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Full text of "The pioneers of Utica : being sketches of its inhabitants and its institutions, with the civil history of the place, from the earliest settlement to the year 1825, the era of the opening of the Erie Canal"



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THE PIONEERS OF UTICA: 



SKETCHES 



OF ITS INHABITANTS AND ITS INSTITUTIONS, WITH 
THE CIVIL HISTORY OF THE PLACE, 



THE EARLIEST SETTLEMENT 



Ihe year 182^, — the Era of the Opening of the Erie Canal ^ 



M. M. BAGG, A. M., M. D. 



" To me the lives of the instruments of human progress run into one another, and become so,- 
interivoven as to appear but the continuation of a single /«/%•"— Sabine. 



UTICA, N. Y. 
CURTISS & CHILDS, PRINTERS AND PUBLISHERS.. 

1877. 



Entered according to Act of Congrese. A. D. 1877, by 

M. M. BAGG, 

in the Office of the Libiaiiaii of Congress at Washington, D. C. 



PREFACE. l^^'fB/ijo 



Beginning for liis own gratification to gather materials relat- 
ing to the earl}' history of his native place, the writer was 
subsequently led to extend his inquiries, and to shape their 
results for the benefit of his present and former fellow towns- 
men. They contain the record of no far-reaching and time- 
honored incidents, nor the lives of many illustrious personages ; 
but only the story of the incipient growth of a town that was 
begun since the close of the Revolution, and of those who first 
helped to form and build it up. Yet of these first inhabitants 
of Utica not a few were men of robust and cultured minds, 
and strong, practical virtue ; men of mark and influence not 
here alone but elsewhere in the State, and in whom an}' town 
might justly take pride as its founders. To obtain true and 
just j)erceptions of these founders from the testimony of a few 
surviving contemporaries, and transmit them, together with the 
public acts of these founders, fresh to those who shall succeed, 
has been the purpose of the author. Written records of the 
period are few. Aside, therefore, from such registers of the 
village and church corporations as are extant, such local news- 
papers as are accessible, an occasional manuscript or diary, and 
inquiries, ^^ersonal or by letter, for particulars especially desired, 
he has procured most of his subject matter by comparison and 
equation of the recollection of aged persons. It would be difii- 
cult to enumerate all the persons to whom he has been indebted 
for single items of information. But to the following, with whom 
he has had numerous interviews, he cannot forbear acknowl- 
edging his obligations, viz : Messrs. Harry Camp, B. W. 
Thomas, A. Gr. Dauby, James Sayre and Mrs. E. B. Shearman 



1'10S127 



11. PREFACE. 

of Utica, and Rev. John Barton of Clinton, all of whom are 
now deceased, and to Messrs. E. S. Barnum, James C. De Long, 
J. E. Warner and Mrs. Mary Wells, of Utica, who are living. 
From the late M. B. Scott of Cleaveland, Ohio, and from Hon. 
T. H. Powell, of Delaware, in the same State, he has received 
lengthy and interesting communications. 

To many others also he owes his thanks for the use of old 
papers and documents kindly placed in his hands. 

Published obituaries, so far as he could rely on their accuracy 
and justness, he has freely used, and often with little change in 
the language. * 

The portraits contained in the volume, and which to most 
of its readers may, perchance, prove its chief source of interest, 
have been generously furnished at the expense of the relatives 
and friends of the j^arties represented. 

The order adopted is chronological : sketches of the men 
who successively arrived in the place, or took part in its affairs, 
are appended to the civil chronicle of the year when they came 
while the institutions that arise are, in general, linked with the 
lives of their principal manager, and are described no further 
than the duration of liis management. 

Despite some inconveniences, this plan has the advantage of 
exhibiting the actors, and only those, of any particular era, and 
of keeping in view the actual size and population of the town. 
Perhaps, also, it forms the most desirable basis for the labors 
of the historian who is to come. 

June, 1877. 



THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 



CHAPTER I. 

OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 



The original settlement made at Utica took its name of Old- 
Fort Schuvler, from a fort which had been erected here during 
the French and Indian war. This fort, which was designed to 
guard the fording place in the Mohawk river above it, was situ- 
ated on the south bank, a very little distance south-east of the 
present intersection of Second street and the Central Railroad. 
The left bank of Ballou's creek, which joins the river just be- 
low, was formerly much depressed a short distance above its 
mouth, so as to form, in high water, a lagoon that must have 
reached almost to the walls of the fort, and thus have facilitated 
the landing and embarkation of troops. The fort consisted of 
an embankment surrounded by palisades, nearly all traces of 
which had disappeared at the time of the arrival of the first 
settlers, although its site could still be distinguished less than 
thirty years ago by the presence of a large apple tree that had 
been planted within the enclosure. It was named in honor of 
Colonel Peter Schuyler, an uncle of General Philip Schuvler 
of the Revolution. During, and subsequent to this war, it went 
by the name of Old Fort Schuyler, to distinguish it from an- 
other fortress erected at Rome, and which was sometimes known 
as Fort Schuyler, though it had been christened, and was there- 
fore more correctly called, Fort Stanwix. 

The choice of this spot as a place of settlement after the war 
was probably determined by the following circumstances : The 
presence of the hills which confine the Mohawk at Little Falls, 
and their close approximation for some way above that point, 
restricted the range of the earlier immigrants into Central New 
York, and concurred with the fertility of the soil along the val- 
ley, to fix them within the limits of the latter. Toward Old 



6 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Fort Schuyler these hills decline in height, and begin to melt 
away to the right and the left. Here, therefore, was the first 
place where facilities appeared for a divergence from the former 
course, while the beautiful valleys that open southward at this 
point and at Whitesboro, tempted settlers who found the lands 
below^ already in occupation to depart from the line of the river 
in search of homes more remote. The old Indian path from 
Oneida Castle here intercepted the jDath along the river side 
leading to the portage at Fort Stanwix. Both crossed the 
Mohawk at the only place in the neighborhood where fording 
was easily practicable ; and this W'as at the site of the present 
bridge at the foot of Genesee street. As a place of trade with 
the outlying settlements beyond, which required supplies that 
could best be brought by the river, the spot seemed an advan- 
tageous one. The soil along the stream was, it is true, wet and 
marshy, and the same was the case with nearl}^ all the land in 
the vicinity, with the exception of a low, gravelly ridge lying 
parallel w^ith the soutliern bank, some dozen rods distant, and 
from w^hose upper end diverged a slighter ridge southward. 
There were no })romising mill privileges, no quarries of valu- 
able building stone, no mines of metals or useful minerals, no 
salt springs, or other special features of the spot that pointed it 
out as an attractive site for a settlement and gave assurance of 
extended growth. The Mohawk was indeed navigable for ves- 
sels of small tonnage from Schenectady to Fort Schuyler, and 
even to Fort Stanwix, whence, after a short jDortage into Wood 
creek, water passage was continuous, by way of Oneida lake, 
Oneida and Oswego rivers, to Ontario and the farthest west ; and 
this, in fact, had from the earliest period in the country's history 
formed the principal thoroughfare of travel and of trade. The 
real and practical head of navigation on the Mohawk was at 
Fort Stanwix, and this place was looked upon, — to use the lan- 
guage of the Commissioners of the Inland Navigation Com- 
pany, — as "the future great city west of Albany," Even the 
mouth of the Sauquoit formed a much more natural and import- 
ant landing. Previous to the imj)rovement of the road extend- 
ing west from Old Fort Schuyler, both Eome and Wliitesboro, 
at the mouth of tlie Sauquoit, far exceeded the former place in 
the amount of their river transportation. The most that could 
have been expected by its earlier traders was to make it a land- 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 7 

ing place whence goods could be conveyed to the places rapidly 
settling in its immediate vicinity. Thus it happened that for a 
long time its business was carried on near the river, or in the 
street wdaich ran parallel, a short distance above. This was called 
Main street, its extension toward Whitesboro being known as 
the AVhitesboro road. Nor did the settlement reach much 
above this line until the village had had several 3-ears of exist- 
ence. Not until after the appropriations made by the Legislature 
in 1794, '95 and '97, had been expended on the road to the 
"Genesee country," and especially not until after the incorj)o- 
ration of the Seneca Turnpike Company in 1800, and the con- 
struction by it of a more perfect road, which, starting at the 
ford, ran much to the southward of Eome and Whitesboro, did 
Utica increase materially, and become the virtual head of trade 
upon the Mohawk. 

The territory on which Old Fort Schuyler was settled, formed 
part of a tract of 22,000 acres, granted on the 2d of January^ 
1734, by George II., King of England, nominally, to several 
persons, but in reality, to inure to the benefit of William 
Cosby, Colonial Governor of New York and New Jersey;"^ 
it was thence known as Cosby's Manor. In default of the 
pavment of arrears of quit rents, it was, on the 4th of July, 
1772, sold by the sheriff under warrant from Daniel Hors- 
manden, the Chief Justice of the Colony, and was purchased by 
Col., afterwards General Philip Schuyler, for the joint benefit 
of himseK, General John Bradstreet, Kutger Bleecker and 
John Morin Scott. They paid for it £1,387, 4s., 7d., or at the 
rate of fifteen pence per acre. By them or their heirs it was 
held at the time the first settlements were effected. 

In the year 1786, a survey of the manor, together with a map 
of the same, was made by John R, son of Eutger Bleecker, and 
a division of the lots took place among the several owners. The 
whole tract extended easterly from the mouth of the Sauquoit 
creek, eleven miles, seventeen chams, and was six miles wide, 
three upon each side of the Mohawk river. It was divided 
into lots that ran back from the river three miles, and were 

* Among the persons named in the Royal Charter, in conjunction with 
William Cosby, and who held title of the land from the 2d to the 5th of 
January, when they transferred their title to the Governor, is Richard 
Shuckburgh, who, if he did not compose, introduced the popular air of 
Yankee Doodle into this country. 



8 THE PIOXEERS OF UTICA. 

sixteen or seventeen chains in widtli. The city of Utica lies 
"wholly upon the south side of this stream, and, according to 
its present limits, is enclosed mostly between lots Nos. 82 and 
101, the western boundary of so much of it as lies north of 
the Central Kailroad having recently been extended to the west 
line of lot No. 104. The more inhabited j)ortion of the city, 
is, in fact, included between lots Nos. 90 and 100. No. 90 is 
nearly coextensive in width with the neck of the Ox-Bow or 
Eiver Bend, and reaches west to the line of the Col. Walker 
(now the Culver) place; No. 91 reaches westerly nearly to Mo- 
hawk street, or, more exactly, to a point a little west of the 
brick house on Broad street once occupied by Col. Combe ; No. 
92 reaches to a point near the west end of Broad street basin 
bridge ; No. 93 to a point a few feet east of First street canal 
bridge ; No. 94, to witliin a few feet of Charlotte street, cut- 
ting the east line of Genesee near where the latter corners on 
Catharine ; No. 95 to within a few feet of Broad wa}^ ; No. 96 
to a few feet west of the foot of Cornelia street ; ]^.v97 to the 
southeast corner of Varick and Fayette streets ; No. 98 to the 
east side of the Vulcan works, near Wiley street ; No. 99 to a 
short distance west of Philip street, and No. 100 to the west 
corner of the State Lunatic Asylum. These lots were in the dis- 
tribution, apportioned as follows: Lots Nos. 90 and 91 to the 
heirs of General Bradstreet ; 92, 93 and 94 to Eutger Bleecker ; 
95, 96 and 97 to General Bradstreet's heirs ; 98, 99 and 100 to 
General Schuyler. 

The very earliest notice I have met with of any settlements 
having been attem])ted on or near the site of Utica, is contained 
in the statement of a centenarian named Justus Ackley, who 
died at Rome, N. Y. March 22d, 1874, having been born at 
Coeyman's, August 14th, 1771 ; and though little reliance can 
be placed on a memory so ancient as his, yet this story is not 
inconsistent with written testimony of a little later date. He 
says, that when he was fourteen years of age (1785-6) he passed 
the site of the present Utica in company with his parents. There 
were then but two log houses, or "salt boxes," as they were 
called in the language of the pioneers. Ue describes them as 
made of split basswood, the spaces between being covered with 
bark. The front was from tw^elve to twenty feet high, with a 
roof slanting toward the rear, the lower end being but a few 
feet from the ground. 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. \) 

Moses Foot, who began the settlement at Clinton in 1787, 
while on his way, slept in a log house belonging to one of these 
early settlers, who informed him that he had half an acre cleared 
in 1785.* 

Passing by this testimony, let us turn to that of the above 
mentioned map, which is still extant and which bears the date 
of October, 1786. It appears therefrom that two houses were 
located near the ford, on what is now the east side of Genesee 
street, and one on the west side. Im]:)rovements had been made 
a little further westward, somewhere between the present lines 
of Broadwa}' and State streets, and there were also improvements 
near the present eastern limits of the cit}^ Outside of these 
evidences of commencing civilization was an unbroken forest, 
consisting chiefly of beech, hemlock, maple and elm. 

The occupant of the house nearest the river on the eastern 
side of the road was John Cunningham, his neighbor beside 
him being George Damuth. The resident of the opposite side 
was Jacob Christman. The settler toward the west w^as a man 
named McNamee, and the clearings on the eastern border were 
designated as those of MclSTamee and Abraham Boom. 

An emigrant who passed through the place the following- 
year, likewise informs us that there were three log huts or 
shanties near the old fort. The statement furnished by a set- 
tler who arrived in 1788 confirms the evidence of the map, 
showing that Cunningham, Damuth, and Christman were liv- 
ing near the ford, while it adds to the list the name of Hendrich 
Salyea. Of these men we know little. JVIost of them were vi 
Palatine descent, and had probably removed hither from set- 
tlements lower down the jSIohawk. 

The name Damuth occurs in the Palatine Records of Herki- 
mer county, as we are informed by N. S. Benton, in his history 
of that county. It was variously spelled as Demath, Demooth, 
Demoth, Dimoth, Demot, &c., but by the Yankee settlers was 
Anglicized into Dame wood. During the Revolutionary war 
some of the family were living near Herkimer, and one George 
Damuth lived in the neighborhood of Little Falls. Prior to 
that struggle, Mark Damuth had settled near Deerfield Corners, 
whence with the other settlers, he was driven out by a threat- 

* Journal of Dr. Alexander Coventry, where the statement is given on 
the authority of Mr. Foot. 



10 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA, 

ened attack of Indians. He returned in 178-i, and with him 
came another of the family named George. Whether these two 
George Damuths, the one of Little Falls and he of Deei-field, 
were the same, and the person who afterwards fixed himself on 
the south side of the Moliawk, is, though a conjecture, at least 
a probable one. The lease from Eutger Bleecker, of the city of 
Albany, to " George Demuth of Montgomery county,' (the name 
then applied to all of the State west of Albany county) is 
dated, July 28th, 1787. It demises 273-| acres, being part of 
lot No. 9-1, for the term of twenty-one years, at a yearly rent 
of one shilling per acre. The first payment was to be made 
on the 28th of July, 1793, and subsequent ones annually there- 
after. Mr. Damuth made assignment of his lease, and had prob- 
ably died ere 1790, as we hear at that date of a " widow Da- 
muth." 

One of his sons was a boatman, being in the employ of John 
Post, who, as we snail see, was the enterprising forwarder of 
his day. Another removed to Sacketts Harbor, and a third 
remained with his mother, and lived on the upper part of the 
Peter Smith farm, in a house that stood where is now Bethany 
Church. 

John Cunningham, we may presume from the name, was 
Scotch in his origin. He was the father of three daughters^ 
one of whom married another Damuth, whose surname was Rich- 
ard, and who had a residence in Deerfield. He would seem to 
have been almost as much Indian as white man in his habits, 
being accustomed to absent himself for long periods in order to 
consort with the rude children of the forest, and wearing a ring- 
in his nose after the Indian fashion. It was with, Cunningham 
that Moses Foot found a lodging, while on his way to effect a 
settlement at Clinton, in 1787. His legal title to the land he 
occupied he probably obtained about the same time with Da- 
muth, for though I have not met with a copy of his lease, I 
have seen a statement of the payments received thereon, from 
which it would appear that it conveyed 91^ acres of lot No. 
94 for the term of ten years, at one shilling an acre each year, 
and that the times of paymeni were fixed on the 26th of July, 
1798, and annually on the same day thereafter, that is to say, 
within two da3^s of the l)eginning of payments on the lease of 
George Damuth. As with the latter so with Cuniiiiighan, not 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 11 

one of tlie payments were made by the original lessee ; Cunning- 
ham having alread}^, before 1793, sold his lease and his better- 
ments to John Post and departed. 

Of Jacob Christman's title we know nothing, nor whether, 
indeed, he ever had any. He found employment in boating on 
the river. Two of his sons became farmers, and one occupied 
for some years the farm in East Utica on which Boom had set- 
tled, and another the Devereu>: farm. Some of his descendants 
have been living in Utica within a recent period. 

Of McNamee our information is still less. Abraham Boom 
obtained from Oeneral Philip Schuyler in 1790, a life lease of 
the land on which he had located, and after his death his son, 
William Boom, disposed of it to the Christmans. 

Hendrich Salyea had a twenty-one years' lease fi'om Eutger 
Bleecker, dated on the same day with that of Greorge Damnth, 
namely : July 28, 1787. This lease, on the 19th of September, 
1 789, he covenanted to sell to John Post, the purchaser of the 
interest of Cunningham and in part of that of Damuth. The 
improvements which he had made on a strip of land lying adja- 
cent, and like the. former ou lot No. 93, he sold on the 15th of 
March, 1790, to Peter Smith, for the sum of £5. He squatted 
again on a part of lot No. 90, occupying a log house that stood 
on the north side of the present Broad street, opposite the site 
of the subsequent farm house of Matthew Hubbell. The im- 
provements on the latter tract he sold the same year to Mr. 
Hubbell, but continued to live, a straggler, in the village for 
several years longer. He was the only one of these earliest 
settlers near the ford, who remained in the vicinity. 

1788. 

The manor of Cosby formed a part of what was known as- 
the District of German Flats, in the county of Montgomery, the 
name of the county having been changed from that of Tryon 
county in 1784. On the 7th of March, 17S8, the District of 
German Flats was divided, and "White's town " was set off as 
a separate town. The new town was bounded on the east by a 
line crossing the Mohawk at the ford near Cunningham's house, 
and running thence north and south to the bounds of the state, 
a line which is perpetuated in the eastern boundaries of the towns 
of Paris and Bridgewater. 



^ 



12 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

It is prol)ablr that the east line of Whitestown was thus fixed 
tlirough Whitesboro influence, and was designed to exclude the 
Dutch settlement at Deerfield and prove a boundary between 
Dutch and Yankee. It cut the settlement of Old Fort Schuy- 
ler in the middle, leaving a part in Whitestown and a part in 
German Flats Upon the formation of Oneida county, in 1798, 
this east line was thrown eastwardly to the present line of the 
city and count}". 

In 1788 the whole of New York, west of the dividing line, 
constituted the town of Whitestown. This immense region, 
now teeming with people, then numbered less than 200 inhabi- 
tants. But the tide of immigration had already begun to flow. 
The reaction which slowly followed the exhausting struggle for 
the nation's independence, was awakening enterprise and direct- 
ing it into new paths of activity. The fame of " the Whites- 
town country " had reached New England, and was enticing 
thither the adventurous settler, as to a land of promise. The 
neighboring settlements of Whitesboro, Oriskany, Westmore- 
land, &c., had been commenced a year or two previously ; that 
of Deerfield, ])roken up and destroyed during the revolution, 
had also just been resumed. 

The settlers who successively came in to swell our quota of 
this now populous district, let us proceed to consider. I shall 
notice them, so far as I have been able to ascertain the truth, 
in the order of their coming, and shall mention every adult 
male whom I know to have been a resident in Old Fort Schuyler. 

In this same month of March, 1788, arrived Major John 
Bellinger, the first who effected a lodgment after the persons 
whose names occur on Mr. Bleecker's map. Such, at least, is 
the time of his coming as given by Nicholas Smith, his nephew, 
w^ho accompanied him ; although, according to Judge Jones (in 
his Annals of Oneida County), who is followed therein by Mr. 
Benton (History of Herkimer County), the date of their arrival 
was 1791. Major Bellinger was a native of the Mohawk val- 
ley, and with two other members of his family, was present at 
the battle of Oriskany, whei-e he stood by the side of the gallant 
Herkimer, when the latter received his mortal wound. At the 
time of his journeying hither, the ground was covered with four 
feet of snow. Immediately on his arrival, he constructed a hut 
of hemlock boughs, in which he lived four months. It was 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER, Ig 

placed near what is now the east corner of Whitesboro and Wash 
ington streets. The same year, as it is said, he began to clear 
up a piece of land and to build a small frame house, he being 
his own artificer. If it be true that the house now pointed out 
by old residents as Mr. B.'s, is the one he then erected, it 
is a noteworthy object, and does credit to the builder's skill. 
It stands in the rear of a wagon shop on the south side of 
Whitesboro street, third house east of Washington, and is a 
story and a half, gable-roofed house. It has a tough, weather- 
beaten look, that promises for it several years duration. Here, 
while Mr. Belhnger managed his farm, he entertained the stream 
of emigrants on their way to more distant homes. He after- 
ward erected a larger building nearly opposite, a part of which 
was known at the time it was burned, as the New England 
House. This he continued to keep as a public house until his 
death, in 1815. Major Bellinger was a clear-headed, shrewd 
Dutchman, and a man of some influence. He took part in the 
organization of the earliest banks, gave a lot as a site for the 
Presbyterian church, and when he died, was the possessor of a 
handsome property. His wife was a daughter of Nicholas 
Weaver, of Deerfield, and sister of the wife of John, son of 
George Damuth, already mentioned. She died in 1819. Sev- 
eral of his children died in infancy and youth. His son John, 
though favored with more instruction than his father had re- 
ceived, was unable or indisposed to make use of his advantages. 
He followed no regular business, but was something of a sports- 
man. He died in 1841. One of Mr. Bellinger's daughters be- 
came the wife of Joshua Ostrom, one of our earlier citizens ;. 
another, the wife of Smith Mott, of Hamilton. 

At this time, as we are told by Judge Jones,* a family named 
Morey, Philip, the father, and Solomon, Kichard and Sylvanus, 
his sons, from Ehode Island, were living as squatters on lot No. 
97, and Francis Foster was then a squatter on lot No. 96. 
Philip Morey subsequently had a lease of his land. 

1789. 

The following year came Uriah Alverson, native of Ehode 

Island. He had journeyed through the place some two years 

before, when he determined to locate here, and returned east 

* Annals of Oneida County, 



14 THE PIOXEEKS OF UTICA. 

for bis family. On Ins second arrival he took up some land in 
what is now West Utica, on along lease from Gen. Schu\der, and 
built him a house. This house, after many changes, removals 
and repairs, was yet standing on Columbia street, as recently as 
1870, but has now been destroyed to make room for the church 
of St. Joseph. He removed from the place about 1809; was 
living in Madison in 1815, and afterwards again in this vicinity. 
His daughter, Abigail Sayles, died in Utica, in 1821. His son, 
William Alverson, accompanied his father on his first visit, as 
well as when he came here to reside, and was then a youth of 
nineteen. He followed several different pursuits ; by trade a 
journeyman carpenter, he was also a farmer, a brewer, a grocer 
and a painter. He was a man of strict integrity, industrious, 
prudent and economical, but perhaps too confiding. He lived 
to the age of eighty, and died in 1849. At this age he was re- 
markably vigorous and would outwalk many a younger man. 
The house in which he lived the greater part of his life, is a 
story and a half one, on the north side of Whitesboro street, a 
few rods west of Hoyts lane. His first wife was the mother of 
the late Mrs. T. S. Faxton, his second was Matilda, daughter of 
Stephen Potter, and widow of Stephen Ford. His sons were 
Lewis, grocer; and William, Jr., currier. 

Some time during the year 1789, or the latter part of the pre- 
vious year, came one of those remarkable men that new coun- 
tries are apt to produce, and whose eminent success, especially 
in the acquisition of wealth, is not surpassed by the richest 
gains of Metropolitan commerce. This was Peter Smith, father 
of the more widely known Gerrit Smith. To the courtesy of 
the lattei' am I indebted for a knowledge of the main incidents 
in the life of his father. Peter Smith was a native of Eockland 
county, and was born in 1768. A])prenticed at sixteen as a 
clerk in the importing house of Abraham Herring & Co., he 
left them at the end of three j-ears, and, stocked with a supply of 
goods for a country store, settled liimself in trade at a small 
place called Fall Hill, a couple of miles bt'luw Little Falls. 
Here he remained but a single year, and while yet a minor came 
to Old Fort Schuyler. He put up a log store, which, as nearly 
as he could recollect in his latter years, stood where Bagg's Tav- 
ern was afterward built. J. F. Watson, in his Antiquities of the 



OLD FORT SCHUTLER. 15 

Citv and State of New York, published in Philadelphia about 
1848-50, says that Peter Smith, in 1787, bought of the widow 
Daniuth, for a few pounds of Bohea tea, her log house, that 
stood on the ground where was afterwards built Bagg's Hotel. 
He soon built another store of the same kind near the lower 
end of Main street, and not far from the handsome two-story 
dwelling he subsequently erected on the corner of Main and 
Third streets. The last mentioned house, he occupied as early 
as 1792, for there in that year, his eldest child, Mrs. Cochrane, 
was born. In its day, it was the most attractive private resi- 
dence the place contained, and was, perhaps, also the oldest 
frame building of much pretension. Occupied by Mr, Smith 
for a few years after his marriage, it next became the residence 
of James S. Kip, and afterward for many years that of Ju'lge 
Morris S. Miller. It was a frequent boast of the latter that 
" he lived under the oldest shingles in Utica." This once beau- 
tiful mansion having become untenantable by the very dregs 
of the city, was at length torn down. 

Mr. Smith's later residence was the house on Broad street, 
beyond the Grulf, afterward occupied by his son-in-law. Captain 
Walter Cochrane, and which, after many transformations effected 
by successive tenants, is now occupied by George Ellison. To 
this house was attached a farm of two or three hundred acres. 
Here, in March, 1797, was born his noted son, Gerrit. 

Mr. Smith's first successful ventures seem to have been made 
in trading with the Indians. In this direction he was soon fol- 
lowed by John Jacob Astor, and they became partners in the 
purchase of furs. Together the}' used to journey on foot from 
Schenectada to Old Fort Schujder, with their packs on their 
backs, stopping here and there to pick up furs at the Indian 
settlements on the way. At a later period they were united in 
buying lands. Partly by trade, but chiefly by a diligent and 
dextrous improvement of ever}' sale of public lands, Mr. Smith 
early acquired a large fortune, having become the possessor of 
extensive tracts in various counties of the State. To his early 
acquaintance with the language of the Indians, he owed it 
mainly that he obtained a large influence over them, and re- 
ceived grants of their territory. 

About the year 1794, he obtained from the Oneidas their 
possessory riglit to a tract of land containing about fifty thou- 



16 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

sand acres, bounded west by Onondaga county and stretcliing 
across Madison county into Augusta, Oneida county. At this 
time a law bad been enacted by Congress which forbade the 
Oneidas from selHng their lands to the white settlers, but as 
there was nothing in the act to prevent their leasing them for 
any length of time, Mr. Smith obtained possession of this tract 
by a lease extending for a term of 999 years. One party 
of the tribe strongly objected to this disposal of their lands^ 
while another ])arty u])held tlie lessee in the right they bad 
given him. On the arrival of the sur\-eyors, an attack was 
made upon them, the compass and chain were broken, and one 
of them was injured in the hand by a hatchet thrown by a lios- 
tile Indian. The difficulty was, however, soon adjusted, and 
Mr. Smitli was no further molested by the Oneidas. Congress, 
in the mean time, had been watching his operations, and for the 
purpose of arresting his influence, Timothy Pickering was 
deputed to visit Oneida. There was a great gathering of the 
tribe and of the whites at the famous Butternut orchard, where 
Mr. Pickering addressed the assembly. His words, having to 
pass through an interpreter, were enfeebled to Indian ears, while 
Mr. Smith addressed them in reply, in a tongue which he had 
been accustomed to speak with fluency, and appealing to their 
long and intimate business relations, as well as to their sense of 
justice, sustained himself triumphantly, and reestablished his 
influence over both parties. This tract, at lirst called New 
Petersburgh, afterwards Peterboro, was confirmed to him in fee 
simple by the State. 

To this place he removed in 1806, after a brief residence of 
three years at Yorkville, then known as Wetmore's Mills. He 
had been sheriff of Hei'kimer in 1795, when that county 
included Oneida also. On the organization of Madison county, 
the same year of his removal thither, he was appointed one of 
its judges, and the following year became first judge. This, 
position he continued to hold until 1821, and, as it was said by 
the lawyers of the day, made an excellent magistrate. 

His school education was but small, although he wrote a bold 
and free hand, and his quick and penetrating mind and natural 
aptitude for affairs, had been early tempered to the practice of 
them. Before there were attorneys in Old Fort Schuyler, Mr. 
Smith would seem to haye been often called on to draft such 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 17 

law papers as were required. But, says a contemporary, his 
knowledge of human nature was profound, and few words 
passed from him in conversation that were not worth recording. 
The following anecdote is, perhaps, as characteristic of him as 
any that have been told, furnishing the very key note of his 

history : A Mr. L , a fat, indolent and poor man, came, 

one day, into his office, and after witnessing for some time the 
ease and rapidity with which the judge despatched his business, 
he said, " Judge, I, too, want to be lich. How can I get rich ? " 
Mr. Smith instantly turned upon him, and with a look and 

manner emphatically his own, replied : " Mr. L , you must 

be born again."' 

His readiness of resource and his promptness to circumvent 
a rival, are well illustrated in a story that has already appeared 
in print, and which I give as it has been told to me. He was 
lodging one night at Post's Tavern, at the same time that 
Messrs. Phelps and Gorham were also guests. Mr. Smith oc- 
cupied a room which was separated from the other land specu- 
lators by a very thin partition. In the night he heard them 
whispering together about a certain valuable tract of land 
which they were on the point of buying. Rising from his bed, 
and summoning the landlord for his horse, he was soon on his 
way to the land-office at Albany. When Messrs. Phelps and 
Gorham had finished their night's rest and taken their break- 
fast, they jogged on leism^ely to the same destination. What 
was their surprise when near the end of their journey to- 
encounter, on his way back, Mr. Smith, whom they had so 
recently seen in Old Fort Schuyler, and how much more aston- 
ished to learn, on reaching the office at Albany, that the 
coveted prize was his. 

Sagacious and shrewd, he was also active and untiring in his^ 
efforts to accumulate, yet he was a man of his word, and too 
wise to be dishonest Independent and fearless, he was at the 
same time modest and unassuming, and held himself as no^ 
more than the equal of those of lesser means. Excessively- 
plain in his dress and equipage, and frugal in all his ways, he^ 
was even la\dsh where his feelings were enlisted. For these 
feelings were deep, and his domestic affection ardent In per- 
son he was short and stout. The most striking features were 
his curved nose and his hawk-eye, which latter was keen and pene- 



18 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

trating. Several years before his death, Judge Smith conveyed 
his estates to his son Gerrit, and after spending some time in 
travelling, iinally settled in Schenectada, where he died April 
17th, 1837. 

His estimable ^^^fe, as well remembered for her piety, as for 
her intellectual gifts and the graces tliat adorn the true lady, 
was Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel James Livingston, of the 
Revolutionar}^ army, and sister of the wife of the late Hon. 
Daniel Cady, of Johnstown. She died in Utica, August 
27th, 1818. 

A fellow witness with Peter Smith to a conti-act made on the 
19th day of September, 1789, by Henrj^ Sal yea, was Samuel 
Eusst. Of Mr. Russt we know only that he was a shoemaker, 
an elderly man wdth a large family, and that after tarrying in 
the place a few years longer, he moved to Onondaga. 

The contract referred to was in favor of John Post, of Schen- 
ectada, with whom Salyea agreed, in consideration of the sum 
of one hundred pounds, to surrender on the first of April fol- 
lowing, the lot he had leased from Rutger Bleeckerin 17S7. 

1790. 

Accordingly in the spring of 1790, this John Post, with his 
wife, three young children and a carpenter, supplied with a 
stock of merchandize, furniture and provisions, embarked upon 
the Mohawk at Schenectada, and in eight or nine days landed 
at Old Fort Schuyler. Besides the purchase from Salyea, he 
had also the ownership of the lease of John Cunningham, and 
of a part of that of George Damuth. We are told by a settler 
of the Genesee countr)', who passed up the river the summer 
previous, that Mr. Post was then finishing his house on a half 
acre of land that he had cleared* The clearing was probably 
made by Cunningham, the ])revious settler. The house, as Mr. 
Post subsequently informed Dr. Alexander Coventry,f was 
probably the first frame house erected in the county. Judge 
White, of Whitcsboro. was still living in a log house. This 
'house of Mr. Post, stood on the west side of what is now lower 
Genesee street, not far from Whitcsboro street. The farm that 

* Turner's History of the Phelps and Uorham Purchase. 
- f Dr. Coventry's Journal. 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 19 

Tie bought of Saljea, was adjacent to Salyea's or Ballou's creek, 
known also as the Sulphur Spring creek. 

Mr. Post, was of Dutch extraction, as was likewise his wife. 
He was the son of Elias and Margarientje (Bellinger) Post, of 
Schenectada, where he was born December, 1748. He had 
faithfallj served his country during the entire period of the 
Eevolution, and was at the taking both of Burgojne and Corn- 
wallis. For some years prior to his settlement at old Fort 
Schuyler, he had been employed in trading with the Six Nations, 
and removed to this place to engage in the same business. At 
first he kept his goods for sale in his dwelling, which from 
necessity was made a house of entertainment also, and until the 
year 1794, there was besides this, and the extemporized lodging 
place of Major Bellinger, no other tavern in the place. In the 
year 1791 he erected a store beside his house, and near what 
now constitutes the north-west corner of Grenesee and "Whites- 
boro streets. His trade was principally with the neighboring 
Indians, who would bring him in the furs of the animals they 
killed, and also ginseng, a plant growing in the woods, and 
which was then in great request as an article of export to the 
Chinese. In return, he furnished them spirits, tobacco, blankets, 
ammunition, beads, &c. It is said by his daughter to have been 
a common occurrence that thirty or forty Indian men, women 
and children remained at his house through the night, and, if 
the weather were cold, surrounded the immense kitchen fire of 
logs, or in the milder season, lay upon the grass plats by the 
side of the log and brush fences of the vicinity. From the 
journal of travellers* who took dinner and supper here in No- 
vember, 1793, and then looked into his store, we learn that "it 
was well stocked, and a favorite place for tipplers and cus 
tomers." Of the entertainment he furnished his guests, the 
same travellers give an account yet more unfavorable, which we 
would lain set down to the quei'ulous spirit of the foreign tour- 
ist, and for the good name of the place as well as its worthy 
landlord, hardly credit in its literal truth. "Mr. Post," says 
the writer of their journal, " keeps the dirtiest tavern in the 
State of New York, which is not saying little. Following the 
custom of the country, the linen is changed only on Sundaj^s, 
to the misfortune of those who arrive on a Saturday ; and I 

* Journal of the Castor Land Company. 



20 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

therefore resolved to sleep on tlie couch they gave me with my 
clothes on. The common table had little to m}' relish, so that 
I was obliged to live chiefly upon milk, a proceeding which 
shocked the self esteem of Mr. Post, who could not conceive 
how, with the cheer he provided his guests, they could call for 
milk in preference." Such unmeasured denunciation must surely 
be imputed to the prejudices of an over-polished and dainty 
Frenchman, illy fitted to cope with the privations of a new 
country, if not to the moroseness of a sick one, convalescing- 
from dysentery and yearning for the comforts of home. The 
animvis of the writer is betrayed in the fling at the other inns 
of the State conveyed in the expression, " which is not saying 
little," {qui nest pas de peu dire.) And the changing of the 
linen on Sundays onl}' — certainl}' no worst^ than " a sheet l)y 
night, a table-cloth by day" — was, it seems, the custom of the 
conntrv, and so lightens the onus of a special chai'ge against 
tliis ])articular hostelry. Unfortunately it was Saturday when 
the traveller put up therein, and hence his ire. 

Tradition informs us of a difficulty the company met with in 
getting supplies for their expedition, and that to overcome it 
they put in practice a sharp Yankee trick. Mr. Post was the 
only one in the settlement who could furnish them pork, and he 
asked for it more than they were willing to give. The store of 
James Kip, to be presently mentioned, had all the salt, and 
this too, as they thought, was held dearer than was just So^ 
buying of Kip the whole stock of salt, they had the monopoly, 
and were able to deal better with Post 

But Mr. Post, as we are told by his daughter, was an unwil- 
ling landlord ; he kept tavern with reluctance, and no longer 
tlian until others arrived to till the duty. General traffic by 
land and water was more siiited to his tastes. lie erected on 
the river bank a three-storied warehouse of wood, which was 
afterwards moved a few rods above the site of the bridge, and 
was still there at a comparatively recent period. Mr. Post 
owned several boats, which were em})loyed in taking produce to 
Schenectada, and in l>ringing back merchandise and the fami- 
lies and effects of persons removing into the new country. He 
ran three stage-ljoats, as they were called, fitted up with oil 
cloth covers and with seats, more especially for the accommo- 
dation of passengers. 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 21 

The earlier boats in use upon the Mohawk were Canadian 
Ibatteaux, chnker-built, and capable of carrying one and a half 
to two tons up the stream, and live tons downward. They were 
known as three-handed or four-handed boats, according as they 
required three or four men to propel them, or, wath reference to 
their capacity, two or three hogshead batteaux. They were 
forced over the rapids with poles and rojjcs, the latter drawn by 
men on the shore. Such was the mode of transporting mer- 
chandize and Indian commodities to and from the west, until 
some time after the Revolution. An association incorporated 
by the State, known as the Inland Lock Navigation Company, 
constructed a dam and sluice at Wood creek, and several locks 
at Little Falls. These improvements, which were finished in 
1795, enabled boats to pass without unloading, as they had 
previously been obliged to do, and admitted also of the use of 
those of fifteen tons burden. After the enlargement of the 
locks they carried twenty tons or more in high water, and eight 
to ten in what was called " full channel " water, which meant 
twenty inches over the rifts. These latter boats were known 
as Durham boats, and were in shape not unlike a canal scow, 
being low and open, fitted with a walking- board along the gun 
wale, and with a mast that could be raised when required. 
They were propelled by means of long poles thrust into the 
river and pushed from the shoulders of men, who walked from 
end to end of the boat, bowed almost to the face in their efforts 
to move it forward. The poles had heads that rested against 
tlie shoulder, which was often galled like that of a collar worn 
horse. Down the stream advantage was taken of the current, 
and along the sti'aight reaches of the channel, and when the 
wind was favorable, a sail was hoisted. The crew consisted of 
five or six hands, who considered themselves fortunate when 
they made ten miles in one day, but were often half a day in 
proceeding only a few rods. The delay of unloading at Little 
Falls had been obviated, but it was found more difficult to force 
large than small craft over the rapids. Several boats usually 
went in company, and if any arrived first at a rift, they 
awaited the approach of the others, that the united strength of 
many might aid in the labor before them.* From a Schenec- 
iada paper of 1803, we get an idea of the dimensions of one of 
* Simms' History of Schoharie County. 



22 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

these Durham boats then on her first trip : "She is sixty-three 
feet keel, eleven feet wide, and two feet three inclies deep. 
When loaded she draws two feet of water, and will carry twenty- 
four tons. She now brought down two hundred and tifty bush- 
els of wheat, and will next trip ])ring eight hundred." In 1791 
it cost from $75 to $100 per ton for transportation from Seneca 
lake to Albany ; in 1796 the cost was reduced to $32 per ton, 
and to $16 on returned cargoes. Mr. Post's stage boats were 
propelled chiefly wuth oars, were consti'ticted to carry twenty 
passengers, and were tastefully curtained. 

Within a few years of his arrival, viz.: on the 13th of July, 
1792, Mr Post purchased of the representatives of Gen. Brad- 
street, eighty-nine and a half acres of lot No, 95, which now 
includes the heart of the cit}". He had, by his trade and by 
the earlj^ purchase of lands, acquired what was deemed no little 
fortune, and it was said was about to cease from business. But 
Post had daughters, and the second one especially was a pretty 
and lively girl. As she possessed also attractions from her 
father's wealth, she had many admirers. She married Giles- 
Hamlin, who had been clerk to Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, and 
was deemed an expert merchant. Hamlin was taken into part- 
nership in May. 1803, and the business was recommenced on a 
large scale, for Hamlin's ambition was to do a wholesale trade. 
He went to New York, and purchased, on Post's credit, a large 
stock of goods, which he soon sold to small dealers in the 
neighboring settlements, receiving in return their promissory 
notes. A second trip was made to New York, and a still 
larger supply was bought and sold on credit. In 1803 Post & 
Hamlin advertise five tons of candles by the ton, box or jiound, 
also one thousand cwt. of cotton yarn. 

But just as their New York creditors were j^ressing them for 
payments, and when in making collections they had received a 
large amount of wheat and pork, together with a sum in bank 
notes, came a sudden end of all the prosperity of Mr. Post. 
Between two and three o'clock in the morning of February 4, 
1804, a fire broke out in his stoi-e. which was so far advanced 
before it was discovered that nothing was saved but a ])art of 
their account l)Ooks and some silver money. Post behaved 
honorably and sold all his lands to secure some preferred debts, 
and became, in his old age, divested of all thej^roperty for which 



OLD FORT sc;huyler. 23 

he had labored during his whole life. Much commiseration 
was felt for him, and he and his aged wife and his large fam- 
ily of daughters withdrew from Utica to a small farm at Man- 
lius. Nothing now remains of Mr. Post but a wretched street 
called by his name, on lands which he once owned, unless it be 
the large box stove which once heated his store, now to be seen 
in front of one of the hardware establishments, and which, per- 
chance, was the instrument of his ruin. 

We are told by those who remember him, that Mr. Post was 
a large, hearty-looking and sensible man, l)ut somewhat reserved. 
He did not seem to be confined very closely to his store, but 
when the Indians gave his wife more trouble than she was able 
to contend with, he would be on hand to assist. He died in 
1830. The members of his family were : Eebecca (Mrs. Storm, 
of Schenectada) ; John, died at the age of 26 ; Mrs. (Hamlin) 
Petrie ; Catharine, died unmarried ; Mrs. Eose, of Geneva ; Mrs. 
Bettis; Mrs. Gregory; Mrs. Gillett. 

In April, 1790, a small colony of two or three families arrived 
here from Connecticut, prominent among whom was Captain 
Stephen Potter. He settled first on what is known as Gibbs' 
hill, three or four miles south of the settlement, but soon ex- 
changed his place for lot No. 97, the lot lying a little w^est of 
Bellinger's. The squatter who had first occupied it was anx- 
ious to give it up on account of the sickness his family had suf- 
fered there. The log house wdiich he occupied, and where was 
afterward built the house occupied by his son, was on the 
lower end of his farm, near Potter's bridge, so called. 

Captain Potter was born January 12, 1739. He served 
throughout the war of the Pevolution, and there is reason to 
think that, although then young, he was also a soldier in the 
old French war that preceded it. His several commissions as 
ensign, second lieutenant, first lieutenant and captain are still 
in existence, bearing respectively the stirring names of Jona- 
than Trumbull, John Hancock, John Jay and Samuel Hunt- 
ington. In July, 1775, he was second lieutenant in the regi- 
ment known as "Congress' Own," the same in which there was 
serving, under the same rank, the lamented Nathan Hale, who 
was executed by the British as a spy in the following year. 
Captain Potter was an excellent man and greatly esteemed. 



24 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

His })iety was of the strict Puritan order, and himself a worthy 
■descendant of the Potters who signed the ''Plantation Cove- 
nant" at New Haven in 1638. At a meeting held at Whites- 
boro in April, 1798, for the purpcjse of organizing a religious 
society, he was put on the committee to draft a constitution, 
and when the Society was incorjjorated, shortly afterward, by 
the style of the United Society of Whitestown and Old Fort 
Schuyler, he was elected one of its Trustees. When, in 1803, it 
was deemed advisable to elect a portion of the Session from 
that part of the church residing in the latter place. Captain 
Potter was created both deacon and elder. His manners were 
somewhat singular and his demeanor, as it seemed at least to 
those much younger than himself, rather stern, so that children 
stood in some awe of him. Moreover, his utterance was a little in- 
distinct and his |)ronunciation old fashioned. Having occasion 
at one time, in his prayer at a religious meeting, to use the word 
antemeridian he greatly }')erplexed a child wiio was present, 
and who, after the close of the meeting, appealed to its father 
to know who was the "Aunty Mary Hian " about whom the 
good elder had been praying. But whatever his austerity to 
the young, he was by no means averse to a joke with his equals. 
For the following anecdote we are indebted to Wm. Tracy, Esq.: 
Mr. Henry Huntington, of Pome, had a lawsuit against Abel 
French, for failure to perform a contract for the sale of some 
land on the hills south of the Mohawk, two or three miles from 
Utica. The question was what damages he should recover. 
He regarded the land as valuable, and wanted the difference 
between the contract price and the current value, and called 
Deacon Potter as a witness to prove their value. The latter 
was a wai-Hi friend of ]\Ir. II. When sworn and asked if he 
knew the land, he said ''yes, every foot of it." "What do you 
think it worth, Ca])tain Potter?" The old man jjaused a mo- 
ment, and then slowly said: "If I had as many dollars — as 
my ycjke of oxen — could draw — on a sled, — on glaze ice, — I 
vow to God — I would not give a dollar an acre for it." There 
was some noise in the court house on liearing the answer. 

Captain Potter died in 1810 ; his wife, Sarah Lindsley, in 
1812. He had five children, all of whom were born before his 
arrival : and, with one excei)tion, they all married early settlers. 
Lucinda, born 1767, married Benjamin Phiiit: Sarah, Thomas 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 25 

Norton; Matilda, Stephen Ford, and after liis death, William 
Alverson; Marj remained unmarried ; William Frederick occu- 
pied the homestead and cultivated the farm until long after the 
city had grown up around him. 

In company with Captain Potter came his son-in-law, Benja- 
min Plant, from Brantford, Ct. Purchasing a portion of the 
Potter lot, he settled thereon, remaining a farmer all his life. 
His house stood on the rear of the late residence of his son, 
James Plant, now occupied by M. C. Comstock. He was a 
good farmer and worthy man. He died in March, 1813; his 
wife in January, 18i8. 

Of his sons, one died young, and was the lirst person interred 
in the old burying ground on Water street ; one is still living, 
and one, "after having faithfully shared in the habits of frugal 
industry which characterized the early settlers, was able to sui-- 
round himself, during the latter years of his life, with the com- 
forts and luxuries of a happy home in a prosperous city." 
Among the reminiscences of Benjamin Plant, Jr., the eldest 
son, who was born in 179-i, and who resided on the New Hart- 
ford road for upward of fifty years, is of having once come very 
near to encountering a bear with her cub in the road near his 
father's. He was in company with the latter, who, seeing the 
bear approaching, advised the son to lie down and keep quiet. 
This he did, when the mother, being intent on getting her young- 
one through a brush fence that impeded their course, passed near 
and went on her way. 

Three brothers Garret, viz. : Samuel, Peter and Cheney, were 
also companions of Captain Potter in his immigration to this 
place. Two of them at least were carpenters, and worked a 
short time here, but soon removed , from the place. Samuel 
seems to have been the longest resident ; but was gone before 
1810. Cheney Garrett was one of the first settlers of South 
Trenton, and was living there as late as 1850. 

Another settler of 1790, was Matthew Hubbell, from Lanes- 
boro, Mass. Born in 1762, he was drafted into military service 
at the age of fifteen, and took part in the battle of Bennington, 
Before he came to this place, he had occupied for a single season 



26 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

a farm on the Phelps & Gorham purcliase. in Ontario county. 
But liis wife being discontented in so savage a wilderness, where 
bears were too plenty and neighbors too few, he sold at sixty- 
six cents per acre, the land he had bought at thirty-three cents, 
and leaving Bloonifield, returned eastward. Following the 
iiataral water courses, they traversed the ovitlets of Canandaigua 
and Seneca lakes, Seneca river, Oneida river and lake, and Wood 
creek, to the portage; thence the Mohawk to Old Fort Schuy- 
ler, which they reached in December. He bought Sal yea's in- 
terest in the River Bend farm, and subsequently obtained a 
deed of it from Agatha Evans and Sir Charles Gould, heirs of 
General Bradstreet. This purchase cost him at the rate of S2.50 
per acre. Selling a part on the west, he continued to cultivate 
the remainder until his death, and here he reared a large family. 
Possessed of a fair share of New England energy and enter- 
prise, with the moral and virtuous habits there inculcated, Mr 
Hubbell was a useful and respected citizen. He was a member 
of the first grand jury that ever sat in this State west of Herki- 
mer. He was among the earliest and most prominent of the 
Baptist denomination in this section, having received immersion 
in 1803, at the hands of Elder Co veil, a Baptist elder, then on 
a tour of visitation and preaching throughout the State, and 
who has published a journal of his laV)ors. During some years 
Mr. H. was a respected magistrate of the town. He died Octo- 
T)er 12th. 1819, in consequence of sickness contracted at Sack- 
etts Harbor, whither he carried supplies in the war of 1812. 

Of liis family of twelve children, two of whom were born 
before their arrival at this place, and all of whom reached adult 
years, the late Alrick Hubbell, who died in January, 1877, was 
the last survivor. 

Yet another comer of the year 1790, was Benjamin Ballon. 
His native place was somewhere in Rhode Island, whence he 
came, bringing a family of gi'own u}) children. He had a lease 
from the Bleecker family in 1797 of one hundred and twenty-six 
acres of lot No. 92, and occupied a house east of the Big Basin, 
near the site of the boat yard. Beside farming, he also earned 
on a small tannery. He is represented as a tall, lank person, 
wearing a velvet suit much worn, and a hat that lacked at 
east a third of its bi-iin. His death occurrc<l March 2d, 1822. 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 27 

His sons were Tliomas, Levi, Prosper, Joseph and Benjamin. 
Two of tliem, Thomas and Benjamin, were blacksmiths. The 
latter, who figured conspicuously as a military man, and was 
also some time village trustee, assessor, &c., carried on a saw mill 
on the Starch Factory creek, where it is crossed by the Min- 
den or Burlington road. He died November 18th, 1840, aged 
seventy years; his wife, Eunice, four years later, aged eighty- 
foui-. One of the daughters of Benjamin, Sr., married Asa, 
Sprague, a later citizen. 

So destitute were the Mohawk settlements at this period of 
articles that are now of almost daily use, and abundant where- 
ever stores exist, that a gallon of wine could not be found 
throughout the valley. Such is the testimony of a settler of 
Palmyra, who journeyed eastward in 1790 in quest of wine for 
an invalid neighbor, and without success until he reached 
Schenectada.* 

1791. 

For the year 1791, the only additional residents whom we are 
able to chronicle, are Thomas and Augustus Corey, and Peter 
Bellinger. That others may have come in, especially on the 
outskirts of the settlements, may be inferred from the fact tliat 
several such were living here during the succeeding year. 

In July of this year the Coreys purchased two hundred acres 
of lot No. 95, and they resided nearly on the site of the brick 
house on the north east corner of Whitesboro and Hotel streets. 
Their house was remarkable as being shingled on the sides as 
well as above. In 1795 the}' sold out to Messrs. Boon and Link- 
laen, agents of the Holland Land Company, and left the place. 
The Coreys came from Portsmouth, R I., and were cousins. 
Thomas was a surveyor, and came to the new country with the 
intention of exercising his profession. He was soon called home 
again, and was detained there by the prolonged illness of a 
brother. He became a prominent man in his native State ; was- 
for twenty -five years a member of either its lower or up}ier 
Legislative Assembly, and was last a senator, under the Dorr 
constitution of Rhode Island. 

^Turner's History of Phelps & Gorliam's Pni'cbase. 



28 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Peter Bellinger purchased this year 150 acres of lot 89, lying 
in the Gulf; east (jf Mr. Hubbell. He remained there until his 
death. 

1792. 

In 1792, Joseph Ballou, a brother of Benjamin, from Exeter, 
H. I., embarking on board a sloop, at Providence, with his wife, 
two sons and a daughter, proceeded by the route of Long Island 
Sound and the Hudson to All )any ; and thence, passing over- 
land to Schenectada, came in boats up the Mohawk and landed 
a short distance below the ford. Mr. Ballou settled himself ujion 
lot No. 94. This, it will be remembered, is the lot of which 
Butger Bleecker leased 273-| acres to George Damuth, for the 
term of twenty-one j^ears. Previously to the date agreed on 
for the first payment (July, 1 793), Mr. Ballou would seem to 
liave obtained from Damuth or his widow, an assignment of a 
part of this lease, the remainder being held by Mr. Post, since 
this first jDayment was made jointly by them both. The pay- 
ments of 1794 to 1797 inclusive, are also endorsed as made in 
part by Mr. Ballou, while those which follow, of 1802-7, were 
wholly received from him. This farm, or so much of it as 
reached from the river to a line south of where tlie canal now 
runs, he had under cultivation. In August, 1800, he and his 
sons procured, each of them, from the executors of Mr. Bleecker, 
a deed of a lot on Main street, near the present John, and upon 
these lots they erected a house and a store. The house stood 
where John street opens out of the square. It then fronted toward 
the square, but when John sti'eet was ()|)ened, it was faced about 
to the latter street and made a part of a public house. This 
house, once known as Union Hall, and subsequently by man}' 
different names, occupied the site of the present Ballou Block. 
Mr. Ballou removed to a house still standing on the corner of 
First and Main streets. He lived a farmer, and died in 1810, 
aged sixty-seven. He and his sons, who enjoyed a large share 
of the esteem of their fellow citizens, were prudent and unos- 
tentatious men. 

These sons were merchants, and occupied a store which was 
adjacent to the farm house on the west. Jerathmel advertises 
in 1802, that he "sells dry goods and groceries, and will pay 
the highest price for shi}ipingy<<y/'5." He was one of the vil- 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 29 

lage trustees, elected at the first meeting held under the charter 
of 1805, and held the office by successive reelections for four 
years. He died June 29th, 1817, his sons being Tlieodore P., 
still residing in Utica, and Peter P. and William R, deceased. 

Obadiah, the other son of Joseph, withdrew from business 
after a few years, but continued to live in the place until ISS-l, 
or later, when he moved to Auburn. 

Sarah, the daughter, became the wife of Ebenezer B. Shear- 
man. In her eleventh year when she came with her parents, 
she survived until February, 7th 1877, and died at the age of 
ninety-six. 

In the summer of 1792, a start seems to have been given to 
the settlement by the erection of a bridge across the Mohawk. 
The petition to the Legislature, asking aid to build it, fortu- 
nately still survives. It is valuable at the present day not only 
because it shows the difficulty of the work without such assist- 
ance, as well as the inconveniences that had been previously 
felt, but because it has preserved, in the names of its signers, 
what may be deemed a tolerably complete enumeration of the 
people then living in the vicinity. No apology, therefore, can 
be needed for transferring it in full. Those of the petitioners 
known as settlers of Old Fort Schuyler are designated by 
italics : 

To the Honorable the Legislature^ t&c, &c. : 

The petition of the Subscribers, Inhabitants of the County of 
Herkimer, Eespectfully sheweth : 

That having for a long time endured the inconveniences and 
dangers of fording the Mohawk river at Old Fort Schuyler, did 
some time past associate and by voluntary subscription attempt 
to raise money to erect a bridge across the river at said place, 
but after their most strenuous exertions, find themselves, on 
account of the infant state of the adjacent settlements, incapa- 
ble of effecting said purpose ; and your Petitioners beg leave 
to state that in addition to the inconveniences of fording said 
river, (which at some seasons of the year is very dangerous,) 
the public in general are highly interested in the erection of a 
bridge at said place, as it is one of the greatest roads in the 
State of New York, being the customary, (and in consequence 
of the erection of bridges over the Canada creeks below,) the 
most direct route from the eastern to the west part of the State. 
In this situation, while the more interior parts of the State are 



30 



THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 



enjoying liberal donations from tlie State for bnilding of bridges, 
your Petiti(;ners earnestly implore the Legislature to extend a 
helping hand to those who having but recentl}^ settled in almost 
a wilderness have devolved upon them a very heavy burden in 
making roads and building bridges ; they therefore pray the 
Legislature to grant them the sum of Two Tliousand Pounds 
toward defraying the expense of erecting a bridge at the place 
abo\'e mentioned, as it will require nearly double that sum to 
complete the same ; and your petitioners will ever pray. 
Herkimer County, October 24, 1792. 



Thos. R Gold, 
Thomas Hooker, 
Peleg Hyde, 
Edward Johnson, 
Ezra Hovey, 
Jacob Hastings, 
Elias Kane. 
Jeremiah Powell, 
Asa Kent. 
Claudius Wolcoot, 
Archibald Bates. 
John Cunningham, 
Joseph Harris, 
Samuel Wells, 
fried riegbauman, 
Uriah b'ayles. 
Jacob (illegible), 
John Whiston, 
Daniel Carapble, 
Isaac Brayton, 
Caleb Austin, 



Nathan Smith, 
George Doolittle, 
Daniel Reynolds, 
Just's Griffeth, 
Benj'n Johnson, 
Philip Morey. 
Henry Chesebrough, 
George Staples, 
Solomon Harter, 
Oliver Trumbull, 
AVm Bmm (Boom), 
Daniel C. White. 
Matthew Hubbell, 
Solomon Wells, 
David Andrew, 
Theodore Sprague, 
Benjamin Carney, 
Abram Jillot, 
Solomon Whiston, 
Peleg Briggs, 
Townsin Briggs, 



Asa Bmnson, 
Robert Bardwell, 
John Post, 
Nath'l Griffeth, 
John H. Pool, 
Silcaniif: Mowry, 
Abr'm Braer, 
William Sayles, 
A athaniel Darling, 
John Crandal, 
Sam'l Wilbur, 
Jacob Ch/istman, 
Obadiah Ballou, 
Ellis Doty, 
A iigustuf Sayles, 
George Wever, 
Samuel Griffith, 
Thomas Scott, 
IVilliarn Alvej-son, 
Samuel Barnes, 
William haile. 



Elizur Moseley, 
Gains Morgan, 
Phillup Alesworth, 
John Lockwood, 
Aaron Bloss, 
John Foster, 
John Richardson, 
Noah Kent, 
Shadrach Smith, 
Daniel FoUett. 
John Bellinger, 
John Cliristman, 
John D. Petrye, 
Jeremiah Read, 
William Sayles, Jr., 
Seth Griffeth, 
Henry Fall, 
David Stafford, 
Francis Guiteau, 
Samuel Stafford, 



The petition was presented Nov. 21st, and referred to a com- 
mittee, who reported that " the prayer ought to be granted, 
and that a clause be adid to som Pro'pi:>er Bill for that pur- 
pose." Having then been committed to a committee of the 
House on the supplementary bill, favorable action was taken. 
The bridge had been raised, however, the })revious summer. 
It was placed on the line of Second street, where the banks 
were somewhat higher than at the site of the present bridge. 
The raising took })lace on Sunday, in order that more of the 
inhabitants of the vicinity might be at leisure to assist. There 
was living in Deerfiel( I a few months since a man who, when a child 
was present at the raising. This was Elder George M. Weaver, 
who was born in January, 1788, and was then in his fifth year. 
An incident which he related as connected with the event, must 
have contributed to hx the fact in his memoiy. On the way 
over with his parents from Deerlield they spied a bear in a tree 
by the side of the road. While Mrs. Weaver bravely remained 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 31 

at the foot of the tree with her young son and another child in 
arms, keeping watch of the bear, the father returned home, 
procured a gun and shot the animal, after which they continued 
their course to the river. 

It is interesting to know that this bridge was inspected and 
judgment passed upon it by a young engineer, who, at a later 
])eriod, became illustrious for his brilliant scientific achievements. 
This was Marc I. Brand, the engineer of Thames tunnel, and of 
manj^ other vast engineering works in England. For he formed 
one of a small party of agents sent out by a French company to 
form a settlement in the Black River country.* From their 
journal we learn that they slept at Post's tavern in November 
1793, and in the morning went out to look at the bridge. These 
are their words : " This bridge, built after the English manner, 
is in the arc of a circle, with a very moderate curve, and is 
supported by beams placed like a St. Andrew's cross, and cov- 
ered with plank. The bridge has already bent from the carve 
intended and inclined to the oval, an effect due as much to the 
framing as to the quality and smallness of the timbers, which 
are of pine and fir. The main support which they have put in 
the middle would rather tend to its entire destruction when the 
ice is going off. The abutments are of timber, and are also 
settled, from miscalculation of the resistance, the one on the 
south side being built upon ground that is full of springs. 
This bridge has been built but a short time, and was erected by 
a country carpenter. We asked Mr. Post why, when they had 
such a work to execute, they did not employ an engineer or 
architect to draw a plan and the details, which a carpenter might 
then easily execute. He replied that this was not the custom, 
and that no carpenter would be wilHng to work after the plans 
of another man. He, however, appeared mortified at the prob- 
able fate of his bridge which we predicted." The bridge was 
in fact swept off within a few months, and in 1794 a new one 
was erected. 

* The Journal of the Castorlaud Company. This journal is a voluminous 
manuscript in the possession of Dr. Franklin B. Hough, of Lowville, to 
whose kindness I have been indebted for a cursory examination of its 
pages. Dr. Hough having been at the trouble to procure it from France, 
is now ready to publish a translation when he shall meet with sufficient 
encouragement to do so. 



32 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

From the preceding list of signers we gather a few additional 
names. They represent farmers who lived near rather than 
within the settlement, and some actually outside of the limits 
of Utica, as determined by the first village charter. These 
limits reached from the eastern line of lot No. 82 on the east 
to the western bounds of No. 99 on the west On or near 
the upper end of the former lot, and in the vicinity that is 
called Welsh-bush, lived Nathan Darling, Jeremiah Powell and 
Joseph Harris. Somewhat nearer, though at quite a remove 
from the central settlement, were John D. Petrie, Frederick 
Bowman and Henry Staring. Petrie occupied the farm next 
east of Matthew Hubl^ell, afterwards well known as the High 
Sch(X)l f^rm, until 1802, when he sold it to Alexander Cairns,, 
who resold in 1804 to Solomon Wolcott. Below him again, and 
at the end of the plain of Broad street, just where the road begins 
to descend to the hollow of the creek, was the house of Freder- 
ick BowmaiL Staring was his next neighbor on the east, if not 
at the date in question, certainly within a short time afterwards. 
Petrie, Bowman and Staring were all of German origin, and 
the names all occur among the patentees of the town of Grer- 
man Flats. Bowman's is the only famil}^ of which there are 
representatives still left in Utica and vicinitj'. Westward were 
found Claudius W^oolcot, a little west of Nail creek, on the 
present Court street, Archibald Bates and Aaron Clark on the 
lower or river end of lot No. 101, and Darius Sayles on the 
upper |)art of the same lot and in the rear of the ^'resent Asy- 
lum farm. Aaron Clark at first occupied a log house near the 
river, but afterwards built on the Whitesboro road. He had 
three sons and four daughters. Dying in 1803, he was suc- 
ceeded by his son Welcome, whose son, Alfred S., still lives on 
the same lot No. 101 though a little east of the homestead. 
Welcome Clark's wife was a daughter of Uriah Sayles. Both 
families were from Khode Island. 

Next west of Clark Ywed two men named Robert Whipple 
and Arnold Wells, and though their names are not to be found 
on the ])etition, we are assured they had already been a year or 
two established. The former occupied the gambrel roofed house 
which, up to the year 1870, stood on the northern side of the 
road : the latter was on the south side. They bore the relation 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 33 

of father and son-in-law, having married, while still in Rhode 
[sland, a widow and her daughter. Of these one only engaged 
in business in the village. Mr, Wells was for a short time a 
merchant, furnishing the capital, about the year 1802, which 
gave a start to his more adventurous partner, Watts Sherman. 
His second wife, whom he married fifty years after his first 
nuptials, was Miss Mary Spurr, who is still living in Utica. 
Mr. Wells' father and brother, who were petitioners for the 
bridge, resided in Deerfield. 

Still further west on the Whitesboro road, Nathan Smith had 
a house on the south side that is still standing. He was one of 
the representatives of Herkimer county in the Legislature of 
1798, and of Oneida — now set off from Herkimer — in the ses- 
sion of 1801-2. During the two subsequent sessions he was 
again a member from Herkimer, and was living at Fairfield. 
Mr. Smith had a share in organizing the Bank of Utica, in 1812,, 
and was one of its original trustees. 



1793. 

In the year 1793, as we learn from the inscription on his tomb 
stone, came Gurdon Burchard, and Elizabeth his wife. They 
were from Norwich, Connecticut. Mr. Burchard was a saddle- 
and harness-maker, and occupied a lot fronting on Whitesboro 
street, south side, but reaching through to Genesee, a gore sep- 
arating it from the corner of the latter. About 1810 he aban- 
doned this business and opened a tavern, under the sign of the 
" Buck," nearly on the site of the present Dudley House. And 
here he continued, with the exception of a brief period when he 
was in the "mercantile line," until his death, August 17, 1832, at 
the age of sixty-four, he, as well as one of his daughters, hav- 
ing fallen victims to the cholera epidemic of that year. He 
was a public-spirited and a useful citizen, and for two or three 
years held the office of trustee of the village. Of his family, 
four or five of whom are still living, not a member remains in 
the place. He left his name to the lane which runs through, 
his former property. 

His children were : Susan (Mrs. Taintor) long the efficient, 
superintendent of the female department of the Presbyterian 



34 THE PIOXEERS OF UTICA. 

Sunday school; Emil}^, died in 1832, aged twent^y-eiglit ; Ed- 
ward, for many 3'ears witli James Dana, and now in Beloit ; 
George, in Wisconsin ; Gnrdon, in New York. 

Gideon Burcbard, tlie father of Gurdon, came a little time 
after him, and became a journeyman in his employ. He died 
in 1810. 

James P. and Stephen Dorchester, who are known to have 
been living here in 1794, and who were related to Mr. Burch- 
ard, probably came at the same time with him. They were 
hatters, and occupied a shop on Genesee street, a short distance 
above the rear end of the Burchard lot. On this site, James P. 
erected the first brick store that was built on Genesee street. 
He soon left the place. 

Stephen Dorchester, who was born in Farmington, Conn., in 
1756, died in 1808. Of his sons, one went to sea, the other was 
Eliasaph Dorchester, to be spoken of hereafter. 

1794. 

"We come now to the year 1794, when we find that the hamlet 
is increased by the presence of several additional inhabitants. 
Inasmuch as their names are not to be previously met with, it 
is presumed they had newly arrived. 

Prominent among them was James S. Kip, who would seem 
to have been in his own house as early as May of this year, for 
therein was received the agent of the Castorland Company, 
who came, with a letter of introduction, to seek aid in securing 
workmen and wagons for the furtherance of the enterprise. 
Mr. Kip, who was for long 3'ears afterward a conspicuous mem- 
ber of society, was a native of New York, and the son of a 
Dutch gentleman, whose farm on Kip's bay had so increased 
in value with the rise of real estate in tliat vicinity, as to prove 
a fortune to the possessor. He was a nephew of Abraham Her- 
ring, with whom, as we have seen, Peter Smith liad been an 
apprentice, and we may surmise, therefore, that it was through 
the influence of the latter, that he was led to settle at this place. 
On the 19th of Jul}', in this same year, he ])Ought of Evans & 
Gould, — the daughter and devisee, and the executor of General 
Dradstreet, — lot No. 96, containing four hundred acres. This 
lot embraces, at this day, a very precious portion of the city, 



OLD FORT SCHL'YLER. 35 

extending in width, from a few feet east of Broadway, to a lit- 
tle west of the line of Cornelia street, and stretching back from 
the river some three miles. 

The purchase of No. 96, Mr. Kip does not seem to have pro- 
ceeded at once to occupy, for after having parted with a fraction, 
—a portion, however, large enough to enrich the family of the 
purchaser, — he settled himself upon a leased farm of three 
hundred and sixty-six acres, in lot No. 93, which included the 
site of the old fort. Here he built a small log store, near the 
eastern end of Main street, establishing a landing on the river 
at the mouth of Ballou's creek, nearly in fi'ont of his house, 
and strove by these means to divert the commerce from Mr. 
Post and other rivals, who were located a little higher on the 
stream. He built also a pot ashery, and was soon a considerable 
manufacturer, although for his products he soon found in Bryan 
Johnson, and Kane & VanRensselaer, more successful vendors 
than he himself had been. 

But Mr. Kip was ambitious to shine in other spheres. Quite 
early he figured as a military man; and, at the very beginning 
of the century, he was making tours of the northern towns, as 
inspector of militia. Moi'eover, his public spirit and his ardent 
temperament, soon drew him into public life, and he became an 
•eager politician and a warm partisan. He was made sheriff in 
1804, and continued to hold the office at intervals, and by re- 
peated appointments, for nine years. Prominent in social life, 
interested in all matters of a local nature, and endowed with 
enterprise and independence, he devoted himself assiduously to 
the general interests, and became more successful as a public 
man, than he was in acquiring property for himself. He was 
one of the first Board of Directors of the Utica Bank, and at 
its election, he was chosen as its first president. In 1812, he had 
the honor of being one of the Presidential Electors. 

"Sheriff," or "Major" Kip, as he was indifferently called, 
was portly in person, somewhat pock-marked, and wore glasses. 
He was gentlemanly in his appearance and address, dignified 
and stately. Affable and companionable among his equals, 
toward his family his intercourse was tender and affectionate. 
He was a generous liver, and a bountiful provider, and that not 
for himself alone, for he was " given to hospitality." and fond of 
making, as well as of attending the frequent dinner parties that 



36 THE riONEEKS OF UTICA. 

characterized the social habits of tlie gentlemen of the earliest 
generation in Utica. 

As an illustration of the violence of party spirit which equally 
marked those days, and of the extreme to which it carried men 
of standing and self-respect, we may relate the particulars, as 
they have come down by tradition, of a personal encounter 
Major Kip once had with Judge Morris S. Miller, a man as hot- 
tempered as himself. It occurred the day before election, in 
18- -, and arose out of a newspaper article, which Judge Miller 
was thought to have written, and which Mr. Kip felt called on 
to resent. Armed with a cow-hide, he accosted the judge, wha 
was on horseback, and after charging him with the authorship 
of the article in question, drew him from his horse, or induced 
him to dismount, when they joined in a fierce and bloody strug- 
gle. It was arrested by the bystanders, but not until both were 
dreadfully pummeled. After being carried home, Judge Miller 
was plied with beefsteak poultices, through the advice of Mrs. 
Bradstreet, who ha])})ened to be present, and who had been ac- 
customed to such affrays among Irish gentlemen in her own 
country. By this means the swelling was kept down, and the 
judge was rendered fit to appear at the polls on the following 
day, whereby he earned the victory over his antagonist, who had 
not been so scientifically managed. 

Major Kip's earlier residence was on Main street, where he 
occupied, for a time, the handsome house on the corner of Third 
street, which was subsequently the home of Judge Miller. About 
the year 1809, he built and occupied, on a portion of his first 
purchase, the finest mansion in the village. This, which was of 
cut stone, stood on the westerly side of Bi-oadway, within a very 
short distance of where the canal was afterward laid out. It 
was surrounded by handsome grounds, which formed on the 
south a fine esplanade for military parades. When the canal 
was constructed, Mr. Kip was anxious to save his garden and 
grounds. Accordingly he induced the commissioners to run 
the line where they did, instead of south of the building, as 
they had intended to do. The consequence was, that they 
were forced to ])ring the channel so close to the rear of his house 
as to greatly injure it in beauty and value, and to interfere with 
its comfortable use, by the intrusion of water into the cellar. 
Thus, in place of being made richer by the canal, as he probably 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. S7 

would have been, had the original design been adhered to, he 
was seriously damaged. This circumstance doubtless tended to 
•discourage and embitter Mr. Kip, but did not, as some have 
thought, lead to his removal from the place. He was concerned 
in a large landed interest, that had been willed to him, but 
which was in litigation ; and, by the ad^ace of his counsel, 
he removed to another State, in order to bring the suit in the 
United States courts. He went to New Haven in 1825, but 
returned in five years, and died at the house of his son-indaw, 
•on Chancellor square, August, 1831, aged sixty-four years. 

His wife was Eliza, daughter of Mrs. Dakin, an English lady, 
who, at first, took up her residence on Paris Hill, but subse- 
•quently removed to this place, and whose four accomplished 
daughters became the wives of four of Utica's earlier settlers. 
She died, August, 1809. His children were Ann, who married 
Theodore S. Gold ; Mary, who married Charles P. Kirkland ; 
Samuel K., of New York, recently deceased; and Elizabeth, 
who married J. Munson Landon. In Mr. Kip's second mar- 
riage, to Miss Meirin, in 1812, he was not so fortunate. 

One Joseph Peirce was an occupant of a part of the territory 
-acquired by Mr. Kip, in his purchase of July, 1794, and is 
known to have been living thereon in April, previous ; how 
much longer, it is impossible to sa}'. Mr. Peirce had been a 
soldier of the Revolution, and bore the title, if not the rank, of 
■captain. His farm-house was near the eastern line of Broad- 
way, a little way up from Whitesboro street. After Broadway 
had been opened hy Mr. Kip, the house was pulled down, to 
make way for a new house erected b}'- Mr. Inman, the well that 
had been in the rear of the first one, being left in the street, 
where, in recent times, it has dispensed its waters to all who 
sought them. Captain Peirce afterward lived in Deerfield, and 
built the covered bridge across the river, which, in 1810, suc- 
ceeded the two earlier structures. His sons were Joseph, Jr., 
John and Parley. The former removed to Cayuga county. 
John was constable and village tax collector, and afterwards 
■deputy sheriff. As constable, he was often travelling over the 
•county and serving processas in what are now Lewis, St. Law- 
rence and Jefferson. He once went to Ogdensburg to serve a 
summons. His wife was a daughter of Christopher Roberts, a 



38 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

farmer, early settled in the eastern precincts. He moved from 
this place to Trenton, where he owned the mills below the Falls, 
Parley was a carjienter, and in 1817 was living on Broad street. 
Captain Peirce's two daughters married husbands who proved 
intemperate and shiftless. 

Thomas Norton, who married Sarah, second daughter of 
Stephen Potter, had been a sea captain, and afterward returned 
to a sea faring life. His residence while here was on the upper 
end of the Potter lot, and subsequently on the turnpike, near 
the residence of Mrs. Butterfield, where he kept a public house. 

Another resident of this date, whose singular histor}^ we 
have often heard related by the earlier citizens, was the village 
physician, Dr. Samuel Carrington. He was a young man of 
very gentlemanly appearance and manners, and of good literary 
education. Pie was a druggist, though he was titled doctor, 
and may have taken the degree. In an advertisement of his 
drugs, paints and dye woods, dated November, 1800, he says- 
he has " determined to sell them at very low prices for ready 
pay. Having found, from sad experience, that credit is the 
bane of trade, he declines granting that indulgence in the future,, 
and would rather cry over than after his goods." He succeeded 
Mr. Post as postmaster on the first of April, 1799, and was a 
very prosperous man in a pecuniary way, though his emolu- 
ments from his office could not have been ver}' pi'otitable. He 
had become somewhat of an old bachelor, when, at that early 
period of the country, almost every person married quite young. 
But now he was going to tlie East to be married, and his friends- 
crowded around the stage coach that was to carry him to his 
bride, in order to congratulate him on the somewhat unexpected 
event. He departed, and Utica never saw him more. He 
arrived at his place of destination and the ceremony was per- 
formed ; but early the next morning he got up, left his bride 
and disappeared, no one ever knew why or whither. The mys- 
terious flight has never been solved. His brother, John Car- 
rington, came and settled up his affairs, entering for a short 
time into partnership with Dr. Marcus Hitchcock. The latter, 
however, bought John out, and in turn became postmaster. 
In 1802 Dr. Carrington was one of the trustees of the Presby- 
terian church ; but in June of the same year we lind his name 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 39 

on tlie list of jurors that were disqualified by reason of death, 
removal, &c. 

Dr. Benjamin Woodward lived a short time in the vicinity 
of the present Globe Hotel, and also on Main street, and here 
he was married to Hannali Ellis, sister of the wife of Judge 
Cooper, to be presently noticed. 

Stephen Ford, a merchant, occupied for a short time a store 
on the south corner of Genesee and Whitesboro streets his lot 
being the larger end of the gore, next Mr. Burchard. He mar- 
ried the third daughter of Stephen Potter. He failed and left 
the place. After his death, his widow married William Al- 
verson. 

Aaron Eggieston was a cooper, whose shop, during most of 
his residence, stood at a long distance from other buildings, 
viz. : near the site of Charles Millar s new store, on the east 
side of Genesee. With the exception of a brief stay in Clin- 
ton, whence he returned in 1804, he lived here in the exercise 
of his trade until his death, in December, 1828. He was a man 
of some enterprise, and was respected as a good citizen. About 
1820 he was doing business on the south side of Broad street, 
midway between Genesee and John. His sons were Henry and 
Moses T., whose home w^as in New Hartford. 

John Hobby was a blacksmith, his shop being just above the 
site of the Central Railroad depot. He had a brother Epene- 
tus, a tall, stout man with but one eye, who was a good hand 
at fires ; and another brother whose name was Elkanah. The 
three formed the chorus of a song that was a favorite with the 
jolly band which sometimes met of an evening at the village 
inn. The song was entitled, " All on Hobbies." At the end 
of the first verse all would shout, "That's John Hobby;" after 
the next, " That's Neet Hobb}^" &c. John died Feb. 6, 1812. 

Thomas Jones was a black and white smith, who sometimes 
worked for Hobby. He was a superior workman, and is said 
to have been so expert a picklock as to have been in durance in 
England, for the unlawful exercise of his skill. The writer 
has seen a key of a rather complicated form that was made by 
him, and has heard others report of his skill. A passing trav- 



40 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

t -1- ■•• 

r " 

€ller of 1794, "in looking through the rooms at Mr. Post's, 

fortunately came across one Tom Jones, an Englishman, who 

helped him in spending the evening less gloomily." He was 

not English, however, but came from Caernarvonshire. He 

€nlisted during the war of 1812, though he did not serve, as 

peace was declared very soon afterwards. A daughter of his, 

born in 1796, died Feb. 18, 1876, having lived more than sixty 

years within the shadow of Trinity church, and almost under 

protection from the bolts of heaven by the lightning rod which 

her father had constructed for the church. 

Another Jones, Simeon by name, lived in a liouse on stilts 
that stood upon a knoll in a swamp. That swamp was near 
the eastern end of the site of the Globe Hotel. 

Barnabas and Eoger Brooks were braziers, who lived and 
carried on their trade on Whitesboro street, next west of Mr. 
Burchard. Vacating this lot within a few years to Francis A. 
Bloodgood, they moved to the corner of Seneca, where they 
were again displaced b}" Nathan Williams, who bought and 
built upon the place. 

The parties who are known to have been new comers of the 
year 1794, were Moses Bagg, John House Jason Parker and 
Apollos Cooper. 

Moses Bagg, of Westlield, Mass., with his wife and two sons, 
landed from the river, about two miles above the ford, in the 
autumn of 1793, and after tarrying through the winter at Mid- 
dle settlement, arrived at Old Fort Schuyler on the 12th of the 
following March. In August, Mr. Bagg obtained from Joseph 
Ballou, four acres of his leased farm, — for which he subsequently 
got a title from Mr. Bleecker, — and began to practice his trade 
of blacksmith on what is now Main street, a little east of the 
corner of the square. His house, a log structure, or as one eye- 
witness avers, a shanty made of hemlock' boards nailed to the 
stubs of trees, stood directly on the corner ; and this he opened 
for the accommodation of traA-ellcrs. Shoitly afterwards he 
put up a two story wooden building on the same site. This 
house was sul)scquently removed by his son aci'oss the street, 
and in conjunction with the farm house of Mr. Ballou, made 
up the late Northern Hotel; a hotel, which after having been 
held in succession by niinici-ous tenants, has now given ])laceto 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 41 

tlic Ballon block. Mr. Bagg continued to keep tavern while lie 
lived, and is said to have been an accommodating landlord, as well 
as an amiable and upright man, possessed of a fair share of good 
sense and native shrewdness, managing his own affairs with 
prudence, and making many friends and no enemies. He died 
in September, 1805, his wife in March of the same year. James, 
his eldest son, moved al^out 1809 to Denmark, in Lewis county, 
and thence to Lowville, where he died in 1851. Moses, the 
other son, will be noticed hereafter. 

Shortly after the arrival of the preceding family came anoth- 
er inn-keeper, who opened a house on the south-east corner of 
Oenesee street and the public square. This was John House, 
of whom we know little beside the fact that he was a pleasant 
man and a popular tavern-keeper. He removed early from the 
place, and by the year 1802 his house was kept by another. His 
daughter became the wife of Myron Holley, of Ontario county. 
Wm. House, his son, was a merchant in Lockport, N. Y. 

One of Utica's most useful and best remembered citizens ap- 
peared on its stage when, in 1791:, Jason Parker took up his 
abode therein. Married in 1790 to EoxanaDay, of Will)raham, 
Mass., — he himself being a native of the neighljoring town of 
Adams — he settled the same year in New Hartford. Here he 
cleared up two farms, and was progressing with the same energ}^ 
that he afterward evinced in a different calling, when his health 
gave way, and he was advised to relinquish fanning and engage 
in some other pursuit. He came to this place about 1794, and 
undertook the em^oloyment of post-rider between Canajoharie 
and Whitestown. These journeys were made on horseback and 
sometimes on foot. His wife would occasionally assist him, 
when needed, eking out the trip between this place and Whites- 
boro. The contract from the government for the transportation 
of the mail, which had been given, the year previous to one 
Simeon Pool, soon passed into his hands. It is related that 
when on one occasion, Mr. Parker arrived with the great west- 
ern mail from Alban}^, it was discovered that it contained six 
letters for the inhabitants of Old Fort Schuyler. This remark- 
able fact was heralded from one end of the settlement to the 
other, and some were incredulous until assured of its truth by 



42 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

the postmaster, Jolin I^ost. In August, 1795, he began to run a 
stage between the uLove mentioned phices, and thus announces 
his undertaking : " The mail leaves Whitestown every Mon- 
day and Thursday, at 2 o'clock P. M., and proceeds to Old Fort 
Schuyler the same evening; next morning starts at -i o'clock, 
and arrives at Canajoharie in the evening, exchanges passengers 
with the Albany and Cooperstown stages, and the next day re- 
tarns to Old Fort Schuyler. Fare for passengers, $2.00 ; way 
passengers four cents per mile, fourteen pounds of baggage 
gratis ; one hundred and fifty pounds weight rated the same 
as a passenger. Seats may be had by applying at the post-office, 
"Whitestown, at the house of the subscriber, Old Fort Schuy- 
ler, or at Captain Roof's, Canajoharie." 

That his experiment was a difficult and a doubtful one when 
left unaided by the fostei'ing care of go^-ernment we may justly 
infer, and we are not surprised to find him joining with eastern 
proprietors in a call for legislative help. Their petition, which 
is dated Jannary 18, 1797, sets forth that " at an early da}^ and 
when no other persons could be prevailed on to hazard so pre- 
carious an undertaking, they set up a line of stages from Alba- 
ny to Lansingburg, and another from Albany to Whitestown, 
and for several years ran them at great loss to themselves, in 
anxious hope and expectation that, by persevering in so laudable 
an undertaking, they should at some future time receive a com- 
pensation, when the population of this new and growing country 
would admit." Then adverting to the embarrassing and destruc- 
tive consequences of opposition which had been set up on some 
of the eastern lines, the petitioners continue as follows: The 
western line must inevitably share tlie same fate unless your 
petitioners can obtain the interference of the honorable the Legis- 
lature. And although they are desirous of continuing to prose- 
cute their present concerns in the stages, particularly on the 
western routes, they dare not flatter themselves in being able to 
do it, unless they can obtain an act of exclusive privilege for 
a certain number of years." Whether their petition achieved 
them any good we are unable to say, l)ut in November, 1799, 
we find that the mail stage between Schenectada and Utica is 
still run twice a week by "the public's most humble servants," 
Moses Beal and Jason Parker. In 1802 the public are further 
informed that, in addition to the above arrangements, "a stage 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 43 

for the conveyance of the mail, and those who wish to travel by 
stage, will start from Utica for Onondaga twice a week." 

In March, 1 803, Mr. Parker is again before the Legislature in 
company with Levi Stephens and other associates, suing for the 
exclusive right of running stages from the village of Utica to the 
village of Canandaigua for the term of ten years, and averring 
that "the present emoluments are inadequate to reimburse the 
expenses by the proprietors." Accordingly an act was passed 
tlie following year granting to Jason Parker and Levi Stephens 
the exclasive right for seven years of running a line of stages, 
for the conveyance of passengers, at least twice a week, along 
the Genesee road, or Seneca turnpike, between the above men- 
tioned villages. They were bound to furnish four good and 
substantial covered wagons or sleighs, and sufficient horses to 
run the same. The fare was not to exceed five cents per mile, 
and they were to run through in forty-eight hours, accidents ex- 
cepted. They were forbidden to carry more than seven passen- 
gers in any one carriage, except by the unanimous consent of 
said passengers. If four passengers above the seven applied 
for passage, they were obliged to fit out and start an extra car- 
riage for their accommodation ; an}^ number less than four might 
be accommodated by paying the rate of four. 

By September 1810, a greater degree of expedition was at- 
tained on the eastern route, so that we read of a daily line of 
stages between Albany and Utica, and in September, 1811, of 
another line three times a week in addition to the daily one. In 
January of the latter year the route westward had been extend- 
ed to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Thus he commenced by such 
humble beginnings a business which, partly alone and partly 
in association, he prosecuted throughout his lifetime, and which 
within that time increased so as to become one of the largest 
business organizations ever formed in the place. At the time 
of his decease there were eight daily lines of stages running 
through Utica, east and west, besides twelve daily, semi- weekly 
or weekly lines running north and south, in most of which he 
was or had been interested. 

But Mr. Parker's activity was not wholly expended in the 
running of stages. Besides serving as a trustee of the village, 
and besides bearing a share in the public undertakings of the 
day that concerned him equally with his fellow-citizens, he also 



44 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

carried on milling and flouring. Al)out 1817 this was done at 
New Hartford, in company with his nephew, David Miller, and 
after 1823, when the navigation of the Mohawk had ceased, in 
a mill which he constructed bel(^w the bridge. He also at an 
earlier period had an interest with Stalham Williams in mercan- 
tile business. 

To Mr. Parker, Messrs. T. S. Faxton, S. D. Childs and John 
Butterlield were all indebted for the impetus which set them 
forward in a career of success, the former having joined him as 
his outside assistant in 1813, Mr. Childs as his book-keeper in 
1816, and the latter in 1822, at first as a runner, and eventually 
as his successor in the stage and transportation business, though 
he was never, as Messrs Faxton and Childs were, one of the 
Arm of J. Parker & Co. 

Remarkable for his business capacity, his enei'gy and his skill 
in dealing with others. Mr. Parker was not less noted for his 
unswerving integrity and his kind and liberal disposition. Well 
do I remember the benevolent features of the old man as they 
kindly beamed upon the children of his acquaintance, as well 
as the quaint attire in which he appeared abroad — the broad- 
brimmed beaver, the spencer worn outside his coat, and the 
long church warden pipe, only laid aside when he took the 
reins for a drive in his chaise. 

He lived, on his first coming, in a log house on Main street, a 
little west of First street. His next residence was on the south 
side of Whitesboro street, near Seneca, his carriage and black- 
smith shops, stahles, &c., being adjacent He subsequently 
built a house on the opposite side of the street, where the late 
E. M. Gilbert afterwards built and resided. 

Mr. Parker died in 1830, his wife the former part of the 
same year. Two or three of his children, of whom he had 
seven in all, were born before his arrival in Utica, Those who 
attained adult age were Cynthia, (Mi's, George Maconiber,) 
Roxana, (Mrs. S. D. Childs,) Milton D. and Patty Ann, (Mrs. 
John Hastings). 

Apollos Cooper was born at Southampton, L. I., February 
2d, 1767, was a carpenter by trade, and had come into Oneida 
county in 1790. Before coming to Old Fort Schuyler, he had 
lived at Johnstown, and was also in the employ of Mr. Scriba, 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 45 

at Oneida Lake. On the 1 1th of A|)ril, 1795, he bought of James 
S. Kip one hundred and seventeen acres of Great Lot No. 96, 
which the latter had bought the year previous. This land con- 
stituted a narrow strip, extending from the river nearly to the' 
intersection of Genesee and State streets. Early in the fall of 
1794 he had gotten possession of the land, and built the rear 
part of the house on Whitesboro street, where he afterwards re- 
sided throughout his life. The homestead yet remains, while the 
farm has long since been swallowed up by the encroaching city. 

Mr. Cooper does not seem to have long pursued his trade, but 
when not engaged in official duties, was chiefly busied with 
farming. The bridge across the river, at the foot of Genesee 
street, which replaced the earlier bridge, is, however, said to 
have been the work of his skill. A peculiarity of this bridge 
consisted in the long covered avenue of trestle work that led 
down to it, reaching back half way to Main street — a proof, as 
it would appear, that the river bank was then much lower than 
at present, and the bridge, in consequence, more difficult of 
approach. This bridge had a stone abutment in the centre, and 
was of more substantial construction than its more immediate 
predecessor. Mr. Cooper was also the artificer of Hamilton 
Oneida Academy, the precursor of Hamilton College. 

As time rolled on, his property increased greatly in value, 
and enabled him to realize all the comforts of a thriving farmer, 
and to bestow upon his children the advantages of an educa- 
tion, which in his own case had been limited, but whose value 
he well knew how to estimate. His early location in the county 
secured to him an extensive acquaintance, and obtained for 
him no small share of public favor, manifested by his appoint- 
ment, at various periods, as Judge, Representative and Sheriff, 
and by his filling also many subordinate stations in the place of 
his residence. If there were differences among his neighbors, 
Judge Cooper was a man to whom such differences could be 
referred with all the confidence that a sound head and an honest 
heart will always command. He was simple in habit, and un- 
pretending in manners ; of vanity he had not a particle, honest 
pride he possessed to a fault. Self-reliant and positive in his 
opinions, he was frank and outspoken, and his convictions were 
stated with plainness and force. After a long period of suffer- 
ing, he died March 2d, 1839 ; his wife (Sybel Ellis) ten years 



46 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

before. His sons were Elias, Benjamin F. and Charles. His 
only daughter is the wife of E. A. Graham. 

John Cooper, a relative of the preceding, and a farmer, occu- 
pied, until the marriage of the judge, the portion of the house 
the latter had first built. Later he lived in a house near Hojt's 
lane, on the north side of Whitesboro street. His son Abra- 
ham, who pursued his clerkship with Br^-an Johnson, became 
afterward a prosperous merchant at Trenton, and was the father 
of the late Hoel Cooper, of Watertown. 

On a farm next west of Nathan Smith, and half way to 
Whitesboro, lived William Inman, a gentleman who was in 
habits of constant intercourse with the people of the settle- 
ment, though he did not move into it until a few years later ; 
but as this farm has, by a recent legislative ordinance, been 
included within the domain of Utica, we introduce him here. 
Dr. Hough, in his History of Lewis county, informs us that 
*' ]\L-. Inman was a native of Somersetshire, England, and in 
earl}^ life was a clerk of Lord Pultney. He first sailed to 
America March 13, 1792, and arrived in June. He soon after 
was entrusted witli the interests of certain Europeans, promi- 
nent among whom was Patrick Colquhoun, High Sheriff of 
London, for whom he purchased in trust the tract of land called 
Tnman's Triangle, including the towns of Leyden and Lewis, in 
Lewis county, N, Y. The following j^ear he returned to Eng- 
land, but ere long was again in this countrj'-," 

In 1793, he obtained of Eutger Bleecker two leases of land in 
lot No. 104, containing in all one hundred and fifty-three acres, 
and not long after came to reside in Oneida county. He lived at 
first in the house that is situated on the north side of the Whites- 
boro road, opposite the bridge over the canal. But disgusted with 
the "Yankee dust" which reached him from the neighboring 
highway, he built the large house that stands quite back from it 
on the south side, and which has been of late years known as the 
Champlin house. Possessed of ample means, he hired laborers 
and lived upon his farm as a ])rivate gentleman. " He had con- 
siderable knowledge of English literature, was fond of books, and 
exhiV^ited in his conversation the superiority which results from 
culture and from intercourse with refined societ}^ His hand- 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 47 

writing was handsome ; he was accurate and methodical ; un- 
derstanding well his own interests, and apt in drafting all legal 
papers relating to his property and dealings." He consequently 
maintained a high social standing, and participated in the best 
society which the neighborhood afforded. He rode in a heavy 
English carriage, and wore powdered hair with short clothes 
and knee buckles. 

As earl}^ as 1804: he erected a brewery on the site of what is 
now the northwest corner of Broadway and Whitesboro streets, 
where, with Edward Smith and Aylmer Johnson, under the 
firm name of E. Smith & Co. he commenced business as brewer 
and malster. In April, 1805. the partnership was dissolved, 
and the brewery was thereafter for some years conducted by 
Mr. Inman alone. He built a house for his own use on the east 
side of Broadway, a short distance above the corner of Whites- 
boro, which house is now occupied by William N. Weaver. 

Mr. Inman was among the foremost of those who took a part 
in founding Trinity church ; he was placed on the subscription 
and also on the building committee, and while he lived in 
Utica served either as vestryman or warden. But, with this 
exception, it does not appear that he manifested much interest 
in the prosperity of the place, or exerted the influence which 
from his wealth and high social position he might have com- 
manded. Unfortunately his temper was harsh and uncom- 
promising, his bearing haughty and domineering, and he could 
ill adapt himself to the plain people and the unpolished man- 
ners of a new country. It is said that when his goods were 
being brought up the Mohawk, Sam. Carey the boatman, taking 
■offence at some overbearing conduct in Mr. Inman, tumbled 
him into the river. 

About 1813 he removed to New York, where he became a 
merchant, but met with heavy reverses. About 1825 he w^ent 
to Leyden, in Lewis county, and there he died February 14, 
1843, aged eighty-one years. His wife, Sarah, died in the same 
place, July 24, 1829, aged fifty-six. She, says her son, the 
distinguished artist, was gentle and persuasive. His sons were 
William, John, Henry and Charles, of whom the three first 
attained distinction in paths quite diverse. 

William entered the navy January 1st, 18 1 2, rose by succes- 
sive steps to the rank of Commodore, and after sixty-two years 



4S THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

of gallant and deserving sen'ice, died October 23d, 1874 ; he 
served on the lakes during the war of 1812-15, commanded 
one of two boats that captured a pirate vessel on the coast of 
Cuba, in 1823 ; commanded a steamer on the lakes in 1845, a 
steam frigate of the E I. squadron in 1851, and was at the 
head of the squadron on the coast of Africa in 1859-6L 
(Drake's Dictionary of American Biography.) 

John, born at Utica, 1805, having taught school in North 
Carolina, passed a year in Europe and studied law on his return, 
became editor of the Standard^ afterwards of the Spirit of the 
Times^ then of the N. Y. Mirror. In 1834 he was assistant 
editor of the Commercial Advertiser^ and in 1844, on the death 
of William L. Stone, became editor-in-chief. He was for some 
years editor of the Columbian Magazine^ and was a frequent 
contributor to the periodicals of the day. He died August 30, 
1850. (Drake's Am. Biog.) 

Henry, born at Utica, October 28, 1801, early manifested a 
taste for art, entered the studio of Jarvis, and at first devoted 
himself to miniature painting, but afterwards turned his talents 
to good advantage in portrait, landscape and (/ew re painting, and 
attained such distinction as to be chosen Vice President of the 
National Academy of Design. He visited England in 1844, 
and painted portraits of Wordsworth, Chalmers, Macaulay and 
others. He afterwards undertook a series of pictures for the 
National Capitol, illustrating the settlement of the west, but did 
not live to complete the first of them. Among his best efforts 
are his portraits of Chief Justice Marshal and Bishop White, his 
"Kip Van Winkle waking from his Dream," " Mumble the Peg," 
and " Boyhood of Washington." He was one of the most 
versatile of American artists. He possessed the choicest social 
quahties and the finest sensibilities. His conversational qualities 
were of a high order, and he had a fund of anecdote and wit. 
He died in New York, January 17, 1846. (Drake's Am. Biog.) 

Charles, a cabinet maker, died in Cincinnati. The youngest 
daughter of Mr. Inman married Bryan Collins, of Lewis county ; 
the eldest died unmarried. 

An inhabitant of whom we get the first hint in 1795, at this 
time a carpenter, but who afterwards developed into a merchant 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 49 

as successful as any that Utica has produced, was Watts Slier- 
man. He came from Newport, K. I. His means were small, 
so that while he followed his trade — and was but a botch at 
that — his wife kept a small shop on Main street, where she sold 
cake and beer. He soon obtained the office of constable, and, 
as we are assured, manifested unusual zeal in the discharge of 
his duties, having, on one occasion, descended into a chimney 
in order to seize a silk dress which the party having it was de- 
termined he should not come at, and so debarred him other 
entrance into his house. But it is likewise reported that at that 
period he was rather too prone to visit the tavern, and that his 
wife adopted the following means to cure the failing. One 
evening, after her work was done, she took her knitting and 
repaired to the tavern, where she sat down and assumed the air 
of being at ease. The embarrassment of the other parties pre- 
sent was soon relieved by the Avife addressing her husband thus: 
" Mr. Sherman, I married you for the sake of your company, 
and I have come here to enjoy it'" This visit sufficed to reform 
the wa3's of the wanderer ; and he was ever after not only 
closely devoted to business, but a man of marked and exem- 
plary habits in respect to temperance. I retail the gossip as I 
have heard it; but whether true or not the incident is deemed 
sufficiently characteristic of Mrs. Sherman to have deserved to 
be so. This lady, whose maiden name was Olivia Jillson, was 
of excellent judgment, and a notably faithful counsellor to her 
husband throughout his life. 

In 1802 Mr. Sherman formed a partnership in trade with 
Arnold Wells, the latter furnishing the m st of the capital. 
In this new sphere he evinced unusual capacity, for he was 
uncommonly shrewd and stirring. Being too ambitious for Mr. 
Wells, they separated, while Mr. Sherman enlarged his busi- 
ness and directly took rank among the leading merchants. 
With others, he bestirred himself in the creation of the first 
glass works of the county, the factory at Yernon, and was one 
of its directors. Under date of May, 1813, he informs the 
community that he has taken into partnership Henry B. Gribson 
and Alexander Seymour, under the name of Sherman, Gibson 
& Co. While the junior member remained in Utica, the twO' 
former established themselves in New York, where their skill- 



60 THE PIOXEERS OF UTICA. 

ful conduct of trade secured an independent fortune for eacli of 
them. Mr. Slierman died about the year 1820. 

He was a tall, fine looking person, extremely neat of attire. 
Although close and sharp in business, he was, up to a certain 
standard, unexceptionally moral, and gave freely to objects of 
benevolence or public utility. His place of business, while 
in Utica, was on Genesee street, a little below the line of Broad, 
and afterward nearly opposite Catherine. For his residence he 
erected the house which was afterwards the home of General 
Joseph Kirkland, and is now that of Mrs. Susan Gridley His 
wife lived until her eighty-second year, and died in Albany, Jan- 
uary 26, 1860. In all the relations of life she performed well her 
part and was deservedly esteemed. Her second husband was 
Paul Hochstrasser, and him she survived thirty years. One of 
Mr. Sherman's daughters married Henry B. Gibson ; a second, 
Bobert Shearman, a merchant of a somewhat later residence ; 
and two lie interred in Forest Hill Cemetery, whither they were 
removed from the old ground. One son, Chas. A. W., is living 
in Albany. Watts Sherman, late of the banking house of Dun- 
can, Sherman & Co., was a nephew. 

Two additional farmei's of this date were Aaron Adams and 
Benjamin Hammond. The latter, commonly known as Pump- 
kin Hammond, lived near the present intersection of South and 
Bridge streets. He was gone by 1802. 

The tailor of the time, one Daniel Banks, lived alone on 
Whitesboro street, opposite where now is Hotel street. . He was 
taken with a fever, became delirious, and, having been denied 
water to quench his thirst, seized the opportunity when his at- 
tendant was away to go for it himself. He was missed, and 
search being made he was found drowned in the well. This 
occurred in August, 1799. His tMinbstone in the old burying 
ground bears the oldest inscription that can be deciphered 
there. 

Samuel Jewett was one of the pioneer settlers of New Hart- 
ford, and used to say that he had helped to raise the first barn, 
the first frame house, and the first meeting house, that were 
built in that town. He removed hither in 1795, and purchased 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 51 

of Stephen ISTorton a part of the Potter farm. His late resi- 
dence on the line of the Seneca turnpike, built before that road 
liad been worked, but not before it was laid out, forms at this 
day almost the only remaining landmark of its generation. 

Of Mr. Jewett, his contemporaries report that his word was 
"like apples of gold, in })ictures of silyer." In confirmation 
they relate the following anecdote : He once bargained with 
Jason Parker to fuiiiish him the ensuing winter one hundred 
tons of hay at fiye dollars per ton. The winter set in early and 
proved an unusually bleak and cheerless one. Hay was in 
great demand and had largely risen in value. Without a mur- 
mur Mr. Jewett faithfully executed his contract ; and, as he 
urged his laboring cattle o\''er the bare and rough corduroy 
which formed the only road between him and his purchaser, he 
was often accosted to know the price of his hay. "Sold," was 
his brief response. 

Mr. Jewett had a family of nine children, all of whom 
reached adult age. The oldest and the youngest daughters are 
still living on the homestead, and near by lives Benj. F., the 
only son who is still a resident. 

A. vigorous old man, named Lewis Crandall, observed his 
centennial birthday in Utica, April 13, 1872. He said that 
when he was twenty-two or twenty-three, he and his father-in- 
law, John Shute, lived one year on the farm east of the hollow 
below Frederick Bowman, more recentl}^ known as the Dever- 
eux farm. If his memory was not at fault this must have been 
in 179-1 or '95. His subsequent life had been passed chiefly in 
Westmoreland, where as well as in Utica he has descendants, 
and where he died the following summer. 

The Western Centinel^ of September 23, 1795, records the 
fact that sickness was then prevailing throughout the whole of 
the western country beyond what had ever before been experi- 
enced since its first settlement. " Scarce a family escapes," it 
says. " and numbers of whole families labor under the inflic- 
tion. The diseases most prevalent are the lake (or Genesee) 
fever, and the intermittent or fever and ague. We have author- 
ity to say that the lake fever is not confined wholly to lake 
towns, but is frequent in the most inland ones," 



52 THE PIOXEERS OF UTICA. 

Following down the course of our annals, the first I have to 
note in the jear 1796 is Ezekiel Clark. By the settlers who 
are known to have arrived at this time, Mr. Clark was found 
essaying to do business as a merchant, and his shop was in a 
room of Bagg's tavern. He continued a resident almost, if 
not quite, until the hamlet became a city, and was by turns mer- 
chant, innkeeper, baker, cooper and merchant again. In 1817 — 
the era of the publication of the first village directory — his 
store was at No. 10 Genesee street. And twenty years later 
he was striving to earn a living by the making of bandljoxes. 
An industrious and a reputable man, but easy and careless, 
from want of prudence he was frequently in trouble, and from 
too much change, he, like the rolling-stone, gathered little. 

His first wife (Miss Tafft), who died in 1803, was the mother 
of four children, all of whom are deceased. His second (Mrs. 
Mehitable Parmelee) was the mother of the late Mrs. V. V. 
Livingston. 

Of other inhabitants whose names are now first found our 
scanty information permits us to add but two, John Hopkins 
and Rufus Harris. The one was a farmer or teamster ; the 
other was a laboring man. 

Of the new comers, one was a merchant, but did not remain 
long a merchant. With him there was abundant reason for 
the change ; his educational training had been in a totally dif- 
ferent direction, and was too complete a one to admit of sacri- 
fice ; this, together with his natural bias and the needs of his 
neighbors, soon inclined him to pursuits more congenial. This 
was Dr. Alexander Coventry, whose character and career desei've 
a fuller consideration. From a carefully written obituary by Dr. 
John McCall, are derived many of the particulars herewith given. 
He was born near Hamilton, in Scotland, August 2V, 1766, 
and was the son of Capt. George Coventry, who had served un- 
der his Majesty George III., in the old French war. The son 
attended medical lectures at Glasgow and at Edinburgh, and 
imbibed the instruction of those eminent teachers, Monro, Cul- 
len, Hope and Gregory. In July, 17S5, he sailed for America, 
and first settled at Hudson, in this State, where he became en- 
gaged in agricultural pursuits in conjunction with the practice 
of his profession. Thence he removed to Romulus, on the east 




Lyy^y^y^ Qo-t/i^^^T^^^^ 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 53 

side of Seneca lake, wliicli "place be left in 1796 on account of 
the sickness of himself and his famil}^, and came to Old Fort 
Schuyler. At first he entered into mercantile business with 
Mr. John Post, but soon separated from him, and opened a 
physician's office just above, that is to say, on the west side of 
the Genesee road, about two doors above the corner of Whites- 
boro street. About 1804 he had for a partner Dr. David Has- 
brouck ; but having purchased a farm in Deerfield, he removed 
thither and once more engaged in agriculture. 

The doctor pursued farming, and especially fruit-growing, 
with all the ardor of more modern amateurs, and his grafted 
■apples and other fruit w^ere famous the country round. From 
this period onward until his death, his time and attention were 
divided between his farm, his books and the practice of his pro- 
fession, although during his latter years the demands of his 
profession were paramount to all beside. The greatest disad- 
vantage of this division of employment was the difficulty of 
procuring his assistance on any sudden emergency, and espe- 
cially as the road to his residence was sometimes almost impass- 
able. He had formed a partnership in 1817, with the late Dr. 
John McCall, then also residing hi Deerfield. In the following 
year, when the latter came to this place, tlieir office was in a 
small wooden building on the north-west corner of Broad and 
John streets. And here joined him his next and last pai-tner, 
his son. Dr. Chas. B. Coventry. 

As a family physician and obstetrician. Dr. Coventry was 
eminently distinguished ; and not only in our own but in the 
adjoining counties he maintained a standing no less respectable 
as a consulting one. His uniformly courteous and sympathiz- 
ing manner wuth the sick, cooperating with his clear and dis- 
criminating judgment, obtained for him unrivaled esteem and 
-affection. Every one felt safe when his skill and experience 
could be secured. In person he was muscular, and moderate 
in height ; in manners without pretence, but affable and engag- 
ing ; in tastes, social ; in temper, sometimes irascible. 

The doctor could ill brook opposition, and sooner than yield 
to an adversary, his Scotch blood would assert itself after the 
most approved pugilistic method. More than one story has 
been told of his resort to blows where he could not readily com- 
pass his ends in a more peaceful way. The most characteristic 



64 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

of tliese incidents, thougli not so successful in its issue as some 
others, occurred one winter when he was on his way to Albany 
to attend, a meeting of the State Medical Society. He was at 
the same time carrying a load of grain to market, and was in a 
double sleigh accompanied by his hired man. Meeting another 
loaded team in a narrow place, its driver, an obstinate Dutch- 
man, was unwilling to give him any part of the road. Both 
claimed the track and insisted that the other shpuld turn out. 
"Words proving of no avail, the doctor got out of the sleigh,, 
determined to give the other a threshing. His man offered to 
assist him, but belie-^nng himself competent for the work, the 
Doctor declined his aid. After one or two sharp rounds of 
fisticuff, he found himself decidedly worsted, having received 
some damaging blows about the face and eyes, so that the man 
again proffered his assistance. The Doctor refused his help, 
declared that he was fairly whipped, and generously ordered 
his driver to turn out and give the Dutchman the whole of the 
way. Arrived at Albany he sold his grain, but was so disfigured 
in person that he did not venture to appear at the Society. 

Although quite reasonable in his charges. Dr. Coventry was 
sometimes annoyed, as others of his profession are apt to be, 
by the tardiness or delinquency to pay of ungrateful patients. 
He himself told the following story with relation to a neighbor 
of his whose family he often attended, but who, after the occasion 
of the visit was over, would neglect to pay the bill. The fellow 
was notoriously bad and the doctor was determined to frighten 
him ; so meeting him one day in the village, Dr. Coventry asked 
him if he felt well. He replied " Yes," and asketl the reason 
for such a question. The doctor responded that he looked sick, 
and at the same time felt his pulse. Then, assuming a very 
grave countenance, he said, you are a })ad fellow, and have 
treated me ill ; but I will not see you kill yonrself, so I advise 
you to go home immediately and take to your bed. The man 
was young and vigorous, but he at once became livid with fright, 
gasped for breath, and almost staggered into a chair. The doc- 
tor, becoming himself alarmed at the effect of his joke, now 
laughingly told him that nothing ailed him, that he wanted only 
to frighten him for not paying his long standing account. 

The public appreciation of the science and standing of Dr. 
Coventry, is shown by the offices he held. Besides presiding- 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER, 55 

for several successive years over the Medical Society of his own 
county, he was twice elected president of the Medical Society 
of the State. He was a trustee of the Fairfield Medical Col- 
lege, a member of the Society for the Promotion of Agricul- 
ture, Art and Manufactures, a member of the Albany Lyceum, 
and a corresponding member of the Linn^ean Society, of Paris. 
He was an occasional contributor to the political and agi-icultural 
journals of the day, and was also the author of some profes- 
sional papers for the medical serials. 

From the period of his studentship to the last year of liis life 
he kept a diary in which he noted at length his medical and 
agricultural employments, with references now and then to social 
and other current events of the day. About the year 1817 he 
led the way in the formation of the first Agricultural Society 
of the county, and was its Secretary and presiding genius. 

While attending a dangerous case of .sickness in the family 
of Nicholas Devereux, he fell a victim to an epidemic influenza, 
and died December 9, 1831. His wife, Elizabeth Butler, of 
Brantford, Conn., had deceased some j^ears before. He left a 
family of seven sons and four daughters. Of these the late Dr. 
Chas. B. Coventry was the only one who made a home in Utica. 

A merchant who may be set down as of this date was Talcott 
Camp, for he visited the place in the fall of 1796, bringing with 
him a portion of goods, though he returned east for the winter, 
to come again with his famih^ the following spring. Shortl}' 
before the date above named he was in New York city, and a 
sight he there beheld determined, it is said, his course to the 
new settlement. This was a barrel or two of silver coin which 
William G. Tracy of Whitesboro, had brought down to ex- 
change for the goods he needed in his trade. Returns like 
these betokened a market that was worth the seeking, and he 
sought it. Talcott Camp was born in Durham, Conn., March 
1-1, 1762, and was the son of Elnathan Camp and Eunice 
Talcott, daughter of one of the original proprietors of the town. 
His collegiate course at New Haven being interrupted by the 
war of the Revolution, he entered into the service of his country 
and held during the greater part of the contest, a post in the 
Commissary Department. Settling afterward in Glastonbujy, 
he was engaged chiefly in mercantile pursuits, although he was 



56 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

also associated with a partner in the manufacture of iron. Here, 
hi 1785, he married Nancy Hale, and here all but the youngest 
one of his children were born. 

For a few _years after his removal to Old Fort Schuyler he 
devoted himself to trading, and was not all unsuccessful in the 
pursuit, though he ere long disposed of his interest, and engaged 
in the purchase and sale of lands. But it is as an ujjright and 
esteemed magistrate, as he long was, that Squire Camp is best 
know^n, and there are those living who can recall the impartial 
dignity with which he was wont to pronounce " the opinion of 
the Court." In 1809 he was made President of the village, a 
station which he held for five successive j'ears. This was in 
part during the turbulent period of the war, when troops were 
often marched through the village or quartered in the neigh- 
borhood, and when aggressions and quarrels were rife. Much 
responsibilit}' and care were of course devolved upon him. 
One occasion of tlie time is especially remembered. A shot 
fired b}^ a soldier either accidentally or by design, entered the 
house of an unoffcPxding citizen. The people were indignant 
and a mob was preparing to avenge the wrong. But the calm 
and judicious measures of the chief officer appeased the excite- 
ment and brought the offender to justice. He was some time 
Trustee of the Presbyterian Church, and bore a part, as one of 
the original Board, in the founding of the Utica Academy. 

Prominent among those who made honorable the beginnings 
of Utica, he was a man of intelligence and integrit}', of sterling 
sense and judgment, " of marked and dignified aj3j)earance and 
courteous manners, who always commanded respect, and in his 
later years veneration." A casual or undiscerning sj^ectator 
might, perhaj^s, have deemed him pi-oud, and it is the likeli- 
hood that such an impression might seize u})on the mind of a 
stranger whicli formed the basis of the following incident. We 
relate it for the sake of the story merely, and without intending 
to detract from the esteem wdiich is due to the subject of it A 
raw apprentice of James Delvin, struck with the trim aspect 
and erect, soldierly air of this I'lilllc-shirted gentleman of the 
old school, appealed to his master to know who he was. "That,'' 
said Jemmy, wlio saw his chance for a joke, " that is Talcott 
Camp, and he beai's a commission from the President of the 
United States to shoot down the first man he meets who is 




u^ &. 




OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 57 

prouder than lie is." Neat, Squire Camp certainly was, to 
extremes, and self-respecting also, chary of his associates and of 
his honor, but unassuming, and inclined to diffidence rather 
than to undue exaltation of himself. And if he held, as he 
often did, positions of public confidence, they were not of his own 
seeking, but unasked tributes to the merits of this worthy Chris- 
tian gentleman. 

He retained through life some of the modes of pronunciation 
that were in use in Connecticut when he was young ; for change 
he would say charnge, for sugar, sooger, and for Tomas, T/iomas. 
He lived a little west of Mr. Burchard, on the same side of 
Whitesboro street, and afterward on Main street, on the same 
lot where stood the village school house. He died September 
3, 1832, aged seventy ; his wife August 31, 1806. He had five 
sons and three daughters, all of whom have since their maturity, 
been residents of Utica, \az : John and Harry to be noticed 
hereafter ; Nancy and Horace twins, the former, wife of Ira 
Merrell ; George, removed to Sacketts Harbor ; Eunice died in 
in infancy ; a second Eunice, wife of William F. Potter; Charles, 
a merchant associated with his older brothers, who died about 
1834 ; Harriet, widow of Andrew Merrell, who still survives. 

1797. 

Before I go on to speak of the new comers of 1797, let me, 
in my attempts to preserve a chronological order, notice a few 
individuals who were already located when the settlers of 1797 
themselves appeared. The exact time of their arrival I am 
unable to determine, and it is not impossible that some of them 
may have been ere this, two or three years on the soil, but 
records we have not, not even a tax list. 

Besides other merchants than tnose we have mentioned, 
Clark & Fellows kept at this time the largest store in the place, 
that is to say, for the benefit of the inhabitants, Post's trade 
being chiefly with the Indians. It was situated on the north 
side of the Whitesboro road, near the present Division street, 
and was, in fact, but a mere hut, Silas Clark, the elder 
partner, was a stirring man, and made money. He owned a 
farm in the Gulf below Bowman's, known afterward as the 
Devereux farm, also a house and lot between Bowman and 



58 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Petrie, besides the house in wliich he Hved on the south side of 
Whitesboro street, and almost opposite his store. He was quite 
an admirer of horse-flesli, and was also a major of militia. He 
was onl\- thirty -seven when he died, of inflammation caused, as 
it was said, by wearing tight boots, while on parade. Starr and 
Silas Clark, two of his sons, were in business here at a later date. 
The former moved to Mexico, Oswego county, and has been a 
member of the Assembly ; the latter, after living some years 
in Watertown, is now iti Kenosha, Wis. 

William Fellows, after the death of his associate, formed a 
connection with Moses Bagg, Jr., for the sale of the miscella- 
neous goods of a country store. This connection was closed in 
the year 1807, when John Camp, who had been their clerk, 
purchased Mr. Fellows' interest. The latter continued to do 
business a short time longer, but died in 1809, leaving one son, 
William H. Fellows, now residing in Ohio. His wife was a 
daughter of Samuel Hooker, a settler of the ensuing year. She 
afterwards married Killian Winne. 

Kichard Smith sold lime juice. Muscovado, and East India 
sugar, molasses, soap, tobacco, Spanish and American cigars, 
Cephalique and Eappee snuff, hair powder and pomatum, curl- 
ing irons, combs, &c., kc. His store is believed to have been 
at the lower end of Genesee street, on the east side. He soon 
departed. 

Daniel Budlong, a shoemaker and leather dealer, had a shop 
next door to John Post, where he was burned out in the lire 
that destroyed the latter. Two years later his store was broken 
o]ien and robbed. About 1808 he joined another townsman in 
the purchase of the " medical apparatus" of Dr. D. F. Launay, 
a medical adventurer, and travelled off to the west, engaged in 
what was termed the "Launay business," but returned, and was 
here in 1832, as a physician. 

William Halsey was a carjienter. In November, 1800, he 
advertises the sale of " that large two-storj^ house now occupied 
by the subscriber, fronting Main street (Whitesboro), between 
the hotel and John House's tavern, together with half an acre 
of land and the outhouses standing on the same ; it being an 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 59 

excellent stand for a tavern or any kind of mechanic." It was 
purcliased by Bryan Johnson, and was his home thronghoat 
the remainder of his life. Mr. Halsey, who was well thought 
of by his fellow citizens, removed at this time from the place. 
A brother of his, Hezekiah Halsey, had a blacksmith shop for 
a short time a little farther west, near the corner of Burchard's 
lane. He removed to Westmoreland, where he lived until 1872. 

Jeptha Buell was another carpenter, who lived in the place 
a few years longer than Halsey, but was gone before 1810. 

Joseph Dana was the first schoolmaster of Old Fort Schuy- 
ler, and kept in a building on Main street, about midway 
between First and Second, which was also used as a place of 
worship as well as for secular assemblies. The majority of 
Mr, Dana's pupils used to speak of him as an excellent teacher, 
remarkable for the order and discipline he maintained. He was 
pedagogue both here and in Deerfield before the year 1800. 
In the latter year, in consequence of some trouble in his school 
for which his respectable patrons attached no blame to the 
teacher, he accepted a call to Westmoreland. In Deerfield he 
taught also a singing school, and on his departure concluded 
the exercises by a song, whose final verses ran somewhat as 
follows : 

Fare ye well, my friends and foes; 
I'll take my staff and travel on, 
'Till better worlds I view. 

Having brought up at Westmoreland, he taught there three 
years. At an exhibition which closed his term, he was ad- 
dressed by one of his pupils in " most beautiful, feeling and 
commendatory terms." The address was the production of 
the elder Judge Dean, father of the youthful speaker. Of Mr. 
Dana's later history we know only that he was a sergeant in 
the regular army in the war of 1812. 

Other residents, to be barely mentioned, were Timothy Lam- 
son, a book-keeper, and a skillful one, as his books attest ; a 
man named Scates, who had a home on Main street, in the rear 
of the present premises of Mrs. Emma Mann ; Isaiah Johnson, 
a farmer on the upper end of Post's farm, — for Mr. Post made 
improvements fast, and as early as 1792 extended them back to 
the hills, skipping over a low part of the intermediate ground ; 



60 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Jeriy Tibbits, barber, who spent most of his time at the tavern, 
could shave or 'tend horses equally well, and in 1807 had a 
new, impnn'cd liquid blacking ; and Pel eg Hale, boatman. 

A man of higher mark than these, and deserving a fuller 
notice, was Nathan Williams. For the following sketch I am 
in large part indebted to a published obituary prepared by the 
late A. B. Johnson, at one time his pupil, and throughout life 
his personal and political friend. 

" Judge Williams was born on the 19th of December, 1773, 
in Williamstown, Mass., of patriotic parents, whose property 
was lost in the vicissitudes of the Eevolution. Hence, at the age 
of thirteen, with only the simplest rudiments of an English edu- 
cation, he left the parental shelter to acquire his own subsistence. 
He arrived at Troy a stranger and with only a few cents in his 
possession ; yet with no recommendation but the development 
of his character, he acquired the profession of the law and ad- 
mission to the bar." When it was he made his way to this 
place no one is able to tell us, though we are assured it was not 
later than 1797. 

At the first term of Common Pleas held in Oneida county, 
in 1798, he was admitted to practice in the Court, as he had 
already found admission to the bar of Herkimer. The same 
year he was received in the Courts of Chenango, of which 
county he was appointed District Attorney in the year 1802. 
Nor was it long before Mr. Williams was engaged in extensive 
business as attorney and counsellor, and as solicitor in chancery. 
Although it is said that such was the undeviating purity of his 
conduct and his strict integrity towards his clients, that he 
aided them to avoid law suits rather than undertake them. 
" Prompt and exemplary in all that related to local or general 
benevolence, his contributions of time, influence and property 
entered largely into nearly every measure that elevated the 
town of his adoption. At an early jDcriod of his residence he 
assisted in the establishment of a well selected public library. 
Of this he was for many years librarian." An active partici- 
pant in the services of the united and but partially sectarian 
Congregation of Whitesboro and Old Fort Schuyler, in due 
time he zealously cooperated with others of his sect in the or- 
ganization of Ti'inity church, and, when this had an existence, 





f^wm^. 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 61 

became a warden. The pul^lic chai'ities of the Episcopal body 
and the plans set on foot for church extension, had throughout 
his life no more faithful and steadfast friend. He was president 
of the village corporation and president of the Manhattan Bank. 
" During the war of 1812 he aided essentially the general 
government by his influence and his fervor in this region. 
Moreover, he left his professional business, which was then at 
its height, and his numerous family, and with gun and knap- 
sack marched as a volunteer to Sacketts Harbor, then under 
the command of his brother-in-law. Gen. Jacob Brown, and 
threatened with invasion." " The people and the government 
often honored him with many important stations. He was Dis- 
trict Attorney of the sixth district in 1801-13, and again of 
Oneida county in 1818-21, Eepresentative in Congress, 1805-7, 
and Member of Assembly, 1816, 1818 and 1819. He was also 
a member of the convention of 1821 for the reform of the con- 
stitution." 

But it is as circuit judge, to which laborious and responsible 
office he was appointed in April, 1823, and which he held for 
many years, that Nathan Williams is most vividl37- and respect- 
fully remembered. "As a judge," says Mr. Johnson, "his ad- 
dresses were fervently moral. Few men could attend his court 
in any capacity and not obtain instruction in the duties of life, 
and encouragement for their cultivation." Perhaps by nature 
somewhat austere, "even his failings leaned to virtue's side," 
"for toward vn-tue he had an apparently intuitive bias; while 
its constant exercise exalted beneficially the standard of pri- 
vate character among those he encountered." He was at one 
period counsel for the Oneida Indians, and the epithet they 
gave him does honor to the man, while reveahng the justice of 
their discrimination ; in their tongue he was the " Upright 
Friend." One incident will I give in illustration of the sterner 
traits of his character. On an occasion when his official duties 
required him to ask a young married lady whether the deed 
she had signed was executed by her without any fear or com- 
pulsion of her husband, she laughed and said that she was not 
afraid of her husband. " Then madam," replied her questioner, 
"you have not learned the first duty of a wife, which is to 
fear her husband." 

But lest my story should leave too hard and repellant an im- 
pression of the man, I cheerfully adopt the summary contained 



62 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

in the words of finother of his eulogists: " every part of his hfe 
was filled up with something to render his memory dear to his 
kindred, and honored b}' his countrj^" Though not great in 
intellect, he was respectable, and always adequate to the occa- 
sion. In person, he was tall and commanding ; in expression, 
grave and impressive. 

It was charged by the political opponents of Mr. Williams, 
that he neglected to resign his judgeship at the end of the con- 
stitutional term. When he did retire, the following paragraph 
appeared in an Albany paper : " Judge Nathan Williams, hav- 
ing at length arrived at the age of sixt}', has resigned his ofhce 
of Circuit Judge." A few months before his death, he removed 
to Geneva, upon receiving the appointment of clerk of the 
Supreme Court. His death occurred September 25, 1835. His 
remains were brought to Utica for interment. 

Judge Williams was twice married, and the father of a large 
family. His first wife, to whom he was married in 1800, and 
who died in 1807, was Mar}^ Skinner, of Williamstown ; his 
second, Maria Watson, an adopted daughter of her uncle, James 
Watson, of New York, to whom he was married in 1809, sur- 
vived him many years, and died in 1851. 

Of his numerous family who have occupied honored posts 
in the church, at the bar, and in various walks of business, 
the most are now deceased. They were as follows : Thomas 
Skinner, Henry Hunt, Edward Temj^leton, Nathan Thompson, 
James Watson, Mary Eliza (Mrs. David Wager), John Douglass, 
Hobart, Brown How, Sarah Watson (Mrs. Theo. Dimon), Helen 
(Mrs. Kathern). The three daughters, John D. and Rev. Hobart 
Williams alone survive. 

The second lawyer wlio falls within our list, and the first per- 
son we shall enumerate as among the actual arrivals of the year 
1797, is Erastus Clark, who, like his predecessor, has left an im- 
perishable name on the history of Utica. To them both, we 
mav, in comparison with those who have followed them in the 
same calling, award a high meed of })i'aise. 

Erastus Clark was the son of Dr. John Clark, and was born 
in Lebanon, Connecticut, on the lltli of May, 1763. His mater- 
nal grandmother was a sister of the illustrious Jonathan Edwards. 
At an early age he entered Dartmouth College, and after gi'adu- 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 63 

ation, applied himself with diligence to the study of the law, 
and was admitted to the bar. 

In the year 1791 he removed to Clinton, and having gained 
admission to the courts of this State, commenced the practice of 
the law. His learning, his industry, and, above all, his character 
for probity, gradually raised him to a highl}^ respectaljle rank in 
his profession. In the year 1 797, he changed his residence to Old 
Fort Schuyler. "Here he filled various offices of public trust, 
with strict fidelity and disinterested zeal, and with independent 
firmness." Ejected as a village trustee at the first election held 
under the charter of 1805, he continued many years to fill that 
once honored post, and was also among the earlier local presidents. 
In 1817, when a new and enlarged charter was accorded the 
village, again was he called to guide in its administration. In 
the meantime he had twice represented this district in the State 
Assembly. Associated with Alexander Hamilton, Egbert Ben- 
son, Jonas Piatt, Thomas R Grold, and others, he was named a 
trustee in the original charter of Hamilton College. And jet, 
so long as he lived, few of his profession were more diligent at 
the courts, or more relied on for the wisdom and soundness of 
their legal counsel. For although he was not endowed with 
the fascination of popular eloquence, in the learning of the law 
he was unsurpassed. 

The following estimate of the character of Mr. Clark by Judge 
Jonas Piatt, who had long enjoyed his friendship, I make no 
apology for reproducing in full : 

For originality and decision of character, his name was j^ro- 
verbial. An enlightened conscience was his habitual guide ; and 
if from precipitancy or irritation his head sometimes erred, there 
was a redeeming principle in his heart which reclaimed and reg- 
ulated his erring judgment and passions with magnetic influence. 
His frankness was sometimes ill-timed and excessive. What 
others thought he spoke, and this naked and unreserved habit of 
mind and expression frequently gave ofi:ence when he was not 
conscious of it, and sometimes betrayed apparent vanity. But 
of no other man can it be more truly said that those who knew' 
him best, esteemed him most. His liberal charity and his gen- 
erous spirit in promoting benevolent objects and public institu- 
tions were ever leading and consj^icuous, while no man was less 
indulgent to his own appetites, or more self-denying in his pleas- 
ures and personal gratifications. His habit of living was simple, 
plain and frugal ; and yet his house was the abode of cheerful, 
cordial and familiar hospitality. In the more intimate and ten- 



64 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

der relations of domestic life, the virtues of this excellent man 
shone with peculiar lustre. His religious character was free 
from ostentation, but uniform, consistent, sincere and ardent. 

To the foregoing, from one who signs himself, "A friend to 
whom he was closer than a brother," I would add the following 
terse synopsis from the pen of our late fellow citizen, James 
Watson Williams. It is contained in a historical address, deliv- 
ei-ed on the oceasi(m of the reopening of the Utica Academy. 
He says of Mr. Clark : '' He was a man of strongly-marked 
character, of noted integrity, and of shrewd, sharp sense; of 
fine classical attainments, which he kept up fresh to the close of 
his life ; of thorough historical knowledge, and a wonderfu 
memory ; sparing of w^ords, but not of point or })itli ; a man to 
the purpose, but somewhat cynical ; not quite bland enough to 
be popular, but esteemed for his independence and force of 
mind." Judge Ambrose Spencer said of him, that he was the 
only man he ever knew who could split a hair and show tlie 
parts. 

Mr. Clark's reputation for keen wit and shai-p repartee is still 
fresh, and has caused his sayings to be more frequently reported 
than those of any other of his brilliant contemporaries of the 
Oneida County Bar. When asked, on one occasion, how he 
would make a Dutchman out of a Yankee, his ready answer 
was, "Break his jaw and knock his brains out." To the ques- 
tion how, then, he w^ould make a Yankee out of a Dutchman, 
he retorted, " Can't do it, sir ; ain't stock enough !" Judge Yates, 
of Albany, and Erastus Root, of Delaware, (who was noted for 
his excessive drinking,) had been placed on the democratic ticket 
for Governor and Lieutenant Governoi'. Mr. Clark's opinion of 
the nomination having been asked, he respcjnded, " Excellent 1 
Albany sturgeon needs brandy to wash it down." When Judge 
Morris S. Miller became a convert to a new party, he congratu- 
lated himself before Clark on the conversion of another: "I 
have made a bucktailthis morning ;" to w^hich the latter replied : 
'■^Fcicilis descensus Averni, sed revocare gradum.^^ For the benefit 
of those who may not have studied Virgil, I give a translation 
by the late Judge Ezekiel Bacon, which api)eared in the papers 

of that day : 

" Easy to fall to Pluto's gloomy den, 
But a hard scrabble to get back again." 



OLD FOET SCHUYLER. 65 

Mr. Clark resided for many years on the west side of Genesee 
street, nearly opposite the mouth of Catherine. Subsequently, 
when this site became valuable for business purposes, he built 
and occupied a house on Seneca street, where Mrs. Greenman's 
house now is, and a little later removed to the one that had been 
built by George Macomber, and where Mr. C.'s son now lives. 
He died November 7, 1825. His first wife, who died in 1810^ 
was Sophia Porter, of Lebanon, Connecticut. She was intelli- 
gent, dignified, charitable, and conscientious. After her mar- 
riage, she learned to learn the Greek Testament with ease, merely 
from religious motives, and was otherwise notable for her 
piety. It was chiefly through her zealous exertions that the 
Female Missionary Society was instituted in the year 1806. 
July 1, 1812, Mr. Clark married Sophia, '^daughter of Eoyal 
Flint, of Hartford, Connecticut. She was a lady of extreme 
gentleness and sweetness of disposition combined with much 
strength of character, and unusual culture. Her children were 
Sophia (Mrs. John S. Walton, of New Orleans), Elizabeth and 
Erastus, all of whom are living, and James, who died in infancy. 

But we have yet another lawyer of the present year to chron- 
icle. This is Francis A. Bloodgood, who was admitted as an 
attorney of the Supreme Court, August 5th, 1790, but whose 
debiit before a Fort Schuyler audience, was made on the anni- 
versary of our nation's independence, 1797. His address was 
delivered in a grove in the rear of the shingle-sided house here- 
tofore mentioned, and on whose site was erected, the following 
year. The Hotel, as it was called, par eminence. Mr. Bloodgood 
was a native of Albany, and a graduate of Union College. 
What headway he made in the practice of his profession, we 
are unable to declare; but two years later he was appointed 
county clerk, and herein he found what was almost his life-work ; 
at least, during nearly the whole period of his residence, did he 
hold, by successive reappointments, this remunerative and re- 
sponsible station. He was an upright man, of scholarly tastes 
and considerable culture, with the courteous refinement of a 
gentleman. His political feelings were strong, and his influence, 
both by means of his pen and by personal efforts, was consider- 
able. Neither was he by any means indifferent to all that re- 
lated to the interests of the town. He was a village trustee in 



66 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

1805, and on tlie organization of the Bank of Utica, became 
one of its trustees. In 1810, as Senator, he represented the 
district at Albany, where he was a zealous follower of De Witt 
Clinton. He resided on Whitesboro street, within a short dis- 
tance eastward from the office over which he presided. Of me- 
dium height and rather slight of figure, he was a little lame, 
and carried always a heavy gold-headed cane. His features 
were intellectual and handsome. His wife was Louisa Dakin, 
sister of the wife of James S. Kip, and of the wife of his own 
brother, Lynott. She was a little over-nice as a housekeeper, 
but his household was a well-ordered and attractive one. 

Mr. Bloodgood died in Ithaca, whither he removed about 1823. 
His son, Simeon De Witt, graduated at Union College, studied 
law, and settled in Albany. He acquired some reputation as a 
man of letters. His daughter Elizabeth was one of the five 
founders of the Utica Sunday school. Besides these he had 
other children. 

As notable a person as any we have yet mentioned, conspic- 
uous alike for his past eminent service to the country as for 
high social position, and influence and example in the village 
lie chose for his later residence, was Col. Walker. Colonel 
Benjamin Walker, was born in 1753, in England, and it is be- 
lieved in the city of London, and was a pupil in his youth of 
the Blue Coat School. He did not receive a brilliant but a 
solid education, though having afterward passed some time in 
France, he became a master of the French language. At an 
early age he entered the service of a respectable mercantile 
house in London, under whose patronage he came, while yet a 
youth, to this country, and resided with an eminent merchant 
in New York. He was still in the service of this gentleman 
when the Revolutionary war commenced. At the beginning 
•of the contest he entered warmly 'into the cause of American 
independence. He was serving in the rank of captain in the 
Second regiment of New York when he was appointed to act 
as aid-de-camp to the Baron Steuben. It was at Valley Forge, 
on the 25th of April, 1778, that Steuben took him into his fam- 
ily as his first aid. In this situation he gained the warmest 
friendship and most intimate confidence of the Baron, and was 
ever after regarded by him with the affection of a son. Mr. 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 67 

Frederick Kapp, in his life of Steuben, informs us that Walker 
superintended all bis correspondence and writing from 1778 to 
1782. Steuben dictated to liim in French, and Walker wrote 
it out in English. Thus almost all the drafts of Steuben's 
reforms and plans are written in Walker's neat handwriting. 
He accompanied his General to all the inspections and reviews, 
acted as translator in case of need, and often extricated him 
from difficulties. There is an old anecdote, somewhat exagger- 
ated perhaps, which, while it pictures the utter despair of the 
inspector general in presence of his awkward, undisciplined 
soldiery, characterizes his dependence on Walker during the 
first year of his service in America. After having exhausted 
his rich store of German and French oaths, he is said to have 
called Walker to his assistance, vociferating, "Viens, Walker, 
mon ami, viens, mon bon ami, sacre, God dam de gaucheries of 
dese badauts, je ne puis plus, I can curse dem no more." But 
be this as it may, continues Mr. Kapp, we know that even in 
the most difficult matters Steuben relied chiefly on Walker's 
sound judgment, and that the success of Steuben's reforms is 
in a great measure due to his able and indefatigable aid- de-camp. 
In the year 1781-2, Walker joined General Washington's suite, 
and acted as his aid to the close of the war. " He was one of 
the persons so strongly recommended to the patronage of Con- 
gress in the letter of Washington accompanjang his resignation ; 
and was for many years honored with an epistolary correspond- 
ence with that great man." "After the conclusion of peace 
he was at first secretary to the Governor of New York, but soon 
after established himself " in the wholesale hardware and com- 
mission business in company with Major Benjamin Ledyard. 
He was also naval officer of the port of New York, and con- 
tinued to hold the place until 1797. In the latter year when 
he was appointed agent of the Earl of Bath's great estate, a 
landed property lying chiefly in Madison county, he removed 
to Old Fort Schuyler, where he resided the remainder of his 
life. The management of this estate as well as the care of the 
lands devised to liim by Baron Steuben, and which were situ- 
ated chiefly in the northern part of this county, occupied much 
of his attention. He was in 1800, chosen to represent this dis- 
tricfin Congress, but could never afterward be prevailed upon 
to enter on the duties of public life. But although he dechned 



68 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

the public services of his country, he was by no means inatten- 
tive to the welfare of his fellow citizens. 

Among those who took part in the organization and erection 
of Trinity Church, he was perhaps the foremost. The Bleecker 
family had promised the donation of a site to the first church 
of any kind that should be erected in this place. Lady Bath, 
of England, had also pledged the gift of several hundred acres 
of her land in Madison county to the first church of an Episco- 
palian character that should be built in this part of the State. 
Not only was it through the agency of Col. Walker that this 
latter gift was realized, but his name also heads the list of indi- 
vidual subscriptions made for tlie church, and, in association 
with Nathan Williams and William Inman, he was appointed 
on the building committee. 

He built for himself the mansion on Broad street, now occu- 
pied b}' Abraham E. Culver, which then had a large farm 
attached. His house was the seat of refined and elegant hos})i- 
talit}^, and he a model gentleman. " He gave much of his time 
to the society of his friends, to whom his gay good sense, his 
unassuming manners, his open, generous temper, his independ- 
ent spirit, and his extensive acquaintance with the world, ren- 
dered him a most enlivening and instructive companion." For 
those days his style was considerable : he kept three slaves, 
employed several men on his garden and grounds, had a good 
deal of plate, and was the first inhabitant who owned a coach. 
Of Col. Walker it is said that " it was his peculiar delight to 
search out merit m distress, to cheer the poor man in despon- 
dency, to prove himself a father to the fatherless, and to restore 
hope and comfort to the breast of the widow. To these benev- 
olent purposes he appropriated a large share of his income ; 
and it is confidently believed that no individual in this part of 
the country distributed more in charity than he. And yet in 
all this there was no ostentation of beneficence." 

In person he was rather short and fleshy, having a decided 
English physiognomy, and an expression of benevolence coup- 
led with some degree of sternness. He had a fine voice, and 
when he presided at one time at a meeting of citizens called to 
express their disapprobation of Mr. Jefferson's embargo, he ad- 
dressed them in a loud tone, and with a curt, martial air, as he 
woidd have issued oixlers on the Held of battle. 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 69 

His death took place on tlie 13tli of January, 1818. His 
remains, which from that time had lain in the village burying 
ground, were, on the 17th of June, 1875, reinterred with pub- 
lic and befitting ceremonies, in Forest Hill Cemetery. His por- 
trait is preserved in the picture of Washington resigning his 
commission, painted by Trumbull for the Rotunda in the Capitol. 

Miss Robinson, his wife, who was from New York, and a 
sister of Capt. Thomas Robinson of the Navy, had died the 
year previous. With respect to his earlier acquaintance with 
her, the following anecdote is related by Peter S. Duponceau, 
another of Steuben's aids, who says he had it from Walker 
himself: While he was in the family of General Washing- 
ton, he asked the General's leave of absence for a few days 
to go and see this lady, to whom he had already been long 
engaged. The General told him that he could not at that time 
dispense with his services. Walker insisted, begged and en- 
treated, but all in vain. " If I don't go," said he, "she will die." 
"Oh, no," said Washington, " women do not die for such trifles." 
"But, General, what shall I do?" "What will you do? why, 
why write to her, to add another leaf to the book of sufferings." 
Baron Steuben, who had friendl}^ nicknames for his aids and 
sub-inspectors, used to call Colonel W. and his wife, '■'' le petit 
Walker eisa grande fenime.'" After her death, her sister-in-law, 
Mrs. Robinson, became the housekeeper, a son of her's being 
installed as secretary. Col. Walker had a niece and adopted 
daughter, who became the wife of Peter Bours, and a natural 
daughter, who at first married a French gentleman, the Marquis 
de Villehaut, who fled from France at the time of the great 
revolution in that country. He settled at Morris, in Otsego 
county, where he kept a store. She Was divorced from him, 
and after her father's death she visited Fi'ance, where she mar- 
ried Col. Combe, an officer of the first Napoleon. Upon the 
accession of Louis Phillippe to the throne of France, Colonel 
Combe returned to his native country, and was soon after dis- 
patched to Algiers, where he was killed at the head of his reg- 
iment. Mrs. Combe continued to reside in France until her 
death, June 5, 1850. 

The next to be chronicled is Bryan Johnson, widely known 
afterwards as one of the foremost merchants of Utica. He, too, 



70 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

was a native of England, and was born about the middle of the 
last century. His literary education was neglected, although 
he wrote a large, free and rather conspicuous hand, and was 
well grounded in the cardinal rules of arithmetic. In his early 
manhood he travelled over Europe, and thereby acquired a 
fund of practical information, w^as improved by contact with 
persons of cultivation, and gained some fluency in the German- 
language. During the period of our Revolutionary war, he 
was married and living in Gosport. Shortly after that event 
he removed to Loudon. A brother of his had lived some time- 
in this country, and was an enthusiast in all that related thereto. 
Influenced by his representations, Mr. Johnson was induced ta 
relinquish his trade in Loudon, and to embark for America. 
Leaving his family, then consisting of his wife and one son, ta 
remain until he should have secured for them a permanent 
home, he departed for Dublin, whence he sailed for New York. 
War at this time existed between France and England, and the 
ship had not been long at sea when it was captured by a French 
privateer. Some of the passengers were taken on board the 
latter, which sailed in quest of further captures. Others, among 
whom was Mr. Johnson, were left in the prize, which received 
a small crew of French ofi&cers, and was ordered to put into 
Brest A few days after the vessels had been thus parted, the 
passengers and the original crew took advantage of the French- 
men while they were at dinner, and, with knives and other 
impromptu weapons, overpowered them and headed the vessel 
toward New York. This port they safely reached without fur- 
ther misadventure. Proceeding to Albany, and thence up the 
Mohawk on his way to Canada, Mr. Johnson arrived at Old 
Fort Schuyler on the -ith of July, 171*7. He was so much 
pleased with the appearance of the place that he decided to 
remain here, and soon established himself in a small building 
on the Whitesboro road, near where is now Division street 

Ilis earliest advertisement acquaints the {)ublic that he will 
advance ready cash on all kinds of produce. He kept a good 
assortment of goods, which he sold at prices unusually low. His 
ambition, for some time, seems to have been directed more to 
the transaction of a large business than to make great gains. 
To attain his object he sought the reputation of selling goods 
cheaper than his village competitors, and to purchase country 



OLD FORT SCHUY£eR. 71 

produce at higher prices. His greatest competitors were, how- 
ever, outside the village. Messrs. Kane & Van Rensselaer, a 
highly respectable and rich firm, were established at Canajoharie, 
and were transacting a great business, extending far beyond 
this plaice. Their store at Canajoharie was near the Mohawk, 
and as their business kept declining, they would hail the boats 
passing down the river with wheat and potash, in order to as- 
certain to whom the freight belonged. The answer was, to 
Bryan Johnson of Old Fort Schuyler. And as boats re- 
turning up the river loaded with merchandise gave the same 
answer, when questioned as to the ownership of the goods, 
Messrs. Kane & Van Rensselaer resolved to go to the new em- 
porium and to share in the same trade. The rivalry thus pro- 
duced continued with unabated force after Messrs. Kane & Van 
Rensselaer had established themselves here, and as long as Mr. 
Johnson remained in business. 

In the meantime, however, there arrived from England the 
son of the latter, the late A. B. Johnson, who became an asso- 
ciate of his father. The following is their advertisement of 18021: 
" New universal cheap wholesale and retail store. B. Johnson 
takes this opportunity of informing the public that he has, in 
addition to his former store, opened the above, adjoining the 
printing office on the Genesee road, where he has received a 
large and fashionable assortment of dry goods, &c., &c. He 
continues paying, as usual, the highest prices in cash for sea- 
soned fars, flax seed, wheat, pot and pearl ashes." The son 
never participated in the rivalry so far as to disregard the great 
object of trade, the acquisition of property, and wielding a very 
considerable influence over his father — notwithstanding he was 
yet much under age — he succeeded in impressing him with his 
own views. The result was that more money was realized in 
the last few years of Mr. Johnson's business than in all the 
former. But in 1809, soon after the son had attained his ma- 
jority, and several years before his own death, he thought best 
to retire. He had now, for many ^^ears, maintained his posi- 
tion as a leading merchant, and by trade as well by some for- 
tunate purchases of real estate, had acquired a property rising- 
of $50,000. 

His earliest place of residence was over his store, which stood 
where is now the corner of Whitesboro and Division streets. In 



72 THdh'lONEERS OF UTICA. 

1800 he bought and reconstructed a house standing a httle further 
west on the opposite side of Whitesboro street, and which had 
attached a half acre of Land, and here he lived until his death. 
This house and lot, which cost him $1,200, his son sold in 1863 
for $5,000. Mr. Johnson was a man of superior judgment, of 
great activity of intellect, and profoundly versed in mankind. 
Thorough-going in his business, he was invariably truthful and 
trustworthy. Friendly with all, his social rank was high by 
reason of his agreeable qualities as a companion, and with his 
family his place was yet more endeared by his remarkable do 
mestic affection. A more devoted father scarce lived. Son 
and father were constantly together, and rarely seen abroad 
unless united. As they walked the streets, the father, a hale, 
vigorous and fresh old gentleman, with exuberant silvery locks, 
leaning on the arm of his slighter son, both dressed with ex- 
tremest care, and the former especially conspicuous by his short 
breeches and silk stockings — the costume of a then expiring 
generation — they presented a picture never to be forgotten b}- 
• one who had once beheld them. Twenty years before his death 
he placed his property at the disposal of his son by legal trans- 
fer, and made himself dependent for the means to live. U]) 
to the middle of life his temper was hasty and his manner 
sometimes gruflf, and thence arose the waggish soubriquet of 
'' Old Bear and Cub" by which they occasionally went. But 
during his latter years his temper was materially subdued. 
To compare him with the son who has so lately taken his de- 
parture, and who was so well known to all of this generation, I 
would say, that the father was more genial, more vivacious and 
more impulsive ; the son more equable, more self-reliant, and 
more cultured. 

At a joeriod wlien intemperance was the rule, Mr. Johnson's 
habits formed a striking exception, since he was abstemious in 
the extreme. He died, rather suddenly, April 12th, 1824, aged 
seventy-five. His wife survived him twenty years, and died at 
the age of eighty-five, yet coidd perform needle work hand- 
somely, and without spectacles, as long as she lived. Her name 
of Leah is still perpetuated in one of our populous streets. 

Major Benjamin Hinman was a native of Southbur}", Conn. 
He served several years, and with much credit, in the army of 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 73 

the Ee volution, as captain, commissary, wagon master, and aid 
to General Greene. He was one of the thirteen Hinmans who 
held commissions in that war from the town of Woodlniry. On 
one occasion, when the British threatened to attack the fort at 
Kome, he was sent thither, and was so much pleased with the 
character of the country through which he passed, that he de- 
termined, on the expiration of the war, to settle there. He came 
accordingly, about 1787, and purchased a tract of about two 
thousand acres, at Little Falls. There he married the daughter 
of John Keyser, who had furnished supplies to the army at 
Stone Arabia, and had distinguished himself during the war. 
This tract he soon exchanged with Lord Ellis, and took land at 
Grave's Hollow, near Trenton. He built a house, a saw mill, 
and a trip hammer, and stayed a short time. 

Li 1797 or '98, he removed to Fort Schuyler. After occupy- 
ing two or three different residences on this side of the river, 
and keeping a public house a few years across the bridge in 
Deerfield, he finally took up his residence in Main street, a few 
doors east of the square. He was principally occupied with 
his works at Grave's Hollow, all of which were destroyed by a 
thunderstorm attended with a devastating flood, whereby the 
buildings were consumed, and the dam washed away. While 
living in Deerfield, he superintended the construction of the 
dyke across the flats. The former road had been an ungraded 
and meandering one, following the course of the higher portions 
of land. He died while on a visit at Mount Pleasant, Pa., April 
7th, 1821, in his sixtj^-sixth year. "It is related of him, that 
he never drank a gill of spirituous liquor during his life." Mrs. 
Nancy Hinman, his widoAv, died at Rushville, LL, August 20th, 
1863, in her ninty-hfth year. His sons were John E., Benjamin, 
Jr., John Ja}', and William. His daughter (Annis), married 
Dr. Munroe, of Rushville, Illinois. 

Rev. John Hammond was a Baptist minister. He was born 
in England, about the year 1740, and came of pious ancestry^ 
his grandfather having been also a minister. As early as 1795 
he was pastor of the Baptist church in Schuyler, and in Septem- 
ber of that year, as the records show, he was sent as a delegate 
to the Otsego Association, which met at Springfield. 

In 1797 he was living in this place, his house being on the 
public square, a little below Bagg's tavern. While here he 



74 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

preached at Deerfield and elsewhere in this vicinity. At tliis 
time, he is said to have conducted a class on Sunday for instruc- 
tion m the Scriptures, and may, therefore, be regarded as a 
pioneer in the work of Sunday scliool teaching. He also labored 
occasionally among the Indians. He used himself to tell of a 
squaw, who was one of his converts, but whose knowledge of 
the English language was so extremely limited that, however 
much she might comprehend, she could speak little more than 
the words "January and February." These words she would 
shout on occasions of spiritual excitement with a degi'ee of 
heartiness that showed her fervor as plainly as if expressed in 
plainer terms. He continued to preach until toward eighty 
years of age, and a sermon delivered at Albany, elicited expres- 
sions of commendation in the public prints as the effort of so 
aged a minister. Just before his death, in 1819, he was one of 
seventeen persons, who, seceding from the First or Welsh Bap- 
tist, united in establishing the Second Baptist or Tabernacle 
Church. 

But Elder Hammond was not solely and exclusively devoted 
to ministerial labors. He was also a land surveyor, as were his 
tliree sons. Assisted by these sons, he surveyed the tract in 
the northern part of the State, purchased by John Brown, of 
Providence, and known as Brown's tract. His wife, about the 
year 1804, kept a school for children, near the lower end of Hotel 
street. His sons lived here during the greater part of their lives, 
and all were chiefly occupied in surveying. Many a conveyance 
of land in this and adjoining counties bases its description on the 
maps of Calvin, Worden and John D. Hammond. Competent 
authority bears testimony to the accuracy of their work. 

In the course of this year Captain George Macomber, con- 
ducts hither his eldest son, and leaves him to manage for him- 
self, while he goes back to Taunton, in Massachusetts, and after 
a year or more, comes again, bringing with him the remainder of 
his family. This family claim to be descendants of one of the his- 
toric company of the Mayflower, and still cherish as a sacred 
heir loom a ring that bears the name of Mary Standish. 

Captain George Macomber had previously followed the sea, 
but leaving this hazardous pursuit, now that he is past middle 
life and responsible for the settlement of a family of ten child- 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 75 

ren, he immigrates with them to the new countiy. As for him- 
self, it being too late to acquire a new profession, he spends the 
remainder of his days in gardening. His house and garden 
were on the lower end of Genesee street, a little below Post's. 
Here he died April 5, 1813, in his sixty-second year — his wife 
four days afterward. His sons were George, Levi, Stephen, Hor- 
ace, Calvin and David O. 

There came as assistant to Talcott Camp, a carpenter named 
Hiel Hollister, who presently returned to Connecticut, in order 
to bring his family. He built a house on "Whitesboro street, 
adjoining the one occupied by Abijah Thomas, and afterward 
by his brother, B. W. Thomas, This house he sold to the 
former about the year 1803, and went back to his native State. 
After the deed was signed, the parties were all day journeying 
to and from Whitesljoro, whither the^^ were obliged to go in 
order to have the deed acknowledged : from which we raaA^ jiidge 
of the character of tlie roads of this vicinity, as well as of the 
dependence of Utica upon Whitesboro at the period in question. 

Samuel Hooker was another carpenter who at this time took 
up his residence here. Originally from Barre, Mass., he had 
settled in Albany and was engaged in his chosen calling, wdien 
he was induced to come to Old Fort Schuyler to superintend 
the erection by the agents of the Holland Land Co., of a large 
brick hotel on Whitesboro street. His son Philip remained in 
Albany, and became emijient as an architect, having been era- 
ployed in the erection of St. Peter's and the Lutheran churches 
as well as the State Capitol. The remainder of Mr. Hooker's 
family removed with him, including his son John, who was 
also a carpenter and builder. These two were the only persons 
resident who were competent to project and carry on so impor- 
tant a structure as the Hotel. It was probably begun in 1797, 
and was finished near the close of the year 1799. A more 
jmrticular account of it will be given hereafter. In June, 1803, 
when a subscri]3tion had been started, looking toward the build- 
ing of Trinity Church, the Messrs. Hooker presented plans 
which w^ere accepted, and they were engaged to go on with the 
work until the money had been expended. Besides these and 
other more private undertakings, Mr. Hooker, was in 1808 
acting as agent for two Fire Insurance Companies. He was an 



76 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

unassuming, industrious and upright man. That he was much 
respected in his own church at least, may be inferred from the 
fact that for twenty-one years he was anually elected one of its 
officers, two-thirds of which time a Warden. His residence 
was at first on Whitesboro street near the corner of the present 
Division, and afterward on the site of the store of O. O'Neil, 
84 Genesee. He died October 19, 1832, at the age of eighty -six. 
His wife, (Rachel Hine) outlived him three years and was 
ninety-three at her death, having been totall}'- blind nearly 
twenty years. In her affliction she was a remarkable example 
of christian patience and resignation. 

John Hooker, son of the foregoing, after following some 
years his trade of carpenter and builder, went into the sale of 
lumber with Mr. Seth D wight. Their yard was on the upper 
part of tbe gore formed by the junction of Genesee and Hotel 
streets, about where Liberty now runs. They also engaged in 
an auction and commission business, and were for a time pros- 
perous, but failed in the end. Mr. Hooker's residence was op- 
posite Catherine, on the west side of Genesee. This house, in 
1815, he moved back to Hotel street, and erected on its site 
three brick stores, now standing, one of which (No. 102) he 
occupied at the time of his failure. 

His latter years were clouded by his reverse of fortune, and by 
occasional attacks of insanity. Practical, stirring and benevolent, 
he had so far the confidence of his fellow citizens as to be thrice 
elected as a village trustee. Possessed of considerable inge- 
nuity, lie invented several useful articles, among which is a 
window spring still in common use. Once, at least, he made 
his escape from the insane asylum in New York by adapting to 
the door-lock a spoon or some other utensil that he turned into 
a key. He died here July 31st, 1829, aged sixty. His wife 
Ann, daughter of Matthew Derbyshire, of Hartwick, Otsego 
county, to whom he was married in 1802, died three years be- 
fore him, August 17, 1826. Their children were William, lost 
at sea in 182-1 ; Rachel (Mrs. G. H. Starr, Pleasant Prairie, near 
Kenosha, Wis.) ; Sophia Ann (relict of Geo. D. Foot, of the 
.same place) ; Phillip J., of Camden, Nebraska. 

The remaining children of Samuel Hooker were as follows : 
James, a merchant here and a military man, wIk^ married a 
daughter of Silas Clark, and subsequently removed with his 
family to New York ; William, went early to New York, and 



OLD FORT SCHUYLER. 77 

became a hydrographer and engraver; Samuel R, a resident of 
various places, merchant here in 1815 ; Susan, widow when 
she came of Caspar Hewson, of Albany, became afterwards the 
second wife of Seth Dwight ; Sarah, married William Fellows, 
and after his death, Killian Winne. 

Seventy acres of lot No. 96 were, on the 2d of January, 1797, 
bought by Eichard Kimball from Jedediah Sanger, of New 
Hartford, who had himself bought of James S. Kip. This 
farm, which Mr. Kimball occupied until 1804, lay chiefly on 
the eastern side of Grenesee hill, but extended in part across to 
the western side nearly as far as the present Aiken street, where 
it bordered on the southern line of Judge Cooper's purchase. 
The farm house, which since Mr. Kimball's day has been the 
home of numerous successive tenants, stood nearly on the site 
of the sumptuous mansion of Irvin A. Williams. At present 
it stands on the street which in after years was named in allu- 
sion to the early owner of the territory it traverses, though in 
allusion merely, since contempt for a name so wanting in hon- 
orable belongings as Kimball has changed it to Kemble. This 
owner, having sold his farm, went back to Connecticut. 

And now I have brought forward all the men of Old Fort 
Schuyler of whom I am at all assured that they were residents. 
And yet there is one, who, though his home was outside the 
limits, was seen daily within them, and whose service was so 
useful that he cannot in justice be omitted. This is James 
Fhisky who lived next above the ford on the high bank at 
the north side of the river. He brought fish into market, 
served sometimes as a cooper, and still more as cartman, be- 
sides acting as ferryman when the river was too much swol- 
len for fording. By way of opposition, his domicil was known 
as Fort Flusky. 

The occurrences of years that immediately succeed reveal 
additional names, which it may be, should of right, here be re 
corded. Not to trust to conjecture where positive knowledge 
is wanting, I pass them by for the present. 

We have arrived at the spring of 1798, — a period, which, to 
their successors, is an entirely arbitrary one, yet which to the in- 
habitants of our settlement, was the beginning of a new epoch. 



78 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

They had begun to realize the need of a more formal civil 
organization, and moreover, aspired to have their place recog- 
nized by a name tliat should be both more distinctive and more 
easy to speak than the accidental one it had thus far borne. 
As a curious illustration of the nature of fame, the originator 
of the name of Utica cannot be admitted as past all doubt. 
The common report goes, that the inhabitants were assembled 
in the public room of Bagg's tavern, and the question was 
raised of a designation for their soon-to-be-incor})orated village. 
A number of names were pro})osed. Some of those present 
were in favor of retaining the present one ; one individualliked 
Indian names, and wished that the village should take the 
patron3an.ic of the noble Oneida chief, Scenandoa ; another pre- 
ferred a more national hero, and would have it called Washing- 
ton ; another, who was in search of briefness, would call it Kent, 
a euphonious term, and full of pleasing memories to the descend- 
ant of English ancestry. This latter had strong advocates, but 
was defeated by the ridicule of a citizen, of whom we now hear 
for the first time, but of whom I can pick up nothing more, ex- 
cept that his name was Little, and that he afterward went and 
drowned himself. 

Finding agreement by other means impossiljle, it was resolved 
to decide the name l^y lot. Each person present deposited in a 
hat, the name of his preference, written on a slip of paper, and 
of these there were thirteen. The name first drawn was to be 
the accepted one. And so the lot fell u])on the heathen name 
of Utica, the choice of that eminent classical scholar, Erastus 
Clark. 

In due time, came from tlie State Legislature, the act of incor- 
poration, already applied for. This act, passed April 3d, 1798, 
defined the boundaries of the village, and gave the citizens the 
right of self-government under five freeholders, dulj^ elected as 
trustees, and who were invested with tlie powci's usually granted 
to small incorporated vilkiges. And yet these powers were quite 
restricted, amounting to little more than protection against 
nuisances on the highways, and the jirevention and extinction 
of fires, fn its title the village is named by the name it had 
previously borne, in the body of the act it is named only by its 
new one. 

And thus was Old Fort Schuyler merged into Utica ! 



CHAPTER 11. 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 



Not the settlement of Old Fort Schuyler alone dropped at 
this time the name which had previously attached to it, the ter- 
ritory in which it was located received likewise a new christening 
in the spring of 1798. The former county of Montgomery had 
already, by successive acts of the Legislature, been curtailed of 
its vast dimensions, and the counties of Chemung, Ontario, 
Tioga, Otsego, Herkimer and Onondaga had been, one after 
another, erected. Whitestown, at the date in question, was still 
a part of Herkimer count}^, though diminished in size by the 
setting off of several independent towns. But by an act, passed 
March 15th, 1798, Herkimer was itself divided, and the additional 
counties of Chenango and Oneida were formed. Whitestown 
now fell to the belongings of Oneida, and Utica was but an in- 
considerable, though incorporated village, in this still extensive 
township. The inner life of the hamlet let us continue to follow. 

Of the first seven years of its corporate life all records are 
lost ; they were burned in the fire which, on the 7th of De- 
cember 1848, consumed the council chamber and the most of 
its contents. A like fate has befallen the early town records of 
Whitestown. The times of adoption of a few streets of Utica, 
which were copied from the latter before their destruction, are the 
sole items saved. The newspapers of that date are quite bar- 
ren of news merely local ; engrossed with foreign concerns, 
their editors gave little heed to events that hkppened directly 
around them, still less did they think to cater for those who at 
this day might study their sheets to seek out the past. Thus 
of village affairs our ignorance is nearly complete, and we 
know scarce one of the names of those who then were in rule. 
From a manuscript saved we gather that Francis A. Bloodgood 
was Treasurer in 1800 and 1801, and Talcott Camp in 1802. 
We know also from subsequent minutes that at the first free- 
holders meeting held under the charter of 1805 the Trustees 
were present. But who the Trustees were and what had been 



80 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

their official acts, has perished forever. On the occasion of the 
fire which burned the store of Messrs. Post and Hamlin in Feb- 
ruary, 1804, a card was issued by the Trustees of the village, 
in which they present " their warm thanks to the Fire Com- 
pany, and to the citizens and strangers in general, for their eager 
exertions in saving the property of the sufferers, and in extin- 
guishing the flames." So far as we know this card is the only 
evidence left us that as a corporate body the Trustees ever 
existed, and the thanks accorded the firemen the only proof 
that their powers had once been in exercise, as they would seem 
to have been in organizing the company. For associate enter- 
prise the time was much too new, and institutions, commercial, 
manufacturing or benevolent, awaited a more established order 
of things. 

Dismissing, then, the expectation of obtaining any light from 
records, written or printed, upon this infantile portion of the 
civic life of Utica, we must go on as we have begun with the 
narrative of the component parts of the population, and be con- 
tent to infer the tenor of the public acts from the character of 
the actors. To notice in full every member, of whatever de- 
gree of standing and importance, would be manifestl}^ useless 
and irksome, even were the data at hand to elaborate the task. 
Their names and occupations must serve as the whole story of 
many. Yet as the smaller the household the more potent the 
influence of each of its inmates, historic interest requires that 
we devote a certain space to some who, in larger communities, 
would fail of a notice, and that we develop them the more in 
proportion to their nearness in time to the origin of the settle- 
ment Moreover, as no register, either written or printed, of 
the constituent people of Utica before tlie year 1817, has ever 
existed, it is not wholly idle to gather up and preserve as many 
names even as can now be unearthed. 

It so happens, besides, that the period of the first charter 
covers the advent of many whose healthful influence was felt 
throughout the entire village history, who, like some already 
sketched, were men of nerve, fortitude and energy, honest in 
principle and in conduct, wise and diligent in their own behalf, 
yet zealous for the interests of the place of their adoption. 
These, for their private worth and their public deeds, should 
be held in peqjetual honor. And though of the period in 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 81 

question there is little of the heroic to relate, though it may 
have been "a day of small things," its actors were steadily lay- 
ing the foundation of a greater future, were forming for them- 
selves and their village a reputation for thrift, enterprise and 
virtue which their descendants glory to inherit, and were pre- 
paring to become partakers in most of those local and general 
undertakings that have given prosperity to town and county. 

While thus following out the career of individuals, I shall 
turn aside, as occasion ma}^ present, to view the aggregate and 
its surroundings as these may have presented themseKes to 
foreign eyes, and are recorded in the traveller's note book. 
Notices of public affairs and institutions will be interwoven with 
those of the persons who were the principal participants therein. 

Resuming, then, where we left it, our account of individual 
citizens, I find that during the year 1798 the following, in addi- 
tion to those before mentioned as men of Old Fort Schuyler, 
made their home in the newly incorporated village. For aught 
we know to the contrary, they may have lived here before its 
incorporation ; indeed, from the nature of their callings, their 
presence would seem to have been indispensable. 

Jonathan Evans, a mason, lived near the present residence of 
John Thorn, and at one time, though this was at a somewhat 
later period, he kept the tavern which once stood on that site, 
known formerly as the Globe, and afterward as Pegg's. He was 
an honest man and a careful and good workman, and laid the 
brick for several of the stores on Genesee street, below the canal. 
In 1812 he advertises the sale of rights in an improved pump. 
This was a force pump of his invention. One of these pumps 
he engaged to put up at Salt Point, which, it is said, worked 
well ; but, because the maker, in breach of his patent, for its 
valve substituted a ball as a clapper, payment was refused and 
a law suit ensued, whereby Evans was ruined. He moved then 
to Westmoreland. 

Another brick-layer was Enoch Cheney, and he acted as stone 
mason, plasterer, and dauber of whitewash. He was thought to 
be rather feeble of intellect, but this was accounted for, as he 
was stunned at one time by lightning while plastering a house. 

Barnard Coon was a cooper, and followed Nathan Williams 
as a drummer boy to Sacketts Harbor. On his return he lived 



82 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

in the fii-st house erected by Major BelHnger before he put up 
his tavern. He was introduced to Governor Tompkins, when 
the Governor was a guest at this tavern, as " de man dat makes . 
de major's dubs and baiTels, and a tam goot democrat." After 
hving manv years in the place and rearing a family, Coon moved 
to Whitesboro, and there, in 1822, he died. 

The painter and glazier of the time was Charles Easton, Jr., 
and he continued in the business for thirty-five years at least, 
though it was conducted throughout on a limited scale. He 
was a^ood natured man, quite moderate of capacity and scanted 
in his education. One of his sons, who lived afterward in New 
York, was, if not the founder, at least a very eai-ly and fortunate 
adept in the trade in yankee notions. 

A tailor named Thomas Davis is remembered by the older 
inhabitants as preaching at times. He did not stay long. 
Somewhere in Lewis county he was turned out of church, when 
a meeting was held of indignant townsmen and the offender 
replaced. He came back to Utiea in 1818 and opened anew, 
opposite the Ontario Bank; in 1821 he turned auctioneer, but 
the next year was again at his trade. His brother Sylvanus, 
also here, soon settled near Graefenljerg. 

Another tailor, named William S. Warner, left the place in 
November. John Watley, barber, was gone before 1804 ; and 
Jemmy Howdle, gardener, and a stalwart son- of Erin, lived here 
much longer. 

Turning from these, who perchance were earlier residents, to 
the fresh comers of the newly named village, the first we notice 
is Thomas Skinner, a student of law. He was the son of 
Thompson Skinner, of Williamstown, Mass., where he was born 
in the year 1778. A graduate of Williams College in the year 
1797, we find him the next year prosecuting his studies, and 
boarding at the house of Talcott Camp, on Whitesboro street, in 
company with his prec^cptor and former fellow-townsman, (at Wil- 
liamstown.) Nathan Williams. It was not long before they were 
partners in practice, and were still further united by the marriage 
of the latter to Mary, the sister o^ Mr. Ski nner. Far short of Mr. 
Williams in force, learning or legal acumen, he sui-passed him 
in fluency and grace as a speaker. He had a line imagination, 
and a classical taste improved by the choicest reading. Possess- 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 83 

ing skill also as a writer, he became one of tlie principal contrib- 
utors to the Columbian Gazette. In 1807 he was the attorney of 
the village, and somewhat later, held similar relations to the 
Utica Bank. For some years he acted as treasurer of the Pres- 
byterian church, and was also a village trustee. His oratorical 
repute, and his skill as an advocate, secured him at one time a 
nomination to Congress, but he was beaten by that much abler 
man, Thomas R Gold. Unfortunately, Mr. Skinner was infirm 
of resolution, became addicted to habits of intemperance, and 
lost his business and his property. Aside from this infirmity, 
Avhich caused his partial retirement from active life, and dark- 
ened his declining years, he was a man of pure morals and ami- 
able disposition, nor did he ever relinquish the studies that had 
given culture and elevation to his character. To the last he 
panctuall}^ attended the meetings of the trustees of the Utica 
Academy, of w4hch he liad been a member thirty-five years, 
and whose orator he was at the first annual exhibition. But, 
in the language of a later orator of this same institution, — " by 
the prime of life, though still an interesting talker, and a shrewd 
observer, he was a discomfited man, and rusted away like an 
unused weapon, despite the excellence of his quality." 

His earlier residence was on Whitesboro street, near the Bank 
of Utica. He likewise lived many years on Broadway just 
above Whitesboro street, and afterward at No. 82 Broad street. 
Here his excellent wife, by making her house a most desirable 
home for a few aspirants of the law and others, procured for 
them a livelihood which the profits of a justiceship held by her 
husband scarcely afforded. This wife, who was Fanny Smith, 
of Litchfield, Conn., was a lady of uncommon intelligence, 
benevolence, cheerfulness, and courage. She died Dec. 3d, 
1844, aged sixty-four. Mr. Skinner survived her three years 
and a half, and died June 19th, 1848. They had no children. 

The year 1798 is signalized as that in which was established 
the first newspaper of Utica. This was the Whitesix)wn Gazette, 
which its publisher, Wm. McLean, had first set up at New 
Hartford in 1794. Four years later he removed it here, chang- 
ing its name to the Whitestoum Gazette and Catos Patrol^ the 
addition having reference to the younger Cato, who was the 
defender of ancient Utica. Mr. McLean was a native of Hart- 
ford, Conn., where he was born Dec. 2d, 1774, and could not 



84 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

have been long f)Ut of his apj)renticcslii|i wlicn he started liis 
paper. He was assiduous in his devotion to business, until the 
year 1803, when he sold out to two of his apprentices, Messrs^ 
Seward and Williams, and moved back to New Hartford. In. 
that place, and in the village of Cazenovia, he was for many 
years a tavern keeper. But in 1818 he removed to Cherry Val- 
ley, where he started the Cherry Valley Gazetfe, a paper that is 
still puljlished, and until recently Ijy his son Charles. He acted 
also as })ostmaster of that place. Mr. McLean died there March 
12th. 1848, where he had " enjoyed to an unusual degree the 
good will and esteem of the community."' 

His first wife was Susan Williams, by Avhom he had Albert, 
born in Utica, 1798, and who died about 1872, Adaline, born in 
1802, who still resides here, Thos. Dana, who died in 1833, and 
one daughter, who died in infancy. Mr. McLean afterwards 
married Louisa Andrews and had six children, of whom five 
were hving in 1871. 

Under date of November 22, 1798, John C. Hoyt " begs to- 
inform the public" (through the columns of the Wldtedown 
Gazette^) "that he has commenced business as a toyfor, at the 
shop formei'ly occupied by William S. Warner, opposite Bagg's 
inn, Utica, where he hopes to give satisfaction to all who may 
favor him with their commands," His shop was on the south 
west corner of the Genesee and Whitesboro roads. That he 
did give satisfaction is to be inferred from the fact that he stuck 
faithfully to his business, nearly on the spot where he began, for 
upwards of twenty years, during which he was the foremost 
man thcn-ein, that he married and reared a family, acquired prop- 
erty, and, what is more, acquired the respect and confidence of 
his fellow townsmen. He was twice a trustee of the village, 
and was likewise a trustee of the Presbyterian Church, and 
was an upright and benevolent man. His native place was 
Danbury, Coim. Mr. Hoyt, died in August 1820, aged forty- 
four. His wife was Sarah Hicks, sister of the wife of John 
House before mentioned. His children were Franklin C, Eliz- 
abeth (Mi-s. Sylvanus Holmes), Sarah Ann (Mrs. E. M. Gilbert), 
Adaline, (Mrs. Roundey, of Bound Brook, N. J.) 

Elisha Burchard, brother of Gurdon Ijefore noticed, was another 
who arrived in 1798, bringing with him a 3'oung family. He 
was a farmer, and lived near what is now the corner of Court 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 85 

and Schuyler, a little west of Claudius Woolcot, that portion 
of Court street being then on the line of the only road to 
Whitesboro. He was prominent as a fireman, and was for 
some years foreman of the fire company. His four sons were 
Peleg, Jedediah, Jabez and Elisha. The former, after being- 
clerk for John C. Devereux and others, went into business in 
Jefferson count}^ He was for many years clerk of that county, 
and a man of standing and influence. Jedediah, at first a clerk 
for the Messrs. Bloodgood, became subsequently the noted 
revival preacher. Of the daughters, Jerusha and Eunice, the 
latter is living in Jefferson county, whither the family all 
removed. The mother was a somewhat eccentric woman, w^ith 
many redeeming qualities. Elisha Burchard died in March, 1811. 

The appearance of the place at the period in question, we 
have a picture of from the pen of an intelligent and trustworthy 
traveller. In the year 1798, Rev. Timothy Dwight, D. D., 
President of Yale College, made a tour through this portion of 
the State, and in the published volumes of his travels, wherein 
he has condensed the results of this and a somewhat later jour- 
ney, he thus discoui'ses of Utica : " TJtica, wdien we passed 
through it, was a pretty village containing fifty houses. It is 
built on the spot where«Fort Schuyler formerly stood. Its site 
is the declivity of the hill wliich bounds the valley of the 
Mohawk; and here slopes easily and elegantly to the river. 
The houses stand almost all on a single street parallel to the 
river. Generally those which were built before our arrival 
w^ere small, not being intended for permanent habitations. The 
settlers were almost wholly traders and mechanics ; and it was 
said that their business had already become considerable. Their 
expectations of future prosperity were raised to the highest 
pitch ; and not a doubt was entertained that this village would 
at no great distance of time become the emporium of all the 
commerce carried on between the ocean and a vast interior. 
These apprehensions, though partially well founded, appeared 
to me extravagant. Commerce is often capricious, and demands 
of her votaries a degree of wisdom, moderation and integrity, 
to fix her residence and secure her favors, which is much more 
frequently seen in old, than in new establishments. 

" We found the people of Utica laboring, and in a fair way to 
labor a long time, under one very serious disadvantage. The 



86 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA, 

lands on which they live are chiefly owned by persons who 
reside at a distance, and who refuse to sell or to rent them 
except on terms wdiich are exorbitant. The stories which 
we heard concerning this subject it was difficult to believe, even 
when told by persons of the best reputation. A company of gen- 
tlemen from Holland, who haye purchased lai-ge tracts of land in 
this State and Pennsjdvania, and who are known b}^ the name 
of tlie Holland Land Company, have built here a large brick 
house to serve as an inn. The people of Utica are united 
with those of Whitesboro in their parochial concerns." 

With reference to the sanguine and seemingly fallacious 
expectations of the settlers, and to the obstacle which in the 
opinion of this author hindered the I'apid growth of their place,. 
I add a single sentence from the recorded notes of an early res- 
ident. He says : " The inhabitants always entertained a very 
hopeful opinion of their village, and real estate was in more 
request and at higher prices than in the surrounding villages. 
This was much induced by the witholding from sale of the 
Bleecker estate, which covered a large part of Utica." 

A noteworthy fact mentioned by Dr. Dwight is the existence 
of a large brick house then recently erected for an inn. The 
magnitude of the structure for the time and place, the expec- 
tations of its owners, and the fact that it remains to day almost 
the only landmark of Utica as it was eighty years ago, will 
justify us in devoting a few paragraphs to its histor}^ 

On the second of November 1795, the agents of the Holland 
Land Co., bought of Thomas and Augustus Corey, two hun- 
dred acres of Great Lot No. 95, which purchase, or a part of 
it, was commonly known afterwards as the Hotel lot. Within 
two years the company proceeded to erect upon it a large brick 
hotel, which was not only the first brick house in the village, 
but the first of its size in the county and prolnibly in the State 
west of Albany. Indeed it may be scarcely an exaggeration 
to say there was not its like any where between the Hud- 
son and the Pacific Ocean. The site selected was near the 
shingle-sided farm house of the Coreys on Whitesboro street, 
and was probably as swamp}' a spot as any in the village, a ver- 
itable flag pond. It is related that the workmen, while excav- 
ating for a foundation, lost a crowbar by leaving it during their 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 87 

absence at dinner, standing on the spot where they had been 
dig-ging. According to one story, not merely this tool, but the 
corner stone itself, which the gentlemen of the Company in the 
mornino- laid with due form and ceremony, had in the afternoon 
disappeared from mortal ken. The contract for the erection of 
the building was made with Samuel Hooker, and John his son. 
As we have seen they were carpenters and architects of Albany 
who, being invited to undertake the job, came here and made 
the place their subsequent home. The bricks were made by 
Heli Foot of Deerfield, but who was the mason that superin- 
tended the laying of them we are unable to say. After suffi- 
cient earth had been removed, there w^ere laid, as foundations 
for the superincumbent stone and brick, hemlock logs placed 
lengthwise along the sides and ends. It is well known that in 
soils like that of New Orleans, or the marshy city of Amster- 
dam, some such anchorage for buildings is required, though not 
often necessitated here. But that tlie practice was a customary 
one with the Hooker family may bejnferred from the proced- 
ure of Philip Hooker, the architect of St. Peter s in Albany,, 
who laid down planks to support the weight of that structure. 
And if the. Cathedral of Antwerp was based, as it is said to 
have been, on nothing more durable than a layer of hides, and 
the church of Albany on one of planks, why should not a less 
pretentious editice be secured on a layer of hemlock logs? 
Perishable as it seems, it served well for a while, but in pro- 
cess of time these timbers settled considerably. Fortunately 
this settling was uniform, so that while it diminished the height 
of the building, it did no material injury to the walls or the 
flooring. The thorough repairs made upon it from time to time, 
and more especially by its late owner, William Baker, and the 
measures he took to improve its substructure, have, it is hoped, 
insured it a goodly future. When completed it was a square, 
three storied structure, with a four-sided roof. It contained 
besides the usual public rooms and numerous lodging apart- 
ments of a house of this nature, a large ball room in the second 
story of the west end, and a room which was soon occupied by 
the Masonic Lodge. It was an immense edifice for the time 
and place, and loomed above all the story and a half wooden 
houses of the village like a palace among hovels. Upon its 
front was displayed in chiselled letters which no subsequent 



oo THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

repamtings have been able to wholly obliterate: Hotel. Its 
chief purpose was, of course, to entertain travellers. For this 
the four other inns of the place might seem, perhaps, in view 
of the smallness of the settlement, and the comparative scanti- 
ness of the neighboring population, ampl}^ sufficient. But when 
it is remembered that Utica formed a resting place on the only 
line of transit to the west, and when we consider the flood rtf 
emigration that was now setting thitherward, we may realize 
the need of houses of entertainment for the numerous travel- 
lers who daily passed. 

Ten years before, in July, 1788, Messrs. Phelps and Gorham 
bought from the State of Massachusetts, the title to the Genesee 
countrj', so called, containing more than a million of acres, now 
included in several counties, and began to offer these lands foi- 
sale. Within two years, as w^e learn from the census of 1790, 
there were already settled upon them a population of u]jwards 
of one thousand; and this amount w^as annually augmenting. 
The Military Tract, southw^est from Utica, and the Holland 
Land Company's Purchase, lying beyond that of Phelps and 
Gorham, were, soon after, likewise thrown upon the market, and 
like it were being speedily peopled. The rapidity, in fact, with 
w^hich Western New York w^as now filling up is without a par- 
allel in the history of new settlements. Another evidence of 
the tide of emigration that was now flowing tow^ard this w^estern 
El Dorado may be seen in the following, culled from the "An- 
nals of Albany" : In the winter of 1795, twelve hundred sleighs, 
loa^led with furniture and with men, women and children, passed 
through Albany in three days, and five hundred were counted 
between sunrise and sunset of February 28th of that year. All 
of them were moving westward. We are not then surprised to 
leai-n that, in the experience of the small taverns of Utica, it 
was by no means uncommon to have not only all the beds of 
the bouse, but the floors also crow^ded with guests, and are 
ready to believe that a hotel of large dimensions was a thing (»f 
necessity. But the Holland Land Company had another object 
in view. They were owners of extensive tracts of land north 
and also southwest of Utica, and still broader ones at the west, 
and it is to be presumed they were desirous of a house where 
they could detain some of these many emigrants and more easil}^ 
tempt them to a pui'chase and a settlement. 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 89 

The precise era when work w^as begun upon the hotel cannot 
be accurately determined, though it was probably in 1797. A 
new comer of that year, who was then a boy, remembered the 
piles of brick and lumber that were lying in readiness, and re 
lated also an accident that occurred during the erection. By 
the fall of a scaffold three men were thrown to the ground, and 
one of them was killed. The narrator attended the funeral of 
this hod-carrier, who was buried on the land of Mr. Alverson 
in West LTtica, near what is now Wiley street, this being an 
early burial place. 

But if there is a doubt as to the time of commencement of the 
work, there is none as to the date of its completion and occu- 
pancy as a hotel. On the second of December, 1799, it was 
formally opened by its iirst landlord, Philip J. Schwartze. He 
was a fat Dutchman, who had previously been in the employ o£ 
the company, and, as steward or cook, had accompanied Mr. 
John Linklaen, one of their agents, in his expedition made in 
] 793, to effect a settlement at Cazenovia. For a short time pre- 
vious to the date now under consideration, he had occuj)ied the 
shingle sided house of the Coreys, where he boarded the work- 
men employed on the building. Mr. Schwartze informs the 
public that " the hotel in the village of Utica is now open for 
the reception of such ladies and gentlemen as choose to honor 
the proprietor with their patronage.'' 

About three weeks later the opening was celebrated by a ball, 
which, as appears from the card of invitation, was to be the first 
of a series of such entertainments given at the hotel, though not 
under the auspices of its keeper. The following is a copy of 
one of these cards now lying before me : 



''TVhiteftoivii Dancing AJfemhly. i 

% X HE HONOR OF 'S COMPANY IS REQUESTED, AT Q^ 

(J) THE Hotel Assembly Room in Utica, for the Season. \ 

J B. Walker, W. G. Tracy, ^ |f, 

$J. S. Kip, C. Platt, > Alanagers. ^ 

)^ A. Breese, N. Williams, ) 

Dec. 2oth, 1799. 



% 




90 THE nONEEKS OF UTICA. 

These managei'S, if it will be observed, were prominent citi- 
zens of Utica and Wliitesl)oro, tliree from eacb place. Though 
not otherwise connected with the Holhmd Land Company than 
as personal friends of its agents, their assembly was in harmony 
with so august an event as the opening of a great hotel, having 
a room large enough to accommodate, and to invite to social 
enjoyment, the leading inhabitants of the county. That such 
were gathered on the occasion may well be inferred from the 
later and better known experience of the house, wherein many 
a gay and joyous gathering has been held, as well as from the 
character of the managers, and the high social standing they 
maintained throughout the neighborhood. 

Not long after the inauguration of the hotel, probably in the 
year following, a street was opened southward from it, and in- 
tersecting the Genesee road at the upper part of the village. 
This it was hoped would divert the travel from the west, and 
bring it directly to the doors of the comj^any. Naturally it 
took the name of Hotel street. 

The proprietorship of Mr. Schwartze was of short continu- 
ance, for within a year he was succeeded by Mr. Hobart Ford, 
a gentlemanly man from Norwich in Connecticut, and was him- 
self soon after installed in the House tavern, on the corner of 
Grenesee and Main. The stay of Mr. Ford would seem to have 
been as brief as that of his predecessor, since he died on the first 
of December, 1801. The subsequent history of the house will 
be resumed when we come to speak of its later landlords. 

Returning once more to the Joui-nal of Dr. Dwight, we observe 
that he speaks of the people of Utica as united with those of 
Whitesboro in their pai'ochial concerns. Up to the year 1801, 
the only existing (and continuous) religious society was that 
w^hich had been organized at Whitesboro in 1793 under the 
title of The United Society of Whitestown and Old Fort 
Schuyler ; and over this there was settled on the twenty - 
first of August, 1794, the Rev. Bethuel Dodd. One-third of 
the services were to be bestowed at Utica, and two-thirds at 
Whitesl)oro, and tlie salary of the minister was to be raised in 
rateable proportion from the two parts of his parish. After a 
few months the connection seemed to be dissolved ; the preaching 
at Utica was discontinued, because there was no place in which 



THE FIRST CHARTER OP UTICA. 91 

public worship could be attended. In '1797 this obstacle was 
removed by the enlargement of a scliool-house on Main street- 
And to this building for a period of several years repaired all 
the church-going inhabitants of Utica of whatever denomina- 
tional persuasion. Up to the 3'ear 1800 there were not above 
four members of the church who resided in the place, but as 
this number increased, Mr. Dodd preached here more frequently, 
and before his death, in 1804, onedialf of the time. On days 
when his duty called him elsewhere, the congregation were as- 
sembled to listen to the reading of a sermon by Talcott Camp, 
Hiel Hollister, Solomon P. Goodrich, or others. Nathan Wil- 
liams, with becoming taste and propriety, conducted the sing- 
ing, and was assisted in the bass by the stentorian lungs of 
Richard Kimball. Rev. Bethuel Dodd was a native of Bloom- 
field, N. J., and was born in 1767. He was graduated at Queens? 
now Rutgers, College in 1792, and then devoted himself to the 
study of theology. Licensed the following year by the Pres- 
bytery of New York and New Jersey, he followed the tide of 
emigration to the " Whitestown country," where his preaching 
being received with favor, he was called to assist in forming the 
first Presbyterian church that was established in Oneida county, 
those of Clinton and New Hartford being Congregational. Re- 
turning eastward, he married Sarah, daughter of Dr. Pierson, of 
Orange, N. J., and then came to Whitesboro to enter upon his 
duties. With Jonas Piatt and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Dodd began 
house-keeping in a log house, but ere long erected a large house 
which is still standing. He continued in charge of the united 
societies during the remainder of his short but useful career, and 
died April 12th, 180'!. He is represented as an amiable, judi- 
cious, systematic and intelligent man, of pleasing appearance 
and polite manners, and eminentl}^ pious and devoted in his 
calling. Dr. Dwight, who knew him personally, and heard him 
preach at Whitesboro, says " he was a very worthy and excellent 
person, who left behind him a name which is as the odor of 
sweet incense." From one who was but a child during his pas- 
torate we learn that for a few months Mr. Dodd held at Utica? 
during the intermission between the morning and afternoon ser- 
vices, a meeting for the children. Requiring of them lessons 
from the New England Primer, and especially the catechism, he 
commented and taught them thereupon. 



92 



THE PIOXEEKS OF UTICA. 



The old school house, once the sanctuary of the fathers of 
Utica, and the seat of learning for their sons, as well as the or- 
dinary place of assembly for secular as well as sacred purposes, 
still exists, now degraded to a shed. This lingering memento 
of the past stands on the south side of Main street about mid- 
way between First and Second streets. AVheeled around from 
Its former position it now stands endwise toward the street. 
Then its longer side was parallel thereto, and its entrance was 
on the northwest corner. The desk or pulpit was at the eastern 
extremity, and was a ])lain slab or shelf. The seats were in 
part actual slabs of rough boards, without backs, and resting on 
legs inserted in auger holes ; though some were a little more 
finished. The room was imperfectly warmed by a box stove, 
the counterpart of the one which stood in the store of Mr. Post. 
The teacher who presided on week days over the village school 
ensconced himself in a seat at the left of the entrance. As a 
place of worship the building was used until the completion of 
Trinity Church, in 1806, when, for a brief period, the two con- 
gregations alternately worshipped in the latter edifice. As a 
school house, and for town meetings, it held out a little longer, 
but after its stove and lamp had been sold at auction in 1808, 
its usefulness, we may presume, had departed. 

But there was another religious society that worslii]~)]ied for a 
time in the old school house. Not quite so early as the society 
just noticed, it dates its origin from the year 1798, the very 
period we now contemplate. This was Trinit}^, whose history 
has latel}' been shown in the very full and interesting discouivses 
of its rector, Eev. S. H. Coxe. D. J). Its actual beginning he 
gives us in the words of its founder, Eev. Philander Cliase, after- 
wards Bishop of Illinois. In 1798, Mr. Chase was occupied in 
missionary labors in this State, and while thus engaged arrived 
at Utica. " This now flourishing cit}^ was then," he says, " but 
a small hamlet. The stumps of the forest trees were yet stand- 
ing thick and sturdy in the streets, if streets they may be termed, 
where scarcely two of them were fenced out Even Colonel 
Walker's house, for some time the best in the place, was not 
then built. That worthy christian gentleman received the 
writer in a small tenement which he then occupied, and it was 
by his encouragement that the writer succeeded in organizing a 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 93 

parish, according to the act of tlie Legislature passed two or 
three winters before. The parish was named ' The Rector, 
Wardens and Vestrymen of Trinity Church, Utica.' " Mr. Chase 
having thus formed the few Episcopalians of the place into a 
society, persuaded them to meet together every Sabbath and 
read the prayers of the church and sermons. This, the church 
record assures us, was for some time done. "But the people 
of other persuasions increasing fast, and having engaged the 
Presbyterian minister of Whitesboro to attend regularly, the 
meeting of the Episcopalians was discontinued." And thus the 
society would appear to have slumbered until the year 1803, 
when a reorganization was effected, and measures were taken to 
erect a church building of their own. 

The settlement, as we have learned from Dr. Dwight, was 
mainly confined to a single street. This was known as Main 
street, the western end being called the " Whitesboro road." A 
few settlers were located on the lower end of the " Genesee road," 
and a few- were scattered about in the vicinity. Manuscript 
maps of this date show two or three additional streets, bat as 
yet unoccupied and without a name. The principal difference, 
as respects its course, between the Main street of that day and 
the present one is this, that instead of ending where is now the 
intersection of Bridge and Third streets, it was continued south- 
easterly until it reached the line of the present Broad street, 
where descending into the gulf formed by Ballou's creek, and 
crossing the creek at the site of the basin bridge, it turned east- 
ward along the path of Broad street, which at this end is its 
true successor. The westward course of the road to Whitesboro 
was, after leaving Potter's, along the lines of the present Varick 
and Court streets. The public square formed at the intersec- 
tion of the Genesee and Whitesboro roads, and now known as 
Bagg's square, was then more deserving of the name of square 
ihan in recent times, since its western side instead of diverg- 
ing from the eastern one as it now does, ran up from the 
river nearly parallel with it, until it reached a point a little 
short of the northern line of Main, when it curved west-ward 
in a quarter circle towards the Whitesboro street corner. Thus 
its shape, in place of being triangular as at present, approxi- 
mated to that of an oblong whose greatest length was east and 



94 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

west, and having an arm extending from its eastern end toward 
the river. 



1799. 

Of the 3'ear 1799 the folhjwing are to he reckoned additional 
residents, though it is impossible to assign a date for their 
coming : 

Nathaniel Butler was at this time an inmate in the family of 
Ezekiel Clark and in this year he married Miss Tafft, a sister 
of Mrs. Clark. He was a watchmaker and established him- 
self on the southwest corner of Genesee and Whitesboro streets, 
his shop being on either side of Mr. Hoyt, who occupied the 
actual corner. Thence he removed within a few years to the 
corner of Genesee and Broad. His earliest partner was John 
Osborn, but after their dissolution, in 1807, he remained alone 
some years and then connected himself with Cliarles J. J 
BeBerard. Neither of these latter partners was al^le to speak 
without a stutter, and a story like the following was currentl}^ 
reported of them. A stranger dropped in at the store one day and 
asked directions to some place he was in search of. The watch- 
maker soon became confused, and referred the apphcant to his 
partner. The latter made no better work than the former, and 
after struggling to reply, at length burst out with vehemence : 
"go along — you'll get there, before I can tell yoiu'' 

In 1815 Mr. Butler gave up his watchmaking and became a 
merchant in company with Truman Smith. But goods fell in 
value after the war, othei's undersold him and his trade died 
out. He had laid the foundation of a fine property, having in 
addition to his store at the lower end of Genesee street, become 
possessed of quite a tract above Bleecker. Tliis reached from 
the corner of Charlotte and Bleecker along the latter to Genesee, 
as fai' up Genesee as the Bradish block, and thence through to 
Cliarli)tte. Here he had his residence, which was a two story 
wooden house fronting on Genesee, but standing back from the 
street and with considerable open ground about it. But Mr. 
Butler could not bear the thought of being in debt, and to 
relieve his embarrassment, he sold all his property at a low 
figure, and removed to Madison county, and thence to Mexico 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 95 

in Oswego county. Here he pnrcliased fourteen or fifteen acres, 
of wliicli lie retained only a corner lot and disposed of tlie 
remainder, too earl}/-, however, to realize any thing from the 
sul)sequent rise of the propert3\ In 1803 he was made a Trus- 
tee of the Presbyterian Church, and continued throughout his 
residence in Utica to be recognized as a prominent member and 
officer of that society, and was moreover greatly respected for 
his uprightness and his consistent religious character. When 
on a visit to the city after he had ceased to live here, a friend 
was conversing with him of the changes that had taken place 
since the time of his residence. In view of the greatly increased 
value of the property that had once been his, the friend re- 
marked that he might have been better off had he remained 
all this time asleep. To this Mr. Butler replied in his stumb- 
ling way, but with a pathos that was touching to one who knew 
his history, that "he thought he might have been better off — 
had he remained asleep all his life." His children were George, 
who was interested in the stage business between Mexico and 
Oswego, and failed. Eawson, merchant in Mexico ; Maria, an 
invalid, who died young ; and Mary Ann. 

A Scotch merchant named John Smith, who during the Eev- 
olutionary war had been living in New Brunswick, came here 
some time afterward and commenced business. The first of 
his advertisements that we have seen, is dated December 1799, 
and in this he announces a fresh assortment of goods. In 1802 
he removed to the Ked Store next above Kane & Van Eensse- 
laer, that is to say, about the site of the lower corner of Broad 
and Genesee. Before the end of the year his store is occupied 
by another, though Mr. Smith remained some time longer. 
But on the prospect of a war with England, he returned to 
Canada. He was a man of much intelligence and integrity. 
He had a son Eobert, who was his clerk, and a daughter, Han- 
nah, who married Thomas Wentworth of St. John's, and some 
years later was living with her husband near where Fayette 
opens into Genesee. 

Pharez Barnard, a machinist by trade, a man of good abilities 
and well informed, erected a house nearly opposite the present 
Lunatic Asylum, where he made fanning mills. He was gone 



96 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

before 1S16. and died at Pulaski, Tenn., Nov. 9. 1819. His 
sons were John and David, the former a merchant here in 1816, 
and the latter a Baptist minister, and the author of "Light on 
Masonry." 

Sjdvanus P. Dj^gert, gunsmith, early moved down the Mo- 
hawk; Evan Owens, butcher and tallow chandler, was a short 
time in })artnership with John Roberts, a much longer resident ; 
Asa Sprague, carpenter and Avheel-right, lived here many years, 
and has grandchildren still in Utica ; Preserved Hickox was a 
mover of buildings, &c., and David Brebner a journeyman baker. 

John Bissell arrived in the village in July 1799, and soon 
opened a store on the corner of Genesee and Whitesboro. In 
December he offers cash for shipping and hatting furs. The 
following year he has "just received an assortment of dry goods 
and groceries, which will be sold low for cash or flax seed. 
Cash paid for wheat, pot and pearl ashes, and all kinds of hat- 
ting and shipping furs." His brother, Heman Bissell, a hatter, 
was at this time established in manufacturing hats, in a little 
shop on the north side of Whitesboro, near the present corner 
of Seneca. It was for his use, doubtless, that the hatting furs 
were in request. The latter removed to Water ville. In 1802, 
John Bissell, as we learn from his annonncement, "has estab- 
lished business in the town of Bridge water, "and two years later 
he dissolved partnership with Henry Ward of New Hartford, 
and is again settled in Utica, his place of business being oppo- 
site Watts Sherman. He remained until 1812, but having 
failed the year previous, he removed to New York. 

He was a stirring business man, although not always success- 
ful, and stood well in ])ublic estimation. It is said that while 
on the limits at Whitesboro, where debtors were then restricted 
of their liberties, he once trespassed two or three feet beyond 
his allotted bounds, in order to avoid a snow bank that lay in 
his path. For this his bail was obliged to pay, and was ruined 
in consequence. 

His wife was the daughter of a clergyman living in the vicin- 
ity of Litchfield, Conn,, and there Mr. Bissell died. Two of 
his sons were baptized in Trinity Church, John and Edward. 
One of them became a lawyer in New Yoi'k cit3\ 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 



97 



1800. 

The year 1800 furnislies the first tax hst of the popnhxtion 
of Utica that is now extant. Merely as a hst of inhabitants it 
is of interest, and more especially, as the names follow pretty 
nearly in the order of residence, beginning at the eastern limits 
of the settlement and proceeding along Main street and the 
northern side of Whitesboro as far as Potter's, thence back on 
the southern side, and a little way up Genesee. The extreme 
smallness of amount of the tax, when compared with the course 
of modern taxation, would lead one to question whether it com- 
prises the whole levy of the year, or whether it is not rather 
some special assessment. -It is entitled, however, "Utica Village 
Tax List for 1800," and is as follows : 



Silas Clark, 

J. D. Petrie, .... 

Matthew Hubbell, . 

Beujamiu Walker, Esq., . 1 

J. Bockiug, 

Peter Smith, Esq., 

Benjamin Ballon. 

James S. Kip, Esq., 

Widow Dawson (Murphy,) 

Samuel Carriugton, . . 1 

Sylvauus P. Dygert, . 

Samuel Forman, 

Clark, 

John Curtiss, 

John Hobby, . . .1 

Benjamin Ballou, Jr., 

Jere. Cowden, 

Richard Smith, . . 1 

Joseph Ballou, 

0.& J. Ballou, . 

John House, . . . 1 

John Post, ... 2 

Daniel Badlong, . . . 1 

William Pritchard, . 

Nichols, Bagg's house, 

James Bagg, 

Moses Bagg, . . . 1 

Worden Hammond, 

John Smith, 

Bryan Johnson, . . 1 

Administrator of Dan"l Banks, 

Clark & Follows, 

Remsen, 
Proprietors of Hotel, . 1 



cu. 
50 
25 
25 
00 
25 
75 



25 

121:^ 

371? 

37^ 

37 lo 

131.? 

371;-^ 

25" 

12i.< 

75" 

87i.< 

00 

00 

25 

123:^ 

75 " 

1232' 

00 

50 

873^ 

00 

621.^ 

871? 

50 " 

00 



Nathan Williams, 
Barnabas Brooks, 
J. Bissell, 
John Bellinger, 
John C. Hoyt, 
Samuel Rugg, . 
Barnabas Coon, 
John Cooper, 
Jeptha Buell 
Stephen Potter, 
Ramsey & Co., 
Gurdou Burchard, 
Francis Bloodgood, 
William Halsey, 
Nathaniel Butler, 
William Williams, 
Peter Cavender, 
Jan Garrett, 
Jonathan Foot, 
Simon Jones, 
Joseph Peirce, 
G. Boon's house 
Apollos Cooper, 
John Watley, 
Gurdon Burchard, 
William McLean, 
Jas. P. Dorchester 
Samuel Hooker, 
Watts Sherman, . 
Erastus Clark, 
Charles Easton, |. 
Van Sykes, 



D0II3. Cts. 

75 
50 
25 

62M 
50 
25 
■ 1-^M 

25 

25 
. 1 25 

75 
. 1 00- 
1 00 

. 1 12K 
75 
50 
25 
25 

12K 

25 

25 

25 

25 

25 

75 

50 

mi 

50 
50 

37M 
12M 



$40 00 



A few names, as will be observed, occur on this list that have 
not before been met with. Two or three are the names of non- 
residents ; some are of parties who made but a brief stay ; and 



98 THE PIOXEEES OF UTICA. 

of some we can get no trace. Clark doubtless represents 

Ezekiel Clark, already mentioned. Remsen is Simeon Rem- 

sen, a tailor, near the hotel, wliose house was advertised for sale 
in 1802, and who is not rememljered bj settlers of two years later, 
for he had gone to Cazenovia. Simon Jones should be Simon 
Johns, who lived many years in Marcy, and whose daughter, 
(Mrs. Llewellyn Howell,) is still in LTtica. Peter Cavender (or 
Cavana) also moved to Marcy, where his son, a prosperous 
farmer, still resides. Samuel Rugg, a jeweler, has likewise, as 
a Utican, but a brief history, not remaining over four or five 
years longer, and in September, 1806, having a shop in the vil- 
lao^eof Hamilton, with "lots for sale in the centre of the town." 
The longest resident of any of them was William Williams, a 
Welshman, wlio occupied for many years the house still stand- 
ino; on the south-east corner of Whitesboro and Hotel, where 
he manufactured tallow candles. An industrious and quiet man 
in general, he was made very indignant when in the course 
of the war of 1812-15, a rifle company was quartered in the 
hotel opposite him, and wanted them driven out by force of 
cannon. He died in 1824. One of his daughters, who was 
considered quite handsome, married Dr. James Douglass, and 
went to Quebec. After her death, the doctor sent for another 
of the family, educated and married hei'. A third married 
Elisha Lee. There was a son, Henry, and a daughter married 
in Detroit. 

A more noticeable person in one particulai- than any of the 
preceding was John Curtiss, the baker. He weighed from two 
hundred and eighty to three hundred pounds, and was remark- 
able for his great strength. It is related of him that on one 
occasion when a carman asked more than he was willing to pay 
for the transpoi'tation of two barrels of flour to his bakery, he 
raised a barrel endwise to each hip and carried them safely h(jme. 
At another time, when a man was about to transfer a barrel of 
beer from his cart to a cellar, and had set up a board at the tail 
of the cart in order to roll it to the ground, Curtiss being at 
hand, and j)erha])s asked to assist, grasped the barrel by the 
chimes and did not halt until he had deposited it on the floor of 
the cellai-. He was an Englishman and had once lived on the 
estate of Elwes the miser, but left him because Elwes insisted 
on liis taking charge of some of his sick hounds. Here he lived 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 99 

for tlie most part in the neighborhood of Division street, at one 
time at its upper end and at another at its lower, though in 
1805 he occupied a tavern stand on the Deerlield side of the 
river with several acres of meadow. He died December, 1819. 

A few other persons not included in the preceding list should 
likewise be here enumerated, since we have proofs that they 
had already obtained a residence. That their names were not 
on the list may be due to their recent arrival, or to their lack as 
yet of worldl}' goods subject to taxation. 

A carpenter and joiner of this date was a Welshman named 
John Adams. He li^-ed here some dozen years, and found con- 
siderable work to do, having been the builder, among other 
houses, of the row of brick ones on the west side of Washington, 
below Liberty street, where, in 1810, he had a lumber yard, 
and of a st(n-e which replaced the House tavern on the lower 
j^art of Genesee street. 

His partner, William Francis, lived much longer in Iltica, 
and has left descendants still resident. He was the son of Eich- 
ard Francis, who had been a midshipman in the British navy, 
and sailed to this countrv in the expedition of Sir Peter Parker. 
Obtaining afterwards a two years' leave of absence, he travelled 
in the United States, and in 1798 came here to settle. He fixed 
himself on Frankfort Hill, and was a surveyor and justice of 
the peace. His son William, after the end of his connection 
with Adams, formed a second one with John Reed, and was a 
carpenter and builder, or a sash-maker, until his death, in 1845. 
He was one of the original trustees of the Utica Savings Bank, 
and was otherwise a trusted and respected citizen. In 1803 he 
married Eleanor James and became the father of a large familj^, 
of whom the late John J. Francis was one. 

Another carpenter who may be set down as of this date, 
though not yet out of his apprenticeship, was Abraham Culver. 
He came from the same place as William Halsey, before men- 
tioned ; with him he learned his trade, and from 1800, at least, 
was working under his direction. He became afterwards, and 
continued for many years, a leading builder of the place, exe- 
cuting man}' important works. His brother, John, was, after 
the year 1806, for many years associated with him. Not less 
as a man than as a workman Mr. Culver was esteemed. Quiet 
and retiring in manners, he could be trusted for his integrity 



100 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

and his sense. He lived on Whitesboro street, next west of. 
Burcliard. of which row of buildings he was the fabricator and 
the owner. His shop, at first, in the rear, was afterwards on 
Water street, nearly 0}>pGsite. His grave but amiable counte- 
nance and his one sided progression many present residents must 
remember. He died January Gth, 1852, aged seventy-three. His 
first wife, Ruth Ellis, and the mother of his son Abraham E., now 
resident, died June 1st, 1814, in her twenty-fourth year. His 
second wife died April 19th, 1839, aged fifty-eight. 

Yet another man of this era who dealt in lumber was a for- 
eigner who had been bred to a wholly different pursuit. This 
was Moses Marshall, once chaplain to some German prince. He 
was sufficiently educated to translate from a German Bible aloud 
to his congregation, into English, or with an English Bible to 
read off good German. He preached occasionally in Deerfield,, 
receiving a dollar a day for his services. He also taught 
a Sunday school there somewhere between 1801 and 1806. 
But though a minister in practice, he was not, it would appear, 
above betting, or even an oath ; for it is reported that he boasted 
once that "he bet |50 that he would be dominie at Stone Arabia," 
and said he, "By Gott, I beat." Another story goes that he 
was called at one time to Deerfield to baptize a ch'ing child, 
when others were brought in for the same purpose, and although 
his price was fifty cents, 3'et, in consideration of the numbers, 
he did it at three shilHngs a head. Besides his lumber deal- 
ings, Dominie Marshall kept a toy store aboat on the site of the 
store of James Sayre's Sons, which property he sold to Chas. C. 
Brodhead. On removing from here he bought land in Steuben 
county, where his son became afterward a man of standing. 

William Smith, commonly known as " nailer Smith," manu- 
factured wrought nails on the edge of Nail creek, where is now 
the south side of Varick street. Purchasing the iron in the vil- 
lage, he carried it home on his back, and returned laden with 
the product ; but it was probably not his factory as it certainly 
was not the dog nail factory of Joseph Masseth in after years 
that gave the name to this creek. It bore the name before 
either of them. Settlers of 1794 and 1797 tell us that it came 
from the circumstance of a wagon loaded with nails having 
been overturned in the creek and the nails spilled out during 
the war of the Revolution, (if not in the French war.) It was 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 101 

known to tlie Germans as Nagel (Nail) creek. However, it 
should be added that there is reason to believe that Smith was 
himself a resident early in the nineties. He occupied a leased 
farm of toward a hundred acres adjoining Potter and Alverson, 
of which a large part was at this time under cultivation. About 
1810 he removed to Scipio in Cayuga county, and from 
thence to Scipio in Ohio, where on his death a large landed 
property was divided among several descendants. 

John Koberts was a butcher and tallow chandler, long located 
on the lower end of Genesee street, west side, and afterward on 
Division street. At first in company with Evan Owens, he sep- 
arated from him in 1805, and continued his craft alone, being 
also inspector of beef and pork. An upright man he was held 
in mueli credit as well for his character as for the meats he fur- 
nished. His son is now president of a bank in Detroit, and 
( thers of his family living in the same neighborhood are pros- 
perous. 

Another Welshman named John Nicholas, and among the 
most intelligent of his countrymen, took a part the following 
j^ear in the organization of the Welsh Baptist Church, though 
his residence was in Frankfort rather than in Utica, being in the 
the neighborhood of Welshbush. He died about 1810, and his 
widow a few years after married Watkin Powell. For some cause 
a dispute arose between him and Dr. Coventry and hard words 
were exchanged between them. Soon after Nicholas met Col. 
Walker, wdio said to him, '' I understand that you and Dr 
Coventry have had some hard words between you.'" "Some- 
thing of the kind has happened,"' said Nicholas. " Wh}^," said 
the Colonel, " you ought to have remembered that the doctor is 
a Scotchman.'" "Yes, sir," replied Nicholas, "and he ought to 
have remembered that I am a Welshman." 

Windsor Stone, a shoemaker, was better known as the father 
of two stalwart sons than for any thing that respected himself 
alone. These, Luther and Windsor by name, were twins, weigh- 
ing some two hundred pounds apiece, and so much alike as to 
be distinguished with difficulty. As boatmen, rather coarse in 
stamp and given to gambling, tliev were Victorious up and down 
the Mohawk. 

There remain two or three more of whom it must suffice to 
sav that Jacob Blackden was the colored fiddler, and an import- 



102 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

ant personage on occasion of festivities, and that Jcnimy Bnrns 
was a store porter, rather addicted to tlie cnj). 

Before proceeding to treat of the new-comers of the year, let 
us pause to consider the brief notes of another traveller, and to 
add a few words by way of comment and elucidation. This 
was an Englishman, named John Maude, whose " visit to the 
Falls of Niagara in 1800" was published at Wakefield and Lon- 
don in 1826. And this is what his journal contains under date 
of Thursday, July 3d, 1800 : " Utica, (Fort Schuyler) ninety- 
six miles. Schwartz's hotel ; excellent house and miserably 
kept ; built by Boon & Linklaen, (agents for the Holland Land 
Company,) the proprietors of a considerable number of the ad- 
joining building lots. Those east of these are the property of 
the Bleecker family, on which the principarpart of the present 
town is built, — built, too, on short leases of fourteen years, after 
which the houses become the property of the owners of the soil, 
to the certain loss and proljable ruin of the present residents. 
Utica is in the township of Whitestown, and contains about 
sixty houses. No genteel family, save Col. Walkers, and he 
resides at a small distance east oi the village. The great Gen- 
esee road turns off at this place. An act has lately passed for 
making it a turnpike road to Genesee and Canandaigua, a dis- 
tance of one hundred miles and upwards ; the expense is esti- 
mated at $1,000 per mile ; the road to be four rods in width. 
The inhabitants of Utica subscribed to finish the first mile ; they 
formed twenty shares of fifty dollars each ; these shares they 
afterwards sold to Col. Walker and Mr. Post for forty-four cents 
the dollar, who have finished the first mile ; thirty miles it is 
expected will be finished before the winter sets in. Bridge here 
over the Mohawk ; the river narrow, clear and shallow ; no fish ; 
seven boats at the w^harf ; heai'd a bull frog ; groves of sugar 
maple, a tree very common here." Friday, Jul}'' 4th, Mr. 
Maude, " mounted his horse, passed Inman's at noon, and 
arrived at Whitesboro, 100 miles." 

With reference to the great Genesee road here spoken of by 
Mr. Maude, and whose construction was so important, not to 
Utica alone, but to the whole western country, a few additional 
/ facts may be subjoined. -^As earlv as 1790 a road along the 
course of the Great ^J"'rail liad been opened by Wm. and Jas. 
Wadswoi'th on their way to the Genesee country, where they 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 103 

planted a colony. The State afterward, in the year 1794, 
appointed three commissioners to lay out a road from Utica, by 
Cayuga ferry and Canandaigua, to the Genesee river at Avon, 
and in this and the following year made appropriations for its 
construction. Though laid out, it seems not to have been con- 
structed at this time, for in June, 1797, Col. Williamson, of 
Ontario, represents the road from Old Fort Schuyler to the 
Genesee as little better than an Indian trail. In this latter year 
a law was passed by the State authorizing the raising of $45,000 
by lotteries, which was to be expended in improving various 
roads in the State, of which sum $13,900 was to go toward the 
betterment of the Genesee road in all its extent. The improve- 
ments now made uj)on it were such that on the 30tli day of 
September, 1797, a stage started from Old Fort Schuyler and 
arrived at Geneva in the afternoon of the third day. The ex- 
tension of this thoroughfare to the most westerly county of the 
State, and the unexampled passage of a stage in three days a dis- 
tance of nearly one hundred miles, sixty of which had been the 
same season in their original state, were to the dwellers along 
the western terminus just causes of gratulation. This road was 
as yet a simple highway of earth ; and through swamps and in 
low places the crossing was made over layers of logs, such cause- 
ways occurring even within the limits of the village. There 
was therefore great need of still further improvement; and in 
the year 1800 the Seneca Turnpike Company was chartered to 
effect it. The capital stock was to be $110,000 in shares of 
fifty dollars eacli. Jedediah Sanger, of New Hartford, and 
Benj. Walker, of Utica, were associated with Messrs. Chas. Wil- 
liamson and Israel Chapin, of Ontario, as commissioners. Ac- 
cording to our traveller, one mile of the road was finished in 
July, 1800. A citizen, who rode over it in April following as 
far as New Hartford, tells us that he met squads of men at work 
along the way, and that this portion of it was then a good pass- 
able road. 

The thoroughfare leading eastward from the settlement would 
seem to have been at this time in no greater forwardness than 
the western one, if we may infer the truth from an advertise- 
ment of the Mohawk Turnpike and Bridge Company that ap- 
peared in tlie village paper, bearing date Oct. 21st, 1800. The 
company therein solicits pi'oposals until the first of January fol- 



104 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

lowing for the building of a bridge across the Mohawk at Schen- 
ectada, and also for completing ten miles of turnpike road, or 
any ])art of the said ten miles, beginning at the bridge at the 
village of Uticaand running easterly, as well as for completing 
other portions of the road towards its eastern end. As the re- 
sult of the efforts of this company a beneficial change was 
effected. The portion of the road lying between Utica and Deer- 
field was straightened, it having before been a devious way that 
meandered carefully from point to point along the swampy in- 
tervale. But it was not until after many years had elapsed that 
this section of the road was ]:)ut in a state fit to be traversed 
with ease and comfort. 

Another work of tlie year 1800, wholly local in its nature and 
perhaps trivial in comparison with those just considered, is yet 
entitled to mention. This was an attempt of the citizens to 
supply themselves with water, and it was accomplished through 
1 the agency of two men named Samuel Bard well and Oliver 
I Bull By means of hollowed logs they brought water into the 
' village from two springs located on its western borders, one near 
wdiere now stands the Oneida Brewery, and the other on the 
1 Asvlum hill. To these men each inhabitant enjoying the ben- 
efit paid a quarterlv tax. Besides Messrs. Bardwell and Bull, 
Colonel Benjamin Walker and Silas Clark were members of 
this so called aqueduct company. 

Among the new arrivals of the year we notice, lirst, one whose 
remarkable previous experience, his long residence of fifty 
years and the conspicuous position he held, as well as his marked 
and singular character justify ample consideration. We refer 
to Charles C. Brodhead. Our notice is based upon an obituary 
article which ajopeared in the Christian Intelligencer^ to which 
are added facts obtained from various sources. Mr. Brodhead's 
ancestry, originally from Holland, had for some years found a 
home ill Yorkshire, England, whence one of the family came to 
this country in 1664 in company with Colonel Richard Nichols, 
who took New Amsterdam from the Dutch. The grandfather 
of the sul>ject of our sketch, Daniel Brodhead, removed 
from Marble town in Ulster County, to Northampton, Penn., 
in 1737. He was a man of considerable political importance 
in the colony, being one of the royal superintendenis of In- 
dian affairs. His son Charles was an officer in the British 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 105 

arm}', and was with Braddock at the time of liis memorable' 
defeat. He afterwards commanded with, the rank of captain 
at Fort Pitt, which he defended against a desperate attack of 
Indians. On the breaking out of the Eevolution he took the 
colonial side in the struggle, although he declined a colonelcy 
which was offered him by the government ; his scruples with 
regard to the oath he had taken when he received his royal 
commission forbidding him to serve in opposition. His five 
brothers, however, joined the army and held continental com- 
missions. Just before the war Captain Brodhead removed to 
New Paltz, Ulster county, where his son Charles C. was born 
November 10th, 1772. He was the fourth son of a family of 
eight children, one of whom was afterward a member of Con- 
gress from Ulster county. Their mother's maiden name was 
Oliver. Charles, while jet a lad, began the business of survey- 
ing, serving under the instructions of W. Cockburn, an eminent 
surveyor of Kingston in his native county. Iu_J/793i Messrs. 
Desjardins and Pharoux, agents of a French company, owning 
a large tract of land on the Black river, and known as the Cas- 
torland Company, employed him to assist in laying out this 
tract. This appointment was regarded as a high com23liment to 
young Brodhead both as a surve^^or and an honorable man ; 
and the manner in which he fulfilled his engagements pleased 
his employers so well that, in addition to the covenanted remu- 
neration, they gave him a valuable lot of land as a testimonial 
of their appreciation of his scientific and moral worth. In the 
course of this survey, wdiich occupied about three seasons, Mr_ 
B. encountered several hazardous adventures, and made more 
than one hair-breadth escape from death. Once his life was 
attempted b}^ an Indian in the service, and he was onl}^ saved 
by the prompt action of another of the part}' who knocked 
down the savage while in the act of striking at Mr. Brod- 
head's back. But the most perilous adventure, and the one of 
which he spoke with the greatest reluctance, because it involved 
an act of personal heroism, was this : In running the great lines 
of division, the party had to cross the Black river several times, 
the men and instruments being ferried across. On one occa- 
sion, when having journeyed through the woods without noting 
tlieir course by the compass, they arrived at a part of the river 
which they thought they recognized, and knew to be a safe 



106 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

place for crossing. Makiug a raft of logs, they started from 
the bank and began to pole their way over. When in the 
midst of the current their poles failed to reacli bottom, and, 
simultaneously with the discovery, the noise of the waters 
below them revealed the fact that they had mistaken their fer- 
rying place and were at the head of the Great Falls of the 
river, now known as Lyons Falls. Thus threatened with 
almost certain death, Mr. Brodhead ordered every one who 
could swim to make for the shore, and he liimself prepared to 
swim for his life. But the jtiteons appeals of M. Pharoux, 
who could not swim, arrested him, and he remained to assist 
him, if possiVjlc, in the awful passage. Directing M. Pharoux, 
and the others who remained, to grasp firmly to the logs, he 
laid himself by the side of his friend. The raft passed tlie 
dreadful falls and was dashed to pieces. The Frenchman and 
others of the party were drowned. Mr. Brodhead was himself 
thrown into an eddy near the shore, whence he was drawn 
senseless b}' an Indian of the party. 

After the expiration of his term of service with the Castor- 
land Company, he was employed as a dejmty by the Hon. Sim- 
eon DeWitt, Surveyor General of the State of New York, and 
to him were confided all important surveys and negotiations. 
He likewise canned on one or more treaties with the Indians, and 
these he conducted with singular ability and discretion, in every 
case winning the confidence of the red men. After a negotia- 
tion of this kind with the St. Regis Indians of the northern 
border of the State he was adopted as a member and honorary 
chief of the tribe. The name conferred u])Ou him was a com- 
pound one, being derived in part from the name of their prin- 
cipal chief, and in part having reference to his rapid move- 
ments in running lines, and also to his skill in settling disputes. 
It was as follows : Onogauleus Jacawbus Sadatalate. When 
not engaged elsewhere Mr. Brodhead's headquarters during this 
period would seem to have been at Whitesboro. In the year 
1800 he received from the Governor and Couneil the appoint- 
ment of sheriff of the county. To this office he was com- 
mended by several of the leading men of the county as in 
every resj;)ect qualilied, "b}* possessing ability, property, repu- 
tation and integrity." The fact that he was a bachelor was, 
it is said, a cause cf hesitation on the part of Governor Jay, 



THE FIEST CHARTER OF UTICA. lOT 

who "disliked a man that did not boil his own pot.'' The 
appointment was conferred, however, and soon afterward Mr. 
Brodhead removed to Utica. In August of the following year, 
it was required of him to officiate at the first execution which 
took place in the county. The criminal was an Indian, a na- 
tive of Montauk Point, but who with the remnant of his tribe 
and the fragments of other coast tribes, formed a new one called 
the Brothertons. He was convicted of having killed his wife 
and was hung on the hill west of Whitesboro in presence of a 
large assembly of people. Rev. Samuel Kirkland, the celebra- 
ted Indian missionary, was the spiritual comforter of the crim- 
inal, and prayed for him in the Oneida language, while several 
Indians were near and sang psalms in their native tongue. 
The sheriff had scruples about evading a duty, and rather 
than have the execution performed by a deputy, he himself 
attached the halter to the neck of the prisoner and let go the drop. 
When the construction of the Erie canal was resolved on, the 
surveyor general was charged with the preliminary surveys, and 
Mr. Brodhead was, in the year 1816, entrusted by him with the 
eastern section, extending from Albany to Rome, a part of the 
work of greater extent, importance and difficulty than any other, 
and requiring great discretion, science and practical skill. That 
his report and plan evinced the judgment and ability which Mr. 
DeAYitt expected of him, no practical engineer will, at this day, 
deny. One fact will fully demonstrate this, after Mr. Brod- 
head had made his preliminary survey and report, he retired 
from the work, and it was committed to other hands. His suc- 
cessors changed several of his levels, bringing them down nearer 
to the level of the Mohawk river ; but in the progress of the 
enlargment of the canal, the rectification of the levels brought 
them whei'c Mr. B.'s report had suggested. He was himself 
fully persuaded that his original suggestions must, in the end, 
be adopted, and that a large amount of money would have been 
saved to the State had there been no deviation from his plan. 
From the earliest period of his residence here, Mr. Brodhead 
was often called on to survey lands for individuals both in town 
and county. His accuracy of work was much confided in, and 
numerous are the land holders of the vicinity who are indebted 
to him for the carefully executed and trustworthy maps which 
define the limits of their property. His familiar accjuaintance 



108 THE PIOXEERS OF UTICA. 

witli lands lying within the confines of the city, and tlieir suc- 
cessive ownerships and partitions rendered him an undisputed 
authorit}^ on all questions of local boundaries In la3ung out 
the lines of the Bleecker and other estates, which Utica now 
embraces, he manifested ingenuity, as well as care, in attaining 
correctness of measurement At that time the instruments 
chiefly employed in measuring, were the rod and the chain. For 
the purpose of determining horizontal distances on an inclined 
surface, he devised an expedient of his own : he used rods with 
sliding upright pieces at either end. To one of these perpen- 
diculars he attached a cord beset with pins at equal intervals, 
and stretched it over the rod, as the latter lay upon the ground, 
towards its further end. And thus he ascertained from the cord 
the horizontal distance, at the same time that he learned fi'om 
the rod the distance along the surface of the ground. Mr. Brod- 
head was one of the commissioners, who, with William Jones, 
Morris S. Miller, E. S. Cozier and E. S. Barnum, ran the lines 
of the town of Utica when it was set off from Whitestown, in 
1817. From this period he ceased to act professionally, except 
when Mr. DeWitt, in the fullness of his confidence, pressed him 
into the service of the State to execute some work demanding 
great accuracy and prudent negotiations. For a few of his more 
cherished friends, he would consent to run the lines of their 
estates, but otherwise engaged in no occupation, and for thirty 
years lived almost a recluse. Previous to the war of 1812, he 
had accumulated a com23etent fortune, but had invested a large 
jDortion in business, becoming a partner with "William B. Savage, 
a merchant of this village and of Ellisburgh. The reaction of 
the peace caused the failure and dissolution of the firm. By 
economy and prudence, as well as by the rise in tlie value of real 
estate, he however retrieved his loss, so that for the last twenty 
years of his life he lived in comparative affluence. 

His character was a singular one, and full of contradictory 
qualities : while there was much that was praiseworthy, there 
were blemishes also, and these ofttimes so obscured the picture 
as to hide from view its real excellence. Possessed of a high 
sense of honor and inflexible in integrity, he spurned anything 
that deviated from rectitude. When, on one occasion, there 
was pending in one of our Legislatures a bill, wholly reasonable 
and just, the enactment of which would be especially beneficial 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 109 

to himself, he was strongly urged to aid its passage by the gift 
of some small douceur to those who might be likely to oppose it. 
To all entreaty he was resolute in refusal, and while admitting 
that he had much at stake in the bill, declared that he would 
not give one cent for a bribe. At another time, such was his 
conscientiousness, that he parted with his interest in the canal 
packet boats, because the company would run their boats on 
Sunday, sold stock that was bringing three hundred per cent., 
and took part in a new week-day line. lie knew men well and 
selected his friends with judgment. His own mind was too 
noble to treat with friendship any one devoid of honesty, or 
regardless of the great moral obligations. Strongly social in 
his tastes, when in his prime he was a favorite with the gentle- 
men who were his compeers, and his ringmg laugh might be 
heard at all the dinner parties that were so abundant in days 
gone by. A note from Colonel Walker to one of his friends, 
inviting him to come and take a dish of asparagus with him, 
seems incomplete without the added injunction to bring Brod- 
head along, for Brodhead was in truth a companion to be de- 
sired.* 

And if in later years his visits were more restricted, his relish 
for the society of his intimates was still unabated, and his com- 
pany, so long, at least, as he was in humor, as highly prized. 
For, if the truth must be told, he was, as age advanced, cheer- 
ful only when the fit was on him ; but when his moodiness was 
in the ascendant, he was crusty in the extreme, and fell out 
even with his dearest friends. With or without sufficient cause, 
he would take a pique, which for months together would restrain 
him from the commonest courtesy towards the ofiiender, and 
then as suddenly he would resume the old relations. In the fits 
of despondency to which he was subject, there was no one who 
could cheer him like the sister of his landlady, and on her he 
was accustomed to call, insisting at times on her presence when 

* And when we read of the dinner he is to have and reflect upon what a 
delicacy asparagus must have been in a country where gardens were rare, 
and markets for vegetables not yet in being, we bethink ourselves of the 
meal of dog's meat he once partook of while among the Indians. Never 
suspecting what he had eaten, he spied while getting into a canoe to take 
his departure, the head and entrails of the animal still lying on the shore, 
and in response to his inquiry, learned that they were the remains of what 
had been prepared for his breakfast. 



110 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. . 

her duties made it inconvenient that she should respond. On 
one of these occasions, ^vord came that she must go at once to 
Mr. Brodliead, that he was dying and would sec her immedi- 
ately. "Tell him," said she in reply, "that he must wait 'till I 
get my tarts out of the oven." The tarts w^ere baked and taken 
out, and when Miss D. started to minister to the afflicted suf- 
ferer, she found that his hufhness had woi'ked a cure, for he was 
below stairs in the reading room. When past middle life, and 
under the influence of the revival that attended the preaching 
of Rev. Mr. Finney, Mr. Brodhead made a profession of re- 
ligion, and became beyond doubt a sincere and humble follower 
of his Saviour. He united with the Presbyterian Church, and 
when shortly afterwards the Reformed Dutch Church was or- 
ganized, he attached hmiself to it and was one of its ardent sup- 
porters. Yet so emotional and impulsive was he, so little were 
his feelings under control, that his surliness would betray itself 
in the most unseemly times and places ; and even his church 
associates were not beyond the range of his testy outbursts. A 
single incident will show the estimate formed of him by a casual 
acquaintance. He was sitting one day in the bar room of 
Bagg's Hotel in company with several gentlemen, who were 
engaged in animated conversation. Among them was M. Yicat, 
a polished Frenchman, then temporarily resident, who took a 
prominent part in the conversation, and was gesticulating with 
all the animation of his countrymen. During a brief pause, Mr. 
Brodhead was overheard to mutter: "Monkey !" "Vat is dat 
you say — monkey?" retorted the Frenchman, "monkey is bet- 
ter dan cross old bear." By way of apology for his humiliating 
infirmity, let it be borne in mind that much of his earlier life 
was passed chiefly among his subordinates, accustomed to yield 
in everything to his commands ; moreover, he was never mar- 
ried, and thus taught, by the discipline of mutual forbearance 
and support, to shape his inclinations to those of others. In his 
declining years, while feeling keenW the void occasioned b}' the 
departure of the associates of middle life, there was none to com- 
fort him in his loneliness, to calm his perturbations, and to assist 
him. in the exercise of that self-control, the want of which caused 
him many bitter regrets and much humble penitence. These 
years were passed in public boarding houses, where those he 
met, intent each on his individual interests, were apt to be neg- 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. Ill 

ligent of the courtesies of domestic life, or perchance took pleas- 
ure in wounding the morbid sensibilities of a solitary old 
bachelor. Mr. Brodhead died at the National Hotel, after a 
]»ainful illness, September 10, 1852, aged eighty. 

Under date of July iOth, 1800, there appeared in the Colum- 
hian Gazette the following announcement : ''Archibald Kane 
and Jeremiah Van Eensselaer, Jr., under tlie firm name of Kane & 
Van Rensselaer, have opened a house at Utica, where may be 
had a general assortment of dry goods and gi'oceries on moderate 
terms." This brief announcement preludes the establishment 
here of one branch of a wideh' ramified and prosperous mercan- 
tile house that long held a leading place in the village, and 
which, from its far-reaching and successful enterprise, was well 
known throughout the State. Its resident member and his fam- 
ily were conspicuous in society, and contributed Ijy their intel- 
ligence and refinement, by their liberality, pulilic spirit and 
moral purity, not less than by their wealtli and aristocratic con- 
nections, not a few of tliose traits that gave a charm to early 
Utica. Mr. Kane, it is true, never lived in the place, and was 
known to its inhabitants only in his business relations. But as 
elder member of the firm, and still more as intimately allied in 
marriage both with Jeremiah Yan Rensselaer and his brother 
James, an adjunct of the house, his memory is linked with our 
annals. The courtesy of John C. Van Rensselaer, son of the 
last named, has supplied me with many of the particulars of the 
family story. Those which concern the Kanes he has drawn 
from a communication made to him by the Hon. Chancellor 
Kent, their near relation. 

A few years before the breaking out of the Revolutionary war, 
there was living in the southeast of Dutchess, now a part of 
Putnam county, N. Y., witliin the compass of a dozen miles, a 
polished and delightful familj- connection. Its head, and the 
venerable patriarch of the parish, was Rev. Elisha Kent, a Pres- 
byterian minister. He was educated at Yale College, and had 
been minister of the Oblong, so called, near the town of South- 
East, since about the year 17-10. Near him lived his son, Hon. 
Moss Kent, the father of Chancellor Kent, and not far distant his 
four sons-in-law. Three of these were thrifty country ti-aders, 
and one a Scotch officer of the lr2d Highlanders, livine" on his lialf 



112 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

pay. Among the former were John Kane, father of the Kane 
of whom we are to treat, and Charles Cullen, whose daughter 
became afterwards the wife of James Van Rensselaer. They 
were both natives of Ireland, and both had been brought up as 
merchants. " Here, then,'' says the Chancellor, "on a line of 
twelve miles lived uncle Cullen, on Croton river, where he had 
a very pleasant and, for that day, elegant house and store, — 
next grandfather Kent, on a fine farm with house and orchard 
situated on high ground, — next my father, — next uncle Mor- 
rison, a Scotch merchant, — next uncle Grrant, and next uncle 
Kane, a prosperous merchant in Pawling Precinct, near (Quaker 
Hill. From 1760 to 1776 they were living most respectable 
and happ3^ as a family circle ; but alas ! tlie American war came 
on and dispersed them. All of them, (my grandfather exce})ted, 
who died in 1776,) were shipwrecked in their business and for- 
tunes by the tempest of the Revolution.'' The Kents and the 
Cullens took sides with the Color ies. Grrant, recalled to service, 
fell at the storming of Fort Montgomery. Mi-. Kane adhered 
to the crown and forfeited his possessions, for which he was in 
part remunerated by the British Government. After the war 
he removed to the Province of New Brunswick, whence after a 
time he returned to settle in New York city. His sons in their 
turn embarked in commerce. John Kane, the eldest, established 
an extensive business in New York ; his brother James located 
himself in Albany, Charles in Schenectady, while Archibald, 
associating himself with Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, who had 
married his sister, opened a branch of the house at Canajoharie. 
Another brother of this adventurous and thriving family was 
Elisha Kane, who married Alida, sister of the Van Rensselaers, 
and settled himself in Philadelphia. He was the father of Hon. 
John K. Kane, and grandfather of Dr. Kane, the Arctic ex- 
plorer. Still another l)rother was Elias wlio was also doing bus- 
iness as a merchant at Whitesboro, as early at least as 1792, and 
was the father of Hon. Elias K. Kane, of Illinois. Of the sis- 
ters of this family, Maria married Judge Joseph C. Yates, after- 
ward Governor of New York, and anotlier Thomas Morris, son 
of the famous banker of the Revolution, and himself a law3'erof 
much personal consequence at Canandaigua. 

Having thus traced one member of the firm until they were 
united in business at Canajoharie, let us now see who was his 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 118 

partner. Jeremiali Van Rensselaer, Ji-., was descended from tlie 
Greenbush braiicli of the noted proprietary family of Rensse- 
laerswyck. His father, the grandson of the fourth Patroon, was 
General Robert Van Rensselaer, of Claverack, who fought in 
the Revolution, and afterward filled with honor many public 
offices. Jeremiah, when a boy, lived for a time with Major 
General Philip Schuyler, who was the husband of his father's 
sister. General Schuyler, who was an adej)t in the exact sci- 
ences and versed in them from an early age, wished to train him 
as an engineer. But the youth found the stud}^ and exercise in 
figures distasteful and irksome to him, and one day, being 
examined by his uncle, proved so untractable or indifferent that 
the General, Mdio was a stern man and impatient of any lack of 
effort or want of success, became vexed and called him "block- 
head." This so enraged the high-spirited nephew that he at 
once left the house and returned to his father's to continue his 
education in company with his brother. We have seen that 
Elisha Kane, of Philadelphia, had married his sister ; he himself 
was afterward united to Sybil Adaline Kane ; John Kane was 
now a prosperous merchant in New York. Some one or moj'e 
of these circumstances resulted in Jeremiah's engaging in mer- 
cantile pursuits. Uniting with Archibald Kane, he settled at 
Canajoharie, Montgomery county, in 1795. Here they soon 
commanded a trade which was the largest in the interior of 
the State. Their house and store, known as " Arch Hall,'" 
was still standing a very few years since. With them as as- 
sistants were James Van Rensselaer and John Cullen, nephew 
of Mr. Kane. Ere long, however, encroachments were made 
upon their custom by stirring rivals at Utica, and they deter- 
mined to repair thither. Mr. Kane did not, as we have said, 
himself remove, though he contimied a partner in the house. 
The store here was conducted by Mr. Van Rensselaer, assisted 
at the outset by his brother James, with whom was presently 
associated Fortune C. White, and subsequently many later 
clerks. It was situated on the east side of Genesee, a little 
north of the corner of Broad, and was graced by the sign of the 
"Eagle."' It was oblong m shape, presenting its broader side 
to the street. When on the laying out of Broad street, its 
upper end was found to encroach upon the projected higlnvay, 
and it became necessary to turn it half way round, this was 

H 



114 THE pioxep:rs of utica. 

accomplislied by balancing the building on a cannon ball as a 
pivot, after which it was easily swung into place. The store 
soon became popular and the business an extended one. From 
the relations maintained with the parent house in New York 
and its several branches, the partners must have had facilities 
in importing goods and in shipping and selling produce, as well 
as in the use of capital, which were enjoyed by few if any of 
their competitors. Theirs, too, was the fountain head whence 
many a country store drew its constant supplies. They adver- 
tised freely and constantly, occupying a conspicuous place in 
the weekly papers for a long series of 3'ears. At the begirming 
of their career in Utica the most dangerous rival with whom 
the}' had to contend was Bryan Johnson, and old settlers relate 
with zest the strife that prevailed between them. That the con- 
testants could sometimes unite in pursuance of their common 
interest, the following expedient to bring down the jDrice of 
wheat, if it is to be relied on as true, may be cited as a sample. 
"When wheat, at one time was, through competition, rated much 
above its real value, Messrs. K. & V. E. sent out by night upon 
the New Hartford road several wagon loads of the article. 
These coming in by daylight were driven to the store of Johnson, 
who, after considerable chaffering, would become the purchaser. 
Mr. Van Kensselaer built himself an elegant mansion on 
what were then the outskirts of the village, on grounds as 
remarkable for then* extent as for the taste expended upon 
them. They were situated on the east side of Genesee street, 
and included nearly the whole space that is now bounded by 
Devereux, Genesee, Caruahan and Charlotte. The main entrance 
to them was by a large gate- way at what is now the junction of 
Genesee and Devereux. The house which was a wooden one, 
painted white, with two oval wings, was situated some hundred 
feet back from the street and was approached by a circular 
drive to the right and the left. The grounds were well laid 
out and ornamented with shade irees. In the rear were stables 
and a nicely kept garden. Here Mr. A^an Rensselaer lived 
during the most of his career, in the enjoyment of am})le means, 
dispensing abundant hospitality, and making the nearest ap- 
proach of any person to Colonel Walker in his personal and 
family equipments. But when several years of prosperity had 
rolled over him tliere came at length a chan<ire : the firm of 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 115 

Kane and Van Rensselaer encountered the commercial storm 
^Yllich followed the resumption of specie payments after the 
war of 1812-15. It prostrated the house of John Kane in 
New York, and with it fell all the associate houses. Resuming 
business alone, Mr. Van Rensselaer carried it on for a few years, 
but was at length obliged to suspend. He parted wdth his 
beautiful home, and moved into the house before occupied by 
Rev. Dr. Cartiahan. About 1825 he left the village and went 
to Canandaigua, w^here his son-in-law Mr. Granger resided, and 
was there secretary of a fire insurance company. His wife gave 
her services to the care of the Ontario Female Seminary. 
They both died in 1828, and but two weeks apart. 

As a foremost participant in the business interests of the 
place as well as in its benevolent and religious affairs, not less 
than as a dignified and courtly gentleman, Mr. Van Rensselaer 
ranked high. He was of the first board of village trustees un- 
der the charter of 1805, and two years their president ; of the 
first board of directors of the Ontario Branch Bank, and pres- 
ident of the Capron Factory ; of the first Utica board of trus- 
tees of the Presbyterian Church, and president of the first 
board of trustees of the Utica Academy. When the site for 
the academy w^as in contemplation, he offered to give for the 
purpose a fine lot on Genesee street, adjoining the grounds 
which he himself occupied. He was also a trustee of Hamilton 
College until his removal. Some idea of the respect that was 
entertained for his character, and of the sympathy that flowed 
forth on his failure, may be gathered from the proceedings 
which were had at that time in the board of the Presbyterian 
Church. Bj^ his account current as late treasurer of the societ}^, 
he had shown himself their debtor to the amount of $148.08. 
" And whereas since the rendition of said account, the said 
society became indebted to him $-13.38 for the rent of his school 
house ; and whereas also by an examination of said Van Rens- 
selaer's accounts heretofore rendered as treasurer, it clearly 
appears that he had omitted to charge said society interest on 
sundry advances made b}^ him for their benefit ; moreover, 
had for many 3-ears permitted said society to occupy the afore- 
said house for which he has not received any rent or compen- 
sation whatever : therefore resolved, for the considerations afore- 
said, that said Jeremiah Van Rensselaer is not indebted for or 



116 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

on account of the aforesaid $148,08 ; and further that the 
treasurer give him a full and ample discharge therefrom." 

"While thus relied on for his integrity and his zeal and effi- 
ciency in pul)lic affairs, esteemed for liis moral excellence, and 
admired for his liberality, and the elegance and profuseness of 
his domestic courtesies, it cannot be denied that there were 
those who accounted him a proud man, and imputed to him a 
higher conceit of his Van Kensselaer blood than he actually 
felt. It was the knowledge, mayhap, that he had cause for 
pride which fathered the suspicion that he cherished it. Re- 
called in fancy, as he sat of a summer evening on the front 
steps of his store, divested of his coat, and with long clay pipe 
in hand, this lusty, well-conditioned, well-favored gentleman of 
a privileged race, does indeed remind us of some genuine Dutch 
burgher of colonial times as these w^ere wont to sit in aristo- 
cratic repose on the stoops of their dwellings. And could we 
but divine his musings, we might, perchance, detect one ele- 
ment of content in the assurance of being better born than the 
most of the upstart Yankees he saw around him; but never a 
supercilious thought or intent, nor an}^ lack of willingness to 
do wuth or for his neighbors all that might conduce to the com- 
mon good. His wife, who, as has been said, was Sybil Ada- 
line Kane, was a very lovely woman in every relation of life, 
and was moreover possessed of much beauty. She and her 
family held for many years the nnchallenged leadership in the 
societ}'' of Utica, her daughters being as eminent for their beauty 
and their accomplishments as herself. The family was a numer- 
ous one, and consisted of Cornelia B. (Mrs. Francis Granger 
of Canandaigua) ; Alida M. (Mrs. Charles Carroll of Mt. Morris) ; 
Catharine S. ; Robert a lawyer of N. Y. ; Archibald and Jacob 
R, merchants of New Orleans; Jacob of Detroit; Carnahan, 
who died young. Alida has earned an honorable remembrance 
among the benefactors of Utica as one of the five 3'oung ladies 
who founded the L'tica Sunday school. 

There came in the vear 1800, from Coleraine, Mass., a young 
man who opened a department of business which is still prose- 
cuted by later members of the famil}'", and which is doubtless 
tlie oldest establishment of any kind in Utica. This was Jesse 
Newell. He had been brought up a tailor, but on his arrival 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 117 

set up as a painter and glazier, taking as a partner George 
Macomber, eldest son of Captain Macomber before noticed. As 
Macomber & Newell they began tlie practice of their art, to 
which was added the sale of materials pertaining thereto, and 
ere long the mannfacture of brushes. This partnership con- 
tinued during the long period of twenty-eight years, and was 
only broken np by the ill health of Mr. Macomber. At the 
outset they were almost the only painters of this region, and 
not unfrequently were called as far as Lowville to execute a 
job. Mr. Macomber retired in 1828, removed to Sauquoit, and 
was engaged in farming until his death in 1861, at the age of 
eighty. His first wife, Cynthia, daughter of Jason Parker, died 
within two or three 3^ears of their iinion; his second, Miss 
Shephard, of Paris, was the mother of his nine children, of 
whom the only representative, now in Utica, is the wife of S- 
S. Lowery. The place of business of this long-lived firm, at 
first on the corner of Broad and Genesee, w^as many years since 
removed to its present site, just above Catherine, and there it 
was continued by Mr. iSTewell, after the retirement of his partner, 
in company with his son Norman C. Newell, and until his own 
death, April 19th, 1843. He was a man of some singularities, not 
mingling much in public matters, but devoted to his own con- 
cerns. His first wife (Ruth Allen, from Danlour}^, Conn.,) died 
October 2d, 1813. Their children were Oliver, Mrs. Hoch- 
strasser, Mrs. John R. Jones and Norman C. His second wife bore 
him two sons and a daughter, AYilliam of California, Heiny of 
Kansas, and Mrs. Wilson of Yernon. 



1801. 

Passing on to the year 1801, we find evidence of the residence 
of the following persons, and yet are unable to say they had not 
an earlier citizenship, viz: Aylmer Johnson, Martin Dakin, 
James Ure, Bela Hubbard, and Francis Dana. 

Captain A3dmer Johnson had been an oflicer in the army of 
England, though rumor says only an orderly sergeant. But his 
education and his manners justified his pretension to the title of 
captain, and so he was called. Before corning to Utica he had 
lived at Oriskany, as agent for William Green. While here he 
■was for some time confidential secretary of Col. Walker, and 



118 THE PIOXEEES OF UTICA. 

lived east of the Colonel in the house previously occupied by 
Silas Clark. Losing the confidence of his employer, he lost also- 
his position. For a short time also, he constituted one of the 
firm of E. Smith & Co., brewers, though this was prior to his 
connection with Col. Walker. He was a tall, powerful and fine 
looking man, and formed an important element in the social 
gatherings of early times, for he was a cheerful companion and 
played skillfully at cards, which were then almost always a part 
of an evening's entertainment. He took an active part in poli- 
tics and in all public affairs. One of the agents in the erection 
of Trinity Church, he was for three successive years one of its 
earlier wardens. His Avife, whom it is said he met sitting on a 
fence in some provincial town in Ireland where he was stationed, 
and whom he educated before marriage, was quite lady-like in 
dress and address, bright and social, and as much a favorite in 
company as himself. Captain Johnson's later history is a pain- 
ful one to record. The Directory of 1817 contains his name, 
but with no occupation attached. He became very poor, and 
was often seen in the streets miserably clad and leaning on the 
arm of his wife, for he was almost bent double with rheumatism. 
It is related that when Col. Walker died. Captain Johnson was 
unable to attend the funeral, but that after it was over, a scarf 
was sent him by the family like those which had been furnished 
to the bearers. His own funeral, with military honors, followed 
on the 28th of August, 1824, when he had reached the age of 
fifty-seven. He was childless, but had an a(lo])ted daughter 
named Alma. 

Martin Dakin, brother-in-law of Francis H. Bloodgood, was 
by him employed in the county clerk's office, and was deputy 
clerk from 1 802 to 1808. His native brilliancy of talent had 
been improved by a good education in the old country and 
in his own home, and to these were added many sociable and 
companionable qualities. In the war of 1812, he took up arms. 
Later in life, he was associate editor of the Charleston Courier^ 
and in that city he died many years ago, having fallen into habits 
which men organized as he was, so often contract. His skill in 
verse, of which a few })roofs are still preserved, is shown in tlie 
following lines ; and it is a gratification to be assured that his 
last hours were cheered by the teachings of that Book, to 
which he so fondly, yet almost ho^Delessly clung. 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 119 

THE FAMILY BIBLE. 

How painfully pleasing the fond recollection 
Of youthful connections and innocent joys, 
When blessed with parental advice and protection, 
Surrounded with mercy, with peace from on high, 
I still view the chairs of my sire and my mother, 
The seats of their offspring as ranged on each hand, 
And that richest of books which excels everj'^ other, 
The Family Bible which lay on the stand. 

That Bible, the volume of God's inspiration, 
At morn and at evening could yield us delight, 
And the prayers of our sire were a sweet invocation, 
For mercy by day and for safety through night. 
Our hymns of thanksgiving with harmony swelling. 
All warm from the hearts of a family band, 
Half raised us from earth to that rapturous dwelling, 
Described in the Bible that lay on the stand. 

Ye scenes of tranquility — long have we parted, 
My hopes almost gone — my parents no more; 
In sorrow and sadness I roam broken-hearted. 
And wander unknown on a far distant shore; 
Yet how can I doubt a dear Saviour's protection, 
Forgetful of gifts from His bountiful hand? 
Then let me with patience receive His correction. 
And think of the Bible that lay on the stand. 

Near where Nail creek crosses Varick street, on the same spot 
where E. Smith & Co. began brewing in 1804, James Ure had 
brewed before them. He was a Methodist of the noisy kind, 
and rehgious meetings were sometimes hekl in his brewery, to 
which the young people would occasionally resort when there 
were no services elsewhere. After the breaking down of his suc- 
cessors b}' the absconding of Smith, he would seem to have re- 
sumed thC' concern, having as a partner William Alverson, 
But in 1811, his brew and malt house with four and a half acres 
of land was sold under execution. He was from Scotland and 
to him Scotland was every thing. When he encountered what 
seemed to him unusual or peculiar, he was accustomed to say 
"You don"t see such things in Enrope." But if asked to what 
part of Europe he referred, his reply was ''Scotland, of course." 

The earliest occupant of the tannery on Whitesboro street, 
where James Harter now is, and which has been conducted by 
several successive tanners, was Bela Hubbard. He removed 
about 1809 to Adams, in Jefferson county. His son, who lived 



120 THE PIOXEERS OF UTICA. 

at Columbus, Oliio, was Genera] Grand Commander of the Gen- 
eral Grand Encampment of the order of Free Masons of the 
United States. 

Francis Dana was engaged in boating on the Mohawk. He 
staved a short time only and removed to Watertown. He 
owned a colored woman, who, through fear of being sold, 
jumped into the river with her child, and l)oth were drowned. 

The two })ersons next to he noticed, if not actual comers of 
the year, were assuredly recent arrivals. Their standing and 
character justify some detail. 

The former was Dr. Francis Guiteau, Jr., a descendant of one 
of those exiles from France, the Huguenots, who were driven 
from their country by the cruel and self-ruinous decree of Louis 
XIV. His father was a j^hysiciau in Pittsfield, and afterwards 
in Lanesboro, Mass., but passed his latest j^ears in Deerfield 
in this county. Francis was the eldest of several sons, of whom 
two, Calvin, the survej^or, and Dr. Luther Guiteau, of Trenton, 
became early denizens of Oneida county. He moved into the 
town of Deerfield and assumed his professional charge as early 
as 1792. His circuit of practice was extensive, embracing not 
merely Utica and its envu-ons, but sometimes transcending the 
present bounds of the county. He occupied a farm east of the 
Corners, the same w^hich was afterwards held by Abraham 
TTalton, and he was the first super^-isor of the town. As Mr. 
"Walton was living upon the farm in 18()1. it is }irobable this is 
about the date of Dr. Guiteau's removal to Utica. April 4th, 
1803, he announces that ill-health induces him to call for a set- 
tlement ; but in July of the same year, he enters into partner- 
ship, as practitioner and druggist, with Dr. Solomon AVolcott 
Their store and office was at first near what is now the corner 
of Burchard and Wliitesboro streets, but was soon exchanged 
foi" a site on the east side of Genesee, a few doors above the 
square. They built each a house on Wliitesboro street, a little 
west of the present Globe Hotel. Their announcements occur 
from time to time in the village weeklies until January, 1807, 
when the}' dissolved, and Dr. Guiteau devoted himself exclu- 
sively to i)ractice. He was deemed skillful, and held in high 
esteem as a physician, and his practice was considerable. His 
only near rivals were Dr. Alexander Coventry, who was still a 
resident of Deerfield, and Drs. Hasbrouck, and Stockman of 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 121 

Utica, botli of whom, as well as Dr. Wolcot, were in part di-ug- 
gists, also. Dr. Gr. was six feet in height and rather spare of 
flesh, erect and active, of firm fibre, and well fitted to endnre 
labor and fatigue. In manners he was genial and pleasant, but 
decided in his opinions and free in the expression of them. A 
leading man among the Baptists and a zealous advocate of their 
principles of belief, he w\as sensitive to any opposition to his 
religious views. He was also a strong Democrat. During the 
war he invented an explosive missile designed for sinking ships, 
for which he received a grant from government. About 1814, 
he took up his residence in Wliitesboro, bat was still retained 
as the medical adviser of many families in Utica. A few years 
before his death, he was thrown from his sulky upon the frozen 
ground, and taken up insensible. He so far recovered as to be 
able to visit a few patients about the village of Wliitesboro, 
but was never able to support fatigue or mental excitement 
afterwards. His death- occurred about 1823. He had ten chil- 
dren, five sons and five daughters, of whom one onl}^, Luther 
Guitean, cashier of the Freeport Bank, Illinois, is now living. 

Although the home of Abraham M. Walton was in Deerfield, 
and not in Utica, 3'et the latter was his place of business, and 
with its people he was in daily intercourse. He was the son of 
Abraham Walton, of New York, and a descendant of one of the 
old families of that city. He studied law with Colonel Bichard 
Yarick, was admitted an attorney of the Supreme Court in 1791, 
and practiced a shoi't time in the metropolis. But being a some- 
what fast member of the aristocratic society to which he be- 
longed, he had fallen into wa3^s of dissipation which began to 
alarm his family. To effect his reform by removing him from 
the reach of temptation, he was induced to assume the charge 
of a tract of land in Schuyler, on the borders of Deerfield, which 
belonged to the family, and which is known as AYal ton's Patent. 
As early as 1801 he settled near this tract, on a farm of one 
hundred and fifty acres, lying about three quarters of a mile 
east of Deerfield Corners. He opened an office in Utica, and 
besides the care of the estate he was sent to manage, did some- 
thing in the practice of his profession, and something more in 
the purchase and sale of lands. His brother, Charles, was asso- 
ciated with him in a part of his transactions ; his law partner was 
Abraham D. Yan Home. 



122 THE PIOXEEES OF UTICA. 

With respect to the dealings of the Waltoiis in landed estate, 
it is a fact of note that they were once possessors of the territory 
on which now stands the city of Syracuse. It would appear 
from an address b}^ Hon. George Geddes before the Onondaga 
Pioneer Association, that in order to secure a market for the salt 
manufactured at " Salt Point," a law was passed by the Legisla- 
ture of 1804, directing the sale of two hundred and fifty acres 
of salt reservation, to raise the money witli which to make an 
east and west road across it. Mr. Abraham Walton, — in as- 
sociation with his brother Charles — purchased the two hundred 
and fifty acres for the sum of $6,550, and thus the land became 
known as the Walton Tract. He immediately laid out a village, 
and in 1805 erected mills, and continued to sell lots as ])ur- 
chasers came, until 1814, when the remaining interest was dis- 
posed of to Forman, Wilson & Co., merchants at Onondaga 
Valley, for $9,000. Joshua Forman, the leading man in this 
purchase, had by this time found out that here was to be the 
future city, and he wisely resolved to be its builder. But he 
did not invent Syracuse, as is said by Mr. Weed in his Re- 
miniscences, he took it second hand. The $6,550 received 
from the original purchase, made the road from the village of 
DeWitt to the west line of the present town of Geddes, about 
ten miles, 

Mr. Walton was not the man to succeed in such undertakings. 
If he had the forethought to conceive, he lacked the prudence, 
the steadiness of purpose, the regularity of business habits, and 
the care for detail, necessary to achieve success. Strongly social 
in his nature, a pleasant companion, and a good neighbor, he 
had a respectable position in the community, and held some 
ofl&ces of trust. He was one of the first appointed wardens of 
Trinity Church, and at a later period, after he had come to Utica 
to reside, was one year a village trustee. 

Before his removal, he sustained a severe loss in the death of 
his wife. She was the only child of Lewis Graham, of West- 
chester, and is said to have been very beautiful in person, of 
excellent understanding, and graceful and engaging manners. 
Shortly after her decease, which occui-red Febnuiiy 18th 1809, 
Mr. Walton, who had ere this, run through with much of his 
property, announced his farm as for sale, and made a temporary 
sojourn in Utica. At his death, which occurred October 5th, 



THE FIEST CHARTER OF UTICA. 123 

1813, his remains were escorted to the grave by some of the 
leading inhabitants of Utica and its neighborhood, and were 
l)Iaced, by the side of his wife and infant child, in a small burial 
place that once formed a part of the famil}^ estate. 

A resident of the year 1801, was Dr. Edward Bainbridge,. 
hnsband of a branch of one of the families who were former 
owners of the Manor of Cosby. He was the son of Dr. Absalom 
Bainbridge, one of whose ancestors was among the founders of 
New Jersey, and himself a surgeon, during the revolutionary 
war, of the loyalist company of New Jersey volunteers. Dr. 
Edward was also the brother of tlie William Bainbridge, who^ 
at this time, was a post captain in the American navy, and who^ 
on the 29th of December, 1812, while in command of the frigate, 
Constitution, captured the British frigate, Java. Dr. B. was 
already ruined by habits of intemperance, and lived not more 
than two years after coming to Utica. His wife was daughter / 
of Charles and Agatha Evans, the latter being the daughter and ' 
devisee of General John Bradstreet, one of the original proprie- 
tors of the Manor. Their residence was situated a short 
distance west of Col. Walker. Mrs. Bainbridge did not long- 
survive her husband. Several years later their son figured in 
Utica, and elsewhere, as "the Commodore's nephew." ' Mary, 
the daughter, became an inmate in the family of Peter Colt, of 
Rome, and removed with them to New Jersey. 

A much more notorious member of this same pr(!)prietary 
family, was Martha, daughter of Major Samuel Bradstreet, of , 
the 40th Regiment of English Infantry, who was stepson of 
General John Bradstreet. She was born on the island of Anti- 
gua, W. I, August 10th, 1780, and married in Ireland to Mat- 
thew Codd, April 16th, 1799. They came to America in the 
faU of the same year, and not long after were living in Utica. 
Their first residence was on Whitesboro street, a little distance 
west of Broadway, and their subsequent one was on Main street, 
next Talcott Camp. If strong enough to be the support and 
defender of his wife, for he was over six feet in height and pro- 
portionately vigorous, Codd was worthless enough to be her con- 
tinual plague. Without employment, he lived only on the 
drafts she received from her friends abroad, and was besides in- 
temperate and quarrelsome, driving her frequentl}^ from the 



124 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

house. More tliau once did she flee into Squire Camp's for 
protection, and there from a window carry on an altercation 
with her husband, as he stood on the stoop of liis own dwelHng. 
His conduct was so bad that thc}^ separated, and were eventu- 
ally divorced. She subsequently obtained an act from the Leg- 
islature authorizing her to assume her maiden name. Codd 
€arl3^ left this part of the country. His wife was here or in the 
vicinity in 1809, and lived afterward successively in Albany, 
New York, &c., and a short time, in her later life, in the west- 
ern part of this city. 

After her divorce from Mr. Codd, she became notorious as a 
strenuous and persevering claimant of a large part of the soil of 
Utica. She harrassed numbers of its citizens with suits at law, 
and besieged the courts with her causes. These trials are fully 
reported in the Law Reports, so that it will hardly be worth the 
while to present here anything more than the barest outline of 
the points at issue. 

General Bradstreet. one of the joint owners of Cosby 's Manor, 
after a division had been made between the purchasers, devised 
his share to his two daughters, Martha and Agatha. Martha, 
who died unmarried, devised her portion as follows : one-third 
to her sister Agatha, one-third to her half-sister Elizabeth, and 
one-third to the children of her half brother Samuel, of whom 
one was Martha who became afterwards Mrs. Codd. Elizabeth 
wdlled w^hat Martha had left her solely to this same Martha. 
Thus, \!f^ a double devise, Mrs. Codd derived title to a large share 
of the lands of General Bradstreet. The executor of the first 
above mentioned will w^as Sir Charles Gould, and he, by its 
terms, was authorized to sell and disj)ose of the real estate 
therein devised. Through his attorneys, Edward Gould and 
Daniel Ludlow, this was done, and between the years 1790 and 
1794 several of the earlier settlers thus received titles to the 
land which they then or afterward occupied. Mrs. Codd, in the 
suits which she brought against the occupants of these lands, 
^insisted that the conveyances by these attorneys of Sir Charles 
'Gould were not valid because no authority for that purpose was 
shown to have ever existed, and because Sir Charles Gould could 
not have legally delegated to another the power he possessed 
under the will of Martha Bradstreet. This position of the plain- 
tiff was off-set by the production of a deed executed by General 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 125 

Philip Schii34er, executor of Genei'al Bradstreet, to Agatha, 
daughter of General B. wherein in order to invest Agatha with 
her portion, he empowers Edward Gould to sell and convey the 
lands of the other devisees and to divide the proceeds between 
them. This Edward Gonld, who became a bankrupt, executed 
afterward a deed to Mrs. Oodd, conveying to her all the real estate 
held by him, but with covenant of warranty that he should not be 
held responsible for any sales which he might have made prior 
to his bankruptcy. But the sales to the occupants of the lands, 
the same lands which Mrs. Codd was now laying claim to, were 
made years before the bankruptcy of Edward Gould, and while 
he was acting as attorney of Sir Chas. Gould. Such, in brief, 
was the claim of Mrs. Codd, and such the ground of defence 
made by the defendants in her suits, which defence was more- 
over strengthened by the fact of possession for the space of 
thirt}" years, for it was not imtil after the lapse of this length of 
time, and not until she had resumed her maiden name, that the 
suits were in prosecution. 

Mrs. Bradstreet was a woman of vigorous natural talent, mas- 
culine in features and in temperament, though not without con- 
siderable of the refinement and bearing of a lady. Acquiring 
by study a mastery of the law of real estate, she was a host in 
herself ; but she enlisted in her aid some of the ablest counsel 
of the State. Her causes were numerous and directed against 
a large number of individual land-holders. They were tried 
chieiiy in the United States District Court before Judge Conklino- 
but also in the old Supreme Court of the State, before Judges 
Savage, Sutherland, &c. She was herself invariably present, an 
eager witness of every step, and a sedulous adviser of her ad- 
vocate. It is related that on one occasion a scene occurred 
which must have been highly amusing to all who knew the parties 
concerned. It was on the resumption after dinner of a trial that 
had been opened in the morning, and when court and lawvers 
were in a pleasant mood. David B. Ogden, who was sometimes 
employed by Mrs. Bradstreet, was now the counsel of the defend- 
ant, Chas. C. Brodhead, and was of course familiar with both. 
Loving a joke and now in a humor to practice one, he rose 
and addressed the court as follows : '' May it please jonr 
honor, it has occurred to me that there is a possibihty of a ter 
mination of this suit ; there seems to be ground for a com- 



126 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

promise, — a mutual, thorough, and final compromise, — in short, 
I mean, for a complete merging of interests between mj client 
and the plaintilf.'' As the lady tossed her plumes in dis- 
dain, while her testy opponent, with an impatient grunt, wheeled 
suddenly in his chair and presented his back to the fair one, 
the scene was so entertaining, so characteristic of both, as to 
upset all gra\'ity and convulse court and bar with laughter. 
But though All's. Bradstreet was most jici'sistent in her efiorts, 
and though she had such advisers and advocates as Aaron 
Burr, John P. Van Ness, John Wells, David B. Ogden, and 
others equall}' eminent, — even Daniel Webster, who was enlisted 
in one battle, — they could not succeed in establishing lier right 
to recover the lands : and this shows conclusively that she had 
no rights. 

Capt. James Hopper was a native of England. For many 
years he was in command of vessels in the Englisli merchant 
service, and owned shares in them and their cargoes. During 
the war between his own country and France he commanded an 
armed vessel of sixteen guns, and furnished with letters of marque 
from the British admiralty, he cruised in the South Seas. 
Attacked at one time b}^ a superior force, his vessel was taken 
after a brave defence, and lie was carried a prisoner to France. 
Thence he was released by being exchanged, he and another 
captain, for the celebrated Marshal Junot, captured in Egypt. 
Some little time afterward, he came to America, his ])rincipal 
object in coming being to obtain iiidenmity for the loss of another 
and smaller vessel that had fallen into the hands of the French, 
by reason of infonuaticm furnished them b}" an American, as 
to its situation and the practicability of its seizure, and which, 
after such seizure, was sold to parties from America. He en- 
gaged General Hamilton as counsel in New York, but failed in 
securing the o])ject of his visit. By him he was prevailed on 
to come hither and see the country. Shortly after his arrival 
he bought considerable land on the southern borders of the 
village. Forty-nine acres of it were the cleared farm of Benja- 
min Hammond in Great Lot. 95, which the latter had obtained 
from John Bellinger ; in part it was a portion of the Holland 
Land Company's purchase, and other smaller parts were bought 
of John Post, Richard Kimball and Jonathan Evans. On this 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 127 

purchase Capt. Hopper put up a bouse that he enlarged on the 
arrival of his family, and engaged in farming and also in 
tanning, both of them pursuits to which be had never been 
accustomed. He imported tanners from the east, paying them 
high wages, and as the stumps on his farm were offensive to 
him, be expended freely for the labor of having them grub- 
bed up and removed. Hence his projects failed of being very 
remunerative, and he, besides, lost considerable in the Utica 
Glass Company. The land which he bought increased, how- 
ever, in value, and became ultimately, through the skillful 
management of his sous, a quite handsome estate. Capt. 
Hopper was honest and highl}- respectable, but as he lived 
a little apart from most of the other village residents, he was 
not much concerned in affairs of general interest. His death 
occurred May 16th, 1816. His wife afterwards mai'ried Joshua 
"Wyman, but died December 11th, 1843. It is remarkable that 
she predicted the day of her death full a month before its oc- 
curence. Their children were George J., born in England, and 
quite recently deceased, Tliomas, arid Mary, (Mrs. Bradley, 
afterwards Mrs. McClure) who are still resident. 

On the 25th of May, 1801, tw^o new merchants under the title 
of Belin & Thomas opened a store on the north side of Whites - 
boro street, third door from the corner of the square. Philip 
Belin was French by birth, but had been living in Western- 
^•ille in this county before coming to Utica. He studied law 
with Jonas Piatt, and w^as admitted to practice, but soon 
gave it up for trade. His continuance in this j)ursuit w^as 
brief, for before the middle of 1803 he went to the West Indies 
to recover possession of a coffee and sugar plantation that had 
once been his father's, and there he died in October following. 
After his departure bis brother Augustus was left as a clerk 
with Mr. Thomas, when he also repaired to Martinique, obtain- 
ed the estate and lived upon it. 

Daniel Thomas was a native of Norwich, Conn., where he 
was born April 24th, 1778. He came to Oneida county in com- 
pany with Messrs. George and Henry Huntington of Eome, 
the former of whom had married his sister. He was for 
some time their clerk, and left them to engage in business with 
Mr. Belin. After the death of his partner he continued at the 



128 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

first location until 1807 or 1808, when he moved to the third store 
below Bagg's tavern, and some time later to the west side of 
■Genesee above Catherine. He remained quite a number of 
years in trade, but was rather easy in his habits, and not over, 
fast to get rich. He became owner of the property on Hotel 
street on which Mechanics Hall is situated, inckiding a sti-ip 
that ran through to Seneca, and resided at first ou the former, 
and then on tlie latter street. Mr. Thomas was correct in his 
morals, reticent and retiring in manners, easy-going in his busi- 
ness habits, and an inordinate smoker. His wife was Sarah 
Ann, daughter of Joseph Stringham of IST. Y., and a woman of 
more than ordinar}^ sense and sweetness. Of their family of six 
children the only one now living in Utica, is George R Thomas, 
cashier of the Second National Bank Francis H. is cashier 
of the Fh'st National of Kome. 

A visit to their native place in Ehode Island ,niade this 3'ear 
by Joseph Ballou and family, would seem to have resulted in 
the speedy transference of three or four of their old neighbors 
to 'their own more recent abode in the west. These were Eben- 
ezer B. Shearman, Miss Mary Flagg, Ehsha Cajiron and James 
Bro\\'n. 

Ebenezer B. Shearman, who was born at South Kingston, 
R I., April 20, 1783, was a descendant from Philip Shearman, 
an early settler of that Colony. With seventeen others he left 
the Colony of Massachusetts in 1636-7, and associated with 
Roger Williams, the exile from persecution, in establishing that 
of Rhode Island. Mr. Shearman himself was one of nine brothers, 
all remarkable for their energy and business capacity, of whom 
four followed him to Oneida county, and three to Utica. He 
came here as clerk to Jerathmel Ballou, whose sister he after- 
ward married. A.bout 1804 he united himself in merchandize 
with Judah Williams, Jr., brother of Nathan Williams. In 
1810 we find that he is alone, and a few years later with his 
own brother Stukeley, a young man of fine promise who died 
at an early age. Subsequently under the firm name of E. B. 
Shearman, and Co., liis nephews, Joseph A. Shearman and 
Theodore P. Ballou, were successively in company with him. 
The store was on the east side of Genesee about three doors 
above the square. Mr. Shearman became at an early period 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 129 

largely interested in the mannfactnre of two different kinds of 
goods, for tlae sale of which his store formed the agency. These 
were cotton goods and window glass. After having been one 
of the company which, in conjunction with Seth Capron, set 
in operation at New Hartford, the first cotton factory in the 
county, he purchased the bulk of the shares, and managed the 
institution with skill and profit. The glass that he sold was^ 
made at the Oneida Glass Factory in Yernon, by a company of 
which Mr. S. and his brother Willet H., formed the leading- 
members. At one time he assumed the superintendency of the 
Utica Glass Works, situated in the town of Marcy, but relin- 
cjuished it when he found that crown glass, which the company 
essayed to make, could not be produced cheaply enough to com- 
pete with that of English manufacture. 

He was alwaj^s a friend and advocate of manufactures and 
a patron of industry. By his energy and assiduous devotion to 
business, he became independently wealthj^ Nor was his 
enterprise expended in his own behalf merely. His interest 
in public affairs was conspicuous, and the share considerable 
which he bore in the civic affairs of his time. For three suc- 
cessive years he was village trustee, for thii-ty a trustee of the 
Utica Academy, and most of that time its secretary, while as 
a fireman and a watchman in the earlier epochs of the village 
history, — when these offices were voluntarily assumed by its 
foremost citizens, — his sei'vices were arduous and commendable. 
From its foundation he was so long as he lived a dii-ector of 
the Utica Bank, and in 1828 he was one of the electors for 
President of the United States. 

He possessed a judgment of remarkable soundness, a mind in all 
respects eminently practical, and a heart ever true to the kind- 
est impulses. To children he was especially kind, while among 
associates of his own age none was more welcome for his cheery 
laugh and his overflowing fun, not less than for his sense and 
his general usefulness. His store was a favorite place of retreat 
for the leisure hours of the busy men of the town. In figure 
Mr. Shearman was portly and imposing, in bearing dignified 
and courteous. His death occurred April 23, 1845, when just 
turned of sixty-two. Mrs. Shearman was a daughter of Joseph 
Ballon, and had come with hei*' father to the settlement in 1792. 
She outlived her husband many years and reached the great age of 
I 



130 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

ninety-six, dying on the 7th of Febrnary, 1877. She was retir- 
ing and domestic in habits, and gentle in disposition. His childrei i 
were Jane (Mrs. Joseph A. Shearman) and Angeline, M^ho died 
in 1832, in her twenty-first year. 

When the Ballous returned from their eastern jaunt, they 
found already here one who by their representations had been 
led to try her fortune in this new country. This was Miss Mary 
Flagg, of Tower Hill, near Narraganset, E. J. Coming a single 
woman, she remained so during a period of upwards of tliirty 
years. As she was a person of imposing appearance, sti'ong 
natural sense and fair education, yet followed presistentlj^ the 
humble career of nurse, it was natural to presume that there 
was some peculiar motive for her course, some mysterious rea- 
son pertaining to her early history. And it was not uncom- 
monly thought that stricken affection had induced her to seek 
these western wilds, the better to hide her wounds and escape 
the indifference or the slights of a heartless world. That this 
was any thing better than conjecture is extremely doubtful. 
It is known that early in life she joined the sect of Friends, 
though her proud spirit could for a long time ill bi'ook the plain 
language which was expected of her. Moreover she attached 
herself to Jemima Wilkeson and remained with her until the 
stern requirements of this shrewd impostor, and especially an 
ordinance for observing a certain protracted fast, so disgusted 
Miss Flagg that she left her forever. Jemima's insistance on 
the doctrine of celibacy may, however, have had its influence 
on the neophyte throughout her life. 

As a nurse, M^elcomed in the best families of Utica, she held 
almost undisputed sway, for she was intelligent, kind, attentive 
and efficient, and fui'therniore had few competitors. At the 
same tiVne she was inde])endent, frank and fearless in the exer- 
cise of the duties of hcu- ])osition. In fact her authority was 
often exercised in a way that would now-a-days be deemed in- 
sufferable. Yet so im})ortant were her services, and so much 
was she held in esteem, that lier word was law, and from her 
dictum was no a])peal. Once meeting a gentleman of standing 
in the community who was giving his wife an airing in his 
chaise, after her recent sickness,. she addressed him thus: "Go 
home, Thomas ! aint thee ashamed to be seen with thy wife in 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 131 

tlio streets, and she not yet a fortnight out of bed?" Miss 
Flagg hved the most of her life in the house whicli juts corner- wise 
upon the south side of Whitesboro street a httle distance beyond 
Broadway. Her companion was her niece Miss Dickens, who 
came several years later and who kept there a little school. 
Miss F. was buried in the Friends' grave yard at New Hartford. 
She had a brother, a dentist, who, in the early part of her 
career, was here occasionally for several weeks at a time on a 
visit to his sister. Among his peculiarities was his hat, which 
bore in front, just above the brim, a gilded knob or handle, 
wherewith it was put on or off at pleasure. This mode of 
doffing one's beaver was a source of fun to the boys of the 
village, so one Sunday when Dr. Flagg was on his way to 
churcJi, a crowd of youngsters followed him in single file, each 
with a corn cob fastened to his front, and on reaching the door, 
each removed his hat by its handle v\rith the same flourish they 
had seen the doctor use. 

Two other Rhode Islanders, Elisha Capron and James Brown, 
•came the same year with Miss Flagg, bringing a letter of intro- 
duction from Dr. Seth Capron, of Cumberland, brother of the 
former, who was himself soon to follow, and after a temporary 
sta}^ in Utica, find a longer home in Whitesboro. These young 
men were blacksmiths, and wagon makers, and in 1805-6, their 
shop was nearly opposite the Coffee House of David Ostrom. 
In April, 1809, Capron is alone, and the "manufacturer of 
coaches, coachees, chaises, chairs, gigs, and every description 
of carriages." On the breaking out of the war he raised a 
compan}' and went to Sacketts Harbor, -whence we have no 
knowledge of his ever returning. As for Brown, a new resident 
takes his shop in June, 1812, and soon after his name appears 
on the list of disqualified juroi's. 

On the 25th of March, 1801, John Glitz, " hair-dresser, of 
New York," as reads his deed, though reputed to have been a 
Hessian soldier of Burgoyne, bought of the Bleecker family 
for eight hundred and fifty dollars a lot near the corner of Gen- 
esee and Maine. The following year he was keeping tavern on 
this spot, it being adjacent to the stand that had first been kept 
by John House. Within eighteen months he had moved to a 
farm in the neighborhood of the village. And the reason of 



132 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

the change, as told by one of his guests, is as follows : this 
guest, after lodging one night in the house, woke in the morn- 
ing and ordered his breakfast sent to his room. The mistress 
made haste to fulfil his commands. Her liusband, when he 
heard of the order, was higlily incensed that a traveller should 
call for his meal while still in his bed, and forbade her to wait 
on him. This she declared she would do, and he with equal 
persistence declared she should not. Words led to words and 
dispute waxed so fierce that he vowed in the end he would sell 
out tlie house and withdraw from the place. The traveller, 
who had listened to all, now made his aj^pearance, and offered 
to buy. A sale was soon made, and the house and the lot went 
to that quaint All)any merchant, the rich William James, who 
paid in exchange the sum of $4,500. 

A border resident of this era was Levi Thomas, who succeed- 
ed Thomas Norton in the tavern on the New Hartford road, 
situated where Mrs. Butterfield now lives. There he kept public 
house for many yeai's, occasionally letting it to other parties. 
About 1826 he moved into the village, exchanging his })roperty 
with Justin Cooley, for the lot whereon once stood the Central 
Hotel, and where now stands the Parker Block. He afterwards 
lived on Breese street in a part of the house that had previously 
been the Methodist meeting house of the New Hartford road, 
and which he put in motion toward its new resting place. He 
was latterly a brickmaker and farmer. Of his five sons, George 
was the last who retained a home in Utica. 

David Slaj'ton, was likewise a border resident at this time, 
living at the upper end of lot No. 92, on a farm which Jerath- 
mel Ballou had leased of Eutger Bleecker in 1797. 

From 1801 down to the year 1818, if not longer, there lived in 
Utica a laborer whose name was Gott Witt, — a singular name 
truly, whether presumed to be German and declaring the wisdom 
of the Creator, or understood as literal English and asserting its 
possession by the creature. That he was blessed with any un- 
usual mental capacity does not appear, though physically he 
was well enough endowed, being over six feet in height, rough 
as a hedgehog, and fitted for any kind of coarse work. Nom- 
inally a joiner, he made pumps, scythe snathes, &c., and now 
and then did a job as teamster. He lived not far from the north 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 133 

■east corner of Main and Second streets, now the rear end of the 
premises of Mrs. Ah-ick Hubl)ell, in the Ginseng House, as it 
was called, from its having been once used as a ware-house for 
the curing and store of ginseng. The business of preparing this 
root was introduced here by a foreigner who worlced at it in Mr. 
Post's house. Afterwards it was undertaken by Mr. Talcott 
■Camp, and conducted about a year in the house above alluded 
to. The roots were, for the most part, gathered by the Indians, 
who would bring in during the season a wagon load or two 
every week. It was carefully assorted and much of it rejected. 
The remainder, after having been scraped, was clarified by a 
process of steaming. Transported to Hartford, it was sent 
thence to Boston and shipped for China. By the Chinese, gin- 
seng is highly prized and largely used as a tonic. The native 
article is much preferred to that imported from America, and 
commands a higher price, and yet even the latter is often 
worth many times its weight in silver. 

A few individuals of the "Welsh race have been already spoken 
of as settled in Utica ere 1801 ; there were Joseph Harris (1792), 
Thomas and Simeon Jones (1794), Richard Francis (1798), and 
John Adams, John Nicholas, John Roberts, and Simon Johns 
(1800). But they were now coming in numbers, and formed 
the only considerable foreign immigration to Oneida count}^, 
which occurred at the beginning of the century. In a pamphlet 
entitled '"Settlement and Progress of the Welsh in Utica and 
Vicinity," which was published in 1860 by the Rev. Llewehyn 
Howell, formerly a minister of Utica, it is stated that in Sep- 
tember, 1795, twelve Welsh families landed in New York, of 
whom five made their wa}^ up the Mohawk and settled in Steu 
ben. After relating the arrival of Richard Francis, accompa- 
nied, as he thinks, by several others, and of John Adams, the 
author proceeds to say that these were followed the next year 
by about one hundred, chiefly from South Wales. They were 
poor, but industrious, and were soon comfortably situated. He 
gives the names of nineteen only, all males, and presumed, there- 
fore, to be heads of families. But as among them are included 
three of whom there is evidence of prior settlement, as, be- 
sides "David Reed and six sons," are included likewise two 
of his sons mentioned separately, there remain but twelve. Of 



134 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

these it is probable that a small part only remained in Utica. 
The Welsli are know to be extremely clannish in their habits, as- 
well as religious in their instincts, and wedded to the forms of 
worship in which they were reared. It was natural, therefore, 
that the new comers should follow to Steuben those who had 
preceded them, where, among their fellows of kindred speech 
and habits, they M^ould sooner enjoy those religious privileges 
so dear to the national heart. According to the opinion of a 
few of the older residents of Utica, it was through the agency 
of Col. Walker that individuals of this pecjple were first led to 
make their home in this region. Appreciating the industry, 
thrift and the many moral virtues of this class of settlers, he 
persuaded them to come and occupy his extensive wild lands 
in Steuben and its vicinity. Whether they were thus drawn, 
or whether, influenced by some motive wholly extrinsic, or even 
fortuitous, they were induced to colonize in Oneida county^ 
having once found their way hither, others followed in the track 
of the leaders; and during the earlier years of this century the 
immigration was considerable. Those who were farmers dis- 
persed themselves over the rich hill sides of Steuben, Remsen^ 
and Trenton, while those who had trades lingered in the villa- 
ges, and were universally credited with being the best mechan- 
ics, and especially builders, of the time. Nor c<nild these latter 
long deny themselves the enjoyment of their cherished institu- 
tions, and the ministry of the pastors who accompanied them. 

On the 12th of September, 1801 twenty- two persons of this 
people, who were Baptists, met at the log house of John Wil- 
liams, upon the road opposite the Lunatic Asylum, and formed 
a church. Some of them lived probably without the village, 
or, if resident in it, were so for a short time only. The church 
they formed is the first, exclusively of Utica, whose organiza- 
tion has been continuous and services unbroken to the present 
time. It is known as the First (Welsh)Baptist, and is the pa- 
rent of the Broad street, now Tabernacle Church. This congre- 
gation erected in 1806, a church edifice near where the canal 
now intersects Hotel' street. It was moved when the canal was 
opened to the site of the present church, on Broadway a little 
north of Liberty. Among the twenty-two who united in its 
organization, were Elder John Stevens and Elder James Harris, 
who officiated as ministers. Elder Abraham Williams, Joseph 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 135 

Harris, brother of James Harris before mentioned, David Reed, 
Simon Johns, Nathaniel Davis, Samuel George, James Phillips, 
Daniel Richards, David Thomas, &c. 

Elder Stephens was for some time their minister, and was 
looked upon bj his peo})le as a man of considerable learning. He 
preached alternately in Welsh and in English, and some of the 
English-speaking settlers, especially such as had been brought up 
as Baptists, attended on his ministry. In five or six years he 
removed to New York, but returned, about 1814, and was a sec- 
ond time at the head of this society. 

Elder Abraham Williams became their second pastor, and 
also preached in both languages. Later in life, and after he had 
closed his ministerial labors, he acted as agent for Henry Hunt- 
ington of Rome, — with whom he had also, as it is said, some 
pecuniary interest in the soil, — in the selling of sand from the 
sand banks on Court and State streets. He died October 25, 
1839, aged nearly seventy-five ; his wife, Elizabeth Baldwin, in 
August, 1838. Their children were Elizabeth (Mrs. Ira Chase) ; 
Abraham B., long a merchant tailor in Utica ; Mary (Mrs. John 
Reed); Sarah (Mrs. Robert Latimer), Rachel and Isaac. 

David Reed was not attracted by the " dirty village," and after 
living in it a year, moved upon a farm three miles eastward, but 
returned to it in liis later j^ears. Of his six sons, John, a plane 
maker, lived in (Jtica until his death in 1870 ; David, Jr., a car- 
penter and joiner, was resident until 1873. After having been 
a deacon in the original church, he became, in 1820, a deacon 
of the church which sprang from it, and remained so until his 
death. " With undeviating devotion and unaffected simplicity 
he served his Lord and Master, bearing through his long life a 
character that challenged unusual respect." 

Samuel George, a shoemaker and partner of Daniel Budlong, 
Avas killed the following year, being struck by the thills of a 
sleigh in rapid motion. The other freshly named parties men- 
tioned above as taking a pait in the new church lived without 
the village. 

1802. 
On the first of January, 1802, a Congregational or Independ- 
ent Church was organized by the Welsh people of the vicinity, 
and this was the second religious society, formed exclusively in 



136 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

Utica, whicli has contiiiuecl in uninterrupted existence to tlie 
present time. It consisted at lii'st of some twenty-Jive persons, 
of whom ten had the year previous joined tlie church atWhites- 
boro, but now detached themselves from it in oi'der to become 
members of this. Their first ministei' was liev. Daniel Morris, 
who arrived early in 1802 from Philadelphia. He was a book- 
binder by trade, and not finding enough to employ him in his 
ministerial charge, or not receiving therefrom an adequate live- 
lihood, he carried on his business of binding, his shop being on 
Main street, nearly opposite the school house. He remained the 
pastor until 181T), living the latter part of his stay on Hotel 
street. He married, wdiile in Philadelphia, a daughter of the 
widow James, to be presently mentioned. His son, D. J. 
Morris, long know^n as a tailor in Utica, is now living in Syra- 
cuse. Woi'shipping for a time in private houses, the congrega- 
tion erected in 1804, a small frame house on the corner of 
Washington and Whitesboro streets, and this w^as the first 
church that was completed in the village, though Trinity was 
previously begun. 

The head of the James family just adverted to died soon after 
tlicir landing in America. The widow having married again, 
to one James Jones, came with her husband and six children to 
Utica and took up a residence on Main street, and it was in her 
house that the church of the Independents had its birth-place. 
Her children, now almost arrived at maturity, became them- 
selves heads of families. They were John, Susannah, (Mrs. 
Daniel Morris and afterwards Mrs. Stevenson,) Daniel, Eleanor 
(Mrs. William Francis,) Morgan, and Thomas. The two last 
named sons were shoe and last makei's, and in partnership. 

Another person related by marriage to Eev. Mr. Moi'ris was 
Stephen Shadrach, a laboring man from Pembrokeshire, whose 
advent was nearly simultaneous with his, and wlio two years 
later married a sister of Mr. Morris. Daniel Shadrach, his son, 
is still living in Utica. 

Among the early members of tliis Congregational Church was 
Watkin Powell, from near Cardill', in Glamorganshire. SaiHng 
up the Mohawk, the sunmier previous, he landed at the mouth 
of the Starch Factory creek, and then found a liome on the bor- 
ders of Frankfort, in the settlement known as Welshbush. 
Here were already located James Harris, before mentioned, 



THE FIRST CHAETER OF UTICA. ] 37 

William James, Evan Powell, a Mr. Lloyd, J'xsiah Morris, 
and others. EVom 1803 to 1809, — one year only excepted, 
when he lived on First street, — Watkin Powell had the care of 
the farm of Col. Walker on the river flats, and lived opposite 
the Colonel on the Broad street road. Then he was a con tractor 
in laying out the Minden turnpike, and, in 1813, occupied a 
farm and a mill on this turnpike, a little above the saw mill of 
Benjamin Ballon. There his wife died in August, 1814, and 
two years later he removed to Conneaut, Penn., having pre- 
viously married the widow of John Nicholas. Besides being 
a good farmer, he was known, says his son, as an honest, moral 
man, a lirm Calvinist and abolitionist, and was especially dis- 
tinguished for his hospitality and kindness to his neighbors. 
This son, Thomas W., completed a course of law study in 1819, 
and settled in Ohio. A successful lawyer, author of two treatises 
on law which have been commended by the highest authorities; 
successively Representative. Senator, and Member of the State 
Constitutional Convention of Ohio, he is still living at Delaware 
in that State. He was born September 7th, 1797, and is prob- 
ably the earliest resident of Utica of any now alive, his advent 
dating, as has been said from the spring of 1801. Of the other 
sons of Watkin Powell, one became a wealthy farmer of Craw- 
ford county, Penn., a leading politician, and a member of the 
Legislature, and the rest were machinists and engine builders of 
Cincinnati or Nebraska City. 

The William James above mentioned as an early neighbor of 
Mr. Powell, settled there the same year. He married a daugh- 
ter of James Harris and remained a farmer. His sons, Joseph, 
AVilliam, Lemuel and David, were, three of them, carpenters 
doing business in the \'illage, and are now, all of them, heads 
of Utica families. William is the father of Thomas L. James, 
the present acceptable postmaster of New York city, who was 
bred a printer in Utica. 

A settler of 1802, and a very prince among his fellows was 
John C. Devereux, whose honoral)le career and many deeds of 
charity have left behind him a memory as verdant as that of 
the green isle whence he came. He was born at Enniscorthy in 
tlie county of Wexford, August 5th, 1774, and was the son of 
Thomas and Catharine Corish Devereux. The family were 



138 THE PIONEEKS OF UTICA. 

wealthy and well connected throughout the county and lived 
at ease upon a handsome estate called " The Leap," from the 
width of the ditch that surrounded it. But they sympathized 
warmly in the agitations which preceded and attended the out- 
break of the Irish Rebellion in 1798, supplying food and assist- 
ance to the patriot army. At its close thev were overwhelmed 
with pecuniary and personal loss. James, one of the sons, was 
killed at the battle of Vinegar Hill. Walter, after close pursuit 
and imminent peril, made his escape and settled in the East 
Indies. Their parish priest was shot down at the altar. Thos. 
Devereux himself was thrown into prison, and died soon after- 
ward. John C. would appear to have come to this country a 
little while before the actual rising of his countrymen, and prob- 
ably in 1796 or 1797. Having been brought up as a gentleman 
and without trade or profession, but, happily, skillful in dancing, 
he gave instruction in it at Middletown, Norwich and other 
places in Connecticut, and at Pittsfield and elsewhere in Massa- 
chusetts, and then at Troy in New York. His success in his 
art, joined to his natiA'^e economy, afforded him a living not 
merely, but equipped him with means to enter on trade ; while 
its practice concurred with home training to give sha])eand per- 
sistence to the ])olish of manner that marked him through life. 

Coming up to this count}^ in order to locate in business, and 
prompted perchance by the advice of his fiiend William James, 
he stopped first at Rome, then known as Lynchville. Mr. 
Lynch wished him to settle, and was ready to lease him land 
for the purpose, but was unwilling to sell. As this did not 
accord with his views, Mr. D. refused to remain and turned back 
to Utica. From his first advertisement, dated Nov. 8tli, 1802, 
we learn that he " opened an assortment of dry goods and gro- 
ceries at the store lately occupied by Jolm Smith.'" This was 
upon the site of a part of the present Bagg's Hotel. Somewhat 
later his store was nearly opposite, and about midway between 
Whitesboro and Water, a store that jutted out eastward from 
the present line of the street and formed the west point of the 
square. When the street was afterward straightened, he built 
a brick store in the rear of the above mentioned spot. 

The goods he had on sale were unusually handsome. The 
salesman had energy, shrewdness and industry, a temper most 
generous, a tongue that was persuasive and fluent, and manners 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 139 

benignant anJ polished. These brought liim quick custom, aud 
insured his success from the outset. His business became so 
extensive that he was probably as generally known through 
Central and Western New York as any merchant on the west 
side of Albany. His sales, as reported by one of his clerks, 
amounted each year to $100,000. He had a pride in his calling, 
and kept ever in view a high standard of credit and honor. Un- 
sparing of himself, he was no less exacting of others. Yet he 
contributed freely his advice and personal and pecuniary aid to 
young men engaging in similar pursuits. Among those he thus 
helped were his brothers, Luke, Nicholas and Thomas, the first 
two being his clerks in succession and afterwards partners. 
Frequent changes took place in the members and title of the 
firm, whereby settlements were frequent, and it became easy to 
escape from the onus of refusing undesirable credit. That these 
were the chief motives which led to such changes we do not 
mean to assert ; tliere wei'c causes beside, involved in the career 
and the movements of all the three brothers. Still it was con- 
venient, no doul)t, to make settlements frequent : it saved many 
dollars otherwise lost. Shifting responsibility, too, relieved from 
problematical trust, and retamed the good will which it might 
not be wise to imperil. The very convenience, perhaps, and not 
his actual habit, suggested the ready excuse Mr. Devereux's 
rivals in trade were wont to put in his mouth, when asked to 
give credit by one he disliked to refuse : " My brother Luke 
is the man; I'm only a dark." Thus in March, 1807, Luke 
became one of the firm of John C. Devereux & Co., when debt- 
ors were invited to settle, and failing to do so by the first day 
of July next ensuing, their accounts were to " be put in train 
for collection." He remained in the house until May, 1813, 
when the senior announces that he has given up business, 
" payment to be made to his brother Lirke," and two months 
thereafter they declare they have no connection in trade. In 
May, 1814, it is John C. & N. Devereux who are united 
together, for Luke is out of the village. In June, 1816, the 
elder has again discontinued, and Nicholas and Greorge L. Tis- 
dale are associate. John C. continued meanwhile to give the 
new firm his endorsements and presence, for which and the rent 
of the store he received compensation. Some time before he 
had lent his aid to Thomas, who managed the Utica brewery : 



140 THE PIONEEHS OF UTICA. 

and now, in 1818, he has an interest with John O'Connor in the 
manufacture and sale of tobacco, snuii' and cigars 

But the canal was just opened and the Mohawk about to be 
left The current of business was setting upward, and the 
lonely and grass-covered square alarmed the merchants who 
were settled about it. As Mr. Devereux had a few j'cars before 
jokingly asked of his up-town fellow trader, John Handy, 
" What's the news in New Hartford?" so now, when the latter 
retorted with his " top of the mornin' Mr. Devereux ! what's the 
news in Deeriield ?" he acknowledged he had nothing to say. 
Not backward in action, he purchased with Nicholas, the laud 
next above the newly opened canal, where the modern Devereux 
block is now located, and there, in 1821, they placed a large 
warehouse and store. At this place trade was conducted many 
years b}'' Nicholas Devereux and his various partners, John C. 
continuing as before to lend his countenance and credit. Some 
ten or twelve years later, when there was started a Utica branch 
of the United States Bank, Mr Devereux was appointed its 
president, and held the position as long as the bank was in 
existence. 

He was strongl}- attached to the place of his residence, devoted 
to its interests, and contributing freely to its institutions. Some 
of them in fact, owed tlieir existence and continued support 
largely to his agency. Such Avas the Utica Savings Bank which 
was established by the U\'o Messrs. Devereux. in comjiany with 
other benevolent citizens of the period. Ahhough a zealous 
adherent of the Eoman Catholic Church, and in later years its 
most munificent patron, yet, when Utica was an inconsiderable 
hamlet, and when all of its inhabitants met in one common 
place of worship, be not only bore about the plate which was to 
receive the donations of the worshippers, but gave a contribution 
of three hundred dollars toward the erection of the first Presb}^- 
terian church. Repeatedl}", at later dates, he contributed freel)' 
to many poor and struggling religious societies. To his own 
church, once so small that he often had all of its members as- 
sembled in his own parlor, he w^as an early, a constant and a 
generous benefactor. uVmong these benefactions was the gift 
at one time of seven thousand dollars to clear off the church debt, 
and at another of five thousand dollars, liis bi'other Nicholas, 
giving a like sum, t(j procure a lot and erect a house for the 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 141 

Sisters of Charity, on their settlement in Utica in 1832-3. 
"Charitableness and hospitality were, perhaps, the most striking 
traits in Mr. Devereux's character. He extended the hand of 
brotherhood to all who were not utterly abandoned, while his 
house was always open, and his welcome to it remarkably cour- 
teous and earnest. The poor had reason to bless his memory, and 
upon no citizen were there more numerous claims." " The city 
manifested its sense of obligations by electing him its mayor in 
1840, at the first election under the law by which the office was 
derived directly from the people, he having previously held it 
by appointment of the common council." Generous and kind- 
hearted as he was, unassuming and simple in his ways as the 
children whom he delighted to gather and to cheer, and. with 
all his national fondness for a joke, betrayed at times into an 
innocent practical hull, yet was Mr. Devereux sagacious and 
sliarp in matters of business, and a keen respecter of his own 
interests. And thus it was that, despite his complaisance and 
his grace, one would perforce suspect he was not as artless as 
he seemed, and that under his show of politeness there lurked 
some small degree of policy. Yet whether suspecting only, or 
whether assured of his failings, to know him was to know his 
substantial worth, and to know this was to revere and love the 
possessor. 

His earlier home was on Main street, but near the close of 
the war with Great Britain, he erected the house on the corner 
of Broad and Second, recently occupied by Alrick Hubbell, and 
here he lived the greater part of his subsequent life. As in his 
younger years he had found recreation in the sports of hunting 
and fishing, so in his declining ones he had recourse to the pleas- 
ures of farm life, and made his residence for a time in a cottage 
on the Minden road, at the upper end of a tract of some four 
hundred acres, which had long been in his possession. But he 
refused to call it The Retreat, as some person had named it, 
for, said he, an Irishman never retreats. He returned to the city 
to die, and his death occurred December 11, 1848. He was 
interred in the grounds of the Sisters of Charity, in the rear of 
St. John's Church. He was twice married. His first wife, who 
was Miss Ellen Barry, of Albany, died in 1813. His second one 
was Mary, daughter of Peter Colt, of Rome, a lady, who, to the 
graces of an accomplished mind and great natural wit, joined a 



142 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

spirit of benevolence that was entirely in unison with his own. 
She survived him twenty 3'ears, and died August 7, 1868. They 
had no children, but at different times adopted two, Ellen, who 
became the wife of Mr. Catlin, of Patterson, N. J., and John C, 
Jr., the son of his brother Thomas, who died 1861. 

Another Irishman who appeared at this time was James Delvin, 
and though filling a much humbler sphere than the preceding, 
he and his shop were among the notable features of the place. 
He was from Derry in the north of Ireland. The name was 
properly Devlin, but was softened for the convenience of his 
Yankee neighbors into Delvin. His brother, William, it is 
thought, came first to America, and returned and brought out 
James. They remained for some time in New Jersey, and also 
tarried in Schenectady before James came to Utica. B}'' trade 
they were hand loom weavers, and had never been accustomed 
to any kind of work in iron ; nor were the}^ possessed of much 
mechanical ingenuity. But James began the business of mak- 
ing nails by hand, and worked at it with great industry. Wil- 
liam arrived after a time and was received into pai'tnership. He 
was better educated, but less steady. They disagreed, and Wil- 
liam was turned ofi. Ere long the trade declined ; nails were no 
longer worth eleven cents a pound. Delvin procured machinery, 
a simple vice-like tool, to head his nails, and w^ent on in a slow, 
ungainful wa}''. A mechanic came to town, one John D. Cray, 
who was skilled in various branches of the copper smith's trade. 
He soon induced Delvin to take him into the concern, and to 
enlarge and diversify it by the addition of a factory of tin and 
copper. Tl:e business was prosecuted with vigor at the place 
where he had estal;)lished himself, on Genesee ojij'jusite Catherine. 
All day long the sound of the hammer was lieard from the upper 
lofts of the shop, aaid to its din was added tlie monotonous rat- 
tle and clank of the machinery for nails that was ])lied by the 
workers below. The association with Craj^ did not last long, 
and was followed 1)y a bi-ief partnership with the brother-in-law 
of Mr. Delvin, Robert Disney. Mr. Delvin had lent his name to 
Mr. Hooker on a note for five thousand dollars. The note be- 
came due and Hooker was unable to meet it. And now Mr. D. 
looked upon himself as a ruined man, since he^iad taken nothing 
to secure his endorsement but a boggy unocupied piece of ground, 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 143 

situated above all the stores on the street; and this he endeav- 
ored in vain to disjjose of. The Erie canal was not yet ; but it 
came, and ran right along side Mr. Delvin's property ; and he 
was rich. Without an expenditure, he became the owner of 
several valuable stores, adjacent to the corner of Liberty and 
Genesee, that were put up by tenants who were only too willing 
to lease and make use of his comparatively worthless security. 
Mr. Delvin, who was a plain, rough, honest man, died Decem- 
ber 19, 1825, in his sixtieth year. His wife (Frances M. Kin- 
sella, of Schenectady), about half his age, departed the year after 
him. William died tlie year before him, at the age of fortv- 
seven, leaving a widow, who died in 1826. The latter had sons ; 
James was without children. 

In August 1802, Benajah Merrell advertises that he "has 
commenced business in the public line as an auctioneer, and 
will regularly attend said business on Saturday of every week 
in the callage of Utica." At this time and for several years 
previous he was living in New Hartford, but, having failed 
there, he tries his fortune in Utica. In the course of 1803-6 
we find him announcing three or four different auction sales, 
but in 1807, after having served as deputy sheriff, he is made 
sheriff of the county in place of Mr. Kip. This office he held 
one year and yielded it to Mr. Kip, but in 1810 was again 
appointed. He was a stirring man, doing earnestly whatever fell 
in his way ; prepossessing in appearance and popular with his 
fellow citizens. He lived on Hotel street in the double wooden 
house next north of the residence of Dr. Colling, and later 
on the crest of Genesee hill. In 1819 he removed to Sacketts 
Harbor, where he died January 27, 1831. His wife, Lucretia 
Henderson, who, as well as himself, was a native of Hartford, 
Conn., died at Portage City, Wisconsin, February 1, 1844. 
His sons Hiram and Harvey were merchants at Sacketts Har- 
bor and Watertown. A daughter became the wdfe of Judah 
Williams, Jr. , 

Solomon P. Goodrich had established a residence in May, 
1802, and began at once to deal in books, but his first announce- 
ment does not appear until January 30, 1804, when under 
the firm name of Whiting, Goodrich & Co., he offers books for 
sale on the north side of Whitesboro street near where Division 



144 THE PIONEEKS OF UTICA. 

now is. Besides keeping a book-store he opened a select school 
for young ladies, and it is remembered by one of his pupils 
that he kindly dismissed them one day in 1806, that they might 
see " the great eclipse" of that year. One more advertisement 
of his books makes its appearance in the papers, and then, in 
1808, he has removed from the place. He was a good old man, 
influential in the Presbyterian Church of which he was a trus- 
tee and much esteemed generally ; in appearance neat and dap- 
per. His wife was Ably Folsome of Glens Falls, and his fam- 
ily a pleasant one. Some of them were afterwards living in 
Geneva. 

Flavel Bingham, a watchmaker, sets forth in August, 1802, 
that he continues his business at the sign of the Golden Watch. 
He obtained possession of a lot on the east side of Genesee 
street, near where the canal was afterwards dug, and had begun 
to build upon it when his wife and himself were successively 
carried off by a pi'evailing fever. Mrs B., who was daughter 
of David White, of Coventry, Conn., died July 11, 1804, and 
her husband within a month afterward. Their only child, 
Flavel W., was taken away by his relatives, but returned in 
after years, studied law with General Joseph Kirkland, and 
for a short term practiced upon the site of his father's lot, then 
moved to Cleveland, where he lived prosperously, but is now 
dead. 

Likewise in August, 1802, Frederick White announces a 
" New Hat and Grocery store" a few doors west of Bryan John- 
son. He has on hand six hundred castor roram and napt hats, 
two hundred felt do, &c., and beside the various kinds of liquors 
and groceries which he enumerates, he has also nails, crock- 
ery and a few dozen of Webster's first and third part spelling 
books; all of wliicli, lie tel]s us, will be sold for wheat, pot or 
pearl ashes, furs, and an approved credit. Cash and the highest 
prices paid for all kinds of furs. Others of his advertisements 
occur some years longer. Accounts not altogether favorable 
arc given of Mr. White's hal)its and his attention to business. 
It is said also that he manifested little skill as a salesman, seem- 
ed indifferent about showing his goods, would loll upon them 
and thus screen them from inspection l^y his customer, and was 
prompt in replacing them on the shelves if not purchased imme- 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 145 

diately they were shown. He remained single during most 
of his residence here, but at length married a Miss Whiting, and 
took to housedceeping on the south east corner of Main and First 
street. In 1811 he was one of the village trustees, and shortly 
afterward removed to Sacketts Harbor. He is represented as a 
noble looking man. But in the end he became the victim of 
ruinous habits. 

Another hatter of this era whose career ended yet more sadly 
was Benjamin Hicks. He was tall and finely proportioned, agile 
and skillful in athletic sports, especially in skating, in which 
he had no equal : and in military parade his movements were 
those of a precise and accomplished officer. On drill he was selec- 
ted as the Ijest fugleman. Not devoid of mental capacity he was 
yet disinclined to labor, and had the I'eputation of being wild and 
hare-brained. He worked for Samuel Stocking, and was after- 
wards a business associate of Levi Barnum. In the end he 
proved dissipated, unthrifty and quarrelsome, and was separated 
from his wife. He enlisted in the army and became sergeant 
major, after the war led a strolling life, and finally died alone 
in a toll-house in Oswego county where he was collector. His 
wife was Ranah Tisdale who afterwards married General John 
Gr. Weaver. 

A Welsh citizen, of a totally opposite character, who lived 
here nearly seventy years, was Edward Baldwin. He was a 
little too late to assist in establishing the Baptist Church, but 
he soon became connected with it and remained throughout his 
life one of its leading members. He was a native of Usk, in 
Monmouthshire, and was born in March, 1777. A carpenter 
by trade, he was, it is said, so expert with the broad axe that 
bets have been wagered that timber he had hewn had been 
sawed and then smoothed with a plane. In 1800 he came to- 
this country, but remained some time in Mainland, and did not 
make Utica his abode until 1802. He soon established himself 
as a builder and ere long obtained a good run of custom. Be- 
sides several private residences, he built for its trustees the 
Academy and Court House. But he would not, for '' con- 
science' sake," consent to take the contract for the erection of 
the Catholic Church that was tendered him not long afterward, 
though he might have had it on better terms than other mechan- 
K 



146 THE PIOXEEKS OF UTICA. 

ics. For himself he put up two houses on Washington street 
near the ctiriier of Liberty in one of which, or else on the square 
below J. C. Devereux, he lived throughout his life time. Full 
thirt}' 3'ears before its close he retired from active business. 

Mr. Baldwin always bore the reputation of a thoroughly up- 
right and conscientious man, strong, and as most people would 
think, even bigoted in his convictions, retiring in his habits, yet 
a shining light in the Church of his adoption.' He is said to 
have been remarkable for the earnestness and fervor of his pray- 
ers. The following incident was related by one who was a fel- 
low voj-ager with him on his reiurn from Europe, whither Mr. 
Baldwin went on a visit in the course of his earlier residence. 
A fearful storm had arisen which brought consternation upon 
all. The captain of the vessel was himself so despairing of 
the issue that he bid them prepare for death, as the ship must 
go down. A passenger, in reply, assured the rest that the cap- 
tain was mistaken. He had just heard that young man in 
prayer, and he was conlident they would not perish. 

Mr. Baldwin himself died December 11, 1871 ; his wife 
on the fourteenth of the pi'evious July. They had six daughters 
and three sons ; Anna (Mrs. Winchester Powell,) Elizabeth 
(Mrs. Joseph James,) Catharine (Mrs. William Francis,) Harriet 
N. (Mrs. Jacob Corle,) Jane, of this city, Ebenezer deceased, 
Edward E. of Montana, and James of Colorado. 

One of the Welsh emigrants who settled in Remsen in 1795 
was a congregational minister named Rowland Griffiths. Like 
other Welsh ministers he seems to have had a secular calling as 
well, and in 1802 he announces himself as a "Taylor & Habbit 
Maker," ready to do business in a shop next door to Mr. Post. 
Here with him he was burned out in 1804. His wife was a 
daughter of Jenkins Evans, a settler of 1803. He removed to 
Marcy in 1815, and died about 1854. A son now lives in Utica. 

Another Welsh family, for seventy-five years represented in 
Utica, hail for its head William Rees, of Pembrokeshire, who 
sailed for America in June, 1801, in company with one hundred 
and forty-nine others. After a year he came hither and settled 
on Frankfort hill, but soon left it for the village. Here he was 
a resident, and most of the time a farmer, until his death in 
December, 1851. His wife, whom he found in Philadelphia 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. ' 147 

TDefore coming, died the summer before. Of his seven sons, 
including Sylvanus, the blacksmith, James, the milk dealer 
and amateur in chess playing, Evan J., Thomas, &c., all are 
dead. . Maria, his only daughter, long the house keeper of 
Thomas Walker, is the sole survivor. 

Two brothers Ellis, one of them named Marvin were tempo- 
rarily resident. They were speculators in land, and became 
the founders of Ellisburgh, in Jefferson county. One of them 
lived also in Deerfield and w^as a justice of the peace. 

Of the appearance of Utica in 1802, and more especially of 
the characteristics of its people as they presented themselves to 
one temporary visitor among them, we have a few hints in the 
journal of Rev. John Taylor, of Westlield, Mass. His journal 
of a missionary tour through the Mohawk and Black River coun- 
trv is contained in the third volume of the Documentary History 
of New York. In the course of his excursion he stopped two or 
three times at Utica, and the following passages are extracted from 
his notes : " This is a very pleasant and beautiful village ; but it 
is filled with a great quantity of people of all nations and reli- 
gions." " There is but a handful of people in this place who have 
much regard for preaching or for anything in this world. Eight 
years last spring there were but two houses in the present town 
plot. There are now above ninety." "Utica appears to be a 
mixed mass of discordant materials. Here may be found peo- 
ple of ten or twelve different nations, and of almost all re- 
ligions and sects ; but the greater part are of no religion. The 
wc)rld is the great object with the body of the people." 

That the place presented at this early period of its existence, 
much of the roughness, both of morals and of manners, so com- 
monly found in freshly settled districts, is altogether probable. 
In the hurry of clearing and of building, in the general scram- 
ble of trade, men were intent on immediate interests, eager to 
fix a position and a business, and might have been neglectful 
of the courtesies of the present life, still more of the claims of 
the future. Beset on all sides by strangers, either settling among 
them, or crowding past toward new homes in the wdlderness, 
they hardly knew who were their neighbors, or had come to re- 
ahze the fullness of their social obligations. In the absence of 
churches and of schools there w^as Httle of the restraint so 



148 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

controlling in older coniniunitie.s, fewer influences to persuade 
to the practice of what was due to themselves, their fel- 
lows and their Maker. But that Utica w^as not wholly made 
up of the worldly-minded and irreligious people which this 
writer would have one to believe, that there was a goodly leaven 
at work amid the fermenting mass, the personal sketches thus far 
exhibited will, I trust, sufficiently show. Churches and schools 
were obtaining a foothold, and their healthful influence, wnth 
that of the many educated and superior minds, now beginning 
to assert themselves, was fast shaping these " discordant mate- 
rials " and giving correctness and elevation to the morals of soci- 
ety, "Were there no other evidence of a want of charity in Mr. 
Taylor than those to be met with elsewhere in his journal, there 
is certainly some inconsistency in the picture contained in the 
last of the quotations we have drawn from him when contrasted 
with the fact recorded under the same date. He preached, he 
says, on the afternoon of that day (August 1,) to three hundred 
people. In the morning of the same day, his congregation at 
"Whitesboro had amounted to two hundred and fifty, though the 
service at Whitesboro, it should be added, was the communion, 
wdien audiences are usually smaller. Three hundred people was,. 
it is prol)able, at least half of the population of Utica. 

Accompanying the journal of Mr. Taylor there is a rude dia- 
gram of the place, with its buildings set down in their relative 
position. Eighty-two are figured, extending about seventy rods 
on Main street and sixty on Whitesboro, and on Genesee street 
ten rods below the square and sixty above it. They are 
all detached from one another except three on the east cor- 
ner of the square and Genesee, and two upon the west corner. 
The Hotel is the tallest of any : Bagg's tavern covers the more 
space. Besides these the only ones represented as larger or 
more eminent than the others, are two on the north side of 
Main street, a little east of the square, and one a short distance 
aljove the square, on the east side of Genesee street. The draw- 
ing of the west line of the square as the arc of a circle concave 
inwards, I have reason to believe, is incorrect, the saliency be- 
ing, in fact, angular and toward the centre, while the quarter 
circle which connects this angle with Whitesl)oro street, formed 
but an inconsiderable part of the whole west line ; so also is 
there an error in the drawing of Genesee street, at right angles 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 149 

with the intersecting street. Notwithstanding these inaccura- 
cies, the map is valuable as the only picture of the hamlet at so 
early a date now known to exist. 

1803. 

As early as 1798, the Episcopalians of Utica and its vicinity 
had, as we have seen, been assembled by Rev. Mr. Chase, and 
encouraged to continue holding religious services. Meetings 
were accordingly held from time to time in the school house, on 
Sundays when the Presbyterian minister from Whitesboro did 
not preach. But as the population had, by 1S03, become con- 
siderable, and as people of all persuasions were present whenever 
there were services, the school house was so crowded as to be 
inconvenient. In this situation of things it was thought that 
the time had come for the erection of a church. The Episco- 
palians were among the most wealthy and influential of the vil- 
lagers. The Bleecker family bad promised to donate a site for 
the first Episcopal church that should be erected. The first step 
was taken on the twenty fourth of May, 1803, when a meeting 
w^as held, at w^hich B. Walker, William Inman and A. M. Walton 
were appointed a committee to solicit subscriptions for an erec- 
tion fund. Something over two thousand dollars was soon sub- 
scribed, and on the first of June the subscribers decided to build. 
Messrs. Walker, Inman and Nathan Williams w^ere selected as 
a building committee, plans and estimates were obtained, and 
the gift of a lot secured from John R Bleecker, of Albany. 
The building, when completed, would cost, according to the 
estimate, four thousand dollars, but as the amount subscribed 
reached only $2,072.50, it was agreed that the builders, Messrs. 
Samuel and John Hooker, should go on, agreeably to the plan 
presented by Philip Hooker of Albany, until the funds were 
expended. Work was accordingly^ begun, but through embar- 
rassments from lack of means, it was not until 1806 that the 
building was so far completed as to admit of use, and not until 
some years later that it was wholly finished. 

The Presbyterians were also growing in numbers and influ- 
ence, and by the month of October, 1803, the number of mem- 
bers of the united church of Whitesboro and Utica living in the 
latter place had increased to twenty, that of the congregation 



150 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

being probably considerably greater. It was therefore recom- 
mended by the session that one deacon and two elders be chosen- 
from that part of the congregation living in Utica. And on the- 
second of the following month, at a meeting held in the school 
house, Captain Stephen Potter was elected deacon, and Captain 
Stephen Potter and Ebenezer Dodd were elected elders. This 
Mr, Dodd, who has not been before mentioned, was a shoemaker 
who lived on the west side of Genesee street, near the river, and 
a brother of Rev, Bethuel Dodd, the minister of the united parish. 
At the same meeting nine trustees were appoiDted in additioa 
to those of Whitesboro, as follows : Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, 
Erastus Clark, Talcott Camp, Apollos Cooper, Benjamin Ballou, 
Jr, Benjamin Plant, John C. Hoyt, Nathaniel Butler, and 
Solomon P. Goodrich. 

Arrived at the year 1803 we encounter several additional 
names, among which we recognize not a few of those of citizens 
who were afterwards prominent, 

" Da\ id Ostrom was a soldier of the Revolution, and among 
the earliest settlers of Oneida county. About the year 1790 or 
1791 he removed from Dutchess county to New Hartford, and 
afterwards lived in Paris, from whence he removed to Utica. 
Ui)on the organization of Oneida count}", in 1798, he was ap- 
pointed one of the county judges, which office he held until the 
year 1815, with the exception of three years in wliicli his name 
was omitted from the general commission of the peace for the 
county. Although not educated for the bar, he was, in 1812, 
admitted ex gratia an attornej^ and counsellor of the county 
courts," and by an advertisement of that period it seems that 
he opened an office in Utica. To the above, taken from 
Jones' Annals, we append an extract from an obituary notice 
which appeared ii> the Columbian Gazette : " His knoMm integ- 
rity, his independence of sentiment, his unassuming manners^ 
and practical good sense, were equalities which recommended 
him to the electors of Oneida, as their representative in the 
State Assembly for many years and (lualitied liini for the seat 
which he some time held in the Court of Connnon Pleas. For 
a considerable period he executed the duties of a mtigistrate in 
this village with great correctness and to universal acceptance." 
As early as Febi-uary, 180-1, he was installed as landlord of the 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 151 

Cofiee House, a well-known public house which occupied the 
ground now covered by the Devereux block, and therein 
remained a number of years. Later he lived nearly opposite, on 
the site of the Franklin House, now covered by the Arcade. 
And there he died March 17, 1821, at the age of sixty-five. As 
he had lived with the uninterrupted respect and kind regard of his 
fellow citizens, so his sudden departure by a stroke of apoplexy 
was followed by unaffected regret. His sons were Joshua, 
John H. and Nicholas ; his daughters, Harriet J. (Mrs. Walter 
Grerman, of Norwich,) died 1819; Clara, died of cholera in 1832 ; 
and Maria. 

Dr. Marcus Hitchcock came with his father from New Haven ^ 
Conn., to New Hartford. N. Y., and there studied medicine with 
Dr. Amos G. Hull. After removing to Utica he began to prac- 
tice, but was not satisfied with the profession, and soon opened a 
drug store in company with Dr. John Carrington. The latter was 
a brother and brief successor of Dr. Samuel Carrington, whose 
abrupt departure in 1802 has been previously told. When Dr, 
John gave up to him. Dr. H's store was on the east side of Genesee 
street below Broad. But soon afterward, that is to say, in 1805^ 
he moved across the street, to No. 38, a few doors above the 
corner of Whitesboro. Here was kept also the post office, which 
fell to him with the drug business of his predecessor, and of 
which he was the official head from July 1, 1803, down to 
January 21, 1828. And here was the chief place of gathering 
of all the inhabitants of Utica and its immediate surroundings. 
At the coming of the daily mails all who looked for letters or 
papers, all who sought to hear or to tell what was new, repaired 
to the office, and clustering about the more knowing or voluble 
talkers, assisted in the discussion of matters local, national or 
cosmopolitan ; appointments were made or kept, bargains nur- 
tured, nominations counselled, candidates pilloried and election- 
eering furthered. Strangers became known among the cits,. 
young men were informed and encouraged by their elders, and 
a friendly oneness of interest was constantly fostered. And 
here it was, as tradition asserts, that once when Utica was young, 
though how young we are not quite assured, there occurred an 
incident like this : A group of townsmen were talking of the 
advancement of their place and wondering whereto it yet might 



152 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

grow, when Erastus Clark, that sage and trusted senior, ven- 
tured boldly to declare that lie expected the town would yet 
contain live thousand people. A prophecy so wild, out-reach- 
ing far their fondest hopes, encountered only universal laughter 
and derision. During the war Dr. Hitchcock acted at times as 
agent and paymaster of the government. For twenty-five years 
he continued to deal in drugs, and was largel}' concerned in the 
sale of patent medicines. Among others which he sold were 
the Welsh medicamentum, catarrh snuff, odontica, and many, 
many more. The first named article, which was in considerable 
demand and for a long time held in high repute, was an inven- 
tion of his own, but named, by permission, in honor of Dr. 
Roberts, of Steuben, a physician of celebrity among the Welsh 
settlers of the northern part of Oneida county. 

Dr. Hitchcock was stout, corpulent and phlegmatic. He failed 
in l)usiness, and was charged with being a defaulter to govern- 
ment. A suit was brought against him but the verdict went in 
his favor. In 1836 he removed to Ten-e Haute, Ind., where 
he died about 1853. His wife, to whom he was married July 
1, 1807, was daughter of David Trowbiidge, to be noticed 
shortly. They went to house-keeping in the house yet standing 
on tlie southeast corner of Main and First. He afterwards built 
the house that stands on the south-west corner of Whitesboro 
and Washington. His children were John W., a physician of 
Mount Vernon, 111. ; Marcus, a druggist, deceased ; Cornelia, 
(Mrs. Wood,) deceased ; James,, deceased ; Andrew, a lawyer 
in New York, deceased ; Mary, (Mrs. Cookerl}-,) also de- 
ceased. 

In July, 1803, a partnership in the practice of medicine and 
in the sale of drugs was effected between Dr. Francis Guiteau, 
Jr., and Dr. Solomon Wolcott, Jr. This Dr. Wolcott, a native 
of Colchester, Conn., and born on the first of March, 1769, was 
a son of Solomon, and a descendant in the sixth generation of 
the Henry Wolcott who came from Somersetshire, England, 
with Winthrop's emigration in 1630, and in 1636 took part in the 
founding of AVindsor, Conn., — the head of the numerous family 
of AVolcotts in the United States, the progenitor of two or three 
governors of C< )niK'Cl icut, and of other eminent persoiis. Study- 
ing medicine with ])r. Hastings, of New London, Dr. Wolcott 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 153 

settled himself in Williamstown, Mass. There by the exercise 
of his profession and by the purchase and sale of bounty lands 
given to the soldiers of the Revolution, he acquired some prop- 
erty, and there he was married. Thence he was drawn to Utica, 
chiefly by the persuasion of his former fellow townsman, Nathan 
Williams, although his coming in 1803 was not his first visit 
to " the Whitestown country," nor this his first acquaintance 
with Dr. Guiteau, having already seen him in 1792, when the 
latter was located in Rensselaer county. 

Their partnership formed, the shop and office they occupied 
was situated near where once stood the office of the county clerk, 
that is to say close to the intersection of Burchard and Whites- 
boro streets. On the opposite side of the latter street and ad- 
joining the site of the present Globe hotel, each built himself a 
house. After Dr. Guiteau withdrew. Dr. Wolcott removed to 
the east side of Genesee, a few doors above the corner of the 
square, where his store was known by the sign of the Good 
Samaritan. Within less than two years he had taken with him 
his brother Waitstill H., and another remove brings him to the 
stand now occupied by B. F. Ray, on the corner of Genesee 
and Whitesboro. During this time, he had been physician and 
druggist, but more of the latter, his advertisements finding a 
place in every newspaper issue. But relinquishing his trade in 
1813 to his brother, who now had John Williams as an associ- 
ate, he devotes himself rather to practice. In 1814 he had a 
brief partnership with Dr. Daniel Barker, and in April, 1815, 
was appointed garrison surgeon's mate in charge of the hospital, 
established for the relief of the government soldiers, the care 
of whom he had already had for some months. About the 
same time, he was made one of the judges of Common Pleas. 
Toward the close of the war he became interested as a silent 
partner with William Gaylord in dealings in crockery. They 
made exports of cotton and imported crockery and other articles 
in return, for which purpose Mr. Gaylord visited England and 
brought out the goods, but mysteriously disappeared shortly 
after his arrival. The venture was ill-timed, for money had 
become exceedingl}^ scarce and a remunerative sale was out of 
the question. To aid him in his operations and in building a 
house, Dr. W. had borrowed at the Bank of Utica, of which he 
was a director, $16,500, giving his note and ample security. 



154 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Unable to meet it at maturity and pressed bv liis endorser, he 
gave him judgment, by the advice of a friend, and thereby alien- 
ated an estate that was appraised at §100,000. In 1801 he had 
bought the farm originally settled by John D. Petrie, next east 
of Matthew Hubbell, and to it had added another by a subse- 
quent purchase. There, about the time of his embarrassment, 
he built the large wooden house where some ten years afterward 
was opened the Utica High School, the building that is now oc- 
cupied by William Brady. From the date of his failure, he 
declined in cheerfulness and in strength, and, being seized wath 
acute illness, he sank to his grave the same year in which he 
moved into his house. His death occurred October 30, 1818, 
at the age of forty-nine. A previous erection of his was the 
brick house still standing on the south-west corner of Broad 
and Second streets. 

An obituary notice declares of Dr. Wolcott, that he was "a 
steady friend and firm supporter of all the religious, moral and 
political institutions of our country," and that "he discharged 
with fidelity all the social and public duties of life." To this 
we can only subjoin that he was a much valued member of the 
community, that in person he was large and fine looking, of 
staid habits and grave demeanor, and that among the institu- 
tions wholly local in which he was most deeply interested were 
the Bank of Utica, the Utica Academy, and the Presbyterian 
Church. His wife, Abigail Butler, of Pittsfield, Mass., filled a 
useful place in the church aforesaid, and was a woman of 
character. She afterwards became the wife of Rev. William 
Woodbridge, of Utica, and died May 20, 1835. The children 
of Dr. Wolcott, besides the three oldest, who died in childhood, 
were Horace B., who died at twenty-two in 1829 ; Sidney H., 
now living at Addison, Steuben county, N. Y., and Solomon B., 
who resided at Addison until his death, September 11, 1860. 
His parents made a home witli him during the latter years of 
their life, and here his mother died July 17, 1822. Waitstill H., 
his brother, removed early from the [)lace, and died in 1833. 

Thomas Walker was born in Rehoboth, Mass., November 
18, 1777. He was of an old New England family, and his 
father held a lieutenant's commission in the war of the Revolu- 
tion. After acquiring an education whose solidity and thor- 



THE FIEST CHARTER OF UTICA. 155 

oiigliness adorned his life, he learned the trade of a printer with 
Isaiah Thomas of Worcester, one of the most eminent of the 
craft, and author of the well known History of Printing in 
America. He came to Oneida county with enterprise and in- 
dustry, here to seek his fortune and help in building up the 
nascent civilization. In conjunction with his brother-in-law, 
Ebenezer Eaton, also of Worcester, he started, at Rome, a news- 
paper called the Columbian Patriotic Gazette. This was on the 
i7th of August, 1799. The Western Centinel had been estab- 
lished at Whitesboro in 179-1, the Whitestown Gazette at Xew 
Hartford in 1796. This was, therefore, the third newspaper 
published in the county. They brought the printing materials 
with them, and hired a man in Rome to make a Ramage press, 
and on this the paper was printed. The publication price was 
one dollar and a half. Advertisements not exceeding twelve 
lines were inserted three weeks for seventy-five cents, and con- 
tinued for twelve and a half cents per week. Mr. Eaton was 
connected with the paper about eighteen months. 

In March, 1803, through the influence of personal and politi- 
cal friends, Mr. Walker removed his paper to Utica, called it 
the Columhian Gazette, and made it a supporter of the adminis- 
tration of Thomas Jefferson. The first number of this weekly 
sheet appeared March 21. Its dimensions were ten and a half 
by twelve inches, and the paper was coarse and dingy. The 
second page and about one half of the third, was devoted to for- 
eign news, editorials, and communications ; the remainder was 
filled with advertisements. The office was located about 14 
Genesee street. Its sign was a large square one, containing a 
portrait of Benjamin Franklin,— the familiar one, which repre- 
sents him with his chin resting on his hand, and his spectacles 
pushed back upon the forehead. As editor as well as publisher^ 
Mr. Walker conducted the Gazette for twenty-two j^ears, secur- 
ing success by his enterprise and faithful devotion to business. 
He wrote little himself, but exercised good judgment in his 
selections, and was assisted by able contributors. He also dealt 
to some extent in the sale of books. 

A large share of the population whom he wished to reach 
with his paper, resided at the north as far as Lewis and Jeffer- 
son counties, and there were then no post routes, and no com- 
munication thither, except by chance passengers. In order to 



156 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

surmount these difficulties and circulate the paper, lie set about 
establishing post routes to these far northern settlements. From 
Post Master General Granger he obtained authority to establish 
them -wherever the}' could be self-sustaining. Commissions 
were made out in blank and sent to Mr. Walker, who, with Silas 
Stowe, a prominent resident of what is now Le^Yis county, and 
for some years a meml)erof congress of the district in which he 
was a resident, was clothed with full power to designate post 
masters and contract for the conveyance of the mails. Few pub- 
lications were issued from his office besides the paper. The 
only ones of which we have any knowledge were some almanacs 
and pamphlets, a Western Gazetteer (1817), and a translation of 
Rodolph Tillier s Justification of the Administration of Castor- 
land. About 1815-16, Eliasaph Dorchester was for a time 
associated with him. As apprentices he had nearly at the same 
time a Milo, a Thurlovv and a Pliilo. These were Milo Tracy, 
Thurlow Weed and Philo White. Other apprentices were 
'Thomas H. Clark, William Sickles, &c. 

During the war of 1812-15, Mr. Walker held the position of 
•collector of United States revenue for this district ; a position 
which it so happened that his son, Thomas R, was the first to 
hold after the late war of the Rebellion. He was a democrat 
in all the forming days of the government. In the Clintonian 
struggle in this State, he took sides with DeWitt Clinton, was 
afterwards a whig, and latterly a republican. In 1825 Mr. 
Walker sold the Gazette to Samuel D. Dakin and William J. 
Bacon, l)y whom it was united with the /Shitinel, under the title 
of the Sentinel and Gazette. These gentlemen having purchased 
also the Patriot^ the successor of Mr. McLean's paper, there were 
thus brought together the remains of the three earliest papers of 
the county. 

Mr. Walker was one of the directors named in tlie charter of 
the Bank of Utica. For several years he was its vice-president, 
and in 1845, when Henry Huntington declined a reelection, he 
was chosen its president, and was annually reelected up to the 
time of his death. He was also, for many years, president of 
the Savings Bank, and was the first treasurer and the fourth 
president of the trustees of the Utica Academy. 

He was a man of singular modesty, simplicity and purity of 
character. So unobtrusive was he, that few of those who met 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 157 

him knew how warm hearted and public spirited he was. x\.nd 
yet in these particulars, as well as in his strong practical sense 
and his sterling integrity, he had few superiors. His method 
and accuracy in business were remarkable. He cared well for 
his own affairs, but declined any investment that promised more 
than seven per cent ; deeming this the only just as well as safe 
return. A man of strict religious principle, his practice accorded 
with his profession. For many years he was trustee of the Pres- 
bvterian Church. He was also prominent among the fraternity 
of the Free Masons. His death occurred June 13, 1863, in his 
eighty-sixth year. 

Mrs. Walker, his wife, was Mary Eaton, of Worcester, Mass.^ 
sister of his first partner, and related to General Eaton, who dis- 
tinguished himself in the war in Tripoli. Her death took place 
many years before that of her husband ; but not before she had 
been the mother of seven children, all of whom filled positions 
of respectability and usefulness. They were Mary (Mrs. John 
H. Ostrom), William, a hardware merchant in Utica, and after- 
wards a banker in New York, where he still resides ; Louisa 
(Mrs. Charles E. Hardy), now of Ithaca; Thomas R, until re- 
cently of Utica, and now of New Haven, Conn. ; George, still 
residing in Utica ; James, a civil engineer of much promise, 
who died September 30, 1843 ; Susan (who married the Eev. 
Dr. Alexander M. Mann, of the Reformed Dutch Church), died 
December 6, 1833, three months after her marriage. 

John H. Lothrop,- — lawyer, farmer, editor, merchant, the sec- 
ond time a lawyer, and last and longest a banker, — found in 
the exercise of his pen the calling most suited to his genius, 
and which he most persistently practiced ; while he followed 
banking for his bread, it was in the role of editor that he chiefly 
excelled, as it is in that of the genial and polished gentleman, 
the witty man of society, that he is the longest and most lov- 
ingly remembered. 

Born May 1, 1769, in New Haven, Conn., he was educated 
at Yale College, graduating in 1787. A classmate therein of 
Dr. Azel Backus, who became president of Hamilton College, 
he was associated with him in the management of a school at 
Weathersfield. He studied law with Judge Hosmer of Hart- 
ford, practiced a short time at Middletown, and then bent his 



158 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

course to the south. There he was engaged chiefly in land 
speculation, and spent much time in the neighborhood of Savan- 
nah, sojourning in part with General Greene, of revolutionary 
menior}'. Acquiring some landed estate, he returned to the 
north, and influenced, as is probable, by his friendly association 
with Col. George W. Kirkland, son of Eev. Samuel Kirkland 
of Clinton, whom he had met at the south, he came to Oneida 
county. This was in 1795 or 1796. In Februaiy 1797, he 
married Miss Jerusha Kirkland, and began the career of gentle- 
man farmer at Oriskan}', occupying the house aftei'wards well 
known as the Green place. Within less than a year he became 
insolvent b}^ indorsing for his brothei'-in-law. Col. Kirkland, and 
parting with his farm, went upon the limits. His first employ- 
ment afterward was that of copyist in the office of the county 
clerk. In 1803 he assumed the editorship of the Whitesiown 
Gazette and Catds Patrol., at that time relinquished by Mr. 
McLean. Its name he changed to the Utica Patriot., and settled 
hunself in Utica to conduct it The following year, in company 
with Ralph W. Kirkland, he seems to have made a short essay 
in trade, at least their names appear in a single announcement 
to that effect. The editorship of the paper filling up neither 
his time nor his pockets, he served also as deputy in the office 
of the supreme court clerk. His residence at his coming, was 
in the rear of the printing office opposite Broad street, and next 
on the east side of Genesee, a couple of doors above where the 
canal afterwards i-an. But, getting more prosperous, he built 
about 1809, the fine house which has of late been the home of 
A. B. Johnson, and now of his sou. This he sold in 1811. when 
having disposed of his interest in the })aper, he removed to New 
Hartford. He remained there about five years, striving to earn 
his livelihood by the practice of law ; but having been appointed 
cashier of the Ontario Branch Bank, he came back to Utica to 
assume the duties. And these formed his principal enqDloy- 
ment for the remainder of his days, whfle he still continued to 
contribute to the Patriot or its successor almost to the close of 
his daj's. 

Mr. Lothrop was not fond of legal pursuits, though he had 
the capacity which might have given him eminence in them. 
For, as the possessor of rare natural gifts, improved by diligent 
reading, he had few superiors in the county. He was expert 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 159 

as a writer of fluent and graceful English, enlivened by playful 
fancy and lively wit, and chastened by a cultured taste. He had 
facilit}^ also in the making of verse and considerable repute in 
its exercise. The following conplet, alleged to be his, that has 
long floated in the memory of one of his contemporaries, is cer- 
tainly worth}' of preservation : 

"Man Lurries on, too busy to be wise, 
'Till sage reflection in bis bosom dies." 

The only one of Mr. Lothrop's poetical pieces we have seen, is a 

rhyming liistory of a re-union of the democrats of Oneida county 

in 1801, to make merr}- over the election of Mr. Jefferson, and 

of the sad mishap that blocked their fun. Its interest is rather 

political than literary, yet the verse is smooth and the humor 

quite amusing. 'After having shown us how 

"Tbe rabble all in council met 
To plan a democratic fete," 

it tells how, at earlj- dawn, 

"Crawl'd forth two demos, torcb in baud, 
To roar their thunder through the land," 

and how, — 

"The gun, — a fed'ralist, I trow, 
A terror to Columbia's foe, 

Took its flight 
Protected by the friendly night. 
Without the aid of cart or carter, 
And dove six feet right under water." 

A messenger was despatched and another cannon obtained, but 

"0 transient gleam! misfortunes new 
Befell the democratic crew! 
A rat-tail file dropt from the skies, 
And plug'd the gun before their eyes." 

Mr. Lothrop's social tastes led him much into company, and 
his cheerful temper, his well stored mind, his flashing wit and 
magnetic humor, made him an ever favored visitor, and his 
house a delightful place of resort. He was often called on to 
sing, to play, or to enact the mimic, in all of which he had un- 
usual skill, and heav}- though he was, he danced with a light 
and springy step. Many of his pleasant stories, told in the 
presence of Hackett the Utica merchant, were afterwai'ds re- 
hearsed on the stage by Hackett the actor. He would, says 
Judge Bacon,* at any time have set not the table onlj', but the 
* Early Bar of Oneida. 



160 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

largest masses in a roar of uncontrollable merriment. These 
"fine -powers and capacities would have given him, he thinks, 
high reputation as a jury lawyer, and he is persuaded that had 
Mr. L. remained in the profession, he would have made a distin- 
guished mark. Such engaging talents concurring with real 
excellence of character bn^ught him popularity and influence. 
Yet he was not often in office. He was one of the first board 
of trustees of Hamilton College and for a long time their secre- 
tarv. The family intercourse was tender and affectionate, where 
he was as loving as beloved. His jiersonal appearance was- 
strikmg, and would anywhere have marked him as conspicuous 
am -ng his fellows. He was not above the medium height, though 
his figure, from his generally credited love of the good things 
of life, was unusually large ; but his features were regular and 
handsome, and his expression intelligent, benevolent and refined. 
He died June 15, 1829. 

Mrs. Lothro|), the daughter of the Rev Samuel Kirkland, tlie 
well-known missionary to the Oneidas, was also a direct descend- 
ant, in the maternal line, from Captain Miles Standish, the pil- 
grim. She was born at Stockbridge, Mass., January 8, 1776. 
She inherited, in a lil)eral measure, the uncommon constitu- 
tional strength and vivacity of her father, and also partook 
largely of his spirit of love and charity to all men. No lady 
ever filled a more prominent position in the society of Utica, 
and her contemporaries used to tell with fond remembrance, of 
the brilliant combination of wit, beauty, vivacity and vigor, 
which, in her prime, centred in Mrs. Lothrop. When she died, 
February 20, 1862, age and its infirmities had long obscured the 
relations she once bore to general society. The children of Mr. 
and Mrs. Lothrop, for the most part little less conspicuous than 
their parents, were as follows : Charles Kirkland, died Septem- 
ber 1819, at the age of twenty, just as he had graduated with 
eclat at Hamilton College; Cornelia Greene (first wife of Chas. 
P. Kirkland) ; Hev. Samuel Kirkland, D. I)., pastor since June, 
183-4, of the Brattle Street Church, Boston, author of history of 
that Church, Life of Rev. Samuel Kirkland, Proceedings of an 
Ecclesiastical Council, &c. ; Mar}^ Ann (widow of Ednmnd A. 
Wetmore); Frances Ehza (widow of John IF. liathrop, late 
president of Missouri University); William Kirkpatrick, secre- 
tary of Washington Lisurance Company, N. Y. ; John Thorn- 



THE FIEST CHARTER OF UTICA. IGl 

ton, former commander of Texan navy, died August 14, 184-i; 
Sarah Parsons (Mrs. Grage), died 1856. 

One of the printers and pubhshers of Mr. Lothrop's paper 
was Ira Merrell. He was the son of Bildad Merrell, who came 
into the county in 1798, and lived at first in New Hartford and 
afterward in Holland Patent. This was the first of four of his 
sons who made their home in Utica, and who all reared fami- 
lies, of which scarce a member now remains. Ira learned the 
printer's art with William McLean, and when the latter dis- 
posed of his paper in 1803, he joined his fellow apprentice, 
Asahel Seward, in printing it under the editorship of Mr. 
Lothrop, and continued with him about three years. Some 
time afterward he was for five or six years foreman of Seward 
& Williams, and printed for them this same Patriot^ when 
they w^ere its proprietors. A later paper on which he did the 
press work was the Western Recorder^ published by Merrell & 
Hastings, — that is to say his brother Andrew and Charles Hast- 
ings — and edited b}^ Thomas Hastings, the brother of Charles. 
He also printed a good deal on his own account. Among his 
issues were a Welsh hymn book (1808) that was edited by 
Eev. Daniel Morris, with the assistance of other Welsh preachers 
of the Independents ; a catechism also in Welsh ; a reprint of 
Divine Hymns and Spiritual Songs, by Joshua Smith and others, 
with additions and alterations by William and Emanuel Nor- 
throp (1809) ; an Abridgment of Milnor's Church History, by 
Rev. Jesse Townshend ; a volume of Sermons by Rev. Bell, &c. 
Though a very industrious person, Mr. Merrell was wanting in 
force. His eye-sight becoming poor he was forced to labor only 
as a compositor. He lacked skill also in jiecuniary manage- 
ment and failed to accumulate. He was eminent, however, 
for his piety and his amiability of temper, and in his domestic 
relations was a model worthy of imitation. He was a ruling 
elder of the Presbyterian Church. He lived in Utica thirty 
years, at least, and then removed to Geneva to take charge of 
the Geneva Courier. His wife was Nancy, daughter of Talcott 
Camp. His sons were John, Horace and Andrew ; his daugh- 
ters Ann and Harriet. 

Asahel Seward, eldest son of Colonel Nathan Seward of' 
New Hartford, was born in Waterbury Conn., August 19, 1781. 
L 



162 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Apprenticed when iifteen years of age to William McLean, 
printer at New Hartford, he afterwards worked as a journe_T- 
man in different offices in New England and N. Y., — in that 
of Isaiah Thomas of Worcester, Mass., in an office in Boston, 
and in that of the Morning Chronicle of New York, of which 
the father of Washington Irving w^as then the proprietor. In 
the year 1803, in company with Ira Merrell, he bought of Mr. 
McLean, his interest in the Utica Patriot^ and removed to Utica 
to publish it. In this paper, under its varj-ing names of Patriot, 
Patriot and Patrol, and Utica Sentinel, \\e retained an, interest 
until 1824, successively with Mr. Merrell. with William Wil- 
liams, and still later, as one of the firm of Seward & Williams, 
with William H. Maynard. At this last named date the paper 
was sold to Samuel D. Dakin and William J. Bacon, the sellers 
giving a bond never to publish another paper in Utica. Under 
a claim that this bond had been violated, in consequence of 
permission having been given by their foreman, without their 
knowledge, to use their types and press in the preparation of a 
new paper, of which, however, only a single number appeared, 
the firm was subjected to a protracted and expensive litigation, 
that was terminated at the expense of Mr. Seward after the 
failure of his former partner. In October, 1806, he established 
a book printing house and bindery, and soon afterward opened 
also a book store. About the year 1814, he was joined in this 
enterprise by Mr. Williams, till then associated with him as a 
printer only. The house was a prosperous one, and for many 
years the chief publishing house west of Albany, or, if rivalled 
at all, it was by that of H. and E. Phinney of Cooperstown. 
The foundation for a respectable competency was early laid by 
the purchase from Noah Webster of the right to publish, in 
the western district of New York, his elementary spelling book. 
For fourteen years this was the leading feature of their busi- 
ness, affording an annual income of two thousand dollars. The 
other works they issued were chiefly school books, though not 
exclusivel}' so. The following, which are all that can now be 
recalled, form but a moderate number of their issues : Journal 
of William Moulton, containing an account of a four years 
voyage in the Pacific and South Seas, and bearing the imprint 
of 1804 ; Watts' Divine Songs, to which are added the Principles 
of the Christian Keligion expressed in j^lain and easy verses, 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 163 

by P. Doddridge (1810); a poem entitled The Wanderer, or 
Horatio and Letitia (1811), a Livy (1813), two editions of the 
Musica Sacra of Thomas Hastings (2d, 1819), and the Spiritual 
Songs of the same author ; a Life of Cunningham ; a DaboU's 
Arithmetic ; Murray's English Grammar (1822), two editions of 
Murray's English Reader, (first in 1823), one of which was edi- 
ted by M. R. Bartlett, and contained an introductory essay on 
elocution; Sermons b}^ the Rev. Azel Backus, D. D.; Mont- 
gomery's Wanderer in Switzerland ; several stereotyped editions 
of the New Testament in the Houay version ; and numerous 
toy books and primers illustrated with wood cuts that were the 
product of Mr. Williams. 

An undertaking with which Messrs. Seward & Williams 
were connected, though fraught with much good to the reading 
public, was a formidable one for the times, and eventually 
proved the ruin of the parties most deeply engaged in it. As 
early as 1814 the firm became interested with a publishing 
house in Philadelphia, which, with an inadequate capital, began 
the republication of the Edinburgh Encyclopedia. From the 
narrowness of their means the work was necessarily slow in its 
progress, a volume appearing only at long intervals, so that its 
completion was protracted to about the year 1834. In the 
mean time subscribers died off or fell away, and the publishers 
were bereft of much of their anticipated profits. . After caus- 
ing the ruin of one firm, the work came into the hands of a 
second in the same city, which also gave way. Mr. Seward, in 
the mean time, had retu-ed, so that with the fall of the second 
house, Mr. Williams only was involved. 

After his withdrawal in 1824, Mr. Seward was not again 
actively engaged in business, but lived a quiet life in the beau- 
tiful place once occupied by Colonel Walker, and after him by 
Peter Bours. He and other members of his famih^ at New 
Hartford, were largely interested in the Capron Cotton Mills, 
established in 1814, and he was secretary of the compan}^ 
Though Mr. Williams was a strenuous advocate of anti-masonry, 
Mr. Seward was, on the contrary, the very back bone of the 
Masonic Lodge, and presented to it the Bible they still use. 
His death occurred January 30, 1835. His character is thus 
depicted in the Oneida Whig of that date, by Theodore S. Gold, 
its editor. " It would be easy to delineate Mr. Seward's charac- 



164 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

ter; his integrit}' of conduct, liis singleness and benevolence of 
feeling, his purity of motive and simplicity of manner, could 
all be described wnthin a small compass. But it would be far 
more difficult to exhibit these qualities as illustrated throughout 
his life, and interwoven like " tlireads of gold" through the entire 
fabric of his existence. Religion was with him an ever-living 
and pure principle of action, prompting not alone his duties as 
a professed Christian, but controlling, tempering and chastening 
all the intercourse between him and his fellow men. Through 
the many years he lived among us no spot or blemish ever 
rested on his name. His integrity as a man, an4 his pietN' as a 
Christian were alike unquestioned. All the duties which soci- 
ety imposes he discharged with scrupulous fidelity; as a hus- 
band and a father no one could be more tender; as a friend few 
were found as faithful."' 

His wife, Martha Williams, was a native of Franiingham^ 
Mass., and a sister of his partner. She survived him thirty 
years, and died January, 1865. Their children were Thomas 
W., Alexander, James H., Nancy S., Amelia and Susannah W- 
The three sons are still in Utica. The daughters died young. 

William Williams was the son of Deacon Thomas Williams,, 
of Hoxbury, Mass., though he was born inFramingham in that 
State, October 12, 1787. With his father's family he migrated to 
New Hartford, in this county, and with Asahel Seward he remov- 
ed to Utica in 1803, and learned of him the trade of printing. 
About 1808 he became a partner in the business of printing, and at 
a later period the partnership was made to include bookselling 
likewise. Together they published the Ulica Patriot, and its 
successors, the Patriot and Patrol, and the Utica Sentinel, down 
to tlie year 1824. As publishers and dealers in a great variety 
of books, the firm were widely known, and were distinguished 
for their enterprise and their probity. The place of business 
was at No. 60 Genesee street, nearly on the site of the Utica 
Morning Herald. Their partnersliip was terminated in 1824, 
by the withdrawal of Mr. Seward, but the business in all its de- 
partments was actively carried on several years longer. Among 
the books issued by Mr. Williams, in addition to those which 
emanated fi-om the firm of Seward & Williams, were these: an 
edition of the New Testament (1832) ; Questions on the Gospel 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 165 

Harmony, by Walter King ; Proceedings of tlie Synod of Dort ; 
Thomas Y. Howe's Letters in Vindication of Episcopacy ; Me- 
moir of Harriet Newell; Memoir of Andrew Sherburne ; a 
romance by Captain Charles Stewart, entitled, Parual of Liini 
Sing ; Artist's and Tradesman's Guide, by John Shepberd, 
(1827) : Light on Masonry ; a Young Lady's Astronomy, by M. 
R Bartlett; a Welsh hymn book, (1829), &c. About 1828 
Mr. W. associated himself with Messrs. Balch and Stiles, who 
had commenced business in Utica as engravers. The firm 
issued bank notes for the L^tica and some western banks, and also 
maps of New York, Michigan, &c. Mr. Williams entered 
heartil}^ into the cause of anti-masonry, and became about 
1829-30 the publisher of the Elvcidator^ a paper designed to 
advocate its p]-inci|)les, wliich was edited by B. B. Hotchkin. 
The EJucidator, like the '"Light on Masonry,"' above mentioned, 
detracted from in lieu of increasing his revenues ; but when 
to these causes of embarrassment there was added, as the 
consequence of the ill success of the American edition of the 
Edinburgh Encyclopedia, the failure of its pubhshers, Mr. Wil- 
liams was forced to succumb also. Two years later he removed 
to Tonawanda in Erie county. Some years before his death 
his brain became diseased, as the result of an injury received 
b}^ the overturning of a stage coach in which he was a passen- 
ger. From this time he declined gradually, and was for several 
y-ears shut off from society. He died on the 10th of June, 
1850, in this city whither he had returned two or three j^ears 
before. 

Mr. Williams, while in health, was conspicuous among his 
townsmen for his warm interest and his efhciencv in all matters 
that concerned the general welfare. His time was all given 
either to business, or to some public enterprise, or to some relig- 
ious or moral mission. Though a lover of peace, and fruit- 
ful in the works of peace, he was an ardent patriot, and could 
not be negligent of his countrj^'s claim in time of war. When 
in 1813, an attack on Sacketts Harbor was expected, and vol- 
unteers were called for, he was the first and most active man 
in Utica in raising a company. '' So prompt were his move- 
ments," says one of his companions of the companj", " that in 
thirt}^ hoars after the requisition was received, we were on our 
wa}^ in sleighs for the Harbor." " And here, as in a subsequent 



166 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

campaign when Le was on the lines in the staff of General Col- 
lins, Colonel Williams was as highly valued as a soldier, as- 
he was through life esteemed as a citizen." The war at an end, 
he became a stirring member of the fire department, and as its 
chief executive officer. 'he was much relied on for his energy, 
his self-possession and his fertility of expedient. 

In 1832 he performed a part far more indicative of self- 
devotion and j)ersonal courage under circumstances which re- 
vealed also his genuine benevolence. Says a contemporary who 
knew of what he spoke : '' Those who survive of the inhabi- 
tants of Utica, during the first visitation of the cholera will 
never foi-get his services to the sick and dying, as well as to 
those who from poverty were unable to fly from the pestilence, 
and whose daily earnings were cut off b}^ the suspension of 
business. It was not only from morn to night, but from early 
morn to early morn, that he was seen driving from house to 
house, prescribing for, comforting and encouraging the sick? 
smoothing the pillow of the dying, and distributing to the 
needy, until he was himself stricken down with the disease, 
and narrowly escaped with his life." Mr. Williams was early 
identified with the religious movements of the place, and in his 
life he was the very pattern of a Christian gentleman. From 
1812 to 1836, he occupied the post of elder in the Presbyterian 
Church, and was one of its most honored office-bearers. On 
the organization of the Utica Sunday School in 1816, he be- 
came its first superintendent, and for years afterward, and until 
he was summoned to act as an instructor in the Bible class, he 
was its ruling spirit. Nor were his services in the higher de- 
partment less devoted or valuable. He was also president of 
the Western Sunday School Union. 

As a friend and benefactor he was wise and helpful ; as 
a citizen, public spirited beyond his means ; his counsels, his 
exertions and his purse were ever at the service of individual 
want, and proffered in the promotion of every enterprise calcu- 
lated to benefit the place. In short, in every relation Mr. Wil- 
liams ranked high for his purity and integrity, his cheerful and 
equable tcm])er, his self-sacrificing spirit, and his practically 
useful life. All who knew him in the vigor of his manhood 
will recall with gratitude his noble presence, his clear dark eye,, 
beaming with benevolence, and the magnetism and attractive- 



THE FIEST CHARTER OF UTICA. 167 

ness of his winning manners, so consonant with the traits of 
character we have endeavored to depict. 

He lived on Broad street, in the house now occupied by Mer- 
• ritt Peckham. Every one of its bricks was made by his friend, 
and relative by marriage, Amos Seward, who was devotedly 
attached to him. His wife, Sophia, daughter of Samuel Wells 
of New Hartford, was a lady in whom the natural graces of a 
lovely disposition and a bright and cultivated mind were enno- 
bled by high and active Christian principle. She consecrated 
all to the service of her Master, and was in truth zealous in 
well-doing. Not long before her death she attended a religious 
meeting where a collection was taken up in behalf of Foreign 
Missions, and into the plate she dropped a slip of paper on which 
was written : " I give two of my sons." After she had been 
called to her home, two of her sons became missionaries in the 
foreign field. She died November 12, 1831. Of her large 
family the following lived to maturity : S. Wells, distinguished 
for his services to his country while acting as its interpreter and 
secretary of legation in China, and still more for his long con- 
tinued and useful labors as a missionary printer, for his multi- 
farious learning, and the important contributions he has made 
to a knowledge of the language of China, now professor of Chinese 
language in Yale College ; H. Dwight of New York ; William 
Frederick, a zealous and faithful worker as a missionary in 
Turkey, died at Mardin, February 1:, 1876; Sophia (Mrs. J. V. 
P. Gardner) ; Edward, a twin with the former, deceased ; James 
C, and John P., deceased; and Eobert S., cashier of the Oneida 
National Bank. 

The second wife of Mr. Williams was Catherine, daughter of 
Henry Huntington, of Rome. Naturally conscientious and 
humble-minded, her piety made her most unselfish and devoted, 
compassionate and benevolent. " It was a piety of experience 
and of action, of feeling and of works, piety that read and prayed 
and thought, and piety that labored and gave, piety towards 
herself, towards man and towards Grod." She died September, 
1856. A year previous, she lost the only child that reached 
adult life, George H. Williams, an unusually amiable and inter- 
esting youth. 

A bibliopole in advance of either Seward or Williams, and 
whose career in Utica was nearlv run when the former besfan 



168 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

to deal in books, was George Richards, Jr. If we rightly infer 
his aucestrj' from one of his advertisements, he was son of Geo. 
Richards, a printer at Portsmouth, IST. H. In November, 1803, 
he opened the " Oneida Book Store," so called, in the store lately 
occupied b}' B. Johnson, adjoining the store of Post & Hamlin. 
In December he offers to open a circulating library, to the un- 
dei'taking of which he is encouraged by several gentlemen of 
the village ; proposals were to be seen at his store, and were also 
left with parties in various surrounding villages. In February 
following, he narrowly escapes being burned out, and returns 
his thanks to his fellow-citizens for the assistance they rendered 
him. He takes good care to keep before the public mind the 
existence of the " Oneida Book Store," and the works that may 
there be purchased. But in December, 1809, dissatisfied M'ith 
his business here, or in expectation of improving himself else- 
where, he announces that he has sold his establishment and is 
preparing to leave town 

Mr. Richards was a small, but active and intelligent man. 
He was much respected, and his store a favorite lounging place 
for readers. For two years and a lialf he was clerk of the vil- 
lage trustees, and on resigning theofhce at the time of his depart- 
ure, addressed a letter to the board, which, with the reply of the 
president, is recorded in the minutes of the secretary. In the lat- 
ter, Mr. Talcott Camp, the president, expresses himself as happy 
to have "the opportunit}', in part, to discharge our duty by ren- 
dering 3^ou our best thanks for the very faithful and persever- 
ing manner in which you have discharged your duties. The 
laudable desu-e you express for the rising prosperity of our vil- 
lage, while it gives us pleasure, we hope may prove a useful 
stimulus to our infant exertions for its future welfare. Heartily 
wishing the brightest sunshine of Heaven may rest on your 
future da^'s, we remain," &c. Mr. Richards, who was a single 
man, went, it is said, to Washington, where he found employ- 
ment as a stenographic reporter. 

A female relative of both Mr. Seward and '^\\■. Williams, and 
who, in early life, was foi- a time emploj'ed as a stitcher in their 
bindery, was Miss Martha Dana. For the rare experience of 
Miss Dana, and a cliaracter yet rarer she deserves a record. She 
w^as the daughter of Thomas Dana, an early settler of New 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 169 

Hartford. He was not liimself an agent in the destruction of 
the tea in Boston harbor, though two of his brothers were, but, 
as a matter of principle, he would never drink a drop of tea 
afterward. From the obituary which appeared at her death, in 
1860, I extract the following : "At the age of fifty, after a life 
of much activity, as the result of severe sickness, she was visited 
with a failure of vision that in a short time was followed by 
total blindness. In this condition she remained until her death, 
a period of nearly forty years. Deprived of eye-sight, her ear 
and touch became the more acute, and she took in at these ave- 
nues of sense a large share of happiness, in the social circle and 
the public ministrations of the sanctuary. After her removal 
from Utica, she was accustomed for many years, to make an 
annual visit to quite a circle of friends and relatives therein ; 
and so far from being an incumbrance, her presence was felt to 
be an occasion of felicitation, for the whole atmosphere in which 
she moved was permeated with the very spirit of cheerful res- 
ignation, active benevolence and warm-hearted piety. Her 
hands never forgot their skill, but seemed to have an increased 
facult}' for ingenious and useful effort. She was ever employed 
in designing and fabricating something for those she loved to 
aid, or who were more needy than herself.'' To this it may be 
added that, as mementoes of her kindness and her handiwork, 
she presented to each of the sons of William Williams a patch- 
work bed quilt of her own make. That of Rev. W. F. Williams, 
the missionary to Turkey, he carried with him when he went 
abroad. Showing it on one occasion to an intelligent Shah of 
the country as a specimen of the skill of a blind woman, so in- 
credulous was the dignitary, so confident of the untruth of the 
assertion, that he declared America needed missionaries sent to 
it from Turkey, rather than that the East should receive them 
from the West. 

Miss Dana in her younger years was a tailoress. As an illus- 
tration of her skill, before the loss of sight, the following has 
been related : A citizen of the village was to be married and 
needed a dress coat for the wedding. The cloth, an invisible 
green, was procured from New York, a tailor did the cutting, 
and the work was handed over to Miss Dana to be completed by 
the Monday following. By Saturday evening the coat was fin- 
ished, and finished to her satisfaction, except that the central 



170 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

seam of the back required, as she thought, a Httle additional 
pressing. Her goose was heated for the purpose, but unfortu- 
nately too much heated, for, on placing it on the garment, it 
burned its way through in an instant. Repairing to the tailor's, 
she could lind only three or four insignificant scraps of the 
cloth, not a quarter the size that was needed. But she set to 
work with them, and by dint of the extremest care, toiling late 
on Saturday night, and early on Monday morning, she incor- 
porated them so nicely in the void made by the goose, that the 
owner never discovered the repair, and would scarcely believe 
it when told ; but some time later, when the lining of the coat 
was removed, the stitching was observed on the back. It should 
be added, however, that the cloth of those days admitted of 
turning better than most modern stuff, and coats were often 
taken to pieces and turned. 

An observer standing on the square, at the period of which 
we discourse, might have seen very early in the morning and 
long after night fall, light issuing from a little shop on the 
north side of Whitesboi'o street, near the present corner of 
Seneca. This w^as the shop of Samuel Stocking, a young hat- 
ter from Ashfield, Mass. Born in the last named place, June 
10, 1777, and having acquii-ed his education and his trade, he 
worked for a while in Westfield, and came to Utica on the 17th 
of June, 1803. He possessed no property, but purchased on 
credit a lot of furs to begin the business, and from that period 
until his death he prosecuted it with signal industry and devo- 
tion. Within a year of his arrival he erected a building on the 
east side of Genesee a short distance above the corner, which 
was known as Mechanic Hall, and was soon filled with tenants, 
and into this his own shop was ere long transferred. But in 
1816 he removed to the brick store fronting Broad street where 
he was to be found during the rest of his residence. For many 
years after his first establishment he continually enlarged his 
operations, until they assumed a magnitude in his particular 
line never before or since attained in any part of the State. 
His purchase of furs for the manufacture of hats brought him early 
to the acquaintance of John Jacob Astor, then in the zenith of 
his usefulness, Astor soon appreciated tlie ])erson with whom 
he thus dealt, and yielded to him implicit confidence and un- 



THE FIEST CHARTER OF UTICA. 171 

bounded credit. Mr. Stocking acquired gradual!}^ by bis busi- 
ness, and by sagacious purchases of land in Utica and other places, 
a very large property, amounting, it is said, to half a million of 
dollars before its partial reduction by the revulsion of 1837. 
The simplicity of his personal manners continued, however, 
unabated together with his perseverance in the business to which 
he had been educated. 

As a trustee of the village, as director of the Bank of Utica 
and of the Utica Savings Bank, as trustee of the Utica Acad- 
emy, and a liberal donor to the Female Academy, the Oneida 
Institute and other educational and benevolent institutions, he 
was largely identified with the charities and the well-being of 
the neighborhood. Nor was there a public charity ever com- 
menced, a college, church or academy instituted, but he was 
one of the first to be solicited for its aid. For a long time he 
was treasurer of the Central Agency of Missions here, and 
continued to his death an interested member of the board, 

Mr. Stocking was short of person and full in flesh. When 
a young man his weight scarcely exceeded one hundred and 
twenty pounds, but later in life he became heavy. He wore,, 
it is said, a larger hat than any of his customers. This round 
head, prematurely whitened, this short, stout figure and delib- 
erate gait, and the placid face with its quiet smile and self- 
poised, contented expression, gave him a physiciue as char 
acteristic as were his industry and practical shrewdness, his gifts 
in the making of money and his generosity in dispensing it. 
His residence for many years was the house now occupied by 
Dr. Tourtellot, on the corner of Broad and First, which house 
he built about 1825. Just as twenty years before when his 
labors were not restricted to the hours of daylight, but began 
ere its dawn and were not finished at its close, so now while 
building his house he holds the candle for the masons and en- 
courages them to protract their employment far into the night. 
His wife, Phoebe Sheldon, of Northampton, Mass., died De- 
cember 15, 1854 ; his own death occurred in 1858, on the 1st 
of March. Their children were Mary (Mrs. Josiah T. Marshall), 
James M,, a merchant of this city, now deceased; Elizabeth H. 
H., and Cornelia (widow of William P. Clark), now resi- 
dent ; Phoebe (Mrs. John Stitt, of Chicago), and a daughter 
who died in infancy. 



172 THE riOXEERS OF UTICA. 

As closely given to business as the preceding, as charitable 
and as useful, though as meagre of person, and anxious of coun- 
tenance as the former was portly and composed, was James 
Dana, who attained at least a competence of worldly goods, 
while securing an unusual share of public respect for his straight 
forward honesty, and his earnest and consistent religious life. 

He was born in Ashburnham, Mass., May 29, 1780, was the 
son of George Dana, and the grandson of a Huguenot exile. 
Soon after attaining his majority, he started for what was then the 
west, and after tarrjdng a year at Schenectady, he arrived in 
Utica in 1803. At first an assistant and soon a partner of Gur- 
don Burchard, who was then carrying on the saddlery and 
hardware business, he set up alone in June, 1806. His trade 
as a saddler he abandoned after some years, but continued to 
prosecute the sale of hardwai-e until his retirement in 1850, 
the latter portion of this time in connection with his son George 
S. Dana. " Mr. Dana was a careful business man, and suc- 
ceeded in building up a handsome fortune. Often did he re- 
hearse with honest pride the steps by which the trade, neces- 
sarily small in a hamlet such as Utica was eighty years ago, 
grew for him as for others into proportions that rewarded him 
for years of industry.'' He was for a long period, and down to 
his decease, a director of the Bank of Utica. 

Those who knew him best will regard his moral and Chris- 
tian character as his chief distinction, for he was a man of ex- 
treme simplicity, humble-mindedness and purity of character. 
His religion was not a Sunday affair merely, it was inwrought 
into the whole texture of his mind and life. He delighted to 
converse on religious subjects, and was active in the practical, 
personal duties of a Christian. He was long a teacher in the 
Sabbath school, and for upwards of thirty years an officer in 
the Presbyterian Church. His death occurred January 9, 
1860, in his eightieth yeai-. Harriet Dwight, his wife, was 
daughter of Seth Dwight, and was born at Williamsburgh, 
February 21, 1792. Venturing rarely outside her own family 
circle, she M'as chiefly known as a faithful M'ife and devoted 
mother. She died Se})tember 13, 1870. Their cliildi-en, beside 
three who died in childhood, were as follows : James Dwight 
Dana, the distinguished scientist, Professor of Natural Science, 
Yale College., George Strong Dana, a merchant of Utica, died 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 173 

March 30, 1859 ; John White Daua, a physician of K Y., died 
August 27, 1849 ; Harriet D wight Da.na, (Mrs. J. Wyman Jones, 
of Englewood, N. J.) Corneha Elizabeth Dana, died September 
7, 185-1 ; "William Buck Dana, a lawyer, now proprietor and 
editor of the Merchants' Magazine, IST. Y. ; Delia White Dana, 
(Mrs. K Curtiss White.) 

Already we have mentioned a Hoyt, from Danbury Conn.^ 
as coming to Utica in 1798. Five years later came his brother 
David P., who married in Octolier 1802, and migrated the fol- 
lowing spring. And here he continued to live until his death, 
June 3, 1828, with the exception of about eighteen months 
spent in Chittenango. By trade he was a tanner and currier 
and a shoemaker. Possessed of decided energy and persever- 
ance, with an excellent judgment in matters of business, he 
was successful therein to a greater degree than any other person 
in the same employment. For many years he carried on his 
trade in shoes and leather on Genesee street, a little way above 
Wliitesboro. His tannery was on the latter street beyond 
Broadway, and adjoining the lane called by his name. Here 
he had one hundred and ten vats covered wuth buildings, and 
a little below them on the lane a windmill to grind his bark. 
Besides his tannery, he had, after the construction of the canal, 
a warehouse on its southern bank^ next west from Washington 
street, and a basin beside it. 

Mr. Hoyt was always a prominent man in the affairs of the 
place, and by his industry as well as by his interest in its good, 
assisted much in promoting the prosperity and growth of Utica. 
He was treasurer and afterwards trustee of the village, a direc- 
tor of the Bank of Utica, and in 1819, he represented the dis- 
trict in the chamber of the assembly. He died quite suddenly 
at the age of forty-nine years and a half, having been born 
November 17, 1778. Much of his success may be ascribed 
to his good fortune in having a wife remarkable for that high 
order of intelligence and virtue which, three fourths of a cen- 
tury since, Connecticut sent out into the new settlements. 
Left a widow with nine children, she met her responsibilities 
bravely and with a degree of business capacity which justified 
her self-reliance. In 1834 she married Alexander M. Beebee, 
and in 1856 was again bereft of her support. The remainder 



174 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

of an unusual]}' healthful and protracted life she passed with her 
3'oungest sou, where she was not only the beloved centre and 
pride of a numerous family of children and grandchildren, but 
was honored also by her acquaintance as a woman of positive 
and sterling worth. This life was terminated August 5, 1876, 
in her ninety-second year. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Hoyt 
were Julia Ann (Mrs. Friend Humphrey, of Albany) deceased ; 
Joseph B., of Cazenovia; James M., of Cleveland, Ohio; Mary 
Emeline (Mrs. George W. Beebee of Eavenswood, L. I.) Sarah 
Ellen (Mrs. James B. Colgate, of N, Y.) deceased; and John 
C, of Utica, besides three daughters who died in youth. 

David Trowbridge, of Albany, under date of May 2, 1803, 
announces that he has " taken possession of that well known, 
elegant brick building in the village of Utica called the Hotel. 
From his former standing in Albany, he flatters himself that he 
will be entitled to some attention, not only from his old friends 
and customers, but from the public in general. The building 
is capable of accommodating every description of travellers ; 
and those who wish it, can always be furnished with the best 
lodgings and most convenient private rooms for any length of 
time. A most excellent pasture and the best stabling will always 
in their proper season, be found at this place." Mr. Trowbridge 
was a plump, good-tempered Boniface, of respectable character 
and standing, who, though he did not prove very successful in 
his undertaking, yet gained the respect of the community 
Two of his daughters married professional men of the village, 
and a third was united to a non-resident, who was a member of 
the third of the learned professions. They were Susan (Mrs. 
David W. Childs), Sally (Mrs. Marcus Hitchcock), and Emily, 
wife of Kt. Eev. Bishop Williams, of Conn. Mr. Trowbridge 
had also a son, who built and o|>ened a tavern on the corner of 
Hotel and Liberty, the latter being then known as Maiden lane. 
He was a somewhat longer resident than his father, but like 
him, removed to Albany, and was there the keeper of the Albany 
Museum. 

During the administration of the hotel under this proprietor, 
we again read of a public ball, in Trowbridge's assembly room, 
given by T. Shepherd, dancing master, of a meeting of parties 
interested in the Old Fort Schuyler libraiy, and of meetings of 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 175 

citizens for other purposes. In January, 1806, there was held 
at the hotel, a meeting for the installment of officers of the 
Oneida Masonic Lodge, and this was followed by an address 
before the members of the lodge by Rev. James Carnahan, which 
was delivered in Trinity church. It was during tlie last. named 
year that Mr. Trowbridge would seem to have left the hotel. 

Another new comer of this date, a blacksmith by trade, but 
who afterwards opened a tavern, was Oliver Babcock, a native 
of Rhode Island, and last from Tro}^ At first employed by 
Moses Bagg, Sr., he was in 1S05-6 selling warranted ploughs. 
Next, a partner with Benjamin Ballon, Jr., be failed and his 
partner got the title to his property. While on the limits at 
"Whitesboro he worked at his trade and succeeded in partially 
paying off his indebtedness, so that in December, 1812, he re- 
turned to Utica. During the war some work was thrown into 
his hands by the officers of government, for whom he put new 
irons on their wagons. But before its close he gave up black- 
smithing, and began keeping a tavern on Main street, near the 
site of his former property, and opposite the present entrance to 
the Central Railroad. In a little over four years he was sold 
under execution, and moved into Madison county, but returned 
to Troy to die. He left a family of eight children, some of 
whom are now living in Indiana and some in Tro}^ An inci- 
dent of his experience as a landlord, quite in keeping with the 
many disappointments of this unfortunate man, is as follows : 
A farmer of Litchfield hill, familiarly known as Judge Grunt, 
called one day to sell him a quarter of lamb. Babcock was not 
desirous to buy, but the seller was urgent, and so, after some 
persuasion, the former consented, provided the judge would 
remain to dinner. He did so, and ate up all the lamb. 

Of two merchants who appeared in Utica in 1803, a word will 
suffice. Moses Johnson, in June, announces another new whole- 
sale and retail store, two doors north of M. Bagg's inn. Then, after 
a removal in January following, he removes altogether from the 
place, and goes to Onondaga. Dr. Thomas Wilson in May, has 
just received dry goods, groceries and medicines at the store 
lately occupied by John Smith, and will also practice physic 
and surgery. He is soon sold out by the sheriff. 



176 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Two carpenters, of good repute, and with considerable work 
on hand, who lived in Utica at this time, as well as se^'eral years 
longer, were Augustus White and Eobert Wilson. The former 
was a pious and exemplary person, and an elder of the Presby- 
terian Church. He acquired property, and was the owner of 
the ground covered by the lower end of the Tibbits block. He 
lived here until 1820, and removed eastward. At his death, 
without heirs, he left his money to the American Bible Society 
and other benevolent institutions. Wilson was skilled in fine 
work, and made the stairs of the second church edifice erected 
by the Presbyterians. The houses of Nathan Williams, Thomas 
Walker and others were works of his hands. His early partner 
(1806) was Brown, his later, his own l)rother Thomas. He re- 
moved to Trenton, where he died. 

Caleb and Thomas Hazen were hatters on the square, below 
J. C. Devereux. Their names are met with between December, 
1808, and December, 1805, but later traces we cannot find ; 
Michael Campbell, a barber next door to Post & Hamlin, was 
damaged when they were burned : Tuttle & Lynde had a shop 
w^here were to be seen grave stones made in AVhitesboro : Caleb 
Banci'oft was a butcher ; Archibald Shaw, a brief staying tailor. 
The name of Robert Stewart we find in the notes of the pi-esid- 
ing elder of the Albany district, who, passing through the place, 
.stopped and dined with him. And Oliver Brownson, a singing 
master, is strongly suspected to be the same who settled in 
Madison county, and was the father of the distinguished Judge 
Greene C. Bronson. A worthy Welshman who tarried much 
longer was a laboring man named Jenkins Evans. And about 
the same time with him came a William James, who worked 
with him as a gardener, &c. 

1804. 

As we proceed, in the order of time, with the recoi'd of addi- 
tional citizens, we find that the catalogue of those living in Utica 
in the course of the year 1804, and not yet enumerated, is a 
numerous one. But many of them were transient residents, 
and others filled humble and inconspicuous positions. Few 
will warrant extended notice. Let us begin with the fifth law- 
yer of the place. 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 177 

David Wells Childs was a native of Pittsfield, Mass., and son 
of Dr. Timothy Childs, an eminent physician of that town. He 
was born in 1781, and was graduated at Williams College in 
1800. Four years later he established himself in the profession 
of law in Utica. At the meeting of the first board of trustees 
held under the new charter of 1805, he was appointed their 
clerk, and continued to record the meetings until September of 
the following year, when ill-health obliged him to withdraw. 
On the organization of the Bank of Utica, in 1812, Mr, Childs, 
who was a director, obtained also a more profitable office, being 
made its attorney and notary. In suits by the bank for notes 
that were not paid, it was the duty of the attorney to issue 
writs for each of the endorsers, and for these writs he received 
a handsome fee. By means of his office and by other business, 
for he was a sound and industrious lawyer, he acquired a valu- 
able property. He owned the land on the south side of Liberty 
street, extending from the corner of Washington midway to 
Seneca and lying on both sides of the canal. He built thereon 
the tavern and other buildings fronting on Liberty street, and 
the warehouse above the canal. For his residence he built the 
house on Whitesboro street next west of the Hotel, the same 
that is now occupied by John F. Seymour, and kept his office 
in its basement. By his integrity and fidelity he obtained a 
high standing in the community ; but in the midst of these bright 
prospects he became the victim of a lingering consumption, 
which forced him to retire from the active pursuits of life. He 
finally returned to his native town, where he died July 27, 1826. 
In his last illness he had ample opportunity to prove the bless- 
edness of that religion which he had before this time heartily 
embraced. He was patient and resigned. Among the pro- 
visions of his will was a legacy to the Utica Sunday School of 
two hundred and fifty dollars ; while to the Theological Sem- 
inary at Auburn, to the Western Education Society, and to the 
American Bible Society he also gave five hundred dollars each. 
His wife, Susan, daughter of David Trowbridge, died December 
14, 1820, aged thirty-four. Their children were Rachel (Mrs. 
Bui'ch, of New York or Brooklyn), Sarah, Mary and Susan. 

Another member of this profession, though conspicuous, 
chiefly for his business enterprise and the magnitude of his un- 

M 



178 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

dertakings, and who was long an honored citizeii of Utica, was 
Abraham Yarick, Jr. His ancestral home was in Hackensack, 
N. J., but he was the son of Abraham Yarick of New York, 
and nephew of Colonel Richard Yarick, of revolutionary mem- 
ory, former mayor of that city and attorney gonei'al of the State. 
He was bora in 1780, graduated at Columbia College in 1799, 
and studied law with Peter Jay Munro. In the summer of 
180-i he came to Utica to settle. Though educated to the bar, 
he was never an attendant on the courts, nor took in hand the 
suits of others. For many years he acted as agent for the Hol- 
land Land Company, and was busied in selling for them the 
lands they owned to the north of Utica. Being an active and 
capable business man and full of enterprise, he devoted himself 
throughout his life to dealing in lands, to the management of fac- 
tories and furnaces, and to other financial projects. As early 
as September, 1804, he bought the large farm lying at the heail 
of Genesee street, which was known as the Kimball farm, pay- 
ing for it the sum of $5,500. It was plotted out for building 
purposes, and within two years sales were made at prices which 
were then deemed quite high. Subsequentl}', Mr. Yarick be- 
came possessed, at various periods, of a luunber of lots and 
buildings in different parts of the village. But his largest in- 
vestments were made in West Utica. About i 827. in connec- 
tion with A. B. Johnson, he bought the Jason Parker farm, 
which extended from the river to Court street, op])ositc the Asy- 
lum. And, together with Charles E. Dudley of Albany, he 
bought, about the same time, from Philip Schuyler, a part of 
Great Lot No. 99, being the farm adjacent to the preceding, on 
the east. These were also converted into building lots, and 
yielded rich returns to their owners, while they opened the way 
for the extension of the city toward the west. His name is pre- 
served in the main avenue of these western domains. He was 
largely interested in many factories of different kinds, as in the 
Cotton Mills at Clinton, the Oneida Facte ly at Yorkville, the 
Oriskany Factory, the Utica Glass Factory, &c. An iron furnace 
at Constantia was chiefly controlled by him, as well as mills 
and a rope-walk at Denmark in Lewis county, and he was a 
heavy stockholdei- in one of the eailiest niilroads of the State, 
that known as the Ithaca & Owego, His latest and most con- 
siderable o] aerations were carried on at Oswego, where he came 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 179 

in possession of a property which included no small part of the 
business section of the town. There he built a fine cotton fac- 
tory, of which the machinery alone cost him $60,000 and had 
also a dry dock and a marine railway. His office in Utica he 
kept in Washington Hall, which building he erected about the 
year 1822, and where James Lynch was an early associate, and 
Charles A. Mann a later one. He lived on the corner of Broad 
and First streets, in the house which was built and occupied by 
Peter Bours, and is now owned by T. K. Butler. His wife, to 
whom he was united in 1814, was Ann, daughter of General 
William Floyd, and widow of George W. Clinton, only son of 
Governor George Clinton. His home was a centre of refine- 
ment, and his family a leading one. In 1833 he took up his 
residence in New York, where he died in 1842, leaving three 
children, a son, since deceased, and two daughters. 

The integrity of Mr. Varick in his business dealings, his read- 
iness to respond to the many calls that were made on his pub- 
lic spirit or his charity, and the purity of his life were never 
questioned. As a man of kind and amiable temper, refined in 
taste and feeling and upright in act, he was universally respected. 
Early in his career he was sometimes called on to take a part 
in public afiiairs, as in the organization of the Utica Academy 
and the Ontario Bank. But for the most part, and especially 
during the latter jears of his residence, his attention was ab- 
sorbed in his own weighty concerns. In the Presbyterian 
Church he was a prominent person, and when measures were 
set on foot to establish a Reformed Dutch Church, no one was 
more zealous or liberal than he. He was one of its first elders. 
For a time he was president of the Oneida County Bible Society. 
In person he was tall and imposing ; in demeanor dignified and 
sedate. 

Dr. David Hasbrouck was a native of Shawangunk, Ukter 
county, N. Y., and was the son of General Joseph Hasbrouck 
and his wife, Elizabeth Bevier, both descendants of Huguenot 
families. General Hasbrouck had taken a part in the Revolu- 
tionary war, and subsequently became a general in the service 
of the State. He was a man of acknowledged ability and great 
influence in the community where he lived. The son studied 
medicine with Dr. James G. Graham, of Shawangunk, and at- 



180 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

tended lectures in New York. He came to Utica in 1804, and 
formed a partnership in practice with Dr. Alexander Coventry, 
he occupying the office on the west side of Genesee, next door 
below the mouth of Broad, while Dr. Coventr}^ continued to re 
side in Deerfield. There, also, he sold drugs. His practice, 
was, for the most part, restricted to a few leading families. He 
was the first secretary of the County Medical Society on its or- 
ganization in 1806. About 1815, he removed to Kingston, 
Ulster county, but died in Schenectady in October, 1823, at the 
age of forty-five. 

Dr. Hasbrouck was bright in intellect and well versed in his 
profession; active in person, amiable and companionable; but 
from his very social qualities he contracted habits that inter- 
fered with his usefulness and his standing. He was, in the 
opinion of Dr. Coventry, who remained eleven 3^ears in connec- 
tion with him, one of the most gentlemanly, obliging and kind- 
hearted man he had known. His wife was Miss Abby Lawrence 
of Fort Edward, a woman of stylish appearance and superior 
character, whom he met at the house of her relative, Jeremiah 
Yan Eensselaer, and married in 1811. He left a son and a 
daughter the former, John L., of New York, and the latter, 
wife of Eev. Scoville, of Brookh^n. 

" Dr. Christian Stockman, from Germany, and last from 
Albany, where he has resided for the last ten years, has opened 
in Utica on Genesee street, a general assortment of drugs and 
medicines. He will likewise attend to any calls in the line of 
his profession as physician, and give advice at his store in all 
cases, and when requested, visit any patient who may favor 
him with a call." So runs his advertisement of July 9, 1804. 
He was installed on the east side of Genesee street, not far from 
the present Catherine, his family living in the rear and upper 
part" of the building. Here at the sign of the Gilt Mortar, he 
was selling a year later the following articles '' not generally im- 
ported," viz : " lichen islandicus, flores arnicae, cremor tartari 
solubilis, English wormseed, Gebhart's patent castor oil, alkali, 
fluor," &c. Besides drugs he kept also German toys for sale. 
His announcement a few years later, of a German almanac, must 
liave seemed to the readers of the Gazette, outlandish and 
strange; in staring German characters, the lirst that hrfd as 



THE FIRST CHAllTER OF UTICA. 181 

yet appeared in a Utica print, he advertises a „§od) !I)cutfd)er 
^[merifarufd)^- Salcnber an\ bag 3a^r 1812." His written lan- 
guage was passably good, but his spoken English was quite 
broken. With respect to his literary and scientific acquire- 
ments he was decidedly sensitive. He was small in stature, 
petulant and passionate. Of German oaths the doctor had a 
full vocabulary, and, when these were exhausted, he would re- 
sort to English to finish the anathema. With these traits, it 
was natural that he was often the sport of mischief-makers too 
much bent ou their own amusement to heed the doctor's oiiended 
dignity. 

One bright September night, Enos Brown, George L. Tisdale, 
and other sportive young men of the village, were returnino- 
from a carousal in the "wee sma' hours." As they passed 
Stockman's, Brown rolled over his vinegar cask that stood by 
the door, smashed the glass bottle in the bung hole, and passed 
on with the party, who were making a good deal of noise. Tis- 
dale, who was somewhat in the rear, discovered the condition 
of the cask, as he came up, and being considerate of the vinegar, 
fast gurgling away, he seized the cask and was in the act of 
placing it bung upward, when the doctor appeared at the door 
in his night clothes. Seeing Tisdale in such suspicious circum- 
stances, he gave him chase as he was, venting his curses mean- 
while. At full speed they plunged down Genesee, and then 
along Main, Stockman apparently gaining upon his victim, 
but when not far from Judge Miller's, toward the end of the 
street, Tisdale sprang over a fence into a cornfield, confused his 
pursuer and threw him from the track. 

Although thus much has been said to the disparagement of 
the doctor, it is to be added that he was a regular member of 
the profession, had some skill in his calling, and enjoyed a good 
share of public confidence. He was neat in person and in the 
main correct in depoi'tment. He lived in Utica until after 1820, 
but taking it in his head that he could make money by con- 
ducting a party of Indians to Europe for exhibition, he set out 
with them. He failed in his expectation and became greatly 
reduced in means. Weighed down by disappointment, he 
leaped overboard while on his return, and was lost. His wife 
came back to Utica and was miserably poor. They had one 
son, Christian, Jr., and two daughters 



182 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Into the growing hamlet there came in the course of the- 
year two brothers from Connecticut, antl with them there came 
one who has generally passed as a third brother, but who was 
in reality a cousin, and the brother-in-law to each of them, each 
having mai-ried one of his sisters. These were Abijah and Anson 
Thomas and their relative, B. W. Thomas. All survived by 
many years the early period of our history, and contributed by 
their honorable career as merchants and their responsible posi- 
tion in the church, to the fair name and prosperity of Utica. 
The two former were sons of Abijah Thomas Sr., of Lebanon, 
Windham county, Conn., who, at the age of eighty-eight, was 
gathered to his fathers, leaving the odor of a good name to hal- 
low his memory. Their mother, Kachel McCall, also born in 
Lebanon, though of Scotch descent, possessed a fair proportion 
of those virtues which adorn New England mothers. After the- 
death of the father, his son Abijah remained at home a few 
years to manage the farm and assist in the care of the younger 
members of the family. He married, and in the fall of 180S 
travelled to Utica, bought a lot and returned. This lot, which 
was on Whitesboro street, and was occupied by Hiel Hollister, 
contained about one acre of land, and had a house thereon. A 
part only of the jDayment was made, and the balance was to be- 
come due on the lirst of April next ensuing. Late in March,. 
1804, B. W. Thomas, then a youth of eighteen, was des]iatched 
to complete the payment. The previous season had been an 
unfavorable one, hay and indeed fodder of any kind, was ex- 
tremely scarce, so that horses were fed on hemlock boughs, and 
many died for want of sustenance. Horses, then, could not be 
had, and public conveyances were as yet known only to the 
older settled parts of the country. He must, therefore, go on 
foot, and accordingly, though he had never walked five miles 
from home, he set out, with his pack on his back, and his money 
stitched into his shirt, to make the journey to Utica. He was 
accompanied by a step-brother and an apprenticed carpenter, 
named Gifl'ord ; but the fatigue was too great for the former 
and he was forced to return. Five or six days of toil brought 
them to Green bush, opposite Albany, where they had expected 
to meet Mr. Parker's stage. The stage had started, and some 
time must elapse before they could avail themselves of the next 
(jne. But, grown more accustomed to walking, and somewhat. 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 183 

r efreshed by a rest and a ride they had picked up while pass- 
ing among the Shakers of New Lebanon, they pushed on, in 
the hope that the coach woukl overtake them. In this they 
were disappointed, since they reached their destination, limbered 
and supple, half a day before it. It was Saturday, and the day 
when the money was to be paid. This was tendered in bills of 
Boston banks ; but Mr. Hollister had become dissatisfied with 
his bargain, and in order to evade its completion, would have 
the payment in specie only. With considerable difficulty, this 
was obtained and the sale confirmed. The whole of the follow- 
ing Monday, — such was the wretched state of the roads at that 
period, — was consumed in journeying in a hack to and fi'om 
Whitesboro, whither it was necessary to go to have the deed 
duly acknowledged. 

On the 2oth of 'May following, Mr. Abijah Thomas arrived 
and took wp his abode in his newly purchased house. On this 
lot he remained until his death, performing at all times his 
duties as a man, a citizen and a Christian, and enjoying during 
the whole period the esteem and the confidence of the commu- 
nity: A carpenter by trade, he built for himself, after the lapse 
of some years, a larger house, adjoining the former on the west, 
it being the one recently occupied by B. W. Thomas. His first 
employment was changed for that of wagon and coach maker. 
He was at one time treasurer of the Utica Glass Company, and 
for many years served, without compensation, as treasurer of 
the A. B. C. F. M. This office was, at that time, no desirable 
sinecure, as many of the contributions to the board were sent 
in the form of clothing, which required repacking that it might 
be forwarded to some distant missionary station. Other gifts 
were of herbs or some produce of the farm, which were to be 
sold in order that their value might be realized and properly 
credited. One old deacon of a neighl:)oring town, sent every 
year a fatted missionary pig, for which it was incumbent on 
Mr. Thomas to find a purchaser. '^^ During a long term of years 

*It was this same deacon of whom is related the following: He was 
present as a delegate at a meeting of presbytery, which happened to be an 
unusually stormy one, and being grieved at its disputatious character, he 
essayed to mollify its acrimony by a proposition that presbytery should 
unite in prayer ; whereupon he was invited to lead them in such service, 
his prayer to be followed by one from another lay member. His prayer 



184 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

•►-J**.- 

he was an officer in the Presbyterian Church, and was a con- 
scientious and faithful, if somewhat rigid and uncompromising- 
one. Himself and wife were familiarl}^ known as Uncle Abijah 
and Aunt Lydia. He died September 25, 1846 ; his wife, 
November 5, 1854, aged eighty-three. They left no children. 

Abijah's l)rotlier Anson, born November 24, 1779, made his 
first ventm-e in Richmond, Va., where he succeeded to the busi- 
ness of two other brothers, who had gone there before him. 
Soon selling out, he returned to Connecticut, was married in 
August, 1802, and thence came to Utica in the fall of 1804. 
In company with Abijah, he bought of John Post for $150, 
a fifty foot lot on Genesee street, where the National hotel 
was afterwards built, and where is now the store of Charles 
Millar. The following year they erected thereon a store, 
which they rented to John Steward, Jr. & Co. Mr. Thomas 
also built in 1805 as a residence for himself, the house on Gen- 
esee street now occupied by Sylvester Dering. Disposing of 
this within less than two years, he built one still further up 
street and quite distant fi'om all neighbors, that is to say, on 
the site of the residence of Dr. William H. Watson. He re- 
moved it in 1831 and put up the Watson house itself, in which 
he lived until his death. 

Mr. Thomas engaged in no business until about 1815, when 
he began as a merchant in compan}^ with B. W. Thomas, which 
partnership lasted fifteen years. The store they occupied, and 
which they built for themselves, was on the site of the First 
National Bank and extended around the corner into Catherine 
street. And here, after the dissolution of the firm, he continued 
to do business luitil he sold to James Dutton and retired: As 
a merchant he was successful, though beginning when numbers 
were failing. Among all the ups and downs of commercial life 
it never ha])])eiied to him to be unable to meet with promptness 
his every engagement. He was close in his dealings, saving 
and careful in the management of his })ro})erty, and when he 
withdrew he was possessed of ample means to live at ease. In 

was as follows : " Have marcy, O Lord, have marcy upon us, and keep the 
devil out of these ministers," and was succeeded by that of the other good 
deacon, who prayed thus : "O Lord, thou hast heard the sujjplication of 
our brother, and now, we beseech thee, grant us an answer in peace." The 
oil was effectual upon the troubled waters and quiet was restored. 



* THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 185 

March, 1839, be was cliosen president of the Bank of Central 
New York, which ofl&ce he held while he lived, discharging its 
■duties with watchful fidelity. But the unostentatious and noise- 
less path of a private citizen he preferred to pursue, avoiding 
all controversies, and choosing rather to suffer wrong than 
wrangle about what was withheld from him. In the circle of 
his family he was tenderly loved, for he was amiable and con- 
siderate, and at the altar of his church a sincere and consistent 
worshipper. He died September 2, 1856. His wife (Anna 
Thomas) a person of unusual strength and dignity of character, 
combined with gentleness and purity, was born May 20, 1783, 
and died May 12, 1862. Their children were eight daughters, 
viz: Maria (Mrs. Thaddeus Spencer) died September 18, 1831 ; 
Emeline (Mrs. William Kuowlson) died November 18, 1870; 
Lydia Ann (widow of Samuel P. Lyman), still resident; Cor- 
nelia died unmarried, July 10, 1839; and four who died in 
childhood. 

" Some twenty years since, might frequently be seen sitting by 
the bar room fire of Burchard's tavern, a man more than six 
feet tall, with broad shoulders, large trunk, heavily limbed, and 
altogether built for "service," with a face full of good humor, 
and a blue eye that sparkled with kindness and fun. A scar 
or two on the forehead proved that sometime during his life, he 
had received as well as given tokens of mettle ; and a voice 
that rose clear in the song, with a touch of the brogue, showed 
that hard knocks come by inheritance to an Irishman. Do any 
of our old cocked hats remember Hugh Cunningham?" Thus 
discoursed long since of this lively, loud-talking, rollicking 
Irishman, one who seems to have been familiar with the subject 
of the picture. Doubtless the writer has ere this followed his 
compeer to the grave, and has left us little wherewith to fill out 
the portrait. The eaj'liest hint we have of Cunningham is fur- 
nished by himself in 1801, when he informs the newspaper 
readers that Hugh Cunningham & Co. have opened a new store 
in the village opposite the post office, which was lately that of 
William Fellows. Next we get a telescopic peep at him through 
the memory of one of his contemporaries. A group of citizens 
are gathered around the pump in the public square gazing at 
the great eclipse of 1806, and prominent among them sits Cun- 



186 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. * 

ningham astride the pump handle, enlivening the company with 
his waggeiy. In 1810 he built himself a store on the east cor- 
ner of Genesee and the square, the site of the early House tav- 
ern ; but hardly was it complete, when, on the night of the 3d 
of October, it was burned to the ground. Presently rebuilt, he 
is in it by the middle of January ensuing, and ready to wait on 
purchasers of dry goods. Shortly afterward he put up the 
brick house on Main street that was successive!}^ occupied by 
Drs. Hull and Pomeroy, and now by William Dunn. With 
the Vernon Glass Company and the Utica Insurance Company 
he was connected officially, being a director in both. And that 
he was a fair business character it is but just to presume, though 
it must be confessed we hear less of his business than we do of 
the man. This is what we are prepared to expect after reading 
the sketch presented above, and with still greater reason should 
we be so could we have heard and given due credit to the remark 
of his sagacious and thrifty fellow countryman, John C. Devereux. 
For he it was who is reported to have said of Cunningham that 
"he is a cunning Irishman, who has brought a good deal of 
money to the place, but will cany little out" Since 1805 he 
had been one of the " twenty -five able-bodied men" who formed 
the efficient fire-police of the time, and whose place was so cov- 
eted by the best of their townsmen. But in 1813 his |)lace is 
filled by a substitute, and the reason given is, that he had re- 
moved from the village. And yet this is not tlie last of him in 
Utica. A little later he turned distiller and set up a distillery on 
Nail creek, wdiere it is crossed by Whitesboro street. There 
followed, in due course, an overweening personal love for the 
products of his still, decayed respect, poverty, insanity, an asy- 
lum, death. The last event occurred in February, 1820. 

Such sympathy was felt for him by the town that a few 
months before his decease the village trustees meditated sup- 
plying him with the means to get back to Ireland, and some- 
what later they voted to refund the money which John C. Dev- 
ereux had advanced to relieve his necessities. • '' To point a 
moral and adorn a tale," let us quote with personal application 
to himself a single one of his funny speeches. In describing 
the restless activity of a partner he had i-ecently had in a dance, 
he said of her: "She is aft' in a gallop, before a man can get 
his fut in the stirrup." Cunningham was for himself at least 
ioofasl\ Fortunately he left no family. 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 187 

In July, 1804, that long established merchant Ezekiel Clark 
took into partnership Isaac Coe. In September of the follow- 
ing year they dissolved, and Mr. Coe went on alone. He soon 
removed to a store on the west side of Genesee just above where 
is now Broad street. The same month, October 1805, he mar- 
ried Hebecca Cook of Canandaigua, and took up his residence 
in a house on tlie site of the Bradish block, a house that was 
noticeable from its having stairs on the outside, leading up to 
the parlors on the second floor. He was made village treasurer 
at the first election held under the charter of 1805, and con- 
tinued in the office, by annual reelections, as long as he re- 
mained in Utica. Possessed of decided enterprise, an active 
mover in the project for establishing a glass factory at Yernon, 
and the largest subscriber to the stock of the company, he was. 
if not the first, at least one of its earliest presidents. But his 
ambition outran his resources, and his career ended like that of 
many another ; he failed and went west. In September, 1810, 
a new treasurer was appointed "in lien of Isaac Coe, who has 
left the place.'' 

The next year there appeared a card in the village papers 
from the secretary of the glass company which would seem to 
cast a shade upon the memory of its late president. It con- 
tained a resolution of the directors in which they declared that 
" Whereas Isaac Coe, late president of said company, issued to 
himself, under the seal of the company, thirty-eight shares on 
which the requisite pa)auent of sixty dollars per share bad not 
been paid, they will not transfer said shares to any person un- 
til the whole of the arrearages are paid." Without further 
knowledge of the facts in the case, we read this card with a 
certain degree of distrust of the absconding one. We couple 
it with the resolution of the village authorities, passed the pre- 
vious year, wherein at the same time that they create a new 
treasurer to succeed Mr. Coe, they make a peremptory caU 
upon the latter for the books and papers in his possession. 
From the two acts thus read in connection we are led to pre- 
sume that his straitened means had tempted him to peculate 
upon funds entrusted to his keeping, or at least, that he had 
gone off in such haste as to neglect to place himself ai-ight 
with respect both to the glass company and the board of ti'us- 
tees. Yet it would scarcely be proper to betray such suspicions. 



188 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

— and which are but suspicions — were there not a sequel to the 
story. Fortunately there is a later chapter in the life of the 
seeming defaulter. And this reveals an honesty of purpose 
and a regard for his honor that should be recorded to his credit, 
and cause his name to live in our local history like that of the 
honorable merchant, Mr. Denham, whom, for a similar reason, 
Dr. Franklin has embalmed in his delightful Autobiography. 
Upwards of fifty years after the abrupt de})arture of Mr. Coe, 
and when nearl}" all who had once known him had gone down 
to their graves, he reappears on the scene of his youthful expe- 
rience to make good his delinquencies. Calling upon the son 
of one of his former creditors, he deposits with him the means 
with which to pay with interest his old indebtedness, and a 
similar sum for the discharge of all that he owed to another 
and now needy creditor. Other men have made restiiution 
after years of pecuniary indebtedness ; not many have carried 
a burdened conscience for fifty years, without the power to ab- 
solve themselves, and yet have lightened it at the last. 

Judah Williams, Jr., was a brother of Judge Nathan Wil- 
liams. In May 1804, he commenced mercantile business with 
E. B. Shearman, next door to Schwartze's inn. The firm con- 
tinued at least until 1809, after which Mr. Williams was alone, 
opposite Shearman. He was a reputable man, but quiet and 
not remarkable for enterprise. He was still at the old stand 
No. 34 Genesee, below the post office, as late as 1817 at which 
time he was treasurer of the village. Not long after he failed 
and removed to the neighborhood of Cape Vincent, where he 
acted as a light house-keeper, in which employment he was suc- 
ceeded by one of his sons. Eather late in life he married a 
daughter of Benajah Merrell and had several children, 

Judah Williams, Sr., spent the latter years of his life with 
his sons, and died here March 4, 1807. He was a man of ex- 
traordinar}^ vigor and energy, thin and spare but very erect 
He travelled considerably and always on foot. Having on one 
occasion journeyed from the east as far as Onondaga and then 
returned to Utica. he discovered immediately on his arrival 
that he iiad lost his pocket book, but thought he knew where 
he had left it. Without halting to refresh himself, he started 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 189 

immediately to retrace his steps to Onondaga, and never rested 
until he had found the missing article. 

August 13, 180J:, the firm of Walton, Turner & Co., took 
possession of a store below Bagg's, and at the same time opened 
the forwarding business in two warehouses situated a little dis- 
tance below the river bridge, where the Central Railroad now 
runs. Duncan Turner was a Scotchman, who came from Nova 
Scotia to Albany, where he sold little notions and accumulated 
about five hundred dollars. Joining Mr. Jonathan Walton, of 
Schenectady, he engaged in forwarding and came to Utica to 
manage the business at this end of the line. The warehouses 
were set on upright posts which were undermined by a freshet 
about 1807. The buildings were secured by being fastened to 
a tree, but the wheat stored therein was so much damaged that 
it was sold to Mr. Gilbert to be made into starch. Their later 
store was on Genesee where Broad street enters it. At the be- 
ginning of the war of 1812, Mr. Turner removed to Lowville 
and shortly after to Ogdensburg, which was still nearer the 
Canadian line, and there he lived long after the war. All we 
know of him is that he was a very methodical man, leaving 
his store every day at ten o'clock for his lunch, and retiring at 
an early hour every night, even though company were pres- 
ent. He had two sons, and a clerk named Richard Hardiker, 
who lived here some years after Mr. Turner's departure, and 
was still engaged in loading boats on the Mohawk. 

There were other merchants who commenced in 1804, yet 
failed of sufficient encouragement to remain, or found more prom- 
ising openings elsewhere ; such as Ralj^h W. Kirkland, who 
dealt in European and India goods in company wath the subse- 
quent editor, lawyer, and banker, John H. Lothrop ; Elijah Ran- 
ney, who, besides selling liquor, groceries and leather, was also a 
watch repairer and kept a few articles of jewelry for sale ; John 
B. Murdock, who, in December, 1805, yielded up his store to 
a much more enduring citizen ; Henry Drean, an Irishman, who 
within two years was off for Canada ; Wells & Warren, who 
stayed not much more than one. 

From the traders in dry goods let us pass to a worker and 
trader in hardware. This was the first of three brothers Brown, 



190 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

who, coming from Wliitesboro, found a lodgment in Utica. 
William, their father, a minute taan of the Revolution, had re- 
moved from Rhode Island in 1796. and was serving the country 
about him with meat. His son Enos, was for a while similarly 
emplo3^ed, both at Wliitesboro and at Utica. But having mar- 
ried in 1809 Isabella, daughter of Joab Stafford the copper- 
smith, who died the next year, he joined Daniel Stafford, the 
son and successor of Joab, and entered their pursuit Prospered 
therein, Stafford & Brown soon enlarged their establishment, 
and made a name as dealers in hardware. And thus they went 
on until 1820, when the tide turned against them, and they 
signed over their interest to Spencer Stafford & Co. of Albany. 
To Albanv Mr. Brown went and lived for a while, but was 
back again by 1825. He was a second time a butcher, and a 
second time a dealer in hardware, but never enjoyed his former 
prosperity. He became infirm in health, and before his death 
much impoverished. His decease occurred July 3, 1856. 

In his better days he was tall, athletic and wiry ; fond of fun 
and mischief, and jovial in temper, no one of his age was more 
of a leader than Enos Brown. He was so unerring a shot that 
he would cut off the line from the pole of a boy fishing, and 
he so far away that the boy could have no suspicion of his tor- 
mentor. He built for himself the house on Broad street, now 
occupied by E. S. Barnum, and at a later period a brick house 
on Main street, east of second. After the death of his first 
wife he married Mercy, daughter of David Stafford, and a cousin 
of the first one. She died January 5, 1869. The offspring of 
the first are all deceased. Bj'- the second he had four children, 
of whom a son is living in Michigan, and one in Brookh^n, and 
& daughter in Fredouia. 

An humble mechanic of the year, but who manifested habits 
of activity and industry and of zeal for the pul)lic weal that in 
time brought him to the front, was Augustus Hickox. In 
1804 he was tinman, coppersmith and nailer in company' with 
David Stafford. Before the war he built for himself a store a 
short distance below Bagg's. During and after the war (August, 
1815), he was in a general hardware trade ; and at the same 
time he had become president of the village. He remained in 
business as late, at least, as 1832, his partner at that time being 



THE FIEST CHARTER OF UTICA. 191 

Enos Brown, but finally removed to Michigan. As a public 
spirited and stirring man Mr. Hickox was much esteemed. His 
wife, Wealthy, daughter of David Stafford, died July 6, 1817. 

Of two cabinet makers, Savage and Tillman, who, in 1804, 
were located on the east side of Genesee, above the present 
canal, one only made a protracted stay. William Tillman was 
in 1807-8 in the block known as Mechanic hall. Ten 3^ears 
later he was on Whitesboro street, opposite Division. In Octo- 
ber, 1820, " about to extend his business in the hardware line," 
he has taken into partnership Charles E. Hardy. He was after- 
wards again a cabinet maker, and had as associate Eli F. 
Benjamin. About 1832 he moved to Geneva. Mrs. Tillman 
had a share in the good deeds done by the women of her day. 
Their son James, who was settled at Seneca Falls and afterwards 
at Detroit, died in 1867. 

An exemplary and trusted citizen of many years was Ara 
Broadwell, a mason, much employed both on private and pub- 
lic constructions. He built the houses of Nathan Williams and 
D. W. Childs on Whitesboro street, a house for himself on 
Broad street, in which Alexander Seymour and many later ones 
have hved, stores now covered bj^ the Marble block and the 
two above them, &c., &c. As contractor for the masonry on 
a large part of the central division of the Erie canal, he built 
the locks at Cohoes, the aqueduct at Little Falls, locks at Nine 
Mile creek, besides numerous culverts and bridges. A contract 
for similar work upon a canal in New Jersey proved a source of 
serious loss. But though he failed, he paid every cent of his 
dues. He was the father of six daughters, M^ho are all living, 
— two of them in Utica, — and three sons who are all deceased, 
viz: Phoebe (Mrs. Harvey Barnard), Susan (Mrs. Han^ey 
Mason), Maria (Mrs. Edward Eames), James (Mrs. Francis D. 
Penniman), Ann E. (Mrs. H. T. Miller), Mary (Mrs. Joseph 
Delezenne), Calvin, Stephen and Edward. 

A mason who remained only three^ years in the place was V" 
Timothy Foster. He stayed long enough, however, to put up 
a brick house on Hotel street, the second brick one of the vil- 
lage ; and long enough, too, to leave reminiscences of childish 
days in the memory of his more eminent son, Henry A Foster. 



192 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

The latter was a pupil of Dame Hammond, wife of the elcler^ 
who kept a school near the lower end of Hotel street. 

A somewhat marked indi\adual who began at this era was 
Elisha Spurr, the busy politician and the popular office holder, 
the jolly tapster and the liberal-hearted man. He was born in 
Dorchester, Mass., in 17(iO. About the beginning of the cen- 
tury he went to Troy, where he married Catharine Heartt^ a 
sister of the wife of Olis^er Babcock. He was a hatter by trade, 
and after coming to Utica worked for a while as journeyman 
and then as partner with Frederick White. Next he was an 
auctioneer, and at a later period a bar-keeper for Amos Gray. 
But his principal trade was politics, and he held in succession 
many minor offices ; he was deputy sheriff under Mr. Kip, cor- 
oner, deputy marshal, crier of the courts, &c., &c. Good at a 
joke and corpulent enough to make a butt for the jokes of others, 
he was in his element on election and training days and like 
occasions of public assemblage. He died January 11, 1828 ; 
his wife October 1, 1822. His children were Mary (second wife 
of Arnold Wells), Catharine (Mrs. Ormsby and afterwards Mrs. 
Purcell), John, who, after having been for thirty years a wan- 
derer in the Southern States, Texas and California, has lately 
returned to his friends; Margaret (Mrs. Loomis), Lucretia and 
Abraham. 

As noteworthy a man in his own department as Mr. Spurr, 
was Chauncey Phelps. In 1804 he was employed on a farm 
on what is now Pleasant street. Not long afterwards he became 
a carman, carting for Abraham Van Santvoort and others, and 
serving ;is a watchman by night. All through the war he 
hauled luggage and ammunition toward the lines. Then he was 
a pavior, and superintended the street improvements of his time, 
having numerous men and horses under his direction. His 
home was on Division street, where he lived until 1848, and 
died at the age of seventy-four. His wife was a daughter of 
William Ladd. A daughter was the first wife of the late 
Morgan Gardner. His sons died young. 

Kufus Brown and Ii-a Dickinson were wheelrights and wagon 
makers on Main street near the square, but dissolved in the 



THE FIRST CHAETER OF UTICA. 195 

summer of 1806. The former departed, the latter remained a 
short time longer. 

Two brothers Wells, Alfred and Solomon, were carpenters, 
who came here from Colchester, Ci)nn. The former, a hard- 
working, unassuming and very worthy man, lived the most of 
his life on Broad street, next east of the late residence of J. J. 
Francis, and his brother Solomon a little west of him. Alfred 
lived in Utica upwards of sixty years, Solomon upwards of 
twenty. The former had three sons and a daughter, the latter 
but one son. The children of Alfred were Alfred L., for many 
years a dry goods merchant, and father of Mrs. S. Townsend Peck- 
ham ; Elizabeth (Mrs. Lansing Swan, of Eoch ester) ; Eichard 
H., who succeeded his brother m trade, popular in manners and 
exemplary in character, but died young ; and James C, a drug- 
gist of Utica, and now of New York. 

Jacob Sterling had been an English soldier during the Amer- 
ican Eevolution ; but while in Canada he deserted, swam the 
Niagara river and made his way through the forest to Canan- 
daigua, and thence to Alban_y. He set up as a baker, and from 
that place came to Utica. He began his trade at the lower end 
of Hotel street, and built the wooden house on the south-east- 
ern corner of that street and Wliitesboro, which is still stand- 
ing, the same which was long the home of William Williams, 
the tallow chandler. Here he dealt in flour and cai-ried on 
baking until his removal to New Hartford where he became a 
miller. He was an amiable and worthy person, and endowed 
with more penetration than his son Jacob. For of the latter it 
used to be said by people of New Hartford that he was al- 
ways puzzled to know his age, because he found, on looking 
into the family records, that Jacob Sterling was put down as 
born at two widely different epochs. 

Elisha Eose was a blacksmith, and had two sons who suc- 
ceeded him in the same business, Hiram and Ehsha, of whom 
the latter practiced it quite lately on Bleecker, near to Char- 
lotte street. 

Briefer residents were John Stoddard, cabinet maker ; Eufus 
Eddy, who made " Suwarrow boots ;" Jolm and Henry Shapley, 
two other shoemakers ; Leonard Klinck, a tailor ; John Mar- 
ls' 



194 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

till, who was "capable of making all kinds of ro])e, from a 
cord to a cable :" and Captain Elijah Strong of the First U. S. 
Infantry, who was enlisting soldiers for the garrisons of Niag- 
ara, Detroit and Michilimackinac. 

There remains yet another arrival to be chronicled for the 
year 1804, and tins was a clergyman to administer the services 
of the Episcopal Church. The members of this congregation 
having taken steps towards providing themselves with an 
edifice, determined, while still worshi])ping in the school house, 
to organize a church and to call a minister. In j^ursuance 
of previous notice, a meeting was held at which Benjamin 
Walker presided, when the church was legally incorporated 
under the name and style of Trinity Church, in the village of 
XJtica, &c. ; officers were chosen, and the time agreed on for the 
annual meeting for the election of their successors. These first 
officers were Abraham M. Walton and Nathan Williams, war- 
dens : William Inman, Charles Walton, John Smith, Benjamin 
Walker, Samuel Hooker, Aylmer Johnson, James Hopper and 
Edward Smith, vestrymen. A few days later. Rev. Jonathan 
Judd was invited to come and serve as minister. He came, and 
officiated part of the time here and part at Paris Hill, until the 
fall of 1806, when he removed to Johnstown. Of the style and 
measure of success of his ministrations, we have been unable 
to obtain information. 

In approaching the year 1805, we begin, as it were for the 
first time, to meet with evidences of united interests among the 
villagers, and we find these evidences in the expression of a de- 
sire for a more perfect corporate life. Their wishes in this re- 
spect are contained in a jjetition to the Legislature for a new 
charter, which was received in the Assembl}' February 12, 1805. 
Tlieii- reasons are so fully set forth that we make no apology 
for copying the document in full, together with the appended 
names : 

To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of New York in Sen- 
ate and Assembly convened : 

The petition of the freeholders and inhabitants of the village 
of Utica, in the County of Oneida, humbly sheweth : 

That the rapid increase of buildings, business and popula- 
tion in said village, seems to demand a police better regulated 



THE FIRST CHARTER OF UTICA. 



195 



and more enlarged than at present the said village enjoys, par- 
ticularly with respect to fires and the prevention of public nuis- 
ances ; That your petitioners have already, in many instances, 
experienced a want of power in the inhabitants of said village, 
and the Trustees elected by virtue of the law under which 
the affairs of said village are now regulated ; That a greater 
number of firemen are requisite than is at present allowed ; 
That the population of the village is very rapid toward the 
w^est and south, so that the bounds of the same as now settled 
in these directions are too much limited ; That a great portion 
of the inhabitants of said village are in the habit of consum- 
ing baker's bread, and there being no assize of bread, the poor 
as well as others are obliged to pay for that necessary article a 
greater price than is paid in New York and Albany ; That it 
is found impossible in many cases to cany into effect the laws 
respecting swine, &c., running at large in the streets, having no 
power to distrain and impound, and the owner being frequently 
unknown. 

For these and other reasons, your Petitioners therefore pray 
that your Honorable body will grant to the freeholders, inhab- 
itants and Trustees of the said village powers similar to those 
enjoyed by the village of Poughkeepsie ; in order that the 
-above and many other existing evils may be avoided ; That 
the bounds of said village may be extended, and that the an- 
nual meetings of the inhabitants of said village may be here- 
after on the first Tuesday in April in each year. 



(Signed by the following :) 



B. Walker, 



Erastuf Clark, 
N. Williams, 
Tho8. Skinner, 
Daniel Thomas, 
S. P. Goodrich, 
Talcott Camp, 
Wm. Fellows, 
M. Hitchcock. 
David Hasbrouck, 
Frederick White, 
David W. Childs, 
Watts Sherman, 
James Dana, 
Thomas Walker, 
J. Ballou. 
Apollos Cooper, 
Benj'n Ballou. 
Jason Parker, 
Jadah Williams, Jr., 
Willett Stillman, 
John Mayo, 
Rufus Brown, 



Ira Dickenson, 
Elkanah Hobby, 
William Webster, 
Samuel Webster, 
Thaddeus Stoddard, 
Caleb Hazen, 
Augustus Hickox, 
Sam'l Ward, 
Benajah Merrell, 
Abraham Williams, 
John Adams, 
Ab'm Varick, Jr , 
N. Butler, 

Jer.VanRensselaer,Jr. 
Christian Stockman, 
Bryan Johnson, 
Francis A. Bloodgood 
John B. Murdock. 
Francis Guiteau, Jr . 
John Hobby, 
Charles C. Brodhead, 
Ezekiel Clark, 



Aylmer Johnson, 
Moses Bagg, Jr., 
John C. Hoyt, 
B. Brooks, 
Gnrdon Burchard, 

D. Turner, 

E. B. Shearman, 
Phillip J. Schwartze, 
Joseph Ballou, 
Elisha Capron, 
James Brown, 
Thomas Ballou, 
Joseph Ballou, 
Thomas Jones, 
Eli^'ha Rose, 
Obadiah Ballou, 
,James Hazen, 

David Stafford, 
Eph'm Wells, 
John Bissell, 
Evan Davies. 



CHAPTER III. 



UTICA IX EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND FIVE. 

Having thus sccinned the population of the nascent village, and 
passed in review nearly all of its members, from the origin of 
the settlement down to the beginning of extant historic rec- 
ords, let us, before taking up the thread of these annals, con- 
sider the people as a whole, and the appearance of Utica at the 
date in question. Such a survey is the more desirable, inasmuch 
as while following the experience of individuals throughout the 
course of their career, the attention is often carried forward 
many years, and we are liable to lose sight of the condition of 
things when these individuals first became resident. 

The village, it is evident, had now taken a start and was 
growing with some degree of vigor; and this start would seem 
to have begun from about the year 1794:, as will be seen from 
a glance at the few data we possess. The three log shanties of 
the Bleecker map of 1786, and as observed by a passing settler 
in '87, had, in 1790, hardly increased in number, for this is the 
sum of tliem given by Morse in his earlier Gazetteer, and William 
Miller of Trenton, found no more in 1793, when he first passed 
through the place. In 1794 there were, according to Judge 
Jones,* about ten resident families, or according to a settler of 
that date, seven or eight houses, although two Welsh emigrants 
on their way to Steuben counted, the next year, only four houses 
and a barn on the main street. In 1796 the number of houses, 
says Morse, had increased to thirty-seven, and in 1798 Dr. 
D wight estimates their number at fifty. Maude, two years 
later, tells us there were sixty, while another authority f rates 
the population of 1801 at two hundred souls. In 1802 the 
number of houses, as we learn from Rev. M)-. Tayloi-, had grown 
to nearly ninety, and in 180-1, when Dr. Dwightwas here again, 
he found "one hundred and twenty. houses and a long train of 
merchant's stores and other l)uildings." 

* Annals of Oneida County. f A. B. Johnson. 



UTICA IN EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND FIVE. 197 

The actual narrowness of confine of tlie Utica of 1805, and 
the small progress it had made towards its present measure of 
prosperity, will be evident when we know that the only streets 
in use were Main. Whitesboro, Genesee, Hotel and a portion of 
Seneca, the latter having been added to the preceding in the 
year 1804 Others were laid down on the manuscript maps of 
proprietors, but unrecognised by authority, and as yet without 
houses. Business found its way from the river as far up Whites- 
boro as Hotel street, as far up Grenesee as the upper line of 
Broad, and a little way along Main ; beyond these limits shops 
.and stores were sparingly intermingled with private residences. 
The business was conducted in little wooden buildings of whose 
style and dimensions a flattering estimate may be formed from 
a sample that still remains, transported many years ago to the 
corner of Fayette and State streets, from the west side of Gene- 
see just above Whitesboro, and which, when it w^as erected in 
1806, was deemed the glory of the street. And even this has 
lost most of its significant look since the repairs recently put 
upon it. Xot more than two brick stores had 3'et found a 
place. The dwelling houses of Main and Whitesboro streets 
may be judged of by a few specimens still to be seen east of 
First street and west of Broadway. The road along Genesee 
street consisted of a log causeway barely wide enough for teams 
to pass one another, and having a ditch on either side, into which 
if the hinder wheels slipped, a vigorous pull was required to 
raise them again to the track. 

Some idea may be had of the condition of what is now one 
of the busiest and most thriving quarters of the city, from the 
building experience of Anson Thomas, during the summer of 
1805, when he put up a store on Genesee street, nearly opposite 
Liberty, and also a house higher up on the former. The work- 
men engaged on these buildings had board with their employer 
on Whitesboro, between Broadw^ay and Washington. The last 
named streets were unopened, and the old corduroy road that 
once started between then- lines, and pursued its winding way 
to New Hartford, was at this time abandoned. The course of 
the men to and from their work lay through a swamp and along 
prostrate logs. To call them to their meals the house keeper 
hung a towel on the door post. Within less than two years, 
Mr. Thomas built another house, and this was nearly on 



198 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

the site of the one now occupied by Dr. Watson. Here a for- 
est confronted him, and a forest approached close to his rear, 
the lands about were unfenced and neighbors were distant, the 
nearest on the north being Judge Cooper, at the upper part of 
Whitesboro street Between Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Cooper in- 
vitations to an interchange of visits were made, as in the former 
case, by the display of the white signal, the passage between 
them being along a lonely cow path. 

The transient occupancy of many of the stores and houses, 
and the general floating habit of the traders and and artisans, 
cannot but have been observed in the sketches already given 
of the inhabitants up to this time, a habit which marks new 
countries everywhere. Having sundered the ties of home and 
formed no dm-able attachments in their new abode, they were 
easily unsettled by chance prospects of better things in some 
other locality. Or, inexperienced in business, and having little 
capital to work with, they soon failed, and changed their place 
to gain new credit where their ill fortune was unknown. At this 
time as well as for some years longer, there was doubtless much 
of the rawness of a new people living apart from populous cen- 
tres, and almost destitute of schools and churches. ' Yet there 
was on the whole an unusual amount of intelligence and good 
morals. Some of the settlers had been bred at college, others 
had enjoyed a wide experience abroad and had moved in pol- 
ished circles ; and the majority had been trained under elevat- 
ing and purif^'ing influences. 
)>< Utica was surpassed both b}^ Whitesboro and New Hartford, 
and at least equalled by Rome, its later and more enduring rival. 
Of New Hartford, writes Dr. Dwight, "no settlement, merely 
rural, since we left New Lebanon, can be compared with it for 
sprightliness, thrift and beauty. The lands were in an excel- 
lent state of cultivation; the business of tamiing was carried on 
upon a large scale, and everything wore the appearance of rapid 
improvement." Of the " pretty village" of Whitesboro, he says 
that " the houses, about sixty in number, are, for a new settle- 
ment, uncommonly good ; the}- stand on a single street, straight, 
smooth and beautiful. It contains two churches, and several 
genteel families who are eminently hospitable, and furnish each 
other the pleasures of polished society." These places were not 
only earlier in their origin and had already become centres of 



UTICA IN EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND FIVE. 199 

trade, but Whilesboro, in 1802, became, with Rome, a half-shire 
town of the connty. Here the courts were held, and here the 
chief officers and many of the leading lawyers had their abode. 
Already there were clustered in it a few legal gentlemen of mark- 
ed ability, who would have been distinguished in any communi- 
ty, whether for their eloquence and skill as advocates, their sound 
learning or their just estimate and successful practice of the dig- 
nity and duties of their profession. There was Jonas Piatt, soon 
the leader of the federal party, who, after four years of influen- 
tial service in the Senate of the State, was raised to the bench 
of its Supreme Court, and honored the place by a long series of 
wise and learned decisions and a career of stainless judicial integ- 
rity, — a man of pure morals and a high sense of personal honor, 
of courteous marniers and refined and flowing hospitality. There 
was his partner, Arthur Breese, soon to be transferred to Utica, 
a lawyer of more than respectable standing, a citizen of influence 
in the county, and as a high-minded gentleman, not less generous 
than the former in dispensing the civilities of his house and his 
table. There was Thomas R, Gold, an oracle in equity juris- 
prudence, and who by reason of his "keen logic, sharp analysis and 
learned mastery of cases, argued more of them in the old Supreme 
Court than any lawyer in Central New York." And at a little 
later date there was Henry R. Storrs, who won for himself a na- 
tional repute *' as one of the most forcible debaters and eloquent 
orators of his day," and who in the opinion both of Mr. Clay and 
Mr. Buchanan, — an opinion uttered separately and on different 
occasions, — had not his equal for eloquence in the halls of Con- 
gress. As they increased in celebrity these men drew towards 
them, as pupils and as associates, others whom they trained to 
the same excellence of scholarship and influenced to emulate 
the same noble ambition. Men such as these, with the lawyers 
of Utica already named, and others who followed them, here 
and elsewhere in the county, conspired to give at an early day 
a reputation to the bar of Oneida for learning purity and bril- 
liancy of character which it has since faithfully maintained. 
But as yet these heads of the profession were not only founders 
of this bar, they had also a monopoly of its privileges, so that 
in legal as in other needs, Utica was but secondary and depend- 
ent. If an order were to be procured from the courts or any 
other business to be transacted therein, or even if it were wished 



200 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

that a deed should be acknowledged, a journey to Whitesboro 
was necessar}^ in matters of household convenience and daily 
consumption a like dependence was also, though not so imperi- 
ously, felt. If a fastidious citizen despaired of getting from the 
stores of his own traders the finest loa£ sugar, or a nicer kind of 
tea than the Bohea then in common use, he would be sure of 
finding them with William G. Tracy of Whitesboro; and both 
this place and New Hartford had for many years thriving mer- 
chants who drew custom from Utica. New Hartford, too, in 
the cultivation and pohsh of such families as the Sangers, the 
■Kirklands, the Stanleys, the Snowdons, the Kisleys, &c., had 
'social advantages that were little short of those possessed by 
Whitesboro. 

A natural characteristic of the small and sparse population 
of the vicinity was the very great fi-eedom of intercourse which 
existed. Dependent on one another for fellowship and assist- 
ance, they were knit by the closest of bonds, and found much 
of their enjoyment in the exchange of hospitable visits. Banks 
and degrees in society there were, as at present, but these dis- 
tinctions were less marked, and the bars easily broken down. 
Thus each was impressed by his fellow, and happily there were 
enough of ennobling agencies at work to chasten and exalt the 
whole. Moreover, distances were of little account, and bad 
roads so trifling an impedmient, that if congenial associates 
were deficient or unsatisfying at home, they were sought in 
the cultured and high toned families of the neighboring settle- 
ments ; and so it was that Utica was scarcely more indebted to 
its own leaders than to the foremost peo])le of Whitesboro and 
New Hartford for the influences that formed and enriched its 
character. 

Other manners or habits that might be set down as in any 
w^ise peculiar to a people so recently congregated as were the 
Uticans of 1805, it is diflficult if not impossible to detect ; these 
habits were yet to be formed, and for their clearer development 
we must wait many years longer. Certain youthful amuse- 
ments there were, but these had little that was characteristic 
either of time or place. Scrub races found a field for their 
exercise along the Main street ; more ambitious sport was sought 
on the river road in Deerficld. The jockeys of the lesser course, 
whose names tradition has handed down, were Nicholas Smith, 



UTICA IN EIGHTEEN HUNDEED AND FIVE. 201 

ne]»hew of Major Bellinger, hereafter to be met with as a veii- 
ei'able relic from the founders, and a colored boy, familiar to 
everybody as "Mr. Kip's nigger." If there were many con- 
testants in the race on foot, one only has been remembered, for 
he surpassed them all in agility. And he was none other than 
Henry B. Gibson, as yet a clerk, bat in after times a banker of 
fame and fortune. That ball playing was considerably prac- 
ticed we are convinced by the stringent ordinances which the 
village fathers soon enacted to forbid it within the streets. As 
to the kinds of game in vogue, doubtless they were simpler 
than the present national one of base ball, since we know that 
the western wall of the hotel was a favorite place for play. 

As we have seen, a goodly number of stores and shops were 
dispersed along the principal street. Yet there was room enough 
outside of it for the operations of farmers, and some of these 
were cultivating the soil of what are now the oldest parts of 
the city. As luxuriant a crop of wheat, said an eye-witness, 
has been grown in the second ward of Utica, as he afterwards 
met with in the famous wheat region of Genesee ; and as for 
potatoes, the most abundant growth he remembers to have wit- 
nessed in all his life time was the product of this same neigh- 
borhood. The few simple manufactories as yet in existence 
have been mostl}^ already glanced at. There was the shop of 
William Smith, for the making of wrought nails, on the east 
bank of Nail creek. There was a small shop for cut nails on 
the south side of Main, a little east of the scjuare. Its begin- 
ning was early, but precisely how early the writer is uninformed ; 
it was followed by the similar shop of Delvin, on Genesee. 
These were worked by no other power than the hand and foot, 
the nails being cut by one process and headed by another. 
There was lire's brewery on Nail creek, opposite Smith, and 
there was the new one of Inman, just- opened on the corner of 
Broadway. There -were four tanneries, viz.: those of Ballou, 
Hopper, Hubbard and Hoyt. There was the wagon shop of 
Abijah Thomas, the hat factory of Samuel Stocking. There 
were a few places where chairs and other furniture was made, 
and there were shops where other mechanical trades were con- 
ducted. And these constituted the whole manufacturing in- 
terests. 



202 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

It was trade that chiefly commanded the enterprise which is 
at present enlisted in a great variety of pursuits. And it found 
a vastl}^ wider field for its exercise than is enjoyed by the local 
merchants of to-day. From Lewis and Jefferson, from Onon- 
daga, Madison and Chenango, farmers and country dealers sent 
hither their wheat and other grains, their pot and pearl ashes, 
and the surplus of their farms and dairies, to receive in ex- 
change, for consumption or for sale, goods from tlie east that 
were best attainable by transport on the river. Comparatively 
little money was in use, and business was largely a system of 
barter and credit,wherein the merchants on the Mohawk held 
toward the outlying settlements relations akin to those now ex- 
isting between the importers of the metropolis and inland deal- 
ei"s all over the country : they found a market for these fron- 
tier producers, and supj^lied them in return with the manufac- 
tures of Europe and the groceries and liquors of New England 
and the West Indies. The following are a few only of the 
prices of articles in common use, both imported and native. 
A kind of East India muslin, that would scarcely hold together 
to be measured, was sold for two shillings. This was called 
Bafters. A somewhat finer variety, known as Gurrers, com- 
manded a sixpence more. Calicoes were six shillings and six 
pence per yard ; better and handsomer can now be bought for 
one shilling. West India sugar sold at from ten to fourteen 
cents. Maple sugar in its season at sixpence. Board was two 
dollars a week ; a single meal two shillings. The very names 
of the goods sold by the mei'chants sound strangely to modern 
ears ; they were known by such titles as Shallows, Durants, 
Calimanco, Black Mode, Wildbore, Rattinetts, &c., and among 
the hardware and miscellaneous articles. Brass Nubs, Iron Dogs, 
Franklin Stoves, Drawn boot-legs. Rub stones, &c. 

Let us not imagine that the streets were thronged with traf- 
fickers or that they ever presented a scene analogous to those 
so often witnessed now-a-days. Many years yet elapsed ere 
one of them was paved or lighted, while the side-walks, not yet 
taken in hand by the trustees, were scarce distinguishable from 
the road-ways. A single constable formed the total police, and 
he was often called, in the discharge of his duties, to distant 
points of the State, for Madison, Lewis, Jefferscjn and St. Law- 
rence formed parts of his bounds. No bank had yet been estab- 



UTICA IN EIGHTEEN HUNDEED AND FIVE. 



203 



lislied. The Welsh had the only church actually erected. 
Trinity was in progi'ess, but not ready for use, and the sole 
mode of access to it was by a lane, known as Church lane, 
which anticipated the present First street ; and even this was 
entered through a gate. On the map of Whitestown, made by 




Peleg Giiford in 1806, of which a part is shown above, this 
church is represented as standing quite alone in the rear of the 
row of houses that line the course of Main street. The other 
church pictured on his map was not yet begun. For most wor- 



20-i THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

shippers tbe scliool hoiise was the customary place of resort. 
Baptists who did not understand Welsh attended the Welsh 
Baptist Church when there was preaching in English, and some- 
times made a journey to Herkimer in order to worshij). Meth- 
odists gathered on the New Hartford road. Besides the school 
house and the churches thus far specified the only known build- 
ing or institution of this era, that was in any sense public in 
its character, was a market-house. All that can be learned of 
it is to be found in a remonstrance against it, addressed to 
the commissioners of highways of the town of Whitestown, a 
document that has accidentally escaped the general wreck. In 
this remonstrance the dwellers in the vicinity of the market 
denounce it as unnecessary, and "not accordant with the cus- 
toms of marketing to which the inhabitants were used," as 
wholly an individual project, " in the emoluments from which 
the corporation had no share," as "encroaching upon the too 
narrow streets," and, lastly, as instead of answering the design 
and ends of a regular market, being converted into an aleshop, 
and a rendezvous for the idle, the noisy and the tippler." This 
is not the same market house which a few years later was 
ordered by the public vote, and which was the cause of long 
years of controversy between those living near it and those 
more remote. But from the names and residence of the remon- 
strants we may infer that its site was nearly the same, that is 
to say the public square. 

The village had its burying ground, and in 1806 a deed of 
the premises was obtained from Stephen Pottei", the owner, but 
with a reserved clause that savors little of the modei-n taste 
and sentiment that is exercised in providing for tlie last resting 
place of our departed friends, as it reserved to the former owner 
the right of })asturing sheep and calves therein. 

Utica had not yet seen its first menagerie, or caravan as such 
shows were formiCi'ly called. That, too, came in 1806, and was 
on exhibition three days at Tisdale's tavern. The only object 
it contained was a " Live Elephant, " " the largest and most 
sagacious animal in the world." We are informed that "the 
peculiar manner in which it takes its food and drink of every 
kind with its trunk is acknowledged to be the greatest natural 
■cui'iosity ever offered to the public. She will draw the cork 



UTICA IN EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND FIVE. 205 

from a bottle, and with her trunk will manage it in such a 
manner as to drink its contents, to the astonishment of the 
spectators. Will lie down and rise at command," &c. The 
amusing simplicity of the boastful showman reveals, as one 
cannot but think, a like simi^licitj on the part of his public, 
and hints at a condition of society that seems an age behind 
the forwardness of the present. 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 



The petition heretofore recorded, which the citizens had ad- 
dressed to the Legislature was granted, and a new and more 
comprehensive charter was accorded them. By order of Talcott 
Camp, clerk, the inhabitants were called to meet at the school 
house on Tuesday May 7, 1805, in order to choose five trustees 
and do any other necessary business, at which time "the law is 
to be read." 

This charter, which bears date April 9, 1805, secured all of 
the privileges that were asked. The bounds of the village on 
the east were fixed as they now exist. Those of the west ex- 
tended to the west line of Lot No. 99. Tlie freeholders were 
declared a body corporate with power to raise among them- 
selves a tax not exceeding one thousand dollars in one year, for 
public buildings, fire expenses and necessary improvements. 
Five trustees were to be elected annually at a meeting of free- 
holders to be held on the second Tuesday of May. Any per- 
son who declined to serve when so elected was liable to a fine 
of twenty-five dollars. To these trustees it was given to fix 
the price of bread, assess all taxes, appoint twenty-five firemen, 
make all by-laws necessary for protection against nuisances 
and for the general regulation of municipal afi^airs, and to them 
was entrusted full power to enforce the same. The president 
whom they should appoint was required, in addition to his duties 
as presiding officer of the board and superintendent of the public 
interests, to look after the utensils used at fires, while the trus- 
tees were to serve also as fire wardens. There was to be ap- 
pointed also at the annual meeting a treasurer and a collector, 
who were to receive a compensation for their services. The 
foregoing is an outline of the charter which the inhabitants were 
now met to hear, and in accordance with whose provisions they 
were to organize. Their proceedings as well as those of subse- 
quent annual meetings, and those also of the monthly meetings 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 207 

of tlie trustees then elected, are preserved to us in the records 
which still remain, so that we may from this time onward, trace 
the official history of the place, and are no longer restricted to 
the individual histories of its citizens. 

At this first annual meeting the former trustees presided, and 
Abraham Varick acted as secretary. The following were 
chosen trustees for the ensuing year, viz : Jeremiah Yan Eens- 
selaer, Jr., Nathan Williams, Francis A. Bloodgood, Jerathmel 
Ballou and Erastus Clark. Isaac Coe was chosen treasurer and 
Worden Hammond collector. It was resolved that the sum of 
three hundred dollars be raised by assessment on the freeholders, 
of which two and one half per cent was to go to the collector, 
and one per cent, to the treasurer for their compensation, and 
the residue be devoted by the trustees to the payment of the 
expenses of digging wells, procuring pumps and fire utensils and 
the contingent expenses. 

At the first meeting of trustees, which was held at the Hotel 
four days afterward, Jeremiah Yan Rensselaer, Jr., was ap- 
pointed president, and D. W. Childs, clerk. At their second 
one, twenty-five able bodied men were appointed firemen, with 
power to appoint their own captain, who was to manage their 
affairs and to exercise the men on the last Saturday in every 
month, and also to select five who were to control the ladders 
and fire-hooks. These first firemen were selected from among 
the prominent lawj^ers and merchants, which was true also 
during many subsequent years, for the position was held to be 
one of responsibility and honor, and, besides, it relieved the 
holder from militar}^ service. Hence the office was much 
sought, and applicants were more abundant than vacancies to 
be filled. At the same meeting the trustees adopted a seal, 
which was a heart with the letter F in the centre, and also 
passed an ordinance to restrain horses, hogs and neat cattle from 
running at large. At the third meeting of trustees, an ordi- 
nance was passed in relation to fire-buckets. Its provisions, 
which seem now so singular, but which with some modifications 
were in force for several years, were substantially the following : 
The owner of every dwelling, store or work-shop, or occupant 
of the same if the owner were a non-resident, was required to 
keep hung up in the principal hall, or in some conspicuous 
place in the building, one or more leathern fire-buckets of the 



208 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

capacity of eight quarts, and in number proportioned to the- 
fire j^laces or stoves the building might contain, though no tone 
was ex])ected to have more than six. These buckets were not 
to be used for any other purpose than to carr\^ water at fires. 
For non-compliance with the ordinance the owner or occupant 
was subject to fine. The operation of the ordinance was to 
extend fi-om the east line of Great Lot No. 93 to the west line 
of Lot No. 96, that is to say, from First street to the present 
State street, and as far south as the residence of Jeremiah Van 
Eensselaer, Jr., or the line of the modern Blandina street. 
The next meeting was held on the 3d of June, when the assize 
of bread was fixed. The price being regulated in accordance 
with the price of wheat, this first assize, which was made when 
wheat was selling at fourteen shillings the bushel, was as fol- 
lows : A loaf of superfine wheat flour to weigh two pounds 
ten ounces, for one shilling. A loaf of superfine flour to weigh 
one pound five ounces, for sixpence. A loaf of common wheat 
flour to weigh three pounds three ounces, for one shilling. A 
loaf of common wheat flour to weigh one pound nine ounces, 
'for sixpence. 

It might be presumed from the desire the citizens had ex- 
pressed for power by their charter to adjust the price of bread, 
and the prompt exercise of this power by the trustees, that 
baker's bread was the only kind in use ; and that few, if any, 
families baked their own. And this was probably the case to 
a much greater extent than at present. The practice arose 
chiefly from the difficulty of getting brewer's yeast with which 
to leaven their bread. The very earliest settlers made their 
own beer from wild hops they gathered in the woods, and the 
emptyings were used for yeast ; but such yeast was trouble- 
some to make and soon soured. After the erection of a brew • 
ery, and especially after Mr. Inman, the brewer, announced 
through the papers that private families would be waited on 
with fresh yeast every Tuesday and Friday, domestic bread, as 
we may conclude, came more into use. But that manufac- 
tured by the bakers was always in demand. Its assize was 
renewed, or newly regulated, at each montlily meeting, and was 
published in the weekly papers over the signature of the pres- 
ident. Any baker wlio violated the ordinance was subject to a 
fine of five dollars. 



THE SECOND CHARTEE. 209* 

In July, it was determined to dig three public wells for the 
supply of the village with water. "One of them was to be in 
the middle of Genesee street, near Schwartze's inn (the old 
House tavern), one on the north side of Grenesee, where Maiden 
Lane (now Liberty) intersects the same, and one in the middle 
of Hotel street, where the same intersects the road leading to 
Whitesboro." These wells were all dug, were fitted with pumps 
and in use for some time. The lower one on Genesee street 
was found to afford excellent water, and was so great a conven- 
ience to man and beast as to be kept open. It served as a nota- 
ble place of rendezvous for the inhabitants nearly, if not quite, 
down to the time when the village became a city. At the same 
meeting laws were passed forbidding the deposit of firewood 
any further in the street than fifteen feet from the sides, and 
requiring its removal within twenty-four hours after purchase ; 
requiring the removal also of building material, potash kettles,, 
hogsheads, standing wagons and rubbish ; excluding slaughter- 
houses between Lots 90 and 97 ; forbidding the burning out of 
chimneys on other than rainy days, or the burning of combus- 
tibles in the street before sunrise or after sunset. A week later, 
the money raised by assessment was apportioned according to a 
schedule agreed on. 

The above was, in substance, all that was done by the Trus- 
tees during the year, although they met eveiy month to declare 
the assize of bread. 

The firemen held also monthly meetings, and were duly ex- 
ercised at each of them. At the first one, Gurdon Burchard 
was chosen captain, John Hooker and Moses Bagg, Jr., lieuten- 
ants, and E. B. Shearman clerk. At subsequent ones, they re- 
solved to procure painted hats, lettered and numbered, as direc- 
ted by the trustees, and to wear them at each meeting. Mem- 
bers absent at roll-call, which was to take place immediately 
after the engine was drawn to the water, and who were unable 
to offer a reasonable excuse, were fined by a judge selected for 
the occasion. And those who failed in their attendance for 
three consecutive months were to be reported to the trustees. 
They supped together on the first of January, 1806, at the 
small cost to the company of one dollar. Though it would 
seem that they presently devised another mode of expending 
the fund arising from the accumulated fines ; for in February 



210 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

they voted that tickets in the Lottery for the Encouragement 
of Literature, to the amount of monies in fund, be purchased, 
and numbers recorded by the clerk, for tlie use of the company. 
The amount thus expended was $19.50. 

Tht,' freeholders of Utiea lield, likewise, two other meetings 
during the current .year, beside tlie annual one ah'eady men- 
tioned. The first was for the election of a new collector in 
place of Worden Hammond, who resigned; and it resulted in 
the election of John Pierce as his successor. The second was 
called to consider the means of supporting a night watch, and 
was to be held at the hotel. Of the proceedings had on the 
occasion no record is left ; the result we may infer from the 
following voluntar}' pledge which bears date the following day. 
The original, a time-stained and much-worn paper, has attached 
the signatures of the trustees and a large number of the active 
men of the era, ninety-eight in all. This pledge reads thus : 

"Utica, Dec'r 10, 1805. 

"We the subscribers, esteeming a Night Watch in the Vil- 
lage of LTtica as necessary to guard us against the dangers of tire, 
do hereby associate ourselves for that purpose, and mutually 
pledge our honor to each other to act during the winter ensu- 
suing as good and faithful watchmen, under the dii'ection and 
superintendence of the Trustees of said village." 

These watchmen, as we learn from other sources, were dis- 
tributed into squads of five or six each, and took their turns in 
patrolling the vdlage from end to end of its two prin(dpal streets. 
Doubtless the place was more effectually guarded than it has 
been at any later period. This ample provision both of watch- 
men and of firemen, and this extreme vigilance on the part of 
all the inhabitants to protect themselves against destruction by 
fire, though in part due to the fact that the buildings were mostly 
of wood, must have had some more cogent reason peculiar to 
this special time. And we are ready to believe, as is reported, 
that the settlers were in terror from the attemjjts of incendiaries, 
and therefore the more i-eady to sacrifice their ease to o])pose 
such evil-minded marauders. The system, once inaugurated, 
was continued for some time longer, as appears by a later, though 
undated list of volunteers, and it is not until the ^^ear 1810, as 
we learn from the I'ccords, that jiaid watchmen were employed 
by the trustees. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 211 

Believing that the history of a town to be in any degree 
graphic and satisfactor}^, must be largely made up of sketches 
of those who dwelt in it, we shall continue to present details of 
the former denizens of Utica. But inasmuch as too great par- 
ticularity would render such history tedious, and as with the 
increase of the place its institutions increase in numbers and im- 
portance, and these demand the chief consideration, special 
biographies must needs be confined to those who had the main 
]jart in afi'airs, or were in some way conspicuous or worthy of 
note. Of some a word or two may be given in the effort to 
characterize ; of numbers the simple enumeration is all that most 
readers- will tolerate. 

Rev. Bethuel Dodd, the first Presbyterian minister, died, as 
has been said, in April, 1804. In October his successor, Rev. 
James Carnahan, arrived to succeed to his charge, though it 
was not until Januaiy following that he was ordained and in- 
stalled. If the former is remembered with gratitude for his 
earnest piety and his faithful discharge of the pastoral office, 
the latter is held in deeper and more general respect, because 
to these high merits he added also a natural vigor of intellect 
and a ripeness of scholarship which gave him i-ank among the 
foremost of his calling, and in after years gained him distinction 
as the president of Princeton College. The biographical details 
we present of this second minister of the United Society of 
Wliitesboro and Utica, are, for the most part, condensed from 
the discourse preached at his funeral by his successor in the 
college. Rev. Dr. Macdonald. 

James Carnahan was of Scotch-Irish descent on both his 
father's and mothers side. His grandparents came from the 
north of Ireland, near the beginning of the last century, and set- 
tled in Cumberland county. Pa., and there he was born on the 
15th of November, 1775. In the autumn of 1780 his father, 
who was a farmer, removed his family over the mountains to 
Westmoreland county, and about eight years afterward lost his 
life in attempting to cross the Alleghany river. From that 
period until he was seventeen years of age, James performed 
light work on the farm in summer, and went to school in 
winter. His mother having now entered into a second marriage 
and removed from the countv at an age when he was too young 



212 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

to assume the care of his father s farm, he determined after some^ 
hesitation to stud}'- for a profession. This hesitation, whicb 
arose from the idea that he was too old to commence Latin, was- 
finally overcome through the urgency of two sons of his step- 
father then in the academy at Canonsburg, and on the 10th of 
August, 1793, he entered this academy and began to learn the 
Latin grammar. His teacher was James Mountain, a young 
Irishman, who was the nephew of Arthur Murphy, the accom- 
plished translator of Tacitus and the Dialogues of Lucian. 
Murphy was not a teacher by profession, but he had himself 
instructed Mountain in the Greek and Eoman languages, and 
so thoroughly had he done this, that the latter, in hearing his 
classes recite from Horace or Homer, very rarely took a book 
into his hands, so perfect was his knowledge of the text. It 
was doubtless to the instruction of this finished scholar, not less 
than to his own aptness, that young Carnahan was indebted for 
the accurate and thorough knowledge of the classic languages 
which afterwards distinguished him. All educated men know 
more or less of Latin, but he was at home in it ; to him it was 
a second vernacular. He also read Greek well, and would 
sometimes in family worship read in English a chapter from the 
Septuagint, translating with fluency a passage fi'om Ezekiel or 
any of the prophets. It was while at Canonsburg that Mr. Car- 
nahan made a public profession of his faith in Christ. He re- 
mained here, as pupil and as teacher, until 1798, when, having 
exhausted this fountain of learning, he wistfully looked toward 
Princeton. Accepting from his pastor, Rev. Dr. John McMillan, 
a loan of the money which was to support him while there, and 
which his father's encumbered estate was unable to sup})ly, he 
entered the junior class in the college of New Jersey, and re- 
ceived his first degree in the arts in September ISOO. He read 
theology during one year with Dr. McMillan, and then having 
been appointed a tutor in tlie college, continued at Princeton 
his ])reparations for the ministry. In April 1804, he was 
licensed by the presbytery of New Brunswick, and immediately 
afterward ministered a few weeks to some vacant congregations 
of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Having been invited to preach 
to the Reformed Dutch Churches in Albany, lie went thither 
about the fii-st of June and complied with their request. With 
the view, merely, of seeing the country, he extended his jour- 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 213 

nej up tlie Mohawk to Whitestown, and preached in New Hart- 
ford, Whitesboro and Utica, spending not more than a week. 
On his way back to New Jersey, he preached another Sunday 
at Albany. From the Dutch Church of that city he received a 
call, with a salary of fifteen hundred dollars, and another from 
the United Society of Whitesboro and Utica, with a salary of 
seven hundred. He accepted the latter, and returning to Oneida 
county, commenced his parochial labors in the latter part of 
October. On the 5th of January, 1805, he was ordained and 
installed pastor of the United Churches. His residence he 
•established at Whitesboro, but after the lapse of a few 3'ears 
he removed it to Utica, occupying the house which bad been the 
farm house of Richard Kimball, and which stood nearly on the 
spot where is now the residence of Irvin A. Williams. It was 
afterwards removed to Kenible street, a little north of Hobart, 
and is there still. 

Like his predecessor, he preached in turn at Whitesboro and 
at Utica, one half of each Sunday at each place from the first 
of May to the first of November, and one whole Sunday at 
Whitesboro and Utica alternately during the remainder of the 
year. Each branch of the societ}^ now transacted business sep- 
arately, and each was liable for one half of the salary, the whole 
amount being seven hundred dollars. His place of preaching 
at first was the school house on Main street, then the new edifice 
of Trinity, until the congregation provided a building of their 
own. Measures for this purpose were taken early in his pas- 
torate. A lot was given by Major John Bellinger, on the sole 
condition that he should have a pew in the church. This lot 
was situated on Washington street, corner of Liberty, the former 
street having just been opened as far as its intersection with the 
latter. A building committee, consisting of Apollos Cooper, 
Benjamin Ballou, Jr. and Jeremiah Yan Rensselaer, Jr. advertised 
in March 1806, for proposals for the construction of a wooden 
building sixty by forty-five feet and having a cupola. It was 
begun at once, and finished in the summer of 1807. Though a 
plain, unpretending structure, it was adequate for the needs of the 
congregation, and underwent no change during the ministry of 
Mr. Carnahan. This congregation was small and increased but 
gradually. Up to the year 1807, the whole number of persons 
received into communion with the church was one hundred and 



214 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

twenty-one, of whom but eight3'-eiglit were then in actual fel- 
lowship, and of these not more than one-half, and probably not 
much more than a third, were residents of Utica. Shortly after 
the close of his term, fifty-seven were set off to form the Pres- 
byterian Church of Utica. 

His discourses were logical, well written and faithful, and his 
manner solemn and impressive. He had none of those salient 
and show}' qualities of mind that at once captivate, even on the 
slightest acquaintance. He was constitutionally reserved, and 
to strangers his manners appeared stiff, and his address con- 
strained ; yet they, even, could not be insensible to his intelligent 
features, and the dignity of his tall and striking form. Bat 
when in the societ}^ of intimate friends lie was fluent, genial and 
courteous, abounding in anecdote and humor. His scholarship 
was extensive and accurate; of his accomplishments as a lin- 
guist I have already spoken ; in mental and moral science he 
was -equally versed, having studied them from every stand- 
point. His judgment was admirable, and no man was ever bet- 
ter supplied with what, by misnomer, is called common sense. 
He possessed in a remarkable degree, for a literary and profes- 
sional man, a knowledge of the ordinary affairs of life, and was 
exceedingly acute and of great practical ability in the manage- 
ment of those lesser things which go to make up the sum total 
of life An eminent citizen has remarked that he never engaged 
in conversation with him for the space of five minutes without 
gaining valuable information upon some subject either great or 
small. And in the words of his son-in-law, he was a safe coun- 
sellor upon any topic where advice was needed, whether that 
were the tillage of a field, the construction of a house or a horse 
shoe, or the choice of a pi'ofession. He was remarkably inde- 
pendent in the formation of his judgments; while at the same- 
time he respected the o])inions of others, and cheerfully availed 
himself of whatever assistance he could derive in the formation 
of his judgments. He was in the highest degree an honest man, 
honest with his own conscience, and true and faithful to the 
interests of those even to whom he was not bound by any ties of 
express obligation or expected favors. He never shrank from 
responsibilty, but was perfectly reliable, and fearless as a lion in 
the path of duty. His equanimity was unsurpassed ; his bene- 
factions were liljeral yet unostentatious. He had an artless,. 



THE SECOND CHARTER, • 215 

child-like simplicity wliicli led hiin to confide in tlie truth and 
good intentions of others. Modest to a fault, he not merely 
never sought to put himself forward or call attention to himself, 
he was actually distrustful of his own abilities and ever ready 
to concur with those who underrated them. This fault, rare 
and refreshing as it is, was the only failing in the rounded and 
finished character of this wise and good man, this humble dis- 
ciple of Jesus Christ. 

The foregoing outline of the character of Dr. Carnahan we 
give from the completer picture drawn by one who knew him 
intimately in his later years, and amid scenes where the chief 
labor of his life was performed. Here in this place of his early 
settlement, his learning, ministerial faithfulness and genuine 
worth were already felt and marked with commendation. It is 
not forgotten that he was foremost in the organization of that 
agent for the good of the spiritually destitute of this newly-set- 
tling region, the Oneida Bible Society ; of the committee which 
submitted its constitution he was the chairman ; he also prepared 
the introductory address to the public, and served as secretary 
of the society so long as he remained in the county. In 1821, two 
years before he was chosen president at Princeton, he received 
from Hamilton College, of which he was already a trustee, the 
degree of Doctor of Divinity. And here, too, after the lapse of 
more than sixty years, his memory is still affectionately revered. 
His ministry in this vicinity lasted a little more than six years. 
In November 1811, he was taken with an acute disease of the 
throat, from which he suffered greatly, and was confined to his 
room more than three months. In the last of the following 
March be sought a warmer climate, and remaiued about a year 
unable to do anything. His dismission from his charge took 
place November 4, 1812. 

The subsequent career of Dr. Carnahan as an eminently suc- 
cessful teacher of youth and his incumbency for over thirty 
years of the presidential chair of the College of New Jersej-, 
during which time there were graduated over seventeen hun- 
dred students, belongs rather to the history of that State or tliat 
College than of Utica. It must suffice to say that he proved 
himself not unworthy to be a successor of Dickinson, Burr, 
Edw^ards, Davies, Finley, Witherspoon, Smith and Green, — 
those illustrious men whose names reflect such renown on 



216 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

PriiKieton. His death occurred on the 3d of March, 1859. His 
last connected words, which he proclaimed with energy, M^ere 
these: "Oli! the glorious gospel of our Lord and Saviour, 
Jesus Christ. " 

His wife was Mary, daughter of Matthew Van Dyke of Maple- 
ton, neai Kingston. N. J. She is represented as a pattern for 
her sex in every thing tliat ennobles womanhood, — in fidelity, 
in love, in humility and zeal : while as a house keeper, there 
was nothing which contributed to the comfort of her family that 
she did not know how and when to do. Her death took place 
on the 15th of August, 1854. 

The first master who ruled the village school after the depart- 
ure of Mr. Dana, was a brother of Silas Clark, and next after 
him the first of whom we hear was R.'Holcomb. The position 
of school master w^as not in those days a very permanent one, 
and this Koswell Holcomb, during the year 1797, taught at first 
at Whitestown, and afterwards in Westmoreland, as appears 
from the report of John Post, treasurer of the county of Herki- 
mer. After Mr. Dana and Mr. Clark he was again in Utica. 

The teacher of whom we next get any intimation was Gideon 
Wilcoxson. And of him little is known as a pedagogue, though 
we have a better acquaintance with him as a lawyer. He was 
born in Winchester, Conn., in 1781, but removed with the fam- 
ily of his father, Elisha Wilcoxson, a Revolutionarj' captain, to 
Vernon in Oneida county. He was a student of Hamilton 
Oneida Academy, and in November 1805, he opened the school 
house on Main street for pupils. But he soon took to the law, 
becoming a student of D. W. Childs. Admitted to the practice 
of his profession, he exercised it in Utica until 1818, and then 
fifteen j^ears in Elbridge, Onondaga county. From the latter 
place he was twice sent to the Legislature, and was a justice of 
the peace. In 1827 he migrated to Ann Arbor in the Territory 
of Michigan, where he was prosecuting attorne}', and again a 
justice, and where he died August 24, 1830. His wife, who 
was Abigail Graves of Vernon, is still living (1876), aged ninety- 
two. Of his six cliildren, three were born iii Utica, viz. : 
Amelia A., John R, deceased, and James M., now of Ann 
Arbor. He is declared to have been thoroughly honest, and 
a huinane christian gentleman. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 217 

Another lawyer who spent a few years m Utica was Abra- 
ham D. Van Home, a native of Montgomery county, who ])ui-- 
sued his studies with Joseph Kirkland at New Hartford, and 
then T)egan practice in Utica as the partner of A. M. Walton. 
In July 1807, he was made village attorney, but resigned in 
October, and returned to New Hartford to join his preceptor. 
In 1814, he was a member of assembly from Madison county, 
and in 1821 he died at Loudon, Ohio. 

Of the merchants the first to be mentioned is John Steward, 
Jr., who came here from Orange county. He rented of Aljijah 
and Anson Thomas, the store they had newly erected on Gen- 
esee nearh' opposite Liberty street, where is now the store of 
the sons of James Sayre. Here he began the miscellaneous 
trade of the time, which, however, was chiefly confined at a 
later period to hardware. And here he remained until his 
removal to New York, about the year 1813. Obtaining money 
from his uncle Gilbert Steward, of Albany, on which he paid 
no interest, he had an advantage in the purchase of produce 
that was enjoyed by few of his contemporaries. To this was 
joined, a handsome person and fine address, an active and enter- 
prising spirit, judgment, skill and strict integrity. In business 
matters he was much relied on, for as a high-toned and trusty 
person no one stood higher. He was one of the incorporators 
of the Oneida Glass Factor}^, and was made a director. He 
assisted also in the establishment of the Bank of Utica, and 
became a director in behalf of the State. Mr. Steward made 
a good deal of money while in Utica, but this was largely in- 
creased after his removal to New York, where his mercantile 
standing was eminent. He was single during most of his resi- 
dence in Utica, but in October 181 L, he married Miss Martha 
Jackson of Chester, Orange county, N. Y. She died in Octo- 
ber 1821. He outlived her many years. 

Elisha E. Sill, and Jesse W. Doolittle, opened in December 
1805, in the store lately occupied by John B. Murdock, a dry 
goods house which, with some changes of its members, held an 
enduring and a highly creditable position among the merchants 
of Utica. Mr. Sill was the son of Dr. Elisha Sill, of Goshen, 
Conn., where he was born July 18, 1774, and was an older 



218 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

brother of Theodore Sill, who became a prominent lawyer of 
this count}', and lived at Whitesboro. He remained in busi- 
ness until his death, October 16, 1812. His wife was Susan, 
daughter of Sanuiel Hopkins of Goshen. After his death she 
man-ied Kev. Henry Dwiglit, the successor of Dr. Carnahan. 
Mr. Sill's sons were William Eaton and Samuel Hopkins Sill, 
both residing in Geneva. A daughter died in youth. 

Jesse W. Doolittle, who was some ten years younger than 
his partner, was son of General George Doolittle, of Whites- 
boro, and served his clerkship with William G. Tracy of that 
place. His stay in the house was much longer than Mr. Sill's, 
and he had in succession as partners, Tlieodore S. Gold, and 
his own brother Charles E. The place of business was for 
many years one of the stores now filled by Charles C. Kings- 
ley, w^hither it had been removed from lower down the street. 
"A ver}- synonym of gentleness and integrity," Mr. Doolittle's 
virtues were not hid from his townsmen, for he was the friend 
of every body, and they were glad to place him in positions of 
responsibility and usefulness, both religious and secular. He 
died September 18, 1845, aged sixty-one. His wife, Jerusha,. 
daughter of Jabez Clark of Windham, Conn., was a gentle, 
loving, and fit companion. She outlived him many years, and 
died October 20, 1866, aged seventy-one years and seven months. 
Their children were John of Buffalo, Edwards of Chicago, 
Charlotte, (widow of James Norris,) Frederick of Chicago, 
Qeorge of Washington, D. C, William of Chicago, Grace, (Mrs. 
Storrs Barrows,) deceased. 

Moses Bagg, son of an early settler just deceased, entered at 
this time into mercantile business in company with William 
Fellows, already mentioned. He had been previously employ- 
ed in surve^'ing, had assisted in laying out the Seneca turn 
pike, and in surveys in the southwestern counties of the State, 
and had afterwards aided his father in the management of his 
affairs. His connection with Mr. Fellows was presently ex- 
changed for one with John Camp, when the latter had bought 
Mr. Fellows' interest. Three years after the death of his father, 
or about the year 1808, Mr. Bagg assumed the charge of the 
tavern which his father had kept, though he still retained for 
some years longer an interest in the firm of John Camp & Co. 




^/^£, 



y 




THE SECOND CHARTER. 



219^ 



This tavern was, as we have said, a two story wooden build- 
ing standing on the corner of Main street and the square. Its 
meagre dimensions when compared with the present enormous 
pile known as Bagg's Hotel may be judged from the following i 
when the iii'st board of canal commissioners in the course of 
their preliminary survey visited ITtica in July 1810, two of 
them, Messrs. Stephen Yan Eensselaer and Gouverneur Morris,, 
who had made the journey by land, occupied, with their ser- 
vants, the whole of the tavern, while the rest of the commis- 
sioners who came on b}^ the river were forced to seek quarters 
elsewhere. In 1812-15, Mr. Bagg erected on the site of this 
wooden structure the central portion of the brick hotel which 
bears his name, and to it he subsequently added on either side. 




BAGG'S HOTEL IN 1815 



This he conducted, with brief intermissions, until the year 1836, 
when it was sold to a company of individuals. In the latter 
part of his career in the hotel he was associated with Alfred 
Churchi]l,"who eventually bought out the company and joined 
also the Bleecker house on the north. Soon after the erection 
of the earlier portion, J. Parker & Co., established their office 
in the basement corner, and thus the house became the princi- 
pal stopping place for the stages from all directions, and was 
more generally resorted to by travellers than any other public 



'220 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

liouse of the village. On the opening of the Utica and Schen- 
ectady Railroad the nearness of the hotel to the terminus of 
the road gave it an advantage that was enjoyed by no other 
house but the one adjoining it, with which, as has been stated, 
it was shortly united. The part taken by Mr. Bagg in influ- 
encing the proceedings of a meeting that was held at Congress 
Hall, in Albany, to decide upon the termination of this road, is 
thus stated in a letter addressed to the author by Rutger B. 
Miller, Esq. " The power of location w^as vested by the charter 
of the road in the canal board, of which Stephen Van Rens- 
selaer of Albany, was president. But Mr. V. R. had been con- 
fined to his room for a long time, and it was doubtful whether 
he would ever leave it. The board without him were a tie 
"upon the question, and the chairman pro tern, having the casting 
vote, was opposed to the present location. Hence the import- 
■ance of obtaining the vote of Mr. Y. R., who as president might 
turn the scale. But who could tell how he would vote, and 
who could obtain his j^i'esence? To this question there was 
no response, until after a solemn pause, Mr. Bagg, (who, with 
-other parties deeply interested in the result, was present at the 
meeting) quietly but confidently answered : " I will see the 
Patroon." He saw him in his sick room, and after stating his 
case, retired with the assurance that the patroon would take the 
chair at the canal board. His appearance, leaning on the arm 
of an attendant, operated like a bomb shell. The die was cast ; 
and the last vote of tlie patroon was given in favor of locating 
the road on Water street!" " One of the board," Mr. Miller 
a,dds, " who had voted for the \\\) town route afterwards con- 
fessed to me that he had never fully examined the question, 
and felt ashamed of his vote after comparing the routes by 
■actual observ^ation." 

In 1824. Mr. Bagg built the house now occupied by Mrs. 
Mann, on the corner of Broad and Second streets, into which 
he removed his family, and there, after his own retirement from 
the hotel, he spent the latter years of his life. He died Janu- 
ary 9, 1844. He was a man of few words and staid demeanor; 
unostentatious yet dignified and self-respecting, whose judg- 
ment was deliberate but weighty ; his standard of conduct 
higli, and his life unsullied ; his benevolence warm and freely 
exercised, though guided less by instinct than by strict justice 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 221 

and strong principle. Ready in sympathy and social in tastes, 
his self -distrust kept him silent, and made him an actor rather 
than a talker. Earnest in his own affairs, he was alive also to 
the public interests, and faithful in such obligations as fell to 
his lot. In his younger years he was active as an officer of the 
fire department, and took his turn also as a village trustee ; 
later, he was successively trustee of the Ontario Branch, the 
Bank of Utica, and the Savings Bank of Utica, and treasurer 
of the Presbyterian Church and the Female Academy. His 
hospitable gifts were best exhibited in his ability " to keep a 
good tavern," the report of which was extended throughout the 
country. 

In its management Air. B. was greatly aided by his wife, 
who was a woman of more than common strength of mind and of 
rare executive ability. " To a clear and discriminating j udgment 
she added a firmness of purpose and an energy of execution 
that fitted her to discharge with fidelity all her domestic and 
social duties." Her matronly presence at the head of the pub- 
lic table long after so purely domestic a custom had ceased at 
similar houses, her care for the wants and the enjoyment of 
her guests, and the sense of C[uiet English comfort she inspired 
within them, caused her to be remembered with i-espect and 
kindness by many an old-time traveller, and contributed, with 
the excellence of the fare provided, to the earl}^ celebrity of 
the house. " At the same tune, as an eminent Christian phi- 
lanthropist, she was enabled to enlarge the sphere of her benev- 
olence, and to leave behind her substantial memorials of her 
usefulness. To her efforts and to the peculiar adaptation of 
her faculties to the promotion of such an enterpj-ise the Utica 
Orphan Asylum chiefly owes its existence and much of its 
present capacity for good." From its inception she gave to it 
her affections and endeavors, and when for years its prospects 
were still dubious, when its resources were whollj' dependent 
on the diligent fingers of a few ladies, she directed their efforts, 
cut and distributed most of the garments that were made, and 
with her own hands produced numerous articles of taste and 
skill. Of the Asylum she was first directress up to the time 
of her death. This took place September 19, 1833, when she 
was aged fifty-three. She left one daughter and three sons, all 
of whom are now living in Utica: Emma (widow of Charles. 
A. Mann) ; Dr. Moses M., Matthew D. and Egbert. 



"222 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

A few years after the death of this wife — who was Sophia, 
daughter of Matthew Derbyshire, and a native of Yorkshn-e, Eng- 
land — Mr. Bagg was again married. His second wife was Susan, 
daughter of William G. Tracy, of Whitesboro ; and if he had 
been fortunate in his first companion, he was not less so in 
his later one. Mrs. Bagg united a number and variety of ex- 
■cellencies. Noble in person, with " a well poised and well dis- 
ciplined mind, with a delicate and cultivated taste, with fervor 
of feeling and coolness of judgment, with energy and unflag- 
ging zeal, she combined a Christian benevolence that was pre- 
eminent and controlling. Usefulness was the end of her life. 
In every relation and in every sphere she merged herself in 
others." While she shone in societ}^ by her intelligence and 
cheerfulness, she gave dignity and honor to humble labors of 
usefulness. As a member of a sewing society, by her presence 
and example she encouraged charity to the poor ; as a teacher 
in a mission Sunday school, she faithfully and successfully in- 
structed the children of parents of German birth ; as principal 
directress of the Orphan Asylum, she copied the career of her 
predecessor and watched over motherless children with mater- 
nal tenderness and assiduity. Her later years were passed in 
New York, but she died at Saratoga Springs July 17, 1859, in 
her lifty-ninth year. 

There is another name on our list of one wlio was by turns 
mercliant and hotel keeper, though at this time but a clerk. 
This was Seth Dwight, who was born in Williamburgh, Massa- 
chusetts, December 15, 1769, and was the son of Josiah Dwight 
and Tabitha Bigelow. He was for a short time a merchant at 
Williamsburgh, but emigrated to Utica in 1805, His first po- 
sition was that of clerk to William Fellows, succeeding John 
Camp when the latter went into business on his own account. 
But in January 1809 Mi'. Dwight opened a store on the square, 
next door below Bagg & Camp. Two yesivs later he formed a 
connection with William Pitt Shearman, and they began the 
auction and commission trade. In June 1815, the firm was 
Dwight & Hooker, and the business, which was of similar char- 
acter, was carried on at the brick store (No. 98 Genesee) that 
Mr. Hooker had just built on the west side of Genesee, oppo- 
site Catherine. They also dealt in lumber, having a yard near 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 223 

where the c.mal cuts Genesee and Hotel streets. They encoun- 
tered a disastrous failure, from which neither of them ever 
fully recovered himself. The next we learn of Mr. Dwight is 
from his advertisement of August 1818, that he is about to 
open a boarding house at his residence, x^o. 18 Hotel street. 
The following year (June 1, 1819) he took the York House, 
(the old ''Hotel,") and fitted it up for a boarding house and 
reading room, Avith newspapers of the principal cities. We 
have one more public announcement, and this time it is from 
his wife, who tells us in August 1820, that she is prepared to 
do mantua making and millinery. And then we learn of his 
death at Buffalo, whither he had removed a short time previ- 
ous, and this occurred April 80, 1825. 

Mr. Dwight was a man of handsome features, and he bore 
himself handsomely, being showy of presence and agreeable in 
manners. He was, however, less a man of business than of 
strong and even gay social instincts and visionary tempera- 
ment. To some extent he was a public character, having been 
village clerk for }■ ears, and afterwards trustee. His wife was 
Hannah, daughter of E,ev. Joseph Strong, of Granby, Connect- 
icut, and was " the opposite of her husband in all her natural 
characteristics and cherished habits of feeling, having a charac- 
ter fall of solid qualities, and being earnestly religious in her 
aims and aspirations." She was remarkable for her gentle spirit, 
and, in the estimation of her son, the missionarj^, "the holiest 
woman he ever met." She died April 16, 1813, from an epi- 
demic then prevalent. Their children who reached adult life 
were Harriet (Mrs. James Dana) ; Delia J. H. (Mrs. Jolm White, 
of Dedham, Massachusetts) ; Cornelia Strong, (Mrs. William J. 
Buck) deceased; Eev. Harrison Graj" Otis, D. D., the widely 
known and much respected missionary to Constantinople, who 
was born at Conway, Massachusetts, Nov. 22, 1803, graduated 
at Hamilton College in 1825, and at Andover in 1828, and em- 
barked for the east in January 1830, where for nearly thirty 
years he preached, superintended schools and edited a religious 
paper, and was the author of " Christianity Brought Home from 
the East," and of a Memoir of his Wife, Mrs. E. O. Dwight. He 
was killed on the Trov and Bennington railroad, January 25, 
1862. 

Mr. Dwight married, in 1815, Mrs. Susan Hewson, widow of 
Caspar Hewson of Albany, and daughter of Samuel Hooker 



224 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

of Utica, and by ter he had three children : Susan H. (Mrs. 
Phineas M. Crane), William H. and Eliza K. (Mrs. William B. 
S. Gay). 

George Tisdale, who had removed the year previous fi'om 
Taunton, Massachusetts, to "Schuylertown," in this vicinity, 
came in the spring of 1805 to take charge of the tavern of 
Moses Bagg, Sr., who had just lost his wife, and who not long- 
after died also. In this house Mr. Tisdale remained two 3'ears or 
more, and then for a 3^ear conducted the House tavern, whence 
he removed to Division street. He was afterwards the owner 
of the tavern stand in Deerfield, which was kept during the 
war of 1812 by his son Eladsit He moved to Sacketts Har- 
bor. His Avife was Kanah Hicks ; his sons George L. and Elad- 
sit ; his daughter Kanah, (Mrs. Benjamin Hicks, and afterwards 
Mrs. J. G. Weaver.) 

Nearl}- on the site of the store of Post & Hamlin, burned 
down the winter previous, there started as " ironmongers," in 
February 1805, James A. & Lynott Bloodgood. They were 
brothers of Francis A., already sometime a resident, and sons 
of Abraham Bloodgood, of Albany. The father was a highly 
respectable man and once an Alderman of that city. He would 
seem to have had a turn for mechanical invention, for it is re- 
lated in the American Historical Record (April 1874,) that in 
1807, when Fulton had just obtained his great trinm])h in nav- 
igation by steam, Abraham Bloodgood suggested the construc- 
tion of a floating battery not unlike, in its essential characters, 
the turret of Captain Ericsson's monitor of 1862. He is said 
also to have been somewhat stern in charactei*, or at least stern 
in the management of his boys. For when his son Ljaiott dis- 
appointed him by not taking to study as he had wished, he 
bound him to the trade of silversmith, holding the while av raw- 
hide over his head. This Lynott was exceedingly jovial in 
disposition, delighted in amusement, and could cut a pigeon- 
wing to perfection. Coming home at one time in dancing cos- 
tume from some frolic he had been engaged in, the father broke 
forth upon him : " What ! an apprentice with pumps and white 
silk stockings! Out of my sight!" His trade learned, he 
came here with his brother James, and they began business as- 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 225 

ironmongers, though they sold also gold and silver ware, and 
James acted as assistant State sealer of weights and measures. 
They continued here about five years, long enough for each to 
marry a wife and acquire a reputation as honorable citizens, 
and then returned to Albany, taking with them their clerk, 
Jedediah Burchard. 

James married Miss Lucy Marsh, and when he died left three 
children. Lynott's wife was Ruth, youngest daughter of the 
Mrs. Dakin, who had given wives to his brother Francis A. 
and to James S. Kip and his brother, Henry Kip. After liv- 
ing at Albany a few years, he moved to Mechanicsville, but 
spent his later years with his daughter in Utica. His old age 
found him as mirthful and as fond of a practical joke as he had 
been in his youth. His children were Elizabeth (Mrs. P. Shel- 
don Root) ; Louisa, (Mrs. Dr. Grant of Hartford, Conn.) de- 
ceased ; Abraham, Presbyterian minister, settled in Monroe, 
Michigan ; Margaret (Mrs. William Wallace McCall, afterwards, 
Mrs. Robert W. Chubbuck.) 

A watch maker of taste and enterprise and a much respected 
person, who came from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, was Joseph 
Barton. He succeeded to the shop and goods of Flavel Bing- 
ham, which shop was on the west side of Grenesee, below Broad. 
In 1811 he took into the concern Joseph S. Porter, and after 
their separation in 1816, Mr. Barton became a dry goods mer- 
chant, and lived in Utica until August 23, 1832, when he died 
of the epidemic of that season, at the age of sixty-eight. His 
wife survived him until the following May. Mr. Barton built 
and occupied the house on Broad street now occupied by D. L. 
Clarkson, the first three story brick house in Utica. Of his family 
of eight cliildren the only one who lived of late in this vicinity 
was Rev. John Barton, of Clinton. He died in May 1877. 

Walter Morgan, a native of Chepstow, in Monmouthshire, an 
educated and gentlemanly man, had been in business in two or 
three places in this State before coming to Utica. He joined 
John Hooker in trade in 1806, but within a few months took 
his departure to Denmark, in Lewis county. Coming back 
again, he remained until 1815, and then settled in Madison, 
where he died in January 1820. He was a brother-in-law of 
p 



226 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

John Hooker and Aloses Bagg, Jr., they having married sisters. 
Mrs. Morgan returned to Uticain 1826, and was here some years. 
Of fonr surviving children, Jane, wife of Dr. Alonzo Churchill, 
is the only present resident. 

The father of three brothers Sn^^der, who successively made 
Utica their home, was William H. Snyder, a Holland immi- 
grant, who came with some money to Virginia, bore an humble 
part in the old French war, and subsequently settled in New 
York, wdiere he was a jobber and shipping merchant. Ru- 
dolph, the eldest of these brothers, was born in New York in 
1778, and was a short time a member of Kings, now Columbia 
College. But not being willing to accede to his father s wishes, 
who would have him become a minister, while he was himself 
equally bent on the study of medicine, he was removed from 
college before graduating. He entered into business with his 
father, and for this purpose went to Albany, whither his father 
made him shipments of goods, and while there he married Ra- 
chel Barneveldt Storm, of Easton, Pennsylvania. Dissatisfac- 
tion witli the paternal management, and perhaps an unusual 
amount of self-will on both sides, soon caused a separation, and 
the son, after short service at cabinet making, came to Utica to 
tr}^ the world anew. He accepted a proposal from William 
Tillman, a practical mechanic, to join him in the manufacture 
and sale of cabinet ware. This connection, shortly terminated, 
was followed by one with Demas Robbins, who died not long 
afterward. The business Mr. Snyder continued, however, to 
pursue many years longer, and until he had obtained what he 
deemed enough, when he retired. 

His education and his tastes led him to spend much time in 
self-improvement, while his strong sense and jjractical talent, 
his independent spirit and his concern for matters of general 
interest, brought him into public estimation and justified the 
part he was called to take in all that related to the common good. 
He was long a trustee of the village, and for two terms its pres- 
ident For live successive years he was pi-esident of the Me- 
chanics Association, and for two years one of the commission- 
ers of common schools. In the Methodist society he was a per- 
son of consideration and influence, and was elected one of the 
first trustees on the incorpoi'ation of the society and the erec- 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 227 

tion of their chapel in 1815. At an earher ])eriod he had put 
up a school house on ground adjacent to the Pkrker block 
which was used by them as a place of worship. Later in life, 
and after the settlement of Eev. Heni}^ Anthon as rector of 
Trinity Church, Mr. Snyder returned to the Episcopal com- 
munion with which he had been first connected. High in per- 
sonal character, of varied information, cheerful and companion- 
able, he was decided in his opinions, obstinate in their main- 
tenance, and could tolerate no contradiction. He built and oc- 
cupied the house on the corner of Liberty and Seneca streets 
that is now occupied by his son-in-law. This was in 1816 — 
the cold summer — and during the month of August the mortar 
was at one time so stiff with frost as to compel a temporary 
suspension of the work. And here he died August 11, 1861, 
his wife having depmrted the year previous. Their only child, an 
adopted daughter, is Mrs. James M. Weed. 

Benjamin Payne was a fashionable tailor, and the principal 
rival of John C. Hoyt. He came to Utica from Oriskany. and 
"was for some time prosperous. While Mr. Hoyt did more cut- 
ting and making for the villagers, Mr. Payne's circuit of custom 
was the widest. Not a few were the yards of butternut home- 
spun as well as of English broad cloth that he made up into 
shapely garments. But not content with his sphere, nor satis- 
fied with being captain of the Utica Fire Company, he was am- 
bitious to be on a footing with men of larger means and greater 
abilities. And this led him to spend his money freely. His 
first shop had been opposite Kane & Van Rensselaer, on the 
west side of Grenesee. In 1810, he moved into a new. store 
beside them on the corner of Broad and Genesee. At the same 
time he occupied a new brick house on Broad street, a little 
east from the corner, and set up his carriage. This broke him 
and he never rallied. He died March 6, 1821, aged thirty-nine. 
Two of his daughters still live in Utica. 

William Hayes made earthenware near what is now the 
north-east corner of Liberty and Washington streets. Ere 
many years he and his son William Hayes, Jr., both of whom 
were accomplished penman, were posting books and giving in- 
structions in these accomplishments, and in various branches of 



228 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

mathematics on Broad street near Genesee ; and at a still later 
period the father was writing master in the Academy, where we 
shall again meet with him. 

A gardener in the service of Colonel Walker, was like the 
preceding, an Englishman, and one who had seen better days. 
This was William Baxter, late of Brooklyn, and more recently 
of Eemsen. He became a baker, lived on Main street, about 
where Mi-. Butterfield keeps his livery, and carried on the busi- 
ness for several years, as did his sons John and William, after 
he became disabled by infirmity. He visited England and was 
absent a year, but on his return was struck by a bridge while 
on the canal, and was killed almost within sight of his home. 

Among the clerks of 1805, was Alexander Stewart, a Scotch- 
man who had been a peddler, but was now in the service of 
John C. Devereux. A few years later he and Augustus Hickox 
each built a store below Bagg's, and while Hickox went into 
his own, the other was taken by Abraham Van Santvoort, with 
Stewart as his clerk. He was still a clerk when he died Jan- 
uary 15, 1810. Elijah Boardman, from Whitesboro, at first 
with William Fellows, and subsequently with one of the Burch- 
ards, had a further clerkship in Troy, whence he removed to 
Tennessee, was an importer and breeder of horses, and became 
wealthy. His wife was Lucretia, sister of Morris S. Miller. 
Erastus Hunt with his brother Flavel was at work for Bryan 
Johnson. They for a short time carried on a store of their own, 
but soon left. Loring Buss, while living on Frankfort hill, came 
often to Utica to peddle, but afterwards removed and trafficked 
here. He v/as a man of some stir and was once deputy sheriff. 

A few other persons belonging to the mercantile class, may 
be barely enumerated for their residence was short. These were 
J. Mayo, brewer, and who dealt likewise in corn-meal and flour; 
John D. Cunningham, in dry goods ; Daniel Marshall, in combs, 
indigo, &c. ; Smith Bartlett, and Joseph Bow'es. 

Among the mechanics not before enumerated were Samuel 
Stow, cabinet maker, who removed in about three years to 
Eaton, Madison county ; John H. Fisher, coppersmith ; Reuben 
Brown, saddler; Avery Bi-own, carpenter; John George and 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 229 

*Garrett Vreeland, journe3niien wagon makers; Seth Board- 
man, tailor ; Joel Vizor, laborer in Mr. Inman's brewery ; John 
Hull, shoemaker, and so rabid a tory that he illuminated his 
house on occasion of the ill-sifccess of his namesake, General 
Hull, toward the beginning of the war of 1812 ; Moses Kams- 
dale, farmer on the south-eastern border; Lewis Hubbell, an- 
other farmer, at the east end of Broad street ; and Samuel 
Hickox, who, it is said, was the builder of Cayuga bridge, that 
noted line across which politicians in after years exulted in lead- 
ing their forces, a bridge that has been as famous in the politi- 
cal campaigns of the State of New York, as was the bridge of 
Lodi in the campaigns of Napoleon. The volunteer watchman's 
pledge of December, 1805, furnishes us the following names of 
parties who were but temporary stayers, viz : Charles Bartles, 
Joseph Chapel, Jr., W. Fryatt, B. B. Rathbun. It contains also 
that of Theophilus Morgan, who kept tavern in Herkimer in 
1808, and went thence to Oswego, where he represented his dis- 
trict in the State Legislature. 

Below Bagg's, toward the line of Water street, were two 
saloons, kept, the one by George Calder, and the other by J. 
Wharton, and kept as such places are apt to be where the 
keeper is his own best customer. Wharton's sign read as fol- 
lows : " Cakes and Beer sold here," and on the reverse : "Bread 
and Cider if you please." Of this shop the mainstay was the 
wife. Wharton himself, — when himself, — was crier of auctions, 
his cry being, " Walk up, walk up, gentleman, to Dwight & 
Hooker's auction rooms, where they have every thing to sell, 
and what they don't sell they mean to give away." 



1806. 

At the annual meeting of freeholders and inhabitants held 
in May 1806, the former trustees were reelected. The pro- 
ceedings of five of their monthl}^ meetings are duly recorded, 
those of the remaining seven months being wanting in conse- 
quence of the sickness and absence of Mr. Childs, the clerk, 
The sum of two hundred dollars was deemed sufficient for the 
expenses of the year, including the digging of a well on the 
^corner of Main and Church (now First) street, which, however, 



230 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

was never dug. Tlie detennination of the assize of bread! 
seems to have been the only business occupying the attention 
of the trustees that is deemed worthy of a place in their min- 
utes. 

By direction of the Whitestown commissioners of highways,. 
"Washington street, which had been just opened on the property 
of Mr. Bellinger, was now declared a public street as far as the- 
present Liberty, and the last named street, extended from Hotel 
to meet it, was also recognized as public. 

The first benevolent association of the county of which we 
have any knowledge had its inception at this time in Utica, and 
if we may credit a writer in the Wesie7m Recorder of 1824, it 
owes its beginning to the pious zeal of the first wife of Erastus 
Clark. This was the Female Charitable Society of Whitestown, 
Its constitution, bearing date September 23, 1806, provides for- 
the holding of the first annual meeting at the house of Mr. Clark,. 
on the third Tuesday of the ensuing month. In its preamble- 
the object of the society is thus set forth : " The subscribers, 
believing that a portion of the bounties of Providence can be 
applied in no better wa)^ than in administering to the spiritual 
necessities of our fellow creatures, and convinced of the utility 
and importance of missionary societies, by whose benevolent 
exertions the glad tidings of redemption are carried to multi- 
tudes who perish for lack of knowledge ; and wishing to coop- 
erate with such societies by contributing our mite toward the 
advancement of so good a cause, do agree to associate ourselves- 
for that purpose under the following regulations." The society 
was made up of females who paid one dollar annually, and was 
managed by six of their number as trustees who were to 
meet at least twice in each year. The funds were to be 
transmitted to such missionary institutions as might be there- 
after agreed on. The address accompanying the constitution was 
signed by the following as trustees : Elizabeth Breese, Helen 
Piatt, Susan B. Snowden, Sophia Clark, Sibella A. Van Eens- 
selacr, Mary K. Stanle}". From time to time meet with public 
amiouncements of the time of holding the annual meeting, but 
have seen no report of the doings of the society until after the 
year 181-i, when the association was rc-constituted under the 
title of the Female Missionaiy Society of Oneida. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 231 

Agreeably to an act of the Legislature tlien recently passed, 
the physicians of Oneida county met at Eome, in July 1806, 
and organized a County Medical Society. This society has con- 
tinued in being to the present time and has been to its mem- 
bers, as well as to the community, a source of much good — to the 
former as an oft recurring means of mutual encouragement and 
instruction, and to the latter as a monitor in matters of public 
and private hygiene. But aside from the fact that a goodly 
number of its members have been residents of Utica, and that 
its anniversary meetings have, for the most part, been held in 
the place, its history has too little relation to that of Utica, to 
justify us in enlarging upon it here. The interest in this his- 
tory is of course the greatest to these physicians themselves,, 
and for them it has been already written. 

It has been heretofore stated that in the year 1803 the Epis- 
copalians took measures for the erection of a church edifice, 
and that having raised a little more than one-half of the funds 
required for the purpose, they had entrusted the work to the 
Messrs. Hooker. These builders began it, and continued to 
prosecute it until the funds were exhausted, when there ensued 
a temporary suspension. On the promise of a gift of two thou- 
sand dollars from Trinity Church in New York, the building 
committee anticipated the gift by a loan, and early in 1805 en- 
gaged the services of James Watson to go on with the building 
begun by the Hookers. Tliis Watson of whom I meet with no 
previous mention, was an Englishman, wdio had the name of 
being a first-class workman, and was possessed of intelligence 
and a certain degree of polish. We hear of him afterward as en 
gaged in erecting several other wooden buildings, and as enjoy- 
ing the confidence of the community for his skill as an architect 
and his merits as a man. In 1811 he was superintendent of 
the Utica Glass Works, situated in Marcy. Being now author- 
ized to assume the work on the church and render the building 
fit for use, he put in the sashes, laid the floors, built the pews, 
desk and chancel, placed a temporary roof on the tower, and 
brought the building to such a state of forwardness that in Sep- 
tember 1806, it could be used for divine service. In the month 
of September it was duly consecrated by Bishop Moore of New 
York, who came to Utica for the purpose, accompanied by sev- 



■232 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

eral of the clergy. Greater deference was then paid to rank and 
station than at present, and the visit of the bishop, then venera- 
ble with years, was quite an event in the obscure village. He 
confirmed eighteen persons. 

In the same month Eev. Amos G. Baldwin of Stockbridge, 
Mass., then a missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 
was invited to officiate until Easter following, in place of Rev. 
Mr. Judd, who had received a call elsewhere. In September 
of the following year, Mr. Baldwin was tendered a perma- 
nent call, though the vestry were unable to offer him a salary 
which should compensate him for devoting his full time to the 
service of the church. Being then a young man and full of 
interest in his calling, he did not confine his labors to the church 
•of Utica, But officiating here one-half his time, he devoted one- 
quarter to Paris, and one-sixth to Fairfield. He continued 
rector of these various societies until 1814, while in 1811 was 
added the rectorship of Christ Church in Eaton, Madison county. 
His duties in Utica must have been prosecuted amid serious 
discouragements, for the church building was, during several 
years, in an unfinished state, being in fact but a mere shell, and 
of course, very uncomfortable in the winter season. It was in- 
adequately warmed, and the congregation in severe weather was 
but scanty. Earl}^ in 1810 a fresh contract was made with 
Samuel Hooker to finish the church, in consideration of the sum 
of $2,540, payable in ten 3'ears with interest annually. As soon 
as the season would permit, he began the work, and finished it 
in December followin*?, the cono^reo-ation meanwhile holdino- 
their services in the Presbyterian Church. In redemption of a 
promise made by Trinity Church of New York, three lots in 
that city were given the struggling society, the avails of whicli 
were to be devoted to the support of the minister. A donation 
of two hundred and sixty-five acres of land in the town of Eaton, 
Madison county, had been made two 3'ears before b}* Lady 
Bath, who owned lands there, the administration of which were 
entrusted to Col. Benjamin Walker, and it was b}^ his interven- 
tion that the gift was obtained. This gift did not, however, 
prove a profitable one, and was a soui'ce of trouble rather than 
of substantial assistance. But the prosperity of Trinity was 
now established. At Easter 1813, the rectors salary was raised 
by the contributions of the congregation, the rectorships of the 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 233 

Madison and Herkimer county churches were relinquished, and 
thus Mr. Baldwin was enabled to give more care to the duties 
of his parish. He remained rector until Ma}^ 1818. By his in- 
fluence with friends in New York, he procurred the means to 
establish a theological library for the benefit of the clergy and 
students of divinity. This library was taken in charge by the 
vestry of Trinity, and the pastor became its librarian. He also, 
with his own hands, constructed an organ for use in the church. 
In addition to his parochial services here, he preached frequently 
in Holland Patent and at the glass works in Marcy. He also 
cooperated in promoting the interests of the Western Education 
Societ}", of which be was one of the vice presidents. 

When he withdrew from the parish, his zeal and fidelity, his 
purity of doctrine and of conduct during the long exercise of 
his rectorship, were commended b}^ resolutions of the wardens 
and vestr}-. He is represented as an amiable man, and though 
moderate in ability as a preacher, warmly devoted to the church, 
and zealous for its advancement. He continued man}^ years longer 
to serve as a missionary among the churches, and in later life 
was familiarly known as Father Baldwia He died at Auburn, 
N. Y., December 25, 1844, and was administered to in his last 
illness by Eev. Dr. Coxe, who succeeded to his rectorship after 
long years of interval. He had a wife, but no children. Her 
maiden name was Eupbemia Van Kirk. Their residence was 
at first on Whitesboro street, a httle west of Washington, and 
afterwards on Broad street, east of J. C. Devereux. 

One who as an effective friend of Trinity may be rightly 
mentioned next after its rector, and who for other reasons holds 
a strong claim upon the kindly remembrance of his fellow 
townsmen, was Judge Morris S. Miller. He was born in 1780, 
and was the son of Dr. Matthias Burnett Miller of Long Island, 
a surgeon during the war of the Eevolution, attached to the 
regiment of Col. Rutgers. On the death of Dr. Miller, while 
still in the service, his widow opened a boarding house in the 
city of New York, and thus obtained the means to support her 
family and educate her son. He was sent to Union College, 
where he was graduated with valedictorian honors in 1798. He 
studied law with Coi'nelius Wendell of Cambridge, Washington 
county, and then became private secretary to Governor Jay. 



234 THE pk)Xep:ks of utica. 

About 1802, Nicholas Low, a wealthy landholder in Lewis 
county, who had been one of his mothers boarders, appointed 
him as his agent to superintend the sale of lands at Lowville and 
its vicinity. There Mr. Miller resided until his removal to Utica 
in 1806. During the course of that residence he was united to 
Miss Maria Bleecker of Albany, a lady whom he had met for 
the first time at a ball given on his Commencement night. The 
match was not a pleasing one to the conservative old Dutch 
family to which the lady belonged. And it was not until after 
their first visit home from Lowville, when he presented his eldest 
child, then an infant of six weeks, as a sample of a Black River 
trout, that the friends became fully reconciled. 

Upon his arrival m Utica, Mr. Miller began the practice of 
his profession, and being a man of decided ability, well versed 
in the law, and conciliating in manner, he soon established him- 
self in the public confidence. Within two years he was made 
president of the village, and within four years he received the 
appointment of first judge of the county. The latter office he 
continued to hold, by successive reappointments, until his de- 
cease, discharging its duties with credit and public approval. 
In 1813-15 he represented his district in the thirteenth Con- 
gress. His first speech received the warm commendation of 
John Randolph. By it and by others directed, likewise, against 
the war measures of the administration, he gained some reputa- 
tion. He was then a Federalist, but some years later he de- 
serted his former political friends and became a bucktail demo- 
crat, being one of the so-called " higli-minded gentlemen" who 
opposed the nomination of DeWitt Clinton. Having decided 
to attach himself to the new party, he addressed a letter to 
Erastus Clark (>;iN'inf»; his reasons therefor. There had been a 
conversation between the judge and Mr. Clark relative to call- 
ing together the Federal committee, and in his letter Judge 
Miller said he could not attend this committee meeting because 
he had left the Federal party. This letter was published in the 
Albany Argus. The letter of Mr. Clark in reply, which was 
also published, was in its original form extremely caustic, but 
was very much modified and softened, as it is said, by the request 
of his wife, to whom he read it, and whom he afterwards thanked 
for her advice. Thei'e continued to be friendliness between 
these gentlemen while they lived, but their former political in- 
timacy was not, of course, renewed. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 235 

In July 1819, Judge Miller was sent by Mr. Calhoun to Buf- 
falo to repi-esent the United States Government at the negotia- 
tion of a treaty between the Seneca Indians and the proprie- 
tors of the Seneca Reservation. The conference was held in a 
barn on the treat}^ grounds, six miles from Buffalo ; the war- 
riors, some three hundred in number, being closely crowded 
upon the mow and in the corners of the floor, of which the 
greater part was occupied by Judge Miller and his party, 
including his wife, Charles E. Dudley of Albany, Peter B. 
Porter of Buffalo, Mr. Ogden and others. The rosy and 
beautiful boy Mrs. Miller held asleep in her arms, fixed the 
admiring gaze of the Indians, and was probably of more inter- 
est than the Judge or his speech. It is said that Eed Jacket,, 
the chief, on being asked what he thought of Judge Miller s 
address, replied b}'- puffing out his cheeks and sending forth a 
tremendous blast of air. Whether the gesture was simply in- 
dicative of opposition to the arguments made use of and an 
attempt to discredit them with the listeners, or whether the chief 
really regarded the oration as mere ivind^ " sound and fury sig- 
nifying nothing," is best interpreted by those who are conver- 
sant with Indian character and usages. Certain it is that in 
other respects he showed no lack of consideration for the com- 
missioner, and having been presented to his squaw, insisted on 
knowing \k\G papoose also. To the honor of the Judge it should 
be added that the only comment made upon his work by Mr. 
Calhoun was a comment upon the smallness of his account. 

Besides the offices we have mentioned, and a trusteeship of 
Hamilton College, he held other positions of trust and honor. 
For his public spirit and liberality were active, and his merit 
•acknowledged ; capable and conscientious, intelligent and re- 
fined, courteous to all, and hospitable almost to excess, he was 
deservedly esteemed, and his standing was one of mark and 
influence. His character is well depicted in a commemorative 
discourse by his pastor. Rev. Henry Anthon, from which I ex- 
extract a passage : " He possessed an ardent and well cultivated 
mind, a frank, humane and generous disposition. To the more 
solid qualities of the mind were added a singleness and warmth 
of heart, an affability and cheerfulness of deportment, and an ur- 
banity of manners which were not confined to his friends only,, 
but diffused around him. Blessed bv Providence with the 



236 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

means of relieving the wants of others, his benevolence was 
active and uniform. His purse was always open at the call of 
the needy. From sordid parsimony and narrowness of spirit 
no man was ever more perfectly free. In his address and de- 
portment he was affable and kind to all. To his particular 
friends Judge Miller's social intercourse added grace and de- 
light. The cheerfulness of his welcome, the assiduity of his 
attentions, the kindness and open-hearteduess of his reception, 
were features conspicuous in his character." " In his friend- 
ships he was wai-m and sincere, sometimes to a degree border- 
ing on enthusiasm." " To the church especially," says Mr. An- 
thon, "it is a time to mourn. In him she has lost one of her 
founders ; one of her warmest friends ; one of hei' firmest and 
most liberal supporters. A striking trait in his character was 
his attachment to the Episcopal Church, — an attachment not 
hastily formed, but the result of a rational, diligent and well- 
matured inquirj^ ; 3'et whilst he valued his church before every 
other, he freely conceded to all that liberty of conscience which 
he required for himself," and willingly cooperated with tlioseof 
a different faith in efforts to promote good morals and extend 
evangelical religion. An elderly person still living relates the 
following incident: "I happened to be at Kome in the winter 
of 1815-16 where the Judge was holding the Court of Common 
Pleas. A trial was going on which excited much interest and 
in which two important witnesses had been examined on oppo- 
site sides of the case, whose testimony was so directly opposed 
to each other's that either one or the other must have been per- 
jured Judge Miller, in his elo(|uent charge to the jury, said 
that they must reconcile the lamentable conflict of testimony 
the best way they could to secure the ends of justice, and so 
warmly ex])ressed his feelings in witnessing such an unfortu- 
nate scene of human frailty as to draw tears not from himself 
alone but from the whole audience." It may be added that he 
was prompt in his affairs, neat to fastidiousness in his j)erson 
and his grounds, and though neither tall nor s])are, being rather 
midway of extremes, his frame was both delicately and firmly 
knit and his features regular and pleasing. Throughout his 
residence he managed the interests of the Bleecker family in 
Utica — an estate which was thought to be worth four hundred 
thousand dollars, and of this Mr=;. Miller owned one quarter. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 237 

They occupied the house at the lower end of Main street, al- 
ready spoken of as the earlier residence of Peter Smith and also 
of James S. Kip. It was a two story house of wood, painted 
yellow and having a piazza on the front or north end. The 
grounds about it were ample, and the garden well stocked with 
fruit trees, especially the Bleecker or Orange plum, which the 
Judge first introduced here from Albany. Free as he was in 
dispensing this choice plum among the gardens of his neighbors,, 
he was equally free in disseminating the products of his extensive 
orchard of grafted apples. This orchard filled the space now 
bounded by West, Rutger, Steuben and South, and from it any 
farmer who would be at the trouble to plant them might take fifty 
young trees. Before his death Judge Miller had made j^repara- 
tions to build at the head of John street, had put out the shrub- 
bery and shade trees, and had erected a wall in front of the site 
where his son, Rutger B. Miller, erected in 1830 the fine stone 
-mansion which now forms the central building of the Rutger 
place. His death occurred while he was still in the prime of 
his years, November 19, 1824. His remains were taken to Al- 
bany for interment. 

Mrs. Miller survived him upwards of a quarter of a century, 
living in the house he was himself preparing to build, and died 
March 15, 1850. She was in her turn a zealous cooperator, 
and indeed the principal agent in the organization, in 1830, of 
the Reformed Dutch Church. " She remained to the last a lady 
of the old school, simple in her manners, grave and dignified in 
her deportment. To a quiet resolution and energy of mind that 
fitted her foj- trying and difficult occasions, she added," says her 
pastor, Rev. Charles Wiley, " a grace and gentleness of female 
propriety that were never for a single instant forgotten, and 
that enabled her to command the respect of those around her, 
without at the same time repelling their aft'ections." 

Their children were Rutger Bleecker, still living in Utica ; 
Morris Smith, Brevet Brigadier General United States Army, 
who was educated at West Point, bore a part in the Florida 
and Mexican wars, and in that for the Union, and died in Texas 
March 11, 1870; Sarah, (Mrs. E. S. Bray ton), died May 10, 
1853 ; Charles Dudley of Geneva, New York ; and John B., 
editor and lawyer, who died while consul at Hamburgh, April 
22, 1861. 



238 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

In the 3^ear 1798 John Post had received as an inmate of his 
household his nephew, Abraliam Van Santvoort, who beeame_ 
eventually his successor in the business of transporting on the 
Mohawk. He was a native of Schenectad}', and was baptized 
December 26, 1784 He was the son of Cornelius and the great 
grandson of Rev. Cornelius Van Santvoort, wlio emigrated fromi 
Holland, and died pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church of 
Schenectady, in 1752. After a few years residence with his 
uncle, Abraham was sent b}^ Mr Post to Schenectady to super- 
intend the forwarding of goods. In 1806 he was again a resi- 
dent of Utica, as we learn from the following announcement of 
September 23 : " The subscriber informs the public that he has 
commenced the storage and forwarding business to and from 
Schenectada, Albany and New York, and any part of the west- 
ern country, for which purpose he has taken one of the large 
and convenient stores of Mr. John Post on the dock in Utica. He 
has made arrangements with Mr. Eri Lusher for convej'ing by 
water between this place and Schenectada, and with Mr. David 
Boyd between Schenectada and Albany." Two years later he 
took for his store the old stand of Bryan Johnson, near the 
corner of Genesee and Whitesboro, whence he afterwards moved 
to the east side of Genesee, below Bagg's, and in April 1816, 
back again to the west side, to the new brick store next J. C. 
Devereux. The storehouse he at first occupied was originally 
above the bridge, but ^'ery near to it. It was afterwards moved 
up the stream U) the foot of Division street. And nearly on 
the last named site Mr. Van Santvoort in company witli Mr. 
Lusher and others, erected toward the close of the war of 1812 
a brick warehouse, which has remained standing until a com- 
paratively recent period. About this time Eri Lusher & Co. 
were running, during the season, a weekly line of boats from 
Schenectady for Cayuga, Seneca Falls and Oswego, and by 
means of wagons also, which were kept in constant readiness 
they were enabled to " trans] )ort from Albany to an};^ part of 
the western country, either by land or water, whatever property 
migiit be directed to their care." Parties living at a distance 
from the water communication were assured that their goods • 
would be delivered at any place the}^ might designate. They 
advertised also stage boats to run between Utica and Schenec- 
tady for the accommodation of passengers, which leaving Utica 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 239 

twice a week at 5 A. M. were to arrive in Schenectady the fol- 
lowing morning in time for breakfast, and from thence the pas- 
sengers were to be conveyed in carriages to Alban}-. 

Mr. Van Santvoort held during tlie war the office of sub- 
contractor for the supply of provisions for the soldiers, and 
acted as government storekeeper. About the same time, or 
shortly afterward, he was interested with Peter Sken Smith, 
son of Peter Smith, and William Soulden, in the manufacture 
of glass at Peterboro, and acted as agent for the companj^ in 
the sale of the glass. The project proved unsuccessful, and 
resulted in the failure of Messrs. Soulden and Smith as w^ell as of 
Mr. Van Santvoort. His affairs with the government had beside 
proved embarrassing, for his returns were slow and rare in coming, 
so that he depended largely on the bank and spent much money 
in the payment of interest. 

On the 17th December, 1818, the forwarding firm with which 
he was connected, — known at this time as that of Abraham Van 
Santvoort & Co., — was dissolved. It had consisted of Eri 
Lusher, Jonathan Walton and John I. DeGraff of Schenectady, 
and Abraham Van Santvoort, John Beggs and Harry Camp of 
Utica. Leaving his warehouse in the care of Mr. Camp and 
Mr. Beggs, Mr. Van Santvoort returned to Schenectady to en- 
gage anew in forwarding. Thence he went to Dunkirk, and 
after a short residence, and a still shorter one at Eochester, he 
moved to New York. Here he was concerned in steamboats, 
became quite successful, and so far won the confidence of the 
people of Jersey Citj^, which was his final home, as to be made 
mayor of the cit}^ and here he died. 

While living in Utica Mr. V. S. was much esteemed, for besides 
the respect felt for his enterprise in business he was admired for 
his pleasing face and form, his social excellence, his jovial humor 
and his uniform uprightness of conduct. Though he lacked 
some of the essentials of a good mercantile education, especially 
a S3'stematic skill in the keeping of books, he held a high place 
among the merchants and was a leader in his department. 
During some je^rs he was a trustee of the village, and in 1815-16 
he was its president. His wife, who was Sally, sister of Dr. 
Marcus Hitchcock, w^as living in 1873, at the age of 83. His 
son Cornelius is a lawyer in New York ; Abraham died young ; 
Alfred has for many years been engaged in running steamboats 
on the Hudson, and lives in New York. 



240 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

In further illustration of boat travelling on the Mohawk in 
former times, I insert the following from the journal of travels 
lAade through several of the inland states in the year 1807-8 
by Christian Schultz, Jr. 

'' I have noticed but three different kinds of boats used in nav- 
igating this river. Those called Schenectady boats are gener- 
all}'' preferred ; and will carry about ten tons burthen when the 
river is high ; but when it is low, as at this time, they will not 
take more than from three to four; they generally advance 
against the stream at the rate of from eighteen to twenty or twenty- 
five miles a day. These boats are built very much after the 
model of our Long Island round bottom skiffs, but proportion- 
ately larger, being from forty to fifty feet in length, and steered 
by a large swing oar of the same length. They have likewise 
a moveable mast in the middle. Wlien the wind serves they 
set a square sail and top sail, which, at a few miles distance, 
give them all the appearance of small square-rigged vessels com- 
ing down before the wind. Our galley, which I am just now 
informed, is called the 'Mohawk Regulator,' has gone at the 
rate of six miles an hour against the stream ; and during this 
time, believe me, nothing can be more charriiing than sailing 
on the Mohawk. 

"It is not often, however, that a fair wind will serve for more 
than three or four miles together, as the irregular course of the 
river renders its aid very precarious ; their chief dependence, 
therefore is upon their pike poles. These are generally from 
eighteen to twenty-two feet in length, having a sharp pointed 
iron, with a socket weighing ten or twelve pounds afhxed to the 
lower end ; the upper has a large knob, called a button, mounted 
upon it, so that the poleman may press upon it his whole weight 
without endangering his person. This manner of impelling the 
boat forward is extremely laborious, and none but those who 
have been for some time accustomed to it, can manage these 
poles with any kind of advantage. Within the boat on each 
side is fixed a })lank running fore and aft, wath a number of 
cross cleats nailed upon it, for the purpose of giving the pole- 
man a sure footing in hard poling. The men, after setting their 
poles against a rock, bank or bottom of the river, declining their 
heads very low, place the upper end or button against the back 
(front ?) part of their right or left shoulders, (according to the 
side on which they may be poling,) then falling down 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 by a large })ole, is no small curi- 
osity, nor was it until I had observed their perseverance for two 
or three hundred yards, that I became satisfied they were not 



-=^ 

^ 






> 




THE SECOND CHARTER. 241 

playing some pranks. From the general practice of this method, 
as hkewise from my own trials and observations, I am convinced 
that they have fallen upon the most powerful way possible to 
exert their bodily strength for the purpose required. The posi- 
tion, however, was so extremely awkward to me that I doubt 
whether the description I have attempted will give you an ade- 
quate idea of the procedure. I have met with another kind of 
boat on this river, which is called a dorm or dorem : how it is 
spelt I know not [Durham]. The only difference I could ob- 
serve in this from the former one is that it is built sharp at 
both ends, and generally much larger and stouter. They have 
likewise flats, similar to those you have seen on the Susque- 
hanna, but much lighter built and longer. On all these they 
occasionally carry the sails before mentioned. 

"The Mohawk is by no means dangerous to ascend, on account 
of the slowness of the boat's progress; but, as it is full of rocks 
stones and shallows, there is some risk in descending it of stav- 
ing the boat ; and, at this season, is so low as to require it to be 
dragged by hand over many places. The channel in some in- 
stances IS not more than eight feet in width, which will barely 
permit a boat to pass by rubbing on both sides. This is some- 
times caused by natural or accidental obstructions of rocks in 
the channel ; but oftener by artificial means. This, which at 
first view would appear to be an inconvenience, is produced by 
two fines or ridges of stone generally constructed on sandy, grav- 
elly or stony shallows, in such a manner as to form an acute 
angle were they to meet, the extremities of which widen as they 
extend up the river; whilst at the lower end there is iust space 
enough left to admit the passage of a boat. The water beino- 
thus collected at the widest part of these ridges, and continually 
pent up withm narrower limits as it descends, causes a rise at 
tfie passage ; so that where the depth was no more than eiffht 
inches before, a contrivance of this kind will raise it to twelve- 
and strange as it may appear, a boat drawing fifteen inches will 
pass through it with ease and safety. The cause is simply this • 
the boat being somewhat below the passage is brought forward 
with considerable velocity, and the moment it dashes into the 
passage, its resistance to the current is such as to cause a swell 
ot tour or five inches more, which afliords it an easy passaffe 
over the shoal." ^ 

A citizen whose stay in Utica was short, though long enough 
to secure to him the regard of his contemporaries, was Jonathan 
Child. Elsewhere in the course of an active and useful life, 
Mr. Child identified himself with work in preparation for the 
Erie canal, as Mr. Van Santvoort had done with navigation 
on the Mohawk. A son and a grandson of a Eevolutionary 



242 . THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

soldier, he was boi"n at Lyiie, New Hampshire, Januaiy 30, 1785. 
Coming to Utica a young mau of twenty-one, he beeame, in Sep- 
tember 1806, the teacher of its children in a scthool that was kept in 
the Welsh church on the corner of Washington and AVhitesboro 
streets. Little is to be said of his mastership, for though it was 
satisfactory he remained but a short time in the office, and was 
soon installed as a clerk of Bryan Johnson. But in 1810, in 
company with a fellow clerk named Gardner, he left the vil- 
lage altogether, and settled himself with a small stock of goods 
at Charlotte. Coing thence to Bloomfield and tarrying there 
briefly, he finally fixed himself more permanently at Roches- 
ter. He was one of the contractors for cutting the Erie canal 
through the mountain ridge at Lockport, a formidable part of 
the whole work. He was twice a trustee of the village of 
Rochester, and in 1834 its fii'st mayor under the city charter. 
A Rochester paper says of him ; " No man among his towns- 
men was more respected. He had no enemies and was beloved 
by all." The loss of all the gains of his early life, a loss which 
he encountered tow^ards its close, he " met with fortitude, and 
moved on with the same cheerfulness and equanimity that had 
characterized him in youth." He was a sincere Christian, and 
for many years a member of St. Luke's Church. His wife was 
a daughter of Colonel Nathaniel Rochester. 

Another person who was a few years in Utica, and then went 
elsewhere to fill up the measure of a busy and honored life, 
was Bennett Bicknell, from Mansfield, Conn. In 1806 he was 
a comb-maker, and an occupant of Mr. Stocking's Mechanic 
Hall. In 1808 he established himself in Morrisville, Madison 
county. There he was successively member of Assembly, State 
senator, county clerk and representative in Congress ; enjoyed 
a wide and enviable reputation in his business and public ca- 
pacity, and in his private character was unreservedly commen- 
dable. 

Calvin Bicknell, his brother, continued the manufacture of 
combs some years longer, on the west side of the way nearly 
opposite the former stand, but in 1811 became insolvent. Af- 
ter this there are no further traces of him. 

The first mention we have seen of Henry Ki[) is contained 
in the Castorland Journal, under date of May 1794. From this 



THE SECOND CHARTER 243 

it would seem that he was at that time in charge of the busi- 
ness of his brother, James S. Kip, then temporarily absent. 
That he continued to live in Utica from that time onward 
is probable though not assured. On the 3d of July, 1806, he 
married Miss Christiana Dakin, sister of his brother's wife, and 
of the wives of two of the Bloodgoods. He took up his resi- 
dence in the house on the Whitesboro road that had been just va- 
cated by William Inman. In July 1811 he announces that the 
Oneida Rope Factory is now in complete operation. This factory 
was situated a little east of the half-way bridge and ran across 
the line of the canal. It was therefore destroyed when the 
canal was opened. Mr. Kip removed to Buffalo, and set up 
another rope walk, which was in like manner invaded by the 
canal when the latter was extended through to that place. Mr. 
Kip was over six feet in height and large in proportion ; full 
of fun, courtesy and benevolence ; and bore his full share in 
the socialities of his time. As a business man he was not very 
efficient. He was an early vestryman of Trinity. His family 
was a numerous one. 

Among the temporary sojourners in Utica, traders and others, 
are to be reckoned Hugh Goif, merchant near the corner of 
Genesee and Main, who remained, at least, until 1810 ; Wil- 
liam Ward, book seller, who issued one single lengthy adver- 
tisement of the " Utica Bookstore," and then sold out to George 
Richards, Jr. John B. Nazro, who opened a store in October 
1806, and died in December, and whose family returned to 
Troy, whence they came ; two brothers Oudenaarde, Henry 
and Marinus, who coming from New York, traded in Marcy, 
(then Deerfield) in 1800-2, and removed to Utica about 1806, 
Henry alone attempted business, but made an assignment in 
1812, and died in 1819. He was a smart and active man, de- 
spite the fact that prosperity did not crown his endeavors. 
His wife was a daughter of Thomas Sickles. Marinus was 
very decrepid. 

Two tavern keepers, named Nathaniel Scott and Otis Dexter, 
conducted the House tavern in partnership. The former, a 
Rhode Islander, had lived in Deerfield since 1798, on a farm 
which he had bought of one of the Damuths. This he sold 



244 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

when he came to Utica in 18U6, to ArabeUa Graham, who on 
the delivery of the deed took from her thimble and handed ta 
Mr. Scott, three one thousand dollar notes on the Manhattan 
Bank. He kept tavern only about two years, and moved to a 
farm on the Trenton road where he died, an old man, February 
1, 1847. A son of his was the late Martin B. Scott, of Cleve- 
land, Ohio, and a daughter, Cynthia, who married Eladsit Tis- 
dale, became some years afterward t'lc wife of James C. DeLong, 
of Utica. 

Another Scott, (James) a foreigner by birth, was a l)aker on 
Main street. His daughter married John Baxter, and has left 
descendants still in Utica. Charles Brewster, wheelwright, who 
had served his apprenticeship with Gurdon Huntington of Rome, 
associated himself with Abijali Thomas, but had failed, and 
was gone by 1810 ; Demas Bobbins, from Stockbridge, cabinet 
maker and an early partner of Rudolph Snyder, died in 1809 ; 
John Taggart, shoemaker, is known only by his one announce- 
ment, and a like report may be made of J. Bedlock, writing 
master. Thomas Gimbrede, took likenesses in miniature or pro- 
file, and taught dancing and fencing as well as painting. Of 
one of his accomplishments he has left proofs that are still ex- 
tant. 

Three mechanics, much less transitory in their stay were 
John Culver, Thomas James, John Queal. John Culver, joiner, 
worked in 180H upon the First Presbyterian Church," and in 
1826 he worked upon tlie l)rick one which succeeded it. For 
many years in partnership with his brother Abraham, he was 
a builder in good repute, and an honest straightforward man. 
His wife was a Miss Flint of Rome, and he had a son named 
Amos. Tliomas James, from Pembrokeshire, blacksmith, en- 
tered Utica on the first day of January, 1806, and continued 
in it until his death, October 30, 1837. He is still remembered 
as an industrious, hard-working mechanic, and his shop, near 
the corner of Whitesboro and Washington streets, is one of 
the few lingering mementoes of the past. His son Thomas 
is probably the oldest resident of the second ward, if not of the 
city. John Queal, Irish, and a shoemaker, survived until 1851, 
doing business during nearly all of the intervening time. His 
descendants are still here. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 245 



1807. 



At the freeholder's meeting of May 1807, the trustees who 
were elected were the same as those of the two preceding years, 
except that John Hooker was substituted for Francis A. Blood - 
good. The board made Erastus Clark their president. The 
principal business recorded as done by them throughout the 
year related to the fire company. Having in July examined 
the books of the clerk of this compan}', and discovered frequent 
absences, they resolved that every fireman noted as absent from 
the monthly meetings seven times between May 1806, and June 
1807, should be ordered to appear before them. Twelve ap- 
peared agreeably to such citation, and after a full examination 
of their several excuses, all were excused except one who had 
been absent twelve times ; he was removed. The clerk of the 
company was directed to report thereafter every quarter such 
firemen as were absent from the monthly meetings ; and as 
a consequence a few were subsequently removed, and their 
places supplied from the list of ready candidates. The coming 
of the Fourth of July brought its troubles to the officials of 
1807, just as its approach entails anxiet}^ and care upon the 
authorities of 1877 ; and trivial as would seem the prank which 
now occupied their attention, the author of it was not thought 
unworthy of detection and punishment by the village fathers. 
Under date of July 6, we find the following: 

Resolved^ that five dollars be given to any one who will dis 
cover the person who took away the bolt from the pump at the 
lower end of Genesee street, on the evening of the 3d instant, 
so that the offender may be prosecuted ; and that the same be 
advertised three weeks in both the papers. 

In order to judge righth^ of the gravity of the oft'ence, it should 
be remembered that the town pump was an important auxiliary in 
the extinguishment of fires, as it was the usual place and means of 
drill for the firemen at their monthly meetings ; and though a miss- 
ing bolt could be easily replaced, it might be lacking when most 
it was needed, and hence exemplaiy punishment was required. 
An ordinance was passed in amendment of a previous one, 
wdiich was designed to prevent the erection of buildings on a 
street, and to cause the removal of buildings already so erected. 
Besides the foregoing proceedings, the board granted a license. 



246 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

for the erection of a slaughter house, and considered an appli- 
cation for a recommendation to the board of commissioners of 
excise to enable the applicant to obtain a license as an inn- 
keeper. But as the president remarked that a complaint had, 
to his knowledge, been made of the petitioner's having heretofore 
kept a house unfavorable to good morals, thej^ advised the lat- 
ter to wait on the commissioners and learn the ground of com- 
plaint, with leave to report again to themselves, intimating also 
a disposition to do him justice. There is no evidence that he 
returned. Before the expiration of the year they resolved 
that, with their consent, seven persons and no more be licensed 
to keep tavern in the village during tlie ensuing year. 

Having witnessed the watchful care exercised by the trustees 
over the firemen of their creation, it is pleasing to see that these 
firemen were equally watchful in their own behalf. The book 
of their clerk shows us lists of delinquents at each meeting, 
not only of such as were absent during the exercise with the en- 
gine, and of those absent at roll call before the engine was 
drawn out, but likewise of such as appeared without their lire- 
men's hats. The three classes of dehnquents were amenable to 
fines, differing in amount in the respective cases. These were 
adjudged at the ensuing meeting by a judge appointed for the 
occasion, and those firemen who suffered their fines to remain 
unpaid three months after such adjudication, were presented to 
the trustees with a request for their removal. Towards the end 
of winter the company solaced themselves for their diligence by 
a supper at Tisdale's ; at wdiich,— as the certified bill assures us^ 
— twenty three were present, who consumed one gallon of beer, 
three pints of brandy, three pints of whiske)', thirteen bottles 
of wine and one hundred cigars, at a total cost of £10, 17s. 

Another traveller has left us his impressions of the appear- 
ance of Utica in the summer of 1807. This was Christian 
Schaltz, Jr., Esq., whose account of Mohawk navigation has 
been before quoted. He speaks of it as a flourishing village, 
and tells us it " contains, at present, about one hundred and 
sixty houses, the greatest part of which are painted white, which 
gives it a neat and lively appearance. Foreign goods are nearly 
as cheap here as in New York, which, I presume, is owing to 
the merchants underselling each other; for this, like all other 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 247 

country towns, is overstocked with shop-keepers. Most of the 
goods intended for the salt works are loaded here in wagons 
and sent on over land, a distance of fifty miles. The carriage 
over this portage is fifty cents a hundred weight." 

The newly come shop-keepers of the year, or those at least 
of whom we now get the earliest intimation, were Peter Bours^ 
Stalham Williams, Winne & Evertsen, William Pitt Sherman 
and Luke Devereux. 

Peter Bours was another Ehode Islander, having b'een a na- 
tive of Newport, where his father and his grandfather had lived 
before him. He was born May 5, 1782. In October 1807 he 
opened in Utica what he termed a " new cheap store" at the 
sign of the golden eagle. His stock was large, and consisted 
of the miscellaneous assortment then kept by others of the 
time, including dry goods, groceries, crockery, hardware, &c. 
Some three years later lie gives notice of his intention to close 
his present concern, and offers his stock at cost. Taking into 
partnership Stalham Williams, he devotes himself exclusively 
to the sale of hardware. They characterize their establishment 
as the first of the kind in the western district, and declare that 
they import direct from the manufacturers in London, Birm- 
ingham and Shefiield. In August 1811 the firm is dissolved, 
and early the following year the creditors of Mr. Bours are 
invited to show cause why he should not be discharged from 
his debts. Meanwhile he had married Mary Eobinson, niece of 
the wife of Colonel Benjamin Walker, and was living in the 
house which he had built for himself on the north west corner 
of Broad and First streets, the same which is now occupied by 
T. K. Butler. This house, which was an uncommonly expen- 
sive and stylish one for the time, had been begun before Broad 
street was fully opened. As it was heavily mortgaged, and in 
May 1814 was to be sold under foreclosure, it was now given 
up. But Mr. Bours had found a new occupation and with it a 
new residence. He was very active in organizing the Utica 
Glass Factory, a manufactory started at Glassville, so called, in 
the present town of Marcy. He acted for some time as its 
superintendent, and moved thither with his famil}^ The fac- 
tory proved unsuccessful, as will be shown in a future notice of 
its operations, and in 1818 Mr. Bours opened a land office in 



248 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Utica for recording and exliibiting for sale unsettled lands and 
improved farms. This, too, bringing liim no compensation, be 
next entered upon the profession of an auctioneer, a profession 
in which his active spirit and his plausible address soon secured 
liim plentiful employment. The frequent noisy cries of his 
sturdy negro, as he patrolled the streets, bell in hand, proclaim- 
ing a sale, and calling bystanders to walk up to Mr. Bours' auc- 
tion rooms, are recollections fast in the memor}^ of all older 
citizens of Utica. After the death of Colonel Walker, the 
house of this gentleman, with thirteen acres of land attached, 
was sold at auction, and was bought by Mr. Bours. Here he 
took up his residence, and here, towards its latter part, he raised 
vegetables for the village market. His next cliange, which 
took place about the year 1826, carried him away to Geneva. 

He had boundless activity and enterprise, but was specula- 
tive and visionary. Having a good opinion of himself and be- 
ing fond of making a show, he came much into public notice 
and position, though his opinions did not carry the weight of 
others of sounder judgment who were less forward. Making 
money readily during a part at least of his career, he spent it 
as freely, and consumed a large share of his commissions in 
advertising and ofhce hire. He was rather stocky, light com- 
plexioned, wore glasses, a flowing, ruffled shirt and large gold 
cliain and seal. For many years he was a vestryman of Trini- 
ty Church, and in 1822 he was its treasurer. He died at Ge- 
neva, October 30, 1860. Mrs. Bours was a daughter of Captain 
Thomas Robinson of the United States Navy, who in 1799 com- 
manded the frigate John Adams. He became a paralytic and 
was several years disabled. Before his death, in 1812, he spent 
some time in Utica. His daughter, Mrs. Bours, was a tall, vig- 
orous looking lady, and a truly noble domestic character, straight 
forw?rd and independent. After their removal to Geneva, and 
when her husband had lost his eyesight, she contributed in va- 
rious ways to their su])port. Her death occurred October 1, 
18o9. The following children are now living : Mary Robinson, 
(Mrs. Joseph Stow), at Stockton, California; Thomas Robinson, 
at Alamos, Mexico; Benjamin Walker, at Stockton; John H. 
H., at Jacksonville, Florida; Allen Lee, at Lansing, Michigan; 
Caroline, (Mrs. Hugh W. Taylor), at Stockton. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 249 

Stalham Williams caine to ITtica in 1807, and died there 
April 8, 1873, at the age of almost one hundred years, having 
been born October 3, 1773, at Hatfield, Massachusetts. An 
experience so lengthened was naturally varied, covei'ing numer- 
ous changes in the career of its subject as well as in the town 
and among the people with whom he dwelt. Fitted for Har- 
vard College at the expense of his grandfather, Hon. William 
Williams, the sudden death of his benefactor deprived him of 
the expected liberal education, and he returned to his father's 
farm. After removing to Utica, he began as a book-keeper for 
John C. Devereux, and then was similarly employed by Peter 
Bours. He was next a pai'tner with the latter. Then, after 
being for awhile a dry goods merchant on his own account, he 
shifted to an association with Jason Parker, and was interested 
with him until September 1817. In June 1820 he was ap- 
pointed collector on the newly opened middle section of the 
Erie canal, and served some time as such. From the expira- 
tion of this service until he again entered the employ of the 
Messrs. Devereux, he was a short time a book-keeper for James 
Dana, and during a still longer period acted as secretary and 
treasurer of the Erie Canal Packet Boat Company. He also 
cooperated with his wife the leading milliner and fancy dealer 
of her time, and supervised her books and accounts. 

After Messrs. John C. and Nicholas Devereux had retired 
from active business, they retained an office on Bleecker street, 
and managed a sort of unchartered savings bank. Here the 
scant savings of poorer citizens, who confided in the integrity 
of these gentlemen, were sacredly guarded, and regular inter- 
est was paid on all accumulated balances. The routine work 
was performed by Mr. Williams, and was performed with rare 
fidelity. When in process of time the deposits had grown so 
large that it was deemed best, for the accommodation of all 
classes of depositors, that a savings bank should be organized, 
Mr. Williams was made its secretary and treasurer. This was 
in 1839, and the office he continued to hold until his death. 
When lie had reached the age of seventy he tendered his resig- 
nation to the directors of the Bank, fearing that age had im- 
paired his usefulness. But they refused to part company with 
their faithful officer, and he remained long after he had passed 
his ninetieth year in the daily performance of his duty. 



250 THE PIOXEERS OF UTICA. 

Modest and retiring almost to a fault, his life was marked bj 
perfect purity, honor and probity, and rounded into such noble 
christian grace that his memory will be tenderly cherished in 
the cit}' which was so long his home. The i^eople of Utica, 
when he entered it, he computed at about five hundred in num- 
ber ; he left them at least sixty times as numerous. The suc- 
cessive changes he observed with interest, and took a melan- 
choly pleasure in chronicling the times of decease of his early 
associates. When he died he was almost the last link of its 
older class of business men. His wife, who from the year 1808 
for twenty years and more was the chief importer and artificer 
of ladies' dresses for the head, and was invaluable for her taste, 
her skill and her business capacity, was, moreover, in all re- 
spects a woman of excellent qiialities; refined, dignified and 
gentle, she commanded respect and affection. She was Miss 
Mary Augusta Barron, of Amherst, Massachusetts, but had been 
tenderly and thoroughly educated by her step-father, Judge 
Simeon Strong, who succeeded to the place of her father while 
she was still quite young. She died June 1, 1863, at the age of 
eighty-five. Their only son, William Barron, resided most of his 
life at Eochester, where he died in 1861. The daughters were 
Frances Lucretia (widow of Richard W. Sherman) ; Caroline 
Sophia (widow of Francis W. Sherman of Marshall, Michigan) ; 
Sarah (Mrs. David Scoville of Rochester, and afterwards Mrs. 
Thomas H. Wood of Utica) ; and Lucy Jane, who died in child- 
hood. 

Killian Wiiine and John E. Evertsen, from Albany, began 
in the white store opposite Watts Sherman, which had been be- 
fore occupied by John Bissell. They remained together until 
Septcml)er 1812, and soon after, the former was selling cari)ets 
on the corner of Grenesee and Main, while his quondam asso- 
ciate kept the original store. Wiinie was in Utica until his 
death in April 1823, and in his latter years had a lottery and 
exchange office. His first wife dying in May 1809, he married 
two years later the widow of William Fellows. He was driv- 
ing in business, bat loved company and a frolic; ball playing 
was one of his special pleasures. 

Evertsen kc})t on at the old place until after the war, but 
continuing to hold his goods at war })rices, he could not sell 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 251 

them, and so failed and returned to Albany. Barney Evertsen, 
his brother and clerk, and a very expert book-keeper, remained 
some little time longer, and was in the service of E. B. Shear- 
man. 

William Pitt Shearman arrived this year from Rhode Island, 
and became assistant of his brother Ebenezer. A few years 
later he was in company with Seth Dwight, but in 1815 formed 
a business connection with his brother Robert. This connection 
was of some years standing, and though the elder brother ere 
long moved to Rochester, Robert remained his partner, the firm 
name being at one place William P. & Robert Shearman, while 
at the other the order of the names was reversed. Striking in 
personal appearance, possessed of decided enterprise, he took a 
high stand as a merchant, and accumulated a handsome prop- 
erty. Politically he was of the notorious twenty-one high- 
minded gentlemen. He died rather suddenly in New York City 
when not past thirty. His wife was Miss Marietta Andrews of 
Rochester. His children were Julia (widow of Charles H. Doo- 
little of Utica), and Ebenezer, of Rochester. 

Luke Devereux, who had been a clerk for his brother John 
C, was taken into partnership in 1807. Four years later the 
house was conducted in his name only. He remained in Utica 
until 1814, but died of yellow fever in' Natchez, in February 
1818, at which place he was then living. He was a man of 
genteel carriage and brilliant parts. 

Another long continued establishment started in November 
1807, was that of Bagg & Camp. John Camp, eldest son of 
Talcott Camp (of 1796), was born in Glastonbury, Connecticut, 
February 11, 1786, and was in his eleventh year when he came 
with his father to this place. He soon became a clerk for Wil- 
liam Fellows, and two years after the latter had associated him- 
self with Moses Bagg he bought out the interest of Mr. Fel- 
lows and the new firm was formed. Under the name of Bagg 
& Camp the two carried on for some years the usual miscella- 
neous business of the time. When the former ceased from its 
active prosecution, retaining only a pecuniary interest, the firm 
assumed the name of John Camp & Co. Next it was changed 
to John Camp & Brothers, and under this name the three Messrs. 



252 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Camp, John, Harry and Charles, continued their business until 
about the 3'ear 1834, the period of the death of Charles, when 
John withdrew. The store, which at first had been kept in the 
building next adjoining Bagg's tavern on the north, was in 
later years on Genesee street, nearly opj^osite Catherine. Mr. 
Camp continued to act as director of the Bank of Utica the 
remainder of his days. 

He was a man of unobtrusive and rather retiring manners, 
clear and calm in judgment, kind and benevolent in disposition, 
awake to public and to private interests, and of unblemished 
private character. He survived to reach the age of eighty, and 
died July 21, 1867. Among the last of the older class of mer- 
chants, not one of them left behind a fairer reputation for hon- 
esty in dealing or freedom from personal failings. Somewhat 
late in life he married the widow of Charles R Doolittle, who 
was the daughter of Captain Obear. Mrs. Camp is still living, 
as also their only child Harriet (Mrs. George D. Dimon). 

Jacob Snyder, brother of Rudolph previously described, has 
a history which in its beginning is very like to his. He was 
born in New York, September 28, 1781 ; was engaged in ship- 
ping stores in that city, whence he went to Albany and was 
similarly engaged ; dissatisfied with business, he learned the 
trade of chair making and came to Utica to practice it. This 
was in 1807, about two years after Rudolph. He had a shop 
near the site of the Bradish block, his dwelHng being on the 
side street. Subsequently he conducted business on Catherine 
street near Genesee, and in later years on Liberty near Seneca. 
The chairs he made have not their match in modern times for 
strength and durability, and in the sale of them he liad almost 
the monopoly of the market until after the war of 1812. Some 
thirty years before his death he withdrew from business, because, 
as he believed, it was no longer carried on as honestly as it 
should be. He was a leader among the society of Methodists, 
and his house a coveted place of rest and refreshment for the 
travelling preachers of the sect. With a voice like rolling thun- 
der, he exercised it often in exhortation and in prayer, wherein 
his language was clioice and scriptural. Temperance and anti- 
slavery were reforms which were near to his heart, and formed 
themes for liis tongue and his pen. He was one of the delegates 
to the convention of abolitionists, which was opened in Utica 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 253 

in 1835, and which was broken up by a mob instigated by some 
of the best of its citizens. Mr. Snyder was one of those who 
went home covered with the filth of misbegotten fowls. Some- 
what of a reader, he was principled against fiction, " Uncle 
Tom's Cabin " being the only novel he ever looked into. He 
died April 24, 1863. His wife, to whom he was united in 1810, 
and who was some ten years his junior, still survives. Three 
sons and two daughters of a large family are still living, viz. : 
William H. of Galena, 111., Eudolph D. of Utica, and F. L. 
of Chicago. The daughters are of Utica. 

January 27, 1807, AVilliam Haywood advertises that he has 
taken the Hotel at Utica, which he intends to open by the 
name of the Mohawk Hotel. As brief an occupant as some 
other proprietors of this house, he was cut ofi; by death on the 
14th of August following. The next March a successor is in 
his place, and the original name is resumed. His son John 
lived with the family in Utica until 1819, and two years after- 
ward went to Rochester, which was his home until he died in 
July 1873, at the age of seventy-six. There he was alderman^ 
supervisor, first treasurer of the Eochester Savings Bank, and 
vestryman of St Luke's Church. A brother, William, went 
with him to Eochester, a sister was married in Utica. 

Another temporary proprietor of a public house was Joab 
Stafford. ■ Brother of the David Stafford already noticed, and 
seventh son of Col. Joab Stafford of Coventry, E. I., he came 
from Albany to Peerfield sometime previous to 1798. There 
he had a brewery, an ashery and a store, and there he married 
Hannah Biddlecom. In 1807 he succeeded Scott k Dexter 
as keeper of the House tavern in Utica. Next he began to man- 
ufacture tin and copper ware, having a shop on the west side of 
the square, and a home in Seneca street He was thus employed 
until his death. May 10, 1810, in his forty-fifth year. His chil- 
dren were Daniel, who followed him in coppersmithing ; Isabella^ 
first wife of Enos Brown; George, a hardware merchant in 
Geneva; and Hannah, wife of Eev. William B. Lacey, D. D.^ 
rector of St Peter s Church in Albany. 

Bildad and Isaac Merrell, brothers of the Ira Merrell before 
noticed, had both a lengthened abode in Utica. The former 



254 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

kept a livery stable on Hotel street, was godly in life, and 
head of a respectable family. In the fall of 1814, by direction 
of Postmaster Hitchcock, he went with men and horses to or- 
ganise an express system between Sacketts Harbor and our 
army at Plattsburg. The battle of Plattsburg soon followed, 
the enemy withdrew, and but one express was ever carried. 
After the opening of the middle section of the Erie canal, he 
drew up a boat from the river and kept it on livery for pleasure 
excursions. Something later, when he had gotten together a 
moderate ])roperty, he engaged in staging, running lines north 
and south of Utica. His conscientious objections to Sunday 
travelling led him to take a pecuniary interest in the Pioneer 
line, which was run on weekdays only. But in this, he with 
other stockholders, was borne down by su})erior competition, 
and lost the most of his gains. Poverty he preferred to wealth 
obtained at the expense of his principles. H e died September 28, 
1851, aged seventy four. An unostentatious man, he was em- 
phatically an upright one, and a zealous and consistent Christian. 
As his father and his grand-father before him had been church 
elders, so he as well as his brothers Ira and Andrew, performed 
for many years the duties of this office in the Presbyterian 
Church of Utica. His son, Bildad, jr., died a few months before 
him. Of two daughters one only survives, Mrs. Piatt of Newark, 
N. J. Isaac was long the sexton of the Presbyterian Church, 
and grave digger of the old burying ground. How devout 
may have been his part in the service of the sanctuary, we are 
unable to say ; the sanctuary and its vessels he worshipped 
with slavish and unvarying devotion. He, too, died an old 
man in May 1860. 

An a])prentice or journeyman hatter of some two years resi- 
dence was Levi Barnum. He now entered on business inde- 
pendently, and continued in it long enough to become old, — 
most of the time on the west side of the square, — pursuing 
a quiet but industrious course, and leaving sons to honor 
him. 

John B. Harrington, butcher, though he did not ask the trus- 
tees for a license until 1814, was before that time a caterer to 
the necessities of the soldiers at Sacketts Harbor. He kept up 



THE SECOND CHARTER, 255 

the trade for a long course of years. He was eighty when he 
died in 1852. 

Mrs. Bethiah Williams, widow of a sea captain, sustained 
herself and family by the making of millinery. Of this family 
one was for a time a teacher and afterwards the second wife of 
Thomas Eockwell ; another, Elhanan W. Williams, was a law- 
yer, whose decease is but a recent event, and whose family are 
still in the city; yet another son died many years since. 

Just over the eastern frontier, John Gilbert, an Englishman, 
began in 1807 to make starch. He was joined in 1812 by his 
brother Edward ; and there the manufacture was kept up until 
within a few years. 

There came with John a most ingenious and accomplished 
macliinist, a Welshman, named Evan Thomas, who was much 
resorted to for advice and assistance. He built a mill near the 
Starch Factory in which he had many ingenious contrivances. 
He aided Mellen Battle, to be hereafter mentioned, in construct- 
ing a machine for the making of wagon wheels. 

A comical character of this date was Jacob Barker, a barber, 
liberal to recklessness, and uj) to all sorts of capers. It is said 
of him that having drawn a prize in a lottery, he was so elated 
b}^ it, that one Fourth of July he hired a sleigh with a team of 
six horses, and thus equipped drove about the village, distrib- 
uting handfuls of coin among the boys who followed him, or 
casting it into the river for the pleasure of seeing them dive after 
it. He drove his horses into the hall of the Hotel, called for a 
" gin twist," and paid the bar keeper fifty dollars. He was ac- 
customed to wear white cravats, and when one was soiled he 
covered it with a clean one, until his neck was so encumbered 
that he was forced to take them off and begin anew. Pennies 
he despised, and such as were given him by his customers he 
thrust into a hole in his shop wall, which was not plastered but 
ceiled. When the house was taken down over a pint of cop- 
pers was gathered. 

Residents for a period comparatively brief, were John B. 
Mitchell, butcher in 1807, starch maker in 1809 ; Calvin Lin- 
coln, who wrought nails for Augustus Hickox; William Pitt- 



256 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

man, blacksmith, who moved to Slaj^ton's Bush on the borders 
of the village, but whose descendants are now in the city ; 

George Spitzenburger, furrier; Eappelyea, a retired or 

broken merchant from the east ; Freienmoet Van Buren, farmer, 
who went to Canandaigua; E. G. Gridlej, engraver; G. W. 
Vaughan, shoemaker; James Murray, soap boiler; Mandeville 
Tuttle, hostler, a character unique enough for remembrance, if 
not for pei'petuation. 



1808. 

In May 1808, the freeholders met to elect trustees, and for 
the last time in the old Main street school house, the furniture of 
the building having been advertised for sale shortly afterward. 
The new trustees were Morris S. Miller, Jerathmel Ballou, John 
Hooker, Nathaniel Butler, and John Bellinger. Morris S. Miller 
was made president of the board. Of their proceedings there is 
not mucit that is.noteworthy ; the meetings were held regularly 
every month, and the assize of bread made out and published. 
The usual vigilance is evinced with respect to danger from fires 
and to faithfulness on the part of the firemen; absentees being 
duly reported and those of them who were unexcused removed 
from position. It was ordered that firemen exi^ecting to be ab- 
sent from a regular meeting of the company should notify the 
clerk of the fact with the reason for their absence, or if suddenly 
called away give their excuse immediately afterwards, which 
notice and excuse were to be reported to the corporation. An 
ordinance was passed forbidding the use of firearms, rockets or 
squibs between the east line of Lot No. 92 and the west line of 
No. 96, and the southern boundary of the village ; also forbid- 
ding fast driving and ball playing between 90 and 96. A sub- 
scription was set on foot to fence the burying ground, and an- 
other to procure a hearse, and these moneys so subscribed the 
collector was directed to collect. One special meeting was called 
to consider the case of John C, Hoyt, who had raised his house 
in order to under-pin it, and he was advised to move the house 
back. The firemen likewise met monthly for practice with the 
engine, but did nothing else except to mark the absent ones 
and assess them with fines the next time thcv came. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. ' 257 

As yet I have made no mention of tlie society of Metho- 
dists in Utica, because they had, until now, no place of worship 
within the village hmits. They were in existence, however, 
and were meeting often together, and exhorting one another to 
good works ; as where do they not, wherever there is a pioneer 
settlement formed or missionary enterpi-ise to be achieved ? At 
first the members residing in Utica were attached to a class that 
met in a small church on the road to New Hartford. This was 
a centre for the members living at New Hartford, Slayton's Bush 
and Utica, The relic of that church remains, and may be identi- 
fied as a part of the small white dwelling house directly opposite 
the west end of Pleasant street. In 1808 Solomon Bronson, a 
man of means and influence, living near this church, was con- 
verted, and being earnest and zealous, a good singer and a fer- 
vent exhorter, he used to come down to Utica and hold meet- 
ings in a building back of the line of Genesee street, and in the 
rear of where the store of Newell & Son now stands, which 
building, it is said, was designed and used as a school house. 
This then was the first place of meeting, and here the society 
had occasional preaching. J. Huestes, Benjamin Gr. Paddock 
and Charles Giles preached in that school house while they 
travelled the circuit which included Utica, and which was known 
as the Westmoreland Circuit. But very soon, — probably in 
the year 1808, — Rudolph Snyder built for the society a house 
of worship on ground situated where the southern end of the 
Bradish block now stands, beside the shop of his brother Jacob, 
which occupied the corner of Elizabeth street. Tt was a small 
wooden building of a single story, and was intended for a school 
house as well as a church. It was occupied by the society 
about six years. Through the influence of Solomon Bronson,, 
quite a number were converted, and the influence of Methodism: 
in Utica began to be strongly felt and its adherents respected. 

During the summer of 1808 an additional street was opened. 
This was Broad street, which, though laid out and partially 
worked a little time before, was now extended to Genesee street. 
Two brick houses were commenced upon it. A small brook, 
coming in from a south-easterly direction, formerly crossed the 
course of this street between John and First streets, aud entered 
the river just below the bridge. Trout were sometimes taken 
near its outlet. 

R 



258 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

A meeting was held this year of the electors of the county 
to take into consideration the expediency of petitioning the 
President oj the United States to suspend the operation of the 
embargo. Tlie meeting was held at the Hotel on the 3d of 
Septend^er, and was, according to the federal paper, the lai-gest 
assemblage of farmers and citizens that had, up to that time, 
been witnessed in the county. The wdiole country was excited 
by the depressed condition of affairs resulting from the embargo 
policy of Mr. Jefferson, and similar meetings were held elsewhere 
in order to petition the government for the suspension of this 
policy. At the gathering in Utica, Col. Benjamin Walker was 
called to the chair and Bezaleel Fisk, of Trenton, was chosen 
secretary. After the meeting had been organized and its object 
stated in a few })ertinent remarks by the chairman, Thomas 
R. Gold, of Whitesboro offered resolutions, prefaced by a speech 
of considerable length, in which, — as sa_ys the reporter, — in a 
very candid and dispassionate manner he took a view of the 
alarming situation of the country, of the present effects of the 
embargo, and of its probable consequences, if continued. These 
resolutions after being warmly seconded by Judge Vanderkemp, 
of Trenton, M^ere unanimously adopted. Jonas Piatt of Whites- 
boro, offered to the consideration of the meeting a draft of a 
petition to the President, which was agreed to with enthusiastic 
unanimity. After the appointment of a committee of highly 
respectable and influential citizens of the county to procure tlie 
printing of the petition and its circulation by sub-committees 
from each town in the county, and to recommend other counties 
of the western district to adopt similar measures, the meeting 
adjourned. In this petition the memorialists say that "the 
losses and embarrassments which had arisen from the existing 
embargo they had thus far submitted to without opposition or 
complaint, in the hopes that the avowed policy of the meas- 
ure might be realized." Yet " after eight months endurance of 
the rigorous system, they feel constrained by the most ardent 
patriotism, as well as by the imperious duty of providing for 
their families and satisfying their engagements, respectfully to 
declare that the embargo has failed of the effects wdiich were 
^ticipated. Instead of restraining or a})pcasing the lawless 
violence and domineering pretensions of the Em[)eror Napoleon, 
the embargo has furnished him with an apology for still greater 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 259 

insults and hostility towards our country." Reviewing the ef- 
fects upon England of this weapon of coercion, the memorial- 
ists believe that " its further continuance will greatly favor her 
■commercial interests, and prove subservient to her views of ex- 
clusive maritime dominion." As farmers they are firmly per- 
suaded that " the value of the soil depends in a great degree on 
the unrestrained privilege of sending their surplus pi'oduce to 
foreign markets through the agency of American merchants 
and shipowners;" that "the value of their territorial rights de- 
pends essentially upon the maintenance of their rights upon the 
ocean." A paragraph or two is expended in deprecation of the 
expediency of employing the industry of a large portion of the 
citizens of the United States in manufactures, however honor- 
able may be the calling when voluntarily and naturally fol- 
lowed. And in conclusion, with " all the respect due from freemen 
to rulers of their own choice," they earnestly request the Pres- 
ident " to suspend the further operation of the embargo and the 
laws supplementary thereto, and that he take the earliest op- 
portunity to recommend to Congress a I'epeal of the existing 
laws on that subject." 

The reply of President Jefferson to the Oneida petition was 
received about six weeks after the meeting. In this he tells the 
petitioners that he "should with great willingness have executed 
their wishes, if peace, or a repeal of the obnoxious edicts, — 
with which the belligerent powers had beset the highway of 
commercial intercourse, — or other changes, had produced the 
case in which alone the laws have given him that authority. 
But while these edicts remain the Legislature alone can prescribe 
the course to be pursued." 

It was during this same exciting era that a military company 
was drafted in Utica to serve in case hostilities should ensue. 
The drafting took place in the public room of the Hotel. Ma- 
jor John Bellinger was chosen captain, the second and third 
officers being Silas Clark and Benjamin Ballou, Jr. But their 
military prowess was not then called to the test. 

The proprietor of the Hotel at this time was one who had 
himself experience in military matters. This was Thomas Sick- 
les, who during the war of the Revolution was attached to the 
staff of Col. Morgan Lewis, and bore the rank of Major. He 
resided for some time in Rensselaer county, being a Judge of 



260 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

the Court of Common Pleas, and four times representing the- 
coiinty in the Legislature between the 3'ears 1787 and 1794. 
How soon he came to XTtica to live is not accurately known. 
There was a letter to him advertised by the postmaster in 1804. 
February 27, 1808, he informs the public that " on Saturday 
next he will take possession of the Hotel in Utica ; and he 
hopes that it will be in his power to accommodate his friends 
and the public in general." He, too, like some of his prede- 
cessors, was in person a recommendation of his skill as a caterer 
of good things, being large and fleshy. And like them his stay 
was short, for he was not prospered. He opened a house in Her- 
kimer, and died there in 1811. His wife, a dignified woman of con- 
siderable strength of character, afterwards kept a boarding house- 
on Main street. Of their eleven children, the last, Miss Mary Ann. 
Sickles, died August 16, 1873. Other daughters were Eliza (Mrs. 
John Williams) ; Joanna (Mrs. Silas Clark, Jr.) Amelia (Mrs. Ma- 
rinus Oudenaarde). Of the sons, William was an apprentice with 
Thomas Walker, then a printer in Shepardstown, Va , where he 
studied theology, became a Presbyterian minister, and settled at 
Terre Haute, Indiana ; one (George) was a grocer in Utica ; and 
one a livery keeper in Oswego. 

During Mr. Sickles' brief occupancy of the Hotel, it was a 
witness also of some tranquil occurrences. On the anniversary 
of the festival of St. John, June 24, 1809, the Oneida Lodge- 
held therein their Masonic festival, assisted by the lodges of this 
and the adjoining counties, about one hundred being present, 
from the Herkimer Lodge. Thence a procession moved to the 
Presbyterian " meeting house," where a discourse was delivered 
by Rev. Amos G. Baldwin, rector of Trinity. Three or four 
days previous- there had been announced to be held at the Ho- 
tel the semi-annual meeting of the " Utica Uranian Society."' 
Of this society I have no information. Was it astronomical in 
its aims, and were there star-gazers among the early settlers of 
Utica as among the Chaldeans of old, and did they assume the 
name from Urania, the astronomic sister of the nine, as signili- 
caut of tlieir pursuit, or, ]>erciiance, from Uranus the latest 
great planet that had been discovered ? Or was the name de- 
rived from the god Ouranos of Greek mythology, who having 
married Terra might be presumed to feel some interest in landed 
estate, and had it thus a mystic reference to the proceedings of 
an association of land speculators ? 



THE SECOND CHARTER 261 

But leaving useless conjectures and mythological fictions aside, 
let us turn to the veritable men and women of the era, and m- 
•quire who came in the year 1808 to dwell in Utica. 

One of the prominent men of Oneida county while the county 
was yet new was Arthur Breese. He was born in Shrewsbury, 
N. J., September 16, 1770, and was the second son of Samuel 
and EHzabeth Breese. His paternal grandfather, a native of 
Shrewsbury, in England, and of Welsh parentage, had been an 
officer in the Bitish navy, and a Jacobite, but resigned his com- 
mission after the Pretender's defeat, and came to America. An 
■extremely social man in his lifetime and noted for giving good 
•dinners, at which he always sang songs and told stories with 
much spirit,— he lies buried in Trinity Church yard. New York, 
beneath an epitaph made by himself, and which reads as fol- 
lows : 

Ha ! Sidney, Sidney, 

Lyest thou here? 

I here lye 

Till time is flown 

To its extremity. 

Arthur Breese's mother was the grand-daughter of Eev. James 
Anderson, first minister of the Wall Street Presbyterian Church, 
New York. He was graduated at Princeton, studied law with 
Elias Boudinot, and was admitted an attorney of the Supreme 
•Court in August 1792. As early as 1794 he removed to Whites- 
boro, where he became a partner in practice with Jonas Piatt. 
He acted also as deputy clerk of the county, Mr. Piatt being 
clerk, was a master in chancery, and in 1796-7 was a represent- 
ative in the Legislature. Upon the organization of the new 
county of Oneida he was appointed surrogate, and lield the of- 
fice so long as he remained at Whitesboro. But when a clerk- 
:ship of the Supreme Court was established at Utica, in 180S, he 
was made clerk and removed thither. The building he occu- 
pied stood where now stands the office of the county clerk, to 
which it has but recently given way. He soon built for his 
dwelling a large stone house directly opposite, and next above 
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer's, a site now filled by the Miller, or 
.step-ladder row. On the death of its first jn-esident, Mr. 
Breese held also for a time the position of president of the 
Ontario Branch Bank. He was himself cut down in the very 



262 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

prime of life, having died August 14, 1825, at tlie age of fifty- 
three, in the city of New Yorlv, whither he had gone to seek 
for the restoration of his health. 

By nature inactive in temperament and easy of disposition, 
Mr. Breese was yet possessed of strong sense and much per- 
sonal worth, of sterling integrity, of large hospitality, and gen- 
erous in his care for the religious, educational and other impor- 
tant interests of the town and neighborhood. He bore his part 
among the founders of the Oneida Bible Society and the Utica 
Academy, and as trustee of the village corporation, and of the 
Presbyterian Church, of which latter he was a communicant. 
He was somewhat of an epicure, and fond of the delicacies of 
the table, his larder and ice-house being always well supplied, 
and he never so happy as when surrounded by his friends, to 
enjoy with him his good cheer. A capital judge of wines, his 
cellar was liberally stocked with choice kinds, of his own im- 
portation. In manners he was quiet and rather taciturn, thougli 
cheerful and genial, with the looks and bearing of a thorough 
gentleman. His features were regular, his eyes large and ex- 
pressive, and though, in later life, a little beyond embojijjomt, 
he was in his younger days remarked for his personal beauty. 

Mr. Breese, was twice married, and the father of a large 
family of whom some have risen to distinction, and all were 
highly respectable and well connected. Catharine, his first 
wife, was the daughter of Harry Livingston, of Poughkeepsie. 
She died August 21, 1808, very soon after their removal to 
Utica, in her thirty-third year. She is represented to have 
been a faithful guide to her household in the path of duty, 
and an example of Christian meekness and piety. Endeared 
to all her acqiiaintances, she died universally lamented. Her 
children were Samuel Livingston, rear admiral of the Navy 
of the United States, who entered the navy in 1810, and after 
sixty years of dut}^, including the war of 1812, the Mexican 
war, service at the Norfolk and Brooklyn navy j^ards, and as 
commander of the European Squadron, was placed on the 
retired list; he died December 17, 1870; Sarah (Mrs. B. B. 
Lansing, and afterwards Mrs. James Piatt:) Elizabeth (wife of 
AVilliam Malcom Sands, purser of the United States Navy ;) 
Catharine Walker, (widow of Captain Samuel B. Griswold, of 
L^ni ted States Army); Sidnc}^, Chief Justice of the Supreme 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 263 

Court and United States Senator from Illin'ois ; Susan (Mrs. 
Jacob Stout, then Mrs. P. A. Proal, died 1863.) Henry Liv- 
ingston, died at the age of 1-1 ; Arthur, died in Florida, 1838 ; 
Mary Davenport (Mrs. Henry Da^ds, of Waterford). 

Mr. Breese married the second time in 1810, Miss Ann Car- 
pender, of New York, of English descent. She survived her 
husband many years, and died May 17, 1857, in the seventy- 
third year of her age. A woman of marked vigor as well as 
vivacity of intellect, she managed her property with skill and 
prudence, so that, left a widow with no superabundance of 
means, she greatly increased her income, and reared a lai'ge 
family, with all the SLiri'oundings l:)eiitting the position that was 
always accorded her. Though her habits and tastes were emi- 
nently domestic, her society even to the last was desired by 
both old and young, for she shone among the most refined in 
social life, was admired for her playful wit, her dignit}^, culture 
and grace, and esteemed for her consistent discharge of Chris- 
tian duty. She had six children, as follows : Sarah Ann (Mrs. 
Thomas R Walker ;) Josiah Salisbury, merchant of New York, 
died February 11, 1865 ; William Grregg, merchant of Cincin- 
nati, afterwards and until his death, which occurred June 15, 
1861, a resident of the city of New York; Frances Helen, died 
June 4, 181:7 ; Robert Lenox, died July 15, 1835 ; Aquila 
Stout, died August 31, 1825. 

Henry W. Livingston, brother of the first Mrs. Breese, was 
born about 1777, and was admitted an Attorney of the Supreme 
Court, October 1790. He lived in Utica and carried on law 
business from the year 1808 until 1813 or '14 As the agent 
of John B. Church, he sold lands in Cosby's Manor, and dealt 
also in land elsewhere in the State. He died in Hartford, Conn. 
He is represented as of tall and showy physique, and altogether 
a gentleman of the old school. 

A lawyer of standing in his profession, and an eminently 
pure and devout man was Walter King ; grave, sedate and 
reserved, but, instinct with love toward God and justice 
toward his fellows, he was faithful to both, and fearless in the 
performance of every dictate of an enlightened conscience. He 
was born January 6, 1786, in Norwich, Conn., of the Congre- 
gational Church of which town his father was pastor. Grrad- 



264 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

uated at Yale College in 1805, be came shortly afterward to 
Utica, and commenced a course of law studies in the office of 
Brastus Clark. With Mr. Clark he then became a partner, 
and continued this connection until the death of the latter gen- 
tleman in 1825. He subsequently pursued the practice of his 
profession until the year 1832, a part of the time as a partner 
of James Dean, and was a good office lawyer. Failing health, 
induced by confinement to the duties of his office, rendered it 
necessary for him to seek a restoration of strength in the active 
exercise of agricultural pursuits. He purchased a small farm 
in Marcy, and for twenty years busied himself in its cultiva- 
tion. He died suddenly in the year 1852, in a boat upon the 
Genesee valley canal, while returning from a visit at Dunkirk. 
Of Mr. King an associate remarks as follows : " Few men 
sustained a more stainless and consistent religious character ; 
and the writer has never known one whose Christian life was 
more universally respected by all his acquaintances, whether of 
his own or of other denominations, and as well by those who 
felt no personal interest in religious truth as by professing 
christians." Before his removal from the city he had been for 
a long time the most trusted elder in the Presbyterian Church 
and a favorite teacher in a Bible class connected with it. His 
knowledge of sacred literature was varied and exact. The 
Scriptures he studied in their original languages and by the aid 
of abundant critical authorities. He prepared for the press 
a series of questions upon the gospels for the use of Bible 
classes, whicli was published under the title of " Questions on 
the Grospel Harmony." It was regarded as a work of eminent 
utility, and passed through four editions. Mr. King was twice 
married, his first wife being Elizabeth Clark, of Windham, 
Conn., a niece of Erastus Clark. The only issue ot; this mar- 
riasre was Elizabeth, first wife of James Dutton. His second 
wife, who still survives, was Electa Jones, of Berkshire county, 
Mass., to whom he was united in October 1815. The children 
were a daughter, who died in infancy, and Walter Edwards 
King, who died in Marseilles, 'France, in 1867. Mr. King at 
first lived on Whitcsboro near Seneca street Subsequently he 
purchased and occupied a house on the east side of Genesee, 
near where John Thorn now resides. He lived afterwards in 
a house he built on the site of the one he had at first occupied, 
remaining there until his removal to Marcy. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 265 

About this time came the first of two brothers Malcom of 
most honorable connection, and pending their few years stay, 
their pohshed and engaging famihes held a notable place in the 
society of Utica, They were sons of Col. William Malcom of 
the Revolution. This Col. Malcom, who was of Scotch descent, 
and by profession a lawj^er, raised and commanded the First 
Regiment of artillery from this State, a regiment which bore a 
prominent part in the battle of White Plains, and whose lieu- 
tenant colonel was Aaron Burr. Col. M. proved himself a re- 
liable and worthy officer, served also as delegate in the Third 
Provincial Congress in 1776 from Charlotte county. New York, 
and was member of Assembly from the City of New York in 
1784, '86 and '87. His wife was Miss Sarah Ayscough. He 
left two sons and three daughters. 

Of these two sons, the first who resided in Utica was Samuel 
Bayard Malcom. He was born in New York, November 1, 
1776, was private secretary of John Adams during his adminis- 
tration, studied law and entered u]3on practice in the metropolis, 
but about 1808 removed to Oneida county. The law did not 
much occupy him while here, his sole business being the care 
and sale of lands in Cosby's Manor, the property of his wife. 
She was Catharine Yan Rensselaer Sell uyler, youngest daughter 
of General Philip Schuyler, and is reported to have received at 
her marriage $100,000 in money, and a like value in real 
estate, situated mosth" in this vicinity. They lived on the New 
Hartford road in a cottage designated in the advertisements of 
Mr. M. as " near Utica," the same cottage which in after years 
was known as the Thorn farm house, now the property of 
Egbert Bagg. Mi\ Malcom was far from being thrifty in his 
management, and was in fact a spendthrift ; he wasted the 
property and became embarrassed by involving himself for some 
of his relatives. " One hundred and forty acres of land being 
part of Lots Nos. 98, 99 and 100, also the farm of Jeremiah 
Powell, and a few acres next Uriah Alverson," were, on the 9th 
of March 1812, advertised to be sold by the sheriff. About 
three years later lie died at Stillwater, N. Y., leaving two sons, 
William Schuvler and Alexander Malcom. 

Mrs. Malcom bore her misfortunes with Christian resignation. 
From being accustomed to affluence and luxurj^, she was now 
reduced to submit to the deprivation of many of the comforts 



266 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

and even necessaries of life. In 1820 she advertised her farm 
on the New Hartford road containing one hundred and eighty 
acres. In January 1822, she married Captain James Cochrane, 
and in 1827, with her sons and her husband's family, removed 
to Oswego. This remarkable woman was born at Albany on 
the 20th of February 1781, and at her baptism General and 
Mrs. Washington stood as two of her sponsors. The daughter 
of the great Revolutionary patriot, whose name is so illustrious 
in our annals, she was closely allied by blood to the families of 
Van Rensselaer, Van Cortland and Livingston, and sister-in-law 
of Alexander Hamilton. In 1794, in company with her father, 
she passed through the Oneida wilderness to Oswego, then still 
in occupation of a British garrison, and shared in the adventures 
of what was then a difficult and romantic expedition. Many 
years later, and when she had become a second time a widow, 
she filled the office of post mistresss at Oswego, now a flourish- 
ing city. Honored for her noble family connection, beloved for 
her estimable virtues, and her kind and courteous manners, re- 
spected for her mental culture and high intellectual accomplish- 
ments, adorning her Christian profession by a life of faith, obe- 
dience and resignation, she survived until the 26tli of August, 
1857, and died among the oldest of the inhabitants of Oswego, 
as she was among the earliest of its residents. Her two sons 
were educated as civil engineers. The eldest, who for thirteen 
years had the superintendency of the public harbors on Lake 
Ontario, and afterwards the conmiand of some of the finest pas- 
senger steamers on that lake, now lives at Oswego. The home 
of Alexander, the younger, is also at that place, though he has 
been many years disqualified by ill licallh from engaging in any 
employment. 

Stephen Dorchester, the hatter of 1794, died, as I have said, 
in 1808. The same year his son Eliasaph, now at the ripe age 
of twenty-eight, was teaching a grammar school in the Welsh 
Church on Hotel street, and may possibly have been thus occu- 
pied for some time previous. This school he continued to keep, 
by night as well as by day, until he succeeded Henry B. Gibson 
in the Bank of Utica. There he remained but a short time, 
and then joined Thomas Walker in the management of the 
Columbian Gazette. And here, while writing for its columns, 



THE SECOND CHAETER. 267 

he picked up some knowledge of printing. Near the commence- 
ment of the year 181<), he estabhshed, with some pecuniary 
assistance, the Utica Observer^ as the organ of the part}^ that 
elected Mr. Madison to the Presidenc}^, and in opposition to 
De Witt Clinton. Ere long he transferred the paper to Rome ; 
but in the latter part of 1819, or early in 1820, he brought it 
back to Utica, and continued to publish it. When his party 
gained the ascendency in this State there ensued a general re- 
warding of the faithful and a proscription of their adversaries. 
Mr. Doi'chester was appointed by the Governor to the office of 
county clerk in the place of Francis A. Bloodgood, its former 
long-contuuied incumbent. This post he filled during the j^ears 
1821-23, his second term being by election to the office. Then 
he became once more a teacher, having charge of the Utica 
public school. Subsequently he was absent some time from the 
place, giving lectures on geology. On his return he again 
taught, and also amused himself with a printing press in his 
house on Lansing street. 

Mr. Dorchester was a constant reader, and had acquired quite 
an amount of knowledge; he had an acquaintance with some 
of the modern lansrua2;es, was an accurate sframmarian and an 
acute critic. His intelligence and his agreeable social qualities 
made his company to be sought by the cultivated men of his 
party, while his indolent habits, his indifference to pecuniary 
gains, and his lack of steadiness of purpose, kept him needy, as 
well as deprived him of the standing in the community to which 
his talents entitled him. His death occurred in July 1864, at 
the age of eighty-four. His wife was Abigail Allen of Fairfield, 
Conn. His only son died young. Two of his five daughters 
married residents of Utica, viz. : Elizabeth (Mrs. James P. Gil- 
more), and Hester E. (Mrs. Cyrus F. Palmer) ; two others were 
Mrs. Albert Ruloffsen, and Mrs. George A. Talbot of New 
York; one is unmarried. 

In speaking of the building erected for the use of the Meth- 
odists, I mentioned that it served also as a school house. It 
has sometimes been confounded with another school house 
which stood above Elizabeth street, where Grace Church now 
is. This latter, which was two storied and larger than the pre- 
ceding, belonged to Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, and was known 



268 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

as the Dixon school house, the first teacher who occupied it 
having been Eev. David R Dixon. The Presbyterians for a 
while held their evening services in it. This Mr. Dixon was a 
son of Major Dixon of Sherburne, Chenango county, and hud 
graduated at Yale College in 1807, only a short time before he 
began his school. The first of his advertisements that I have 
met with is dated September 1809, but as he gave a pubHc 
exhibition of his school in the fore part of this same month, it 
is natural to presume that it was given at or near the close of a 
term, and that tlie school had, tlierefore, been some little time 
in progress. His exhibition was held in the Presbyterian Church, 
and was witnessed hy a ci'owded audience. Some of the pu- 
pils enacted the play of Barbarossa, the parts of Selim and 
Barbarossa being taken by Masters Camp and Norton. And, 
says our foreign born authority, " though both of them were of 
New England parentage, their accent was correct " In Febru- 
ary 1811, Mr. Dixon opened an evening school for instruction in 
singing, while continuing his grammar school through the day. 
At the same time he was privately carrying on a course of 
study in divinity. This he prosecuted under the direction of 
Rev. Mr. Carnahan, as is probable, for he was one of the elders 
in his church, and he never attended any theological seminary. 
In 1813 he left the place. As a teacher Mr. Dixon was capa- 
ble and good tempered. His school was the federal one in con- 
trast with that of Mr. Dorchestei', whose patrons were found 
among the democratic families. Among his pujnls he had two 
who were subsequently admirals of the navy, two State sena- 
tors, an eminent portrait and (jeiire painter, and others scarcely 
less celebrated. As a minister he was slow, but weighted with 
sound learning. In 1S19 he was moderator of the Presbytery 
of Oneida, being then settled at Mexico, Oswego county, in 
which county he was useful also as a missionary under the au- 
spices of the Female Missionary Society. His first wife died 
in 1811. For his second he married Miss Tafl't, sister of the 
wife of Deacon Nathaniel l^utler, who followed him to Mexico. 
His death took place in 1861. 

Shubael Storrs was froin Mansfield, Connecticut, and had al- 
ready'' worked as an a})prentice to silver-smithing in Sjjringfield^ 
Massachusetts, when he came in 1803 to Utica. It was five or 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 26^ 

six years longer before he opened a shop of his own. Yet he 
was in constant employment from that time onward, and was 
successively a watch-repairer and maker of spoons and other 
silver ware, a maker of mathematical instruments, of compasses 
and of trusses. Retiring and self-contained, he might be seen 
but was rarely heard ; yet, like his work, he was irreproachable, 
and what he commended was sure to be as he said. Credulous 
and trustful, he might be imposed on, but cause was never found 
to distrust him. He did not marry until 1820, and when he 
died, July 10, 1817, left a widow and two children. His widow 
still survives, and one son, William M. Storrs ; Harriet (Mrs. 
Battle) is deceased. 

Other residents of 1808 were J. H. Beach, a teacher, who 
studied law, afterwards lived in Auburn, and was concerned 
with his brother in the manufacture of flour, and was also a 
member of Assembly ; Asahel Davis, an apprentice to the 
printing business, who studied theology with Rev. Mr. Bald- 
win, teaching two or three pupils meanwhile, became an Epis- 
copal minister, was settled at Oneida, where he preached to 
the Indians, and went with them to Green Bay ; in 1817, he 
was president of the Utica Sunday school ; Royal Johnson, 
de{)uty county clerk ; John Ostrom, brother of Judge Ostrom, 
kept tavern on the eastern border of the village ; Rev. Morris 
Morris, Welsh Congregational minister, well educated and 
well connected, whose son Morris was killed in battle ; William 
Donaldson, baker and dealer in flour, remained until 1819, but 
being unfortunate in his aifairs, moved to Kingston, Canada, 
where he was a victim of the cholera ; Peter B. Markham, gun- 
smith : Lemuel Brown, blacksmith ; Richard Van Dyke, cabinet 
maker, insolvent about three years later ; John H. Deeper, 
his journeyman ; Samuel Hoyt, tailor: Chauncey Rawson, con- 
cerned in staging ; Oliver Goodwin, dealer in paints and oils ; 
Lewis Griffin, associated with William Hayes, Jr., in making 
earthern ware ; Eber Adams, who lost his life in the war of 
1812, and whose son, Lyman Adams, lives still in Utica; Sim- 
eon Natten, travelling dentist ; T. Gladding, profile cutter ; 
and A. Philips, another wandering practitioner of the same art 



270 THE PIONEERS OF ITTICA. 

1809. 

The freeholders' annual meeting of 1809 was held at the Ho- 
tel. The trustees who held office during the year, w^ere Tal- 
cott Camp, president, Solomon Wolcott, John Hooker, Jerath- 
mel Ballon and John Bellinger. The amount assessed on the 
inhabitants was but three hundred and fifty dollars. Further 
measures were adopted to provide by subscription foi' a public 
hearse. A lot for an engine house, situated in the rear of Trinity 
church, was given by the Bleecker family through their repre- 
resentative, Morris S. Miller. An attempt to call the inhabi- 
tants together to consider the propriet}^ of selling the engine 
and buying a new one failed of result, inasmuch as few appeared, 
and no action was taken. The resignation of the clerk and the 
appointment of a successor seems to have been thought so 
pressing a matter as to require the holding of an extra meeting 
of the trustees on a Sunday evening. Occasion for another 
Sunday meeting was found when the president reported that in 
compliance with instructions previously given him, he had em- 
ployed three watchmen to serve from ten o'clock until day- 
light. A practice so difterent from the modern one, and ap- 
parently so little in accordance with the pious habit of our 
fathers is readil}^ explained when we remember that a mn jority 
of them were emigrants from New England, where the evening 
of Saturday, not that of Sunday, was looked upon as a pai"t of 
the sacred day of rest, and where sundown of the latter day 
still ushers in the secular duties of another week. Of the 
watchmen, whom the president now^ informs the trustees he 
had put on duty, two were to patrol the streets from Judge 
Cooper's to Morris S. Miller's, and from the bridge to Ai'thur 
Breese's, including the side streets, while the third was to re- 
main as a sentinel at the watch-house. The following were the 
instructions these watchmen were to observe: " In the event of 
an alarm of fire, you will first proceed to cry fire, and the place 
of its discover}^ Next, instantly (crying 'fire!' as you go,) 
knock at the door of each trustee, Mr. Macomber (the man who 
rings the bell), the captain of the fire company, Benjamin Paine, 
and the other firemen, and then to continue to alarm the in- 
habitants generally ; never forgetting, in every instance, to di- 
rect them to carry their buckets." They were also to arrest 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 271 

and detain burglars and suspicious persons. Persons of this 
character, with bundles, were to be taken to the place where thej 
said they got the bundle, and if their story were found untrue 
they were to be kept in the watch-house. Besides these, there 
were other regulations relating to their deportment, &c. 

Broad street, we have seen, was opened the previous sum- 
mer. On the 27th of February, 1809, it was formerly adopted 
as a street by order of the commissioners of highways of the 
town of Whitestown, from Genesee street to its intersection 
with the road leading to Slayton's settlement (two thousand 
fifty two feet), that is to say, a short distance east of Third street. 
At the same time the following were also adopted, viz : First 
and Second streets from Broad to the river. Third street from 
Main to Broad, and from thence to be continued to the intersec- 
tion of the road to Slayton's settlement, and Water sti-eet from 
First across Genesee to Hotel vStreet. 

During the present year Bridge street — the present Park av- 
enue — was laid out and macadamized. This was a great un- 
dertaking, and involved much forethought and care as well as 
a very considerable pecuniary outlay. It was wholly executed 
at private expense, being, like Broad street, the work of Judge 
Morris S. Miller, with the cooperation of his father-in-law and 
brother-in-law, of Albany. Beginning opposite Mr. Plant's, at 
the head of Genesee street, it ran in a north easterly direction 
behind the southern margin of the village, crossed the river and 
tlie farm of Mr. George I. Weaver until it intersected the river 
road in Deerfield. Designed apparently to draw trade and 
travel from their present course along the Genesee road, it failed 
of wholly accomplishing its object; yet it did much to pro- 
mote the extension of the village in a southerly and easterly 
direction. It was not achieved without opposition, being op- 
posed not only by parties interested in the western part of the 
village, but more especially by Mr. Weaver, of Deerfield, who 
could nc^t appreciate the advantage the road would be to him- 
self, and was unwilling to part with the right of way across his 
land. And even after this right of way had been obtained and 
the land secured, the matter was not adjusted without an alter- 
cation and a personal affray, in which Judge Miller was charged 
by the son, Col. John G. Weaver, with cheating his father, and 
was so abusively treated that, in his indignation, he struck the" 



272 



THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 



Golonel with some weapon at hand, and drove him, bleeding 
and threatening vengeance, from his office. But tlie road was 
finislied, and in a capital manner, and an excellent bridge was 
put up across the river. McAdara himself, as it is said, had a 
a job on this road, which was one of the first he had built, 
though not as good as many later macadamized ones. Across the 
flats, on the north side of the river especially, it traversed a piece 
of ground that seemed even wetter than the former road to Deer- 
field. Cedar boughs were first laid down, upon which was placed 
a course of fifteen inches of stone, and gi-avel upon the to]) of this. 

There were other enterprises that had their origin at this time 
and which enlisted the sympathy and the efforts of the leading 
men of the village and the county. One of these resulted in 
the creation of a manufacturing establishment ; another gave 
to Utica its first Bank. 

Stimulated by the offer of cooperation and assistance from 
Air. Lawrence Schoolcraft, superintendent of a glass factory 
near Albany, a company was formed at Utica to establish glass 
works in this vicinity. It was incorporated on the 17th of Feb- 
ruary, 1809, with a capital of $100,000, and was known as tlie 
Oneida Glass Factory Company. Books were opened and the 
stock soon taken up. The following were the subscribers and 
the amounts respectively subscribed to this first manufacturing 
enterprise that was unitedly entered upon by the citizens of 
the county, viz : 



Abraham Varick, . . . |5,000 

Charles C. Brodhead, . 2,000 
Peter Bours, .... 5,000 

John Steward, Jr., . . 5,000 

Watts Sherman, . . . 5,000 

Nathaniel Butler, . . 2,000 

Anson Thomas, . . . 2,000 

Bryan Johnson, . . . 2,500 

Alex'r B. Johnson, . . . 2,500 

Frederick White, . . 2,500 

John C. Devereux, . . . 2,500 

Siil & Doolittie, . . . 2,000 

Williams & Shearman, . . 2,000 

James Dana, . . . 1,000 

Walter Morj^an, . . . 2,500 

Ez.kicl < lurk, . . . $1,500 

Stalham VN'illiams, . . 500 

John Hooker, . . . 5,000 

Erastus Clark, . . . 500 

Samuel Hooker, . . 1,000 

Jason Parker. . . . 1,000 

Solomon Wolcott & Co., . 1,000 



Isaac Coe 9,500' 

Winne & Evertsen, . . 1,000' 
(All of the above being residents • 

of Utica.) 
Kichard Sanger, . . . 2,000 
Frederick Stanley, . . . 5,000 
Caleb C. Sampson, • . 1,000 
Joseph Kirkland, . . . 2,000 
Peter tV)lt and Koswell L. Colt, 5,000 
Samuel Peck, . . . 1,500 
Philip Hoagle, . . . 2,000 
l.,awrence Schoolcraft, . . 2,500 
Jonas Piatt, . . . 1,000 
Elizur iMoseley, . . . 1,000 
James Lynch, . . . 2,000 
Hoval Johnson. . . . 1,000 
Daiiiel Cook, .... 4,000 
George Huntington & Co., . 2,500 
George Bravton, . . . 1,000 
R. Cook and David Cook, . 1,000 
Blank, 1,000 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 27S 

The first directors cliosen were Watts Sherman, Abraham 
Varick, John Steward, Jr., Alexander B. Johnson, and Eichard 
Sanger of New Hartford, the latter being president. In April, 
land was purchased at Vernon of Isaac Coe, Daniel Cook and 
Samuel Peck, and contracts for the supply of wood were made. 
Nor was it long before the making of cylinder glass was begun. 
Success speedily crowned their endeavors, and from that time 
onward the business was prosecuted with a fair measure of suc- 
cess until the 18th of August, 1836, when the company dis- 
posed of their real estate and closed up their affairs. 

Down to tlie period at which we have arrived, the money in 
nse was chiefly silver, and for the most part the Spanish milled 
coinage ; bank bills were comparatively few, and consisted of 
notes of eastern banks. For loans, men of business were de- 
pendent on Albany. The commencement of banking opera- 
tions in Utica dates from the arrival of Montgomery Hunt, in 
1809, he having been sent hither by the Manhattan Bank of 
New York to organize a branch of that institution. Of Mr. 
Hunt an ample notice will be given hereafter in connection 
with the history of a bank of a later period and more continued 
existence than the Manhattan Branch, with whose concerns the 
chief part of his life was identified. Suffice it to say that he 
was well qualified for the business on which he was commis- 
sioned, having already had experience therein. 

The branch he started was at first located in a small building 
that stood back from the west line of Hotel street, a little south 
of Whitesboro. In July 1809, the lot on the corner of these 
streets was bought and the brick building erected for its use 
which still stands there, and which has of late been the resi- 
dence of John E. Hinman, but which is now owned by Richard 
Schroeppel. Mr. Hunt's only associate was Henry B. Gibson,, 
who acted as teller and book-keeper. The directors during the 
year 1810 were as follows : William Floyd of Westernville,. 
James S. Kip, Francis A. Bloodgood, Solomon Wolcott, John- 
Bellinger, Thomas Walker, Apollos Cooper, Marcus Hitch- 
cock, Henry Huntington of Home, Nathan Smith, Ephraim 
Hart as yet of Clinton, and Nathan Williams, who was the 
president. With one exception, all of these gentlemen seem 
to have left the Manhattan in 1812, and taken part in the Utica. 



274 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Bank The directors of 1816, the only ones of a later date 
whose names I can learn, were Morris S. Miller, president, 
Nathan Williams, James Yan Rensselaer, Jr., John C. Dever- 
eux, Jolm C. Hojt, John H. Handy, James Dana, Windsor 
Maynard. After the withdrawal of Messrs. Hunt and Gibson, 
in order to enter the new institution, it was managed by James 
S. Kissam until he became cashier of the Ontario Branch, when 
his place was lilled by James Nazro. Of its internal affairs 
and general conduct I am unable to get much information. I 
know only that it ])rospered and remained in existence until 
1818, but when two or three local banks adequate to the bus- 
iness of the place had gained a foothold, it was withdrawn. 

The Henry B. Gibson just spoken of as teller under Mr 
Hunt, and who afterwards became himself a banker of emi- 
nence, had been already some years in Utica, in the position of 
clerk. He was born in Reading, Pa., April 13, 1783. When 
nine years old he moved with his father, John Gibson, to Sara- 
toga, ISr. Y,, where he received his principal education. Find- 
ing that he excelled in mathematical studies and not in learn- 
ing Latin, he determined on being a merchant. His business life 
he began at the age of sixteen, at Cooperstown, as a clerk of 
Judge Cooper, the father of the novelist, and with the novelist 
himself he was a youthful associate. Thence he came to Utica 
as a clerk of Hugh Cunningham. In 1805 he was emploj'cd 
in the store of Watts Sherman, and in 1809 he was a writer 
for Francis A. Bloodgood, in the office of the county clerk. 
He had a quickness of perception and a corresponding quick- 
ness of action that were quite uncommon, and to these M^ere 
added undeviating industry, excellence of judgment, and an 
integrity beyond suspicion. These were the qualities which, 
when the Manhattan Bank was put in operation, secured him 
the position of teller. Three years later, when the Bank of 
Utica was organized, he followed his principal and became tel- 
ler of the new institution. While here, it was his practice' to 
accommodate persons coming to the bank for a renewal of their 
notes, by loaning them from his own purse the money they 
needed to take up their former ones, without which liquidation 
the bank would not give them further credit Mr. Hunt ob- 
jected to the practice, and a disagreement ensued, which even- 
tually led to the resignation of Mr. Gibson. Rejoining Mr. 



J 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 275 

Sherman, lie went with him to New York in the spring of 1813. 
There as merchants they carried on an unusually successful 
business, having Alexander Seymour as their associate and rep- 
resentative at Utica. In this firm, and after the death of Mr. 
Sherman, in other connections, he remained in the city, until 
1820, and had already acquired a property of $30,000, when 
a cashier being wanted for the Ontario Bank at Canaudaigua, 
he was called to the position. To retrieve its affairs, he removed 
to Canandaigua, assumed the duties and continued to perform 
them until the expiration of the charter in 1856. In this posi- 
tion it was not long before he gained a wide spread reputation, 
and became, in the opinion of A. B. Johnson, " the most uni- 
formly successful country banker the State has produced." His 
personal fortune, which was not the result of hazardous adven- 
turing, but the accumulation of a long and busy life, amounted 
at his death to moi"e than a million of dollars. 

Yet Mr. Gibson was not, as might be presumed, a cold and 
crafty man. He was of an ardent temperament, impulsive in 
his kindness and in his displeasui'e, artless and open in his 
intercourse, and tender though hasty in his feelings. He filled 
also other jDosts of trust and honor, having been president of the 
Auburn & Rochester Rail Road Co., and, after the consolidation, 
a director of the N, Y. Central. He lived six months beyond 
the age of eighty, and died November 20, 1863. His wife, to 
whom he was united on the 9th of December, 1812, was Sarah, 
eldest daughter of Watts Sherman. His surviving children are 
a son and three daughters, of whom one married Watts Sher- 
man 2d, nephew of the preceding, and late of the firm of Duncan, 
Sherman & Co., another, Henry L. Lansing, formerly of Utica, 
and now of Niagara, Canada. 

On the Fourth of July, 1808 or 1809, in a time when party 
spirit ran high, there w^as a great gathering of the Democrats at 
Bellinger's tavern, the head quarters of the party They had a 
large naval cannon to make a noise with, and Tom Jones, the 
blacksmith, who had been in the British service, and was well 
acquainted with the handling of great guns, was employed 
as the best engineer to manage it. Toward the close of the 
day, when the celebration was pretty much over, and the com- 
pany tolerably mellow and reckless, the young men were bent 



276 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

on having anotlier firing of the cannon, and went to work to 
give it a heavy load. Over the powder they filled to the 
muzzle with turf and other soft material, which being well 
rammed would increase the resistance and give a louder report ; 
and the ramming was done with a will. Jones dared not risk 
such a load, and declaring that he would have nothing to do 
with it, he withdrew and took a seat on the horse block at the 
eastern end of the house. The young men were determined 
the gun should go off, and pointed it toward Bagg's, the quar- 
ters, as is presumed, of the opposite party. A ^^outh named 
Seymour Tracy, an apprentice in the office of the Gazette, and 
of strong political tendencies, volunteered to do the firing, and, 
with a live coal held in a pair of tongs, he proceeded to exe- 
cute his purpose. A terrible explosion ensued, which shattered 
the gun to fragments, leaving scarcel}^ a bit on the spot where 
it had stood. Though the street was filled with men aud boys, 
yet strange to say, Tracy and Jones were the only persons hurt, 
and the latter but slightly, his skin being scraped by the butt 
of the cannon that struck with violence the block on which he 
sat. Tracy was less fortunate : one of his legs was so badly 
smashed that amputation was necessary. The party took good 
care of him and showed him much kindness during his illness 
and after his recovery. For a time he was employed as a copy- 
ist in the office of the county clerk, and soon became the dep- 
uty. He afterward repaired to Fairfield, studied law, and 
returned to serve the Manhattan Branch Bank as its attorney 
and notary. He was a man of capacity and resolution, and 
ready as a speaker, and was active in the arena of politics. In 
ISTovember 1810, he married Olivia, daughter of Joseph Bar- 
ton. Before 1816 he moved to Batavia, but died in Albany, 
His sou Thomas and his daughter (Mrs. George Tracy,) have 
been residents of more recent date. 

The freshly starting mechanics of 1809 were the following: 
Kobert McBiide, mason, long held an honorable place among 
the workers of Utica. He built the nucleus of the present 
Bagg's hotel, — that is to say, the corner and central portion, — 
and did much other heav}'' work in the place ; completed some 
important contracts on the Erie canal, and was an alderman 
and an enter|)risiiig and respected citizen. He made his final home 



I 



THE SECOXD CHARTER. 277 

with his son-in-law near Canandaigiia. Of his three sons and 
three daughters, none are now resident. Another mason was 
Thomas .Thomas, a Welshman, who built the stone house of 
James S. Kip, and afterwards one of the structures of Hamilton 
College. Two apprentices to the hatter's art indentured with 
Samuel Stocking were his brother Joseph Stocking and Samuel 
Bull. Thev estabhshed themselves in 1811 at Buffalo, where 
they were the earliest hatters of that place, and met with de- 
served success. When the w^ar came on. Bull took part in it, 
was a captain, and was wounded at Black Rock. Of furriers, 
there were three in 1809, viz. : Joseph Simons, Charles Blates, 
and Adolph Cotteriield. The first was the only one of them 
who remained long enough to leave a remembrance and a de- 
scendant. Charles Simons followed in the footsteps of his father 
and died in 1875, an old man, and unmarried. The saddlers, 
Eliphalet Tucker and Erastus Burchard, now began at the old 
stand of Grurdon Burchard, who went into tavern keeping. The 
tanner, Andrew P. Tillman, brother of William, succeeded to 
the tannery of Bela Hubbard, but in 1815 removed to Geneva. 
The fresh carpenters were Samuel Jones, C W. Harris and 
William Morris. Jones was engaged, some years later, to make 
the gallows on which John Tuhi, the Indian, was hung. He 
was not told for what it was intended, and was greatly surprised 
•and shocked when he learned its purpose : " They told me it was a 
ga-at," said he, "and it's a gallows." The cabinet makers were 
Asa Palmer, brother of Chauncey now resident, J. Andrews 
and Obadiah Cougar. The latter had a shop in Utica and an- 
other in New Hartford. Palmer moved to Racine about 18-12, 
and died in 1871. T H. Nurse, reed maker, had for some years 
a home in the house which preceded the residence of Justice 
Ward Hunt. He moved to a farm three miles east of Utica. 
Joel Hmckley, blacksmith, ai the sign of the " king's arms" on 
Whitesboro street, became insolvent three years later. Henry 
Bowen, another blacksmith, had a son who still carries on the 
trade of his father. Two young men, who came m 1809 from 
Danbury, Conn., bore the relations of brother-in-law and of mas- 
ter and apprentice to the trade of shoe making. The latter was 
Ezra S. Barnum, who, after finishing his apprenticeship, re- 
moved temporarily from the place to reappear some years later. 
The former, Levi Comstock, lived in Utica from that time on- 



278 ' THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

ward for nearly fifty years, and then made bis home with a 
son in Cuvahoga Falls, Ohio, until his death, May 31, 1868. 
William Honghton was a stage proprietor, and for a time a 
partner with Jason Parker. A son of his was a harness maker. 

Paul Hochstrasser, gentleman, owned and occupied the house 
that became a part of the Franklin House, which has now given 
W'ay to the Arcade. Brother-indaw of Rudolph Snyder, he mar- 
ried the widow of Watts Sherman. Mrs. Flandrau, widow of 
Elias Flandrau of New Rochelle, was the mother of Thomas 
H. Flandrau, an acute and able lawyer of more recent times. 
One of her daughters had already married Thomas Dean of 
Deansville, Indian agent. Others of them were busy needle 
women, much relied on by the ladies of their generation, and 
one became subsequently the wife of Prof. Marcus Catlin of 
Hamilton College. Mrs. Sarah Van Syce was a milliner of 
many years experience. William Ladd, grocer, at No. 1 Gene- 
see, corner of Water, was long a resident of the eastern part of 
the village, and had sons and daughters, 

George Stewart practiced the tonsorial art at " The Blue 
Academy," as he termed it. "between Payne's and Barton's." 
He was a pompous negro, known by the title of Emperor, who 
had been servant to Admiral Hood, and was with him during the 
war between England and France. " He married into General 
Piatt's family," as he was accustomed to boast, that is to say, 
his wife had been a servant in it. In public processions he 
headed the colored people, dressed in the highest style, fre- 
quently in short clothes, and flourished a gold-headed cane. 
He died on Main street at an advanced age. 

Besides the foregoing we have the names of John Chi Ids, 
teacher, who died August 1814; of J. Wilkinson, teacher of 
sacred music ; of Samuel Haskell, dancing master ; of John 
Conway, another colored man ; and of J. Singer & Co., merchants, 
and S. Ammidon, grocer, who have left us no other token of 
remembrance than a single advertisement. 

1810. 

On the first of Ma}^, 1810, the freeholders met at Mr. Dixon's 
school house and elected as their trustees for the ensuing year,. 



THE SECOND CTTAETER. 279 

Talcott Camp, John C. Hoyt, John C. Devereux, Ka(:lol})h 
Snyder, and Abraham M. Walton, the former of whom was 
appointed president. The snm voted to be assessed was five 
Imndred dollars, which, after remunerating the treasurer and 
collector, was to be appropriated as follows : . First, to the sexton 
for ringing the bell in the Presbyterian meeting house ; second, to 
fencing the lot presented by M. S. Miller, and building an 
engine house thereon ; third, to digging and stoning a sewer on 
the east side of Genesee street from the corner of Broad ; fourth, 
to pay balance due the watch ; fifth, to pay the balance due for 
hearse and other contingent expenses. And these were accord- 
ingly the principal matters that occupied the attention of the trus- 
tees throughout the year. Mr. Macomber was engaged to ring 
the bell at 9 a. m., 12 m. and 2 P. M. ; the president and Mr. 
Devereux were authorised to contract for fencing the new lot 
and building an engine house thereon; Mr. Brodwell, in considera- 
tion of the sum of $1(30.85, built the proposed drain ; the balance 
due for hearse and for watch were liquidated. A new subscrip- 
tion was started to provide for the watch of the current year, 
and also a subscription for the purchase of a new engine, the 
avails of which, being deemed sufficient, were put into the 
hands of Watts Sherman, with authority to buy the same. In 
addition to the foregoing, as also the repairing of the fixtures 
about the wells, the appointment of a new treasurer (E. B. Sher- 
man), and the discharge of a few small accounts, the only other 
transaction of the board was the offer of a reward of one hun- 
dred and fifty dollars for the detection of the incendiary, who, 
on the night of the 2d of October, set on fire the new store of 
Hugh Cunningham. 

The Whitestown records inform us that in November 1810, 
C. C. Brodhead surveyed, and the commissioners of highways 
adopted, the following streets, viz. : part of First from Broad to 
Rutger, thence south-westerly to the bridge over the old road ;* 
Broad street extended to the lands of Col. Walker ; Catherine 

*Tliis was the old road to New Hartford, and which was quite circuitous 
in its course;— starting nearly on the line of Broadway, it crossed to the 
east side of the present turnpike, and afterwards recrossed it before reach- 
ing- New Hartford. The bridge must have been over one of the sources of 
Nail creek. 



280 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

street from Third street to the Seneca turnpike (Genesee street) ; 
Eirst street extended to Bridge. Bridge sti-eet, \Adiich had been 
surveyed for the commissioners by Mr. Brodhead in 1801, and 
which, as we have seen, was laid out iu 1809, was also now 
adopted. A map made by Mr. Brodhead, in 1810, for the heirs 
of John R Bleecker, exhibited all the streets parallel to Broad 
as far upwards as South, laid down tliereon as they now exist. 
But we have no evidence of the acceptance by authority of any 
other than Catherine street, and it is certain that most of them 
were not in use until some years later. By a newspaper adver- 
tisement of September in this year, we are informed that the 
house situated on the corner of Catherine and Genesee was 
for sale and must be removed within ten days of date. It is 
reasonable to infer that Catherine street was now demanded 
by the growing necessities of the village, or at least its western 
end; further on, it remained a quagmire until after the opening 
of the canal. In this connection, and as bearing on the increased 
value of real estate in Utica, we quote a few self-gratulatory 
words contained in a village paper of this era, and constituting 
one of those rare occurrences for the era, an item of purely 
local interest. "We are informed," says the Patriot of October 
9, 1810, ''that a small triangular lot on the corner of Genesee 
and Whitesboro streets in this village has been sold after the 
rate of $300,000 an acre, which same land, twenty-five yeoxs 
ago, might have been purchased for one dollar an acre." Utica 
contained at this time one thousand six hundred and fifry inhabi- 
tants and three hundred houses. A journalist records that he 
^'counted fortj'-five liouses on the street leading to Judge Miller's." 

A beginning was made this 3'ear in the construction of two im- 
portant roads leading north and south from tlie place, viz. : the 
Utica & Black Eiver turnpike, andtlie Minden turnpike, known 
of late 3^ears as the Burlington plank road. 

In July 1810, the Erie canal commissioners visited Utica in 
prosecution of their fii-st survey of its route. Further continu- 
ance of tlie undertaking was soon suspended by the war with 
England which ensued in 1812, and it was not till after its close 
that this great work was carried on to its successful completion. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 281 

Encouraged bj the success of the Oneida Glass Factory, 
started the previous j^ear, Mr. Peter Bours uow took the lead 
in getting up a company to manufacture crown glass, which, 
it was proposed, should be superior to any made in the country. 
With him were associated Benjamin Walker, John Steward, Jr., 
Hugh Cunningham, John Hooker, Seth Dwight and others. 
A special charter was obtained fi-om the Legislature of 1809-10, 
and a capital stock was raised of $250,000. A tract of land 
was bought some three miles north of Utica, in the part of 
Deerfield now known as Marc}^ In the course of the ensaing 
season suitable buildings were put up, workmen were obtained 
from Boston, the only place where crown glass was then made, 
and the manufacture was begun. Within a year the stock had 
all been called in. Bours seemed to carry all he undertook. 
B}^ continuous boasting the new stock became a kind of south 
sea bubble, and sales were reported at a hundred per cent- 
though such sales were probably fictitious. A gentleman who 
visited the works in April 1813, was informed that the expenses 
were $30,000 annually, the value of glass made $50,000, amount 
of stock $100,000. That the works of the company were not 
in realit}" ver}" productive, and were, in fact, for a time sus- 
pended, we infer from the announcement of Mr. Bours, the 
superintendent, made in Fel:)ruary 181-1, a few months after the 
purchase of seven hundred and ninety additional acres of land, 
to the effect that the factory is again in operation, and that 
orders are received on the premises or at the store of Luke Dev- 
ereux. The company struggled on a fQw years longer. In 
March, 1819, they were in want of glass blowers, and made 
known their necessities by advertisement. But the renewed 
efforts proved futile ; it was found impossible to manufacture 
crown glass which could compete with that of English work- 
manship. Finally, on the 22d of March, 1822, the company 
leased their factory for four years to their predecessors, the 
Oneida Company of Vernon, and this is the last item of infor- 
mation the writer has been able to obtain about them. A good 
deal of money was sunk in the enterprise, and the losers were 
numerous. 

Another branch of business which dates its beginning from 
this era, is that of cotton and woolen manufacture. The ear- 



'282 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

liest attempt in this direction is exhibited in the following 
advertisement which emanated from Whitesboro, and which 
bears date November 13, 1809 : 

''The subscribers, acting under the firm of Walcott & Co., 
have erected a manufactory for the spinning of cotton yarn in 
the village of Whitesboro, which is now in operation. Benja- 
min S. Walcott agent. The public are invited to aid and 
cherish an institution calculated to support the independence 
of the country. 

(Signed :) B. Walcott. Newton Mann, William M. Cheever, 

Theodore Sill, Asher Wetmore, Benjamin S. Walcott, Jr. " 

Thomas R. Gold, Seth Capron, 

Within a year, as we learn fi'om a visitor to the factory, it w^ as 
consuming one hundred weight of cotton per diem. This 
modest beginning, was the forerunner of all the similar under- 
takings of the vicinity, the first effort of those sagacious, pains- 
taking, persevering and skillful men, which has resulted in lining 
the course of the Sauquoit with pr(jductive and valuable fac- 
tories, in securing for the projectors and those who succeeded 
them the fortunes of princes, and for their goods a repute that 
extends the world around. 

The earliest intimation of a kindred project wherein were 
enlisted the sympathies and the capital of the people of Utica, 
I find in a subscription paper dated July 14, 1810, and enti- 
tled a subscription for tlie purpose of erecting a cotton, woolen 
and iron factory, on the Oriskany creek near the house of Col- 
onel Lansing. Annexed thereto was a plan for its construc- 
tion. The capital stock was to be $200,000, divided into shares 
of one hundred dollars each. Subscriptions were to be paid 
to Gerrit Gr. Lansing, Seth Capron and Samuel S. Breese, who 
were to be trustees until an incorporation had taken place, and 
were then to convey to the trustees who should be appointed. 
On this paper there are in all fifty-nine subscribers, of whom 
a little over one third were residents of Utica, representing 
$38,500 of the stock, the remainder being inhabitants of Whites- 
boro and capitalists from the cast Theodore Sill subscribes in 
behalf of the Oneida Manufacturing Society, from which we 
are to infer that the association known by this title was either 
already in existence or about to be inaugurated. The mill 
belonging to this society which stood between Yorkville and 
New York Mills was burned down many years since, and was 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 28S 

replaced with one of stone and brick. This subscription paper 
doubtless records the incipient movements in behalf of the 
Oriskanj factory, a three story brick building, one hundred and 
twenty feet in length which was commenced in 1810, incorpor- 
ated in 1811, and soon went into operation as a woolen mill on 
the site at first proposed. According to Judge Jones, (Annals 
of Oneida County) it is believed to have been the oldest woolen 
manufacturing company in l)eing in the United States. " At 
the time of the incorporation of this company" saj's he " our 
difficulties with Great Britain had assumed a threatening aspect, 
and a number of the prominent public men of that day were 
induced from truly patriotic motives to embark in the business 
of manufacturing woolen goods in the hope*)f doing something 
to render their country' independent of England for a supply 
of clothing." Without intending to underrate the cogency of 
this motive, which doubtless was a prevailing one, I venture 
to add other causes which are alleged by an English traveller 
of the period to have had their influence. This traveller, 
J. Mellish by name, visited the northern States in the years 
1810-11, and in tlie published record of his journey has given us 
some notices of Oneida county, and of its "capital," as he des- 
ignates Utica. After alluding to the state of things that pre- 
vailed previous to about the year 1807-8, when Utica and the 
neighboring settlements of Whitesboro and New Hartford were 
almost the last outposts of trade, and when the newly settling 
country beyond was immediately dependent upon them for 
supplies, he intimates that the commerce of Utica, was at the 
time of his visit (1811) in a drooping condition, the spirit for 
building on the decline, and confidence in its future greatness 
seriously impaired. This decline he imputes to a threefold 
cause ; to the increased mercantile facilities of the western set- 
tlements and their consequent growing independence of eastern 
inland villages like Utica, to the change in the current of the 
market which had begun to traverse the lakes and the St. Law- 
rence, and to forsake the more tedious channel of the Mohawk, 
and lastly to excessive overtrading throughout the State, due 
to the indulgence of too free a credit both in New York City 
and in England. He then goes on to remark of the citizens of 
Utica that '"they have already begun to avail themselves of 
the advantages to be derived from the new order of things^ 



284 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

and a good deal of the surplus capital of All)ain' and New 
York has also been invested in manufactures in and about this 
place, for which they are already getting in some success a hand- 
some return.'' Not to anticipate his account of the actual 
number of manufactures as he found them in 1811, I subjoin 
a single paragraph, expressive of his opinions of the future : 
"There are three branches that are likely to flourish in an emi- 
nent degree: glass, woolen and cotton: and they will all be of 
great importance to Utica. The cotton trade will, I think, 
flourish here beyond every other." 

The year 1810 is memorable for the birth of a local society, 
purely benevolent iji its purposes, which has received the appro- 
bation and enlisted the sympathies of all evangelical Christians 
throughout the county, and which, from its origin to the present 
time, has continued to diffuse light and blessings upon the sur- 
rounding region. This is the Oneida Bible Society. It was formed 
at Utica at a meeting convened for the purpose, at the Presby- 
terian Church, on the 15th day of November, 1810 ; and thus 
precedes by six j^ears the formation of the Ameiican Bible Society. 
At this meeting Rev. Amos G. Baldwin was called to preside. 
Bev. James Carnahan, George Huntington of Rome, and Erastus 
Clark were appointed a committee to prepare a constitution, and 
they forthwith reported the draft of one which was unanimously 
adopted, and which, with some few amendments since incorpo- 
rated, constitutes the organic law of its present existence. Its 
first article expresses the object of the society, and is made a 
fundamental law that cannot be repealed : this object is " the 
distribution of the Holy Scriptures in the common version, 
without note or comment." Of those who took part in its or- 
ganization, many served their generation with credit in stations 
of public trust ; but in few relations, perhaps, are they entitled 
to more honoi-able mention than in connection with the society 
thus launched forth upon its high and useful career. Those 
who held the four leading offices were, Jonas Piatt of Whites- 
boro, president; Rev. Asahel S. Norton of Clinton, vice presi- 
dent ; Rev. James Carnahan, secretary : and Rev. Amos G. 
Baldwin, treasurer. To these were added sixteen directors, rep- 
resenting equally the clerical and the lay element, viz. : George 
Huntincrton and Rev. Moses Gillet of Rome ; Rev. Abraham 



THE SECOND CHAETER. 285 

Williams, Arthur Breese, Morris S. Miller, Erastus Clark, Jere- 
miah Yan Rensselaer of Utiea ; Rev. Oliver Wetmore of Hol- 
land Patent (and afterwards of Utiea), Dv. Elnathan Jndd and 
Henry McNiel of Paris ; Rev. James Eells of Westmoreland ; 
John Linklaen of Cazenovia; Rev. Israel Brainard of Verona ; 
Rev. Samuel F. Snowden of New Hartford; Rev. Caleb Doug- 
lass of Whitesboro ; and Rev. James Southworth of Bridge- 
water. At the commencement the society had no special or de- 
fined territorial limits within which its operations were to be 
conducted. It solicited subscriptions by the agents it appointed, 
who resided not merely in the county of Oneida, but in all the 
adjacent ones. Its allotments of Bibles extended also from 
Montgomery on the east to Steuben on the west, and from 
Chenango and Madison to Jefferson and St. Lawrence. It was 
not until the year 1849, that upon a revision of the constitution, 
its name w^as changed to that of the "Oneida County Bible 
Society," since which period, and indeed practically before tliat 
date, the field of its operations, both in respect to the solic- 
iting of funds and the supplying of the destitute with the Scrip- 
tures, has been Oneida county. The exploration and survey 
of the county has been four times undertaken, and, as far as 
possible, every reader w^ithin its bounds has been furnished with 
a copy of the Bible. The report of the fourth one made in 
1861, shows that during the preceding year eighteen thousand 
five hundred and ninety-seven families were visited, that \vp- 
wards of twenty-one hundred Bibles or Testaments had been 
given away, and nearly sixteen hundred sold. 

The first meeting of the society was followed by an annual 
meeting in January 1811, since which time annual meetings 
have been held without interruption, to the present year, except 
during the years 1833-6, when there appeared to have been a 
suspension of them. The proceedings of the society and a state- 
ment of its future intentions were annually published in the 
form of a report. Many of the reports in the earlier years of 
its operations were drawn up by Erastus Clark, and are docu- 
ments of peculiar interest. The semi-centennial anniversary 
was observed in January 1861. On this occasion a commemor- 
ative address was delivered by William J. Bacon of the execu- 
tive committee, which elicited the cordial thanks of tlie society. 
To it the writer is mainly indebted for the facts herewith pre- 



286 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

sented. From tliis address we learn further that Judge Piatt 
continued to act as })resident of the society, by repeated reelec- 
tions, until 1816, when he was succeeded by George Hunting- 
ton, whose term of service continued until the year 182-1, when 
Judge Piatt again resumed the office, and remained four 3'ears 
more in the discharge of its duties. To him succeeded Abraham 
Yarick, in 1828, continuing until 1832, when Asahel Seward 
was elected. He was followed in 1836, by John J. Knox of 
Augusta, who presided in the office until his death in 1876, and 
has been succeeded by Dr. J. C. Gallup of Clinton. The society 
has had but four treasurers, viz. : Amos G. Baldwin from its 
origin to the year 1811 ; William G. Tracy, from 1811 to 1830 ; 
Jesse W. Doolittle, from 1830 to 1842 ; and Jared E. Warner, 
from 1842 to the present time. During the first fifty years of 
its existence, the entire amount of its receipts and disbursements 
was over $40,000, " a sum small indeed, when compared witli 
those of our great national societies, but which faithfully and 
judiciously applied, as it has been, has produced an incalculable 
amount of good." 

Let us turn now from more general matters to take up the 
list of new arrivals and new business adventurers of the j^ear. 
It has already been mentioned that when Jeremiah Van Eens- 
selaer estaljlished himself in Utica, in 1800, there came with 
him, as his clerk, his brother James, then a youth of seventeen. 
This brother remained with him until 1810, when he set up on 
his own account in the multifarious trade of the period. In this 
he continued longer than his elder. In 1811 he married a niece 
of the wife of Jeremiah, Miss Susan DeLancey Cullen, who 
had been early left an orphan and had been brought up by her 
uncle, James Kane of Albany. He built and began house 
keeping in the brick house on Broad street, which is the fourth 
east from the Grouse block. After some years residence therein, 
he built and occupied the wooden house that covers the triangu- 
lar lot bounded b}^ John, Elizabeth and Park avenue. His 
place of business was for the most ])art on the southerly corner 
of Broad and Genesee, and hither his frequent advertisements 
summon customers who arc in need of dry goods, groceries or 
hollow ware, of powder from Do Chaumont's factory, or flour 
of Ely & Bissell's grinding. He encountered some reverses, 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 287 

and entered on some undertakings which did not prove alto- 
gether profitable. Of the latter nature was the building of the 
row of brick stores, on the southerly side of Liberty, between 
Hotel and Seneca, for besides being imperfect in construction, 
these stores were not perhaps wisely conceived, being in advance 
of the requirements of the time. Though Mr. Van Rensselaer 
did not attain the exalted position in public affairs that was 
held by his brother, he was busy in his own ; he filled also 
posts of responsibility and usefulness, among others that of 
director of the Manhattan Bank ; and he and his family were 
respected and conspicuous. 

In 1837 he removed to Jasper county in Indiana, where he de- 
voted his energies to the laying out and improvement of a town 
which bore his name. He erected mills, a court house, &c., and 
succeeded in firmly securing what is now one of the most thriv- 
ing villages in northern Indiana. Here he died in the spring 
of 181:7, and was buried in the corner of the lot donated by the 
family to the Presbyterian Church of the village. After his 
death the family removed to New Brunswick, N.. J., where Mrs. 
y. R. died in 1863, and the second daughter, Susan (Mrs. Henry 
Weston), in 1870, and where the remaining daughters, Cornelia 
and Angelica, as well as the only son, John Cullen, now live. 

A new firm of the year was that of Nicoll & Dering, who 
began on Genesee street opposite Broad. It was composed of 
Richard F. Nicoll, who lived a short time in the A. B. Johnson 
house, and lived freely, but had money for public schemes as 
well as for his private use, and Charles T. Dering, his brother-in 
law, and brother of the late Dr. Nicoll H. Dering. The latter 
was, it is said, an exemplar}^ man, but neither of them remained 
long enough to leave a permanent reputation. Mr. Dering be- 
came an early settler of Hamilton in Madison county, and was 
collector of revenue in 1812, but afterwards returned to Sag 
Harbor whence he came. Mr. Nicoll stayed until 1815. 

Walter Flemmg, an Irishman, who sold boxes of tin in June 
of this year, lived on until the 26th of November, 1830. Fond 
of gayety and sport, he was a favorite with his companions, but 
his business dragged, and his social habits overcame him at the 
last 



288 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Evan Davies lived in Utica in 1805, though he then did not 
get into business, but was trying to sell his farm in Deerfield. 
In 1810 he took the store vacated by the Messrs. Bloodgood, on 
the corner of Genesee and Whitesboro streets, and there he kept 
a wholesale and retail establishment, which was known as the 
Cheap Welsh Store. It displayed in front the image of a man 
leaning on a roll of linen cloth. This sign, after having done 
duty for one or two succeeding merchants, is still preserved by 
Mr. Eay at the original store. Mr. Davies failed in the course 
of a year, and became a farmer, but resumed business afterwards 
and in 1818 was again sold out He acted at times as a preacher 
among the Welsh Independents. 

Daniel Stafford has already been mentioned as the son of 
Joab Stafford, and succeeding to his interest in company with 
Bnos Brown. Stafford & Brown, coppersmiths, removed in 
1815 to the east side of Genesee street above the square, and 
next to E. B. Shearman, where they dealt in all kinds of hard- 
ware. Al)out 1820 they failed and the business was assumed 
by Spencer, Stafford & Co. of Albany. Daniel became next a 
captain of a packet boat, being in command of one of the first 
packets upon the canal. His residence in his later years was 
the house now occupied by E. S. Barnum. His wife, wdio was 
Altheina Makepeace of Norton, Mass., is still alive. He had 
five children. 

Joshua Ostrom, eldest son of Judge David Ostrom before 
mentioned, entered upon the running of stages, and in 1810-11, 
he and his partners are in close competition with Jason Parker 
and his partners. A glance at their respective advertisements 
will be of interest, as illustrating not only the gradual advance 
in the business of staging, but showing also the rivalry and strife 
which then prevailed between opposing com2)anies. Thus, on 
the 20th of September, 1810, Joshua Ostrom, Baker & Swan, 
,and J. Wetmore & Co. announce a new steamboat line of stages 
which will leave Albany Monday and Friday ; Utica, Monday 
and Thursday. Six days later the competing com23anies, Powell 
& Parker, Campbell & Co. " in order to prevent the delay at 
Utica " in their Western line, have determined to run their stages 
every day. Next Ostrom & Co. run theirs three times a week, 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 289 

but " without the inounibnince of post office regulations." Then 
on the 21st of January, 1811, we have the following announce- 
ment from Parker & Powell : "Eight changes of horses. The 
mail stage now leaves Bagg's, Utica, every morning at four 
o'clock. Passengers will breakfast at Maynard's, Herkimer, 
dine at Josiah Shepard's, Palatine, and sup (on oysters) at Thomas 
Powell's Tontine Coffee House, Schenectady. Those ladies and 
gentlemen who will favor this line with their patronage may be 
assured of having good horses, attentive drivers, warm carriages, 
and that there shall not be any running or racing horses on the 
hue." Tlie rival proprietors, still unencumbered by post office 
regulations, are ready a week later, to " go through in one day, 
unless the extreme badness of the travelling render it utterly 
impossible." Passengers are to " have the liberty of breakfast- 
ing, dining and supping where^ when and on what they please." 
No more than eight passengers, unless by unanimous consent. 
Only one further advertisement of Mr. Ostrom and his associates 
appears, and this is dated April 1811, for he failed and wound 
up his affairs. He was afterwards constable, deputy sheriff, &c. 
Of Mr. Parker and his fellows we continue to read. His next, 
under date of May 1811, is as follows : " Powell, Parker, Baker 
& Co., Parker & Powell, Hosmer & Co., and Landon & Co. run 
a line of stages from Albany to Niagara Falls. N. B. The 
public will observe that this is the only line which reaches the 
Falls, and that the stages of the speculative oppositionists, who 
impose on travellers by assuring them that their stages extend 
to Canandaigua or the Niagara Falls, go no farther than Utica ; 
but that the present line of stages will afford them a safe and 
direct passage either to Utica, Canandaigua, Buffaloe, or the 
Falls, without subjecting the passenger to the trouble of apply- 
ing to another stage for conveyance. Fare from Albany to 
Utica, five dollars and fifty cents ; from Utica to Greneva, five 
dollars ; Utica to Canandaigua, five dollars and seventy -live 
cents; from Canandaigua to Buffaloe, six cents per mile." In 
September 1816, Jason Parker & Co., with half a dozen con- 
federates, in addition to their stages which left Utica and Can- 
andaigua six tmies a week, and ran through in a day and a half, 
were running a line three times a week between Albany and 

Canandaigua, going by the way of Auburn, Skaneateles, On- 
T 



290 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

ondaga, Manlius, Cazenovia, Madison and Cherry Valley, and 
these stages went through in two days. 

Next after an owner and runner of stage coaches, it may be 
permitted to introduce one who painted them. This is John 
C. Bull, from Hartford, Connecticut. He succeeded to the 
shop of Thomas & Brewster, opposite the Utica brewery, but 
was during most of his residence near the corner of Seneca 
and Liberty. His sign represented the name of the artist and 
that of his art so closely approximated as to need not a li^qDhen 
to read Bull-Painter. This led Thomas Skinner, who was a 
bit of a wag, to call on him one day to engage him to paint a 
bull; it was not to be a cow, or anything else of the bovine 
family, but a veritable bull. But though Mr. Bull's calling 
was that of coach, sign and ornamental painting, he was in 
truth quite as notorious as an amateur violinist, and fiddled as 
faithfully as he painted. He was a pupil of one Henry J. Curphew, 
who gave lessons in instrumental music, terminating his course 
with a public concert that was a grand event for the times. At 
this concert Curphew and Bull took parts in a play entitled the 
"Scolding Wife," and chased one another around the room, 
causing a merriment that surviving spectators remember with 
delight. Mr. Bull died July 10, 1827. Mrs. Bull was a Miss 
Cross, 

To William Whitely music was by no means the amusement 
of an amateur ; on the contrary its making was the life work 
of fort}^ years and upward. In July 1810, he set up "a mu- 
sical factorj^" An industrious mechanic, an honest, quiet and 
exceedingly modest man, he prosecuted the manufacture of 
musical instruments until 1858, and then retired to spend the 
remainder of his days with a married daughter at Knox Cor- 
ners. He is to be remembered as the first organist of Trinity 
Church at a time when church organs were rarer than at 
present, and when Erben had not yet earned his fame as a 
builder of them. For we read that on the 20th of July, 1811, 
Mr. Whiteley leased to Trinity for two years, at sixty-eight 
dollars a year, an organ with three cylinders of fifteen tunes 
each, engaging to perform on the same at all the regular ser- 
vices. His wife was Miss Parmelee, sister of the wives of B. 
W. Thomas and A. G. Dauby. He had a son William, now 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 291 

deceased, a daughter Mary (Mrs. Knox, of Augusta), and two 
named respectively Sarah and Emily. 

Thaddeus B. Wakeman was a capitalist, from Bridgeport, 
Connecticut, who subscribes for the building of the Oriskany 
factor}^ in 1810, speculates in Merino sheep in 1811, and has so 
much money to lend that he is called the walking bank, but is 
not known in Utica after 1815. He went to New York, made 
a venture in tea, and had a cargo freshly arrived, when news 
came of the declaration of peace. The price of tea fell and he 
was ruined. Another private banker we get merely a hint of 
in a letter from New York, written by Abraham M. Walton, 
after he had removed from the place, to a friend in Utica. It 
is dated October 1810, and contains in its postscript the provok- 
ing inipiiry : •' Who is ahead now, Bridge or the Manhattan?" 
And who, we ask, was Bridge, this daring competitor of the 
established bank? A teller of the Manhattan, named Alanson 
Jermaine, who was at first a clerk of E. B. Shearman, and a 
man of excellent repute, lived here from 1810 to 1815, then 
removed to Ontario county, and thence to Albany. His pres- 
ent home is in East Hampstead, L. I. 

Jarhes C. Winter, — believed to have been a lawyer, — was 
associated with Seymour Tracy in the publication of a paper 
called The Club. This was a weekly paper of a small size, 
which was issued under a fictitious name, and was rather lite- 
rary than political, being chiefly filled with stories. It was be- 
gun in 1812, but was not continued over a year, though it was 
resumed something later by another editor, and took a differ- 
ent stand. Winter is said to have failed and gone to South 
America. It is a little singular however, that a James C. Winter 
should have turned up about this time as a merchant in George- 
town, Madison county, as appears from the History of that 
county. 

Thomas Devereux, who arrived this year from Ireland, sold, 
the next, at the Utica Distillery, — now the Gulf Brewery of 
McQuade — " excellent whiskey in exchange for cash, wheat, 
rye or store hogs." In March 1815, his brother Nicholas ad- 
vertises the distillery as for sale. Thomas returned to his na- 
tive soil ; there he married Miss Mary A. Redmond of New 



292 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Ross, and bad a isoii who was afterwards adopted by John C. 
Devereux, and bore his name. This son became a highly re- 
spectable lawyer of New York, and d3nng, left a widow and 
two sons, who are now domiciled in Utica, 

Robert Todd, Jr., tobacconist, sold also fish, and " kept a 
team running between Albany and Utica to furnish his cus- 
tomers with tobacco, snuff and segars, and also with t\vo sup- 
plies of salt fish a season." But it was for no long time that 
he kept it, and not beyond 1815 did he keep a residence in the 
place. J. Passenbronder, another tobacconist, was shorth^ set- 
tled in Eaton, Madison county. 

A tanner named William Pennimau was at this time and for 
several years longer foreman for David P. Hoyt. He was a 
native of Quincey, Mass., had lived in Philadelphia, and in 
various })laces in Massachusetts, but had been unsuccessful and 
lost his property. After some years connection with Mr. Hoj^t, 
he was next in the employ of Hubbell & Curran. On the 
death of his wife, in 1837, he removed to live with one of his 
sons. This wife was a superior person, and had been bred to a 
higher position than her husband's straitened circumstances ena- 
bled her to fill. The sons were eight in number, and two of 
them carriage makers. Of these two, Edward, after floating 
about, settled in Philadelphia, where he was editor of a Demo- 
cratic paper, a member of both branches of the Legislature, 
register of wills, &c. He died in 1887. Francis B. Penniman 
learned the trade of printer with Merrell & Hastings, was set- 
tled at Pittsburg, and is now an editor at Honesdale. He also 
was a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature, and likewise a 
member of Congress. 

Mellen Battle, living near the starch factory, advertised in 
December 1810, what he termed the American Wheelwright's 
Labor Saving Machine ; it being a machine for making all kinds 
of carriage wheels, and also spokes, axe helves, &c. He obtained 
a patent in 1809. This Battle deserves to be remembered as 
the man who built the only steamboat that has ever traversed 
the Mohawk above the falls at Cohoes. 

Other mechanics of longer stay than Battle, were Luther and 
Nathan Christian, blacksmiths ; John Bailey, coppersmith ; 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 293 

Thomas Brodway, butcher; Baker McCo}^, carpenter. The 
Christians worked for years in the shop of ' Isaac Clough, and 
afterwards in their own. Thomas Christian, their brother, hav- 
ing seen six months service in the war of 1812, taught school 
afterwards on Hotel street, and was in 1821, teacher of the 
Lancaster school. Next he became a merchant and was located 
at No. 77 Genesee. January 15, 1830, he died in Florida 
whither he had gone to recruit his health. His widow and one 
son, William H., are yet in Utica. Mr. Bailey, a relative of 
the Delvins, and employed with them, had a numerous family, 
of whom Moses, James and William still make their home in 
the place. Their mother was living but two years since. Thomas 
Brodwa}-, lived but little above Oneida square, in the house of 
late occupied by Charles P. Davis, the maker of stained glass, 
and yet he was in New Hartford, the dividing line being then 
so near. 

Others of ISIO, whose residence was of short duration, were 
Haley Brown, butcher, brother of Enos and Nehemiah ; Joel 
Marble and Samuel Danforth, stone and marble cutters ; Wil- 
liam Staples, turner ; Russell A. Dickinson, tailor ; John Lewis, 
carman ; John D. Harrington, teamster ; Augustus W. Bing- 
ham, who superintended the laying out of Bridge street ; George 
Thomas, clerk for his brother Daniel ; and George Derbyshire 
for Watts Shearman ; Martin Langdon, also clerk ; J. W. 
Blackett, teacher ; Alexis Felix de St. Hilaire, French and 
dancing master ; William Moore, instructor in the broad sword 
exercise ; William Thomas and William James, village watch- 
men; Mrs. C. Hooker, mantua maker. 



181L 

On the 7th of May, 1811, the citizens convened as usual at 
Mr. Dixon's school house. They elected as trustees, Jeremiah 
Van Rensselaer, Talcott Camp, Frederick White, John C. Dev- 
ereux and E. B. Shearman, and as treasurer, John C. Hoyt, in 
place of Mr. Shearman thus exalted to a trusteeship. Nich- 
olas Smith was elected collector. The amount of tax ordered 
to be raised was five hundred dollars. Very little was done by 
these trustees, in the course of the year, that is deserving of 



294 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

remembrance. Thej held their meetings regularly, sometimes" 
at the Hotel, sometimes at tlie office of their president, Mr. 
Camp ; delinquent firemen were removed and their successors 
appointed, watchmen were procured, the ringing of the bell 
provided for, bills were paid and the assize of bread determined. 
The only noteworthy event was the arrival in the fall of the 
new engine for which payment to the manufacturers had been 
forwarded in the spring. On its arrival the duty was imposed 
on the captain of the fire company to take it out once a week, 
and to be careful also to keep the old one in repair. At th& 
same time a committee was appointed to make inquiry for a 
site for an engine house near the store of Hugh Cunningham, 
that is to say near the heart of the village. 

An intimation of the prevalence of a martial spirit at this 
time, and of a readiness on the part of young men to engage 
in military duty would appear from an announcement made 
early in April. Nathan Williams, captain of the Independent 
Infantry Company, in a newspaper call invites the band of the 
company to meet with " the members of the band of music" 
at the Hotel, and invites also young men who are inclined to 
become soldiers in the above company to attend and enroll their 
names. In the beauty of its uniform, in its discipline and drill, 
this company, which had probably been organized a year or two 
before, became the distinguished one of the county. It was at 
first commanded by Nathan Williams, and afterwards by Wil 
liam AYilliams, the bookseller and publisher. With their tight 
pants and tasselled boots these crack soldiers were wont to parade 
to the satisfaction of the villagers in front of the Hotel ; and 
there they had a public dinner on the Fourth of July, 1812, the 
tables being arranged under booths which ran along the street 
The company w^ent into the public service in the war of 18 i 2, 
and as an organization was disbanded. 

As a true chronicler of the gradual advancement of the 
place in all modern social characteristics, it becomes me to men- 
tion circumstances that partake of the simply trivial and amus 
ing as well as those which are serious and engrossing. Be it 
said then that in the fall of 1811, Utica witnessed its first circus 
performance. Mr. Stewart, formerly of the New York Com- 
pany, was, he says, at considerable expense in erecting a circus 



THE SECOND CHAKTER. 295 

at the lower end of Bi'oad street. Here he and his wife and 
Mr. Franklin, who constituted the whole troupe^ enacted some 
few of what are now reckoned as the more stale of the " aston- 
ishing feats" of such performers. What ecstasy they inspired 
a venerable octogenarian delighted to recall ; another has not 
forgotten the curious gaze which followed the lady as she went 
riding by. 

Reference has already been made to the published notes of 
J. Mellish, an English tourist who visited Utica in 1811. His 
information about the place, derived, we may assume, from 
some one or more of its inhabitants, is probably in the main 
correct. Some of his statements savor, however, of the exag- 
geration not unnatural to a citizen proud of the rising impor- 
tance of his village, and should be received with caution. Such, 
for example, is the estimate he gives of the amount of popula- 
tion and of the educational facilities of the place, especially his 
statement of the existence of an academy, unless, forsooth, the 
appellation was intended for tlie school of Mr. Dixon, or the 
Juvenile Academy, so called, of Mr. Henry White. While 
noting, therefore, this source of error, we give the account of 
Mr. Mellish nearly in full : 

" Utica is the capital of Oneida county, and consists at present of 
about four hundred houses, containing two thousand inhabitants. 
It began to settle about twenty-three years ago, but it has been 
princi]\ally built since 1796, and two-thi rds of it since 1 800. The 
buildings are mostly of wood, painted white, but a good many 
have lately been built of brick, and some few of stone. The pub- 
lic buildings are four places for public worship, two of them ele- 
gant, an academy, clerk's office, &c., and there. are six taverns, fif- 
teen stores and two breweries. There are three printing offices, 
viz. : one for books and two for newspapers, one bindery, two 
morocco factories and one manufactory of musical instruments, 
three masons and a number of brickmakers and carpenters, four 
cabinet and chairmakers, two coopers, seven smiths and nailors, 
two tinsmiths, one coppersmith, four silversmiths and watch- 
makers, three tanners and curriers, one furrier, six butchers, two 
bakers, three hatters, four tailors, four painters and four druggists. 

" The village lots are from fifty to sixty feet front and one hun- 
dred to one hundred and thirty deep, and sell for from two 
hundred to one thousand dollars. The out-lots contain twelve 
acres and five hundred dollars is asked for them. House rent 
for mechanics is about sixty to one hundred dollars, wood one 



296 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

dollar and twenty-five cents per cord, flonr eight dollars per 
barrel, potatoes two shillings per bushel, turnips thirty -one 
cents, cabbages four cents each, beans sixty-two cents per bushel, 
onions seventy-five cents, beef, mutton and veal five cents per 
pound, venison four cents, fowls nine cents each, ducks two 
shillings, geese four shillings, turkeys five shillings, butter one 
shilling, cheese seven cents, hog's lard six cents, beer five dol- 
lars per barrel, whiskey forty-five cents per gallon, boarding 
two dollars and fift}' cents per week. 

" The government of the village is vested in a board of five 
trustees chosen annually by the inhabitants. There are five 
schools in which are taught all the various branches of educa- 
tion, which is pretty well attended to ; and there is a very 
good seminary for young ladies. The expense of tuition is 
about from two to four dollars per quarter. The commerce of 
Utica consists of dry goods, groceries, crockery, hardware and 
cotton, imported; and of grain, flour, provisions, aslies, &c., ex- 
ported. The chief part of the commerce is with New York, 
but it is said a considerable smuggling trade has of late been 
carried on with Canada. Wheat is one dollar and twelve cents 
per bushel, corn forty four cents, barley seventy-five cents, ashes 
nominal, cotton twenty-one cents, horses fifty to one hundred 
dollars, cows fifteen to twenty- two dollars, sheep two dollars to 
two dollars and fifty cents. Lands on the turnpikes in the 
neighborhood sell for from fifty to one hundred dollars ; further 
off, forty to fifty dollars; but the lands in both village and 
country have greatly depreciated in money value." 

Reverting from the general Uv the special, from the present 
totality to the individual accretions of the period, let me speak 
first of two lawyers who entered on practice in the year 1811. 
These were Thomas E. Clark and Charles M. Lee. 

Thomas Emmons Clark was born February 11, 1788, at 
Colchester, Connecticut. He was graduated at Union College, 
where he acquired a thorough classical education, which was 
strengthened by a tutorship in the same institution. The study 
of law he commenced with Judge Jonas Piatt, of Whitesboro, 
and on its completion was admitted to the bar in the fall of 
1811. He began practice with Charles M. Lee, admitted at the 
same time with himself, and with him and afterwards with oth- 
ers he practiced continuously for over forty years. As a law- 
yer his merits surpassed his reputation. If he was less con- 
spicuous as a speaker than some of his illustrious peers of the 
Oneida Bar, he made up in solid acquirements and strong native 
sense what he lacked of more showy qualities. He was rather 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 297 

learned than brilliant — rather given to convincing the nnder- 
standing than exciting the imagination. He was a large reader, 
a laborious and profound scholar ; a man with whom it was im- 
possible to come into contact without feeling the impress of his 
learning and his worth. His knowledge of the classics, as of 
law, was thorough, while be was largely versed in metaphysics, 
theology and the Bible. He was singularly unambitious and 
unaffected. Earnest for his client, he never thought of himself, 
or uttered anything merely for effect. Without the least as- 
sumption of dignity, there was in him a dash and a directness 
of purpose that were equally evident in his brusque, nois}^ talk 
and wholesome laugh, his headlong gait and his swift and all 
but unreadable writing. Temperate and simple in his habits, 
he rose with the day, and often prepared with his own hands 
the Johnny cake and sage tea that formed his frugal breakfast. 
Integrity was in him a master principle, — so remarkable, indeed, 
as to rise at times into sternness. And so uniformly good na- 
tured was he that he could not be provoked into anger ; kind 
and genial, with a smile for all, and a frankness of manner that 
none could resist. Steadfast in doing what he thought he owed 
to his own party and his own church, he yet enjoyed the confi- 
dence of his fellow citizens of all parties and all creeds. And 
when elevated by them to positions of responsibility, he filled 
them faithfully and without ostentation. He was a member of 
Assembly in 1828, and of the Senate in 1848-9. Of the Pres- 
byterian and afterwards of the Dutch Eeformed Church he was 
long an elder and a Bible class teacher. For^ to a reputable 
and respected life he added the crowning grace of a consistent 
Christian discipleship. For many years Mr. Clark lived in the 
house now occupied by Sylvester Dering, and afterwards in 
East Utica, where a farm that adjoined his residence engaged 
much of the attention of his later years. He died at the house 
of his son-in-law, Mr. Wood, April 14, 1857. 

His wife, who was a daughter of Samuel Wells of Paris, 
New York, and a sister of Mrs. William Williams, had preceded 
him several years, having died March 10, 1844. Mrs. Clark 
was foremost in labors of Christian endeavor. Few ladies of 
the place have equalled her in active, and efficient charity. 
For the calls of society^ so called, she felt little interest, and 
bore but lightly the burdens of household care ; in the church, 



298 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

in the Sunday scliool, in various forms of religious enterprise, 
she found enough and more than enough to command all her 
faculties. They had a son and two daughters, of whom the 
only survivor is Mrs. George W. Wood, of late a resident here 
and in CHnton, but now of New Jersey. 

Charles M. Lee, the partner for a time of Mr. Clark, studied 
with Thomas R Gold, of Whitesboro, married, in February 
1812, Miss Elizabeth S. Gold of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, niece 
of the former, and began Ins professional life in Utica. On the 
death of his only daughtei-, in May 1820, he parted with his 
interests here* and went to Eochester. There he attained a 
lucrative practice and a prominent place in the legal annals of 
the State. He was a man of showy address and considerable 
talent. He died in 1857, a few days before Mr. Clark. One 
who was a student of his while here remarks as follows: "He 
was a good lawyer and understood his profession well. He was 
an active, shrewd man, disposed to make the most of what passed 
through his hands. His enemies charged him with being selfish, 
grasping and unscrujDulous in taking advantage of any position 
the law gave him. But I believe him to have been honest, and 
that his sharpness and shrewdness induced some to bestow upon 
him a character worse than he deserved. Withal, he had many 
good qualities. When Mr. Lee left Utica he was as far as 
any man from being a practical Christian. Wlien I met him, 
fifteen, and again twenty years later, he surprised me by mani- 
festing sincere and disinterested evidence of his being a pious 
and devoted mS.n." Mrs. Lee was also brilliant in person and 
dress, fond of society, and not unmindful of the claims her 
beauty gave her. She left one son, Eev. Charles G. Lee. Her 
husband subsequently married a lady from Philadelphia. 

One of the earliest and best remembered surgeons of the 
county was Dr. Amos G. Hull. In 1798 he was practicing in 
New Hartford, having been a student, as it is said, of a Dr. Hall 
who preceded him there. In the year above mentioned, with 
a zeal in behalf of science that was characteristic of a young and 
ambitious practitioner, lie was alert in obtaining for purposes of 
dissection the body of the first criminal of the county convicted 
for murder. And though on the morning of the day appointed 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 299 

for the execution, the criminal was found dead in her cell at- 
Herkimer jail, having hanged herself with the expectation that 
she could thus evade the whole of her sentence, yet, says Judge 
Jones, in this she was mistaken, for science had its svbject. The 
annalist does not tell us, however, that when, many years after, 
the doctor was weighed down by severe domestic calamity, he 
recalled with bitterness the curse of this wretched creature, who? 
when it had been reported to her that " he would have the 
picking of her bones," threatened, that if he did so, she would 
visit him with the direst vengeance upon himself and his 
posterity. 

On the organization of the Oneida County Medical Society, in 
1806, Dr. Hull took part therein, and was elected its first presi- 
dent. Four years later we find him announcing that he has 
fitted up an establishment next door to the Coffee House in 
Utica, for the sale of mineral waters. As his dissolution of 
partnership with Dr. Babcock of New Hartford, soon follows, it 
is probable that the latter event, in September 1811, was nearly 
simultaneous with his removal to Utica. The sale of Ballston 
and Saratoga salts in solution, which he would seem to have 
been the first to introduce into Utica, he continued some years 
longer in his office on Main street, adding thereto the practice 
of electricity and galvanism. A specialty that absorbed much 
more of his attention was the manufacture and sale of hernial 
trusses. These he first advertised in March 1817, but continued 
to modify and improve so long as he remained in the village. 
They were commended by his medical brethren as well as by 
several individuals of intelligence and standing, and were in 
general use among those requiring such appliances, being, in fact) 
almost the sole truss employed in this vicinity. 

Dr. Hull was esteemed by many as a wise physician, though 
he never failed to drench them with physic, and a daring and 
quick, if not very expert, surgical operator. He was a bustling 
man in his calling ; kept three horses, and drove them without 
mercy ; was officious, pragmatical and intermeddling. He had 
a pretty numerous clientage and an extensive professional cir- 
cuit. In sooth, 

"A besier man there n'as, 
And yet he seemed besier than he was." 



300 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

His ride brought liim at times into consultation, or perchance 
into colhsion, with that celebrated surgeon and overbearing 
man, Dr. White of Cherry Valley, who delighted to browbeat 
and to ridicule him. Still it is a question whether the stories 
that have been current of the professional councils between these 
surgeons do not reflect more upon the discourtesy of Dr. White 
than upon the deficiencies of his rival. Dr. Hull's meddlesome 
spirit once got him into difficulty with a Dr. Buckner, a United 
States surgeon in charge of troops quartered here during the 
war. The latter was incensed that a plain country doctor, un- 
commissioned and inexperienced in affairs of war, should assume 
to prescribe for men entrusted to his especial care ; and deem- 
ing himself dishonoi'cd by such interference, soldier-like, he sent 
a challenge to Dr. Hull, which the latter was obliged to decline. 
But with his brother doctors nearer home his standing was 
■creditable, and in 1820 they called him a second time to be the 
president of their society. He was also a permanent member 
of the Medical Society of the State. 

Personally Dr. Hull was amiable and upright, a Methodist 
in religious belief and an influential member of that body ; be" 
loved by his patients and a friend of every child who knew 
him. Eather short of stature, quick and impulsive in manner, 
neat in attire, he was withal a little vain of his appearance, and 
looked to it that the knee buckles which confined his silk stock- 
ings were each day carefully polished. His earliest partner in 
Utica was Dr. Ezra Williams, with whom he remained until Sep- 
tember 1816. In September 1821 he was bought out by Dr. The- 
odore Pomeroy, and after a brief association with him, removed 
to New York. He died about 1833-5 while on a visit in Con- 
necticut. His wife, Eunice, died in August 1812. His second 
wife was a sister of his partner. Dr. Williams ; his third, whose 
name was Cook, is said to have been a lady from Catskill. His 
sons, Amos G., Jr. and Cook became physicians of New York 
and Brooklyn respectively, and are both deceased. His daugliter 
Elizabeth, became the wife of Dr. John F. Gray, a prominent 
homoepathic physician of the metropolis, and is also dead. 

Kichard Montgomery Malcom, brother of Samuel B. Malcom 
already mentioned, had been a merchant in the city of New 
York, and was living there just before the outbreak of the war 



THE SECOND CHAETER. 301 

of 1812. On the 8th of April, 1812, he received a commission 
as captain in the 13th Regiment of United States Infantry. On 
the 13th of October following, he took part in the battle of 
Queenston, and was wounded in the thigh by a musket ball. 
In March 1813, he was promoted to major, and in June of the 
next year to lieutenant-colonel of the same regiment. In June 
1815 he was disbanded. His family meanwhile were living in 
Utica from an early period of the war. A few months after leav- 
ing the army we find Colonel M. announcing in a Utica paper 
that he will procure soldiers' bounties, and a year later that he 
is acting as commission broker and ready to serve any one living 
out of the village who will make him his agent to execute busi- 
ness at the banks or elsewhere. During much of his residence in 
Utica, which continued until about 1823, Colonel Malcom had but 
little business to occupy him, and lived upon his pension and the 
property of his w^ife. His home was at first on Whitesboro street 
above Washington, and afterwards on Catherine street, in the 
house recentl}^ occupied by Michael McQuade. His wife and her 
sister, Miss Henry, were thorough ladies and much beloved. The 
former, who was delicate in health, and a good deal confined at 
home, died June 14, 1819. Miss Henry was active in good 
works, as was also Sarah, the eldest daughter of Colonel M., w^ho 
became afterwards Mrs. Ball of Brooklyn. This daughter was 
one of the six young ladies who founded the Utica Sunday 
School. The other daughters were Rosetta and Catherine. 
The sons were Richard, who died young, and William. Colonel 
Malcom himself died in the island of Cuba. 

The enterprising successor of the Messrs. Wolcott, who in 
the end was more fortunate than either, was John Williams. 
He was the son of a Welsh farmer in easy circumstances, who 
came hither from Pembrokeshire in tlie year 1800, settled upon 
Frankfort hill, and died three weeks afterward. John, who was 
then ten years of age, was placed when quite a lad in the store 
of Dr. Solomon Wolcott and lived in the Doctor's family while 
acquiring a knowledge of his future business. Received into 
partnership by Dr. W. H. Wolcott when the latter separated 
himself from his brother, he soon became the real manager of 
the firm of Wolcott & Williams, and remained therein until its 
dissolution in 1817. He now opened a store of his own at ISTo. 
34 Genesee street, where, and at liis later store, he carried on 



302 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA, 

for many years a large trade in drugs and groceries. The later 
store was the checkered one now filled by Warnick & Brown. 
The later partners were successively his brother William, who 
was located in Buffalo, and Frederick Hollister, at first the 
clerk of Mr. W., and eventually his successor. His comraer. 
cial transactions, if not conducted on so large a scale as those 
of two or three of our present merchants dealing in like arti- 
cles, or even so ambitious in their aim as those of Mr. Hollister, 
certainly exceeded the transactions of any similar dealer among 
his cotemporaries. Partly through the steady accumulations 
of trade, partly by means of the privilege he held of furnish- 
ing supplies for the packet boats, and partly by his leading 
interest in the very productive stock of the packet boat com- 
pany, he gained a large fortune, and came to be one of the fore- 
most men of the place. 

His mental characteristics were sagacious judgment, an ener- 
getic and liberal spirit, elevated integrity, close economy and 
incessant devotion to business. It was by the exercise of these 
qualities, and without the aid of powerful friends or inherited 
wealth, that he attained fortune and influence. Aside from a 
service as alderman in the first common council of the city, he 
held no political or civic office, but in banking and com- 
mercial undertakings his opinion and his name were much 
accounted. His later residence was the house No. 34 Broad 
street, now occupied ])y J. T. Sj^riggs, which was built by him. 
And here he died on the 13th of June, 1843, in the fifty-fourth 
year of his age. His wife was Eliza, daughter of Thomas 
Sickles. Their children were Mary, who died in her eighteenth 
year, and Cornelia, who married E. T. Throop Martin, then 
(1837) a lawyer of New York, but now residing at Willow- 
brook on Owasco lake. 

Another quondam druggist's clerk who began dealing this 
year was Alfred Hitchcock, brother and assistant of Dr. Marcus. 
Having bought the interest of Bryan Johnson, he set up in 
general trade in the former store of Mr. Johnson. After fail- 
incr in this he was for a time cleric for Marcus. When he 

o 

resumed, his trade was narrowed down to drugs and groceries ; 
and with many removals and a varying though never very 
prosperous tide of success, he continued until a few years 



THE SECONTD CHARTER. 303 

since. Mr. Hitclicock, his wife and two sons, all died recently, 
and within a short intei'val of one another, his own death occur- 
ring: August 3, 1872. This wife was a Miss Foster of Whites- 
boro. 

Joseph S. Porter, who had been an apprentice of Josepb 
Barton and then attempted watchmaking in Canandaigua, 
returned at this time and joined his former employer. He 
married his daughter, and remained in business with him about 
five years. After 1816 he was alone on the west side of Gren- 
esee a little below Broad, where Mr. Barton had been before 
him, and wdiere Mr. Murdock succeeded him. His home was 
on Catherine street, where Colonel Malcom had lived, until his 
increasing gains enabled him to erect the brick house on the 
corner of Broad and First, now owned and occupied by Theo- 
dore P. BalloiL Mr. Porter was a quiet, agreeable person of 
gentlemanly bearing, who kept a showy and attractive shop. 
At the time of his death he had relinquished business and 
broken up his residence in Utica. This occurred May 6, 1862, 
when he was seventy-nine years of age, in Monroe county. 
His wife and the mother of his two sons and two daughters 
died in her twenty-fiftli year, November 25, 1823. His second 
wife was Susan, daughter of Hugh White. Mrs. Porter and 
Miss Cornelia reside at Cohoes, Fitch, in Washington. Eliza- 
beth and George, are deceased. 

Among the newh^ elected officers of the year occurs the 
name of Nicbolas Smith, collector. This Nicholas Smith had 
been a resident of the place since 1788, having come into it in 
company with that pioneer settler Major Bellinger. But at 
that time he was a boy of only nine or ten years of age, and 
had been taken charge of by Major Bellinger, his uncle, after 
the death of his parents at the hands of the Indians. He him- 
self was born in the fort at Herkimer. He attended school 
one or two winters, and these were all the educational advan 
tages he ever enjoj'ed. He next served his uncle, and two or 
three of the earlier merchants as a clerk, and now he is made 
village collector. The next year, catching the enthusiasm en- 
kindled by the war, and which prevailed along the border set- 
tlements, he volunteered his services, and was six months on 
duty as a soldier. In 1814 he enlisted again and was made 



304 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

adjutant of the 134tli Regiment, ^called for the defence of 
Sacketts Harbor. " Notwithstanding some pecuharities," says 
a comrade of the regiment, " his habits were temperate and his 
heart in the riglit place." This military service was followed, 
after the contest, by the command of a company of tltica militia, 
whence he was called by General Weaver to his staff, and, still 
retaining his raidc in the line, rose to the position of Colonel 

Returned from the war. Colonel Smith was a short time in 
trade, and next filled many local offices, being successively 
deputy sherifi', superintendent of the poor, and alderman, which 
latter post he held eleven years. He was conspicuous for his 
assiduity in the relief of the sick and the burial of the dead 
during the fearful visitation of the cholera in 1832. Soon after 
this time he removed to his farm in east Utica. When he died, 
February 26, 1865, he had been for many years the longest 
resident of the place. He was then eighty-six. Although 
Colonel Smith had but an imperfect education, his natural 
instincts were elevated. These made him somewhat aspiring, 
both as a politician and a military man ; as a consequence he 
was often put in contrast with men whose advantages were 
superior to his own — contrasts which to more sensitive natures, 
might have been at times embarrassing. Rarely balked in such 
encounters, his simple-minded good nature carried him through 
successfully, despite the laugh that was had at his mistakes 
and his strong Dutch brogue. Many anecdotes are current in 
illustration of these traits, and some which are told, are doubt- 
less greatly exaggerated. The following must be familiar to 
many. His uncle had as the device on his tavern sign, an eagle, 
with the motto: "jS/ pluribus U7mm." Being asked on one 
occasion what was the meaning of this inscription, his response 
was: "Dat means my uncle keebs de best davern in Utica." 
And here is a specimen of his defining a word of the people's 
English: A detachment of militia on their way to the frontier 
were stopping at Bellinger's. This was after the Colonel had 
completed his first term of military service, and he felt capable, 
from his experience, of giving the officers of the detachment 
some advice. Among other things he told them " to lay in well 
of stationary." One of the officers replied that he supposed 
the government furnished the necessary paper, ink and quills, 
when the Colonel very earnestly replied: "No, no, I don't 



THE SECOND CHAETER. 305 

mean dese tings. I mean de rum and de brandy and de gin." 
Colonel Smith's wife, who was daughter of Silas Clark, died 
about three years before him. One son is still living in Utica, 
and two married daughters are residents within the State. 

But it is time that I should speak of another who had 
grown up in the place, who was now an officeholder, and who 
soon engages in his country's service. This is John Edward 
Hinman, son of Major Benjamin Hinman before noticed. He 
was born near Little Falls, June 2, 1789, and came to Utica with 
his father in 1797. He had the advantages of the common 
schools of the period, but was not brought up to any trade or 
profession, and in his younger days did " a little of everything." 
On the breaking out of the war he volunteered, served as quar- 
termaster of the 13-lth Eegimentof New York Militia, and was 
a popular and useful officer. By service then and after the 
war, he rose to the rank of colonel. He was deputy sheriff under 
James S. Kip, who held office for the third time from 1811 to 
1815; and in February 1821 he was appointed sheriff. This 
post Colonel Hinman occupied until the new constitution took 
effect, which changed the office from an appointive to an elective 
one, when he was elected as his own successor, in November 
1822. The constitution prohibiting a reelection, he retired at 
the end of his term, but in November 1828 was again made 
sheriff' and served another three yeai's. As sheriff he was dig- 
nified, orderly and efficient, and enjoyed a popularity in the 
county never held by any other in that office. After his retire- 
ment he engaged in business as a miller, carrying on a mill at 
Whitesboro. In the mean time he had married, in November 
1827, Mary, daughter of G. C. Schroeppel, of New York, who 
brought him a handsome fortune. He now occupied the house 
on the corner of Hotel and Whitesboro streets, and there he 
and his wife exercised a generous hospitality. 

Colonel Hinman always took a deep interest in political mat- 
ters, and was tolerably ambitious ; the leading traits of his char- 
actei', — kindness of heart and a determined resolution that was 
overshadowed by much complaisance and plausibility of man- 
ner, — made him popular with the masses. After failing of an 
election as State Senator, for which he was nominated in 1849, 
he was in 1850 elected Mayor of the city, and by successive 



306 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

reelections held the office three years. His energy and execa- 
tive abihty were tested at this time by the destructive opera- 
tions of an organized band of incendiaries. The Mayor's pro- 
clamations were frequent and lengthy. When the alarm of fire 
was sounded he hastened to the spot. If in the night time, he 
drew a white handkerchief about his hat to designate his offi- 
cial rank and distinguish him from the crowd, and while on the 
ground was no idle spectator, but prompt in directing and vocif- 
erous in his orders. .Retiring from the mayoralty he held no 
more offices. His strength of mind and body, which were both 
considerable in his best estate, gradually failed him, and many 
disappointments fell to his lot in the latter days of his life. 
His tall, manly form, his decided yet affable manners, will 
never be forgotten by those who knew him. About a year be- 
fore his death he took up his residence with his relatives at 
Rushville, Illinois, and there he died August 12, 1873. His 
wife survived him about a year. They left no children. 

A teacher who kept his school in the Welsh church on the 
corner of Whitesboro and Washington, a gentleman in manner 
and look, and who stood well with his fellows, lost his good name 
a little while later by a contemptible forgery. This was a crime 
that could not be borne in a community unused to such crafty 
ways ; and viewed, too, as the act of a teacher of youth and 
one so likely in person, it sufficed to set the whole village in 
commotion. This Mr. I. I. had been accustomed to draw up 
the receipts for the rent of his school room to be signed, when 
tlie money was paid, by Thomas James the blacksmith, a trus- 
tee of the church. The latter was but a moderate scholar and 
quite unfamiliar with the proper mode of putting his name to a 
paper, and so signed the receipt three or four lingers width below 
the writing above. Making use of the space thus afforded, 
Mr. I. I. tore off the receipts and wrote out some notes for vari- 
ous sums. These he sold for one hundred dollars and departed 
for Fairfield to finish his studies. A note for five hundred 
dollars was shortly presented for payment. Mr. James admitted 
the signatui-e, but denied making the note. Witnesses were 
found who recognized the hand of the teacher, and by feint of 
inviting him to a grand ball at Bellinger's, he came in tasselled 
boots and ruffles, was seized and conducted to the court of Judge 



THE SECOND CPIARTER. 307 

Ostrom. Mr. Gibson, who was shortly to swear to the hand- 
writing, kindly went his bail for the night, and he was led 
back to Bellinger's. As the party entered the bar-room, he 
darted past the rest, through the hall and the yard, and made 
for the low grounds beyond. But escape was not easy with 
constable Pierce and two or three more in pursuit, and with the 
Van Rensselaers, the Breeses and some twenty eager citizens on 
hoi'se at the door. He was retaken and tried at Whitesboro. 
The efforts of Thomas R Gold were insufficient to save him, 
and he was sent for seven j^ears to prison in New York. At 
the expiration of three of them he was pardoned, with the con- 
dition that he disappear altogether from the State. He went to 
Texas, and in the course of time was elected to its Legislature, 
and became speaker of the house. 

As early as May 1811, a new tavern keeper, named Jonathan 
Hedges, was installed in a wooden building that stood on the 
west side of Genesee street, not far below Libert}^, and which, 
with its yard and stables to the north and the rear of it, covered the 
ground on which now stand four or five stores. Hedges, him- 
self a respectable man and a warden of Trinity, did not stay 
long ; but the tavern was continued by other landlords some 
fifteen years later. 

Thomas Harden, an Englishman, who was at fii'st in the em- 
ploy of William Inman, succeeded to his brewery on Broad- 
way. He was burned out in 1819, but recommenced within the 
year. Some years later he was still a resident of the place, but 
no longer a brewer. John, his son, lived in Clinton, and there 
most of the family lie intei'red. 

Erastus Cross, at this time selling headstones for another, 
began the following year to cut marble near the corner of Lib- 
erty and Genesee street. Thence he was driven successively to 
Bleecker street, to the neighborhood of the packet basin, and 
elsewhere, as his v\^orking ground was needed for permanent 
structures. Many is the headstone put up in memory of earlier 
citizens that bears the impress of his chisel. He came from 
Vermont, married Nancy Evans of Marcy, and had a numerous 
family. 

Riley Rogers, an apprentice of Shubael Storrs to the silver- 
smith art, presently commenced the making and repairing of 



308 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

guns on Main street. And this he kept up for twenty years at 
least, but moved in the end to Jefferson county, where he died 
in 1876. He had several sons. Of two firms of morocco 
dressers who began to dress skins in 1811, viz. : Henry W. & 
William Clark, and Amos Camp & J. Downing, one of the 
Clarks is the only one wlio is left in 1816, and h6 but a little 
longer. Benjamin Wiltsie, upholsterer, we can trace until the 
year 1828, and his widow and sons a good while longer. Titus 
Evans, tailor, who was also a preacher, until 1820. A son of 
his, a dentist and a man of substance, is living in Brooklyn. 
Others whom we can barely mention were Elijah Brown, hatter ; 
Nathaniel Eells, hatter; J. C. Neunhoeffer, furrier; H. H. Sher- 
man, bookseller; Albert Backus, Garrison Marshall, John Beggs, 
William A. Lynde, Joseph Winter, clerks and apprentices ; 
H. Jefl'ers & Co., merchants; Levi Smith, carman and pavior, 
and saloon keeper in winter ; Ozias Gibbs, laborer; C. Brittin, 
mason, who went into the war. 



1812. 

At the charter election held on the otli of May, 1812, there w^ere 
but four trustees elected on the first ballot, viz. : Talcott Camp, 
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, E. B. Shearman and Morris S. Miller. 
Mr. Frederick White, of the former board, had left the village, 
and Mr. Devereux was dropped for a reason which we may 
soon surmise. Mr. Miller was, however, excused from serving, 
and on a fresh ballot for two, Bryan Johnson and Thomas Skin- 
ner were elected. Mr. Johnson also asked to be excused, wlien 
Arthur Breese was elected to the vacant place. Mr. Hoyt was 
again made treasurer and Nicholas Smith collector. The sum 
of four hundred and fifty dollars was voted to be raised for the 
su})port of the watch, the ringing of the bell and for contingent 
expenses. But in addition it was voted t» build a market house 
on the public squai'e, between Bagg's tavern and the store of 
John C. Devereux, at a cost of three hundred dollars, which 
sum was to be assessed on the inhabitants. However conven- 
ient this market house might be to the citizens at large, it is 
natural to presume that it would not be deemed very desirable 
by those living or doing business in its immediate neighborhood, 
and the reason is obvious why Mr, Devereux was not placed on 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 309 

the board. We are prepai'ed, also, to learn that within a few 
weeks, the president, Mr. Camp, is dii-ected to confer with Moses 
Bagg and Hugh Cunningham, and ascertain what sum thej will 
procure to be paid for the purchase of a lot on which to place 
the market, if it can be removed fi'om the place designed for it. 
No report appears from the president; but, instead, we learn of 
another public meeting of the inliabitants being held in July, to 
reconsider the action of the annual meeting with reference to the 
market house. A vote to repeal this action was lost. Next 
follows the payment of Mr. Culver's account for building the 
market, and in November the ordinance regulating the same, 
and the authority granted to the pi'esident, who was made clerk 
of the market, to lease seven of its stalls. By the provisions of 
this ordinance, butchers and victual ers, licensed by the payment 
of six shillings, were the only persons allowed to sell meat in 
quantities smaller than the quarter of the animal, and this only 
in the stalls of the market, at least during market hours ; butch- 
ers refusing for six days to supply their stalls with good meat 
were subject to penalties, and they were required to pay the 
clerk a tax of ten cents for every cow or ox, and two cents for 
every sheep or lamb they sold ; other provisions excluded stand 
ing carts, live animals, undressed carcases, hides, &c., and un- 
wholesome meat, and insisted on rigid attention to cleanliness. 
Aside from the usual routine, the foregoing were all the pro- 
ceedings of the board during the year. 

The Utica turn})ike, leading northward, was now in progress, 
and five miles of it already complete. The Minden turnpike 
running south easterly from the village, was opened the year pre- 
vious. 

Of the course of the war with England, which began in 1812, 
the inhabitants of Utica had abundant witness, though at a dis- 
tance from any place of action and undisturbed by hostile dem- 
onstrations. Companies of soldiers were frequently passing 
through on their way to or from some military post, and were 
quartered for a time in or near the village. Thus its residents 
had an opportunity of becoming cognizant of many of the reg- 
iments enlisted, while between these and the villagers who some- 
times suffered from their depredations, disturbances now and 



810 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

then took place. The local papers were prompt to relate the 
battles and the military movements on both sides, and every- 
body was interested to learn the particulars of each important 
event. Some few people were busy in procuring and forwarding 
supplies to the nearer scenes of hostilities, and many others re- 
sponded to the call of their countr}^, and left business and fami- 
lies to serve in the ranks. But the greater portion pursued their 
usual duties as in times of peace, 
y As a picture, however, of the times, and a sample of some of 
the experiences of those who lived in Utica during this troublous 
period, we present from the diary of a resident* some notes of 
what then occurred. On the 22d of June, 1812, he records 
that two expresses passed through the place, one for Canada 
and one for the frontiers, bearing news of the declaration of war 
against England. Nothing more on the subject is to be found 
until August 13, when he sees about one hundred and thirty 
men and horses of the flying artillery, from Lancaster, on their 
way to action. They are described as very dirty and as brown 
as Indians, some in one dress and some in another, for the most 
part young, and made up largely of foreigners. A month later 
eight hundred drafted men from Albany are at Utica for a week. 
They robbed orchards, potato fields, and hen roosts. In the course 
of three days these eight hundred men increased to sixteen 
hundred, drafted and volunteers. They were from seven of the 
eastern and southern counties of this State, were young and 
able-bodied, but without discipline, and were under the com- 
mand of Major-General Dodge, a good looking and well-mounted 
officer. Their tents made a fine appearance^ and when they 
marched away on the afternoon of September 15, they were 
eight deep and filled the road for nearly a mile. They were 
followed by about one hundred wagons with tents and provisions. 
Five days later came the 5th Regiment, recruited in Maryland, 
and under the conmiand of Col Milton. They were dirty and 
in dishabille. Clamorous for ihcii* pay, which they had not re- 
ceived in five or seven months, and having been allowed half 
a pint of spirits each, they were saucy to their officers, and 
threatened to stacjk their arms; while the Colonel declared that 
the inhabitants had stirred up his men to mutiny, insisted that 
they were well disciplined, and while on the march had done 
* Dr. Alexander Coventry. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 311 

710 damage to any one, and moreover, talked fiercely of tories 
and British spies. He obtained some money from the bank and 
dealt them an allowance, when the regiment marched off in fine 
style. On the 22d, two companies of flying artillery, from Balti- 
more and Philadelphia, left Utica for the west. On the 30tb^ 
passed ninety sailors for Sacketts Harbor, one-third of whom 
were negi'oes, and the rest mostly foreigners. One hundred 
and fifty more, including the crew of the John Adams, Lieuten- 
ant Pettigrew in command, and fifty wagons, rested on the 5th 
of October and moved on to Buffalo on the 6th. There were 
among them some blacks, some foreigners, but "more long- 
spliced Yankees than in any other parcel." Yet, says the writer, 
they were worse than any other set : — they broke into barns, 
stole geese, and even stole from one another. Two of the men 
were whipped with the cat. On the day of their departure one 
hundred and thirty more with twenty wagons were on their 
way. As many marines, in uniform, and presenting a soldierly 
appearance, marched through on the 10th ; another company of 
them on the 13th, and these were succeeded, the next day,, by 
one hundred and ninety Republican Greens, destined for the 
west. On the 24th, arrived the 23d Regiment, three hundred 
strong, when they set out from Albany, though they had already 
suffered from desertion. These were well uniformed in drab 
with red facings, and warmly clothed with good great coats. 
Here they stacked arms, having received no pay. The officers 
raised two dollars per man, gave them a double allowance of 
grog, and they marched on the 27th, for Niagara. In the mean- 
time one hundred and thirty more flying artillery had come and 
gone. But approaching winter put a stop to further move- 
ments, and forced the military to seek for quarters. Many 
remained in this vicinity during this and the following winter, 
being quartered at the Coffee House, in Potter's barn, on the 
Hopper farm, at New Hartford, and in other places. On the 
16th of February, 1813, a Captain Moore, with one hundred 
and ninety of the Baltimore volunteers, broke the door and 
took forcible entrance of the Hotel, which had been closed 
since the departure of its last tenant, Mr Sickles. A few 
horsemen were passing in February, but, with the opening of 
the season, soldiers are here again in numbers. By the 6th of 
April, one hundred and fifty light horse came into Utica from 



812 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Sacketts Plarbor, whence they bad to move for want of pro- 
visions. On the 13th, one hundred and fifty more had arrived. 
On the 15th, two or three hundred artillerists with wagons 
marched westward. On the 24th and 25th, five hundred soldiers 
were in Utica, and one hundred sailors at Deerfield Corners, who 
had been drafted from the frigate Constitution. They came 
from Boston by carriage, and set out on foot for Sacketts Har- 
bor. The next day five hundred horse and foot went through 
westward, clean and well looking. And through the rest of 
April and May, soldiers were crowding in the same direction. 
Colonel Burn, of the 2d Regiment, a southern gentleman of 
• property and accomplishments, paraded two hundred men in 
Utica on the 12th, and on the 14th, the heights above the 
village were covered with tents. By the 15th, three hundred 
artillery came in from Massachusetts, under Major ]Srye,Mnd 
the next day six hundi-ed more of the 9th and 21st, from Massa- 
chusetts. They were dissatisfied with their rations, complain- 
ing that they did not get their twenty-two ounces of salt meat 
and one and a half ounces of biscuit, and had left almost one 
hundred sick and disabled along the road, nor did they approve 
of the invading of Canada. They marched four days later, as 
did also a troop of dismounted cavalry. Five or six hundred 
more, mostly of the 21st, slept in the barns of Deerfield on the 
23d of May, and like their predecessors, grumbled at their two 
daily meals of salt beef and biscuit. On the 26th, passed sev- 
enty files from four to six deep, estimated to be five hundred 
in number, though claimed by their commander to be one thou- 
sand. On the same day an aid of General Pike was in town 
with the colors taken at York. A blackguard corps of one 
hundred spent two days, 4th to 6th of June, at Deerfield Cor- 
ners, and ])i-oke into a house and destro^'ed the fui-niture, pro- 
testing that its owner was a torj^ Ten days later came three 
hundred of the 14th with a rifle company. On the 16th, British 
pri-soners of the 49th (English) passed through. On the 27th 
and again on the 7th of July, there were sailors here bound 
for the Harbor, and on the 10th, two hiaidred and seventy of 
the 8d and 25th paraded the streets of Utica. Cannon were 
fired on the 22d, to welcome General Dearborn, who was present 
without his side arms and thought to be in disgrace, and on the 9th 
of the following month the village harbored ninety or one hun- 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 313 

dred prisoners, mostly militia, bat some British regulars. Some 
twelve of these prisoners, most respectable inhabitants of New- 
ark, dined with Judge Miller. Tliroughout the months of 
August, September and October, militia and sailors were passing 
and repassing almost daily ; the Light Dragoons returning, artil- 
lery men from Montgomery and Madison counties and troops 
from Otsego going north. The two flank companies of Walle- 
ville's regiment (taken in two schooners,) went through as pris- 
oners on the 15th of October. There were among them many 
grenadiers, above six feet in height. They all spoke German 
and several French and broken English, having been, as it is 
said, captured while in the French service and thence enlisting 
into the English. On the 31st of October, when the roads were 
excessively bad, and the streets of Utica almost impassable, 
passed by seven or eight hundred soldiers, they being the last of 
the regular troops from Fort George. They had been twelve days 
on the march ; were dirty, be-draggled and sickly, and had left 
two hundi-ed of their conpanions on the road. The shoemakers' 
shops of the village were ransacked to supply them with shoes. 
Commodore Perry visited the place on the 3d of the next 
month, and was honored by the citizens with a public dinner. 

The writer has had access to no muster-roll or other military 
list of the tinaes, and is therefore unable to present a record of 
the recruits who went out from Utica to do battle for the coun- 
try. The few facts herewith submitted are mainly gathered 
from the perishing memories of two or three survivors of the war. 
In the latter part of February, 1813, about sixt}^ volunteers were I 
enrolled at Utica, among whom were included some members of 
its Independent Infantry Compau}-. They formed a new com- 
pany attached to the 13-lth Regiment, and were commanded by -^ 
Captain William Williams. Of its men the only names that '^ 
can be recalled were John Grove, orderly sergeant, John George ' 
and Theodore S. Faxton. The compan}- remained one month 
at Smith's Mills, when they were paid off and afterwards dismis- 
sed. Another company of the 1 3I:th Regiment, termed the Silver 
Greys, was commanded by Nathan Seward of New Hartford, 
and among its men was Thurlow Weed from Utica. It was 
probabl}^ at this time also that Nathan Williams went out as 
major of the regiment, Nicholas Smith as lieutenant becoming 



314 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

adjutant, and John E. Hinman as quartermaster. Early in the 
war a drafting took place at the Hotel when a number of men 
were made soldiers. In September 1814, the regiment were 
called out en masse, but continued only a month in arms and 
without active service. At this time Benjamin Ballou was cap- 
tain of a company and Nicholas N. Weaver orderly sergeant, 
but subsequently promoted to the captaincy, Ballou having 
been tajvcn sick. To Thomas Skinner of Utica, was given the 
captaincy of a company in a regiment of artillery, under Colonel 
Ehjah Metcalf, but as he did not serve, the company was com- 
manded by its first lieutenant. Five or six from Utica, had })i'e- 
viously volunteered at Buffalo, and served in its defence. 

Six young men of the neighborhood were enlisted as mid- 
shipmen during the course of the war, viz : Samuel Breese and 
William In man of Utica, John G. Young of Whitesboro, 
Antill Lansing of Oriskany, and Edward and Benjamin Car- 
pender of Whitesboro. There was a recruiting station here 
under the charge of Captain P. Mills of the 23d regiment. The 
hospital, which was cared for by Dr. Solomon Wolcott, was on 
the Kimball farm. 

The foregoing will suffice to shew that the people of Utica, 
if not participants in the contest, could not have been unmind- 
ful of the various stages of its progress, and that their quiet 
settlement, while far removed from danger or alarm, was not 
wholly unused to the discomforts and the evils as well as to " the 
pomp and circumstance of war. 

Let us return to consider the avocations of these citizens, 
and with them to follow the ways of peace. 

One peaceful institution that was started at this time was 
foreshadowed by a newspaper call, made in February 1811, on 
all who were interested in the establishment of a bank to meet 
at the Hotel. Through the efforts of its friends this first purely 
local bank, known under the title of the Bank of Utica, 
received its charter of incorporation on the first of June 1812, 
and commenced business on the 8tli of December following. 
The charter was a liberal one, allowing all the usual privileges 
of a bank of deposit and of discount. Though it placed the 
capital stock at one million of dollars, this capital did not in 
reality exceed six hundred thousand, and on the renewal of 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 315 

the cliarter, after its expiration in 1832, it was fixed at the 
latter sum. This second charter extended to 1850, since which 
time business has been done by an association under the gen- 
eral banking law of the State. In 1865 the institution was 
converted into a National Bank, with the title of the First 
National Bank of Utica. For a short time after its establish- 
ment banking was carried on upon the west side of Genesee 
street not far from Bleecker, but in 1813 the bank was set up 
in the brick building on the north side of Whitesboro street, 
next east of the Hotel, the same which is now converted into 
a double residence and occupied by J. E. Warner and others. 
It was the eastern part of it which then served both the bank 
and the family of the cashier ; and surmounting its front were 
two immense glittering, golden dollars. This building it con- 
tinued to occupy until February 1854, when it was removed to 
its present position on Genesee street, two doors below Catherine. 
The directors named in the charter were James S. Kip, Solomon 
Wolcott, Thomas Skinner, Thomas Walker, Henry Huntington, 
Nathan Smith, Francis A. Bloodgood, Ephraim Hart. Apollos 
Cooper, David W. Childs, Marcus Hitchcock, Samuel Stocking 
and John Bellinger, — nearly the same, be it observed as those who 
constituted the first board of the Manhattan Branch Bank. By its 
terms the privilege of subscribing to the amount of two thousand 
shares of the stock was retained by the State, and, with the intent, 
doubtless, of guarding this public interest, two additional direc- 
tors were named by the council of appointment. These State 
directors were Jedediah Sanger and John Steward, Jr. At a 
meeting of the board held July 27, 1812, James S. Kip was 
appointed president, and Montgomery Hunt cashier, Henry B. 
Gibson teller, and Thomas Colling bookkeeper. Mr. Kip kept 
his position but a short time, and retired from the board at the 
first annual election, his removal having been effected through 
the agency of Mr, Hunt, as was also that of Mr. Bellinger, which 
ensued shortly afterwards. Mr. Kip was succeeded as a director 
by Abraham Van Santvoord, and as president by Henry Hunt- 
ington of Rome, who continued to hold the office by annual re- 
elections until 1845. During the cashiership of Mr. Hunt, a 
period nearly cotemporaneous with the duration of the first 
charter, and which is as far as we now propose to note the history 
of the bank, the successive directors who filled the vacancies in 



816 THE PIONEEKS OF UTICA. 

the board occasioned bv death or other causes, were as follows : 
Peiuy G. Ciiilds of Cazenovia, and Richard Sanger of New Hart- 
ford, succeeded Messrs. Bloodgood and Bellinger in 1814; E. B. 
Sliearman took the place of Thonias_Skinner in 1815; Thomas 
H. Hubbai'd of Hamilton, and Joseph Stebbins of Clinton, those 
of Messrs. Wolcott and P. G. Childs in 1818 ; David P. Hoyt, 
William G. Tracy of Wliitesboro, and Moses Bagg, those of 
Messrs. Van Santvoord, Smith and D. W. Childs in 1819; John 
C. Devereux that of Richard San ger in 1822; Charles Morris, 
Kellogg Hurlburt and William Walcott of Whitesboro, those 
of Messrs. HovJt,JBiigg.-iuid.IiH^c]icock in 1827 ; Josiah Bacon of 

Waterville that of Mr. Tracy in ; Milton Brayton and 

Holmes Hutchinson those of Messrs. Devereux and Morris_ in 
1830; John Williams that of Milton^ Brayton in 1833, and S. 
Newton Dexter of Whitesboro that of Mr. St ebbms in 1834:- 
When John Steward, Jr., one of the State directors, left the vil- 
lage, his place was filled by George Brayton of Western. He 
was followed b}- A. B. Johnson, and some years later Mr. J. 
and his colleague were superseded by William Clarke of Utica, 
and Jacob Sherrill of New Hartford. The above named direc- 
tors were, for the most part, practical and safe business men; 
they were punctual in their attendance at the meetings;, of the 
board, cooperated zealously with the cashier, and were watchful 
of every means to pi'omote tlie good of the bank ^nd protect it 
from loss. In times of embarrassment and when contraction 
was called for, they first cut down the measure of their own per- 
sonal discounts before reducing those of the other stockholders. 
By their laws it was provided that four of their number should 
be present at every meeting for discounting, who balloted upon 
every application ; one negative, even without a reason, being 
deemed sufficient to exclude an applicant. As a sample of the 
dignity and decorum with which, at the outset of their career, 
their meetings were conducted, it may be mentioned that the 
by-laws made.it obligatory to address the president standing, 
and forbade that any member should speak more than twice to 
one question without leave from the president Such, at least, 
were the jirovisions of the code of laws at first in force, though 
from their impracticability, as is probable, they were soon amend- 
ed. A custom not so conducive to decorum, but which in those 
times was looked on as both proper and desirable, was the uni- 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 317 

form introduction of brandy and cigars at every meeting of the 
board. This earher board was largely democratic in sentiment, 
and of course friendly to the war of 1812. Hence they did not 
hesitate to give encouragement to the government, by advancing 
large sums to the assistant paymasters, to enable them to pay of? 
the troops engaged in this war. 

Not a year had elapsed after the begirming of banking opera- 
tions before application was made to the directors by responsi- 
ble citizens of Canandaigua for the establishment of a branch of 
the bank at that place. These applications having been after- 
wards renewed, the directors decided to concur with these par- 
ties in petitioning the Legislature for leave to erect a branch. 
A charter for the purpose was obtained in 1815, and in January 
of the following year the branch at Canandaigua was opened. 
It continued in existence until 1850, the directors and officers 
being chosen by the parent bank, from which it received also 
its working capital, and to which it made returns. Similar ap- 
plications from Geneva and from Buffalo were declined. 

During the incumbency of Mr. Hunt matters went on harmo- 
niously in the board at Utica, and the institution was exceed- 
ingly prosperous. Its offspring at Canandaigua was the chief 
source of anxiety, and that because of the impossibility of giv- 
ing the concerns of the latter so direct a superintendence as was 
desirable. The calls made on the original subscribers to the 
stock for installments on their subscriptions w^ere rare and in 
small amounts,* and not more than twelve and a half per cent, 
was called in before a semi-annual dividend was declared. Until 
the year 1825 only twenty-five per cent, of this subscription had 
been asked for, though the privilege was early accorded the sub- 
scribers of paying in to the amount, at their option, of twenty- 
five or of fifty per cent. How many responded and what was 
the actual amount of working capital prior to 1832, we are una- 
ble to say. It was then certified to as $600,000. There was 
never a failure of a semi-annual dividend of four and a half per 
cent., besides the issue of numerous surplus dividends, amount- 
ing in the aggregate to sixty-one and a half per cent, during 

*Tlie amount subsribed by Bryan and A. B. Johnson was $25,000, on 
which they paid $10,000 in silver. Because it was in silver instead of bank 
notes, Mr. Hunt was annoyed and said that had he linown it would have been 
so paid, they would not have been allowed to take so much. 



318 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

the lirst sixteen and a half years. The salaries of all the 
officers, including the few clerks employed, were, at first, small, 
and only graduall}^ increased as the success of the bank admit- 
ted. That of the president was originally five hundred dollars, 
though he came from Rome twice a week to attend the meetings 
for discount. The cashier's allowance at the outset was fifteen 
hundred dollars, the teller's eight hundred dollars, and the 
bookkeepers six hundred dollars. 

Mr. Gibson, the first teller, was followed for a brief period by 
Eliasaph Dorchester, who was succeeded in October 1813, by 
Orson Seymour, and he in 1815 by William B. Welles, assisted 
in 1816 by Henry T. Barto. In October 1824, when Mr. 
Welles was made cashier of the branch in place of Mr. Sey- 
mour, deceased, Mr. Bai-to became teller, and Henry K. Sanger 
asssistant teller Mr. Sanger was in 1830 succedeed by William 
S. Philpot. Tliomns Colling, the first book-keeper, continued 
at his post over forty-five years, outliving the incumbency of 
two cashiers. -As managing head of the bank, Montg.)merj 
Hunt filled the office of cashier- until December 30, 1834, when 
ill-health compelled him to resign. 

Montgomery Hunt was son of Ward Hunt of Westchester 
county. New York, and was born at Mt. Pleasant in that county. 
He was graduated at Columbia College in 1792, and was then 
placed as clerk in the Bank of America. After due appren- 
ticeship, and a short service in a bank in New Jersey, he came 
to Utica in the year 1809, in the employ of the Manhattan 
Bank, as the cashier of its branch. Now transferred to the 
Utica Bank, he was known throughout the period of his service 
as one of the ablest and most skillful financiers in the State. 
His early professional training and the liberal views gained by 
long experience in the great commercial centre of the country 
gave him much advantage at the start. A generous disposition 
and courteous and winning manners made him popular, and 
conduced, with his unquestioned integrity and honor, and his 
intelligent estimate of the wants of the community, to draw 
customers to the bank. While his zeal for its prosperity made 
him studious of its interests, and watchful of the pecuniary 
standing of individual borrowers. His assiduity never flagged, 
and his skill was equal to every emergency. During all the 
fluctuations of trade and the shocks and reverses to which 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 319 

every country is exposed, he displayed judgment and sagacity 
tliat are rarely surpassed. At the period of the war of 1812, 
and the few years that followed, when so many of the banks 
succumbed, he maintained the credit of his, and pushed its 
notes into circulation as far distant as New Orleans. It was on 
the width and greatness of circulation that the banks in early 
times depended chiefly for their profits. The deposits of the 
Bank of Utica rarely exceeded two hundred thousand dollars, 
while the circulation was three times as large. To effect such 
distribution of its notes, a mode in frequent use was to entrust 
sums varying from ten to lift}^ tlKmsand dollars to individual 
directors to be by them exchanged for the notes of other banks ; 
or parties were hired to travel at a distance with the same ob- 
ject. The chief rival of Mr. Hunt was A. B. Johnson, than 
whom, if he had less caution, he had more courage and breadth 
of view and a not inferior degree of success. 

Mr. Hunt was of medium height and rather stout ; quite 
handsome in feature and complexion ; liberal and kind in sen- 
timent ; outspoken, courteous and polished in manners, and in 
his intercourse elaborately polite ; fond of talking and gifted 
with power as a talker, wherein he overflowed with anecdote 
and humor ; well-informed, though perhaps a little enamored 
of his acquirements ; social in his tastes and elegant in his en- 
tertainments ; interested and influential in politics ; useful as a 
citizen, and affectionate as a husband and a father ; giving freely 
to the support of his church, yet wedded rather to the form 
than the substance of church worship, and himself averring 
that while he gave more for religion than did others, he failed, 
as it seemed, to get as much good by it as did they. He was 
conspicuous among the Masons and held the rank of Master of 
the Utica Lodge. In 1816 he was one of the presidential elec- 
tors, and cast his vote for Mr. Munroe. After his resignation 
he lived about two years in New York, but died in St. Cruz, 
whither he had gone in quest of health, February 24, 1837. 
His remains were brought home for interment. His wife was 
Eliza, daughter of Captain Joseph Stringham of New York, 
sister of James Stringham of that city, and of the wife of Dan- 
iel Thomas, previously noticed. She was in every respect a 
superior person, a lady who, to the charm of a beautiful face, 
high culture and elegant manners, adde4 the superior endow- 



820 thf: pioneers of utica. 

nient of an amiable and pious heart. She died April 14, 1824. 
She left him eight children, as follows : Frances H. (Mrs. George 
Throop of Detroit, Michigan), died August 1872 ; James S., 

resided in New York, died 1862 ; Ward, Justice Supreme 

Court United States, residing in Washington ; Lydia E. (Mrs. 
Stephen Sicard), is now a widow residing with her son in Buf- 
falo ; Montgomery, was captain in the United States navy and 

lost in the Albany, 1854; John, resided in New York 

until his death; Cornelia (Mrs. Egbert Bagg, of Utica) ; Eliza^ 
died in childhood, 

Thomas Colling, so long in the service of the Bank of Utica, 
was from Norton, Dnrham, England. He came to this country 
while still under age, and engaged in teaching. In 1810-11 he 
taught a night school in Utica and was at the same time a writer- 
in the office of the county clerk. There he was when, on 
the bank's organization, he received the appointment of book- 
keeper. Two or three of the veteran citizens of Utica, as 
T. S. Faxton, John Butterfield and A. G. Dauby, were among his 
pupils. He had a good mathematical education, was an expert 
accountant and a good penman. And being, besides, a person 
of steady industry and regular and punctual habits, his services 
in the bank were invaluable, and he was retained until his 
death, February 25, 1859, when he reached the age of seventy. 
He was also the first clerk of Utica after it became a city, bore 
for some years the office of treasurer as well as vestryman of 
Trinity Church, and was treasurer of the Steam Woolen Mills. 

As an offset to his so persistent absorption in books and fig- 
ures, Mr. Colling was very social in his tastes, and dearly loved 
the habits and the converse of the ''marines." His facility in 
story telling was remarkable ; when among his frioids he never 
tired of recounting wondrous incidents of hair-breadth escapes 
that had happened to himself or of which he was cognizant, 
wearing meanwhile a graveness of countenancak and demeanor 
that made them seem like reality itself, and of whose truth 
there could be no dispute. But these excursions were only the 
relaxation of his leisure hours ; on duty, he was as unaspiring and 
subdued, his course of life as small a dei)arture from the usual 
channel, as that of any of his neighbors. His wife was Eve- 
line, daughter of Chauncey Gridley oE Clinton. He had five 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 321 

sons and one daughter who reached maturity, of whom all but 
two are now in Utica. 

If the career of Mr. Hunt, in his connection with the Bank 
of Utica, has carried us beyond the term of the village life of 
Utica, that of Alexander B. Johnson, of whom I am next to 
speak, is yet wider in its embrace. Beginning almost with the 
corporate existence of the place, it reaches down nearly to the 
present time ; for Mr. Johnson was a resident of Utica from the 
year 1801, and has but lately ceased to be numbered among its 
inhabitants. During sixty-six years he was identified with its 
business interests ; a director of one of its banks, a founder of 
another, and for thirty-six years the head of a third, in which 
posts of responsibility he gained an extended celebrity as a wise 
and skillful banker. A citizenship so protracted and inter- 
woven so largely with two principal institutions of the place, 
may well detain us to consider at length. 

^ His life began in Gosport, England, May 27, 1786, and its ear- 
liest years were passed in this and the other seaport towns of 
Sheerness and Deal,— where his father's business was conduc- 
ted,— as well as at Milton in Kent, and in London. His early 
memories carry us back to the reign of George III, whom with 
Queen Caroline, he saw in Drury Lane Theatre, to the behead- 
ing of the French king Louis XVI in 1793, which he distinctly 
remembered, and to the mutiny of the channel fleet, terminated 
by the hanging of its leader in June 1797, which he witnessed 
from a small boat lying along side the vessel of the admiral. 
Bryan Johnson, his father, preceded the family by a few years 
in his migration to America, leaving the son at school in Lon- 
don, and when he had settled himself here and prepared a home 
for their reception, they also took ship, and after a passage of 
thirty days arrived in New York in April 1801. Alexander 
was at that time two months short of fifteen and small of his 
age, but intellectually premature. His education, which had 
been prosecuted in the various towns where he had lived, lacked 
system and thoroughness, though it had given him a fondness 
for reading which never forsook him. Soon after his arrival he 
began to keep books and at,tend store for his father, yet was not 
so engrossed with these duties as to be in want of time for read- 
ing and writing. He made diligent use of the old Fort Schuv- 
w 



322 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

ler libraiy, and read solid and instructive works as well as ro- 
mances and poetry. By dint of earnest and sustained endeav- 
ors he made amends for youthful deficiencies, acquired a large 
stock of information, and became a vigorous and original 
thinker, and a terse and forcible wi'iter. Soon after he had at- 
tained his majority, his father disposed of his goods and his 
business interest and retired with a handsome competency. 
This fortune, during the life of the father, was held in common 
with the son, on whom devolved its general management. It 
was in the year 1810 that occurred his assumption in full of 
the cares and responsibilities of man's estate, two years previ- 
ous to the date at which I have preferred to enter upon the 
sketch of his life. His earliest personal enterprise w^as the es- 
tablishment, in 1810, of a large glass factory near the village of 
Geneva. A short time before he had been a director in the 
glass factory at Vernon. As a second one had lately been set 
up in Marcy, he feared the Legislature would be unwilling to 
grant the charter for a third in Oneida county, and so proposed 
to get permission to start one in Ontario county. This under- 
taking he engaged in with the activity, energy and quiet sa- 
gacity which distinguished him through life. And at length, 
after numerous journeyings to and fro, after much vexatious delay 
and many difficulties, the factory was put in operation and glass 
was made. But though he succeeded in his project, he was still 
subjected to annoyances and discouragements, so that he sold 
his stock to his associates at a price wdiich saved him from loss, 
and retired altogether from the concern. In 1811, Mr. Johnson 
went to New York, where he remained the greater part of two 
years, visiting Washington before his return, and being present 
at the second inauguration of President Madison. In New 
York he invested in bank stocks and interested himself in finan- 
cial matters generally. Early in 1812 he wrote and published 
a small volume entitled "An Inquiry into the Nature of Value 
and of Capital, and into the Operations of Government Loans, 
Banking Institutions and Private Credit, with an Appendix con- 
taining an Inquir}' into the Laws which Regulate the Rate of In- 
terest and the Price of Stocks " Tlie l)ook found a few ap- 
proving readers, and brought hini into notice as a thoughtful 
speculator on the subject of finance. Innncdiately that news 
came of the existence of war with England, filling the city 



THE SECOND CHAKTER. 323 

with consternation, Mr. Johnson sold his bank stock at a sacri- 
fice, and returned to Utica. Here he invested his funds in the 
Bank of Utica, which was then organizing, and was ere long 
compensated many fold for the loss sustained by the panic sale 
of his New York stock. In April 1814, he married Miss Abi- 
gail Louisa, daughter of Charles Adams, who was the second 
son of President John Adams. Tlie lady's father had been a 
lawyer in New York City, but was now deceased, and she was 
living with her mother in Utica. Soon after, he was aj^pointed 
one of the State directors of the Bank of Utica, entering there- 
in in antagonism with Montgomery Hunt, its cashier. The 
latter had procured the removal from the directorship of Messrs. 
Kip and Bloodgood, for wliich they, in retaliation, obtained for 
Mr. Johnson tlie place of director for the State. And here it 
was that began his first practical acquaintance with banking, a 
subject which, as we have seen, had already occupied his thoughts. 
It was not long before his energies were enlisted in a scheme 
for a bank of his own, and these resulted in the creation of an 
institution now almost forgotten, yet whose history is of inter- 
est for the method by which it was achieved and the temporary 
success that attended it. About the year 1798, Aaron Burr had 
secured banking privileges for the Manhattan Company, of New 
York, under the plea of furnishing " pure and wholesome water,'' 
and for his management in getting such a charter through the 
Legislature he was greeted with boundless applause. His 
adroitness was not without its influence upon Mr. Johnson. 
Ambitious of securing a charter for another bank in Utica, he 
yet feared opposition from the law makers of Albany as well as 
hostility from the banks already in existence, both of which 
influences would be exerted to prevent his obtaining his end 
by direct and open application. Deluded by the successful ex- 
ploit of Mr. Burr, he resorted to means similar to those of the 
latter in order to compass his purpose. He drew up a charter 
for the Utica Insurance Company, which was so cunningly 
worded that while it seemed to convey only permission to insure 
property, it granted, as was manifest to a reader aware of its 
intent, the privilege of banking also. This charter, during the 
winter of 1815-16, he manoeuvred skillfully through the Legis- 
lature, eluding even the vigilance of that astute lawyer and 
politician, Martin Van Buren, who was chairman of the com- 



324 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

mittee in the Senate that reported the bill. On coming home 
he called together Messrs. Kip, Bloodgood and others, who all 
agreed that the charter by its terms conferred the right of bank- 
ing, and in this opinion concurred also Thomas Addis Emmet 
and Kichard Harison of New York. A company was soon 
formed, and the $500,000 of capital was taken up. The direc- 
tors were James S. Kip, president, Francis A. Bloodgood, Na- 
than Williams (who soon, however, gave place to Nicholas 
Devereux), Bryan and Alexander B. Johnson, Charles C. Broad- 
head, Killian Winne, Hugh Cunningham and Eichard R Lan-- 
sing. Mr. Johnson was made secretary and treasurer as well 
as cashier, and A. D. Smith served as teller. Operations were 
begun in July, about where is now the Second National Bank, 
though the company afterwards bought of the Johnsons a part 
of the property on the corner of Division and Whitesboro 
streets, where their store had previously been, and erected thereon 
a suitable building. They made banking their principal busi- 
ness, and soon had in circulation $190,000 of their notes of one 
dollar and upwards, with about $3,500 of small fractional 
change. The loans ran up to nearly $300,000. They met with 
much opposition from the Utica and Ontario banks, which en- 
deavored in every possible way to embarrass them. These 
banks collected with avidity the notes of the Insurance Com- 
pany and returned them speedily. Mr. Johnson conducted the 
war with vigor and skill, sending out agents with the notes of 
the company who exchanged them for other bank notes. 
He insured also to the extent of a million of dollars, and for- 
tunately met with no losses by fire. Martin Van Buren had in 
the mean time become Attorney General of the State. Heap- 
plied to the Chancellor for an injunction against the company. 
The Legislature of 1818 amended tlie restraining law, as it was 
termed, which prevented individuals from banking, and made 
it apply to corporations also, affixing severe penalties for its 
infraction. «0n this account the company determined to sus- 
pend business on the 3d of August, 1818, the day before the 
act was to take effect. Both deposits and notes were paid in 
full, and the outstanding policies of insurance were transferred 
to a New York Insurance company. The court gave judgment 
against the Utica company, when a majority of the stockhold- 
ers, through their proxies obtained by Mr. Johnson, dissolved 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 325 

tlie compaii}' on the 6th of July, 1819. By his sole unaided 
efforts he wound up its affairs with a trifling loss to the stock- 
holders. Some, who were dissatisfied, as James L}aich, John 
B. Yates and others, demanded the books and assets of the com- 
pany and again began business in New York City, calling in 
also fresh installments from the stockholders. Innumerable 
suits arose, and the new company was stopped by the courts. 
Though Mr. Johnson was b}^ many commended for the acute 
ness of the means he employed to secure a charter for the above 
described institution, they proved afterwards a source of deep 
regret to their author, and he has left behind him the declara- 
tion that no other act of his life gave him so much pain in the 
recollection. 

Near this time, April 1819, when thirty-three years of age, 
married and the father of two children, the possessor, moreover, 
of about fiftj^-five thousand dollars, he began the study of law, 
in the office of his friend, Nathan Williams, He continued it 
persistently until he was admitted to the bar — in three years as 
an attorney and in six as a counsellor. Though the study was 
entered upon to fit him with a calling, it was pursued as a pleas- 
sure and a solace from other cares, since, when the profession 
was achieved, he never practiced it, while its prosecution was 
almost from the commencement carried along simultaneously with 
other and responsible duties, duties which were henceforth the 
great business of his life. For in June of this year he was made 
a director of the Ontario Branch Bank, an appointment which 
was followed in September by his elevation to its presidency. 
This Ontario Branch Bank emanated from Canandaigua, where 
its parent had been established about a year after the Bank of 
Utica. By an act of the Legislature, passed April 15, 1815, the 
privilege was accorded to both the Utica and the Ontario to set 
up branches of their respective institutions in the place of busi- 
ness of the other. Both exercised this privilege, the Ontario 
having commenced its branch at Utica the 26th of December 
following. During a number of years the capital was divided 
equally between the parent and its offspring, but subsequently 
to 1843, three hundred thousand dollars were located in the 
branch, and the remaining two hundred thousand in the mother 
bank. The existence of the corporation was limited to June 
1843, but in 1829 it was extended by legislative act to Jan- 



326 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

"uary 1, 1856. A general supervisory and directing power re- 
mained of course with the board at Canandaigua, who appointed 
the principal officers of the branch, advised as to the selection 
of its directors, as well as with respect to the administration of 
its affairs, and to this board weekly returns were made of its 
condition and its doings. The first directors at Utica were as 
follows : Benjamin Walker, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Arthur 
Breese, Joseph Kirkland, William G. Tracy, Charles C. Brod- 
head, James Piatt, Kellogg Hurlburt, Jesse W. Doolittle, Abra- 
ham Varick, Moses Bagg, Jason Parker and James Lynch. 
Colonel Walker was the first president, and was succeeded 
after his decease by Arthur Breese. The appointment of Mr. 
Johnson as president, in 1819, was due to the confidence reposed 
in him by his friend, Mr. Greig, president of the corporation at 
Canandaigua. It had been at first intended to make him cash- 
ier ; but feelings of delicacy and personal respect on the part of 
the directors towards the incumbent of this office would not 
allow of his displacement. Accordingly Mr. Breese resigned m 
his favor and Mr. Johnson succeeded him, though under the 
title and guise of president, he became de facto cashier also. 
With him rested all the management of the bank, the care in 
selecting directors, attending to the sufficiency of notes and the 
security of those already in the bank, all the responsibility in 
the eyes of the public and the Canandaigua board for its gen- 
eral safety and prosperity, all the care of preserving harmony 
between the bank and its dealers, and among the members of 
its own board of directors. And he was daily present at the 
bank from its opening till its close. Its affairs when he assumed 
control were greatly depressed ; its notes were not taken at all 
in Utica, and were sold in New York at twelve and a half per 
cent, discount. In fact the bank was closed from the middle of 
July to the fore part of November. Such, however, was the 
pubhc confidence in his integrity and financial ability that the 
notes very soon rose to par and obtained an extensive circula- 
tion. From that day forward the Ontario Branch Bank was 
one of the most }U'()S})erous banks in this or any other State. 
It was conducted on sound principles, and experienced almost 
no losses. 

In 1852, by reason of severe domestic affliction and conse- 
quent incapacity for business, Mr. Johnson was obliged to take 



THE SECOND CHAETEE. 327 

a voyage to Europe. Daring his absence, he could not, of course, 
exercise a personal supervision of the affairs of the bank, nor 
did he ever afterwards assume as direct a management of its 
concerns as he had previously done. Upon the expiration of its 
charter, in December 1855, its connection was severed with the 
mother bank at Canandaigua, and its capital and interests were 
merged in a new one formed under the general banking law, 
with the name of the Ontario Bank. Mr. Johnson took part in 
organizing it, and when, as he supposed, it was placed on a sure 
foundation, he ceased in part from his labors, and left details in 
the hands of others. But it was not in undisturbed repose 
that he was suffered to pass the evening of his days. Sad in- 
deed it was that now, when he had gained a reputation as a 
banker as high as any man's, the great misfortune of his life 
should befall him, and that this misfortune should consist in a 
blow struck at his very reputation itself. Without fault of his, 
the bank within eighteen months of its organization was insol- 
vent. The event in all its painful aspects, the ruin produced, 
the brief period of its accomplishment, constitute a case almost 
without a parallel in banking, and which is exceeded by noth- 
ing but the elaborateness of means by which the progress of 
the ruin was concealed from the president, who was constantly 
in the bank, and from the scrutiny of directors of experience 
and caution, sensitive to the interests of themselves and their 
friends and who met weekly as a board. Though overwhelmed 
by this great and unexpected calamity, Mr. Johnson devoted 
himself with the energy, industry and sagacity of his best years, 
t(j save all that could be saved from the wreck ; and it was 
owing in a great degree to the extraordinary labor which he 
performed, previous to the appointment of a receiver, that that 
officer was finally able to pay all the bill holders and other 
creditors of the bank in full and return a trifle to the stock- 
holders. 

He lived full ten years longer, overpassing by several months 
his eighty first year, and died on the 9th of September, 1867. 
But having seen the affairs of the Bank completely closed, he 
gave himself up to the indulgence of what had heretofore been 
his relaxation from official care and his most valued source of 
personal enjoyment. For prominent and distinguished as he 
was as a banker, Mr. Johnson regarded his reputation and sue- 



328 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

cess in that character as a matter of secondary interest to him- 
self. He adopted that profession in order, as he himself has 
said, that he " might have time and opportunity to write^ 
'■' The labors of the counting room and the study were con- 
stantl_y intermingled, and often the sheet of a treatise in hand 
and a current balance sheet might be seen on his table together ; 
but the busines.s of the day was never for a moment sacrificed 
to its relaxations, and the Ijalance sheet always had tlie prefer- 
ence." He wrote treatises upon the subject of banking and 
finance which received high commendation from those who 
were best c|ualified to judge of their merits ; for few men in 
our country understood better than he the principles which 
should govern all financial affairs, or were more practical in 
applying them. Yet though he devoted so much time and 
study to such subjects, " the great and prominent study of his 
life was language with reference to its meaning in something 
other tliun words." As early as 1818, he issued proposals for 
the publication of a " Philosophy of the Human Mind, or a 
Treatise on Language." It was not published until 1828, though 
in the mean time he had presented an outline of his views in a 
course of lectures delivered before the Utica Lyceum. " The 
book interested a few minds deeply, and the}^ could hardly find 
words strong enough to express tlieir a])])robation ; but it was 
too abstruse for general readers, and its cii'culation was limited. 
Its style was condensed in a remarkable degree, and the con- 
secutiveness of the reasoning close sometimes to obscurit}^ It 
was assuredly an extraordinary book for a man to produce who 
made no pretensions to exact scholarship, and whose life seemed 
to be monopolized by a devotion to Plutus." In expansion and 
further elucidation of his topic, he ])ublished in 1836, his '' Trea- 
tise on Language, or the Eelation which Words bear to Things." 
Its object was to teach that men should not interpret by words 
the knowledge they derive from their senses ; but should inter- 
pret words by the sensible revelations to which the words refer ; 
or more briefly, and in the language of a reviewer, to teach us 
"to contemplate created things apart from words." In 1854 
he put forth a third treatise on the subject, entitled " The Mean- 
ing of Words Analyized into Words and Unverbal Things ; 
Classified into 'Intellections, Sensations and Emotions." It re- 
cei^'ed commendations from the Wcstntinster Review and from 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 329 

numerous correspondents of the author. Tliis Look, in con- 
junction with his " Physiology of the Senses" (1856), and liis 
" Deep Sea Soundings" (1861), affords, in his opinion, an ulti- 
mate analysis of liuman knowledge, and constitutes a philoso- 
phy that has gone deeper than language, and has sought to dis- 
cover the meaning of words in man's internal oi-ganism. In 
striving after conciseness in his writings, Mr. Johnson made a 
new dictionary upon new principles. The plan of it he an- 
nounced in 1830, under this title : " The Collated Dictionary, or a 
Complete Index to the English Language : designed to exhibit 
together all words which relate to the same subject; for the 
benefit of persons who are not acquainted with the whole com- 
pass of the language, and to assist the memor3' of persons who 
are acquainted." The author was engaged several years on 
the work of the dictionary, but he never quite completed his 
design. Several books issued by other writers supplied some 
of the requirements of his plan, among which the most re- 
markable approximation to that of Mr. Johnson was Roget's 
Thesaurus, published in London in 1852. In addition to the 
foregoing, he put forth, in 18-41, "Religion in its Relations to 
the Present Life," in a series of lectures before the Young- 
Men's Association of Utica, and designed to j^resent a summary 
of morality in a small compass ; and, in 1856, he issued an, 
" Encyclopedia of Instruction, or Apologues and Breviats on Men 
and Manners," being a condensation of letters he had addressed 
to his children. Mr. Johnson wrote much upon politics, though 
he was never a partisan or politician. A collection of such of his 
articles as had appeared from time to time in the public journals 
was reprinted in 1857, in the form of a book bearing the title : 
"A (jruide to the Right Understanding of our American Union." 
"That a man thrown early into the active, and what with 
most men would necessarily be the absorbing business of life, 
should accomplish so much in literature, and accomplish it so 
w^ell is indeed extraordinary." His philosophical writings were 
welcomed, as I have said, by an ardent though limited circle of 
admirers, and if they did not gain a more extended following 
the reason is chiefly to be found in the abstruseness of the sub- 
ject and the little interest it has for the general mind, as well as 
to the compact form in which he delivered his teachings, and 
their lack of harmon}^ with prevailing opinions. 



830 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Mr. Jolmson left a copious and entertaining biograpli}' of him- 
self, which, with two well written obituary notices of him, pre- 
pared the one by E. A. Wetmore, and the other by J. Watson 
Williams, has not a little assisted the present writer. "He left 
also a voluminous and well preserved correspondence with per- 
sons of various degrees of distinction and influence, extending 
through at least half a century, which more than anything else 
might show the value that was given to his opinions, and what 
confidence was reposed in his judgment and integrity by men of 
high reputation in various departments of civil and literary life." 

He was once the orator of a Fourth of July celebration, once 
advocated from the platform the temperance that in his own 
person he rigidly practiced, once took part in a public discus- 
sion between the adherents of colonization and those of aboli- 
tion, and several times lectured before literary societies and 
young men's associations. He was a delegate to the Baltimore 
Convention in 1835, which nominated Mr. Van Buren as Presi- 
dent, and in the following autumn was offered the nomination 
of member of Congress ; but he declined its acceptance. 

" Mr. Johnson was recluse and studious, yet not of an unso- 
cial or gloomy temperament. He was diffident and sensitive 
in a degree painful to himself. His extreme reticence of char- 
acter, and his invincible repugnance to genei'al social intercourse 
he regretted : especially also he regretted his fixed habit of 
relying upon his own opinions without consulting the opinions 
of others, which prevented him from working harmoniously 
with other men. At the same time he possessed that passive 
courage which will face obloquy and misjudgment of motives 
with quiet endurance and a firm persistence in what he be- 
lieved to be right. He was aware that he had the reputation 
of being mainly devoted to making mone}^ He wanted money 
for independence, — to obtain time to write, and for the comfort 
of himself and family. The potency of wealth he thought 
wortliy of acquisition by all honorable means. Yet he did 
not aspire to its possession by the ignoble ^'''^ths of cunning- 
fraud or usury. He took care of his money, and it made 
itself. He left a large fortune, but it was the result of vigi- 
lant care, gradual accumulation and wise investment. He was 
scrupulously an<i undeviatingly honest in all that he did and 
said, in every word and action never varying a line from the 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 331 

truth. He carefully avoided exaggeration, and was pained if 
he supposed that any word of his misled or made a false im- 
pression. He was strict to claim his own, and equally strict 
not to claim other men's. Rigid punctuality was what he 
invariably exacted and as invariably accorded. His intense 
scrupulousness with regard to the business of the bank, although 
sometimes seemingly harsh and austere, was nevertheless service- 
able to many whom indulgence might have betrayed to their 
ruin." In his business he was eminently diligent, methodical, 
cautious and thorough. His manner of life was correct and 
pure. As a son, husband and father he was devotedly kind 
and affectionate, and in the former relation especially his ten- 
der and assiduous care was beautiful and affecting. His house- 
hold charities were liberal and profuse ; nor was he stinted in 
his secret gifts to objects which he deemed deserving. With- 
out, and toward purposes of common good, his known expendi- 
tures were not so free, and were in general deemed ill accordant 
with his means. But he was little influenced by the judgment 
or example of others, and never gave because to do so was pop- 
ular : obedient to the dictates of his individual judgment, he was 
obdurate to that of every other. With less independence and 
more fear of public opinion, he would assuredly have been 
more popular, even had he been less liberal in spirit. " He 
knew himself and frankly confessed more defects than he 
claimed virtues; and yet a fair judge will allow that few men 
have passed so long a life, actively employed from beginning to 
end, with so few positive stains and so many unassuming merits.' 

The family of Mr. Johnson was a numerous one. The living 
children who were the issue of his first marriage are Alexander 
S., judge of the United States Circuit Court, whose home is in 
Utica; William C. and General Charles A., of Newburyport, 
Mass. ; Sarah (Mrs. James S. Lynch) and Arthur B., of Utica; 
Louisa (Mrs. George B. Alley) of New York ; Frances (Mrs. 
Charles P. Williams); Mr. Johnson's second wife was Miss 
Eliza Masters of Madison county, and by her he had Mary (Mrs. 
McDonell) of Rochester, John A., of New York ; Bryan now 
deceased and John Greig. The third wife of Mr. Johnson, and 
who still survives, was Miss Mary Livingston of Columbia 
county. 



o32 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Fresh from Lis legal studies at Wliitcsboro, there came in 18 1 2, 
the first of two brothers Lansing, who long were prominent in the 
society and business of Utica They were sons of Colonel GeiTit G. 
Lansing of Oriskany, a brother of Chancellor Lansing of Albany, 
and a heroic participant in the scenes of the Kevolution. Born 
at Albany, December 11, 1760, Colonel Lansing entered the 
army at the beginning of the war, and served until its close ; 
was present at several important battles, and at Yorktown, un- 
der Colonel Hamilton, he led the forlorn hope as lieutenant. 
In 1802, this gallant soldier and true gentleman of the old 
school settled at Oriskanj^, and lived there on his pension and 
his patrimony until his death, on the 27th of May, 183 L Both 
in the army and after his removal to Oneida count}''. Colonel 
Lansing was distinguished for his high integrity and his patri- 
otism, as well as for his ability and his enterprise. His wife 
was a daughter of Colonel Edward Antill, an Englishman by 
birth, but an officer of the Revolutionary army, high in the con- 
fidence of General Washington. After her husband's death, she 
lived in Utica until her own death, on the 24th of August, 1834. 
She possessed in an eminent degree the qualities that adorn 
trne womanhood. 

Richard Ray Lansing, the eldest of their sons, who was born 
in July 1789, and graduated at Union College in 1809, pursued 
his professional studies with Judge Jonas Piatt, and then estab- 
lished himself in Utica. marrying soon afterward Susan, the 
daughter of his preceptor. Declining to take up with the offer 
of George Parish, a great land holder of the northern part of 
the State, and become his agent in the sale of lauds, as this in- 
volved the requirement that he should live at Mexico, in Oswego 
-county, he entered, in 1815, into i^artnership with Judge Morris 
S. Miller. Ere long he was made clerk of the District Court of 
the United States, and held the office during his residence. 
Being industrious, punctual, accurate and rapid in all his trans- 
actions, he acquitted himself excellently. His partners, after 
Judge Miller, were successively, G. John Mills, John H. Ostrom, 
and Abraham Varick. He lived in Utica until about 1829, at 
first on Broad street, between Genesee and John, and later in 
the house on Chancellor square that is now the home of Mrs. 
Nicholas Devereux, which he built about 1825. 

Mr. Lansing was cultured, agreeable and companionable, fond 
of society and of entertaining. He was fond also of his fishing 



THE SECOND CHARTEE, 333 

rod and his gun. The weight reported of some of his piscato- 
torial captures seems akin to the fabulous, while his skill as a 
sportsman made him a popular fellow of the once notorious 
Unadilla Hunt. With rare honhommie he was no less a bonvivant, 
for he loved the gains of his sport, and was an amateur of good 
things. But his economy was not proportionate with his in- 
dustry, nor his tastes in harmony with his necessities, and so, 
though his gains were not small, he lived faster than he could 
afford, and found himself embarrassed in the end. The flood 
tide of his fortune, which the poet intimates as coming but once 
in a life- time, would seem to have been opened to Mr. Lansing 
by the offer of Mr. Parish. Neglecting this, he was left upon 
the shoals, and had to struggle hard to support a numerous 
family in an expensive way of living. Removing to New York, 
he entered upon the importation of wines and liquors, and for 
some years Lansing, Munroe & King were among the heaviest 
dealers in their line. But on returning to his store from his 
residence up town on the morning after the great fire of Decem- 
ber 1835, he discovered that he had been burned to the ground, 
and that his insurers as well as liimself were ruined. He left 
the city and went to Michigan. He became identified with the 
growth of that new State, was interested in land sales, and 
among the first to engage in the mining of copper on Lake 
Superior. In these transactions he was aided by the fortvine 
he acquired through his second marriage. For having lost his 
first wife while in New York, he married her cousin, Eliza, 
daughter of Henry Livingston, and widow of Smith Thompson, 
judge of the Supreme Court of New York. For a few years 
he resided in Lansing, the capital of Michigan, to which place 
he had the honor of giving its name. And it happened 
something on this wise : while on one of his fishing excursions, 
he stopped, as he had often done before, at a "four corners," 
where the half-store, half-tavern had drawn around it a few rude 
dwellings. The inhabitants aspired to a name, and were then 
assembled to choose one. Some were advocates for antiquity 
and more for home recollections, but they were quite unable to 
agree, when some one called out: "Here's Dick Lansing, the 
cleverest fellow that ever came to these corners, let's call it 
after him." At once they assented and so gave appellation to 
the future capital of their State. It was not there, but at De- 



334 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

troit the ]>lace of his final residence, that he died September 
29, 1855. 

He was the father of thirteen cliildren, all of them the off- 
spring of the first Mrs. Lansing. They were as follows: Ed- 
ward Antill of Detroit, who died June 12, 1868, at the age of 
fifty-three years and eleven months, leaving five children ; 
Jonas Piatt, lieutenant in Texan navy, died at Sisal, Yucatan, 
1843 ; Manette, widow of Bayard Boyd, now of Owego ; Gerrit, 
deceased ; Helen (Mrs. Sylvester Larned of Detroit), deceased ; 
Charlotte (Mrs. Willard Smith of Albany) ; Richard, deceased ; 
Richard, 2d, deceased ; Frances Tappan, deceased ; Cornelia P., 
deceased; Melancthon Woolsey ; PhillipinaS., deceased; Susan. 

John Bradish, for some time deputy in the office of the 
Supreme Court clerk, was the son of Dr. James Bradish, a skillful 
physician of Western Massachusetts, who, dui-ing the Revolu- 
tionary struggle, rendered efficient service as a surgeon. The 
son was born August 1, 1783, in Cummington, Mass. He en- 
tered Williams College in company with his cousin, Luther 
Bradish, late Lieutenant Governor of New York, but did not re- 
main to graduate. Then a clerk for a while in the mercantile 
house of Barent & John R. Bleecker at Albany, he removed to 
this county when his father came hither and settled. At 
Westmoreland he was engaged in teaching school, but in 1809 
began the reading of law with Jonas Piatt, and at its close re- 
moved to Utica. From 1812 until 1 SI 6 h e served as deputy clerk 
under Mr. Breese, and, with the aid of cop3nsts, performed 
most of the clerical labor pertaining to the office. At that 
time notices of all suits begun in the Supreme Court, or enter- 
ing on new stages of their progress, wei'e sent to the office of 
the clerk, who transmitted them to the attorney of the opposing 
party, and in return transmitted the answers of the lattei'. All 
costs of suits were likewise taxed b}' the clerk. Lawyers 
throughout the State were obliged, therefore, to depend upon 
agents living near the offices of the clerks of this court to exe- 
cute the services required therein. Having secured such 
agency at Utica, Mr. Bradish continued to act in this capacity 
down to the time of the adoption of the new Constitution of 
1846, and the abolition of the old Supreme Court. By the ex- 
ercise of tliese duties, which wei'e liberally paid for and by sue- 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 335 

cessful undertakings in real estate, lie acquired a competency. 
In 1811 he married Miss Anna Camp of Marcy, daughter of 
Phineas Camp, and resided in a house that stood on the site 
of the present Bradish Block, which block- he put up not long 
before his death. 

Mr. Bradish was an elder of the Presbyterian Church from 
the year 1822 during the remainder of his residence, and was 
an early clerk of its session. In the religious enterprises of the 
day he took an active part. Eespectable in capacity and in 
standing, sincere in his principles and honest in his life, kind 
and indulgent toward his family and wedded to his church, he 
was content to manage his private and his ecclesiastical con- 
cerns, and expended little symjDathy on public matters of 
merely secular interest. His death occurred April 16, 1862, 
in his seventy-ninth jear. His wife died September 25, 1853. 
Their children were Frances I. (Mrs. W. H. Stoddard of North 
Hampton, Mass.), who died in 1850; Cornelia, died January 20, 
1872 ; James P. of Whitesboro ; Mary A. (Mrs. Eli T. Manches- 
ter), died January 3, 1862 ; Charlotte I. (Mrs. James C. Wells), 
died August 5, 1853 ; John C. died July 11, 1845; Theodore 
H. of Whitesboro ; and Arthur M. of Clarinda, Page county, 
Iowa. 

Next door to the office of the Gazette there was started, in 
1812, a wholesale and retail hat store, that was kept by Ezra 
S. Cozier, and Frederick Whiting. This Mr. Cozier had had a 
common school education only, but was endowed with strong- 
sense and a fondness for reading ; he was social and genial, could 
tell a good story, give good advice and do good deeds without 
blowing a trumpet before him ; and being, moreover, a man of 
ambition and of spirit, he soon won a large share of popularit3\ 
His earlier residence he signalized by the inauguration of a 
society for histrionic performance, led thereto by his passion 
for the plays of Shakespeare. The increasing estimation of his 
fellows, and notably those of the brotherhood of masons, 
brought him, later, into places of responsibility and honor. 
During one term of service his kindness of heart found full 
play as overseer of the poor. Next, for seven successive years, 
he was a trustee of the village board, and more than half that 
time (1819-23) its president. And when the village was ex- 



336 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

alted to a city he was pressed by many for the mayoralty, but^ 
failing in this, he was made the treasurer. Not long after he 
was among the first of the victims of the cholera epidemic of 
August 1832. He was buried by the masons and to his monu- 
ment they affixed the epitaph: "An upright magistrate, a kind 
hearted friend, an honest man." His widow, a sister of E. S. 
Barnum, survived him full forty years, and died about 1873. 
Their four children died, all of them, in youth. 

Others whose coming dates from about the year 1812, and 
who held with Utica relations comparatively abiding, were as 
follows : Two coach makers in the emplojanent of Jason Parker, 
named William Grainer and John Grrove, exercised their craft 
on the corner of Whitesboro and Seneca streets. The former was 
English. He built and occupied the brick house on Washington 
street where Mrs. Jacob Snyder. now lives, and there he died of 
cholera in August 1832. His wife was Lucy Haywood. Mr. 
Grove lived until April 26, 1839, and left two sons and a daugh- 
ter, of whom one son is still resident, DeWitt C. Grove, editor of 
the Utica Observer. His daughter, Mrs. Nichols, lives in New 
York. He was a man of generous temper and fine native endow- 
ments. His first wife was Miss Elizabeth Cross ; his second. Miss 
Stevens, who was the mother of his children, died in 1851. A 
shoemaker who lived as long in Utica was John Newland. His 
son Henry, continued the business after the father had re- 
tired. Another son, Thomas J., is now of Utica, as is also the 
widow of Dr. Joseph P., who was many years in successful 
practice within the city. A daughter is the wife of Eev. Dr. 
E. H. Chapin of New York. Thomas Latimer, tailor, a fervent 
mason and a clever man, was a citizen until 1837, and then he 
moved to Jefferson county. Dr. George Morrison, a botanic 
physician, practiced on Catherine street some twenty -five years, 
and his widow after his decease. Though an ignorant man, he 
had a large following. One at least of his sons became a physi- 
cian. George Meartell, whose skill in testing liquors was learned 
while in the service of John C. Devereux, dealt in them until 
about the time of tlie coming of the cholera, when he died. It 
is said that he had been a subordinate officer in the British 
army, and that when he left the service he carried off the wife 
of the colonel. John Pocock was, in England, a Baptist minis- 



I 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 337 

ter, and occasionally preached after coming here. In Utica he 
was a tinsmith, for many years at the lower end of Genesee 
street on the west side, until he moved up to the Devereux 
building above the canal. John McElwaine kept a livery sta- 
ble on Main street, a little east of the square. Robert, the well 
known police officer, is the only member of his family yet here. 
James Fay, carman, had likewise seen service under the Eng- 
lish flag. He has left no one to represent him but that very 
public character, William Dunn, who lived with him in his 
youth. David Donaldson, has, on the contrary, left numerous 
descendants, though his namesake is the only son that still lives. 
Joseph Costleman has left a son in Utica and another on Frank- 
fort hill. The one son of Mrs. Maria Rees is, like his mother, 
deceased ; the son's children remain. Tliomas George, wheel- 
wright, Robert Martin, cooper, Rebecca Dickens, teacher, Helena 
Roxbury, Lemuel Munrow, blacksmith, Jasper Cronk, laborer, 
had a more or less lasting residence. 

James S. Kissam managed the concerns of the Manhattan 
Branch Bank after the withdrawal of Montgomery Hunt, until 
he was called to be cashier of the Ontario Branch Bank, where, 
however, he did not stay longer than 1816. Nathan Under- 
wood kept a tavern on Broad street, next door east of the pres- 
ent Washington Hall. It is the same rickety building that stands 
there still. Designed to catch the travel that came into the 
place by the Minden turnpike, it was opened about the same 
time with that road, whose natural terminus it was deemed to 
be. Mr. U. left about 1822. Erastus Row kept the Coffee 
House. Ezra Wood, a weaver from Little Compton, R. L, lived 
in the place until 1818, driving only hand looms, but at that 
time he went to the lower mills at New York Mills, and there, 
in the employ of Benjamin Walcott, he started the first power 
loom in this part of the countrv. Here he had been con- 
nected with the Presbyterian Church, and was for a time its 
sexton ; there he took part in organizing another church of the 
same denomination, and labored almost alone in getting up a 
Sunday school. He died in 1870, in his ninetieth year ; his wife 
in 1874. Of his six children, one is still living at New York 
Mills. Robert Edmunds tarried a few months and then enlisted! 
and was killed in battle. His widow remained several years. 
Their son, John H, is now one of the prosperous and leading 
X 



388 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

meu of L'tica. Two printers, apprentices of Ira Men-ell, Chauu- 
cey and Augustus Morgan, brothers, gave a good account of 
themselves in after years as editors in Oxford and Binghamton, 
respectively. Another printer's apprentice was the now vener- 
able Thurlow Weed, who joined William Williams in Decem- 
ber 1812, and was afterwards transferred to the office of Thomas 
Walker, having in the meantime seen two terms of militaiy 
service at Sacketts Harbor. 

Other temporary residents were : Perley Harris, leather 
dealer; John A. Bury, tobacconist; Z. B. Clark, painter; Cas- 
tle Southerland, gunsmith ; Israel Decker and Jacob Hart, tan- 
ner ; Isaac McChestney, tailor ; Peter Jones, farmer, who soon 
moved up to William Inman's first place of residence, but of 
whose sons two or three have done business in Utica ; Philip 

Smith and Robert Ansart, laborers ; Matthews, portrait 

painter ; J. Bond, dancing master ; Ryder, who kept a 

school near Hedge's tavern ; Willard Clark, J. S. Olmsted, 
Franklin Ripley, G-riffith Jones, whose occupation I cannot give. 

1813. 

The most engrossing topic with the trustees, as well as 
with the freeholders generally during the year 1813, would ap- 
pear to have been the market, recently erected on the public 
square A determined opposition to its presence is revealed in 
the partial change now effected in the constituency of the board, 
which was made to consist of Moses Bagg, Montgomery Hunt, 
Seth Dwight, E. B. Shearman and Talcott Camp. It is still 
more evident in the resolution which was passed at the annual 
meeting, directing the trustees to sell the market at vendue 
after the rent of the stalls should have expired. At an early 
session of these trustees they passed an ordinance enacting that 
from the 25th of May to the 1st of October, anybody might 
sell meat without a license, provided that it be sold in the mar- 
ket square and conformable to the ordinances, and provided 
this should not impair any claim by the trustees for rent of stalls. 
But the friends of the market were aroused, and at a special 
meeting of the inhabitants, held in November, the vote of the 
annual meeting to sell this unwelcome neighbor was rescinded. 
A little later, the trustees ordered six of the market stalls to be 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 339 

put up at auction. And here the matter rested for the j^ear. 
Aside from the above and other routine business, nothing was 
done b}" the board of 1813. 

Spafford's Gazetteer of New York, published at Albany, in 
1813, contains a notice of Utica, though it adds little to the 
knowledge of the place we have obtained from other sources. 
From the initials attached to it, viz. : T. E. G., D. 0., and M. H., 
it would seem to have been furnished the editor by Thomas R. 
Gold, David Ostrom and Montgomeiw Hunt or Marcus Hitch- 
cock. The place is described as a flourishing incorporated 
post village, the commercial capital of the great western district 
of New York ; and though small in area, comprising a popula- 
tion of seventeen hundred souls, with three hundred houses and 
stores, a Presbyterian and an Episcopal Church, a grammar 
school, mills, factories, machine shops, printing offices, &c. 
"The Hotel is an elegant establishment, and the many fine pri- 
v^ate mansions of gentlemen of taste and opulence, give Utica a 
character in this respect worthy a great commercial town." The 
Manhattan Branch is the only bank mentioned as already in 
existence, but the fact is noted of the near prospect of another. 
To this the editor appends a note informing us that such bank 
was already chartered. The article itself would appear, there- 
fore, to have been prepared sometime previous to June 1812, 
the date of incorporation of the Bank of Utica. 

Rev. Mr. Carnahan, as we have seen, was dismissed from the 
pastorate of the United Presbyterian Society on the 4th of 
November, 1812. On the 3d of February, 1813, the United 
Church was divided, fifty-seven of its members with two elders 
were by act of Presbytery, constituted a church which took 
the title of the First Utica Presbyterian Society. And on the 
following day, February 4, Pev. Henrj^ Dwight, who had tem- 
porarily supplied the two pulpits, was ordained and installed 
their minister. 

This Mr. Dwight, — by turns merchant, minister and banker, a 
devout, humble and most useful man, an earnest preacher, and 
a prince of pastors, — served the church about as long as Mr. 
Carnahan, and was then disabled from the same cause. His 
historj^ is as follows: He was born June 25, 1783, in Spring- 



340 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

field, Mass., and his family connections were of the first respec- 
tability. He was the youngest of four brothers, all of whom, 
were men of acknowledged ability and force of character, and 
occupied conspicuous positions as bankers and capitalists. Hav- 
ing graduated at Yale College, in 1801, he became a partner in 
the mercantile firm in his native town, of which his brother was 
the head, and in this capacity passed a year in England. Here 
it was, as we may presume, that his thoughts were first 
deeply engaged in matters of religion, and that he solved the 
c[uestion of his personal duty. For on his return, he abandoned 
a prosperous business to devote his talents and his life to the 
office of a Christian minister. His professional studies were 
begun in New Haven, with Rev. Dr. Dwight, and finished at 
Princeton Theological Seminary. And from Princeton he rode 
across the country, on horseback, to begin his ministry at Utica. 
Some six weeks after the settlement of Mr. Dwight, Rev. John 
Frost was ordained over the church at Whitesboro, and thus 
the independence of the two societies was established. Yet by 
vote of their respective trustees these ministers were requested 
to exchange regularly, and a further cooperation, if not an actual 
unity of financial interests, is intimated in the offer which was- 
made by Mr. Dwight, who was rich, and whose salary was fixed 
at seven hundred dollars, to share equally with his poorer pro- 
fessional brother, who, for three years at least, was to have but 
five hundred and fifty dollars. * But beyond the warm friend- 
ship which ever existed between their pastors, the frequent 
interchanges of these latter, and their common efforts for the 
good of the community, the severance of the two societies 
was now absolute and final ; and henceforth each enjoyed 
regular preaching every Sabbath. 

Almost immediately Mr. Dwight began to reap from the 
sowing of his predecessor ; and ere long his own faithful labors 
were crowned with yet happier results. No communion season 
passed without some accessions, and in one year more than a 
hundred were added to the previously small number of com- 
municants under his care. By his exemplary life and the 
affectionate interest he evinced in the real good of his people, 

* In February, 1814, it was resolved by the Trustees " to pay Mr. Dwight 
during the present war, in addition to his salary, the dividends on the 
shares in the bank of Utica belonging to the Society." 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 341 

by Lis clearness and pungency in the pulpit, and especiall}' b}^ 
the useful instruction conveyed in his popular weekly lectures, 
an impression was made upon the community which is not jet 
erased. It was not long before the modest church edifice was 
insufficient for the congregation which frequented it. In 1815 
it was elongated bj the addition of about one quarter to its 
length, and this, with the supplement of a porch at the endi 
somewhat marred its architectural proportions. Within it was 
still more unique, for its sentry box of a pulpit was perched 
against the wall in the middle of the north side, and had a can- 
opy or sounding board aboye. while the pews were for the 
most part so placed as to look one half westward and one 
half eastward, a few square ones being immediatel}' in front 
of the pulpit, and a few long ones under the chorister's 
gallery on the south side. But to the 3"oung eyes, espec- 
iall}^, of that generation it seemed a model of conyenience 
and a clief d'oeiivre of beauty. Mr. Dwight, who was single 
when he settled in Utica, boarded for a time w'ith Mrs. Susan, 
widow of Elisha E. Sill, and daughter of Samuel Hopkins, of 
Goshen, Conn. They were married, and lived in the double 
Avooden house still standing on the west side of Hotel street 
about midway of its length, until they moved into the Clarkson 
house on Broad street. The ministry was his delight, but after 
less than five years exercise of it, and when the number of his 
church members had increased from fifty-seven to two hundred 
and twenty-two. the failure of his voice compelled his reluctant 
return to secular pursuits. On the first of October, 1817, he 
was dismissed from his pastoral care, and soon after removed 
to Geneva, where he continued to reside for forty years, and 
where he died, September 6, 1857. 

He established the bank of Geneva, and as its president 
■acquired an enviable fame throughout the State for probit}' and 
success. His banking operations embraced at one time not 
merely Western ISTew^ York, but extended to Michigan and Ohio, 
where he and his brothers were proprietors of similar institu- 
tions. His own bank, down to the expiration of its charter in 
185B, never failed to divide ten per cent, per annum among its 
stockholders, besides a very large amount in extra dividends. 
Amid these professional cares and responsibilities Mr. Dwight 
never lost sight of those higher purposes of life which had 



342 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

taken possession of his conscience and his affections. In his- 
connection Avith the church, as an elder, a Bible class and Sab- 
bath school teacher, a comforter of the afflicted, a guide to the- 
inquiring, a counsellor of the young, a helper of the poor, and 
a friend to all, he honored the religion of his Divine Master. 
In the great enterprises for the dissemination of religious truth 
and the establishment of Christian institutions, he took the 
deepest interest, and contributed largely of his wisdom, his per- 
sonal influence and his pecuniary bounty. Previous to the 
organization of the American Home Missionary Society of the 
Presbyterian Church, Mr. Dwight had a leading agency in the 
formation and management of a Domestic Missionary Society 
in his immediate vicinity. He rendered important service in 
developing a national institution on substantially the same 
basis, and was at its organization constituted a director. In 
1837 he was elected its president and continued to liold the office- 
until his death. Tlirough the medium of this societ}^ he had 
the happiness of preaching by the voices of others, and of ex- 
tending his influence more widely perhaps than if he had 
remained in the pulpit. For fifteen years, from 1814 to 1829, 
he was a trustee of Hamilton College, and for the last thirty 
years of his life a trustee of Auburn Theological Seminary. 
At his death his associates in the board of the latter institution, 
as well as those of the Home Missionary Society, recognized 
the event as a peculiary severe bereavement, and both put on 
record their deep sense of his ability and exalted worth. An- 
other effort of the active benevolence of Mr. Dwight connects 
him with Utica long after he had left it. He was much inter- 
ested in the establishment of an asylum for the insane, and 
having at his own expense employed agents to gather up stat- 
istics relating to the condition of the insane, and then prepared 
a circular setting forth the necessity of an asylum, he sent it to 
each member of the Legislature, and continued to urge them 
to favorable action for years before the passage of the act which 
gave origin to the asylum at Utica. His most marked char- 
acteristic was the predominance over him of Christian ])rin- 
ciple. Life to him was a serious scene of action and of duty. 
The idea of duty — of what he ought to do — was ever present 
in his mind, and exercised a coercive and repressing power upon 
his nature and its manifestations. Childlike in the simplicity 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 343 

of his character, kind and affectionate in liis intercoiirse, care- 
ful in the observance of all the courtesies of life, but solemn 
of demeanor and with little gajety of spirit, he bore at times an 
aspect of sternness which, however repellant to strangers, those 
who knew him well knew was due only to his ever pressing 
conviction of duty. Through this -it was that his life was pecul- 
iarly fruitful of results, and marked by a constancy of useful- 
ness, and a judiciousness and a liberality in deeds and gifts of 
charity, which made him a benediction to his fellows. "Mrs. 
D wight, with her gentle, hopeful, courageous spirit, lightened 
her husband's cares, while her wit, intelligence, good breeding 
and benevolence, made her, for forty 3'ears, one of the principal 
attractions of the society of Geneva. Those only can know tlie 
important part which she performed in its religious interests 
who were the witnesses of the grace, intelligence, kindness and 
never-failing resources of this trul}- Christian lady."* They had 
three children, of whom two were born in Utica, viz. : Edmund^ 
Mary E. (Mrs. Henry L. Young) and Henry, Jr. 

While Oneida was still a part of Herkimer, there settled within 
its borders a yoang lawyer, who was acknowledged at once as 
an equal among the best of his associates at the bar, and who, 
since then, not more by rare excellence in his calling than by 
weighty sense and energy in action, uprightness, purity and 
benevolence of conduct, and much effective and unselfish official 
service, has made the name of Joseph Kirkland suggestive to" 
all of virtue, usefulness, power and honor. 

A native of Norwich, Conn., where he was born. January 18, 
1770, and a graduate of Yale twenty years later, he qualified 
himself in legal studies with Judge Swift of Windham in that 
State, and then assumed their exercise in New Hartford in this 
county, where he was near to his uncle, Samuel Kirkland, the 
celebrated missionary to the Oneidas. At the first term of 
Common Pleas held in the county after its organization, in com- 
pany with Thomas R Gold, Jonas Piatt, Erastus Clark, Nathan 
Williams, Arthur Breese and others, all of whom had practiced 
in the courts of Herkimer, he was admitted to the same privil- 
ege in Oneida, and, together with those enumerated, he was ap- 
pointed to report a system of rules for the Court. The under- 

* Mrs. Bradford's History of Geneva. 



S44 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

taking to enter into professional rivalr}^ with men such as these, 
who, with others hke them, constituted the bar of Oneida at this 
time and for twenty years longer,called for qualities and efforts 
of no ordinary stamp. Mr. Kirkland, however, by his unremit- 
ting application, tenacity of purpose, and an integrity that, amid 
the fierce collisions of legal competition, was never called in 
•question, soon rose to an eminent rank. In 1801 he ran as a 
candidate for delegate to the State Constitutional Convention, 
^nd received as many votes as his opponent, Henry Huntington 
of Eome, though the seat was accorded to the latter. In 1803 
he was chosen by the Federal party to represent them in the 
State Assembly. Of his career while here it may be said, as of 
his like experience in later years, that no man ever sent from 
the county carried with him and preserved more completely the 
confidence of his constituents. From February 1813, to Feb- 
ruary 1816, he discharged, with ability and faithfulness, the 
duties of district attorney for the sixth district. That these 
duties involved much labor and care, in addition to no small 
amount of professional skill and acquirement, we are assured 
when we consider that this district then comprised Herkimer, 
Otsego, Chenango, Madison, Lewis and Jefferson as well as 
Oneida counties. 

It was in 1813 that Mr. Kirkland transferred his residence to 
Utica, and thenceforth, for thirtj^ years, he was identified with 
its prosperity and enterprises, with its charities, hospitalities, 
•and its municipal administration. Sent again to the Legislature 
during the sessions 1818-21, he vacated his seat in the latter 
year to fill a higher one in the seventeenth Congress, where he 
succeeded that eminent speaker, Henry R Storrs. After serv- 
ing a single term, with great acceptance to members of all par- 
ties, he was again elected to the Assembly of 1825. Mr. Kirk- 
land was the first mayor under the city charter of Utica, and 
was reelected in 1834, two years afterward. Without dispar- 
agement to his successors, it may be affirmed that no adminis- 
tration is remembered with a livelier gratification than the one 
of which he was the head. It was while he presided over the 
public councils, that the city was visited by that desolating 
calamity, the cholera, wliich in no part of the State bi'oke out 
in a more sudden and fearful manner, or swept into eternity, in 
jirojiortion to the po})ulation, such a crowd of victims. A large 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 845 

number of the citizens left tlie place. Men much younger, and 
better able to contend against the ravages of disease, left their 
homes. Mr. Kirkland, although then sixty years of age, re- 
mained at his post, and continued during the entire period of 
this frightful visitation, to perform the duties which devolved 
upon him. He was ever devising measures to relieve those 
who were smitten, or to check the violence of the pestilence 
and prevent its spread. He manifested during tliis crisis the 
real boldness and energy of his character, and showed that there 
was in him a spirit which, in more auspicious circumstances and 
on a larger held, would have secured to him no ordinary 
amount of reputation. 

In the upbuilding of Hamilton College, the Utica Academ}^, 
the Presbyterian Church, the Ontario Branch Bank, the Oneida 
Glass Factory, the New Hartford Manufacturing Society, the 
Farmers' Factory, the Paris Furnace Compan}^ and other early 
institutions of the county, Mr. Kirkland bore a part from their 
inception. If not one of the originators, he was at a very early 
stage of the enterprise, a coadjutor in opening and constructing 
the Seneca turnpike, the great internal highway of commerce 
through Central New York, and was for many 3''ears and until 
his death, the president and treasurer of its corporation. And 
in schemes afterward projected to advance the educational, com- 
mercial or manufacturing interests of town or county, there was 
scarcely one in which this public-hearted man was not called to 
participate. To a large circle of individuals also, of various 
classes, he was the valued counsellor or compassionate friend. 

As his legal reputation was based, not on brilliant fancy, 
showiness in speaking, or the trickish arts of the advocate, l)ut 
rather on the sounder merits of the learned and painstaking 
jurist, intent on the right and studious for justice, so his stand- 
ing as a man depended not on qualities which dazzle and be- 
wilder, but on such as give steadiness, elevation, force and 
dignity to character, inspire confidence in all who behold them, 
and win for their possessor a claim on the respect and venera- 
tion of posterity. Moderate in height, and full, though not 
corpulent in person, with regular and pleasing features, he had 
a quiet and impressive dignity of carriage in harmony with the 
man. The title of general, which he always bore, he derived 
from early service in the militia, and however his deportment 



346 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

might justif}^ the gravity of the title, he had none of the con- 
straint or punctiliousness of the soldier, but was eminently affa- 
ble and social, and, without unbecoming condescension, put at 
ease all who approached him. He owned a large wooden build- 
ing on Liberty street and the canal, confronting the Devereux 
block above it. Here was liis law office, wherein he was for 
many of the later years of his life associated with his son, 
Charles P. Kirkland. His residence was the house now occu- 
pied by Mrs. Susan Gridley, which house he altered and im- 
proved while still in New Hartford, and in anticipation of his 
removal. Greneral Kirkland's life was prosperous in no ordi- 
nary degree, having been subjected to few vicissitudes and to 
no serious calamity, and blessed with a competence for its de- 
clining years. So his death may be pronounced happy, being- 
tranquil and comparatively free from pain, and his bedside sur- 
rounded by numerous relatives and friends. This event 
occurred January 2, 1844. 

Mrs. Kirkland, whose maiden name was Sarah Backus, was 
in all respects worthy of her partner, a noble minded and effi- 
cient woman. Her son-in-law, William J. Bacon, describes her 
as follows : " She had a sound intellect, a clear judgment, and 
for her day was possessed of large and discriminating culture. 
The training of her numerous family, which devolved almost 
wholly upon her, was a task she met bravely and conscien- 
tiously, and it may be truly said she trained them in the fear 
of Grod, and in all manly and humane sentiments and tender 
and loving affections. She had the faculty to impress her own 
characteV strongly upon the minds and hearts of her children, 
and thus her influence, which was always on the side of truth, 
integrity, benevolence and charity, in the largest and noblest sense, 
has been perpetuated through her posterity, and may be for 
generations yet to come." Of this famil^^ of twelve children 
the ten who lived to manhood and womanhood were : Charles 
P., the business partner of his father and for some years longer 
a leading member of the Oneida county bar, now of New York 
City ; William, successively professor of Latin in Hamilton 
College, teacher of a private school at Goshen, Seneca county, 
resident of Michigan and of New York City, where with Rev. 
Dr. Bellows he commenced the Christian Inquirer^ died 1846 ; 
Edward, died a young man; Mary (widow of J. M. Holly) of 



A 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 347 

Lyons, N. Y. ; Eliza (Mrs. William J. Bacon) deceased ; Sarah 
(Mrs. John Gr. Floyd) deceased ; Louisa (Mrs. Charles Tracy) 
of New York; John Thornton, of Cleveland, deceased; and 
Francis of Wisconsin. 

The only other professional man whose career in Utica begins 
with the year 1813 is Dr. Ezra Williams, the sometime partner 
of Dr. Amos Gr. Hull. This partnership terminating in Sep- 
tember 1816, Dr. Williams opened an office near Burchard's 
tavern, and was in practice abont four years longer, when he 
moved to Dunkirk. He bad studied with Dr. Hull, but was 
possessed of more acc[uirements than his preceptor, and was, 
besides, cautious, sedate and reflective ; in his relations to others 
he was unassuming and respected. Both he and his wife, who 
was a half- sister of Walter King, have been long deceased. 

A new mercantile firm was that of Piatt & Lansing. It 
remained in being only about three years, though its members 
bad each a somewhat lengthy residence. Both were honorable 
dealers and gentlemen in mien and breeding, and on their own 
account as well as by reason of their family connection filled a 
high social position. 

James Piatt was brother of Judge Jonas Piatt of Whites- 
boro, and was born in Pougbkeepsie, 1787. After his brief 
connection with Mr. Lansing he traded some years by himself, 
and then, having failed, withdrew temporarily from the village. 
On his return he set up, for forwarding purposes, a^ large ware- 
house situated on what was known as Bleecker's slip, a narrow 
basin extending from the canal to Catherine street wher'e is now 
the western end of DeLong's furniture house. And this Mr. 
Piatt carried on during the remainder of his stay in Utica, 
having during a portion of the time Harmon Pease for a part- 
ner. During the year 1828-9, he served also as post master, 
but was soon ousted by an in-coming administration. He 
removed the office to Catherine street, near its mouth on the 
south side. Going in 1835 to Albany and thence, the next 
year, to Oswego, he became quite prosperous. He was the 
first mayor of Oswego, and in 1852-3 he was State senator 
from the Oswego district. He was also president of the Lake 
Ontario National Bank. His death occurred May 8, 1870, at 
the age of eighty-three. 



848 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Mr. Piatt was an earnest, affable, kind-hearted, public-spirited 
and high-principled man, rather small of stature, nervous in 
temperament and at times a little irritable, but deservedl_y poj:)- 
ular. As a business man his chief failing was his inability to 
say no ! Elizabeth, his first wife, was daughter of General 
William Floyd of Western. She died December 17, 1820. 
His second was Mrs. Auchmuty, sister of Commodore Melancthon 
T. Woolsey ; his third, whom he married after his removal 
from Utica, was Sarah, widow of Bleecker Lansing, his early 
partner, and daughter of Arthur Breese. Her home is with 
her daughter at Saybrook, Conn. His children, the off- 
spring of the first Mrs. Piatt, were William Floyd, James 
Augustus and Eobert. J. Augustus, now of Mineral Point, Wis., 
is the only one who is living. 

Parent Bleecker, second son of Colonel Garret G. Lansing, 
was born January 17, 1793, and had been a clerk for William 
G. Tracy, at Whitesboro, before joining Mr. Piatt in business 
in Utica. After their separation he was a short time in trade 
in Rome, but returned to Utica about 1822, and opened a store 
just below the Ontario Branch Bank. In this he was unsuc- 
cessful, and after a short service as bookkeeper of the United 
States Branch Bank, he became cashier, about 1835, of the 
Bank of Belleville, N. J. Thence he was called in December 
1836, to the cashiership of the Oneida Bank, and filled the 
place until his death 

Honesty, truthfulness, charity, an affectionate and most lov- 
ing nature, these were the characteristics which made friends 
for Mr. Lansing of all who knew him, and forbade that be 
should ever have an enemy. As cashier it was said of him 
that it was more agreeable to be refused a favor than to receive 
it from another. His integrity was unsullied, and his charity 
outran his means. Qualities so winning, and which made him 
so loveable as a man, were ill calculated, — coupled, too, as they 
were, with modesty pure as childhood's, — to promote his suc- 
cess in public business, or to aid in the augmentation of his 
own estate. While he lacked tlie])ositiveness needed to refuse, 
he lacked also the energy needed to win, and the hardihood 
requisite to save. Or, perhaps, I may rather say, that contented 
with his social standing, his "troops of friends," and tbe smiles 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 349 

of his lovely wife and children, he plucked life's pleasures as 
he went, and was deaf to the enticements of the goddess who 
demands entire devotion as the sole condition on which she 
will dispense her stores. Yet thej are qualities that ensure 
regard, and whose power and worth are realized only when 
they are lost. Their effect was evinced at his death. This 
took place December 3, 1853, at the house of his son-in-law in 
Brooklyn. His remains were brought to Utica for interment, 
and as they were borne to the Presbyterian Church, where he 
had been a trustee, the stores along the street were closed by 
their owners as a spontaneous tribute of respect to the memory 
of one whom they loved and were grieved to part with. The 
Utica Observer, in commenting upon his death, closes with these 
words : ''A good man has fallen, leaving behind him few who were 
his equals in qualities that do most become the man." In 1815 
he had married Sarah, daughter of Arthur Breese, and to him 
were born the following children, all of whom are living and all 
heads of families : Arthur Breese, who was educated at West 
Point, served in the Mexican war, and as captain in the quarter- 
master's department, after which he resigned, and is now livino- 
in New York ; Henry Livingston, banker at Cahandaigua and 
at Buffalo, now resides at Niagara, Ontario county, Canada ; 
Henry Seymour, commanded the 17th Regiment, New York 
volunteers, at the beginning of the late war, and left the service 
in 1863 with the rank of brevet brigadier-general; is now audi- 
tor general of the Centennial Board of Finance, Philadelphia ; 
Manette Antill, married Charles W., eldest son of Professor 
S. F. B. Morse, and hves at Saybrook, Conn. ; Borent Bleecker 
of Buffalo. 

A merchant of much weight of character, both personal and 
mercantile, was Alexander Seymour,* who entered this j-ear into 
an arj-angement with Messrs. Watts Sherman and Henry B. 
Gibson, whereby he was to represent them in Utica while they 
conducted affairs in New York City. In 1816 the "Co." at- 
tached to his name, signified Ezekiel Bacon ; and thus it 
continued until the close of 1822, their store being at No. 
66 Genesee street. After this time the principal was alone at 
10-1 Genesee, until 1833, when he moved to Cleveland, Ohio. 
Mr. Seymour had but one price for his goods, and to this he 



350 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

adhered, and so scrupulous was he hi his honesty, that if even 
a child was sent to make purchases of him, the superior might 
rest assured the business would l:)e as carefull}^ executed as 
though he traded in person. j\Iild and (|uiet in manner, he did 
not lack in efhciency, and was, moreover, kind hearted and emi- 
nently virtuous. In the Pj-esbyterian Church he was of much 
account, as he was afterward in the second church of that de- 
nomination. His house was on Broad street, next west of the 
present home of J. T. Spriggs, but before his departure he 
erected and lived in the house on Steuben park, now occupied 
by K. V. Yates. In February 1813, Mr. Seymour married Miss 
Mary Ann Bissell, who had one child that was buried with her. 
His second wife was Helen, sister of Rev. Dirck C. Lansing. 
Her children were Mary Ann, Alexander and Lansing. 

Other merchants were Hezekiah and John Hurlbut. After 
their ill-success in trade, the former became a teacher, went to 
Champion and died there. John, living afterwards many years* 
at Mackinaw, had quite recentl}^ a second residence in Utica ; 
was cashier of the Central City Savings Bank, and died in the 
place in the summer of 1874 Since then his family have re- 
moved. 

Thomas Eockwell was a native of Middletown, Conn., but 
came to Utica from Holland Patent in this county, where he 
was brought up by Bezaleel Fisk, an early settler and leading 
man of that place. After coming to Utica, Mr. Rockwell was 
at first a teacher, but in 1815 entered the service of the Ontario 
Branch Bank, as its book-keeper. For thirtj^-four years he 
served the bank with unvarying steadiness. "Much of its 
prosperity," says its president, A. B. Johnson, " was due to his 
vigilance and faithfulness. He was never a borrower from the 
bank, and never left his post for recreation or business, other 
than that of the bank. On a salary far too small for the value 
of his services, he maintained a family and left a sufficiency for 
their support at his death." This occurred August 16, 1849, 
after some months of failing health. He dropped at his post, 
and on being carried home, lingered for about three weeks. 
His first wife, who was Mehitable Wells of Wethersfield, Conn,, 
died November 5, 1832. He afterwards married Miss Elizabeth 
"Williams of this place, who still survives. He had three chil- 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 351 

dreii, two daughters who died in their j^outh, and one son, 
Henry W., who has for some years been connected with a hard- 
ware house in Albany, but whose family are in Utica. Mr 
Rockwell lived for some time on Elizabeth street, but after 
Court street was opened, he built on the corner of this and 
Cornelia, the brick house now occupied by the Industrial Home, 
and here he was hving at the time of his death. 

About this time a private school was in operation, which was 
known as the Juvenile Academy. It may have been started 
two 37ears earher, and was, perha})s, the academy referred to^b}^ 
Mr. Mellish heretofore quoted. It was kept in the third story 
of the building situated on the north corner of Broad and Gren- 
esee, of which the first floor was occupied by Benjamin Paine, 
the merchant tailor, and the second by a law office. The room 
had been constructed for a masonic hall and consisted of a tol- 
erably sized hall and two small rooms in the rear. It was at- 
••tended by many of the children of the principal families of the 
village, male and female, instruction being given in all the 
branches of a classical education, as well as in the elements of 
English learning. The first teacher was Henry White, a gentle, 
fair-haii'ed man, who afterwards became a minister. And he 
being taken with a fever and afterwards going away to recruit, 
the remainder of one of his years of teaching was completed by 
S. W. Brace, then a pupil of Hamilton College. The teacher 
in the year 1816 was Oded Edd}", son of the first Baptist preacher 
of Deerfield. Mr. Eddy subsequently lived on a farm in Deer- 
field. An incident of his farming life is told as follows : Dr. 
Hull called on him for a settlement of his account for medical 
attendance. "How much is the account?" he asked, and on 
being informed, exclaimed with most innocent surprise: "How 
singular ! that's just the price of the straw I sold to J'ou." 

I name together John Welles and Amos Gay, because they 
were two inn-keepers who began in Utica in May 1813, though 
quite unconnected in their affairs, and totally unlike in charac- 
ter. The former, son of Melancthon Welles of Lowville, had 
lived in Herkimer and in Whitesboro. He moved from Whites- 
boi'o to the yellow house next east of M. Bagg's, on Main street, 
and kept it for some time as a place of entertainment, but in 
April 1821, he took the Canal Coffee House, which had been 



352 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

opened in November previous. This was a neat, white woodert 
building, on the berm bank of the canal, south of Genesee- 
bridge, where is now the Exchange building. It was for sev- 
eral years a popular stopping place for travellers by the packets, 
and its head was a well-mannered and estimable, though diffi- 
dent person, who, with his intelligent family, filled a creditable 
place in the community. In 1832, Mr. Welles was keeping 
the National, lower down the street, and opposite the mouth of 
Liberty. Not Ions; afterwards he removed to Detroit. His 
son, John A., at first in the Bank of Utica, went thence to- 
Yates county, and from there to the Farmers and Mechanics' 
Bank of Detroit, where he amassed a fortune and was highly 
respected for his public spirit and his benevolence. The daugh- 
ters (Mrs. Paine and Mrs. Alfred Hunt), followed their father 
to Michigan ; Kachel B. (wife of Vistus Balch), died in Utica, 
January 10, 1831 ; William J., after his clerkship here, was in 
business and a banker at Grand Eapids, Michigan : having* 
failed, be took up his residence at Topeka, Kansas ; Henry, a 
merchant at Ann Arbor, is deceased. 

Some men seem born to a particular calling, be it mechanical, 
artistic, ministerial, or other, and are fortunate when they early 
discover their bent and pei'sistently follow it. Amos Gay was 
born a landlord, l)ut he was a restless one, changing often his 
place and even his employment, and scarce finding one to his 
mind. Yet with all his vibrations he gravitated continually 
into tavern keeping. Born in Lebanon, Conn., in September 
1778, he was at twenty-five a proprietor at Goshen Hill, in that 
State. Two years later, in 1805, he was living in Westmore- 
land, Oneida county. Successively a trader in Hampton, and 
an inn-keeper in Whitesboro, and then in Nevv^ Hartford, he 
found his way, in 1S13, to the house on the southeast corner of 
Main and John which had just been moved across the street 
from the site of the early Bagg tavern, and was now coupled 
with the former homestead of Joseph Ballou. He christened 
it Union Hall. Next he was in the National, but before 1828, 
he had built and was conducting the Fayette Street House, so 
called, which is still standing on the northeastern corner of 
this street and State. He was also at one time the owner of 
the pottery in West Utica, which has been of late in the pos- 



THE SECOND CHARTER, 353 

session of Noah White & Son. A later structure, erected by 
Mr. Gay, was the large brick building which gave way to the 
City Hall as its successor. And this, though he built it for a 
theatre, became also a tavern. Long before it ceased to be so 
occupied, Mr. Gay removed to Albany. He was a contriving, 
changeful, though gentlemanly man. He had five sons, of 
whom one is now living in Philadelphia, and two in Brooklyn. 

It has been stated that Levi Comstock, shoemaker, when he 
came from Danbury, in L809, brought with him as an appren- 
tice, his brother-in-law, Ezra S. Barnum. This apprentice, his 
indentures completed, engaged in business for a brief term in 
Buffalo, in company with Timoth}^ McEwen, an apprentice of 
David P. Hoyt. The war had then opened, and minute men 
being called for, he volunteered, and was present at the first 
taking of Fort Erie. Having become ill, he returned to Utica; 
while here Buffalo was burned by the British, and he did not 
go back. He joined Mr. Comstock in December 1813, and in 
1815 exchanged this connection for a like one with William 
Geere. The latter partnership lasted about a year, when he 
took charge of the shoe and leather store of Mr. Ho3='t, and 
subsequently did business on his own account At a later 
period he was with Z. B. Everson, confectioner and grocer, 
successor to Bryant & Everson, on the corner of Catherine and 
Genesee streets ; and buying out the interest in the concern on 
the death of his partner, he was a wholesale grocer. His next 
move was to a farm on East street, hoping thereby to improve 
his health, which was never rugged. After this he established 
the Bazaar on Genesee street, just above Broad, and, visiting 
Europe in 1849, he made arrangements for importing goods for 
the establishment. The Bazaar was long conducted by himself 
and Stephen 0. Barnum, his son, then by the latter, and since 
successively by others. 

'Squire Barnum's chief claim to notice and remembrance 
comes from his long continued and varied services as a public 
ofhcer. He was first elected to office in 1817, and put into 
triple harness, as it were, from the outset, being made constable, 
collector and coroner. At one time, besides these three offices, 
he held also those of police officer and deputy sheriff. And 
when to these functions was added those of justice of the peace,. 



35i THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

it was well said of liim by the editor of The Cluh, that Utica 
contains one officer of rare* qualifications, for lie can issue pro 
cess, serve it, try, convict, hang, hold inquest, and sell for taxes 
the effects of the convict. The office of justice, which he 
first received from the Council of Appointment in 1821, he con- 
tinued to hold for seventeen years. How well he did, notwith- 
standing his ignorance of law at the start, may be inferred from 
the fact that onl}^ two cases were ever appealed from his de- 
cision ; one of these, though reversed by the court of the county, 
was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the State, and the other 
was never tried on appeal. On retiring from the justiceship 
'Squire Barnum was appointed deputy United States marshal, 
and commissioner of deeds. In 1832 he was elected to the 
board of aldermen, and was several times reelected. At the 
organization of the Oneida Bank, in 1836, he was chosen one 
of the directors, and he is to daj" the only member of the orig- 
inal board still living. 

There remains to add a record of long and eminent service 
and high honors in the order of Free and Accepted Masons. 
Few living masons have been so long connected with the order ; 
fewer, if any, have been so highly honored by it. He was 
elected a member of Utica Lodge, in January 1817, and having 
soon gone through the four chapter degrees, he was early induct- 
ed into official position. From that day to this he has not 
been released from the duties and the responsibilities of office, 
being promoted, from year to year, until the highest honor in 
the gift of the body was conferred upon him. He has filled 
nearly every office in the Grand Commandery of Knights 
Templar of this State, and for twenty one 3rears served in one 
position or another in the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch 
Masons of the United States, of which body he is now Past 
General Grand Captain General. In the troublous anti-masonic 
period, when the fraternity was the object of such suspicion 
that the attempt to hold their assemblages was attended with 
difficulty, and in some places with danger, and when most 
masonic bodies were broken up, Mr. Barnum held to the prin- 
ciples of the order, and labored to keep alive the organization 
in Utica. He has, since that time, presided at numberless con- 
secrations, dedications, funerals and layings of corner stones. 
He witnessed the ceremony attendant on the laying of the 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 355 

foundation of the Washington monument and thsft of the com- 
pletion of the Bunker Hill monument, as well as those con- 
nected with the inauguration of the monument to Worcester, at 
Danbury, and the one in honor of Franklin, at Boston. In 
1849, he was present at the completion of the monument to 
Frederick the Great, at Berlin, and was honored with a seat in 
the Grand Lodge of Germany. 

His present residence on Broad street Mr. Baruum has occu- 
pied forty years. And though he has no other duties to occupy 
him than his attendance on the directors' meetings of the 
Oneida Bank, he yet takes an earnest interest in affairs. His 
church connections have been with the Universalists since they 
first met as a society inUtica, in 1825. He was one of the orig- 
inal subscribers to the fund for establishing the Liberal Insti- 
tute, at Clinton, and was elected a member of the first board 
of trustees, an office that he has continued to hold for forty-five 
years. His wife, to whom he was married in May 1815, was 
Miss Mary Ostrom. She died in July 1875. He has two sons 
in Buffalo and one in Chicago, and one daughter (Mrs. I. C. 
Mcintosh). Mrs. D. Y. W. Golden and two sons being deceased. 

Comfort Butler was enrolled as a soldier at Unionstown, 
Pennsylvania, in August 1812, and after a year's service, he 
was discharged at Sacketts Harbor. In August 1813, he and 
William Jones commenced saddlery together in Utica. They 
dissolved their connection three years afterward. Mr. Butler 
carried on the business until 1828, when in cooperation with 
Mr. Peale, of Philadelphia, he opened a museum in what is now 
the Carton block, this building having been erected for such 
purpose. Within a few months he became totally blind. Aided 
by his family, he continued some years longer his attractive 
museum, with its numerous curiosities and its frequent exhibi- 
tions of various kinds, that made it the chief place of resort of 
its time. But about 1850, this worthy and much commiserated 
man moved, with his large family, to Brooklyn, and there he 
died ; his widow is still in Brooklyn. William, the eldest son, 
was for some time a crockery merchant in Utica, and two of 
the older daughters, Mrs. Eoth and Mrs. Bennett, found hus- 
bands in the place. 

William Jones became a grocer after his separation from 
Mr. Butler, apd kept a family grocery store at the lower end 



356 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

of Genesee street. He appeared afterward as a surveyor, and 
served the village in this capacity, and when he died, at Nor- 
wich, he was making surveys for the proposed route of tlie 
Chenango canal. His wife was a daughter of Evan Owens (of 
1799). After his death she married Richard Huntington. His 
daughter, Mrs. Erastus Blauvelt, is still in Utica. 

At some time during the residence of Mr. Jones, a brother of 
his, named Anson, was studying medicine with one of the village 
physicians. Of the further histor}' of Anson Jones, the writer 
can learn nothing but the single fact that he became president 
of Texas. 

James C. DeLong, a morocco dresser, who made his debut 
in Utica in January of this year, survives to this day, a hale 
and vigorous looking citizen, to all appearance as sprightly and 
youthful in feeling as he was then. In 1814 he entered into 
partnership with William Clark, their stand being opposite the 
old Coffee House of Judge Ostrum. His business, intermitted, 
a month for military service at Sacketts Harbor, was shortly 
renewed. Soon they were below Catherine, but still on the east 
side of Genesee. In 1820, Mr. DeLong had his factory in the 
gulf, now covered by the sluggish waters of the Big Basin. 
After being driven thence he dealt in wool and transformed 
skins into leather on Water street near Division, his house 
being above, on Whitesboro street. For several years he has 
been free of the cares of business. He was long in fellowship 
with the Methodists of Utica, was one of the trustees at the 
incorporation of the Church, and after the erection of the edifice 
on Bleecker street, he for some time held the title to the pro- 
perty. With the anti-slavery cause he was associated in its 
darkest days of ill-favor, and went as a delegate to the conven- 
tion of 1835. Having outlived two wives and raised two fami- 
lies, he has now a third. A younger member of his second 
famil}^ is M. B. DeLong, furniture dealer. 

A neighbor of Mr. DeLong, in the gulf, was Nehemiah Brown, 
butcher, brother of Enos Brown, before mentioned. At first he 
was on Whitesboro street, near Genesee, and was grocer as well 
as butcher, but the latter was his chief ofiice throughout his 
residence. After leaving the neighborhood of the basin, his 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 357 

slaughtering was done lower down Ballou's creek and near its 
outlet, his house being then on Main, east of Second street 
Three houses of the brick row, at the lower end of Broadway, 
were built by him : he died about 1850. Big and burly in person, 
his " talk was of oxen," the town's talk of his oxen. Three of 
his sons are living. 

Elder David G-riffith, of the Welsh Baptist Church, though 
adequate for the duties that especially belonged to him, was 
not so conversant with the English language as to be at his ease 
in speaking it. On the occasion of the baptism of one of his 
flock at the river, he felt called on to address the numerous spec- 
tators who were standing near, and started oft' bravely enough, 
but was soon brought to a stand by his poverty of language, and 
was forced to end rather abruptly in pantomime. Having begun 
in a very loud voice, he screamed out, " My friends, you all heard 
of Philip and Eunuch ; they went down to water," and then, after 
a pause, " Did they stay there ? No ! Philip did as you see 
me." A plunge finished his speech. 

Other new comers of 1813 were Joshua M. Church and 
Stephen Herrick, carpenters and joiners — the former a builder 
and lumber dealer of prominence, and a popular and good 
citizen, some time supervisor and director of the Utica Savings 
Bank, and father of Joshua W. Church, who is now resident, the 
latter in the employ of Mr. Culver, and having a family of 
three or four children ; Orson Seymour, officer of the Bank of 
Utica, who was transferred to the cashiership of its branch at 
Canandaigua ; Ira J. Hitchcock, deputy to the county clerk, 
and a marvellously skillful penman, but whose accomplishment 
proved his snare and brought him to shame ; Ulysses F. Doub- 
leday, a journeyman printer on the press of Seward & Williams, 
afterwards an able journalist, and twice elected a member of 
Congress, the father of Major General and Colonel Doubleday, 
of the late war ; John and Jacob Schaefer, saddlers, of whom 
one only was resident in 1820, nor he a few years later ; John 
Todd, and Smead & Cable, cabinet makers ; George Green, boat- 
man ; Lemuel and Shuthelah Wilcox, the latter of whom 
drummed the enlisted men into rank, while the former trans- 
ported them in his boats on the river ; and after the war was over. 



358 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

did bis boating on tbe canal ; Jedediab Marvin,- successor to Mr 
Macomber, as " the man who rings the bell ;" Cornelius Davis^ 
laborer; Mrs. Lois Wliite, mother of Olive and Susan, two well 
known dressmakers, and of John, a wheelwright ; William 
Lowell, Charles Smith, Susannah Howell, Rebecca Van Syce,, 
etc. 

1814. 

At the annual meeting held in the spring of 1814, the 
Market house was still a matter of disagreement among the 
inhabitants. A motion to sell the same was lost by a majority 
of three. A motion to remove it to some other place was 
j)assed b}^ a majority of six ; but on reconsideration, this reso- 
lution was also lost by a vote of eighteen against eleven. The 
vexatious subject continued, however, to rankle in the minds 
of those who deemed themselves most incommoded by what 
others deemed so very essential. And when, in October, the 
trustees passed an ordinance allowing any, one to sell meat in 
any quantity and at any hour, provided it be done in the 
Market square, and in accordance with the ordinances, these 
dissentients appealed to the trustees to call another meeting 
of the inhabitants to consider the propriety of disposing of 
the market. Such special meeting was accordingly held, when 
D. W. Childs submitted the following preamble and resolution, 
which was carried, though not without a show of opposition 
from Arthur Breese, the original projector of the market : 

" Whereas, In the opinion of this meeting the market in the 
village of Utica, is situate in a very improper place, and whereas 
the removal of the same would be of public utilit}^, therefore, 
Resolved, That after the expiration of the term for which the 
stalls in said market are let, the trustees be, and the same are 
hereby authorized to cause said market to be removed to ." 

The blank was then filled by designating the corner of 
Division and Water street as its resting place, and seventy-five 
dollars were ap})ropriated for its removal. Marketing for the 
future w^as made free to everybody, and at all times and places. 
And at a meeting of trustees held on the following day, the 
by-laws relating to the market were rescinded, and thus was set 
at rest, for some j^ears at least, this most perplexing and faction- 
provoking question. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 359 

The trustees who held office during the year were Talcott 
Camp, Jeremiah Van Kensselaer, Natlian WilHams, Kilhan 
Winne, and Samuel Stocking. J. C. Hoyt was continued as 
treasurer, and Nicholas Smith as collector. When the board 
first met after their election, they again made Mr. Camp their 
president and Jolin H. Ostrom, clerk. At one of their meetings 
held later in the course of the year, they appointed William H. 
Maynard, village attorney, in the place of Thomas Skinner, the 
latter having become about this time captain of an artillery 
company, destined for Sacketts Harbor. 

The most important business of the board during the year, 
respects an improvement which we are surprised to learn has 
not been made before. That a thrifty village of seventeen hun- 
dred to eighteen huudred inhabitants, and which has already 
earned the appellation of commercial capital of the county, 
should be destitute of so common a convenience as sidewalks, 
seems to us, who enjoy so many rarer privileges, truly astonish- 
ing. Yet so it is, that not until the 23d of May, ISi-i, do' we 
find an ordinance passed " for the better improving the streets 
of Utica, and making the sidewalks in said village." This 
ordinance required the owners or occupants of houses on both, 
sides of Genesee street, from Bleecker to Water, on both sides 
of Whitesboro, from Genesee to the corner east of Inman's 
brewery (Broadway), on both sides of Main as far as First, and 
thence on its south side as far as Bridge, to make sidewalks for 
foot travellers within ninety days, in the manner prescribed, or 
be subject to a fine of twenty dollars, and a further one of 
two dollars and a half for every month of neglect thereafter. 
The sidewalks of Genesee street were to be fifteen feet in width, 
and to be constructed of smooth or cobble stone, from Whites- 
boro to Catherine, except between the stoops, where, at the 
owners option, they might be made of gravel. Elsewhere, 
that is to say, on Whitesboro and Main streets, these walks 
were to be ten feet from the front line of the lots, and of smooth 
or cobble stone, or of good clean gravel, at the option of the 
maker. The same liberty with respect to material, was allowed 
on Genesee, below Whitesboro and above Catherine to Bleecker, 
a street which seems now first to be officially recognized. The 
outer border of these walks was to be protected by timber and 
a line of posts, except where passages to barns were needed. 



360 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

The ordinance likewise forbade driving upon the sidewalks, 
unless it were to leave or take away loading, the making of 
fires to heat wagon wheels, or the fastening of a horse or leav- 
ing of a wagon thereupon. In September, additional sidewalks 
ten feet wdde, but of optional material, were ordered to be con- 
structed on the north side of Liberty street, from the office of 
Joseph Kirkland, as far as the Presbyterian meeting-house, and 
on the south side of Broad street, from the corner of James 
Van Eenssalaer's store, to the Episcopal church. Pleased, appa- 
rently, with the improvements effected, and yet not satisfied that 
all had been done w^hich was necessary or becoming, the trustees, 
in October, proceeded to order at the public expense, the laying 
of crosswalks at all the principal intersections. Those of Gen- 
esee and Whitesboro streets were to be of flagging, two feet 
wide and protected by timbers, while a three foot width of 
gravel, similarly bordered, was thought to be sufficient for the 
intersections of less travelled highways. The work, thus or- 
dered by the trustees, involved an expense not anticipated by 
their constituents, and for which no funds had been provided, 
and it was the first instance in which the board had overrun 
their estimates. But at the special meeting o'f inhabitants 
which occurred shortly afterward, the latter sanctioned the act, 
requested the trustees to procure the stone that would be needed, 
and agreed to pay for the same. 

One further proceeding of this board of 1814, is worthy of 
mention, suggestive as it is of the war and the scai'city of currency 
wdiich this entailed. Having first obtained a promise from the 
officers of the Manhattan Branch Bank, that in case of the 
issue of notes by the board, the bank would redeem them, they 
passed, in February 1815, the following resolution: '■'■Resolved^ 
That corporation bills, not to exceed five thousand dollars, be 
issued, signed by the president, and made payable at the Man- 
hattan Branch Bank." The bills were all of fractional currency, 
and of six different denominations, ranging from three to seven- 
ty-five cents. Specimens are still preserved, which were issued 
during this and the two succeeding years, bearing the name of 
the president of the year. 

The Capron Cotton Manufacturing Company went into opera- 
tion at New Hartford, in the year 181-1. Of its capital rather 
more tlian one-third was subscribed by citizens of Utica ; the 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 361 

heaviest subscribers being Seth Capron, of Whitesboro, and 
Jeremiah Van Kensselaer, and Asahel Seward, of Utica. 

It was in 1814, also, on the 28th of March, that the first 
charter was obtained of the Utica Academy. But the getting 
a charter was the simplest part of founding such a school ; and 
as much difficulty was encountered, and a long delay occurred 
before the building was erected and the school put in progress, 
I defer a further notice until we reach a more prominent era in 
its histor^^ 

A brief notice has already been taken of the Female Charit- 
able Society of Whitestown, founded in 1806. In 181-4, this 
society reappears under the title of the Female Missionary 
Society of Oneida. The preamble to its constitution, opens 
with the same language with that of the first one, viz. : '■ The 
subscribers, believing that a portion of the bounties of Provi- 
dence," etc., and to this succeeds, the following, viz. : " From the 
success this institution has been crowned with, we are encouraged 
to hope for stillgreater favor." The presumption is reasonable, 
therefore, that the newly named society was but a continuation 
of the former. In one of its annual reports it is stated that 
it was originally an auxiliary to the Hampshire Missionary 
Society, — which was an association organized at Northamton, 
Mass., in 1802, and designed to propagate the Gospel among 
the inhabitants of the new settlements of the United States — 
that it became independent in the year 1814, under the name 
of the Female Missionary Society of Oneida, and that in 1817, 
after having extended its operations, it took the title of the 
Female Missionary Society of the Western District. In the 
account given by Hotchkin* of the Grenesee Missionary Society, 
mention is made of several of its auxiliaries, that bore the title 
of Female Charitable Missionary Societies, and were designed 
to cooperate in missionary work with a central head. 

The association was made up of ladies from different towns 
in the county and having numerous branches in connection 
with it. It w^as governed, in 1814, by ten trustees, and had for 
its president Mrs. Susan B, Snowden of New Hartford, and for 
its secretary Mrs. Ann Breese of Utica. Forty-six of its sub- 
scribers were from Utica. The receipts into the treasury for 
the year 1819 amounted to more than thirteen hundred dollars. 
* History of Western New York. 



362 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

The only annual reports which the writer has seen are those of 
1822 and 1827. The former of these show^s that the parent 
society had then fift}^ branches scattered all over the western 
and northern portions of the State, numbering from thirteen to 
seventy four members each. The contributions of the year 
ending September 3, 1822, amounted to $1,175.62. The num- 
ber of missionaries employed from time to time iii the course of 
the year was eleven. Their whole time, had it been all thus 
consumed by one of them only, would have amounted to thirty 
months, for most of them were ministers who had engagements, 
more or less engrossing, with churches in the neighborhood of 
then- missionary fields, and could give but a few weeks of the 
year to the call of this society. The region of country covered 
by their labors extended to St. Lawrence countj^ on the nortli, 
to Otsego on the south and to Niagara on the west. The re- 
ports of the missionaries embraced in the general report, show 
that they were actively and usefully engaged, chiefly in preach- 
ing and in visiting from house to house. They established 
Sunday schools, helped destitute churches to get pastors, and 
afforded aid to numerous infant ones ; they encouraged the 
branches of the parent society and obtained j^atronage for the 
latter, besides setting in motion springs of benevolence that 
touched upon temperance, education, Bible and tract distribu- 
tion, and mission work in foreign countries. The greater part 
of the district embraced within the care of this society was, at 
the commencement of its operations, a moral wilderness; little 
had yet been done within its bounds in the wa}" of systematic 
and efficient missionary labor. The report of one of its em- 
ployes of the year 1821, shows that in the whole county of Gen- 
esee there was but one Presbyterian minister who had a pas- 
toral charge, and that there was but one in charge, likewise, in 
that part of the county of Livingston which lies west of the Gen- 
esee river. The sections included within the range of the other 
laborers were, in general, but little more favored in spiritual 
matters. The parent society, having its seat in Oneida county, 
was managed by fifteen trustees, all ladies, chosen from eight 
towns of the county. Hannah P., wife of President Davis of 
Hamilton College, was the president of the society, and Electa 
Eandal and Cynthia Risley, her mother, both of New Hartford, 
were the secretary and the treasurer respectively. Mrs. Joseph 



THE SECOND CHARTEE. 863 

Kirkland, Mrs. Walter King and Mrs. William Tillman consti- 
tuted the trustees from Utica, which place contained a larger 
number of members than any other town. One of the mission- 
aries of the society, during the year 1821-2, was Kev. David E. 
Dixon, the teacher heretofore noticed : another was Eev. Sam- 
uel T. Mills, the first principal of the Utica Academy. In the 
year 1824, Rev. Charles Gr. Finney, the well known revival 
preacher, was one of the missionaries of this society, and this 
was his first ministerial duty. Some of the results of his efforts 
at this time are related in his Autobiography. 

From the society's report of 1827, we learn that Mrs. Davis 
was still the president and Mrs. Risley treasurer. The trustees 
from Utica were Mrs. King, Mrs. Alexander Seymour and Mrs. 
Oren Clark. Six missionaiies had been in service during the 
year, and the amount of money received was $637.22. In hope 
of more extended usefulness, it was determined at the annual 
meeting to become auxihary to the Western Domestic Mission- 
ary Society, an organization which was created June 7, 1S26,. 
which had similar objects and the same field of operations with 
their own, and employed a local agent at Utica. This connec- 
tion was continued until the dissolution of the Western Domes- 
tic Society, about two years later, and the supply of its place by 
the central agency of the American Home Missionary Society. 

A young people's missionary society was also formed in the 
county, about this time, in which the people of Utica bore only 
a part in conjunction with residents elsewhere ; but as Utica 
was the seat of its operations, some account of it belongs appro- 
priately to the place and the time. In the year 1813, some 
pious youth in Hamilton College conceived the design of a mis- 
sionary society, to be composed chiefly of young people, whose 
object it should be to send missionaries into the destitute parts 
of the western district of New York. They received the coun- 
tenance of the Presbyter}^ of Oneida, a few branch societies 
were formed, and in February 181-1, a meeting of delegates was 
held at New Hartford, and $58.25 were paid over to the treas- 
urer. In February 1815, the annual meeting was held at Clin- 
ton, and an address was delivered by Rev. Azel Backus, D. D.^ 
President of Hamilton College. Ten branch societies were rep- 
resented, and $289.84 was placed in the treasur}^ In June fob 



36-1 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

lowing the society appointed Miles P. Squires, a student of the 
seminary at Andover, as a missionary. His more particular 
designation was to explore the more unsettled portions of the 
country, and form auxiliaries in the principal villages and towns 
in Western New York. This service he performed with inde- 
fatigable industry and success, and made so strong an impres- 
sion on the people of Buffalo, that they settled him among them. 
In February 1816, the annual meeting was held at Whitesboro, 
and the sermon delivered by Rev. Asahel Norton of Clinton. 
Thu'teen branches were reported, among which, for the first 
time, appeared one from ITtica. The amount raised was $-143.50. 
During this year several missionaries were appointed. Elisha 
P. Swift, a licentiate from Princeton, travelled through the south- 
western counties of the district, and describes them as, in 
general, deplorably destitute of religious instruction. Elam 
Clark, a theological student from Schenectady, who was also em- 
ploj^ed by the society, followed verj- nearly the route of Mr. 
Squires, preached over one hundred and fifty sermons, assisted 
in forming some branch societies, and obtained some' funds. 
The next annual meetino-, in 1817, was held at Onondaga, and 
the sermon preached by Rev. John Frost of Whitesboro. The 
amount of receipts reported was $839.34. The subsequent pro- 
ceedings of the association I am unable to trace, as the report 
of this year is the last I have seen. I know only, that as mis- 
sionary they appointed Rev. George A. Calhoun, from Salisbury, 
a man of fine abilities, whose classical education had been in 
part obtained at Hamilton College, but who had now just grad- 
uated at Andover. He, too, travelled through the western part 
of the State, and especially in Genesee county, and was success- 
ful in setting up auxiliary societies. From the report of 1817, 
it would appear that the next annual meeting was to be held at 
Auburn, and that the Reverends Henry Dwight, John Frost 
and Noah Coe were constituted a committee to prepare the re- 
port. Mr. Hotchkin * assei'ts that " for several years this society 
did considerable to supply the destitutions " of that part of the 
State. It was composed ])rincipally of young people, who paid 
twenty-five cents on admission to membership, and a quarterly 
tax of the same amount Individuals, over thirty years of age, 
might become advisory members for the term of two years on 

* History of Western New York. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 365 

the payment of one dollar, but were not allowed to vote. The 
principal officers of the parent society w ere adults, and for the 
most part Presbyterian ministers. Ebenezer Griffin, then of 
Clinton, though shortly afterward of Utica, acted as treasurer. 
The number of members of all the auxiliar}' branches, which 
were located throughout the western portion of the State, M-as 
fourteen hundred and fifty. This society, like the one just 
described, was eventually merged in the Western Domestic Mis- 
sionary Society. 

In April of this j'ear there was formed among the Welsh, an 
association for the support of its members in time of affliction 
and want. It was incorporated the following year, under the 
title of the Ancient Britons Benevolent Society. By virtue of 
a small monthl}- payment each member received, in case of sick- 
ness, two dollars per week ; and in case of death, twenty dol- 
dars was paid the widow or nearest relative, to defray the 
expense of the funeral. In 1828, the society had eighty-six 
members, and a fund of six hundred and fifty dollars. On the 
23d of jSIay in the following year its charter was renewed. It 
had paid within the year three hundred dollars as benefits to 
its members. By the year 1845, its fund had increased to 
$1,225, and there was requu-ed an initiation fee of three dol- 
lars, and an annual payment of a like sum. It is now extinct. 

On the 16th of August, 1814, was organized the Utica Bap- 
tist Foreign Missionary Society. It is still in existence, and 
auxiliary to what was known as the Triennial Baptist Conven- 
tion, now the American Baptist Union. 

It will have been observed that the newly appointed officials 
of the year comprise two men not named before. These men 
were afterward conspicuous in the annals of both town and 
county, one of them, in fact, by reason of his great endow- 
ments and the influence he exerted, accpTiring a very much 
wider celebrity. 

Let me essay first a sketch of the latter, and, with befitting 
humility, do my best to set in order the facts I have been 
able to collect relating to the life and character of William 
Hale Maynard, one of the ablest lawyers and acutest and best 
furnished intellects of any that has ever made his home in 



S66 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

/ 

Utica. He was the son of Malachi and Anna (Hale) Maynard, 
of Conway, Mass. His father was the second of tliirteen sons 
of Ebenezer Maynard, who was the grandson of John, one of 
the founders of Marlborough, Mass., and great-grandson of the 
John Maynard, who, corning from England in 1638, became one 
of the original grantees of the town of Sudbury in that State. 
Malachi Maynard, an intelligent farmer, " was a genuine old 
New Englander and a puritan, and a good specimen of both : 
strong in body and in mind, resolute, independent, upright, re- 
ligious, staying put in his place. He had but six weeks school- 
ing, was twenty six years town treasurer, figured in his head 
and figured right, and settled right after he had figured." He 
took a decided stand for the rights of the colonies and held 
positions on important committees. He was representative to 
the general court, 1799-1801, and a member of the convention 
of 1788 which adopted the Federal constitution. Anna Hale, 
his second wife and the mother of six of his ten children, was 
daughter of Captain Thomas Hale, of Brookfield, Mass., who 
was likewise a leading man in his town. Among her brothers 
there was a State Senator of Mass., a ca})tain of the Revolu 
tionary army, and two highly respected physicians, one of them 
a surgeon in the same army, who afterwards settled in West- 
chester county, N. Y., and married a daughter of General 
"William Paulding. William H, who was the eldest of the 
mother's children, was born in Conwa}^, November 23, 1786. 
His early years were characterized by filial obedience, strict 
integrity, studious habits, and an ever increasing thirst for 
knowledge. He fitted for college under the tuition of Rev. 
Mr. Hallock of Plainfield. In December, 1807, he was him- 
self emj^loyed in teaching in Plainfield, in the district school. 
One cold morning, as he entered the school room, he observed 
a boy whom he had not before seen. The lad soon made 
known his errand. He was fifteen years old ; his parents lived 
seven miles distant ; he wanted to obtain an education, and 
had come from home that morning to consult Mr. Maynard on 
the subject; his parents were unable to assist him, nor had he 
friends on whom he could rely for such assistance. Mr. May- 
nard was impressed with cool and resolute manner, which 
showed that the young man was willing to encounter difficul- 
ties that would intimidate common minds; he saw also that he 



4\i^ 




^-"T^^^^^ ^. .^^^a=^^--.*^^^^=^ 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 367 

possessed good sense, but no uncommon brilliancy. He made 
provision for having him board in the family with whom he 
was himself lodged, the lad paj'ing his way by manual labor. 
This lad was Jonas King, who afterwards became a distin- 
guished and useful missionarj^ at Athens in Greece, and passed 
through trying persecution with singular courage and fortitude. 
Some credit for the success in after life of this remarkable 
person is surely due to his first instructor.* Mr. Mayuard him- 
self entered Williams College, and was graduated in 1810. 
He and Justin Edwards, were room-mates and rivals for the 
valedictory, and though it was assigned to Mr. Edwards, Mr 
Maynard bore off the second honor. 

Soon after his graduation he removed to New Hartford in 
Oneida county, and entered himself as a student of law in the 
office of General Joseph Kirkland. To some extent he con- 
tinued his employment of teaching, and was at the same time 
diligent and laborious in the study of his profession. Tn the 
3-ear 1811, he purchased of John H. Lothrop his interest in the 
Uiica Patriot^ and at once assumed its editorshij^. With this 
paper he retained a connection, and was its chief contributor, 
down to the year 1824 While it schooled him to the facile 
use of the pen, and kept him informed of the political events 
and contentions of the day, its columns bore always the im- 
press of his clear and logical mind, and were marked b}' forci- 
ble argument and ample and pertinent illustration. About the 
time of the comj^letion of his course of legal stud}' he followed 
his preceptor to Utica. In December, 1814, we hear of what 
was probably his first suit. In behalf of one of the citizens of 
the place, he conducted successfully a prosecution for assault 
and batter}^ brought against the recruiting sergeant then tem- 
poraril}- established here. The diarist who mentions the inci- 
dent, and who witnessed the trial, speaks of Mr. Maynard as a 
young man of promising talents. In January following, as has 
been before stated, he is made attorney of the village. His first 
associate in practice was Samuel A. Talcott. Their office in 
1816 was at No. 4 Broad street. Another attorneyship which 
he received about this time was of more importance to him 
pecuniarily than that of prosecutor for the village. He was 
appointed law officer of the Utica Insurance Company, which 
* Durfee's Biographical Annals of Williams College. 



368 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA, 

it will be remembered was a banking company also, and here 
he laid the foundation of his property. In 1818, he was 
admitted to practice in the Supreme Court. 

"But," says Judge Bacon,* "he rose rapidly after he had 
made his first mark, and was soon employed on one side or 
the other in most of the heavy litigation that engaged the 
attention of the courts of the count3^'' It was in the Supreme 
Court, and that for the correction of errors, that his talents 
found the best field for their exercise ; the preparation of a 
cause for trial in the inferio]- courts, the presentation of the 
evidence, and the artful moulding of the Jury to an opinion 
favorable to one's own client, were done as well by many others. 
But in logical acumen and in wealth and profundity of learn- 
ing, — in exact perception of the points at issue, and in thorough 
elucidation of them by all of law and of precedent that were 
citable and apposite, and that, too, in the j^resence of his com- 
peers, and where reason, and not prejudice or feeling, were to 
judge, — it was here that Mr. Maynard most excelled, and where 
his principal laurels were obtained. For these were his dis- 
tinguisliing traits, and which characterized him both as a speaker 
and a writer. He had little imagination ; he was not graceful 
in manner nor finished in elocution, though the language he 
used was always the pui-est and plainest Saxon. But his men- 
tal vision was clear and his reasoning cogent, and, in addition, 
he was possessed of a memorj'- wonderfully retentive, and whose 
stores were ever at command. He would try a cause for days 
together without touching pen to jDaper and 3'et in the end re- 
tain all the evidence that had been adduced. At one time 
he was associated with the late Hiram Denio in a suit in which 
six days had already been consumed in the taking of testimony. 
"While preparing to open his plea, he turned to his as&ociate 
and asked for a list of the witnesses. The latter, thinking he 
asked for an abstract of their evidence, intimated that it would 
require time to make it out. But this w^as not his request; all 
he wanted was the names of the difi'erent witnesses in the oi'der 
of their appearance. Furnished with such a list, he proceeded 
with his speech, and never tripped in his remembrance of every 
})article of testimony, nor in marshaling into place all that was 
relevant and effective. To the foregoing, communicated to the 
* Early Bar of Oueida County. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 869 

writer b}^ Hon. William J. Bacon, who had it from Judge 
Denio himself, I add another illustrative incident obtained from 
the lips of Hon. Henry A. Foster, who was associated with Mr. 
Maynard in the State Senate. During a session of that body, 
Senator N, P. Tallmadge introduced a bill for the creation of a 
whaling com])any at Poughkeepsie. Though Mr. Maynard had 
had no intimation of the intended introduction of any such bill, 
he rose at once and discoursed for nearly an hour upon the gen- 
eral subject of the whaling interest. Beginning with its earli- 
est experience in England, he stated in detail the various legis- 
lative acts relating to it, the successive bounties, with their 
amounts, that had been offered for its encouragement, and the 
issues of such action. Then turning to the United States, he 
recapitulated in like manner all that had been done by Congress 
with reference to whaling, together with the past and present 
condition of the business in this country. Accustomed to the 
patient vigils of the scholar, Mr. Maynard had laid up a large 
fund of general and historical knowledge. He could give all 
the details of Napoleon's several campaigns and the part taken 
by each one of his marshals, as well as the personal peculiarities 
of these subordinate oflficers. And this, let it be borne in mind, 
' was when histories of these campaigns were rare, and news- 
papers and reviews furnished the most of what was known of 
tliem. 

A mind thus copiously furnished, and so clear in its convic- 
tions, could not be otherwise than instructive, and its possessor 
much sought both as a companion in private and as a speaker 
in public. His public addresses were spontaneous and free, and 
though often abounding in facts and statistics, were delivered 
without notes, and apparentl}^ without purposed preparation. 
To the confidence reposed in him as a wise adviser and a skill- 
ful manager of the concerns of individuals, he added also much in- 
fluence in matters of general and political interest. He was 
among the early trustees of the Utica Academy ; and we are 
informed by the historian of that institution tliat from his en- 
trance to the board, the marks of his vigor and activity are 
traceable in various suggestions and reports in writing, which, 
although not signed by him, are cognizable by his peculiar 
hand writing ; and also that he was one of a committee appointed 
z 



370 THE PIOXEEKS OF UTICA. 

to make arrangements for the opening of tlie school, to procure 
a teacher, and devise a system of*instruction. 

In pohtics, Mr. Maynard was the leading spirit of tlie Adams 
administration in this county, his most formidable opponent 
being Samuel Beardsley. In 1819, when DeWitt Clinton was 
nominated as Governor in opposition to Daniel D. Tompkins, 
he left the Federal party, which had now almost ceased to exist 
as an organized faction, and took sides with the fifty-one "high- 
minded " gentlemen who befriended Grovernor Tompldna Nat- 
urally he soon began to manifest liis change of sentiment by a 
change in the tone and conduct of the paper which he managed. 
Messrs. Seward & Williams, the publishers and chief owners of 
the Patriot, were startled at this sudden revolution in the char- 
acter of their paper, and alarmed l>y the falling off of its sub- 
scribers. Legal advisers, whom they consulted, recommended 
the setting up of a new one as their onl}^ mode of relief ; and 
accordingly they started the Utica Sentinel. At once they were 
met by a prosecution from Mr. Maynard. How, and to what 
extent they rendered themselves liable for so doing, and which 
of the parties was most at fault in the whole transaction, de- 
pends, of course, on the terms of the contract between them, and 
of these I am ignorant. The case was submitted to three ref-' 
erees, and they rendered a verdict for the plaintiff of $7,500. 
Another suit of a personal and political nature in which he was 
once engaged, was one for libel, brought against him by Sam- 
uel Beardsley. The libellous words were contained in an arti- 
cle written by Mr. Maynard for the Utica Sentinel and Gazette^ 
and which appeared on the 20th of June, 1828. They were in 
the form of a letter, without signature, but intended to be un- 
derstood as written by Mi-. Beardsley, and addressed to a brother- 
in-law, and commencing with the words " Dear Friend and 
Brother Jay," and contained an admission that he, the writer, 
while acting as district attorney for the northern district of New 
York, had cliarged the government six hundred dollars as ex- 
pended by him, when in fact he had ])aid out only ninety-two. 
It also contained an admission of unworthy and selfish motives 
for his political conduct in not attending a convention at Herki- 
mer, to which he was appointed delegate. Of the alleged prov- 
ocations of the libel, one was a communication in the Utica 
Ohsei'ver^ signed " Old School," charging that Mr. Maynard edited 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 371 

a paper during the late war, more rife with treason, and tending 
more to imbrue this country with low-bred treachery than all 
tlie other papers that haye eyer been published in this coun- 
try. Another, with the same signature, charged him with join- 
ing the Democrats for the sake of office, and of now being en- 
gaged in getting the Republicans to sign a call for a Federal 
State conyention, to oppose General Jacksoii. The hbel, as he 
offered to show on tlie trial, was a reply to these seyeral articles 
in the Observer, written by Mr. Beardsley, and meant to injure 
him, and it was so understood by witnesses whom he produced. 
But Judge Marcy held that in action of libel the defendant can- 
not giye in eyidence other hbels published of him by the plain- 
tiff, which do not distinctly relate to the same subject ; nor is it 
allowable for a witness to declare how he understood the libel, 
though he might be asked to show how it was generally un- 
derstood by others. The plaintiff accordingly recoyered a yer- 
dict of Ui^. 

Mr. Maynard had been a member of a masonic lodge, yet, 
when in consequencs of an atrocious crime committed in West- 
ern New York by some indiyiduals among the masons, there 
arose a strong opposition to the whole order, which, spreading 
through the State, resulted in the formation of the anti-masonic 
party, he took sides with that party. In 1828, he was by them 
elected Senator fi-oni his district, and continued to serye during 
the years 1829, '30, '31, and '32. By his election the Senate re- 
ceiyed a great accession of talent, and though he was one of a small 
pohtical minority, he exercised a high and commanding influence, 
and became in the latter portion of his career, the acknowledged 
leader of that body. " He was,'' says Proctor,* " the great intel - 
lectual light of the Senate — the Halifax of his party." In the 
different branches of the Legislature of 1832, to quote further 
from this author, " two future Governors of the State occupied 
seats : one of whom was William H. Seward and the other 
John Young. The former was eleyated from the gubernatorial 
chair to the Senate of the United States, and fi'om thence to be 
prime minister of two presidential administrations. Both of these 
gentlemen, in 1832, were overshadowed by the talents, position 
and influence of Maynard and Granger. The early death of the 
former opened a field for the splendid abilities of Mr. Seward, 

* Bench aud Bar of New York. 



372 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

while the mental resources of John Young gradually removed all" 
opposition in his way, and he grasped the highest honors of the- 
Empu"e State." Among the projects advocated by Mr. Maynard^ 
while in the Senate, and one which was mainly effected through 
his advocacy, was the act for the creation of the Chenango canal. 
In its favor, he delivered a long and able speech, statesmanlike in 
its policy, and marked by careful research, unerring figures and 
wise deduction. During this period he continued to be actively 
engaged in the duties of his profession, and was so up to the time 
of his death. From the year 1822, his law partner had been 
Ebenezer Griffin. After 1828, this connection was exchanged 
for a partnership with Joshua A. Spencer. With such masters 
of legal practice as were his successive associates, a connection 
could not but entail a responsible standing and much laborious 
duty, even upon a common place lawj'er. But when this law- 
yer was himself a man of industry, attainment and rare intel- 
lectual vigor, it needs scarcely to be said, that the reputation 
of the firm was widely spread, and that their causes were heard: 
in all the courts. 

In August 1832, Mr. Maynard was in the city of New York, 
in attendance upon the Court of Errors, when he was suddenly 
stricken down with the cholera, the dire epidemic of that sea- 
son. He was attacked on the 12th, kept his bed until the 17th, 
when he was convalescent, but was taken with typhoid, and 
died on the 28th of the month. His remains, at first de})osited 
in New York, were, the following April, removed by direc- 
tion of the trustees of Hamilton College, and I'einterred with 
befitting ceremony in the College Cemetery in the presence of 
a large number of gentlemen and ladies. To Hamilton Col- 
lege, of which he was a trustee, Mr. Maynard was a liberal 
donor, having by his will bequeathed it a legacy, amounting, 
as he estimated, to $20,000, in order to found therein a Pro- 
fessorship of Law. At the grave, as says the record, " ex- Presi- 
dent Davis made a short but impressive address to those who 
stood around in silence, with heavy hearts and solemn coun- 
tenances, at seeing so much talent and learning, and goodness 
and benevolence, consigned to the cold, dark and silent tomb." 

I have little to add more. "We have seen his munificence in 
behalf of education ; an instance may be added of his liberality 
towards objects of a religious nature. Though a worshipper in 



THE SECOND CHARTER, 373 

"the Presbyterian Church, when a Baptist societ}' in Utica, newly 
■organized and needy, was in want of a lot on which to build, 
he sold them the lot on Broad street where they placed their 
church, for an almost nominal sum, about one third of what he 
had paid for it. Amiable and benevolent, his life was directed 
by principles of mtegrit}' and honor, and was for the most part 
free of reproach. If it is permissible to say that at one period 
he was not beyond the influence of the common vice of the 
time, it is to be said also that he gave heed to the counsel 
■of friends who informed him of his danger, and mastered the 
habit before it had acquired a fatal ascendency. He was above 
the medium size, plain in his manners and in his attire, and not 
especially prepossessing in appearance, unassuming and easy of 
-approach. He was never married. A brief editorial notice of 
Mr. Maynard appeared in the Albany A^-gus immediately after 
his death. After adverting to his vigor of mind, thoroughly im- 
bued with the learning of the day, professional and political, his 
exactness of logic, and his remarkable facility of bringing out and 
applying his resources, Mr. Croswell continues as follows : "As 
a lawyer, as a debater in the Senate, and as a capable writer, he 
has left few superiors among his cotemporaries. Although of 
opposite politics with ourselves, we knew and estimated the 
power of his intellect, and, along with our friends, have felt the 
sharpness and force of an encounter with it. To his personal 
friends his death is a severe deprivation. In the political party 
to which he was attached he has left no equal, and none that 
can suppl}^ his place." 

John H. Ostrom, the newly appointed clerk of the village, 
was a son of Judge David Ostrom, heretofore noticed, and was 
still at his studies when called to record the public doings. He 
was born in New Hartford, in 1794, and was now a student at 
law with Walter King. Two years later, in February 1816, he 
opened an office, and about the same time was made village 
attorne}^ In 1820 he became a partner of Judge Morris S. 
Miller. A partnership of a later date, and which lasted until 
his death, he had with his brother-in-law, Thomas R Walker. 
But he was not so much to attain eminence in the law as by 
Iiis popular manners and personal influence to impress himself 
upon his fellows, to manage and direct the affairs of town and 



374 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA, 

couuty, and to serve with credit in numerous public offices, 
AVithin his own municipahty he tilled successively, the posts of 
clerk, trustee and assessor of the village, and, after its incor- 
poration as a city, those of member of the Common Council 
and mayoi", besides discharging for several years, the duties of 
chief engineer of the fire department. He rose through the- 
various grades of military preferment to that of major general ; 
and was hkeways clerk of the county from 1826 to 1882. He 
was an original director in the Oneida Bank and was of service 
in the concerns of the Presbyterian Church. His life was one 
of constant activity, and the duties of his several offices were- 
performed with unvarj-ing fidelity. As a lawyer his standing 
was respectable, but he was chiefly distinguished as a political 
leader. His success in this regard was largely due to the 
enticement of his manners, which were elevated, graceful and 
insinuating. Affability was his most evident trait. For higli 
and low, young and old, he had a smile of recognition and a 
word of cheerful and sympathizing salntation ; nor did he ever 
forget the face or name of a person whom he once had met. 
Yet it was not the assumed urbanity of the artful seeker of 
office which he practiced ; his sincerity was undenied, his kind- 
ness genuine, prompt and overflowing. He was a trusty friend, 
a true patriot and a helpful citizen. Traits such as these — this 
conciliatory tact, and his readiness to serve and skill in serving,, 
on all occasions, whether as chairman of a public meeting, as 
manager at the funeral of a neighbor, or privately as counsel 
with any in need — made him popular in an uncommon degree,, 
and caused the regret at his loss to be profound and universal. 
Although overtaken by death while absent from home, it 
found liim not unpi-epared, and "in his dying hour, his faith 
was strong, and his soul replete with love to God and man." 
He died at Poughkee])sie, August 10, 1845, when aged fifty-one. 
His wife was Mary E., eldest daughter of Thomas "Walker. 
Nearly half a century of benevolent labons, unremitting and 
humble, and more than ordinarily efficacious, have secured for 
her a preeminent place in the history of the charities and relig- 
ious labors of Utica. In 1816, having then recently made a 
profession of religion, she was one of the four young ladies 
who originated Sabbath schools in the village. For more than 
forty years she continvied to labor in them, and for months 



THE SECOXD CHARTEK. 875 

after she felt that the liand of death was "apon her, she attended 
ev.ery Sunday at a Mission school in prosecution of her self- 
denying labor. Yet this was but one of the many modes in 
which she exerted herself to do good. In tract distribution, in 
personal acts of benevolence, in zeal and energy in all matters 
relative to the church with which she was connected, and the 
cause of religion generally, she had no peer in the system, 
constancy, and disinterested fidelity of her labors. She pos- 
sessed a good degree of culture and accomplishments, which in 
another would have been conspicuous. Her one passion was 
to do good, to relieve sufferings and convert souls to ..Christ. 
Her death, which followed a lingering and painful disease 
occurred Septembei- 5, 1859, and was peaceful aiid triumphant. 
She was without a family. 

In the summer of 181-1, two lawyers from Schenectady set- 
tled in Utica, and after a residence of nearly two years removed 
to Chittenango. These were John B. Yates and William K. 
Fuller. The former had been already seven years at the bar^ 
had served as a captain in the campaign of 1813, had been 
elected a member of the fourteenth United States Congress, 
and was enjoying a well deserved reputation as an able lawyer, 
w^hen he took up his brief stay in Utica. Mr. Fuller, who was 
but just admitted to the practice of the Supreme Court, served 
while here as Master of Chancery and as attorney of the Oneida 
and Stockbridge Indians. Both of them in the place they 
selected as their subsequent home, filled important positions 
and rendered invaluable service, and in the history of Madison 
county their career is more ampl}^ detailed. 

Apropos of one of Mr. Fuller's offices, while in Utica, this 
incident is related : An Indian called one day at his place of 
business and inquired for him. Mr. Fuller was pointed out to 
the inquirer as one of a group of gentlemen on the opposite 
side of the street in front of the Utica Insurance office. The 
Indian approached him, when the following conversation ensued' 
" Are you Mr. Fuller ? " " Yes ; what can I do for you ? " "A 
man trespassed on my land.'' " Who was the man ; was he an 
Indian ? " " No." " Was he a negro ? " " No." " Was he a 
white man?" "No." "And pray what was he, if he was 
neither an Indian, a negro, nor a white man ? " " A Dutchmau," 



376 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

As Mr. Fuller was from the old town of Durq), and was Dutcli 
in his maternal ancestry, and himself passed for a Dutchman, 
the reply was much relished b}' his companions. 

A merchant who filled a tolerably large place in the concerns 
of Utica, mercantile, social, ecclesiastical and charitable, was 
Nicholas Devereux. Coming from Ireland to New York in 
1806, he landed in a strange country, and among a strange peo- 
ple. The capital he brought with him was a strong heart, a 
clear head, a solid and Christian education. Though alone in 
New York, Mr. Devereux found on his arrival in Utica, brothers 
who had preceded him and who had already secured a position 
in the community, and one of them, at least, a standing in its 
mart of trade. Received into the store of his brother John, 
he served him for a time as his clerk, and next in turn after 
Luke became a member of the firm. It was in May 1814, that 
the partnership was formed. Ere long it was interrupted, how- 
ever, by the death of their father, which recalled Nicholas to 
Ireland, to settle the estate and provide for the remaining mem- 
bers of the family. As war was then in progress with Great 
Britain, he sailed under a cartel, and in returning was obliged 
to proceed to Portugal, whence he embarked in a neutral vessel 
for this country. Again in Utica, he prosecuted with ardor his 
chosen calling, a calling beset for him with few reverses, and 
crowned in time with an ample fortune. In May 1816, the 
previous partnership was dissolved, and a new one under the 
title of N. Devereux & Co., was formed with George L. Tisdale, 
who had before been the clerk. This continued until June 
1819. He had afterwards several later partners, as Horace 
Butler, James McDonough, Yan Yechten Livingston, and 
numerous were the changes that were rung in the appellation 
of this highl}?- respectable house. And though in these changes 
the name of the senior brother never appeared, a bonus was 
paid him meanwhile for the use of his capital and his credit, 
as well as a rent for his store. 

As a merchant Mr. Devercux's course was marlced by indus- 
tr}^ accuracy and econoni}'-. It was not until he had in part 
retii'ed, and when the management of matters was entrusted to 
Mr. McDonough, that such pecuniar}^ stress was encountered 
as obliged him to again resume the reins. At this time, the 




"/<^ /( ^ct..<C^ «^^. 



^^ 



^r yL^ 



THE SECOND CHARTER. * 377 

fall of 1827, the firm was called on to pay $90,000 within 
ninety days. But Mr. Devereux was now owner and occupant 
of the handsome grounds that had once been the home of Jere- 
miah Van Rensselaer, and which had cost the purchaser only 
about $7,000. Dividing it into lots and intersecting it by streets, 
he sold it for a sum wdiich added largely to his revenues ; while 
there was developed thei-eby that spirit of enterprise inherent 
in the man, and which he soon afterwards manifested on a still 
larger scale. In the interest of the New York Life and Trust 
Company, he spent a portion of a winter at Albany, and while 
there took an active part in the organization of the Utica and 
Schenectady Eailroad. Not long afterward, while still in the 
employ of the same company, he travelled extensively through 
the State and had his attention attracted to the profitable na- 
ture of transactions in the uncultivated and fast setthng lands 
of its western part. In company with a few gentlemen of New 
York, he bought of the Holland Land Companj^, the residue 
of their lands in Alleghany and Cattaraugus counties, amounting 
to 4:00,000 acres. The general care and disposal of this land 
engaged much of its owner's time during the remainder of his 
life, its immediate sale being committed to his son, John C. 
Devereux. 

But his vigorous and wide-embracing mind was not absorbed 
in his mercantile duties or his personal investments. Intelli- 
gently busied in works of general improvement throughout 
the State, he was, too, deeply interested in improvements for 
the good of his own home community, while as an ardent 
Roman Catholic, consistent and faithful in every requirement 
of his faith, he was a very pillar of the church, and a zealous 
forwarder of its interests here and abroad. He was mainly 
instrumental in procuring the establishment at Utica of the 
first branch of the United States Bank that was located west 
of Albany. He was also a director of the Utica Savings Bank, — 
already initiated and conducted by him and his brother before 
a charter was obtained, — a director of the New York Life 
and Trust Company, a director of the Steam Woolen Mills, 
and a manager of the New York State Asylum for the Insana 

An Irishman b}^ birth, Mr. Devereux was an American by 
adoption, and found no difficulty or inconsistency m maintain- 
ing his own religious faith while executing his duties as an 



378 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

American citizen. Going down annually to Albany, during 
his earlier residence, to perform his Easter duties, aild often 
assembling the few Catholics of Utica to read mass on a Sun- 
day, he cooperated, when the auspicious time arrived, in gath- 
ering them into a church organization. With his brother John, 
he formed the Uticja quota of the six trustees who then man- 
aged its affairs, the remaining ones being sought for in Johns- 
town, Rome and Augusta. To enumerate the repeated liberal 
gifts to this particular society as well as to the great ecclesias- . 
tical body to which he belonged, would best become those who 
have partaken of their benefits. To adopt the language of 
one who was in full sympathy with his form of belief: "Utica 
will never forget the founder of the Orphan Asylum or the 
Brothers' School, while Western New York will long bless the 
man who introduced the zealous Franciscans from Rome." 
There is another of his benefactions for which Protestant and 
Catholic alike should revere his memory. Many years ago, 
when a Douay Bible was scarcely to be had, he purchased, in 
company with Lewis Wilcox of New York, a set of stereotype 
plates of the New Testament in this version, from which 
Messrs. Seward & Williams printed numerous editions, that 
were circulated chiefly in the West, and sold for little more than 
the cost of paper and binding. Mr. Devereux became after- 
wards the sole owner of these plates, and sold them to the Messrs. 
Sadlier, of New York, by whom over 40,000 copies printed 
therefrom were thrown into circulation. About two years 
before his death he passed a winter in the city of Rome, where 
he was gratified by a flattering interview with the venerable 
head of his church, and an acquaintance with several of its 
cardinals, — a visit which quickened his zeal and rendered him 
more bountiful than ever in efforts for the advancement of his 
church. 

Cheerful in disposition, urbane and refined in manners, char- 
itable and given to hospitality, his example and influence, 
equally with that of his brother, John C. Devereux, had a whole- 
some effect upon the comnumity in which they lived, and pro- 
moted unity and liberality of feeling among those who differed 
in race and religion. Thoroughly social in his tastes, unsurpassed 
in anecdote and story, his unfailing good humor, joined to his 
intelligence and large experience, made him an ever delightful 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 379 

companion. Assisted by his brother, and dependent on him at 
the outset, he outran him in the magnitude of his schemes. But 
like that brother, he had not begun at the very foot of the Lad- 
der; and if evincing more enterprise, he was less cautious, 
less self-forgetful and less liumble-minded. Not exceeding that 
brother in the kindness and benevolence of his heai't, his chari- 
ties, like his business, took a larger scope and have left him a 
more wide spread reputation. Mr. Devereux was rather full 
in figure and had a fine open and expressive face. He was mar- 
ried in 1817, to Miss Mary Butler of New York, a lady who 
had been brought up in the Episcopal Church, and with whom, 
until his own church was established, he regularly worshipped. 
He commenced housekeeping in the house that stands on the 
southwestern corner of Broad and Second streets. In 1820 he 
removed to the building cornering on Whitesboro and Hotel,, 
which had been built for the Manhattan Bank. Afterwards 
occupying for some years the mansion of Jeremiah Van Rens- 
selaer, he left it in 1830, for the home on Chancellor square, where 
he died, December 29, 1855, and where his widow still resides. 
His children were Hannah (Mrs. Francis Kernan), John C, 
Cornelia (Mrs. Richard Lalor), Catherine, Mary and Thomas B., 
of whom four are residents of Utica, and one is deceased. 

The career in Utica, of the merchant next to be noticed, 
covers a wide extent of time, for it reaches from the spring of 
180-4 to that of 1874. His pedestrian journey in the former 
year from Lebanon, Conn., as bearer of the purchase money of 
the house and lot of his brother-in-law, has been already nar- 
rated. At that time, Briggs White Thomas was under age, his 
life dating from the 15th of October, 1785. He died April 11, 
1874, and from his first coming had been a resident of Utica 
during most of the intervening time, though, as will be seen, 
not continuously. In 1809 he married and set out for Canada 
to embark in trade. There and at Ogdensburgh he was thus 
employed until the fall of 1813, when he returned, and, the fol- 
lowing year, began anew, in company with Anson Thomas, his 
brother-in-law. Together for many years they pursued an in- 
dustrious, a safe and successful mercantile course, each year 
finding them richer than before. After Anson's retirement, 
Briggs remained alone foi- a time ; then he was associated with 



380 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Truman Parmelee, also his brother-in-law, and subsequently 
he had a place, if not an interest, in the firm of Parmelee & 
Bra3'ton. The store he built, and which was occupied by him 
and them, is the one now occupied by T. K. Butler. About 
this time he was concerned with Josiah Bissell of Rochester, in 
starting the Pioneer line of packet boats. In 1833 he went to 
Albany and placed his capital in a firm supposed to be highly 
prosperous, but within three years withdrew it and returned to 
Utica, since he found affairs not so promising as he had been 
led to expect. Mr. Thomas experienced his share of the varia- 
tions of commercial life. He had once achieved a competence ; 
but did not enjoy it long, unfortunate endorsements sweeping 
away all that he had made. When no longer a young man, he 
was glad to accept of a clerkship in the Oneida Bank, where 
he again acquired the means to live without employment. 

At an eai'ly period he was active in the affairs of the Pres- 
byterian Church ; at Albany he was an officer in the church 
under Dr. Kirk, and on his return resumed his former connec- 
tion here. But in July 18^4, he was one of those who separated 
themselves from the First Presbyterian and united to form the' 
Westminster Society. From the inception of the Utica Sunday 
School, he took a leading part therein ; was its third superin- 
tendent, and many years a teacher. The interest he felt in 
Sabbath schools in the early part of his life did not abate with 
his years, for in 1860, at the age of seventy-five, being con- 
vinced of the need of such a school in the upper part of the city, 
he purchased a lot on Francis street, erected a building thereon, 
placed in it a library of one hundred volumes, and gave it, free 
of charge, to the Westminster Church, to be used so long as 
they should maintain a Sunday school in that part of the city. 
Tn proportion to his means, he cooperated in many of the pub- 
lic enterpi-ises designed to develop and advance the town 
and its neighborhood. He always felt a deep concern in its 
prosperity and the welfare of its inhabitants, and to the last, 
while maintaining a mental and physical vigor most extraor- 
dinary for one of his years, he perambulated the city, person- 
ally inspecting the improvements that were going on and noting 
the successive changes. As a citizen he was respected by every 
one. His cheerful and sprightly temper and his fondness for 
anecdote, conjoined with a remarkable memory, made him a 



. THE SECOND CHARTER. 381 

most agreeable and entertaining companion ; his true and ten- 
der heart made him an affectionate husband and father. His first 
wife, who was Miss Orra Parmelee, died in 1828. He married, 
in 1830, Mrs. Mary Wilkrd of Albany, who died about two 
years before him. His children are Miss Fanny Thomas and 
Mrs. H. C. Kingsley of New Haven, Conn., and Mrs. Langford, 
now Mrs. Charles Rhodes of Oswego. 

The following were likewise in business in 1814, though 
neither of them continued in it any great length of time. John 
Bernard, son of the Pharez Barnard (of 1800,) opened a " new 
store" in September. In 1816 he married Miss Amelia Crary 
of Lairdsville. In 1821 he was deputy in the oflEice of the county 
clerk. In 1840 his widow was boarding with Mrs. Eliza Crary 
on Seneca street. He left a son and a daughter, the last of 
M^hom became the wife of John C. Hoadley, and removed to 
Pittsfield, Mass. Social and gentlemanly, Mr. B. had yet cer- 
tain traits that caused the soubriquet of Prince of Denmark, a 
character which he had once personated in one of Mr. Cozier's 
histrionic performances, to adhere to him ever after. William 
B. Savage had been a clerk at Whitesboro and at Utica before 
he was was himself a merchant in the latter place, and at Ellis- 
burg, under the firm name of William B. Savage & Co. The 
associate was Charles C. Brodhead. They failed in 1818. Mr. 
Savage lived in Ellisburg, but died in Arkansas. A. W. Van 
Alstyne, successively partner of Nicholas Smith and Henry 
Thompson, made but a short stay, and returned to Wampsville, 
whence he came. In June 1814, a theological book store was 
opened by Camp, Merrell k Camp, the firm consisting of Tal- 
cott Camp, his son George, and his son-in-law, Ira Merrell. 
They published also a few books, and they reprinted a religious 
periodical termed The Panoplist, which was the predecessor of 
the Missionary Herald^ and was issued monthly in Boston. 
George Camp, the only one of the house not mentioned before, 
soon moved to Sacketts Harbor, where he was a much respected 
citizen. His wife was a sister of Marcus and Alfred Hitchcock. 
Horace, another son of Talcott Camp, and a printer, died in 1817. 
Dr. Wilbor Tillinghast, physician and druggist, remained but 
a few years. He died at Wickford, R I, in 1824. 



382 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

The Hotel received a new tenant in Ma}' 181-i, in tlie person 
of Henr}^ Bamman, a Frenchman, who had come into the 
country in the suite of David Parish, of Jefferson county. He 
repaired the building, fitted it with new furniture, and gave it 
the name of the York House, by which it continued to be known 
so long as it remained a place of public entertainment. Pro- 
vided with good servants, the best wines and liquors, and coach 
house and stabling for many horses in the rear of the house, 
the proprietor " hoped that by assiduity and attention he should 
secure the patronage of those interested in the western country." 
Polished and courteous in his manners, and obliging and atten- 
tive he certainly was ; while his large and commanding-looking 
wife had a tact that surpassed even his own. During the six 
3^ears of his stay, he met with a fair amount of custom. Then 
came the canal, and this drew away travellers from the river, 
and so many from the stages, as to seriously diminish his pa- 
trons. And so, he exchanged his control of the York House 
for that of the Eagle in Albany. 

A vvddow who came to Utica in 1814, with twH> half-grown 
sons and a daughter, was Mrs. Susan Winston. She became 
housekeeper for Gurdon Burchard, and likewise acted as nurse 
in some of the princij)al families. She was greatly valued in 
these capacities, and met with general esteem. This estimable 
lady passed her later years with her son in New York. Her 
son, Frederick Seymour, once a clerk with Doolittle & Gold, 
has enjoyed in the metropolis a degree of success that he 
well deserves, and is now president of the New York Mutual 
Life Insurance Company. A teacher in the Sunday school 
while at Utica, he is remembered with affection by man}^ former 
pupils who are now leading men in various parts of the country. 
Dennis Marvin, his brother, was a cotemporary and friend of 
H. G. 0. D wight. Together they prepared for college, under 
the instruction of Erastus Clark ; together they were graduated 
at Hamilton ; and together they passed through Andover. Ill 
health drove Winston to the South, and he died at an early age. 

A writer in the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court was 
William K3^te, a quaint, old-fashioned man and respected office- 
bearer of Trinity Church. He died July 20th, 1832, aged eighty- 
seven, leaving a daughter Jenny. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 883 

Nicholas N. Weaver, an apprentice of Shubael StoiTs was a 
captain in the war, and then was married. This Weaver, as was 
noted by the papers, married a Shoemaker, and had the ceremony 
performed by a Spinner. Setting up as a watchmaker, he carried 
on his trade for a few years, and then went to Cleveland, Ohio. 
He was back again by 1884, sold watches and jewelry ten or a 
dozen years, and returned to Cleveland to die. He was father 
of William N. Weaver, the persistent office-holder of the sec- 
ond ward. 

Among the grocers were Thomas and James Battle, the 
former killed after a few years, by being crushed between a canal 
boat and a bridge, the latter, temporarily absent, but return- 
ing about 1882, and remaining a dozen years ; William Shelton, 
butcher as well as grocer and saloon keeper ; Justin Cooley, 
who swapped land situated where is now the Parker Block, 
with Levi Thomas, and went upon the New Hartford road to 
keep tavern ; Daniel Brown, whose grand -children are still in 
Utica, and Braddock Loring, of short continuance. 

Among the mechanics, were Thomas Laney and Richard 
Lawrence, masons ; Greorge Van Syce, Micajah Pinckney and 
Morgan Truesdell, shoemakers, of whom the widow of the last 
has been living in Utica since 1806 — and, a girl when she came, 
has survived three husbands: WiUiam A. Tennery, morocco 
dresser ; John Lewis, tailor ; Jesse Kingsbury, tobacconist, suc- 
ceeded by his widow as keeper of a cigar and candy store ; 
Jonathan Ingersoll and Peter Mix, printer's apprentices, the 
first of whom revived and edited, as well as printed, The Club ; 
John Harrison, baker; Henry Sherman, butcher; John P. Hin- 
man and Henry Mesick, curriers; Nathaniel Lamson, wagon 
maker ; William Staples, chair maker — -who also boarded the 
village poor ; George Plato, tinner ; David Miller, machinist ; 
John Robinson, blacksmith. The latter was the father of the 
notorious Jack Robinson, circus proprietor. Not taking kindly 
to study, the boy slipped away from home one day, after a 
castigation from his father for absence from school, and walked 
to Albany. He soon got a situation in a menagerie, and four 
years experience in it shaped his subsequent career. He became 
celebrated as a performer, and his graceful and daring four-horse 
act was one of the principal attractions of the show. In turn he 



384 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

was attached to several different companies, and at lengtli got up 
one of his own. With it he travelled extensively throughout 
the South and West, and in the management of a business that 
brought him more than a million of dollars, he showed great 
executive ability, and the power to govern and control. Since 
1865 he has made his headquarters in Cincinnati ; and in 1875 
he was the independent candidate for mayor of that city. His 
brother Alexander, who follow^s the same pursuit, lives in Utica, 
and during the winter season quarters his retinue in the neigh- 
borhood. Thomas Cornwall, barber, says in 1814, that " he is 
established in the line of his barberous profession, one door east 
of Messrs. Lee & Clark's law office, where all kinds of shaving 
that will not interfere with the regular business of his neigh- 
bors, will be carried on in the most genteel style." James 
Ingolls, another barber, kept also a fancy store and remained 
manv years in the place. The following were laboring men, 
viz. : Jacob Evertson, Elijah Root, John Hewson, and John 
Rowe. Francis Kent was a farmer. The occupation of James 
Little, Amos Gridley and Silas D. Strong is not known. 

1815. 

The inhabitants, at the annual meeting held on the second of 
May 1815, ordered that one thousand dollars should be raised 
by tax, for the current expenses of the year, and they elected 
the following persons to serve as trustees, viz. : Abraham Van 
Santvoort, Augustus Hickox, Grurdon Burchard, Jason Parker, 
and William Geere. Mr. Yan Santvcort was subsequently 
chosen presulent. Mr. Parker neglected to qualify, and the 
board fined him twenty-five dollars for his neglect. Little was 
done throughout the year that deserves mention. Additional 
sidewalks w^ere ordered on both sides of Whitesboro street, as 
far west as Washington, and on both sides the latter street ; on 
both sides of Division ; of Main, as far as First ; a like dis- 
tance on the northern side of Broad, and on both sides of First 
between Main and Broad. The market was leased to Ilenry 
Sherman and John Roberts. And before the expiration of 
their term, the board resolved to discontinue the issuing of 
small bills, and appointed Harry Camp to redeem those already 
issued. 



THE SECOND CHAKTER. 385 

In August 1814, Judge Morris S. Miller, joint owner of the 
Bleecker estate, and who looked after the family interest in 
Utica, addressed a letter to John R Bleecker of Albany, with 
reference to the extension of John street, which had been opened 
from Main to Broad some four or five years before. The letter 
contains some points of sufficient interest to justify the quoting 
of an extract : •' I would urge," he says, " that John street should 
be continued to Bridge street ; that Third street should be con- 
tinued to Elizabeth ; and that Elizabeth and all the streets par- 
allel to it, down to Catherine, should also be formed with the 
least possible delay. Now is the time particularly favorable 
for us to do something, as Mrs. Codd has commenced a suit 
against Mr. Kip, and this places our property altogether in a 
better situation than any other in the village. In regard to the 
streets which I allude to, even if the prospect of doing some- 
thing with the property was not so fair as I think it is, the ad- 
A^antage they would aiiord as a drain for the wet ground would 
do much toward compensating for the expenditure. Another 
object is the public square. People are pretty full of the idea 
that the Legislature wall sit here at no very remote period ; and 
are casting their eyes to that part of the town as the probable- 
site of the public buildings. This is an important circumstance 
of which we ought to avail ourselves. If the square should be 
distinctly marked by posts, the roads around it thrown up, and 
trees planted about it, the square would be seen by every body, 
and the consequent advantages to us need not be mentioned. 
For myself, I think that next to rebuilding the bridge (the 
bridge, he means, at the foot of Bridge street, known as Miller's 
bridge, w^hich had recently been swept away), the opening of 
this street is most important ; and in addition to the part of the 
lot wanted for the street, I would be contenfto give my proportion 
of $2,800 (say $700), provided it could not be efEected for less. 
John street would, I think, be the second street in the village." 
The improvements here proposed were probably entered upon 
the following year, and were completed in the course of the sea- 
son, for in the fall of 1816, when the first village directory w^as 
prepared, John street had about half a dozen residents, and 
Chancellor square and Jay street each half as many. 

For information relative to other matters of a public nature,, 
we are left to the inferences that mav be drawn from a few ad- 
A-1 



386 THE PIOXEERS OF UTICA. 

vertisemeiits of this date. One of these informs us tliat, owine: 
to a stagnation of business, from thii'tv to forty carpenters and 
joiners were in want of employment, and ready to work on the 
most reasonable terms. Another advertisement announces an 
application as pending in tlie Legislature for the incorporation 
of a Western District Bank. A bank by this name was never 
incorpoi'ated, but the Utica Insurance Company now obtained. 
its charter, and had as directors nearly the same persons as those 
who were named in the above mentioned application. The 
branch of the Ontario Bank was also established the present 
year. 

Utica came near being at this time the scene of an event of 
some historic import, for here, as it had been arranged, was to 
take place the trial of Greneral Samuel Wilkinson. In expecta- 
tion of this trial, a letter was addressed by President John 
Adams to a friend residing in the village, in which occurs the 
following playful passage: "Nothing will be wanting to make 
3^our Utica as famous as Ithaca in the kingdom of Ulj^sses. 
Homer could easily make out of Wilkinson, Dearborn, &c., 
Agamemnons, Achilles, Ajaxes, Nostors, or what he pleased. 
Who knows but Wilkinson, who has suffered as much perse- 
cution as Cato, and who has advertised Harper and John Ran- 
dolph as cowards, may be reduced to such a state of indignation 
at the disgrace of his country, as to fall upon his sword and 
become as famous or notorious as Cato?" These military heroes 
arrived, as did also Martin Van Buren, the advocate general, 
and other prominent counsel. But it so happened, fortunately 
or otherwise, — whether, as alleged, from the covetous spirit of 
Utica landlords, or, as also alleged, from the lack of due appre- 
ciation by the villagers of the honor intended them, and their 
slighting treatment of these distinguished worthies, — the jjlaceof 
trial was suddenly changed to Troy. Thus Utica was robbed 
of the glory that had been expected, as well as spared the spec- 
tacle of so tragic an event as the self-immolation of a second 
Cato. 

It promptly took its part in the joy that attended the declara- 
tion of peace with Great Britain, the first hint of whose coming 
reached the village on this wise: A stranger dropped, one 
evening, into the book store of Asahel Seward, and remarking 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 387 

that he saw a newspaper was printed there, he left a printed 
slip which he said he had no further need of, but which might 
be of use to the editor, and then took his departure. The 
stranger had business in the neighborhood, the issue of which 
depended on the issues of the war. Desirous to complete it be- 
fore the news got abroad of the making of peace, he had ridden 
postdiaste from Albany, and had reached Utica four hours in 
advance of the mails. The slip he brought with him was an 
extra, announcing the fact that peace had been made. Mr, 
Seward repaired at once to his printing room above, to direct 
that the news be put in type, while his clerk stuck a few can- 
dles in the windows. By the time he re- appeared below an ex- 
cited crowd had gathered about the door, frantic to know the 
particulars. Despite tlie apprehensions of some, that the stage 
on its coming might not confirm the intelligence, the few can- 
dles of the store kindled up others, and soon lit the town in a 
spontaneous blaze. A more formal and thorough illumination 
was made a few days later, when, with scarce an exception, 
every house was lighted, and the streets were made brilliant 
with rockets and fire balls. 

From another advertisement, dated June 8, 1815, we learn 
that the trustees of the Utica Academy had employed Rev.' 
Jesse Townshend as its instructor, and in view of " his long ex- 
perience and well known talents," they commend him to pub- 
lic favor. And this reminds me that it is time I should give 
some notice of the founding of an institution which has obtained 
a reputation and permanence that make its history well worthy 
of reminiscence. In doing so, I am fortunately aided by the 
ample details contained in the genial, sprightly and graceful 
address of J. Watson Williams, delivered on the 31st of January, 
1868, at the opening of the second or modern academy building. 
From this I shall freely draw. In the year 1813, nineteen 
citizens of Utica asked the Regents of the University to incorpo- 
rate an academy to be located in their village. A charter was 
granted on the 28th of March in the next year, in which char- 
ter the following persons were named as trusteees, viz. : Jeremiah 
Van Rensselaer, Arthur Breese, Talcott Camp, David W. Childs, 
Francis A. Bloodgood, Bryan Johnson, A. B. Johnson, Thomas 
Skinner,Thomas Walker, ApoUos Cooper, Solomon Wolcott, An- 



888 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

son Thomas and Ebenezer B. Shearman. They elected Mr. Van: 
Rensselaer their president, Mr. Walker treasurer, and Mr. Shear- 
man secretary. They also started a subscription to raise the means 
witli which to erect a building and create a fund that should yield 
an annual income of one hundred dollars, for these were the pre- 
liminaries on which depended the validity of their charter. 
After a little fruitless experiment in favor of their design, it 
was found necessar}^, as it would seem, to modify tlie terms of 
tlieir subscription in order to give it success ; and a marginal 
after-thought was appended, enlarging the original purpose of a 
mei'C academic building into that of a building for the accomo- 
dation of conrts of justice and public meetings. Though the 
circulation of the subscription ceased after only about one 
thousand six hundred dollars had been subscribed, the trustees 
formally accepted their trust, and, as we have said, requested 
Rev. Jesse Townshend, in June 1815, to take chai'ge of their 
"infant seminary." This Mr. Townshend was now in his fif- 
tieth year, having been born in 1766, at Andover, Conn. In 
1790, he was graduated at Yale College, after which he pre- 
pared himself for the ministry, and took charge of a church 
in his native State. Subsequently he was for thirteen years a 
successful preacher and pastor at Durham in Dutchess county, 
and next for some years a teacher at Madison. Madison county. 
The repute of his school at the latter place had drawn thither 
several boys from Utica and its vicinity, and gained him a 
patronage wdiicli induced him to settle there. At the time 
of his appointment by the trustees, he was teaching a grammar 
school in the village. That he was scholarly in acquirement is 
evinced by his authorship of an abridgement of Milnor's Church 
History, a work by which he was well and favorably known. 
For the present he was to occupy the school-hoi;se " where Mr. 
Williams now is." His compensation, which was seven hun- 
dred and fifty dollars, was to be collected by himself from the 
tuition fees, and any deficiency was to be provided by the 
trustees. Mr. Townshend remained instructor about two years, 
and then became pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Palmyra, 
N. Y. With respect to his personal character, it is said that 
"few men have lived of more uniform and undissembled piety." 
In the meantime, a committee of citizens proposed to the 
trustees, in the year 1816, to aid them in erecting a building, 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 389 

^liicli should subserve the joint purposes of " an academy, 
town-house and court house," and fresh subscriptions were 
started. "At once," says Mr. WilHams, "there sprung up a 
famous con trovers}^ about a site for tlie proposed structure ; 
and Genesee road, Miller road and Whitesboro road had a street 
fight to settle that matter. The Van Eensselaers, the Bleeckers, 
Dudlej^s and Millers, the Coopers, Potters and Bellingers con- 
tested it so hotly, that it became necessary, as expressed in 
the new subscription paper, in order to ' secure harmony in the 
village,' that the subscriptions should be so made, as that every 
subscriber to the amount of five dollars, should have a vote for 
either of two sites designated; one of which was the site 
finally adopted, and the other a lot on Grenesee street, then ad- 
joining the old Van Rensselaer homestead. The final subscrip- 
tion, dated May -i, 1816, is a venerable document, the body of 
it printed, and both printing and signature done on a roll of 
parchment, a yard and a half long, well filled with names and 
subscriptions, from three hundred dollars down to five dollars. 
At the foot are two certificates, engrossed by Colonel Ben- 
jamin Walker, one of them purporting that subscriptions have 
been dul}^ made to the required amount within the prescribed 
time, (only twenty-six daj-s,) and the other, that on polling 
the votes for a site, as provided in the document, six hundred 
and sixty-seven votes were found in favor of the site on Chan- 
cellor square, and four hundred and forty -five in favor of that 
on Genesee street, being a majority of two hundred and twenty- 
two ; so that Genesee road had to retire from the great contest, 
satisfied with its private school and its Seneca turnpike, and 
Whitesboro road, with its York House and the graveyard. 
Chancellor square, with its capacity for possible glories, proved 
triumphant ; for, although, it was an unenclosed, boggy plain, 
with a dirtj^ ditch stagnating through the middle, yet a pre- 
scient eye might perceive that it had not only the present cer- 
tainty of a roomy playground, but that it might, in the course 
of time, when surrounded hj imposing domestic and public 
buildings, be a fine park and breathing place for crowded in- 
habitants, as we see it at the present day." The choice was 
strongly stimulated by an auxiliary subscription, containing the 
.significant signatures of John R. Bleecker, and Charles E. 
Dudley, who offered two village lots valued at five hundred 



390 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

dollars, contingent on the selection of their favorite site. The- 
subscription amounted to five thousand dollars, but though 
strong in amount for that period, it was inadequate to finish the 
building and yield the requisite income of one hundred dollars 
a year. To this sum the village authorities at length voted an 
addition of three hundred dollars more, and this was followed 
in the summer of 1818, while the building was in process of 
erection, by a fresh subscription, on which was raised five 
hundred dollars more, and by a pledge of the Dudley & Miller 
lots to secure the annual income. Whence came the gradual 
accumulation wherewith the building was finally completed at 
an expense of eight thousand dollars, Mr. Williams finds, as- 
he tells us, no data to estimate. His description of the build- 
ing, which, after such serious discouragement and wearisome 
delay, was finally completed in the summer of 1818, and which 
occupied the very site of its beautiful and imposing successor^ 
is as follows : It was an unpretending brick edifice of two sto- 
ries, about fifty by sixty feet with a wide hall ; one large room 
on the north and two smaller on the south, on the first floor ; 
and the whole upper floor was the court room. The external 
appearance of the structure, was not such as would now suit 
the eye very favorably, although it was a well proportioned 
and S3mimetrical building, possessing more of the old breadth of 
style than is agreeable to modern eyes, accustomed to see only 
the beauty of height and narrowness. With suitable external 
embellishments, such as the economy of that day would not- 
tolerate, it would have been a tasteful edifice, if left to stand 
alone, without any towering neighbors to put it out of counten- 
ance. But it was never commodious for its purpose, and was 
ill calculated to serve the double use it was destined to. Con- 
stables were required to stand guard during play hours to stifle 
urchin shouts, while the sacred silence of study hours was inter- 
rupted by the tread and turmoil of throngs of jurymen, wit- 
nesses, attorneys and judges ; to say nothing of the pleasant 
grievance of being routed out of this 'and that recitation room to 
make way for jurymen about to cast lots or toss coppers for 
verdicts." 

And thus, with all its inconvenience and its hindrances, it 
stood for over forty years without change of purpose or planj 
never lacking of a teacher or of pupils, yet harboring from 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 



391 



term to term tlie followers of the Supreme, the National and the 
County Courts, and serving likewise the ends of citizens intent 
on matters of local or of general interest — a nursery for gener- 
ations of youth, a hall of judgment for the wrong doer, and a 
town-hall for a public spirited and intelligent people. But it is 
of the foundation only of the Academy, not of its later career 
as a completed and successful seminary, that I intended now 
to speak of it. Adding merely that is was duly opened in 
August 1818, under the preceptorship of Eev. Samuel T. 
Mills, we leave it. 




THE UTICA ACADEMY. 



It has been mentioned that the Methodists from about the 
year 1809 worshipped at times in the school house on Genesee 
below Elizabeth street. Preaching in this place was for several 
years only occasional, for the little house near the gate on the 
New Hartford road, was also maintained by them as a place of 
assemblage. In 1815, Utica was erected into a station of the 
recently formed Oneida district of the Genesee Conference. 
Eev. Benjamiij. G. Paddock was appointed preacher in charge, 
and a powerful revival was the result of his labors. The 



392 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

society now centred in the village, and was legally incorporated 
under the title of The First Society of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in Utica. Some of the first trustees were Eudolph Sny- 
der, Jacob Snyder, Eobert McBride, J. C. DeLong, Erastus Cross 
and Ara Broadwell. The building on the New Hartford road 
was sold to Levi Thomas, for seventy thousand brick, and with 
these and additional ones a new house was built under the super- 
intendence of Mr. Paddock, who raised the necessary funds. It 
•Stood on the north side of Main street, at its extreme eastern 
end, a little west of Ballou's creek and nearly opposite the 
extremity of Third street, and was a small, plain chapel, without 
spire or cupola. It was dedicated August 16, 1816, by Eev. 
Daniel Hitt, then general book steward at New York, Charles 
Giles being presiding elder. The pastors who were successively 
placed in charge during the years that this chapel was in use 
were as follows : 1816, B. G. Paddock ; 1817, George Gary ; 1818, 
W Barlow: 1819, Elias Bowen: 1820, Elijah King and EHas 
Bowen: 1821, B. G. Paddock ; 1822-3, George Peck; 1824, 
George Harmon. 1825, Paris and Utica were united under the 
charge of Z. Paddock and Ephraim Hall. 

The solemn scenes which this old chapel must from time to 
time have witnessed, the fervid discourses, the earnest prayers 
uttered there, time has swept from the remembrance of the 
living ; while their record is preserved on high, the substance 
of this record is gone from human inspection. As of men 
when they die, the good is apt to perish with them and the 
evil to live afterward, so with societies and commingled en- 
deavors, as they pass down the current of time, the graver and 
weightier elements subside and are lost from view, while the 
scum alone is left floating on the surface. Thus are we consti- 
tuted, we forget the momentous while the trivial is retained. 
Nay, it sometimes happens that on occasions of special serious- 
ness, and when we are awakened to matters of the highest 
interest, the trifling or the ludicrous will force itself upon us 
and take full possession of our thoughts. So it was with one 
of the early preachers of this church, a man of sensitive and 
risible make, and attuned as well to fun as to soberness, in 
accordance as the responsive note was struck. He was lodging 
with one of the officers of the society, and his term of service 
at an end, he was about to pi-each his farewell sermoiL While 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 893 

silently reading it over on Sanda}^ morning in the presence of 
his friend, he suddenly broke into a laugh. The latter, sup- 
prised that such an exercise could be a source of merriment, 
asked him why he laughed. ''You know," said he, " that Mr. 
A. sits directly in front of the pulpit ; he comes to church tired, 
and soon after the sermon begins, he closes his eyes and seems 
to be asleep, except that now and then he breaks out most 
unexpectedly with a very loud ' Amen.' Now as I was review- 
ing my sermon and came toward the conclusion, in which I had 
introduced from St. James, the passage : ' Finally, mj- brethren, 
farewell,' I bethought m3'self of Mr. A., and seemed to hear 
him blurt out his vigorous Amen." The explanation was satis- 
factory. After amusing themselves over it together, the con- 
versation turned, and not long after the two took then* way to 
the chapel. The sermon was delivered with becoming unction, 
and, drawing to an end, was closed with the words, " Finally, my 
brethren, farewell." At once there followed an echoing " Amen." 
The preacher dropped to his seat, covered his face with his 
handstand bowed it behind the desk. The audience were 
touched by this proof of tenderness from their retiring min- 
ister, and some were moved to tears of sympathy. For some 
time they waited in suspense for him to rise and continue the 
service, which as he delayed to do, they were more and more 
overcome. The embarrassment was getting painful, when the 
minister's host, who alone divined the true state of affairs, rose 
and moved toward the door, at the same time beckoning to the 
audience to do the same. The hint was taken, and all sorrow- 
fully retired but the afflicted pastor. He, perchance, would 
have sooner recovered himself but for the incident of the morn- 
ing, the anticipation he had related and its exact fulfillment. 
It was the assurance, as he afterward said, of meeting the eye 
of his host, and thus renewing the cause of his mirth which 
kept him chained to bis seat. 

Again turning away from the general to the special, from 
the community to its individual parts, the next to be recog- 
nized as a denizen of Utica, is Ezekiel Bacon. Already, 
before his history becomes connected with that of Utica, 
Ezekiel Bacon had been some years in public life, and had 
attained high honor and exalted position. He was born Sep- 



394 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

tember 1, 1776, and his earlier memories inclmle the hanging 
in e&.gj of Benedict Arnold, and the return of the soldiers 
from the war of the Eevolution. He was the son of Rev. 
John Bacon, pastor of the South Church of Boston, and sub- 
sequently a resident of Stockbridge in Massachusetts, a repre- 
sentative in the Legislature of his State, and in the Congress 
of the United States, and afterward for several years judge of 
the Berkshire Common Pleas. The son entered Yale College 
at the age of fourteen and was graduated in the class of 1794 ; 
read law in the law school of Judge Reeve of Litchfield, Conn., 
and then with Nathan Dane of Beverly, Mass., and practiced some 
years in Berkshire county. He was a member of the Massa- 
chusetts Legislaiure in 1806-7, represented his county in Con- 
gress from 1807 to 1813, serving on the Committee of Ways and 
Means, and for one year as its chairman. He was then ap- 
pointed Chief Justice of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas 
for the western district of his State, and immediately after 
assuming this office, was made first Comptroller of the Treasury, 
by Mr. Madison. Within two years he was obliged to resign 
by reason of ill health, when he removed to the State of New 
York and settled in LTtica. 

His first interest here was in merchandise, for he became a 
partner in the firm of Alexander Seymour & Co. In 1818 he 
was appointed associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas; 
in the following year he went as a representative to the As- 
sembly; and in 1821 he was one of the honorable men of 
Oneida who had seats in the Second Constitutional Convention ; 
and he took an earnest part in its deliberation. On the ques- 
tion of the final adoption of the proposed instrument he was 
in doubt, and " would have voted against it but for the pro- 
vision it contained for future amendment, which afi:orded the 
people the means of correcting what had been amiss, without 
resorting to the difficult and dangerous experiment of a for- 
mal convention, which no man, he believed, would wish to 
see again take place, so long as the acknowledged evils of 
our present system were at all tolerable." About the year 
1824, he was nominated for Congress in opposition to Henry 
R. Storrs, but was defeated by a majority of less than one 
hundred votes in a poll of several thousand. In October of 
the following year he was selected by his fellow citizens to 



THE SECOND CHARTER, 395 

do honor to Governor De Witt Clinton, and in a forcible and 
eloquent manner he tendered him their congratulations on the 
completing of the Erie canal. As chief of a packet boat com- 
pany, he already had in this canal an interest more personal and 
profound than that which was shared by other liberal and enter- 
prising men of his party. From that time onward he lived a 
retired life, and during a large portion of it, suffered from pro- 
tracted ill-health and manifold bodily infirmities. So that, 
though he lived down to extreme old age, surviving the asso- 
ciates not merely of juvenility, but of middle age also, this life 
was much of the time a blank as respects the community, and 
at its best, came short of the measure of his previous usefulness. 
Through long years of mental wretchedness he was either una- 
ble or indisposed to go abroad, saw nothing of general society, 
and was weighed down by the deepest depression. Or, if he ven- 
tured out, he moved shyly through the streets with feeble step, 
solemn visage and averted eyes, avoiding recognition and start- 
ing with alarm when addressed by an acquaintance desirous of 
tendering him the sympathy and respect which was felt by every 
one. Though much of the time he was thus recluse and de- 
spondent, there were lightnings amid his darkness, and long 
intervals when he was not wholly enchained in gloom, nor too 
ill for useful endeavor. At such times he wrote largely for the 
public press, and wrote with force and pungency. For a period 
he was the main editorial writer, and for a longer one, a regular 
contributor, of the Oneida Whig, and the Utica Daily Gazette. 
As an earnest political advocate, shrewd and penetrating in his 
discernment, well furnished with varied and accurate informa- 
tion, elevated in sentiment, refined in taste, and vivacious in 
style, his contributions never failed of zest and instruction. 
His aspirations were noble, his patriotism glowing, and his char- 
ity toward his race such as made itself seen and felt. His tem- 
perament was poetic ; he was familiar with the standard litera- 
ture of poetry, and indulged himself considerably in the com- 
posing of it ; though his compositions were mostly tinged with 
melancholy, — ^Egri Somnia, the dreams of a sick man, as he 
entitled them. As a debater. Judge Bacon is described as not 
ready or fluent, speaking extemporaneously with embarrass- 
ment ; but when he prepared himself for public discussion, he 
brought to the subject ample knowledge, sound logic, and clear,. 



396 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

intelligible statement. Of the position he occupied when in 
public life, and the influence he exerted when in the vigor of 
health, we obtain some idea when we learn that with Mr. Madi- 
son he was on terms of great confidence and intimacy, and not 
with him alone, but also with Mr. Gallatin, Mr. Crawford, Mr. 
Monroe, John Quincey Adams, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, 
William Lowmdes, Elbridge Gerry, etc., and, in our own State, 
wnth Chancellor Kent, Ambrose Spencer, and De Witt Clinton, 
With Judge Story his intercourse was, from an early period, 
■one of unbroken friendship and warm mutual regard, and the 
appointment of tlie latter to the position he so highly adorned 
is due to the personal effort and solicitation of Judge Bacon. 
During this most active portion of his career he was a democrat; 
after coming to this State he ranged himself with the whigs, but 
when the free-soil movement arose in 1848, his sympathies with 
the oppressed among his fellow creatures led him to take sides 
with that party. " In early and middle life his religious opinions 
were a good deal unsettled, though it was a subject on wdiich he 
thought and reasoned much. His long course of ill-health threw 
him much upon himself, and he struggled for many a painful year 
with doubts and fears. It was not until his ninetieth year that 
these struggles ceased, when, with the simplicity and loving 
attitude of a little child, he received the doctrine of the cross, 
■comprehended the import of the atonement, and was at peace."' 
At the time of his death he was the oldest living graduate of 
Yale College, the oldest surviving member of Congress, and the 
last representative of the administration of Mr. Madison. This 
event occurred October 18, 1870. His wife was Abby, daugh- 
ter of Dr. Reuben Smith of Litchfield, Conn., and sister of the 
M'ife of Thomas Skinner. To her he was married in 1799, and 
for sixty three years she was his loving and devoted wife. 
Not to him alone, to her family, her friends, her neighbors and 
the church she was faithful and exemplary. And having use- 
fully served two generations at least, she fell asleep in her eighty- 
sixth year. During their later married life they lived on Broad 
street, in the house next west of the one occupied by General 
James McQuade, which latter house Judge Bacon erected for 
Mr. Skinner. Their children were: John H., wdio died several 
years since; William J., our present valued townsman, who, 
like his grandfather and his father, has been in turn member of 



i 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 397 

the Legislature, member of Congress, and judge of a high court 
of judicature ; Francis, merchant of New York ; Elizabeth (Mrs. 
Henry Colt) ; and Fanny (Mrs. Pomeroy) now deceased. 

An English gentleman, named William Green, who, in early 
life, was connected with the navy of his country, remained here 
on the evacuation of New York, married, and after a few trad- 
ing voyages to India and elsewhere, and some further trial as a 
merchant, settled, in the spring of 1810, upon a large tract of 
land at Oriskany, which had become the property of his wife, 
Temperance Heatley. Of liis family of nine children, all well 
educated and trained to the judicious employment of wealth, as 
w^ell as to its rational enjoyment, five, at least, have at times 
been residents of Utica. Henry, the sixth of his family, was 
born in New York about 1793, and graduated at Columbia 
College. Coming with the family to Oneida county, he studied 
law with Judge Piatt, and set up an office in Utica As early 
as 1815 he was clerk of the vestry of Trinity Church. Not long 
afterward the Utica Insurance Company, closed by its origin- 
ators, was resumed by some of the directors, and Mr. Green was 
made secretary and attorney of the corporation. Pursuits so 
alien to the law as those of banking and insurance, drew him 
aside, and in a measure disqualified him for practice in a pro- 
fession in which he had been ably fitted. And thus it happened 
that after the concerns of the company had been closed, he found 
employment in the care of property in trust, and still later be- 
came the financial manager of a large estate. Herein he was 
regarded as a man of intelligent and accurate habits, neat and 
precise, and irreproachably honest. Somewhat of a recluse, he 
took little part in public affairs, but retained throughout life 
the scholarly tastes of his youth, amusing the leisure of middle 
and advanced life with studies that had once been his tasks. 
He delighted especially in the ^neid of Virgil, and has left, in 
manuscript, a pleasing translation of his favorite. Besides the 
classical authors, he read much in the best of French and Eng- 
lish books, and was conversant with periodical criticism. In 
other respects, too, he was refined and cultivated, had a more 
than common susceptibility to music, and was in early life an ad- 
mired vocalist. He died on the 9th of March, 1869, in his sev- 
enty-seventh year. Hisfirst wife was Miss Mary Clark, adopted 



398 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

daughter of Major Satterlee Clark. By her he had a numerous 
family, of whom two daughters are still living in IJtica. George 
is living in Auburn and William in Brewerton. His second 
wife was Miss Bogart. 

Dr. Thomas Goodsell had Ijeen alread}^ some 3'ears in the 
county, and when he fixed his residence at Utica he was not 
altogether a stranger. He was born in Washington, Litchfield 
county, Conn., in June 1775, engaged in the study of medicine 
with Dr. Sheldon of Litchfield, and settled in Woodbridge, 
Xew Haven county. After some 3'ears of practice, he repaired 
to Philadelphia, attended a course of lectures at the University 
of Pensylvania, and received there his licentiate in 1809. On 
his return he passed a brief period in New Haven, and in 1810 
removed to Whitesboro where he engaged m practice with Dr. 
Seth Capron. It was not long before he became satisfied that 
Utica would give him a better field, and he moved thither, mak- 
ing it his home so long as he lived. He soon acquired an exten- 
sive business. Affable and courteous, guided by high and hon- 
orable motives, with fair intellectual endowments, and a degree 
of medical education which was not usually attained by his breth- 
ren of the time, he was not long in acquiring the confidence of 
many of the best families of the place. He was a genial and 
witty companion, full of anecdote and storj^, and had a suavity 
of manner which gave him a ready access to the heart, and 
secured him a welcome reception ; while his honorable deport- 
ment, and his free and often gratuitous exercise of the benevo- 
lent gifts of his profession, gained him uni\'ersal respect. But 
his temperament was indolent, and his habits easy going and 
unsA'stematic. He lacked that undivided application to the de- 
mands of a jealous calling so essential to reach and maintain 
the widest success ; this caused him to relax his energies, and 
prevented him from rising to the full measure of his early 
promise. Haj)py in his domestic relations, possessed of an 
equable and quiet temper, and moderate in his ambition, he 
was content with the prosecution of such business as came in 
his way, looked pnmoved upon the struggle about him, and, 
as years wore on, glided by degrees from the active employ- 
ments of his profession. For one year (1827) he was professor 
of Materia Medica in the Medical College of Pittsfield, and was 
at a later })eriod a fellow of that of Albany. He received the 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 399 

honorary degree of doctor of medicine from the medical depart 
ment of Yale College, and was a permanent member of the 
State Medical Society. For some years he was much interested 
in agricultural pursuits, was secretary of the earlier society of 
the county devised to foster such pursuits, and had himself 
a farm in Clinton. It is said that Dr. Goodsell was the first to 
introduce merino sheep west of the Hudson river. By his 
brethren he will be remembered for his uniformly kind and 
gentlemanly bearing, and for his just appreciation of the dig- 
nity and usefulness of their vocation, bj^ all for his pure and 
upright life, and his intelligent interest in matters that con- 
cerned the general welfare. He lived until his eighty-ninth 
year, and died January 11, 1864. His wife was a Miss Living- 
ston, niece of Mrs. Jonas Piatt. She survived him but a few 
weeks. He had three sons and two daughters, of whom the 
latter and one only of the former are still living. J. Piatt 
ranked high in his department, and was once Engineer of the' 
State. 

A physician, wh'o, coming in 1815, was for a short time a 
partner of Dr. Alexander Coventry, was his nephew, William 
M. Coventry. He soon removed to the south-western part of 

the State. * 

The local papers contained in September 1815, a fresh an- 
nouncement, which emanated from one William Clarke, and 
which was to the intent that in pursuance with the advice of 
his friends he had determined to open a lottery and exchange 
office at No. 2-4 Grenesee street. William Clarke was born 
in Danvers, Mass., in June 1776, and before the war was 
a carriage maker in Pittsfield. He was a lieutenant in the 
army of 1812, and was wounded and taken prisoner at 
the battle of Queenston, subsequently taking rank as cap- 
tain. At the time he came to Utica, lotteries enjoyed a fair 
reputation, and were extensively employed throughout the 
countiy, for many important and beneficial purposes. Colleges 
were founded, roads made, bridges built, ferries improved and 
hospitals erected by their aid. The lottery business which he 
established, in connection with Yates & Mclntyre of Albany, 
he continued to prosecute so long as it was a business that was 
countenanced by the State. At first below Broad street, he 



400 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

moved before many years to the site of the Second National 
Bank. He was a man of much stir and enterprise, and kept 
the communit}^ fwlly acquainted with him and his dealings. 
He furnished the papers with co})ious, hope-inspiring announce- 
ments of prospective drawings b}^ lottery wherein he was the 
agent, and garnished his front windows with still more alluring 
temptations to those who would wait the turn of Fortune's 
wheel ; for here sat the goddess herself, giving motion to her 
golden circle, and pouring thence a stream of newly-minted 
coin, while bestrewed around were cornucopias bursting with 
the like precious store. His was the only lucky ofhce, the 
place where wealth flowed abundantly foi- every seeker. Its 
back part was fitted up as a reading room. But this not prov- 
ing remunerative, it was closed to such a purpose ; and in the 
course of time, when the State rejected the use of lotteries for 
itself, and forbade them altogether to others, his whole building 
was converted into a hotel that he leased for a Temperance 
house. 

Captain Clarke was possessed, as we have said, of much 
enterprise, and was never idle. Being also kind and generous 
in spirit, earnest, forward and useful in public undertakings, as 
well as intelligent, independent and honorable, he had a lead- 
ing place among the men of his time, and received from them 
repeated testimonials of their confidence. He was president of 
the village, and as such gave the address of welcome to La Fay- 
ette on his visit to Utica, in 1825. He was one of the State's 
directors in the Bank of Utica; and by State authority was 
appointed, in 1837, one of the commissioners who ^^lanned the 
building of the Asylum for the insane. The planning, it is 
true, was done on a scale of princely grandeur, that far out- 
ran the public requirements of the time, or even the compass 
of feasible use, for it contemplated four buildings similar to the 
front one, each five hundi-ed and fifty feet in length, connected 
by verandahs of glass, and forming a hollow square, or rather 
octagon, that enclosed some sixteen acres of ground ; and 
which, once filled, would have made a township of lunatics that 
no single })hysician could well have superintended. And yet 
by a laborious comparison of similar buildings in various parts 
of the country, he was able to introduce into his designs what, for 
those days, were valuable improvements in ventilation and struc- 





z 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 401 

ture. And, unaccountable as it may now seem, the leading 
managers of asylums for the insane at that time, cordially ap- 
proved his whole plan. But though he realized fully the 
magnitude of his undertaking, and knew that he carried the 
State at his back, yet his plans were too extensive for practical 
purposes. Much to his grief, the Legislature withheld its sup- 
plies, and so put a stop to proceedings, after seventy-five thou- 
sand dollars had been expended on the foundations. Captain 
Clarke likewise superintended, in behalf of the owners, the erec- 
tion of the Bleecker House, afterwards a part of Bagg's Hotel. 
And for himself he erected the brick buildings Nos. 42 and 44 
Genesee street, which he designed and for some time kept as a 
hotel. Beside the energy to do, he had also the ability to 
command. Yet he manifested, at times, a little of the fondness 
for ruling which military elevation is apt to engender ; at least, 
so thought village firemen, unused to the discipline of war, who 
could not brook the somewhat pompous bearing of their presi- 
dent, and excuse his stern dictation for the sake of his under- 
lying kindness, and his acknowledged zeal in the public good. 
Nor with all his energy and his execution, did his projects 
result, in general, to his own advantage ; though he planned 
much, and built much, he never grew rich, and was better 
toward the town than he was toward himself. As with the- 
town and with the State, so with the Church — he was always, 
responsive to its claims, and as unselfish and vigilant a trustee 
as he was while head of the village, or purveyor to a noble- 
State charity. During the memorable visit of the Rev. Charles 
G. Finney to Utica, in 1826, Captain Clarke made a profession 
of his faith in Christ, and carried into the church the same 
useful qualities that distinguished him in concerns of secular 
interest. Although of New England origin, for the sake of 
greater usefulness in a new organization, he united with others 
in the formation of the Reformed Dutch Church, and soon after 
was elected a member of its consistory. Not without cause 
did his townsmen value him, and take just pride in his open,, 
benevolent and impressive face, his stout manly frame, and the 
venerable gray hair that covered so much of capacity and dis- 
position to do for them. He died August 3, 1841. 

His wife was Beulah Allen, daughter of Rev. Solomon Allen 
of Pittsfield, Mass., who, as an officer signalized himself during 
B-1 



402 'J'HE FJONEEKS OF UTICA. 

the war of the Revohition, as a bold defender of the rights of 
the people, and afterwards was as bold and brave a preacher. 
She was a woman of remarkable l)eanty of ])erson and character. 
To a gentleness of temper tliat responded well with the winning 
sweetness of her face, she added an aptness in the practice of 
man}^ domestic virtues, and a pure and controlling piety. Her 
death took place February 10, 1827. 

The\^ had two daughters and two sons, — Mary Fairbanks, wife 
of Dana J. Upson, of Philadelphia, and afterwards of James 
Dean, of Utica ; Elizabeth Allen, wife of Rev. A. D. Edd}^, D. D., 
of Lansingburgh ; William and Thomas A. ; of whom the last, 
now of New Orleans, alone survives. Captain Clarke, married 
in second nuptials, Mrs. Sarah K. Gridley, widow of Amos 
Gridley. She had been for several years the esteemed head 
of a youthful school. 

Together with the above, there came to reside in Utica, Mrs. 
Sarah K Clarke, the widow of his brother, Hobart Clarke, a lady 
who was distinguished for her clear, calm sense and vigorous 
understanding, her warm heart and enlightened conscience, and 
a Christian devotion that is rarely equalled. She kept a pop- 
ular day school for children, but is more widely remembered 
as the female superintendent of the early Sunday school of 
Utica. In this she labored while she lived with unflagging 
faithfulness, and was mourned when she died by all her associ- 
ates and scholars. Though this event occurred so long ago as 
1827, her memory is still green with all who retain a recollec- 
tion of the early period of this now noted school. She left a 
son and dauglitei', Hovey K., and Hannah, who both reside in 
Detroit. 

A merchant who was a marked one among his fellows, was 
Ephraim Hart, — shrewd, self-reliant and diligent, original, out- 
spoken and witty, capital in the management of his own afl'airs 
and much trusted in those of others. He was one of a family 
of several sons, all moi-e or less distinguished for their ability 
and by the positions of prominence they attained. They came 
with their father, Thomas Hart, to Clinton in Oneida county, 
from Farmington, Conn., where E])hraim was born, December 
27, 1774. Succeeding his father in business in 1801, he carried 
it on for some years in Clinton. His success, and the wise 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 403 

conduct of affairs be evinc.ed, were generally recognized, and 
he was already a director of tlie Bank of Utica, and of the 
Mount Vernon Glass Company, and a trustee of Hamilton Col- 
lege, when he moved to Utica in 1815. He took the store just 
vacated by Abraham Van Santvoort, and at the outset dealt 
largely, though not exclusively, in hollow ware. Later he was 
at No. 58 Genesee street, and in partnership with Seth Gridley. 
They sold out in 1824 or '25, to Haynes Lord and Truman Eob- 
erts. In after years he was engaged in ii'on manufacture at the 
lower end of Cornelia street, in association with A. S. Pond, and 
then with his son, Henry Remsen Hart. He gained a handsome 
property, and toward the end of his life lived in the house on 
the corner of Fayette and Cornelia streets, now occupied by Dr. 
William Russell. This house, when he built it, in 1829, was 
deemed as fine a mansion as any in the place. 

The personal influence and the superior business qualifications 
of Mr. Hart were not suffered to go unimproved by the com- 
munity among which he lived, and in 1815 he was elected State 
Senator from the Western District. This office he continued 
to fill during the five last sessions held under the first State 
Constitution, 1816-1822, and during a part of this time he was 
also a member of the Council of Appointment. An ai'dent friend 
of De Witt Clinton, he gave a determined support to the Erie 
canal. Against the Federalists his prejudices were deep and 
bitter. Though not especially skilled in debate, and without 
training as a speaker, his opinion carried weight, but "as a 
party man, he was wanting in tact, caution and system."* 
In his comments on men and measures, he was, as has been 
said, free, pointed and unsparing. His pithy strictures have 
now, for the most part, fallen into oblivion, but not so the 
impress on his acquaintances of this vigorous and intrepid 
man. The passion for music, which had solaced his youth, 
he continued to exercise in his family, and the bass viol that he 
played on in the choir at Clinton, accompanied the voices of his 
daughters when they were grown to maturity. If, as hinted by 
the historian of Clinton, he was then but "half regenerate," we 
can hardly with safety affirm that, in a scriptural sense, he was 
ever much further advanced, though it is undeniably true that 
he was correct in his habits and straightforward in his dealings. 
*Hammoud's Political History. 



4U4 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Mr. Hart died at St. Augustine, Florida, where lie had gone for 
the sake of his health. February 14, 1839. His first wife, and the 
mother of several of his children, was Miss Wealthy Kellogg^ 
whom he married in 1800, and who died July 19, 1819. Twoyears 
later he was united to Miss Martha Seymour of Hartford, Conn.^ 
who survived him more than thirty 3''ears, and died February 
16, 1871. Possessed of uncommon energy and intelligence, she 
managed successfully her large family, consisting of her own 
and her husband's earlier children, and maintained in society a 
position of respect and consideration. These children w^ere 
eleven in num])er, of whom Miss Louise Hart is the only one 
now living in Utica. Two of the sons who wei'e recent residents 
of the place were Henr}^ Eemsen, who died at Whitesboro, 
December 18, 1868, and James S., who died at New Mexico, 
March 9, 1865. George lives in New Jersey. 

Another merchant, likewise born in Connecticut and begin- 
ning his business career in this county, but outside of Utica,. 
was John Hervey Handy. A clerk in New Hartford, and then 
in trade there, he was, in November 1815, selling cotton goods 
at No. 87 Genesee street, and had a house on Catherine street. 
He bought of Moses Eggleston, the cooper, the property nearly 
opposite the entrance of Liberty street, and put himself up a 
store, and after a time a hotel beside it. The store is now the 
crockery store of Hopson & Shepard ; the hotel occupied the site 
of the store of Charles Millar & Son and the adjoining one. This 
was then a good way removed from most of the other merchants 
of the place, but Mr. Haiidj- lived to see them jostling him on 
either side, and crowding past to reach the neighborhood of the 
newly opened canal. His hotel, known for the most part as the 
National, has been occupied by successive tenants down to a 
comparatively recent date. Mr. Handy was a director in the 
Manhattan Bank, a successful merchant and a social and jocu- 
lar man. When he died, July 12, 1823, he was in his thirty- 
eighth year. His widow, Abigail P., who reached her eighty- 
seventh year, died February 18, 1863. Two sons departed 
when recently out of college. One daughter, Jane, widow of 
J. Sidney Henshaw, still survives. 

The leading merchants (jf New llai'tt'oi'd at this time,- — -as for 
some years previous, — were Messrs. Willx)!' & Stanton, and 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 405 

their trade was as extensive as that of any of their rivals on the 
Mohawk. On the loth of July, 1815, they announce that in 
addition to their store in that place, they had opened one in 
Utica. But finding competition strong in their new situation, 
and business declining in their own abode, they soon made a 
push for a more untrammelled market. Being courageous men 
and dextrous as managers, they found in the city of New York 
a more congenial place, where Mr. Stanton, at least, amassed a 
large fortune. 

Another short-lived firm was that of Ellery & Yernon, for the 
former made but a transient stay in the place. Edward Yernon 
had afterwards Timothy C. Dwight as a partner, and was suc- 
cessively a trader in dry goods at ISTo. 66 ( " don't forget the 
number,") and a dealer in books nearly opposite. Here, also, 
he kept a depositor}^ for the publications of the American Tract 
Societ}' and the Sunday School Union. Of unusually good 
family connections, amiable in disposition, irreproachable and 
strongly religious in character, he was yet not remarkable as a 
man of business ; he was chiefl}^ conspicuous as an elder in the 
Presbyterian Church. The three stores between the Carton 
block and the Grannis Bank were put up by him. About 
1845-50, he moved to New York, and is now deceased. So 
also is his wife, who was Anna Clark of Windham, niece of 
Erastus Clark. His sons were Edward and Harwood ; his 
daughters Anna and Mary. Harwood is the only survivor. 

Eobert Shearman, brother of Ebenezer B. and William P., 
and some seven years the junior of the former, now migrated 
from Rhode Island, and joined the latter brother in business. 
They were long together at No. 64 Genesee, and kept up a 
union in trade after William P. had settled in Rochester. Fee- 
ble in health during the latter years of his life, Robert lived 
rather retii-ed, withdrew from business before his death, and 
made his home in Westmoreland. He died at the age of forty- 
eight, on the 6th of September, 1838, with the repute of a kind- 
hearted, amiable person. The wives he successively had were 
both related to early citizens of Utica, the one being Ann 
Maria, daughter of Watts Shearman, and the other a sister of 
Seymour Tracy. 



4:06 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

The Harry Camp, who, as has been stated above, was deputed 
to redeem the village cm'reiicy, had come with his father, Tal- 
cott Camp, from Connnecticut to Old Fort Schuyler in 1797, 
when he was just turned of ten years of age. He had been 
trained b}- the earliest schoolmaster of the place, had served 
some years as clerk for Daniel Thomas, and some time longer 
for Abraham Van Santvoort, and was then received into part- 
nership by the latter. Mr. V. S., it will be recollected, was 
both forwarder and merchant, and during the war held also the 
office of sub-contractor of supplies for the counties of Oneida 
and Madison. While in his service, besides his ordinary duties 
of superintending the transportation of goods between Schenec- 
tady and the West, Mr. Camp was often deputed to go out and 
meet companies of soldiers destined to or from the seat of hos- 
tilities, and provide them with the necessaries of subsistence. 
He once made a journey on horseback to Buffalo in order to 
carry $2,200, with which to cancel orders for goods supplied to 
the troops. Not long after the close of the war, occurred the 
failure of the important transporting firm which was represented 
in Utica by Mr. Van Santvoort as its head, when this gentle- 
man moved away from the village, and it fell to Mr, Camp to 
close up its concerns. The latter then joined his brothers John 
and Charles in general trade, and formed an important factor 
in the good name of the honorable house of John Camp & Bros. 
After its dissolution, in 1834, Harry remained at the old stand 
and transacted a moderate business for some years longer. But, 
in time, advancing age chilled his early enterprise ; he could 
not keep pace with the requirements and the tastes of newer 
generations of customers ; and the push of younger rivals forced 
him from the field. For a while before his death he lived re- 
tired and free of all pursuits. Yet though retired, and even 
personally unknown to some later citizens, he was respected by 
all for his exemplary and useful career, venerated for his age, 
and still more as a link between the present and the past, for 
during many years he was the last male survivor of Old Fort 
Schuyler. Modest and unassuming, kind and obliging, judi- 
cious in his opinions and discreet in the utterance of them, ex- 
act in all his dealings and scrupulously faithful in the discharge 
of his obligations, pure in his morals, an upright man and a 
tender relative, — such was the verdict which a residence of 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 407 

nearly eighty years had procured him among hi,s fellows. He 
died October, 1875, in his eighty-ninth year. He was never 
married, and with much of the shyness, had none of the crusti- 
ness of an old bachelor. 

The first hint I have of William Geere, tanner and leather 
dealei', is contained in an advertisement of May 1808, at which 
time he was living in Paris. In 1815 he entered into partner- 
ship in the shoe and leather trade with E. S. Barnum. The 
same year he was made a village trustee. With Mr. Barnum 
he was not more than a year in company, but as a dealer in 
leather, his name is met with as late as 1833, though he finally 
removed from the phice. A daughter and a son-in-law — Reu- 
ben Irons — still represent him. Major Geere was large and 
impressive in appearance and in manner, intelligent and re- 
spected both at Utica and at Paris. 

Collings Locke came hither from Schuyler in the fall of 1815, 
and opened a store for the sale of leather on Whitesboro street, 
next door to Mr. Geere, the same which had just been vacated 
by Hinman & Mesick. In 1817 he joined David P. Hoj't at 
No. 64 Genesee, and when they dissolved, two years later, Mr. 
Locke was left in the store. He moved to Middle Settlement, 
thence to Sherburne, where he died. Two of his grandchildren 
are still resident. 

Yet another tradesman in the same line was Zenas Wright, 
who is set down in the directory of 1817 as a farmer, though in 
1818 he formed a connection, for the purpose of selling leather, 
with William Alverson. After its close he was a tanner and 
leather dealer some years longer. But about 1845 he was 
elected justice of the peace and continued to perform the duties 
of this office for the remainder of his life, which life was ter- 
minated May 9, 1856, at the age of seventy-four. He was un- 
obtrusive, quiet and correct. His son E. Z. Wright, and his 
daughter, Mrs. George S. Dana, are resident. 

Truman Smith, clerk for Mr. Van Santvoort in 1811, was 
four years later partner of Nathaniel Butler. By 1817-18, he 
had gone to New York to be in company with Roswell Keeler. 
He was afterwards mayor of Jersey City. 



408 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Elisha Lovett, grocer, on the cornei- of Water street, illustrated 
in his death a characteristic of the past which seems strange 
enough at present, for death itself did not absolve the body of 
this debtor from his indebtedness, and so his corpse could not 
be carried out for burial until the claim of the creditor was sat- 
isfied ; such was then the cruelty of the law of New York. It 
was Dr. Hull who advanced the money and comforted the 
afflicted widow. Another grocer of the time was Alexander 
Quin. 

A fourth Merrell, son of the Bildad Merrell before mentioned 
as moving into the county in 1798, came in 1812 to the village 
of Utica, to learn the trade of bookbinding. This was Andrew. 
Three years latter he is ready to practice it over the bookstore of 
Camp, Merrell & Camp. Taking their place in 1817, he himself 
begins to sell books in company with Charles Hastings, and also 
opens a circulating library. The firm published likewise, and 
among other works, the following : McDowell's Bif)le Questions 
(1820), the third edition of Thomas Hastings' Musica Sacra, and 
the religious paper entitled the Western Recorder. Mr, Merrell 
had excellent business and personal qualities, and was deemed 
by every one so good a man, as to merit and receive at his death, 
Avhat was once so rare in the newspaper issues of Utica, an 
ample obituary notice. This event occurred January 26, 1826. 
From the notice, we extract the following : " Few men, in 
the ordinary walks of life, have been more distinguished for 
piet}^ His zeal, which was according to knowledge, never 
tired ; he was instant in season and out of season, doing the 
work of his Master. The friendly admonitions and Christian 
counsels which dropped from his lips will not soon be forgotten. 
He was amiable in disposition, fj^ank and kind in his manners — 
a, peacemaker — probabl}" without an enemy." As an elder in 
the church to which he belonged, he was a pattern of faithful- 
ness. Like his brother Ira, he married a daughter of Talcott 
Camp, Harriet. She is still living and makes her home in 
Sacketts Harbor. Their children were Henry, who managed a 
cotton factory in Georgia, before the late war, and is now in 
Arkansas ; Samuel, a Presbyterian minister ; and two daughters, 
DOW deceased, Lucretia (Mrs. George Camp), and Harriet, 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 409 

Among those of the mercantile and banking class now serv- 
ing in subordinate posts, were Eurotas P. Hastings, Hun C. 
Beach, William B. Welles, Nathan D. Smith, John B. Marchisi, 
Harmon Pease. The two last named are still living in Utica, or 
its vicinity, and were I to enlarge u})on their career, the proper 
place for snch discourse would be after they became indepen- 
dent in their business affairs. Of the two former, whose resi- 
dence in Utica was transient, and who were known here only 
as clerks, a few incidents may be noted. Eurotas P. Hastings 
came with Ephraim Hart, and into his service, from Clinton. 
Remaining but a short time, he then accompanied Pev. Henrv 
Dwight, when the latter withdrew from his spiritual charge to 
assume the management of the Bank of Greneva. From this 
bank, where Mr. Hastings was cashier, he went into that of 
Michigan, at Detroit, and was afterwards its president until it was 
closed. He was also auditor general of the State of Michigan, 
and a conspicuous and useful man. He died June 1st, 1866. 
Hun C. Beach, at first a clerk of James Van Rensselaer, was 
next, for a short time, teller of the Ontario Branch Bank. 
Thence he moved to New York, and became a merchant. 
Subsequently an auctioneer and an insurance agent, he was 
never very successful, though amiable and accomplished. He 
died about 1870. The place, in our chronological order, for an 
ample notice of William B. Welles, would naturally be deferred 
many years longer. For it was not until 1835, that he entered 
upon his long and honorable career as cashier of the Bank of 
Utica. But as he had already been some years a denizen of the 
place, it is befitting to record liim here among the pioneers of 
Utica. Joining Asahel Seward as clerk about 1811, he remained 
with him three years, and then served Jesse Doolitt]e nearly a year 
in the same capacity. In 1814 he became teller in the Bank of 
Utica, at which time he was regarded as the best judge of monej- 
of any in the village. In 1 824 he succeeded Orson Seymour as 
cashier of the branch of this bank at Canandaigua, and in 1835 
was called back to take the place of Montgomery Hunt, as 
cashier of the parent institution. For some years Mr. Welles 
has been living in Brooklyn. 

Nathan D. Smith was baptized and received into the com- 
munion of Trinity Church, April 23, 1815 ; he was received 
into the fellowship of the Utica Lodge of Masons in June 



410 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

1816; and, in the directory of 1817, he is set down as an 
instructor of the Qtica Sunday School. I have seen also 
one of his receipts for the government tax on a silver watch^ 
dated November 27, 1815, and signed l)y him as deput}^ collec- 
tor for the sixteenth collection district of New York. And 
this is the most I have been able to glean of his history from 
local sources. But from a correspondent, a native of Utica 
who has lived many years in the South, and who met Mr. Smitli 
in after years, we have received the following interesting par- 
ticulars of his subsequent experience. He writes from a sense 
of duty, and from a desire to rescue from oblivion the memory 
of a man who, while in Utica, wasjprobably misunderstood and 
may now be forgotten. " When I first went to Arkansas^ 
almost the first prominent person who called on me to encour- 
age me in my enterprise, was a Dr. Nathan Smith, a ridic- 
nlously small man, but fat. We shortly discovered that he 
had once lived in Utica. He was aged and decrepid, and died 
ere long. But so long as he lived he was my fast friend, and 
that at a time and in a region where friends had to stand by 
each other. He was literally the oldest resident of Southwest 
Arkansas, having gone there fifty j'ears ago, when what is now 
Texas was the territory of Mexico. Settling down within a 
day's ride of the frontier, and close up to the Indians, he 
remained, a sterling good man in the midst of a wild popula- 
tion, and a man of influence ; riding every trail and bridle-path, 
with his saddle bags and suigical implements, respected and 
unmolested, and growing rich in lands and cattle, while those 
around him were wasting their lives in raiding u])on the Mexi- 
cans, counterfeiting their silver dollars, and doing mischief 
generally. There he stayed, however, doing good in his way,, 
when Colonel Austin rallied around him almost the entire pop- 
ulation to follow his fortunes and aid him in taking possession 
and holding his Spanish grants ; all of which ended in Texan 
independence, but nearly depopulated Southwest Arkansas. 
This stout-hearted man was in stature scarcely more than four 
feet, six inches. Yet he enforced respect for his person by his 
gentlemanly deportment, qualified by a fierce temper, ready to 
blaze up at the slightest liberty or suspicion of insult. Al- 
though the first bowie knife ever made was forged at the black- 
smith shop that was nearest to him, he never was intimidated 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 411 

b}' a bullv. He was especially a terror to all patients wlio 
dared to neglect or change bis prescriptions, and in tbis being- 
no respecter of persons, some queer incidents arose in bis prac- 
tice. I was told tbat once an armed bully and a stronger man 
tban be, but wlio did not know bim, insulted bim in the public 
square, expecting to escape the consequences by ait'ecting con 
tempt at tb£ doctor s diminutive stature, "Nevermind that" said 
the doctor, " I am heavy enough. When I'm angry, sir, I 
weigh a thousand pounds." Of course the " Eounders'" never 
suffered their little medicine man to be run over by ruffians. 
A visit to his home amused and biterested me in the highest 
degree. He had never rebuilt, but bad added on to bis home- 
stead as be increased in family and in worldly goods. A tum- 
ble-down castle it was, and yet there were evidences of good 
taste, and no sparing of pains or expense to have the best pos- 
sible floors, and doors and furniture. The fun was in bis mani- 
fest passion for size and grandeur in everything. His riding 
horse was the very largest to be had, and to see bim mount 
and ride never failed to remind me of the pony and the monkey 
in the circus. His rifle, which he told me he made himself, 
was a foot longer tban others. His wife was evidently selected 
for her tallness. The bedstead, tbat was most elaborate, was 
wider and longer than any other bedstead, and be could not 
possibly have got into it without climbing. So with the 
bureau, very fine, but so tall tbat his head scarcely reached 
the top drawer. Chairs, tables, all were on a scale fit for a race 
of giants. He was an accurate scholar, especially in certain 
departments of science ; had made known to the scientific world 
facts not known before, and bad drawn visits of scientific men 
sent to verify them. And be was the sole correspondent of 
bis region with the Smithsonian Institute. 

'• This Dr. Nathan Smith told me that he came to Utica on 
foot from Poughkeepsie, being then very young and needing 
employment. Judge Nathan Williaitis took him into bis office 
and set bim assessing the " War Tax," for the war was then 
progressing, and money was raised by direct taxation. The 
war over, be was teller in the Manhattan Bank, until one day 
his cash was short one hundred dollars. It was an accident of 
course, but high words ensued, which knowing his tempera- 
ment, I can quite understand. I think he said Mr. Bryan 



412 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Johnson was particularly hard on him. So he went away in a 
rage, and turned up at the outmost verge of civilization, as far as 
he could go without losing his scalp. There he lived to a very 
old age an exemplary Christian, under circumstances to carry 
away by temptation any but a man of the most determined 
principles. So that if he left Utica as a defaulter, it is due to 
his memory that his subsequent career should be told to his 
credit." 

To the details of our correspondent an incident may be 
added from the fading memor}' of an aged citizen. She remem- 
bers something about a very little man of the same name desir- 
ing to take orders in the Episcopal Church, but that though 
otherwise unexceptionable, the bishop, when he came to set 
eyes upon him, could not bring himself to ordain so little a 
man. Another venerable relic of 1815 remembers that a little 
Mr. Smith, who had been in the employ of Bryan Johnson, 
studied medicine afterward with Dr. Hull, and was much con- 
fided in by his preceptor who often availed himself of his 
•counsel. Courageous little Dr. Nathan Smith, driven out from 
the civilized and the religious, 3^ou did valiantlj'' among the 
aliens ! Self-respecting and dignified as you were, is it any 
wonder that, " cheated of stature by dissembling nature," you 
came to worship it in all things around you ! Despite your 
want of it, your townsmen shall reverence you at the last! 

Josejoh Bunce and Horace Wadsworth began, in April, to 
mahe looking glasses on Genesee, opposite Catherine, and were 
also gold beaters. The latter I soon lose trace of, but Bunce 
was something later a partner in the same business with Flavel 
Gaylord. This Caylord, at first independent, and then asso- 
ciated with Bunce, continued the making of mirrors until his 
death, about 1885, and was an amiable man and a commendable 
officer of the Presbyterian Church. His brother William, has 
already been mentioned, as a temjiorary pai'tner of Dr. Solomon 
Wolcott, in selling crockerj^ William Blackwood, brass founder, 
had a shop at 134 Genesee, a few dooi's below the corner of 
Liberty, and after the opening of Fayette street, a little west of 
Washington, where also he lived. His final home he made in 
Buffalo, and died December 14, 1838. His wife was a daughter 
of William Rowe. A son worked with him. and another who 



THE SECOND CHARTEE, 41S 

studied medicine, settled in New York. George K. Anderson, 
followed a trade that is now obsolete, tin planishing being done 
bj machinery. William Bell was a plater, and Abraham H. 
Stephens, a gunsmith. Nathan Stephens, carpenter and joiner, 
lived in Utica until August 1875, and contributed many a build- 
ing that went to increase the dimensions of the place. His son, 
John T., his daughters, Mrs. Downer and Mrs. Woodland, and 
his grand-children, themselves heads of families, are still here. 
And so too are the children of his brother- in-law, Thomas Wilev, 
also a carpenter, who died before 1828. These are Mrs. Thomas 
Sharpe and Mrs. Mary Taylor. Seth Case and John Hewitt 
were likewise carpenters. Alexander Yates it is believed was a 
tailor ; John Whitney was a shoemaker ; Deratha Edgerton, a 
wheel-wright, Azor Brown, a hatter ; John Brown, post-office 
clerk ; John Flint, a baker ; Eleazer Tilden, butcher ; Newell 
Bostwuck, police officer ; Theodore Wilcox, boatman ; Ziba 
Tuttle, liquor dealer : John B. Smith, suspenders maker ; Miss 
White, teacher; Henry B. Clark, Gilbert Waters, Israel Williams, 
Pomp Tucker (colored), had pursuits not now known. 



1816. 

The freeholders met as usual in May 1816, and at the usual 
place, the school house on Genesee street, which was at this 
time occupied by Eev. Mr. Townshend. As before, the sum of 
one thousand dollars was voted to be raised by taxation to de- 
fray the annual expenses. It was voted likewise to continue to 
issue small bills, but not to exceed the amount of those already 
issued. For trustees they chose Rudolph Snyder, Ezra S. 
Cozier, Augustus Hickox. Gurdon Burchard and Willim Geere, 
of whom Mr. Snyder was afterwards, by action of the board, 
made the president. The trustees in the course of the year 
ordered that the buildings on Genesee street should be num- 
bered, and that the names of tbe streets should be affixed to the 
corners. They likewise indulged in further legislation about the 
market and tiie vending of meat — selling six stalls of the former 
at auction, and forbidding the sale of meat outside of the market 
before nine o'clock a. m. in quantities less than a quarter of the 
animal. And this is all the record of the year. Indeed, it com- 



414 THE PIONEEKS OF UTIGA. 

pletes the record of proceedings had nndei" the then existing 
charter. For in November, we read of a call for a public meet- 
ing of the inhabitants, at the school house of Mr. Bliss, to re- 
ceive the new charter. 

In tlie year 1816, there was started an institution which has 
l:»een of inestimable beneht to the inhabitants of Utica, past and 
present. This was the Utica Sunda_y School, already more 
than once adverted to. Its liistory is of interest not only by 
reason of the good it effected, bringing into haiTnonious coop- 
eration the membei'S of all the churches of the place in a pur- 
pose so useful as tliat of imparting religious instruction to the 
young, and diffusing its happy influence upon benefactors as 
well as beneficiaries, but because also it was a novel under- 
taking and almost without precedent in America. Or if, as 
w^as doubtless true, a verj^ few such schools were alread}^ in 
operation, they were so little known as to have no copyists, nor 
was there one that from the outset was carried on with so much 
fidelity and system, or was attended throughout its course with 
such fruitful results as this one. 

The w^ork of Sunday teaching in Utica is said to have grown 
out of the suggestion of a young lady from Troy, then tempo- 
rarih' visiting in the village. This lady, the daughter of a 
clergjauan of that place, became afterward the wife of one of 
the members of the firm of Brown Brothers & Co. of New York. 
Or, according to another tradition, it was two daughters of 
Divie Bethune of New York, then on a visit in the village, by 
whom the suggestion was first made. By the influence of one 
or other of these parties, five young ladies of Utica became in- 
terested in the project. These five were Alida M. Van Eens- 
selaer, Mary E. Walker, Sarah M. Malcom, Elizabeth Blood- 
good and Cathai'ine W. Breese, daughters respectively of Jere- 
iniah Van Eensselaer, Thomas Walker, Richard M. Malcom, 
Francis A. Bloodgood and Arthur Breese. And yet these were 
not absolutely the first of the village to engage in this good 
work, for in the S])]"ing of 1815, moi'C than a year previous, 
Miss Eunice Camp, daughter of ,Talcott Camp, gathered a few 
children, mostly colored, in order to give them Sunday instruc- 
tion. Carrying this on for a while alone, she was afterwards, 
when the young ladies above mentioned liad succeeded in estab- 



THE SECOND CHARTER. . 415 

lisbing their school for white children, joined b_y them in the 
management of an evening school for people of color. Their 
own school they began in the wing of a frame building that still 
stands in Hotel street adjoining Mechanics Hall ; and here, on 
the 16th of October, 1816, thej assembled a group of twentj^- 
iive or thirty girls and boys. They sought at first only the 
children of the poor, providing them with clothing to encourage 
them to attend. In the course of time, a few gentlemen came 
to their aid, and a separate department was formed for boys. 
At the outset the propriety of employing the hours of the Sab- 
bath in teaching ignorant cliildren to read, even the Bible, was 
much questioned, and many were disposed to regard it as a 
desecration of the holy day. Even Rev. Mr. Dwight, pastor of 
the church to which these ladies, with one exception, all be- 
longed, as well as some of the officer's of this church, while not 
openly opposing the enterprise, gave it at first no encouragement. 
It was, however, after much discussion, finallj^ decided that relig- 
ious teaching was proper work for the Sabbath, and that all the 
children of tlie village of suitable age, should be invited and 
urged to attend. From this time, professing Christians, gener- 
ally, began to give it their cordial sjmipathy, and to feel a re- 
sponsibility resting upon them to labor therein, directly or in- 
directly. A regular organization, made up of representatives 
from the Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist and Baptist Soci- 
eties, was formed to watch over and care- for the interests of 
the school. It consisted of a president, vice president, secretary, 
treasurer, four directors, and four instructors of the male de- 
partment, two directresses, a superintendent and four teachers 
of the female department, and a superintendent and three teachers 
of the colored school. This formal redundancy of officers was 
ere long done away with, and the duties and responsibilities, 
in name as in fact, were left with the superintendents and their 
assistants, and the teachers. For some years the ruhng spirit 
of the whole was the superintendent. Colonel William Williams, 
the bookseller and publisher; and his influence continued to be 
felt long after the pressure of other duties required him to jneld 
the conduct to younger men. 

A few months after its inception, the school, now consid- 
erably increased in numbers, was removed to a room known as 
Minerva Hall, in the second story of a building situate on the 



416 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

east side of Genesee street below the corner of Broad. In the- 
year 1821 or '22, it was again removed into a brick building on - 
the south side of Catherine street, nearly opposite the mouth of 
Franklin, and three years later to the west side of Hotel street, 
about midway of its extent, into a building then occupied as the- 
Presbyterian session room. And here it continued to be held 
until 1826, when it ceased to exist as the Union Sunday School 
of the different religious societies, and was broken up into three 
or four distinct ones. During the few first years the time of 
the teachers was principally taken up in teaching the children 
fi'om lessons on cards and in the spelling book. Then for some 
years the exercises consisted in recitations by the scholars of 
passages of Scripture which they had committed to memory 
daring the preceding week. Stimulated by promises of reward 
to increase the number of verses to the greatest possible extent, 
their ambition was excited, and it was no uncommon thing for 
them to learn and recite as many as one hundred verses, and 
these not of oft-quoted passages, but of chapters and books con- 
secutivel}^ Ten of them committed the whole of the New 
Testament. The result was inevitable, that so far as the exer- 
cises of the school were concerned, they consisted entirely of 
recitations, with no time for explanations or further instruction. 
The idea seemed to have been to incorporate bodily into the 
heads of the pupils the whole canon of the divine law, which 
they might draw upon for the regulation of all after life. But 
the work of Sunday teaching was new, and the teachers with- 
out chart or compass. Their good sense soon showed them the 
objections and difficulties attendant upon their then mode of 
teaching, and better ones were gradually introduced. In 1823 
the scholars were required to commit fifteen verses which were 
explained to them by the teachers. In the year 1824, Truman 
Parmelee, who was about tliis time made the superintendent, 
prepared a series of questions on the historical parts of the 
New Testament, which were printed and introduced into use in 
the school. This was the first book of Scripture questions, 
ever compiled for Sunday schools ; it was adopted by the Amer- 
ican Sunday School Union, and almost universally introduced 
into the schools under its care. Its introduction here was 
attended with the happiest effect, and the attention of teachers 
and scholars was now especiall}^ directed to the careful study 



THE SECOND CHAKTER. 417 

of tlie Scriptures, in order to understand their real import and 
connection, and the whole circuit of instruction thej include. 
Mr. Parraelee, who was afterward a merchant, had but just 
completed his apprenticeship as a book-binder when he entered 
upon the office of superintendent. He possessed qualities 
wdiich admirably fitted him for the position. He had energy, 
unfailing patience and abundant resource, a pleasant counte- 
nance and winning persuasiveness of address, and above all, 
ardent piet}^ and an enthusiastic consecration to the work of 
Sunday School teaching. His lessons were full of interest and 
never failed of engagmg attention. His manner w^as gentle 
and forbearing, so that he drew towards him the affection of 
the scholars, and maintained over them an influence of the 
purest and strongest kind. Moreover there were several teach- 
ers, male and female, who had excellencies scarcely inferior to- 
his own. Some of these have already or will hereafter be 
noticed in connection with other relations they sustained to the- 
village. We can name only George S. Wilson, — at this time a 
printer's apprentice,, but afterwards a Presbyterian minister,, 
conspicuous for piety, intelligence and aptness as well as zeal 
in teaching ; Frederick S. Winston, then a clerk, now presi- 
dent of the New York Mutual Life Insurance Company, an 
instructive teacher, of tender influence and a quiet enthusiast 
in the work ; Captain Charles Stuart, a retired half pay officer 
of the British army, but then pi'incipal of the Utica Academy, 
who "had all the virtues of humanity seemingly in excess;" 
and who, notwithstanding his eccentricity and his rigidness of 
discipline, won all hearts ; Charles Bartlett, another secular 
teacher, afterwards well known in this capacity, and whose skill 
in expounding the Scriptures was admirable ; and among the 
ladies, not already mentioned as the founders, there was ISIrs. 
Sarah K. Clarke, heretofore sketched, Miss Betsey Barker, Miss. 
Susan Burchard and others. In singing, the school had the 
benefit of the tuition of Thomas Hastings, eminent as a teacher 
and composer of sacred music, and some of whose earlier and 
popular pieces were prepared expressly for the anniversaries of 
the school. For there were annual exhibitions held in the 
Presbj^terian church when the progress made by the scholars in 
religious t?uth was shown to the satisfaction of crowded audi- 
c-1 



418 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

ences, and the interest in the school on the part of the latter was 
fostered and increased. 

The earlier records of the school are unfortunately lost, so 
that it is now impossible to relate the successive improvements 
that were developed, to recount the number of scholars in 
attendance, or present anything like a perfect list of the work- 
ing force of the school. It attained, in the course of a few 
3^ears a high degree of prosperity and elevation, so as to attract 
attention abroad, and to be looked upon as a model for imita- 
tion. Missionaries were sent forth from it to christianize the 
the heathen, and others were led by it to enter on ministerial 
labor at home ; many were trained under its purifying influ- 
ences for the posts of honor or usefulness they now fill, and 
many more were prepared for death. In 1826, as we have said, 
the school closed its existence as the Utica Sunday School, for 
the town had now become too large to admit of assembling all 
its children in one apartment or under a single corps of instructors, 
and moreover each society was desirous of directing the nurture 
of its own. From its dismembered parts three or four other 
schools sprang into a healthy life, of which the most continue 
to be promoters of blessing to the present generation of the 
young, and though these joined hands to form a Sunday School 
Union, the organization of each was separate and independent, 
and their history is that of the church to which they belonged. 

On the 25th of December, 1816, another Bible society was 
organized under the title of The Welsh Bible Society of Steuben 
and Utica with their vicinities. Its intention was to aid and 
cooperate with the American Bible Society in translating, 
printing and circulating the Holy Scriptures, without note or 
comment, at home and in foreign countries. Its annual meeting 
was, in 1829, held in January, alternately in Steuben and Utica. 
Its president was Rev. Robert Everett, and he was still president 
in 1833. About this time William Williams imported for them 
a Duoglott Bible — Welsli and English. By the year 1843, the 
society had received about $6,000, and that year made a dona- 
tion of two hundred dollars to the American Bible Societ}^ It 
is in existence still. 

First among the persons now admitted to a residence comes 
one who was confessedly primus inter pares, eminent not here 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 419 

alone, but throughout the country, whose transcendent abilities 
gave him a repute that was national, and a celebrity that is 
enduring. Samuel Austin Talcott was the son of Samuel Tal- ^ 
cott of Hartford, Conn., and Abigail, daughter of John Led- 
yard of Bristol, England, and sister of Colonel Ledyard, who 
so gallantly defended Fort Groton in the war of the Revolu 
tion. This Samuel Talcott was son of Colonel Samuel Talcott, 
who was sheriff, colonel &c., and grandson of Governor Joseph 
Talcott, the first governor of Connecticut born within its lim- 
its, and who occupied the chair seventeen years. 

Samuel Austin, who was born at Hartford, December 31, 
1789, lost his father while yet a boy. At the age of four years 
he was sent to a school kept by a Mrs. Peterson, where he 
remained three years, and was then put under the care of Dr. 
McClure, of East Windsor. He continued with him until he 
was fourteen, when he went to Colchester Academy, and after 
a residence of two years entered the Sophomore class of Wil- 
liams College, in 1806, and was graduated in 1809, at the age 
of nineteen. Shortly after, he married Miss Rachel Skinner, 
daughter of Deacon Benjamin Skinner of Williamstown, and 
immediately began the stud}^ of law with Thomas R. Gold of 
Whitesboro. His course of study ended, he practiced in Low- 
ville, Lewis county, at first in j)artnership with Isaac W. Bost- 
wick. About 1816 he removed to Utica, and entered into a 
like connection with William H. Maynard, the contemporary 
of his college days. A vacancy having been created at New 
Hartford by the removal from that place to Utica of General ^ 
Joseph Kirkland, Mr. Talcott took up his residence in the < 
former village, and by the aid of his associate in Utica, main-) 
tained an office in both places. On the 12th of February, 1821, 
he received the appointment of Attorney General of the State, 
when he made his home in Albany, and continued to live there 
during his administration of this office. From Albany he 
repaired to New York, and carried on practice until his death, 
March 19, 1836, in his forty-seventh year. 

Such in brief terms are the main incidents in the life of one 
of the marked men of the county and of the State. Indeed, a 
friend of his youth, and who was competent to judge, has pro- 
nounced him one of the most extraordinary men of the age. 
The characteristics of Mr. Talcott, as they were seen in college, 



•i20 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

tliis writer* thus describes: "At this early age, all those ex- 
traordinar}' qualities were developed which marked his career, 
and so greatly distinguished him in after life, — towering genius 
and profound investigation ; astonishing facility in acquiring 
knowledge, and a memory which never lost what it had once 
acquired ; surpassing eloquence as a writer and speaker; a mind 
which could grasp and master whatever was most difficult in 
the abstruse sciences, and at the same time exhibiting powers 
of the imagination, wit, Immoi", raillery and sarcasm which 
have rarely been equalled. To all these were added the advan- 
tages of a commanding person, unri\-a]led address, a head, eye 
and countenance ' the pattern of a man.' He was in all respects 
most truly one of nature's noblemen. His heart was generous 
to a fault, and he had a soul which knew not fear." 

Eulogium so lavish one might impute to the partiality of a 
friend did it not accord with the written testimony of a few co- 
temporaries of his manhood, as well as with the traditionary 
report of all his generation. As a lawyer, all admit that he was 
born to the calling ; they join in praising the acuteness of his 
intellect and the cogency of his logic, his abundant learning and 
close and critical research, to which they add an eloquence of 
oratory seldom witnessed. Though from an early period in his 
professional life, Mr. Talcott was engaged in nearly every im- 
portant case that was tried at the Circuit, and often argued at 
the bar of the Supreme Court, yet scarce an impress of his 
commanding power is now to be traced. A few skeletons of 
argument are preserved in the Reports of the Couit, but this is 
all. In his day there was no reporting of the particular char- 
acter that we now have, and the public efforts of this great 
lawyer have perished with the occasion. In respect to his style 
of oratory, his sentences, we are told, were, for the most part, 
short and pithy ; he did not practice high wa-ought illustration 
or nicely balanced periods, nor call on Shakespeare or some 
other poet to assist him in his flight, and make good his own 
deficiencies ; graced with a fancy all his own, spoken in a deep- 
toned, resounding voice, and in a manner that was most impres- 
sive, his utterances were forceful and direct ; weighty with rea- 
son, they captivated the understanding while they charmed the 

*Hon. William H. Dillingham, in Durfee's Biographical Annals of Wil- 
liams College. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 421 

sense; or changing with magical transition, from the subtlest 
argument, they melted the hearer to the deepest pathos. He 
produced in the minds of his audience, says Proctor,* all the 
sympathy and emotion of which the mind is capable,- — all 
which the argumentative can produce — all which solidity, pathos 
or splendor, whether derived from original or assisted powers, 
can convey of pleasure or conviction. " But with all his ability, 
he had striking weaknesses and some lamentable vices. Among 
the former was a foolish vanity of having it thought that all 
his gifts and resources came by inspiration, and were not the 
fruit of careful study and laborious preparation. "f This led him 
to conceal every evidence of toil, and to pass his days in idle- 
ness or worse, while his nights were often consumed in diligent 
reading and laborious thought. He spurned the labor of others, 
and refused to appear in court with a brief that had been 
wholly or in part prepared by an associate. No 'cause was 
worthy of his handling that had not been subjected to his mid- 
night crucible, and worked up to the standard of his own con- 
ception. He never sought business, was not anxious for the 
pecuniary gains he might so easily have grasped, but, solicitous 
onl}^ for professional fame, he strove in what he did do, therein 
Mnthout seeming effort and as it were by sheer force of genius, 
to excel. 

In proof of some of these traits, and more especially of his 
simulated idleness, his accurate learning and its covert acquisi- / 
tion, is the narrative of the venerable Charles Dayan of Low-( 
ville, who, at the same time witli the late Kussel Parrish, was a \ 
student in the office of Messrs. Bostwick & Talcott. He says : 1 
"Mr. Talcott was, I think, the laziest man I ever knew. He 
would lie in bed till ten oclock, and would lounge for hours. 
In fact, I seldom or ever saw him read a book ; and we began 
to set him down as an ignorant, clownish fellow. So Parrish 
and I one day laid a plan to trap and expose him, by asking 
about some principle of law on which we had been posting our- 
selves from the books. Mr. Talcott replied that the principle 
had been discussed some years ago, and referred us to a case in 
the English term reports, mentioning the judge, the year, vol- 
ume and page. Turning to the authority we found the matter 
fully stated and decision given. "Now," said he, "are you sat- 

* Bench and Bar of New York, f Bacon's Early Bar of Oneida County. 



422 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

isfied?" "Yes, of course; it is quite plain." "But," said lie^ 
"in a case reported some 3^ears later, this same principle arose 
and was settled in a different way." Having recourse to tlie 
volume, page and name of parties indicated, we found the de- 
cision (this time by Lord Mansfield) as he had informed us. We 
again declared ourselves fully satisfied. But, remarking that 
the law was very uncertain, he cited another case some years 
later, in which a third decision had been rendered, differing 
from either of the former ones. We never again undertook to 
cross examine Mr. Talcott upon principles of law, but found 
him always ready to cite from memory upon any point on which 
we needed information." " In trying causes," says Judge Pom- 
roy Jones, "he seemed to take pride in making it appear that 
he was paying no attention to the testimony or the summing 
up of opposing counsel. I have seen him during the progress 
of a trial making pictures and passing them to members of the 
bar, — but when he came to sum up, all of the testimony, even 
tlie very words of the witnesses, as well as of the lawyer in op- 
position, seemed to have been photographed on his memory." 
His appointment by the Council to the high position of Attorney 
General, in place of Thomas J. Oakley, when he was but thirty- 
one years of age, is evidence of the estimate that was placed 
upon his talents. This appointment, remarks Mr. Hammond,* 
was considered peculiarly Mr. Van Buren's. " Mr. Talcott had 
been a federalist, but with many others of that party, had op- 
posed the election of Mr. Clinton ; and Mr. Van Buren no doubt 
felt that good policy required that some distinguished mark of 
attention and respect should be bestowed on some of the indi- 
viduals who had been ranked among the Federalists. Mr. Tal- 
cott, too, was a young man, and it was said to be a part of Mr. 
Van Buren's policy to appear as the patron (^f young men 
whose abilities and situation in life afforded a promise that 
they would become influential in society." But though the 
acuteness of this "sage" leader may have led to the selection 
of Mr. Talcott for this honor, it is also true that he was twice 
reelected to the office — once by the unanimous vote of the Leg- 
islature — that he held it during the greater part of nine years, 
and that he has been adjudged by competent authority as sec- 
ond in talent and ability to no former incumbent, unless it be 
Alexander Hamilton. 

* Hammond's Political History of New York. 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 423 

Deeply pitiable it is to record that his own vices required his 
resignation : that habits of intemperance, which had fixed them- 
selves in his youth, became so strengthened by long years of 
indulgence, and were so gross in their manifestations as to dis- 
grace him in the eyes of the public, and disqualify him to 
retain so responsible an office. For a time he continued to 
practice in New York, and " such was his elasticity of body 
and mind that when he came out of his revels he would stand 
up and measure his strength with the ablest and best in the 
land." Its last and most memorable display we relate in the 
language of Judge Bacon. * " One of the last occasions on 
which he appeared was before the Supreme Court of the Uni-^ 
ted States in what was known as the " Sailor's Snug Harbor " 
case. This had been preceded b}'' a week of indulgence, so 
that his friends began to fear that he would be utterly nnfit 
to stand in the presence of that high tribunal. But on the 
day assigned for the argument, he strode into the court room 
attired with scrupulous neatness, fresh as a bridegroom, and 
his imperial intellect untouched and unobscured. Beginning 
in a low and measured tone, he gathered strength and power as 
he proceeded in his masterly discourse, and for five hours or 
more held the breathless attention of bench, and bar and audi- 
ence, in an argument which the illustrious Marshall declared 
had not been equalled in that court, since the days of the 
renowned lawyer, William Pinkney. It w^as an argument that 
Daniel Webster, his great antagonist, found it impossible, with 
his profound learning and colossal intellect, to overcome or 
even successfull}^ to meet." Mr. Dayan, who was present and 
heard this speech, tells us in reference to its effect on the Chief 
Justice, that forgetting the staid dignity which he usually car 
ried, his head from bolt upright began to lean forward as the 
argument advanced, until it bent quite down to the desk, as he 
earnestly gazed and listened. The impassioned fervor of Rob- 
ert Hall brought men, it is said, from their seats to their feet, 
the splendidl}" flowing logic of Talcott bowed the chief court 
of the nation in rapt and passive deference. This, continues 
Judge Bacon, " was his last great effort, and from that altitude 
he rapidly sank ; like the sun even at high noon, in the meri- 
dian of a day that should have been flooded with light, his orb 
went out in dismal darkness." 

* Bacon's Early Bar of Oneida County. 



424 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Immediately on the opening of the Supreme Court, which 
was in session in tlie city of New York, at the time of the 
death of Mr. Talcott, his decease w^as announced b}' Henry R 
Storrs, whereupon the court after a feeHng and eloquent address 
by Chief Justice Jones, at once adjourned. And at a meeting 
of the members of the New York bar, held on the same day, 
it was " Resolved., That this meeting have heard with deep regret 
and s\"mpathy of the death of Samuel A. Talcott, late Attorney 
General of the State, that in the brilliant course of his profes- 
sional life they find much to shed honor not only upon his own 
name but upon the State to which he belonged and the bar 
whose reputation he elevated ; that his distinguished talent, 
profound learning and finished scholarship have rarel}^ been 
equalled "and never been surpassed at the bar of this State.'' 
To their opinion thus expressed may be joined the verdict of 
Daniel Webster, given in 1838, and which was concurred in b}' 
Martin Yan Buren, that Mr. Talcott was the ablest living law- 
yer of America. 

By his first wife, who died in 1819, Mr. Talcott had one son, 
John Ledyard, now ji^^dge of the Supreme Court of the eighth 
district, and residing at Bufiialo, and one daughter who died 
in infanc}^ By his second wife,. Miss Mary Eliza Stanley of 
New Hartford, he had one son, Thomas Grrosvenor, a lawyer of 
much native capacity, who was settled in Hartford, Conn., but 
died in 1870. 

A brother of the foregoing, and also a lawj^er, was Matthew 
Talcott, but inferior in ability to Samuel, and relatively of 
much less importance. He was nearl}^ eight years his senior, 
and in early life had been a midshipman. How or where he 
acquired a legal education, or when he came hither to practice, 
the writer is uninformed. He was appointed the first cashier 
of the Bank of Chenango, which was incorporated in 1818, 
and his exercise of the function was antecedent, no doubt, to 
his settlement in Utica, since he was living here before 1821, the 
date of his brother's departure. His office was in the same 
building with that of Maynard & Talcott, and with them he 
had jjrobably some business connection. Tiiough well informed 
in the law, he never s})oke in the courts, but, as Master in Chan- 
cery, evinced skill in the drawing of chanceiy })a2)ers. A 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 425 

leader in the masonic fraternity, he was appointed, in 1823, 
when the Templars were instituted, the master of the order. 
In person he was tall and observable, in manners reserved and 
self-centred, priding himself on his superior gentility. He was 
never married and boarded at hotels, chiefly at Bagg's, but died 
at the National, on the 3d of November, 1837. 

One of the tavern-keeping Gays has already been noticed. 
A brother of his was Samuel Gay, a bustling, talkative and 
very polite man, but not i-ated by the public as highly as Amos. 
After an experience at Hampton, at Whitesboro, at Clinton and 
at Yernon, he now took charge of the tavern of Hedges on 
Genesee opposite Catherine. From this he went, in May 1820, 
into the York House, and later to Union Hall, the house that 
had been kept by his brother on the corner of John and Main. 
In 1828 he and Amos were together in the Fayette Street 
House, and in 1832 he was proprietor of the Canal Hotel. He 
remained in Utica until 1840, but died in December, 1844, at 
the house of his daughter, in Brooklyn. This daughter, Mrs. 
Henry S. Storms, is the only survivor of his children ; Mrs. 
Peter Ballon of this city having but recently deceased. James 
Thompson, another inn-kee])er, was in July, at the head of a 
house on Main street, but w^as gone within three or four years. 

A new merchant of the year was George L., son of George 
Tisdale. He had been clerk for Nicholas Devereux, and now 
became his partner. The connection was dissolved in 1819, 
soon after which time Tisdale removed to Sacketts Harbor, 
having first married Amelia M. Graham, of Deerfield. He died 
in 1838. A provision dealer named John Adams, began in 
October 1816, at the lower end of Genesee street, and kept on in 
business until his death, about 1850. His brother Charles, who 
served six months in the army, afterwards drove stages for Mr. 
Parker, and in later years was the railroad agent who carried 
the mails to and from the post office. He died about 1865, aged 
seventy-three. Both, have children still in Utica. Thomas 
Stevenson, grocer and also a carman, lived until 1845, although 
at the time of the cholera, he was attacked with the disease, and 
became so nearly exanimate that a coffin was put by his bedside 
to receive him. Still another grocer was Ira Cummins, at the 
corner of Genesee and Water, where a Sumner was at one time 
his partner. 



426 THE PIONEERS OF UTICA. 

Samuel M. Todd, kept an evening school, and the circum- 
stances attending his death, in May 1822, were as follows : He 
lived in a house that stood where is now the Catherine Street 
House, on the west side of the slip which extended from this 
street to the canal. While in bed one dark night he was awak- 
ened by a splash as of some one falling into it. He rushed out 
in his night dress, and perceiving, as he thought, a person strug- 
gling in the water, he reached in and grasped what he took to 
be the hair of a human head, but which was in fact the mane 
of a colt. The superior strength of the anuimal dragged in 
his rescuer. And though the latter succeeded in getting out of 
the water, he was so chilled as to be taken with lockjaw, which 
in a few days carried him off. His widow afterwards married 
Thomas Midlam, and lived many years in Utica. A son of his 
was former mayor of Mobile, and now resides in New Orleans. 

Oliver Harris and Henry I. Guest, chairmakers, set up a shop 
about where the Devei'eux block now is, while continuing to 
make and sell at Sangerfield. They were men of some stir, 
and important rivals of Mr. Snyder. Mr. Harris moved to 
Batavia and married, for his second wife, the widow of William 
Morgan of anti-masonic celebrity. His partner went to Buffalo, 
became captain of a boat on Lake Erie, and was lost in 1820. 
His son, Rev. William H. Gruest,was for twenty-two years a 
teacher in the Watts and Leake Orjolian Asylum of New York, 
and much lamented at his death. John Osborn, glover, made 
his first appearance in Utica about 1812, but withdrew for a 
short time. Coming again, he remained until about 1865, carry- 
ing on his glove making nearly all the time. He is now living 
at Sodus Bay. Richard Marshall, tailor, who had been living 
in Clinton, began the practice of his trade in Utica. After 
having two or three partners in succession, he gave up his shop 
in May 1821, to a new-coming shoemaker. 

George Peckham was another tailor; Benjamin Watson a 
mason ; Walter Smith a packet captain ; Smith & Bates, painters ; 
James G. Lundegreen, shoemaker, church sexton, boarding 
house keeper, police officer; Samuel Parks, laborer, had a large 
family, consisting chiefly of daughters, w^ho were straw braiders, 
and these were their names : Celia, Melissa, Zenobia, Rosalind, 
Cassandra, Violetta, Antoinette. The four boys were Harrison, 



THE SECOND CHARTER. 4:27 

Milo, Nazro and James ; John T. Roberts made himself notori- 
ous by a quixotic expedition to the Southwest in search of a 
reported tribe of Welsh Indians, influenced doubtless by the 
teachings of certain profound antiquaries of Wales, that the 
Madogwys, or descendants of Madoc's colonists of the 12 th 
century still hnger on the banks of the Missouri, — an opinion 
which was afterwards strengthened by the conviction of George 
Catlin that the Mandans w^ere identical with Madogwys. Mr. 
Roberts solicited and obtained funds to aid him in his purpose. 
Failing of his object, he returned to the old country, but is now^ 
in California. 

A deputy clerk in the ofhce of the Supreme Court was Abra- 
ham Dixon, brother of Rev. David R. He had graduated at Yale 
in 1813, and was now pursuing his law studies. After his ad- 
mission, he settled in Westfield, Chautauqua county, where he 
represented his district in the State Senate in 1840, "41, '42, and 
'43, and is presumed to be living. 

The ultimate fate of another young man of the time is pain- 
ful indeed. Henrj^ T. Barto, assistant teller of the Bank of 
Utica, and in 1824 its teller, was, later, cashier of the Commer- 
cial Bank of Albany. He was an agreeable person and a popu- 
lar teller, with a good reputation, until he lost it by an act 
which has had many imitators in these latter days, but w^hich 
was once rare enough to be noteworthy. Going to jSTew York, 
he called at the bank wdth which his own was in correspondence, 
drew $20,000, and disappeared. It was some days before he 
was missed, and years before the news came that a man answer- 
ing to his description had been seen in Texas. A messenger 
was sent thither, who learned that some one like him, the owner 
of a plantation, had recently died. The body was disinten-ed 
and found to be that of Henry T. Barto. One of his sureties, 
Michael Hoffman of Herkimer, was nearly ruined by the trans- 
action. Barto was from Herkimer county, and son of Dr. Barto 
of Newport. 

The first directory of Utica was published in the year 1817, 
and is a thm duodecimo pamphlet of twenty-four pages. It 
contains, besides a list of the inhabitants with their occupations 
and residence, which occupies eighteen pages, a census of the 
population. This census, the compiler informs us, was taken 



428 THE PIONEEES OF UTICA. 

in the fall of 1816. and doubtless the catalogue of names was 
made out at the same time. That we may show Utica in its 
entirety up to the 3'ear 1816, such of the names as have not 
alread}^ been given are collected in the note below.* Many of 
the names are of parties who w^ould not be likely to appear in 
print, except in the pages of a director}^, and hence these parties 
may have had some years silent residence in the village. The 
majority, how^ever, were probably only temporarj^ in such resi- 
dence, as they are not remembei'ed by the few survivors of the 
era. No further director}^ of Utica appeared until the year 1828. 

As we are about to enter ujDon a fresh chapter of the village 
history, and to consider the proceedings had under the third 
charter of this now independent town, it may be well to again 
survey the place as a whole and seek to picture to ourselves the 
Utica of sixty years ago. In order to form some conception of 
it and its surroundings, let ns approach it from the north. 
Standing on the Deeriield hill four or live miles away, tlie 
country below you seems like a level swamp covered with for- 
est, the clearings being scarcely discernible. Beyond the river 

*Jee8e AdamB, laborer, Eleazar Hovey, John Pennington, shoemak