disaffection, then existing, ftom execu- 
tive offices. It supported the state m 
the first controversy with England, and 
in the hands of a patriot citizen, whose 
death will long be lamented, it gave se- 
curity and strength to the union in the 
late war. But when the population of 
the state had increased to a million five 
hundred thousand and its patronage to 
more than a million a year, * * then, 

sir, it became too heavy for the feeble 
arm of the council. The council could 
not know the character of the appli- 
cants for office. The governor, Mr. 
Clinton, recommended the call for the 
convention. Instantly the republicao 
party adopted the recommendation and 
carried the measure. * * I aided ia 
that effo't. A convention was called, 
the constitution was amended, the coun- 
cil of appointment was abolished and 
the power of appointment distributed 
and placed in other hands; the right of 
suffrage was extended, a new judiciary 
was provided, better suited to the in- 
creasing wants of the state, and a 
completion of her canals was secured by 
the constitution itself. 

Her caucus so denounced originated 
in the revolution; it framed the coneti- 
tutioa itself and conducted the state 
safely through that dreadful struggle. 
It was then hated by the tories, and has 
been complained of by men whose am- 
bition outruns the public judgment in 
its desires for office. But, sir, what is 
this hated caucus system ? The citizens 
assemble in their towns and discuss pub- 
lic measures and public men. They 
choose their delegates to represent their 
judgments in the county convention. 
Warm from their hands they express 
strongly the judgments of the people. 
The county conventions send delegates 
to those of the senate districts and to 
the state caucuses. If they expressed 
less of the sense of the people politicians 
might desire them more, but no man 
can be found who will, in these caucuses 
or out of them, entirely disregard the 
judgments of the people. * * All the 
great nien of the state have been sup- 
ported by it, not as my colleague sup- 
poses, "wanting principle and lacking 
bread," but serving their country. This 
caucus system is the instrument of the 
public judgment, and has teen em- 
ployed in everything. The public judg- 
ment it expressed made the state, framed 
the constitution, amended it, abolished 
the council of appointment, enacted her 
laws, established her common schools 
and school fund, endowed her acade- 
mies and colleges and secured the com- 


pletion of her grand canal?. * * * 
Every party in the state has used it, and 
will continue to use it, however it may 
be denounced here. I know that this 
instrument will be brought to operate 
on this very quest'on. One million six 
hundred thousand people will not con- 
sent to see the presidential election 
taken from them and brought here. 
They will not consent that their force, 
their intelligence, their political power, 
shall be reduced to a single vote in this 
house. The powers of this government 
must be distributed and exercised among 
the citizens of the respective states in a 
proportion something like the moral 
force of numbers and intelligence. 
Even my honorable colleague himself, 
(Mr. Storrs,) in his practice contradicts 
his theory. He never declined the sup- 
port of a caucus. I do not blame him 
for condemning his own acts, but I like 
his example I etter than his precepts on 
this subject, and justify myself from 
his censures by the acts of a great man. 
My honorable colleague (Mr. Storrs) 
exulted at the imaginary destruction of 
the New York caucus system. Sir, it is 
not destroyed. The legislative caucus 
of 1824 nominated a governor and lieu- 
tenant governor and adjourned in jApril. 
From that day forth the electoral law 
was pushed, debated, discussed, until in 
September a mighty state caucus, under 
the name of a state convention, met at 
Utica. Speeches were made, reporters 
were employed; the electoral law was 
again discussed. The caucus then nom- 
inated candidates for governor and lieu- 
tenant goverror. Then it was that 
politicians (and there will be some such 
in a society so numerous as ours) changed 
their politics "more frequently than a 
decent man does his shirt.'" The con- 
stituents of my colleague were many of 
them friendly to the advancement of 
the present incumbent, and being in a 
manufacturing district many of them 
strongly favored the claims of the sec- 
retary of state. I opposed the Utica 
caucus, by the aid of which my honora- 
ble colleague secured his election. But 
my honorable friend from the city of 
New York, (Mr. Cambreling,) was not a 

candidate favored by this caucus. He 
was supported by a caucus of different 
politics; neither is destroyed. It was 
caucus against caucus— Greek against 

I have mentioned these things to show 
you, sir, that the district system was 
well understood and well considered by 
the people of this state. A season of 
tranquility favorable to a correct judg- 
ment — not an apathy of the public 
mind — ensued. At the January session 
of the state legislature in 1825 the gov- 
ernor recommended the general ticket 
system. The patriots returned by that 
election, which gave my colleague (Mr. 
Storrs) his seat, after debate and delib- 
eration, excepting only some seventeen 
or eighteen, passed the district bill 
agreeing wjth the judgment of the sen- 
ate. Is this no judgment ? 

My honorable colleague stated that 
the whole number of votes given in fa- 
vor of the district system was about 
47,000 (I took down his numbers;) that 
the votes given for the general ticket 
were 43,000, making the whole number 
given 90,000, and the majority for dis- 
tricts 4,000. In the state paper, the Al- 
bany Argus, of December 13, 1825, is an 
official copy of the canvass. The whole 
number of votes on this question was 
not 90,000, but 137,840. * * Of these 
votes it is stated that there were "by 
districts" 66,324; by "general ticket ma- 
jority" 941; "by general ticket plural- 
ity" 56,901, giving the district system 
over both general tickets a majority not 
of 4,000, but of 8,882. Is this no judg- 
ment ? And if the canvass be corrected 
Yy adding to those allowed only such as 
are most evidently intended for the dis- 
trict system, having "district" written 
on them, and giving to the general 
ticket all others, however intended, 
and there is a majority in favor of the 
district system of 14,333 votes out of 
137.840, being a proportion greater than 
was ever given on any question in this 
state. Is this no judgment? * * » 

I insist, sir, that the amendments pro- 
posed are necessary to keep the election 
out of congress, and to save from total 


ruin the character of the house of rep- 

When, in 1801, the election came 
here, amendments were proposed and 
adopted to prevent the recurrence of the 
event of an equality of votes between 
two candidates. Since then this diffi- 
culty could not occur, and we have had 
but two opposing candidates until the 
last election. The race of revolutionary 
patriots are gone— and it has been justly 
remarked, we shall have "Rlchmonds 
enough." All seem to concur that we 
shall have these, four or five candidates. 
If the "infoimal conference system' be 
continued— if no caucus can concen- 
trate and express (not create and control) 
the public judgment, shall be adopted, 
no election will occur without four or 
five candidates. In every such case the 
election will, in all probability, come 
mto the house. Yet the gentleman 
from Connecticut (Mr. Ingersoll) tells us 
the constitution has succeeded com- 
pletely in this particular provision of it. 
For thirty years the colleges decided the 
elections. But if, as seems admitted by 
all, each succeeding election, like the 
past, must be made by this house, then I 
affirm the constitution has wholly failed 
and the amendment of 1803 is entirely 
defeated. The people are thrown out of 
the election whenever it is brought re- 
peatedly into the house, and it will pro- 
duce the most serious evils, both in and 
out of doors. 

The gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. 
Stevenson) insists that the house is pure, 
but he admits that it has passions which 
the election excites or embitters. I do 
not know, sir, what gentlemen mean 
when they say the house is pure, and 
they have not informed us exactly what 
they mean by this supposed corruption, 
which is denied. Without attempting 
to be more explicit, without alleging that 
gross corruption, which labors for im- 
mediate gain, or denying its existence — 
let me say that when it is admitted that 
the house has passions, gentlemen ad- 
mit all I ask. If these passions are 
awakened by the recurrence of the elec- 
tion here and produce an injurious ef- 
fect on our legislation I must deprecate 

them; they not only injure our constit- 
uents, but disgrace us— make us guilty, 
not of gross corruption, but of injus- 

The gentleman from Massachusetts 
(Mr. Everett) carries his opinions still 
farther and tells us the house is not cor- 
rupt but incorruptible. I had hoped the 
house was not corrupt, bnt I can not 
dispute with the man who asserts it any 
more than I could with the man who 
denies his own existence. In support of 
his position that gentleman has made a 
proposal to my honorable friend from 
South Carolina. Let him make it tome. 
He says the thirty million claim for 
French spoliations is most righteous, and 
he would pile up millions in the area 
before the speaker's chair, and those 
who will support it with their votes 
might load themselves with it until they 
were unable to stagger away. Let it be 
suspected that he has the warrant to 
give this money, or that I am disposed 
to accept, and in that instant we are 
both infamous. Yes, sir; if the people 
should suspect, not believe, that the 
owners of this "righteous thirty million 
claim" offer ten millions for the votes of 
oifmbers; if the claim, however just, 
shall be allowed, nothing can ever wipe 
away the infamy of this house. The 
gentleman says he did but jest. I 
thought so, too; but the jest was the 
more cruel, as the facts, without which 
it proves nothing, had no existence. 
But, sir, if such a case should occur, it 
would destroy the house; no man, 
whether he received anything or not— 
no man, if it was only possible that it 
might have been taken, who should 
vote for the claim, would ever again 
hold a seat here after the next election, 
whatever might te his private worth. 

But my honorable colleague (Mr. 
Storrs) finds other arguments to oppose 
these amendments. He says, "If the 
house is so corrupt why ask it to amend;" 
and he warns the house "not to record 
its own infamy" by adopting the amend- 
ments. When I heard this argument I 
thought it a ministerial story. Every 
man the least acquainted with British 
history must have read it in parlia- 


coentary debates. There the member 
purchases his borough and the minister 
buys his members. When a reform is 
moved in parliament and it is declared 
that corruption stalks abroad, the crea- 
tures of the ministers —the gentlemen 
from the treasury bench— rise in their 
places, and looking around at their bor- 
ough mongers here and there in every 
part of the house, inquire: "Will you 
admit your guilt?" Be cautious how 
you record your own infamy! Though 
corruption is admitted, reform is de- 
nied.— I hope that the morals of this 
bouse are not so corrupted as this spe- 
cies of argument supposes. If the house 
can be influenced by such an argument 
there is an end to all amendment in 
everythtng that relates to its powers, and 
an expression apolied to another body 
should be applied here "the awful and 
once respected commons of Great Brit- 
ain." If I he argument of my colleague 
has force in this house the amendments 
ought to be carried for that very reason, 
as it supposes corruption which it might 
t>e infamous to record. But his whole 
argument is out of the record. If the 
past conduct of the house, as I hope, 
has been innocent, the record leaves it 
so; and if there has been guilt the 
amendments record nothing. * * * 
Another source of security pointed 
out by my colleague in his corscientious 
zeal to resist innovation is the responsi- 
bility of the member to his constituents. 
If the member is honest, makes no bar- 
gain and gives his vote according to 
conscience and duty, he must indeed 
return to his constituents and meet them. 
Though innocent, he may be censured 
and punished. If he makes his bargain, 
if he is corrupt, if he secures his re- 
ward; if he is guilty he enriches himself, 
pockets his rew^ard and "retires infa- 
mous and contented." Or he employs 
the patronage of his new situation, se- 
cured by his corruption to purchase 
friends and popularity, and realizes the 
character described by the poet: 

"Man smiles in ruin, glories m his guilt, and 
infamy stands candidate for praise." 

(In view of the imputations at that 
time so rife of a corrupt bargain be- 


fc A-een the friends of Mr. Adams and Mr. 
Clay , charging that the former was chosen 
president by the house, the last clause 
seems to have been intended to picture 
the attitude of some of the president's 
support^ rs in the house at the late 
election. The final judgment of 
history does not confirm the 
"bargain and corruption" charge 
then pressed with great acrimony, but it 
was, no doubt, honestly entertained by 
most of the partisans opposed to the 
president and the secretary of state.) 

Continuing, Mr. Hoffman said: "But, 
sir, the question is not whether the house 
was innocent or guilty in the last elec- 
tion, no accusation has been made (here) 
to raise such a question, and to deny or 
afiirm either is entirely out of the ques- 
tion in dispute. That question can not 
be asked — it is vain to propose it. What 
could the house reply? Not its own in- 
nocence or its own guilt. It can not 
confess nor deny, either would excite 
public ridicule. The question is,what was 
the effect of the election on the character 
of the hous'? Did it injure the charac- 
ter of the house, not in the opinion of 
honorable gentlemen here, but in the 
esteem of the American people ? 

Whenever, sir, it is seen that the elec- 
tion will in all probability come into the 
house, then everything that belongs to 
the election attaches to the character of 
the house. * * The character of the 
candidates, the cards, the labels, pam- 
phlets, attacks -everything dignified or 
disgraceful, odious or contemptible, all 
that belongs to the election is deemed to 
be the creation of the house. The peo- 
ple judge of the election and the con- 
duct of the house with less reserve, but 
not with less justice than the members 
judge themselves. We, perhaps, are a 
little too polite and kind towards each 
other to suspect dishonor or dishonesty. 
The people are more plain, nor are they 
entirely mistaken. They make allow- 
ances for circumstances, and th'ey judge 
us with plain sincerity. While we count 
so largely on that side of their good 
sense which favors us, it may be well to 
read what is written on the other side. 
* * When they see that the election is 

likely to come here, and that the house 
and its members do nothing to prevent 
it, they may think it desired, and every- 
thmg good or evil in its progress is in 
some degree attached in their judgment 
to the character of the house. Was the 
last election conducted fairly? I hope 
so: and yet what reproaches, suspicions 
and abuses has every man been obliged, 
with pain, to hear. Will you have more 
respectable candidates ? Who were 
they ? The one a secretary of the treas- 
ury, another the secretary of state, an- 
other an honorable senator from the 
state of Tennessee, another speaker of 
the house. All these were in daily in- 
tercourse with the members of the 
house. How many opportunities for 
bargains, contracts, promises and un- 
derstandings, and all constantly acted on 
by those reciprocations which influence 
affection, mould the will and incline the 
conduct of men. It will be with others 
as it was with you. Your presidential 
candidates will not be retired and pri- 
vate men, but public men, daily acting 
with you. The opportunities for cor- 
ruption will exist. You must attribute 
the suspicions to the circumstances in 
which you are placed. You must change 
the circumstances; while these exist you 
never can change the opinions of men. 
I ask you to remember all the shoe-black 
and polish of character, all the ink and 
pamphlets of the late election, all the 
reports and rumors circulated to your 
injury. They were all considered a part 
of the election in congress. Whenever 
It is seen that the election will come here 
the members are considered a^ managers 
and the election as the business of this 
house. I am too much exhausted, but I 
had intended to draw from the minds of 
the people a true picture of the house, 
stamped there by the last election, of 
80 many things strange, ridiculous and 
dangerous, and which had a most un- 
happy influence on the character of the 
house. * * You may allege that the 
people are mistaken. They will cling to 
their opinion of you, cling to this power, 
and rely upon it, sir, when the character 
of 'this house becomes odious and sus- 
pected in the minds of the people it will 

not be long before ft will^deserve the bacJ 
character imputed to it. * * What- 
ever fol ows in the train of the electitms; 
what of coalitions and intrigues will 
cling to the skirts of the house. Let us 
adopt these amendments and dispense 
with this unhappy blessmg; a power 
which has injured, will disgrace and will 
corrupt the house. * * 

No purity of private life, no past patri- 
otic sacrifices, no future public success 
can wipe out the reproach. I care noth- 
ing about the kind judgments of gentle- 
men here. What will be the public 
judgment abroad —beyond these walls? 
Can I doubt from wh it I have heard that 
the same judgments will be repeated and 
declared. If a member accepts an ap- 
pointment the executive seal will be a 
seal of infamy. If the executive ap- 
points his friends he rewards -if his op- 
ponents he buys ! Reverse this judgment 
who will, the people will establish it, 
will assert it, will maintain it while the 
election is withheld from them and 
brought hither. * * The only remedy 
is in practice, to take the election from 
congress. * * 

Another argument, Mr. Chairman, 
which I feel it my duty to urge upon the 
consideration of the committee in favor 
of the amendments is, that the people 
desire to dispense with the electoral 
colleges, and in some way to give their 
vote direct for president and vice- 
president. Whatever may be the 
fate of any other amendment, 
whether any other shall or shall not be 
adopted, I assert that the people do de- 
sire to vote direct and to dispense with 
the electoral colleges. On all hands 
these colleges are admitted to be useless. 
No man has or can offer an argument 
for their continuance. All allow them 
to be perfectly useless, but all can not as- 
sert that they are perfectly harmless. 
Why, then, should they be retained as a 
useless part of the system? Why, then, 
oblige the public judgment to sue out a 
license to pass through the pipe of an 
electoral college? * * 

But, whatever may have been the 
cauSe of the ruin of the Athenian and 
other republics, (after discussing the 


views of other members on that sub- 
ject,— Ed.) it can have no just appli- 
cation to the American people, occu- 
pied as they are in all the concerns of 
civilized life, scattered over an immense 
territory, cultivating the soil, possessed 
of riches, busy with industry, blessed 
with intelligence. * * i have no fear 
of them. If any part of our govern- 
ment be pure, be incorruptible, I assert 
that it is the people. If any body of 
men be above suspicion and beyond the 
reach of corruption it is the voters in 
the respective states. No patronage can 
cover their numbers; no political indus- 
try can find or count them. There I 
wish to see the election go; there let the 
power be deposited. They are as incor- 
ruptible as anybody in this life can be; 
there it will be safe. 

The gentleman from Massachusetts, 
(Mr. Everett,) reminds us of the French 
electoral colleges. I do not see how they 
can be pressed into the argument to sup- 
port the retaining of ours, and I thank 
him for the hint. Yes, sir; in France, 
if an election could in any way be dis- 
posed of directly by the people they 
would return deputif s hostile to prerog- 
ative and favorable to liberty. To pre- 
vent this, to secure everything to the 
crown, electoral colleges are devised; the 
people can return no one; the candidates 
must pass through the electoral colleges. 
If the court fail to obtain their creature 
in the primary elections the patronage 
of the king can secure him in the elec- 
toral college; such is the practice. If 
we desire that ours should be employed 
to produce a like effect it may be an ar- 
gument to retain them. I w ish for that 
reason to destroy them. 

Sir, I do say r,hat the people desire to 
dispense with the colleges and to vote 
direct. Will we deny them their re- 
quest? * * We are their trustees; the 
power we have they gave us in trust. 
The dignity, the intelligence, the moral 
character of the house is not ours, but a 
reflex of theirs: they are derived from 
the people. The 213 gentlemen who 
compose the house on a question of 
learning would not be the equal of some 
of our literary institutions; on a ques- 

tion of trade would be weighed down by 
a chamber of commeice, and the me- 
chanics of a city would certainly be 
much better authority on a question of 
arts. * * * Can we deny them this 
power if they judge it best to ask for it? 
Can we tell them that my friend from 
South Carolina will find them with this 
power and by his eloquence seduce them 
to their own ruin? Shall we insult them 
by saying that political demagogues will 
rouse them to madness and riot — that 
they are intelligent and patriotic but can 
not be trusted ? 

But, gentlemen, declare that the peo- 
ple do not desire this change, and in 
proof of this assertion they say 
the several states can, -but do not pro- 
pose the call of a convention. I know 
they can, but ought they to doit? I 
ask whether it is wise or prudent when 
a great proportion of the people ask for 
any particular amendment to refuse it, 
until in one state for one reason, in an- 
other for another reason, in New York 
and Tennessee for this amendment, in 
Massachusetts to restrain your power as 
to militia officers, in the west for relief 
against your judicial executions, in 
other states for other purposes, until 
discontent shall invite two-thirds of the 
states in a common call for a convention 
to propose amendments to the constitu- 
tion. Is it prudent to wait for such a 
call? When it does come you can not 
deliberate; you can not decide whether 
to grant or refuse it. You must regis- 
ter the decree, the call must be obeyed. 
When such a convention meets the 
whole constitution is afloat; every part 
of it may be amended. You can not 
restrain the power of the convention or 
tie up its hands to this or that part of 
the compact. The states' convention 
would laugh at such an effort to limit 
them. Do gentlemen desire such a con- 
vention? If they do let them refuse 
this and every other necessary amend- 
ment until evils shall reach and press 
hard upon two-thirds of the states— and 
they may yet live to hear the call ! The 
evils, accumulated by our negligence 
and our obstinacy, will be great, and the 
call will be terrible. * * 


For my constituents I affirm that they 
desire it (the direct vote.) In the state 
from which I came, making a seventh 
of the whole people of the United States, 
in the legislature, m the public proceed- 
ings, at the courts of justice, in all 
j>laces I have heard their opinions on this 
question. Of the thousands whose judg- 
ments I have heard expressed I have 
never heard a single man express a de- 
sire to retain the colleges. In the dis- 
trict of my colleague (Mr. Storrs,) who 
opposes all amendments, I am ac- 
quainted, and know that his constituents 
and my own most ardently wish to vote 
direct for president. My colleagues are 
about me and can contradict me if I 
err. * * 

Will, then, the friends of this new ad- 
ministration—chosen by congress, not 
by the people, in their colleges— will 
they refuse the universal wish of the 
people? If they do can they hope or 
expect to sustain the administration 
against the general -judgment which 
must follow the refusal? To the gentle- 
man who, from a sense of duty to the 
country oppose the administration, I 
put the question: Can you without pa- 
tronage, without the power of confer- 
ring patronage and honor — if you by 
your votes oppose the just wishes of the 
people in this instance, can you oppose 
successfully this administration? It is 
only by the support you shall give to 
their judgments and their rights that 
success can be secured or deserved. To 
all I put the question: Shall it be said 
that the house of representatives have 
got the power to elect the president and 
they will keep it? By our vote on these 
amendments shall we place the will of 
this house against, and the judgment of 
the people for, the amendments ? 

Sir, do the people of the states require 
this amendment, and as a means to at- 
tain it, ask the system of districts equal 
in political power! I think they do; it 
can hardly be attained without the dis- 
tricts. * * Shall we refuse and tell 
them all that has been urged here 
against the vote by the people and the 
district system ? What will they reply ? 
We made you and can unmake you. 
We tell them they are patriotic, intelli- 
gent and worthy of confidence, but the 
vote by the people and the district sys- 
tem will injure state rights; what will 
they reply? "We are the states; their 
rights are ours, send the amendments to 
the states and we will judge then of our 
own rights." Yes, sir. let them judge 
what is fit, safe and proper for them- 
selves. They know and will secure their 
rights, if they can once tear them from 
your grasp. Whatever excuse we may 
attempt to make for clirging, as power 
always will, to this power of electing a 
president, it will recoil upon us. The 
people will believe that we are partial, 
corrupt judges, who judge in their own 
favor. If we refuse they will justly 
charge us with the crime of withhold- 
ing this power from those whoga\eit, 
and for no good purpose. They will 
look upon us, and justly, as unfaithful 
guardians who watch the property of 
their wards, to squander it, and illegally 
retain it in their hands to apply it to 
their own corrupt purposes, to pervert 
and abuse it. Let not this be said of us; 
let us surrender a power which will cor- 
rupt this house and give it to the peo- 
ple in their districts, where it will be 
safe forever. 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society March lo, 1896. 

It is a mark of progress, as well as of 
stability, when a people investigate the 
causes which conduce to their well- 
being. It is not only essential that the 
historian should rescue important ques- 
tions from obscurity, but that the masses 
should become mindful of those trans- 
actions wherein were gatned rational 
liberty and nationality. It is true there 
are, and ever will be, new applications 
in our civil polity; but never could we 
solve the problems which confront us 
without the fundamental lessons. Fa- 
miliarity with the causes which actu- 
ated the building of our political system 
is not only a duty, but should be a de- 
light, to every American, for there- 
from emanates the respect which is the 
foundation of good citizenship 

With all our ingenuity, wealth and 
power, we should bear in min i society 
has boen of slow growth, not of rapid 
creation, and that our security and hap- 
piness are involved more in precedence 
than we judge at first view; indeed re- 
search, of ten prompts the student to ex- 
claim : "Modern knowledge is but a 
development of the primal hints of the 
ancients!" He observes that these inci- 
dents and suggestions materially relate 
to his own condition; that they still in- 
culcate vigilance, fortitude and justice. 
He learns that the way has been long 


and toilfome; not once, but more than a 
score of times, during five reigns, was 
Magna Charta signed, perforce, ere that 
justly celebrated instrument was ac- 
knowledged by the crown. While our 
founders molded their design by a crea- 
tive power of their own, "the materials 
for building the American Constitutioi 
were the gifts of the ages." Yes, we 
are required to live in the past as well as 
in the present, if we would treasure and 
transmit beneficial results to those who 
shall follow us; and he who cares naught 
for posterity lacks the sympathy requi- 
site for good order and pi ogress. So 
has history warned and encouraged the 
race, and, we have reason to hope, will 
lead mankind to a higher status by 
teaching, with redoubled emphasis, that 
wrong must ultimately yield, even in 
the citadels of ignorance and prejudice. 
With this in view the wise and benevo- 
lent establish institutions of learning, 
public libraries and historical societies. 

If the sublime in man, as evinced in 
individual achievements for good, in- 
spire gratitude and emulation, second to 
none among the ennobling examples in 
history and tradition are the benefactors 
who flourished during our Revolution- 
ary epoch, and not least among the truly 
great of that time is the subject of this 
brochure. Here we must be content 

with a glance at a character whose dis- 
tinctive qualities become more interest- 
ing at each perusal. 

We are prompted to revert for a mo- 
ment to the closing scenes of the sev- 
enteenth century, upon the continent of 
Europe, as illustrative of Mr. Jay's ori- 
gin and proclivities. 

Louis the Great had fallen to Louis the 
tyrant and the voluptuary; his example 
spread like a conta^tion among those 
who surrounded the throne; there was a 
social relapse when the political meth- 
ods of Machiavilli and visions of Boc- 
caccio were perused with morbid avid- 
ity. The noble Colbert, the benefactor 
of his country, lay in the tomb; princi- 
ples baneful and beneficial clashed 
angrily in the gilded salon, the mart and 
the coffee houses. Forgetting former 
achievements which gave renown to his 
name and unparalleled splendor to 
France, the monarch listened to perni- 
cious counsels, revoked the edict of 
Nantes, and enfeebled his country with 
strife and confusion. Scourged on the 
one hand and licensed on the other the 
disturbing forces of his realm loomed 
in threatening array. The banners of 
disaffection flaunted in the by-ways of 
the capital; a condition bordering on 
chaos was the result of the royal man- 
date; his battalions began to waver and 
his glory fade before the advancing col- 
umns of the Alliance. The church, 
which had been allied to the crown to 
maintain order and preserve civilization 
during the feudal period, becoming 
alarmed at the course of events, sought 
exoneration from the king and attempted 
to reconcile the people. But in a state 
vibrating between despotism and an- 
archy, where ribaldry and minstrelsy 
frequently interrupted the sacred mass 
and personal malevolence was not 
checked by sympathy nor punished by 
law, the afflicted had no alternative but 
to deny conscience or abandon property, 
kindred and country. 

In those days of sorrow, of fire and 
mutilation, there lived in the French 
city of Rochelle a prosper us Huguenot 
merchant, who had cultivated a taste 
for literature and politics as well as for 

commerce. Foreseeing a crisis he sent 
his wife and children lysea to England. 
Suspicion «as aroused, he was thrown 
into prison, from which he was extri- 
cated by the intercession of worthy op- 
ponents. Trusting that reconciliation 
would be effected he calmly but vigi- 
lantly awaited coming events. The 
revocation of October 23, 1685, dispelled 
hope, and Pierre Jay, th; proscribed op- 
ulent trader, quickly decided to sacrifice 
the earnings of yeats rather than re- 
cant at the feet of tyranny. Employing 
a trusty pilot to watch and hold one of 
his own vessels at the mouth of the har- 
bor he boarded her under cover of dark- 
ness and sailed for England, where he 
sold his valuable cargo, liberally paid 
captain and crew, and joined his family. 
Here, by frugality, they lived comforta- 
bly upon the wreck of his fortune. 

The respect this thrifty merchant had 
for learning may be surmised from the 
fact that previous to his exile he sent 
his only son, Augustus, at the age of 
twelve, to an English university. The 
lad proved worthy of the paternal gener- 
osity, becoming noted for his erudition 
and enterprise. At the completion of 
his education he embarked for Africa, 
in his father's interest, and was there 
stationed at the escape of his family. 
Returning, he, too, was resolute in his 
convictions, and sailed for the Carolinas, 
the trysting-place of many French Hu- 
guenots. After various adventures upon 
sea and land, among which was his cap- 
ture while on a voyage to Holland, and 
his being carried by a French privateer 
to the fortress of Sr. Maloes, whence ne 
escaped to Denmark. He completed his 
business abroad and returned to New 
York, then, as now, the chief commer- 
cial city of the continent. Here he 
married the refined M'ss Anna Bayard, 
who was also a descendant from those- 
who had suffered religious persecution. 
Here settled the flourishing importer 
and his amiable spouse. 

Resolute, tolerant, educated and en- 
terprising, Augustus Jay soon took an 
important place among the influential 
citizens of the metropolis. Four chil- 
dren were the fruit of this union, the 


fourth of whom was Peter, who, im- 
bibing tlie spirit of his ancestors, ad- 
vanced rapidly in wealth and position. 
He married Miss Mary Van Cortland t, a 
lady of Bitavian extraction and of re,- 
markable talents and culture. 

Such was his success in business that 
at the age of forty Peter Jay was able 
to retire with his wife and ten children 
to a country seat on Long Island, where 
his household devoted their time to the 
welfare of each other. The eighth child, 
born on the 13th of December, 1745, to 
this intelligent and devout couple, was 
the renowned John Jay, first Chief Jus- 
tice or the Republic, Minister to Spain, 
France and England, and Governor of 
the state of New York. 

The mother of this noted man was 
from an excellent family, who were 
among the early settlers of the New 
Netherlands. To her he attributed much 
of his early education and the instilling 
of those Christian principles into his 
mind which were exhibited throughout 
his career. At the knee of this excellent 
mother he learned the rudiments of 
English and Latin. "When in his eighth 
year he was sent to a grammar school at 
New Rochelle, where he was subjected 
to many inconveniences and hardships 
among strangers, but even at this tender 
age his self-reliance and contented dis- 
position supported him. In youth he 
was reserved, yet juvenile sports were 
not without attraction for him. Beneath 
his sedateness there were kindly quali- 
ties which drew the respect of his play- 
fellows. At this time he also learned 
from those with whom he mingled to 
speak Fieuch quite fluently, a matter of 
moment to him in after years. 

At the age of eleven his father took him 
to the homestead and placed him under 
the care of a private tutor, who prepared 
him for Kin^s (now Columbia) college. 
He applied himself diligently to his 
studies and composition, devoting his 
leisure moments to literature and his- 
tory. His deportment and application 
elicited esteem from his teachers. In his 
fourth collegiate year he decided upon 
law, and began reading Grotius. He 
graduated on the 15th of May, 17G4, pro- 

nouncing the Latin salutatory. Two 
weeks after he entered the office of Ben- 
jamin Kissam, in the city of New York. 
He was admitted to practice in 1768, and 
soon was possessed of a lucrative busi- 

At the age of twenty nine Mr. Jay was 
united in matrimony to the accomplished 
Miss Sarah Livingston, whose family were 
distinguished for abilities and social po- 
sition. This kind and polished woman 
was a fit consort for such a man. 
Whether in the domestic sphere or amid 
the brilliancy of foreign courts, she was 
an ornament to her country and a solace 
to her honored husband. This alliance, 
together with his descent from the two 
races predominant in the city, had no 
little influence in bringing him, at a 
very early period, before the public. 
But his well equipped mind and natural 
tendencies prepared him to lead, even 
amid that galaxy of men. 

He now took a deep interest in public 
affairs, and was an open opponent of 
British misrule. As a citizen of New 
York he was appointed to formulate an 
answer to the people of Boston with re- 
gard to the passage of the port bill. He 
was the first to suggest therein that the 
provinces appoint deputies to a general 
congress, a proposition that met uni- 
versal approval. He was delegated as 
one of the five from the colony of New 
York, and soon departed to take a seat 
in that body, of whom Lord Chatham 
said: "In solidity of reasoning, force of 
sagacity and wisdom of conclusion it has 
never been surpassed." 

Though the youngest member but one 
of the first congress (being thirty years of 
age,) his reputation had gone before, and 
he was immediately placed upon the 
committee to draft an address to the 
people of Great Britain. This effort was 
the most complete version of the case, 
l>rior to Jefferson's immortal document, 
given to the world. Its sentences ring 
with logic and tremble with emotion. 
Said Jefferson, "It is the production of 
the finest pen in America !" 

He supported in this congress m strong 
terms the nonimportation act; although 
declared at the time by many patriots in 


the seaport towns to be an impolitic 
measure, we discern the utility of the 
sacrifice, for it unveiled the motives of 
the ministry, gaining in time and knowl- 
edge with the masses more than it lo?t 
in money and goods. After a six weeks' 
session these busy patriots made provis- 
ion for the meetino: of another congress 
in the following May, 1775, and ad- 

The edict against the importation of 
English materials gave an opportunity 
to the tories of the city of New York to 
declaim against what they termed the 
■assumption of power by a congress 
elected for advisory purposes only. But 
the constituents of Mr. Jay were alert; a 
colonial legislature was elected and the 
disaffected excluded. This clear and 
vigorous young statesman, after arriving 
in his native city, was constantly in 
requisition in conducting correspondence 
and preparing reports, till he was again 
elected a delegate to the second con- 
gress, which assembled May 10th, Con- 
cord and Lexington had been fought and 
won by the patriot farmers. With many 
leading spirits he still hoped for redress 
by legislation; but the second petition to 
King and Parliament, like the first, met 
with insults and indignities. Congress, 
however, had not neglected means of 
resistance. The public mind was in a 
ferment; the people were in arms ! 

The storm that had threatened on the 
political horizon began to drift rapidly 
toward the zenith. But the increasing 
gloom did not dismay John Jay. True 
to his convictions and lineal tendencies 
he voted against further mediation. 
When truth no longer lay hidden in 
conjecture he was among the first to 
defy the ministry and call for separa- 
tion. Up to this moment the obtuse 
-George had no more loyal subject in 

remained strangely deaf lo the prayers 
of his people. The spirit of liberty was 
now rife in the colonies, and they en- 
tered a contest which might be disas- 
trous to them but would redound to the 
ultimate elevation of mankind; herein 
rests the glory of their action. In the 
face of foree and flattery they would 
not yield, nor 
"Crook the pregnant hinges of the knee." 
Mr. Jay was elected a representative 
from the city and county of New York 
to the provmcial convention in April, 
1776. On receiving the summons he left 
Philadelphia for home, where the con- 
vention was in session. At his sug- 
gestion resolutions were adopted calling 
upon the people to elect delegates to a 
conventien with the express power to 
establish a form of colonial government. 
This man of acumen and resources, who 
had assisted in the national councils 
hurried at the call of his fellow citizens 
to organize his colony against the attack 
of I<ord Howe without and his abettors 
within. It was fitting his seat in the 
Continental Congress should be eacant 
till the great commoner gave his atten- 
tion to the reorganization of bis com- 
monwealth. At White Plains, amid 
these duties, he received the news of the 
adoption of the Declaration, He imme- 
diately reported resolutions affirming 
the independence of the states and 
pledging the support of New York in 
the struggle. Thus he was denied the 
privilege of signing the famous docu- 

The defeat of our forces on Long Isl- 
and permitted invasion of the city, and 
the provincial convention was prevented 
from preparing a form of government. 
A committee was appointed for this pur- 
pose, Mr, Jay being selected as chair- 
man, and the task of preparing a state 

America than he, and had that arrogant constitution assigned to him. Misfor 
sovereign exhibited the spirit of the 
great Frederic when he thundered to his 
favorite, "He deserves to rule most who 
best serves as a support of the laws and 
for righteousness, the bravest to defend 
and wisest to avoid tyranny and war," 
Jay and his coadjutors might have com- 
promised with the crown, but the king 

tune attended our arms. There being 
no executive authority in the colony a 
committee of safety was named "for in- 
quiring into and defeating all conspira- 
cies against the liberties of America." 
Mr. Jay was also made chairman of this 
committee, and did important service in 
counteracting the efforts of the invaders 


and their tory friends. It was he who 
devised at this time the transfer of arms 
and munitions to West Point from New 
England. He seems to liave been suspi- 
cious of the invasion from the north. 
This committee was distributel over the 
fctate. General Nicholas Herkimer, hav- 
ing been selected in this vicinity, bis 
subsequent conduct at Oriskany, which 
contributed so much to our success at 
Bemis Heights, proves the wisdom of 
the convention in trusting to his sagac- 
ity and patriotism. 

Words cannot express the despond- 
ency at this period. While the war 
cloud hung like a vast pall over his 
country, Jay encouraged hope and 
stimulated action. No toil, however 
hazardous or exhausting, did he evade 
in the support of the cause; without 
fear he applied the pen inspired with 
devotion. If during the struggle he did 
not seek redress nor fame upon the 
tented field, though the bent of his mind 
was not in that direction, he possessed a 
brave heart as well as a contemplative 
mind. Cheerfully did he assume dan- 
gers and responsibilities which enrolled 
his name high upon the list for British 
persecution. Yes, there was peril then 
in the council chamter as well as in the 
glare of battle. In his address to the 
provincial congress, adopted on the 33d 
of December, 1776, we find these elo- 
quent words: '"Rouse, brav^e citizens! 
Do your duty like men, and be persuaded 
that Divine Providence will not permit 
this western world to be involved in the 
horrors of slavery. Ck)nsider that from 
the earliest ages of the world, religion, 
liberty, and reason have been bending 
their course toward the setting sun. The 
holy gobpels are yet to be preached to 
these western regions, and we have the 
highest reasons to believe that the Al- 
mighty will not suffer slavery and the 
gospel to go hand in hand. It can not, 
It will not be!" 

The state government could not be es- 
tablished until the spring of 1777. The 
constitution prepared by him was re- 
ported on the 12th of March. Upon de- 
liberation he wished and expected the 
opportunity to engraft new features and 

add amendments, but while at the bed- 
aide of his dying mother the instrument 
was prematurely adopted, much to his 
regret. This convention, before ad- 
journing, appointed temporarily the 
higfe officers of the state, ministerial and 
judicial. Mr. Jay was unanimously se- 
lected for Chief Justice of the Supreme 
Court. He was also appointed one of 
the council of safety to administer af- 
fairs till governor and legislature were 

We learn that his first charge to the 
grand jury at Kingston, in that hour of 
gloom, was replete with patriotism and 
sanguine of success. Such was the call 
for the talents of this man that in 1778 
he was elected a special delegate to the 
Continental Congress without vacating 
his judicial office, and on the resigna- 
tion of Henry Laurens was immediately 
chosen to preside over that body. This 
was then the highest office in the gift of 
the Confederation. He soon, however, 
resigned the State Chief Justiceship, as 
incompatible with his position as chair- 
man, and applied himself to his duties 
in Congress, which, owing to the dis- 
turbed condition of the country, was in 
constant session.^ He was now appointed 
to the honor of preparing a circular let- 
ter to the colonies, urgins vigorous ac- 
tion. Again he stimulated zeal, and 
gave another strong and brilliant paper 
to history. 

Congress, being urged by the French 
minister to take measures for securing 
the object contemplated by the secret 
articles of treaty with France and Spain 
in 1778, Mr. Jay was importuned to ac- 
cept the important mission to the Span- 
ish court. He sailed on October the 18th 
and after barely escaping shipwreck and 
capture by British men-of-war, on the 
23d of January, 1780, himself, wife and 
private secretary arrived at Cadiz. 

This mission was largely, on the part 
of Congress, of a financial character. 
Our treasury was depleted; munitions of 
war were greatly needed in the strug- 
gling colonifs. The wily Spaniard, te- 
nacious of his grasp upon the south- 
western territory, thought by keeping 
Jay in abeyance for many months he 


could better effect bis purpose. Taking heavily upon him. The treaty of peace 
advantage of our indeUedness to his was promulgated in due time, Con^jress- 
country he at last dropped the mask and ratifying it in January, 1784. 

"Witb enfeebled health the subject of 
our sketch landed at New York in July 
of that year. Be was met by an enthu- 
siastic reception. He had contemplated 
retiring from public life at the close of 
the war, but found he had been elected 
by Congress to the office of Secretary of 

demanded the right of sole navigation of 
the Mississippi river before making a 
farther loan. This our envoy peremp- 
torily refused, and the minister, anxious 
not to close the negotiations wholly, 
offered to loan $150,000 for three years, 
if Mr. Jay could give security. This he 
failed to do, and took in person the haz- p^reign affairs, 
ard of assuming the debt already ac- 
crued, rather than jeopardize the credit '^^ ^^^ position he was brought into 
of his country. Here the negotiations contact with the defects m the Articles 
were suspended. of Confederation, and advocated the 

Mr. Jay was now appointed envoy formation of a stronger government, 

extraordinary in conjunction with which he considered impei alive for the 

Franklin, Jefferson, Adams and Lau- welfare of the people of America, 

rens to conclude peace with Great Brit- Therefore he watched with deep interest 

ain. He therefore joined Franklin at the action of the convention at Phiia- 

Paris. Upon his arrival he was confi- delphia in 1787. The Constitution ema- 

dent he saw on the part of France an nating therefrom met his hearty ap- 

inclination to subordinate the young re- proval. In addition to his lucid corre- 

public to French interests in the settle- apondence and oral advice on the sub- 

ment with England. 3^*^'' ^^ published an able address upon 

Laurens was imprisoned in the tower adoption, and contributed valuable ar- 
of London. Adams was in Holland ne- titles to the press. He was a member 
gotiating a loan. Jefferson was detained of the New York convention on adop- 
in America, and Franklin was prostrated tio^, and offered the resolutions for rat- 
by sickness, lie determined to act upon ification. He also drafted the circular 
his own responsibility, for no delay was letter to the states, urging the adoption 
admissible. He would enter into no al- of the amendments proposed by 
Uance that would compromise the inde- York, 


pendence of the United States. That 
was the first object of his mission. By 
adroit action he learned the views of the 
British Ministry. Favors he would 
grant for the advance of humanity and 

The confidence reposed in his abilities 
and judgment prompted Washington, 
after the organization of the federal 
government, to tender to him any office 
within his gift. He accepted the Chief 

the extension of commerce, but not to Justiceship of the Supreme Court. We 

sully the honor of his victorious coun- are reminded that at the request of the 

try. He calmly and firmly met the art- Presideiit he officiated as Secretary of 

ful Count de Vergennes and dextrous State until the arrival of Mr. Jefferson. 

Oswald. Spain, which had held aloof, True to the sanctity of the bench, he 

began to relent, fearful of losing an op- abstained fiom all political contro- 

portunity, and offered to reopen negoti- versies. Without solicitation he was 

ations. The problem of the navigation nominated for governor in February^ 

of the Mississippi was solved by tidings 1792. He reluctantly yielded to his 

from Congress instructing the commis- friends. George Clinton regarded as 

sioners to agree to abstain from travers- the most popular man in the opposition, 

ing that stream beyond our ttrritory, was his competitor. Owing to the re- 

and the $150,000 loan was perfected with jection of Tioga, Clinton and Otsego 

the court of Madrid, releasing Mr. Jay counties Mr. Clinton was installed, 

from his personal obligation, which. Great excitement followed, Mr. Jay 

with his onerous duties, had weighed was calm, and did much to allay a con- 


fusion which seemed to approach an- 

After our proclamation of neutrality 
the mother country, still chafing at the 
loss of the colonies, showed increased 
enmity by her unjust course toward our 
commerce. These complications were 
ai?gravated by her war with France. 
Mr Jay was now chosen special envoy 
to the court of St. James, to remonstrate 
with that government against the vio- 
lations of the treaty of 1783, which he 
had so largely assisted in making. The 
critical task of our minister when 
closeted with Lord Grenville is known 
to every student of history. He who 
studies the perplexing questions at issue 
and the temper of the three nations at 
that time realizes the advantages at- 
tained by Jay in that treaty. Still, 
owing to the feeling which had been en- 
gendered by the wild schemes of the 
French agent, Genet, there was much 
objection to its reception. After a pro- 
tracted and heated discussion, in and 
out of Congress, it was ratified, rellev- 
iog Washington of much anxiety. It 
obviated immediate hostilities with Eng- 
land for which we were not prepared ; 
it delayed a military campaign neces- 
sary to establish our complete sover- 
eignty, when we could and did give the 
finishing blow to English usurpation of 
American rights upon the high seas. 
Mr. Sparks justly said of that treaty: 
"Time disappointed its enemies and 
more than fulfilled the expectations of 
its friends." 

Oq his return from abroad he found 
he had been elected governor by a large 
majority over Robert Yates. On the 1st 
of July, 1795, he look the oath of office. 
He must have assumed with pride the 
executive office of his native state whose 
consiitution he had framed and whose 
interests lay so near his heart. Upon 
her soil his ancestors had found an asy- 
lum when refugees from foreign perse- 
cution. At home and from afar he had 
watched with an attentive eye the de- 
velopment of this people. His foresight 
and sense of duty as an executive gave 
an impetus to our municipal affairs and 
inaugurated precedents of inestimable 

value to the union, Then it was his 
richly endowed mind conferred lasting 
benefits upon this commonwealth. 
Amendments of the criminal code, the 
erection and maintenance of prisons 
and charitable institutions, employment 
and reformation of criminals, encour- 
agement of commerce, learning and art, 
and manumission and education of 
slaves within the state, were among the 
multifarious subjects which engaged his 
attention, and many of which he saw 
materialized during his first term. 

In spite of a formidable opposition, 
and his wish to retire, he was re-elected 
governor over Robert R. Livingston in 
Aprilj 1798. Internal dissensions were 
soon forgotten in the expectation of war 
with France. He called a session of the 
legislature, before which, with his old- 
time vigor, he asked for the passage of 
measures to defend the state. A large 
sum was appropriated and placed sub- 
ject to his use in co-operation with the 
federal government. But the prepara- 
tions fcr the French invasion were of 
short duration. The "man of destiny" 
who now appeared in French politics 
mediated a different scheme than that 
of meddling with the new republic of 
the west. When the predictions of war 
in America were silenced by the guns of 
Aboukir and Marengo, even then bitter- 
ness was aroused by false rumors of 
foreign machinations. 

In the election of April, 1800, a ma- 
jority of republicans were returned to 
the legislature. The term of the old 
law-making body did not expire until 
July 1st. It was rumored that a propo- 
sition had been made by those high in 
authority to Governor Jay to call the 
old legislature together before July 1st 
for the purpose of changing the law so 
as to permit a choice of electors who 
would select a federalist for president. 
Party feeling again ran high and seemed 
about to disrupt the state. But wisdom 
did not forsake him in the state house. 
With him the legal expression of the 
majority was paramount to party and 
personal considerations. With the dig- 
nity of a Roman pretor he wrapped 


himself in his conscience and remained 

The reactionary forces in our politics 
are studied with profit. They are side- 
lights revealing much that is interest- 
ing. The election of 1804 resulted in a 
political anomaly- strengthened Mr. 
Jefferson, while it defeated his party in 
the state of New York. Aaron Burr, 
highly educated, intriguing and ex- 
tremely ambitious, failed to' accomplish 
schemes detrimental to the policy of his 
great leader, and permitted disapnoint- 
ment to merge into hatred after his de- 
feat for president, hatred particularly 
toward Hamilton, while he had no affin- 
ity for the calm majesty and pure char- 
acter of Jay, who, with Washington 
and others, distrusted his motives. Jef- 
ferson, when writing to his compeer, 
Madison, uses these words: "I have 
always considered Burr as a crooked 
gun, whose shot you could never be 
sure of." Hamilton and his friends had 
persuaded their faction to support Jef- 
ferson in the House of Representatives 
as the best qualified for chief executive 
of the nation. This, with the defeat in 
the guberiiatorial canvass, so exasper- 
ated Burr that he became vindictive, 
abandoned reason and provoked the 
great federalist to a personal encounter 
on the field of honor— so called, but de- 
nounced by civilization— and slew at 
the first fire this remarkable man, who, 
at thirty years of age, excepting Madison 
and Jay, did more to build and teach 
tht! new system than any man. Say 
what we may of their idiosyncracies, 
differ as we will with their political 
plans, their efforts will remam to teach, 
warn and edify. They are the revela- 
tions of genius after profound medita- 
tions. We may charge scepticism to 
one and credulity to the other, but the 
impartial student, knowing the weak- 
nesses and temptations, as well as the 
excellencies of mankind, marvels at the 
works of these masters of political sci- 
ence, which works exhibit shades of 
opinion but no lack of patriotic devo- 

At the close of Mr. Jay's second gub- 
ernatorial term no persuasion could 

prevail upon him to remain in public 
life, not even the tender of the Chief 
Justiceship of the Federal Supreme 
Court. It was fitting that he close hie 
arduous and honorable public career as 
Governor of the Empire State, which he 
loved so well. Here he found the quiet 
and repose he coveted and had so justly 
earned. His example while governor is 
worthy of close attention. While he 
considered the executive office a public 
trust m its broadest sense, he stood 
firmly upon his privilege as guaranteed 
by the Constitution, and took pride in 
right administration, often relying, in 
the light of duty, upon the reaction of 
public sentiment for exoneration and 

Scarcely had he established himself 
amidst his family, upon his estate at 
Bedford, Westchester county, when he 
lost the devoted wife who had stood by 
his side through the years of vicissitudes 
and joj's, a kind and intelligent compan- 
ion. Severe as was this blow to him he 
boie it with his characteristic resigna- 
tion. Supervising the duties upon his 
farm and performing deeds of benevo- 
lence he passed a serene old age, still 
reflecting upon the lessons of the Master 
and ihe moral tenets of Cicero. Many a 
pilgrimage, by those in and out of 
power, was made to the sage who had 
assisted in erecting the Republic and 
embellishing our annals with his fund 
of learning and wisdom. Here, on the 
17th of May, 1829, in the eighty-fourth 
year of his age. solactd by the knowl- 
edge of duties well performed, and sur- 
rounded by his loving children, he 
passed peacefully into immortality. 

Exigencies and new applications there 
will be, as we asserted at the outset; but 
when perusing the formative period of 
our state and national government we 
may gain strength and wisdom by di- 
recting our gaze toward him who is the 
subject of this deliberation. His life 
requires no embellishments; his conduct 
has withstood the scrutiny of the his- 
torian and biographer. 

In stature he was nearly six feet; in 
manners deliberate and courteous. His 
portrait looks upon us with clear-cut, 


regular features, exhibiting keen sus- 
ceptibilities, yet grave, circumspect and 
truthful ; a character partaking of the 
reflective Batavian, enlivened with a 
Gallic strain, a personality withal bal- 
anced and enduring. 

He was a consistent member of the 
Episcopal church, an avowed federalist, 
but not of the radical school; ever ready 
to express his views upon public aflaiis, 
unless bound by secrecy for the good of 
his country. A mind so well calculated 
to weigh the abstruse questions of juris- 
prudence and history received respectful 
attention in politics. He was slow in 
his deductions and firm in his decisions. 
He respected the motives of those who 
differed from him; outward forms had 
no allurements; whether in or out of 
office he was the same unassuming citi- 
zen, charitable to his fellow men, sym- 
pathizing with their misfortunes and en- 
couraging their capabilities; a faithful 
husband and friend, and an afl'ectionate 
and firm father. 

Liberated from the cant and preju- 

dice of his day, every enlightened citi- 
zen is impelled to admire the character 
and deeds of John Jay, who seemed en- 
dowed by Providence to fill the onerous 
stations to which he was assigned from 
his entry into public life to the Chief 
Justiceship. His research, grasp of 
intellect, and long and faithful service, 
well prepared him for this exalted posi- 
tion. Never did a magistrate deserve 
the plaudits of his countrymen more 
than he who wore the ermine with an 
honor that gave dignity to our highest 
tribunal, shedding lustre upon the 
American name and winning praise 
from posterity. 

Again we are admonished that the 
philosophy of our history is best known 
by those who study the motives and acts 
of the individuals who, with untiring 
zeal, through sacrifices and trials, prop- 
agated and maintained this superlative 
government, and in honoring such 
characters, principles and deeds we will 
not falter, whether the crisis be within 
or without ! 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, June 9, 1S96. 

It will not be possible to give more stantly at war with each other, the half 
than a brief summary of the history of million inhabitants of the Palatinate sel- 
the early German settlers of the Valley dom enjoyed an interval of peace. The 
of the Mohawk prior to their coming to epoch from which may be traced the 
America; yet their story would be shorn causes which drove the Palatines, a? they 
of much of its interest if it were omitted were called, from their homes in the 
altogether. Nor can it be told without Rhine valley to seek refuge in the remote 
some reference to the causes which led Province of New York, may be said to 
these people to seek an asylum so remote have been the outbreak of the Reforma- 
from their native land. tion. The continental wars from that 

The map of Europe, as it was given in time up to the last of the seventeenth 
the seventeenth century, gives a division century were in reality religious wars, 
of Germany which was called the Lower particularly those which were waged so 
Palatinate, or Rhinepfalz. This must not furiously by Louis XIV. of France. Time 
be confounded with the Upper Palatin- alter time the Palatinate, owing to its 
ate which was located north of the one unprotected situation, was overrun by 
with which we are concerned. Within imperial armies, and each time it was 
the limits of the Lower Palatinate were mercilessly devastated. Obeying the or- 
contained the cities of Mannheim, Heidel- ders of Louvois, Lou's XI V's cruel war 
berg, Spire,^, and Worms. This district minister. Turenne, the famous French 
contained several thousand square miles general, carried out the instructions with 
of rich land— none fairer or more fertile such fidelity that both banks of the Rhine 
could be found in all Europe. It was in the Palatinate district were absolutely 
situated chiefly in the valley of the denuded of everything. The unhappy 
Rhine, that region so justly famed for its inhabitants were shown no mercy. Men, 
beauty and luxuriance. women, and children were driven forth, 

During the latter half of the seven- many having been stripped of their cloth- 
teenth century the Lower Palatinate be- ing, to wander helplessly about without 
longed wholly to Germany, although that food or shelter. It was in December and 
country and France had for years con- the ground was covered with snow, and 
tested the possession of this desirable many died from exposure. Their homes 
strip of country, owing to its being the were first pillaged and then burned by 
dividing territory between them. the rapacious mob. The Elector, it is 

As the two countries were almost con- said, beheld from his window two cities 


and twenty-five towns in flames at one 
time. One writer, in describing the ex- 
cesses of the French army upon this oc- 
casion, says: "Lust and revenge walked 
hand in hand with fire and sword."' But 
what followed in a later invasion by the 
French was yet more terrible. Tlie fa- 
natical Lou vols this time commanded 
that a desert should be created between 
the kingdoms of France and Germany. 
Having recovered somewhat from previ- 
ous calamities, the various districts of 
the Palatinate were blooming and rich 
with promise of abundant harvest. But 
this did not stay the wild troops who 
carried on their ruthless destruction until 
this fair land became ore of desolation. 
It had been so repeatedly and irreparably 
"wasted" that when peace, so tardy in 
coming, was declared in the year 1697, 
there was nothing left in ti>e fatherland 
for these war-afflicted people. They were 
homeless; they were destitute: their past 
was full of suffering; their present was 
full of wretchedness, and their future, if 
they remained where they were, was 
full of uncertainty. Confronted by every 
imaginable discouragement, what won- 
der, ttien, that these unhappy people re- 
solved to leave their native country to 
seek refuge in some far-off land where 
they could be safe from the unutterable 
miseries of war. 

Above all, they wished to establish 
homes where they, and their children 
after them, could enjoy perfect freedom 
of opinion. Hearing of the desperate 
straits to which they were reduced, Eng- 
land, ever helpful of the oppressed, ex- 
tended a friendly hand to the unfortunate 
Palatines and bade them welcome to her 
hospitable shores. 

The proffered aid was gratefully ac- 
cepted, and a company of these people, 
forty in number, went over to England 
and were transported to the province of 
New York through the assistance of the 
board of trade. This so encouraged 
those left behind, that there was soon 
such an extraordinary migration from 
the Lower Palatinate to England that it 
became a serious embarrassment to th6 
authorities to care for the thirteen thou- 
sand destitute people who were so sud- 

denly thrust within their borders. They 
were, however, provided for at pu'nlic 
expense by this friendly nation, and were 
finally all sent to the various English 
colonies, with the exception of thr^e 
thousand, who still remained to be dis- 
posed of. Steps were immediately taken 
to transfer them to the Province of New 
York where they were expected to en- 
gage in the manufacture of naval stores, 
through which industry they hoped to 
reimburse the friendly government which 
had stood by them in their extremity. 

After a wearisome voyage, during 
which time nearly one-half their number 
died, the "distressed Palatines" (as they 
were called in the documents relating to 
them) arrived in New York in a pitiable 
condition. Their only possessions when 
thej^ reached their "promised^land" were 
the clothes which they wore; and what 
rendered them j'et more helpless was 
their ignorance of the English language. 
They arrived in the year 1710. They 
were immediately placed on barren pine 
lands just where the present town of 
Germantown stands. Here they were to 
employ themselves in the production of 
pitch and tar for the use of the English 
navy. Their condition now became little 
better than that of serfs. They were 
unable to live up to the terms of their 
contract and finally the colonial govern- 
ment withdrew its support. Their mis- 
eries multiplied until they were almost 
desperate. The result was that they de- 
termined to free themselves from this 
serfdom. Accordingly they decided to 
go to Schoharie and take up lands from 
the Indians. 

It was late in the fall of 1713 and very- 
cold when they started on ibeir weary 
pilgrimage. Simms, in his "History of 
the Frontiersmen of New York,' tells of 
the sufferings of the unfortunate Pala- 
tines as they made their toilsome journey 
on foot over rough Indian trails. Al- 
though the winter was close at hand the 
people were scantily clad, and set forth 
on their sad way without provisione. 
One writer makes particular mention of 
the cries and lamentations of the women 
and children as they started on their 
wearisome way. Whfn they arrived aji-r 


Schoharie they had no food. They were 
therefore reduced, Simms tells his read- 
ers, to the hard necessity of seeking re- 
lief from the Indians, and, be it recorded 
to the everlasting honor of the red men, 
the appeal was not made in vain. 

The settlement they formed in Scho- 
harie was a disappointment, for difficul- 
ties about the titles of their lands arose, 
and such were their discouragements 
theyaj;ain determined, or at least many 
of them, to seek homes elsewhere. A 
number of them decided, if possible, to 
remove to the Mohawk Valley, although 
it was then an unbroken wilderness. 

Accordingly about one hundred of 
their number applied to Governor Burnet 
for a patent which would allow them to 
occupy the "Mohawk lands," as the ter- 
ritory was then called which is now oc- 
cupied by the towns of Herkimer and 
German Flatts. The original intention 
of the English had been to plant the 
Palatine colony on this exposed frontier 
"to serve as a barrier against the In- 
dians," but they failed to accomplish 
their heartless plan. 

The Palatines having heard of the rich 
alluvial lands along the Mohawk river, 
wished to obtain them in order that they 
might peacefully pursue their calling, 
which was that of husbandmen. Gov- 
ernor Burnet, who was kindly disposed 
toward these unhappy Germans, acceded 
to their request and purchased from the 
Indians between nine and ten thousand 
acres of land. The natives, tempted by 
such trifles as beads, a few yards of 
bright calico, tobacco, and rum, were 
very readily induced to exchange vast 
tracts of their valuable lands for these 
worthless baubles. The lands thus ob- 
tained were later transferred to the Pala- 
tines by the crown commissioners. 

To this unbroken wilderness, whose 
solitude had seldom been penetrated by 
the white man— save, perhaps, by a lone- 
ly missionary, or, possibly, by some en- 
terprising trapper -came its first Caucas- 
ian inhabitants. 

The sturdy Palatines were in reality 
driven thither by persecution for opin- 
ion's sake— just as the hardi' pilgrims 
were forced to seek refuge in New Eng- 

land for a like cause one huodred yeai'S 

It is a touching record which tells how 
these unhappy people journeyed to this 
solitary region which was to be their 
home. With stout hearts, pushing through 
thickly matted underbrush, they made 
their way along the bank of the Mohawk 
river. The women, not less sturdy than 
the men, carried heavy burdens on their 
backs and heads, sheltering at the same 
time helpless infants in their arms, while 
beside them, clinging to their skirts, 
young children stumbled along the rough 
way. What few heavier articles they 
possessed were piled upon clumsj"^ ba- 
teaux which had been rudely hollowed 
out of trunks of trees. These the men 
laboriously poled against the current of 
the river and dragged over the portages. 
Thus they plodded on with patience that 
was little less (han sublime, halting when 
night overtook them to camp by the river 
side, where they rested beside bright 
fires which they kept burning for the 
double purpose of warmth and to fright- 
en away the wild animals which at that 
time infested the valley. At daybreak 
they gathered up their few possessions 
and resumed their fatiguing march. 
This was at last accomplished, and, foot- 
sore and weary, they reached the place 
which was to yield them home and sus- 

The task before them was enough to 
make the stoutest heart quail. There 
was no shelter for the helpless group of 
women and children save the blue canopy 
of heaven— at least not until rude abodes 
of logs could be constructed. It took 
time to accomplish this as the trees had 
first to be felled and their trunks squared 
before even the walls of the dwellings 
could he raised. This accomplished, 
there were still roofs lacking. In order 
to obtain straw for thatching the grain 
must needs be planted, grown, harvest- 
ed, and threshed. Thus these people 
were practically without shelter for sev- 
eral months. 

It was through overcoming such almost 
insurmountable obstacles that the begin- 
nings of the first settlement of this now 
thickly populated valley were made. 

We of the present day realize but dimly 
what our forefathers had to conquer 
when they came to plant their homes in 
this then almost unexplored region. At 
alleveata, "they builded better than thej' 
knew," and the present generation is en- 
joying the results of their self-sacrifice 
and labor. 

The Palatines reachei the Mobawk 
Valley in the spring of 1733, but the pat- 
ent of the lands was not ip.sued until two 
years after, April 30, 1725, Thia was 
called the Burnetsfield patent, and it in- 
cluded lands on both sides of the Mohawk 
river. It set apart one hundred acres to 
each person— man, woman, and child — 
of the little company of ninety-two peo- 
ple. The terms of the pui chase were 
most favorable to the colonists, being 
simply an annual quit-rent of two shil- 
lings and sixpence and a guarantee that 
within three years six out of every one 
hundred acres of land should te brought 
under cultivation. 

The lots were surveyed in narrow strips 
leading back on either side of the river 
to the wooded hills beyond. To each 
person was alloted thirty acres of the 
rich alluvial lands near the river,together 
with seventy acres of the uplands. 

The era of hope which now dawned 
upon these brave souls was the begin- 
ning of many years of undisturbed peace 
and constantly increasing prosperity, 

The nucleus of this first settlement of the 
Mohawk Valley was on the south side of 
the river at the point now known as Fort 
Herkimer. Here gathered a sturdy group 
of brave pioneers, at whoso head stood 
Johann Herkimer, from whose patriot 
son our county has inherited its honored 

In the division of the land that portion 
known in the original patent as lot 3G 
fell to the share of Johann Jost Herki- 
mer who was to be the leading spirit of 
this particular hamlet. This lot was just 
east of where the venerable old stone 
church now stands. A few years later, 
after his prosperity had become assured, 
Herkimer built a substantial stone house 
west of the church, the precise location 
of which was directly opposite the small 
island in the Mohawk river now ailed 

Herkimer Island. At the beginning of 
the French and Indian war, when the 
the settlers were in constant danger from 
marauding savages, it was deemed pru- 
dent to protect it by earthworks, and to 
further fortify it by a palisade of logs. 

From this time on it was used as a fort 
and was resorted to by the inhabitants 
of the surrounding country as a place of 
refuge and defense. It is described as a 
three story stone house with port-holes 
at each story. This building, although 
of such precious historical interest, was 
unhappily sacrificed to accommodate 
either the construction or later enlarge- 
ment of the Erie canal. This was an un- 
necessary piece of vandalism, as the sur- 
vey might have bgen made without dis- 
turbing this interesting and sacred land- 
mark. But with unaccountable indiffer- 
ence the state authorities allowed its 
demolition, quieting the protests which 
were raised against the act by promising 
to preserve the remembrance of the spot 
by marking it with a suitab'e monument. 
Seventy years have rolled by and the un- 
marked site of so many hallowed histori- 
cal memories bears silent witness to the 
unfulfilled pledge. Would it not be emi- 
nently fitting for the Herkimer County 
Historical Society to engage itself in the 
work of rescuing this spot from the ob- 
livion into which it has been allowed to 
fall, by marking with an appropriate 
memorial this place so fraught with his- 
torical memories? — one of which is of 
extreme interest, although not generally 
known. It was here before this fort* 
that the first liberty-pole ever raised in 
this state was placed— only to be pulled 
down by British authority. In recogni- 
tion, then, of the importance of its part 
in two dark and bloody struggles, let a 
visible sign soon be placed on this ground 

* Although it is recorded in the earfy his- 
tories of Herkimer County that the first liberty 
pole erected in the State of New York was at 
Fort Herkimer, it has been found that this is 
an erroneous statement. We are indebted to 
Judge Earl for having unearthed the truth in 
this matter, for, after careful investigation, 
he found that there were at least five liberty 
poles erected in the city of New York before 
the one at Fort Herkimer was raised. 

M. S. W. 


which shall bear witness that this gen- ants of this family from that time (1733) 

eration, at least, realizes what great ser- to the present day. 

vice was here rendered to our defenceless What is nov known as the Spencer 

ancestors who had the courage to plant farm, at the west side of the Mohawk, 

their homes in the face of enormous was the land which fell to the share of 

dangers on this then distant and unpro 
tected frontier. 

On the north side of the river gathered 
another little band of Palatine? who se- 
lected for their settlement the site wherj 
the present village of Herkimer stmds. 
This place was first called Stone Ridge, 
then Palatine Dorf, ani finally BarneLs- 
field, in honor of Governor Burnet 
was also at a later date called German 
Flatts, and it was the intention of those 
having the mitter in charge, when the 
names of the new towns were handed to 
the legislature that it should continue 
"German Flatts," but owing to some 
confusion it was called Herkimer, and 
the opposite side of the river was given 
the name of German Flatts. 

The dominating spirit among the Bur- 
netsfield families was Johann Jost Petri, 
who was a natural leader by right of 
ability and education. His wife was a 
woman of culture and refinement. Lot 
No. 8 was assigned to him and was the 
one on which now stands the paper mill. 
There is to day an old well in Herkimer 
that was dug over one hundred and 
sixty- five years ago. This furnished wa- 
ter not only for the Petri family but 
supplied it to the fort through two wars. 
It is located just north of the present 

There was, at that early day, no r<^gu- 
lar settlement where Ilion now stands, 
although at long intervals there were 
scattered lonely isolated dwellings. The 

Rudolph Schumacher. This particular 
locality has a history which is interest- 
ing because it was through a little ravine 
just west of the Spencer house, that 
Brant conducted his murderous band of 
Tories and Indians when he came to at- 
tack the unprotected settlers on the south 
side of the river west of Fort Herkimer, 
J that locality now occupied by the vil- 
lages of Mohawk and Ilion. The houses 
were at a considerable distance from each 
other, but such timely warning was given 
the people they were able to reach Fort 
Herkimer in safety. They saved them- 
selves, but their crops, their cattle, and 
their buildings were left to the mercy of 
their foes. These disappointed of their 
prey, sated their thirst for vengeance by 
applying the torch to houses, barns, and, 
stacks of hay and grain. The cattle 
were driven away by the Indians. Wil- 
liam L. Stone, in speaking of this event, 
says: "Just as the day was breaking in 
the east, the fires were kindled, and the 
whole section of the valley was speedily 
illuminated by the flames of houses and 
barns, and all else combustible." 

The spectacle to the people in the fort 
was one of melancholy grandeur. Every 
family saw the flames and smoke of its 
own domicile ascending to the skies, and 
every farmer, the whole product of his 
labor for the season dissolving into 
ashes." Mr. James D^'gert tells of this 
occurrence as follows : "My grand- 
mother, Mrs. Catharine Myers, was at 
this time a girl of ten years and a resi- 

lands at this point were parcelled off to dent of this place. Many times when I 
persons by thenamasof Rickert, Schmidt, was a boy she related to me the appear- 
Speir, Reele, and Weber. In the Bur- ance of the courageous scout when he 
netsfield patent appears the name of gave the alarm. His clothing was torn 
Volz (Folts) and to this patentee was as- to tattirs, his eyes were b'oodshot, his 

signed lot No. 3 which designacsd a par- 
cel of land which now lies in East Frank- 
fort. It was left, therefore, to the Volz 
family to live in the most remote and 
unprotected location within the Burnets- 
field grant. It is an interesting fact that 
this laud has been occupied by descend • 

hands, feet, and limbs were lacerated 
and bleeding fiom the effects of the 
brambles and bushes through which he 
had forced his headlong flight. He 
haltei long enough to shout, 'Flee for 
your lives ! the enemy are not an hour 
bahini!' and hurried to the next house. 


There are many descendants today in the 
Mohawk valley of those who were saved 
from midnight massacre by the undaunt- 
ed courage and superhuman endurance of 
John Adam Helmer." 

An interesting relic of this memorable 
event is in the possession of Mrs. Catha- 
rine Johnson of Mohawk, a granddaugh- 
ter of the Mrs. Catharine Myers just re- 
ferred to. It is an old German Bible 
bound in leather, with the corners of the 
cover protected by metal. The history 
of this venerable book is thrilling. It 
belonged to a Palatine ancestor of Mrs. 
Johnson. During a religious persecu- 
tion in Germany it was buried in order 
to save it from destruction. Later it was 
brought by the family to the Mohawk 
Valley as a most precious possession. 
When warned by John Adam Helmer 
that Brant was about to fall upon them, 
the familj' hastily buried the sacred 
volume, with a few other valuables, and 
fled to the fort. Tradition say that the 
tree, uuder which it was concealed, 
stood near the place where tfae dwelling 
of the late Mr. John A. Rasbach now 

When the Palatines came to settle in 
the upper valley, seven families left 
their fellows and hewed, as it were, 
their way through the dense forest to 
that part of Herkimer county called 
Warren. Here they felled trees from a 
small area of land and planted their 
humble hom^s and shut in on all sides 
by the primeval forest, nine miles away 
from the nearest white settlers, these 
brave people subsisted undisturbed for 
many years. But during the revolu- 
tionary war, which was such a scourge 
to all parts of the country, these defence- 
less pioneers were attacked by a band of 
Indians and part of ther number 
savagely butchered. The survivors 
were taken prisoners with the exception 
of three families by the names of Grim, 
Hoyer, and Osterhout. These escaped 
and made their way on foot through the 
forest to Fort Herkimer. Anna Oster- 
hout. the grandmother of Mrs. Alfred E. 
Brooks of Ilion, was one of the number. 
She was a child of tender years at the 
time, but nevertheless, walked with the 

rest of the terrified company to the fort 
nine miles away. 

From an early history of Herkimer 
county we learn that the eatly German 
settlers of the Mohawk Valley possessed 
many sterling qualities of character, be- 
ing honest, thrifty and industrious. With 
such characteristics they naturally began 
to accumulate property, and at once en- 
tered upon a career of prosperity to 
which they had long been strangers. 
The women were equally industrious 
with the men, and, beside caring for 
their families, which were large, they 
assisted in the farm work. They raised 
the flax, then pulled, broke, hetchelled, 
and spun it. By them the sheep were 
sheared, the wool picked, carded, and 
spun. They wove the cloth with which 
to clothe their families. The numer- 
ous children of a family, ruddy and 
str )ng, were quite content with their 
simple fare of supawn (a kind of hasty 
pudding) which they ate with wooden 
spoons from a common trencher. Con- 
tentment and happiness were theirs for 
there were flo distinctions of caste among 
them to create jealousy and unhappiness. 
They adhered closely to th« ways and 
traditions of their fatherland both in 
manner of performing labor and in their 
social and religious customs. They spoke 
their nativ'e Ian jjuage and worshipped ac - 
cording to the Lutheran faith. Christ- 
ma? was a season of great rejoicing 
among them. They allowed no work on 
that day, and, after heari-ig prayers, 
gave themselves up to eatina^, drinking, 
and making merry. They were strictly 
honorable in all business dealings. It is 
recorded of them that such a thing as a 
proiniS'Ory note was unknown among 
them. Their word was their bond. They 
were a superstitious people and held to 
some very curious customs in regard to 
funerals, which no one attended unless 
especially invited. After the burial it 
was customary to return to the house 
where intoxicants were partaken of very 

Cakes, too, were passed around in 
large baskets so that. with the eating and 
drinking, the occasion assumed a 
festive character. Simms 



ble for the statement tRat it was no an- 
coiunioa thins for people at that early 
day, to go home from a funeral the 
worse from their potations. 

Many of the names of these German 
pioneers have undergone curious 
changes. Their descendents would now 
hardly recognize them. Tlie following 
names which appear in the o-iiginil 
patent have been modified until Pellin- 
ger h;vs became Bellinger; Pears, Barse; 
Pell, Bell; Edich, Edi^h; Ittich. Eedick; 
Vol/., Vols, Folts; Herter, Herder, Har- 
der, Hatter, Barter; Staley, Steele; Schu- 
macher, Shoemaker; VVollever, Wolla- 
her. There were innumerable changes 
rung on the name of Herkimer such as 
Herchkeimer, Kerchmer, Erghemar, 
Harkemar and Herkheimer, Among 
the names found in the original Stone 
Arabia patent are the familiar ones of 
Finck, l>eichert (Dygert), Koperaol 
(Coppernoll), Peiper (Piper), Schenele 
(SnelU and Loucks. 

For upwards of thirty years the Pala- 
tines enjoyed peace and secur.ty not- 
withstanding their exposed situation on 
this distant frontier. They had prosper- 
ed, having acquired comfortable homes 
and a fair competence, but this period 
of repose was destined to be rudely end- 
ed by the unhappy calamity of war— a 
calamity which had already been but 
too well tested by the unf >rtunate Pala- 
tines in their Fatherland. But they had 
been lulled into a feeling of security be- 
cause of long exemption from hostile 
approaches and were slow to av,'aken to 
a sense of their danger although war 
was at their very doors— and for the 
very reason that they were so unpre- 
pared, the inhabitants of Burnetstield 
fell easy victin>s to their French and In- 
dian foes, who with tomahawk and 
torch, descended upon the defenseless 
hamlet early one dark, cold morning in 
the fall of 1757. So sudden was the on- 
slaught those who escaped had no time 
in which to clothe themselves. A few 
were brutally murdered, while many 
were dragged away into captivity, 
Johann Jost Petrie being among the 

One incident of this cruel invasion 

never loaes its thrilTing interest in the* 
tell ng, parily because of the flavor of 
romaoce which hangs about it, and part- 
ly because its chief actors have many 
descendants living today in the Muhawk 
Valley. The outlme in brief of the story 
ia this : On the memorable night just 
referred to the slumbers of a family by 
the name of Barter were rudely brokers 
by the blood-curdling war whoops of a 
band of Indians who had separated 
themselves from the main body of war- 
riors who were intent on devastating the 
little hamlet of Burnetsfield. The hum- 
ble log dwelling of the Barters stood oa 
the sunny s'ope which is now occupied 
by the picturesque farm house of Mr. 
William Kay, just west of the village of 
Herkimer. The savages lost no time in 
sieving the family and applying the 
torch to their abode, they started with 
the terrified prisoners to make their way 
back to Canada over the rough trail to 
the north. When they reached the St. 
Lawrence river they separated the fami- 
ly, placing Mrs Barter in a canoe with 
two Indians who were to paddle the frail 
bark across the broad expanse of water. 
Before the keel of the boat had touched 
the opposite shore, a daughter had been 
born to Mrs. Barter. This child, strange- 
ly enough, survived to grow to woman- 
hood and was admired for her great 
beauty and social gifts. She became the 
wife of General Michael Myers. In that 
beautiful "God's acre," known as Oak 
Bill Cemetery, rests all that is mortal of 
the lovely Catharine Barter Myers, and 
but few of those who chance to pass the 
moss covered pyramidal stone which 
marks the spot are familiar with the 
strange story of her life, tl>e first year of 
which was spent, with her parents, in 
captivity among the Indians. 

All of the prisoners who were carried 
off at the time of the attack on Burnets- 
field were released the following year 
and returned to their homes only to find 
them in ashes, and their lands shorn of 
everything but their fertility. 

They had hardly time to rally from 
these losses and afflictions before the 
war-cloud of the Revolution obscured 
their horizon, and it was not long after 


t)eTore it rose to tsrealj over tlieir lifads. 
The prospect was now gloomy indeed; 
ibut these much tried souls did not flinch. 
They cheerfully assisted ia every move- 
<ment to repel the enemy and were as 
unse fishly devoted to their adopted 
<;ountry as though native to its soil. 

Many of the Palatines laid down their 
lives in the sanguinary struggle at Oris- 
kany. Professor lirider, in a recent lec- 
ture upon the Mohawk Valley, referring 
ito the importance of this battle, says 
that it was the pivotal -one of the Revo- 
Jution, and the success or failure of the 
revolt against iEngland hinged upon it. 
The importance, then, of the service 
rendered to our country by (liese brave 
■Germans can not be overestimate!. 
That tlie sacrifices which they made for 
the country of their adoption may be 
fully appreciated let it be understood 
that almost every Pa'atine family was 
represented in the ba:tt>le of Oriskany — 
not only by one of its members, but in 
-many instances by several members. 
Nine Snells marched to battle, two only 
returned. Six Petries periled their lives 
in the same conflict, while six Wagners, 
four Wolhebers, five Dygerts and six 
Foxes swelled the numbers of those who 
marched to this deadly fray. 

"The men who fought this battle," to 
<luote the words of Chancellor Haven, 
-"were good specimens of a peculiar peo- 
ple. They came across the ocean— or 
their fathers and mothers did— not for 
money, but for liberty and religion. 
Such a people fought the battle of Oris- 
kany; nay, the battle of freedom for all 
mankind." Through the fatalities of 
two wars death had entered nearly every 

"household; hut being iniired to all hard- 
ship, these heroic beople bore even this 
sorrow with noble fortitude. One writer 
says that at the close of the Revolution- 
ary war, "After this valley had been 
raided and warred over during seven 
long years, tkree thousand women and 
children remained with but five hundred 
men to care for them." Whnt wonder, 
then, that the Palatines became disheart- 
ened and crushed in spirit. They had 
suffered so severely during two b'oody 
conflicts tfeey could not rally, and were 
never again the people they had been 

After the Rev'olutionary war there was 
a remarkable emigration of the New 
Englanders to this part of New York 
state, the Mohawk Valley in particular, 
being a favorite point of settlement with 
these thrifty and energetic people. The 
Palatines, because of their vicissitudes, 
gave way before the encroachments of 
this new element, and it was not long 
before the settlements of the valley lost 
their distinctively German characteris- 
tics, and perhaps the change was for the 
better, as these early Germans were in- 
tensely conservative an4 clung with 
great tenacity to old customs, which 
made tfeem disinclined to favor innova- 
tions. The New Englanders, on the con- 
trary, were animated by a progressive 
spirit, which showed itself in the rapid 
advancement of educational and busi- 
ness facilities, the result of which is 
shown in the fact that this beautiful and 
historical valley of the Mohawk is to 
day second to none in the country in 
enterprise and importance. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society June 9, 1896. 
I propose to give some glimpses and were as follows : The house now owned 

reminiscences of Herkimer and its 
people during the first thirty years of 
this century. Some of the things I 
write are within my own knowledge and 
others I have learned from Colonel 
Suiter, who is still with us, and from 
William Smith, and other old citizens 
who have passed away. 

by Dr Burgess on Main street, the one 
on Main street now owned by Dr. Kay, 
recently occupied by Mrs. Lawton, 
where she wa? born, and during the 
eighty-three years of her life always 
lived; the Simeon B'ord house on Wash- 
ington street, just south of the lane 
crossing the hydraulic to what is now 

The people living here had a village called Brooklyn, and the Weber house 
organization and government, under a now occupied by Dr. Pryne. 
legislative act, as early as 1807, one of There was but one church, and that 
the earliest in the state west of Schen- was where the Reformed Church now is, 
ectady. The stony ground, mainly and the Court House, which included the 
above the railroad and south of Ger- jail, was where the present Court House 
man street, was usually called by the is located, and that burned down in 1834 
residents here the "Stone Ridge'*; and and the same fire was communicated to 
the three parallel streets, Main, Pros- the church and also destroyed that, 
pect and Washington, with the inter- There was but one school house on the 
secting cross streets, north of the rail- Stone Ridge, and that a very poor and 
road, then existed, and upon these streets cheap one, located on Washington street 
early in the century there were but a on the lot now occupied by LaFayette J. 

few hundred inhabitants. As late as 
1830 there were not more than five hun- 
dred. There were no sidewalks, the 
first sidewalks having been built upon 
portions of Main street in 1832, and the 
buildings were small and of simple con- 

Foits. There was another school house 
in a separate district, situated nearly op- 
posite the brick house of Jacob J. Bel- 
linger on German street. 

There were several stores— one where 
Dr. Suiter's house now is. which was 

struction. The buildings in; he village kept by Mr. Far well, who afterwards 

and particularly in the country, general- 
ly, were not finished, lathed or plastered 
above the first story and there were 
generally no locks on the outside doors. 
The most considerable private residences 

moved to Utica and thence to Chicago 
where his sons have been among the 
prominent business men, one of them 
having been a United States Senator. 
There was a block of three wooden stores 


where the Fox block now is, one where ling; for thestabling of a team overnight 

Mrs. Washburn resides, and where the with hay. Whiskey, which was the 

National Bank now is there was a store principal liquor sold, was not more than 

and a jewelry shop. At the beginning fifteen cents per gallon, and hence could 

of the century and for a Jong time before be dispensed cheap with a profit, and it 

Jacob P.Weber, called King Weber, had was freely indulged in. All the travel 

a store on German street, just east of the was by land, except a small amount upon 

lot then owned by Dr. William Petry and the Erie canal after it was opened, and 

later by Mr. Samuel Earl. At this store it was large. The stages which then 

he dealt in peltries with the Indians and carried all of the passengers to and from 

white hunters and trappers and amassed the west, passed over the turnpike on 

a large fortune, larger than that of any the north side of the Mohawk river, and 

other person in the State west of Schen- through this village, bringing much cus- 

ectady, which on his death passed to his torn to the taverns along the route. The 

daughters, Mrs. Frederick Doxtater, Mrs. stages were drawn by four horses and 

F. P. Bellinger and Mrs. C. C. Bellinger. 
There were more taverns in the town 
of Herkimer then than now. There was 
one at the Farrington farm near the 
Ilion depot, called the Uphan tavern, 
somewhat noted for its sign, on one side 
of which was paintei in oils a well- 
dressed gentleman, riding a fine horse, 
with the legend, "Going to Laiv," and 
on the other side a shabbily dressed, for- 

they all changed horses at some tavern 
in this village. As a stage came into the 
village from the east or west, the driver 
would blow his horn, and by the time he 
reached the tavern the fresh horses would 
be ready to hitch on. 

There were several whiskey distilleries 
in the town; one where Mr. Marks's resi- 
dence now is; one on the southeast cor- 
ner of Prospect and Church streets; one 

lorn looking man and a poor, woebegone near Kast's Bridge; another on the West 

looking horse, with the legend, "Return- 
ing from Law;" and also at the follow- 
ing places: On the hill west of the Hor- 
rocks factory, in a building recently 
burned. down; where the present cheese 

Canada creek just north of the toll-gate; 
aud a cider brandy distillery up the creek 
at the Farmer place. There was an 
ashery for the manufacture of potash 
where Mr. James Fagan now lives, and 

factory is; just east of the residence of south of that there was a tannery; there 
Dr. Pryne; on Main street where Dr was also an ashery on Washington street 
Suiter's house is, in a building which was where Mr. McNeal lives, 
before astore; where the Mansion House There were a number of blacksmiths, 
now is; on the corner of Main and Mary who not only did all the work now done 
streets, where Mrs. Monroe now lives; by men of that craft in this region, but 
where the Waverly House now is; where they also made all the carpenters' tools 
the Stimsons now live; where the Deimel and all farming implements, such as 
block now is; where the Nelson House plows, hoes, shovels, scythes, axes, etc. 
and also where the Edick House The shoemakers made and mended all 
now are; up the creek where John Far- the shoes, and no shoes were brought 
mer, and afterwards his son Harry and here, as now, for sale. Farmers would 
still later Mr. Fenner lived; where Mr. have their hides tanned, and shoemakers 
James Bellinger lives; near the Tower would go around, and, working by the 
farm on the turnpike, and still further day or month, would once a year shoe 
down where Darius Small now lives, and the whole family— the farmer furnishing 
just east of that, one called the Ethridge the work-bench which many of them 
tavern. Their profits were small and kept on hand for that purpose, 
outside of the village they were gener- Tailors made all the clothes, as there 
ally connected with farms and were only was no ready-made clothing, and they, 
incidental to farming. The charges were too, would annually go around from 
generally small, a sixpence for a meal house to house and make the clothes for 
and the same for lodging and one shil- a whole family out of cloth made from 


the wool spun and woven in the farmer's 
famil)', and dyed and dressed at the full- 
ing mills, a number of which were lo- 
cated in the town. These itinerant shoe- 
makers and tailors worked for about $13 
a month. 

There was a manufactory of cow-bells 
where the jail now is, and Colonel Suit- 
er, when a boy, worked in the factory at 
a shilling per day. These bells were 
made for use in this State, upon cows 
which were permitted to roam for food 
in the forests, particularly in the early 
spring. But they were sold mainly for 
use in the southern states. 

This village was the home of several 
prominent lawyers, among them, Gay- 
lord Griswold, a brilliant lawyer in the 
early part of this century, who became 
a Federalist member of Congress, elected 
in 1802, and died, comparatively young, 
in 1809; Aaron Hackley,who was elected 
a member of Congress in 1818 and voted 
for the Missouri Compromise line in 1821; 
Simeon Ford, Loren Ford, James B. 
Hunt. Charles Gray, Michael Hoffman, 
and Flavins J. Littlejohn, who subse- 
quently became Governor of Michigan 
These men gave our bar a high standing 
and adorned many public stations. 

The Herkimer American, published by 
Edward P. Seymour, was, during the 
later years of the period wuth which I 
am now dealing, the only newspaper. 

The doctors were Doolittle, Farrell, 
Abrahams, and Tomlin, and they usually 
visited their out-of-town patients on 
horseback, and their compensation for a 
visit was not more than fifty cents, and 
to my personal knowledge, they pulled 
teeth for one shilling each. 

Farm hands received $8 per month by 
the year and about $13 per month for the 
spring, summer and fall work, and they 
usually worked from daylight to dark: 
and female help received from 50 to 75 
cents per week. 

Farmers and their families were gen- 
erally clothed in home-made cloth, both 
woolen and linen. The women generally 
hetcheled and spun the flax and wove it 
into cloth for underwear and sheets and 
pillow-cases, and they also worked in the 

fields upon the farm, cultivating crops 
and gathering in the harvest. 

A large share of farm work was done 
by what were called "bee^." There 
were bees for paring apples, spinning, 
plowing, drawing out manure, chopping 
and logging, husking corn and some- 
times for making hay. Hilarity, good 
fellowship and son^etimes pugnacity 
among the men at these bees were stimu- 
lated by the free use of whiskey which 
was never absent. Indeed, few farmers 
in those days did their farm work with- 
out dealing out whiskey to their help, to 
keep them warm when it was cold, and 
cool when it was hot. Large farmers, 
frequently at the commencement of hay- 
ing and harvesting, purchased whiskey 
by the barrel for use upon their farms. 
Whiskey was also freely dispensed at 
funerals, christenings, sheep-shearing, 
sheep washing, and on all occasions of 
festivities, and yet, the evils of intem- 
perance were not greater then than now. 

The farmers in those days were frugal, 
industrious, generally out of debt and 
independent; most of them never gave 
nor held a note. In the winter the lead- 
ing farmers were engaged in carrymg 
their produce to Albany for sale there, 
and they would generally carry back 
loads of merchandise for merchants. 
They were generally a hearty, rollicking 
lot of men, social, free from harassing 
cares, honest, pious, with few wants and 
simple habits; and I believe that on the 
whole they were happier than thv^ farm- 
ers of this day. They nearly all be- 
longed to Dominie Spinner's Dutch 
Church, and if they did not in all re- 
spects exemplify the precepts of the 
Christian religion in their daily lives, 
they lived well up to the highest stand- 
ards of their day. They were taught the 
Heidelburg Catechism and when suffi- 
ciently instructed, were taken into the 
church on the profession of their faith. 
They usually attended church in the fore- 
noon on Sunday and a large share of 
them slept through the service; and in 
the afternoon, following the customs of 
their German ancestors, which were 
sanctioned by iheir dominie, they visit- 


ed, and sometimes engaged in other 
harm'ess amusements. 

In the long winters the dances called 
"Dutch Fuddles" were a great feature 
among the farmers, servins in the in- 
clement season to cultivate a cheerful 
spirit and to mollify the a'^perity of na- 
ture. They were given in private houses, 
and one fiddler, usually standing upon a 
chair, furnished the music. He would 
call off the dances, and the women, 
dressed in home-made stuff and calico, 
silks being very rare, and the men, 
clothed in homespun, with coarse boots 
and sometimes without anything on their 
feet but stockings, kept time to the mu- 
sic and whirled in the giddy dance, in a 
manner that would astonish the trained 
and genteel dancers of these modern 

There were no friction matches, and 
coals were kept alive over night for the 
fire of the next day, and when there 
were no live coals, fire was started with 
a spark from steel and flint and in some 
other rude way. 

Among the Germans, or Dutch, as they 
were called, much was made of the few 
holidays they had. Christmas, the main 
holiday, wa=i celebrated for aeveral days, 
continuing until after New Years, and 
Easter and Pinckster, which in the 
church calendar is Whit- Sunday were 
kept with much zest. Easter and 
the colored eggs were always associated 
in the youthful minds. The 4th of July 
was a great day, ushered in with the 
boom of cannon and celebrated with pa- 
rades in which Revolutionary soldiers 
bore a conspicuous part, and with speech- 
es and fire-works and other demonstra- 
tions of genuine patriotic zeal and devo- 

During all these years military organi- 
zations were numerous, and all men be- 
tween the ages of eighteen and forty-five, 
were required to belong to some of them, 
and to train as it was called. Military 
titles were much coveted, and even a 
corporal was not to be despised. Gen- 
eral trainings, when a whole regiment 
or several regiments were brought to- 
getlier for parade, were great events. 
There was a general turn out of the peo- 


pie and the occasion was a real holiday. 
Cider and other beverages and Yankee 
notions were sold, and ginger bread was 
there to gladden the hearts of the young- 
sters who had a few pennies to invetst. 
There were artillery, rifle, light infantry, 
cavalry and militia companies, and they 
kept up the military spirit engendered 
in the Revolutionary war and the later 
war of 1813. 

The inhabitants of this town were 
mostly the descendants of the old Pala- 
tines and of later German emigrants. 
German, Mohawk Dutch as it was called, 
was generally talked and understood. 
That language was heard more than any 
other in the pulpit, in the streets, tav- 
erns, stores and upon election and town 
meeting days. These people were plain, 
simple, honest and unlearned. They were 
superstitious, generally believed in witch- 
es and ghosts; and many were the stories 
of ghosts and witches I heard in my boy- 
hood, which almost made my hair stand 
on end and filled the dark night with 
terrors and my brain with troubled 
dreams. Within the village a man by 
the name of Henry Helmer, who lived 
where Mr. J. G. Bellinger now lives, had 
some hogs that were diseased in some 
unusual way and he concluded that they 
might be bewitched. He consulted a 
professed witch doctor, by the name of 
Baltus Bridenbecker, who lived in Schuy- 
ler, and he was advised to burn the hogs, 
and that the first man who came when 
they began to squeal would be the witch. 
Helmer confined the hogs and piled 
brush upon them and set fire to the brush, 
and a man by the name of Jacob Moon, 
a quaint character, was the first to ap- 
pear when the hogs began to squeal, and 
so he was believed to be the witch. The 
hogs were roasted and Helmer was 
thereafter called the "Sibrorer," the 
Dutch name for hog roaster and his son, 
a comrade of mine, was called the 
"Young Sibrorer." 

There were no buggies or cutters and 
at most two or three carriages in the 
whole town, one of which was still 
owned by William Smith at his death 
and pa-jsed to his legatees under his will; 
and there was not a piano or a house or- 

gan of any kind in the town and no 
cushioned or upholstered furniture. 

There were but a few Yankees here at 
the beginning of this century. The Dutch 
feared them, believing them to be too 
smart for Dutch simplicity. The trick 
of the "Yankee pass" from which Judge 
Staring suffered, handed down by tradi- 
tion which is related in Benton's History 
of Herkimer County, engendered suspi- 
cion of Yankee cunning and craft. 

During this time there were never 
more than two Roman Catholics residing 
here, one of whom was a lawyer by the 
name of Lapham and the other a farmer 
by the name of O'Rourke. until about 
the time of the construction of the hy- 
draulic canal and the railroad, when 
many Irish were brought here to work 
upon these structures, who came here 
with such a reputation for pugnacity that 
they caused us youngsters to give them a 
wide berth when we met them. 

There were no Low Dutch here except 
Peter DeGraff, who came here from 
Schenectady, and was a tailor by trade, 
and kept the toll gate at the West Can- 
ada creek bridge, whose youngest son, 
Henry, is now among the wealthy men 
of the city of New York, and is presi- 
dent of tne Bowery National Bank. 

It is a curious circumstance that the 
settlers upon the Mohawk river were di- 
vided as between the Low Dutch and 
the German High Dutch, as they were 
divided upon the River Rhine. There 
the High Dutch lived upon the upper 
Rhine and the Low Dutch upon the 
lower Rhine. Here the Low Dutch set- 
tled upon the Mohawk below Canajo- 
harie and the High Dutch above that 
point, and hence below we find the name 
of Amsterdam, a Dutch name, and 
above Palatine, Minden, Danube, Man- 
heim, Frankfort, all German names 
from the upper Rhine. 

At the beginning of this century there 
were but few books here except those of 
a religious nature. But the need for 
more books soon began to be felt, and 
the "Herkimer Library" was incorpo- 
rated in 1809 under the general act of 
the legislature of 1796, authorizing the 
incorporation of libraries. The incor- 

poration was effected at a meeting 
called for February 15, at the house of 
Theophilus Morgan, no^v the Mansion 
House, over which Matthew Myers was 
chosen to preside, and the following 
seven trustees of the library were 
elected: Walter Fish, Simeon Ford, 
Philo M. Hackley, Asa Mimger, Daniel 
Morse, Asa Gifford and William Lappan. 
The law of 1796 required at least twenty 
members to organize such a library and 
a cash capital of at least £40. The mem- 
bers owned shares, which were assigna- 
ble, and annual payments from mem- 
bers could be required by the by-laws. 
Matthew Myers was a son of General 
Michael Myers, and he was a graduate 
of Union College, in the class of 1806, 
and was probably studying law in 1809. 
The trustees were all prominent men 
here. Walter Fish was one of the judges 
of the county, and he was ths father of 
the late Henry Fish of Utica. Simeon 
Ford was the leading lawyer of the 
countv; Philo M. Hackley was a mer- 
chant; Asa Munger was a jeweler; Dan- 
iel Morse was a harness maker; Asa Gif- 
ford was a carpenter and William Lap- 
pan was a lawyer. We know nothing 
about this library except its formal or- 
ganization. It did not come down to the 
time of any person now living, even by 
tradition. It must have soon died out 
for the want of support. It is a marked 
illustration of the power of time to ob- 
literate all traces of the living that there 
are no descendants, now in the county, 
of any of the men connected with the 
organization of that library. 

Herkimer was in the early years of 
this century, as now, the center of con- 
siderable political influence. It was near 
the geographical center of the state, and 
before railroad travel was more accessible 
from all parts of the state than any other 
important point. Here the Democratic 
State Conventions were held which nomi- 
nated Martin Van Buren for Governor 
in 1838, Enos T. Throop for Governor in 
1830, and William L. Marcy for Governor 
in 1832: and here a young men's Demo- 
cratic State Convention was held in 1832 
to promote the election of Andrew Jack- 
son to the presidency. The influence of 

Michael Hoffman was then, and for I hope to take-up some other local topics 
many years afterwards influential in the of interest for some future meetings of 
councils of the Democratic partj^. the society. 

I must here bring this paper to a close. 



Read before the Herkimer County Historical Societ}', April 14, 1S96. 

Kankakee, 111., March 25. '96. 
Arthur T. Smith, Record ing Sec'y: 

I have received your official notice of 
my election as an honorary rr.embpr of 
the Berkimer County Historical Society. 
Permit me to thank the society most 
sincerely for the honor thus conferred. 
This e'ection is peculiarly gratifying to 
me, and 1 presume it is due to a recogni- 
tion of a series of sketches of the early 
days of Herkimer village furnished by 
me to the Citizen some years since giv- 
ing some personal recollections more in- 
teresting to the older class of citizens 
than valuable as historical contributions. 
If I am correct in my surmise a compli- 
ance with an unofficial request accom- 
panying the notification for a letter "de- 
scriptive of Herkimer aa I remember it," 
will excuse something more than a for- 
mal acknowledgment of the membership 
conferred upon me. Any contribution I 
can furnish must necessarily be more in 
the nature of personal recollections than 
of a historical character If or which I have 
not the means of a compilation. I should 
be pleased if it were in my power to con- 
tribute something of historic value to 
what your society purposes to collect 
and preserve. Herkimer county is rich 
in material for not only a local historian, 
but a state history would be sadly defi- 
cient if prominence were not given to 
one of the earliest settled portions of the 

state and the scene of the early strugg'es 
for the domination ©f races and its 
peaceable possession by the conquerors. 
Herkimer, 70 years ago, during the 
days of my boyhood and residence there, 
was a quiet village- and the inhabitants 
a quiet people who led a quiet life. Their 
serenity was seldom disturbed by any- 
thing outside the routine of a rural life, 
and peace and contentment reigned 
within its borders. The Utica and Sche- 
nectady rai'road, which has developed 
into the great Central system, with its 
passing trains and loaded coaches, was 
unknown. The Erie canal was the thor- 
oughfare of freight and the "packets" 
carried the passengers who were not 
conveyed in the four-horse stage coaches 
that daily traversed a valley which is 
now the avenue of the wealth of an em- 
pire to a market of the world. The three 
long and five cross-streets were unnamed, 
and were known by the residences of 
some prominent citizen living upon 
them. There were no banks, extensive 
trading houses, factories, doctors' offices, 
(the office of the doctor was in his house) 
hotels, (they were all "taverns") modern 
residences or costly churches. The one 
district school gathered all the children 
of the vdlage, and to most of them was 
the only source of an education which 
the modern public school has enlarged 
and carries into every neighborhood. 


Ministers (no clergymen then) were faith- 
ful and churches dutiful, though "evan- 
gelists" were unknown and "converts" 
few. The children were brought up to a 
religious life and the teachings of child 
hood governed in a. maturer age. Doc- 
tors had not reached the use of the gig, 
the horse carried him in his visits outside 
the village and the saddle-bags were the 
only drug stores where prescriptions 
were compounded. Lawyers served their 
clients then as now, and few were gradu- 
ated to the ability to pay. Merchants 
made spring and fall visits to New York 
to boast on their return of tiie latest 
styles, the most fashionable goods and 
the largest stock in town. Ihose stocks 
would not go far in supplying the pres- 
ent trade, but they were ample for the 
wants of a community which was con- 
tent with comfort and had not learned 
the demands of luxury. Six yards of 
calico was a full dress pattern and a new 
dress an event of family if not of neigh- 
borhood importance. The newspaper 
had not felt the impulse of enterprise or 
the influence of competition, and ven- 
tured upon a cost of publication which 
would have devoured the entire income 
of a modern prosperous office and bank- 
rupted its publisher. 

The boys were rich with a 37^ cent 
pair of skates, a 75 cent wool hat, and 25 
cents for the 4th of, July or menagerie 
day. The girls did not expect a new 
modern "up to-date" spring dress after 
the reign of winter had been met in a 
home-made flannel gown. The last 
summer's left-over did duty until it 
passed beyond repair or had been out- 
grown. No new Easter hat was neces- 
sary to keep in the fashion or hold a cov- 
eted place in "our set." 

Bicycles, big sleeves and bloomers 
would have been a greater curiosity and 
a more attractive spectacle than the me- 
nagerie and general training combined, 
and the performers would have excited 
more comment than the "far-famed ac- 
robat" or the "only rhinoceros in Ameri- 
ca." The singing school did not develop 
a Jenny Lind (the best of foreign impor- 
tation) or the piano bring into existence 
a Paderewski; but it replenished the 


church choir, where the melody was as 
acceptable to the worshippers as the 
trills and screeches in the concert room 
to the up-to date auditor. Base- ball was 
a simple and healthy pastime, while long- 
ball two and three-old-cat disputed favor 
with the more pretentious game, hispy. 
Snapping-the-whip and red lion were 
evening amusements which closed a day 
of school attendance or honest industry. 
The holidays were seasons of general ob- 
servance and unalloyed enjoyment. If 
they cost less than the same seasons 
now, and were less profuse in gifts, they 
were more productive of pleasure, and 
the remembrances were more sincere 
testimonials of affection. The tea parties 
were assemblages of friends, where, if 
the entertainment was simple the good 
will was evident. The early residents 
deserve a competent historian. They 
were men and women of another age, 
and though their ways would be anti- 
quated now they were exemplars of the 
home virtues which are none too con- 
spicuous in the present day. Few of 
them, if living, would adorn modern 
"society," but if less gifted with modern 
"accomplishments" they were true to 
their duties, and gave to a later day 
those who, in their spheres, gave charac- 
ter and repute to the circles in which 
they moved, and in which some of them 
have surrendered their places to succes- 
sors who now govern in the social, busi- 
ness, professional and political world. 
During my visits a few years since I 
found far more names on the monuments 
and headstones in the two old grave- 
yards than appeared in the multiplied 
pursuits of the present village. Their 
descendants and successors should honor 
their memories, and no more fitting con- 
tribution could be made to your society 
than such a tribute as that of Mr. Smith 
to the virtues of one of the oldest and 
most distinguished citizens of your vil- 

Honorable as has been the record of 
Herkimer and worthy as were those who 
moulded its character, the village has 
done wisely in keeping up with the pro- 
gress and changes which mark its his- 
tory. The world has advanced since 70 

years a^o, and neither isolation nor stag- 
nation is to be desired or commended. 
With all the veneer of modern days there 
is yet a solidity of character and stability 
of structure which insures the perma- 
nence of the essential qualities of right 
living and hopeful results. The virtues 
of the early settler are perpetuated in 
their descendants, to whom a trust is 
committed which will not be betrayed. 
Give the fathers and the mothers, the 
old-time boys and girls, a passing 
thought, and when opportunity occurs 
render them a tribute to which they are 
entitled. Such a tribute will not detract 
from the merit of those who render it. 
It may not be preserved as an historical 
record, but it surely would not be out of 
place in a social meeting of your mem- 

In connection with my acknowledg- 
ments of the membership conferred upon 
me I make a couple of contributions 
which you may deem worthy of a place 
in your collection of mementoes of a for- 
mer day. The 3-cent shinplaster issued 

by my father was "put out" in the year 
of my birth, and though as a lusty four 
months old resident I cannot vouch for 
its issue from personal knowledge, I have 
no doubt of its genuineness. By-the-way, 
how many "current; bank notes" were 
required to redeem it? The "certificate" 
allowing the use of a coachee is suggest- 
ive of the war taxes of a later date. 
Could other persons than those "of a 
dark green color, having panel work in 
the uper division thereof, hanging upon 
steel springs," have been allowed to ride 
in it? A similar tax now upon all car- 
riages would not only i^rovide an abun- 
dant revenue for the government, but 
leave a surplus for the protection of our 
seacoasts and the equipment and support 
of the 9,500,000 army the United States 
could put in the field on 30 days' notice 
for the general defence of the country. 

Wishing your society success and 
thanking its members for the personal 
compliment bestowed upon me, 

Yours truly, 
Chas. Holt. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, May 12, 1896. 

In April, 1890, a number of the " Col- 
lege and SchooV was published by F. G. 
Barry, that he ternaed a "Spinner num- 

It was nnostly composed of sketches of 
Gen. Spinner, either furnished by him- 
self or his friends. Mr. Barry had pro- 
posed to publish some reminiscences of 
the General in a future number, for 
which the following was written, but 
from some cause the number was not 
published. This explanation is made in 
reference to remarks that occur in this 

In this account no attempt has been 
made to embellish it with fine phrases 
or fanciful words, but simply a plain 
statement of facts. 

The writer alone is left of those whose 
names are mentioned ; the others have 
departed and only their memory re- 

Much interest has lately been taken by 
the friends of Gen. Spinner in the valley 
of the Mohawk in his health and history. 

The publication of the Spinner number 
of the " College and School" has afford- 
ed much pleasure to his old and numer- 
ous friends and acquaintances, and has 
met with a cordial reception by them. 
This has encouraged the editor to issue 
an extra "Spinner number." 

There are some circumstances and facts 
connected with the first nomination of 

Gen. Spinner to Congress that have nev- 
er been published, and as that was a 
turning point in his political career, and 
his entrance into a national and honor- 
able reputation, a brief account of them 
will be given by an eye-witness. 

The county of Herkimer at that time 
composed the 17th Congressional Dis- 
trict, and was largely Democratic. Gen. 
Spinner had always been a Democrat, 
having held the office of sheriff, one of 
the commissioners to build the court 
house and jail for the county, after the 
old court house and jail were burnt. He 
also was one of the commissioners for 
building the lunatic asylum z-t -Utica 
His military record was good, attaining 
the rank of Major General in the Third 
Division of Artillery in the militia of the 

His activity in the political campaigns 
bad made him a favorite in the party, 
and he became a candidate f»r Member 
of Congress. Dr. Walter Booth, a wor- 
thy and popular man of the town of 
Russia, was also a candidate who had 
many friends in the northern part of the 

At that time the caucuses to nominate 
delegates to county conventions were 
not held simultaneously, and eighteen 
towns had elected delegates, nine towns 
having delegates for Booth and nine 
towns for Spinner. 


The town of Schuyler had cot chosen 
-delegates, and, holding the balance of 
power, became the battle-ground, and 
great efforts were made by the rival 
candidates to secure the delegation. 

The Democrats were in the minority in 
the town, but had always kept their or- 

The town committee had given notice 
for a caucus to be held at the red school 
house in school district No. 4, on Thurs- 
day evening next preceding the Satur- 
day on which the county convention was 
to be held. 

The district is in the east part of the 
town, and a large portion of the resi- 
dents were Democrats, and of German 
ancestry, who in former years had list- 
ened to the ministrations of the Gen- 
eral's father, and were old and staunch 
friends of the son, voting for him every 
time they had an opportunity. 

Dr. Booth had labored with some of 
the leading Democrats in the west part 
of the town, and had enlisted them in 
his favor. The friends of Gen. Spinner 
had learned of this, and made arrange- 
ments to elect delegates who would ear- 
nestly support him in the convention. 

During the afternoon of Thursday, 
Charles Spinner and Samuel Earl of Her- 
kimer met at the house of the writer, 
who lived opposite the school house, and 
with Samuel M. Jackson, a neighbor 
who happened to bo present, a consulta 
tion was held and a plan agreed on that 
in the end proved successful. The can- 
didates were selected and ballots pre- 
pared, to be ready if balloting was pro- 

Word was sent around to hasten the 
voters in, as Booth's friends, led on by 
E W. Day and Dr. John Mower, were 
expected early, and soon the voters from 
the west part of the town began to ar- 
rive in wagon loads and on foot. 

The house was locked and the key in 
safe possession, and the house was not 
opened while waiting for Spinner's 
friends to get together. They were far- 
mers, having chores to do— were a little 

Impatient of delay, Booth's friends fi- 
nally raised a window and swarmed into 

the house in the dark. The door was 
opened by the town committee and Spin 
ner's friends filed in. 

According to custom, the committee 
called the house to order, the call for the 
caucus was read, a chairman and secre- 
tary elected— the organization being per. 

E.W. Day, thinking to gain an advan- 
tage, moved that the delegates be elected 
by ballot. Never before had delegates 
been chosen this way. He, having bal- 
lots all ready and supposing his oppo- 
nents had none, expected to win easily; 
but to his surprise the motion was 
promptly seconded by Spinner's friends 
and carried. 

The ballotine proceeded. The Spinner 
delegates— Vaughn Sweet, Samuel M. 
Jackson and Alexis L. Johnson— were 
elected by a large majority. 

When the convention met at Herkimer 
Dr. Booth's friends made a desperate ef- 
fort to compass their ends by appearing 
with delegates to contest the seats of 
those regularly elected. 

When the contestants appeared before 
the committee to have their claims passed 
upon, that the "West End" people had 
in the dark, when first in the school 
house, gone through the farce of naming 
delegates as a joke. But when, in the 
open meeting, one of the counter eit 
delegates was chosen secretary, he acted 
and signed the credentials of the regular 
delegates, thereby ignoring their former 

The contesting delegates were dis- 
missed. The names of two of the com- 
mittee to decide the contest are remem- 
bered— Wm. Gates of Frankfort, and Ja- 
rius Mather of Fairfield. 

The convention nominated Gen. Spin- 
ner, he having a majority of three, and 
took his seat in the 34th Congress, Dec. 
3d, 1855. 

The opening of this session was re- 
markable for the long amd bitter contest 
for Speaker, whicb, after two months, 
ended in the election of Nathaniel P. 

Near the close of the contest of 133 
ballotinga. Gen. Spinner, who had some 
"Free Soil" ideas, also anxious to get to 


work, and in accordance with the advice 
of some of his Democratic friends, con- 
cluded to vote for Banks, who was elect- 
ed, receiving 103 votes, and Wm. Aiken, 
of South Carolina, receiving 100. 

Since that time Gen. Spinner acted 
with the Republicans and by them was 
elected to represent the 17th District 
(then composed of St. Lawrence and 
Herkimer counties) in two succeeding 
sessions, his congressional career termi- 
nating March 3d, 1861. 

In his service as Treasurer of the United 
States, he deservedly acquired a national 
and honorable reputation. 

The writer, though always a Democrat 
and nine years the junior of Gen. Spin- 
ner, has always had great respect for 

A few years ago an hour was spent 
with him at his home in Mohawk, and 
the time was very pleasantly passed in 
relating our reminiscences of Herkimer 
and old military and political friends, 
most of whom had departed. With sor- 
row we hear of his sufferings in his old 
age, but know he will bear them with 
the fortitude and bravery that was al- 
ways a characteristic of bis long and va- 
ried life. 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, September 8, 1896. 

Since the organization of the Herkimer 
County Historical Society contributions 
have been presented at its monthly meet- 
mgs touching upon many subjects of fas- 
cinating interest, pertaining to the va'ley 
of the Mohawk, and the first settlers of 
Herkimer village. And claiming it as 
my birthplace, and from youth up to 
twenty-one years of age spent there, all 
the principal events which occurred dur- 
ing tho^e years, in connection with the 
inhabitants who participated in them, 
are still fresh in the memory of the wri- 

And having been solicited to add some- 
thing that might be of interest as per- 
sonal recollections, and reminiscences of 
those years (events perhaps which may 
have an unwritten history), I have 
sketched some of them as they occurred. 
There being but a remnant of those early 
inhabitants still living who would be 
able to recognize them or to follow criti- 
cally in the reading of them. But Judge 
Robert Earl being one of the latter (and 
a schoolmate in boyhood days) I may 
trust to stand corrected by him if any 
inaccuracies occur, also to be ex- 
cused in referring to his address before 
the Historical Society at its meeting 
June 9th last when he mentioned the 
names of some of the most prominent 
citizens then living in Herkimer village. 
The names of Simeon and Lauren Ford, 

Michael Hoffman, Charles Gray and 
other distinguished men. Simeon Ford 
stood at the head of the list. 


He was selected to deliver the oration 
on the occasion of celebrating the break- 
ing of ground for the Herkimer Hydraulc 
water works, July 4th, 1833. Being then 
but eight years of age, I thought him to 
be a "grand old man," and listened with 
a good deal of interest to what he said. 

The spot where the celebration was 
held was a few rods west of the dam 
built across the gorge that now holds the 
body of water called Mirror lake. The 
speaker stood under the shade of a large 
hickory tree, upon a rise of ground, the 
people being seated around him. At the 
conclusion of his address he grasped a 
shovel that was in readiness, descended 
to the ground where the channel was to 
be, and with it turned over the first 
spade of earth to be excavated for the 
ditch, amid the booming of cannon and 
the hurrah of the multitude. After this 
a team was hitched to a plough, and a 
few furrows were turned over, which 
concluded the ceremonies of the day. 
winding up with refreshments, spread 
on long tables near by in a grove, with 
hard cider as the liquid accompaniment, 
(which was hard to my personal knowl- 
edge) as our uncle who was with us 
lianded me a cup, and, being thirsty, 


drank its contents, and soon was able to ceeded by Hon. Warner Miller. The 
give my experience of its effects, being original building having burned in 1865, 

the only time in life to 
seemed to be intoxicated. 

The preliminary steps having been ta- 
ken, the project was successfully carried 
to completion. As the Herkimer Hy- 

know how it was rebuilt and enlarged by the present 
Herkimer Paper company. 

It was predicted, during those years of 
non-use of the hydraulic water works, 
that Herkimer would never be benefited 

draulic Water Company was incorporated by its use until that generation passed 

in 1833 with a capital of $100,000 to con- away; and the prophecy proved true, 

struct a dam across the West Canada But for this, Herkimer to-day would 

creek north of Herkimer village to create probably be a large and busy manufac- 

water power for manufactories, and to turing town, and the first to become a 

dispose of water privileges to this end. city in this county instead of Little Falls. 

But for manj' years it failed to realize 
the expectations of its projectors as well 
as the people of Herkimer — not because 
it was a wild and unfruitful scheme, but 
for want of good financiering by its 
stockholders, one in particular, who held 


One other event which took place in 
the early days of Herkimer village, 
(which seemed full of promise to open 
the way to a prosperous period), was the 

a controlling interest, being a farmer construction of the Utica& Schenectady 
and lari>e land-holder, whose lands bor- railroad. A charter having been granted 
dered the entire western part of the vil- in 1833, a survey of the route and right 
lage from the turnpike, (now called Ger- of way secured, work was immediately 
man streets, to the Mohawk river on the commenced, and on the first of August, 
south, gauged the business of selling 1836, the road was completed and its 
water privileges as he would a piece of first passengers passed over it. On this 
land or the products of his farm, not occasion, as the excursion train passed 
having the foresight that by selling up the valley from Schenectady, crowds 
water privileges at rates which would of people were in waiting at all the stop- 
induce capitalists to invest and build ping places to get aboard and take their 

factories, he was bringing prosperity to 
all. There were many applications made 
soon after its completion, Mr. Eliphalet 
Remington, the founder of the celebrated 
Remington armory at Ilion, being one of 
the first. At that time it was considered 
the best artificial water power in the 
state. Beside holding prices too high 

first ride after the "iron horse" that 
puffed and hissed, yet never tired out. 

The first passenger cars were frail af- 
fairs, with not half the capacity of the 
present coaches, placed on four-wheeled 
trucks, each car being divided by parti- 
tions, making three compartments, to 
hold eight persons. The entrance was 

for purchasers, he wanted it stipulated by a door on each side of the car, the 
in every sale or lease, that in case of low conductor reaching in to collect the fare, 
water and not sufficient for more than standing on a foot-rave, and holding on 
one mill, or factory, his grist- mill should to an iron rod running along overhead, 
always be the favored one. The present Tickets were not in use then, there being 
stone grist-mill was erected by him soon no ticket office or depot. All the fares 
after the completion of the works, and were paid to the conductors, and of 
was the first to use the water. Subse- course they were all -honest ones (on the 
quently J. B. Morse made an arrange- start) and no need for detective agen- 
ment for using the first water power at cies. 

the upper drop, of twenty-two feet, The original capital invested was two 
using an overshot wheel and manufac- million dollars. One of the provisions 
turing hat bodies. He was succeeded by of its charter was prohibiting the carry- 
Burdick & Orr in the same business, ing of freight; another was fixing the 
Then came Hon. A. H. & B. Laflin who maximum fare at four cents a mile, also 
manufactured paper, and they were sue- requiring the company to sell out to the 


state after ton years if the state wanted 
to buy. The first single track was cheap- 
ly made by using cedar ties notched to 
receive pine stringers six inches equare 
and held in place by wedges. Afterward 
flat ties were used, with cast iron brack- 
ets spiked on each side of the rail to the 
ties, wrought iron strap rails being 
spiked to the stringers. By using these 
strap rails there was a constant danger 
of the spikes at each end of the connec 
tions being drawn up out of place by the 
heat of the sun in summer, and the cold 
in winter; consequently the road hal to 
be watched in sections by men before 
every train passed over it, to see that 
there was no "snake heads" (as they 
were called) to run up and pierce the 
bottom of the cars. 

The speed of tiains at first was about 
twenty miles an hour, and no time-tables 
governed the running of trains. Ihey 
would leave Schenectady at a specified 
hour each morning and arrive in Utica 
when they could, and return on the same 

The first survey of the road was made 
to pass by Herkimer on a straight line 
from the water-house some distance east 
of the Weet Canada creek bridge, to a 
point about one mile west of the village. 
But some of the most influential citizens 
thought it would be a nice thing to have 
a railroad run through the village, and 
prevailed on the chief engineer to change 
it to its present route, which was a mis- 
take for Herkimer as well as the railroad 
company, as there has been much regret 
of late years by the officials of the com- 
pany that the first survey was not ad- 
hered to, as a bad curve would have 
been avoided through the village, and 
the many lives that have been lost at its 
street crossings would probably never 
have occurred. There has been of late 
some talk of changing it to the first sur- 
vey. Herkimer would be greatly bene- 
fited by this change, as the height of the 
embankment from the West Canada 
creek to the river bank on the west 
would serve as a complete barrier against 
floods from the Mohawk river, to the in- 
habitants living on the flat lands north 
of the railroad, and for the village to 

buy and transform the un03cupied 
gr'^iund east and west of South Main 
street, together with the land now used 
for the tracks, for a village park. In 
this event the entire village would be 
north of the railroad tracks, together 
with its railroad depot, freight house, 

For many years the only fuel used for 
the locomotives was pine wood, with the 
bark shaved off, to lessen the sparks 
thrown from the smoke-stack, and which 
was a constant source of danger, by set- 
ting fire to the track and bridges. 

The locomotives were not then con- 
structed to burn coal, and it was a weird 
sight after dark to witness the coming 
of a train in the distance, belching forth 
its millions of sparks and black smoke, 
like something direct from the "regions 
infernal." In order to have an ample 
supply of wood always on hand, it re- 
quired large woodsheds to be built for 
housmg it; the present freight house at 
Herkimer was originally one of them. 

The first few years after the road was 
completed the mails were carried by the 
railroad company f>n a horse car, similar 
to the present hand car in use by the 
track repairers, with a carriage top at- 
tachment to protect the mail messenger 
from storms, etc. Subsequently, mail 
cars were made and attached to passen- 
ger trains. 

In building the embankment for the 
road bed through the village the earth 
was taken from the excavation of the 
hydraulic ditch below the lower drop to 
tbe river, as these two projects were 
being constructed about the same years 
—from 1833 to 1836. Michael F. Myers 
of Fort Herkimer, (father of Mrs. A. H. 
Prescott of Herkimer, and Mr. Robert 
Myers of Mohawk), had the contract for 
the excavation by the hydraulic compa- 
ny and delivery to the line of the rail- 

For a number of years the village did 
not receive much benefit from having 
the railroad pass through, until it com- 
menced to carry freight, as everything 
had to be freighted by canal in summer 
and by teaming in winter; consequently 
Mohawk and Little Falls were the ship- 


f)ing centers in the county, and had the 
advantage of trade to ihe building up of 
those places. 


Michael Hoffman was another of the 
noted citizens of Herkimer village. He 
vpas in those days considered authority 
on political matters pertaining to th€ 
Demociatic party. During the years in 
which the two great parties were strug- 
gling for supremacy he was the champi- 
on of free tiade, against the Whigs for 
protection. And whenever at political 
gatherings Michael Hoffman's voice was 
heard it generally swayed the multitude 
and cariied conviction to "doubting 
Thomases*' by his logical and convincing 


He was a member of Congress from 
1825 to 1833, and during his terms as con- 
gressman be formed the acquaintance of 
Jefferson Davis, (of Southern Confeder- 
acy fame), and afterward Mr. Davis paid 
a visit to Judge Hoffman — about the year 
1835— and his law office, on the same 
premises, near his residence on the cor- 
ner, (and now ocvned by Dr. Pryne), was 
the place of their meeting and social 
converse. What subjects were talked of 
perhaps were never put on record, but 
i presume the subject of secession was not 
one of the topics, although Mr. Davis 
may then have held the idea that the 
south would eventually take this step. 
He then being a slaveholder, his inter- 
ests were with the slaveholding state^^. 
And when the uprismg took place in 
1861 he was chosen their leader, with the 
results that have passed into history, 
about thirty years after this visit to Mr. 

So to-day Herkimer's Main street with 
all its changes and demolition still holds 
intact this one of its "old landmarks," 
and it shoul i be preserved as a relic of 
the "by-gor e days" of the village. Mr. 
Hoffman ab ays wore clothes made from 
steel gray iroadcloth which gave him 
the sobriqu'jt the "old iron gray." This 
was his onlf garb at home and abroa 1. 

The family group consisted of Mr. and 
Mrs. Hoffman, threesona and one daugh- 
ter. The oldest son, Phocian, was a 

successful lawyer in Buffalo for a num- 
ber of years. The other two boys, 
Michael and James, were finely educated 
business men. The daughter, Margaret, 
was .a life loiig invalid and sole survivor 
in Herkimer for many years. 


The first paper published in Herkimer 
village was under the proprietorship of 
one Benjamin Cory, who commenced 
the publication about the year 1800, 
under the title of Tlie Telescope, and his 
successor was David Holt, in 1805, who 
issued a paper known as the Farmers' 
Monitor, which was published by him 
until 1807. Subsequently Mr. Cory 
started another paper in the interest of 
the federal party, and named it the 
Herkimer Pelican, which was published 
until 1810. The fourth paper was es- 
tablished in the same year by J. H. & 
H. Prentice, called the Herkimer Aineri- 
can. During its publication by them it 
passed into the hands of Edward P. 
Seymour, who conducted it until 1831. 
In 1810 one G. G. Phinney started a 
paper known by the title of Bunker Hill. 
It had for its motto: "Live free or die — 
death is not the greatest of all evils," 
which was published about two years, 
and then he edited another sheet, the 
title being: "T/ie Honest American. 
Both ceased bemg published by 1821. 

In 1828 the Herkimer Herald made 
its appearance, under the direction of 
John Carpenter, which was conducted 
in the interest of General Andrew Jack- 
son. And later (coming within the 
memory of the writer, in 1830,) the 
Republican Farmers' Free Press was 
started for the purpose of waging war 
on masonry. It was owned by an as- 
sociation, printed by David Holt and 
edited by one B. B. Hotchkin, and 
shortly went the way of all the preced- 
ing papers. Next came the Herkimer 
Count y Journal in 1837. a whig paper, 
whose editor was John C. Qnderwood, 
and printed by Edward P. Seymour; and 
subsequently O. A. Bowe took charge 
and published it about six years, when 
he relinquished its publication and 
started an abolition paper at Little Falls, 
called the Herkimer Freeman, which he 


published about six years, in the inter- 
est of the anti-slavery cause, but not 
meeting his expeciations he discontin- 
ued it, and in 1850 removed to Mohawk 
and published a village paper called the 
3Iohairk Times. A few changes oc- 
curred after this with the papers printed 
in Herkimer up to 1850, when C. C. 
Witherstine became interested in the 
publication of a paper formerly started 
at Frankfort Village, called the Frank- 
fort Democrat, which was afterwards 
removed to Herkimer village, which was 
conducted \j J. M. Lyon. He was suc- 
ceeded by R. Earl in 18-i8, who took C. 
C. Witherstine into partnership about 
1850. Tben about 1854 he sold his in- 
terest to Mr. Witherstine. About 1859 
Mr. Witheistine sold out to H. G. 
Crouch, and four or five years later he 
again re-purchased the paper and con- 
ducted it until 1875, when he associated 
with him his son, H. P. Witherstine. and 
the Herkimer Democrat is still issued by 
them in the interest of the democratic 

The Citizen was first published Sep- 
tember 30, 1884, as a semi-weekly paper, 
in connection with the Citizen at Ilion, 
both papers being printed at Ilion. 
Charles S. Munger bemg the editor of 
the Herkimer edition and George W. 
Weaver of the Ilion edition. October 
30, 1885, the name was changed to che 
Herkimer Citizen, and since then it has 
been published as a weekly, on Tues- 
days. January 1, 1889, Arthur T. 
Smith and Francis E. Easton purchased 
Mr. Weaver's half interest in the two 
papers, forming the Citizen Publish- 
ing Company. Messrs. Munger and 
Smith are the editors in charge of the 
Heikimer Citizen, and it is the leading 
republican journal of the county, hav- 
ing a very able corps of correspondents 
and being an up to-date and influential 

The Herkimer Record was founded in 
1888 by G. W. Nellis, jr., and is now 
published by the Herkimer Record Com- 
pany. It is an eight-page weekly, bright 
and newsy; issued every Wednesday, 
independent in politics, and has a large 

first fire department. 

Herkimer's first fire department was 
organized about the year 1839, soon 
after the extensive fire in 1838, whicb 
consumed about all the business places 
in the village. Previous to this there 
was no means to extinguish fiies, only 
by the citizens forming two bucket lines 
to the nearest well, one to pass the full 
buckets of water, the other to pass back 
the empty ones; and if the fire was too 
far advanced it had to burn to a finish, 
as was the case at the burning of the 
old court house, jail and Presbyterian 
church, in January, 1834 This fire was 
started by the prisoners in one of the 
cells, with the idea (as they afterward 
stated) of gaining their liberty during 
the excitement it might make. Having 
set fire to papers stuffed into the cracks 
of the walls, which soon communicated 
to the dry timber and floor of the court 
room above, as the prison walls were 
made of heavy hewn timbers, and hav- 
ing shrunk sufficient for this purpose. 
After the fire was well under way they 
thought their chances of being cremated 
alive better than making their escape 
caused them to cry fire, which frus- 
trated their plan of escape, and they 
were safely transferred to other and safe 
quarters. The church on the opposite 
side of the street took fire from cinders 
blown from the court house, which 
lodged on the roof, and the water pail 
brigade was of no use. It was a grand 
btit sad sight to witness the burning of 
the church steeple, as the fire com- 
menced on the roof near the steeple, 
which was in flames before the body of 
the church. In the belfry was the finest 
toned bell in the country, and was said 
to contain a large portion of silver in its 
makeup. It was entirely destroyed, 
being melted after it fell v^-ith the burn- 
ing timber of belfry and ste pie. 

In the early days of the village the 
owners of houses were reqf ired (pursu- 
ant to an ordinance passed by the trus- 
tees) to keep in some convenient place 
fire buckets made of leather, the num- 
ber determined by the number of stories 
high the houses were, one beir g required 
for each story. They were m',de to hold 


about twelve quarts. It was not until 
1841 that an efficient fire department 
was formed, when the new hand fire 
engme was purchased, and at a meeting 
of the trustees of the village there was 
selected some sixty-five or seventy men 
to serve as firemen. Two companies 
were formed. I can name but five who 
are now living and could answer to the 
old roll call : James A. Suiter, Warren 
Caswell, Hubbard H. Morgan, Peter F. 
Bellinger and the writer. 

Subsequently a hook and ladder com- 
pany was formed. Previous to there 
being any organ^ed fire company and 
chief to give direction at fires the man 
that had the strongest lungs and could 
yell the Ipudest was conceded "master 
of ceremonies" in giving directions, 
whether they were right or wrong. 


It may seem a little surprising to the 
present inhabitants that any of the old 
Herkimerites once held slaves, but there 
were several of the old-timers who 

owned slaves, who, perhap?, were not 
considered as beins: on the same plane 
with the slave owners of the south, but 
held them as personal property, just the 
same. Esq, Michael Myers, Dr. Doolit- 
tle and Alfred Putnam each had one, 
and when any one ofi them became in- 
tractable and thought they deserved 
more punishment than they got with 
the rawhide they put them in the dun- 
geon hole under the old jail over night. 
This, together with the tragedy of Perry, 
the wife murderer, who committed sui- 
cide by cutting his throat with a razor 
in one of the old jail cells, made it a 
famous corner, which the boys shunned 
after dark. 

In conclusion, I would say there may 
be many things of interest I have not 
touched upon relating to the historic old 
town and its people during the period I 
have sketched, but must close, fearing 
to worry your patience by adding more, 
which may be of interest only to the 
survivors of those "by-gone days." 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, September 8, 1896. 

The Mohawk river is about one hun- lages. It traverses a most fertile valley, 
dred and fifty miles long. It rises in the which is famed for its beauty in many 
southern part of Lewis count3% and runs lands. It has found a place in song and 
southerly to Rome, and thence easterly, fiction, as well as in history. The poet 
emptying into the Hudson river in four Moore saw and admired it on his trip 
channels— at Waterford, Lansingburg through the valley in 1804, and he wrote : 
and Troy, descending fiom Rome about 
four hundred and twenty feet to tide- 
water. At Rome it runs near to Wood 
creek, which empties into Oneida lake. 
It is several feet higher than the creek, 
and in times of very great floods its 
waters sometimes overflowed and ran 
into the creek; and thus a portion of its 
waters would pass through the Hudson 
to the ocean, and another portion 
through Oneida Lake, the Oswego river 
into Lak« Ontario, and thence through 
the River St. Lawrence to the ocean. 
Between two of the channels through 
which it discharges its water into the 
Hudson lies Van Schaick's Island, which 
is ahout two mile3 long and half a mile 

"From rise of morn till set of sun 
I've seen the mighty Mohawk run; 
And as I marked the woods of pine 
Along his mirror darklj' shine. 
Like tall and gloomy forms that pass 
Before the wizard's midnight glass; 
And as I viewed the hurrying pace 
With which he ran his turbid race. 
Rushing alike untired and wild 
Through shades that frowned and flowers 

that smiled, 
Flying by every green recess 
That wooed him to its calm caress. 
Yet sometimes turning with the wind 
As if to leave one look t>ehind, 
O ! I have thought, and thinking, sighed 
How like thee, thou restless tide. 
May be the lot, the life of him 
Who roams along thy watery brim." 

It was the highway of the Iroquois 

wide. It was upon this island that Gen- Indians long before the white man saw 

eral Schuyler, in 1777, took a position its waters. They used it in their forays 

with his troops just before they ad- upon other Indian tribes residing in the 

vanced to meet General Burgoyne, and eastern part of the state, upon Long 

fought the battle which did more than Island, in New Jersey and New England, 

any other to achieve our national inde- These dusky warriors, in their war paint, 

pendence. as they paddled their light canoes, their 

On the borders of the river are the lithe forms swaying to and fro to the 

cities of Rome, Utica, Little Falls, Am- cadence of song, must have been quite 

sterdam, Schenectady .nnd Cohoes, and picturesque; and we can imagine how. 

several beautiful and flourishing vil- with their wild war whoop, they awak- 


ened the responsive echoes of the prime- 
val forests. 

It is impossible now to say who was 
the first white man that saw the Mo- 
hawk river. It may have been some 
one of the Couriers de Bois, or of the 
Jesuit missionaries who entered the ter- 
ritory of the Iroquois from Canada. 
Father Jogues saw it first in 1643 and 
again in 1646, when he suffered martyr- 
dom on the banks of the Mohawk at 
Caughnawasa, Montgouiery county. 
The Dutch from Albany may have gone, 
and probably did go, into the Mohawk 
country, in pursuit of trade with the In- 
dians, earlier than any other white men. 

Among the earliest Indian traders was 
Arndt Van Curler, who founded Sche- 
nectady in 1661, where there was al- 
ready an Indian village. By his honesty 
and tact he acquired the confidence and 
friendship of the Indians, and he had 
great influence with them. They called 
him "Brother Corlear," and after him 
they named Schenectady "Corlear," and 
the Mohawk river the "River of Cor- 
lear." He was subsequently drowned 
in Lake Champlain, and then they called 
that lake "Corlear's lake," and they had 
such respect for him that they subse- 
quently called the colonial governors 
"Corlear." They were a confiding, 
truthful race, and the men who, like Peter 
Schuyler, called by them "Quidder." 
and Van Curler and Sir William John- 
son, who were truthful and honest with 
them, always had great influence over 

Johnson first entered the Mohawk 
valley in 1738, and as there were then 
no roads, he undoubtedly passed up the 
river in a canoe. He traded extensively 
with the Indians, and met them on a 
footing of equality. He painted, ate 
and dressed like them, and he played 
their games with them, and he finally 
took into the relations of a wife MoUie 
Brant, the sister of the great Indian 
chief. He built a stone house, called 
Johnson Hall, which is still standing at 
Akin, on the north side of the New York 
Central railroad, where he frequently 
feasted the Indians and held councils 
with them. In going to and from the 


hall, the Indians traveled in their canoes 
upon the river. 

In 1722 William Burnett, the governor 
of this state, built a fort at Oswego for 
the purpose of facilitating trade with 
the Indians, and in 1723 the Indians went 
from there to Albany with fifty-seven 
canoes loaded with 738 packs of beaver 
and deer skins, passing up the Oswego 
river to Oneida lake, and thence through 
the lake and Wood creek, and over a 
short carry to the Mohawk river, and 
down the river to Albany. In 1746 the 
Six Nations, after much solicitation, 
went to Albany for a council with the 
whites. There was at that time a little 
jealousy and friction between the Indi- 
ans, and hence the Senecas, Onondagas 
and Mohawks marched down on one 
side of the river and the Oneidas, Cay- 
ugas and Tuscarora's on the other side. 

Johnson had the contract to victual 
the fort at Oswego, and all his sujiplies 
went up the river to Rome and thence 
over the road above mentioned to the 

In 1748 Johnson called an Indian 
council at Onondaga. He went up the 
Mohawk river with a guard of fifty men 
in batteaux loadetd with provisions and 
presents. In April, 1757 he made his 
headquarters at this place, and here is- 
sued his orders to the Indian officers in 
his arrangements to baffle the French 
invaders; and here he held a council 
with the Indians in 1763. 

In 1766, Johnson, going up the Mo- 
hawk river with batteaux loaded with 
presents and provisions, held a council 
with the great Indian chief Pontiac, and 
the Iroquois at Oswego, and there he 
brought about the peace which followed 
the famous Pontiac conspiracy of which 
the historian Parkman has written so in- 
terestingly. In August, 1767, Johnson 
being bick was with great solicitude 
taken by the Indians in a boat upon the 
river from Johnson hall to Schenectady, 
and thence he was carried by them in a 
litter to the High Rock Spring at Saratoga 
for the benefit of its medicinal waters 
which they recommended to him : and 
thus he is believed to have been the first 

'white man who drank the waters of that 
-celebrated spring. 

In the fall of 17(38 at Fort Stanwix, 
Johnson held a council attended by 
more than three thousand Indians and 
by the Governors of New Jersey, and 
PennHvlvania, and Commissioners of 
Virginia for the settlement with the In- 
dians of a disputed territorial boundary; 
and he took with him up the Mohawk 
river twenty batteaux loaded with pro- 
visions and presents for the Indians. He 
attended other councils with the Indians 
at Albany, Johnson Hall, Oswego, De- 
troit and other places, always using the 
Mohawk river as the highway for the 
transportation of provisions and presents. 

Governor Tyron came up the Mohawk 
river to this place in the summer of 
1773, and here and at Fort Herkimer re- 
viewed the militia, and we may well be- 
lieve that the sturdy Germans in the 
presence of their Governor made a fine 
display of martial ardor and soldierly 
proficiency and aptitude. In June 1775 
a council was held at this place with the 
Oneidas and Tuscaroras to secure their 
neutrality in the war, and they promised 
neutrality. On the IGth day of August, 
1775, there was a council at this place 
with several sachems of the Six Nations 
to induce them to attend a grand council 
to be held at Albany; and on the 31st of 
August such a council, the last before 
the close of the Revolutionary War, was 
held in Albany, The object of there 
councils was to keep the Indians from 
joining the British in the war. In the 
spring of 1775, there was raised on the 
banks of the Mohawk at Fort Herkimer, 
the first liberty pole erected in this state 
outside of the city of New York, and 
subsequently Mr. White, sheritf of Tryon 
county, came with a company of militia 
from Johnstown, and cut it down as 
witnessing a rebellious spirit. 

In January 1776, General Herkimer 
ordered out the militia of Tryon county 
to head ofif some expected raid of Sir 
John Johnson, and they were paraded 
on the ice of the Mohawk river at Fonda. 

When the militia of Tryon county 
marched to the battle of Oriskaiy, their 
;age went up the river in boats. 

After that battle, the British with iheir 
Tory and Indian allies continued to in- 
vest Fort Stanwix, audit was feared that 
with their superior numbers they might 
take the fort; and alarm was felt 
throughout the Mohawk valley, that 
after taking the fort, they might sweep 
down the valley and spread disasternd a 
death everywhere. General Benedict 
Arnold was then, in August 1777, dis- 
patched to the relief of the fort, with 
twelve hundred continental soldiers and 
some militia fiom this locality. His 
baggage and provisions were carried in 
batteaux on the river, guarded by troops. 
He went up about ten miles west of this 
place and the beseigers hearing of his 
approach abandoned the seige and fled. 
In 1778, the Six Nations perpretrated 
the mas acre of Wyoming which has 
been so pathetically descibeJ in history 
and song, ravaged portions of Schohaiie 
oounty, burned Cherry Valley and 
Springfield in Otsego county, and An- 
drustown and the German settlement 
here in this county, killing and scalping 
men and women and taking prisoners; 
and they made other savage raids. 
Then in 1779, it was resolved in con- 
gress and advised by the commander-in- 
chief that a military force should be 
sent into the heart of the country occu- 
pied by the Six Nations to chastise them 
in their homes; and General Sullivan 
was selected to command the expedi- 
tion. The soldiers detatched for this 
service marched in two divisions— one 
starting from Easton, in Pennsylvania, 
under the immediate command of Sulli- 
van, and the other starting from New 
York under General James Clinton, 
brother of Governor George Clinton, and 
father of Governor DeWitt Clinton. 
The latter division came up the Mohawk 
river, conveying their baggage in more 
than two hundred batteaux to Canajo- 
barie. There General Clinton dispatched 
a portion of bis force under Colonel 
Van Schaicb, Lieutenant Colonel Will- 
et and Major Cockran up the Mohawk 
river for the invasion of the country of 
the Onondagas. The remainder of his 
force left the Mohawk river at Canajo- 
harie taking their boats with them on 


wagons through Springlleld to the head 
■of Otsego Lake, four horses being re- 
quired to draw one boat. There they 
put their boats upon the lake and went 
down the lake to its outlet and then into 
and down the Susquehanna river, and 
joined General Sullivan, 

Fort Stanwix, in the later years of its 
existence called Fort Schuyler, was de- 
stroyed by lire and water in May 1781; 
and the garrison then came here. In 
February 1783 soldiers under Colonel 
Willet were gathered at Fort Herkimer, 
and from that place they started on an 
expedition to surprise and capture the 
British fort at Oswego. The expedition 
failed from various causes, which need 
not be mentioned here. 

The supplies and military equipments 
for all the forts along the Mohawk val- 
ley were transported in boats upon the 

Before the revolutionary war, Albany 
was the sreatest mart on this continent 
for the sale of furs. There the Six Na- 
tions took their furs, and they domi- 
nated nearly all the Indians east of the 
Mississippi river. They paddled their 
canoes as far west as Dakota, as far 
north as Hudson's Bay,"'and south to tbe 
Chesapeake Bay and even to the Gulf of 
Mexico. Such was the fame of the Al- 
bany fur market that even the Sioux 
from Dakota came there with their furs; 
and ail this traffic passed up and down 
the Mohawk river. 

When the Palatines came to this re- 
gion from Schoharie, they came to the 
Mohawk river at or near Canajoharie, 
and thence conveyed their goods up the 
river in boats; and before the revolu- 
tionary war, there was no other feasible 
way for the transportation of goods, as 
there were no good roads on either side 
of the river. 

The dusky Indians frequently paddled 
their friends Quidder, Corlear and John- 
son, upon the waters of the Mohawk, en- 
livening the weary hours with song and 
war whoop; and what a scene along the 
river was presented to the early white 
travelers thereon! Fish were abundant. 
Now and then they would see a field of 
corn in the valley, and the_lopes on either 

side were covered with unbroken for- 
ests. The bear, wolf, elk, deer, pan- 
ther, beaver and other wild animals 
would occasionally come in sight, and 
the lurking savage would now and then 
disclose his form. They would pass In- 
dian castles at Auriesville. Tribe's Hill, 
Caughnawaga, Canajoharie, Fort Plain 
and in Danube in this county. 

In July, 1783, hostilities between Great 
Britain and the United States had 
ceased; but the definitive treaty of peace 
had not yet arrived, and the army had 
not been disbanded. Washington's 
headquarters were at Newburgh, and 
finding his situation there from various 
causes irksome, he resolved to visit 
some of the places made famous during 
the war: and it was determined that 
Governor George Clinton should accom- 
pany him. They started from New- 
burgh and went up to Albany, and from 
thence to Lake George, Ticonderoga and 
Crown Point; and then they returned to 
Schenectady, whence they proceeded up 
the valley of the Mohawk "to have a 
view," as Washington wrote a friend, 
"of that tract of country which is so 
much celebrated for the fertility of its 
soil and the beauty of its situation." 
They stopped at Fort Herkimer and Fort 
Dayton and other places of interest 
along the river, and went as far west as 
Fort Schuyler and Wood creek. There 
they turned southerly to the Susque- 
hanna river and Otsego lake, and again 
reached the Mohawk valley at Canajo- 
harie, passing through Springfield and 
Cherry Valley; and then they returned 
to Newburgh, after an absence of about 
three weeks, and after traveling in all 
about seven hundred and fifty miles, 
mostly on horseback and through for- 
ests. We learn from Washington's cor- 
respondence that during this journey 
the advantages of inland navigation for 
the opening of communication between 
the Hudson river and the great lakes 
dawned upon his practical and sagacious 
mind. Several places along the Mo- 
hawk river are still pointed ouc where 
ho stopped for rest or refreshment. 

The waters of the Mohawk were used 
for the last time for the^ purpose of an 


Indian council in 1788, when Governor 
George Clinton and other state officials 
held a treaty at Fort Stanwix with the 
Six Nations for the purpose of extin- 
guishing their title to the western part 
of this state. The occasion was a very 
interesting one, and the scene at the 
fort, where hundreds of Indians had 

Whereas. A communication by watei- 
between the southern, northern and 
Western parts of this state will encour- 
age agriculture, promote commerce and 
facilitate a general intercourse between 
the citizens. 

The act provided for the incorporation 
of two companies, one of which, called 
the Western Inland Lock Navigation 

assemliled, fantastically decorated and Company, was for the purpose of the 
clothed, was very picturesque and opening of lock navigation from the 
striking. The French Ambassador and Hudson river to Lake Ontario and the 
the Marchioness de Bison came there Seneca lake through the Mohawk valley, 
from New York city to gratify their cu- General Schuyler was the principal pro- 
riosity. meter of the act, as he was of the com- 

Tbe navigation of the river was pany organized under it. The company, 
greatly impeded by the falls in the town finding no suitable engineer in this 
of Little Falls, and by the rift therein country for the proposed work, procured 
near Fort Herkimer, called Wolfs rift, one from England by the name of Wes- 
and by the distance between the Mo- ton, who made a survey from tide-water 
hawk and the navigable water of Wood at Troy through the Mohawk valley to 
creek, which, after the creek was cleared Rome, thence down Wood creek, Oneida 
out, was about a mile. At these points 'ake and the Oswego river to Lake On- 
the boats and freight would have to be tario at Oswego. He reported the re- 
carried with great labor on land or suits of his survey to the company, with 
drawn by oxen and horses past the ob- estimates of the cost of the proposed 

stacles, and thus much valuable time 
was lost and great expense incurred. 
These obstacles to navigation were so 
annoying that soon after the revolution- 
ary war plans were discussed and con- 
sidered for canals and locks to overcome 

locks and canals. The company, shortly 
after this report, commenced three small 
canals. The first was at Little Falls, to 
pass around the falls there, on the north 
side of the river, and that was completed 
about 1798. It was a little less than one 

them. Elkanah Watson and General mile long, had five locks, and depth of 
Schuyler, were the principal pioneers water for boats carrying from twelve to 
in this movement The latter was fifteen tons. The second canal was be- 
a member of the state senate in tween Fort Herkimer and Jackson- 
1791, and upon the committee to in- burgh, and was built there so that boats 
quire what obstructions to navigation could pass around Wolf's rift. It had 
there were in the Hudson and Mohawk two locks and was over a mile long. The 
Tivers and how they might be removed, third canal was at Rome, to connect ihe 
In the same year, on the 24th of March, Mohawk river with Wood creek. It was 
the act concerning roads and inland over one mile long and had two locks, 
navigation, and for other purposes, was It was supplied with water from the 
passed. Among other things it directed Mohawk through a feeder about a mile 
the commissioners oF the land office to long. Several dams and locks were 
explore and survey the ground between erected in Wood creek to facilitate the 
the Mohawk river and Wood creek, and descent and ascent of boats. The locks 
to estimate the probable expense of the in these canals were first made of wood, 
construction of a canal between those but were rebuilt of stone in 1804. These 
two streams. In January, 1792. the canals and locks were completed as early 
commissioners made a favorable report, as 1802. They cost about $450,000, of 
On the 30th of March, in that year, an which the state, under the act for their 
act was passed "For establishing and construction, contributed $92,000. 
opening lock navigation within the By means of these canals boats were 
state." Its preamble was as follows: enabled to ascend the Mohawk river as 


high as Rome, and thence through Wood 
creek, Oneida lake and Oswego river to 
Lake Ontario at Oswego. Then, as the 
central and western parts of the state 
were fast filling up with population, the 
Mohawk river became for that period a 
great highway of trade and commerce. 
Three kinds of boats were in use. but 
the tavorite was the Schenectady boat, 
called the Durham boat, a broad, shal- 
low scow, about fifty feet long, steered 
by a sweep oar forty feet long, and 
pushed upstream mamly by man power. 
There were some places along the banks 
of the river where the boats could 
be pulled up by horses, hired of the 
neighboring farmers and of others 
who supplied horses for that pur- 
pose. All practical methods were re- 
sorted to for moving the boats upon the 
river— such as punting, pushing, pulling, 
sailing and floating. When the river 
was full generally ten tons was a load, 
and when the water was low three tons 
only could be caried. At places where 
the stream, in the dry season, was 
likely to be but a few inches deep, or 
where a ledge of rocks barred the way, 
low stone walls were built out from each 
bank until they almost met in the chan- 
nel, and thus a depth of water was se- 
cured for the passage of the boats. When 
the boats reached Utica, which was then 
a thriving town of two hundred houses, 
the freight was sorted, and goods for 
the salt works were thence taken west 
through the river, Wood creek, Oneida 
lake, Onondaga river and Seneca river 
to a swampy creek which led to Onon- 
daga lake, on the high banks of which 
stood Salina, a place then containing 
about fifty houses, where the sole busi- 
ness was the manufacture of salt. Some 
of the salt manufactured there was taken 
east over the route above mentioned, and 
some of it found its way by water to 
Lake Ontario, and thence partly by 
water and partly by land to the western 
parts of this state, to places on the lakes 
and to what was then a great market, 
Pittsburg. In the year 1817 there was a 
light and commodious passenger boat 
upon the river makmg regular trips. 
The trip from Utica to Schenectady was 

considered rapid and agreeable, but the 
return was so slow and tedious that pas- 
sengers did not incline to take the boat 
for that purpose. But there were boats 
upon the river carrying passengers much 
earlier than that. Commodore Perry 
won his famous victory over the English 
on Lake Erie in August, 1813. In Octo- 
ber thereafter he resigned the naval 
command of the upper lakes and re- 
pared to the seaboard in November, 
where he was put incommand of a new 
frigate. On his way from the west to 
the east he passed down the Mohawk 
river in a boat. He was at the time a 
national hero and the country was full 
of his praise and of enthusiasm for 
his heroic deeds. As he passed Sche- 
nectady, the professors and students of 
Union college assembled on the banks of 
the river to welcome and greet this pop- 
ular idol. 

The company was authorized by its 
act of incorporation to charge tolls for 
the use of its canals and locks for navi- 
gation between the Hudson river and 
Lakes Seneca and Ontario, not exceed- 
ing "in the whole the sum of twenty- 
five dollars for every ton of the burthen 
of such boat or vessel, and so in propor- 
tion for every one hundred feet cubic 
measure of timber and one thousand feet 
board measure of boards, plank or 
scantling, and so in proportion for any 
similar distance and less number of locks 
in any interval between the said river 
and lakes." 

These canals and locks were used until 
near the completion of the Erie canal, 
when about the year 1823 they passed 
into the ownership and possession of the 
state, under the act of 1817, authorizmg 
the construction of the Erie canal, which 
act required the state to take and pay 
for them. Then the state constructed 
an aqueduct at Little Falls across the 
river, and used the old canal as a feeder 
for the Erie canal; and in 1841, in the 
enlargement of the Erie canal, a feeder 
was constructed on the south side of the 
river at Little Falls, through which 
water has since been drawn for the sup- 
ply of the Erie canal. 


The Mohawk river possesses a quah"ty 
unusual with the inland fresh water 
rivers of this state, and that is that its 
bed belongs to the state, and that the 
riprarian owners only take title to the 
margin of the river. It was sn decided 
by the highest court of the state in 1865. 
(People vs. Canal Appraisers, 33 N. Y., 
461 ) 

It is a curious incident connected with 
the Mohawk river that in 1797 (chapter 
60 of the laws of that year,) out of cer- 
tain monies authorized to be raised by 
lotteries for public improvement?, Gen- 
eral Michael Myers, Gaylord Griswold, 
John Frank and Michael Edick were 
authorized to receive four hundred dol- 
lars for the purpose of reimbursing them 
for money expended by them in building 
a bridge over the river at this place, 
where the lower river bridge now is; and 
out of the same money John Post, Na- 
than Smith and Isaac Bray ton were au- 
thorized to receive a similar sum to re- 
imburse them for that sum by them ex- 
pended in erecting a bridge over the 
Mohawk river at Utica, called in the act 
"Old Fort Schuyler." The bridges thus 
built were probably, with the exception 
o? one built below the Cohoes falls, the 

earliest bridges spanning the Mohawk 
river. There was no bridge across the 
river where the upper river bridge be- 
tween this village and Mohawk now is, 
until about the year 1816. 

Since 1823 the river has ceased to be 
navigated, and it has been used only as 
a feeder for the Erie canal and for its 
water power at Little Falls and Cohoes. 
The fish have mostly disappeared from 
its waters, and the march of civilization 
has driven far away the wild beasts 
that in the last century used to be seen 
upon its banks. Well tilled farms along 
its borders have taken the place of the 
unbroken forests, and the shrill screech 
of the stoam whistle has supplanted the 
war whoop of the savage. It no longer 
carries the burden of trade and com- 
merce. Its waters move sluggishly 
along, unmindful of the important part 
they once played in the history of the 
state. They have ceased to make his- 
tory, and except for the uses above men- 
tioned and for other purposes of no 
greater importance they serve only to 
awaken the echoes of the past and to 
furnish topics of interest to the student 
of historv. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, October 13, 1896. 

The disposition of property by chance 
or lot is probably ntarly as old as organ- 
ized human society. We find traces of 
it in the most ancient writings. Among 
the children of Israel, land was awarded 
by lot. In Athens, long before the 
Christian era, not only property, but 
public offices were disposed of by lot. 
Lotteries in some form existed in ancient 
Rome; and in the middle ages great 
merchants in Italy and other places dis- 
posed of their wares by lotteries. 

Lotteries were first established in 
France in 1539; and in 1700, Louis the 
XIV established a lottery by an edict 
sounding very strange to us of this gen- 
eration, which ran as follows : "His 
Majesty having noticed the natural in- 
clination of his subjects to vest their 
money in private lotteries, and desiring 
to afford them an agreeable and easy 
means of procuring for themselves a 
sure and considerable revenue for the 
rest of their lives, and even of enriching 
their families by investing sums so small 
that they cannot cause them any incon- 
venience, has judged it opportune 10 
eststblish at the Hotel de Ville at Paris, a 
royal lottery. We can easily imagine 
how by such language "the natural in- 
clination" of the great King's subjects to 
gambling was fostered and stimulated, 
and how the hopes raised among thou- 
sands and even millions of his subjects 

were disasterously disappointed. The 
evils from such gambling were so great 
that on November 2nd, 1793, when the 
French people were dominant, the revo- 
lutionary convention abolished lotteries 
"as an invention of despotism to make 
men silent about their miseries and en- 
slave them with a hope which aggra- 
vates their distress." Some years later 
lotteries were revived in France for the 
purpose of raising public revenue, and 
under the Bourbons, from 1816 to 1838, 
the government derived from them an 
annual revenue of ninety-four million 
francs. A few years later, in 1836, they 
were suppressed there, and immediate- 
ly it was found that the deposits in sav- 
ings banks largely increased. 

The first lottery in England was estab* 
lished in 1569, and the profits were to 
be devoted to the repair of harbors and 
other public works. Not fearing the 
desecration of a religious eaifice thereby, 
the drawing took place at the west door 
of St. Paul's cathedral. In 1612 a lot- 
tery was drawn there to aid the Virginia 
company, and subsequently to found the 
British museum and to build the West- 
minster bridge. Now and then a feeble 
voice was raised against lotteries, and in 
1819 and subsequently, the agitation 
against them became so pronounced that 
in 1826 they were suppressed by an act 
of Parliament. 


Lotteries are still maintained on the 
continent of Europe for the purposes of 
revenue, and are attempted to be justi- 
fied on thr" untenable and sophistical 
theory that, as the people have an irre- 
sistiole inclination to this kind of gam- 
biiog, they had better be under govern- 
mental c©ntrol and yield revenue for the 
public good. According to the most re- 
cent statistics available to me, Prussia 
now receives from lotteries an annual 
revenueof about ten millions marks, Aus- 
tria over forty million crowns, Italy 
over seventy five million lire and Spain 
seventy -five million pesetas. Indeed all 
the modern states have in some period 
of their history employed lotteries as a 
means of revenue, aiid during the mid- 
dle ages the church used them to build 

They came to this country from Eu- 
rope and when the people were poor; 
they were in all the older sates the most 
efficient measures for raising revenue 
for all kinds of public purposes- such as 
building and founding schools of learn- 
ing, building roads, bridges, docks, court 
houses, jails, and bouses for the sick and 
poor, for the repair of churches, the es- 
tablishment of founderies and glass 
works and for digging canals. In the 
latter part of the last century and early 
in this, Massachusetts, by lotteries, en- 
couraged cotton spinning, paid the sala- 
ries of various public officers, and in- 
creased tiie library of Harvard college. 
Connecticut authorized lotieries for 
erecting some of the buildings of Yale 
college, and by a federal lottei-y a hotel 
was built in the city of Washington, and 
the hotel itself was the principal prize. 

The agnation against lotteries began 
in this country about the same time it 
began in England, and the result was 
that state after state passed laws pro- 
hibiting them, until now they are sup- 
pressed by law in all the states, Louisia- 
na and Kentucky being the last slates 
to maintain them. So earnest have the 
people beconid in their determination to 
suppress them that in most of the states 
they are condemned by Constitutional 

I have written so much as a brief in- 

troduction to the history of lotteries fn 
this state. 

In the early days of the colony of New 
York, lotteries were not regulated hy 
law, and private lotteries operated widi- 
out the sanction of law were not uncom- 
mon. Tickets in foreign lotteries were 
also sold, and all kinds of property were 
disposed of by some schemes of chance. 
By an act passed July 27, 1721, the dis- 
position of goods hy lottery or chance 
was prohibited "'as pernicious to trade, "^ 
it not yet having dawned upon the mmdr, 
of the statesmen of that day that they 
w^ere still more pernicious in many oher 
ways. So scrupulous were the law mak- 
ers that they exempted from the opera- 
tion of that act the lottery of William. 
Lake, wnich had previously been li- 
censed. Prior to 1754 the colonial gov- 
ernment had granted to Columbia col- 
lege by lotteries $8,609.75. By the act 
of November 25, 1747, private loiieries- 
were prohibited with a preamble as ful- 
loAs: "Whei'eas, several persons of late, 
have set on foot and operated private 
lotteries within this colony, which, be- 
ing under no restrictions t)y law, are at- 
tended with pernicious consequences l& 
the public, by encouraging numbers of 
laboring people to assemble together at 
taverns, where such lotteries are usually 
set on foot and drawn, for remedy 
whereof, Ee it enacted," etc. It was not 
the rich, or the capitalists, or the well- 
to-do who gathered a these taverns to 
gamble in lottery tickets. The poor, the 
laboring people, gathered there; and so 
it has been the world over. Lotteries 
tempt the poor rather than the rich,^ 
and therefore moneys which were raisea 
by lotteries for all kinds of purposes 
came out of those who were least able to- 
bear the loss. 

By the act of December 24, 1759, for- 
eign lotteries were prohibited under the 
following preamble: •* Whereas, the sell- 
ing and disposing of tickets taken out 
of lotteries erected and schemed ini the 
neighboring colonies (which several per- 
sons have of late set on foot and prac- 
ticed) have been found manifestly preju- 
dicial and of pernicious consequerice to 
the inhabitants of this colony, for pre- 


vpnlion thereof for the future, Be it -en- the said county, any law of this state to 
acted," etc. By tlie act of March 23, the contrary notwithstanding." Our 
1772, "More effectually to prevent pri- sense of fitness aid congruity is sorae- 
vate lotteri s,' the preamble was as fol- what shocuei that the legislature should 
lows: "Whereas, the laws now in being sanction the worst form of gambling to 
for the suppression of private lotteries build court houses and jails, 
have been found ineffectual to answer Then came chapter 12 of the laws of 
thw salutary purposes intended by the 1788: "An act to prevent private lotter- 
legislature in enacting the same; and, les, to remit certain penalties, and to re- 
Whereas, many mischievous conse- Deal the acts therein mentioned," and 
quences have been experienced from this the preamble was as follows: "Whereas, 
practice, which has p-oved highly preju- experience has proved that private lot- 
•dicial to trade, has occasioned idleness teries occasion idleness and dissipation, 
and inattention to business, been pro- and have been productive of frauds and 
ductive of fraud and imposition, and has impasitions. Be it therefore enacted," 
-given birth to a dangerou^j spirit of gam- etc. All private lotteries were declared 
ing, tqr remedy whereof and to suppress nuisances, and prohibited under severe 
■a practice which may be attended with penalties imposed not only on the vend- 
distress, impoverishment and ruin to ors of tickets, but upon the purchasers, 
many families, Be it enacted," etc. and all justices of peace, bailiffs, eher- 
""That all lotteries other than such as iffs, mayors, etc., were directed and re- 
are authorized by the legislature, are quired, by all lawful ways and means, 
•common and public nuisance?." That to prevent and suppress the lotteries pro- 
act does not seem to have been altogeth- hibited hy the act. But this show of 
■er effectual, and so the act, chapter 17 of virtuous indignation in the su'ong lan- 
1774, was passed, ''An act for the more guage used excites less of our admira- 
eflfectual prevention of private lo teries," ti©Q when we read the seventh section of 
and substantially the same preamble was the act, as follows: "That all offenses 
attached thereto. That act required all against an act entitled "An act for the 
judges in charging grand juries to call more effectual prevention of private lot- 
their attention to the provisions of the teries," passed on the 9th day of March, 
act and the violactons of them, and severe 1774, committed since the 4th day of 
penalties and forfeitures were imposed July, 1776 and not hitherto presented or 
for such violations, not only upon per- indicted by the grand jury are hereby 
sons selling lottery tickets, but also upon pardoned: and all penalties and forfeit- 
persons purchasing them or in any way ures thereby incurred are remitted; and 
interested in chem. the said act, except as to such person or 

By chapter 33 of the laws of 1778 au- persons against whom presentment or 
thority was given to raise money by presentments, indictment or indictments 
means of a lottery towards rebuilding have been presented, is hereby repealed, 
the court house and jails in the county And that as to all such person or 
of Ulster, as follows: "Whereas, the persons against whom presentment 
court bouse and jails in the county of or presentments, indictment or in- 
Ulsterweie destroyed by the enemy on dictments have been preferred, for which 
the sixteenth day of October last; to the offenses judgment remains to be ren- 
end, therefore, that the inhabitants of dered, such court to which such indiet- 
the said county may be assisted with ment or presentment was preferred, 
moneys towards rebuilding the same, shall and may at a future session of such 
be it enacted," etc. "That the judges of court discharge the offender or oflend- 
the inferior court of common pleas and ers en his, her or their paying the cost of 
the supervisors of the county of Ulster prosecution respectively ; and for neglect 
may, by way of lottery, raise a sum not of payment of the cost of prosecution, 
ex -eeding t'2,000, to be applied towards that such court before whom such of- 
rebuilding the court house and jails of fender is indicted, do commit such of- 


fenders respectively to the common jail 
of the county until they shall respect- 
ively have paid the costs of the prosecu- 

ture that the buildings appropriated fot 
the reception of the poor and indigent 
inhabitants of ihe said city are so de- 

tion; and that all former laws of this cayed that it will be difficult, if not im 

state respecting lotteries be, and the 
same are hereby repealed." Surae big 

possible, to accominodate. with any de- 
gree of comfort, those persons whose 

tish must have been caught in the net of unfortunate lot it may be to b.^ placed 
the law to induce this enactment. It therein during the ensuing winter; and 

may be noticed as a matter of some sig 
nihcance, that the penalties and forfeit- 

that they have. With the moneys raised 
by tax ot) the said city, provided a con- 

ures remitted were those incurred after siderable quantity of materials for the 

the DtclaratioQ of Independence, and 
during the active pendency of the war 
of the revolution. 

By chapter 8 of the laws of 1790 au- 
thority was given, with a preamble, to 
the mayor, aldermen and commonalty of 
the city of New York, to raise by lottery 
the sum of £13,000 for the purpose 
therein meniioned, as follows: "Where- 
as, the mayor, aldermen and common- 

purpose of erecting a new building, but 
by reason of the expensive and necessary 
annual improvements in the said city 
since the late war, which have been 
borne by the inhabitants th'>reof with 
great cheerfulntss, it would be too great 
a burden on them to raise the monies 
which will be required for the erection 
of this necessary building by an imme- 
diate tax, and have, therefore, prayed 

alty of the city of New York, by their that a law may be passed lo authorize 

petition presented to the legis'ature, that theji to raise a sum not exceeding 

from a desiie to accommodate the con- £10,000 by lottery. 

gress of the United States in the most And, whereas, the said city, from its 

convenient and satisfactory manner they situation, is necessarily the recepticle of 

have not only expended in repairing and a greater proportion of paupers than any 

improving the city ball such money as other city or county within this state, 

has been heretofots laised for this pur- and the erection of such a building in 

pose, but are also indebted in the far- the said city would be highly beneficial 

ther sum of £13,000 on this account, a to the same, and it is but just and rea- 

sum far beyond their power to discharge sonable, that, considering the great bur- 

without legislative aid, and have prayed dens heretofore borne by the said inhab- 

that a law mi^ht Le passed to authorize Hants for the improvement of the said 

the raising of the said money by one or city, that relief should be offered to the 

more lotteries. And whereas, the resi- said city in the manner prayed for. 

dence of the congress in this city is not Therefore, belt enacted, etc., "That lb 

only beneficial to the said city but to the shall and may be lawful for the mayor, 

inhabitants of this state at large. There- aldermen and commonalty of the city of 

fore be it enacted, etc., "That it shall 
and may be lawful for the mayor alder- 
men and commonalty of the city of 
New York to raise a sum not exceeding 
£13,000 by one or more lotteries to be 
made for this purpose, and to apply. the 

New York to raise a sum not exceeding 
£10,000 by a lottery to be drawn for that 
purpose, and to apply the proceeds 
thereof to the discharge of the expenses 
to arise for the erection of the said build- 
ing." Thus a form of gambling which 

proceeds thereof to the discharge of the made paupers was aulhori2.ed for their 
aforesaid debt by them incurred in re- relief. 

pairing and improving the aforesaid city 
hall for the purposes aforesaid." 

Chapter 51 of the laws of 1795 is an 
act with a preamble as follows: "Where- 

Chapter 60 of the laws of 1797 is an 
act with a preamble for opening and im- 
proving certain great roads within this 
state, and is as follows: "Whereas, it is 
as, the mayor, aldermen and common- highly necessary that direct communi- 
alty of the city of New York, by their cations be opened and improved between 
petition, have represented to the legisla- the western, northern and southern parts 


of this state. Therefore, be it enacteii," 

"That, for the purpose of opening and 
improving the said coaimunications, tho 
m inagers hereinafter named sha'l cause 
to be raised by three successive lotteries 
of equal value the sum of $45,000. That 
out of the net proceeds of the first lot- 
tery the sum of fll,~00, and out of the 
net proceeds of the third lottery the fur- 
ther sum of |2,200 shall be and hereby 
is appropriated for opening and improv- 
ing the road commonly called the Great 
Genesee road, in all its extent from Old 
Fort Schuyler, in the county of Herki- 
mer, to Geneva, in the county of Ou- 

'•That out of the net proceeds of the 
second lottery the sum of $11,675 shall 
be and hereby is appropriated for im- 
proving the great road leading from the 
city of Albany to the bridge erected 
over the Mohawk river below the Cohoes 
falls, thence to Waterford; and also to 
improve the road leading from the ferry 
at Troy to Lansingburgh, and thence by 
such road through the counties of Rens- 
selaer and Washington," etc. That the 
sum of $3,000, part of the net proceeds 
of the said second lottery, shall be and 
hereby is appropriated for opening and 
improving a road from Cooperstown, in 
the county of Otsego, or from the town 
of Cherry Valley, as the commissioner 
or commissioners in his or their discre- 
tion, shall deem most beneficial to the 
community at large, and from either to 
intersect the Great Genesee road as near 
as conveniently may be to the outlet of 
Skeneateles Lake." "That out of the 
net proceeds of the said third lottery the 
further sum of $6,510 shall be and hereby 
is appropriated for improving the great 
road leading from Catskill Landing, in 
the county of Albany, to Catherines- 
town, in the county of Tioga." "That 
out of the net proceeds of the said first 
lottery the managers thereof shall pay 
to the superintendent of highways for 
the county of Herkimer the sum of $500, 
to be by them laid out in improving the 
road from Fort Stanwix to the bridge 
erected over Fish Creek" and to other 
places; and out of the net proceeds of 

the third lottery the managers thereof 
were to pay to three persons named the 
sum of $490 to reimburse them for 
money expended in erecting a bridge 
over the Catskill, and to certain persons 
of the town of Cambridge the sum of 
$325. to reimburse them for that sum ex- 
pended in erecting a bridge over Hosack 
river; and out of the net proceeds of the 
first lottery the managers thereof were 
to pay John Post, Nathan Smith and 
Isaac Brayton, of the county of Herki- 
mer, the sum of $400 to reimburse them 
for that sum by them expended in erect- 
ing a bridge over the Mohawk river at 
Old Fort Schuyler; and to pay to Mi- 
chael Myer, Gaylord Griswold, John 
Frank and Michael Ectigh, of the county 
of Herkimer the sum of $400 to reim- 
Durse them for that sum expended by 
theni in erecting a bridge over the Mo- 
hawk river at German Flatts; and to 
pay three persons named the sum of 
$3,000 wherewith to coiiiplete the bridge 
already began to be erected over Scho- 
harie creek, near Fort Hunter. Certain 
land damages for laying out highways 
in Westchester county were required 
to be paid out of the proceeds of the 
third lottery and one moiety of the resi- 
due of the proceeds of the third lottery 
and the residue of the proceeds of the 
first and second lotteries were to be paid 
to the superintendents of highways for 
the county of Westchester to be laid out 
in improvements on the post road lead- 
ing from Croton ferry to the county of 
Dutchess; and the other moiety of such 
residue to the superintendent of high- 
ways in the county of Orange to be laid 
out on the places named in that county. 
John Taylor, Leonard Gansevoort and 
Daniel Hale were appointed manaorers 
for drawing, managing and superintend- 
ing the lotteries which were required to 
be drawn in the city of Albany. This 
act seems to have been what is called a 
log-rolling measure and many interests 
were brought to its support. In the dis- 
position of the lottery money this county 
was not overlooked anti its members, 
among whom was Gaylord Griswold, 
must have assisted in the log-rolling. 
Chapter 26 of the laws of 1798 is an 


act supplementary to the last named act 
and three persons named therein ;:vere 
appointed additional managers for 
drawing, manaiing and suparin- 
tending the lotteries and a pro- 
vision was made therein for the sale 
of lottery tickets on credit to any p3r- 
8on who might offer to purchase the 
number of twenty-five tickets or more, 
the managers taking such security as 
they should judge comp tent for the 
payment of the money for which such 
tickets should be sold. The legislature 
when they passed this act were in a be- 
nevolent mood and thus provided a way 
for the purchase of lottery tickets by 
persons who had no money, but had 

Having provided liberally for the im- 
provement of land communications, the 
law makers did not omit to allow some 
gambling for the improvement of water 
communications and hence they passed 
the act, chapter 25, of the laws of 1800 
making provision for improving the nav- 
igation of the Hudson river between the 
city of Albany and the village of Water- 
ford by authorizing the raising by lot- 
tery of $13,000 to be expended for that 
purpose; and in the same act commis- 
ioners were appointed to improve the 
navigation of the Hu ison river between 
Troy and Albany and were authorized 
to raise |15,000 by a lottery drawn for 
that purpose. And by the act chapter 
157 laws of 1801 an additional sum of 
^10,000 was authorized to be raised by 
lottery to improve the navigation of the 
Hudson river between the villages of 
Lausinburgb and Troy. 

Having thus provided for travel and 
transportation by land and water, the 
cause of education and literature was not 
neglected and hence was passed the act, 
chapter 126 of the laws of 1801 for the 
encouragement of literature; and it was 
provided therein that for the promotion 
of literature within this state, there 
should be raised by four successive lot- 
teries the sum of one hundred thousind 
dollars, that i?, the sum of twenty -five 
thousand dollars by each lottery; $12,500 
of the proceeds of the lotteries were to 
be paid to the regents of the University 


of the State 'of New York for the pur- 
pose of being by them distributed among 
such and so many of the academies as 
then were or might thereafter be erected 
in this state in such proportions and^to 
be appropriated in such manner as they 
should judge most beneficial for the 
several academies and mostadvantagous 
to literature, and the residue into the 
treasury of the state to be applied in such 
manner for the encouragement of com- 
mon schools as the legislature might 
from time to time direct. 

The Hudson river wat* quite insatiable 
in demands for money to improve its 
navigation, and as it was so easy to raise 
money from the deluded victims of the 
lo'tery mania, a combination of various 
interests in the legislature secured the 
passage of the act chapter 48 of the laws 
of 1802. by which further sums were 
authorized to be raised by lotteries to 
improve fche navigation of the river be- 
tween Troy and Lansingburgh, between 
Lansingburgh and Waterford and from 
Albany to Nicol's creek in Bethlehem. 

Having done something for the Hudson 
river in the supposed interest of com- 
merce, the law makers became charit- 
able and concluded to allow some gambl- 
ing for the benefit of the poor; and hence 
in the same act they authorized the city 
of New York to raise by lottery not ex- 
ceeding $15, 000 for the use and benefit of 
the society for the relief of poor widows 
with small children; and then that the 
whales and cod-fish might not be ne- 
glected, the managers of the lottery were 
required to appropriate $-5,000 for the 
improvement of the port of Sag Harbor 
for the encouragement of the whale and 
cod fisheries; and that the Dutchmen of 
Schoharie might not be obliged to wade 
over the Sciioharie river, $600 out of the 
proceeds of the lotteries were appropri- 
ated for a bridge over that river. 

The time had' now come when the 
nascent Empire State needed a Capitol 
and no more ready way occurred to the 
law m ikers than a lottery for that pur- 
pose; and hence by the act chapter 67 of 
the laws of 1804, entitled: "An act mak- 
ing provision for improving the Hudson 
river below the city of Albany, and for 

other purposes," $12,000 was authorized 
to be raised by lottery for the building 
of the capitol at Albany. Having at- 
tended to the capitol of the state, the 
next year the law makers took a bijjher 
flight, and by the act chapter 176 of the 
laws of 1805 authorized lotteries to raise 
$15,000 for Union College and $25,000 
for the board of health of the city of 
New York, lo erect a building in that 
city "for the accommodation of persons 
sick with malignant disease." 

Prior to 1807 a business had grown up 
in this state of insuring lottery tickt^ts. 
A person would buy a chance in a lottery 
and then, if he had any money left, 
would pay a further sum of money to in- 
sure that chance; and as the money thus 
paid went into the pockets of private in- 
dividuals, an act was passed, chapter 181 
of the laws of 1807, prohibiting the in- 
surance of lottery tickets, 

Down to this time the legislature in its 
disptnsation ef favors through lotteries, 
had overlooked the medical profession, 
and hence the act chapter 50 of the laws 
of 1810, entitled: "An act for promoting 
medical science in the S ate of New 
York," a lottery was authorized to be 
drawn for the purpose of raising money 
to purchase on beiialf of the people of the 
state the botanical garden near the city 
1 of New York belonging to Dr. David 
j Hosack at a placd then called Elgin. 
I The garden was to be under the man- 
i agement of the Regents of the University 
i for the medical schools of the state. 
In 1810 there was more call for the 
provement of the Hudson river; and as 
the people who desired the improvement 
lived near the capitol, they had easy ac- 
cess to the members of the legislature and 
could not be resisted; and hence the act, 
I Chapter 133 of that year, entitled: "An 
act making provision for the improve- 
ment of the Hudson river between the 
I villages of Troy, Lansingburgand Water- 
ford and for other purposes" was passed 
by which the managers named in the 
I last preceding act were required to raise 
i an additional sum;of $30,000 for the im- 
provement of the Hudson river between 
' the places mentioned. 

The money was raised and paid for the 

garden and it was conveyed to the state. 
Subsequently in 1814 by ;iuthorityof law 
the garden was conveyed to Columbia 
College on condition that the college es- 
tablishment should be moved upon the 

In the act last named the members 
from Herkimer county in the legislature 
found their opportunity, and they ob- 
tained out of the proceeds of the same 
lotterj' an appropriation of $5,000 for the 
Fairfield Academy to be used by its trus- 
tees for the support of the Chemical and 
Anatomical school under their superin- 

In spite of the laws condemning pri- 
vate lotteries, they still contmued to be 
operated to some extent in this state; and 
hence in 1813 by the act, chapter 10 of 
that year, laws in reference to private 
lotteries and the insurance of lottery 
tickets were revised, and such lotteries 
were again declared to be "common and 
public nuisances." The preamble of the 
act showing the public sentiment of that 
day was as follows: "Whereas exper- 
ience has proved that private lotteries 
occasion idleness and dissipation and 
have been productive of frauds and im- 
positions " 

Now by a combination of colleges, a 
very comprehensive lottery scheme was 
pressed upon the legislature, and it re- 
sulted in the act. Chapter 120 of the 
laws of 1814. Notwithstanding the well 
known demoralizing effects of lottery 
gambling, the following high sounding 
preamble was attached to the act: 
"Whereas well regulated seminaries of 
learning are of immense importance to 
every country and lead specially, by the 
diffusion of science and the promotion of 
morals, to defend and perpetuate the 
liberties of a free state;" and then hav- 
ing put on record these pious sentiments, 
the law makers authorized lotteries for 
raising $220,000 for Union Colloge, |40 - 
000 for Hamilton College, $30,000 .for 
the College of Physicians and Surgeons 
of the city of New York, $13,000 for the 
Historical society and $4,000 for the 
African Asbnry church of the city of 
New York. These were, so far as I can 
learn, the last lotteries authorized in this 


state except the act, Chapter 232 of the 
laws of 1820 which authorized the city of 
Albany to dispose of its pubhc lands by 
lotteries. It is said of that act that no 
bill before the legislature of 1814 excited 
greater interest and attention, and that 
the credit for its passage was due to the 
unwearied exertions of Dr. Nott the able 
and eloquent president of the college. 
By the act of 1817 for the construction 
of the Erie and Champlam canals, there 
was appropriated and pledged to the ca" 
nal f und "the proceeds of all lotteries 
which shall be drawn in this state after 
the sums now granted upon them shall 
be paid." 

Tlie public conscience began now to 
wake up to the lottery evil; and the agi" 
tation against it began to grow and 
spread throughout the state. Governor 
DeWitt Clinton, in one of his messages 
called attention to it, saying that the 
raising of money by lotteries was "du- 
bious in the eye of morality and certain 
in the most pernicious results." Public 
opinion became so pronounced that by 
Section 11 of Article 7 of the Constitu- 
tion of 1821, it was provided as follows: 
"No lottery shall hereafter be authorized 
in this state; and the legislature shal- 
pass laws to prevent, the sale of all lot 
tery tickets within this state except any 
lotteries already provided by law." 

After 1821 of course no new lotteries 
were authorized; but under what seems to 
me to have been a mistaken view of consti- 
tutional law, the lotteries already author" 
ized were permitted to run their course on 
the ground that the laws grantmg them 
gave vested rights which could not be des- 
troyed. It was under this mistaken view 
that several acts were passed after 1821 
regulating lotteries. Among such acts was 
chapter 92 of the laws of 1823 entitled 
"An act to authorize and provide for the 
erection of a fever hospital in the city of 
New York" which with its preamble was 
as follows: •' vVhereas the erection of a 
building near the city of New York, for 
the reception of persons who may during 
the prevalence of yellow fever, be taken 
ill with that disease, isan object of much 
importance, and in which the whole 
state is interested; and whereas a sum 

of money is, by the existing laws au 
thorized to be raised, after the comple- 
tioQ of the lottery grants, to different 
literary institutions which it is computed 
will take about eleven and a half yea/s; 
and it is represented that the corporation 
of said city, will advance the money 
requisite to build said buildings: and 
will purchase, from the state, the privi- 
lage of raising the sum by lottery in the 
expectation that they may, by prudent 
and correct management thereof, be en- 
abled to save out of the avails of said 
lottery a portion at least of the monies 
they shall expend in the erection of the 
building aforesaid, after refunding to 
them the consideration they shall pay 
into the treasury for t-aid lotteries. There- 
fore be it enacted etc: "That it shall and 
may be lawful for the corporation of the 
city of New York to raise by lottery un- 
der their superintendence and diraction, 
as hereinafter named, such money as is 
now authorized by the existing laws of 
this state to be raised by lottery for the 
purpose of making up the losses which 
have been sustained in former lotteries 
and that the said corporation shall have 
power to sell and dispose of said lotter- 
ies in any manner they maj^ deem prop- 
er" and the city was required to pay 
into the treasury of the state the sum 
of forty thousand dollars in two equal 
installments for the grant of these lot- 
tery privdeges. 

Prior to 1829 Union'CoUege had bought 
up nearly all the lotteries authorized by 
the act of 1814 for colleges and other 
purposes; and it was probably the last in- 
stitution in the state interested in lotter- 
ies, as It had been the largest beneficiary 
of them. Soon after that year the pub- 
lic sentiment became imparative that all 
lotteries in this state should cease, and 
so by the act chapter 306 of the laws of 
1833. it was provided that "all lotteries 
authorized by law within this state may 
be continued until the close of the pres- 
ent year, after the end of which period 
it shall not be lawful to continue or 
draw any lottery within this state; but 
all and every lottery granted or author- 
ized within this state shall absolutely 
cease and determine" Thus lottery 


gambling within this state, so far as the 
law could supress it came to an end. 

The influence of lotteries during all 
the years of their existence was most dis- 
asterous. It was nearly as bad as that 
of the dram shops and tippling houses. 
The passing years were strewn with the 
wrecks of many lives. They fostered 
idleness and dissipation. They deprived 
laborers of the earnings they needed for 
their families and led to penury and 
pauperism; and our wonder now is that 
they were tolerated so long. A lucky 
ticket did not usually benefit the buyer as 
was illustrated in this town. Sometime 
between the year 1830 and 1830 a man 
who went by the name of Major Barker, 
a barber living here, drew a prize of 
ten thousand dollars or more and it 
ruined him. He at once commenced to 
celebrate his good luck. He hired a six 

horse team and had the horses hitched 
to a sleigh, on the 4th day of July and 
was drawn to Utica. He entered upon 
a prolonged debauch and ended a pauper 
finally dying in the poor-house. Another 
man, William Tabor drew fifteen hun- 
dred dollars and ever after led a vaga- 
bond life and died poor. 

I will now bring this paper to a close, 
simply saying- that we may congratulate 
ourselves that we live in times when all 
kinds of gambling are less rife than they 
were in the early years of this century, 
when the wages of labor, instead of be- 
ing expended at lottery offices, are to so 
large an extent placed in saving banks 
and in life insurance, and when private 
benevolence and general taxation fur- 
nish the funds needed for seminaries of 
learning and other philanthropic works. 




Delivered l)efore the Herkimer County Historical Societ}', November lo, 1896. 

I was born in the village of Herkimer 
in the yellow house whicli stood on the 
lot now occupied by A. B. Klock, near 
the bridge over the hydraulic canal on 
German street, on the 29th day of April 
1816. Herkimer has been my home since 
that time. I have been absent from the 
village less than four years including the 
time when I was in the United States 
service during the Civil war. I am the 
only male inhabitant of the village of 
Herkimer who was born here ovtr eighty 
years ago. There are now but two in- 
habitants of the village who were born 
here prior to 1816, namely; Mrs. Eliza- 
beth Gray, the widow of Gen. Charles 
Gray, who is in her ninety-first year, 
and Mrs. Nancy Gray, widow oF Alexan- 
der M. Gray, who is in her eighty-second 

I believe that the following list of 
buildings in the village seventj" years ago 
is substantially correct. In most cases I 
have also made mention of the buildings 
of seventy years ago which are now 
standing. In many cases they have been 
enlarged and repaired. 


Commencing at the west line of the 
corporation the first house was that of 
Frederick Doxtader, which is now owned 
and occupied by Lewis Mead; next was 
the farmhouse of Christopher Bellinger, 

the grand-father of Jacob G. Bellinger^ 
which is now occupied by George W. 
Pine. Next was the store and tavern of 
Jacob Weaver, the Indian trader, com- 
monly called, "King Weaver.' This is 
the building which was destroyed by fire 
about two years ago. Next was the tan- 
nery where Horrock's desk factory now 
stands. Next was the farm-house of 
John and Richard Syllaboch, which 
stood where William Horrock's now 
lives. Next was a school house which 
stood near the white house now occupied 
by Mrs. Strouse and back of that and 
near the little creek (called Helmer's 
creek) but on the opposite side, was a 
house occupied by John Adam Hartman, 
and a short distance up Helmer creek 
was a grist mill; near the hill and back 
of the house now occupied by Fred Bel- 
linger,, was the farm-house of Peter Bow- 
man. This house was moved to the site 
of the house where William Horrock's 
now lives and was destroyed by tire and 
then the present brick house was built. 
Where Fred Bellinger now lives was a 
house occupied by Mrs. Hamlin; on the 
flat land in the Bellinger pasture was 
the house of Frederick Myers. Next j 
was the house of Maj. Gen. Michael 
Myers, where C. L. Avery now lives and 
which is owned by Peter F. Bellinger. 
Next was the house of Dr. William Petrie, 
grand father of Samuel and Robert Earl, 


DOW occupied by Robert Earl 2nd, was the tannery dwelling house which ig 

Al^out where George F. Miller and A. O. 
McMath now live wa-i the old store of 
King Weaver. This store was moved to 
the south side of German street and now 
is the double house owned by Louis Turn- 
ier. At the head of Main street was the 
house of Jacob P. Weaver, now owned 
by Mis. Dr. Pryne. A short distance 
east of tiie Jacob P. Weaver house was 

near the cheese factory and now occu- 
pied as a dairy house. Next was the 
house of Frederick and William Helmer, 
which was an old wooden and mud house; 
this house was moved back and the pres- 
ent bricK house was built. The bricks to 
build this house were obtained on the 
farm on the north side of the turnpike. 
Where Jacob G. Bellinger lives was the 

the Talcott tavern; this building was house of Henry Helmer; this house was 
moved by Charles Spinner and is now the moved to the east side of Main street and 
south part of the Mansion house on Main is the double house next to Alonzo Rust's. 

street. Across the hydraulic canal was 
the house of my father, John Suiter, 
wheie I was born; this building was a 
hotel until the great wes ern turnnike 
was built, and as that road was laid out 
down Main street, the hotel lost its cus- 
tom and the Talcott tavern abov© men- 
tioned was built. On the corner of Dorf 
lane and German street was a tobacco 

Next was the house of Frederick P. Bell- 
inger which is now occupied by Henry 
H. Bellinger and his sisters. At the cor- 
ner of Washington and German streets 
was a tenant house owned by Jacob 
P. Weaver; this house was occupied by 
poor people; in those days the three poor- 
masters of tbe town sold the labor of the 
paupers to the person who would take 

factory owned by John Suiter. East of them for the least sum and support them 
the machine shop of A. B. Klock was and Mr. Weaver was ofi en a purchaser, 
the house of George F. Hilts; next was Next was the house of Melchert Folts 
the house of Con. O'Rorke. Next a about where Miss Kate Folts now lives. 
house owned by Peter Weaver, brother Nearly opposite the dairy house of Will- 
of Jacob P. Weaver, which was where iam Smith was the dwelling house and 
the tenant house lately owned by Will- factory of Levi Morehouse. Nearly op- 
iam Smith now stands. Next was the posite the places now occupied by Perry 
homestead of John, Nicholas and George G. Wires and Jacob H. Harter was a saw 

Smith, which was the house where Will 
iam Smith Jived and died. Next was 
the house of Mathew Smith which stood 
where W. C. Prescott recently lived. 
Next the house of Nicholas F. Smith, 

mill and cloth factory of Mr. Bisby. 


The next house below the tenant house 
of Jacob P. Weaver oo the corner of 
Washngton and German streets was the 

Next a house occupied by Timothj- Smith, house of Mr. Daniel Chapman, a lawyer, 
Paul Custer and others near Lake street; which house I now own and occupy. Next 
next a house of Peter Weaver also near was the house of Joel Tubbs which is 
Lake street. Next the house of Mr. now occupied by Mrs. Lints. Next, 
Bisby which is the one on the place now where L. J. Folts now lives was the 
owned by Dr. Pryne: next the dwelling school house; in the rear of the school 
house and blacksmith shop of Peter house was an old tenement house. The 
Myers on the place now owned by Mrs. house where Glen P. Munson now lives 
Perry G. Wires, next the house occu- was the residence of Lauren Ford, a law- 
pied by John Welter and others, which yer. A potashery stood where Frank H. 
is the old house a short distance east of Smith and Henry McNeal now live, next 
Mrs. Wires place, and east of this and was the residence of Simeon Ford, a law- 
the last house in the corporation was the yer; the building is cow owned by 
residence of Frederick J. Helmer; this Michael Foley. Next was a rectifying 
house is still standing but has been house about where Joseph Folts now 
moved out of the corporation. lives, but back farther from the street. 

SOUTH SIDE OF GERMAN STREET. Next was the house of Dr. Harvey W. 

Opposite the Horrock's desk factory Doolittle where W. B. Howell now lives; 


this house was moved to the west side of 
Prospect street and is the second house 
north of Judge 1 R. Devendorf's. Next 
was the residence of Mr. Munger and is 
thehoase next south of Dr. Shaper's and 
is now owned by Elisha Lyon. When 
I was a small boy there was no house 
south of this one on the north side of the 

Lots on Washington street sixty six 
feet front then sold for forty dollars a 

The house where Stephen Taylor now 
lives was built by Asa Wood. Next was 
the house of Mrs. Carlisle, which stood 
where W. P. Munson now lives; this 
house was moved back and is where 
William Hartman now lives. Where 
the store occupied by Treobeth & Co. 
now is, was the residence of John Earl, 
father of Robert and Samuel Earl. The 
re?.r part of the store is a part of the old 
residence. Next was John Earl's black- 
smith shoj) 


The house belonging to the Myers es- 
tate stood on the site of old Fort Dayton, 
back of Mrs. Goldsmith's place and I be- 
lieve the house is still standing. 

On the corner of Washington and 
Court street was a house owned by Wal- 
ter Fish: this house was moved several 
times and is now on the northeast corner 
of Smith and Pine streets. 

Where M. Foley has recently built two 
new houses was a tenement house belong- 
ing to the Griswold estate, and where 
Father Halpin now lives, was also a tene- 
ment house belonging to the GrisA^oId 

The house in which Mrs. A. H. Pres- 
cott now lives was a part of the house of 
Dr. Elihu Griswold. The next building 
was the blacksmith shop of Mr. Avery at 
the lower corner of Green and Washing- 
ton streets. Andrew Bartow lived on 
the lot now owned by Mr. Metiger in a 
house which is now a tenant house in 
the rear of the houses on Green street 
and is owned by Mrs. George Myers. 
Mr. Horace Morse lived on a lot owned 
by Adam Dager in a large house which 
was recently torn down. Where H. A. 
Deimel now lives was the cabinet shop 

of Benjamin Kelsey and in the second 
story of this building was the Masonic 
hall. C. D. Lounsberry lived in a house 
across the railroad on what is now rail- 
road property; this building was moved 
to the north side of the turnpike on or 
near Deimel street. 


The first house was the Winnie house 
in which Mrs. Taber now lives. Next 
was the store of Farwell & Woodruflf on 
the corner of Court street where Dr. 
Suiter's house is; it was afterward used 
as a dwelling house and was moved 
away when Dr. Suiter built his house. 

On the farther corner of Court and 
Main Streets was the old jail and court 
house, a wooden buildmg which was 
burned in 1834. The house where J. A. 
Steele' now lives was built partly of the 
office of Gaylord Griswold. 

The house on this lot was moved to 
the east side of Washington street and is 
now owned by C. A. Snyder; next where 
the Episcopal church now is, was the 
residence of Gaylord Griswold; it was 
moved to the west side of Main street 
and has lately been remodeled and is now 
occupied by H. P. Witherstine. The ho- 
tel of Windsor Maynard was on the cor- 
ner where Mrs. Monroe lives. 

Next where the furniture store occu- 
pied by John Campbell is, was a small 
building occupied as a mechanic shop; 
where the Fox block now is was a block 
of wooden stores which were burned and 
a block of brick stores was subsequently 

Where the Waverly hotel is, was the 
Whiting hotel which was burned and 
rebuilt. Where the Herkimer bank is, 
was a jewelery shop. The Stimson 
house is a portion of the hotel and resi- 
dence of Thomas G. Barnum, The store 
«f Thomas G. Barnum and his cabinetj 
shop was on the Washburn place. Where 
W. B. Howell's store is, was the dwellingj 
house of Jacob Aid rich. Next, wherej 
the Metzger block is was the store of I 
James Byers, who was the grandfather 
of the Addys and Mrs. J. Horatio Huyck, f 
and the jewelry shop of Mr. Munger. I 
The store of James Byers was moved toj 
Smith street when the Metger block waaj 


built and is the house vp-hich was recent- house in the rear occupied by Cornelius 
ly owned by Garrison Smith. In the Conover; this dwelling house vv as moved 
rear of Byers store was the printing office to the north side of Church street and is 
of the Herkimer Aine^'ican published by now on the back part of John Camp- 
Edward Seymour. On the other corner bell's lot. The north part of the present 
of Main and Green streets was a large Mansion house was the Smith hotel, 
building called the town house which The meat market of I. G. Miller was the 
was burned. Next was the store and dwelling house of Mr. Norris. Where 
residence of James VanAntwerp, which the Palmer house now is, was the store 
is the building where Mrs. Peter I. Lep- of P. M. Hackley and where Dr. Kay 
per now lives. now live^ was a building occupied by 
The house in which Dr. Graves lives Horace Morse as a drug store; a port- 
was a portion of the hat and cap factory ion of this building is still standing, 
of Bloorafield Usher Sr. Next was the Where C R. Snell livps was the resi- 
dwelling of James Claghorn and Benja- dence of Mr. Gill. The house now 
min Derby, which stood on the site of owned by D. M. Burgess, was the resi- 
the Graves brick building; the old build- dence of Philo M. Hackley. Where 
ing was moved down the street and is Mrs. Elizabeth Gray now lives was the 
now occupied by N. P. Mount as a liquor house of Mr. Lapham, which was moved 
store; where the Deimel & Schermer to Green street and is now occupied by 
block now is, was the hotel of Joach n Dr. Backus. On the property given by 
Van Valken burg .The building occupied Juige Earl and wife to the village for a 
tjy Casper Haller was the harness shop library, was the residence and shop of 
of Alfred Putman. Where the Nelson Mark Batchelder and the residence of 

house now is, was the hotel of Asher 
Heacox; the rear part of the Nelson 
hoixse is a part of the old building, 

On the south side of the turnoike 

Mr. Blair, who was a son-in-law of Elihu 
Griswold. The residence of Mr. Batchel- 
der is a part of the Monro© Building at 
the corner of Main and Mary streets; 

about where the depot now stands was the shop was moved to Pine street and 
the store and dwelling house "Of Ralph is owned by Harvey Reese. The Blair 
Merry; this building is now one of the house was moved to the east side of 
Putman dout^le houses on the east side Washington street and is the second 
of Prospect street. Below Ralph Merry's house above J. A. Suiter Jr. The Law- 
place and on what is now railroad prop- ton house on the corner of Main and 

«rty, were four old dwelling houses. 


First was a tenement house on the 
place now owned by Judge Smith. Next 
TPas the residence of John Harter which 

Liberty streets, now owned by Dr. Kay, 
was the residence of Dr. Andrew Farrell. 
The building on tRe other corner owned 
by Dr. Pryne was the house of Dr. Tomb- 
lin and the office now owned bv Dr. 

is still standing, being the house next Pryne is the same office used by Dr. 
north of W. C. Prescott's. Next was the Tomblin. The house occupied by Mr. 
blacksmith shop of John Harter about Cyrus Kay was the house occupied by 

where G. M. Helmer now lives. Next 
and about where the Herkimer County 
Grange store now is, was the harness 
shop occupied by F. E. Spinner and tin- 
shop occupied by John Suiter. On the 

Edward P. Seymour. The dwelling 
house of Dr. Abrams, was where War- 
ren Caswell now lives. The rear part of 
the house of Mrs. Murray was the resi 
dence of Alfred Putman. There were 

lot now owned by A. B. Steele was the two tenement houses owned by Alfred 

slaughter house of Warren Caswell, Putman about where the Democrat 

father of ex-postmaster Warren Caswell, printing office and J. T. Colcord's store 

Next was the Dutch Reformed church, now are. The law office of William B- 

then a woolen building which was GolT was where Prowse & Thomson's 

burned in 1834 Where the jail now is store now is, and the residence of Mr. 

was a cow bell factory and a dwelling Goflf was where the Arnold block now is: 


this house was moved to tfae site of the 
Universalist church. Below the rail raod 
on what is now railroad property was the 
wagon shop and residence of Alexander 
McKennan, grandfather of John A. Mc- 
Kennan. The residence and cooper shop 
of Boaz Draper, grandfather of Mathew 
Draper, was near the K C, Munson 


The first building, on the southwest 
corner of Prospect and Church streets, 
was a distillery conducted by James 
Byers. Where the Misses Chatfield now 
live was a tenement house owned by P. 
M. Hackiey. Next was the residence 
and cooper shop of Samuel Luke, just 
south of H. M. Quackenbush's shop. 

Next, on the corner of Liberty street 
was the residence of Jonathan Dye. On 
the south corner was the residence of 
Jabez Fox, now occupied by John Zintz- 
master. The last house on the street 
and at the foot of the street was the res- 
idence of Rev. John P. Spinner, after- 
ward owned by Peter B. Spinner. 


Where Morris Marks now lives was the 
distillery of P. M. Hackiey; where 
James Fagan lives was the potashery of 
P. M. Hackiey. Where Albert Wilbur 
now lives was the tannery of Mr. Kas- 
bach, grandfather of Charles Rasbach. 
The house owned by Jacob W. Petrie 
was where H. M. Quackenbush now 
lives. This house was moved to Pine 
street and is now occupied by Heman 
Rowland. Next was the residence of 
Enoch Talcott. The last bouse on this 
side of tiie street was the residence of 
Judge John Mahon. which stood about 
where the Methodist parsonage now is. 


On the south side of the turnpike near- 
ly opposite the shop of J. A. Suiter was 
rhe house of Bloomfield Usher Sr. This 
bouse was moved to the west side of 
Washington street. 

On the north side of Albany street 
where the the Edick house now is was 
the hotel of Benjamin Kelsey. 

Near the West Canada creek north 
of the turnpike was a large grist mill, 
saw mill and whiskey distillery and sta- 
bles where they fatteil cattle and hogs 
in great numbers. These buildings 
were owned by Windsor Maynard. On 
the turnpike, and this side of the old toll 
gate was a dwelling house occupied by 
the Millers. 


On the south side of Green street were 
hay scales, but not of the kind used to- 
day. To weigh a load on a wagon they 
used to hitch a chain to each of the four 
wheels and pull the wagon up by ropes> 
run on pulleys. 

On the north side of Green street 
where Mrs. Nichols lives was the house 
of Nicholas Sterling and the dwelling 
house of James Byers was a part of the 
tin shop of John Metzger. 

There were no buildings on Mary street 
except on the corners. 


David Petrie had a tenement house 
near the present clerk's ofBce. The 
blacksmith shop of Joel Tubbs was near- 
ly opposite Levi Lawtons. 


On the north side of Liberty street was 
the office of Dr. Andrew Farrell. This 
building was recently torn down by 
Charles B. Perry to make room for his 
new bouse. 



Delivered before the Herkimer Counts' Historical Society, November lo, 1S96. 

I have met several interesting people 
who had relation to important historical 
«vents of whom I will write a brief pa- 
per that may have some interet to the 
members of this society. 


The war between the two European 
powers, England and France, in the 
middle of the last century, commonly 
called the seven years war, was in large 
part fought out upon this continent. 
Here the question involved was, whether 
the French or the English should domi- 
nate this country. The English guided 
and stimulated by the great talents, in- 
spiring enthusiasm and wise statesman- 
ship of the elder Pitt finally put an end 
in that war to the dominion of France 
on this side of the Atlantic Quebec 
was taken under the heroic leadership 
of General Wolf in 1759; and in 1760 
the whole of Canada came under the 
British crown. The inhabitants of this 
country fought and suffered for the 
English cause. 

The Palatines came here about 1723, 
and in thirty-five years had grown to 
about three hundred. They were hardy 
and industrious. They had comfortable 
homes, good farms, plenty of horses, 
cattle and other live stock, and their 

houses were abundantly furnished with 
plain hut useful and substantial furnit- 
ure. Indeed they were considered rich 
and were m better condition than they 
ever before had been in this country or 
in their European home. 

While the inhabitants were slumber- 
ing in peace, unconscious of danger, at 
three o'clock in the morning of Novem- 
ber 12, 1757, the French and Indians 
coming from Canada, by the way of the 
Black River country, came upon the 
village here, and with a wild war whoop 
entered upon their savage work of de- 
struction. When the inhabstants were 
aroused, they found their cruel enemy 
applying the torch to their houses and 
reaping the harvest of death. The en- 
tire village was destroyed. Twenty or 
more of the inhabitants were killed. At 
least one hundred men, women and 
children were taken captives, and the 
remainder escaped to Fort Herkimer on 
the south side of the river. Among the 
captives were Capt. Henry Barter and 
his wife Abelone and they with the 
others were taken on their lone: jour- 
ney to Canada. While Mrs. Harter was 
in captivity, at Prescott, in Canada, May 
4, 1758, she gave birth to a little girl. 
She and her husband and their child 


after about one year of captivity, were 
rpturned to their home here; and that 
child grew up to maturity a btautiful 
woman. She subsequently became the 
wife of General Michael Myers, the most 
prominent and important person in the 
Mohawk valley; and she became the 
mother of sons and daughters who were 
distinguished for their beauty and the 
elegance of their manners. Long years 
after the dtath of General Myers, I 
knew his widow well. She died Septem- 
ber 4th, 1839, aged eightj -one years and 
four months, and for several years be- 
fore her death I lived near her upon an 
adjoining lot in this village. She lived 
where Mr. Avery now lives and I lived 
upon the lot where the family of my 
deceased brother now lives. She waa a 
slender woman of medium stature and 
delicate and handsome features, and re- 
fined and attractive in mind and man- 
ners. She, like most of the old Palatines 
talked Mohawk Dutch better than Eng- 
lish. Her descendants living in this 
county are quite numerous. From one 
daughter are descended Mrs. E. A. 
Brown, of Dolgeville, and her brothers, 
Mr. Giles Grisw old and Mrs C R. Snell 
and their brother and sisters; Mr. Frank 
Barry and his brothers, all of Herkimer; 
Mrs. Mason Van Slyke and the children 
of the late Mrs. Charles Dorr, of Little 
Falls. From a son. Matthew Myers, is 
descended Mrs. Margaret F. Rawdon, of 
Little Falls. From her son. Peter M. 
Myers, are descended Mrs. Dr. Casey 
and her brother Henry M. Bellinger, of 
Mohawk. From another son, Henry 
Myers is descended Mrs. Henry M. Bel- 
linger; and there are many descendants 
elsewhere in this and other states. 

Thus my memory carries me back 
through five generations of descendants, 
from grand children of great grand chil- 
dren to one whose romantic history has 
relation to a great war, and to a historic 
event of great importance in the early 
annals of this region of country, 


In 1764 Peter Hassenclever, a German 
by birih, of great intelligence, enterprise 
and more enthusiasm than good judg- 
ment, came to this country in the inter- 

est of a London company of which he 
was a member, to engage in the produc- 
tion of pig iron, hemp and pot and pearl 
ashes; and in that year he imported 
from Germany a large number of Ger- 
mans with their wives and children to 
work for him as miners, carpenters and 
in other capacities. By the end of the 
yt ar 1766, he had in operation in New 
Jersey and on the Hudson river furnaces 
and forges for the manufacture of iron, 
and in Schuyler, in this county, a pot 
aud pearl ash manufactory. The place 
where he locited in Sciiuyler, was called 
New Petersburg, and there he built two 
frame houses and thitty-five log houses. 
He placed upon this settlement some of 
the people whom he had imported from 
Germany, and began the cultivation of 
hemp, flax, madder and the production 
of pot and pearl ashes. In 1769 he, 
with his associates, obtained a patent 
for 18,000 acres of land, commonly 
called Hassenclever patent located in 
the towns of Herkimer. Newport and 
Schuyler. He also purchased 6755 acres 
of land in and about New Petersburg, 
in Cosby's Manor, where his farmmg 
and other operations were cairied 
on. He also purchased 50,000 acres 
of land in New Jersey, 11,500 acres near 
Crown Point, on Lake Champlain, and 
40,000 acres in Nova Scotia. He had in- 
timate relations with Sir William John- 
son and was a frequent visitor at John- 
son Hall. His was among the earliest 
efforts to introduce the manufacture of 
iron into this coantry. The conditions 
were unfavorable and through various 
misfortunes and misadventures, all his 
enterprises in this countrj- came to grief, 
and he became a bankrupt. He returned 
to Germany and there engaged in the 
linen manufacture and died in 1792 
much lamented. New Petersburg was 
at the place now known as East Schuy- 
ler. Hassenclever established a store 
there, the first within the present limits 
of this county, which was managed for 
him by my mother's grandfather, John 

Among the persons brought over from 
Germany by Hassenclever. were Freder- 
ick Oyer and his stepson, John Finster, 


then about five years old. Oyer built 
and lived in a log house near where the 
Oyer cheose factory now^ is That house 
was burned down by the Indians, and 
his eon George was killed by them 
He was killed in the battle of Oiis- 
kany, and his stepson Finster was 
also in the same battle. Finster came 

take Montreal and then go down the St. 
Lawrence and meet Arnold before Que- 
bec for an assault upon that stronghold. 
Washington in his letter of instructions 
to Arnold said: "You are entrusted with 
a command of the utmost importance to 
the liberties of America. On your con- 
duct and courage and that of the officers 

from Germany in the same vessel and soldiers detached on this expedition, 
with my grandfather, and in my boy- not only the success of your pi^sent en- 
hood he frequently came to my home, terprise and your own honor, but the 
He was then an old man, but he lived safety and welfare of the whole country 
until 1855, when he died nearly ninety- tnay depend." 

six years old. He left many descendants Eleven hundred men were placed un- 

in this county, one of whom, a grand- der his command at Cambridge, Massa- 

daughrer married Alexis L Johnson, a chusets, then the head quarters of Wash- 

veneraDle member of this society. His ington. From that place this little army 

name is associated with the early settle- started on the 11th of September, 1775, for 

ment of Schuyler and with interest- Newburyport; and reaching that place, 
events of the Revolu- 

ing historical 
tionary war. 


If Benedict Arnold had 
battle of 

they embarked in transports and were 

conveyed to the mouth of the Kennebec 

river. Then they started upon their 

died at the fearful journey, surrounded by every 

Saratoga, in which he was difficulty which could apall the stoutest 

wounded, his death would hearts. The way was unknown. There 

have been mourned by aH the patriots were rugged mountains, dismal swamps, 
of the country and he would have been rapid rivers and tangled, unbroken for- 
remembered in history as one of the ests to overcome. The weather became 
most gallant and heroic soldiers of the cold and they had to contend with frost 
Revolution. But his subsequent treason and snow. Their provisions became ex- 
blotted out his merits, blackened his bausted and they had to subsist on short 
character and ever since has caused his rations. They even ate roots, the flesh 
name to be justly execrated. of dogs and some of them boiled and 

At the begining of the Revolutionary broiled their old moose hide breeches 
war the patriotic statesman and soldiers and ate them. During the whole jour- 
contemplated the conquest of Canada ney, Arnold shared the hardships of his 
and her union with the colonies in resis- soldiers and every danger to which they 
tance to British Dominion on this side of were exposed. His heroism and forti- 
the Atlantic. One of the earliest to sug- tude inspired them with) confidence and 
gest this project was Arnold, and it re- there was little murmuring, although 
ceived the hearty approval of General many of the soldiers died and some, in a 
Washington. In the summer of 1775 the body under Lieutenant Colonel Ebos, 
British forts at Ticonderoga and Crown deserted. Finally, after a march of six 
Point had been taken: and thus the road hundred miles, in November he reached 
to Canada by way of Lakes George and Quebec with about six hundred and sev- 
Champlain was opened. The final plan enty-five men. In the meantime, Gen- 
of the campain against Canada was to eral Schuyler having become ill. General 
send two armies, one under the com- Montgomery had succeeded him in the 
mand of General Schuyler by way of command of the army which went by 
these lakes, and the other under Arnold the way of the lakes. He had taken 
by the way of the Kennebec river Montreal and he went down the St. 
through the wilderness and over the Lawrence river to Quebec and there, 
mountains of Main to Quebec. The early in December, with three hundred 
forces under Schuyler were expected to men, effected a junction with Arnold, 


Montgomery and Arnold were both 
young, the former thirty-seven and the 
latter thirty-four yfars of age. The city 
was defended by two hunored cannon 
and by soldiers twice the number of the 
assailants; and yet these heroic leaders, 
with their brave soldiers .were unappaled 
and undaunted. It was arranged that 
on the last day of the year the forces 
should be divided between the two lead- 
ers and that they should lead the attack 
on two different quarters of the city. 
The soldiers were put in motion at two 
o'clock A. M., and the carpenters with 
Montgomery, sawed off some of the 
pickets protecting the city in that quar- 
ter. Through the opening thus made, 
Montgomery with his aids entered, and 
he found himself in advance of his troops. 
He paused until about sixty of his men 
joined him, and then shouting "Men of 
New York, you will not fear to follow 
where your General leads, come on my 
brave boys, and Quebec is ours." He 
rushed forward with his men towards a 
battery in his front; and the cannon 
loaded with grape shot were discharged 
into their breasts; and Montgomery and 
several of his officers and men were killed 
and wounded. Some were taken pris- 
oners and the others being without their 
leader fled. And so the British garrison 
was left free to concentrate all its force 
upon the quarter attacked by Arnold. 
Many of the assailants under him were 
killed, wounded or taken prisoners. 
Arnold was among the wounded but 
was not taken prisoner. He, with 
the remnant of his army retreated and 
reached Montreal; and from there went 
up Lake Champlain, Lake George and 
so on to Albany, reaching the latter 
place in November, 1776. Arnold, for 
his skill and heroism in this campaign, 
was made a Brigadier General. 

It is an interesting incident that Mont- 
gomery was with General Wolf sixteen 
years before when the English, under 
his command took Quebec from the 
French, their gallant leader dying he- 
roically in the moment of victory. Now 
Montgomery lost his life in the attempt 
of the Americans under his command to 
take the same city from the English. 

He probably heard General Wolf the 
night before his death repeat those pa- 
thetic lines from Gray's Elegy in a 
Church Yard, saying to his men that he 
"Would rather be the author of that 
poem than take Quebec." 

"The boast of heraldy, the pomp of power 
And all that beauty, all that wealth ere gave, 

Await like the ioevitable hour. 
The paths of glory lead but to the grave " 

The mournful sentiment of these lines 
were sij-jnally illustrated in the lives and 
deaths of both these heroes. 

I have made this brief sketch of 
Arnolds campaign for the purpose of 
introducing David Pettes. He was with 
Arnold in his Canadian campaign, and 
I had from his own lips, his account 
of his experiences. When I knew him 
he was a pensioner and lived in my 
home. He marched with Arnold through 
Maine to Quebec and when the forces 
were there, divided between Montgom- 
ery and Arnold, he was among those as- 
signed to the former. He was with the 
few soldiers who entered with Montgom- 
ery through the opening made by saw- 
ing off the pickets as above related, and 
was beside him when the cannon of the 
enemy were discharged and caught him 
in his arms as he fell mortally wounded. 
He wa? taken prisioner and remained 
such until August 11, 1776, when he was 
released upon his parole; and in 1777 he 
was exchanged. He subsequently took 
part in the battles of Bemis Heights and 
Saratoga which resulted in the defeat 
and capture of the army of General Bur- 
goyne. Thus I knew one of the heroes 
of the Revolutionary War, who was en- 
gaged in a campaign which has never 
in the world's history been surpassed for 
the hardships and sufferings endured 
and the fortitude and courage displayd 
by the soldiers. 


It is hard to realize now the diflSculties 
of transportation ia the early part of 
this century. Transportation upon water 
along the sea -coast, and upoa the naviga- 
ble rivers was comparatively cheap and 
easy. But inland the roads were so poor 
that the cost of moving products to dis- 
tant points was enormous, and frequent- 



ly consumed their eatire value. At firs' 
the difficulties of transportation were 
sought to be overcome by the building 
of turnpikes. In this state alone, by the 
year 1811. one hundred and thirty-seven 
turnpike companies had been organized. 
About 1811 the freight from New York 
to Lewiston, at the mouth of the Niag» 
ra river nearly all the way by water, 
was $40 per ton besides tolls. It cost 
$2.50 to move a bushel of salt and $5.00 
to move one hundred pounds of sugar 
over any road tjjree hundred miles. The 
average cost of land transportation of a 
ton was $10 per hundred miles. In 1816 
the fare for one person Jupon a stage 
from Boston to Washington, was $30. In 
1817 the freight from Fhiladelphia to 
Pittsburg was $9.50 per hundred pounds, 
and in 1818 from New York to Pittsburg 
$6.00 per hundred pounds, and $4.50 per 
hundred pounds to Sandusky or Detroit. 
When the Atlantic coast navigation was 
interrupted by the war of 1812, all the 
commerce between the North and South 
was carried on by land; and it was esti- 
mated that four thousand wagons and 
twenty thousand horses and oxen were 
used for that purpose. It took two 
months for a wagon to go from Boston 
to Augusta, Georgia, and fifty days to 
go there from New York. 

Early in the century, enterprising and 
inventive men began to consider other 
means of transportation than those be- 
fore used. The steam boat was invented 
by Fulton and the first steamboat, the 
Cleremont, went upon the Hudson river 
from New York to Albany in 1809, in 
thirty-two hours which was considered a 
great achievement. Soon there was a 
great furor for navigation by steam, and 
enterprising men and capitalists in the 
North and South formed companies for 
placing steam vessels upon the principal 
navigable waters, and the Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi were among the first rivers to 
attract their attention. The first steam- 
boat that passed down the Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi was built at Pittsburg and went 
down those rivers to New Orleans in 
1811; and I knew a man who went down 
those rivers upon that boat on her first 
trip. His Dame was Henry Freeman, 

an intelligent man living on the board- 
ers of Schuyler lake, in Richfield, Otse- 
go county. I knew him ab )ut 1853, and 
for some time af tt r that. He lived to see 
steamboats upon nearly all the navigable 
streams and lakes of our country and up- 
on the ocean, passing to and fro like the 
shuttles of a loom, weaving together the 
commerce of the world. We are living 
in a time when freight is transported up- 
on the railroads of the country at an 
average cost of less than six mills (.579) 
for a ton per mile, and passengers at an 
average cost of less than two cents 
(1.955) per mile. And yet there is great 
clamor in some pans of the country for 
cheaper transportation. 

Thus I write of Henry Freeman, as 
one who had relation to a great historic 


It is impossible to say now who first 
suggested the construction of a canal 
connecting the waters of Lake Erie with 
the Hudson river at Albany. General 
Phillip Schuyler was amorg the earliest 
projectors of canals in this state. The plan 
of building a canal from Lake Erie to the 
Hudson was agitated as early as 1808. 
Subsequently surveys and estimates were 
from time to time made. Efforts were 
made to procure the assistance of the 
general government and of other states 
in building the canal, but they failed. 
Prominent among those engaged in th& 
project was DeWitt Clinton, who by 
voice and pen and personal influeace and 
efforts did more to forward the work 
than anyone else; and hence he has just- 
ly been called the "'Father of the Erie 
Canal." Two canal projects went hand 
in hand; one to build the Erie canal and 
the other to build the Champlain canal 
connecting the Hudson river with Lake 
Champlain. In 1816 an act of the Leg- 
islature was passed entitled. "An act 
to provide for the improvement of the 
internal navigation of this State," in 
which DeWitt Clinton and four others 
were appointed commissioners to con- 
sider, devise and adopt measures for the 
construction of canals to connect the 
Hudson river with Lake Erie and also 
with Lake Champlain. They were au- 


horized and required to make applica- 
tions on behalf of the state to Congress 
and to such^, states and territories as 
might be benefited by the canals or either 
of them, to the proprietors of 'and 
through or near which the canals might 
pass, to all bodies politic and corporate, 
public or private, and to all citizens of 
this or any other of the United States, 
for cessions, grants or donations of land 
or money for the purpose of aiding in 
the construciion of the canals. In Feb- 
ruary 1817, the commissioners made to 
the Legislature their report, giving the 
surveys, plans and estimates, and other 
valuable information and showing the 
feasibility of the canals. William D. 
Ford, then a member of the Assembly 
from this county, who had also been a 
member the previous year, moved in the 
Assembly that the report be refered to a 
joint committee of both houses; and his 
motion was adopted. He and four others 
were appointed the joint committee, and 
he was made chairman of the committee. 
This committe examined the report of 
the canal Commissioners and drew up a 
report to the Legislature recommending 
the construction of the Erie and Cham- 
plain canals, and containing the outlines 
of the canal fund. On the 19th day of 
March 1817, Mr. Ford brought in a bill 
for the construction of the two canals 
which passed on the 15th of April, 1817. 
The bill was entitled "An act respecting 
navigable communication between the 
Great Western and Northern lakes and 
the Atlantic ocean;" and the following 
was its preamble showing the broad en- 
lightened views entertained by the men 
who framed it: "Whereas navigable 
communications between Lakes Erie and 
Champlain, and the Atlantic ocean, by 
means of canals connected with the 
Hudson river will promote agriculture, 
matiufactures and commerce, mitigate 
the calamities of war, and enhance the 
blessings of peace, consolidate the Union 
and advance the prosperity and elevate 
the character of the United States: and 
Whereas it is the incumbent dutj' of the 
people of this state to avail themselves 
of the means which the Almighty has 
placed ia their hands for the production 

of such signal extensive and lasting ben- 
efits to the 'human race; Now therefore, 
in the full confidence that the Congress 
of the United States, and the states 
equally interested with this state in the 
commencement, prosecution and com- 
ple ion of these important works, will 
contribute their full portion of the ex- 
pense; and in order that adequate funds 
may be procured and properly arranged 
and [managed for the prosecution and 
completion of all the navigable com- 
munications contemplated by this act. 
Be it enacted'' &c. 

The act provided that there should be 
a canal fund to be managed by the com- 
missioners of the canal fund, which fund 
should consist of all such appropriations, 
grants and donations as might be made 
for that purpose by the Legislature, by 
Congress, by other states and by corpora- 
tions, companies and individuals. The 
commissioners of the canal fund were 
authorized to borrow money not exceed- 
ing four hundred thousand dollars in 
any year and the canal commissioners 
named in the act of 1816 were to proceed 
with the construction of the canals. 
They were to acquire for the state the ti- 
tle to the property of the Western Inland 
Lock Navigation Company, and to the 
necessary lands for the canals. F>or the 
payment of the principal and interest of 
the canal debt, there was appropriated 
and pledged "A duty or tax of twelve 
and a half cents per bushel upon all salt 
to be manufactured in the western dis- 
trict of the state; ataxof one dollar upon 
steam-boat passengers for each and 
every trip or voyage such passenger may 
be conveyed upon the Hudson river on 
board of any steam-boat over one hundred 
miles, and half that sum for any distance 
less than one hundred miles and over 
thirty miles; the proceeds of all lotter- 
ies which shall be drawn in this state af- 
ter the sums now granted upon them 
shall be paid; all the net proceeds of 
this state from the Western Inland Lock 
Navigation Company; all the net pro- 
ceeds of the said canals and each part j 
thereof when made; all grants and do- 
nations made or to-be made for the pur- 1 
pose of making the said canals; all du-l 


ties upon sales at auction after ileducting 
thereout twenty-three thousand five hun- 
<3red dollars aa-nually appropriated to 
the hospital, the economicjal scoool and 
the orph n asylum society, and ten 
thousand dollars hereby appropriated 
annually for the support of foreign poor 
in the city of New York." Ani it was 
made the duty of the canal commission- 
ers to raise the sura of two hundred and 
fifty t4iousand dollars for canal purposes 
by causing the same to be assessd upon 
the lands lying; along the routes of the 
canals on both sides and within twenty- 
five mile-i thereof. 

Who was William D. Ford, member of 
Asembly rom this county, who was 
so prominent in the legislation inaugu- 
rating the construction of the Erie canal ? 
He was born in tthis county or came here 
early. He was educated at the Fairfield 
Academy. He studied law with Gay- 
lord Griswold and Simeon Ford, and 
was admitted to the!bar in 1809. In 1817 
he moved from this county to Water- 
town, in Jefferson county and there en- 
tered upon the practice of his profes- 
sion. Sudi were his standing and ability 
that the next year, 1818. he was 
elected, as a Democrat, to Congress from 
the Eighteenth District, composed of Jef- 
ferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence coun- 
ties. He continued to live in Water- 
town until his death 

In pursuance of the legislative act of 
1817 the commissioners proceeded with 
the construction of the canals and made 
the first contract for that purpose upon 
the Erie canal on the 27th day of June, 
1817. The first ground was broken on 
the 4th day of July thereafter at Rome, 
in the presence of the canal commission- 
ers and a large concourse of citizens. 
The middle section of tke Erie canal 
extending from Utica to the Montezuma 
marshes, a distance of ninety-four miles 
was completed by October 15, 1819; and 
on the 23rd and 24th days of the same 
month, the commissioners navigated the 
canal in a boat from Utica to Home; and 
thereafter boats navigated the canal 
seventy-five miles west of Utica, In 
1821 boats descended the canal as far as 
Little Falls and the whole canal was 

completed about the middle of Oct:)ber, 
1825. It was about three hundred sixty- 
three miles long, forty feet wide at the 
top and twenty-eighc at ili^ bottom and 
four feet deep. The first boat that ever 
pissed from Lake Erie to the Hudson was 
called the Ser^eca Chief; and it went 
down the canal the latter part of Oct- 
ober, 1825. DeWitt Climon, the Gov- 
ernor of the state, with several other 
gentlemen was on board. Another boat 
followed with the Lieutenant Governor, 
Mr. Tatlmadge. Canal Commissioner 
Henry Seymour and others on board. 
Cannon were placed at intervals along 
the canal to be fired in succession so as 
to convey (o the city of New York the 
news that the boats had started, and 
thus in one hour and twenty minutes 
the news reached New York. When the 
Seneca Chief started from Buffalo a keg 
of water from Lake Erie was puc on 
board in the presence of a vast concourse 
of people and all along the canal great 
interest and enthusiasm were manifested. 
At each of the successive villages there 
were the firing of cannon and other 
demonstiation. Leading officials and 
citizens would go on board the boats and 
go along from one village to another. 
When the boats reached Utica, Mr. 
Clarke, then president of the village, 
went on board of the Seneca Chief and 
took with him his son, Thomas Allen 
Clarke, a young lad. They remained 
on board during the remamder of the 
trip to New York. On the way down 
the Hudson river the Seneca Chief was 
followed b}^ a large number of boats and 
steamers with flags flying. Cannon 
were fired and during the night bonfires 
were lighted on the shores of the ^river. 
When they reached New York there was 
a vast concourse of people to witness 
the great event. The boats proceeded 
through the narrows to Sandy Hook and 
there Governor Clinton Knocked m the 
head of the keg and emptied the Lake 
Erie water into the ocean, making suit- 
able remarks, and there was again the 
booming of cannon and other demon- 
strations; and thus was inaugurated the 
navigation of the Erie canal which made 
the city of New York the great metrop9- 

lis of tbis country. More than sixty 
years afterwards I became acquainted 
with the young lad above mentioned, 
and found him one of the most interest- 
ing men I ever met; and he gaT*> me the 
principal facts above related as to that 
first trip through the canal. He studied 
law and v as admitted to the bar at 
Utica. Afterward he went to New Or- 
leans and became one of the leaders of 
the bar there and a very successful and 
influential citizen. During the War of 
the Rebellion, at the time General But- 
ler captured the city he was president of 
a bank there and for disobedience of 
some command issued by Butler, which 
1 have forgotten, he was imprisoned, 
bail being refused. He was soon released 
and sometime after the war came North 
and he res ded in Albany where I knew 
him until his death. Thus he was con- 
nected with one of the greatest events in 
the history of our state— an event even 
of national importance. His life spanned 
many years and few persons have ever 
witnessed greater changes than those 
which came under his eyes, and of which 
he was the graphic delineator. 


Prior to 1836, Texas was a province of 
Mexico. But for sometime before that 
year the country had been in -'nsurrec- 
tion against the Mexican government. 
On the 2nd of March, 1836, a convention 
representing the people of Texas adopted 
a Declaration of Independence, and Sam 
Houston was appointed commander-in. 
chief of the Texan forces. Then the Mex- 
icans under General Santa-Anna, five 
thousand strong, invaded Texas. A por- 
tion of these forces on the 6th of March 
took fort Alamo and put to death 185 
soldiers who defended it, among whom 
was Bowie, after whom the bowie knife 

was named, and David Crockett whose 
coon has furnished the staple of many 
a jest. A few days later, Goliad was 
captured and five hundred men were 
pur, to death by the Mexicans. On the 
2l8t of April, General Houston, with 
seven hundred and fifty men met eigh- 
teen hundred Mexicans on the borders 
of the San Jacinto under Santa Anna, 
The Texas battle cry was "Remember 
the Alamo." The fight lasted I less 
than an hour and the Mexicans were 
completely routed, losing six hundred 
and thirty killed and seven hundred 
thirty prisoners including Santa Anna. 
The result of this battle was a treaty 
with Santa Anna by which the inde- 
pendence of Texas was acknowledged. 
Texas remained an independent republic 
until December 29, 1845, when she was 
annexed to the United Statts; and war 
thereafter ensued between this country 
and Mexico. I knew Phillip Dixon, who 
was the father-in-law of Mr. Charles 
Pierce of this village. He was a soldier 
in the war for Texan independence and 
fought in the battle of San Jacinto. He 
aided m the capture of Santa Anna and 
I think he said he was in a tree when he 
was captured. He lived many years in 
this village and died in ISTl, aged sixty, 
four years. He, too, was related to a 
great historic event. Sam Houston was 
one of the most interesting men that 
ever appeared on this continent. His 
life was full of romance and strange and 
interesting incidents. He was a United 
States Senator from 1845 to 1859. I saw 
him in Washington in the spring of 1853. 
He was tall of stature and cordial and 
dignified in his manners. He was a type 
of man that our modern conditions and 
civilizations will never reproduce. 




I>elivered before the Herkimer Count}^ Historical Society, December 8, 1896. 

The stories of the past re(3orded in his- 
tory are full of mistakes. The historian 
has soraetiiaes to I-ook through a hazy 
atmosphere, and he sees inaccurately or 
not at all. He frequently mistakes the 
import of what is passing before his own 
eyes. He has generally to rely upon 
traditions, or th« recitals ot others; and 
errors will sometimes inevitably creep 
into his narative. Renan, himself a 
great historian, said: "When I read 
over what I have written, I perceive that 
I have put in a multitude of things of 
which I am not certain." 

I am led to these observations by the 
mistakes some of our local historians 
have made as to the first liberty pole 
raised in this state. It is recorded in 
the latest history of Herkimer county 
that the first liberty pole in this state, 
and the first but one in the whole coun- 
try was raised at Fort Herkimer in 
the spring of 1775. That mistake was 
repeated in one of th^e earliest papers 
read before tbis society; and t followed 
my predecessors in the paper I read on 
the "Mohawk Valley In History." I had 
some misgivings when I repeated that 
incident, and upon investigation since 
made I have found my error and have 
corrected it. 

The cap has been the emblem of liber- 
ty since the days of ancient Rome; and 
its elevation upon a pole where it could 

be seen and inspire enthusiasm and de- 
votion was a natural sequence. Hence 
the early liberty poles in this country 
were surmounted with a liberty cap, 
and the poles were called liberty poles. 

rhe early policy of England was to get 
as much advantage and draw as much 
revenue fiom her American colonies as 
she could regardless of their welfare. 
She insisted upon the right to tax them, 
and this in all its forms they resisted. In 
spite of their remonstrances, theSaraous 
Stamp Act which •did so much to fan 
the flames of Rebellion and Revolution 
in this country was in March 1765, 
passed by the English Parliament. It 
required all legal and mercantile docu- 
ments and contracts, newspapers, 
pamphlets, almanacs etc., to be written 
or printed on stamped paper; and the 
stamps were to be had only of agents 
appointed for their sale by the British 
Government. The Act aroused great in- 
dignation and hostility in the Colonies 
and extreme measures were resorted to 
to defeat its operation The opposition 
to it was so general and decermined that 
early in 1766 the English Ministry deter- 
mined to recede ; and on the 20th of Feb- 
ruary the act was repealed. News of 
the repeal reached New York on the 20th 
of May and caused great rejoicing; and 
on the next day the people, assembled 
upon the commons, manifested their de* 


lis^ht by all kinds of detnoastrations. 
They again celebrated the event on the 
4th of June, the Kings birthday, and on 
that day erected upon the Commons a 
liberty pole— the first, so far as I can 
find, erected in this or any other country, 
on which they inscribed "The King, 
Pitt and Liberty." That pole subsequent- 
ly served as the rallying point for the 
Sons of Liberty and other patriotic citi- 
zens. It therefore became obnoxious to 
the British soldiers stationed in New 
York, and on the 10th of August, 1766, 
a party of them cut it down. The next 
day the people assembled again on the 
Commons and were preparing to erect 
another Liberty Pole when they were 
attacked by the soldiers and dispersed. 
Buc September 1st, 1766, the people 
erected upon the Commons another pole 
which was permitted to stand until it 
was cut down by the soldieis on the 
night of Sepi ember 23rd. Within two 
days another pole was erected by the 
people in the same place. On the 18ih 
of March 1767, the people again assem- 
l)led on the Commons and celebrated the 
first Anniversary of the repeal of the 
Stamp Act with the greatest enthusiasm. 
This aroused the ire of the British sol- 
diers, and before the next morning the 
pole was again leveled to the ground. 
Oq the next day, the Sons of Liberty, a 
body of citizens organized to defend and 
foster the liberties of the Colony, erected 
another more substantial pole well se- 
cured with iron bands. On the same 
night, an unsuccessful attempt was 
made to destroy it. The next night an- 
other attempt was made to blow it up 
with gun powder and that also failed. 
Then the Sons of Liberty set a strong 
Kuard around the pole. For three suc- 
cessive nights, the soldiers renewed their 
attacks upon the pole, but each time 
were beaten off by the ^people. That 
pole remained unmolested, so far as I 
can find, until the 13th of January, 1770, 
when a party of British soldiers again at- 
tacked it cutting off the wooden support- 
ers about it and attempting to blow it up 
with gun powder. Failing in this they 
attacked some citizens who had gathered 
in front of a hotel, the headquarters of 

the Sons of Liberty. On the two follow- 
ing nights the soldiers repeated their at- 
tempts to destroy the pole, but failed. 
Finally on the night of the 16th of Janu- 
ary, they succeeded and leveled the pole 
to the ground, sawed it into pieces and 
piled them up before the hotel. This 
aroused the Sons of Liberty, and they 
called a meeting of the citizens for that 
night on the Commons to discuss the out- 
rage and three thousand answered to 
the call. Among other things, they ap- 
pointed a committee to request of the 
Common Council permission to erect an- 
other pole upon the Commons. The re- 
quest was made and refused Then the 
Liberty boys bought a small piece of 
ground near the site of the former 
pole; and there on the 6th of February, 
1770, a pole of great length covered 
two-thirds of its height with iron hoops 
and bars firmly riveted, was erected and 
sunk twelve feet into the ground; and it 
bore this inscription "Liberty and Prop- 
erty." On the 29th of March, 1770, a 
party of British soldiers who had been 
ordered to embark in a few days for 
Pennsylvania made an attack upon the 
pole, a part of which they had resolved 
to carry with them as a trophy. They 
were discovered by some citizens who 
gave the alarm, and the Liberty boys 
rallied to the defense of the pole. More 
soldiers and more citizens came, and a 
serious conflict being imminent, the Brit- 
ish ofSoers ordered the soldiers to their 
barracks. The pole, notwithstanding 
some attempts to destroy it, was there- 
after permitted to remain, guarded by 
the Libel ty boys, an emblem of Liberty, 
until 1776, after the capture of the city 
by the British, when it was destroyed. 

I have not given the details of the 
fierce conflicts which raged around these 
poles. They can be found ia* some of 
the local histories of the city of New- 
York. The ix)le3 were the rallying point 
of the Patriots, and hence were offensive 
to the Bcrfdiers and the British authorit- 
ies. These conflicts constitute chapters 
in the story of the struggles of the peo- 
ple of this country to achieve their liber- 
ty and independence. 
It is clear, therefcH-e, that at least five 

Liberty poles were erected in the city of 
New York before the one erected at 
Fort Herkimer; and there must have 
been more at Boston and other populous 
places; and our local histories should as 
to this matter be corrt'cted. 

If it had been stated that our national 
flag was first unfurled in the Valley of 
the Mohawk, the interesting statt-ment 
would have had the support of well au- 
thenticated history. The flag was 
adopted by the Continental Congress on 
the 4th of June, 17T7, and was fii'st flung 
to the breeze at Fort Stanwix on the 6th 
of August, 1777, the day of the Oriskany 
battle. It was extemporized out of a 

white shirt, an old blue jacket and some 
strips of red cloth from the petticoat of 
a soldier's wife, and was defiantly dis- 
played in the face of the beleaguering 
army of St. Ledger, with the English 
flags beneath it, which had that day 
been captured by Colonel Willett in the 
sortie he made from the fort. It was 
the first time any British soldier had 
seen the flag; and far distant be the 
time when iS shall cease to wave "over 
the land of the free and the home of the 
hrave," the sign of national indepen- 
dence, the emblem of freedom, the ob- 
ject of heroic devotion ! 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Societj', December 8, 1896. 

Considerable misapprehension exists 
as to the location and extent of John 
Brown's Tract; and little is generally 
known of its history. Sometimes 
Brown's Tract is spoken of as synony- 
mous with the whole Adirondack region, 
and quite frequently it is associated his- 
torically with the career of John Brown, 
the anti-slavery agitator. Both of these 
popular conceptions are wrong. Brown's 
Tract in area comprises 210,000 acres of 
land, while the whole of the Adirondack 
region of the state is said to comprise 
some 3,000,000 acres. Insteai of being 
associated with the career of John 
Brown, the abolitionist, it is connected 
historically with the career of John 
Brown of Providence, R. I., a famous 
Revolutionary patriot from whom the 
Tract derives its name. 

Brown's Tract is located in the north- 
ern part of Herkimer county, extending 
east into Hamilton county and west into 
Lewis county. Three thoueaud acres of 
the tract are supposed to be in Hamilton 
county; about 40,000 acres in the county 
of Lewis, and the remaining 1G7,000 
acres are in Herkimer county. Brown's 
Tract comprises about one-sixth of the 
total acreage of Herkimer county. For- 
tunately its history does not comprise 
one sixth of the history of the county. 

Brown's Tract is traversed by two 
watersheds, the Beaver River and its 

tributaries on the north and the Moose 
River and its tributaries on the south, 
while in the mountainous portions of the 
central part. Independence River and 
Otter Creek have their origin. Numer- 
ous lakes and small bodies of water are 
scattered throughout the Tract, ranging 
in size from small ponds up to Big 
Moose Lake and the Fulton Chain of 
Lakes, the larger portion of which is up- 
on Brown's Tract. Many of these lakes 
and streams are surrounded by hills and 
mountains; large portions are covered 
with primeval forest making the Tract 
famous as a resort for sportsjien and 

The Valley of the Moose River is said 
to have been one of the principal 
thoroughfares of the Indians in their ex- 
pedition of war and the chase. Begin- 
ning at the North Branch of the Moose 
River, near the south boundary line 
of the Tract, a few miles above the 
junction of the rorth and south branches 
of the River, there extends a water com- 
munication for lieht canoes direct to 
Canada over the Fulton Chain of Lakes, 
thence by means of a short carry to 
Racquette Lake; thence down Rac- 
quette Lake and River into the St. Law- 
rence, or else by carries to Tupper 
Lake, Saranac Lake and River to Lake 
Charaplain. Along this route the con- 
tending Iriquois and Algonqum must 


have paddled tlieii- birch canoes; and if 
the silent hills and forests could speak, 
thny would tell us no doubt of ainbus- 
L-ades and fierce conflicts. 
The local trihe of Indians which origi- 

which remained for several years: hence 
the name Racquette Lake. 

After the close of the Revolutionary 
War huntinjr parties of Oneida and Ca- 
nad an Indians made considerable use 

nally inhabited this region, as appears of this line of communication across 

liy the early records of this state, were 
variously spoken of as Rondaxe Indians, 
Adiron laks and even as Adirundacs. 
The meaning of the term is said to be 
tree-eaters. The Rondaxe Indians be- 
long to the Algonquin Division of the 
Indian Race; and in the wars that oc- 
curred between the French Algonquin 
Indians and the Iriquois, the Rondaxe 
Indians took part with th Canadian In- 
dians and bting located so near the 
Iriquois, they must for a long time have 
borne the brunt of battle. This con- 
tinued fighting apparently cau^ed them 
to leave this region of the state, for in 

Brown's Tract in their hunting expedi- 
tions, which practice was continued to a 
time within the memory of a few old 
people now living. Between the Cana- 
dian Indians, the remnant of the Iriquois 
Indians, and the white pioneers, fierce 
conflicts f'rtquently ensued ending in the 
death of the one who failed to shoot first. 
Attention will be called later on to inci- 
dents illustrating this phase of life in 
Brown's Tract. 

Prior to the War of the Revolution, 
nothing was done towards the develop- 
ment or settlement of any part of 
Brown's Tract. Soon after the close of 

1701. we find from the report of Robert that war. there was a great land boom 

Livingston, Secretary of Indian affairs 
for this Slate that the Rondaxe or Adri- 

throughout the State. Acts of the Legis- 
lature were passed for the purpose of in- 

ondaks Indians are named as one of the ducing settlement upon waste and unim- 
seven tribes of French Indiaas and their proved lands; and from such glimpses 
location was then said to be in Canada, as we can obtain of the condition of 
souih of Montreal. things at that time, speculation inland 

Tradition has it that this old Indian niust have equaled in extent our own 
route, above mentioned extends souther- western land booms of which we some- 

ly through Remsen to the Mohawk Val- 
ley and is said to have passed along sub- 

times hear at the present day. 
On the 10th of January, 1792, the peo- 

stancially in the same place as the old pie of the State of New York patented 

Brown's Tract Road, which will later on 
be noticed. During the Revolutionary 
War this route must have been consider- 
ably used by the Torys and Indians in 
their attacks upon the Colonist in this 
section of the State. It is along this 
route that Sir John Johnson passed from 

and conveyed to Alexander Macomb, a 
famous soldier of the Revolutionary War, 
1,920,000 acres of land. The price paid 
was seventy- two thousand pounds, which 
was at the rate of nine pence per acre. 
This grant included Brown's Tract. The 
land conveyed by the Macomb patent 

the Mohawk Valley through the wilder- was bounded northerly and westerly by 
ness to Canada; and from an incident the St. Lawrence River and Lake On- 
connected with that expedition, Rac- tario and extended easterly and souther- 
quetie Lake just east of Brown's Tract ly to almost the center of the State. Its 
,derives its name. This expedition of southern corner was a copper pin driven 
Johnson's was late in the winter and on into the rocks in the center of the Adir- 
reaching the Lake the party was over- ondacks near what is now the middle of 
.taken by a sudden thaw which made the west line of Hamilton county, 
travel on snow-shoes impossible, and as Brown's Tract was subsequently carved 
the Indians and Torys did not wish to out of the southeastern part of the Ma- 
carry tlieir snow-shoes, or Racquettes, as comb purchase. 

they were termed in French, they piled Macomb's various land speculations 

them on the shores of the Lake covering caused him to become financially em- 

Jihem up, and made there a large heap barrassed and on the 6th day of June, 


1792, he conveyed the whole 1,920,000 
acres to William Constable, of the City of 
New York, for fifty thousand pounds. 

Six months thereafter. Constable con- 
veyed 1,280.000 acres of this land, includ- 
ing Brown's Tract, to Samuel Ward, of 
the City of New York, for one hundred 
thousand pounds, thereby doubling his 
money besides having 64,000 acres of 
land left over. 

Two years later, November 25tti, 1794, 
Samuel Ward sold 210, OOG acres in the 
southeastern part of his Tract to James 
Greenleaf , of New York City, for twenty, 
four thousand pounds. This was the 
commencement of the boundaries of 
Brown's Tract. Greenleaf mortgaged 
the land to Phillip Livingston; and sub- 
sequently gave a second mortgage to 
John Brown, of Providence, R. I. The 
L vingston mortgaare was foreclosed and 
Brown, in order to save the money 
which he had invested in his second 
mortgage on December 29th, 1798, took 
the land at a foreclosure sale and from 
that date the local history of this land 
as Brown's Tract may be said to com- 

John Brown wa? born m Providence, 
R. I., in 1734. He was a descendent of 
Chad Brown, an associate of Roger Wil- 
liams. The Brown family have always 
been one of the most noted and distin- 
guished families of Rhode Island. It 
has given to Rhode Island a Gov- 
ernor and a United States Senator. 
Among the descendants of John Brown 
are the Herreshoffs, of Bristol, R. I., the 
boat builders, whose racing yachts, the 
"Vigilant" and "Defender," are well 
known. The name of the Rhode Island 
College which founded in 1764, was in 
1804 changed to Brown University, in 
honor of John Brown, who was a liberal 
benefactor of that institution. John 
Brown early became engaged in marine 
commerce, so far as he could under the 
restrictions imposed upon Co'onial Com- 
merce by the Govfrnment of Great Brit- 
ain. He is said to have been the first 
American Merchant-man to engage in 
trade with the East Indies, 

In the troubled times immediately pre- 
ceedicg the out- break between the Colo- 

nies and Great Britain, Brown took an 
active part on the side of the Colonists. 
As a young man, disguised as an Indian 
he led the attack on the British Revenue 
Schooner, "Gaspee," a vessel of eight 
guns which was captured by him and his 
men and burned. One author says, 
"Brown was the first man to board the 

Speaking of the incident as among the 
causes which lead up to the Revolution- 
ary War, Bancroft in his history of the 
United States says : "Inhabitants of 
Providence in Rhode Island had in 
March 1772 complained to the Governor 
of Lieutenant Duddington, Commander 
of the 'Gaspse.' Hopkins the Chief 
Justice on being consulted gave the opin- 
ion that any person who should come in- 
to the Colony and exercise any author- 
ity by the force of arms without show- 
ing his commission to the Governor, and 
if a Custome House Officer without be- 
ing sworn into his office, was guilty of 
trespass if not of piracy. The Govern- 
ment therefore sent a Sheriff on board 
the 'Gaspee' to ascertain by what 
orders the Lieutenant acted, Dudding- 
ton referred the subjer^t to the Admiral 
who answered from Boston, 'The Lieu- 
tenant Sir, has done his duty. I shall 
give the King's Officers directions that 
they send every man taken in molesting 
them to me. As sure as the people of 
Newport attempt to rescue any vessel 
and any of them are taken I will hang 
them as pirates.' Duddington seconded 
the insolence of his superior officer, in- 
sulted the inhabitants, plundered the 
island of sheep and hogs, cut down 
trees, fired at market boats, detained 
vessels without a colorable pretext and 
made illegal seizures." 

"In the afteruoon of the 9th of June, 
the Providence packet was returning to 
Providence and proud of its speed went 
gaily on regardless of the 'Gaspee.' 
Duddington gave chase, the tide being 
about two hours on the ebb, the packet 
ventured near the shore. The 'Gaspee' 
confidently following ran aground with- 
out a chance of moving before high tide. 
Informed of the accident John Brown 
immediately raised a party of shipmast- 


ers, embaiked after nightfall in six or hissonin-law 

Francis. The story 

seven boats; they boarded the stranded is told by the descendants of Brown's 
schooner and after a fight in which Dud- family, that a cargo of East Indian mtr- 

dington was wounded, took and landed 
the crew and their personal property 
and then set ihe schooner on fire."' 

For bravery and daring this was not 
excelled by the Boston Tea Party or the 

chandise had been landed and sold by 
Frances, who was an agent of Brown. 
Frances fell in with some land specula- 
tors and yieldin^^ to the real estate^boom 
then so universally prevalent, is said to 

capture of Fort Ticonderoga. As may have invested $50,000.00 of the money of 

well be imagined a great storm of rage John Brown n a second mortgage on 

arose on the part of the British; in- Brown's Tract. This investment was 

quiries and investigations were had; and from the start disapproved of by Brown 

five hundred pounds were offered as a and was a source to him and his family 

reward for evidence that would lead to of considerable loss. 

the conviction of the perpetrators. After Brown had acquired title to the 
Threats of execution as pirates were land upon the foreclosure of the Living- 
made on the part of the British, but all stone mortgage, he began to take meas- 
of no avail. While Brown and his asso- ures to develop and settle the country, 
ciates were well known as having com- He first caused a survey of the land to 
mitted the act. a British Commission es- be made by Arnold Smith, Elkanah 
pecially appointed for the purpose of in- French and John Allen The 210,000 
vestigation was powerless to obtain any acres were subdived into eight Town- 
evidence against him or his companions, ships, which were numbered from one 

As will appear from the records of the to eight consecutively, and also named. 

State of Rhode Island, John Brown was The names which Brown gave them are 

a member of the Assembly during the mottoes, which are said to have been 

entire war and served on its important used by him in his business career, 

committees; he was the head and front Township No. 1, was named Industry 

of the Naval committee. and was surveyed into 160 aero farms. 

He was a member of the Committee Township No. 2, was, named Enterprise 
on Taxation, Parole of Prisoners and and was surveyed into one half mile 
Division of captured stores. In those squares. Township No. 3, was named 
days every marine merchant was obliged Perseverance and was also surveyed in- 
to have on hand a considerable arsenal, to one half mile squares. Township No. 
80 as to protect his vessels against pirates 4, was named Unanimity, Township No. 
and this was especially so in the East 5, Frugality, Township No. 6, Sobriety, 
Indies, where considerable of Brown's Township No. 7, Economy, Township 
trading was carried on. Brown and his No. 8. Regularity. 

brothers supplied the Colony with guns, After surveying the land Brown built 

powder and ammunition. a road through the forest from Remsen, 

After the close of the Revolutionary Oneida County, to Township 7, upon his 

War, Brown was a representative in Tract a distance of about 25 miles. The 

Congress from 1799 to 1801. He was a road terminated near the south shore of 

personal friend of Washington, who held the Middle Branch of the Moose River 

him in high esteem, and among the in the center of the Township about two 

choicest heirlooms of his family, are let- miles from the south boundary line of 

ters written him by Washington. his Tract, at which place he planned a 

Brown died in 1803. His will is an settlemtnt. The building of this road 

interesting document and throws a con- for a single individual, must have been 

siderable light on the business, customs a great undertaking. It crossed two 

and manners of the early days of the considerable rivers, the Black River and 

Republic. the South Branch of the Moose River, 

Brown became interested in Brown's besides several smaller streams. It 

Tract through a supposed investment of crossed the Black River near the place 


•where the Mohawk & Malone Railway 
now crosses that stream, and went from 
thence in a northeaateriy dirtction to 
the middle branch of the Moose River, 
crossing the south branch and following 
substantially, it is said, the old Indian 
Trail. Two settlements on the Tract 
were startei by Brown; one upjn Town- 
ship 1, the other upon Township 7. The 
one upon Township 1, was known as the 
Middle settlement. The Middle settle- 
ment is now a mere tradition among a 
few old people. The remains of three 
houses are i-aid to be still discernible in 
the woods, about six mdes west of the 
Fultou chain along the old Remsen Road. 
This is all there is left of the Middle set- 
tlment. What was once a clearing has 
lapsed into a forest with only a few 
traces that it was ever tbe abode of man. 
The only mention made in the records 
relative to th s settlement that I have 
found is in the will of John Brown 
wherem he spates that upon Township 1, 
"There are two log houses, a good barn 
and a considerable of chared land," In 
one of the conveyances from Brown's 
grandchildren of Township 1, three lots 
are excepted "at or near the Middle 
settlement, sold or contracted to be sold 
to one Wilcox," presumably one of the 

At what is now Old Forge in Town- 
ship 7, Brcwn built a saw mill, a grist 
mill, some houses and a frontier store. 

All this was done prior to 1803, for in 
his will dated Jnue 12th, 1802. we find 
the following in the schedule of asset?: 
"Township 7, Economy, through which 
the large and fine river called Moose 
River runs and upon which I have made 
great impi'ovements of a grist mill, saw 
mill, store etc.'" 

Brown's aim was to make permanent 
settlements on the Tract and to convert 
the wilderness into farms. A mill dam 
was built across the mouth of the mid- 
dle branch of the Moose River then 
called Mill Creek on the site of the pres- 
ent dam at Old Forge, for the purpose of 
obtaining power to run his saw mill and 
grist mill. The saw mill which he built 
is said to have been located in about the 
same place as the present saw mill at 

Old Forge. His grist mill is said to have 
been erected on the opposite side of the 
river, a little lower down stream. 

Brown, as far as I can find, was only 
once upon the Tract superintending^ its. 
settlement. Its development here was 
intrusted almost entirely to agents. 
Personally Brown was a man of short 
stature and weighed in the neighbor- 
hood of three hundred pounds. He 
drove about in a specially constructed 
gig, built low, so as to make it i)o^sible 
for him to get in and out. However, 
notwithstanding these physical defects, 
his decendants, I am informed, have 
recently discovered a letter, showing 
that under all these personal disadvan- 
tages he made a visit to the Tract. 

Brown did not long survive his at- 
tempted settlement; he died in 1803. 
Hoiv many settlers there were, and who 
they were and whence they came, is not 
known, so far as I have learned. The 
climate was cold and unfavorable for 
agricultural operations. The soil was 
poor; the location in the center of a 
lar^e dreary forest, miles and miles away 
from any settlement. The tide of immi- 
gration was all towards the west, leav- 
ing this little community far to one side. 
Gradually the setilers whom he brought 
there left the place. Tradiiion says that 
the last to leave were two families by 
the name of Clark. According to the 
story two brotheis of that name, who 
were among the settlers whom Brown 
brought to the Tract remained long after 
the others had left. One of the brothers 
was sick with cancer and while he was 
ill, the supplies gave out; the other 
brother started out throut;h the forest to 
Remsen, miles away for aid. While he 
was absent a severe storm came up and 
swept away the br dge across the South 
Branch of the Moose River, which con- 
siderably delayed assistance; and finally 
when relief came the sick brother had 
been dead several days and had been 
buried by tl.e wife and sister-in-law. 
The Clark families then moved away 
and the settlement was deserted, the 
houses being left tenantless and the mills 
being left to crumble. Trees, which are 
now of large size, began to grow in the 


old ReiTuseB Hoid, so that at the present substantially well bailt. The ruins of 

time, in many pieces only woodsmen many of the bridges are still to be seen; 

skilled in forest craft are capable of the ditches on the sides are ii s)rae 

tracino; out the road. places well defined, and growing in the 

The fields which Brown cleared have form<^r traveled way are trees at least a 
become again a part of the forest, foot and a half in diameter. Over this 
Scones which were picked up and piled road, during that war, soldiers were 
m heaps bjMhe farmeis in clearing their marched and munitions of war irans- 
fields are now all moss grown. Run- ported. The diuin and fife for a time 
ning through the forest where the old awoke the echoes of the wood; then 
clearings were, are still to be found the gradually the forest began to re-assert 
back furrows of tlie plowmen. A few itself and to the casual observer of to- 
gnarled apple trees started by these day ihisold road is entirely b'otied out. 
early settlers are occasionally found By the will of John B own the title to 
struggling among the other trees that the laiger part of Brown's Tract passed 
have since grown up. The remains of a to his grandson. John Brown Francis, of 
few old chimneys at who?e hearth stones Warwick, R. I. Francis was at one 
once gathered the early pioneer and his time a Senator, representing his State 
family and about which his children in the United States Senate, and subse- 
played are still e-cat'ered about. Or the quently became iis Govemor. 
grist mill, all that is now left is the mill :Soou-after the close of the war of 1813, 
stone lying in the b^d of the river, Francis bej^an plans for the settlement 

April 8th, 1811, the Legislature of the of the Tract. During the intervening 

State passed an act entitled "An Act for years the road cut out by Brown from 

the Improvement of the Internal Navi- Remsen, had bpcome impas^ib'e and, 

gation of the State for the purpose of preliminary to any settlement or devel- 

«3tablishing a communication by means opmeat of the Tract, this road had either 

of a Canal Navigation between the tj be repiirel or a new road huilt. In 

Great Lakes and the Hudson River." A the meantime Boonville had become a 

commission was appointed for the con- lively and important settlem* nt, being 

sideratioa of all matters relative to the the trade center for all that section of 

subj-ct, the State. Accordingly Francis decided 

Robert Fulton, the inventor of the to cut out a nevv road from Boonville, 
steamboat, was appointed on the Com- instead of repairing the Remsen Road. 
mission. Fulton was at that time one In 1816. he petitioned the Legislature 
of ihe for< most Engineers of the nation, for authority to cut a road from Boon- 
He had made the building of canals a ville to the State road above mentioned, 
special study. Acting under this Com- running from Albany to the St. Law- 
mision from the Legislature, Fulion vis- rence. Permission being given in that 
ited and explored the southern part of year and the succeeding year the Boon- 
Brown's Ti act for the purpose of ascer- viik Road to Brown Tract was cut out 
taining the adaptability of the streams and openei. 

and lakes of that region as a part of ihe Charles Frederick Herresboff , an uncle 
proposed canal system Stretching across of Francis, a son-m-law of John Brown, 
the southern part of Brown's Tract was and a grandfather of the present I oat 
a beautiful chain of lakes, which Fulton builders at Bristol, R. I., became inter- 
explored and about which he was very e?ted in this proposed settlement. Per- 
enthusiastic. Since that trip the-e lakes sonally. Herresboff is said to have been 
have been known as the Fulton Chain. a fine appearing man of commanding 

During the war of 1812, a road was size, enthuastic in disposition, tenacious 

cut through the wilderness for military of purpose, though somewhat visionary 

purposes from Albany to Sacket's Har- perhaps. He was a nun of many ac- 

bor, which passed just east of Brown's complishments, a fine linguist, and mu- 

Tract. This old road was apparently sician, qualities however, of not li 


practical value in pioneer life. He was also built a large barn a short distance 

a Prussian by birth and came to this 
country shortly after the close of the 
Revolutionary War. Herreshoff pur- 
chased a considerable portion of Town- 
ship 7, and came on from Rhode Island. 
8ometi"'e about 1817, for the purpose of 
settling and developing the Tract. Iron 
ore had been discovered near the old 
settlement and an iron works was pro- 
jected and started. Herreshoff is said 
to have gathered together some forty 
families. The old clearings were again 
occupied; new clearings made and 
cabins built An iron mine was opened 
nearly opposite the site of the depot at 
Fulton Chain, and on the westerly side 
where to this day is pointed out to the 
tourist a large hole in the rocks from 
which the ore was taken. Old drill 
marks are still to be seen about the mine 
at the entrance of which is a tree some 
eight inches in diameter growing up 
among refuse thrown out of the mine; 
while at the bottom, fed by little veins 
of pure cold Adirondack water is a 
well of some little depth. The place is 
sometimes spoken of as John Brown's 

There was no power near the mine to 
operate an iron works, or to reduce the 
ore; and Herreshoff accordingly built a 
mill, or forge, about one and a half 
miles away near the dam across the 
middle branch of the Moose River pre- 
viously built by Brown, his father-in- 
law. His forge is said to have been 
located just below the grist mill. Heavy 
machinery was taken through the woods 
and set up here in the heart of the forest. 
Considerable preparation was made for 
the manufacture of iron. A nail shop 
was started. Herreshoff built for him- 
self what must have been in those days 
and for that place, a tine house, made 
of timber and boards, sawed at the old 
saw mill built by his father-in-law. The 
house was located nearly opposite the 
site of the railway depot, at Fulton 
Chain and on the westerly side and sub- 
sequently became known as the Arnold 
House, It was standing until about a 
year ago in a dilapidated condition when 
it was destroyed by fire. Herreshoff 

from his dwelling, on the top of which 
was a cupalo in which a bell was placed 
for the purpose of summoning his men 
to their meals. 

Coal was of course necessary for the 
reduction of iron ore, and for this pur- 
pose charcoal was manufactured. A 
hill a short distance from the Fulton 
Chain station, known as coal hill, was 
entirely cut over for the purpose of 
manufacturing charcoal. The visitor 
standing today, looking at this hill, un- 
less sKilied in wood craft would never 
mistrust that any of its timber had ever 
been cut. Occasionally in other places 
in the woods in that vicinity, old char- 
coal pits are to be met with. I have 
seen it stated that Herreshoff manu- 
factured a ton of iron, every pound of 
which cost him a dollar. The accuracy 
of this statement I have been unable to 
verify. In any event, mining and the 
reduction of iron ore did not prove profit- 
able. The ore was of low grade and is 
said to have contained considerable sul- 
pher, which made its reduction difScult 
and expensive. About this time large 
iron mines were opened and worked in 
other portions of the state where iron 
could be produced much cheaper than 
upon Brown's Tract. 

Herreshoff is said to have struggled 
heroically here against great odds. He 
planned for the conversion of the forest 
into farms and at the same time for the 
development of iron mines and iron 
works. The conditions for settling the 
country were of course just as unfavor- 
able with Herreshoff as with Brown. 
The settlers whom he brought upon the 
Tract became discontented: poor soil, 
severe climate and isolation in the midst 
of a great forest, was more than Herre- 
shoff could successfully contend with. 
Then he became indebted considerably 
to his miners and iron workers. The 
funds which he brought with him be- 
came exhausted. Drafts which he drew 
upon his family in Providence were re- 
turned unaccepted; and he was con- 
fronted with ruin In the midst of his 
despair, 1819, he committed suicide by 
shooting himself in the head. The place 


where he killed himself was just out- 
side of his house; where as we shall 
see, sul'sequent tragedies were enacted. 
Herresboflf's body was brought to Boon- 
viile and buried. So ended a career of 
disappointed ambition. With the death 
of Herreshoff, the settlem nt broke up. 
The iron workers and miners left and 
gradually the settlers moved away. 

One of the most noted settlers who 
came upon the Tract during Herreshoff's 
time, was Major Abiathar Joy, a soldier 
in the Revolutionary Army. Maj )r Joy, 
originally came from Vermont and set- 
tled in Remden m 1803. He purchased 
a 160 acre lot near the old Forge, in 1814, 
upon which he subsequently cleared 
about fifty acres aad built a substantial 
house and barn. He kept his Remsen 
farm however, where a portion of his 
family resided and a portion went with 
him to Brown's Tract. This Joy clear- 
ing is on the road going from Old Forge 
to Nick's Lake. 

Among the people attracted to Brown's 
Tract by Herreshoff's developments, was 
Nicholas Vincent, who came from Rus- 
sia. Herkimer CjunCy. The Vmcent 
place in Russia is now occupied by Leroy 
Moon. Vincent was by trade a nail work- 
er and went to Brown's Tract and opened 
a nail factory or shop. In those days all 
nails were made by hand, each nail be- 
ing separately fashioned on the anvil. 
While here, Vincent married Elizabeth, 
the daughter of Major Joy. This so far 
as I have learned, was the first wedding 
upon the Tract, save perhaps the red 
man's nuptials. The manner of the cel- 
ebration of this event I have not learned. 
It is safe to say, however, that the wed- 
ding feast must have been replete with 
game and fish for which this region is 
so famous. Vincent is said to have 
been a great hunter and fisherman, and 
a beautiful lake where he used to fish, 
now known as Nick's Lake a few miles 
southwest of the Joy clearing was named 
in honor of Nicholas Vincent, the first 
bridegroom of John Brown's Tract. 
The Joys and Vincents kept up their 
Brown's Tract home several years. The 
journey in and out must have been a 
great undertaking, especially in the win- 


made an effort to 
The settlement of 
begun in 1822 and 
County, near the 

ter time. Their descendants remember 
many stories of the difficulties met with 
in going back and forth from Russia to 
Brown's Tract. An ox team was gen- 
erally used. The journey took t))em 
thirty miles through the woods. Snow 
three or four feet deep had to be shov- 
eled away to make camp for the night, 
and stakes and poles cut to build a tem- 
porary shelter which was cove.ed with 
hemlock boughs. Camp fires were built 
with flint, steel and punk wood, with 
which to fiighten off the wolves and to 
keep themselves from freezing. Their 
bed was hemlock boughs. Can it be 
wondered at when the journey in and 
out was attemied with such hardships, 
that the settlement was not a success. 

Soon after Herreshoff made his at- 
tempted settlement at Old Forge in 
Township 7. Francis 
settle Township 4. 
Township No. 4, was 
was made in Lewis 
line between Herkimer and Lewis. As 
this portion of the history of Brown's 
Tract belongs, properly speaking, to 
Lewis County, it will here be only brief- 
ly mentioned. Francis first cut out a 
road through the woods to the place of 
his proposed settlement. The last five 
miles of this road must be in the same 
primitive condition today as when open- 
ed by Francis. A tourist describes it as 
follows : "The road the most of the 
way is paved —by nature— and the pav- 
ing stones average perhaps two feet in 
diameter * * * The ride is to «ive 
one the feeling of being- sifted out along 
the road through the bottom of the 
wagon * * * As a means of bodily and as a promoter of digestion, 
that road stands out in bold relief. It 
winds through a leafy arch all lovliness 
except the bottom." 

The plan adopted by Francis in his 
settlement of No. 4, was to give outright 
a farm to the first ten settlers This 
plan was apparently quite taking for 
from 1822 to 1835, some seventy-five 
settlers were said to have been living at 
No. 4. Something like 2,000 acres were 
cleared in thf» settlement about No. 4, 
A school was started. For a time a pas- 

or was stationed at the settlement and 
a revival was lieli. An era of activity 
was inaugurated, wiiich lasted, however, 
for only a few years. The settlers here 
found the same discouraging circum- 

charge of the property and lived in the 
old Herreshoff place. Thomas had two 
married sons, by the name of Lewis and 
Isaac, both of whom moved upon the 
Tract with their families and in addition 

stances as were met with on Township there were the following : Ephriam 

7; poor, light soil, upon which little Justin, of Boonville, Green White, a 

could be produced; cold, backward sea- hunter and trapper, Robert Pritchard, a 

sons and complete isolation. Stories of blacksmith, Caleb Sweet and a few oth- 

rich lauds in the west circulated among ers. I am indebted to the daughter of 

the settlers and they too, like the settlers Caleb Sweet. Mrs. George Hovey. of 

on Township 7, gradually abandoned Forestport, N. Y., now an old lady 87 

their frontier homes. years of age, for an account of this third 

The forest bcfjan to re-assert itself attempted settlement. The Sweet settle- 
gradually, and crept into the clearmgs. ment was near the old Joy clearuig and 
The dwellings and buildings passed into was made upon a clearing that had 
decay, leaving only the remains of eel- formerly been occupied. Most of these 
lars and hearthstones. One of the early settlers took up old clearings. One man 
pettlers of No. 4, was Orrin Fenton. however, is said to have gone up on 
Unlike his neighbors, Fenton seemed to First Lake and to have made a clearing, 
be possessed of the spirit of thrift and At that time the saw mill that had been 
economy, and in the midst of discourag- built by Brown had so far gone into de- 
ing circumstances, he and his family cay as not to be used. The grist mill was 
prospered. He did not prosper however, in poor condition but could still grind, 
as a farmer, but later on as a hotel, or There was no miller and each settler 
boarding house keeper. This region of ground his own corn. The Old Forge 
the country early became famous for mill built by Herreshoff was a plaything 
sportsmen and tourists. Fenton enter- for the children: it was their favorite 
tained them and in this way added to his amusement to go down to the mill, let 
prosperity. The Fenton family is the the water on the wheel and start the 
only family of the early settlers at No. 4, machinery to see the big hammer play 
who have continued there. That settle- with which they broke up stones. A 
ment has dwindled to a population now school was started. It was taught one 
of only five families. The school was summer in the deserted barn on the .Joy 
long ago abandoned. In the summer clearing by Emeline Sperry, who came 
time Fenton's No 4, has from 100 to 200 from Russia. There were 15 pupils at- 
guests, so that now the forest therebouts tending school. During this time Indian 
is lively with pleasure seekers, and re- hunters were frequently met with in 
sounds with the mirth of tourists, instead the woods, both Canadian and Oneida 
of the lowing of kine and the plowman's Indians, Moose were then very plenty, 
song, as was anticipated by Francis. The children of the settlement had at 

After the death of Herreshoff, a third one time a tame moose for a pet. The 

and last attempt was made in 1821 by settlers found a nursery of apple trees 

the Brown family to settle Township 7 which had been planted years before by 

Silas Thomas, originally from Rhode 
Island, was the agent in charge. He 
offered as an inducement 160 acres of 
land to the first ten settlers who would 
go there and settle provided they re- 
mained two years, aod also to each fam- 
ily a cow and ten sheep. Some few 
settlers, ten families in all were gotten 
together. The settlers so far as I have 
learned were Silas Thoma 

Brown in his attempted settlement. 
Some of these trees were taken up and 
in a few instances orchards started. The 
same discouraging features, however, 
existed as in the former settlements and 
in a few years the settlers and their fam- 
ilies had all gone. This was the last 
attempt at settlement made by the 
Brown family. As one ef the causes of 

who was in disintegration attending this last settle- 

ment, mention should be made of the 
settlers wives, all of whom it is said, 
protested viojorously against this isola- 
tion. Society here had but few attrac- 
tions. The only social event occuring 
during this period of which I have 
learned was a basket picnic on July 4th, 
1821, up to the Fourth Lake, Fulton 
Chain. This was the first known picnic 
excursion to a lake which has now be- 
come famous for such purposes. 

After the abandonment of this settle- 
ment, the celebrated hunter and trapper, 
Nathaniel Foster, became a resident of 
Brown's Tract living at the old Herres- 
hoff place. Foster is a man about whom 
much has been said and written; and the 
history of Brown's Tract would be quite 
incomplete without an account of Uncle 
Nat, as he was generally called. 

The father of Nathaniel Foster, Nath- 
aniel Foster, Sr., originally came from 
Rhode Island. Prior to the Revolution- 
ary War, ho settled with his family at 
Hensdale, Windom County, N. H. At the 
outbreaK of the Revolutionary War, Fos- 
ter enlisted in the Regular Army, leaving 
his wife and four children to support 
themselves. He remained with the army 
seven years and ten months without 
returnmg home. He accompanied Arn- 
old in his expedition up the Mohawk to 
the relief of Fort Stanwix, While on 
the trip he became so well pleased with 
the Mohawk Valley, the fertility of its 
soil etc.. that he determined to remove 
here when the war was over. Soon 
after his discbarge from the Army, he 
started with his family and some of his 
neighbors for the Mohawk Valley. He 
got as far aa the east branch of the Hud- 
son River when the funds and supplies 
of the family gave out and they were 
obliged to temporarily locate. Indians 
were then quite common throughout the 
country, and although the contending 
whites had ceased hostilities, it took 
some considerable time for the Indians 
to comprehend that fighting must stop. 

During this time bands of Indians 
still prowled about and committed var- 
ious depredations. At this period of his 
life there oocured an incident which 
perhaps explains somewhat Foster's 

hatred of Indians. One day while the 
family were engaged in the fields at 
work, a band of Indians made a descent 
upon the Foster home and carried away 
their daughter, Sybil. A rescue party 
of which young Foster was a member 
went in pursuit, overtook the Indians, 
and rescued the girl. 

As young Foster and his brothers 
grew up so as to begin life for themselves 
they started for the Mohawk Vallej-, 
which had so long b^en a land of prom- 
ise for the family, but when they reached 
the valley, they found that since their 
father's expedition with Arnold all the 
land had been taken up. Foster first 
settled in Manheim, near where William 
Peck now lives. Here for a time he 
lived a pioneer life. For a few months 
of the year he farmed it, while the rest 
of the time he hunted and trapped. As 
game became scarce in Salisbury and 
Manheim, he gradually extended his 
hunting and trapping back into the 
woods, and finally Brown s Tract became 
the scene of his principal operations. 
Foster was the type of a man which has 
long since disappeared. He was one of 
much the same type as Nattie Bumpo, 
who supplied Cooper with his D^er 
Slayer, Path Finder, Hawk Eye and 
Pioneer. Foster, however, was never 
immortalized by a Cooper. 

During this time hunting parties of 
Indians were frequently met with in the 
woods. Between these Indians on the 
one hand and the white hunters, such as 
Major Stoner and Nathaniel Foster on 
the other, there was almost continual 
fighting. The Indians would steal Fos- 
ter's furs and traps and camp outfit. 
The only security against such thefts 
would be prompt and swift retaliation. 
It is said to have been the white hunter's 
rule never to let the same Indian steal 
twice. We are also to bear in mind that 
during this period, there existed an al- 
most universal hatred , against the In- 
dians, fierce in its intensity, brought 
about largely by the bloody and cruel 
part which the Indians had taken in the 
Revolutionary War, which is still fresh 
in the minds of the people. Brown's 
Tract was a rich hunting ground and 


many are the border fights which oc- 
curred there. It may be interes'ang to 
note that this custom of the Indians' 
using Brown's tract for purposes of hunt- 
ing and trapping is still remembered by 
a few old people now living. Canadian 
Indians from the north would gradually 
work their way through the forest, 
hunting and trapping as they went, 
taking their furs to the Albany market; 
and it was not an unfrequenc sight for 
the early settlers at No. 4, to see at times, 
Indians proudly walking through the 
forest past the settlement, guns in hand 
ready for an emergency, while on be- 
hind trudged the patient squaws, draw- 
mg rude sleds made of birch saplings, 
loaded with furs and camp outfit. These 
sleds were made of two]birch saplings, 
over the lower end of which cross pieces 
were placed and upon these were piled 
the furs and camp outfits, while between 
the upper ends of the siplings which 
projected out and ujj like a pair of 
wagon thills, trudged the faithful squaw, 
drawing the whole by means of a band 
passed over h^r forehead. Fierce drink- 
ing carousals would be indulged in by 
the Indians ujion reaching the frontier 
tavern, and for these sprees they would 
plan systematicall)'. They would plan to 
always have one sober Indian in the lot. 
Before commencing their drunk, they 
would turn over to tlie Indian who was 
to remain sober all their weapons and 
place themselves absolutely under his 
control. His word for the time being 
must be obeyed; and power of execu- 
tion was also given to such an extent it 
is said, that if they did not obey, he had 
the right then and there of summarily 
killing in order to secure obedience. 
The same Indian stayed sober one day 
only, when his place was taken by an- 
other who must sober up and refrain 
from drinking for the next day. In 
this way the Indians controlled them- 
selves while drinking and from this cus- 
tom originated the phrase sometimes 
met with today, "One sober Indian in 
the lot." 

In February, 1833, Nathaniel Foster 
purchased an assignment of a lease of 
the Herreshoff place on Brown's Tract. 

There was upon the Tract at that time, 
three other hunters and trappers who 
lived in the abandoned homes of the 
Herreshoff settlers Soon after Foster 
had established himself in the old Herres- 
hoff place a Saint Regis Indian, named 
Peter Waters, familiarly known as Drid, 
temporarily located in that vicinity for 
a hunt. Between Foster and this In- 
dian a quarrel arose. Drid threatened 
the life of Foster on seveial occasions 
and the quarrel reached such a degree 
of intensity that it only became a ques- 
tion of who should shoot first. Foster 
was then sixty years of age, while the 
Indian was about thirty. 

One morning while Foster was across 
the river from the Herreshoff place, at 
iheCaiupof Johnson which must have 
been in the Sweet house, planning a 
hunt to Fourth Lake, the Indian came 
in, assaulted Foster with a knife and 
made a furious attempt upon his life. 
Johnson interferred and Foster with- 
drew. Going home Foster obtained his 
rifie and cut across the country, nearly 
opposite to First Lake where a point of 
land projects into the water; here he 
stationed himself behind the bushes and 
waited for the Indian, whom he ex- 
pected was on his way to Racquette Lake. 
Soon Drid together with a party of 
others came paddling along. Drid evi- 
dently was expecting trouble, for he 
kept the other canoes of the party be- 
tween him and the shore. This posi- 
tion however, was no security for the 
Indian, Foster's aim was too certain 
and accurate. As Foster arose to fire 
the Indian caught a glimpse of him, 
and threw up his hands in terror just as 
two bullets entered his body. 

Some time after killing the Indian, 
Foster was arrested by the authorities 
of Lewis County. After his arrest it was 
found that the killing was committed 
in Herkhner county and he was accord- 
ingly removed here to the Herkimer jail. 
I have met a few old people who re- 
member him while here in jail. 

The trial of Foster vvas a remarkable 
one from a legal standpoint. He was 
tried here at Herkimer, February 1834. 
The court was composed of Hon. Hiram 



Denio, presiding, who was one o' the 
great judges of this state, and Jonas 
Cleveland, of Warren, John B. Dygert, 
of Frankfort, father of Mrs. Thomas 
Richardson, of Ilion, Abijah Osborn, of 
Herkimer, and Richard Herrenden. of 
Newport, were the side judges of the 
Common Pleas. When the defence was 
reached one of the witnesses was asked 
"Did you ever hear this Indian threaten 
to kill Foster ?" To this the District At- 
torney objected. Judge Demo held the 
testimony to be inadmissible, when 
much to his surprise and astonishment, 
three of the side judges announced that 
it was admissible, thereby overruling 
Judge Denio's law. Under this ruling 
of the side judges. Foster was permitted 
to prove that the Indian had threatened 
to kill him, and upon this evidence was 
acquitted It is intere3ting to note that 
the Court of Appeals subsequently in 
the Fisk-Stoke's murder case, substan- 
tially affirmed the law promulgated by 
these side judges. After his release 
Foster abandoned his Brown's Tract 
home. It is said that he became afraid 
of the Indian relatives of Drid. He 
went to the vvilds of Pennsj^lvania for a 
time, where he continued his life as a 
hunter and trapper. In his old days he 
came to Boonville, where he i-esided 
with one of his children and there died. 
One of the Foster brothers wen', to Ohio, 
from whom it is said Ex- Secretary Fos- 
ter is descended. 

Many stories are told of the prowess 
of Foster as a hunter and trapper. There 
appears little doubt that in his younger 
days he used to hunt Indians and in turn 
was hunted by them. He used to be 
fond of telling of his encounters with 
Indians, but was always careful not to 
incriminate himself. For example, Fos- 
ter at one time was hunting when he 
discovered that he was followed by an 
Indian. Foster crossed a little ravine on 
a fallen log and waited on the other side 
behind a place of concealment. Soon he 
saw the Indian cautiously stealing up 
from behind trees; when the Indian 
came to the ravine and discovered Fos- 
ter's tracks where he had crossed on the 
log he gave an exultant "humph" to 

himself and started to cross. As told by 
Foster that Indian, when he reached the 
middle of the log must have been seized 
with a fit of some kind, for he suddenly 
fell ofT the log to the ground below and 
never got up again. Such was life on 
Brown's Tract in those days. 

After Foster left Brown's Tract, Otis 
Arnold moved into the HerreshofF's 
house, and for years he and his family 
lived there alone farming on the clear- 
ings. Year by year, however, the num- 
ber of sportsmen visiting this region in 
creased; so that later on he did a good 
business during the hunting and fishing 
season in entertaining sportsmen 

Many accounts are to be met with of 
visits to Arnold's during this period, all 
of which are entertaining. But the 
length to which this paper has already 
reached permits of only a mea^jer refer- 
ence to one or two. In the Autum of 1855 
the Honorable Amelia M. Murray. Maid 
of Honor to Queen Victoria, went over 
the lake belt of the wilderness with Ho- 
ratio Seymour, Mr. Seymour's nieces and 
other friends. On their way out they 
stopped at Arnold's and the story in the 
diary of Lady Amelia is in these words : 
"Mr. Seymour remained to make ar- 
rangements with the guide, while his 
niece and I walked on to Arnold's farm, 
there we found Mrs. Arnold and six 
daughters. These girls aged from 12 to 
20 were placed in a row against one wall 
of the shanty, with looks so expressive 
of astonishment that I felt puzzled to ac- 
count for their manner, until their moth- 
er informed us that they had never be- 
fore seen another woman than herself. 
I could not elicit a word from them, but 
at last when I begged for a little milk, 
the eldest went and brought me a glass. 
I then remembered that we had met a 
single hunter rowing on Moose River, 
who called out 'Where on earth did 
they woman come from.'" 

Another tourist, Wallace in his ''Babes 
in the Wood," gives this account of a 
visit to Arnold's. "As we approached 
the house we paesed through a yard 
where the daughters of the family were 
engaged in milking, with a little smok- 
ing fire beneath every cow. Here was a 


new feature. Such remarks as the fol- 
lowing greeted the ears of the fair milk- 
ers, 'if they are not smoking their beef 
with the skins on * * * I have 
heard of building Sres under balky 
horses, but I fail to see the necessity of 
serving cows that way'. * * * 'Boys 
can't you see that this is done as a mat- 
ter of domestic economy ? The gradual 
and increased warmth acts upon the 
udder of the animal and through this up- 
on the lacteal contents thereof, produc- 
ing a sort of coagulatioa wherfcby the 
creamy globuis are precipitated.' 'By 
this time we had begun to learn by ex- 
perience that the smouldering fires were 
smudsjes to drive the punkies from the 
cows so that they might be milked in 
peice." Here perhaps, is another reason 
why the Brown and Herreshoff settle- 
ments proved disastrous. Unless they 
knew how to manage punkies they cer- 
tainly did a wise thing in moving away. 

Dave Smith and Jimmie 0"Kane, as they 
were commonly known in the woods. 

Wlien the early sportsmtn first began 
penetrating, into the forest, above Fen- 
ton's No. 4, they found at Still water. 
Township No 5, on tie Beaver River, 
living alone in a little cabin, a strange 
character by the name of David Smith, 
about whom many romantic stories 
cliug. The mystery of his life, no one so 
far as I have learned, has ever discov- 
ered. Some claim that he went to the 
woods oa account of the death of his 
fiancee, others maintain that he sought 
refuge there because his wife made it 
too interesting for him at home, while 
still others insist that he was a political 
refugee from a foreign country, hiding 
here in the midst of the forest. All ac- 
counts of him agree that he was not a 
hunter and trapper. The deer it is said, 
used to come about his place without 
fear. Smith carefully shunned these 
September 18th, 1868. another tragedy early sportsmen who occasionally came to 

was enacted at this old Herreshoff build- 
ing. James Short, a guide of Warrens- 
burg, Warren County, stopped at Arn 
old's in making a trip through the woods. 
While there he purchased of Arnold's 
SDu a hound and subsequently a strap 
and chain from a man working on the 
place. As Short was ready to go he 
called the dog and commenced putting 
OQ the collar, when Otis Arnold stepped 
forward and claimed the collar. A quar- 
rel ensued in which Arnold shot the 
guide, who lived about five hours and 
died. Arnold then left the house and 
vs^ent to Nick's Lake, a favorite resort of 
his, where he filled his pockets with 
stones and tied a large boulder around 
his neck, and then he rowed his boat to 
the center of the lake "and threw him- 
self, a victim of remorse, into the clear 
water. A plunge, a gasp, a ripple and 
Otis Arnold was before his only judge." 
Such was the tragic death of the last 
resident of the old Herreshoff place. 

From time to time , Brown's Tract has 
been a resort for hermits and refugees. 
During the late Civil War men occasion- 
ally fled to this part of the forest to escape 
the draft. Among the most famous her- 
mits and recluses of Brown's Tract, wei;e 

his place. Year b- year, however, their 
number increased to his annoyance so 
that finally to avoid them, he packed up 
his things and moved on farther into the 
forest, going up the river to ks source 
to a large lake on the shores of whicli he 
made a small clearing and built a cabin. 
Here he lived for several years undis- 
turbed. But gradually the sportsmen 
work*>d their way back farther into the 
woods, where they again found Smith 
on the shores of this lake. Tht lake be- 
came known as Smith's Lake, now Lake 
Lila, upon the shores of which Dr. Webb 
has built him a beautiful forest lodge. 
Smith endured the occasional presence 
of these sportsmen for a while, hiding in 
the woods when the hunters were about, 
until returning one season they found 
Smith's cabin empty and deserted. 
Where he went, what became of him 
and why he "took to the woods" are 
still favorite subjects of speculation 
around the cam p tires of this portion of 
the Adirondacks. 

After the building of Beach's road, a 
romantic character by the name of 
James O'Kane, found his way here into 
the wilderness and at Stillwater on the 
Beaver River in Township 5, took pos- 


session of one of the shanties built by 
Beach in constructing his road and 
lived there by himself for several }'ear8. 
Unlike Smith, he did not hide from 
bunting and fishing parties; but on 
the contrary, sometimes entertained 
them and mingled wiih them. O'Kane 
Is said to have commenced an educa- 
tion in Ireland for the priesthood; but 
before taking orders become involved 
in an unfortunate brawl and i-i said to 
have killed a man upon which account 
tie fled and came to this country; and 
here in Brown's Tract sought refuge. 
He lived hei'e by himself with a few 
books, chief among which was a well 
■worn Bible, until 1853, when a party of 
huntertj going past his shanty and 
noticing its deserted appearance stopped 
and went in. Here they found him 
dead on his couch, his hands clasped as 
if io prayer. 

The settlement and development of 
the Adirondacks was for a long time a 
favorite project on the part of the state, 
and from time to time laws having this 
object in view were enacted. The inac- 
cessibility of the region was always con- 
sidered a serious drawback, and to open 
up the country from time to time roads 
were directed to be built. A study of 
the Session Laws for a period of about 
40 years will disclose many contemplated 
projects for subduing the wilderness. It 
was substantially gridironed with state 
roads, nearly ail of which have fallen in- 
to a condition of desuetude. The princ- 
ipal of these roads crossing Brown's 
Tract, were the Carthage and Lake 
Champlain Road and the Herkimer, 
Hamilton and Lewis Road. 

In 1841 the Legislature directed a road 
to be built from Lake Champlain to 
Carthage, in Jefferson County. It was 
supposed that a road direct through the 
wilderness from Carthage to Lake Cham- 
plain would be of great public benefit in 
placing the northeast and northwest parts 
of the state in direct communication, 
and would oi>en up the country for set- 
tlement. The work of building this road 
was under charge of Nelson Beach, of 
Lewis County, and the road is some- 
times known as Btacli's road. This 

road crosses the northern part of Brown's 
Tract through the valley of the Beaver 
River. Like all projects of development 
the road was a failure. It is s^aid that 
only one team went over its whole 
length fiom Carthage to Lake Cham- 
plain. The eastern and western parts of 
this road are still used to some extent; 
the middle portion however, has long 
ago grown up to trees and become whol- 
ly impassible. The part crossing Brown's 
Tract remamed so that teams could drive 
over it until a few years ago when a 
State Reservoir was built on the Beaver 
River at Stillwater which submerged a 
considerable portion of the road. 

In 1850 the heirs of John Brown sold 
out their interest in Brown's Tract ex- 
cept Township 6, to Lyman R. Lyon, of 
Lyons Falls, Lewis County, N. Y., for 
the sum of $18,500. Today the Tract 
would be worth about $1,000,000, at 

After Lyon purchased the Tract he 
conveyed a two-thirds interest to Fred- 
erick HoUister and Theodore P. Ballou. 

In 1848 the Sacketts Harbor & Sarato- 
ga Railroad Company was incorporated 
for the purpose of constructing a rail- 
road from Sacketts Harbor to Saratoga. 
The right of premption was given as to 
certain State lands by which means con- 
siderable public land was obtained. It 
was considered that a railroad through 
the Adirondacks connecting Lake On- 
tario with the Hudson River would be of 
great benefit, so much so that its proper- 
ty was exempt fiom taxation for a con- 
siderable period. This railroad company 
and its successors subsequently acquired 
title by various intermediate deeds and 
conveyances from Hollistfr and Ballou 
to about two-thirds of the entire Brown's 
Tract. The history of this company and 
its succespors is one long series of finan- 
cial failures and disappointments, mort- 
gage foreclosures, reorganizations and 
receiverships. So far as an active oper- 
ating railroad is concerned it never de- 
veloped beyond a short branch running 
north from iii'aratoga to the North Creek, 
now known as the Adirondack Railroad, 
which is a part of tbe D. & H., systtm. 
The route of the old Sacketts Harbor & 


Saratoga Railroad Company crossing 
Brown's Tract as it did, considerable was 
expected from it for the development of 
that region. Today the traveler going 
from Lowville to No. 4, Brown's Tract 
can see on one side of the road a high 
embankment grown over with bushes 
and small trees and a large stone culvert 
in the same unfinished condition as left 
when the funds ran out nearly fifty 
years ago, a monument of an ineffectual 
attempt to subdue the wilderness. The 
Mohawk & Malone Railroad was the first 
and only railroad to be built and op- 
erated across this Tract which was con- 
structed some forty years later upon an 
entirely different route. 

Such is a brief outline of the history 
of John Brown's Tract. It may be char- 

acterized as almost a hundred years war 
between man and the rude forces of 
nature. The Tract is in much the same 
condition as when the pioneer first 
turned to it his attention. Time here 
has wrought less changes than elsewhere. 
The Indian has gone, the moose has dis- 
appeared, the beaver, panther and woll 
are now traditions of the old time hun- 
ter and trapper; still as to much of the 
"This is the forest primeval. The mui 

muring pines and hemlocks, 
Bearded with moss and in garment 

green, indistinct in the twilight. 
Stand like Druids of Eld with voices sad 

and prophetic. 
Stand like Harpers Hoar with beards 

that rest on their bosoms." 


1897 PAPERS 




Deivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, January 5, 1897. 

The local annals of man wherever he 
has dwelt furnish incidents and details 
that appeal to the kinship of human na- 
ture. From a narrow to the broadest 
scenes of human action there are links of 
interest and sympathy that bind com- 
munities and generations together. In the 
life, the experience, the sacrifice and 
peril, the defeats and the triumphs of the. 
humblest of our ancestors are found the 
sources and materials from which the 
philosophy of history is deduced, and 
they afford an abiding charm. 

When we look to the struggles and the 
harsh experience of foregone genera- 
tions and contemplate the efforts that 
founded new societies, when we consider 
how they wrought out for us a larger 
sphere of life and more varied oppor- 
tunities, when we see how they opened 
the way to a future of liberty, happiness 
and greatness for their successors, we 
hail them as a common ancestry and 
yield to them a reverence that we do not 
accord to our fellow men of the present 

The actions that animated that fore- 
time when studied appear with larger 
significance, its leading events are seen 
in their relations to their wider conse- 
quences and are marked as epochs of 
progress. The nobler are hallowed, and 
the contrasting lights and shadows blend 
in a picture that becomes the delight of 

The grandeur of the present owes a 
tribute to the fortitude and self-denial, to 
the heroism, to even the humbler labors 
that laid the foundations of so large a 
fabric. The conspicuous great could not 
have builded had not the unnamed com- 
mons worked to the same ends ; all these 
ancestral actors played, if not leading, 
still essential parts in the opening scenes 
of a drama still unfolding. Military 
prowess, wisdom in statesmanship, could 
have availed little without the fruitful 
labors of those who toiled in obscurity. 
Modern historians find the more vital 
forces of the social and political system 
in the once neglected annals of the 
masses, in the tendencies that unfold 
man's capacities and open a path for the 
general advance. History begins to dis- 
play the progress of man, as man— that 
democracy which Bancroft says is " Hu- 
manity without its accidents." 

The purpose of this paper is to give 
some account of the Royal Grant, that 
twice royal gift to Sir William Johnson, 
first from the barharian king of the Mo- 
hawks, and then from the king of Great 
Britain. Prior to 1761 the territory lying 
to the north of the Mohawk river, be- 
tween the East Canada creek and the 
West Canada creek, extending to the 
St. Lawrence river, excepting the Bur- 
netsfield Patent granted to the Palatines 
in 1725, Glen's purchase, and some small 
tracts, was the possession of tl e Mohawk 

ttibe of the Iroquois Confederacy, or Six 
Nations, The Algonquin tribes claimed, 
and sometimes tried to assert dominion 
as far south as Lalie George and the Adi- 
rondack highlands, but the Mohawks 
were the virtual possessors of this region. 
This union of aboriginal tribes formed 
for government and conquest, and mark- 
ing as it did some distinct advance from 
the life of hunters and fishermen, had no 
parallel in the history of the North Ameri- 
can Indians. The tribes composing the 
Six Nations were more largely endowed 
with intellect, executive capacity and en- 
terprising spirit than any other of the 
aborigines. At what time they assumed 
the title of Oh gue-hon-we, "Men su- 
perior to all others,'' cannot be known, 
as this tribal league existed long before 
Europeans came in contact with them, 
but we may suppose it was after they 
had justified this proud pretension by the 
opening exploits of that career which 
carried their arms to Canada and to Hud- 
son's Bay, and threatened the French in 
Montreal and Quebec. Their forays are 
said to have been pushed beyond the Mis- 
sissippi and near to the Isthmus of Darien. 
They made themselves masters of an un- 
defined territory about and beyond the 
waters of the Potomac, and along the 
banks of the Ohio to the Mississippi, and 
they held dominion over a considerable 
territory between the Ottowa river and 
Lake Huron, The Hurons of the Isle of 
Orleans, to save themselves from the 
fury of the Mohawk tribe, asked admis- 
sion into that tribe, a purpose from which 
they were dissuaded by the French, In 
a war at that time the French were com- 
pelled to submit to their terms ; they 
sent thirty of their warriors to Quebec to 
demand certain Hurons who had taken 
refuge there and took them away upon 
their imperative demand addressed to 
the French governor and with which he 
was constrained to comply: "Lift up thy 
arm, Onontio, and allow thy children 
whom thou boldest pressed to thy bosom 
to depart, for if they are guilty of any 
wrong, have reason to dread lest coming 
to chastise them, my blow fall on thy 

At a treaty held at the forks of the 
Delaware between the governors of Penn- 
sylvania and New Jersey and the Six 
Nations, in 1758, the controversy among 
certain trihes claiming lands in New Jer 
sey was settled by the imperative dicta- 
tion of the Iroquois chief to those tribes, 
ordering them to restore prisoners and to 
be at peace with the English. Forty- six 
years before, when the governor of Penn- 
sylvania complained of the Delawares. 
who refused to remove from land they 
had sold to that State, a chief of the Iro- 
quois ordered them to depart, after a 
reprimand, and, in concluding, said : 
"After our just reproof and absolute 
order to depart from the land, you have 
now to take notice of what we have 
further to say to you. This string of 
wampum serves to forbid you, your chil- 
dren and yeur grandchildren, to the latest 
posterity, from ever meddling in land 
affairs, neither your children, nor any 
who shall descend from are ever here- 
after to aell any land. For this purpose 
you are to preserve this string in memory 
of what your uncles have this day given 
you in charge. We have some other 
business to transact with our brethren, 
and therefore depart you the council and 
consider what has been said to you." 

Having conquered the Shawnese on the 
Wabash, the Iroquois only consented, on 
the mediation of Governor John Penn, to 
allow them to settle in the western part 
of Pennsylvania, but compelled them as 
a mark of their subjection to wear female 
attire. Such are some of the instances that 
show the lofty and arbitrary sway of the 
Iroquois over the tribes that they had sub- 
dued or intimidated throughout a large 
part of North America— an imperial tone 
that reminds us of the language by which 
the Roman Senate dictated the fate of 
provinces, and gave law to vanquished 
kings. Of this savage league, exhibiting 
such a thirst for conquest and power, the 
Mohawks had the hegemonyand exercised 
the chief leadership, the war chief of the 
Confederacy being selected from that 
tribe. At the council held at Fort Stan- 
wix in 1768, for the purpose of fixing the 
boundary line between the English and 
the Six Nations the Mohawks were de- 

ciared by the other tri es to be the ''true 
ancient head of the Confederacy." from 
which it may be inferred that they were 
regarded as the original nucleus around 
which the Confederacy was formed. The 
name of Mohawk was often used to rep- 
resent the whole Confederacy. Acces- 
sions to the league probably occurred 
from events like those which caused the 
exodus of the Tuscaroras who were driven 
out from western North Carolina after 
their conspiracy against the whites. They 
were admitted to the league about 1714, 
and lands were assigned them by the 
Oneidas, lying between their possessions 
and those of the Onondagas, and thus 
this fugitive tribe became the sixth mem- 
ber of the Contederacy, afterwards 
known as the Six Nations. 

The prowess of these tribes in war, 
their masculine wisdom and oratory in 
council, their sagacious and refined policy 
in framing their federal government, far 
surpassing any of the other tribes, their 
adoption into their own body of the re- 
mains of conquered or fugitive tribes, 
the popular genius that controlled their 
public affairs, jusiify the title given them 
of the "Romans of the New World." and 
their policy of annexing other communi- 
ties to their growing league is no remote 
suggestion of the operation of our own 
federate system. The inquiry what this 
Indian Heptarchy might have become by 
its internal development and external 
growth, if they had not been arrested by 
the invading and superior power of ad- 
vanced civilizations, might form an in- 
teresting chapter in the conjectural his- 
tory of the possible progress of races and 
peoples, whose destiny, like those of 
Mexico and Peru, has been changed by 
foreign invasion. We might imagine 

" A glory that hath passed away. 
While yet it never was; 
The twilight lustre of a sua 
That never fully rose." 

Chief Hendrick, later styled King Hen- 
drick, was chief of the Mohawks. He 
was long and intimately associated with 
the English ; he adopted their dref s and 
lived in a house near the Indian Castle 
church in Danube, He attended the con- 
gress of the commissioners from eight of 

the colonies convened at Albany in 1754 
to consult on Indian affairs, and to con- 
cert a policy of colonial union in view of 
the existing war between Great Britain 
and France. In that congress, attended 
by such characters as Benjamin Franklin 
and Sir William Johnson, the one the 
Great Commoner of the colonial and 
revolutionary era, the other the most 
eminent and illustrious representative of 
the British crown. King Hendrick was 
heard with great attention and respect, 
and he is said to have been the chief 
speaker in that body, whether heard for 
the wisdom and weight of his opinions or 
from a politic deference to the greatness 
of the Confederate chiefs, we need not 
inquire. Something of his position and 
tone of thought we discover in the fol- 
lowing sentences. He did not hesitate 
to reproach the supineness of the colo- 
nists, and said : '"We thank you for re- 
newing and brightening the Covenant 
chain. We will take this belt to Onon- 
daga, where our Council fire always 
burns, and keep it so securely that'neither 
the thunder bolt nor the lighting shall 
break it. Strengthen yourselves and 
bring as many as you can into this Cov- 
enant chain. Look at the French : they 
are men ; they are fighting everywhere. 
But we are ashamed to say it, you are 
like women. It is but one step from 
Canada hither, and the French may come 
easily and turn you out of doors." The 
following year he fell at the battle of 
Fort George, where he fought under Sir 
William, on the side of the British. 

Hendrick held Sir William in high es- 
teem ; and from him, or certainly on ac- 
count of the attachment felt for him by 
the Mohawk chiefs, Sir William became 
the donee of the famous Royal Grant to 
which he gave the name of Kings Land. 
The tradition usually accepted as to this 
royal gift, is to the effect that Hendrick's 
eye and savage fancy for personal adorn- 
ment were attracted by a finely em- 
broidered coat which Johnson had lately 
procured for himself, and he announced 
to him that he had the night before 
dreamed that Johnson had made him a 
present of the coat. Knowing the super- 
stitious reliance of the Indians upon 


dream?, and also the good policy of com- 
plying with this virtual request, he at 
once handed the coat to the chief. Soon 
after Johnson visited King Hendrick and 
informed him that he too had a dream. 
Hendrick asked, "What did my palt" 
faced brother dream?" "I dreamed," 

dent and council, praying th?.t he and 
thirty-nine others therein named might 
have the license of the council to pur- 
chase in the king's name, from the In- 
dians, 40,000 acres in order to enable 
them to obtain the king's letters patent 
therefor. The assent of the president 
said Johnson, "that the tract of land," and council having been obtained the 
describing the lands bounded by the Mo- petition and subject of the grant was 
hawk and the two Canada creeks and considered by the king in privy council, 
northwesterly by objects known to them, and letters patent were issued pursuant 
"was all my own." The chief would not to the application in 1765. 
be outdone in generosity, even at this This grant had the peculiar distinction 
enormous odds, and after some delibera- of bearing the sign manual of George III 

tion, added, "Brother, the land is yours, 
but you must not dream again." 

This tradition, like so many other tra 
ditioDS, has been discredited as a mere 
fiction. Writers refer to the fact that 
Hendrick was killed at the battle of Fort 
George, April, 1755, while the petition of 
Sir William for liberty to make this pur- 
chase from the Indians was not presented 
to the Colonial Council until Julv, 1761 ; 
but it is obvious thai the assent of the 
other chiefs might not have been obtained 

in person which does not appear to have 
been attached to any other of the patents 
granted during the Colonial era, and the 
name, "Royal" Grant was pro! ably flue 
to this fact. The petition, it will be no- 
ticed, asked for 40,000 acres only, and it 
professed that the purpose was to secure 
to each petitioner one thousand acres If 
this was the intention it does not seem to 
have been observed, as by the will of Sir 
William executed in 1774, he disposes of 
the whole of the Royal Grant to his own 

for a long time after the gift, and other family with the expression of his will 

causes of delay may have intervened, and and desire that none of it should ever be 

it is said that the story was current in Sir sold or alienated. Besides this the 

William's life time ; and as it was of a boundaries actually contained 93,000 

character not wholly favorable to his acres, 53,000 acres more than was speci- 

reputation for just dealing, he would have fied in the petition. 

denied it if untrue. Again, Stone's life The boundaries of the Grant are givf n 

of Sir William states that he received in the petition substantially as fellows : 

only 3,000 acres for his dream, and that "Beginning at the northwesterly coiner 

the lands in the Royal Grant were given of the rear line of a patent purchased by 

to him by the Mohawk chiefs as a token Teady McGin, surveyed by his widow, 

of their esteem ; that he accepted it for Sarah McG n, which said corner is on the 

fear of offending them by refusing it, and bank of the creek or kill called by the 

insisted on making a present of $12,000 in 
return. Benton cites Judge Haring as 
authority for the statement that Sir Wil- 
liam dreamed for the land embraced in 
the Kingsborough Patect on which he 
built his mansion, and not for the lands 
of the Royal Grant. The balance of the 
evidence, however, seems to be on the 
side of the dream, and it will be popu- 

Indians, Dekayaronwe, about thirteen 
miles from the Mohawk river, which 
creek falls into the Mohawk about two 
hundred yards lelow Fort Hendrick, or 
Canajoharie Castle, thence running from 
said northwesterly corner of said McGin's 
rear line, a westerly course to the west 
bank of another creek or kill called by 
the Indians Dey osh-ter-awan,and by the 

larly regarded as the source of Sir Wil- Christians at Burnetsfield, Canada kill, 

liam's title as long as these lands shall be thence along the west side of said creek 

conveyed or descend. to the lands patented formerly, so down 

To obtain legal sanction to the Mohawk to the Mohawk river then running 

chieftain's gift. Sir William presented a around the several tracts of land already 

petition in 1761 to the Colonial presi- patented within the above mentioned 


two creeks froQi the rear line quite to 
the Mohawk river, containing about 
40.000 acres of land." From the fact 
that the west boundary was run on the 
west side of the creek it is like'y that bir 
William was aware of the valuable water 
power of this stream and for that reason 
made a shrewd extension of Hendrick's 
gift so as to include its waters. 

The northerly boundary ran from a 
point on the East Canada creek in the 
village of Devereaux, a pine stump, 
whicD the writer remembers was many 
years ago stated to be the point of de- 
parture, thence northerly to the West 
Canada creek by a line running north of 
the village of Prospect, as stated by 
Benton, and in fact as far north as Gang 
Mills or Hinckley. 

The settlement now the village of Dev- 
ereaux was in the early j^tars of the cen- 
tury designated as the "Corner of the 
Grant," later as Nicholsville, in 1833 as 
East Creek, and in 1834 as Devereaux, 
named from Henry Devereaux. This 
territory embraced all the territory lying 
between the East Canada creek and the 
West Canada creek south of the Jersey- 
field Patent, north of the Mohawk ex- 
cepting Glen's Purchase, a few lots in 
Burnetsfield Patent, and some small 
patents in Manheim. The towns of Nor- 
way, Newport, Russia, Fairfield Man- 
heim and Salisbury lie wholly or mainlv 
within its limits, and smaller portions 
of the grant lie in Little Falls and Her- 

The will of Sir William devises his 
lands in this grant a=? follows : To his 
son. Sir John Johnson, 50,000 acres in 
the northwesterly part ; to Col Daniel 
Claus 10,000 acres adjoining the devise 
to Sir John; 10,000 acres adjoining the 
last named to his son-in law, Guy Johns- 
son; to Peter Johnson, his natural son, by 
Mary (Molly) Brant, 4,0u0 acres next to 
the Mohawk river, and another strip of 
land "'almost opposite the house of Hon- 
nical (General) Herkimer": to his other 
Indian children by Molly Brant, viz: 
Elizabeth, Magdalene, Margaret, George, 
Mary, Susanna, Anne, and to two of his 
Indian children not children of Molly 
Brant, viz. : Young Brant and William, 

tracts of 1,000 to 3,000 acres each, and 
"To my prudent and faithful house- 
keeper, Molly Brant, mother of the be- 
fore mentioned eight children, lot one, 
being part of the Royal Grant, now 
called Kingsland, and is opposite to the 
land whereon Honnical (General) Herki- 
mer now lives." 

In regard to these several devisee of 
the Kingsland or Royal Grant land, the 
will enjo'- s upon the]devisees as follows : 
"As his present Majesty, George the 
Third, was graciously pleased as a mark 
of his favor and regard to give me a pat- 
ent under the great seal for the tract of 
land now called Kingsland, and that 
without quit rent, except a trifling ac- 
knowledgement to be paid yearly, it is 
my will and desire that no part of it be 
ever sold by those to whom I have 
devised it, as that would be acting con- 
trary to my intentions and determined 

The letters patent recite that by a deed 
poll dated on or about the 27th day of 
December, 17(50, "Brant alias Araghigfa- 
decka aid divers other native Indians of 
Canajoharie, in the county of Albany, 
"calling themselves sole and absolute 
proprietors," in consideration of the 
love, good-will and regard which they 
had and bore towards their affectionate 
Brother and Friend the Honorable Sir 
William Johnson, alias Warraghrigagsy, 
of the Mobawk country, Baronet, as well 
as in justice and gratitude to him for 
the well-timed support and credit he had 
formerly given to their people, many of 
whom being dead since and those living 
unable to make him a proper recompense 
any other way" did make to Sir William 
and his associates a grant of said tract, 
"described on the back of said deed by 
the Indians themselves, to prevent any 
dispute, containing about 80.000 acres." 

The specifications of the grant in the 
letters patent are in great detail being 
"all rights, members and appurta (sic) 
underwood, trees, timber, feedings, pas- 
tures, meadows, marshes, swamps, 
ponds, pools, ways, passages, waters, 
water-courses, rivers, rivulets, runs and 
streams." The grant is "in considera- 
tion of the faithful services rendered 


unto us by the ?aid Sir William John- ture in 1798 passed an act to refund Per- 
son," the grantees also "yielding and teous and Ellice the amount paid for 
paying two beaver skins to oe delivered those shares. Elizabeth, Margaret and 
at our castle of Windsor, on the first day Magdalene were con victe J of adhering to 
of January in every year, and also the the enemies of the state, and upon that 
fifth part of the gold and silver ore attainder their estates were forfeited and 

which from time to time shall be found 
upon the said tract. 

The grant was divided into four allot- 
ments. The Vrooman map of 1797 found 
in our county histories shows the loca- 
tion of the tracts laid off to Margaret, 
George, Mary, Susanna, Anne, Brant 
and William, comprising 15,000 acres, 
said on the map to be devises "to a part 
of the baronet's Indian children." He is 
not supposed to have remembered them 
all. The towns of Salisbury and Man- 
heim, in which those tracts mainly lie, 
were formed from the town of Palatine 
in Montgomery county in 1797, and both 
towns were annexed to Herkimer county 

sold. This act recites that certain lands 
were sold by the commissioners as lands 
of Peter Johnson, ratural son of Sir 
William, "as part of the forfeited estate 
of Sir John Johnson, and that the said 
lands did of right lelong to" the seven 
children named surviving Peter John- 
son. For this reason the lands of the 
first four named were not affected by 
the attainder of Sir John, and the State 
abandoned the forfeiture against them. 
A similar act was passed in 1797, and on 
the same grounds, for the relief of Jacob 
Markle and others. 

In the year 1854. one McKinnon. who 
claimed by a chain of conveyances from 

tioas have confirmed the grants made 
by the British government prior to 
October 14, 1775, and the title of the 
heirs of such grantees was unquestion- 
able except for forfeiture by acts of 
attainder. By the act of October 23, 
1779, Sir John, son, and Guy Johnson 
and Daniel Glaus, son inlaws, of Sir 
William, were among others attainted 
as public enemies of the State and ad- 

herents to Great Britain in the war plaintiff introduced the wiil and convey- 
then being waged, and their estates ances and proved a fruitless search for 
were declared forfeited and vested in the patent to Sir William, and proposed 
the people of this State. This forfeiture to prove by Lauren Ford what was re- 
of course annuled the title of Sir John ported among the settlers on the Royai 
Johnson, Guy Johnson and Daniel Glaus Grant as to the disposition made of the 
under the devises to them. letters patent, the purpose of the proof 
It was long supposed that all the In- being to show that the patent was buried 
dian children wer-^ attainted and con- in the earth at the time of Sir John 
veyances were made accordingly by the Johnson's flight to Canada, and that it 
commissioner of forfeitures, but no rec- had decayed into illegible fragments, 
ord of convictions could be found against This evidence was excluded. The acts 
George, Mary, Susanna and Ann. By before referred to were then read to 
mesne conveyances Porteous and Ellice show a legislative recognition of the 
purchased and came into possession of ownership of Sir William and of his de- 
seven hundred acres, all of which were vises to his children, and those devises 
founded on the assumed attainder of the were claimed to be good, except so far as 
last four named children, and those pur- annuled by the attainder. The plaintiff 
chasers having in order to secure and was nonsuited, and the case went to the 
quietfheir title, paid those children for Court of Appeals. In that court the same 
their share of four-sevenths, the legisla- grounds of title were urged in behalf of 

in 1817. All of our state constitu- Susanna, devisee of 3,t)00 acres, brought 

an action of ejectment against Justus 
Bliss. Billious Avery, William F. Burrell, 
William Mavnard Smith and others, 
occupants of Susanna's tract in Salis- 
bury. Of the plaintiff's counsel was the 
distinguished David Dudley Field, and 
Bliss, in the action tried, was defended 
by Arphaxed Loomis, attorney of record, 
and associated with him were Samuel 
Earl and Robert Earl. On the trial the 


the plaintif?, and his counsel rea I from 
Benton's History the prevailing tiadition 
among the occupants of the grant as to 
the manner in which the title to the 
Royal Grant had been acquired. This 
historj' was held to be inadmissible for 
the reason that it treated, in this re- 
spect, of only local matters, and not of 
such as relal^ed to public and general 
matters affecting the whole state. The 
plaintiff's counsel was able on this ap 
peal to proiuce a duly authenticated 
copy of the letttrs patent to Sir William, 
recorded in the public records' office in 
London, but upon the decisions rendered 
by the court they were unavailable. No 
attempt was afterwards made to assert 
any title derived from these four child- 
ren. All the other lands passed to gran- 
tees under the attainder of Sir John 
Johnson, Guy Johnson, and Daniel Glaus, 
and the three Indiati children. The 
whole number of lots sold in the Royal 
Grant by the Commissioiaers of Forfei- 
tures was 451. 

The ownership of the Royal Grant by 
Sir William makes his remarkable caner 
and eminent services pertinent to our 
subject. He came when twenty-three 
years of age to aesume the agency of 
lands in what is now Florida,. Montgom- 
ery county. He engaged in the fur trade 
and in selling Indian supplies,and by his 
just and considerate dealing won the 
entire confidence of the surrounding 
tribes. On special occasions he assumed 
the Indian costume and was adopted 
SDto the Mohawk Canton or tribe. 

The fear of invasion from Canada felt 
in 1746, and the discontent of the In- 
dians toward the co'onial authority in- 
duced Governor Clinton to invoke the 
well known potent influence of Johnson 
with the Indians and he was appointed 
to the Indian agency, and in 1748 col- 
onel of the militia forces. Intrigues 
against him at Albany constrained him 
to resign in 1750. This caused great dis- 
satisfaction among the Indians and they 
laid various complaints before the gov- 
ernor in 1753, and King Hendrick's omi- 
nous words declaring that "the old cove- 
nant chain between them and the Eng- 
lish was broken," excited general alarm. 

All the branches of the governrrent and 
all the factions at Albany tben united in 
naming Johneon as the one man who 
could win tack the alliance of the Mo- 
hawks. At Johnson's summons they 
met him at what is now Akin, then 
Mount Juhnson, near Amsterdam. Hen- 
drick tiien declared that 'for any other 
man he would not have moved a foot." 
Difficultifs were adjusted ard in the fol- 
lowing month at a general meeting of 
the Six Nations at Onondaga friendly re- 
lations between them and the colony 
weie restored. From that time John- 
son's influence o\er the Indians contin- 
ued to increase, and in 1755 he was ap- 
pointed majoi'-general of the New Eng- 
land and New York troops. In Septem- 
ber he defeated the French under Die- 
skau at the battle of Lake George for 
which signal success parliament voted 
him £5,000 and the King cieated him a 
baronet. The Lords of Trade in 1756 
made him colonel and sole superinten- 
dent of the northern Indians with an 
ample salary. In 17c9 at the siege of 
Fort Niagara by the English under Gen- 
eral Prideaux he succeeded to the com- 
mand on the death of that general, de- 
feated D'Aubry, \^ho had marched to 
the relief of that post, and compelled its 
surrender. It is worthy of note that Sir 
William captured both of the French 
commanders in these decisive battles. 
Upon the surrender of Fort Niagara he 
advised an immediate advance on Mon- 
treal, but the more cautious policy of 
General Amherst delayed that move- 
ment. In 1758 his efforts had prevented 
fifteen tribes from allying themselves 
with the French. How much of death, 
suffering and desolation was stayed by 
his intervention can never he known. 
In 1760, at the head of regulars, provin- 
cials and Indians, he took part in the 
capture of Montreal and the final expul- 
sion of the French 

Nor did his services end with that 
event. In 1764 he marched with a large 
force to Oswego, Niagara, Pittsburg and 
Detroit to overawe the Shawnees and 
the Senecas who were still hostile, and 
compelled them to keep the peace. In 
June 1774, we find Governor John Penn 


of Pennsylvania, calling for the potent 
help of Sir William to protect the west- 
ern settlers against the Shawnees, an ap- 
peal that reached Johnstown just after 
Sir William's death, July 11, 1774. Such 
is a brief account of the greatest of the 
colonial servants of the British crown, 
and who next lo Wolfe was the most 
potent personality in the work of ex- 
pelling the French from North America. 
William Pitt in his sublime egotism said, 
"I can save England, and no other man 
can," and Johnson and Wolfe were his 
ablest 8ubordina':es in the work he had 
to accomplish oa this continent. 

The mother of Sir John Johnson and 
of the wives of Guy Johnson and Claus 
was a German girl named Catherine 
Weisenfelt, who was sold into service to 
pay her passage money over sea, a cus- 
tom as prevailing in that day as was the 
servitude of the blacks. The Ftory cur- 
rent at that time was that one Phillips, 
who had become her master, stated that 

•'Johnson, that d d Irishman, came 

and offered him '^£5 for the girl and 
threatened to horsewhip him and steal 
the girl if I would not sell h^r," and 
thinking, it seems, that £5 was better 
than a thrashing, he- accepted Johnson's 

This rough and ready courtship is sup- 
posed by Simms to have occurred in 1789. 
In 1S63, on the exhuming and reburial of 
Sir William's remains at Johnstown, a 
gold ring was found among them marked 
"June, 1739 —16," and Simms conjectures 
that the ring may have been given to the 
girl at that date, and that the figures 16 
denoted her age. Long after the birth of 
her white children, and to legitimate 
them, Sir William, shortly before the 
death of their mother, had a marriage 
ceremony performed between them, and 
still later, and not long before his death, 
a like ceremony was performed between 
him and his Indian wife, Molly Brant. 
This Indian wife is said to have beeti a 
woman of mind and of elevated chaiac- 
ter, exemplary in life at Johnson Hall, 
and a' communicant of the Episcopal 
church. This superior Indian woman ac- 
quired a veneering of civilized manners 
in the mansion of Sir William, but the 

aboriginal trails asserted themselves when 
after his death she went back to her peo- 
ple. Broodmg ha'rtd iocited her to give 
warning of the advance from Fort Day- 
ton and caused tne ambuscade and 
slaughter at Oriskany, Indian fa~hion, 
she "dreamed" for the head of Lieuten 
ant-Coloael Stacie, a prisoner tiken at 
Cherry Valley, saying she had twice 
dreamed that the and the Indians had 
kicked it about the fort for a football. 
But even Butler disobeyed tho supposed 
command of the Great Spirit, and Molly 
was pacified with kegs of rum. She was 
cruel towards prisoners and lacked the 
magnanimity that sometimes relieved the 
record of the cruel atrocities of her 
brother, Joseph Brant. The names of 
Thayendanegea aud Molly Brant were 
both of ill omen to the Palatines of the 
Mohawk Valley. 

The early settlers of the Royal Grant 
came soon after the Revolution, and were 
mostly from New England. They made 
signal efforts for the promotion of learn- 
ing. In this respect they gave distinction 
to the county. It is said of the English- 
man that in a new settlement his first 
business is to build a dock and a ware- 
house, the Spaniard at once builds a 
church and a Frenchman a theatre. These 
New Englanders very early founded a 
school and a college— Fairfield Academy, 
in 1808 -to which was added a medical 
department in 1809, and this was raised to 
the rank of a college in 1812. Both insti- 
tutions were among the earliest of their 
kind in the State, and the college held a 
leading position until 1838. Among its 
professors are the names of Willoughby, 
Hadley, McNaughton, White, Hamilton 
and Beck. The lectures of T. Romeyn 
Beck, begun in 1816, were the foundation 
of Beck's Medical Jurisprudence, known 
to all physicians and lawyers. Henry 
Hamilton Hadley and George Hadley, 
sons of the elder Hadley, became the first 
Hebrew professor of Columbia College ; 
the second, professor in the Buffalo Medi- 
cal College. 

Among the students of the Academy 
were Albert Barnes, the distinguished 
biblical scholar ; the second, James Had- 
ley, who became Greek professor in Yale 


College, one of the most eminent, if not 
first in rank, of the Greek scholars of this 
•country, and author of a work on the 
Roman Law ; At a Gray, the fort most of 
-our botanists ; Henry Wager Halleck, a 
writer on military science and interna- 
tional law and general of the Union 
armies ; Hiram Denio, Addison Gardner, 
Elisha P. Hurlbut, Celora E, Martin, 
Judgfs of the Couit of Appeals; Orrin 
Faville, Lieutenant Governor of Wiscon- 
sm : Luther Bradish, Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor of New York : John Swinburne, 
famous in America and Europp for his 
improvements in reparative surgery ; 
Xerxes A. Willard, a writer on agricul- 
ture and dairying, whose text books are 
authority in America and Europe. 

Chailes A. JMann, a native of Fairtield, 
was a fellow-student with Barnes and 
Denio. He was introductd by his elder 
brother, Abijah, to a law office in Utica, 
with the remark that he "knew nothing 
but Latin and Greek," which the elder 
brother did not highly esteem, but he 
added that he "was willing to work," 
which Abijah evidently thought more to 
the purpose. He steadily rose in his pro- 
fession, and acquired the reputation of 
being the test real estate lawyer in Oneida 
county. In 1846 he was nominated for 
the conirtitutional convention, but was 
defeated by lea^on of the existing split in 
the Democratic party, and the same cause 
defeated his nomination for Congress in 
1848. He was elected to the Assembly, 
and afterward to the Senate in 1850. He 
was an ardent and firm supporter of the 
financial school of Hoffman, Loomis, 
Abijah Mann, Grain, and was the leading 
adviser of the resignation of the twelve 
senators in order to defeat the $9,000,000 
canal bill of 1851. This expedient had 
the sanction of leaders such as Horatio 
t Seymour, but Mr. Mann was not sus- 
tained by the popular vote, but he was 
vindicated by the Court of Appeals, which 
declared the act, after it was enacted, to 
' be unconstitutional. After 1851 Mr. i'ann 
avoided public life, though name.:! for 
comptroller and justice of the Supreme 
Court. His long connection with rail- 
roads and banks, the lunatic asylum 
board, orphan asylum, the academies of 

Utica and with its manufacturing enter- 
prises, as pr moter, director and presi- 
dent and chairman of most of them at- 
tests the universal reliance placed on his 
financial skill, executive ability and in- 
tegrity. Mr. Mann's eminently useful 
career was closed oy impaired health a 
few years before his death, in 1860, at 
the age of fifty-seven. 

The observation has been made that 
the Palatines from their settlement in 
1725 to the founding of the institutions 
at Fairfield had done nothing for the 
special promotion of learning. But it 
must be said that the scathing devasta- 
tion that wasted the Palatirate hy the 
ruthless scourging of Louis XIV. and 
his still more brutal minister Louvois, 
and which swept away village, hamlet 
and cottage, were revisited upon its peo- 
ple in the new world. They were pur- 
sued by ill fortune in their wanderings 
on the Hudson, the Schoharie, and the 
Mohawk. They bore the fierce brunt of 
French and British invasions. Indian 
ambush and the tomahawk hovered 
around and over them, and there was 
the more direful hate of brother warring 
upon brother. 

The story of this much enduring peo- 
ple reads like the roll of the prophet, 
filled within and without with lamenta- 
tions and woe. In a constant struggle 
for life, they had time only to learn how 
to live, could study only arts to ward off 
impending death. Their fields were 
tilled in the brief intervals when peace 
for a time "dropped like a curtain" upon 
the troubled stage between the recurring 
scenes of blood and fire. When we con- 
sider the multiplied calamities that be- 
set them, it is the marvel of history that 
they finally held their ground: 

"Tantae molis erat Romanum condere gen- 

—such and so arduous was the task of 
preparing the homes in which we abide. 
The settlers of the Royal Grant came 
under the auspices of newly awasened 
enterprises which they could pursue in 
peace and security. They came from a 
part of the land where tlie aspect of war 
had been less terrible, and where the 
culture of letters was less disturbed. 


They founded seats of leiruing to which 
the desceodants of the Palatines resort- 
ed, which in happier times they largely 
supported, and ihey gathered from these 
fountains the same benefits that have 
been largely felt in this and in surround- 
ing communities, down to our own 
times. The academy at Fairfield is now 
under the vigorous ana enlightened ad- 
mmistration of the Messrs. Warnes, who 
have restored it to its old time prosperity 
and usefulness. 

Most of the first settlers upon the 
Royal Grant came after 1784, and large- 
ly to Norway. There were only a few 
settlers in Manheim and Salisbury 
before the revolution. These later 
settlers were attracted by the 
fame of cheap and fertile lands, the 
confiscated estates of the Johnson family 
which were offered for sale in 1784 by 
the Commissioners of Forfeitures. The 
immigration to Norway was somewhat 
earlier than that to any of the others on 
the Grant. Norway has been the prolific 
mother of towns, thirty-five having been 
carved from her ancient territory, and 
much of this immigration to the Grant 
was to towns not within the present limits 
of that town. The pioneer in what is 
now Norway was Christopher Hawkins, 
who came in 1786. In 1787 the Potters 
settled on No 4 of the third allotment, 
about half a mile north of Norway vil- 
lage. Five younger members of the 
family made a home there in the winter 
of that year. The winter snow still 
lying four feet deep in April, frozen 
potatoes and an occasional rabbit for 
food, no neighbors short of seven miles, 
and a succeeding frosty summer, tried 
the souls of these young pioneers. Some 
years before 1786 a tempest cut a wide 
swath through the forest for several 
miles in the north part of tbe town, and 
it was afterward known as "The Hurri- 
cane." The same tempest, it is supposed 
prostrated the forest at what is called 
"The Windfall" in Schuyler, Many 
went to the Hurricane, thinking perhaps 
that a hard life could be had on some- 
what easier terms on lands thus provi- 
dentially cleared. Among them was 
Noah Smith, the writers great-grand- 

father, who had settled just below Fair- i 
field village, but lost his "betterments" 
there. The first marriage in the town 
of Russia, then part of Norway, was that 
of Farley Fuller to Minerva, daughter 
of Noah Smith. It was not always easy 
to keep the wolf from the door on the 
Hurricane. There Philo Smith, Noah's 
son, and his wife, grandpirenis of the 
writer, were awakened at night to find 
a wolf on the door step of their log 
hcu-e and they killed him there. The 
honors were about equal; Philo held the 
wolf by the tail and his wife split the 
animal's head with an axe. She was 
Rachel Hop^on Smith, one of the eleven 
children of Alvarius Hopfon. who set- 
tled in Salisbury in 1793. Another of 
his daughters was Clotilda, wife of 
Linus Yale, of Newport. 

Among the prominent men of Norway 
was Ira Coe, a legal oracle in the north 
part of the county, largely employed in 
trying causes in justices' courts, and for 
a time one of the associate county judges. 
He was candidate in 1846 of the Whig 
party for member of assembly. Thomas 
Manly was member in 1800, 1810, 1830, 
and Daniel C Henderson, Henry TiUing- 
hast and Jefferson Tillinghast in 1837, 
183^ and 184S respectively. Some time 
before 1808 John Nicholson left Norway, 
and he was elected to Congress in that 
year from Herkimer. The research of the 
late Samuel Earl could find no further 
trace of his career, and the writer knows 
of none except a shinplaster for fifty 
cents, which he issued at Herki- 
mer in 1817. Dudley Burwell, born 
in Norway, was one of the strong 
men of the county, a distinguished 
lawyer of literary tastes who was 
engaged, after his retirement from 
practice, upon a biography of 
Charles James Fox, the English states- 
man, which he did not live to complete. 

Benton's History assumes, and the later 
history of Judge Fardin and Willard re- 
peats, that the territory now Ohio was a 
part of Kingsland during the revolution. 
If the Royal Grant, or Kingsland, was 
granted in 1765, it is not perceived how it 
could have been embraced in the Jersey - 
field Patent granted in 1770, Kingsland 



then remaining intact. The map published 
by the Forest Commission runs the north 
line of the Royal Grant, from Devereaux 
directly to near Hinckley, leaving, of 
course, Ohio, wholly to the north. Why 
Ohio is supposed to have been a part of 
the Royal Grant is not apparent. Its ter- 
ritory, taken from Norway in 1823, was 
first named New Brunswick. It was set 
tied before the revolution, it is believed, 
by several white families, among them by 
one Mount. The murder of his sons by 
Indians, in 1782, is a tragedy that has 
often been rehearsed, and no further set- 
tlement was made until 1790. Since 1832 
this remote town has sent to the Assem- 
bly David Thorp, Asa Vickery and Wil- 
liam Coppernoll. 

The part of the county comprised in the 
Royal Grant had greater comparative po- 
litical weight in early years. Newport 
sent Willoughby to Congress ; Norway, 
Nicholson ; Fairfield, Mann and Buell ; 
Booth, of Russia, closely contested the 
Domination with Spinner, Schuyler turn- 
ing the scale. Wooster from Newport was 
in the constitutional convention of 1821, 
and in the senate in 1823. Varney was 
Senator from Russia in 1842. In early 
years Nathan Smith, of Fairfield, was a 
first judge of the county, succeeded by 
Hiram Nolton in 1825 and Arunah C. H. 
Smith in 1840, all from the same town. 
The Grant has been numerously repre- 
senced in the Assembly, but all of whom 
have held the position only S. R. Milling- 
ton and Solemon Graves are now living. 

Nathan Smith before holding the pos- 
ition of first judge of the county, had 
been a member of the assembly from this 
county in the years 1798, 1801 and 1802. 
He was elected senator in 1805 and held 
that position for two terms. In 1808 he 
was chosen a member of the council 
of appomtment and was in all these 
years a prominent figure in the politics 
and legislation of the state. He died at 
Fairfield in 1836 at the age of sixty- 

In the early years •£ the century the 
gates of the Northern Wilderness were 
on the borders of the Royal Grant. There 
were many hardy occupants largely en- 
gaged in hunting, fishing and trapping, 

about the Fulton Chain, Jeraeyfield, 
Piseco and Long Lake and other waters 
in that region. Seventy years ago the 
beaver had not disappeared from the 
numerous dams they had built. The 
meadows which »their dams of immem- 
orial date, had cleared of timber, are 
found scattered throughout the forest. 
Within the memory of the writer, moose 
were there so abundant that deer were 
deemed game of minor account. Hunt- 
ing expeditions broughc in every season 
large quantities of this royal game and 
their hides were tanned in the small 
tanneries and made into the moccasins, 
"mokisins," in the Indian language, 
which were always worn by the hunters. 
In these days meetings of these sports- 
men were frequent at Wyllys Avery's 
gun shop where Wyllys Avery, George 
Avery, Erwin Byington, the Dunnings, 
the Bleekmans, Wyllys Bennett, Nath- 
aniel Foster, and others, tried their skill 
with the rifle, using Avery's newly in- 
vented rifle locks fitted to rifles of his 
manufacture. He bought his barrels of 
Eliphalet Remington up to 1834. 

In these assemblies Foster was a 
marked figure, "straight as an Indian," 
alert and prompt in manner, with a wary 
and piercing glance characteristic of the 
hunter's eye and with a face browned 
by exposure, he might, but for hisi long 
yellow locks, well pass for a genuine son 
of the forest. Much has been said of his 
skill with the rifle but his associates did 
not concede to him special rank in these 
encounters, but his aim at live game was 
said to be more unerring. The story that 
his carrying rifle balls between his fin- 
gers had so indented them that he habit- 
ually carried them that way for con- 
venience in loading, had no foundation. 
His trial at Herkimer in 1833, for killing 
Waters, one of the St. Regis tribe, an 
offishoot of the Mohawks, was watched 
with more attention than any capital 
trial in this part of the state. The idea 
of hanging a white man for shooting an 
Indian, aroused men who had heard so 
much, of some of whom had witnessed, 
the unsparing raids of Sir John Johnson, 
Greens, the Butlers, Brant and Claus, 
in the Mohawk Valley and on the Royal 


Grant. Elisha P. Hurlbut was one of 
Foster's counsel. His plea for his client 
which was published in Park Benjamin's 
"World" over fifty years ago, was largely 
based on the fact that Foster's quarrel 
with Waters occurred in the wilderness 
far beyond any possible protection of 
law, that in this state of nature the com- 
batants were remitted to the rights of 
private warfare and to the unqualified 
use of all means of self-preservation. 
Anticipating that it would be urged that 
Foster followed up the Indian after the 
first struggle, he might well argue that 
following an Indian with a good rifle, 
was much safer than to have him on 
one's own trail in the depths of the for- 
est. A weaker argument than this 
would be likely to o')tain the assent of 
the jury that was addressed on that 
occasion. On his acquittal Foster finally 
retired from the woods in which Indians 
were likely to be prowling and he died 
at Ava, and was buried at Boonville in 
a grave near that of Herrishoflf, the John 
Brown's tract suicide. 

Wyllys Avery, before mentioned, was 
a man of remarkable native genius. His 
active mind led to a self-education of no 
mean order. He was an expert mechanic 
and brought cut several valuable inven- 
tions. He taught himself surveying and 
as a surveyor acquired a wide reputation. 
He made the compasses he used and sup- 
plied other surveyors. His knowledge of 
chemistry was extensive and Dr. Hadley, 
of Fairfield, took an interest in discussing 
with him topics on that science. He was 
well versed in geology, and Lardner Van- 
uxera, when making his state geological 
survey, sought the aid of his local knowl- 
edge and suggestions. He was for many 
years an able justice of the peace and 
his acquaintance with the statutory and 
common law was unusual outside of the 
legal profession, and he was largely con- 
sulted upon legal questions. When 
Dolphus Skinner edited the "Universal- 
ist Magazine" at Utica, that celebrated 
divine did not disdain to entertain a con- 
troversy with Mr. Avery in the columns 
of the magazine, upon topics in the field 
of theology. 

This back woods philosopher, like 
Franklin, whom he resembled in counte- 
nance and mental traits, had a vein of 
quaint and shrewd humor. When he 
advertised compasses he gave notice that 
he made all kinds of compasses, "except 
poor ones." When he had fits of mental 
depression, "the blues," he always spoke 
of them as "lucid intervals.'" When con- 
sulted on legal questions and his client 
cited the opinion of some lawyer, he 
would reply that he would mucii rather 
know what he told the lawyer than 
what the lawyer told him. Mr. Avery 
had none of the ambition that spurs 
mental ability to its highest exertion. 
With legal knowledge superior to many 
who practice law as a profession, he 
avoided the advocacy of suits, public 
speaking being wholly unsuited to his 
taste and temperament. Content with 
his quiet pursuits and the reflections of a 
contemplative uiind, and such excur- 
sions to the outer world as his reading 
afforded, he kept the "even tenor of his 
sequestered way." On a broader thea- 
tre of action with the stimulating con- 
tact of intellects equal to his own and 
if he had not deemed contentment suffi- 
cient riches, he might have been famous 
as a mechanic and inventor, or trained 
to the law, equal to high judicial labors, 
or if devoted to science he would have 
stood conspicuous in the light of new 
and important discoveries. 

Another and more famous inventor, 
Linus Yale, was a native of Salisbury. 
The Yale lock of his invention is known 
the world over wherever there are bank 
vaults or treasures to be protected by in- 
ventive mechanical genius. Hamilton 
Ward, formerly attorney general, and 
now justice of the appellate court in the 
4th department was born near Dever- 
eaux near the northeast (!orner of the 
Grant. Near the southern boundary of 
Salisbury was born John Krum, mayor 
of Alton when Owen Lovejoy was killed 
and who became afterwards a distin- 
guished lawyer of St. Louis and circuit 
judge in Missouri. 

George Griswold was a son of Colonel 
Amos Griswold, of Salisbury, and one of 
the anti-slavery leaders in the storm and 


stress period of the anti-slavery contest. 
He had a ke?n and comprehensive intel 
lect, and stored his mind with literary 
models and a vvide knowledge of public 
affairs. His eyesight was injured by an 
accident in early life which arrested his 
progress at a time when study was un- 
folding his fine natural powers. This 
misfortune interrupted the legal career 
on which he entered and in which he 
was fitted to excel. A natural orator, 
his diction was expressive and vigorous 
and his argument powerful. In the 
early forties he was often heard on the 
slavery question and he and John C. 
Underwood were in those years the 
ablest exponents of anti-slavery senti- 
ment in this county. Mr. Griswold 
went to Wisconsin about the year 1850, 
and died at Columbus, in that state, in 
1891, at the age of seventy-four His 
younger brother, William M. Griswold, 
also studied law in the office of Arphax- 
ed Loomis and when admitted to the 
bar he became a partner wiih Mr. 
Loomis. He removed to Wisconsin in 
1853 and there became distinguished and 
influential. For three years, 1858-60, he 
was a Member of the Assembly of Wis- 
consin, and a member of the Senate dur- 
ing 1868-1872. Possessed of highly culti- 
vated minds and extensive literary ac- 
quirements, the Griswolds held leading 
positions both in their native county and 
in the state of their adoption. Both 
were graduates of Fairfield Academy 
and of Union College. William M. died 
at Columbus, Wisconsin in the year 

Among the capable and forceful men 
of the eastern part of the Royal Grant 
was Col. Jeremiah Drake, of Salisbury, 
one of the robust minds and strong char- 
acters who sixty and seventy years ago 
kept up in our country towns intelligent 
thought and reflection upon public 
affairs. In the years from 1834 to 
1844 the writer often heard his 
discussions of the issues in state and 
national politics. Familiar with our na- 
tional and with general history, he was 
able to enforce his views with great men- 
tal acuteness and by remarkable facility 
in speech As illustrative of the features 

of those times the fact is recalled, occurr- 
ing in the canvass of 1840, when the elec- 
tion continued through three days, that 
in the night following the poll at 
Devereaux, Col. Drake on the Whig 
side, and Atwater Cook on the side of 
the Democrats, the leaders of their 
respective parties, discussed at the 
Centre the issues of that campaign 
Both these men were fully competent 
to expound and defend the creed of 
their respective parties. At that time 
the country towns had many men equal 
to such debates. When intelligent 
opinions and not money ruled, these 
public discussions enlarged the views 
of the electors, and such men were 
heard with attention. It is safe to say 
of that town that no one of its voters, 
then more numerous than now, voted 
for a bribe, and the same is believed to 
be true of all the country towns of the 

Col. Drake's energetic and enterpris- 
ing spirit was displayed in the project 
for securing a railroad and water navi- 
gation from Finks's Basin to the St. 
Lawrence. The first charter was ob- 
tained in 1834. His principal associates 
were Andrew A. Fink and Daniel B. 
Winton. Under this charter, which 
was for a line from Fink's Basin to 
Nicholsville (now Devereaux) by way 
of Manheim and Salisbury Centre. In 

1836 the scheme was extended to the 
Sacandaga river and up the East Canada 
creek to Morehouse lake, and by water 
through and along Lake Piseco and Lake 
Pleasant and in 1837 through and along 
Long lake, down the Racket river, in- 
cluding Tupper Lake, to the High Falls 
on the Racket river, and thence by rail- 
road, canal or slackwater navigation to 
the St. Lawrence. By these acts Jere- 
miah Drake, Daniel B. Winton, Andrew 
A. Fink, Elisha P. Hurlbnt, John Fine, 
Governeui'Ogden, Andrew K.Morehouse, 
Henry Devereaux and some others were 
named as stock commissioners. The 
name of the corporation was changed in 

1837 to "The Mohawk and St. Lawrence 
Railroad and Transportation Company." 
A considerable part of the line was sur- 
veyed under the supervision of Col. 


Drake, in 1837, but the financial depres- 
sion of 1837-8 proved fatal to any pros- 
pects this extensive project may have 
had, and it vsras abandoned vpith consid- 
erable loss on the part of its promoters. 

About 1830 Col. Drake was the candi- 
date of his party for State Senator. He 
DQOved to Wisconsin about 1843, and in 
1846 was a member of the convention 
chosen to form a constitution for the 
new state and was prominent in that 
body. His son Jeremiah Clinton Drake, 
was born in Salisbury in 1824; graduated 
from Rochester University and entered 
the ministry in 1852. In 1861 he re- 
cruited a company in Chautauqua 
county for the war, was made captain, 
and served during the entire campaign 
on the peninsula. In the fall of 1862 
the 112th regiment was organized at 
Jamestown, and he was commissioned as 
colonel. He served nearly two years 
and was distinguished for efficiency, 
courage and bravery. He had, during a 
large part of that time, the command of 
a brigade known as Drake's Independent 
Brigade. While leading this brigade on 
the first charge at Cold Harbor, June 1, 
1864, he fell, mortally wounded, and 
died the next day. 

Among the men bearing the same 
stamp of native worth and highly useful 
in his day, was Atwater Cook, before 
mentioned. He was a man strong in 
saving common sense. Besides filling 
the important town offices, he was twice 
at different periods, elected to the As- 
sembly, in which he served with credit. 
He was the trusted confidant of Arphax- 
ed Loomis and of the other men of his 
political school. A reflex of his traits of 
character may be seen in some incidents 
which the writer gives from personal 
statements and the voice of cotemporar- 
ies. An oppressive bill of legal costs 
rendered by ona of his neighbors having 
come to his notice, he brought the case 
to the attention of Mr. Loomis, and this 
is believed to have been one of the causes 
that turned actively the attention'of that 
eminent jurist to the legal reforms with 
which his name is identified. In another 
case, a prominent man in his dealings 
with Mr. Cook, had rendered himself 

amenable to criminal proceedings.but Mr. 
Cook, being unwilling to resort to ex- 
tremeties, gave notice in the proper 
quarter to have his name left off the 
grand jury list, so that he should not be 
placed where his official duty would 
compel him to present the case to the 
grand jury. These examples were char- 
acteristic of the cherished integrity and 
humane public spirit of the man. 

Elisha P. Hurlbut was the most versa- 
tile, and, in some respects, the strongest 
of the intellects this county has pro- 
duced. He was a powerful and impres- 
sive orator ; he rose to eminence as a 
lawyer and jurist, and but for the dis- 
taste for public life that succeeded his 
early triumphs, his genius and mental 
power might have secured still higher 
honors in the State and Nation. I heard 
him speak, with boyish admiration in 
1834, and in 1856 he deliverd a speech at 
Boonvillo on the public topics of that 
day, which, for massive strength and 
for stirring and sublime appeal, I never 
heard excelled. He affected none of the 
small arts of oratory, but full of his sub- 
ject he spoke "right on," and filled the 
minds and the hearts of his hearers. His 
argument was indeed, logic set on fire, 

He was born in Salisbury in 1807. He 
was at first attracted to medical study, 
which, for a time, he pursued under his 
uncle. Dr. Westel Willoughby; he then 
studied law and became a partner of Ar- 
phaxed Loomis. He went to New York 
in 1835, at the age of twenty-seven, and 
formed a co-partnership with Alexander 
S. Johnson, who was afterwards a Judge 
of the Court of Appeals, and after a 
practice of twelve years, he was elected 
Judge of the Supreme Ceurt, the young- 
est of the elected incumbents of that 
office, and he passed from that court to 
the Court of Appeals. His opinions writ- 
ten during the brief time he was a mem- 
ber of that court, before his resignation 
on account of ill health, showed ample 
learning and a characteristic vigor and 
clearness of mind. 

Judge Hurlbut's writings in various 
fields were striking and valuable. la 
1836 he delivered a course of lectures onj 
the basic principles of government,' 


which he afterwards published in a vol- 
ume entitled "Human Rights and Their 
Political Guarantees," which was re- 
printed in London and Edinburgh. In 
1843-4 his pregnant essays on constitu 
tional and legal reform appeard in the 
public prints and exerted a wide influ 
ence. In these he urged most, if not all, 
the reforms secured by the new consti- 
tution and the new legal system, the 
limitation of executive power by decen- 
tralizng executive patronage, as well as 
restraints on legislative power; the curb- 
ing of corporate trusts and the abolish- 
ing of special legislation. The only limit 
he would place on the voting franchise 
was the ability to road the English lan- 
guage. He was one of the earliest ad- 
vocates for the extension of complete 
legal and political rights to women. His 
efforts were influential in removing the 
political disabilities of the clergy, and 
the test of religious belief in the cases of 
witnesses. In short Judge Hurlbut was 
the constant and consistent foe of every 
denial and abridgement of human rights. 
Th« issues that arose in 1856, soon after 
his retirement, enlisted his most pro- 
found moral and political convictions, 
and he gave an earnest and zealous ad- 
vocacy to the Union cause. He was 
offered the nomination for Governor, 
and would probably have received it but 
for his determination not to accept pub- 
lic office. 

Abijah Mann, Jr., was born in Fair- 
field in 1793, was Member of the Assem- 
bly in 1828-39 and was in Congress from 
1832 to 1836. The training of a capable 
mother and his own efforts supplied the 
lack of academical instruction. He 
early became a power in the state and a 
political associate of VanBuren, Marcy, 
Wright, Flagg, Hoffman, Loomis, Grain, 
Barry, Beckwith, Burwell; and one of 
the men who gave tone to the Herkimer 
school of politics and aided in securing 
for it a marked ascendancy in the party 
and in the state. After leaving Con- 
gress he again entered the Assembly in 
1838. While in Congress he was ap- 
pointed one of the committee to examine 
the condition of the United States Bank. 
On arriving at Philadelphia he was re- 

fused admittance to the bank. Having 
a good deal of Jackson in him, and 
Jackson behind him, he at once procured 
laborers and began to dig his way under 
the building. The doors were then 
opened. His account of the report he 
made to Gen. Jackson is given in his own 
words : "I had been desired by Gen. Jack- 
son to come immediately to the Presi- 
dent's house at any hour on my return 
to Washington. I arrived late at night 
and was denied admittance. 'My name 
is Mann,' said I, 'and the President 
wants to see me.' I was admitted. 
Gen. Jackson had just risen from the 
bed and walked up and down the room 
in an old woolen night gown that made 
him looK like a ghost. 'Tell me,' he de- 
manded, 'how stands the case.' I told 
him the names of the members of both 
houses of Congress who had received 
money from the bank, and he made 
comments as I told. Naming one, a most 
distinguished senator, I added $70,000. 
'That money is well spent,' cried Gen. 
Jackson, 'he is an able man.' I named 
a southern senator, adding $6,000. 'Too 
much, too much,' cried the old man, 'he 
is only a country village lawyer.' So I 
went on through the whole catalogue 
detailing one of the most extraordinary 
cases of official corruption then on re- 

In the Assembly in 1838, Mr. Mann 
and Preston King, the two Democratic 
leaders, were in the minority and i hey 
indulged in a good deal of fillibustering. 
Luther Bradish, the polished Whig 
leader, was speaker. In one turbulent 
scene the speaker declared "the gentle- 
man from Herkimer" out of order with- 
out stopping Mr. Mann. The speaker 
then ordered "the gentleman from Her- 
kimer" to take his seat, still without 
effect. The speaker th«^n shouted, 
"Abijah Mann, Jr., take your seat," — 
the "calling members by their names" 
being the last resort of parliamentary 
law short of sending the Sergeant at 
Arms. Mr. Mann respected it and sat 
down. From these details it is quite 
clear that the veteran Herkimer leader 
had no lack of self assertion. 


In 1855, Mr. Mann was nominated by 
the Republican party for Attorney Gen- 
eral, but the American party carried the 
state. In 1857 he was the Eepublican 
candidate for Senator, but defeated. 
After this he was not active in politics 
and occupied an inde[>endent attitude 
toward parties. 

As illustrating the modest frugality of 
the times and to show the small begin- 
nings of men afterwards eminent, the 
writer recalls the fact that he heard it 
said after Mr. Mann became distin- 
guished, that he often tried causes in 
the eastern part of Grant for two and 
three dollars, and this millionaire of a 
later day set up hour.ekeepmg having a 
looking glass twelve inches by ten, as a 
type of his furniture. No rising attor- 
ney of our day would dare^ to show his 
face in such a glass as that. 

In 1803 the State Road was authorized 
to be run from "Preston's Tavern" in 
Steuben to within three miles of the 
High Falls of the Black River and thence 
to Brownville and eastward from the 
same starting point to Johnstown. It 
entered the Royal Grant at Brockett's 
Bridge, crossing Manheim, Salisbury, 
Norway and Russia and its location in 
1804-5 fixed the location of Salisbury 
Corners, Norway village. Cold Brook 
and Russia Corners. This road came to 
be the "grand crossing" over the Grant, 
and between the Black River country 
and Albany by the way of Johnstown. 
Prior to 1817, Manheim and Salisbury 
had Johnstown for their county seat 
and it, next to Albany, was the objec- 
tive point for business from the north 
and from the Grant. Seventy years ago 
besides the State Road, a road was in 
use leading from the southeastern part 
of Salisbury to Johnstown through the 
'•Nine Mile Woods." Before the con- 
struction of the Schenectady and Utica 
railroad, the state road was a thorough- 
fare thronged with teams from the Black 
River country and the Grant. Larg6 
numbers of cattle, sheep and hogs, the 
former in droves of many hundreds, 
passed over the road. Norman Butler, 
before and after that time, collected 
large droves at Fairfield and sent them 

over this route. The carriage of grain, 
pork, potash, flax, wool, fish from Lake 
Ontario, venison, furs and other pro- 
ducts of the field, forest and waters 
made an animated scene along the whole 
road. Taverns stood at intervals of one 
to two miles. At these hostelries the 
men of the northern farms and hamlets 
£ound good cheer. They often brought 
their own provisions, paying moderate 
sums for lodging and the stabling of 
their teams. Large open fire-places 
piled high with cord- wood, warmed and 
lighted up the spacious bar rooms with a 
ruddy glow, a heated iron pendant from 
an iron rod converted their strong ale 
into "flip" and no exciseman hindered 
the homely festivity. In the war of 
1813, cannon and munitions of war were 
tiansported 'and soldiers marched over 
this road to Sacbetts Harbor. The 
soldiers claimed large freedom on the 
whole route and sometimes took forcible 
possession of the taverns. They had, 
too, a festive way of fishing out bottles 
with nooses on the end of their ramrods, 
over the palings that the tavern keeper 
found needful to protect his liquors. 

The general wayfarers, the forefathers 
of those old hamlets, who, in those times 
traversed this road, were a genial and 
social people. They had no reason to 
envy, if they could have foreseen, the 
lives of their successors. They enjoyed 
all that field or forest or waters could 
afford, all the fruits of their brave and 
patient labor, all that rural life so blen- 
ded with forest sports, and all that the 
broad and social concourse of those early 
daj s could confer. These men no longer 
meet, nor do their children; the old tales 
and traditions are no longer told around 
the hospitable fires of those frequent 
taverns. They have mostly faded away, 
the old ties are broken, and with them 
have perished the charm of that older 
day and the more kindly light that once 
brightened the smiling fields and the 
more enlivened and more cheerful ham- 
lets of the Royal Grant. 

The northern part of the Grant is at 
the limit of successful agriculture and 
grass is about the on^y reliable product. 
The underlying limestone and the Utica 

slate found in some parts of the Grant 
have given to it a marked adaptation to 
the production of cheese and butter. 
The red-top, timothy, June grass, white 
and red clover afford in this soil superior 
pasturage. The geology a d the topo- 
graphical formation and the generally 
abundant supply of pure water maintain 
fresh pasturage during a longer season 
than continues elsewhere. These fav- 
oring conditions prevail throughout 
Manheim, a part of Salisbury, in Fair- 
field, Norway, Herkimer and parts of 
Newport and Russia. As early as 1843 
Fairfield produced more cheese than any 
town in the United States and in propor- 
tion to its acreage has, probably no 
equal today. The foreign export, on 
which pa3'ing prices continue to depend, 
was begun by Harry Burrell of Salis- 
bury, who successfully prosecuted that 
trade for half a century. His sons, 
Seymour Burrell and Isaac Burrell, en- 
gaged efficiently in extending this for- 
eign trade, and his son, David H. Bur- 
rell, has largely promoted the domestic 
.development of the business by improved 
appliances for cheese manufacture. 
Natural conditions and the skill of the 
dairymen of the Royal Grant have given 
to this region and its chief product, a 
reputation that rivals the most famous 
seats of this industry. The sales of 
cheese at Little Falls for the season of 
1894 were 13,121.680 pounds, being 303,- 
028 boxes; value $1,088,474. The sales 
of 1895 were 9,013,420 pounds, being 
150,207 boxes; value $714,684. The sales 
of 1896 were 7,345,340 pounds, being 
ij 130,754 boxes; value $564,259. The 
causes of this great decrease are familiar 
and they have been general, the falling 
off at Little Falls last season being only 
846 boxes more than that of the Utica 

The extent of this industry has made 
its methods subjects of careful study. 
The writings of Professor Xerxes A. 
Willard, rank high and probably stand 
first. His publications began in 1859 
and for many years he edited the dairy 
departments of various publications like 
"The Rural New Yorker." His "Prac- 
tical Dairy Husbandry" of nearly 600 

pages was said by the "London Milk 
Journal" to be '"the most complete p - 
lished." Dr. Edward Smith, F. R S., 
said in the "London Standard" that his 
"Condensed Milk Manufacture" was in- 
comparable for "clearness, detail, and 
correctness." In 1800 Professor Willard 
traveled through the dair}^ districts of 
Europe and his reports upon the meth- 
ods in use there were published by the 
United States Department of Agricul- 
ture In 1869 he was employed by the 
Royal Agricultural Society of England 
to write on dairying and furnished an 
essay on "American Butter Factories" 
and another on "Condensed Milk Manu- 
facture." In 1875 he published the 
"Practical Butter Book," a standard 
work. Besides these labors Professor 
Willard addressed County Agricultural 
Fairs in almost all our counties and 
often in other states. He gave lecture 
courses at Cornell University and before 
the Agricultural College of Maine. He 
took a leading part in organizing the 
American Dairymen's Association, or- 
ganized the New York State Dairymen's 
Association, and instituted the system 
of Dairy Boards of Trade. 

Among Professor Willard's coatribu- 
tions to his chosen work from 1859, be- 
sides those mentioned were "Essays on 
Agriculture" ''Cheese Dairying in Her- 
kimer County" and "Associated Dairies 
of New York." The night before his 
death he was engaged upon an article 
on dairying for the Encyclopedia Brit- 
anica. Most of his works were original 
explorations in a new field and they con- 
stitute a distinct literature on dairy 
farming. His whole career was one of 
great practical utility and exemplefies 
the service that large capacity and de- 
voted application to an important prac- 
tical subject may confer on mankind. 
Lauron B. Arnold of Fairfield, also con- 
tributed many valuable papers and dis- 
cussions for the improvement of this in- 
dustry at about the same period. 

Xerxes A. Willard was one of the most 
amiable and noble of men. His un- 
selfish and useful life, - his genial 
manner and charming personality 
invite the kindly pen of contempo- 


rary biography. Had it been his am- 
bition to distinguish himself in other 
fields rather than to be useful to the 
generation in which he lived, and to 
succeeding generations of farmers, his 
fine endowments of mind and his 
well trained intellect would have made 
him eminent in any profession he might 
have chosen. He was one of those rare 
characters from whose graves grateful 
memories rise and maintain a lasting re- 
gard in the hearts of all their surviving 

It will be noticed that this paper does 
not undertake any appropriate account 
of the career and public services of 
Arphaxed Loomis, whose early life was 
spent on the Royal Grant. A proper 
presentation of his labors as a jurist, as 
reformer of our judicial system, as well 
as leader in the remodeling of our state 
constitution could not be attempted 
within my present limits but may be 
made the subject of a subsequent paper. 





Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, February 9, 1897. 

The history of Tryron County has Indian title to all lands lying east of a 

never been written. "The Annals of line which begun at the mouth of the 

Tryon County" by Judge Campbell, Cherokee (Tenessee) river, where it 

Stone's "Life of Brandt," Simms, empties into the river Ohio and running 

Frontiersman of New York" Benton's thence on the south side of the Ohio 

"History of Herkimer County" and the River, up that stream to Kittaning 

several biographies of Sir William above Fort Pitt from thence by a direct 

Johnson contain many incidents con- line eastwardly through the Alleghany 

nected with the history of Tryon County, mountains to the west branch of the 

but I have not been ahle to find any work Susquehanna, thence along the south 

which claims to give, even a complete side of that stream to a point opposite 

outline sketch of the history of that the mouth of the Tiadaghton Creek; 

great county which figured so promi- thence up the south side of that creek, 

nently in Revolutionary times. along the north side of Burnetts Hills 

The object of this paper will be to to a creek called Awadee; thence down 

partially, supply this deficiency. the same to the east branch of the Sus- 

TRE AT Y WITH THE INDIANS. quehauna, across that stream, and up 

The Treaty made with the Indians in the east side to Oswego, thence east- 

1T68 at Fort Stanwix by Sir William wardly to the Delaware River and up 

Johnson and the Governors of New that river to a point opposite where the 

Jersey and Pennsylvania and Commis- Tiandua falls into the Susquehanna, 

sioners of Virginia, was one of the most thence to Tiandua (Unadilla) thence up 

important treaties made before the Revo- the west side of its west branch to the 

lutionary War. It was a remarkable head thereof, and thence by a direct 

conference, attended by more than line to Canada Creek, where it empties 

three thousand Indians and the result into the Wood creek at the west of the 

of it was a deed, executed by the Six carrying place of Fort Stanwix. 

Nations who claimed by right of con- The lands of the Mohawks around 

quest all the territory now covered by their villages and of other Indians 

the Stales of New York, Pennsylvania, similiarly situated were to remain to 

West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana them. The consideration paid for this 

and part of Michigan. This deed re- magnificient territory, which covered 

llnquished to the King of England the a large part of what is now four States, 


was ten thou-a \d four hunired and 
sixty pounds, seven shillings, andthrte 
pence, and by the terms of tlie treaty, 
Fort Stanwix near the site of the present 
city of Rome was to ba dismantled 
This treaty pacifi-:;d the Indians, and it 
was then supposed, fixed for all lim-^, 
the western limit of the Eiglish stttle- 
ments, and guarantee I to the Indians 
the undisturbed possession of the lnnds 
lying west of the line described in the 
deed. It fixed the western boundary of 
the colon}' of New York and of the 
county of Albany. All the important 
p itents of land granted by the King and 
colonies, wore east of this line, and the 
faithful observance of this treaty by 
Sir Wdliam Johnson secured the al- 
legiance of the Six Nations to Briti-h 


William Tryon, who had been Gover- 
nor of North Carolitia and had distin 
quished himself in that colony by his 
efforts to suppress the Sons of Liberty, 
wa^ transferred to New York, and be- 
c ime Governor. He reached the city of 
New York July 8ch, 1772 and because of 
his wicked career in North Carolina 
was very obnoxioas to the patriots of 
that city. He was known among the 
New York Sons of Li lerty as "Blooly 
Billy". Over zealoas in the cause of 
King and Parliament; more than will- 
ing to execute all the laws for taxing 
the psople of the colonies, he was 
idolized and admire t by the Tories, and 
thoroughly hatei by the patriots. He 
was a fit tool to do the work of the 
oppressors in those unsettled times, 
which preceded, and led up to. the 
Revolutionary War. Before his coming, 
in January 1772, steps had been taken 
or a division of Albany County. 

Sir William Johnson was at that time 
the most influential man in the Mohawk 
Valley, he had already run a great 
career, had a brilliant military record, 
was the possessor of a very large estate, 
had risen from an humble fur trader, 
to the position of a Baronet, was in high 
- avor with the King, had received from 

the King's own hand the title to the 
Royal Grant, a tact of over ninety 
thousand acr>^3 oa th^ north side of the 
Mohawk river, distinguished as "The 
Royal Grant," beca ise it was the onl)' 
patent <>f land in America which t ore 
the s gnalure of the King himself. Sir 
William's son John had been knighted in 
England in 1765, his two daughters by 
his wife Catherine were well married, 
Mary to her cousin Guy Johnson, and 
Anna to Col. Daniel Claus; Johnson 
Hall, Sir William's residence at Johns- 
town, was a magnificient establishment 
where the rich of the colony visited him 
and held high revel. Johnson himself 
was a true courtier, and knew the im- 
portance of being in favor with the 
governor, he was undoubtedly ambitions 
to br-come the head of a great house, and 
perhaps to Duild up in America, an 
estate and title which might rival and 
bee >me as impjrfant a? snme of the 
estates and titles in the Old World He 
may even have hope I, that his Bar oretcy 
might some day grow into an Earldom 
or Dukedom, and his descendants rank 
among the highest of England's nobility: 
at any rate he was active in setting up a 
county government at his own town of 
Johnstown and carving out for its sup- 
port a great territory which in honor of 
the coming governor was call Tryon 

On March 12th, 1772 the council of the 
colony passed, and the governor ap- 
proved an act to divide Albany county 
into three counties, Albany, Charlotte 
and Tryon. Charlotte included the ter- 
ritory of what is now the state of Ver- 
mont. The easterly boundry of Tryon 
county was a line drawn from a point 
on the Mohawk river near where the 
present village of Hoffman's Ferry 
stands, running due north to its inter- 
section witn t e St, Lawrence river at 
the mouth of the Regis river; thence up 
along the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario 
to Oswego; thence along the Oswego 
river, Oneida lake and Wood creek, and 
along the eastern line of the Indian 
country to the Delaware river; thence 



up the west branch of the Delaware 
river and in a northeasterly direction to 
the place of beginning. This covered a 
very large territory, and in a report to 
the home goverment made by Gov, 
Tryon June Uth, 1774, the governor 
says, "Tryon .county, though thinly set 
tied, as its extent is areat I as many in- 
habitants." From this tt-rritory has 
since been created the counties of Mont- 
gomery, Fulton, flamilton, St Law- 
rence, Herkimer. Lewis. Jefferson, 
Or)eiHa, Oswego, O^spgo and parts of 
several others. 

All the civil officers save one were 
nominated b}' Johnson and they were 
his friends and henchmen. Johnstown 
now became the center of bustle and 
activity, new roads were laid out, a jail 
and county court house were built; the 
town grew rapidly. Governor Tryon 
and his wife visited Johnson hall and 
were royally entertained by the baronet. 
Tryon dipped into real estate specula- 
tion m the new county, he reviewed the 
militia at Johnstown at Burnettsfield 
and at German Flatts, some fourteen 
hundred in all. 


Tiie boom was on in the new country. 
Fir William was friendly with thelndians, 
and kept faith with them. The line of 
division between the lands of the whites 
and Indians had been drawn. At the 
great council four years before, a line 
which the Indians fondly supposed was 
to last forever had been fixed. Johnson 
usfd every po-sible «-ffort upon his part 
to prevent encroacl-uients of whites up- 
on Indian lands and to maintain friendly 
rel.itions between the Iroquois and the 
inhabitants of Tryon countv. He lived 
openly with Molly Brandt, his Indian 
mistress, and she presided over his house 
and he provided for her children in his 
will, but he was nearing the end of his 
career and although not yet sixty years 
of age he died on the 9th of July 1774, 
only two years after the new count}^ 
was organized. What might have been 
the historv of Tryon county had Sir 
William Johnson lived, is only a matter 

of speculation, what was its history is 
the subject which concerns us now. 


Governor Tryon in his report to the 
home government of June 3rd. 1773, 
credits the county vviih three regiments 
of militia, twenty-nine compfinies "and 
three colonels. This report must have 
b^en made up shortly after his tour 
through the county and his review of 
the militia above referred to. The ter- 
ritory w as divided by a law passed March 
24th, 1772, into live districts, the Mo- 
hawk district was the eastern one sit- 
uated ou both sides of the river, extend- 
ing from the eastern boundaries of the 
county to the place known as Anthony's 
Nose, The Canajoharie district was on 
the south side of the river and extended 
from the western limit of tne Mohawk 
district as far west as Little Falls, the 
Stone V'abia district, afterwards called 
the "Palatine District" was on the north 
side of the river between the Mohawk 
istrict and Little Falls, the German 
Flatts district on the north i?ide and the 
Kingsland district on the south side 
took in all the remainder of the terri- 
tory. On March 8th, 1773 the names of 
these two last districts were changed and 
the south side was called German Flatts 
and the north side Kingsland. 


The German settlements of the Pala- 
tines occupied what was then the ex- 
treme frontier in and about Fort Herki- 
mer and Fort Dayton, now the site of 
Herkimer village. 

The settlement at Fort Dayton and the 
church at Fort Herkimer had been 
burned by the Indians and French in 
1757 and 1758, respectively, hut 
the church had been rebuilt and 
the settlers had returned to their 
homes. There were a few s?ttlements 
made before the revolutionary war north 
and south of the Mohawk river in what 
is now Herkimer county for a distance 
back from the river of about twenty 
miles. On the south side there was the 
settlement of Androstowri now in the 
town of Warren and a settlement in 
what is now the town of Columbia, on 


the north side there were settlements in 
what is now the town of Fairfield, and a 
man by the name of Mount had settled 
on the creek which now bears his name 
in the town of Ohio. There was a settle- 
ment where Utica now is, which was 
then called Fort Schuyler, named in 
honor of Peter Schuyler, and an outpost 
at Rome called Fort Stanwix. There 
were settlements in the Schoharie valley 
at Cherry Valley and in the western 
part of what is now Delaware county. 
At the breaking out of the revolution, 
Fort Stanwix, which had been dis- 
mantled under the provisions of the In- 
dian treaty was re^>uHt and named Fort 
Schuyler in honor of Gen. Philip Schuy 


Guy Johnson, son-in-law of Sir Will- 
iam, was the first jud^je of the new 
county, and he was followed in that 
office by Jacob Klock, Jellis Fonda and 
Frederick Fisher. 

Alexander white was the first sheriff, 
and he was succeed in 1775 by John Fry 
3rd, in 1777 by Anthony Van Vecthon 
4th, in 1778 by Anthony Van Vechton 
oth in 1781 by Abram VanHorne and in 
1785 by Samuel Clyde. 

Hendnck Fry and Guy Johnson rep- 
resented Tryon county in the 31st 
colonial assembly, the last session of 
which closed April 3rd, 1775. Cad- 
wallader Colden, acting governor of 
New York after Governor Tryen left the 
country,, in his report to the home gov- 
ernment said that Tryon county was not 
represented in the provincial congress, 
which met May 23d, 1775, but we find 
on the roll of that body the names of 
John Marlett, John Moore and Chris- 
topher P. Yates as representatives from 
Tryon county. The proceedings of that 
body were held with closed doors and 
none but members, all of whom were 
pledged to secrecy, were permitted to 
take copies of the minutes. Provision 
was made for the publication of the 
minutes at the close of the session, ex- 
cept such part as by unanimous vote 
were to be kept secret. These rules 
governed the succeeding provincial con- 

gresses but the journal was not printed 
until 1842. 

In the second congress John Moore, 
Isaac Paris and WiUiiira Will repre- 
sented Tryon county and in the third 
congress John Moore, Willicim Harper, 
Benjamin Newkirk, Volkert Veeder, 
Isaac Paris and Christopher P. Yates. 

In the fourth congress the same men 
were present except Yates. The fourth 
provincial congress closed its labors May 
13th 1777 and gave place to the first state 
assembly which met at Kingston. Sep- 
tember 1st, 1777 and in which Tryon 
county had six representative-, Samuel 
Clyde, Michael Edick, Jacob G. Klock, 
Jacob Snell. Abrara Van Home and 
Johannes Veeder. 

The county was entitled to six mem- 
bers of the assembly under the first con- 
stitution and was represented as Trvon 
county during the first seven sessions. 
In the first state senate we find as sena- 
tors from the western district the famil- 
iar names of Isaac Paris and Jellis 
Fonda and in the second session the 
name of Jacob G. Klock. Fonda sat 
again in the third senate and Fonda and 
Klock in the fourth. 

Christopher P. Yates was county clerk 
and held the office for many years. 
From this showing it is evident that 
Tryon county participated in the organ- 
ization of the new state government, 
and that although the influence of the 
Johnson family had been almost supreme 
in the county before tie breaking out of 
the war, and althougn there were many 
Tories among the leading families, still 
the people were faithful to the patriot 
cause and had men among them a^^le 
and willing to represent them in the halls 
of legislation. 


On the second day of June 1775, a| 
meeting of the Committee of Safetj 
from the different districts of Tryot 
county was held at which there were 
forty-two members present. Christophei 
P. Yates was chosen chairman of that? 
body and immediate action was taken tc 
organize the militia and resist the en- 
croachments of the crown. The RevJ 


Samuel Kirkland, missionary to the 
Oneidas was requested to use his influ- 
ence with that trite and endeavor to 
persuade them to re nain neutral during 
the war. They were induced to send 
delegates to Boston to visit Washington. 
These delegates were impressed by what 
they saw and, convinced that the British 
emissaries' had tried to deceive them, 
they returned to their tribe and so re- 


Most of the Oneidas and some of the 
Tuscaroras remained neutral during the 
war and some of them became allies of 
the patriots and performed very impor 
tant services. Among these latter were 
Skenando, an Oneida chief who died at 
his residence near Oneida Castle, March 
11, 1816, aged 110 years. The militia of 
Tryon county was organized in 1775 and 
Nicholas Herkimer who liad seen ser- 
vice in the French and Indian war was 
made colonel. In 1776 he was commis- 
sioned brigadier general. The militia 
consisted of five batallions of infantry, 
one batallion of minute men, a company 
of associated exempts and three com- 
panies of rangers. 

The first batallion was commanded by 
Col. Nicholas Herkimer, the second by 
Col. Jacob Klock, the third by Col. Fred- 
erick Fisher, the fourth (until he desert- 
ed to the enemy) by Col. Han Jost Her 
kimer and then, by Col. Peter Bellinger, 
the fifth by Major Joseph Harper. The 
batallion of minute men t>y Col. Samuel 
Campbell, the corapany of associated 
exempts by Capt. Jellis Fonda and the 
companies of rangers by Capt. John 
Winn, Capt Getman and Capt. Kassel- 
man. After Col. Herkimer became 
brigadier general the command of the 
first batallion fell upon Col. Ebenezer 
Cox. Gen. Herkimer was a member of 
the committee of safety in the Canajo- 
harie district and its chairman; these 
committees exercised many of the pow- 
ers of local government in their districts, 
they organized the militia and took 
measures to preserve order and to pro- 
mote the patriot cause. Gen. Herkimer 
became the leading military man among 

the patriots in the county and was chair- 
man of the united committees of safety 
for the several districts. 


In June 1777 with about four hundred 
soldiers he went to Unadilla to have an 
interview with Brandt, the Mohawk 
chief, with the object of securing, if 
possible, the friendship and if not that, 
at least the neutrality of the Mohawks in 
the war. The effort was unsuccessful 
and although Brandt and Herkimer 
parted at Unadilla as friends, they soon 
after met as enemies upon the battle- 
field of Oriskany. The plan for the 
British campaign of 1777 was intended 
to divide and conquer the State of New 
York. Burgoyne was to move down 
from Canada via Lake Champlain, with 
an aripy supposed to be sufficiently 
large to sweep all before him. Sir 
Henry Clinton was to come up the Hud- 
son river from New York with another 
army, Col. St. Leger with his Tory and 
Indian allies was to advance from Os- 
wego and sweep down the Mohawk val- 
ley, while McDonald with his Tory con- 
tingent was to invade the Schoharie set- 
tlements. The plan was a most excellent 
one.and had it been successfully executed 
the southern and middle colonies would 
have been effectually cut off from the 
northern and eastern ones. But it failed, 
and the Tryon county miiitia were large- 
ly the cause of its failure. 


Col. St. Leger advanced without hind- 
rance and invested Fort Stanwix (then 
called Fort Schuyler) which was garri- 
soned by Col. Peter Gansevoort with 
seven hundred and fifty men. Ganse- 
voort would not surrender, and St. Leger 
began the seige August 2nd, 1797. Gen, 
Herkimer called out the militia of Tryon 
county, and advanced with about eight 
hundred men to relieve the fort. They 
were undisciplined farmers, Herkimer's 
caution was misunderstood and misin- 
terpretered. The rendevous was at Fort 
Dayton, and from that point the advance 
was made upon Fort Stanwix, the pat- 
riots were brave, and ready for the fray. 
Communication with the fort was at- 


prtrpted and Ga nsevoort was r quested 
to send out a dttatchment to make a 
s ortie on the enemy's camp, the .signal 
to be the firing of canon, but Herkimer's 
followers could rot wait lor the signal 
and while moving forward on the onorn- 
ing of the 6th of Avigust, 1V77, near the 
crossing of the Oriskany, in a ravine, 
they were ambushed by the Tories and 
Indians and the I attle of Oriskuny was 
fought. It vvas one of the most sangui- 
nary battles ef the revolutionary war 
nnd lasted a'out six hours. Tlie patr ots 
were surprised, divided and the rear 
guard was beaten and fled from the 
field, l.ut Herkimer took a position upon 
rising ground and held it. A severe 
xtorni of rain separated the combatants 
for a time, but after the storm fighting 
was re?umed, a sortie from the fort by a 
deialchment undtr Col. Wiliett broke 
up the attack and the enemy retreated 
jrom the field. Wiliett regained the 
fort with liis command an'i whenGanse- 
voort was again summoned to surrender, 
he raised in defiance five British ensigns 
captured by Wiliett and over them the 
American flag, which was made of while 
and hlue shirts an i a scarlet cloak that 
belonae I to a soldiers wife. This fl^g, 
the stirs and stripes, the red, white and 
blue, first made its appearance at Fort 
Stanwix raised in victory over British 

Gen. Herkimer was left in possession 
of the battle field of Oriskany but he was 
badly wounded, had lost nearly half of 
his (iomraand, and without attempting 
to bury his dead he withdrew down the 
Mohawk, was taken to his home (the 
house is still standing about two miles 
belovv Little Fails) and about ten days 
after the battle he died. 


About two weeks after the battle of 
Oriskany Gen. Arnold with an array of a 
thousand men came up the valley, 
stopped at Fort Dayton, and from thence 
sent forward a captured tory refugee 
who had been sentenced to d.^ath but 
was offered pardon in case he faithfully 
performed the service assigned him. 
His name was Han Jost Schuyler. His 

brother Nicholas having been left as a 
hostage in Arnold's hands, Sohuy'er went 
into the British camp and reported that 
Arnold was coming with a large body of 
men to relieve the fort, the Tories and 
Indians were frightened, the siege was 
raised and Col. St. Leger retreated to 
Canada. Whatever may be said of the 
after career of Benedict Arnold, it is 
ci^rtain that the inhabitants of Tryon 
cotinry were under great obligations to 
him for his services on this occasion. 
Gen. Gates thought that no troops could 
be spared from the army near Saratoga, 
which was confroating Burgoyne, but 
Arnold begged to be assigned to this 
service and called for volunUers. His 
expedition was entirely successful and 
he should receive the credit which is 
due him. About the same time Col. 
Harper defeated McDonald near Middle- 
burgh in the Schoharie country and 
Tr} on county was saved. After Gen. 
Herkimer's death Col. Marinus Wiliett 
commanded the brigade and the troops, 
assigned to th perotection of Tryon 
county. The brigade served at different 
times until 1783. 


Garri.-ons were maintained at Fort 
Stanwix, Fort Dayton, Fort Plain, and 
other places along the border and thiough 
out the county. These forts and block 
houses furnished places of refuge to 
which the inhai itants fled for safety 
when surprised. The settlements were 
contmnally harrassed. Sir John Johnson. 
Col. Walter Butler, Joseph Brandt and 
other Tory and Indian leaders made in 
cursions into Tryon county and many a 
burning home and murdered settler 
marked the pathway of the marauder. 
Gen. Sullivan's expedition into the Indian 
country in 1779 was a terrible visitation 
and retribution upon the enemy. He 
laid waste and destroyed their country, 
they were driven out of their villages, and 
in a starving condition many of them 
s )ught sa'"ery in Canada, their power was 
broken, but they continued to make 
raids along the border and the most re- 
vengeful and bitter feeling prevailed 
upon botn side^. It is not the purpose of 



this skftch to gi%-e the details of any of drew their troop? from Oswego and 

these affairs. The Cherry Valley and 
Androstown Massacres; tlie murder of 
the Mount toys; th ■ brave defense of 
his block house by Ciiristiiri Sehell; the 
frequent visits of the enemy to ihe vicin- 
ity of Fort Dayton: the pursuit and death 
of Walter Butler, are all matters of local 
interest which might receive a passing 
notice i ut tJiey are familiar stories to 
most of you, and can only be referred to 


Col. Willett was sometimes ac one fort 
and sometimes at another. There were 
surprises at all hours of the day and 
night and at all seasons ot the year. There 
were skirmishes, battles they were called, 
at Sharon, at Johnstown, in the Scho- 
harie Valley, all over Tryoa count}'. It 
was the seat of an active and bitter bor- 
der war and Col. Willett was a t)rave 
and vigilant leader. 

The inciients of this strife are vividly 
depicted by Judge Campbell in "The An- 
nals of Tryon County" and by Mr. Simms 
in his "Schoharie County History" and 
"Frontiersmen of New York " 

In the spring of 1783 Col. Willet made 
an attempt to capture the British Fort at 
Oswego but his Indian guide led him 
astray and being short of provisions, he 
was compelled to abandon the enterprise. 
The British held this Fort throughout the 
war, ani for many years after its close. 
It was a strong position and was a con- 
tinual menace to the patriots during the 
war, and after the Treaty of Peace it was 
held by the British for the purpose of 
enforcing the agreement made by the 
Unite! States at the time that Treaty 
was made, to pay debts owed to British 
subjects before the war and the recom 
mendation of the general government to 
the several states to re-imburse tory 
refugees for confiscated property The 
several states refused to acceed to such 
recommendation, and the British parlia- 
ment finally appropriated sixteen mil 
lions of dollars to re-imburse such tory 
refugees and gave them large grants of 
land in Nova Scotia, the West Indies, 
and in Canada, and at last in 1796 with- 

abandoned the Fort. It was the last ter- 
ritory in New York evacuated by the 
British. On the 2J day of December 
1784 the Six Nations a^ain met the whites 
in conference at Fort Stan wix. Sixteen 
years had passed since thit line which 
was to last forever had been drawn be- 
tween the lands of the Indians and the 
white man. 


The great county of Tryon had 
passed into history for on the 2d day 
of April 1784, during the seventh session 
of the State Assembly the name had been 
stricken from the statute hook, and the 
honored name of Montgomery had taken 
its place. These eventful years had wit- 
nessed the birth of a new nation, and the 
people of Tryon county had done their 
full share in the work of its creation. A 
war, begun because the people would 
not submit to taxation without represen- 
tation, had cost the county large sums 
of money, and the lives of many tirave 
men. The portion allotted to Tryon 
county in the state tax of October 21st, 1779 
was$81,766.00,in the state tax of April 6th, 
1780, .1120,000. These were large sums, 
for the people of a new county to raise 
by taxation, And besides thej' had suffer- 
ed terribly throughout the war from the 
ravages of the enemy, but they were 
victorious, and their representatives 
came to this conference in triumph. But 
the Indians did not come as they had come 
in 1768. now, they were beaten and de- 
feated, many of their warriors had been 
slain, their country had been ravaged, 
their villages burned, their orchards de- 
stroyed, their great ally, the Eiglish 
King, had been forced to acknowledge 
the independence of the colonies, and all 
but the friendly Oneidas and Tuscaroras 
were in sorrow and in humiliation. 

Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler and 
Arthur Lee were the Commissioners for 
the United States, Gov. George Clinton 
and General Lafayette were present. 
Cornplanter and Redjacket were the 
principal Indian speakers. Redjacket 
did not care to bury the hatchet, but 
Cornplanter siw the folly of waging war 


with the young republic, and a Treaty 
was made which enlarged the borders of 
the Empire State, and opened up to 
settlement, the fertile lands of western 
New York. 

The history of Tryon county proper, 
is confined to the period of twelve years 
from the time it was organized, until the 
day its name was changed to Montgom- 
ery. Four years later by the statute 
passed March 7th, 1788, defining the 
limits of the counties of the state, Mont- 
gomery was to contain "All that part of 

this state bounded easterly by the coun 
ties of Ulster, Albany, Wasliington and 
Clinton, sontherly by the state of Penn- 
sylvania and westerly and northerly by 
the west and north bounds of this state." 
If Virginia can be called the Mother of 
States, Montgomery may certainly be 
called "The Mother of Counties" For 
all the thirty-five counties of northern, 
central and western New York have been 
carved out of what was once the county 
of Montgomery. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, March 9, 1S97. 

Several mouths ago Judge Earl sug- 
gested that I should write a psper to 
read before tlie lierkinier CountyrHis- 
torical society on "Continental Money." 
At first I thought ihat the subject would 
not prove interesting and that it would 
be difficult to get hold of enough ma- 
terial for an article, but a very brief in- 
vestigation satisfied me that my chief 
difficulty would be in deciding what 
matters to leave out rather than what to 
put into the paper. 

The subject of money, its uses 
and functions, and the merits 
and demerits of the various kinds 
of currency were exhaustively con- 
sidered and discussed in the newspapers, 
on t!ie platforms and bv individuals dur- 
ing the presidential c.iinpaigQ of 1896, 
but ver7 seldom was reference made to 
the kind of money which is the subject 
of this paper. 

The term "Continental Money" is ap- 
plied to the paper money or bills of 
credit issued by the authority of the 
Continental Congress of the United 
States in the years 1775, 1776, 1778, and 
1779. The adjective "Continental" was 
used to distinguish this paper money 
from that issued by the Colonies. 

The first issue of bills of credit in the 
Colonies was by Massachuseetts in 1790. 
Her troops had returned from an ex- 

pedition against Canada and there was 
no money in the treasury to pay tnem. 
They demanded p y and to quiet them, 
the General Court issued forty thousand 
pounds in due bills, which were taken 
for taxes, but did n )t bear interest and 
were not legal tender, and passed at a 
discount of from thirty to forty percent. 
The other colonies followed the ex- 
ample of Massachuset s and issued bills 
of credit from time to time. This money 
was usually below par and in many 
cases was never redeemed, and it caused 
a great deal of discord and discussion 
down to the time of the Revolution. 


The first Continental Congress met in 
September 1774. The purpose of the 
meeting was not separation from the 
mother country, but to obtain a redress 
for grievances. The second session com- 
menced May 10, 1775. The war with 
Great Britian had then com'menced and 
money was needed to buy arms, am- 
munition and other supplies. 

It is estimated that at this time there 
were only about $10,000,000 in specie 
in all the colonies, and they had but re- 
cently paid the debts contracted in the 
war with France. It is not probable 
that Congress could have raised money by 
direct tax upon the colonies. It had no 
chief executive and no financial officer. 

The people had rebelled because Parlia- ornamental portions were engraved on 

type metal buc the body of the lettering 
was in the ordinary movable type. On 
the face of each bill, besides the form 
given above, was a device and motto 
The following are some of the devices 

ment claimed the right to tax the 
colonies without their consent. If a tax 
had been ordered Congress had no power 
to enforce its collection. Noah Webster 
writing only a few years after the 
close of the war said, "Money could not and mottoes : 

be raised by taxation, could not tie 

Willie the financial question was be- 
ing discussed in Congress one delegate 
said, "Do you think, gentlemen, that I 
will consent to load my constituents 

On the four dollar bill a wild boar 
rushing upon the hunter's spear; the 
motto, ''Aut Mors Ant Vita Decora, 
"Either death or an honorable life." 

On the five dollar bill, an open hand 
attempting to grasp a thorny bush and 

with taxes, when you can send to our niade to bleed thereby; uie motto, -tins 

printer and get a wagon loid of money, 
one quire of which will pay for the 
whole ? " 

Congress, therefore, determined to is- 
sue Continental paper currency and 
asked for suggestions from the several 
Colonial Assemblies. One of the plans 
recommended by the Provincial As- 
sembly of New York was adopted, viz; 
the money to be issued by Congress; 

tine Vel Abstine,'" "Bear with me, or let 
me alone." 

On the six dollar bill, a • eaver gnaw- 
ing down a tree; the motto, ' Persever- 
ando,'" "By persevering." 

On the seven dollar bill, a heavy storm 
with a bit of clear sky in the distance; 
the ttJotto, ''Serenabit,'"' "It will clear 

On a fifty dollar bill, which was is- 

every colony to be bound to discharge sued September 26, 1778, an unfinished 

its proportion; and the United Colonies 
to be bound to pay the part which any 
colony might fail to discharge. 


June 22, 1775, the Congress resolved as 
follows: "That a sum not exceeding 
two millions of Spanish milled dollars 
be emitted by the Congress, in bills of 
credit, for the defense of America," and, 
"That the twelve confederated colonies 
be pledged for the redemption of the 
bills of credit now directed to be 
emitted." Each colonv was required to 
pay its proportion in four annual pay- 
ments commencing in November 1779. 

One, two, three, four, five, six, s-'ven, 
eight and twenty dollar bills were 
directed to be issued, their form to be as 
follows : 
"No. $ 

This bill entitles the bearer to receive 
Spanish milled dollars, or the 

value thereof in gold or silver, accord- 
ing to the resolutions of Congress, held 
at Philadelphia on the 10th day of May 
A. D. 1775." 

A gun engraver named Smithers was i" the Gen^ ral Assembly of the Province 
employed to prepare the plates. The of New York to back the paper money 

pyramid with thirteen layers of stone 
representing the thirteen colenies; the 
motto, " Perennis,''' "Everlasting." 

On the sixty dollar bill, als j issued in 
1778, a globe in the heavens; the motto, 
"■Deus Regnat Exultet Terra,''' "The 
Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice." 

On a sixty-five dollar bill, issued Jan- 
uary 14, 1779, a hand holding equally 
balanced scales over the earth; the 
motto, ''Fiat Justitia," "Let; justice be 

On an eighty dollar bill, also issued 
January 14, 1779, a large oak tree; the 
motto; "Et in Secula Seculorum Flor- 
escebit,'^ "And it will flourish through 
ages of ages." 

The paper money of the Colonies had 
often been counterfeited. To guard 
against this, various devices and marks 
were printed on paper similar to the bills 
and pasted on their backs. The words, 
"To counterfeit is death," or " 'Tis death 
to counterfeit." were also printed on the 

In 1772 Col. Philip Schuyler proposed 


with the following clieerful (?) emblems 
and words : "An all teeing eye in a 
cloud, a cart and coffins, three felons on 
a gallows, a weeping father and mother 
with several small children, a burning 
pit, human figures poured into it by 
fiends, and a label with the words, 'Let 
the name of the counterfeiter rot.'" To 
guard against counterfeiting the conti- 
nental money, devices, usually a branch 
with leaves, or a leaf or leaves were 
printed and pasted on the back of the 
bills. AUo the name and address of 
the printer and the year of the issue. 
Secret marks devised by the Board of 
Treasury were also placed upon the bills. 
Congress authorized twenty-eight citi- 
zens of Philadelphia to sign and num- 
ber the bills and the names of two per- 
sons were required to be written on 
each bill. The compensation was fixed 
at one dollar and one-third to each per- 
son for every thousand bills he num- 
bered and signed 

When the first issue of the paper 
money was authorized by Congress it 
was believed that the war would not last 
long and that it would not be necessary 
to make further issues, but the war was 
prolonged and one issue followed an- 
other in rapid succession for a ppriod of 
over four years. The first issue, two 
millions, was ordered June 23, 1775, and 
three millions more were issued the 
same year, February 17, 1776, an issue 
of four millions was ordered. In order 
to aid in getting the bills into circula- 
tion, and to give the peo})le small change 
in place of the silver which had ceased 
to circulate, over one half of this issue 
was in fractional bills of one- sixth, one- 
third, one half aad two thirds of a dol- 
lar. Ib 1778 fourteen different issues, 
aggregating over sixty- three millions 
were ordered. The largest single issue 
was that of January 14, 1779, fifty mil- 
lions. The last issue was November 39, 
1779, and the total amount issued was 

the paper money and to get it into cir- 
culation. Congress asked the States to 
pass laws making the money legal ten- 
der in payment of all debts, and they all 
did so. 

In 1777 Congress resolved that all bills 
of credit emitted by authority of Con- 
gress ought to pass current in all pay- 
ments in the States, and be deemed 
equal in value to the same nonainalsums 
in Spanish milled c oUars. and that those 
who should refuse to receive them at 
such valuations should be deemed 
enemies of their country. In the same 
year Congress recommended the States 
to stop issuing bills of credit and rely 
upon the paper money provided by Con- 
gress. All of the states followed the ad- 
vice of Congress and ceased to issue 
paper money. 

General Putraan, while in command 
at Philadelphia, ordered that "Should 
any of the inhabitants i e so lost to pub- 
lic virtueand the welfare of their coun- 
try as to presume to refuse the currency 
of the American States in payment for 
any commodities they may have for sale, 
the goods shall be forfeited and the per- 
son or persons so refusing committed to 
clos^ confinement." 

General Washington was vested with 
power to take whatever provisions were 
needed for the army if the inhabitants 
were unwilling to sell them for a reason- 
abl"^ price, and to arrest and confine all 
w( o refused to receive the Continental 
money. Prices for labor was fixed by 
law and many of the States attempted 
to prevent a rise of prices for commo- 
dities by legal enactment, and Congress 
recommended that all States take such 

In the city of Albany a committee 
was chosen to regulate prices. Two 
persons who had sold rum for more than 
the established price, were publicly cried 
through the city and being placed upon 
a scaffold in the market place confessed 
their guilt and promised amendment. 

As the attempt to fix prices by legis- 
lation failed. Congress in October 1778 
voted. "That all limitations of prices of 


In order to prevent the depreciation of gold and silver be taken off.' 


DEPRECIATION IN VALUE. 6 yards chintz at 150 . Is. '.'00 on 

„ fi„^<. „^ 4W J ai-fls moreea at 100 ds 45ii 00 

As, when the paper money first ap- , -^'^^kerchiefs at lOO ds 400.0 

peared, no one supposed that very much g yards quality bindi. gat 4 ds 32 00 

of it would be issued, its value was i skein of silk 10 (O 

maintained at par with gold and silver t3,144 oo 

for some time Kamsy says, "I he Fiske in his work on the "American 
United States for a consideraMe time Revolution." states that at Boston, in 
derived as much benefit from this paper October, 1780, the wholesale prices of 
creation of their own, though without certain commodities were as follows : 
any established funds for its support or gugar |10 per pound, butter $12 per 
redemption, as would have resulted from pound, tea $90 per pound, Indian corn 

a free gift of so many Mexican dollars " 
The depreciation of the paper currency 
commenced in 1776 and notwithstanding 
all the efforts to Keep it at par it steadily 
declined ia value. In November 1776 

$150 per bushel, flour $1,575 per barrel: 
and that Samuel Adams paid $2,000 for 
a hat and suit of clothes. 

Simms in his "Frontiersmen of New 

>.^._„..^.. -^ York," frays that an old soldier informed 

one dollar in specie was worth three dol- |,jj^ ^^^^ j^e once sent an eight dollar 
lars in Continental money; in April 1778 Continental lill to buy a quart of cider 

four dollars, in October 1778, five doi 
lars; in March 1779, ten dollars; in Sep- 
tember 1779, eighteen dollars; in Decetn- 
ber 1779. twenty-six dollars; in April 
17S0, forty dollars; in August, 1780, 
seventy dollars, and in' Febru ry 1781, 
seventy-five dollars. 

The di'preciation became so rapid that 
Professor Sumner sa^d that, "A man 
might lose his whole wages while earn- 
ing them." 

In May, 1781, William Cooper wrot^ 
from Boston to his rother in Philadel 
phia, that "Dollars till lately were sev- 
enty-five for one, the southern gentry 
have offered ore hundred and twenty of 
the old bills for one hard dollar." 

BoUes in his valuable work on the 
Financial History of the United States, 
says tha^ the final blow w as given by 
merchants and brokers in the Southern 
states who pushed immense quantities 
of it suddenly into New England, mak- 
ing enormous purchases with it, where- 
upon, as stated ly Noah Webster. "In- 
stantly the bills vanished from circula 
tion." James Madison states that oc- 

and received in change a two dollar bill, 
Rhode Island currency; and that an offi- 
cer of his a'^qiiaintince once paid sev- 
enty dollars in Contimmtal money for a 
single mug of flip. Washington said 
that it too ^ a wagon loid of money to 
buy a wagon load of provisions. 

The expression "Not worth a Conti- 
nental" still in common use, is a syno- 
nym for aiisolute worthlessness, and it 
originated at th-* time when a continen- 
tal bill had ceased to have any purchas 
ing power. 


The following are some of the princi- 
pal reasons for the depredation in value 
of the Continental money. 

1. The large quantity issued. The 
printing presses were at work nearly all 
of the time and then could hardly print 
it as fast as it was ordered. 

2. Counterfeiting. Notwithstanding 
the precautions taken to prevett coun- 
ter eiting, tht- bills were successfully 
counterfeited. The states, upon the 
recommendation of Congress, passtd 

, . stringent laws against counterfeiting 

casionally paper money was exchanged ^^^ Congress offered a reward of two 

to a very small extent as late as 1782, 
but, at an enormous discount, and mere- 
ly to serve special local purposes. 

The following are the items of a bill of 
goods dated January 5, 1781; the prices 
being given in Continental money : 

Ipair boots 5 600 00 

t>% yards calico at 85 ds 

thousand dollars for the conviction of 
one who forged or knowingly passed 
counterfeit money; but they were un- 
able to prevent it. 

Lossing says that Sir Henry Clinton. 

the British Commander in the city of 

752 00 New York, was at the head of the gang 


of counterfeiters and tlie Loyalists all 
over the country were his accomplices. 

The New York Mercury of April 14, 
1777, contained an advertisement stating 
that "Persons going into other colonies 
may be supplied with any number of 
counterfeited Congress notes for the 
price of the paper per ream." 

Phillips in his work on "Continental 
Paper Money" states "that a ship-load of 
counterfeit Continental money coming 
from Britian was captured by an Ameri- 
can privateer." 

The British government encouraged 
and promoted this counterfeiting, not 
for gain, but believing that if their paper 
money could be destroyed, the Ameri- 
cans would be obliged to submit on ac- 
count of a lack of funds to carry on the 

The bills issued May 20, 1777 and 
April 11, 1778, were counterfeited so ex- 
tensively that Congress voted to retire 
thobe issues. Instead of preventing de- 
preciation, this action by Congress 
caused these two issues to depreciate 
twenty-five per cent. 

3. The bills when first issued were 
not made legal tender in payment of 

4. The several states continued to is- 
sue their own bills of credit until nearly 
the year 1778; and individuals also is- 
sued tokens, certificates, etc., which help- 
ed to further swell the flood of paper 

5. No adequate provision had been 
made for the redemption of the bills of 
credit and the credit of the government 
was not good. 

6. Many people believed that the war 
would prove a failure and that the bills 
would then be worthless. 

7. The action taken by Congress in 
March, 1780, attempting to redeem all of 
the Continental money by new issues 
based upon i lie credit of the states and 
guaranteed by the United states at the 
rate of forty dollars of the old issues for 
one of the new, called the "Forty for 
tone Act." 

In May, 1778, in an address to the peo- 
ple Congress gave the following reasons 

for the depreciation of the paper money. 
"Because no taxes have been imposed to 
carry on the war; because your com- 
merce hath been interrupted by your 
enemies fleet; because their armies have 
ravaged and desolated a part of your 
country; because their agents have vil- 
lainously counterfeited your bills; be- 
cause extortioners among you, inflamed 
with the lust for gain have added to the 
price of every article of life and because 
weak men have been artfully led to be- 
lieve that it is of no value." 

Although Washington endeavored to 
keep the Continental money at par, he 
became convinced that the effort was 
useless. In speaking of its depreciation 
he said, "The law undoubtedly was well 
designed. It was intended to stamp a 
value upon and to give free circulation to 
the paper bills of credit, but it never was 
nor could have been intended to make a 
man take a shilling or a sixpenre in the 
pound for a just debt which the debtor 
is well able to pay and thereby involve 
himself in ruin. I am sure no honest 
man would attempt to pay twenty shil- 
lings with one or perhaps half a one." 

White in his work ou "Mone}' and 
Banking," says that "after the Revolu- 
tion and to the end of his life Washing- 
ton was an inflexible opf onent of bills 
of credit." 

A great deal has been written about 
the evils growing out of the use of the 
Continental paper money but to enter 
upon that field would make this article 
much too long. 


It is probable that the greater part of 
the Continental money was destroyed 
soon after the peop e were satisfied that 
it was worthless. Some of it was held 
for many years by persons who believed 
that the United States would eventually 
redeem it. A barber in Boston papered 
his shop with the bills. A do^ smeared 
with tar, and then covered with the bills 
was led up and do^vn the street. Sam- 
uel Breck of Philadelphia says that the 
sailors jaraded the streets with their 
clothes (covered with bills ihat once re- 
presented thousands of dollars. 


Sirams says that in an inventory of the 
property of Jacob F. Lawyer of Sclio- 
harie County was the following item, 
"306 Continental dollars and one New 
York bill of five dollars;" And he says 
that some of the Schoharie farmers 
had large amounts of it. The bills are 
now very rare and are seldom fonnd ex- 
cept in collections of paper money. 
B. J. Lossing, writing in 1868 says that 
Dr. Josiah I. Cohen of Baltimore, Md. had 
a specimen of every denomination of 
every issue of the old emission of Con- 
tinental monev and that it was believed 
to be the only perfect collection in the 
country, as that of Col. Peter Force of 

Washington, lacked one or two bills of 
the very rare issue of April 11, 1778. 

Thomas W. Grosvenor of Herkimer 
has a small collection of Colonial and 
Continental money. The largest collec- 
tion in Herkimer county, so far as I can 
learn, is the one in the possession of 
Fred T. Ingersoll of Ilion, N. Y. His 
great uncle, Elias Palmer, who lived at 
Frankfort, spent a great deal of time 
and money on this collection. He made 
a large case for it out of a part of the 
first canal boat which navigated the Erie 
canal. This collection includes Colonial, 
Continental and other paper currency 
issued from 1759 to 1800. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, April 13, 1897 

A careless observer of nature in all lantic rivers, crosses the Mohawk val- 
her varied scenes may see much to ad- ley. in the ages long- past (ere the great 
mire in the beauty of the landscape, falls of Niagara existed) no doubt was 
Spread out before him he see's the moun- formed the crown of a cataract as mag- 
tain ranges, forests, valleys and streams nificent as Niagara. The rocky bluffs 
which are ever a source of delight to on each side of this gorge rise to an alti- 
view, and he imagines that the same tude of nearly four hundred feet and if 
beauty in form and outline now present- the overflow of water was from this 
ed has always existed. He will look at height, one can conceive what an im- 
the formation of the rocky hills, but mense tract of land l>ing in Central 
does not read in them a history replete New York, beside the Mohawk valley 
with interest recorded on the pages of west of Little Falls, was entirely suh- 
their stony books revealing their hidden merged. 

and mysterious formation and the Taking the combined number of feet 

changes that have been and are continu- of all the lock levels of the Erie canal 

ally at work everywhere upon them, from Little Falls to Frankfort village, 

through the agency of water. there is only a rise of about fifty feet 

A more careful observer will see all and then we reach a water level ex- 

the others see and he will also observe tending westward sixty odd miles, 

that the same view presents evidence of From this we may estimate the depth 

a great change that must have taken and extent of this ancient body of water 

place at some remote period in the phy- which the eye of man may never have 

sical condition of the same landscape beheld. 

and he need not journey far to witness An obstruction at Little Falls of only 

the proofs of the change, and may even seventy feet in height would cause this 

behold it within the limits of his own vast body of water to overflow the Rome 

county. summit and mingle with the waters of 

The geologists say that we are living Lake Ontario by way of Wood Creek 

at the bottom of what was once a deep Oneida LaUe and the Oswego River, 

lake, and that the barrier which held And if these streams were once the out- 

this immense valley lake was at Little let of the great chain of lakes there 

Falls. At this point in the valley, the must have heen a reversal of the flow of 

high ridge in the Alleghany range ©f these rivers and there are many indica- 

mountains which divides the head tions that this theory is correct. While 

waters of the Mohawk and other At- sinking a well at Three Rivers there was 


recently discovered an oak tn^e nearly 
three feet in diameter, fifty feet below 
the ground, proving that a great water 
course must have existed and that deep 
channels v^ ere filled up and trees cover- 
ed by the deposit of alluvium. 

The existence of this la( e in Central 
New York adds much to the correctness 
of this theory. The valley of the Mo- 
hawk and Hudson were the continuation 
of this flow of water to the ocean and 
meeting with this I arrier at Little Falls, 
caused the set-oack of this enormous 
volume of water. Thf^ reversal of these 
rivers must have been caused by a great 
depression of Lake Ontario, as that lake 
IS three hundred and thirty-four feet 
lower than Lake Erie, thereby opening 
the outlet of the chain of lathes through 
the St. Lawrence river and causing the 
existence of Niagara Falls. No accur- 
ate computation can be made of the 
ages it must have taken to wear away 
this formidable barrier and mountains 
of hardest rocks, which is composed 
chiefly of gneiss, granite and hornblend. 
Different theories have been advanced 
as to the agencies which caused the 
breaking of this rocky Carrier and the 
mighty flood which took place in the 
valley below. One theory is that it was 
through volcanic action, and i y its lift- 
ing power, straining the rocoS until the 
barrier was rent in twain and the water 
rushed through. But the indications do 
not support this theory as there is no ap- 
pearance of upheaval in the vicinity and 
it is not in the region of volcanic dis- 
turbance The most reasonable theory 
is that it was by the constant abrasion 
of water and ice in its s-^afoi, for a long 
period of time. In fact, the same agen- 
cies are at work at Niagara Falls, whose 
rocky walls are receding year by year 
and which will eventially cause a great 
change to take place in the face of the 
country, in the region of these lakes, 
causing the drainage of Lake Erie, which 
in the course of events may become a 
beautiful and productive valley, trav- 
ersed by a continuation of the St. Clair 
and Detroit rivers and joining the waters 
at Lake Ontario tlirough the terriffic 
rapids of Niagara River. 

Immediately below where this once 
great mountain barrier and waterfall ex- 
isted, there is a basin whose depth is 
said to be more than a hundred feet, 
which no doubt was caused by the con- 
stant overpour of water and ice from 
this precipice and there is still to be seen 
in this deep water, rocky cones too hard 
to be abraided, resisting the attrition of 
water falling from this precipice and in 
other places, high above the water of 
the Mohawk river, may be seen bowl 
shaped cavities worn in the solid rock 
by the- action of the water falling 
great force and by the whirling of pieces 
of stone caught in eddies below, thus 
showing that at some period there was 
an extensive overpour of water. What- 
ever the extent of this rocky barrier 
may have been it is evident that the 
breaking away was sudden and caused a 
mighty flood in the vallev below and in 
time transformed that which was a 
dreary waste of water to the beautiful 
valley in which we are now living, 
whose grandeur has been depicited in 
glowing words by the poet and narrated 
by the historian of the struggles of its 
first white settlers against invasion and 
massacre by the savage Indian tribes. 

For many miles below in the valley 
are found fragments of this same rock 
which formed this r arrier, the largest 
pieces lying nearest Little Falls and di- 
minishing in size along down the valley, 
demonstrating that an immense flood 
must have taken place to have caused 
their removal such a long distance 

In the vicinity of the old home of 
General Herkimer numbers of these frag- 
ments may be seen, some of which have 
recently been used to fortn the enclos- 
ure of his burial plot and monument, 
thereby forming a link in the chain of 
events which transpired in the days long 
ago in this vicinity with that of his 
eventful life, and which may be taken 
as a symbol of the lasting memory held 
of him and his heroic deeds. 

In the counties of Albany, Green and 
Ulster there is a valley three miles 
wide extenriing from Guilderland in the 
countv of Ulster, a distance of about 



milfc's along the base of the Heklerberg hawk, correspomJs with that which we 

and Catskill mountains. find in the hills and valleys of the 

An observer will readily see that this streams flowing into the Mohawk, being 

beautiful valley, as well a? that of the very rich with water worn cobblestones, 

Mohawk, was once the bottom of a laige each locality having a liberal supply and 

lake illustrating the drainage of other the site of Herkimer village was aj^pro- 

lakes in this part of the state. 

One other interesting feature of this 
transformation in Herkimer county in 
connection with the drainaije of this im- 
mense lake is that where all four vil- 
lages in the vallpyare locaced, Herkimer, 
Mohawk, Ilion and Frankfort, the stony 
sod was no doubt deposited by the action 
of water flowing from streams emptying 
into tliis lake previous to its drainage or 
perhaps subsequent!}' by some great 
flood caused by the breaking away of 
other bodies of water lying high upon 
the raoun ains which border the valley, 
and the sources of the present streams 
which empty into the Mohawk river. 
In nearly every instance where this 
deposit was made the river talies a bend 
to the north side of the valley but at 
Herkimer to the south side. The pres- 
ent sinuous course of the river was no 
doubt caused by this earth deposit 
which originally covered a larger area 
of the Mohawk flats than at present. 
And when the Mohawk river took up its 
course through the valley subsequent to 
this drainage much of this soil was 
washed away by the ice in its annual 

It is probable that the West Canada 
creek formerly entered the valley at an- 
other point than the present one, as the 
high ridge about a mile north of Herki- 
mer village through which this stream 
now flows, was no doubt once united 
causing the creek to take the coursa of 
the hydraulic canal around this high 
ridge and to enter the valley wliere the 
dam of Mirror Like now is. Apparently 
its course was then north of where Fort 
Dayton was located and extending 
thence southerly past the old village 
cemetery to the Mohawk river. The in- 
dications that this was the course of the 
stream was more marked sixty years 
ago than at present. 

The composition of the soil in each in- 
stance, especially at Herkimer and Mo , 

priately called tlie "8tony Ridge," by the 
first settlers. 

Another evidence of the existence of 
this larae lake, rocky barrier and high 
waterfall is to be found near the north 
shore of the Mohawk river a short dis- 
tance from the New York Central and 
Hudson river railroad. From thirty to 
sixty feet above the present bed of the 
river is a large circular cavity made by 
the action of the water flowing from a 
precipice and on the side toward the 
river is an opening about ten feet square; 
over the entrance is the appearance of a 
massive head piece of a door frame ap- 
parently wrought and placed there b\' 
the hand of man. The cavity is open at 
the top and there are smaller cavities on 
its concave sides. 

A romantic Indian legend is connected 
with this spot. "Long years ago there 
arose a feud between the Wolf and the 
Tortoise, two young chiefs belonging 
to tribes of the Indians dwelling in the 
Mohawk valley. A maiden of the Bear 
tribe was the cause of the feud (as 
maidens of ten are.) She was loved i y 
both the young chiefs and for a time she 
so coquetted that each thought himself 
beloved by her in return. Her father 
was a stern old warrior and loved his 
child tenderly; both chiefs fought the 
Mingops and Mohegans side by side, and 
the bravery of each entitled him to the 
hand of the maiden. Her affections 
were at length stirred by the more earn- 
est importunities of the Wolf and she 
promised to become his bride. i his 
decision reached the ears of Tortoise and 
the embers of jealousy which had slum- 
bered while both were unaccepted 
suitors, burst into a flame in the bosom 
of the disappointed lover. He deter- 
mined to possess the coveted treasure 
before the Wolf should take her to his 
wigwam. With well dissembled acqui- 
escence in her choice, and expressions 
of warm friendship for herself and her 


affianced he allayed all suspicions and 
when her affiance was away the maiden 
rambled with him in the moonlight up- 
on the banks of the river unconscious of 
danger. The day approached for the 
maiden to go to the wigwam of her lord, 
the Tortoise was with her alone in a 
secluded nook upon the brink of the 
river; his light canoe was near, and he 
proposed a voyaye to a beautiful little 
island in the stream where the fireflies 
sparkled and the whippoorwill whispered 
its evening serenade. They launched 
out upon the stream out instead of pad- 
dhng for the island the Tortoise turned 
his prow toward the rapids. Like an 
arrow they sped down the swift current 
while the young chief with vigorous arm 
paddled for the northern shore and 
skillfully steered his canoe to the mouth 
of the cavern. Upon the water's brink 
he seized the affrightened maiden and 
leaped ashore, at the same time securing 
his canoe by a strong green withe. The 
cave was dry, a soft bed of skins of 
beasts was spread and abundance of pro- 
vision was there stored. At the- top of 
the cave, far above the maiden's reach, 
an opening revealed a passage through 
the fissure to the rocks above. It was 
known only to the Tortoise and there he 
kept the maiden many months until her 
affianced gave her up as lost to him for- 
ever. At length while hunting on the 
southern hills in the flowery month of 
May, the Wolf saw the canoe of the 
Tortoise at the mouth of the cave. The 
evening was clear and the full moon 
shown brightly. He waited until mid 
night when, with an arm as strong and 
skillful as his rival's, he steered his 
canoe to the mouth of the cavern which 
wa-? lighted by the moon, and by its 
light he saw the perfidious Tortoise 
sleeping by the side of his unwilling 
bride. The Wolf smote the Tortoise but 

the wound was slight. The awakened 
warrior unable to grasp his hatchet 
bounded through the opening at the top 
of the cavern and closed it with a heavy 

The lovers embraced in momentary joy, 
but it was brief for a fearful doom seem- 
ed to await them. The Tortoise would 
soon return and they had to make choice 
of death by the hatchet of the rival chief 
or brave the perils of the foaming cata- 

The latter was their choice and in an 
affectionate embrace they sat in their 
canoe and made the fearful leap. The 
frail vessel struciv propitiously upon the 
boiling waters and unharmed passed on 
to the quiter waters below. Down the 
broad stream they glided and upon the 
margin of the lower lake they lived and 
loved for two generations, and saw their 
children's children go out to battle and 
the chase. In the long line of their de- 
scent, tradition avers, came Brant the 
Mohawk Sachem, ihe strong wolf of 
his nation." 

When we review the arrangement and 
design of the Creator in preparing the 
earth for the habitation of man, with the 
various changes and modifications which 
have been made from age to age in the 
physical condition of the same, all have 
been in accordance with the plans of the 
great Architect of the universe, to serve 
wise and benevolent purposes, and each 
successive change has been the better 
adapted for the habitation of man. The 
whole is made a storehouse of treasures 
for his well being, and he has only to 
unlock its doors with the key of industry 
and science to satisfy every want. Mil- 
lions of years may have passed in its 
preparation to tliis end as is everywhere 
apparent. The parental attributes of His 
divine character is here illustrated. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, April 13, 1897. 

Persons, who at this time travel by 
Railroad through this fair and ^usy 
valley, can hardly realize the difficulties 
the traveller formerly met; how slowly 
he progressed, or how the change was 
brought about. 

In 1788, the ^^tatesof Massachussettsand 
New York, both claimed the lands of this 
state lying beyond Fort Scanwix, (now 

were opened to settlers. Many had al- 
ready located themselves among the 
savages. Mr. Elkanah Watson, of Prov- 
idence, R, I , a gentleman of leisure, 
was at that time travelling on horseback 
in the Mohawk Valley. At Johnstown, 
he learned of the treaty, and determined 
to witness it, that took him to Fort 
Stanwix (also named Fort Schuyler). 

Rome, N. Y.,) containing about 8,000,000 Mr. Watson bad recently returned from 

acres, then inhabited by the six Nations. 
The dispute was settled by an amicable 
division. Massachussetts had sold their 
4,000,000 acres to a Land Company, who 
bad extinguished the Indian title to their 


In September, 1788, Gov. Geo. Clinton, 
and other officials of this state, held a 
treaty at Fort Stanwix with the six Na- 
tions, hundreds of Indians attended, the 
whole plain around the Fort was covered 

Europe, where he travelled in France, 
England and in the Netherlands. The 
canals everywhere attracted his atten- 
tion. He travelled alone and on horse- 
back. He observed that the Mohawk 
River presented but few obstacles to 
prevent navigation by flat botton boats. 
While at Stanwix, he also searched be- 
yond that point and soon found that 
in that vicinity was a divide, or water- 
shed, the head waters of the Mohawk 
running eastward to the Hudson; a 

with Indians of various tribes, (male small stream near called Wood Creek 
and female), fantastically dressed; wear- went westward toward Lake Ontario, 
ing a profusion of brooches; rings in After his return to Providence he became 
their noses, their ears slit, their heads a citizen of Albanj-. He began, through 
decorated with feathers, and most of the press, to prop ^se various public im- 
them drunk. The French Ambassador provements, and also the feasabilit}' of 
and the Marchioness de Biron attended, making the Mohawk River a waterway, 
This courageous lady had exposed her- and by it and Wood Creek, and other 
self to the greatest fatigueu and priva- streams, reach the great inland Ocean, 

tions, to gratify her curiosity, by com- 
ing all the way from the City of New 
York to witness this great and unusual 
assemblage of savage tribes. Both tracts 

Lake Ontario. These articles attracted 
public attention. The journal kept by 
Mr. Watson was in evidence of what he 
saw on his trip. 


Ill September, 1791, a party consisting; 
of Mr. E WatFon, Jeremiah Van Renss-e- 
lear, Genl. P. Van Cortland and Sleplie \ 
N. Ba3ard left Albany to exaroine into 
the fnasabilily of opening a waterway 
Mr. Watson was the journalist. They 
hired two batf aus at Scbenectady, en- 
gaged six men, laid in a supply of piovis 
ions to last six weeks and then sent the 
men and boats up the Mohawk. The 
four principals went overland to Fort 
Herkimer. Tliere, they embarked On 
the 8th day out, they reached old Fort 
Sohuyler, (nowUtica, N. Y.,)they found 
the river nearly competent to inland 
navigation from Schnectady to Forfc 
Stanwix, with the exception of Wolf- 
srift, at German Flats, and Little Falls. 
From Fort Stanwix. the boats v\ere ar- 
ried two miles to Wood CreeV, which 
flows toward Lake Ontario there, Wo )d 
Creek is a mere brook, across which a 
man could easily jump. It is however, 
an important creek, being the link con- 
necting by vvaters, the immense rt'giois 
beyond with the Hudson and the east. 
From Fort Stanwix, the party proceed- 
ed overland to Canada Creeu, the boats 
by Wood CreeU assisted by the water of 
a mill dam, yet with great difficulty, the 
windings are so sudden that the ^ ow of 
the boat plowed the bank on one side, 
while the stern was rub'^>ing the oppo- 
site shore. The men had to drag the 
boats, at some places; while at others all 
had to lie down to escape the limbs 
which overarched ihe stream. These 
difficulties, together with the sunken 
logs and trees, msde progress very diffi- 
cult and almost impossible. 

On the 12th day. thej^ arrived at the 
east end of the Oneida Lake; or the 13th 
day they met a boat loaded with hemp, 
raised at Cayuga, going toward the Mo- 
hawk river over this natural waterway. 
They descended by the Onondaga river 
to the junction of the Seneca river, 
which empties into Lake Ontario. The 
falls of that river are about 100 feet, 
they oflfer a serious difficulty to 
reach the lake, but that can be over- 
come, but at great expense. 

They returned homeward, going up 
the Seneca river to the Salt Lake (now 
Syracuse), where 8,000 bushels of salt 
was then produced in one year. This 
shovvshow easily commerce could l>e di- 
verted into the projected waterwaj' to 
Albany and New York They saw also 
that the commerce of the St. Lawrence 
river and the lakes could '.e diverted into 
this waterway when finished. They 
reached Cayuga Lake and then Si neca 
Lake, showing that the trade of the in 
terior of the state, in that direction 
could be made to flow into the Hudson 
river. Here, the explorers dissolved — 
the expedition resulted in their advocat- 
ing the construction of such a waterwaj^ 
upon their arrival home. They repre- 
senf^d that "the map of the world" does 
not exhibit, in any other country, two 
lakes of equal magni ude to Seneca and 
Cayuga, so happily situated. They are 
each about 35 miles long and from two 
to four miles wide, stretching north and 
south and about 11 miles apart. 

, Mr. Watson directed the attention of 
the public and of the legislature to the 
subject in various essays and memorials. 
These and the original journals were 
submitted to Gen. Philip Schuyler, who 
was at that time a member of the sen- 
ate and weilded by his patriotic ardor 
and varied talents and political in- 
fluence great power in the state 
in 1791; the state appropriated 100 
pounds and ordered a survey by 
the land office at Fort Stanwix and 
Wood Creek, under the directions of 
three commissioners, Watson, Schuyler 
and Banyer. 

The results were that in 1792 an act 
was passed, by which two companies 
were chartered; one for opening a lock 
navigation from the navigable waters of 
the Hud on, to be extended to the lakes 
Ontario and Seneca. The other from 
the Hudson lo Lake Champ'ain. While 
the hill was struggling in its progress, 
Mr. Watson attended the legislature and 
with the greatest assiduity and zeal, sus- 
tained the efforts of Gen. Schuyler in 
promoting its success. 


New difficulties presented themselves 
dn obtaiaing the needed subscriptions; 
the illustrious Robert Morris of Phila- 
delt)liia, became a subscriber. Geu. 
Sehu\ier, Mr. Watson and Thomas Eddy 
Sfem to have been the mot active in 
furtliering the enterprise. The public 
hesitated to supply the needed funds. 
The question was, * "Shall it be made be- 
fore the oountrj' through which it passes 
is settled, or shall the improvement pre- 
cede the settlers ?" One thousand shares 
of stock of $25 eaoh were issued by the 
iMohawk Company. Gen. Schuyler be- 
came president of the company. He and 
his associates exerted themselves to the 
utmost, yet with the limited means pro- 
vided, the enterprise was completed 
from Oneida Lake in 1796 and boats car- 
rying 16 tons were passing uninterrupt- 
edly. There were only six miles of can- 
ailing .'iltogether. 

In 1796, Engineer Weston explored 
and planned a route lor a canal connect- 
ing Seneca La':e with the Mohawk— it 
was s-peedily constiucted. That, says 
Lossing, became the living genu of tbe 
Erie canal. 

Improvement, — Consisted of a canal 
at Little Falls, 4.752 leet long, of which 
2,550 feet went through solid rock. 
Upon it were five locks, with a total 
ri*e of 4^ feet. 


1. By the native Indians— Astenrogen 
("Swift Water"). 

2. By the white navigators, in 1758 
"Little Carrying Place." 

8. By Gov. Moore of New York, in 
1768, "Canajoharie Falls." 

4. At iiresent, Little Falls. 

A canal 1^ miles long at Wolfs Rift, 
German Flatts; one at Rome If miles 
long, connectmg the Mohawk with 
Wood Creek. On Wood Creek, four 
locks were bui t. The success of the en- 
terprise is best shown by the following 
letter : 

Senaca Falls, June 6. 1818. 

Dear Sir :— In pursuance of my prom- 
ise, I now submit to you the following 
authentic statement of facts : 

Previous to the cotistruc;tion of the 
canals and locks on the Mohawk river 
and Wood Creek, transportation was 
done in bateaus, from one to two tons 
burden. These required four hands to 
navigate them. Tbe price of transport 
at that time, was from *75 to $100 per 
ton, from Schenectady to Seneca Falls, a 
distance of 212 miles. 

Since the completion of the locks, 
boats of a diflferent construction have 
been introduced, capable of carrying 15 
to 16 tons and requiring but one addi- 
tional hand to work them. 

The charges for transportation have 
been greatly reduced, notwithstanding 
the high tolls charged on passing the 
locks and canals, viz., about $4 on each 
boat and $5 on each ton on cargo, being 
about $17 per ton, from this to Schenec- 
tady and nearly that sum from thence 
here. Aliliough these valuable improve- 
ments in the navigation of the Mohawk 
river and Wood Creek have been vastly 
beneficial to this part of the state, yet it 
is believed that proportionally greater 
advantages will yet result, on the com- 
pletion of the middle section now con- 
structing between the Seneca and Mo- 
hawk rivers. I think it may be safely 
estimated that the transportation will 
undergo a second reduction of 40 per 
cent. I am with great esteem, your sin- 
cere friend, 


To Elkanah Watson. 

The Indians first navigated the Mo- 
hawk from FortStanwix to New York, 
in their bark canoes, and white people 
in flat boats, before any improvement 
was made. 

The Inland Navigation Company of 
l'i92, constitutes the first period of com- 
mercial highways of the Mohawk valley. 
It was the first step, which led to all 
that followed and as all experienced per- 
sons know the truth of the proverb 
"All beginnings are difficult." 

The improved navigation, when com- 
pleted, was looked upon as a vvonderful 
achievement, and indeed it was, when 
compared with the condition of fifty 
years earlier. 


The volume of business done cannot 
be stated, as no records cou'd be found. 
Judge Wager of R' me^ had recorded, 
»hat in I&IS, 300 boats with 1,500 tons of 
merchandise passed through it »t Rome, 

Historian "Muneell" states, that in 
1796, one Albany firm received $40,000 
worth of furs, which came thereby, and 
business was then rapidly increasing. 
Freight rates, formeny $100 per ton had 
been reduced to $16. Boats with a cabin 
for carrying passengers had been intro- 


The first led to the second period. 
The Mohawk turnpike, which was char- 
tered in A. D. 1800 -the first two im- 
pravements developed western New 
York and the states west of it. The 
amount of business called for and war- 
ranted the success of a grander and 
larger enterprise to be built by the state, 
namely, the Erie caiml. That consti- 
tutes the third period. 


The fourth period, that of railroads, is 
the present. An esteemed gentleman 
named Christian Sehultz kept a journal 
while traveling on the Mohawk in 1807, 
which he describes as follows : 

"I have noticed three different boats 
being used in navigating this river. 
Those called Sclienactady boats are gen- 
erally preferred and will carry about 10 
tons burden when the river is high; but 
when it is low, as at this time, they take 
three to four. 

They generally advance against the 
stream at the rate of 18 to 35 miles a 
day. These boats are built very much 
after the model of our Long Island 
round-bottom skiflfs, but larger, being 
from 40 to 50 feet in length: are steered 
by a large swing oar of the same length 
They have likewise a moveable mast in 
the middle. When the wind serves they 
set a square and top sail, which at a dis- 
tance, gives them the appearance of a 
square-rigged vessel coming before the 

Our galley, which I am just now in- 
formed, is called the 'Mohawk Regula- 

tor,'' has gone at the rate of six miles ar 
hour against the stream, and during thi- 
time, believe me, rothing can bemoit 
charming than sailing on the Mohawk 
It is not often that a fair wind will serve 
for more than three or four miles to 
gether, as the irregular course of th* 
river renders its aid very precariim^ 
their chief dependence, therefore, is 
upon their pike poles These are 18 to 
22 feet in length, having a sharp ix)inted 
iron, with a socket weighing 10 to 12: 
pounds affixed to the lower end; he up- 
per had a large knob, called a buiton,. 
mounted upon it, so that the poIen>ar> 
may press upon it his whole weight 
without endangering his person. This 
manner of impelling the boat forward i.-^ 
extremely laborious and none but those 
who have been for some time accustiim- 
ed to it, can manage these poles with 
any kind of advantage. Within the 
boat, on each side, is a fixed plank run- 
ning fore and aft, with a nuoiber of 
cross cleats nailed upon it for the pur- 
pose of giving the poleman a sure foot- 
ing in hard polling. 

The men, after setting their poles 
against a rock, bank or bottom of the 
river, inclining their heads very low, 
place the upper end of tlie button against 
the back (front) part of their right or 
left shoulder, (accordiog to the side on 
which they are poling) then falling rlown 
on their hands and toes, creep the whole 
length of the gang boards, and send the 
boat forward with considerable speed. 

'•The first sight of four men on each 
side of a boat, creeping along on their 
hands and toes, apparently transfixed hy 
a large pole, is no small curiosity, nor 
was it until I had observed their pertie- 
verence for two or three hundred yards, 
that I became satisfied they were not 
playine some pranks. 

"From the general practice of this 
method, as likewise from my o>-vn trials 
and observations, I am convinced that 
they have fallen upon the most poweifu) 
way possible to exert their bodily 
strength for the purpose required. 

"I have met with another kind of boat 
on this river, which is called the Dorem 


liST Durham. The only'. difference is tliat 
itj u built sharp at oth ends and gener- 
«,lly much larger and stouter. Thev a'so 
have flats, similar to those you have seen 
•on the Susquehanna^ but much lighter 
built and longer. On all these th* y oc- 
■casionally carry sails before mentioned. 

'•The Mohawk is "y no means danger- 
ous to ascend, on account of the slowness 
of the boats progress, but as it is full of 
rocks, stones and shallows, there is some 
risk in descending it of staving the boat; 
a,ad at tbis season ic is so lo.v as to re- 
quire it to bd dragged by hand in many 
4>Iace3. The channel at some instances 
is noD more than eight feet in width, 
which will barelj' permit a boat to piss 
fcy ruboing on both sides. 

"This is sometimes caused by ratural 
•or accidental obstructions of rojks in ttie 
•channel,- but oftener by artificial means. 
This, whi<;h at first view would appear 
to be an inconvenience, is produced by 
two lines or ri<iges of stone constructed 
on sandy, gravelly, or stony shallows, in 

with merchandise "by naTigating fhe 
Delaware. I think they could carry 50 
barrels of flour. That river is deeper and 
larger and less difficult to navigate than 
the Mohawk. 

The people of Canajobarie yet possess 
a relic ot tbe river navigation on the low 
land in front of the ruins of the Kane 
Bros, store on Round-lop on the east 
end of the village. There, a canal is yet 
visible, empty when the water is low; 
when the river overflows, it; fills and 
boats could yet navigate to higher 
grounds near that store if the bushes 
and trees were removed, which have 
grown in the bed and sides of the 

A story connected with that store and 
those times was current, which illus- 
trates why the Indian who toiled to ob- 
tain f u s to carry to market, yet never 
obtained much lor his lal>ors. 

An Indian came to that store one day 
with bundles of peltry. The skins were 

«uch a manner as to couduot the water ^^ammed and a price for them agreed 
to a point and deepen it where the boat 

nmst pass. The water being thus col- 
lected at the widest part of these ridges, 
aud continually pent up within narrower 
limits as it descends, causes a rise of the 
p issage; so that the depth of eight inches 
of water rises to twelve inches; and 
strange as it may appear, a boat drawing 
15 inches will pass through it with ease 
and safety. The cause is simply this : 
Tlie i)Oat being somewhat below tlie pas- 
sage is brought forward with consider- 
able velocity and the moment it dashes 
into the passage, its resistance to the 
current is euch as to cause a swell of 4 
or 5 inches more, which affords it an 
easy passage over the shoal. 

Old people yet relate that the should- 
ers of those who poled boats were coated 
with calculus, where the button ot the 
pole rested while poling. 


The boat described above was first 
made at Durham, in Bucks county, 
Pennsylvania. Durham is on the Dela- 
ware river. These boats were made to 
carry flour to Philadelphia and return 



Rum was always among the things 
first purchased, for which a great price 
was charged. The Indian also required 
needles for his squaw and others, v, hen 
he inquired the price it was one dollar 
for each. When he asked the reason for 
the high price, he was told that only one 
man in the whole world was able to drill 
the eye into a needle, he lately died, no 
more could be made -the price for need- 
les would be higher j^et. 

In the old fort at Canajobarie, a tackle 
consisting of chains, pully and clasps, all 
made of iron, used by the river boatmen 
in loading and unloading barrels of flour 
and other freight, can yet be seen. The 
depression where the Wolf's Rift canal 
lock once existed can be yet seen, on the 
south bank of the river, north of Jack- 
sonburg station on the West Shore rail- 

One of the many accidents to which 
river navigation was subject, occurred 
at Canajobarie about 1824 -the Durham 
boat named Butterfly, in descending the 
river, then swollen, laden with flour 

potash and wheat, became uninanage- passengers from Lake Erie to the Hud- 
able, swung round and struck its broad son " 
side against a pier of the Canjoharie summary. 
bridge ami broke near the center. The Up to 1740 the early setters used the 
contents covered the surface of the river largest sized Indian bark canoes on the 
for some distance and three hands on Mohawk for transporting merchandise, 
the t oat were drowned. Tht^y were light and capable of carr} ing 
The rates of toll can be found in vol, 1 considerable cargo. One or two men 
page 88, of "Simtas Frontiers Men " In siting in the baciom. propelled the little 
1814, tolls for passing the locks at Ger- vessel by paddies or rifts or shallows, 
man Flatts and Little Falls ; they waded, pushed and pulled it over. 
For six handed bateau f2.;}l When water failed or the rapids could 

" A scow 2.(53 not be overcome, the cargo was unload- 

■' w hat may be estimated as J4 ton... ij-iy^ ed and carried around the portage, when 

'■ Flour per barrel 23 

*' Wheat or graiQ per bushel 04 

" Salt per bushel .23 

" Plaster per ton HO 

" All goods bound upward, per ton. . . 3J25 

The same rates were also paid for pars- 
ing the locks at Rome. The toll on a 
barrel of flour carried a hundred miles 
was 53 cents. The commissioner's re- 

navigation was resumed. As there were 
many rilts and rapids in the Mohawk to 
be overcome, navigation at first was very 
difficult and dangerous. 

Ill 1792, the Northern Inland Lock & 
Navigation Company was organized. 
It did not succeed and was a^andon- 

port of 1796 says, that the freight rate ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^^^^ i^ ^.^^ f^,_ 
upward was $33.00 per ton; downward, ^^^^^ ^^ ^^ ^.^^ Western Inland 
$16 00 per ton. One of the six locks at 
Little Falls still exists. It is on the 
north side of the river close to the Cen- 
tral railroad tracks. It is now part of a 
mill race. 

Mr. Watson's visit in 1818. When go- 
ing by the packet boat on the route he 
helped to originate 

Lock Navigation Company, to connect 
the central lakes of New York witli the 
Mohawk river at Schenectady. The en- 
tire cost reported by 1818 was $480,000, 
of that amount the state furnished $92.- 

In 1808, the company fjave up its rights 
west of Oneida lake and sold out to the 

'•It was impossible for me to contem- state in 1830 for $153,718.50. These im- 
plate Syracuse, Salina and Liverpool, all provements opened not only a direct 
thriving villages in the vicinity of Onon- water communication from Schenectady 
daga Lake, and devoted to the manufac to Lake Ontario and the River St. Liw- 
ture of salt, of which they produce per rence, but permitted the use of larger 
year nearly 1,000,000 bushels and not re- boats for transporting merchandise, and 
cur to my expedition by water twenty- also passei gers ir well constructed and 
nine years ago. What a transition? furnished cabins. The stockholders re- 
The country was then roamed over by ceived only seven dividends, mostly 8 to 
savage tribes, no roads existed and there 4.V per cent. Owing to the decay of the 
was not even a grist mill west of the wooden locks and afterwards those built 
German Flatts. Behold now, an intelli- of brick, and tJie last those of stone only 
gent population, fine turnpike roads, endured; but the resuitding devoured 
prosperous villages, large and beautiful the income. Upon surrendering their 
towns, numerous stage coaches, elegant chart-^r the stockholders received only 
farm houses, highly cultured farms, ma- two-thirds of their investment, 
tured orchards and above all, the Erie This was the first commercial highway 
canal in active progression with 1,.500 made to develope the interior and unite 
men at work on it"s construction, within it with the east. The development was 
sixty miles of this place, and splendid great, but the public required lower 
packet boats now building to transport prices for transport of merchandise and 


a route open every day of the year. The 
boats could not run during the winter. 

The first enterprise had run Its course, 
it had also created the demand for the 
second, which was the turnpike; its busi- 
ness hfe lasted 33 years. The writer was 
unable to find any records, none now ex- 
ist. The persons who promoted it have 
all passed away. It was a private com- 
pany but it could not be operated in 
winter. The tolls were high— only val- 
uable goods could be sent by it when in 

The ne^ enterprise caused settlements 
along its route. Wagon roads were 
opened. A new factor appeared to com- 
pete as a carrier of freight. Heavy 
bodied canvass covered Pennsylvania 
wagons, drawn by four or five horses, 
made regular trips from Albany west- 
ward. By those, freight rates were 
greatly reduced and traffic continued 
during the winter. All those influences 
of the first were leading toward the sec- 
ond, which was the era of turnpikes. 

The development which resulted of 
Elkanah Watson's trip to Fort Stanwix 
in 1788 have been traced. The truth of 
history requires the statement, that 
others before him, saw as he saw, viz.: 
the Colonial Governor Moore and Philip 

Schuyler in 1768, Mr. C. Collins in 1772, 
Gen Washington in 17^2, but no practi- 
cal results followed until Mr. Watson 
and his enterprising associates put theory 
into practice. 

The statements made in this paper 
W( re gathered from "Sweet's Documen- 
tary History of Canals of Now York," 
Dr. Bagg's "'Utica," from Simm's 
"Frontiersmen," Watson's "Men and 
Times," and other sources found in the 
Mohawk valley and in the state library 
at Albany. 

If more can be found it will be added, 
if not, we here close this imperfect re- 
view of the first period of "Commercial 
Highways in the Mohawk Valley." 

The motive why this paper was writ- 
ten, was because the first and second 
periods, embracing more than 45 years 
of early New York state history, is bare- 
ly meniioned by authors; others do not 
even mention the matter. Those of later 
date who wrote our school histories have 
omitted the first and second periods en- 
tirely, when, in fact, the business de- 
veloped by the preceding enterprises 
created the demand for the grand enter- 
prise, the Erie canal, and made it a suc- 
cess from the start and the crown of 
glory of this state during about 50 years. 


Who, Nearly One Hundred Years Ago, Played an Important Part 
in the Politics of this State. 


Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, May ii, 1897. 


After the revolutionary war, and par- 
ticularly a'^ter the adoption of the federal 
constitution, emigrants from the New 
England states began to pour into the 
central and western part of this state in 
large numbers. Enterprising young 
men came into these regions to make 
their fortunes, as later the same class of 
men went to Ohio, Michigan and other 
western states. They were intrepid, 
wideawake, hardy and intelligent, and 
soon built up prosperous communities. 
They came in wagons drawn by horses 
or oxen, and f omecimes men and women 
came on horseback, occasionally a man 
and nis wife riding the same horse, she 
upon a pillion behind him. Among the 
early immigrants to this region was 
Gaylord Griswold. He came from 
Windsor, Connecticut, at the age of 
about twentj'-f our years, and first went 
to Whitestown, passing through this 
place He was highly educated, and 
had been admitted to the bar ! efore 
leaving his home. As I learn from a 
diary kept by him which is now before 
me, he left Windsor August 12th, 1792. 
On his way he stopped here two days; 
and while here argued a case before 
arbitrators. He reached Whitestown on 

the 21st of August at two o'clock p. m. 
He must have been a festive, attractive 
young man for in one hour from that 
time he went out into the country about 
three miles with a party of gentleman 
and ladies and spent the afternoon 
feasting on watermelons. The second 
day after he reached Whitestown, he 
made a trip into what is now the town 
of Steuben, to the tract of land granted 
by this state to Baron Steuben in recog- 
nition of his services in the revolutionary 
war; and there he feasted on trout and 
pheasants. He must have seen Baron 
Steuben as then, or soon afterward h<; 
purchased some land of him. On the 
following Sunday he attended a religious 
meeting in Whitestown in Jurlge White's 
barn; and the next day he attended a 
dance at Colonel White's with a com- 
pany of gentlemen and laiies of "all 
sorts and sizes" as he describes them. 
He records that the music was poor but 
that he had a "very merry evening." On 
the 13th of Septemner he again attended 
a dance at Colonel White's, spent "a 
very agreeable evening, had a good sup- 
per and plenty of good wine." Those 
Whitestown people, most of whom had 
come from New England, had evidently 
cast out some of their puritanical notions 


and were disposed to make tlie most of 
the gcod things of this world. He 
records that September 1-tth was the day 
of the general training, and that all was 
confusion, and that "people from German 
Fiatts arrived in the rain" ; and he did 
not fail to notice the fact that "Miss 
Morgan and Miss Gale accompanied 
them." On the 21st of September he 
came to this village, which was then 
called the German Fiatts. and as re- 
corded by him "argued a cause before a 
jury for Mr. John Hicks, obtained a 
verdict, jury composed of half Dutch 
and half English" for which he received 
forty-eight shilling and nine pence. He 
evidently came here to settle. He was 
probably the first and only lawyer rf sid- 
ing here at that time as he received a 
retainer on the very day he came here. 
On the 22nd day of October, he com- 
menced to board with Judge Myers. 
Whether this was Judge Michael Myers 
or Judge John Meyer, cannot now be 
known as both were called Judge. He 
soon entered upon what was for that 
day a lucrative law business; and I find 
from his entries in an account kept by 
him that he soon had occasion to visit 
Johnstown and Cooperstown on profes- 
sional business. Within about a month 
he was tngaged in two actions for slan- 
der, in each of which the sum of five 
hundred pounds was claimed as dam- 
ages, and he had retainers in other 
causes blander suits in those early 
years and down to the middle of this 
century, and even some years later 
were much more common than now. 
Other lawver:^ came here. But to the 
time of his death he continued to be the 
ablest lawyer in this county. Sometime 
before the close of the last century he 
returned to Connecticut and married 
Miss Mary Hooker and brought her 
here. He built a house on the 
lot now occupied by the Episcopal 
church, which before the erection of the 
church was removed to the lot on Main 
street now occupied by Captain Horatio 
P. Witherstine. His young wife must 
have found here genteel society which 
has scarcely been surpassed in this vil- 
lage since. Here were Matthias B 

Tallmadge and his wife, a daughter of 
Governor George Clinton afterward 
vice president of the United States; the 
families of General Michael Mj^ers, of 
Simeon hord, Joab Griswold, Elihu 
Griswold, David Holt, Philo M. Hackley, 
Abijah Tombling, Walter Fish, Sandford 
Clark, all people of refinement and more 
culture than was common in those days. 
The gossip of the whole world was not 
then, as now, served up in daily news- 
papers. The men were intensely inter- 
ested in politics, and more then than now 
they discussed theories of govern ment and 
the blessings of civil liberty. The ladies 
generally did not have more than one silk 
gown, and they heard little about the 
Paris fashions and did not talk of the lat- 
est novel. They brought their knitting to 
the social gatherings and Mrs. Tallmadge 
could entertain them somewhat with 
stories of the high life she had seen at 
Albany and New York and in the great 
families upon the Hudson river. While 
the lives they led would not satisfy the 
ambition of atypical fin desieele woman, 
yet they found agreeable occupation in 
the discharge of their household duties, 
and sufl[icient diversion in their simple, 
robust and hearty amusements. 

Mr. Griswold was an active federalist 
in his politJcs. In 1797 and 1798 he was 
member of assembly from this county, 
and in 1803 he was elected to congress 
froai the fifteenth congressional district, 
composed of the counties of Herkimer, 
Oneida and St. Lawrence. His talents 
gave him a conspicuous position among 
the federalists of the bouse of represen- 
tatives, and he took an active and promi- 
nent part in the debates between them 
and their republican opponents. 

Prior to 1802, under the federal con- 
stitution, the presidential electors were 
required to vote for two persons for 
president and vice president without 
designating which of them was to be 
president and which vice president ; and 
the person receiving the greatest num- 
ber of votes was to be president and the 
person receiving the next highest num- 
ber was to be vice president provided 
they received a majority of all the votes 
ca=5t. If each of the persons thus voted 


for received an equal number of votes, 
then the election devolved upon the 
house of representatives. There the 
members voted by states and the person 
receiving the votes of the greatest num- 
ber of states became president and the 
person receiving the vote of the next 
highest number of states became vice 
president. At the election of 1800 Jef- 
ferson and Burr were the republican 
candidates. Among the voters it was 
understood that Jefferson was running 
for president and Burr for vice presi- 
dent. The result of the election was 
that each received the same number of 
electoral votes and hence thee was no 
election, and it devolved upon the house 
of representatives to choose the presi- 
dent and vice president. There was 
a long struggle in the house. Burr 
seeking to be chosen president; and 
the sta'iility of our government was 
brought into great peril. The federal- 
ists generally voted for Burr, and he 
came near to being chosen president. 
That calamity was escaj^ed by the re- 
fusal of a few federalists under the lead 
of Alexander Hamilton finally to vote 
for him; and in the end Jefferson, by the 
votes of the representatives of a majority 
of the states, was chosen president and 
Burr vice-president. Then, to avoid 
such a dilemma in the future, a move- 
ment was inaugurated to amend the 
constitution as it now is, so that the 
presidential electors should designate on 
their ballots the candidates for president 
and vice-president; and in 1803 a resolu- 
tion proposing the Twelfth Amendment 
to the Constitution was carried through 
congress. The resolution led to a great 
and exciting debate in congress in which 
Mr. Griswold took a leading part on the 
side of the federalists. The proceedings 
and the substance of Mr. Griswold's 
speeches will be found in volume three 
of Mc Master's History of the People of 
the United States, at pages 184. etc. 

In const quence of his intrigues with 
the federalists in 1801, Burr became out 
of favor with the republicans; and in 
1804 when he sought the nomination for 
governor of this state, they generally re- 
fused to support him and they nominat- 


ed Morgan Lewis for governor. Burr 
sought federal support and the leading 
federalists, in opposition to the views of 
Hamilton, resolved to support him. 
Griswold, then a member of congress, 
wrote a letter urging the federalists to 
support Burr, as the only means of 
breaking down the republican party, and 
he charged the opposition of Hamilton 
to Burr to "personal resentment." The 
result shows that the republican party 
gained as many federalists as Burr did 
republicans and Lewis was elected gov- 
ernor. It was Hamilton's opposition to 
Burr that, in July 1804, led to the dual 
between them which resulted in the 
death of Hamilton and deprived this 
country of one of its greatest statesmen. 
The letter of Griswold was, subsequent- 
ly, in 1807, made public, in the form of a 
handbill, for the purpose of damaging 
the leading federalists. The political 
animosities of those days have never 
been equalled since, and we may con- 
gratulate ourselves that we live in times 
when differences in political views so 
rarely interrupt friendly relations. 

After rt turning from congress, Gris 
wold continued to practice his profes- 
sion here with great success until his 
death in 1809, at the age of foity-on 
years. He left a widow who survived 
him many years, and several children; 
Hooker Griswold, a merchant here, Gay- 
lord Griswold, also a merchant here forJ 
many years, Sarah Brooks, the wife tif| 
Benjamin F. Brooks, whose grandson, 
Benjamin F. Brooks, lives in this vil- 
lage. Hannah Burrill, wife of Jacob 
Burnll, the mother of Griswold Burrill , 
of this village. His early death termi- 
nated a career full of promise. 

Afler political parties were formed in] 
this state, in the latter pa<t of the last! 
century and early in this, it was] 
common for the politicans in Albany and] 
the eastern part of the state, like the 
Clintons and Livingstons and their asso- 
ciates, who dominated parties and shaped 
party politics, to send out young men of 
culture and talent into the growing 
central and western parts of the state to 
shape public sentiment and to lead in 

political conflicts. They were generally 
young lawyers, and they were fostered by 
offices conferred upon them by the 
council of appointment, and by pat- 
ronage received or placed at their dis- 
posal. The same policy was later pur- 
sued to some extent by the famous 
Albany Regency; and those labor under 
a great mistake who suppose that the 
politicians of the early days of our 
republic were less crafty, less artful, or 
h 8S resourceful than their successors of 
this day. 

In pursuance of this policy, Matthias 
B. Tallmadge came into this county in 
the year 1800, and took up his residence 
in this village. He built and resided in 
the house on Main street now owned by 
Br. Burgress. That house and lot where- 
on it stands were then and for many 
years afterward the finest in the village. 
He was horn in Dutches county in 1774. 
He yraduated from Yale College, and 
studied law with Chief Justice Ambrose 
Spencer at Hudson. Before coming 
here he married the daughter of Govern- 
or George Clinton and here he com- 
menced the practice of the law. M!r. 
Benton, in his history of Herkimer 
county speaks of him as follows: "Mr. 
Tallmadge was, no doubt, sent into the 
county as a political leader, and by this 
movement Governor Clinton extended 
hia family influence to an important 
point in the state, then fast filling up 
with population from the older southern 
and eastern counties, and from the other 
states, particularly New England. It is g 
not improbable that Evans Wharry, a 
native of Oian>jt* county, well I- nown to, 
and a fast friend of Governor Clinton, 
was mainly instrumental in bringing 
Mr. TaUinadge into the county. Mr. 
Tallmadge's contemporaries do not 
speak of him in terms of extrava- 
gant praise. He was not equal in point 
of talents and energy of character to any 
of his opponents. But the soil was 
congenial to his touch, and the harvest 
ripened to his hand, and such was the 
veneration and respect for the name of 
George Clinton in the Mohawk valley, 
and so deep seated was the anti-federai 
feeling in the county, strengthened and 

embittered by some of the acts of the 
federal government under the admini- 
stration of John Adams, and particularly 
the stamp act, that it only • remained to 
select the candidates, print and circulate 
the ballots, and the election from that 
moment became a 'fixed fact' so far as 
this county was concerned." 

In 1801, with Evans Wharry and 
George Rosecrants he was a member 
from this county of the contention call- 
ed to revise the constitution of the state. 
In April, 1802, he was elected state sena- 
tor. The state was then divided into 
four senatorial districts, the southern, 
eastern, middle and western. He was 
one of the eleven senators from the 
western district, which comprised all 
the state west of Schenectady, including 
Jefl'erson and St Lawrence. The term 
of a senator was then four years. While 
he was not a man of great talent, his 
connection with the Clintons gave him 
prominence and influence as a senator. 
While he was in the senate, in the win- 
ter of 1803, an exciting contest took 
place for United States senator, to suc- 
ceed Governeur Morris, whose term of 
service would expire March 4, 1803. 
There were then two political partie.«, 
federal and republican and he belonged 
to the latter. The candidates for the 
office in the republican caucus were 
General Thoodore Bailey of Dutchess 
county, brother-in law of Tallmadge, 
and John Woodworth of Rensselaer 
cuunty, who was afterward attorney 
general of the state and one of the jus- 
tices of the supreme court. Bailey re- 
ceived thirty votes and Woodworth 
forty five and the latter was declared 
nominated. Tallmadge attended the re- 
publican cauous and supported Bailey, 
tie was dissatisfied with the result of 
the caucus and immediately started a 
movement to defeat Mr. Woodworth's 
election. He pursuaded a few republi- 
cans to CO opera' e with him and by a 
union vvith some of the federalists they 
secured the election of Bailey. The re- 
sult justly aroused much fet-ling against 
Tallmage and he was greatly censured 
for not abiding by the action of the cau- 
cus in which he was a participant. 


Some account of this election ;is given 
in Hammond's Political History, volume 
1, page 191. 

In 1777 John Sloss Hobart, although 
he had not been bred to the law, was ap- 
pointed one of the justices of the su- 
preme court, and held the office until 
January 1798. more than twenty years, 
when he was elected United States sena 
tor, to succeed General Phillip Schuyler. 
In April of the same year, he was ap- 
pointed by President Adams United 
States District Judge for the District of 
New York and resigned his office of 
United States senator. He held the 
office of judge untill 1805, when he died. 
So far as I know he is the only person 
holding high judicial position in this 
state who was not a lawyer and admit- 
ted to the bar when elevated to the 
bench. After his death Tur. Tallraadge, 
through the influence of his father-in- law, 
then vice-president, was appointed by 
President Jefferson, U. S. district judge 
in place of Judge Hobart. He held the 
office until his death in 1819. He is said 
not to have been well qualified for the 
office, and drew his salary for many 
years while rendering but little service. 
He removed from this county, after his 

appointment to the office of judge, to 
the city of New York. 

Mr. Bailey, who through the influence 
of Mr. Tallraadge was made United 
States senator, resigned his office the 
next year and accepted the office of post- 
master of the city of New York which 
he held until his death in 1828, about 24 
years. During many years after the 
adoption of the federal constitution the 
office of United States senator was not 
so highly esteemed as now, for we find 
Hobart resigning it to take the office of 
United States judge and Bailey to take 
the office of postmaster of New York; 
and in the early history of our govern- 
ment there are other instances of 
the same kind. DeWitt Clinton resigned 
the office of United States senator to 
take from the council of appointment 
the office of mayor of the city of New 

Mr. Tallraadge was for a tirae an im- 
portant factor in state noiitics. He can- 
not be said to have made any mark upon 
the history of our county. The house 
he huilt remains; but so far as I know 
tliere is no record of any creditable work 
he did. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, June 8, 1897, 

Prior to the formation of our state 
government, there were but two cities 
in this state, Albany and New York, the 
two oldest chartered cities in the United 
States. Prior to 1807, but two more 
cities were incorported, Hudson in 1785 
and Schenectady in 1798. Neither of 
these cities, so far as I can find, ever had 
a village charter. 

The first villages incorporated in this 
state, so far as I can learn, were Troy 
and Lansingburg incorporated by the 
same act of the legislature, February 16, 
1798. Poughkeepsie was incorporated 
March 27, 1799; Newburg, March 25, 
1800; Salem, Washington county, April 
4, 1803; Colonie, Albany county, April 
9, 1804; Athens, April 2, 1805; Kingston, 
April 6, 1805; Utica, April 9, 1805; Balls- 
ton, March 21, 1807 and Herkimer, April 
6, 1807. 

The inhabitants of the Stone Ridge had 
increased in number, and among them 
were a goodlj' number of intelligent, en- 
terprising men, like Gaylord Griswold, 
lawyer and member of congress; General 
Michael Myers and his two sons, Mathew 
and Peter M., the former a graduate of 
Union College, and the latter county 
clerk; Aaron HacUley, member of as- 
sembly, county clerk, district attorney 
and member of congress; Dan Chapman, 
merchant, lawyer, surrogate; Joab Gris- 
wold, county clerk; Elihu Griswold, 
county clerk; Philo M. Hackley, surro- 

gate and member of assembly; Henry 
Hopkins, sheriff; Ephraim Snow, sheriff; 
Chauncey Woodruff, sheriff; Simeon 
Ford, member of assembly and district 
attorney; Jacob G Weaver, merchant 
and Indian trader; and other men of 
strong sense and good judgment. They 
dominated the politics of the county 
and appropriated most of the offices. 
They evidently felt the necessity of a 
village corporation, to enable them to 
make their locality convenient, orderly, 
peaceful, safe and beautiful, and thus to 
realize their ideals of life. They were 
among the earlie-t to apply for a village 
charter, as only ten villages in the whole 
state were incorporated before this; and 
this was, with the exception of Utica, 
the first incorporated village in the state 
west of Schenectady. 

The territory first included within the 
corporation of Herkimer was not so 
large as that now included. It embrac- 
ed all the land granted by patent to 
Gertrude Petrie, and a small portion 
north of that and now lying north of 
German street. It did not extend to the 
Mohawk river or the West Canada 
creek, and was mainly confined to the 
Stone Ridge. 

The village was incorporated under 
the name of '"The Trustees of the Vil- 
lage of Herkimer"; and all the adult 
male residents who possessed within the 
village a free-hold of the value of fifty 


dollars, or rented a tenement of the 
yearly value of five dollars for the term 
of one year, were authorized to meet on 
the second Monday of May then next, 
and choose five free-holders, residents of 
the village, to be trustees, with the pow- 
ers and rights specified m the act; and 
trustees were to be elected on the second 
Monday of May in each succeeding year. 
The free-holders and inhabitants author- 
ized to vote could at any annual or 
special meeting make rules, orders and 
regulations relative to cleaning and keep- 
ing in order and repair, the streets, and 
removing nuisances; and also to compe 
the housekeepers to furnish themselve 
with a sufficient number of fire buckets, 
house ladders and with other necessary 
tools and implements for extinguishing 
fires; and to impose penalties on the of- 
fenders against such rules, orders and 
regulations, not exce ding five dollars 
for any one offense. The trustees were 
authorized to appoint a clerk, and also 
not exceeding fifteen firemen, and to 
make rules for their government; and 
the freeholders and inhabitants being 
lawful voters were authorized at any 
regular meeting to determine what sum 
in the aggregate should be raised, levied 
and collected from the owners or occu- 
pants of houses and land for procuring a 
fire engine and other implements for ex- 
tinguishing fires, and for supplying the 
village with water and erecting and cor- 
structing a sufficient number of common 
reservoirs for containing a sufficiency of 
water for extinguishing fires The trus- 
tees were empowered by their warrant 
to appoint and to authorize some person 
to collect the taxes thus impost d. But 
the sum to be raised in any one year 
could not exceed two hundred dollars. 
The trustees were empowered to lay out 
the money thus raised, to purchase a 
fire engine and other tools and imple- 
ments for extinguishing fire, and also in 
supplying the village with water from 
aqueducts or otherwise, and also to pur- 
chase and hold any lands or ptreams 
of water necessary for fire purposes, 
and for such purposes also to construct 
a sufficient number of reservoirs to b3 
supplied from the aqueducts or other- 

wise, and to rent the surplus water not 
needed for supplying the reservoirs to 
such persons and for such sums and in 
such manner as they should deem pro- 
per; and the money arising from renting 
the surplus water was to be for the use 
and benefit of the freeholders and in- 
habitants of the village to be expended 
in keeping the aqueduct in repair, and 
in procuring necessary tools and imple- 
ments for extinguishing fires. The trus- 
tees and the clerk were to receive such 
compensation as the legal voters should 
think reasonable. 

It must be observed that the powers 
of the inhabitants and trustees were 
very limited; that there was a property 
qualification for the voters at all village 
elt ctions and meetings, as there was at 
that time for the voters at all other elec- 
tions of public officers; that the trustees 
were required to be freeholders; that no 
officers were to be elected but the five 
trustees, and the only persons that they 
could appoint to any office w(re the 
clerk, collector and firemen. There was 
no president, no treasurer and no police 
officers and there wereno assessors as the 
trustees were to act as such. There was 
no provision for raising any mont-y by 
taxation except for fire purposes; and 
hence, although the trustees and clerk 
might have compensation, there was no 
way of getting any money to pay them 
except the penalties for violations of the 
village ordnances. Personal property 
was not liable to taxation for village 
purposes; and as onlj- two hundred dol- 
lars could be raised in any year, there 
was little temptation or room for pecu- 
lation or extravagance. It is probable 
that the men of that day had already 
conceived the sche-me of bringinj^ water 
into the village from the Wt st Canada 
creek, to ' e used for manufacturing pur- 
poses, for it was not practicable to bring 
water here in an aqueduct except from 
that source; and there was no purpose! 
for which the rented water could bej 
u?ed except for manufacturing. Th€ 
bringing in of the water was to be a vil4 
lage enterprise and not private as it sub^ 
sequently became. 

While Herkimer war^ incorporated oi 


the 9th of April 1807 it is probable that 
the people of the village did not get in- 
formation of their incorporation in time 
to hold the election of trustees on the 
second Monday of May following; and 
hence we find in an act passed just one 
year later, entitled "An act for the in- 
corporation of the village of Oxford and 
for other purposes," a final section reviv- 
ing the act of 1807, and declaring it to 
be in force, and authorizing the election 
of the five trustees on the second Mon- 
day of May as in the prior act provided. 
There was apparently again a failure to 
hold the annual meeting and to elect the 
trustees in 1820, and hence on the 13th 
day of April 1821, another act was passed 
reviving and re-enacting the act of 1807, 
and continuing it in force, and author- 
izing the election on the second Monday 
in May of five trustees. The inhabitants 
had not yet learned vigilance, and again 
in 1824 they failed to hold their annual 
meeting and to elect trustees, and on 
April 13, 1825, another act of revival 
similar to that of 1821 was passed; and 
to prevent the necessity of such legisla- 
tion in the future, it was provided in the 
act that if the inhabitants failed in any 
year to hold the annual meeting and 
election, the trustees in office should 
continue until their successors should be 
elected; and thereafter there does not 
seem to have been any further 
question about the continued ex- 
istence of the village corpoartion. 
On the 12th of March 1818 an 
act relating to the village o' Herkimer 
was passed which authorized the free 
holders and inhabitants, at the annual or 
a special meeting, properly called, to 
make rules, orders and regulations for 
the prevention and removal of nuisances, 
the prevention of fires, explosion of 
powder and discharge of fire arms ex- 
cept by the militia or regular soldiers, 
and in relation to the racing of horses 
and the running at large and straying of 
horses and cattle in tae streets, and also 
authorizing an increase in the number 
of firemeo. 

Except as I have now specified I have 
found no other special legislation in 
reference to this village until April 20, 

1832, when the act "To consolidate and 
amend the charter of the village of 
Herkimer" was passed. The act en- 
larged the territory of the village to sub- 
stantially its present size, and gave the 
corporation the powers now usually 
possessed by such villages. The right to 
vote at village elections was limited to 
inhabitants who had diwing the prior 
year paid a road or other public tax. 
The officers to be elected were president, 
four trustees, three assessors, a clerk, a 
treasurer, a collector and a constable: 
and the inhabitants could at any regular 
meeting, vote to raise by tax not exceed- 
ing the sum of five hundred dollars in 
any one year. 

There were amendments to the village 
charter in 1840 and 1851 which were not 
of sufficient importance to require notice 
here. In 1853 Charles A. Burton, a 
talented young lawyer residing here and 
I were appointed to draft a new charter, 
and we drafted one which was enacted 
by the legislature in 1854. Under that 
amended charter the voters were still re- 
quired to be taxpayers. The trustees 
could raise by taxation the sum of two 
hundred and fifty dollars for the ordi- 
nary expenses of the village in each year, 
and an additional sum not exceeding 
three hundred and fifty dollars when 
authorized by a vote of the taxpayers of 
the village. Besides a property tax for 
highway purposes, there was a poll tax 
of fifty cents upon every male inhabi- 
tant of tile village. By an amendment of 
the charter in 1859, the maintenance and 
repair of all the bridges in the village 
were put upon the town. In 1860 the 
police constable was required to be ap- 
pointed by the trustees. In 1863 ths 
trustees were authorized to license cabs, 
carriages and other vehicles carrying 
passengers to and from the railroad. In 
1868 the trustees were authorized, on a 
vote of the taxpayers, to borrow, by is- 
suing bonds, $15,000, to iring water into 
the village for fire purposes In 1869 the 
trustees were authorized to raise by tax- 
ation in any year, to defray the ordinary 
expenses of the village, |750 and such 
additional sum as the taxpayers shoulc^ 
at any annual meeting sanction. In 1872 

the village was authorized to imDiove 
the road between this place and Middle- 
ville, and for that purpose the trustees 
were empowered to issue bonds for 
^15,000, upon a petition of a majority of 
the taxpayers, the money thus raised to 
be expended by three commiss oners to 
be appointed by the trustees. In 1874 
"The Herkimer and Middlevill-^ stone 
road" was incorporated, with Dean Bur- 
gess, Peter Countryman, Samuel Earl, 
Henry D. Ellison and Bela Palmer as di- 
rectors, who were authorized to take 
tolls, and with the money thus realized 
to keep the road between the two places 
in repair. In 1874 an act was passed 
authorizing the election of three ceme- 
tery commissioners by the owners of 
lots in the cemetery, and in 1880 that 
act was amended. In 1885 the act in- 
corporating the Herkimer and Middle- 
-ville stone road was repealed. In 1887 
the board of police and fire commission- 
ers was established. In 1891 the board 
of light and water commissioners was 
established, and in 1895, the muncipal 
commission, consisting of four commis- 
sioners belonging to the two political 
parties was established. It superseded 
the prior commissions and has charge of 
police and fire matters and the village 
lights, water and sewers. 

Down to the year 1875 the village was 
under its special charter. In that year, 
by the mistaken action of its inhabitants, 

at a special election held April 29th, by 
a vote of 270 to 34, it lost its special 
charter, was reorganized and placed 
under the general village law, and by 
that law it is now governed. 

It is seen how small the amount o'. 
money authorized to be expended for 
village purposes was jntil recently. The 
amount raised by taxation for village 
purposes and village expenses for the 
year 1896 was $27,133.50, and the popu- 
lation is about 5,000. 

The other villages in the county were 
organized m the following years- Little 
Falls, then in the town of Herkimer. 
1811; Mohawk, 1844; Ilion, 1852; New- 
port, 1857; Frankfort, 1863; Middleville, 

Such is briefly the organic history of 
the village of Herkimer. It is a history 
of growth and evolution. Through it 
all we catch glimpses of the enterprise, 
civic virtues, mauners and customs of 
its people. We who live here must be 
permitted to say that it is one of the 
pleasantest, most enterprising and most 
orderly villages in the State. It excels 
in both religion and politics, particularly 
the latter. May the chronicler who 
writes our history in the next century 
te able to write of a community equally 
prosperous, and of its citizens, in public 
and private life, equally useful and hon- 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, June S, 1897. 

On the first gentle rise of hills from 
the fiats of the Mohawk River, vrhere it 
leaves its rocUy gorge east of the city of 
Little Falls and broadens into the rich 
Manheim River bottom lands north of 
the turnpike and of the New York Cen 
tral Railroad, and nearly opposite the 
spot where Geneal Herkimer's Monu- 

It is one of the objects of our Society 
to preserve the memory of our brave 
and illustrious citizens, of those who 
have been leaders in war, in the politi- 
cal arena, in cooimerce, science and 
law. Pride in local history is the foun- 
dation of true patriotism: love for the 
hearthstone, the family house and an- 

ment marks the final resting place of cestors makes good citizens. If Major 

that citizen-soldier, lies a small private Finck ha? been somewhat neglected by 

burying ground known as the Finck- historians, and my modest effort shall 

ysLVL Valkenburgh cemetery. Near the do him and his ancestors justice, I, as 

west end of it stands a simple marble a German-born citizen, shall feel espec- 

slab containing this inscription : 

■ • In memory of 


Major in the Revolutionary Wars, 

Who died February 3rd, 1820, 

Age 69 years. 3 days. 

Benton, in his History of Herkimer 
County, speaks briefly of the continuous 
and valuable services of Finck during 
the whole of the Revolutionary War, 
and states that nearly all the papers re- 
lating to his military and public life had 

ially grateful. With the kind and able 
assistance of one of Major Finck's great 
grandsons, and liy maMng personally 
exhaustive searches through the Colonial 
and Revolutionary records in the State 
Departments, in cliurch registers,County 
Clerks' offices and elsewhere, I have 
been able to gather the facts for the fol- 
lowing sketch. 

It is said that the Finck family came 
over with the second and large Palatine 

become scattered and could not be found emmigration of 1710. 
and that consequently the account of The Reverend Joshua Kockerthal, aid- 

his life had to be brief and incomplete, ed by the English Queen, led his small 

The various histories of Montgomery flock of Palatines, singing hymns and 

County, of which Finck was a citizen psalms, their small belongings in bun- 

for sixty-six years, contain only meagre dies, poor, destitute and illiterate, from 

reference to his service as Member of their homes in the Palatinate, whence 

Assembly. they had been driven by religious perse- 


cution, to London and thence to Ameri- explain why so few of our Palatine 
ca. They were the forerunners, and all families are able to trace their original 
bfing from the German Palatinate, the home and connect their ancfstors with 
name 'Palatines" became a generic the original stoclr. Families had le- 
term for those forming the large second come scattered. Not only homes, but 
and third immigrations, although, only towns and villages, including the 
a part of those composing these latter churches and all records, had been de- 
immigrations were original Palatines, stroyed long before the immigrations t<> 
the rest coming from all the different this country, and many villages and 
Principalities of Southwestern Germany, hamlets have never been rebuilt. Only 
Alsace and the Netherlands. Desolated nameless ruins indicate the places where 
by the War of Thirty Years -the cru^l once your families had their homes, 
effects of which can yet l-e traced in The fate of the immigrants in their 
some parts of Germany —again ravaged early days here was hardly better than 
by the war in the time of Louis the their experience at home -hoping to 
XlVth, who made religion a pretext for settle on lands of their own and become 
his wrongs, notably in 1674, when a a free people, thej' found themselves re- 
French army, under the cruel Turenne, duced to a state of semi-slavery, and it 
marked its progress by such acts of de- was not until they disobeyed the orders 
struction, pillage and murder as have of the Colonial Governor, and moved 
haidly a parallel in the history of the into the Schoharie Valley, that any im- 
world; again reduced to ashes and ruin provement in their condition ^l^g^n. 
by the dauphin, after a few years of The first mention of the name of Fin?k 
peace, the Palatinate had becone a dis- occurs among the volunt-'ers of Colonel 
mal desert and its once proud and happy Nicholson's expedition to Canada in 1711, 
people wretched and hopeless beyond when one Frantz Finck from Queens- 
the power of words to describe. Thous- bury, is mentioned. While I have not 

ands had to seek homes elsewhere, home- 
less, destitute and objects of charity 
Finally the English Queen came to their 
help, and provided for their mainten- 
ance in London and their passage to this 
country. The character of this immi- 
gration was, as Kapp says, humbleness, 
despair and silent suffering, and about 

seen the original document", I have been 
informed that the name "Andreas'* 
might be just as easily made out of the 
name as "Frantz." 

Tradition in Stone Arabia claims that 
nearly all the original settlers of that 
patent came over in 1710, and that the 
Loucks, Finck and Eaker families came 

all they brought over were their bodies from near Itstein, of that part of Ger- 
emaciated by want. The once prosper- many which was later part of the Grand 
ous inhabitants had become paupers and Duchy of Hesse-Nassau and which now 

wanderers on the face of the f arth. Is 
it a wonder that we find so many of the 
early German immigrants illiterate and 
ignorant? They had no homes to sleep 
in, no bread to eat but that of pity, no 

belongs to the Kingdom of Prussia. The 
frequent intermarriages between tht se 
three families make this story probable. 
A number of Palatine fanailie^ had s t- 
tled along the Mohiwk River prior to 

schools to send their children to, and no the settling of the btone Arabia patent, 

hope in aught save God. We muse con- 
sider these facts fully, and when you, 
descendants of these German pioneers, 
read now of the cruelties to which the 
Armenians are subjected, you can find 

attracted undoubtedly by the other Ger- 
man and Swiss settlers who had loca- 
ted there prior to the coming of the 

On March 7, 1722, John Christian 

the reason why your ancestors had fallen Gerlach, Wm. York, Johann Lawyer 
into the state of ignorance, illiteracy and Johann and Bendrick Schuffer, Andre- 
destitution in which they had existed for as Finck, Hendrick Frey and Godfrey 
more than twenty years before they DeWulven petitioned for a tract of 
came to this country. These facts also meadow and wood land in the Mohacks 


•Country, between the Cayadutta and 
Canada Kill, and on March 8th, Rip 
Van Dam, Chairman of t\\e Committee 
•of Council, makes his rejiort. The next 
<Iay a warrant for a survey was issued, 
and on November 1, of the same year, 
John Christian Gerlach, in behalf of 
himself and other distressed Palatines, 
petitions for a license to purchase the 
same tract, which was granted the fol- 
lowing day. On Fe^^rnary 12th, 1723, 
the same parties obtained a deed from 
the Canajoharie Indians and finally, 
on the 19th of October, 1723, the patent 
was granted to twenty-seven patentees, 
amongst whom we fir.d Andreas Feinck 
and Christian Feinck. Christian Feinck 
was a brother of Andreas, and as I do not 
find any evidence of his settling at Stone 
Arabia, it may ie assumed that he re- 
mained in Schoharie, or died I efore the 
Stone Arabia patent was occupied by 
the patentees. 

The allotment maps of the patent 
are lost, and it is impossible to trace the 
original location of Andreas Finck's 
homestead. A branch of the Kanagara 
Creek, which runs fast of Sprakers in- 
to the Mohawk, is still called "Finck's 
Creek,"" and between that creek and 
where the churches are located, local 
tradition places the new home of the 
Fincks. From the fact that Andreas 
Finck was one of the original petitioners 
for, and patentees of the land, it may be 
assumed that he enjoyed privileges in 
selecting his own share, and that his 
land would be in the very center of the 
new settlement and of fine quality. 

Andreas Finck was married before he 
oame to Stone Arabia; his wife was 
Margaret Acker, and their marriage 
had taken place at Schoharie, How 
many children he hai cannot be as- 
certained as no church records for 
those early days can be foond. 

The elder Wilhelm Finck, who mar- 
ried in 1753 Margaret Snell, was one of 
his sons, and Lieutenant Johannes 
Finck, in Col. Jacob Klock's regiment, 
was his grandsou, and the wife of Cap 
tain Andrew Dillenbeck, who wts killed 
at Oriskany, was his granddaughter. 
His eldest son, juding by the custom of 

the Palatines of christening the oldert 
male chi'd by the fatlier's name, was 
Andreas, who was born on September 
1st, 1721. before the rimoval to Stone 
Arabia, This is the Andrew Finck, Jr , 
who. according to Simins, appears on 
early maps as an owner of land. While 
we cannot ascertain the age of the pa- 
tentee Andreas, it is certain that he 
lived until after 1744, when his name 
appears for the last tune on a public re- 
cord, and that he died before 1751, 
when the second Andreas settled on 
Michael Frank, his stepfather, a lifn 
lease of one half of Lot 19. No record 
of the death of the wife of the elder 
Andreas can be found. 

The new settlement prospered, the 
lands were well adapted for the raising 
of wheat, for which there was an ever 
ready market in the east, the 
people were frugal, industrious and ex- 
tremely saving. They provided them- 
selves with none of the comforts of life, 
married early, raised large families and 
died old. Until 1729 the people con- 
sidered themselves as members of the 
Schoharie church. Then some of their 
leading men, amongst them Andreas 
Finck, the patentee, bought of Wm. 
Coppernoll, of Schnectady, a glebe for 
church purposes of fifty acres. The 
original contract is still in possession of 
the Finck family and reads as follows 

Memerantum of agreement between 
William Coppernoll aud Andreas Feink, 
Henerick Frey, Hans Diterirk Cassle- 
man, John Yorg Miller and all the rest 
of the company of this said patent the 
said William Coppernoll hath so'd to the 
above said Andreas Feink, Henerick 
Frey and all of rest the foresaid com- 
pany, a certain lot of land number in our 
palent num er twenty for a cheicht aud 
other use for the same and no others and 
the said William Coppernoll is there- 
fore paid aud satisfeit and the said 
William Coppernoll binds him-elf his 
heirs and assigns in the sume of one 
hundred pouads good lawful money of 
Newyer togive agood lawful transport 
for the above said lot of land num'er 
twenty att or before the ninth day of 
April one thousand seven hundred and 


thirty one as witens my hand and seale 
this second davof June annoa: D 1739, 
S-^aled and delivered 
in the presei.ce of 




The original deed given by CopernoU 
is also still in existence and was executed 
May 9th, 1732, and conveyed the same 
property to Antreas Finck and others. 
Finally, in 1744, the land was divided 
between the Calvinists and the Luther- 
ans, deeds were given and taken, on 
which still appears the name of the elder 
Andreas, who was also one of the charter 
members of Reformed Church and was 
instrumental in the erection of the 
church in 1744, as shown by bonds and 
contracts still existing. With the estab- 
lishment of the churches the intimate 
connection which existed between the 
mother settlement at Schoharie and the 
new ones at Stone Arabia and the Ger- 
man Flats became gradually severed — 
the holding of the lands became more 
stationary and the shifting forth and 
back between the new and the old loca- 
tions ceased. Stone Arabia became the 
central place for all the Germans in the 
Mohawk Valley — its citizens were the 
most prosperous and the'poor "distressed 
Palatines of 1733" had become comforta- 
bly well off twenty years later. It must 
have been a life of toil and privation 
which those people led, only occasionally 
Aroken by family feasts and holidays, 
which were celebrated with eating, drink- 
ing and dancing in their native fashion. 
Such a day of feast was likely the 14th 
day of December. 1743, when the second 
Andreas married Catherine Elizabeth 
Loucks, daughter of Heudrick Loucks 
and sister of Adam Loucks, the Colonial 
Justice and the noted local leader dur- 
ing the Revolution. The Loucks family 
were not among the original patentees 
of the Stone Arabia patent, but they and 
the Eakers came over soon after the first 
settlement was made. Catherine E. 
Loucks was born on the 10th of March, 
1720, at Skorrie (Schoharie). Six chil- 
dren were the result of this marriage. 
Anna Margaret (born 1746), who married 

Judge and Lieutenant Jacob E;cker; 
Major Andrew (born 1751); John Jost 
(1753), who was a private in Van Cort- 
lands and Klock's regiments during the 
Revolution; Christian (born 1759), who 
served under Col. Klock and the Levies; 
Maria Magdalena, who married Captain 
Nicholas Coppernoll, and Catherine, 
who married Captain John Sealey, "^ho 
had charge of Fort Keyser during the 
battle of Stone Arabia. Of the second 
Andreas little is known — grown up dur- 
ing those years of hardest pioneer life, 
he could have but little education, as 
there are papers in existence which he 
signed by making his mark. It is said 
that he took active part during the 
French-Indian War, and there served as 
Captain under Sir William Johnson 
While I do not find his name as occupy- 
ing such a position on the few existing 
records in regard to the Mohawk Militia 
under Sir William Johnson, an officer's 
sword, said to be worn by him during 
that war, was preserved for many years 
in the family of his son Christian, which 
sword bore his name and rank of Cap- 
tain. During the War of the Revolu- 
tion, although then over 54 years old, 
he served in Col. Jacob Klock's regi- 
ment. I have not been able to ascertain 
how long he served. He brought up his 
children in the Reformed Church, and 
we find the family well represented in 
the church records. 

In the year 1786, a few days before his 
death, hp makes his will, by which he 
provides for his widow and devises to 
his three sons 700 acres of farm and 
wood land and to his three girls and 
three boys 600 acres more, also money 
and valuables, and leaves the residue of 
his estate and ''his small arm or fowl- 
ing piece" to his grandson, Andrew C, 
then a small boy. Ee kept slaves, and 
leaves one negro wench, Anna, to Cath- 
erine Sealey. and Anna's prospective is- 
sue to Mary Coppernoll. From his will 
it appears that his homestead was nearl; 
opposite the churches, and extender 
west to the creek — on which a mill was 
operated. He died on the t'3d day ol 
August,- 1786, nearly 65 years old, ant 
was followed on the 31st day of March, 



1790, by his wife, a little over 70 years 
old. Their gravestones stand in the 
Stone Arabia Cemetery, and are the old- 
est stones in that ground. They are a 
few feet from the grave of Colonel 
Brown, who fell at the battle of Stone 

Of the youth of Andrew Finck, the 
later Major, we know little. From gen- 
eral information about the condition of 
affairs at Stone Arabia, it is evident that 
these people were, during the years of 
his youth, m tha't transitory state 
between the crude life of the pioneer 
and the advancing of civilization and 
learning. School teachers were some- 
times employed, and children obtained 
some instruction. Many of the families 
sent their children away to schojl, and 
it is probable that j'oung Andrew thus 
obtained his education. There is a 
tradidon in some branches of the Finck 
family that an English Captain, DuBois, 
who was drilling the militia companies 
organized by Sir William Johnson, 
noticed, while at Stone Arabia, a young 
lad who was repeating with great pre- 
cision the motions of the drill. Finding 
him a handsome and bright boy, he took 
great liking to him and offered to his 
parents to provide for his education. The 
}jarents consenting, he took young An- 
drew to New York and kept him there 
for years. While all the children of the 
second Andreas were publicly admitted 
to the church (confirmed), as shown by 
the church register, young Andrew's 
name does not appear, nor as a witness 
to any christening, and he must have 
been absent from home for a long period 
of years. Part of the original minutes 
of the Committee of Safety are in his 
handwriting and evidently o!' his com- 
position, and the}' and letteis written by 
him show him to have been a man of 
superior and unusual education, consid- 
ering the general state of instruction 
among the Palatines. Family tradition 
says that he was educated to be a lawyer 
and that he was reading law at Albany 
before the Revolution, a statement that 
is substPoUtiated in part by the fact that 
he joined the Albany Lodge in about 
1772. It is not until the early days of 

the Revolution that we have any authen- 
tic information about him. So from the 
day of his birth, the first of February, 
1751. we have to pass to the 27th day of 
August, 1774, when we find this young 
scion of the Palatire yeomarry in the 
very front rauK of the patriotic leaders 
of the day, sitting in council with his 
elders and laboring henceforth inces- 
santly for freedom's cause until he left 
his home (or the army. 

He attended the meeting of the Pala- 
tine Committee on August 27, 1774, 
which was held at the house of hid 
brother-in law, Justice Adam Loucks, 
at Stone Arabia, and acted as Clerk of 
the meeting, and he, with Christopher 
P. Yates, Isaac Paris and John Frey, 
were appointed a Committee of Corres- 
pondence. Again, at the meeting of the 
Palatine District, on May 11, 1775, he 
was made a member of the Committee 
of Correspondence. The third committee 
meeting was held on May 19th, 1775, and 
the original resolutions, in Finck's hand- 
writing are still in existence. For pa- 
triotic language they are equal to the 
best productions of those stormy days, 
and breathe such sincere feeling tbat I 
cite here the concluding sentences: 

"We are determined, althoueh few in 
numbers, to let the world see who are 
not attached to American Liberty, and 
to wipe off the indelible disgrace brought 
on us by the Declaration signed by our 
grand jury and some of the magistrates, 
who in general are considered by the 
majority of our county as enemies to 
their country. In a word, gentlemen, it 
is our fixed resolutioa to support and 
carry into execution everything recom- 
mended by tlie Continental and Provin- 
cial Congress, and to be free or die." 

He was also present at the District and 
County meetings of May 21st, 24th, 29th, 
June 2nd, 3rd At the meeting of June 
11th, 1775, held at Goose Van Alstine's 
house, Nicholas Herkimer acted as Chair- 
man and Andrew Finck, Jr., as Secre- 
tary. We also find his name as pret-ent 
at the meetings of July 3, 13 14, 15, 1775. 
At the latter meeting, held at the house 
of Warner Tygert, Yates and Herkimer 
in the chair, a letter was ordered sent to 


the Provisional Congress, recommending 
for appointment tbeuames of Christopher 
P. Yates as Captain nnd Andrew Fincii, 
Jr., as Fiist Lieutenant of a company 
whicli Mr, Yates was enlisting, and 
undtF d:ite of the 21»t of October follow- 
ing, as the fourth company of Col. Goose 

woald have been favored hy stronger 
language and self-praise. These state- 
ments are so brief, so foldier-like, so 
very much to the poinv, and at the same 
time so very disappointing to the histor- 
ian. From the time of his death in 
1820, up to the time when Benton wrote 

Van Schaick's regiments of New York his hif?tory, his papers had been wasted, 
troops, we find their appointment con- relatives, friends, historians, autograph 
firmed. The organizer of meetings, the hunters and others had made away with 

them, and now only a small number of 
original papers can be found, in the 
hands of some of his descendants -in 
New Y'ork city, at Utica, and atOsceoIa> 
Iowa. From these and searches in State 
archives, we glean the following : 

The warrant by the Provincial Con- 
gress was issued on August 11th, 1775',. 
aad received by James Holmes (see Cal- 
endar Hist. MSS. I., 108). He also had a 
commission as First Lieutenant in the 
Fourth Company of the Second Hegi- 
ment of the New York forces, dated 
Philadelphia, July 11th, 1TT5, and sign- 
ed by John Hancock, President. It is 
probable that the appointment by the 
Colonial Congress preceded the recom- 
mendation by the County Comittee and 
the Provincial Commission. We have 
seen above that young Finck received 
the recommendation of the County Com- 
mittee for the appointment of First Lieu- 
tenant on July 15th, 1775. Receiving 
the same, he and his brother, Honyost, 
started immediately for iheir regiment, 
as shown by the following letter : 

Albany, 16th August, 1775. 
Honoured Father and Mother : 
I hope these few lines will find you in 

writer of fiery resolutions, changes into 
the oflBcer of the Continental Army, who 
is ready to pro've by acts the sincerity 
of the words spoken or written by him 
at those gatherings of the friends of 
American liherty. Young Andrew Finek 
was the first one of the descendants of 
the Palatines to enlist in the services of 
the Colonies against oppression and 
tyranny, and, like his ances ors, he had 
to see the ohurcbes and schools, the 
houses and barns of his own fan^ily and 
neighbors destroyed by fire, the families 
scattered, the women and children slain 
or carried into captivity, until finally 
the just cause prevailed and his country 
became free. Instead of the fanatic 
Turenne and the soldiers of the most 
Christian king, Louis the Fourteenth, 
the Butlers and Johnsons, the hired 
Hessians and bloodthirsty Indians, 
played this work of carnage. 

Andrew Finck was in the service of 
his country fiom the beginning to the 
very end of the Revolution, and his 
record show;3 that he was one of the 
most active and useful officers during 
the whole of the struggle. It is to be 
greatly regretted that moat of his letters 
and documents have been lost, and that 
from existing sources it is impossible to a state of good health, as I and my 
give more than a mere sketch of his ac- brother are at present. I expected to 
tual service. see you once more before I marched 

The Major preserved all of his corres- from Stone Araby but was not able. I 
pendence and had stored up many mem- therefore acquaint you that we are in- 
oranda relative to his own personal ser- camped at the Patroons Mills in this 
vice in the army and for the State, to town. I have slept in the camp last 

incidents of the war and of his own 
later life. Tradition says that he had 
thus accumulated quite a treasure for 
future historical research. His own 
statements about his military career, 
still existing, prove that he was entirely 
too modest, even where his interests 

night for the first time, upon a borrowed 
bed. I can assure you that every article 
of the camo occupage is very scarce in 
town not to be had for money. I have 
bought me a Gun at a high price and 
have a mattress a making, sword I am 
not supplied with yet. 


As for news I can tell you for a cer- Schuylerhad their council at Schenectady 
tainty that Alexander White the Sheriff (Schuyler's papers). Shortly afterward 

is taken prisoner and his two comrades 
from Tripes Hill, Give my best respects 
to my brother and sisters and to all in- 
quiring friends in general, in my next 
I will be more particular in relating 
matters to you. Expect to march in a 
few days to Ticonderoga if no applica- 
tion from our committee. 

From your affectionate son 

humble servant 
Andrew Finck. 
Excuse my bad writing 
had but H hours 
time to go to breakfast 
and return again. 

To Mr. Andrew Finck. 

The regiment that Finck had ioined was 
then known as the Second New York. 
After February, 1776, it became known 
as the First New York. Its comiiander 
was the brave Colonel Gozen Van- 
SchaicK, a veteran of the French In- 
dian War. This regiment did effectual 
service during the first five years of the 
Revolutionary War and took part in 
some of the most important events in 
the Mohawk Valley. Detachments of 
it served in Canada, at Saratoga, on the 
Htidson. and probably in the New Jer- 
sey campaigns. With the exception of 
two or tiiree instances, Finck served on 
detached duty while he was connected 
with the regiment, which shows that 
his superiors must have had confidence 
in his judgment and bravery. 

Family tradition says that he took 
part in the campaign of Montgomery 
and Arnold at Quebec. I think this is 
wrong; young Finck staid with the 
main body of the regiment at Albany. 
His name is not mentioned in any of 
the documents relating to that campaign 
and I find evidence that he drew his 
pay at Albany on January 1st, 1776, the 
day after Montgomery's death. 

Lieutenant Finck accompanied Gen- 
eral Schuyler in January, 1776, on his 
intended expedition aj<ainst Sir John 
Johnson, and was then in command of 
a company. He was officer of the 
gu?.rd when Little Abram and General 

he was appointed recruiting officer of 
the regiment, as shown by the following 
order ; 

Albany, February 2oth, 1776. 

Sir: -I herewith deliver you your 
recruitmg orders and a number of en- 
listments the blanks ot which are to be 
filled up and then subscribed by the 
person enlisted. 

Such men as you may from time to 
time enlist are to be sent to Col. Van 
Schaick at this place, that they may be 
equipped for their march into Canada 
with all possible despatch. Every man 
that is able to furnish himself with arms 
and blankets should do it, I am sir 
Your humble servant 

P. H. Schuyler 
To Capt. Andrew Finck, 

We see by this order that he had re- 
ceived in the meantime his commission 
of Captain, which is dated February 16, 
1776, and ranges him as 3rd Captain, 
which from 14th First Lieutenant eight 
months before shows sufficiently for his 
military worth. The commission is en- 
dorsed by Philip Schuyler, Major Gen- 
eral, and also contains the names of 
Henry Diffendorf, First Lieutenant; 
Tobias Van Veghten, Second Lieutenant, 
and John Denny, Ensign. The above 
order shows that the General selected 
the young Captain for the arduous duty 
of recruiting officer of the regiment, at 
the same time leaving him in charge 
of his company and doing important 
frontier duty. The following order was 
received by Finck shortly afterwards: 
Albany, April 23. 1776 

Sir:— You are to proceed to Fort 
George with your company without de- 
lay, you are to begin your march early to- 
morrow for which six days provisions 
will be necessary. A battow will be 
ready at the lower dock to take in the 
baggage at Sunrise, you are to march by 
the same rout which the troops have 
taken who marched before you. Great 
care is to be taken that your men com- 
mit no depredations on the inhabitants. 


I wish you a pleasant march and re- 
main your well wisher 

Goose Van Schaick. 
To Capt. Andrew Finck. 

Pursuant to this order he proceeded to 
Fort George, where we find him on RJity 
3rd, 1776, as President of a Court IV^ar- 
tial appointed by General Schuyler, for 
the trial of a number of cases. The 
court ordered that John Smith, of Gen- 
eral Arnold's regiment, and Andries G. 
Neal, of Capt. Benedict's company (Van 
Schaick's regiment), receive 15 lashes 
each with the cat of nine tails on their 
bare backs for thefts. Also, John Mc- 
Donald, of the latter regiment, 39 lashes 
for desertion, and Reuben "Wiley, of 
the Second Pennsylvania Regiment, 25 
lashes for the same offense. 

During the summer of 1776 he was 
stationed at Fort George, and judging 
from the movements and orders given 
to the regiment, the troops w ere kept 
busy with drilling, scouting, conveying, 
transporting and watching the enemy 
and the Lories. During this year a re- 
arrangement of the officers in the New 
York line was made, evidently for the 
main purpose of weeding out undesir- 
able material, and we find in Calendar 
Hist, MSS. the return of Col. Van 
Schaick, in which he classifies Third Cap- 
tain Andrew Finck as "good", while a 
number of others he designated as bad, 
middling, indifferent, and one even as 
"scoundrel." The name of the Captain 
was consequently forwarded for reap- 
pointment by Major General Schuyler, 
on October 7th, 1776, and on November 
21st of that year he was re-commissioned 
Third Captain in the First Battalion of 
New York forces. At a meeting of the 
Provincial Military Committee with 
General Schuyler and Lieutenant Colontl 
Gansevoort, at Saratoga, October 23, 
1776, it was agreed to appoint Captain 
Finck to recruit for Colonel Van 
Schaick's regiment, with garrison at 
Fort George, and money was appro- 
priated for his disbursements for this 
purpose. There was little encourage- 
ment to the patriots in the events of 
1776 and the first half of 1777. Captain 
Finck was for nearly all of that time in 

command at Saratoga, while Captain 
Christopher P. Yates was staff officer of 
the regiment at Fort George, as shown 
by letter, dated Fort George. April 11th, 
1777, in which Yates, as senior officer, 
informs Finck of some movements of the 
enemy and orders him to send a large 
scouting party to the westward. The 
next day Colonel Van Schaick sends him 
the same intelligence and orders him to 
take personal commxnd and march with 
all the force he can collect, including 
batteaumsn and secure all the dis- 
affected persons. The return of the 
Captain is missing, but the regiment re- 
ports two weeks later that the scouting 
party had been successful and cleared 
the country west, of all the royalists. 
This raid completed, Finck returned to 
Saratoga, to which place in the mean- 
time the larger part of Van Schaick's 
regiment had moved, and on the 19th 
day of May 1777, Captain Finck pre- 
sided at the Court Martial held over 
Alexander Jennison. a soldier of his own 
company, for desertion, who received 
100 lashes with the cat-of nine-tails at 
the public whipping post. 

From his correspondence, we know 
that Captain Finck remained at Saratoga 
until June 25th, 1777, and possibly later. 
With the advance of Burgoyne the 
Americans retreated down the Hudson. 
In the meantime the victory at Benning- 
ton gave new hope to the army - and so 
did the report of the bravery of the Mo- 
hawk Valley Militia at Oriskany and of 
the final flight of St. Ledger. All but 
two companies of Van Schaick's regi- 
ment had been ordered west, and Cap- 
tain Finck, as senior officer, commanded 
the same. He took active part in the 
two battles of Saratoga, October 7th and 
9th, 1777, and his two c ompanies fought 
together with a small body of consoli- 
dated New York troops. They were 
present at the surrender of Burgoyne, 
and immediately afterward we find 
Captain Finck again in command at 
Saratoga. Van Schaick's regiment had 
in the meantime been ordered down the 
Hudson, with other troops, to reinforce 
Washington's army, but did not proceed 
from Albany until February 1778. Cap- 


tain Pinck joined the Tegitntrnt at 
Albany; In March 1778, the regiment 
«noved southward, and likely remained 
•on the Hudson during that year. In 

1779, at the beginning of Sullivan's cam- 
paign, we find Van Schaick's regiment 
at Fort Stanwix, from wht^nce it aided 
the campaign by destroying the settle- 
ments of theOnondagas. Captain Finck 
took an active part in this expedition. 
He continued with the regiment until 

1780, when it joined again ihe forces on 
the Hudson, and Captain Finck by right 
of rank became Brigade Major of General 
James Clinton's brigade, interrupted only 
in May, 1780, when he goes with his old 
regiment, under command of Col. Van 
Schaick, to pursue Sir John Johnson, 
who had come by the northern route to 
recover personal property of the John- 
sons at Johnstown and elsewhere. It 
was at this time that many Stone Arabia 
dwellings and barns were destroyed by 
Johnson. In October of the same year 
the rest of the settlement was completely 

The depressed period of the Revolution 
reached its climax in 1780 -the treasury 
empty, the regiments without soldiers, 
and the people without hope. Retrench- 
ments had to be made, and with the end 
of the year 1780 it was decided to con- 
solidate the five New York regiments 
into two. Captain Fmck, who was then 
the oldest captain in the line, retired on 
January 1st, 1781, from the Continental 
Army and returned to his parents, at 
Stone Arabia. 

Thus closes a meritorious service of 
nearlj^ five and one-half years in the line, 
in which he not only faithfully served 
as a field officer but did most useful 
work as a recruiting captain. He was 
during that time often absent on trips 
through the State, as shown by expense 
accounts. He enjoyed fully the confi- 
dence of the Commander-in-Chief and 
made during this time the acquaintance 
of many of the leading men of the pe- 
riod, LaFayette. the Clintons, and others 
Returning home in March, 1781, after 
settling his accounts, we may suppose 
that he resolved to stay home and let 
others fight the battles. But little rest 

from puhlic duty was given him. The 
country needed then just such men as 
Finck was— brave, honest, straightfor- 
ward and modest fighters of the just 
cause, who could not be swerved from 
th^ path of duty nor y>e di^couragpd by 
adversity. On April 5th, 1781, Finck 
was appointed one of the Justices of the 
Peace of the county, and as such he took 
the affidavit of the tory, Nicholas Her- 
kimer, on November 3rd. 1781. 

On May 30th of the same year he was 
appointed Commissioner of Conspiracies 
of Try on County, and acted as such for 
several years. The appointment was 
made by Governor George Clinton. 
These commissioners were kept busy by 
the many acts of hostility on the part of 
the tories and by those people who had 
relatives who had been made prisoners 
by the enemy, as they had to recom- 
mend the exchange to the Governor. In 
the fall of 1781 a flag was despatched to 
Canada to negotiate the exchange of 
prisoners, with letters to the Governor 
of Quebec on the subject. Captain Finck 
furnished such a list and recommended 
quick action, as many of the families 
were great sufiferers. 

In 1781 the brave Lieutenant Colonel 
Marinus Willett, who had done before 
gallant service in the Mohawk Valley, 
and in whom the people had great con- 
fidence, was ordered to take the com- 
mand of the levies which had been 
raised for the defense of the frontier, on 
the Mohawk River and elsewhere. The 
three-year men and the militia were also 
under his command. The condition of 
the country at that time was deplorable, 
and it required all the energy and in- 
fluence of Willett to make his command 
a success. On July 6th, 1781, he wrote 
to General Washington that while form- 
erly the militia had numbered 2,500, 
there were now not more than 800 men 
able to bear arms; of the rest, equal 
parts were prisoners, had gone to the 
enemy, or had abandoned for the pres- 
ent this part of the State. Those re- 
maining were in dire distress, and all he 
had at that time under his command 
was 250 men. It is at this juncture that 
Willett prevails upon his friend, An- 


drew Frnck, to assist him in his work, 
and with the consent of the State au- 
thorities he became Br it; ad e- Major and 
Inspector. During the battle of Johns- 
town, in October 20th, 17«1, Captain 
Finck took an active part. 

The official appointment of Finck for 
Brigade-Major of Levies was from Sep- 
tember 1, 1781 to January 1, 17s2. 

Again retiring to his civic duties for a 
few months, the dangerous condition of 
the western frontier made it necessary 
for Willett to conduct a vigorous watch 
and constant patrolling, and accoraing- 
ly he again asked Captain Finck to serve 
as next in rank. Finck consented and 
he was appointed by the council of ap- 
pointment to the rank of Major by order 
of May 1st, 1783. As such he served 
during the remainder of the war, acting 
as Deputy Muster Master and Inspector, 
His talent for organizing, recruiting and 
drilling was well recognized by Willett 
and he left these matters entirely in 
Finck's hands Out of the disorganized 
remnants and odda and ends of all sorts 
of troops, from the tories and Hessians, 
from black and white, the faithful Finck 
recruited this frontier army, and in the 
summer of 1781 we find Willett in com- 
mand of 1,100 men against 250 of the 
year before. The troops were kept busy 
by constant patrolling and when in gar- 
rison, Finck, the Steuben of the Mohawk 
Valley, drilled them until they became 
as etlicient as the regulars. Both Wil- 
lett and Finck were loved by the sol- 
diers, both were men of democratic 
manners, of dash, pluck and energy, 
such men as a soldier likes to follow the 
world over. 

The treasury being empty, the troops 
were raised on bounties of unappropriat- 
ed lands, and it required considerable 
persuasion to gain recruits. In the 
spring of 1782 Major Finck was elected 
a member of Assembly from Tjron 
County. This assembly was in session 
from 11th to the 2oth of July, 1782, at 
Poughkeepsie, and from January 27th, 
to March 23rd, 1783, at Kingston. Short- 
ly before the latter session, on January 
11th, 1783, Major Finck married Maria 
Markel, daughter of Captain Henry 

Markel. Although more than a century 
has passed, still faint traditions linger 
among old families of the great Finck — 
Markel wedding. The old German 
families all united to make this event in 
the life of the young and brilliant officer 
a memorable affair, and following their 
customs they extended the celebration 
over many days. It ia said that many 
high officers in the Army and some of 
the leading citizens of the State honored 
the Major and his bride by their atten- 
dance. Rev. Abraham Rosecrans offi 

During part of the year 1782, and 
early in 1783, Major Finck was, at times, 
in command at Fort Herkimer and Fort 
Dayton, but mostly at Fort Plain. In 
January. 1783, the Commander-in-Chief 
conceived the object of surprising and 
obtaining possession of the important 
fortress of Oswego. The expedition was 
intrusted to Col, Willett. His troops 
were assembled at Fort Herkimer on the 
8th of February, The result was not a 
success, but no blame was cast upon 
Wdlett, although he felt the failure very 
keenly. After his return he remained at 
Albany until spring, and the command 
of the forces devolved upon Major 
Finck who made his headquarters at 
Fort Plain. I do not think Major Finck 
took part in the expedition to Oswego. 
Returning from his duties at Kingston, 
before the close of the session, he as- 
sumed again his post of Inspector of 
Brigade. While in command of Fort 
Plain, and in general command of the 
troops in the Mohawk Valley, he receiv- 
ed orders from General Washington on 
the 17th day of April, 1783, to send an 
officer with a flag of truce to Oswego, to 
announce to that garrison, from whence 
many of the Indian depredators came, a 
general cessation of hostilities, and an 
impending peace. Major Finck sent one 
Captain Thompson and four men on this 
errand. He was busy all summer and 
fall with the mustering out of the mili- 
tia and levies and attending to the ardu- 
ous duties of Major Muster Master, not 
only for Colonel Willett's regiment, but 
for all the different bodies raised at va- 
rious times in the Mohawk Valle}\ The 


duty of the recruiting officer, who may 
induce men to join the army, by prom- 
ises of glory and prizes, is vastly differ- 
ent from that of the discharging officer 
at whose side sits a paymaster with 
empty coffers offering ''Banker certifi- 
cates and Morris notes" to the soldiers 
for their pay. Major Finck received his 
final discharge at Schenectady. The 
Finck family was certainly one of the 
most loyal during the whole Revolution- 
ary period. Not a single member of the 
family is mentioned among the dis- 
affected, and among the soldiers we find 
in the "archives of the State of New 
"Xork" and in "New York in the Revo- 
lution" the following names : 


Two Christians 

Two Hanyosts 




Two Williams and 


Major Finck was a State Senator dur- 
ing the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth 
sessions, being elected to represent the 
Western District. His father dying in 
1786, he assumed the management of 
his farm?, built a large and commodious 
brick hou-e just south of the Stone 
Arabia Churches, where now is the or- 
chard back of the stone house of Jacob 
Nellis, and after his return from his last 
term as senator he settled down to the 
life of a farmer, filling a few town offices 
and being for several years highway 
commissioner under an appointment of 
the Court of Sessions. The country be- 
coming rapidly settled after the close of 
the war, many new roads were opened 
and the best men were required to fill 
the office of Highway Commissioner. 
This was the reason for the act of 1787, 
which made this office appointive. He 
also acted as Justice of the Peace, In 
1790 he received 1,800 acres of bounty 
lands in the townships of Dryden, Ovid 
and Cato for his services as Major. One 
of the intimate frieods of the Major was 
Major General Steuben, —they often vis- 
ited each other. At the solicitation of 
the General, Major Finck joined in 1786 

the German Society of New York, and 
continued a member thereof for many 
years. In the year 1784 thirteen noble 
hearted Germans had founded, after the 
pattern of the German Society of Penn- 
sylvania, the above society, which has 
for its purposes to afford to the German 
emigrant advice, protection and, as far 
as in its power lay, assistance, allowing 
itself to be deterred by no obstacles or 
hostile actions from the fulfillment of its 
self-chosen duty. Baron Von Steuben 
was several years president of the So- 
ciety and among the early members 
were such men as Col. Frederick Von 
Weissenfets, Col. Von Lutterloh; Pastor 
Gross, Henry and John Jacob Astor, 
Edward Livingston, Generals Peter 
Schuyler and Wm. Wilmerding. This 
society is still in existence. 

In the year 1799 he was appointed by 
Governor John Jay, a commissioner of 
taxation of Montgomery County. 

By inheritance, by good management 
of his farms and sale of his bounty lands, 
and by shrewd investments, the Major 
had become before the close of the cen- 
tury a wealthy man. His loyal and 
successful career entitled him to still 
larger honors on the part of the people. 
But he belonged to the unpopular politi- 
cal party, l^ajor Finck was an ardent 
Federalist and could not have been 
elected to his terms in the assembly and 
senate if he had not been carried through 
by his military record and great personal 
popularity, but as time passed on the re- 
publican party grew stronger, especially 
among his own people, his chances of 
filling offices in the gift of the people 
grew less, and only once did he run 
again for public honors, in 1798, when 
he was defeated for congress by a small 
adverse majority. 

In about 1772 Andrew Finck, Jr., 
joined the Union Lodge of Albany and 
his name appears as the 55th signer of 
the By-Laws of that society of which 
Peter W. Yates was then master, and 
Sir John Johnson Provincial Grand Mas- 
ter. Many of the later comrades in 
arms of the Major were members of 
this lodge, for instance, Peter Ganse- 
voort, Christopher P. Yates, Henry 

Dievendorf, Tobias Van Veghten and 
others. The name o'J the lodge was 
changed in 1806 to Mount Vernon Lodge 
No 3. of ancient New York Masons, and 
is still occupying a prominent position 
in Masonic Ranks. In the year 1785 he 
was transferred to St. Patrick's Lodge 
of Johnstown, N. Y., to which he be- 
longed to the time of his death. In a 
deed of Michael Rawlins and wife, given 
in 1702, we find his name among the 
members of the lodge who purchased a 
lodge site in that village. 

In order to explain some of the future 
movements of the Major it is necessary 
to rely almost wholly on family and 
local tradition. He was comfortably lo- 
cated, well connected with the most 
prominent families of the valley, had a 
sufficient income to maintain and edu- 
cate his family, and to entertain in good 
style, and in the lavish way of the Pa- 
latines, his numerous friends, and politi- 
cal and military comrades. At the 
same time he grew less popular at 
home. Being of a pronounced aggres- 
sive temper and outspoken, he could not 
fail to make some enemies. Of superior 
education to his neighbors, having ac 
quired different tastes during his youth, 
during his service in the army and in 
the legislature, he had become quite 
different from them. He was decidedly 
public spirited. He hoped that the war 
and the new condition of things would 
bring about a new era for his own people 
the Palatines. A great many of them 
fell back into the same rut in which 
they had traveled since their first arrival 
remaining unprogressive, excluding 
themselves from the touch of the world, 
failinj< to give their children proper in- 
struction, and neglecting to occupy that 
position to which they were entitled, 
which condition lasted for several de- 
cades more. His efforts to bring about 
some improvement brought him little 
thanks. When he argued with them 
that they must have their children learn 
the English language, besides the Ger- 
man, they called him a "Yankee Dutch- 
man." When he told them that it was 
a shame for people of their means to 
build log houses, they told him that he 

could live in a brick house like the 
"Gentry" but they were satisfied with 
log houses as their fathers had been. 
Among the lands at Stone Arabia owned 
by Major Finck was a five acre Idt 
known as the Dominie's lot and house. 
It was centrally located and well adapt- 
ed for school purposes. The Major 
knowing that a better and modern 
school was badly needed in the country, 
rigged up the old building, hired some 
teachers and during the year 1796 a high 
school was kept there. The Major had 
interested some of his friends in New 
York and Albany and had promises from 
the state authorities to make this oie of 
the new seats of learning to be estab- 
lished by the legislature. Everything 
was apparently on a promising basis. 
The Major told his neighbors about this 
plan, but they called a meeting at 
which it was resolved that too much 
learning would make bad farmers and 
his offer was positively declined. He 
kept on right along with his school, but 
most of them did not, not even his own 
brothers, send their youngters, and only 
a few children and young people attend- 
ed it. Finally some one found out that 
by flaw in Finck's title the land belonged 
to the Reformed church. In order to 
rid themselves of the school, they began 
a suit of ejectment against Finck and 
than a merry war began. Numerous 
suits on old justices' dockets of 1796, in 
which Finck figures on one side or the 
other, doubtless refer to this exciting 
neriod. Apparently acting under advice 
of counsel, on December 19th, 1796, he 
gave up the land and an agreement to 
that effect was drawn up. It is said 
that the German ministers of that day 
were at the botloiu of this whole affair 
as they feared that the establishment 
of an English Aca iemy would injure 
their own influence. For a year or so 
afterwards Finck maintained the school 
in his own house, but finally got tired of 
it, as those, whom he sincerely wanted 
to benefit, not only spurned his offer 
but misinterpreted his motives. The 
final result of this unpleasant occurrence 
was that the Major lost all interest in his 
native home, and about 1800 he went 


with Ms wife and hi.s younger children 
ito ihe western part of the state, probably 
to some of his bounty lands, and seldom 
thereafter visited the old home. His 
efforts in regard to better education do 
iiot bee n to have stopped however, as he 
afterwards gave, or sold for a nominal 
«um, the lands on which the Western 
College of Physicians and Surgeons, now 
the Fairfield Academy, stands. 

In the meantime his oldest son, An- 
drew Ackler Finck. born in 1784, had 
grown up and settlt-d, early in 1804, in 
the present town of Manheim. and mar 
ried Delilah, the daughter of Captam 
Fr^-derick Getman. The Mohawk turn- 
pike had become the great west rn thor- 
oughfare, and Andrew had wisely chosen 
a s^ot to locate a tavern wheie the 
4-outhern and northern roads connected 
with the turnpike. Right on the banks 
of the Mohawk he built, in 1805, the 
famous tavern, still stan' ing. He in- 
duced the Major to move with his fami- 
ly to Manheim, where the later erected 
a comtortanle wooden house, which 
stood a little east of the Morgan Biddle- 
man residence. It was plain on the out- 
side, but very comfortably furnished, 
full of books and portraits of generals 
and pictures of battle fields, and a piano 
and objectti of art showed the refined 
tase of the occupant. The door 
WHS double, so that the upper 
part could be opened, and this door 
was a favorite spot of the IV^ajor 
watching the passing world. It is 
said that the purchase of the land, 
known as the Andrew Finck farm, was 
somewhat costly to the Major, as he 
first purchased it of some representa- 
tives of the heirs of Molly Brant and 
Peter Brant, to whom the 300 acres had 
been willed by Sir William Johnson. It 
seems that this land was sold, like the 
rest of the forfei'ed lands, by the Com- 
missioners of Forfeitures, but they 
failed to make an entry of this sale, 
and the Major's attorney became con- 
vinced thit the heirs of Sir William 
Johnson's dusky housekeeper and of his 
son Peter still held their title. As a 
matter of fact, it was the prevailing 
opinion of that time that the titles based 

upon the acts of attainder would prove 

After the Major and Andrew A. had 
been settled for several years, the 
agents of the Ellice estate, the same 
estate which so mysteriously obtained 
title to some of the forfeited lands, 
claimed title and threatened suit. The 
outcome was that the Major declined to 
buy, but he loaned the necessary funds 
to his sons, Andrew A. and Henry, and 
finally, in 1813, they got a deed for the 
land from the t^Uices. His Stone Ara- 
bia land he gave to his son Christian A. 
Here, from 1805 on, he spent the de- 
clining years of his life, surrounded by 
his family, once more witnessing the 
clearing of a homestead out of a virgin 
forest, but living right by that great ar- 
tery of commerce, the turnpike, and not 
a day passing when he would not meet 
some old comrades in arms or some 
friend of younger years. In his new 
town he held only minor oflSces. We 
known nothing about him except for 
the few surviving people who still re- 
member him. He was a man of medi- 
um height, solid but not fat, of very 
quick and sharp movements, with clear 
cut and clean-shaven face and dark 
complexion. Erect like a soldier to 
the last, hisejes clear and sharp and 
somewhat stern, children were not at 
first attracted to him, but rather afraid 
of him. His voice was still like that of 
an officer in the field, and in argument 
apt to rise to a battle pitch. Especially 
on one subject he was very irritable, 
which was that the tories and the waver- 
ing of Revolutionary times were then en- 
joying equal rights with the loyal, and 
that many of them then held offices of 
public trust. That was the great un- 
pardondonable sin, and woe to him who 
crossed him on this subject. 

In his dress he was extremely neat 
and spruce. He attended church when 
he could find English-speak ng minis- 
ters, but he had got through with the 
German dominies. 

From children he expected obedience 
and salute. Says one of the oldest in- 
habitants of Sti afford: "I drove as a 
boy a few times my father's team to 


Little Falls. We used \o water the 
horses at a trough near the Major's resi- 
dence. One day I drove up and I saw 
the old. Major. I stared at him, but did 
not speak. He thundered out: 'What 
manners have you got, why don't you 
speak to an old gentleman?' I was al- 
most scared enough to fall from ray 
seat. The next day J came again, only 
to see thi Major in the same place. 
I stammered out: 'Good day. Major.' 
He answered me in the most pleasant 
way, and we were ever afterwards the 
best of friends, he giving me often 
apples and sweets." 

The same strictness as to manners he 
maintained in his own family, and 
everything was regulated in true mili- 
tary order. He kept four slaves, one of 
whom he gave to each of his four 
children. His daughter Mary, born in 
1793, later Mrs. Chatfield, was educated 
at Albany, and was like all the female 
membeis of the Fitick family, a striu- 
jngly beautiful girl. 

In the family only German was spoken 
and he aud his wife conversed both 
well and fluently in English and German, 
but did not use the' so-called "Mohawk 

He was an inverate smoker but only a 
moderate drinker, Simms' peculiar re- 
marks notwithstanding. On the con- 
trary, while the Major enjoyed his toddy 
and his bitters, he would drink just so 
much each day, and under no considera- 
tion more. His son Andrew A. followed 
the same rule and said that his father 
abhorred the immoderate drinking of 
many of his own people. From Simms' 
report it would appear that the fatal 
accident to the Major was caused in the 
first place by imbibing too much. It was 
the Major's stubbornness, which had 
grown with his years. He met on a 
narrow place of the turnpike, near his 
house, a four- horse stage going at full 
speed. Instead of turning clear out of 
way he was trying to exact half of the 
road. The team was going at full speed 
and the driver could not possibly stop 
them in time to prevent the serious acci- 
dent. Horses and stage went over the 
old man and his right leg was badly 

broken and splintered and a few months 
later, on the 3rd of Fet)ruary, 1820. he 
passed away, never leaving his bed after 
receiving the injury. He left no will, 
as he had disposed of all his real and 
personal estate eome years before his 
death to his wife and children, saying 
that he wanted no quarrels after his 
death. His wife, described as an 
amiable, tall and good looking woman, 
followed him about three yeais later, on 
the 28th of January, 1823. The Major 
and his wife were survived by four 
children, Andrew A., Henry, Christian 
and Mary (Mrs. Chatfield.) Thus endeil 
the active life of an earnest patriot, a 
brave soldier and one of the most promi- 
nent personages in this valley in the war 
of the revolution. 

Many of his descendants have become 
well known and respected members of 
the commonwealth. His oldest son, 
Andrew A. was perhaps one of the best 
known men of his day in Herkimer 

In the glorious days of coaching and 
staging on the great Mohawk turnpike, 
the tavern which he had built in 18o5 
became widely known m the valley. All 
the best stages stopped there, and as 
many as a hundred guests could be en- 
tertained there at a time Many noted 
men of the time stopped at that inn, 
Jerome Bonaparte on his trips to the 
Black River and t'ue Marquis de LaFay- 
ette on his visit in 1825. Andrew A. 
Finck told often how LaFayette in- 
quired if he was a relative of that brave 
and fiery Major Finck whom he met on 
the Hud&on in 1780. Hearing that he 
was dead, he had Andrew A. show him 
and his suite his grave and spoke there of 
him in feeling and praising words. 

In the course of years Andrew A. 
Finck became a very prosperous man, 
he gave up keeping his tavern, rented it 
and built a handsome brick house on 
one of his farms, where he and his fam- 
ily for many years kept open house for 
their many friends up and down the 
river; the old Palatine hospitality was 
still continued and all the old families 
of the valley were numbered among 
their intimate friends. Engaged in 


many enterprises, public spirited and 
successful, Andrew was a man far in 
advance of his time. He undertook a 
project to cross the Adirondack wilder- 
ness by railroad and canal, a scheme 
which at a later day took the brains and 
money of Dr. Webb to accomplish, by 
building the Adirondack R. R. After 
investing good sums of money the 
project failed on account of bad times 
and was abandoned. 

Hospitable and generous to his friends 
and family, he was as trusting to his 
business associates. In independent 
position, owning large and fine farms, 
and numerous other investments, he 
likely never dreamed of reverses. But 

they came. Allowing the use of his 
name on endorsements his whole for- 
tune was swept away and he spent the 
last years of his life in straightened cir- 
cumstances. His grave is in the same 
cemetery as his father's and mother's, 
and he rests by the side of his first wife. 
Thus have I told what little is known 
of four generations of Andrew Finck, 
all of clear Palatine stock, honest and 
useful citizens of their respective times, 
without a stain on their name, whose 
descendants are justly proud of them 
and whom we are pleased to honor as 
citizens of our present County of Herki- 
mer and of our mother County of Mont- 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, September 14, 1897. 

Warlike implements of destruction 
have been so improved and brought to 
such a degree of perfection that in fu- 
ture wars between first class nations 
the loss of life will necessarily be so 
great that peaceful methods by negotia- 
tion and arbitration will be resorted to 
for the settlement of international dis- 
putes, and the conflict of armies will be 
avoided whenever possible. Thus the 
cause of peace is greatly promoted by 
the improvement in arms. 

The number of killed and mortally 
wounded in the later battles of moaern 
times, in proportion to the number of 
soldiers engaged, has consulerably in- 

During the revolutionary war, 1775 to 
1781, 130,711 regulars and 164,080 militia, 
making together 294,791 soldiers were en- 
rolled. During the war the killed, 
wounded and captured or missing, in 
battles and skirmishes on land and sea, 
were as follows: Americans killed, 
3,282; wounded, 7,709; captured or miss- 
ing, 12,982; aggregate, 23,973. British 
killed, 3,286: wounded, 8,913; captured or 
missing, 18.300; aggregate, 30,499. 

In the single battle of Gettysburg in 
July, 1863, the greatest battle of our 
civil war. there were more persons killed, 
wounded and missing than on both sides 

during the whole revolutionary war— 
the union loss in that battle being 23,186, 
and the confederate loss 31,621. There 
was a singular resemblance between 
that great battle and the battle of Wa- 
terloo in that there was about the same 
number of soldiers engaged on each 
side, and the losses were about same. 

It has been estimated by competent 
authority that in the later wars in this 
country and Eui-ope, the killed in the 
field should be increased by about 60 per 
cent, on account of those mortally 
wounded; and so increasing the Amer- 
icans killed in the revolutionary war in 
battle by 60 per cent we have for the 
total number killed 5,2.j1. To this num- 
ber, however, should probably be added 
some who were killed, but simply re- 
ported as missing; and I think a fair es- 
timate of the killed in battles and skir- 
mishes of that war upon land and sea is 
about 5,500. Thus the porportion of 
killed to the whole number enrolled is 
about 1.90 per cent. To get at the total 
loss of life during the revolutionary war 
we must add to the 5,500 killed those who 
died from disease; and of those we have 
no statistics. But sufficiently accurate 
statistics of our civil war show that the 
deaths from disease, including those who 
died in confederate prisons, were double 

the number of the killed. Applying the 
same rule to the revolutionary war, and 
we have for the loss of life due to cas- 
ualties in battle and to disease, upon 
land and sea, 10,500. It is certainly safe 
to say that the whole numtier did not 
much exceed that; and yet Gordon in 
his history of America, published in 
1794, (Vol. 3, page 390,) puts it at 70,000. 

In our war with the British, ISlS-l-T, 
the number of our soldiers killed in the 
field was not more than 1,600, and the 
wounaed were 3,500. The number killed 
in battles upon the sea is unknown. 
There were not more than 30,000 soldiers 
in the army at any one time and not 
more than 4,000 in any battle. As I have 
not been able to find the number of sol- 
diers enrolled during the war, I can not 
give the proportion of killed to the total 
enrollment; but it was evidently very 
small Military arms had not been much 
improved between the revolutionary and 
the later war. 

In the Crimean war of 1854-5 the allies 
lost in killed and mortally wounded 3.2 
per cent, of their enrollment. 

In the French and German war of 1870 1, 
theGermans lost in killed and raortaUy 
wounded 3.1 per cent, of their enroll- 

The number of killed in battles 
and mortally wounded during our civil 
war, 1861-5, was about 100,000, which was 
about 4.5 per cent, of the enrollment, 
which reduced to a three years' standard 
was 3,320,272 men. I'he confederate loss 
in killed and mortally wounded was over 
9 per cent, of their enrollment. These 
percentages of loss were larger than for 
any other war of modern times. The to- 
tal union loss during the civil war from 

casualties in bittle, disease and all other 
causes was about 325,000 - about 14 per 
cent, of the enrollment; and the total loss 
on both sides was over 500,000. 

The regiment which lost the most in 
the civil war was the fifth New Hamp- 
shire. It lost in actions 295 men killed 
and mortally wounded, 18 of whom were 
officers. The regiment suffering the next 
greatest loss was the 83d Pennsylvania, 
which lost 282 men, 11 of whom were offi- 
cers, two colonels having been killed and 
another wounded and crippled for life. 

The number of killed and wounded in 
some of the battles of the civil war were 
greater than in any other battles of 
modern times, being as high in some of 
the battles as from 50 to 80 per cent. In 
the famous charge of the Light Brigade in 
the Crimean war at Balaklava so cele- 
brated in poetry and prose, there were 
673 men, 133 of whom were killed and 
134 wounded— only 36.07 per cent. 

The battle of Borodino, fought Sept. 7, 
1812, a few days before Napolean en- 
tered Moscow, is said by historians to 
have been the bloodiest battle since the 
introduction of gunpowder — the killed 
and wounded on both sides numbering 

The time will come, and the sooner the 
better, when wars will be regarded as 
barbarous, unworthy of civilized peoples 
and when the manufacture of warlike 
implements will be superfluous. Before 
we have entered far into the 20th cen- 
tury, I believe the great mass of rational 
beings will wonder that civilized nations 
had not sooner discovered some other 
way than the bloody resort to arms for 
the settlement of national disputes. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, September 14, 1897. 

The history of Ilion as a village, both ment and growth of the village, with its 

as to its origin and growth up to the great industries, viz: Eliphalet Rem- 

present decade is so intimately connect- ington, (the second bearing that name) 

ed with the lives and achievements of and his three sons, Philo, Samuel and 

the Remingtons as to warrant the com- Eliphalet, Jr. 

bination in the title to this paper, as well The father of the Eliphalet Reming- 

as to forbid any attempt at the treat- ton referred to, also named Eliphalet, 

ment of the first independent of the last, was born in SufBeld, Hartford county, 

The proper limits to a paper to be read Conn., Oct 13, 1768, and his wife, Eliza- 

at a meeting of this society, however, beth Kilbourn, in Sandersfiield in the 

confine me to the statement of such his- same state, Aug. 20, 1770. They were 

torical facts regarding the growth of married March 3rd, 1791. Their chil- 

the village as are coincident with, and dren were: Elizabeth, born Feb. 2, 1792; 

inseparable from, the progress of the Eliphalet, born Oct. 28, 1793; Aphia. 

Remington works. In referring to the born May 13, 1800, and Samuel, horn 

various enterprises and industies which Jan. 11, 1808, who died in infancy, 

comprise in part the history of '"the Elizabeth married Alanson Merry and 

Remingtons," I shall not treat each in was the mother of Mrs. Aphia Chismore, 

its regular sequence, nor in detail, but now living in Ilion, aged 82 yeard; John, 

shall endeavor to make a brief record, living in Placerville, Cal.; Eliphalet, 

informally, of that which may be inter- 
esting to those who may consult the ar- 
chives of this society in years to come, 
and with a conciousness that my paper 
will afford but slight entertainment to 
this audience. 
The appellation, the Remingtons, is 

who was one of the many passengers 
lost in the wreck of the steamer "Cen- 
tral America" in 1857, on a return voy- 
age from California; EdwarH, Charles 
and Welthy, deceased. 

Eliphalet Remington, the founder of 
the Ilion works, married Abigail Pad- 

used here as applying principally to the dock, who was killed by being thrown 

members of that family who originated from a buggy by a runaway horse on 

and conducted the manufacturing enter- Aug. 21, 1841. Besides the three sons 

prises, the development of which have his children were: Mary Ann, now liv- 

been the potent factor in the establish- ing and widow of Rev. Chas. Austin, 


and Maria, who became the wife of the 
late Lawrence L. Merry, and mother of 
Seward, now living in lUon, and two 
daughters, Carrie and Addie, now living 
in Streator, 111. Mrs. Merry died March 
30, 1876. Susanna, another daughter 
died at the age of 21, unmarried. 

Aphia P., his sister, became the wife 
of the late John S. Avery of Litchfield, 
and mother of four eons, William, now 
deceased; Sanford, now living on part 
of the homestead in Litchfield; Samuel, 
living in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Alanson, 
deceased, and four daughters, viz: The- 
tis, wife of Lorin True, both of whom 
are deceased; Elizabeth, now living in 
Ilion; Mary M., who married Thomas 
Davis and is deceased, and Lucy, the 
wife of James Leveck, now living at or 
near the old homestead. 

I have stated that the first Eliphalet 
Remington and Elizabeth Kilbourn, his 
wife, were natives of Connecticut, and 
have given the date of their marriage. 
Their first three children were born in 
that state. In 1800 they imigrated to 
Herkimer county, first making their 
homes at Cranes Corners, where Mr. 
Remington worked at his trade, that of 
carpenter, and, as Mrs. Chi&mora in- 
forms me, built there what is known 
now as the "Old Union church." 

Previous to moving here, viz, March 
22, 1799, he purchased from James 
Smith of Litchfield 50 acres of land, the 
deed for which is of record in 180-1, in 
the first book of records made after the 
fire which destroyed all records of previ- 
ous date. 

His subsequent purchases as indicated 
by the records gave him a holding of 
about 300 acres of land covering the 
territory where the Columbia Springs 
hotel now stands in the gulph, about 
three miles south from Ilioa, and suflfi- 
cient land along Steele's creek at that 
point to make its waters available as a 
power for industrial purposes. 

At that date there Vv'as no continuous 
road leading through the Gulph toCedar- 
ville from where Ilion now is, but in- 
stead one crossing Steele's creek to the 
• west near the present residence of Dennis 
H. Dygert and following near the creek 

to where the Harrington road now turns 
west and by that route up to the old 
Remington farm, then down the hill as 
now, to the sulphur springs in the gulph 
and along the creek for some distance, 
then again taking to the hills on the 
west and back to the creek at Cedar- 

This made the senior Remington's 
property on the creek a suitable place 
for a black-smiths shop and gave such 
control of the steam as to enable him to 
utilize it as a water power for propelling 

The foregoing is written as prefatory 
to the formal introduction of Eliphalet 
Remington the second, as the founder 
of Ilion and its industries and^to. enable 
me to correct some errors in tradition 
and written history. 

The first relates to his birth place, 
which has been given as Litchfield 
while in fact he was 7 years old when 
his parents emigrated to that place from 
Connecticut. Other errors will be mani- 
fest as I proceed. The initiatory step to 
his mechanical and business career was 
the forging of a gun barrel for his own 
use which was done in the blacksmith 
shop referred to. 

In Beers history of Herkimer county 
it is stated that this occurred in 1816 and 
when he was 19 years old. If that was 
his age it must have been in 1812. If 
in 1816, bis age was 23, for he was 7 
years old in 1800. 

From all the informatioh attainable, 
I am led to the conclusion that the black- 
smith shop referred to was in fact a 
forge having power furnished by a 
water wheel, and that the welding of 
scrap iron into bars and forging the 
bars into crowbars, pickaxes, sleigh- 
shoes, plow shares and points, was car- 
ried on there as well as horseshoeing and 
general repair work for farmers and that 
the industry was installed by [Eliphalet 
Remington 1st, who as we have seen was 
a mechanic, and who doubtless was well 
aware of the mechanical genius of his 
son and wisely provided for his estab- 
lishment in a congenial business. 

The association of the father with 
the son, and his active, participation in 

his fentei-prises continue (i till the property 
where the great manufactory in Ilion 
now is, was purchased in 1828, and his 
life was sacrificed in the birth of that es- 

On the 22nd day of June in that year 
while engaged in hauling the timbers 
which entered into the construction of 
the first shop, he was thrown from the 
load by the canting of one of them and 
fell in such a position that the wheel of 
the wagon ran over him and injured 
his spine so seriously that death resulted 
after 5 days— on the 27th. 

"Whether young Eliphalet Remington 
forged his first gun barrel and with his 
own hands produced the finished gun 
because of his father's unwillingness to 
buy him one, as stated in existing 
histories, or because of an ambition to 
achieve such a mechanical success is a 
question of minor interest, but as the 
initiatory to an immense manufactur- 
ing business sending its products to the 
ends of the earth, and the founding of a 
village ranking among the first in the 
valley of the Mohawk it becomes of 
great interest auii a striking illustration 
of the wonderful developments of this 
age and of our locality. 

The quality of this first gun was such 
as to create in the neighborhood a de- 
mand for others of like efficiency. In 
response to this demand barrels both 
for rifles and shot guns were forged and 
appliances devised and put into use finsh- 
ing exterio)- and interior, ready for stock- 
ing and completing. 

In those days no factories for the 
manufacture of guns were in exiotence, 
but in every important village or town 
was to be found a gun smith, whose 
business was by primitive methods to 
make and repair fire arras for those liv- 
ing in the vicinity, the barrels for the 
same being imported from England and 
Belgium by hardware merchants. Mor- 
gan James was the leading smith in 
Utica and to him Mr. Remington took 
his first rifle barrels to be rifled, often 
taking as I am told, as many as 
he could carry on his back and making 
the journey of 15 miles on foot, return- 

ing with a like load of those left on the 
previous trip. 

This was, however, but a temporary 
expedient. He soon had a rifling machine 
of his own in operation, and was pro- 
ducing more efl'ective barrels than could 
be obtained elsewhere. Ponderous grind- 
stones were quarried from a ledge of 
red sandstone a short distance up the 
creek from the forge, and used to grind 
the exteriors true, and to the desired 
form, being driven by water power. The 
reputation of the Remington barrels 
soon became so great and extended so 
far that the gunsmiths were obliged to 
use and the hardware merchants to 
handle them in order to retain their 

Thus the merits of these products be- 
came known throughout our whole 
country and the little forge assuuied the 
dignity of a factory. 

An examination of an account book 
commencing in 1823 shows that while 
the making of gun barrels became a 
prominent part of the industry, the 
other branches of work were kept up, 
and that the prevalent method of paying 
workmen in part with "store goods" ob- 
tained with them. 

Among other articles manufactured 
there was one the use of which is little 
known by the present generation, the 
cow bell. 

The work was carried on at this point 
till 1828 when 100 acres of the John A. 
Clappsadle property was purchased and 
removal made to the site of the now 
village of Ilion. To this purchase several 
additions were subset^uently made. The 
firm of Hawes & Haines succeeded in 
the occupancy of the gulph establish- 
ment, where they manufactured carpen- 
ter's squares and edged tools. They in 
turn sold to John F. Brown who con- 
ducted the same business till about 1855 
and then sold out to a firm who re- 
moved the works to North Bennington, 
Vt. This Mr. Brown conceived the 
idea of making a watering place by the I 
sulphur spring found tlvere, and built 
the brick house known as the Columbia] 
Sprmgs Hotel. The enterprise was un- 
successful and the establishment is at 

this writing in a seriously dilapidated 

Following Mr. Remington to his new 
location, we find at "London" now the 
west part of Main street, two hotels for the 
accommodation of teamsters and canal 
men and a third near the site of the 
present gas works, a small store on the 
site of the new Heacock- Walker block,. 
a canal warehouse where the recently 
built brick Hotaling block now stands, 
and perhaps a half dozen dwellings, 
mostly farm houses. 

The first structure erected by Mr. 
Remington was a dwelling on the 
ground now occupied by O. B. Rudd's 
jewelry store. Following this, came the 
wooden shop directly in the rear of the 
office building, in the tower of which is 
the town clock. 

In this building was installed the ma- 
chinery for forging bar iron and con- 
verting the same into the various uten- 
sils previously made in the gulph estab- 
lishment, and for making and finishing 
ready for market barrels for rifles and 
shot guns, comprising in part a large 
tilt hammer, several light trip hammers, 
a large tub bellows and grind stones, with 
the necessary horing and rifling ma- 
chines. To furnish power, water was 
brought from Steele's Creek by what is 
known as the "lower race" and utilized 
for driving the several w^ter wheels, the 
waste from which was, by an arrange- 
ment with the canal authorities, dis- 
charged into the Erie canal as a feeder. 
Increasing business demanded increased 
facilities; a stone building near the canal 
was built the following year and equip- 
ped with water wheels and trip hammers, 
to be used especially for welding and 
forging gun barrels. This has always 
been known as the "Stone Forge." 

The demand for the Remington gun 
barrels had by this time become so ex- 
tended that an organized shipping de- 
partment became necessary, where a 
supply of locks, rough gun stocks, butt 
plates, patch boxes and other trimmings 
were kept, so that the gunsmith could 
obtain his complete outfit. For many 
years and till the making of guns passed 
from the gunsmith to the factory, this 

department was in charge of Mr. A. C 
Seamans, father of C. W. Seamans of 
typewriter fame. 

In this manner the business was con- 
ducted by Mr. Remington with such 
changes and improvements as exper- 
ience suggested, till in 1839, he entered 
into a partnership with Benj. Harring- 
ton for the purpose of making the manu- 
facture of iron and such articles as were 
not properly connected with the gun 
business, a separate enterprise. For this 
purpose they built a dam on Steele's 
Creek and diverted the water into a pond 
or reservoir on the land now owned by 
the heirs of John Beihn. near the pre- 
sent residence of William Harrington, 
and about a mile south of the Ilion 
works, erected thereby the necessary 
buildings and equipments for making 
bar iron from scrap and from the iron 
produced, made the utensils commonly 
used by the farmers in those days, also 
mill spindles and such other irons as 
were used in grist and saw mills. 

To furnish the scrap iron used, teams 
were employed to traverse the surround- 
ing country and galher it in. The field 
of supply embraced all the surrounding 
counties, including Oswego. Il"fc)n ore 
was also drawn from the Clinton ore 
beds in Oneida county. To furnish the 
fuel the timber was cut from the sur- 
rounding hills and burned into charcoal. 
The firm also built and operated the 
saw mill known as "Harrington's Mill," 
the ruins of which were burned about 
three years since. 

This forge was operated until the 
manufacture on a large scale and in 
proximity to the supplies of ore and coal 
rendered it unprofitable, and today 
nothing remains to mark the spot but a 
remnant of the diverting dam and the 
banks of the pond, the bed of which is a 
productive market garden. 

In the meantime the sons of Mr. Rem- 
ington were attaining maturity. Philo, 
who was born October 81, 1816, became 
of age in 1837; Samuel, born April 11th, 
1818. in 1839; and Eliphalet, born No- 
vember 12, 1828, in 1819. 

Philo was educated in the common 
schools and at Cazenovia Seminary. 


Samuel at cotamon schools and at Wil- 
braham Academy. Eliphalet attended 
Little Falls Academy and Cazenovia 
Seminary, in addition to the home 

Philo remained with his father and 
became master of all branches of the 
mechanical work, while Samuel tried 
his fortunes for a time in railroad con- 
struction in the west, meeting with so 
little success that he soon returned to 
Ihon, where for a time he conducted 
busineFS by himself, opening a store on 
the canal bank in 1845. 

In 1845, war with Mexico being immi- 
nent, .our government entered into con- 
tract with Ames & Co., of Sprinlield, 
Mass., for the construction of several 
thousand carbines, the invention of one 
William Jencks. For some reason this 
company desired to be relieved of their 
job after having commenced to execute 
it, and Mr. Remington purchased the 
contract, together with such machinery 
as they had, adapted to the work. The 
equipment was meagre, but combined 
with his own facilities, enabled him to 
execute the work to the satisfaction of 
the government. Mr. Jencks, the invent- 
or, came on to supervise the work and 
afterwards built the brick house on the 
north side of the canal now known as 
the John A. Rasbach homestead. 

The building on the hill, now called 
the old armory, was built to enable Mr. 
Remington to carry out this first con- 
tract, and what is called the upper race, 
constructed to bring water to the wheel 
by which the machinery was driven. 

Thus equipped, Mr. Remington was 
ready to undertake other contracts and 
before he had finished the carbine work 
he had an order for 5,000 "Harpers 
Ferry" rifles, and before they were de- 
livered, a further order of 5,000 was re- 
ceived, and later, an additional one for 
2,500 of the same. 5,000 Maynard self- 
priming musket locks were also made 
during the years 1857 and 1858. I sum- 
arize this as embracing most of the mili- 
tary work executed up to the advent of 
the war of the rebellion in 1861, but 
about 1857, one Fordyce Beals, invented 
a revolver which Mr. Remington manu- 

factured under the inventor's supervis- 
ion, and the making of pistols of various 
models became an important branch of 
the work carried on. 

Meanwhile Samuel had, in connection 
with others, engaged in the manufac- 
ture of broom handles and brooms and 
in 1851 or 1852, in one of the buildings 
which is now about in the center of the 
group, had commeacedthe manufacture 
of Yales patent locks, the father of Louis 
Diss, now assistant superintendent of 
the typeveriter works, having charge of 
the work After a year or so be also 
undertook the manufacture of safes and 
vault doors for banks, John F. Thomas 
being foreman in this department. 
Among the establishments equipped by 
him was the U. S. Mint at Philadelphia, 
In 1855 he also manufactured 200 breech 
loading guns of a model patented by one 
Merrill, but the system did not prove 
praGtica't)le, and no more were made. 

The separate enterprises which Samuel 
had inaugurated, were abandoned in 
1856 and thereafter all the business was 
conducted by E. Remington & Sons, the 
three sons being partners. 

About that time Mr. Charles Sayre of 
Utica, invented a cultivator tooth which 
they commenced to manufacture on the 
premises where the safe and lock work 
had baen done and Mr. David D. Devoo 
became foreman of that work. This 
may be considered as the beginning of 
the agricultural works which later be- 
came so extensive. 

During the period between 1828 and 
1861 a thrifty little village wiih about 
8(10 inhabitants had grown up around the 
Remington works. A postoffice was 
established in 1845 first named after Mr. 
Remington, but at his urgent request 
changed to Ilion, a name suggested by 
D. D. Devos, who was the first postmas- 
ter, Mr. Remington had built himself a 
substantial residence, the brick building 
on Main street now occupied by the 
Remington Arras Co., as an office, the 
bank block and the Osgood hotel. 

Philo and Eliphalet, Jr., had each be- 
come established in homes built on 
Otsego street directly opposite the first 
armory buildings, and on the corner of 


Otsego and Second streets, where tlie 
present brick Baptist church stands, a 
Union church had been erected. The 
stone school house on Morgan street pro- 
vided accommodation for educational 
purposes. The village was incorporated 
under the general laws in 1852, but sub- 
sequently a special act of incorporation 
was obtained which, with various 
amendments and substitutions, remains 
in force. In August of that year the 
Ilion bank was incorporated with a cap- 
ital of $100,000, with Eliphalet Reming- 
ton as president, he holding that office 
until his death. 

With the advent of the civil war, a 
new impetus was given to the work of 
the "Armory," the new name now 
applied to the woi'ks. Orders were given 
by our government for army and navy 
revolvers. For the manufacture of these 
many new and special machines were 
purchased and tools adapted to the work 
made. Additional room was provided 
by building, and steam engines installed 
as auxiliary to the water power. Work 
was pushed night and day, but the re- 
quirements of the government could not 
be met in full and a building was rented 
in Utica and equipped for pistol work 
which was carried on there for a short 
time and then brought to Ilion. Orders 
were also received for large numbers of 
the regulation U. S. Springfield musket 
which could only be made after the erec- 
tion of several large buildings with cor- 
responding increase of expensive ma- 
chinery and the necessary tools and fix- 

Under the pressure of these new de- 
mands upon his energies, the elder Mr. 
Remington was prostrated and on Aug. 
12th, 1861 his remarkable career was 
ended, the second sacrifice to an enter- 
prise of which communities and nations 
were to be the beneficiaries. His burial 
place was in the village cemetery, in a 
spot selected by him while surveying the 
land first purchased in Ilion. 

I cannot speak of the personalities of 
Mr. Remington from the standpoint of 
an acquaintance, his death occurriog a 
few weeks before I became a resident of 
Ilion, but as gathered from others only. 

In stature he was tall, of muscular build 
and capable of great endurance. His 
manners were gentle and kindly, but his 
resolutions were firm, and obedience 
was enforced in the execution of his 
plans. His education was such as was 
afl"orded by the local schools, but he was 
a careful reader and became a well in- 
formed man. His habits were strictly 
temperate, his morals pure. As a neigh- 
bor he was always kind and obliging. In 
every movement to promote the interests 
of the village he was a leader and co- 
worker. He was a man of sterling in- 
tegrity and had the implicit confidence 
of his employes who always sought his 
advice and counsel. In politics ho was 
an old line whig until the advent of the 
republican party with which he early 
identified himself. 

In his religious views he was liberal 
rather than sectarian and he contributed 
generously for building a union church 
to be free for the use of all denomina- 
tions, regarding that the best way to 
promote the religious interests of a com- 
munity as small, as Ilion then was. A 
strict economist lie wasted neither time 
nor money, but I am persuaded that he 
was not greedy, and that an ambition to 
be rich was far from being his impelling 
motor. With men of his type, it seems to 
be an impulse to do, to develope, to pro- 
duce and improve, which has no need for 
avarice as a motive power or selfishness 
as an incentive to economy. He evi- 
dently had but little taste for business as 
conducted b^ office machinery. It has 
been said of him that "he carried his 
office in his hat." This saying was 
doubtless inspired \ti part by his custom 
of carrying his current letters and papers 
in the tall hat which he commonly wore 
instead of in the inside pocket as many 
of us do. ; 

In looking over his books I find none 
of those special accounts nuw so gen- 
erally kept; such as construction, repair, 
tools and machinery, etc., nor of inter- 
est or expense accounts, bills receiv- 
able and payable and other entries serv- 
ing in any way to indicate his financial 
condition or business profits. An un- 
usually retentive memory seems to have 


etiabled him to carry under his hat a 
greater part of that which is usually con- 
lided to the keeping of the ledger. 

I am able to pronounce no greater 
euloj;y upon his character than by say- 
ing that during tlie thirty-six years I 
have Uved in Herkimer county, I have 
never heard him spoken of except in 
terms of respect and commendation. 

The management of the manufactur- 
ing department was devolved upon 
Philo, the oldest son, while Samuel, the 
second, assumed a position correspond- 
ing with that of general agent, which 
made him the negotiator of contracts 
with the government, purchaser of ma- 
chinery materials, etc., a work which 
required him to spend much of his time 
at the capitol or in the business centers 
of the country. To Eliphalet was left 
the general supervision of the office and 
particularly the correspondence, for 
which he was especially qualified by rea- 
son of superior penmanship and great 
felicity in the use of language. The 
firm name "E. Remington & Sons" was 
retained until 1865 at which date the 
business was capitalized, an incorpora- 
tion being effected under the same name 
with a nominal capital of $1,000,1)00, 
and a plant valued at about |1, 500, 000. 
This organization covered only the Arms 
business and properties, other interests 
being retained under the name of Rem- 
ington Brothers or by the brothers in- 

The work was pushed with unremit- 
ting energy until the preparations were 
complete and they were able to make 
regular deliveries of muskets to the war 

On the 12th day of April 1865, immed- 
iately after the surrender of the confed- 
erate army by General Lee, an order 
was issued from the war department 
stopping all further purchase of arms 
and munitions, and the Remingtons 
were notified to discontinue the produc- 
tion of guns and revolvers for govern- 
ment use. This doubtless as a neces- 
sary act on account of the impoverished 
condition of the treasury, but none the 
less cruel in is effects upon the company 
•which had incurred a large indebtedness 

depending upon the profits of govern- 
ment work for its liquidation. 

With resources thus cut off the strug- 
gle for life became intense. The liion 
bank which was a large creditor was so 
deeply involved as to cause its suspen- 
sion and Thomas Richardson, Esq., as 
receiver, wound up its affairs. In this 
connection it is a pleasure to record that 
afterwards when returning prosperity 
enabled them to do so, the Remingtons 
paid the stockholders and all persons 
holding claims against the bank in full 
with interest, 

During the progress of the war it had 
been clearly demonstrated that the 
future infantry arm must be breech load- 
ing, and in anticipation of this change 
the company had already availed itself 
of the inventive genius of Mr. John 
Rider, a German by birth and a resident 
of Newark, Ohio, and placed under hisi 
direction a corps of skilled mechanics, 
John V. Schmidt and others, who were 
working for the production of a breech 
loading rifle with the qualifications 
necessary to secure its adoption by mili- 
tary authorities. 

The company possessed the confidence 
of the public to such a degree that credit- 
ors willingly granted extension of time, 
during which their running expenses 
were met by the proceeds of the other 
branches of work, and in due time they 
were prepared to offer the governments 
of the world the simplest, most effective 
and durable fire arm the inventive genius 
of the age had produced. 

lo should be stated in this connection 
that some parts of the mechanism of 
these guns were the invention of parties 
outside of the Remington works, the use 
of which was obtained by license, with 
payment of royalty. 

The manufacture of this new model of 
gun required the construction of a com- 
plete set of tools and fixtures, of such 
accuracy that all the parts would be in- 
terchangeable, that is, that each piece 
of a given gun would fit perfectly into 
any or all the others. The cost of these 
tools and the additional machinery re- 
quired a further outlay of many thous- 
ands of dollars, but with a faith and 


perseverence that yielded to no dkcour- 
agements, they worked on till in 1867 the 
government of Denmark adopted the 
gun and entered into a contract for 42,- 
000 stands of arms. Mr. Samuel Rem- 
ington had now become the representa- 
tive of the house in foreign lands where 
he remained till 1877. The works were 
run night and day and the contract suc- 
cessfully executed. 

In 1867, an order was also received 
from the naval department of our gov- 
ernment for 12,000 rifles which were 
duly delivered. Spain came in the same 
year for 85,000. Next, in 1868, came 
Sewden with an order for 30,000, follow- 
ed in 1869, by Egypt, with a call for 50,- 
000. In 1870, France and Germany be- 
ing engaged in a war, for which France 
was illy prepared, that government 
came to Ilioa for help. Unlimited 
orders for arms were given. Neither 
buildings, machinery nor tools had suf- 
ficient capacity to meet the demands. 
[ Large additions were made to every 
department and the working force in- 
creased till 1,300 to 1,400 men were em- 
ployed, a large number of whom were 
skillful mechanics. The regular output 
of rifles was 800 to 1,000 per day besides 
great numbers of pistols. 
■ So excellent was the management and 
j 80 perfect the equipment and organiza- 
tion that the product per day for each 
man employed was largely in excess of 
that attained in the Springfield armory 
during the civil war or of any other 
j arms factorv in the world. 
I A most marvellous exhib ition of capac- 
1 ity and skillfully directed energy was 
made during the latter period of this 
undertaking when the output of com- 
pleted rifles was 1200 to 1300 per day 
and of revolvers about 200. The rec- 
ord of such achievements needs no com- 
mentary to establish the reputation of 
Philo Remington as one of the most 
capable manufacturers our country has 
! produced. The work was done under 
i the contract system, being divided among 
! 30 or more capable contractors under 
I th? direction of a superintendent and the 
I necessary foreman. 

The aggregate number of arms fur- 
nished France was 145,000. The execu- 
tion of these contracts had resulted in 
large profits by which the debts of the 
corporation were liquidated, and the 
termination of the transactions, with 
France left them with a surplus which 
was deemed suflSciently large to warrant 
a dividend, which was made, approx- 
imating $2,000,000.00 to which smaller 
sums were subsequently added. 

Previous to this Col. Watson C. Squire 
married a daughter of Philo Remington 
and became prominently connected with 
the business management, occupying 
the positioti of secretary and treasurer 
and by virtue of his position, the finan- 
cial executive. He also acquired the 
ownership of a portiori of the stock of 
the company which he retained for a 
time and then exchanged with Philo 
Remington for real estate in Seattle 
Washington. He was succeeded by 
Eliphalet Remington in the office of 
treasurer. Incidently it may be stated 
that by appointment of President Arthur 
Col. Squire became governor of the 
territory of Washington and later by 
election. United States senator from the 
new state, which position he held for 
two consecutive terms. 

In 1872 the state of New York having 
adopted the Remington rifle for use by 
the national guard, made a contract for 
21,000 which were duly furnished, 

I think it should be recorded at this 
point that in the spring of 1870 a board 
of army officers appointed to test the 
various arms which had been invented 
and were seeking adoption by our govern- 
ment met at St Louis, Major General 
Scofield being chairman. About fifty 
different models of rifles were submitted 
to the most severe tests, in which the 
Remington was victorious, and the com- 
mission reported decidedly in its favor. 
This report was fully endorsed by General 
Sherman, the head of the army. This 
was supposed to have been conclusive 
and to have established the Remington 
as the national arm, but by methods 
which are not subject to discussion here, 
interested parties finally procured the 
adoption of what is known as the '"Allin 


Gun" which our government has wasted 
millions in manufacturing, and now, 
strange to tell, our state legislature has 
committed the folly of providing for the 
exchange of her Remingtons for these 
inferior arms. 

Following the completion of the 
French requisition, came in quick suc- 
cession an order from Porto Rico in 1874 
for 10,000, from Cuba the same year for 
63,000, followed by Spain for 130,000, 
Egypt for 55,000 and another from Cuba 
for 26,5o0, Subsequent orders executed 
for the government of Mexico aggregated 
50,000 and for Chili 13,G00and sales were 
made from time to time from the New 
York office and by Messrs. Hartley & 
Graham aggregating 144,500. The dates 
given above are of the first deliveries on 
the several orders. For work executed 
subsequent to 1875, I have not secured 
accurate statistics, but I am informed 
by Mr. Frederick Armstrong, who for a 
long time was book-keeeper for the com- 
pany, and who has kindly furnished me 
the foregoing data, that sales to the 
United States of Columbia, Honduras, 
China and other governments will swell 
the number to considerable above one 
million arms manufactured and deliv- 

The introduction of the breeoh-loading 
rifle was accompanied with great im- 
provement in the range and effective- 
ness of military firearms, and one of 
the qualifications of the good soldier 
must be expert markmenship, the ability 
to pick his man at a distance of 1,000 
yards or more. Both in this and foreign 
countries "ranges" were established 
where both soldiers and "teams" of men 
from private callings engaged in prac- 
tice and contests for superiority. The 
Remington "Creedmore Rifle," of which 
many were manufactured, on account 
of its great accuracy and projectile 
force, became a favorite in these match- 
es and with it victories were won in 
both national and international matches. 
If any evidence were lacking to prove 
the excellence of the products of the 
llion works these contests furnished all 
that was needed. 

The conduct of a business of sucn 

magnitude and so intricate in its details 
required the employment of numerous 
asistants in both financial and mechani- 
cal departments. Prominent in the de- 
partment of finance was Floyd C. Shep- i 
ard, who retained his connection with 
the company till its dissolution. Thomas 
Richardson Esq., was their legal coun- 
sellor and as such crossed the ocean 
several times in their interests. i 

From the time of the enlargement of i 
the works in the sixties and until 1877, 
when he was succeeded by W. S. Smoot, 
J. M. Clough was superintendent of tlie j 
manufacturing department. Mr. Smoot 
was succeeded by John Hoefler, who 
continued to occupy the position until 
the business passed into other hands. 

For several years John F. Thomas was 
in charge of the machine and repair 
shop. He was succeeded by Charles E. 

From 1861 to 1877, the writer was in 
charge of a department covering freight ^ 
and transportation, buildings, fixed ma- 
chinery and millwright work, coal, 
lumber and supplies of a general nature, 
a department outsidfe of the manufactur- 
ing line, hut intimately associated there- 
with as an auxiliary. In this position a 
general knowledge was acquired which 
was doubtless the basis of an appoint- 
ment to which reference will be made 

Mr. Samuel Remington with his family 
made their home in London, while 
abroad, and remained there till 1877, a3 
stated, when they returned and resid- 
ed in New York city till the time of his 
death, which occurred December 1st, 
1892. His family consisted of wife, now 
deceased, formerly Miss Flora, daughter 
of Benjamin Carver; three sons, Carver, 
Eliaphalet and Frank, now of Chicago, 
and one daughter, Jennie, now Mrs, 
Prettyman, and also, I believe, residing 
in Chicago. My acquaintance with 
Samuel Remington was less thorough 
than with his brothers, hut sufficient to 
enable me to estimate with some degree 
of correctness his qualities. In stature 
he was of medium hight, with an incli- 
nation to corpulency. His complexion 
was fair, his hair dark and a pleasan 


expression of the eye made his pies^encie 
agreeable. I think he was an ambitious 
man, and that he had a greater desire to 
maiie money for personal ends than 
either of his brothers. He taxed his phys- 
ical and mental powers to the point of 
utmost endurance and chafed and wor- 
ried over delays, whether unavoidable or 
the result of negligence on the part of 
others. His integrity was unquestioned 
and his success in negotiating contracts 
with foreign potentates testifies to his 
ability in that line. 

During the Franco-German war, 
France not only gave him unlimited 
orders for arms of his own company's 
make, but made him purchasing agent 
for all the arms and munitions which he 
could procure in this country, a commis- 
sion of great responsibility, involving 
transactions amounting to many mil- 

He was not in harmony with his broth- 
ers in their religious convictions and 
seemed but little interested in church 
or social affairs. He was a friend of the 
common school and a liberal supporter 
of all schemes to improve the village 
schools. In politics he was a republican, 
but was too busy a man to devote his 
time to political work. 

In the settlement of his estate his ad- 
ministrators sold his stock and all his 
interests in the business of the corpor- 
ation to his brother Philo who then be- 
came chief owner as well as manager of 
the business. 

Following the adoption of the breech 
loading rifle as an infantr3" arm and the 
systematic manufacture by machinery 
with interchangable parts, all the first 
class governments of the worldand some 
of the lesser ones made haste not only to 
equip their armies with breeCh loaders, 
but to establish plants for their manu- 
facture. Some adopted the Remington, 
others, models devised by their own in- 
ventors. All sought to make themselves 
independent of foreign countries in time 
of war, as well as to promote manufac- 
turing industries within their own do- 

The Turkish government while not in- 
cluded in the first class is among the 

most war like, but too near barbarous 
and destitute of skill in the mechanical 
arts to be competent to manufacture her 
own arms, and remained an open field 
for their sale. 

At one time, after protracted negotia- 
tions, the Remingtons were at the point 
of closing a contract with that govern- 
ment for 400,000 rifles when a party, non 
official, but occupying a position of 
great influence with the Sultan, stepped 
in with a demand for a bonus of fifty 
cents per gun, which the company re- 
fused to pay, with the result that they 
lost the job. Another effort to secure an 
order, the failure of which was of great 
effect in determining the future of the 
company, will be referred to hereafter. 

One of the principal and most em- 
barassing features of negotiations for 
government contracts was the almost uni- 
versal existence of corrupt and secret in- 
fluences which never could be measured 
nor dealt with in the day light. With 
the corruptionist the merits of things to 
be bought or the price to be paid by the 
governments are secondary to private 
plunder. The refusal of the Remingtons 
to pay tribute to these scoundrels should 
ever be given honorable mention in a 
review of their business career. 

The limitations thus put upon the sale 
of their products made the continued 
residence of Samuel abroad unnecessary 
and led to his return as before stated. 
It had also made patent the fact that 
new lines of manufacture must be 
adopted or their vast pstablishment be 
reduced to comparative idleness. Sport- 
ing rifles, shot guns and pistols would 
employ but a fraction of their facilities. 
Machinery and appliances for making 
metallic cartridges were added but this 
afforded but a slight reinforcement to 
their work. 

One source of relief to which I have not 
referred was however thought possible. 
The great sue *ess of the breech loading 
arm had intensely stimulated inventive 
genius in the line of improvement of 
fire arras, and the magazine rifle gave 
promise of being the quick successor of 
the breech loader. The Winchester and 
other arms manufacturers were quickly 


in the field with successful sporting 
rifles of that type and the Remingtons 
gave inventors in this line employment 
and mechanical fatrilities, hoping there- 
by to secure for themselves a position in 
this field which would command the 
patronage at least of the minor South 
American governments and possibly 
some of those of the old world. 

Among the first of this class of in- 
ventors was one John W. Keene who 
produced a magazine rifls which was 
deemed of sufficient merit to warrant 
the construction of tools for its manu- 
facture. Numbers of guns were made 
both for military and sporting purposes 
but they proved to lack the elements of 
practicability and safety and their manu- 
facture was abandoned leaving a lot of 
unsalable guns on hand with a large 
amount charged to profit and loss ac- 

Another and more successful inventor 
in this line was James P. Lee who 
brought out a practical and meritorious 
military arm. Mr. Lee spent several 
years in the Remiington works utilizing 
their facilities for experimenting and 
model making. This arm was what 
is known in military parlance as a 
bolt gun, common so far as this feature 
is concerned in various forms, in Europe, 
the distinguishing feature of his gun be- 
ing a detachable magazine or case carry- 
ing five or more cartridges, a number of 
which could be carried on the soldier's 
belt and when required instantly at- 
tached to the gun, the case being de- 
tached when the cartridges were ex- 

After securing United States and for- 
eign patents covering his invention, Mr. 
Lee conveyed his rights to a joint stock 
company organized io Connecticut known 
as The Lee Arms Co., who undertook 
the manufacture of the arm at Bridge- 
port in that state, 

That compmy was unsuccessful in its 
attempt to manufacture and introduce 
the gun, and, closing their works, en- 
tered into an agreement with the Rem- 
ingtons by which they were to man- 
ufacture and sell under license with 
payment of royalty. This undertaking 

involved the investment of a large sum 
in tools and fixtures, with a capacity for 
the production of 200 or more arms per 

It is not my purpose to discuss the 
wisdom of this or other ventures made 
by the Remingtons, but it is proper to 
say in this connection that the fact that 
the government of Great Britian has 
since adopted the Lee gun, with some 
minor modifications, demonstrates that 
in this case their estimate of the merits 
of the arm were not in error. 

Believing that this arm would find 
favor with the governments of the world, 
they proceeded to manufacture several 
thousand stands, but military author- 
ities seemed to be in a waiting rather 
than a buying mood, induced in part by 
an unusual state of peace among the 
South American nations, and the result 
of the whole undertaking was disap- 
pointing with a serious drain upon their 

The limited and imperfect review I 
have made of the Remington industry 
from its incipiency to its greatest devel- 
opment is sufficient to demonstrate to 
the candid critic of the management, 
that from first to last, conditions new 
and untried had to be dealt with, de- 
cisions of vast importance to be promptly 

Nations had confided their destinies to 
their keeping, resting the powers of 
their armies for offense and defense, up- 
on the effectiveness and durability of 
their arms, thus making them respon- 
sible for much to be recorded in the 
current history of the world. 

In the conduct of this great business 
the Remingtons were without the light 
of experience, were not schooled in 
finance or diplomacy and, intensely 
burdened with the cares and responsi- 
bilities of the present, were unable 
clearly to solve the extremely difficult 
problems which the future presented. 

During the sojourn of Samuel abroad 
as well as after his demise the burden of 
care and responsibility rested principally 
upon the shoulders of Philo, Eliphalet 
being led by his tastes as well as con- 
victions of duty to devote much of his 


time and energies to religious and phil- people that for which he wrought and to 

anthropic enterprises. 

That serious mistakes were made will 
not be denied, but those who indulge in 
uncharitable criticism will do well to ask 
themselves if under such conditions they 
could have made as creditable a record. 

In making statement of the motives 
which actuated Mr, Philo Remington 
during the later years of his business 
career, I write from the standpoint of a 
personal friend and confidant and with- 
ut the necessity for res orting to t heory 
or conjecture. 

After the point was reached when the 
debts of corporation were liquidated 

them a legacy of prosperity. 

I have referred to the "Agricultural 
Works" which was a prominent industry 
in the village but was installed previous to 
the period just considered. The instal- 
lation of this business and the erection of 
the plant was by a joint stock company 
incorporated Aug. 12, 1864, the first 
trustees being Philo Remington, Elipha- 
let Remington, D. D. Devoe, James 
Sayre, Henry H. Fish and Francis Ker- 
Ban, the last three of Utica, The busi- 
ness of this company was to manufac- 
ture farm implements. The plant erected 
was extensive and the equipment elabo- 

and an ample surplus was in hand he told rate. Making horse powers, the inven- 
tion of Stewart Perry of Newport, and 
mowing machines under license from 
the Walter A. Wood Co. , and the Sayre 
Cultivator tooth constituted the prih- 
cipal work during the first years with 

me that every selfish impulse prompted 
him to throw off the cares and responsi- 
bilities of business and spend the remain- 
der of life in restful retirement, and that 
but one consideration prevented him from 

yielding to this impulse. A large vil- plows etc,, as a minor department, 
lage had grown up around their works. In 1865 Mr. Sayre resigned his position 
the inhabitants of which were dependent as trustee and was followed in 1866 by 
upon them for a livelyhood, having in- Secretary Fish. At the annual election 
vested their savings in homes there. In on Jan. 24, 1866 John Dag well, R. S. 
an endeavor to insure the future pros- Williams, Francis Kernan and F. T. 
perity of these, he felt compelled by a Woodford, of Utica, and Samuel and 
sense of duty to labor on, and if need be Philo Remington were elected, thus con- 
to die in the harness, tinning the management largely in the 
Anticipating a decline in the demand hands of Utica parties. 

for military arras he could see no way 
for the accomplishment of that for 
which he felt in duty bound to labor, ex- 

From the first, results were disappoint- 
ing and the business a loosing one. The 
causes I shall not discuss further than to 

cept through a change from the manu- say that the rapid development of agricul- 

facture of the implements of war to those 
of peace. 

The effort to accomplish his noble pur- 
poses was marked by the introduction 
of the manufacture of various utensils to 
be used for domestic and business pur- 
poses, to which reference will be made 
liereafter. Some of these essays proved 
slightly remunerative others disaster- 
ously unprofitable. One, eminently 
successful, failed to attain full fruition 
during his life and ser^'e as a reward for 

ture in the west carried with it the es- 
tablishment there of factories with ad- 
vantages as to freight and supplies of 
raw material so great as to place eastern 
manufactures almost outside of the range 
of successful competition. The Utica 
stock holders seeing little chance for 
escape from greater losses conveyed 
their interests to the Remington Broth- 
ers who assumed the indebtedness of the 
corporation and operated the works 
thereafter. The reputation of the stand- 

his persistant self sacrifice. But it can ard implements, such as plows, culti- 

not be said that his efforts were in vain. 
The great Typewriter Works, the off- 
spring of his endeavors, the finest man- 
ufacturing plant in Central New York 
and the pride of Ilion, has given to her 

vators, hoes, shovels, etc., which they 
made was always good and they doubt- 
less afforded some profit but efforts in 
the line of new inventions which they 
were induced to make, more than offset 


them and carried the profit and loss ac- 
count to the bad. Notable among these 
was the so-called reversible mower the 
offspring of one J. F. Crawford, who 
succeeded in securing the confidence of 
the Remingtons in himself and his ma- 
chine to an extent that probably $350,000 
would not cover their losses. The Scat- 
tergood Cotton Gin, an invention with 
apparent merits failed to realize expec- 
tations and helped swell the losses. The 
manufacture of iron bridges was also 
carried on and many fine structures 
erected, prominent among which were 
the one crossing the Mohawk river at 
Schenectady, which is 800 feet long, and 
locally, those crossing the river at Fort 
Herkimer and at Mohawk and Ilion. 
The works were kept in operation with 
continued efforts to introduce new and 
profitable lines of manufacture until 
April, 1886, when an assignment was 
made to Charles Barter by \yhom the 
plant was sold, and subsequently passed 
into the possession of the present own- 
ers, Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict. 
During most of the time A. M. Ross had 
general charge of the manufacturing de- 
partment, assisted at times by D. D. De- 
voe, John F. Thomas, Harrison Brand 
and others. The financial management 
during the Utica regime was by John C. 
Devereaux as treasurer and after by F. 
C. Shepard and others at the office of E. 
Remington & Sons. 

Among the first and most important 
attempts to convert the armory into a 
manufactory of articles for domestic use 
was in the line of sewing machines. J, 
T. Jones, a successful inventor and for- 
mer employee of the Singer Sewing Ma- 
chine Company was employed and the 
tools and good will of a company operat- 
ing elsewhere purchased. At that time 
the basal patents embraced in practical 
sewing machines were owned by a few 
companies in combination, and from 
these licenses bearing large royalties 
were obtained. Combining the inven- 
tion of Jones with those acquired by 
license a machine was produced sup- 
posed to be practical and placed on the 
market through an elaborate system of 
agencies. The machine failed to justify 

the expectations of its projectors and un- 
til in later times, after expensive changes 
and improvements, obtained no stand- 
ing in the market. 

At one time under the leadership of a 
man by the name of W. H. Hooper, a 
corporation was organized called "The 
Remington Sewing Machine Company of 
North America," for the purpose of ex- 
ploiting and selling the machine. The 
Remingtons were the principal stock 
holders in this concern, but at their so- 
licitation, blocks of stock were also 
taken by many of the business men of 
the village and by others outside. Hoop- 
er proved to be a visionary and impracti- 
cable man and after an extravagant ex- 
penditure in the equipment of offices and 
agencies the project fell through, the 
Remingtons shouldering the losses and 
refunding the subscriptions of outside 
stock holders. The manufacture of 
sewing machines, however, was not 
abandoned. Mr. Jones was relieved 
from his position and the work placed 
under the supervision of John Hoetter. 
Under his direction, improvements were 
made which placed it in the list of first- 
class machines. In the mean time the 
basal patents on sewing machines had 
expired and the field was opened for an 
almost ruinous competition which quick- 
ly followed, rendering the chances for 
profits exceedingly meagre. 

In 1882, Messrs. Charles Harter, Addi- 
son Brill, John Hoefler, John V. Schmidt 
and O. B. Rudd formed a company call- 
ed the "Remington Sewing Machine 
Agency," with Mr. Brill as manager and 
from that time all sales were made 
through their agency. This proved to 
be a practicable arrangement and one 
that if earlier adopted might have avert- 
ed heavy losses. 

In investigating the causes leading to 
the ultimate failure of the company, 1 
found $734,000.00 charged to profit and 
loss, and I have reason to believe other 
items not included make the loss on ac- 
count of sewing machines a round sum 
of $1,000,000. 

The wonderful discoveries of the use of 
electricitj" for lighting the streets of 
cities and villages seemed to open a field 

in which their facilities for inaiuifactur- 
ing could be profitably employed and 
electricians were employed who devised 
dynamos and lamps together with the 
other appliances necessary to an equip- 
ment, and the required patterns and tools 
were made. The village of Ilion was 
partly lighted by an experimental plant 
within their works, with such effective- 
ness as to induce its adoption in Sche- 
nectady, Rome and Oswego, and in some 
villages, but in this as in the attempt to 
introduce their sewing machines, they 
were confronted with the opposition of 
the powerful Brush, Edison and other 
competitors and no permanent success 
rewarded their efforts. Profit and loss 
account again registered to the bad. 

Omitting reference to other minor es- 
says, the typewriter now engages our at- 
tention. In the year 1873, Mr. James 
Densmore, with whom George N. Yost 
was associated in some manner, came to 
Ilion to induce the Remingtons to enter 
into the manufacture of an instrument 
by that name, of which Densmore was 
in part inventor, and also controlled 
other patents used in the device. The 
typewriter he brought with him was 
crude in its construction, with its parts 
so disproportioned and poorly made that 
! it barely served as the basis for a model 
. which could be manufactured by ma- 
i chinery. But it would write, and em- 
bodied the fundamental characteristics 
of the machine now of world-wide fame 
J and utility. 

By many it was regarded as a play- 
thing, with little prospect of ever be- 
coming a necessity in the conduct of 
business correspondence or for engross- 
ing legal document". 

The Remingtons after careful de 

liberation concluded that the merits of 

i the invention warranted them in em- 

' barking in its manufacture and entered 

' into acontract giving thtm the right to 

: make and sell exclusively. 

j The work of remodeling and putting 

I the machine into a praetiol and symet- 

i rical form and adapting machinery and 

; tools to its manufacture required much 

time and large expenditures. This work 

was confided largely to W. K. Jenne who 

has superintende 1 the manufacture to 
this date, and to whose practical genius 
it is indebted for many of its most meri- 
torious features. 

With this as with other products the 
most difficult problem was hew to sell. 
The public must be convinced of its 
practicability and educated in its use. 
Liberal sums must be paid for adver- 
tising and agencies established and 
maintained at great cost. To be a good 
manufacturer is one thing; to be a good 
salesman, another, and very different 
qualification. Philo Remington, pre- 
eminently a manufacturer was without 
skill as a vendor, and his brother whose 
health was not good and whose wife 
was an invalid, had neither the time or 
endowment for an undertaking so 
difficult and extended. 

After a period during which some 
machines w'ere marketed through the 
agency of Fairbanks & Co., of New 
York, and the New York office of E. 
Remington & Sons, Clarence W. Sea- 
mans, son of A. C. Seamans of Ilion, 
and at one time a book keeper in their 
office, associated with himself W. O. 
Wyckoff of Ithaca, N. Y., and H. H. 
Benedict, then engaged in the Ilion 
office of the company, forming a part- 
nership under the name of Wyckoff, 
Seamans & Benedict. Ihis company 
entered into an agreement with the 
Remingtons by which they became the 
purchasers and sole vendors of the Rem- 
ingt'jn typewriter. These gentlemen 
proved to be well fitted for such an un- 
dertaking and readily disposed of the 
then limited product of the works. 
This arrangement continued till the 
spring of 1886 when Wyckoff, Seamans 
& Benedict pirchisei the entire in- 
terests of E. Remington & Sons in the 
typewriter business. 

As a part of the history of Ilion it is 
to be added that under the mangement 
of these enterprising men the type- 
writer has been introduced info every 
part of the civilized world, and has 
become a necessity in conducting every- 
department of public, professional and 
business affairs. 


This company manufactured type- 
writers for three years in buildings 
leased from E. Remington & Sons, and 
then removed to the plant of the former 
agricultural works on the north side of 
the canal which they purchased and 
equipped with a complete outfit of 
machinery and tools, especially adapted 
to their wants 

To the already extensiv^e plant they 
have added an imposing brick factory, 
7 stories in height, together with 
several auxilliary structures. This added 
space is not yet fully occupied but the 
equipment is most elaborate and con- 
venient, and when complete will be 
second to no manufacturing establish- 
ment in the world. In every depart- 
ment great care has been taken to pro- 
mote the comfort and well being of the 
employes while at work, and the sani- 
tary arrangements are both elaborate 
and scientific. Notable in this depart- 
ment is an equipment of free baths for 
the use of the workmen. 16 spacious 
bath rooms enclosed with polished cy- 
press furnished with porcelain tubs with 
nickled fixtures and supplied with hot 
and cold water are under the care of a 
special attendent whose duty it is to 
see that they are kept scrupulously 
clean. Here the workmen may culti- 
vate the Godly virtue of cleanliness at 
their pleasure. Other sanitary con- 
veniences of corresponding complete- 
ness are properly distributed through 
the works. In response to the generous 
efforts of the proprietors to promote the 
interests of the workmen a cheerful 
compliance is given to the rules requir- 
ing neatness and decorum on their part. 

B. B. VanDeusen, the general manager 
ha^ displayed great ability in executing 
the wishes of the proprietors in these 
regards and in organizing the various 
departments in such manner a^ to pro- 
duce perfect harmony and efficiency. 
The present output is 100 improved 
typewriters per day with a working 
force of about 800 men. 

With the business of the country now 
rapidly improving I risk little in promis- 
ing that the coming year will witness a 

swelling in the number of employes to 

With a full and hearty recognition 
of the great achievements of this com- 
pany, let us not forget that none of 
these things were possible but for the 
beneficient purposes and efforts of the 

Happily the privilege to be noble and 
generou3 is not exclu-^ive. Clarence W. 
Seamans, with a liberality prompted by 
his patriotic regard for his native village 
in 1893 presented it with a beautiful 
"Free Public Library" building, erected 
at an expense of $30,000„ As the result 
of public subscriptions, supplemented by 
generous gifts of books by Mrs. Seamans 
and others, the library now contains 
about 10,000 volumes with a yearly cir- 
culation of 43,000 volumes. 

The management is by a board of 
trustees appointed by the village author- 
ities. The present incumbents being Mr. 
and Mrs. C. W. Seamans, James Conk- 
ling, B. B. VanDeusen, John A. Giblia 
and Misses Cornelia Seamans and Harriet 
E. Russell. Mr. Seamans also gives gen- 
erous aid to other public institutions in 
the village. 

Mr. Benedict, without the inspiration 
of nativity has won the gratitude of the 
people of Ilion by large gifts of money, 
notably to the Presbyterian and Baptist 
churches, enabling both to own fine 
churches free from debt. 

But regard for your patience bids me 
hasten to close this paper, with a record 
of events relating to the waning career 
of the Remington?. 

The undertakings to which I have re- 
ferred rapidly depleted their treasury 
and reduced them to the ranks of debt- 
ors. Various schemes were resorted to 
in order to bridge them over what wasj 
hoped to be temporary difficulties. 
Among them were the issuance of bonds 
as security for loans. Another and more 
hurtful expedient was the introduction 
of what was known as '"the order sys 
tem" by which employes were permit- 
ted to purchase their supplies of the 
merchants, giving in payment orders on 
the company, who in return, issued their 
notes payable in one, two or three 


niintha. This, like all other uusoiind 
financial methods simply wrought con- 
fusion and financial disorder. 

Not anticipating such a reversal of 
conditions, both Philo and Eliphalet had 
felt at liberty to make disposition of the 
large sums received from the dividends 
referred to, much of which was devoted to 
I educational, philanthropic and religious 
I institutions (notably to the Syracuse Uni- 
versity.) Some large investments were 
! also made which brought no returns. 
! Philo was also seriously embarassed by 
yielding to the solicitations of W. S. 
I King of Minneapolis for financial aid in- 
I volving large amounts just at the time 
when he most needed all his available 
i resources for the protection of his own 
i interests. The reward he received for 
his self sacrifice was an ilL stralion of 
selfish ingratitude which my pen is in- 
j competent to depict. With their private 
resources thus depleted they were not in 
a condition to relieve the situation by 
the use of peisonal means. 

Apparently bewildered by their en- 
vironment they entrusted their financial 
management to John Brown who, less 
competent than themselves, led them in 
a kiting down liill race. 

Just then, hopes were revived by the 
appearance of Turkey in the market as a 
negotiator for 600,000 stands of infantry 
arms. Her experts had reported favor- 
ably upon the Remington Lee magazine 
rifle and hopes were indulged that the 
contract could be obtained and thereby 
the company extricated from its finan- 
cial stress. Seeking thereby to liquidate 
the most pressing demands and gain 
time for obta'ning more p ^rmanent re- 
lief, early in March 1886 they told all 
their interest in the typewriter busi- 
ness to Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict as 
heretofore stated, receiving therefor I 
think 1186,000. This move failed in 
its purposes. Some creditors were paid 
from this fund ; all wanted to be. 

At this juncture Mr. John J. Hannas 
came to the front with a scheme for an 
extension. While his scheme was 
deemed chimerical by some, and of 
doubtful practicability by others, the 
company determined to try it, and in 

pursuance thereof, conveyed a m^ijority 
of their capital stock to a committee 
consisting of Addison Brill, John L. Mc- 
Millan and myself, who were to assume 
the management of the business, while 
Mr. Hannas was to secure assent from 
the creditors to an extension. A few 
days sufficed to terminate that essay. 
Creditors refused to be put off, demand- 
ing immediate payment, and failing to 
realize, they resorted to legal methods. 
But one course remained and this was 
promptly taken. Mr. Brill and myself 
by the choice or Mr. Remington were by 
Justice Pardon C. Williams of the 
supreme court made temporary and later 
permanent receivers of the estate, with 
Thomas Richardson as counsel. Creditors 
were restrained from farther proceed- 
ings and after a careful survey of the 
existing conditions the court was asked 
to order the receivers to operate the 
works and to make and execute con- 
tracts. Arrangements were made with 
Hartley & Graham of New York, by 
which they took a leading part in the 
negotiations with Turkey which at times 
gave promise of success. The co-opera- 
tion of the party who controlled the pre- 
vious contract to the discomfort of the 
Remingtons was secured and success 
seemed at hand. At this juncture Ger- 
man influences became active in the in- 
interests of the German Manufacturer 
Mauser. The German minister at that 
court actively engaged in Mauser's be- 
half, while owing to the vacancy caused 
by the death of the United States minis- 
ter S. S. Cox, we had no counteracting 
influences. So Mauser carried off the 

Thence nothing was left for the re- 
ceivers but to execute such minor or- 
ders as might be secured , complete 
work in progress, realize on assets and 
wind up the business of the company. 
Two years elapsed before the plant was 
sold and owing to vexatious litigation, 
four more, before the final closing of the 
work and discharge of the receivers. The 
works were sold at auction to Hartley & 
Graham in March 1888 for the sum of 
$200,000. Since that time they have 
operated them under the corporate name 


of the "Remington Arms Co ," and have 
continued the manufacture of small 
arms, but have never secured large gov- 
ernmental contracts. They have, how- 
ever, made bicycles in large numbers 
and have employed a force varying from 
500 to 1,000 men. 

The assets of the corporation as shown 
by an inventory based upon cost with 
liberal deductions for supposed depre- 
ciation were $1,711,783.94 with liabilities 
amounting to $1,255,703.27 iibout $450, 000 
of which was secured by hypothicated 
goods and $65,000 was due for labor, 
leaving an apparent surplus of $456,- 
080.67. From such an exhibit the nat- 
ural conclusion would be that all liabili- 
ties could be met. But here comes the 
difficulty; guns and pistols were not 
staple commodities like cotton cloth or 
pig iron. The market was limited and 
purchasers could fix their own prices. 
So also with the plant : there were no 
anxious competitors for its purchase and 
it had to be sold for a nominal sum. 

The receivers were able to pay the 
labor accounts in full and in the main 
the secured creditors from the goods 
pledgeil. Upon all unsecured claims 
the payment was 36 per c^nt. Thus, 
after nearly 70 years of life' closed a 
business which has seldom been par- 
alleled as to ths period of its existence or 
the magnitude of its operations. 

Let not the clouds of misfortune or 
mistakes of the last, obscure the vision 
from the masterly achievements of 
former days. 

Philo Rtmingtoa saw the control of 
the great business pass into other hands 
without a murmur, and cheerfully ren- 
dered the receivers all the aid in his 
power in their endeavors to administer 
the estate in the interest of creditors 
and of the people, with whom, and for 
whom, he had labored so incessantly. 
But the sudden relaxation was more 
damaging to an overtaxed system than 
continued activity. In the winter of 
1888-89 accompanied by his wife, he 
visited Florida hoping that a milder 
climate would aid in the recovery of 
waning health. For a time it was 
thouTrh that this would be realized but 

on the 4th day of April at Silver Springs 
and without premonition his generous 
heart ceased to beat. His stricken com- 
panion with his remains made her 
cheerless journey to home, where 
impressive funeral services were held 
conducted by the pastor of his church 
assisted by former pastors and those of 
other denominations in the village. 

The house and spacious grounds were 
crowded with the people of his own and 
surrounding villages who joined the 
sad procession as he was carried by 
former emploj'es to his last resting 
place in the village cemetery. Never 
was man more sincerely respected in 
life or mourned in death. 

The personality of Philo Remington 
was peculiarly attractive. In stature he 
was above the medium with every 
phj'sical feature well developed. A 
massive head crowned with a luxuriant 
growth of waving black hair which lost 
none of its beauty as time tinged it with 
silvery gray and white, gave harmony 
to the physical endowment. A s^ympa- 
thetic nature beamed through kindly ex- 
pressive eyes, with which every facial 
delineation was in harmony. 

Modest and unassuming in his man- 
ners he led without pcmp and con- 
trolled without force. With wonder- 
ful equipoise and self control he main- 
tained alike in prosperity and adversity 
an unruffled temper and the bearing of 
the true gentleman. 

In politics Mr. Remington like liis 
father was first a whig and afterwards 
a repulilican. For many years he was 
president of the village, but aside from 
this he neither sought nor held office. 
His life was an exempliticatioi of con 
sistent Christian character, with a 
membership in the Methodist Episcopal 
church, to the intere.'ts of which he 
contributed with unstinted generosity. 

On December 28, 1841 Philo Reming- 
ton married Miss Caroline A. Lathrcp 
who survives him and resides in Ilion. 
Their children were Ida, wife of Watson 
C. Fquire, and Ella, now the wife of 
Howard C. Furman of New York City. 
Mr. and Mrs. Squire have two fons, 
Philo R. of New York City and Shirley 


of Seattle, Wash., and two daughters, 
Aidine and Marjorie, at present re- 
siding with their grandmother at Ilion. 

Ella has been twice married, Hrst to 
E, P. Greene of Amsterdam, N. Y., who 
died in December, 1876, leaving three 
sons, Frederick Remington, William 
Kimball and Harry P., now deceased. 

Eliphalet, the only surviving member 
of the family whose business history I 
have so imperfectly sketched still resides 
in his native village. 

As has been seen he was less promi- 
nent than his brothers in the manage- 
ment of the business. 

A zealous Christian he has devoted 
much of his time and means to the ad- 
vancement of the cause of education 
and of temperance and religion. 

Like his brother he possesses a fine 
physique and pleasing manners. He en- 
joys to an unusual degree the respect 
and esteem of all who know him. If 
I am privileged to name his greatest 

fault, it is that in his zeal in behalf of 
others he is too forgetful of his own 

His marriage was to Catharine, daugh- 
ter of Louis Stevens of Ilion. They 
have two daughters, Jessie, now Mrs. 
Wm. I. Calder of Harrisburg and Bertha, 
wife of T. Elliott Patterson of Phila- 
delphia, Pa,, and one son, Philo, mar- 
ried and living in New York City. 

I have already made this paper so 
voluminous as to forbid an attempt to 
bring the history of the village of Ilion 
up to date. Suffice it to say that the 
present population is about 5 000 and is 
slowly increasing. The proximity of 
the villages of Frankfort, Mohawk and 
Herkimer which are connected with it 
by an electric street railroad enables 
many of the workmen employed to re- 
side in those places and to that extent 
retards the growth of Ilion, which if 
isolated would doubtless have attained a 
fifty per cent. larger growth. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, May ii, 1S97. 

In much of our patriotic talk about 
the past of our country a curious as- 
sumption crops out. It is that the people 
who colonized this country were as new 
as the country itself. The records of 
their past before coming here seem 
colorlebs to us. 

Pilgrims and Puritans, into whose 
blood the rigorous climate and rocky 
shores of New England put iron; 
cavaliers sons or idle commoners, whom 
the softer airs of Virginia and the South 
molded into aristocratic plantation mon- 
archs or "po white trash." 

This is not a true view. Men change 
their skies, not themselves. We put too 
high value on climate and environment. 
The process of evolution through their 
means is age long. The men who came 
to these shores, Spanish, French, En- 
glish or Dutch brought with them the 
ideas of their kind, the traditions of 
their fathers, the asiiirations of their 
natures. With whatever has resulted 
from^ the necessities of their position, 
the wars which they inherited and helped 
carry on, the mixture of races that en- 
sued, with all afcer these things, that 
makes the American of today, we are 
not now dealing. We are looking back- 
ward—and not around or before us. We 
have chosen to turn a page of past 
history that we may put ourselves in 
the mood for a little wandering and 

sight seeing in our lovely "Vale of the 
Mohawk" and for the story of two of 
the historic houses associated with the 
name of Sir William Johnson. 

Our interest is not with the houses 
alone. Others in the country are older 
and far more imposing. When you] 
consider that the primeval forest had to] 
be hewed away from the limestone beds, 
and roads had to be constructed over 
almost impassible wilds to get the stones 1 
in place, they are wonderful, but then 1 
one appreciates the exclamation of 
Molly Brant's granddaughter, who after 
the Revolution returned to gaze on her 
lost inheritance and Johnson Hall. 

"How have I lied about this house," 
she exclaimed. "I have always boasted 
that there were none as big nor fine in 
Montreal. Why ! there are whole streets 
full bigger and far tiner." 

Our interest lies not then with the 
houses but with the founder of these 
houses and the stirring events of our 
history which transpired within and 
around thtm. 

No man can now come into this valley 
at the age of twenty-two and lay the 
foundations of a vast fortune on an 
estate surpassing in size any European 
noble's demesne. 

No man living here will be consulted 
by the rulers of two of the Great Powers, 
or kindle on his home hearth the council 


fires of six powerful wild nations, rep- 
resented by chiefs of bright untamed 
and unguided intelligence. 

Such a career Macaulay should have 
outlined as companion piece to- that 
of Warren Hastings in India. 

New lands, or newly gained pogses- 
sions alone afford scope for such spirits. 
In tamer times of peace and of oppor- 
tunity to small men, there is no room 
for ihe adventure, the rude hewn states- 
manship, the powerful individual con- 
trol, the fierce magnetism of such men. 

Sir William Johnson dealt with con- 
ditions forever passed as regards this 
valley, vast tracts of virgin soil, fertile. 
or forested, not wholly ignoble wild 
peoples, old world polit cs bringing their 
clashings into a new arena. 

What he was he brought here from 
that Old World; what he did became 
part of the history of the New. 

As a forceful man who deeply im- 
pressed himself upon the very body of 
our Provincial time, who, perhaps, de- 
cided the question of New France or 
New England and New York, who made 
it is claimed, the opportunity for this 
state to become early an Empire State, 
we must be strongly interested in John- 

We do not judge him as a home stay- 
ing Irish Englishman of the eighteenth 
century. He has no resemblance to any 
American possible in this valley at the 
present time. His character and deeds 
must be examined in connection with 
the life imposed by the conditions about 
him and we must turn a few historic 
leaves before we come properly to the 
story of his historic houses. 

The characteis of public men in any 
age are proverbially subjects of dispute. 
That of Johnson is not an exception. 
His friends have lauded his services to 
the country and his use of his power 
over the Indians, till he looms in biog- 
raphy a figure of heroic mould. His 
enem'es, on the contrary, have maligned 
his motives, exposed the blots on his life, 
magnified his weaknesses and accused 
him of every crime, even of that least 
plausibly alleged, disloyalty to the 

interests of the Province and gross self 

The ignorant have confounded the 
lines of his life and policy with those 
widely differing of his son. Sir John 
Johnson and produced a monster, which 
neither friend nor enemy can recognize. 
Something of this latter spirit, it is said, 
informs the traditions which still linger 
about the neighborhood of his residence 
during life. 

For succinctness and absence of harsh 
judicial commeni one finds of value the 
following from the late Francis Park- 
man's '"France and England in North 
America." The subject is the expedition 
against Crown Point, in the old French 
war, over which General Shirley ap- 
pointed Mr. Johnson commander. The 
historian says : 

"He had never seen service and knew 
nothing of war. By birth he was Irish 
of good family, being nephew of Ad- 
miral Sir Peter Warren, who owning ex- 
tensive wild lands on the Mohawk had 
placed the young man in charge of them 
nearly twenty years before. Johnson 
was born to prosper. He had ambition, 
energy and an active mind, a tall, strong 
person, a rough jovial temper and a 
quick adaptation to his surroundings. 
He could drink fiip with Dutch boors 
or madeira with royal governors. He 
liked the society of the great, would in- 
trigue and flatter when he had an end to 
gain, and foil a rival, without looking 
loo closely at the means ; but compared 
with the Indian traders who infested the 
border, he was a model of uprightness. 
He lived by the Mohawk in a fortified 
house, which was a stronghold against 
foes and a scene of hospitality for 
friends, both white and red. 

Here, for his tastes were not fastidious, 
presided for many years a Dutch or Ger- 
man wench whom he finally married; 
and, after her death, a young Mohawk 
squaw took her place. Over his neigh- 
bors, the Indians of the Five Nations, 
and all others with whom he had to deal, 
he acquired a remarkable influence. He 
liked them, adopted their ways and 
treated them kindly or sternly as the 
case required, but always with a justice 


and honesty in strong contrast with the 
the rascalities of the commissiors of 
Albany traders, who had lately 
managed their affairs and whom 
they so detested that one of their 
chiefs called them "not men, but devils". 
Hence when Johnson was made Indian 
superintendent there was joy through 
all the Iriquois confederacy. When, in 
addition, he was made a general, he 
assembled the wai-riors in council to en- 
gage them to aid the expedition. 

This meeting took place at his own 
house known as Fort Johnson and as 
more than eleven hundred Indians ap- 
peared at his call, his larder was sorely 
taxed to entertain them. 

The speeches were interminable, John- 
son, a master of Indian rhetoric, knew 
his audience too well not to contest with 
them the palm of insufferable prolixity. 
The climax was reached on the fourth 
day and he threw down the war belt. An 
Oneida chief took it up; Stevens the in- 
terpreter, began the war dance, and the 
assembled warriors howled in chorus. 
Then a tub of punch was brought in and 
they all drank the King's health." 

In this sumuiation of Johnson's life 
and affairs all is touched upon, I ut much 
needs a further word. The council de- 
scribed was in 1755, twenty years 
since Johnson, it is said, driven by 
the pangs of love forbidden by 
his father, had come to this new 
country and after spending a short time 
with his uncle at the historic house, 
number one, Broadway, had begun his 
career in the Mohawk valley, at first as 
his uncle's land agent. He was at this 
time about forty, in the prime of his 
power and infiaence. From being the 
boy agent of his uncle he had become 
settler, planter, builder of houses, forts, 
churches, towns; Indian superintendent 
for the province and general over its 
white and Indian troops. 

The conclusion of this very battle of 
Lake George, which he had divested of 
its French name. Lake St. Sacrament in 
order to pay court to his English maj- 
esty, gave the king occasion to confer on 
him a baronetcy and a fortune of 5,000 

After this time he lived in true baron- 
ial style, If his tastes were not fastid- 
ious in the matter of sharers of his do- 
mesticity, chroniclers of that day speak 
highly of the sense and womanly charm 
of Mary, sister of the famous Brant. Her 
presence in his household was a measure 
of policy towards his Mohawk allies. As 
such it was successful preventing mau- 
rauding and bloodshed. He speaks in 
his will of his beloved wife, mother of 
his three white children. His son, John 
ennobled and enriched by the King of 
England, played the part of tory in the 
v\-ar of the revolution. The choice was 
a sharp test of a man, on one side f-eemed 
power and stability on the other up- 
heaval with possible death and ruin im- 
minent. No one could then declare his 
choice fortunate. Sir John chose the 
part of self and the odium was reflected 
on his father whose life ceased on the 
day in which it is conjectured, he had 
received dispatches from England that 
would compel him to declare himself for 
the king from whom he had received 
benefits, or for a country as yet not de- 
fined nor consolidated, in whose pioneer 
scenes he had taken so prominent a part. 
What his decision would have been does 
not entirely appear from any papers he 
has left, but we like to think from his 
ready and bold attitude in emergencies, 
the integrity of his conclusions and the 
fearless good sense of his measures, that 
he would not have been found wanting. 

His daily life is set down at large in 
his letters and diaries now placed in the 
New York State Library at Albany. He 
was a man of affairs. The felling of 
trees and clearing of vast tracts of land 
was done under his supervision. The 
hammer of the builder was never quiet 
through the length and breadth of his 
vast estate, nor the axe of the settler and 
the great natural maize lands of the val- 
ley, cause of the superiority of the 
Indians of the Long House, were fur- 
rowed for the sowing under his direction. 
Almost any one of bis days at any period 
of his life in our valley would unfold a 
story of unmatched novelty and prodigal 
energy. This is equally true whether 
you select the seventeen years from 1738 

to '55, when he was land agent, Indian 
trader and superintendent of Indian 
affairs for the province, or the next 
thirteen, when general over the allied 
forces in the old French war, or from '63 
to '74 when, after building for himself 
his last and mo«t stately mansion and 
while occupying himself in teaching, 
pacifying and civilizing his Indians, he 
^ied after a long exhausting conference 
with their chiefs. 

Fancy yourself his guest at some time 
in thesa thirty six eventful years. These 
years during which it was settled 
whether we should now or not be speak- 
ing French in our erstwhile Dutch State. 
Many guests were entertained at John- 
son Hall in the time of the "Brown 
Lady Johnson.' Lady, by courtesy, 
«lear-eyed, quick-witted Indian squaw 
in verity. 

Lidies of gentle English birth and 
stainless breeding did not disdain the 
hospitalities of the Valley Baron, though 
his domestic arrangements were known 
to be those of a wild-wood Bohemia. 
Imagine yourself one of these. You 
might write thus to a friend in the home 
across the water so diverse from that 
now sheltering you : 

Peovince of New York, America. 

The ni>iht of my arrival here was star- 
lit and Sir William, who is greatly fond 
of astronomy, took me to a gentle height 
above his house to point out the constel- 
lations glowing in the keener, clearer 
air of these western skies, 

Thesa few moments of leisure were, 
however, snatched from him hy the ar- 
rival of a tumultuous mob of Indians, 
savage, wiry, boisterous, accompanied 
by the glare of torches and barking of 
dogs. They brought news of a quarrel, 
a battle, the death of a chief and dis- 
played a bio )dy scalp taken as scot for 
kis loss. They saluted Sir William 
ories of '"Warra, Warra," an abbrevia- 
tion for Werraghara, one who superin- 
tends or cares for, his Indian name. 

The task of pacifying them, of separ- 
ating and housing in batk lodges or open 
«arap, the rank and file of the rout and 
bringing the chiefs into the great hall of 
the mansion: of ordering food and ale. 

great pewter platters of steaming meat 
and huge pewter tankards of foaming 
drink and having the same served with 
unstinted hospitality, yet with consid- 
ered caution, separated my host from 
me for the rest of the evening. In the 
library' I was joined by the Brown Lady, 
as they call her, for whom Sir WMlliam 
exacts due observance and indeed in the 
charm of spirit and intelligence she is 
worthy of it. She soon excused herself 
on the plea of household duty but I im- 
agine that her aid with the Indians is of 
value to Sir William. In one corner of 
the library were piled, what do j'ou im- 
agine ? huge bundles of skins, pelts of 
wolves, beaver, fox and of many a soft 
brown gliding forest thing unknown to 
me. When, afterward I begged from 
Sir William an explanation of this 
strange furniture of a library, he said 
they had just been brought in by his bos- 
iopers, or forest runners, white men who 
with great skill and swiftness gather in 
the spring the fruits of the Indian win- 
ter hunting and bring them here where 
they are packed for the coast towns, or 
even London and the West Indies. I 
am told that these pelts pay twenty 
times the cost of getting and marketing 

I did not sleep heavily in this forest 
mansion beleaguered by dusky forms, 
I looked out at their camp-fires and 
heard the guttural tones of their senti- 
nels and, I am bound to add of savage 

I was told in the morning that, during 
the night, swift runners had arrived to 
tell Sir William of a fight between the 
Iriquois and hated Abenai-is and had 
bfen heard, refreshed and dispatched 
with orders and advice within an hour 
from their arrival. I breakfasted abun- 
dantly, even daintily, fresh fish from 
the rivers and game from the forest and 
my host constantly urged some rare old 
wine to give me courage to see from a 
shadowed landing of the staircase my 
first Iriquois or Mohawk council. 

Grave were the chiefs and solemn 
silence prevailed for a long time in the 
great hall. In silence also the pipe went 
round from mouth to mouth. Although 


prepared, I scarcely could recognize my 
host, painted, plumed and dressed in In- 
dian costume as is his wont on impor- 
tant occasions. Sir William spoke first 
biiefly, then a chief arose. He spoke 
heavilj' at first, but warming, threw off 
his duffle blanket, gesticulated, shrieked, 
tears even ran down his cheeks, a rare 
occurrence, they say, his brother chiefs 
groaned aloud, sadly he proffei-ed a belt 
of purple wampum to Sir William. 
Suddenly another brave sprang to his 
feet. His voice rang like a trumpet call 
to war. Here and there others sprang 
up as if in response. There was a clash 
of sound from their savage harness. He 
too, presented belts of wampum at every 
change in his intonations, each belt 
sign and seal of a compact or proof of 
his story. His speech was long, fiery, 
tumultuous. At its close I found my- 
self with clenched hands and beating 
heart. We are not used to be so stirred 
in our languid London life. 

Sir William rejoined, he clasped hands 
with the chiefs, his interpreter also 
brought out strings and belts of wam- 
pum. A belt was thrown violently on 
the floor. At this signal a wild chorus 
of unearthly cries arose and the whole 
partj'. Sir William at the head, burst 
into a vigorous war dance. 

Afterwards as huge flagons, ankers and 
kegs were brought into the hall I mide 
my escape. These people are children 
but there is in their manner of life some- 
thing touching and heart-appealing such 
as belong to children whom we pity and 
would help. 

This morning the last of the wild pro- 
cession disappeared, some under the 
near forest trees, some toward the road 
that leads to the Mohawk River, up 
which thiy will go in canoes and bat- 

Sir William, himself again, has just 
been showing me, as he gave audience 
to a number of masons and builders, his 
plans for churches, parsonages, schools 
and schoolmaster's house, inns, court 
house and coopershops, all of which he 
is building. Presently he will show me 
details about dividing this great county 
of Albany, making treaties and receiv- 

ing a visit from the governor and his 
suite. Then he will lay aside all these 
state concerns and bring me some flow- 
ers fromi his spacious and beautifully 
kept garden, will show me some speci- 
mens of plants, which he has preserved, 
he is as accomplished as a botanist as he is 
as astronomer, or packets of rare seeds 
lately received from London. 

While he is called away by business I 
amuse myself by looking over his num- 
erous philosophical works or the Gentle- 
men's Magazine, Reviews and London 
newspapers or by walking in the grounds 
filled with choice shrubbery brought 
from over seav. 

Never knew I such a man, like a 
seven heated furnace consuming all fuel 
with impartial ardor and )4lowing with 
the fires of ceaseless energies. 

No two days are alike here for the 
swift chances of the savage life of the 
Six Nations have to be met at every 
turn, as well as the pressure of negotia- 
tion between Indians and English, re- 
conciling the swift, fierce hate of one 
side with the calm delays of the other, 
and it were enough for most men's activi- 
ties to fill the part sustained by Sir Wil- 
liam toward his neighbors of deciding 
the extent and bounds of their purchas- 
ed tracts and whether or not the In- 
dians have molested their rights by 
passing through, or using their lauds. 
Meanwhile he gives ear to the petition 
on behalf of his flock, of every strug- 
gling minister of God and a liberal hand 
to all that need help. 

As I am obliged to wait until Sir Wil- 
liam's mail is made up and he has an 
opportunity to dispatch it, you must im- 
agine some time passed since what you 
have read was written and I continue 
my letter iu diary form. 

Last Sunday we sec out in Sir Wil- 
liam's coach and six for the church at 
his new town of Johnstown, built by 
himself and said to be the "genteelest 
church in the Province." All the dwell- 
ers in this town in the wilderness are 
his tenants or employed by him. 

The school which was built for the 
education of Molly Brant's children is free 
to Indians and all. The parsonage yard 

is planted with trees and shrubs brought for philosophical book?. One of his 
by Sir William from England. The blockhouses, of which there are two, 
minister came out of its door in gown on 3 on either side of the house, is full of 
and bands as we drove up. He was fol- philosophical apparatus. He showed me 
lowed by some little Indian children, an underground passage to the block- 
whom he had been catechising. I was houses to be used in case of danger. To- 
placed in Sir William's canopied pew morrow we go with a large party of 
which overflowed, his Brown Lady and guests to his elegant house on the Sacan- 
her brood of nine bemgall in attendance, daga called Fish House where he has a 

A door as wide as the entrance to a shooting cottage in a spot where wild 
barn was a novel feature in the side of duck abound. I must now close this 
the church and during the service Indian long epistle with my duty to your honor- 
men went in and out of this door or able mother and my respects to yourself 
lounged against its posts, for the Indians and the other members of your house- 
are impatient of restraint and the sittine hold. 

posture of attention. Outside Indian We turn from this possible corres- 
children played around tbe few tomb- dondence in v\ hich we have tried to look 
stones yet erected in the church yard, into the life of an eighteenth century 
Opposite was the pew Sir William has provincial household of distinction to 
had erected for the king's majesty. It follow the history of Sir William John- 
is handsomely canopied and crowned son's remaining days. Troublous times 
and, of course, no one ever occupies it. for the young province were now im- 

The distractions and noise were so pending, 

great as I never before heard in a place Sir William's health had for years 

of public worship, but Sir William will been undermined and the bullet re- 

not have the Indians restrained against ceived at Lake George caused at times 

their natures and gains them so, but I intense suffering. His faithful Mohawks 

could scarcely copy his devout and bore him on their shoulders through the 

hearty manner in prayers which he read Adirondack forests to a healing spring 

from a sumptuous book. It is part of which they alone knew. There they built 

his influence with his forest children to him a bark lodge and tenderly nursed 

have everything about him of the very him while taking and bathing in the 

best. water. Thus he inaugurated Saratoga 

After service, the minister, the doctor and made the virtues of its waters known 

and some friends of Sir William went to the civilized world. Although still a 

back to the hall with us, most of them sick man when misfortune had over- 

in their own carriages, though some taken his Indians he listened to their 

were on horseback. Dinner was, as distressful complaints and appointed a 

usual at six, every one in full dress, a day of July for what proved his last 

surprising variety of meats and wines, meeting with them. 

a dwarf, whom Sir William calls "Billy" Readers of history will remember that 

enlivening us with music from a corner the conduct of the notorious Cresap and 

perch against the wainscot and two other land agents and the murders of 

dwarfish white waiters in livery assisted the famous Chiefs, Logan and Bald Eagle 

by a number of black slaves as servers, were the occasions of this famous coun- 

There was a chief or two at the table but cil. 

fewer Indians than I have seen about be- Nearly six hundred Indians were as- 
fore, sembled at the hall. Saturday the 9th of 

Sir William is now writing to his July, 1774, was occupied in laying their 

bookseller in London with whom he has grievances before their "brother." Sun- 

a standing order for all new books, and day was passed without conference, but 

if you fear miscarriage you may send on Monday at ten o'clock the baronet be- 

your packet to him to be inclosed to the gan his speech. It was fervid, but tem- 

hall. Sir William has insatiable appetite perate, bidding them refrain from out- 

rage and wait for justice of which he tary exile in Canada and the whole glor- 
assured them. For two hours he spoke ious edifice of colossal fortunes lay in the 
earnestly and they listened intently in a dust under the trampling feet of gather- 
broiling sun. Then the last pipes were ing armifs. Never was there such com- 
smoked, the meeting parted to give their plete and final overthrow. Sir John 
reply on the morrow and Sir William re- Johnson's retur i ad march of hate, re- 

tired to his library —to die. 

The council were overwhelmed with 
sorrow and turned at once to Sir John 
Johnson for a conclusion of their busi- 

venge and massacre through the valley 
made his tory name infamous and re- 
flect! d dishonor on his father. 
An anecdote heard in my late visit to 

ness. His father's burial took place on Johnstown from an old man whose still 

Wednesday and was attended by about ^lore aged informant died last winter, 

two thousand persons besides the as- furnishes a fitting pendent to this historic 

sembled Indians and distinguished pro- picture. 

vincial dignitarifs rp. • j i, j ^i i. • u- 

^ , . ^ , , Ihia aged man remembered that m his 

The Indian ceremonies of condolence ■ . j -i • ^u • i i ci^ 

^ ,, . . , , boyhood during the period when St. 

took place the following day with marks r , , u u e ^- i ^ j 

^ ^ , , , „ John 8 church was for a time neglected 

of the deepest sorrow and many belts or , . , j u- u i 

^ -^ and ruinous, he and his school 

wampum were given and received. Sir 
Guy Johnson, the Baronet's son-in-law 
took upon himself the conclusion of the 
Indian business. The body of the Baronet 
was placed in the ample vault he had 
built for himself and his , family under 
the chancel of his church at Johnstown. 

His will made six months before his 
death was opened according to English 
custom. Besides the fervent ascription 
with which it begins this significant sen- 
tence illumines his character. I do ear- 
nestly recommend my son to show lenity 
to such of my tenants as are poor, and 
an upright conduct to all mankind, 
which will on reflection afford more sat- 
isfaction to a noble and generous 
inind than greatest opulence. But 
evidences of great opulence were 
not wanting. Over 170,000 acres of 
land ana large sums of money 
besides houses and their holdings and 
other valuable property such as two 
miles "about the entire salt lake, Onon- 
daga, where now Syracuse and other 
cities stand were deviled by this will 
which covers thirteen pages. The larger marked. Then its site was settled and! 
part of the land was King's- land, given marked at the four corners by low marblej 
him by the king, and his heirs were en- posts. The first Bishop Potter, of New! 
joined never to alienate it. York, held appropriate services beside iti 

But the provisions of this will were and a small rectangular slab of grayj 
never carried out. In less than two years marble inclined to the ground, bears thej 
the cloud of war had burst, the son, sons- name and dates, waiting furt«»er actionf 

were in the habit of getting throug an 
aperture which gave access to the vault 
where Sir William's coflin had been 
placed. The lead envelope of the coftin 
had been stripped from it at some time 
in the Revolutionary war and moulded 
into serviceable bullets. 

At every spring and fall high-water of 
the Cayadutta, the vault would fill and 
the grim bark would rise and float to the 
great but secret delight of the young 
navigators. When the water subsided! 
the coffin would rest again. When theJ 
church was repaired after the first tire itj 
was moved so that She chancel vault layj 
outside the building. The coffin by this 
time ruinous was enclosed with the re-| 
mains in a new case, except the lid witt 
Sir William's initials anid date of birthl 
and death on it in brass nails according! 
to use at that time. The vauh was theal 
filled up and the lid hung in the chancel! 
to perish in the second fire whic h de-f 
stroyed the interior of the church. 

Until 1863 the grave remained un-J 

in-law, the brown lady and her brood 
and many adherents of the Johnson fam- 
ily had been swept before it into volun- 

of Sir William's brother masons, fellow! 
churchmen, descendants, or patriotic! 
markers of historic spots. 


Was ever a story of overthrow more 
complete, more epical. From a 
royal province to a great free state, 
from one feudal domain to many 
farms, home steadings, villages, towns 
and cities, from assured fortunes, 
rank and honor to exile and infamy, 
from stately sepulture brought low to 

Hudson at that time. It is 2i stories- 
high; its dimensions 64x34 feet, the 
walls from foundation to garret are 
two feet thick, there is not today a flaw 
in them, nor has there ever been a crack. 
The roof, now of slate, was previously of 
shingles and at first of lead which was 
used for bullets in the Revolution. 

furnish grim sport for holiday school Around the house he planted a circle of 
boys. Such changes are retold in his- locust trees, two or three of which re- 
tory in many phases, but never do they main." (His plantations may be the pro- 
cease to appal us with images of the genitors of the locusts seen everywhere 
instability of all things, in the valley) "His gristmill stood on the 

We turn with relief to everyday life Chucuntunda creek which flowed 

and the little jaunt for the inspection of through his grounds." I found Akin a 

the two best known remaining houses of little hamlet of perhaps twenty houses, 

the great provincial. The oldest resident said that its name 

Fort Johnson or Mount Johnson, at should be Fort Johnson or Johnson but 

Akin, three miles east of Amsterdam is the other old inhabitant said some- 

a large house built of limestone now dark what tartly that he did not care a 

with age. It stands a few paces back darn what you call it, but then he was 

from the great "Four Track" road on locking up his post office at about 5 p. m. 

sunken ground covered by a leaning, from which some idlers, dispossessed by 

ungraceful growth of old locusts and his action, were strolling slowly away, 

black walnuts. Behind is the low- What could you expect of a man jaded 

browed stone barn, often occupied by by the heavy responsibilities of postal 

Indian guests and to the rear rises above business at Akin. 

the roofs a green broken hill covered Both old inhabitants were doubtful 

■with the same dark leaning growth, be- as to a possible cup of tea, thought per- 

hind the house are now mills on the hill 
foot and by the banks of the Chucun- 
tunda which courses towards the near- 

haps I might get it at the tavern, but 
the uncertainty prevented my making 
an untimely demand on the resources of 

by Mohawk forming the eastern bound- the place. 

ary of the grounds. The stir of young As I sat sketching upon the low stone 

life coming and going over those sunken fence that encloses Fort Johnson a wo- 

grassy lawns overshadowed by grim man passed me wearing shears at her 

boughs may make the spot cheerful but side in the old tailoress fashion. Every- 

in itself it is a most dismal place seen in thing about Akin seemed primitive. One 

a cloudy day of spring. 

There are now no traces of block houses 
or of the old log fort which stood on the 

could scarcely imagine the bustle of the 
bygone days when "Johnson's Mohawk 
Valley Flour" was barrelled here and 
shipped to the West Indies and Nova 

Compared to Johnson hall the place is Scotia and when twenty or thirty men 
quite unchanged and gloomy enough to in the guard house oa the hill were ready 
bring from the past images of shouting to descend to the help of the young set- 
savages and echoes of wild war whoops, tlemt nt if needed. 
The family of Mr. Aikm, who resides there 
in summer, not having yet arrived, 
I could not see the interior but after hav- 
ing seen that of Johnson Hall I imagine 
that I lost little on that account. 

Mr. Griffis in his "Makers of America" 

The Rev. Washington Frothingham, 
familiarly and affectionately known 
iti Fonda and Johnstown as Dom- 
inie Frothinghara, and said to be 
authority on all matters of valley his- 
tory, told me that Fort Johnson was 

thus describes Fort Johnson "probably least changed of all the historical build- 
the only edifice of cut stone west of the ings attributed to Sir William. Earlier 


in the day I had visited Johnstown, a 
busy, cheerful city of about 25.000 in- 
habitants situated about nine miles back 
from the Central railroad in the folds of 
rolling hills and on the banks of the 
Cayadutta creek which gives power to 
numerous lumber, furniture and glove 
making factories. The creek is some- 
times lined with skins of deer and other 
animals lying along its banks to bleach, 
for Johnstown, Gloversville and the 
country about are the largest glove man- 
ufacturing places in the world. It is 
from this locality that we get our ''gants 
de Paris'", even whee we carefully bring 
them over and duly pay duty upon them. 

It was this bright, tumbling, rushing 
stream of the hills that decided the loca- 
tion of Johnstown in the sagacious mind 
of our Baronet miller. 

Here he passed the last years of his 
life still powerful in Indian affairs, but 
with leisure to build many mansions, 
Guy Park and the houses at Sacandaga 
and Broadalbin. Here he laid deep the 
foundations of family and fortune so 
soon to crumble. 

Johnson Hall is changed almost be- 
yond recognition of who looks at the 
early prints. Shutters, porticos and bay 
windows have destroyed the ancient fea- 
tures of the old spacious Manor House. 

Mrs. Wells, whose late husband's fami- 
ly have occupied it for nearly a hundred 
years, bears the nuisance of living in 
a house subject to the constant intrusion 
of strangers, in a most courteous spirit. 
The wide old fireplaces are gone, gone 
the loophole and undergroumi passages, 
but the heavy hewn heams of the gar- 
ret, the mahogany stair-rail, hacked its 
entire length by the hatchet, it is said, 
of Brandt, and the rich wainscoting re- 
main. Also the five old poplars still 
soar in sight from Johnstown and the 
circle of black twisted ancient elfin 
lilacs of Sir William's planting. These 
poplars, like lumber piles on end and 
these elfin twisted lilacs were fresh in 
bud as any May, after their century and 
a quarter. 

After leaving Johnson Hall I visited 
St. John's church which after two fires 
still preserves in its walls' its original cut 
stone brought from Tribes' Hill quarry. 

The Black Horse tavern is now a tene- 
ment on private grounds. The jail on a 
commanding hill, once the old fort with 
its newly pointed masonrj^ and its smart 
sheriff's residence looks of today. 

The court house, once of Tryon county 
and whose first presiding judge was Col. 
Guy Johnson, seems not very ancient 
and houses the collection of the Histori- 
cal Society. 

The leading photographer had no 
photographs of especial historic interest. 
One anecdote gleaned from an old gen- 
tleman seemed rather interesting. Al- 
though Sir William was an Episcopalian 
he had the good sense considering the 
interests of his diversely thinking tenants 
to make his church edifice as well as his 
school free to all. This led in after times 
to the Presbyterians in good faith, no 
doubt, claiming the ownership of the 
edifice- A lawyer brought the suit to a 
close by showmg that as the original 
church possessed an organ then con- 
sidered by the plaintiffs a "dell's kest of 
whistles" it could not have belonged to 
them. This same old gentleman char- 
acterized Sir William as just a loafer 
fond of rum and rustic sports such as 
pig and pole greasing, etc. 

At Fonda I visited the reverend his- 
torian of the valley mentioned before. 
He was most kind and next to his own 
pleasant old colonial mansion pointed 
out that of Jelles Fonda, a historic 
house. From the cars in returning I 
saw many, among them Guy Park, Gen- 
eral Herkimer's house, the very inter- 
esting Palatine stone church and across 
the river, Fort Herkimer. The material | 
of history lies thickly along the triple! 
roads of steel, water and ancient road to 
Albany that divide this valley. It 
should be gathered, classified and stored 
without further delay. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, October 12, 1897. 

Slavery iu some form formerly existed the Dutch, as afterwards of the English 
among all nations. History does not government, to encourage the importa- 
carry us back to a time when it did not tion of slaves as much as possible. The 
exisr. It must have had its origin about leading merchants of the city of New 
as early as domestic animals were sub- York were engaged in the slave trade 
dued and forced to aid and facilitate the which was regarded as strictly respect- 
labors of man. able and honorable. 

Negroes were brought to this country The Dutch West India Company was 
from Africa and the West Indies and in- organized by the States General of Hol- 
troduced as slaves into the earliest set- land in 1631 with almost unlimited 
tleraents. The Dutch and English, power. It was a trading and colonizing 
sovereigns, cabinet ministers, traders, company and was clothed with sovereign 
pirates, and all kind of adventurers, and power of legislation. lb was given juris- 
even a city in its corporate capacity be- diction of the province of New York 
came interested in the slave trade and and other territories, and it bought Man- 
derived profits therefrom. hattan Island from the Indians for 

I have not been able to find that slav- twenty-four dollars. A large share of 
ery was ever established anywhere by its business was the African slave trade, 
positive law. It certainly never was The early emigrants to this province 
declared right by any statute. It was from Holland were generally persons 
based upon might, and had the sanction not willing to engage] in common, man- 
of force for its existence. It did not owe ual labor. They were principally 
its origin to. or depend for its exist- traders, adventurers, sailors and specu- 
ance, in any state of this country, upon lators m pursuit of sudden fortunes m a 
any statute law. Down to near the be- new land. Hence for many years after 
ginning of this century, negro slavery the settlement of the province there was 
was recognized and tolerated by the a lack of servants ; and to supply this 
common law and customs of nations. It lack, the West India ConipsBny intro- 
was not introducea into the colony of duced slavery first in 1629. There was 
New York by statute. It simply came constant complaint by the Patroons and 
here under the auspices of the Dutch other inhabitants that there were not 
West India Company, and then was rec- slaves enough. In 1634 the West India 
ognized and regulated by ordinances and Company instructed its subordinates to 
statutes. It was the constant policy of furnish to eacli Patroon twelve black 


men and women "for the advancement 
of t3ie colonies in New Netherlands;"' and 
in 1640, to exert themselves "to provide 
the Patroons and colonists on their or- 
der with as many blacks as possible." 
In 1647, the Chambers of Account of the 
West India Company complained that 
^'jobbers and Jews" bought up slaves for 
cash and sold them for an advance upon 
credit at one per cent, per month, the 
slaves being hypothicated to them for 
their purchase price. Pirates, engaged 
in the slave trade, brought their slaves 
here for sale in the open market. 

During the Dutch rule, I can find no 
regulations or ordinances for the pro- 
tection of slaves or for their religious 
welfare. They were generally treated 
with great rigor and severity, and not 
uncommonly with brutality. They were 
frequently branded with the names of 
their owners and they were treated to all 
intents and purposes as merchandise. 
They were purchased in Africa with in- 
toxicating liquor taken there for that 
purpose, and they were exchanged here 
for pork, beans and; other provisions; 
and in 1664 the director Stuyvesant, in 
the war with the English, recommended 
a loan of 5,000 or 6,000 guilders for the 
company to be paid "in good negroes or 
other goods in case the gracious God as 
we hope and wish will grant a favorable 

These wild African slaves were not 
well fitted for manual and agricultural 
labor; but they were mainly employed as 
household servants, and such servants 
were in those days mostly slaves. 

While the Dutch colonists were con- 
stantly haunted with the fear of a slave 
insurrection, they frequently feared the 
Indians still more ; and in 1650, it was 
resolved by the Commonalty of New 
Amsterdam that the director "shall em- 
ploy against the Indians as many of the 
strongest and most active of the negroes 
as he can conveniently spare, and pro- 
vide them with a small axe and half 

In 1664, this province was taken from 
the Dutch by the English, and very soon 
some little attention was paid to the pro- 
tection of the slaves. In 1686, Governor 

Dongan reported to the home govern- 
ment that no care was taken for the 
conversion of the slaves ; and in the 
same year, the second of the reign of 
James II, he and his Council were in- 
structed to pass a law "for the restrain- 
ing of inhuman severity wjiich by all 
masters or owners may be used towards 
their Christian servants or slaves where- 
in provision is to be made that the will- 
ful killing of Indians and negroes may 
be punished with death, and that a fit 
penalty be imposed for the maiming of 
them;" and also "to find out the best 
means to facilitate and encourage the 
conversion of negroes and Indians to the 
Christian religion." We may infer from 
these instructions that prior to that time 
there was no law for restraining the 
cruelty which masters could practice 
upon their slaves, and that it was not a 
crime for a white man to kill or maim 
and Indian or negro; and in these in- 
structions we find the first official or 
governmental step taken here for the 
conversion of the slaves to Christianity. 
These instructions, however, were not 
altogether effectual, for we find that, 
in 1699, the Earl of Bellomont, then gov- 
ernor of the province, in writing to the 
Lords of Trade in England, said that the 
Provincial Assembly refused to pass a 
law facilitating the conversion of the 
slaves to Christianity on the ground that 
their conversion would emancipate them 
and loose them from their service "for 
they have no other servants in this 
country but negroes;" and when Lord 
Cornbury came here in 1703 charged 
with the administration of the govern- 
ments of New York and the Jerseys, he 
received a long list of instructions from 
his Queen, and among others, to en- 
deavor to get a law passed for restrain- 
ing inhuman severity to Christian ser- 
vants and slaves, and to make the will- 
ful murder of Indians and negroes an 
offense punishable wtih death. He was 
also instructed to encourage the trade of 
the Royal African Company of England 
whose main business was the slave trade, 
and to recommend to the company to 
see that the colony had a constant and 
sufficient supply of merchantable slaves 


**at moderate rates.^' But tlrese mstrac- 
tions for the protection of the negroes 
still failed to secure their purpose, and 
in 1709, Queea Ann's government in- 
structed the colonial governor, Hunter, 
"to endeavor to get laws passed for the 
restraining of any inhuman severity 
which by ill masters or overseers may be 
used toward Christian servants and their 
slaves, and that provision be made 
therein that the willful killing of Indians 
and negroes may be punished with 
■death, and a jusi penalty imposed for 
maiming them;" and "also to find out 
the best means to facilitate and encour- 
age the conversion of Indians and 
•negroes to the Christian religion." 

The slave code here, as embodied 
in ordinances and statutes was as bar- 
barous and cruel as existed anywhere in 
this country, as a review of the ordi- 
nances and statutes and of what was 
done under them will show. 

I have not been able to find any 
colonial statute regulating slavery here 
earlier than 1684. There were municipal 
ordinances and there may have been 
regulations of the Dutch West India 
Company concerning negro slaves at an 
earlier date. The slaves were placed 
under the most rigid restrictions. Not 
more than four were allowed to assemble 
at a time; and they were not permitted 
to pass the city gates without the per- 
mission of their masters, nor to bear 
weapons of any kind, nor to own either 
houses or lands; and their masters were 
forbidden to set them free under a 
severe penalty. If as many as three of 
them were found together, they were 
punished with forty lashes on the bare 
back; and the same legal liability at- 
tended the walking with a club outside 
of the master's grounds without a per- 
mit. They could not buy anjthing, even 
the necessaries of life, they could not be 
witnesses against a free man, and they 
were punishable by master or mistress 
to any extent short of life and limb. In 
1711 a public market for slaves was 
established at the market place at the 
foot of Wall street where all negroes 
who were to be hired were ordered to 
stand in readiness for bidders. In 1712, 

a city ordinance was passed providing 
that any negro slave who should pre- 
sume to appear in the streets after night- 
fall without a lantern with a lighted 
candle in it should be committed to jail 
to remain there until released by the pay- 
ment of :p. fine by his master ; and, as an 
equivalent, the authorities pledged them- 
selves that the culprit should receive 
thirty-nine lashes at the public whip- 
ping post should his master desire it. 
The negroes did not always tamely sub- 
mit to their degrading bondage and cruel 
treatment, and they occasionally mur- 
dered their stern and inhuman masters; 
Then they were seized, tried, condemned 
and sometime executed with the most hor- 
rible tortures. They were hung or chained 
to a stake and burned alive, or broken 
on a wheel, or suspended to the branches 
of a tree and left there to perish. An 
old newspaper of January 28th, 1733 
records the case of a negro who was 
seized on Monday, tried on Tuesday and 
burned on Thursday in the presence of a 
crowd of witnesses. 

The Indians stole slaves and occasion- 
ally killed them; and on one occasion at 
least the negroes retaliated upon them, 
as appears from a touching but authentic 
story told of ^^a Sachem of the River 
Indians who was murdered by four 
negroes in 1702. The Indian being 
mortally wounded said "that he was 
now going the way of all flesh and 
had been a faithful servant to the 
English, and enjoined all his friends 
and relatives whom he left be- 
hind to follow his example and to be 
courageous; that nothing troubled him 
more than to be so treated by negroes 
that have no courage nor heart; if he 
had died with arms in his hands it 
would have been more satisfaction." 
The negroes were condemned to be exe- 
cuted for this murder; but the Indians of 
the tribe through their Sachem asked 
the Governor not to execute the sentence 
upon them saying; "True it is ^\'>e have 
lost a great Sachem. But he upon his 
death bed desired that no revenge should 
be tahen of the four negroes that 
killed him; and we therefore entreat his 
Excellency that all the four negroes may 


be saved, and pray that they may be re- 
prieved accordingly." The Governor, 
after considering the petition, told the 
Indians that he could "not gratify them 
in the whole, since blood had been shed, 
and blood must be shed again, and 
therefore but one negro should be exe- 
cuted and the others should be re- 

this discrimination? I leave the ques- 
tion unanswered. 

^In 1741, there were about 10.000 in- 
habitants in the city of New York, about 
one-fifth of whom were negro slav^es; 
and there was in that year another panic 
from a supposed negro plot which de- 
prived even the most discreet persons of 
prievedfandsofar the petition of the their senses; and it ran its disasterous 
Indians was granted. Bere, on the part course like the witchcraft panic in New 
of these untutored Indians, was an exhi- England, and the Popish plot in En-- 
bition of magnanimity and forbearance land concocted by Titus Oales. Tuere 
nirely seen in the annals of the most vvas a veritable reign of terror. The 
civilized nations. panic was fostered by terifitd or hysteri- 

In February 1707 four slaves, one of cal witnesses, and came to an end final- 
whom was a woman and one an Indian ly when the witnesses to the plot began 
were convicted of murdering their to accuse men of influence and undoubt- 
master, mistress and five children in ed respectability, and thus their perjury 
New York. The men were hung and became manifest to the most prejudiced 
the woman was burned. or feeble-minded magistrate. But be- 

In 1713 in the City of New York, where ^^^^ "^^e end came, one hundred and 
tne negro had become quite numerous, fifty-four negroes were committed to 
there were rumors of a negro plot P"son. fourteen of whom were burned 
against the whites, and they excited ^t the stake, twenty hung and seventy- 
great alarm. A riot occurred between one transported. Three whites, two of 
negroes and whites in which a house whom were women, were convicted of 
was burned and nine whites were killed complicity in the plot and were also 
and several wounded. The negroes executed, the man being hung in chains, 
were driven off and pursued into the ^ Catholic priest was also convicted for 
woods where six of them in tenor, t^'s plot and bung. The fact that he 
rather than be arrested, committed had administered the rites of his religion 
suicide before they could be seized. The to the negroes prejudiced his case. No 
rest of them were caught, and in the student of history doubts now that the 
midst of great excitement and alarm supposed plot was a mere fiction which 
were brought to trial, and twenty-seven found credence from fear and panic, 
of them were convicted of complicity ^°^ that all the persons executed were 
in the plot. Of these, twenty-one were innocent of the crimes for which they 
executed, one being a woman. Some ^° cruelly suffered. 

were hung, some mcluding the woman The first act on the subject of slavery 
were burned at the stake, one was *° the colony of New York was passed 
broken on the wheel, and one hung alive October 24, 1684. It provided for cor- 
in chains so to die. The impartial P^""**^ punishment at the discretion of 
historian now doubts whether any plot *^o justices of the peace upon any slave 
actually existed. that should "give, sell or truck any 

„,<,,.,. ■ ^ A e 1 1 commodity whatsoever"; that no person 

We find that convicted female slaves ' 

should credit or trust any slave for 
clothes or drink or any other commodity; 
that if a slave should run away from his 
master or dame, every justice- of the 
peace within the colony was authorized 
and empowered to grant "hue and cry' 
ing to stamp out heresy, female heretics ^fter the slave; and all constables and 
were buried alive, while male heretics inferior officers were "strictly required 
were executed by the sword. Why was and commanded, authorized and em- 


were burned while males equally guilty 
were hung ; and I have found a similar 
discrimination between the sexes in 
other lands. In the Netherlands, while 
the Emperor, Charles V, was endeavor- 

powered to press men, horses, boats or 
pinnaces to pursue such slave by sea or 
land and to m ike] diligent hue and cry 
as by the laws required." 

Tire next act of any importance was 
passed Nov. 33, 1703, at the first session 
of the first colonial assembly in the first 
year of the reign of Queen Ann, and it 
was entitled "An Act Regulating Slaves." 

It provided that no person should pre- 
sume to trade with any slave without 
leave of the master, oa penalty of for- 
feiting treble the value of the thing 
traded for and the sum of five pounds to 
the master; that it should be lawful for 
any master to punish his slavt s for their 
crimes and offences at discretion, not 
exceeding to life and limb; that it should 
not be lawful for above three slaves to 
meet together at any other time or at 
any other place than when it should 
happen they meet in some servile em- 
ployment for their masters and by their 
consent, upon penalty of being whipped 
upon the naked back at discretion of 
any justice of the peace not exceeding 
forty lashes; that it should be lawful for 
any city or town to have and appoint a 
common whipper for the slaves; and for 
his salary, it should be lawful for any 
city or town, in its common council or 
town meeting, to agree upon such sum 
to be paid him ly the master per head 
as it should think fit not exceeding three 
shilli<ng8 per h«ad for all such slaves as 
should be whipped; that in case any 
slave should presume to strike or assault 
any free man or woman professing 
Christianity, it should be in the power 
of any two justices of the peace to com- 
mit such slave to prison, not exceeding 
fourteen days for one fact, and to inflict 
such other corporal punishment, not ex- 
ceeding to life and limb, as to the jus- 
tices should seem meet and reasonable; 
that "Whereas slaves are the property 
of Christians and cannot without great 
loss, or detriment to thtir masters or 
mistresses be subjected in all cases 
criminal to the strict rules of the law of 
England," therefore, "If any slave by 
theft or trespass shall demnify any per- 
son or persons to the value of five 
pounds or under, the master or mistress 

shall be liable to make satisfaction for 
such damage to the party injured, and 
the slave shall receive corporal punish- 
ment at discretion of a justice of the 
peace, and immediately thereafter be 
permitted to attend his or her master's 
or mistress's service without further 
punishment'"; that no slave should be al- 
lowed to give evidence, excepting in 
cases of plotting or conspiracy among 
themselves, iu which case the evidence 
of one slave should be allowed good 
against another. It is easy to read be- 
tween the lines of this act, as well as to 
see by its letter how much cruelty could 
be practiced upon the slaves by their 
Christian owners. 

In 1705, an act veas passed entitled 
"An act to prevent the running away of 
negro slaves out of the city of Albany to 
the French at Canada," with this pre- 
amble : "Whereas the City and County 
of Albany are the frontiers of this pro- 
vince towards the French of Canada, 
and that it is of great concern to this 
colony, during this time of war with 
the French, that no intelligence be car- 
ried from said city and county to the 
French at Canada"; and it provided that 
any slave belonginij to any of the in- 
habitants of the city and county ^of Al- 
bany who should, after the first day of 
August then next, be found traveling 
forty miles above the city of Albany or 
at or above a certain place called Sarach- 
lage (unless in company with his mas- 
ter) and should thereof be convicted 
should suffer death as in cases of felony. 
Then to save the thrify dutchmen of Al- 
ban}- from serious loss, the act provided 
that in case of the execution of any such 
slave under the act, his value to be ap- 
praised in the manner specified in the 
act should be collected by taxation from 
all the slave holders of the City and 
County of Albany and paid to the owner, 
every slave of the age of fifteen years 
and upwards, fit for service, to be val- 
ued at thirty pounds. 

An act was passed October 34th, 1706, 
entitled "An act to encourage the bap- 
tizing of negro, Indian and mulatto 
slaves"; with the following preamble : 
"Whereas divers of her Majesty's good 


subjects, inhabitants of this colony, now 
are and have been wilhng that such 
negro, Indian and mulatto slaves who 
belong to them and desire the same 
sBould be baptized, but are detained and 
hindered therefrom by reason of a 
groundles&ppinon that has spread itself 
in this colony that by the baptizing of 
such negro, Indian or mulatto slave, 
they would become free and ought to be 
set at liberty; in order therefore to put 
an end to all such doubts and scruples, 
as have or hereafter at any time may 
arise about the same, be it enacted,' 
etc.; and then it is provided that the 
direful consequence of freedom should 
not follow the baptism of any slave. 
The colonial assembly having thus dis- 
charged a pious duty to benefit the souls 
of slaves and to ease the tender con- 
sciences of their masters, then, to make 
sure that children with free fathers and 
slave mothers should not inherit free- 
dom from their fathers, provided that 
every negro, Indian, mulatto and mes- 
tee bastard child should follow the state 
and condition of the mother; and. that 
no slave could have redress against free- 
men for any wrong or outrage, further 
provided that a slave should not in any 
case or matter be a witness for or 
against a free man. 

The morals of the slaves were not 
wholly neglected by the colonial assem- 
bly, and September 18th, 1708 "An act 
for the surpressing of immorality"' was 
passed ; and it provided that every 
negro, Indian, or other slave that should 

the conspiracy of slaves." which provided' 
that any slave that should murder or 
kill his or her uiaster or mistress or any 
other person except a negro, mulatto or 
slave should suffer death in "such 
manner and with such circumstance as- 
the aggrevation and enormity" of the 
crime in the judgment of the justices of 
the court should merit and require ; and 
the master was to be compensated for 
the'slave so executed by taxation upon, 
other slave holders not exceeding twenty- 
five pounds. 

On May 19th, 1715, an act was passed 
prohibiting Indian, negro and mulatto 
slaves from selling any oj^sters in the 
city of New York, This act was not in- 
tended for the protection of the citizens 
but obviously for the safety of the 

An act was passed October 29th, 1730,. 
substantially re-enacting an act passed 
in December 1712, entitled "An act for 
the more effectual preventing and pun- 
ishing the conspiracy and insurrection of 
negroes and other slaves, f»r the better 
regulating them, and for repealing the 
acts therein mentioned relating thereto," 
which among other things provided that 
if any person should sell any ram or 
other strong liquor to any Indian, negro 
or mulatto slave, or should buy or take 
in pawn from them any wares, merchan- 
dise, apparel, tools, instruments, or 
other kinds of goods whatever, he should 
forfeit and pay the sum of forty shill- 
ings for every such offense. Subse- 
quently to the act of 1702, it is probable 

be found guilty of drunkenness, cursing that some Jews had come into the colony 

or swearing, or talking impudently to 
any Christian should suffer so many 
stripes at some public place as a justice 
of the peace there should determine 
meet and proper. It must be noticed, 
that while this act bad a tender regard 
for the pious ears of Christians, all the 
rest of mankind, Jews and Gentiles, 
could be cursed and impudently talked 
to by the slaves with impunity. 

In 1708 a family on Long Island had 
been murdered by slaves and great alarm 
was created among slave owners in the 
colony ; and hence on October 30, of that 
year an act was passed "for preventing 

or that they had come to be more favor- 
ably regarded ; and hence it was made a 
criminal offense for a slave to strike a 
Jew, the same as it was before to strike 
a Christian. It was also, provided that if 
any person should be found guilty of 
harboring, entertaining or concealing 
any slave, or assisting or conveying any 
slave away, if such slave should happen 
to be lost, dead or otherwise destroyed 
such person for harboring, etc., should 
be liable to pay the value of such slave 
to the master, to be recovered by action 
of debt. Then there is a further pro- 
vision with this curious preamble: 


"Whereas it often happens that through should wilfully murder any negro, In- 
the lenity of the master or person under dian or mulatto slave, and should be 
whose care the said negroes or slaves thereof convicted, he should suffer the 
are, the persons entertaining or dealing pains of death in such manner and with 
with them are forgiven and not brought such circumstances as the aggravation 
to condi^jn punishment, to the very great or enormity of his crime, in the judg- 
hurt not only of said master, but of ment of the magistrates trying him, 
others, his majesty's liege people own- should merit and require." Under this 
ing negroes and other slaves", that if act the convicted slave could be subject- 
any master or person under whose care ed to the most extreme cruelty. He 
any slave is, should forgive, make* up, could be hung, burned, broken upon the 
compound, compromise or receive, or wheel, or tortured in any other way. It 
take any other or less consideratioti than was further enacted : "That upon corn- 
was by the act prescribed he should for- plaint made to any justice of the peace 
feit double the sum the pereoti for enter- agamst any negro, Indian or mulatto 

taining, etc., ought to have forfeited; 
and that if any persons knew of such 
entertainers of slaves and did not dis- 
cover the same to the master, he should 

slave, he should issue a summons and 
examine into the uharges and if any of 
the crimes mentioned in the previous 
section were proven against him before 

forfeit the sum of forty shillings : and a jury summoned to try the charge, the 

then follows this further preamble : magistrates presiding should adjudge 

"Whereas there are many negroes, In- him guilty of the offense complained of 

dians and mulattos who have formerly and should give sentence of death upon 

been manumitted and made free within him, and by their warrant cause imme- 

this colony by their masters and owners, diate execution to be done by the com- 

and it is found by experience that they mon or any other executioner in such 

entertain, harbor, support and encour- manner as they should think fit; provid- 

age negro, Indian, and mulatto slaves to ing, however, that if any master of any 

the great damage and detriment of the slave should be inclined to have his slave 

masters or owners of slaves, and of tried by a jury of twelve men, it should 

other his majesty's liege subjects within be granted, such master paying the 

this colony" and it was enacted that if charge of the same not exceeding nine 

any free negro, Indian or mulatto should shillings to the jury." It was further 

knowingly entertain any slave, he should provided that the charge of prosecuting 

forfeit ten pounds; and that if any mas- and executing slaves for such crimes 

ter should manumit any slave, he should should be defrayed by the city or county 

enter into a bond to his majesty with where they should be convicted, the 

two sureties in the sum of not less than charge to be distributed by the order of 

two hundred pounds, to keep and save the justices so that it should not exceed 

such slave from becoming a charge to the sum of three pounds current money 

the public. Then came a provision for each conviction and execution; that 

which gave the magistrates power to in- the owner of a slave so executed in all 

flict the most extreme and cruel pimish- the state but the city and county of New 

ments without any limitations or re- York should be paid for the same in like 

straints and it was this : "That every manner as the charges for prosecution 

Indian, negro or mulatto slave that and execution were by the act directed 

should murder or otherwise kill, or con- to be assessed, levied and paid provided 

spire to or attempt the death of any per the value of such slave did not exceed 

son not a slave, or should attempt or the sum of twenty-five pounds current 

commit any rape upon any free person money; that in the city and county of 

or should wilfully burn any dwelling. New York the charge for convicting and 

house, barn, stable, out-house, stacks of executing slaves should be raised in the 

corn or hay, or should wilfully mutilate, same manner as was prescribed in an act 

mayhem, or disoiemberany free man, or entitled "An act for settling a ministry 


and raising a maintenance for them in slaves, there shall be and hereby is given 
the city of New York;" and that the to his majesty, his heirs and successors 
owner of a slave who should happen to a duty of five pounds on every slave up- 
be executed by virtue of the act in that wards of four years old that shall be ira- 
city and county should be paid for in the ported by land in the county of Albany 
same way; thus placing the compensa- or in the county of Ulster or in Dutchess 
tion of the master for his executed slave county;" and that "Every such slave 
and that of the christian minister for his which shall be imported by land shall 
holy services upon the sams financial within three days aft 'r the same shall be 
basis. It was further provided in the ^rought within the limits of those coun- 
act that it should not be lawful for any ties, be reported by the importer," to the 
slave to have or use any gun, pistol, projjer officers, and a certificate given 
sword, club or any other kind of weapon for such slave. 

whatsoever, but in the presence or by Then came the act of March 8th, 1773 
the direction of his master and in his entitled, "An act to prevent aged and 
own ground on penalty of being whip- decrepit slaves from becoming burden- 
ped for the same at the discretion of a some within this colony" with the fol- 
justice of the peace before whom such lowing preamble : "Whereas there have 
complaint should come or upon the view been repeated instances in which the 
of the justice, not exceeding twenty owners of slaves have obliged them after 
lashes upon the bare back for every such they have grown aged and decrepit to 
offense: and that every such justice of go about begging for the common neces- 
the peace, constable, or any other officer saries of life whereby they have not 
as should neglect, delay or refuse the only been reduced to the utmost dis- 
several duties and services enjoined by tress themselves, but have become bur- 
the act should for every such of- dens upon the humanity and charity of 
fense forfeit the sum of forty shillings, others; and sometimes also such owners 
The next act was that of December by collusive bargains have pretended to 
12th, 1753, entitled : "An act for grant- transfer the property of such slaves to 
ing to his majesty the several duties and persons not able to maintain them, from 
impositions on goods, wares and mer- which the like evil consequences have 
chandise imported into this colony followed ; for the prevention whereof 
therein mentioned" ; and it granted to and effectually surpressing such unjust 
his majesty, his heirs and successors a and inhuman practices;" and it was 
duty for every slave of four years old enacted that if any person should know- 
and upwards imported directly from ingly and willingly suffer and permit his 
Africa five ounces of Sevil Pillar or slave to go about begging of others vie- 
Mexico plate, or forty shillings in bills of tuals, clothing or other necessaries, such] 
credit made current in the colony; for person, being thereof convicted before' 
every such slave of four years old and two magistrates, should forfeit for everyj 
upwards imported from all other places such offense the sum of ten pounds toj 
by land or water, the sum of four pounds be levied by distress; and if any person 
in like money, and then provision was should by such collusive convejance orj 
made for any dispute as to the age of fradulent agreement pretend to sell orj 
the slave imported, and to prevent the dispose of any such aged and decrepil 
clandestine importation of slaves with- slave to any person who was unable to| 
out the payment of the duty. Then it keep and maintain such slave, such sal( 
was further enacted that "As all due en- should be absolutely void, and the per- 
couragement should be given to direct son making such pretended sale shoul( 
importations, so a proper distinction incur the penalty of twenty pounds, an( 
ought to be made on importations which should moreover be deeaied to be th( 
may be attended with frauds as the case owner of such slave within the intent 
has too often happened" and that 'In- and meaning of the act. 
stead of the duty hereinbefore laid on By the act of March 9th, 1774, it wi 


provided that a slave l)realiing or defac- 
ing milestones upon any highway should 
upon conviction he imprisoned in the 
•county jail and receive thirty-nine 
lashes upon his bare back. 

In an act passed April 1st, 1775, mak- 
ing provision for a bounty to he paid for 
killing wolves and panthers, it was pro- 
vided that in case of the killing of a 
wolf or panther by a slave, the boanty 
should be paid to the master. 

The act of April 3rd, 1775, provided 
for the assessment of slaves for taxation 
in the county of Orange; and they were 
to be assessed as follows : Males fifteen 
jears old and under forty years, thirty 
pounds and females of the same age, 
twenty pounds; males forty years old 
and upwards and under fifty years, 
fifteen pounds and females of the same 
age, ten pounds; males ten years old 
and upwards and under fifteen years, 
eighteen pounds and females of the 
same age twelve pounds; males above 
seven and under the age of ten years, 
ten pounds and females of the same age, 
eight pounds. 

We now begin to see a more benevo- 
lent spirit pervading the laws enacted 
in reference to slaves. Slavery is com- 
ing to be regarded as an evil. The dawn 
of freedom begins to appear. There is 
recognition that the slave has some 
rights which his master ought to respect; 
and more humane laws are made for his 
benefit and protection. By the act of 
April 12, 1785, the importation of slaves 
into this state was forbidden under 
severe penalties and the slaves so im- 
ported were declared free; and masters 
were authorized by deed or will to man- 
umit their able bodied slaves under fifty 
years of age under certain regulations 
prescribed in the act; and slaves in all 
capital cases were given the privilege of 
trial by a jury of twelve men according 
to the course of the common law. 

By the act of February 22, 1788 the 
prior slave statutes were revised; and in 
that act the purchase of slaves in this 
state for removal out of the state was 
forbidden under severe peualties and the 
slaves so purchased were declared free. 

It was provided in the act in reference 

to forfeited estates that the slaves of 
loyalists who had fled from the state and 
whose estates have been seized should be 
supported out of the proceeds of such 
estates so far as was needful to protect 
the public from their burden. 

The act of March 9th, 1798, has this 
preamble showing the attitude of Quak- 
ers towards slavery : "Whereas the 
people comprising the society commonly 
called <5uakers, and others, did a con- 
siderable time past manumit their slaves 
and in several instances not in strict 
conformity to the statute in such case 
made and provided whereby doubts have 
arisen whether the slaves so manumited 
and their offsprinij are legally free;"' and 
it declared such manumission valid. 

Then came the act of manumission 
passed March 29, 1799, entitled "An act 
for the gradual abolition of slavery," 
which provided that every child born of 
a slave mother after July 4th, then next, 
"shall be deemed and adjudged to be 
born free" provided, nevertheless, "that 
such child shall be the servant of the 
legal proprietor of the mother until such 
servant, if a male, shall arrive at the 
age of twenty-eight years, and if a 
female at the age of twenty-five years; 
and that such proprietor shall be entitled 
t9 the service of such child until the 
ages specified in the same manner as if 
the child had been bound to service by 
the overseers of the poor." The person 
entitled to such could, however, within 
one year after the birth of such child, 
elect to abandon such service, in which 
case the child would become a pauper 
and could be bound out by the overseers 
of the poor like other pauper children, 
and until so bound out it was to be sup- 
ported at the expense of the state not ex- 
ceeding $3.50 per month. And it was 
made lawful for the owner of every 
slave immediately after the passage of 
the act to manumit such slave by a cer- 
tificate under his hand and seal. At the 
time of the passage of that act there 
were 21,903 slaves in the state and the 
whole population was nearly 1,000,000. 

On the 8th of April, 1801, "An act 
concerning slaves and servants" was 
passed, which, while it was a substantial 


revision of all the laws then in force re- 
lating to slaves, also contained some new 
provisions. That slaves might not be 
sold into perpetual slavery out of the 
state, their exportation was prohibited 
under severe penalties. Under that act, 
for striking a white person, a slave could 
be sent to jail by a justice of the peace. 
In all other cases, he had the right of 
trial by jury; and he could be transport- 
ed out of the state upon conviction for 
any oiiense not punishable with death 
or imprisonment in the state prison. 

The protest against slavery, in the lat- 
ter part of the eighteenth century, be- 
came more and more clamorous, and it 
resulted, not only in the act of 1799 for 
the gradual abolition of slavery, but also 
in infusing into the slave code a more 
benign and tolerant spirit. During that 
time a society was formed composed of 
influential citizens of the state, the pur- 
pose of which was to promote the manu- 
mission of slaves, and to protect such of 
them as had been or might be manumit- 
ted; and that society was incorporated 
by the act of February 19, 1808 with a 
preamble as follows: "Whereas a vol- 
unteer association has for many years 
existed in this state, ( as above mention- 
ed), and whereas the said society has 
represented to the legislature that, be 
sides its exertions to further the humatie 
intentions of the legislature by aiding 
the operations of the just and salutary 
laws passed for the gradual abolition of 
slavery in this state, it has estaolished a 
free school in the city of New York for 
the education of the children of such 
persons as have been liberated from 
bondage that they may hereafter become 
useful members of the community; and 
whereas the said society has prayed to 
be incorporated that it may be enabled 
more effectually to support the said 
school, and to fulfill the benevolent pur- 
poses of its association; therefore" etc. 

During the war of 1812 it came to be 
believed that negroes could fight for 
their country, and that they could safely 
be intrusted with arms; and hence an 
act was passed October 24th, 1814, en- 
titled "An act to authorize the raising 
of two regiments of men of color." It 

authorized the raising by voluntarj' en- 
listments of two regiments composed of ; 
men of color consisting of 1,C08 men 
each to be commanded by while officers. 
Slaves could enlist in these regiments 
with the written consent of their mas- 
ters who were to receive their pay and 
bounty, and upon their discharge they 
were to be free. This was not however, 
the first time the slaves were armed to 
fight on the side of their masters. In 
175i) a gunner engaged in the battle of 
Lake George in the war with the French 
in a letter to his brother wrote that 
"Our blacks beliuave better than the 
whites," They fought also in the Revo- 
lutionary war on both sides. By an act 
of the legislature of this state in 1781 it 
was provided that every slave who would 
enlist and serve for three years or until 
discharged should be declared a freeman 
of the state. 

By the act of March 7th, 1813, it was 
provided that all manumitted slaves 
could take real and personal e&tate by 
devise, descent or otherwise ; and all 
marriages before or thereafter con- 
tracted between slaves or between slaves 
and free negroes were declared valid and 
the children of such marriage legitimate. 
It was also provided that the children of 
slave mothers born after July 4th, 1799, 
which were declared free by the act of 
that year and yet held to service as in 
that act provided, should, by the per- 
sons entitled to such service, be taught 
reading so as to be able to read the holy 
scriptures before such children reached 
the age of twenty-one years; and if not 
so taught, such children should be free 
from the service at the age of twenty- 

And now came the final blow to slav- 
ery by the act of March 31st, 1817, 
which provided that all slaves born be- 
fore July 4th, 1799, should be free after 
July 4th, 1827; and thus after that date 
slavery, which had existed in this state 
for about two hundred years, ceased to 
exist here, and there was no further 
legislation on the subject of any import- 

The number of slaves in proportion to 
free population varied much at different 


periods in the history of our state. It is 
said that in the 17th century, they were 
sometimes nearly if not quite one half 
of the entire population. In 1698 there 
were 15,897 whites and 2,107 negroes. 
In 1701, 1,014 slaves were brought here 
from the West Indies and 620 from 
Africa. From 1701 to 1726, 1,573 slavfs 
were brought here from the West In- 
dies and 828 f-om Africa. In 1712. there 
were in the five counties of New York, 
Kings, Richmond, Orange and West 
Chester 1,775 slaves and 10,511 whites. 
In 1720 there were 27,000 whites and4,000 
slaves; in 1731 there were 43,040 
whices and 7.202 slaves; in 1737 there 
51,496 whites and 8,941 slaves; and in 
1746 in all the counties except Albany, 
there were 51 872 whites and 9,717 
slaves; in 1749 there were 62,756 whites 
and 10,692 slaves in the colony. In 1734 
a tax of one shilling yearly was imposed 
for "every negro, Indian or muUato 
slave above 14 years of age." 

After 1740, the importat on of slaves 
diminished. From March 11th, 1746 to 
March 31st, 1749, only 49 slaves were im- 
ported of whom only five were brought 
here for speculation and the rest were 
servants or seaman. During that time 
the duty on imported slaves was four 
pounds each. In 1735, the duty was forty 
shillings on slaves imported from Africa 
and on those imported from any other 
place four pounds. 

The price of slaves like other chattels 
varied. I find that it was $92 in 1663, 
from $75 to $87 in 1678, and in 1699 the 
price of imported slaves was only 
twenty-five dollars. 

Slavery was never very profitable in 
thisstate, and no master held many. They 
were owned throughout the state, so far 
as it was then sett ed. But they were 
mainly on Long Island, and in and about 
New York, Kingston and Albany. Most 
masters had but one adult slave and 
they rarely had more than two or three. 
It is recorded that James Graham, a 
prominent and noted character in this 
and other colonies owned at his death, 
in 1701, 33 slaves. He had large landed 
estates in Ulster county, on Staten 
Island and in New Jersey. It is not 


stated whether he held these slaves at 
the time of his death for sale or for use. 
I have found but one other case in this 
state, where a master owned as many as 
eight slaves above fourteen years of age. 
In the rural districts of the state gener- 
ally, the slaves were humanly treated. 
They worked with their master.? and 
mistresses upon the farms and in the 
homes and to some extent joined in their 
amusements and festivities. 

Thus at the end of more than seventy 
years after the last slave disappeared in 
this state, I have given this brief por- 
traj'al of slavery as it existed here, as I 
have learned it from history, tradition, 
and by reading the statutes. I have 
sought for information from many quar- 
ters, and I have endeavored to throw 
light upon a subject quite unfamiliar ta 
the people of this generation. 

The last servant born in this town was 
the late Jack Grannis, father of William 
and Albert Grannis, twin brothers, still 
residents here. He was born of a slave 
mother owned by Hezekiah Talcott, on 
the 22nd day of May, 1804. as I learn 
from a record in the town clerk's ofiice. 
He was a noted character and was well 
known to all the older inhabitants of 
Our villagB." 

We must not judge our slave holding 
ancestors too harshly. We must meas- 
ure them, not by our standards, but by 
those of the times in which they lived. 
Prejudices against the negros have not 
yet entirely disappeared. But thev are 
no longer embodied in any statutes. 
Prior to 1821, there was no distinction 
on account of color between free negros 
and the whites in the matter of suffrage, 
as a property qualification was required 
for all voters. But that distinc- 
tion was first introduced into the 
constitution of 1821. The requirement 
of a property qualification for white 
voters was entirely abrogated in 1826, 
leaving it still in force as to colored 
voters. In 1845, the question whether 
the property qualification for colored 
voters should be continued was sub- 
mitted to the people, and was decided 
in the affirmative by a vote of 230,834 
to 85,306. The same question was 


again submitted to the people in 1860, into slavery; some of tliem were sold 
and decided in the same way by a vote into slavery for crime. In some cases 
of 327,934 to 197,505. It was again the Indians pledged their children for 
submitted to the people in 1869 and was the payment of supplies furnished to 
decided in the same way by a vote of them, and failing to redeem them, they 
282,403 to 249,802. The distinction were sold into slavery; and laiave found 
between colored and white voters was complaint that in some cases Indian 
finally wiped out by the fifteenth amend- childen were bound out to service with 
ment to the Federal Constitution in a view to their education, and then con- 
1870. Congress ha previously sub- trary to the contract were sold into 
mitted the amendment to the states, slavery; and they were doubtless some 
Here it had a curious history. In 1869 children of Indian fathers and slave 
our legislature gave its consent to the mothers who for great certainty were 
amendent, but in 1670 it withdrew such intended to be covered in the statutes 
consent. In 1872 it recinded the with- under the term "Indian Slaves," just as 
drawal and this ended the controversy, in the statutes, mulatto and mestee 
One more matter must be noticed be- slaves are spoken of, mestee slaves being 
fore closing this paper, already I fear the offspring of free white men and 
too long. Indian slaves are mentioned quadrooms. 

in several of the early statutes; and the A little more than a century ago, slav- 
question may be asked, were there in ery was sanctioned, as I have before 
this state any Indian slaves in the same stated, by the customs of all nations, 
sence that there were negro slaves? There Now it is under the ban of all civilized 
were undoubtedly some Indian slaves, nations. The problem of slavery has 
There could not have been many, as been solved, tfoe Anglo Saxon race to 
they were poor material out of which to which we belong taking the lead in its 
make slaves, and there Is scarcely any solution; and so in the sweep of time, all 
mention in any book, except the statutes, the other social and political problems 
of Indian slaves. There were several which confront our race — the problems 
ways in which Indians could become of finance, currency, tariffs, and the re- 
slaves. In some parts of our country, lations between labor and capital which 
they were captured in war and sold frighten so many pfssimists will be 
as slaves, and they may have come into solved, and rightly solved in the inter- 
this colony in that way. Occasionally ests of all mankind and in the fulfill- 
they were ruthlessly seized and sold nient of the Divine purpose,- 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, November 9, 1897. 

If this paper, which your Chairman Europeans, the contentions of the 
of the Committee on Addresses requested Dutch, French, Germans and Italians, 
me to read and which, with coosider- but will fall into line with the majority 
able modification, was read before the of historians and concede the practical 
Board of Trade of Ilion recently, should invention of art to John Guttenberg, 
prove a departure from your customs, a native of Mentz, who was born about 
and be but a hasty view of ihe develop- 1399. It matters not whether the prin- 
ment of the art of printing, and have ciples were known in China hundreds 
little local color or interest, I can at of years before, whether every foot- 
least plead ignorance of your require- print was an imprint, or whether the 
ments, though I confess a deep interest art was suggested in a thousand ways, 
in many of the papers published as em- John Guttenberg was the first in its 
inating from this society. practical application to commerical 

A history of the art of printing can- uses, the pioneer in supplanting the 
not come within the scope of a paper laborious process of writing books by 
of this kind, but a hurried glance at hand, letter by letter, and as such as 
what appear to me some of the most we may join the majority in honoring 
striking features in its development, him. It is supposed that bis first script 
the importance it has in the fields of printed from movable type appeared 
business enterprise, a reference to what about 14i6, and without reference to 
some Herkimer county men have done history we may mark from this time 
toward it, and a suggestion of its im- the greatest practical development of 
portance as a civilizing influence is all the world, the spread of education 
I can hope to touch upon. among the masses, and the general 

The first printing from blocks or growth of the idea of civil and religious 
movable type was done in China. The liberty While the development to our 
emperor, Wen-ti, as early as A. D. present high standards of almost univer- 
593. is credited with thus directing the sal primiry knowledge of letters was 
printing of the most important papers, slow, it must be borne in mind that the 
The process was abandoned, owing pro- first people capable of reading the work 
bably, to the multiplicity of characters of this man's genius, and his early sue- 
in the Chinese language. cessors, represented but a «mall class. 

We need not consider the various It need not seem remarkable to the 
claims to the discovery of the art by American observer of today whose eyes 


are filled with the daily bulletin of from a crucible by hand, up to the pres- 

political and social events, that the first ent time when automatic devices deliver 

uses of the art were directed to printing the cast types at the rate of from 60 to 

religious literature, and that the first 140 letters a minute, depending on the 

book of importance printed by the size of the body. 

pioneer was the Bible, for at that time The first attempt at type-founding in 

comparatively few of those able to read America was about 1768, but was unsuc- 

were outside of religious vocations. cessful. The first practical foundry was 

Without attempting to trace the art established in 1772, at Germantown, Pa., 

of printing through all its various stages by Christopher Sower, Jr. 

of development, I will refer briefly to 
some of the most striking inventions 
which have marked its progress, point 
to its early uses in this country, and 
allude to the marvellous growth of the 
manufacture of books and newspapeis 
made possible because of the inventions, 
and because of the reading habits and 
demands of our people. In order to 
briefly aud consistently trace the most 
important steps leading up to the im- 
mense results of the present era of print- 
ing, I will treat of first some of the chief 
factors necessary to the art under sep- 
arate heads as follows: Type, ink, 
paper, stereotyping, electrotyping, me- 
chanical type-setting. 


The first movable types were made 
from blocks of wood, and the letters en- 
graved on the block by hand. It is in- 
teresting to note that Guttenberg's first 

It is interesting in view of Gutten- 
berg's early attempts to print a Bible, to 
note that the first font of type cast here 
was German pica for printing a Bible, 

The I'ype Trust with its |6,000,000 
capital, two large and a dozen small 
houses supply chiefly the type used 
in this country. 


Not least among the difficulties of the 
pioneer printers was providing a suit- 
able ink which would print clearly and 
not blur when the imprint was taken. 
Ink-making developed as the art pro- 
gressed, but Thomas, in his '"History of 
Prmting" states that Rogers & Fowle. of 
Boston, were the first printers in this 
country who made an acceptable ink. 
This was about 1750, and before that 
time it was chiefly imported from 

The abominable specimens of revo- 

attempt at printing was from engraved lutionary printing are to be accounted 

blocks of wood, and it is said that his for by the fact that its manufacture was 

discovery of movable type was made not generally understood by the printers 

through accidentally breaking one of of that period, materials were scarce, 

the blocks he was experimenting with, and they were unable to draw on Europe 

The second step was a metal body for for their supplies. 

the type, the third, casting from molds. To-day its manufacture is a distinct 
The process of type-making now em- branch of business, and prices range 
ploj'ed consists of taking a die on which from a few cents to several dollars a 
the letter or character has been en- a pound, according to quality, 
graved in relief and forcing it into a paper. 
block of Tsofter metal to make a matrix, The earliest form of manufactured 
or letter intaglio which is used in con- paper was probably the papyrus of the 
nection with a suitable mold. The mol- Egypuans, and it continued to be used 
ten metal is forced between the four until the twelfth century, 
walls of the mold to form the body, and Paper was almost wholly imported in- 
agamst the matrix to form the face of to this country until the year 1700, and 
the type. chiefly imported for 100 years there- 
Type founding progressed through var- after. The first paper mill of the col- 
ious stages of development from the onies was built by William Rittenhouse, 
earliest attempt when crude molds were at Germantown, Pa., in 1090. William 
used, and the metal for each type poured Bradford, the only printer of the col- 


«niest>utside of New England, aided in 
the enterprise. 

In 1770 the mills of the colonies were 
supposed to produce about |500,000 worth 
of paper a year, while to-day the annual 
product exceeds |80,(K)0,000. 

The importance of this great industry 
as applied to printing is suggested by the 
results of the Census inquiry. In 1880 
the paper us«d for newspaper and peri- 
odicals aggregated 189,145,048 pounds, 
and in 1890 the consumption had grown 
to 552,876,161 pounds. 

This state has 128 of the 567 paper 
manufacturing establishments, or more 
than 22 per ce.nt. of the woole number. 

Compare, if you please, the laborious 
process of making sheets of paper by 
hand with the results of the wonderful 
devices which turn out miles of it in a 

Without going into a detailed compari- 
son of 'the cost of this article, and its 
relative cost at various periods of its use, 
I will call your attention to the fact that 
in 1880 the average price paid for paper 
by twenty of the leading dailies of New 
York was 7 9-20 cents per pound, while 
today it is probably less than 2i cents 
per pound. 

1 cannot leave this subject without a 
reference to the relation of one of your 
distinguished members to this most im- 
portant industry, the Hon. Warner 
Miller. "Wood-Pulp Miller" of the 
satirist is, to my mind, the proudest title 
he ever won. He was the pioneer in the 
introduction of wood pulp paper for or- 
dinary uses in the country ; through his 
efforts largely, and on account of his 
persistence mainly, this most desirable 
product was early brought into common 
use. Its importance may te imagined 
when I say to you that it came at a time 
when the gleanings of the world were 
inadequate to supply the demand for 
rags, when paper had advanced to an 
almost prohibitive price for ordinary 
publication uses. The absorbent qualities 
of this paper made the fast press con- 
sistent, and its cheapness made the won- 
derful growth of newspapers and books 


, The press used by Guttenberg was a 
crude device made of wool having a 
screw mounted in a frame for lowering 
the platen to make the imprint. 

The earliest printing press known to 
have been made in this countrj' was for 
Christopher Sower, Jr., in 1750. The 
revolutionary war, marks the period of 
the greatest activity in press making, 
but it was not until early in the present 
century that iron was substituted for 
wood in their construction. 

Tracing these machines through their 
most prominent stages of development 
in this country, I submit the following 
table as marking their steps by date : 
1803 screw press, 35 per hour, 2 men 

lS-26 patent lever press, .120 " " 2 " 
Is3t5 Adams press, 400 " " 3 ** 

1843 Hoe single cylinder 600 " " 2 " 
1H46 Hoe double *' 1200 " " 3 " 

1853 Hoe eight " 10000 " " 14 " 

1870 Bullock press, 10000 " " 3 '* 

1872 Walker press, 2000O " " 3 " 

1879 Hoe's fast press, 3O00O " " 3 " 
1«97 Octuple press, 96060 " " 3 " 

During the earliest use of the printing 
press a screw was provided to lower the 
platen; then followed the lever; then the 
cylinder operated by men by means of a 
crank; then the application of steam 
power, then the adaptation of the press 
so that more than one person could feed 
it; then, in 1870, the Webb press which 
printed from a continuous roll of paper, 
tbe introduction of cutting, pasting and 
folding devices so that the papers were 
delivered complete, up to the marvel- 
lous octuple press of today which de. 
livers 96.000 complete papers in a single 
hour. Think of it, 1 600 papers a min- 
ute, or 26 while your watch ticks once. 

The development of speed in presses is 
not confined to those used on newspa- 
pers. I have seen a press taking fine 
paper from a roll and delivering pages 
of the Century Magazine, printed, cut, 
folded and perforated at the rate of 
about 64 a second. On this press curved 
electrotype plates were used. 

It is interesting to note that the first 
newspaper in this country to adopt 
steam power to propel its presses was 
the New York Sun in 1835. 


In closing this topic I desire to call 
your attention to a matter of much local 
interest as marking an era in the ad- 
vance of printing that will become a 
matter of much historical comment in 
time, and that is that the liion Citizen 
of September 26, 1884, was the tirst 
newspaper in the world to apply an 
electric motor to the propulsion of its 
press. This is not an uncommon power 
today, and the Citizen may proudly 
claim to have been the pioneer. 

I take pleasure in presenting to your 
society a copy of this paper, which has 
a double interest, to which I shall refer 
under another topic. 


This process was early used in Europe, 
and developed through various stages of 
imperfection to the ordinary use of 
papier-mache at the present time. 

Let me explain briefly the process and 
its importance and value as making the 
modern newspaper with its large editions 
and prompt deliveries possible. A page 
of composed types is securely locked in 
a steel frame called a "chase" a thin 
layer of papier-mache is spread on the 
page and made to conform to the irreg- 
ularities of the type, this sh< et is dried 
while still on the type and forms a per- 
fect mould of the page; the sheet is then 
put in a box which is curved to conform 
to the cylinder of the presses, and a cast 
is made: this cast is a perfect counter- 
part of a page of type and has the let- 
ters on its outside surface. Any number 
of these casts may be made from the 
mold, and it will be seen that as many 
presses may work on the same matter as 
casts are made. Jn well conducted 
newspaper offices al.out eight minutes 
elapse between the time the type form 
leaves the composing room, and the first 
stereotype forms are on the presses. 

Stereotyped columns of matter are 
largely used by the smaller newspapers 
and they are thus enabled to present 
their readers with much excellently 
edited and selected matter at very slight 
expense. Indeed the large weekly news- 
papers of to- day would not be consis- 
tent with the returns their proprietors 
receive if it were net for their ability to 

avail themselves of this excellent sya 

The New York Tribune 1861 was the 
first newspaper in this country to adopt 
stereotyping for its presses, and it is now 
universally used tiy newspapers having 
a circulation of upwards of 10,000 copies. 

Electrotyping is chiefly used for fine 
cuts, where a clear and distinct result is 
called for, and for books, and gives the 
highest results typographically. By this 
process a wax mould of the page is 
made, the mold dusted with black lead 
and placed in a soluiion of sulphate of 
copper where a thin film of copper is 
deposited by electrolycis. The film is 
removed from the wax and strengthened 
by pouring molten type metal on its 
back, and when it is mounted on a 
wooden block forms a perfect and dura 
ble counterpart of a page of type. The 
wooden I locks may be removed, and the 
pages filed to be used when new editions 
are required. 

The cost of electrotype plates is esti- 
mated at li cents per square inch. 


Notwithstanding the wonderful pro- 
gress in every other branch of the art of 
printing, until very recently type con- 
tinued to be set as it was by Guttenberg, 
450 years ago. While many 'attempts 
have I een made to set tyi)b mechanic- 
ally, it is only during the past decade 
that the commercial use of these ma- 
chines has become common. 

In 1821, Dr. William Church announced 
an invention for casting and setting type 
automatically, but its commercial use 
never was developed. 

Two distinct types of machines are 
now in use, those which handle movable 
type represented by Burr, Thome and 
McMillan, and line casting, represented 
by the Mergenthaler Linotype. In all 
these machines a key board is used to 
call the letters from their respective 
channels. The McMillan is the only 
device in commercial use which justifies 
the lines automatically, the other type- 
handling machines require a second 
operator to justify the lines as they arej 
assembled by the operator of the ke; 


j The Linotype machine aasernbles 
matrices into lines, justifies them by 
means of compound wedges, and casts a 
solid line with the letter faces on its 
edge. It is largely used on daily papers 
in this country. 

It is probable that abuut 4,000 type- 
setting machines of all patterns are used 
in this country at present, and that they 
effect an aggregate saving over hand 
composition of upwards of $5,000,000 a 

That the best results are secured from 
the use of some of these devices is at- 
tested by the fact that machines made 
in your own county compose the types 
for that highest example of typograph- 
ical excellence, the Century Magazine. 
During the past year a complete Bible 
was set on these machines. 

The economy effected varies according 
to location, wages, class of work, etc., 
and, roughly speaking, the average out- 
put of the machines is four times that of 
hand compositor. 

You will excuse me if I refer with 
some satisfaction to the fact that the 
Ilion Citizen of September 26, 1884, the 
edition which was printed from power 
furnished by an electric motor, was the 
first newspaper in this country to have 
all the body or text type of its paper set 
on a typesetting machine. The machine 
was made at the Armory in Ilion. 

And again November 24, 1893, the 
Ilion Citizen was set complete in twenty 
hours by a young woman. Miss Frauds 
Fallon of New York. This was the first 
paper in the world set on a machine 
which automatically justified the type. 
It would have taken eight average com- 
positors the same time to set this paper. 

1 shall be pleased to have you accept 
a copy of this pajjer too as marking a 
step towards the perfection of the art. 


It is supposed that the oldest book 
printed in English was "De Proprietati- 
bus rerum." Its author was Bartho 
lonaeus de Glauville, and the book was 
printed by Caxton in 1440. 

The first book printed in the New Eng- 
land colonies was the "Bay Psalm Book" 
in 1640, at Cambridge, Mass. 

There is positive evidence, however, 
that a press existed in Mexico as early 
as 1535. The first printer in the New 
World was Juan Pablos, and the first 
book printed was entitled "Spiritual 
Ladder to Ascend to Heaven." Prmting 
was conducted in Mexico and Peru pre- 
vious to 1600. 

The earliest books printed after the 
invention of the art were chiefly theo- 
logical, and this continued to be the 
chief class for two centuries thereafter. 
Books did not become popular until 
in the present century because of the 
large cost of materials, and their grad- 
ual cheapening increased the purchas- 
ing power of money and brought them 
within the reach of a larger class. A 
pound of book paper today may cost five 
cents, while in early colonial times it 
represented an equivalent to one-third 
of a days' wages of an ordinary work- 

In view of the fact that the first books 
printed were in the German character, 
it is interesting to note that not less than 
250,000,000 of the population of the 
world today use the Roman character, 
and nine-tenths of the printing of the 
globe is done in this text; the bulk of the 
other tenth is in German text 

In the twelve years from 1830 to 1843' 
the entire number of books printed in 
this country was about 1,300, an average 
of a little more than 100 a year. In 1853 
their publication had increased to 879, in 
1860 to 1,350, in 1892 to 4,682, and in 
1896 to 5,703. In the past five years 
ending in 1896 the total publication of 
books in this country aggregated 25,562, 
or thirty-six times as many as were pub- 
lished in any five years sixty years ago. 

The value of books published in the 
United States in the year 1820 was esti- 
mated at $2,500,000; in 1840. $3,500,000, 
and in 1871 it had increased to $40,000,000. 

In 1890 the number of establishments 
engaged in printing (I refer to general 
printing exclusive of newspapers) was 
4,098, with a capital of $67,146,455, fur- 
nishing employment to more than 66,000 
people and turning out an annual pro- 
duct of $93,540,831. The present ratio 
of increase in the publication of books ia 


more than 35 per cent, a decade. It is 
estimated that more than 6.000,000 dis 
tinct books have been published in the 
world since the invention of printing. 

I have given these figures on printing 
and book making as distinct from peri- 
odical literature and its manufacture, 
and ihey serve to suggest the wo'iderful 
advance which is taking place in this 
important branch. 

While we have books by the million, 
and while we may approximate their 
value as a commercial commodity, who 
can venture an opinion as to their im- 
portance to the generation of today, who 
dare suppose their influence and worth 
for past ger.erations, and who can pre- 
dict their effect on future generations? 
Book-making is more than a business, it 
is more than an art. Through boobs we 
trace the development of the world, the 
achievements and mistakes of mankind, 
the advance in science, art, thought and 
individuality. We sometimes hear pessi- 
mistic remarks about the publications of 
today, but there is ro cause for alarm ; 
the majority are good, better indeed than 
the majority of indivitluals we come in 
contact with from day to day, and even 
the most rigid Puritan who eschews fic- 
tion has no cause for complaint, for less 
than one-fifth of the books published at 
the presf nt time are of that class. 

We someiimes hear the wail that the 
newspaper is superseding the book, but 
if this is so, we still have no cause for 
alarm, for newspapers are increasing 
over books less than 1 per cent. 

Before the art was discovered, a monk 
often spent a lifetime in writing out a 
single Bible. Guttenberg and his asso- 
ciates spent five years on their first one, 
and today a single operator on a type- 
setting machine can compose the types 
for a Bible in five mouths. 

The early books had illunninated init- 
tial letters for the beginning of chapters, 
some of them very elaborate, but para- 
graphs and punctuation marks were un- 
known. Todav the majority of books 
are plainly printed, and are paragraphed 
and punctuated with the greatest intelli- 
gence and care. 

I am unwilling to close this brief 
sketch regarding books without an allu- 
sion to a matter of the deepest local in- 
terest and value to Herkimer county — 
the Public Libraries. It is my confident 
belief that the founders of the Herkimer 
Free Library, in which 1 have the pleas- 
ure of reading this paper, and the Ilion 
Free Public Library have contributed 
more to the su' stantial welfare of this- 
community than any two single indi- 
viduals in the history of this county. 
The influence of these institutions can 
not be measured or calculated, the 
pleasure and profit they contribute to 
their localities can never be determined, 
and if both were wiped off the face of 
the earth a few years henee, their benifi- 
cent influence would still extend for 
generations. Benjamin Franklin never 
originated a better thing than the circu- 
lating library, and your president. Judge 
Robert Earl, the donor of the Herkimer 
Free Library, and Clarence W. Seamans. 
the giver of the Ilion Free Public Li- 
brary never did a better thing than when 
they founded tl ese institutions. 


It is said that the "newspaper idea' 
originated in Venice in 1573. The paper 
was called the "Gazetta," but it was not 
printed. It was written out with a pen. 
and each person paid a small coin, a 
gazetta, to have it read to him. 

The first newspaper printed in the 
American colonies was "Publick Occur- 
rences Both Foreign and Domestic," in 
1690. It was immediately suppressed. 
The second newspaper printed in the 
colonies was a republication of an Eng- 
lish Gazette at New York in 1696. 

We may date the real birth of the 
American press April 4, 1704, when the 
first issue of the Boston '"News-Letter" 
was published. John Campbell, the 
postmaster of Boston was its editor and 

The "New York Gazette," issued by 
Wm. Bradford, weekly, was the first 
newspaper published in this state. It 
first appeared October 16, 1725, and was 
printed on a foolscap sheet. The real 
prototype of the political journal of to- 
day was the second newspaper published 


in this state. It was called "John 
Peter Zenger's New York Weekly Jour- 
nal," and was first published in New 
York November 5, 1733. The first daily 
newspaper in America appeared in 1784 
at Philadelpeia, and was called the 
•'American Daily Advertiser." 

The first actual stimulus to newspapers 
in America is marked by the period of 
the Revolution when the country was 
cut off from the mother country, and 
political excitement was intense. The 
American people for the first time 
realized the importance of these bulle- 
tins of news, but the facilities for sup 
plying them were meagre, the specimens 
of papers of that time were crude, 
materials were scarce and high, and 
transportation facilities slow and imper- 
fect. This condition existed for many 
years after the war. Previous to this 
time the censDrship of the press by the 
colonial governors, and the exactions 
of the "Stamp Act" hindered activity in 
newspaper-making, while the chief in- 
terest of the largest class of readers was 
in European events. It must not be 
understood, however, that the Revolu- 
tion and the years immediately follow- 
ing marked a substantial growth in 
newspapers, or made their publication a 
profitable business, for many years 
elapsed before it became a remunera- 
tive enterprise. But the revolutionary 
period, and the questions of inter colo- 
nial interest, the discussion of matters of 
such momentous importance that the 
colonists were willing to sacrifice their 
lives in their adherance to what they 
considered their rights, must have been 
the seed-time for the American journal, 
and the creation of that spirit of inter- 
est in afliairs which has grown with the 

We cannot take the time necessary to 
trace the difficulties which beset the 
early journalists, nor consider in detail 
the steps which mark the growth of 
journalism in this country, but will sug- 
gest for your consideration some data 
which will indicate the progressive 
character of the newspaper and periodi- 
cal press. 

In the year 1775, 37 newspapers were 

published in the colonies, in 1810, 359; 
in 1828, 861; in 1830, 1,403; in 1850. 2,526; 
in 1860, 4,501; in 1870, 5,871: in 1880, 11,- 
314; in 1890, 17,616 and in 1896 it is esti- 
mated that i?0,000 newspapers and peri- 
odicals were published. It is interesting 
to note that one-half the periodicals of 
the world are published in the United 

Without going into details as to the 
periods of issue or the classification of 
the American journals, I will give a few 
figures which will suggest the growth of 
this great enterprise. At the beginning 
of the decade ending in 1880 it was 
estimated that the amount of capital in- 
vested in periodical publication was 
$53,000,000. and in 1890 it had increased 
to 1126,269.885. In 1880 the number of 
hands employed was 65,015, while in 
1890, 106,095 were employed, and the 
wages had increased from $28,559,336 in 
1880 to $68,601,532 in 1890. The gross 
vaUie of the periodical press in 1880 was 
$89,009,074, and in 1890 it was $179,859,- 
750. While this increase in gross pro- 
duct between 1870 and 1880 was 3.60 
times, and between 1880 and 1890 was 
but 2.02 times, it must not be understood 
that there has been a falling off in 
growth, as the prices for this class of 
literature have steadily declined in the 

The growth in size from the earliest 
colonial papers to the metropolitan daily 
of the present is suggested by the fact 
that the early newspapers contained 
from 3,000 to 6,000 ems of type, while 
the average composition of the larger 
dailies is upward of 700,000 ems at the 
present time. 

This paper would be incomplete with- 
out a passing reference to the improved 
postal and telegraph facilities enjoyed 
by the journals of the present day. In 
the old days carrier pigeons were em- 
ployed to transmit news, the pony-ex- 
press was used, special locomotives were 
called into service, and finally the tele- 
graph with its constantly extending in- 
fluence. It is interesting here to note 
the fact that the publisher of that early 
Boston paper, to which I referred. 


apologized on one occasion for puMish- 
ing European news thirteen months late. 

Reft-rring briefly to our own locality, 
the first newspaper in Herkimer county 
was the I'elescojje, published in Herki- 
mer village about 1802. Its editor was 
Benjamin Corey. The life of the paper 
was about three years. 

The second appeared in 1805, was 
called the Farmer's Monitor, and its 
publishers were Holt & Bobbins. Its 
life was about two years. Herkimer 
village may also felicitate itself on being 
the birthplace of the next three papers 
in the county. One appeared in 1807 
and two in 1810. Eleven more were 
started in the county up to the year 1859. 
This village may also claim one of the 
oldest editors in the state, Mr. C. C. 
Witherstine. Mr. C. S. Hunger of the 
Ilion Citizen and Herkimer Citizen, has 
more than once been honored by election 
to responsible positions in the Editorial 
Association of this state. 

advertising and subscriptions. 

We often hear the expression "news- 
papers derive their chief revenues from 
advertising". This is not true. 

In 1880 the receipts from sub- 
scriptions exceed those from advertising 
by more than 12 ijer cent., and in 1890 
the relation was still maintained, though 
it was cut to less than 3 per cent, in 
favor of subscriptions. This may be 
accounted for by the decline in prices 
for periodicals, and the increase in the 
average circulation, which made higher 
prices for advertising consistent. In 
1890 the receipts from subscriptions ag- 
gregated $72,343,087, while those from 
advertising were $71,243,361. 

There are some interesting and unac- 
countable facts regarding the distribu- 
tion of newspap rs in this country; 
for instance. New York state has 183 
dailies, while Pennsylvania with a pop- 
ulation of a million and a quarter less 
has 201. Vermont and New Hampshire, 
states lying side by side and with sub- 
stantially the same population, show a 
striking difference, Vermont having 4 
dailies, and New Hampshire 15. The 
state of Massachusetts, whose inhabi- 
tants boast of supeiior enlightenment. 

has only 88 daily papers, while Cali- 
fornia, with less than one-half the pop- 
ulation of the Bay state, has 113. Dela- 
ware, with scarcely any foreign or il- 
literate population, and with 25,000 
more inhabitants than New Mexico, 
whose population is generously distrib- 
uted with Indians and half breeds, has 
the same number of dailies. We can- 
not account for the distribution of news- 
papers in this country in given areas, by 
population, relative number of cities and 
villages, or comparative illiteracy of the 

We may take an optimistic view of 
the press and its influence. The daily 
press is usually a true statement of the 
happenings of interest to the locality it 
represents, with a judicious amount of 
general news, and, notwithstanding the 
"yellow journals" with their large dis- 
tribution, in the main, the press is high- 
minded, and its influence good. 1 am of 
the opinion that a large proportion of 
the patrons of these sensational news- 
papers are influenced by curiosity to see 
what they will do next, for no one will 
deny their originality and enterprise, 
and a large class are entertained by 
their racy "stories", In the old days, 
before the general distribution of news- 
papers, the prolific liar in a community 
could get a considerable audience, but no 
one would accept from him a serious 
opinion. It is true that these journals 
are bad, but the total percentage of their 
distribution compared with the better 
class leaves no present cause for real 

The best talent in the world is sought 
for periodical work. The place for 
mediocrity is growing narrower every 
day. The standards of education and 
qualification are constantlj^ being raised. 
The strife for interesting and valuable 
matter is growing with the develop- 
ment of the press, and readers are broad- 
ening in their ability to discriminate and 
think for themselves. 


In concluding this paper I desire to 
call your attention to the relative me- 
chanical conditions at the beginning of 
the present century, and those of the 


present time, and illustrate the real 
meaning of this improvement in appli- 
ances, and the impossibility of the news- 
paper of today without them. To fur- 
nish an edition of a metropolitan paper 
of 150,000 copies, to be printed in an 
hour, 150,000 people would be required, 
and their wages, based on the present 
average earnings, would amount to more 
than the whole mechanical labor of such 
a paper for a year under the prevailing 
conditions of the present. Imagine 
acres of presses of the type of the screw 
press of 1808, which was capable of 
turning out 35 impressions an hour with 
two persons to operate it, the army of 
pasters and folders, the number of du- 
plicate pages of tj'pe requiring a citj'-full 
of people to set, the copyists to rewrite 
the copy of the editorial staff, and you 
will see the impossibility of the newspa- 
per of today under the mechanical con- 
ditiousof that period. But leaving these 
out of consideration, the lack of news- 
gathering facilities would be prohibitive. 
The growth of newspapers and books 
has been identical with the development 
in labor-saving devices and processes, 
and their increase in numbers has kept 
pace with the outgrowth of invention. 

I am unwilling to close this paper 
without a thrust at the fallacy of our so- 
cialistic philosophers, including Bishop 
Potter and Henry George— the delusion 
that labor-saving machinery tends to de- 
press wages and demoralize labor. 
While I admit that we may find num- 
erous instances where the introduction 
of labor-saving devices has wrought 
hardship in individual cases, and that it 
appears to hasten the action of the law 
of "the survival of the fittest," I main- 
tain that there is nothing to justify the 
opinion that its influence has been inimi- 
cal to the interests of the workingman. 

Its eff'ect is invariably to increase the 
purchasing power of money, and its 
practical workings have made- the in- 
crease of wages possible. In no branch 
of industry, perhaps, has greater pro- 
gress been made during the present cen- 
tury than in printing and its auxiliaries, 
and I will show you that in the past 
half century, which represents the most 
material growth, wages have steadily 
appreciated. In 1850 the average yearly 
earning of the workingmen engaged in 
general printing was P31, in 1860 $376, 
in 1870 |489, in 1880 $520 and in 1890 the 
average yearly earnings of those em- 
ployed on periodicals was $646. 

In the days of Guttenberg the number 
of people in a community like this who 
were able to read was probably less than 
the number in this village who are un- 
able to read. I venture the statement 
that it would puzzle some of your mem- 
bers to name half a dozen adults in 
the village who cannot read. This re- 
versal of conditions is due to "the art 
preservative of arts." Its service to 
mankind is past finding out. No mere 
man can calculate its effect on the his- 
tory made since its inception, the influ. 
ence it has wielded on the nations, or its 
potence in shaping their courses. 

The glorious possibilities of the pres- 
ent, when the humblest citizen may 
have the bulletin of the chief daily 
events of the whole world before his 
eyes, when no industrious person is cut 
off from the best thoughts of the best 
writers, when advance in art, science 
and literature is accurately chronicled 
and within the reach of those who seek 
it, are impressive. 

We are compelled to fix the growth of 
the art of printing by commercial statis- 
tics, but its increasing power cannot be 
gauged by figures. 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, December ii, 1897. 

A few years after the close of the revo- 
lutionary war, a great many families 
who resided in the New England states 
began to move to central and western 
New York. 

The cause for that movement was two 
fold. Many of General Sullivan's army, 
when he marched into the Indian coun- 
try in 1779, saw the beautiful and pro- 
ductive lands of the Genesee and other 
valleys, and upon their return home 
lauded them highly. 

It appears that when a charter was 
granted to Massachusetts as a colony, 
the British government (being ignorant 
of the geography) named the Pacific 
Ocean as its western boundary. 

When a charter for New York was 
granted, the western boundary of New 
Y^ork also extended to the Pacific Ocean, 
as the latter state lay west of Massa- 
chusetts. A dispute arose between these 
two states, both claiming the unsettled 
territory lying west of Fort Stanwix. 
(Now Rome, N. Y.) After the close of 
the revolution— the two states agreed to 
settle the dispute amicably. The tract 
was estimated at 8,000,000 acres. Mas- 
sachusetts was to take its one-half on 
the south, and New York, the northern 
portion towards the lakes. In tbe year 
1778, Massachusetts had already extin- 
guished the Indian title and sold its 
share to a land company; New Y'ork 

treated with the Indians at Fort Stanwix 
and purchased the Indian title in that 
year, and opened its 4,000,000 acres 
to settlers. Then, a great movement of 
emigration began; New England people 
took up those western lands, which 
could be purchased from 10 cents up- 
ward to$l per acre. Munsell's "County of 
Albany," page 310, says: "It is recorded 
that in the winter of 1795, twelve hun- 
dred sleighs passed through Albany in 
three days with emigrants to Genesee 
Valley. They were from New England, 
ancestors of the present prosperous citi- 
zens of the farms and shops of western 
New Y^'ork. They soon had abundant 
products to sell and demanded a high- 
way of trade." 

"At Fink's Tavern, below Little Falls, 
New England people came on horseback, 
prospecting, with well filled saddle-bags 
and portmanteaus— he entertained fre- 
quently thirty to forty in a single night.' 
— Simms. 

Following the enterprise of a few pub- 
lic benefactors, improved facilities for 
transportation on the Mohawk river, 
from Schenectady, were began in 1792 
by the 


Company, who improved the Mohawk 
river and extended navigation to Lakes 
Oneida, Ontario, Seneca and Cayuga, 
and the St. Lawrence river trade which 


formerly went to Montreal, was diverted 
to Albany and New York, 

The tide of immigration continued un- 
abated. The roads were very had — no 
bridges had been constructed beyond 
Schenectady, until 1798, when a bridge 
was built over the Schoharie river at 
Fort Hunter. 

About that time, two young men, resi- 
dents of Litchfield, Conn., named Seth 
Whetmore and Lew Norton, were on 
their way west to take up land. Hear- 
ing much talk about the construction of 
a great turnpike, they became interested 
in the turnpike enterprise and remained. 
Whetmore, being a surveyor and civil 
engineer, superintended its construction. 
They, with Ozias Bronson; Hewills Hills 
and three others, formed the first board 
of directors. 'Ihe roadbed was made of 
broken stone, 60 feet wide, 18 inches 
higher in the center, sloping to the 
edges. A better road was needed be- 
tween Albany and Schenectady, the dis- 
tance 16 miles. A charter for a turn- 
pike was granted in 1797. It connected 
Albany with the inland navigation com- 
pany by a macadamized road, other 
lateral branches connecting therewith. 
It soon became the leading highway lor 
travel, and kept up with the wonderful 
progress then developing in the western 
part of the state. The navigation com- 
pany had developed trade greatly, but 
charges were so high that costly material 
only could be conveyed over that route. 

A turnpike, all thought, would meet 
the want. A charter was obtained in A. 
D. 1800, to build a turnpike from Schen- 
ectady to Utica, the distance being about 
68 miles. When that was obtained the 
Albany and Schenectady pike of 16 
miles was already completed and did a 
thriving business. The public readily 
subscribed for building turnpikes. Char- 
ters were granted, one adjoining an- 
other, until the main western line ex- 
tended to Lake Erie at Buffalo. Many 
branches were constructed leading into 
the main line. Good roads increased the 
flow of emigrants. Trees were falling, 
lands made productive, demand for 
everything raised by the farmers, de- 
mand for laborers and mechanics; 

activity and life prevailed everywhere. 
After such activity did rpaction set in V 
No, the price of land advanced from 
year to year, the advance was real rot 
speculative. The great wagons now be- 
came larger and more numerous; 4, 5, 
6. 7, 8, and teams with 9 horses traveled 
on the Mohawk turnpike. The teams 
"were continuous." Other evidence 
says, "at times 12 to 20 were in sight.'' 
It was difficult to find stabling for 
horses and floor room for team- 
sters to sleep (they occupied no beds), 
who slept on their overcoats or home- 
made blankets, which they spread on the 
bar room floor. Regular freighters car- 
ried a sort of mattress about two feet 
wide to sleep upon. It was rolled up 
and strapped into a roll each morning 
and put into the wagon. 

The number of teams increased each 
year, so did the taverns, until they num- 
bered one in every mile of the road; even 
the teamsters to obtain accommodations, 
detached a horse and sent a person in 
advance to engage night quarters. 

All teamsters desired stable room for 
their horses. If they could not be had. 
they were compelled to leave them 
without covering. The farmers who 
carried their products to Albany, also 
carried food and hay for their horses 
and provisions for themselves, which 
were cooked at home and carried in a 
wooden box. At the stopping places, 
hot coffee, beer or strong drink could be 
added to the meal. A farmer on his re- 
turn from Albany, when he left Schen- 
ectady, tried in vam to get stable room 
for his horses at every tavern imtil near 
Amsterdam. His two Horses at last 
were stabled: he fed th m oit^s which he 
brought from home, he ha i no hay left. 
The stable provided enough hay for 
night and morning. His bill was 18 

The regular freighters carried a feed 
trough which could be fastened upon 
the wagon tongue. Hay and oats were 
obtained, and also their meals at a 
tavern. They could not carry horse 
feed as did the farmers, who onh* 
traveled a short distance from home. 


As it was at times impossible to ob- 
tain stable room for horses, freighters 
supplied themsplres with oil cloth cover- 
ings for protecting their horses during 
the night. 


The turnpike company found that the 
common road wagons with narrow tires 
soon cut grooves into the track. To 
overcome that, they offered to pass all 
wagons free which had tires six inches 
or greater in width. These benefited 
the roadway. Such wagons were not 
compelled to turn out unless they met 
one of like width of tire. 


The cargoes of the wagons when go- 
ing eastward consisted chiefly of wheat, 
oats, hemp, whiskey, potash and salt. 
Going west they carried merchandise 
for the western stores. 


Freight rates from Albany to Buffalo 
were at first five dollars per hundred 
weight; competition reduced the price 
lo 11.25; from Albany to Utica, $1.00 
per 112 pounds. 


The regular freight wagon boxes were 
painted light blue or slate color. The 
rear end could be lifted from its sockets, 
on it hung the feed trough. Under the 
rear axletree, a tar bucket and water 
pail were suspended. In the center of 
one side of the body was a small tool 
chest with a slanting lid. It contained 
hammer, wrench, pincers, currycomb, 
etc. Such were known as Pennsylvania 


Many of the regular freighters decked 
the two rear horses each with three open 
bells; such were suspended from the 
iron arch fastened upon the hames and 
collar. The sound was musical not rat- 
tling like sleigh bells. I remember see- 
ing freighters' teams with five horses 
all wearing bells. I can speak somewhat 
from experience, having made purchases 
for one wagon load of merchandise; 
collected it by drays to one place, then 
saw to its being loaded to be carried to 

its destination by a freighter from the 
city of Philadelphia. 


The horses of the freighters were gen- 
erally large and fat. The load weighed 
three to^ four tons. They were known 
as Pennsylvania horses. Their harness 
was broad, t>eavy and strong. 


As already slated, the taverrs num- 
bered one in every mile. Within fifty 
miles of Albany, there were 53 taverns 
and 52 bar rooms. Whiskey cost only 
25 cents per gallon. New England rum 
was the usual drink. Without it no one 
thought it was then possible to do work 
or hold a funeral. For Col. Peter Wag- 
ner's funeral, who lived and died near 
Fort Plain, six gallons were purchased 
for |;9 in 1813. Such rooms were mostly 
heated by a large open fire place; stoves 
had njt yet been invented, or at least had 
not been introduced. Some had a large 
stone or bricked base in the center of the 
bar room, slightly higher than the 
wooden floor. On it was a sheet iron 
box; in it the wood fire was made. A 
pipe carried off the smoke. It heated 
the room better than the other method. 

Another method was to heat the bar 
room from the kitchen, by means of an 
iron box, consisting of four cast iron 
plates about six feet in length, and one 
end plate which closed up the end in the 
bar room ; the end in the kitchen was 
not closed— there the cooking was done. 
A stone wall divided the two apartments. 
This method was practiced also on farms. 
Authority, the late John A. Failing. 
Such existed in Fort Kayser in Stone 

Some taverns had bunks with wooden 
covers along the side of the room. On 
the cover, the teamster eat his lunch; 
when he opened the lid, he bad a box 
raised from the floor to sleep in. Such 
luxurious accommodations were not the 
rule, but the exception. One favorite 
stopping place wasMcGowan's, in winter 
noted for its warm bar room and good 
fare and drinks. His fire-places were 
adjoinmg each other, showing a heat- 
ing front of a^^out 15 feet. To keep up 
the fire, he collected quantities of dry 


pine stumps; those consume slowly, and 
■once on fire, never stop burning. The bar 
room was large, but onh* about 7^ feet 
high; a tall man with a hat on his head 
nearly touched the ceiling. It was be- 
spattered with blood, the effect of the 
many fights which occurred, for it was 
the headquarters of the bullies of the 
turnpike. When asked 'why the stains 
were not removed, he said : "They 
showed that persons had been there who 
understood business " Fights were fre- 
quent, the people were rough hewn. 

At another much frequented place, an 
intoxicated Irishman without money, 
asked the landlord for a drink. He said 
"I will give you a drink,' roughly put- 
ting the fellow out by force, took him to 
the water trough in front of the house, 
forced the Irishman's head under the 
water exclaiming, "Now drink." 

Some time thereafter, another tipsy 
Irishman asked for a drink, he had no 
money to pay. Til give you a drink 
said the landlord, marching out the tipsy 
man to the water trough, intending to 
treat him as the former man -the fellow 
quickly laid the landlord into the water 
trough— he was not drunk, it was a reg- 
ular plan to obtain revenge. 


As no reports could be found, it is im- 
possible to state it; one can only surmise. 
An aged citizen, son of a former land- 
lord at Palatine Bridge, remembers that 
his father stabled 83 horses one night. 

Stage lines existed east and west of 
Albany ere the turnpikes were construct- 
ed, before 1790. Persons traveled on 
horseback (both male and female); 
others by their own conveyance, but 
after the pike was completed, traveling 
greatly increased. Then a better class 
•of taverns were built to accommodate 
that trade and private travel. 

The first mail received in Schenectady 
was in April, 1783, over one hundred 
years after its first settlement. In 1790, 
the first stage that carried mail, ran 
from Albany to Schenectady, Johnstown 
and Canajoharie, once each week. Fare 
three cents per mile. In 1792, the route 
extended to Fort Plain, Old Fort Schuy- 
ler, (now Utica) and Whitestown, once 

every two weeks. In 1794, the route ex- 
tended to Geneva and Canandaigua. In 
1812, says Munsell, "It was not an un- 
usual sight to see 8, 12 and even 14 stages 
on the Scotia Dyke at Schenectady, at 
one time." The average fare was four 
cents per mile. 

In 1811, a fast line ran day and night, 
from Albany to Buffalo in three days. 
The same company sent four coaches 
east and four west each day. The horsts 
were kept on a trot nearly all the time, 
the speed was ten miles per hour. 
The horses were changed every nine to 
twelve miles. The fare in 1831 was re- 
duced to four cents per mile, probably to 
compete with Erie canal packets. The 
route, according to Gordon's Gazeteer of 
1836, was via Onondaga, Auburn, Seneca 
Falls. Canandaigua, Rochester, Batavia 
and Buffalo. 

In 1833, the turnpike company sur- 
rendered its rights to the railroad com- 
pany, the latter paid $22.50 per share 
for the turnpike stock. 

The foregoing shows the beginnings 
and progressions on earth roads and its 
general growth after the pike was built. 
As the competing lines were established 
reduced rates followed; the business was 
growing until the completion of the Erie 
canal in 1825. While the canal was open 
the stages carried fewer passengers. 
During the winter and early spring the 
stages were still supported, but business 
became less and less, and in about 1843 
they stopped running. Tolls were col- 
lected long after that date. 


The tavern signs were of the swing or- 
der, painted on both sides. Those named 
after animals, such as R^-d Lion, Black 
Horse, White Horse, White Bear and 
Black Bear were most numerous. 
Among the unusual ones was one in 
the town of HerKiraer, at North Ilion. 
On one side was painted a gentleman 
on horse back, richly clad and elegantly 
mounted. Below it was the motto : "I 
am going to law." On the reverse side 
was a dilapidated man and horse with 
the motto : "I have been to law. ' 

Another represented a traveler on 
foot on one side; on the other a lepre- 


sentation of a '•Frolic;" a darkey fiddler, the twelve gates between utica and 

couples dancing, the females in short Schenectady. 

gowns, one fellow sitting with his best 1 Schenectady. 

girl on his lap. 2 Swartz's 8 miles west (now Cranes 

I remember seeing one that is pre- village), 

served; on it is a bee hive and the name 3 Caughnawaga (now Fonda), 

of the landlord; on the other : 4 Schenck's Hollow, (a little east of it) 
8ugar is sweet west of the Nose. 

And so is honey; 5 East of Wagner's Hollow road (now 

Here's the place cheese factory). 

To spend your money." ^ Garoga Creek, a little east of it. 

HORSE TRADING ^ ^^' Johnsville, lower end of it. 

Was much practiced. It is related that ^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ Bridge, 

two persons, each trying to get the bet- ^ Fink's Ferry, east of Little Falls, 

terof the bargain; A, who spoke in ^^ West Canada Creek (Herkimer), 

broken English, brought out his animal ^^ Sterling, six miles east of Utica. 

saying: -'He's an awful good horse, he ^^ ^^^^^ (formerly Old Fort Schuyler), 
is, only he doesn't look very good." B ^" ^^^ beginning of the 19th century, 

traded, but soon found that he had '"^"y charters were granted by the state 

traded for a blind horse. He tried to re- ^^ ^^"^ ^^^^^ ^^^ constructing turnpike 

cover damages by suit, but A proved ^^o^^^- The Great Western was located 

that I e told B that "he didn't /ooA; very further south. It started at Albany 

good." No damages for B. touched Carlisle, Cherry Valley, Otsego, 

Nailed upon the wall of every gate Chenango, Owego, Dansville, Aurora 

was a white oblong board containing the ^"^ Buffalo. At Chenango, a branch to 

rates of toll on the Schenectady and Utica connected both roads. The above, 

Utica turnpike, as follows : ^°'^ ^'^o ^^^ ro"^® ^^ the northern road 

Cents were found in "Gorden's Gazetee" for 

Sheep, per score 8 1836 

Cattle •' " IS ^^ statistics have been found, they 

Horses, " " 18 were private corporations. No reports 

Mules, " •' 18 were required by the state, and the turn- 
Horse and rider 5 pike officials have all gone to a land 

Tied horses, eacb 5 where wings, not wheels are used. 

Sulkies 12U , , », o r^ , ■ T^ „ 

(^jjjjjpg J2U John Meyer of Herkimer, Dan 1 Pans 

Chariots 25" of Johnstown and James Murdoch of 

Coaches 25 Schenectady, were officers of the Mo- 

Coachees 35 j^awk turnpike in 1803. In 1843, stages 

?ioTorae stages '[y/.'.[[^:Z\y.'.'. .'.'.'. lly, ^«^« t^'^^" ^^ ^^e Mohawk pike. 

Four horse staff es 18J^ Benton's history of Herkimer county. 

One horse wagons 9 says: "It was an immense thorough- 
Two horse wBgons 1214 fare for travel.'' 

Three horse wagons I5Ui t-> ■ ■ t^> ^xt-^^ • i oa~ j 

„ .. .. ^. J ^> . u Jt Benjamin DeWitt, m 1807, made out a 

Four tires under & laches 75 

Five " " •' " >• 87U complete statement of.the then existing 

Six *• " •' " " roads, published in "Transactions of the 
Onehorsecart 6 society for the promotion of useful arts 

;?::*' °^'''*''^ -^ in the state of New York." 

Three ox carts 8 t-.ii 

Four ox carts 10 "Koads then existed from the Hudson 

Six ox carts u river to Lake Erie, a distance of 350 

One horse sleigh 6 miles. Eighty-eight companies had been 

Two horse or ox sleighs G incorporated for turnpikes and bridges 

Three horse or ox sleighs '8 ■.< -^ i e ^ •,,• 

Four horse or ox sleighs 10 ^'^^ ^ ^^P'^^^ ^^ °^^'' ^""^ millions and 

Five liorse or ox sleighs 12 one-half of dollars, all within the period 

Six horse or ox sleighs 14 of seven years, embracing more than 


3,000 miles of road. Of these, 900 miles 
were then completed and were taking 

The longest continuous road was from 
the Massachusetts line, near Lebanon 
Springs to Albany, Schenectady, Utica, 
Canandaigua to Black Rock on Lake 
Erie — length 334 miles. This transient 
review of our turnpike roads will enable 
us to form a competent idea of the flour- 
ishing condition of the state, and the 
accelerated progress of her improve- 
ments. It will enable us to estimate 
how far these improvements are calcu- 
lated to favor the new settlements, to 
promote the increase of tluj state and to 
facilitate the transportation of produce 
and merchandise from its interior and 
remote parts, as well as to draw large 
supplies from the neighboring states." 


The distinguished editor of the Albany 
Evening Journal, Thurlow Weed, in nis 
autobiography, describing a trip down- 
ward in 1824, says: "Distance traveled 
in one day 64 miles. At Cayuga Bridge, 
the stage drove up to the tavern to water 
the horses. It was a dark and rainy 
night, the stage was full inside and out. 
A lady, closely veiled, came up to the 
steps, who was, as the keeper of the 
hotel said, very anxious, on account of 
sickness in the family where she resided, 
to get to Goodwin's that evening. The 
passengers said it was impossible, as 
there were already nine of them inside, 
but Mr. Spencer prompted by his sympa- 
thies or his politeness, as it was but four 
miles, thought a lady ought not to be 
refused a passage and offered, if she 
chose to accept it, a seat on his lap. The 
ofifer was accepted, the lady took her 
seat and the coach dashed off. At Good- 
win's tavern, where the lady got out. a 
light was brought to enable her to find 
some baggage. When she remeved her 
veil, a very ebony colored individual of 
the female gender was revealed to the 
consternation of Mr. Spencer and the 
amusement of the other passengers." 

'•A stage driver with four live horses 
was an institution. They would dash up 
to the post office and while waiting for 
the mail, gracefully throw his whip lash 


over the front horses playfully, and when 
approaching a place blow his!horn, crack 
his whip and crack jokes." 


He relates a phrenological discussion 
in which Gov. Yates floored his antago- 
nist by saying : "My head is not as long 
as Gov. Clinton's but it is a good deal 
t'icker." There were generally several 
intellectual persons aboard. One Myron 
Holly, a cultured man, could recite from 
memory by the hour, gems from British 
poets. A Mr. Grenger would, in the 
evening, recite from Burns, Moore and 
others, and a Mr. Richard L. Smith of 
Auburn, with his wit and drolleries 
would shorten the miles. The jokes and 
jibes of the stage drivers would, ae a 
class, be as racy and quaint as "Samuel 
in Pickwick." 

At Couch's tavern. East Canada Creek, 
a good meal was always served. 
Failing's, St. Johnsville, was noted for 
warm rooms in winter and good fare. 
At Kane's store, (Canajohane) there were 
five brothers, who resided at different 
cities, distinguished merchants. They 
were all gentlemen of education, accom- 
plished and refined. Sprakers, above 
the "Nose" was a noted place. Many 
anecdotes are related of the landlord, 
Han Yost. The landlord had a dispute 
with a person, without coming to an 
agreement. Spra/ker ended the discus- 
sion by saying : "I tell you there's worse 
men in hell than you are, Wagner," 
(pausing with eyes toward the floor) 
"but they are all chained," 

Stage travel as described by an English 
gentlemen, named Fowler in 1831: 

"Roads to Utica very rough— it is 
called Baggtown. Stage driver does 
not look for fees, as in England say- 
ing, "Please I stop here." At Inns, 
look for no bowing landlord or waiter, 
the bar room is the only inhabited room. 
Within it are conveniences for washing, 
a comb and brush attached together by 
a string from the ceiling used by all 
comers and goers. The walls are covered 
with advertisements, lectures, quack 
medicines, auctions, stage lines, new 
shad, Wads worth's cheese, stray horse, 
a trunk gone, etc." 

TOLL GATES. the means of going have changed, but 

"Toll gates do not swing on hinges, the direction is the same, 
as in England, but lift up by the port- These are important features in the 

cuUis-a custom used in countries, re- early history of the state of New York 

ferred to by that beautiful and sublime ^""^ ^f the Mohawk Valley, scarcely 

passage in Psalms, "Lift up your heads, "^ticed by historians and not mentioned 

O ye gates, and be ye lifted ^up ye ever- ^^ all by school histories, by which the 

lasting doors and the King of Glory scholars of the state of New York are 

shall come in." supposed to be correctly instructed, they 

. , , do not even mention the matter. They 

We close the second period of com- , . .^. ,, , .,,. „ ., „ . ^ 

. , . . , , ,. , . , . , begin with the building of the Erie Ca- 

merical highways by noting their feeble ? „., ^ u u <-u ^i i- ^e „ ui„4^^^„ 

,./v> Tl . • • ^- ^ m, X nal. What would be thought of a history 

but difficult beginnings: First -The In- ^f ^he American Revolution, the writer 

land Navigation company comprising beginnin g with Washington crossing the 

211 miles of which b miles only were by „ ■ o mu • p .- u- <- .. 

, „, ., -^ , . f Delaware? These imperfect histories are 

canal. Second— The turnpikes which ^, u ^u ..*. a r ^^ 

„ . . the cause why the present and former 
competed with the Navigation com- .. ,. ■ e a 4^u-r, 

*^ , . , , . . .^ generations were not informed on this 

pany, those existed during 40 to 45 years. .. ^ u- 4. p i -xx^^ -v^-^^i, 

f^, - ' , , ^, . ^ . i ^, important subiect of early New York 

Thev developed the interior of the , . \, 

" insLorv 
state so that the building of the Erie 

Canal became a necessity in 1825. The school histories are the fountains, 

The canal was the lever which ^hi^h if revised, would at once mend 

raised this state to an Empire. The ^^^ matter; it could be done by an ap- 

cana in time was succeeded by P^^^*^ ^^ ^ ^^^ P^^^'"^ , , , 
^. -, J ^1 , , -J Let us direct our efforts toward re- 
the railroad, the foufith period ^. , . ,- , j. ■ ^ u ^ 

questing such publishers to insert what 

which exists at this time. The direction bas been omitted, that seems to be a duty 

of travel first adopted was followed by societies and educators owe to the which 

all, by it we go to the Pacific Ocean to present and future generations of New 

China and Japan. It encircles the globe, York. 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, December 14, 1897. 

Religion in some form is the great con- after emigrants from Holland continued 

cern of mankind. It is the most potent to come here. 

factor in the growth, social development In 1626, there was neither a clergy- 

and civilization of nations. It may be man nor schoolmaster in the province, 

embryonic and crude, and yet it enters and two laymen were appointed to read 

into the web and woof of national char- the scriptures and the creeds to the peo- 

acter; and the historian who fails to give pie on Sunday. The first minister. Rev. 

it attention will but imperfectly write Jonas Michaelius, came here from Hol- 

the story of any people. It played an land in 1628. At the first administra- 

important part in the early settlement tion of the Lord's Supper by him, soon 

of this country, and many of the early after his arrival, there were fifty com- 

settlers came here under its influence, municants. In a letter written by him 

They brought their religion with them, to a Dutch Reformed clergyman at Am- 

and however much they may have failed sterdam, he described the Indians as fol- 

to practice its precepts, their belief in its lows : "As to the natives of the coun- 

tenets was intense and unfaltering. For try, I find them entirely savage and 

more than one hundred years after wild, strangers to all decency, yea, un- 

Luther, in 1517, nailed his theses to the civil and stupid as posts, proficient in all 

door of the castle church at Whitten- wickedness and godlessness; devilish 

berg and offered to defend them against men who serve nobody but the devil, 

all opponents, there were no neutrals in that is, the spirit which in their language 

religion and men fought bravely and they call Maneto, under which title they 

died heroically for their religious opm- comprehend everything that is subtle 

ions. and crafty, and beyond human skill and 

Hendrick Hudson, an Englishman in power. They have so much witchcraft, 

the service of the Dutch East India Com- divination, scoroery and wicked tricks 

pany, sailed into the Bay of New York that they cannot be held in by any bands 

and up the Hudson River in 1609. For or locks. They are thievish and treach- 

several succeeding years trading ven- erous as they are tall; and in cruelty 

tures were made by the Dutch to this they are more inhuman than the people 

province, but no attempt was made to of Barbary and far exceed the Africans." 

colonize it until 1623 when the Dutch In 1608, the Puritans, with their min- 

West India Company, chartered in 1621, ister, Rey,,^John Robinson, fled from 

sent over here thirty families; and there- England to escape from persecution 


there to Holland, and settled at Leyden. 
There they organized a congregation, 
and enjoyed the religious freedom which 
was denied them in their native land.' 
They were not however entirely satisfied 
with their home in Holland; and in 1619, 
they applied to the Dutch government 
for permission to go to and settle on the 
Hudson River in New Netherlands, 
promising to take with them four hun- 
dred families. The government declined 
to comply with a portion of their re- 
quests; and then in 1620, a portion of 
them crossed the Atlantic and landed at 
Plymouth and stamped their character- 
istics upon the religioa and politics of 
New England It would be an interest 
ing speculation, in which I cannot now 
indulge, to consider what would have 
been the course of politics and religion 
here if the Puritan Pilgrims had come 
here, and what it would have been in 
New England if they had not gone there. 
A room was first fitted up for religious 
services in New Amsterdam in 1626 in 
the loft of a horse mill within the fort, 
where prayers were read for seven years. 
Then, in 1633, a wooden church was 
erected much in appearance like a barn 
on the shore of the East River; and Do- 
mine Everardus Bogardus was installed as 
minister. That church edifice was used 
until 1642 when a new edifice was erect- 
ed within the walls of the fort. Some 
difficulty was encountered in raising the 
money to build the church. After many 
subscriptions of money had been ob- 
tained for the purpose, much yet re- 
mained to be raised; and it is said that a 
little management, which would do 
credit even to the church builders of 
these days, extricated the projectors 
from their difficulty. A daughter of 
Domine Bogardus was opportunely to be 
married. The principal citizens, were 
invited to the wedding, and wiue circu- 
lated freeh' and all were merry. When 
the festivities had reached their height, 
the subscription paper was produced and 
the excited guests vied with each other 
in the amount of their donations. There 
were some the next morning who would 
feign have recalled their reckless liber- 
ality. But it was too late. The hilar- 

ious Dutchman had been caught and 
they were held to their subscriptions. 

Domine Bogar.ius was a forceful char- 
acter and administered his ministerial 
ofiice with a high hand. He rebuked 
Governor VanTwiller for his conduct in 
public affairss, and anathamatized him 
from the pulpit as a child of the devil, 
and declared that he would give him 
"such a shake from the pulpit on the 
next Sunday as would make him shud- 
der." And from the pulpit he also af- 
terward denounced Governor Keith as 
a vessel of wrath and a fountain of woe 
and trouble. Keith retorted by having 
cannon fired, drums beaten, and all 
kinds of noisy games carried on about 
the church on Sunday. In the govern- 
mental records of the year 1838, it is re- 
corded that "for slandering the Rev- 
E. Bogardus a woman was obliged to 
appear at the sound of a bell in the 
fort before the Governor and Coun- 
cil and to saj^ that she knew that he was 
honest and pious and that she lied false- 
ly." Domine Bogardus was the second 
husband of Aneke Jans, who at her 
death transmitted to her heirs the real 
estate which now so enriches Trinity 
church in New York city. 

The first church in Albany was the 
Dutch church erected about 1642, and 
Domine Magapolensis was its first min- 
ister. The first English church there 
Avas St. Peter's, completed in 1716, and 
its first rector was Rev, Thomas Barclay. 

The Dutch who came here were gen- 
erally tolerant in matters of religion: and 
all the inhabitants generally enjoyed 
freedom of conscience. The consequence 
was that the colony was the asylum of 
those who fled from persecution in Eu- 
rope and the Provinces of New England; 
and here were found Huguenots, 
Quakers, Catholics, Baptists and other 
sects generally living together in har- 
mony. Governor Stuyvesant. the last 
of the Dutch go'^ernors was a stern Cal- 
vanist, and he cruelly persecuted Bap- 
tists, Lutherns, and Quakers, and endeav- 
ored to mabe his church the state 
church. But he was rebuked by the di- 
rectors of the West India Company. 
They wrote him, "Let every one remain 


free, so long as he is modest, moderate, 
his political conduct irreproachable, and 
as long as he does not offend others or 
oppose the government. ***** 
Let every peaceable citizen enjoy free- 
dom of conscience. This maxim has 
made our city the asylum for fugitives 
from every land. Tread in these see us 
and you shall be blessed." When the 
English took this colony from the Dutch 
in 1664. the Dutch secured in the articles 
of capitulation a provision that *'The 
Dutch shall enjoy the liberty of their 
•consciences iadivine worship and church 

During the Dutch ascendency here 
there were but few churches, all Dutch 
Reformed— one in New York, one at 
Albany, one on Long Island, and possi- 
bly one more ; and but three or four 
ministers. As late as 1650 there was a 
time when there was but one minister in 
the entire colonJ^ 

The Dutch ministers made no serious 
efforts to christianize the Indians, con- 
sidering the task to be hopeless. They 
sent no missionaries to live or labor 
among them, and did not much come in 
contact with them, except that the mm- 
ister at Albany devoted some attention 
to them. It is said that the clergy at 
New York succeeded in teaching one 
young savage the prayers so that he 
could repeat the responses of the church 
and also read and write well. He 
was furnished with the bible and was 
sent to evangelize the heathen, but he 
pawned the book for brandy, became a 
thorough beast and did more harm than 

The Dutch were generally Calvanists 
belonging to the Reformed church 
and their ministers were treated by 
their people with great consideration. 
Thei^ was much formality in their ser- 
vices, which were always conducted 
in Dutch until the year 1664 when the 
first English sermon was preached in a 
Dutch church in the colony Their 
church customs were peculiar. The 
officiating minister was always clothed 
in a black silk gown with large flowing 
sleeves; and he preached from a high 
circular pulpit covered with a sounding 

board. A pew was set aside for the 
deacons, and the clerk occupied a place 
in that p'^w. The clerk prefaced the 
sermon in the morning by reading a 
chapter from the bible, and in the after- 
noon by chanting the apostoHc creed. 
All notices designed to be publicly read 
were received by him from the sexton, 
then inserted into the end of a long pole, 
and thus passed to the minister in his 
lofty pulpit. Before entering the pulpit, 
the minister raised his hat t)efore his 
face and silently asked a blessing upon 
his labors. After uttering the conclud- 
ing words of his text, he exclaimed, 
"Thus far 3" before proceeding with his 
sermon. He had an hour glass at hli 
right side and was entitled to an hour 
for his sermon ; and when the last grain 
of sand had run out of the glass, the 
clerk gave three raps with his cane and 
brought the sermon to a close. Then 
the deacons rose in their pew, listened 
to a short address from the minister, 
and with velvet bays and bells hung to 
long rods went among the congregation 
from pew to pew collecting alms for the 
poor. A story is told of a domine, who, 
one hot summer day, seeing the clerk 
asleep and the people drowsy, quietly 
turned over the hour glass, and after 
seeing the sand run out for the second 
time, remarked to the congregation that 
since they had been patient in sittmg 
through two glasses he would now pro- 
ceed with the third. 

Some of these customs came down far 
into this century. I can remember when 
the deacons in the Dutch church here 
sat in their pew and took the Sundaj- 
collections in bags at the ends of long 
poles with bells to attract the attention 
of the drowsy or reluctant givers of alms 
for the poor and the expense, of the 

After the government of the province 
passed to the English in 1664. the Dutch 
Reformed church soon ceased to be the 
dominant church, and other denomina- 
tions came here from England and Hol- 
land. Chaplains of the E^nglish cihuich 
came here with the soldiers and offici- 
ated in the forts at New York and Al- 
banj'; and that church became and re- 


mained during the colonial period sub- 
stantially the established church, sup- 
ported by taxation where it existed; and 
its church edifices were in some cases 
built y taxation. 

After the reformers in the sixteenth 

to the fort of the Church of England, 
secondly a Dutch Calvanist, thirdly a 
French Calvanist, fourthly a Dutch 
Luthern. Here be not many of the 
church of England, few Roman Catho- 
lics, abundance of Quakers, preachers 

century broke away from the church of men and women, women especially, 

Rome, being released from the shackles singing Quakers, ranting Quakers, Saba- 

of authority, they followed many differ- tariaas, anti Sabatarians, some Anabap- 

ent paths. There was independent tists, some Independents, some Jews, in 

thinking in matters of religion. The 
bible was taken as the only standard of 
faith, and every reformer in Germany 
and Holland claimed the right to inter- 
pret it according to his best lights. The 

short of all sorts of opinions there are 
some and the most part none at all. 

****** The most prevailing 
opinion is that of the Dutch Calvanists. 

***** jj; ig (;jje Budcavor of 

result in a few years was many warring all persons here to bring up their child- 
sects; and representatives of those sects ren and servants to that opinion which 
soon found their way to this colony, at- themselves profess, but this I observe 
tracted here by the toleration practiced they take no care of the conversion of 
in matters of religion. their slaves." 

In 1678, Governor Andrus answering In January 1689, after William and 
certain questions of the Lords of Trade Mary became the sovereigns of England, 
concerning the province, wrote that the militia of the city of New York ad- 
"There are religions of all sorts— one dressed a memorial to them complain- 
church of England, several Presbyter- ing of the arbitrary and oppressive rule 
ians and Independents, Quakers, Ana- of the papists and the exclusion of pro- 
baptists of several sects, some Jews, but testants from all participation in the 
Presbyterians and Independents most government. It was then that Liesler 
numerous and substantial. * * * * headed an insurrection against the pro- 
I'here are about twenty churches or vincial government, took possession of 
meeting places, of which about half are the fort and administered the govern- 

vacant, their allowance like to be from 
forty to seventy pounds a year and a 
house and garden." 

In a memoir by M. Lamonthe, a 
Catholic, on Acadia, New England and 
Virgmia, in 1693, he said : "The plan- 

ment and disarmed the Catholics. In 
the instructions given by the home gov- 
ernment in January 1689 to Col. Henry 
Sloughter, Governor of the Colony, he 
was commanded to give liberty of con- 
science to all persons except papists; 

tation of New York was composed of and in 1693, the fourth year of the reign 

Calvanists, Lutherns, Anabaptists, Jews, of the same sovereigns. Governor 

Quakers, Abadiens, French Protestants Fletcher was similarly instructed; and 

aud some Catholics, and that each sect so was Governor Hunter in 1709. In 

had its church and freedom of religion." 1697 Governor Bellomont was instructed 

Col. Thomas Dongan was governor of not to prefer any minister to any eccle- 

the province during the reign of James liastical benefice here without a certifi- 

II, and he was a Roman Catholic. While cate from the Bishop of London that he 

he was here, the Catholics increased in was conformable to the doctrine and dis- 

numbers and most of the colonial oflfi- cipline of the church of England; and 

cers including the mayor aud collector all schoolmasters were to be licensed by 

were Catholics, and the city of New the same Bishop. 

York was practically under their con- On account of the hostility between 

trol. In a report made by him to the the English and French, the Roman 

home government in 1686, he said: Catholics who were mostly French were 

"Every town ought to have a minister, always regarded by the other colonists 

New York has first a chaplain belonging with suspicion. Except during the 


reign of King James, they were here as 
in England, excluded from all public 
employment. There was always fear 
that they might communicate informa- 
tion to the Frenc h in Canada, and that 
French Catholic missionaries among the 
Indians might incite hostility to the Eng- 
lish and ally the Indians to the French. 
Hence the English made constant en- 
deavor to thwart the Roman Catholic 
missionaries among the Indians. After 
the English revolution in 1688, when 
King James II was driven from the 
throne and took refuge with the French, 
the few Roman Catholics here were put 
under strict surveillance. At an alder- 
mauic election in the city of New York, 
in 1689, they were excluded from the 
right to vote. Their number must have 
considerably diminished for in 
W96, Governor Fletcher found but ten 
Roman Catholics in the city of New 
York. He caused them to be disarmed 
and required them to give bonds for 
their good behavior or to be conlined in 
prison; and at that time they were not 
permitted to come into the province, 
and liberty of conscience was secured to 
all the colonists but Catholics. 

In 1698 Governor Bellomont writing 
to the English Board of Trade said : 
"Some French that passed for Protestants 
in this province during the war have 
since been discovered to be Papists, and 
one would suppose their business was to 
give intelligence to Canada," and he re- 
fused denization to French Catholics. 

On August 37th, 1700, the sachems of 
the five nations came to Albany to meet 
Governor Bellomont, and they asked 
him for Protestant ministers to be 
located at Onondaga. They were evi- 
dently looking for some material advan- 
tages for they said : "It was the French 
custom to clothe all those Indians that 
are baptized and received into their 
church. This we presume is a great in- 
ducement for our people to turn Papists. 

* * * * We fear that Corlear will 
not clothe the converts as the governor 
of Canada does, for when our Indians 
are hunting and have bad luck, taking 
nothing, they go to Canada and the gov- 
ernor clothes them by which means they 


are induced to turn Papists." In 170 ) 
the same governor complained that Irish 
recruits just come from Ireland were 
Papists and that they were mutinous. 
Lieutenant Governor Clarke writing to 
the English Board of Trade in 1741 said 
there was reason to suspect that "Popery 
had a hand" in the great Negro plot of 
that year, and upon the confession of 
two negroes "that the Roman Catholics 
told the Negroes that there was no sin 
or wickedness in burning the homes and 
taking the lives of the white people." 
No one now believes there was any 
ground for this suspicion which was in- 
dused by the prejudice then existing 
against the Catholics and the excited and 
prejudiced state of the public mind. 

The Catholics during the time of the 
English dominion, were not permitted 
to build any church in the colony; and 
they built their first church after the 
formation of the state government in 
1786 in the city of New York and their 
second church in 1797 in the city of Al- 

The number of the clergymen of the 
English church was at no time great 
during the colonial period. After the 
conquest of the colony by the English, 
not one in ten of the inhabitants was an 
adherent of that church. After Fletcher 
came here as governor in 1692, one of 
his chief aims was to establish the Eng- 
lish church here. This was opposed by 
a majority of the inhabitants who spoke 
Dutch and regarded the Dutch church 
as the established church; After some 
difficulty, he succeeded in genting the 
colonial assembly to pass an act which 
furthered his aim. The act was passed 
Sept. 22, 1693, the fifth year of Wil- 
liam and Mary, and was entitled "An 
act for Settling a Ministry and Raising a 
Maintenance for them in the City of 
New York and the Counties of Rich- 
mond, Westchester and Queens." Its 
preamble was as follows : "Whereas 
profaness and licentiousness hath of late 
overspread this province for want of a 
settled ministry- throughou he same; to 
the end that the same may be remedied 
and the ordinances of the Lord duly ad- 
ministered" ; and it was enacted that a 

Protestant minister should be called and 
inducted within one year— one for the 
City of New York; one for tb« County 
of Richmond; two for tb« County of 
Westchester, one of whom was to have 
the care of Westchester, Eastchester, 
Yonkers and the Manor « f Pel- 
ham, and the other to have the 
oare of Rye, Mamarenock, and 
Redford, and two for Queens County, 
one of whom was to have the eare of 
Jamaica and the adjacent farms and 
towns, and the other to have the care of 
Hamstead and the adjacent towns: and 
the following salaries were provided in 
the act : For the City and County of 
New Y'^ork one hundred pounds; for the 
two precincts of Westcheater one hun- 
dred pounds— to each fifty pounds to be 
paid in country produce at money price; 
for the county of Richmond forty 
pounds to be paid in the same way ; and 
for the two precincts of Queens County 
one hundred and twenty pounds -to 
each sixty pounds to be paid in the same 
way. The salaries were to be raised by 
taxes upon the city and counties. The 
word Protestant in this act was con- 
strued to mean a minister of the Church 
of England, and all the inhabitants of 
the four counties were compelled by the 
payment of taxes to support that church 
whatever might be their religious opin- 

In pursuance of that act Trinity 
Church in New Y^ork City was incorpor- 
ated and built. It was completed and 
opened for worship, February 6th, 1697, 
Rev. William Vesey having been in- 
ducted as its first rector; and he contin- 
ued to be rector until July 11th, 1746, 
nearly fifty years. The church thus 
erected in 1696 and 1697 was a small 
square edifice with a very tall apire. A 
pew in it was appropriated to the mayor 
and common council and a sermon was 
annually preached to them on the day 
of the city election, which was supposed 
to quicken their consciences and stimu- 
late them to the discharge of their civic 
duties. By the act above mentioned the 
English church became the established 
church. In 1671, Col. Lovelace, then 
Governor, bought the land left by Aneke 

Jans of her heirs aid it was incorpor-;] 
ated with the King's farm; and in 1703v 
Queen Ann presented to Trinity Churcb| 
the King's farn>, which now coustilutea 
its great wealth. 

The salary of the English minister in 
New Y'^ork remained ©ne hundred 
pounds raised by taxation, until 1703, 
when it was, by an act of the colonial 
government, raised to on« hundred and 
sixty pounds, during the life of Mr. 
Vesey, then rector; but it was subse- 
quently reduced, because I find that in 
1762, the salary was oue hundred pounds- 
in the city, and elsewhere in the \'icinity 
but fifty pounds, raised by taxation. 
Governor Bellomont, writing in 1700 to 
the secretary of the English Board of 
Trade, said he did not like ministers 
bred at Cambridge College, in New Eng- 
land for Church of England ministers, 
"for in New England the ministers pray 
extempore and mightily decry set forms 
of prayer inasmuch that they never use 
the Lord's prayer at any time." 

The society "for propogating the gos- 
pel in foreign parts," was organized in 
London sometime before 1758 and its 
plain purpose was to fight infidelity and 
popery, and it fostered the early church 
of England churches in this country and 
sent missionaries here. And Kings, 
now Columbia College, in the City of 
New York, was chartered in 1754 for the 
same purpose. The Presbyterians op- 
posed its incorporation. 

The Quakers as early as 1686, were 
quite numerous in the colony; and they 
were found mostly in the counties of 
Westchester and Queens. Sometimes, 
then as since, the garb of the Quaker 
was worn for effect by those not entitled 
to it. In 1699, Governor Bellomont com- 
plained that many Jacobites in Queens 
county pretended to be Quakers to avoid 
taking the oaths of allegience to King 
William, "hut soon after, at the elec- 
tion of assemblymen, these very persons 
pulled off the mask of Quakerism and 
were got very drunk and fought blood- 
ily." In 1733, complaint was made 
against the sheriff of Westchester coun- 
ty that he refused to take the votes of 
thirty-eight Quakers at the election for 


members of assembly, although 
they were well-known, reputable citi- 
zens, and in fact qualified voters. His 
answer to the charge was that they re- 
fused to take the proper oath when ten- 
dered to them. In 1734, a colonial act 
was passed granting to Quakers the 
same privileges which they possessed 
under the statutes of England. Prior to 
that they could not vote without taking 
the oath required of other voters and 
that their conscentious scruples forbade 
their taking. Governor Cosby said of 
them: "It is certain they are not 
the most tractable people where they are 
numerous, as in one or two counties they 

The Presbyterians, during most of the 
colonial period, were the most numerous 
denomination. Their first minister in 
this colony came here in 1706 and was 
Rev. Francis McKemie. The first Pres- 
byterian church in the colony was built 
in the city of New York in 1719. The 
first Baptist church was erected in New 
York City in 1760. The first Methodist 
church in the colony was erected in New 
York in 1768 and was called Wesley 

A few Jews came here at an early day, 
and their first synagogue was erected in 
the City of New York in 1730. In 1737 
it was decided in a contest over the 
oflace of member of assembly that the 
Jews had no right to vote for assembly- 
m n; and they were excluded from office 
as they were in England. There was at 
that time great prejudice against them 
in the colony, and they occasionally suf- 
fered acts < f violence and indignities 
which went unredressed in the courts. 
Their talent for money getting had an 
interesting illustration. In 1765 a Jew 
by the naaie of Myers took two Mohawk 
Indians to England for exhibition, where 
they excited great interest and curiosity. 
While he was exhibiting them in a 
tavern in London, the attention of the 
King was called to the matter, and he 
caused them to be returned to this coun- 
try, directed to Sir William Johnson, at 
the public expense. 

I cannot find that during the Dutch 
ascendency much attention was paid to 


the conversion of the slaves to Christian- 
ity, or to the irreligious instruction. Soon 
after the conquest of the colony by the 
English, the Colonial Governor was in- 
structed to have laws passed looking to 
the spiritual wellfare of the slaves; but 
the colonists were reluctant, fearing that 
the baptism of slaves would emancipate 
them; and it was not until 1706 that a 
Colonial law was passed quieting their 
scruples by providing that the baptism 
of a slave should not result in emancipa- 
tion. After that, slaves were frequently 
found kneeling at the same altar with 
their masters. 

After the colony passed under the do- 
minion of the English, there was much 
missionary effort among the Indians, 
stimulated by pure religious zeal for 
their spiritual welfare, and also by the 
desire to counteract the influence of the 
Jesuits who came among them from 
Canada, and whose efforts were sup- 
posed to be directed to attract their 
trade from Albany to Canada, and their 
friendship to the French in the war with 
the English. This missionary work was 
greatly fostered by Sir William John- 
son, effectually aided by Rev. Dr. Wi ee- 
lock who established a school at Le- 
banon, Conn., for the education of In- 
dian boys, aB which the famous chief 
Brant was educated; and by Rev. John 
Christopher Hartwick, the founder of 
Hartwick Seminary in Otsego County; 
and by the Rev. Samuel KirUland, the 
founder of Hamilton College. The lat- 
ter learned their language and was a 
missionary among them, particularly 
the Oneidas, for forty years commenc- 
ing in 1766. The Rev. Dr. John Stew- 
art was the last missionary among the 
Mohawks, and he could preach and con- 
verse with them in their own language. 
The book of Comtnon Prayer was print- 
ed after much difficulty ia the Mohawk 
tongue about 1769; and was used among 
the Indians. It was printed in New 
York by William Weyman and Hugh 
Gaines. The whole of the bible was 
never translated into the language of 
any of the Six Nations. A small por- 
tion of it was. There were many de- 
voted and self sacrificing Catholic Mia- 

sionaries among the Six Nations, the 
most famous of whom was Father 
Jogues. He was a Jesuit Missionary 
who came from France to Quebec in 
1636. While on his way to his labors 
among the Hurons in 1643, he was 
captured by tlie Mohawks; and after 
suffering the most excruciacing tortures 
he was in 1643 taken to Eort Orange, 
from whence by the kindly aid of the 
Dutch and the payment of a large ran- 
som by them he was enabled to escape 
from the Indians, and he returnad to 
France. After remainmg in France for 
a time recuperating his health and 
strength, he was again impelled by his 
religious zeal to return to the Mohawks 
as a missionary amon,^; those most cruel 
savages, and after enduring much ex- 
treme cruelty from them he was killed 
at Caughnawaga, Montgomery county. 
Thus died the first and only missionary 
martyr in this colony, as the historian 
Parkman says "one of the purest ex- 
amples of Roman Catholic virtne which 
this western continent has seen." Pil- 
grimages of pious Catholics are annual- 
ly made to his shrine at Auriesville. 

While witchcraft was extensively be- 
lieved in this colony as it was all over the 
Christian world in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, the belief never produced the dis- 
asterous results here which it did in 
New England. So far as I can learn, 
there was never but one trial for witch- 
craft in this co'ony, and that was in the 
City of New York in the year 1665, 
many years before witches were hung 
at Sa'em. The prisoners were Ralph 
Hall and Mary his wife, and they were 
indicted for causing the death by witch- 
craft of George Wood and his infant 
child, at a place on Long Island. They 
both plead not guilt and according to 
the legal forms of that day "threw 
themselves to be tried by God and the 
country." The case was brought tc 
trial before a jury and the jury brought 
in the following verdict : "We have 
seriously considered the case submitted 
to our charge against the prisoners at 
the bar, and having well weighed the 
evidence, we find that are some suspici- 
ons by the evidence of what the woman 

is charged with, butnoihing considerable 
of value to take away her life. But in 
reference to the man. we find nothing 
considerable to charge him with." One 
would have supposed that this verdict 
would have resulted in the discharge of 
the prisonerss; but not so. The court 
thereupon gave this sentence : "That 
the man should he bound body and 
goods for his wife's appearance ac the 
next sessions and so on from session to 
session as long as they stay within this 
government; in the meanwhile to be 
of the good behavior." So thpy were 
returned into the Sheriff's custody and 
upon entering into a recognisance they 
were released The proof upon the 
trial seems to have been as strong aginst 
Ihem as it was against the witches who 
sufferred death at Salem. Subse- 
quently in the year 1670, Katherine 
Harrison, a widow, moved from 
Weathersfield in the Colony of Connect- 
icut to Westchester; and her neighbors 
made complaint against her that she 
was a witch; and she was summoned to 
appear before Governor Nic )lls at the 
f oi t in New York; and by him was re- 
quired to give a bond for her good be- 
havior, until the charge against her 
could be investigated. The case was 
subsequently examined and nothing 
being found against her, she was released 
from her bonds and permitted to re- 
main in the colony; and so ended all 
the prosecutions here for witchcraft; 
and this colony was spared the ignominy 
of executing witches which stained the 
judicial annals of England, and New 
England and of many other countries. 

We have here an illustration of what 
I have frequently observed in my read- 
ing that in prosections for witchcraft, 
women were in all countries the most 
frequent sufferers. In Salem, of the 
nineteen who were hung in 1693 for 
witchcraft, thirteen were women. 

The Dutch were a merry people. They 
were not ascetics like the Independants 
and Puritans. They were fond of dan- 
cing and other amusements. They went 
to church on Sunday, and afterwards 
visited their neighbors, or indulged in 
innocent recreations, and sometimes 


sports which refreshed both soul and 
body. I cannot find that during the 
Dutch ascendency, th« observance of 
Sunday was ever enforced by the im- 
position of any penalties. But in 1682, 
while Thomas Dongan was Governor, 
a case occurred at Southbold on Long 
Island which must have been due to 
New England Puritanism transplanted 
there. An ox of Nathaniel Baker 
strayed from his fold on Saturday 
and he went in pursuit of it and 
r ot finding it on that day he stayed 
out over night; and the next day, 
Sunday, finding it he drove it home. 
For this work on Sunday, he was ar- 
T-ested and fined by the Court of sessions 
with costs nine pounds, three shillings 
and three pence which he was obliged to 
pay. He was also required to enter in- 
to bonds in the penalty of twenty pounds 
for his good behavior. This was not a 
typical case, and it has no fellow in the 
annals of this state. 

I will now call attention to a few 
colonial acts bearing upon the subject of 
religion and illustrating our colonial his- 
tory and the manners and social condi- 
tion, of the people. November 3rd, 1685, 
an act "Against Sabbath Breaking" was 
passed with this preamble: "For as 
much as there is nothing more accept- 
able to God than the true and sincere 
service and worship of Him according to 
His holy will, and that the holy keeping 
of the Lord's day is a principal part of 
the true service of God which in very 
many places of this province hath been 
and now is profaned and neglected by 
unlawful traveling or journeying upon 
the day aforesaid, by shooting, horse 
hunting, horse racing, riding on steeds, 
unnecessary hunting and tippling in ale 
houses, taverns and other public houses, 
and other unlawful exercises and pas- 
times, also exercising worldly labor, busi- 
ness or work of ordinary calling except 
work of necessity and charity or other 
extraordinary occasions to be allowed 
by some justice of the peace on the 
Lord's day" ; and it was enacted that 
any person who should be convicted of 
any of the Sabbath breaking mentioned 
in the preamble "before any one justice 

of the peace, or constable in his absence, 
of any town by view, confession or proof 
of one or more sufficient witnesses" 
should for every offense forfeit and pay 
the sum of six shillings and eight pence 
to the use of the town or place where 
the olfense was committed. On the 
same day another act was passed 
"Against Swearing and Cursing" with 
this preamble ; "For as much as all pro- 
fane swearing and cursing is forbidden 
by the word of God"; and it was enacted 
"That if any person or persons shall at 
any time hereafter profanely nwear or 
curse in the hearing of any justice of 
the peace in the county, or any mayor 
or head officer in any city, town or vil- 
lage where such offence shall be com- 
mitted, or shall be thereof cnnvicted by 
the oath of two witnesses, or by con- 
fession of the party before any such 
justice of the peace, or head officer, 
every such offender being above the age 
of twelve years shall for every time so 
offending forfeit to the use of the poor 
of such place where such offense shall be 
committed the sum of one shilling" : 
and upon the refusal of the offender to 
pay, it was provided that the sum should 
be "collected of his goods, and in de- 
fault of goods that the offender should be 
committed to the stocks for the space of 
three whole hours." And it was fur- 
ther enacted that if the offender was un- 
der the age of twelve years and should 
be convicted and should not forthwith 
pay the penalty of one shilling, he should 
be whipped by the constable, or by his 
parent or master in the presence of the 

October 27th, 1695, another act was 
passed "Against profanation of the 
Lord's day called Sunday", with the fol- 
lowing preamble: "Whereas the true 
and sincere service and worship of God 
according to His holy will and com- 
mandments is often profaned and neg- 
lected by many of the inhabitants and 
sojourners within this province who do 
not keep holy the Lord's day, but in a 
disorderly manner accustom themselves 
to travel, laboring, working, shooting, 
fishing, playing, horse racing, frequent- 
ing of tippling houses and the using 


many other unlawful exercises and pas- it was enacted that every Jesuit and 
times upon the Lord's day Jo the great seminary priest, missionary or other 
scandal of the holy Christian faith"; and spiritual or ecclestical person made or 

it was enacted that every person includ- 
ing slaves that should be guilty of the 
Sabbath breaking mentioned in the pre- 
amble should forfeit for every i.ffense 
the sum of six shillings to be collected of 
the goods of the offender; and if not so 
collected, the offender being a white 
person, was to be set publicly in the 
stocks for the spa^e of three hours. But 

ordained by the Pope or See of Rome^ 
residing in the Province, shall depart 
therefrom; and all such as shall abide or 
come into the province after the first 
day of November then next, shall be 
deemed an incendiary and disturber of 
the public peace and safety, and an 
enemy to the true christian religion and 
shall be adjudged to suffer perpetual im- 

if he was an Indian or Negro slave, he prisonment; and if any person being so 

was to receive thirteen lashes on the sentenced and actually imprisoned shall 

bareback. And ir was made lawful for break prison and make his escape and 

any person to travel on the Lord's day or he be afterward retaken, he shall suffer 

to do any act of necessity, and to go to the pains of death, penalties and forfei- 

service and worship God in any church tures as in case of felony; that every 

or lawful meeting within the province person who shall wittingly receive, har- 

and thence to return provided such jour- bor, conceal, aid, su -cor and relieve any 

nev did not exceed twenty miles; and Romish priest, knowing him to be such, 

also that it should be lawful for the post and be thereof convicted, shall forfeit 

or any other person employed in his the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds 

majesty's service, or for any other per- — one half to the government and the 

son employed to bring a pliysician or a 
midwife to travel upon the Lord's day; 
but this permission did not extend to 
any native or free Indian not professing 
the Christian religion. 
The next act is one we would scarcely 

other half to the informer; and such 
person shall be further punished by 
being set in the pillory on three several 
days, and also be required to give secur- 
ity for his good behaviour at the discre- 
tion of the court; that it shall be lawful 
expect to find among the statutes of a for any justice of the peace to cause any 
colony which had to so large an extent person suspected of being a Romish 
been the home of toleration from its priest to be apprehended, and if such 
earliest settlement. Its intolerent spirit person shall fail to give satisfactory ac- 
was due largely to the fact that war count of himself to commit him for trial; 
then existed and for a long time had ex- that it shall be lawful for any person to 
isted between England and France, and apprehend without a warrant any Rom- 
the Romanists were in the popular mind sh priest and to bring him before the 
identified with the cause of France, governor or any two of the council to 
The act was passed August 9, 1700, and be examined and imprisoned in order to 
was entitled "Against Jesuits and Pop- his trial unless he can give a satisfac- 
ish Ministers,'' and it had this preamble : tory account of himself; and that, as it 
"Whereas divers Jesuit priests and Pop- will be esteemed and accepted as a good 
ish missionaries have of late come and service done for the King by the person 
for some time have had their residence who shall seize and apprehend any Rom- 
in the remote parts of this Province and ish priest, the Governor with the advice 
other of His Majesty's adjacent colonies, and consent of the Council may suitably' 

who by their wicked and subtle insin- 
uations industriously labor to debauch, 
seduce and withdraw the Indians from 
their due obedience unto his most Sac- 

reward him, provided that the act shall 
not extend to any Romish clergy who 
shall happen to be shipwrecked ©r 
through other adversities shall be cast 

red Majesty and to excite and stir them on shore or driven into the Province "so 
up to sedition, rebellion and hostility as he continue or abide no longer within 
against His Majesty's government "; and the same than he may have opportunity 


of passage for his departure; so also as 
such person immediately upon his arriv- 
al shall forthwith attend the Governor 
if near to the place of his residence, or 
otherwise on one or more of the Council 
or next justices of the peace, and ac- 
quaint him with his ciicumstances and 
observe the directions which they shall 
give him during his stay in the Pro- 
vince." I cannot find that this act was 
ever specifically repealed. It probably 
remained in force for more than three 
quarters of a century until it was nulli- 
fied by the adoption of the first state 
constitution in 1777, by which, in obed- 
ience to a public sentiment based upon 
broader views of public policy and hu- 
man rights, the freedom of religious be- 
lief and practice was secured to all the 
people of the state. 

I must not omit to mention a few facts 
of local interest. During the Colonial 
period there were but two churches in 
the territory now comprised within this 
county, one in this village and one at 
Fort Herkimer, called Fort Kouari. 
The first settlement was made in this 
village by the Palatines in 17t';3, and 
soon after that, a church was built here 
on the site of the present Reformed 
church. A church was also built at 
Fort Herkimer about the same time; and 
during the whole colonial period and 
for many years after the two churches 
were served by the same minister 
The present stone church at Fort 
Herkimer was completed in 1767 
and is one of the oldest if not 
actually the oldest church edifice 
in the state. These were probably not 

the first churches built by the Palatines 
after their arrival in this country. It is 
an interesting fact for the descendants 
of the Palatines residing here that the 
Palatines who came over with Governor 
Hunter in 1710 built a church on Broad- 
way in the City of New York on the 
present site of Grace Episcopal church 
which was after the English Conquest 
taken away from the Dutch, as other 
churches also were, by the adherants of 
the dominant English church. The 
Palatines who were sent over here by 
the English Governmf^nt in 1708, gen- 
erally settled at New burg; and King 
George, the first, in 1719, granted them 
a tract of 2,190 acres of land to live on, 
and to Andrais Volk and Jacob Webber 
as trustees and to their successors to and 
for the benefit and behoof of the Luthern 
minister to serve the people living on 
the tract, he granted a glebe of five 
hundred acres. It is noteworthy that 
Volk now spelled Folk and Webber 
have always been common names amone 
the descendants of the Palatines who 
came here, and as the Palatines to 
whom the tract was granted all sub- 
sequently sold their lots therein and re- 
moved therefrom, it is not improbale 
that Volk and Webbsr came here. Sub- 
sequently the glebe was conveyed by 
the Governor of the Colony to trustees 
for the benefit of the English church. 

I must now bring this paper to a close. 
I have not exhausted my theme. I have 
given the outlines which could be filled 
up with much interesting matter. But 
the necessities of this occasion forbid 
greater detail. 


1898 PAPERS 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Societ}-, January- ii, 1898. 

Who and what sort of man was John 
Jost Herkimer, the father of Gen. 
Nicholas Herkimer, the hero, in the 
revolutionary war of the Mohawk val- 
ley? He was born in GernVany in the lat- 
ter part of the seventeenth century. He 
came to this country with the Palatines 
in 1710, and with them settled on the 
Livingston Manor in what is now Colum- 
bia county. From Ihence, after a few 
years, he and other Palatines emigrated 
to Schoharie county. While residing 
there, in 1731, he and other Palatines 
petitioned Governor Burnet for leave to 
purcha-ie land of the Indians within this 
county; and, at a meeting of the Gov- 
ernor and his Council, leave was granted 
September 9th, 1721. In pursuance of 
such leave, a grant from the Indians was 
obtained July 9, 1722, The land granted 
was on both sides of the Mohawk river 
beginning below Little Falls and extend- 
ing to Frankfort, then called Gerren- 
dagaraeu. The Indian grant was fol- 
lowed by the colonial patent dated April 
30ch, 1725, called the BurnetsBeld pat- 
ent, to 94 persons among whom was 
Jurgh, John Jost, Madelana and Cather- 
ine Herkimer. One hundred acres was 
intended for each of the patentees, and 
there were 9.400 acres covered by the 
patent. The land was divided among 
the patentees by lot; and John Jost Ber- 
kimer drew the lot of one hundred acres 

located about one-half a mile east of the 
Stone church at Fort Herkimer recently 
owned by James H. Steele and another. 
Soon after the date of the patent or 
about that time, he moved upon his lot 
and there he built a house and livpd for 
many years. His children, five sons and 
eight daughters, were probably all born 
there, Nicholas being the eldest. That 
house survived the revolution, being the 
only one in that vicinity to which the 
torch was not applied by the Indians 
during the revolutionary war. It has 
disappeared now, although standing as 
late as about 1850. While his children 
were still young, and som^tim? before 
the French and Indian war of 1757, he 
built a stone mansion on the Mohawk 
river about three-fourths of a mile west 
of the Stone church which, before the 
year 1756, was included within Fort 
Herkimer. In 1760 he conveyed 500 
acres of land in the present town of 
Danube to his son Nicholas where his 
monument now stands. He accumulated 
considerable wealth in land and chat- 
tels including slaves, and he died in 
August 1775 when the first echoes of the 
revolution began to reverberate through 
the land. 

Until recently these were about all the 
facts accessible relating to a long and 
useful life exposed to many hardships 
and perils and crowned with unusual 

success atnon;? the stalwart men of his 
time. Now, by the recent publication 
i)f the colonial laws and from other pub- 
lic documents, other facts are obtainable 
which throw li-^ht upon his character 
and his standing among the men of his 
day, and show him to have been a real 
leader among the men of the Mohawk 

A trading post was established at Os- 
wego on Lake Ontario, at the mouth of 
the Oswego river, soon after 1722, find a 
fort was built there by Governor Burnet 
in 1727. That fort was maintained until 
August, 1756, when it was captured and 
demolished by the French and Indians 
under Gen. Montcalm. Soon after that 
year, Oswego came again into the pos- 
session of the English, and they rebuilt 
the fort and were in possession of it in 
1760 when Canada having been con- 
quered by the English came under the 
English Crown. In 1777, Col. St. Leger 
started from Oswego upon his expedition 
to the Mohawk Valley. And, after his 
defeat at Oriskany, he returned there, 
and then his forces scattered and the 
fort was left unoccupied In July, 1778, 
the Americans under Lieut. McCleland 
destroyed the fort to prevent, so far as 
possible, its reoccupation. Some time 
between 1780 and 1782, the fort was 
again restored by the English and it re- 
mained in their possession until 1796, 
when, thirteen years after the conclu- 
sion of the treaty of peace between this 
country and Great Britain, in pursuance 
of the famous Jay Treaty, it was surren- 
dered to our government, being the last 
post occupied by the British within our 
territory. During our war with Great 
Britain, in 1814, the fort was attacked by 
the British forces under Sir James Yeo, 
and was captured and again demolished. 
It was rebuilt in 1839, and has since been 
occupied as one of our frontier fortifica- 
tions and is called Fort Ontario. 

The trading post at Oswego was estab- 
lished to secure the friendship of the Six 
Nations and to divert their trade with 
the French at Montreal to Albanj, and 
it well accomplished its purpose. The 
fort, when first established there had a 
garrison of twenty-five men besides a 

doctor; and at that time, the Palatines 
here were the nearest white settlem^nt. 
The food supplies of the garrison had to 
be drawn from this region. They were 
carried in bateaux up the Mohawk river 
to the present city of Rome, thence to 
Wood creek, and through Oneida Lake 
and down the Oswego river to Lake On- 
tario and the fort. There were several 
carrying places where the boats and 
supplies had to be transported by land. 
Among the earliest contractors with the 
Colonial government for furnishing sup- 
plies to the garrison at the fort was John 
Jost Herkimer. He was associated with 
prominent men at Albany and in the 
Mohawk Valley; and with thcra he car- 
ried on tt>at business for several years. 
He must have commenced soon after the 
fort was built, as in September, 1728, in 
an act of the Colonial Assembly making 
provision for the supplies furnished to 
the garrison, I find this appropriation : 
"To John Jost Herkimer in full of two 
accounts for riding goods amounting to 
23 pounds, five shillings and six pence, 
the sum of seventeen pounds, eleven 
shillings." I infer that these accounts 
were not for supplies, but for transpor- 
ting, "riding" them. I find hy an act 
passed in December, 1737, that John Jost 
Herkimer, Henry VanRensselaer Jr., 
and John Harmanus Wendel had the 
contract for three years to furnish at the 
fort each year for victualling the troops, 
the following supplies: "Wheat meal. 
156 bushels; peas, 117 bushels; Indian 
corn. 39 bushels; pork, 3,224 pounds; 
beef, 4,836 pounds; rum, 104 gallons; 
sugar, 104 pounds; and candles of 8 and 
10 in a pound, 104 pounds." They were 
also to furnish at Schenectady, in each 
of the three years : Brown biscuit, 1,050 
pounds; peao, Id^ bushels; pork, 750 
pounds; and rum, 12 gallons. These 
supplies were for the twenty-five men 
and the doctor going to the fort to re- 
lieve the garrison there and for the 
troops so relieved on their return to 
Schenectady. They were also in each 
of the three years to furnish a sufficient 
number of bateaux to transport the 
twenty-five men and the doctor with 
their baggage and also to provide two 


able men to assist in going to and com- 
ing from Oswego. They were also in 
each of the three years to carry the bag- 
gage of the soldiers and doctor in wag- 
ons each way between Albany and Sche- 
nectady, and also to furnish sleds or 
other carriages to transport the bateaux 
and baggage over the carrying places 
both ways, "provided that the soldiers 
march on foot between Albany and Sche- 
nectady and over the carrying places;'* 
and for all these supplies and services, 
they were to receive annually the sum 
of 456 pounds. This compensation may 
seem small, but the value of money was 
much greater then than it is now. The 
doctor residing at the fort received an 
annual salary of not more than forty- 
five pounds. The two associates of John 
Jost Herkimer were evidently from Al- 
bany, as they bear family names that 
have always been known there. This 
contract was renewed with the same 
persons together with Garret A. Lan- 
sing, also a citizen of Albany, for two 
terms of two years each in November, 
1740, and October, 174S. In September, 
1744, the same contract for two years 
was made with John Jost Herkimer and 
Garret A. Lansing; and during the same 
time, John Jost Herkimer and Jost 
Petree, a leading man among the Pala- 
tines here, also furnished supplies to the 
garrison for the payment of which the 
Colonial Assembly in April, 1748, appro- 
priated the sum of seven hundred and 
fifty-eight pounds and three shillings. 

Where did these contractors get the 
rum which they were bound to furnish 
under their contracts ? Rum on this con- 
tinent was first manufactured in the 
New England colonies. It was a general 
beverage among the people and it was 
served as rations to the soldiers and was 
used in trade with the Indians for the 
purchase of furs, and in the slave trade 
for the purchase of Negroes. It was not 
manufactured in the colony of New 
York prior to the eighteenth century; 
and there was probably not more than 
two distilleries of rum in the colony be- 
fore the revolutionary war. I cannot 
find that the business of distilling rum 
was ever carried on in the Mohawk val- 

ley; and hence the rum in which the 
contractors dealt was undoubtedly ob. 
tained from Albany which was a great 
mart for the supply of goods used in tiie 
trade with the Indians. The sale of rum 
to the Indians constituted a large share 
of the traffic of the Indian traders and 
out of it they made large profits. The 
Indians were very fond of it, and would 
pay the most extravagant prices for it. 
They traded for it nearly if not quite 
half of all their furs ; and they would 
make great sacrifices and endure great 
labor to obtain it. It made them drunk 
and quarrelsome and their chiefs some- 
times protested against its sale to them. 
This traffic was encouraged and regu- 
lated by the colonial government. The 
Indians called good rum, good milk, and 
poor rum, bad milk; and while they pre-, 
ferred the good, they were so passion- 
ately fond of it that they would take the 
bad rather than have none. They must 
have been in some measure the proto- 
types of the Kentucky statesman who 
said there was good whiskey and whis- 
key not so good but no positively bad 

I find that the contractors generally 
furnish the beef at the fort by driving 
the cattle there from this region and 
there slaughtering them, and in driving 
the cattle and performing their contracts 
they were to some extent aided by the 

I cannot find that after 1746 John Jost 
Herkimer was engaged in furnishing 
supplies to the fort. He must hav^e been 
exposed in the business to many hard- 
ships and perils, and it is probable that 
he began to feel the infirmities of age, 
and that he surrendered the business to 
younger hands. In the performance of 
his contracts he was able to find market 
for the produce of his farms, and for 
much of the produce of his neighbors in 
this region; and thus he brought here a 
supply of money much needed among 
the poor, industrious and frugal Pala- 

Oswego was at that time the most im- 
portant post for trade with the Indians 
in this country, and about the fort were 
clustered the huts of traders and Indians. 

It is probable that John Jost Heikimer similar act was passed and in that John 
and his associates transported the goods Jost Herkimer was ajain appointed one 
of the traders to and from Albany, then of the commissioners for. the same dis- 
the principal fur market on this conti trict, and with the same powers and 
nent, and in that line also they had a duties as in the prior act. and he con- 
profitable business. tinued to hold that office until April 
Before the year 1770, there were no 1775, about four months before his death, 
public highways wpst of this place, and His sons Nicholas and Henry are known 
very few wf st of Schenectady, and on to have served in the French war and 
the 24th of March 1772 an act was passed his sons, Nicholas, John and George and 
"For the better laying out, regulating, several of his grand-children are known 
clearing and keeping in repair the pub- to }iave served in the revolutionary war. 
lie roads and highways in the counties of His son, John Jost adhered to the British 
Albany and Tryon." The act divided cause and by an act of the legislature 
these counties into districts and ap- passed October 22, 1779, he with other 
pointed commissioners for each district, lories was attainted ard convicted of 
John Jost Herkimer was appointed one treason and his estate forfeited. Prior 
of the commissioners for the Kingsland to the revolution he filled many county 
district, which was on the south side of offices. He went to Canada with bis 
the river, bounded on the east by a line family and died there between 1784 and 
extending southerly from Litstle Falls 1787 and some of his descendants now 
and on the south and west by the limits residing in Canada are prosperous and 
of the colony. By the same act, his son wealthy. 

Nicholas was appointed one of the com- I have thus given the brief outlines of 
inissioners of the Canajohane district, a busy life commencing in Germany in a 
which, with other territory, included country devastated by dynastic and re- 
the present town of Danube where he ligious wars, and transplanted to this 
lived. It was the duty of these commis- country into rude frontier settlements 
sioners to regulate, lay out and alter where it was attended with many perils 
highways within their respective dis- and much hardship and achieved a large 
tricts. On the 6th of February 1773, a measure of success. 



Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, February 8, 1S98. 

Have you ever been through the 
Hudson Valley in September? Have 
you gazed on the noble river under an 
autumn sky, and seen that ever chang- 
ing landscape of rock and forest and 
mountain? Have you looked on the 
Catskills and Storm King and Crows 
Nest, and the Palisades ? Have you 
noted the rich hues and many colors of 
the ripening leaves ? the beautiful 
points of land extending into the water, 
and the river broadening in places like 
a sea. the bays and the islands ? The 
vales where villages and cities nestle 
and the rugged faces of those rocks 
which rise in a solid wall from the 
water's edge ? 

If you have seen all this, you have 
been indeed fortunate, for there is 
nothing on earth more interesting, 
more beautiful, more magnificient. 

It was in September, 1609, that Henry 
Hudson, an English Captain, under 
Dutch pay, and with a crew of only 
30 men, hardy Dutch and English 
sailors, in the sturdy little ship, the 
Half Moon from Amsterdam passed the 
island of Manhattan, and sailed up the 
broad river. They were the first white 
men to embark upon its bosom, and to 
be charmed with that beautiful scenery 
which has since delighted thousands 
of men and women. 
No villages, no cities, no beautiful 


residences greeted the eye; no culti- 
vated fields, CO vineyards, no orchards 
dotted the landscape, no craft but the 
bark canoe plied upon the water, no 
sknek of engine, no rumble of train, 
no busy hum of humanity disturbed 
the stillness of that forest, which start- 
ing at the very shore, crept up aad 
clothed the lofty peaks. 

Here and there a startled deer sprang 
into the woods, and an equally startled 
red man stood and gazed in curiosity 
at the wonderful ship and strange be- 
ings who had invaded his country. 

Hudson's men had been attacked by 
the fierce Manhattans, and poor John 
Coleman had been killed by an arrow 
and buried on Sandy Hooke at the place 
since known as Coleman's Point, but 
the river Indians treated the strangers 
more kindly and the little ship sailed 
up the river 150 miles. Hudson landed 
in several places, traded and feasted 
with the natives, and then dropped 
down the stream. He spent three weeks 
along the banks of the river mostly in 
friendly intercourse with the natives. 
The Iriquois of the upper valley were 
especially well disposed and here began 
those peaceful dealings between the 
Dutch and the Mohawks which were 
never disturbed by war. 

The Algonquins of the lower river 
were subject to the Iriquois, but they 

were more savage and troublesome. 
While near Stony Point, on the return, 
an Indian was caught stealing goods 
through the cabin window, the mate 
of the vessel shot the thief, and the 
Indians were terrified by the sound of 
the whiteman's guns. Hudson held 
two Indiana who came on the ship with 
the idea of taking them to Europe, they 
escaped on the way up the river, and 
collecting their friends they attacked 
the ship with a large force on its re 
turn near the upper end of Manhattan 
Island, but they were driven off with 
the loss of nine or ten of their number, 
and Hudson promising to return the 
next year got off safely and sailed away 
across the ocean to tell of his adven- 
tures, and report to the Dutch East 
India Company by whom he was em- 
ployed; but he never again saw Hol- 
land, for putting in at Dartmouth, an 
English port, he was arbitrarily de- 
tained, and after much delay, the Half 
Moon returned to Amsterdam without 

Hudson himself sailed in 1610 in "The 
Discovery," an English ship with an 
English crew to find the north-west 
passage, so persistently sought by the 
early navigators. He sailed through 
Davis strait and into the great northern 
bay which now bears his name, thinking 
that he had almost found that elusive 
passage to India. He explored the bay 
and wintered in those icy waters, in- 
tending to pursue the search in the 
spring. When the summer of 1611 came 
the crew demanded to be taken back to 
England, and Hudson with tears in his 
eyes, yielded to their demands, gave up 
the search and began the return voyage, 
but the crew did not trust him, they 
mutinied, and taking him and his son, 
with seven others, they put them in a 
small boat and cut them adrift to perish. 
It was one of the most pathetic tragedies 
of those perilous times. 

There is no record of the re -appearance 
of the Dutch in the waters about Man- 
hattan until the summer of 1613 when 
Hendrik Christianson in "The Fortune" 
and Adrian Block in "The Tiger" came 
over. Block lost his ship and built an- 


other which he called "The Unrest" and 
launched her in the East rivtr. bhe was 
the first American built ship to plow the 
waters of Long Island Sound, and with 
her, Block explored the Connecticut 
shore, Narragansett Bay. discovered the 
island which bears his name, and sailing 
along the Massachusetts coast was over- 
taken near Cape Cod by "The Fortune" 
and leaving his little vessel, he returned 
to Holland in the larger ship. 

While Captain Block was exploring 
the sound, Jl^hristianson had ascended the 
great river, then called the Mauritius, 
and had built a fort on Castle Island, a 
little below where Albany now is, and 
garrisoned it for a trading station. 

In 1614, the country was formally 
named New Netherlands, and soon after 
the "United New Netherlands Com- 
pany" was formed with a charter to last 
three years. 

In 1617, at a place called Tawasentha, 
(Albany), a treaty of peace and alliance 
was made with the Iroquois which con- 
tinued as long as the Dutch dominion in 
New York lasted. 

In 1618, the charter of the company 
expired by limitation and, in 1631 the 
Dutch West India Company was chart- 
ered, and granted sovereignty over the 
country from Virginia to New England. 

In 1623, thirty families of Walloons. 
French protestants, came over, to colon- 
ize the country. Christian Jacobson 
Mey, was the first director of the pro- 
vince, but in 1624, he returned to Hol- 
land and was succeeded by William 
Verhulst, and in 1626, by Peter Minuit, 
who is known as the first Dutch Gov- 
ernor, and was director general of the 
province. Manhattan Island was bought 
of the Indians for 60 guilders, $24.00. 

Fort Amsterdam was built near what 
is now the "Battery" and New Amster- 
dam became a thrifty Dutch village. 

These Dutchmen were essentially 
traders. Amsterdam at that time was 
the greatest commerical city of the 
world, and these visitors to Manhattan 
saw large profits in securing the furs 
which the Indians possessed. Trading 
posts were established up the river, and 
Fort Orange was built. In 1626 New 

Amsterdam took upon itself the charac- 
ter of a permanent colony , and it was 
evident that the Dutch had come to stay. 

These traders were not more honest 
than others who a'ealt with the natives; 
they paid the Indians for their peltries 
in trinkets and goods of little value and 
sold the skins in Europe for a good 

The veracious author of Knicker- 
bockers' History of New York gravely 
says : "A brisk trade for furs was soon 
opened. The Dutch traders were scrupu- 
lously honest in their dealings and pur- 
chased by weight, establishing it as an 
invariable table of avoirdupois that the 
hand of a Dutchman weighed one pound 
and his foot two pounds. It is true the 
simple Indians were often puzzled by 
the great disproportion between bulk 
and weight; for let them place a bundle 
of furs ever so large in one scale, and a 
Dutchman put his hand or foot in the 
other, the bundle was sure to kick the 
beam. Never was a package of furs 
known to weigh more than two pounds 
in the market of Communipaw, This is 
a singular fact, but I have it direct from 
my great-great-grand-father, who had 
risen to considerable importance in the 
colony, being promoted to the office of 
weighmaster on account of the uncom- 
mon heaviness of his foot." 

Minuit opened negotiations with Gov. 
Bradford of Plymouth, and tried very 
early to establish friendly relations with 
that colony, but the New Englandera re- 
garded the Dutch as interlopers and 
England claimed the entire Atlantic 
coast as having been originally dis- 
covered by Cabot. Bradford was in 
no position to attempt the conquest 
of the country, and the Dutch were not 
disturbed by their English neighbors. 

In 1629 the Dutch West India Com- 
pany adopted a scheme by which any 
member of the company who should 
found a colony in the New Netherlands 
with fifty persons, actual settlers, should 
have the title of Patroon, with feud id 
rights over a tract of land 16 miles on 
one side or 8 miles on both sides of a 
navigable river, and extending as far in- 
land as they choose, anywhere within 

the limits of the province except on the 
island of Manhattan. This the company 
reserved to themselves, together with the 
exclusive right to the fur trade and five 
per cent, duty on all trade carried on by 
the Patroons. 

The Patroons were required to satisfy 
the Indians for their lands by actual pur- 
chase and might import negro slaves. 

This policy was far reaching in its ef- 
fects. It gave the colony the institution 
of negro slavery, with all its attendant 
woes, and it built up petty states within 
the province, whose rulers made a world 
of trouble for the company and the gov- 

The Patroons were feudal lords over, 
and owned both the soil and its tenants. 
Several such colonies were established. 
Killian Van Renssellaer founded the 
Manor of Renssellaerwick near Fort 
Orange, and David Piderson de Vries 
the Manor of Swanandael, on the Dela- 
ware, or South River, as it was then 

Killian Van Renssellaer had seven suc- 
cessors, the last of whom Stephen, died 
in 1868, but long before the death of 
Stephen Van Renssellaer, the Patroon 
had been shorn of his power and his 

The office of a feudal lord maintaining 
his own little army, and floating his own 
flag, was not compatible with Yankee 
civilization. Under the English rule, 
the dominrion of the Patroon became an 
English Manor in 1685, and the oldest 
son inherited the estate, but after the 
American revolution this way of perpet- 
uating power could not endure, and in 
1839, at the death of the then Patroon, 
the estate ^was divided among the nine 
heirs, and the distinction of being Pat- 
roon fell to Stephen and died with him 
in 1868. Today it would be very diffi- 
cult, if not impossible, to tell just where 
the palatial Mansion of the Patroon 
stood. The liouse has been taken down 
and set up again at Williamstown,Mass., 
and is now used for a club house by a 
college secret society. The beautiful 
grounds which surrounded the rransion 
are covered by business blocks and fac- 
tories, the estate has been broken up and 


Soon after Van Twiller's arrival, one 
Jacob Eelkins, who had been the agent 
at Fort Orange, and had been dismissed 
by the company, and had gone into the 
English service, appeared in the harbor 

the Van Renssellaers are scattered like 
other American families. 

In 1630, the imports from Amsterdam 
amounted to $45,000 and the exports 
from Manhattan to $52 000. but the peo- 
ple had no voice in the government and in an English ship. He announced that 
were forbidden to make any woolen, it was all English territory, and that he 
linen or other cloth, or to weave any was going up the Mauritius to trade with 
other stuffs under penalty of punishment the Indians. Van Twiller forbade him 
and exile, but now they began to build to do so, and attempted to prevent his 
their own ships and "The New Nether- passing up the river, but Eelkins sailed 

land,'' a ship of 800 tons, was launched 
and sent to Holland. It was, at that 
time, one of the largest merchant ves- 
sels in the world. 

While the company governed the col- courage up, and sent the 
ony with the sole purpose of getting all after Eelkins with orders 
they could out of it, the fullest religious 
toleration was granted, and refugees 
from the persecutions of the Puritans, 
and from Europe were welcomed at 
Manhattan. There, also, came adven- 
turers and scamps of all kinds, so, that 
the little city, even then, began to take 
on that cosmopolitan air and tone which 
has ever since distinguished it. Money 
was scarce, and wampum became the 
common currency of the settlement. 
The settlers gradually adopted many of 
the Indian customs, they ate hominy and 
succotash, and smoked large quantities ticut. 
of tobacco. "^^^ English also attempted a settle- 

In 1633, Peter Minuit was recalled and °^«"<^ ^^ ^ort Nassau, DeVries' abandon- 
in 1633, Wouter VanTwiUer succeeded ^^ settlement on the Delaware, but they 
, . were removed by the Dutch and taken 

him. •' 

by, in defiance of the guns of Fort Am- 
sterdam and Van Twiller dare not fire 
on the English flag. DeVries advised 
war, and VanTwiller finally got his 
to drive him 
out of the river. The Dutch found Eel- 
kins near Fort Orange, captured his 
company and his ship, destroyed his 
tent that he had set up on shore, brought 
his vessel back to New Amsterdam, 
took away his peltries and sent him to 
sea with a warning never again 1o tres- 
pass upon, or trade in Dutch territory. 

Trouble soon broke out with the Eng- 
lish settlers on the Connecticut river, 
but it was a bloodless war, and both 
Dutch and English occupied, and con- 
tinued to claim the valley of the Connec- 

Minuit, a few years later, entered the 
Swedish service, and appeared as gov- 
ornor of a colony of Swedes and settled 
on the Delaware river. 

The first clergyman at New Amster- 
dam was Jonas Michaelius in 1627, but 

as prisoners to Point Comfort. Flourish- 
ing settlements were established up the 
Mauritius and on Long Island and the 
province was prosperous. 

Van Twiller was a thrifty man, a bet- 
ter merchant than governor, but his ra- 
pacity became so great that DeVries and 

was succeeded by William Kieft who 
was cruel, unscrupulous and utterly 
wanting in either principle or capacity 
to govern. 
At first he was very active in correct- 

he stayed only a short time and Dominie others complained of him, and in 1687 he 
Bogardus came with VanTwiller to be 
the permanent clergyman in 1633. 

David Pieterson de Vries, the Patroon 
of Swanandael, was a man of good sense, 
prudence and ability, but having gone 
to Holland in the New Netherland, the ing what he considered abuses, and very 
Indians burned his settlement and mur- soon had made a large number of ene- 
dered the inhabitants. When he re- mies among the colonists. 
turned to the Delaware he found the Minuit came about this time, and 
place in ruins and abandoned it, taking established his colony of Swedes on the 
up his residence on Staten Island. Delaware, against this Kieft protested, 


but the Swedes did not go, and Sweden 
was then too powerful in Europe for the 
States General to go to war wi th, about 
a little colony in America. 

Kieft also tried to prevent the en- 
croachment of the English on Long Is- 
land, but their settlements increased on 
the eastern end of the Island, and many 
New Englanders came to live at New 
Amsterdam, among them Capt. John 
Underbill who had distinguished him- 
self in the Pequod war. 

In 1641, Kieft recklessly provoked a 
war with the neighboring Indians. 
These Indians were tributaries of the 
Iroquois, and being threatened with an 
attack from the Mohawks, they took re- 
fuge with the Dutch at Pavonia, where 
a large number were treacherously mur- 
dered by Kiefts orders. DeVries saved 
several who had fied for protection to 
his residence on Staten Island, but he 
could not stay the bloody hand of Kieft, 
and the province became involved in a 
war which at one time threatened the 
ruin of the colony. 

Indian villages were attacked in the 
night, and men, women and children 
were murdered in cold blood. Kieft 
killed friend and foe alike, until all the 
tribes in the vicinity of Manhattan were 
his enemies, but in March, 1643. Kieft 
became alarmed at the situation. Dutch 
settlements in every direction had been 
destroyed, houses, barns and crops 
burned, and the settlers driven into New 
Amsterdam. He implored DeVries to 
help him make peace. This DeVries 
consented to do, and secured a short 
peace, but in August the war broke out 
afresh. Underbill then attacked and de- 
stroyed the Indian villages on the Con- 
necticut, and on Long Island, and the 
tide of battle turned so strongly against 
the natives that they sued for peace and 
finally a treaty of peace was made. 

Kieft quarreled with DeVries who re- 
turned to Holland a ruined man; he 
quarreled with Bogardus who denounced 
him from his pulpit and finally his un- 
fitness became apparrent to the com- 
pany, and in 1647 he was recalled, and 
was wrecked and lost with his ship on 
the return voyage. 

Peter Stuyvesant now became gov- 
ernor. He was a brave soldier and an 
honest man. He had lost a leg in the at- 
tack on the Portuguese settlement at St. 
Martin and had been governor of 

He came prepared to cultivate peace 
with the Indians, and energetically to 
defend the rights of the Dutch in "The 
New Netherlands" against all European 
claimants. He told the colonists on his 
arrival "that he would govern them as 
a father did his children" but they were 
in no mood for such a government. 

They saw the people of other colonies 
governing themselves, they came from 
the freest country in Europe, they were 
restless under the tyranny of the West 
India company, and already the contest 
against "taxation without representa- 
tion" had begun. 

Stuyvesant at once tried to settle the 
boundaries between the province and 
the English colony on the east, and 
finally succeeded in making a treaty and 
a boundary hne by which he gave up all 
claims to the Connecticut valley and the 
eastern end of Long Island, but the Eng- 
lish were in no case to approach within 
ten miles of the river Maritius. 

In 1646 a charter was conferred upon 
the village of Breuklaen, and in 1652 a 
burgher government was established in 
New Amsterdam. 

About this time a war broke out be- 
tween England and Holland and the New 
Englanders took advantage of the situa- 
tion to break the treaty with "The New 
Netherlands." They falsely charged 
Stuyvesant with having plotted with the 
Narragansetts for the destruction of the 
English settlements and they planned 
for the conquest of New Amsterdam. 
Underbill turned against his late allies, 
and tried to stir up the settlers on Long 
Island against the Dutch, but before war 
actually broke out peace was proclaimed 
in Europe and trouble at Manhattan was 

Internal troubles now occupied the at- 
tention of Stuyvesant; he tried to serve 
faithfully his employers, the company, 
while he no doubt sympathized to some 
extent with the people 


They wanted to manage their owa 
affairs, choose their own officers, say 
how their own revenues should be ex- 
pended and they demanded that New 
Amsterdam should enjoy the same muni- 
cipal privileges as Old Amsterdam and 
be a free city. 

In 1654 a portion of these demands 
were reluctantly granted, a seal for the 
city was adopted and a stadt huya 

la 1650 Stuyvesant had built Fort 
Casimer near the mouth of Brandy wine 
river and some five miles from Minuit's 
Swedish colony at Fort Christina. In 
1054 Minuit was dead and buried at 
Fort Christina, and one Rising was gov- 
ernor. He attacked and captured the 
Dutch fort on Trinity Sunday, and 
changed its name to Fort Trinity. 

Stuyvesant retaliated by seizing a 
Swedish &hip that entered Sandy Hook 
bay by mistake, and in September 1655, 
having received instructions from Hol- 
land, he sailed with seven ships to the 
Delaware, captured the fort, made the 
colonists swear allegiance to the Dutch 
government, took Rising prisoner and 
sent him to Europe and placed a Dutch 
officer in command of the conquered 
territory, but while he was absent on his 
campaign the Indians, who had been 
quiet for the past ten jears determined 
to avenge the death of a squaw whom 
Hendrick Van Dyck had shot, while she 
was stealing peaches from his orchard, 
just below where Rector street now is, 
and on the 15th of September sixty-four 
canoes with nearly 2.000 armed warriors 
landed before daybreak at Fort Amster- 
dam and spread themselves over the 


The alarmed burghers by friendly 
words and promises induced them to go 
over to Governors Island, but they re- 
turned in the evening, shot Van Dyck 
with an arrow and killed another man 
with an ax. 

Ihe people were now aroused to a 
desperate defense and rallying in force 
they drove the Indians into their canoes 
and across the river. The savages then 
attacked Hoboken and Pavoni^, mur- 
dered the inhabitants and burned houses. 

barns and crops. The whole country 
was terrified and the people flocked t» 
the fort fer safety. In three days lOO 
settlers were killed and 28 bouwerries 
with their cattle and crops destroyed. A 
messenger was sent for Stuyvesant and, 
the governor returning, found all in 
confusion at Fort Amsterdam; but his 
policy was not like that of the head- 
strong and cruel Kieft, for while he pre- 
pared for war he sought for peace, and 
by kind words and presents he concil- 
iated the Indians. Satisfied by I i^ 
promises, and terrified by his prepara- 
tions to punish them, they were induced 
to release their prisoners and stop their 
depredations. Several years of peace 
and prosperity followed. 

In 1656. the first map of the city was 
made which showed 17 streets, and ^ 
market was established for country 
wagons at the foot of Whitehall street. 

In 1658, two hundred and fifty-fire 
buckets were imported from Holland for 
the use of the city, and a fire company 
of eight men was organized, and in the 
same year a Latin school or academy 
was established with Dr. Alexander 
Carolua Curtius in charge, on a salary of 
$300 and perquisites. 

A small part of the Island only was 
under cultivation. The lots below Wall 
street worth .$50.00 apiece were large 
enough for orchards and gardens. 

Every settler kept his cows, and a 
herdsman was appointed by the city to 
drive them to the public pasture— the 
present park and land in its vicinity. 

The Reformed Dutch religion was the 
established church of the province and 
Stuyvesant, an earnest Calvinist, was 
less tolerant than his predecessors, but 
the people were of all, and of eg relig- 
ious views, and there was no hanging of 
Quakers or burning of witches in New 

In 1664, Charles II of England granted 
to his brother James, Duke of York, a 
patent of the territory lying between the 
Connecticut River and Delaware Bay, 
and without giving any notice to the 
government of Holland, the Duke dis- 
patched four ships and 450 English sol- 


<Jiers to take possession of New Nether- 

They arrived at Coney Island in Au- 
gust. 1664, occupied Staten Island, and 
immediately laid seige to New Amster- 
dam. Stuyvesant was not prepared for 
war; he had not more than 400 men able 
to bear arms, his fort and wooden walls 
which were good enough against Indian 
arrows were no defense against English 
war ships, but he was not willing to sur- 
render, he wanted to fight. He called 
his council together and proposed resis- 
tance, he tried to rally the citizens, but 
the people were weary with the arbi- 
trary exactions and despotic government 
of the West India Company, they sym- 
pathized with the English invaders, they 
would not fight and the council advised 
a surrender. Then came Winthrop the 
governor of Connecticut with his assur- 
ances that the privileges of the Hollan- 
ders should not be abridged, and their 
property rights be fully protected, and 
on the 8th of September, 1664, the city 
was surrendered to the English and 
Stuyvesant marched his soldiers out of 
Fort Amsterdam with all the honors of 
war. Nichols became deputy governor 
of the province. The English flag was 
run up over the fort, its name was 
changed to Fort James and New Am- 
sterdam became New York. The River 
Mauritius was henceforth called the 
Hudson and the province of New Neth- 
erlands for the next hundred years the 
colony of New York. 

The city fell into the hands of the 
Dutch again in 1673, and was held by 
them for about a year. Anthony Colve 
was governor and he tried to call the 
place New Orange, but it was restored 
to the English by the treaty of 1674 and 
became again New York. 

The city in 1664 contained abeut 1,500 
inhabitants and the entire colony some 
three or four thousand. 

At the time of the cession to the Eng- 
lish, eighteen different languages were 
spoken in the city, it was a cosmopoli- 
tan, commercial city and the foundation 
was already laid for what has become 
the chief city and the Empire State of 
the Union. 


The city on Manhattan Island domi- 
nated the province more completely, 
perhap'!, during those years than it ever 
has since, but may be, no more than 
"Greater New York" will don i ate this 
state in the future. 

These Dutchmen who discovered, set- 
tled and named New Netherlands were 
a different people and came from a dif- 
ferent country than those Dutch, the 
Palatines, who came later into the Mo- 
hawk valley. 

The Palatines were farmers. The 
Hollanders were traders. The Hol- 
landers made New York a commercial 
city and gave it the impetus to become 
the metropolis of the new world. The 
Hollanders gave us negro slavery which 
cursed the state until 1820. The Hol- 
landers gave us the patroon system, and 
that system was the cause of the anti- 
rent troubles of 1840, That disturbance 
is within the memory of men now living. 

At the close of the Revolutionary 
war a large part of the land in the 
counties of Albany, Rensselar, Columbia, 
Green, Ulster, Delaware, Schoherie, 
Montgomery, Herkimer, Otsego and 
Oneida was in large estates, and the 
tenants paid an annual rent to the lords 
of the manors. The Legislatures of 
1788-9 passed laws to relieve the situa- 
tion, but the landlords devised a per- 
petual lease which avoided the law and 
was very oppressive to the tenants. 

About 1839 the tenants rebelled. A 
riot occured at Grafton in Rensselaer 
county and one man was killed. There 
was great excitment. At the investi- 
gation which followed more than 200 
witnesses were sworn but the murderers 
were not discovered. Gov. Seward dis- 
cussed the subject in his messages in 
1841 and 42 and recommended legislation. 
Disguised bands of rebellious tenants 
marched through the country and com- 
mitted depredations. Gov. Wright in 
1845 declared martial law in Delaware 
county and in 1846 the matter became a 
political issue and Governor Young was 
elected by 10,000 majority. He held 
that the disorderly acts of the Anti- 
Renters were political offenees rather 
than criminal, and pardoned those who 

were in jail. A provision was ingrafted in 
the state constitution abolishing feudal 
tenures, and prohibiting the leasing of 
agricultural lands for a period longer 
than twelve years, and the large estates 
becoming unprofitable were gradually 
broken up and the system abolished. 

But while the Hollanders gave us 
these legacies of trouble, they also 

brought with them positive ideas of 
personal, political, and religions liberty, 
and fixed habits of thrift and enterprise, 
and they gave to their one colony on 
the mainland of North America teu- 
dencies and characteristics, which 
placed and have kept it, the first, in the 
front rank of A merican States. 





Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, March 12, 1898. 

My native town is Russia where I re- 
sided from my birth in 1824, until I 
came to Prospect in April 1891. 

As I look back over the town as it was 
in my younger days, I see a hardy, in- 
dustrious honest people ; a people whose 
strong Gharacteristics of families and 
persons stand out in hold relief. The 
leading, active men from all parts of the 
town appear to be of nearly uniform age 
with families of children growing up to- 
gether. But now I see a change. The 
old families are broken up by intermar- 
riages with later settlers so that the dis- 
tmctiveness of family traits is largely 
lost and their predominance has given 
way under influences of more dense pop- 

The history of Russia by its inhabi- 
tants, has never been written; there were 
no striking events occurring, no Baron 
or titled personages to stir our people 
to write their own history for future 
reference. They were a home loving 
people, quietly attending to the affairs 
of the town and making no demands 
upon the attention of the outside world 

About 1871 there was published a 
work purporting to be a history of Her- 
kimer county, but it was compiled in 
such a way (chiefly from information 
supplied by subscribers and others who 
paid for mention,) that many who could 
have furnished valuable information were 

given no opportunity to do so, and many 
persons of large influence in the county's 
history were ignored; and the book was 
incomplete, inaccurate and unsatisfac- 

Very little can be known of the pri- 
vation and hardships the early settlers 
had to endure, clearing up the virgin 
forest, cutting down the trees, burning 
the wood, planting their crops by digging 
holes among roots of trees. Many had no 
chairs or plates, but used blocks of trees 
for seats and cut out chips for plates. 
This history lingers now only in vague 
family traditions and cannot be written 
out with sufficient accuracy to be of 

I am able through my ancestors on 
my mother's side to name some of the 
first settlers of this town, and on my 
father's side those of a few years later. 

Previous to the year 1793, there were 
no white people in this town, which was 
then the town of Norway, Montgomery 
county. Herkimer county was set off 
from Montgomery the 15th of March 
1798. The town of Russia was taken 
from Norway April 7, 18C6 and namei 
Union and on April 6, 1808 the name 
was changed to Russia 

The first settlers came from Connecti- 
cut and Massachusetts in the year 1792 
and made a settlement on the Cold 


brook, a little south of the present vil- 

With this company were my mother's 
father, Amos Carpenter, and Phineas 
Briggs, whose daughter, Charlotte, was 
the wife of Amos Carpenter. 

Phineas Briggs was a soldier in the 
Revolutionary war and was afterwards 
pensioned by the government, and died 
at Cold Brook at the age of 93 years. 

There were other residents of Russia 
in that war, Mr. Buck and Mr. Osborn, 
also pensioners; William Cory, who 
was in the battle of Bunker Hill and 
John Walters, who had a musket and 
bayonet taken from the British at Stoney 
Point, which are now in our family. 

Amos Carpenter died at Cold Brook in 
1857 at the age of 82 years and my 
mother Fanny Carpenter Walters died 
at the same place in 1877 in her 75th 

Amos Carpenter assisted in the first 
burial service in this town. The first mar- 
riage was in 1794, Farley Smith and 
Miranda Smith being the contracting 

The Millington, Russell, Squire, Stod- 
dard and Ruscom Slocum families set- 
tled in 1795 and the Walters and Robins 
in 1799. 

Millington, Russell, Waltersand Robin 
located one or two miles east of Russia 
village, their farms all joining. Reuben 
Robin's family afterward went to Cold 
Brook and from there to the state of 
Ohio where he died. 

The record of our family reaches back 
to John Walters, who with his brothers 
James and Nathaniel came from Eng- 
land about the year 1750. We are the 
descendants of John Walters, who set- 
tled in Orange county, N. Y. , where my 
grandfather Nathaniel Walters, one of 
six children, was born in 1773. John 
Walters moved across the river to Fish- 
kill, Dutchess county in 1787 and later 
%o Stillwater, Saratoga county where 
Nathaniel Walters married Esther Robins 
and where my father, William Walters 
was born in 1798. John Walters with 
all of his family, settled in Russia in 
1799 where he died in 1816. 

Three brothers of Esther Robins came 
with them, William, who was the father 
of the Adam Robins family; David, who 
settled on the Dorman farm but returned 
to Saratoga, where he died at 96 years 
and Reuben who has been previously 

Reuben Robins, had a son William, 
who married the daughter (Julia) of John 
Russell and a daughter Matilda, who 
was the wife of Richard Millington, who 
was the father of Hon. S. R. Millington 
now of Poland, N. Y. There was another 
brother Thomas in Saratoga who died 
there in the 100th year of his age Their 
father died in Saratoga at 93 years and 
my grandmother in Russia at 65 years. 

The longivity of both branches of my 
ancestors is quite remarkable. 

Nathaniel Walters' family consisted of 
nine children, two of whom died in early 
age, leaving seven members, who were 
all married and lived with their first 
companions in marriage with only one 

The united ages of these seven mem- 
bers is 474 years and from the birth of 
Nathaniel Walters in 1772 down to 1877 
is one hundred and five years, during 
which time only eight deaths oc- 
curred in these several fam- 
ilies, one being his own, two of his 
children, four of his grand children and 
one his great grand child. 

My grandfatlier's age was 77 years, my 
father's age 90 years, and I have now 
passed my 73rd year making the heads 
of these three families 240 years. Two of 
Nathaniel Walters' family are now liv- 
ing, M. C. Walters, of Cold Brook, aged 
78 years, and Judith Walters Hunt, of 
the state of Ohio, aged 91 years. 

The first tavern in this town was 
opened by Stephen Smith 2nd, and the 
first store by a Mr. Smithburn, both in 
the year 1797. The first doctor was 
William Frame in 1806. The state road J 
was laid through this town in 1806. 

The villiage of Russia was settled in 
1800 by Samuel Wright. 

The Baptist society (Free Will) was 
organized in 1799 by Elder Benjamin 
Corp, and in 1850 was merged into the 
close communion branch of the BaptistJ 


church, by Elder Jonathan Carpenter 
and Deacons Nathan Millington and 
Daniel Corp. 

The Baptist church, the largest build- 
ng then in town, was erected about the 
3'ear 1820, ray father being one of the 

When I look at this structure, which 
to day would cost $6,000 or more I am 
led to ask how this was accomplished 
by a people so few in number and of so 
limited resources. There must have 
been among them unity of mind and 

Gravesville was settled in the year 
1796 by Major Geer, a tanner; Poland in 
1807 by Moses Mather, and Grant, then 
called Potters Bush in 1816 by Isaac 
Wooding. It also was called Black 
Creek, but received the official name 
Po3tville in 1820 in honor of John Post 
the first postmaster. The name of the 
place and postoffice was again changed 
to Booth in honor of Elihu Booth, a 
leading business man. In 1864 the name 
was once more changed to Grant in honor 
of General Grant. 

The small streams running through the 
villages of Cold Brook and Gravesville 
furnished power for many industries for 
the early settlers, and were the probable 
reason for the first settlements being 
made in these places. 

The most important manufacturing 
plant of this town and Trenton was the 
gang sawing and lumber^ planing mills 
of Hinckley & Ballou, which I built in 
1848-1849, where I passed forty years of 
my business life. These were the first 
gang saws set up in northern New York 
except on the Hudson river at Fort Ed- 

There was a mill and dam at this 
place, said to have been erected by a Mr. 
Jones, about fifty years previous to 1848, 
which would reach back to about the 
year 1790. Settlers may hav^e come in 
by way of Trenton, before Russia was 
settled in 1793. This was probably the 
first dam across the West Creek, unless 
there was one at the foot of Trenton 

There was quite a section covered with 
large pine trees at this place, and the 

old mill cut the lumber for the settlers. 
Many wide boards for doors and ceilings 
can be found in the old buildings today, 
made of this pine. 

The Walters family combined the oc- 
cupations of mechanics, builders and 
farmers. My father was the principal 
millwright in this part of the country 
and he and his family erected nearly all 
the buildings and mills in this town un- 
til more recent date. 

Some of the prominent men in my 
early days were Judge Varney, Col. 
Thayer, Capt. Walker, Capt. Forest, 
Doctors Sears, Coon, Varne^^ and Booth, 
Deacons Johnson, Betticher, Corp, Mil- 
hngton and While. 

Fink & Fausdick, Stanton & Betticher 
were the merchants. Mothers and 
daughters spun the flax and wool and 
wove the cloth, Lockwood & Hubbard 
carded the rolls, colored and dressed the 
cloth, for our clothing. Deacon Betti- 
cher wa? the tailor, Amos Carpenter 
made the boots and shoes, Polley tanned 
the leather, Overton made the hats, 
Lanckton the tinware, McMasttr plas- 
tered the houses and Benjamin Hull, 
called "the governor," put shoes on the 

In the war of the rebellion, Russia 
ranks with her sister towns in loyalty 
and patriotism. The 34th, 81st, 97th 
ana 121st regiments took many of her 
sons, and one brave soldier from Pros- 
pect. I refer to Julius A. Jones, a 
brother of our memorable hostess, Mrs. 
Farley. Julius, with about forty of our 
best mill boys, enlisted; Julius going out 
as corporal in company C, in the 12l3t. 

These regiments were in many battles, 
one of the first being at Fredericksburg, 
in May, 1863. Several were killed, 
Julius and others wounded, a ball pass- 
ing through his leg just above the knee. 
I visited these wounded boys from Rus- 
sia, rendered them all the assistance I 
could and have always held them in 
grateful remembrance, for they were 
faithful in their work and home and 
brave in battle and for this reason few 
of them returned to their native homes. 

The war debt of our town was paid m 
full; I was supervisor after the war in 


186G, 1867. 18(i8 and 1869, and sett'ed 
this war account Those who were 
drafted in 1863 and commuted by pay- 
ing three hundied dollars, were repaid, 
and those that reported under the draft 
received the same amount. 

The draft that was ordered in 1864, 
was filled by procuring su stitutes at 
prices ranging from .|1,3()0 to f 1,700 each 
was refunded and paid by the town. 

We used our best efforts to have this 
debt paid at an early day. One hundred 
dollars was paid with less hardship at 
that time, thai fifty dollars m later 


Hinckley & Ballou located the Gang 
Mills, now called Binckley, in the year 
1848, as before stated. Mr. Gardner 
Hinckley was the first to build a saw 
mill in the town of Wilmurt on the 
West Canada Creek in 1840. T. P. Bal- 
lou of Uiica. built another mill on the 
west branch of this stream at Nobles- 
borough, in 1843. The lumber from 
these mills was hauled to Utica market 
by teams, two days being necessary to 
make a trip. These gentlemen united 
their lumber business under the firm 
name of Hinckley & Ballou in 1846, 
with the expectation of floating logs to 
or near Herkimer, and building mills 
there to lessen the expense of marketing 
lumber. In 1847 they erected piers and 
booms on West Creek, about two milts 
north of Herkimer, but in February, 1848, 
the boom of logs at Wilmurt broke and 
these logs went down over Trenton 
Falls, many being broken and damaged; 
but tliey did not stop at the booms at 
Herkimer, as was expected, the water 
being too rapid and not sufficiently deep. 
This plan was then abandoned and a 
more suitable place was found, above 
Trenton Falls, the present location, 
where the mills and booms were built in 
1848-49. In 18,0, the planing mill was 
added to the plant. In 1851 the Trenton 
and Prospect plank road was laid, inter- 
secting at Trenton the northern plank 
road from Utica. Lumber was taken 
over this road until the R W. & O. RR. 
was opened for traffic, when it was 
taken to Trenton station, later yet to 

Prospect station, until the building of 
the A & Sc L RR. to Hinckley in 1891. 

Mr. Hinckley with his family came to 
live at this place in 18.")4, after being 
burned out in Wilmurt in 1853. I was 
married in 1853 and began houseket ping 
in 1854, there b.-ing only four otht-r fam- 
ilies here then. 

Mr. Hinckley was in the legislature in 
1855, when an act was pa'^sed making 
the West Tana'^a Creek, from the i ooras 
at thes^ mills, a public highway and an 
appropriation was made of five thousand 
dollars for removing rocks and obstruc- 
tions from the stream. 

In 1857, the panic in the state banks 
occurred, and to feed 50 teams and 150 
men was no sm ill matter in those d <ys, 
but hy exchanging lumber with the 
farmers for their farm products (which 
they dared not sell for bank bills) and by 
means of the credit given by our neigh 
bors, the firm was prevented from fail- 

There was no public road across the 
creek at this place, the road from Grant 
passing over the hill south to Prospect. 
The company maintained a private 
bridge for their business, which the pub- 
lic a!so used until the towns of Trenton 
and Russia built a covered wood bridge 
in 1856, which having proved of faulty 
construction, was replaced by the pres- 
ent iron bridge in 1871, built by Mr. 
Whipple of Boonville, N. Y. 

The store building was built and 
opsned for business in 1860. The M. E. 
church was erected in 1873, Rev. Pom- 
eroy Wright, pastor. Mail was received 
from Prospect by private carrier until 
1872, when a postoffice by the name of 
Gang Mills was established, William H. 
Stanton being postmaster until 1883, 
when J. N. Walter was appointed and 
held the office to 1891, at which date 
the name of the office was changed 
to Hinckley and Fred M Smith was ap- 
point'-d postmaster. 

The mills had many changes and re- 
pairs up to 1874 in which year they were 
built new from the foundation, and 
made the most complete mills in the 
state, the product of this plant being 
lumber of all kinds,planed and matched, 


mouldings, casings, clapboards, shingles, 
latiis, broomhandles, etc., with a large 
home trade. Also in connection with 
the mills a large farming business was 
conducted in Wilmurt and Russia. 

The highest water ever known in the 
West Canada Creek was on the 21st day 
of April, 1869, part of the boom being 
lost and five to ten thousand logs carried 
away. High water of nearly the same 
volume occurred again in August, 1874. 

The business of this firm has been ex- 
ceptionally free from casualties, no 
buildings havmg been burned and only 

four deaths resulting from accident in 
over forty years of logging and lumber- 

Mr. Hinckley died in March, 187o, and 
the firms business having been settled, 
Mr. Ballou continued alone from 1880 
until his death in February, 1887. The 
mill property was sold by H. C. Ballou, 
executor, to the Trenton Falls Lumber 
Company in 1889. This company and 
others expended several hundred thous- 
and dollars enlarging the plant and erect- 
ng one of the largest sulphite pulp mills 
in the country. 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, April 12, 1898. 

History, generally speaking, is a great 
panorama of the centuries representing 
scenes, too extended to be seen at once 
and so pictured a little at a time that we 
may be enabled the better to appreciate 
the separate parts of the great whole. I 
will endeavor to throw upon the canvass 
for your consideration a few small views 
of the past and present of the town of 
Schuyler in our county and, perhaps, 
may see fit to prognosticate, from known 
signs and systems, something of its 
future. Some people think that patriot- 
ism is love for the land of one's birth. 
If that were absolutely true I should feel 
very sad, for having been born over three 
thousand miles away and under the 
Britisli flag and always having been 
proud of an inherent aversion to the 
brag and swagger of the average John- 
nie Bull, I should feel doomed to spend 
my days without the pale of. that de- 
lightful spirit realm in which souls are 
set on fire with the spirit of '76, '61, and 
'98. But if patriotism, as I believe, is 
love of home or country whether of 
one's birth or adoption I can claim kin- 
dred with the brave hearts who are will- 
ing to endure suffering or even lose life 
itself to maintain the honor of their 
homes. I hate the man who belittles by 
word or deed the town in which he lives. 
He is a traitor, not pure but very simple. 

The man who lives in Herkimer and 
does his trading in Little Falls or Utica 
deserves six months at least once if not 
twice a year. Infidelity to home inter- 
ests is the prolific cause of so many 
failures in small towns. If these last 
thoughts seem an apparent digression I 
crave your pardon on the theory that 
indomitable allegiance to one's home 
town I believe to be one of the cardinal 
principles in the doctrine of true pa- 

In compiling a record of events in the 
early history of one's town, difficulties 
almost insurmountable are always met. 
In the ever-increasing distance from 
primitive times there is great danger 
that false traditions may creep into 
authenticated narrative and that such 
clouded stories as "William Tell shoot- 
ing the apple from the head of his son," 
be incorporated into the historic annals 
of a country. It is therefore difficult to 
establish a correct prineipuum cognos- 
cencli. Tradition is not authentic in any 
essential particular. The paradosis of 
the Greek and the cabala of the Jew may 
have been important before the advent 
of the New Testament, but as Augustine 
fitly remarked, that they could not be 
relied upon in the great distance from 
the age of the Apostles, so we say that 
tradition is not history, and is valuable 



only as it corroborates the established 
ancals of a period. Stories handed down 
orally from father to son are liable to 
material changes with each generation. 
True history is a record of undisputed 
facts crystalized upon tables of stone or 
indelibly stamped upon the printed page. 
But so much of tradition has insinuated 
itself even into the established account 
that there is ample room to doubt 
whether there is any absolutely correct 
history antedating the memory of the 
oldest inhabitant. In writing this paper 
I have been signally favored with the 
companionship of reliable octogenarians 
and nearly all the facts which I shall 
present for your consideration have been 
taken from the lips of those aged people. 

The present town of Schoyler is a 
tract of land consisting of something less 
than 25.000 acres, situated on the north 
side of the Mohawk river and just west 
of the town of Herkimer. It was origi- 
nally nearly half as large as the whole 
county, the towns of Trenton and Deer- 
field in Oneida county and a part of 
Newport in this county having been 
taken from it within fourteen years of 
its organizfition in 1793. 

John Jurgh Kass had followed the 
Indian trails up the Mohawk vall«y as 
early as 1720, over 70 years before 
Schuyler was known as a town. The 
earliest purchase of land by white peo- 
ple in what is now central New York 
was recorded in the Burnetsfield patent 
which began on its west boundary at 
the Mohawk river, on the line or nearly 
so between the Sandford Getman and 
Andrew Davison farms just east of the 
old Frankfort depot, running east almost 
to the village of Little Falls. The next 
purchase was by John Jurgh Kass in the 
present town of Schuyler, a tract of 1100 
acres. This was in 1724, after Kast, had 
satisfied himself for four years that he 
had struck an earthly paradise. Kast, as 
he afterwards wrote his name, made lots 
of money trading with the Indians and 
did not need to occupy the land for a 
great length of time. Joseph Kast of 
Mohawk is a descendant. The thrift of 
the original John Jurgh seems to have 
been transmitted to his entire progeny, 

for to be named Kast is an evidence of 
wealth and prosperity. 

It was a long time oefore any further 
settlements were effected in the present 
town of Schuyler. About forty years 
had elapsed after Kast bought his 1100 
acres before Peter Hasenclever, a shrewd 
and adventurous old German of Wir- 
temberg, pushed his way westward from 
his iron works on the Hudson and ob- 
tained a site for a settlement on the 
Luther P. Sterling and D. I. Bridenbecker 
farms, about a mile west of the Frank- 
fort depot. This was the first settlement 
of any account in the town and marked 
the western boundary of the white settle- 
ment before the revolutionary war. 
Hasenclever seems to have been author- 
ity on mineral as well as vegetable sub- 
stances and knew well how to utilize 
both, as his iron works at Poughkeepsie 
and potash factory at New Petersburg 
(now East Schuyler) abundantly testified. 

All supplies were then transmitted up 
the Mohawk in flat-boats and I have 
often seen hand made nails taken from 
some of the old houses built at New 
Petersburg. During the revolutionary 
war, a few years later, the inhabitants 
of New Petersburg suffered intensely, 
mostly from the ravages of the treach- 
ous and marauding Iroquois, although 
the tories were not much less severe. 
And here it may be proper to remark 
that circumstances have a great deal to 
do with our opinions of who are the 
rebels. In '76 the rebels succeeded and 
became patriots because their cause was 
right: in 61 the rebels were defeated and 
never became anything but rebels because 
their cause was wrong. The right or 
wrong of it makes a great difference. 
In the vicinity of the house now owned 
by Mrs. Elizabeth Gilbert was the much 
talked of New Petersburg fort. This 
was a crude affair looking very much 
like children's work. It consisted of two 
or three log houses around which was 
constructed a picket fence made of 
narrow boards or plank sawed at the 
Hasenclever saw mill and about twelve 
feet high, but the north side was made 
of young tree about six inches through, 
sharpened and driven into the 


ground. In this enclosure the inhabi- ests of the world. Erasmus W. Day, 

tants huddled at night and worked day 
times in the field with fire arras at easy 
command. This was farming under dif- 
ficulties bat perhaps as profitable as it 
has been for a few years back Luther 
P. Sterling shoived me the stump of the 
tree the other day just outside of the 
old fort into which an Indian climbed 

the old political war horse of the town 
represented us in 1869. Mr. Day was 
exceptionally candid and outspoken but 
he never went back on a friend. If he 
was for you you knew it and if he was 
ay;ainst you you surely did. Last but not 
least among our assemblymen was John 
M. Budlong in 1885 and '86. He is a man 

and picked off the whites as they went eminently fitted to grapple with great 

down to the spring after water ; after 
awhile Baltis Brideubecker picked off 
the Indian and his comrades came in the 
night and carried him off. On the 
farm which I now occupy the men were 
at work one time in the field when the 
Indians swept down upon them. One 
young fellow by the name of Peter Rima 
hid in and adjacent thiclset Wh n the 
Indians had bound the Germans as 

questions and justly enjoys the enviable 
reputation of always standing for the 
right as his conscience dictates. The 
proportion of public men sent out 
by the town of Schuyler has been 
remarkable considering the cir- 
cumstances. It is emphatically an 
agricultural district. The men are 
farmers, not office-seekers, and when 
chosen, the office has sought the man and 

prisoners, they ordered the captive to call not the man the office. Lawyers locate 

the youngster. In the German language ia villages. To be sure they are a nec- 

they shouted "Peter Bleib wo du bist !" essary evil and therefore must be en- 

which being translated means, "stay dured, but one thing is certain, they are 

where you are" and the young fellow more than willing to appropriate the 

lived to tell the tale. When by legisla 
tive enactment the town was founded 
in 1793 temporary officers were ap- 
pointed who served until April 3nd, 
1793 when a 
elected with 

honor and the salaries of all the public 
offices. Schuyler neither has nor has 
had any lawyers, so we have not had to 
be charged with the office of district at- 
full set of officers were torney, county judge and surrogate, or 
Isaac Bray ton as super- any of the positions for which only law- 

visor. Isaac Brayton was also member yers are supposed to be fitted. The first 

of assem*^'ly in 1797 but the present town 
lays no claim to Isaac Brayton because 
he never lived within its limits. The 
first assemblyman the town claims as her 
own was Robert Burch in 1811 and again 
in 1812. He was a man of great mental 
power and superior business abilities. 
Then came Olmstead Hough in 1813. The 

man ever elected to a county office from 
our town is the present county clerk. 
(A member of assembly is in a meas- 
ure a state officer because he is 
elected to legislate for the whole state.) 
His record is an open book, known and 
read by all men. D. M. Richardson is 
not only an honor to the town of Schuy- 

towu was in the incipient stages of its ler, in which he was born, but to the 

political career but seemed to have quite 
a voice in the agency of making the 
laws. In 1840 George Buroh was as- 
semblyman from Herkimer county and 
the town of Schuyler. Like his father 
he attended to public business as he did 
his own, earnestly, methodically, 
successfully. In 1857 and again in 1858 

whole county, as an exceptionally capa- 
ble public officer. 

The town of Schuyler is remarkable 
for the cleanliness of its political char- 
acter. It is neither bought nor sold at 
primaries or in conventions. It may 
take sides with existing political fac- 
tions, but whichever faction receives its 

the veteran agriculturist, Harris Lewis, support, receives it purely on principle, 

was our assemblyman. He was a model One thing remarkable about the town 

assemblyman because he looked after is its political stability. It is overwhelm- 

the interests of the farmer whose busi- ingly republican. It can be depended 

ness is the basis of all the business inter- upon. Other towns are like a weather- 


vane on an April day; Schuyler is as 
steadfast and uniform as the needle to 
the pole. But the most remarkable 
thing about Schuyler is its attitude on 
the temperance question. This question 
of the manufacture and sale of intoxi- 
cating beverages is the burning question 
of the hour. The town of Schuyler has 
solved it. The sentiment against the 
traffic is so pronounced that a man who 
favored it in that town, should he be 
running for office, would be buried so 
deep that even Gabriel's trumpet would 
have to sound an extra blast to reach 
him. It may be said that it is exclu- 
sively a farming district, that there are 
no villages and therefore there are no 
facilities for the traffic. Well, if 
farming is a safeguard agamst in- 
temperance, let us all become farmers. 
I would rather be a nomad than a drunk- 
ard. But the insinuation is groundless 
as applied to Schuyler I have been a 
member of the town board for nearly 
thirty years. In 1869 a man applied to 
the board for license to sell liquor in the 
village of West Schuyler. The town 
board then had the power to grant 
licenses. I was late that day. The 
board stood two and two. I felt that the 
proudest moment of my life had come to 
me. I felt that I had the sole power to pre- 
vent a covenant with death and a league 
with hell. The man did not get a license. 
It is not that the town lacks the facili- 
ties, but its leading men lack the dis- 
position. There are men in town who 
would like to see liquor sold. It has 
been inti-mated that some would like to 
sell it. It is the only temperance town 
in the county, and yet one of its marked 
features is the absence of wliat are 
politically called prohibitionists. One 
man talks prohibition and is credited 
with voting the democratic ticket, and 
on especial occasions I have known as 
many as half a dozen votes to be cast 
for the nominees of that party. And yet 
I thank God for the prohibitionists. I 
believe they have a mission to perform, 
and they perform it. Great reforms fol- 
low in the paths previously blazed by 
agitators. The agitators themselves sel- 

dom accomplish much other than the 

William Lloyd Garrison was as anti- 
slavery as John G. WooUey is anti- 
liquor, but William Lloyd Garrison or 
any of his eccentric and almost if not 
quite erratic followers ever freed a slave, 
and yet they blazed the pathway for the 
republican . party, and there are grave 
doubts that the republican party would 
have ever been wrought up to the noble 
work without the previous labors of the 
anti-slavery agitators. 

The following is the position Schuyler 
takes on the liquor traffic. When the 
Raines liquor law was enacted it pro- 
vided for local option ; that is, about 
five separate propositions were submit- 
ted to the people at the election. A town 
need not have liquor sold by the drink 
but it could have it sold by measure 
or it could sell it to be swallowed off 
of the premises, or it could license drug- 
gists to sell it for medicinal purposes; 
but every separate proposition was 
defeated by the voters of Schuyler. 
Name me the otner town that did as 
well. But the mere fact of defeat 
is not .iust the thing of which Schuyler 
is so intensely proud. If a hundred 
votes were cast, fifty one might have 
defeated forty nine and still the public 
sentiment would have baen almost 
evenly divided. In our town the pro- 
position most favored, that of selling 
by druggists for medicinal purposes was 
defeated by over six to one, and that of 
selling by the drink as a beverage by over 
ten to one. 

Schuyler has three churches, all Metho- 
dist The town was divided into school 
districts in 1813 and but few changes 
have since been made. The best school 
house and grounds is that at East 
Schuyler but great improvement ought 
to be made in the school buildings of 
the town. Like too many other towns 
the disposition to hurry off the pupil to 
larger towns and schools of higher 
grade is far too prevalent. I am proud 
of the general trend of improvement of 
the age but I believe that many of the 
fads of modern schools are a positive 
detriment to the pupils. The best 


spellers and the best grammarians I have 
ever met grew up to be almost men and 
women before they said good bye to the 
old red school houses in the country 
districts. The town was named after the 
oft maligned but always exoner- 
ated Gen. Philip Schuyler. He was born 
in Albany and for the valuable services 
rendered during the revolutionary war 
was rewarded with a large tract of land 
in this region. A number of his re- 
latives for awhile occupied the territor}^ 
among them the Bleeckers, and others 
who have helped to make Albany fam- 
ous for its high toned society. 

The East Schuyler Literary society I 
think deserves mention as an important 
factor in the progress of the town. 

Among the pioneers who settled the 
town were Henri Staring, first judge of 
Herkimer county, appointed by Gover- 
nor Clinton, Robert Burch assembly- 
man from the county in 1811-12, Elisha 
Ladd, Stephen Rose, Nehemiah Rich- 
ardson, Nathan Budlong, Thomas Wood, 
John Goo, Daniel Smith and others. 
These hardy pioneers were the ances- 
tors of the East Schuyler Literary so 
ciety and its members delight to trace 
back the honored relationship that exist 
between them and the brave and hardy 
tillers of the virgin soil. The society 
was formed for general literary culture 

but makes a speciality of studyir g the 
works of modern authors. One of the 
remarkable things about it is that while 
it has celebrated its sixth anniversary and 
has bi-weekly meetings it has never 
missed a session. Most societies of this 
character have their ebb and flow tides, 
this one is as stable and uniform as the 
politics of the town. The ablest his- 
torian in town is Alexis Johnson, who 
makes a specialty of the early historv 
of the town. Edgar Jackson Klock is our 
antiquarian and a visit to his residence 
and a look at his collection of relics is 
always a treat. In the Board of 
Supervisors the town has always been 
an important factor. It has had the 
honor of more chairmen than any other 
town, all of which it has received with 
thanks. The rising generation of the 
town of Schuyler bid fair to out do their 
ancestors in political sagacity and a de- 
sire for a large comprehension of politi- 
cal ecomony. In case of a war with 
Spain which is now more than probable 
Schuyler can be relied upon to furnish 
its full quota. We believe in the future 
of Schuyler. With due deference to 
the rights and accomplishments of 
other towns she is anxious to march in 
the van-guard and prove herself worthy 
of the position she occupies. 




Delivered before the Herkimer County Historical Society, Ma}- 14, 189S. 

The town of Norway was organized 
April 10, 1792, by act of the legislature. 
Its original boundaries included the 
towns of Fairfield, Russia, Ohio, Wil- 
murt and Webb and that porlion of 
Newport lying easterly of the West 
Canada Creek, in Herkimer county; por- 
tions of Oneida, Lewis and Clinton coun- 
ties, all of Hamilton and the most of St 
Lawrence. About 36 towns are now lo- 
cated within its form^'r limits. Fairfield 
was taken off in 1796, Remsen in 1798, 
Russia as Union, and part of Newport in 
1806, and Ohio as West Brunswick in 

and cedar on its eastern and northern 
bounds covered the whole territory. 

The first attempt to settle was made 
in the year 178f), by a Mr. Whipple and 
Hawkins from Rhode Island, on the 
farm recently owned by Munson Bun- 
nell. After erecting a log shanty and 
making a small clearing, they found 
they had located on the wrong lot and 
abandoned their enterprise. The next 
year, 1787, witnessed the first perma- 
nent settlement It was made by Fisher, 
Jeremiah Jr. and Angel Potter of Rhode 
Island, all young unmarried men. Their 

1823. No boundary changes have since sisters, Mary and _Sarah, accompanied 
occurred. them They leased lot No, 4 of the third 
The "greater" Norway of 1792, was allotment of the Royal Grant, contain- 
about 125 miles in length, with an aver- ing 300 acres, for a period of 21 years, 
age width of 50 miles, the "lesser" Nor- with the privilege of purchase at the ex- 
way of the past 75 years is scarce 6 miles piration of that time for $2.50 an acre, 
square; of the town as now constituted. They built their log cabin near the south- 

its early settlement and pioneers we 
shall only write. 

The surface is elevated and rolling. 
A broad platteau of high land extends 

east corner of said lot, about three- 
fourths of a mile directly north of Nor- 
way village. Their first year in the 
wilderness was a trying time. The 

from southeast to northwest through the nearest neighbors were seven miles dis- 
centre, fro'u which numerous trout tant. Tneir stock of provisions ran short, 
brooks flow northward and eastward to Forest game supplied in part their press- 

Black and Spruce creeks and southward 
and westward to White creek. No 
town in the county is better watered. 
Before settlement, an unbroken forest of 
splendid timber, mostly hard wood, with 

ing wants. Their parents came from 
Rhode Island, in April, 1788 

Before 1790 Thomas Manley came from 
Vermont in conpany with David Un- 
derbill, a cousin. They located a mile 

a generous border of hemlock along the south of Norway village. John, Amos 
streams, and a border of spruce, I alsam and Andrew Coe Jr. and Captain David 


Hinman came from Southbury, Conn., 
in 1789 and settled a short distance 
northerly of the village. The Manley 
and Coe families were important factors 
in the towns early history. 

Marvelous accounts of the fertile soil, 
healthy climate and cheap lands of the 
Royal Grant spread through New Eng- 
land and eastern New York, and re- 
sulted In a large emigration of desirable 
settlers between the years 1790 and 1800. 
The dread of that bane, fever and ague, 
was unknown on our healthy hills. A 
few of the procniaent settlers a^ter 1790, 
were Henry Tillinghast,*Sylvauu8 Ferris, 
Edward Henderson, Henry G. Gardiner 
and George W. and William H. Cook. 
Noah Smith, great grandfather of Judge 
George W. Smith of Herkimer, was a 
resident of the Hurricane district. 
Jojiah and Dudley Smith were the pio- 
neer settlers on the land on which Nor- 
way village is built. la 1794 they 
bought lot No 31, of the second allot- 
ment of the Royal Grant, containing 300 
acres, of Peter I. Vosburgh of Kinder- 
hook, N. Y., agreeing to pay $650 for 
the same. The deed states that the 
grantor received title June 1, 1785, of 
Jeremiah VanRensealaer and Henry 
Oothoudt, commissioners appointed by 
the state to sell the forfeited estates of 
the Johnsons. The north and south 
road through our village divided the lot 
in equal parts, Josiah taking the east and 
Dudley the west lot. They little thought 
that the flourishing (?) village of Norway 
would be built on their purchase. By 
common consent the location of Cook's 
store, half a mile north, was expected to 
be the future village of the town, but 
the partial failure of the Cooks, and the 
laying out of the State Road in 1806 
changed the program, 

The largest board of supervisors that 
ever convened m the county, the num- 
ber being 24, met in 1797 In point of 
population' and taxes, Norway was the 
eighth town of the number. Oneida 
county was formed in 1798 and Herki- 
mer county reduced to eight towns. In 
1799, this town was second in valuation 
and taxes, Herkimer being first. At the 
beginning of the present century over 

three-fourths of the town was thickly 
doited over with clearings and log 
houses. Cutting off the splendid forests 
was the main business of those days. 
By night the fires and by day the smoke 
could be seen from a hundre i cboppings. 
The air was full of the music of ringing 
axes, the crash of falhng limber and the 
tinkle of sheep and cow bells. The log 
houses resounded with the melody of 
wheels and loom, and the merry prattle 
of children, for babies were in style in 
the days of yore. The census of 1800 
found 1,008 inhabitants, of which more 
than 900 resided within the present town 
limits. Of this number, over 500 were 
less than 16 years of age and only 65 
over the age of 45. Included in the Hat 
were three slaves, George W. Cook, 
Josiah Curtiss and Josiah Smith owning 
one each. Norway slavery was proba- 
bly of a very mild type. 

Thomas Manley was the first super- 
visor within present town limits; chosen 
in 1797, and the two following years. 
He held this office in all for nine years 
and many other positions of trust and 
honor. He became a recognized leader 
of the Federal party in town. Manley 
had a fair education for the times and 
sufficient quiet energy to insure success 
in the farming line. He was rather 
large in stature, sedate and dignified in 
appearance and intercourse: from these 
tra:ts, some have likened him in de- 
meanor to Washington His townsmen 
had the utmost confidence in his integ- 
rity and wisdom. 

Henry Tillinghast came from Dorset, 
Vt., to Norway in the fall of 1794. He 
was a native of Rhode Island. He was 
a man of good sense, correct habits, of 
sterling integrity, untiring industry, 
strict economy and positive eneregy. 
He was direct and impulsive in style, 
bordering on rudeness in business tran- 
sactions. Politically, he was an ardent 
democrat and in addition to minor offi- 
ces, held the position of supervisor for 
15 years. In the board of supervisors he 
was so persistent in having extravagant 
bills cut down, that he was named by 
his brother supervisors the "Old Dock- 
ing Machine." Would that there were 


more of this kind of machine politicians 
at the present time. His business was 
divided between farming and quite an 
extensive tannery for early dayp, and in 
both he was quite successful. Two years 
after coming to town he married Miss 
Sarah Dyer of Vermont, and reared a 
family of ten children to mature years. 
Perhaps no family identified with our 
early history in social, political and re- 
ligious matters occupied so prominent a 
position for 50 years after 1795, as that 
of Henry Tillinghast. 

Sylvanus Ferris came from Westches- 
ter county in 1798 and bought 110 acres, 
a part of the farm now owned by Super- 
visor Smith. The purchase price was 
$6 an acre. The avails of his potash in- 
dustry soon paid for the land, Other 
farms were purchased and in 1824 he 
was the owner of about 700 acres. He 
was a man of ability, and success attend- 
ed all his business, including the buying 
and selling of country produce. For 
many years he was a partner with 
Robert Nesbitt in the butter and cheese 
trade. He gave each of his sons a farm 
when they married. In 1836 he induced 
his sons to sell their farms and with five 
of them, removed to Galesburg, 111., and 
located on government land there, he 
giving each of his sons a section of land. 
The change was extremely fortunate in 
a money sense. The Ferris family were 
originally from Connecticut. The young- 
est son of Sylvanus, George W. G., re- 
cently died in California. This enter- 
prising family had crossed the continent 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, before 
the day of railroads. Ferris of World's 
Fair wheel notoriety was a grandson 
of the su'iject of this sketch. 

No lawyer ever resided in Norway, 
but several able pettifoggers in justice 
courts flourished. Among the number 
was John Coe and Ira Coe, his naphew, 
and Daniel C. Henderson, grandfather of 
the somewhat honest Herkimer attorney, 
Hon. John Dryden Henderson. Of the 
early history of this vicinity no man was 
as conversant as Daniel C. Henderson, 
and to him we are indebted for many 
historical facts. Of large stature, com- 
manding presence and superior social 

qualities, he was a horn leader in poli- 
tical and local affairs. 

The town has been represented eleven 
years in the assembly dei artment of the 
state legislature as follows : 

Thomas Manley in 1799, 1809, 1820. 

Nicoll Fosdick in 1818, 1819. 

Henry Tillinghast in 1823, 1835. 

D. C. Henderson in 1827. 

Jeflferson Tillinghast in 1847. 

S. R. Millington in 1860. 

Henry Tillinghast, Jr. in 1865. 

The two last Tillinghast named were 
sons of Henry Tillinghast. 

In 1802 Wm. H. Cook was appointed 
sheriff and held the oflSce four years. 

NicoU Fosdick was elected presidential 
elector in 1816. He was a native of New 
London, Connecticut; a scholarly, digni- 
fied man, and a relative of our old time 
merchant, Frederick Mason, with whom 
he resided. 

This town has been favored with 
oflScial political honors in the past, and 
is ready and willing for further service. 

Westel Willoughby was the first doc- 
tor. He located on the hills some two 
miles north-east of the village in 1792. 

Amos Coe and Thomas Brayton in 
1793 opened taverns. 

Capt. David Hinman built a saw mill 
on Sulphur Spring brook and Carpenter 
Cole a grist mill near ex-Supervisor 
Comstock's the same year. 

The first prominent merchants were 
W. H. and Geo. W. Cook. They came 
from Dutchess county in 1793 with capi 
tal and enterprise and located one-half 
mile north of our present village. Cook's 
store was the rallying point for all town 
business for some fifteen years there- 

Frederick Mason bought out Cooper & 
Sanford and opened a store in our vil- 
lage in 1816 and continued business un- 
til about 1840. Charles Bradley built 
the store now occupied by J. H. Bliss in 
1816 and was a prominent merchant 
here for nine years after. He died sud- 
denly in 1825. Within the memory of 
persons now living, more mercantile 
business was done at Norway Corners 
than in the villages of Cold Brook, 
Poland and Middleville combmed. 


The first school was taught by Janette 
Henderson in 1793. In 1806 Phebe Smith 
taught in the Barnes district near Byron 
Comstock's, boarding around and receiv- 
ing $1 a week, payable in any kind of 
farm produce at the close of the year. 

Arnold Willoughby was a noted wheel 
maker at the beginning of the century, 
supplying this section of country with 
wool and flax wheels. 

Several cheese box shops flourished in 
former years. Now we have no manu- 
facturing mterests and no prospects of 
any in the future save cheese factories. 

Within town bounds we can point out 
the deserted sites of one distillery, three 
grist mills, three wool carding mils, six 
saw mills and ten tanneries. 

Josiah Smith opened the first tavern 
in Norway village in 1806, the year that 
the state road was laid out. 

Our first and only postoflSce was estab- 
lished in 1813 with Josiah Smith, post- 
master. The mail route for 30 years 
was over the state road from Johnstown 
to Trenton. 

The census of 1825 showed a popula- 
tion of 1,168, greater than at any future 
enumeration. The number today would 
not exceed 850. At the last census in 
1890 it was 817. In these times of debt, 
doubt and depression, it is not likely to 

The first religious meetings were held 
in 1793. Presbyterian and Methodist so- 
cieties were formed previous to 1800. 
The first Methodist church in the county 
was built in 1808 a mile and a half east 
of Norway village on the Jerseyfield 
road. This road, extending from the 
Mohawk river due north to the Jersey- 
field patent, was thickly settled and a 
number of the families were prominent 
Methodists. The old Cnion church at 
the village was built in 1814 and used by 
all denominations, except Methodist, un- 
til 1831. At least half the settlers prior 
to 1800 were natives of Rhode Island and 
Baptist in sentiment. The Norway Bap- 
tists became members of the Newport 
church. In 1829 a Baptist society was 
formed in town and their church built 
in 1831. The prominent members of the 
early Baptists here were, Osee Bronson, 

Christopher Cadman and Samuel Wes- 
tern and families. The Episcopalians or- 
ganized a church in 1819. For a time it 
was quite strong in membership, but 
was discontinued over twenty years 
since. The Presbyterians were the 
strong denomination of; former days. 
Their organization was abandoned some 
fifty years ago. The Free Will Baptists 
at one time had quite a society, long 
since out of existence. The M. E. 
church at the village was built in 1838 
and at HIack Creek the same year. The 
first Catholic came to town in 1842 ; 
they now constitute one-fourth of our 
population and materially lessen atten- 
dance at the Protestant churches. 

Noted religious revivals occurred in 
1830 conducted by Rev. Augustus Little- 
john in the Presbyterian church, and in 
1834 at the Baptist church conducted by 
the Rev. Jacob Knapp. These old 
time religious excitements were called 
protracted meetings. 

The early settlers soon found that our 
stony uneven service was poorly adapted 
for grain raising, with Albany for our 
nearest market. Our soil is adapted to 
grazing. Some of the New England 
emigrants brought the art of cheese mak- 
ing with them. Several small dairies of 
from six to' ten cows were established 
before 1810. 

Colonel Jared Thayer, a native of 
Berkshire County, Mass. , was our pioneer 
cheese dairyman. About the year 1812 
he had a dairy numbering 20 cows, the 
first of that size in the county or state. 
It was located on Dairy Hill on the farm 
owned by W. P. VanVechten. Before 
1830 cheese dairying became universal 
and this town is entitled to the credit of 
being the pioneer town that gave Herki- 
mer county cheese a reputation in for- 
mer years. Ferris & Nesbitt were the 
first buyers, followed by Harry Burwell. 
The first cheese factory was erected in 
1864; there are now seven in town. 

Our ancestors endured privations, but 
their poverty was hopeful. They were 
self supporting. Their fields furnished 
wheat and flax, their flocks and herds, 
wool, meat and leather; their trees, 
maple sugar. Our hatters, tailors, 


coopers and shoemakers made us com- 
paratively independent of the outside 
world. Every home was a manufactur- 
ing factory; in the year 1824 over 16,000 
yards of home made cloth was produced. 
Winter work of threshing and flax 
dressmg was in demand. Taxation was 
light and politicians honest. The curse 
of vote buying and selling was unknown. 
The effeminate luxuries of these days 
did not prevail. The years of our great- 
est prosperity extended from 1800 to 

Now how different; we are dependent 
on bob veals, the store and cheese fac- 
tory. N