Boundaries. --- Climate. --- Geography. --- Ancient Occupation of the Town by Indians. --- Jesuit Missions of the Seventeenth Century. --- English Travelers. --- Ancient Forts. --- Rev. Samuel Kirkland at Oneida Castle. --- Traversing Armies. --- Travelers' Statements.--- First White Settlers. --- The Klocks. --- Myndert Wemple. --- Angel DeFerriere. --- Wampsville. --- Quality Hill. --- Biographical. --- Lenox Furnace. --- Canastota Village with Biographical Sketches. --- Oneida Village. --- Oneida Community. --- Churches. --- Newspapers.

    The town of Lenox is bounded north by the Oneida Lake and Oneida County, east by Oneida Creek, (the natural division between this town and Oneida County,) south by Stockbridge and Smithfield, and west by Sullivan. It is one of the two northern towns of Madison County. Lying north of the water shed, its streams all have a northerly course and discharge their waters into Oneida Lake. Oneida Creek, which rises far southward in Madison County, drains the eastern part of Lenox, and, at this point, is a noble stream, affording several mill sites. Before the construction of dams, salmon ran up this stream as far as Stockbridge, affording fine fishing. The Cowasselon Creek has its numerous tributaries all along the ridge, in the towns of Fenner and Smithfield, which pour down the hill sides to the level country below, where the main body of the stream, moving easterly, receives them all, then curves northerly and westerly and receives the Canastota; then trails slowly through the heavy swamp into the town of Sullivan to unite with the Canaseraga. The Canastota, having its source in Fenner, rushes down the hills at a rapid rate, and finally having reached the level country and watered the village of Canastota, it unites with the Cowasselon.

    The great swamp extends from Sullivan far into this town, but at the northward the lands bordering the lake are more arable. The beach on the south shore of Oneida Lake is beautiful, and in some places well adapted to the sports of fishing. From the earliest days the lake abounded in the best qualities of the finny tribes. Spafford's Gazetteer of 1812, says: "Among the most admired fish are salmon, pike, Oswego and white bass, trout, catfish, with a great variety of others, and eels of a superior quality and in vast abundance."

    The face of the whole town, which may be seen from the southern high ridges, is beautiful. To the tourist coming from the south and reaching the summit, where the macadamized road is ready to take its downward curve around to the rocky base of the hill, where a branch of the Cowasselon splashes from one rocky shelf to another into the gorge below; here, upon the highest point, it requires but a slight stretch of the imagination to seem to be on some romantic border ground of two widely different countries, especially if it be at that transition period in nature, the spring time, when the buds are bursting and the grass freshening; when the warmer soils and sunnier spots first show their robes of living green; for the climate north of the ridge materially differs from that south, and brings forth vegetation two weeks earlier. From this summit the observer's vision extends many miles southward over successive hills rising and falling, between whose convolutions flow many streams. Brown and bare are the still wintry looking forests, though the faintest hue of swelling buds may just relieve the hanging duskiness about the extreme crown of the maple woods; but let him turn to the northward and his eye sweeps a vast breadth of country, seeming to be a wide prairie, upon which groves of timber have been planted; he sees various northward bound creeks and rivulets, which cease suddenly their rushing and roaring at the base of the hills, and wind leisurely along the level country below him; and in this charmed climate lies the village of Canastota, flourishing her fruit and ornamental trees, clothed in their new outfit of green foliage. To the southward he has felt the chill of winter fleeing from the breezy hill tops; to the northward he breathes the balmy air of spring which has crept up the valley of the Mohawk and finds no counter-current impediment to its progress along the low, sandy country, south of Lake Oneida.

    The soil of Lenox is rich and productive, being in the north gravelly alluvium and in the south more clayey. It is generally well adapted to the cultivation of wheat. Iron ore is perceptible in the soil in many places, and limestone abounds. The geology of this town is quite like that of Sullivan - its various strata of rock and mineral deposits being but a continuation of the same. Beds of gypsum and iron ore are seen in various places. On the Seneca Turnpike, near the crossing of the Cowasselon, are sulphur springs of considerable strength. The development of salt springs, as found at Canastota, exceed any in the country, except those at Syracuse.

    Lenox was formed from Sullivan, March 3, 1809, and is one of the largest towns in Madison County. At the date of its formation it embraced an area of 54,500 acres of land. A portion of its territory was taken off for Stockbridge in 1836, leaving the present area 49,568 acres.

    The town of Lenox, the center of the old Oneida Reservation, was the established home of the Oneida Indians for centuries. Although they had been planted at Stockbridge, yet we have evidences that their chief village was at Oneida Castle as far back as 1650. Madison County was, properly, the home of the Oneidas; they owned all its broad domain, and within its borders were situated nearly all their villages. The Oneidas claimed but a comparatively small part of Oneida County, and yielded their jurisdiction of that the earliest; so we claim the Oneidas. Since this tribe has had no historian, it becomes our task in this work to gather and report such fragmentary records as have been penned by priests, travelers, and other itinerants, and handed down among the musty documents of ages past. From these we learn, that in 1667, a Jesuit Mission was established at Oneida Castle by Father Jacques Bruyas. The mission was named "St. Francis Xavier." Father Bruyas did much towards attaching the Indians to the French; in his reports he names thirty Indian as having been baptized by him. In 1677, an English traveler, Wentworth Greenhalgh, in the interest of the English Government, traveled through the Indian country as far as the Senecas. He speaks of the Oneidas as having but one town, about 130 miles west of the Mohawks, and about twenty miles from the head of the Oneida river, which runs into Lake Tshiroque (Lake Oneida). He says: "The town is newly settled, double stockadoed, but little cleared ground, so they are forced to send to the Onondagoes to buy corn. The town consists of about 100 houses. They are said to have about 200 fighting men. Their corn grows round about the town."

    Father Pierre Millet was stationed at Oneida, in 1684, by De La Barre, Governor General of Canada, who remained there till about 1696, during which time he exerted his influence to attach the Iroquois to the French. Although in some degree successful, yet he could not win them from their allegiance to the English and Dutch. During Father Millet's residence here, this region was invaded by French armies to coerce the natives, and bring them under subjugation, and marks of their devastating course existed a long time after. In the meantime, the authorities at Albany and New York maintained their friendship by keeping up constant communication by runners on the "errant path," whose course through this region often awoke lively enthusiasm for their English and Dutch friends, who always sent them useful presents in times of need.

    When the Jesuits were recalled to Canada, they left many evidences of their former presence among the Oneidas, which, a few years since, were scarcely obliterated.

    Schoolcraft discovered some remains of the French occupation in this town, which he saw when in Lenox, and from which he drew a diagram. The drawing represents the lines of a picketed work covering two sides of a fort, beyond which is an extensive plain once cultivated. He thus described it: ---

    "It is now [1846,] covered with wild grass and shrubbery. The northern edge of the plain is traversed by a stream which has worn its bed down to the unconsolidated strata, so as to create a deep gorge. This stream is joined from the west by a small run having its origin in a spring near by. Its channel at the junction is as deep below the level of the plain as the other. [Some few miles below on the stream is the site of an iron cupola or blast furnace, where the red or lenticular oxyd is reduced.] The point of junction itself forms a natural horn work, which covered access to the water. The angle of the plain thus marked constituted the point defended. The excavations may have once been square. They are now indentations disclosing carbonaceous matter, as if from the decay of wood; no wood or coal, however, existed; their use in this position is not apparently connected with the designated lines of palisades, unless it be supposed that they were of an older period than the latter, and designate pits, such as the aborigines used in defence. This idea is favored by the ground being a little raised at this point, and so formed that it would have admitted the ancient circular Indian palisade. If such were the case, however, it seems evident that the French had selected the spot at an early period, when, as it is known, they attempted to obtain a footing in the country of Oneidas. The distance is less than ten miles north-west of the Oneida Castle. It probably covered a mission. The site which my informant, living near, called the old French Field, may be supposed to have been cultivated by servants, or traders connected with it. The oak and maple trees which once covered it as denoted by the existing forest, are such in size and number as to have required expert axmen to fell.

    With the exception of two points in the Oneida Creek valley, where there are still vestiges of French occupation, supported by tradition, this work is the most easterly of those known, which remain to test the adventurous spirit, zeal and perseverance, which marked the attempt of the French Crown to plant the flag and the cross in Western New York."

    After the contest between the French and English was ended, the Iroquois unmolested, pursued their usual customs, and for several decades the present county of Madison saw but little of the white man, save as the trader came up to purchase the choice furs of the bear, beaver, mink and otter, then the only exchange products of the country, for which he would disburse in payment, not only the gay city notions the Indians so much admired, but many a flagon of baneful fire water. Oneida Castle, Onondaga and other points farther west, were regular trading posts, and it was no uncommon scene to see companies of Indians, laden with furs, coming in on the various trails to these points, at periods when traders were to arrive. Many fleets of fur-laden canoes came over lake Oneida on the same errand. Finally, so lucrative grew the fur trade, it became necessary to build a fort at the carrying place, between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek, Oneida Co., and also to perfect the water communication between here and Albany, in order to facilitate and systematize the traffic, and to improve the facilities for a quick and easy transportation to Albany.

    In July, 1766, Rev. Samuel Kirkland took up his residence at Ka-non-wal-lo-hu-le, the Indian name for Oneida Castle. He had intended to settle with the Senecas, but having ill health, had returned and decided to locate here. In the autumn of this year, he built himself a house, cutting and hewing the timber and digging the cellar with his own hands. He cultivated a garden on the ground occupied, in 1850, for the same purpose, by Hon. Timothy Jenkins.1 In 1769, Mr. Kirkland married and brought his wife here, when he found it necessary to enlarge his house from its original dimensions of ten feet square, to sixteen feet square. His wife remained with the family of Gen. Herkimer until he could accomplish the enlargement. This being completed, he removed her to the improved residence, in the latter part of December. Mrs. Kirkland's presence was soon felt in introducing order, neatness, industry, purity and devotion among the Oneida women; and in a few years the influence of Mr. And Mrs. Kirkland produced a most salutary effect upon the natives, so that at the death of Sir William Johnson, and the breaking out of the Revolution, their strong attachment to the principles which had been inculcated, won them from the interests of the Johnson family, and attached them to the American cause. They were induced by Mr. Kirkland to remain neutral; but Skenandoah, the famous Oneida Chief, residing here, influenced many of them to take up arms in the defense of the Americans. On the breaking out of actual hostilities, Mrs. Kirkland returned to Massachusetts, and remained there till after the peace of 1783, Mr. Kirkland, meantime, remaining in the discharge of his duties, sometimes residing at Whitestown and sometimes at Oneida Castle.

    Because the Oneidas held a neutral position, these villages were unmolested during the war, while others around them were utterly destroyed by one or the other of the contending forces. Although large bodies of soldiery passed and repassed over their trails and through their villages, their quiet remained undisturbed. In the spring of 1779, Col. Van Shaick with his detachment of six companies of New York troops, one of Pennsylvania, one of Massachusetts and one of rifles, amounting in all to 504 men, rank and file, marched from Fort Schuyler to Onondaga, through Oneida village:--and again in September of that year, Col. Gansevoort, with one hundred men, made his rapid march through the Genesee Indian country to Fort Schuyler, passing through here. He had been instructed by Gen. Sullivan as follows: "Take particular care that your men do not offer the inhabitants the least insult; and, if by any accident damage should be done, you are to make reparation, for which I shall stand accountable." Col. Gansevoort reported afterwards, and of his passing through Oneida Castle, says: "Every mark of hospitality and friendship was shown our party. I had the pleasure to find that not the least damage nor insult was offered any of the inhabitants." The famous Vrooman adventurers and their savage pursuers, Sir John Johnson and his barbarians, made their swift journeys over the well preserved Oneida path through Lenox.

    Although neutral as a tribe during the war, the Oneidas had some famous warriors who did good service in the cause of the colonies. Chief of them all, was the sagacious and noble Skenondoah, who, when peril threatened to overwhelm the colonists, left the peaceful arts of agriculture which he had acquired with civilization, and helped to fight the battles of the Americans. The Castle was also the home of Thomas Spencer, an Indian interpreter, who rendered most valuable service to the cause of his country, and gave to it his life at the battle of Oriskany, in 1777.

    After the war, the peaceful arts flourished, and the Oneidas began to cultivate the rich lands of this town, which they chose to reserve for their own use. They made presents of some fine tracts to their prized friends; one to Judge James Dean of Westmoreland, and a rich tract to Rev. Samuel Kirkland. They made cessions of land to the State, time after time, from other sections of their territory, but preserved Lenox intact.

    The Great Trail was an excellent thoroughfare for emigrants who had heard of the wonderful Genesee country. In 1790, James Wadsworth opened the first wagon road along this route as he passed westward; but, up to the period of which we have been speaking, not one emigrant had come to settle in northern Madison County. It was in 1791, that the first settlers of Sullivan, the Germans, passed here. The locating of these Germans upon a portion of the chosen reservation of the Oneidas, did not please the latter; the spirit shown by the Indians on this occasion, however, deterred others from encroaching; and not until purchases were made by the State, was the town of Lenox settled by white people.

    From published statements made by travelers at the time, we learn something of Central New York at an early day. Capt. Williamson, agent of the Pultney estate, in one of his letters, writes of a gentleman (name not mentioned,) moving to Genesee in the month of February, 1792, who says: "At Whitestown I was obliged to change my sled; the Albany driver would proceed no further, as he found that for the next 150 miles we were not only obliged to take provisions for ourselves and horse, but also blankets as a substitute for beds. After leaving Whitestown, we found only a few huts scattered along the path, at a distance of from ten to twenty miles apart, and they afforded nothing but the convenience of fire and a kind of shelter from the snow." They reached Seneca Lake on the evening of the third day, greatly fatigued with their tedious journey. Capt. Williamson also alludes to his own journey to the same place that year, as follows: --- "After passing Clinton, there are no inhabitants on the road until you reach Oneida, an Indian town, the first of the Six Nations; it contains about 550 inhabitants; here I slept, and found the natives very friendly. The next day I went on to Onondaga, leaving the Oneida Lake on the right and the Onondaga on the left, each a few miles distant."

    As before stated, the Germans, or more correctly, the Dutch, from the Mohawk valley, had passed through here and discovered the land to be a goodly heritage to whomsoever should possess it. They had decided to remain in Sullivan, with the consent of the Oneidas, upon the land of their choice; they were not at all disheartened by the reverses and poverty which seemed to constantly attend their first efforts at settlement, nor did their ill fortune deter others from following in their footsteps.

    The year 1792, brought the first white settlers of the town of Lenox. Conrad Klock and his sons, Joseph, John and Conrad, from the Mohawk country, came to the vicinity of Clockville, and there located their homes. It is from this family that the village was subsequently named. Their settlement was increased by additions from the lower Mohawk; the Betsingers, the Moots, Jacob Forbes2 and Nicholas Forbes. They opened a road through to Canaseraga, which communicated with Oneida Castle, and along this road, during the next few years, many families settled. Capt. Jacob Seeber and others, of the Sullivan pioneers, removed to this locality. Southeast of Clockville, about two miles, was quite a compact settlement of Dutch, among whom were the Snyders, Bruyeas, Kilts and Tuttles. A half mile west of Clockville, at the four corners, one of the settlers named Fort, kept a tavern for many years.

    At this day (1871,) many of the old farms are in possession of members of the above named families; D. B. Moot is in possession of the old Forbes place; N. M. Moot owns the homestead of his father; Adam Klock has also his father's homestead; Abram Snyder is the owner of the farm his father, Adam R. Snyder, took up.

    On the opening of the Seneca turnpike, Myndert Wemple, a blacksmith, who had been sent among the Indians by Gen. Washington, opened a tavern at the place which was afterwards named from him, Wampsville. This tavern, being the only one there for many years, was widely known to the traveling and emigrating public. (This old tavern building is still standing as a farm house. In 1870, the farm upon which it stands was sold by Mr. Benjamin Dyer to Mr. Miner, of the Eagle Hotel, Oneida.) Wemple was a favorite with the Indians; they gave him a tract of land in Westmoreland, one mile square, which was known as "Wemple's Patent."

    Before 1800, Angel DeFerriere, a Frenchman, who had married a daughter of Louis Dennie, a leading family among the Oneidas, was prevailed upon by his wife's relatives to take up his abode in their territory, and as an inducement, the wife's brother, Jonathan Dennie, made her a present of a very nice farm near Wampsville. After this, Mr. De Ferriere made large additions to this estate by purchases, receiving from the Indians the benefit of their title, and obtaining, also, a patent from the State. He so increased his possessions, that at one time he owned 3,000 acres of the best grade land in Lenox. He built a tavern, a saw mill and grist mill, a distillery and brewery; and with rare discrimination, selected worthy and industrious young men, and set them up in business in the little village he had founded. The tavern, a fine building for its day, being a large two-story house, was kept by Dr. Stockton; and from such an authority as DeWitt Clinton, who put up here on a journey westward, we learn that it was the best tavern on the road. After Dr. Stockton's term of renting had expired, a Mr. Alcott took the house. The grist mill, which stood nearly on the site of Duncan McDougall's flouring mill, was run by Mr. McCollum, a Scotchman. Mr. DeFerriere employed a man to carry on the brewery, set up a blacksmith and a shoemaker, and built a small store. Although unused to our customs and unable to speak English when he came to America, his good knowledge of human nature, his ready tact and common sense, usually rendered him successful in selecting the right sort of men to assist him in his affairs; he also speedily acquired our language, so that he soon became able to transact any part of his own business, making out his contracts and conveyances in his own hand. His land extended nearly to Oneida village; he subsequently sold much of it to white settlers, many of whom, or their successors, to-day possess old titles and papers in the orthography and chirography of Angel DeFerriere. His own house, long since removed, stood near the tavern and opposite the cottage built in later years, which is now standing on the homestead farm. (Note m.)

    The Cowassalon3 Creek courses through here; and north of DeFerriere's and the adjacent village of Wampsville, was the Indian village. A great deal of business was transacted at Wampsville at an early day. The Seneca Turnpike was a great road; six and eight horse teams hauling covered emigrant wagons with wide-tired wheels, were constantly passing over it.

    Luther Cole was the first mail carrier west of Utica. Judge Young, of Whitestown, was the first agent of the Seneca Turnpike Company; he built the DeFerriere bridge over the Cowassalon4 at Wampsville, which was then known as a great bridge. His name and the date of its construction was inscribed on the bridge. It was at last destroyed by a freshet, when its foundation was washed away and its two arches fell by the violence of the flood. Judge Young was succeeded by Gardiner Avery as agent of the Turnpike Co.; he continued in office a number of years, and was succeeded by Capt. Harvey Cobb, now a citizen of Wampsville, who held the agency till the turnpike was given up by the Company and became a common public highway.

    On the opening of the Erie Canal, the lands about Wampsville and throughout the town along its line, were in market and were rapidly sold. A portion of Wampsville Flats was purchased by Peter Smith and Elisha Williams, (the latter gentleman a noted lawyer, of Hudson, N.Y.,) which purchase was known as "the purchase of 1815." These lands were sold out in farms. Southward from Federal and Quality Hills, or south side of an adjoining the Seneca Turnpike, was "the purchase of 1798," which then found a ready market, as the turnpike lands became a great attraction to emigrants. In Judge Thomas Barlow's entertaining sketches, published in the Canastota Herald in 1868, he gives a narrative from Col. Cadwell's experience in the early settlement of Quality Hill and its vicinity. To this narrative the author is indebted for much of the history of this section. We learn from this source that as early as 1802, there were no houses on the north side of the turnpike from Wampsville to Quality Hill; all was woodland except here and there cleared spots. The road leading south by Dr. Hall's was the only road going south from the turnpike between the two places. The Colonel says: "The first labor I performed when I came here, (1802) was in laying a causeway across the swamp at the bottom of the hill on this road." There was, however, a considerable population from near Federal Hill, westward along the turnpike, of which Quality Hill was the nucleus; here, individuals of enterprise, education, and in many instances of wealth, settled. The name of "Quality Hill" was given by a young lady, Miss Lucinda Harris, daughter of Dr. Harris, who lived in a log house on the spot where now may be seen the stately mansion of Sylvanus Stroud. Miss Harris, it seems, regarded the ladies of the hill as enjoying better advantages than those around them, and therefore as "putting on a little more style" than they would, had it been otherwise; hence, so far as a name would do it, she qualified and dignified the place and people by prefixing the title "Quality" to the "Hill," by which not inappropriate name the locality was known as early as 1800, and has been so known to this day. Miss Harris married Elisha Buttolf and resided for a time a half mile west of the Hill.

    An old resident, in a recent communication, remarks of this part of Lenox: "The soil being in possession of all its strength and fatness, produced most luxuriant crops of all the cereals, and where but lately stood a growth of heavy timber might be seen the tasseled tops of a rich crop of Indian corn, and a yellow harvest of wheat waving in the breeze, side by side. So congenial was the new land to the growth of pumpkins, that in the harvest of some years, a man might walk over an acre of ground on pumpkins at every step! Hence, the hill near where my father lived was called 'Pumpkin Hill.'"

    Sylvanus Smalley, afterwards Judge, who was one of the first settlers, kept tavern at Quality Hill many years. His was also the first tavern of the place; it was built of logs with a frame front. It was long ago removed, and the Judge erected a fine two-story house, (now owned by Jerome Hoffman,) in which he lived many years. He died at Durhamville. After Judge Smalley, this tavern was kept by John P. Webb for a long term of years.

    In 1802, there lived upon the hill, Dr. Asahel Prior, David Barnard, Aaron Francis, Abiel Fuller, David Barnard, jr., Dea. Ebenezer Cadwell, Isaac Senate, Samuel Louder, Nehemiah Smalley, Mr. Tucker, Selah Hills, Job Lockwood, Nash Mitchell, tanner and currier by trade, Dr. Harris and Ichabod Buell.

    Passing along east from Quality Hill, there lived east of the creek, as it then ran, a Mr. Handy, who was a deerskin and leather dresser. There were deer in the forests, and many of the inhabitants wore deerskin pants, from the material prepared by Mr. Handy. There was a brick yard on the flat near there, and Jason Powers, who came to Quality Hill in 1801, worked in the yard and boarded with Mr. Handy, and finally married his daughter, Lovina. Near here was also a distillery. On the south side of the road toward Federal Hill was a tavern kept by Joseph Phelps. On Federal Hill, on the south side of the road, Thomas Menzie was located and sold goods, trading mostly with the Indians. In 1802, there was no other dwelling from this point to Wampsville.

    West from Quality Hill, on the turnpike, in the section called "Oak Hill," it was considerably settled by farmers, who had made quite spacious clearings around their homes, and were well started in the world. Squire Ebenezer Calkins, then a young man, resided in a log house, where he afterwards built, and where the Perkins have since lived. Col. Zebulon Douglass was keeping tavern on his well known farm, west of Col. Calkins'; Reuben Hale lived on the hill nearly west of what is now known as the Culver residence; Gen. Ichabod S. Spencer lived on the flat between Mr. Hale's and where Col. Stephen Lee afterwards lived; Col. Thomas W. Phelps worked at the harness making business, opposite Col. Lee's; a Mr. Pettibone kept tavern here before 1802; this tavern was burned down and never rebuilt.

    After 1802, the population of this locality was added to by many other substantial citizens, among whom were Harvey G. Morse, Edward Lewis, Thomas W. Phelps, Wm. I. Hopkins, Joseph Bruce and Squire Wager. Dr. Thomas Spencer was an early resident of Quality Hill, as were also his brothers, Joshua A. and Ichabod S. Spencer.

    South and south-west from here on the Clockville and Canaseraga road, Walter, Sylvester, Hezekiah and Lines Beecher, located at an early date. The first two named, were afterwards Judges of the County Court. Dea. John Hall, from Massachusetts, settled on Oak Hill in 1806. Dea. Nathaniel Hall,5 from Connecticut, and Dr. Nathaniel Hall, his son, came in 1807. Their farms were in the Beecher neighborhood.

    About 1810, a singular and fatal affair occurred in the Beecher and Hall neighborhood. Two young men, named John Allen and John Harp, were at work plowing for Judge Beecher, and obtained some of the roots of Cicuta, supposing it to be "Sweet Sicily," and ate of it. In a short time they discovered the horrible mistake they had made and attempted to reach some neighbor's house, but found themselves unable to go. One of them succeeded in making himself heard, and soon the whole neighborhood was aroused; physicians were procured, among whom were Drs. Hall and Prior, and every effort possible was made to save the victims, which, however, availed nothing, for before sunset of the same day they were both dead. The sad affair created intense excitement. The house of Judge Beecher, where the young men were carried, was immediately thronged with almost the entire population for miles around, and the funeral was the largest this part of the country had yet known.

    Among other early settlers of this part of the town, were a Mr. Cotton, Evard VanEpps, Gift Hills, John Hills, Martin Vrooman and Benjamin Smith, -- -the latter kept a tavern. The first person who engaged in the mercantile business at Quality Hill was Capt. William Jennings. He was succeeded by Maj. Joseph Bruce, who was a merchant here many years. At a very early day, contemporaneous with Jennings, the firm of Walton, Beebe & Hall kept a store, erecting a building for that purpose. The village had at one time two taverns, which did ample business. The prosperity of these institutions, may be in good part accounted for by the fact that the turnpike was a constantly traveled thoroughfare, especially in winter when teaming was a great business. As many as forty teams in a line have been seen at one sweep of the eye, from the stand point of Quality Hill, eastward toward Federal Hill. There were other taverns near by, both east and west of the village. Besides the business institutions already mentioned, there were at the same time on Quality Hill, a post office, several shops and a Masonic Lodge, to which a large number of the leading men of the country round about belonged.

    The meetings and trainings of the military organizations were the occasions of the great gatherings of early days in town and country, the officers of which were the most conspicuous men of the times. During the war of 1812, the patriotic citizens of Lenox raised a company of horse artillery that volunteered for the war. The officers were: Captain, William Jennings; First Lieut., Joseph Bruce;6 Second Lieut., Argelus Cady; Cornet, David Beecher; Orderly Sergeant, J. Austin Spencer. It was at this time that Capt. Jennings made himself famous for his poetical order on Gov. Daniel D. Tompkins, which has been related as follows: --- The officers had met at the store of Lieut. Bruce to prepare a requisition letter to the Governor, for two field pieces. While discussing the form in which to address so distinguished a man, Judge Hopkins, at that time doing duty on the bench, made a bantering wager with Capt. Jennings that the ordnance could be procured on an order, the form of which should be dictated by him. Hopkins walked up to the desk, seized the pen and forthwith produced the following: ---

"Great Daniel D., we send to thee
  For two great guns and trimmings;
Send them to hand, or you'll be d----d,
  By order of
						Capt. Jennings."

    This of course created a good deal of amusement, and though it was not officially sent to the Governor, as the ordnance was obtained through a regular order, the story was too good to be kept; the Governor, who was fond of a good joke, in some way learned of the incident, and was also made aware that his friend, the Judge, had a hand in it. Some of the officers in this Company were rewarded for gallant services in the war, by promotion, and they, with others, sent to Albany by Judge Hopkins for their commissions. On calling for them at the proper office, the Judge learned that they were all made out and lacked only the signature of the Governor. To facilitate the business, he offered to take them himself to His Excellency, who, on receiving them, placed his autograph to the documents, one after the other, till coming to one belonging to Capt. Jennings' Company, he stopped and very gravely inquired: "Is this by order of Capt. Jennings?"

    The 75th Regiment had its head-quarters at Quality Hill; Col. Zebulon Douglass was its first Colonel, Thomas W. Phelps its second, and Stephen Lee its third.

    The Congregational Church, at this place, was organized with a large and influential membership, as early as 1809. Nathaniel Hall and John Hall were its first Deacons. Its first trustees were Zebulon Douglass, Sylvester Beecher, Asa Cady and Mr. Sessions. Its first minister, it appears, was the Rev. Mr. Palmer; the next, Rev. Mr. Hubbard. These two, however, could have been employed to preach but a short time, as the Rev. Ira M. Olds was the first regular pastor installed at the time, or soon after the organization of the church. The church building was framed and raised in 1814; it was a large and expensive edifice when all completed and dedicated in 1819.

    Quality Hill, with its men of strength and influence, vied with other sections of Madison County in holding the balance of political power. Hamilton and Lenox had the Courts alternately, up to 1810. Judge Smalley was the first Judge. In this place, these alternate Courts were held in the school house near David Burnard's. The first trial for murder, in Madison County, that of Hitchcock of Madison, for poisoning his wife, was held in Judge Smalley's barn, the excitement being so great that the school house could make no approximation towards accommodating the numbers present. Judge VanNess of Utica, presided at this trial, whose charge to the jury on the occasion, it has often been remarked, was one of the most remarkable productions of that day, or of any recent time.

    Among the early settlers of Federal Hill, (so named because its prominent residents were Federalists,) was Thomas Y. Kneiss, who removed to this section about 1806. He was a man of fine abilities, and was highly respected for his probity and good judgment. At one period, probably no man in town had greater influence. He held several town offices; was Justice of the Peace very early, retaining the office several years. There is an anecdote told of Squire Kneiss, which is sufficiently illustrative to transfer: In that day, the office of Justice of the Peace was filled by a Council of Appointment. Mr. Kneiss was a thorough Federalist, and when the Democrats came into power, (perhaps in 1812,) members of that party in Lenox, appealed to the Council for a man of their own party to supersede him. When the papers removing him, reached the post office at Quality Hill, several Democrats present, who were in the secret, narrowly watched the Squire as he perused the document. Quite anxious to know its contents, one of them said: "What is it, Squire?" "Oh, nothing," quietly replied Mr. Kneiss, "only I can exclaim with the apostle Paul, 'sin revived and I died!' "

    Sylvanus Smalley, Walter Beecher, Zebulon Douglass, Nathaniel Hall, jr., Thomas Spencer and Sylvester Beecher, were early Members of Assembly from this town.

    Dr. Asahel Prior was one of the prominent men of Quality Hill; he came to this town about 1797, lived some years in a log house, and then built the second frame house erected on Quality Hill. Here the Doctor lived till his death, and his place is still occupied by his children. In 1813, he became a member of the State Medical Society. The following obituary notice is clipped from the Canastota Herald:

    "DIED -- In Lenox, Jan. 12, 1856, Dr. Asahel Prior, aged 84 years.

    Doctor Prior was a resident of this town 59 years. Possessed of sound judgment and superior skill in his profession, he was engaged faithfully, devotedly, and successfully in the performance of its arduous duties for more than 40 years and until incapacitated by the infirmities of age. Of gentlemanly manners, strict integrity, genial and kindly temperament, he won the respect and esteem of all classes of his fellow citizens. He was a good citizen, an affectionate husband and father, an agreeable companion, in short his character shone brightly in all the social relations. He endured in common with his fellow citizens all the privations and hardships incident to the first settlement of a new country, and on no class perhaps do these hardships press more heavily than on the physician, in consequence of the badness of roads and poverty of the sparse population, and consequent inability to remunerate his toils. When this now rich and populous town was a wilderness and only dotted here and there with the log cabins of the early pioneers, Dr. Prior was a welcome visitor among their lowly habitations, and often to the sick and suffering poor were his valuable services rendered without fee or reward. He will be held in grateful memory by very many families whose maladies were healed by his medical skill, and whose sorrowing hearts were comforted by his cheerful and urbane deportment and kindly sympathy. One of the most distinguished medical men7 Madison County had produced, has ever gratefully recognized Dr. Prior as one of the most efficient of his early friends and patrons. But our venerable friend, after a long life of usefulness, has gone to that 'Undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns.'

"Peace to his ashes laid
		 In the earth's cold bosom, peace."


    From a recent communication the following particulars relating to individuals in this vicinity, are learned. A man named Cathcart, from Massachusetts, came to live in the vicinity of the present Canastota in 1805. He moved into Mary Doxtater's log cabin, for his home. Mr. Cathcart and his wife made friends with the Indians on the Reservation, by whom they were surrounded. The Indian Chief, Hon Yost, was very friendly with the family, and was particularly attached to Mr. Cathcart's little daughter of five or six years, (the present Mrs. Charles Stroud). He used to make grape-vine swings to amuse her and would allow no one to swing her but himself, lest she should come to harm. Years after, when the Reservation had been sold to white men, and the Indians had removed, Hon Yost, after twenty years' absence, and then near a century old, returned to see the white girl and receive from her hands garments to enshroud his body after death, according to the customs of white men. About a year passes, and the worn out form of the venerable Hon Yost was wrapped in the garments he so longed to wear.

    It will not be amiss here to mention the family of the Strouds, who, themselves, have been residents here since about 1816. The two brothers, Sylvanus and Charles Stroud, were natives of Vermont. Both have been well known as contractors on the canal and other public works. Both are self-made, self-sustaining, and of the efficient business men of Lenox, as well as useful members of society. Mrs. Cathcart, the mother of Mrs. Charles Stroud, and the before named early settler in Canastota, is still living at the advanced age of ninety-five years.

    Early in this century, considerable settlement had been made in the southern part of the town. A new street was laid out about a mile north of and running parallel with "Mile Strip," which was settled by the Palmers and Randalls, emigrants from Stonington, Conn., and from Rhode Island. "There were formerly," says R. Randall, of Clinton, Mich., "some twelve families of the Randalls and seventeen of the Palmers." On "Lenox Hill," better known as "Palmer's Hill," there were living at one time six Joseph Palmers. To distinguish these, people gave each name an affix or prefix. There was "Squire Jo," and his son Joseph S., called "Sheriff Jo," he having been once Sheriff of the County; another was "Jo Elijah," from being Elijah's son; another was distinguished as "Jo Down," from having dwelt at the foot of a hill in Connecticut; Joseph Palmer, 3d, was known as "Jo Deacon," because his brother was a deacon; and the sixth bore the soubriquet of "Clever Jo." They were generally very respectable, industrious and independent farmers. These families are now scattered all over the North West.

    Thomas Case located quite early on Palmer street, and Martin Lamp, formerly one of the Supervisors, was another early settler in the same vicinity.

    From information obtained of Mrs. D. Chase, who, in 1814, when a child twelve years of age, resided a year in the family of "Clever Jo," we condense the following: In this neighborhood of Palmers, Goodwins, Randalls, Gallups and Cransons, the original dwellings, erected by the settlers on first arriving upon their lands, were double log houses; if additions were made they were also of logs and for the purpose of having handsomer apartments, being nicely ceiled and having hard wood floors from the best timber in the forest. The huge stone chimneys, an improvement upon the old stick chimneys, invariably stood in the center of the houses; in the ample fire-places the huge back-logs made cheery comfort in the long winter evenings, and on those broad hearth-stones the coals scarcely ever died out, for the day of "Lucifer matches" had not yet arrived. As regularly as the hour of bed-time approached, just so regularly did the good man of the house rake the ashes over the bed of glowing coals; and if, perchance, at earliest morning dawn --- the hour at which all thrifty farmers rose in those days --- he found not a spark of fire, forthwith some one of his household was dispatched to the nearest neighbor, who might live a half mile off, or only just over the way, with the big fire shovel to "borrow" fire. Many a time has the luckless urchin sent upon this errand, weary with the weight of the iron shovel in attempting to shift it to an easier position for carrying, jostled the coals upon the ground, and before they could be replaced the last spark of fire was extinguished, while his steps were to be retraced to obtain a fresh supply.

    Every farmer raised his patch of flax, and near the house or barn, a nice piece of meadow land was used for the plat upon which it was annually spread to rot. Every barn contained the flax hatchel; every house was supplied with its hand cards for flax and for wool, its spinning wheel and linen wheel and loom, while every housewife spun and wove her linen for summer, with its strips or check of blue for aprons, the brown too for the pantaloons and frocks for the men, the fine linen for towels, for bedding and under wear, and her woolen for winter -- the warm heavy cloths for men's wear, the more soft and thin for women and children, and for bedding. Their bed comforters were made of flannel stuffed with wool, "cotton batting" having never been heard of then. Other kinds of goods were seldom worn. America was just emerging from the war of 1812, and could not afford to buy goods of foreign make. Some people bought "hum-hum," which was a rather thin and coarse quality of bleached shirting, for men's Sunday wear. Every woman had her visiting dress, or "ropper," (wrapper,) and shortgown of chintz or calico, which cost five or six shillings per yard, while a very stylish gown was made of cambric, some patterns of blue, others purple, lilac, plum color, black, &c, at a cost of one dollar a yard. The invariable go-to-meeting dress of summer, for every young lady, was the simple and pretty white muslin or cambric. In winter, many matrons had their broadcloth cloaks, some black, though red was a very fashionable color. Our present water-proof, with hood, is cut very much after the style of 1812-14, but those of that date were lined with silk and edged with fur or down. Black satin cloaks of the same shape, were also worn, at a cost of twenty dollars and upwards, while those of broadcloth often cost forty dollars each. But these were luxuries indulged in only by those in easy circumstances, while ladies of more moderate means contented themselves with the finest flannel, fulled and pressed, for cloaks. All families, rich or poor, wrought hard in the manufacture of home-made goods, bleaching their linen to a snowy whiteness by aid of weak ley and the battle-board, an instrument resembling a small paddle, used instead of our modern washing machines in cleansing clothes. Wringers and other labor-saving utensils, had not been dreamed of, and wash-boards were unheard of previous to this. The first wash-board ever seen in that section was brought into Lenox by a relative of Mr. Palmer, (his name is forgotten,) who was on a visit from one of the Eastern States, in 1813. It was looked upon as quite a curiosity, and withal considered a great improvement.


    During all the years in which these various settlements were growing up, Oneida Castle, chiefly in Vernon, but identified with the interests of this town, was the chief village of this section. It was then, nevertheless, an Indian village; one in which great meetings were often held, when the Indians came from all quarters annually to receive their annuities. Before the settlement of the country, Skenandoah, the great Oneida Chief, kept a tavern for the accommodation of travelers; they spoke well of his house. In 1810, the Indian school house, and the Missionary church in which Mr. Kirkland preached, were there. DeWitt Clinton, on a journey through the place, in 1810, says:--

    "At the end of the bridge over Oneida Creek, there stood a beautiful Indian girl, offering apples for sale to persons that passed. We saw Indian boys trying to kill birds, others driving cattle on the plains; some Indians were plowing with oxen, and at the same time their heads were ornamented with white feathers; some were driving a wagon; the women milking and churning-all indications of incipient civilization.

    "About four miles from Stockton's, we stopped at Skenandoah's house. He was formerly Chief Sachem of all the Oneidas; but since the nation has been split up between Christian and Pagan parties, he is only acknowledged by the former. The Chief of the latter is Capt. Peter, a very sensible man. The morals of the Pagans are better than those of the Christians. The former still practice some of their ancient superstitions; on the first new moon of every new year they sacrifice a white dog to the Great Spirit, and devote six days to celebrate the commencement of the new year. The Christian party are more numerous by one hundred than the Pagan; they are entirely separated in their territory as well as in their God.

    "Skenandoah is one hundred and one years old, and his wife seventy-four. He is weak and can hardly walk. His face is good and benevolent, and not much wrinkled; he is entirely blind, but his hair is not gray. He smokes, and can converse a little in English. He was highly delighted with a silver pipe that was given him by Governor Tompkins. His wife was afflicted with bronchocele or goiter. * * * * A number of his children and grand children were present. His daughter looked so old that at first I took her for his wife. Some of the females were handsome. His house is one hundred yards from the road, situated on the margin of a valley, through which a pleasant stream flows; it is a small frame building, painted red, and adjoining it is a log house. There were four bedsteads in the room, composed of coarse wooden bunks, so called, and covered by blankets and pillows, instead of beds. A large kettle of corn was boiling, which was the only breakfast the family appeared to have. It was occasionally dipped out from the pot into a basket, from which the children ate. The furniture and farming utensils were coarse and those of civilized persons.

    "His eldest son came in spruced up like an Indian beau. His features are handsome. He ate out of the basket. It is said, on his father's demise, he will succeed him as Chief Sachem, but if I understand their system aright, the office of Sachem is personal, not hereditary. [See Indian chapter on this point.] * * * * * Such is the mode of living of the first Chief of an Indian nation. In England, he would be recognized as a King. * *

    "Abram Hatfield and his wife, Quakers, have resided here some time, having been sent by that society, principally with a view to teach the savages agriculture, for which they receive $200 a year. Hatfield was sick; his wife appeared to be a kind good woman, well qualified for the duties allotted to her. They are amply provided with oxen and instruments of agriculture, to administer to the wants and instruction of the Indians. * *

    "In this village, we saw several very old women, and there was an old Indian, named the Blacksmith, recently dead, older than Skenandoah, who used to say that he was at a treaty with William Penn. There was a boy far gone in consumption, which was a prevalent disease among them. Last winter, they were severely pressed by famine; and admonished by experience, they intend to put in considerable wheat-to which they have been hitherto opposed-and they now have large crops of corn. They appear to be well provided with neat cattle and hogs. * * * They evince great parental fondness, and are much pleased with any attention to their children. An Indian child in Skenandoah's house took hold of my cane; to divert him, I gave him some small money; the mother appeared much pleased, and immediately offered me apples to eat-the best thing she had to give.

    "In passing the Oneida Reservation, we saw some white settlers, and it is not a little surprising that they receive any encouragement from the Indians, considering how often they have been coaxed out of their lands by their white brethren."

    In 1816, a Mission was established at Oneida Castle, by Bishop Hobart, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Rev. Eleazer Williams taking charge. Under his ministration, the Pagan party was converted and became the "Second Christian Party of the Oneida Nation." In 1818, this party sold a piece of land to enable them to erect a Chapel, which was consecrated by Bishop Hobart, September 21, 1819, by the title of "St. Peter's Church." The edifice stood on the hill south-easterly from the "Butternut Orchard," in the vicinity of Oneida Castle. This was sold to the Unitarian Congregational Society of Vernon village, in 1840, and removed to that place. The same bell that formerly called the Indians to worship still hangs in its steeple. Some years since several of the Oneidas who had emigrated to Green Bay returned to visit their native home. During their stay, some of them were at Vernon village, and the sound of the old bell greeted their ears; they stood still in a group and listened reverently and in silence; its solemn tones were recognized; its well remembered peals vibrated upon their heart strings like living spirit voices, hailing to them from the depths of departed time; stoics, as they were, their eyes moistened, evincing the deep feeling of their natures on this sudden summoning to memory of the old scenes and associations in which the venerable bell had a part.

    Rev. Eleazer Williams went to Green Bay with the Indians. [See the chapter on the Oneida Indians, given elsewhere.]

    In the mean time, Oneida Castle became settled with white people, and the village grew thriftily. An academy was early established, and maintained a good reputation among the academic institutions of the country. In 1841, the village was incorporated, at which time it contained about 400 inhabitants, sixty dwelling houses, one Presbyterian and one Baptist Church, two taverns and two stores.

    Lenox Furnace was another of the early enterprises of this town. It was located one mile south of Wampsville, and was, for a long term of years, the leading business institution of the town.

    The "Lenox Iron Company" was organized in 1815, with 400 shares of $50 each, to be paid as called for by the trustees, and in default of payment thereof, the shares, and all previous payments were to be forfeited. The names of some of the original stockholders, were: --- Judge Thomas R. Gould 8, Whitestown; William Cheever and Augustine J. Dauby 9, Utica; Conradt Moot, Lenox; James S. Sennet, Lenox; Eliphalet Sweeting, Paris; John Sweeting, Westmoreland. Subsequently, among others, the following were added:--Gen. Joseph Kirkland, Utica; Gardner Avery, Paris; William Cobb, Lenox; Capt. J. N. Avery, Paris; Col. Stephen Chapman, Lenox. The first agent of the company was Lewis J. Dauby, of Whitestown, he being succeeded by Gardner Avery, who manufactured the first cast iron, in November, 1816. He operated the furnace successfully several years. William Cobb succeeded Mr. Avery, and was agent till 1827, when J. N. Avery received the agency, and continued till the business was closed in 1847, in consequence of the exhaustion of timber for charcoal, there being then no method of smelting iron with mineral coal. Iron ore was hauled to this establishment on sleighs, from Clinton, Westmoreland and Verona. The company manufactured hollow ware of all descriptions, including potash, caldron and salt kettles; also castings for plows, and all kinds of shop and cooking stoves in current use. They began in the stove line with the first invention --- "Dr. Noyes'10 Parlor Stove," then considered a great achievement. The first pattern of the "Franklin Stove" was also cast here, and we presume, also, the first cooking stove, invented by David Gage. Connected with the works were a number of dwelling houses, the general boarding house, a blacksmith shop, a carpenter and joiner's shop, and a store and office. The place bore the title of "Lenox Furnace Village," and was so given, conspicuously, on all the maps up to 1850.

    George B. Cady now (1871,) has a woolen factory at this place, where doeskins, cassimeres, tweeds, satinets, flannels, &c, are manufactured. In 1867, it was fitted up with new machinery, and turned out 200 yards of cloth per day, with nineteen hands. The firm have also a good reputation for custom work.


    The dry lands on the south border of Oneida Lake were settled after 1808, though Col. Cadwell was the pioneer in this section in 1807. He opened a clearing in the forest, laid out new roads, and did much during the first two years in the way of inducements to others to settle. Oneida Valley was one of the early villages. One of the oldest Presbyterian Churches of the town was located here. This church, with a store, hotel and about thirty houses, comprise the present village.

    Durhamville is located on the Oneida Creek, mostly on the side, in the town of Verona, Oneida County. It was named from Eber Durham, who removed from Manlius, Onondaga County, in 1826. When he arrived, there were four log houses within the limits of the present village. By his energy and enterprise, a flourishing village soon came into being, its rapid growth being greatly promoted by the use of the hydraulic power, furnished by the surplus water here discharged from the Erie Canal, and turned to account by Mr. Durham, who leased it from the State. This source of prosperity is now dried up, the Canal officers having found that the rents were far from being equal to the damages to navigation in times of low water. The enterprising business men, however, have endeavored to make good the loss by use of steam; a steam flouring and grist mill, and a steam saw mill are in operation. The place has also a tannery, a glass factory and an iron foundry; there are two churches, (Baptist and Methodist,) two taverns, two dry goods stores, nine grocery and provision stores, three warehouses and various mechanics, with a population of about 1000. In the earlier years of the Erie Canal, this point was known as "Hotchkiss Basin." In 1816, Calvin Baker was married at this place. It was the first wedding of a white couple between Oneida Castle and Oneida Lake.

    Oneida Lake and South Bay are hamlets on the lake shore.

    Merrelsville is a hamlet in the south part of the town, having a woolen factory, which was one of the early woolen mills of Madison County.

    Pine Bush (at Bennett Corners Station on the Midland Railroad,) is also a hamlet located on the east road leading from Oneida Castle to Knoxville. It belonged to the last Indian Reservation. There was formerly a store, hotel and several shops here; a good Methodist Church was erected here some years since. Several years ago the store was burned; the tavern is now the farm house of William Nelson.


    The land upon which Canastota village stands, was, in the first decade of this century, but a low, swampy forest, with a small clearing on the west side of the present village, traversed by Canastota Creek. Canastota is located upon what was formerly known as the "Canastota Reservation" which was a part of, and was reserved from the "Canastota Tract," when that Tract was purchased by the State from the Oneida Indians. This purchase extended from Oneida Lake shore to within about a half mile of the Seneca Turnpike, and contained ninety-one lots. The Reservation consisted of 329 1-2 acres. In 1808, the State authorized 10,000 acres of the Canastota Trace to be surveyed off to the Twenty Townships north of the Unadilla, each of those Townships to have 500 acres, to be appropriated to Gospel and School purposes. This took the most of the Tract, beginning at the Lake Shore.11

    Capt. Reuben Perkins, a resident of the west part of the town, came and obtained of the Indians the land which is now the site of Canastota, for which he obtained a patent from the State, in March, 1810, bearing the signature of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor. At the time of his purchase seven or eight Indian families were living there in log houses, among whom are still remembered the names of Hon-Yost and John August. On selling their land the Indians removed, and Capt. Perkins repaired one of their block-houses which stood on an eminence near where Dr. Jarvis now lives, built an addition to it and moved in. He afterwards built a frame house in the same spot, which is still in use, having been moved across the road by Dr. Jarvis and converted into a tenant house. Not far from Capt. Perkins' house stood the cluster of pines from which it is said Canastota derived its name. The railroad bridge which spans the creek in the village is the nearest point we are able to name to the site of this cluster of three pines, one of which was on one side of the creek, and two opposite it, on the other; one of the latter had partly fallen and lodged in the branches of the others, forming a shady retreat which became a resort of the natives in the long summer days, in the closing years of their occupancy.12

    It is said that the name "Canastota," is derived from the Indian word "Kniste," signifying "cluster of pines," and "Stota,"13 meaning "still, silent, motionless," which has yet greater significance. The lands were low, the stream sluggish. To the swamp north of the village, the Indians gave the name of "Still Waters." Col. Cadwell remarked, (as given in Judge Barlow's sketch,) "I have many times heard the Indians bid their dogs be still by saying, 'stota! Stoat!' or 'be still! Be still!'" Undoubtedly, both ideas, that of the "cluster of pines" and the "still waters," are intended to be conveyed in the word "Canastota."

    At the period of Capt. Perkins' purchase, no road led through from the turnpike northward; there was only a crooked Indian trail which crossed the big swamp in the direction of Oneida Valley. The above mentioned sketch relates an interesting adventure of Col. Cadwell, in 1808, in traversing this swamp with a yoke of oxen, wagon, and load of seed potatoes, when he first began his settlement in the north part of the town. There is also a story of 1809, touching and sad, of Eli Barnard, Constable and Collector, (brother of Judge Pardon Barnard,) who, getting lost in the depths of this great forest, wandered about for many days, and at length laid down in the soft April snow, and died, where he was found after an anxious search, the ninth day after his departure from home; and another thrilling incident of a boy lost, and found alive on the fifth day.

    In 1814, Capt. Perkins sold one hundred acres of his reservation purchase, it being the east part of the present village site, to Ephraim Sherman. This passed successively through the hands of Jason W. Powers, Samuel Halliday, Barnbort Nellis and Joshua A. Spencer, before it was cut up for village purposes. In 1821, Thomas Hitchcock and Thomas N. Jarvis, from Amenia, Dutchess County, contracted with Capt. Perkins for the remaining two-thirds of the Canastota Reservation. Jarvis was a youth, but the enterprise was a grand one, and greatly for the interest of his father's family. The purchase price was $8,000. In April, 1822, the conveyance was made in due form to Thomas Hitchcock; and in 1824, by arrangement, the Jarvis farm, a part of the Reservation, was conveyed to Milton Barlow, (brother of Mrs. Lydia Jarvis,) who subsequently conveyed it to Lancelot Jarvis, the father of Thomas N. Jarvis. On the death of the father, it was divided among the heirs, and since, has been parceled out in village lots.

    The springing up of a village at this locality, is due to the enterprise brought to bear upon this point on the construction of the Erie Canal. This section of the Canal was laid through, about 1817. At that period, a noble wheat field flourished upon the village site, and but four houses modestly graced the landscape. Two of these houses were the residences of Capt. Reuben Perkins and Thomas Menzie, his son-in-law; one of the others belonged to James Graham, which was located where the spacious "Montross House" now stands; the fourth was on Peterboro street.

    The Canal brought with it a host of men, employers and employees, and forthwith sprang up taverns, groceries, stores and shops of various descriptions. James Graham converted his house into a tavern, and built a small store on the south side of the canal, on Peterboro street; the spot is now occupied by a block of buildings. Mr. Reuben Hawley built his first store near here, and the Crouses commenced business in it in the course of the year 1817. This store now forms a part of Mr. Reeder's feed store, but it then stood out on a line with the street. The latterE3, and his brother John, carried on a heavy mercantile business here for years. Capt. Perkins built the house at the corner of Main street and the Canal, (northeast corner,) for a hotel. He also built the brick store which stood where the malt house now stands. There was a brick yard south of it where the brick was manufactured from which the store was built. Samuel Halliday built the tavern near the corner of Peterboro and Center streets, now the location of the Center Hotel. About 1821, Capt. Daniel Lewis built a dwelling house which stands on the west side of (now) south Main street, north of Mr. Miller's large house, which is now owned by his wife, Mrs. Miller, daughter of the late John H. Rose. Another landmark of the past yet remaining, is the house situated on the corner of Center and Main streets, which was built by Thomas Menzie about the same time.

    There was a saw mill built at an early day, which was on the present location of Reeder's grist mill. At a later period a saw mill was built near where is now located the cabinet works of Bolster. The brick yard near the brick store, was a small one, operated first by Mr. Gleason, afterwards passing through several hands, and was finally given up. More recently, brick has been made in considerable quantities on Mr. Bauder's farm, north of the canal. There is a steam saw mill and planning mill on Main street, built perhaps fifteen years since, which does a considerable business. The manufacture of salt was begun here about 1866, from wells sunk at places northwest of the village.

    Canastota has the honor of being the place where the celebrated Hamilton College Telescope was made, by the firm of Spencer & Eaton, mathematical instrument makers. This telescope has a focal length of sixteen feet, with an object glass of thirteen and one-half inches diameter. The flint and crown discs for the instrument were imported from Germany; its cost complete was $10,000. It is reported to be a very superior telescope, and in workmanship is regarded as fully equal to the Munich instruments. Mr. Charles Spencer, of this firm, is a son of Gen. Ichabod Spencer, mentioned elsewhere, and is a native of Quality Hill.

    Although there has been considerable enterprise in manufactures, Canastota has been, and is more distinguished as a mercantile village. From its beginning, the place has grown steadily. From Judge Barlow's sketches we gather a statement of the business of the village at the time of his arrival here in 1831. There were than three public houses; one kept by Joseph C. Spencer, the "Graham House," where the "Montross House' now stands; the "Canastota House," now the village bakery, kept by John B. Youngs; and one at the west end of the canal basin, (built by Capt. Perkins,) then, or subsequently kept by Eliab Joslin. There were three stores in the place; that of Messrs, J. & D. Crouse; Reuben Hawley's at the east end of the then canal basin, on Peterboro street, and one kept by Samuel Hitchcock on the west side of the village, on Main street, at the present corner of Main and Lumber streets. Nahum Fay, Elias Palmer, Capt. Robt. Bishop and Widow Tuttle were grocers. J. C. Spencer had been in business, but at that time had closed his store. A. D. Van Hooser carried on the hatter business in a shop where the Doolittle Block now is. The village then had a population of 406. The finest house on Peterboro street was that built by Dr. Spencer, standing where Col. C. B. Crouse now (1868,) lives, but was moved off, and is now occupied by Allen Hutchinson; it was then owned and occupied by Dr. Thomas Spencer. A brick house on Main street was built by Samuel Hitchcock, in 1831, for an Academy or school building; the upper story was a chapel, and the Methodists held meetings there. Where John Montross' dwelling stands, was a large building called "Tryon's Hall," in which meetings were held, and just east of Morris Lewis' stood a very long house called the "Town Hall," in which public meetings, both secular and religious, were held. In 1833, the two churches, the "Dutch Reformed" and "Methodist," were built.

    On account of the low, swampy situation of the land, it required much labor to render a large portion of the village plot, fit for streets and building lots. Center street was then several feet below its present bed, and almost impassable on foot, in spring and fall. Several houses stood on posts before their owners had filled in their lots. Still the village progressed, --- enlarged its area, increased in population; in 1835, it was incorporated. In 1840, the Central railroad gave it a new impetus. In mercantile interests it is now one of the leading villages of Central New York.

    Messrs. J. & D. Crouse (brothers,) may be considered the leaders and fathers of mercantile business in Canastota. Their tact, energy and economy insured to them from the first a steady and rapid prosperity. They commenced in 1817, in the store of the Hawleys, where they continued three years, then moved into the building occupied by A. B. Clark; afterwards they bought part of the "Boat House," had it moved on the street, and fitted it up as a store at a cost of about $1,000. They continued in this store till 1834, when they went again into the Hawley store and remained till they built the large brick "Crouse Block." In 1853, the firm of J. & D. Crouse terminated; John, the elder of the firm, went to Syracuse and entered upon the wholesale grocery business; other members of the family joined in co-partnership with Daniel; but in 1863; the latter removed to Utica and opened there as a wholesale grocer; and so the firm in Canastota ceased. Other mercantile firms in Canastota have been prominent, but being of later date were not so directly identified with the growth of the place.

    Canastota, at present, is increasing in size and beauty; new streets are being laid out each year, new houses are being erected. Southward, fine mansions are frequently rising, greatly to the beauty of this conspicuous part of the village. Large, noble looking blocks are occupied as stores, and artisans in all departments are increasing under the same roofs. The new "Railroad House" is a conspicuous and noble building. The public Hall (Beecher's,) is pronounced to be one of the best in the central part of the State. The "Doolittle Block," also fitted up with a public hall which would grace any city, is not to be forgotten as among the first buildings of the place. It was built by Francis Doolittle in 1869. It is situated a little south and opposite of the "Beecher Block." Both blocks confer honor upon their enterprising proprietors. In addition to the manufacturers already mentioned, there are two large carriage shops and two tanneries. A new Cemetery, laid out south of the village, is being beautifully arranged and decorated, and is the pride of the citizens. A spacious fair ground indicates the public interest in the "Farmers' and Mechanics' Association."

    It is due to the memory of Reuben Hawley to say that he was one of the highest esteemed business men of Canastota in its earliest days. He started in business here in 1817, and built a very capacious store for a country village, on the west side of Peterboro street, south side of the Erie Canal. The same building has been moved back and is now occupied by Reeder & Son as a grocery and feed store. It was occupied by the Messrs. Crouse until they built the large brick block before mentioned. Mr. Hawley also built a very neat mansion on the east side of Peterboro street, opposite his store, in which he resided many years. That building is now remodeled and forms the store of Brush & Bell. There was probably no country merchant west of New York who had the confidence of the New York merchants to a greater extent than Reuben Hawley. His happy spirit and genial way of doing business inspired all with confiding respect, and he succeeded to a field of business for a great distance around the country. He finally left Canastota and entered into business in the village of Chittenango, but soon after died, which is now many years ago. Being of the first merchants of Canastota, he will ever be identified with her history. He was the father of the well known jeweler and business gentleman of Syracuse, Col. Dean Hawley.


    Almost from the first settlement of this section by the whites, from indications upon the surface of the earth, and from the geological fact that wherever there is a strata of gypsum and limestone rock upon the hills, the valleys contiguous abound in veins or reservoirs of salt water, it has been generally believed that salt water existed in the vicinity of Canastota of sufficient strength and quantity to be manufactured with success and profit. About fifty years ago, salt was made to some extent from the water of a deep spring dug in the marsh about three-quarters of a mile west of Canastota, by Capt. Oliver Clark, one of the pioneer settlers. Acting upon these hints a company was formed a number of years ago at Canastota for the purpose of making experiments upon the salt water tested by Clark. A well was sunk in the marsh some 400 feet, but the drilling machine by some accident was broken and the work was abandoned. The water they obtained on the surface was two and a half degs. By the instrument used, which was increased by the boring to nine degs. In 1863, a company was again formed in Canastota, who revived the work14 and with such success as to induce them to prosecute it. The Company was reorganized in May, 1867, under the general Mining and Manufacturing laws of the State of New York, with a capital stock of $100,000 divided into 1,000 shares of $100 each. The Company contracted with Daniel Lewis for fifty acres of salt territory, located a little west of the village along the Erie Canal, and commenced operations which promise to be successful to those engaged in it.


    Capt. REUBEN PERKINS came from Connecticut to this State, and first located on Oak Hill, where he built a house and lived until he made his famous purchase of the Canastota Reservation. He was an active business man through life, having engaged in various enterprises pertaining to the progress of the village. He was appointed first Superintendent on this section of the Erie Canal. He sold the fine estate he acquired by his purchase of the Canastota lands, before the village began to increase materially, and by misfortunes and the unsuccessful and unwise use of his money, became poor. Some of the earlier landmarks of Canastota attest his enterprise, and many of the inhabitants remember him in his better days, when prosperity shone upon him, as an active, genial and generous man. He was a patriot soldier of the Revolution. He was twice married, having seven children by his first wife, five of them daughters. One daughter married Capt. Wm. Jennings; another, Thomas Menzie; a third, Warren Colton, and a fourth, George B. Rowe. The two sons, Reuben and Calvin, and all these daughters, have passed away, leaving no representative to perpetuate the name. Capt. Perkins survived to his ninety-fourth year, when he too, passed away, having been for years oblivious to all around, through the loss of all mental power.

    JOHN MONTROSS.-Extract from his obituary notice published in the Canastota Herald: ---

    "Died March 26, 1869, Mr. John Montross, aged 58 years and 7 days. Mr. Montross may be classed with the old or early inhabitants of this place, and among our most influential and prosperous citizens. He came here over thirty-years ago. In his early life he was dependent upon his own efforts and merits for his success, and at an early day gained the good will and confidence of all who became acquainted with him. His life has been marked for its industry and economy, which was capital superior to money itself, as an encouragement in the world. * * * His prompt and faithful way of doing business, and frankness in matters of opinion, gave him a good name far and near, and whilst his friends were vastly numerous, he had but few if any enemies. At an early day he attained to a popularity which secured to him various official trusts from the people of his town, and he showed a business tact, coupled with integrity, which made him an excellent and approved officer in every position conferred upon him. He was always a man of praise-worthy public enterprise, and in the dutys imposed on him in the affairs of our village, he was always for those improvements promising the growth and prosperity of the place. He was one of the first and most active in starting and securing the project of the Cazenovia and Canastota railroad, and on all occasions of meetings, near or far distant from home, he did not allow bad weather or traveling to prevent his attendance. At no time did he allow unfavorable circumstances to discourage him or dampen his ardor. He was a continuous, uncompromising advocate of the work, and flattered himself that at a day not far distant, he would see the trains running and doing a prosperous business over the southern hills to the village of Cazenovia. His industry and energy carried him from his early want to a fine estate, and he lived to see a day of ease and plenty, yet died in the prime and full power of manhood."

    He reared a family of sons to adult age, leaving three to mourn the loss of his wise counsel and careful guidance, a wife, an ever kind and affectionate husband, and an aged mother, the supporting arm of a dutiful son. Another writer speaks of Mr. Montross: --- "His name was identified with every enterprise which has tended to the growth and prosperity of this locality."

    MAJ. GEN. ICHABOD SMITH SPENCER was the oldest of four brothers, all of whom were men of ability and mark in this section. The General being the eldest, and therefore the earliest upon the stage, was the power that raised to prominence in professional life all of his brothers; for as soon as he became able in his own profession, he took them, as it were, upon his shoulders, and carried them along in their studies and into their professions, they aiding themselves what they could by school teaching.

    General Spencer was born in Suffield, Conn., July 11, 1780; and the year succeeding his birth his parents moved to Great Barrington, Mass., where the rest of their family of children were born. The General was married in 1801, and removed to the county of Madison, N. Y., in 1802, where he continued to reside till the time of his death.

    He was a student of law, under Hathaway & Sherman, Esqs., Rome, and entered the profession and practice of law in 1808. One who was well acquainted with his remarkable powers of mind, thus writes: ---

    "Mr. Spencer passed with rapid strides, by the energy and activity of his own powers, to a distinguished prominence in the profession. The science of pleading was then intricate, technical and refined, and he soon took place among the first and foremost as one of the safest and best special pleaders in our State. As a Chancery pleader, we may say there was none before him. His power of discrimination was great, and no man would discover a legal point, and give it prominence and weight, in pleading or brief, before him. His mind would run through a case with astonishing rapidity, and no point would escape his notice, or fail of receiving the consideration due to its importance. * * *

    It was not for the legal profession alone that he was pre-eminently qualified. There were elements also in him equally well befitting the military character. In 1813, during our war with England, he was ordered into the service of the United States as Adjutant, under the command of Col. Dutton and Brig. Gen. Collins, and marched to the frontier at and near Sackett's Harbor. His services on the frontier were necessarily short. He returned home in 1814; and the discharge of his military duties were so honorable that a train of promotions was soon opened before him. In that year (1814,) he was promoted to the office of Captain, and very soon after to that of Colonel of the 74th Regiment of Infantry, and a few years later to Brig. Gen. of the 35th Brigade, comprising the counties of Chenango and Madison. This office he held until 1847, when he resigned it.

    And whilst he was thus so well calculated for the profession of Law and for military life, he was most happily calculated for the social circle. His very nature was social, mingled with that high sense of manly reserve which made him both a standard and a favorite. As a neighbor, he was all that could make him a friend to the needy or suffering, and no man was more ready or willing to favor or befriend. And it is here that society has experienced the loss. A friend, a neighbor, has gone, no more to mingle his sympathies, or extend his helping hand."

    HON. JOSHUA A. SPENCER, the celebrated lawyer and advocate, was one of these brothers. He distinguished himself especially upon one occasion --- in his defense of McLeod in 1841, soon after the close of the "Patriot War," so called, of 1836 and '37. McLeod, a Canadian citizen, came over the border on our Canada frontier at Schlosser, near Niagara Falls, and in a raid with the men of his command, committed a murder, for which he was indicted and tried at Utica. Mr. Spencer defended him, setting up as the principal ground of defense that it was a state of war between nations at the time of the killing; that McLeod was acting in the defense of his government, and was not individually answerable. The trial lasted many days and was one of much excitement. Spencer succeeded, and as a reward for his services the British Government gave him a thousand pounds sterling, being $5,000.

    REV. ELIPHALET SPENCER, another brother, became a prominent minister of the Presbyterian order; and Dr. Thomas Spencer, the fourth and we believe the youngest brother, became a prominent physician, and held various professorships in medical institutions. All, as we have seen, attained to signal prominence in life, and all were self-made men. Not one of them is living at the date of this record.

    JOSEPH BRUCE was born in Roxbury, Mass., January 1, 1781. His father, a native of Scotland, came to America in childhood with his parents, and in maturity became one of the daring patriots of the "Boston Tea Party."

    In his childhood, Joseph Bruce came with his mother, (then a widow,) to New Hartford, Oneida Co., and there remained till he was eighteen years of age. In early youth he acquired habits of industry and self reliance, preparing him for an after life of success.

    Soon after his marriage with a daughter of John D. Nellis, of Whitestown, he settled in Lenox, in 1810, on Quality Hill, where he resided more than three score years. Here he became engaged in mercantile pursuits in co-partnership with Dr. Nathaniel Hall, and through life the two were warm friends. He also became identified with the most important public affairs of the locality, from the first. In the war of 1812, in a company of Light Artillery of which Wm. Jennings was Captain, Mr. Bruce was appointed Lieutenant, and marched to Sackett's Harbor with his command. His Captain being sick, he had charge of the Company during their time of service. Joshua Spencer was an Orderly in the same Company, and he and Mr. Bruce were life-long friends. After the war, being a leading spirit in the old military organizations, he was commissioned Captain and then Major, and by the latter title was known through life.

    Mr. Bruce was a Magistrate for many years; was Postmaster for a long period, and filled many other positions with honor. One who knew him well, wrote: "His life was characterized by those virtues which win confidence and esteem, and whether in public or private life, he held to principles which were a bulwark against even the approach of suspicion." He was always a consistent and an active Christian, and helped to build up and sustain the old Congregational Church of Quality Hill. As a business man he was energetic and upright, possessing qualities which fitted him for almost any position. He became a stockholder in several banking institutions, among which was the Mechanics Bank of Syracuse, and the Bank of Whitestown, and was an efficient President of the bank last named for a number of years.

    Toward the close of his life he turned his attention to farming more than he had hitherto done. His fine farm on Quality Hill, and those of his sons, adjacent, attest the care and skill bestowed, and evince an unusual relish for rural occupations, characteristic of father and sons.

    He was too frank and outspoken for a successful politician, and was never fond of the political arena. Socially he was a man of warm and constant friendship, kind and generous to the deserving and affectionate in his family.

    Joseph Bruce, Esq., died at his residence in Lenox, Jan. 27, 1872, aged eighty-three years. He came down to his grave "like as a shock of corn cometh in his season." His aged companion to whom he had been wedded three score years, survived him a few months. "Died, in Lenox, August 9, 1872, Maria, relict of the late Joseph Bruce, aged eighty years." (Note n)

    From a newspaper published at the time of the death of Hezekiah Beecher, one of the prominent citizens of Canastota, the subjoined is taken:

    "HEZEKIAH BEECHER, the subject of this sketch, died in Canastota, on the 8th of November, inst., (1870) aged nearly 76 years. Hezekiah Beecher, was born in Bethany, New Haven county, Conn., Dec. 28, 1794, and had he lived until next month, 28th, he would have been 76 years old. He came into this town of Lenox, Madison county, on the 15th day of April, 1816, on which day he was married, and settled down in business life on Quality Hill.

    He carried on the tanning and leather business there, and continued residing there sixteen years, when he moved to Canastota, where he resided until his death. Thus it will be seen that he was one of the first, and lived to be one of the oldest of our inhabitants, whilst it may most truly be said, one of the most upright and esteemed of our citizens. His industry and economy were proverbial. * * *

    His moral virtues were such as to render him the choice of the people of his town, for various places of trust in their gift, even when he was politically in the minority. He had been undersheriff of the county, constable and collector for many years, and was promoted to the office of justice of the peace, which he held for numerous terms of four years each.

    His inquiring mind and discriminating judgment were such, that from his experience in official and judicial duties, that he became so conversant with the principles and practice of law, that many years ago he was licensed to practice the profession ex gracia without pursuing a clerkship of studies. Though quiet, unassuming and retiring of habit and nature, he is greatly missed. The poor, the sick and suffering, needing a sympathizer and friend, have experienced a loss."

    Capt. DANIEL LEWIS15 was one of the earliest settlers of the flats. He was born in Washington County, in 1798. When a small boy he came on with his father, Eleazer Lewis, to the town of Augusta, Oneida County; from there the family removed to Vernon, and from there to Oneida Castle, where they lived in the block house with the half breed, Lewis Denny. Eleazer Lewis worked Denny's farm on shares. From here he moved to Quality Hill, in 1806, and lived two years. He then purchased Lot 78, of the Canastota Tract, and a piece of Lot 82, and moved into a log house situated where Col. Lamb now lives. His farm was all woods, with no road leading to it. Daniel's youth was spent here, receiving his education in the district school of Canastota, which was first taught by Dea. Cadwell, in an Indian log hut just west of the present residence of Dr. Jarvis. His best education was gained in the stern school of necessity, where was formed those habits of industry, patience, perseverance, economy, integrity and straight-forwardness, elements which comprise a most worthy and useful character. He early became dependent on his own exertions and soon learned to surmount difficulties on the way to prosperity. His first venture was to purchase a village lot of Reuben Perkins, for which he paid $250. This was considered in that day a bold move for a poor young man! By hard working by the day or job, he soon realized a sufficient sum to build. His enterprise and industry soon won him credit and a place in public favor, for when he was found to execute all trusts committed to his care with untiring industry and devoted faithfulness, he was given, first, a place as foreman on the canal works, and soon gradually arose from that up to Superintendent of the Division. It is said the State never had any one in the charge of public works of more untiring vigilance that Capt. Daniel Lewis. No barrier, no weather, hot or cold, rain or snow, wind, mud, darkness or tempest, would deter him from duty or cause him to relax the care which was essential to the protection of the canal. Often in the severest storm he was on duty, lantern in hand, examining the banks of the canal; in case it was necessary, the midnight found him and his squad of men out at work. Ten, twelve and more miles were thus traversed at any and all hours by this trusty servant, regardless of health, strength or life. For seventeen years he was thus employed, when he passed on the higher trusts confided to him by the "Syracuse & Utica Railroad Company," by whom he was employed as Dept. Superintendent. Next he occupied a corresponding position on the Hudson River Railroad. He was ten years employed in this capacity, ending with the year 1850.

    His surplus earnings in youth he invested in real estate making his second investment in the purchase of a farm of one hundred acres, of Samuel Halliday. Following in careful steps, from one round of the ladder of fortune to another, and never faltering in the practice of industry, fidelity and economy, prosperity crowned his efforts and blessed the riper years of his exemplary and successful life.

    Up to the time of his last brief illness, he was in the possession of good physical and mental powers. His home was near the M. E. Church, which he adorned with his munificence and beautified with his fine taste. A few years since, he caused a beautiful triangular park to be laid out, in the space afforded by the corners of the roads, nearly in front of the church. In a laudable spirit of enterprise and generosity, he, at his own cost, covered it with trees and evergreens, and surrounded it with a post and chain fence, thus securing it against all encroachments.

    Capt. Lewis spent his closing years in the quiet pursuit of farming and in the enjoyment of domestic life. His first wife was Miss Lorana Perkins, daughter of Benjamin Perkins, whom he married in Broome County. After her decease, he married Miss Carrie A. Way, of New Haven, Connecticut.

    Daniel Lewis died at his residence in Canastota, Feb. 23, 1872, aged seventy-five years. He left a widow and two daughters to mourn the loss of an affectionate father and husband.


    This place was named "Oneida Depot," in the beginning. June 20, 1848, it was incorporated under the name of "Oneida Village." Its origin is due to the enterprise awakened by the passage of the Syracuse and Utica Railroad through its locality. The lands, including its site, to the amount of several hundred acres, were owned by Mr. Sands Higinbotham, who, in 1829 and again in 1830, made purchases here. That of 1829, was purchased of individuals; that of 1830, from the State of New York. In the autumn of 1834, Mr. Higinbotham removed here from Vernon, where he had long been a merchant, and located his residence on the south side of the present village. That part of his estate, and also the valley lands, were cleared. In 1837, the Syracuse and Utica Railroad Company located their railroad across his farm and made one of their important stations there, naming it "Oneida Depot," from the contiguity of the "Castle," and the time-honored name designating this section of country. The forest was cut through to make place for the track, and in the spring of 1839, the woods were cleared away to make space for the erection of the hotel called the "Railroad House;" --- the same Railroad House of to-day, near the track of the Central.16 The opening excursion of this road, made on the 4th of July 1839, was a great day for this section of country. The old woods of Oneida had never before, even in the days of the Indian war whoop, been so startled from their quiet. The day, its impressions, the gay, wild scene, will not be forgotten by those who participated in its two-fold rejoicings. In all the coming years, a 4th of July sun may not again look upon the like in this section; the heavy forest all around, the new cut stumps, the white logs stripped of their bark lying prone near by, the piles of brush, the broken earth, the freshness of everything bearing foliage; --- and then the great crowd of humanity, and the long train of old fashioned railway coaches which slowly and carefully bore away their freight of adventurous excursionists. Among the latter were a few --- a very few --- of the remnant of red men remaining here, of the once numerous and powerful Oneida Nation. Fancy could read sadness in their faces at this last inroad of a scarcely understood civilization upon the domain of their ancestors and their own homes. If, with the transcient and soon gratified feeling of curiosity, they were, in the main, mourners upon the scene, it need be no marvel.

    The Railroad House was built by Mr. Higinbotham; its first landlord was Henry Y. Stewart. Mr. Higinbotham began selling lots this year. The first dwelling was built by Charles R. Stewart, on the site where the "Coe Block" now is. The same house is now used as a dwelling on Broad street. The store of S. H. Goodwin & Co. was the first store of importance in Oneida, and gave character to the mercantile business of the place. Mr. Goodwin started in May, 1844, his first business place being a wooden structure on the site of his present store, on Madison street. It was burned in 1862, and rebuilt of brick the same year. The first telegraph office-the "Western Union"-was established in 1846, under the care of I. N. Messenger; it was so entirely an experiment, that to secure it, a guarantee of a certain income for the first year, was entered into by seven of the citizens. Thereafter, however, it was a success upon its own merits. Twenty-one years ago, the only block of importance in Oneida was the brick "Empire Block," which was considered the building of the town. It was built by Asa Smith, tanner and currier, boot and shoe maker, and also post master. He is now a resident of Rochester. Taking a view down Main street, south, the business blocks on the west side, with their original proprietors and present occupants, may be noticed as follows: ---- The block next the "Empire," where Charles I. Walrath is located, was built by James A. Bennett in connection with Charles and Joseph Walrath; Albert E. Coe built the block adjoining Walrath on the south; next is the "Devereaux Block," build by Horace Devereaux, its present owner; then the "Merchants Exchange," built by Timothy G. Seeley; next the "Walrath Block," built more recently by D. & C. H. Walrath; then the "Oneida Valley National Bank," and the "First National Bank;" next, the block occupied by Barker & Randall, in which is the hall of the "Good Templars," and built by Loomis & Atherly. Crossing now and coming north on the east side, first is the block now owned by Wm. Lyle, built by C. & D. Walrath; next to this is the Patrick Devereaux block, which he built; E. H. Curtis erected the next building, and that in which Mrs. R. O. Coe keeps a millinery store, was built by a Mr. Williams. The jewelry store of Chapin & Sons was built by Samuel Chapin. The east side, thus far, has been built up within ten years. Continuing on north, is Cleveland's drug store, built by Hollis Mannering; the building occupied by Chase & Chappel was erected by Ephraim Beck, and is now owned by Dr. J. W. Fitch; the corner block, in which is "Masonic Hall," was built by Newcomb and Charles Fields; the "Gen. Messenger Block," at the north corner of Phelps street, was built by Gen. Messenger, who owned all the buildings between Phelps and Madison streets, on the east side of Main, except the National Hotel, which was built by Frank Gleason.

    The Eagle Hotel was built by Nelson and Ira Morris. By the side of this hotel, John W. Allen built a large store house, which was occupied by Hill, Allen & Co. This has been merged into the present spacious Eagle Hotel.

    On the north side of Madison street, before 1862, there was the dry goods store of S. H. Goodwin, the drug store of R. I. Stewart, the cabinet ware rooms of Jones & Hulburt, and the large building of R. N. Van Evra, used for numerous shops, and which, with several others, was swept away by a destructive fire in August, 1862. All the north side of this street, between Main and William streets, except the residence of T. C. Thompson, was destroyed. Mr. Goodwin rebuilt the same year, and recently the burnt district has again been built up. On the south side of Madison street, Grove Stoddard built the store now kept as a clothing store. The "Kenyon block" was formerly the store of Theodore C. Thompson and Sidney Rivenburg-then a wooden structure.

    The "Bacon Hotel" was formerly the residence of Herman H. Phelps, at the time, Superintendent of the Utica & Syracuse Railroad. Mr. Bacon purchased it and converted it into the present hotel. "Northrup's Hotel" was one of the early public houses and was kept by Blodgett. This house changed hands several times before it came into Mr. Northrup's possession.

    To improve the condition of the village, the trustees passed the following resolution at a meeting held Oct. 11, 1869:

    Resolved, That the erection of wooden buildings within the following limits in this village is hereby prohibited, viz: On Madison street, from the west line of William street to Main street. Also, on Main street, from north side of Mulberry street to Madison street, and N. Y. C. R. R.

    We sum up the general status of Oneida as last noted by us in the summer of 1871. At that date, the population within the corporation was about 4,000. There were nine dry goods stores, as follows: Randall & Barker, C. A. & D. H. Walrath, W. H. Dimmick, A. E. Coe & Son, S. & E. Kenyon, John E. Stone, T. C. Thompson, P. C. Lawrence and S. H. Goodwin & Son. There were also eight grocery stores, viz: Carter Bros., Douglass & Downing, David Walter, Harry Walter & Co., Stone & Schuyler, A. Hill & Son, and Matthewson & Rivenburg. Also, there were the two hardware stores of Farnam & Son, and A. R. Turner; five or six boot and shoe stores and several shops for custom work; several clothing, and hat and cap stores; a number of millinery and furnishing stores and shops, three watch and jewelry establishments; two bakeries, four meat markets; an extensive sash and blind factory and several lumber yards. 17 There were five hotels and a number of restaurants. We may note that the chief hotels were kept by C. Bacon, Fred Allen and P. R. Miner. There were six religious societies, the Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Catholic and Universalist, all having houses of worship except the last named, which used Devereaux Hall. The corporation included two commodious, brick, common school houses, and the Oneida Seminary under the charge of the Presbyterian Synod. There were two national banks, and we believe two private banks.

    There are, in all, about ten lawyers in the village; also, several physicians of each of the popular "schools." There are two unusually well supported weekly newspapers published here, the "Oneida Dispatch" and the "Democratic Union," both large, well conducted sheets, giving full reports of local news from all parts of the County; also, two and a half miles out, at the Oneida Community, the "Oneida Circular," weekly, is published; less in size than the village papers, but full of advanced ideas and information pertaining to their own agricultural, horticultural and manufacturing enterprises. The Main streets of Oneida village are lighted by gas. The corporations of Oneida Castle, Oneida and Durhamville, are in a nearly straight line north and south, and adjoin.

    Thus far have we gleaned in reference to the building up of the business portion of Oneida village. The limits of this work will not permit an enumeration of further enterprises which are flourishing within the limits of this rapidly growing town, enterprises which are making their mark, accumulating wealth, extending the village borders in all directions and establishing the foundations of a city.


    We should not pass without further notice, the name of one who has contributed largely to the prosperity of Oneida; who has been identified with its chief enterprises; whose fatherly care has been extended over all its interests. We, therefore, append the following extract from the "Oneida Dispatch," published on the death of the individual to whom we refer, under the date of Sept. 18, 1868:

    "The Late Sands Higinbotham. --- To the many friends of the late Sands it will be a satisfaction to recall, or to learn, some of the principal incidents of his life. He was born in March, 1790, in the County of Rensselaer, in this State, and a few years afterward removed with his parents to Central New York. In his youth he went to Utica (at that time a small village,) to reside in the family of his half brother, the first Watts Sherman, who was several years his senior. He spent the period of his residence there; first as an attendant of one of the schools, and then as a clerk in the store of Mr. Sherman; and some are now living in Utica, who still have pleasant memories of him in those days of his boyhood and youth. From Utica, in the year 1810, when he was twenty years of age, he went to Vernon to reside, and there commenced business for himself as a merchant. During his twenty-four years' residence in Vernon, he was known as an honorable and prosperous merchant, and as a wise and conscientious man, whom all esteemed. During this time, also, he became acquainted quite extensively with the leading minds, not only of his own County of Oneida, but of the State; and in many instances the friendships then formed were severed only by death. Many men now living will remember him at this portion of his life, with the greatest respect and affection. About the year 1830, he purchased several hundred acres of land where now is located the embryo city of Oneida, and in the autumn of 1834, he took up his residence upon it. In 1837, the Syracuse and Utica Railroad Company located their railroad across his farm, and made one of their important stations there. In July, 1839, the cars commenced to run; and from that date, under the fostering care of Mr. Higinbotham, the village of Oneida has steadily grown and improved, from year to year, without drawback or change, except to a greater and more rapid improvement as time went on. Here, in the last thirty-four years, (a generation in itself,) the crowning work of his life was done. His strict integrity, his sound sense, his genial spirit, his large heart, were elements of attraction which drew around him a circle, not only of citizens and business men, but of friends. Religion, good morals, education, all received the fullest aid in his power to give; and everything that was of interest to Oneida, also interested him. As his reward, he has lived to see his cherished home become one of the most thriving and beautiful villages of Central New York. Although always feeling an earnest interest in the politics of the country, and in his early years taking an active part in the movements of parties, he yet constantly and steadily refused to accept any political office or nomination. He was, however, a Trustee of Hamilton College for the last thirty years of his life, and until very recently continued his regular attendance at all meetings of the Board, giving them the benefit of his ripe counsel and great experience. For the last two years his growing infirmities made it necessary for him to retire from active labor; and now, in the evening of his busy life, his work being done, he has peacefully gone to his rest; the honored patriarch, the much loved husband, father, neighbor, friend."

    We also append the following notice of another citizen, some years since deceased, (Sept., 1866,) who was also distinguished and useful.

    "DEATH OF GEN. J. M. MESSENGER. --- It is with the deepest sorrow we find ourselves called upon to record the death of one of our most prominent and respectable citizens, Gen. John M. Messenger, who died at his residence in the village, on the afternoon of Tuesday last. * * * Gen. Messenger was widely known, having for a long period taken an active part in the political, as well as other matters of Madison county. Originally from Massachusetts, in 1808, we believe, he came to the town of Smithfield, where he lived for a number of years, afterwards removing to Lenox. As already remarked, he sustained a prominent position, owing not only to natural ability and practical judgment, but also sharing, in a large degree, that force of character and indomitable will that always gave him marked influence in society. Holding several important offices of trust, among which were those of Sheriff and representative to the Legislature, he proved himself honorable in discharging all the duties pertaining thereto. * * * As a citizen, always interested in the growth and welfare of our village, as a neighbor, kind and obliging, as a man, upright and respected, his loss will be deeply felt. His last hours were made peaceful and happy by leaning for support upon the arm of his Redeemer, and his eyes closed in death with hardly a struggle. The funeral services were attended on Thursday afternoon, from his late residence, by a large number of sorrowing relatives and friends."


    I. N. Messenger opened the first law office in this village in 1848. He was a graduate of Hamilton College in the class of 1839, and soon after entered into the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1843, under the old Chancery practice. On being established in Oneida, Mr. Messenger associated with himself J. C. Sloan, as partner. Soon after, Mr. Sloan and M. J. Shoecraft formed a co-partnership. Delos W. Thompson was the next to open an office. Afterwards John Snow18 came and became a partner with Mr. Shoecraft, and Mr. Sloan went to Janesville, Wisconsin. In Nov., 1863, Jas. B. Jenkins, former associate of H. T. Jenkins, District Attorney, of Oneida County, came to Oneida and entered into co-partnership with I. N. Messenger. He had been a law student with Hon. Timothy Jenkins, (whose reputation as an eminent lawyer was not limited to this State alone,) and was admitted to practice in all the courts of the State, at the July term of the Supreme Court of 1851. He had practiced law some years at Oneida Castle, and previous to his establishment in Oneida; had been four years assistant District Attorney of Oneida County. The firm of Messenger & Jenkins has continued to the present time (1872). Soon after Messenger & Jenkins became established, Gen. Z. T. Bentley and W. W. Goodell came and opened offices. Both of these talented lawyers are now deceased-Gen. Bentley in 1870 and Mr. Goodell in 1871. Josiah E. Ferry and Clarence Carskadden have opened law offices at a more recent date, and are still in practice; and John C. Kennedy, Esq., late law partner of W. W. Goodell, deceased, is also now practicing here.


    The Oneida Valley Bank commenced business in 1851, under the General Banking Laws of the State of New York. N. Higinbotham, Banker and President; Samuel Breese, Vice-President; T. F. Hand, Cashier. In the following year, (1852.) its capital was increased to $105,000, as an association, under the same laws and with the same officers. In 1865, in common with all the old State Banks, it was changed to a National Bank under the name of "The Oneida Valley National Bank of Oneida," without change of capital or officers. It will be remarked that now, after twenty years of prosperity, the same officers who started with it in 1851, still continue its management.

    "The First National Bank of Oneida," was organized October 1, 1864, with a capital of $125,000. Its first Directors, were: --- Horace Devereaux, James J. Stewart, Samuel H. Fox, Franklin M. Whitman, James A. Bennett, Ambrose Hill, Simeon B. Armour, Stillman Spooner, Alvin Strong, Zadoc T. Bentley and Christopher A. Walrath. First Officers, were: --- Horace Devereaux, President; Jas. J. Stewart, Vice-President; Virgil Bull, Cashier.

    Present Officers: James J. Stewart, President; Samuel H. Fox, Vice-President; Virgil Bull, Cashier. Alvin Strong and Zadoc T. Bentley, among the original Directors, are deceased; they are succeeded by DeWitt C. Stephens and W. H. Bennett. Stillman Spooner is succeeded by Virgil Bull, as Director, and Horace Devereaux by Andrew J. Frost. The capital of this Bank remains the same as at the beginning. A surplus fund of about $30,000, has been set aside out of the earnings since it commenced.

    The Oneida Savings Bank was incorporated February 19, 1866. First Trustees: --- James Barnett, Peterboro; Ralph H. Avery, Canastota; John J. Foote, Hamilton; John H. Willson, Stockbridge; T. E. Barnes, Durhamville; Daniel G. Dorrance, Oneida Castle; Geo. H. Sandford, Verona; Samuel Breese, I. N. Messenger, James A. Bennett, T. F. Hand, E. C. Saunders, George Berry, G. P. Soper, T. G. Seeley, Ambrose Hill and Milton Barnett, Oneida.

    First Officers: --- Daniel G. Dorrance, President; Geo. H. Sandford and Goodwin P. Soper, Vice-Presidents; Edwin Loomis, Secretary and Treasurer. I. N. Messenger was chosen Attorney. The Bank commenced business April 1, 1866. Its resources on the first day of July, 1871, were $216,461.24. The officers at the latter date were the same as in the beginning, with the exception of the substitution of J. N. Avery and E. C. Saunders as Vice-Presidents. James Barnett, John J. Foote and James A. Bennett, have also retired by resignation, and Timothy G. Seeley's place has been made vacant by death. The places of the last four named are filled by Wm. E. Fisk, of Canastota, and James J. Stewart, J. Newell Avery and S. Kenyon, of Oneida.

    The Banking office of Barnes, Stark & Munroe, a private institution started in 1871. The Central Bank, also a private bank, was opened in 1871, by Jas. D. Kilburn, President, and W. E. Northrup, Cashier.


    This Seminary was originated by the enterprise of a few individuals. It was incorporated July, 1857, and school opened in September of the same year. Planned on a most generous basis, its maintenance thus far has been attended with large expenditure of funds. It has, however, proved itself to have been an excellent institution of learning, and under such principals as Rev. G. H. Whitney, Rev. E. Rolle, Chas. E. Swett and Rev. J. D. Houghton, has made its impress and mark for good upon the community around it. Rev. J. D. Houghton resigned at the close of the Seminary term in 1872, having been principal for the past three years. The school is under the care of the Presbyterian Synod of Utica. The seminary, with its proposed endowment of $50,000 will enter upon the coming year with renewed vigor. Oneida Seminary is pleasantly located in the south part of the village; its buildings are handsome, convenient and elegantly furnished, its grounds cheerful and laid out with taste, presenting, on the whole, an appearance not surpassed by any school of the kind in Madison County.


    Masonic. --- Oneida Lodge, No. 270, of Free Masons, was organized in 1851. Its charter is dated June 22, 1852, and is executed by Nelson Randall, Grand Master; Joseph D. Evans, Deputy Grand Master; Dan. S. Wright, S. G. Warden; Jarvis M. Hatch, J. G. Warden, and James W. Powell, G. Secretary. Its first officers were: Lucius Brooks, W. M.; George W. Harp, S. W.; Daniel Y. Lipe, J. W.; Lucius Brooks was W. M. for three years, George Harp four years, Nelson Morris one year, and Alonzo E. Cherry held the same office from 1859 to 1869, with the exception of the year 1864, when Horatio Lewis filled that position. In 1870, O. M. Randall was W. M.; in 1871, Orrin Collins. The lodge has 140 members and may be considered a flourishing branch of the Order.

    Doric Chapter, R. A. M., was organized in 1867, A. E. Cherry, M. E. H. P. A. R. McKenzie held that office in 1868 and 1869, and A. E. Cherry again in 1870 and 1871.

    Odd Fellows. --- A Lodge of the I. O. O. F. had an existence here from 1853 to 1857. It has recently been reorganized.

    Good Templars. --- Oneida Chief Lodge, I. O. of G. T., was organized in Oneida Village in October, 1866. Its first W. C. T. was William Snook. It is yet a flourishing and successful society. The P. G. W. C. T. of the State, Rev. Silas Ball, resides here (1871).

    Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria. --- There is also a Lodge of this Order here, which was organized in February, 1871. First W. C., James B. Jenkins.19

    Fire Companies. --- The village has three fire companies; Protection No. 1, Protection No. 2, and Hook and Ladder Company.


    Is located on Oneida Creek, in the town of Lenox, Madison County, and Vernon, Oneida County. The dwellings and the principal farm buildings are in Lenox; its two largest manufacturing establishments and a large proportion of the land is in Vernon. It is situated about four miles southerly from Oneida Village. The Midland Railroad crosses their land and has a depot at this point. John H. Noyes founded this Community in 1848. It now numbers about two hundred members. There are also two branches; one located at Wallingford, Conn., where there are forty members, and another at Willow Place, located on a detached portion of the domain, one and a quarter miles from the main family, where there are thirty-five living, engaged in manufacturing. There are valuable water powers on the premises, all of which are improved. The business of Oneida Community is in general agriculture, fruit growing and preserving, and manufactures.

    The Community started with a capital of $100,000, invested in lands and buildings. They were not, however, successful, financially, for a few years, but as time wore on, and the demand for their products increased, they prospered in a pecuniary sense, and now the Community has property to the amount of half a million of dollars, and this constantly increasing in value. The dwellings are pleasantly located a few hundred yards west of Oneida Creek; they consist of the original mansion house erected in 1848, subsequently enlarged, three stories high, including basement, with a ground area of 35 x 72 feet; a large brick mansion built in 1861, 45 x 72 feet, three stories high, with a wing also three stories high, 41 x 57 feet, and a four story tower, 18 feet square; and several buildings adjacent, or attached as wings to the old mansion house. These are surrounded by a lawn and ornamental grounds, several acres in extent, artistically laid out with walks and drives, and planted with trees, shrubs and flowers. A few rods in the rear of the dwellings, is a large brick building three stories and a half high, 31 x feet, devoted to the laundry department, fruit preserving, dentistry, printing office, school, &c. On the opposite side of the road is a large building occupied as a store, shoe shop, tailor shop, harness shop, &c. West of the dwellings, some distance, is the depot of the Midland Railroad. The barns for the storage of the abundant crops and for the housing of their excellent dairy, are models for farmers, being arranged on the most scientific plan.

    Of the manufactures, steel trap making is the leading business, giving employment to about one hundred persons. It was first introduced by Mr. Sewall Newhouse, who became a member in 1849. He had long been known in this section as a successful trapper, and maker of a superior kind of steel trap. In 1855, Mr. Noyes turned his attention to the manufacture of this commodity, and with the aid of the inventive genius of members of the Community, machinery was applied to the manufacture, and a superior article was soon produced. Six sizes of traps are manufactured and find market all over the country, and in large quantities throughout the west and northwest. In the manufacture of sewing silk and ribbons, about one hundred persons, chiefly women and girls hired from the surrounding country, are employed. Great care is exercised that the work be well done, the silk being imported from China and of the best quality. The sewing silk is regarded by buyers as the best in the country. The Community bag manufactory makes about thirty variety of bags, including all kinds in use, viz: ladies' satchels, gentlemen's sacks and bags, and Noyes' patent lunch bag, &c. Besides the above branches of manufactures, there is a machine shop, a foundry, a saw mill, and a carpenter and joiners' shop.

    In gardening and orcharding, Oneida Community excels; their orchards and fruit grounds cover about fifty acres. The orchards embrace the best known varieties that can be grown in this climate, of apples, pears and plums. With careful and scientific cultivation, they succeed in keeping their fruit trees in the best of condition, tolerably free from disease and insects and producing abundant crops. Their small fruits, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes-tons of the latter being raised-are of the best varieties, and yield a great income. The products of the garden are equally prolific and profitable. Fruit-preserving has been carried to a high state of perfection and yields a handsome profit.

    Financially, Oneida Community is a success. Its manufactures, of traps, silks, &c., together with the exports of so great an abundance of produce, brings a large revenue. The following statement made in 1870, we believe is sustained by the facts: "Besides supporting the members of the community, nearly $300,000 worth of goods here manufactured, were sold by their agents last year." They employ about two hundred hands not of their own organization, paying good wages.

    Socially these people "are a law unto themselves" --- living in a manner not in accordance with the laws or usages of New York State. Their real estate is nominally held by the leading men in whom the body have confidence, the property being equally the property of all. Their community of interests, as of one family, embraces the social relations. They designate this mode of life as "Complex Marriage," which is fully set forth in a book written by J. H. Noyes, entitled the "History of American Socialisms." Their prosperity is probably due the efficient management of the founder and those associated with him as its leaders. It is believed, however, that in time, internal disagreements arising from the unnatural theory upon which their social structure is based, will cause their overthrow. Their socialism is confined entirely to themselves --- with outsiders they deal only in a business way. They are pleasant people to deal with, being straight-forward, honest and fair. They show themselves intelligent, peaceable and kind-hearted. The following extract from Pomeroy's letter, after visiting there, [see Oneida Dispatch, March 8, 1870,] may be of interest here: "The women were dressed neatly and in something like the bloomer costume, but in different colored goods and material. They all looked clean, neat and modest, though lacking in that elasticity of look and vivacity one finds in an equal number of women in ordinary homes. The men were clad as men generally are, in that variety of style suiting them best, and on the whole were a good looking, clean-faced, intellectual set of people, without viciousness or traces of dissipation. At the Oneida Community there is no profanity --- no coarse or vulgar language --- no using intoxicating liquors as a beverage --- no using tobacco in any form-no words of unkindness. Each one seems to respect not only himself, or herself, but others. Some of the family were old, some middle aged --- a few were young. The women take turns in house work. The ones who wait on the table this week, do something else next, that labor may not be a monotonous drudgery. In the evening the "family," old and young, meet in a small room resembling a small theatre. Here we found a stage, private boxes, chairs, sofas, little tables, &c., as cozy as you please. Here the entire family meet each other at night to talk as do other families --- to listen to music from piano and other musical instruments --- to sing and chat, and visit --- to talk freely concerning the acts of any and all members of the family, but in words of kindness --- to witness tableaux, theatrical exhibitions, &c."

    This is the recompense --- these external comforts received in exchange for that domestic sanctity which we call home --- for the destroying of those sacred ties between husband and wife, parents and children.


    The First Baptist Church of Lenox, in Clockville. This church was formed at the school house, near Joseph Palmer's, on Palmer Hill, Dec. 20, 1810. Eight brethren and sisters composed the membership, as follows: Elder Paul Maine, Stephen Palmer, Caesar Moody, Asvena Maine, Chester Palmer, Joseph Palmer, Roswell Randall and Prudy Palmer. Stephen Palmer was first deacon. Elder Paul Maine was first pastor. In 1818, a branch church was formed in the north part of the town, which in 1820 was re-organized as an independent church, and was called the "Second Baptist Church of Lenox." In December, 1822, a re-union was effected, and in August, 1823, the house of worship was erected at Clockville.

    The Baptist Church of Oneida. This church, in connection with a mission school for the Oneida Indians, was established by the Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society in December, 1820. First missionary and teacher, Rev. Robert Powell, of Hamilton. This became known as the "Missionary Church of Oneida Castle." In 1848, under the labors of Rev. L. J. Huntley, who was pastor at Oneida Castle, a Baptist Church was organized at Oneida and a house of worship was soon erected. In 1849, the society was transferred from Oneida Castle and permanently located at Oneida. The church edifice was dedicated January 23, 1850.

    The Clockville M. E. Church was built by the Protestant Methodists, on Oak Hill. The house was subsequently taken down and removed to Clockville, and there rebuilt. Nicholas Bort was a resident local preacher, who exerted his influence towards building up the society.

    The Methodist Episcopal Church of Canastota. The first class of this society was formed about 1830. The house of worship was founded in 1833, but was not completed for some years. It was, however, used for meetings in 1835. Rev. Mr. Chapin was their first stationed minister. In 1837, the house was finished and dedicated. In 1859 it was enlarged and repaired, and in 1866 it was nearly built anew. It is situated on the northwest corner of Chapel and Main streets.

    The Protestant Reformed Dutch Church of Canastota. This church was organized at a meeting held April 30, 1833, at the house of A. D. Van Hooser. First Deacons Charles Spencer and Samuel Halliday. The same year the church edifice was erected. Rev. Thomas Gregory was first pastor. The house stands at the corner of Peterboro street and the railroad.

    The Independent Church of Canastota, was organized as a Free Church in 1845, the society being strongly anti-slavery. The purposes of the society were, that the house should be free for "all purposes as shall serve the cause of useful knowledge, and free discussion of all subjects pertaining to the public welfare, the rights of conscience and the worship of God." In 1864, the society started anew with a still more, liberal creed on an anti-sectarian basis. The house which was built in 1846 was burned in 1871, and a new brick one has been built on the same site, at a cost of $6,000.

    The Presbyterian Church of Oneida, was formed in 1844, with a membership of thirty persons. The meeting house was finished and dedicated in January, 1845. Rev. James Nichols was first pastor. The house has been twice enlarged, the last expenditure for that purpose amounting to $l,600.

    St. John's Church (Episcopal,) of Oneida. The first religious services of this church were held in the village school house about 1842, by Rev. Mr. Battin of Rome. In 1850, occasional services were procured, (having been suspended during a period previously,) under the auspices of Bishop DeLancey. In 1857, R. W. Oliver, their first regular pastor, was employed. In 1858, the Gothic Church, after Upjohn's plan, was erected by Mrs. N. P. Randall and Mrs. Niles Higinbotham. In 1869, the rectory was built.

    Methodist Episcopal Church of Oneida. The first class was formed at Oneida Castle. As early as 1850, the class had been removed to Oneida Castle. Rev. A. L. York was first settled pastor. The society built their house of worship in 1851, which was dedicated in the winter of 1852. Improvements and additions have been made, from time to time, the last change being made in 1866, at a cost of nearly $4,000.

    [See page 495, for Congregational Church of Quality Hill.]


    Contemporary newspapers speak of the existence of a newspaper published in Canastota in 1829, call the Vidette. It had a brief existence.

    The Canastota Register was published in 1830 by Silas Judd and Henry B. Mattison; in 1831, by H. S. Merrit.

    The Canastota Times was commenced in 1857, by Geo. H. Merriam. In November of the same year, it became the Herald and Times. In the spring of 1858, Mr. Merriam sold to Frederick A. Williams, who then became editor; it was continued a few weeks and then given up.

    The Canastota Eagle was started November 4, 1858, by J. E. N. Backus, and was published about three years; then it passed into the hands of Smith Van Allen, and was called the Canastota Weekly Gazette. Under the latter name it was transferred to F. A. Darling, who, in 1861, entered the army and the paper went down.

    The Canastota Herald was commenced in September, 1866, by Arthur White, and continued by him until April 1867; then it was published by White & Greenhow, one year; it then passed into the hands of Greenhow & Sons. The latter firm sold to Mr. Shaffer, who sold to Walter C. Stone, in 1871, by whom it is now published.

    The Oneida Telegraph, a weekly paper, was commenced at Oneida, in September, 1851, by D. H. Frost. In June, 1854, it passed into the hands of John Crawford, and was changed to

    The Oneida Sachem, under which name it continued until May, 1863, when it was changed to

    The Oneida Dispatch. From March to October, 1864, Edward H. Spooner was associated with Mr. Crawford in the publication of the Dispatch. September 16, 1865, it passed into the hands of Purdy & Jackson. In June, 1870, E. H. Purdy withdrew, and M. M. Allen became associated with D. A. Jackson. The Dispatch continues under the firm name of Jackson & Allen, publishers.

    The Democratic Union, weekly, was moved from Hamilton to Oneida in 1863, by Wm. H. Baker, who continued to publish it here.20

    The Circular is a weekly paper published by the Oneida Community. It was originated in 1857.

1 - Jones' Annals of Oneida County.
2 - Isaac Forbes, son of Jacob Forbes, was in times past a Magistrate and Deputy Sheriff.
3 - Pronounced "kwos-a-lone;" meaning bushes hanging over the water. It is sometimes erroneously spoken, "Squash-a-lone." DeWitt Clinton, hearing the latter pronunciation, supposed it to be "Squaw-a-lone," and has so written it. By some it is said to mean "Weeping Squaw."
4 - At the foot of "Break Neck Hill."
5 - Horace H. Hall, of Quality Hill, has in his possession an old relic, descended to him from his grandfather, Deacon Nathaniel Hall. It is an ancient powder horn, quaintly carved, bearing the inscription "Nathaniel Hall 1759." This early resident of Lenox, was born in Guilford, Conn., in 1742, and died in Lenox, in 1818, aged 76 years. He served in the war of the Revolution, having been called from peaceful pursuits at several different times in periods of emergency.
6 - Lieut. Bruce commanded the Company during its whole term of service, Capt. Jennings being sick and unable to act as Captain.
7 - Dr. Thomas Spencer.
8 - Judge Gould was an eminent lawyer and jurist, of Oneida County.
9 - At an early day editor of the Utica Observer.
10 - Dr. Noyes was then a Professor in Hamilton College.
11 - It may be remarked here that on the survey of the "Twenty Townships" in 1789, the Government made provision for the support of the Gospel and Schools, and required the Surveyor General to mark two lots near the center of each town, of 250 acres each, to be reserved for those purposes. These Townships were afterwards sold to speculators without the proper reserve being made. The intelligent and religious emigrants who had taken up farms in those Townships, remonstrated and petitioned the Legislature with such energy that an act was passed appropriating the Canastota Tract to their use for said purposes. The avails have been accordingly so used.
12 - A cluster of pines stood on the flat, further down the creek, in the vicinity of the old saw mill owned by Mr. Hitchcock, west of the creek, by the hickory grove, which has been named as the cluster of pines referred to in the tradition; but Mr. H., himself gives credit to the belief that the three pines uniting across the creek are the true ones.
13 - For the greater part of the history of Canastota, the author is indebted to a series of graphic sketches on the early settlements of this region, published by Judge Thomas Barlow, in 1868.
14 - Daniel Crouse, D. H. Rasbach and James H. Woodford, were of the first committee.
15 - Much of the story of Capt. Lewis' life is from Judge Barlow's sketches, published in the Canastota Herald in 1868.
16 - It will be remembered that railroad communication through New York State, as far as it went at that day, was effected by connecting the tracks of the several Companies having sections of road in operation, (See page 134.)
17 - The tannery of George Berry was one of the most thriving firms of Oneida. It was built in 1857 at a cost of $7,000. Important additions were made in the way of machinery, and otherwise, at considerable cost. In 1871 it was destroyed by fire. At the time there was stock in the tannery in the amount of $9,000, and Mr. Berry's loss was about $7,000 above the insurance of $9,000.
18 - Since deceased.
19 - Mr. Jenkins is a strong advocate of temperance. He organized the first temperance society in Oneida in the fall of 1863, and continued its President for five years; has been a member of the Good Templars' Lodge since its organization; was a charter member of the Temperance Order called New Volume, and continued its Chief Counselor till its consolidation with the Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria in Feb., 1871; has been Worthy Chief of that Order since then; is Right Worthy Deputy Grand Chief of the R. W. G. L., of G. S. & D., of S. of the State of N. Y. His is the law office of the G. L. of America.
20 - Since deceased.
Transcribed by Lorna Marks
August, 2003
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