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COFVRIGHT DEPOSIT 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 




Uj/a^JL*-*. J /k^Cc^- 



A Sketch 

of Old Utica 

Blandina Dudley Miller 

EDITED BY 

Helen Lincklaen Miller 



MDCCCCXIII 



Copyright 1913, by Helen L. Miller 
v Second Edition v 



FIERSTINE PRINTING HOUSE 
UTICA, N. Y. 



©CI.A330868 /^ 






2!n ifemortam 

She hath gone forth where Silence needs no speech, 
Into the music of the chanting spheres, 

Safe harbored now beyond all sorrows' reach, 
Beyond the mists of pain and human tears. 

Yet here is left a Song that still shall sing 
Above life's strident ways, and softly bless: 

She hath gone forth into that final Spring, 
Leaving the echo of her loveliness. 

— Thomas S. Jones Jr. 



Miss Blandina Dudley Miller 



A woman of considerable accomplishment, superior char- 
acter and representative of the best intellectual endowment 
of this region died Saturday evening in the home she and her 
devoted sister have made for several years past in the Olbiston. 
She was Blandina Dudley Miller, known to the old readers of 
The Observer for a long time as a regular contributor to 
its Saturday issues. 

She was from historic families, as is shown in other col- 
umns of the paper. Her father was the Hon. Rutger B. Mil- 
ler and her mother was one of the beautiful and noble sisters 
of Governor Horatio Seymour. She was not only a niece of 
the Governor by blood but of the Hon. Roscoe Conkhng 
through his marriage to one of her aunts. 

She came early to a love and reverence for local history 
which was characteristic of her family on both sides. There- 
by she was inspired to be a writer and her utterances were of 
note Her writings, we may admit, helped to inspire that 
spirit which has lifted to its present state the Oneida Histor- 
ical Society of which the Governor was for years the Presi- 
dent and whose fine building is one of the ornaments of this 

city. 

She has not lived in vain. Her Christian character was 
exemplary. Refinement was native in her breast and was in 
all the breathings of her spirit. To what sweet sleep she goes . 

— E. Prentiss Bailey 



INTRODUCTION 



"In these mansions used to be 
Free hearted hospitality. 
Here great fires up the chimney roared 
And guests oft gathered at the board." 

The old houses of Utica are so rapidly disap- 
pearing from our streets before the march of mod- 
ern improvement, that is has been deemed of suffi- 
cient interest to jot down these fragmentary de- 
tails of the life of some of the early settlers and de- 
scriptions of their dwellings, for the pleasure of 
those now living, and perhaps for the amusement 
of those who are to come after us; who may scarcely 
refrain from a smile at the quaintness and sim- 
plicity of the life in Utica in its early days. 

The little village has grown into a beautiful city, 
far surpassing the dreams or hopes of its original 
founders in the luxury and beauty of its houses; 
yet there was an air of substantial comfort and 
stately dignity about these old homes that will not 
be effaced from the memories of those who as chil- 
dren had the happiness to sit around the ancient 
fireplaces, or to gather fruits and flowers in fields 
and orchards now built over by solid blocks of 
stores and houses. 

Blandina Dudley Miller. 

Utica, N. Y., Oct. 15, 1895. 



Utica's Old Homes 



Some Historic Houses of the City's 
Early Days 



IN writing of the old homes in Utica, the very 
name brings before one large substantial look- 
ing buildings of wood, brick or stone, and of 
but two designs, the double house or a single house 
with wings, the front door surmounted with a fan- 
light, and the side lights divided into squares and 
diamonds by light wreaths of metal. The door 
knobs and knockers will be of shining brass, and 
the iron railing up the steps will usually be fin- 
ished with two brass balls which reflect the sun- 
light far and hear. A hall running the entire 
length of the house will usually have fluted pil- 
lars and a fanlight dividing it in two, and the hand- 
some staircase with an easy ascent will either be 
at the end of the hall, or may be placed at right 
angles. In either case the mahogany balustrade 
and carved post make it a conspicuous feature. 

13 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

In the house built by Samuel Stocking, on Broad 
street, the hall is of unusual size and beauty. The 
wails are decorated with paintings executed by an 
English artist by the name of Gordon. They rep- 
resent Trenton Falls, a town in France, and a 
scene in Oswego, where one of his daughters was 
then living. This house, since occupied by Judge 
Denio and now by his daughter, Mrs. Louis A. 
Tourtellot, has often been quoted as one of the 
best and handsomest models in this part of the 
state. 

In the house built by Mr. Bagg in 1824 for his 
family and afterwards occupied by his daughter, 
Mrs. Charles A. Mann, are beautiful rooms and 
high mantlepieces with elaborate carvings, and a 
hall large enough to make a modern "apartment," 
while a fine garden extended to Main street, and 
was always full of flowers. 

On Whitesboro street is still standing, and but 
little changed in external appearance, the house 
built by Judge Nathan Williams, and in which 
five generations of the family have lived. Here 
also we shall find beautiful specimens of carved 
woodwork on mantlepieces and doors, while the 
handsomely proportioned parlor, papered with 
the quaintest of designs, great branching trees and 
vines of a Chinese pattern, always attracted much 

14 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

attention and admiration. The large garden and 
orchard ran down to Water street, and were most 
attractive. 

Next to Judge Williams' was the pleasant double 
brick house built by David Childs in about 1810 or 
1812. It was afterwards purchased by Henry 
Seymour in 1820 and is still owned by his grand- 
children, although not occupied by any of them. 
Here, as in many other houses of the time, we shall 
find the delightful fireplaces and Dutch ovens, and 
a large, cheerful, basement kitchen whose windows 
open on the attractive garden. The comfort and 
cheerfulness of this large house was much increased 
by the beautiful gardens which joined that of Judge 
Williams with only a hedge between. All the fam- 
ily were strongly attached to this house, and car- 
ried its ruling ideas into their own widely scattered 
homes as much as possible. 

Governor Seymour spent many of his happiest 
days here and his attachment, which seemed only 
to increase with his years, sometimes resulted in a 
rather unfortunate fondness for all the old things 
and an aversion to many needed improvements. 
When he ensconsed himself in his easy chair by the 
side of the fire always kept blazing in the sunny 
east room, and drew out a pile of newspapers, he 
was a picture of enjoyment not often seen. Al- 
ls 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

though the last years of his life were spent in Deer- 
field on his farm, he seldom let a day pass without 
spending many hours in the old home. 

On moving to Deerfield and making a farmer of 
himself he remodeled and added to a farm house on 
the place, and made a house picturesque and at- 
tractive to look at without being very comfortable 
to live in. It was a rambling house that ran all 
over and lost itself, and the crooked stairs were a 
problem to many to mount or descend in safety. 
His delight was to collect in his library and parlors 
all historic mementoes of the past, and in looking 
at them and recalling the events these inanimate 
objects had had a share in, he seemed to live the 
past over again, and his informal conversations up- 
on them were delightful to listen to. "Now sit on 
Daniel Webster's chair a little while" he would 
say, "then try Bishop White's to brace up your 
churchmanship; then mount this high backed chair 
of Charles II. 's day and you will be glad to settle 
down in your great Aunt Dudley's chair, the most 
comfortable of them all. General Schuyler's clock 
is telling you it is time to go to bed and General 
Forman will tell you when to get up in the morning. 
These old trees talk only Dutch and Indian so they 
can tell no tales to you. I manage to understand 
them, because they belong to Mrs. Seymour who 

is Dutch herself." 

16 



\ U I w 




The Stocking, Denio or Tourtellot House 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

The view from his front piazza was inspiring in- 
deed, and here he loved to sit under the shadow of 
his favorite black cherry tree of great size and re- 
trace the route of the different nations that had 
traversed this broad valley of the Mohawk. 
"Why do you always say the broad valley of the 
Mohawk, Governor?" asked Senator Kernan, who 
always kept up a running fire of jest and quips with 
his old friend. " Because neither you nor any 
one else would ever think how broad this valley is 
if I did not keep telling you it was so. Mohawk 
Valley sounds very commonplace and tells you 
nothing. When I say the 'broad' valley it makes 
you look to see how wide it is." 

His library was well filled with interesting books 
on history, ornithology, botany, etc., and he took 
the keenest delight in watching the habits of the 
birds on the farm, and never would allow one to be 
disturbed. Wild flowers he was especially fond 
of, and took unwearied pains to have great clumps 
of all his favorites growing on the edge of the beau- 
tiful woods back of his house. "I do not like the 
trailing arbutus at all," he once said. "It will not 
grow for me. I have transplanted it from many 
localities, and brought a wagon load of its native 
soil to make it feel at home, but to no purpose. I 
believe it knows my indifference to my Puritan 

17 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

ancestors, and so this little New England May 
flower will have nothing to do with me. All the 
Dutch 'bloemen' bloom delightfully here. Your 
arbutus is an obstinate little minx. I will have no 
more of it." 

THE INMAN HOUSES 

On the beautiful drive from Utica out to Whites- 
boro stand the two Inman houses, very different 
in style and appearance, and both very interest- 
ing. William Inman came to this country from 
England in 1792, and had charge of large estates 
owned by a gentleman in London. He lived first 
in the picturesque English cottage on the north 
side of the road, and, being a man of ample for- 
tune, led the life of a country gentleman, driving 
about in a heavy English carriage and wearing 
powdered hair, with knee breeches and buckles. 
The old road must have run much closer to the 
house than at present, and our Englishman pres- 
ently becoming choked with the Yankee dust, built 
the large substantial looking house on the south side 
of the road, standing far back from the trees, and 
which impresses the passer-by as a mansion of ye 
olden time. Mr. Inman was one of the founders of 
the old Trinity church, and an original pew holder. 
His sons distinguished themselves in different 

18 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

walks of life. John Inman was editor of the lead- 
ing New York papers of the day, such as the Col- 
umbian Gazette, Spirit of the Times, etc. Henry 
Inman became an artist of note on both sides of 
the Atlantic. He at first painted miniatures under 
Jarvis in New York, but gained greater reputation 
as a painter of portraits and genre pictures. 
Among his best pictures are those of Chief Justice 
Marshall, Bishop White, Rip Van Winkle awaken- 
ing from his dream, Boyhood of Washington, etc. 
In addition to his talent as an artist, his social and 
conversational gifts were of the highest order. He 
became vice president of the National Academy of 
Design. 

THE YORK HOUSE 

On the north side of Whitesboro street, corner of 
Hotel street, stands the large yellow brick hotel, 
formerly known as the York house, and whose 
history is closely associated with many interesting 
events in the early days of Utica. It was built in 
1797 by Samuel Hooker for the Holland Land 
Company to accommodate the many settlers who 
were beginning to pour into the western part of the 
state to settle on the company's land. Though 
apparently far too large a hotel for the size of the 
village, it was often taxed to its utmost capacity 

19 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

by these settlers coming up the valley and 
requiring accommodation for man and beast. 
In the annals of Albany, it is stated that in 1795, 
twelve hundred sleighs loaded with men, women 
and children, and all household belongings, passed 
through Albany, en route for the west, in three 
days. 

The York House was an excellent hotel, and its 
register, if it had been preserved, could show the 
names of many people of distinction. The wide 
sweep of the street in front was made to allow the 
stages and carriages, with their four and six horses, 
to turn around. In the second story was a large 
ball room with an excellent spring floor, where 
were held all the fashionable balls or assemblies of 
the day. At one end of the ball room was a wooden 
screen painted and cut out to represent trees and 
groves in a sort of Forest of Arden effect. At the 
sound of the music the dancers emerged from be- 
hind these trees, and when the graceful gavottes 
or scarf dances were finished they disappeared into 
these leafy shades, which was thought to have a 
very beautiful effect. The room was lighted by 
candelabra, and sconces filled with wax candles, 
and woe to the unlucky beau who forgot himself 
and stood lingering beneath them. His garments 
were apt to be covered with a waxen coating diffi- 
cult to remove. 

20 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

These balls and parties began at seven o'clock 
in the evening, (think of this, ye fin-de-siecle belles 
and beaux!) until some ultra fashionables from 
New York made a sensation by coming at the un- 
heard of hour of half past seven. And from that 
time on the village belles found it difficult to com- 
plete their toilettes before that hour — while their 
parents mourned over the evils of fashionable life 
and customs. 

The word hotel was cut as well as painted on the 
front walls of the building, and no subsequent 
painting could ever efface it, even when used as a 
private residence. It still stands as a memorial 
of the Holland Land Company in the early days 
of Utica, and was the largest hotel this side of 
New York City for many years. 



21 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 




THE MILLER HOUSE 

In 1820 Judge Morris S. Miller began to lay out 
the grounds and to plant the trees and shrubs on 
that part of the Bleecker property since known as 
Rutger place, at the head of John street. In the 
family the place never had a name of any pretense, 
it was and is today called "The Hill," or "Up on 
the Hill." "Miller's Folly" was a name given by 
many at the time — so remote was it from all 
neighbors and friends. A carriage seen crossing 
John street bridge was surely coming to The Hill, 
for there was no other place to go to through the 
muddy lane called John street. The seat origin- 
ally extended from Howard avenue to Dudley 
avenue, and from Rutger to South street. 



2 2 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

A stone wall was built all along the northern 
line of the place, and a pretty winding walk led 
through the shrubbery nearly around the entire 
place. This shrubbery of purple and white lilacs, 
snowballs, syringa, etc., formed a dense wall of 
green overhanging the stone wall, and a large wil- 
low at the gate sheltered the rather narrow en- 
trance from all outsiders. Mountain ash trees 
and honey locusts grew luxuriantly in the rich soil, 
and combined with the other trees, formed grove- 
like clumps all over the grounds. Fruit trees were 
in great profusion, and the Bleecker and orange 
plum were planted everywhere, and were famous. 
Judge Miller died before the house was built, ex- 
cept its foundations, but his original plan was car- 
ried out and the house completed in about 1830. 
The square stone house was flanked by two 
small Grecian buildings, i. e., a low pediment 
and pillars; the one on the west was the 
office, and that on the east served for the gard- 
ner's and coachman's house, and ran back to 
the wood house and stable. These houses were 
connected with the main house by the upper piazza, 
which extended across the carriage drives to the 
roof, and gave something the effect of a huge bird. 

Notable men and women have gathered within 
its walls from the first Sunday when Mrs. Miller 

23 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

occupied it. The dining room and hall were 
the only rooms in order. Judge Conkling was in 
town holding court, and Rutger B. Miller was his 
clerk. The judge was invited to Sunday dinner, 
and was the first guest in the house that was des- 
tined to be the home of his son, Senator Conk- 
ling, for so many years. Old Jimmy, the house- 
hold factotum, was in despair for the honor of his 
family — such a stately, elegant man as Judge 
Conkling coming to dinner and no parlor to show 
him into! My grandmother was perfectly com- 
posed. "You have a good dinner?" "Yes, 
ma'am." "Very well, serve it well and no one 
will feel the lack of another room. Friends come 
before furnishings." 

Hospitality was the cornerstone of the house, and 
a long array of pleasant guests were to follow. 
Bishop Hobart, Bishop DeLancey, General Scott, 
Colonel Worth, General Stephen Van Rensselaer, 
General Bloomfield, Mrs. Schuyler and her beau- 
tiful daughter, now Mrs. John Taylor Cooper, of 
Albany; Mrs. Davidson and her talented young 
daughters, Margaret and Lucretia; Gerrit Smith, 
the noted abolitionist, and his southern wife, Anne 
Carroll Fitzhugh; Mrs. Alexander Hamilton, Mr. 
and Mrs. Charles E. Dudley, from Albany, Mrs. 



24 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

Miller's beautiful nieces, Mrs. Tibbits and Mrs. 
Neilson, made a circle not often excelled. 

How clearly comes before me among the few 
recollections I have of the place, the morning early 
in the spring of 1850, when a party of men with 
spades, picks and wheelbarrows arrived and began 
breaking the ground to the west of the house for 
the house of J. Wyman Jones! We children 
thought it most interesting, and could not at all 
understand the white, sad faces of the older mem- 
bers of the household, to whom it was the begin- 
ning of the end, the breaking up of the old home- 
stead into city lots and places. 

OTHER RESIDENTS 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Walker lived here for 
several years, and pleasantly entertained many of 
the favorite artists, poets and sculptors of the day, 
while Senator Conkling, during his residence of 
more than twenty-five years, gathered here all the 
noted men of his time. "This is a marvelous 
house," said Mrs. Conkling, after entertaining a 
large party of friends for several days. "There is 
ample room for the pleasure and comfort of many 
people, and I can live here by myself without feel- 
ing it is too large for the cozy comfort of a quiet 
life." 

25 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

Perhaps the most brilliant array of distinguished 
people met him at the re-union of the Army of the 
Cumberland in 1875, when General Grant, Gen- 
eral Sherman, General Hooker were all guests of 
Senator Conkling, who kept open house during the 
days of their visit. A military parade was fol- 
lowed by a brilliant meeting in the Opera House, 
where soldier after soldier was called upon for a 
speech, and greeted with rounds of applause. 
When the heroes entered the house and took their 
seats on the stage, the whole audience rose, and a 
deafening cheer upon cheer arose that shook the 
very walls. Everyone cheered — ladies and all — 
without half knowing what they were doing. 
11 Why have I lost my voice so suddenly," said one 
lady to another after the turmoil had subsided. 
11 Because you were cheering with the others." 
"I never knew I had opened my lips," was the re- 
ply, "but I felt it." 

Nicholas E. Kernan purchased the place in 1894, 
and in the possession of his family there need be no 
fear that the hospitable traditions of the past will 
ever die out. On the contrary, the fire on the 
hearth will still burn brightly, and the friends of 
three and four generations will still feel that Miller's 
Seat or Rutger Place is theirs to enjoy, and to re- 
ceive the cordial welcome as in days of old. 

26 



SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

THE BIG FIREPLACE 

If I were asked to give the ruling motif of Utica's 
old houses, I should say it was the fireplace, and the 
dominant chord would be the cord of wood. The 
woodshed took up an important share of the yard, 
and with its pile upon pile of beautiful maple and 
birch and beech wood in all stages of dryness, and 
the odor of pine from the kindling-wood corners, 
it was a delightful spot. These large houses were 
rarely warm except immediately in front of the 
fireplaces. Large folding screens were drawn about 
them to cut off the drafts, and as the weather grew 
colder the circle grew closer and smaller. Of wel- 
come and hospitality there was no lack, and wood 
was piled up high to greet the newly arrived guest. 
The furniture for these large rooms was corres- 
pondingly large and massive. The mahogany 
sofas and side-boards are the despair of those who 
try to move them into more modern houses. The 
high mantlepieces were adorned with silver candle- 
sticks and candelabra, and those fortunate enough 
to have friends connected with the India trade 
could have Indian vases, but these were rare. 
Girandoles graced the walls. The handsomest had 
eagles holding arrows, and balls or chains In the 
large book cases we shall find many tomes of the 

27 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

sermons our forefathers so delighted to collect, and 
to read, too, as we find many of them marked and 
interlined. Baxter, Jeremy Taylor, Blair, Paley, 
Bunyan make a goodly show, and for poetry did 
they not commit whole volumes of Scott, Moore, 
Burns, Cowper, Byron, etc., to memory in a man- 
ner to fill us with envy at their aptness in quota- 
tion? Dickens and Thackery were not, but Wav- 
erly^was upsetting both Europe and America, and 
people could scarcely wait for the next novel to ap- 
pear. Magazines were scarcely known, and the 



PAID 





newspapers were few and far between. Letters 
from absent friends came only seldom as the form- 
idable postage of 18 cents to 30 cents precluded 
very active correspondence. Pianos were highly 
prized, and Utica could boast of two or three pro- 

28 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

ficient players on the harp, Mrs. James Madison 
Weed, and Miss Sarah Miller and Miss Evarts 
among others. The Battle of Prague, a descrip- 
tive piece of music for the piano, was a test of skill 
and proficiency. Songs were of a rather distress- 
ingly sentimental type, more descriptive of lovers' 
woes and sighs than of joy or happiness, and the 
love lorn swain or damsel found far more favor with 
the musical world than the commonplace, happy 
lover. In fact, to die for love seemed to be the 
acme of happiness in these ballads. 

LIFE OF THE TIME 

The description above given applies to all these 
old homes. Such were the houses of the Varicks, 
the Devereux, Manns, Williams, Seymours, Doo- 
littles, Camps, Ostroms, Harts, Hubbards, Denios, 
Bacons, Kirklands, Kips, Lothrops, Johnsons, 
Beardsleys, Hunts, Greens, and many others, all 
surrounded with beautiful gardens for pleasure and 
use . M ar kets there were none , and every one raised 
his own fresh vegetables and fruits. Entertain- 
ments were frequent, and while handsome mahog- 
any, silver and china, and fine napery made the ta- 
bles elegant, the simplicity of the dinners would, I 
fear, scarcely satisfy the club man of the year 1895, 
but for excellence of the viands they hold their own 

29 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

bravely. A dinner consisted of a rich soup; a 
calf's head was a great favorite, then two joints of 
meat, a "roast and a boil," with vegetables served 
at the same time, or a saddle of mutton and haunch 
of venison on a lordly dish, the size of a small table. 
A ham soaked in champagne was a dish to set be- 
fore a king, and a spiced round of beef, with a dash 
of sherry, was a most popular dish. The desserts 
were simple but how good and tempting! Calves' 
foot jelly, served in glasses, mounted on a high 
epergne, was the favorite centre piece. Whipped 
cream, custard, baked in India blue cups with the 
covers on, floating island, alternated with the 
richer mince pies and plum puddings. A second 
course was a great anxiety to provide with so lim- 
ited a market; but when that was accomplished the 
housekeeper's cares were over. The word " menu," 
and its ten to fourteen courses made up of airy 
nothings, were both happily unknown. For wine, 
ample provision was made in the bins of the attic 
and the vaults of the cellar. Port, sherry and ma- 
deria, that had taken a voyage around the Cape to 
ripen, were the favorite brands, and not to offer a 
friend a glass of wine and a bit of sponge cake was 
an incivility. Egg-nogg parties were very popular, 
when the entire company adjourned to the dining- 
room, beat the eggs and mixed the ingredients to 

30 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

taste. When finished, the nogg was poured foam- 
ing into pitchers or served from a punch bowl with 
a ladle. Oysters were a rarity, and when a barrel 
of them was brought up, every one gave a supper 
party to celebrate the event. For evening parties, 
ices, cake, coffee and chicken salad were the usual 
viands, which were very often handed about on 
trays. 

PETER FREEMAN 

Many of us will recall the tall figure of Peter 
Freeman, a colored waiter, who had known Utica 
society for many years, darting in and out between 
the dancers with skill and quickness, for to have 
run up against any one or to have dropped a spoon, 
would have dealt a blow to his professional pride. 
Peter, like most of his race, was aristocratic, and 
took deeply to heart the passing away or the step- 
ping down and out of his old families and the up- 
rising of others not so worthy in his estimation. 
"Sassiety ain't what it used to be" was his fre- 
quent complaint, and he lost his interest in many 
of the parties, and, probably, from the nature of 
his remarks his valuable services were not as much 
in demand as formerly. At his last appearance at 
a party at Mr. Edmund A. Wetmore's the heart of 
Peter revived. Many of his old patrons were 

31 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

present, and he sailed into the parlor with his tray 
of glasses, greeting all with a cordial welcome, and 
saluting one lady, for whom he had a great regard, 

with "Come in, come in, Mrs. . This is a 

real select, genteel party, and none of our sudden 
rich ain't here — not one of 'em." 

THE GARDENS OF UTICA 

The old gardens of Utica were a very marked 
feature of the place. The shrubs and trees and 
plants had each a distinct value and individuality 
as the gifts and remembrances between friends 
and neighbors. There were no florists in those 
days to send out their finely illustrated catalogs — • 
and plants were given in exchange between neigh- 
bors and thus were spread far and near. The Erie 
canal was turned from the course originally plan- 
ned, to avoid the destruction of the beautiful gar- 
den and grounds belonging to Mr. James Kip on 
Broadway — probably the finest place then exist- 
ing in Utica. Great was the anxiety of Mrs. Morris 
Miller that Mr. Henry Seymour, then Canal Com- 
missioner, should not by the digging of his "big 
ditch" injure her favorite roses and fraxinellas 
which she had brought up from her father, Rutger 
Bleecker's old garden, on Market street, Albany. 
The Kip-Miller place on Main street was surround- 

32 




Judge Nathan Williams, The Wager or 
Goodwin House 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

ed by a large garden which ran as far as Cathar- 
ine street and was of course ruined by the canal. 

The old time garden walks were bordered with 
the fragrant purple and white fraxinellas, spireas, 
velvet roses, cabbage roses, sweet briar, spicy shrub, 
white snow balls, lemon lilies, Canterbury bells, 
Judas Tree, peonies in great glory, four o'clocks, 
pinks, purple and white lilacs, laburnam, bar- 
berrys, lilacs, mignonette, sweet lavendar, Jeru- 
salem oak, etc., while the flowering bulbs made the 
garden gay from early spring to late in autumn. 
"Whenever I found a specially fine garden in 
Clinton," said Mrs. George Wood, "I found the 
plants had originally come from Mrs. Henry Sey- 
mour's garden in Utica." Any one who would take 
a root or cutting and make it grow, was sure to find 
favor in her eyes. The plants thus exchanged be- 
tween friends assumed an almost personal individ- 
uality and were valued accordingly, while the gar- 
dens so carefully cultivated made a pleasant and 
attractive environment of the quaint old houses. 

JOSEPH KIRKLAND HOUSE 

Probably one of the oldest houses in the city is 
the one on Genesee street, built by Watts Sherman, 
who came here to live in 1802, and as he was pros- 
perous in his affairs it is probable he built this most 

33 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

attractive house, with its beautiful garden, not 
many years afterwards. It consisted originally 
of the main building and south wing. 

When General Joseph Kirkland purchased it and 
removed here with his family from New Hartford, 
he added the handsome well-proportioned room on 
the north side, and added the third story. Mr. 
Kirkland was the first mayor of the city of Utica, 
and distinguished himself in that capacity as well 
as in all other walks of life. During the terrible 
cholera year, when sixty years of age, he maintained 
his post, remained in the city which was deserted 
by so many, and was untiring in brave efforts to 
stem the tide of this dreaded plague, and to give 
courage to the terrified inhabitants. Within these 
walls was reared a family of twelve children, ten of 
whom lived to manhood and womanhood. Of the 
sons, Charles P. Kirkland was a noted lawyer in 
New York, and a leading member of the Oneida 
County Bar, William Kirkland, a professor of Latin 
in Hamilton College, while among his sons-in-law 
were Judge William J. Bacon of Utica, John G. 
Floyd, Charles Tracy of New York, John G. Holly 
of Lyons. 

The house was afterwards purchased by Judge 
Philo Gridley, and remained in the possession of 
his family until 1882, when Dr. Willis E. Ford pur- 

34 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

chased the house and part of the lot. Stephen 
Sicard, the judge's son-in-law, reserving part of the 
lot and building a handsome house on the north- 
ern side. Its large, well proportioned hall and 
generous sized parlors have always made it one of 
Utica's most attractive houses. 

Judge Apollos Cooper was one of the enterpris- 
ing pioneers of central New York, and settled in 
what is now Oneida county in 1793, as we hear of 
him as leaving his birthplace in Southampton, L. 
I., and "poling" up the Mohawk and Fish creek in 
that year, but in 1794 he came to Fort Schuyler. 
He was judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and 
held many offices of public trust. In an address 
delivered before the Historical Society in Utica a 
short time ago, by one of the most eminent law- 
yers of New York city, and a former resident of 
Utica, this sentiment was expressed: "Of the men 
who one hundred years ago, in 1794, came from 
the east and drove their stakes at old Fort Schuyler, 
there was one among them — Apollos Cooper — 
whose influence through himself and his posterity 
has been sovereign all through your history, and 
even to the present day is benignly felt. To Judge 
Apollos Cooper we owe the life and fame of one of 
the brilliant lawyers for whom Utica has been re- 
nowned." Mrs. E. A. Graham, the only daughter 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

of Judge Cooper, still survives, and is believed to be 
the oldest native born resident of Utica. From 
early youth she was one of the chief promoters of 
that noble charity, the Utica Orphan Asylum, and 
for nearly fifty years its first directress, resigning 
that position but a few years since. Judge Ap- 
pollos Cooper was the lineal descendant of John 
Cooper, who sailed in the Hopewell for America 
in 1635. He first went to Lynn, and was made a 
"freeman" of Boston in 1636. He soon removed 
to Southampton, L. I., and was one of the twenty 
heads of families who formed the Association for 
the Settlers of Southampton in 1637. South- 
ampton was the first town settled by the English in 
the state of New York. This ancestor was also 
one of the founders of the New England states. 
Judge Apollos Cooper purchased in 1794, 115 acres 
of land from James S. Kip, being a part of Cosby's 
Manor. A small house was on the land, but Mr. 
Cooper added to it, and the house which is still 
standing on Whitesboro street near its junction 
with Liberty, presents as to the building the same 
appearance as when Judge Cooper resided there, 
which he continued to do until his death in 1839. 
It was never as pretentious as many others, but 
partook something of the stern simplicity of its 
puritan founder. The old orchard which sur- 

36 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

rounded the house until quite recently has now 
disappeared, but for many years, in its time of 
flower and fruitage, it was a thing of beauty as well 
as a landmark. The Cooper farm extended from 
the river on the north to Genesee street at its junc- 
tion with Cornelia on the southeast, which street 
Mr. Cooper named for his only daughter. The 
Cooper farm covered most of the city now com- 
prised in the third ward. 

BROAD STREET OF LONG AGO 

A gentlewoman of the olden school, a native of 
Utica, and long a resident of the city, has written 
the following reminiscences. Of the circle that 
clustered around Broad street forty or fifty years 
ago there is no better representative to be found 
among the living than in the gracious personality 
of the writer of these recollections, Mrs. E. T. 
Throop Martin, of Willow Brook, Auburn, N. Y.: 

In the early settlement of Utica, Broad street 
was a desirable place of residence. Many of the 
lots on which dwelling houses were erected be- 
longed to the estate of Mr. Bleecker of Albany, 
and were a part of the inheritance of his daughter, 
Mrs. Maria Miller, from whom the purchasers de- 
rived their title. 

37 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

Broad street was not great in extent, but its 
width was generously planned. The dwelling 
houses erected both on the north and south side 
were built to suit the convenience of their owners. 
A few of them were stately and commodious, yet 
modest in external decoration, while others were 
suited to the requirements of families with mod- 
erate means of living. These families included 
many of the distinguished citizens of the State, and 
any lack of adornment in the externals of their 
homes was made up in the quality of the inmates. 

Among these early and honored residents were 
Judge Jonas Piatt, Abraham Varick, Richard Lan- 
sing, Rev. Henry Anthon, Hon. Ezekiel Bacon, 
Thomas H. Hubbard, John H. Ostrom, Zephania 
Piatt, William Williams, John C. Devereux, Sam- 
uel Stocking, James H. Hackett, Alfred Van Sant- 
voord, Joab Stafford, James Dana, Ebenezer 
Shearman and Orrin Clark; while at a later day 
among the residents of Broad street were Hon. 
Hiram Denio, Bleecker B. Lansing, Thomas R. 
Walker, Thomas Skinner, Abram Shepard, Elizur 
Goodrich, Henry White, Harvey Barnard, Theo- 
dore P. Ballou, Joseph Porter, Charles A. Mann, 
Truman K. Butler, George Dana, John Francis, 
Ezra Barnum, A. G. Dauby, Samuel Lightbody and 
John Williams. 

38 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

As the century draws to its close, with loving 
reverence for those who once walked our streets 
and in their departure left to us the memory of 
their good examples, we would recall their honored 
names and clear away the moss from the memorial 
stones which record their virtues. On each monu- 
ment might be engraven the tribute paid to one of 
them: " The noblest work of God — an honest man." 

There were no defaulters among them. Not 
one who proved faithless to any trust reposed in 
him; not one who sought his own aggrandizement 
at the expense of his neighbor, or who filled to 
overflowing his own coffers regardless of the in- 
terests of those around him. "Weighed in the 
balance," those early dwellers in Broad street were 
not "found wanting" in the qualities which con- 
stitute the good citizens. 

Among the most conspicuous of the descend- 
dants of the residents of Broad street 70 years ago, 
are the sons of Col. William Williams and James 
Dana, whose names are honored throughout the 
civilized world. 

Wherever the Chinese language is spoken or 
studied or the history of the "Flowery Kingdom" 
is read, the name of Samuel Wells Williams is 
known; while the mineral kingdom and its expon- 
ents and the coral beds of the sea, which long hid 

39 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

the secret of their history from the world, now bear 
testimony to the power and skill of the great geolo- 
gist to unfold the mystery of their construction. 
Other sons of these families have cut their names 
high on the tree which they have climbed to fame. 
Many more of the occupants of the dwellings in 
Broad street deserve honorable mention and we 
regret that the limited space allotted to this brief 
"looking backward" will not admit of the tribute 
justly due to those who have given dignity and re- 
nown to our city. 

These sons did not grow into a noble manhood 
without the training hand of the gifted and watch- 
ful mother, and this may also be said of the daugh- 
ters of that period, many of whom still adorn every 
circle in which they move, distinguished by their 
intelligence, refinement and high-breeding as well 
as by their large benevolence and retiring modesty. 
No doubt these characteristics were the result of 
a combined effort on the part of the mothers, by 
precept and example and careful training, to culti- 
vate in their daughters all the virtues and graces 
which constitute the highest type of womanhood. 
It was their custom, on the first entrance of their 
daughters into society, to give them careful in- 
struction in all the amenities of social life, impress- 
ing them with what is due from the younger ladies 

40 




The Henry Seymour House, Whitesboro Street 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

to their elders and reminding them before engag- 
ing in the entertainments of the evening to pay due 
respect to all the elderly ladies of the company. 

The men and women, who, at an early day, com- 
posed the society of Utica, set up a high standard 
of morals and manners. Virtue was exalted and 
vice frowned upon, and truth and sincerity and 
uprightness in conduct were earnestly if not se- 
verely inculcated. What wonder, then, that 
twice the State of New York selected from this 
community its first executive officer and that later, 
the two senators representing the Empire State in 
Congress at the same time, should chance to be 
both residents of Utica? 

THE MALCOLM HOUSE 

On upper Genesee street stands a house, now oc- 
cupied by Egbert Bagg, whose early occupants be- 
longed to the Revolutionary families of Gen. 
Schuyler and Gen. Malcolm. Samuel Bayard Mal- 
colm was educated for the law, but his occupation 
was solely in looking after his wife's estates in 
Cosby's Manor. He had married Cornelia Van 
Rensselaer Schuyler, the youngest daughter of 
Philip Schuyler, of Albany, much against the 
wishes of her father, and the youthful pair lived in 
much state and extravagance on this place. The 
daughter of one of our greatest generals, she was 

41 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

closely allied by ties of blood to the families of 
Van Rensselaer and Van Cortland, while her older 
sister was the wife of Alexander Hamilton. Sad 
and pathetic was her life; the rich heiress became in 
a short time reduced to almost poverty and, in 1815, 
after the death of her husband, this place or farm 
of 120 acres was advertised for sale. 

Mrs. Malcolm afterwards married James Coch- 
ran and removed to Oswego, where many years 
later, and when a widow for the second time, she 
became postmistress in the same place where she 
had gone as a young girl with her father in 1794, 
and shared in the adventures of that difficult and 
romantic expedition. She lived to the age of 76 
and died in Oswego, its oldest, as she had been one 
of its very earliest inhabitants, honored and beloved 
by all, for her lovely traits of character, her pa- 
tience and courage in adversity, and for her many 
intellectual gifts. 

"We never drove past this house" writes Doc- 
tor Anson J. Upson, "that my mother did not de- 
light in telling me all about her early friends, Rose 
and Sarah Malcolm." 

THE JOHNSON HOUSE 

One of the few old houses that remain to us un- 
touched by the hand of time is the somewhat oddly- 

42 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

constructed wooden house on Genesee street, built 
by John H. Lothrop in 1809, and occupied by him 
until 1811. Mrs. Clinton, afterwards Mrs. Abram 
Varick, lived in it for a few years when it passed 
into the hands of Alexander B. Johnson, and is 
still in the possession of the family. Surrounded 
by its beautiful garden with its famous pink thorn 
trees, rare roses and flowering shrubs of all descrip- 
tions, the house is still one of the most striking of 
our old residences. It stands well up from the 
street on a terrace, its deep stone steps guarded by 
two frowning lions, which were always objects of 
terror to youthful minds. Mr. Johnson was known 
all through the State as an able banker and a man 
of rare intellectual gifts and attainments. His mar- 
riage with the daughter of Charles Adams and the 
granddaughter of President John Adams brought 
a delightful circle of friends into his home life, 
while his high standing as a banker and financier 
brought him into close intercourse with the lead- 
ing men of the times. 

RECEPTION TO LA FAYETTE 

On the morning of June 9, 1825, all the village 
of Utica was a gay scene of festive activity to honor 
the nation's guest, the Marquis and General La 
Fayette. Arches were raised, houses were gaily 

43 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

decorated with flowers and flags, processions were 
formed, crowds of people from the surrounding 
country and villages filled the streets. The road 
leading to the west was changed from Rome street 
to La Fayette. While a general reception and 
grand review of the troops was held at Shephard's 
or Bagg's Hotel, a more private reception was held 
at the Johnson House. The Marquis hearing that 
the granddaughter of his friend John Adams, whom 
he had known so well in former days, was living in 
Utica, requested leave to pay his respects in person, 
and the ladies of the village were invited to come 
and be presented to him. 

In this little village of Utica La Fayette was to 
find many army friends and their descendants, 
although so remote from any of the scenes of war. 
At Oriskany was Colonel Lansing, who had been at 
Yorktown, and General Knox, both of whom rode 
as his escort in the procession, while Mrs. Henry 
Seymour represented her father, General Jonathan 
Forman, who had served at Valley Forge and York- 
town with La Fayette, and there were doubtless 
many others. "I was a young school girl at the 
time," said her daughter, Mrs. Rutger B. Miller, 
"and when my mother wished to take me with her 
to Mrs. Johnson's to be introduced to La Fayette, 
I foolishly thought it would be far more interest- 

44 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

ing to see the procession from the top of a building 
in Genesee street with Mary Kip, afterwards Mrs. 
Charles P. Kirkland, than to go to the reception, 
and how often have I most deeply regretted my de- 
cision. My mother was much overcome at seeing 
the general and could scarcely command her voice 
to ask him if he remembered her father, but he in- 
stantly recalled him as having been one of his lieu- 
tenants at Valley Forge." 

Charles D. Miller, of Geneva, N. Y., writes in 
reference to this visit: ''Brother Rutger took all of 
his little brothers and introduced us to the general 
at Bagg's hotel. We shook hands with him. He 
was tall, distinguished, gentlemanly and hand- 
some. Pictures of him were extensively sold and 
adorned many houses. Later on in the day our 
old waiter, Jimmy Lang, took me, I was about six 
years old, to the canal bridge at Third street, un- 
der which the boat carrying the General and his 
staff was to pass. I sat on the railing, and at the 
right minute I poured a basket of flowers from our 
old Main street garden over his head. He picked 
up some of them, stuck two or three in his button 
hole, and looked up with a smile of thanks. Jimmy 
and I were as proud as though we had been the mar- 
quis himself. Captain William Clarke's horses 
were the handsomest horses in Utica at that time, 

45 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

so they were harnessed to Mrs. Henry Seymour's 
barouche, which had been painted and varnished 
for the occasion, and was placed at the service of 
the General. The driver was a black man, your 
grandfather Seymour's coachman, whose name I 
do not recall, although he has been to see me, and 
his daughter lives here in Geneva. This carriage 
was the one General Forman had brought up from 
New Jersey when they came to settle in Cazenovia, 
and was the first thing of the kind to go over these 
rough corduroy roads. We used it afterwards on 
the "Hill." I used to drive your Grandmother 
Miller down to the Dutch church. It was hung 
very high, and the carpeted steps let down like a 
step-ladder." 

In a memoir of the late Mrs. Thomas R. Walker 
is also an interesting account of the reception at the 
Johnson house for La Fayette, where a collation 
was served and a few distinguished people assem- 
bled. The marquis exchanged pleasant greetings 
with his friends, and afterwards went into the house 
of Arthur Breeze, directly next to the Johnson 
place. He also went to the house of Captain 
Clarke, then president of the village, and whose 
house stood on Genesee street where the Second 
National bank has since been built. His son, 
Thomas Allen Clarke, then a little boy, was lifted 

46 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

up to be kissed by the general, and was a proud 
and happy boy forever after. Probably never 
again will Utica have the opportunity to give such 
a greeting to a man so distinguished in Europe and 
America, and whose history reads like a romance, 
blended with the stern realities of two revolutions — 
the most fearful struggles for life and liberty. 

At the eastern end of Broad street stands a house 
far surpassing any other in Utica, for its associa- 
tion with the revolutionary hero, Colonel Benjamin 
Walker. It was known for many years as the 
Colonel Walker place, but is more familiar to those 
of the present day as the Wager place and the Cul- 
ver place. Colonel Benjamin Walker, an English- 
man by birth, was educated in France, and from 
his knowledge of the French language was ap- 
pointed aide to Baron Von Steuben at Valley Forge 
in 1777, and translated his orders to our American 
soldiers. He was afterwards on Washington's 
staff, and served with distinction all through the 
war. He and Colonel North became part of Von 
Steuben's family, and at the baron's death became 
his heirs. In 1797 Colonel Walker was appointed 
agent for the estate of Lady Bath, in the western 
part of New York state, which led him to remove 
from the city of New York to the village of Utica, 
where he laid out the beautiful grounds and built 

47 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

the ample house which still stands as a monument 
to his good taste and cultivation. Here he lived 
in much state and elegance, with his three slaves 
for house servants, besides the men employed on 
the place. His coach is said to have been the first 
one ever used in Utica, and he always exercised a 
most genial hospitality, while his interest in the 
general welfare of the little village was unceasing. 
He was one of the earliest founders and pew holders 
of old Trinity church, securing for the corporation 
a gift of land from Lady Bath and subscribing lib- 
erally himself. He was always present in his pew 
at church, which was generally full, for he was rare- 
ly without guests, whose attendance at church in 
the morning was as much a matter of course as the 
Sunday dinner in the afternoon and the game of 
whist in the evening. 

The grounds surrounding his house were laid 
out with much taste, and the two beautiful pepper- 
idge trees in front of his house were marked features 
of the lawn, and grew to a large size. They were 
planted by the Colonel himself, as were also the 
large pines at the rear of the house, and the haw- 
thorne hedge which surrounded the entire place. 
The cheerful white wooden house, with its hand- 
some hall and spacious rooms, is familiar to many 
of our citizens, and the hospitality that was built 

48 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

into its walls originally, never failed to offer a wel- 
come and cheer to all comers when occupied by its 
successive owners, the Bours, the Sewards, the 
Wagers and the Culvers. 

The house was sold to his son-in-law, Peter 
Bours, who built the house on Broad street, after- 
ward occupied by the families of Mr. Varick, Mrs. 
Breeze, Mrs. George S. Dana, G. Clarence Church- 
ill and Truman K. Butler. After the latter's brief 
occupancy the Walker house was used as a school 
by Madame Despard, and was much frequented 
by the incipient belles of the village. Among the 
list of scholars we find the names of Frances Hunt, 
(Mrs. George H. Throop), Frances Lothrop (Mrs. 
Lathrop), Jane Lynch, Mary Kip (Mrs. Charles 
P. Kirkland), Mary Seymour (Mrs. Rutger B. 
Miller), Sophia Seymour (Mrs. Edward F. Shon- 
nard), and many others. 

The beaux of the village were not slow in finding 
out that the walk out Broad street was one of the 
pleasantest in town, and one of the wits of the day, 
John H. Lothrop, is said to have asked if the old 
Walker place was not a genteel institute for young 
gentlemen as well as a ladies' seminary. 

The last occupant of this famous house was 
Abram E. Culver, who purchased it in 1856 and 
resided there until his death in 1885. The house 

49 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

and grounds remained practically unchanged with 
the exception of throwing two rooms into one and 
extending the piazzas. 

At Colonel Walker's death in 1818 Abram Var- 
ick, Nathan Williams and Judge Morris S. Miller 
were named as executors of his will, and in the let- 
ter book of the latter are many interesting letters 
written to announce the death of his friend. To 
the nephew of Mrs. Walker, Mr. William H. Rob- 
inson, of New York, he writes: "In the death of 
Colonel Walker, his immediate friends and connec- 
tions have met a severe and irreparable loss. The 
public calamity is sensibly felt here. For myself 
I have lost one of my oldest and most steadfast 
friends to whose experience and good counsels I 
have been much indebted for many years past. 
He was a man of the most enlarged and active be- 
nevolence I ever saw." 

Colonel Walker died in 1818. In June, 1875, his 
remains, with those of Dr. John Cochran, were re- 
moved from the old cemetery on Whitesboro street 
to Forest Hill. The following account taken from 
the Utica Herald gives the interesting details of 
this impressive military and religious ceremony, 
while the letter from Rutger B. Miller gives the per- 
sonal recollections of one who as a boy had seen 
and admired these heroes of bygone days. 

50 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

MRS. DESPARDS 

FOR TBE 

EDUCATION OP YOUNG LADIES. 



TERMS. 

Board, with English Tvition, $37 50 per Quarter. 
Washing, an additional charge. 

...<s0©... 

TUITION. 

English in all its Branches, Writing, Arithmetic, ) ^q qq 

and Plain Sewing ) 

French 8 00 

Instruction and use of Globes, ....... 1 25 

Finn Needle. Work, 4 00 

Tambour 2 00 

St tionary, including Pens, Ink, &c I 50 

Fuel per Annum, 1 00 

Entrance, $2. 

PAYABLE QUARTERLY IN ADVANCE. 
•••<$©©••• 

Velvet Painting, taught in the most approved manner, 
Proper Master for Music, Drawing, and Dancing, will be en- 
gaged, vrtien a efficient number of pupils can be obtained. 
Each Youne Lady to provide her own Bed, Bedding, 
Towels, Table and Tea Spoons. 



Utica, Nov. 26, 1822. 



[From Utica Morning Herald June 14, 1875.] 

HONORS TO THE DEAD 



Our Revolutionary Heroes 



Transfer of the Remains of Col. Walker and Medical 
Director Cochran to Forest Hill Cemetery — An Im- 
posing Pageant — Distinguished Participants — Inter- 
esting Exercises — Address by Hon. Erastus Clark — 
Reminiscences of the Departed — Left in Repose on 
Summit View, June 14, 1875. 

The centennial anniversary of the battle of Bun- 
ker Hill, will be remembered by Uticans for a long 
time on account of the peculiarly interesting cere- 
monial that occurred upon that day, within our 
city, which was directly connected with the revo- 
lutionary war. In accordance with the arrange- 
ments heretofore announced, the remains of Col. 
Benjamin Walker and Medical Director John 
Cochran, men who took an active part in the revo- 
lution, with those of their wives, were transferred 
from the old burying ground on Water street, to 
Forest Hill Cemetery, under the auspices and direc- 
tion of the Cemetery Association and the relatives 
of the deceased. 

52 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

The Preliminary Arrangements 

were in charge of Hon. William J. Bacon, presi- 
dent of the association, Dr. M. M. Bagg and John 
F. Seymour, Esq., the committee appointed for 
this purpose. In perfecting the details, these gen- 
tlemen were ably assisted by Undertaker Douglass. 
The admirable arrangement of the ceremonial, in 
every respect, was creditable to that gentleman in 
the highest degree. As announced yesterday, the 
remains were disinterred on Wednesday, put into 
neat caskets and placed in Mr. Douglass' parlors, 
on Broad street. The apartments were appro- 
priately draped with American flags and the cas- 
kets were covered with the national colors. The 
plates found with the remains of Colonel Walker 
and wife have been described. Dr. Cochran's 
casket was marked with a plate bearing the follow- 
ing inscription, copied in part from the tablet over 
his grave : 

Dr. John Cochran, 

Died April, 1807, 

In the 77th year of his age. 

Gertrude Cochran, 
his wife, 

Died March, 1813, 
In the 89th year of her age. 

53 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

At 1.30 p.m. General Dering and staff re- 
ported at the place of assembling, and at 2 p.m. 
there was quite a gathering of distinguished officials 
and citizens, clergymen and members of the med- 
ical profession. General John Cochran, grandson 
of Dr. Cochran, his sister, Mrs. Ellen Walter, eldest 
daughter of Walter L. Cochran, and her daughter, 
Miss Gertrude Walter, arrived in this city yester- 
day morning. They sat at the head of the re- 
mains of their relatives, and were introduced to the 
pall-bearers and other gentlemen present by Dr. 
Bagg. Among the officials in attendance was Col. 
Villanueva, comptroller of the Spanish Ordnance 
Commission, in full uniform and wearing a num- 
ber of decorations of honor. The military com- 
panies arrived with commendable promptness, took 
their line on Broad street, under the direction of 
Major Peattie. 

Military Honors 

A little after 2 p.m. the Old Utica Band began 
a dirge, and the caskets were borne from the un- 
dertaking rooms by members of the staffs of the 
Utica Citizens' Corps and the Adjutant Bacon 
Cadets, along the line to the left and returned to the 
hearses at the right. These vehicles were decorated 
with plumes, and each was drawn by four handsome 

54 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

gray horses. As the remains of the heroes passed 
the line, citizens uncovered their heads, the colors 
were dipped and the military presented arms. A 
vast crowd was congregated about the spot, and 
all seemed impressed with the solemnity of the 
scene. 

The Pall-Bearers 

The gent emen selected to act as pall-bearers, 
represented the most venerable and prominent 
citizens of Utica, representatives of a chain in the 
history of our city that is fast losing its links. 
Following are their names: 

A. G. Dauby, Ezra S. Barnum, 

J. E. Warner, J. C. DeLong, 

Harry Camp, Theo. S. Faxton, 

James Sayre, Martin Hart, 

George Hopper, Alrick Hubbell, 

J. A. Shearman, John Stevens, 
David Lewis, Owen O'Neil. 

The Pageant 

About 2.30 p.m. the procession moved up Gen- 
esee street in the following order: 
Police 
General Dering and Staff 
Colonel Young and Staff 
Regimental Band 

55 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

Major Peattie and Staff 
Utica Veteran Zouaves 
Utica Dering Guards 
Utica Fire Zouaves 
Old Utica Band 
Colonel Davies and Staff 
Hearse containing the remains of Colonel Walker 
Utica Citizens' Corps as Guard of Honor 
Hearse containing the remains of Surgeon Cochran 
Adjutant Bacon Cadets as Guard of Honor 
Officiating Clergymen and Speakers 
Pall Bearers 
General John Cochran and other relatives of the de- 
ceased 
President Bacon, Dr. M. M. Bagg and John F. 
Seymour, Committee 
Forest Hill Cemetery Association 
Senators and Members of the Judicial Corps 
Colonel Villanueva, of Spanish Ordnance Com- 
mission 
President Gray and members of the Medical As- 
sociation 
Common Council 
Police and Fire Commissioners 
Representatives of the Press 
Citizens in Carriages 



56 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

The military marched with reversed arms, the 
bands playing dirges. The Corps and Cadets 
formed hollow squares surrounding the remains, 
the color bearers of each following the hearse. 
The ranks of the companies were full, and the dis- 
play in every respect was one of the most solemn 
and imposing that has ever been seen in Utica. 

Along the Line 

All the flags of the city were placed at half-mast 
after noon, and many business houses and resi- 
dences were draped with the national colors. The 
pageant attracted a large number of persons. 
Three sections of police led the procession, freeing 
the street of vehicles and other obstructions. At 
Oneida Square the military took the cars and rode 
to Prospect street, where the line was reformed and 
marched to Forest Hill. 

At the Cemetery 

There was a goodly number of persons at the 
cemetery in advance of the procession. The 
grounds were in beautiful order and the coolness of 
the day tempted many people to visit them. The 
site of the new resting-place of the heroes' remains 
is in the new addition, the highest point, at a spot 
that might appropriately be called 

57 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

Summit View 

It commands a magnificent panoramic view of 
the most delightful scenery upon all sides. No 
more lovely spot can be imagined. The ground is 
high and at the depth of two feet, the graves were 
cut into a solid bed of slate. While the procession 
was slowly winding its way up the main avenue to 
the graves, our reporter had an opportunity of ex- 
amining the original tablet and tomb-stones that 
marked the first resting-places of the dead. 

The Tablets 

The tablet over the grave of Surgeon Cochran 
and wife is a large flat slab of sandstone. It 
rested upon a foundation of brick, and bore the 
following inscription: 

Here lie the Bodies 

of 

Dr. John Cochran, 

Director General of the Military Hospitals of the 

United States in the Revolutionary War, 

And of 

Gertrude 

His Wife. 

The former died in April, in the year 1807, in the 

77th year of his age; and the latter in March, in 

the year 1813, in the 89th year of her age. 

58 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

This monument is erected by their sons, James and 
Walter T. Cochran. 
The headstones over Col. Walker and wife are of 
white sandstone about six feet in height and each 
two in width. They bear the following inscrip- 
tions: 

Sacred 

To the Memory of 

Col. Benjamin Walker, 

who departed this life 

Jan. 13, 1818, 

Aged 65 years. 

Sacred 
To the Memory of 
Mary Walker, 
Wife of 
Col. Benjamin Walker, 
who departed this life 
June 17, 1817, 
Aged 62 years. 
The Cochran tablet is considerably weather- 
worn, but only the last line of the inscription was 
indistinct. The tablets, head and footstones were 
transferred to Forest Hill, and will still mark the 
graves. The footstones bear only the names of 
Colonel and Mrs. Walker. 

59 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

It will be observed that Col. Walker's wife died 
just fifty-eight years ago yesterday, a singular co- 
incidence. 

An Impressive Scene 

General Dering formed the military into a hol- 
low square completely encircling the plat about the 
graves, he and his staff taking positions opposite 
the platform and seats that had been conveniently 
arranged by Col. Bagg, superintendent of the cem- 
eteries. The spectators surrounded the militia. 
After the square was formed, the remains were 
taken from the hearses and placed over the graves, 
Col. Walker on the north and Surgeon Cochran on 
the south, both facing due west. 

General Cochran stood by the graves, and the 
ladies of his party remained in their carriage on 
account of fatigue and illness. The venerable pall 
bearers, with a larger number of aged residents of 
Utica than has ever been called together by any 
other occasion, sat in a semi-circle around the plat- 
form. The majority of the number have passed 
three score years and ten, and all of them are 
closely connected with the growth, thrift and pros- 
perity of Utica. The other distinguished guests 
surrounded the semi-circle. 



60 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

The Exercises 

The ceremonies at the graves did not begin until 
4.40 p.m. At that time the Old Band played an 
appropriate dirge, and the caskets enclosed in 
cases were lowered into the new graves. 

Judge Bacon, president of the Forest Hill Ceme- 
tery Association, presided over the exercises. Ad- 
dressing the audience he said: 

We are assembled here on this eventful day to 
pay honors to the remains of men who played no 
inconsiderable parts in the great struggles of the 
revolution. There were few more fitting occasions 
than on this, which it was proper to invoke the 
presence and blessing of the Heavenly Father. 

Rev. Dr. Fowler made a prayer appropriate to 
the occasion. 

President Bacon said he did not intend to antici- 
pate the remarks to be made by others, but it might 
be proper to say that the exercises of the day were 
in accordance with propositions made by the asso- 
ciation about two years ago. A committee was ap- 
pointed to carry into effect the project. Among 
the first originators of the idea was the late James 
Watson Williams. The details of the project had 
been mainly carried into operation by the labors 
of Dr. Bagg, to whom great credit is due. 

61 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

Hon. Rutger B. Miller's Reminiscences 

President Bacon said Hon. Rutger B. Miller had 
prepared a few interesting reminiscences. That 
gentleman was absent from the city, but his re- 
sponse to the committee's invitation would be read 
by his and everybody's friend, John F. Seymour. 

Mr. Seymour said it was about a year ago since 
steps were commenced towards arranging for the 
transfer of the remains of the revolutionary heroes. 
Permission was not obtained until too late for last 
year. An unfortunate accident had prevented him 
from taking a very active part in the work, and the 
chief labor had devolved upon Dr. Bagg, to whom 
great credit was due. Among the letters received 
were the following, which he read: 

Elmwood, Boonville, June 14, 1875. 
J. F. Seymour, Dr. M. M. Bagg, Committee. 

Gentlemen: I hasten to comply with your polite 
attention, requesting me to furnish familiar details 
within my recollection, relative to the social life of 
Colonel Benjamin Walker and Dr. John Cochran, 
whose remains are to be removed from the old 
burying ground, in the city of Utica, to Forest Hill 
Cemetery. 

Colonel Walker built and resided in the old man- 
sion now occupied by Mr. Abraham E. Culver, and 

62 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

from my earliest boyhood I remember seeing the 
Englishman of the olden time riding daily on his 
old war horse, "Hector," from his residence to the 
"village," as Utica was then called. He often 
stopped at the door of our house to bid good day, 
and a few hours after, Mrs. Walker passed in her 
English carriage with green Venetian blinds, and 
Simon on the box looking as important as King 
Dahomey. 

Colonel Walker was eminently social and jovial 
in his temperament, and yet rigidly systematic and 
punctual in matters of business — uniting the char- 
acteristics of a military man with those of an En- 
glishman, whether "on 'change," or at the dinner 
table, or at church. He was one of the founders of 
11 Old Trinity," and occupied a pew near my father's 
which was usually full, for the colonel was rarely 
without guests, whose attendance at church in the 
morning was as much a religious observance as the 
Sunday dinner in the afternoon and a game of 
whist in the evening. 

He adopted the son and two daughters of Mrs. 
Robinson, who was the sister of Mrs. Walker for 
whom he provided with paternal care and generos- 
ity from an ample fortune left him by Baron Steu- 
ben, whose aide-de-camp he was during the revo- 
lutionary war. Madame Devillehaut, afterward 

63 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

Madame Combe, was his only child, to whom he 
left his estate by will. She was educated in France, 
and lived there except during a few years after the 
restoration of the Bourbons, when Colonel Combe 
of the Old Guard ("qui meurt, mats ne se rend 
pas"), fled to this country and resided in the brick 
chateau (still standing on Broad street), which he 
built. On the accession of Louis Phillipe, Colonel 
Combe vanished at a moment's warning and his 
wife soon followed. At the siege of Constantine, 
Combe fell at the head of his regiment, and Ma- 
dame Combe soon followed her hero to the grave, 
her property escheating to the state for want of 
heirs. 

Colonel Walker was a man of medium size, well 
proportioned, active, energetic; stern in exacting 
from others the strict performance of duty, in 
which he never failed himself, with a hand open as 
day for melting charity, he was a strict accountant; 
and rigidly economical in his expenditures while 
living generously and freely contributing to the en- 
joyments of social life and elegant hospitality, of 
which his house was headquarters. The dinner 
table was his natural element, surrounded by choice 
spirits like James Cochran, Walter Cochran, Kirk- 
patrick, Kip, Jeremiah and James Van Rensselaer, 
Brodhead, etc., all "glorious o'er all the ills of life 

64 








mm, 







The Kirkland or Gridley House 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

victorious." Although not a humorist, he enjoyed 
a hearty laugh, and a good story and song, and was 
long and loud in his plaudits and encores. 

The Cochran Family 

I have no recollection of ever seeing Dr. John 
Cochran, the grandfather of James and John Coch- 
ran and their sisters. But I well remember Major 
James Cochran, formerly of Palatine; his brother, 
Captain Walter Cochran ; his wife, the daughter of 
Peter Smith, of Peterboro, and all their children. 
I never shall forget the match between Walter L. 
Cochran and Cornelia Smith, who came driving up 
to our old house, at the foot of Main street, in a 
gig and tandem, one fine day. 

Walter Cochran was one of the most polished 
gentlemen I ever saw in his social education. His 
after-dinner songs were "music's own," and I have 
seen a party at one time melted to tears, and at an- 
other roaring with laughter, as he chose to im- 
press them with grief or joy. 

Mrs. Cochran was a lady of marked character; 
distinguished as much for her conversational power 
and impressive manners, as her brothers Peter and 
Gerrit for their eloquence and oratory in public 
speaking. 

65 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

The ladies of Utica loved to hear her conver- 
sation as much as the gentlemen loved to hear the 
songs of her husband. Boy as I was at this period, 
I loved to sit upon a bench in the parlor and listen 
to her while passing an afternoon and evening with 
my mother, whose fireside was cheered "many a 
time and oft" by the unceremonious visits of this 
magnificent lady, whose four daughters, Mrs. 
Walter, Mrs. Barclay, Mrs. Kemys and Mrs. Bid- 
die, still live to represent her. She had three sons, 
John, James and Peter, the two former surviving. 

The mention of their names, bringing the light 
of other days around me, reminds me of an incident, 
which illustrates the change which time has pro- 
duced in men and manners generally during the past 
sixty years. Walter Cochran, the father of the 
boys, was a cousin of Stephen Van Rensselaer, pa- 
troon of Albany, their mothers being sisters, of the 
Livingston family. Stephen Van Rensselaer was 
president of the Board of Canal Commissioners, 
who were holding a meeting at Bagg's hotel, say 
about the year 1820. After morning service, on 
Sunday, my father took me with him to pay his 
respects to the patroon and other commissioners. 
While in the patroon's parlor, Walter Cochran, 
with John, James and Peter, were announced and 
admitted. Walter saluted the patroon in his usual 

66 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

graceful manner, and introduced John, James and 
Peter. Jesse, their negro boy, had washed their 
faces and put on a clean collar for each of them but 
he had not brushed their shoes, and preferred to 
send them barefoot rather than with dirty shoes. 
It was not unusual for boys to go barefoot in the 
streets of Utica at that time; it was considered 
rather effeminate and girlish to wear shoes in warm 
weather, and the boys felt as easy without shoes as 
they would have felt with them, and perhaps easier. 

In regard to Major James Cochran, I remember 
dining with him at his residence at Palatine, on the 
Mohawk river, where he lived, a bachelor, in a 
spacious house. He afterwards moved to Utica, 
in very straitened circumstances. His friends here 
obtained for him the office of justice of the peace 
and notary public, from which he derived a scanty 
support. His office was on Broad, near Genesee 
street. He married his cousin, Mrs. Malcolm, a 
daughter of General Schuyler. 

Gerrit Smith induced them to go to Oswego, and 
after Major Cochran's death, Mrs. Cochran was 
appointed postmistress, and one of her sons is now 
living there in good business. She was a remark- 
able woman, and abounding in charity to the poor, 
who attended her funeral in large numbers. 



67 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

Major Cochran once represented Montgomery 
county in Congress, and was a very interesting and 
intelligent man in conversation, and his society 
was sought for his general information in regard to 
the early history of the country, and high social 
culture. 

You have asked for "familiar details," gentle- 
men, and I have given such as occur to me, off- 
hand and without time for reflection or research. 
When I think of these good old times in Utica 

"I feel like one who treads alone, 
Some banquet hall deserted; 
Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead, 
And all but he departed." 

Respectfully, 

Rutger B. Miller. 

Dust to Dust Again 

At the conclusion of the reading, Rev. Dr. Van 
Deusen recited the beautiful and impressive serv- 
ice of the Episcopal church, and pronounced the 
benediction. 

Finale 

A detachment of the Utica Veteran Zouaves, un- 
der the command of Lieutenant Thelwin Jones, 
fired a volley over the graves, and the solemn cere- 
monies were at an end. 

68 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

The exercises were concluded at 6 p.m. The 
military marched to Genesee street and the street 
cars. The procession was reformed on Oneida 
square, and a very handsome parade was made 
down Genesee street. The line was reviewed by 
General Dering and staff in front of the Butter- 
field House, and the companies returned to their 
armories. The officers and members of the var- 
ious companies deserve the thanks and compli- 
ments expressed in another column by the com- 
mittee of the Cemetery Association. They never 
appeared to better advantage. 

AN OLD DOCUMENT 

Colonel Walker at one time owned the ground 
upon which the Herald office now stands. Alex- 
ander Seward, Esq., has placed in our hands well 
preserved articles of agreement between Colonel 
Walker and Asahel Seward, made July 1, 1815, in 
the village of Utica, and witnessed by Peter Bours. 
The agreement was between the makers to set aside 
two and a half feet from their lots which adjoined 
to form the five feet passage, fifty feet in length, to 
the rear of the lots of the present No. 58 and 60 
Genesee street, that existed until the Herald build- 
ings were remodeled. In consideration of the sum 
of $100, Asahel Seward was permitted to extend 

69 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

his building over the whole of this passage from 
the first story upwards. The agreement states 
that both parties to it intended to build upon their 
respective lots at the time it was made. The prem- 
ises, No. 58 Genesee street, still belong to the Sew- 
ard family. 

Hon. John Cochran, of New York, writes the 
following interesting account of what may be 
called the Legend of Miller's Bridge, only unlike 
most legends, it is absolutely true: 

"There had come about these days to Utica the 
Rev. William Woodbridge, the father, I believe, 
of the author of the Woodbridge geography, upon 
which we used to whet our youthful beaks, and to 
whom Dr. Bagg refers in his "Pioneers of Utica." 
He was a round, bulbous little man, who opened a 
school for boys and girls in Utica, and having been 
the preceptor of my mother, he became an inmate 
of our house. To us youngsters passing under his 
rod he was known as Daddy Woodbridge. Now 
Daddy Woodbridge, wishing to make a visit across 
the river in Deerfield, a steady old farm horse was 
procured for him and in the morning of a leisure 
day he started upon his trip over Miller's bridge, 
purposing to return the same way at night. In the 
meantime, during the day the bridge was disman- 
tled, leaving its string pieces bare from shore to 

70 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

shore. Doctor Woodbridge returned as he had 
intended during the night, and my father first 
seeing him at breakfast in the morning asked him 
in surprise which way he had returned: "Oh," said 
he, "by the same way I went!" "Impossible," 
said my father; "the bridge was dismantled yes- 
terday." Dr. Woodbridge was incredulous, and 
still resisting the conviction of his error, it was pro- 
posed to go down to the bridge. Accordingly my 
father, my mother, Dr. Woodbridge and my 
brother James (from whom I had this anecdote), 
went to the bridge, when seeing that his horse must 
in the dark night have borne him over the river in 
safety, unconscious of his danger, on the naked 
string pieces of the bridge, the Doctor fainted 
away." 

Where the Mohawk in the good old days inter- 
sected the Cherry Valley Turnpike, stood the ruins 
of a bridge that had been built by Rensselaer 
Schuyler, a son of the Revolutionary General 
Schuyler. Its acceptance depended on the con- 
dition of the safe transit of a carriage as a test of its 
completion. One day your grandfather, Judge 
Miller, was abruptly greeted by Mr. Schuyler with 
his characteristic brusque manner, "Come, Judge, 
get into your carriage quickly and drive over the 
bridge before it falls." The carriage passed over, 

71 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

and the bridge having been accepted, was after- 
wards known as "Miller's Bridge." 

THE DUTCH CHURCH 

The Holland or Dutch settlers of this country 
brought with them the strongest attachment to 
their national church, and we are not surprised to 
find it very firmly established in New York, Albany 
and Kingston, and in fact wherever their settle- 
ments existed. The Patroons of New York were 
required by the terms of their charter from the 
West India Company to establish a church for 
their people — who loved their liturgy, psalms and 
hymn in their own language, and did not readily 
assimilate with the English colonists. Their 
church records were most carefully preserved, 
of marriages, births and deaths, and to this day 
form a valuable reference record of the early set- 
tlers. The origin of the Reformed Dutch church 
in Jtica must be traced over the Mohawk River to 
Deerfield, where as early as in 1802 Dominie Spin- 
ner, or, as he was appropriately called, "Father 
Spinner," established a Sunday school. It was 
taught by Dominie Marshall, a learned divine of 
the Lutheran church, who had served as chaplain 
to the king of Prussia for fifteen years in Berlin. 
In 1806 Father Spinner took charge of it, while still 

72 



i 




— 





A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

continuing his work in Herkimer. He had come 
from Germany towards the end of the last century, 
where he had been a monk, but afterwards re- 
nounced the Roman Catholic Church and became 
a Protestant clergyman. He was a man greatly 
beloved by his people, of fine presence, courtly 
manners, and most scholarly attainments. He was 
the missionary for all this region, and held services 
in private houses, as well as halls and wherever he 
could get the people to come. When the church 
was formally organized in 1825, under Mr. Labagh, 
services were held in Washington Hall on the cor- 
ner of John and Broad streets. Nicholas G. 
Weaver and Adam Brouwer were its elders. In 
1827 Rev. John Schermerhorn came as a mission- 
ary, and with Abram Varick, Charles C. Brod- 
head, Captain William Clarke, organized a build- 
ing committee. A lot was donated at the head of 
John street by Mrs. Morris S. Miller, but was af- 
terwards exchanged for one on the south-east cor- 
ner of John and Broad street, where the church 
was built and dedicated in June, 1830. The ser- 
mon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Ludlow, of 
Albany, Rev. Dr. Yates, Rev. Drs. Schermerhorn, 
Brouwer and Bethune assisting in the services. It 
must be remembered that it was still a mission 
church, without a clergyman in charge or money 

73 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

to defray the current expenses, until in November 
of this same year when Rev. George W. Bethune 
was called and accepted the charge of this newly 
organized parish, and the more clearly to estab- 
lish the doctrine and precepts of the Reformed 
Dutch Church, such clergymen as the Revs. John 
De Witt, Westbrook, Milledollar, Gosman, and 
Thomas DeWitt, were invited each to spend a Sun- 
day here and to fill the pulpit. Dr. Bethune's 
talents were of a high order; gifted with eloquence, 
a lover of music and poetry, he was well fitted to 
draw forth the deep and lasting attachment of his 
people. An ardent disciple of Sir Isaac Walton, he 
shared with him the love of field, forest and flood. 
His mission church at the Thousand Islands tes- 
tified to his love for the wandering sheep in the 
Wilderness. 

His only too brief pastorate ended in 1834, but 
his memory endures as one of the lasting treasures 
of the church. He died in Florence, Italy, in 1862, 
and on the Sunday preceding his death he preached 
in the American chapel a sermon on the Resurrec- 
tion. His remains were brought home for burial, 
and so far as possible the minute directions con- 
cerning his funeral were carried out. 

" Put on me my pulpit gown and bands, with my 
pocket bible in my right hand. I have had pleas- 

74 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

ant Christian fellowship with all denominations, 
so let my pall bearers be taken from among them, 
and let a scarf be sent to Dr. Vinton of Trinity, and 
Dr. Smyth Pyne of St. John's, Washington, D. C* 
Dr. Hutton and Mr. Willetts to speak, not in eu- 
logy, but in such terms of affection as they may 
choose, testifying to my love of preaching the sim- 
ple gospel and that for my Master's honor, not 
mine. Dr. Ferris to read the sentences from the 
funeral service prepared by me in the Reformed 
Dutch Church Liturgy. Braun's funeral chant 
from 15 Corinthians. Also my own hymn to a 
cheerful tune: 

It is not death to die, 

To leave this weary road, 
And midst the brotherhood on high, 

To be at home with God. 
It is not death to close 

The eyes long dimmed with tears, 
And wake in glorious repose, 

To spend eternal years. 
It is not death to bear 

The wrench that sets us free 
From dungeon chain to breathe the air 

Of boundless liberty. 
It is not death to fling 

Aside this sinful dust, 
And rise on strong exulting wing, 

To live among the just. 



*A11 the pall bearers formerly wore white scarfs at the funeral and 
often on the following Sunday, when they sat together to listen to the 
funeral sermon. 

75 



SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

Jesus thou Prince of Life, 

Thy chosen cannot die, 
Like Thee they conquer in the strife, 

To reign with Thee on high. 

At the close, Homman's great doxology: Now 
unto Him that loved us and brought again from 
the dead our Lord Jesus Christ." 

The choirs objected that the music chosen was 
too joyful to be suitable to the mournfulness of the 
occasion, but it was evident Dr. Bethune did not 
wish his funeral to be over sad. He who had led 
such a life of joyful thanksgiving, would have his 
death brightened by the sunshine of the Ressurec- 
tion. When he was laid to rest in Greenwood 
Cemetery at the end of a beautiful September day, 
the bright rays of a gorgeous autumnal sunset made 
his grave seem glorious with almost heavenly light. 
A tablet to his memory erected through the efforts 
of Mrs. Dean, with a touching inscription by her 
son, Rev. Dr. Upson, bears fitting tribute to his 
memory in the church he had helped to build. 

The last service held in this church was in Oc- 
tober, 1866, when addresses were given commem- 
orating the individuals who had been identified 
with its early days. Among the names are those of 
Abram Varick, whose unfailing generosity tided 
the parish over many a dark day, Charles C. Brod- 
head, Rufus North, Captain William Clarke, Jus- 

76" 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

tus H. Rathbone, Joseph Kirkland, Joshua C. 
Spencer, P. Sheldon Root, George M. Weaver, 
Thomas E. Clarke, Charles A. Mann, Judges Grid- 
ley, Savage and Bacon, Mrs. Morris S. Miller, 
Mrs. Henry Seymour, Dr. Brigham, William Wal- 
cott, Samuel Stocking, Kellogg Hurlburt, Silas D. 
Childs, Edward S. Brayton, John F. Seymour, 
George S. Dana, Thomas R. Walker. 

I think the services were never held in the Dutch 
language in this church, but in Albany for many 
years one service, and often the principal one, the 
sermon and psalm were all in Holland Dutch. I 
have before me a Dutch hymn book printed in 
Gravenhager, Holland, in 1825, for the "Neder- 
duitsche Hervormde Gemeenten in ons Vader- 
land," with the hymns all set to music, the air or 
soprano only, being printed in the quaint diamond 
shaped notes. Many of them had heavy silver 
clasps and chains wherewith to hang them from 
the belt or arm of the wearer. 

It would have seemed strange and almost im- 
possible to our Dutch forefathers that the time 
should ever come when the preaching in the Dutch 
language should entirely cease from its pulpits, the 
national name be dropped from its corporate 
name and title and the weather cock removed from 
its steeple. In Albany, the stronghold of the Hol- 

77 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

landers, the North Dutch, Middle Dutch, South 
Dutch or Double Dutch, from its two not very 
symmetrical steeples, were like household names, 
and can not easily be given up by those whose as- 
sociations reach back to the early days of the Re- 
formed Dutch Church in America, whose existence 
in this country is connected with so much of its 
early history, and whose records hold some of our 
most famous names inscribed on their pages. 

OLD TRINITY 

No sketch of the Old Homes of Utica can be 
deemed complete that does not include the spirit- 
ual home of so many of our fore-fathers — Old Trin- 
ity so endeared to us by its associations with the 
past. To the descendants of the church of Eng- 
land, the sound of the familiar prayers and peti- 
tions of her beautiful liturgy, came like a voice 
from home in a strange land, and it is not strange 
its services should have been established here at an 
early day, even in the face of many difficulties and 
drawbacks. To the Rev. Philander Chase be- 
longs the credit of founding old Trinity in 1798, 
while Colonel Benjamin Walker must be considered 
its first lay patron. His own handsome house was 
not yet finished, and he was living in a small ten- 
ement near by when Mr. Chase was his guest. 

78 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

The village at that time consisted of one long street, 
the eastern part was Main and the western the 
"Whitesboro road," while houses were scattered 
about indiscriminately in various directions. Mr. 
Chase established lay readings at this visit, but no 
church building was attempted until 1803, when 
a lot 100 feet deep on Broad street, and 127 feet 
deep running through to Catharine street, was 
given by the Bleecker estate as a bonus to the first 
church that should be built in the village. On the 
basis of subscriptions amounting to two thousand 
dollars a church building was begun under the 
architect, Philip Hooker, of Albany, who had de- 
signed the old St. Peter's in that city, the State 
Capitol and the Albany Free Academy. 

The first warden was Judge Nathan Williams; 
second, Abram Walton. Vestrymen — William In- 
man, Charles Walton, John Smith, Colonel Ben- 
jamin Walker, Samuel Hooker, Aylmer Johnson, 
James Hopper, Charles Smith. 

In 1802 the Rev. John Taylor, a Presbyterian mis- 
sionary, made a tour through this part of the state, 
and reported the following discouraging facts con- 
cerning Utica: "This village appears to be a 
mixed mass of discordant materials. Here may 
be found people of ten or twelve different nations, 
(unless he counted the Iroquois as six we are at a 

79 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

loss to account for so many at that early day) of 
all religions and sects, but the greater part are of 
no religion at all. The world is the great object 
with the body of the people. The Presbyterian 
church of Utica and Whitesboro are one congrega- 
tion, and there is no church building in Utica." 
With all due respect to this excellent man, we must 
wonder what very worldly pursuits could be in- 
dulged in at that time besides the felling of trees 
and building of homes for the early settlers. Of 
the town of Floyd he writes: "The soil is good, far 
too good for its inhabitants," and when he de- 
scribes the Methodist revivals of the village of 
Western, his spirits reach the lowest ebb of de- 
pression. It was no wonder that the church of 
England people felt it was a good time to collect 
the stray sheep and form themselves into a con- 
gregation. 

This church building was not completed until 
1810, when its cost had reached the large sum of 
seven thousand dollars, a large amount for the few 
church people to give. It was consecrated by 
Bishop Benjamin Moore, then the only bishop of 
the whole state of New York. Its first rector was 
Rev. Jonathan Judd, who divided his time be- 
tween Utica and Paris Hill. 



80 




Trinity Church 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

The first rector in charge was Rev. Amos G. 
Baldwin, from 1806 to 1818. He built the first 
organ with a manual or key board, with his own 
hands. It did good service for many years in 
Christ church, Sherburne, and afterwards in the 
Presbyterian church, in New York Mills, much 
enlarged and improved. 

Rev. Henry Shaw was Rector in 1819 and re- 
mained for two years. In 1821 came the Rev. 
Henry Anthon, who during his eight years' pas- 
torate so greatly endeared himself to the people. 
His memory is still kept green by his former par- 
ishioners — and he ranks as one of the prominent 
clergymen of New York city where he went from 
Utica. His sermons were marked by purity and 
finish of style, and his conversation displayed a 
high order of ability. During his rectorship the 
parsonage in rear of the church was built, the 
quaint one-story-and-a-half house with its door and 
brass knocker at one end of the enclosed piazza. 
On Dr. Anthon's leaving to accept the charge of 
St. Stephen's in New York in 1829, Dr. Benjamin 
Dorr was called and remained until 1831, when he 
went to Christ Church, Philadelphia. In 1836, 
Dr. Pierre Alexis Proal came from St. George's, 
Schenectady; his fine voice and clear distinct read- 
ing of the service were always sources of pleasure 

81 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

and pride to his friends. He was a scholarly 
man, and for many years Secretary of the General 
Convention. He was a Trustee of Hamilton Col- 
lege, and was frequently called upon to fill other 
educational posts. At his death in 1857, Rev. 
S. Hanson Coxe, who had been his assistant, was 
called to succeed him and began his pastorate of 
twenty-one years, the longest in the history of the 
parish. Rev. Charles H. Gardner was called in 
1878, and Rev. William H. Maxson in 1887. Rev. 
John Ravenscroft Harding in 1894. 

The subjoined shows the list of pew holders in 
1835. It will be noticed there was no centre aisle, 
the middle tier of pews ran across the centre of the 
church and there were raised tiers of pews on 
either side at right angles to the centre. 

The Mural Tablet to Mrs. Montgomery Hunt 
was originally in the rear of the family pew and 
reads as follows: 

In Remembrance of 

Eliza Hunt, 

Wife of 

Montgomery Hunt, 

Who died 14th April, 1824, 

Aged 39. 



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A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 



Why are friends ravished from us. 'Tis to bind 
By soft affections' ties on human hearts 

The thoughts of death; which reason, too supine 
Or misemployed, so rarely fastens there. 



West Side 
E. Kirby 

Nicholas Devereux 
E. H. Benjamin 
Mrs. Winne 
M. Codd 
J. S. Kipp 
Andrews & Tryon 
Henry Seymour 
Estate of J. Hopper 
John McCall 
B. B. Lansing 
Col. John Hinman 
Doctor Smith 
Mr. Isaiah Tiffany 
S. A. Sibley 
J. Sabin 
Mr. Perkins 
H. W. Lyon 
J. Osborne 



East Side 
R. Shearman 
T. Colling 
Samuel Beardsley 
Richard Despard 
Wm. Kyte 
Montgomery Hunt 
S. Stafford, Jr. 
Thomas H. Hubbard 
Lord & Merrill 
A. G. Dauby 
H. B. Clarke 
C. Grannis 
E. B. Shearman 
Russ & Oley 
Wm. Bostwick 
Mr. Watkin 
Mr. Culver 
Mr. Huntington 
Prentice & Bristol 



83 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 



Breeze 


Rector 


Colton & Fanning 


J. Sanger 


E. Welles 


M.J. Devlin 


Henry Green 


Rudolph Snyder 


Richard Lansing 


Judge Nathan Williams 


E. Hart 


John Newell 


Mrs. Miller 


Ccl. Combe 


Brodhead & Varick 


Wm. Gainer 


Charles Oester 


Amos Gage 


S. A. Sayre 


Ammi Dows 


Stephen Walton 


M. Eagan 


Z. H. Cooper 





From the little church in the fields Trinity grew 
by successive enlargements to a goodly size, and 
from its handful of " feeble folk" arose a large and 
flourishing congregation, and from this mother 
church six strong parishes have arisen. If its 
walls could speak they would tell us of Bishop 
Moore, Bishop Hobart, Bishop Potter, Bishop 
DeLancey, Bishop Coxe, Bishop Huntington, and 
Bishop Doane, all of New York state, whose terri- 
tory is now divided into five dioceses. 

The church, as originally built, stood back in the 
lot, and was entered through what was called 
"Church Lane," now First street, by taking down 
the bars of a fence that enclosed the whole lot. 
Corn was at times planted in the yard, and the ap- 
proach to the church door was through this leafy 



84 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

lane of indian corn. In a map of the village, as it 
existed in 1806, Trinity church is represented as 
standing quite alone in the rear of some houses on 
Main street. Broad street was not laid out as 
far as Genesee street until 1808, and this little 
chapel, for it was scarcely more than that, might 
well have been called Trinity in the Fields. 

The sweet toned bell which still calls the faith- 
ful to prayer was placed in the belfry in 1818. 
Music was always a marked feature in the service 
at old Trinity. For many years Miss Mary Green, 
of Oriskany, drove down regularly to play the or- 
gan, while the deep, rich voice of Mr. Henry Green 
was heard in the choir, with the soprano of Miss 
Russ, now Mrs. J. J. Francis, who was a member 
of the choir from the time she was twelve years of 
age until her marriage. During the rectorship 
of Dr. Coxe the music was said to be the best out- 
side of New York, and equaled by few churches in 
the metropolis. Few, if any, have called forth the 
soul of music and made the organ spe k like the 
genial, sunny, delightful Dr. Joseph Sieboth, whose 
settings of hymn and chant, and carol entitled him 
to a high rank among composers of sacred music. 
The double quartette was composed of Miss Loyd, 
Miss Germain, Miss Emily Paine, Miss Brown, 
Mr. Spruce, Mr. Enos Brown, Mr. Delos Cole, 

85 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

and Dr. Charles B. Foster, who for fifteen years 
gave such zealous, efficient service in this church 
of his adoption. With Dr. Coxe's full sonorous 
voice reading the service and Bible lessons in his 
matchless manner from the chancel, and these 
voices breaking forth into fullest harmony from 
the organ gallery, it was indeed harkening to the 
sound of holy voices. Some of us will never for- 
get when the sweet, clear voice of Miss Loyd sang 
as a solo the alternate verses of the hymn, "In- 
spirer and Hearer of Prayer," and the lines 

" If Thou art my sun and my shield 
The night is no darkness with me; 
And swift as my moments roil on 

They bring me but nearer to Thee." 

seemed like a message from above, while the fav- 
orite hymns, "How firm a foundation, ye saints of 
the Lord," "Softly now the light of day," "Rock 
of ages, cleft for me," with Dr. Foster's rich voice 
grandly supporting all the others, seem still to lin- 
ger in these aisles and arches. 



86 



An Appreciation 




N the afternoon of December 10, 1910, I 
found myself in Lowville, N. Y., in re- 
sponse to an invitation from the Lowville 
Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 
to inaugurate a movement in behalf of the erection 
of a Public Library building in that beautiful vil- 
lage. The meeting was held in the historic old 
Academy where I discovered on the original sub- 
scription list for the erection of the first Academy 
building at the head of State street, the name of one 
of my ancestors — a pioneer of Lewis county — and 
that of Morris S. Miller, who was appointed land 
agent about 1802 by Nicholas Low, for the sale of 
his immense tract of land in Northern New York. 

Lowville was endeared to Blandina Dudley Mil- 
ler as the birthplace of her father, Rutger Bleecker 
Miller, and she warmly expressed the wish to me, 
should the library project materialize, to donate 
his portrait to hang upon its walls. 

Although not a native, but an adopted Utican, 
my innate love for local history led me to eagerly 

87 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

imbibe everything which carne under my observa- 
tion from the fascinating pen of Miss Blandina 
Miller. I gladly pay loving tribute to the memory 
of one who was not only my inspiration and guide 
in searching out the byways of our city's noble 
past, but in the study of its historical environ- 
ment, all of which she has invested with unusual 
interest and charm. Under the spell of her charm- 
ing portrayals of the homes and haunts of the 
eminent men and women whose presence once lent 
distinction to this locality, I have found nothing 
more alluring than going on pilgrimage to the var- 
ious shrines which she has indicated. 

With her graphic pen pictures in mind, persons 
and scenes associated with the early days have 
seemed actually to live again! 

Thus it was to her vivid description of Olden 
Barneveld, that I owe the delights of a never-to- 
be-forgotten summer day among the early Dutch 
settlers of Oneida county. The streets of Trenton 
village fairly teemed with associations of Gerrit 
Boon, the Mappas, and the Van der Kemps, that 
refined and cultivated circle which once constituted 
this "Brave Little Holland" in America. Their 
beloved pastor, Rev. John Sherman, grandson of 
Roger Sherman (the Signer), was not forgotten; 
that enthusiastic devotee of Kuyahoora's charms 

88 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

who discovered to the world the wild and haunt- 
ing beauty of the falls of Trenton. 

I climbed Starr hill, where sleeps the great Steu- 
ben! Enchanted with the view I recalled the 
thrilling story of his life and none has written it 
in language more illuminating and delightful than 
Miss Miller. What charming glimpses she has 
given us of Col. Benjamin Walker, his friend and 
companion-in-arms! The same may be said of 
another revolutionary patriot, Surgeon General of 
th e Continental Armies, Dr. John Cochran, whose 
old homestead still overlooks the broad Mohawk 
Valley, close by the historic Palatine Church. 

I lingered by the shores of lovely Lake Oneida, 
familiar with its every tradition through the me- 
dium of Miss Miller's pen. Cazenovia, the beau- 
tiful, was no stranger to me, for the colonization 
of certain portions of the State of New York by 
the Holland Land Company was a theme she 
often touched upon. Ancient Peterboro, the 
home of Gerrit Smith of Abolition fame, and the 
story of the pioneer days of the town of Paris, 
recall some of her most notable articles. And did 
she not point out with pride, as should every resi- 
dent of Oneida County, that within its borders rests 
General William Floyd, one of the Signers of the 
Declaration of Independence? 

89 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

In history and tradition our glorious hills and 
valleys were an open book to this accomplished 
writer — the world of nature too, and all the lovely 
birds — and who that has come within the radius 
of her pen is not greatly her debtor? 

I call to mind her deep interest in the natives of 
the soil — particularly the Oneidas — "the noblest 
of the Six Nations." Her sketches of their faith- 
ful and devoted minister, Rev. Samuel Kirkland — 
the Scholar Missionary — and of the great Chief, 
Skenandoa, "the white man's friend," are also 
among the happy productions of Miss Blandina 
Miller. 

Whether her historical studies related to our 
city, county or state, they always appeared in the 
picturesque style of charming description so char- 
acteristic of her writings. 

Much of what I was enabled to impart to the 
school-children upon the play-grounds of the down 
town districts concerning their hisrorical environ- 
ment, and the noble men and women — pioneers of 
our city — whose homes once stood in their very 
midst, I drew from Miss Miller's valuable records. 
Familiarity with such a background I could not 
help but feel would foster patriotism and create 
civic pride — thereby planting the seeds of good 
citizenship in youthful hearts and minds. 

90 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

How many in this day realize that the very 
names of many of our streets stand as monuments 
to the founders of our fair city — notably the an- 
cestors of the author of the unique and fascinat- 
ing chronicle of Utica in the early days. Rutger 
Bleecker, her great-grandfather, owned a large part 
of the land now occupied by the city of Utica. 

I doubt if any one has paid Miss Miller a more 
graceful and appreciative tribute than the late 
Dr. Anson Judd Upson, in 1895, upon the receipt 
of a copy of "A Sketch of Old Utica." Although 
not born in this city he loved it as a native — 
"Here," I once heard him say, "where my kindred 
are buried, I would ever be at home. I am no 
deserter." 

What delightful recollections of his boyhood 
days in Utica, the perusal of Miss Miller's book 
suggested to Dr. Upson. "How often" said he, 
"when I visit Utica, I walk through Whitesboro 
street, and a hundred sweetly solemn memories 
moisten my eyes." 

Did he not voice the sentiment of many hearts 
concerning the older sections of our city and one 
in accord with this stray rhyme of an old home- 
stead? 



91 



A SKETCH OF OLD UTICA 

" Who sits under my roof-tree? 
One whom I have not known: 
He dug not the old foundations, 
He laid not a single stone. 
Where a thousand echoes greet me, 

He hears no sound nor breath, 
And the walls that to me are lettered 
To him are as blank as death. 
* # * * 

Aye, though he pay the purchase, 

I have the right divine; 
His is the shell — the shadow — 

The soul of the house is mine." 

CHARLOTTE A. PITCHER, 

Historian Oneida Chapter D. A. R. 
December, Nineteen twelve. 



92 



JAN 27 1913 



I